Wednesday, September 23, 2015

On the Run: Run Wild for the Zoo 10K 2015

Run Wild always feels to me like the start of Fall racing season.  Although it's not quite Fall officially, it's mid-September and the weather is usually perfect - 50 degrees and sunny.  The course is tree-lined and leaves are just starting to change colors.  It's hard to believe that just the weekend before it was a muggy 80+ degrees for racing!

As I've said before, this is one of my favorites because it's always my anniversary race.  (8 years!)  I love going back to it year after year with lighter shoes and a faster pace.    Besides the nostalgic aspect of it, it's a beautiful course with some of the friendliest volunteers and course marshals I've seen.  

This year the race was extra special for a couple of reasons.  First of all, my 5th grade nephew Luka ran his first 5K.  He and I ran together over the summer to get ready for it.  It was so exciting to see him cross the finish line with Brian.  Yes with Brian!  For the first time Brian ran this race, too!  This is one of those races that I usually go to by myself but because he ran it with Luka, he was there to see me cross the finish line.  

I actually had a lot of people there to see me finish.  Because Luka ran his 5K, his parents and siblings were there.  The event was also a target race for RUNdetroit Flight Club so there were lots of friends at the end.  Most of them had already finished the 5K so they were there to cheer me on.

Definitely the most special part, however, was that I raced with my friend and RUNdetroit teammate Sarah.  Every step of the way.  

I hadn't planned on doing this race with Sarah.  She texted me the day before, saying she was going to sign up and would pace me for it.  Sarah wanted to help me get a PR.  I'm going to be honest here.  I FREAKED.  All these thoughts went through my head: 

  • I don't need help.  I just want to run my own race.  
  • She's faster than I am!  Why is she slowing down to run with me?!
  • I'm not fast enough.  What if I let her down?
  • I can't run that fast right now.  It's not in my wheelhouse.
  • I can't.  I can't.  I can't.

Thankfully Sarah knows me and knew I was freaking out.  All my crazy texts just rolled off her (at least I hope they did!).  I woke up in the morning with a calm mind and a fresh, positive perspective.  I realized that even though Sarah is faster than I am, pacing me WAS the race she wanted to run.  And the reason I was freaking out is because I was lacking confidence.  I was about to step outside of my comfort zone and that's scary.  It was time to be bold.  But I needed Sarah to help me.

Brian and I got to the race at 7:00 for parking and packet pickup.  There was Sarah.  We hugged and everything was okay.  We had a long time before our race at 9:00!  Plenty of time for multiple port-a-potty stops (which are always clean and have short wait times at this race).  We did a 2-mile warm-up with our friend Leamon and then finally took off our long sleeves and headed over to the start.  

As I said, Sarah and I ran the whole race together.  We chatted (she did more talking than I did) for the first 4.5 miles.  We waved to and thanked all the spectators and volunteers.  It was nice to catch up on life because we haven't seen each other as much lately as in the past.  I'm pretty sure we annoyed the men that we were passing along the way, seeing how easily we were talking and laughing.  But hey, we were having fun!

Around 3.75 miles in, Sarah commented that she really wanted to catch a guy ahead of us.  She could tell he was fading but I didn't think I had it in me to run any faster.  At the 4-mile marker she asked about pace.  I was happily surprised to see and shouted, "That's PR pace!"  It was a nice boost and I realized we'd nearly closed the gap between us and the dude ahead.  We rounded a corner and got closer.  We could hear him breathing.  He was checking his Garmin constantly.  This was it.  Sarah stopped talking, we pushed the pace just a hair, and we chicked him.  

I felt really strong for the rest of that mile but the last mile was harder.  I felt like I was going to puke.  Sarah must have noticed (or maybe I told her) because she started talking again to help keep me going.  At some point she told me that when we got to the finish line she was going to let me go first.  I said no, we needed to finish together.  I couldn't have done it without her.  Whatever happens happens.  So that's what we did.  Photo finish.

