Training Log – 04.01.18, 04.08.18 & 04.15.18

Happy Marathon Monday! Woo!

Tax season is almost done! Woo X 2!

I’m slowly catching up on things that have fallen by the wayside during the last month or so. First up is some random training log updates, although I don’t even know if these qualify as “training logs” at this point. I’ve basically been following a non-training plan the last few weeks, so not a whole lot of exciting workouts have been happening. I wanted to write this post anyway though because not all weeks are amazing with great workouts. Sometimes it is really nice to just relax and run when you want to. Now that we’ve lead with that exciting intro …

Here is what my training looked like the week of 03.26.18 – 04.01.18:

Monday – Easy: 7 miles (8:36 pace)

I started the week off with three consecutive days of treadmill running. Daniel was getting over strep and not running too much, so I decided to take the easy option and run inside.

Tuesday – Easy: 8 miles (8:12 pace)

Wednesday – Easy: 8 miles (9:10 pace)

Thursday – REST

Friday AM – Easy: 10 miles (8:21 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:52 pace)

Saturday – Quality (Threshold): 9 miles (7:08 pace)

I bailed on my typical Saturday morning group run, slept in, drank coffee, played with Brooks and enjoyed a leisurely morning. It was an absolutely beautiful out and I decided that it would be a good day to get some quality miles in. I did a 2 mile warm up, a 2 X 2 mile tempo w/ a 1 mile recovery in between the sets and a 2 mile cool down. My splits for the first set were 6:27 and 6:25 (6:26 avg.) and my splits for the second set were 6:24 and 6:19 (6:22 avg.). It was nice to just got out for a workout simply because I wanted to and not because I had a plan that told me to.

Sunday –  Easy: 13.7 miles (8:27 pace)

I finished the week out with a long (ish) run with Rebecca, Jessica & Lizzie. Rebecca ran 100 miles during the week as the peak week of training for her ultra. She needed 13.7 miles Sunday to make that happen and I decided to be done at 13.7 as well. Rebecca told me that she would finish up the last three tenths so that I could end on an even 14 if I wanted her to (which was a gesture of true friendship) and I told her that I didn’t want to make her run any extra and would stop on an odd distance (which was also a gesture of true friendship).

Total – 60.7 miles

Here is what my training looked like the week of 04.02.18 – 04.08.18:

Monday – Easy: 8 miles (8:52 pace)

I ran with Jessica Monday morning and by the time I got to the end of the day Monday, I had come down with strep (or something similar). I didn’t go to the doctor since Daniel had just been treated for strep and we just followed the same treatment with me. It took several days to run its course, but thankfully I didn’t miss any work. I took several days off from running, but I truly had no desire to run (which is how you know I was definitely sick).

Tuesday – REST

Wednesday – REST

Thursday – REST 

Friday AM – Easy: 5 miles (8:58 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (9:02 pace)

First run since Monday! 😱 #happyfriday #iranfivemiles #soimholdingupfivefingers

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I felt like a human again by Friday (so all in all, I wasn’t out for long). I got in a few miles that morning and also met Rebecca and Jessica for an easy run after work. Woo!

Saturday AM – Easy: 5 miles (8:56 pace) + PM – Easy: 5.25 miles (8:22 pace)

We woke up to a soggy morning Saturday and everyone bailed on the group run. I had to go to work for a little bit, so I decided to go ahead and do a few miles on the treadmill in case I wasn’t able to go later in the day. The weather cleared up and Daniel and I were able to do a loop Saturday afternoon after I got home.

Sunday – Easy: 12 miles (8:17 pace)

Sunday’s “long run” was tough. We went down to the gulf to run with Lizzie and I was counting down the number of miles remaining by the third or fourth mile of this run (which makes the run seem rather long). The company was great, but my endurance was shot. Apparently it took me a little bit longer than I thought to regain my strength.

Total – 40.2 miles

Here is what my training looked like the week of 04.09.18 – 04.15.18:

Monday – Easy: 6 miles (8:50 pace)

Tuesday – Easy: 6 miles (8:48 pace)

Wednesday – Quality: 10 miles (7:52 pace)

Wednesday morning I decided to do an impromptu progression run in during the middle miles of my run. I did a 3 mile warm up, a 4 mile progression and a 3 mile cool down. Splits for the progression were 7:00, 6:48, 6:40, 6:35. It felt good to push a little, but not do anything too crazy.

