Race Recap: Shrimp Fest 10K

Howdy!

I ran the Shrimp Festival 10K yesterday morning. The race was a very last-minute decision (as in, I decided Friday evening that I was going to run it). I had 18 miles on my schedule this week and so I concocted this master plan of running before the race, running the race and then running some more after the race. So yeah, basically my plan was to run, keep running and run some more. Genius! I needed to be at work around 10 or so Saturday morning and so I ended up doing the majority of the miles before the race so that I could leave and get back at a decent time.

I sipped on coffee and UCAN on the way to the race (about a 45 minute drive), got to the race around 6:30, registered and hit the [paved] trails! Daniel came with me to the race and rode his bike while I was running. The sun had just come up and I felt completely comfortable running on the trails by myself. I took my phone with me and listened to a podcast while I ran. I don’t wear headphones, I just let it play out loud. I would never do this in a race (as that can be quite annoying), but when I am by myself, I’d rather listen out loud (softly) than wear headphones. I saw some rabbits, a few deer and some other wildlife that I think I’m forgetting. It was very peaceful.

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I thought this sign was great! 

I met up with my friend, Jill, at about five and a half miles or so into my warm up. She wanted to do a three mile warm up and so we tried to coordinate our schedules so that we could run three miles together before the race. We haven’t seen each other in a while and I guess we were just extra chatty and also not paying attention to what we were doing, but before we knew it, we realized that we were actually about two and half miles away from the start … and it was 7:40! EEK. We had to really book it to make it back in time and we weren’t sure that we even would.

We threw down a 7:18 and a 7:14 mile in our best attempt to actually make it to the start of the race on time without completely exhausting ourselves. I hadn’t even pinned my number on my shirt yet and so we were definitely scrambling. Daniel called me asking what in the world we were doing and I explained that we just lost track of time and were currently hauling it to make it back. The race had chip timing, so we had decided that even if we had to start late, it would be okay, we would just have to do a lot of weaving around folks on a very narrow trail. There was also a 5K that started about 15 minutes after the 10K. We heavily contemplated that as well.

Ultimately, we made to the start of the race by the skin of our teeth with about 1 minute to spare. Whew! The good news is that we didn’t have to worry about getting nervous standing around waiting for the race to start and also that I definitely got the “continuous” feel of my long run in. There were no breaks between the warm up and the race!

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Off we go!

The race starts and finishes at the Orange Beach Sportsplex and runs on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail (a trail system with over fifteen miles of trails throughout Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and the Gulf State Park). The trails are all paved and it’s a great location for a race (or just to run if you are ever in the area)! The only minor drawback is that the GPS satellites are a little wonky in there and you can’t really rely on your watch for accurate mid-race data. I am trying to get away from Garmin stalking anyway, so this actually worked out.

Jill and I ran the first two miles together (6:49, 6:57). This wasn’t a goal race per say for either one of us and we talked about trying to keep it under seven minute pace with maybe a negative split if we felt good.

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Thanks Lizzie for the mid-race cheers & pics! 

I kind of did a quick assessment at mile two and decided that I wanted to try to pick the pace up a little bit and get close to 6:30 if possible. I was feeling pretty good and managed to hit 6:33, 6:32, 6:33 and 6:39 for the last four miles of the race. I didn’t think to restart my watch after the “warm up” to have accurate times and splits for the race, so my mile markers were a little bit off the whole time and I wasn’t even sure what my total race time was until I got to the finish line (it was 41:37). I think I was fifth overall and first female, so I can’t really complain about that!

I didn’t have any real expectations for what I was going to feel like running a 10K already being 10 miles into the run. I was pleasantly surprised! I was also very thankful that I had already done ten miles before the race because that meant I only had to do two miles afterwards to get my eighteen in. My legs were definitely toast at that point, but I got it done. Daniel’s family was in town staying at the Gulf and they came out to the race, which was wonderful. It’s always great to have a little bit of extra moral support out there.

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The fam! 

We weren’t able to hang out very long after the race since I had to get back to go to work. Only 1 more day until “second” tax season is over! Praise the Lord! I hated to miss the awards, but sometimes you just do what you gotta do. I’m glad that I made the last-minute decision to run this race. It’s definitely a good one. Hopefully I’ll be able to run it again next year and perhaps not have to come and go in such a mad dash!

Race Recap: Bras Across the CAUSEway 5K

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Sunday evening I ran in the inaugural Bras across the CAUSEway 5K. As you might have deduced, this is an event that supports breast cancer awareness and the benefits actually support LOCAL breast cancer patients! For those of you who aren’t local to the Mobile Area, the Causeway is the term used for the approximately 7 mile stretch of road connecting US 90 and US 98 across Mobile Bay. The road is also known as Battleship Parkway as it is home to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.

I knew this event was coming up, but didn’t realize that it was on Sunday evening. Rebecca mentioned that it might be fun to run and of course, it didn’t take too much convincing before I was in! She ran 21 miles that morning and I ran 11 miles, so we weren’t really planning to race this thing, but mainly just wanted to show up and support a great cause.

