The Green Lake Gobble 5k and a shiny new PR

It’s been awhile since I’ve set a 5k PR – almost a year, in fact. The 5k is such a weird distance – full of people just getting into running who are having a great time and just trying to finish, and then people trying to improve and shave seconds off their previous personal bests… which would be the category I fall into, so a 5k race is more an exercise in pain and HOW MUCH LONGER CAN I HOLD THIS PACE?!

My previous PR (set this February) was 28:18 and I distinctly remember feeling like death as I slogged along trying to maintain that 9-min-mile. ( I am not fast, clearly). But after my big half marathon PR last month, and all the consistent (if slightly halfhearted) speedwork I’ve been doing since around August/September, I thought I might have a shot at finally cracking under 28 minutes for 3.1 miles.

I met up with some friends around 7:30 – we’d all volunteered at packed pickup in exchange for a race entry. Can’t beat a free race for a few bone-chilling hours handing out bibs!

It was cooollllllllld at the start – though I should have ditched my race shirt; I ended up tying it around my waist… you’d think I’d learn…

Me, Laura, and Karene - this was the 2nd 5k ever for both of them, yeaah ladies!

Me, Laura, and Karene before the race – this was the 2nd 5k ever for both of them, yeaah ladies!

When the race started I remember deciding to go for it and took off at a challenging pace for me. That saying “it never gets easier, you just get better” is so true – it felt like a hard pace has felt for me in the past around a 9 min mile, but I was actually holding a sub-8-min pace for the first time ever.

Not sure why I look startled to be running

Not sure why I look startled to be running…

I’d decided to try out a long-sleeve compression shirt I’ve had for awhile but never raced in, and while it was comfortable enough, it looked kind of ridiculous!

Ha ha, I look like a bandit in this getup... well aside from my fabulous pink shoes.

Ha ha, I look like a bandit in this getup… well aside from my fabulous pink shoes.

Even though it was like 30 degrees out I still got too warm and took off my gloves. I am my own sunshine factory. I mostly just tried to keep up the effort as hard as I could and felt shocked every time I glanced at Henry the Garmin and saw sub-9 min mile paces. I guess all that halfhearted speedwork paid off!

Zipping through the finishing chute. Yeaaah PR!

Zipping through the finishing chute… my gumby-leg back-kick is still a thing apparently…

As I crossed the finish line I knew I’d set a shocking new PR – nearly 2 min faster than my old one. I didn’t even feel like puking afterwards, which has been a staple of previous hard efforts for me – who am I?! I’m kind of curious now what I could do if I really applied myself to training instead of just going through it and completing it… like maybe actually doing 400m repeats at a pace that feels insane?

Whaaaaaaat? How did I do this?!

Whaaaaaaat? How did I do this?! I even forgot to stop my Garmin for a few seconds after the finish…

.

And my official results were even 6 seconds faster. Uhhhh, I have no idea how I pulled that off.

And my official results were even 6 seconds faster. Uhhhh, I have no idea how I pulled that off.

.

Considering I've never strung more than one sub-9-min-mile together in a row, I'm amazed I ran each mile faster than the last. Who am I?!

Considering I’ve never strung more than one sub-9-min-mile together in a row, I’m amazed I ran each mile faster than the last. Who am I?!

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Women of Wonder 5k – 9/8/13

I’m only a month late on posting this, but I ran this inaugural 5k  earlier this month with my friend Laura, who ran it as her first 5k ever. Yay Laura! This race was created as a replacement for the very girly, very newbie-friendly Iron Girl 5k that has since become a triathlon (and which I ran as my own first 5k back in 2010). So everyone got a medal (I think this is the only 5k around here that gives out medals), you got a free brownie right after finishing the race (YESSSS), there was a wine garden, and plenty of girly vendors and free samples. It’s honestly a pretty fun race to run and due to the high percentage of new runners the average finishing time was around 40 minutes (meaning I somehow placed 10th in my age group even though there were around 1500 participants).

