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Archive for March, 2012

Papa John’s 10 Miler – Louisville, KY (March 31, 2012)

Me (in the pink) racing for the finish line of the Papa John's 10 Miler - Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky

Me (in the pink) racing for the finish line of the Papa John's 10 Miler - Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky

Race: Papa John’s 10 Miler

Place: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY

Date: March 31, 2012

Time: 1:29:33

This was the big one.

Not only would this equal out to an amazing long run for my half marathon training, as well as really give me an idea of the pace I’m capable of, this also was the final leg of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running.  Before I go into the race itself, let me just say this…kudos to Louisville for putting on this amazing and very fun racing series.  I’ve enjoyed the build up to the Papa John’s 10 Miler, with the 5K to start it off, and the 10K in the middle.  This has been a great series to be a part of.  I loved every mile of every race and experienced a PRs at every single one.

How’s that for my first year doing this?

So, the morning started off in typical fashion.  I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to get dressed for the race, eat some Honey Nut Chex cereal and a slice of Udi’s Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread with a schmear of Wowbutter (nut-free peanut butter) on it.  Mmmm…gluten-free breakfast for the energy to get through 10 miles.  WOOT!  I was feeling good.  I slept amazingly well.  Apparently we had storms come through.  I heard some thunder around 10:30 p.m., but missed the rest of it.  I’m okay with that as storms usually wake me up and I really, really wanted to be well rested for this one.

I updated my iPod Nano and quickly mixed up my vegan chocolate protein shake for after the race.  That went into a makeshift cooler, my running bag was packed with a Lärabar (Apple Pie, for those wondering), a granola bar for my roommate, and I put some chunks of dehydrated papaya into a baggie to carry with me should hunger hit on the long run.  A quick brush of the teeth and getting my number pinned on and we were set to make the drive into Louisville.

And that went smoothly up until we hit a line of traffic on I-65.  BAH!  Apparently they are busting up the concrete barriers to, allegedly, put in taller ones.  But until that happens, it’s just a mess.  But we got through it and made it down toward the stadium, where we were now on a mission to find parking.  Our original route, it turns out, was blocked and we were directed to a very far-off lot that was not to our liking.  We basically had to hike toward Churchill Downs from there and it was not close.  So, we skipped parking there, turned around and headed back.  Where, somehow, we stumbled on side roads that got us around the road block and into a parking lot for the people in the race.  SWEET!!

The hike then started.  From our parking spot, we headed toward Cardinal Stadium, then through a parking lot, up a flight of stairs to a bridge that carried us toward our destination.  The start was near a Starbucks…which you know, caffeine and coffee are a runner’s best friend.  I never deviate from my pre-race food though so by-passed it, knowing I was going to a locally owned (and my favorite coffee shop around here) afterwards.

I had a little bit of time to stretch before finding a place at the starting gate.  I didn’t want to be too far back, but I didn’t want to be too close either.  I usually fall in the middle of the pack, but I got into that area before it got stupid-crowded, so I was near the front…so that it took me…just about 2 minutes to get there after the race kicked off.  Not bad, considering my roommate headed toward the stadium for the finish line wait and there were tons of runners and walkers still waiting to round the corner to even see the starting gate.  LOTS of people in this race.

Another important note I should make is that this was my very first time racing with a GPS watch.  You know, I swore up and down that I would never be one of those runners who ran with one of those watches…but I needed to stop running with my iPhone.  Seriously.  So, I treated myself to a Garmin 210 and absolutely love it.  I didn’t get to test it out pre-race though because the night I was going to go for a run, I ended up twisting my knee at work and thought it better to ice it and rest.  Good decision in the end.

So, the basic break-down is this.  The first mile went by quickly.  And I held a pretty steady pace throughout the entire race.  That is something I am very proud of.  The second mile was just as fast and soon we were rounding a bend heading toward Mile 3.  This is what I knew about Mile 3.  At Mile 3, we entered Iroquois Park, which, I have run before and I know the hills are KILLER!!  So, I was trying not to go out too fast because, I had 10 miles to run, and because I knew I would have steep hills to contend with.  This was a smart move.

The hills were just as I remembered them…long and steep.  And I did my best to push on at each one.  I never once walked.  My pace slowed…but only slightly.  I credit that to my practice on hills as of late while running outside.  I am off that treadmill as much as possible these days now that the weather is warming up.  Miles 3-6 were on hills, mostly going up, as the downward bits were not as long as the upward climbs.  Naturally.  But, my headband of choice today stated: “BEAT THE HILL” and that’s what I intended to do.  And I managed.  And finally, Mile 6 passed and out of the park we went.  And here is where I clocked my fastest pace on the entire race.  Yes…after running up hills.  After coming back to a flat track.  From Mile 6 to Mile 7, I was flying.  I didn’t even realize it until I plugged in my Garmin and uploaded the data.  Very proud that I can turn on the speed that late in a race.