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Oh hey! We actually took a decent selfie! 

As I drove across the bay, I saw hundreds of bras strung along the side of the road, which was really cool! The race started at 5:15 p.m. I got there sometime around 4:45 and got registered. I thought about doing a couple of warm up miles, but really just didn’t feel like it … so I didn’t (for the record, I don’t really recommend this). The course was an out and back and it was windy! Goodness gracious. I took my visor off and ran with it in my hand for over half of the race.

My main goal for the race was to get a negative split (each mile faster than the one before it). I know that starting out conservatively and negative splitting is usually the best way for me to race and *sometimes* I do a decent job of keeping the pace even to slightly negative, but in the last several 5Ks that I have done, I have ended up doing quite the opposite. I’ve started out too fast and crashed hard, which is never a fun way to run.

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I was the lead female from the gun, so there isn’t too much to tell as far as that goes. I did end up catching two guys that were ahead of me for maybe the first half to three quarters of a mile, but after that I kept the same position for the remainder of the race (second overall). I could see Brandon out ahead and I just focused on trying to steadily reel him in, which didn’t really happen, but it gave me something to at least think about. The first mile was pretty much directly into the wind and also ran across a slight bridge. I wanted to give you the incline of said slight bridge, but I guess Garmin doesn’t recognize bridges. Does this sound correct? Someone help me out here!

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We crested the top of the bridge right at mile one and I glanced down to see a 6:36 mile split. I honestly had no expectations going in, so I didn’t really feel good or bad at the sight of the split. I just figured that it is what it is and let’s keep rolling. The first half of the second mile was slightly down the other side of the bridge and once we got to the turnaround, the wind was a little bit more at our backs. Of course, it didn’t really *feel* this way. If you are running and it is windy out, it always feels like a headwind! Ha. Once you got to the turnaround you also got to see all of the other runners, which is always great! I tend to really enjoy out and back courses because I love the feedback.

My split for mile two was 6:14. Woo! I hardly even noticed that we had to go back up and over the slight bridge and I knew that my pace was on the right track for the negative split (assuming that I could keep my effort level about where it was).

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Thanks to Tim Ard for the photo! 

My split for miles three was 6:01, which I was ecstatic about and I crossed in 19:42. To be honest, I likely wouldn’t have been happy with this time in most circumstances, but since my only goal was to negative split … I was happy! Sometimes it is nice to set goals that aren’t solely based on your overall time. I think we are more likely to be pleasantly surprised with the outcome when we set smaller, more attainable goals. Once you get to a certain point, you can’t expect a PR at every race, but you can still set other goals and push yourself.

In the spirit of just rolling with it, I decided to forgo the typical cool down as well (also not recommended), but I did get in a half a mile or so, which I guess is better than nothing. We hung out for a little while after the race and chatted with friends. Jessica came and brought Miss Olivia to spectate, which was awesome! Savannah got a snow cone and was perfectly happy. The overall and age group winners got pink arm warmers as our awards. I thought this was very unique and I like them a lot! I really love the idea of arm warmers, but I have never actually run in them (and I have three pairs now … insert facepalm). Maybe this winter will be the year that I finally get up the courage to wear them (#goals).

This was a really fun run and I’d love to do it again next year!

Guest Post: Ironman Augusta 70.3

Hey friends! 

I’ve got a fun guest post to share with y’all today! I was able to convince Daniel that he would want to be able to look back and remember the details of his first 70.3 and he agreed. YAS! Score one for the blog! I’m in teal (pink clashes with my new color scheme) and Daniel is in navy

We were both able to take off work Friday and Monday, so we had a good long weekend in Augusta. We headed up first thing Friday morning and got in town just in time to hit up the expo and pick up his bib, shirt, etc.

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Obligatory car selfie.
Our anniversary was the week before the race and I had decided that it would be fun to let Daniel pick out something at the expo for his gift. Y’all. Triathlon-ing is expensive and requires quite a lot of paraphernalia. Holy moly. 

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ALL. THE. THINGS.
Saturday was a pretty laid back day. We found a beautiful place to run along the Savannah River. We did a few miles and otherwise Daniel wanted to stay off of his feet as much as possible, which always seems to be tricky when you travel for a race.

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We dropped his bike off at the race mid-day and then we didn’t really have much else planned … thankfully there was plenty college football to be watched (just a tiny hint of sarcasm)! Daniel stayed with his typical pre-workout, pre-race meal of Marco’s pizza and they even delivered it to our hotel. 

Without further ado, here is Daniel’s recap: 

My original plan was to do an Ironman AFTER I had gotten a BQ (Boston Qualifying) marathon time (which basically means that I need a run under 3 hours). However after a few setbacks and ultimately discovering that I have a significant labral tear in my right hip, I decided that a marathon may not be in the cards right now. My friend talked with me about signing up for Augusta back in April and I decided to go for it. I signed up and bought a bike the following week.

