Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Carlton and Michael Hayden came up to run the race with me this weekend. We're quite a team! Carlton was hoping to set a new personal record, and Mike wanted to run his fasted 10K of the year. My goal was to break 49 minutes. I definitely thought this was an attainable goal, given my current fitness level and my past races. However, the 10K has always been my worst distance. I am never sure how to pace myself. I can run negative splits at marathons and half marathons, and I can gun a 5K pretty well (usually) but I am still uncertain what the best 10K strategy is.
My PR for the 10K was a 49:55, which would have been a lot faster, if there hadn't been such a huge hill during the last mile. I can't ever seem to catch a break with the 10K distance. It's always too hot, too windy, too hilly, or too cold!
I think I went out too fast. Carlton disagrees, but a 7:35 pace was way too ambitious. I felt good during that first mile, but then slowed down shortly afterwards. I was thankful that I had warmed up because my legs were freezing and so was my face. If it hadn't been for the run from the car to the start, I would have been frozen solid!
There was a very slight hill here, but nothing really noticeable. Otherwise, the course was flat. And I had run most of this course during the Marine Corps Marathon. My nose was freezing. I managed to run a 7:46. Perfect! This was the pace I was hoping to maintain for the rest of the race.
During mile 3, I saw Carlton on his way back toward the finish line. I was really surprised to see him, because I fully expected Michael Hayden to be ahead of him. I was excited for Carlton, but wondering what happened to Mike. I saw Mike shortly after, and he was very focused. I felt like I was maintaing my pace, but I actually slowed down to a 8:00 pace for this mile.
I passed the 5K mat at 24:24. However, when I looked at my watch, I misread it to say 24:12, which was
faster than my Turkey Trot 5K! I was psyched! After that, I think I got over-confident and felt like I didn't have to run as hard to do well. I slowed down again to yield a 8:07.
I was uncomfortably cold and I was struggling to maintain pace. People started to pass me. I was getting sick of the race at this point and I just wanted it to be over. I just wanted to maintain my pace and "survive" here. Pace for this mile was 8:08. I started to get mad at myself for slowing down so much. I really wanted to break an 8:00 average pace. I needed to gun the last mile.
Carlton came back to run with me at about mile 5.7. He told me to run faster and I screamed that I couldn't. Carlton was running ahead of me and I tried hard to catch up with him. He kept telling me to run faster and push harder, so I sped up at the end of the mile to get a 8:03. The first part of the mile must have been really slow!
The last 0.2
I decided to really give it my all at this point and makeup for my slower running earlier in the race. I felt like I was sprinting, but according to my watch, I was only going at a pace of 8:25.
Looking back on this race, I really wish I would have pushed harder. I pushed as hard as I could while Carlton was there, but I think I lost a lot of motivation and enthusiasm once I saw how much time I "banked".
My finish time was 49:23, an average pace of 7:57.
I placed 25 of 357 in my age group.
I placed 124 of 1291 women
I feel lukewarm about this. I was happy to PR, but I thought that my 10K PR was really not reflective of my running abilities at all. According to most running calculators, I should be able to come in well under 49 minutes. Baby steps, right? I don't know when my next 10K will be, but it might not be until June, when I run the Lawyer's Have Heart 10K.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
- 24:17 in September 2006
- 23:32 in November 2006 (same course I just ran)
- 23:30 in June 2007 (first place in age group!)
- 24:07 in July 2007 (lots of hills here)
- 24:19 in November 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
hotel that evening, calling my Web team, my boss, and our IT person. I'm still stressed about this, but there is nothing I can do other than to urge my IT person to work with my Web team to fix it.
These worked really well. In fact, they were still warm at the end of the race. You simply open the packet, shake them a little, and they provide constant heat. If it weren't for those hand warmers, I know I would have had numb hands the entire time. Additionally, I put heat warming insoles inside my shoes. I knew I couldn't run in them, so I wore them to the start line, and removed them about 5 minutes prior to race start. They were amazing! When I took them out, my feet immediately started to go numb, but I bounced around as much as possible to prevent that. Both the hand warmers and the foot warmers were a lifesaver, so I recommend them to anyone who runs or races in very cold weather.
