Tag Archives: race report

Race Report: RunVermont First Run 5K 2015

It has been a LONG time since I’ve raced a 5K and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious about what this morning would bring. I’m in good general shape but have done very little in the way of workouts since Vegas and have almost no memory of how to race a 5K. I’ve run the course before and my plan was to go out moderately for mile 1, survive the hill and headwind of mile 2 then kick it in for mile 3, which features a great downhill finish.

It was cold and windy this morning with a “feels like” of 11 at race start. I hate to be hot when I race so I gambled and wore capris and a long sleeve. Although I froze at the start, I was generally happy with this choice during the race. The start went out FAST and I was in about 10th place for women at half a mile but worked to just run my race. This turned out to be a good approach; I was in second by the mile. As we turned into the wind, I caught the woman who was in first and when she threw in a little surge, I decided to just tuck in on her as we battled the wind for mile 2. At about the 3K, however, she was starting to slow way down so I gave it my 10 quick steps and pushed past her to the next group of people.

WHERE is the top of this hill? And why does this have to be the headwind?

WHERE is the top of this hill? And why does this have to be the headwind?

Once we crested the hill at 2, I ground down and worked on just keeping form solid through the final mile. The Beech Street downhill was FREEZING but once we turned again, it wasn’t too bad for the last stretch. Somewhere along here a woman told me I was first woman, so I just kept pressing to the line. I finished feeling strong and got to break the finishing tape! I reflexively threw my arms up, so stay tuned for that picture…

Coach was not on his photo game today...grinding towards the finish.

Coach was not on his photo game today…grinding towards the finish.

I’m most thrilled with my race splits as they reflect that I respected the course and pushed when it was appropriate. I have a bad tendency to fight the wind so I’m thrilled that I trusted myself enough to just settle in through the windy mile and get it back together when we turned.

Mile 1: 6:10

Mile 2: 6:30

Mile 3: 5:49

.1: 5:31 pace

19:11, First Overall Female, 17th overall.

All in all, an excellent day that bodes well for 2015!

Race Report: RockNRoll Las Vegas Half 2014

Short Version: SO not my day with almost everything conspiring against me. Still ended up 9th for women and 86th overall with a 1:25:02. Had an INCREDIBLE vacation with my family (more on that in a separate post).

Results from Vegas

Long Version:

I didn’t even get out of Burlington before the fuck-ups began. I boarded my original flight at 6 am on Saturday morning and spent 4 hours trying to get out of Burlington, including getting towed back to the gate and swapping airlines entirely. The real fun began somewhere over Detroit, however, where we circled the airport for over 40 minutes and landed at 11:46. My flight for Vegas left Detroit at 12:02. From Terminal C. I landed at A. Thankfully I’d worn my Converse and sprinted (I mean all out sprinted) for C26, making it with seconds to spare. The door closed behind me and I scrambled to my seat and climbed over my poor seatmates with sweat dripping off of me.

When I arrived in Vegas, my family was already there waiting. We picked up our rental car (a souped up Camero, bucket list item for my Dad) and headed to the Expo. Pickup was really smooth, which is just about the last thing that was smooth for the next 24 hours. After waiting 60 minutes to check in at Bally’s, it was time to race to our show for the evening so I didn’t get a run in.

All things considered (time change, moderate altitude, sprinting in Converse), I felt pretty good when I woke up on Sunday. I was a little achy from travel but my legs felt good enough. We kicked around for most of the morning and I just enjoyed the time with my family. At about 2:30, my sister and I headed off for the start line and the shitshow began. On the monorail, I started to feel sick to my stomach. Not nervous sick, but sick-sick. I hoped it would clear once we got outside again but no dice. When we got towards the start area, they diverted us into the Start Festival. As much as I like Macklemore (and hearing Thrift Shop live was pretty great), I just wanted to find a place to lay down by the Start. After some near tears halted by a great Competitor Group volunteer, I found the Start Line. When we got there, however, there were almost no CG employees and certainly no one who knew where elites were supposed to go or where we were supposed to use the bathroom. There was nowhere to pee and nowhere to warm up. Now in full tears, I found a photographer who let me use the media bathroom and a kind start line volunteer who promised that if I ran down the median, he’d let me back in. I did manage to get a few minutes of warmup in but no striders and no decrease in stomach pain.

