Esprit de She 10k {Race Recap}

I looked forward to our local Esprit de She all summer. I had such a good time last year that I was eager to participate again. After all, who doesn’t like a race that gives you wine, food and musical entertainment afterwards? Not to mention a pretty nice running shirt. The weather was iffy all day. One minute it was pouring rain with thunderstorms and the next the sun was shining. When Morgan and I were driving to the race, it had just stopped sprinkling. We met for a big group picture before lining up to start the race.

MRTT Maple Grove

I had a tempo on my schedule so I figured I’d just run a little cool down at the end of the race to hit the seven miles on my schedule. I lined up near the front and tried to not go out too fast. While I did go out fast (7:10), I didn’t feel like I was going to keel over after the first mile. Just after the second mile marker, I turned the corner and I realized there was something off about the course (my 2nd mile – 7:28). When I crossed the 5k mark, I was just shy of a quarter mile short of the distance.(Mile 3 – 7:37) It wasn’t until my second loop that I realized where the course had gone wrong. They had mismarked one turn which changed the direction we ran up towards the finish line. I was starting to get damn tired. (Mile 4 – 7:32) I walked through the water stop just around the 5 mile mark (7:53).

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I crossed the finish line at 5.73 miles. As I kept running I told the officials that the course was significantly short. My official results put me at 43:20 which was 10th overall and 8th in my age group. I’m in a very fast age group apparently. I figure that my 10k time was more like 46:58 ish which was a 7:33 min/mile average. The speed work must be working because that would be a three minute PR!

I finished my extra mileage and went to pick up food and wine. A couple glasses of wine later we went to hang out at a restaurant offering us half price appetizers. It turns out we were not the only ones disappointed to get kale salad rather than the usual turkey burger after the race. they had so many leftover they were handing us as many as we would take.

Moms Eat This Town

Obviously we had to order cheese curds and sweet potato fries as well. Have I mentioned that I love my running group?

Hopefully next year they will have the course on point.

Urban Wildland Half Marathon {Race Recap}

Until the Friday night prior to the race, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to run it. We were flying out to Colorado around lunch time and unless we had the help of our friends Peter and Rachel, there was no way I could make it work. Luckily for us, they are awesome friends. We decided that Josh and the kids would meet me at their house which was about 10 minutes from my race site and only 15 minutes or so from the airport. From there someone would take Josh to the airport (he was on an earlier flight) and then the kids and I would go later.

I woke up about 4 am to get myself ready for the race. I ate my chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar and grabbed some graham crackers for the road. The race was about 35 minutes from our house and I had to do day of packet pick-up so I gave myself plenty of time. My favorite thing about small races is how easy it is to pick up your stuff and get to the starting line. It took me all of 15 minutes to pick up my packet, hit the bathroom and drop my stuff in my car.

This was supposed to be a training run. A nice break from the really long ones, my shortest until taper. I wanted to see where my speed workouts were getting me and had some unspoken goals: A. Run sub 1:50 (most likely to achieve goal), B. Run 1:45 or faster, C. Run a sub-8 pace.

I lined up with the 1:45 pacer and called it good. We started almost right on time and were off. I’d say this race was a mixture of road and trail. In the first three miles I felt pretty good. The first two miles were sub-8’s and felt pretty easy. It was around the third mile that my knee started feeling off. I’ve been having some pulling thanks to a little bone fragment from fracturing my femur when I was 13, that has been floating around near my knee cap. Every once in a while it lodges itself in what feels like a ligament and causes a pulling sensation. I worked it out and got back on track.

The first thing I did wrong was not bring my own water. As we passed that third mile, the high school billboard noted that it was already 76 degrees. I grabbed a water at the stop and drank it quickly. Mile four was fairly shaded which was nice but I was getting hot. By mile five I was starting to overheat. At that water stop I grabbed two cups. One to drink and one to pour over my head. I was trying to do all I could to bring my core temperature down.

