Category Archives: Race recap

2016 Open Water Swim Challenge Race Recap

Yesterday I competed in my first open swim race ever, the Open Water Swim Challenge in Little Elm, Texas. I signed up for the race to practice swimming in open water (and at the 1500 meter distance) before my upcoming Labor Day Olympic triathlon.

I hear from a lot of triathletes that swimming is the scariest/hardest part, because (overall) that seems to be the weakness for most triathletes. Also, as they say, if you get tired on the bike, you can pedal slowly; if you get tired on the run, you can walk. If you get tired on the swim, well…there’s not a lot of room for quitting out in the open water. So I understand why swimming is the bane of many triathletes’ races, but I think there’s also a (mistaken) perception that for former competitive swimmers, the swim portion is no big deal.

Ask the majority of swimmers how they feel about the prospect of racing in open water, and you will quickly learn that it’s not necessarily easier on us. We like our lanes. Our chlorine. Our clear water where you can see the bottom.

This is all to say that while I was not worried about the physicality of being able to swim 1500 meters (although I knew pacing would still be challenging, given my history as a sprinter), I was very  nervous about open water. Plus, with only a month of regular swimming under my belt (and by regular, I mean twice a week for roughly a mile each time), I was still not feeling ready for a 1500 meter race.

Ready or not, though, this was my practice race.

marked up and ready to head to the beach. Unenthusiastically.

I am able to see my kids for one weekend during their Dad’s summer visitation, and this weekend was it. It wasn’t my top choice, exactly, but between Father’s Day weekend and his vacation plans, it worked out this way. I left it up to them whether they wanted to get up at the crack of dawn and come to the race, and all three voluntarily decided to come cheer me on. It was pretty awesome, considering I almost always schedule my races while they’re at their Dad’s, so they rarely see me in action (and never swimming).

My youngest giving me a hug for good luck right before I got in the water

I had no idea how the race would start – that’s how clueless I was about all of this. Would we line up on the beach and run in, a la Baywatch style? Would we jump off a dock two by two? As it turns out, we walked single file down across a pad (purely for count, not for time – the ankle chips were started with the gun), and then hung out in the water between two buoys.

waiting to enter the water

My husband got a great video of the start.

Don’t I look solid in that video? Stretching out, breathing every 4, sighting and everything (you can learn how to do anything by googling). I look like all the other swimmers out there, in our sea of pink caps slowly making our way towards the giant yellow buoys in the distance.

What that video does not convey (fortunately, because that would be embarrassing) is how utterly overwhelmed and panicked I felt for the first 200 meters or so. I don’t know what happened – I prepared myself mentally for the crowd, for the splashing and kicking and murky brown water. I knew what to expect. And it wasn’t even like I felt consciously bothered by the jostling and waves – I just could not catch my breath. I thought with the adrenaline of the start, I would feel fast and would have to reel myself in, telling myself to slow down (that’s what happens at the start of every running race), but instead, I felt like I was choking and having an anxiety attack. I vividly remember thinking, “If I feel this way now, how am I going to swim a mile? This is going to be terrible.”

Fortunately, that feeling only lasted a few hundred meters, tops. By the time I neared the first turn buoy, I relaxed and found my rhythm. To my delighted surprise, I naturally swam in a fairly straight line. I started by sighting every breath (which for me is a 4 count), because that’s what the online articles said to do, but realized I could get away with every other breath (8 count) and still stay on track.

I also realized I could close my eyes while underwater and therefore, not see anything that may or may not be swimming beneath me. Fear of fish: solved.

While waiting in the water for the gun, one of the ladies near me, when I told her it was my first open water swim, told me that she likes to actually touch the buoys as she rounds them. She said “if I can touch them, that means I’m doing a great job not swimming more than I have to”. I took her advice to heart, and found myself doing my old lifeguard swim (head up) around each buoy, with my shoulder actually brushing the buoys.

