Sunday, September 17, 2017

Race Recap: Race with Grace

I was dreading this moment; I would have to race the damned 5k as opposed to just jogging it out. I tried everything I could think of to get out of it: I looked for new runners, I tried to get my husband and/or kids to run with me, I told myself that I really shouldn't exert myself during the taper for the Akron Marathon.  None of it worked. I knew that I would have to actually try to run fast, something I haven't really done for a while.

To make matters worse, I am tapering, and instead of making me nervous and jumpy, it is making me eat everything in sight. Sigh.

Every year Medina High School assembles a team to run the Medina Race with Grace, a race to benefit the Mary Grace Foundation, which supports those battling all forms of cancer. Click here for more information about the Mary Grace Foundation and how you can contribute. Our team is named Team Brenda and Mary, to support the mothers of two of our teachers.  This year we had a total of 62 people contribute to the team, although not everyone who contributed actually participated in the race.
Team Brenda and Mary

I came early and ran the course as a warmup. Then I took pictures with the team and chatted for a while. This is where I think I could have done things differently.  I should have timed my warmup better so that I didn't have about 40 minutes of waiting to start. I think I would have performed better if I had transitioned better.

As we took off, I told myself that I would be doing this as a tempo run, and half-marathon pace was what I was shooting for.  I hit the first mile at 8:44, which was right on target for a tempo run. At the halfway point, I could feel the humidity, and I was uncomfortable, but I could tell that I wasn't pushing myself to reach a 5k pace. I kept chanting, "In in in out out," so that I could focus on my breathing.

Mile 2 came at 8:46, still HM pace. I felt really hot and humid. The nice thing about this race is that the course is relatively flat. Sure, there are a few inclines, but the downhills absolutely cancel them out.  I was glad at this point that I had run the course ahead of time because I knew that the last mile was a lot of slight downhill.  I also reminded myself that in most previous races, at this point, I would be telling myself that I had 11 more miles to go at that pace. Then I thanked The Universe that I had one more mile to go.

Mile 3 motivated me. I did it in 8:26, so I felt like my old self again. The last part of the race wound around the hospital, and I tried to gauge where I would kick. I was pretty much done when I saw the finish line, but I did manage to speed it up somewhat.

My official time was 26:31, 16 seconds longer than my PR. I'm not gonna lie; I did not run this race the way I should have to get a PR. I feel like I could have cut at least a minute off my time if the weather were less humid and if I had done a better-timed warmup. All in all, though, I'm not unhappy with this time.

I ate a chili-cheese dog, courtesy of Dan's Dogs of Medina, after I cooled down a bit. It was fabulous. I talked with some fellow teammates, and then I walked back to my car with Laura, a friend and teammate. When Laura left, I finished out the mile for  a cooldown and an even number, and then I went home to shower and sleep.

I ran 6th out of 42 in my age group (Who knew there are so many women alive at my age????), and 145/322 among women.  I'll take that. Even if I had PR'd in this race, I still would have been 6th, so I'm fine with my efforts and the results of those efforts. I'm also happy with the fact that I eked out 4 more miles when I could have just punked out today.

On a last note, I didn't post any pictures from last week, so here is proof that I ran 16 miles with my friends (and yes, I do have friends):

The Mother Runners see me through.
This is the big week, Peeps. The Akron Marathon is on Saturday. I waited up for the Kabyle Chef to come home from work on Friday, and I told him that I expect that he and the kids will be at mile 20ish to cheer me on. I've made my peace with my training; I've done all that I can do. I'm taking the day off work Friday to get my packet at the expo and get my head together, and then Saturday is the moment. Will I run away from trouble? Will I succumb to the Voices in my head that tell me I should give up?  Stay tuned to find out.

I hope that if you run Akron, you will find me and say hello (or share a post-race beer with me). Even if you aren't racing this week, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Race Recap: Leave No Trace Half Marathon

After running 20 miles of the Blue Line last Saturday, it seemed like a good idea to sign up for a trail half marathon. I figured I could meander on the trails of Camp Manatoc, work some other muscles, and get in some miles at an easy pace.

Camp Manatoc is a Boy Scout camp, and once a year they open their trails for this race. It's a cool opportunity, and the trails are beautiful.

I had lots of friends at this race: both Goddesses and Mother Runners.

Goddesses: Marta made me take this picture 4 times because she thought her finger was too close to her nose.
We got a picture of all of us together:

Mother Runners + Goddesses = A Very Fun Race

It was a bit chilly; the weather app said 56 degrees, but it really felt like 46 degrees. I wore a long-sleeved shirt, and part of the race I was very glad I did, and the other part I was cursing my stupidity. It's sometimes difficult to find a happy medium.

We all started out together, and it was very cramped on the trails. Eventually the herd thinned as the speed demons passed us, and we started to hit our pace.  After a few miles, I felt like speeding up a bit, so I ran ahead to where I found Renee and Carrie at the bathroom stop, and we ran together.

The trails were awesome, and the fuel stops had ginger ale, so you know I was happy.  No GU on the trails for me--pretzels and ginger ale all the way.

At mile 11, I looked at my watch and half-turned to Renee and Carrie to announce, "We are probably going to beat 3 hours!" As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I went down.  Boom.  I lay still for about 30 seconds while I decided whether I was hurt and scared or just scared. I decided that I would live, so I got up and started up again. Renee and Carrie were good enough to stay with me even though I had jinxed us.

My left elbow and my knees were feeling pretty banged up, but I didn't want to look at them because there was nothing I could do about that. We raced on and finished in 3:03.

The medal is hard-core; it weighs about a gazillion pounds.
I took a picture of my knees before I got them cleaned up at the aid station because Renee reminded me that trail-runners only have bragging rights if the wounds look bad:

Gross, right?
After the race there was a vendor village with HiHo Brewery inside the Boy Scout mess hall, but my teeth had started to chatter, and I knew that it was housecleaning day anyway, so I left the Goddesses and the Mother Runners to their beer while I returned home to scrub toilets.

I really enjoyed this race: the trails were gorgeous, the weather was perfect for running, I loved seeing so many of my friends.  This is a keeper for sure.

It is now three weeks to Akron Marathon time. I think I'm going to run at least 16 miles next weekend and then go for a proper taper.

Will I see you on the Blue Line? I hope I do. I especially hope that no matter where or how you run, you run happy, Peeps!

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