From about that point on I was basically running from water stop to water stop. When I got to the next stop just after the seventh mile, again, I poured water over my head and drank some as I walked for a minute, not wanting to spill any drop of the much needed water. I also took a gel to give me some energy. It don’t know if it didn’t work or I was just so damn hot that nothing was going to make me feel better. I knew the next water stop was around mile nine and then there would be a stop every mile until the end. I told myself to keep those feet moving. The faster I ran, the sooner I would be to the next stop.

Mile nine came and I wanted it to be over. I got some ice cubes to put down my shirt and hold in my hands. It helped momentarily. This was the first race, other than my first marathon, that I thought about dropping out of. That is how awful I felt. When I was running, I was killing my pace. My slowest mile of the entire race was an 8:30 and five of the 13 were under 8. I kept walking through the water stops, taking my time drinking water. I new I’d be worse off it I tried to skip it.

When I could see the finish line I sprinted the best I could to finish strong. I was so happy it was over.

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Official Results:

Time: 1:46:32 Avg. Pace: 8:08 min/mile

Even with all the walking I did, I was pleasantly surprised by my time. I was 16th out of the 126 women in my 30-39 age group and 173 out of 718 people who completed the event. I know that a sub-8 half is in me. Next time I’ll pick a half in cooler weather!

Birdtown Half Marathon – Race Recap

One of my favorite things about small local races is that we can arrive a half hour before the start and have plenty of time. That’s exactly what Josh and I did yesterday in Robbinsdale. We got to the park where we’d be starting about 7:30.

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We both had time to hit the porta potty and meet up with a couple of the Mother Runners who were also doing the half, 8k or 4k.

MRTT Pre-race

Once we snapped our picture we walked over to the starting line. It was on a bike trail at the park. Just a simple spray painted start line with a timing mat. After the national anthem we were off. I had lined up near the 1:50 pacers just so I didn’t go out too fast and I thought it would be feasible for me to keep an 8:24 pace at least until the hills. I was told the course was hilly which I thought would probably make my legs want to fall off.

We weren’t even to the first mile when we saw a huge group of runners coming back towards us. Turns out they’d missed the turn! I didn’t see Josh in the group so I was worried he’d dropped out due to hip pain. I later found out, he and about 10 other people that were in the lead (he was fourth at the time) never turned around at the missed turn and kept going none the wiser.

We made the turn and kept on chugging. Luckily from then on the course was fairly well marked with volunteers who were paying attention. Just before mile three we turned into another park where we had to run on grass for about a quarter mile. I was not excited about that. Once we were off of it, we were on a beautiful, tree-lined gravel path. It was humid out and I was starting to get hot so the gentle breeze through the trees felt great. My watch was telling me I was about .15-.20 miles off of the mile markers. When we hit the fourth mile, I was showing only 3.88 miles. I figured either I was working my tangents well or the course was going to be short. (First four mile splits: 8:15, 8:19, 8:30, 8:19)

Somewhere around our grassy area, I had lost the pacers. I was feeling good at the pace I was holding and decided to just go with it. If I had to slow down at the end so be it. We hit a big hill about mile five. It just kept going. My head was telling me to walk but I ignored it and powered up the hills. Because it was rather humid, I was taking water at every water stop. I was carrying a gel with me, but decided that I better wait as long as possible to take it, not wanting to risk stomach issues. The nice things about big hills is you get to go down them. Unfortunately at the bottom of this hill was another hill. I was happy when the big hills were over. (Miles 5-7 splits: 8:27, 8:23, 8:18)

Around mile eight I calculated that I should get a new PR even if I slowed down to a 10 min/mile pace. I tried not to look at my watch at all until I passed mile markers. Apparently around this mile, Josh and another group of runners missed another turn. Again cutting the course short. I’ll get back to that in a minute. I had been chasing a woman for a few miles and finally caught up to her around mile nine. We chatted briefly until the next water stop where I lost her. When I got to mile 10 I thought about taking my gel. My energy was starting to lag but there was a serious lack of porta potties. I put the gel in my sports bra and decided I’d have to go without it. (Miles 8-10 splits: 8:22, 8:13, 8:19)