After two loops, it was time to head away from the yellow buoys, and swim for the “large tomato buoy, then in through the two small red buoys for the finish” (per race director). There was a kayaker at that transition point, yelling to us “if you’re 1500 meter, do ANOTHER loop. You have ANOTHER loop!”. I treaded water for a minute and yelled to him, “But I did 2 loops!” He looked at me, startled, and said “well then head on home!”.

While I had no idea where everyone was on the course (there were actually 5 different race waves going on  – a short and long aquathlon, and 3 different open water swim distances), I realized at that point I must be doing pretty well. I also felt strong enough to push harder towards the finish, and pick up the pace.

Even though I read online that a common mistake exiting OWS is to stand up too early, and was saying to myself “swim until your fingers hit sand. Swim until your fingers hit sand” – I stood up too early, in about waist deep water. Rookie mistake.  Thus, the awkward hop-run exit, caught below by my daughter.

 

my cheerleaders – taken RIGHT after I exited the water. Forgot to take my cap off.

My kids and husband excitedly told me they thought I did well…really well. At that point, we really weren’t sure, though, because women doing all the open water swim distances (750m, 1500m and 4k) all wore pink caps, and we all started in the same wave. They said they saw some pink caps come out of the water, but they thought most of those were the 750m.

Because of the aquathlon, the awards ceremony wasn’t going to be for another hour after I finished my swim, and my oldest had to be at work. I reluctantly left the race, wondering if I was giving up my (probably once in a lifetime) chance to stand on a podium in an awards ceremony as an adult athlete.

Then obsessively refreshed the results page all morning.

Turns out I did win my AG for the 1500m swim…by a good margin.

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I actually placed 4th overall (out of all women in the race), and 6th out of BOTH genders (only 2 men beat me!).

My first open water swim race was most definitely a success. While I am feeling less nervous about the open water swim portion of my Labor Day Olympic triathlon, I have to say, I’m still pretty darn nervous about the race itself. I am trying to wrap my brain around biking 25 miles and running 6.2 miles after what I did yesterday morning. Trying to just trust the training program, and focus on getting as fit as possible to finish.

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2016 Caveman Sprint Tri Race Recap

I did it! I survived my first sprint triathlon. I did not fall off the bike, or cause anyone else to crash (I was honestly more worried about the latter).

packing for a triathlon is a lot more complicated than a half marathon

As the triathlon got closer, I slept less. I checked the weather, which fluctuated from 60% chance of thunderstorms, to 80%, to 100%. Then I tried to figure out if it would be worse to have the triathlon canceled (I wouldn’t have to do it! But then I would have stressed and worried for weeks for naught), or to have it move forward (biking on wet roads. Enough said.) My best friend and I texted back and forth about 238 times on Saturday, discussing everything from the weather, to transition tips, to where to put all the stickers in the race packet (note: if you advertise a triathlon as “beginner friendly”, you might want to consider giving some basic instructions for that type of stuff.)

Race day dawned. Or rather, thundered. As we parked at the activity center, right on time at 5:45am for transition opening, it wasn’t quite raining yet, but the distant sound of thunder could be heard. I barely noticed, though, because I was too busy staring at ZOMG ALL THE SUPER FIT PEOPLE.

I have done 5 half marathons, 3 10ks, and 7 5ks at this point, so I’ve now had a lot of experience at race events. No offense to my lovely running community, but triathletes are athletes. I mean, I usually like to consider myself fairly fit and toned (especially for a middle aged mom of 3) but I was out of my league, here.

We hustled it over to transition, trying to beat the rain. My husband chivalrously asked if he could push my bike for me. On any other day, I would have taken him up on it (since I am still not even walking beside my bike with ease at this point. No, I am not exaggerating) but I decided that would look rather lame. I prepare him for not being allowed in transition with me.

Then comes my absolute favorite vignette in the entire day.

As we approach transition, there are 3 people loudly and cheerfully calling “body markings! Who wants some body markings?!” (you know, the numbers written on the arms. I know about this because I have extensively prepared by watching YouTube videos).

