Archive for the ‘10k’ Category

IMG_3484It’s Saturday. A slow coffee kind of day, starting with a movie on Netflix and afternoon-ing some miles in with both dogs. Despite just finishing up two weeks of vacation, recent life has felt fast. There was a trail 5k I wanted to do about an hour East, but my legs are still tired from last weekend, and frankly, a day of quiet is in order. Soul feeding quiet. Observing my friends’ FB feeds fill with results from a local pavement 7k/14k.

This is how I think of races now – pavement or trail first, then the rest of the details.

Somehow the year of being 40 turned me into a trail runner.

Since Run the Bluegrass, there were 2 shorter pavement races – Joseph House 5k (which was an EXCELLENT little race & I highly recommend doing again) and the Flying Pig 10k, where I stepped in to fill a bib for a friend at the last minute.  Beyond that, the Summer has been spent on a slew of trail races to good and hard result. I can’t say a day on trail is ever bad, just good or hard, or good AND hard. There was…

Forget the PR, Mohican 25k, which began April with a great big DNF. A heck of a way to kick off a season. A HARD, but fantastically beautiful course with long, steep hills that never seem to end. I learned there’s a thing you find out when you run trails and you’re slow, and that thing is what ALONE feels like in a whole new way. Lonely and ALONE are verrry different. In this race, I found my limit on being alone at mile 12 and I simply didn’t have another 5 miles in me. DNF.

A week later, the local Dirt Days Trail Series started. This is where Eric joined in the fun. After a Winter of mulling, a decade of repairing me after races, and some time spent watching the snow fall from the treadmill, he got his own bib for the Ault Park Switchback run – and every race thereafter. We did 5 of the Dirt Days races together – from a HORRIBLE, NASTY, (humbling), MUDDY MUDDY MUDDY 11-miler at East Fork that *still* makes me shudder, to a repeat of the Powder Keg 5k where I beat last year’s time by 9 minutes.

Somehow the year of my being 40 turned Eric into a trail runner.

Interspersed with DD, was the Topo Adventure Sports Summer Trail Series. A good, no-frills race setup. I like it. Also, these guys stay till the last runner comes in with a smile. I really like how they handle their show. Through these two series I learned that if the trail is wet, you step in the first mud puddle you see. Get it over with. Your feet are not going to stay dry, so find a way to be happy about it, and take the race that comes to you. Also, Body Glide on your feet is GOOD.

Finally, though the season still isn’t over, all of these efforts culminated in running The Rugged Red last weekend.The HARDEST terrain I’ve ever run. 1700 feet of elevation gain, some of climbing on all-4’s up round-edged sandstone. I came into the finish line to find my husband and a crew of my RWB peeps who’d waited over an hour for me to come in. People, that is some love right there! I still can’t believe I finished it – which was one of only two goals I had  – (1) finish and (2) beat the sweeper. I beat the sweeper with only 10 minutes to spare, but I did it. I’m not sure how. And that guy that kept trying to pass me again after mile 9-10, I kept him behind me. It might’ve been a full on goddamn sprint at the finish to make it happen, but it happened.

Somehow the year of being 40 upped my level of badassery just a little bit.

Recovery from all of these beatings came in the form of swimming and yoga (which I’m still teaching, but at a new place now). The training sessions at Caesar’s Creek last Summer taught me I was a pretty crappy swimmer. A new gym membership came in December and twice a week 6AM swims started in March with a friend training for her first half-Ironman. Swimming lessons followed to build the skill set, and while I’m working on strength and endurance, I’ve started to do decently in the pool. At some point I went from dreading the water to looking forward to a good swim.

Somehow the year of being 40 turned me into a swimmer.

My house is usually a mess because we’re too busy training. The dogs are usually stinky because four legs get muddier than two on trails. The number of pairs of running shoes in my house has almost doubled. Some of them aren’t even mine.

And I started giving my bike the side-eye about 2 weeks ago…when I turned 41.

