Remembering Trotting Through a Turkey Trot

I’m going to open up with this photo that makes me laugh each time I see it. This is definitely what I look like while running:

Running hamster

Photo credit goes to Julian Rad from Austria, who submitted it to Die Welt photo-contest.

But I really don’t have the time I’d like to dedicate to this post.

I just need to get this down before I get consumed by the finals haze and forget everything except for my name and the date. Wait, today’s still Saturday, right?

Let’s get started by saying today was not an ideal race to PR at.

First of all, this is what the weather looked like:

Temp (°F) 73° 74° 77° 78°
RealFeel® 78° 76° 78° 84°
Humidity 94% 88% 85% 83%
   
   5 AM  6 AM  7 AM  8 AM
Rain  

47%

 

51%

 

51%

 

47%

Snow  

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

  5 AM 6 AM 7 AM 8 AM
Wind (mph) 4 ESE 4 E 6 SE 6 SSE
UV Index 0 0 0 0
Cloud Cover 65% 62% 100% 96%
Dew Point 71° 70° 72° 73°

The race started at 7:31. On the plus side, there was 0% chance of snow, so that’s nice. Also, more seriously, 100% cloud cover is nothing to complain about.

But the dew point was no fun. If you recall this chart that I’ve talked about before, a dew point above 70 degrees is “very humid and uncomfortable,” and one should “expect pace to suffer greatly.” At least the chart isn’t telling me that I should skip the run, but I’ve run a race like that before, and it isn’t that much worse than it was today. It was raining off me already after my 15 minute warm-up, so I was already not thrilled about how this race was looking to go.

Then, let’s also consider that there were no course markings at this race, and my GPS watch has been broken for a few weeks. The race organizers are a good group, and I’ve run races with them before. I’ve never experienced a run with them without at least mile-markers though… if not the huge mile clock timers.

So yep. I basically ran this race “blind.”

At least I had my stopwatch on me, and I figured out that it was an out-and-back course at the turn-around point (which I reached around 10:38), so I was able to kind of know how I was in pacing… but not really. And I had none of the positive feedback that could have picked me up during miles two and three. I really struggled during minutes 15-17. It was getting even harder to breath- and that’s saying a lot since I started the race already trying to suck out the oxygen from the water in the air. I guess I’m lucky that part of the course was what I run every Saturday with the running group, so I knew the course to some extent. Otherwise, this race would have had three ingredients for a recipe of disaster.

But it wasn’t. It wasn’t a stellar race, and the weather makes me think that I could pull off a faster time in better conditions, but I did-in the end, after all the sweating and fretting and killing myself to get to the end without knowing if the end would even ever come- PR.

21:13.45

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know that this is breaking a nine year record. A new era of Dorothea running is beginning. I don’t even know what to do with myself today.

That’s all I have to say about that, really (and if I had more to say, I don’t have the time [and you probably don’t have the patience]).

Thanks for the support during the training leading up to this! This past week after the last log consisted of a rest-day, another rest day, a short, hard workout of 4x400s at race pace, an easy 4.2 miles, another rest day, an easy 21 minutes, and today’s race. I won’t have time for a separate post for my log this week, but I know some of you were rooting for me, and so I wanted to let you know that the support was well-placed; I appreciate it, and I have you to partially thank for this PR. Part of my motivation was “what would Paula, James, Harold, Chelsea and everyone else reading WordPress this weekend say?”

Official Results (if you’re interested in that sort of thing… or just don’t believe me ;) ): here  Sorry, but I have no splits or mid-race information… just the time. But that’s okay, too… once in a while. When I had my 21:15 PR, most running technology that we have today was not around.

Hope everyone having a run today had a great run, race, or anything in-between. Good luck to racers tomorrow and those who have Turkey Trots on actual turkey day. ;)

 

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October 2015 Recap

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m pursuing the right field of work… I mean, I would much rather read and write about running than prepare for teaching/grade papers. But maybe that’s everyone. I’m sure once I can read/write about literature again, I’ll be much more motivated. Again, this post is more a way to procrastinate than anything else, but I think it’s also good to reflect on a month to see where I’ve been and where it takes me.

October 2015 is one of my best running months in nearly a year.

Sept 2014-Oct 2015

Last October, I was spending my first month studying abroad in Hamburg, Germany. There, running became a way to cope with anxiety of being “alone” (I wasn’t totally alone, but it sometimes felt that way) in a foreign country, and a way to fill in time and create a routine in a new place where I didn’t know what to do a lot of the time. That’s why Nov. 2014 was such a high mileage month! However, as one can see from the graph, my mileage dropped after my half marathon in Dec. After I developed PF, I used Jan. to recover and heal, and then I picked up mileage a bit through the spring to prepare for the Hamburg Marathon. Post marathon, I did what any mortal does and took a break. The summer was difficult to run regularly with summer courses, family vacation, and a lot of traveling. Since getting back to the states in August, I have slowly been increasing my mileage again.

However, Oct. saw a big jump that I’ll have to keep an eye on in case I do start feeling injury. There is always the danger of the PF flaring up again, and my knees complaining due to the resulting extra stress. On the other hand, while the mileage per month seems to have increased a lot, it’s only because my weekly mileage has been slowly inching up. Slowly enough that I’m not too worried.

