Monday, May 19, 2014

Race4Taylor 5K Recap: A New Course Record

This Saturday was the Race4Taylor, one of my all-time favorite races. It was the third year that I've run it and the fifth (and final - makes me sad) race.

Last year, I set a new course record at this race. My goal this year was to run strong and break my record.

My legs were feeling pretty tired Saturday morning. My Fridays off have unofficially become longer run days which isn't a great combination with a Saturday race, especially one I want to run fast.  That said, I ran seven relatively easy miles and did a gym workout Friday, which meant that I ran 17 miles in the three days leading to the race. Not the smartest decision ever, but I won't complain because I really had a great run Friday morning.

When we got to the race Saturday, I ran a brief warm up and stretched really well. My run club sponsored me in this race, so I wore my singlet which was really comfortable. I'm pretty loyal to Nike dri-fit racerback tanks, but this singlet felt surprisingly good. I also wore my new Mother's Day gift: my Garmin Forerunner 220. I'll do a full review of it later.

This race attracts around 400 runners each year and all the top runners from anywhere remotely close were there on Saturday.

I didn't get as fast of a start as usual. I somehow got lost in the bog of the runners from the second and third row. If you race often, you know that everyone, regardless of ultimate pace, runs fast at the beginning. This is great and by about half a mile in (at the latest), the crowd has thinned. My slower start hurt me at this race though. I like being out in front from the beginning.

I ran the first mile great, albeit a little slower than normal in 6:13. My first mile has been right at or under 6:00 for my last few races. It's around this point that the 5K and 10K broke off, so once this happened, it was me and a little boy with a few men in front of us. I always watch this small group of guys who run faster than me and feel like if I can see them at certain points, I'm doing well.

Mile 2 on this race killed me. Flat out killed me. It's when I started feeling the previous day's miles. It's also the mile of rolling hills. It's relatively flat where I live, but this course has some hills. Not a steep up and down, but rather a few nice, long rolling hills. If you're into that sort of thing. My legs weren't feeling it Saturday. I looked at my Garmin at some point on this mile and had to give myself a pep talk because at that point, I didn't quite know for sure whether I'd even beat my record from last year. I wasn't looking for a sub-19 like last week, but I did want to be somewhere below 20. I ran this lovely second mile in 6:38, 25 seconds slower than my first mile.

Mile 3 was better. While the road did look like it was going on for days, I managed to give myself a big enough pep talk to finish the race with a 6:18 mile for a total of 19:45. I also broke the course record of 20:25 which was my PR for most of last year. I was first female and eighth overall. I was happy with my run!

I won another bobble head trophy - seriously, is this not the best trophy? There were also pirates running with us and anyone who beat the pirate got an "I beat the pirate" cup. I got this as well along with a gift card to a local running store and a cash prize for setting a new course record.

I really hope this won't be it for this race. It's a great race, but an even greater family is behind it. The family who owns and operates our local timing company began it after their son was killed in a tragic auto accident almost six years ago. I've gotten to know and love this family through the incredible sport of running. They are an inspiration to all of us. Through their foundation, they've given tens of thousands in scholarships. I'm thankful to have crossed paths with them and know that I don't speak alone when I say running means more because of them.

Friday, May 16, 2014

#20x31 Weekly Recap

If you're not a part of #20x31, you're missing out. My friend Jen and a few other awesome bloggers and I are hosting this challenge to do 20 minutes of exercise every day of May.

JVKom Chronicles

4 miles (3.1 mile race/18:56)

2.5 miles - 2 miles of quarter mile repeats, speed work

Active rest day running around

Active rest day and baseball

7 miles
Strength workout at the gym - arms, legs, upper body, butt, abs, back

 3.1 miles
Ab work

7 miles
Strength workout at the gym - arms, legs, upper body, butt, abs, back

Total Miles: 23.6

Next week, I'll talk about active rest days and what I do then. I usually don't take two days in a row off from running, but after an 8 miler last Friday, a fast race Saturday and speedwork Sunday, I decided to give my legs a rest as I have a big race tomorrow that I want to run well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


This Saturday, I did something that I didn't really ever expect to do in a race: I broke 19 minutes and PR'd at the Sonoco Birthday Bash with a time of 18:56 (6:06 pace). To say I am thrilled and on cloud 9 is an understatement.

I am fortunate in that I don't work on Fridays in the summer and I like to take advantage of the early morning to get in a long run. I've had a race the past few weekends and have one the next few, but I was itching to try out some new shoes (Brooks PureFlow) and feeling great, so I ran 8 miles.

When I got up Saturday morning, my legs felt a little tired, but I wasn't worried about the race. I ate my usual scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast (in the car) on the way to the race.

I picked up my bib when we got there and then did a short warm up run. I stretched probably three or four times as much as I normally do before a race. My legs felt tight and I wanted to loosen them up as much as I could before we started.

I started up front like usual and stayed with the fastest guys at first.

