Saturday, June 30, 2012

I can fly!

I spent $30 bucks on this image - it's going everywhere.  That's me (duh) at the race this past Sunday.  Pros - both feet off the ground, which is good to see.  Not too much waist fat showing.  Pretty cool angle on the legs.  Arms look muscle-y.  Cons - I think I'm held up by the combo high arms/clenched fist action.  Need to work on that.

I started marathon training this past Monday. The first day was six miles - and it was hard.  What - I can't PR and then bounce right back?  Inconceivable!  After that first run, however, I have to say all the rest were super great.  The one that I had the most nervousness about was on Tuesday - 5 miles easy + 5 miles moderate = 10 miles total.  I've done 10+ miles multiple times but for some reason this was overblown in my mind.  Happily I really got into it and ended up with a great run - followed by a series of great runs all the way through this morning.  I'm feeling extremely confident about this training schedule - but talk to me in 19 weeks when I'm approaching the race!

I also am going to be finishing a running streak on July 4 - the Runner's World streak.  I am totally looking forward to it - I think I need a rest!  

Today's run was 4 miles - breaking in  new shoes!  Well, relatively new; they were a pair of orange Ravenna 2s that I got several months ago when I saw they were releasing a new model.  Wearing them really made me realize how beat down my three pairs I run in (Asics 2160, 2150, and Ravenna 2s) are.  They are all in the 250-300 mile range.

I want to get another new pair of running shoes, and right now I am drooling over the Mizuno Wave Elixir since I saw someone wearing them at the 10K.  I'm also thinking of the Inspires as a more day to day shoe.  I might get both.  I'm worth it!  Plus saving my knees is worth it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I ran it right (BAA 10K)

I ran the BAA 10K today and PR'd.  No surprise on the PR, my prior PR was extremely soft.  I had never run a 10K without walking some sections.  I knew I would PR when my easy training runs were faster than that PR.  That's not the important part of the story.

My mind going in to this race was less on a specific time and more on running more evenly paced then the Run to Remember half.  I wanted to learn from that experience.  I also wanted to run a negative split.   My 2012 goal of sub-60 would be icing on the cake.  I didn't focus too much on that because I wasn't sure what kind of heat we would have.

Got up at 5:30 AM, bageled up, got dressed.  Purple Nike tank top, purple running bra, purple/lavendar Lululemon marathon running skirt.  Sense a theme?  I didn't even mention the purple running socks!

Drove to Porter Square, took advantage of the free parking, jumped on the T.  Got down to Park Street/Boston Common and wandered around a bit.  I had run the inaugural 10K last year and I didn't see a whole lot this year that was drastically different.  I picked up my t-shirt and checked it; I don't know what the deal is but the neckline is very small.  I don't have a large head but I struggled to get it on.  Weird.

I immediately went over to the port-a-potties - yay getting there early, short lines!  Afterwards I wandered over to look at the starting area.  The one thing that really changed this year was that they did wave starts.  What was funny to me was wave 3 - which was entirely the 9-9:59 pace.  I guess they assumed that this would be a large set of people?

Did some stretching, bathroom break, lined up.  Lots of talking people around me blocked out most of the race announcements which I think did me a lot of good; I didn't want to know the exact heat because I think it would have psyched me out.

Started running.  I had decided that I needed to run as I trained (duh!).  I am slow at the start and will eventually speed up without noticing it.

Mile 1 - 10:03.  Not too fast but definitely not a slow run pace.  Felt comfortable and relaxed.  Wasn't feeling too crowded even with a good amount of people around me.

Mile 2 - 9:34.  Faster but not too much faster. I hadn't conciously turned up the speed, same comfort level.

Mile 3 - 9:24 - Grabbed water; had to pause to grab the water and even managed to splash some on the volunteer.  Practiced the grab, squeeze cup, drink,  run move.

Mile 4 - 9:16 - Accidentally grabbed gatorade instead of water.  Good thing I don't react badly to Gatorade.  Also good thing I didn't pour it on me to cool off.

Mile 5 - 9:27 - Definitely getting tired here.

Mile 6 - 9:26

Mile .28 - 8:48.  I was tired but found enough in me to sprint to the finish.

Final official time - 59:26

Crossed the finish line exhausted. I was a little out of it for about a 1 minute or so, but felt okay by the time I got to the volunteers to grab my medal.

Other points:

* I had to avoid trying to tell the story to myself before the race was over.  I didn't want to psych myself out at the beginning.

* I feel ridiculous sometimes because right before the race all forms of "luck", good or bad, become portents for the race.  Found a penny?  Good race!  Good number (which I did have this time - the first number was the sum of the other two which I love)?  Good race!  Person next to me drops iPod?  Even though it has nothing to do with me?  Bad race!  Luckily I kept my mind clear and didn't let myself obsess over the randomness.

