Saturday, April 27, 2013

Striders 30 k Race Report

Today was the final race of five in the Strider's Winter Racing Circuit.  It was a 30 k, or in regular terms, an 18.66 miler.  Like I have mentioned before, this series is designed for those that are training for the Ogden Marathon with each length getting longer and they are timed as you would time long runs if you were doing the marathon.

I was really excited about this race, but really had no expectations whatsoever.  I am not doing the Ogden Marathon, or for all I know, any marathon in the near future.  (I should know in a couple weeks if I got into the St. George Marathon for October).  This is also an unconventional race distance, so no PR worry about, and it was a guaranteed PR anyway, right?  I also rode almost 50 difficult miles with my Dad the day before, so I knew that I was going into it on tired legs.  However, I really like to finish what I start, and seeing as how I have done the other 4 races in the series, I wasn't about to pass up the chance to get some more great race swag and another medal!

I woke up early and headed up to Eden where this race started.  It started from the same assisted living place that the buses left from for the half, and used much of the same course.  However, this was an out and back course, which was really nice.

The weather forecast for this race was awesome!  It was projected to be 40's to start, but high 60's by the finish.  I wore capris, a t-shirt, and a throw away long sleeve t-shirt with throw away gloves.  This ended up being perfect and I did ditch the throw aways by mile 6 :)

At the start I saw my running buddies.  I was able to stay with my friend, Jen for the first 3 miles, but she is a way faster runner than I and I quickly let her go and told her not to let me hold her back.  I wasn't worried about pacing, or the pacers for that matter.  My dumb watch was working when it chose to, so I really had no way to gauge how I was running other than by feel, which was fine.  My ongoing ankle issue hurt for the first 4 miles, then stopped.  I was glad that it wasn't worse than that! Luckily, my music held up and I had good tunes the entire time!

The miles progressed quickly until Mile 14.  Since the longest distance I have done this year is a half, this was just beyond what I have done this year and my body was feeling the fatigue.  It wasn't bad, but I wasn't feeling pumped and energized either.  I was faithfully doing my Gu every 4 miles with the water.  I was fueling the best that I knew how.  I just could feel the strain of a distance I haven't done in over 8 months.  I decided that since this was NOT a big deal, it wasn't worth injuring myself further, and it wasn't worth straining too much, so I simply ran and enjoyed it, not worrying about keeping up with anyone, or beating any time.  I enjoyed the weather (it was GORGEOUS) and enjoyed how pretty this route was (I mean, really? It doesn't get better than the Ogden Valley).  I also had those thoughts that often come into my mind about how lucky I am just to be able to do things like this.  I was grateful for the opportunity to even be there, to run, and enjoy such a neat day like this!

I was really proud of the fact that I was feeling as good as I was.  I thought about how I had ridden almost 50 miles yesterday and was running almost 20 the very next day, all within 24 hours!  I suddenly felt really proud of that fact and that I was physically able to do that!  Kinda like my own half Ironman, without the swim portion!

Before I knew it, it was over.  It was long, but not as hard as I was expecting.  I was happy to see my final time came to 3:07:10, which is a 10:05 mile!  Pretty good for someone who was taking it easy, and who hasn't done this distance in awhile, and who had done a killer ride the day before!!  If I could maintain that pace for a full, I would have a PR by over 10 minutes!  Not like I am crunching numbers for StG or anything ;)

At the finish, we were given a medal for completing the series and a super cool 32 ounce Nathan water bottle.  I swear, I love race swag!  It's amazing what I will put my body through for some more of it!

Now that I have finished the whole series, I must say that I am very impressed.  I wasn't expecting much and simply signed up because it was something that I hadn't done before and I had many friends doing it.  I wasn't expecting much from Strider's.  Boy, was I wrong!  This is a well run series, and I would DEFINITELY do it again.  All five courses are very challenging, which I think just train you better.  They either kill you with the difficulty of the courses (READ: HILLS FROM HELL) or with distance.  They give you cool swag.  If you do the entire series, your race bling grows by 2.  I will definitely consider doing it again next year, depending on what my goals are.

