Saturday, August 27, 2011

Make A Wish 5k Race Recap

1. to want; desire; long for
2. to desire

Every year the Make A Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. In order to do this, obviously the foundation needs to raise money.  One of their annual events is the Run/Walk for Wishes.  Running + A Cause = I'm IN. (The 10am start time didn't hurt either!)  It's also been a while since I've run a 5k.

I got to the starting area around 9am and quickly met up with a friend and her family. My friend, her husband, her sister and her daughter (a Wish recipient) were planning to run the 5k race and the rest of the group was walking.  We made our way to the very crowded starting line and with very little fanfare the gun went off.

Almost immediately I was caught in heavy traffic.  Lots of people who wanted to be up front, but didn't have the speed to be there!  Oh well, it's part of the experience and it kept me from committing my usual error of going out too fast.  I also had to remind myself that I have a 10 mile run to do tomorrow and it wasn't going to do me any good to kill myself today and suffer for it tomorrow.

It took almost a mile to get a little day light, but my pace was really good (9:18 for the first mile).  We came up to a water station, which was nice, but not totally necessary at that point.  I took a couple of sips and dumped the rest down my back to cool off since it was pretty warm out today.  I worked on getting back up to pace, but the course kind of looped back on itself around 1.5 miles, so there was a lot of traffic (walkers from farther back still heading to mile 1) to contend with.  I made it to the Mile 2 water station in 9:27.  I slowed to a walk, drank about half the water and dumped the rest over my head.  Now it was Go Time.  I knew that I could do better than 9:27 for the last mile. I kicked it up a little and started passing people.  Mile 3 was finished in 9:21.  That left a tenth of a mile to the finish line.  I knew I had plenty of gas left in the tank so I put the pedal to the medal and finished that last 1/10 of a mile in 43 seconds. 

I had intentionally avoided looking at my Garmin the entire race, but after I hit the Stop button I flipped it to show total time elapsed.   28:51...a new PR!  I've been chasing a sub-30 minute 5k for a long time and today I finally got it!

I grabbed two waters from the aid table and started walking back along the course to see how my friend was doing.  This was her first 5k!  I spotted her and held out the water cup...which she chugged like a champ. And then I did something I never do after a race.  I jumped back in and ran with her.  Watching her take that final straight away made me happy for her...and I hope she's damn proud of herself!

After that, I headed home and promptly took a 3 hour nap!

The raw timing data for the race is up, but it doesn't seem right.  It's claiming I finished in 29:00+  with an average per mile pace of 9:27.  Obviously that's not possible since I have the Garmin data showing that my slowest mile was a 9:27! Hopefully all that will be ironed out soon.  Meanwhile, I'm going to celebrate my new PR!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Official Results

The official results for the Full Moon Half became available tonight.  I actually finished in 2:11:45, not 2:11:48!  I know it's only 3 lousy seconds, but I worked for 'em...I'm taking 'em!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Full Moon Half Marathon Recap

Last night I ran my 9th half marathon.  In all honesty, I wasn't really in the mood to run at all last night.  I had signed up for this race for exactly 2 reasons.  Reason #1: I wanted revenge on the course.  I ran it last year, got sick at Mile 6 and ran Miles 8-13 with a huge blister on my left arch.  Needless to say, it was a less than stellar performance. Reason #2: I needed another half under my belt to make Fox Cites my 10th half.  Never, not even in my wildest dreams, did I imagine what would transpire last night.

This race is a little different than most half marathons in that it starts at 6pm and goes into the night rather than starting at the crack of dawn.  It's also a very small race (only a few hundred runners), so the odds of being alone for most of the race are pretty good...especially if you fall toward the back of the pack.

The Husband and I arrived in Sheboygan (affectionately known in our house as Shevegas), a small town about an hour north of our house, around 4:30pm so I could pick up my bib number and catch the shuttle to the starting line.
After waiting around for about 45 minutes the small herd of runners made their way to the line, a squad car blew it's siren in lieu of a starter's pistol and we were off!

I had decided to start conservatively, around a 10:30 pace, and try to hold that for as long as possible.  Well, that wasn't quite in the cards.  Mile 1 was finished in 10:08!  My only thought was, '10:08? Huh? Wonder how long I can hold on to that?'

The next few miles went by pretty quickly (10:08-10:15) and I slowed to a fast walk through each water station (approx. every 2 miles).  I played a little game with myself too.  I would choose a runner in front of me and focus on getting in front of them and not letting them pass me again.  It worked!

Before I knew it, Mile 10 was coming into view and I clicked over to the 'Total Time Elapsed' setting on my Garmin and was more than a little amazed.  Beating the PR I set in Fox Cities back in 2008 was looking doable.

Of course, with double-digits came muscle fatigue, sore knees and just a general feeling of being tired. Some how, I picked up the pace, dropping down into the 9:30's!

One final turn and the high school track came into view.

That's me in the purple top
Sorry for the blurriness!

I turned onto the track to run the final quarter of a mile.  I did one last check of my watch and realized that I was definitely going to beat my PR, now the only question left was by how much.

