MarathonMaiden's Blog

September 20, 2010

I Made It

Filed under: Race Report — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 08:04

First of all: thanks to all the heartfelt congrats and wicked nice thing y’all said yesterday.  Maybe it was the endorphins but I smiled and laughed on all of them and teared up on some as well!  You guys are so supportive and nice!  You totally know how to make a girl feel good too 🙂

And now what you’ve been waiting for!

I really wish this song had gotten bigger than it did.  Because I am still a fan.  A huge fan. Like I’m smiling big watching this and listened to it the entire time I wrote this post.  Or I could still be on a high from the race  😀

So by now you’ve probably already seen my quickie update from yesterday where I said my watch time was 20:01.94. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a fantastic time.  But I just had my eyes on something bigger — or faster as the case may be.

Which according to my


official time I did hit it. Thank you very much 🙂

I was 206/5977 and 23/1974 in my division (Women’s Open 34 and under)

For those of you who are not as mathematically inclined as I that is top 3.4% overall and top 1.2% division.

Yes I’ve been smiling ever since they posted it.

Now let’s back up.

Pre-Race (I always take forever to set up the actual race hahah!)

The morning started by me waking up on my own and to a really pleasant morning: the temp at the start was probably mid-to-upper 60s and the sun was SHINING bright.  1115 start time + living in a small city = no early wake up calls.  I got to eat a leisurely breakfast and do some work.  Since I had been so scared (not totally terrified but more than a little nervous) I set about the apartment doing some research stuff for some things that I’m planning in the future (which — tangent — might just be the BEST thing about not being in school).  I basically was trying to make the day as “normal” as possible.

If only because I had two schools of thought on how the race was going to go.  Despite anxiety dreams on both Friday and Saturday night, in which people were telling me that I’d fail, that I couldn’t run well etc., I did think I had a shot at doing really well.  Some of you had thrown around the sub-20.  I’m not going to lie and say that it wasn’t something that I disregarded as out of this world.  But, like most races, I thought it was either going to go REALLY well or REALLY poorly.

I warmed up for about 3.5 miles.  Maybe a bit much but I really didn’t feel my legs “click” until I started doing my strides around mile 2.5.  After a mile of that, which was on the last mile of the course, I made my way to the starting line.  I was happy I chose to run on the course but it definitely brought back memories of how hilly Providence is.  AKA the final quarter mile was uphill.  And not just a gentle uphill: like UPHILL.  But at least now the fact that it was there was fresh in my mind.

Since I registered the day before and NOT online I was a really high bib number.  And since this is such a large race they put people in corrals according to said bib number.   I remembered from last year that bib numbers correlated to the approximate time you say you’ll finish when you fill out the online application.  Since I was shooting for a fast race I headed toward the front of the pack.  One good thing about this being a big race is that, the closer it got to gun time, the less people were checking bib numbers.  So I did get up closer to the front.

After about 5 minutes of a wait (while an announcer introduced famous runners that were there — like Joan Benoit Samuelson, Sarah Hall and Molly Huddle who is a local and the 2010 winner and I think the announcer said the current 5k American record holder? I guess this race is a big deal?!) the gun went off.

The bad thing about big races is that the start always is awful.  I felt stifled and ended up running on the outside of the pack which, when you take turns into account, probably added some distance to my race. But here’s the splittage breakdown (according to my watch) and some commentary from what I can remember during the race


Mile 1: 6:33

Not bad at all when you consider all the weaving I had to do.  I never found a rhythm because there were too many runners around! Normally this wouldn’t annoy me (because I’m a longer distance gal and there’s plenty of time to make up that stuff there) but in a 5k I need all the advantages I can get.  I do remember thinking, as I passed the mile marker, gahhh there’s still 2 more?! And then a few moments later holy #$%@! It’s really 2.1 miles more!

Mile 2: 6:25

This was probably the most painful mile.  It was the fastest but I think it was tough because from about mile 1.5 to 2.5 I was picking it up then slowing it down then picking it up.  My mind wandered A LOT during this mile too.  I was thinking about anything and everything.  Some race related but mostly not. Which is weird that it ended up being my fastest split.