What's next?  Nothing until the Memorial Day Classic, also a Strider's race.  I will be hitting the bike harder in the next 6 weeks to prep for the Little Red Century ride the week after the Memorial Day Classic.  Until then...

Happy Training/Racing!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ride with Pa!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a self-proclaimed Daddy's girl.  I swear much of the reason that I am into sports later in life is because of his example he set growing up.  I never remember a time in my life my Dad wasn't physically active.  He was a runner for years, and we could count on him to be running every day after work before we had dinner as a family.  He injured himself running several years ago then took up biking, and he has been hooked since!  He keeps telling me one of these days I will hang up my running shoes and go to cycling exclusively.  Not likely to happen :)

Anyhow...he was in town from Denver this past week and he brought his bike with him.  We decided to ride Antelope Island.  I love it out there, it is so close to home, yet you feel like you are really getting away.  You can make it as short or as long or as hard or as easy of a ride as you want as well.  We decided we would ride down to the ranch, which is the end of the paved roads on the south end of the island.  Usually you go straight there from my house it is 20 miles one way.  However, my Dad and I swung by the visitor's center, and took some other detours so we had a total ride of 48.2 miles.

The weather could NOT have been better!  It was sunny and 70!  Loved it!  We were able to see tons of wildlife out there, including some coyotes, buffalo, and rabbits.  My Dad had never ridden out there, so he took everything in.  He kept saying how much fun it was, and I must say, the best part of the ride was the company!

Last time I rode with my Dad was last year when we rode up to East Canyon Reservoir.  I knew that he was holding back on me big time last year and I struggled to keep up with him.  This year was different!  I know he held back some, but not much and I was able to keep up with him most of the time!  He is a beast on the bike though, he averages 19-22 mph when he is on his own.  Yeah, not quite me yet.  He did comment on how far I have come in that year with my riding.  Specifically he said he was impressed not only with my speed, but also my competence on the bike as far as my climbing skills, and how I handle myself.  Coming from him, this is a HUGE compliment!

On our way down to the ranch, we passed the sign pointing to Frary Peak.  I have never ridden up there, but have always been curious.  However, just looking at it, it is terribly frighteningly steep.  I had no idea how far it went, but my Dad just got this grin on his face like a little kid in a candy store and I could tell he wanted to do it.  I told him I was game as long as he didn't expect any land speed records to be set.  We headed up it and it was BAD.  This made Big Mountain seem like a minor speed bump.  I was really struggling and I just couldn't get the bike wheels to turn anymore and since I had lost momentum, I toppled over, catching myself as I unclipped.  I took in some nice chain ring scrapes on the back of my calf, but not too bad.  I then decided it would be next to impossible to clip back in and try to go up anymore, so I was fine with walking my chariot to the top.  It was only another minute after that that I noticed my Dad was off and walking his bike as well.  This coming from the man that completed the Triple Bypass last year and climbs ALL the time.  This must be bad if he can't do it!

Luckily, it is not that long of a climb to the top, and when we got up there we noticed the following sign:

Yep, we were climbing a hill with 23% grade.  My Dad made the comment that in all of his years of climbing and riding, he has NEVER done anything that steep.  We took several pictures.  He can't wait to get bragging rights at the office for those shots!

The downhill on this was scary mess-your-bike-shorts kind of thing.  I usually love a good down hill, but I seriously thought I was going to go over my  handle bars and rode my brakes the entire time.  That is some scary stuff!  Probably won't be doing it again any time soon!

We had a great day.  We tried as many of the climbs as we could find on the island, regardless of how long or short they were.  We were pleased with ourselves and had a BLAST.  He is the best riding partner ever!

We are going to be going to Denver in July and my Dad has some rides up his sleeve for us to go and do on his turf while we are there.  Regardless of whether we go and climb a mountain, or ride around the block, with him it will always be fun.

What's next?  Tomorrow I have the final race, the 30 km, in the Striders Winter Racing Circuit.  Till then...

Happy Training!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Get over it!

Since my race on Saturday, I have realized that there are always lessons that we are learning as runners and athletes.  I think that Saturday I learned a few, and I am having to learn the latest...and that is to GET OVER IT!

