Monthly Archives: September 2014

Training Week Review and an Award

Myrtle Week 7 was full of solid workouts.  I wrapped up the training week with a three mile recovery run yesterday and my legs are happy to have a Sunday rest day.  This week’s workouts put me in a good mental place heading into two taper weeks before lining up to tackle my new PR attempt at the Myrtle Beach Mini.

After a hard run at last Saturday’s Heart of Ghent 10k and an overly enthusiastic deep sand recovery run the next morning, I rested Monday.  An easy eight miler filled in my Tuesday workout schedule while rain put a big damper on my Wednesday plan.  I did strength training in the morning that included rowing a 5k to keep my mileage on track instead of running then speed work on the dreadmill that evening.  Thursday I was back in the gym for lots of squats to get my legs ready for Friday’s 15 miler.  The weather was great, my legs settled in much better than I had expected after Thursday’s heavy lifting and I ran a negative split without even thinking about it.  That run combined with my performance at the 10k have solidified my belief that I will be able to PR in three weeks (barring injury or bad weather).

On to more exciting things!  I had so much fun pacing the Rock n Roll Virginia Beach that I’ve accepted another opportunity to lead a pace group.  Along with two other runners, I’ll be leading the 2 hour pace group at the inaugural Harbor Lights Half just before Thanksgiving.  J&A Racing puts on amazing events and I’m excited to be a part of the pace team for this new race.training week

I also received my award from the Bay Days 8k.  As I mentioned in this post, my email asking if I would be receiving any kind of certificate was not responded to but 10 days later I did get asked for my address.  A envelope arrived and I was surprised with its contents for a few reasons.  1) The certificate is bent in multiple places.  2) There was quite a bit of hand writing on the certificate.  Last year’s award was a very nice personalized finisher’s certificate with my name, finish time and place printed on it.  3) The certificate is wrong.  My finish place was not 1st.  First female, yes.  First, no.  There were 21 men who crossed the Finish line before I did.  This didn’t do much to improve my opinion of the race.  I’ve heard that Flat Out Events usually does a good job from runners who have participated in their other races and it’s unfortunate the only experience I’ve had with them isn’t so great.  I probably won’t be toeing the line at next years Bay Days 8k but would consider another of the company’s events.

A great training week is in the books and I’m looking forward to dropping my mileage over the next two weeks to get ready for Race Day.

Meredith

Are you running the Harbor Lights Half?  How was your training week?

2014 Heart of Ghent 10k Recap and Review

I ran the 2014 Heart of Ghent 10k on September 20 and had a great time.  It was the third year Mettle Events has put on the race and they did a wonderful job.  I don’t run 10k’s frequently, so I looked forward to this change in distance as well as the chance to hit a new PR.

Race Morning dawned cool and early as Doug, who was also running as a tune up for Myrtle Beach, and I chowed down some breakfast and fueled up with waters and E2s.  We had opted for Race Day packet pick-up and got to the race location about an hour before the 2014 heart of ghent 10kStart.  Parking was a breeze.  Plenty of it, all free!  We acquired our gear, pinned on numbers, took a short walk to the ample number of line-less Port-a-Potties, came back and snapped a pre-race selfie then he did an 800M warm up and made for the line while I wrapped up my mile with three strides.

We exchanged good lucks and I went to the front.  The field looked fast and even if I was going to get passed, I didn’t want to get clogged up in a group of walkers with a turn coming quickly after the Start.  I chatted with several friendly men and women as we waited for the National Anthem to play then waited again for the roads to finish clearing.  After a very short delay, we were off!

As the lead group took off, it felt like I got passed by 15 women.  I knew the field had looked fast!  Not wanting to sacrifice my entire race, I quickly settled into running my own pace and decided to pick off the ladies in front of me when I had the chance.  Coming into the Mile One mark, two ladies passed me but I did a great job of sticking with my own pace and running my race rather than chasing too soon.  At the Mile One mark, my watch unsurprisingly read 2.08 miles.  I had done an exactly 1.00 mile warm up so I knew my watch would be at least one mile ahead of any course markers and I had taken the middle of the road around the first few turns which left me expecting to have covered extra ground.

