Firehouse 5K -Recap

I met my goal, but just barely.

Firehouse 5K offers packet pickup at the firehouse the night before and it was a breeze.  My only hesitation came when I saw the sign for an Easter Eggstravaganza being held in the nearby park on the same day.   I asked what time that started because I was concerned that it would affect parking.  It didn’t start until 10 so no worries there!

Right after this pic, the truck behind me pulled out with lights flashing!

Right after this pic, the truck behind me pulled out with lights flashing!

I had laid everything out the night before but right before leaving the house in the morning, I grabbed a long sleeve layer.  It was foggy and a little bit cold but I was hoping it would warm up.  The plan was to head out with my mom and the puppy.  Since it was so close, my dad and brother were thinking about following later.    Once we arrived it was still foggy and I figured that since my lungs have become babies who don’t like weather below 50, I put on my long sleeve layer.  I also used the inhaler again before heading to the start line.   I have had 3 rough races this year for a variety of reasons and I didn’t want this one to be the same.

Fellow Ambassador!!!

Fellow Ambassador!!!

I managed to snag the same parking spot as last year so it was about a block and 1/2 to the start line.   As we were walking up, I heard my name being called.  Huh?  Looking to my right, I saw a couple walking up.  It was another SLO Marathon Ambassador!  It was Lisa from Runner In Training!  Both she and her husband were running too.  It was great getting to meet another ambassador :)

Can you see the singer all way up there?

Can you see the singer all way up there?

The start time had been pushed back to 8:45 for some reason but there was a group warm-up put on by a local sports therapy group.   Then the usual pre-race announcements, followed by the national anthem.  I love how they display the flag at this race, and the singer gets to sing the anthem from the top of the big truck!  I’m kind of jealous.  With a blare of the truck horn, we were off!  firehouse elevation

A little under 1/2 a mile is on streets up to the trail, then it’s about 200 yards until we start climbing.   This is where it gets tricky.  All of the trail section is single track.  2 miles of the race is trail, which means 2 miles is single track.  Which for the last mile is ok because the crowd had thinned out.  However, the initial, biggest climb was a crawl.    At one point, I was stuck behind 6 people walking.  The short length of the switchbacks made it hard to try and pass people.  I managed to get past a few but not all.   We were so on top of each other that I could have smacked the firefighter in front of me on the backside.  ( I didn’t!)

so close to finish!!!

so close to finish!!!

After finally getting to the top, I was able to get around some people.  It also leveled out briefly so I picked up the pace a bit.   Then we hit our first downhill.   We went down a different way than we came up, so the downhill was shorter than the uphill.  The trail is shale-like, with some bigger rocks and divets, so you had to watch where you were putting your feet.   I tend to have kamikaze tendencies when running downhill on trails, and I have fallen before.  I skidded out once but managed to reign it in.  Then there was another uphill.  This one was small but I was already tired from the mountain.  It also bottle necked again.    Then it was down hill back to the street.  Kamikaze me came back and I a hit a 6 minute pace for the entire downhill.   Then it was back to the street and across the bridge to the finish line.     I crossed the line and stopped my watch.  Final time- 32:59.  Really?   Yes, it was faster than last year but only by 32 seconds.

I really felt like I was running faster than that.  The only thing I can think is that I probably walked close to a mile of it, between the climb and the bottleneck.  And even me running downhill like a crazy person couldn’t make that time back up.    It was hard to go off my Garmin because it never matched up with their mile markers.    All I really used it for was current pace.    I have to admit that maybe it’s just that this race kicks my ass.

The brother

The brother

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This is a smaller race, only 3 years old, but it has been impressively organized each time I have run it.   The course is well marked and any time there was a trail split, there was always a volunteer directing which way to go.   There was only one water station but that more due to land constraints than poor planning.    There is also a small health fair.     The crowd was smaller than last year but there was a conflicting race in a nearby town that accounted for that.   The other race is a very popular 10k that draws thousands every year.   It really was too bad that they both fell on the same day.

She's in front of the camera!

She’s in front of the camera!

My family was at the finish line which was cool.  We took advantage of some photo opportunities.  And in keeping with last year’s failed selfie, I have a new one to add to the collection.  I tried to get a photo with my brother and he ducked.  So my dad photo bombed again-

selfie fail!

selfie fail!

Today my legs are feeling the results of my crazy down hill running.  That probably wasn’t the best idea the week before a half marathon, but it was a fun race.  Maybe I will try again next year.  :)   Running another 5 miles yesterday didn’t help either.  :)    But the pizza reward for lunch was amazing!IMG_3836

How was your weekend?