At Mile 7, I knew all I had left was less than a 5K, so I tried to keep a good pace going, even though I knew I was starting to get fatigued.  I managed.  I powered on through Mile 8.  This was where we passed where we started.  I knew…the finish was getting closer.  I kept it going, loved that I was being told I was in the top half of runners in the race and then rounded the corner at Mile 9…to be greeted with yet another hill.  Oh, Louisville…curse you and your random hilliness.  This hill was the bridge we had to walk over to get to the start line.  I should have thought of that as we were walking it that morning that I’d probably be running up it later on.  But it didn’t occur to me.  Oh, miles 8-9 also meant running straight into the wind.  Of course.  So, hill and strong winds.  I can do this, right.  Yes.  Getting up the hill meant I was now heading into the finish.  Half a mile away and I could see the runners making the turn ahead to enter the stadium.  I had a corner to round, then a small straightaway and then…I rounded that corner to head toward the stadium entrance.  I rushed through the gate, hit the concrete, ran down the ramp, and then hit the turf.  Which, I wasn’t expecting.  And I had never run on that before so it was just a matter of getting used to it.

The finish line was on the opposite end of the stadium, so we had to round the field and head in toward the finish.  I knew I was doing better than my goal I had set for myself.  I didn’t realize how much better.  My roommate was on the sideline in the stands, cheering and clapping and telling me to GO!  I crossed the finish, smiling, and headed away from the finish area so other runners could come in and not run into me.

I found some stairs and got into the stands, found my roommate, and downed my vegan chocolate protein shake.  After that, we moved around and I drank up some water to rehydrate.  Then called my mom as I propped my feet up to get the blood rushing back to all extremities and out of my legs.  After talking to my mom, I went into the bathroom to change and prepare for the rest of the day, which meant a coffee stop, some shopping, lunch at P.F. Changs, and then the rest of the grocery shopping.

As it stands, my results for the Papa John’s 10 Miler are that I finished the race in 1:29:33.  I was 1599/6912 finishers overall and 79/573 in my division.  Let me tell you…I am way beyond thrilled.  All the hard training I’ve been doing for my upcoming half marathon has really been paying off.  I can tell with these results.  I’m right on par with where I hope to be for the half.  So, this is a great sign.

And with that…the Louisville Triple Crown of Running comes to a close.  And now I can’t wait to do it all again next year.  This was a blast.  I’m so glad I participated.


The final leg of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running

Papa John's 10 Miler, Louisville, KY

Papa John's 10 Miler, Louisville, KY

Today, on my lunch break, I’m heading into Louisville to stop in at Papa John’s Stadium.  Packet pick-up is going on, along with a race expo, for the final race in the Louisville Triple Crown of Running.

What’s on deck for Saturday?

The Papa John’s 10 Miler.

I’m super excited about the race.  I have a goal in mind, and hope to stay on pace to achieve it.  It’s been awhile since I’ve run this far in a race.  The last long race I had was just 3.1 miles further…the Chicago Half Marathon.  So, this race will also give me some key information on how I’ll do in my first half marathon, which happens in May.

The Louisville Triple Crown of Running has been a lot of fun to participate in.  I can see why it draws so many people and has so many spectators along the way.  I hope there are a good number of them out there this weekend, because 10 miles is a long time and some stranger in the crowd just cheering you on does help give you that extra push.

I was actually a bit concerned about this race yesterday, mainly because when I was hauling trash down at the office I twisted my knee weird and it was twinging the rest of the day.  This meant my afternoon run in the park was nixed, which I hated to do, but knew I needed to or else risk not being able to run on Saturday.  As it stands, I iced it a couple times last night and this morning it feels great.  So hopefully that will continue throughout the rest of the day.  Unfortunately, today is a rest day, so no running.  I’m despise rest days, but understand the importance of them.

So…I’ve come this far.  I have had really great races for the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic and the Rodes City Run 10K over the past couple of weeks.  This race is the one I have been anticipating.  Up until yesterday, they were predicting rain.  I was grumbley about that, because, honestly, 10 miles in the rain does not sound like fun.  But, it seems the weather moves through today instead which leaves beautiful temperatures and weather for the race on Saturday morning.

