Monday, March 23, 2015

The Spring Fling 5k Race Recap and Breaking 19 Minutes... again!

Coming back from an injury can take a while and it's hard not to get a little discouraged during the comeback phase.  For the last several months I've been comparing myself to where I was last year before the plantar fasciitis started.  My foot has felt good for a while now but my confidence in my ability has not been there.  On Saturday I got some of that confidence back and I must say it was good! I actually met my "A" goal so I was thrilled! 

I had not broken 19 minutes in a 5K since the Fast Firecracker in July (over 8 months ago) so that was my main goal going into this race.  My coach thought 18:30-18:45 was realistic for me but I honestly didn't know if I was ready.  Based on my last two races the McMillan pace calculator had me in the low 19's.  I reminded myself that 5k's are MY race and I was ready. 

The Race: Cabot Spring Fling 5K (RRCA State Championship 5K)
Date: Saturday, March 21, 2015
Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Cabot, AR

This was my third year to run in the Cabot Spring Fling 5K.  There was a great family race registration deal ($50 for 4 entries) so John and I decided to sign up our crew.  Then my daughter wanted to invite her best friend since she was going to be spending Friday night at our house.  I checked with her mom who was fine with it so we also registered her. 

Several other runners from my local running club were there which was great!  I ran a 1.5 mile warm-up and some strides with my friend Natalie and then it was time to line up.  My goal was to run right around a 6 minute pace and hopefully break 19 minutes!
Photo courtesy of Arkansas RRCA
Mile 1- 5:59.  This race always seems to have a fast start.  The other two years I have run it mile one has been in the 5:40's.  I went out slower because I knew anything remotely close to the 5:40's would be way too fast and I needed to save something for the last mile.  By the half mile I had moved into the position of 2nd female.  My sister Tessa lives near the race and she brought her two little girls out to cheer right near the first mile marker.  

coming up on mile 1
How cute is my little niece?!
Mile 2- 5:56.  I was still feeling strong so I pushed myself to keep going while I was feeling this good.  I started gaining on the lead female runner by 1.5 miles and I caught up to her right before the two mile marker.  
Mile 3- 6:09.  I knew I was slowing down.  This mile is tough because it has the most elevation gain.  I just told myself to hold on- I didn't want to get passed in the last few minutes!

Mile 3.11- 0:38 (5:39 avg).  I love finishing around the track!  When I rounded the corner I could see the finish line and the clock.  I was going to make it!

Official Time- 18:41. (6:02 avg)/ 1st Female.  Official results can be found here.

I stayed around the finish area for a few minutes to see some team members finish but then I turned back to find Abi.  I knew she'd be coming through soon.

Abi actually ran her fastest 5k ever in 24:36!  Then I found my son and Abi's best friend.  They were doing great! I ran with them their last half mile.  My son finished in 29:59 which is his first time to break 30 minutes.  My daughters best friend finished just 2 seconds later.

So proud of these kids!!
My husband snapped this great picture of the male winner, one of our newest club members.  Dan ran a 15:26 for the win.  He also won the Germantown Half Marathon I ran in last weekend.  (He ran a 1:08 there.)

The awards ceremony had a huge breakfast/ lunch buffet and was located in the indoor gym. 

Top 3 Overall Women

With my friends Beverly and Kem

These girls did GREAT!!
Final Post Race Thoughts:
This is a great race and I hope to be back again next year!  A few things I love about this race: 
  • The price is right and it's very family friendly.  $50 for a family of 4.  Yes! This included a tech shirt for each person.  
  • I like that they give finishers medals to ALL the kids.  (And there were A LOT of kids who ran this race.)
  • Good course.  It's not the easiest 5k course (some rolling hills) but it's very doable and I've always managed to have a good race.  
  • It's part of the Arkansas Grand Prix series so it's very organized and well run.  The Cabot Cruisers do a great job with this race!
So hopefully the 19's are gone for good! This race was a huge break through for me- mentally more than anything.  I needed to know I could do this and now I'm excited to see what's in store!

Any other spring fling 5k runners out there?

When was the last time you had a running break through?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Updated Racing Schedule, Spring Break, AND... a 2 Mile Race Report

Thank you for the kind comments on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter recently.  As you can imagine it was very hard to drop out of a marathon at the last minute but it is what it is and I'm much better now- physically and emotionally!  I think the hardest part was accepting reality and officially making the decision.  I did get a kick out of some of the Facebook/blog comments.  Particularly the ones who thought the thermometer was a positive pregnancy test!  J and I are definitely set with this bunch!

There's a lot going on in the training/ upcoming race world but first things first...

It's time for the Chase Race 2 Mile Race Report!

