Category Archives: Races

To Marathon or Not To Marathon

Who followed the Chicago Marathon on Sunday? I didn’t watch the whole thing, but we caught parts of it on TV and followed my cousin’s husband on the Marathon app. We had the BEST time at the Chicago Marathon last year and the whole family was sad not to be there this year. Especially since the weather was perfect fall running weather again. Maybe next year.

Early morning pre-Chicago marathon spectating walk. Loved the energy in the air.
Early morning pre-Chicago marathon spectating walk. Loved the energy in the air.

Maybe next year…I run it? I’ve always said I would never run a marathon. Before I was running focused, I’ve always been health focused and, frankly, I don’t think running marathons is very good for your body or good for your overall health.* Plus, while I enjoy 14 mile training runs for the half marathon, I don’t know that I’d enjoy running an extra 8 miles for my long run. I’m also quite certain my feet would not love it. Buuuut, cheering Bill and my cousin’s husband (can I just say cousin-in-law?) last year with the whole family was so fun, and it looked so beautiful (and flat!), and I’ve kind of come around on the marathon running community (just fyi, you are STILL a runner even if you don’t run marathons:)…plus it’s my hometown….Maybe next year. Maybe someday.

See you someday. Maybe.
See you someday. Maybe.

In the meantime I’m training for one of my favorite races, the OUC (Orlando Utilities Commission) Half Marathon which is in early December. I love the race because it is local, and I have run almost every part of the race course during my typical weekly runs. Familiarity is good. I also love that it starts near Bill’s office so real bathrooms. Yes!!! It’s also such a great time of year. It’s usually a little cooler and so pretty outside. This is a big race for Orlando, and Track Shack (the race organizer) has a great post race event around Lake Eola. The only downside of the race: brick roads. Not my favorite, especially around miles 8 and 9.

Bill has been transitioning my workouts with an eye towards the upcoming half marathon. My tempo runs are now four miles at a slightly slower pace than my typical three mile workouts. He also had me do a new-to-me workout last week at the track. I knew I was either going to love it or hate it…I ended up really liking it! I did 16 x 400, alternating 5k pace (6:56ish) and marathon pace (7:53ish). My 5k splits were all between 6:43 and 6:55 and my marathon splits were all between 7:50-7:59. It was a tough workout because I never felt like I could fully recover from the faster lap, but it was great for honing in on different paces and learning to recover without settling in to an easy pace. I’d definitely recommend it! I initially thought that 16 laps sounded like torture, but they flew by.

Just one more. I love this city!
Just one more. I love this city!

Completely unrelated: I’m still in love with my new cookbook, Run Fast Eat Slow. Since my last post, I made the Moroccan Lentil Salad with Couscous, Swiss Muesli Bowl, Wild West Rice Salad, Noodle Salad with Runner’s High Peanut Sauce, and Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos (confirmed that they are every bit as delicious after being frozen and reheated). I liked every recipe I have made from this book, but my absolute favorite is the Moroccan Salad. The different textures combined with the cinnamon, turmeric and cumin spice mix = absolutely addicting. I ate it straight out of the bowl for five days straight. I love that this cookbook is all about real food that is really good for real appetites.

Noodle Salad with Runner's High Peanut Sauce
Noodle Salad with Runner’s High Peanut Sauce with a side of marinated and baked tempeh
Moroccan Lentil Salad with Couscous
Moroccan Lentil Salad with Couscous

What are your thoughts on the marathon? 

Favorite genre of food? 

* A quick internet search led me to  this , this, and this. I’m not saying marathons are the worst thing for your health, but articles, posts and research studies make me at least question whether marathon training and running is good for your overall heath.

Trying to Run Fast and Eat Slow

The goodness that came in the mail today:

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I’ve already made and tried the Superhero Muffins (delicious!), and the Banana Spelt Bread is cooling and ready for breakfast tomorrow.  I’ve wanted this cookbook since before it was released this summer, but made myself wait until my birthday to get it. I highly recommend Run Fast Eat Slow if you like good food that also happens to be healthy and nourishing. There is a good mix of drinks (smoothies, tea lattes, etc.), snacks, salads and light meals, main entrees, and treats. And that’s not all! I sound like an infomercial. Seriously though, every recipe looks awesome.

On the workout front, I’ve been keeping up with my normal running routine, although I’ve subbed in a track workout every other week in place of my tempo run. I think it’s super important to have one faster or challenging workout per week.  Although I take some time off a couple times of year from all speed work (usually after my December half marathon and after the end of the local racing season), for most of the year I include a tempo run in my weekly schedule. My 5k times have improved with just a weekly tempo run, and I think tempo workouts have an even greater impact on longer races – the 5 mile, 10k and half marathon.

