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Carlsbad 5000 All Day 20k 2018

By far the most fun I’ve ever had at a race, the challenge was four, individual 5ks on the same course. It sounds kinda lame, but the idea behind it for me was to test pacing and see how quickly I could recover.

The course is relatively flat, but does have a few inclines. It loops you around like a lasso and takes you out along the coast, but for a 5k effort scenery isn’t something I pay much attention to. Those who sign up for just one 5k (the majority) are separated into four categories (the four races): Masters Men, Masters Women, Mixed Gender Age 30-39, and Mixed Gender Age 29 & Under.

The race schedule gave me a 35 minute break in between race 1 and 2, a 45 minute break between 2 and 3, and a 2 HOUR break between 3 and 4. I made a nutrition plan based on those recovery times. My goal was to keep a steady effort for each one, with an overall time of 1:20:00. My age group race was the last one of the day so I knew a PR wasn’t likely, but I didn’t know what that 2 hour gap would do to me, so I wasn’t going to completely give up on it yet.

The first race went rather smoothly, in 18:53. I felt I could have went harder, but I didn’t want to crash and burn. The second race 19:05, and the third, 19:11. I was really happy with how close my times were and with how I felt. It wasn’t too hard to stay loose in-between and my stomach stayed happy with the nutrition plan. But now I had a 2 hour break…

The break stiffened me up and I really felt the fatigue. I realized even though this race was my age group race, I wasn’t going to be able to make it fast. However, I was having too much fun to get disappointed by that and I had a pretty good buffer to still make my time goal. The final race began and my first mile was fine (6:01), but the 2nd and 3rd I just couldn’t hack it. I finished in 19:20.

What made this race so much fun were the people – you got to hang out between the races and enjoy the company of other like-minded crazies. And even though not many of my old track club running buddies did the 20k option, a lot of them were there for their age group and it was great seeing them, too. Typically, races aren’t “hang outs” but this one was. It is not a race to go for a personal best, unless you really want to crash and burn, but it is a really good interval session, especially for marathon training. I was really happy with my results and my pacing, beat my time goal and held cadence over 180 for all four races. I may even use this idea in training again someday.

Final Stats

Time: 1:16:29

Overall: 5th of 259

Female: 2nd of 137

Age Division: 1st of 15

 

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San Diego Hot Chocolate 15k 2018

Shorter stride, faster cadence. That’s what I was telling myself as I was struggling to grasp a rhythmic movement. The leading ladies were spread out relatively far apart by mile 2 and I was having a hard time keeping any them in sight. Breathing heavily, from the ups and downs that were already run in the course, I tried to relax into the long climb ahead. This race was again going to be about effort, but I didn’t want to fall away from fourth female.

The San Diego edition of this race starts downtown on a hill, then takes you through a winding course among some neighborhoods and parks full of elevation change, and then throws you back downtown, where for the last .3 miles you finally get to remember what it feels like to run level. 

Yeah, it’s a really fun course. But taking it back to mile 2, I could hear the 5th female coming up beside me. I immediately recognized her from a half marathon last April when I chased her down to try to take second place, but hesitated for too long and she beat me by 33 hundredths of a second. I couldn’t let her overtake me, but we weren’t very far into the race and I didn’t want to pull away and waste energy that I knew I needed later. She stayed with me for another mile and then let me lead by mile 4.

But she was right behind me, and coming from behind in a race gives you the advantage at the end (if you’re willing). Mentally, I was exhausted from racing. I didn’t want to do it. I was tired for several reasons, but as much as I love racing, it’s HARD and all I wanted to do was sleep.

What I wanted and what I didn’t want weren’t lining up, so I had to choose. I didn’t want to give up and just run the rest of the way. However, I knew that if she remained close enough behind me, she could attack and I didn’t feel like I had it in me to counter that move. My best option was to slowly pull away and try to create a gap big enough that would discourage her from making a move at the finish.

It was working, but we were about to go on a nice size downhill and then immediately up up UP. This was my third year doing the course so I knew what was about to happen. She caught up to me at the bottom of the downhill and then I dropped her hard on the uphill. My legs recovered, and I continued to increase the gap with just two miles left. I felt like I had her, but I really needed to push the downhill finish. I threw myself down the 9th mile in 6:02 and demanded more from my lungs for the last .3 for a strong finish.