At some point between the Mile One and Mile Two markers there was confusion as to where the runners should be directed and I’m not entirely sure a bunch of us didn’t run around an extra block.  This didn’t change the fact that was I was feeling very positive about the performance I had started to put together but really threw me for a curve when I arrived 2014 Heart of Ghent 10kat the Mile 2 mark with my watch unexpectedly reading 2.88.  I had tried to hug the curves in the previous section to make up for the possible extra distance but this was much more than I expected.

Around Mile Three the cool morning started to warm up.  We hit some wide, tree-less stretches and the sun was full of shine.  In spite of the warmth, I felt nothing like I did at the Bay Days 8k and maintained a steady pace for the entire race.  A long, softly bending curve past the Mile Four mark gave me the chance to gain a bit on the two women I had been keeping an eye on for the beginning of the race.  I took a straight line from one edge of the curve to the other while they both stayed in their lanes and bent with it.  Straight line, short distance let me be able to pass the first of these two ladies before Mile Five with the second in easy striking distance.

I passed the second woman I’d been tailing at the top of the Mile Five bridge climb and took note of how far in front of me the next woman I had a shot at was.  Far.  I counted the seconds between her turn and mine before determining that I wouldn’t be able to catch her in 1.5 miles.  I was OK with my positioning coming into the last bit of the race knowing I was going to PR and put together a run I was going to be very happy with.  Coming down the bridge I was fortunate to come upon a pair of gentlemen to chat with for about 400M before finally passing at the Mile Six mark and could again see the un-catchable woman in front of me.

I knew I was in a good spot for the last 400M and like the Bay Days 8k earlier this month, the Finish line was hiding 50 or so meters from a 90 degree turn which prevented me from being able to leave it all out there and come in a few seconds faster.  When I crossed the Finish, my watch read 7.10 miles and 51:32.  Subtract my 8:04 warm up and I was right there with a new PR of 43:28.  Sort of.  The course wasn’t certified and I clearly didn’t cover the required 6.2 miles.  Even if you add the 41 seconds it would have taken me to run that additional 0.10 mile, I still would have beaten my last 10k time by over two minutes.  I collected my medal, two bottles of water and knew I had about 15 minutes before I needed to be looking for Doug.  I loosened my shoe laces and a nice post-race running recap with Claire, the woman who had been just out of my reach for the last two miles.

Doug crossed the line happy with his time and we hit the after party.  Tasty pizza was flowing compliments of Y-Not when we hopped into a long line for beer.  The line moved quickly and Doug and I each received two complimentary beverages with the option to purchase additional tickets.  At that point we tuned into what the announcer was saying.  2014 heart of ghent 10kWe could scan the QR code hung up at various points around the party zone to check our results.  Well, I didn’t have a QR reader app on my phone and apparently picked the wrong one to download on the spot because I was unable to access my results even after scanning the code.  We would just have to wait and see if my performance had been good enough to earn an award.  No big deal, we had cocktails.

We settled down on a grassy spot, stretched some, chatted with our fellow runners and enjoyed our adult sodas when I noticed things in the party zone had quieted down a bit.  Awards Ceremony!  Because I hadn’t been able to get results on my phone, I didn’t know if I needed to be there.  Luckily for me, I did.  Even though I had felt like 15 ladies had passed me at the Start, I discovered I was 6th female overall and won my age group!  The award is a 2014 heart of ghent 10kprint from Brandon Foster-Gray, a beautiful photo of the Brambleton Bridge in historic Ghent and a gift certificate to Running, Etc.

2014 Heart of Ghent 10k recap loose ends:  The flat course is fast in spite of all the turns, the after party was a blast, the bands at each mile were great, the awards ceremony was nicely done and the awards are super cool.  It’s a small local event with a friendly family feel, solid organization and wonderful sponsors.  The Norfolk Police Department did a good job of managing the traffic trying to cross the runners paths and I did notice several Port-a-Potties lining the course.  There were two well staffed water stops though some people mentioned the second one could have come sooner.

