Friday, April 18, 2014

Doc Rock and Run Half Marathon- Race Report

This past Saturday I ran in the Doc Rock and Run Half Marathon in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  I'm pretty sure this race is going to be one I remember for a LONG time. It was a very memorable girls weekend and I will try to spare you some of the craziness.  Races do not always go as planned (or even close to as planned) so sometimes you just have to deal with what you've got and do what you can.  This was one of those races.

I've wanted to run this race the past two years but because of timing it's never worked out for some reason or another.  This race offers prize money to the top five male and female runners so when I knew I wasn't doing Boston this year I wanted to add it to my running calendar. ( Last year it was scheduled just 5 days after Boston and I knew I wasn't ready physically or emotionally.)  Jonesboro is a little over an hour and a half from my house.  A few of my girlfriends were also interested in doing this one so we ended up leaving Friday night and staying in Jonesboro since the race had a 7:30 am start time.

Friday night we got to the health expo and attempted to drive the course using the map they gave us at the expo.  The map didn't have give any directions and only provided two street names so it was impossible to follow.  After a few minutes we gave up and decided to go to dinner instead.  I'm so glad we did- I honestly don't know how we would have handled knowing what was headed our way...
All five of our "flat mamas" ready to go!

Saturday morning we arrived to the race by 7 am.  While we were in the restroom we overheard some ladies talking loudly about how hard the course was but we really tried to block it out and ignore them.  Who wants to hear that before a race?  Surely it would not be that bad...

I jogged a little over a mile warm up but it was already getting so warm outside that I didn't want to get too hot.  At this point it was in the low 60's/ 80% humidity but climbing.  This would not be an issue if I were used to running in warm weather but it had been in the 30's-40's for so long now.  (Just last weekend at Capital City it was 42 degrees and perfect.)  The weather had just changed.  I can't remember my last 60-70 degree weather run and it usually takes my body a week or two to adjust to warmer temps.
Pre-race group picture- so warm and sunny at 7 am!

The weather was not my biggest concern.  I had to admit I was starting to wonder about all the hills.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  I knew the course had "measured long" for runners in previous years but heard it would be more accurate this year with the new timing company.

The Race
From the very start I found myself immediately in second place behind a guy who did not seem like he expected to stay in the lead.  By the half mile marker I was the lead runner following the escort vehicle.  I have only been in this position once before and it was for a small local 10K.  I've never been the lead runner for a half marathon or any big race.  There were around 200 runners in the half.

Mile 1- 6:27.  Since my pace goal was to stay in the 6:20-6:30 range I was right on target.  Sadly this would be my only mile in the 6:20's... I really can't single out any good miles I had.  The hills were constant.  When I got up one and started heading down I just saw the next one.  It was like being on a roller coaster that wouldn't end.
Mile 2- 6:30. 
Mile 3- 6:34.
Mile 4- 6:34.
Mile 5- 6:32.  In this mile a guy who I'd heard behind me came up along side me with a cyclist.  He said good job and kept moving.  He was talking casually with the bike guy as if he were on an easy training run.  He reminded me of Lance Armstrong.  I wish I could have moved on with them but I was not feeling it.  At this point I acknowledged that a sub 6:30 pace was not going to happen.  I still had 8 more miles and it was getting so hot. 
Mile 6- 6:38.  I was started to get discouraged now.  I couldn't see "Lance" anymore and at a sharp left turn I glanced behind me to see if anyone else was behind me.  I was alone.  I never saw first or third place the rest of the race.
Mile 7- 7:01.  That's right. A 7.  I didn't want to see a 7 in my last marathon- let alone in a half marathon.  In this mile was the steepest hill followed by a calm serene cemetery.  You know you're at a low point in a race when you start getting envious of the bodies at rest in the cemetery.  I was in a bad place mentally and feeling defeated.  I had some gu and water and hoped that would help me pick it up a little.  I said another prayer. 
Mile 8- 6:41.  Better than a 7-something but switching into my marathon-pace mode now.  At this point I started looking at the race as a great training run on hills.  If I could just maintain marathon paced miles I would consider this race-turned-workout a success. Just get through it.
Mile 9- 6:41.  I grabbed some more water.  It was close to 70 degrees at this point.  Sweat was getting in my eyes and stinging but I still had more than a 10k to go...
Mile 10-6:48. 
Mile 11- 6:45. 
Mile 12- 6:41.  When I reached the 12 mile sign my watch said 12.2.  I knew the course would run a little long but I remembered when I did another race that was 13.3.  Not ideal but I guess that happens. 
Mile 13- 6:35.  The finish for this race was WAY OFF.  When my watch said 13.1 I still had about another half mile to go.  No joke.  And not just any half mile- a long uphill stretch to the finish.  I reminded myself that this was a training run and I was doing 20 miles total anyway (marathon training) so I had to keep moving.
Mile 13.56- 3:44 (6:37 pace).

