September 08, 2009


And while I did PR (again..), I did not meet my goal of 22:59.

Ultimately, I'd love to blame it all on Team POD, the fact that I was sick for 4 days prior, the fact that I spent 14 hours at packet pickup, etc, etc.

But, in the end it was totally my fault....because for the last several weeks, while I've been posting all the great and wonderful things I've been doing with running...well...I haven't been posting what I have not been been doing.

Which includes, long runs, easy runs, marathon pace runs, and any run that doesn't qualify as speedwork.

Yes, I've been cheating myself by just doing the hard stuff...even typing it, I'm wondering what sort of lunatic ONLY does speed work and tempo runs?? Have I become that insane?

At any rate, I am here to tell you that while speed work is really really really important, all that other stuff in between is, collectively, equally as important. And had I even attempted a long run...oh I don't the last month or so...I may have beaten my goal.

So, with all of that out of the way, I'm over it. I'm done with wondering "what if" and just celebrating the fact that NOT ONLY is my new PR 23:12, but also that I shaved an entire NINE MINUTES off of my 5k time from just this January (and yes, I know that January's 5k was not a PR, but it was my lowest point in this whole running thing and I consider it an excellent reference point for my awesome progression...besides it just sounds cool to say I shaved nine minutes off of my time.)

Here's a brief race recap because well...who doesn't like to know what goes through my head leading up to and during a race??

-TUESDAY: we ran 3 x 1 mile repeats. The goal was to take the average of the three and determine what our race pace would be. I ran mine in 6:59 (I KNOW!), 7:04, 7:06. So, I was instructed at that point to start the race at 7:10, crest the hill, and then try to keep it at a 7 minute pace or below for the remainder of the want me to start the race at a full minute faster than I think I'm capable of doing??

- THURSDAY: I began to get sick. Luckily, I know someone in the biz...prescription in hand and I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn't get any worse. I still met the group for the 5:30am run and since it wasn't a TEMPO run, I actually enjoyed it for once.

-FRIDAY: I'm still not feeling 100% but the race is the last thing on my mind.

-SATURDAY: feeling like I've been run over by a truck. Why am I getting worse instead of better? Starting to worry about the race a little but then re-assure myself by hoping that maybe I've got swine flu and I'll be quarantined and won't have to run the race afterall!

-SUNDAY: Feeling better. Still didn't run or do anything worthy of aerobic activity. Convinced myself that I'd at least run my last time of 23:30 and since I had only run like 12 miles in the last week (yes, that said 12 miles...sorry RC), I sort of wasn't expecting too much of a victory. Four days of packet pickup is starting to wear on my brain. Running, unfortunately, is not.

-MONDAY: ran 2+ miles as a warm-up with Troy and FM. I realized quickly that not running for the last 4 days was not a good thing. We were warming up at a 10 minute pace and I was already feeling out of breath....this is not going to be good. Ran a few striders (20-30 second bursts) and couldn't get any of them below a 7 minute pace. How am I going to RUN a sub-7 pace when I can't even run for 30 seconds at a 7 minute pace??? 5 minutes before the start and a girl asks me if I can help her with her timing chip....I bend it for her...stand back up....and realize that I'm extremely dizzy...for a second I'm am I going to run like this?...and for a second I'm thinking "hey, maybe I won't have to run after all?". It dawns on me that it's probably all the medicine I took or the fact that I've had a cold for 4 days. At any rate, I run over and tell RC...hoping he'd give me some words of wisdom, some advice, anything to calm my nerves....I should have known better...I got a "IT'S GO-TIME GRASSHOPPER"...ummm, that's supposed to make feel better, how??

- I secure my place near the front of the pack (even though we were chipped timed, the awards were going to go by gun time and well, since I am always holding out for hardware, I positioned myself accordingly). My pace partner, Paul, positioned himself directly behind me (as a side note: it does not bother me one bit that someone paces behind me. Because for all the people that are pacing behind me, I am doing the same thing with all of you in front of me.) I instructed Paul that we'd start at 7:10 pace, crest the hill at 7:30 pace and then go sub-7 for the remainder of the run. I also told him I was dizzy and I may peel off at the hospital, admit myself, and take a self-induced DNF if need be.

-It was GO-TIME.

- MILE 0-1: Trying to hold a 7:10 but since the 1st mile is downhill it was virtually impossible. 7:01 for the mile and actually feeling like a million bucks!

