2013 Race Recap part IV

Check out part I, part II and part III of this series.
August 25 – ROC Race 5k – untimed – The Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge (ROC) race was a ton of fun! If there’s one in your city, I highly recommend you try it out. My favorite obstacles were the wrecking ball (even though I fell off about two steps in), foam of fury and the world’s largest moon bounce. I would definitely do this race again!

October 6 – Mario Lemieux Foundation 6.6k (4.1 miles) – 39:28 – This was a great inaugural race. It started and ended at Consol Arena, with several Pittsburgh Penguin coaches running the race, Mario Lemieux firing the starting gun and a free practice after the race just for the runners. I actually ran this 12 seconds faster than the 4-miler in July and this race finished with a tough uphill, so my training has definitely helped (especially considering I did a 12 mile training run two days before this race)! This is also one of my favorite medals, so I will look at doing this race again next year.

October 20 – Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon – 2:14:13 – My fastest half marathon to date! My goal was to finish under 2:15, and I took 12:16 off my May half marathon. Some of this is probably due to the issues I had regarding my morning “prep” for the May half marathon, but I also started running with an actual training group in August, and I know that the run-walk-run technique has really helped a lot. I trained with the 10:00 / mile group and I knew that it was going to be rough training (it was) and I knew that I couldn’t hit 10:00 / mile for the full race, but because of the training, I was able to do a negative split through the race (first time!) and was able to finish under my goal time. The medals given out at the end of the race are the biggest / heaviest medals I have ever seen! It’s an 8.5″ surfboard which incorporates a bottle opener and has it’s own magnet on the back so you can show it off on your refrigerator. 

2013 Race Recap part III

Check out part I and part II of this series.

June 22 – Skirtchaser 5k – 28:52 – I paced one of my soccer friends who was hoping to break 30 minutes. It’s definitely an interesting concept for a race – the women start, then 3 minutes later the men start. More often than not, there’s a woman as the overall winner!

July 4 – Spectacular 4-miler – 39:40 – My goal for this race was to break 40 minutes. I might do this one again next year – it’s fun to kick off a holiday with a run before diving into tons of food & laziness the rest of the day.

July 11 – The Bear 5 mile run – 1:05:05 – This was the second year I’ve done the Bear and I actually ran it faster last year when I could only see about 100 feet in front of me. This year, I could see how much more of the mountain I had to climb! For those of you who don’t know about the Bear, it is the kick-off to the Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC. You start at the town of Linville and run to the top of Grandfather Mountain – an elevation gain of 1541′ in 5 miles. If you’ve ever watched Forrest Gump and remember the switchbacks he runs up a mountain – it’s the same mountain. I will do this again in 2014 and my goal is still to break 1 hour. Below is a comparison in the conditions between 2012 and 2013 – definitely a world of difference!

Check back next Friday for another race recap.

2013 by the numbers

I love getting blog post ideas from others, so today’s post was inspired by Blisters and Black Toenails (who got it from Seeking Boston Marathon). The concept is you recap your year in numbers, highlighting accomplishments, injuries or anything else you can think of – so here’s my 2013 by the numbers!

3.23.13 – my first 1st place finish! I got 1st place in my age group for the 5k.

2 PRs – I set a PR in the 5k and half marathon this year (times below).

94.5 race miles this year in 17 races:

  • 8 5ks – best time: 25:51
  • 3 half marathons – best time: 2:14:16
  • 2 10ks – best time: 1:02:51
  • 2 8ks – best time: 44:45
  • 2 4-milers – best time: 39:28

9 medals, including one from the James Island Connector which I was a really nice surprise, because it wasn’t something I was expecting at the end of a 10k. (I haven’t received my medal from the Jingle Bell Rock yet, but I’ll update the picture once I get that one.)

7 out of 8 – the number of bells I lost off of my Santa Hustle costume. I lost the first one less than I mile into the race and I think the only reason the 8th one stayed on is because it was actually caught on my race bib!

