Back in April, I registered for the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon. This week was the first official week of the 28 week marathon training plan (from Jeff Galloway, of course!). My plan calls for three runs during the week – two 30 minute training runs and one long run (ranging from 3 miles to 26 miles). Some of the long runs have a “Magic Mile” thrown in to help predict what my race pace will be on race day. For the next six months I plan on writing a weekly blog post about how my training week went. This will be a great way to keep myself accountable while also providing a medium for me to keep track of my training and how I felt/what I did.
Week 1, Training Run #1: N/A
Week 1, Training Run #2: N/A
Week 1, Long Run (3 miles): 34th Annual Firecracker 5k, 38:20.0
I could definitely be off to a better start when it comes to training. Luckily, I have gotten back to running 3 times a week so my base is up to what is “normal” for me. Since this is the first week of training, I’m not too upset about the fact that I missed the first two training runs. My hubby and I planned a quick trip up to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so that kind of interfered with my running schedule a little bit (low motivation coupled with really bad weather while we were there – blah). This is definitely something that I need to be careful about, though. To me, the long runs are definitely the most important aspect of my training (to help build my endurance) but the two training runs are important in other ways, too (helping to maintain a base, helping to throw in some speed work and/or hill work). I definitely cannot fall into a habit of skipping on runs. I want to do well for this marathon and I definitely want to be able to finish!
I did much better for my long run (probably because my legs were fresh from not running for a week!). I registered for the 34th Annual Kiwanis Firecracker 5K the night before, worked twelve hours over night and braved the awful heat to get my long run (and my July race!) in. By the time the race started, I was already nice and dewy from sweat. The race was also a little bit hillier than last year’s course – especially at the beginning of mile 1 and 2! I did pretty good though. According to my Garmin, my splits were: 12:08, 12:28, 12:06 (my splits would have been more even but I stopped at the start of mile 2 so I could get some water from one of the coolers). I averaged about 12:10 and finished the race with an official time of 38:20.0. By the time the race was done, it was already 80 degrees and not quite 9 am!
Last Saturday, I made the short drive out to Wakulla Springs State Park to participate in the 2015 WHS Freedom Run 5K. The race route is an out and back course that runs out of the Springs, across the 61 and out towards the Cherokee Sink. Its fairly flat (the “hilliest” portion is at the very beginning and at the end – neither are very bad). I thought the route was going to be the same as the Friends of Wakulla Springs 5k (which enters the portion of the park that is usually closed to visitors – its a very enjoyable and “easy” trail race in my opinion). However, I really enjoyed the out-and-back course.
I arrived early so that I could park my car and pick up my race packet. I also wanted a chance to stretch my legs after being in the car for almost thirty minutes. Once I had my bib pinned on, I walked down to the swimming area to warm up my legs a little. The swimming area was still closed and it looked peaceful. The humid air was much warmer than the spring water so a light haze floated over the water. It looked very picturesque.
A few minutes before the race started, the sky opened up and dumped a lot of rain on us. By the time we started the race, the rain had finished but we were all pretty much soaked through. At that point, I was not complaining. It was pretty hot already and I was grateful for the cooling rain. On the flip side, the rain was just enough to leave the air feeling wet and sticky. It was going to be a very humid run!
Here recently, I have been sticking to 1:1 in my races. I decided to change my intervals to 1.5:1 for this race just to see how I would do. I’m really proud of my time. I ran negative splits (12:27, 12:19, 12:07) according to my Garmin and maintained my intervals throughout the race. I felt pretty good throughout and even managed to look pretty good in my finish photo.
I finished in 38:15 (official race time) and felt pretty strong. As a reward, I dipped my legs into the cool water of the Springs when they opened up the swimming area and admired the view.
Overall – the race was fantastic. It was a nice course and well organized. Case in point – the course was very well marshalled and it was extremely “clean”. The trail had been scoured to make sure nothing hazardous was in the way of runners. Anything they could not remove, they dusted with white powder so that it was easily visible. I was very impressed by that! The race tech shirt was great – I really like the design. I always enjoy running around Wakulla Springs – its a very peaceful place to be, especially in the early morning hours!
Running a 5k on this particular date was also sentimental for me. Two years prior to this 5k, I started my running journey. My best friend introduced me to the “Couch to 5K” program and I decided to give it a go. I didn’t know that I would be bit by the running bug! Two years later, I have come so far from where I was on that day. Running has become more than physical exercise to me. It has become my therapy. It allows me to see my internal strength in a very tangible way. I may not always be happy to go on a run, but I never regret going on one. Running is a cure-all for me. Two years ago, I could barely get out a mile in thirty minutes. Now, I can crank out three in a little over that same amount of time!
