My Holiday Races

I did it, I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving and a 10k the following weekend. Not sure why, but I did!

The 5k on Thanksgiving, aptly named “Gobble Wobble” was outside at our lovely community park and it was freezing! I couldn’t find my gloves before I left nor the night before, so about 5 minutes before the race started, I couldn’t feel them.

I placed 27th in my age group (30-34), with a pace of 11:26 and a total time of 35:27.27. That’s 3 minutes slower than my time at the 5k in September, which I’m not thrilled about, but given that I’ve never run in 20-30 degree weather, I’m not terribly upset.

The following weekend, this past weekend, I ran an indoor 10k at the IX Center near Cleveland, OH. It was awesome! The course was done over all 3 levels of the building and including 6 100 and 200 feet inclines/declines of 7 inches, I felt all 7 inches of those believe me.

The 5k ran it once, the 10k twice, and I’m really proud of myself for finishing! I did so in 1:14.00 – unofficially per my Nike Run Club app since I have no idea where to find it online to check my official time. Which breaks down to about a 12:00 pace. I did walk a few more times or longer on a few than I wanted to, but as far as my first ever 10k goes, being 20 minutes off the first place finisher isn’t too shabby.

Half way through and multiple times after, I found myself smiling and laughing at myself saying “DUDE, you’re doing it! You’re actually running a 10k, this is crazy! I’m so proud of you!” I know this sounds corny and I didn’t use to care about self talk or pumping myself up for fear of coming off as arrogant, but what a difference it makes!

Just encouraging myself, putting in the time and the thoughts when no one else is there, when I could have been eating pizza and watching movies, I was there, running and bettering myself and it felt fantastic! I don’t know if it was a ‘runner’s high’ or just me finally allowing myself to show myself some love, but I can’t wait to do it again!

Oh, almost forgot, everyone who ran the 10k got a medal, the one I’m holding… no big deal or anything, but it SPINS! The IX Center has a huge ferris wheel inside of it and the medal is the ferris wheel, so the wheel spins! Sometimes the little things make it so worth it! One medal down, a ton more to go…..

January starts my training for an Olympic Triathlon in June. I am aiming for the June 24th race in Philadelphia, part of the Escape Series of races. 1500 meter swim – 26 mile bike – 10K run. I am fully prepared to get my butt kicked by my trainer/boss and can’t wait to get back into the type of training I had in college and high school.

I know it’ll be hard, but I know it’ll be worth even more when I cross that finish line in Philly in June!

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Sundays Are Not Fundays Anymore

I have been getting deeper into my training, with only 4 weeks left until my 10k in Cleveland and it is quickly getting up there in miles. Sundays are now my dreaded days strictly because my mileage on that day is consistently high.

Two weeks ago Sunday was a 5.25 miler. Last Sunday was a 6.00 miler (10k). This Sunday is 6.75 miler and it just goes up from there for the next two weeks. I know that this is to make me stronger and increase my aerobic capacity and my endurance, but it sucks while I’m doing it!

I have a 5k the week before my 10k (Thanksgiving Day), so that should be interesting. I’m going to treat it like a recovery run, since I have one that week that is 3 miles anyhow. This will be my second race ever and I feel like it could give me a good idea of where I am for the 10k and what time I can expect and try to beat.

Most importantly, I learned a very valuable lesson during this weeks training, shoes are important! I generally wear my Asics to run in, but I wore my Nike shoes instead, huge mistake. Now, I’m not knocking Nike, these just weren’t their training shoes, these were just regular everyday shoes, but man did I get some massive shin splints about 1 mile in. It was so bad that I barely made it through my run. I am making sure to stick to my Asics to run in.

Nike may work for your feet and that’s great, but the Asics seem to be the best pair for mine and man did I find that out the hard/painful way! The thing to remember here isn’t so much brand name, but what fits your feet and works for your body best, just like with anything else.

I started working at a new gym in town and my boss has a specified program he came up with that is fantastic. I have started to integrate this into my training and I love it! The program is great, using negative training and a timed rep scheme, it’s a low impact HIIT program that I can definitely feel the changes happening quickly.

