Race Report: Mid-Winter 10 Mile Classic

Yesterday I woke up at the late hour of 7:30am to run the 2013 Mid-Winter 10 Mile Classic in Cape Elizabeth. There was definitely a moment getting out of bed this morning where I contemplated whether just to stay in bed or actually go run 10 miles in the chilly 24 degrees. I had told my coach a couple of weeks ago while I battling a nasty cold that I wasn’t planning on racing the race, but rather treating it as a long training run. She agreed that  my fitness isn’t there to race it so I was content with that. Although, I really hate treating races as training events. My chiropractor asked me this week if I would really be able to not try to race it once I got going. I guess in the end I did semi-race it by trying to pass as many people as I could, but I know that I could run a lot faster than I did. But, atlas, my run fitness (and general fitness) suck at the moment.

I ran the race last year while sick and was one of the worst decisions I made. I thought I was going to pass out in a ditch half way through the race. You can read about that lovely race HERE. Luckily, this year I had my annual cold earlier than last year so I was feeling pretty darn good going into the race. However, I was running on a lack of sleep. I went out with some friends Friday night so that night involved lots of beer and going to bed at 2am only to get up by 7am and go teach my core class at the gym. I then worked one of my other jobs from 4-9:30pm so sleep was a bit lacking. I must say, I think my massive bout of carbo loading Friday night helped with my running on Sunday! 🙂

Now back to the race. It was cold and bit windy with snow flurries. I dressed warmly and prepared for the worst. I met up with Coach Ange and a few other TriMoxie athletes and also caught up with some lovely SheJAMs ladies.

Kristin, myself, and Beth getting ready to run this thing!

Kristin, myself, and Beth getting ready to run this thing!

At 9:45am the cannon went off and we were off. The first mile is mostly downhill and a bit bottlenecky. It was my second fastest mile of the day. Ha! Second mile is rather uneventful and then the hills start! I forgot how hilly this course really is! The Spurwink hills suck. There are about three of them all in a row and then you turn down a side street that is rather crappy. I survived the hills. Took little steps up and then pushed it on the downhills to make up time. I didn’t walk at all this year! I actually felt pretty light going up the hills, which is extremely unusual for me. Around mile 4 we hit the marsh and the wind picked up a bit. I was averaging around a 9:15-9:20 mile at this point and tried to rein it in slightly so I wouldn’t blow up later on in the race like the previously year. Right around the half way mile we hit the nasty little steep hill and I muscled my way up it and passed some people on my way. I hit the mile 5 water station and took my gel.

First mile (in the PVC jacket)!

First mile (in the PVC jacket)!

The rest of the course is rather flat-ish and with some up grades and some down grades. However, this is where the wind picks up and gets cold on 77. I decided to start picking up speed and negative split the course. I started focusing on people a head of me to pass. I managed to pass a bunch of people in the last few miles of the race. Right around mile 7-8 I started to feel slightly fatigued and my pace slowed. However, I checked my watch and decided that I wanted to make it under 1:35 so I picked up speed and pushed my little legs harder. Mile 9 is a long gradual up grade and then downhill to the finish line. I pushed it up the uphill portion and passed a lot of people and then finally hit the high school driveway and really pushed it the last 200 yards or so for a sprint finish.

The half way point!

The half way point!

Picking the pace up!

Picking the pace up!

Overall, I finished in 1:35:37. Didn’t quite make it sub-1:35, but I had almost a 10-minute PR from last year. I finished 459/611 overall, 195/298 women and 16/26 AG. I’ll take it. Certainly if I didn’t have to take 3+ months off from running this past fall then I think I could have fallen in the 1:25-1:30 area. But, it is what it is at the end of the day.

Did I mention it was cold?

Did I mention it was cold?

I finished my day by being semi-productive. I picked up a new trainer at my bike shop and then succeeded to pass out on the couch in front of the fire for a couple of hours.

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~ Happy Training!

Race the Runways Race Report

In a nutshell I had an AWESOME race!

But, first, let’s discuss some pre-race stuff. My first half marathon was the Harvard Pilgrim Maine Coast Half Marathon, aka All Women and One Lucky Guy on November 7, 2010. Leading up to that race I was nursing a small tear in my right rotator cuff and also succeed in getting a rather nasty sinus infection/head cough two weeks before the race that left me in bed all day for several days (and it takes A LOT for me to stay home from work/school). I started feeling slightly better a few days before the race and since I had done all the training and paid for the race, I planned on doing it. Running a half-marathon was one of my goals for 2010 and I was damn determined to do it. I’m the type of person when I say I’m going to something, I’m going to do it even if it kills me. I “ran” the race. It was miserable. I just wanted to die half way through the race. I averaged 11:53/mile for a finish time of 2:35:44. I should have stayed home in retrospect, but I did the damn race more or less for my ego.