This will also be my first time running while wearing a GPS watch.  My Garmin is going to get road tested immediately in a race since I wasn’t able to go out and give it a whirl last night on a run.  I’m hoping the Garmin (which I named Dean after the Ultramarathonman, Dean Karnazes) will help me maintain a good pace throughout instead of having me go out way too fast (something I notice I do a lot on my training runs).

So, stay tuned.  My first ever go at the Louisville Triple Crown of Running is about to come to an end.  And I’ve really, really enjoyed myself throughout.

Papa John’s 10 Miler…I’ll see you on Saturday!

Durbin Classic 5K – Nobelsville, IN (March 24,2012)

Crossing the finish line of the Durbin Classic 5K - Noblesville, Indiana

Crossing the finish line of the Durbin Classic 5K - Noblesville, Indiana

Race: Durbin Classic 5K

Place: Noblesville, IN

Date: March 24, 2012

Time: 24:59*

Yep, that’s an asterisk.

I don’t want to admit that that time possibly could be wrong. I really don’t…because this would have been my first sub-25 minute 5K race. And it fell perfectly into my half-marathon training program, which was to run a 5K at race pace. I was already going to be up in the area for the Celiac Awareness Tour, so this little race was perfect and not outside of my training regimen.  When doing any sort of training for a big event, in this case a half marathon in May, I try to stay within the parameters of my training program on my iPhone.  I definitely don’t want to get injured when I’m this close to my race.  For once, a race and the training distance coincided.

So, why might the time be wrong?  I’ll get to that.

It was a perfect morning for running…eventually.  You see, traveling to little races SUCKS.  I hate getting out of bed at 4:00 in the morning to eat something, dress, brush my teeth, pile everything into the car, and then drive for 2 hours to a little 5K race.  It just doesn’t seem worth it.  But, as there was actually an event I was attending going on…well…it wasn’t totally out of the question.  But sleep is very important as a runner needs to be well-rested.  I really, really would have liked those two hours to sleep, personally.  A runner has to do what a runner has to do.

I was going with a completely different race look on this one.  The night prior, I had found a pair of Superman socks that had capes hanging off the back.  Yes…I had to buy those.  There was no way I could walk away from those.  So, they were the base of the running outfit I put together.  My running skirt was a must.  And I actually, for the first time, wore a cotton t-shirt for this race.  When I graduated from college, my friend Amanda got me a Superman shirt…and it became my race shirt for the day.  In went my colored hair extensions (red and blue for Superman) and my headband (the bright yellow one).  I threw a couple of extra snacks into the race bag, tied on my running shoes, and called myself as ready as I was going to be.

My roommate and I left the apartment just as scheduled after eating a little something before hitting the road.  It was dark, and she was armed with Diet Mt. Dew…me with a bottle of water (HYDRATION!).  We set out toward Noblesville, Indiana, a good 2 hour drive from where we live, wanting to hit packet pickup around 8:00 a.m. or soon after.  The drive was dark, dull, but made better with the aid of my iPod and Bruce Springsteen’s new album.

We arrived at Durbin Elementary School pretty much when we needed to be there.  We found parking without a problem, grabbed my bag from the car and headed toward the gymnasium for packet pick-up.  There was a little chalkboard with the route mapped out on it and instructions for runners to turn right at the red cones and left at the blue cones.  Okay…I guess that shouldn’t be too difficult to remember…

I picked up my packet and went back outside to get pinned up.  After that, I started to stretch and just people watch.  This was a new area for a race for me and I could see a lot of kids were pinned up, two of which were in bright shirts that indicated kids running groups.  That’s awesome.  Lots of adults were around too, most running the 10K, although there were the few of us who were set on the 5K.  I would have done the 10K…but my training program said…5K at race pace.  No harm in a short run on a Saturday morning.

Without really any indication of where to go, my roommate and I ended up following a swarm of runners who suddenly started making their way down through the parking lot and out onto the street.  This was, apparently, where the race was starting.  Good thing we are lemmings and do what others do.  I got my good luck hug and went to find a good spot to start from, which I did, near the front on the right side.  Fantastic placement.  That was…until the children filed down and started to swarm in around me.  Granted, this is their race too, and some of them turned out to be damn fast runners, but…if usually it’s customary to line up by pace.  Eh…whatever.  I slid over to the left side, just a bit further back from where I was and let the kids have their place.  Fair is fair and they had just as much right to be there as the rest of us did.

The race organizer came down, whistle in hand.  And, with no real warning, he blew it and we were all off.  The race course wound through the roads, which were shut down for the race, cops monitoring the situation and keeping all of us safe during the event.  I started off at a good clip, without pushing too hard because I didn’t want to tire out too quickly.  Not only was I completely unfamiliar with these roads and the area, I was honestly out in the country.  No air pollution at all.  Crisp.  Clean.  Fantastic.  I was really feeling it.

