Saturday, September 27, 2008

Race Report: Miracle Miles 5K

36:22 (by namwodahs)
Official clock time: 36:22 -- Garmin time: 3.18 in 35:38 / 11:13 pace

It was a beautiful cool morning and I had a fantastic race with huge new PR! My clock time was 3 minutes faster than the clock time 2 weeks ago. This was not a chip-timed event, so we go to the trusty Garmin for the net time comparison. Garmin says I ran 3.18 mi in 35:38 for an 11:13 average pace, again almost 3 minutes faster than my previous 5K 2 weeks ago of 3.2 mi in 38:10 / 11:55 pace. That is fantastic!

Average pace splits:

8:43 (.18 mi)

Finished! (by namwodahs)
I love how my pace at the 1st and last mile was the same, but I clearly faded a little in the middle. I think this may have been on purpose because of a fast start. I am glad I slowed down a little in the middle because I had plenty left to really kick it during the last 1/2 mile. I kept telling myself that I felt strong, that I am strong, and it gave me the push I needed to really book it to the end. It was such a great feeling to finish so strong.

The great thing about being a new runner is that I am constantly improving and have yet to push myself as far as I can go, so I can PR almost everytime I race. I know I have more kick in me, but I don't want to push too much too fast and risk injury. It would have been sweet to finish in less than 35, but this is a huge improvement and I am beyond pleased and very proud of myself. When I first started I thought 35 was wicked fast, but here I am running at a sub-11:30 pace! :)

I love how 5Ks are getting easier. While I would love to run the entire time, I'm really liking those little walk breaks because they make the race mentally easier as well. When I am struggling, I just remind myself that all I have to do is tough it out for at most 1/2 a mile then I can walk it off. It makes the time fly by and my speed is improving. At this time in my training, it is better for my ego to improve my speed than to run the whole thing, so I am not worrying about the 5 total minutes I walked. But even my walking breaks got faster! I am telling you, this was a phenomenal race for me.

The Running Family (by namwodahs)
My dad also ran the race and my mom walked it; Jason took pictures. My dad did great and met his goal of finishing in under 30 minutes (I forget his actual time). He would have totally beat Jason, whose best time so far is somewhere around 33 minutes. Dad used to run and race regularly, including 3 marathons (NYC twice and Disney once), but he had stopped for a while. He had a heart attack over a year ago shortly after starting again, and had not been running since. He was cleared by his doctor and started training a few months ago (shortly after I decided to become a runner) to run the Disney 10K with us in 2 weeks. Maybe we'll do a 1/2 together someday ;) Mom also did great, finishing in about 45 minutes with mostly walking since she had a cold and had surgery to remove her gallbladder a few weeks ago. She is totally hooked and kept asking when the next 5K was :)

It was great to share this with my family. After seeing my dad run race after race when I was younger, it is great to be able to do this together now. I never thought I'd be able to share that with him, but I am well on my way and I can't wait to run my first marathon! :)

Only 2 weeks until Disney's Race for the Taste 10K! Next weekend I'll also be tackling an 8 mile long run. I can't wait! 

Friday, September 26, 2008

1 mile time trial = 10:17

I ran a 1 mile time trial yesterday in 10:17 without walk breaks. Rock on! If I had known I was that close I probably could have pushed it to 10, but I am still super proud of my efforts. This is really fast for me and I've sure come a long way since April.

This means I have it in me to run a 5K well faster than I have been, but I always seem to hold back. I run faster than in training, but I know not as fast I could. According to the Galloway race prediction formula, I should be able to finish in less than 34 minutes (just faster than an 11:00 pace), but that seem awful fast. You also have to adjust for heat and humidity by 30 sec a mile for every 5 degree temperature increase above 60F, so realistically it might be closer to 35 or 36, but either would be a huge PR for me. It should be cooler tomorrow morning than it was yesterday afternoon when I did the trial, so we'll see.

I am hoping this beautiful weather continues tomorrow morning and I can push myself to a new PR at the Miracle Miles 5k. I'm going to give it my best shot and see what I can really do. I'll use walk breaks because they'll help me sustain the pace for the 3 miles, but I'll really push it during the run segments, especially the last mile. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

28-mile bike ride

We rode our bikes to Sweet Tomatoes (near the Fashion Square mall) this moring, had brunch, then rode home. The ride there was great and the weather was beautiful. The ride back was a little tougher because it was hotter and we were tired, but it wasn't too bad.

This was my longest bike ride ever. My farthest ride before this was 6 miles in a row or 8 miles round trip. Surprisingly, it was not as bad as I expected, but my behind and thighs may not agree with me. I feel great!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

4+ Mile Long Run with Galloway Training Group

4.3 miles in 57:12 (13:22 pace)

I went for a 4-mile test run with the Galloway training group (run by Track Shack) this morning and it went great. My pace puts me at a 2/1 run/walk ratio and it wasn't too bad. This is actually the fastest I've ever run this distance and I know that is due to the walk breaks. The time flew by and I felt great afterwards.