* It was interesting to come up on a hill around mile 2.5 - 3 and see this mass of people ahead at the 5K/turnaround point.

* I was particularly proud of how I handled the hills.  I had heard something on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me a few months ago about a study of runners that found that it was better to run by the same effort going up a hill as on the flat vs. running to keep to a specific pace and have a harder effort.  The study found that recovery from the harder effort was worse on racing time than picking up time post slight slowdown on a hill.  I kept that in mind and consciously moderated myself on the hills and I think that really made a difference.

* There were a good amount of people not running the race that were trying to cross the roads.  A couple people cut across in front of me but luckily not close enough to cause me to pull up.  The funniest was a pair of probable college guys that were running next to me around mile 3.5.  I was a bit bummed that they were running in flip-flops and carrying a grocery bag/drinking a beer but running a bit faster than me.  I passed them, however, so go me!

I think this was honestly one of my best races.  Not because of the time (which was nice) but because I felt good running it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


It's a rainy day out.  I'm enjoying it because it gives me the excuse to be lazy.  Of course I need no excuse to be lazy...

The BAA 10K is tomorrow.  Temp at start predicted as 69.  I'll see what I can do with that.

I mentioned my goals in the prior post.  I also want add enjoying the run as a goal.  I definitely think I will because strangely enough my 6 mile runs in training are usually my favorites.  We'll see how well that translates.

Racing prep today - laying out my outfit (most likely in purple because that's my thing).  Polish nails.  That's about it!

I'm definitely looking forward to this race. It's not a race I specifically trained for but it's one where I will enjoy seeing how far I've progressed in the 7 months since I last ran one.

I do feel like I've grown in my running comfort massively in the last few months.  The training program I did twice for my last two halfs has really brought me to a great point.  

Can't wait to race!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Don't Have Much To Say

So I'm sick of having my "pee-5K" as my top post.  It's been a few weeks and I've been able to move on from that.  I will say that in telling my brother about the race he didn't stop laughing for literally 10 minutes.  He also suggested I talk to his 3 year old, as she is learning to potty train and could give me some suggestions.  Ha ha.

I'm over halfway to my 2012 goal of 1500 miles; at 790 as of today due to a lovely 11 mile run before work.  It's become a habit to swap my long runs from Sunday to Monday.  Way I figure is I have to get up on Monday anyway, so why not have two lounge-in-bed days on the weekend?  Of course since I'm a respectable working person, my inner clock has my "lounge-in-bed" time up to 8 AM.  Weak.  I have a cousin who will literally sleep from midnight to noon if you let her.  Have to get tips from her.

My next race is this coming Sunday - the BAA 10K (race two of three for the distance medley).  Not sure how I'm feeling about this race.  I've hit two of my three race distance/time goals (see right sidebar).  I haven't run a 10K in over a year so I expect to PR, but deep down I'm not sure this race will be the one where I break 60 minutes. I think I have it in me to do so, based on current race times and training runs. Partially I'm remembering the crowd at the 5K and wondering if it will be the same (although this race is only on its second year and is not as popular a distance as the 5K).  Maybe I'm still overthinking how I raced the Run to Remember.  Although my 5K is more recent (and successful) a 10K is not a grab on and hold race, there's some strategy involved.

At the end of the day all I can do is get out there and race.  I have goals of PRing (pretty much a definite), sub-60 (maybe...), and negative splitting.  The last is a goal that I think is fairly important as I want to learn how to hold back at the beginning but also have the mental fortitude to pick it up at the end.  I love that I've done several long runs (10-14) where I had to pick it up in the last 1-2 miles; it really does let me know that I have it in me to pick it up when needed.

I am looking forward to this race, but also looking beyond it - as the next day is my first day of marathon training!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

No, that's not sweat...(Tory Row 5K RR)

I PR'd today in the 5K.  I hit my goal of 27:xx (at least by my Garmin) with a 27:38.  I also peed myself.

The race was at Harvard Square starting at 9 am.  I was very glad today was cooler than it was a week or two ago, as that's a little late to start a summer race.  It was also gray and drizzly at the start so I was chilly in my tank and shorts.

I tried something new for this race - running a mile to warmup before the start.  I wish I could say that it had a positive impact on my performance but I don't think it did. I don't think it had a negative impact, just neutral.  A full mile might be a little much for me on the mental side - getting myself too hyped up before the actual race.

I got to the race which had a good amount of people - probably 2-300.  My garmin was ready, my iPod was not.  I was trying to get to a playlist for my prior 5K but everything was so wet that the circle thing wasn't working.  Finally got it set just as we were about to start.

The start was the standard - air horn goes off, people start walking as everybody gets jammed crossing the start.  I kick myself out and go all out - Mile 1: 8:44.  Things seem to be going okay, course is relatively flat.

