Monday, October 20, 2014

Micah Rine 5K Race Report 2014

Is this really the 4th year in a row I've raced this?  I'm a creature of habit when it comes to races... I really do love this course and hope to continue doing this race with the kids.  (All proceeds benefit the wellness program/ future girls weight room at their school.)  It was not my fastest time on this course but at least it wasn't my slowest... :-)

Going into this race I had run the Arkansas Race for the Cure one week earlier so I had an idea where my 5k speed was.  I'm really glad I had run RFTC because otherwise I would really have had no idea how to pace it!

There were pretty bad storms all the night before and the morning of the race so there was actually a 30 minute race delay.  We left our house a little later than we should have so even with the late start I was pushing it trying to get our packets and the kids bib numbers on in time.  (My older two kids were also running it.) I only had time to get in a mile warm-up.
I'm in the black on the right w/ white visor

Race goals:
My main goal was to run faster than I did the week before!  I hoped to aim for 6:10 avg.  Getting back into racing shape right now is a slow process.  Baby steps!

The race:
Mi 1- 6:05.  I went out at a little too fast. At the 1/2 mi I was averaging a 5:49 which would have been perfect for a 5k I raced before my injury but way too fast for me right now.

Mi 2- 6:19.  A little slow! A lot of turns in this mile and I guess I lost focus.

Mi 3- 6:17.  I was encouraged that I picked it up (even by just 2 seconds) and didn't get slower.  My 3rd mile at RFTC was much slower so this was an improvement.

Mile 3.10- 0:34 (5:51 pace)
final kick

Total: 19:17 (3 OA/ 1st female)

Once I finished I jogged back to find the kids.  I cheered Abi on and then jogged back to find my son.  We ran the last half mile in together.  He was pointing out the colors of leaves and squirrels.  I love when I get to experience a race from his perspective.

Then I ran a little cool down with Beverly and Jackie who also raced. 

Great race and happy to support it every year.  If you live in central Arkansas it is one to consider on your fall racing calendar.

What's next?
I find myself in unknown territory.  Typically every year my fall schedule is jam packed full of 5k's, half marathons and a marathon or two.  Not this year.  I am hoping to be closer to half marathon racing shape by December but I have a long way to go (speed-wise).  I am probably going to race a 5k and a 10k in November.  Both races are right by my house and my oldest wants to run them too. One of the big things I've learned during this whole plantar fasciitis ordeal is that there's no rushing the comeback.  My foot does best on easy runs (which right now ranges between a 7-8 minute pace).  I'm still not doing any track interval work and I'm running just 4 days per week.  I have added back to back running days now.  So far so good!  My foot is responding well to the modified training program and I'm finally starting to feel like I will get past this injury. 

I have no idea when I will start adding in interval speed work type training.  I'm scared to even think about it because I don't want any set-backs!  I guess I'll just know when it's the right time.  For now I'm sticking with this!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Arkansas Race for the Cure- my 10th year of running STRONG!

Most of us have a friend or family member who has been affected by breast cancer.  In fact, statistics show that 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.  (Source) When I was in college my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She has now been cancer-free for over a decade. 

In 2004 I ran in my first Race for the Cure 5k in Little Rock, Arkansas.  I had no idea what I was getting into but I was immediately overwhelmed by the size and entire atmosphere of this event.  Little Rock has averaged over 34,000 participants the past few years making it the 4th largest Race for the Cure 5k in the country.  There is a unique positive energy about this race that promotes strength, survival, and hope.

Photo courtesy of KARK

The first year I participated I had a 3-month-old at home so my main concern was running and getting back home to nurse her ASAP.
2004- wearing my first RFTC shirt several hours after the race

Over the next several years (basically from 2004-2012) I was either pregnant or nursing a new baby around the time of RFTC.  I knew I wasn't running for my fastest time but that wasn't what was most important.  It wasn't then and it isn't now. My younger sister Tara started running it with me and it became a yearly tradition.

