my 5K PR during a tournament of underdogs

aka ‘I hope San Diego State beats you too

So today’s 5K sucked. It was really hard. Dan and I joked about not even going.

We started off the day a little later than usual, and headed to Cirque de Vol’s Align and Shine yoga. Which was an amazing start to the day. But it just kept getting colder and colder, and the rain started falling around 1pm (and kept falling harder). We started with a ~mile jog to the start. Then desperately tried to stay warm and dry not soaking wet until the start of the race at 2pm. I was looking Dan under the tiny packet pick-up tent (which had about 100 people under it). Suddenly, the wind picked up and dumped a gallon of water on my right shoulder. I quickly huddled under the tent next to some guys who were rocking Florida Gulf Coast University shirts (This made me happy- as FGCU was a strong underdog and took out Georgetown, officially killing my slightly red NCAA bracket). I made conversation with them until I saw Dan. He found an empty awning by the start, and we made our way there.

A woman came up to me and said “We look like purple condoms. Big, purple condoms.” I replied “You can stand under here with us” 🙂

Finally, at 1:55pm, people started heading toward the start line. I had satellites on my watch (which excited me). I left Dan with a pat on the butt (he was trying to break 20-minutes, which put him much closer to the start than I cared to be). I made my way to the middle of the pack. The weather was 38 degrees, and pouring down rain. We were all soaked to the core, just by standing out there for about 5 minutes.

At 1:59pm, Paul (Dan’s friend), and other various legit runners stripped off their sweats and jumped to the start line. And we were off at 2pm!

The anxiety and nerves rushed me. I felt strong for the first couple minutes, weaving through some of the people. Then, started to question my pace. [Given the weather conditions, it was impossible to check my garmin constantly). The thought occurred to me that I was going at an all-out pace, so I dropped back a little. Then, started focusing on a person-by-person target (in lieu of a “pace”). I kept picking people up, slowly. I overheard a guy saying we were going a 7:42. Since we were only about a 1/2 mile in, that made me slow back a bit…

We hit the “1 mile” mark, and the time-keeper yelled “8:42″… I was so disappointed. (btw, he was not at the one mile- see splits below). I sped up as much as I could hold. Then the cramping started. Damnit! I thought. I wasn’t even running that fast. I decided to just try and hold that pace. And we got past the “halfway” sign, and I pushed a little extra. I was struggling to breathe. And it felt like my legs were frozen.

Two miles. Finally! And my watch dinged “7:59” for that mile. Okay, mile-by-mile doesn’t matter anymore… I switched my view to overall time (as opposed to pace time) and distance. Time to kick it in. I tried to pick up the motivation, but it was just so freaking cold. And wet. I kept pushing.

I saw this older guy (probably 60?). I just had to pass him. I kept telling myself I could do it. We volleyed back and forth as to who was leading. Then, I saw my “nemesis” (this girl who was likely in my age group, and looked too pretty for an ugly day 5K)… I wanted to beat her, just for the principle of it. And I could see she was slowing down.

Finally, getting up the last little hill, and a downhill stretch for less than 0.5 miles to bring it in. I had to get in front of the old man! Finally, with about 0.25 miles left, I conceded. “You’re…. doing… awe-some!” I said to him in between breathes, and decided we’d finish together. Final stretch and I could see 24xx. I heard Dan yelled my name, and “24:15!” Looked up, saw 24:19, and flew past the finish. I’m still not sure what my final time was (not yet posted), but my garmin said 24:27, but I ran an extra bit to get out of the finish shoot before stopping my watch.

SPLITS:

Second Empire 5K Splits

After running through the final shoot, I hunched over, and glanced around, giving the old guy a high five “Nice job!” He agreed, then I saw the FGCU guys come through the shoot. Immediately my mind went to tonight’s game (which I am currently watching)

I hope San Diego State beats you too.

There is a sassy black woman inside of me. They were actually pretty nice about it, and wished San Diego luck as well.

(I went there for grad school, and, personally, they’re underdogs too. Hopefully my cockiness doesn’t push them out of the Sweet 16 advancement…)

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Kilts make you faster

It’s a fact.

If you don’t believe me, buy a kilt.

Then, run in it

…Okay, fine. Maybe they don’t make everyone faster. But they are sexy right?! (I’m Irish, so the answer is YES!)]

after the race

Saturday marked a big day for Raleigh. It was a big anticippointment (I coined that word in college- when a day has a HUGE build-up, but just falls so epically short). Saturday was the St Paddy’s Run Green 8K in Raleigh, plus a “World Record Breaking Kilt Run”.

Okay, before I start describing kilt run- know this- I had a lot of fun, and it was a great race, and supports a great charity- National MS Society…

So, we were told to be there at 1245pm so we could sign an “affidavit” saying we would wear a kilt. We had a lawyer in our group, and he laughed, and declared “This is a liability waiver!” According to facebook, 1700 runners had registered for the kilt run. The kilt run was a separate event from the 8K (which was 200 m in length, in attempts to get a lot more people interested in running it). The previous record was 2012 with 1764 or something.

