Race Report: Be the Match 5K 2018

Official Results:
Time: 29:00
Pace: 9:21
Overall: 75/211 (this is a walk/run so take that with a grain of salt)
F30-39: 7/37

Watch Results:
Time: 28:30
Pace: 8:51
Distance: 3.22 mi
Heart Rate: N/A

A: 29:20
B: 29:42
C: 29:59

What I ate the night before: pizza
What I ate on race day: bagel and cream cheese
What I carried with me: nothing

What I wore: t-shirt, shorts
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker

Discussion: Yay! A PR! After I sandbagged like crazy in my race goals post. Not really, I just had a lot of self-doubt and very little evidence to suggest any improvement in my speed. I’m an engineer. I like evidence. Anyway I’m also annoyed because they listed the final result as my gun time, rather than chip time. What is the point of having an elaborate timing setup if you’re only going to have gun times? Yesterday they had an even slower time on there, for some odd reason. The timing company has some issues!

I’m super excited, regardless. I finally ran a decent 5K! I don’t mean time-wise, I mean execution-wise. I am pretty happy about everything, from pre-race (I had enough to eat and drink) to the finish. The race started off as it usually does, with all kinds of people in my way, but I stayed within myself instead of getting frustrated and trying to weave and dodge. Once things opened up a little more, I sped up as I always to, to try to “make up” for the slow start, and then I was able to hang on. I’d check my watch every once in awhile, expecting to see a slower pace – I often think I’m running faster than I am. But this time, nope, I was still holding steady in the low 9s/high 8s. When I felt tempted to back off the pace, I didn’t. At least, not until the final mile. At that point I did let myself get a little lazy – a few times, I thought “well, you’re in good shape for a PR, even if you back off a little!” which was kind of stupid, but I didn’t let it last long. I looked at my watch results and even then, I don’t think I slowed that much for that long, so that was good. I had enough at the end to really push toward the finish, maybe too much left, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

I find the 5K harder than 50K. That might seem a little backward, but the margin for error is so slim in the 5K. Maybe if I pushed harder in 50K races, I’d think differently, but at the same time, how hard can I sustainably run for 8 hours? It’s a balance. In the 5K, it’s over so quickly that there’s no excuse for giving less than a hard effort – but the slower I am, the longer I have to give that hard effort. I admit that part of the reason I don’t train specifically for middle-distance races like 5Ks and 10Ks is because it feels sort of stupid and futile to train specifically for a race I’m so pathetically slow at, compared to the general public. (Yes, whatever, comparison is the thief of joy and everything, blah blah. I’m human.) Maybe someday I’ll give it a shot again, but maybe I’ll just do 5Ks for kicks and leave all my long-term goals for the longer races.

Be the Match 5K 2018 Race Goals

This will be the fourth Be the Match 5K I’ve participated in! I enjoy running it every year, even if it does seem to be less of an “event” each year for my extended family. We used to have a fairly large group (10-15 people) walking or running the race, but now it’s down to my immediate family. It does make logistics a lot easier, though.

I haven’t run a 5K since December, and that race really sucked. I would like to think that I ran a much slower than expected 5K at Jingle Bell Run (and at the Gobble Gallop) because I was worn out, and that I can bounce back now with a better time, closer to where I was last spring/summer. I haven’t done much to ensure that, doing very little speed work and continuing my training without any time off after running the Chippewa Moraine 50K a couple weeks ago. I did lose a little bit of weight, but eh, I’m not convinced that’s going to be a difference maker.

I haven’t felt “fast” since July, when I ran the Park Point 5 Miler. I have been focusing on running longer distances, but I thought with my inexperience and general lack of fitness prior to 2015 (approximately), I could still make some gains with shorter distances. It’s just not the same thing, though. A lot of what I train for in ultras/marathons is the opposite of what I would need to do for a 5K. I don’t push enough, and that shows in my race results.

I will say that I’m fortunate to have been relatively injury-free over my short running “career,” and that’s probably in part because I am not doing a ton of speed work. So there’s some benefit to staying slow and doing a lot of “easy” running. (Running up the Ohio Street hill is not easy.) So there’s an upside here.

