Archive for the ‘5k’ Category

So, as I was waiving a white flag at a huge hill on Erie Avenue last night in the sweltering heat, it occurred to me that I had never updated about how the Hyde Park Blast 4 miler went. Erie being the same miserable, uphill S-curve that consensus has is the worst part of the HPB route.  Also, that I was being a lazy fuck about updating this place.  I’ve done two runs since then – so, as a result of my posting laziness lately, you get served a triple-header! Look at all the words!

HYDE PARK BLAST:  Um, HPB went bad? For the most part. And I think part of the reason I haven’t written about HPB is because I’ve been alternating between trying to figure out what the hell happened and trying to create amnesia about it. As a tip – you cannot create amnesia by drinking lots of Gatorade. I guess there’s this pesky thing called rum that you need to put in it and I don’t have any.  Stupid absentee rum. Rummm…I digress…and I’m totally screwing with you ’cause I don’t even like rum. Back to moving my ass –

I’d done the route twice in the weeks before the run, and actually been pretty proud of how those two runs had gone. I’d found an approach to Erie that was working. I felt good about it. Cautiously optimistic even. But then the race started and the Garmin data shows that things just went way wonky.  I sped up where I’d slowed down before, and slowed down where I’d sped up before. It was like it was Opposite of Good Running Day – an utter disaster. And I have no idea why. Okay, a little idea, but it took me awhile to get to it.  The only thing I can think of – which may be the reason why on the whole my training runs go better than my races BY FAR – is that there are other people in races.

BA-DUM-BUM!

So basically, I blame the other runners. What? You didn’t think my crappy run was going to be my fault, did you?

Pi-shaw to your pesky logic.

Hear me out. HPB is a HUGE community race – they cap it at 3000 runners & usually sell out. And there are tons of strollers and dogs participating in the race too. TONS. More than in any other local race I can think of. TONS.  And I was VERY VERY VERY distracted by them.  I distinctly remember this super fluffy white dog as I was going up Erie hill – and instead of thinking to myself  ‘shoulders back, neck long, even breathing, even stride’ – which is what I’d practiced with – I found myself thinking things like  “Holy Fuck Lady! It’s 90-f-ing-degrees and you’re making that dog run with a full coat! Ya know, you CAN shave it short for Summer! That thing looks like it’s going to die!”. So see, distracted. First mile went great. Last mile went great. The middle – meh. Distracted.  I ended with a 1:09 PR for that specific run (which set my best run pace for all of 2011), but not a pace PR for this year. I was 18 seconds/mile over my best pace and not happy about it.

Can you keep a secret? Part of the reason the last mile went great – it was because I saw a girl in my running group pass me who has never passed me before. And instead of thinking good for her, I went to the ‘OH HELL NO!‘ place.  So I played leap frog on the route with her for a tiny bit, then dusted her in the last half-mile.  But that’s not a very nice thing to think, so SHHHHH! K?

In hindsight, I think the dog/stroller/distraction thing is what is making me come to the realization that I don’t enjoy racing all that much. I LOVE running with my group, but strap a chip timer on me and I just flake – and I think a huge part is the distraction. With group – we all know the rules – move right to slow down or walk, pass on left,  make room. But in a race setting, particularly those that draw a lot of walkers, it’s CHAOS.  Getting pinned behind strollers or walkers that are taking up a whole lane with their pack. Swinging wide around leashed dogs and small children. CHAOS. Chaos doesn’t jive with my nature very well. I like calm. Running group is calm. Familiar. So, that’s something for me to think about and decide how much work I want to put into fixing my race approach, or if I just want to forget about racing for awhile. Ponderances.

For the first time this year, we went back for the party afterward – which includes an elite runner 5k and criterium cycling races of different classes – ending with an elite criterium race. WOW WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWWOW!!!!! Those were SO COOL to watch. I will be going back again to see those. I guess there was about a 1-mile course with several 90-degree turns at intersections – which the elites were SLOWING DOWN to 27-mph to make the curves. They were topping 40 mph on the short straightaways and the pace-car was looking stressed trying to stay a good distance in front of them and not careen off into the crowd. AMAZING!! I didn’t think I would ever be interested in watching cycling, but damn! that looks cool!

GREENDALE 5K:  For a small, community run, I have to say, this was a pretty well organized event.  For 3.1 miles, they had 4 water stops and a misting station at the end – perfect for a 90+ degree, sunny run. At the outset, they requested repeatedly that all strollers and walkers stay in the back – and PEOPLE ACTUALLY PAID ATTENTION, though I did hear a small grumble or two from stroller-bearers.  This was my second run in a 12-hour period out in the heat – and the first run I’d run HARD with the training group – so I had NO expectations from myself on this one other than to finish. My boxing studio was one of the sponsors, and I knew one of the girls working with the organizers. I was just there to show support. First mile and a half felt labored, then the heat got to me. I intervaled for a bit, and then just walked until I decided to jog it in at the end. Nothing too noteworthy. Good little race. If I were going to change anything, I’d move the start time to 8am (instead of 9am) to try and cut out some of the July heat – and as it was on July 4th, I would have had someone sing The Star-Spangled Banner at the start.

COLOR ME RAD: LOVED IT! LOVED IT! LOVED IT! Much like the Tap ‘n Run, this is one you do for enjoyment and people watching, not time.  In fact, it’s not even chip-timed. I’d say it’s overpriced if I hadn’t gotten a groupon on my registration to cut the fee to $20.  If you’re thinking of doing one, keep your eyes open on your local groupon or ‘livingsocial’ website. I think I picked mine up 2 months before the run – and I know there was another discount offer about a month before.  So you can probably find a deal on it if that’s important to you. 

