Wednesday, October 22, 2008

5K tempo run

Because I run using 2:1 run/walk intervals with the Galloway group, I've been trying to run non-stop during my mid-week runs, even if only for 2 miles, so my body doesn't forget what that's like. I've taken walk breaks during all my recent races ever since I started using them during training because they help me run faster and finish strong without as much fatigue. I vary the frequency of the walk breaks--and sometimes the length, usually 30-60 seconds--depending on the distance. I know that I can run the 5K distance non-stop, but I am afraid to try it at a race because I may not clock as fast a time as with the walk breaks.

This afternoon, I ran home from work and then around my neighborhood to cover 5K. I did it in 38:16. I ran practically non-stop, with only 2 30s walk breaks after mile 1 & 2; I think of those as water stops on a race course, so they don't really count. I was not really going to try to run fast at all; I just wanted to cover the distance without walking, and I am very happy with the outcome.

Below are my amazing, and consistent, negative splits:

mile 1: 12:50
mile 2: 12:37
mile 3: 11:39
finish (.12): 1:11 (10:07 pace)
overall average pace: 12:16

I am thrilled that I managed to sustain such a fast pace on a non-stop training run of this distance. I don't really feel like I pushed that hard either; I was just running at whatever pace felt good. I can't believe how fast I ran that last mile--almost a minute faster--but I really pushed it then after seeing how well I was doing and how good I felt (and because I wanted to finish already). I think the cool weather really helped. I also ate about 1/2 a bag of sport beans before I left work, so maybe they really kicked in at the end. I tell you, these things are magical and delicious. I now know I have it in me to run a 5K race non-stop (save for the water stops) in under 35 minutes; I just need to be patient and push myself at the next few races. If I can do this in training, I know I can do it even faster at a race with good weather.

When I got home from the run, I check the mail box to find my new RaceReady LD Fitness shorts with mesh pocket and singlet with snaps for a racing bib. I can't wait to try them out at my next run. They feel super comfy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Race Report: U Can Finish 5 Miler

day307: UCF 5 Miler - 57:24 (by Kitzzy)
My official chip time was 57:24 for an average pace of 11:28.8! =) I am very happy with this outcome. This is a PR since it's the first 5 mile race I've ever run, but it is also the fastest I've ever run this distance (read on for details).

Now that the numbers are out of the way,

let's flashback to yesterday morning ...

The1/2 marathon training schedule called for 11 miles. Obviously, that was not happening; but I was still planning to meet the Galloway group to run an easy 5-7 miles. I somehow missed the alarm and woke up at 6 a.m.--the time the group started the 5 mile loop I intended to run. It was too dark for me to run on my own, so I went back to sleep for another hour. By 7:30 a.m. I was out the door to run at least 5 miles on my own. I setup up some water and nutrition on top of my car and set out at a 2:1 run/walk ratio at an easy pace. I finished in 1:11 at 14:11 average pace (for reference, my  first and only 5 mile run was just under 1:17). I am kind of glad I ran on my own because I would probably have run much faster and I would pay for it at the race. The plan for the race was to use a 3:1 ratio, average a 12 min/mile pace, and finish in under an 1h; but I'd be happy with anything less than 1:11.

Flash forward to this morning.

Jason and I were up by 6:15 a.m. and pleasantly surprised at the cool weather; although we could not fully appreciate it that early in the morning, we knew it would make for great race conditions. I got ready, ate a banana, added an extra layer of clothing, triple checked my bag and checklist, and we were on our bikes on the way to the race by 6:45. Even with the extra layer of clothing, it was a pretty chilly 3 mile bike ride to the start line.  It served as a nice warm up.

We got to the start line with plenty of time to find a place to lock our bikes, get and put on our timing chip, then wait for my parents. My dad (who also ran the 5 miler) and my mom (who ran the 2 mile) were running late, and we were getting a little nervous because we didn't want to leave all of our stuff with our bike or run with our valuables (a.k.a. iPhone). With about 5 minutes to spare, I spot my mom, hand her our bags, help her put on her champion chip, ate a few sport beans, washed them down with some water, and then we were off.