Thursday – REST 

Friday – Easy: 8 miles (8:42 pace)

Saturday – Easy: 14 miles (8:16 pace)

14 miles was my longest run since ( … checking … ) February 4th! It’s crazy how the definition of “long run” can change over time and as training cycles progress. During marathon training, 14 miles likely wouldn’t be classified as a long run, but right now, it certainly feels long.

Sunday – Easy: 12 miles (8:33 pace)

Total – 60.0 miles

I am so ecstatic that tax season is coming to a close that I am preparing myself to run all the miles (within reason (obviously)). I still have no idea what I am going to be training for exactly, but it’s about to get started! I’m leaning towards focusing on short stuff again for the remainder of the spring and throughout the summer and then maybe ramping things back up in the fall. Not going to lie, all of the hype about Boston has definitely got me thinking about 2019 …

Have a wonderful week!

How to Race Your Best 10K

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Today it is double the pleasure, double the fun for some tips on how to run your best 10K. In case you missed it, I recently wrote a post about my strategy for running your best 5K. From a big picture perspective, the strategies are very similar. Keeping it simple is often best (and let’s face it, easier to remember when you are deep in the pain cave during the actual race). There are a few key differences though, so read on to find out more.

Warmup: I like to do at least 2 easy miles pre-race. The caveat here is to use your own judgement as far as what you think your body can handle, based on your experience level and overall mileage. After your warmup miles, pick up the pace and do a few strides to stir up the aerobic enzymes and prime the engine before heading to the start line.

Here’s how the race should go down:

First 10%: Avoid the early sprint out and ease into the pace. Start off as smooth as possible and use the first half to three-quarters of a mile to settle into your race rhythm and goal pace. Remember that you will soon be passing all of the folks who started out too quickly. I don’t know about you, but catching other runners during a race really motivates me to run harder. You might as well “let” them have a little head start and then focus on reeling them in. Not only does it make sense physiologically, but also it’s just more fun that way.

Middle 70%: Once you settle into your goal pace range, get comfy and plan to stay here for a few miles. There is more room to negative split and run to your true potential and also more room to have a goal pace “range” in a 10K, as opposed to a 5K. For example, I try to give myself a 10 second goal pace range during a 10K, whereas during a 5K, I likely have a specific pace that I am targeting. I would suggest running the first mile at the upper end of your goal range and easing it down as you go. After you pass the 5K mark, so 50% of the way into the race, do a quick reassessment of the pace. Do you feel good? If so, you might want to lower your goal range at this point and start picking it up just a tad. Do you feel okay? If so, you are likely running about where you should be running at this point. Focus on keeping a consistent rhythm and cadence and let the pace take care of itself. Do you feel bad? Hopefully not, but if so, don’t stress about it. Slow your pace down a tad and let yourself regroup. You can (and will) still finish this thing strong.

Last 20%: During the last mile and a quarter, challenge yourself to compete and give it your best effort. Focus on someone ahead of you and work to catch them. You can do anything for one mile. Check in with yourself every quarter-mile and count them down. Less than four laps around the track to go, less than three laps around the track to go, etc. It’s time to leave whatever you have left in the tank out there on the course. Don’t worry too much about your pace at this point, just give it all you’ve got. If you follow this strategy, you should be able to make your last mile the fastest of the day and that, my friends, is a wonderful feeling.

Cooldown: I also like to get in 2 more miles post-race (again, use your own judgement here). This will help you flush out your muscles and will promote recovery. It can be difficult to make yourself do anything else after the race, but trust me, it is well worth it!

This is a simple pacing strategy that has served me well over the years. If you are competing for placement or running on a course that has significant uphill or downhill sections, then you would definitely need to factor those things into your plan. For the most part though, your training prepares you for race day and the magic will happen on its own as long as you have put in the work during training.

Try this strategy at your next 10K and let me know how it goes!

