Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble Wobble 5k - Hermitage, PA

Woke up today ready to hit the 2012 Wobble Gobble 5k in Hermitage, PA.  Last year, I ran the race and got a 22:38 and was only the second race I had run.  I also had runner's knee in my left knee so I figured that wasn't to bad.  This year, I felt ok coming into it after a year of training for a marathon and running a bunch of 1/2's and 10 milers as well as 20ks.  So Heather and I get to Bhul Park around 7:45 am - way to early since the park doesn't even open up until 8am.  Around 8am, we park and head in to pick up our bibs, then back to the car to escape the 29F heat wave.  8:45AM rolls around so I do some dynamic stretching, then do a ~2 mile warm up jog just to loosen up the legs.  I find now after running all year, I need at least a mile or two just to get my legs warm.  This year they moved the starting line back to the bridge which was a major pain in the ass.  No one seemed to know where that was and it caused mass chaos.  One thing that I do not like about this run is that there is when the gun goes off, that is your time.  No gun time vs. chip time so your ass better be in the front.  This year was well represented by half of PA high school XC finest - it seemed like every school in the county was represented.  I on the other hand was scoping out the old men in the crowd, you know the 40-44 crowd which is hard to do b/c some don't look their age and some look even older.  I felt that if I was going to place, I had to run a sub 20, plain and simple.  Back home, you can't even sniff your age group place unless you are in the 19's or less.  So I worm my way to the front and the race director hits the horn and were off.  The group is led by a bunch of shirtless fools who peter out around 100 yards, then they start to walk.  I keep my pace and hit the mile mark around 6:11, fast given the first mile encountered a nice little uphill.  The second mile had me at 6:59, much slower..however, there clock and mine on the garmin was much different.  The 2 mile mark (their clock) had me at 13:09, definitely in striking zone to a sub 20.  The notorious last mile contained one of PA's finest uphills which cut my 3rd mile to a 6:32 even though I felt like my lungs were going to explode.  Coming to the finish I see the clock at 20:11 and say shit and just run it in for a time of 20:32.  Heather busted her ass on the course and did a hell of a job too getting a 24:56 for third place in her age group.  After chilling for a little bit, the results come out and I had come in FIRST in my age group (40-44), actually 1st out of 59 runners in my age group.  However, I was 61st out of 1489 runners but there were 25 15-19 aged runners before me...

its hard to compete with father time!  So, finally, I got my first age group award, here is a picture of it below:

Gleaming with pride over our run today, we both got some random dude to take our picture with these cheesy medals on but hey, I will take it anyday.  We were both pumped to get a age group place and actually made the day.

Overall, I was sad I didn't break 20 minutes but this is actually only my 3rd 5k race run at my speed since I began running last year.  All the other races had been 10ks, 1/2 marathons, 20ks, and a marathon.  The other 5k's were pacing the boys which is around 10 minute miles.  If we do this next year, I will want to go sub 20 for sure.  I am going to have to start doing track and speed work if I am going to start doing faster mile times.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Freeze your Gizzard 5k - 10th Annual

So been training lately for this 50k which is sort of up in the air (get back to that later) and decided to hit the Freeze your Gizzard 5k in Leesburg, VA.  Last year, we did the fun run with the family and it absolutely killed me not to be running the actual 5k race.  However, given the bevy of high school kids and  XC state finals shirts this year, I was a bit worried that this would be a much tougher crowd.  But then I told myself, I really had not trained for a 5k in a year b/c of all the marathon training.  So I get there, its about 35F, not that cold but cold enough.  I did some dynamic stretching and hit the course for a mile warm up run.  The change from road to XC was a bit different so I had to get used to this quick.  Additionally, I have what I think is extensor tendonitis in my left foot.  Essentially, the tendonitis leads from the left leg down to the left top of the foot where it presents itself.  The "sensation/pain" I have been feeling is in my left big toe and feels like you tied your shoes to tight.  However, this was a week old and slowly going away so I wanted to get a mile in and see how it felt.  I ruled out a stress fracture b/c there was no real pain when I ran, just nerve sensations in my toe.  However, it could be the beginning of one.  So, I get to the line and worm my way up to the front and see 3 girls wearing some high schools XC team shirts.  While waiting and waiting, I struck up a short conversation and asked if they had run the course before and they said yes.  I asked how they thought they would do and one girl said she wanted to run in the 19's.  I thought to myself, its been 20 years since I ran in the 17's and would die for a 19 min 5k.  So, the gun went off and the course led out across the field and up a small hill.  I hesitate to call it a hill until you reach the end of mile one when you reach a grassy wall that went straight up.  I thought that sub 20 was out of the question.  My first mile was at 6:55, not a good time at all.  The second mile was worse especially in light of the hills one after another.  Note to self, read the description on the website (Course: This course is cross country style and has several steep hills.) My second mile was in 7:25, that point, I said oh well, you haven't trained for a 5k and you need to do more hill work.  Especially when some teenie boper floated up the hill past me.  I finished the 3rd mile in around 7:14 ish and had a final time of 22:26 good enough for 38th out of 815.  I came in 34th out of 364 in the mens (6th out of 84 in my age group) and 4 girls beat me as well.  To bad I don't run as a women :) ..anyway, 22 min is a slow time but these hills were pretty tough.  Kudos to my son  who ran his first XC by himself in 33 minutes, tough course for an 8 years old.  In all, it was fun and schedule depending, might do it again.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Snowflake Stampede

So in a banner weekend I went for a threesome of runs/races.  Saturday was Freeze Your Gizzard, Sunday morning was 10 Mile Backyard Burn, and Sunday night was a 2.5 mile fun run through the Bull Run Festival of Lights.