During and just before my racing season, I will substitute a track workout for a tempo run every other week. I like doing 5k paced track workouts because my coach makes makes me do them they help me to lock in my pace during a 5k race, give me confidence that I can run fast, and also help me to get faster. However, as Bill likes to say, “the track giveth and the track taketh away.” My body (especially my feet) take a beating from the combination of regular track workouts and races. So I try to limit my time on the track to key times during the year.

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“The track giveth and the track taketh away.”

Racing! Although I missed the first race in the local series this year (we were in Chicago in August), I was able to run the September race which was the Rock N Run 5k in Casselberry. I’ve always liked this race, mostly because there are no brick streets. I ran a 21:37 (6:57 pace) which I was very happy with. Four seconds faster than last year’s race, and my new PR for chipped races. I am also now fairly convinced that I did not run a 21:29 at the July race, as I used the mile marker clocks during the Rock N Run to estimate the distance I ran before I started my watch at the July race. I’m pretty sure it was a bit longer than the two seconds I previously estimated. Obsess much?

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The splits for miles 1-3 are  actually slightly faster than each of those splits during the July race. That’s something!

My last bit of workout news is that I’m back on the strengthening train again. Twice a week for the past month. For real. I’ve started doing the workouts at the gym instead of at home and it’s made a big difference for me in terms of convenience, liking it more, and making it a more challenging workout. There is a lot more space, and all of the equipment I need is there – a better variety of weights for different exercises, a step to elevate my legs for some of the abdominal work and an exercise ball that is not half deflated (or my kids’ hopping ball with a handle on the top of it, also half deflated). The best part is, I discovered that I actually kind of like going to the gym. So that’s been kind of fun to discover. Oh, and I’m getting stronger. My planks have gotten longer and my single leg squats are so much easier than they used to be. I need to figure out how to go lower without hurting my knees or add some weights next time. Progress! I guess some consistency in strength training actually makes you stronger. Weird.

Ok, that’s enough for now. Bill’s sofrito chicken and arroz con gandules have been simmering for the last 90 minutes and everything smells so good. I can’t wait to scrape the overcooked rice from the bottom of the pot. Does anyone else do that? It’s the best part!

Which do you prefer, track workouts or tempo workouts?

Favorite strengthening exercise?

Favorite cookbook or recipe source?

A new PR!

Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July tie for my favorite holidays. They come with all of the positives and none of the obligations of other holidays. Thanksgiving is simply food, family and friends, and relaxation. The Fourth is all about summer fun, BBQs, celebrating, and generally being happy to be an American. There are no presents to be bought, events you are *supposed* to take the kids to, lines you have to wait in, eggs to hide, Valentines to make, etc., etc. I’m truly a lazy person at heart.

So the Fourth! For the past few years we have been in Chicago for the holiday, but this year we were home. I missed seeing my parents and cousins, but it was fun being home and hanging out with my sister and our good friends.

Saturday and Sunday were all about relaxation and fabulous lunch eats at the Foodies’ house. Smoked chicken, lima bean salad (changed my opinion on lima beans), homemade cornbread, watermelon, margaritas with fresh lime juice and Mrs. Foodie’s ah-maz-ing cookies. The best I’ve ever had. All of the girls had a blast outside in the pool and on the trampoline. These little gymnasts are too cute.

On Monday, I was up bright and early for the Watermelon 5k in Winter Park. A big thank you to Track Shack for my bib! As always, Track Shack put on a well organized and fun race.

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How cute are these bibs?

I planned to put forth a full effort, but I wasn’t expecting much given the brutal humidity and not having been on the track since March. I looked at my watch shortly after the race started and saw that I was running a 6:40 pace. I felt okay, but knew I couldn’t keep that pace up. I figured I’d just go with what felt good and if I crashed and burned at mile 2 or 3 – no big deal. This was just a fun race, after all – who cares? Which then got me thinking about why it was a “fun” race – because there was no chip time? Because there were no awards? Because there was no official record of your running time? All things I’ll be pondering over the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, by the time I got to mile 3 I was done. I spent the first half of that mile wondering if I should just phone it in or keep going as best I could, even though I knew I had slowed down. I saw a couple of friends during the third mile which distracted me from the discomfort. Right around mile 2.6 I saw a friend and fellow runner who cheered me on and gave me the push I needed to pick it up a notch and finish the last half mile. (Only two laps around the track – that’s nothing! The things we tell ourselves.) If you’ve ever doubted how much of an impact you make cheering for runners during a race- don’t. People who take the time to be out there and cheer on racers are THE BEST and they get me through every time.