As we got loaded in the Start Line, it was utter chaos. 2 hour half marathoners were standing on the line with the elites. Some over eager guy ripped my shoe off my foot. We were told we had 5 minutes til the start. 90 seconds later, the gun sounded. I sprinted off the line and still got knocked around and started to fumble with my Garmin to try to get splits.

Start of RnR

From Meb’s Twitter (thanks Meb!). Pretty sure this is right after aforementioned dude ripped my shoe off.

My original plan was to click in with the 1:20 pace group (6:08 pace) and hide behind them in the wind for the first few miles of the race. This plan quickly evaporated when they cranked through the first mile in 5:40 pace. Not for me, in even the best scenario. To make it worse, my stomach was not calming down. By 2 miles in, I was already counting miles and running splits. I settled for just trying to find a comfortable pace and kept my eyes on the people ahead of me. When my stomach felt stable, I pushed. When it started to threaten disaster, I backed off. As I went by my family around 4, I knew things were grim because my sister didn’t even tell me what place I was.

At about mile 6, the woman who was second in the marathon came back to me and we ran together until the race split off at 9. I was actually feeling okay around here and made a big move forward at 10 to pass the woman who was in 9th. This wouldn’t last however, and I spent the last 3 miles just praying I could find a porto-potty in time. Even as I saw the clock clicking towards 1:25, I couldn’t sprint for fear that my stomach would give up entirely.

Since my Garmin didn’t start, I don’t have much in the way of splits but the timing mats have the following:

5K: 19:47 (6:22)

10K: 39:42 (6:23)

10 M: 1:04:20 (6:26)

Last 5K: 20:42 (6:39, dear god)

Obviously I would have preferred to go into my down period on a high note, but it is what it is. Even if my pre-race prep had been perfect, my stomach was clearly not up for the task (my Dad got sick on Sunday night and my mom on Monday, so we had something kicking around) and every day just isn’t going to be a banner day. I also got to have a great time in Las Vegas with my family and decompress after what’s been a long fall of school, training and coaching.

So what’s next?

Two weeks of down time, doing whatever I want for exercise then figuring out what’s next! During down time, I’ll be looking back (and posting) about what I thought worked well this cycle and what needs improvement and also figuring out what the next year will look like for me. I fricken hate vague blogging, but I’m not ready to float the ideas totally publicly. Suffice to say that the things I’m thinking about are big enough (to me) that I want to make sure all my i’s are dotted before it becomes public knowledge.

Despite the snafu’s, I do want to thank the Competitor Group for comping my entry to Las Vegas. While I wouldn’t recommend Las Vegas for a PR race because of the afternoon start and general chaos of a big-city race, I would recommend it for the experience. Running on the Strip after dark is just an insane experience and one you can’t replicate anywhere else. If RnR Las Vegas is on your bucket list, there are some specials this week that make CG races (a little) more affordable; at $99, this race can form the beginning of a great reason to go to Vegas in November.

Who else raced this weekend? Anyone running Philly this coming weekend? Have you run a RockNRoll race before? Experience?

Causeway 15K Race Report

Short Version:

1st female, 4th overall. 1:02:39 (6:44 pace)

Long Version:

Started the day with a low GI stress breakfast that's as close to a Reese's cup as I can get.

Started the day with a low GI stress breakfast that’s as close to a Reese’s cup as I can get.

Getting really good at the race day selfie. Trying out a new headband today, thanks to JoJo.

Getting really good at the race day selfie. Trying out a new headband today, thanks to JoJo.

Got to the start at about 7:45 and found my bib and Katherine. It was already pretty warm but I’ve been doing most of my runs in the heat of the day (on purpose) so I wasn’t too worried. Did a 2 mile warmup of the first bit of the course, then headed over the start line. Hysterical start, as no one wanted to be up front so my friend Angie and I were literally on the line. We decided to make fun of ourselves by starting block-style.

My plan was to just relax for the first few miles and aim for a slower version of my tempo pace. I didn’t wear my watch but the first 5 miles felt totally effortless. I was alone pretty quickly save for a gray singlet man who went out too fast. I worked on reeling him back in as he started to fade but got him before the turnaround and spent the rest of the race alone. At about the same time, I started hearing footsteps. Sometimes when you are alone, you can hear phantom footsteps but in this case, I turned around to find a woman about 3 strides back from me rocking headphones and a full iPhone arm set up. No fricken way. I surged a bit to see if she’d follow and she didn’t but I spent the rest of the race trying to keep my ears open.