Mile 1 came up and the lady with the stop watch ticked off our times as we passed.  Mine was at a flat 8 minutes.  Awesome.  I was going at a very good speed and I felt I was maintaining it, even over the, albeit, slight hills.  This course was mostly flat with only a few small inclines.  Good way to keep those legs engaged, yes?

Mile 2 came up next and all I totally missed the count on the minutes and only heard seconds being called out.  It was forty-six when I ran past, so…as usual, I just kept on going, focusing on posture, breathing, and the music going on my iPod.

I came around a corner and could see the red roof of the school in the distance.  That meant I was nearing the end.  I was in the last mile of the race and knew I’d need to start pushing it as I was getting close to the finish.  I rounded another bend in the road and could see the orange cones leading back into the parking lot.  As I went to run around the parked cars, the person with the stopwatch shouted off 23 minutes and some seconds.  Oooh…I was close.

So, I put on as much speed as I could as I made the turn in the parking lot and headed toward that finish line.  The announcer said, “And here comes Supergirl!” as I ran over the sensors and made my finish at a remarkable…first time yet…sub-25 minute 5K time.  Barely.  I mean…24:59 was almost 25…but technically…not.

I was thrilled.  I moved out of the finish area to grab a banana to munch on and some water to down for re-hydration purposes.  Then, I went to find a spot so I could watch other people come in and finish their race.  I love cheering people on and giving them motivation to just put on that last push.  Some of the walkers eventually started filtering in…just about the time the 10K was coming in for their finish.  This made for a little bit of finish line chaos, but everyone worked with it.

The finish line was filling up with racers and observers.  The kids sometimes got a little too close to the finish line sensor and their bibs would set off the buzzer again.  Finally the announcer asked for the kids to either move ahead of the finish line or to have their parents take off their bibs.  They happily complied and the excitement and spirit of a good race continued as happy finishers came in.

Save for one jackass.  Apparently early on in the race, he came in, made the turn in the parking lot and missed the sign that was set up that directed 10K runners back out and 5K runners toward the finish line.  He started to shout, “Where is the 10K?  Where is the goddamn 10K?”  First of all, dude, chill…this isn’t the Olympic trials or anything.  It’s a small, local race.  Second of all…you are around children…so please, cut the language and maybe act like a responsible adult.  Anyway…he came in and immediately just started bitching and complaining about everything to his wife, who sat there, nodding her head and encouraging him and agreeing with him.  I mean, he wouldn’t stop.  He was totally killing the mood.  For real.  So, we moved away.

The kids fun run was about to kick off and I went to go get changed out of running clothes and into street clothes to wear to the Celiac Awareness Tour.  As I got done changing and my roommate and I settled in at the gymnasium to watch the awards ceremony…even if I know I’m not winning anything, I love staying for these.  It’s good fun to praise the runners who really kicked ass on their run.

As the race organizers were getting things in order, my roommate pointed out that the results were posted on the wall.  So I hopped up and went to go check them out.  According to the 5K race, I came in 19th/185 overall and was 2nd/36 in my division.  I skipped back to my spot, texted my family and friends as is customary, and waited for the awards.

And this is why there is an asterisk by my race time.  The race coordinator started by announcing how great everyone did.  Then said that if it felt like we had really great times, it might be because he forgot to start the split times at the beginning of the race.  Oh…and the race course might have been just shy of the distance.  Everything in me fell because here I was with a sub-25 minute time, feeling like I finally managed that with all my hard work and running I’ve been putting into training…only to find out that two factors may have affected that.  UGH!  But, what can you do?  I got on MapMyRun this morning and mapped out the course, and if it is shy of the 3.1 miles, it is just shy of it.  Because I came up with a 5K distance when I mapped it according to the route.  Oh well.

So, the awards ceremony kicked off.  The coordinator had all the kids fun run participants come up.  We applauded and they all bowed, which, by the way, is adorable.  Then he invited up the two elementary school running teams that participated, and had them do the same.  More cheering.  And then, out went the awards.  Even those who won overall won their age groups, instead of how it is normally broken up with men and women.  Oh, and awards were not given out for those who ran in the 5K.  I’m sorry, but that’s sort of like saying a 5K isn’t good enough to award those who did really well in it.  I’m not looking for a medal, nor would I have gotten one, but honestly, whether running in the 10K or the 5K, I think those who excelled in each race should have been awarded.  But, it’s not my race and not my place to tell people how to run something.