My husband, without a trace of sarcasm, excitedly turns to me and goes “OOOH! Body markings! Do you want to get them?! That sounds FUN!” (he really didn’t know about them).

I love him so much.

I enter transition, and start the Magoo-eyes squinting (keep in mind, it’s still dark) at the little signs with all the numbers written on them. That is when I realize just how many people are at this race. It takes me awhile to find my row. I carefully lay everything out, then stand there with my hands on my hips, wracking my brain to see if I forgot anything, while half listening, half trying to to tune out, the clearly-a-triathlon-coach giving instructions and reminders to his “team” the next row over.

What the hell am I doing up with the “team” people?!

the last picture I snapped before tucking my iPhone away in my bike bag. My carefully rolled socks in each shoe, designed for maximum efficiency (I watched YouTube videos) was rendered pointless when I had to wring out each sopping wet sock before putting them on.

I had decided to tuck my iPhone in my bike tire care pouch thing under my seat so that my husband could track my location. No, I did not need the contents in the pouch. I do not need them, because I do not know how to change a bike tire. Convenient!

I went inside, and picked up my timing chip. Remembering my best friend’s story of her chip falling off her ankle in the pool at her last tri, I nervously fasten, then refasten, the chip cuff roughly 17 times.  By this time, it’s almost 6:30 (7am start) and they start ushering athletes in the gym. Deanna finds me, and I instantly feel better.

For about 5 minutes.

Between the time when I came inside the building from transition (6am-ish) to 6:30, the distant thunder turned into crashing-overhead thunder, with lightening flashing. We wait in the gym with the over 600 other triathletes, waiting for the verdict.

  • 7am: we’re waiting until 7:10am to make a decision.
  • 7:10am: we’re waiting until 7:20am to make a decision
  • 7:20am: it will be one of three possibilities – we’re going to cancel the triathlon, we’re going to do just a swim-run, or we’re going to run it like usual. (this is where I squealed out loud and said SWIM-RUN YESSSSS)
  • 7:30am: there is lightening overhead but the radar looks like it will clear out by 7:45am
  • 7:40am: we are going to begin lining you up in 5 minutes. We will run the tri as usual, but you are welcome to use the option of only doing a swim-run.

Well. Shit. Here’s the thing you need to know about me. If the race itself became a swim-run, through no fault or choice of my own, I would have been thrilled. But no way could I wimp out and choose to not do the full triathlon.

  • 7:45am: cue the “the roads are very slick and given the weather conditions, please no one try to get a record today. Just have fun! Please be careful!”  What I hear: you will die on the bike.

feeling great at this point, dry and warm, at around 6:20am. I wouldn’t get in the pool until almost 2 hours later.

fortunately I was able to kill time while waiting for the lightening to pass by hanging with this lady.

We line up in groups of 50, and since I am number 119, I am in the 3rd group. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a little surprised I’m so far back, given that we are seeded according to our swim time. I estimated a 4:20 swim time (pure guess, given how little I have been in the water), but that’s a fairly decent clip for a 275 yard snake-lane swim.

As it turns out, people lie can be really inaccurate with those swim seed times.

For the first 5-6 laps, it was swimming perfection. I talked myself out of going out to fast (something I knew would be a really easy mistake to make, since I can sprint the heck out of 100 yards even completely out of swim-shape), and got a strong, methodical rhythm. Breathing every 4, easy flip turns under the lanes, dolphin kick off the walls, perfectly timed behind the guy in front of me, no one catching me behind.

And then I started passing people. At least for the next couple lengths, the people were easy to pass. The guy right in front of me was pretty much right on my pace, so he would pass someone, and then I would come up behind them in another 7-8 seconds or so, and pass them just as easily. It threw off my rhythm, but definitely didn’t affect my time.