The start was nice with UCF Contemporary A Cappella group the "Crescendudes" singing as we took off and then again near the mile 1 mark. The route to mile 1 was an out and back, so I spotted my dad as I ran one way and him coming back the other. The course had about 3 of these and it was nice to spot my dad, Jason or both at each one. I stuck with my plan and ran using a 3:1 ratio adjusting as needed to accommodate the water stops. I walked through each one, ate a few more sport beans, and washed them down with some water. These are magic beans I tell you, or maybe it's just the placebo effect :)

The cooler weather really helped and I felt strong the entire time--or maybe it was the magic beans ;). I could not believe I was averaging a pace below 12 the entire time and getting speedier! I controlled my breathing and did not get a single side stitch the entire race. The only pain I experienced was a tiny twinge on my knee and ankle after mile 3, but adjusting my stride seemed to help. I do not know if it was the weather, the walk breaks, or the magical sport beans, but I had a ton of kick left at the end for a pretty nice 1/4 mile sprint to the finish and was thrilled that even my clock time was under 1 hour! Below are my splits (as always, Garmin recorded the course a little long, and in my excitement I forgot to stop it right after I finished):

UCF 5 Miler Splits (by Kitzzy)

I quickly spotted dad at the finish, grabbed some water, a banana, and a smoothie (oh what a treat!), then went searching for Jason. My legs felt a little wobbly, and my calves a little sore, but I felt way better than I did after I finished the 10K last week. I even considered running the 2 mile with mom, but it probably would have been a bad idea. We also spotted our co-worker Victor that finished in under 45 minutes then went to do the 2 mile for fun and to get in some more miles (he is also training to run OUC in Dec).

We headed back to see mom off at the start of the 2 miler. By the time I changed clothes (it was still too cool to be walking around in wet clothes), the first finishers were already arriving. Dad and I headed to the finish line to get pictures of mom, and Jason stayed at the corner to get some video. Below is her running towards the finish line. Isn't she adorable!? I am so proud of her!

After mom got her post-race goodies and checked her official chip time, we grabbed a bunch of oranges for the road and headed to 5 n Diner for some brunch. Jason and I biked the 4 miles to the restaurant and met my parents there. We all pigged out of yummy breakfast goodness and talked about running and upcoming races. We parted ways, and Jason and I biked 3 more miles home for a total of 10. What a great day!

Official Stats:

chip time: 57:24 (11:28.8 pace)
clock time: 58:32
overall place: 854/1009
gender place: 374/489
age group place: 52/71

Chip times from the rest of my group, in order of arrival, with pace times in parenthesis:

Victor: 43:48 (8:45.4)
Dad: 46:32 (9:18.3)
Jason: 50:11 (10:02.1)
Me: 57:24 (11:28.8)
Mom (2 mile): 27:14 (13:36.7)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shave Your 5K Challenge

I finally signed up for the Shave Your 5K Challenge hosted by Half-Fast. The basic idea is to see who can shave the most time off their 5K time during 2008, so everyone will run a 5K at the beginning of the year (preferably before March, but he'll accept late submissions) and another one at the end of the year (between Nov & Dec). The winner is the person that shows the greatest improvement.

My stubble time is 44:38, which I ran in April 12 at the Windermere Run Among the Lakes 5K. I've already shaved off 9 minutes since then when I ran the Miracle Miles 5K on 9/27 in 35:38. This won't count for my smooth time, but I'm sure I can shave off even more time in another month. It's amazing to see how far I've come already!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Race for the Taste Pics

Jason's step mom took pictures at the race and they are now up on Flickr:

Here are a few highlights, but most are best viewed large:

The racers: Tim, Chas, Dad, Bob (Jason's Dad), Jason, Me
The racers (by deebob)

Me crossing the finish line, flanked by Jason's dad on the left and my dad somewhere off-camera. I love how both my feet are airborne!
Kitzzy (by deebob)

Dad crossing the finish line
Manny (by deebob)

Jason crossing the finish line, flanked by his dad on the right
Jason and Bob (by deebob)

Mom and Dad after the race -- he looks so fresh and happy!
Elba and Manny (by deebob)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Race Report: Disney's Race for the Taste 10K

day300: Disney's Race for the Taste 10K (by Kitzzy)
I ran Disney's Race for the Taste 10K today in 1:15:52 (12:12 pace). This is my first official 10K race, but a PR by over 6 minutes from my previous 10k, the unofficial Human Race 10K fun run I ran in 1:22:16 on 8/31.

The race was awesome, and the course was very enjoyable--much better than the 5K we ran there back in May. I think this is my favorite race so far, but perhaps that has a lot to do with having my family there with me running and watching. My dad, Jason and his dad, and 2 of our friends ran with us; my mom and his step mom came to watch us race.

