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? 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Donating Blood and Running?

Last week was peak mileage week for me.  It's actually the highest mileage week I've had in 10 months.  So why did I decide to donate blood smack in the middle of the week- just two and a half weeks before my marathon?

I work part-time on a University campus and on Monday there were two American Red cross blood-mobiles parked near my office.  They had signs posted that they would be there Monday through Wednesday.  I've always wanted to donate blood but for various reasons I was never able to do it.  In high school and college I was actually below the weight requirement (not a problem now!) and then there was the decade of my life I was either pregnant or nursing.  I never really sought it out but when I passed by the blood-mobile on Monday I felt like it was something I needed to do.  I didn't question it at all.  I'm healthy and not afraid of blood or needles (four c-sections will do that to you) and I wanted to help someone.  I knew I had a tough set of two mile repeats on the running schedule planned for Wednesday morning so I thought if I waited to donate until Wednesday afternoon I would be fine.  I assumed recovery might last a few hours and then I'd be back in business and feeling fine by Thursday.

It wasn't until I was laying on the mat with my blood pouring into a tube did the thought even cross my mind that just maybe this wasn't the best timing from a running perspective.  Why hadn't I looked into this first?!  I started googling donating blood and running.  I found a few articles that left me feeling a little uneasy.  There was this article that started off with this line- "There’s not much that’s more essential to your running (and your life) than your blood."  This article suggested it would take around 3 weeks for a blood donors VO2 max to return to it's pre-donation level.  Would this affect my upcoming marathon?  Was I selfish to even think this?  Someone's life may be on the line and I'm worried about a race?   I couldn't back out now and ask the nurse to stop mid donation.

When I finished the nurse gave me a few reminders and a pamphlet to read.  Of course the one thing that stood out to me was, "No physical activity for 24 hours."  I had an easy 8 miler planned for the morning so resting was not an option.  I could handle it, right?

Thursday- This run was only about 14 hours post blood donation so I had a feeling it might be tough. Not only were my legs dead tired from the track workout I'd done the day before but the wind was awful.  My body was generally fatigued and winded.  It was one of those days I wanted to stop running before my watched beeped one mile.  I was with a friend so I slugged through 8 miles but it took everything I had not to quit.

Friday- I ran 9 miles with another friend (remember my speed work partner from this summer?)  which was a distance PR for her.  We kept the pace pretty controlled and I felt much better than the previous day.
9 miles and a new distance PR for Jackie!

Saturday- Long run day.  I had 20-21 miles to cover and my coach wanted me to run them in the 7:20-7:40 range.  I really wanted to shoot for a just under 7:20 pace but that did NOT happen.  Another friend ran the first 12 with me which was very helpful.  The last 9 were very mentally and physically challenging.  Surely I will feel better tapered and fresh in 2 weeks?  Please say yes!

Sunday- Rest day.  Hallelujah!

Will I be donating blood again?  Absolutely!  Next time I'm just going to time it a little better.  Two and a half weeks before a marathon is probably not the smartest decision.  Runner's Connect posted a very helpful article on how donating blood impacts training and racing.  I wish I would have read it earlier but I will definitely keep these in mind for next time.  These are some great suggestions:

  1. A good time to donate is during the recovery time after your goal race when your body isn’t under the constant demands of a training season.
  2. Plan the donation around a rest day and follow with several days of short, easy effort workouts until you begin to feel 100%.
  3. In the 4-5 days following your donation, throw out your watch! Your times are going to be slower (the research shows it) so just forget about pace and put some time on your feet.
  4. Stay hydrated and eat well before and after the donation. This will help you recover faster from the donation itself.

Here is some additional information on why you should give blood.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions and answers from the American Red Cross.

Did you know that every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood?

One pint of donated blood can save up to three lives!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Few BIG Annoucements and a Little Blogging Reality

Once again a few weeks have gone by since my last post.  I think of posts all the time that I want to write but life happens and much of the time writing gets pushed to the back burner.  Will I ever be one of those bloggers who posts every day or even a few days a week?  Probably not.  That is the reality of my life and I've definitely accepted that. But there are days when I feel like I really need to write to process some of the things going on right now as it relates to running.

First, yes, I did run in a little 15k on Saturday.  Maybe I will get to that race report before my next race.  It was not a PR but it was a pretty solid effort and consistent with where I am in my training right now.  The 15k is an interesting distance.  I only race one a year (this one) but I always enjoy the distance.