Until the last 3 lanes, when I tried to pass a guy who just wouldn’t have it (it did make me feel better that he gave the guy in front of me the same amount of trouble). I cruised in next to him right at the wall (unable to flip turn because we came in together) and he wouldn’t let me by. Rude! Then, in the last lap, there were swimmers on both sides of the lane all the way back, and I got boxed in. It was very frustrating, since I knew it was costing me precious seconds in the one part of the race I could do very well in.

Which is all to say that maybe I need to shave some hypothetical seconds off my swim seed time in the future, so I can race the entire swim.

I love this picture so much. My mother can attest that this was my exact “on the block” stance of utter concentration from my competitive swimming days. I was 100% focused, waiting for the go signal. 

I remember this girl was easy to pass. I cruised by her well before the wall, and still did my flip turn.

  

this guy, on the other hand, totally messed up my mojo by not letting me pass at the wall when we came in at the same time, even though I was CLEARLY SO MUCH FASTER THAN HIM (wrong seed time, much?). This was me kicking it into high gear on the next lap to get around him.

Out of the pool, and on to the run to transition 1 (that’s called “T1” in triathlete lingo. See, I know it now). I ran out the back pool door, remembering to pull off my swim cap and goggles as I’m running. And OH MY GOD IT’S COLD AND WET AND I’M BAREFOOT AND TIRED ALREADY.

Fortunately, I used the (YouTube video) trick of making sure I looked for a touchstone in transition when I set up, so I would not get lost and confused. I put my bike right under a parking lot lampost, and found it right away. Success! I got this! Helmet: ON! Goggles and cap: DOWN! Socks ready to roll right over my feet: wait a minute, I have to wring them out first.  Oh good god, everything is SOAKED.

On the bike. I got this. I got this. I got this. *lightening flashes* I’m going to die.

The race route had us going 2 loops to equal 10.8 miles. The entire first loop, it was a steady stream of “on your left” and then a WHIZZ as people FLEW by me. Remember, I was up front with the fast people. I am not fast on the bike. I’m pretty sure I was the only person carefully braking on downhills (yes, really). There were many sharp turns in the bike course (I actually heard several other athletes talking about the turn-challenge aspect of the bike course, so that is not just my scared neophyte opinion, it really was a thing), which meant each and every time, I would sloooooowly brake and very carefully wobble my way around the turns.

I wish I was exaggerating for comedic effect, but honestly, it was bad. It was pouring rain and actually thundering and lightening, and all I could think of was my bike wheels skidding out from underneath me.

BUT, as I worked on my second loop (which was a HUGE relief because at least I knew what to expect), I actually passed some people! At that point, there were some of the later swimmers starting their first loop, and I was faster than some of them. Of course, it took me forever to actually pass people. First, I had to see if any hills were in the distance (I would not pass on uphills or downhills). Then, I had to look behind me to see if I was going to get in anyone’s way by moving over. Then, I would spend several minutes evaluating if I really would be fast enough to pass them.

I still passed at least 5 or 6 people. I know.

I think this is me finishing the bike, about to enter T2.  I was ridiculously relieved.

Off the bike (carefully making sure to dismount before the dismount line. Unlike Vancouver, when I wiped out in the street and split my knee open, careful to get my leg all the way over my seat upon dismounting), and on to T2. I jog my bike over, find my spot, and carefully hook my seat on the bar.

I try to unclasp my helmet. My fingers are shaking (from cold or exhaustion, I’m not sure which).  I spend seconds, which felt like minutes, fumbling with my bike helmet. I feel disoriented, and loopy. Helmet: DOWN! Visor: ON! Oh crap, I almost forgot my belt with my number. I forgot to lay that out this morning. I frantically feel around in my Speedo bag, and tug out the belt.

I start jogging, and realize that I only remembered to look for the bike exit from the transition area, and not the run area. As a result, I start running towards the wrong corner of the transition area, until I hear a volunteer yelling “Runners exit over HERE!”.

I have no proof, but I think he might have yelled that specifically for the goofball in the blue visor booking it towards the wrong corner.

