Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Buffalo Half-Marathon Race Report and.. GOALS!

 On Sunday, I ran the Buffalo Half-Marathon. Originally, I was supposed to run a spring marathon (Pittsburgh) - that was my plan for quite a while. This shifted around a bit due to scheduling and eventually turned into the Buffalo Marathon. However, we had a very long and terrible winter where people who were less than motivated to train (i.e. me) ended up not doing a whole lot of consistent running. I ended up registering for the half because I thought it was more realistic. I'm glad that's what I decided to do. Even after dropping to the half, my training was sporadic. Between work, my class, my personal life, and general busyness, I was missing at least 1 run per week. I missed a few long runs in there too (missed my last one due to a wedding in NJ - I SWORE I was going to run but a hangover dictated that I should not). LifeWine happens! The wedding was fun and I love seeing my beautiful friend Jessie so happy! I also surprisingly loved being in NJ (in Brigantine which is the island in Atlantic City) near the beach - the weather was so beautiful on Saturday and Sunday - I wish I could have stayed for a little bit longer.

Rehearsal Dinner AKA why I missed my long run Sat. morning
studying before the wedding: see I am a serious student!
some of the bridesmaids and the MotB after the ceremony!
I was a bridesmaid!!! :)
Race day rolled around after a stretch of 6 days where I did not run due to time management issues regarding preparing for the wedding and studying for my final exam (wedding was Saturday in NJ, I was in NJ Fri-Sun, final was Monday evening). Maybe a more dedicated person (or someone who is better at getting up in the mornings) could have managed this - but I could not. I did not run from Wed-Sun. I did start back up running on Monday before taking my final, and ran every day leading up to the race except for Saturday. I'm not sure if this really affected my race (probably missing the long run that weekend DID) but it's what happened and I can't undo it. I had a few late nights (Thursday I was up incredibly late, and Friday night I had friends staying with me who came to Rochester for the Color Run). Saturday night I was in bed fairly early for my 4 am wakeup call on Sunday.
Kerry and I at the Genesee Brewhouse on Friday night
after the Color Run, we took the convertible to Hogan's Hideaway for lunch!
 The trip to Buffalo was uneventful - I left at 4:30, got there at about 5:45, got my packet, got lost trying to find the parking garage that my car was in, but made it to the start line on time after some shady parking garage activities (peeing where I shouldn't have peed) because I was running a bit late. Up until this point I wasn't sure how fast I was going to try to run the race. Based on my 5K a few weeks ago, McMillan predicted a 1:44 finish time. My current half PR is 1:40:something. Could I PR? I wasn't sure if I could do it but I also wasn't sure if I wanted to give up on the idea of at least trying. Then I realized I forgot to look up what paces I needed to run for either of these finish times (sometimes I can be a little unorganized). When I got into the start area, I saw the 1:40 pace leader and said "f-it" and decided to go for it. If I couldn't run a 1:39 I was going to find out the hard way!

She started us off easy at 8 min/mile pace for the first 2 miles and then picked it up. I was generally feeling pretty good for the first half of the race. I wasn't comfortable but I was surviving. I had a shot block every 2 miles and had a sip of water at every aid station. Pace was definitely quicker than I am used to - generally I run everything at endurance pace and I need to stop doing this because it's a huge shock to go faster. Once we hit 9 miles, I started to fall apart a little. The pace group started to get a little farther ahead of me.. maybe 20 feet. I tried to keep up the best I could. I would say miles 1-9 flew by and I enjoyed them, but 9-13 dragged on and on and ON and were fairly horrible. I knew if I could stick with the pace group I could PR, but I just couldn't hang on. The last 2 miles I felt pretty bad - couldn't focus on anything, had some cold chills going on - not fun. Anyways, I finished out of sight of the pace group in 1:41:24 (7:46 pace).

finishing! (love that Saucony top btw)

yes, I suck, I stole copyrighted photos
I am pretty ok with this result. I need to work harder to see improved results. I know this and I need to follow through with it. But I ran my ass off on Sunday and I am proud of that. I didn't try to run conservatively. I went for it, and failed, but I still went for it! The fitness was just not there. My splits look halfway decent up until mile 11. The HR data is a mess; I think my monitor is shitting out on me so that information is essentially useless.

It is still very obvious two days later that I "over-ran" my fitness level as I still am hobbling around and my quads are sore to the touch. It probably didn't help that yesterday I went on a 2.5 hour trail ride which made my legs feel worse I am sure. (But it was such a beautiful day to enjoy on horseback!).

Cherry and I on a Memorial Day trail ride
 Once I recover it is onto the next goals: the Adirondack Marathon in September (goal time TBD) and hopefully a half-marathon in August. I think I can run a 1:35 half if I focus. I have been trying to break the 1:40 threshold for several years and haven't been able to do it. I KNOW I can if I take it seriously. Obviously I can run a 1:40-ish half-marathon without too much trouble (this is the 3rd time I've done it out of 6 total half-marathons) so I need to up my game if I want to run it faster than that.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekend success

As promised in my blog post last week, I ran a 5K on Saturday! After skimming through my results on Athlinks post-race, I realized it was my first 5K since Johnny's Run Like Hell in October of 2011, where I ran a 22:57.