The downhill hurt my left foot. This is not the bone spur, or the neuromas. Both of those injuries were fine! But my shoe digs into the muscle of my left foot a bit and it hurts. I was so temped to stop and re-adjust, but I didn't. And the pain passed after a mile or so.
There was a party zone at mile 18, and the crowd support was very much appreciated. At mile 19.5, there was a very steep, nasty uphill. This was probably the steepest incline of the entire race. Not really happy to have that at mile 19.5. Carlton had warned me about it, so I was prepared. I wanted to cross the 20-mile timing mat at 3:00. I was very happy to be there at 2:59. This is faster than my 20-mile race! I was also excited because I knew that the major hills were done with.
At about mile 22, I ran into my former co-worker and that gave me a burst of energy. We chatted for a bit and then I proceeded on. He was actually there just coaching people and not running for himself. Josh "Flash" Gordon had told me that Richmond was like a 25-mile marathon followed by a big downhill. I pushed so hard to get myself to mile marker 25, and then I knew it would get easier.
Monday, October 29, 2007
There was some barricade in the road and it took them awhile to remove it and so the race was delayed. Carlton (a Big Cat) told me to be sure I warmed up for at least half a mile prior to this race, which I did. But I stood at the start line for about 25 minutes in the cold, windy weather. By the time the gun went off, I was very stiff, and I found it hard to put one leg in front of the other. The first mile was 8:15, and I was aiming for a 7:45. My legs felt so heavy and stiff, and I had lost all the benefits of my warmup.
The Marine Corps Marathon was windy last year, but since I was running the marathon at a slower pace than my 10K pace, it didn't really affect my performance. But it's very hard to run a 10K pace directly into the wind. I wasn't mentally prepared for it to be so windy, and I had a hard time running through the wind resistance and it shot down my morale.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
On Sunday evening, and all day long on Monday, I had many people call, email or ask me in person if I had heard about what happened at the Chicago marathon on Sunday. Of course I heard! I was tracking 6 runners online (including my friend Randi who I was originally planning on being there with). I was glued to my computer all morning, virtually "watching" my friends cross each 5K split mark.
It was hot. Record-breaking heat, actually, and the temperature was said to have gone up to about 93 degrees. Most of my friends ran about 30 minutes slower than expected, except for Randi, who lives in Texas and is used to running in hot weather. Congrats to Randi for finishing her first marathon and keeping a steady pace throughout!
My cousin Brian even called me on Sunday night to make sure I was okay. (Thanks Brian!!!) He wasn't sure if I ran the race or not, be he also heard about the runner dying at the Army Ten Miler on the same day.
Someone just e-mailed me: "Did you see what happened at the Chicago marathon this weekend -- someone actually died during the race, and I think someone also died at a race in D.C. this weekend, too. Who knew it was such a deadly sport?" It's not a deadly sport! That is, if you train properly and don't have a heart condietion.
I don't like how the media is handling this. The reactions of my non-running friends and family were "OMG- Did you hear someone DIED because of the HEAT!" Well, yes, but this actually is not all that uncommon, unfortunately. Someone died at the Virginia Beach half marathon when I ran it in 2005, and also at the Marine Corps marathon in 2006. These are just races that I ran, so I am sure there are plenty of other marathons, half marathons, and even shorter races where people have died. In each of these instances, the person had a pre-existing heart condition.
What really annoys me about this situation is that people are blaming the marathon for that guy's death, saying that the marathon should have been shut down earlier, or even cancelled altogether. He had a heart condition! You can't blame the Chicago marathon for that. Furthermore, after this weekend's incident, people are now viewing marathons as deadly and dangerous. Even my dentist yesterday was talking about this!
Marathons, in and of themself, are not dangerous. They are only dangerous if you have a pre-existing condition, or aren't properly trained. And if you feel like the marathon is hazardous to your health while running it, STOP! I know that runners are stubborn and they will get to the finish line if it kills them. I understand that mentality. But this is their choice, and the marathon, itself, is not to blame.
The first time I ran a marathon, my father thought that something horrible would happen to me. When he called me a few hours later, he said "ELIZABETH!!!!!! You're okay!!!!!" He was shocked. He was surprised that I was talking normally and was energized and had no injuries. He was almost just as worried after the second marathon, but I think by marathon 3, he realized that I wasn't going to die from doing this.