My friends, race season started EARLY this year. Usually, the first time I cross a starting line any given year is March. The later the better. BUT, somehow I’ve talked myself into a really aggressive (for me) series of half-marathons this Spring. That means trial races to keep the base building interesting have to come earlier, and I need all the trail time I can get to build my skill set because you do not learn to cross creeks and climb tree roots on pavement. On to it!

The Race: The Rocks and Roots Trail Series is a 2-race series up at Alum Creek State Park in Delaware, Ohio. Available distances are 10k-20k-30k-40k-50k for the first race, with an option of a 50-miler available for round two. Runners can choose a different distance for each race date. I picked a 10k for Race #1 and a 20k for Race #2. Race dates this year were January 11th and February 8th.

The Swag: 

wpid-20150111_152104.jpgMy new favorite Hoody, my new favorite Balegas, my new favorite soft t-shirt. Or at least contenders for the “my new favorite” for sure – they’re really SOFT. Seriously though, there’s a HOODY in the swag! That’s cool. The full list included the hoody, a t-shirt, a handheld Amphipod, a pair of Balega’s and samples of Cliff bars & drink additive. Along with the finisher’s medal.

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The Tag: 

Including the processing fee – $97.20 total for BOTH races. Looking at the swag and organization/support – this is an EXCELLENT price tag on the race. Averaging less than $50 per, I’ve paid more for pavement 5k’s that had far less swag and were far less interesting, even with over-the-top themes.

The Course:

The course is a 10k loop, so you go around as many times as you signed on with opportunities to take a break and access drop bags/porta potties in between. In the second race, they changed course for the 50k & 50-milers only – presumably bringing in some additional mileage to drop the number of loops needed. Race organizers had scattered some large speakers around the course to play music, which was AWESOME – particularly since it was tunes I like. 🙂

Right around mile 2.5 was probably the BEST AID STATION I HAVE EVER SEEN. This might just be a trail running thing or an ultra trail thing, but the aid station had M&M’s, gummy bears, pretzel bites, jujubees, other nibbles of varying sweet & saltiness. I think there were 3 different beverage options, but maybe more. OUT ON THE TRAIL!  There was a man in a BEAVER COSTUME! Cheerful volunteers at the trail aid station as well as several points between. The main aid station – home base – was even better stocked. Amenities there included cookies, swedish fish, coffee, hot chocolate, and CHILI. There was a FIRE to get warm and more good cheer.  Special bonus points for volunteers being sweet to my husband and my Fred dog while they waited on me.

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A couple GoPro’s of the course are up on YouTube here and here.

Of Course: Because helloooooo, January! February! MIDWEST! The first race, there was some fresh powder on the trail. Seemed like an inch or so, loose and a little slick, but not terrible. The February run – if you watch the first 10 seconds of the video – all that gray they’re walking around on is ICE. ICE EVERYWHERE. The entire trail was covered in an alternating deluge of ice, snow packed hard into ice, 2-inch deep mud and a muddy-slush covering ice. While I’ve got some time spent on snow pack, my experience level running on ICE is ZERO. The trail itself had a bit of everything – a few flats, a fair amount of up/downs, several creek crossings, a few switchbacks. Nice variety.

Also in the videos – take a look at how many Team RWB Eagles are out on the course. My red shirt is hiding beneath some warm gear, but it’s there. I know there were members from the Cincinnati, Dayton & Columbus chapters. It would be an interesting tidbit to know how many different chapters were represented. Nothing like running to bring a group together.

My Day: Both days started at 4AM. That’s because Delaware, Ohio is around 2 hours away from Cincinnati, give or take. I had to get up crazy early! Race #1, I met my fellow RWBer Jeff and he drove both of us North, where we met another RWBer- Brian- that had picked up both of our race packets for us because he’s awesome. Jeff & I were in for the 10k that day and Brian was going for the 50k.  Race #2 – Eric & Fred decided to come along, so we drove up as a family, meeting Jeff & the RWB crew at the park.

