Goldy’s 10 Mile Race Recap

After 5 years of doing this race, I’ve got the pre-race routine down. I got up and had breakfast before heading to campus. I know that traffic can get a bit backed up and I wanted park in one of the lots by the stadium. I don’t mind being early and sitting in my car for a little bit if it means parking close.

Pre-race calm

I hit the restroom line and then just walked around for about 10 minutes to warm up until it was time to head to the corral. I sandwiched myself between the 9:30 and 9:00 pacers since I was aiming for something around a 9:20-9:25 pace.

I started my watch as I crossed the start line and we were off! The adrenaline and crowd often make me start a little too fast, so I tried to keep my pace under control while I warmed up. We headed up University Ave. and then turned into campus. Before I knew it I saw the marker for mile 1. Then my watch beeped a decent distance after I passed it, so I was a little worried the course would be off. I kept up a slightly faster than expected pace in mile 2. A big downhill helped with that. It was immediately followed by a big uphill that took some energy, but I settled into a comfortable pace when I got to the top.

It wasn’t that warm, but it felt humid to me. I felt like I was seating a lot even just a couple of miles in. I wasn’t thinking I’d want water at the first water stop, but I decided to take some cause I was feeling thirsty. I continued down the river road holding a good pace. The mile markers started lining up better with when my watch beeped, so I was feeling a little better about the course.

Around mile 5, I took a GU for a mid-race pick me up. I think mile 6 ended up being my slowest mile, but by mile 7 I picked up the pace again (maybe the GU was working). The last couple of miles have a couple of killer uphills that can make the thighs burn. I managed to keep the legs pumping as I made my way back to University Ave. for the home stretch. I picked up the pace a little and then a lot as we hit the outside of the stadium. Before I knew it, we were turning into the tunnel and hit the field. I crossed the finish line (at the 50 yard line) and stopped my watch.

I grabbed my medal and asked a kind stranger to take my picture. 🙂

My official time was 1:32:04, a new PR! That amounted to about a 9:13 pace, faster than I had hoped. I felt good through the race. I love doing this race every year because I continue to see progress. I feel faster and stronger each time I do it. It’s a nice benchmark early in the year.

Hope it’s a good prelude for my half marathon in a couple of weeks!

Twin Cities 10K Race Recap

This past weekend was Twin Cities Marathon weekend! While I wasn’t running the marathon, I at least got to join in the fun by doing the TC 10k on Saturday.

Preparing for this race was a bit different than some of my other recent races because the temperature was much cooler in the morning. I’m not used to cold weather running yet, so I had to strategize about what to wear. I went with tights, a t-shirt and arm warmers – my usual spring/fall race outfit.

I got to the race about 30 minutes before it started and sat in the car for about 10 minutes to stay warm. I was parked close, so I hoped out at 7:10 and headed to the start. There aren’t pacers for this race, so people just line up in the corral. I wanted to try and limit the amount of weaving I had to do at the beginning, so I attempted to work my way up to the middle of the corral.

It was chilly and my hands were pretty cold standing there, but it was a gorgeous morning for running in St. Paul!

tc10k1

At 7:30 the horn sounded and we were off. The course is a little more narrow at the beginning, especially with so many people, so I still had to do a lot of weaving around people as we got going. You also start this course on some uphills, so the first 1/2 mile was a little slow, but it was probably good so I could get warmed up. I tried to keep a moderate pace through the first mile. My watched beeped right as I passed the mile 1 mile marker and showed 9:27.

After that, I was off. I wasn’t just running this one, I was racing. I wanted to see how much time I could shave off of my 10k PR since it had actually been about 2 years since I’d done a 10k race.

Miles 2 and 3 continued down Summit Ave. the road has some small rolling hills on it, so you have some slight inclines and then are met with a nice downhill to help you along. I kept up my pace with a 9:14 and 9:09.