March Recap

Hey-o! It’s time to recap another month of running and madness!

Month Recap: March 2018

The Running

Workouts: Not a ton of workouts in March this year. I typically don’t do a ton of workouts in March anyway, just because work tends to get a little hectic and there is less time to focus on training. This year the lack of workouts was primarily due to the fact that I ran lots of races on the weekends and was trying to recover during the week or, if I did happen to do a workout, it was likely short and just to try to stay sharp.

1 mi. WU, 6 X 400 (6:00 avg. pace), 1 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 3 mi. @ marathon pace (6:59, 6:57, 6:58), 2 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 3 mi. @ threshold pace (6:36, 6:35, 6:29), 3 mi. CD

 2 mi. WU, 4 X 1 mile @ threshold pace (6:26, 6:23, 6:24, 6:18), 2 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 3 mi. @ marathon pace (6:54, 6:59, 6:47), 2 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 2 X 2 mi. @ threshold pace (6:25 avg., 6:19 avg.), 2 mi. CD

Favorite workout: If I have to choose one, I’ll go with the 4 X 1 mile at threshold pace. I felt the best during that workout and the others were all just sort of … meh. For what it’s worth, I definitely have a least favorite workout and that would be the second to last workout of the month. I labeled it as marathon pace above, but it was originally supposed to be a threshold pace run. I did this workout after work (so basically, I should receive an award simply because I did the workout :)). I don’t know what it is about evening runs, but I tend to feel very sluggish and not particularly motivated. I think morning running is so ingrained in my routine at this point that my body is just like “what the heck” when I ask it to try to run in the evening. Let’s face it, I’d pretty rather do anything in the morning than in the evening.

Races: I ran all. the. races. in March! It was wonderful! Recaps are here, here, here, here and here.

Favorite race: SPRING FEVER! Duh.

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Paces: My paces ranged from 5:59 to 9:55. Variety is the spice of life and training.

Miles: 251!

Longest run: 12 miles. I did three 12 mile runs and a few 10 mile runs, but otherwise, everything stayed in the single digits.

Shortest run: 3 miles. I overslept one morning and 3 miles was better than no miles.

Rest days: Two. Both unplanned, but both much needed and greatly appreciated.

Strength training: I am still pretty consistently getting in 5 to 10 minutes of strength work each day. It is definitely adding up over time.

The Other Stuff

It’s been a little while since we’ve chatted about other random current things.

Current activity: Blogging.

Current book: I’ve been stuck in a dark hole reading The Racketeer by John Grisham for over a month now. It’s not that I don’t like the book, it’s just that I fall asleep within 5 minutes of starting to read every night and you don’t make a ton of progress that way! I actually finished it up last night though.

I also just ordered Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David. I recently listened to her interview on The Rich Roll Podcast and it was AMAZING. It was like light-bulb moment after light-bulb moment as I listed to the interview. It’s a really long interview (it took me two and half runs to get through it, which is definitely saying something), but it is definitely worth your time if you are a podcast person. I loved it so much that I’m thinking about going back and listening to it again and taking notes. In the meantime though, I ordered a paperback copy of her book (also so that I can underline and make notes). Nerd status level 100.

Current confession: I am a sucker for targeted advertising on social media. I am now the proud new owner of a Hippie Runner tank …

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Current drink: Ginger lime diet coke. Have you guys tried this? It is so good!

Current excitement: 15 MORE DAYS until the end of tax season! 30 MORE DAYS until the end of the Spring semester!

Current fail: Why?

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Current game: Ping pong!

Current habit: Drinking at least 64 oz. of water each day (with Nuun of course).

Current indulgence: Eggs … of the chocolate variety.

Current joke: What did the DJ say to the farmer? Lettuce turnip the beet!

Current knowledge: Learning is a lifelong activity.

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Current list: Each week I make a list of things that I need to get accomplished for work, for school (which is also work, but I just separate it in my mind by calling it school) and for home. 

Current mood: Overall pretty content (with a side of stressed).

Current need: COFFEE!

Current obsession: Thoughts of dog. If you are a dog person, you need to follow @dog_feelings on IG (or on Twitter if that’s your thing). It’s the best.