The boys and I met up with some other moms and kids from my Gainesville Moms Run This Town group. 

This promised to be a terrific event.  We all got run t-shirts and glow necklaces.  Then we were able to run through the Bull Run Festival of Lights at our own pace.  Usually you can only drive through the Festival so this was a real treat.  The boys and I alternated walking, running, and stopping to take some fun photos of the light displays.

 It was good for me to stretch my legs out after the morning trail work, and it was a fun way to kick off the holidays with some friends.  I hope they do this event again next year as it a lot of fun!
No, I didn't gain 10 pounds after my 10 mile trail's just the t-shirt layered over a fleece.

Just When You Think You Know a Trail

Yesterday I ran the EX2 10 Mile Fall Backyard Burn at Fountainhead Regional Park .  I thought I knew exactly what to expect having previously done a training run at Fountainhead and completed the VHTRC Women's Half there earlier this fall.  What I didn't realize is that there were parts of the white trail that I had not run, and those parts were crazy technical downhill!

It was pretty brisk during the race briefing so everyone did a lot of bouncing around trying to stay warm.  In typical laid back EX2 fashion, the race director lines us up somewhere on the road and gives us a 1 minute warning.  Then we are off. 

It warmed up pretty quickly as we took off for about .6 miles on the road before cutting onto the blue trail.  JD wasn't racing, but he wanted to get some miles in so he jumped in with me on the trail, and we were off.  My goal was to run the entire way even on the hills and finish somewhere close to 2 hours.  The race director had leaf blown the entire trail which was a good thing since there were tons of rocks and roots.  We ran the stem and bottom part of the Do Loop and then headed across the road to the white trail.  The first mile of the white trail is pretty easy as far as trails go.  The last 2 miles are insane with extremely steep technical downhills and some nice climbs.  There are also 3-4 wet stream crossings.  I elected to pick over the rocks during the first loop instead of going for the splash.  There was a 5 mile race as well so it was a bit irritating to keep getting passed in the last mile of the first loop by all of the 5 mile racers who were finishing while the 10 mile racers still had another 5 mile loop to go.  As we neared the end of the first loop, I honestly didn't know if my legs could take another loop.

JD gave me a kiss and headed off to hang with the finishing runners while I headed back down the road for loop 2.  The .6 miles on the road were a big help in getting my legs back under me before heading back onto the blue trail.  The second time through on the white trail was a bit easier as I knew what to expect. I even got brave and did the splash and dash for the stream crossings. I definitely need work on the technical downhill sections.  I slow way down on these because I can't overcome the fear and just hurtle myself down these sections.

Overall, I had a really nice run.  I was moving well most of the way.  I kept a running motion on all of the hills even if my speed wasn't exactly running speed.  I finished at 2:06 which was a little slower than what I wanted, but not bad considering how technical some of the trail was.   I'm hoping to improve in a few weeks at Hemlock.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Little Bird (Runner) Flies on His Own While Mom Freezes Her Gizzard

Today was a big day for a mother runner.  Z-Man turned 8 last week, and he wanted to run the Freeze Your Gizzard Cross Country 5K on his own.  This would be his 7th 5K since he started running in May so we thought he was ready to give it a try.  Once we arrived at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg, I started to get nervous.  The course was cross country and looked really hilly.  We checked with him to make sure that he still wanted to do it, and he said that he was ready.  We checked in and got our race bibs, timing chips, and awesome long sleeve t-shirts.  Dad was going to run the 5K as well while Nickel elected to cover the 1 Mile course.

  So I ran along with Nickel.  It was time to line up at the start.  I was still hovering around Z-Man, but he said that he was good and didn't need me to stand with him.  I was internally freaking out and starting to tear up a little because my baby was going to tackle this big, bad course on his own.  The race started, and Nickel and I cheered on Z-Man from the start.

  Then it was time for Nickel and I to get ready for our 1 mile run.

 We got set at the starting line and took off.  Nickel ran really well on a tough cross country course and finished his mile at 9:40.  He ran strong the whole time, and he finished near the top.  He was probably one of the fastest kids his age, but since it was a fun run there weren't any official rankings.  Now it was time to wait for Dad and Z-Man to appear.  Dad came blazing across the finish line in 34th place out of 800+ runners so that was an awesome effort.  Nickel ran over to give him a hug while he was still trying to catch his breath.  Dad said that the course was pretty tough and that someone should go out to check on Z-Man because he might be having some trouble.  I ran out to about the 0.5 mile mark where I found him.  He was running really well. 

