Tag Archives: race recap

Run the Bluegrass + April Plans

March was a great running month and April kicked off in a similar fashion.  I tackled state number 24, Kentucky, with Run the Bluegrass on 1 April.  I hadn’t been doing much training for it after One City on 11 March but headed to the Start with plans to just have fun.

After a shorter than usual warm-up, I was ready to tackle the very hilly course.  My legs were fresh but I could tell I wasn’t in peak performance shape.  My goal was to run around a 1:48, taking things easy and enjoying the scenery.  Things started with an almost immediate climb and I knew I was in for a tough workout.  The hills kept on coming, up-down-up-down, without any flat stretches in sight.  I stuck with the 1:45 pacers until walking leisurely through a water stop around Mile 5.

After falling back from the 1:45 pacers, I decided to take things easy.  I actually looked around at the beautiful scenery and enjoyed the beat down I was getting.  It’s clear I don’t live somewhere that can adequately prepare you for big, hilly courses.  By Mile 8 my hamstrings and glutes were grumpy which was great since Mile 9 is the course’s toughest.  I took a walk breaks at all second half water stops and slowed down to check to out a few overlooks. 

I powered up and down more hills in the last 5k.  Aside from a little moaning and groaning from my glutes and hamstrings my body felt great as I run the bluegrasscollected my big medal.  It was by far my inconsistent half marathon ever but I had a great time and felt good crossing the finish in 1:47.11, 12 in my age group.  I was really happy with my performance on out of race shape legs on a very challenging course.

The rest of April is full of training.  I have one more race, the ODU Big Blue 5k, on the 15th but otherwise I’ll just be grinding away.  With lots of time before my next goal race, Smuttynose Half, I’m looking forward to a few weeks of 30-35 miles with loads of play time.

Meredith

Is Run the Bluegrass on your list?  What’s on tap for April?

Shamrock 8k PR + Down Time

Saturday I ran my first 8k in three years.  Five days post marathon the Shamrock 8k might not have been the best idea I ever had but I hit a new PR and had some fun.  For the second week in shamrock 8ka row the ugly weather forecast held off.  Predicted rain didn’t hit until after the race and I was lucky enough to stay dry the entire day.

Weather aside, the Shamrock 8k is a simple, flat and fast course that presents a great opportunity push yourself.  This year it was home to the USATF Master’s 8k Championship.  I started in Corral 1 surrounded by masters athletes and speedy high school runners.  The first half mile was a little traffic filled and I definitely got swept up in the pace.

My legs felt OK heading into the race but after about 2k they let me know it was too soon.  My pace decreased in spite of the tailwind and I was OK with that.  I was well on my way to crushing my old 8k best even if slowed down a bit.  I crossed the finish line in 35:48, beating my old PR by over 90 seconds.  Five days post marathon I was more than happy with it.  I collected my medal, a new kooize, a banana and a few snacks before heading into the always wonderful Shamrock Party Tent.shamrock 8k

Now it’s time for a little R&R.  I say a little because I have Run the Bluegrass coming up in a few short days.  The race will check Kentucky off my 50 states list and be loads of fun but beyond that I have no expectations.  There are roughly 1,000 feet of elevation gain over the 13.1 mile course and it will be my first run over 6 miles since the marathon.

Meredith

Did you run the Shamrock 8k?  Do you like the 8k distance?

2016 Summer Series 5k

Another race recap on a Wednesday?  Yup!  This time the race wasn’t Tuesday night, however.  It was Wednesday morning.  J&A Racing’s Summer Series 5k takes place on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk at 8am Wednesday mornings all summer long.

In its inaugural year, the series is made up of 8 events.   Registration is available the morning of the race for those who are waiting to see what the usually hot and humid Virginia Beach weather might dish out for $30 or in advance online for $25.  There is garage parking at the race site with a discount for locals but the start is also easily accessible by walking, jogging or biking.  Hotels abound and are also easy to get to.

Featuring an out and back course from 31st Street on the boardwalk, the Summer Series 5k is a great opportunity to see how your training is going.  It’s very flat with at least one direction providing a tailwind.  There’s a water stop and cheerleading at the halfway summer series 5kpoint with a nice wide coned off u-turn zone.  Here Team FitNice is having some fun at the turnaround with Ryan from J&A.  Erin in the lead, Heather and I picking up the back half with smiles on our faces.  Boardwalk races can get crowded with people but they also usually take place on the weekend.  Since this one is during the week, there’s much less traffic out there and there’s plenty of room to run.

Swag includes a beach towel, a massive medal, bananas, bottled waters and eucalyptus ice summer series 5kwater soaked towels across the finish line.  The back of your race number also features discounts to three tasty local restaurants for your post-race refueling pleasure.

Taking part in one of the Summer Series 5k events is a must do for those runners who visit between June and August.  It’s a fabulous way to kick off the morning while enjoying the boardwalk before it gets too crowded.

Meredith

Do you race on vacation?  During the summer at all?

RnR Las Vegas: Part II

RnR Las Vegas was hands down the hardest training run I’ve ever completed.  I’ve run longer, I’ve run harder in more heat, more wind, ice and snow but this was a disaster.  To catch up on what happened before the race began, and quite possibly played a role in my mess of a race, check out RnR Las Vegas Part I here.