Specifically, I have to realize that not every race is going to be a big PR or show big progress.  Even though I know in my head that I did the best that I could do on Saturday under the rough conditions, I am disappointed that I didn't do better.  I wasn't really expecting a PR, but something closer  to that would have been nice.  I am having a hard time with the fact that I was almost 14 minutes slower than just two weeks ago.  I know that in the long run it doesn't matter.  I know that not every race is going to be great.  But still, I had hoped to do better.

I know that I was injured.  The conditions/course/my injury all were very different between the two races.  It wouldn't be comparing apples with apples to expect the same results. I know all of these things, but still, I had wanted to do better.

This season has seen a consistent stream of PR's for me.  That is awesome!  I should celebrate that!  It shows great progress on so many levels.  There are still races I am doing the remainder of this season (which in reality, is just starting) that I hope to show more progress.  But still, I can't help but feel disappointed.

I know that need to build my run base.  I have heard time and time again that whatever our weakest sport of the three tri sports, that is the area we need to focus on the most.  So, I am revamping my training schedule from now till school is out (when I was going to re-hash it anyway because of the increase in time) and add more runs, but do so smartly in a way to avoid injury, but also build a good base.  I am hoping that by this base building, I can start speed work come the end of May, which will hopefully help me in the St. George Marathon in the fall (fingers crossed I get in!).

So, there you have it.  I usually finish a race and in the days that follow I am on Cloud Nine.  Not so much after this one.  I had a good time, and no race is ever truly bad, but I can't help but feel somewhat disappointed.  On another note, however, my ankle is holding up beautifully!

Now to focus on getting over it, and moving on.  Happy Training All!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Salt Lake City Half Marathon 2013

There is no perfect race.

Difficult conditions can, and will arise.

You can either suck it up or give up.

The first was my only option today :)

I was writing this race report five million times over today while I ran this race.  It seemed that this could have been a very bad race day when you look at all the cards dealt to me.  Luckily, it ended up being okay, but it was TOUGH!

To start at the beginning is the best way.  I have been nursing this dang tendinitis in my ankle for two weeks,  since my Striders Half Marathon.  I felt fine during that race, but apparently I did something to royally piss off my ankle and I have been paying for it ever since.  I knew that I would run this race, and I was grateful that my ankle was feeling better, though not 100%, so that I could at least try to slog my way through it.  Ken and I went to the race expo last night and got my packet and for the third year in a row, found that SLC may do a good race, but they ALWAYS have an ugly shirt.  The expo had many vendors that I have seen at other races, but one caught my eye as they were selling fuel belts.  I have been playing with the idea to start carrying my own water and Gu during races, and these things were cool!  They held two 8-ounce bottles, Gu, your phone or small camera, and had a place to attach your race bib.  The sales people  promised me that it would stay in place and not bounce around.  Okay, I'll try it.  Forget the "nothing new on race day" rule!

I was glad that we had the kids stay over at my inlaws last night.  Ken and I got up at 4:15 to get down to the race.  Ken dropped me off at the Gateway to catch the Trax line up to the University of Utah where this race starts.  This is how I have gotten to the start for the past two years, and the way the race organizers tell you to get up there.  Usually the trains come every 15 minutes and you can get on for free with your race bib.  I sat there and waited.  I saw my friend, Mike Allred and went over and talked to him.  We kept wondering where the heck the trains were!  We could tell that people around us were starting to get nervous and some were saying that they had been waiting for 45 minutes!  We had been waiting for a half an hour.  It was 6:30 by this time, and the start is 7:00.  Luckily Mike had parked close so we jumped in his truck and drove to further up 400 South to another station where we saw a ton of other runners.  We were able to get on, though it was VERY crowded.

One VERY packed train..standing room only
We got up to the race start with 10 minutes to spare.  I didn't need to use the restroom, I dropped my jacket into the gear drop bag and then went to find where I would put myself among the 7000 other runners there.  Then it started.  The skies opened up and the rain began.  It wasn't really a drizzle, but not an outright down pour either, but a good steady rain that would keep coming the ENTIRE race.  They did the National Anthem, then as a tribute to Boston Marathon, there was a moment of silence followed by the playing of Sweet Caroline.  This was a neat moment as many of the runners were wearing ribbons, shirts, bracelets, etc in support of the people in Boston.  It was neat to be there as this tragedy has affected EVERY runner in one way or another.

