Monday, May 24, 2010

Medved Lilac 5k 2010!

I did it! I ran an actual race, and finished with a PR!

The race was early, well early for me, with a start time of 8am. This meant I was up by 6 and out the door by 6:30 to meet up with my race buddies at 7. We had quite a pack, My usual Running Buddy, her recent training partner (who's done marathons before!), a friend of mine from college, his 6 months pregnant wife, and me.

I was super nervous before the race. This was my first race, EVER, so I had very little idea of what to expect. Also, I've been running at a relatively slow pace, around 12 minute miles, compared to my Running Buddy's close to 10 min miles, so I was worried about keeping up.

We headed up to the corral, with our two spectators in tow: My running buddy's Hubby (who happens to be my S.O.'s brother) and the marathoner's boyfriend (who is *also* a friend of my S.O.'s family - everyone knows everyone up here!) They both had cameras in tow, so we hammed it up pre-race.

Then it was go time. It was weird because I don't remember a starting gun or announcement, just everyone started moving slowly forward. The mob picked up pace and I fell into step behind my Running Buddy. We got separated from my college friend and his wife rather quickly by the crowd. I've never run in a pack that dense before, it was odd. It's hard to tell exactly how fast you're running until the pack starts to stretch out.

The group of us: My running buddy, the marathoner, and me, spent the first mile dodging around slower runners, and generally keeping a fast 10 min mile pace. I felt good, but it was a slight downhill, and I was still worried about how I'd handle the last part of the race.

Close to mile two we passed a friend of ours, who is a super awesome runner, but who was currently out of commission due to a pulled muscle in her hip. She was helping mark the course, she saw and recognized my running buddy and cheered us on as we passed.

Halfway through the course we turned into the uphill. It wasn't a huge hill, but by then it was incredibility muggy out, something I have never dealt with before. I was finding it hard to breathe, and by the time we were near the top of the hill, I found myself gagging and coughing, close to tossing all over the road. Someone who was running by me slowed down to ask if I was ok, and I tried to smile and nod, but I hope they didn't think i was being rude, I was just concentrating so hard on not throwing up.

I was still keeping pace with my Running Buddy, although our Marathoner friend had taken off somewhere near the bottom of the hill. Both of us called a surrender at the top of the hill to learn how to breathe again. I walked for about 30 seconds before deciding I was ok to run again.

I remember thinking the whole race "this isn't that far, this shouldn't be this hard" but each breath felt like it was half water, and I just couldn't seem to fill my lungs. It was tortuous by the end.

When we got to the big flags that had marked the starting line, I realized that we still hadn't crossed the finish line. I turned to my running buddy and said (rather loudly) "Where the F*%k's the finish line?!" Only to spot it a few seconds later a little way further down the road.

Pushing through the finish line took everything I had left in me, which you can see in these two pictures of me and my Running Buddy crossing the finish (Yeah my sunglasses are fly, I know ^_^)

I got our official results this morning: we crossed the finish line with an official time of 33:26, which gave us a pace of 10:47. That is by far a PR for me. I finished 56 in my age group (30-35 for those who care) out of 107, and 714 overall out of a pack of 1079. I can officially say now that I am a mid-pack runner ^_^

After meeting up with my parents, who had watched the race but hadn't seen me pass, we regrouped, and headed to get some food at a local diner. There was much talk about a half marathon that may or may not be in the cards for me in October, and much good food and camaraderie.

It was awesome hanging out and just enjoying the fact that we had just achieved a goal we'd been working towards for months.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A few more runs

Did a couple runs since my last update. I actually got out and ran on Saturday in Prospect Park. We did the loop, with the hill near the end, and then tacked on an extra 1/4 mile for good measure. I started out feeling sluggish, almost like I wasn't going to be able to finish the run, then about halfway through I hit my stride. The hill felt a lot easier, and I kept the pace up even through the "bonus round."