Forty-five seconds ahead – it was enough.

I had hoped for a sub 60-minute and a podium finish. I didn’t get either, but I got more experience racing and a really good workout. Right now, those latter things are  much more important. Since moving to Utah and recovering from injury, I haven’t been able to find a good training groove. It will come, but I need a little more time. My lungs continue to be what’s lagging behind. For the most part, my legs felt great with all of the ups and downs on the course. My cadence was better this race at 182 steps per minute. I got to see more running friends and walked away with a bowl of chocolate. What do I have to complain about?

Final Stats

Time – 1:00:54

Overall – 15th of 3665

Female – 4th of 2588

Age group – 2nd of 320

 

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San Diego Half Marathon 2018

The San Diego Half Marathon brings out lots of competition and presents a fun event. It’s a relatively flat course for 8 miles and then a HUGE hill followed by a downhill fast finish. Not only was I excited to come back for my third whack at it, I also knew a lot of my old track club teammates would be there. Plus, I was hopeful in trying to snag a little PR since I had been able to run more regularly (though I’m still not on a good cycle yet).

Sleeping the night before in the hotel was a real challenge due to outside noise, but really the night before isn’t the issue – it’s the week or two before that you need to focus on getting good sleep. I didn’t have a problem getting out the door though when it was time to go, and pre-race “festivities” went fairly well. Nerves weren’t a thing, it was just excitement to race and race hard. My time goal was 1:21:56. I truly felt that if everything went perfect I had that in me.

Everything did not go perfectly. Starting off, my breathing felt way more labored than it should, and trying to keep up with the 1:25 pacer was a struggle. I don’t know why, but my lungs were so tired. My legs, however, felt pretty good. My watched buzzed at every mile, but I chose to ignore it and weigh how I was feeling against how many miles I had left. By mile 5, my time goal was well out of stride and I was struggling, but I was still within 10 yards of the 1:25 pace group. There was a girl that kept leap frogging with me and I decided I was going to beat her. She was hanging with the pace group, but huffing and puffing too. At mile 7, I watched them fade away in front of me as I realized my right toenail was going to disappear as well (hashtag, it’s the little things). EVERY. TIME. I forget to cut my toenails. That girl was able to hang on better than I was until…

The timing mat at 8.2 had me chipped at a 6:22 pace, just before the hill started. Of course, it slows you down, but I definitely underestimated it. It brought me to my slowest split of 7:37. It also brought me closer to that girl that had now fallen off the pace group. After cresting the hill, I slowly starting closing the gap between her and I. Another runner (male) came up alongside me and recognized me from Instagram. With a few encouraging words, he gave me a boost to chase her down. I caught up to her just before the decline and passed her, but realized that when the course flattened out just before the finish, she would probably catch back up to me. She did. We were both spent. But it wasn’t about fitness, strength, or speed anymore – it was about mind games. I knew my best shot at beating her was to attack right then. We had two-tenths of a mile left, but I darted away in a burst of speed, slowing down just a few seconds later, but banking on momentum carrying me through the finish ahead of her. It worked. I finished five seconds ahead.

I raced hard, and I am happy with that. My last two miles were back down to 6:21 and 6:23. I know I got good physical benefits from the day. I’m disappointed that my time was so much slower than my goal, but disappointing races are starting to get less and less disappointing. It’s not what I wanted, but it was a good effort. I can be patient for the work to pay off. There will be more opportunities to to prove myself. For now, I’m happy to keep racing and gaining.

Final Stats

Time – 1:27:04

66th 5816 overall

12th of 3155 female

3rd of 494 in age group

 

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SLCTC Winter Series 15k

Whew! Racing in this series made me feel like those times when I took exams in college without studying. But it was fun, it’s done, and I’m ready to take it to the next level.

The predicted weather for this race was a snowstorm, but I was pretty happy that it did not snow and remained sunny without wind. Still, 25 degrees! The race didn’t start until 10 AM, which was nice for sleeping in, and from the previous races in the series I knew I didn’t have to worry about parking.

