Race Report: Gobble Gallop 2017

Official Results:
Time: 31:29 (1:02 faster than my 2015 race)
Pace: 10:08
Overall: 962/1937
Sex: 509/1214
Age Group (F35-39): 54/146

Watch Results:
Time: 31:33
Pace: 10:04
Distance: 3.13 mi
Heart Rate: N/A

A: 28:59
B: 29:20

What I ate the night before: Qdoba burrito bowl
What I ate on race day: Triscuits (I didn’t plan ahead for food)
What I carried with me: Nothing

What I wore: hoodie, long sleeved tech shirt, tights, buff (as headband), gloves
Gadgets: GPS watch

Discussion: LOLOLOL. I stink at 5Ks.

I arrived early enough to warm up for about a mile. I didn’t get a good sense of how my legs felt because I had to be cautious in my warm-up. It snowed just a little bit overnight and some spots on the sidewalk and roads seemed slippery. When I finished my warm-up (just over a mile, so a real one!), I ran into my friend, her daughter, and her parents, which was the highlight of the race, I have to say.

A lot of what happened in this race can be attributed to where I lined up. It is really a challenge to gauge where I should line up for 5Ks when there aren’t pace groups. It usually involves a lot of sizing people up. I want to stay out of the way of faster runners, but not get into the groups. When I ran the race in 2015, everyone had to go through the blow-up archway in order to go over the timing mat. They did not do that this year, and I have to say, the other way was better. While it took forever to get through the arch, it was significantly less congested once we got through. This year, they moved the arch out of the way and extended the timing mats. This meant that people got through the start faster, but it was so congested.

I respect that people have different ideas about the purpose of a Thanksgiving 5K. Some people want to win, some people want to wear crazy costumes (one person ran the entire Tough Turkey mile wearing an Angry Birds head), some people want to run with family and friends, some people are running their first race. However, people need to have some situational awareness regardless of their goals. I lined up too far to the back and ended up behind people who were walking from the start, people who brought their dogs (not allowed), people who started with strollers (there was a designated stroller wave, but I guess this person was too good to follow the rules), people who were walking with young children, people who were in a group and running 5 abreast, people who were texting/otherwise on their phones, people having conversations, etc. And it didn’t let up until I was probably halfway through the race. I wasted a lot of mental energy getting frustrated by that, and decided I’d rather act like a big baby and “quit” (I was still running, but not pushing it hard) than try to make up time in the second half once the congestion let up.

This was one of the most crowded 5Ks I’ve ever run, and I think if I run it in the future, I’m going to have to line up a lot closer to the start than I am comfortable with. Of course, if I’m not going to run hard and put in an effort the whole race, there’s probably no point to lining up closer to the start, but that’s not supposed to happen every race.

I’m doing the Jingle Bell Run next weekend and I’m hoping that will be a better experience. I will certainly try to prepare better for the race. After that, I plan to take a full two weeks off from running before beginning training for a big spring ultra, so it’ll be my last “hurrah” for the season.

‘Twas the Night Before a Thanksgiving 5K

Ugh why do I run these stupid things? I am not good at them. I decided to “sabotage” my race by running almost 7 miles today. I say “sabotage” because for all I know, it’ll help.

I’m not getting any better at 5Ks, which is not surprising because I am putting zero effort into improving at them. It turns out running trail ultramarathons is not great for speed. Who knew? Well, I knew.

Sometimes I think about putting serious effort into my 5K time. It never happens because I always find some shiny new trail race to occupy my training. Also I feel really stupid about putting a lot of effort into 5K training, when the average semi-fit person could amble up to the start wearing basketball shorts and Chuck Taylors and knock out a better time than I can with a full training cycle. I realize that’s kind of pathetic and I should just run my own race and get on with my bad self, but it’s unlikely.

5Ks are really hard for me to do well at. I wonder about this. I am running at a very hard effort for 30 minutes. A faster person is running very hard for like 25 minutes, or 22 minutes, or 18 minutes (we’re talking local 5Ks here, people, not the Olympic trials). That’s way easier! Says me, the person with no experience running anywhere near that pace. Hey, if people can make obnoxious generalizations about how a 10:00 pace is “not really running” or make snide remarks about people who participate in Thanksgiving Day 5Ks like it’s some kind of offense to the sport of running itself, I can say it’s easier to run hard for a shorter period of time.

Why yes, I do feel very defensive. I don’t care.

I’m still going to go into this with hope of a PR (current PR is 29:21 and is now almost a year old) even though I have no reason to believe I have the leg speed to do so. Which, let’s be real, “believing” is the actual problem. My mental game is weak.

A Standard: 28:59
B Standard: 29:20

Okay, gauntlet thrown down. Time for me to also pick it up.

Race Report: Gobble Gallop 5K

Official Results:
Time: 32:31
Pace: 10:28
Overall: 1030/1802

App Results:
App: MovesCount
Time: 32:35
Pace: 10:27
Distance: 3.12 mi
Heart Rate: N/A

A: 33:00
B: 34:00

What I ate the night before: Qdoba burrito bowl
What I ate on race day: 2 Starbursts
What I carried with me: Nothing

What I wore: Hoodie, short sleeved tech tee, medium-weight running tights, buff (as headband), gloves
Gadgets: GPS watch

I woke up early after dreaming that I was late to the race. Actually no. I dreamed that I was with 3 of my high school friends who I’d convinced at the last minute to run the race. They needed to sign up, so we needed to get there early, and I was lollygagging around, and then we arrived too late for them to sign up. I woke up feeling like a jerk. Then I was too worried about being prepared for the race to go back to sleep. Annoying.

