This year has had many more ups and downs than I'd like to count -- and I'm coming off a couple of really bad weeks -- but I finally feel ready to do something that I haven't done in a while.Read More
Filtering by Tag: Ohio
For the first time in nearly 3 years, I went to a 5K with a PR goal in mind. I knew that my chances of hitting that mark were not the best, but I at least had the confidence to go for it.
I missed out on a PR, though, but I came away pleased with my time of 22:44. I finished more than a minute faster than last year and I came away knowing what I need to do to go for a PR again soon.
Here are a few takeaways from today's Stars and Stripes 5K in Howland, Ohio:
• I can get really, really close to a PR pace for a mile. I can hold that pace for 2 miles. I need more and better speed training to pick up the pace slightly and then hold it for a 3rd mile.
• Going for a PR at the end of the Runner's World Run Strak challenge is not a good idea. Even though I had easy runs this week, my legs are tired after running at least a mile for 40 straight days.
I enjoyed the challenge of the streak and may do another one eventually, but my legs weren't in the game all race.
• I hated wearing compression sleeves for that distance. I was sporting America's colors, but I never felt comfortable. I'll go back to my rule of wearing compression for runs of an hour or longer.
• Traveling 8 hours the day before any race sucks. It's the hand I'm dealt for Ohio races, and something I can't change.
• I've got to get over my "I'm too close to the start" fear. Once again I had to fight a lot of traffic in the first half mile. It didn't impact my approach drastically, but it did impact me mentally. Races also need to do a better job of lining people up, but that's another subject for another time.
Now it's time to look at the calendar and find another race ...
As racing has taken a back seat this year, I've lost a lot of interest in my personal performance. While I've had my share of fun and enjoyed the thrill of helping my sister get to two PRs, personal goals for me just haven't important.
Earlier this month I thought about signing up for the 5-mile turkey trot near my in-laws' house in Ohio. I brushed those thoughts aside until last week when I thought about it a little more. Then, finally, I signed up on Monday.
With the weather forecast full of snow, cold and wind, I figured I'd have another race to enjoy the experience and walk away satisfied that I ran something a little faster than a run through my neighborhood.
I took the approach to the start of the Warren Kiwanis Turkey Trot pretty casual -- with not having much cold-weather running experience lately, running at just under 20 degrees was a bit of a shock to my system. In the first mile I noticed my Garmin acting up -- before the race started it kept returning to the home screen -- so I just turned it off and put it in my pocket.
I hit the first mile in a clock time around 8:45. I was probably about 20 seconds back from the timing mat at the start, so I was pleasantly happy with the first mile.
At mile 2, the clock read 16:45. I at least knew I hit that mile in 8 minutes. I had a lot going through my mind more than usual -- could I get under 40 minutes for this race? Could I stop feeling like crap at the end of a race? "Finish strong" hasn't exactly been my power phrase in the past year.
I don't remember what mile 3 read, but I hit mile 4 at just over 32 minutes. I knew that another 8-minute mile would get me to a sub-40 minute chip time, but I really wanted my clock time to read under 40. I felt like I was just making up goals with every step, but it was working.
I picked up the pace to get to an uncomfortable level. For the first time in a long time in a final mile, I truly felt confident about my performance. I got in a zone I haven't seen in more than a year. I really felt like I could have easily kept that pace for a few more miles.
When I glanced at the clock at the finish, I saw 39:40. I think. I know it was under 40 minutes. I have to wait and see what my chip time is, but it'll be closer to 39 minutes.
To be only a little more than 2 minutes off my PR at this distance in the shape I'm in and in this weather, I walked back to my vehicle completely satisfied.
If I use this as a baseline for improvement for 2014, I can't wait to see what happens when I put more dedicated effort to training for something.
Last week's good race was followed by a nice 6-mile flat run in Ohio, which was followed by several days of not feeling like doing much. So much for feeling motivated, right?
After feeling like I had hit a low, I hit a new low around Friday morning when I opted for sleep once again instead of a run. Hitting the bottom of the Blah Barrel is starting to feel like a good thing, though.
In the past few days, I've run on a Friday evening (that's really out of character), painted my baby's room (first time painting in at least 4 years) and rode my bike in the middle of a hot summer afternoon (not completely rare, but rare enough since I had 0 July miles on my bike).
All of a sudden I feel like I've hatched; I feel ready for something new this week.
Or maybe renewed is the better word.
I have to actually do it though. I need more out-of-character moments; I need simple moments; I need a pre-7 a.m. run; I need to run at an odd time; I need to ride my bike more; I need to lift weights again.
What was routine for me went out the window a long time ago and I need to spend the rest of this month just doing something other than making excuses.
I don't know if I'll come close to my initial July goals, but I'm tired of the never-ending cycle I've put myself through these past few months ...
After a rough couple of months and probably one of the biggest running funks I've ever been in, I returned today to the site of where I set a 5k PR a couple of years ago -- the Stars and Stripes 5k in Howland, Ohio. I didn't think too much about setting a goal for this race other than using it as a test to see what kind of shape I'm in.
I'm a long way off from the type of 5k racing shape I'd like to be in, but I'm also not starting from scratch. I just needed some kind of bar to set headed into the second half of the year.
I figured that setting a goal of 24 minutes would be realistic. It's kind of disappointing that I'm not going for sub 22 at this point in the year, but I'm not battling reality anymore.
The race started off well. I fell into a comfortable group and thought I'd keep that pace for a while, only to look at my watch at the first turn and realize I didn't start it.
I took it off, put it in my pocket. Time to really fulfill that 2013 goal of mine by not wearing a watch in a race.
When I hit the first mile and the guy was calling out mile times, I was feeling pretty good. I was right at 7:45.
In the next mile I found myself pacing just behind a guy in a blue shirt. He kept looking back a bit, but I was very much running his race, not mine. And I knew that I was probably pushing myself more than I would have had I had my watch.
At mile 2, I was at 15:20. One thing was going through my head at this point -- don't fade away. Dropping off in the second half of races or the final few miles has been my biggest downfall in the past year. I wasn't going to walk away from this race letting myself down again.
When I rounded the corner for the final tenth of a mile or so, I passed a guy who had passed me a quarter mile earlier, then two other guys dusted me as they were fighting neck and neck. I saw that clock and kept my focus on sub 24.
I saw 23:49 when I crossed the finish clock, so give or take a few seconds, I hit my goal.
I have some mix feelings about it -- on one hand I'm ecstatic that coming out of a low point with running I can run a 7:40 pace 5k with a strong finish; on the other hand being 90 seconds slower than 2 years ago is disappointing.
It's my own undoing with the shape I'm in right now, but it's also motivation to turn things around in the next couple of months. I can feel myself breaking out of this both physically and mentally, and now I have to get to work making things happen.