Well, we got there at 1pm- me, Dan, Brucy, and the Lawyer. By 1:10, Brucy officially had registered. And we met up with some people we knew, said hey. By 1:20, we had completed the proper paperwork, and were cold, and kinda annoyed by the crowd, and a little hungry. So, we walked back to Brucy’s (around the corner from Moore Square). We came back around 1:50, just in time to get “counted” for the kilt run, and lined up.

Okay, the 200m kilt run was supposed to go around Moore Square. We lined up across the middle of the square. A bag pipe band was going to “lead” us… Which we all thought to ourselves obnoxiously pointed out “Wait… Are they gonna run while playing the bag pipes?!”

So 2 came, and all 1556 of us began our run (note that is shy of the record, but we had no clue at the time). Our “run” stopped about a meter after it started because (1) it was so crowded and (2) the bag pipe players were NOT in fact running. Funny note- I saw a few people actually almost trample the bag pipe players in trying to “run” the kilt run. So, instead we are walked a casual 17:00 pace for the 200m stretch around half of the square. I am not kidding- it took 5:30 to finish the walk, and we were in the middle of the pack.

Though it was a good reason for everyone to hang out and grab a beer, and wear a kilt.

So, by 2:10, the four of us were bored again. And with the option of getting drunk lingering across the street at Tir Na Nog, we decided to head back to Brucy’s again, and hang out there to keep warm. At 2:45, we headed back to Moore Square, and “lined up”

We just lined up in front of Tir Na Nog (which apparently was in the “walk” pace). I was so excited about having my gps for this race… My first time. And it had satellites and everything… Until 2:58. So no GPS. The race started at 3:00, and we crossed the start line at 3:02ish. And then Dan, Brucy, the Lawyer and I kept trying to get past all the people who were winded from running across the start line and decided to walk at 0.25 miles in… I kept dicing through the crowd, with the boys following me.

Did I mention I ran 9 miles, which included hill sprints on Friday night? Oh… well I did. So, I was just going for an “easy” pace. But kept looking over and seeing Dan and Bruce and the Lawyer… Which told me I was probably going too fast (they run easy 8:00s). Oh well.

After a couple miles in, I think we had lost most of the walkers. And Brucy and Dan had left the Lawyer and I in the dust.

It was a hilly course. And I remembered that from the previous time I ran this course, but I forgot until I was running it again HOW HILLY it was. Thankfully, I did remember that it really is only flat the first and last 0.25 miles, so I didn’t believe the people who were saying “the hills are behind you” at 3 miles in. The Lawyer did. Poor guy. He also doesn’t run that often, but held strong with me. And I had no idea what pace we were running. I just kept pushing it, hoping I’d make it in under 44 minutes…

Around 3.5 miles in, we caught up with this stupid blonde cheerleader who just kept yelling. No, seriously. The girl was like late 30s, but dressed in an annoying Notre Dame cheerleader costume, with blonde pig tails, and screamed in a high pitched voice “Woo! Let’s go Iris!” every ~30 seconds or so. I was like “who is Iris?! and why is this person soooo important!” She had a running buddy who was pushing her pace as hard as possible, in an identical costume, but her name was “Beth” or something… Stupid blonde cheerleader would ask “Beth” “Do you want to push the pace this last mile? Woo! Go Iris!” to which “Beth” would roll her eyes, and moan. And Stupid Cheerleader would yell something again, and then ask “what?!” to “Beth”. “Beth” looked miserable.

And I was recruiting people to chase down Stupid Cheerleader and kick her, or shut her up. No, seriously. I was asking everyone around me to please catch up to her, and tell her to shut up.

Well, I guess we eventually ran past some neighbor’s house who went to Notre Dame, and they yelled (upon seeing her costume) “Go Fighting Irish!” I suddenly understood who “Iris” was… The Stupid Cheerleader apparently also had a lisp. So, the Lawyer and I kept pushing our pace to get rid of this girl. And she just kept effortlessly catching up. We’d dust her. I’d overhear her saying something like “I’m gonna run back and check on ____” to “Beth”, and then she f***ing appear again out of nowhere. And everyone in our crowd would suddenly start moving faster to get away from her, and get quiet, and hold our breathe (and tongue probably too; except me. I was ready to give away my beer $$ if someone would have tripped her. THAT is some serious stuff!)

In the last half mile, she asked “Beth” again if she wanted to kick up the pace for the finish? Or do you want to turn back for ____? Or… And Beth cut her off, gasping for breathe saying “I just …. want…. to finish…”  That-a-girl. Beth!