Total time: 1:30:16. 1st female overall. (2nd overall)

Official results can be found here.

After I finished I grabbed some Gatorade.  Then a very kind lady let me borrow her phone so I could call John.  I told him my time/ extra distance issues and reminded him that I was heading back out to cool down and get in another 5 miles or so.  My plan was to jog back to my friend Leslie and finish with her.

I was able to see Kem finish.  (She ended up being 3rd overall female.)  Then I started heading back to Leslie.  I saw my friend Kerri who wanted to know how long the course ended up being.  I hated having to break it to her.  I ran a little with Leslie and then I found our friend Ann who was running her first half marathon ever.  What a race to be your first!  Ann was doing great.  I stayed with her until the 13 mile sign and then I veered off so she could finish.  At this point I had just over 20 miles and was glad to be done.
We did it!
The Distance
My biggest suggestion for those involved in this race: please re-measure this course to make it 13.1 miles.  (Or anywhere in that ball park!)  Use a GPS watch, car odometer, measuring wheel, Jones-Oerth counter on a bicycle- whatever it takes!  I know I was using this as a training run but to all of those who trained and planned for a half marathon- running 13.6 is a bit frustrating. Everyone I talked to after the race had the finish between 13.56-13.60.  The RD apologized to one of my friends and admitted they made it too long.  Hopefully they will work out this issue before next year.  (Although I think this has been a problem the last few years??)  Honestly they could do without the entire last uphill half mile loop. Just adjust the starting line a little and you would have 13.1 easy.

The Awards
Having Miss Arkansas hand me my award was definitely a first!
Thank you, Miss Arkansas

Kem and I were pretty excited about winning some extra cash too.

Instead of t-shirts this race did hoodies and I must say they are AWESOME.  We fought some serious hills and heat for those hoodies and (once the weather cools down) they will be worn with pride!

All in all it was a fun weekend.  I loved being able to share this experience with friends.  But I'm not going to lie- I'm a little scared by the half marathon distance right now.   My last three have all had their own share of challenges.  I am loving the 5k and 10k distance though.  In the meantime my marathon is just over 4 weeks away! I'm still trying to wrap my head around running 26.2 miles again.  3.1 just sounds so nice...

Do you ever find yourself dreading a certain racing distance??

And now for a few random pictures from after the race last weekend...

Totally non-flattering picture of me with the giant sonic milkshake I asked John to get me Saturday night after the race.  I was so tired and it was so good!

snuggling with my Ashton

This was after church Sunday morning.  My little guy turns 8 tomorrow and is getting so tall!
My younger three at the church Easter egg hunt!

This is actually from a few days ago... I found this Walmart list that Abi made. What in the world?! Lol!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Capital City Classic 10K- Race Report

Well here we are over a week out after the Capital City 10k and I guess it's about time I get this race recap written. I've actually run another race since this one- the Doc Rock and Run Half Marathon in Jonesboro, Arkansas and you better believe I will be writing about that one too.  I'll give you a hint-it's pretty much the exact opposite of the report you are about to read!  Let's just say I was definitely reminded how big a role weather and race course itself play in race performance.  Not my finest hour- or hour and a half if you want to be specific!  More on that to come...