Since it’s such a lady-oriented race I broke out the ol’ running skirt I haven’t worn in about a year and which I feel kind of dumb running around my neighborhood in, but which I feel a little more comfortable in at a race like this. I also wore compression socks (which I normally wouldn’t for a 5k) because I hadn’t shaved in…. a little too long. Laura and I took a photo at the WOW backdrop that had been setup:

I tried out the Wave Sayonaras for this race (which I've only worn on the dreadmill thus far)

I tried out the Wave Sayonaras for this race (which I’ve only worn on the dreadmill thus far). I think I also need to get another running tank in a different color since I wear this one at practically EVERY RACE

The race actually went pretty well – I decided to go for it, and after the first mile of weaving around a thick mob of other runners and walkers (I’d started the race with Laura at the back of the field) I was able to let my feet fly a bit. I have kind of a problem holding a steady effort over the course of a 5k – I don’t know if it’s my own unwillingness to feel uncomfortable or a lack of training, or lack of speedwork, or all of the above – though I’m pretty sure 5ks (if you’re trying to race them) aren’t supposed to feel good, but are supposed to feel like PAIN and MISERY. Regardless I was definitely feeling all of those things since I rarely ever hold an effort-pace longer than about a half mile, and I tried to keep it going all the way through the finish.

I hate this photographer's watermarks. Srsly, ugliest evar

The look of death. Also, I hate this photographer’s watermarks. Srsly, ugliest evar

I did end up running the fastest 3+ miles I’ve ever strung together in sequence, though it wasn’t a PR:

I need to work on speed, methinks

I need to work on speed, methinks

I want to get faster. It’s been 3 years since I started running, dangit – a 9 min mile should be my easy pace by now, right? (Maybe not if you’re a lazy bum like I am?) Guess I need to do a little research and maybe start running hills? (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)

One of the photographers hailed us right after the race, in our sweaty, red-faced glory:

once again with the crap-crap-crappy watermarks. They could at least make them a little more transparent

once again with the crap-crap-crappy watermarks. They could at least make them a little more transparent

Our friend Rachel caught up to us afterward (she’d come out to watch us run and juuuust caught sight us leaving the starting chute):

apparently when told to "make a face" I revert back to my days in Japan

apparently when told to be silly I revert back to my days in Japan

And of course, what better way to celebrate your first 5k than BOOZE:

NOT BEER.

NOT BEER.

Afterward we moseyed to a Starbucks across the street (fully packed with ladies in running gear) and went up to the roof to hang out for a bit, and upon which I actually got SUNBURNED from sitting with my back to the sun for about 15 min. Clearly I need to drag my pasty white self out into the elements more often.

Next up for me is the Victoria BC half marathon on Oct 13th – and while I’m definitely training better for this race than I did last year, I’m a little worried that the 2-month cough I endured this summer took more out of my fitness than I wanted it to (since I had to cut mileage down and couldn’t train as hard). I’m hitting 90% of my training at this point but I’m going to have to face some rain this weekend on my first 10-miler of this training cycle (NOT RAIN! I’m such a wuss)… which may be a good test for how the race may or may not go, if this current weather holds up… though the forecast is looking a little promising!

Back to the grind, and Firecracker 5000 5k recap

Midnight 5ks are kind of awesome. Tearing through the streets of Seattle under the cover of night with glowsticks and many, many costumed runners while drunk patrons stand outside bars to cheer you on is just kind of hilarious and surreal. I wore the foam Statue of Liberty crown-hat-thing I got in NYC back in 2009, which somehow managed to stay firmly on my head the entire time.

Unfortunately the course had to be altered this year due to road construction and it felt like it was about 75% uphill (including the same loathed death hill from the end of Seattle RnR… both ways!). In spite of that I managed to come within a second of my existing 5k PR, though I think the bit of a downhill during the last mile had something to do with that (I can’t help but shift into TURBO MODE on downhills… they are my favorite thing about running).

Ugliest watermark evar.

Ugliest watermark evar.

I was shooting for red white and blue with my shoes, socks, and shirt, but it didn't really come off that way.

I was shooting for red white and blue with my shoes, socks, and shirt, but it didn’t really come off that way.