The most physically prepared for of the three, I had a time goal of under sixty minutes. I also felt like I could give the other competition a race, but I wanted to start out going by feel and not mind my watch. The 15k is a funny distance. So as planned I started out relaxed, noticing two other contenders in the leading pack (one of whom already bested me at the previous 5k and 10k). The first female led the way about ten yards ahead for the first mile, but I could tell by her form that she would fade. The other female and I caught up to her. I tried to stay right with the woman who had beat me before, but I wasn’t able to hang on yet. I let her go, thinking I could maybe catch up later. The woman who started out too fast and I leap frogged each other until the halfway turnaround point, and then I left her behind. I steadied my pace, and settled into second.

I hadn’t looked at my watch until mile 7, when I began to see the first woman slowing down, though she was still pretty far ahead. I had more doubt than hope in me that I’d be able to catch her. At mile 8 I closed the gap a little more, but I still didn’t feel like I could go for it. In hindsight, I wish I would have at least made it a little closer. She finished twenty-five seconds ahead.

All in all, it was a good run. I didn’t hit my time goal of sub sixty, but I still nabbed my first personal best of the year. I’m hoping it won’t last long, because I have another sub 60 15k attempt in a few weeks.

Final Stats

Time: 1:00:15

Overall: 22nd of 386

Female: 2nd of 195

Age group: 1st of 19

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SLCTC Winter Series 10k 2018

It hadn’t even been a week yet since my marathon scramble, and I found myself expecting to still have some sort of speed in me. There wasn’t any. One mile at goal pace, and the rest was all “downhill” from there. I continued to push into labored breathing to at least use the race as a training run. I am not naturally fast, so speed is the first thing to go when I’m unable to train for an extended period of time. It’s similar to someone trying to lose weight – the area you want most to disappear is the last to go and the first to come back. Well for me, fast legs are last to come and first to leave.

The second race of three in the series, I knew what to expect from the course and the competition. The weather was colder than it had been, so I ended up racing in an extra layer I had intended to shed beforehand. I should have stuck to the “less is best” rule because after starting I got too warm. After that first mile, I settled into third and tried my best to hang on to that. A fellow (male) runner pulled me through halfway and then I pulled him through the last few miles and we finished together.

Despite the fact that I couldn’t perform, I’m happy that my foot is still fine and by the end of the week I’ll be back to my regular training schedule. There will be plenty more races this spring/summer/fall that I’ll be able to challenge last year’s personal bests when I’m ready. Onward.

Final Stats

Time – 39:43

29th of 438 overall

3rd of 217 female

1st of 19 in age group

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SLCTC Winter Series 5k 2018

COLD! My first race in Utah and it was 30 something degrees. There were plenty of runners in shorts and a tank top, but I was clearly the wimp with my full leggings, long sleeve mock neck top, gloves, and ear warmer – and I was still cold.

The Salt Lake City Track club puts on a three-race winter series with a 5k, 10k, and 15k each two weeks apart. The course(s) are flatter than a fritter. I signed up for the series months ago, before my foot injury, so I had to significantly lower my expectations for myself. I had barely been able to run in the weeks leading up to it, so really all I wanted to do was get through it pain free.

During my warm up I felt a few twinges, but by the time everyone was lining up, I was starting to feel better about my foot. My first mile was alright, 5:56, but then my lungs were screaming no. Not only had I not been able to train but that also meant my lungs hadn’t been able to adapt to the elevation change either. 4,200 feet is a lot different than 200. My second and third splits were 6:23 and 6:26. What my legs never felt in burn was made up for in my lungs. I am out of shape and unconditioned, but my foot remained pain free, and I was/am pretty happy with that.

Final Stats

Time: 19:33

31 of 463 Overall

2nd of 239 Female

 

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San Diego Holiday Half Marathon

My last race in San Diego as a local. I’m sad that I’m leaving a group of ladies that I had just begun to get the privilege of knowing, but ready to take on new challenges in a new city.

