September 17, 2016 - Arlington, VA Time: 26:29
A new 5K PR baby!!!!
At pretty much the last minute I decided to come up and visit JJ and run the Clarendon Day 5K. I had been struggling with ankle pain and wasn't sure how this race was going to shake out. Thankfully it's primarily down hill and that morning I don't know I just decided I'd go for it. I mean the worst that could happen is stopping to walk right?
But to back up- so I had an uneventful drive to DC (for a change) and didn't get there too late for dinner. JJ had been nice to pick up my packet so I didn't have to worry about that on race morning. We grabbed dinner from whole foods (yum- things I miss) and then caught up on the couch before passing out to get up early for the race.
Race morning dawned and again wasn't sure how the ankle was going to handle it. Had on an ankle brace so we'll see. I got to meet up with the OiselleDMV team for a quick photo- I was seeing them again after brunch. And then JJ and I did a little warmup while we waited for the race to start. Then we were off! I told her I'd find her at the end or at the car. And then I don't know I decided to go for it. With the first mile and a half downhill I thought if there was ever a chance to break my 2012 5K PR this would be it. I flew down the hills dodging people and trying to maintain speed. I was trying to push hard but still have enough left to get me back up the slight hill at the end to the finish.
My first mile was 8:05! Crazy. I slowed down some after that- as we hit the flatter stretch of the course and it became very humid with no wind. As we caught the turnaround I thought ok it's not much farther just keep pushing. I powered hard as we came across that last uphill and around the corner to the finish. And once I was through the finish gate I realized I'd done it! I'd broken a 4-year old record. FINALLY. Despite the ankle weirdness I'd been having the work I've put in this year has obviously paid off. Now if I could just break the half PR!
I grabbed a water and waited for JJ to finish up- she PR'd as well! A great day for us indeed. :) Then we took all the snacks and headed back to her place for showers. The Oiselle brunch was a few hours later so JJ dropped me off for that while she wandered the rest of the Clarendon Day festivities with Colleen. Meeting the DMV team was so nice (since they are technically my team being in Virginia). We had a yummy brunch- complete with mimosas which I'll recap more in my next post about Bird Meetups.
After brunch I headed out to see JJ and Colleen, grabbed a free beer courtesy of Clarendon Day and wandered around a bit. We even stopped for a little ice cream before heading over to Colleen's to hang for a few. SO nice to see her- miss my DC friends all the time. :( JJ and I drove back to her place and then took a walk down the block to meet up with Bekah Lewis for a yummy taco dinner. It was delicious and hit the spot. And the perfect celebration!
Sunday morning we joined up with a yoga class. Much needed after the race! It was nice to stretch out and I was reminded at how much I like walking places. Gotta get back to city living at some point. And the best part- SMOOTHIE BOWL. I had never really had one- JJ swore by the PBJ bowl so I had to try it and it was AMAZING. I now recreate it at home because it makes me happy.
All in all another wonderful weekend in DC! Til next time!
August 13, 2016 - Vancouver, Canada Time: 2:09:05
So going to recap just the race here as it was redemption for me. The full Vancouver post will be next!
Race morning dawned early (as always) and Wynsor and I got ready to head down to the start line. I have a pretty specific routine on race mornings so I did my usual, ate my food and then we headed down. We weren't checking bags because our hotel was so close to the start but I was carrying my phone along in case I felt like taking any photos.
Now- this race was my redemption from the year prior where I was injured. 2015- the weather was magnificent. A little chilly, overcast, maybe a slight drizzle from time to time but I couldn't run for more than a mile at a time thanks to my hip. I vowed I would return- thinking certainly I could get a PR out of the course. Well. The weather turned against for 2016. Instead of the chilly overcast day- I got a warm, humid, sunny morning. Womp Womp. I still fought like hell but coming up the final miles of the course I knew I wasn't going to hit it. So let's recap what happened.
Race start- we were in the shade, the sun was still coming up, and it was probably in the 60s. A little warm for my taste but I was hoping for the best. I felt good- had taken some quality runs leading up to the race and I thought well I should be able to at least PR. Wynsor and I were starting with the 2:00 group. I was hoping to hang on for as long as possible to that time frame. She and I said goodbye at the beginning having secured a meetup spot since we run different paces. The first few miles were congested as everyone is starting out and trying to find their footing. We had a couple of tiny hills (very tiny) before heading over one of the bridges. Just like the year prior there was a spin class rocking out at the top- fun to watch and jam out to as we ran by. I was feeling good as we rounded the curves along the water trying to maintain a decent pace but not go out too fast.