Since I’m new to triathlons, I had no real training plan or set guide that I followed. I really just tried to focus attention on biking, and running after biking. I figured that since biking was my biggest weakness and also happens to take up the majority of the race, that was where I could gain the most ground over the course of my training. An average week during the course of my training consisted of about 30-40 miles of running (usually 4 or 5 days) and 50-100 miles of biking (usually 2 or 3 days) with sporadic swims thrown in here and there (less than 10 times over the course of the entire training). 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the distances, the race is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike and then a 13.1 mile run. 

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Almost GO time! 
SWIM: 29:05 (Goal: 30-35 minutes)

The pro men and women started at 7:30 and then waves proceeded from oldest to youngest. My wave finally got going just after 9:00. This late start will factor in later. We swam in the Savannah River which is known for typically providing fast swims. 

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Woo!
I’m no fish in the water but I knew from my training that I could complete the swim. I did several pool swims with each being 2000 meters and my times averaged anywhere from 32-35 minutes. When I was training I also purposely never trained in speed-suits or a swim cap. I usually just wore regular baggy shorts and my goggles. I felt like this would allow me to have a better-than-anticipated time on race day.

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We took off and I felt great. I was worried that I would be the slowest in my swim group (the 30-34 age group is a fast category in triathlons) and that had me nervous. I ended up being slightly faster than average for my group which made me feel really good and helped me start the race off on a positive note. I had read about “the washing machine effect” where basically you get run over or beaten up during the swim and so I was a bit nervous about that as well. Luckily I never experienced this and only brushed other swimmers a handful of times. I tried to focus on swimming the shortest distance possible and using my upper body as much as I could to save my legs.

Transition 1: 3:20 (Goal: 4-5 minutes)

There was a several hundred meter run out of the water to get to the bike. I figured since running is my strength I would waste no time jogging to my bike and make sure I pushed during the transition. I had a smooth transition onto the bike and was quickly headed out for my ride portion. 

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BIKE: 2:41:19 / 20.9 mph (Goal: 2:48-3:00/18.6-20 mph)

Going into the bike my plan was to ride based on heart rate. I wanted to keep my heart rate as low as possible while keeping a decent pace. I originally thought I could keep it around 120, but didn’t take into account the swim before. My heart rate was staying right around 150-155 at the start and I felt comfortable so I decided I would try to just keep it there. I tried not to focus on my speed as much because I thought this may make me push too hard and ruin my run later.

Nutrition wise, I planned to consume the majority of my calories during the bike. The plan was 1 bottle of water mixed with Carbo-Pro (a tasteless carbohydrate supplement with approximately 50 grams of carbs) and one Gu (a gel carbohydrate supplement with approximately 25 grams of carbs) per hour on the bike. I carried two pre-made bottles with me and planned to mix the third while riding to decrease the amount of bottles I had to carry (I knew there were aid stations with water at them and I didn’t want to carry extra weight when I could just fill up on the course). I finished my first gel and bottle around mile 18 with no problems, and the second around mile 40. Here is how the last bottle was supposed to go:

Step 1: Pick up a bottle of water from the aid station.
Step 2: Pour said bottle into my water bottle and discard the empty one.
Step 3: Open a Carbo-Pro packet, pour it into my bottle, shake it up and then pour this into my Aero bottle on the handlebars. Seems easy enough right?

Well, I wasn’t able to ride and unscrew my squirt bottle top while carrying the new water in the other hand. So I thought, I’ll just pour this into my Aero bottle then pour the Carbo-Pro directly into that and it’ll mix over the next 15 miles while I sip it. I successfully filled the Aero bottle with water then discarded the empty one, but when I attempted to pour my Carbo-Pro into the bottle, it was a disaster. Trying to pour a powdery substance while moving at ~15-20 mph proved to be very difficult. Just picture a cloud of flour going all over me, my bike and those around me. Once this powder touches water, it doesn’t dissolve like you would guess, but rather it turns into SUPER glue. I licked as much of it off my hands as I could, hoping this would help somewhat but ultimately I ended up getting less than 25% of the fuel into my bottle. I ended up just sipping the water and taking my third gel towards the end of the bike.

Another funny story, around mile 50 a guy passed me and said something to me. I assumed he was saying good job, or keep it up, so I said the same back to him. After he was ahead, he turned around, looked back and said it again, then gave me a smile like “you have no idea what I’m saying right now” and he was right, I had no idea (and actually didn’t figure it out until the next day). I knew that the last few miles of the bike were supposed to be fast, but I felt like I really had to work hard to keep my same steady pace that I had been doing the whole ride. I assumed this was just due to my legs getting tired and so I didn’t really think anything of it.

Fast forward to the next morning when I actually discovered that my back tire was flat. I was so mad. What kind of jerk goes through the parking lot deflating people’s tires for fun!? Sam later pointed out how ridiculous this line of thinking is. I don’t know why I assume someone is out to get me or pick on me, but I guess that is what my immediate reaction is. Haha. After looking at some race pictures (my back tire is completely flat), and thinking through it more, I’m pretty sure that guy was telling me I had a flat. I think this happened around mile 50, which would help to explain why my I felt like I had to work harder at the end of the ride … because I DID.

