Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers Day Run, Race report

My third race of the season has ended and this one was probably the toughest one. I knew the race was a big one, but in all honesty I had NO idea just how big that meant.
We decided to take the train down to the location rather than fight the throngs of traffic we were expecting, however once we got there, we realized we could have parked pretty much right there and have no issues. Lesson learned.

By the time we got to the warm up area, we had about 25 minutes to go to the washroom, check our bag and then get in line. Somehow I have the worlds worst radar when it comes to picking bathroom lines....How is it that people can spent more than 5 minutes sitting in a porta potty??? 15 minutes later, we were finally able to check our bags and get ready to go.

Waiting for the start!

In line, waiting to go.

We finally got the start and the slow walk to the actual starting line began. Once we finally crossed, we were able to run with the masses and off we went.
It was quite amazing being surrounded by that many people all doing the same thing. I'm not a claustrophobic type of person, but there were times at the very beginning where I felt uncomfortable being around that many people, that close!

Before we knew it, we were on the backside of the mall and the line of runners in front of us was incredible. I had noticed that I was already having trouble breathing, and I felt worn out already. I looked at my pace on my watch, and I was shocked to see it registerring around a 7.28/km pace. That is about 1 minute faster than I normally run! Obviously being around all of these other runners pushed my pace well beyond where I should have been. I backed off as soon as I realized and tried to keep a slower pace. However that proved to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated. At the end of our first Km, I was running a 7.35 pace.

I tried to just enjoy the run and people watch at the same time, but it was hard. The sun was bearing down on us and even though it was only a little after 9am, it felt like it was 20+ degrees already. I had trouble keeping my sunglasses on my face due to the sweat pouring down from it:)

At the end of the second Km, my pace slowed a little to 8.02/km. Still faster than I usually run.. I was definitely feeling the burnout already, having pushed way too hard at the beginning. I knew if I did not stop myself and take a walk break, I was not going to finish this race in a decent time, possibly not at all. So the smart thing to do took over, and I stopped. I think that first walk was about 15 seconds, which also coincided with the water station. I grabbed a glass, quickly tried to take a sip or two and then off we went again.

The hoards of runners ahead of us

Over the next three Km, I slowed myself down and took that walk break if I needed it. I think it ended up being 4 breaks throughout the whole race, something that killed me to do. Km 3 had clocked in at 8.20/km, Km 4 was 8.28/km and the 5th and last clocked in at 8.47/km. So the walk breaks helped, but even with them, while running I found I could not slow my pace down enough to not run with the masses around us.
By the time my watch marked the 5th kilometer, I was beyond beat. Yet we were still too far from the finish line to be done. I was pretty sure my watch's GPS was not off its mark at all, but I couldnt see the race being that far off from its distance either.

It wasn't until I thought more about our race that I realized the error in our race.

By the time we got to the end, I had used everything left in me to cross that line running. A final official time was 44.53.. well beyond any training run I had ever done.
But I looked down at my watch. I stopped my timer when we crossed what I thought was the timing mat.. seems I was wrong. I dont know why I didn't stop it when we actually crossed the big inflatable finish, but in any case, my time was registering 43.54 in 5.35km.

So why was I so off in my distance?

I realized it at the end, that while running, we had actually run on the outside of the path, not the inside. So especially when we hit any turns, we were actually running "wide" and therefore running further than we needed to be. I suppose this is a hazard of road races with 18,000 people involved. There was just no space to run on the "inside" and we were forced to the outside, causing us to run longer.

So when I look at what my overall pace was according to my Garmin, I was showing a 8.12/km pace.. even with 4 walks in there, we were actually running about 6 seconds faster than we normally run in training.
So with that, I was happy. It wasn't an "official" time, but it made more sense given the facts I had.

Post race redness!

I learned a lot about myself in this race. Things that will help push me in whatever my next race is.

1. Pace is everything. Know your pace.
I hadnt realized just how easy it was to get caught up in what everyone else was doing and not know how fast I was going. I burned myself out way too early and was unable to hold my pace beyond that. However I did learn I could run a full kilometer about a minute faster!

2. Walk breaks are not the devil.
I don't know why but I almost feel like a failure if I walk. Stupid, isnt it. Many runners stop at some point in their race for whatever their reasons, and the vast majority run faster than me, so why am I a failure? I have to let go of that stupidity and allow myself to walk if I need it. I can do more damage in the long term by not walking, than if I took that 10 or 30 seconds to slow down.