Going into the second turn, I told one of the fastest men I know (really, he is incredible!) that I was sticking with him because I wanted to PR (my previous best race time was 19:48). We stuck together the whole race.

This course had some small hills on it which is different for me. I used those to my advantage and went up and down fast.

I don't look at my watch often when I race - usually just at the first half mile or so and again on the miles - but I love that my new watch (Garmin Forerunner 220) beeps at each mile. When I was at the half-way point, I was pretty confident that I'd PR, just had no idea it'd be by that much.

When I got about 100 yards from the finish, I saw my husband and our boys. A few seconds later, I rounded the final corner and saw "18:40" on the clock. At that point, I just sprinted in as fast as I could.

I may have also screamed "I broke 19!" as I ran through the finish. I was thrilled to say the least.

I ended up with a time of 18:56 (6:06 pace), was first female and sixth overall.

The feeling of accomplishment is still so strong. When I race, I race against myself and my best time and I can say that without a doubt, this race was the best won I've run.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Running Week in Review: 5.5.14

Last week was a good week of exercise. I managed to hit 100 miles for the first time ever to round out the month of April. I ran a few miles less than I have the past few weeks, but that was ok. I raced the past two Saturdays as well, so I'm not upset about my mileage. I also strength trained. I feel so much stronger when I strength train (I guess that's why they call it strength training!) and I can tell a difference in my running as well.

4 miles before work/28:22
2 miles at lunch/14:22
Strength training at the gym - upper body, abs, butt

4 miles/forgot to log time
50 twisting sit ups on the incline bench

4 miles/forgot to log time - hit my 100 with this run!

Off day - I did chase around first graders so I got in a workout, but went on a field trip with our oldest.

3.1/22 something as I had a race the next day
40 pull ups
75 twisting sit ups on the incline bench

Another 1.5 warm up and cool down

2 miles
8 minute abs
40 pull ups
60 twists on the incline bench
30 on each side crunches with a kettlebell

Total Miles: 23.6
Total Time:  2:24:13

Monday, May 5, 2014

Petal to the Medal 5K Recap

On Saturday, I ran my first Petal to the Medal 5K. I missed this race last year and I'm so glad I had a chance to run in this time. It was a trail race which is my absolute favorite kind of race. It wound throughout a state park which was beautiful.

The weather was perfect Saturday morning. When we got there, I did a warm up run of a little over half a mile. I don't always warm up, but I can tell when I do. Our run club also took a picture before the race.

When it was time to go, we lined up and readied our watches. My husband gave me The Little Red Book on Running for Christmas and I've been putting many of the tips to practice, one being to get a good start. I've really started pushing my start which in turn has helped me. I could tell it did big time in this race.

Unfortunately, my Garmin broke. I noticed a problem with it last Saturday when it wouldn't turn off after the race, but I was hoping that it was just a fluke. It picked up the signal fine and started, but the timer didn't start and after 2-3 minutes, it just turned off. I knew my pace for those first few minutes had me running a little less than a 6 minute mile, so I was happy with that and just enjoyed the race.

My favorite part of the course was when it went into the woods. I think because I grew up in the country and running trails, I really appreciate these races. I miss running on dirt roads and around fields some days.

I saw my husband and the 3 mile mark when I turned off of the trail and back onto the main road that goes through the park.

I finished the race in 20:29 (6:36 pace). I was really happy with my result. I was less than 20 seconds slower than my last road race and this was on a trail. I finished as the first female and fourth overall. It was a great race!

Friday, May 2, 2014

The May Challenge! #20x31

Do you like a challenge? Do you like setting goals? Do you like a feeling of accomplishment? If so, then I have something for you!

This month, I'm participating in a May fitness challenge with the lovely Jen, Samantha and Carly. Our challenge for you this month is to exercise 20 minutes a day each day during the month of May. If you think about it, it's only 10 hours and 20 minutes of exercise in the entire month (and May has 744 hours). I know we all have busy lives, but surely there's 20 minutes in there somewhere for exercise.

Each day, we'd love for you to share your workout on social media using #20x31. And on Fridays, we'll be hosting a link up where we can share our workouts for the week. 

And there's more: at the end of the #20x31 challenge, you have a chance to win a $20 Amazon giftcard. You'll get one entry for every Friday link and you can earn additional entries (one per day) by using #20x31 and tagging Jen, Samantha, Carly or me.

Here's to a great May challenge!

Anna @ Running Smiles
Twitter: runningsmiles
Facebook: Running Smiles

And since I was slack (actually I was on a field trip with our oldest yesterday and forgot to schedule this post), I'll go ahead and share with you my workouts for the week.

Monday - 6 miles, strength training at the gym
Tuesday - 4 miles
Wednesday - 4 miles
Thursday - rest day, but I did get in way more than 20 minutes walking around with first graders! (I'll talk more about active rest days later!)
Friday - 3.1 miles, 60 situps on the incline bench, 40 pull ups

Keeping it real for you on the first Friday of #20x31:

Slow 3.1 as I have a race tomorrow; post working out before work; our pull up bar; ready for the workout