Monthly Archives: November 2015

2015 Harbor Lights 5k (New PR!)

The 2015 Harbor Lights 5k was a target race for me.  It had been a long time since I aimed for a PR in the 5k (2013) and I felt confident I could beat my current PR of 22:31 by more than a few seconds.  When my week of training went according to plan, solid work left me positive I would rock this race.2015 Harbor Lights 5k

I hit the hay early Friday night and woke up to a chilly but sunny 2015 Harbor Lights 5k morning.  I covered my Lululemon shorts with Nike warm-up pants I’ve had since about a million years ago, a long sleeve half zip over a sweat wicking tank, Brooks Pure Flow 4s and a fluffy fleece.  In my race bag went flip flops, a dry hoodie, my wallet, my phone and some lip balm.  Doug would be handling gear control so I wasn’t worried about the extra clothes I probably wouldn’t be needing as the day warmed up.  Breakfast was cereal at home and more cereal on the road since we left over 90 minutes before race time.

We left home earlier than I figured we’d need since I knew parking would be at a premium after last year’s fiasco.  I opted to do packet pick-up Saturday morning rather than making an extra trip to Norfolk on Friday and it worked out perfectly.  We arrived with plenty of time to spare around 6:45 and easily found garage parking for $2 though we could tell it was packing in behind us. I shed my fleece immediately after stepping out of the car for a short walk to the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center where I quickly picked up my number and super cute technical race shirt.

Back at the car, I pinned my number on and also shed my warm-up pants.  With an option for indoor restrooms available, it was back to the Cruise Center for some stretching and a last minute potty trip.  Around 7:30 I went out to start my warm-up.  I did an easy 800, a few strides and finally 400M at 90% before walking to Corral 1 feeling excited and ready to go get a new PR.

The race went off right on time and I counted six women in front of me as we approached the first corner.  It was clear that several of them were caught up in the start rush as I settled in around my goal 6:50 pace coming through the first 800M.  Beep!  6:44.  Maybe a little fast but nailed it!  I was breathing easy and feeling good as the flat course rounded a few turns through the city of Norfolk while moving past the Mile 1 mark.  My legs kept turning, my form felt dead on past 1.5 where I moved up another spot in the female race.  With an original goal to set a new PR and place in my age group, I was starting to wonder if I could be in the top three women overall at the 2015 Harbor Lights 5k.  A few long straight stretches kept me on track as I clocked 6:41 and 6:45 for the two halves of Mile 2.  Just past the Mile 2 beep Amy of J&A Racing hollered that I was third woman overall.  Woohoo!

I kept trucking into the third mile, taking advantage of a gentle uphill from Mile 2 to 2.5 to fire my Crossfit quads, accelerate and move into 2nd position.  Just as quickly as I found myself in second, a tiny blonde girl screamed by me with roughly 1100M to go.  I knew I wasn’t going to catch her but definitely wanted to maintain the third position.  Not much later my watch beep again, 6:42 from 2 to 2.5 thanks to that tiny climb.  Entering the final half plus mile there was a 2015 harbor lights 5ksharp almost u-turn and I took the chance to look behind me as a bystander yelled “THIRD WOMAN!”.  I didn’t see another female anywhere as we entered a curvy section of the course that slowed me a bit (6:48).  Knowing I would demolish my previous 5k PR and hit my goal of placing, I entered the final straightaway.  Perfect weather was icing on the cake as the Finish line came into view and I kicked to cross the line at 21:14 with 3.19 miles and a final split 0.19 split of 6:25 showing on my Garmin.

I was 34th overall and the third woman with a big smile and a new PR.  A few deep breaths later I collected a bottle opener medal, had an official finisher photo snapped, grabbed a banana, granola bar, bottled water and mason jar race logo finisher glass.  Doug met me and made for 2015 harbor lights 5kmy dry clothes in the car as a cool down.  Dry hoodie and flops on, we celebrated the morning away with friends, enjoying the PR board, a gorgeous day and Blue Moon beer.

