What a week! Not one but TWO races, and I’m happy with them both.
I started off the week with an easy 8 on Monday afternoon that I was able to squeeze in before subbing the advanced Pilates class at Milestone.
Tuesday was a little tune-up workout before the half on Saturday. Coach had scheduled a 3-mile run increasing speed every half-mile, finishing at race pace. I had texted to see what “race pace” he meant — 5k or like goal race pace for the weekend, and he said to go 6:30/6:15/6:00 for the miles. I said, “So … I might as well just run this race, huh?” And he said yes.
Race report 1: Gaslight 5k
HOORAY! I really wanted to run Gaslight this year. It’s the tenth anniversary of when I ran it as my very first 5k ever. It’s a pretty big race, about 800 people usually, and not far from my house.
It was about 88* when I started my warmup, so not exactly cool weather. I put in 3 miles, drank some Hammer Nutrition Fully Charged, and got ready to go. I had seen one girl who is a faster 5k runner than me but that was it, and I don’t know her well enough to know what her plan was or what kind of shape she’s in. She started a little back in the pack but caught up to me within the first mile and pulled away. I was comfortable with my effort level so I didn’t try to go with her, especially with a big hill right around the 1 mile marker. I have the advantage of knowing the course really well — I basically train on it if I’m running from home — so I planned to keep an eye on her as we came off the hill and see if I had a move to make.
I didn’t. On the way up the hill a kid (there are a ton of local cross-country kids who run this race) totally face-planted in front of me. He was fine and I saw him finish, but man, that sucks. The hill knocked my HR right up to 180, no surprise there.
Mile 1: 6:09. Coming off the hill, I focused on recovering from the climb while maintaining through the halfway point. This wasn’t a great mile for me, though. Mile 2 is always tough. It wasn’t until about 1.75 that I found my groove again and started to push the pace again. The other girl wasn’t really in sight, but there were plenty of guys around to chase.
Mile 2: 6:34. The first 2 miles are mostly long straight stretches, but the last mile has a few more turns in it. A right, then a left a block later, two blocks then left, two blocks then right, one block then left, three blocks straight to the finish. I tried to run smart tangents, keep pressing, try to make some passes. There’s one last hill in this mile at 2.66, so about a half-mile to go, and I used that as my cue to go. I hit the hill, made some passes and just kept pressing.
Mile 3: 6:20. Plus the last little bit, which was .06 on my watch in 19.5/5:42 pace. Final time: 19:22. Not a great time and I would like to think I’m in closer to 19-flat shape, but it was hot … not to mention I had run 22 miles on Saturday and 8 miles on each of the days since, with a 76-mile week in the books. It would’ve been super cool to win since it was my first-ever race, but that’s okay. It’s still amazing to see how far I’ve come since then — I ran 27-something in 2006 and thought I was amazing for breaking 30 — I even stayed for the awards, thinking I might place in my AG. Hahahah!
I put in another 4 miles to cool down, so 10 for the day. The first 3 were with a pretty big group, then I scooped up my pal Heather and her 9-year-old son for the last one. Heather was one of my first-ever training partners, starting just four months or so after I ran Gaslight as my first 5k! And at the time, her son was four months old and we’d take him out in the jog stroller — now here he is running under 22 minutes in his first 5k! Wow. Like life, right? Hammer Recoverite after to kick-start recovery for the rest of the week!
Coach told me that with my mileage, recovery from a 5k would be pretty minimal. He was right, like usual — Wednesday wasn’t any worse than usual after a workout. 6 miles easy, then Pilates that night.
No Thursday workout this week because of the half marathon … just another 6 easy. Rinse and repeat. Back to Pilates that night.
Friday was just 4 miles, and I did not feel as peppy as I would’ve liked considering the amount of easy running I had the past two days. But, truth is I can’t remember a time I didn’t feel flat during the last shakeout run before a race. I’ve had 3 mile runs the day before a marathon when I’ve thought, “There’s no way I can do this tomorrow.”
Race Report 2: Indy Women’s Half
I left for Indy around 4 p.m., hit the expo around 6 and picked up my very low bib number. No pressure! Jeez. Considering the other girls I knew who were running, I expected to finish in the top 8, and I didn’t have the race times to back up being seeded as high as I was. I stayed with one of our other PBT girls outside of town, and picked up a giant black bean burger and tater tots for dinner. She had a great basement guest suite so it was basically like staying in a hotel. I actually snuck down to the room while she was putting her kids to bed because the idea of having a quiet night with an early bedtime seemed magical. I called my husband, watched a couple of episodes of Covert Affairs on Amazon Prime (my favorite show and just started re-watching from the beginning), and went to sleep.
