Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

Sorry for the late post – Big Things have been happening since Thursday’s race, and this 20-minute ankle icing break (more on this later) is my first free moment in days!

Here we go:

All day Thursday, I was super anxious: I organized two groups to race in the corporate cup, only to have one walker drop out the night before. Never having done the race before, I was worried that the rest of the team (whom I had personally wrangled into participating at all) would not be allowed to race. My running team was fine, but I agonized over the walkers’ fate all day.
When we arrived in Montpelier, my anxiety increased when we found we’d parked MUCH farther than necessary, and I might miss check-in. So, with post-race coolers in hand, we booked it to the statehouse, just making good time. I started to relax as we waited for my crew to assemble, and I finally headed closer to the starting line.
After a little bit, we moved out to the runners’ “ring,” where hundreds (thousands?) of runners piled into the road.

BANG, we started running – in place! There were so many people in front, the group barely made it out before the walkers’ gun went off. Our first five minutes were slow – 15min/mi slow. Thankfully though, the crowd began to thin as we went further, and my coworkers and I were able to pick up speed. We dodged and weaved through the crowd, finding every little clearing possible, just to get ahead.  After about a mile, our first hill came up – and I thanked myself for the hill sprints and training as I sped to the top, no problem. Two of us were left from the team, shaving our avg pace down to a cool 12:45 by about halfway through. I knew my pace was fast at this point, perhaps too fast, as I began to suck air like a beached fish. Lucky for me, I remembered to just focus on pushing all the air out, and getting a complete clean lungful in.  My legs felt great, no aches, no real fatigue!

At some point in here, we were compressed to the right-hand side of the street by Screaming Bike Guy, who was clearing the return race route for the top runners, already hot on his heels (The first place runner for men came in at roughly 16 minutes).

Up another set of little hills (completely beasted into the ground), then round a corner for the most glorious half-cup of water EVER. Apparently, the race organizers decided to nix the second water stop, because it never appeared. Regardless, we kept running, the sun kept beating down, and the speed walkers kept wiggling along beside us.

(by the way, if you’ve never seen a speedwalker scooting along beside you at 5-6mph, it’s quite the sight.  I believe two even beat me to the finish at the end)

The rest of the distance was pretty uneventful, exercise-wise.  I kept up with my surprisingly gazelle-like teammate, zipping up any hills we came across and meeting her a little ways into my recovery at the top.  I knew I couldn’t let her get ahead, simply for the sake of pride: yeah, she’s clearly in amazing shape, but only new to running, and I was supposed to be the speedy one.  So I kept going at what I figured was a rather fast pace.  Left-right-left-right.

We ran through neighborhoods of cheering people, got high-fives from kids standing on the curb, and finally rounded the last hill corner to the sounds of a rustic string quartet (one of whom was my high school chemistry teacher – how’s that for school reunions).  I really started to worry about how much juice I had left at this point.  I knew there’d be a downhill section I could coast down, but I also had an inkling that there’d be a bit of flat straightaway to tackle afterward.  Nevertheless, I powered down the hill, caution causing my teammate to get ahead as she flew (I swear) down the slope in about 3 long strides.  Well, experience was my friend here, as I ended up having enough power to SPRINT the final 50-100m, giving a boost I didn’t think possible after seeing my down-the-hill running buddy yelling for me to go faster right before the finish line.  I coasted through the checkpoint and began to slow down, feeling like I’D DONE IT! and probably overdone it.  I walked toward the water station, heart pounding, stomach heaving – yep, I couldn’t get out of my own head, and paid the consequences (bleagh).

After the utter embarrassment subsided, and I owned up to it to a couple people, it became less embarrassing, and more funny.  Right-of-passage, never-letting-that-happen-again funny.

Final Time: 35minutes 48 seconds – pace: 11:32min/mile – Personal Record completely blown out of the water!

After cooling down, changing my shirt, and grabbing the coolers, Steve and I headed up to hike to the park tower – a big stone structure at the high point of the park behind the Capitol.  When we got to the bottom of the tower, he pulled our BBQ chicken sandwiches, potato salad, and lemon cake.  I managed to eat just one sandwich and save the cake.  Then we climbed to the top of the now-deserted tower, and looked out at the horizon and the nearly-setting sun.  I thought it was a great way to wrap up a race, and our 10-year dating anniversary.  But I had more in store.  Steve set up a tripod and his camera, seeming to intend to take a memorial picture.  I sat there in my race clothes and his sweatshirt, enjoying the moment.