The first race was slow going, more from lack of experience than anything else. I am only starting to learn how to navigate obstacles such as creek crossings with slick banks or muddy, steep downhills. So these made interesting snow-covered challenges for me. Plus, I’m still very cautious about my right knee in these situations even though it’s rarely bothering me now. I took things as slow as I needed to and I had decided up front to be happy with the day no matter the clock time. It’s about learning and adding skill sets. I was particularly impressed with myself about this sliding thing I did in a side-plank down a muddy hill. Because ninja! Jeff, usually a little faster than me, wasn’t feeling great, so we were keeping pace with each other using run:walk and pushing each other after about mile 2. By mile 5, we were both ready to be DONE! – and getting thirsty. We’d both opted not to carry anything since a 10k isn’t anything new to either of us. Another lesson: a 10k with obstacles can take you just as long as much further distances sometimes and you need water over time as much as over distance. Next time, carry water. I finished feeling proud of myself for managing the terrain well and ready to eat.

The second race – UGH. Excuse my language, but FUUUUHHHCK. Race #2 was the same loop. A completely different beast, but still the same loop. I’d signed on for the 20k – so 2 times around. Twelve miles was a bit of a reach for where my training was at, but I planned a 3:1 approach and was excited about everything but the 4AM wake up going into the race. This time I brought my Camelback 1.5L Mule for water. Then we got there – and SO MUCH ICE!!!!  It just never stopped being icy. Except for where it was muddy. No traction to be had except on the fringes of the trail. I tried to stick to my plan and was successful for a bit, but even with a much shorter stride I was sliding all over the place and felt like I was barely moving. The 2.5-mile aid station felt like it was 4-miles away to my legs. By the time I reached the actual 4-mile point, I was cussing every time I slid and my mental game was gone. I realized that I was getting lapped. It was NOT. A. GOOD. DAY.  When I finished the first loop at my worst time for a 10k EVER – seriously, 40 minutes SLOWER than the one where my knee injury had me come in dead last, I was in a horrid mood. It was time to call it quits. My body felt over 6 miles like it had been beaten for 12 and I didn’t have another loop in me. After watching several people wipe out, I was afraid of going back through again tired as I was. As I put it to Eric, I might’ve had another 2-3 miles in me, but definitely not 6. If I thought the first race was hard, this one was misery. Jeff had completed his 10k and gone. Brian was working on another 50k to go for a buckle. Our friend Mark was doing 30 and taking off for his final lap when I came in off of my first. Race #2 brought with it another shirt and another finisher medal. A huge helping of humility.

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Snacks and fire with the husband and my furry sidekick helped lessen the blow my ego was taking until it was time to head back to the car – and my dry bag of clothes – and my thermos of chicken broth. No joke – chicken broth is a magical elixir after that kind of run. Taking my time with getting changed, I realized that if we gave it another 10 minutes, we would probably see Mark in the home stretch of his final lap (the parking lot is next to the trail for a minute at that point) – and so we cheered him on as he passed by. Yes – Mark ran about 5 miles in the time it took me to eat cookies and change my clothes. Then we pulled out of the parking lot for the 2-hr drive home, most of which I slept through. It is still amazing to me how two loops of the same course can feel so different. Race #1, I still had some energy left for lunch in Columbus and the ride home. Race #2 – I was plum worn out!

The Ending LIne: While the races were hard, I can’t deny that I already caught myself thinking about how I’d like another shot at them next year. There’s no doubt that the course was a great learning experience for a beginner like me to work on water crossings, steep creek banks covered in ice & mud, hill work. A reminder to carry water even if the distance seems manageable without it. The people organizing and volunteering were AMAZING and obviously cared a great deal about putting on a quality event. The price probably barely covered the swag and set up. And frankly, it was worth the 4-hour round trip – and will be more so if I do it again next year with more experience and training to run a longer race.

The Next Race: Officially, my next scheduled race is Run The Bluegrass on March 28th. I’m planning on the whole 13.1 distance this year and will be back to teach yoga at the Griffin Gate the morning after the race. If you haven’t heard of it, go check out the site – and that INCREDIBLE MEDAL they’ve designed this year! ( & pick me as your Race Ambassador!)