At the turn, I found out we had a bit of a headwind for the return trip which was a bummer in a race where I was allllll alone. I entertained myself by playing games like “get to the next tree” and “just to the bridge.” Riveting. Once I hit the bridge, I knew we had 2 miles left so I tried to start pushing a little bit. Probably kicked a little soon because I felt fantastic for ~mile 8 but started to tie up a bit right around what I’m guessing was 9. Finished strong and felt totally in control, so the workout/race combo was a success. I’m glad it wasn’t any longer and that it didn’t start any later; it was about 75 when we finished and starting to feel really warm.

Marks an improvement of over a minute since the 15K last month and more importantly a big jump in fitness. This was the sign I was waiting for and a great way to end Phase I.

Pictures below from the beautiful Causeway. I’m so glad it’s back in action after Irene! The Stunt Runner giveaway is still going until Monday night, so get your entry in if you haven’t!

 

How beautiful is this race?

How beautiful is this race?

Seriously.

Seriously.

Love this girl. Teammates make all the difference.

Love this girl. Teammates make all the difference.

Foot needed a little TLC. Don't tell my mother what I really use my stock pot for.

Foot needed a little TLC. Don’t tell my mother what I really use my stock pot for.

CSA salad for recovery

CSA salad for recovery

Race Report: Champlain Classic 2014

Sunday morning turned out to be much nicer than expected, with no rain or wind and almost perfect racing temps. It was a little humid but nothing to complain about except post-race ponytail dreadlocks. We got out of the house a little late and because we decided to bring Watson, everything took extra time. Regardless, we arrived at the race around 8 am and all grabbed our bibs. After our bibs were pinned on, Amy, Kath and I headed out for a warm up. We did about 2 miles and all found that we were plenty warm after that. It was a shorts day after all! I will admit that I didn’t feel great on the warmup but in hindsight think the “tight-sore-almost cramping” feeling was just nerves.

With ten minutes to go, I did my final warmup of a couple minutes of running with cruise intervals. I like to arrive at the start line with my heartrate at about the level I will race the first couple miles at so that I’m calibrated to effort and don’t get dragged along with fast starters. I took my watch off after this and raced watchless. Because of the terrain of this course and because I’m not in race shape, the watch seemed like a source of unnecessary stress and I’m really glad I made that call.

Once the airhorn sounded, I relaxed and my legs felt normal. I settled into a comfortably hard pace and was thrilled to find Katherine tucked in with me. We crossed the first mile in about 6:40 pace, arguably on the flattest mile of the course. The effort felt AMAZING. My aim was to cruise the flats and downhills and ease up on uphills so I didn’t waste energy. The Classic course has a big section on trails that are very similar to cross country, so hammering up the hills would be counterproductive. 5K passed in 21:30 (6:55 pace) and Katherine and I split up here as I pushed up and she decided to ease back a bit. From 5K to the turn, I focused on clicking up a notch and settled in with Kelly, another local lady who I knew of but didn’t know well. She had been running with Kath and I and pushed up when I did. We chatted through the middle miles which was a great way to kill some time. She had WAY more than I did and pushed ahead at the 10K.

From 10K in, I focused on pushing the pace a little, chasing down a guy in red and keeping good form. It turned out that I was totally ready to run that pace all day but had zero “getupandgo” when I wanted it in the last mile. Finished in 1:03:48, which made the pace for the last 10K 6:47, exciting news over an extremely hilly course with a harder second half.

Overall, I’m happy with the run. I would have loved the win but ultimately this race determines nothing. I managed a negative split, my ankle held together and I got a great 9 mile effort that will help me significantly at the VCM relay in three weeks. It also sparked my motivation to get going for the rest of the race season. I am fit but have zero specificity, so it forces me to get my butt to the track.

The best part of the weekend? Great race photos taken by Will!

A Sunday morning race with one of my favorite people?! Perfection.

A Sunday morning race with one of my favorite people?! Perfection.

Really looking for some 5K speed here. Absolutely had none.

Really looking for some 5K speed here. Absolutely had none.

Do you ever race watchless? What’s your pre-race routine look like?