Last Saturday I ran in the Capital City Classic 10K for the 4th time.  This race is one of my favorites every year- and you know I race a lot so that is saying something!  Here are just a few of the reasons why I love this race:
  • The course is perfect- flat and fast! I've set a personal best time there every year I have run it.
  • It is very organized and well run. This race has been around for 30+ years and they know what they're doing.
  • The weather- I know you can't predict how weather will be on race morning but every time I have run this race it has been great.  (low 40's, calm, not humid- basically perfect.)  Saturday was no exception.
  • The price-  $20.00 registration fee up until day of race.  You can't beat that these days.  This included a gender specific dry fit shirt.  The kids 1 mile race and fun run was FREE.  This also included dry fit shirts for the kids.  So I registered myself and Abi for the 10k along with 3 kids races.  (So if you are doing the math that is $40 for 5 race entries including 5 dry fit race shirts- pretty sweet!)

We were running a little late Saturday morning.  I was hoping to leave by 6:15 and by the time we got all the kids loaded it was 6:30.  We were on the road for 3 minutes when I realized I forgot my watch.  So we turned around because I want to know my splits!  If we would have already been on the highway I guess I could have sucked it up and run by feel but we were close enough to the house so we just got it.

The only negative I have about this race is the parking.  No matter where you park to get in or out you will be on the race course and the parking is about a half mile (or more) from where you get your bib, chip and t-shirts.  I always count it as my warm-up and try to find a decent port-a-potty line somewhere along the way.  Again, I was cutting it close.  Abi and I left the port-a-potties with about 3 minutes to spare!

Abi is participating in the 100 mile cub at school again this year (they have all school year to log 100 miles) and she decided she wanted to do the 10K.  She had actually decided this last year after I ran it and she saw another girl around her age run it.  I told her if I did it next year she could too.  I paced Abi in a 10K she ran this past fall but she was going to be running this one all on her own.  She knew I would go back to find her when I was done but this was going to be all her.  She has run in several 5k's and I had other friends out there on the course so I felt like she would do fine out there. I just warned her to go out slow and take it easy. 

This race is part of the Arkansas Grand Prix series.  There were a little over 600 runners and some pretty good competition.  Our local elite female runner was there, along with several other guys- a few I recognized from other GP races and I wanted to try to keep up with them if I could.  My big goal was to break 38 minutes if I was feeling really good but a PR would also be very acceptable.  My best time in the 10K at this point was 38:41which was from May, 2013.  My target pace range was 6:00-6:10.  If I wanted to break 38 I would definitely need to be sub 6:05.

My Strategy
I always race better when I have a game plan.  When I ran my best 10K time last year I divided the race into three parts: miles 1&2, miles 3&4 and miles 5-6.2.  This time I decided to divide my race into two 5k's in my mind.  I would really have to be at 19:00 or sub 19 at the 5k mark to have a realistic chance of seeing a 37:xx finish time.

The Race

The first half mile- photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside

I spotted John just before the mile 1 marker

Mile 1- 6:07. Right on pace.

Mile 2- 6:05.  Feeling really good and settling into my place in the race.  I did not want anyone to pass me.  (I was passed at the end last year and gave up a little.  I wanted to stay in control this time.)

Mile 3- 6:03. Felt great and hoping I could keep it up!

5K- 18:57. Unofficial- I just glanced at my watch. I knew it was going to be close.  I really couldn't slow down and I knew from previous years running this race that my watch measured it a little long so I would have to be ahead.

Mile 4- 6:07.  This was a hard mile mentally.  I knew I still had a ways to go. I just focused on making it to the mile 5 marker on the main road back to the finish.

Mile 5- 6:08.  I was going as fast as I could but I knew I was running out of steam.

Mile 6- 6:08.  I really wanted a lower 6 on this but it is what it is.
saw my crew just before the mile 6 marker cheering me on to the finish

Mile 6.27- 1:31 (5:40 pace).  I saw the clock change from 37 to 38.  I tried to get there in time but couldn't make it.
photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside
photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside

Official Finish Time- 38:11 / 6:10 avg. (Garmin avg 6:05)
2nd female overall. (1st was 35:34) 
Official Results can be found here.

Post Race Thoughts
Even though I didn't make my A goal (sub 38) I was able to PR by 30 seconds which was huge to me.  This race is actually my first PR of 2014 so I am thrilled!  I have no doubt that I WILL break 38 minutes in the 10K.  This is not over yet!