Everything was going well until about the bridge to Kitsilano. I powered over it the first time and then picked up my speed coming down and up the road but after the turnaround the sun was in my eyes and it was a slow steady uphill back over the bridge. It killed my pace. I tried to pick up my speed but my legs just would not turn over to get my up and over. UGH- I was so frustrated.
FINALLY made it over the bridge. Then it was a steady downhill to put us on the seawall. Redemption I remember thinking! I picked up as much speed as I could handle to try and make up some time. This was around mile 8 as we cruised onto the seawall. It was a little more crowded than I liked so I ended up weaving more than necessary but I managed to hit my paces as we moved around the wall. The views are amazing down there so I tried to take it in as I was hurtling forward. I was keeping an eye on my pace- thinking maybe's there a chance- maybe I could break through this PR stronghold.
We crossed under the bridge and bam- sun in the face, heat and humidity all at once. We still had two miles to go. I was almost out of water. I'd taken my last gel at Mile 9. It was not looking good. I pushed and pushed. Not even taking a moment to enjoy the mermaids along the sidelines. We finally shifted up into the park for the last mile. I was in a dark place at this point- just trying to get to the finish. At least it was shady for a few moments but unfortunately as the course had changed this year I wasn't exactly sure of the finish line. It seemed to go on forever. And in the sun. As we rounded the final edges of the course. At this point I new my A and B goals were not part of the equation and I just wanted to finish the damn thing.
Finally Finally! I got to the finish. My watch says I ran long- I'm sure due to the weaving at the beginning and along the seawall. I finished in 2:09 and some change. Not ideal. The course in great weather would have been a knockout for me- I might have even gotten close to my A goal of sub 2 hours.
Luckily I beat my time from the year prior by 35 mins so we will call that a win. And Wynsor did well too! A new shiny PR for her. I'll continue with a recap of the rest of our weekend soon.
Seawheeze- I still want to break 2 hours with you... not in 2017 but maybe in a couple of years I'll be back.
Blacksburg, VA - Downtown Sundown 5K Time: 28:39
My first 5K since last November's first race back debacle. AND first race with new local Blacksburg bird Krysten. The race was at 8:30pm as the sun was going down (hence the name). I don't normally run at night so this was a new experience. I had to make sure to eat dinner earlier than normal so food would be all digested come race time.
I got to the start about 15 minutes early. It was at the end of the summer solstice fest but I still found a place to park! I tried to warmup a little and was keeping an eye out for Krysten. We hadn't met before in person but I was hoping she had received her singlet so she'd be easy to spot.
And as luck would have it, she and her boyfriend came around the corner- singlet on! Not too long after they appeared the race started so we spent the first mile trudging up Draper Rd and chatting. We ran together for about half the race but she was dealing with some knee issues so stopped to walk and we agreed to meet up at the finish.
I sped up and tried to blast through the downhills as I rounded the corner off the Huckleberry Trail and headed back up a hill. One more turn and then it was a huge downhill toward the finish. Thank you!! I was powering through trying to get closer to my 5K PR. Unfortunately I didn't hit that but did have a good race, fourth best of my 5Ks. SO till lots of work to get my pace up and beat that PR but I felt good about my performance out there. Especially coming off a half marathon two weeks prior, and running camp the week before.
I cheered Krysten through the finish and we hung out for a bit talking about our backgrounds, our love for Oiselle and running and making hopeful plans to get together again soon.
SO happy to have another local bird!!
Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon - June 4, 2016 Time: 2:16:59
As I mentioned in my previous race, I moved my goals to my late summer half marathon in Vancouver. This race, since I was coming off injury, I just wanted to improve on my time from Nashville. I had no other goal out there but to complete it in a slightly quicker time with no pain.
And success!! I came in 10 minutes faster than Nashville so I think my approach this past month to more crosstraining and less but quality mileage was the way to go.