2005- pregnant with Anthony
2010- 6 months pregnant with Ashton  

2011- Tara & I a few months after we each had babies
2012- my fastest RFTC to date- 19:15
Last year I was in excellent race shape and ready to break 19 minutes at RFTC (Race for the Cure) for the first time ever but pulled a calf muscle the day before doing some strides after a shake-out run.  I was so sad to miss it and after the race several people from church (who I didn't even know followed my running) asked me why I didn't race.

This year I've been recovering from plantar fasciitis so I didn't plan to run it.  I had several friends and family members ask me if I was racing and every time I questioned my decision.  Friday night (the night before the race) after getting two texts in a row I asked John what I should do.  He knows how much I love this race.  Just because I wasn't in "race shape" was it really a good enough reason not to support a cause that is close to my heart?  It was time to get over myself.  I checked online and sure enough it was not too late to register so I went for it.  The time on the finish clock was not what was most important.  I just needed to be there. 

Saturday morning I was up at 4:45 and met my friend Natalie who was driving at 5:15.  I was able to get my shirt, bib, and chip in plenty of time and then Natalie and I jogged about 1.5 miles to warm-up.  Temps were in the mid 40's which is the coldest weather I have run in since April!!  It felt wonderful! (The 40's are my favorite racing temps.)

Once again my goal was to run strong and not feel any foot pain! (Do I really have control over the foot pain?)  I thought that trying to average a 6:15-6:20 would be a reasonable goal pace.  Natalie was shooting for a similar pace so I thought we'd stick together as long as possible. 

Mi 1- 6:12.  A little fast but I felt good.  Up until this point I was running along side Natalie and we passed several women to position ourselves 2nd and 3rd overall.

Mi 2- 6:17.  I still felt good and hoped I could hold onto 2nd place.

Mi 3- 6:24.  Big incline from mi 2-2.5 up the bridge.  I loved the cheers from runners on the opposite side.  I heard several runners- including my sister and a former XC teammate shout "Go Tia!!" which was so encouraging as I tried to push myself up the bridge.  Right around 2.8 I was supposed to make a left but kept running straight.  Apparently I wasn't watching the signs in front of me and the lead runner was too far ahead so there was no one to follow.  The police at the intersection was not watching so I didn't realize I was heading off-course.  When I finally realized my mistake I had lost a few seconds so I made a sharp left to get back on course.  Another runner- not Natalie came up and caught me.  We were running side by side until we hit the mile 3 marker.  Then she started to kick.  For a split second I thought about just letting her have it.  I was tired and ready to be done.  But then the competitor in me took over and I KNEW I was not going down without a fight. 

Mi 3.13- 0:43 (5:25 avg. pace)
From the mile 3 marker to the finish I sprinted my heart out.  Hands down the best I have ever finished a race in my life.  I never kick that hard.  I talked myself through it by telling myself "YOU are a competitor.  YOU can run faster and harder than this.  YOU know how to push at the end of a race." 
Huge thanks to Natalie's husband Jay for snapping these pics of the finish!

I finished one second in front of 3rd place female.  I think this is my slowest 5k in years but when I finished you would have thought it was one of my fastest.  I was so happy.  I needed this!! 

Official Finish time: 19:37.  Official results can be found here. And I have to say congrats to Natalie for finishing 4th and going sub 20 for the first time at RFTC! :-)  She's one of the ones who convinced me to race it.

A few after race pictures...
The tradition continues... Love my little sister Tara!
So glad I was able to meet up with my former college teammate Britney after the race!

Sporting our awesome Kroger headbands!

Final Thoughts
I'm SO glad I decided to go for it.  I knew this race wouldn't be a PR or even close to a PR but I needed to run it and to experience a race that I love for many reasons besides running. Race for the Cure is about women coming together to support each other.   Breast cancer affects everyone. We all need support, strength and hope.

