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Racing

SLCTC Winter Series 5k

First race of the season for me, first race in the series, first race in the USATF circuit…lots of firsts and I was anxious to get back at it. I had been back to training for a month and it had been going really well. So well that I had set high expectations for myself. It had been a year and a half since my last 5k PR (18:25) and I felt I could make a pretty big jump.

My “A” goal was 17:05, “B” goal was anything with 17 in front of it, and “C” was just a new PR. Because this was part of the USATF circuit, I knew the competition could be pretty tough but you never know who will show up and who won’t. Or at least I don’t – they pretty much know I’m going to be there because I advertise it. Haha! But I decided that the time goals were more important to me than the leaderboard. I would race whoever I could, but if I came in 5th or 6th and still got my time, I’d be okay with it.

The day before the race I got a massage, which is pretty typical for me, but it was with a therapist I hadn’t had for sports massage before. My legs felt really good after, but I had one nagging concern I couldn’t get out of my head. She did some assisted static stretching on my hamstrings and even though it felt good, I knew that kind of stretching before a race could reduce power output (depending on who you ask). There wasn’t much I could do about it at that point though, so I just had to wait and see come race time. At least it would be another opportunity to feel the science.

After arriving I got super nervous, way more than I should have been. It wasn’t really about the race against fellow competitors, but the race against myself. And for a 5k or 10k, if you screw up one mile, you don’t have time to recover. My legs felt good, but my hamstrings felt too limber.

We lined up at the starting line and I only saw two runners that I knew were fast enough to beat me. One of them I already knew was way faster than me and would probably easily take the win. The other had beat me at all three races last year to take the series, but based on more current race results I knew we were about the same fitness level.

Now counting on making top 3, I took off at the start taking the lead. The fastest female would overtake me before the halfway point, but she fell back a bit to, I assume, just see what kind of pace she needed to win. After the first mile she sailed past me. I didn’t look at my watch to see what my first split was, but I didn’t feel good. Like I had feared, I felt like I had to power in my hamstrings. My gut just didn’t feel good either. Not from food, but from a nervous, uneasiness. I wasn’t controlled and relaxed (this is why I think it’s important for me to race all these races). I knew I slowed, but I tried to stay steady the rest of the way. By the the turnaround point, I slid into 3rd. I tried to keep her close, but I started to feel worse. I gave up on trying to be close enough to put up a fight at the end. My splits were 5:43, 5:59, 6:03, and 37 seconds for the last .12. I PR-ed by 3 seconds.

I was bummed, but I reminded myself that my last 18:25 5k was on a crazy good how-did-I-even-pull-that-off kind of day. And this recent 18:22 was on a bad day. Most of the time, that’s how I shake off a bad race, or a rough training run. I think about where I was and how far I’ve come. I remember how excited I was when I broke 20 minutes for the first time. It doesn’t make the bad performance “okay,” but it makes me be grateful that I’ve progressed enough that I get to be bummed about this time that I would have killed for in the past.

Final Stats

Time – 18:22

22nd Overall of 381

3rd Female of 200

1st in Age Group of 12

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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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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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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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Carlsbad 5000 2017

This was the first 5k race I’ve done that wasn’t on Thanksgiving. I was hoping to go a little faster on “the world’s fastest 5k,” but I ended up with a five second personal best. The weather was sunny, but not too warm yet – it was a beautiful day. The race is actually divided into six different smaller races with different start times – Masters Men, Masters Women, Men & Women 29 and under, Men & Women 30-39, Elite Women, and finally Elite Men.

I was thankful my race didn’t start until 9:10 because I had a 45 minute drive to get there. After arriving, finding my bib, and checking out where the start line was, I enjoyed the usual sitting and people watching. I didn’t have to wait in line for a porter potty (which never happens at a race), so I had plenty of time.

A train made our start time 15 minutes later, but other than that I was off without a hitch. My goal, besides PR-ing, was ┬áto pay attention to my breathing and lung capacity. I told myself not to go out too fast, as I felt like I’d done in the last few races. At this point in my training, I knew my legs could go faster than my lungs. Staying calm in the beginning, I was able to pass a few females after the halfway point. My mile splits were 6:17, 6:13, 6:13 and I was content with that.

My legs felt great, like they could go further at that pace, but again my lungs couldn’t handle the cadence much longer. Afterwards, I could feel that my lungs had just had a productive workout. I counted that as a win. I tried waiting around for results (you know how that is), but I got impatient and headed home.

Final Statistics

Time – 19:22

112th of 1910 overall

19th of 1006 in women

8th of 199 in division