Breaking down race weekend, we were staying at the host hotel, Lansdowne Resort. It was beautiful, huge, and so much was going on that weekend. I checked in and then headed down to the expo to grab everyone's packets. Now Rock 'n' Roll has spoiled me for expos so I feel like I always want them to be a lavish affair. Unfortunately Destination Races didn't have a great expo. We obviously got our packets- bag, shirt, bib, and then there was a GU station, a Potomac River Running shop and a place for coffee. I was in and out pretty quick! I had some time to chill in the hotel before JJ arrived so I went and chilled by the pool with my kindle. It was lovely after the initial thunderstorm! After JJ arrived we headed down to the tavern for some carbs and protein for the race. Then it was time to lay out my flat runner and then get some sleep!!
We were up early to catch the shuttle to the race. And thankfully we got one in the middle of the time frame- we barely made it to the start line with enough time to gear check and get to the portapotties before it started! Lots of traffic on the route there. There were about 2000 runners and no real corralling. It made for cramped race start for sure.
Going into the course- we headed down the gravel path of Doukenie which is nicely tree lined and then onto the road. The route was very rolling hills friendly for the first few miles. I tried to pick up speed on all the downhills as I knew the uphills were going to slow me down. I was actually feeling pretty good through the half way point despite the 100% humidity.
Then we turned onto a gravel hilly road. This slowed me down a lot. I felt like I kept loosing my footing and tried to staying on parts of the road that were less gravel and more dirt to help. There was also no wind flow with the tree cover so the heat (even though it wasn't hot- just humid) became unbearable. I trucked on- giving it my all on downhills and trying to keep my pace in check.
At about mile 10.5 I had to walk. My energy levels were low at this point despite the GU I had taken. I walked two more times but then picked my my speed at the end to get to that finish line! It was a tough course but I felt much better about the whole race than I did about Nashville.
JJ finished about 5 minutes after I did- a good time for her also despite the humidity. And then it was time for wine!! I grabbed my bag from gear check, found a dumpster by a building and quickly changed clothes. The humidity resulted in us being ridiculously sweaty so fresh clothes were a necessity.
At the wine fest we got to sample lots of different reds, whites, roses, and ciders. All were delightful after running. I also devoured all the food in our snack bags. :) To celebrate JJ and I also got a full glass from 8 Chains North winery. Fun time after the race!
We stopped at Whole Foods for lunch on the way back and then after a quick dip in the pool, spent the afternoon and evening relaxing with wine.
Another great racecation in the books!
Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Half Marathon - April 30, 2016 Time: 2:26:32
Well, this was supposed to be my goal race when I started in January but by the time we got to race day I just wanted to finish without pain. And then we learned about the weather and I just wanted to finish period.
To recap- I started on the Hanson's method in January which was more mileage than normal but a slow build up and lots of recovery miles. However by the time mid-March rolled around I discovered that more mileage wasn't the best for me. I had to take 9 days off that month. I tried to run again at the start of April. Again no dice and took 2.5 weeks off from running but keeping up endurance in other ways. By the time we hit race day I knew it was no longer a goal race but instead decided to try and just enjoy Nashville. The weather had other plans though.
Race start was supposed to be 7:15 and because we were driving and parking by 5:30 we were up super early. I had everything assembled and ready to go the night before so it just meant throwing everything on and heading for the car. We parked with no issue and then sat inside checking the weather every few minutes to see how things were looking. Up until that morning it had been forecasted as thunderstorms which we definitely didn't want. But when we woke up the storms had moved north and there was only a slight chance of rain. So in the car, we kept checking while relaxing, hydrating and eating breakfast. We took a few pre-race photos before locking everything up and making the walk to the starting line. We made a pit stop at a nearby hotel and hung out there when it started to pour outside. So much for slight chance of rain. We kept waiting and waiting for it stop and finally when it was just a drizzle we headed to the start. Of course once we got there we found out they had delayed us 30 minutes. UGH. More rain, more wet, and more standing around until FINALLY we started.
Kristi and I started together and the first part of the race was a nice warmup- straight down Broadway toward the water. She stayed with me until the 2 hour pacers caught us and then I said goodbye. I knew I wasn't going to hit my goal and better her have a good race then drag behind with me. In mile 2 we started the uphill climb to what I thought was one of TWO hills on the course. Boy was that a laugh afterwards.
