Tuesday, July 30, 2019

New 5K PR!

I ran a 5k last Saturday...and won...and set a new PR!

Obviously now that this is over and it went fairly well, I am pleased with it.  But leading up to the race, I wanted nothing to do with a 5k.

I have gotten in the good-for-me habit of not looking too far ahead of my training plan.  If I look ahead, I get anxious, and that does nobody any good.  For this reason, I didn't realize that I was supposed to do a 5K (or a 10K) at this point in my plan until less than a week before race day.

I really had no interest in running a 5K, particularly if it was going to be hot.  So I dragged on registering for any of them.  The night before the race I zeroed in on (The Racing Sausages 5K), it seemed as if the weather was going to be fine so I half heartedly got some running stuff together.

The only words (excuse me, WORD) of advice that I got (and really the only ones I needed) from my running advisor was "COMPETE". 

I was not really feeling COMPETE.  

Even though I watched some of the US Track and Field Outdoor National Championships the night before, including Rebecca Mehra's amazing race to get into the 800m final.  

I was not feeling it.

So I went to bed.

I woke up to my 6 AM alarm and got dressed for the race.  I gathered some things together and took some money out of my husband's wallet to pay the onsite registration fee (because I never have cash).  

My family was not feeling a race either and so I went by myself, which given the mood I was in, I was grateful to be going solo on this one.

A few exits into my drive and I realized that I didn't have my watch on.  I typically wear my Garmin 24/7 but it was bugging me the night before so I took it off to sleep...and forgot to put it back on.  I contemplated skipping it but knew that I was likely going to be running around parking lots for warms up and cool down so I exited the freeway to go back and get it.  I ended up taking the wrong exit so had to do a few U-turns.  Got home, grabbed my watch and headed back to the stadium.

I ended up in a long line of cars to get into the parking lots.  After I finally parked, I made my way over to the onsite registration table, which was very convenient.  Then I thought I should use the restroom.  Apparently I left my pins for my bib somewhere in there because when I went back to my car to get ready, I no longer had pins.  

I mean - this is not exactly the chain of events that you happening in the time leading up to your race.

I went back, grabbed pins and then realized that I had no idea where the race started.  So I asked where the start was and found it.  By this time, I had about 14 minutes before the race was going to start.  There was not time to do the 2-3 mile warm up that my aging body has become accustomed to prior to making it run fast.  I did a mile warm up, at about 7:30 pace and then it was time to line up.

I was able to start near the front, so I was grateful for that.

The gun went off and we were off.

It has been almost three years since I ran a 5K.  I used to run several of them a summer, but fell out of practice when I became uber focused on the marathon. I had no idea what pace to run, but the "5k pace" my advisor has me using is 5:55-6:10 a mile for my speed workouts.  This always feels so god damn fast in workouts, but my first mile of this race was faster than that pace window and felt slow.  I wasn't feeling the burn that I remembered 5Ks feeling like years ago.

That said, I was scared to push myself because I didn't want to burn out.  There was another woman with a college jersey running just in front of me.  My goal was to stay running with her.  

At around mile 2 though, I decided to pass her.  I spent much of the 3rd mile trying to chase down a guy ahead of me.  I passed him on the way out of the Miller Park stadium and made my way to the finish.  It was there that I noticed the clock in the 18:30s.  

PR FOR ME BABY!  My official finish was 18:38, a 15 second PR.  First woman across the line.

The outcome of this race was good, but my race tactics were terrible.  I did not "COMPETE".  I definitely was running fast, but not all out. Each mile that I ran was progressively slower.  By the time it started to hurt, the race was over.  