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So very flat. And the advice-giving rider.
Transition 2: 1:55 (Goal: 2-3 minutes)

Anyway, back to the race, I came into the transition area again and got ready for the run. I transitioned seamlessly and made a dash for the exit to run. I saw Sam at this exchange and told her that it was hot and the run may not go as expected.

RUN: 2:03:21 / 9:25 pace (Goal: 1:35-1:40 / 7:15-7:37 pace)

Generally running is my strength and this is where I planned to make up some ground. Remember when I mentioned my start time was after 9? My run started around 12:30 in the afternoon and it was hot. Really hot! The temperature had reached 90 by the time I was running! I am not a strong runner in the heat in general because I sweat a ton and the heat can quickly get to me. I planned to combat the heat by getting cold water every aid station and by using the sponges that they passed out on the course to try to keep my body and core temperature down.

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I knew immediately that I needed to adjust my time goal and start around an 8:00-8:30 pace. Well, that failed. It’s hard to tell what pace you are running right after biking and my first mile ended up being under 7:00. Whenever I saw this I thought, man I’m tired but this doesn’t seem that fast. My next mile was 7:19, and after this I quickly realized I was not going to keep this up. The nutrition plan for the run was to carry another bottle of Carbo-Pro and 2 gels with me. I would take the gels at miles 5 and 8 or 9 and refill my bottle with water along the course. By mile 3, my bottle was bone dry. To add to the problem, the water at the aid stations was not cool, but rather lukewarm, so my plan to use this as my cooling mechanism didn’t exactly go as planned.

At this point I changed my goals again and decided in order to be safe, I would walk a quarter of a mile whenever I got to mile 5 to slow my heart rate down some before running again. I tried to just focus on the moment and enjoy the fact that I had been racing well all day. I did not want to be negative about the fact that I had to walk or that my run was not going to be what I had hoped for. I knew the heat would be tough to overcome and it’s something I can’t control (I do wish I could’ve gotten those last bit of carbs in on the bike though).

At mile 5 I took my first gel and drank some warm water. UGH. Finally at mile 8 there was a trash can full of ice. I scooped as much up as I could, poured it into my shirt, under my hat, down my back, and then into my bottle. Within half a mile this was all melted and gone. I ended up doing a combination of running and walking to the finish over the next few miles and was able to see Sam at several spots throughout the run portion, which definitely was a huge boost.

FINISH TIME: 5:18:58 (Goal: 5:00-5:22)

I’m fully recovered now, other than normal soreness from a race, and already looking ahead to another 70.3. I am really pleased with how this one went and I think there are a few places I can still shave some time off.

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I guess I’ll go ahead and tell you a little bit about the post-race as well. Sam may elaborate. After the race we had to walk a couple of miles back to the car. At this point, I started to feel BAD. Did I mention the heat really wipes me out? I made it to the car and Sam went and got my bike and other stuff out of the transition area. Once we got back to the hotel I laid in the tub for a bit and tried to sip water and eat crackers. Each time I tried this, a few minutes later a wave of nausea would come over me and I was unable to keep anything down.

After a few hours of this, I told Sam I wanted to go to Urgent Care to get some IV fluids. I didn’t want to be miserable all night and also, we were planning to get on the road early the next morning. There was an Urgent Care half a mile away from our hotel and they did a great job. I was evaluated and started on IV fluids quickly. In addition they gave me some nausea medicine though my IV. I felt so much better after this and was even able to eat dinner and successfully keep it down. 

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Bless it.
I know this was a long post but, it was a LONG race so … Haha. Thanks for reading along. Let me know any thoughts, tips or questions in the comments below! 

Okay, Sam again. Whew! It was definitely a long race and I am so proud of Daniel. It was really cool to watch and I have a whole new level of respect for triathletes. I kind of used to think that triathlons were for the athletes who were just confused about what their niche was, but no … these guys are the real deal. 

I hope you guys are having a good weekend! We’ll talk to you soon! 

Jubilee Race for Life 5K

This morning I ran the Jubilee Race for Life 5K. The race takes place less than a mile from our house and so I really just couldn’t pass it up. This wasn’t a goal race per say, but more of just a chance to get out there and race (which I love!) and to get a gauge for where I am at this point in the marathon training cycle so that we have a good baseline to work from going forward.

With the race being so close to home, I was [theoretically] able to sleep in. I say theoretically because my internal alarm clock didn’t get the memo. Regular alarm was set for 5:45 a.m., but internal alarm was still set for 4:30 a.m. Toots. I had plenty of time to piddle around the house, have coffee, etc. before I headed up to the race. It’s actually quite nice to have some extra time to just “be” before having to rush off and do things every now and then.

We left the house a little before 7 a.m. (me on foot and Daniel on bike) and headed to the race start so that I could get registered and run the course as a warm up. This is a small, local race that is VERY well organized and VERY well executed. I highly recommend it to anyone local. I registered, got my number and shirt (a fun neon orange tech tee) and headed out to get my warm up in. The volunteers were working on getting all of the water stations set up and getting the roads closed as we were out on the warm up loop. One of the volunteers asked if I was “just out sampling the course,” which we thought was so funny! Yep! Just getting a little sample of what’s to come.