At mile 11 I caught up with another woman I’d been behind most of the race. It was just the two of us on the street for a few minutes. Again we chatted and lost each other at the next water stop. I will say this race did well having water stops every few miles. I never did see the stop where they were supposed to have gels, but that’s why I always bring my own. The mile 12 marker was just behind me and my watch was still telling me about .20 miles behind that. Now I knew I was going to PR. We had one more little hill before heading down to the finish line. I was able to pick up the pace in the last few miles, especially the last mile and cruise across the finish line. (Miles 11-13 splits: 8:20, 8:15, 7:48)

Jess and Josh post race

Garmin Stats:

Distance: 12.90 miles      Time: 1:47:04       Pace: 8:17 min/mile

So if I add the rest of the distance at my 8:17 pace, my finishing time would actually have been 1:48:35. Still a PR by a couple minutes.

Official Stats:

Distance: 13.1 miles        Time: 1:47:05       Pace: 8:12 min/mile

I was satisfied with my race and was thinking, I might even have a chance to place in my age group. Of course it wasn’t until I found Josh that I learned what a huge disaster the race was for the first 10-15 runners. Thanks to missing the first turn, Josh and at least 10 other runners skipped about half a mile. The second missed turn added another half mile or so of missed distance. Josh was running down the finish line, heard them say, here comes the 4th half marathon finisher, but he turned around because his watch only said 11.XX miles. He ran the extra distance and then finished, which put him in 10th place overall.

What this is all means is that the winners and some of the top age group finishers only ran 11+ miles, not even close to the 13.1 they were supposed to. Josh was pretty pissed. I can’t say I blame him. As we looked at the results when we got home, it’s pretty obvious that the winners missed an entire mile. I guess that’s a possibility in these small races.

My official finishing information put my as the 33 of 230 finisher. I was 5th in my age group of 54 and 7th out of 109 women. Still very good, especially since I just ran a marathon, but I’m irritated with the skewed results thanks to missed turns.

This race has the potential to be great. The course offered a lot of variety and was pretty. They need to measure it longer than 13.1 rather than right at it to prevent it from being so short. They also need to have more volunteers and mark the course better. A leader on a bike directing the front of the pack is a huge necessity. The race director could also use a public relations person or at least a lesson in appropriate tone and content of communication. It was awful.

Anyway, that’s the last of my races for a while. I think that I’ll find a half marathon to do some time late summer to gauge where my speed is at during the Chicago training cycle. Josh was encouraging me to do a 10k next weekend, then a 5k the next just as a step down every week in the month of May. It’s not going to happen though as he and I will be out of town the last weekend of May (first trip alone!) and next weekend there are a bunch of 5ks but not 10ks.

Goldy’s Run – Race Recap

A few weeks ago my running friend Andrea asked me if I wanted to do a 10 mile race. Never having done one, I was in. I will always take an automatic PR and it would be a good test for the half marathon I have in May. What I failed to notice is that it was the morning after a long planned girl’s movie night with some of our other friends. Ooops.

So naturally Friday night I did everything I know not to do before a race. I ate way too much queso, salsa, guacamole and chips. Plus a homemade margarita cupcake (A+ for Morgan!), a brownie and drank a few margaritas. Just to make sure I was tried I also didn’t leave Morgan’s house until oh, about 12:45 am. I knew full well that this would not lead to positive things come the race, but I was having fun.

I’m pretty sure my alarm went off as soon as I actually fell asleep. I got myself out of bed about 4:45 to start my pre-race routine as I was meeting Andrea at her house to carpool at 6:15. Everything was going smoothly and as planned which had my thinking my stomach would not revolt during the race. I was even in my car a few minutes early just in case I got lost on my way to Andrea’s.

was about oh, seven minutes from her house when I started thinking my feet were incredibly hot. I looked down to realize I was still wearing my slippers! Not only that, but my running shoes were sitting on the kitchen floor where I’d left them. I called her immediately and told her what an idiot I was and turned around. Luckily at that time of morning on a Saturday there is no traffic so I was only 15 minutes late. Good thing we’d planned extra travel time.