Even though training for this race was sporadic and lacked any sort of schedule, I knew I had succeeded in keeping my fitness gains from my race in New York. The runs that I did get in, showed splits that I couldn’t replicate in training before and I didn’t feel like I was trying that hard. My goals for this race were a new personal best, to “find the grind” at 6:20s, and to forego using any carbohydrate supplements (to test how my body was doing on efficiency and adapting).

The course was advertised as a “potential PR” with a net downhill of over 700 feet. The weather was perfect, starting in the low 50’s with cloud cover that swore the temperature wouldn’t break 60 degrees. My warm-up felt really good, but I was slightly concerned about what my tummy was up to. For dinner the night before I had eaten food I don’t normally have. I know it’s stupid, but we were invited to a friend’s house and I didn’t want to be rude. But unless things really took a turn for the worse, when the gun went off I was pretty confident I would have a good race.

The first few miles were a bit faster than I had planned (go figure), but then I started to settle into a pretty good pace, though it was slower than I wanted. The course was actually harder than I thought it would be, with many rolling hills. I guess I expected to practically be falling the last half of the race with all the hype I’d heard about how fast the course was.

At about mile 7, I started to get some stomach cramps on and off. They weren’t too bad, but I’d hoped I could hold off through the finish. My legs were a manageable burn, and I was on pace for a solid PR. I wasn’t feeling any negative effects from the lack of carbohydrates and was pretty pleased at that – I had come a LONG way from my ulcer days.

With just a few miles left, I struggled to hold the pace but kept pushing. Not much longer and “Whoa, the finish?!” There it was, two whole tenths of a mile short – DARN IT! After checking around with a few other racers, it was clear that it wasn’t just my Garmin that was off. The course was indeed 12.9 instead of 13.1. I was bummed knowing that my new PR would be overstated, but chip time is chip time. Regardless, I still would have shaved more than 3 minutes off my previous best time, so at least I can hold on to that. For now, I’ll plan on racing more half marathons with justifiably faster times, but until then I guess my “official” results are:

1:22:59

60th of 2896 overall

16th of 1655 females

6th of 212 in age group

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Dirt Dog XC

Being part of the Women’s Open Team for the San Diego Track club meant that I would be partaking in a cross-country race series. I had never done any sort of racing off road before, but I gave it a whirl. I ended up liking it better than I thought I would. The races were competitive, small, and simple (and also pretty cheap). Ranging from 5k to 8k, I completed six of the seven races. Unfortunately, I will be out of town for the championships.

Marathon training conflicted with several of the races and I ended up having the run them the day after a long run, but I figured as long as I wasn’t injured, it would be good training. I like to stay marathon minded anyway. In the end, I think these races actually aided my marathon training and I became a stronger runner.

Running through meadows, up and down rutted hills, jumping over hay bales, sinking into wet ground, and avoiding broken ankles was a new challenge. Racing with a team was also something new to me, and it made the series much more fun. I’m not sure I would have done more than one without my teammates.

I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to at least try cross country. I had a lot of fun, and I’m not saying never again, but these legs belong on the road. I love the speed and the endless supply of competition. Call me a sissy, but I don’t like the higher injury risk of off road racing. Call me a princess, but I don’t like getting my stripes dirty.

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Spooktacular San Diego 15k 2017

A “prep race” may not be part of a typical marathon training program, but I tried it once before and liked it. The idea is to complete a longer shorter race two days after my peak long run before a marathon.  For this training cycle, it was a 28-mile run – my longest to date. I start my taper two weeks out, after completing this prep race. It may seem short, but my weekly average mileage really isn’t that high, so I don’t think I need as much.

Half the goal of this 15k was getting to the start line without tight or sore legs (from the long run). The other half was to see what I could do on tired legs, and still keep good form. I thought this would give me a good idea of what pace to shoot for in the marathon.

This was a tiny, flat race that kept you on a paved bike path, so you didn’t have to worry about traffic. There was a 5k and 10k option as well, but it seemed like only about 300 people total. The morning of, I felt good – no tightness or soreness. I knew once I started running, my legs would be tired once I started running, but I hoped to find a steady pace and run with a constant, mild-ish burn after the first few miles. I had a good warm up with some dynamic stretching and then it was go time.