As soon as I finished I grabbed a water bottle and ran back to find Abi.  Along the way I passed several runners I knew, including Tish, Angela and Tish's daughter.  They all ran their best 10K time.   I also saw one of my running clients- Heather who was moving! She set a 3 minute PR as well!  When I got to Abi she had about a mile to go.  She was tired and ready to be done.  She gave it all she had and finished in 54:31.  (8:48 average).  This was MUCH faster than I thought she would do it. She is 9 years old and likes to run but generally sticks to the mile and the occasional 5k so I wasn't sure what to expect.   Abi proudly wore her new10K race shirt twice to school this last week.  She said it's her favorite race shirt she has.  So proud of my Abi.
photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside

Then there was the kids one mile and fun run.  I think my all time favorite race picture EVER is this one of Ashton on the starting line.  He was ready to run in the 1/2 mile race.

My middle two ran in the mile race.  I love when local races have events like this for the kids.

photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside
The Kids

Please excuse Ashton- he was pretty excited about that pizza!
The Fam
couldn't do it without my J

The Awards
photo courtesy of Nicholas Norfolk

Me with my little 10K girl!

Tish and I sporting our favorite Boston jackets

It was a great morning and race experience.  I hope to be back to this race again next year. 

Do you have a favorite local race?

How often do you race the10K?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Running a Faster 5K!

Thank you for the many kind comments on Facebook and Twitter about my race this past weekend.  I ran in the Capital City Classic in Little Rock this past Saturday morning and was able to knock about 30 seconds off my 10K PR so I was thrilled!  The 10K is an interesting distance.  I don't race a lot of them but it's nice to see some improvement in my time.  I am working on a race report and will try to have it up soon!

The final finish stretch (Photo courtesy of Arkansas Outside)

Running a Faster 5K
It's no secret that one of my favorite distances and definitely the one I race the most is the 5K.  Sure it's fast, intimidating and feels like an all out sprint (at least for though of us who typically run longer distances) but it really is the mother of all road races.  If you are a marathoner who is a little unsure about making the switch to summer 5K racing then this post I wrote a while back might be for you- Switching Gears: A Marathoners Unofficial Guide to Running 5K's.

Typically I sprinkle several 5k's a year into my regular marathon or half marathon training schedule.  It really is one of my favorite ways to mix in speed work in a training cycle.  However, there's a big difference between racing a 5k while training for a marathon and racing a 5K while training for a 5k.  Most runners I know want to run a faster 5K but like me, throw them into a half or full marathon training cycle.  There's nothing wrong with doing this- I still do this but I know if I dedicated and trained specifically for them the results would be even better. 

Last summer was the first time since college that I actually trained specifically for a 5K and it made a huge difference.  After the Boston Marathon last spring, I knew my body was ready for a break from marathon training.  It was getting warmer outside and I knew my training time would be a little more condensed with all the kids home from school for the summer.  I was ready to cut back a little on my mileage and work more on my speed. 

I decided to make the Fast Firecracker 5K (July 4th in Little Rock) my "A" race.   I really wanted to break 18 minutes in the 5K and I knew it would require the right course and proper 5K training.  (FYI- it's an amazing course and I would definitely recommend it!)

For the next two months my long runs were never more than 12-14 miles.  I had two track workouts every week with intervals ranging from 200m to short tempo runs.  (I ran a lot of 200/ 400 m repeat variations.)  The workouts were a refreshing change and I felt like it was something new every day.  It was just what I needed!

