Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Training the week of the race:
I was traveling, so I got in a moderate-effort 4 mi, 3 degrees of incline (to make sure that I was somewhat acclimated to what would be a 5.5 degree incline bridge), but 7mph.  34:15 for 4.0, 8:34 ave.  I only brought one pair of running shoes to this trip, so I ran in my race shoes – the Virrattas, and I wasn’t quite used to how flexible the shoe is, and how little support it gives.

The Race:
This was going to be a unique pacing challenge… run your best combo 5K + 10K, with the 5K starting at 8:15 and the 10K starting at 9:00.  You can’t go all-out in the 5K because you have to save an equally good run for the 10K.  You can afford to push the 5K a bit, should you choose to do so, though, because you have some recovery time in between, and the faster you finish, the more recovery time you get.  Plus, the course is a single-hump bridge run, with the 5K crossing it once, and the 10K crossing it twice.

I had been thinking that individual 5K and 10K times during the two legs would be considered in the rankings for the individual 5K and 10K races, too…  and if that was the case, where would my best chances be… 5K individual?  Or run that more conservatively so that I could try to place with the Double-pump?  I haven’t raced the 10K much, so I’m not as familiar with how to pace that.  By looking at the Age Group rakings from last year, though, I figured out that Double-pumpers would not be eligible for awards in the 5K and 10K races, so that solved that problem… I was going to do a strong but not all-out 5K, then throw it all in for the 10K.  I didn’t want to burn out my legs after the first leg.

The temps were cool-ish, but still quite bearable in a sports bra, so not as ideally cold as it could be, but still decent.  It was foggy and overcast, too, which is my favorite.  At the start of the 5K, they had separate sides of the road for the Walkers and the Runners, which was great.  Within the runner lane, though, they should’ve put up some pace markers.   Once we got going, a few feet past the start (to which I had been pretty close), there were already three bodies sprawled out on the road from a crash… ouch.  

The first time up the bridge was ok… the incline seemed runnable… I could do somewhat of a running gait.  The decline was steep and long (probably equal to the incline), and normally, I love downhills and can’t get enough of them, but this was very steep and very long, so your legs had to be ready to take it and take it for quite a while.  Then, a bit of flat with tiny inclines, and the finish.  Didn’t go all-out, cruised in, mission part 1 complete.

After crossing the line, I got some Powerade and water.  It was nice…. The 10K race-morning packet pickup and starting line was right at the finish line, so I went in for a needed bathroom break and moseyed over to the starting line with plenty of time to massage my quads and stay loose.  As the time for the 10K start neared, though, it was a bit daunting to think that with the somewhat fatigued legs, I’d have to go through the bridge again, twice.  The 10K started off with about 20 blocks of running through the downtown area, which was pretty and decked out in Christmas decorations.   

 (Photo credit: DaBrooksOhana)

Then, the bridge… oh man, it seemed much steeper this time than last time!  I was shuffling this time, as opposed to doing a run.  As usual, people caught up to me on the uphill, but I was able to catch back up during the downhill.  Looped around, then back on the bridge in the other direction.  Mentally, this wasn’t as hard as the second crossing of the bridge.  Was it less steep on the incline part?  Was it the knowledge that it was the last time that I’d have to cross it?  Supposedly, for your information, it’s a 5.5% grade and a mile and a half… there are probably variations, so I don’t know how they measured it.  I didn’t train for hills, but I had trained for speed.  During the last decline, I was letting it rip.  Survived the last 0.75 of flatter section, and finished a challenging finish… my legs were starting to become over-fatigued.  

(You can see a difference in the pain level between the 5K finish picture and the 10K finish picture)

I ended up running 21:58 + 44:30 = 1:06:28, good for 1st in the age group.  It’s about what I expected to run, so I’m so happy that I survived the bridge…  before the 10K, I hadn’t been sure if I could hold it and endure the pain of two more crossings.

There was a costume contest, and after the race, it was fun to see all of the contestants congregate at the post-race party.  My favorite was the Jamaican Bobsled team, which ran carrying their sled!  Other cool ones were the Wheel of Fortune and Up.

Afterwards, my friends and I had some good BBQ, followed by a stroll around the waterfront.   It was a nice getaway, and a fun weekend. 

