June 26, 2011

Cancer Challenge 10K

I ran my first 10K yesterday and set a new PR! This is the fourth local race that I've run, and it's definitely one of my favorite events, second only to the Bentonville Half Marathon. I haven't run any long distances since the half, so I was very worried about how this race would go.

The night before, I was so nervous that I couldn't sleep. I had my snazzy new orange and blue outfit laid out with by bib pinned on and my chip already on my shoe. I checked and double checked to make sure my Garmin was charging, and I made sure my favorite playlist was ready to go on my iPod. In the car on the way to the race, Trea and I were talking about how long it took us to finish the course last weekend when we ran it for practice. It was tough with big hills, and it took us 1:12, which we weren't happy about. I thought maybe if we were lucky, we could finish in 1:10. Maybe. Trea said, "Nah, I think we can do it in an hour, or an hour and five minutes." I told him he was crazy and that you can't shave off 5-10 minutes just because you want to.

Boy, was I wrong.

Ready for 6.2!

There was a 5K that started at the same time as the 10K, and I was not looking forward to a crowded start, dodging little kids and walkers. But we didn't have any issues at all because they lined us up on the road facing opposite directions - we got in one lane, and the 5K runners got in the other. The gun went off, and we all went in different directions, which sounds chaotic but wasn't. We had no problems getting started and running a good pace immediately. In fact, I was running a lot faster than I needed to be, but there's always this urge to keep up with everyone else at the beginning of a race. I KNOW not to start too fast, but I do it every time. I was thinking when the field spread out a little, we would slow down into the pace we knew we had to run to make it all the way to the finish. But for some reason, I just kept running way too fast.

I kept watching my pace, but not doing anything about it, so I ran the first 2 miles worrying myself sick that I was going to hit the dreaded wall when I got to the huge hills on Tiger Blvd. I ran with my Nathan Sprint handheld filled with G2, so I pretty much ignored the water stops and just focused on taking little sips every 5-10 minutes. Trea, however, hit every water stop so he could pour water on his head. When we got to the biggest hill, I slowed down a lot. I was struggling and I could hear my heavy breathing over my music, which is never a good sign. I was starting to feel awful and had convinced myself that I had overdone it at the start and I was going to end up walking at some point.

And then I saw my friends!

I was so happy to see friendly faces!

My sweet running friends had gotten up early, woken up their little ones, and trekked to the top of the hill with funny signs to cheer us on at the hardest part of the course. I knew they were there and had seen them at the start, but I didn't expect to see them again until the finish line. The three couples - Charles and Jenn, Lori and Jason, Tiffany and John - had a total of 6 kids with them, so I was surprised to see them in the middle of the course. It was just the boost I needed! Even though I really wanted to sit down on the curb with the kiddos, I was able to push ahead and make it up the next big hill. Trea and I spectated the Race for the Cure, so I know how exhausting it is to walk and cheer all morning. I cannot express enough how much I appreciated them!!

After we made it past the hills, we only had 2 miles left and I started to relax a little. I knew at this point that I could make it all the way and keep a decent pace. I kept checking my watch and realized we could actually finish quite a bit faster than we had in training. I had expected to be one of the last to finish, but the closer we got, the faster I ran. First, I just wanted to come in under 1:10. But then I realized we could do even better than that. When we saw the finish line and the big huge clock counting the seconds, I ran as fast as I could. I wanted to come in under 1:07, and I knew I wouldn't make it if I didn't sprint. I crossed the finish line at a 6:19 pace and my official chip time was 1:06:48! So I guess Trea was right; maybe you can shave off 5 minutes if you aren't afraid to push yourself. I had nothing left at the finish line, which is just how it should be. I did my best, had a great run, and I couldn't be happier with the way things turned out. 

We made it!

About the event
The Cancer Challenge did a great job putting together a fun event, and one of my favorite things was the course map. Instead of posting a blurry homemade PDF on their website, they linked to someone's run on Garmin Connect! Since I run with a Garmin, I'm familiar with this site and use it all the time. It was awesome to be able to zoom in and see exactly where the course went and see the elevation. ALSO, I noticed a handy little button on the Garmin page that said "Send To Device." I clicked this, and it transmitted the course map to my Garmin, so when Trea and I went out to practice last weekend, I just followed the arrows on  my watch and didn't have to worry about remembering every little turn. Thank you, Cancer Challenge!