The next day I traveled back to my hometown to hang out with friends and family for the 4th and the ensuing weekend. I then proceeded to EAT ALL THE THINGS while I was there and packed on what I can only imagine was 5 pounds of bloat/sodium/water/carb weight (I’ve since dropped it since returning to a healthy diet this week). But the donuts/popcorn/meat and cheese platters/steak/corn on the cob/potato salad/flag cake were so delicious… so, so delicious *_*

Get in mah belleh.

Get in mah belleh.

I hung out with my 2 best friends and we looked through old photos from our summers spent in Japan in 2004 and 2005 (teaching English and working with a church over there) and had a lot of laughs. During the 2004 trip we went to a theme park in Yamagata called Lina World which was clearly not designed for giant gaijin (foreigners) such as ourselves. The rides were weirdly small and occasionally terrifying. There was a roller coaster that was comprised of one small car that would rocket around the track. It seated two people, one of whom was supposed to sit in front of the other and both of which were held in by one giant seatbelt that looped around them both. We immediately discovered that our huge gaijin arses would not fit on the seat together if two of us were in the cart, and the person in front ended up sitting on the other person’s lap. Due to the rules, however, we weren’t allowed to ride with only one person in a cart… so we had the death-defying experience of bouncing around the roller coaster track on the knees of each other, held in by one tiny seatbelt, which was both terrifying and exhilarating.

My friends Jeri and Laurel riding the most terrifying roller coaster (for big Americans anyway) known to man

My friends Jeri and Laurel riding the most terrifying roller coaster (for big Americans anyway) known to man

So we looked at all the pictures from Lina World and of a bunch of the other ridiculous and awesome things we did while in Japan (that could be a post of its own!), and stayed up super late watching episodes of Sherlock and wolfing down popcorn (see: 5 pound weight gain mentioned above). All in all a great holiday weekend for me!

This week I’m officially starting training for the Victoria BC half marathon; I’m bumping up to Hal Higdon’s Intermediate plan and introducing real speedwork for the first time ever. My ankle (rolled during Seattle RnR) feels a lot better though still twinges at certain angles – thankfully not while I’m running, so I’m hoping for the best. I did 4 miles on the dreadmill last night (to another episode of Battlestar Galactica, which is both insanely frustrating and awesome) and felt pretty good… I’m ready to ramp it up again!

Half training week 9

Training’s been chugging along, even if I’ve been guilty of not keeping it updated on ye ole blog. Apologies to both of my readers! ;P

I was still emerging from the mucusy bowels of the sickness I had for around 3 and a half weeks, but finally felt like I got the better of it during this week of training. I think the missed workouts had an impact, though…

Sunday 4/21/13
Scheduled: Cross train
Actual: Did Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD (35 min)

Monday 4/22/13
Scheduled: 5 miles
Actual: Ran 3 miles on the dreadmill with the middle mile at what was then my half goal pace of 9:25. Was still building mileage back from being sick and didn’t want to kill myself on the mill.

Tuesday 4/23/13
Scheduled: Cross train
Actual: Got home too late to do anything and ended up calling this a rest day.

Wednesday 4/24/13
Scheduled: 5 miles
Actual: Ran 4.35 miles outside, 40:56, 9:25 pace – my first run outdoors since 2/9. It was abundantly apparent that I’d been running on a treadmill at 0% incline for the last 2 and a half months… the hills on my old running route were killing me! Was kind of a humbling run – somehow I thought I’d be faster after so much treadmill running. HA HA

Thursday 4/25/13
Scheduled: Cross train
Actual: Jillian Michaels DVD – Level 4 of Ripped in 30.

Friday 4/26/13
Scheduled: Rest day
Actual: Rested!

Saturday 4/27/13
Scheduled: 8 miles
Actual: Ran 7 miles outside. I switched things up and ran about 3/4 of my normal loop, then diverted course and ran over to Discovery Park to run the loop trail. In hindsight it was a poor decision (especially considering I was running a 5k the next day) .. I’d forgotten how hilly the trail is, and the uneven terrain didn’t help my tiredness. I totally crawled up some of the hills and this ended up my slowest run in over a year. The important thing is, I got it done, but my confidence in my overall fitness is kind of shaky now… might have to re-evaluate my plans to try to PR at my half in June, and maybe just shoot for “finish and don’t die!”