I’m out, and running. Everything hurts. I tell myself that I will settle in, that it’s just the first mile, that my body will remember the running cadence.

I tell myself that for 3.1 miles, which hurt with every. single. footstep.

I look like I’m running at a good clip here. Good job, husband. In truth, I was absolutely dying.

At almost a mile in, I pass my husband (it was a weird loop in and around the activity center location). He’s beaming at me, pumps his fist, “You got this babe! Look at you!”

I look at him and say “I’m dying.”

His fist slowly comes down.

But I did it. I finished. Here’s the kicker: I estimated a 1:50 race time. I didn’t anticipate any type of impressive performance, for a plethora of reasons.

Swim (275 yds): 4:33.5   Bike (10.8 miles): 43:13.4  Run (5k): 32:27.6

Finish time: 1:23.41      9th in my AG

I seriously can’t believe it. I mean, I really can’t believe it. For my first triathlon, with very little sprint triathlon training, I feel like I turned in a very solid performance.

At brunch afterwards, my husband asked me: “So, are you going to do more triathlons?”

Me: “Well, it was terrible. I mean, I hated it. But apparently I’m good at it.”

Him: “So you’re doing more triathlons.”

notice my blue lips? I passed De going the opposite way on the run loop, so I waited for her to finish (she placed ahead of me, but because of the swim differential, I “finished” the race 10-15 min before her). I was FRIGID waiting in the rain for her, but I had to see my girl come in. 

2016 Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon Race Recap

I cannot believe I ran this race just under 2 weeks ago – it feels like a distant memory (so much for a detailed race recap). After running the half on Sunday March 20th, my husband and I boarded an early Monday  morning flight to Seattle, then traveled up to Vancouver on Thursday, finally arriving back in Texas on Monday afternoon. The past few days have been a back-to-work whirlwind of catching up, laundry, groceries, returning emails, and trying to acclimate to “real life”.

I ran a half marathon 11 days ago? Really?

On the one hand, I was really excited for this race. Unbelievably, it’s been an entire year since I last ran a half marathon, the Washington DC Rock n Roll half.   I enjoyed the Washington DC race (with the exception of the weather, and awful 2+ hour journey back to the hotel), and the course map looked intriguing. I’ve run several races in Dallas by now, but none crossing the Trinity River.

On the other hand, my initial excitement and confidence about a potential PR was undermined by the training maladies I’ve encountered over the past couple months. First there was the pulled back muscle, which led me to cancel my January Houston half marathon entry.  Then there was the bronchitis in January that led to another week off.

I haven’t had optimal training, is my point. Physically, yes, but also mentally and emotionally.

And so it was I found myself in the early morning hours, shivering in corral 10, wondering what, exactly, I was thinking when I decided to begin my spring break in what has been a very stressful and exhausting year with a little 13+ mile jaunt around the city of Dallas.

 in the corral before the race. I look more chipper than I feel.

 The first 7-8 miles, I felt great. The energy of the crowd was high, the signs were entertaining, and the sun coming up over Deep Ellum and then downtown Dallas was gorgeous. My goal for an average min/mile was 10:45 (would get me to a solid PR), and I could tell I was hitting that.

look, I even smiled for the photog

Then I hit mile 9.

In reviewing my training log, I only did 4 long runs of 10 miles or longer in the 2 months leading up to the half marathon (1 10 mile, 2 11 milers, and 1 12 mile). My monthly mileage peaked at 77 miles in February. I just wasn’t sufficiently prepared, and my body knew it.

I got tired.

As I slogged my way through miles 10, then 11, then 12, I could tell that I was still going to come close to a PR. Not the solid 5-6 minute drop I was hoping for with my goal of a 10:45 min/mile, but still, I could tell I would come close to breaking the 2:26:26 that was my current best race time.

Dang that long .34!