  • Mile 1 – 6:58
  • Mile 2 – 6:53
  • Mile 3 – 6:52
  • Mile 4 – 6:36
  • Mile 5 – 6:34
  • Mile 6 – 6:36
  • Mile 7 – 6:34
  • Mile 8 – 6:34
  • Mile 9 – 6:38
  • and a kick at the end!

Reminding myself that my legs were just tired, and nothing else, I was able to steady the pace and finish strong. I was pretty happy with the results and how I felt. Though a prep race isn’t typically the time to PR, I ended up shaving 9 seconds on my previous 15k best. But there’s always room for critical analysis. After seeing my splits, the third mile should have been a bit faster. Cadence was slow (average 172), but was expected on heavy legs.

Marathon training is a work in progress. I’m searching for the best plan for the best results my body can give. But the human body adapts, and there’s so many changing variables that even if you find your perfect formula, it won’t work for forever. Though in theory, I suppose if you hit your race goal with a good plan and then considerably lose your level of fitness afterwards you would probably get good results again with the same plan. I know the plan I just completed may seem a bit crazy to a lot of runners, but I feel like I’m on to something. I’m ready to see what I can do in New York.

Final Stats

1:01:40

3rd of 94 overall

2nd of 67 female

1st of 6 in age group

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AFC Half Marathon 2017

One week out, I was super pumped for this race. Ready for a new personal best, excited to race hard, and felt good about getting into the core of my training for New York. After this race, it was time to get into a long, hard, gritty ten (ish) weeks before marathon day. The excitement for this race dwindled as the stress of work, life, and missing my other half took a toll as the week went on, and before I knew it I was picking up my bib at the expo. I still had hope and a race plan for a good race, but I was exhausted.

The morning of, my alarm sounded at 4 a.m. and I hit snooze – on race morning, that’s NEVER a good thing. I should be up, awake, and rearing to go, no matter how poorly I slept (it’s not the night before that counts, but the weeks leading up). I dragged myself out of bed, got my things together, and walked to the shuttle buses. Besides being really tired, everything felt fine. My legs were a little tight, but nothing I wasn’t able to loosen up with some dynamic stretching at starting area.

My race plan was to not look at my watch until after the downhill at mile 4, and then speed it up after halfway through. I wanted a new PR (around 1:25) and a top ten finish. This was an elite race, so I knew I wasn’t going for the podium this time around.

Once the race began I felt better, and was happy to just be running semi-hard. I tried to be chill and not worry about placings until everyone thinned out a bit. After the fifth mile, I found myself alone, with some guys here and there – passing some and some passing me. I heard a female behind me. I could tell by the sound of her foot-strike (if you listen, you can usually tell the difference between male and female by the way their foot hits the ground). She got closer, and wanting to hold the place I had, I listened to how hard she was breathing. As long as I didn’t burst away and lose my own breath, I knew I’d drop her eventually, and I did.

At the 10k mark, they had a race clock and I was on target for my goal. I felt good about that, and decided that I would continue to push and ignore my split times on my Garmin. But slowly I began to fall away from my goal pace, despite feeling like I was faster. I got to the hill at the end and trudged up it to the SDTC cheer station at the top. It was so nice seeing them there. I threw up a little in my mouth but I just had a flat little bit left. Two fellow club members followed me through the finish and helped me leave everything on the course. I started dry heaving 20 yards out, and crossed the finish line ready to vomit. Is this my signature? Haha! I sat down for a minute and was able to keep it contained. I was surprised to hear the announcer say my finish time was just under 1:30. I thought for sure I had run faster than that. It felt really hard. Bummed, I made my way to my friends and started recovery.

Though I didn’t accomplish any of my goals for this race, I can say that during the race I had fun. I’m glad I didn’t look at my mile splits because it would also have robbed me of that. I finished with all I had for that day, but in hindsight I should have started out faster. For my energy level, I think I would have had a positive split no matter what, so had I started out faster I could have shaved a few minutes off. But this is part of learning how my body works under different circumstances. Race day is hardly ever completely ideal or perfect. Collecting the data and knowing how to respond to the non-ideal is how I plan to accomplish future goals. I’m trying to be patient.