Once again, J&A Racing put on a wonderful event.  Parking was easier than last year, Port-a-Potties were aplenty, bottle opener medals matched mason jar finisher items that held your post race libations for celebrating a good run on a flat, fast course.  I really enjoyed racing the 5k distance and think I might throw a few more into my training schedule.  I’m glad the 2015 Harbor Lights 5k opened my eyes back up the the distance with a great experience and a time I look forward to beating in 2016.


Do you like racing the 5k distance?  What’s your favorite?  Why?


5k Race Week!

It’s my first 5k race week in quite a while.  I’ve run a few 5ks since the last time I raced one and had some success without focusing on the event.  The 2013 Crawlin’ Crab 5k is the most recent time I raced to see what I could do at the 5k distance.  I won my age group and set a PR on that very warm day.  This year’s Joggin’ For Frogmen 5k was also on a very warm day and also yielded a new PR 5k race week(22:31) even though I registered at the last minute and didn’t rest at all before running it.

This weekend I’m looking to toe the 2015 Harbor Lights 5k Start line fresh.  I know my speed is better than two years ago.  I know I can run faster than I did in August.  Proving it on a race course takes a few things falling into place but I’m feeling good about where this 5k race week is going.  Here’s how I’m getting there:

5k Race Week Workouts:
Monday:  Crossfit (5×5 front squat – kept these light, 10 min AMRAP x 5 front squat-even lighter, 7 strict DB press, 9 box jumps)
Tuesday:  4 x 1600M, rest 3 min then 3 x 200, rest 1 min.
Wednesday:  Rest.
Thursday:  4 x 400, rest 200M.
Friday:  Rest.
Saturday:  RACE DAY!

I felt a bit lethargic heading into Tuesday’s workout and my miles were about 8 seconds slower than I would have liked (6:43) but I hammered the 200s and ended on a strong note.  A little extra sleep over the next 48 hours should be just what I need to nail it Saturday.  Complete rest Wednesday, a short workout Thursday and rest on Friday wrap up all my race day prep.  Well, calling Friday a total rest day is maybe a little extreme.  I’ll keep moving by riding my bike the 1.25 flat miles to and from work in a super light gear and I’m counting 15 minutes of easy biking as an attempt to stay loose rather than a workout.


What does your 5k race week look like?  Any traditions?

My Training is a Mess (Maybe)

My training is a mess.  Not in the sense that I’m lacking commitment or failing to get workouts done or falling off track with my schedule, I’m doing all of those things perfectly.  I just also happen to be trying to do 17 things at once.  In two weeks, I’m shooting to PR my 5k.  Two weeks after that it’s an attempt at PRing the half marathon.  Three months after that it’s time to run my first marathon.

That’s the my ‘training is a mess’ part.  Most training plans are specific to one race distance or another.  Mine usually are, too.  I’m not sure it really matters, though.  I’ve been working on building speed through track and tempo workouts while mixing in some longer marathon training runs.  My speed has definitely improved.  My endurance is still solid.  Training for a longer race has helped me get faster at shorter distances without taking away from my ability to run for two hours at a time.  I’m learning a ton about the different speed gears I have and how to push myself.

I’ve definitely built speed and should have no trouble PRing my 5k in good weather.  I feel the same way about my half marathon.  Of course One City will be a PR, it’s my first ever full.  What I haven’t done is run a half marathon specific workout in a while.  A hard run of more than 10 miles and I need to check in on that race gear.  Lucky for me, 90 minutes at 15 seconds slower per mile than 10k pace are on the schedule this weekend.

Even though my training is a mess and I’m not in a specific plan for a specific distance, I’m confident I’ll be successful.  My legs feel good most of the time, I’m injury free and happy with close to all of my workouts.  Rather than working towards making one race distance much, much better, I’m improving across all types of events and learning a lot about how to run each one.  I guess that means my training isn’t so messy after all.


Do you ever train for multiple distances at the same time?  When do you think your training is a mess?