Current procrastination: Preparing my own tax return. I always wait until the last minute to do ours.

Current quote: All of the Susan David quotes! I can’t wait to get her book!

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Current rave: I love the Carrie Underwood (ft. Luda) song, The Champion. It is one of the most perfect running songs there ever was.

Current show: We’ve gotten back into Shark Tank recently. I like the fact that you can watch all of even just part of an episode at a time and not waste over an hour of your evening.

Current uncertainty: I have no idea what my work life will look like after tax season and the Spring semester of teaching is over. I do know that I am teaching two classes during the Fall semester, but … I definitely have to figure out something in the meantime!

Current victory: Getting this post completed!

Current want: I want to find a race to train for! It’s weird having nothing on the calendar.

Current yearning: Some beach … somehwere.  

Current zone: Focused.

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Tell me: What is currently going on in your life?

 

Training Log – 03.25.18

Well hello, hello and happy Monday!

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This little guy makes me smile. Everyone needs to smile on a Monday morning.

Here is what my training looked like the week of 03.19.18 – 03.25.18:

Monday – Easy: 5 miles (8:44 pace)

Tuesday – Quality (Threshold): 9 miles (7:23 pace)

Tuesday’s workout was a 2 mile warm up, 4 X 1 mile @ threshold pace w/ 1:00 recovery and a 2 mile cool down. I woke up feeling rested and ready to tackle this one. This is not a typical tax season training state of existence for me, so that was a real nice surprise (Clark). Goal threshold pace was 6:26 pace. Actual splits were 6:26, 6:23, 6:24 and 6:18.

Wednesday – Easy: 7 miles (8:34 pace) 

Thursday – Quality (Threshold): 7 miles (7:51 pace)

Thursday’s workout was a 2 mile warm up, 3 miles @ threshold pace and a 2 mile cool down. In another somewhat unusual turn of events, I did this workout Thursday evening after work. Goal threshold pace was 6:26 pace. Actual threshold miles during this run were 6:54, 6:59, 6:47. Those 6:50 miles felt like 6:20 miles. Goodness. I really dislike evening workouts. Even so, it was really nice out and I didn’t regret getting out there and doing the workout. The sunset made it worthwhile.

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Friday – OFF

Saturday – RACE: 10.25 miles (7:25 pace)

Sunday – Easy: 12 miles (8:21 pace)

Total – 53.2 miles

That’s it for now. Have a wonderful week!

Race Recap: Azalea Trail Run 10K

Howdy! So … four 10K races in four weeks … done and done! I ended my 10K “streak” yesterday at the Azalea Trail Run in Mobile.

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The Azalea Trail Run (ATR) has a long, renowned history. At one point, it was even considered to be one of the premier road racing events in the country. The name perhaps implies that there are trails involved, but this 10K is a fast, flat course along some of the historic streets of downtown Mobile that are known as the Azalea Trail.

The 10K has seen blistering records set by runners since its inception. Bill Rodgers won the first ever ATR back in 1978 with a time of 30:26. The current course record was set in 2001 by Abraham Chebii and is 27:26 (4:25 pace)! On the female side, past winners have included Joan Benoit (31:57 in 1984), Edna Kiplagat (32:12 in 2003) and Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (33:22, 32:41, 32:03 in 2011, 2012 and 2014 respectively). The current course record was set in 1997 by Colleen De Reuck and is 31:29 (5:04 pace)!

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Post card from the 1960s of the Azalea Trail!

I just did a quick comparison of the results from 1987 vs. 2017. I say “quick comparison,” but in actuality I put all of this data into a spreadsheet by age and gender to calculate the percentages and totals (because this stuff is more interesting to me than taxes). In 1987, there were 4,161 participants (3,120 male (75%) and 1,041 female (25%)). In 2017, there were 1,692 participants (818 male (48%) and 874 female (52%)) in the 10K and 1,274 participants in the 5K. 2018 was the 41st running of the ATR.