Despite this, I will take the PR (at my age, they aren't coming fast and loose anymore!)...and maybe run the 5K a little more frequently than I have in the last 3 years. :)

Monday, July 22, 2019

7 Weeks of Marathon Training with Science in Sport Gels

Disclaimer:  Science in Sport sent me a lot of gels (72 of them to be exact) in exchange for this review as part of the BibRave Pro Ambassador program of  Search and submit your own race reviews at
It has been two months since I last posted here and though it was a welcome break, I am also happy to be back and give an update on SEVEN weeks of marathon training as well as tell you about Science in Sport gels.

I made the decision to try something new with training for my two priority races this fall and so after four marathon training cycles using Hansons Marathon Method training plan, I am using a custom plan made for me by my friend and long time running "advisor".  I was getting bored with HMM and wanted a change for the sole reason that if I am going to dedicate so much time to marathon training, I didn't want it to be boring.

I am seven weeks into my custom plan and wowsa.  It has not been boring.  It is fairly high mileage - I already covered 200+ miles in the first month of training which is a benchmark that I usually wouldn't hit until the end of a HMM cycle.  Three of the seven weeks were 65 mile weeks, although I only actually hit 65 miles this past week due to a somewhat crazy work schedule and an insomnia flare-up (100% because of the aforementioned crazy work schedule).  I have been doing longer long runs (my long run this past weekend was already 18 miles), and my long runs now vary between being all easy paced or mixing easy miles with tempo miles.  Instead of track repeats, I'm doing fartleks of varying time amounts and my tempo runs to date have been a block at my "current" marathon pace (6:50s) and a block at my hopeful marathon pace (<6:40) with strides and hill repeats thrown in.  It has been challenging, I'm not going to lie.

I also am trying new nutrition with this cycle.  This decision was fueled (pun intended) by a feeling that one reason I seem stuck around the 3 hour mark is due to nutrition and while in past training cycles I have used nutrition on my training runs, I had not been very diligent in its use.  Also, with HMM the longest long run is 16 miles.  All of my fueling issues in races have been after that point so with some longer long runs, I am excited to practice fueling after 16 miles.

So when the opportunity came up to test out the Science in Sport gels through BibRave Pro, I ran after it.

Science in Sport sent me a LOT of gels:

1 six pack of salted strawberry Go Energy + Electrolyte gels
1 six pack of Lemon Mint Go Energy + Electrolyte gels
30 espresso flavored Go Energy + Caffeine gels
30 apple flavored Go Isotonic Energy gels

The product I was most excited about was the Go Isotonic gels because these are specially formulated to not require water when you take them.  These have been a mainstay of my long runs and I have not had any cramping or GI issues when taking them without water.  I have been using one of these gels every 5 miles of my long run.  I was uncertain about "apple" flavor as my go-to flavor is always in the citrus family, but these are a nice light flavor and I like them.

With gels, the most asked question is always about consistency.  I have found all of the Science in Sport gels to be the same - they have a bit of a gloppy Jell-O consistency to them.  So they aren't super thick like a syrup.  To me, the gloppiness helps them not stick to any part of my mouth.

While I have been mainly using the apple Isotonic gels and the espresso caffeine gels, I have tested out the lemon mint and strawberry gels and have also liked them, and also didn't take them with water, without issue.  I will say that I have had fluids with me on every long run, and while I don't focus on taking them with the gels, it is not as if I am fluid free on long runs.

I have been using the caffeine gels right before my workouts and since I am trying to do more 5 AM runs with the hot weather we have been having, these also help wake me up a bit.  The espresso flavor is pretty strong, but being a coffee-lover, I don't mind it.

Overall, I am going to continue using Science in Sport gels throughout my training and so far, my plan is to race both the Madison Mini Half Marathon in August and the Chicago Marathon in October with them.  I have been feeling really really good on my long runs, and even with hard workouts during the week so I have to think these gels are doing something positive for me!  (If you follow me on Instagram, I have been posting my weekly long run fuel strategy on my Instagram Stories!)

You can use TRYSIS25 for 25% off your order online if you would like to try them.  They have some nice variety packs that would be a good way to try a few flavors and product types.  Let me know if you try them!