BUT – it looks like the DIrt Days series is kicking off on March 14th with the Run for the Green 5k, so I might have to fit that in. C’mon – 2 calve-deep creek crossings! Sounds like a great opportunity to learn something. 🙂

So last night, as I was finally tucked into bed and drifting off into my post-turkey coma, I was thinking about the pace for my morning 10k. I’d checked my results shortly before bed and my tired mind circled back to it as my pillow was whispering in my ear ‘sleeep, sleeeeeeep’.

Having not run & shaken out my legs in a few days, I decided not to put any pressure on the 10k at all – just get it done. Especially considering that the Thanksgiving Day 10k is much like the Race for the Cure around here – it’s a HUGE HUGE HUGE field for a 10k. More than 18,000 participants HUGE. Crowded with lots of walkers and strollers that have no idea about run etiquette. It was a good guess that I would spend a lot of my run going sideways around groups of walkers. So I decided I was just going to deal and run slow and not worry about all of these people I was going to have to pass. And if I get held in place behind walkers, then I would just jog in place behind them until a pass opportunity opened up.

They were there to have a good time with family, at a family run, on a family holiday. I would have a good time too.

Instead of getting frustrated, I would channel some of my triathlete friends and look for good feet in front of me to pace myself with – now mind you, they use ‘fast feet’ for swimming, but I decided to make it work for running. And change ‘fast’ to ‘good’. Let’s be realistic here.

I was going to be distracted by dogs and children and costumes – and probably forget all about listening to my internal dialogue. 

I had no plan at all for this route – which involved 3 bridges that I strongly dislike running. So I made a plan on the fly as I went into mile 2 – basically the same as I used for the Greak Human Race 10k – get to the halfway point without intervalling and call it a win there. Do whatever it takes to get you to the finish line after that. And much like the GHR 10k, I watched miles 4, 5 & 6 tick by as I was still running along – breaking only twice, once to walk up the last (& worst) of the bridges and again shortly before the finish when I winded myself somehow. I let myself be happy with how I did even though I needed to walk those two times.

But my sleepy brain paid no mind to that. It didn’t beat me up for not PRing the thing, or for even close to PRing the thing. It pulled the thread of one small detail from 2011 and pushed that right up front next to my turkey time –

that with the decided slow running, and the dodging around things, and the walking the last bridge –

2012’s totally relaxed 10k pace beat out 2011’s stressful 4-miler pace PR by 3 whole seconds.

And it let that bit of bliss sink in.

15 months of hard work turned a hard struggle into an afterthought

marked evidence of improvement

that this body is getting better, faster, stronger all the time

 

I don’t know where to begin on this one. So, jumping right on in, I’ll say –

Race Directors take note: This one got it 100% right. 

If you are a small race looking to attract more people, THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT. Because I know (1) that I will probably sign up for this next year if the set up is the same and (2) I will be talking this race up to my running friends. In the running community, word of mouth ( & blog recaps!) can be pretty powerful for encouraging or discouraging attendance. 

First off, the race started at 10am – that extra hour (most races start at 9am around here) on a chilly October Sunday morning was nice. Same day packet pick-up was the only option, so I planned to get there @9:15. I parked easily and started to walk over to what was obviously the race pavilion when the sounds of a steel-drum calypso band fired up. A good calypso band! Way to start off a Sunday morning on a fun note! Maine was going to meet me for this run & I caught sight of her blond-headed toddler rockin’ it out to the music. Easy to park – easy to find the race set up – easy to find my friends – good, fun music. WIN!

As I walked into the pavilion, a volunteer directed me to the pre-registered line, which was moving pretty quickly. The volunteers seemed to have it in gear as there were side tables set up to handle same-day registrations & a separate table for I guess what was a groupon deal registration. Well-organized, competent, and fast-moving packet pick-up. WIN! 

The speediness of that left me plenty of time to go jam out with Maine’s little boy before his 1k fun-run – which was BEFORE the adult race. WIN! I always feel bad for parents when they put the fun runs after the adult run.  He did awesome with his two-year old self, and I kid you not – even as the youngest kid there – he sprinted the finish! With determination on his face and his eyes on the lady holding the medals! Hilarious!