A Few Facts about Race for the Cure in Arkansas: Source
  • 75 percent of the funds raised at RFTC remain here in Arkansas to provide breast health research, diagnostics, screening, treatment, services and education for uninsured or underinsured women.  
  • The remaining 25 percent goes to fund national research to discover the causes of breast cancer and, ultimately, its cures.  

Why Race for the Cure needs your support in Arkansas:  In this state there are 25 counties (1 out of every 3) that have no fixed mammography services. These are the women who are least likely to get a mammogram and it is the hardest for them. The funds raised in Arkansas Race for the Cure help make the following programs possible:
  • Free mammograms and diagnostics
  • Medical treatment for qualified breast cancer patients who cannot afford care, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation
  • Support services including support groups, assistance with finding financial resources, prescription refills and transportation to medical appointments
  • Education about the warning signs of breast cancer, methods of early detection and the latest treatment options
  • Cutting edge research to find a cure for breast cancer

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Will I ever learn?? Lessons from the Arkansas 20K (Race Report)

I’m guilty. Once again I learned (the hard way) that good intentions and wishful thinking do not necessarily make an idea a good idea.  When it comes to running these days I know what I need to do but it’s not want I want to do.  Instead of a good angel/ devil on my shoulders I have a smart, responsible runner who sees the big picture versus the overly ambitious, race adrenaline addict.  Take a wild guess at who won the battle Saturday morning when it came to the matter of a little 20K race…

Before I jump into that I will back up a few days... Last Thursday I “graduated” from Physical Therapy.  
Searcy Physical Therapy gives you a shirt when you graduate...
After about two months of rehab on my plantar fasciitis my physical therapist cut me loose.  I am now able to run every other day without pain or discomfort.  I typically keep these runs between 4-8 easy paced miles.  He still doesn't want me to doing any speed work- as this seems to be what aggravates my PF (plantar fasciitis).  I am going to continue doing my stretches at home and wear my night splint.  I asked my PT about an upcoming half marathon that I was considering running- NOT racing.  I asked him if it would be ok for me to run it a little slower than my marathon pace.  He was hesitant but said if I was up to that mileage and I didn’t race it I should be fine.  I could always drop out if I felt heel pain. 

There happened to be a 20k in the Arkansas Grand Prix series this past Saturday that I thought would be the perfect “training run” to prepare for the half marathon.  A 20k is 12.4 miles so if I were in normal racing shape I would shoot for tempo/ half marathon pace.  I knew that after several weeks and months of mostly easy running there was no way I could even touch my tempo pace.  I did a little speed work on the alter-g treadmill at PT once a week but nothing that would give me a lot of confidence going into a half marathon.  I was genuinely curious about what kind of shape I was in.  Was running at or a few seconds slower than marathon pace a reasonable goal? (Spoiler Alert- The answer is NO!!)

In my mind, if the 20k went well then I could do the half marathon.  If it didn’t then I’d know I wasn’t ready.  My main goal was to run easy, strong and not feel any foot discomfort.

Before the race I bumped into our local elite (she ran in the Olympic Marathon trials in ’12 and has already qualified for ’16).  I asked her about the course.  She said it wasn’t her favorite- a little hilly the first few miles and the last few but there were some decent stretches in the middle.  While I wasn’t that worried about the course since I wasn’t all out racing, I still hoped my “not racing pace” wouldn’t feel too hard!

As a side note- I never race with music anymore because it is a distraction to me when I’m trying to focus on pace but I wanted to keep it fun and relaxed.  I had my music, my training shoes on and I just wanted to enjoy running a distance I’d never raced before. 

Race Details: 
The Arkansas 20K is in Benton, AR every September.  It starts and finishes at Benton High School and is a basic out and back along city streets and an access road.  The race always starts at 7:33 a.m. This year temps were in the upper 60’s and humid at the start.