81 soccer games played:

  • 58 7 v 7 co-ed games
  • 16 11 v 11 women’s games
  • 11 v 11 co-ed games
2 soccer championships. My spring women’s team, Forever Young Blue, and my co-ed 7 v 7 Monday night team, Old School, both won championships this year. 

3,398,726 steps (or 1,553 miles) through December 15 – last year the company I work for introduced step trackers as part of their wellness initiatives, so I’ve been keeping track of all of my steps since last January. In all of 2012, I did 2,862,941 steps or 1,373 miles.

15 states driven in / through. Most of these came from the tour de hockey in November (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) but I also drive through West Virginia on my way to Pennsylvania and I live in North Carolina and have been to several cities in South Carolina this year. I just finished a race in Tennessee and I spent some time wandering around Arizona in January!

Want to see other runner’s 2013 by the numbers? Check out the linky at Blisters and Black Toenails.

Santa Hustle Recap

Today was my last race for the year and it was certainly an entertaining race to close out the year! The Santa Hustle offered a half marathon and a 5k option, with everyone receiving a Santa hat, beard and Santa-themed technical shirt, so there were a lot of Santa variations in the race today, however I only saw one other Hawaiian Santa (technically the guy was just running in a Hawaiian shirt and the Santa hat) and I managed to pass him around mile 8. The race was an out & back from Sevierville to Pigeon Forge. Every couple of miles there was a candy or cookie station – I didn’t see too many of the half marathoners take them during the race, but there were definitely a lot of mini M&M’s on the ground on our way back! Since I also signed up for the Jingle Bell Rock virtual run which goes from December 14-22, this race counts double!

This was definitely the most complicated outfit I’ve worn for a race (or any type of training). You can’t really see it in the picture, but I’m wearing my Pittsburgh Penguins Santa hat, there are bells on each of the flowers on my grass skirt and there are blue lights in the lei. The lights had a battery pack which I had to figure out where to put and since I didn’t want to wear a belt over the grass skirt, I ended up using a jewelry pouch safety pinned to my under shirt to hold the battery pack. Then, once I put the entire outfit on, I had to figure out where I could put the large bib. Usually I wear my bib on my shorts / pants so that it doesn’t interfere with my water belt and at first I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do that with the grass skirt, but I just added the bib on top and that actually worked pretty well.

When I got up the weather was calling for a clear (albeit cold) day, but no precipitation, however that wasn’t exactly how it turned out. Around mile 6 it started to mist / rain and by around mile 8.5 it was trying to snow, but it never really made the switch and stopped rain / snowing around mile 10. I was really warm for the first half, but after getting rained on, I started to get a little chilly around mile 11 or 12 – it didn’t help that somehow I lost one of my gloves before the race even started, but I was happy to have the Santa hat during those last couple of miles!
I decided to run this race with 3 minutes running and 1 minute walking. My training plan (more to come soon) calls for 2:1, but I trained for my last half marathon at 4:1, so I figured I’d split the difference and if I felt good the last few miles, I’d kick it up a notch. Unfortunately, I started to feel a twinge in my IT band at mile 3, so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy day. 
Mile 1 – 9:47
Mile 2 – 10:57
Mile 3 – 11:39
Mile 4 – 10:39
Mile 5 – 11:08
Mile 6 – 10:53
Mile 7 – 11:40
Mile 8 – 10:10
Mile 9 – 10:31
Mile 10 – 11:48
Mile 11 – 11:38
Mile 12 – 10:12
Mile 13 – 11:19
Last .1 (.38 on my Garmin): 3:13
Official time: 2:25:39

Lesson learned: no matter how close you are to the start line, if the race offers gear check – use it! I was within easy walking distance to the start line (though my hotel was at the top of the hill from the start / finish line), so I decided not to use the gear check. I figured if I needed to, I could always go back to my room to get warmer clothes, and I figured I would be very warm when I finished the race. Because I got rained on and with the breeze and cold temperatures, I didn’t stick around the finish line festivities very long – it was just too cold for me, even with the heaters that were provided under the tents.