Race for the Taste Goodies (by Kitzzy)
The fun began Saturday afternoon when we drove to Wide World of Sports to pick up our packets. This race did not have a shirt, but instead we got a nice pint glass with the race logo on it. The goodie bag included other unexpected things, such as a Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil Light Show and refill: It's an air freshner and a night light--so very cool and unexpected. Click on the picture for more goodie bag details. After the packet pick-up, we checked into the All Star Sports resort and chilled for a bit while we waited for the heat to pass and my parents to go have dinner. We went to Epcot for a little while, then met our parents for dinner at Giordano's.

We woke up this morning at 4:30 a.m. (I should say got up because I don't think I slept through the night. I could not see the alarm clock and kept freaking out that I would oversleep), got ready and drove to Epcot to take the bus to the start line. This meant we had about an hour to kill and get nervous before the start of the race. With about 5 minutes to go, we finally lined up at our respective pace groups--I started at the back of the 11-13 pace marker. After the singing of the National Anthem, they set off some fireworks and off we went. There were so many people there that it took me almost 3 minutes to cross the start line.

The weather was ok: overcast, but very humid. I ran intervals of 1/4 mile and 1 minute walk most the way (about 3:1). I started out slow, about 12:30 pace, and picked it up towards the end. I felt good and strong the whole way, and I had plenty of kick left at the end--and boy did I need it (more on that in a minute). The only downer was that I had a side stitch during most of the race but I ran/walked through it. I also walked through all 3 water stops and ate a few sports beans. At the 2nd water stop, I saw one of my employees. It threw me off and I accidently paused my watch instead of hitting the lap button, but I didn't let it bother me too much.

The course was great and it flew by. We started at Wide World of Sports and ran on the highway towards Hollywood Studios. At the Studios, we ran through the set of the Stunt Show where they had a huge screen with a live feed so we could see ourselves on the screen as we ran by it. You could hear everyone cheering as you approached it before you saw the screen and could not help but do the same once you realized you were about to see yourself on screen. It was really neat. We then ran down the Boardwalk, which is beautiful but hard to appreciate that late in the race, especially when there are slight hills on the bridges and volunteers telling us we are almost there when we had yet to even cross the 5-mile marker.

Before we knew it, we were in Epcot with just over a mile to go. I really tried to pick up the pace here and run with less walking, but the side stich was getting worse. I tried to ignore it and give it all I had but had to talk a short walk break instead of running for a 1/2 mile because I wanted to be able to sprint to the finish.

As I was rounding the corner to the finish, I see Jason's dad looking for me. When he spots me, he started to run with me. Then I hear my dad screaming at me (words of encouragement of course) from somewhere and then he materialized on the other side of me. So here I am, being flanked on both sides and giving it all I got to keep up with them (they had already finished--dad in 1:01:41 and Jason's dad in 53:10--and waited there to help push me to the finish). At first I was thinking, "go away, I can't run any faster" LOL, but once I found myself speeding up and hearing them shouting for me to keep it up the awesomeness of it all sunk in.

Here are my splits from my watch. As always, it clocks the course a little long, but it gives me an idea of my pace. Check out these consistently negative splits and that huge sprint at the end!

Disney's Race for the Taste 10K Splits (by Kitzzy)

The official stats:

chip time - 1:15:52 (12:12 pace)
clock time - 1:18:33
overall place - 1684 / 2616
gender place - 890 / 1576
age group place - 144 / 252

And here are the chip times from the rest of my group in order of arrival, with pace times in parenthesis:

Bob (Jason's dad) - 53:10 (8:33)
Dad - 1:01:41 (9:55)
Jason - 1:06:52 (10:45)
Tim - 1:10:14 (11:18)
Me - 1:15:52 (12:12)
Chas - 1:18:50 (12:41)

I will definitely do this race again and I can't wait for my first 1/2 marathon in Dec. My dad and I may also run the Inaugural Melbourne & Beaches Music 1/2 Marathon together in February :)

Congrats to everyone else who ran this race or one of the marathons this weekend!

This is also for the The Zen Run 10K, part of The Worldwide Festival of Races.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Memo from My Future Self

(I wrote this for a challenge in an online community and had to share it here too. I got the idea for my take on this challenge from one of the cards in the game of Chrononauts by Looney Labs. I started to draft this letter as soon as the challenge went up, but I never finished or posted it. I think I was trying too hard and wanted to make this a much more detailed "race report" from the future that my perfectionist self was not letting me finish it. I finally decided to just keep it simple and get it done. Hope you guys enjoy it and can't wait to see everyone's letters. )

Dear Kitzzy,

This is Kitzzy from the not-so-distant future--I can't tell you the exact date because then I may alter the space-time continuum, and no one wants that :) Of course, just writing this later may cause that, but that is a risk I am willing to take to share this amazing moment with you.