I haven’t done this race since ( … checking … ) 2013. This is definitely one of the most well-known races in our area, but I’ve actually only run it 3 times before this year. For whatever reason, I never seem to have good luck with this one. It’s always back to back weekends with (if not the same day as) Spring Fever and I love Spring Fever so much, I don’t usually feel the need to do ATR. This year was a little different, however, as I decided to do four 10Ks over the four weekends in March! I was hopeful that this race would be my fastest of the four March races. Given that the course is flat as a pancake, it made sense (at least in theory), but I wasn’t sure exactly how the execution was going to play out after running so many races back to back (to back to back).

The race starts at 8 a.m. We got to Mobile just before 7 a.m., ran a couple of miles and did the typical pre-race stuff before making our way over to the start line. They still bring in some elite, professional runners and it’s always fun to see them lining up at the start line (this is as close to a Kenyan as I’ll ever get and it’s pretty cool :)). I averaged 6:24 pace last weekend at Spring Fever and I wanted to try to get that down to just under 6:20 at ATR.

I started off at what felt like a comfortable pace and was planning to run as evenly as possible. The first mile has two turns and after that mile there are only two more turns the entire race. It’s really such a fast course! The first mile typically clicks by pretty quickly as there are usually plenty of runners around and the pack hasn’t really separated too much. My split for the first mile was 6:17.

There were clocks at each of the mile markers, so I had some pace feedback out there (as opposed to last week when I purposefully chose not to look at the data mid-race). I felt really comfortable at 6:17, but I was also really close to a few other runners and I (somewhat unknowingly) picked it up a touch to catch them and stay with the pack. My split for the second mile was 6:14.

The third mile was fairly uneventful. I don’t think I really passed anyone or got passed by anyone. I focused on keeping a steady rhythm and not slowing down. We made a left turn right before the third mile marker and had a slight downhill segment for a tenth of a mile or so. That was quite nice! My split for the third mile was 6:18. The total time on the clock at mile three was 18:49, which was about 25 seconds faster than my time at mile three last week. I was definitely encouraged by this, but at the same time, I had to remind myself not to get complacent.

I caught up to a couple of guys during the fourth mile and ran with them for a little bit. We briefly chatted about how bright the sun was and that we wished we had worn our sunglasses. I don’t know why this random detail sticks out to me, but for some reason it does and thus, it goes into the post. Ha. I saw Daniel and Kenny out on the course cheering somewhere during this mile as well. That definitely gave me a boost! My split for the fourth mile was 6:23.

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We made our last turn just passed mile four and were headed towards home. I was really happy to be running on the road that would take me to the finish line. I started counting the traffic lights and making bargains that I would “just keep running hard until you get to the second light and then we’ll reassess.” The “we” in that case was me and myself. I’m not sure who really won. My split for the fifth mile was 6:22.

I still felt pretty decent at this point during the race and knew that I could at least maintain my pace for another mile, if not speed up ever so slightly. I counted more traffic lights. Each one got me a little bit close to the finish line. The 5K runners merged with the 10K runners during the last mile, which has been disastrous in the past, but I must say, they did a great job of keeping the racers separated this year. The right side of the street was sectioned off and the 5K runners stayed to the right, while the 10K runners stayed to the left. It worked.

As a side note, I really don’t think that every race needs to offer a 5K option. I would much prefer that ATR just be a 10K. There are plenty of other 5Ks every other weekend for those that want a 5K option. In my opinion, the quality of the entire event is watered down when multiple race distances are offered and run at the same time. Let’s expound a bit on my findings above regarding the participation from 1987 to 2017. According to Running USA, the total number of road race finishers from approximately the same time frame has increased from just under 5 million finishers to 17 million finishers! Over the time frame that the total road race participants increased by over 250%, the number of participants at ATR has decreased by 59%. Sad! We need to start a campaign to make Azalea great again!

Okay, okay, back to 2018. I got off on a tangent! Before I even knew it, I made it to mile six. My split for the sixth mile was 6:17. At this point, I tried to pick it up for the last two tenths to squeak under 39:00, but I waited a bit too late to make that happen. I crossed the finish line in 39:07 and I am super happy with that!