3. I do not like running with 18,000 people.
This was likely my first and last time running this race. I found it was just too many people to be comfortable doing what I was doing and I felt it was too overcrowded for my liking. I like smaller races... a LOT smaller:)

4. I enjoy a massage after I run..

Seriously, best 5 minute massage ever:)

It was an experience, and I am glad I did it. It was still a Sunday Run for me, and I learned more about myself as a runner. I didn't get the overall results I wanted, but it doesn't matter. It was still worth it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Interval training and Mothers Day Run Prep

For today's run I decided it was time to work on increasing my speed for the 5k, and the only way I can think of to do that is to interval train.. Push myself hard and fast for a short period, then walk it out and repeat. Today is a nice day with a cool breeze which made it a good day to sprint in small doses.
I started off running my normal pace for about 9 minutes, then began my intervals. I started watching my pace on my Garmin and was working to push it to about the 8 minute mark, which is about 17 seconds faster per Km than I normally run. Here I thought that was a decent increase and a good way to push. (Go with me here..:)) After my first interval which lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to a 1 minute or two (I didnt clock them), I walked it off until I could catch my breath and start again. Each speed interval I hit, I looked down at my Garmin to check my pace and see how much I could push. I really wanted to hit that 8:05-8:00 pace and keep it there..

Now I have to be honest. I had no idea that my pace shown was actually an average pace over my entire run.. so it included all my walk intervals.. So what I thought was a 8:00/km pace, wasn't exactly true.
Anyways, I plugged along and really pushed myself in the speed portion, lasting at some points only 45 seconds or so before having to stop and walk, but I know my walk breaks were no longer than 2 minutes. Around the 3km mark, I was beginning another speed interval when I glanced down at my watch and saw 6:04/km

Ho-ly Shit...

I actually had to look at it again (yes, while still running) just to make sure I wasn't seeing things..
Again it took me a while to realize that my pace was taking into account my entire time out running/walking, but to see a 6:Anything, was absolutely phenomenal for me. ... It never occurred to me that I could run that fast.. or I suppose faster, since it was an average over my whole time out..Needless to say that only lasted about 30 seconds before I was walking again, and then I never quite got back up to that mark.

By the end of it, I was definitely spent. I couldn't quite finish the full 5k in intervals and got to 4.5km before calling it quits. I have no idea how many intervals I did, how much running I actually did over my walking, but I know it was a well earned trip out. I pushed myself further and faster.. And I know it will help make a difference in my next full run..

Which just happens to be the Mothers Day Run/Walk on Sunday. This race is a huge event in the city. I have always heard of it, never been to it or seen it, but the pictures they show on the news are always crazy. Somehow my partner and I thought it would be a good idea to run it...
Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that this one supports our local Childrens Hospital and its a big deal, but I don't do well in large crowds. And being such a beginner runner, I have no idea how many people are racing and I don't exactly look forward to running shoulder to shoulder with people... But it will be an experience for sure:)

So if anything, my interval training should hopefully help me shave off a few seconds from my time on Sunday.. if not, well, it was still fun:)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Playing with my new toy

I have been researching and eyeing a heart rate/gps style watch for my runs for a while, but the cost factor was hindering me from being able to get one. Imagine my surprise when Costco all of a sudden had a Garmin watch on their shelves for about half of the cost that I could find anywhere else..Sweet!! With the generosity from my mother, I was able to purchase the watch and give it a spin this week on my runs.

Ignore the crappy time and distance on it. My run this afternoon was not as good as planned:)

In any case, I am still figuring things out with it and learning how to use it properly. I do love the heart rate monitor on it and I can't wait to look at the data... once my husband figures out how to make the program work with linux..

I took the watch for a spin on Thursday for my run, and decided to do my normal loop at home to see how the GPS matched up. Unfortunately I made a split decision at the 3km mark to glance at my watch.. And watching the time was then something I ended up doing every few moments.
Ugh.. not what you want to do when you are trying to concentrate on the run. Of course I ended up slowing down and fatigue set in because I knew where I was in my run. It was stupid of me to look at it.

But lesson learned.. don't look at the watch:)

I am excited to wear it in my next race this coming weekend on Mother's Day!