So, with another race behind me, I leave this one with mixed feelings.  I’m a bit bummed that errors might have meant I didn’t run it as fast as my timing chip said I did.  Or that the race course might have been just shy of the standard 3.1 miles for a 5K race.  It bums me out.  Honestly.  Because I actually pay attention to my times.  I like to see how I improve, or where I struggle.  If I put in too much mileage in the days prior to the race, or if I rested appropriately.  And there is no way to judge that.  But, we’re all human and we all make mistakes.  Other 5Ks await…and I’ll just have to aim for the sub-25 minute 5K again…and again…until I properly, and rightfully achieve it.

If that isn’t motivation…I don’t know what is.

Tri at the Y Indoor Triathlon – Jeffersonville, IN (March 18, 2012)

The happy triathlete after finishing the 3rd Annual Tri at the Y Indoor Triathlon in Jeffersonville, Indiana

The happy triathlete after finishing the 3rd Annual Tri at the Y Indoor Triathlon in Jeffersonville, Indiana

Race: Tri at the Y Indoor Triathlon

Place: Clark County YMCA, Jeffersonville, IN

Date: March 18, 2012

So…I’m a triathlete of sorts.

After a full day of running fun the day prior to this, I decided it would be fun to try my hand at a local triathlon.  Thankfully, however, this one was indoors and would not involve getting into the Ohio River, which I’m still pretty certain if I did, I would emerge a mutant.

That being said, this meant another early morning for me, though not as early as normal on race days.  My start time for the Indoor Triathlon event was 9:40 a.m.  So, I got up in enough time to at least have a good breakfast for energy without eating too late so as to give me cramps or make me feel sick.

I dressed…per instructions of the event…with my bathing suit on under my running clothes.  I ate a couple of scones and had some cereal around 7:00 a.m., giving my body enough time to digest it all.  My roommate hauled herself out of bed soon after that and she ate her breakfast.  Then, the rest of my morning prep and we were heading towards the Clark County YMCA in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

This was my first time at this particular YMCA.  I am always at the Floyd County one, as it is closer to where I live and work.  Let me tell you, the Clark County YMCA is sooooooo little.  It surprised me, really, as I’m used to the big YMCA I go to, where there are three levels.  This one was all ground level and the weights and fitness areas were put together.  The pools were little.  And there were only two lap lanes.  Now I understood why the 2 person heats were taking place.

I signed in and filled out a form before being told to wait and be called back.  My partner was supposed to be the Aquatics Director there at the YMCA, but she was sick.  So, I didn’t have someone to compete against…just myself.  That was enough given the state of my legs after the two races the previous day.

At 9:40 a.m., I was called back to the stationary bike.  Here, I was to pedal away, rack up the miles, and that’s what I attempted to do.  I adjusted the bike seat when I got there, but I think I should have gone down one more notch.  I was still a little higher than I liked, but I had already started.  Whoops.  Ah well, I made the most of it and just pedaled my heart out.  The guy monitoring the bike area was a lot of fun and kept me engaged with some discussion about travel and different places of the world to visit.  Including Japan.  I AM TRYING!!

Immediately after finishing the bike portion, I was sent over to the treadmills.  Here, I was told just to hit start.  These treadmills are so ancient compared to the high-tech ones at my YMCA.  So it took me a moment to get the speed adjusted, but I got it.  And I had to keep adjusting it because my legs were screaming at me.  But, I ran and ran and ran, because this is what I do.  And when I was done with that part, I went to change out of my clothes and head into the pool area for the last portion of the triathlon…the swim.

I had been dreading the swim.  My legs were tired.  I was tired.  And, while I love swimming, I’m not the strongest of swimmers.  Sometimes my roommate and I would go to the Y and we’d swim laps and I was tired after two lengths.  So, this was going to be my biggest challenge.  I got into the pool and away I went.  Yep…I was tired.  I took it slow and just paced myself as best I could.  I knew this would be, for lack of a better term, where I would flounder in the events of the triathlon.  But I got through it, and vowed that I would work more on my swimming because, damn, it kicked my ass.

With that done, I headed into the locker room to change, completely pleased that I had just competed in my first triathlon.  It was a lot of fun, but I am a long way away from being ready to do another one.  I’ll get there.  Now that I know what to expect, I can work on the areas I need to improve on.  And, maybe next time…I’ll take it outdoors.