Then we moved on over to the start for the adult run – which was going to be an out & back on the loop at Lunken. I’ve written my thoughts on running at Lunken before.  The path at the opening was a bit narrow – which was why all the runners looked at each other like WHAT DID HE JUST SAY? – (and this would be the only point where I would say maybe they had it 99.9% right and not 100% right) when the announcer said 6-8 minute milers & 13 minute miler SPEEDWALKERS should all be at the front.  Huh? Never ever ever ever heard that one before – putting the speedwalkers up front so that all the runners will have to pass them on a narrow path. What? And yes, I did question him on it.  He was not happy that I did and said it was a USTF rule that speedwalkers had to be up front too. Oh well – guess it’s time to brush up on my USATF rules. I’ve never been at race where that was suggested seeding. So yes, I spent the first half-mile working my way around walkers. There’s that.

But then I started to see the quotes about fighting intolerance & hate that they had posted along the 5k route. Lunken is pretty, but can be a very boring run – so having something to read and think about was nice. NICE TOUCH GREAT HUMAN RACE!

It’s one thing to have the pre-&-post race set-up done well, but we all know, sometimes you get out on the course & realize all the energy was spent on set-up, while not much thought was given to support on the actual run. Especially when there’s a 5 & 10k. Sometimes they set up well for the 5k and then just assume that those 10k runners will be fine for that 3 miles in the middle – they’re used to running that far, right? We don’t need to do much for that. That was NOT the case here. I’ve mentioned before that Lunken does not have a water source. Well, they’d trucked out water to set up two well-stocked water stops along the way. One that you would hit twice on the out and back 5k and another just before the 10k turnaround – so that you’d actually run by that twice as well. Four opportunities for water! WELL DONE GHR! WELL DONE! There was a very clear large mile marker at each mile along with a volunteer shouting out times (even nicer since I didn’t choose to wear my Garmin),  there were cones & volunteers at each turnaround, and the water stops were well prepared with plenty of cups ready to go.

As for my own race –

I PR’D THAT SUCKER BY 4 MINUTES & 27 SECONDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT EITHER!

Just like last week, I didn’t feel particularly strong for the run, but just raced it very steadily and really worked hard on controlling my pace & effort. Seems like I’m finally starting to get the hang of this pacing thing all you other runners talk about! Really proud of how this run went!

I shook out the cobwebs for the first mile & promised myself that I was going to get to the 10k turnaround without intervalling. I did that last week for the Cyclone run, so I should be able to do that for at least the first half of this one, right? And gradually, I ticked it off – the 1 mile marker told me that I had my first mile at the same race pace for the Cyclones run – nice! Seeing the first water stop set up made me smile. I crushed the only hill there is on that run – a short steep incline. Back in January, I had set a goal time & goal pace for a 10k that was a 4-minute shave off my 2011 best time. At mile 2, I was right in line with my goal pace. Then it started to feel long. Most people had separated off at the 5k turnaround, so it started to get lonely on the back half. I later found out that only 36 people went the 10k distance out of 160 participants. Maine was about a block-length in front of me & I was working hard to keep her there.

Then I asked myself, “what would Steena do” to stay interested? She had suggested focusing on passing the person in front of me – one person at a time – as a way to stay engaged, but that wasn’t going to work here. The closest person would require some sprinting & I just didn’t have that in me without it sending me into a crash. So, how could I make up a game here? At that point, the first male runner came by – so I decided to start counting the females coming back until I hit the turnaround. That way I would know where I was in the pack. This worked wonders! I came into view of the water stop at mile 3 – where I was still in line with my 5k time from the Cyclones run – and the turnaround. I was able to yell over to Maine that she was 7th or 8th female. I myself was in the #10 spot & for the first time, I became aware of how close some other females were on my heels.

Now it was time to start ticking off the back half of the race and see how long I could go without an interval. Somewhere before mile 4 I got passed by one woman, and then lost track of her. At mile 5, I was still making really steady effort but didn’t know if I would get all the way to 6 miles without stopping at least once.

