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

19:59

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

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 7, 2010

I’ve Got The Magic In Me

Filed under: Race Report, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 08:00

aka Elijah’s Race aka the Swanzey Covered Bridges Half Marathon

2010 Edition

Thanks for all the kind words on my quick recap after the race.  Y’all are great and I’m glad you had faith that I’d run well.  Be still my heart! 🙂

So I guess by now you guys know that I spent the long weekend up in NH with Lacey doing fun things like racing.  So I’ll just jump into the race report?

Since we were staying really close to the race I got to get up at 0715 on race day! It felt really good to be able to sleep.  Because A) I’ve been a bit sleep deprived lately and B) race day.  I ate a light pre-race meal and then we were off to register and race. We listened to this, which was in my head all 13.1 miles.  It was fantastic.  And no, that’s not sarcasm.

Annoyingly I can’t get the official video.  Oops.  But the song is still awesome regardless!

We wandered about the start / registration area a bit and while Lacey did some dynamic stretching in the gym (at the school where the start was) I contemplated what my race strategy would be.  It’s obviously not a secret that I wasn’t “trained” for this race.  Sure I have a bunch of miles under my belt butttt does that mean I was ready? I certainly had hoped so.

(Sidenote: I think the fact that I hadn’t trained for this race made it so that I could run it well.  I definitely have shown up to…I want to say all…my races overtrained.  Not the case here.  It was just my body)

The weather was really amazing for running that morning too.  Hurricane Earl didn’t hit us, like, at all.  But the rain left FALL weather.  The temp at the start was probably 55*.  Ah-maz-ing.

My MO for races is to start out slowish and then progressively get faster.  Lacey’s MO is to go out HARD and then hold on.  I opted to go with her strategy today.  I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to hold a really quick pace from the get-go but it was worth a shot.

I mean, as of last Wednesday of last week I wasn’t sure if I was going to even be racing this race or not.

The gun went off and we took off FAST.  Like way fast.

Yay first bridge 🙂

Here are the splits with a little commentary:

Mile 1- 6:56 (whoa there!)

Mile 2- 7:29 (on a dirt path — definitely the best part of the race. Part of me wishes that we could run the race backward and END with the path).

Mile 3- 7:23 (just trying to keep up with Lacey — my thought process was keep to her because it’s easier to keep up a hard pace than try to make up ground)

Mile 4- 7:07 (off the dirt path and onto the scary highway)

Mile 5- 7:14 (the hills start here, and continue through mile 11. Pretty basically a really mentally hard stretch!).

Mile 6- 7:05 (this is where Lacey and I split up.  Major props to her for pacing me SO WELL and getting me started to just go! And check out how the rest of her race went HERE.  Not a spoiler per se but she did pretty effing awesome too.  A real bamf!)

Mile 7- Unknown but likely somewhere between 7:00 and 7:30 (I tagged along with some guys that were running fast and clearly were good runners.  We all pretty much took turns leading and lagging over the course of now until the end.)

Mile 8- 7:13

Mile 9- 7:24

Mile 10- 7:00 (Really thinking a PR was possible and a great one at that.  Before this point I still was doubting.)

Mile 11- 7:08 (Ouch my quads really hurt.  Like a lot.  Tomorrow is going to suck)

Mile 12- 7:12 (ummmmm hello major hill.  But I managed to power up it.)

Mile 13.1-6:55 (I’ve got the magic in me. I TOOK OFF)

Hello finish line! And despite looking pretty good, if I do say so myself, my first words when I crossed the finish line were "OMG I want to puke"

A PR by 7 minutes and 59 seconds.  If I had known I would have hauled a little more ass to get an even 8 minute PR!

  • 4th Woman overall (out of an unknown amount)
  • 3rd Just re-checked online and FIRST in my age group (out of 15)
  • 32nd place overall (out of 201)

(stats according to what was posted when we left the race) Apparently I found out after later that night that I WON.  But Lacey and I left after thinking neither of us placed or won anything.  Oops.  I feel like such an ass hahah. And an result reading loser because apparently double dipping does NOT occur with races and therefore the women who placed top 3 in the overall category do not place in the AG ones.