I carried my new iPhone with me for the first time ever in a race, and here is a shot, though a blurry one, of the start at Legacy Bridge at the U.

Let's do this!
The news media was all over the place, as was the noticeable increase in security.  There were cops EVERYWHERE.  They had the below Bomb Squad vehicle.  There were cops on bikes, running the course with their loaded belts, at every intersection, and the dogs were all over the place.  I am so grateful for these officers for making us all feel safer today and doing so in pouring down rain, wind and almost freezing temperatures!

This is the screen shot of the hourly forecast for the morning.  Yeah, you can make that 100% chance of rain!

Far from ideal conditions
 I went to turn on my watch right before the start.  It would not pick up a satellite signal for ANYTHING.  I had been messing with it for over 10 minutes and I guess because of the storm and clouds, it wasn't going to work.  Big surprise.  I hate that thing!  But anyhow, I just decided to hit the start and with out the GPS signal, it would only be able to tell me my time, no pace or distance today.  Dang it!

Then I went to hook up my iPod.  Are you freaking kidding me?!? Um, it is ON right?  All I got out of it were beeping noises that I have never heard from it before.  Looks like we are "running naked" for this race.  I could have lived with out the watch, but for races, music helps me get and stay in the zone and I honestly think it helps the time go by faster as well as the miles, and if you have the right music, the beat can help you keep a good pace too.  I was NOT happy about this.  Plus, I didn't have any place to really put my iPod either.  I knew that Ken would be along the route at about Mile 3, so I would just carry it and throw it to him at that point.

The first few miles were good.  My ankle hurt, but I expected it too.  I had no idea what pace I was running, but I didn't really care.  I started to think about how I almost missed the start of this race, the weather sucked, and my technology was not working, and my ankle hurt.  It was about this time in the race that one of the spectators along the side had a sign that said, EMBRACE THE SUCK.  I thought about it and knew it was what I needed to do today.  I could only control my attitude at this point.  I started noticing things that I don't think that I would have noticed had my iPod been working, or if I was zeroing in on my watch.  There were spectators that were reading my name off my bib and yelling, "Go Katie!  Looking Good!"  Would I have heard that if my music was pumping full blast?  I was able to have conversations along the route with other runners that I would have missed out on otherwise.  It was little things like that I was noticing and enjoying!  Runners are a great group of people, and it was fun to get to know a few of them, even if just for a few minutes during my race.

The rest of the miles ticked on, and I was noticing changes that they had made to the route.  However, it remained an awesome course. I have always like the fact that this race is entirely in a city, where most races around here start up a canyon somewhere and you don't see spectators until the final part.  I was thoroughly enjoying all of the spectators, though with the weather today, there were quite a few less than past years.  The new route had you do a complete lap through Sugar House Park around the pond, and that is a place I have always wanted to run, but haven't.  It also took us through other parts of the city I haven't been to before, and I thoroughly enjoyed the course and changes.  I noticed that the race still went by fast, all things considered.

With all the rain, I was COMPLETELY drenched.  It looked as if I had jumped into a pool then gotten out again.  I was glad that they only part of me that was cold though were my hands, even though I had gloves on, they clearly weren't water resistant in the least.  I had to run right through several puddles and my feet would get wet, though they didn't stay wet or cold, or didn't feel like it anyway.  When we got to Mile 12, I was really starting to lose feeling in my hands, and I just wanted to be done, but other than that, I felt great!  Stamina wise I could have easily kept going and though my ankle ached, it wasn't bad at all.  And honestly, when as a runner does something NOT ache?  It's always something, right?

I was happy to hear the finish line music and finally enter Liberty Park where the race ended (in the past it has ended at the Gateway).  There were TONS of people out, despite the down pour.  I booked it for the last half mile.  I found a rhythm that felt amazing, I brought my knees up higher, and my arms were in full motion and it felt awesome!  I made sure that I focused on my breath and just kept going.  Man, I need to work on maintaining that kind of pace for a longer distance, it felt incredible!  (note to self, do more speedwork!)