Today, I ran my first marathon!

It was amazing, and it was awful, but then it was really amazing. Of course, I could not have done it without all the hard work you are doing right now. I know it sometimes feels like you can't do this anymore or you think to yourself that you must be crazy for thinking you can ever run a marathon (and you are), but I just wanted to tell you to keep at it because all this hard work you are doing now is totally worth it and will really pay off soon. I won't lie to you, it was not easy. It was grueling, yes, but I just knew I had to keep going because I didn't want to let you down.

I remember when you started this journey to a better you with just 10 minutes of cardio kickboxing 3 times a week in February 2008 weighing over 150 lbs. You quickly graduated to 30 minutes and before long it was the end of March and you were walking that 2 mile race--with some tiny jogging thrown in--that ignited something in you to want to become a runner. You always said "I'm not a runner" or "I can't run." Boy were you wrong ;) You know how you felt when you crossed the finish line at that 2 mile race? That is nothing compared to what you will feel when you cross the finish line at your first marathon. I don't want to say too much and spoil it, but you will love it.

So whenever you feel discouraged and like you are making a big mistake, read this letter and know you CAN and WILL do this! Anything is possible given enough determination, and you have that in spades! I am so proud of your efforts so far and look forward to you reaching the next milestones in your journey.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Life Lessons

I am a little late, but I want to contribute to this week's Take It and Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge: Life Lessons Learned from Running. I am a fairly new runner, but I've already seen how much running has to offer.
  • Hard work and patience really does pays off. When I started C25K back in April, running for 1 minute seemed like an eternity, and I was quickly out of breath. 5 months later I have countless miles and 5Ks under my belt, I'm about to complete my 2nd 10K, and I'm training for a 1/2 marathon. I always told myself that I was not a runner and never would be. Turns out what I needed was a little motivation, dedication and hard work.

  • Confidence goes a long way. One of the things I love most about running, whether running 1 or 9 miles, is how empowering it is. After going from 0-5K, suddenly no distance seems out of reach, eventually :)

  • Running is the gateway to lifelong fitness. While I have some immediate goals of completing races, those are just a means to an end for me. The race is not the end, but a mere milestone in my journey to becoming a lifelong runner to be fit and healthy. Once I realized that I can do this, and how good it feels, biking to work every day or 28 miles round trip to Sweet Tomatoes doesn't seem like much of a hurdle and I actually look for ways to sneak in exercise into everyday activities.

  • Life is not always easy, but we can't let the rough patches deter us; we must learn from them and grow stronger for the next time. Running is a love/hate relationship. Most of the time I hope for that great run, but I know that most runs will just be ok. From time to time, I have a horrible run that makes me question everything about myself and my ability to run. When I have that great run, I feel like I can take on the world. Regardless of the quality of the run, I (almost) always feel great when it is over and extremely accomplished. Running is not easy, and it takes a lot of discipline, but it is always rewarding.

Distance PR: 9.66 miles!

I just had my longest run ever: 9.66 miles in 2:10 (13:26 pace with 2:1 intervals) and I feel great! Sure my feet are a little sore, but that will pass soon enough.

I went out with the group at 5 a.m. for the first 4-mile loop and I was thinking that 8 miles seemed like forever. When we picked up the rest of the group for the 2nd 4-mile loop at 6 a.m. I was feeling great. Those second 4 miles were a lot easier and the time flew. It probably has a lot to do with being more warmed up. It was chili out this morning, but clearly the humidity was still high because I was drenched in no time. My hair, in its tiny pony tail, were actually dripping on me. This will teach me not to forget my hat again.

My program called for a 9.5 mile run today, but since my longest run before this was only 6 miles, and there is a little wiggle room in the schedule, I was going to stop at 8 miles. I felt so good after that, even if a little sore, that I figured I'd do the extra 2 miles with the group. My legs were starting to feel it so I called it quits after only one mile but still managed to get in over 9.5 miles total. Awesome!

This success along with my huge PR at the Miracle Miles 5K last week puts me in a great place mentally for next weekend's Race for the Taste 10K. I can't wait!

I am still deciding which intervals I want to use during the race. I know .25-mi-run:1-min-walk is the wise thing to do (~ 3:1), but I think I could push myself to use the same one as the 5K - .5-mi-run:1-min-walk (~ 6:1). I'm leaning towards starting with .25 mile intervals for the first half and then switch for the last half if I am feeling good and strong. Either way I hope to finish around 1:15 or an avg 12 min/mi pace.
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