So this one guy's death is being sensationalized because the entire Chicago Marathon was such a fiasco with the heat. He had a heart condition, and very well might have died even if it weren't hot. During the Marine Corps Marathon, it was in the low 60's and someone died. I passed out after a half marathon in 90-degree, humid weather. But I definitely didn't blame the race organizers for that. That being said, The Chicago Marathon was not well prepared and they ran out of water and gatorade. That certainly was a mistake, but we can't blame this man's death on that.
So now, marathons are getting this reputation of being dangerous and potentially deadly. And it annoys me.
Monday, October 1, 2007
I left my house at 6:15, stopped at Starbucks for a coffee, and I was on my way. I like to drink half a cup of their "tall" coffee on race morning, any more and I feel sick. Thanks to Yahoo! Maps, I got really turned around on the way to the race. It was in Mount Vernon, an area of Northern Virginia that I am completely unfamiliar with. In my 28 years of living in this area, I've never had to go there. After making several wrong turns and using the map I keep in my car for times like these, I made it to the elementary school where the race was starting. I got my lovely shirt, stretched, put my bib number on, and I was ready to go.
The race had 500 entrants and was not chip timed. I'm not sure how many people actually ran it because the official results aren't up yet, but I would guess about close to 500. Everyone I talked to was using the race as a training run for a fall marathon. Most of them were running the Marine Corps Marathon.
Goals & Strategy
I wasn't quite sure of my goal for this race. I thought it would be nice to finish in under 3:00 (a sub-9:00 pace) but I wasn't going to kill myself and sacrifice this week's training to do so. However, I did want to gage my fitness level for my November marathon. Prior to this race, my longest run had been 16 miles, three weeks earlier. Then there was the PDR, and last weekend I had the hike. I did run 17 miles before leaving for Italy, but that was before all my injuries, so I don't know if that training was still "useful" for today. I didn't really taper for this race. I took yesterday off, of course, and only ran 3.5 miles on Friday, but the rest of my week was training as usual. I say all of this because I want to be optimistic about my marathon, which I will have tapered for, and I will have had more training for.
Everyone gathered around the starting area and the race director spoke. I wasn't really listening until I heard "No headphones! If we see you with them on the course, you will be disqualified!" I was devastated. I had my playlist all prepared. I even deprived myself of those songs all week so I would be really pumped for them when I finally heard them (a musical taper, if you will). Someone in a DC RoadRunners shirt who looked like part of the race organizing team told me that I should run with them anyway! I was shocked. I folded my headphones up and put them in the back pocket of my shirt. I figured I would try to follow the rules, but if I really needed the music, I had the headphones with me.
The weather was about 65 at the start and sunny, and it rose to about 73 by the end of the race. Warmer than the Philadelphia distance run, but not by too much.
Miles 1-5: A fast start
I went out too fast in the first mile, but got on pace for the second mile, when I realized I had done a 7:58! This was because I started close to the start line. With no chip timing, every second before you cross the start line adds onto your time, and I wanted to minimize that so my clock time would be accurate. I was with the fast runners. We ran through a neighborhood for two miles, and then went onto a trail in the woods. It was extremely hilly. There were very long uphills followed by long downhills. I felt good. I didn't listen to my iPod for any of these miles.
Mile 1: 7:58 (oops)
Mile 2: 9:00
Mile 3: 8:45
Mile 4: 9:14
Mile 5: 9:08
Mile 6-10: Give me my music!
After passing a water station, I decided to put my headphones on. The course was through the woods on a path, and there were no cars in sight and no race personnel. I actually saw about 5-10 other runners with headphones, so I didn't feel too guilty. And I saw them wearing them at the start of the race too! I had to fumble with my playlist to get to where I thought I should be at mile 6. I ate my sports beans after passing the 7 mile marker. I recognized this course. It's the Mount Vernon trail (asphalt), and I ran a half marathon on it in July 2006. I had bad memories of that half marathon because it was in the 90's and humid. I literally passed out after that race. It was constant rolling hills. Hardly any part of this trail is flat! I train primarily on a treadmill with no incline, so this was very challenging for me. Richmond has some hills miles 15-18, but there is no way it can be as hilly as this trail was. At about mile 9 we came out of the woods and ran through neighborhoods for about a mile. I took off my headphones and ran without music for awhile.