I got to the finish and my final chip time was 2:12:10.  Under the conditions of the day, the cold, the wind, the rain, the lack of technology, my injury, I will take it. And my doctor did say that if I did do this race, he wanted me to take it easy.  Mission Accomplished! I have a hard time accepting that not every race is going to be a PR.  Some days you have it, and other days you have something different.  I am thrilled with my sub-2 from two weeks ago, but I quite possibly ran that too hard that led to this injury.  And one thing that I also thought of during the race today was how fortunate I am just to have the opportunity to run and race.  I am grateful to be in this community of runners.  I was grateful for the chance to be in a race and see new parts of the city in conditions I haven't otherwise.  After the events at Boston this week, I am just simply THANKFUL.

So, what's did I learn today?  Some days are going to be A-race kind of days.  You are going to be in the zone, you will push yourself hard, and be rewarded with a PR or great performance.  Other days you won't have those things, but it doesn't make it a "bad race".  I have always hated hearing people say that they had a bad race.  Really?  Racing is like pizza, even went it isn't great or ideal, it is rarely BAD.  I was grateful for the chance to race!

Oh!  And I also learned that it was quite nice to have my own fuel on my race!  I usually carry Gu, but having the water was nice for times I was thirsty and not near an aid station.  I loved the new really did stay in place!

What's next?  Well, I have the final race in the Striders Winter Racing Circuit next week, the 30k or 18.641 miler.  I can't say that I have any expectations for this race other than to finish and have fun.  It is an unconventional distance, I am not doing any marathon coming up, so it will be a great long, slow training run.

So in the meantime....Happy Racing/Training all!

Love me some new race bling!
Finish line sprint!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Part of a family

Photo: Wearing my race shirt today!

I have been in total disbelief about the tragedy in Boston yesterday.  I woke up yesterday feeling the excitement of a marathon that I can't compete in due to my own slowness, but would LOVE to one day.  I knew that several people from my running group were in it, and I was excited for them.  As I lay in bed before my alarm went off thinking about the Boston Marathon and thinking about how much I love the marathon, and I just started the day thinking how awesome it was!

Right after lunch I got the text from KSL about the explosions going off.  Luckily I had some down time and I could check the news.  I was shocked by it and sat mesmerized in front of the news coverage. I was grateful to be able to check Facebook and see that those I knew running the race were safe and accounted for.

As the day went on I had more time to think about it.  I thought about how I felt personally violated by this attack.  I wasn't in the race, I have never run this race, nor am I anywhere close to being able to qualify for it.  But, I felt like as a runner and marathoner, this was personal!  I may not have run this race, but I am a runner.  I know how much it takes to cross the finish line of a marathon.  I know the training, the stress on my body, the time it takes, etc.  I know the feeling of crossing the line at a marathon is unlike anything else in the world.  I thought of all of the marathoners there that day, and for many of them, I am sure this was the race of a lifetime and a bucket list item for many.  To have that taken away and violated is tragic!

I saw on Facebook some one post about everyone wearing a race shirt today to show our support and our unity for those in Boston.  I loved the idea immediately.  I knew I would wear my St. George Marathon shirt.  I also knew that it was just one small thing that I could do.

When you are a runner, like it or not, you become part of a family.  I feel an immediate bond with people I see running with the head lamps on in the early morning as I am headed to work or headed home from the pool.  When I am in the grocery store and see someone in a race shirt, I feel a connection to them.  Just as I do when I sit at a light and notice race stickers on a car in front of me.  Or, like yesterday morning prior to the attack, when I felt the connection and the excitement to all of the runners running a race I aspire to one day complete.  Though I hardly know any of them, I have been at the starting line of a marathon, and I felt the excitement for them just like I have felt the morning of my own big races.

When the bombs went off, and our sanctuary, running, was also attacked, it was personal.  Many people run not for the times, but for what it does for them personally.  It offers the clarity of mind, the sense of accomplishment, an increase in self esteem, and so much more.  To have that special moment taken away for those that were there is unforgivable.