In less than two weeks, I will officially start training for the Walt Disney World Full Marathon. I can’t put into words how excited (and nervous!) I am to be making such a huge step in my running journey. I can tell you that the last two months have been a struggle preparing myself to get ready to undertake such a huge achievement.
It is no secret that I was having a rough time in many aspects of my life to include motivating myself to run. I slowly started to notice an upswing about three weeks ago. I ran in my first race in over a month (the Memorial Day 5k) and I also pushed myself to run more than once a week. I was able to crank out an additional run and also pushed myself out the door to get a two mile walk in. The next week, I pushed myself to get three runs in and a couple of walks. All three of my workout were outdoors. They were hot and they were sweaty – but I got out there. I also had a weekend race to motivate me. Last week, I had no race planned to motivate me to keep my momentum going. I also was in my “long week” of work (60 hours in the week, twelve hour long shifts at night, etc) which meant I might be more willing to sacrifice my workouts to get an hour more of sleep.
Going in to this week, I promised myself that I would do at least two things. I would go to the beach to treat myself to some sunshine and relaxation. And I would run at least three times during the week. Well, I succeeded.
On Tuesday morning, I was exhausted after a long 12 hour shift. My legs were achy and I very easily could have jumped in my car to drive straight home. But, I powered through the groggy feelings and got in a short and slow loop around campus. Certainly not my fastest times, but I was proud of myself for getting it done.
Wednesday – I treated myself to the beach. It was glorious.
On Thursday, I lost a little bit of motivation. I had intended on getting out of bed early to go for a run at the gym. When my alarm went off, I simply could not haul myself out of bed. So, I went back to sleep. I ended up getting to the gym later that night (much, much later!) and cranked out a pretty awesome workout. I increased my intervals with each mile and when I hit the third mile, I felt great enough to also up the speed during every interval. Because of that, I cranked out one of my fastest mile times in quite awhile! Leaving the gym, I felt like I was on cloud nine.
By the time I got to work for my “long” three day weekend, I had already finished two strong workouts and only needed a third to complete my goal. I brought some running clothes to work with me Friday night and threw them on when my shift ended Saturday morning. I didn’t plan on a long run but I wanted to run hard. I have been running 1:1 intervals lately but decided to up that to 1.5:1 intervals. I also pushed myself really hard. I was drenched in sweat and huffing and puffing during my running intervals. I felt uncomfortable but I was also flying. It felt incredible. My Runkeeper clocked my first mile at 12:35 and it clocked my second at 11:18. I stopped running at two miles because there was no way I could keep up that pace – but it felt glorious. I was so proud of myself and excited to write in my running journal.
I’ve been struggling. But I truly feel like my running mojo is back. I ended only ran 10.2 miles in May. So far, I’m at 24.0 running miles for June. I feel great and I’m excited for the next two races on my schedule (this weekend’s Freedom Run 5K at Wakulla Springs and the annual Firecracker 5k for July 4th). It feels good to be back!
Last Saturday I had the oppurtunity to participate in the 3rd Annual 5k at Fifth. This annual 5K is hosted by the Leon High School Volleyball team and benefits both the volleyball team and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. I really enjoy running in these local races – it feels nice knowing that my money is going to help out local causes and people.
Instead of adjusting my sleep schedule to a day schedule the day before, I slept a little longer than I normally would on Friday so that I would not be as tired. Of course, by the time 3 am rolled around, I started to drift off. I set my alarm and took a nap on the couch. I woke up when it the alarm went off, definitely a little groggy and tired. My running clothes were pretty rumpled, too, as I had fallen asleep in them. But, I had committed to this race and dragged myself up.
The race itself was H-O-T and rather hillier than I expected it to be. I ran my mile splits in 12:39, 12:48 and 12:49 (I was rather surprised at the last mile – the route came up across a very steep hill that I chose to walk and I expected that to slow my pace quite a bit). My only complaint about the race was the lack of water at the first water station. Within 13 minutes of the start of the race, the water station was already out and only had ice. This race is relatively new and therefore kind of in its fledgling stages so something like that can be forgiven – at least days afterwards when you are not in the grumpy, agitated dehydrated state I was in at that point. Luckily there was still water at the second water station – I gulped that down.
The race wasn’t chipped so I recorded my time at about 39:10 according to the race clock. My Runkeeper put me at more like 39:07 for 3.09 but I always trust the official times more than my Runkeeper when recording times for posterity.
Despite the heat, I enjoyed myself. I really felt like I was starting to get my “legs” back under me and that is definitely a positive feeling!