Fast track to the Mid Winter Classic 10 Miler in Cape Elizabeth in February. Once again I got a sinus infection the week before the race, but decided to run again (can you see a pattern yet?). I felt really good till the half point when I thought I was going to pass out. I highly considered a DNF at this point, but I kept going because I was determined to finish. I averaged a 10:30/mile for a finish time of 1:45:08. I pouted about the race for a little while because I was super disappointed in my performance. I had been running really well in my training runs leading up to the race and I was expecting to have a great race. It didn’t happen. I whined and then a friend reminded me that shit happens and my big races are in the summer and I shouldn’t worry about a bad race in February. He was right and I was over it.

On March 4th, I ran the Irish Rover 5k in Portland. It was my first 5k in close to 2 years. It was an awesome race for me! I pushed myself to a pace that I never thought that I could ever race at and finished with a HUGE PR! I realized that I CAN actually run fast! That PR definitely put running into a more positive light for me. My long runs were becoming, dare I say, fun. I looked forward to them on the weekends. About a month ago my coach had me run some race pace intervals during my long runs. She wanted me to target a 9:05-9:10 pace. I tried and it hurt. I told her I thought she was crazy and I couldn’t do it. A pace of 9:25-9:30 felt more realistic. So we targeted that pace for the last couple of long runs leading up to Race the Runways.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress over the past month from work, school, and my personal life. It has taken some what of a toll on my body, but mostly my mental and emotional state. The only thing that has kept me sane (and probably out of the looney bin) has been my training. A few weeks ago I had the most amazing 40 minute easy run during my last recovery week. The night before I emailed my coach to tell her I needed a “mental health” day and I was skipping my trainer ride. I was exhausted, I had major headache, and I was just plain cranky. The next day I went out for my run and all those negative feelings just disappeared. My first two miles of the run were at about a 8:30/mile pace and it just felt like a super easy 10:00/mile pace. I felt in love with running during that run. For the first time in my life, I was actually able to forget all my problems and pain with running and just be “one with the pavement.” It was truly an amazing experience and one that I really needed. It was like I mentally hit a reset button and all the shit going on in my life didn’t matter.

Going into the race yesterday I was very calm and collected. I was not nervous and, honestly, I just wanted to get the race over with so I can get on with my training and long bike rides coming up! 🙂 The race started late. The temperatures weren’t bad, around the mid-40’s. It was cloudy, but the sun would come out occasionally and it would be “hot.” The wind was brutal though. It wasn’t bad during most of the course and I actually welcomed it during the middle miles when I was getting hot. But on that runway, it was brutal. The race takes place on the old Brunswick Naval Air Base. The first mile actually starts on the runway then you head out onto the base towards the air control tower, do two loops here, then head through some residential areas, head towards the golf course and then finally finish on the runway. The course is flat, except for one tiny hill at about mile 11.5.

My race goal leading up to the race was to run about a 9:20 pace throughout. But on Friday, I pretty much said “F@ck that. I’m going for 9:05 pace!” I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I told myself I could and I was ready to go for it. Sometimes, it’s all mental. I went out for about a 9:00/mile and I told myself just to hold on for dear life. The first couple of miles were a little crowded but I was able to find space quickly. I ran at my own pace till about mile 3 where I saw a training partner, Sarah. She was running about a 9:00/mile and I just hopped in with her and kept her company for a majority of the race. We didn’t really talk, but it was nice to have her to keep me motivated. The middle miles were a little fast, but I felt good so I just went with it. I was feeling really good about mile 4ish and I just wanted to run. But, I told myself to rein it in because I still had 9 miles to go.

The beginning of the race. I’m the one in the red behind the very happy girls.

Mentally I was really relaxed and just enjoying watching people run by (and can I say some people have a very interesting run gait. One girl who was running in front of me for awhile was running on her tip toes. It was kind of weird and I totally passed her around mile 11). At about mile 7, I was mentally getting bored and just wanted to be done. I took my gels at the right time and water at almost all the stops. Around mile 8 we started to run in the residential area and I couldn’t help to think about all the empty houses and building on the base now that it is closed. I really hope that they will do something useful with the housing. Perhaps, low income housing? Around mile 9 a woman came up behind Sarah and I saying she was targeting my red jacket for 3 miles and it was her goal to reach us. It was kind of nice to hear someone say that they had a target on my back and to use me as motivation to reach their race goal. I reached the 10 mile mark under 1:30 so I knew I could do sub-2 hour, which really was my goal for the day. I lost Sarah around this time. My tummy was starting to get a little crampy at this point so I didn’t take my last gel at 1:40. I also knew that I would be done with my race in about 15 minutes so I didn’t think it was really needed.

