March 22, 2013

Another one of those pesky 5Ks ...

I’m running a 5K today. Yeah, the race distance I despise. But, it will be fun because my dad is doing it, too. It’s his first! For that reason, I’m excited. 

I'm hoping to run it faster than my last 5K in September (and hopefully not feel like puking like I did then). My dad's plan is to run one mile and walk two miles in interval fashion (he just recently started the Couch-to-5K program).

I'm a little nervous about it because I haven't gotten enough sleep all week or ran (well, aside from the half marathon on Sunday) due to work, Dad arriving and general craziness. Also, we'll be at a spring training game from 10:30 a.m. until almost 4 p.m. in the skin-sizzling sun ... with the 5K starting at 6:15 p.m. Eek! 

Thankfully, we were in the shade this game.

But something working for me: even though this race is in the vicinity of the Pier, and I think you'll be able to see it almost the entire course, it doesn't involve running on the thing. Yay! No pesky Pier! 

It's nice to look at ...
I’m debating about wearing bunny ears for the race. I have a hard time resisting a costume, and with Easter looming, I thought it would be fun (and easy since I already have the ears). I also like the humor factor: a person who proclaims to be a turtle wearing rabbit ears.

(On a side note, wearing things on my head does not bother me during a race. I usually forget they are even there. I always think I am going to want to toss the thing off within the first mile, but I never do.)

If these didn't bother me, I don't think anything will.

Dad's first race, no Pier and bunny ears will make my dislike of the 5K disappear ...

Should I wear bunny ears? Do you like 5Ks? Do you run 5K races regularly? What is your favorite distance? Do your parents run? Have you ever run a race with them?

March 19, 2013

Florida Beach Halfathon, Tierra Verde, Florida, March 17, 2013: race recap

I feel like this could be the simplest race recap ever. I woke up early. I ran a half marathon. I got a medal. I drank green beer. I came home.

It was just kind of a blah race for me. That says nothing bad about the race itself. I loved the race, the medal, the green beer, everything. But, my race was kind of non-eventful, which on one hand is good (no major meltdowns), but on the other hand is bad (no big, emotional "aha" moment). It just was. 

This course was the same as the Halloween Halfathon I ran in October, so I knew it was a flat, somewhat boring course. Thankfully, many people wore green in some form or another or dressed up. That added some excitement.

Even though I had running group friends there, they were all doing the 5K (aside from our speedy coach, Pila). So, I was on my own. 

The course is a 3-mile loop (the 5K course) that leads to a 5-mile out-and-back portion. It's along the beach, but you rarely see the water. 

I started off and pretty quickly had some calf pain. I'm not sure what was up with that, but after the first mile, it went away. 

Mile 1: 11:34
Mile 2: 12:01
Mile 3: 11:34

I didn't really have a plan for the race. I just wanted to run and see what happened. I took my GU gel right before mile 5.

Mile 4: 11:14
Mile 5: 11:28
Mile 6: 11:33

Nothing good or bad happened. I kept running at a pretty consistent pace, and I felt fine.

Mile 7: 11:25
Mile 8: 11:28
Mile 9: 11:26

It was around mile 9 that I started attempting to calculate my finish time. I'm horrible at this! I lose all math skills while running. But, I started to think I was pretty close to my personal best of 2:30:54. I got a little excited, but I was still "eh" about the whole thing. I took my next GU gel close to mile 10.

Mile 10: 11:26
Mile 11: 11:12
Mile 12: 11:32

At this point, I was still looking good in terms of time. I was just tired. My legs and hips were over this whole running thing at this point.

Mile 13: 12:09 (Gah!)
Mile 0.19: 9:15 

I started beating myself up in mile 13 knowing that I was losing it. I was mad at myself for running my slowest mile at mile 13. I was really disappointed in my finish (finally, some emotion).

Almost to the finish ... and swinging my arm in front of me like
I've been told not to do.

My finish time: 2:31:44. Exactly 50 seconds behind that personal record. 

I got over my disappointment pretty quickly, realizing I couldn't do anything about it at that point. I felt like I did what I could to try and beat it (now, of course, I can find all kinds of ways to cut 51 seconds off my time ...). On that day at that time, that was my best. As much as I wish I could have been faster in mile 13, I wasn't. 