However, this was a well-run, very fun event.  An Indoor Triathlon is a great idea for this area, especially in March.  Albeit, we’ve had a mild winter and it was 80 degrees that day, but it was a great way to be introduced to the concept of the triathlon.  Would I do another one?  Sure.  But only once I’ve trained properly for it.  Guess this means getting in the pool a little more often and working on my laps.

So, the results for the Tri at the Y were that I placed 7th in the bike portion, 3rd in the running portion, and 7th in the swimming portion.  Whew.  You know what?  That’s not bad for someone who ran two races the day prior and had never done a triathlon before.  I’m quite proud of myself and really understand what I need to do to prepare for the next time I decide to do three events in one race.  Triathlons are a lot of hard work, a lot of muscle power, a lot of willpower…but a lot of fun.

Maybe there is another one out there for me in the future…

Run for the Gold 3K – Frankfort, KY (March 17, 2012)

Crossing the finish line in the first race of the Frankfort Trifecta, the Run for the Gold 3K - Frankfort, Kentucky

Crossing the finish line in the first race of the Frankfort Trifecta, the Run for the Gold 3K - Frankfort, Kentucky

Race: Run for the Gold 3K

Place: Frankfort, KY

Date: March 17, 2012

Time: 15:23

Second race of the day.  Second race series I entered.

While the Louisville Triple Crown of Running showcased it’s 10K race, the second in the series, the Frankfort Trifecta was about to kick off in Frankfort, Kentucky, the state’s capital, with it’s first race of the three race series.  I ran in the last race last year, not knowing it was part of a series until I got there, so I vowed to run it this year.  The first race just happened to fall on the same day as the second race of the Louisville series I was signed up for.  But, thankfully, the Frankfort race ran in the evening, kicking off at 6:30 p.m.

This isn’t the first time I have run two races in one day, but let me tell you…I need to learn to really, really rest between races.  My legs always suffer on that second one because I don’t know how to kick back and rest.  Not one bit.

After the 10K I ran in Louisville that morning, I was out and about in Louisville for a couple hours following brunch.  Shopping.  A few bookstore stops and then some couch shopping.  So it meant I was up and on my feet instead of letting them recover from the 6.2 miles I already ran in preparation for the short 3K race awaiting me.

A 3K is a bit of an odd distance.  It works out to about 1.86 miles.  So, very short, very fast race.  After a bit of shopping, my roommate and I headed into Frankfort, Kentucky.  I still needed to stop by and pick up my race packet, so when we got into town, that was the first thing we did.  After that…it was to find parking.

There was a basketball tournament going on in Frankfort, but parking wasn’t much of an issue despite warnings that it would be.  We found a spot.  I had been monitoring the weather all day, and as I was running in Frankfort (which always means rain), and we had storms moving in, I opted to wear my old running shoes in lieu of my new ones.  So, on they went (replacing my everyday walking shoes) and I went ahead and got my number pinned on.  We headed up the stairs and to the street level, where the beginnings of a street festival were being set up.

We occupied ourselves for a moment by ducking into what few stores we could find open.  A bookstore, but we never buy books new anymore…and a Celtic store.  The Celtic store clerk wouldn’t stop watching us…and I hate that.  Dude, I’m not hear to rip you off.  I respect the retail industry too much, but you staring at me isn’t going to make me want to buy anything from you.  So, we departed after a quick spin around the small store and headed to a café.  My stomach was beginning to rumble, so I snagged an apple and a bottle of water and we took a seat outside to feast on the pre-race snack.

And we still had about 2 hours before the race would run.  After we ate, we moved a bit further down the street to sit at a table and attempt to kill some time.  This was a long, long, boring wait.  Booths were being set up for the festival.  Some crazy sausage with oats in it booth was cooking away and people were scurrying along with White Castle sized sausage burgers of sorts from there.  More and more people were walking around with numbers pinned on now, so I didn’t feel so out of place.  Kids were setting up on stage with homemade drums to perform in a bit.  And my roommate and I were on my iPhone, looking up local restaurants and checking out menus and reviews.  You know…it’s never good when KFC is in the city’s top 10 restaurants.  *sigh*

It felt like an eternity of everlasting boredom just sitting there, so we took a short walk around the block and returned.  More performers were up on the stage.  A really good singer provided a bit of entertainment for awhile.  And finally, about 30 minutes before the race, I set out to stretch.  And…again, I couldn’t help but giggle at the people milling about, downing GU Energy Gel and Sports Beans.  Um…this is a 3K race, not a half marathon, yes?  I shook my head and finished off my stretches.

The announcement finally came to start lining up, so with that, I headed to the start area and got into what I figured was about my race pace.  There was a lot of fun energy among the crowd of runners, so that was awesome.  And then, before I could blink, we were off.