Then, the race went Disney on me. Not dizzy. Disney.

People, I have a thing about birds. I really, really like the little birdies. I was pretty darn ecstatic to find I had a pair of yellow finches enamoured with my echinacea bed in late Summer. Getting the attention of a single hummingbird about gave me palpitations. I really, really like the little birdies.  So, as I was starting to falter after the mile 5 marker, a bright red cardinal crossed my path. I think of cardinals as good luck, so that made me smile. THEN I realized that there were 2 little yellow finches that were kind of cheering me on.  There was a large chain-link fence to the left of the path and they were fluttering from one part of it to another – about 10-15 feet in front of me. I would run 10-15 feet then they would move up 10-15 feet. Repeat. And keep repeating. I kid you not, this went on until they ran out of fence and dove into the grassy meadow to my right.  People, BIRDS WERE CHEERING ME ON.  ????!!!!????

Then right before the 6 mile marker, the girl that had been right on my heels at the turnaround passed me. And I thought to myself – “Okay. She’s worked hard. She should get the finish if she can beat me there.” Then I cocked my head to one side and went – WHAAAA? Where’d that thought come from? I’ve been working hard too & she’s been using me as her pacer for the last 3 miles. She’s gonna need to pick it up if she wants to beat me to the finish. And I pulled back up alongside her and then pushed harder. She picked it up for a second, but I put on a little more speed and put her in my tailwind, amping it up just a little bit more when I realized that I could very well hit my goal time if I tried. I haven’t been even remotely close to the hitting that 4-minute goal all year – and then Boom! There it is.  It’s funny what can make you dig just a little deeper even when you think you have nothing left in the tank.

Finally, the post-race banana & bagel fest. Cheesy as it’s going to sound – this is where the love put into this entire event came fully into focus for me. We all know post-race food – bananas & bagels in big cardboard boxes. Bottles of water that may or may not be iced down or pulled straight out of the plastic-covered cartons.  Well, for this race, someone – or someones – had taken the time to make a presentation of the bananas & oranges. The bagels were carefully laid out on platters with another tray of differently flavored cream-cheeses on ice next to them. There were paper plates & napkins & plastic knives for the spreads. All drinks were iced down and arranged well nearby.

Someone had really put a lot of effort into making sure the refreshment spread was beautiful. There was love in it. The kind of small detail, really care about making this nice, love. Palpable in the air. And when I noticed that – all of the rest of it came into clear focus. The number of volunteers and the amount of extra effort that this race put into making the runners feel cared about. I didn’t feel like a fundraising mechanism. I didn’t feel like I was a 10k afterthought to a 5k. I FELT CARED ABOUT. These organizers put love into organizing this race and you could actually feel it. I have to say – in dozens upon dozens of these things that I’ve done – feeling cared about in that way is a rarity. Have organizers tried to make it fun, have they tried to make it interesting, have they supplied enough? Yes. Most of the time. But to have they tried to make the runners feel cared about? I was a bit in awe of the experience once I let myself take that feeling in.

So I say again – Race Directors: If you have a small race & are looking to attract more people – THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT! You start by caring. If the runners feel cared about, the rest of the fundraising will take care of itself. Personally, I know I will be talking this race up & putting it on my calendar to look for it again next year.

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Also, I normally focus more on the race itself than the organization hosting it, but I feel that the Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education needs a shout-out on this one. One, because they did put on a fabulous race set up and also, because they fight hate & intolerance. To me, anyone that fights hate & intolerance gets a thumbs-up. I am not affilitated with CHHE in any way, and frankly, I didn’t know it existed until I saw this race on an event calendar while looking for a race to do this weekend. I’m willing to venture that if they do something like a race, out of their comfort zone, well – they probably try to do a lot of other good things well too. Keep the world honest CHHE. We need that.

Just got back from a quick walk on the paths around my work campus. Peeps, sometimes 10 minutes of fresh air in the middle of the workday makes all the difference.