The green beer helped. 

And a sweet medal. 

And another sweet medal. If you completed the halfathon challenge (half marathons in October, December, January and March), you received an additional medal and a shirt. 

I love my collection.

I also love this race series. And, I'll be doing it again. 

Ever have a "blah" race? Ever miss a PR by seconds? Did you beat yourself up? Did you run a St. Patrick's Day race?

March 14, 2013

From excited to eh to excited

So, I have a half marathon this weekend.

And, I was really excited about it because I haven't ran a race in more than a month.

Now, I'm kind of eh. 

I had a disastrous run on Thursday night. Disastrous as in my stomach hurt, and I walked almost half of it. 

And, I don't feel like I've run a decent distance since the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in February. I think my longest "long" run was 7 miles. (I've been running consistently, but focusing more on hill work than distance.)

And, I know the course. It's the same course I ran for the Halloween Halfathon (in a Mr. Potato Head costume). And, I know it's boring. Flat, but boring. 

But, since it's on St. Patrick's Day, I'm getting festive again (and that makes any race better). 

And, I have some running group friends that will be at the race.

And, I'll be receiving this awesome medal. 

And, it will be my fourth halfathon in this series, which means an additional medal for completing them all.

 Oh, and beer after the race. 

OK, I'm excited now. I'm ready to race on Sunday!

Anyone else doing a St. Patrick's Day race? This is my first, but I love being festive! 

March 12, 2013

Pretty things

Lately, I've noticed a lot of pretty.
  • If you're going to have a torture device, why not make it pretty? My coach had this brilliant thinking and made this massage ball for me. Awesome, right?
  • Speaking of pretty things, take a look at this masterpiece. My incredibly talented friend drew this with chalk over three days at a Tampa art show.
  • Securing tickets to the concert of one of my current favorite artists was pretty sweet! Now, I just have to wait five-plus months ...
  • Another beautiful thing: Swedish Fish Jelly Beans. My running buddy, Lori, rocks for introducing them to me (and for a whole bunch of other reasons)!
  • And, one last pretty thing: the sunrise on an early morning run. This makes bridge running worth it ... well, and the fact that I'll be trained to run the bridges in the Iron Girl Half Marathon in April.

Have you seen anything pretty lately? Do you use a massage ball? Have you tried Swedish Fish Jelly Beans?

March 6, 2013

Tips for running hills

Living in super-duper flat Florida, I don’t know much about running hills. When I say “I don’t know much,” I basically mean I know absolutely nothing about it. Every training route I run and almost every race I run has no discernible hill.  

Until this race. And, I was petrified of it. Never running hills combined with basically knowing absolutely nothing about it and being faced with two gigantic bridges that I had to run over twice was scary. But, I actually made it up and over them and loved it.  

Of course, I’m probably lucky I did this without getting hurt and loving it as much as I did. Why?
In our training for the Iron Girl Half Marathon (which involves the same gigantic bridges), our coach gave us some tips for running uphill and downhill. Surprisingly, I followed all of the uphill running tips without even knowing them. Score!  

Tips on running uphill
  • Lean into the hill 
  • Shorten your stride 
  • Increase your cadence 
  • Look forward, not up the hill 
  • Use your arms

But, the downhill tips are a different story. 

I wasn’t even worried about the downhill. I just thought I needed to control my speed by leaning backward. I knew you could get injured running downhill, and I just figured it was from going too fast. Turns out, I was wrong.

Tips on running downhill
  • Lean forward, getting the body over the hips and ankles 
  • Use your arms any way necessary (to help have a sense of balance) 
  • Have a light touch with the foot 
  • Have a higher cadence

It's just natural for me to lean backward to "brake" myself while running down a hill. This is exactly what I shouldn't be doing (hello, quad injuries waiting to happen). So, I'm retraining myself to lean forward. Instead of fighting momentum, I'm going to give into gravity and let it take me downhill. Seems so wrong, but it's right.

Do you follow these tips when running hills? What works for you? Do you have the urge to "brake" while running downhill?