August-Oct

This past month brought an increase in speed work and a good 5K test run. I’m building my long run throughout the fall, but being careful about that too.

Looking forward, I have a race planned for every month (the first time since freshman year of college- yay for adult paycheck!) and I’m excited about trying to PR in the 5K, half-marathon and marathon. The real goals are the 5K this month and the marathon in February, so there’s enough chance in between to relax and enjoy the holidays.

Looking at other people’s months, Oct. was a big month of racing and great running! I know for a lot of you readers, the winter is  time to recover from hard summers and falls, with the goal races in the spring again. Here in South Florida, winter is race season, so the Saturday group runs are becoming more full and racing calendars are filled.

Happy November, everyone! I’m excited about the last weeks of the semester and the winter break just around the corner.

Race Ready- How do you know if you’re ready to race?

 How do you know when you’re ready to race? Generally, you don’t. However, there are usually a few indicators in your ability to follow a training plan and the runs in the days leading up to your race that will let you know if you’re ready or not. 

For example, let’s say it’s the week leading up to your 5K on the weekend and you do two one-mile runs at 5K race pace. Then, after a short rest, you do two 400 meters at 1-mile pace. If you complete these, you’re in pretty good shape to target that race pace for the 5K on the weekend.

Usually, if you’re able to nail a certain interval workout at race pace or better, you can feel fairly confident that you’ll be able to tackle similar distances during the race. Keep in mind that interval training runs are controlled environments in which you’re expected to feel pain, but also able to recover and do another good run the next day. Races are clearly more intense, painful, and allow for a much harder effort since few people actually need to conserve energy and speed for the next day or following days (unless you’re, you know, doing a hat-trick or something). Those shows of speed that you pull off in a training run are good indicators of the speed you can draw on during the race, especially if you follow a pretty easy regimen for the week with a rest day before or two-days before the race. 

Some other ways to know if you’re race ready is if you’re motivated to break a PR or a certain time, if you’ve been training for at least 4 weeks before a 5K or 6-weeks before a 10K, have good base, have been watching the diet and not gaining weight over the course of training… there’s many factors that come into race preparation. 

However, it’s also possible to be physiologically ready and not feel ready at all. This happens to many runners, especially the day before the race when one would rather just have the next 24-hours be done with and the race have already happened. It’s similar to the experience of putting alcohol on a wound. You know it’s going to hurt, but you know the wound needs to be disinfected and that you’ll be relieved afterwards. At that point before a race, the best thing to do is distract yourself. If you’ve done the training and you’ve done your best to prepare, even in last minute preparation, you’re going to be fine.

So, after that how-to, let’s see if I can follow my own advice. 

Monday’s run: 2 x 1 mile at 6:50 mpm with 5 minute rest; 2 x 400 meters at 6:18 mpm with 3 minute rest; 2 mile warm-up, 3-mile cool down. I should feel good that I nailed the pace for both miles, but I can’t help but be nervous. Goal for Saturday is to break 21:30. 

To race or not to race… Hey!

I can’t decide if I want to race next weekend (not this weekend, but the first of the month). But before I get into whether or not I should do it, let’s back-track a bit to the days where I raced every week and sometimes twice a week: high school cross country.

you know you’re a 90s kid when someone yells at you “run, Forrest, run” and you know what they’re referring to. We don’t have to backtrack that far now…

During high school, all the self-discipline I needed was to change into my running clothes (consisting of a cotton t-shirt and soccer shorts… I didn’t get fancy [or smart/cotton in Florida?] until college) and make it over to the cross country coach’s classroom. There were coolers with water and Gatorade, a group of running buddies, and a coach with a plan waiting for me. Now, I have to organize the times I run, the workouts I run, and I am almost always solo unless my brother deigns to join me. During high school, I also got to run races for free. I didn’t have to worry about the funds to pay registration fees or figure out ways to get to the races and pay for said gas. I had it made, as a runner. Now, on my TA funds (most of which go towards fueling myself for running), I find it hard to regularly sign up for a race.

Imagine how much money I would save if I quit running… all that food, laundry, running shoe material

Also, I have other things to worry about, like priorities. I had priorities in high school too, like getting good grades, hanging out with friends, having a boyfriend, but I also had a set amount of time to train every day and I needed surprisingly little sleep (though, based on my later results, that’s probably not true).

Now, my academic and social responsibilities require more work and more time. My responsibilities to my family are especially increased, and I am less likely to pop-off on a weekend morning to disappear for hours at a time. So, I am less likely to sign-up for a race because I feel that I am less likely to train for one or make it to the race. Take the last race for example, the Berlin City-Nacht 10K; I had to miss it… two months training out the window.

Therefore, in light of all the obstacles, I don’t know whether I should register for the race in question that’s coming up. Some factors that come into the decision are the fact that I’ve had a nagging plantar fasciitis issue and that I am preparing for MA exams that make it more likely for me to blow off a training run (like the one I’m avoiding for today).

I need to go for a run today… eh

I also don’t know if I’m prepared for this run. I have about four weeks of 30+ mileage weeks and the starts of cross country training. But I also haven’t been running very fast, and I won’t be able to train this weekend properly.

But now comes the fun part. What do you all think? I have 25 dollars that may or may not go towards the peanut butter fund.