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We did a two-mile cool down after the race and stayed around (FOREVER) waiting on the awards. In the past, they have done overall results and “local” results (for the non-elite runners), but they didn’t do that this year. I was bummed about that, especially because they have always done it in the past and the race site specifically says that they do local awards. All in all, it’s definitely not a big deal. If we hadn’t waited around for over two and half hours, I wouldn’t have even cared, but at that point I was starving and was in a state of hanger. There was also a team competition and they didn’t do results for that either, which was also disappointing.

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But … we found out today that our team, the Grinder Gals, was first place in the open female division! Woo hoo!

All in all, this is a wonderful event. I wish the results and awards were more efficient, but to be fair, this is a big race and it makes sense that it would take longer (especially given that there are multiple races as well). If you are ever in the area and are looking for a historic, crazy fast 10K course, ATR is the race for you!

I don’t have any races planned until August! I mean, obviously that will change, but for the moment, the plan is to survive tax season and my first semester of teaching (whoever thought that trying to do those two things simultaneously was a good idea is crazy :)). I’m thinking I either want to train for a one mile race or for an ultra … or maybe something in between! Ha. I’ll keep you posted.

Training Log – 03.18.18

Well hello, hello and happy Monday!

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I didn’t do much on the workout front last week. This is partly because I am racing every weekend and recovering during the week, but also partly because I just really haven’t felt like following a training plan. My training plan has workouts every Tuesday and Thursday, but I just can’t get motivated to actually do what the plan says. This is fine. I basically work hard and follow a plan 10 or 11 months out of the year, but during the time frame between March 1st and the end of tax season, I am really just running for stress relief. It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed this time of year and I don’t want running to be an additional source of stress (I want it to be an outlet for stress). If the training plan feels overwhelming, I just don’t follow it. Easy enough.

Here is what my training looked like the week of 03.12.18 – 03.18.18:

Monday – Easy: 8 miles (8:11 pace)

Tuesday – Quality (Threshold): 8 miles (7:47 pace)

Tuesday’s workout was supposed to be 4 X 1200 w/ 400 recovery, but after last weekend’s back to back races, I wasn’t ready to do any fast repeats. I still went to the track with the Daniels, but I just did my own thing while they did some faster stuff. I did a 2 mile warm up, 3 miles at some form of tempo pace (6:36, 6:35, 6:29) and a 3 mile cool down.

Wednesday AM – Easy: 10 miles (8:33 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (9:12 pace)

Thursday AM – Easy: 3 miles (8:54 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (8:34 pace)

Thursday’s workout was supposed to be 2 X 2 miles at threshold pace. The idea of this one wasn’t super stressful in and of itself, but I think I was just tired. I hit snooze several times and once push came to shove, I only had time for 3 miles before work. I told myself that I could still try the workout after work if I felt like it … (insert rolling on the floor laughing emoji here). The idea of doing a workout after work is basically laughable at this point, although I must say, the time change does make evening runs quite more enjoyable!

Friday – Easy: 5 miles (8:39 pace)

Saturday – RACE: 10.5 miles (7:23 pace)

Sunday – Easy: 12.25 miles (8:37 pace)

Total – 66.7 miles

That’s it for now. Have a wonderful week!

Race Recap: Spring Fever Chase 10K

Howdy friends and random internet strangers! I’ve got race recap three out of four for the month to share with you today. Next up is Azalea Trail!

Today I ran my 11th Spring Fever Chase 10K! It’s one of my favorite races of the year, if not my most favorite. Here is a conglomeration of race photos over the years …

We got to Fairhope around 7 a.m. for an 8 a.m. race start. Daniel picked our bibs up yesterday, so that we didn’t have to worry about that today. We met Jessica downtown and ran just over two miles before making our way to the start line. I was ready to do this thing!

Last year I ran the race without a watch and while that turned out to be a great decision, I decided to wear my watch this year … but, I didn’t look at it one. single. time. during the race. I don’t know how I had the self-restraint to do this, but somehow I did. The only time during the entire race that I saw a time was on the clock at mile 3 (the other mile markers don’t have clocks).