Miles 1-6
6:58, 6:49, 6:53,6:57, 7:02, 7:12 (43:xx at 10k)

My plan was to keep everything just under a 7 minute pace.  If marathon pace is in the 6:45-6:50 range then surely I could hit right at or under a 7 for 12.4 miles??  This seemed logical in my far too competitive mind… I knew I was third female from the start.  I passed a few guys- one of whom kindly opened my gu for me right before the 10K turn-around.  For some reason I couldn’t get it opened with my hands and because of dental work I could not tear it open with my teeth…

Miles 7-12.4
7:01, 6:55, 7:11, 7:33, 7:44, 7:45, 3:17 (6:58 avg. for last 0.47)

At the turn-around I could assess how far behind the first two females I was (pretty far) and I also learned how much lead I had on the fourth place female.  (Not much- a minute?)  Up until mile 9 I was feeling pretty good but the last 3 miles were HARD!  Apparently that’s what happens when you run a 12.4 mile race when you haven’t run more than 9 miles in MONTHS.  Basically it felt like the last 3 miles of a MARATHON but my splits were much worse.  My splits actually reminded me of my final miles from marathons I ran in 2012.  It was rough…  To make matters worse my heel pain returned around miles 8 & 9.  It wasn’t awful but I could feel it.  There were a few times in the last mile I turned around to see how much of a lead I had on the 4th place female.  Again, not much of a lead… 20-30 seconds at best.  Once my watch beeped at mile 12 I picked it up.  I was dead tired but I was not about to get passed in the last half mile. 

Finish- 1:29:24 (7:12 official avg.) 
(3rd OA female)- Official Results can be found here.

so glad to be done!
Running any sort of cool-down was out of the question.  I needed to rest my heel asap and take off my shoes!  I had a huge blood blister on my right pinky toe side from my training shoes.  This has NEVER happened to me before.  How did it happen during a 12.4 mile race?!  The shoes I wore (Asics gel nimbus) are extra comfy and supportive (just what my heel needs right now!) but a little too roomy for racing.  Also, I think I’d only wore this pair 3 or 4 times… Are there racing shoes out there for plantar fasciitis survivors?  I’ll have to look into this. 

Post Race Thoughts-
It’s been hard for me to acknowledge and accept where I am right now.  I know I am NOT ready to run a half marathon.  Even at marathon pace.  I’m never going to get better enough to train if set unrealistic expectations on myself.  There are several upcoming races I normally run every fall but I’m putting on the breaks.  And it’s so hard… IF I’m doing ok I may run in one local 5k in a few weeks but we’ll see.  I know I am not ready for a half marathon.

I really need to stop focusing on what I cannot do right now and think about what I CAN do.  I AM able to run every other day or so at easy pace and I need to be happy with that.  I might be at this phase for a while.  From everything I’ve read and heard plantar fasciitis can take several months to heal.  I think I’ve been so used to training and pushing myself to get faster for so long now that “just” easy running doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough.  I know this is not the way I need to think.  I AM able to swim and bike on my non-running days.  I AM able to take a break from competitive running for these few months.  Maybe I need that.

In closing, I’m trying to listen to the smart, responsible, runner angel on my shoulder.  I will be patient.  I will be content.  I will keep moving forward.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sometimes you've got to take the bad with the good...

2013 was a really good year in my little running world.  I felt strong and confident when I trained and when I raced.  This led to many PR's from the mile to the marathon.  I felt like the sky was the limit.

My first (and last) 17 min 5k! 7/4/13

2014 has been a rough running year for me.  It got off to a shaky start and my first race was a bit of a wake-up call for me.  I quickly learned that running a personal best was going to be harder than it was last year.  At least it felt that way...
Germantown Half Marathon- March, 2014

I know I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself as a runner.  I don't necessarily compare myself with others as much but I do compare myself to myself.  Last time I did this workout I ran it at this pace with this many intervals...Or last time I ran this race I ran this pace so this time I need to be this much faster... I did that a lot this year which only added to the pressure.

