Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cantrell Center 5K and stuff...

Well, it's that time again! Time for a lovely race update which will make you scratch your head and wonder, "And I care, why?" Whatever. I've always enjoyed writing stuff that no one cares to read! I think at some point I may have been an entertaining blogger, for about a week or so. But as I've stated numerous times, these days I pretty much only write about whatever is foremost in my mind: running and writing. Or running and not writing...errr... Believe me when I say it's all just a complicated coping mechanism to keep me from writing (and therefore fixating) on bigger problems, ie: house hunting.

So, onto my race recap!

This past Saturday was my seventh race! This particular race was the closest one to home that I've ever run, so Matthew and the kids decided to come with me. I went over Friday to pick up my race packet early so we wouldn't all have to leave at the crack of dawn on Saturday. Sophia came with me and we ooohed and ahhhed over my awesome race swag. (A koozie!) Just kidding. I never get good race swag. Anyway, early packet pick up is the way to go. Instead of leaving at some crazy early time we all rolled out of here just a few minutes before eight. This race was definitely the biggest I've run in so far, I think the final total was something like 850.

It was so nice to have Matthew and the kids there to hang out with me before the race started. I was pretty focused on hitting my PR, but having them there relaxed me a lot! (I take myself way to seriously, I'm aware!) Anyway, I made a pretty dumb mistake right off the bat when everyone was getting ready to start. I don't start out very fast so I don't like to be too close to the front, but not too far back, either. This time I ended up a little to far back for my pace. Because I'm so short, I couldn't even see where the official start was, there were so many people. I spent the first half mile jockeying for space and zigzagging around people. Oh well! After it opened up a bit I really started to enjoy the run a lot. The weather was a perfect sunny forty degrees and the course was through some nice neighborhoods.

Alas, the second half was a little less than pleasant. I had been warned by my sister-in-law who walked the course a few years back, that it was a hilly course. I regularly run hills in our neighborhood, but it's a whole other ballgame at race pace. (Hey, I rhymed.) Anywho, it flattened out before the last half mile or so and cranked up the pace. I passed a few more people and then headed around the corner to the final stretch where I started looking for my little family. I spotted them right away, gave a little wave and then cranked it up for the finish line. Final time: 26:33. I missed my PR again!!!

But....this time I wasn't too bothered. I had fun. I ran the best I could. I can't see how I could have gone any faster. We hung around for official results and age group placement stuff. I said I wanted to hit the top ten for my age group and I did!
My race buddies!

Race stats: (Because I'm OCD like that!)
Official time: 26:33 (avg. pace 8:32)
Age group: 7th out of 65
Overall: 134th out of 849

My next race is this Saturday! I've never run two races back to back so it should be interesting. It's another good chance for me to beat that bloody 25:57 PR since it's a super flat and straight course. And I'm running with my dad, which also makes me faster!

I had a bunch of other stuff to say about my retirement from 5Ks (for now), my upcoming birthday (29!!!), and other random stuff, but I'll save that for another day!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

There is no try...

Do or do not!

Yeah, I just started my post with a Star Wars quote, a Yoda one at that. Look at me, my second blog post of the year! Anyway, I realized I never blogged about my last race so I thought I'd come over today and do a quick recap/whine.

This was almost three weeks ago now. So the Museum of Aviation Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K is one of the bigger races around here. I knew this when I signed up because I saw they had capped entries at 1,500 runners. There were several articles in the newspapers leading up to it as well, so it was pretty exciting and nerve wracking. This was my sixth race so far, and most of the the 5Ks I've run have had around 100 people or less running. I knew this one would be a lot more, and I also knew it was going to be COLD! Georgia was already having some sub-zero temps the week before so I know everyone was nervous about how cold it was going to be come race morning.

Saturday, January 18th, it was twenty out. TWENTY! In GEORGIA! Crazy. I got up, layered up as much as I dared because we all know we warm up a lot once we start running. I try to dress for about twenty degrees warmer than it is because I seem to warm up a lot once I'm running. I put on an extra fleece to wear until the race started. Grabbed my coffee and breakfast and headed out while it was still dark. When I got to the race location at the Museum of Aviation at the Air Force base here it was so crowed! I've never seen so many people at one race before! Again, exciting and nerve wracking. I milled around a bit, talked to some people (I'm new to racing so I don't know a lot of people at the races usually.) Talked to my coach on the phone a bit (my dad!).  I was a bad sport and did not go out to watch the marathon or the half start, because now it had warmed up to twenty-two! Ugh.

My goals for the race were, of course, to PR. I was already in the lucky position of having PRed at every race so far. My last PR for a 5K was 25:57, so I was really hoping to hit something around 25:30. And even though I knew it was a bit out of my reach, I really wanted to place high (top three) in my age group. Anyway, cue the start of the race and we're all off jostling and pushing each other (I hate that, because I'm small I always get pushed!) The three miles went by fairly quickly and I warmed up fast. I even got a little warmer that I would have liked about 3/4 of the way in. I knew I was having a good run, but not my best and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't seem to push my pace any faster than it was.

Needless to say, this was one race I was glad when it was over! As soon as I crossed the finish line and stopped running I felt like I had a brain freeze from breathing in all the cold air. UGH!

Oh hi, that's me (taken by the newspaper photographer). I always forget to shut off my running app, so here I am at the finish line making sure it's off. As you can see from the time, I didn't PR.

I waited around for the official results and talked to Matthew on the phone a little. When they posted the leader board they posted 1-4 in every age group and that's when I saw I had come in fourth place. Talk about disappointed! Does it get any worse than FOURTH place? Mind you 1-3 all took home trophies for crying out loud.

Don't get me wrong, I knew this was coming. I'm fast, but I'm not that fast. Most of the races in which I've won my age group have been smaller races where there is only five or six girls in my age group. So I've gotten lucky. Not so much this time. I've been telling myself to be prepared for the day you don't do as well as you wanted to, but still I was a little annoyed with myself for not doing better.

So what now? We try again! My next race is February 22nd and it's a biggie too! About 1,000 people sign up for this particular 5K every year and this year should be no different. But what is different is my strategy. I hope to PR and that's it! Of course, I'll be lucky if I get top ten in my age group at this race, which is totally fine. Also, Matthew and the kids plan to come out to this one and it will be a great motivation knowing they are at the finish line!

Race stats:

Official time: 26:18 (avg pace 8:26)
Age group: 4th out of 20
Overall: 43rd out of 336