Below are a few  of my own suggestions if you are serious about improving your 5k time.  If you have some of your own please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

1.  Find your "A" race.  This will require a little research on your part.  There are A LOT of 5k's out there.  They tend to come out of the woodwork every spring.  It's okay to be picky about your "A" 5k and in my opinion it helps to run a few others as tune-up races. 
  • Timing- Ideally you will want at least 8 weeks to really improve your speed.  I chose a 12-week training plan. (More on this below.) The summer is a great time to race 5k's because it is usually too hot in most areas of the country to race long distances.  Look for one that starts early in the morning if you live where it is warm.  I love when summer races start at 7 or 7:30.  A summer 5K (or any race for that matter) that starts at 9 am is a bad idea.  Trust me.  I did this before and it was not fun.
  • Course- Look up race reviews and look up the course elevation map.  Sometimes I google the course name followed by mapmyrun to see another runners elevation map of the same race if the race website doesn't provide one.  (Obviously this won't work for an inaugural race.) If you want a fast 5K you will want it to be flat- and slightly downhill is even better!  Hills are not your friend when it comes to fast 5k's.  They are your worst enemy.  You also don't want there to be a lot of turns. Trail and cross country 5k's are beautiful but more challenging.  Trust me on this one too.  I did this before and realized I could barely maintain my marathon pace in a 5K.  But yes, it was beautiful and a fun experience.  (I'm just glad I had not planned on a PR that day!)
    Quiet Valley Rooster Cross Country/ Trail 5K in Pennsylvania
    Family pictures after the prettiest 5K ever!

  • Race- This might be a given but I'm just going to go ahead and mention this since I have experienced some of these " smaller race" issues myself.  All 5k's are not created equal.  Many local 5k's are thrown together with good intentions but in an effort to raise more money for whatever worthy cause they are promoting sometimes they skimp on racing essentials (in my opinion) such as- timing system, adequate volunteer/ support staff and street safety.  Running one (or more) of these as a tune-up race is fine but I would be a little hesitant to make one of these my "A" race I trained for it all summer. 
2.  Follow a good training plan.  Whether you find one online, buy a customized plan, or have a coach- find what works for you.  For anyone interested, below is just a sample of two weeks of my training plan from last summer.  (I followed a 12 week customized 5K training plan from Run S.M.A.R.T.)  I wrote about some of my training in this post last summer.  As you can see, two speed sessions a week and my "long run" ranged from 12-14 miles.  The rest were easy run days.

Week 8 - 2013-06-03 Mileage: 51
  • Monday- Easy Day: 6 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
  • Tuesday- Easy Day: 8 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
  • Wednesday- Threshold Session: 2 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace, 2 mi at 6:20 pace, 3 min rest, 3 mi at 6:20 pace, 4 x 20 second strides, 2 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
  • Thursday- Off Day, no running 
  • Friday- Easy Day: 8 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
  • Saturday- Interval Session: 2 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace, 4 x 3 min at 5:50 pace, with 2 min recovery jogs, 3 x 2 min at 5:50 pace with 1 min recovery jogs, 2 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
  • Sunday- Easy Day: 12 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
Week 9 - 2013-06-10 Mileage: 55
  • Monday- Easy Day: 6 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
  • Tuesday- Easy Day: 8 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
  • Wednesday- Threshold Session: 2 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace, 4 x 20 second strides, 3 mi at 6:20 pace, 4 x 20 second strides, 2 mi at 6:20 pace, 2 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
  • Thursday- Off Day, no running 
  • Friday- Easy Day: 8 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace
  • Saturday- Rep Session: 2 mi at 7:38 - 8:05 pace, 5 sets of (200 m at 0:40 pace+ 200m recovery jog + 200 m at 0:40 pace + 200m jog + 400 m at 1:21 pace+ 400m jog)
  • Sunday- Easy Day: 14 mi at 7:38 - 8:05
3.  Embrace the change of pace.  It will be different.  It will be short.  It will be fast!  During my 5K training I threw in a one mile race.  Wow.  It was a lot different than what I was used to racing.  It definitely pushed me WAY out of my comfort zone but I am SO glad I did it.  I decided to embrace the change in my racing and training and it was very refreshing.  There were days when I had more mileage from more warm-up and cool-down combined than in the actual workout itself.  I wasn't running as many miles as I typically did during marathon training but I felt like the miles were really counting.  I never felt like I was in any sort of a rut because the speed work was always changing and pushing me.
Right before the go! Mile race last summer

In the end I was able to reach my 5K goal and victory was sweet! Emotionally, I felt the way I do after a marathon.  I was not expecting that- I guess because I had always raced 5k's as a part of my marathon training and had never invested any specific training time on them.  In this case I had invested 12 weeks of my life so my post 5K feelings were very similar to my post marathon ones.  Does that make sense?  I had planned to jump immediately into marathon training after my big 5K but quickly learned that I needed a few weeks break- same as if I had run a marathon.  Maybe I am in the minority on this but I thought I would mention that here in case anyone else experienced similar feelings after their 5K.
Fast Firecracker 5K- July 4, 2013

Do you have any tips for running a faster 5K? 