I had a fantastic 2014 Heart of Ghent 10k Race Day and will definitely consider running it again.

Meredith

Did you run the 2014 Heart of Ghent 10k?  Do you like the 10k distance?

The Fitness Games App Review

I recently had the opportunity to review The Fitness Games (TFG) as part of my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship.   TFG is an iOS and Android friendly app that provides workouts, opportunities to challenge your friends, shared photos and videos and more.  I enjoyed the time I spent exploring and getting to know the app and recommend giving it a try.The Fitness Games

The home page is friendly with an easy to understand, clean and simple layout.   There are lots of workouts to choose from and each different one lists the exercises with a demonstration video.  The videos are a great asset for when you don’t know what an exercise is and a good way to check your form.  Once you’re comfortable with the skills required you can challenge yourself, a friend or a randomly chosen person who is also using the app.  After deciding who to challenge, dive into the session.

Workouts come in varying degrees of difficulty and are marked with beginner, intermediate and advanced to prevent you from getting in over your head.  Each of the workouts I did was tough and definitely got my body going.  One thing to note is that you need to be sure to stop the clock when you’ve completed your workout!  For my first one, the fitness gamesBodyweight Madness 2, I finished the exercises then laid down on the floor to recover, completely forgetting to stop the clock and submit my challenge.

Outside of weight lifting workouts, there are lots of cardio options in The Fitness Games.  I used both the running indoors and running outdoors options and played with an interval workout as well.  The running outdoors option requires you connect to your iCloud while the indoors choice does not.  As someone who can’t stand running with my phone, I liked that I could manually enter a run but wish there was no way to tell the app which day you did it.  I waited for my upgrade to start doing the workouts and there wasn’t a way to enter a workout from the previous day.  Another problem I ran into because of not running with my phone was when I used the Running Outdoors option.  I got ready to go, hit the Start Challenge button and set the phone down just inside my front door.  When I got back, it was still waiting for the fitness gamesme to start.  If you use the Running Indoors option this isn’t an issue, so if you don’t plan to take the app along for the run, skip the Running Outdoors choice.

I don’t want anything strapped on anywhere except my wrist and skip bringing my phone, an iPod or some sort of fitness belt around my waist but if you don’t mind your phone tagging along for the run, it’s a solid choice.  The Fitness Games provide a wide variety of options that can satisfy almost any workout craving.  The ability to do the prepared workouts, write your own or enter another activity gives users the freedom to follow their own plan without sacrificing the use of a tracking system and challenging friends makes everything more fun.

Meredith

Disclosure statement: This post was sponsored by The Fitness Games through my partnership with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I was not compensated monetarily, but was provided the Platinum Version of the application for review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Two New and Exciting Workouts

The week kicked off with a pair of new workouts Monday’s long run and Tuesday’s first experience with a new fitness app.  I have my second Fall race coming on Saturday, the Heart of Ghent 10k, and will finish up with a post race shakeout run on Sunday as I head into my last four weeks of half marathon prep.

I adapted Monday’s long run from a marathon training workout I’d seen on a few of my friends’ 26.2 plans and then repeated in this article.  I’m five weeks away from Myrtle Beach, definitely didn’t want to miss a long run and thought moving the run up would be a good chance to test myself while still giving me plenty of recovery time before a short race.  Running 20+ miles is a bit out of my comfort zone right now, especially during a race week, so I cut the 5-4-3-2-1 workout down to 15 by dropping the 5 mile portion.  I ran a very hard but very rewarding 4-3-2-1 long run in weather that was on my side for the first time in a few weeks.  The 4 and 3 mile sections were at half marathon pace with the 2 and 1 mile portions coming in at 10k pace.  My legs were fried by the time I started my last hard mile.  I ran those 1600 meters on screaming quads, thanking my brain for not letting me quit then completed a very ginger cool down.  Finishing this run made me feel both mentally and physically ready to race this workoutsweekend, PR in South Carolina and rock my first workout with The Fitness Games on Tuesday.

