Saturday, November 26, 2011

Greensboro Gobbler 5K

Well over the past few weeks my running has not been at the level I want it to be.  After finishing my last race under 30 minutes, I was so excited that I was improving and doing it pretty quickly.  But now I have gone backwards a little.  I think it has been a combination of several elements. First, daylight savings time ended and now it's dark at 5:30.  Basically as soon as I get home.  I did a couple of runs at night in parts of the neighborhood that is well lit, but I just didn't like it.  I tried to stay on the sidewalk but sometimes I would have to run in the road and I felt like I was dodging cars.  Plus the safety factor of running by myself seemed worse at night. 

Another reason is not being able to meet my running buddies for our group runs.  Since most of them are in a program training for a half-marathon, they meet that group on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I could meet them on Saturday mornings but I haven't got that much motivation to give up my Saturday morning sleep in's.  Between that and the colder weather and several rainy days, I was only getting about 2 runs in a week.  There was also a week in there that I just didn't feel good.  I didn't get sick but I just didn't feel 100%.  That's why I didn't run in the Free to Breathe 5K. 

I realized that I lost some of my motivation and was finding it easy to make excuses to not run.  And another race was coming up the Greensboro Gobbler.  The 5K that is held on Thanksgiving morning.  I had to step it up for this race.  The Gobbler is at Country Park which is hilly and not my favorite place to run.  We met there several times during the running school.  So I went out there to run the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  It was a HORRIBLE run!  My left leg has been bothering me.  I think it's my IT band.  I don't think I'm injured, just part of running that sometimes makes your muscles sore.  But it started hurting as soon as I started my run.  I even had to take a few walk breaks.  About a quarter mile left to go, my time was so bad that I just stopped my watch and walked the rest of the way.  After that run, I was not looking forward to the race on Thursday.

On Tuesday, I was able to meet Kathy and Lisa for a 3 mile run on the greenway.  I knew I needed to get another run in even with my leg hurting.  I thought it was getting better, but I think it's just the temporary fix of taking Advil.  Again, as soon as I started running it was hurting.  I managed to run the entire time but I was slower.  This time I was the one falling back behind pace and struggling to keep up.  Even though the run wasn't great, it was helpful because I knew what to expect on Thursday's race.

I was going to run the Gobbler and it would be slow and that would be OK.  I knew it was going to hurt some, but not to the point of injury.  If I felt like the pain was worse or different, I would walk.  The last thing I want to do is get injured and not be able to run at all for weeks or months.  Been there done that! I wanted to do the Gobbler because it's a big race and we were all doing this race as a family.  I wanted to do it for the experience. 

It was pretty chilly Thanksgiving morning but we got to the race site early to get a parking spot.  I wasn't nervous because I knew I could do it, it was just going to be slower.  There was SO many people!  About 1800 finishers to be exact.  I started back at the 10 minute pace which was a mistake.  I thought this was a race for runners to RUN...not for walkers to walk!  I understand many 5K's are run/walks, but this race wasn't a race that supported a specific cause, it was just a Thanksgiving race.  Not to mention 1800 people so of course the trail is going to be crowded.  So once I finally made it to the start line, I had to dodge walkers.  It was very frustrating!  Really it would have been fine if all the walkers would start at the back and stay to the left so runners could go by.  I guess now I know to start closer to the front and just let all the fast runners pass me.

My leg hurt the entire time but I did manage to run without any walk breaks.  My finish time was 34:46.  That was actually better than I thought I would do.  I did it and in a decent time so I was happy with that.  After the race, my leg was hurting pretty bad.  I was actually limping some.  Back to stretching and Advil.  I am also going to give it a rest with running even though I don't want too.  I really wanted to do another race that's in 2 weeks, but I'm not sure if my leg will be ready.  I'm going to keep exercising but just not running until I think it's better.  I don't want to stop running right now, but I don't want to be injured either.  Hopefully with a little rest, it will get better quick!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nightmare on Elm Street 5k

Well I did it!  Another PR on my Halloween themed 5k.  My first finish time UNDER 30 minutes!  Official chip time was 29:38.  And I did it running in a costume!  I was dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood which was the super cute costume I was so excited about.  Not saying I was super cute, but I just loved the costume. 

I really can't believe that I finished under 30 minutes.  After the Freedom Run last week, it seemed like a possibility but I thought it would still take a while.  Honestly when Saturday got here, I wasn't even sure if I was still going to run in this race.  It had been raining Friday and early Saturday morning and it was cold.  My husband had a race that morning so we were up early and out in the yucky weather.  But it stopped raining and the sun even came out for the afternoon.  It was still cold though and windy.  And I knew I had to do it - after all that's why I bought the costume a month ago.

We got to the race site and I signed up.  It was a small race with only about 70 runners.  I'm not sure why because it was actually a pretty cool run downtown and wasn't too hilly.  Plus there was beer and pizza afterwards.  Several runners were dressed up and I had hoped to win the costume contest (I need some new running shoes), but I didn't .  A girl dressed up as Beth from that show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" won the contest and was the first female finisher.  It was a pretty cool costume, she ran in a wig and 2 big balloons!

After I made the last turn to the finish line, I checked my watch and it was around 28 minutes.  I could see the finish line so I thought I would give it all I could to try and finish under 30.  As I was almost at the finish line, I checked my watch and it was around 29 minutes and I realized I was going to do it.  It was such a great feeling!  We stuck around after the race for a little bit as I tried to drink a beer, but it was getting colder.  I am glad I stayed long enough to get my award - an awesome pint glass!  Actually all runners got one, but it was still cool.

Of course now comes some doubts like, was the course really 3.12 miles?  I know it wasn't certified not all courses are anyways.  But that could explain why I finished under 30.  Hopefully, it was the actual true 5k distance.  Each 5k race I have consistently improved my time.  But when is that going to end?  Now I'm worried that my next race I won't do as well.  What if I don't finish under 30 next time?  All courses are different.  Some may be faster while some may have more hills. 

I know it's not realistic to think I will get a PR every time I race and I'm not thinking that.  But of course, it would be nice to finish under 30.  I have another race next Saturday the Free to Breathe.  It's also downtown but not the same course as my last race.  Although it does have a portion of that course in it.  It's a national race so it's probably going to be the biggest race I have ran in so far.  Maybe I will finish under 30, maybe I won't.  I'm not going to let that be my goal.  My goal is to go out there and do the best I can. 

See how windy it was?

You can see the girl dressed up as Beth in the back

The first hill

Hill on Elm St. getting closer to the end

Near the finish I was running as hard as I could!