My results from Saturday? 22:32. 4th OA female, 1st in my age group (which is 30-39 now btw, ew). You won't find me in the results because there was a bit of a mix up at registration.

that girl passed me but I passed her back

I like this shot
I am fairly happy with that. In general, I run between 22 and 23 minutes for a 5K. When I am in really good shape, I can run a 21:xx, and when I am super out of shape, I run a 23:xx. So I am feeling pretty good considering it's May and I was pretty inconsistent until this month with my running and had NO idea what would happen. Plugging that into McMillan gives me a 1:44 half marathon and a 3:39 full marathon.

I don't really operate in a "goal-time" setting universe. The "A" races I have done have always been so long (Ironman, half-Ironman) and so dependent on everything going perfectly that I never had splits to aim for and more or less just wanted to finish (usually sub 13 was my safety zone). My first Ironman I finished in 12:18 and then my next 2 were slower. My fastest half-IM was 5:16 and again, the next 3 were slower. I have ALWAYS been sub 13 for the full and sub 6 for the half but those are times I set for myself when things go wrong. The 5:16 I did was when everything went really, really right. I have always wanted to tackle the half-IM goal but the season following that one great race, I did 2 Ironmans and no halves, and the one following that I was burned the f- out from racing and had 2 really slow races.

I have a hard time with goals.. but I think that with a shorter race I can control more of it and be closer to nailing my time. Part of me wants to see if I can pace for the 1:44 half. But the other part of me is dying to run sub-1:40 because I've never done it. I don't know if I CAN do it right now, so: Do I try for it and risk blowing up? Or do I play it safe and go by McMillan? These are things that I am inexperienced in - I don't know myself well enough as a runner to know what I can and cannot do. There is a 25 sec/mile difference between those two finish times which is a lot!

Anyways, I will be pondering that for the next two weeks.

After the 5K, I drove to the Lima Gun Club and participated in the RXCSF (Rochester XC Ski Foundation) Summer Biathlon Clinic. I AM a member of RXCSF and have done a few summer biathlons, so I am happy that we are bringing them to Rochester! I got there about an hour late but was still able to practice a little bit of shooting and then go through an informal practice race. I shot ok, but not great. Hopefully I will be able to get a rental gun and maybe actually improve!
getting some practice shots in the standing position

for the race we all shot prone (easier to hit targets)
Then on Sunday, I got up early, met K-Dub at his house in Mendon, where we proceeded to run 12 miles, mostly on trails, through the park! It was great to have someone to run with. I am not a great trail runner (I trip/fall down) therefore I avoid them and mostly stick to the road, but I do think it's a) good to get out of your comfort zone sometimes and b) easier on your joints for long runs like that.

It was a really good weekend running and otherwise. I got some yard work done, got some homework done, did some socializing, got a sunburn. Now unfortunately I am back to real life where I have to work, study for my final, and get ready to go out of town this weekend for my dear friend Jessie's wedding!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Oh hey.. running

My energies lately have been dedicated to a few things: finishing out the Spring semester at RIT, stressing about doing work to my house (read: stressing about it but not actually doing it), getting ready for my best friend's wedding which is in 8 days, and RUNNING!

I have decided to get back on board with racing this year. In the past 2 years, I have done *no* solid racing. I have done 2 Johnny's Runnin' of the Green races - both at minimal effort with my friend Richard. I have done 2 Seneca7 relays (my first year I had NO fitness, this year I ran much better) but I don't really consider them to be a "race" because of the whole group effort thing. I did 1 Johnny's Run Like Hell as a member of a "6 pack" which meant I was attached to 5 other people for the entire race and wearing a ball gown, and basically 4 of them weren't really runners. I ran a Turkey Trot in 2013 wearing way too many clothes because it was too cold to take off my warmup layer.

Seneca7 2013
Seneca7 2014

Cinderalla 6-Pack @Johnny's Run Like Hell

I did 1 summer biathlon last summer. Running and shooting. I won it but there were like 3 other women. I also did 1 ski race which I placed in. Again. I suck at skiing, there was just barely anyone else registered.

Summer Biathlon
I have run (not raced) 1 marathon. Wineglass Marathon last year. I PRed.. but my previous PR was terrible. I was happy with how that race went because it was based on 9 weeks of training during a terrible, time-consuming class, but it wasn't a "race." I was there to survive.

post-Wineglass Marathon

I HAVE raced cyclocross, but it's a totally different type of race/approach. So while I count it.. I also don't count it. I could have been better at it if I had trained or stayed in shape. But I did get my CAT3 upgrade which was a BIG deal to me!

Cyclocross at Ellison park
 So this year.. I am doing it. I am going to race to race. I am going to train hard. I am going to stop being lazy, stop skipping workouts, start paying attention to things. I am buying new race outfits (because I am a girl after all). I am going to get up and run in the morning when I don't have time after work. I am going to run in the rain and when it's super hot out.

I have a 5K this weekend, followed by a long run the next day. I have a half-marathon in 3 weeks. I am registered for the Adirondack Marathon in September.

Let's do this! Time to shake things up!