It was a neverending battle with the hills and humidity. Because it had rained and stopped it was like running through a muggy cloud. All of my training went out the window and I just focused on moving forward. Every time I thought we'd reached the top of a hill to get some downhill it would go flat for a couple of minutes and then continue upward. There were definitely not enough downhills on the course.
This was the first course I'd been on where there was crowd support the entire time. That held in the humidity but it was nice to see so many people out to watch the race. I was hanging in there until about mile 11. I was out of GU and low on water and the hills kept coming at me. When looking back at my splits this is where I really fell off my pace. I kept trudging on until mile 13 when as we were scaling another hill I had to take a break and walk. I hate doing that but my body needed it and well this wasn't my race day. Finally I reached the top to cross the bridge to head to the finish. I remember racing to the bottom as fast as my legs would take me until I got past that finish line. Not my best time by far but also not my worse.
I'll hopefully get things back on track for Virginia. And be better prepared for heat, humidity and hills.
Blacksburg Classic 10 Miler - February 20, 2016 - Blacksburg, VA Time: 1:48:44
My training plan lined up with a 10 Miler on Saturday so I thought why not run the local race in town. It was supposed to be the week prior but due to extreme cold temps they opted to move it back a week. Fine with me (or so I thought). We lined up at the start- and everything as done off a gun start, no chip timers because it was so small.
We ran through local neighborhood streets. There were a lot of small hills but none too bad to handle. I was actually feeling pretty good- and staying on the higher end of my target pacing for the day (10-10:15). Target was paces between 10 and 11 mins.
We looped back into the neighborhood but only did a small section this time (mostly down hill) and then headed to the Huckleberry Trail. Now the trail was still snow lined and because it was almost 60 outside there was a lot of melting. So a lot of wet. Plus the trail wasn't all plowed so we kind of had to run single file. Which became difficult as the really fast runner lapped us.
We headed out past the football stadium to the huge hills I had run a few times going toward home. Thanks to all the training I've been putting in they seemed less difficult than in the past. But then came the mud pits. We had been warned there would be some mud but I think they were slightly confused about how much there was. It was like running through a sticky pit. My shoes got stuck and I ended up getting covered in it as I tried to get to the other side and back onto trail path. Then the route went through the rolling hills section before finally turning around really close to my apartment.
This is where I ended up slowing down a bunch. My hip started to feel tight and I did not want to reinjure myself so I slowed my pace. It was back over the rolling hills and through the mud to get to the finish. And boy was I happy to see that finish. The after snacks were kind of lame but at least there was something. Although not much water left which did suck.
Not my favorite race but in the end I got the run completed. I hope that going forward if I do another local race it is better run. Finger crossed. Oh and here are two terrible photos of me right before I crossed the finish. Enjoy.
November 24, 2015 - Asheville, NC Time: 32:06
Well. I'm still working on that comeback. The Asheville Turkey Trot was my first real race back after injury and while I felt decently prepared, the hills still took me by surprise. It was my first run in my Oiselle singlet and I wore it with pride as I battled up and down the hills to get back to the finish.
The first mile I felt great- powered up the first hill (and maybe was pushing a bit too hard- my goal was around 27 mins). And I was feeling pretty good until mid-mile two. That hill killed me. It felt like it went on forever and my pace shot way down. So while I had been feeling pretty good- just like that I went to feeling miserable- especially realizing my first flight was not going to be a PR. Womp womp. Anyhow I pushed through to the end and finished with my head held high- disappointed that I hadn't done better but then remembering that this was the first real race I had tried since 7 months of pain and time off. After that I felt pretty accomplished.
I also had the pleasure of meeting two lovely members of Oiselle Team NC. Mary from Asheville who was there to cheer us on and Andie of Raleigh who is one of the elite members and ridiculously fast. Andie finished in race in fourth, first woman in 17 minutes. I was still huffing and puffing up the second hill around that time. She is a beast! And even though she finished so quickly- she and Mary hung around to cheer me through the finish.
It is so nice to be a part of something like Oiselle. When I joined back in August I wasn't sure how it was going to be since I'm far from any other birds. But coming down to NC and hopefully as I get my running back on track, visiting other states, etc. I'll meet up with more birds. Everyone is so nice and makes me feel great about joining. :)
So while this wasn't my best race, I'm glad I pushed through out there and finished with my head up and wings out. Now onto more training and getting some goals conquered this spring!