I love to race so it was no surprise I went out guns blazing.  Within the first half of the year I'd already raced: the mile, two mile, 5k, 10k, 15k, half marathon and marathon.  Yes, it added up to 17 races in 6 months.  I was able to PR in the 10k and the marathon this spring but there were a lot of other missed race opportunities.

Plantar Fasciitis is apparently the theme (so far) of 2014.  I've always known this injury was "out there" and when I heard other runners talk about it I thought to myself, "I'm so glad that's not me!" I'm going to be honest- it's been a hard injury to shake.  When it first crept in around mid March I was frustrated but it was very manageable.  I decided I would continue to train so long as it was under control.  I stretched more, iced, rolled it and it only bothered me after my long runs.  It did not bother me once during my marathon and I really thought it would just eventually go away...

Several weeks of intense speed work at the end of May and throughout June really pushed it over the edge.  It went from being manageable and annoying to downright painful.  Since the Fast Firecracker race in July my main mission has been recovery.  After taking a few weeks off I thought I was ready to start training again.  I started slowly at first but then I picked it up again and this past week I overdid it.  So... I've temporarily put the breaks on running again and am back to my usual cross training/ lifting routine. 

Here are a few things I've learned so far during this process:

1.  Accept the injury.  Sounds simple enough but it took me a while to really acknowledge that I had plantar fasciitis and I needed to take a break.

2.  You can't rush the comeback process.  Healing takes time.  I really liked Kara Goucher's article on her training comeback.  She had a sacral stress fracture in January and she spent 10 weeks out with her injury (she did cross train during much of this time but limited it so her body would be sure to heal) and then another ten weeks slowly building up her mileage to where it was before the injury.  I have decided that when I do start running again in another week or two I am going to slowly move up my mileage.  It will take time to build back up but I am in no hurry. 

3.  Don't worry about future races.  This might not be hard for some people but when you love to race it can be a big temptation.  I have a list of regular local races that I like to keep on my racing calendar.  I have a hard time saying no to any of them because they are local, cheap, and/ or for a good cause.  It took me a while to accept that I'm injured and I'm not doing myself any favors by putting unrealistic race expectations on myself.  I need to heal and not put myself in situations that tempt me to push myself to do more than I'm ready to do.  I had originally planned to run in a nearby 5k this past weekend but after I started experiencing foot pain early last week (due to some poor training decisions on my part) I decided to call it off.  Tentatively in the back of my mind I had planned/ hoped I would be ready for a 20K and a half marathon later this month.  Is that going to happen?  No.  As much as I wish it could I will not be ready- physically or mentally. 

4.  Remember there is (A LOT) more to life than running.  We all know this but do our everyday actions really show this?  I love running (obviously- this is a running blog) and it is so easy to get caught up in my training schedule, my races and any and all things running related.  BUT... running does not define me as a person.  My value does not depend on a time on a finish line clock or even a hard day's practice.  God has placed MANY special people around me who mean more to me than my own life and running fast is not my ultimate purpose on this earth.

5.  I am not in control.  I'm not.  I like to think I'm in control but I believe God often uses running (or not running) to teach me important lessons that I am probably too hard headed to learn on my own.  He's blessed me with many amazing running related experiences throughout my life and it's easy to thank him for those.  I know I need to also thank Him for the these times- even though I don't understand the why or how long.  I just need to be patient and trust Him.  (Easier said than done, right?)  I am learning more about patience, humility, trust, and being happy in all things.  This has been HARD and I still have a long way to go but it's actually very freeing knowing that I'm not in charge of this situation. 

One of these days (hopefully soon!) I will get back to hard core training and racing but for now I am trying to be content with where I am.  It's not easy but I know it's where I need to be right now.  