I guess if I really did win then I get a prize. I like prizes 🙂

Lacey awarded me one instead (edit: and we both emailed the race director who is WICKED nice and we’ll both be receiving our prizes shortly.  Courtesy of pick up by Lacey’s mom. Thanks so much!)

I guess I won one round of mini-golf at TwinkleTown!

But race thoughts:

So my splits were kind of all over the place.  But the course is really hilly so I’m not worried about it / didn’t worry about it. Of course the average like I said yesterday was 7:10 for the whole 13.1 miles 😀

We had driven the course the night before which was both good and bad.  Bad because I realized just how long 13.1 miles is.  And that hill at mile 12? Definitely is not present when driving because neither Lacey nor myself felt that it was there despite remembering it from years past. But good because I was mentally prepared for that looooooooooong rolling hill stretch from miles 5 to 11.  It really was tough and hard to stay “on”

As far as my racing strategy went I’m very pleased with it.  I’ve always been a self-doubter to some degree despite y’all and others trying to tell me otherwise.  So I race that way I guess. I go out slower because I don’t want to crash and burn and I want to get faster over the course of the whole course.

Apparently no matter what pace I start at I go faster throughout.  Something for me to think about.

I also think that I might have been able to go harder.  Sure I wanted to vomit when I stopped but I think I could have held that pace for another couple miles.  Maybe that’s just me being on cloud nice post-race though hahah.  But my legs don’t actually really hurt either.  I still consider myself a racing newbie so I’m not sure if that’s good or not.  But no real soreness.  I did ice down my shins after the race because they were bothering me a little from the hard effort (when was the last time I raced that hard?!) but nothing really says to me that I ran an 8 minute PR. Go figure.

After the race we chatted a bit with some of the other runners, congratulated those that we “knew” (Lacey actually knew them but I just did from tagging along with them this race) and then jumped into the local pond.  It wasn’t really that cold but it felt good regardless and then we headed back to Lacey’s parent place (where we were staying over the weekend) to eat lots of pancakes, go apple picking, mini-golfing, drinking champagne while icing our legs then celebrating at a bar.

Whew. Here are the highlights in pictures.

On the wagon out to the field.

Reeeeeeeeeeeeach! And yes those are the socks I wore.  Clearly I wasn’t thinking when I headed up to NH and didn’t bring pants.

Yay apples 🙂

FYI: I am a terrible mini-golfer. I think I’m too impatient for it.

I love us. And celebrating.

A very full and fun weekend!

September 5, 2010

Quick Race Check-In

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:56

Hey all! I’m still in NH with Lacey and we just got back from the race and brunch.  I’m not going to do a full recap right now as we’re off to go apple picking.  But I’m so pumped about my race and time that I need to share something now.  And Lacey told me to haha.

I ran a 1:33:57!!

Basically a PR by exactly 8 minutes. 

My legs are going to be soooooooooore tomorrow.  But in that “I totally kicked major ass” way 8)

The race was HARD and INTENSE but we both went out hard and strong and I was able to hold onto the pace for the whole time.  My splits were between 7:00 and 7:20 the whole time.  My fastest was the very first mile at 6:56 and the slowest was 7:28 for mile 2. But overall it was a 7:10!!

4th place woman.  3rd in my age group. Hooooollllleeerrrrr.

It hasn’t hit me yet how fast I went.  Kind of surreal.  We jumped into the lake afterward and just now finished up a “Protien Pancake” breakfast where I just ate 6 pancakes with peanut butter, 4 sausages and about a quart of berries.  I think I more than deserved it.  A most excellent post-race celebratory meal 😉

I’ll be back when I get back from vacay with a full recap (and hopefully some pictures) but we’re off to go mini-golfing and APPLE PICKING.  With champagne later of course because we’re celebrating a great race.

Have a great rest of your Labor Day weekend y’all 🙂

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