This race also had the best goody bag I've ever gotten. We got a t-shirt, a hat, and a super nice backpack by Outdoor Products filled with TONS of samples and fun stuff. Most of the products were for women, so Trea wasn't as impressed, but that means I got double!

The event was well-organized, parking was easy and it wasn't too crowded. There were plenty of water stops along the way, though it would've been nice to have mile markers and the traffic could've been controlled a lot better. I came way too close to cars on several occasions when I thought at least one lane of the road had been closed for us. At the finish line, a volunteer handed me an icy cold rag. By my reaction, you would've thought she had given me a $100 bill. That cold cloth was amazing, and I was so grateful for it. There was plenty of fresh fruit and ice cold water for finishers, and the results were posted online within about 24 hours. All in all, it was a very well run event, and it's one I hope to run again next year!

June 18, 2011

Father's Day

I have the best parents. I've always thought so. They selflessly made sure my brother and I had everything we needed and gave us a happy home. They've loved me through thick and thin.

Even when I was a surly teenager.

This weekend is for celebrating Dad, but I'm thankful every single day for both of my parents. Dad taught me how to drive (fast) and Mom taught me how to cook. Dad took me hiking and fishing, and Mom made sure I had the sparkliest dresses.

Together, they taught me what a home is and how a marriage should be. They taught me to respect my elders and to not pass notes in church. From them, I learned the value of a hard day's work, to always remember to count my blessings, to give back when others are in need, and I learned that NASCAR is a real sport.

They're a great team, and I know I'm biased, but I think their hard work paid off for two great kids.

So Happy Father's Day, Dad! You - and Mom - are the best!

June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Summer is here!

Farmers Market

Time for Farmers Market,


For creek splashin'



And cool, sweet rewards after a hot weekend run!

Homemade ice cream

June 6, 2011

I'm a sore loser

Even though there was nothing to win.

I went to my first group speed training session this evening. It's organized by a local running store, Rush Running, and I've been wanting to try it for months, but have been too afraid to go. I know I need to work on getting faster, but I don't know anything about running track or training, but I made up my mind today to give it a shot.

I tweeted my friend, Matt, to see if he would be there, and he encouraged me to come out to the track and try it. He even called me at work to talk me into coming! When I got there, he was so helpful to explain how many meters make up a lap and made sure I understood what was going on. We got our instructions, and then we were off!

This was the drill (I think; I forgot halfway through, but this is what I did.)
800 meters at 5K pace
400 meters recovery jog
800 meters at 5K pace
200 meters recovery jog
400 meters all out

Since I'm a beginner at speed work, I was told to do this twice. Veterans were to run it three times. I lined up in the back because I fully understand that I'm slower than most people. My fastest 5K pace is about 10:15 per mile. But tonight I found myself at the back of the pack, not catching up to anyone - not even the old guy. I checked my Garmin, and I was running mid 8's. I don't run 8-minute miles. I know that's too fast, and I can't sustain it for very long. But I was DEAD LAST. I ran so much faster than I should've run, but I didn't slow down. For me, a recovery jog should be about a 12:00 pace, but I was running barely a 10:00 for some reason. I never actually recovered before it was time for the next 800 meters of speed. I also never caught up to anyone.

While we were running, the organizers were jogging the track the opposite direction and shouting encouragement to oncoming runners. As I was running my second 800 meters, one of them said, "Looking good! Nice and relaxed!" But I wasn't on my relaxed recovery lap. I WAS RUNNING AS FAST AS I COULD. Compared to the other runners, I looked like I wasn't even moving. I tried not to count how many times I got lapped by the front runners, but I did. It was a lot. I also ran without music, which I'm not used to doing. Since I was overdoing it, all I could focus on was the sound of my heaving lungs, which was surprisingly loud. And I should mention that it was 90 degrees under sunny skies and so humid I could barely breathe. Things were not going well.

I tried to rationalize that the reason I'm there is because I'm not fast and need to get faster. I shouldn't expect to be better than anyone because, well, I'm just not very good at this. But I'm usually better than someone. At least one person. I've heard several people say that these group training runs are fun because there are people of all different skill levels and paces, so there's nothing to be intimidated about. But what if you're the slowest pace? Someone has to be last. What if that's you?