Mile 3: 6:31

I got to see some cute middle/high school girls dressed in bumblebee costumes somewhere during this mile.  It lifted me a little (especially since I had passed them during my warmup and they cheered for me then!) From mile 2 to 3 I kept thinking about how I had run this portion of the race during the warm-up and kept thinking that the end had to be near. But in a 5k, and at this point in a 5k, it’s not.

My legs definitely threatened to shut down but the thought of passing other runners (another perk to a big race!) kept me going.  I could actually feel my legs being sore.  I guess this is a good sign that I was running fast because I’ve never gotten this feeling in a race before.

last .1: 0:33 (5:30 pace?!)

I hit mile 3 with my watch saying 19:29.  I freaking took off.  I wanted that sub-20 sooooooooooooo badly at this point.  The harder I pushed the more I thought my legs were going to collapse and I honestly thought I was in danger of vomiting right there on the race course!  I didn’t of course but I’m not going to lie: it could have happened.

CVS Caremark Downtown 5k: 20:01.94 (according to my watch) which is a 6:27 pace. And according to official results I ran a 19:59 which is a 6:26 pace

Post Race:

After the race I remember wanting to puke.  Like I know I joke about it but I think this is the first time it was actually in danger of happening.  I walked and got some water and then somehow I ended at the end of the racing area.  I’m not going to say I blacked out (because I never have and I think if I had I would have ended up in the medical tent. Another good thing about big races is that there are tons of medical people around so I’m sure if anything serious had gone down I’d have been in good hands) but I don’t really have a recollection of the 10-15 minutes after I crossed the finish line. I do know that I ate a banana and a package of trail mix as evidenced by the trash I held in my hand.

Then I headed home and waited in agony for official race results to be posted.  Agony.

Overall Thoughts

My plan to go out hard and hold it (which actually I stole from Lacey who is my coach and running partner in crime here!) worked.  I went out hard and didn’t falter (although I really don’t run 5k races so to me the paces being all within an 8 second range seems good. Yes?).  Yes I wish I had gone out harder or at least not felt like I was doing the whole slow-down-speed-up routine in the middle.  Especially since I was able to kick that last .1 miles at such a blistering pace! And considering the speed session I had been doing were around that pace.

As far as my official time is concerned I spent the large majority of Sunday trying to convince myself that running a 20:01.94 was good and okay.  Once I saw my official time I was literally screaming and jumping all around my lovely apartment.  Crazy? Maybe.  But it just felt SO GOOD!

Whew.  That was long and since I ran it by myself I don’t have any pictures.  And by now I’ve probably posted all my racing pictures in the past! Whoops.  I know I love pictures in posts so I feel bad.  Hopefully my racing made up for it?! 😛

But this is a picture of the area where the course is.  Which was really nice, despite being uphill at the end.

Thanks google images

And, I think that I should say that this race is incredibly well organized and if you’re ever in the area next fall you should check out this race.  I ran this race last year as my debut 5k and if I made it my second 5k ever then you know if must be good. Plus, since CVS is the sponsor, the stuff they give in the race packet bags is really nice — and actually useful.  I got a toothbrush, face wash, almonds and trail mix, allergy tablets, sunscreen and air foam inserts just to name a few. And a hideous orange technical shirt.  It’s actually more burnt-sienna, but hey, I shouldn’t have gotten a technical t-shirt as I registered race day (those were reserved for the first 5,000 racers).  The non-tech ones were a nice red.  Oh well.

Moral of this post (because I got sidetracked in the last paragraph):

Clearly I am a faster runner than I give myself credit for. And it might still take a while to get used to changing my mindset.  Butttttt This is exciting. The Tufts 10k is MINE 😀

September 19, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 11:15


So I’m writing this Saturday afternoon (on my balcony 8) ) in anticipation of the 5k on Sunday. I’m scheduling this post for the time the gun is supposed to go off on Sunday because I’ve done it before and it just feels symbolic to do so somehow.  Maybe I’m weird.  Who knows. So I know many of you will read this after I’ve finished running.  After all it doesn’t take *that* long to run a 5k.  At least that’s the hope for me.