Where to begin?  There is a lot of stuff going on right now! I guess I will start with some big training news.  I now have a coach!  Ever since last June I have been on my own.  I took some much needed time off for my foot to heal.  Then, in the fall I started the recovery/ comeback process.   It's taken a little longer than I thought it would.  I didn't want to start working with a coach until I felt like I could give training 100%.  After NOLA I decided it was time.  I have actually wanted to join the Elite Marathoning- USMT Project for a while now.  I am definitely in the back of this pack but I am excited start this journey.  I know it will take time to get to where I want to be but I am ready to do the work.

Have I mentioned I'm running a marathon in 19 days?! Yes, I just started working with Coach Hadley last week and my marathon is almost around the corner.  I know it's an odd time in a training cycle to start working with a coach.  Obviously this is not my "A" marathon.  I have been on the fence about doing the LRM full or half and for better or worse I decided to go for the full.  This is definitely one of my lowest marathon training cycles ever.  Basically I've been averaging 50-60 miles per week.  I've been very cautious about increasing mileage.  My foot is doing great and I really don't want to go backwards.  Apparently my motto this training cycle has been is it's better to be under-trained than injured!  I just hope I'm ready!

Some more big news: The Another Mother Runner Retreat in Little Rock- April 16-19!  Yes, several months ago I received an email about this retreat and I knew I had to go! Thanks to a very sweet friend with a few good connections I was invited to speak on the Goals Upping panel.  I am extremely honored and excited to be a part of this event!  I will be posting about this more to come but it's sure to be an amazing weekend!  Did I mention it's being hosted at one of my favorite hotels of all time?  I've stayed at the Capital Hotel twice now and it really is second to none!

The Capital Hotel in Little Rock

The last time we stayed at the Capital was in June for the Go! Mile Championship.  My kids thought it was the "best vacation ever!"

Well I better wrap this up! The River Trail 15K Race Report is coming soon!!

Are you running the Little Rock Marathon or Half Marathon this year?

Would you be interested in attending the AMR Retreat in April for FREE?  Just "Like" Nuun Hydration and Another Mother Runner on Facebook and fill out the form on the link below to enter to WIN a 4 day/3 night BRF package for 1 winner and her lucky friend!  More details can be found HERE.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

RnR New Orleans Half Marathon Race Report!

Last year several of my running friends ran the RnR NOLA Half Marathon and Marathon. When they asked me if I wanted to join them I was very interested because I'd heard about what a great course both races were. Believe it or not, I'd never run a Rock and Roll series yet and I thought this would be a good one to do since so many of my friends were running in it.  I looked into running it through the Competitor RnR Elite Athlete program. (To earn a comped entry into the New Orleans Marathon or Half I needed to have a sub 2:59:00. My 2:58:56 from the Poconos Marathon barely made the cut but it was enough!) I originally registered for the full but by mid fall I realized I would not be ready. My recovery from plantar fasciitis was taking a lot longer than I'd anticipated so I emailed the elite coordinator at Competitor and asked if they could switch me to the half. No problem!
The week before the race:
The weekend before the NOLA Half I had my first 20 mile run in the Little Rock training cycle. No, this was not ideal but I really needed to get in this 20. My LRM training was cutting it close as it was so I couldn't postpone it any longer.

A few hours before the run my 8 year-old son woke me up and said he had thrown up. I cleaned him up and went back to bed but there wasn't a lot of restful sleep after that. Minutes before I left for my run I realized I needed to clean up the bathroom area where he had been sick. I debated on skipping the run all together and staying home but my son was back asleep and my husband encouraged me to go ahead and get my long run done.  The run itself went well. I ran 20 miles with about 12 at goal marathon pace (sub 6:50). 
The rest of the day I was feeling really drained and not very hungry. By Saturday night I was feeling awful.  Then I started throwing up. For the next few days I had the worst virus I have ever had.

Wednesday was the first day I felt almost back to normal. I wasn't sure if I should still race. I decided to go to the doctor to make sure everything was all right- and I wasn't contagious.  My doctor was optimistic and said that as long as I continued to improve I should be fine.  On Friday morning I left for New Orleans. The race was Sunday so I was hopeful that I would be feeling stronger (and ready to race) by then. 

It's about an eight hour drive from my house to New Orleans. I went with a group of runners from around where I live. There were 10 of us all together. Great girls trip!!

Friday night we are a late dinner at the Ernst Cafe. It's a great little diner with a lot of local flavor.

Saturday morning Natalie (one of the ladies in my group) and I went for a little shake-out jog. Our hotel was right on the River Walk so we started there and then headed downtown. This was my first time to New Orleans and I was so impressed! The city has so much personality and life. I love getting to explore new cities by running through them!
We saw so many other runners an walkers out on the Riverwalk
After our jog we cleaned up and headed to the RnR NOLA Fitness Expo. Our hotel was conveniently located within a half mile of the start and near the expo too so we walked EVERYWHERE Saturday.
After the expo we ate at another great local restaurant- Pierre Maspero's.  