Sunday we walked around the park, but other than that I took the day off. Monday I did Self's "Slim and Sleek Fast" video, which didn't feel like a ton of work when I was doing it, but man was I sore the next day.

Yesterday, we hit the gym. I had an amazing run, which I had to cut short because of the 30 minute time limit when the gym is full. I pushed it a bit, till I hit 3 miles and then a short cool down walk, but no one called me on it so it's all good. After the run I did some ab work and some strength training. Enough that I'm pleasantly sore this morning.

We're getting down to the wire here. Only one more run on the schedule before Race Day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Treadmill Intervals and Getting used to new tech.

Yesterday I had planned on doing random intervals on the treadmill. The plan was to not worry about distance, and instead go for time. Unfortunately my body was uncooperative. My knee was aching due to the weather change even before I got on the treadmill. The ache subsided for a bit during the first part of my run, but partway through it started to intensify. I kept to my plan of doing random intervals, pushing my speed up and dropping it back as I felt like it. When I was close to two miles I realized I was going to have to cut the run short or risk more knee pain. I pushed the pace up slowly to 7.0 (which feels like flying to me) and finished out at two miles.

I did some extra ab work and a few extra weight machines to compensate for cutting my run short. I can really feel the extra strength training this morning!

I'm going to rest my legs for a few days. We're planning on another run in Prospect Park this Saturday, which I'm calling my "long run" since I'm going to tack some extra distance onto the end of it (hopefully.)

I'm slowly getting used to tracking my runs with my Nike+ Sportsband. I love this thing. It's great to know the numbers with certainty, to know exactly how far I'm running, exactly how fast. I'm stumbling a bit with the technology, trying to get all my tracking systems synced up. Right now the hardest to sync has been Mapmyrun which I use to track the distance on my shoes (I've already hit 48 miles on them!) I'm not sure why but it keeps syncing in extra workouts from the Nike+ which I have to then go in and delete. I'm sure I'm just doing something wrong, and I'll figure it out soon.

We're getting down to the wire, race wise. Only three more runs on the schedule before Race Day!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Back to running!

Yesterday I headed to Prospect Park to get back into running after almost two weeks of not running. My S.O. graciously agreed to accompany me, so I ran without headphones. Due to time constraints we started where we entered the park, which left the Hill-o-Doom for near the end of the run. This was a good thing, as the Lilac 5k, which I'm running in on the 23rd, has all the inclines on the second half of the run. Woo hoo.

It was a beautiful day for a run, crisp and clear, with very little wind. It was a little on the cold side for me, but I was comfortable wearing a light running jacket over my usual running gear.

I started out strong, and kept my pace in check for the first mile of the run. I started to feel it in the second mile, and was a little worried how I would feel when we hit the Hill-o-Doom, especially after my doomed running attempt in Maine was thwarted by hills.

By the time we hit the hill, I was definitely feeling my time away from running, but with my S.O. cheering me on, I pushed through to the top of the hill, then dropped my pace way down for a bit to recover.

When we finished the 3.35 mile loop, I was left with a time of 41:42, which works out to an average pace of 4.82 mph. Not bad for having taken almost two weeks off.

The next two weeks will be about increasing my pace and endurance. I'm planning on taking the three days before the race off from exercise, so I go into the race fresh. That leaves me with four runs until the big day. I'm starting to get nervous!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Playing with children

Most of my exercise in the past week and a half while I've been up in Maine has been playing with children. Lifting them, spinning them, tugging them around in a wagon. Not much in the was of cardio, but I'm finding muscles I didn't even know I had.

I did get one run in on Saturday, and let me tell you, there are two things Maine has plenty of, Bugs and Hills. I only ran 2 miles, but I really had to work for those miles.

I'm a little worried about how I'll do over the next couple of weeks leading into the 5k, after almost two weeks of no running, but I don't regret a single minute of time spent up here surrounded by an awesome family. There is nothing so tiring and so amazingly fulfilling as spending the day playing with children.

Tracking Transformation: Where I stand now