Post-race training:

Monday, December 8:
65 min body weight strength session.

Tuesday, December 9:
4.5 in 36:26, 8:06 average, at 3 degrees of incline on the treadmill = 7:29 effort.

Saturday, December 13:
6.0 in 51:28, 8:32 average at the park, for Zombies.  Originally planned to do a long run to make up for 3 days of rest, but my cardiovascular system wanted some exertion.  I felt like I needed some stress relief, too.

Sunday, December 14:
Wanted to run at the park again, but I napped through daylight.  4.0 in 32:51, 8:13 average, 3 degrees of incline = 7:35 effort.  The run felt harder than it should've been.

Tuesday, December 16:
5.0 in 40:04, 8:01 average, 2 degrees of incline = 7:42 effort.  Run felt easier than Sunday's.  Knees got inflamed after 1/3 of a mile, but I sped up the treadmill and got through it.  Up til 2am working tonight.

Thursday, December 18:
60 min body weight strength session, with the elevation mask, which felt hard at first, before I got used to it.  Probably couldn't have run today... at work, felt so tired that I may collapse while walking down hallways.

Saturday, December 20:
Last run before driving to Charleston.  Interval session on the treadmill - needed a good workout after 3 days of rest.  3.8 in 28:01, 7:22 average.  8:04 mile warmup, 3x [800 in 3:21, 400 in 1:59], 0.45 mi in 3:57... for that progressively faster cooldown, I pushed the distance by thinking "just eek out another 0.1".

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

8 days of bliss... finally a break from work... although I still had to work a few painful hours.  Working on vacation... no fun.

Saturday, Nov 22:
Drove to Charleston.  Did a nice 11.2 in 1:37:03, 8:38 ave.  2.2 mi splits> 20:59, 19:47, 19:22, 18:49, 18:04.  Nice to throw it down without difficulty.  Could've done another lap if it wasn't getting dark.

Sunday, Nov 23:
An easy recumbent bike session of 65 minutes. 

Monday, Nov 24:
Track time!  To get ready for the races on Dec 6, I did the Pyramid workout.  My legs were not awake yet, so I did 3 warmup laps, instead of 2, followed by 4x100 with 100 jogs, 3x200 with 200 jogs, 2x400 with 400 jogs, 1x800 with a 400 jog, and back down.  It gets a bit easier to complete each time... still a challenge, but doable.  Played with another new Hero accessory - the stick.  6.2 in 46:50, 7:33 ave.

Wednesday, Nov 26:
Wasn't sure if I was physically or mentally ready for a treadmill hill workout or a long run, so Zombies was a perfect alternative.  I could take it mostly easy, have a shorter run, rack up supplies to build my virtual base, and have fun.  6.6 in 55:55, 8:26 ave.

Thursday, I painted.  I have to be in the right mood to paint.  It's relaxing and exciting in a way, but it also takes a lot of patience and concentration.

Friday, Nov 28:
55 min strength session in the morning.

Saturday, Nov 29:
Tried another Hero accessory: the bike attachment.  My dad biked behind me, while I did 6.6 in 53:32, 8:07 average... it was a tempo-y effort.  This is where I run my 2.2 mi loops around the neighborhood when I'm in Charleston.

Did another painting:

That night, a bird got in the house.  It had been sitting in a wreath on our door, and when my dad opened it, he heard something, but he didn't think much of it.  While he was gone, my mom and I tried to coax it back outside, but despite turning off the inside lights to get it to go outside into the darkness, it didn't leave.  

(can you spot the bird?)

When my dad came back home, we tried to make him move by shooting rubber bands at it, but even when we hit it, it wouldn't move at all.  We tried cornering it so that my dad could catch it in a plastic bag.  It finally worked, and we released him outside, unharmed.

The whole episode reminded me of this classic scene from Modern Family:

Sunday, we walked around downtown Charleston, with my new, significantly bigger 10" Paddington Bear.

(This is at the park where I took my first steps as a baby/toddler)

Monday, Dec 1:
Didn't get to run on Sunday because my dad said it was too late to go out at 10:30pm... still treated like a kid.

Ran the next morning, 6.6 in 57:38, 8:45 ave.  Did Zombies, which was good motivation to get out.

Now... back to the fray!