Penguins 6.6K and Urban Bourbon Half: A Tale of Two Races

Two races, back to back weeks. I did the 6.6K and totally crushed it. I did the 5K in 25:22 and slowed down just a small smidge for the remainder. I did 7min/30sec run walk splits. My final time was 34:10 and I placed absurdly well (for me).

Overall: 412/3371 (top 12%)

Women: 109/1842 (top 6%)

F30-34: 14/302 (top 4.6%)

I have never done better comparatively in an actual race. And then the next week happened. I was in San Diego for work and I did two long runs. After the second one on that Wednesday, my foot hurt a bit. I went to urgent care on Thursday to get it x-rayed and they confirmed that it wasn’t broken. So I figured I was good to do the race on Saturday. I was running with a friend, doing 3min/30sec run walk splits. Made it through the first four miles and then it all went to shit. My foot was hurting like crazy. I kept hobbling along at a pretty decent pace and hit the med tent at mile seven. The medic found the one spot that really hurt and told me it was likely muscular. He said I could be picked up by the sweeper car whenever it comes or go to the next water stop. I decided to keep going and asked at the water stop if they could call anyone. They said they couldn’t and, at that point, I decided to just finish the damn race and get my medal. I walked the rest at about a 14min/mile pace and finished in 3:04:44. If I take out the time at the med tent, I was slightly under 3 hours, which, considering I didn’t think I was going to finish at all, felt really good! Except now I’m 100% sure that I sprained my ankle and I’m hobbling around and ordered some crutches. Was this my best idea? Absolutely not. Do I have regrets? Ehhhh, not really.

Pier To Peak Half Marathon Recap

I guess I shouldn’t have expected any less from “the world’s toughest half marathon.” I wasn’t sure if I should do it to begin with… I hadn’t done much hill training and I really haven’t even been running that much. A few friends convinced me to attempt it and I made the bargain with myself that, if I woke up in time, I would do it. Friends… I woke up at 3:30am, with plenty of time to drive from LA to Santa Barbara and arrive before 5:30am. It was cool and misty for the first two hours, so I really have no complaints. The first two miles were also pretty mild as far as elevation, so I kept a good steady pace. My goal was to stick with 90/30 intervals and I did that through about 8.5 miles. Mile 9 got a little tough and I had to start walking. I walked a lot of miles 9 through 11 because the elevation just got to be a bit too much. Then I finally got a bit of a downhill and that helped me start to run again and push the pace, no matter how tired I was. It definitely had a bit of a twist in the end: my watch said I was .2 miles from the finish, so I really started pushing it. I heard the people at the end… but then I just kept rounding corner after corner. In the end, my watch was 1/3 of a mile off. I ended up finishing in 3:03:01. Slower than I wanted (goal was sub 3), but I was almost never passed and was able to stay pretty consistent given the elevation (see my Grade Adjusted Pace in the table below).

I think the biggest thing was once I got to the top. When I looked down, it was completely overwhelming. I also know I couldn’t have pushed myself any harder because my calves were shaking, which has never happened to me after a half before. I also could not believe how far I had gone as we were taking the shuttles down. The climb was steep enough that even the shuttle was going pretty slow on the way down and, with every turn, I kept realizing how high we really were. At one point, during mile 10, I think I said to the person running next to me “why did we sign up for this?”. I still stand by that and am not entirely sure what drove me. You can see the full results here (fastest was 1:35 and the fastest woman was 1:50!). I managed to be 227/288 , 72/100 women, and 16/22 in my division. And I was 1 of only 16 people who weren’t from California! I think this crowd was probably a bit tougher than the average half, so I’m pretty happy with how I did.