Mixing this program with my running and other weight program is helping immensely with endurance, injury prevention, fatigue, and strength. I’m excited to get through my next 2 races and begin a training program for the triathlon in Philadelphia in June that I plan on competing in.

Again, remember, make sure you have the proper shoes that fit your feet and have the right support for your legs and back during runs, it makes a world of difference!

Starting Weight Training & Yoga Programs

So I have decided to add a weight training and yoga program to my running program. I have registered for the 10k in Cleveland in December and needed to up my training.

Running is great, but adding the weight training will help with muscle endurance and make my body stronger to help avoid injuries. Plus, adding this in helps my body to work out additional areas so that the areas used during running do not become overworked and thus inhibit my ability to train and perform at an optimal level.

The yoga program is to help keep my body loose and moving. Stretching is important, we all know that, but yoga helps with muscle endurance and strength as well as stretching the muscles. Some people think yoga is silly, but I have personally seen vast improvements in my strength, flexibility, and stamina just from adding it for as little as a week.

Yoga also helps with recovery, so having this can help my body recover faster and stay fresh for each training session.

I’m really excited about this 10k, the running program I’ve been using through Nike Run Club is pretty intense, but I love it. It makes me push myself when I normally would not and when it keeps popping up on my phone that I have a workout, pretty hard to ignore it. Also, the coaches that are on there are pretty motivating and it makes the runs borderline effortless.

I’ll let you know how sore I am by the end of the week.

 

Back into Training

After taking the week after my 5k off, I am back into training for the next race. There is one in my town on Thanksgiving, called the “Gobble Wobble” and I’m not sure if it’s 5k or 10k, the information has not been distributed yet. There is a 10k, indoors, in Cleveland in December that I am really aiming for, just need to register.

Training this week has been interesting. Started out the new training program with a benchmark run and felt good. Ran on the treadmill and wasn’t completely dead at the end, but dead enough to where I knew I had put in work.

Second day out, just a quick 1/2 mile jog and it felt fantastic. I felt like I could keep going for another 5k, at the moment. I was happy to be back out running, and if you know me, that’s hilarious because I used to hate running unless it was to get food or beer. Now, however, I take it as ‘me time’ and use it to get myself to the one thing that I’ve wanted in life more than anything, being a pro athlete – hence the drive for Kona.

Day 3, on the other hand, not as awesome legs started to feel tired, it was the 3rd day in a row after a week off and my body was starting to feel it. My legs were not terrible but had started to get heavy half way through. Thankfully it was only another 1/2 jog, so I finished without any issues.

Day 4 felt like a disaster! After only about .15 – .25 miles in, my body wanted to curl up and nap. My legs were dead, my body was tired and I was pissed. As I was running, I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on, why did I need to keep stopping and start walking, it was only a mile, this shouldn’t have been an issue. Then it hit me, I really hadn’t eaten all day and now here I was out for a mile long run without any real fuel in me. That was dumb, I should know better, but there I was in pain and struggling. I finished the mile of walk/run and was still pretty mad at myself, but I finished it instead of packing it up and heading home early. Some days you have to suck it up and deal, that was yesterday for sure.

Today, thankfully, is a well needed rest day and tomorrow I start right back up. I will implementing a swimming and biking program as soon as I figure out the times that will work best for recovery and training with work. The running has been a great starting point for me and I’m so excited about adding in the rest of the sports for the triathlons as I go along.

RACE DAY

It’s finally race day! September 4, 2017 was my first ever race, a 5k (3 miles). I was nervous but felt pretty good. My 2 goals were to run the entire race and finish the race, here’s how it went.

First, I had to work the midnight shift Sunday night, so I got off of work at 7am, ate a small meal to have some energy for the race and sipped on fluids to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated. By 9am, it was race time and I started out feeling great!

About a mile in, the dead legs started to seriously kick in. The exhaustion from being up all night was taking over and I decided to walk for a bit so that I could have something in the tank to finish the race. Goal #1 not accomplished, but in order to finish the race, I decided that I wasn’t going to kill myself over run/walking my first race. Turns out, that was a smart decision.