We got downtown a little later than I had hoped, crashed a men’s bathroom in the host hotel, and got in about a mile warm up. I was going to use Fully Charged before the race but didn’t really have time. I squeezed a Hammer Gel into my mouth as we started the warm up, and I had taken some Tissue Rejuvenator and Race Day Boost before. I had another gel in my pocket that I was planning to take during the race.
I knew quite a few of the girls in the front group and met a few more PBT women before the race started. I was following coach’s advice and worrying less about pace and more about feel, and letting that land where it may. I had a rough idea that 6:30-6:40 was probably appropriate, so as long as my splits were in that ballpark, it was good.
As expected, it was hard to not get pulled in when the gun sounded. But I did not want to get pulled in by the handful of girls I know are capable of running sub-80, so I focused on relaxing and finding a groove. My race plan from coach was to race but stay well under control until the turnaround at halfway. I could see my teammates Jen and Lucie up ahead — I’d love to see Lucie’s splits because she came by me about a half mile in, was with Jen for a few miles and gradually pulled away to beat me by 3 minutes. So well-executed.
I saw one girl ahead get passed by Jen and Lucie early on, and I was surprised to see that kind of miscalculation (they were too), but it turned out that girl was running the 5k, and I saw her turn off at about 1.5. I stayed focused on Jen and Lucie, and then just Jen, and cruising.
Coach was at 4.5, and he told me to keep my head in the game. “No runners in front, no runners behind, stay focused.” Good point. I kept reminding myself of all the long steady-state runs I’ve done solo when I’ve worked on that aspect of staying mentally engaged so that you don’t let off the gas. I also felt like I was gaining ground on Jen slowly but surely.
It was hot and humid through the first half and I kept thinking about tossing my visor aside. I hate running with anything on my head but I also really hate the rain in my eyes.
Miles 6 and 7 are the little out-and-back stretch. I saw the lead women coming through and was a little surprised to see Rosie with a solid lead over Rhi at that point. They train together and I assumed they’d run most of the race together and then fight it out over the last 5k at most. I don’t know the girl in third, but she was seeded third and had some good race times coming into this one. Then I saw Lucie, who was seeded sixth but should’ve been higher, in fourth. I was definitely gaining on Jen, and tucked on to her shoulder as we hit the turnaround.
It started raining. And not like a gradual start, but full-on rain. Jen asked if I was glad I kept the visor. Yes. Very. Part of coach’s advice on Friday was, “Just remember with bad conditions the tougher people do better. You’re in that category so bring it on!”
Jen and I ran together for just a little bit, and then I began to pull away. Because she had been in fifth, she had the last of the lead bikes which was now going with me. Thank goodness for that bike, because the course wasn’t well marked in places and I would have definitely gotten lost. I decided to press a little and try to drop Jen, I could hear her behind me for a while because of the wet pavement but at other times the rain was coming down so hard I couldn’t hear anything at all.
Coach had hopped over to about 8.5, and I had put a little bit of space between me and Jen by that point.
Around mile 9 I started to fall off the pace a little, but it’s hard to know if that was because of me or the weather. The rain would let up and then it would come down hard again. My shoes would stop squelching, and then I’d step in a puddle.
I like to break races into pieces, so this one was 5k, turnaround, 10 miles. The 7-9 stretch you have to keep evaluating your effort compared to what’s left in the tank, but once you hit 10 you can just pour it on.
Unfortunately, my teammate Lucie was so far ahead that I also couldn’t see anyone in front of me. It was pretty lonely over that second half, so I was glad I spend so much time running by myself!
I finished in 1:28:01, a smidge of a PR in way worse conditions. Coach noted that I may not have placed according to my seed, but I came damn close and set “a PR on a day that did not produce many of those.” I was hoping for a time that would help me goal-set for Monumental, but I don’t think this race is a true representation of fitness. That said, I feel like I raced well and stayed tough. I didn’t give up or back off, and that’s the hardest part.
The rain let up post-race, so we had a fun time hanging out (mimosas? yes please) waiting for the awards. Dry clothes helped! After that, I stopped by The Runner’s Forum en route to a nearby YMCA to grab a shower and head back to Louisville.
Sunday I put in a very slow and easy 4 miles and spent the rest of the day watching football.
Totals: 53.6 miles, 2 races, 1.5 miles walked, 3 Pilates classes taught.
(Log image coming, I forgot to upload Sunday!)
Awesome races! And great half in those conditions. Congrats on the PR!
Thank you! Not ideal PR weather, for sure!