Pretty soon, I saw the turnaround point. I felt like I was loosing a little steam just before that point, but once I turned the corner I found a second wind. That often happens to me with an out and back route. Miles 4 and 5 were 9:08 and 9:11. I remember my watch beeping at mile 5 and I noted my time. A little later, I saw one of the mile marker flags. I couldn’t read the mile number clearly at first because the wind was blowing the flag, but I thought it was odd that mile 6 was coming up so soon. But it was actually the mile 5 marker. That was also weird because my watch had beeped way before the flag. I kept chugging a long hoping that things would even out as I got to the end.

The adrenaline and the help of some nice downhills leading into the finish line helped me clock an 8:58 for mile 6! I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch. As I looked down at it, I was surprised and confused by what I saw. I had measured the course as 6.5 miles.

tc10k

Now, some variation is to be expected on your GPS watch in a race if you do some weaving and aren’t running the tangents, but .3 miles was pretty significant for that to be why it was long. I also saw that my total time was 59:04, which was only about 25 faster than my previous 10k PR. That’s great that it was a PR, but given how fast I was running (note the avg. pace of 9:06), that time should’ve been much faster.

It was getting chilly once I stopped running, so I headed back to my car fairly quickly feeling confused and honestly a bit disappointed even though I had actually run a really strong race. I was going for a big PR and that final time just didn’t sit well with me.

I took to Twitter to ask if anyone else had measured the course as long and scoured through the #tc10k hashtag to see if people were saying anything about the course. I wasn’t seeing much right away, but some people replied a bit later saying they measured the course as long, too. Then Twin Cities in Motion (they put on the race) replied to my tweet and confirmed that there had been an error in race set up and that they’d send some post-race communication confirming the exact distance. I haven’t received that communication yet, but at least I know I’m not crazy and my watch wasn’t way off.

Once I had some answers, I tried to reset my mental state. The fact is, I ran fast — faster than I even thought I was going to run. The work I’ve put in this year is clear given that I still managed to get a 10k PR on a long course (my official time was 59:03). I can’t be mad at that!

tc10k2

I’ve got two weeks until the Vancouver Half, and I’ve got my sights set on a PR there as well.

Have you ever run a race where there was an error in the course?

Running in the Rain

Tomorrow is the MN DAR Flag Day 5K! I’ve been excited for the race all week, but I haven’t been excited for the 60% chance of rain. I didn’t want to run in the rain for the second week in a row. Then it dawned on me that rain might be good luck for me. Two of my big PR’s for this year have happened during races where it was raining at the start line.

At Goldy’s Run 10 mile, rain came down right until the race got underway. I finished feeling cold and wet, but super happy with a new PR!

Goldys2014

Then last weekend, Lola’s Half Marathon was delayed a half hour while rain and a storm rolled through and light rain continued for most of the race. Again, I finished feeling gross and wet, but super surprised to have a 3+ minute PR!

lolasfinish

The ultimate goal for the 5K tomorrow is to have fun, not PR, but maybe I need to stop complaining about rainy race days. They appear to be good luck for me. 🙂

Do you like running in the rain? Do you have “good luck” running weather?

Lola’s Half Marathon Race Recap

My third half marathon is in the books!

lolasmedal

The day started out a bit shaky. I woke up a few minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off because I heard thunder. Not what you want on race day. Luckily that storm moved through fairly quickly and there was a break in the rain, but the forecast was showing a chance of showers all morning.