My Garmin's interpretation of the trail. WEE

My Garmin’s interpretation of the trail elevation. WEE

Needless to say, I was not prepared for that! I’m not sure if I should try to add hills/speedwork into my training plan this far into it, or just continue chugging along and hope for the best.

Sunday 4/28/13
Scheduled: Cross train
Actual: Ran the Top Pot Donut 5k (on tired legs!) and actually didn’t do horrible, but got preeeeettty tired. The free donut made it worthwhile, though!

Huffing and puffing to the finish. I hope I'm looking at my watch and not just wildly flailing my arms. Also, ugliest watermark evar

Huffing and puffing to the finish. I hope I’m looking at my watch and not just wildly flailing my arms. Also, ugliest watermark evar

Valentine’s Day Dash 5k 2/9/13

I think my post on Dailymile (quickly hammered out via mobile phone) sums this one up pretty well:

This seems to be the only race that makes me feel like barfing afterward (maybe because it’s always been my first race of the year after slacking off all winter, ha ha). Aside from brief post-race mouth-clutching, I felt alright, if a little tired. A few friends came out to watch me finish, hurray!

I didn’t realize it at the time but I actually managed to pull off a PR in this race, which both reminds me how much faster I probably could go if I didn’t slack off when I start to feel tired, and also how slow I am in general (but oh well to that!)

My official time was 28:18, that extra second totally makes a difference you know ;)

My official time was 28:18, that extra second totally makes a difference you know ;) Also, yay Garmin Connect app!

Henry!

note scratches from the time I biffed it.

Two of my friends came out in time to watch me finish (parking was CRAZY around Green Lake so I didn’t catch them beforehand) which was fun, though I didn’t get to poke through the expo (and I heard they were giving out CAKE) since they wanted to go get coffee – but the coffee was most welcome and I enjoyed having people there to watch me, that’s quite a rarity for me!

I also realized that if I want to be able to easily find myself in race photos, I need to NOT wear the same color that 90% of the other participants are wearing… Needless to say I only found one, and it’s a squatty-looking “hey that’s me in the background” shot (I’m to the left of the dude in the gray):

Yes that's the same overshirt I've worn in like my last 5 races, clearly I need to mix it up a bit

Yes that’s the same overshirt I’ve worn in like my last 5 races, clearly I need to mix it up a bit

This was also the first run outdoors in my new shoes – Brooks PureFlow2’s, my first pair of Brooks and first real lightweight pair of shoes. I loved them in the store but they felt pretty strange on their maiden voyage on my treadmill – weird and poundy and top-of-foot-achey. I was a bit dismayed, but knowing I’m a bit of a treadmill pounder anyway (it just sucks the life out of me) I decided to give them a go in the race, and they felt amaaaaaazing. Lightweight and cushioned and nary a bit of foot aching! Recommend!

I preferred the look of the PureFlows, but the PureFlow2 was a lot more comfy for my wide flat feet... I swear I descend from hobbits

I preferred the look of the PureFlows, but the PureFlow2 was a lot more comfy for my wide flat feet… I swear I descend from hobbits

The lost races of 2012 (race report catchup)

I apologize for the verbal diarrhea you’re about to experience, but since I was so terribly lazy and didn’t update on any of the races I ran for oh…. 6 months, there’s quite a few from 2012 I have to catch up on: the Seattle RnR half, the Lake Union 10k, the Victoria BC half marathon, the Green Lake Gobble 10k, the Jingle Bell 5k. Below are the brief race reports I posted on Dailymile after the races with a bit of extra detail and some photos!