I got a solid nine hours of sleep Saturday night but when Race Morning drnr las vegasawned, I knew it hadn’t been enough to make up for Friday night’s lack.  With two nights before a race being the most important, I scrapped my start slow plan before I even climbed out of bed.  I just wanted to run with Meb.  After I got out of bed, I even questioned that.  My legs felt terrible and I could tell I just didn’t have it. The day was sunny and cool, meaning the weather for the race would be great.  I was definitely looking forward to that.  What I wasn’t looking forward to were the nine hours before race time.  My Race Day routine wasn’t possible with the Rock n Roll Las Vegas beginning at 4:30pm and that didn’t help my legs feel any better.

As those nine hours crept by, Mom and I did some shopping at the Grand Canal Shops, ate lunch and suffered through the first half of an atrocious Eagles game.  My hydration and fueling strategies were non-existent but I wasn’t concerned because I didn’t plan on ‘racing’.  Around 3:15, I put an E2 in 16 ounces of Las Vegas tap water and drank it dry just before heading to the Start.  Immediately I knew it was a mistake.  When I travel I typically stick to bottled water. Changing can upset my digestive system and it takes me a day or two to adjust.  I had been doing a good job for this trip until that moment.  The water tasted funny and I knew I’d need to use the restroom before running 13+ miles.  No worries, there would be plenty to use at the starting area.

Getting to those Port-a-Potties was an entirely different issue. The walk should only have taken 25 minutes but with huge crowds and a much further than expected distance to go, it took close to 45. My mom and I had begun the walk together but after realizing how much further I had to go, I took off at a jog, leaving my phone and any chance at Start Line photos behind me while she went to find a place to cheer from.  I continued moving towards the Start for what seemed like forever.  Eventually I did find and use one of the many Port-A-Potties near the back of Corral 48 and just as I entered, Corral 1 was released.  At that moment I stopped to retie my shoes and knew I wasn’t going to make it to my desired Meb Corral between 6 and 7.  I simply put the pedal to the metal and power walked, dodged and excused my way as far forward as I could. During this process my entire plan for the race changed.  There was no way I would be able to catch the 1:45 group starting so far behind them and with my legs feeling pretty crappy already, I just wanted to get in a solid training run.

By the time I made it to the front, I was crossing the RnR Las Vegas Starting Line with Corral 11.  I asked around the crowd and found out it was a 2 hour finish time Corral, less than ideal but it certainly could have been worse.  Mile 1 was full of traffic and about 30 seconds slower than I wanted.  After that things opened up at bit to give me some running room as I passed my cheering Mom at Mile 2.  The next six miles were pretty steady with traffic, making it hard to clock consistent half mile splits but I had some fun chatting with other runners, thanking volunteers and the LVPD and smiling for the race photographers.  I hit 5k in a leisurely 26:03, 10k at a better pace in 51:21 and was feeling pretty good after grabbing some water just before Mile 6.  While that second dose of Las Vegas water didn’t tip my system over the edge, the water stop at Mile 9 spelled the end for me.

As soon as I drank that water, I knew things were going to take a turn for the worse.  It tasted funny, immediately turning my stomach.  I couldn’t find a Port-a-Potty fast enough and when I finally did, it wasn’t pretty.  Officially dehydrated, I took off again to feet that were starting to cramp and a course filled with water that wasn’t going to help much.  Next to go were my glutes and hamstrings.  Never, ever during a run has my posterior chain gotten such a good workout.  Every muscle down the back of my body below my hips was screaming.  My knees and IT bands hurt with every step and I took some walking breaks.  Every mile seemed like to took forever.  I was in more pain than I have ever been in during any run in my life.  I had ceased caring about my long run, training and finish time while I was inside that portable restroom and just wanted to make across the line without any serious injuries.

I struggled through the final 5k to finish 13.27 miles in 1:59.36.  I’ve had bad races before, and I’m sure I’ll have one again, but this was awful. Everything below and including my abs hurt as I picked up my playing card inspired medal, immediately downed an entire bottle of water and grabbed pretzels, chocolate milk, Powerbars and a heat sheet.  My knees hadn’t felt like that in a long, long time.  My posterior chain was sore, aching and altogether upset.  I needed a foot massage and couldn’t get to my compression soon enough.  Unfortunately in the mass of people at the Finish, I missed my mom and we didn’t meet up again until we were both back at our room, which is why I don’t have any finish line photos either.rnr las vegas

In the end, the first eight miles of my RnR Las Vegas long run were very good and the last five were terrible.  It was a big learning experience and looking back, I’m actually glad I had to fight through it.  The ample support on the course, from water stops to Port-a-Potties, was great and the run through the lights was special in spite of being too busy looking at the people around me, trying not to run into them, over them and get in their way to really take in the scenery.  What I did see was pretty cool and the flat course definitely has the potential to be fast. Had I felt better, not been in a panic at the beginning and had fresher legs, I’m sure it would have been a much more enjoyable experience.

Would I run RnR Las Vegas again?  Absolutely.  I have a lot of ground to cover first (42 more states) but I’m not counting it out.  If you have the chance, I recommend giving this race a shot.  Just be sure to worry more about taking in the scenes than the people around you.

Meredith

Have you run RnR Las Vegas?  Would you?  Why or why not?

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?