Running Journal – Some weeks you just surprise yourself

Last weekend’s mountain haul put a cramp in my running game this week along with travel. Tight legs and tight schedules left me with only two days of running on a treadmill for 1/2 hour each. The other downer is that I am always deathly afraid I’m going to fall off the treadmill so I run really slow, 5 mph. Yes, that’s right, 12 minute mile.

Anyway, it was a no excuses morning today. My kitties woke me up trying to burrow under the covers, get either me or my husband to play with them, or just kept flopping on my legs trying to get comfortable. This went on for about an hour starting at 6:30a. So, at 7:30a I just got up and threw on my running stuff.

Elsa got me going with Let it Go – don’t judge, it gets me to run up a 200 ft elevation in 1/2 mile out of my neighborhood. Except this morning I was having wardrobe malfunctions. The new running/yoga pants I bought seemed to want to slide down my butt rather than come along for the ride. I almost stopped and turned around after only about 100 feet and then thought better of it. If I did that there was no telling if I would actually go back out again. Pulling them hard up to my chest and yanking them further up to my knees and thighs, I just opened up my stride and kept going.

About every quarter mile I could feel them slipping down and would grab ahold and lift them again. Thank god I was wearing one of my chubby girl shirts that hung down halfway on my thighs. No one was going to get a glimpse of my lacies or butt crack.

Despite the pants slide, I was hauling. I could feel it. Longer stride, faster steps, muscles activated. The hills weren’t challenging me in the same way they normally do this morning and the flats and down-hills were exhilarating as I felt like I was flying through my town. Lights and traffic also seemed to be in my favor as I easily crossed streets and intersections without having to stop.

I was able to get in a bit of a trail run as my playlist launched into Miranda Lambert’s Little Red Wagon and I ran-danced to her declaration of loving her apron but not wanting to be your momma. I think I might even have been singing a bit, so gladly I didn’t run into anyone along the way.

Anyway, hitting the center of town I hit my next big hill which slowed me down a bit even as I tried to keep my pace and open my stride more to leap up instead of using my lazy short step move. But, it is a short hill and getting up to the commons I was able to once again pick up steam and head back home.

Stopping my tracker and pulling up my pants once again, I felt good. My runner’s high was in full gear. The sweat was starting to pour out. And amazingly enough, this was the first time I finished without the tinge in my hips or tightness in my legs. Something was definitely different today.

921That difference turned into a personal best – 3.85 miles at 9:21 minute mile. I shaved off 23 seconds from my last PB during a 5k and more than 30 seconds off to my typical outdoor pace. Need to work on my hill – having a hard time cracking 10:00 min mile but this is still 15 seconds faster for my first mile out. If I can shave off another 30 seconds overall, then Tom and I can run together – if he slows down abut 30 seconds.

So, what I think happened is that the mountain hike strengthened my legs and I took it slow and easy during the week. My body was able to recover and gave me a bonus/thank you gift for treating it well.

Note to self:

  1. Switch up my intensity to get gains.
  2. Wear running pants with a drawstring so they don’t fall down.
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5k Personal Best – Woo Hoo!

Today was race day. And, it was for a great cause. Live 4 Evan is a foundation that helps out families and children with congenital heart disease. Each year they have a 5k run and fun festival to raise awareness and funds.

Tom woke me up at 7:15a by patting my face with our cat’s paw. Not a bad way to rise if you ask me. But, I am still not much of a morning person and went into robot mode of getting myself together and slowly becoming human. When we left the house to make it over to registration for 8:30a, I was just starting to feel like myself and the race jitters started to kick in.

As Tom and I walked toward the starting line area and then hung out stretching (Tom) and people watching (me), the jitters kicked in. What if I hit the wall on the hill at 2 miles? What if I pace myself to faster runners? What if my knee decides to tinge? What if….

At some point it didn’t matter anymore. Everyone lined up at their designated signs.  Tom stepped up to the 8 min mile section while I hung towards the back of the 9 min mile group and closer to the walker group. I popped in my headphones, set my music to play, and readied my watch to track my run. The horn blew and the pack began to move, slowly at first, and then faster as we all started to cross the starting line.

It was a brief uphill from the park where we started to the main road. I felt strong and confident moving to the outside and easily passing some of the other runners in my group without over exerting myself. The first mile was a gradual downhill and I opened my stride and used the time to my advantage knowing mile two was going to s**k. I continued to move past more and more runners building my confidence even as other faster runners were also moving past me. Pace from my Apple Watch: 9:20

Mile two was the killer as I thought. The first part heading in was actually not too bad. I continued to move past a few other runners and saw some runners that over did it in mile 1 start to slow or walk. I found a couple women that seemed to be similar in pace to me and used them to push myself. But, it was a half mile into that stretch that the uphill started to kick in. My calves from my big run a couple days before began to remember that uphill isn’t always fun. I could feel myself starting to shorten my stride as my internal coach kept encouraging me to keep on running, keep on running, keep on running in Dorie’s (Ellen’s) voice. When I made it to the end, I could feel my legs get happy again and my heart and breath began to even out. Pace on my Apple Watch: 9:44

Pushing into mile 3 I felt like a runner again but clearly feeling a bit more sluggish after the uphill.  I worked to open up my stride but my calves were tight. Even on a short downhill I couldn’t launch the way I had at the beginning of the race.  I watched as two of the women I was running with through mile 2 moved ahead of me by about 20 feet and I ultimately tried to hold that distance to keep me going. Heading past a cross point, I caught sight of Tom with his red baseball cap which gave me a little more momentum. Pace from my Apple Watch: 9:48

Seeing the 3 mile marker was awesome. Coming around the bend and catching sight of the clock was even better. I was floored when I saw the number. There was no way it could be correct. I picked up my pace a bit and dashed through the finish line without slowing down.

Live4Evan 5k Finish Line

I couldn’t be sure of my time. Was it really true? Rather than think about it I took a water, spotted Tom and we compared notes.

Finally, the waiting was over. Sitting in the local espresso bar having our coffee and breakfast, my phone had already notified me of our results.

I almost screamed.  A personal best!

Overall time: 30:15
Pace: 9:44
Female: 69/138
Female 40 – 49: 19/28

I shaved off 13 seconds on my pace and I’m pretty pleased that I’m in the middle of the pack overall, even if a bit slow for my age bracket. My other awesome sauce is that each mile, even during my awful uphill, was under a 10 min pace (although I can see my watch is a bit off). I’ve never done that before. I always creep back up to about 10:20 on the uphills.

Anyway, its 2 1/2 hours since the end of my race and I still have runners high. Maybe it is the results. Or, maybe it is the large iced Americano. Either way, I’m looking forward to the Wicked 5k on October 29. I just need to figure out what my costume will be…

Big shout out to my hubby, he had a personal best as well. At some point maybe I’ll catch up to him and we can run together. Here is his stats:

Overall time: 25:38
Pace: 8:11
Male: 60/136
Male 40 – 49: 6/18

Tom and I basking in the glow of the after run:

Live 4 Evan 5k 2017  Live 4 Evan 5k 2017