I took the final turn of that track and went into a full-out sprint for the finish line

And I crossed the finish line (unofficially - official times aren't posted yet) in 2:11:48...eclipsing my old PR by 10 minutes and 1 second!  Needless to say, I was beyond excited.  And now I have a new twist to my old goal.  I know I said I wanted to beat my PR in Fox Cities this looks like I have a new goal to chase!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cheese On A Stick (aka State Fair)

When I was a kid, the beginning of the Wisconsin State Fair always signaled that summer was coming to an end.  To this day, I consider 'The Fair' to be the unofficial 'beginning of the end of summer.' For 11 days every August people from all over the state (and beyond) descend on the fairgrounds, about 10 minutes away from downtown Milwaukee. Everyone has their favorite thing about the fair.  For some, it's the giant cream puffs.
For others, it's the carnival rides.
 For others, it's the giant slide.  I have memories from childhood of flying down this thing on a potato sack and thinking that it was the coolest thing ever.

Then there's the food.  Once a year, I get to enjoy this:
Are you wondering what the heck that is?  Allow me to introduce you to Cheese-On-A Stick: molten cheese surrounded by corn dog batter and deep fried.  So bad, yet so good!  

Other food offerings include:

Yes, you read that correctly.  Deep Fried Butter was the newest addition to the long list of crazy foods offered at State Fair.  Last year it was chocolate-covered bacon.  The year before it was a cheeseburger that used two Krispy Kreme donuts in place of a bun.   I haven't tried the butter, the bacon or the burger, but I'm told that for a truly artery-clogging experience one can now get the Krispy Kreme burger piled high with the chocolate-covered bacon and several pats of deep fried butter.  Just thinking about that makes me a) nauseous and b) wanting to call a cardiologist!

My absolute favorite part of the fair is the animals...especially the baby animals!
I swear...this llama looks like he's up to something!
This little fellow was loving the fan blowing on him.

So cute!
The Husband trying to make friends

So long State Fair...see ya next year!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Full Throttle

Last week was a good week.  I completed 2 out of 4 planned runs, made it to yoga on Wednesday night, and managed to make the 40 minute drive to my dad's house to go for a bike ride.

Distance: 4.06 miles
Time: 40:10
Avg. Pace: 9:53

This class is kicking the crap out of a good way.  I was pouring sweat by the time I left the studio and I felt that workout for the next 2 days.  The biggest challenge of the night was attempting Eight Angle Pose:
I made several valiant attempts and managed to get part way there before crashing onto my mat.  I'll just add this pose to my: Things to Work On list!

Thursday and Friday were spent recovering from yoga.  To give you an idea of how much my core muscles hurt after that: I had to curl into the fetal position if I sneezed!

Saturday was a fun day.  The Husband and I visited the local zoo and spent a couple of hours wandering around and looking at all the animals.  My favorite was the camels.  He preferred the bonobos!
Yesterday was all about the long run.  When the alarm went off at 6:00am I was fully prepared to roll out of bed and get my run on, but the sounds of thunder and pouring rain convinced me to hit snooze for a couple of hours.  Finally, around 10:00am, the rain let up and I headed out.  The first couple of miles felt really good - and then the sun came out and it got hot!  I ended up walking most of the last mile (steep uphill through a construction zone), so I tacked on a little extra to make up for it.

Distance: 10.63 miles
Time: 1:50:11
Avg. Pace: 10:21

My next long run will be the Full Moon Half Marathon on Saturday.

After I got home, took a shower and chugged a nice, cold fruit smoothie, I crammed The Beast (aka my ancient trail bike) into the car and drove 40 minutes south to my dad's house.  As I've mentioned before, he's planning to attempt a century ride 5 weeks from now and he's really been slacking on his training.  Our original plan was to ride approximately 18 miles round-trip, with a pit stop at the beach where I'm considering attempting my first sprint triathlon next summer, but between my aching legs and his forgetting to eat all day before our ride, we cut it back to 11.5 miles.

Distance: 11.49 miles
Time: 1:00:30
Avg. Speed: 11.4mph

After going full-throttle most of the day, I crashed hard last night!

I spent tonight catching up on all the chores I neglected all weekend.  I can happily say that my laundry is done, my kitchen is clean and my shoe collection is no longer scattered all over the house!  All that's left to do is iron a few things so I have something to wear to work tomorrow!  On that note, I hear my dryer going off...time to iron (my least favorite chore of all).

What's your least favorite household task?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Run Down

I can't believe it's already August!  Where did the time go?  Anyway, I thought I'd do a quick recap of both the past week and the past month.

The unrelenting heat and humidity have wreaked havoc on my training.  It's hard to run when you can barely breathe while sitting still!

Distance: 4.01 miles
Time: 37:33
Avg. Pace: 9:22
*loved this!

Distance: 3.07 miles
Time: 31:25
Avg. Pace: 10:14
*This was another interval workout.  7x400 this time, so the info above doesn't really show what I was up to.  Here are the average paces for each interval:
1 = 7:57
2 = 7:31
3 = 7:20
4= 7:44
5 = 9:01 (ick!)
6 = 8:00
7 = 7:54

Distance: 8.98 miles
Time: 1:43:22
Avg. Pace: 11:30
*This is the run where it all fell apart.  The heat and humidity combined with a headache and a lack of willpower made for a miserable run.  I was so frustrated during this run that I wanted to cry, but didn't even have the energy to do that!  I'm due to run a half marathon in 2 weeks.  I need a good long run!

Now for the month as a whole.  Total mileage for July was 52.29 miles.  I know I can do better!