The Seattle RnR half marathon 6/23/12 (2:21:17)

(there is a mini-writeup of this I did right afterward)

Wee! Glad this one is over. The undertraining started to show and I got pretty tired around mile 9, but chugged it to the finish. I did the same walk/run plan I used at NODM (taking a 1-2 min walk break at every mile marker and walking the hills if I felt like it), but I ended up walking quite a bit more in the last 3 miles. The new course also seemed a lot hillier than I remember from last year, and I ended up running almost 3/10 more than the measured course, ack! But it didn’t rain like it was supposed to (the sun actually came out at points) and I beat my time from last year, so I’m happy with that! Hopefully next year I can train a lot better!

heading to the finish!

heading to the finish!

I has a medal

I has a medal

The Lake Union 10k 8/19/12 (1:01:48)

My first 10k race! I was a little out of shape so I was just happy to go an overall sub-10-min-mile pace, though my next goal is to finish in under an hour… Just about biffed it during mile 5 on a steep downhill sidewalk but fortunately didn’t roll my ankle. Also allowed myself to walk some of the nasty steep uphill sections. Other than that I felt decent considering the shape I’m in, and though this was my first race in a running skirt and I felt a little ridiculous at first, I got over that pretty quickly. Was thankful for the overcast skies! The Portage Bay Cafe pancake breakfast afterward was well worth the price of admission.

derping across the finish line all skirted up

derping across the finish line all skirted up

The Victoria BC half with Laurel 10/7/12 (2:35:14)

Laurel’s first half! She did awesome! We stuck to her pace and took a 2-min walk break every mile, and a total of 3 GUs. The course was beautiful and mild, though it was pretty sunny out so it did seem to get warm… I kept saying I was going to pull my overshirt off and switch my bib to my undershirt but never ended up doing so. Due to the slower pace I felt pretty good the whole time and probably talked a little too much for Laurel’s taste (I need to find a fast friend to do a half with, so I can see how she felt slogging along with me blabbing in her ear the whole time). About halfway through we saw a full marathoner in a business suit… Craziness! (We later found out he set a world record!) Foot got a bit sore but made it through.

Pre-race. I wasn't trying to duckface, that was supposed to be game-face staaarre

Pre-race. I wasn’t trying to duckface, that was supposed to be game-face staaarre

perhaps the most flattering photo of either of us, ever

perhaps the most flattering photo of either of us, ever

le fin! I was feeling pretty sprightly and Laurel was like "NO I DON'T WANT TO SPRINT" hehe

le fin! I was feeling pretty sprightly and Laurel was like “NO I DON’T WANT TO SPRINT” hehe

There’s also a wee brief video of us finishing!

Afterward, on the walk back to our hotel, we stopped and had breakfast at Wannawafel. TOTALLY worth it. If you’re ever in Victoria BC, you must stop here.

And we didn't.

And we didn’t.

noms

noms

The Green Lake Gobble 10k 11/18/12 (1:01:29)

When I showed up for this race it was POURING and I briefly contemplated downgrading to the 5k, but knowing I was undertrained, overweight, and not likely to run fast anyway, I decided to just chug out the 10k and have fun with it. Even so my competitive nature got the best of me a few times but the rain lightened to a drizzle and it was actually a nice, if tiring, run :) I had volunteered to help out with packet pickup early in the morning and wore a fleece since I would be standing around for a few hours. I kind of forgot that I would need to bag-check it, so I ended up running to the start line about 5 min before the gun with fleece still in tow… worst idea ever, I had to tie it around my waist and it was a lumpy, sweaty saddlebag the whole time x_x

apparently I wanted to punch myself in the face? Also it was the worst decision ever not to bag-check my fleece

apparently I wanted to punch myself in the face? Also it was the worst decision ever not to bag-check my fleece

The Jingle Bell 5k 12/9/12 (29:24)

I will admit I allowed myself to phone it in on the uphills in this race (and there were some doozys)! I’m still a lil’ undertrained and overweight so I’m just happy to go sub-30 min. I did like the downhill finish!

No photos from this one… somehow I expertly avoided all the photogs!

Here’s to keeping up better in 2013!