It was incredibly warm and humid! We’ve had some really nice fall temperatures already this season, but apparently it was NOT here to stay. The temperature and dew point were both exactly 76 at the start (i.e., 100% humidity). It was ROUGH! I entered the temperature and dew point into my pace calculator before I left the house (#nerdalert) and knew I was likely going to be looking at a 6 – 8 percent adjustment. I’m so glad that I checked this before the race, because my time definitely reflects the rough conditions and I probably would’ve been a little disappointed if I hadn’t done my research. Knowledge is power I suppose!

I didn’t have any specific time goals going into this one (thank goodness). Based on recent races and workouts, I figured that I should be able to run fairly close to 6:00 pace in good conditions. Seeing as how the conditions were far from ideal, I decided to keep a goal range of 6:15 to 6:20 in the back of mind. I honestly tried not to look at the pace too much mid-race and really focused on running by feel.

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The race took off precisely at 8 a.m. I found myself in the top 5 or so pretty much immediately. I knew that it was going to be a small race and I was prepared to work by myself. The first half mile had 8 turns, which can be a little tricky. I mean, I don’t think there could possibly be any more turns in a half mile segment. Haha. I got a fun little surprise at one of the early turns … my mom was there! Daniel also rode his bike all over the course and saw me 4 or 5 times. I’m super thankful for my people!

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The course was an out and back and after we got past the last turn at the half mile mark, the course was straight as an arrow (flat to downhill) until we got to the turnaround. I came through the first mile in 6:14 and had moved into the second overall runner. I was pleased with the split and thought to myself that I might even be able to negative split the course (how cute) since I had run smart for the first mile.

I tried to use the gradual downhill of the first half of the second mile to my advantage and just focused on the guy in front of me. I didn’t think that I would catch him, but having a rabbit to chase is always nice. Once we got to the turnaround, I was expecting things to get a little tough. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually got a big boost from seeing the other runners (I love out and back courses for this exact reason). We were all encouraging each other and before I even realized it, I had made it back up the hill! My split for the second mile was 6:11.

Things got a little dicey during the last mile. I knew that my place was pretty much solidified and I tried to keep the effort consistent, but that didn’t really work out for me. We have to reweave back through the 8 turns from mile 1 and the last three tenths or so of the race was uphill. I didn’t specifically feel like we were running downhill at the very beginning of the race, but apparently we were (gotta love it when that happens). That last little bit of incline got to me and my effort level dropped off. My split for the third mile was 6:36.

I finished in 19:29. Time wise, definitely not my best, but effort wise, I was pleased.

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One of our precious little Girls on the Run girls was at the race and she did SO WELL. I thought she might need some encouragement at the end of the race so I ran back to find her, but as it turns out, she was just fine. Her finishing kick was amazing and I was really impressed with how she raced! After she finished, Daniel and I headed out for a short cool down. I thought about running the course again, but decided against that. I was really craving a diet coke (it happens), so we ran to the nearest gas station and got a drink before heading back to the race finish to enjoy the carbonation and wait on the awards.

The overall male and female winners got gift certificates for a pair of shoes from Running Wild. A runner can never have too many shoes. Fact. The age group winners got very unique, homemade awards, which is always a nice touch. There was also music, door prizes and Chick Fil A to be enjoyed after the race. We stayed for a while (because of said door prizes) and chatted with friends, new and old (in terms of how long we’ve known them, not because of their ages :)).

Daniel left the race a little bit before I did (Game Day was on … I can’t compete with that). I came home to find he and Brooksy chillaxin in the hammock watching Game Day. So sweet ❤

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If you are local, you need to do this race next year! It’s always the third weekend in September. This morning was really fun, despite the sogginess of the air. Side note: I have yet to get a brush through my hair (it’s 5:30 p.m. at this point). I think I’ll just wait and deal with that mess tomorrow.

I hope you’ve had a good Saturday! Talk to you soon!

Race Recap: Chickasabogue Park 2 Miler

Hey friends! The third and final race of my “summer of speed” training cycle was yesterday evening and it was a good one!

The Chickasabogue Park 2 mile race takes place the second Tuesday in August each year at Chickasabogue Park in Mobile County. This is the only local 2 mile race that I am aware of and there is usually a pretty decent turnout. It seems like several people go home with age group state records each year. This year was no exception!

Pre-Race

Daniel and I left around 5:15 p.m. to head to the race, which started at 6:30 p.m. It was pouring rain as we drove across the bay, which was not fun. My motivation level was fairly low and the rain definitely wasn’t helping anything. I’m fairly certain that it rains right before this race almost every year (err well … I know it has rained at least 3 out of the 5 years that I’ve run it … so 60% of the time, it rains every time).