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Rounding the corner and seeing the finish line = glorious.

Part of my third mile was slower than seven minutes but I was able to pick it up during the last portion of it and for the last .1 stretch:

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I was shocked when I got to the finish and saw that I was going to beat my best 5k time. I was so happy and proud of myself!

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Despite the time and full 3.1 plus distance on my watch, I’m calling my time 21:29 because I think I might have started my watch a second or two late. I typically press the start button when I cross over the starting mat, but because it was not a chipped race there was no starting mat which threw me off a little bit. Plus, my watch lost the signal during the national anthem (which gave me goosebumps, I might add) and I may have hit the button right after I passed the starting flag. Only runners would obsess about that second and potentially imperfect data.

Still, even a 21:29 is 12 seconds faster than my pervious PR from last September. When I started racing three years ago, I never thought I’d run much faster than an 8 minute per mile pace, especially for more than one mile. It’s crazy what a little work, some early mornings and great coaching (thanks, Bill!) can do.

After the race I dripped around Central Park, caught up with some friends and saw my sister, nieces and brother-in-law (who pulled his hamstring during the race…ouch). I did a mile cool down run and then came home to get ready for a day of fun (after the cleaning and cooking).

I spent the rest of the holiday with a house full of little girls, one baby boy, friends and family. Perfection.

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This table is what holidays are all about.

We ended the night at Lake Eola watching the fireworks.

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Three got the best seat in the house for fireworks.

What a fantastic day!

What is your favorite holiday?

Anyone else race? 

 

Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve – The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I ran my first ever ten mile race on Sunday – the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington, DC. This race has been on my list since I started running a few years ago. Mostly because I adore DC. I worked there for a summer in college and fell in love with the city. It’s hard for me to say it’s my numero uno, tip top, very favorite city because I’m from Chicago, which is also an amazing city, but it might be (shhh..don’t tell my family).

In the weeks leading up to the race, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to race it or run it for fun. Our local racing season is August through March, so by the last 10k in March, I’m usually kind of over racing, and my feet and calves were certainly over it. Although I’d run a few small short races in my hometown, I hadn’t ever run a large longer distance destination race. So I didn’t know what to expect on that front.

In the end, I decided to race it and was hoping to run it in the mid/high 1:16s to 1:17 which was consistent with my past few races and fitness level. And then I saw it was going to be 36 degrees at the start. With 20-30 mph winds and gusts of up to 50 mph. A 36 feels like 26 kind of thing. That threw me off a little bit, but I was committed. After surviving the awful flight to DC on Friday afternoon, I felt like I had a new lease on life and anything was possible!

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Pre race. I wish you could see more of my awesome sweater.

Bill and I woke up around 5:30 on Sunday morning, ate breakfast, got dressed and were out the door by about 6:10. We ran the 1.1 miles down to the race start and all was good until we stopped moving. Oh the wind. Oh the cold. I stayed extra long in the Porta-John just to be in a relatively warm and sheltered area. And that says a lot if you know anything about me. The good news is that Bill gave me a horrid throwaway sweater to wear until the race start so at least I had an extra layer on. I shed that at about 7:20 and stepped into what I thought was my corral. Spoiler alert. It was not my corral.

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So pretty. But seriously, look at those flags. It was windy!!

 

The race directors decided to not use any signage during the race due to the high winds. That was a safe decision but it made for a confusing start. It was unclear where my corral was, and I just stopped walking and cut through the gate when I saw some other red bibs in a corral.

Once the race started, my shivering decreased but my frustration went through the roof. At first I couldn’t understand why everyone around me was moving so slowly, but I quickly figured out, while on the Memorial Bridge, that the red group was way up ahead of me. Ugh! I spent the first two miles weaving around runners, up on sidewalks, down on sidewalks, nearly clipping other runners’ shoes. I found out afterward that I passed 2,856 runners during the race. I love racing technology!

Anyway, I saw myself losing so much time right up front and it was really disappointing. I’d planned to start out at a 7:40 pace and barely managed to break an 8:10 pace for the first mile. However, I tried to get past it and kept pushing through. I ended up with some good splits as the race progressed. I think my legs liked the cold! My splits per my watch:

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Strong gusts of wind hit around mile 8.5 and then the last mile included a hill. Still, my average pace per my watch was 7:41 which I would have been okay with but, since that included an extra .15 miles of completely failing to run the tangents with all the weaving, my official pace was 7:47 and total time was 1:17:53.