After rolling and stretching tired legs, I fired up a Tuesday morning workout from The Fitness Games app I’m reviewing as part of my partnership with SweatPink.  There were lots of workouts to choose from and I went with one called Bodyweight Madness 2, a three round circuit training session to be completed for time.  It took me a little over 18 minutes to get everything done and I liked its similarity in style to a Crossfit workout.  Even though I’m not much of a ‘selfie’ person, in the spirit of the games, I did snap a ‘gym selfie’ afterwards and share it with everyone.

With great workouts all week and a second rest day tomorrow, I’m very excited to race this weekend.  I should easily beat last year’s Fall 10k race time of 46:23 and while breaking the 44 minute mark (average pace of 7:05/mile) would be awesome, I’ll be happy to come in under 45.  My long run on Monday left me feeling more than ready to run hard, getting a good idea of what I can expect with even better (cooler) weather in Myrtle.  I’m exactly where I want to be at this stage of my training, feeling strong, fast and fresh.  Plus, I would really love to earn one of the awesome awards they’re giving to age group winners this weekend (you can see them on the event’s Facebook page).

Meredith

Are you racing this weekend?  Tried any new workouts lately?

Fall 2014 Race Week 2

It’s here already!  Fall 2014 Race Week 2 kicks off tomorrow and wraps up with the Heart of Ghent 10k.  After a winning but not great performance at the Bay Days 8k, I’m hoping for good weather (cool, not very humid) and a chance to push myself before Myrtle Beach.

This week’s training was solid, especially since at least part of both Friday and Saturday’s runs were in the pouring rain.  Monday kicked off with an easy, refreshing two mile recovery run after Sunday’s twelve miler.  Tuesday was Crossfit.  Overhead squats and power snatches are two of my least favorite barbell exercises and I got them both.  I’m always scared to push myself for fear of not letting go when I should and damaging my shoulder even more.  I got through the workout without any hitches and felt good rolling into Wednesday’s 14 miler.  This week’s long run was much better than Sunday’s, most likely due to improved weather conditions and a little time to recover from a tough Saturday race.  I rested Thursday due to scheduling conflicts and had an excellent round of rainy Michigan Intervals on Friday.  The weekend kicked off with 100 burpees on the beach Saturday morning while an easy, rain soaked six miler filled in the evening.  I wrapped up the training week with a two mile recovery jog this morning in gorgeous weather and hope it sticks around!

Here’s what’s coming up for Fall 2014 Race Week 2:
Monday:  14 miles in the form of a 4-3-2-1 long run.
Tuesday:  Workout from The Fitness Games
Wednesday:  A short race pace run or a couple 400M repeats.
Thursday and Friday:  Rest.fall 2014 race week 2
Saturday:  Race Day!
Sunday:  Recovery run.

What is this Tuesday workout?  Well, Fall 2014 Race Week 2 will also feature the start of my ‘The Fitness Games’ review.  As part of my SweatPink ambassadorship I’ve been given the chance to review this fitness app and look forward to diving in.  It features workouts, challenges and much more I haven’t explored yet.  Stay tuned for my review!

Meredith

How was your training week?  Have you ever worked out with The Fitness Games?

When Winning Gets Cheap

We’ve all heard ‘winning isn’t everything’.  As a Philadelphia sports fan, the classic ‘there’s always next year’ continually attempt to put an optimistic outlook on dismal seasons.  While it’s true that there’s more to sports than putting a tick in the W column, winning sure is nice.  Your accomplishments, efforts and drive are recognized by your peers, fans and supporters.  The pride and happiness that come from achievement are undeniably sweet after hard work and a tough day on the field, track or court. and usually topped off by some fort of recognition.  Except when they aren’t.  I had my first road race victory ever this past weekend and a negative victory experience made it both painfully unfulfilling and cheap.

The story begins with two goals.  I finished as second place female last year and wanted to beat that, or at least be one of the top three ladies, in 2014.  My second goal was to run a sub 35:30 8k.  With the wicked weather on Race Morning, I quickly tossed out my time/pace goals, concentrating on working hard enough to get the top three finish I had worked towards.  As you can read in my race recap, I didn’t have to work very hard for this win.  I never want to detract anything from another runner who was out there suffering in the heat just was much as I was.  Slowing down at Mile 3 without anyone in sight in behind me was more of an attempt to avoid dehydration and heat stroke than rejoicing in the fact that I had been able, to that point, generate such a large lead.