I only walked for about 200 meters and was back to running and periodically throughout the last 2 miles walked for about 200 meters when my legs started to feel like they were going to fall off, and it definitely made it possible for me to finish the race.

Goal #2 was accomplished and I ran across the finish the line with a time of 32:49, good enough for an 11th place finish in my age group. This was great because it wasn’t far off of my 10:30 pace I had done in training, so I was pretty excited about the outcome.

The run itself wasn’t bad, the sun started to beat down, but the last 2 miles were inside the park and there was a ton of shade and a slight breeze that made it not so stifling hot. All along the route (which was the parade route) there were people cheering and incredibly encouraging. Of course my family yelled out to me, which was a new experience since playing team sports you don’t really hear them as much individually as in a race.

Overall, my legs weren’t in terrible condition afterwards, of course the epsom salt soak helped immensely with that, and I was able to nap it out the rest of the day before heading to work at 11pm that night.

Lessons learned:

  1. Get the night before and the night of the race off of work (seriously, don’t do that to yourself again)
  2. Stay hydrated during training and especially the week leading up to the race and eat enough carbs and fats and proteins to make sure your energy stores are at their optimal level for race day
  3. Make sure you have food and liquids for immediately after the race and give yourself time to wind your body down
  4. Have fun! It’s only a race and like my cousin said “At least you’re out there as opposed to not.” True statement!

Highlights of the race… other than finishing it and in a decent time…. Having my family there, getting a Smiley Face cookie, chocolate milk, bottle of water, and half a banana after the race. Oh, and my first race sticker!

I have my sights sets on two more races before the end of the year, one in November on Thanksgiving (another 5k) and one in December in Cleveland (10k indoors). I’ll keep you posted as my training for those starts tomorrow!

One Week to Go

Next Monday, September 4, is my first ever 5k. I have never run a race before, of any kind outside of training for another sport, and I am nervous. I am nervous because I’m always a little nervous before an event and because I’ve never done this before.

I have 2 goals for the race:

  1. Run the entire 3 miles
  2. Keep at my current 10’30” pace or better

I have been sick this whole last week and only got 1 run in, of course that 1 run was a 3 mile run and I did it in 31’00”, so I’m pretty pumped about that. I have been mixing my running between treadmill and outside depending on the weather and my time during the day. Sometimes I can be faster on the treadmill because the ground is moving also, some days I have a little more time, so I’ll hit the park.

Since the race is outside and partially in the park, I’ve been training more at the park and getting used to the road surfaces there. It’s definitely different than indoors, but my times are keeping within a minute of each other, so that makes me feel pretty good.

In May I started at 14′-15′ mile and now I’m hovering around 10’30” consistently. Seeing the progress is so helpful and watching my body change and my legs become stronger is exciting. I’m only 32 but I’m getting my 18 year old body back, now if only my six pack would hurry back, that would be great.

The only thing I’m worried about is that I didn’t get the night off of work before or the day of the race, so I will be getting off of work at 7am, racing at 9am, and then back to work at 11pm that night. To say that I am going to be dead tired is an understatement, but nonetheless, I will finish this race.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Do Not Slack on Stretching

Got into my leg and arm days the past 2 weeks, however, I made the mistake of not stretching properly and am stiffer than I should be.

Stretching is of great importance, not just for athletic events or workouts, but also for everyday life. Stretching helps muscles recover, helps keep the body loose and prevent injuries, and can increase range of motion, making it easier to move on a daily basis. 

Especially after having just strained my hamstring, knowing how to properly stretch it is crucial, and I slacked off. Now both of my hamstring are tight, just bedning at the waist sucks during the day and just putting my legs out in front of me while sitting. So, I earned that.

Tomorrow starts my back to yoga 2 to 3 times a week and stretching each of the major muscle groups for 1 minute each after training. Not to mention proper techniques for recovery, foam rollers, Epsom salt baths, and fluids and fuel. 

It’s that moment when you know better and you screw it up, that super annoying moment, drives me nuts. I ushing through is what I do.