On the positive side, I did take note of the gorgeous city during the race. The race course included parts of routes I ran while I lived in DC which was so cool. And so 17 years ago. Yikes!

The weather during the race, other than the blast at mile 8.5, was perfect. The miles clicked by and the race was over before I knew it. I really liked the ten mile race distance.

I also thought it was cool how once you get to the staging area, a race is a race is a race. A runner in DC is the same as a runner in Orlando. We are all dealing with the weather, our nerves and the Porta-John line as best we can.

And finally, I saw Hardcore both during the race and afterward! She happened to be in DC this weekend for an unrelated reason, but got a bib transfer the day before the race and ended up running it. In a race with over 15,000 people I thought there was no way I would see her, but I was so glad I did. It’s such a boost to see a friendly face during a race. By the way, she ROCKED this race. She has gotten faster at every race she has run this year.

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Hardcore and me. I can’t believe I ran into her a THIRD time later that afternoon.

I’d love to say that I let go of my disappointing time once the race was over, but I’d be lying. It nagged at me all day long. If only I’d been more patient and double checked the corral. If only I’d been able to start off at my pace right off the bat. If only I had a better sense of where I was supposed to start. And the fact that I otherwise felt good and ran a strong race just made it worse. It sounds so silly; I mean, I’m a 37 year old mom of three who started running three years ago. I do not get paid to do this. There are like five two people who read my blog who would even care to find out how I did. Whether I run sixty seconds faster or not doesn’t matter at all. Like really at all. And maybe I wouldn’t have run any faster even if the race started differently.

I still care and I was still disappointed in myself.

So let’s focus on Bill who won the Master’s Division and came in 43rd place overall! He’s had to take a few weeks off of training (still running, but a significant decrease in mileage and no speed work) so he wasn’t sure what to expect. He was debating whether to push through some 5:40s or just chill out with Meb’s 6:00 group. He ended up running a 5:27 average pace and finished the race with a total time of 54:26. How ridiculous is that?!? Such a great race on such minimal training and some pretty serious foot pain. He’s tough. I am so proud of him.

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Done!

Thanks for the miles, DC! I have a feeling we will be back again.

 

 

 

 

My second and last 10k?

A 10k race is hard. You go into a 5k knowing it’s going to hurt, and that stinks, but at least you know it’s going to be over in just a smidge over three miles. A half marathon is long, sure, but it’s not like you are running at full speed for 13 miles. Then there is the 10k. You can still run pretty fast, but you have to keep it up for double the time of your 5k (plus some). So while twenty twoish minutes of pain is manageable for me, forty sixish seemed like an eternity.

According to the VDOT calculator, you don’t get to slack off too much when moving from a 5k to a 10k. I estimated my current 5k time time to be around 22 minutes (a 7:00 pace). I plugged that into the calculator and found that my VDOT number is 44. Accordingly, I knew that I should be able to run a 10k in about 46:09. When I realized that that was about a 7:25 pace, I laughed. Jack Daniels is nuts! I had planned to go out at a 7:40 pace. After talking with my coach, aka my husband, who told me I could definitely (though maybe not easily) run a 7:25 pace for an hour, I decided I’d try to go out at a 7:30 pace and see how I felt.

How I felt was not good. But just simply knowing I WAS capable of maintaining that pace made be believe that I actually could. Even though it was really freaking hard. And the hills! Ok, maybe just one real hill, but it felt like hills. And where did it come from, anyway? Don’t we live in Florida?

My final time was 46:14 (I guess Jack Daniels isn’t nuts after all) with an average pace of 7:26. I was proud of myself for pushing it even though it felt hard and loooong, and also for maintaining a consistent pace which I haven’t done a good job of in the last two races. Per my Garmin, miles 1-6 were all between 7:20-7:26, and the final .28 was a 6:50 pace (my Garmin measured the race distance at 6.28 which brought my average pace down to 7:23 on my watch).

I saw Bill right after I crossed the finish line, and the first words out of my mouth were, “That was terrible and I’m never running a 10k again.”

Famous last words.