Final Statistics

1:29:54

76th of 4148 overall

13th of 2188 women

6th of 369 age group

 

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Balboa Park 8 Miler 2017

Last year was the first time I had done this race, but I had felt like I’d run (most) of the course a million times. Balboa Park is where I do the bulk of my training. It’s a fun and challenging course with several loops so you have to pay attention to where you’re going or you’re going to cut the course, especially if you find yourself running alone. There’s hills, inclines, and a trail portion so you get a little taste of both worlds.

I placed in the top 5 last year and was hoping to again this year, but more importantly beat my time. I knew this race was a good prep race for the AFC Half in a few weeks. My warm-up felt pretty good but I recognized a few local speedsters so I got in the starting corral a few rows back. The competition this year was going to be a bit tougher.

The race went off without a hitch and I got into a groove. I wasn’t worried about placings yet – 8 miles is short(er) but with this course I knew I had plenty of time to catch up. By mile 4 I settled into 5th with 4th place in my sights. I lost her just before the trail portion, but she must have slowed down a little bit more than I did on the trail because when we came out of “the pits” (my name for all trail racing) I had gained on her a little. She was still about 20 seconds ahead of me, but I slightly picked up the pace – just in case. Mile 7 rolled around and I continued to gain a little more….more….200 yards left and I sprinted to make it a 10 second gap. My legs were burned, but so were hers, so I churned again and fell short by 3 seconds. I had guts, but still no glory. Ha! I finished 5th. I raced hard and I felt like I raced well. These types of runs really help boost my performance. I beat my time last year by 3 minutes, and was happy with that. My trail mile was 7:18, and my last and fastest mile was 6:08. I’m learning to define my gears, and I’m learning how to recover in the midst of hard effort running.

Final Statistics

52:53

29th of 1695 overall

5th of 962 female

2nd of 117 age group

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Live Well San Diego 5k 2017

I was getting tired of these short races. This was my last ditch effort to get my 5k PR down, and not a race I had planned on doing at the beginning of the season. The night before, as I was heading to bed, I realized that I was going to nail it – I just was. For once, my legs actually felt prepared for a 5k. So I rolled out of bed the next morning, got my crap together, mixed my Vega drinks, and left to find a parking spot at Balboa Park (which was about a mile from the start).

My warm up felt pretty good, jogging/walking to the starting area. I did some dynamic stretching, and was surprised at my level of flexibility. I hadn’t been able to kick that high for a few weeks. That made me get a little excited.

From past results, I knew this wasn’t going to be a competitive race, but that wasn’t really the point. In downtown San Diego along the waterfront, this course was flat, and more importantly, on the road. The starting corral wasn’t too bad and I was able to line up right in front. My first mile may have been a bit fast, but I was still feeling good throughout the second, so I didn’t care. Heavy breathing, long strides, strong kick-backs, I made those three, short miles count. Just before crossing the finish line, I started dry heaving. It’s one of my most satisfying feelings in training – working so hard that you exceed your lactate threshold. After catching my breath, I looked at the data and maxed my HR at 206. Hashtag, thumpthump.

Surprisingly, I started as leading female and ended as leading female. Competitive field or not, that usually doesn’t even come close to happening in 5ks for me. It was the sprinkles on my icing of my cake. My cake being the hard effort, and the icing my new PR of 18:25.

Final Statistics

1st female of 780

10th overall of 1348

 

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USATF Summer Nights Track Series San Diego

It was my best of times, it was my worst of times – it was my only of times. And frankly might well be my last of times. Track events were never an option growing up, so I figured I’d take this opportunity to see what a track meet was like. Anyone could sign up so I could choose any event(s) I wanted. The 400m, 1500m, and 5000m sounded like good choices for me to get the track feel.

The first week was the 1500m and then the 400m with about an hour in-between. Of course I showed up super early because I didn’t know what I was doing, but being my first meet, it was kind of interesting watching the other events. Because there were so few females (three) doing the 1500m, they stuck us in with the guys, but that actually made me feel better because I knew I wouldn’t have a fast time so the more people on the track the better. We all blobbed together at the start line and did almost four circles. The OCD in me was like “Wait, why is there even a 1500m??? Just do the mile!” Clue number one, that the track isn’t for me. Regardless, I did it and finished in 5:12.