Mile Pace GAP Elev
1 10:06 /mi 9:51 /mi 40 ft
2 10:05 /mi 9:21 /mi 135 ft
3 12:01 /mi 10:01 /mi 266 ft
4 11:50 /mi 10:18 /mi 217 ft
5 14:34 /mi 10:55 /mi 409 ft
6 14:11 /mi 10:43 /mi 400 ft
7 13:34 /mi 10:28 /mi 377 ft
8 13:57 /mi 10:47 /mi 366 ft
9 14:57 /mi 11:24 /mi 396 ft
10 14:54 /mi 10:10 /mi 425 ft
11 18:20 /mi 12:58 /mi 482 ft
12 11:14 /mi 11:20 /mi -111 ft
13 16:46 /mi 12:42 /mi 380 ft
0.37 17:33 /mi 13:07 /mi 145 ft

Presque Isle Half Marathon Recap

I decided to do this race oh... one week ago. A friend of mine was planning on going down and I decided to join her last minute. It's been really hot so I've been missing track and haven't been running as much. I knew I could still run a half, but I didn't want to go too crazy. I say that a lot, but this time I actually stuck to it. I started off a little faster and then actually pulled myself back, slowed down, and kept it at a nice 10:30-11min/mile pace. I did 90/30 intervals and felt pretty good throughout the whole race. It was between 73-78˚F during the race and pretty muggy. My hip flexor did get pretty tight early on (around mile 4), so I was also just happy when the road straightened out so it didn't get any worse.

Overall, it was a pretty fun race and I think I would definitely do it again next year. Here are my stats:

  • Time: 2:19:08
  • Pace: 10:37
  • Overall: 601/1076 (top 56%)
  • Division: 58/102 (top 57%)
  • Gender: 280/601 (top 47%)

Pittsburgh Half Marathon - The Comeback!

I know I haven't written in awhile, but I haven't been completely dormant. I went back to Crossfit in March and didn't run during that month. We moved to Pittsburgh at the beginning of April and I also started at Pittsburgh Fit. It's been great there so far, a little more balanced than a normal Crossfit gym. I've been going there five times a week and running four times a week, taking either Saturday or Sunday as my rest day. I also signed up for RunCoach and it's been pretty helpful as well! It basically gives me the same schedule that my former running coach gave me. Since I hadn't run much from December through March, I was pretty worried that I wouldn't be able to finish this half. I was worried that my knees would start to hurt again.

But then Sunday came and I just ran my own race. I put my podcasts on and ran a 7min run, 1 min walk iteration the whole way. The hills definitely got to me a bit and I slowed down a bit near the end, but I never had to switch to a 3:1. Overall time was 2:05:13, which was my second fastest race since Run To Remember (this race had 300 ft more elevation gain). My fastest mile was actually my last one at 8:39/mile, which I was pretty stoked about. I ended up in the top 35% overall and top 25% in both all females and in my division. I didn't start this race intending to go hard, but I was feeling good and I just ran my race and it turned out pretty darn well. I got a small amount of knee pain at the end of mile 13, but luckily that went away as I sprinted to the finish. I also got a few "nice tights!" shoutouts from the spectators. Which, fair... my tights are awesome.

BAA Half + Oktoberfest 5k Recaps

I just got this tool and it has made a huge difference in how my feet feel. Because I was feeling slightly better, I was able to argue myself into doing both the Oktoberfest 5K and the BAA Half. I was pretty much always going to do the 5K... it's short and I didn't see any reason to skip it. However, I had convinced myself that I shouldn't do the half. Then I convinced myself that I should a few days before. Why? Because it was the last race in the distance medley and I didn't feel like I should skip it unless I was feeling really shitty (which I wasn't). So here are the race recaps!

Oktoberfest 5K was a solid race. The Cambridge 5K folks always know how to put on a great event. They are never too crowded and always a good time. Since it's Cambridge, the courses are almost always completely flat. While I didn't improve as much as I wanted to, I did decrease my overall time by about 30 seconds and finished in 25:26 (an 8:11 min/mile pace). Near the end I started slowing down, so I made the choice to take some strategic walk breaks. I had been on track to finish my last mile in 9 minutes. By taking the walk breaks and catching my breath, I was able to keep that last mile down to 8:20. Lesson: there is no shame in walking. Granted, half the time I walk during a race, I get some comment like "you got this! almost done!" from some stranger. Not sure about everyone else, but comments like that make me feel like I'm failing by walking... instead of making a strategic decision that will allow me to get a better time than I would if I had kept running.

