This weekend, I did something I can’t recall having ever done before…two races in two days!
9/11 Memorial 5K Run
On Friday, my friend Lauren invited me to run a 5K with her the next day. Her company was sponsoring it, meaning I could get a free entry. Free entry = immediate “YES”! I haven’t raced a 5K in years…I don’t think I’ve actually tried to PR in one since high school cross country. My speedwork has been a little off and on lately, but I figured I’d go for it and see what I could do.
This was probably the smallest race I’ve ever run in. I think there were about 100 people max.
Small races are the best. They are so much less stressful than a larger race. Lauren and I left my house an hour before it started, parked easily, picked up our tshirts and bibs, and did a mile warm up. (Can anyone race a 5K without warming up first? My muscles will NOT get moving right away!)
As we lined up, the announcer said “only serious runners up front! Only line up at front if you’re going to run 7 minute miles!” This made me chuckle. I guess you have to be fast to be considered a “serious runner”.
The course had a couple decent hills but was otherwise flat. This was my first run in my new shoes (Asics Gel Cumulus – first pair of Asics!). They are a little heavier than my Brooks Launch so I’m still getting used to them. The very front of my shin/ankle has been feeling weird for the first couple miles of my past few runs, and I was hoping new shoes would be the cure. Unfortunately the weird feeling popped up again! I don’t want to call it painful because it wasn’t; it almost felt like a numb “my foot fell asleep” feeling, but in my lower shin. So strange. It makes my foot feel heavy. It tends to go away after a few miles. The area hasn’t been sore after my runs, so that’s a good thing at least.
Anyway, I’m so accustomed to longer races that this one flew by. I was so surprised when we hit the halfway mark. I held back a little, knowing I had a half marathon the next day. I really have no idea what my PR for the 5K is (it’s definitely from high school back when I could run 7ish minute miles…oh the good ol’ days!) so when I crossed the finish line, I adopted the time as my new PR.
For all the endurance running (read: not speedwork) I’ve been doing…I’ll take it! I know I have more speed in my legs, I just need to work on it.
Obviously it was a super small race because I won my age group! I know what you guys are thinking…you won it with THAT time?! I know a lot of you can run these paces for full marathons. However, instead of talking myself down and making excuses for why I don’t deserve a medal, I’m going to own it. I’m pretty proud of myself for being the fastest 20-29 year old female that day; small field or not! And I know for a fact that there were more than 3 people in the race in my age group, so at least I have that going for me
Shortly after the race, Brendan and I headed up into New York State to visit his family and friends. On Saturday night we had dinner with our friends Tommy and Sam and Sam’s parents – they’re the best and I LOVE spending time with all of them. I always leave with a smile on my face. While I was there I got to try matzah ball soup for the first time. Yum!
Putnam County Half Marathon
Earlier in the week I found this half marathon a couple towns over from Brendan’s parents, and naturally I had to run it. I was due for a mileage cutback before my 18 miler next week, and I always jump at the chance to run longer races as long runs because A) I don’t have to think about a route, which is especially challenging when I’m not in my hometown and B) it’s always great to have someone hand you water every mile or so. Hydration is the most annoying thing to me when it comes to long runs. I hate having to worry about it!
So, on Sunday morning Brendan drove me the 10 minutes from his house to the starting line. Again, small races for the win! We parked, I registered, and stretched all within about 30 minutes.
I was totally unprepared for this race. When I packed on Saturday morning, I forgot EVERYTHING. I forget my hand-held water bottle holder, my Sprigs Banjees wrist wallet that I put gels in, and my headphones. I didn’t bring any sort of nutrition. Such a mess. I was praying they would at least have aid stations…you never know with the smaller races! Brendan stopped at a gas station on the way to the race so I could grab a Clif Bar. That was all I had. Yikes!
The 100 or so of us in the race lined up right at 9AM, and after an abrupt “GO!” we were off. We started off running up a hill, which was an auspicious beginning…this was a really hilly race! I’m starting to learn that hilly is better for my body, though. Even though I’m still not the best at actually running hills, my body seems to relish the change because it allows certain muscles to take over and others to get a little reprieve from the pounding they take on flat ground. This race actually included a combination of road running and trail-ish running. Not like, legit trails…more like gravel roads…but it was still a nice change of pace.
At the starting line the announcer mentioned that there were 10 aid stations. Phew. I was really happy to see the first aid station after the first mile, and started drinking water immediately instead of waiting until I felt thirsty (never a good idea)! I noticed they had mini Snickers bars (FANTASTIC) so I made a mental note to grab one around mile 7 or 8 to get a little sugar boost. I wasn’t feeling confident in my Clif Bar!
The course was absolutely beautiful:
I was feeling so thankful to be out there doing something I love on such an amazing Fall day. Since there weren’t a lot of runners in the race, there were times when I was running alone. It was so peaceful! Although the weird numb-shin-thing started right away, it went away after a couple miles. My IT band definitely felt tight, but the pain was sporadic and nothing too worrisome. I continued to stop and stretch every once in awhile. Definitely need to book a PT appointment ASAP, though!
I chugged along, reminding myself to treat this like a long, easy run instead of a race. When I got bored I started live tweeting/Instagramming my run. I saw Laura do this a few weeks ago for the Bozeman Marathon and I loved following along with her. So, I figured since I was privy to some pretty incredible views I would do the same and share them. (Shout outs to my awesome friends Abby, GB and Laura, who continuously encouraged me via social media!)
I finished feeling great in 2:16 (my GPS said 13.5 miles!) for about a 10:22 pace. That’s 13 minutes slower than my PR, but I’m fine with it. It was fun to just take it easy! (Can I PR at the Wineglass Half on October 6th?! Maybe! I hope so!)
After I got home and showered, we visited Brendan’s grandmother and then went apple picking. Finally! Such a fun Fall activity.
What did you do this weekend?!