Thanks for checking in!  Stay tuned for future posts on how to how to totally beat plantar fasciitis and run faster than ever... :-) 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lessons learned the hard way from racing

In the world of running and racing, it doesn't get much better than staying strong and running a smart, perfectly executed race.  Usually these are the races that end with our best time on the finish line clock.  We learn a lot from these races and set the bar to measure all our future races by the success we earned in that one.

So what about those races we want to forget about the moment we cross the finish line?  We showed up to race and for whatever reason lost our way?  Maybe it was the weather, the course, our fitness level or our mind but for some reason we lost focus and the willpower to give it our best.  What about the races we fight just to finish- forget the time because we know it's going to be bad?  What are the lessons we learn from these racing disasters?

I remember the half marathon I started a bit too optimistically.  In my head I had a goal pacing plan but my body wasn't quite ready for it yet.  The last five miles were awful.  After it was over I was really wishing I had a time machine so I could get a do-over...
Sure, you can pass me... I was done!

One of my clients I coach had a race this weekend that did not go as planned.  She sent me her times and admitted that she went out too fast and could never recover from that first mile. It's a tough lesson to learn the hard way but most of us have been down that road more than once.

Friday night my oldest daughter was having her usual case of pre-race jitters.  "Did I say I wanted to run in this race?  I don't know if I want to do it now..." etc.  One thing about racing with your kids- they all process race anxiety differently.  My six and eight year-old were also running in it and didn't worry at all about it.  My oldest is more serious about it.  She likes running and typically races well but she also worries and puts pressure on herself sometimes to do well.  She does this in other areas- not just running.  I tried to reassure her with talks about doing your best and not worrying about what others will run.  Run your race.

Saturday morning we headed to the race.  It was a one mile which was actually put on by their school and all proceeds went to the cross country and track team.  The majority of runners were kids (or parents with their kids) so it was a fun atmosphere.  While my plantar fasciitis is improving it is definitely not in one mile racing shape if you know what I mean.  I had planned to pace with my oldest daughter and then afterwards my son (separate heats for men and women).  Abi's fastest mile time was a 7:21 (which she ran a few weeks ago during a 5k) so she was hoping for something in the lower 7's.

When the gun went off we quickly settled into a rhythm.   The pace was more around her 5k pace.  I have raced 5 and 10k's with my daughter and she generally does well with pacing.  I tried to let her know that she was doing great but actually running closer to an 8 minute pace- not 7 like she said she wanted. This did not go over well and I quickly learned that she was struggling.  She was not in a good mood and the next few minutes were rough.  There was even one point that she just stopped running for a few seconds.  I looked at her said, "This is a one mile race. You can do this." (She has run 5 and 10k's without stopping- what was going on?) 

She ended up finishing several seconds from her PR with a 7:35.

As soon as we finished I had to hurry over to the guys race so that I could run with my son.  He was pretty worn out by the time we got to the starting line (over a half mile away) so we really didn't plan that out well.  He is completely non-competitive right now when it comes to running but he wanted to do this race since it was for his school.  We jogged our way to the finish line and he was more than happy to sit and rest under a tree when we were done.

After we finished my daughter came up to me looking very distraught .  She said she was sorry for her bad attitude while we were running together.  I told her was ok- it's over now.  But she wanted more.  She was not at peace.  She asked if she could do it again and try harder.  She knew she had given up and didn't give it her best effort.  That leaves a bad feeling in your stomach.  I shook my head and told her she couldn't.  "You get one shot at a race. There will be another race at another time but you just get one shot at this one."  

It's a hard lesson to learn.  We talked more about it once we were home and settled.  I told her that all sports can get hard sometimes.  The good things in life usually require a lot of work.  We miss out on a lot of opportunities when we don't put ourselves out there and try our best.  I brought up some examples of things we've done as a family or been able to enjoy as a result of hard work and she understood.  I don't know when Abi's next race will be but I have a feeling that whenever she decides she's ready to get back out there she will have a better attitude and give it her all.

