Race Report – Cupid’s Chase 5K

‘Twas a beautiful February day!  A great day for a 5K.

This was Murray’s first year to host the nationwide event.  I always expect a fair amount of disorganization with an inaugural event, but that proved not to be the case with this race.

I got to the park yesterday morning with just enough time to pick up my race packet, get my bib on, stretch a little bit, and walk to the starting area.  I was glad for the good timing to minimize the waiting-around-in-the-cold time.  It was a pretty nippy 31 degrees with a cold wind.

The race was supposed to start at 9:00.  At 9:00 they called the runners to the start line, and then we stood there for 6 minutes through the “We’d like to thank…” speech.  At 9:06, they blew the air horn (a step up from the verbal “GO!” from my last race!) and we went!

It didn’t take me long to realize I had forgotten to do something.  I forgot to change the pace alerts on my Garmin.  I had it set to alert me at anything slower than an 11 min/mile or anything faster than a 9 min/mile.  Dangit.  I had to listen to 3.15 miles of Garmin telling me to slow down.  Ugh.  I’m sure my fellows racers loved me too.  But I wasn’t about to stop and fix it.

The first 0.75 miles or so were all out in the open, and the sun had fully melted all of the ice and snow that we’ve gotten over the past week.  Then we hit the tree-lined residential areas, and there were some pretty tricky spots to maneuver there.  I lost a few seconds side-stepping around and tip-toeing across some lingering ice patches.  It made it impossible to run the tangents in some places, leading to an extra 0.05 mile over the course.

Mile 1 – 8:42

I wasn’t sure what to expect with regard to the terrain of the course, but there were no real surprises.  Just some minor hills.  Mile 2 was the most difficult and felt like my slowest (which turned out not to be true).  The majority of it was a looooooong, gradual uphill.  There was one short, steep part but then it leveled off to a lower more manageable grade.  It was a good thing there were so many volunteers pointing us in the right directions.  We were turning here and there and I had no idea where we were anymore.  I was beginning to think they were taking us all snipe hunting.

Mile 2 – 8:59

We finally turned a corner and I saw familiar scenery.  The last part of the race was a retrace of the first part leading back into the park.  I was still feeling pretty strong, and it was really looking like I was going to hit my goal of 28:00. 

Mile 3 – 9:16  (I’m surprised by this.  I guess I was losing more steam than I thought.  I really felt like I picked it up some over mile 2.)

I kept pushing and in the last stretch I noticed that a girl that I had passed earlier in the race was trying to chick me!  Aw, hell naw!!!   It was a two-man race to the finish. I had no idea who crossed first, but I heard the guy at the finish line yell “Purple, blue!” to the girl taking the tags off our bibs. I was wearing the purple shirt, and she was wearing blue. I got her!  HA!  Garmin showed my fastest time during that last 0.15 to be 5:45.  Yeah.  I don’t run that fast.

Stupid me, I didn’t even look at the clock as I was crossing the line, and I forgot to stop my Garmin (AGAIN!) until after I’d gotten water and decided that my lungs were NOT going to come flying out of my nose.  I asked the girl that crossed with me if she noticed the time, and she said the last number she saw was 27:59.88.  I was thrilled that I got my 28:00.  I actually would have been happy with anything faster than my PR of 28:38 from last month, but I had my heart set on 28:00.
I was at the race by myself, and so was the girl that I finished neck-and-neck with, and we ended up hanging out and chatting.  After the last 5K finisher came in, they were holding a one-mile fun run, and we decided to bandit that too just to warm ourselves back up.  It was sunny and 40ish by that point, but it still felt chilly from being all sweaty with the wind blowing.
Then it was time for the awards ceremony.  I didn’t know if I had come anywhere near placing or not, but I was hoping.  Turns out they didn’t go three deep in the AG awards.  Instead they awarded overall female, overall male, and the top spot in each age group, and that was it.  The overall female winner also took first place in my age group.  I didn’t think most races did that?  I thought if you won overall, you didn’t get the AG award?
This has turned out to be a pretty key detail.  Why?  Because they posted the official results online, and I was SECOND IN MY AGE GROUP!  If the first-place girl had been taken out of the running since she was the overall female winner, that would have been ME taking that medal home!  Just my luck!  Oh, and the official results show a finish time for me of 28:00.95.  DOH!  That’s okay.  I’ll take a 28:01.  Still a 37-second PR.  I’ll get it next month!
Photo swiped from the Cupid’s Chase facebook page:

