The Race That Wasn’t

As you may not know, since I apparently haven’t blogged much about running on my running blog, I had a race on the schedule for this weekend1.  A five miler that I originally hoped could be a PR race. I say “originally hoped” because I have not done one iota of training that would make me any faster.  I even hesitate to use the term “training” at all. I’ve been running, but it’s been sporadic and disordered. No purpose or structure to any of my runs. I HAVE run the distance, so I have that going for me, but that’s about it.

I haven’t been running outside. While I’m a firm believer that you can train for even a hilly race on a treadmill, I’ve been leaving the incline at zero, which leaves me with no question that hills would be an issue. (Not that I even bothered to figure out if this is a hilly course). I also question whether I am physically prepared for running in current temperatures. When I signed up, I envisioned March 18th being a nice spring day. I’ve lived in the same climate my whole life, so who knows where that silly idea came from.

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Training run

So, this week I’ve been going into the race with thoughts like, “Hmm..March 18th, already, huh?” and “Gee..looks like it’ll be a cold one?”, and as of Thursday afternoon I hadn’t even figured out the time or start location yet. Then I got a text that the race was cancelled. And then the official email. I’m left feeling pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. A little bummed because races are always fun, but I don’t really feel like I have any skin in the game.  (My entry fee was paid through work, even). I DO feel quite bad for all the runners who have made this their goal race (there is also a half), particularly because it’s not the time of year where it’ll be easy to find a “replacement” race.

The interesting part about the whole thing, to me at least, is that in lieu of a refund or even an entry for next year, they are deferring everyone’s entries to a race in October. A race that is a half marathon, without a 5 mile option. I emailed the race director to ask if that deferral included the 5 mile racers, and was confirmed that it does.  SO, GUESS I’M SIGNED UP FOR A HALF!

I’ve got quite a while before that race rolls around, so it’s not really on my radar right now, but in terms of what’s next, I’m thinking I’ll find a training plan (not sure what distance) and start following it. I think I could use a little structure, even if there’s not a race at the end.  Also, I’m signed up for a virtual 10K through the Hogwarts Running Club that I’ll be doing in the next week or two. My training for that has been, “Well, If I can run 5 miles, I’m sure I can run 6.2”. I should probably be a coach.

80-20 Schedule

I used to make crazy schedules like this.

I think I can safely say that I’ve gotten back into running. Now, it’s time to step up my game a little.

1 Technically I’m scheduled to run a race this morning since this post will go up Saturday even though I’m writing it on Friday — Does this bother anyone else? I hate the thought that my posts are inexact when I write “today”, “tomorrow”, or “yesterday”. How do you handle it when writing in advance? Do you just ignore it or do you correct it so it sounds like it was written the day it was posted?

Wicked Frosty Four (Holiday Running Streak Day 36)

Day 36: Wicked Frosty Four: January 1st, 2014

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope you all had a fun New Year’s Eve and are ready and excited for 2014.  I, for one,  love making resolutions, and can’t wait to get them all written down, planned out, and started 🙂  I’m thinking that sometime in the next week or so I’ll do a post with a 2013 re-cap and a 2014 running resolution list, but for now: a race re-cap!

2014-01-01 09.58.27At 10 AM this morning, Jeff and I lined up with all the other serious crazy runners who wanted to start the New Year off the funnest way we know how: Running!

It was a beautiful morning, but oh so cold! When we left the house it was only 17F, but my phone told me that it would be 21F by the time the gun went off.  It wasn’t really the temperature that made it so cold, it was the wind.  Luckily, we got there just before ten, so we didn’t have to wait too long for the race to start, and once we started running, the temperature wasn’t really a problem any more.

Last year, we decided to do this race last minute and without any particular goal in mind. I thought it would be fun to try and push myself a little and then do it again a year later and compare.  Well, it’s been a good year for me in terms of running, and it was great to see the difference in my time between this year and last.

Like last year, I didn’t run all out, but I did push myself.  I took the first mile “easy” to get warmed up, and prevent myself from going out fast.  No matter how easy I think I’m running the first mile of a race, it’s always faster than I think.  This one we finished in 9:22.

After the 1st mile, we picked it up a bit.  The second mile had a few hills – it’s funny, we run part of this course in reverse on a regular basis, and one of the uphills we did today I had never noticed before as a downhill.  I guess that explains why I always start feeling good at that point when I’m going the other direction – haha.  In spite of the hills, we finished mile 2 in about 9:17.