What are some race lessons you've learned the hard way?

Do you ever race with your kids?  What do you do when the race doesn't go as planned?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A vacation, a race and a trip to the emergency room...

Has it really been over two weeks since my last post?!

It seems like most of our summer activities have been crammed into the last few weeks and we are officially one week away from the first day of school for three of my little people. I cannot believe that in just a few days we will be back to earlier bedtimes, making lunches, and functioning on a much more structured schedule.  I've really enjoyed the lazy days of summer.  I can honestly say that we did not go overboard on the activities and craziness.  We had fun times but we also had a lot of downtime.  Days with nothing going on but playing and being creative in the house or outside.  It was wonderful.
Blueberry picking a few miles from our house
Our kids and the neighbor kids across the street made a play about a family... during the Mexican American War?! 
They had a few lemonade stands too
Lots of barbies- this happens to be a barbie wedding
The cast of Tangled stopped long enough for me to take this picture
And of course, their favorite musical- Wicked. 

Before I start in our vacation I guess I should back up to the days leading up to it. 

A few days before I left a friend and fellow running blogger Amanda from Runninghood mentioned that she and her kids would be traveling through the area so I invited them to stop by for a visit.  The kids had fun playing and we were able to catch up and chat.

I also got in a few more workouts including some easy paced runs outside ranging from 4-8 miles.  One of my "easy" 4 mile runs was not planned very well.  I decided one Sunday afternoon to run during the hottest time of the day and somehow managed to convince Jackie to join me.  It was 96 degrees but the heat index was 109! Not my smartest move.

Waaaaaaaay too hot outside to be running!

Two days before I left Jackie and I made it to a 5 minute plank!  It took us most of the summer but we added a little time on every few days and we made it!

Now for the Vacation...
En route to Kentucky

Every two years my mom's side of the family has a reunion hosted by one of the siblings.  (My mom has 3 brothers and 3 sisters and each of them have at least 4 children- who are all having their own children so you can imagine it's a large crowd.)  This reunion was hosted by my aunt who lives in Kentucky.  My grandparents rented a Christian camp (after the regular camping session was over) so we had plenty of room for everyone.
The entire family Sunday morning

There was a lot of relaxing and visiting.  We played games, hiked, fished.

And of course, I found a local road race! I actually found it online a few months ago but wasn't sure if I could do it because of my foot.  (I'm trying to recover from a pesky case of plantar fasciitis.) Having taken off 2.5 weeks from running entirely followed by 1.5 weeks of easy running is not the best (or smartest) way to go into a race.  Yes, I realize I probably shouldn't have done it at all but it was RIGHT by our camp and I LOVE getting to experience new races like this.

My last vacation race was the Quiet Valley Rooster 5k in Pennsylvania last summer.  That experience taught me that sometimes the best way to go into a vacation race is with low expectations.  You never know what the weather and course will be like in unfamiliar territory- especially with smaller local road races.  In the case last summer I had no idea it was a trail/ cross country race until we got to the race.  BIG difference between that and a road race!

The race we ran in Kentucky was called the Back to School 5K which raised money for a local scholarship program.  I must admit that even though the course had a lot of rolling elevation change (and finished on an uphill) I actually liked it a lot.  The course was spread out around the local middle school campus and somehow we never had to go on public roads which made it feel a lot safer than other 5k's.  (I think about this a lot when my kids are racing.)  We also ran one lap around the track- in the middle of the race!

My oldest daughter had planned to run this 5k with me and the night before my son decided he wanted to as well.  Normally we are all about pre-registering but I had emailed the RD and she just said to come morning of (since we were from out of town) and she would give us the pre-registration rate.  My aunt announced the race the night before and two of my cousins also decided they wanted to run.  As far as crowd support goes we had a huge fan club.  John and my younger two were there, as well as a bunch of my cousins, two aunts, two of my sisters, nieces and my parents.  I loved it!