The tough part about racing, versus the hypothetical mathematical equations we play with when trying to calculate a PR pace, is the intangible race day elements. For example, my current PR distance (if memory serves) was 13.22 (side note: does anyone, ever, finish a half marathon having only run exactly 13.1? I hate that. Yes, I get that it’s part of it. It still offends my sense of justice.)

As I was explaining it to my husband (who, ironically, ran cross country in high school, so *should* be more of a runner than I am), he goes, “Oh, well, then you got an unofficial PR.” Me: “No. My unofficial time is 2:27:18” (the time on my Garmin. Which happened to be only 1 second off my official). Him: “But if you had only run 13.1, you would have a PR. So it’s like an unofficial PR, right?”

Me: “THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS.” (as much as I wish it did).

 Mile splits:

  • Mile 1: 11:04
  • Mile 2: 10:33
  • Mile 3: 10:53
  • Mile 4: 10:26
  • Mile 5: 10:32
  • Mile 6: 11:06
  • Mile 7: 11:02
  • Mile 8: 11:06
  • Mile 9: 11:44
  • Mile 10: 11:30
  • Mile 11: 10:56
  • Mile 12: 11:16
  • Mile 13: 11:33
  • .34: 3:37

Official time: 2:27:19  448/996 in my age group

Still, I chalk it up as a great race. Really. I still scored my 2nd fastest half marathon time (this was #5), and the race was a lot of fun. I even felt well enough to head out to brunch afterwards. The weather was gorgeous, and I headed into vacation with *slightly* less guilt about the calories I was about to consume over the next week.

PR or not, a medal is a medal

So how about that triathlon I’m supposed to do in 2 weeks and 3 days? Have I ever been less trained or ready for a race in my life?

Blog about that coming soon…

2016 Dallas Hot Chocolate 15k Race Recap

On Saturday  Feb 6th I ran the Dallas Hot Chocolate 15k. I’m finally posting the race recap a week and a half later, because life is ridiculously, insanely, busy (and it’s about to get a lot worse until the end of May). I have a new position at my school, and the workload is kicking my butt, not to mention the 3 kids are busier than ever.

I write entire novels in my head while on the treadmill, but alas, no time to put fingers to the keyboard.

It was my first Hot Chocolate race (and my first 15k), and the race fit perfectly into my March half marathon training schedule. The weather was absolutely perfect for running – low 40’s, not a lot of wind, cloudy. I wasn’t sure how the race would go, since my training hit back to back monthly hiccups with an injury in December, then bronchitis last month.

I couldn’t have asked for a better race. My goal pace was a 10:45 min/mile (my goal for my half marathon, so I thought this would be a good indicator). My splits were:

  1. 10:35
  2. 10:34
  3. 10:37
  4. 10:36
  5. 10:49
  6. 10:21
  7. 10:40
  8. 10:58
  9. 11:03
  10. 3:23 for the last .33

Average pace: 10:40 min/mile. I know, right?  I was pretty happy.

I’m really trying not to get overconfident or too excited about the March 20th half (my first in a year!), but the training is going well. I’ve also incorporated weekly swim and bike workouts to begin working on my April sprint triathlon.

If it sounds like a lot of training, it is. I’m on a half marathon training schedule (peaking with my mileage the next 3 weeks) while also training for a sprint tri.

My husband has dubbed my (imaginary) novel “The Agony of Goal Setting”.

2015 Austin Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot Race Recap

On Thanksgiving morning, I ran the Thundercloud Subs 5 mile turkey trot. You  may recall that this race is where my midlife running hobby all began; two years ago, on a lark, I decided to head down to my sister’s Thanksgiving meal in San Antonio a day early, spend the night in Austin, and run 5 entire miles on Thanksgiving morning.

At the time, I had never participated in a race besides walking the Heroes for Children 5k with my family every year. I can’t recall how, exactly, I got it into my head that I should run for 5 miles, but 4 5ks, 3 10ks, and 4 half marathons later, I’m still training.