Fit Friday: Marathon Training Run 3 (not 18 miles)

Marathon training run 3 was a completely mediocre run.  It could certainly have been better but it definitely could have been worse.  I moved this run up two days to Thursday because of weather predictions and while the weather is still calling for 100% chance of rain tomorrow, it wasn’t a big win.  In the end, I learned a few things and am glad it’s over.

I like to get up, clean up, eat up and get out for my long runs.  Waiting until the afternoon or having to do a bunch of things before going out drags me down both mentally and physically.  Unfortunately, marathon training run 3 was exactly not what I wanted.  Because I moved it up, I had two hours of clients and four miles of bike riding to finish before I could start which meant additional time on my feet, increased fueling needs and an extra bit of muscle fatigue.  I had also failed miserably at recovering from a very tough speed workout on Tuesday which meant my legs were feeling not-so-great before I even got out of bed.  Oh, well, I would power through.

Before work I had a bowl of cereal with skim milk, knowing I’d be hungry by the time I wrapped up my 8am client.  I rode my bike home and filled my growling tummy with two pieces of wheat bread, one buttered, the other peanut buttered.  In my pockets were one pack of fruit snacks and one vanilla bean GU as I headed out at 9:30 into an unseasonably warm (72) and humid (80+%) morning.  My legs weren’t excited to get going but I figured I’d settle in as I warmed up.

Miles 1 through 4 were pretty OK.  My marathon training run 3 fueling and hydrating plan mirrored the success I had in Run 2.  Fruit snacks at one hour and GU 1:45, water as close to every four miles as I could get.  I nailed the water stops, hitting the first at 4.2 miles and 34 minutes.  I kept trucking along, maintaining my goal pace of 8 minute miles through Mile 7 without any issues.

Approaching the one hour mark I wasn’t feeling hungry but my legs were starting to get testy.  I could both feel and hear my left foot heel striking and overall both legs felt unusually heavy so early in a long run.  I chalked it up to fatigue from Tuesday’s brutal run as I scarfed down my fruit snacks and messed with my left ankle and shoe in an attempt to fix whatever was going on.

I hit my second water stop just past Mile 9 at 1:10.  The warm day and humidity had made me excessively thirsty.  I definitely overindulged.  I restarted and maintained my pace for the next hour, when I was actually running, but things mostly came apart.  Additional walk breaks happened just about every 15 minutes as my left shoulder and right hip started to yell at me.

At 1:45, I gladly sat down to suck in my GU then walked to the nearby water fountain at Mile 13.5.  I felt nothing like I had during Run 2.  My legs were completely fried.  My bones hurt.  I fought through 2.5 more miles and called it a day.  I had been out there for a long time on a hot, humid day and my entire body was saying ‘no’.

Even though marathon training run 3 wasn’t the 18 miles it was supposed to be, those 16 taught me a few things.  I felt like I had run 20.  My fueling plan worked for a 2:10 run.  I need to take recovering from hard speed workouts as seriously as I take recovering from my long runs.  Cardiovascularly, I’m ready.  My heart and lungs felt awesome during marathon training run 3 in spite of the 85% humidity.

I have a 90 minute run at 10 seconds slower than half marathon pace schedule next week but am back at two plus hours the following weekend.  Marathon training run 3 wasn’t pretty and I’m glad I have plenty of opportunities to push myself before One City Marathon race day.


What do you do when a training run turns ugly?  Do you stress about hitting a long distance mile number?

GoRuck Light Class 1015 AAR

My second GoRuck Light and third experience with GoRuck was Saturday.  I looked forward to the Halloween event and prepared as best I could.  I would have roughly 17 pounds on my back for the event’s 5+ hour duration.  Bricks, a full CamelBak, gloves, two rolls of toilet paper and goruck lightvarious other goodies like snacks and an ID.  Having participated in both GoRuck Light (GRL) Class 148 and Kill that 5k, I had an idea of what to expect as I dressed as a ninja princess, packed up, grabbed my pumpkin and made the short trek to the Virginia Beach Veteran’s Memorial to meet my teammates at 2pm Saturday afternoon.