No matter how you slice it, I was excited to be the first woman to cross the finish line.  My hard work all summer had paid off with a winning performance, even if the weather didn’t give me a fair a shot at my goal time.  But that’s where it ended.  Honestly, finishing second, third or tenth, gritting it out with another runner and hitting my goal time would have been more fulfilling for me.  A delayed awards ceremony that barely happened, being told I was limited to one bottle of water and receiving the same exact awards as the second and third place females with the addition of a $75 gift card to the race’s sponsor’s store made my victory feel quite cheap.  It also didn’t help that the prints we all received were from the 32nd Annual Day Bays and the coozies they were wrapped in featured the 30th Annual Bay Days logo.  Really?  What else can you dig up from office storage?  This is a pretty obvious incongruence and it slightly insults my intelligence.

I’m grateful for the gift card, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t exactly hang a new pair of running shoes or compression socks on my wall.  I guess I could, but I’d be more inclined to frame the sweaty socks I wore on race day if I were inclined to do anything at all.  During the delayed awards ceremony where only the top three males and top three females were named, the announcer mentioned several times age group awards would be mailed.  I thought that maybe this meant something recognizing that I had won would also be mailed.  Perhaps a “First Place Female” plaque or even a finisher’s certificate (like last year).  I’m not asking for very much here.  I sent an email Saturday afternoon asking this question and as of publish had not received so much as a reply to that email.

Photos from the event were published earlier this week.  I had smiled and waved crossing the Finish Line, hopeful this picture could be a part of my winning history.  As I scrolled through the photos, I was a picture of the hand cycle winner, the male winner and this photo of myself.  Seriously?!  No race photos, no finish line photo, no award ceremony photo, mismatched awards.  Pretty upsetting.

No, winning isn’t everything.  But when you do win, it’s pretty nice to have someone say ‘good job’.  I certainly didn’t feel this way about the 2014 Bay Days 8k.  A post that has since been deleted on the event’s Facebook page noted that Flat-Out Events had only taken over management three weeks before race day.  When a terrible, unprofessional excuse of a response.  This was not the first race ever organized by the company and maybe they should exercise more caution about the timetable of event takeovers.  It stinks that something that should have been very exciting for me was cheapened so badly by poor management.

Take a page from J&A Racing and don’t have an awards ceremony.  They sent me an amazing symbol of my age group win at last year’s Crawlin’ Crab 5k.  Try EquiKid’s method.  Recognize every top finisher and every age group winner.

If I really get so high on myself I need something to put on the wall, I’ll recognize myself and order my own plaque.  I could even go have the print framed but I’d rather just move on.  After having my winning experience dampened heavily, I won’t be running this event again.

Meredith

Have you ever felt unfulfilled with a win?  How did you deal with it?

2014 Bay Days 8K Review and Recap

The 2014 Bay Days 8k kicked off my Fall 2014 racing season and was a bag of mixed emotions.  I was first place overall female but also 40 seconds slower than last year on an extremely hot and humid day.  With an 8:30 Start, I got to sleep late for a Race Morning and casually dressed, ate breakfast, had a big glass of water and got myself together before heading to Hampton.

After the fiasco at last year’s packet pick-up, I packed both my registration receipt and free registration letter from the race director in my race bag.  We arrived in Hampton on Race Morning around 7am, beating a massive line to packet pick-up and easily parking in the free for runners garage.  As expected, I was not in the system and had to re-register on the spot.  Thank goodness I was prepared.  Back at the car, I finished my E2, stretched out a bit, pinned my number on and slid into my socks and shoes.  I had some time to burn before getting race ready so I found a shady spot and watched the packet pick-up line continue to get longer and longer as 8am approached.  Apparently parking got quite slim at this point as well.  When my watch showed 8am, I began my warm-up.