…then he began to get smiley, and fumbled with something in his pocket. A hand-made wood and steel and brass ring.

I started crying, and he proposed.  Down-on-one-knee and everything.  When I said yes, the sun cast the most glorious golden glow over the top of the tower, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect moment.

…and so ended my first ever 5k.


I did it!  I have returned from my yearly physical to report that Yes, I have concrete measures of success!

My last Doctor-calibrated weigh in was in early December (prior to the calorie-laden holidays), and comparing my current numbers to then – I’ve officially lost 10lbs!  I had a mini celebration happy dance with the nurse who checked me in when I saw the previous measurement.  Considering that I’ve pretty much done it all through exercise and smarter eating, I have to bet that the actual fat loss is quite higher (my sister’s trainer friends have informed me that there are 1.3lbs of fat to every 1lb of muscle – and I’m definitely building muscle).  Woot!

Aside from the number, which is really small compared to the muscular and psychological successes so far, my doctor informed me that I have developed “a runner’s pulse,” which shows that my body is becoming accustomed to the routine and my metabolism should be working at a great pace (I ran about 90 minutes before the checkup, so this is a super good measure).

I’m all set to keep training, keep pushing, and keep building healthy muscle (aaaand losing nasty fat)!

Celebrations aside, I should also report that I did my run this morning – at a slow, super consistent pace, with a full 5minute walking warm up.  I was wary that the resulting pace would be high, considering the walk & that my quads are still complaining from Tuesday’s sprints (going down the stairs = BRUTAL); However, I managed a satisfying 12:30min/mi average pace over the 3.1 distance!  Hooray 5k training!

I’m absolutely noticing a difference in my stride and the reduced shin/calf muscle pain now that I’m focusing on landing more toward the front of my shoe (thank you, sister).  It was awkward to change from a full-foot landing, but I bet that since I no longer need to fling my heel back up (thus over-engaging my calves repeatedly), my legs suffer less fatigue.  I will need to keep a close eye on my ankles though, as I feel a bit less confident in the new stride – alphabet stretches and better everyday shoes are in my future for sure.

I think I can call today a Good Effing Day!

On tap for this weekend is a bit of a break from the regular routine – the Geeky Gang (the boys and a good friend from college) and I are headed down to Charlton, MA for our quarterly LARP weekend (Live-Action Role Playing).  I will don my corset, boots, skirt, and armor and run about thwacking baddies (or run from them, as the case may be).  I’m interested to investigate how much better I’m able to run after 8 weeks of training – goodness knows the corset fits better!  I’ll be sure to write a quick (probably groggy) post upon my return.

Wish us luck, and lots of successful foam-sword / nerf gun combat!  Huzzah!


Posted: April 18, 2012 in exercise record
Tags: , , ,

It’s Tuesday night, and that means it’s SPRINT NIGHT.

For the last 3 weeks, I’ve joined my buddy-down-the-hill on her weekly Sprint WOD down at the high school track, partly as moral support, partly for added security (hooray scary hometown).  Usually I don’t run, I jog a little bit, or run ahead as a “carrot” to chase.
Last week, however, I upped the ante by running a fast 2.5 miles just before.  I felt great, but wanted a different challenge. 
I decided to join the sprints, doing a modified version (newbies FTW).  I would sprint the straight sides and walk the curves for 3 circuits, making it a 100×6 (doing a 100m sprint 6 times).  I do plan to get up to 4 loops (or 100×8), but today was good for baseline!  My super slow times, recorded for posterity:

NOW, I know I can improve here.  I’ll just keep training, stretching, and hydrating, and those numbers will drop, little by little (that 24.4 will be beaten into the dust)!

Anywho, I did my little sprint routine, then the four of us buddy-flipped the big effing tractor tire 3x, and jogged back for smoothies and foam rolling. 
*Let me just note that I love and hate rolling my sore legs over that thing (that moment where your hamstring must release or die, and it chooses death), but it eventually feels great after.  Must buy for self.

Finally, after a little socializing, I began the jog home.  I managed the whole thing, including the Hill of Doom and the short bit beyond that.   When I reached my apartment, I sat down on the stoop, satisfyingly tired out.

So here’s to more sprints on upcoming Tuesdays!  I shall meet them stoically, so that the foam roller and smoothies are all the more delicious when I’m done!