Today, I gave up after only one set. I didn't run two like I was supposed to. I was too hot and had run too fast so that when it was time to sprint, my pace barely changed. I couldn't imagine doing another set in that heat and behind all those people who were running so strong. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone and walked to my car and left. I am a sore loser, even though there was nothing to win.

In running, just as in life, you have to run your own race. There's always someone smarter, someone more successful, someone always has a better idea, someone's always prettier. And in running, someone's always faster. But in my case, tonight, every single person was faster. I quit and went home because I was hot and tired, but I also quit because I didn't like being last. I'm not proud of the way I behaved, and I know that I'll never get better if I waste energy comparing myself to others.

Since I've been writing this, Matt tweeted me to say great job and to remind myself of where I started and how far I've come. From that perspective, I have a lot to be proud of. This time last year, I was struggling to run for 90 seconds at a time. Tonight I ran a little over a mile and a half, and my average pace was 9:35. I sorted my running log by pace, and that's my fastest training run EVER. I've definitely come a long way since last summer. Now I just need to work on having an attitude I can be proud of. I'll be back at Rush Hour next week to give it another try.

Because I was a big baby about this, I don't have any photos from speed work. I always like to include pics with my posts, so I'll leave you to admire the cutest dog in the world.

Bella loves Bobo

June 1, 2011

Tulsa weekend highlights

Even though I wouldn't let Trea listen to it the whole trip, I still have that Don Williams song in my head. We spent Memorial Day weekend in Tulsa, and it was good to get out of town for a few days!

We stayed at the Hyatt downtown. They lured us in with their fancy lobby escalator and "rooftop" pool, but the place turned out to be a total letdown. (An indoor/outdoor pool on the third floor of a 15-story building, does not a rooftop pool make.)

Tulsa Downtown Hyatt

The room was cleanish, though I'm still not sure why there was a giant one-foot square hole in the bathroom wall. But the place was quiet (aside from the 2:30 a.m. fire alarm), so it was fine.

On our first day in town, we slept in and headed over to the mall for pedicures, manicures and way too many hours of shopping.


We attempted to have dinner at Ted's, which, from what every person I've encountered has said, is the end all be all of Mexican restaurants. We arrived starving, exhausted from shopping and ready to stuff our faces with homemade tortillas and free (!!) cheese dip. And then we learned Ted's uses peanut oil in several dishes and had to leave with growling bellies. Allergy livin' can be so sad.

The Philbrook Museum had Shakespeare on the Lawn, so we headed on over there to watch The Taming of the Shrew.

Shakespeare on the lawn

It was a beautiful evening, and fun to sit outside under tall oak trees while the sun set. But many of the players had some issues...like forgetting their own names...and after an hour of poorly timed sound effects, we called it a night. 

The next day, we did even more shopping and had dinner at an amazing restaurant in Utica Square. Apparently, Fleming's Steakhouse is a chain, but we live in Arkansas, so we had never heard of it. The service was the best I've ever experienced in my life, and we had a fabulous time. The food is unbelievably good. And if you order the surf and turf - they crack your crab legs for you!! They also serve seafood with a bowl of drawn butter over an open flame to keep it hot. This made me ridiculously happy.

Drawn butter at Flemings

After our weekend of indulgence, we needed to burn some calories, so we went for a run the next morning. We went back to the neighborhood by the Philbrook Museum because it's such a pretty area.


The homes there are outrageous, and it seemed like the perfect place for a run. A few hundred other people thought so too, because about a half mile into it, we accidentally ran over the finish line of a 5K! Oops! I started seeing weary people wearing bib numbers and realized we were in the middle of a race course that was still in progress. We zigged and zagged through neighborhood streets, but couldn't find our way out of it. Sorry, racers!

Tulsa run

A visit to Tulsa wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Oklahoma Aquarium. Luckily, we were there on a day when they feed the sharks, and it was so crazy to watch! Standing in the shark tunnel was eerie when these massive, scary beasts would swim right for us and then go over our heads.


A fun three-day weekend to prepare us for a crazybusy work week!

In the shark tunnel
In the shark tunnel


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...