We tied.  40:27 for us both.  They gave me first and her second, though I'm not sure how that was decided.  My award was a gift certificate to Massage Envy.  I gave it to Sarah because she deserves it, earned it, and never treats herself to massages.  

Oh, and I got my PR!  I couldn't have done it without Sarah.  It's good to have a friend who believes in you when you don't believe in yourself.  That's what teamwork is all about.



Banana, CLIF Mojo - Peanut Butter Pretzel

And this guy always believes in me.  Thanks, Brian.  

Monday, September 7, 2015

On the Run: Move to the Beats 5K 2015

September is a busy month for me with a race every weekend.  I kicked off things this weekend with a fun Rock CF event in Royal Oak as part of the Arts Beats & Eats festival. Move to the Beats has both a 5K and 10K race but I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and sign up for the 5K.  

If you know me at all, you know I don't do 5K's.  They are basically the worst.  I'm not a sprinter and that's how 5K's are won.  

So why did I do this?

  1. This would be a good speed test.  My last 5K was on May 3rd and I wanted to see how my speed work has paid off.
  2. I had an 18-miler this weekend.  By doing a shorter race (plus warm-up/cool-down) I would still be able to get in my long run on Sunday.  When I run a 10K I add on mileage after to get the long run distance and that gets exhausting.  Better to start fresh the next day.

Although it would be painful I was looking forward to the race.  Mostly because it was a Rock CF event so I knew everything about it would be awesome!  I picked up my shirt and bib the day before (I always feel better being prepared pre-race).  I arrived during the lunch rush so it was pretty hoppin'.  I stayed and helped Emily (race director, Rock CF founder, and all-around amazing lady) for a while because she was by herself.  It's so much fun to help with packet pick-up.  I love seeing who is going to be racing.  One runner told me he didn't need safety pins because he would use his lucky pins.  He ALWAYS uses his lucky pins.  I thought about my piles of safety pins at home and thought that might not be a bad idea.  But I can't stop hoarding the pins!  (I think I have a problem.)

I have to mention that the swag for this race is awesome.  With your entry fee you get a super soft cotton tee shirt, a bag (with a zipper and a pocket), and 2 tickets to Arts Beats & Eats. Not a bad deal!

On race day I got to Royal Oak early to do my warm-up.  It was very humid and I was already sweating after 2 miles!  Thankfully the sky was overcast and we even got a few raindrops to cool us off before the start.  My RUNdetroit teammate Sara was racing the 5K, as well, so we started together.  I was so happy she was there!  She was ahead of my for the first mile and I credit my speedy start to her and her friend Laura (who won the 10K).  I caught up to them and we all ran mile 2 together.  

After that I started to drop back.  Sara went ahead and encouraged me to keep up but I just couldn't hang.  The early fast pace of the first two miles caught up with me.  I was fading fast.  Although I was still well within my tempo range I had to push really hard.  That finish line couldn't come soon enough!

I was so glad to have Sara in front of me to chase.  She finished ahead of me, first female, and I was right behind.  I gave her a big hug when I crossed the finish line.  I was so proud of her for winning!  And I was so grateful to have her there to help me push hard.  I couldn't have done it without her!

Photo courtesy of Ian Pettigrew Photography

I'm now just 12 seconds off my 5K PR.  A best-shape, Boston-ready, pre-injury PR at that.  I need to work on my pacing (6:12, 6:15, 6:33 are hardly consistent) so I don't burn out in the last mile.  And on October 17th I'll be stepping out of my comfort zone to chase that PR once again!




Banana, CLIF Shot - Vanilla

I Want You to Want Me / Cheap Trick
Hey Jealousy / Gin Blossoms
1983 / Neon Trees
All is Well / Soul Asylum
Everybody Talks / Neon Trees
The Innocent / Mayer Hawthorne

*Cheap Trick, Gin Blossoms, Neon Trees are 2015 ABE artists; Soul Asylum and Mayer Hawthorne are past ABE artists

Medals for age group awards