Yes you read that right: I am registered and going for it.

I decided to suck it up and spent the money on the race.  Timing wise, I may not be the most trained for this race. There are basically 5k races every weekend from now until the end of October so I could have waited and gotten a bit more speed work under my belt buttttt the way I see it is that I want a gauge of how the Tufts 10k is going to go.  Because as much as I haven’t trained for ANYTHING post-Boston this 10k is the closest thing to a goal race that I have.

And I want to kick ass at it.  Therefore anything after this week between now and then doesn’t give me enough time to re-focus for Tufts if I’m not doing the things I need to be doing to run well in it.

Plus I had an awful anxiety dream about this 5k on Friday night.  Like really awful.  I almost backed out of heading to registration on Saturday because of it.  I woke up sweating and shaking and feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest! But then I decided to take on the challenge and entered.

It’d be silly to say I’m not nervous.  But I think I can do it.

I was going to post a picture of being being bamf.  But I had a hard time deciding which one to put up 😀

So I decided this song is kickass (and major blast from the past!) and, while not about running, is going to be my theme


As self-serving as this next quote is (because I was the one who said it hahah) it’s really what I’m going to try and live  out

I don’t know how obvious it is or how clearly it comes across in my blogging but I race to race. I don’t sign up to “have fun”. I sign up so I can run hard enough to want to puke my guts out when I cross the finish line.

Let’s hope for some near puking action! But not actual puking because that would be wayyyyy gross. And I’m a lady. Duh.

A throw back to my Philly trip over the summer. I like this picture because A) I look classy and b) this garden reminds me of Versailles. Stunning view!

But I’m hoping that after the race I look slightly more like this:

Looking good? Finishing strong? Wanting to puke? Yes. Yes. And HECK YES.

September 9, 2010

Give Me Speed. How Fast Can You Go.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 17:30

Any takers as to what song that the title’s from?! 😉

Apparently I have it in my head that I’m doing a 5k.  Of course I need to find the money for it.  This might mean staking out a streetcorner for the next week or so.  But hey, a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do to race.

And that includes speed work.  It’s no secret that I don’t think of myself as a particularly fast runner.  Sure I think that my half time was rocking from this weekend but I guess I really mean that I don’t think of myself as a short distance (aka fast) racer.  I was never on any cross country team and my specialties in track were 100m and 200m distances.  So 5k? I’ve only done ONE.  Not too shabby there but I really didn’t know what I was doing.

Still don’t really.  Which is why I emailed  Lacey yesterday to get her take on what I should do to prep for a 5k in a week and a half.  Here’s what she said:

warm up with a couple of miles (and try to get the biggest hills out of the way) and find a relatively flat, but rolling hills/small hills are fine stretch where you know what is 1 mile, and 2 miles. I woud run 1 mile and shoot for 6:45. If you feel good, go right into the second mile and shoot for another 6:45. that would be your goal. of course if you can run faster than that you should 🙂 push yourself, but be able to do it for 2 miles.

I liked the idea of this workout.  Granted only doing 2 fast miles? The last time I was in training I was banging out multiple miles in the form of repeats or tempos.  But I was going to trust the plan to get me through.

Just so we’re clear here is what I was planning to do:

  • 3.7 mile warm up (in order to get to my speed area with minimal hills)
  • 2 X 1 mile continuous
  • 2.5 mile warm down

And I want to apologize for any time I have scoffed at a 2 X whatever continuous run when I would be saying “why not just say X miles?” Apparently the goal is to go the second time HARDER than the first, therefore being two separate things.  Because that’s what I did today and it was HARD.

Here’s what went down:

  • 3.7 mile warm up @ 9:04
  • 2 X 1 mile fast @ 7:03, 6:44
  • 1 mile recovery @ 8:23
  • 1 mile fast @ 6:20
  • 2.8 mile warm down @ 8:23

Total: 10.5 miles @ 8:13

Although I SWEAR that my warm down was actually 3.3 miles and giving me a total of 11 for the morning.  But apparently mapmyrun disagrees. Oh well.

