Sunday, June 29, 2014

Operation Sparkle Update 10: Last Place>Did not Finish>Did not start

Well, good afternoon!

Yesterday was a momentous day...I RAN MY FIRST RACE! A 10K to be exact. I didn't finish in the time I wanted to, but given where my long runs have been, my overall time was respectable. And I was practically last. But as Catie told me when I called her, Last Place is better than Did Not Finish which is better than Did Not Start.

I got up at 4 am to drive to the location (news flash: it's reeeeeally dark at 4 am) and got there a little after 6, which was my goal. I wanted to be there for packet pickup as close to 6 as I could since this was my first race and I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, there were a bunch of other people there and I could just kind of look around and see what they were doing with their bibs and chip timers to figure out what to do. I mean, the bib was obvious...but the timer on my shoe lace? Less obvious.

Found the bathrooms, had my granola bar, and then started milling around the parking lot. I tend to have a quarter mile walking warmup before my training runs, so I figured walking around would be a good substitute so that my body would be ready to start right away. And I'm glad I did, because that's when I made a new friend: Alysha. She was taking a picture of a sign and I offered to take her picture with it. She was from near where I live and had recently moved there and was there a lone too, so it was nice to have someone to talk to while we waited for things to start (and stare at the reeeeeeeally intense guys warming up in the parking lot).

Finally, it was time to start the race and we played the National Anthem and then we were off! The pack pretty much took off without me, but that was okay. I was expecting them to, and determined not to let the pack's pace dictate my pace. I knew what I was and wasn't capable of and I felt pretty confident that there were still people behind me when I checked.

Now, the one thing I was not prepared for: HILLS! There are no hills on my training routes. Possibly on purpose ;)
But there were hills on this course! I didn't notice the first one because it was within the first mile, and, well, ADRENALINE, but I noticed the one between miles 2 and 3. And I noticed the first one on mile 4 (the course was done twice by us 10K-ers) when my legs were tired.

I forgot to eat until about 40 minutes in. Eating is something I only do on runs that are more than 4 miles, and it's not something I've been doing until I kinda forgot I was supposed to until it was too late. Miles 4-6 were hard fought. I don't know where I found the strength to keep going...probably in the part of my brain that knew stopping in a strange neighborhood far away from my car wasn't a good idea. And in the part of my brain that wants to go to Disney. Because Miles 4-6 there was DEFINITELY part of my brain questioning whether this whole "run 22.4 miles in one weekend" thing is the best idea we've ever had. But then I could see final turn...and as I turned onto that final quarter of a mile stretch and I could see the finish line, I started running again, not letting myself stop until I crossed that finish line.

I crossed the finish line determined that I had finished last...but I was handed an ice cold water and got some granola bars and bananas and found Alysha and saw that I had finished before awards had started (something I'd been worried about) and sat down and ate and drank and started to feel better. Because even if I HAD finished last, I'd finished. And according to my tracker app, I'd finished at a pace I felt proud of.

Alysha actually finished 2nd in our age group. I finished 12 of 12. But we both met the goals we had set. Hope to see her at a future race.

So overall, I'm pretty proud of myself. As a friend of mine commented on Facebook yesterday, I did something not everyone can do.

And I'm convinced this is a I'm about to sign up for another race for between now and February. At least I have a time to beat now.

I used to think runner's were nuts. Maybe I'm just nuts now too.

Oh, and I actually DIDN'T finish last. So there's that.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Operation Sparkle Update 9: Consistency isn't all it's cracked up to be

I seem to have found a summer pace. The problem's slow. Consistent, but slow.

Part of my trouble the past week or two has been solved...I think I've been slightly underhydrated. I've been taking water with me on every run and I've noticed when I drink more, I'm better.

I ran another Magic Mile today and it was very consistent with the one I ran two weeks ago, with my overall pace being comparable as well. That made me feel pretty good, especially since I was able to run, what felt like, longer stretches, but I must have been at a slower pace.

My maintenance runs this weeks were not as nice. They were slower than I wanted. Now, admittedly it is getting hotter, and therefore I should be going slower, but there is still that part of my brain that wants progress that isn't happy with that. I'm going to approach them from a slightly different place this week, so cross your fingers for me. If it works, I'll clue you in next weekend.

Speaking of next weekend, a week from today is my 10K. I'm getting a bit apprehensive about it, to be honest. I'm scared I'm not going to wake up on time to drive to where the race is (about an hour away). I'm scared I'm going to get lost on the course since I'm running in a place I've never been. But, most of all, I think (and it's something I've been apprehensive to tell anyone when I talk about next weekend)...I'm afraid that I'm going to be disappointed in my time...that it won't be worth it for the proof of time that I need...or that I somehow won't finish.

Catie keeps telling me to trust my training. (Catie is the friend who got me into this to begin with and who I will be doing Princess Half Weekend with). And I know I need to do that.

Maybe the change of scenery will actually be good. Who knows.

All I know, is you'll get a full report when all is said and done. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Operation Sparkle Update 8: Going farther, getting slower

Patience is a virtue...but it was not a virtue I was blessed to possess on some things. And progress in my training is one of the areas where I have no patience. I want results. I want to see something encouraging, especially as I get closer and closer to registering for my Princess Half weekend and the 22.4 miles I'm going to be committing to that weekend (5K, 10K and half marathon) and my 10K that is in less than TWO WEEKS (aiyiyiyiyi) that will serve as my proof of time.

My long run was 8 miles this past Saturday. I started at sunrise to try and avoid the heat of the day and was about a minute and a half slower than the 6.5 miles I ran two weeks ago. Still under pace for Disney (yay!) but not nearly where I'd feel comfortable being come race time. I know I still have 8 months left. And that I have to start making measurable progress eventually...especially once I get through summer and the weather cools off and I can start going faster. My brain knows this. My brain knows I will get faster. That I just have to stick with it. And by no means am I giving up. I'm too invested in all this to give up now.

I just want to see some progress. I want consistent times...consistent runs.

I know that part of my problem is pacing. I can't seem to find a good stride sometimes...I'm either too fast or that's something I have to work on.

Maybe I'm just overly critical. Got two more maintenance runs and then another Magic Mile this week. Maybe I'll see some progress.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Operation Sparkle Update 7: The first of many Magic Miles

Well readers...I've done the first Magic Mile my training dictated. And it wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. I ran a 10:02 mile, which translates to an ideal 13 min/mi pace for my race. Which is about where I've been running in my normal maintenance trainings and where I'm trying to get on my long runs.

So, it gave me a little bit of confidence. Now I have two maintenance runs this week, where I'd like to do a 12 min/mi pace (I've been doing a couple here an there in my splits on my runs, so I know I'm getting there) and then I have an 8 MILE run this Saturday. That I'm not looking forward to. Because 8 miles is a long time. And it's gonna be hot. But I'm shooting to keep it under 14...13 if I can help it.

Registration is about a month away. And there's only 19 days to my proof of time 10K...EEEEEEk.

In other local friends have dropped out of racing with me. Thank goodness I still have Catie and her mom...otherwise I'd have to give all this up.