Seawheeze Half Marathon - August 15, 2015 - Vancouver, BC, Canada Time: 2:45:46 (injured)
First time racing internationally. Too bad I was still injured and couldn't try for a good time. However this was hands down the best race weekend experience I've ever had- and I'm hopeful that I'll get in to race again next year (2016) depending on how registration goes today.
The entire Seawheeze experience was put on by Lululemon and took place over two days with a store/packet pickup, race and festival. I'll tackle those in this post and then tell you about Vancouver later.
*The Showcase Store and Packet Pick-up*
It was set to open at 7am and be open for runner participants only until 10am. Well- this sparked concern I guess with runners about people getting what they wanted and so people started lining up at 8pm the night before. CRAZY. I went down and arrived in line just before 6am which already seemed insane but being a lulu first-timer I had no idea how to handle the addiction that everyone seems to have. It took about 3 hours of waiting but we finally got in around 9am. All the folks around me in line seemed to think nothing would be left but there were plenty of clothes in my size and I came out with what I wanted and more. Cha-ching from my wallet- eek! I left with 3 Cool Racerback tanks, two pairs of Tracker Shorts, a Scuba hoodie and a duffle. More than enough but I do really love everything I purchased. And since the conversion rate was in our favor- it was like getting things 30% off (I told myself this mantra all weekend as the money slipped through my fingers). The only thing I didn't get was a green CRB but apparently those were gone by 7:30am so yeah. After the store, there was packet pickup where we got our wristband, gear check bag and a water bottle. Then I snapped a few pictures outside. There were places to get your hair and nails done (no thanks) and to get a temp tattoo- I took this one! It was airbrushed and very cute. :)
There were two sessions of yoga happening that day but the girl I was rooming with didn't want to participate so we headed to lunch and then rested much of the day for the next morning's race. Next year I'll plan on doing the yoga sessions as I think there are some giveaways plus it's free so why not do it? I got a foldy yoga mat just for the weekend (it did get used!) but next time I'm definitely doing any and everything that Lulu gives us.
*The Half Marathon and Runner Brunch*
Our hotel was a couple of blocks from the start line and with me being injured I knew I was going to line up toward the back of the pack. Like many other races I've been in recently, Lulu lets you choose your own corral for starting. I wish all races made you prove your time and then lined you up in that fashion. It would be easier and cause less bottlenecks!! Anyway with me walking and in the back, this wasn't too much of a problem. My watch had a little trouble kicking in but I finally got it started just after the start line. I found out later we were supposed to have this fun bubble arch to run under but due to the wind and rain overnight it collapsed and so wasn't there. I actually thought our weather was perfect- it wasn't raining just a little misty and overcast. Perfect for a race PR if I hadn't been injured. BOO.
Back to the race- the course ran through downtown Vancouver before heading on the seawall around Stanley Park. We passed a cycling class (actually taking class on a bridge), lots of cheer groups, a set of drag queens, and even mermaids. It was great! I ran the first two miles before setting into run/walk intervals of 2 minutes each. I did 15 minutes better than my Chicago time in the heat and I'm hopeful after being completely healed that I'll be back to my normal times if not better! When I crossed the finish line, the medal (which is a golden carrot) was placed around my neck- then the folks from Saje wellness clipped a runner's reward on (essential oils for pain and headaches, and I was given a finisher's running hat. It reflects! Then I headed to the brunch line- it took a few minutes but then I was rewarded with quiche, a waffle with jelly, fruit and yogurt. SO GOOD. I wish so much that I hadn't been injured for the race but I felt I did my best despite the circumstances. I found my weekend roomie and then we headed back to the hotel to shower and relax a bit.
*The Sunset Festival*
After resting up from the race it was time to head over to the park for the evening festival. We ate a late lunch so we wouldn't have to buy anything in the festival but there were food options that people seemed to like. Lulu ran shuttles over to the event thankfully since I'm sure everyone was tired from running that morning.