Happy Easter!

 

2014 Wine Country Half -Recap

Previously mentioned jitters aside, I knew going in that I was not feeling this race for some reason.   I was tired, I’ve had a crazy few weeks and I just wasn’t looking forward to that last hill.   I knew under 2 was a shot in the dark and was iffy about beating my previous PR of 2:05:57.   I managed to get to sleep at a decent hour last night but I hated my alarm this morning.  :)    I had everything laid out last night so getting ready was pretty easy.    A plus about this race is that it had an 8AM start but I didn’t have to leave my house until after 7:20.  And that was just so I could deal with parking.   I hung out in my car until about 5 minutes to start time.    Which was good because it was cold.

I look tired and I haven't even started running yet

I look tired and I haven’t even started running yet

I checked the weather yesterday and this morning and it said high 40′s to start, high 50′s at the end.  I thought about not wearing my arm sleeves, but I put them on anyways.   Which turned out to be a wise choice because the weather man lied!!!  It never made it to the 50′s and the sun never came out.   I never took my arm sleeves off; usually they feel too hot by mile 3.   My legs were cold to the touch the entire race.   When did I get so wimpy?  People are running in snow and ice and I have issues with the 40′s?  Sad, sad.

Took these the other day when it was sunny

Took these the other day when it was sunny

Miles 1-3 felt pretty good, I tried to keep my pace around 9:00.  I hit the first bigger hill around mile 2.5, it led with a down hill,  so I picked up the pace down it.   Mile 4 brought a slow down, I got stuck behind another runner and couldn’t pass due the line of cars driving by!  There must have been 6 or 7.  It was slower but I was still feeling pretty good.     Miles 5, 6, and 7 were another story.

Partway into mile 5, I noticed a tightness in my lungs.  Seriously again?  I was a little wheezy at City to Sea in October and then February’s Super Fun Run 5K was so cold, I had troubles breathing.    I don’t think I have used an inhaler since high school, I don’t even have one anymore. I hadn’t felt like I was pushing it and I felt like my breathing was under control but I slowed down anyways.    By mile 8 I was feeling a little better.  There was little out and back here that I swear felt longer than last year. winegarmin

In mile 9, my Garmin went wonky.  Every mile leading up to 9 I would pass the race mile marker and then my Garmin would beep about 1/10th of a mile later.  Mile 9 beeped but I never saw the mile marker.   They were on wine barrels so I didn’t think I had missed one.  Quarter of a mile later, I found it.    WTH- my pace was making sense for how I was feeling but nothing was lining up.    I was getting tired and my arms were chafing and it was making me fussy.   I wanted to take a walk break (or 2) but I had a feeling I was walking the hill at the end so I just kept running.    There was a man running with his dog, a big dog, so I used that to distract me.  The dog looked like he was out for a morning stroll, he was just trotting along in front of his owner, not even running.

coming up to the finish line

coming up to the finish line

Mile 12 and I hit the dreaded hill.  I managed to run 1/3 of the way up before saying F* it and walking.   Once at the top, I still needed to walk.  After about a minute of that i told myself I was almost done and to get a move on.   Mile 13 was the slowest over all at 10:44.    The finish line was in sight.  As I got closer, I could see my mom and Zoey at the finish line.   When I ran passed them, I gave her a thumbs down sign to show how I felt.   I crossed the line and received my medal, I then headed over to pick up my wine glass. Finishing time- 2:07:08.  Not a PR or sub-2 but it was a 7 minute course best.

IMG_3486Want to know what happens when you finish a race that you are half happy about, partially disappointed and just tired?  You hug random strangers at the finish line.  And I am not a hugger.   She wasn’t a complete stranger but now I feel like a total creeper.    She was a newer work colleague from another location who I have had a few meetings with in the past few weeks.    How’s that for a welcome to the team- here let me share my sweat with you.  Like I said- creeper status.IMG_3507

While a part of me wishes I had done better, but the course was nothing to be sad about.  I finished it and barring a few issues, I felt strong for at least 1/2 of it.   :)  I beat last years time of 2:14 and according to my Garmin, the overall elevation gain for the race was 1,617 feet.  How accurate are these things?    I celebrated with a tri-tip sandwich, and another trip to the theater to see Divergent again.  This time included movie popcorn, yum!  Oh and the sun finally came out-

relax and recovery

relax and recovery

Now it’s off to bed for me and I get to sleep in tomorrow!!!  I am taking a vacation day, which will hopefully be restful.. Except I have tons of laundry to do and I should work on a paper that is due soon.   And apparently I need to make an appointment to get another inhaler.