Iron Girl 5k recap – 9/9/12

I’ll be honest, my training has kind of sucked wet noodles the last few months. I would laze around week after week and think to myself ohh, maybe I should actually go for a run this week? And then get all angry when my performance wasn’t improving – why am I so tired?! Why am I not getting faster?! Hmmmmmmm I wonder!

Regardless of that, I did get a bit faster over the spring summer due to a little weight loss (hurray!) so I’ve managed to knock down my 5k PR in little bits and pieces in the last three races I’ve done, and this one was no exception – I clocked in at 28:31 for 3.18 miles (according to Henry the Garmin)!

I went an average sub-9-min-mile? o_O

I went an average sub-9-min-mile? o_O Chip time was 28:31, which I always go by for my actual time ;)

The race itself was mostly uneventful and pretty straightforward – I like racing around Green Lake since it’s pretty flat, but I do need to learn to push myself more and not back away from outright discomfort. My race photos were also all ridiculously bad and should not see the light of day, haha. I blame my bun falling out halfway through the race (I’d just bobby-pinned it up since I couldn’t find a hair tie in my tired morning rush), after which I tried to hastily/messily repin it as I was running along, so my hair was kind of all over the place like I had fallen directly out of bed onto the racecourse.

oh lordy.

oh lordy.

Once again I also had to kick myself for not pushing harder as well – I need to learn to LOVE THE PAIN! EAT THE PAIN! PLOW THROUGH THE PAIN! 5ks aren’t supposed to feel like an easy stroll, darnit… pick up those feet!

A new 5k PR (somehow) – the Firecracker 5000 5k

I know I haven’t posted my RnR recap yet, but just wanted to mention I ran the Firecracker 5000 July 3rd and 4th (it starts at 11:55pm July 3rd and runs into the 4th, obvs) and even though it was kind of a hilly course and I hadn’t run since the Seattle RnR half, I managed to beat my old 5k time, coming in under 29 minutes with a time of 28:52… and Henry the Garmin actually measured the course a little long, too! I think this is all speed by weight loss and not related at all to how I’ve been training, which is sucktacular.

weee!

I somehow went sub-8 min-mile in the last tenth of the race o_O

The race itself was fun though; I wore a statue of liberty crown thing (my brother took a picture of me getting ready and posted it to facebook… thanks bro >_>)

I fail at costumes

my room is kind of a mess.

There were a TON of other folks dressed up, so I didn’t feel too overly ridiculous. This guy must have been SOO COLD:

seriously!

for reals, it was FREEZING!

I think I arrived a bit too early (half marathon habits and all) as I had to stand around and freeze for about an hour before the race started, and ended up putting on my longsleeved NODM shirt to stay warm, which covered my bib during the race… oh well. We ran by a bunch of bars on the route and drunken patrons had come out to watch us run by and cheer, which was fun. My Statue of Liberty crown hat thing managed to stay in place during the entire run as well, and there was a nice long gradual downhill at the very end that I was able to pick up some speed on. I was actually kind of surprised to PR given the several crappy hills in this race… but I’ll take it! Maybe I have a sub-28 in me somewhere?

wee!

annnnd we’re off! The watermark on these photos is so annoying

chug chug

in hindsight, I should have taken off the red overshirt in the starting chute, oh well… I was trying to hold it up so my bib was visible

blarg

man, my legs look so chunky in some photos…

Valentine’s Day Dash 2/11/12

Not really sure why I signed up for this race – I’ve been super undertrained lately (averaging around one run of 4 miles a week… haha) and I also have not exactly been doing well in the relationship department lately, with all kinds of crazy, awkward, and emotionally exhausting happenings fogging up my life lately. But, it was a 5k around Green Lake, which is mostly flat and easy, and I figured it would be a good way to kick off my half-marathon training for this year, which pretty much starts… now.

So, I dressed in all black (to display outwardly the current feelings of my cold black heart, natch) and gave it my best go, which wasn’t a PR, but I still managed to come in with a sub-10-min-mile overall pace, which you could call my B goal, if there are such things for casual 5ks. I finished in 30:05 for 3.13 miles (per Henry the Garmin), a 9:36 pace overall and 899 out of 2361 total runners.