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I remember feeling so nervous at that 2013 turkey trot; I had no idea if I could sustain a jog for 5 miles. It seemed outrageous at the time, to run for nearly an hour without walking. When I began training, I (literally) could not run for more than few minutes at a time without walking.

I have to admit, I was entirely confident going into this race that I would PR. I mean, how could I not PR?! Sure, I’m two years older, but I’ve been running solid for two years since the last time I ran the course.

Race day dawned muggy and humid. So much so that it began pouring on us as we waited for the start. All 21,000 of us, according to the MC.

It always takes me a mile or so to get warmed up in a race, so I wasn’t particularly concerned with the first mile, when I felt heavy and slow. My split, at 10:13, was perfection (I was shooting for an average of 10:15 min/miles). Clearly I was running better than I felt. Surely I would feel better once I got warmed up.

It never got better.

I’m not sure if it was the humidity or the Wednesday night margarita at Guero’s or the ramped up half marathon training, but unlike two years ago, when I felt positively euphoric at the finish, it hurt the entire damn race.

I still PRd, by 1:20, but I expected to run it much faster.

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Next up, a January half marathon in Houston.

A tale of two races

It was the best of 5ks, it was the worst of 10ks…

Three weeks ago*, I ran in the Tour des Fleurs 10k. I was not overly enthusiastic about this race, having just finished my ridiculous summer runstreak, and my legs were still not feeling recovered. I decided to approach it as less a “race” and more a really pretty 6 mile run.  

The race begins and ends in the Arboretum, and follows along White Rock Lake, so the location is ideal.

Unfortunately, the “cold” front we were supposed to get overnight never came in, so it was a humid 80 degrees at 8am when the race got underway.

This race was probably my weirdest race to date. Despite not feeling emotionally or physically prepared for the race, I actually felt pretty good throughout the entire 10k. Although I gave myself permission to walk/run if I needed to, I realized around mile 4 (when I still felt fairly comfortable) that I was going to be able to run the entire thing. I didn’t feel like I was running particularly fast, but neither did I feel like I was slogging along. I felt steady, and somewhat strong, and far better than I thought would feel.

And apparently far better than I actually performed, because I finished in 1:06:58, which is both my worst 10k (granted, of only 3) to date, and close to my average half marathon pace (10:40 min/mile).

Oh well. I still got a medal and a hat.   

Don’t I look like I’m running fast?

Two weeks ago**, my family attended our 9th (!) Heroes for Children 5k.  To be honest, we were all a little cranky about this, since 1. it’s getting harder and harder to get teenagers to voluntarily rise early on a Saturday  morning and 2. we were all up late the night before due to our drumline cymbal player’s football game.

The line “it could be worse, you could have cancer, get OUT OF BED WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE” may have been uttered.

You can see the enthusiasm oozing out of them.   

I actually didn’t decide if I was even going to race it until the drive over, when we discussed our family plan. I was planning on staying back with my daughter, until all 3 kids decided they wanted to “see how long they could stick to mom’s pace.”  Okay, then, guess mom is racing it.

To say I was not in a PR mindset is an understatement.

We all began together. Fairly quickly, my daughter (and husband, who for the 2nd year in a row did stepdude duty with our youngest and stuck with her) fell behind me.  The 15 year old stuck with me for about a half a mile, when I heard him say just over my shoulder “Well, considering I’m running AS FAST AS I CAN to keep up with you, I don’t think this is my race.”  I didn’t see any of them again until the finish line.

And then there were two. (the 13yr old and me)

For the first mile, he had trouble staying with me because he wanted to run ahead. We had discussed this before the race (after last year, when he disappeared during the first mile, then I passed him, then he finished over 8 min behind me), so he spent the first mile running a body length or two ahead of me, glancing over his shoulder, then slowing down.

The second mile, he started panting. He stayed beside me, but I could tell he was starting to tire. I periodically patted his back, told him he could do it, and updated him on our progress (we’re halfway through the 2nd mile, Sam! We’re almost done with the second mile! One mile left!).