Race Date: Saturday, March 7, 2015
Time and Location: 8:00 AM in Conway, AR

Was I primed and ready to race this?
Absolutely not.  Just getting over an illness and running 3 times in 2 weeks is definitely not the best pre-race strategy.   However, I was really looking forward to getting back out there and just running.   After gearing up for a 26.2 mile run that never happened, running 2 miles sounded very doable!  It is really a fun distance to race.

Race History
The Chase Race is an Arkansas Grand Prix race.  This was actually the 10th Anniversary for this event which celebrates the life of Donald Chase Potter (1991-2005).  Chase loved animals so the event features a competitive two mile race.  Following this race is a one mile competitive or fun run for runners/ walkers and their leashed pets, as well as a "best dressed" pet contest. 

The Chase Race is located in Conway, AR which is just under an hour from my house.  My friend Kerri and her daughter wanted to run and Abi wanted to do it as well so the four of us went together.  We ended up not getting on the road as early as we planned.  That combined with driving a little slower than usual due to road conditions made for getting there at the last minute.  Not ideal.  My friend Kerri was very helpful and stayed with the girls while I squeezed in a quick (less than 1 mile!) warm-up after we grabbed our race packets.  Kerri and the girls had not planned to warm-up.  I had hoped for at least two miles (since this was such a short, fast race) but there was no time!

Race Goals?
My last two mile race was last summer, right before my plantar fasciitis got way out of control.  I ran an 11:43 in Benton but I had been doing a lot of short speed work around that time.  I was hoping to come in just under 12 minutes if possible but I knew that might be a stretch based on recent events.  Another big reason I was doing this race was for the points! Since it's a Grand Prix Championship race I was hoping to score some individual points, as well as help my local running team place.  Yes, I will be the first to admit that this whole "Grand Prix series" thing has sucked me in and I am hooked!

The Race
The starting line was really crowded and I just tried to squeeze in on one of the sides.  I really should have pushed myself up to a better starting position because I had to get around a lot of people the first half mile.  (At least race is chip timed.)
Photo courtesy of David Meroney
Photo courtesy of David Meroney

Mile 1- 5:57.
By the first mile marker I was really hot and knew I had overdressed.  I rarely do this in a race but since it was only a two mile race I was a little more conservative.  My headband/ ear warmer was the kicker but I didn't want to mess with taking it off while I was trying to run a sub 6 minute pace.  I just reminded myself it would be over soon so I had to suck it up a few more minutes!  By this point I had passed all the women in front of me except for one.

Mile 2- 6:05.
Some where I fell into racing along-side another guy who seemed to be running my same pace.  I just told myself to stay with him.  I was also getting a little closer to the lead female runner ahead of me but I was running out of steam! At one point I checked my distance and it was 1.5 so I told myself to hold on for 3 more minutes.  You can do anything for 3 minutes, right?  I saw the clock on the last straightaway but I just didn't have quite enough kick.

Official Time- 12:02.  (2nd female OA).  Results can be found here.

I feel really good about my effort.  I will get back to the 11:40's (or lower!) but I know this is where I am right now and I'm doing the best I can.

As soon as I finished I turned around and started jogging back towards Abi.  I was able to see several other runners I know. Quite a few set PR's.  In fact, my friend Kerri also ran her fastest mile ever in her first mile!   Abi came through the finish at 15:50.  She said her first mile was around 8:04 so she must have really picked it up her last mile!  Our ladies team from Searcy Rush actually won the Ladies race for the Grand Prix so we were pretty excited about that.  We've had 4 GP races total (out of 20) so there's still a long way to go but we are enjoying it.  I must admit that it's fun being a part of a team and trying to place again.

The ladies from Searcy Rush
Abi ended up placing 2nd in her age group so she was pretty excited about that.  The trophies were very unique!

During the cool-down I jogged to my vehicle only to discover that in all the pre-race rush I had accidentally taken the wrong key off my key chain which meant I had locked the truck key in the truck!  Not good at all!  I borrowed a friends phone to call Honda road-side assistance and about 45 minutes later we had some help and we were able to get the door opened.  Fortunately, the kids had some entertainment while we waited.  There was the awards ceremony and a best dressed dog show.  The local humane society was also there with some pets that were up for adoption.  We also won some blankets at the race which kept the girls warm since all of our coats were in the truck.  All in all (besides the locking the keys in the truck incident) it was a great morning and I would definitely recommend this race to local runners.  It was a very family friendly, fun race environment and the dog race/ dog show made it really unique.

Spring Break
Last week was spring break around here so we had some fun of our own without going too far away.  One day we went to Altitude Trampoline Park in Little Rock and the kids LOVED it.  Ok, I'll admit I had a lot of fun jumping too!

I also spent a little time with my oldest on a shopping outing.
Lunch at Panera Bread in Little Rock

One of the days we had the Harding Lady Bison basketball team over for lunch before they left for the National Tournament.  They are a great group of ladies and we've enjoyed going to many of their games this year.

Just another day around the house...