I normally do short, easy 400-800M jogging warm ups at races less than 10 miles and don’t do any at half marathons but because I really wanted to run this race hard, I decided to do my first serious pre-race warm up.  When I was roughly halfway through my mobility drills and one mile with three strides, an announcement came over the loud speaker.  The Start was delayed ten minutes.  With a late, 8:30am Start time to begin with, this delay just 2014 bay days 8kwelcomed higher temperatures for the run.  Great.  As if I wasn’t already regretting my decision to wear a black top.  While I would like to say this the delayed Start made my too early warm-up pointless, it did open my eyes to the extreme race conditions I was about to subject myself to.  I completed my warm-up and stood around near the front of the corral with a few hundred other runners, waiting.

When it was finally time to enter the corral, I had a short chat with Eric of Hampton Runner and could feel beads of sweat rolling down my back as the National Anthem was sung.  I started right at the front of the pack and headed into my first trip over the bridge at the pace I needed to hit my goal.  If it was 70 degrees and the air was a little less soupy, that is.  I immediately gave up on my 35:30 goal and slowed down a little bit.  Two ladies powered by me on this uphill but quickly faded before hitting the one mile mark.  I knew I was the lead female and even though I had let my goal of averaging a 7:00/mile pace go, I still wanted to at least win my age group.

Temperatures during the race hovered around 80 with humidity never dipping below 85% making the 95% shade free course a warm one.  Mile One was pretty uneventful after crossing the bridge.  I encountered no traffic and was passed by a few men as we rounded a long, soft right hand bend into two quick turns that lead to another straightaway.  I jogged through a water stop just before Fort Monroe at Mile Two, grabbing a cup of water and tossing as much as I could on my steaming head.  Miles Two and Three were likewise uneventful, mostly trying not to overheat and stay lead female.  Smatterings of people on the streets made me smile a few times and I was sure to say ‘thank you’ to as many Hampton PD officers as I could when I ran by.

A breeze off the water at the halfway mark was nice but just past Mile 3, I slowed to take a look around.  The heat was really getting to me and I was starting to get a nasty stitch in my side.  All I could see was a gentleman about 200M behind me and another 10-15 seconds behind him.  As much as I wanted to keep moving at my goal pace, I knew I had enough of a lead to slow down and maintain it.  For the final two miles I brought my pace down from a heat induced 7:17 average per mile to 7:50 per mile.  This not only brought my heart rate down, eased my side stitch and let me start to feel less like I might hurt myself, it helped save my legs for Sunday’s 12 miler.

By the time I reached the Mile 4 water stop, I still couldn’t see much going on behind me and opted to walk through, grabbing one cup to drink and a second to pour over my head.  I 2014 bay days 8kmaintained my slower pace, fought off another nasty stitch in my side and hunkered down for the final 1200 meters.  Powering back over the bridge, a much needed breeze helped me pass one more male runner as I eased into the newly located Finish.

The 2014 Bay Days 8k finished in Mill Point Park, rather than straight ahead as it did in 2013, after crossing the bridge a second time.  Two quick turns coming into the Finish Line made a speedy finish difficult.  One, because of two tight turns and two, because you couldn’t see it until you had a measly 50 meters to go.  Not much motivation there.  I crossed the line at 37:50, hot, sweaty and thirsty.  I was congratulated, given a medal, a bottle of water and a banana.  I walked a five minute cool down then settled in some shade to shed my shoes and relax while waiting for the awards.  The Bay Days website had claimed that the Top Three Finishers would be recognized, leaving me unsure whether that meant top three of each gender or if only three men would be awarded at the event.  Luckily, it was the former.

En route to the awards area, I stopped back at the Finish chute to acquire a second bottle of water.  A volunteer told me it was only one bottle of water per finisher.  This totally boggled my mind.  It was 82 degrees, I had just finished exercising, the sun was shining and there was no other source of water to be found.  I understand that he was probably just doing as he was told, but whoever told him that was both ridiculous and putting people in danger.  Equally as shocked as I, a runner crossing the line had heard the statement, grabbed a second bottle and handed it to me.  Many thanks to her!

