Sunday, April 22, 2012

Races - Miles For Music 20K, Cherry Blossom 10K, Stomp the Monster 5K

Now that spring is here, there have been a whole slew of races. I am only starting to reap the benefits of the Iron strength workout, am still adjusting to the routine of 3 tough, hour-long kick-ass strength/plyometric workouts a week, and haven't quite gained the confidence to attempt speedwork or long runs. But I'm only human, and races tempt me...if nothing else, I like to see how much I've improved or deteriorated.

Miles For Music 20K, Highland Park - March 11, 2012

So, when I had accomplished barely 2 weeks of relatively painfree running, and only 3 weeks into my Iron Strength Workout, I decided to run Miles For Music 20K, which was organized by our running club. It was the first year of the race and the organizers did a fabulous job...the event was well-planned and executed, and it was wonderfully promoted, so the turn-out was excellent. It was also a USATF Championship race (for all divisions), an honor that is rare for first-time races. The day of the race was a little chilly. Being an all-division race, several local running clubs fielded teams, and teams showed up in their respective colors; it was a beautiful sight. Running the race was not the wisest decision I've made, and wasn't sure I could even finish. The Open Women's team of our club fielded 3 teams and I was on the B Team. I managed to puff my way through the race, terribly out of shape. For the last 7 miles, I was completely spent, and my quads were sore all through the race. I had just completed one of my strength workouts 2 days prior to the race, and after 3 weeks, I still needed a good 3-4 days to recover from one of those killer workouts. Needless to say, it wasn't my best performance, but it could have been a whole lot worse. I was relieved I could finish, and even managed to place in my age group.
Here's how I did: 1:27:23 (7:02 pace), 108 / 461, 13th woman overall, 2nd in my age group

Cherry Blossom 10K, Newark, April 15, 2012

I was still not doing any speedwork, though my weekly mileage had improved slightly (for reference, 7-8 miles was my long run), and my strength workouts had eased into a routine. They still kicked my butt, but I completed them without grunting through them blurry-eyed, or falling flat on my face at the last excuse-of-a-burpee. Though I was nervous that I had done no speedwork whatsoever, 10K is half of a 20K, and if I could blunder through a 20K with no training, I could certainly complete a 10K. The race was a USATF Masters' Race, was held the day before the Boston Marathon, and the weather was only slightly less hot. Just to demonstrate how wonderful I am at pacing, I completed the first 5K in 19:39:57 (6:20 pace), but had to stop 5 times over the next 5K, gasping and holding my sides, and finished in 40:50:06 (6:34 pace). I'm a little embarrassed by all the stopping, but I had no idea what pace I was capable of at this point, so I could be forgiven for being a tad too ambitious. Maybe someday, I'll be a 'serious runner', and pacing will come easier to me!
My results: 40:50:06 (6:34 pace), 34 / 891, 4 / 434 women, 2nd in my age group

Stomp The Monster 5K, Marlboro, April 22, 2012

When you are as injury-prone as I am, you hesitate before you sign up for 2 races 2 weekends in a row. But turns out, I am a glutton for punishment. I had signed up for Stomp the Monster in January, and I told myself it was, after all, a 5K. I had 1 hard run under my belt in the last week (the Cherry Blossom 10K), and that should make me feel more confident than I had been. As you know, you can talk yourself into just about anything. Anyway, I went out with a rough idea of what I could accomplish this time. This was a USATF Open Men Championship race. DH decided to race this one, and I was very excited for him (much more excited than he was for himself). I was hoping that for his sake, the weather would be sunny and in the 50s. But of course, it was raining. In the 50s though; and it was only a slight drizzle, so we couldn't really complain. The course could not have been flatter; and it could not have been faster, unless it had been all downhill. I am thankful it was a 5K. I don't think I could have run a step more. There were a few women ahead of me. I was settling into a 'comfortably hard' pace, when at the last mile, 2 women emerged out of nowhere and starting pushing the pace. One of them looked no older than 15. I gave it all I had and managed to outlast the older woman. The 15-year old and I chased each other, even gasping out encouragement to each other every now and then. She gave a mighty kick at the end, finishing 3 seconds ahead of me. I backtracked, finding DH at his last mile and running with him for the last quarter mile. He PRed, with absolutely no training (he has run maybe a mile or a mile and a half a couple times in the last 2 months). If he trained seriously, he would kick some serious butt!
I PRed by 5 seconds, 19:23 (6:15 pace), 57 / 908, 6th woman overall, 3rd in my age group

I am hoping that working on my strength will help me sort out my injury issues in the long run. I am taking it a day at a time, forcing myself to listen to my body mile after mile, and not get ahead of myself. Marathons, long runs and speedwork can come later. I may run Boston someday; or I may never qualify...both are perfectly acceptable outcomes. I am learning to adjust goals and not be obsessed and stressed about them. I am learning to find joy in my running from day to day and pleasure in racing. I slept like a baby before the last couple of races...something I never used to be able to do. Injury has taught me humility. I like to think this experience has made me more empathetic to people's problems. You could feel on top of the world one day, but can come crashing down the next. I have a long way to go in learning how to cope with life, but am excited to try.       


Beth said...

You are insanely fast! Congrats on all of your amazing races and finishes. I'm glad your running is going well and that you are enjoying your new workout schedule. Seems like it is working for you! Take care!

joyRuN said...

Geez - you don't need any more speedwork, you scored some insanely speedy paces with those races as it is!!!

Once I'm fully cleared to run, I'm going to work on just slow runs on the shorter side. I'm going to give it time before I start any speedwork/tempo.

I'm hoping that'll help me rediscover the joy like you have :)

Jail Break said...

Great posts, nice run ! Congratulations for a great job well done and looking forward always for more updates.

ajh said...

You are very fast. Injuries -especially ongoing are the pitts that is for sure. Good luck.