How was everyone’s weekend?

Who else raced this weekend?

Pre Race Jitters

Where did this week go?  Seriously wasn’t it just Tuesday?   Now it is Saturday evening, and I feel unprepared for tomorrow‘s race.   I’ve picked up my bib, edited my playlist, and laid out my clothes.   Since I decided that a PR is unlikely with that last hill, what do I have to be nervous about?

Taper week has been completed, probably a little too well.  After Monday’s 10K, I headed back to the lake path on Tuesday,    I ran a good 4.5 miles.  Probably a little faster than I should have but they felt like good miles.   After that the week seemed to pick up speed.

I had a meeting Wednesday morning but when that was completed I was done for the day, woo hoo!!   Since I had to drive through SLO on the way home, I stopped by the Running Warehouse to exchange the handheld I had picked up on Saturday.    That thing drove me batty; taking the sleeve off was a pain and I decided to just exchange it.    Hopefully the Ultimate Direction handheld I chose will be better.   I then headed home to change and go drive tomorrow’s race course.  After getting home and changing, I checked Twitter and was ticked.    Apparently Jordan Hasay stopped by the Running Warehouse like an hour after I left!!!  Ugh!!!!  So in the past 2 weeks, Benedict Cumberbatch comes to SLO and I miss it, Jordan Hasay shows up and I miss that too :(    Oh and Lady Gaga was nearby a few weeks ago too.   :(

Thursday I had a business mixer after work, but the night ended fun!  I met some friends for an early showing of Divergent!!!  It was really good, they did a pretty good job converting it to a movie.     I treated myself to In n Out before the movie, carb loading right?  It was so yummy but apparently I was still hungry because 20 minutes into the movie my stomach growled.  And it was loud.   So awkward.

Danger!!!!

Danger!!!!

Friday I had briefly thought about getting in a 2 mile run after work but decided against it.  Which turned out to be a good thing because I ended up working longer.  The carb loading rationale struck again when I ate a bag of chips.  :(  Today I woke feeling a little under the weather, I have felt like that for a few days now but I am in denial.  I keep telling myself that it is just nerves.  I worked this morning so I didn’t get to packet pick up until later.    It was quick and easy.    They are using a new timing system this year so I won’t have to worry about them cutting the chip off as soon as I cross the finish line.  :)  The shirt is cool too.  This is the first time I have received a long sleeve tech tee.  And I love gray.

winecountryshirtI indulged with a little nap today too.  :)  Then I went through the swag bag to see what was there-

wineswagNow I am in my comfy chair relaxing.  Well trying too, I am still antsy for some reason…   I have gone through the list a few times and I swear I have everything ready.  I can’t shake the feeling that I forgot something.    Guess I will find out tomorrow.   now if I can just get to sleep at a decent hour tonight…

How was your Saturday?

Anyone else ever get that antsy feeling?

Wine Country Nostalgia

When I line up at the starting line this weekend, it will be for my 4th Wine Country 1/2 marathon and my 6th 1/2 overall.   It has been making me feel a little nostalgic.

I ran my first 5K in the fall of 2010 and then turned lazy.  I drove NikeC down to run the Surf City 1/2 in February 2011 and watching all the runners, I noticed that they didn’t look like the stereotypical runner.  Sure, some of them did, but a lot of them looked like average joes; like me.    I decided “I can do this”.  So I started “training” and ran my first 1/2 marathon in April of 2011. It was only my second race.  I say training lightly because according to an old training log, I only ran/ walked 12 times before that 1/2 marathon.   Oops.

On race morning I had no idea what I was in for but that also gave me the benefit of not being that nervous.  I broke so many running rules that day.  I borrowed NikeC’s iFitness belt that I had never used before.  I also ran in a cotton t-shirt and heavy tennis shorts.   I really had no clue what I was doing.

My only goal for that day was to finish under 2:30:00.  I paced my run by song intervals.  Run 1 song, walk 1 song, and so on.  I remember that C’s husband was running as well but I didn’t really know him that well then.  He passed me at mile 5 and I never saw him again.   This was also the point that I learned how the HOB Fun Run (my very 1st race) had spoiled me.  As I was running, I felt a looming presence behind me.  Sure enough, there was a semi truck coming up the road.  Holy crap, the roads weren’t closed!!!  To this day, HOB is the only race I have run with closed roads.   Truthfully much of this race is a blur.  I know that by mile 10, I was feeling pain in hip muscles that I didn’t know existed.  My feet also felt so bruised and that feeling stayed for almost a week after.    I think my interval plan had faded to run 1 song, walk 2 but I really don’t remember.   The course is all rolling hills, and the one at the end was steeper and I was so tired.  As I rounded the last turn to the finish line, a volunteer yelled out that I should run faster; that I only had a little way to go.  Didn’t she know I couldn’t move any faster?!   I didn’t meet my goal but I was proud of what I had accomplished.  NikeC and my mom were waiting at the finish line for me.