The awards ceremony was pushed back to after 10am and took place on the seating around the park’s stage, rather than on the stage that was still riddled with rigging for the evening’s concerts.  I was sad to see there wasn’t a photographer to capture the moment because 2014 Bay Days 8kthere had been plenty on the course, and who knows if I’ll ever finish first again.  After accepting my award, Doug and I thought about having that complimentary beer.  When we saw the massive, barely moving line for the event’s singular beer truck, however, we made for the exit.  The small park was overrun by the event’s 1000+ participants, their families, coaches and friends.

The medals are nice and even though, as usual, the t-shirt doesn’t fit, it’s nice as well.  For my first place finish, I received a print of this year’s Bay Days poster, a 30th Anniversary Hampton Bay Days slap on coozie and $75 in gift certificates to Point 2 Running in Newport News, VA.  I was disappointed there’s nothing that recognized my achievement, I’d rather have something special I can have for the rest of my life than more running shoes.  I hope the issues of massive packet pick-up lines, bottled water shortages, overcrowding in the park and too few beer vendors can be solved.  I would also suggest an earlier Start time and better event day scheduling.

In the end, I’m proud to have been the first female to finish the 2014 Bay Days 8k but a little disappointed I didn’t have the chance to really go after my goal time.  It wasn’t worth risking dehydration, injury or overheating to chase it and I hope the weather at the Heart of Ghent 10k in two weeks is more conducive to getting a gauge on where I am for Myrtle Beach.

Meredith

What’s your first Fall race?  How did it go?

Fall 2014 Race Week 1

It’s after Labor Day, kids are back in school and even though the 90+ degree days we had here in Virginia Beach this week don’t show it, Fall 2014 has begun.  I had an amazing time at Rock n Roll Virginia Beach this past Sunday, as you can probably tell from my recap here, and my legs are feeling ready to go for this weekend’s Bay Days 8k.  With the RnRVB to recover from, I didn’t plan to run a full Fall 2014 Race fall 2014 race week 1Week 1 schedule.  I wanted to play this week by feel, making sure I had enough rest so I can give myself a solid chance to hit my goal of beating last year’s time on Saturday.

My original plans Fall 2014 Race Week 1 were to do two short, fast runs, one light weight lifting session and a light shakeout jog Friday morning.  After finishing RnRVB, I knew I needed Monday as recovery day.  I’d rather rest than push my body and risk not being ready on Race Day.  I was happy to knock out a light two mile recovery jog instead of my planned intervals on a very hot day.  Tuesday morning I did a medium heavy weight lifting session that felt really, really good.  I don’t know where it came from, but in addition to feeling strong, my shoulder was more stable than it has a quite a while.  Maybe it’s actually getting better!

I knocked out Monday’s intervals, 4x1200M with 400M recovery jogs, on the treadmill Tuesday evening.  After two easy runs on Sunday and Monday, pushing the pace and really putting my legs to work helped me take a deep breath and realize my turnover was still solid.  Wednesday I did another light run with one mile at recovery pace, one mile at 5k pace and 800M at cool down pace.  I planned to do a short 5k pace run Thursday morning but rolled my ankle tripping over some tricky sand teaching on the beach in the morning.  Even though I ended up opting out of the run to protect my ankle, I did manage some bodyweight strength and core work to get my heart rate up.

Today is a rest day that features 50 push-ups, to keep my Streak in September going, and lots of foam rolling.  I’ll will be pushing myself to beat last year’s Bay Days 8k time of 37:22 during Fall 2014 Race Week 1, and after finishing as second female overall last year, hope to be one of the top three ladies again.

Meredith

What’s your first race this fall?  Are you excited?

Rock n Roll Virginia Beach 2014

Rock n Roll Virginia Beach 2014 kicked off my Fall 2014 season and was as one of my most enjoyable races to date.  I had the pleasure of pacing the 2:15 group, an incredible new Pacer Boothexperience.  I barely noticed the miles sliding by as I chatted, cheered and guided a group of awesome runners through the course.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get many pictures due to not having my phone all day, but there are a few.