Then the hills come.  There were three hills to climb in the course and I swear to God that even though we were on a loop course it never felt like we got to go down any hills - not fair!  I pushed myself up those hills best I could although I definitely admit I felt my motivation lagging a bit when I faced the third hill.

Ran past the water stop, and shortly after that I started to feel like I needed to pee.  Still about a mile and a half to go, I thought I could maybe make it.  Nope.  Immediately after I started feeling it and even thought about stopping to borrow a bathroom (we were in a residential area), the pee started.  And this wasn't a trickle - it was a flow.  I have no idea how the people around me reacted.  I just kept going.

Mile 2: 9:05.  A little tough mentally (especially in the second half with thoroughly wet shorts).

I could see that I was on track for a PR.  I wanted it, wanted to prove to myself I could do it.  I didn't have the drive to really pick it up but I did think I could hold on for the next 1.1 miles.  There was a tall guy next to me that I tried to hold on to and pass but didn't, but it was definitely a good motivating factor.

Mile 3: 8:47.   Just a little more, if I could hold on, I would PR.  I picked it up just a little, and that last .1 was 8:13.  Not a full sprint, but pretty nice.

I crossed the finish line and unlaced the chip on my shoe.  I had made the mistake of lacing it too high on my shoe and the edge cut into the top of my ankle.  I didn't hang around for my banana or free beer and just started walking back to where my car was. Thank goodness I had parked at my gym; I borrowed a towel to put underneath me when I got home.

How do I feel with this PR?  Good...I guess?  I don't know, maybe the focus on the pee part has got me a little out of it.  I will say that I pushed myself hard on this.  I crossed the finish line with very little left in the tank.  This one felt almost miraculous to pull out, which makes me think too hard about what my next 5K will be.  Will I succeed as well?  Given the conditions for this one, I think I will.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Yeah, I'll remember that one (Run to Remember RR)

So, I ran the Run to Remember. The short version is - I definitely did not hit my goal.  I basically blew up - went too fast at the start, ended up with last mile as the slowest mile, and although it might have looked  like I was okay when I crossed the finish line, inside my mind I wasn't.  But - I think that I have some good lessons that came out of this race.

First lesson - Run like I trained.  I started out with a slower mile than my goal, which I expected - 10:24.  Next mile - 9:15.  Danger, danger!  What was happening in my mind was I saw that first mile and my brain went stupid and said "Ohmigod - that's too slow.  SPEED UP SPEED UP".  What I really should have reminded myself of was those training runs where I naturally started out slowly and then GRADUALLY sped up.  I also had multiple 10-14 mile runs where I practiced pushing those last 1-2 miles, so I know that I can pick up a lot at the end.  All that flew out of my brain in the midst of this frantic need to be FAST FAST FAST way too early in the race.

Second lesson - Adjust to race conditions.  I mentioned in my last post that the summer heat was starting to come on.  I had been running in those conditions for the past couple days.  I wasn't fully adjusted, I believe.  It's a few days later and I feel more comfortable to push the pace, but that day?  Wasn't there.  It especially ties in with the above - I need to remember that even though I'm not feeling the heat yet, it will heat up as I get further into the race.  Slow it down now so that I'm not as uncomfortable later in the race.  Plus - take the water.  I took more than I'm used to and was okay, but I think that skipping the first couple water stops was a bad idea.  I've also pretty good now at running through the stops and doing the top squeeze, drink, toss, so no time loss.

Third lesson - Plan for the race, not just the goal.  For shorter races like 5Ks it's easier to grab a pace and just try to hold on.  Not effective for 10 miles, half marathons, marathon. Those longer races I need to get my mind to a place where I have different comfort levels at different points in the race; easier at the beginning to get adjusted, pick up the pace mid-race, all out (as much as possible) at the end.   I need to learn this lesson now, before I crash and burn in my first marathon.

I will say that even though I'm not happy with my result (2:20:42), I still enjoyed the race.  It was a good size race - ~8,000 people - but I didn't feel exceedingly crowded, although there was never a time where I was alone on the course.  I did like the course because it really made me realize how close areas in Boston are to each other.  The course ran from World Trade Center down by Seaport all the way up to  Harvard square.  Along the way it ran past Government center area and a nice bit along the Charles river.  The finisher medal was fun, the t-shirt although not a tech shirt is fairly nice if a bit boring.  Overall I came out of the experience wanting to run it again next year.

What's interesting about the whole experience is it really did make me see that I'm at a point where just crossing the line isn't a miracle and that every time I put effort in I will PR.  I have to race smart, and I really hope with my next half marathon (BAA in October) I will be ready to get the PR I am looking for.  I just have to pull this page back up the day before and remind myself what this race taught me.