Race Recap: Crystal Lake Firecracker 5k (27:04)

This year, I went up north with Matt to his family’s cabin to celebrate the 4th of July.  Every year, at least some of his family does the Crystal Lake Firecracker 5k.  This year, it was Matt, his dad, and me!

I had not raced a 5k since October and since then it has been an uphill battle to get back in shape after the injuries that plagued me all winter.  My PR is 24:49 from September 2012 and that October 2013 5k was 25:40, if the results that I just looked up are correct.  Going into this past Friday, I knew that I was not in PR shape, it was not a PR course, and I just wanted to have fun while doing the best I could given the day.

I didn’t know the course, but I knew that there were hills in the beginning and a narrowish trail in the second half.  I didn’t have a “goal” going into the race per se, but I had kind of an idea of what I thought I could do.  I knew I wanted to get under 30 minutes and I thought something in the ballpark of 27:50 would be achievable.

I started the race with Matt and his dad.  Matt took off ahead right away, and I kind of went off by myself, as well.  However, after a couple minutes, I regrouped with Matt’s dad and stayed with him the whole rest of the race.  It was nice having someone to talk to, as well as having someone to pace myself with.  I’m not the strongest when it comes to the mental battle of pushing hard, so having someone to keep me going at a good pace was pretty much amazing.

Like I said, I really didn’t know the course.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the uphills were over by the end of the first mile.  I was also very happy to see 8:46 on my watch at the first mile marker.  After that, it was all flat or downhill.  I love to fly down the downhills, but the main one was on a narrow trail, and unfortunately I got blocked in behind a couple girls running side-by-side.  I wasn’t able to get around them until they stopped to go around some mud.  If I had it my way, I would have flown down and gone right through the mud.  When I think back, that is one of the things I regret about the race, but there is no point in worrying about the “what ifs,” so I’m doing my best to let it go.  I can’t control when I get blocked in!

Matt’s dad had gotten a couple people ahead of me on the trails, but once I was able to get around those girls, I ran back up to him and we stayed together the rest of the race.  I had no idea how close the finish line was once we got out of the trail, but it ended up being closer than I thought, so I didn’t really get to kick.  That’s the second thing I regret about this race.  I didn’t pick it up until I saw the clock, but by that point I only had about 50 meters left to go.  I did almost out-kick a girl who had passed me earlier, though, which made me happy.  She finished about half a step in front of me. 🙂

My finish time was 27:04.  Despite the couple things I wish I had done better (trail and kick), I finished a solid 45+ seconds ahead of my expected time.  I am very happy with that result.  I think I could have run faster (five minutes later I was ready to do it again…), but again, I need to move on from that and dwell on the good things!  I had a fun time and I still ran faster than I thought I could have.

Oh, and I’ve caught 5k Fever again.

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HHN1: Thoughts on the First Six Weeks

I realized this morning that last week was the sixth week of my current training plan (catch-up: I’m using Hal Higdon Novice 1 marathon training to build mileage this summer).  The plan is 18 weeks long, which means I am officially a third of the way through it.  I think it would be jinxing things to make any comments about levels of health or success up to this point, but I do want to reflect on the past weeks a little bit.

I stopped doing weekly training recaps after the second week of the plan because I was finding them boring to write.  I already keep a training log for myself, so it’s not like I need weekly blog write-ups to hold myself accountable or to give me something to look back on.  I thought about posting a training recap today, but instead, here are some general take-aways looking back at the first six weeks of the program.

  1. I like having a structured outline of what days I will be running and how far.  I have never followed a training plan before and this takes a lot of the guesswork out of training for me.
  2. I was concerned about how the plan has three consecutive run days each week–Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I’m finding that I can handle it physically, but sometimes I feel burned out by the third day.  The last two weeks, due to other scheduling issues, I have switched Thursday’s run day and Friday’s rest day, which I have liked better.  However, I’m going to keep sticking to the plan as much as possible.
  3. Following this plan has afforded me more consistency with running than I have had all this year.  My reasoning for choosing this plan was that I thought it was my best chance at the moment of rebuilding mileage as safely as possible.  So far, it seems to be helping me do that.  As a result, I have been able to run consistently and am starting to feel like I am slowly but steadily regaining fitness.  It is hard to see changes day-to-day, but as these first six weeks have compounded, I have started feeling more confident in my running.
How I am doing so far. Green means I did it, yellow means I did it with some modifications, red means nope.

How I am doing so far. Green means I did it, yellow means I did it with some modifications, and red means nope. Compare to my Google doc! 😉

On Thursday, I wrote that I would be running a 5k the next day and that I thought 27:XX would be difficult for me to achieve given my current level of fitness.  I will be writing a race recap tomorrow, but just to spoil it a little: I ran 27:04 and regrettably had something left in the tank at the end.  That is evidence to me that I am starting to improve again.  My 5k PR is 24:49, which suddenly doesn’t seem so far away anymore.  I’m doing this plan to build a base to hopefully train for a spring 2015 marathon this winter, but a shiny new 5k PR certainly would not hurt… 😉

All in all, I am happy with this training plan so far.  The exciting newness of it has worn off, but of course I am sticking with it and I 100% plan to see it through to the end.  This Saturday will be the first long run of the plan that is over ten miles, so it feels like I am just now moving into the meat of the program.  Additionally, since I have never run longer than a half marathon, I am quickly approaching brand new territory.  I look forward to seeing how the next weeks of the plan play out.

My Weekend in Mostly Pictures (Running, Food, Volunteering)

Really just a few pictures.  With some more words.  I should have taken more pictures.

This was my ninth week back running in the aftermath of whatever the last tendon thing I had was (flexor hallucis longus says the PT).  My long runs are starting to get up there again.  This week I did an 8-mile long run on Saturday–yes that’s long for me right now hush–which also put me at 20 miles for the week.  First time I’ve had a 20-mile week since November.  Just goes to show how long I’ve been battling the latest string of injuries.  I’m optimistic that this will be the time I stay injury free for longer than a couple months.

I thought I was doing 10:20s so that was a pleasant surprisee

I thought I was doing 10:20s so that was a pleasant surprise

I ran in my Kinvaras, but then when I was done I put on the Ravennas I bought for walking and quickly dubbed them my Pillow Shoes.  Because wow.  PILLOWS.  Pillows for my feet.

New Ravenna 5

In the dining hall. French toast. And pillows.

Later, Matt picked me up and cooked us dinner.  He’s so good to me.

We are a meat and potatoes kind of couple

We are a meat and potatoes kind of couple

Course marshaling Sunday morning… DUN DUN DUN EARLY

Early morning wakeup

My face at being up before 5am to volunteer at a race

I slept all day today.  I took two naps.  It was very productive.  But I also got the 75-lb bench press I’ve been trying to get for several weeks now so THAT’S EXCITING.  Yes.

Did you do anything fun this weekend?  It was also Hash Bash this weekend, but I didn’t go.  I specifically avoided the Arb on my run too because last year I ran through there during the Bash and there were countless people smoking and it was just not fun.

Do you also have shoes you wear specifically when you want to be comfy?  I heart my pillow shoes.

Did you do any races this weekend?  I might have considered doing the 5k this morning if I hadn’t been volunteering at it.  The roads were pretty packed if you weren’t at the front though…