On Monday night, I drove out to Bainbridge, GA to participate and run in the annual Memorial Day Night Race. It starts at the middle school tennis courts and follows the residential streets in the area. Don’t let the “night” misnomer fool you – this race was hot last year and this year was no different. I carried a water bottle with me, stopped at both water stops, and doused my neck and face with water frequently throughout my run!
Last year, my legs felt stiff pretty early on and I struggled on the course. My time was better than this year though (27:53), and I placed third in my age group (F20-24). I finished 48th out of 58 participants (a very small crowd) with my hubby there to cheer me on. This year, I felt much better throughout the majority of the race. During the first mile, I kept my pace a little slower to work out the stiff kinks in my leg and to conserve energy in the heat. I finished the first mile in 12:31, probably a little faster than I meant to (and I paid for it later). I picked up the pace and finished the second mile in 12:26, shaving off a few seconds. That is when the heat really started to hit me. My legs were feeling heavy and despite the fact that I was constantly hydrating and had drank a bottle and a half of water prior to the run, I was starting to feel dehydrated. For the first two miles, I was consistently sticking to a 1:1 run ratio. For the last part of the race, I started to falter – walking a little more. I finished the last mile in 13:00 even and finished the whole 5K in 39:03, over a minute slower than the year before.
39:03 is not a stellar time. It’s not by best time by a long shot. It’s also not my worst time. But, the fact of the matter is that I have very little expectation for the race’s outcome:
I finished my last race in 42 minutes and change. So, I was pretty proud of myself for getting a sub-40 time when I hadn’t been running more than once a week for the past few weeks. In fact, not only did I break 40 minutes, I also placed FIRST in my age group (F25-29 this year) and placed 54th out of a group of 71.
I enjoyed this race last year and enjoyed it again. I love participating in events like this – Memorial Day holds a special place in my heart and I feel that there is no better way for me to show that than to run for those that are lost. Memorial Day is a day to reflect on the heroes that never made it back. Its a day to give thanks and remembrance for those armed service members who gave their lives in service to their nation. I ran with them in my hearts – and hopefully this race will continue every year so I can run every year in their memory.
Today I ran in the Color Me Rad race series event in Tallahassee. I’ve been looking forward to this event for weeks now – I really enjoy fun runs like this. Unfortunately, this particular event didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Here’s my “race report”:
Wes and I woke up early and headed over to the race start which is pretty close by. While waiting, Wes took a “before” photo of me.
The start line entertainment was pretty good. The announcer was funny and was continuously engaging the audience. That can be hard to do on an early Saturday morning but he kept people moving, dancing and laughing. There were a couple of “contests” that he grabbed people from the audience to participate in as an attempt to get people nice and warmed up for the event.
When they moved us to the start line, they announced that they would be letting us go in mini little waves. If you were in between the start line and the blue caution tape, it would be your turn to go when they counted down. This was a good idea because it helped to keep the amount of people around you down.
Once released, you were running off into Tom Brown Park. There were about 7-8 color stations (they advertised 8 but I didn’t keep count while I was running) spread throughout the park. The course was a little rougher than I expected. It was up/down pretty much the whole way – definitely not friendly to my still aching calves. I walked a little more than I usually would.
The color stations were set up with volunteers throwing color starch at you as well as shooting super-soakers full of colored gel/water at you. The gel/water felt awesome in the heat, let me tell you! The color stations looked like this as you ran up to them:
Wes (as always) was dutiful about taking pictures of me throughout the course. He caught a few pretty good ones. Here’s one that I didn’t know he was getting but turned out pretty good. He’s becoming pretty good at taking pictures!
Even though the course was short by over a tenth of a mile, I was pretty happy for it to be done. The course was hilly and it was humid out. My calves were still a mess from last weekend’s 5k and I was ready for some rest. But, despite all of this, Wes took some pretty awesome pictures that turned out to be some of my favorites as I approached the finish:
I didn’t want to stay for the after party. I was feeling kind of hungry plus I wanted to get home to get cleaned up. I’m sure that the people who stayed had a blast. Each person was given a color packet to use and get extra dirty-colored up! Pretty cool.
Overall, I wasn’t super excited about my experience. It wasn’t awful – especially since I only paid the small(er) amount for the early bird/loyal pricing. But I probably would be pretty mad if I had spent the $45-50 that they were asking over the past week. For me, this particular event was a “one and done” type deal. I’ll probably try out The Color Run when it comes back to Tallahassee to see how it compares to this event as well as to the Color in Motion 5k event. Here’s a break down of the pros/cons.
-Free photos – although this leads into a con for later.
