Sunday, June 24, 2012

First Week of Summer Race Recaps (Virtual & Actual)

Welcome to the first week of summer.  I live in Texas, so it is about to get HOT around here.  Those triple digit temperatures will be rolling in any day now and hanging around for awhile.  Heat doesn't scare me.   I run outside all summer long, thanks to my super-awesome neighbors who don't mind if I jump in their back yard pool immediately following a hot run. Bring it Texas! I sound tough now, but stay tuned, I will surely be whining about the heat in the months to come (or possibly in the paragraphs to come). 

I can't think of a better way to kick off the summer than to run three races in one week. I ran two virtual races and an actual one with Fort Worth Runners Club called the Three Amigos.  When I saw that Toni over at was hosting a virtual 5K and 10K, I thought it would be fun to participate.  I decided to run both virtual distances because, well, why not?  I love to run, I love to race,  I love to blog about it, and maybe I'll win a cool prize!

I ran the virtual 5K on Monday after work.  It was hot outside but not too unbearable.  I pushed my pace just a little bit, but didn't kill myself to go fast as possible like I probably would have in a traditional race.  I ran my regular neighborhood route and even finished the last mile in less than 8 minutes.  I was pretty happy with my first ever virtual 5K race results! 25:30!

Hey check out that awesome technical running tank!

I never ran a virtual race before so I wasn't sure how the  race bib thing worked.  I printed out the bib from the runninglovingliving blog but I knew I would feel silly running around the neighborhood wearing it, so I left it off and just put it on for the post race pictures.  When I saw some of the other race recaps, I realized that most people were just holding up the bibs for the pictures.  That's what I get for being a virtual run newbie.

Technically speaking, this is a new 5K PR. I haven't actually run a 5K race since 2008, my first race ever. After that, I always chose to run 10K's or Half Marathons.  I really didn't see the point in racing a 5K.  Now, I get it!  5K's are all about shorter distances so you can push yourself to go faster than you would be able to maintain for a 10K.  Since this is only the 2nd 5K race of my life, I blew away my previous personal record. Thanks Toni for the inspiration, because of this virtual race, I think I will be registering for more traditional 5K races so that I can challenge myself to run faster at shorter distances.
I ran my second race of the week, the virtual 10K, on Saturday morning.  I got up early to try to beat the heat, to no avail.  Even at 8am it was hot and muggy out there. I told myself I would run the first 3.1 miles at a comfortable pace, and then push my pace to try to improve my overall time during the last 3.1 miles.  I ran the first half fairly easily, but by the second half it really started to get hot.  In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have worn head to toe black.  I just didn't have the muster to push my pace those last three miles like I planned.  I kept a pretty even pace of 8:22 the whole race, but those last couple of miles felt really hard.  Not a PR, but a respectable pace and finish time none-the-less, especially considering the heat and humidity.  I'm proud of myself.

Why is my face blurry?  Maybe I am just that fast, even when I am standing still.

With both of my virtual races accomplished, it was time to run an actual race with other people.  I've been a member of the Fort Worth Runners Club for over six months, but this is the first run that I have ever participated in, The Three Amigos Four Mile Run.  I was excited, but I once again fell victim  to poor planning.  Hubby plays drums in a Rock 'n Roll band called The Dangits and it is my wifely responsibility to attend his shows.  OK, OK,  it is really fun and I love to go this shows, (it is so tough being a good wife).  So why do I keep picking races that are scheduled the morning after one of hubby's shows?  I did the same thing before the Heels & Hills half marathon in May. A late night in Deep Ellum leaves little time for sleep before I have to get up to prepare for the race.  I decided to take a nap Saturday afternoon to get in some preemptive sleep.  I told my self I would try hard to be in bed by midnight.  What do they say about best laid plans?  The nap gave way to some fun time in previously-mentioned-awesome-neighbors swimming pool and that midnight thing just didn't happen. 

I was fueled Sunday morning with only about 5 hours sleep and my legs were feeling a bit tired from yesterday's 10K.  Uh-Oh.  I gave myself an hour in the morning before I had to leave to complete my race morning ritual of water, coffee, banana, poop, coffee, water.  What? Too much information? In case you didn't know, a little bowel movement talk is always socially acceptable among runners.

I had to get there early because I wasn't sure exactly where to go and there was no early packet pick up for this race, only race day pick up.  I wanted to make sure to get there in enough time to get my bib, stretch, and relax before the start of the race. As usual, I got lost getting there, even though I have been to the site before.  I swear, I have the worst sense of direction. 

Once I got it all figured out and pinned on my bib and chip timer, I found I was unusually nervous.  I'm not sure why.  After four cups of coffee (don't judge) and a 5 Hour Energy drink I was ready for the porta-potty to race!  I call caffeine my "performance enhancing drug," because if you read my blog about how to get up early to workout, you know that I don't normally drink caffeine, so when I do drink it, I get the maximum benefits. I was hyped up on caffeine and ready to run!

8 o'clock rolled around and we were off!  I started off  way too fast.  I was right in the front at the start line, so it seemed like everyone was whizzing right past me, but checking my Nike GPS watch, I was running a 7 minute mile pace!  I knew I couldn't maintain that for four miles, so despite the adrenaline, caffeine, and herds of people passing me, I forced myself to slow down to a more acceptable 8 minute mile pace.  This is about 30 seconds faster a mile than my comfortable pace, so I still felt like I was pushing it. 

The course was in beautiful Trinity park, a flat 2 miles out with a turn-around back to the start line.  It was shaded in some areas by the park trees, but the heat got to me pretty quickly.  I just kept pushing, reminding myself this is only four miles.  I noticed that whatever distance I run, whether it be a 5K, a 10K or a half marathon, it is always the last mile that is the hardest.  That just proves the pain is almost all in your head.  As soon as I could see the finish line, I sprinted as quickly as my little tired legs would take me across the finish!

Who has two thumbs and finished third in her age group? Yeah, I know, I'm a nerd.

I finished the four miles in 32:08, which is 8:01 minute pace.  I was a little disappointed at first, because I really wanted to finish with a pace in the 7's, even a 7:59, but I got over that disappointment pretty quickly when I realized that this was PR because it was the fastest pace I ever finished any race.  Then I learned that I placed third in females age 35-39.  This is the first time that I ever placed top three of anything in any race!

So with that, I finished my 6th official race of the year, keeping my New Years Resolution to run at least one race a month in 2012.

Welcome to summer!

Keeping Running,


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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for participating Lea!!! Love the collage photos!!!


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