Thursday, November 28, 2013

A month of racing

November has been a crazy month of races for me. I've done 4 races in 5 weeks. The good news is that these have been races that are less about time goals and more about the race themselves.

November 2: Charleston James Island Connector 10k - I signed up for this race to run with a friend who is training for her first half marathon in January and wanted to see how a 10k would feel after starting training in early fall. This was her first 10k (first ever race, really) and the goal was to pace her to a sub 1-hour finish - a lofty goal since my PR is 1:00:30! But, we've both been running and playing soccer a lot so we figured we should be able to manage that goal. The night before the race we started discussing split times and the pace required to finish under an hour (~9:40) and that's when the nerves set in. We decided to try to stick with a 10:00 pace and then kick it up as we got into the race. Our final splits were:

  • Mile 1 - 10:02 - on target!
  • Mile 2 - 9:35 - too fast!!
  • Mile 3 - 9:45 - too fast!
  • Mile 4 - 10:48 - water stop, slowing down a bit and turnaround (we know the hills we have to climb to get back)
  • Mile 5 - 11:10 - much slower, several walk breaks (mostly uphill)
  • Mile 6 - 9:52 - picked up the pace
  • Final 0.29 - 7:11 - kick it in for the finish
Official time: 1:04:12
Lessons learned: Running with a friend can push you to go faster before you're ready. I'm very bad at pacing myself for shorter distances, as evidenced by race #2, though I have been getting better for my long runs - I need more practice. Check how times are calculated - there was a chip on the bib, but everyone's time started when the gun went off, not when they crossed the start line - disappointing for a race with over 1000 people.

November 9 - Portland Waterfront 5k - this was a completely impromptu race. I was in town for a wedding, but needed to do 6-7 training miles, so I got up early and went to run a scenic route around town. I came across signs for this race on the route I was taking  and immediately got on my phone to get the details. The race wasn't for another couple of hours, so I finished my training run at 3.8 miles (11:37 pace), went back to the hotel, ate breakfast and then went back out for the race at 10:30. It was a very small race of 116 finishers so immediately I starting thinking about how cool it would be to place in a race in another state (at this point, I think I had forgotten that I had already run 3.8 miles). My previous 5k PR was 25:51 and I've been running a lot more since then, so I figured I should be able to come close to that time again (did I mention the temperature was in the 30's?). 
  • Mile 1 - 8:04 pace - too fast! 
  • Mile 2 - 8:47 pace - slowing down quite a bit, hit a big hill near the turnaround at the halfway point
  • Mile 3 - 8:56 pace - really slowing down
  • Last .12 - 7:17 pace 
Official time: 26:35
Lessons learned: Start slower and be more realistic about goal pacing - I had already run 3.8 miles, so I should have known that running close to a PR time was going to be very difficult. On the other hand, I pushed myself hard during this race, which was really miles 5-7 for the day, so I know that I can run hard on tired legs.

November 23: Charlotte Checkers 5k - combining two of my favorite things into one day = the perfect excuse to do a race. As part of the registration for this race, you get a free ticket to that night's hockey game. This was the second year for the race, so I knew what I was getting myself into (big hill to finish the race) but it's a lot of fun. Last year there were a lot of people wearing jerseys and even one person dressed in full hockey gear (with running shoes instead of skates). 

  • Mile 1 - 7:20 - starting out going downhill, but still too fast
  • Mile 2 - 8:39 - better pace, but slowing down a lot
  • Mile 3 - 9:20 - hills! 
  • Last .2 - 9:07 - I didn't look at the course map closely enough, the finish was moved up from last year, so I didn't kick it in early enough
Official time: 26:27
Lesson learned: Look at the map, even if you've done the race before.

November 28: SouthPark Turkey Trot 8k - this was my third year doing this race, but the first year I've ever tried it in a costume. Last year I was able to run sub-45 minutes, which I was still hoping to be able to do. Tomorrow's post will include more information and pictures, but for now, the splits:
  • Mile 1 - 9:13
  • Mile 2 - 8:54
  • Mile 3 - 9:34
  • Mile 4 - 9:28
  • Mile 5 - 7:45
Official time: 44:54
Lesson learned: Don't forget about the hills in SouthPark!!


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