I’ve run Frankfort a few times (this was the first time not in the rain) and I know much of the normal race course.  It involves inclines at a few points, which is never a good thing on race-tired legs.  But I powered through them as much as I could.  There were some awesome volunteers and people out cheering as we ran through the town, made the turn just before the capital building, and headed back.  Thank goodness that when you go up a hill one way, you go down the hill another way.

I was hoping to come in at about 15 minutes.  When I rounded that final corner I saw the finish and powered it as fast as my very tired legs could carry me.  The announcers commented on with how I was powering it in for the finish, so that was encouraging.  But, I fell just short of getting done within 15 minutes…by 23 seconds.  But, on tired legs that never really got the chance to recoup…that’s not bad at all.  I’ll take it happily.

I love running in Frankfort.  It’s a race-friendly city and you always get to run up to or around the capital building.  This is why, when I have the chance, I race there.  After I crossed the finish line, I downed a bit of water and, since the storms were coming in, we didn’t hang around.  My roommate and I headed off to find the car in the parking garage and head back to Louisville.  We met the storm along the way.

It took a couple days for the race results to post, but they finally did.  The official standings for me for the Run for the Gold 3K, the first of three races I’m scheduled to run in Frankfort, aren’t what I hoped, but not bad at all.  I finished 7/122 in my age division and 104/793 overall in the race.  I’ll take that with a happy smile on my face.

But there was no rest for my tired legs yet.  The next morning would bring one more challenge before I could rest my weary legs.  But that’s the next post…

Rodes City Run 10K – Louisville, KY (March 17, 2012)

Me after finishing the Rodes City Run 10K - Downtown Louisville, Kentucky

Me after finishing the Rodes City Run 10K - Downtown Louisville, Kentucky

Race: Rodes City Run 10K

Place: Downtown Louisville, KY

Date: March 17, 2012

Time: 54:43

It was a warm morning when I got up to dress and prepare for the second race in the Louisville Triple Crown of Running.  Only two weeks prior, I had run the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic.  Now, the Rodes City Race 10K was here.  And, for once, I wasn’t feeling nervous about it.  I was having a nice morning.  I got dressed in a pair of shorts, without having to worry about wearing pants over them prior to the race.  I wore a hoodie for the time being over my shirt, but I was more than happy to hand that off to my roommate that morning before I went to line up behind the start.  It was a good day for a race.  The weather was cooperating.  So, I took my time, ate a light breakfast, brushed my teeth, and then my roommate and I headed down to Louisville to hopefully get some parking and head over to the race itself.

Luck was with us that day too, as we were able to park in the parking garage nearest to the starting line.  Awesome.  We got parked, grabbed our stuff, and headed down the stairs.  Packet pick-up was happening on the ground level, and that was a little hopping.  A news crew was there, filming some of the racers getting their packets, their shirts, and prepping for the run.

You see…the Louisville Triple Crown of Running is kind of a big deal.  The Rodes City Run 10K…it is too.

I had a bit of time to mill about before I began to stretch out a little.  I did my usual stretches, working my muscles as much as I could.  While I’ve done 6.2 miles and beyond before, it was already warming up outside and I wanted to make sure my body and joints were warmed up too.  I had just finished my stretching when I glanced up and saw the start area was already beginning to fill up with runners.  So I hugged my roommate, she wished me luck, and away I went to find a place in the chaos.

It was still early…but I got a decent spot.  Just standing there, the sun not even up yet, but the sky brightening, I could already feel it getting warmer.  I chatted with a couple of guys who were nearby, about running, about marathons, about the best cities to run.  They didn’t have numbers on, so I think they were running bandits in this one.  I don’t begrudge anyone their workout, but, register.  We have all paid to be a part of this…everyone should do the same.  Besides, it’s for a great cause.

The National Anthem played and soon the wheelchair racers were off.  They are amazing and inspiring for sure.  We were so close to the start now.  There were 200 runners who were seeded for this race, among them the winner of the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic, who would go on to win this race too, smashing the course record in the process.  The women’s course record was also smashed.  It was a good day for a run, despite the unseasonably warm weather.

All of a sudden…we were off.  This is where the walk to the start, then the initial push happens.  I love this part.  The thrill of crossing that starting gate and setting a good pace.  Today, we were hitting the streets of downtown Louisville, Kentucky, and the sun was rising as we were running right toward it, blinding us all until we were able to make our first turn.  It was already hot.  Very hot.

