Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March 2014 Races in Review

March was a busy month for races! I raced all but one weekend this month.

March 1 - Race for Cancer 5K

My husband and I were in Birmingham for a family wedding and I joked that we should have looked for a race. The next thing I knew, he had given me a few options for a Saturday race.

This race was huge - much larger than our average races here. Given that I didn't pack anything other than some clothes for the treadmill at the hotel, TJ Maxx was my friend. I bought a pullover as well as an armband for my phone so I could listen to music.

When I got to the starting line, I heard the men behind me talking about how this course was not one for a PR. I also saw the mountain ahead of me. I decided I'd enjoy this run and see how I did.

The course was beautiful. It wound through a gorgeous, gated neighborhood. The neighborhood was full of hills, which was a challenge for this girl used to running at sea level. When I came down the mountain, I saw my husband standing there taking pictures. Not having my watch, I didn't know exactly how fast I was other than the every half mile alerts RunKeeper gave me, but I was in the top pack.

I saw 20:00 on the clock as I was getting near it and ended up running the race in 20:15 which was a 5 second PR for me. I was thrilled! I was the first female in my age group, fourth female overall and ninth overall. Hills and all, I managed to PR in this race. Ultimately, I think this gave me the boost of confidence I needed to run under 20 in my second race of the month.

March 8 - Pacing for Pieces 5K

This is one of the trail races that I love to run! We had a lot of rain prior to this race, so I knew it would be muddy. About a mile of this race winds through the woods.

I don't know what it was about this race, but I started off really strong and felt great during the whole race. Since February was a slow month with no races, I ramped up my strength and core training and I could really tell a difference in this race.

When I got to the halfway point, I looked at my Garmin and realized if I kept my pace, I'd finish in the low 19's. I tried not to get too excited about it because this isn't the best course to pick for a PR, so I just focused on finishing the race strong.

I ran across the finish line in 19:48! I was thrilled that I finally broke 20 minutes in a race and set a new PR.

I finished as the top female and was 6th overall.

March 15 - Sports Medicine Challenge 10K

I don't race 10K's too often, mostly because we don't have a lot of them locally. There is a great 10K in the spring though and I decided to run it this year. In the past, I've run the 5K as we've had soccer and I don't really like to miss any of the boys' things, but this year, the starts aligned and the soccer game was late enough for me to run the 10K and make it to the game only a few minutes late.

I have to say that this is one of the toughest courses in town. It has some hills and the back part of the course literally zig zags up and down streets for a few blocks. I didn't particularly enjoy that part.

I felt horrible the morning of the race and contemplated dropping down to the 5K. I was dealing with a nasty sinus infection and just didn't feel like pushing it. I wanted to PR, but I knew that it was highly unlikely based on the way I was feeling.

The 10K starts off about a block behind the 5K, so it was fun running through a large group of runners as it made me feel I was at a larger race for a few brief minutes. I felt good at the 5K point and decided to keep going (I seriously considered breaking off and just finishing the race as a 5K). The back part of the course was definitely the toughest. There wasn't really anyone near me, so I essentially ran by myself the last 3.1 miles.

I finished the race in 44:01. I was 58 seconds slower than my race PR, but all things considered, I was ok with it. I was the top female and 8th overall.

March 29 - Titan Trot 5K

The last race in March was the Titan Trot 5K. This was a trail race and I really looked forward to running it. The week of the race was not my best week. I ended up in the ER with a kidney stone a few days before the race (I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy!) and was still taking antibiotics for a sinus infection, so I didn't really run much at all that week. I think I ran maybe 6 miles before the race.

It started raining on Friday night before the race and didn't stop until after it. I decided to be brave and run the race in the rain - not my favorite environment for running. The course was extremely muddy, had a few small ditches we had to jump over and was just overall wet. The longer we ran, the harder it rained.

I planned to just take it easy during this race because I wasn't feeling 100 percent. I was really happy with the way I ran. I finished in 21:39 which is much slower than usual, but I felt good which was something I was concerned about. I was the top female and fourth overall. I'm hoping this race will be run in the sun next year!

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