Monday, March 25, 2013

Testing Fitness on the Track

After a week of uncertainty about what my next bigger goal race would be it has been decided! 

I will be competing in the 10,000m at the 119th Penn Relays on Thursday, April 25th. 
Penn Relays is one of the pinnacle events of track & field and I can't wait to race in a stadium that is filled with so much history and energy. The last time I raced at Penn Relays was 10 years ago when I was a freshman in high school. I had a habit then of running like a 'deer in the headlights' according to my High School Coach, Dave Davis. In a month I will get to run 25 laps with a mature confidence I lacked for those three laps that led off our Distance Medley Relay a decade ago. 
In the meantime there is still much work to be done and most likely a hilly 10k road race two and a half weeks before. Having a bigger race to focus on fuels my training and I'm looking forward to getting to hop on the track for a few workouts. After thinking hard about it I am pretty sure I have done two workouts on the track in the past six months. So to say I am excited to test on the track all of the fitness I have built racing and training longer on the roads the past few months is an understatement. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Paddy's Day 10k

Ryan & I (Yes, he wore last year's St Paddy's race T-shirt)

Racing in Jacksonville two weekends in a row was the best idea! 1st Place Sports puts on some great events and this weekend we even got to take advantage of Jacksonville's beaches post race. Plus having my parents in town for both races was an added treat. 

Entering the St. Paddy's Day 10k was another opportunity to get in a hard workout with the added fun of getting to race. I stayed optimistic all week while fighting off a cold that my rundown body luckily did not fully succumb to after the busy weekend I had with the Gate River Run. 

Once the race started I couldn't believe how great I felt! I was racing in the front pack and was in a nice, smooth rhythm. I might have felt a little too good since I led at two points during the first 5k. Once at the 1 Mile Mark (pictures can be seen here: and then again at the 5k mark. 

Ryan, who has barely trained since his 1st marathon a month and half ago, offered to run with me to help me keep a more even pace. Little did we know that I would actually be racing in the front pack. So at about 4 Miles when one of the Masters men in the race put in a solid move and I couldn't match it Ryan left me about a half mile later so that he catch him and win the men's race. 

I kept trying to catch the other man that had been in our pack of four, but my legs just didn't have it in them. The 2nd 5k also got a bit tricky in the last mile and a half as we had to weave through the other participants who were either finishing their 5k or on their 1st loop of the 10k.
I ended up 4th overall and the 1st female finisher with a time of 35:24, a new Road 10k PR! (One of my goals this spring is to just keep chipping that time down until it is closer to my 33:57 track 10k PR)

Before the race I made it one of my goals to try and keep all of mile splits in the 5:30s. I almost did this, but my Garmin had a bit of trouble getting accurate mile splits with all of the sharp turns we made on the cemetery roads. Since there were clocks at each mile mark I have two sets of splits: what I saw on the clocks and what my Garmin said. 
Garmin: 5:36, 5:41, 5:47, 5:35, 5:34, 5:37 
Race Clocks: 5:32, 5:34 (11:06), (17:26 5k)

Overall, I was really pleased with this race. It was exciting to race in the front pack and I was quite relieved that the cold I fought all week didn't really affect me besides my breathing getting pretty burdened the last two miles. 

This week I’m excited to get back up in my mileage and put in some more solid training. I am not sure what I will get to race in the near future. I have a few options in mind and can’t wait to set some more goals once I have a more solidified April/May race schedule. In the meantime I will stay focused and motivated with the June & July races I already have planned.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another Step Forward

Moving forward in running is always good.

That's a pretty simplistic and redundant statement, but it sums up where my training and racing are right now.

With such a busy schedule I know my own running is often first to not receive the attention it deserves.
Since struggling to balance my own training with my new schedule in the fall this spring has been a dramatic improvement.

I am moving forward.

I am improving from week to week and when I get the opportunity to race that improvement is showing as well.
Gate River Run was a solid step in the right direction.
This year's elite field is probably the most competitive field I have ever raced in.
Despite letting myself get pulled out too quickly for the first two miles and definitely paying for that the last two miles I am quite pleased with my overall performance.
Looking ahead to my season goal of competing well at the US Half Marathon Championships on June 22nd I am one step closer. I actually set a new road 10k PR through 10k. This is great because my road PR has been 2 minutes off of my track PR which is simply ridiculous on my part.

Gate River Run:

5k: 17:35
10k: 35:40

Overall Time/15k: 54:07, 5:49 average pace.

Avg Pace

Competing in such an elite field was a privilege and it was quite exciting to have so many talented women to test my physical abilities against.
The weekend itself was also a BLAST!
Richard Fannin is such an enthusiastic elite coordinator and the weekend that he and his team put on was simply amazing.
It was also great to catch up with old friends and make some new ones too.
Plus I got some great advice from my fellow competitors on how to focus on your own training and racing.
Now its time to recover and get excited for the next step forward.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Gate River Run

In 24 hours my 1st 15k will be underway and I will be racing down the streets of Jacksonville.
A PR is inevitable. That's the one outcome you can be sure of when racing a new distance. 
Everything else is uncharted territory. Especially for this race since not only is it my 1st 15k it is also the most competitive 15k in the country since it is the host of the USA Road Circuit 15k Championship.

The main unknowns on my mind are:
What pace will they race go out in?
What will time will it take to be Top 20? Top 15? Top 10?
How will I feel?

These questions are pointless though.

Instead I will focus on the 'knowns.'
I have prepared for this race.
The long runs, the workouts, and even my half marathon are all components I have assembled that will play a key part in my success at racing this distance.
Racing my first half marathon five weeks ago has been great for my confidence going into this race.
I know that I can run hard for 13 miles and I felt great through 9 miles that day. Although I will be demanding a faster pace from my body for these 9 miles I know I am prepared both physically and mentally for this challenge. 

It's all about competing.
And I'm ready to go.