My friend Nashville & I went together – and honestly, I think this is the run I have liked best all year so far.  Nashville is WAY faster than I am, but she was sore – so she kept pace with me and we jogged the whole thing together. We haven’t run side-by-side in years, so that was awesome! No dogs. Not too many strollers.  LOTS LOTS LOTS LOTS of walkers – but chatting with Nash kept…well, really anything at all from bothering me with the crowd chaos. There were water stations. It was only 80-ish degrees at the start. I say ONLY 80-ish, because the Midwest has been in a nasty heat snap and we haven’t had many days under 90-degrees in the past few weeks.  There was one guy running in tighty-whities w/a jock strap over it, and a wife-beater on top – and all I could think to myself is “I don’t want to see what happens when his ass crack starts to sweat and all that color starts to run”…because my brain is a little broken sometimes. The people throwing the blue cornstarch were coated with it from head to toe – so there was an entire station of Smurfs. Color bombing at the end was really cool to see and I left coated in all the different colors. Also, I was pretty impressed with how well everything washed off of me.  A little longer shower than normal, but it all went away. Good time.

The K4K RGI River Run 5k took place about 2 weeks ago, I just haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet. Mainly because I just didn’t feel like it, but also because it seemed like every single post was starting to be a race recap and part of me was like “look at me go! Wahoo!” and the other part was all “another race recap, seriously don’t you do anything else?”. Wait – that was the chorus of voices in my head that represents you guys, not me. You guysssss need some nicer representation. I’m just sayin’.

On the surface, this run looks like a pretty harmless little 5k – there are 4 bridge crossings, back-and-forth across the Licking River Bridge then over the Taylor-Southgate Bridge and Purple People Bridge that span the Ohio River. Elevation rolls over a 200-250′ range, mostly as a result of ramping on and off the bridges. However, because people don’t tend to plant trees on bridges, there is almost no shade – just a 2 minute little pocket of it somewhere near mile 1 and another 30 second pocket of it almost to mile 3.

It was over 80-degrees at the 9:30am start, with a “real feel” of the flaming fires of hell 95-degrees due to the humidity. These weather conditions are pretty consistent for this race. I don’t know why, but every freakin’ year, hot & sunny. You can tell I’m a runner by the way the words hot & sunny make me frown. Not even a random cloud in the sky. I can’t say any other run I’ve done more than a few times has been so consistent with weather conditions that are absolutely crappy for my body. Weird. And probably cursed.

So if the conditions are so consistently awful, why do I keep doing it? Because I’m cheap. I get a free entry and it’s chip timed. You shouldn’t pass on a free chip-timed run, right? Or at least that’s what I tell myself every year until I see my final chip time, and then I’m muttering ‘it’s free to skip it too, you ninny!’.

One water stop at around 1.5-6. 

I knew from the get-go that this one was going to be a challenge for me based on the conditions, the fact that I have a bad history with this run, and the fact that I seem to have amnesia as to how bad this route is for me. It NEVER goes well for me, and now I’m thinking that since that’s the expectation I have of it, that’s what I get. I had a strategy to deal with it, as I usually do, and as I usually do, I ended up chucking it into the murky depths below the bridge.

With the heat, I went extra slow for the first mile – which was exactly according to the plan – but still felt like I was struggling and just couldn’t get my breath. I was trying to be good and disciplined, and told some running friends at a party later that I was actually proud that “Mile 1 went exactly like I planned it”. To this, Coach Caroline responded with “It should’ve. Mile 1 was the easiest part!”. I heart Coach Caroline. I know her intentions are good but I still want to trip her. Also, I found myself wanting water before I hit the mile 1 marker. That wasn’t good. I was well hydrated going into the run and usually, I don’t really think about water until I get to mile 3 or 4 when I’m out around town. Hmph.

With the struggling, I gave myself permission to walk for a minute at the Mile 1 marker. From there, all the little pep-talkers in my head went on strike, self-discipline went straight out the window and I basically quit the run. And then I saw the worst part of the run – the one my amnesia blocks out completely – where a downhill part of the run meets the worst uphill part of the run – at a 90-degree angle. I hate it when that happens! Especially, since you can’t really adjust your track in a crowd to swing wide and move continuously. It feels like downhill, downhill, downhill. STOP. Oh-my-f’ing-god-UPHILLLLLLImaydie. And every muscle in your lower back gets cranky simultaneously until they kick your glutes to wake up and pitch in again. When I hit that turn, I know why I can never remember much of the race or the feel of the route – BECAUSE I’VE BLOCKED THE PAIN.

I did do a bit more running on the route – probably more than I’m giving myself credit for – but my ending pace time was the worst time I’ve had since this same run last year. And I shit-talked myself the entire way to the finish line – including a few “i suck at this” and “maybe I just need to not race anymore” statements. I couldn’t poke my happy place with a very long stick from where I was in my head. Sometimes that’s the breaks. I’m just glad it’s over with.

All that being said, I will say this is one impressively organized little 5k! Everything is laid out well and the water station is well manned. They have some serious sponsorship for the goody bag – free appetizer at P.F. Chang’s, free Chick-fil-A sandwich, 3 different bottles of lotion (bigger than sample sizes), a $10 off $50 at the local running store, and a few other things. ANNND, they have First Watch – a local breakfast joint – serve waffles after the run, with a live local band. ANNND Starbucks handing out coffee before the run and cups of ice afterward. ANNND, the bar across the street gives out a coupon for a free hot dog or pretzel and beer or soda immediately after the run! I skipped the waffles, but you know I got my beer & hot dog on with my running buddies afterward! We were all stinky, but the bar had the windows open, so it was okay.

So basically, this one got me again. My bad for not taking it really seriously beforehand again. Note to self – at least go drive this route once before the run so you can remember what you need to do to get it done and plan better.