2013 Race Recap part II

Check out part I of this series.

May 5 – Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 2:26:29 – This was the race that I was training for throughout the winter. Who can say no to crossing 5 bridges, over all 3 rivers and becoming a “Runner of Steel”? This could have been a disastrous day – I walked around at Kennywood for several hours the night before. I missed my alarm and woke up an hour before the race started. Most of the road closures had already gone into effect, so I parked at the only place I knew was safe – the hockey arena parking lot and had to run to the start line. I didn’t eat any breakfast (forgot it when I was rushing out the door) and hadn’t trained with any type of fuel, so I didn’t have anything with me. By mile 8 I was pretty much dead, but that’s when they were handing out GU and I got my second wind. Despite all of these issues, I managed to take 9:27 off my first half marathon time. After the race, there were a lot of festivities, including massages and an engraving station for medals. Since I was already parked at the arena, I headed back that way after the race to watch the Penguins playoff game on the big screen. The Pens won 5-4 in OT and I got to show off my new Penguins running shirt (technically it’s a bike jersey)!

May 11 – Run Back to the 80’s 5k – untimed – Team Run Like an Egyptian rocked some awesome 80’s inspired clothing for this race! I think the best costume I saw was someone dressed as a Rubik’s cube, though I’m not sure if they actually ran in the costume or not. There were also very interesting “giveaways” throughout the 5k course – we got a candy necklace at mile 1 (not great placement for this treat since it got all sweaty by the time we finished, oops), some jelly bracelets around mile 2.5 and at the end everybody got a finisher’s slap bracelet. 

May 18 – Run! Ballantyne 5k – 26:41 – My company sponsors a team for this race, so this was the third year I’ve done it. There are a lot of hills in Ballantyne! The first year I ran this, I came in 3rd in my age group but I haven’t been able to get back to the podium yet.

Check back next Friday for another recap.

2013 Race Recap part I

Since I didn’t start this blog until November, I don’t have a detailed summary of most of my races in 2013, but I wanted to “catch up” on races I did prior to November and what I can remember from them. So, each Friday in December I will post a recap of some of the races I did earlier this year.

March 16Color Me Green 5k – 33:50 – My first trail race. Salomon was there and I tried out their Speedcross shoes. I have nothing to compare the shoes to, but they worked pretty well for me. Throughout the woods, there were people hidden behind (and up in) trees and they would throw green corn starch at all of the runners. Similar to the Color Run, but with a whole new dimension of difficulty! The biggest challenge for the day was just the sheer number of attendees – I think the final runner count was over 1,000 and was way beyond what the race organizers had hoped for, so the start was delayed a bit waiting for everyone to get to the start line and then there was quite a bit of congestion at the start line before people were able to spread out a little getting into the woods. This is still the only trail run I’ve ever done, but as I check a few other things off my “running bucket list” I may need to add a few trail runs in! This was also a great way to kick-off St. Patrick’s Day festivities as there were lots of events and bands throughout the day, including watching the river at the US Whitewater Center turn green! 

March 23Run for the Ridge 5k – 25:51 (1st place in my age group) – The only things I really remember from this race is that it was cold and rainy and I was sprinting to the finish against a kid who was easily half my age! I took 19 seconds off my previous PR in this 5k, so despite the weather, it was a great race. 

April 6Cooper River Bridge Run 10k – 1:02:51 – This was my best time for this race (and not terribly slower than my PR), but this is also the last time I will do this race. There is something to be said for the experience you get from races with 40,000 people in them, but after the logistical nightmares of the last two years, I’ve had my fill with this race. Originally I was trying to keep up with one of my co-workers, but she kicked my butt on those hills! I ended up finishing about 7 or so minutes behind her but somehow we ended up being able to find each other in the midst of all of the other finishers and spectators.

Check back next Friday for another recap.