 

 

 

 

High Speed Quads, Low Speed Weekend

Hope your Valentine’s Day was everything you expected. Our kids slept in, we enjoyed a leisurely home cooked breakfast and spent some quality family time together. Just kidding. Two was up by 7 and on day two of some icky virus that sort of seems like a mild flu. Bill and I each separately made it out for a morning run so breakfast for the kiddos was cereal. In my defense it was heart cereal. So yeah, pretty much everything we expected.

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Three hopes you had a happy Valentine’s Day

Rewind to Friday night. #fridaynightpizzanight at Anthony’s as usual.

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Photobombed by Three

Big big night. We got our fill of pizza and headed home for an early night of Pinkalicious reading, Nat Geo watching, watch charging and playlist perfecting. We really do lead very exciting lives.

We were up bright and early for Track Shack’s Run 4 Love race on Saturday morning. This was one of the races in the Track Shack series. It was previously a 5k, but was changed this year to a four mile race. Kind of bummer because, while not the most exciting course, it’s a great PR course. It has always been a flat course on all asphalt roads (brick roads are so prevalent in Winter Park and downtown Orlando it’s rare to have a race without them) except for the very end of the race which finishes on a track. I think that running on a track automatically makes you run faster. So fun to finish a race on one!

As always, Track Shack put on a well-organized, well-sponsored, fun race. We typically partake in all of the post-race festivities and stay through the awards ceremony, but we had to run out on Saturday because One and Two both had somewhere (different) to be by 9:30. These crazy kids and their schedules.

Our friends, team Robb-ery, stayed for the awards and sent us the results of the Sole Mate Challenge. The High Speed Quads managed to slide into third.

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I don’t use the term “weak link” often but…

Valentine’s Day got off to a slow start, but One and I spent part of the afternoon breaking in her softball mitt and wandering around the Lake Eola Farmer’s Market. I purposely left my phone at home yesterday afternoon so I could enjoy some undistracted time with One, but I wish I’d taken some pictures of the farmer’s market. Even though we live only a mile from Lake Eola, I typically go to the Winter Park Farmer’s Market on Saturday because they have the best kettle corn in the world (so salty, not overly sweet, huge kernels). Apparently they sell other things there too. But priorities. Anyway, I didn’t make it to Winter Park on Saturday, and was having a fierce craving for kettle corn, so we picked up a second tier bag downtown on Sunday. Wow, the Lake Eola market has really taken off in the past few years with tons of local food and locally grown produce. We’ll be back.

This random post is almost over, don’t worry. I just had to add that Bill finished the bookshelf for One’s room. We moved it in yesterday. Doesn’t it look awesome?

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We will have to sacrifice some furniture in her room to make space for this bookshelf, but totally worth it. This will be filled up in no time. We cannot keep up with our little bookworm and all of her books. 

Bill’s first project was making a table for the Big Green Egg (which he finished staining yesterday – pictures to come soon). This was his second piece of furniture ever. I’m impressed. He uses big saws and real tools and stuff. Quite the woodworker. I’m so proud of him!

Anyone else run a race this weekend?

What was the best thing you did this weekend?

 

Waterbug and other bugs

First race of the new year is done and done. Here is my succinct (I tried!) review.

Race: Florida Hospital Lady Track Shack 5k

Race location: Lock Haven Park

New course was: bricky. Many people really disliked all of the turns but, for reasons discussed later in this post having to do with my stride length, I didn’t really notice them.

Porta potties were: plentiful.

My day was: Good! I ran a weird race for me, as I’m normally able to lock into a pace pretty well or have negative splits (which means each mile is a little faster). However, because this was a women’s only race, there weren’t as many people around to pace me. I ran the first mile at a 7:01 pace (per my Garmin). By mile 2, there weren’t many runners around me (there were plenty of others ahead of me, I just couldn’t see them) which made it harder for me to maintain my pace. I cruised on through with a 7:12 minute mile. My pace for mile 3 was 6:52, and the last bit of the race was a 6:27 pace. That last 1.1 mile hurt. I ended up at 21:56 which was good enough for 16th place overall and 3rd in my age group.

The very best part of my day was: seeing Bill and the girls cheering for me right at the end of mile 3. They may have been the only reason I was able to finish strong. This is the first time the girls have seen me race, and I was not expecting them to be there on this cold early morning. It made my day and gave me such a boost!

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Silly faces and sleepyheads. 