I felt better when it took us no time at all to get down to the race. We got a great parking spot and got right in line at the porta potties. By this time my stomach was grumbling with anger. Once that was taken care of, we lined up behind a pacer and waited a few minutes for the race to start.

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Right on time, off we went. It was really crowded in the beginning but that was ok. I wasn’t expecting much of a performance and after the race I had seven more miles to run. Slowly we picked up speed, especially on our first downhill. Of course after a downhill, always comes an up. We kept trucking, passing people and chatting a little bit. The first three miles flew by: 8:39, 8:16, 8:22. Around mile four (8:24) Andrea told me that she was going to slow down for the second half of the race and I should keep cruising if I was feeling it. I debated and decided to just let my body carry me at whatever pace I needed to go.  Apparently it needed to go faster.

The fifth mile came and went at 8:12. I was steadily passing people and trying not to look at my watch. After all, this wasn’t a race I was planning to go all out during. My stomach was still grumbling a bit and I thought about stopping every time I passed a porta potty. I decided I was running too well to stop. This would either be ok or end very badly. Luckily it was the former.

I was cruising those last five miles even up a big ass hill just during the eight mile. When I hit mile nine I figured I may as well see how fast I can run the final mile. I pushed a little harder but got annoyed when it felt like we were going to run around the entire stadium before we actually got to go into the finish line. We finished on the 50 yard line of TCF Bank Stadium which was fun. I guess those negative split runs I’ve been doing have really paid off. My last five miles: 8:19, 8:05, 8:01, 7:59 and 7:32.

Unofficial results:

Distance: 10.05 miles        Time: 1:22:12         Average Pace: 8:10 min/mile

Official results:

Distance: 10 miles             Time: 1:22:13        Average Pace: 8:14 min/mile

Andrea and I met in the end zone where I’d stretched and watched people come through the finish line on the big screen.

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We hung out in the end zone for a little while before heading back to the car. It was a fun race that I’d do again. Check out the HUGE medal.

Goldy's Run 2015 Medal

After I got home, Josh went for his run and I took a little nap with the kids. After naptime I went to the gym to finish up my last seven miles. My stomach was mad at me so I figured inside was probably a good plan. Unfortunately I did not note that I had less than an hour to get my run done because the childcare closed at 5. So much for a super easy run.

This race made me feel so much more confident that I’m not going to totally bomb the Fargo Marathon next month. Yep, I’m doing it!

Training but not

After the marathon I had a goal to keep up some sort of endurance. I didn’t want to overdo it but wanted to continue to do long runs. I’ve been holding steady doing long runs of up to 12 miles with step back weeks every few weeks.

In the last few weeks my mileage has crept up. I knew when my mother-in-law came to visit a little over a week we would have a good long run. She’s training for the Fargo Marathon in May so I figured I better try to get my mileage up. I had done a 14.3 mile run a few weeks prior so I told her I could likely go about 16 miles with her.

We lucked out and had good enough weather to hit my favorite local trail at Elm Creek. My running BFF Amy met with us and off we went. Amy did the first 14 with us which was awesome. We saw deer, turkeys, pheasants and a beautiful sunrise. Nancy and I continued running for a few more miles for a total of 16.33 miles. It was the longest run I’ve done since the marathon.

Amy and I ran about 14 miles again this weekend and I think maybe next weekend I’ll do 15. The thing is, the only races I have on my calendar right now are a 10 miler and a half marathon in May. I could probably be ready for an early summer marathon but then that would mean no fall marathon which is what I really want to do. There is no reason I need to run this far, but it just feels so good to get out there and get them done.

I registered for the Chicago lottery. Mid-April seems so far away to hear back. If I don’t get in I’m considering the Omaha Marathon in September or Des Moines in October. Both are just a short drive away and within weeks of Twin Cities which is what a lot of my running friends will be training for.

At some point I’m going to need to start tapering back so that I’m not at nearly 20 miles at the beginning of a marathon training cycle. I think I’ll continue to keep up the mileage for a few more weeks until after Easter when I’m sure there will be another long run with Nancy in Lincoln. Then time to taper down a bit.