Like most races, the start of this race is typically a little chaotic because so many people run too fast for the first half-mile or so. They really made a point that if you weren’t running under 7:00 pace, then you didn’t need to be on the front row. I feel like they have said this before, but it seemed like more people actually listened this year. Several young kids still managed to pass everyone in the first tenth of a mile. Several of them were excitedly talking about how they were running “sub-7” (which I thought was adorable) and for that first quarter-mile, they certainly were.

We had a good bit of rain yesterday and the first turn (about a half-mile into the race) was underwater. Thankfully, we had run that little stretch during our warm up and knew which side of the street (err well, the grass) would be the best path. I dodged the puddle and avoided getting my shoes muddy, which was nice. I caught up to Daniel around mile one. His training has been going really well, but he hasn’t been feeling good the last few days. I knew that he was likely struggling if I was catching him and I was bummed for him. He loves this race as well and wouldn’t have run if it had been any other race.

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Ponytail game #onpoint

My mom and dad came to the race to cheer for us and they were just past the one mile mark. Per usual, my dad yelled, “GO KID!” as I ran by. He has always called me Kid and I hope that never changes. They’ve definitely been my biggest fans over the years and I always get a boost from seeing and hearing them on the course. We also had several friends that didn’t race today that came out to cheer as well, which was much appreciated. Having people out along the course cheering for you is the best!

I caught several runners during the second mile. Miles two through four have some rolling hills and since I don’t typically run well on hills, I always plan to conserve on the uphill portions and not expend any unnecessary energy. The hills are also part of the reason that I chose not to look at my watch during the race. I have a bad habit of looking down at my watch if I feel like my pace is fading. For some reason I need an external source to either confirm or deny my feelings (but that’s likely a discussion for another time and place :)).

The third mile is the hilliest of the race and you crest the biggest hill right as you pass the mile three marker. My time was 19:15, which would translate to right at or just under twenty minutes for the 5K. I knew that if I wanted my total time to be under forty minutes for the 10K, I had to keep working and couldn’t afford to let up at all. I focused on staying in my rhythm and not slowing down.

For the majority of the fourth mile, I was running with a pack or three or four guys, which was really nice. I typically find myself in no man’s land during races and it is always much better to have someone to work with. My mom and dad (and our other friends) were on the course again somewhere between mile 4 and 4.5 cheering and that gave me another little boost. I almost took my poor mother out on this turn (she was standing right in the tangent and I really wanted to yell at her to move, but I didn’t (ha)). After the race we had a good laugh about how I came over and gave her a hug during the last mile of the marathon and this time I just wanted to yell at her because she was in my way.

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#savage

Once I passed them, I knew that I had a mile of flat-to-downhill running before the final climb. Bring on the downhill! At this point, I was only running with one other guy, but I was definitely thankful to still have someone with me. We flip-flopped back and forth a few times, but basically we just worked together for the entire rest of the race. He passed me (briefly) right around mile six. Until that point, I had basically conceded mentally and just assumed he was going to out kick me at the end of the race. Once it actually started to happen though, something switched in my brain and I decided to give it my best shot. It was a sprint to the finish and I barely edged him out!

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I’m glad that I didn’t just throw in the towel and I’m glad that I had a little extra incentive to really make those last two tenths count. It was fun to check my splits afterwards since I hadn’t looked at my watch during the race. They were pretty consistent and make sense given the course. I need to trust myself more and rely on the Garmin less. My splits were 6:21, 6:21, 6:32, 6:25, 6:26, 6:20 and 5:47 for the last two tenths. As far as placement goes, I was first female and fourth overall.

Jessica and I ran two miles after the race to cool down, grabbed some coffee and came back in time for the awards. The race takes place during Arts & Crafts Festival, and each year the award is a print done by a local artist. We have them sprinkled throughout our house!

After the awards, I walked around the Arts & Crafts Festival for a little while with my mom and dad. We saw some really interesting pieces, like the saxophone pelican and the “crazy hair” guitar man.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. Spring Fever did not disappoint! I am thankful to have a wonderful group of friends and family who always support me, no matter if I am first place or last place. The time on the clock and placement in the results truly don’t matter, but sharing life with people who love you unconditionally … that’s what it’s all about.

Run happy friends!