Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Transformation into a Reno Runner.

I finally like I can call myself a real Reno runner now, for I have completed the RGJ Journal Jog. It is Reno’s oldest foot race held annually starting in 1968. It’s crazy to think that I only started my running journey in February of this year. Since then, I have entered 9 races and completed 8. All of the races I have done have been 5ks (with the exception of the Reno 10 miler DNF) however, this was an 8k or 4.97mi race. I was super excited to do this race. Every runner in Reno I know has done this race at least once, in fact almost every person I know, runner or not in Reno has ran or walked the race, so I was very happy to become a Journal Jog veteran. Seeing as how my longest race has only been 3.1mi, I had no idea how to approach this race. Normally when I finish a 5k, I am really tired and sometimes even light headed, so I knew I probably should not expect to run the same pace. So, I went to the trusty McMillian running calculator and plugged in my most recent 5k time and boom…it spit out an 8:53 pace for an 8k. My first thought was “yeah right, I will never be able to keep up a sub 9:00 pace for 5mi, but thanks for the laugh.” So I guess I was on my own. This is a scary thought to me. I have a huge fear of starting out way too fast and completely crashing and burning in the end, thus, I have counted on that calculator for everything, whether it be race paces or training paces. But I had no choice but to trust myself.

Normally before every race I wake up about 2 hours before race time and go on a 1mi shakeout run, for whatever reason I decided to skip this run. Also, the entire day before the race I usually take it easy and lounge around all day, however the day before I was moving to a new house and was doing anything but lounging. I also normally go to bed early enough to get a full 8 hours of sleep, and you guessed it, I didn’t go to bed until 12:30 knowing I had to be up by 6 to race. Needless to say, I knew in my heart this wasn’t going to be my race, but I pressed onward.  I parked about a half mile away from the race start and thought I would run to the start line for my warm-up. I was glad to know that even though I was tired and my legs were stiff from moving the day before, that they still worked. By the time I made it to the start, I only had 5mins til the start of the race. I got a quick stretch in and lined up in the 9:00-10:00min pace group. The race started right on time (which I love). The entire time I was running I was trying to judge how I was feeling, too tired? Legs too sore? The entire race went by really fast to me, normally I am staring at my Garmin wanting to know how much further I have to go, but I would have never known I had gone a mile if my watch didn’t beep. First mile beep, I looked down 8:40.Crap, I am going way too fast. Next mile 8:55, ah still too fast, I’m going to have nothing left. Next mile contained a not too fun hill and 9:09. At the end of this mile instead of thinking I was going too fast, I thought, I am not tired enough to actually say I’m racing. In fact I felt about as tired as I would during a quicker paced training run. So I decided to face my fear and pick up the pace a little bit, I could always slow down later. The next 2 miles flew by.  I was pretty shocked. McMillian said my projected pace would be an 8:53/mi and I finished officially with a 8:43/mi but the race was a little longer that an 8k according to my Garmin (5miles on the dot) and it says I did an 8:40/mi pace. I wish I would have realized a little bit sooner that I was running too slowly because I might have even finished it faster!  My official finish time was 43:19. I placed 12/30 in my AG and 169/505. Not too horribly bad, but the last race I did was 8/3/2013 and it was all steeply uphill and I was only 12 seconds off my PR so my last flatish race was back in June. I am really eager to see if I can PR again in a 5k race. The next one I have coming up is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on 10/6. I’m hoping for the best.

Splits: 8:40 / 8:55 / 9:09 / 8:20 / 8:17 Official time 43:19

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Playing Catch-up

Long time, no blog. This doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about blogging, I have just been feeling a little ashamed about the way some things have been going recently. The Reno area has been plagued by smoke from wildfires namely the Rim Fire and previously the American Fire for the past month. Most days the air quality has been so bad it was recommended not to go outside, let alone go running outside. And many who know me know that I would rather go deep sea diving in shark infested waters than run on a treadmill. I was worried about the Reno 10 Miler going on during the first week of the American Fire, I even made the decision that if the air quality didn't improve I wouldn't be running the race, which would have been a huge disappointment because I was planning on using this race as a measure of my running fitness and how to pace myself for my half marathon in October. The running gods saw to it that the race should go on. The day of the race, the air quality was deemed "healthy". When I got to the race, I met up with some co-workers who were also running and Karla who offered to pace me. We took the obligatory pre-race picture.
Karla, Katherine, Me, and Logan
The race started right on time (which I love) and it started off great. The first 2.5 miles where uphill, so I thought I would run that part conservatively. My knee really started hurting about 2 miles in. I thought it was just the uphill, so I decided to walk (just for a little bit) until I hit the downhill portion, and it just got worse. Karla cautioned me that I should just take the dreaded DNF instead of making things worse. She told me I might regret stopping now, but not as much as I would regret it later if I kept running. I did decide to stop. Since that race, my knee has been constantly hurting. I am pretty sure it is related to my IT Band, because I seem to possess every symptom.

The week of the race, I ran 26 miles. That was my biggest mileage since then. Because of all the smoke I have been forced to stay indoors. I have tied to substitute running with spinning classes and swimming. For a few days this week, we have had relatively low smoke days, so I have ventured out and ran. I feel like I have lost a lot of my running fitness already. Things are a lot harder than they used to be. :( I have also made the executive decision to not run in the Urban Cow Half Marathon this year. I am incredibly bummed about this. I feel like I have been working so hard to train for this even, but because of the smoke i have missed 4 of my long runs, and I just don't think I will be prepared enough to race. I know I could still finish, but I wanted to finish with a good time.

In the meantime, I have found a new love of swimming. It is very relaxing.
 I took a swimming class my last semester of college and I found it fun and challenging. During that time, I couldn't do more than one lap (2 lengths of the pool of 50m) without stopping, but I have found now that I can do 3 laps (6 lengths or 150m) before I need to take a quick break. Ok, so I'm no Michael Phelps, but that is pretty cool progress. I think I can attribute it to all the running I was doing. Now if only I could find the same love of cycling then I would probably love triathlons, but alas, me and biking are not really on the best of terms. I almost think I would rather run on a treadmill than go on a bike ride. What I'm trying to say is:
Except for this one, because it's just awesome!

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