I need to stop eating entire burrito bowls before races, because I still kind of felt full. I mean, it was good on one hand, because I didn’t need to eat anything, but I could have maybe eaten 3/4 of the burrito instead and not felt so… uffda. The quintessential Scandinavian-American onomatopoeia is the only appropriate word for it. So I was a little worried.

I left for the race at about 9. I love the races around here, they start so late in the day! 9:30! I thought parking might be an issue, but that was dumb. It’s Thanksgiving, businesses aren’t open, their parking lots were fair game. I parked up the hill about 4 blocks. That was good thinking on my part. It was snowing but not too windy, which was nice, and the streets weren’t slick, which I was worried about. A large portion of the race was run on brick, which can get a little tricky.

I warmed up without feeling self-conscious! That was nice. I just kind of trotted around for awhile and then watched the end of the mile race. The winner of the mile race was also third place in the 5K. I hate him. Most of the runners of the mile were kids (or their parents) and most were faster than me. Some fairly small kids are really freaking fast. So now I’m jealous of 9 year olds.

I spotted Joe, a friend of mine, and glommed onto him until race start. He is a fast runner so he of course lined up well ahead of me, but it was nice to have someone to talk to for a little bit. I lined up at the back as usual. It was a bit more of a bottleneck at the start, since the pack was wider than the start/finish gate we had to go through. The results don’t have gun time/chip time differentials posted but I think I started about 2 minutes after the gun time. At first I wasn’t even sure the race had started because it seemed like nobody moved.

Throughout the first half of the race, I had to tell myself to slow down. I kept going under 10 mins (I was looking at my watch way too much during the race, but clearly I needed to) because it felt good. I am glad that I kept reminding myself to back off because I needed that energy at the end, although I probably could have pushed a little harder. (Especially if I hadn’t eaten the burrito the night before, as I had a feeling of fullness in my stomach. Nothing more concerning than that, but it was still annoying.)

My splits were fairly even: 10:23, 10:31, 10:34. So it’s clear I started a little faster and backed off, but that’s fine. That was tempered by slower segments where I was moving around runners. Because of the delay in the start plus my overall slowness, the first runners passed me on the way back before I reached the first mile marker. So that was a little demoralizing, but it makes sense. 10:23 + 2 minutes after gun time = 12:23 with less a mile to go for the lead runners, and the winner finished in 15:36. Joe passed me going the other way relatively early on too and I yelled at him to get after it as he blew by.

The race itself was fairly straightforward, with little elevation change, although I could definitely feel those small inclines. A young girl said to one of the adults with her that she was “definitely feeling the burn.” I was, too. I tried to take advantage of any slight declines to speed up, and then dialed it back on the inclines. I knew at the halfway point that there was no doubt I was going to at least meet my B goal, based on my average pace so far. I had that set up as one of the displays on my watch so that I could see it the whole time, since I was so obsessed with setting a PR.

With 0.2 mi to go (according to Strava, I didn’t know this at the time), I started to kick, and then with about 0.1 miles to go I hit another gear and zipped in. Joe waited around to cheer for me at the end for a second, which was nice! I had a lot more juice in my legs than maybe I should have had left, so I guess I left something out on the race course. Oh well, that just means another PR next time.

Because yeah. That was a giant PR. 1:50. I clearly didn’t see that coming, since I thought 33:00 was a stretch. I am excited and happy, and I am glad to see some improvement after stepping away from racing shorter distances for four months to focus on my half marathon. I know that PRs come easy at the beginning and in a few years I’ll be happy to shave a couple seconds off a 5K time. I’m still going to soak it up and enjoy it because I did earn it, and I did work hard to get to this point, even if it wasn’t a goal race.

This is my last race of 2015. I was going to race a December 5K, but the one I had in mind turned out to be next weekend. I didn’t want to run back to back races, so there we have it. Ending the racing year on a high note!

Gobble Gallop Goals

The Gobble Gallop is tomorrow, so I guess I have some goals.

The course is really easy. It starts and ends and Duluth Running Co. and goes down Superior Street and back. It’s easier than the course for the Fitger’s 5K, which goes over I-35 and therefore has two large (for a 5K) hills. Of course I don’t mind a hill or two but this should be a faster course.

I’m not really sure about my speed right now but I’m just going to throw it out there, why can’t I shave another minute off my current personal best (34:21)? Okay, more like a minute and a third.

A Standard: 33:00
B Standard: 34:00

Why not? My treadmill repeats are faster than those paces. I’m stronger and I’m (slightly) leaner than I was back in June when I ran the 34:21. 33 minutes is a 10:37 pace and 34 minutes is a 10:57 pace. Obviously I have to run a little bit faster than those paces per my watch in order to ensure I come in at my goal times, just in case my watch is a little generous with the distance. I just need to be careful I’m not throwing down a 9 minute pace right out of the gate.

I’m fairly certain I’m physically capable of hitting my A Standard. I just don’t know if I’m mentally capable. I am more cautious than most runners, I think, or if not cautious, just unaware of how much harder I can push under certain circumstances. When I ran the Be the Match 5K, I let my cousin run ahead of me at the end because I felt like I couldn’t run any harder. She finished maybe 30 seconds ahead of me, I seriously could have hung on for that, but I let myself fall back.

It should be a fun race no matter what, although I’ll be a bit lonely since I don’t know anyone running. As long as it’s not raining and it’s not icy, I can handle it!