The funniest part of the day was: Bill telling me that, from a distance, I looked like a waterbug (waterbug?) running the last .2 kilometers to finish the race. I was hoping for something more graceful or even fierce but, no, a waterbug. He later tried to explain that the term has been used to describe short muscular football players who can move quickly and close to the ground. Hmmm….I’d rather be soaring. But I am a textbook mesomorph who will never have long legs with a big stride who can make running fast look graceful and easy. I’ll be powering my way through every damn time with my itty bitty stride length. The struggle is real, folks.

Moving on to kids and cool places, I (quite coincidentally) took Three to see the Big Bugs exhibit at Leu Gardens a few days after the race. It was so cool! It’s hard for my uncreative self to imagine creating the huge display bugs.

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This was my favorite.

We had a great time. The weather was gorgeous and the gardens were beautiful and not crowded at all. The garden is a manageable size – there was plenty of space and wide open paths for Three to run around, but I never felt like we were more than a ten minute walk to our car. I ended up buying a Family Membership because I definitely want to take One and Two back to see the bugs. There are many other interesting events throughout the year that I would like to check out as well. The membership was inexpensive and allows us to also visit other gardens across the country free of charge. I’m looking forward to checking out some new places and spaces this year. What about you?

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Chillin’

Any gardens in your area that you love to visit?

Are there any new places you want to check out this year? 

 

 

Hitting the reset button

Some heavy early morning rain this week forced me to move one of my runs inside. First, ugh, but second, I had a tempo run on the schedule, so not only did I have to run on the treadmill, I had to run kind of fast. It felt way faster than it actually was.

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One mile warm up, 20 minutes at tempo pace (7:24 on 1% incline), cool down until I hit five miles.

Luckily, I was rewarded later in the week with this view:

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I love the morning sky in January. And every month after that.

The brutal treadmill tempo run got me thinking about my race goals for the new year. I’ve been meandering amongst new running goals since my last race in December. I started out 2015 with a resolution to work on my speed training. I set attainable training goals and was able to stick to my plan of running a speed workout (on the track) every other week with a tempo run on the alternating weeks. My goal was to break a 22 minute 5k, which I had to keep in mind every single time I thought about getting out on that track. But I kept at it, and ran 21:52 (7:02 pace) in August at the first race in the 2015-2016 Track Shack race series.

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I’m not a medal person, and all of mine are typically thrown out almost immediately after I get home, but this one was pretty cool. Oh, and hello sweet Ravennas. Thank you for keeping my feet healthy and speedy.

I honestly was not sure I’d ever break 22 minutes, but achieving that goal gave me the confidence I needed to immediately set another 5k goal which was to run a race with my average pace at 6:59 minutes per mile or better. Again, me? Run over three miles at a pace that starts with a 6? I NEVER would have thought I could have done this three years ago. Or two, or even one year ago. But I hit my goal at the very next 5k in September. At the Rock n Run 5k I ran a 21:41 (6:58 pace), a PR for me.

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Basking in that PR glow, or perhaps some dangerous UV rays.

After that my focus turned to distance running and running a 1:45 at the OUC Half Marathon in December. I didn’t change much about my training other than slowly extending my long runs from 9 miles to 13, and extending my tempo runs to four slightly slower miles from the three I had been running up until October. Overall, my training runs felt purposeful and pretty enjoyable. My body was more accustomed to longer runs than it was the year before, and I was able to train without injury or incident. On December 5, I ran the OUC Half in 1:42:29 (a 7:49 pace). Once again, I loved everything about that race and was so proud of my time.

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Bill and me post OUC.

And then December and January.

It’s not that I was sick of running or that I didn’t run consistently but, without a specific goal in mind, I just ran. Not particularly fast and not on the track. I threw in a couple of tempo runs here and there and got out on the track one time but, for the most part, I enjoyed some easy distance recovery runs, lots of yoga and some swimming. And skiing! And that was great. I love giving my body a chance to physically recover from structured and intense (for me) training, and giving my brain a break from thinking /worrying about running certain paces and being so goal oriented.

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December running under the Christmas lights on Park Ave in Winter Park is the best.
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Easy running in the city.

Which now brings me to the day before a race. Part of me is dreading the (5k) run tomorrow. I’m not in racing shape. I know it’s going to hurt. I know it’s going to be a wake-up call. But, that’s ok (I’m telling myself). The first race of a new season, or after some time off, is like a reset button and that’s kind of exciting. What kind of shape am I in? How should I tailor my workouts to reflect that, what are my new goals and what do I need to do to reach them?

So…here’s to hitting the reset button tomorrow and thinking about new goals this season.

PS: I feel like a rebel not setting my goals on January 1, and I kind of like it.

What are your running (or other) goals this year?