Finish time- 2:37:50.

Awww, my Federer hat, I miss that

Awww, my Federer hat, I miss that

My running after that was hit and miss.  I ran a few more races that year and then winter started.   I returned to Slacker status.   In 2012 I signed up for Wine Country again.   I trained slightly better for this one, 26 runs before race day.  :)   However they were all pretty short.  Then 2 weeks to race day, I woke with the worst stomach flu I can remember.  Like I was so sick I called in sick to work for 2.5 days.  This was the first time in almost 5 years that I had called in.  I managed 2 short runs over the next 2 weeks and still felt like crap.  To make matters worse, that lovely time of the month (sorry boys!) started the day before the race.  Race morning was wet and rainy and my ankle hurt.   Maybe I should have DNS’d but I headed out with the goal of just beating the previous years time, even if by just 1 second.

They changed the course from a loop to and out back.   I learned just how demoralizing out and backs could be.  I was barely at mile 5 when the runners were already passing me on the way back.    Waah.    I pushed on but I was miserable.  I had no idea what my pace or time was because my Nike+ app had malfunctioned and I didn’t realize until a mile and a half in.   Adding insult to injury, the clean up crew was picking up the mile markers on the other side of the street while I was on the return portion of the race.  Ouch.   Then at mile 12, I think I scared a race volunteer.  He was trying to be supportive and cheer us on, but he also said that it was 10:30.  The race started at 8:00.  There was no way I was running the last 1.1 miles in less than 7:50.  I burst into tears, loud caterwauling sobs and visible tears.   He had no idea what to do, I wish I could go back and apologize to him now.   The last mile was partially on a dirt path leading to the finish line, I cried off and on the entire mile.   Crossing the finish line, I realized that the race had started late and if I had pushed just the tiniest bit at the end, I would have hit my goal.  They also switched from medals at the finish line to wine glasses this year.

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Me and the pops

Fall of 2012 is when I started to get serious.  I broke :30 for a 5k and finally got under 2:30:00 for a 1/2 (City to the Sea).  My goal for 2013 was to get under 2:15:00 in a 1/2.  When I registered for Wine Country, I was glad to see that website said they were going back to the loop course of 2011.  I also knew that with how hilly the course was 2:15 was unlikely so I was shooting for 2:20:ish.     I lined up at the start line feeling nervous like usual.  5 minutes to start, they announced a course change.  Instead of the little killer hill at the end, we would be going all the way down to another street and then up.  This street was the little hill x10.  My car doesn’t even like going up the street.  WTH?!  Not cool!

This race felt better than the previous ones.  Even though work had cut into my training, (changing offices, longer hours) I felt more prepared.   Nike+ worked fine this time and even though I went out faster than I should, I maintained for the first 8 miles.   I slowed as the miles went on and I remember being jealous when the girl in front me had the energy to jump in the air for the photographer at mile 11.   I managed a smile grimace.   I hit the final hill and crawled up it.  But at that point with what Nike+ was telling me, I knew I could walk and still get under 2:20.   And walk I did.  According to Nike, the elevation gain was 200+ feet in .15 miles.   I am not sure how accurate it is.  Maybe it wouldn’t have felt so rough if it wasn’t 12.5 miles into the race.  I then walked a bit more at the top to get my heart rate back down.   I was so pumped to cross the line this time.

Finish- 2:14:04- woo hoo!!!IMG901

The pops again!

The pops again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drove the course today, both to refresh my memory and take some pictures of the course.  The beginning seems hillier than I recall and the middle stretch longer.    With the last hill, I would have to hit mile 12 at 1:45 in order to break 2:00.   While I would absolutely adore doing that, I am not going to injure myself to do it.   I have another 1/2 in 4 weeks, so I have to keep that in mind as well.  As of right now, there have been no course changes announced this year.  The race did announce that half marathon finishers get a medal and a wine glass this year.  Yay!!!  It’s the little things right?

Anyone have nostalgia for a particular race?

Happy Wednesday!!!

A little chalk art

Heart & Soles 2014 Race Recap

I was originally planning on running the Buzz 1/2 marathon today but scaled back to a 10K in SLO for a few reasons.  Now, I am completely bummed because I just saw that Run Eat Repeat ran it and I could have tried to track her down, except I am slow, hehe.