My office has a 4-mile trail (2-mile out & back, pea gravel & hilly) available to employees, in addition to 2 very-affordable gyms, and we’re encouraged to make use of them. It’s a pretty nice perk.  In pre-bootcamp days, I used to make use of the gyms 4xs a week – sometimes twice a day if I needed to lift & run. Now, with more running outside & the bootcamp, I’m usually down there once a week for some treadmill time. Also, I used to make a 3pm walk outside part of my daily routine -but I’ve just been too damn busy lately. Fitting it in today was a pleasant reminder that I need to get that on my daily to-do list again.

Also – today, part of the path was shut down for tree-trimming. I heard a chainsaw and looked up to see a man high-up in a tree at a reasonable distance. Am I the only one to find that whole thing absolutely fascinating? I could watch people cut down tall, dead trees all day long. Maybe it’s the hard hats. A guy can be cutting cucumbers – then put a hard hat on him and all of a sudden it’s a very fascinating thing I want to know all about.

So, Race for the Cure 10k didn’t go well. I PR’d it by 69 seconds, but still – I’m chalking it up to a crappy run.

First, Friday’s bootcamp just left me sore & fatigued. Particularly in my core & quads. We were doing a series – 3xs through – that included 3 minutes of unicycle crunches – so 9 minutes of unicycle crunches in total. If you’re ever really mad at your stomach for something, 9 minutes of unicycle crunches is STILL a cruel & unusual punishment. That is a LOT of unicycle crunches – and it’s not too friendly on the quads either. I knew within an hour of leaving class that I was going to be REALLY sore – not a good sign.

Then I got the call from Nash. She was signed up for the run too, but hadn’t been feeling well all week. Could she run with me? She needed someone to set [slow] pace for her. Even not feeling well, Nash is still faster than I am – so this worried me a little. I’ve mentioned before that where I seed myself & how fast I go out are super-important to me if I want a good race. But what kind of a shit friend would I be to say no? And we had a good run at Color Me Rad together. And I already knew I was sore – odds were not in favor of a good run anyway. Why not at least try it?

And then, I thought – well, 3 easy miles on the treadmill at lunch will help loosen up all that lactic buildup trying to set in from this morning. *head-meet-palm*  This was not a helpful idea.

Saturday morning, I knew before I left that my core had absolutely nothing to give me on this run. My intercostals were sore & fatigued. At mile 1.5 – halfway through the first climb – dead.  Every movement hurt something. My legs felt like lead. I told Nash I needed a walk break. We took a minute interval & decided to try to keep it to one walk break per mile.  At 2.5, I asked for another and told Nash to go ahead as she had finally found a groove (at more than a minute over her usual pace, if that tells you anything – neither of us were in good circumstance for this). 

I managed to make it to 4.5 before I took another interval, but at that point my head wasn’t in it anymore. I had already started wishing that I had signed up for the 5k instead and wondering exactly how bad this run was going to get. At 4.5 we had to run past a water-stop, then double back to it before going into the final mile. Psychologically – I was gone between 4.5 & that water-stop. I had to take a longer interval. I felt defeated. My body was bitching at me to just walk the rest of it. At the water stop, I reminded myself that I have run that last mile of the route many times on my own – I fought to keep a hold on it and barely managed to do so. I felt like absolute shit when I crossed the finish line, though I did manage to do it running and with a 69 second PR.  But not happy at all about it.

Had I made better decisions about training on Friday, I probably would have had a much different run Saturday. I get to own that. Phhfffft. Probably the last 10k of the season too. *sigh*

In comparison – I ran 6 miles last night with the running group. Probably 6.1-ish since my Garmin is a little conservative. We were working intervals, so a 1.8 mile warm-up, 3 loops around a block, then 1.8 miles back. Including stop signs, traffic lights, bad sidewalks, 3 lazy water stops where we actually took time to chat between loops. Ya know – a lot of time wasting opportunities – where I never stopped my Garmin clock. And I finished that run in only 5 seconds more than the Cure run. 

Saturday’s run = not good. Last night’s run = quality mileage.