My goals for tomorrow’s race are:

A Standard: 29:20
B Standard: 29:42
C Standard: 29:59

Lol. What is the difference, even? It’s quibbling over seconds, really. But in a 5K, seconds matter. In a marathon or 50K, minutes matter. And in longer races, hours matter. It’s such a perspective change! The A standard is a PR, B standard is a course PR (is that even a thing in a road 5K?), and the C standard is just to get myself below 30 minutes again.

Anything worse and I’ll quit running. Ok, just kidding. Middle-distance speed is just not a priority for me right now, but I’d like to stop regressing.

FANS 24 HR Training: Weeks 13 and 14

I’m including all the CM50K training in my FANS training, not selecting an arbitrary week-numbering system.

Week 13
Tuesday: rest (massage)
Wednesday: 4.5 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Thursday: 6.5 mi, road
Friday: 5.5 mi, trail (Bagley)
Saturday: 8.2 mi, trail (SHT, Twin Ponds toward Haines Rd & back)
Sunday: 10.2 mi, trail (SHT at Jay Cooke toward Wild Valley Rd & back)
Total: 34.9 mi

Week 14
 5.3 mi, road
Tuesday: 9.6 mi, road
Wednesday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk), 4 miles at tempo effort
Thursday: 6.7 mi, trail (Hartley)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 3.3 mi, road (Be the Match 5K + short warmup)
Sunday: 14.9 mi, trail (SHT @ 123rd Ave W toward Jay Cooke & back)
Total: 46 mi

So, some of this training I’ve already forgotten about. Whoops.

In these last few weeks leading up to FANS, I’m trying to eat better and overall do a better job of taking care of myself. Taking training seriously doesn’t just mean putting in the miles; that’s only a portion of what it takes to have a successful race. I’ve been doing myself a disservice by neglecting the nutrition part of my training. I can’t fix my bad eating habits overnight (well, I can, there’s actually nothing stopping me other than my own willpower and laziness, but it is more likely to stick if I make smaller changes first), but I can take steps to improve my diet overall.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to go crazy with any radical food intake strategies like keto or high fat low carb or Whole 30 or whatever. I won’t be smugly posting about how “clean” I’m eating. I eat food I’ve dropped so I don’t eat clean. I am not the only person eating in my household, and I’m not the only person who prepares food, so I can’t make drastic changes to what I eat without bringing my husband on board, and it’s not my place to dictate the menu on the nights I’m not making food (which used to be every night! I rarely cooked). But now I’m making dinner about twice a week. My plan is to make something Monday and Tuesday night that is relatively healthy and will have leftovers, so I can have some decent lunches. No more pizza lunches 3x a week!

I am not super creative in the kitchen, so I never know what to make. I also don’t have a dishwasher, a lot of counter space, or a lot of fancy appliances, so I can’t make complex things without causing a lot of extra work for myself. I do know someone who is super creative in the kitchen, though: my cousin writes a food blog, The Sea Salt, with lots of delicious recipes, surfing photos, and mostly vegetarian ingredients. (I don’t really care because I like to eat meat, but it’s a nice feature for those who are vegetarian or looking to reduce the amount of meat in their diet.) So I made a recipe of hers last Monday, Falafel Spiced Quinoa Salad with Crispy Chickpeas. It was delicious AND it provided a LOT of leftovers! I might add chicken to it next time I make it.

I’m not a chef and the lighting in my kitchen sucks, but I took a photo anyway.

Besides trying to make some better food choices (which I wasn’t completely successful at – the red velvet Oreos I bought for CM50K but did not eat were NOT going to go to waste), I did do actual running. I took 3 days off after Chippewa Moraine 50K, got a massage the final day off, and then returned to running. I made a concerted effort to start running on challenging trails again, rather than just Lakewalk run upon Lakewalk run (and I’ve got to stop running there shortly, as it’ll be overtaken by tourists in those awful surrey-with-a-fringe-on-top bike things).