That’s me in the center, in the purple and black with bib #24.
Distance – 3.15
Time – 28:00.95
Pace – 8:54  (9:02 if you calculate using a distance of 5 kilometers instead of 3.15 miles)
AG placement – 2/12
Gender placement – 10/60
Overall placement 21/86

Race Report: Race on the Trace 5 Miler

Saturday morning I drove up to Natchez Trace State Park for the Race on the Trace 5-mile race.  It was a repeat from last year, so I knew the course was incredibly hilly.  It kinda put a hurtin’ on me last year, but I wanted to do it again for a few reasons.  1)  It’s cheap.  2)  It’s close to home (an hour away).  3)  I like to do repeat races occasionally just to see what kind of improvement I’ve made on a given course.

I wasn’t sure the race would even go down as scheduled.  We got some snow here a couple of days ago, but I emailed the race director and he had driven the course that day and gave it the green light.

I left my house in just enough time to get there, get parked, pee, stretch, and walk the half-mile to the start line in time for the 11:00 gun time.  Who am I kidding?  There was no gun.  But at 11:00 sharp, the dude yelled “GO!” and we went. 

It started off by going out a mile and then turning around and coming back.  I liked that because it gave me a chance to scope out who was in front of me.  I was watching for chicks that looked to be in the 30-34 age group.  It was kind of hard to tell since everyone was so bundled up (It was 27 degrees when I got out of my truck.), but I was pretty sure I saw two early-30s girls running together.  I was pretty certain at that point that I was in 3rd.  And I hung on to that position until right before the third mile marker.  It was then that a girl that looked to be about my age came from behind me and passed me.  She didn’t blow by me or anything, just kind of inched ahead.  I was okay with that right then.  I just told myself I’d hang with her and try to pass her later.  But she just kept creeping ahead a few inches at a time.  At about the four-mile mark there was a monstrous hill.  I was struggling up it, and that’s when I saw it.  She started walking!  I tried so hard to kick it in and pass her on the hill, but when I made it to within just a few feet of her she started running again.  DOH!  As much as I wanted to chick her in the final stretch, I just wasn’t able to do it.  She had me.  She crossed the line I would guess 15-20 seconds ahead of me.

When I crossed, they handed me my card with the #76 on it.  I put my info on it and turned it in and then went to change into some warm, dry clothes.  When I came back out I looked at the board, and card #75 was in the 3rd place spot for AG 30-34.

Dangit.  So close.

Garmin stats:

Mile 1 – 9:28
Mile 2 – 9:36
Mile 3 – 9:38
Mile 4 – 10:20  (The Hill)
Mile 5 – 9:34

Total time 48:37, average pace 9:44.  Considering my time on the same course exactly one year ago was 54:40, I’ll take it!  And it’s good enough for a new PR anyway!

Virtual 5K Race(s) Report

In honor of my 31st birthday tomorrow and in honor of Adam just being an awesome virtual race director, I ran two 5Ks today.  Simultaneously.  See, you can do stuff like that when they’re virtual races. 

Adam, DQ me if you must.  I missed your race date by a full day.  I had every intetion of doing this yesterday, but after my friend’s 40th birthday party Friday night, I was in no shape to run a 5K on Saturday.  No shape whatsoever.

So it was today or bust!  After church and The Walmart Experience, I was ready to do my thang in my own It’s M’Burfday and Adam’s Freeze Your Thorns Off virtual 5Ks.

At 3:00 pm with a wind chill of 18, with a t-shirt, an Under Armour hoodie, a pair of Reebok tights and a pair of Under Armour cold gear tights on over those, gloves, and ear warmers, I was off.

Don’t I look like I’m ready to freeze something off?

Mile 1:  8:40 pace – “This is awesome!  Why don’t I run this fast more often?!”

Mile 2:  9:15 – “Ooooh yeah.  This is why.”

Mile 3:  9:49 – “What kind of idiot puts this kind of hill on the last part of a 5K?  Wait a minute, what?  I got to pick my own course for this race?  Idiot…”

Mile 3.1:  0:53 – *WHEEEEEEEEZE*

Not fast for most, but for me a big PR.  I hadn’t done a 5K since 3/20/10 with a time of 29:27, so today was a 49-second improvement.  I’ve been saying I want to work on speed this year, and today will serve as my starting point.  I have another 5K (a REAL one with ACTUAL REAL, LIVE PEOPLE) coming up on 2/12, so we’ll see if I can pick up a few seconds between now and then.