When we arrived we checked out the arts merchants- and in typical Lulu fashion there was another shop with more exclusive stuff. I had already spent enough at this point so no more for me. I did however want to try the 'exclusive' beer. A Curiosity Lager that had been created specifically for the weekend. Not my favorite beer, but I tolerated and finished it off before the Sunset Yoga started. We found a good spot to lay our yoga mats just on the top of the hill with a great view of the stage as well as downtown Vancouver across the water. Oh and I forgot to mention they also had trapeze going on... maybe next year. :)
Sunset Yoga started around 6pm- and it was nice to take part with 1000s of people on the grass, in the sun and stretch out all my muscles from running. This was when I decided I was doing all the yogas next year. After the yoga there were a few announcements and thank yous from the event staff and then we were treated to a trio of bands: Bear Mountain, Yeasayer and St. Lucia. My weekend roomie wanted to leave early so we only saw the beginning of St. Lucia but I heard they were the best of the three. I could have used a little more upbeat music but maybe they'll be better next year. Then it was shuttle back to the hotel and crash after a long but amazing day.
Seawheeze- what a race. I recommend this experience to anyone. First timers, walkers, elite runners- it is awesome. You get so much bang for your buck and it really is a lot of fun. I went alone and met lots of really nice people. Fingers crossed for next year!!
RNR Chicago - July 19, 2015 - Chicago, IL Time: 3:02:19
Well, chalk this up to be my absolute worst race- but the one I fought the hardest for. Going into the race I hadn't been able to do my normal training and so I was planning on run/walking. But then it decided to be super hot (like the hottest it's been in years in Chicago) so that didn't help me either.
About a month prior I had hurt my hip, and have slowly been trying to recover with sporadic short runs testing my hip, long walks and lots of strength training. However come race day I still wasn't 100% so I knew that rather than injure myself worse it was better to take it easy.
I was super bummed though as I was really looking forward to cruising through Chicago's streets. I've already decided that I'll be back to race this at some point. Normally I don't repeat races but I feel like redeeming myself. I'll be back RNR Chicago!
Jon had a good race but not great. The heat was just so unbearable that it made it tough. The roads were also not in the best of shape. And we definitely could have used more music along the way!
Here are a few photos I "borrowed" from the Marathon Foto folks- pardon the proof markings!
Bellin Run 10K - June 13, 2015 - Green Bay, WI Time: 58:03
Finally a new PR at a 10K for me!! I wasn't sure how this race was going to go at all. I had been sick with a cold or allergies for the week and hadn't done much running. And of course there's the whole still getting used to humidity running thing. But it all turned out quite well for me (and Jon too).
The expo for this race was kind of meh, which was sad considering this is one of the largest 10Ks in the country and even some real racing elites were there to compete. But we grabbed our packets and found out Jon was started in Corral 2 and I was back in Corral 3. I couldn't remember what times I put in for us, but then thought they may have just asked what time we'd thought we finished it in (this was obvious by the bad corraling on race morning).
Race Day- we were up early, had our bananas and granola bars, tried to hydrate well while we stretched and waited for it to be closer to race time. I had lucked out with a hotel across the street from the start so no need to hurry down there.
When we finally made it across the street it was time to line up and then get going. The corrals were spaced about 6 minutes apart so I finally started around 8:12 or so. The first two miles were full of dodging folks who signed themselves up in the wrong corral- and I was also trying to keep my pace up. It was also a steady up hill climb especially at the end of mile 2. Then we got a small break with an easy downhill pulling into mile 3 (and my best split of the race- 8:59 for that miler). After that I hit a wall- the GU I'd had was started to wear off, it was getting really hot and I just wanted to be finished. I was trying to keep my pace around 9:45s for miles 4 and 5 and just keep going. Luckily there were enough water stops that I was able to toss water on my face many times. This helped immensely with my overheating. As we pulled into the last half mile of mile 6 I started to inch up my pace just a bit. I really wanted a PR in this distance. I'd felt like I'd put in the work, I wanted a good result. Then in the last .2 of the race something kicked in and I sprinted hard core toward the finish, just about passing out as I crossed the finish- needed to breathe so bad!! But my watch said 58:03!!! I had done it! Success finally.
Found Jon in the crowd, and he came in around 47 minutes. One day I'll get that fast! So it was a good race for both of us and then it was time to explore Green Bay and head up to Door County. Thanks Bellin for a good run!!