- MILE 1-2: We begin the climb up the hill, and honestly, this is the part of the race I've been fearing the most. Thoughts of skipping hill repeat workouts float through my head. I remember years past and having to walk this hill. I feel myself slowing, but I know I'm still moving because I'm passing people. Yes, I judge my performance on how many of you I can pass....I muster up a thumbs up to Rudy which tells me that not only am I not going to die, but I may be capable of running faster. I just want to make it to the top and still have some steam left. And then I got to the top of the hill and realized it wasn't as bad as I had made it out to be. I wanted to be at a 7:30 overall pace at the top and glancing at my Garmin I notice that I'm at 7:19. Holy cow! How did I do that? My confidence begins to build as I start to think I might just pull this off.

Now, here's where my strategy changed and possibly cost me my time (and yes, I know not running enough ultimately cost me...but hear me out on this one): I calculated (via Cool Running's pace calculator) that a 22:59 5k was an overall average of 7:23. So, I decided that by the time I got to the top of the hill that I'd switch over to overall pace (rather than looking at my half mile splits) and that if I could just hold a 7:23 or better, I'd have it in the bag. At the top I was at a 7:19 and the entire rest of the run was downhill, so surely I could just maintain where I was, right????

So, I cruise the rest of the race...thinking holy moly I can't believe I'm actually going to do it! While I can feel myself starting to slow, I'm still maintaining a 7:22...coming into the final chute...still at 7:22...I've got no kick left but really, does it matter? I'm going to make it after all!

I cross the finish line (and for some reason never saw the clock), hit stop on my Garmin and look down to see this:

Total time - 23:16
Total avg pace - 7:22
Total distance - 3.15

What? How did that happen? I mean, yes, I still PR'ed in a huge way, but why didn't my strategy work? How could the course be .04 miles long and I didn't even think to calculate that??

My only hope was that maybe my chip time would be sub-23...but it wasn't.

And just for the record: my strategy would have worked if I had of known the course was long and maintained a 7:17 for the remainder of the race...

So, there you have it. So many factors going into this race determined my success (because a PR and 2nd place age group awards are successes), and just a few factors determined missing my goal (not running enough and relying on a strategy that didn't work for the distance). I am not upset or mad or ashamed one bit because through this all, I have finally realized that I can be good at this running thing. And crap, I've still got so much to learn and do to become excellent at it!

Where to go from here? Almost 8 months and two full phases of POD training and now it's time to move onto other things...running things, but new things none the less. I'll rest for a week or so and begin Phase I all over again, this time training for a half -marathon in January. My PR is 2 hours 16 minutes and I'm shooting for a 1 hour 40 minutes. Lofty, but doable goals. Of course, in order to do this I'll have to get back into the habit of running long, easy, marathon pace, etc. I'm still going to work on my speed for the shorter distances as well and am hoping that by next June I'll run a sub 21 minute 5k. Oh heck, since I'm pouring it all out here, I'll also inform you that after the half I plan on going back to marathon training and am hoping for a 3 hour 40 marathon between next year and 2011 in order to qualify for Boston.

Yes, I said it.

Qualifying for Boston.

But between now and then, I've still got so much work to much POD to still find...and so many more races to run!

**Oh, and the highlight of my post-race victory: having another blog lurker introduce herself to me! Hi Teresa! I LOVE it when people tell them they've been following my blog, so please leave a comment, tell me hi at a race, or send me an email. I promise I won't think you're a stalker :)

Have a great Tuesday!


busyrunningmama said...

Great job on your 5K PR! I know it wasn't your goal ,but man that was FAST!!! My PR 5K is 27:01 right now, so 23:16 is really fast in my book. I just completed my 3rd week of speed training and hopefully I'll see some results at my next 5K!
I'm impressed that you were still that fast after being sick and not running much the week before! You should be proud!!!
Can't wait to see how your half marathon training goes, I am training for my first in December!!

Anonymous said...

speedy is what i'm gonna call you from now on! qualifying for boston is a HUGE THING! YOU GO GIRL!!
kari ann

Anne said...

It may have been an imbalance routine, but it seems to have paid off this summer with a succession of PRs at short distances. Congratulations on lowering that time yet again, and on a slightly longer course.

RC said...


The journey has been long and filled with many surprises. You learned a lot about yourself. What you can do and more importantly what you have yet get accomplish. I look forward to what's ahead.

Well done Grasshopper, well done.

Meg Runs said...

Great goal, you MUST plan to train to qualify for Boston. You stated it, you must do it! Good luck!