Updated Racing Schedule
Spring racing season is here!  I actually ran in the Germantown Half Marathon yesterday so a race report is coming at some point.  (Great race and a very fun short girls trip too!)

For anyone interested, here is what is up on the racing schedule for the next month and a half:
  • Saturday, March 21- Spring Fling 5K in Cabot, AR
  • Saturday, April 4- Capital City Classic 10K in Little Rock, AR
  • Saturday, April 11- Russ Vegas Half Marathon in Russellville, AR
  • Saturday, April 25- Illinois Marathon in Champaigne, IL
So just about a little bit of everything!  In May I will switch gears and focus on racing some shorter distances including another 2 mile race, a 1 mile race, and several 5k's.  I always enjoy the journey in training for longer distances but I LOVE spring/ summer 5k season and the change of pace that brings.  Well, the actual race pace is not that enjoyable but at least it's a shorter distance! It's just fun to change things up a little!

Have a wonderful Monday and I hope you are able to enjoy this beautiful spring weather!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I was supposed to be running a MARATHON right about now...

Life is unexpected and sometimes things happen that our out of our control.  This was one of those weeks.  Last Sunday I was coming off of a great training cycle.  Sure it was lower in mileage than previous training cycles (mostly averaging 55-60 mpw) but I was injury-free and I completed every workout hitting all the right training pace times.  I knew I wasn't in sub 3 condition yet but in my mind I thought a 3:05 was realistic. 

Over the weekend two of my kids had a fever/ cough.  Then Monday morning my husband woke up with fever and I soon followed.
I texted this pic to my husband Monday night when my fever was at its worst.

Tuesday I stayed home all day and rested.  I was feeling better (no fever after Monday night) and I drank plenty of water.  I still had a bad head cold/ congestion though so I didn't run Tuesday or Wednesday.

Wednesday night I had a little "come to Jesus" moment.  I had been obsessing and worrying about my health and wondering if I would be well enough for 26.2 on Sunday.  Let me say that I know there are many more important things and concerns in this life.  I have friends struggling with bigger health concerns and life issue right now (than whether or not they are going to run in a marathon this weekend) so I do see the big picture.  I still like knowing that I can pray about anything- even the small things.  I asked for healing and then for peace with whatever the outcome.  This is always a hard prayer.  I just wanted to know what to do.  I really thought a head cold would be gone by Sunday morning.

Wednesday night I discovered this verse on a wall calendar in our house and it was just what I needed to hear.  I decided to memorize it so anytime I caught myself worrying about the race I would say it.  Needless to say I memorized it quickly...

On Thursday I ran 6 miles but I felt really sluggish and tired.  I assumed it was the NyQuil I'd had the night before.  I only take that stuff once or twice a year and I was wanting get sleep before the marathon.  I updated my coach and told him I was able to run and was optimistic about Sunday.

Friday I was still dealing with the constant headache and head pressure.  I had hoped to run a short shakeout run but was too exhausted so I told myself I'd do it Saturday. 

Saturday morning I had plans to go to the Little Rock expo and work the Another Mother Runner booth from 9-10.  Sarah Bowen Shea (co-author of the Another Mother Runner books) had asked me earlier in the week and I really wanted to meet her.  Plus I needed to pick up my race packet.  Ironically I woke up feeling worse Saturday than Thursday or Friday.  Not good.

Another Mother Runner had the cutest apparel!  Of course my Abi wanted to help!
With Sarah from Another Mother Runner!

I enjoyed meeting Sarah and I'm looking forward when the Another Mother Runner crew is back in Little Rock next month for the retreat.  I stayed in the booth from 9-10 and then got my race packet.  I ran into my good friend Beverly at the expo and she had many encouraging words and advice.  Running friends are the best!
The 26.2 that was not meant to be...

We didn't stay at the expo long and I was too exhausted to do any shopping.  I always love race expo shopping but I was not up for anything.  All I wanted to do was get home and get back in bed.  John offered (and I accepted without flinching) to pull the car up to the convention center so I wouldn't have to walk to the parking garage.  The thought crossed my mind- "How am I planning to run 26.2 miles tomorrow if I have no energy to walk to the car?"

Once we were home and after a few minutes in bed I just started crying.  Why?  Why was this happening when I wanted it so bad?  Marathons are such an emotional race.  The training takes so long- weeks and months.  So much time and effort is put into it.  When it doesn't work out it's tough.  I told John I thought I should go to Primecare (our local urgent care clinic).  Something didn't feel right about this cold.  Was it the flu?  Strep?  I wanted to race but I needed to feel better ASAP.