Do you ever train specifically for a 5k or do you prefer to throw them into your other training?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Bison Invitational Track Meet- 5K Race Report

In April of 2001 I ran in what I assumed would be my last college track meet ever. 

Pretty blurry but I'm on the far right
Just hanging out with some of my track girls after a meet senior year
I had run cross country and track in high school and all four years at Harding University.  I remember thinking at my last meet- this is it.  I'm done.  I was a little sad but I knew that it was time for this part of my life to come to an end.  I was 22 years old, engaged to be married and about to graduate from college.  I was ready for my future to begin. 

Fast forward 13 years later.  Obviously A LOT happened during these momentous years (including getting married and having kids) but this is a race recap so I will stick to the running.  :-)

After my 5K Saturday morning we went home to shower, change and eat lunch before we headed back to the track to watch some of the Harding University home track meet.  We knew some of the students participating and we wanted to support them.  Also, we'd never taken our kids to a track meet before and thought they might like watching some of the events.

I'm not exactly sure how it all happened (although I know my husband and another family friend had something to do with it) but I was invited to run "unattached" in the 5,000 meter race at 4:50.  My first thought was- another 5K?  I had just raced two 5k's the previous Saturday and knew how hard that was.  Could I do it again?  I knew my earlier race had taken a lot out of me but how could I say no to an opportunity like this?  How many people are presented an opportunity to go back in time to do what they love to do?  I didn't want to miss my chance.  Was I scared?  Yes.  Nervous?  Absolutely.  Did I think I could get lapped or come in last?  I sure hoped not but it was possible.

So with about 2 hours to prepare we went home again and I dressed to race.  John assured me that my time wouldn't matter.  He was just SO excited about this race.  I still wanted to do well and stay in the right pace range.  I knew the morning race and extra mileage had taken its toll but I needed to pull it together for one more 5k.   Never in a million years did I imagine I would be running at a college meet with college girls again.  And yes, I said girls because 18-22 sounds so young to this 35 year-old mom who is almost twice their age.  (When did that happen?!)

When we got to the track I had about 30 minutes to get ready.  I didn't want to warm-up since my legs already had over 10 miles (from earlier in the day) on them.  I did a slow half mile warm-up and some strides and hoped that was enough.  I checked in at the main tent and when it was final call for the Women's 5,000 meter race I headed to the starting line.
I'm on the far left- on the outside lane

John was going to be standing on the corner opposite the finish calling out my lap splits to me.  Ironically, this was his first time to see me race in a college track meet.  (We were engaged my senior year but he was living in California at the time so he never saw me run in a track meet.)  The kids were sitting in the stands with friends near the finish line so I knew I'd see them every lap around the track.

Mile 1- 5:55.  When the gun went off I tried to move in fairly quickly since I started on the far outside lane.  The lead pack had about 6 other runners and I stayed in the back of them.  There were times when the pace felt a little easy and I was tempted to move up but whenever I looked down at my watch we were right on pace in the high 5:40's or 5:50's. They were hitting all the right splits so I just stayed tucked away behind them.  I knew I needed to be patient and bide my time.  I needed to save it for later because 12.5 laps is a long way to go.   Can I just add that it felt really strange to even wear a GPS watch.  I never wore one in college- I don't think they were even around then??  Now I cannot imagine racing without one.

I'm in the back of the first pack (*All track photos are courtesy of Kerri Behel)

Mile 2- 5:59.  I knew the lead pack was starting to slow down and some of the runners were falling back so at the end of this mile I started moving up to the lead.
I should also note that my kids were screaming "GO MOTHER!!!" and their friends with them were screaming "GO MISS TIA!!" every time I passed their side of the track.  It was awesome and by far my favorite part of the entire experience. 