We were lucky enough to avoid a major traffic backup on the Bayway and we made it to the park around 6 p.m. This is one of those bare bones, no frills races. The registration is $10 and there are no awards or shirts or anything like that, which is totally cool with me. I got registered and headed out to do a 2 mile warm up with some of our training buddies.

The rain cleared out just as the race was about to start, which was nice, but it also left us with some think, muggy air. As we lined up on the start line, I was completely drenched (partially with rain and partially with sweat). I knew that I needed to run just under 5:50 pace to get the state record for my age group and that was my main focus. Going into the race, I was fairly confident that I would be able to do that, but my confidence dwindled a little bit pre-race. Given the conditions, I knew I was really going to have to work really hard if I wanted to get that record.

The Race

The course is an out and back with one turn (well, two turns if you count one on the way out and one on the way back). There is a very slight net downhill on the way out, you hit the turnaround just before the one mile mark (the start and finish are about a tenth of a mile apart, so you don’t hit the turnaround at exactly one mile) and then you have a slight uphill on the way back to the finish.

Strava

I didn’t look at my watch much during the race. I’ve found that the constant feedback doesn’t tend to actually help me in the moment. If I look down and see a pace that I think is too fast, I slow down (even if I physically feel okay) and if I look down and see a pace that is slower than I am expecting, I feel defeated and probably end up slowing down then as well. I still like to wear my watch during the races though, because … Strava … and data …

After the first half mile, I was in fifth place overall. I was about 10 – 15 seconds behind the leaders. I came through the first mile in 5:44. I knew that the second mile would be the real test, so I tried to focus on holding the pace as much as possible. This is where I definitely decided NOT to look at the watch. I felt like I was probably slowing down a little bit, but I didn’t really want to know for sure. Ignorance works best sometimes.

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With half a mile to go, the biggest blessing of the day came. I got passed! This may seem weird, but it helped me SO MUCH. I was starting to struggle and when this runner passed me, he actually encouraged me to pick it up and to run with him. We encouraged each other the rest of the way (he did more encouraging than I did … I think he was feeling GOOD and I was feeling *okay*). I am so thankful for his sportsmanship! I feel like most guys would’ve just passed me and tried to leave me in their dust, but this young lad (16 years old) decided to help me out.

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My second mile was 5:47 and somehow I managed to not run the tangents very well and I ended up with an additional 5 seconds before we got to the finish line. The 16-year-old out kicked me in the end (which I am totes okay with) and so I ended up as the 1st girl and 6th overall. I also got my age group state record by 3 seconds! Phew. Cut it a little close there. I actually missed the age group record last year by exactly 3 seconds, so it’s pretty cool to get it by 3 seconds this year. Several other runners got age group records as well (I know there were at least 4 of us)! Yay!

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Post-Race

We ran the course again after the race as a cool down. There is an after-party celebration where they do the Port City Pacer awards from the previous year, but we didn’t stick around for that. It was getting close to 8 p.m. at this point and because of my #mawmawstatus, I was ready to get home, eat dinner and go to sleep!

I celebrated with some state record fudge brownies when I got home. I started a new celebratory fudge tradition after my one mile record a few weeks ago and I’m planning to keep that tradition alive and strong (it’s a delicious tradition :)). I was also actually able to sleep really soundly after the race, which was AMAZING. The past two weeks, I have not been able to sleep at all after the evening races, so that was just a real nice surprise, Clark … a real nice surprise.

That wraps up the summer of speed! I enjoyed pushing myself this summer and training for races that I usually wouldn’t have specifically focused on. I’m planning to take a little break from workouts in the next week or two and search my soul to figure out what it is that I truly want to do next (in a slightly less dramatic fashion than that makes it sound). Stay tuned!

Race Recap: Crime Prevention 5K

Hey guys!

Tuesday evening I ran the Crime Prevention 5K in downtown Mobile. Don’t ever expect me to do a workout in the evening, but if you ask me to do a race … that’s a different story. I can totally get beside that. Evening races present some different challenges than the typical Saturday morning race, especially when they are in the middle of the week. I’m always up for a good challenge!

This race is always the first Tuesday in August and of course, is always a HOT one. According to Garmin Connect, the temperature was 90 degrees at 6:30 p.m. That’s toasty.

Pre-Race

Rebecca picked me up around 5:15 and we headed across the bay. Thankfully we didn’t run into any traffic issues and we were able to find a place to park downtown without any issues as well. Neither one of us had registered, so the first thing we did was head over to get signed up. For the low, low price of $20, you get to run through the streets of downtown Mobile AND you get a race tee-shirt. There is also a “no shirt” option for $17, which is nice. I usually don’t get the shirt at this race, as it is typically one of the more unfashionable race shirts, but this year I went for it. I really like the color and the material of the shirt.

I did a mile and half or so warm up with some strides at the end and before we knew it, it was time to race!

The Race

In typical 5K fashion, everyone went out blazing fast. See if you can find me below (it’s like Where’s Waldo minus the outfit).