After an expensive trip to urgent care I learned I did not have the flu or strep- just a nasty sinus infection which was causing the congestion/ headache and constant head pressure.  I guess I've never had a sinus infection before so it never even crossed my mind that's what it could be.  (Side note: These things are awful!!)  The doctor immediately gave me a shot which she said would help but she didn't seem to think I would be feeling race ready by the morning.  Then she started me on antibiotics.  At this point I was still a lit bit hopeful that maybe I could run but reality was definitely setting in.  Starting a Zpack 12 hours before I'm supposed to leave for a marathon is not the way to go.  I was not at all focused on a race and obviously running 26.2 miles requires a lot of focus and energy.

I updated my coach who brought up many good points including that racing a full during a sinus infection could be detrimental to my spring season.  How much did this race mean to me?  I would recover much faster if I let my body heal.
So I made the difficult (but obvious) decision not to race.  There will be other marathons and I want it to be under the right circumstances.  I want to be confident in my fitness and health and know that I can do it.  I want it to be right.

The person who helped me with all of this the most and who has been incredibly patient with me the entire week is my husband.  We all know how obsessive and paranoid runners are during race week leading up to a marathon.  You throw in an unexpected illness and trust me- it goes to a whole new level.  I know I was not the easiest person to be with this week and he held it all together.

He even managed to be Abraham Lincoln this week in my daughter's 1st grade class.  He does make a great Honest Abe, if I do say so myself!

Another highlight from this week was my older three receiving their 50 and 100 mile pins on Friday.  Their school has a wonderful running program where the kids have all school year to log miles.  The goal is 100 but they receive incentive pins along the way at certain milestones- 10, 25, 50, 75, & 100.  I'm so proud of these kids and I'm thankful for their P.E. teacher who oversees this project as well as a school that values the importance of active, healthy kids.

To all my friends running in the Little Rock Marathon, half or 10k this morning I am wishing you a great race and I cannot wait to hear all about it!

Friday, February 20, 2015

River Trail 15K: The 2015 Edition!

Better late than never, right?  I actually ran the RT 15k almost two weeks ago.  I am now 9 days away from the Little Rock Marathon so I figure I better get this one posted!

 The 15K is a very interesting distance to race.  I only race one a year and it is this one- the River Trail 15k.  It's typically the second race on the Arkansas Grand Prix schedule.  This race has a sub 60 club (for all men and women who finish under 60 minutes) and a sub 70 club (for women who finish under 70 minutes).

This was my 4th year in a row to run the RT15K.  In 2013 I finished sub 60.  Then last year I missed it by 5 seconds.  Of course my "A" goal this year was to finish sub 60 but I knew it would be tough.  A sub 60 time on this course is a 6:24 or faster.  Last year's 6:25 was too slow!  A sub 60 performance would require a perfectly executed race.

The Race
Date: 2/7/2015
Start Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Burns Park in North Little Rock, AR

I have to say that I love when winter races have a later start time.  (The same goes when summer races have an earlier start time of 7 or 7:30.)  John and I arrived at Burns Park around 8:15.  I got my bib, chip and warmed up with some friends.  The temperature was overcast in the low 40's.  It was a little windy but I was hoping much of the trail would protect us from the wind.

Photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside
Mile Splits:
Mile 1- 6:12.  Too fast for me.  Should have been in the 6:20-6:25 range.
Mile 2- 6:22
Photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside

Mile 3- 6:23.  It really is pretty out on the trail.
Photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside

Mile 4- 6:35.  A little climb and the fast start was catching up with me!
Photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside

Mile 5- 6:34
Mile 6- 6:31.  Pulling it together and trying to stay focused.  Just one more 5k to go!
Mile 7- 6:33
Mile 8- 6:37
Mile 9- 6:44.  Falling apart... The wind seemed to be at an all-time worst in the final mile and two guys passed me. 
Mile 9.37- 2:22 (6:26 pace).  I saw the clock was about to move to 1:01 and I wanted to make it under!

Official Finish Time:
1:00:58 (2nd female overall). Official results can be found here.  The sub 60 will happen.  I will be back!  No matter what I gave it all I had and it was a solid effort.

Overall Female Winners

Our Team
Our city just started its own RRCA club this year so it's our first time to race in the Arkansas GP series.  Our ladies team actually WON the River Trail 15K!  We are excited about what's in store for the Searcy Rush team this year.  I do not believe there's ever been a first year team win overall.  There are 17 races left on the GP calendar for the year so we have a lot of work to do to make that happen but it's a great goal!
Searcy Rush Running Club
After the race awards it was time to head over to the Grand Prix awards ceremony.  Since last year was my first year to participate in the GP series this was my first Awards Ceremony to attend.  John and I enjoyed the many delicious appetizers.  I had so much fun competing in the GP series last year and am excited to run in it as part of Searcy Rush this year!

Photo courtesy of Arkansas RRCA- In line for the buffet of appetizers
Photo courtesy of Arkansas RRCA

Have you raced a 15K?  Anyone else getting ready for Little Rock Marathon or Half Marathon next weekend?