Somewhere around mile 2.25, he spied the upcoming water station. He told me he needed to stop for water. I glanced at my watch.

Oh dear.

I asked him if he was okay catching up to me if he stopped and I kept running. He nodded. I glanced at my watch again, and did some quick math.

I kept running.

I know. I chose a PR pace over stopping with my kid. #badmom  In my defense, I really did think he would be able to catch right up to me once he caught his breath.

I came in at 29:10, almost 45 seconds faster than my May 5k PR. That put me 5th in my age group, and 41st out of all females in the race.

My 13yr old? I missed his finish, because he came cruising in just 30 seconds behind me (I hadn’t even turned around yet…still walking and getting water). He beat his time from last year by 9 minutes. I told him that I was sorry I didn’t stop with him, but I could tell I was on a great pace. He put his arm around me and said “That’s okay, Mom. If you’re running fast, you gotta keep going. I almost caught you!” (he had me in his sights the entire time and was trying desperately to catch up).

My 11year old? Came in at 34:20, which was 11 minutes faster than last year. She rocked the run. I did capture her finish.

And the 15 year old? 41:34, still 2 minutes faster than last year. And he decided if he couldn’t finish quickly, he would finish with style.

* and ** I began this blog post two weeks ago, before running the 5k. After the 5k passed,  I decided to condense the races in 1 post. Then more weeks went by. This whole “job” business is really messing with my life.

2015 Dallas Disco Run 10k Race Recap

On Sunday, my husband and I ran the Dallas Disco Run 10k. Yes, that’s right, I got the husband to run with me!I knew that he would kick my butt, even as he moaned and groaned about the training program.  After all, this is the guy that beat me by 2 minutes in last year’s 5k after not training at all. He also joined a men’s soccer league this spring (he played competitive soccer in high school and college), so he’s been running. He’s a runner. But he sweetly put on a show about how hard it was going to be, and how much easier it is for me to “only” run 6.2 miles (insert rolling eye emoji).

Still, yay for couple time! (if you count me spending 1 mile watching his back fade into the distance, and then meeting up with him an hour later at the finish line as couple time. Which I do.)

Race morning was gorgeous, which was especially glorious given that we have been underwater here in Dallas for the past bajillion days. Sunny, cloudless, and a pre-race 62 degrees (it would be closer to 80 by the time we left Fair Park). I know it was 62 degrees because my husband complained that it was “cold” as we got out of the car at 7am. He’s so cute.

We agreed, because we’re both insanely slightly competitive, that we would run our own races. I’m not sure we were still next to each other by the time we crossed the starting line.

Race splits:

  1. 9:55 min/mile
  2. 10:09 min/mile
  3. 10:15 min/mile
  4. 10:22 min/mile
  5. 10:39 min/mile
  6. 11:05 min/mile**
  7. last .2 8:58 min/mile

**I had to run/walk the last mile and a half due to stomach issues. I fully blame Panera for this snafu, since they discontinued my traditional pre-race meal, and I (unwisely) chose an alternative from the menu that definitely did not agree with my stomach 13 hours later. I think I could have easily gone another minute faster without this handicap.

Official time: 1:03:31.  I chopped nearly 3 minutes off my best time (okay, only time) from the Wounded Warrior 10k a year ago. I placed 73 out of all women (205), although I couldn’t figure out my age group finish, since the website only showed the top 6 finishers in each category (and I was not in the top 6).

My super fast husband? 53:53 and 6th in his age group (which, I’d like to note, is a younger category than mine. Ahem.).  RIDICULOUS how talented he is.

I’d be depressed and resentful except I’m just so damn proud and impressed.

I’d love to say that this is the beginning of a new couple activity, but he couldn’t wait to finish the race so he can “stop all this running crap” and get back to lifting in the gym to “get big for swimsuit season”. He needs to put weight back on since he dropped 8 pounds without trying, just from running four times a week.

I might be depressed and resentful about THAT part.