Mile 3- 5:53.  When I took the lead I picked up the pace a little.  I knew my best chance of winning was to widen the gap between the second place runner and I.  

I gave it everything I had and my last full lap was actually my fastest but I could not hold onto the lead.  My legs would not move any faster and in the last 50 meters she sprinted passed me as if I were standing still.  (The last .19 on my watch was a 5:16 average pace and she was going a lot faster than that!)

3.19- 0:59 (5:16 avg).  I guess I was running a little extra when I moved from the outside lane in and then moving around people later in the race??

(Garmin avg. 5:54)

Official Finish Time: 18:48. 2nd place.

After the race I congratulated the winner- she had a great finish kick.  Then I got some water and jogged a really short cool-down.  I was ready to sit with J and the kids and be a spectator again.  John was thrilled.

Race Reflections
My college comeback was brief- lasting just over 18 minutes but it was an experience I will never forget.  I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to put myself out there.  There were times during the race when I was running with a pack that I thought to myself "How cool is this to be running with a pack of girls going the same pace as me?!"  I loved it.  I'm pretty sure I NEVER thought that in college.  Back then I had teammates to run with every single day.  These thirteen years have definitely given me a different perspective.  It was a very special race to me and having John there and hearing my kids cheering for me from the sidelines was the best part of it all.

Who knew that my favorite college track meet would be thirteen years AFTER I graduated?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Manna 5K Race Report

Hello there! Yes, I'm back with not just any race report but another 5k race report.... or two...I promise I have not gone crazy- but I'll admit that I may have run one too many 5k's lately.

I will start with my Saturday morning race- the Manna 5K.  This was the second year for this race event in my town but my first time to participate.  It was hosted by the members of the Cloverdale church of Christ and 100% of all race proceeds went to building a school in the Dominican Republic.  It's no secret that I like to participate in local races whenever I can because I usually know the organization or cause the race funds are going to and I love being a part of our local running community.  My kids participate in many of the local race events as well making it a family outing.  Abi wanted to run in the Manna 5K that morning too so I registered both of us earlier in the week.

The Manna 5K course is a fairly flat, fast course.  It happened to be a bit windy Saturday morning (15 mph winds) which is not ideal but at least the course changed direction a few times so it wasn't all against the wind. 

The Start:
This race actually started on the track which was a first for me.  Then we headed out on the Harding campus.
I'm 93 in black and my Abi is 94 in hot pink on far left (photo credit- Hannah Williams)
(photo credit- Hannah Williams)

Existing the track at the start (photo credit- Hannah Williams)

My race goal was to keep my pace in the low 5:50's but in the wind I quickly realized I'd just do the best I could.  A 5K is such a short race (for a distance runner) that you don't have a lot of time to think and analyze mid-race about pace/ strategy.  Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of strategy in a racing a 5K but I think you have to be prepared ahead of time.  You just don't have a lot of time to think about what to do next.

Mile 1- 5:55. After the first half mile I found myself alone and it stayed that way the rest of the race.  There were little pockets of people cheering on the sidelines here and there but that was it. 

Mile 2- 5:57.

(photo credit- Hannah Williams)

Mile 3- 6:03.  I knew I was slowing down but I was tired of fighting the wind and ready to be done.

Mile 3.11- 0:35 (5:31 avg. pace)
(photo credit- Hannah Williams)

Unofficial Finish Time: 18:29.

After the race I ran back to find Abi who was doing well but getting tired.  I jogged the last half mile with her and she finished in 26-something. (???)  Official times are not posted yet.  There were not any age group awards for this race so I was very surprised when the RD came up to me and handed me a $100 gift certificate to Beyond Boundaries (a local outdoor/ running store in town).  Very cool! This year they were giving awards to the top three overall so I was pleasantly surprised.
Abi and I with our friends- another mother/daughter duo (Annie and Kerri)

Since there were no age group awards J took the kids home and I ran a few more easy cool-down miles with a friend who had also run in the race.  I finished the morning with 10.5 miles which included a 5K and I thought I was done for the day.  Little did I know what was in store just a few hours later...

The Harding University Bison Invitational Track 5K Race Report coming soon...