My pacer experience began with a two hour shift at the expo Saturday morning.  The time flew by as my pace buddy, Erin, who also happens to be an Olympic distance triathlete, and I answered questions and eased concerns for runners who were nervous about hitting their finish time goals.  After wrapping up my shift, I picked up my packet and, of course, went expo shopping.  I ended up with another new pair of rock n roll virginia beach 2014trainers (up to 7 now…) and promptly forbid myself from going anywhere beyond packet pick up at the rest of this year’s races.  Or so I say.  Then it was home for a little R&R before a spaghetti dinner and bed time.

Rock n Roll Virginia Beach 2014 Race morning dawned warm and humid, as expected.  I dressed, ate breakfast, had Doug snap this photo (nice shorts tan) and I was on my way around 5:45.  Knowing I wouldn’t be crossing the Start Line until almost 7:15, I plopped down and relaxed on the grass near my Corral while I waited for go time to get a little closer.  At 6:45 I met up with Erin and a few runners who rock n roll virginia beach 2014would be going after RnRVB with us in Corral 9.  We inched ever closer to the Start as each corral before us went and were off at 7:12.

I won’t do a Mile by Mile recap because, honestly, I wasn’t paying much attention to the things I normally do.  I was too busy chatting with amazing runners, probably driving Erin crazy asking about triathlons and making sure our group stayed hydrated, together and happy.  For the first time in a race I walked through every water stop, which was nice because of the heat, drank half a cup of water and dumped the rest on my head.  Each of the 13.1 miles flew by as I cheered, high-fived and encouraged those around to keep going after their goals.  One member of our group had run the Flying Pig this year, which I’m thinking about for my Ohio race, and gave me great insider info.  Another was prepping for the Marine Corps Marathon as part of her training for the 2015 JFK 50 miler!  She ran the first 11 miles with us, then pulled away when we hit the home stretch.

By the time Erin and I hit the Boardwalk, most of our group had taken off ahead or fallen behind so we teamed up to push a few struggling runners to a strong finish.  We crossed the Finish Line right on time and congratulated those around us.  As I moseyed through the Finish Line chute, snagged my weighty nautical medal, water, snacks and an ice pop while trying not to stab anyone with my big 2:15 stick.  Several runners walked up beside me to say thank you as I piled my hands full of Powerbars and Chocolate Milk.  One girl told me she fought to keep our signs in her sights the entire race and ended up PRing by 15 minutes!  Another said she had made sure we didn’t pass her the entire race, picking up the pace when she saw us approaching a water stop behind her and hit her goal of breaking 2:10.  The woman who had run with us the first 11 miles before kicking it up to finish hit her goal in 2:12+, having an awesome training run before her Marine Corps event.rock n roll virginia beach 2014With this amazing new experience, however, did come a few notes on the race.  First, there was more traffic than I’m used to being in further back in the pack.  At one point I was looking for one of the group’s runners who had fallen back a bit and ran right into a gentleman who had started walking in front of me.  I’m still sorry!  There were also a few long miles where there was no music or band in sight which is where I saw the most runners start to fizzle out, especially past mile 8.  Notorious for being a hot, humid event I was also surprised there weren’t more misters out on the first half of the course.  Friendly neighborhoods had hoses out for the last few miles and mile 10 featured wet sponges, but I think a lot of people would have benefited from more cooling on the course.  The course itself is flat and fast with lots of shaded areas.  Port-a-potties abounded on the roadsides, water stops were well staffed, cheer squads kept things pumped up and the bands were excellent.

After the notes, thanks and congratulations, I scooted out of the Finish Line Festival fairly quickly due to the heat, humidity, massive crowds and aching legs.  I have the Bay Days 8k coming up Saturday and wanted to give my legs their best chance to recover so I can have an honest shot of hitting my 35:30 goal.  All in all, Rock n Roll Virginia Beach 2014 made for a fantastic day.  Pacing the 2:15 group was an inspiring and rewarding experience I can’t wait to have again.

Meredith

Did you run this weekend?  Have you ever been a pacer?