Hey, a photo of me running in which I don't look like I'm about to die. Of course, it's only about 100 feet past the starting line :P

from some angles, such as this one, my legs look incredibly stumpy ;D

why so srs?

floating along in the background. At least my tired "gumby legs" running form doesn't seem to have kicked in too bad in this race, though I do look like I'm about to punch myself...

DONNNNE! I actually almost felt like barfing after this race; that was a first...

In other news I did get my very own hamster wheel recently! It took forever to assemble and of course since it’s me, the darn thing won’t incline, so I’m attempting to work with the somewhat hairy nordictrack support to try to figure out what’s going on it. It works fine to just run on though and I’ve done a few 2 or 3 mile jaunts on it. I hate hills anyway so the incline not working at the moment isn’t the biggest deal to me ;D

Green Lake Gobble 5k recap

Finally! A long-standing goal of mine has been crushed – namely, finishing a 5k in an official time under 30 minutes. At long last I pulled it off in this race, clocking in exactly 3.1 miles (per Henry the Garmin) in 29:27.

To be fair, Green Lake is pretty much mostly flat with only just a few very gently rolling hills, and the weather was COLD (about 31 degrees at the time we started!) which also usually makes me run a little faster. I even somehow overdressed – I wore my Brooks running fleece from RnR Seattle last year over a long-sleeve Nike top and I actually got a little over-warm (also had gloves and a running beanie, which I thought would be good due to the temps, but I ended up yanking off the gloves sometime during mile 2). I did push into the uncomfortable zone but I think overall I probably have it in me to go even faster, though that would require “visting the pain cave” as they say.

Also, they just posted race photos and LOL I think this is quite possibly the most flattering picture of me ever:

Ironically I actually didn't feel as bad as this photo suggests

Of course, that’s also the ONLY photo they got of me…

I started off the race checking my watch neurotically to make sure I was sticking around the pace I wanted (I was shooting for 9:30) and had to keep reining myself in the first mile – I would glance down and see numbers like 9:08, 8:56, 9:15. I eventually settled in behind a tall older fellow in a blue track suit who was chugging along right about exactly where I wanted to be and let him pace me for a little while.

After a while, though, I glanced at Henry and realized track suit guy had fallen off pace and was going around a 10:03 clip. I picked it up a bit and trotted on by him to do my own thing.I was actually getting pretty warm (somehow) and made myself wait until 1.55 miles (exactly halfway!) before unzipping the necks on both my fleece and Nike long-sleeve shirt underneath, and the rush of cold air on my neck felt awesome.

Mile 2 is usually one of the worst for me – on my route at home, it’s the hilliest, so I inevitably slow down for this mile, and I think my body is used to taking a little break. As such mile 2 was my slowest of the race at 9:40 average. I kept glancing down and reminding myself that if I wanted to hit my goal, I was going to have to work for it and not slack off. Strangely though I never hit the “I feel like death” mode that I usually do during a race – I was working, and keeping my feet moving (and “running tall,” a piece of advice I read on the McMillan site a week or so ago), but I felt strong the whole time. (I’m kind of shocked considering how random and inconsistent my training has been lately.)

We hit the 3rd mile and I knew I had to keep it up and finish strong. I kept repeating my posture-helping tips over and over in my head and focusing on keeping my feet moving quick and my shoulders back and tall. With around .6 of a mile to go I drew next to another girl and she sped up to keep stride with me, and we ran side by side for a few minutes until she dropped back with about two tenths of a mile to go. I picked up the pace again , summoning whatever I had left, and when I hit mile marker 3 I sprinted as best I could (OK, maybe I did feel a little like death right at this part) to the finish, stopping Henry the Garmin right after the mats in 29:30!

Then there was the obligatory stand-there-breathing-like-a-freight-train-while-getting-your-chip-cut-off-your-shoe moment, and I staggered over to the food booths to snag a banana and a bottle of water, feeling very accomplished. Achievement unlocked!

I guess my next goal should be to go even faster, eh? And perhaps even train a little more consistently ;)