When I reached mile 11 I could see the finish line in front of me, but you have to do a quick out and back lap to the golf course. The little hill at 11.5 was enough to say this sucks, but I pushed through it and passed a few people. I tend to run better (aka faster) during the last part of the race because I know that the finish line is in sight. At mile 12 you head back onto the runway to the finish line. As soon as you turn onto the runway, the headwind just hits you like a brick. It must have been a 20-30 mph wind gust and it was cold! It was a total mind fuck. I just wanted to get to the finish line quick, but I wasn’t moving quick because I was working against the wind. Two guys passed me with about a half mile to go and I tried tucking in behind them to stay out of the wind, but the wind just cut right through them and me. Finally, the finish line was in sight. I tried picking it up and I did have enough kick left in me pass the two guys who passed me earlier. But, I definitely left everything on the race course, which was good!

My “wind blockers” coming into the finishing chute.
Someday I’ll have a good race picture. Almost there!

Official race time was 1:57:40 with an average pace of 8:59! A HUGE PR from my previous half marathon, but I don’t really count that race because I was sick for it. I finished 22 out of 47 in my age group (W20-29) and 188 out of 352 overall. I was very happy! I guess I can finally call myself a runner now! 🙂

Here’s my Garmin mile splits, but my Garmin and the race course were definitely off. My coach wrote a blog post on Thursday about how Garmin’s usually read a slightly faster pace and a longer mile than the real course. I was aware of this and tried taking that into account during my run. However, I do think that actual race course was slightly off. My Garmin read most miles long, but still apparently came up short in the end. Interesting…

Avg Pace
Summary 1:57:24.9 12.94 9:05
1 9:03.3 1.00 9:03
2 9:00.8 1.00 9:01
3 9:01.4 1.00 9:01
4 8:56.6 1.00 8:57
5 8:47.1 1.00 8:47
6 8:43.7 1.00 8:44
7 8:54.7 1.00 8:55
8 9:11.3 1.00 9:11
9 9:10.2 1.00 9:10
10 9:08.4 1.00 9:08
11 8:57.1 1.00 8:57
12 9:40.2 1.00 9:40
13 8:50.1 0.94 9:25

Overall, I’m a very happy girl at the moment! And now it’s time to focus on my build for Mooseman 70.3 on June 3rd. Yikes! Less than two months to go!

Happy Training!

Race Report: The Mid-Winter Classic 10 Miler

The title should really read the “Mid-Winter Class 10-Miler: The Almost DNF”