First I want to say that all my post-race soreness is gone.  Well maybe 97.68% of it.  I’m really not feeling banged up the way I did the first few days post-race.  I had asked Lacey when I should do this workout too and she said that I could try Thursday and then again on Sunday.  Then take it easy before the race.  So the soreness was gone and I went for it (that goes for quads AND shins.  I think some people mistakenly thought that my shin pain from Boston training was back.  It’s not.  All I was feeling was the effects of a hard effort in the race).

In case you couldn’t tell I’m not the kind of person who just sits around and waits for things.  As much as I dreaded the hardness of the workout I wasn’t going to avoid it either. So Thursday it was going to be.

And with this song in my head too.   I ❤ it.  Apropos for letting go and doing some darn fast running:

Now onto my thoughts of the first speedwork session I have done since….Boston? I can count the 5M race I did on the 4th of July but still, it’s been awhile.

Here’s what I think: I need my warm up to be progressive.  I don’t think I really increased the pace over those warm up miles. The distance didn’t really bother me as I think that ~2-3 miles is perfect for warming up.  And 3.7 happened to be the distance between my apartment and where I wanted to do the speedy stuff.

But since I think I stayed pretty slow throughout — I’d have liked to see the average for that portion be closer to 8:45-8:50 — the first part of the first mile was getting me acquainted with speed.  And with it only being a mile that’s no good.  Icould tell because it was HARD and HURT to go that fast despite it being relatively flat (maybe a slight uphill but nothing noticeable while running it). 

But my second mile clearly was decent because after seeing 7:03 for the first mile (and the goal was to keep it at 6:50 or faster) I was determined to get faster.  Come hell or high water. And I did it of course and there was a mega hill at the very end.  I felt like dying!  But I powered through it and seeing that my split was 6:44 made me smile and NOT vomit.  My legs felt like absolute jello but I turned around and started jogging so I didn’t end up collapsing.

Because my first mile was awful  I decided to take the first mile of the speed route I just ran as recovery (and wooooot to running fast meaning good recovery paces! 8:23?!) and then bang out a HARD last mile.  Which I did. I kept telling myself to push hard because it was *only* one mile hahahah.  But it worked because I came up with a 6:20 mile!!

And then I warmed down, which felt slower than it actually was although I didn’t feel like it was a hard effort. Good feeling for a warm down.

So I’m not quite sure how I feel about it overall.  I’m pleased with miles 2 and 3 of the hard stuff but going from a 6:44 pace to a 6:20 pace after a recovery mile signals to me that I can’t pace myself right. Yes I love that everything gets faster but each mile split was 15-20 seconds faster than the previous.  To me that’s a bit too much! Or at least I’m a terrible judge of pacing. I just don’t have that internal mechanism some people have (or a garmin but that’s a different story.  And I may be walking a different street for that 😉 )

Oh no I didn't just say that 😉

According to Lacey I did rock the workout (she’s now officially my coach hah!) and that I should be really happy with how I did.  So I will be because she told me to be.  I think all the doubt I have is because 5k racing is not something I’m used to doing so I have no benchmark for what to expect.  Even when I ran that 5k (the one that I linked to above) I never trained for it.  I didn’t do any specific workouts for it.  I just had my summer training for a half under my belt.

Funny how I’m in a similar situation now.  Except I didn’t training for the half I just ran.  Oh well.  I’m hoping that good things come to me for this one too!

So the plan is for me to do this workout again on Monday.  I’m kind of scared for it.  But the good kind of scared 😀

September 20, 2009

A PR’s a PR, right?

Filed under: Race Report — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:55

So I’m not really sure where to begin with this. I guess I’ll start at the beginning.  That’s always a good place right?

The original plan: run with some friends, have fun ( and kick that punkass kid’s ass too).

Somewhere between yesterday afternoon and this morning every single person who was going to go with me bailed.  Yup, every. last. one.  So I had to revamp my plan, not to mention figure out how to get there as my ride opted out of going to as well as nix the picture idea because there was no one to take pix and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my camera in my car.  So right there? Not such a good start to the morning.