The race is local, but it was still a 45 minute drive. My sister, a friend, and I got to the race at 6:30 a.m. so we could pick up our bibs. Getting there early had the advantage of getting a good parking spot just a block from the start/finish area. We hung out in the car for a bit after getting our bibs and it’s a good thing we did because it started to rain (and thunder and lightning). We kept checking the Lola’s Facebook page for race updates and around 7:30 they officially delayed the race 30 minutes (new start time of 8:30).

lolasrain

I knew we might get rained on, so I came prepared with a garbage bag to keep me at least somewhat dry at the start line. Getting my garbage bag ready in the car helped us pass the time. I was apparently pretty entertaining. My sister took this pic before I got the arm holes added. 🙂

garbage bag

A little after 8, we headed up to the start. I lined up just behind the 9:55/mile (2:10) pacer. My A goal was to run 10 minute miles, but they didn’t have a specific 10 min/mile pacer (the next pacer was 10:18). I figured if I could hang out in between these two pacers I’d at least be on track to reach my B goal of a sub 2:14:45 half. (My C goal was just to finish. :))

The race got underway and I hung with the 9:55 pacer for the first few miles. After a couple miles, my legs were not warmed up yet and I noticed that the pacer was pretty far ahead of me. I was starting to think I’d never catch up, but several downhills actually helped me catch up again. Then around mile 4 the course leads you from roads to some grass/trail. Which I did not like. It might have been fine on a nice day, but with the rain it was muddy and slippery. I definitely lost some speed through that section and I completely lost the 9:55 pacer. I pretty much gave up hope of catching up to her again, and focused on doing my best to maintain a 10 min/mile pace on my own.

I felt good throughout the race, but OMG were there hills! I was not prepared for that. They weren’t small hills either, several were pretty long and pretty steep.

The majority of the course was around Lake Waconia. Well, technically it was around the lake, but unfortunately you couldn’t really see the lake very much. The course was on roads around the lake but lots of trees actually blocked the view. It was a grey, rainy day, so the lake wasn’t exceptionally beautiful but I was still expecting to see more of it.

Around mile 11 I felt really good about the fact that I only had 2 miles left. I also noticed that my legs didn’t feel as tired at that point as my first two half marathons — a definite improvement! Pretty soon, the finish area was in sight and I kicked it into high gear for the last .30 miles. I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch, and was shocked when it said 2:10: 41! I figured my official time would be a little higher, but I was way closer to my A goal than I thought I was going to be and no matter what it was a PR!

lolasfinish

My official time was 2:11:02! So happy with my time and how well I did in reaching my goals even with the rocky race-day weather and hilly course.

We grabbed our food from the post-race party, hopped in the car, and headed home. When I was finally able to take my shoes off, this is what I found…

Dirty socks
Dirty socks

A shower and nap felt so good that afternoon. The next week will be about rest and recovery. Next race on the docket is the MN DAR Flag Day 5k on June 14 (which there’s still time to register for!). Will probably be taking it easy for this race as I’m guessing my legs will still be recovering from all the hills!

Have you ever had a race delayed due to weather?

 

New Year, New Experiences, New Goals

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fantastic NYE. I definitely did!

I’ve spent time reflecting on 2013, but now I’m looking ahead to 2014 and what goals I have for the new year. I settled on 3 goals – very manageable.

2014 Goals:

1. 2 PR’s

I had a great year of running in 2013. I surprised myself at the progress I made, and I want to keep the momentum going. I can be a little competitive at times,  and running lets me be competitive with myself — I think that’s part of why I’ve fallen in love with it. I’d love to beat my time in at least 2 races this year.

2. Make 1 new recipe a month

I’ve been saying I want to be a better cook for a long time. So, I’m setting this measurable goal for myself so I have some motivation to try some new recipes and improve my cooking skills. I think trying out 12 new recipes this year is a great way to dig in to the cookbooks I have and finally make some of the yummy recipes I keep pinning on Pinterest!

3. Get more comfortable with change

This goal isn’t necessarily measurable, but it’s still something I want to work on. I tend to like my routines and traditions. I’m a planner. I like to know what to expect. This means I’m not always very spontaneous and often stay inside my comfort zone. I’d like to start saying “yes” more and try out things that scare me. When I’ve done that in the past, it typically pays off and leaves me with great memories and fun times with friends, so I just need to remember that as I get ready to take on 2014.

What are your 2014 goals? Are you a planner, or do you go with the flow?