Clarksville Half Marathon: The Race Report

I’ve really been looking forward to this race for quite some time.  The Clarksville Half was my first-ever HM.  I ran it last November 7th a mere four months after I started running.  I was excited to see what kind of time improvement I could put up on the same course one year later.

As you may know, my knee has been giving me a bit of a fit lately, and after a six-miler Thursday night, I had serious doubts about whether or not I would be able to run this race on Saturday.  By the end of those six miles I was feeling nauseated I was in so much pain.  Every time I bent that knee it felt like something was slicing behind my kneecap.  But I had done an out-and-back and I didn’t have a phone with me, so without resorting to hitch-hiking, my legs were my only mode of transportation back to my car.

Anyway, long story short, after lots of drugs, ice, and very, VERY agressive stretching and massaging (which has led me to a new theory that I am going to be speaking to the sports medicine doctor about tomorrow when I see him after my MRI) I was able to toe the line Saturday morning feeling pretty darn good.

It was a chilly morning–probably the coolest one of the fall so far!  The temp on the car hovered right around the freezing mark on the drive to Clarksville.  By the time the sun came up and we were set to start running at 8:00, it was probably up to around 40.  I couldn’t have asked for a better running day!  It was cool at the start but with my awesome pink knee-high compression socks, shorts, and a short-sleeve tech tee I was PERFECT once I got moving.  I felt bad for the people that obviously didn’t check the hour-by-hour forecast to see that it would be upwards of 60 degrees by the time we finished.  Toward the end I was passing people who were no doubt suffocating in their cold gear tights and compression turtlenecks.

So back to the starting line…

Don’t you just love early-morning no-makeup closeups?

The field size for the half was a little shy of 500 runners this year.  There were no corals or anything, so I just kind of stood off to the side with D (Yes, the Hubs actually went to a race with me!  He slept in the truck while I was running, but at least he came!  haha  And he did make it back to the finish line before I did.) and stretched until someone yelled GO.  I waited for the pack to thin out a little bit, passed my fleece jacket off to D and I was off.

I gotta hand it to ’em… for what the expo lacked, the race made up for.  They didn’t have bands on the course like they did last year and like the website said they would this year, but they outdid themselves with the support.  There were portajohns all throughout the course (which thankfully I never had to utilize), and there was water/Gatorade about every two miles.  Each stop was very well-staffed, and the volunteers were all so cool and encouraging!

There’s really not a lot to tell about my race.  I didn’t take my camera with me because honestly there’s not much to look at on the course.  It’s a pretty course, but it’s just typical rural Tennessee countryside–the same thing I see on EVERY run!

My knee didn’t put up too much of a protest, and I made it to about mile 10.25 before I had to stop for a minute to walk/stretch out a twinge.  And with that I was good to go again.  I walked one more time for a cup of Gatorade at the last water stop at mile 12 and then brought it on home still feeling strong.  D was there at the finish line with camera in hand, but the sun behind me really whited out the picture and it wasn’t worth keeping.  Hopefully the race photos turn out decent!

My official time came in at 2:21:13, an 8:02 PR from April!  I felt strong throughout the course and can’t wait to run it again next year when I’m hopefully not nursing a bum knee and not in the smack in the heart of marathon training.  I definitely could have put more into this race than I did, but since my ultimate goal is Vegas in 5 weeks I didn’t want to push anything.

I got a hefty PR out of it and a new piece of jewelry, and really, what more can a girl ask for?

Highs and Lows

High – Going to FL.
Low – Getting a phone call from mother-in-law the Thursday we were in FL with some very shocking news.
High – Long run in FL of 11 miles at 11:05 pace.
Low – Chafing between my ass cheeks during that run.
Low – Coming home.
High – Seeing my critters.
Low – Finding out more details on the shocking news that my MIL called about.
High – Memorial Day with the family.
Low – Father-in-law lost his job after 41 years with the same company.
Lower than low – Realizing (again) that people are evil.  They will do or say anything if they think they have something to gain from it, no matter how much of a LIE it is or how much it will make someone else suffer.
Even lower than that – Realizing how truly effed up our justice system is.  Innocent until proven guilty, my ass.
Low – Going back to work after 10 days away.
High – At least I have a job to go back to.
High – Set a new 3-mile PR.
High – Set a new 6-mile PR.
Low – Couldn’t hack it during my scheduled 13-mile long run today.  Cut it to 10 miles and walked the last two of those.  Stress?  Lack of sleep?  Dehydration?  81 and no shade?  Probably all of the above.
Low – Chafed arm pits.