Mile 6: 8:37
Mile 7: 8:48
Mile 8: 9:02
Mile 9: 9:04
Mile 10: 9:25
Miles 11-15: Yay! A Roller Coaster!
I felt like I really got into the "zone" at mile 11. We were back on another part of the trail, my music was back, and I was actually having fun with the hills! Not only was the path hilly, it was also windy. There were lots of twists and turns and ups and downs, and it felt a bit like a roller coaster ride. I really enjoyed this part of the course and it felt like I was driving a car or something with all the steering I had to do. "Boys of Summer" by The Ataris was playing on my iPod, and it was perfectly timed for September 30. I might have run these miles too fast, because I would pay for it later. On the other hand, the pace of these miles probably saved my race from being disastrous. I ate my sports beans at mile 14, and of course they made me feel nauseous.
Mile 11: 8:46
Mile 12: 8:46
Mile 13: 8:44
Mile 14: 9:04
Mile 15: 9:06
Miles 16-20: Okay, these hills are NOT fun.
It started to feel really hot and I was wishing for more water stations. This course had water stations about every 3-4 miles, which isn't really enough. There is only so much water I can drink at a time without cramping or feeling nauseous, so more frequent water stops would have been appreciated. I passed a water fountain and contemplated stopping, but I didn't. There was a turnaround point and I was back doing the same windy part of the course I did during miles 12 and 13. I tried to rally that same energy and enthusiasm of a roller coaster ride, but it wasn't there! What had been enjoyable earlier in the race was now extremely challenging and tiring. The hills were really taking a toll on me. I walked for about a minute through a water station, and that did murder to my time. There was this massive hill during mile 19 and I walked part of it. I just felt so dead. I told myself I would probably be walking most of mile 20. But Mile 20 wasn't quite as hilly and (headphones off now) there was actually some crowd support, encouraging me to keep running and telling me that I looked strong. It helped. I got back to the school and we had to do a lap around the track before finishing. I had a very strong finish, but I felt like I would die when I crossed the finish line.
Mile 16: 9:30
Mile 17: 9:44
Mile 18: 9:27
Mile 19: 9:49
Mile 20: 9:12
Finish time: 3:01:20
Average pace: 9:04
After I crossed the finish line, it took me about 15 minutes to get "back to normal" I was really spacey, and I felt like I was going to pass out. I was also very nauseous and I wanted to vomit, but I can't induce vomiting. I was breathing extremely hard (like heaving) for about 10 minutes and a few people asked me if I was okay. No one else looked like they were having as much trouble as I was recovering. I saw a table with pizza and I couldn't imagine how anyone could be eating hot pizza at a time like this. Ewwww. I tried to have part of a bagel, but I felt too sick. I poured water over my head. I poured another cup of water down my shirt. Finally, after like 15 minutes, I felt "normal" again.
I am not really happy about how I ranked. But this isn't like a 5K or 10K where sometimes-runners come out. This race wasn't publicized very much, and 20 miles is no small feat. So it seemed like almost everyone who ran this race was somewhat of a "hard-core" runner. If I look at it that way, I feel okay about about my ranking:
12 out of 40 in my age group (number 11 passed me when I was about 50 meters from the finish line, and her time was only 2 seconds faster! ARGH!!!!!!)
62 of 180 women.
I typically rank in a much higher percentile in races, but I am trying not to be too discouraged by this. Oftentimes, I will run a race and not be pleased with my time, but my ranking is much higher than expected. This race was the reverse.
All in all, it was a good race, and I am pleased with my time—considering the nonstop hills. This morning I managed a recovery jog of 3.5 miles, so it's nice to know that I wasn't completely taken out by it!
Monday, September 17, 2007
I told the gang that I am not used to running with people, and that I tend to put my music on and just get into my own world. I'm not chatty. But we said we'd all start together, but we could feel free to go off at our own pace. I told Brent that I was targeting a 1:50 because I had done a 13.1-mile training run in 1:51. However, I only needed to get a 1:53 for a race PR.
It was very crowded during the first mile, so I knew I would lose some time there. I think we all
Even with sunglasses, the sun was directly in my face and made it hard to see. I also felt like it was zapping my energy early on, even though the temperatures were in the mid 50's at that point.