My pace group also has mid-week group runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 pm, but I think I may do those on my own because I want to work on increasing how far and how fast I can run without walking for short distances. If all I ever run is 2/1, then my body may get too used to that and automatically always want to walk after 2 minutes. It works great for long runs, but I think I'll adjust it for shorter runs and races. For the 10K, I'll stick with walking 30-60 secs every 1/4 mile because that worked great for the Human Race. For next weekend's 5K, I'd like to try running the whole thing, but I know I'd be disappointed with my time, so I'll probably walk every mile or 1/2 mile for 30-60 secs.

So, I am now officially registered for Track Shack's Galloway Training Program and hope to be ready to run the OUC 1/2 Marathon on Dec 6. If that goes well, I'll probably run another in Feb/March, such as the Tampa Gasparilla 1/2 Marathon. This is also my last resort if I am not ready to run one sooner. I can't wait! :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the ugly side of running

(I posted a private entry in my journal to remind myself of this experience, but I don't feel like sharing all the details with the world, so I'll post an abridged version here of my self reflection and lessons learned.)

I love running, but sometimes it just blows. It is the most confidence building and demoralizing sport all in one, and it can happen all in the same day. Last night I questioned everything and it sucked. I am still going to go forward with this; I just have to figure out how, and I know that I have to come to terms with the fact that I will have days like this again. It's part of being a runner. It is not all roses and daisies. It is a huge mental sport. I didn't want to believe that when I read people say it, but it's so true.

While I am fine running by myself most of the time, I need more motivation and support to keep going and go the distance. I can't run long distances on my own. I think the Galloway group will be fine; they are my pace and, after all, all I have to do is keep up for 2 minutes then I can walk. I just don't want to do that much walking, and it just sucks that I am so slow that I have to use that interval and not something more reasonable like 5/1 or something, but frak it. Galloway is an Olympic athlete and has run many marathons and I have read nothing but sucess stories, so I may as well be one too :) It will be a gentle way to get up to the distance and I can still do my shorter mid-week runs on my own without walking. So maybe that will be a good balance.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Race Report: Autumn Rock 'n' Run 5k

Yesterday I ran my first 5K in over 2 months and probably one of my best ones so far (both in time and experience). My goal was to get a new PR and finish in sub-38:00. The official results say I finished in 38:08 (chip time) and thus ran at a 12:16 pace. You have no idea how those 8 seconds hunt me.

Nonetheless, this is a new PR any way you look at it. My best 5K time was the Wee Little Virtual 5K, which I ran in 38:15 (so that is 7 whole seconds!). My previous real race was the ORC Race Into Summer 5K, which I finished in 40:17 (that's over 2 minutes!). However, my Garmin says I ran 3.2 miles in 38:10 for an average pace of 11:55. Further inspection of the data reveals that I reached the 3.1 miles mark on my watch in 37:18! So I also did it in under 38 minutes.

Here is my average pace at each lap:

10:18 (.2 mi)

I clearly started out too fast, but I simply could not run any slower. I had debated the previous day whether I would try to run the whole way or take scheduled walking breaks. Since my goal was to PR, I had pretty much decided on the breaks because it allows me to run faster overall. After that speedy start, I knew I would need the walking breaks if I wanted to make it. I ran the entire thing with 1 minute walking and water breaks every 1/2 mile. It still cost me since, as you can see, I started to fade at the end.

Part of the reason for the positive splits was poor planning on my part, but a big part of it was the extra length of the course. I had figured out I would need to average 12:15 to run a sub-38 5K. When I saw towards the end that I was averaging a pace well under 12:00, I did not feel the need to push too hard since I thought I had. But I failed to realize that my average pace would need to be faster for a further distance. My watch was out of sync with the mile markers the entire time, but I just thought I started it too soon and not that the course was long. Oh well, you live and learn.

I was admitedly tired towards the end of the race, but I felt really good throughout. I dare say the time flew by. Before I knew it, we only had 1 mile to go and I still felt good even if I was hot. I was amazed at my speed and wondered how I was doing this and still keeping it up. As I said, I thought I was running much faster than I needed to reach my goal, so I took an extra walking break during the last mile which surely cost me that extra 8 seconds.

For a little perspective, I finished my first ever 5K in 44:38 on April 12. This was during week 2 of C25K, about 1 week after I started running, and I walked most of it following C25K intervals--I ran about 14 minutes in total. Fast forward to this weekend, a little over 5 months later, and I've shaved over 6 minutes off my time. Not only that, in just 5 months I've gone from no running at all to running a 10K.  I am in such awe of myself and I simply cannot wait until that turns into a 1/2 marathon :)

Here is more data from the official results:

overall place: 1031 / 1323
age group place: 83 / 109
gender place: 501 / 726
clock time: 39:21
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