Sunday, September 27, 2015

That time I won a half-marathon!


MY NEW HALF-MARATHON PR BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know.  What the hell?!  All of that speedwork must be improving my long distance game, is all I can say.
(Part of me is like, if I can shave 2 minutes off my half marathon PR, can I please shave 20 seconds off the 5k?!? #ungrateful)

Backing up a bit, my Oiselle racing singlet arrived on Tuesday last week.  It was, as expected, too large (because I ordered a size large instead of a medium...dumb). The length was great, the width was not (#LongTorsoProblems).  I was going to attempt to take it in but I was nervous I would screw it up.  So on Thursday night, I decided to try running a few miles with it and see how it felt.  It was fine.  I mean, a little baggier than I would like, but I felt it would be fine to wear on Saturday.  (My mom has since given me some advice so I can still take it in.)

We left for Sheboygan Friday afternoon and got checked into our hotel room.  The kids were excited because the hotel had a water park in it AND my best friend was coming with her family too.  (She was running the 10K).  We went out to eat as a big group on Friday night and tucked into bed.

Unfortunately my 22 month old son kept up his new routine of waking up in the middle of the night, screaming MAMA!!!!!!!  The hubs and I aren't exactly firing on a full night's sleep lately.  And double suck that it's in a hotel room - so you really HAVE to get out of bed and get him to be quiet, for the neighbor's sake!  The hotel beds were not exactly comfortable so while I would like to say I went into it well rested, it was not the case.  On a postive note, I took advantage of the wake time to get more hydration in!

Race time was 8 AM.  We were up at 6:30 going to get breakfast.  Of course, I should have thought about breakfast, but I didn't so we were stuck eating gross expensive cereal from the hotel coffee shop.  I dug in my bag and came upon a Larabar so it wasn't all bad.

Finally, we were off to walk to the start.  I was going to try to start out with 7:30 miles and see how it went.  The gun went off, I started my watch, and we were off.

The race I did was not a large race - 179 half marathon entrants.  My friend was trying to get me to win it based on last year's times and I was laughing because while the winning times of previous year's races weren't out of reach, I felt they were based on my training level.  However, heading into a huge hill at mile 1, I was in 4th place (ladies).  Mile 1 was 7:00 on the dot.  I felt really good but also worried that if I kept this up, i would be dying at the end so I tried slowing down.  Mile 2 was 6:56.   Somewhere before Mile 3, I found myself in 2nd place.  I was going to try to keep the first place woman in my sights and see what happened.

The course was an out and back course.  As we got to the turnaround point, I was still in 2nd and the gap between the first place woman and I was about the same.  I still felt good and my miles were in low 7s (Mile 3 7:02, Mile 4 6:53, Mile 5 7:11, Mile 6 7:05.

After turning around, we of course were meeting all the runners and I was totally pumped up by all the people, women especially, who were cheering for me.  [The course was very quiet, but pretty, well marked and with ample water stations (every mile to 1.5 miles).]  I closed the gap and was running with first place by Mile 7: 7:06.   I felt good, but didn't want to pull ahead too early and lose it.  However, I am not used to running with people either so that was driving me crazy.  I decided to gamble and pull ahead.  Mile 8: 7:02.  I encouraged the woman to stay with me and wasn't sure if she did.

Now I was in no man's land.  Not really sure where she was behind me, and not wanting to turn around to check.  There was no one in sight ahead of me either.  Clearly it shows in my next miles:  Mile 9 7:11, Mile 10: 7:18, Mile 11 7:19.  I took a Gu near the 10 mile mark, anticipating the water stop.  Salted caramel goodness....Yum!

By Mile 11, I was like "I am going to win this thing no matter what."  I tried to hang on and got to Mile 12 in 7:14.  My legs were hurting but I also didn't want to lose!  I still had no idea if she was right behind me or what.  I had caught up to 2 guys and passed one of them.  As I rounded the corner to the finish, I was a few steps behind the other guy and I saw my best friend and my daughter and my BF yelled, "C'mon Ames - you can get that guy".  So I dug in and passed him  My last mile was 6:55.  Finished in 1:33:23.  4th place overall and 1st place woman and a new half marathon PR.  I WAS PUMPED! (2nd place woman finished in 1:36:27).

The great September racing calendar has come to an end.  3 races in a month.  It was a lot - my family is definitely tired of races.  "Why do we always have to go watch mom run?" was heard out of my 5 year old's mouth over the weekend.

Yet...I still think a 5K under 19 is achievable this year.  I'm considering another small one on 10/11.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Next up: Half Marathon

September has been CRAY CRAY.  It always is.  This is not a shock.

I am running a half marathon on Saturday.  What the hell was I thinking?  I have not exactly trained to run this thing, which makes me even more curious about how it will go.

I ran 10.28 miles on September 5.  I felt good during it.  My avg pace throughout was 7:25, so I am going to shoot for finishing in less than that which would be around 1:37.  This may be a bit ambitious.  I typed in my race prediction time from my recent 8K time and it was 1:29:45.  With my recent 5K time, it was 1:28:07.  That of course presumes one trains for the actual 13.1 mile distance!

The only other distance work was a 27 mile bike ride that my husband and I did on September 13, but that was not exactly pushing the pace.  Still, my legs were sore the next day!

I really like the half marathon and have said that I would love to train specifically for one and try to see how fast I could do it.  Unfortunately, most of my half marathon experience is more haphazard than that.  My half PR is 1:35:22, just shy of 7:17 pace.

I have commented before that I have felt like a slug lately, particularly while racing.  I definitely need to get back to a more consistent training plan (this summer has been ALL over the place) and incorporate some strength work.  Fall goals....before Boston Marathon training starts after the holidays!!! (I received my official acceptance email last Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

What I am REALLY hoping is that my Oiselle singlet gets here before Saturday's race! It shipped last week!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

8K Recap: Briggs & Al's Run!