It was made a little better because of the fact that it was 44* when I got up. Since I thought I was going with a big group of ppl I slept until 0800 (the race started at 1115).  If I had known I was driving myself I might have left a little earlier as parking was sure to be a mad house.  Ate my standard pre-race breakfast: pb & banana on an english muffin with a big bowl of cheerios and the remaining banana slices.  Yummy.  At least in theory, because I was now anxious about going to the race by myself I wasn’t really able to enjoy it.

So there was little traffic and decent music on the ride down there.  By some miracle I got one of the last free parking spaces by the State House.  I picked up my t-shirt (no smalls left boo! AND only the first 1000 pre-registered participants got race bags — LAME) and headed back to my car to drop off my backpack and take off my warm clothes. By this time the weather had warmed up to about 60*.

Alright so long wind up to the race itself.  I warmed up about 45 minutes before the start.  I jogged for about a half hour or so and then did some strides.  By the time I got to my corral (2nd one baby! They did it on “projected times” and I had listed mine as a 22 mins) there was about 5 minutes until the gun.  Perfect timing. Not to mention I was lightly sweating and feeling good and also nervous. This is also the location where I ran my first (and only so far) marathon last spring and there were some good memories related to that.

The gun went off and it took me about 30 -45 seconds to cross the starting line.  Grrrrr. I mean, with lots of ppl there it was a very fun atmosphere but it made the first 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile really congested and I was weaving in and out of ppl. In all honestly, I think I ran more like a 3.2 or 3.3 mile race with all the in-and-outs I was doing to keep my pace.

At first my legs felt kind of tired and I thought “holy moly I think my warm up was too aggressive and the 10.8 miles I ran yesterday were a bad idea”.  Only more explicit.  I am a trucker/sailor trapped in a 22 year old female’s body.  And yes, I did run 10.8 miles yesterday.  It was cool and nice and my legs felt great.  At the time.

I don’t know what my 1 mile split was (I don’t know if there was no marker or if I’m just blind) but my 2 mile split was (on my watch) 12:42.  Holy moly! I was flying! Unfortunately my realizing how fast I was going caused a little crash and burn.  I think I’ve blocked out what I hit the 3 mile marker at because I know I looked but I cannot for the life of me remember.  The last .1 was uphill and it sucked.  A lot.

[Edit: Interesting to think about that after my half 2 weeks ago I wrote a post-race post about not going fast enough at the beginning and being too conservative.  Clearly not the case here.  Must find happy medium!]

So if you stick through all that whining that comprised this race report you deserve the stats:

Final time (official chip time): 21:32.  6:56 pace.  76/1810 in the F0139 age group — which for all you non math ppl is top 4.2%. 431/5365 (top 8.03%).

When you look at the final stats, it’s not so bad.  I mean, I just lost my 5k virginity here ppl!

But I can’t help but feel disappointed.  Even though I claimed my goal time was 22 mins I was hoping for less.  Granted, I did go faster than that but I was hoping for smoking fast. I also don’t really have anything to compare this too.  And not just compare vs myself.  I honestly have no idea where 21.32 fits in the grand scheme of running? Good? Average? Bad?

I think a lot of my mood also is dependent on how all my so-called friends backed out and I was left going alone.  Don’t get me wrong, racing is fun even when traveling by myself but a 5k isn’t really justification for me to go to a race myself.  Especially since the atmosphere was so fun and positive there.  And there were so many people.  Having someone there to share it with would have been really nice. So I can’t really tell if my disappointment is in the race itself or the treatment of my friends.

Since I didn’t have anyone to hang with after the race I didn’t bother cooling down in Providence.  I drove home, ate lunch with practically the only friend who I can depend on to keep their word and then went for a head-clearing cool down.  I know that it was, like, 2.5 hours after I had finished but I felt I needed to run again.  My legs were a little achy at the beginning but by the end all the gunk in them was shaken out.

And woah.  Long ass post. Thanks for reading it all (assuming you did and didn’t just scroll all the way down).

Just as a final note, I’m totally not fishing for compliments here (which I was accused of when talking about my disappointment to someone).  I know a lot of you are type-A’s too so I’m sure you can understand what I’m going through.  As the post is titled: a pr is a pr.  Plus the disappointment in this race should give me fuel to go at it harder for the next one 🙂

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