Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why I love small races: Poker Run 5K

The organization I coach for put on an inaugural 5K today to promote our upcoming season in Las Vegas. The race was Vegas themed and throughout the run participants collected cards to make a poker hand with the best hand winning. For a small race quickly put together the turnout was great, over 100 runners/walkers. The whole family did the race, Matt and I ran and my parents walked with Ophelia in BOB.

I rarely run 5Ks and never expect much, especially today since I had run 16 miles the day before. Prior to the start I was informed by the guy who organizes my running group and my friend who owns the running store that they expected nothing less than a win from me, uh ok sure. The race started and a couple guys were ahead of me and two young teens soon sped past me, I was wondering how long they’d keep up their pace. The answer came quick when I passed them and could tell they were fading. Around Mile 2 I was passed by a group of three other guys, so I was still the first woman. I just kept thinking don’t let any woman pass, just keep pushing. This got a little more difficult as Mile 2 was almost completely up hill, yikes, but the course was an out and back so I knew the other way would be downhill. On the way back I got a saw that the next woman was at least ½ mile behind me. I kept going and just pushed, knowing a PR wasn’t happening, it’s hard to push with tired legs after a speedy long run. I see the finish line and realize I had done it, 1st woman! This may be the only time it ever happens, but I can now say I won a 5K, this is what I love about small races.

Mile 1: 7:08
Mile 2: 7:32 (Hills and 5Ks shouldn’t go together!)
Mile 3: 7:13
Finish: 22:30 7:16 pace

Since this is the group I coach for I knew a lot of the other runners and the way back was fun to pass everyone on their way out, getting and giving encouragement. The whole family finished, Ophelia can now say she has done her first 5K. No luck on any winning poker hands, but my mom did win a gift certificate to the running store and now owns a running hat for her next race.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A PR for my birthday: Mpls 13.1

A few months back I got an email advertising an inaugural half marathon that just happened to be on my birthday, so I figured why not run it. It was a point to point course which combined the early miles of the old (pre-bridge collapse) TC10 course and a reverse of the middle miles of TCM.
I should have known early on that this race would be different: (1) Ophelia woke on her own and we were ready to leave on time (2) I was not waiting in the porta-potty line when the race started (3) We were actually in the start corral with time to spare (4) I actually had a good training week leading up to the race.

I lined up near the 1:45 pacer, still with that as my goal but hoping for a PR (1:43:27). The race started and I kept near the pacer for a mile or so until I got frustrated with the massive amount of people weaving through the course, seriously run in a straight line unless you are passing! I quickly had the 1:40 pacer close in front of me and decided to keep him in my sight, but running a pace that felt good. I look down at my Garmin at Mile 2 and realized I had stopped it when I locked it around Mile 1, oops. Prior to the race I was trying to picture the course and had a much less hilly version in my head, oh well the hills weren’t terrible just a lot of short ones nicely followed by downhill stretches.

I was feeling great until about Mile 9 when my belly started in with its normal run issues plus some nausea, uh oh the last time I felt this way during a race was TCM ’08 when it was 90F and some how this happened about the same place on the course, maybe it was just my body remembering because it passed quickly. Maybe the PowerBar Chews were actually working. I first tried these about a month ago on a long run and think they are my new favorite, easy to chew, not sticky and actually taste pretty good. Best of all you can get a free sample by going to the PowerBar website.

I still had the 1:40 pacer within sight and the course was now on a short out and back. Passing Mile 12 and I am seeing those around me starting to slow, time to start pushing and see who I can pass. I see the finishline clock and realize I’m going to get a PR and could even make a sub 1:40 if I push.

Mile 1: 7:38
Mile 2: 7:26
Mile 3: 7:31
Mile 4: 7:22
Mile 5: 7:18
Mile 6: 7:52
Mile 7: 7:41
Mile 8: 7:43
Mile 9: 7:39
Mile 10: 7:52
Mile 11: 7:47
Mile 12: 7:36
Mile 13: 7:23

1:39:57 (7:38 pace) 19/1148 Woman 4/223 AG 3:30 PR!

Don’t get me wrong I am thrilled with this time and my race, but there is always that voice in the back of my head saying “what if?” What if I had been running more than 45 mpw? What if I had been doing more speedwork? What if I wasn’t breastfeeding? Yes I could possibly change that first two, but don't have any intention of changing the third for awhile. Looking at this it only makes me feel more confident about my running and what I can accomplish if I train better, an infant does make this a little difficult at times. Watch out next Summer! Next up TCM and according to McMillan I should be able to run a 3:31 marathon, not putting too much credibility in that, but who knows.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How pregnancy and motherhood changed me as a runner

Running during my pregnancy taught me many things, most importantly to listen to my body and enjoy running. I have a bad habit of continuing to run through the pain figuring it will just get better. Last Friday I headed out with the BOB for a run only to have pain in my hip that got worse as I went, after a few blocks I turned around headed home, got Morgan and turned it into a pain free walk instead. A year and a half ago I would have never done this, probably the reason for so many injuries including the tibial stress fracture that I discovered during a 20 miler that started painful and only got worse or the foot stress fractures that I discovered the day after finishing TCM many years ago when I had a swollen, bruised foot and could barely walk after mile 20. As ma result of listening to my body I had a great 16 miler on Sunday that was pain free.

Motherhood has also changed me as a runner, I know everyone said it would, but I haven’t quit running and I never will because of my child. I am learning to make every mile count and am running for quality instead of just to bank miles. I am also turning into a morning runner, twice a week it is my goal to be up, finished pumping, and out running by 5am. Still working on this a bit, as I am usually a little behind schedule and end up needing to cut the run short to make it to work on time. I have also been running on the treadmill, yes in the Summer, but now that I actually have a child who naps I can take advantage of this and get in some interval work while watching some trashy daytime TV. I guess this 8-10 miles on the treadmill will never be as bad as the 20 miler I once did to finish off my marathon training a few years ago, got to love Minnesota Winters with -30 wind chill, blowing snow and zero visibility.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Watch Out

Ophelia has been quite the mover since before birth, over the past few weeks she has gotten quite quick and discovering everything she shouldn't have. Earlier this week she decided it was time to start standing on her own, I thought it was a fluke, but nope not after she repeatedly pulled herself up to standing using the edge of the couch or my shoulder. We had always said she'd be walking at Christmas time, now I'm wondering if we need to change that prediction to Halloween!
So proud of herself!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

6 months

I haven’t been very good at writing lately, I think of plenty to write but never get to it and even this is nearly a week late at this point. Ophelia is 6 months old; I can’t believe how much she has changed! At her appointment she found a new toy as she took great interest in the pediatrician’s ophthalmoscope, maybe she’ll be an ophthalmologist. She is now 14lb 1oz (15%) and 26.5” (75%).

This month she has gotten the hang of sitting alone even though she doesn’t stay long, she’d rather be on the go and sitting involves minimal activity and like her mom she doesn’t seem to sit well. She is constantly on the go and moving quite fast doing a little crawling, but mostly the army crawl. There is no stopping her as she is discovering more excitement in the things she can’t have: mom’s laptop, cords, shoes, the garbage, magazines. She now has her first tooth after a rough few days it is finally here and so cute. In the past month, really since our California trip, she has turned in to a good napper (typically 2 2 hour naps in her crib).