Mile 3 we continued to keep pace, we had run through downtown Salem in the early miles, passed the harbor and the House of Seven Gables, and were now running by the water and in more residential areas. We held on through a few more hills, and finished in 9:15.

Mile 4 started on an uphill, but once we reached the top we picked up the pace in order to finish strong.  At one point during the last mile, a woman in a car pulled out into the middle of the race and was driving alongside all the runners. It was a bit obnoxious, but the idea that I was “running faster than a car!” gave me a little boost. 🙂  Once the car got out of our way, we had about a quarter mile to go (and another little hill), and we pushed through to finish in exactly 36 minutes.  I’ll have to check my watch, but we must have been pretty speedy in that last mile to finish with an average of 9 minute miles!

Last year, our final time was 42:21 (10:35/mile), so this year was a significant improvement!  And because this is an uncommon race distance, a personal record by over 6 minutes!  A great end to the run streak and a nice way to start the New Year!

Reindeer Run 5k (Holiday Streak Day 10)

Day 10: Reindeer Run 5k: December 7th, 2013 – 5k PR!!

Last week was the Reindeer Run 5k.  This year was the 4th time Jeff and I have done this race, and it’s one of my favorites!  The race is here in Beverly, and within walking distance of our house, eliminating any parking issues and standing around before the race.  One of the best parts of the race is that the entire course is made up of sections of routes I do every day or week.  It’s kind of cool to run these areas with a few hundred others. And, in a reindeer hat 🙂

This year, I decided to try for a 5k PR. It was kind of a last minute decision.  All spring, summer, and fall I was doing marathon training and doing very little speedwork.  I started out with some faster runs, but the heat was just too much and I stopped doing those in mid-July.  But even without speedwork, I started to notice in September and October that I was getting faster in my shorter mid-week runs as well as the long weekend ones.  While I was still focusing on the marathon, this did make me wonder a bit. After the big race, I had three holiday 5ks lined up…and after doing well in the thanksgiving and hanukkah ones, I thought it would be worth it to try and break my PR from summer 2010.

Jeff agreed to pace me in the race, even though he wasn’t very confident that we’d be able to do it.  The course is VERY hilly. It started out flat, but after the first tenth of a mile or so, we start a gradual incline followed by two short but steep hills.  I felt fairly confident at this point because I run these hills all the time (I own those hills!), and between the two, there is a man who sits on his front porch playing carols on his trumpet…it’s fun!  And, maybe a little to easy to get carried away because we finished the first mile faster than planned, in 8:14.  I’m glad I had Jeff there to try and slow me down a bit in the beginning because I was eager to get the PR and would have went even faster without him reminding me not to go out too fast.

Mile 2 was flatter, but included another gradual incline.  At this point in the race, I started to notice that running with the faster crowd is a lot quieter and less festive than running in the mid to back of the pack. In spite of this, I was still having a good time, with Jeff occasionally still having to nudge me to slow down.  We finished this mile in 8:18, again a bit faster than intended.

Coming out of mile 2, we hit two long gradual inclines, and my speed started to seriously decline.  The plan all along was to just see how it went, and to back off if it was too difficult. With less than a mile left, things were getting really difficult, but I knew if I could just hang on a bit longer, we’d make our time.  At one point, Jeff said we could slow down because it didn’t look like we were going to make it, but his math didn’t seem to make sense with what my watch was telling me, so I told him that I had to keep pushing.  When we rounded the final corner, I was exhausted, but Jeff was back on board and encouraging me as we “sprinted” towards the finish.  In the end, we finished mile three in 8:43, and beat my old PR by 7 seconds!  My new 5k PR is 25:57. 🙂  Next up, sub 25 min? 

I’m going streaking!!!

I signed up for the 2013 Holiday Running Streak with Runner’s World.  The idea is to run at least one mile a day every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.  I typically don’t run more than two days in a row, so I’m not 100% sure why this sounded like such a fantastic idea, but I think it’ll be really fun 🙂  I wonder how many days I’ll get?

Day 1: November 28, 2013: Holden Road Race 5k 

My first non-Buffalo Turkey Trot.  I had a great time with some great family/friends. It was 23F, “feels like 10F”.  Brrrr…  The temperature wasn’t so bad without the gusts of winds, and once we got going I warmed up pretty quickly.  I sure love a good holiday race!  And, I’m sure the 5k more than made up for the feast I had later in the day. 🙂

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The Turkey Trot Gang

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After the Race!