He was happy to see me because he had shed his hat and wanted me to carry it.  He said that he didn't need anyone to run with him so I cut across the field back towards the finish area to wait for him.  I was waiting for him near the last 200 meter mark.  At that point he took off and sprinted to the finish passing a lot of people on the way.

 He did an awesome job finishing in 33:37 on a tough cross country course.  He was the fastest 8 year old in the race and the kids who came in before him were 10+.  They had run out of medals for the kids, and I was afraid that he would be disappointed.  Then he said the best thing.  "That's OK.  I don't need a prize for running.  I run because it is fun."  So incredibly proud of my baby!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Running with your shirt off = naked?

Yesterday, the family ran the Nearly Naked mile in Reston, VA and had a great time.  I paced zman and he ended up getting a 8:27 mile which is about 9 seconds faster than his one on the track.  The mile had some decent uphills so probably a little tougher than running on the track.  Personally, I was tempted to jump in the sub-6 group but I ran 10 miles the day before and the legs are still coming back after the marathon a few weeks back.  Got 15 miles tomorrow at National Battlefied tomorrow and am looking forward to it.  Got a  little sciatica ache going on but once it warms up, I should be fine.  If for some reason, it starts causing problems, will quit at the 10 mile loop mark but I think I should be fine.  I will be getting my new shoes in tomorrow - the ASICS GEL-Arctic™ 4 WR Men Yellow will be coming in tomorrow and can't wait!

Nearly Naked Mile: PRs for the Little Runners!

Yesterday our family ran the Nearly Naked Mile in Reston for the first time.

This is a terrific race because the majority of the proceeds go to the Medstar Burn Unit, and the objective of the race is for runners to be comfortable in their own skin just like burn victims struggle to do every day of their lives. The race premium was a pair of flannel boxers with a nearly naked running fireman to match the theme.

  We decided to run with the boys and help them achieve personal bests.  Z-Man previously had a time of 8:38 for a mile on the track this summer and Nickel was sporting a 9:59 mile best on the track.  Nickel was less than enthusiastic about his race to start, but Z-Man was raring to go and said that he was going out hard to get a PR.  As the excitement and hype built, both of the boys started to get more excited about running.  Once the elite men's heat ran and they got to see Haitian Olympian, Moise Joseph, take down the mile in 4:32 with little effort, they were ready to go.

  Nickel pronounced that he was ready to strip and run.

We lined up slightly to the back of the open mile (sub-10 minute times), and it was the moment of truth for me.  Was I going to be comfortable in my own skin and take off the tank top or was I going to be afraid and hide  my mid-section?  I overcame my discomfort and decided to go for it.  I was going to rock my mother runner body even though it wasn't completely perfect.  So outfitted in sports bra, arm warmers, running skirt, and compression socks, I was ready to go.

The gun sounded, and the boys took off!  We were honestly a little shocked that they took off so fast, and we had to hustle through the throng of runners to catch up and find them.  They are little so they were easily weaving in and out a making their way up to the faster pace group.

They slowed a little on the first hill.  Hill!  I thought this was supposed to be an easy mile, but think again. It's Reston where there's always a hill or two or three.  The boys kept moving really well and were getting lots of encouragement from the crowd because they were the smallest ones running in this heat.  To my surprise, Nickel started gaining on his older brother at one point, but he couldn't quite hang on.  The highlight of his race was when we turned the last corner and saw the men's winner standing there cheering runners on.    He immediately started clapping and cheering for Nickel which really got him sprinting. As we rounded the bend and saw the finish line, we knew we had PRs for both, but how good would they be.  The boys both put in a hard sprint through the finish.  Z-Man earned himself 8:27, and Nickel crushed his previous record, dropping an 8:40 on the course.  This was an awesome effort by both boys given that this was not an easy mile and certainly not a track race.  So proud of both of them for putting in a great effort yesterday!

I'm sure the Crossfit trainer hates this photo!  The guy was carrying a 75 lb backpack, but it's still funny that Z is passing him at the finish.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just signed up for my first 50K

I just signed up for my first ultra marathon called the Seashore 50k in Tidewater, VA on December 15th, 2012.  Going for a nice little 10 mile run at National Battlefield park tomorrow just to get back into the swing of things.  Took a week off after the marathon with no running, did a few 5k easy runs this week but would like to get back and need to adjust to the trails more.  My goal for this race - finish as it should be with any race but I was hoping to do something around 6 hours or less.  God, I hope I am not running for 6 hours but who knows.  Last year, the weather there was pretty bad so I really have no idea.    Next week, I have a 20 and a 10 on the weekend so lets hope the legs hold together.  The achilles has been ok but I have to stay on top of it and make sure I don't let that tendonitis come back like it did in March....on to training...