My first (and only so far) half marathon was run in Chicago in September in 80 degree heat.  It was hot.  And my pace was affected by it.  The same can be said for 60 degrees and rising temperatures in May in Louisville, KY.  The water stops were a godsend.  The water was refreshing, even for the quick sip I got before tossing the cup.  Best to stay hydrated when the heat hits.  The course was flat, beautiful, winding through the Highlands, around Cave Hill Cemetery, and just offering up a gorgeous setting for a hot, sunny race.

I felt good.  I felt better than good.  I knew my pace was slower than I would have liked, but it was constant, and that’s what matters.  Heat can take its toll on you in a number of ways.  I was just going to run this smart and I’d finish when I finished.

It was an amazing thing to watch those mile markers tick away as I was running those streets.  My legs were getting tired, I knew that, but I also had a finish line waiting for me.  Pressing on, I fought fatigue and the heat of the morning and rounded that last turn before sprinting with all I had left in me toward that finish line.  I crossed it, throwing my arms up in the air, feeling sweat just dripping from my neck.  Like I said…it got hotter and hotter on the run and I finished it in less than an hour.  I couldn’t have been happier with that time either.  I was aiming for a bit faster, but with the warm March morning, this was beyond what I thought I was going to get.  A 10K in 54:38 is nothing astounding, but for me, it felt like such an achievement.  I had a great run.

Finding my roommate after this race was much easier than at the 5K.  She paced me over to the recovery area, where I bypassed the offered goodies and grabbed my gluten-free, vegan vanilla protein shake instead from a cooler she kindly carried with her.  That and a couple big glasses of water and I was already feeling better.  The coldness was doing me good.  And we proceeded to the buses that would shuttle us back to the parking garage.  We had to wait though, because they needed more people to ride.  But eventually we were let on the bus and taken back to the stop…kinda.  The bus overshot the parking garage and let us off at another one, but the walk back and up the stairs was just what my legs needed.

We celebrated my achievement with brunch at North End Café, where I had a delicious (and gluten-free) plate of their Migas (three eggs scrambled with blue corn tortilla chips, jalapenos, and cheese (mine was soy cheese)), served with home fries.  I was getting some protein and carbing up for later that evening.

Why?  Because I was running in another race.  In fact…the second race I was heading to would be kicking off another series of race events in another part of Kentucky.  The Frankfort Trifecta was beginning that evening and I had a date with a 3K road race there.

But that’s for the next update.

As for the official standings of the Rodes City Run 10K, I was 118/665 runners in my age division and 1880/7453 finishers.  Not too shabby for my first time taking on the Rodes City Race 10K, and especially given the unseasonably warm weather in March.  Honestly, I was thrilled.

On March 31, the finale of the Triple Crown happens…with the Papa John’s 10 Miler.  Yep…a good long run is heading my way.  I’m nervous and excited all at once.  And in the meantime…I’m simply trying to do well in my training and make it to the finish when all is said and done.

Surpassing 200 miles

200 MILES!

200 MILES!

It happened on Saturday as I was making my way through the first two miles of the Rodes City Run 10K.  I hit 200 miles officially logged and run for the year.  That leaves me with a grand total of just under 300 to go.

Ever since taking up a proper half marathon training regimen, I’ve been off my run a little every day kick.  So now, I do my easy runs, I do my long runs, I cross-train with some yoga, I (started to & need to get back into) work on strength training, and yes…I take a rest day.  I am now making sure I get my long runs in as specified.  It’s funny what a goal will do to your outlook.

So, this journey started in January and by March 22, I’m sitting at 217 miles for the year.  I’m loving this.  My excitement is still there.  I love each run, yes…even the hard ones.  And with the weather being so great right now, running outside has sparked my enjoyment, brought my smile back, and challenged me with pollen, allergens, hills, and all that fun stuff that runners contend with.  But, in the end it only makes me better at running, so I push through all of it, give myself pep talks as I go, pump up the tunes, and try to pay attention to my breathing, posture, and footfalls.

I’m not saying I love every run, or that getting out for those long runs is what really makes my day.  But the fact of the matter is…I’m out there running.  And nothing quite makes me feel as free or as alive as when I’m hitting the paths, the streets, the sidewalks with my trusty running shoes and adding some well-deserved, much needed miles to my day.  Rest days are the days where I’m edgy.  I hate having to rest.  I understand the necessity for it, but…it’s so hard to turn off that part of my brain that makes me want to go, go, go…and run.

I’ve been enjoying my little journey toward 500 miles and can’t wait to get to that halfway mark.  My speed in doing so may have slowed, but my drive hasn’t.  So I’m going to keep this going and keep on pushing it.  Almost halfway there…