So, in wearing my shirt today, I felt a connection to the rest of the running family.  I also wish I could go run, but with my injury, I have to stay off of it this week.  But, when I run the SLC Half on Saturday, my thoughts and steps will be for those affected in Boston.  God Bless all of them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Injury Update

I went to the doc on Friday and boy did I luck out in many ways!  First off, I was really bothered that I couldn't get into my regular go-to sports doc, or any of the others that came recommended to me from my tri group peeps.  So, I knew that with the races I have coming up, it was best to see some one ASAP and so I a called and got into the clinic we usually go to and got in with the GP there.  We usually see a physician's assistant, but she was out.  Anyhow, it turns out that this doc is a runner/triathlete as well!  YEAH!  I knew that he wasn't just going to be some doc that was going to tell me to stop running!  They took x-rays and determined that it wasn't fractured, but it was a thoroughly ticked off peroneal tendon.  He has told me not to run  at all for the next week leading up to the SLC Half, to take the prescription anti-inflammatory he gave me, keep it taped, ice it a ton, and if I am feeling better in a week, go a head and run the race!  BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK!

We also discussed how since I had already hit my goal for half marathons for the year, that of a sub 2 hour time, I could take the pressure off and just go easy and have fun so as not to stress it more.  SLC Half was going to be an A race for me, but since I have hit that goal, and I have this injury, it has become a C race.  I will just go and enjoy it, and be happy knowing I hit my goal for the year.

So, I can still race!  This week will be swimming and biking as much as I want and then resting up on Thursday and Friday for the SLC Half.

Happy Training all!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Road block

The last few weeks have been filled with good moments with races and results, but they have also been incredibly frustrating after battling sickness for two weeks, and now there is ANOTHER road block in the way.  FOR THE LOVE OF BENJI....REALLY?

I am nursing a new injury.  It came after my half marathon last Saturday, with a small dull ache on the side of my ankle.  I didn't think much of it seeing as how EVERYTHING was sore after that race.  I took some ibuprofen as a  precaution since everything was hurting anyway.  I knew I would take a few recovery days after a hard race effort, so honestly, I didn't think anything of it.  I didn't even feel it on Sunday.  Then Monday came, and it came back, but a little more persistent.  I started adding icing to the ibuprofen, but it wasn't really helping.  By Wednesday, it was hurting all the time, even in my regular activities, or walking the halls at school.  I figured it was time to bust out the KT Tape.  After all, I have NEVER had an injury that taping it didn't provide relief, right?  Meanwhile, I hadn't run since the race and figured a few slow and easy miles yesterday morning would be fine.  I taped my ankle, and went for what was going to be an easy 5 miles.  Well, two miles into the run, the pain wasn't going away, as sometimes it does with a warm up.  It got worse and every step hurt.  Oh CRAP!  I cut the run short after three miles.  I got home, took a shower, iced it briefly before heading to work, retaped it, and it hurt all. Day. Long.  I have come to learn that if taping doesn't help, it must be something more significant than a slight strain.

So, with too many races on the schedule to mess with, I am going back the the doctor.  I am scared of what he is going to say, and even more bothered they can't get me in till Tuesday.  Dang it! I am going to skip this weekend's run, and go swimming instead, or hit the bike instead.  Please send happy thoughts, prayers, whatever that this isn't anything bad!  Hopefully something easily fixed and I can go on happily racing :)

I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Striders Half Marathon

Photo: This morning's race. Love these people!

Well, another race in the Striders Winter Racing Circuit has come and gone.  It was a great one!  I had big hopes for this race, I set a goal of hitting a sub-2 hour half marathon for some time this year, plus, I have always enjoyed half marathons!  In my opinion, they are a great distance.  You can train for one with out killing yourself, but it is still quite an accomplishment to do one!  I also think that since my first organized race ever was a half, I have always had a fondness for this distance.

This was also my birthday!  I turned 34 today, and I must admit that the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that I will move up an age group next year (WOOHOOO!) and it was perfect to start it off with friends from my tri group who greeted me up at the start with birthday wishes and hugs.  Seriously, these are the best people ever!  How did I ever race for 2 years without these fun people?