Someone yelled out to me. . . "Zebra? I thought you were a tiger!" Later, someone else said, "That's the best looking zebra I've ever seen!"
Mile 1: 8:55
Mile 2: 8:25
Mile 3: 8:35
These miles were the hottest of the whole race. I was so glad I wasn't wearing my long-sleeved shirt. It was around 60 degrees, but it honestly felt like 75 and sunny. I typically walk while I drink my water, but I was trying to make up time from the first mile, so I walked for maybe 3 steps with the water and jogged while I drank the rest of it. I need to master this skill because I kept getting water all over myself whenever I drank it. Brent was still nearby for these miles, and I was surprised he stayed with me for this long without going ahead.
I had to stop to tighten my shoelace at mile 5, and he waited for me. I felt guilty, but he told me that he wasn't going for a PR. Instead, he was going to make sure I got one! He had a Garmin on and was tracking the pace. We were trying for an 8:30 pace. He had been slightly behind me for the first 5 miles, but then I started trailing him a bit once we got to mile 6.
Mile 4: 8:38
Mile 5: 8:38
Mile 6: 8:26
These were tough miles, but they seemed to pass pretty quickly. At mile 7, we finally got into the shaded area of the course. Once we hit mile 8, I really wanted to slow down, but Brent wouldn't let that happen! I told him I didn't think I could keep going at this pace, but he really pushed me. The biggest hill during this course is during mile 9. Brent put his hand on my back and gave me a slight push up the hill. WOW! It made such a world of difference. It felt amazing. I hate hills and just having him there to give me that little boost helped so much! I ate my sports beans (or most of them) and they made me feel nauseous. They always do, but I really hate the taste of sports drinks, gels, etc.
Mile 7: 8:40
Mile 8: (not recorded. Maybe I need a new watch.)
Mile 9: 8:37
I was happy to pass the 10-mile marker at around 1:26. I knew we were in the home stretch, but I was feeling really tired. My legs felt great, my knee and my foot were behaving, and yet the pace was starting to feel really challenging. Brent told me that I would regret it if I slowed down. Someone overhead this and encouraged me not to slow down. She said it was just a few more minutes of pain for a really great time that would last forever!
We were back in the sun at mile 12, so I just listened to my music and zoned a little while staring into the sun. Mile 12 was actually the fastest mile, coming in at 8:16. Unfortunately, I couldn't maintain that 8:12 during the last mile, and slowed a bit. I knew I had given this race my all when I passed the 13-mile marker and simply couldn't sprint. I almost always sprint to the finish, but yesterday, I was physically not able to run any faster. That last 0.1 was actually the slowest part of my race.
Mile 10: 8:32
Mile 11: 8:40
Mile 12: 8:16
Mile 13: 8:33
My official time was 1:52:43, for a PR of about 1:30. I also shaved 8 minutes off of my time from last year's race.
I was pleased. I felt like I was about to pass out when I crossed the finish line. Brent sprinted the last 0.1 but waited for me to cross. We got our medals, got our bags, and started looking for the food. They typically give you food as soon as you finish, but we ended up looking for the food for over half an hour. We finally found the food and then met up with our Big Cat friends.
What a great reunion!
Priceless line of the day, when we are looking at our Liberty Bell-shaped metals, Michael says: "Mine has a crack in it. Do you know why?" Sorry Mike, I just have to get in a laugh about that one. I had such a great time at this race. Thanks to all of you who supported me during this, whether you were there or you tracked me live.
I placed 281 out of 1224 women in my age group.
I placed 1131 out of 5651 total women.
I placed 4055 out of 11629 total runners (beating over 60% of the men!)
My playlist wasn't that important this time, because I was mainly focusing on Brent's guidance for the second half of the race. However, the playlist was dominated by Fall Out Boy's latest CD, with only minimal Jason Mraz. The Foo Fighters' new song, "The Pretenders," is one of my favorites at the moment.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
|Just met Cris (in the background)|
Sunday, June 24, 2007
- The race was at 6:30pm, and that's usually when I wind down my day. I am definitely a morning person.
- It was still hot and sunny (about 75 degrees)
- My left leg had been hurting all day for no apparent reason
- I was still iffy about using my Axiom shoes.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Red Hot Chilli Peppers- The Zephyr Song
Tori Amos- Bouncing off Clouds