Up next, the 400m. Oh yay, I get my own lane. But why are they putting these weird looking metal foot pedal things on the track? I looked like an idiot messing around with the starting blocks, moving them through their rings before I finally asked the official if I had to use them. Nope. I picked them up and moved them to the infield. I really looked like a fool now. But the gun went off and it was over, finishing in 1:16. Clue number two, that the track isn’t for me.

The next week was the 5000m, which I felt more comfortable with. I didn’t have a goal time, I just wanted to put forth a good effort. Despite going out too fast, I think I accomplished that. Twelve circles, around and around, getting lapped, finishing in a modest 19:10. At least I felt like I benefited from this track session.

Track is a whole different world, bringing in a different mindset and confining your environment. I’m glad I at least experienced a few events, but I won’t be ordering any track spikes. It’s amazing, what runners can and have accomplished on the track, and I appreciate the hard efforts put forth my those who race it. But I the road is where I belong, where I’ll continue to search for what fast feels like.

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RRS Craft Classic San Diego 2017

Last year I said this course was harder than the La Jolla half marathon, but then I did La Jolla again and started second guessing. After completing this race again, I still can’t decide. It’s a toss up. The Road Runner Sports Craft Classic in San Diego is a pretty tough course. It’s basically a 10k race, and then you die. See elevation chart below:

Because it’s a hard course, I didn’t have my heart set on a PR. My time goal was sub 1:30, I was aiming for a top 5 finish, and I wanted to keep my heart rate steady (pace myself) and my head focused on form. One of the perks of this race is free photos, but they aren’t up yet, so we’ll see how I looked, but I felt like I was doing better with gait, posture, and arm swing.

Having to use the shuttle service, I got up at 4:00 a.m. on race morning. I got to the start line without a hitch, feeling good, staying calm, and ready to run. I watched my splits for the first few miles, but made sure I was listening to my heart rate. When the first set of hills came, I still felt strong. The big hill was a struggle to get up, but once it leveled off, I was impressed at how quickly my lungs AND legs recovered. I finished in 1:32:37 feeling like I paced myself well. Despite not meeting my time goal, I didn’t know what I would have done differently. I placed 4th overall, and after chatting with the top female, realized that everyone was a little slower than usual. Maybe it was the humidity, maybe it was a bit warm, but regardless of time, it was still a good workout.

Final Stats

25th of 1099 overall

4th of 562 female

1st of 89 age group

 

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Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10k 2017

Racing around Lake Miramar was so much fun – a flat, fast course whose windy turns made it impossible to get bored (who gets bored racing anyway?). There were a ton of people for a route on the narrower side, but I didn’t have any issues with being cramped. My goal average pace time was 6:05, but I also wanted to race by feel. Racing these shorter distances really helps me understand where I’m at physiologically and where I need to focus more in training.

Starting right on time, I picked out a few people I wanted to beat. The field was pretty competitive so I knew a podium finish wasn’t in the works. I decided my watch was for the data afterwards, not during this race. Things were feeling pretty smooth until just after halfway – perhaps I started just a little too fast. With no shade, it started to get pretty warm and my breathing labored. I knew I had slowed, but me and a few other guys had some fun leap frogging each other until the last mile. I sped up, but I didn’t have the juice to really go for it. In the end, they both ended up passing me.

I didn’t PR, but I put forth a hard effort and felt like progress was made. My lungs need cross-training and my form needs more work, but more importantly this race made me re-focus on my running goals. Lately, I’d been feeling like I was side-tracked but I couldn’t get why. But now I really feel ready to start training for New York.

My splits ended up being 6:07, 6:07, 6:09, 6:19, 6:22, and 6:07. Clearly, I could have raced a little smarter, but I enjoyed the lesson. I was 45 seconds slower than goal time with a 38:33. Maybe I’m a little “old school,” but I liked that they didn’t give you a medal for finishing. Only the podium finishers got medals. It makes it more meaningful for the winners…and it saves a ton of money…and how many finisher medals do you really need…

Final Stats

53rd of 1218 overall

9th of 555 female

4th of 57 in division