I ran the Be the Match 5K on Saturday the 13th. It went ok. I ran 29:43, which is not my best time ever, but was still under 30 minutes. My hope is that I’ll never run a road 5K in over 30 minutes’ time, unless I’m 80 years old, pacing a friend, or… I don’t know, some other extenuating circumstance. I was planning to do a short recap of the race, but decided not to. It wasn’t a goal race, it wasn’t a particularly well-run race, and my recapping plan was spoiled by technical difficulties.

I wanted to experiment with taking real mile splits, so I hit the lap button when I passed each mile marker (well, the first two). According to the auto-lap feature, my splits were 8:59, 9:33, and then 11:11 for the final “1.17” (a 9:34 pace). So that wasn’t the best, but other than the first mile, it’s not super far off, as I ran a 9:35 overall pace via the official results.

My lap button time splits were: 9:40, 7:26, and 12:38 (11:29 pace for 1.1 miles). Uhhhh. I think there was a mistake with the placement of the second mile marker, as best as I can tell. I’ll have to try this experiment again. Overall, this was not a particularly well-run race, thanks to poor training, tired legs, and poor mental attitude. I slept ok and ate ok before the race, for the first time in the history of me running this race, and I still ran my second best 5K time ever, but I was kind of thinking I’d just magically PR. I also didn’t PR in fundraising, although I think we came close to last year’s. We raised just over $1100 officially, but we did have 2 donors who made donations that were accidentally not attributed to our team. I was hoping to raise $2000, but realistically that wasn’t happening. My mom and I are the only ones on our “team” who fundraise, so realistically we’ve already maxed out our donor base.

The weather was decent the past couple of weeks, for the most part. There were even a few days that were actually hot! Relatively speaking. I run so much better when I’m in just a t-shirt and shorts. I’m breaking in a new pair of road shoes at the moment (Mizuno Wave Runners), and trying to decide what shoes to wear at Superior. My shoes from Chippewa are pretty beat up, but it’s looking like this weekend is going to be muddy and gross, so I might wear my old shoes (with ~567 miles on them) and save the new ones (~157 miles) for another day.

I’m kind of ready for this block of races to be over with: I don’t think I’ll plan so many races that require travel in such a short period of time.  Between traveling for hockey, racing, and work, I’ve been away from home more than I’d like. Too much time away from the cats! Next year I’ll have to be much more thoughtful about how I schedule my races.

Spring Running Goals: 2017

As I alluded to last week, I set my goals for “spring” (let’s call that March-May).

  1. Race a distance I have not raced before.
    This will probably be a 10K or a 10 miler, in March.
  2. Run a race where I’m not sure I can make the cutoff.
    I have a fear of getting swept, so I’ve always signed up for races with extremely generous cutoffs (either walk/runs, or trail races where there are longer distances). I’m going to want to run those longer distances one day, so I’m going to need to face my fear eventually. Chippewa Moraine 50K, with a 4 hour cutoff at the halfway point, and a 9 hour overall cutoff, will be my first chance to face my fear.
  3. PR at the 50K distance.
    My PR is 10:25, so it’s PR or bust at CM50K.
  4. Help my team for Be The Match 5K raise $2000.
    Last year we raised $1286.66, so $2000 would be a huge PR!
  5. Improve my time at Superior 25K.
    Last year was rough, because it was so hot. I am hoping for cooler weather, or if not cooler weather, then better coping skills.

The most ambitious of the goals might be the fundraising goal. Maybe this year someone other than my mom and me will solicit donations. The rest are pretty conservative, but since spring running up here is so unpredictable, sometimes even conservative goals are hard to achieve (see: Superior 25K).

Race Report: Be The Match 5K 2016

Official Results:
Time: 30:51
Pace: 9:56
Overall: 152/286
Gender: 68/151
Division (F30-39): 22/44

Watch Results:
Time: 30:56
Pace: 10:04
Distance: 3.07 mi
Heart Rate: 185

A: 31:30
B: 32:00

What I ate the night before: Crackers and a banana chocolate chip muffin
What I ate on race morning: 3/4 of a plain bagel
What I carried with me: nothing

What I wore: t-shirt, hoodie, buff as headband, shorts
Gadgets: GPS watch, heart rate monitor, fitness tracker

I exceeded my goals, which is outstanding. The race could have gone better for me, which is not outstanding.