Pre-race I had breakfast of a slice of bread and a banana.  I woke up early enough that I could fill the gas tank and make sure that I could get up to this starting point that I wasn't familiar with.  They had Ogden Canyon closed, the normal way that I would have gone to get up to Eden to the start, so having to go over Trappers Loop I made sure to give myself enough time.  Luckily all I had to do was get over the loop and follow all of the other traffic that was out that morning with race stickers on their cars to get to the right place :)

I got up there, parked my car and used the restroom.  I made sure that found my way to the buses.  I was nice to sit on those since it was cold out.   I am never quite sure how to dress for these things.  They have gear drop bags and those are helpful, but I still didn't know how to dress for the race itself.  I decided that since it was going to be in the high 30s, low 40s for the start of the race that would wear gloves, a t-shirt and a throw away long sleeve layer.  I dropped my coat in my gear drop bag and luckily found someone with throw away gloves, which were a better option than the ones I had and wanted to keep.

I was pleased to see that they had pacers for this race!  They were in 5 minute increments from 1:30-2:30!  I was surprised to see this for a small local race that was put on by a running store!  I decided that I would try to stick with the 1:55 guy for as long as possible that if I couldn't keep up with him, I had at least established a strong start to beat my goal of 2:00.  I realized that keeping with these guys would mean sticking with an 8:46/mm pace, but I was willing to try!

The first half of the race flew by.  I had my Gu at miles 3 and then not again until mile 9.  I had only water at the aid stations.  I found that the 1:55 pace group was too fast for me, at least to maintain past the first half.  At about mile 7 they got away from me and I decided to try to keep them in sight and not let the 2:00 hour group pass me.  I could tell that I was going hard, but I also found that I could keep this hard pace!  It was faster than I thought I could do, but it felt good!

We got to mile 11 and I really started to feel like I was on empty.  I could tell that my pace had slowed and before I knew it, the 2:00 group was right behind me.  I started to feel deflated.  I really wanted this PR.  I knew that I had given it my all, but I really wasn't sure there was much left to give!  I just had an empty feeling like I could collapse, and I still had a couple of miles to go!  I started to examine if another Gu would help, or if I just needed to suck it up.  I started doubting my strategy to go out so fast, and then I just hit a moment where I thought, "STOP!  This is all mental, and you are LOSING at this point.  Suck it up!  You either want it, or you don't".  I have heard a quote saying, "Run the first third of the race with your mind, the second third with your legs, and the final third with your heart."   I think that was what set in.  My body was done.  My mind was going all negative on me, so I just decided I wanted it bad enough to pull it from somewhere, and though it sounds cheesy, it was my heart!  I so wanted this!  I hated to give up so close to the end.  I honestly felt like I was in a true race where my opponent was that 2:00 hour pace group and I wasn't going to let them win!

I kicked it into gear and went for it.  I am not sure where it came from, but it was pure adrenaline.  I rounded the final corner where I could see the finish.  I saw the race clock and it read 1:58:30.  Granted, I knew that with chip time, I had a few seconds over that to spare, but still the visual was very powerful and I just ran as hard as I could to literally beat the clock.  When I finished, my watch said 1:59:46.  I was thrilled to not only beat my PR that was previously 2:08:42, but also my goal for this season to at some point hit sub 2 hours!

I found my group and they congratulated me.  Everyone had a good race yesterday!  The finish line food was amazing...fruit and yogurt parfaits, hot chocolate, bagels, Great Harvest bread.  I was in Heaven and probably had too much :)  I was also thrilled to get a finisher's medal!  I was told we would get one at the end of the whole series, so I wasn't expecting one today, so bonus race bling is ALWAYS a plus!

I was able to check my final time and the final results are as follows:

FINAL TIME: 1:59:36
AGE GROUP: 25/63

I am so excited to see this progress.  Running at that pace means I averaged a 9:07/ minute mile pace for 13.1 miles!  I feel like running has improved for me, and slowly the other sports follow suit.  What's next for me?  The Salt Lake City Half Marathon is just two weeks from today.  I was viewing it as my other chance to beat sub 2 if I didn't hit it today.  Now I will go and just have fun and see what happens.  In the meantime,

Happy Training All!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

6 Myths about Running (Stolen from

I loved this so much I had to share it:

SALT LAKE CITY — I was a trusting child. I believed anything and everything anyone in authority — or anyone who was simply older than I — told me.