-Awesome race packet – the shirt is soft and really well done. I like that they include a tattoo (that I forgot, ha), and a decal. I also bought an extra white shirt that I felt like was pretty good quality.
-Awesome colors and gel for the color stations — I felt like they were pretty good quality and they had plenty.
-Enjoyable event, but probably more fun to do with a group rather than solo (which I expected).
-Great start line entertainment – kept the crowd engaged and moving
-Organizers attempted to remind racers/walkers of race course etiquette – unfortunately you can’t always get through to people and this is something outside of the race organizers’ control.
-Photographers – they only had three on the course, one of which I noticed staring down at his camera to check his photos numerous times. As an amateur photographer, I understand that you don’t just want to continuously shoot without checking lighting, etc, but at the same time, when you have numerous runners going by, you need to continue taking shots. I was a little disappointed in how lackluster the photographers seemed (although maybe I’m just a little spoiled by my experiences with GWTC and the runDisney/marathonfoto photogs).
-Course. For a fun run, this course was unbelievably hilly and kind of uncomfortable to run. There were numerous points where I made sure to step carefully because I was worried about turning an ankle.
-Water station. I loathe water stations that hand you a full bottle of water. If I wanted to carry a full bottle while I ran, I would have brought my own. I ended up skipping the water station because I didn’t want to stop my run/walk to open the bottle and then have to worry about finding a trash can later on down the course. Now, this is a matter of preference on my part.
-Color stations. Part of the advertising campaign for this race event was that they had double the color stations. To be honest, I would much rather they stick to 4-5 color stations and simply have more people throwing color at each. The first few color stations on the course were kind of “meh”. Also, at the Color in Motion 5k last year, they loaded up the color starch in super-soaker type things to launch the color at runners as they passed by. This is probably something to consider in the future. The quality/amount was awesome – the delivery, not so much.
-After the race, there were no bananas, bagels, etc. Just water. For the amount that I paid, I would expect for there to be at least some type of after-race food item.
-Even though this event was listed as a 5k, the distance actually came up to a little short of three miles. I know that this was meant to be a fun run so measuring the distance is probably one of the least important things on their list of things to do. However, I paid to participate in a 5k and wish that they had extended the finish out just a tiny bit to make it a full 5k.
Long review short: give it a go if you’ve never done a color run before, but skip it if the Color in Motion 5k or The Color Run 5k are going to be coming to your town.
I turned twenty five years old on March 14, 2015. I also woke up at 7 am after a few hours of sleep feeling a little less than one hundred percent. The flowers have been blooming en force here in town so pollen has been everywhere. Pollen plus Kim equates to a sore throat, itchy eyes and a runny nose. I kept coughing from the tickle in my throat and my sinuses felt like they were stuffed full of cotton.
But because I am a stubborn one, I got dressed in my race day attire, pinned my bib on and attached my “Birthday Princess” sash. I had signed up for this race and I would not miss it for some stupid allergies! I asked Wes to come with me “just in case” (and to take pictures for me, as well!).
I won’t lie – the course was hard. My breathing was probably a little more labored than it would normally be, but the course wasn’t hard because of my allergies. It was hard because of the HILLS. I had been forewarned ahead of time… but that did nothing to truly prepare me for the continuous up, up, up! Just to give an idea, here is the elevation graph from my Nike Plus App.
I ran a few minutes slower than I normally would – but at the end of the race I was still proud of myself. I wasn’t feeling well and I was tired but I still dragged my butt out of bed. I maintained my run/walk intervals throughout the majority of the race and I feel like I pushed and finished with a strong kick.
Wes was there to capture some of the action as well. It always makes me feel awesome to know that Wes is waiting at the end of the finish line for me (even if I am a little grumpy toward him in my fatigued state). I’m lucky enough to have such an awesome hubby that supports me in my runs (even if he doesn’t participate himself). He caught this photo as I approached the finish line.
My time was a little less than awesome but I was still proud of myself for getting out there. The numbers don’t always have to match up to the true effort of the race. For me, I feel like the greatest effort was in overcoming how I felt going into the race. I could have given up. I could have stayed curled up in bed and I would have been completely justified due to the fact that I was 1. tired and 2. being assaulted with awful pollen-induced allergies.
I got out there, I ran, I ate pancakes. What a way to celebrate turning twenty-five. (Not pictured is the awesome Pi Day 5K bling I earned from the Pi Day virtual run… and I’ll be earning a pretty sweet slightly inappropriate medal from the Kiss My Shamrocks race series as well!).
Featured Image Photo Credit: Fred Deckert Photography for Gulf Winds Track Club