I didn’t feel 100% well on Friday. I was… ok, but feeling a little off, at least where my GI system was concerned. I didn’t want to eat anything that would throw off my system more than it already was, so I didn’t have a very good dinner. We were also driving down to the Twin Cities during dinner time, so my food options were limited. I woke up in the morning feeling hungry but also nauseated, a poor combination. And of course slept poorly. First two “keys to success” nailed. Not.

We arrived to the race later than planned, of course. It was COLD. Maybe 36-37F. I left all my stuff in my mom’s car, including my Body Glide, so I was fairly certain I was going to have no skin left on my thighs at the end of the race, but there was nothing to be done. We met up with the rest of my family and were going to hand out bib numbers and shirts for the team, but it turned out they had checked in again, and due to a miscommunication, had received new bibs. It wasn’t a big deal since the only people running with timing chips were my husband, my sister-in-law, and me.

I didn’t miss the tot trot (key to success: check!), but my nephew was cranky and didn’t want to run. It was cold, so I get it. My sister in law carried him so he “completed” the race. I failed to do a proper warm-up (ANOTHER key to success missed), but I did get in a few minutes of running, which was… slow. And disheartening. I had no pep in my step. The call for 5K runners to line up was right after the tot trot ended, so I went to the back to get in position. There were signed for different paces, ending with 10:00, but there was hardly any space between 10:00 milers and walkers/strollers. Annoying. I saw my brother, sister-in-law, and husband lined up in the 9 minute group and moved up.

We started off slow, dodging walkers and slower runners as we moved up. I started off probably too fast and just figured screw it, go for it, don’t back off. I separated from the rest of my family and then my husband ran up alongside me and then passed me. This is his first race ever, I think (and his first in 20+ years, for sure), and he beat me by a minute or so. Pretty bada$$, but now the competition is on for the Midnight Sun Midnight Run  next month! Mile 1 split: 10:08. There was a slight GPS error here, and the map of my run shows me cutting through the lake, which most certainly didn’t happen.

I remembered my mistake from last year, not getting any water at the water stop halfway through. This time, I did, and I felt yucky after drinking it. I’m used to drinking water at a slow pace, not a fast (for me) pace. I kept checking my watch and reminding myself to push the pace. Mile 2 split: 9:49.

In the third mile, I slowed quite a bit, conserving energy (ha, more like being lazy) for a final push at the end. I didn’t quite have as much pep as I’d have liked, but I don’t usually go out so hard. It didn’t smell like dead fish at the end, which was good. Mile 3 split: 10:19. 0.07 extra: 9:09 pace. The weird glitch in the first mile must have thrown off the distance, as the course was USATF-certified and my GPS usually measures long.

My husband destroyed himself to get under 30 minutes (not realizing that he had a nice cushion, since he was running without a watch and had no idea what his start time was relative to gun time), as I discovered him sitting on the ground near the chute. He got up and walked around and felt better, and then we caught up with the other runners in the family and got our free food. Then we froze our butts off waiting for the walkers to finish, which wasn’t that pleasant. I was glad not to be sweltering during the race itself, but we were outside for an hour after completing the race.

I’m pleased with my time, and I feel like a sub-30 5K is within reach this year, maybe even next month. That’s a tall order, but with adequate sleep and nutrition, I know I’ve got more in the tank.

I also had a personal best in fundraising; I raised $551.66, and my team raised $1286.66 in total. Both family members who were bone marrow transplant recipients participated in the walk; we have been fortunate! I’m so proud to support Be the Match and to help others find life-saving donors.

Be The Match 5K 2016 Goals

This is my first repeat race! I’m excited to outdo Donna 2015. Here are links to last years goals and race report.

Last year I ran the race in 36:09. My current personal best is 32:31, run at the Gobble Gallop in November. It’s been almost 6 months since I’ve run a 5K, and I’ve hardly done any speed work in the meantime, but I still think I can improve upon my Gobble Gallop time. This might be a stupid idea, because I have Superior next weekend, but the races are such different animals, I’m not worried about wrecking my trail 25K by trying to race a 5K. I mean, I could get injured, but beyond that I’m unconcerned.