If I crossed my eyes too long, they would stay crossed.

Swallowed gum would literally gum up my insides.

Wearing hats will make me bald.

Boys have cooties. (According to my daughters, that one is true.)

Myths are often perpetuated to encourage desired behavior. Often times they discourage what could potentially be a wonderful adventure.

For many, the world of running is a mysterious, foreign land filled with goal-obsessed athletes who wear bright-colored wicking shirts and dine on GU’s and Powerade with peanut butter sandwiches for dessert.

Granted, running may not be appealing to everyone, but often times the reasons that keep people from venturing into the land of sweet sweat aren’t real reasons at all. I’m here to debunk a few of the myths surrounding my beloved sport.

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Myth No. 1: Real runners are fast.

It’s true that elite runners are fast, but only a tiny population of runners are considered elite. The vast majority of runners aren’t out to win big races or seek sponsorships from major shoe companies. Most are out to enjoy time outside, work out stress and get healthy. Only one major marathon in the country carries a qualifying time requirement: Boston. Other races simply require your money and presence.

Myth No. 2: Real runners race.

I know many runners who have no desire to ever set foot on a starting line of any race whether it be a 5K or a marathon. Paying an entrance fee and pinning on a bib number doesn’t make someone more of a runner; it simply makes them a racer. For many, running races adds unneeded stress and anxiety. Running should ease stress, not cause it.

Myth No. 3: Real runners use coaches.

Coaches aren’t just for elite or collegiate runners anymore. Especially with the help of the Internet, anyone can find a coach to help them meet their goals. But being coached isn’t a requirement to be a runner. I have worked with a coach in the past, but found that I work best alone. In fact, my most successful year in running happened sans coach.

Myth No. 4: Real runners are tall and skinny.

The truth of the matter is, if you run, you're a runner. Simple as that. There is no distance requirement. No size limit. No age limit. No speed test.
I confess that I used to believe this one, too. Many people begin running believing they, too, will magically transform into Ryan Hall or Kara Goucher. Truth is, runners come in every shape and size imaginable. If you’re new to running you can certainly expect to see your body transform, but often the changes we get are not the changes we anticipate. Sometimes they’re better. Go watch a race, even a marathon, and marvel at the vast array of body types that cruise by. It’s inspiring and reassuring.

Myth No. 5: Real runners run marathons.

Yes, marathons are my race of choice. I love the training. I love the long, lonely distances. That’s just me. For many, a marathon is the ultimate goal. Yet there are many runners who never come close to reaching that 26.2 mile marker and have no desire to attempt it. It’s not about the distance covered; some of the greatest runners in the world only run a few meters at a time. I dare anyone to tell Usain Bolt he’s not a runner.

Myth No. 6: Real runners just run.

If my body would allow me to run all day, every day and never break down, I would do it. If I never had to strength train again, I’d be a very happy girl. If the only exercise I ever got was running my favorite trails with my favorite people, I would be content. But my body does break down. My knees complain loudly and viciously when my glutes are weak. There are a few lucky ducks who can pile on the miles without ever cross-training, but they’re rare. Cross-training is a crucial part of most runner’s exercise diet. Not only does it give the body a break from the pounding, but it’s a mental break as well. Too much of a good thing is just too much.

“I run a little, but I’m not a real runner,” is one phrase that makes my ears ache. The truth of the matter is, if you run, you’re a runner. Simple as that. There is no distance requirement. No size limit. No age limit. No speed test. The only thing that makes someone a runner is lacing up their shoes and running. There’s beauty in the simplicity.

Real runners run.

I believed so many of these myths for a very long time and that is what kept me from trying running til I was 30!  I believed you had to be a certain speed, certain size, yada, yada, yada.  That was one of the most refreshing things about the sport to me when I did do my first couple of races was how many people did NOT fit that mold, and I was glad because I certainly didn't!   I was also thrilled with how welcoming the running community was, and encouraging.  If less people believed these myths, more people would probably try running in the first place!