Today was the 8K Briggs and Als Run for Children's Hospital.  I ran this event several times back in college, on a team sponsored by an old cross-country friend's dad.   Then there were several years that I didn't run it until last year.  My goal this year was to place in the top 100, as I missed it by 5 people last year.  I think it would have been great to beat last year's time too.

All in all it was an ok race.  I ran a 32:17.7 which is 5 seconds slower than last year (32:12.9), however, I placed 87th overall so that was great.  I was 10th woman overall, and still second in my age group.  (In fact, the woman who won it overall is the same woman who won the 5K I ran last Saturday!)

I started having a sore throat yesterday and the post nasal drip woke me up at 4AM.   I had a grande sized coffee from Starbucks and a few sips of water before the race.  I was standing near the start thinking about how dry my mouth was.  NOT the most brilliant pre-race plan.  We were running into the wind when about 0.5 miles in, my favorite blue running hat flew off my head.  I kept going but heard "Did someone lose a hat?"  I turned around and saw a guy holding my hat! I freaked out and said, "I did!!" and he sprinted up to give it to me.  Not sure how much that little snafu cost me, but at least I had my hat back!

I sucked water at each of the 3 water stations, but have felt thirsty ALL day.  (The post-race cheeseburger probably didn't help matters!).

My Garmin had the race at 5.06 miles, with a 6:24 avg pace/mile.  I was sort of all over the place with mile splits though:

Mile 1: 6:03
Mile 2: 6:34
Mile 3: 6:20
Mile 4: 6:40
Mile 5: 6.24

Interestingly, if you look at my Garmin data from last year, my pace was actually 3 seconds/mile faster this year.  Last year's mile splits were:

Mile 1: 6:22
Mile 2: 6:44
Mile 3: 6:24
Mile 4: 6:29
Mile 5: 6:16

Mile 4 sorta sucked this year :)

My favorite moment of the race was actually when it was over and I was standing my the finish looking for family members and friends who also ran and I saw a little boy, maybe 3 years old, get out of his wheelchair cart that the Angels were pushing for him and toddle through the finish.  My eyes filled with tears.  The slogan of this year's race was "for the kids" and that is the image I will take with me from this race.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Closer, but not Quite Sub-19


That was my 5K time on Saturday at Tosafest.  Womp. Womp.  It is my best 5K this year, but it still starts with "19".

I don't usually warm up, but have found while training that I could benefit from warming up.  Getting older, I guess.  I warmed up a bit before the race on Saturday and felt ok.  The gun went off and we were off.

I was the lead female for the better part of the first mile, which led me with the suspicion that I went out too fast.  My first mile was 5:59 so where I wanted to be, but it felt like a 5:00 to my legs.  The second mile was 6:27.  The third mile I just kept trying to stay in it but it was difficult.  I ended up with a 6:06 third mile.

I remember looking down at my watch as we got on the track for the last bit and it was in the high 18s.  I wanted to finish strong.  I was on the heels of an older gentleman and I knew my positioning was annoying to him, but I just could not make myself run faster.  "You can go around me" I heard him say; to which I replied, "No. I can't" and he said "YES YOU CAN" so I went around him and he yell cheered at me through the finish.   Later on, I saw him at the awards ceremony and he said "You had some real grit out there."  So that was a highlight of the race.

When I finished, an older man approached me with a camera indicating he needed me for a photo.  He brought me over to the first two women finishers and it became apparent that he thought I had finished 3rd.  I had finished 4th.  I indicated that I hadn't finished third and then went to find the real third place finisher and I don't know if the man felt bad for me or what, but he made me be in the picture.  The 2nd place woman asked if the 3rd place woman and I had tied...a subtle way to ask, "Why the hell are you in this photo".  It was really embarrasing.

This would have been a great race to go under 19 as there were some fast women there.  The winning woman was 31 years old and 18:29.  Second place woman was 41 with a time of 18:52.  Third place woman was 37 years old and 19:14.  So yay for 30+ year olds rocking it :)  I ended up with an age group medal.

Also, this course is billed as flat and fast..."a great course for a PR".  The course was more difficult than I was anticipating because of that - there were more inclines than I was anticipating.

Now I am in the conundrum of trying to find another 5K to do to again try to go under 19.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Updates

Happy first day of September!

I have some updates!

First, last week, I broke my yoga hiatus and went to a studio near my house and tried their yogalates class - a blend of yoga + pilates.  It was a good class, but not as great as my former lunch classes were.  I am going to try it again this week and then starting next week, I signed up for a weekly "yoga for runners" class at the same studio that lasts through September.

I also bought a Groupon for 3 barre workouts.  My SIL did barre before her wedding and I keep seeing Instagrams about it so I thought, why not?!

Finally, I have been biking some with my family...the hubs and I signed up for a 25 mile bike ride + foodie event to celebrate our upcoming 8th wedding anniversary!

September is also a big month for me running wise.  I have signed up for THREE races:

9/12: 5K
Hoping to break 19 (please dear God) on this self-proclaimed "fast course"

9/19: 8K
Annual Al's Run! If you are so inclined to donate to this Children's Hospital of WI fundraiser, you can donate via my page here.  (THANK YOU!)  Last year, I had a great race here and ran 32:12, placing 105th overall and 2nd in my age group.  It would be awesome if I could break the top 100.

9/26: 13.1
Yes.  I signed up for a half marathon.  I have no goal for this.  I want to finish it and see what my time is.

I need to find a 10K in October then I will have checked off 5K, 8K, 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon off the race list in 2015!