And I guess Stupid Cheerleader understood, and left us once and for all, just as the course leveled out and we could see the finish line.

And I saw “44:00”, and thought Holy Crap! I might PR!” And gave it a final kick to catch the Lawyer (he’s 6’3, so I’m okay with his kick being faster than mine). And got this killer shot, that a friend tagged me in (upon seeing this in her random friends’ photos)

Image

my final kick… So serious!

We found some friends, chatted a bit, got our free beer; then went around the corner to Raleigh Times for dinner and beers. And the Lawyer updated us on our results- Dan 38:48, Bruce 39:08, the Lawyer 41:58, me 42:02.

So, PR’d by 30 seconds. Which is fun. But yeah, the kilts. So much fun to run in!

Running family and real family…

Today is Thanksgiving.

For me, that means beginning the day early with ~3,000 other runners for the Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K (5 miles). In 2010, I was training for a half marathon, and someone suggested I do the turkey trot. I was planning to do a 5-6 mile training that day, so I signed up.

And something about running through the old neighborhoods off Ridge Road. It feels like home. Running through all the piles and piles of orange and brown leaves. The crisp, cold air. The calm, that doesn’t generally accompany races. It’s like we are all there for one reason- to cancel out the food we plan to eat later to give thanks for our ability to run.

So, my first time at this Turkey Trot, I had no idea what to expect, but thought I ran 8’s, so would finish in ~40 minutes. I went out really strong. At Mile 1, I had done a sub-8. Woo! Then, I started hitting the hills of Raleigh. And then, I hit the last hill. Basically Ridge Road is a slow, steady up-hill for the last 2 miles. And I just had gassed it way too early, so I (sadly) walked for about a mile. And managed to finish in 44:30-something. And was devastated.

After doing a few more 8K’s, I realized 45:00 is about my average, and not to expect any faster.

Today was different.

Last night, I met Dan and Dave at packet pick-up and we enjoyed some beer out on the patio. And some great conversation, and good laughs. Then, I spent the night at Dan’s. I just relaxed. It was such a nice night.

And he woke up at 6am, I woke up closer to 630. And got coffee, and slowly made out way to the cold winter air outside. I wore a tank top (with my Brooks arm sleeves), and simple capri tights (not fleece lined). Everyone we met was decked out in major winter gear. I was thinking Guys, c’mon! It’s ~40 degrees, the sun is shining, and it’s only 5-miles. And hugging Dan for body warmth.

We headed over to the start to find our pace groups. And Dan and Dave convinced me to start in the 7:00-9:00 pace group. Dan had been thinking 7-something, Dave was thinking sub-40. I was thinking my blisters hurt this morning in bed… And I just ran a marathon 12-days ago. Where is Steve (first timer), and Oh! Sondra said she was running an 11:00… But I hung with the boys until the start, and fell back quickly.

My hands were freezing (as in hard to move them, and they didn’t hurt), so I pulled my arm sleeves down over them. And wished I’d brought gloves. Once I warmed up, I started taking charge on the hills. Tearing off toward the sidewalk, and running on the outside during turns, in order to pass people, and find some “space”. At halfway, I wondered what idiot was blaring their music, and realized it was coming from my butt. So, I reached back to turn it off, and saw the dreaded time. Why did I start this app? I thought to myself, and saw the time- 23:00 (2.58 miles in)… Okay, not bad, I want 45-minutes. That works fine. You ran a marathon 12 freaking days ago. Just finish.

Except, I also used to run this way back for every tempo run for a good 10-12 weeks. It’s like my body just knew that, and kept pushing more and more up the hill. Until I saw the Steeples (a church that’s about a mile away from finish), and tried to give it as much as I could. And then I saw the parking lot. Which always tricks us into thinking the finish line is there (it’s not! You have to run a small zig-zag of about 200 meters in), but I always kick it too early. And as I approached the final turn, I heard Dan yelling my name, saw the time was in the 42’s, and noticed everyone was blazing past me.

I stopped my watch- 42:50. I’ll take it (chip time was actually 42:34, but I always start it early/ end it late). So, I PR’ed by 2 minutes. I looked for Dan and Dave. Found Dave, who finished in 39:50-something, and then we wandered for Dan… who finished in ~36 minutes (woo! woo! That’s fast to me. The winners are usually like 30 minutes).

So, I started off the day with some people who always inspire me, and make me feel like I can accomplish anything. My running family. And starting the day with Dan. Well, that was nice. It’s been a long time since I wanted to see someone I dated on a holiday.

So, then family time. And oh my gosh. I am so. freaking. stuffed. Like, laying in my bed. Thinking, I will have to run a good bit tomorrow to try and get rid of it all. …And looking forward to our first official date on Saturday.

HAPPY GOBBLE! GOBBLE! I hope you all have something in your life to be thankful for.

Me- my health and happiness. They both take work to get to, but are always worth fighting for 🙂