Gradually 25 individuals came together to form what would be an amazing team led by Cadre goruck lightCody, a former Navy SEAL.  We began with introductions, ruck loaded squats for each person who no showed and a mission.  We would need to ruck the 1.5 miles from our start point to the King Neptune statue (where my first GRL began) in 37 minutes carrying all of our pumpkins, candy and team weights (12 pumpkins, five massive bags of candy, one ten pound cement blue falcon, three 40lb sandbags and one American flag).  After snapping a photo, it was onto the sand.

Unlike Class 148, we didn’t save getting wet for the finish.  Almost immediately after placing our rucks on the sand, we were ordered to about-face, form a line and hold hands.  We were given 60 seconds to get into the water, drop completely below its surface and return to goruck lightout original position.  Of course, the team succeeded.  As a reward we were asked to repeat the process in 50 seconds.  Again, we nailed it.

Since we were all dripping wet, Cadre figured this would be a good opportunity for some good old-fashioned GoRuck Light style rolling around in the sand.  The tunnel of terror involved holding a downward dog position while each of our teammates crawled through the tunnel of bodies while rolling a large pumpkin, affectionately monikered ‘Bob’ ahead of them.  The body heat was a nice way to stay warm before our next task.

Tunnel of terror evolution complete, it was time to ruck back up and pumpkin carry.  Racing the other teams of two, my buddy and I had to carry a pumpkin from point A to point B and back without touching it, using our hands or dropping it.  Another successful evolutiongoruck light earned us another trip into the water.  The team performed rocking chairs in the surf as stronger than usual waves filled my pants, shoes and unmentionables with sand.

Soaking wet, shoes and clothes covered in and filled with sand, Cadre Cody threw us into our next GoRuck Light task.  A relay race over a mountain of sand carrying a pumpkin of our own choosing.  Twice. Calisthenics complete, we were broken into teams of five and given a bit of reprieve to turn one teammate into a toilet paper mummy. After undressing and cleaning up after our mummies, the ruck continued. We shook off what we could when we returned to the Boardwalk, passed Neptune and trekked roughly a mile to the goruck LightNaval Aviation Memorial while lightening the load of our candy bag team weights to as many children as we could.

With a bit more knowledge than we had before we arrived, the team took off for a half mile ruck from the Naval Memorial to our next destination. On the way, we duck walked, low crawled, crab crawled or bear crawled with our pumpkins and rucks across a wooden bridge without losing any cargo or limbs. GoRuck Light Class 1015 rocked that mission as well and I rewarded myself with a protein bar. Seeing a dry field, we weren’t exactly sure what was coming our way. A rucked up game of zombie style balloon popping freeze tag led to goruck lighta lesson in the use of tourniquets during a short recovery break. Once again put into pairs, the team was tasked with a tourniquet blindfolded game of ‘find and carve your pumpkin.’  I finally started to be able to feel my hands again while guiding my partner Bill to our lost and found pumpkin.  Each pair and pumpkin slowly gathered as Bill began carving our jack-o-lantern with a cheap metal spoon.

Our penultimate task was to give away all remaining candy on our return to the Start Point.  Relief in sight, GoRuck Light Class 1015’s physical tasks finished up by moving our rucks from our backs to our fronts and dropping down for a round of flutter kicks.  Cadre Cody congratulated us and gave an inspiring speech about the honor of being a part of our team and what it means to earn the patch.  Five and a half hours after embarking on our journey, our team of 25 had come together to complete a cold, wet and incredibly fun mission.

I spent the next half hour getting the feeling back in fingers and toes while removing as much sandy clothing as I could before stepping inside my home.  The people and mission of GoRuck are amazing.  It’s an honor to be part of a team of great Americans even if only for a few hours and I can’t wait to do it again.

goruck light

The aftermath.


Have you done a GoRuck Light?  Would you like to?  Why or why not?