My pacing plan
It's a little scary trying to predict your 5k pace when you haven't done speed work in well over a month.  I knew my usual 5k pace would be way too fast so I aimed somewhere between 10k and half marathon pace.  I thought hitting between a 6:10-6:20 would be a realistic goal.  I could always slow down even more (or stop) if my foot hurt.  No pressure!!

Mile 1- 6:10.  Right where I needed to be.  I stayed in control and tried not to think about what my pace would have been if I were healthy.  I should note this race has a quarter mile downhill start.  Very nice in the beginning but I knew we would have to go back up the hill to finish...  I was actually running alongside Abi the first minute (and we were in the 5:20's).  I knew she was starting way too fast but she was excited and the downhill was hard to control.

Mile 2- 6:26.  Right around the time my watch beeped at the mile marker I passed the second place female and I think I was around fifth overall.  I could feel my foot pain- it wasn't bad- just not invisible the way I want it to be!  I knew the biggest hill was about halfway through mile two.  At the time I didn't think it was that bad but I guess it did affect my time.  Halfway through this mile we ran a lap around the track and I was right behind the first place female. Our pace was slowing down so I decided to pass her on the first straightaway.  From there I kept going and passed a younger high school age kid.

Mile 3- 6:07.  I was feeling pretty good but ready to wrap this party up. Time to head back up the hill to the finish.

Mile 3.12- 0:45 (6:24 avg. pace).

Total Time: 19:30. 1st female (3rd OA) 6:17 avg.

Official Results can be found here.

As soon as I finished I grabbed some water and then headed back to find Abi.  She was moving right along and getting close to the final parking lot loop.  She said she had just run her fastest mile ever in mile 1!  In June she ran a 7:22 at the RRCA one mile championship.  In this 5k her first mile split was a 7:21- and she still had another 2.1 miles to go!

She wanted to stop and walk but I reminded her she was almost done.  I told her as soon as we got to the top of the hill she would see the finish line clock and she could walk if she wanted to.  Of course, when we got to the top she forgot all about stopping and started sprinting it in.  She finished in exactly 25:00.  (Her second fastest 5k ever.)  Then I turned around again to find my son.

He was a little further back and he was ready to be done.  He wanted to hold my hand so we ran for a long time hand in hand.  I'm not sure how much longer he'll like to run this way so I'm just going to soak it up while I can!

After everyone finished this race had a one mile walk.  I guess the timing company used this time to get all the results/ age group awards together.  I walked a mile with my aunt.  It was great having so many family members there.
My two cousins (Daniel & Tab), my older two and I after the race

Ashton and my dad just hanging out after the race

so proud of these two!

The rest of our trip was pretty relaxing except for the last night when my husband had a little fishing accident which resulted in a trip to the emergency room...

He had decided to take the kids fishing which was going well for a while until our youngest walked out in front of my husband as he was about to cast.  John quickly yanked his pole back so he wouldn't get Ashton.  Unfortunately, he hooked himself in the back pretty good.

It was a triple hook and two of the three hooks were lodged in his back.

It was not this particular hook but this gives you an idea
A few of us tried to get it out but it wasn't moving.  Plus, the hook had been in a fish's mouth minutes earlier so there was no telling how many germs it had on it.  It was around 9 pm at this point so John and I left the kids with my parents and headed to the emergency room. 

After a few hours we made it back to see the doctor.  Thankfully John was given a shot to numb his back area so he didn't feel a thing as they pushed and pulled out the hooks.  Then they gave him a tetanus shot and put him on some antibiotics to fight off any infection. 

We got back to camp around 1:30 am and left the next morning for Arkansas.  It was a long day but we made it home.  I'm happy to report that John is healing nicely although I'm not sure when he will take all the kids finishing again... :-)

Any other vacation racers out there?

Or vacation emergency room visitors?

How are you spending your last few weeks of summer?