A Standard: 31:30
B Standard: 32:00

So, looking at a 30 second-1 minute improvement over my best time. I think that’s possible. I even think it is conservative, but I’m not sure. I did a 5K “predictor” workout on the treadmill on Wednesday, doing 5×1000 at 10:10 pace, with 200m walking recovery in between. It sucked, but I hit the paces each time, and I was able to get my heart rate down into the aerobic zone in each recovery. I just don’t really know what that translates to on the road. I would like to think it actually translates to faster than 31:30, but we’ll see. I didn’t want to run on the treadmill, but it was dismal, cold, and rainy outside on Wednesday, so I stayed inside.

Keys to success on Saturday:
1. Don’t eat crap the day before. I’m always doing dumb stuff like eating a whole burrito, or eating something that upsets my stomach, and then I get a terrible night’s sleep or I feel like I’m still full at race time.

2. Try to get a decent night’s sleep. I don’t know if that’s possible. I’ll be arriving at my mom’s at around 11 PM tonight, and I’m sure my nephew will be up at like 5 am being a loud kid, as kids are wont to be.

3. Warm up. Which I always say. I do usually manage to warm up for short races, at least a little bit.

4. Dig deep and hang on. I’ve never run an all-out 5K. Probably never will. Certainly will not tomorrow. But, I let myself get psyched out last year, by the weather, by my stomach, by the annoying smell of dead fish. I think I’m in a better position to push a little harder, since I have run much more challenging races than this one.

5. Don’t miss the little squirt running the Tot Trot. Last year we had some logistical confusion (i.e. my mom decided to make pancakes the morning of the race and it took forever so we didn’t leave on time) and we had to park rather far away and missed the kiddo race. He is 3 1/2 this year so he has a better chance of understanding what’s going on.

I’ve raised over $400 personally, and my team has raised over $1000, so we’ve already PRed in fundraising!

Bad Decisions

Tuesday was a day I really shouldn’t have run. I knew it, and I did it anyway. Nothing bad happened but it was a bit risky.

This sounds ominous but in reality I was just tired. I put up a “big” week last week with 36 miles, including 12 on Sunday, and then ran 4 on Monday. I could have used Tuesday as a rest day, and halfway through my workday when I was feeling sleepy, I was planning on it. But I looked at the forecast and I knew it was going to rain yesterday, so I figured I could leg out another day.

I went to the Lakewalk, starting at Brighton Beach, because it’s just gorgeous. There were people fishing on the lake near the Lester River. We’re all ready for spring in the northland, whenever it decides to show up.

The run was frustrating, because my heart rate would not behave, confirming I would have been better off at home. The Lakewalk is such an easy place to run, I should have been throwing down paces in the 15 minute range (BLISTERING SPEED, dontcha know), but here’s what I ended up running:

Mile 1: 17:28, 131 bpm
Mile 2: 16:18, 140 bpm
Mile 3: 16:23, 139 bpm
Mile 4: 15:46, 140 bpm
Mile 5: 16:27, 134 bpm
Loose change: 0.2 mi, 18:51 pace, 125 bpm
Overall: 5.2 mi, 16:33 pace, 136 bpm

Maybe I’m just that slow, but I doubt it. Yesterday was a rest day, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It rained most of the day, although it cleared up by the time I’d have been running, and was warmer than I thought, so it turned out I could have put off my run another day. Hindsight’s 20/20! I did do a yoga video and 20 pushups, so it wasn’t entirely a rest day, but nothing strenuous. The plan is a run today, rest Friday, and then medium-length runs (thinking 6 and 9 miles) on Saturday and Sunday, before majorly stepping down in volume for race week.

Speaking of bad choices, I’m now registered for a 5K on May 14th, which is a week before the Superior 25K. It’s the Be The Match Walk+Run (that’s a link to my fundraising page, thank you Dad for priming the pump), which I ran last year. I will probably be stupid and try to see what kind of speed I’ve got remaining in my legs. It’s a good thing I’m a timid racer, that should hold me back a little. I hope to PR in both the run (32:30 or less!) and fundraising ($276.67 or more!). And maybe I’ll finally have a 5K where I haven’t eaten a burrito or other Mexican meal the night before.