I’m really struggling right now.  Not with the running.  Screw the running.  This was one bad day.  We all have them.  I ran strong during my midweek runs.  Next weekend will be better.  I’m struggling emotionally.  I hate seeing the people I love hurting.  I hate the fact that it’s so senseless.  I hate the fact that we live in such a litigious society.  I hate people that want something for nothing and will do whatever they can to try to get it.  I hate the fact that our judicial system caters to these people.  I hate the fact that I’m so weak that I’ve let these people get to me the way they have.  I hate that I’m struggling with my faith right now.  As a Christian, I know I’m supposed to pray for my enemies, and I hate that I’m not strong enough to do that.  Well, I’ve DONE it, but come on, this is God we’re talking about.  He knows I didn’t mean it.  He knows what I really feel in my heart, and He knows that it’s nothing but pure and raw hatred.

I keep telling myself, “God’ll get ’em.”  But how wrong is it that I want a front-row seat when he does?

Looking Ahead by Looking Back

Do any of you guys (especially those of you who are still relatively new to the sport like me) ever look back through your log just to see how far you’ve come? Isn’t it a wonderful feeling??? I did just that tonight.

I went out for a short three-mile run this evening (FIRST OUTDOOR WEEKDAY RUN IN THREE WEEKS! HELLO SUB-90-DEGREE EVENINGS! Until Thursday anyway. It is a very quick break, but a very welcome one!) The heat index was still 89 degrees, but I still set a personal best for myself. It was a good, solid effort, but I didn’t feel like I was killing myself out there. When I was logging the run, I was just browsing back through my old three-mile times from when I started this craziness last summer. They started out in the 12s, then dropped into the 11s, and I distinctly remember the day I broke the 11 min/mile. I was so excited. How endearing… (Sub-9, you WILL be mine by the end of the year.)

It’s a good feeling to look behind me to see how far I’ve come. It makes me excited about moving forward and continuing to improve and grow stronger and faster. I have consistently surprised myself over the past year, and I can’t wait to see what I still have in store for myself.

Just Another Day…

Nothing spectacular to report these days. S.S.D.D.

I’m two weeks into marathon training now, and so far so good. I’m getting all my miles in. I can’t say they’ve been enjoyable, but I’m getting them in. It’s still INCREDIBLY HOT here (we’re STILL under that excessive heat warning!), so my midweek runs have all been on the treadmill. I REALLY am trying, but I just do not love it. I just can’t seem to be able to channel my inner Emz! I’m still getting my weekend long runs done outside in the early morning, but even then it’s pretty miserable. I started my 9 this morning at 6:30 at 76 degrees with 89% humidity. By the time I finished it was already 83 with a “feels-like” of 89. But I still managed to pull out a personal best! To the tune of over 6 minutes, no less!

I’ve really been trying to educate myself on this whole training thing the past couple of weeks. Going through training for my previous two HMs, all of my training runs were basically the same thing, just of varying lengths. This time, I’m trying to make each run really count for something. Hopefully today’s time is an indication that I’m on the right track.

I’m really looking forward to next weekend. I’ll be going to Clarksville for my first group run with the Clarksville Running Club! I got my membership card in the mail this week, so I’m official now! They also sent me a schedule of their group runs, and it falls in line with mine PERFECTLY! They’ve got a bunch of women that are training for the Women’s Half Marathon in Nashville next month, and their scheduled long runs line up with where I’m at in my training exactly. I’m really, really looking forward to meeting some new people who can push me. 🙂 However, I’m NOT looking forward to the early start! Group run starts at 6:30, and it’s an hour and a half from my house. Hello 4:00 wake-up call! Blech!

The things we do…

Back on Track

I don’t know if it’s because it’s 30 degrees cooler today, or if I was blowing off the week of frustration, or if it’s because I’m excited about some plans me and my friend Michele have got cooking, or if it was all the whole grains I’ve eaten the past couple of days, but SOMETHING got my ass in gear today. I just finished a fantastic five miles and beat my old PR by more than three minutes. IT FELT GREAT!

And seriously, thank all you guys so much for your encouragement after yesterday’s post. EZEthan’s comment rang so, so very true. I DO need to realign my expectations. I’ve only been running for nine months, and I’m trying to compare myself to you guys who have been running forever. Stupid, I know. That’s just my competitive nature coming out. I always feel like I have to be the best at what I do. And if I’m not, I quit because I can’t stand to be outdone. I’ve been plagued with this for as long as I can remember. But I’ve fallen in love with the sport of running, and I REFUSE to quit. So I’ll just keep plodding along, faster than some and slower than some, and loving every second of it.