The BAA Half was not what I expected. Mostly my own fault because I didn't bother to look at the course map ahead of time. It's in Jamaica Plain, so it starts off in the opposite side of the city from me, so it was a bit hard to get to and from there. The course was also quite hilly, which was a surprise since the other BAA races (the 5K and the 10K) were downtown and incredibly flat. It was also incredibly rainy this past Sunday. And cold. Considering 10000 people were registered and only 6200 people finished, I think a significant amount skipped this race. And since the cutoff time was 3 hours, I'd wager a large amount of people didn't finish. I finished in 2:08:52, which was 3640 overall and 416/832 in my division. The extra cool part for me was that I was one of the last people to start (they closed the start 2 minutes after I crossed), so getting to run past at least 3600 people was pretty cool! The course was also really pretty. If it was a nicer day, I probably would've really enjoyed this race (despite the crowd). As it was, I was not too cold while running, but as soon as I stopped, I was freezing. My clothes were soaking wet. I had a jacket that I had kept in my hydration pack that I put on, but it quickly soaked through as well. I had to wait about 20 minutes for an uber, so, by the time I got home, I had been cold and soaking wet for about an hour. My lips were blue and I couldn't stop shaking. But at least I got a medal with three unicorns on it! As for the Distance Medley as a whole, I finished in 3:31:33, 71/196 in my division and 322/932 out of all women. While it does feel like an accomplishment, I probably wouldn't do it again.

Quick rainy selfie right after finishing the race. Not freezing yet!

Quick rainy selfie right after finishing the race. Not freezing yet!

Mayflower Brewing Half Marathon Recap

This was a very hilly, hot race. From that perspective, it was a good training run. I now know that I do need 2 liters of water when running long distances on a hot day. Also, that I really need to do more trail runs. However, as a half marathon, it was not that great. My main complaint is that for at least 4 miles, the roads were open to traffic both ways. Routinely we had to cross the road while cars were coming down and it just didn't feel very safe. It was a good after party, but it just wasn't quite worth it. Also, they definitely did not have enough porta-potties. There was a massive line before the start of the race, but then there also weren't enough during the race. I spent 7 minutes just in line waiting to go to the bathroom at around 3.5 miles in. The next one, at 8 miles, looked like the line was probably just as long.

Overall, I ended up finishing in a chill 2:21:30. Glad I did it, but I will not be running this race again.

Providence Half Marathon Recap

Well, that... went. I got a cold Wednesday night and by Thursday night I had a fever. My fever broke on Friday, but my throat was super scratchy and my voice was pretty much gone (still is). On the upside, my plantar fasciitis seemed to be going away. Day of, I got up early, ate, stretched, rolled out, so I thought I was ready. Apparently not the case.

I haven't had knee issues in a while, but I started dealing with runner's knee during mile 2. I pushed through, trying to be grateful that I wasn't really coughing or sniffling. I managed to do the first 7 miles at mostly under 10 minutes per mile. I slowed down a bit for the next four, doing about 10:40/mile. I picked it up and ran the last 2.1 miles straight. The rest of the race, I actually managed to stick with my run:walk intervals. Despite being passed by the 2:15 pacer very early on in the race, I managed to finish at 2:15:18, which is 7 minutes faster than my training run. I wasn't able to talk at all when I finished because my voice was gone and I'm not 100% sure that I don't have bronchitis. One month to recover and figure out what went wrong and do better next time!

14 Miles: Done

This was my last long training run. I spent 20 minutes taping up my feet and my knees and I think it paid off. At no point was I limping (though I was pretty slow for a few miles). I set a new PR for distance and pace for distances over 10 miles. I finished 13.1 in 2:22:17 and finished the whole 14.15 in 2:34:37 at a pace of 10:56 min/mile. Considering how sore I was when I started, I'm feeling pretty confident that I can hit my goal of 2:10 come race day... maybe even sub 2! Considering I did my full marathon in 5:55 6.5 years ago, I'm feeling pretty damn amazing about these times.