back in the states (but not for long)!

Hello!

I’m back in Portland after a crazy memorable 9-day trip to Peru. I’ll post some pics and thoughts on the trip soon, but in the meantime, I’m stealing this post idea from Shut Up + Run and sharing my answers to 10 running questions:

1. Best run ever: Think it has to be the Helvetia Half Marathon on June 9 of this year. It was the only half marathon I’ve done in the last five years, and I really committed myself to training. I was super pumped with the outcome, and loved every mile of the race. (It helped that it was perfect weather, too.)

Helvetia Half

My friends came out to cheer for me. That was pretty rad.

2. Three words that describe your running: Goal-oriented, inconsistent, moody.

3. Your go-to running outfit: Nike shorts, Pro Compression socks and a neon tank top.

4. Quirky habit while running: Audible breathing that likely drives runners around me crazy.

5. Morning, midday, evening: Morning to midday runner on the weekends, evening runner on weekdays. (I’d really like to be a consistent morning runner, though. I just love the snooze button too much.)

6. I won’t run outside when it’s: Dark. (Unless I’m doing an overnight relay.) I like to play it safe and run during daylight (or head to the gym and use a treadmill, if it’s after dark).

7. Worst injury & how you got over it: IT band syndrome, and I could have gotten over it much faster if I’d understood what it was at the time. Instead, I took a ton of time off running and switched up my workouts. Now, when I get IT band tightness, I know not to freak out and to instead spend a lot of time with ice, my foam roller and yoga mat.

8. I feel most like a badass mother runner when: I upload a run to Garmin Connect and see splits that surprise me. Also, when I set my eyes on a runner up ahead and pass them in  a race.

9. Next race is: Aw, shit, I don’t know. I’d meant to do the Portland Marathon, then scrapped that idea when I decided on the über awesome plan of relocating to Barcelona (in LESS THAN 10 DAYS). Once I get settled in, I’m going to try to find a race in Europe. Maybe another half marathon? With the teaching program I’ll be doing, I don’t know that I’ll have a lot of time to train for anything longer, at least not at first.

Park Guell

Think anyone jogs in Park Guell? | flickr photo by poeticaldistractions

10. Potential running goal for 2013: I’d like to run a race (any distance) at a sub-8:00 mile pace. I think it’s doable for a 5K, but wonder if I can make it happen for an 8K or 10K.

Plus 3 bonus questions:

1. Favorite pre-run snack: Banana and a big scoop of peanut butter

2. Favorite post-race meal: Guacomole and beer (or a chocolate milkshake!)

3. Favorite running soundtrack for long runs: Podcasts or books

Your turn: Pick some (or all) of these and answer them about your own sport or workout of choice.

Ft. Steilacoom race recap

It’s my first race recap on ye young blog! Apparently, in the world of running blogs, race recaps are very important.

Sidenote: When I started this blog, I was following some running blogs, but I didn’t realize just how many are out there. Since then, I’ve been following others — scoping out races, gear, etc — and it’s a veritable genre. Should I have known this? And, there’s also a sizable sub-genre: the mommy runner. Have you seen these blogs? On the one hand, I want to be super supportive of anyone who’s out there running and racing and writing about it. On the other hand, I’m like … Do I really need to be reminded of how you wake up at 4:10 am to run 12 miles and go into the office where you have a very important job and raise 3 children under the age of six and whip up meals for your hubby and have fabulous hair and have no stretch marks?!  No! No, I do not.

Double sidenote: Can you sense how thinly veiled my jealousy is?

Oh, right. This is a race recap. Not a rant about feelings of personal inadequacy.

Excited to run

Not feeling inadequate here! Feeling super pumped to run.

So, let’s talk about the Ft. Steilacoom 10K. A few really awesome things about this race:

  1. It’s very small. There were only 65 entrants in the 10K (and 48 people in the 5K, 77 in the half marathon, 20 in the marathon and 23 in the 50K.)
  2. The 10K didn’t start until 9:45 am. For runners who like to start at the ass crack of dawn, this probably seems too late. For those of us that like to sleep (or are driving from 2 hours away), a 9:45 am start is divine.
  3. The organizers and volunteers are amazing. Each race started on time, instructions were clear, the route was well-marked and the post-race snacks were plentiful (pizza, nuun, pretzels, cheese, hummus, chocolate, protein bars, pita chips, coconut water, etc).
  4. The route was fairly easy. Again, this might be a bad thing if you’re a seasoned runner and looking for a big challenge. But if you’re new to trail racing, this is a plus. There was just one hill, and the rest of the route was mostly flat — on dirt paths, gravel or grass.
race start

Standing near the start line. No pressure, just fun times.

I love that at a race of this size, people stand around and talk to each other, and there’s no big whup about where you line up at the start.

Me and Jill

Me and Jill, wearing bright colors and big smiles.

The 10K route was the race’s 5K loop, done twice. I really liked this because I got a sense of the distance and difficulty of the first 3 miles, and then knew how to handle them all over again.

Early on in the race, I fell in step with a woman who looked on her game. Her form was awesome, and I could see that she was watching her pace on her watch. She knew when to push it and when to back off. I probably annoyed the hell out of her because I let her do all of the work and just kept up right behind her. And, at some points, it felt like we were going FAST. Almost too fast (for me). But I kept telling myself to focus on my breathing and stay with her.

And it totally worked. I could sense that we were pushing each mile a bit harder than the last (much preferred to having to ease off each mile), and my legs felt pretty strong. The pace caught up to me a bit in the last mile, and she got away from me. She beat me by 13 seconds, but I was SO grateful that she challenged me the whole way. I thanked her afterward (and apologized for my creepy breathing … yes, I am that runner who makes really odd hooo-ing noises when she gets breathing hard).

I decided not to wear my Garmin, and I’m really glad I didn’t. I worried that I’d obsess over my pace, and I totally would have. Here’s why: when I found out my time and mile splits, I was momentarily really disappointed. They sounded so slow! And I felt like I’d been running a lot faster than that. If I’d have seen those times on my watch, I may have gotten pissed off and slowed down out of idiotic defeat. Instead, I let my body and mind (and the runner ahead of me!) do the pacing, and I really enjoyed the run.

And, as I was reminded of after the race, you can’t expect your mile splits on a trail to be as fast as when you’re road racing. The trail slows you down. It’s SOFT. It’s GRASS. You’re hopping around to avoid branches. It’s a different animal. Your mile times can be anywhere from 30-90 seconds slower on a trail run. (Phew.)

So, how’d I finish?

Another reason I love small races … I got 11th overall, 6th woman and 2nd in my age category! Sweet. (And it’ll never happen again, so I’m totally savoring the notion of coming in 11th!) You can see the race results here.

My total time was 53:46. Pace: 8:40.

During the last month when I’ve been more serious about running, I’ve said I want to run sub-8:30 miles in races (and eventually sub-8:00 miles). And though an 8:40 looks slow, I’m pretty confident that I can run a 10K road race at a sub-8:30.

So, I’m counting this race as a PR. (What? Is that cheating? I need the motivation!) It’s the first 10K race I’ve ever done so it’s automatically a PR in the 10K, plus it sort of feels like a pace-related PR, too. I suppose we’ll really find out when I run a road race next.

Nike shorts

And I totally bought myself a new pair of running shorts as a race reward. (I’m a big believer in rewards and incentives, did ya know?)