I focused on reigning it in and staying relaxed during the first half mile. I steadily caught up to pretty much everyone that sprinted out like a cannon by about half a mile in. I checked my watch around the half mile mark to make sure I was on track. I saw 6:00 pace as my current pace and was satisfied that I was right where I needed to be. In hindsight, the current pace was probably off because of all of the tall buildings downtown.

My first mile split was 5:47. Alrighty then. I knew that was too fast, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it at that point. I just tried to focus on keeping it consistent and decided not to look at my pace anymore except for at the mile splits. By the time we got to the one mile mark, I was in 4th overall, which is where I would stay for the rest of the race. I could see the guys just ahead of me and I was able to pretend like I was chasing them down, but I never really made up any ground on them. I feel like I always end up in no man’s land during races and I wish that wasn’t the case.

Here’s me, hanging out in no man’s land without any friends to race with. I seemed happy about it at the time. It’s always good to see Tim (who comes out to a lot of the local races and takes pictures) out on the course. There were several other friendly faces out and about cheering as well, which was nice.


My second mile split was 5:57, which is more in line with where I probably should’ve been to begin with. Unfortunately, I really started to feel the effects of that first mile and the monkey jumped on my back (actually it felt more like an elephant jumped on my back) during the last mile. You basically run past the finish at around mile two and half and have to do another little out and back stretch, which is tough mentally. At that point, I was really feeling the heat and I was so ready to be done. Well, I say I was ready to be done, but I was not ready enough to pick the pace up and attempt to get there more quickly. The last mile felt like the longest mile of. my. life.

My last mile split was 6:23. Woof. If I hadn’t had to carry that elephant around with me, I guess I would’ve gone faster. I was actually able to kick it in a little bit when I realized that I still had a chance to get under 19:00. My pace for the last tenth was 5:46, which put me finishing in 18:50. Overall, I’m happy with my time, but the execution could definitely use some work. In fact, I would dare to even say that this is textbook example of how NOT to race a 5K (so basically you don’t want a 35+ second difference in your pace between mile one and mile 3).

Post-Race

I was absolutely gassed at the end of the race and I decided that from here on out, I just want to stick to one mile races. Kidding … kind of. After I collected myself and talked to friends at the finish for a few minutes, I did another mile and a half or so to cool down.

We waited a little while for the awards. Rebecca and I were first and third overall for the girls. She pushed Savannah in the stroller and even got a nice little stroller PR! The overall winners get gift cards to McCoy Outdoor Company ($100 for overall, $75 for second and $50 for third), which is amazing! I can’t wait to go see Mr. Joe and pick out something with my gift card.

The guys racked up too! My Daniel didn’t run (it was hammer ride night at Pro Cycle and he’s all about that biking right now), but Brandon, Young Daniel and Cody went 1, 2 and 3!

We got home from the race just before 9 p.m., which is basically past my bedtime these days. I still had to eat dinner and it took me forever to wind down. For whatever reason, easy runs in the evening don’t bother me, but apparently races leave me WIRED and unable to sleep. So. Many. Endorphins. So. Little. Sleep.

The rest of the week seems to be crawling by. I definitely feel like it is taking me a bit longer than it should to recover from these hard efforts. I’m going to get my blood work done again with Inside Tracker to make sure that all of my vitamin and nutrient levels are where they need to be.

Two races down and one to go in the summer race trifecta! I’m looking forward to the 2 mile race next week and to some down time afterwards. I hope everyone is having a great week! Talk to you soon!

Race Recap: Fairground Road 1 Mile (PR!)

HAPPY FRIDAY! I’ve got a race recap to share with you today! AHH!

Thursday evening I ran in the inaugural Fairground Road one mile race. This race was the final installment of the “summer track series” that Rebecca puts on to raise money for her cross country team each year. Typically the series ends with the milk mile on the track, but she switched things up a little bit this year and added a certified one mile road race! How awesome, right?!

Background

There are very few certified one mile races around here and I was so excited when Rebecca first mentioned the idea of doing this. We actually kind of built my summer training with this and another two mile race in mind.

I’ve done one other one mile race before and it was 5 years ago. I really can’t believe that it’s been that long ago! Seems like it was just yesterday. Every now and then I can find an age group record that is somewhat doable. Usually it is an uncommon distance (1 mile, 4 mile, 10 mile, etc.) that people don’t race very often, but still … it’s cool to try! This is a picture from the finish line of the race in 2012 and it is one of my favorite running photos and memories of all time. Daniel paced me to my first state record!

Weeks Bay 1 Mile

The Plan

My coach sent me an awesome effort-based pacing strategy. I don’t know what I was expecting … I mean, it’s just one mile, how much strategy do you really need? Ha. Well, apparently strategy helps, as does thinking about said strategy pre-race (i.e., not winging it).

He divided the race up into 4 segments, but not necessarily the 4 quarter-mile segments (which is what you would likely expect). The plan was to take off fairly quickly on the first 200 meters (but not sprinting to the point of distress) and establish some space and position among the other runners. From 200 meters to 800 meters (the half way point), I wanted to stay strong, smooth and controlled. This gave me lots of good one-word mantras to focus on as I was suffering (suffer wasn’t one of the go-to words).