Anyways, on to the race.  After my great run on Wednesday, I was super pumped but I also knew I had pushed harder than planned, so I ended up taking Thursday and Friday as rest days.   Friday was also a vacation day for me, so woo hoo!     I made sure to spend some time stretching and working with my foam roller yesterday so this morning I felt pretty good and ready to go.

A little chalk art

A little chalk art

Heart and Soles is a series of races put on by the Cal Poly Triathlon team.  It works as a fundraiser for them and the local food bank.   The race takes place entirely on the college campus.  They offer a 5K, 10K, and 15K and a kids race.   I was a little concerned about hills as the campus is pretty much on the side of a big hill, but there weren’t any big ones thankfully.   I really wanted to do the 15K but thought the 10K was a smarter choice.   :(  This turned out to be a good choice, because I would not have finished a 15K, at least not running.  Maybe crawling.

Pre-race shot

Pre-race shot

The race had 9:00 AM start so I didn’t have to leave until after 7:30.  My race photographer (thanks mom!) and I headed out. Getting there was easy, finding parking was a little trickier, luckily runners tend to move in herds!   Check in was fairly quick, picked up the bib and goody bag and headed back to the car since it was a bit cold.   While not required, a Valentine’s themed costume contest was suggested.   My mother had fun laughing at some of them, including the pace bikers.  The 2 males were dressed in diapers and wings…and that’s it.  Just like Cupid.   One thing about a college race, I felt old.   I won’t deny stalking last years race results to make sure I wasn’t the oldest one.  As it was I was running solo in a couples race.    Luckily it was mostly other solos as well.  :)

All 3 races started at the same time so the start line was a little congested.  A guy stopped to play with his girlfriends iPod, I went left to avoid them, and 2 people behind me ran into me and I into the first couple.  Oops!   Maybe that was when the problem started or I just hadn’t noticed because I just started running.   A quarter mile into the race, my left lower calf was so damn tight it was painful.  I figured I would run it out around mile 1.  No such luck.   I actually considered turning around at the 5K mark.    But I kept going.  I was so happy to hit the first 10K turnaround.   The course had two out and backs.    I kept running but the pain was turning into my couples partner for the race.  I told myself if the pain ever got above a 4 to take a walk break.   The first came at just shy of 3 miles.    Mile 4 was the roughest, not only did I take a walk break, I stopped completely and tried to stretch it out.    The end of this out and back had a little loop on a dirt path and my leg felt better there.  After that if I could run on dirt by the side of the road I did.   While we were in the Ag section this was possible but once we were back in the center of the school, it was all roads and sidewalk.  :(

I felt like mile 6 had the steepest section of road but my Garmin disagrees.    It was a little past mile 5.5 that my leg finally loosened up.  Seriously? Now?   But there was no way I was sprinting to the finish, I was just trying to maintain.   I hadn’t really been paying attention to my time because I was more focused on breathing through the pain.  All in all, I took 4  walk moments plus that stretch.  I was so thankful to see that finish line.     I was done.  Apparently it showed too, because my mom said I looked gimpy coming up to the line.

Is that a grimace or a smile?

Is that a grimace or a smile?

Once I caught my breath, I let my mother know how close I was to texting her that I was chucking it and walking the damn thing.   Then I checked my Garmin, 55:44.  I’m sorry, what?!!?   I flippin’ PR’d on what may or may not have been my worst feeling race?!  I checked Nike to verify (Yeah I used both), and it agreed.   I was a little shocked.   Once I processed that, I was super stoked, still hurting but excited!!  I was brought a little back down to earth by the first 15K finisher crossing the finish line 4 minutes later.

heartandsoles

Other than my stupid leg, it was a good race.  With all three races starting at the same time, I was concerned that it might be easy to be confused by the route.  But they had people at every corner and turn around who made things very clear.   The finish line was clearly marked as well.  All in all, I would run it again, maybe the 15 next year?

I stretched as best as I could before leaving the campus.   After changing and eating a yummy lunch, we did a little shopping around town.   I kept my compression socks on and hoped that the walking would help ease the tightness.  It helped a little but most of the evening has been spent RICE’ing.  Tomorrow will probably be a day off as well, I have to see how it feels in the morning.  I am not sure what set it off, if it was tennis practice yesterday or maybe the fact that I sat cross-legged on the floor for most of last night.   I just want it to go away.

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And as per usual, I was unable to leave SLO without purchasing some new running gear, now if only my legs weren’t so pale!

How is everyone’s weekend so far?

Who else raced?