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I needed to get over my disappointment from the race. I had a goal for the race and I was positive that I could meet and exceed it. However, I failed. I failed hardcore. It came pretty close to a DNF. The DNF that no endurance athlete ever wants behind their name.
From a young age I was taught that failure was not an option. My parents, mainly my father, always made sure that we didn’t fail and if we did then there were consequences. So failure has never been an option for me and when it does occur then I beat myself up about it. I failed on Sunday and I succeeded to beat myself up about it for the rest of the day. I’m beginning to believe that my dislike of running stems from my belief that failure is not option. I hate failure; therefore, I hate running because I feel like I’m always failing. However, lately I have been running so much better and, dare I say, I actually might enjoy running?!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was sick pretty much all last week with a sinus infection. My head was foggy and I felt like it wanted to explode. I worked a few half days and went home to sleep. I also got 4 days off completely from working out. I also lost my appetite, which usually occurs when I’m sick. Eating anything usually makes me nausea and I can only get a few bites in before I either want to puke it up or it just isn’t appetizing anymore. By Friday I was feeling better so I definitely planed on running the race. On Saturday I went to packet pick-up at Maine Running Company and also got a new pair of kicks at a sweet price! Thanks to a kick ass friend (who ran 23 miles last Thursday for his birthday and then a super fast 63 minute 10-miler)!
I woke up on Sunday and had my regular breakfast of oatmeal, peanut butter and banana. I went to go start my car (which is a standard) and my clutch wouldn’t go in. I tried twice and then started panicking! How the hell am I going to get to my race if my car wouldn’t start? I tried a third time and mu clutch went in and I was able to start my car. I got the the race start and go ready, did a warm-up, peed about 10 times, had some water and a gel. We lined up and the gun went off. The first mile was fast, mostly down hill. The next few miles had some hills but I felt good and settled into my goal pace.
The first 5 miles of my race went very well. I was running good and I felt good. I had a gel and a little water at the mile 5 water station and then continued past the Spurwink Church and started cruising up the hill towards Crescent Beach on Rt 77. Then it hit me. I felt lightheaded and dizzy. And then the tunnel vision started to occur and I knew it was an “oh crap” moment. I thought for sure I was going to eat pavement. I remember thinking that if I was going to pass out then I hope I don’t land on my teeth because I don’t want to get dentures. Weird thought, I know. And as a side note I have a tendency to pass out on occasion from no apparent reason so I’m well verse in knowing when my body is going to pass out and mile 5.5 was one of those. During my freshmen year of college I was sitting at my desk eating a bowl of cereal when the next thing I know my roommate is pulling me out of my trashcan and asking me if I’m okay. I just passed out for no reason. She was very worried about me so she bought me to the ER to get checked out. The doctors did a blood sugar test, a EKG, and a urine and blood test. Everything came back perfectly normal. The doctor told me “well, it’s not uncommon for young women like yourself just to randomly pass out.” In other words, they didn’t have a friggen clue why I passed out. Awesome.
Anyway, back to the race. So I felt like crap starting around mile 5.5. There was even the ambulance parked on the hill leading up to Crescent Beach. That was the moment when I considered DNFing. I walked for a little while to take my breathe and gather my thoughts again. I felt a little better so I started jogging again. Then I few minutes later I would feel like crap again and walk. This happened for the rest of the race. Between miles 7-9 I got going pretty good for awhile then the cold wind picked up and I started having trouble breathing. Fantastic! Let’s just have an asthma attack too! But, the end was near. I saw my running coach about 200 yards from the finish and I told her I was going to pass out because I knew I was going down if I stopped. She finished the last bit of the race with me and held me up at the finish. She bought me inside and gave me water and some food. I started feeling better afterwards, but my head was pretty cloudy and my nose was running. Great. I probably just made my cold worst. Once I felt better I got changed into warm, dry clothes and got in my car.
My car started but it was acting funny. The engine would rev up every once in awhile if you added more pressure to the gas. I decided to make a pit stop at Panera Bread to grab some food. I got my food and got back into my car to head home. It didn’t start. And it didn’t start during the other 10 times I tried. So I do what every girl does and calls her father. “Wah, my car won’t start! Help me!” My car was making funny noises while braking occasionally so my father drove my car around the block a few times Saturday night. While he was getting out on my car he must have pushed my car mat up underneath my clutch. It was the reason my clutch wouldn’t push in in the morning. I realized that before I left in the morning and fixed it. However, it’s the reason my car wouldn’t start! Grr… so my father came and saved the day (or so I thought). He got in started and I had him drive it home. I followed him and my car was a smokin’. Awesome, my father just killed my clutch. He called me and told me to pick him up at our mechanic.
Well, I guess I need a new clutch, new timing belt and possibly some front brake work. My car is 10 years old and has almost 140,000 miles on it. It’s been a great car and it’s the original clutch, which is pretty impressive! But, the question is, is my car worth fixing. Our mechanic, whom we have used for years, is going to take a look at it and let us know if I will be paying close to $2000 in repairs or buying a new car. And my visions of a new tri bike and powermeter are slowing disappearing…. Ugh, NOT my day!
I laid on the couch for awhile on Sunday and had a pity party. I was super disappointed with my performance in my race. I was running so well and then I got sick. I talking with a friend and he reminded me that I had a bad race. It happens. My important races are in the summer. He’s right. I had a bad day and I had a lot of things stacked against me.
So what happened? My day before race day and race day nutrition was fine. It was my nutrition earlier in the week when I was sick. I didn’t eat much at all so the energy storage just wasn’t there. I actually weighed myself the morning of the race and I weighed about 3 pounds lighter than when I last weighed myself on that Monday before. As much as I loved seeing the new weight I knew it wasn’t a good sign. Another reason was I didn’t sleep much either so my body was tired. And obviously I was still sick.
So lessons learned from Sunday:
1. Don’t run races sick (someday I will learn this! See previous post about my half marathon experience)
2. Don’t let your father drive your car because he’ll burn out your clutch!
In other news, I had a great run tonight in my new shoes! I’ve finally got my appetite back and have made some yummy meals that I’ll share soon!