Then we walked towards the French Quarters.  We headed towards Cafe Du Monde and saw many sites along the way.

Beignet Time!
So good and way too much sugar!!
After a delicious beignet at Cafe Du Monde we headed further down to the French market. I bought a few souvenirs for John and the kids.

Before we knew it we were exhausted and it was almost dinner time. By the time we made it back to the hotel my ap on my phone said that I had clocked in over 13 miles for the day! (Four miles from my morning run and then nine miles from walking all over the city all day.) Yikes! I didn't mean to overdo it on the walking but there was just so much to do and see!

Then, before dinner one of my college teammates stopped by our room to visit for a few minutes. I had not seen Janet in years but she has done very well for herself! In 2012 she placed 5th in the U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Marathon with a time of 2:29:45.  She ran in the 10,000 m in the Olympics that summer for the U.S. finishing 12th. She actually just ran in the 2015 USA Half Marathon Championship in Houston last weekend and finished 3rd (1:10:46).  Janet was in town to run the NOLA Half as well.  

Janet is so sweet and humble. She wanted to hear all about everyone else. I'm so glad we were able to visit with her.  After our time with Janet we headed to the Foot Court in the mall under the River Walk for dinner. After dinner and a trip to the Gap we went back to our room to get ready for the race.

I did not sleep very well Saturday night. Between race nerves and knowing I overdid it on the waking I was not feeling very confident.  The race started at 7:30 so we left our hotel by 6:45 and jogged to the start.  

After warming up it was time to get this show on the road! Weather was in the low 40's but sunny- perfect!

The Race:
My "A" goal was to go sub 1:26 but I had a feeling that would be tough since I'd been sick earlier and my training had been thrown off. Still, I tried to be optimistic. Maybe the rest and running break had been good for me...

My watch pace from the CASA Half in December was 6:35 so I thought I would shoot for the 6:30 range again. 

Mi 1- 6:33. Right where I wanted to be but could I maintain it?
Mi 2- 6:39. I hoped this would be my slowest mile.  It wasn't.
Mi 3- 6:36
Mi 4- 6:35. Around this mile I heard someone yell, "Go Tia!" Who knew me in New Orleans?! I looked up and it was Gracie from Complicated Day! Gracie is an awesome blogger and talented runner who has been sidelined with some injuries. She is lives in New Orleans and had come out to cheer and take pictures! It was great to see her!
Mi 5- 6:32. I tried to stick with another female "Leah" who was very friendly I met as we were running along-side each other. She said she was sticking to 6:30 and she sounded like she wanted to pace together which would have been great if I'd had the energy/ discipline to stick with it. 
Mi 6- 6:33. Saw Gracie on the back stretch of the out and back! I was wishing this was the end of the race but I wasn't even halfway through yet! Just trying to stay on pace.

Thanks for the pictures Gracie!!

Mi 7- 6:40. I finished off my gu and fell back from Leah during this mile. She was trying to encourage me but I just couldn't keep up.
Mi 8- 6:42
Mi 9- 6:49. From this point on I switched to survival mode and lost it on my pace. I was running more marathon than half marathon pace and it had me seriously doubting my ability to run LRM in March.
Mi 10- 6:49.

Mi 11- 6:57
Mi 12- 7:01. Not good. Guys were passing me. I kept waiting for a female to catch up but surprisingly none did.
Mi 13- 6:45. I saw a female up ahead I tried to catch. It turned out to be a relay runner but it helped get me in gear!

Mi 13.14- 0:51 (6:21 avg.)

Official Time- 1:28:08 (12th female/ 1st in AG)

Once I finished I waited for s few minutes for my friend Natalie who I knew would be finishing soon. She set a 30+ second PR and finished with a 1:31!  

Natalie and I at the finish
Then we cooled down before meeting up with the rest of our group. Several in our group set PR's. I cannot emphasize enough how awesome the course is! It is very flat and there are a lot of spectators and bands along the way.  

Post Race Thoughts:
I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed in my performance. Yes, I fell apart at the end but considering it was days after the one of the worst viruses I ever had I'm not going to dwell on it. I still have a lot of work to do. On the plus side, my foot did great! It felt PERECT all weekend and never bothered me during or after the race. This is a huge victory in itself.

The weekend was very memorable and I had a lot of fun with my running friends!  I loved exploring the city Saturday and getting to experience NOLA together. 

Kerri's "Selfie stick" came in handy this weekend!
I would strongly recommend this race... It's a fast race in a fun city! I will definitely be back! 

Have you ever run RnR NOLA?