The stretch from the 800 back to the 200 would be the toughest section. Since I knew that going in, the plan was to focus on leg turnover and maintaining the pace. The last 200 meters would be time to get aggressive and really use whatever finishing kick I had. One thing that I found fascinating that my coach shared with me was that you actually tap into new glycogen stores when you transition into an all-out sprint. Say what?! Perhaps I should’ve known this or have heard it before, but I don’t all-out sprint enough (or ever for that matter) to actually experience this first-hand.

Pre-Race

The race took place at 6:30 p.m. at Robertsdale High School. I’m pretty sure the feels like temperature was in the triple digits! I actually took a few hours off from work Thursday evening to rest before the race. I know that not everyone has this luxury (I just worked longer hours the rest of the week to make up the time) or cares that much, but I do. I trained hard for this race, so why not give myself the best opportunity to be as successful as possible?

Daniel got home from work just before 5:30 p.m. and we headed to the race. At registration we got to pick our numbers, which was a nice touch. I chose #5 because numbers that end and 5 and 0 are the bestest, most even numbers (not literally, obviously). We did a two mile warm-up with some strides at the end and then it was go time!

The Race

The course was an out and back. It was flat and fast! The turnaround slowed you down a tad, but in order for the course to be state record eligible, it can’t be a point to point race (I’m not entirely sure what the actual rule is, but the start and finish have to be within a third of a mile of each other or something like that). I lined up on the second row behind the guys that I knew would be faster than me, Rebecca blew the fog horn and we were off.

I debated on whether to lap my watch at each 400 split in order to have the data afterwards, but ultimately decided against that as I didn’t want to have to fool with it during the race … so, I can’t give you a play-by-play of each 400 split. I do have this handy-dandy pace analysis from Strava though!

Pace Crop

The graph makes it look like my pace was all over the place, but I feel like I ran fairly consistently. The first 100-200 meters were likely a hair too fast, but … it happens. It felt like all of the guys were just leaving me in the dust and I wanted to at least try to keep a reasonable distance behind them. Thankfully everyone’s pace kind of evened out after that and I settled right into the 5:20 – 5:25 range until the turnaround.

I know I lost a few seconds at the turaround, but I think I made them up pretty quickly. I really focused on pushing hard during this stretch (since my coach told me this would be the toughest part of the race). After I got back up to speed (plus some), I steadily eased it back into the 5:20 – 5:25 range where I had been earlier. With 400 to go, I made a bit of an effort to pick it up and touch.

By this point in a one mile race, everything is ON FIRE. Your legs, your lungs and possibly even your heart. They say when your legs can’t run anymore, run with your heart. As cheesy as that may sound, I think I used the fire in my heart to kick it in over those last 200 meters. The fact that my coach had told me that I would tap into some new glycogen stores definitely helped me. In my head, I thought, “Okay, Sam … just run faster and you’ll feel better. It’s science.” In my head, I could also hear my dad telling me to GROWL. This was always his way of telling me to dig deep and be aggressive and he always made me make a growling sound back to him. GRR!

I hadn’t looked at my watch very much during the race. I mean, sure, I glanced down at it a few times and looked at the current pace just to make sure I was on track, but I didn’t know what my overall time was until I saw the clock at the finish line. I finished in 5:23! Holy cow! I was over the moon excited (and still am)! I took 10 seconds off of my previous mile time and got the Alabama 31 yr. old state record in the process. Missions accomplished.

Post-Race

We did a two mile cool down after the race to flush out the junk in our legs. I felt way better than I expected to post-race. Give me a day or two and I might be singing a different tune though.

The overall male and female winners of the one mile race got these AWESOME medal hangers that a local runner made. This is one of my favorite prizes to date. I love it!

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There were also awesome door prizes and prizes for the overall winners of the entire track series. This was a wonderful event (thanks to Rebecca) and I really hope that it becomes an annual thing!

Several of us went out for pizza after we left the race. We sat around and swapped war stories and Strava data because we are cool like that. Ha. When we got home I remembered that I had picked up some fudge at the store just in case I had a reason to celebrate (good reasons being either A) it’s almost Friday or B) I ran a PR). I think that chocolate fudge might be one of my favorite desserts at this point. It was delicious and then of course, I was WIRED and was up until WAY past my normal bedtime. Apparently I am still wired because I am up before 5 a.m. talking to you lovely people.

One last thing and I promise I will wrap it up. I wrote my pace on my hand before the race. I do this for most races where I have a specific goal or pace in mind. As you can see below, the goal was 5:30.

Daniel writes Bible verses on his hand before his races and so I was curious if there were any 5:30 verses that we applicable and of course there was. John 5:30 says, “By myself I can do nothing.” Theologically speaking, there is more to it than it appears, but I thought this was a wonderful reminder that we truly cannot do anything with God. I am so thankful for the ability to run and the gift of running. I never want to lose sight of using that gift for His glory.

I hope you guys have a wonderful Friday and a lovely weekend!

Pace Crop