Race Recap: Leesburg 20K

Start Line

Yesterday morning, Kristen and I ran the Leesburg 20K.

The goal? Finish the race. Just keep moving and finish. I will worry about time for the half marathon, but this was a training run. I was going to do twelve miles this weekend anyway so I might as well add a little extra and get a free t-shirt. However, this race felt more like a dead sprint for seasoned runners. And I was definitely out of place.

The course was beautiful. Loads of trees, shade, and wildlife. We ran the majority of it through the W&OD trail which prevented spectators from collecting along the sides and cheering like you would see in a road race. The lack of crowd support forced me to get inside my head and convince myself that I could finish.

Somewhere on the Internet, there was mention that this was a particularly hilly course. Totally not the case at all. I expected a major incline, not a few small rolling hills.

The stations were spaced out perfectly (less than every two miles!) and equipped with gatorade and water. One of the stations also offered Gu but only in the fruit flavors and we know how I feel about fruit. There was also whisperings that there would be a bathroom stop around mile 9, unfortunately this was a lie unless they meant nature.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to make any pit stops along the way. Maybe my subconscious knew that the possibility of a bathroom stop was a lie…

I moved slowly from mile to mile. Like a tortoise. I might’ve been shuffling at one point.

At mile six, I made use of my Nuun hydration tablet. A small boost of energy flowed through me and I was on my way. At mile nine, I opened my Clif shot gel. I managed to only get through half of it before a bee flew toward my face and I chucked it. The sugary sweetness from the gel reminded me of frosting and I remember thinking that I wish I had a cupcake instead.

“Just keep moving,” became my mantra.

Running

During mile 9, I turned to Kristen and told her I wanted to die (I’m dramatic). At this point, my arms were chaffed so bad and the bottoms of my feet were on fire. I’ve never had an issue with chaffing until today and wow did it hurt. The pain in my feet is a rubbing issue I thought I was used to but I was wrong. Annoying.

Just keep moving.

I crossed the finish line at 2:46:21. Pace was 13:25.

I walked more than I should’ve, but I finished. I finished the 20k. I was second to last for my age group, but I finished.

An award I definitely earned today.

Unfortunately, they did not give out finishers medals. I know there was an awards for the top 3 finishers in each age group, but the ceremony was over before I crossed the finish line.

I feel like the last person in each of those age groups deserves recognition as well, so I made the medal above as a consolation prize even though I was runner-up for last.

As I was trying to cross the finish line, this man who had completed the 5K ran up to me with this giant American flag that he proceeded to thrust into my hands in order to pump me up. I appreciated the patriotism but at that point I felt like all of my limbs were going to fall off. The flag was heavy and weird and ugh.

Talk about awkward.

All participants were invited to a post-race brunch hosted by one of the sponsors. The post-race party was severely picked over at this point. Apples, bananas and water were all that remained. I’m sure had I finished sooner I could’ve enjoyed more of it, but I didn’t care.

I planned in advance and made reservations at my favorite restaurant for brunch.

Amazing.

Totally worth every ache and pain I felt in my body at that moment. I almost ordered the croissant french toast as well, but refrained.

After brunch, I returned home where I proceeded to put my compression socks on and make myself comfortable on the couch. Many naps and a lazy afternoon followed.

It felt like my calves were being hugged. A glorious feeling.

Now that I’ve finished this race, I am pumped for the Virginia Beach half marathon. My time goal for that has always been to finish in under three hours. Now, I want to finish in under 2:45. If I can just pick up my pace a little between now and then, I am confident that I should be able to finish with time to spare.

I suppose I will just have to keep reminding myself to “just keep moving.”

Have you ever competed in a 20k? How did it go for you? Do you stress about meeting time based goals or do you just aim to finish? Any tips for me on how to improve within the next two weeks?

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Two Week Countdown

In two weeks I will be competing in my first half marathon. Wow did these last two months fly by. I feel like just yesterday I was writing this entry, all nervous to put myself out there and afraid of what everyone else would think. It’s really crazy to think of how far I’ve come in running from reading over my entries. There have been loads of mistakes, missteps, and quite a few personal victories.

And dare I say that I actually sometimes enjoy running now. Goodness.

And I now sort of kind of consider myself a runner. Eep.

So weird.

Kristen peer-pressured me to sign up for a local race I had been eyeing for a little while now. So, last night, I took the plunge and just signed up for it. This Sunday I will be competing in the Leesburg 20K. Or how I marketed it to myself, a little over a half mile shorter than a half marathon! From what I’ve read, the course is hilly and while that intimidates me a little it ultimately wasn’t enough to deter me. Also, I figure I am going to be out running twelve miles this weekend, so I might as well get a shirt from it. Clearly, my reasons for doing this have not changed.

Honestly, even the half marathon is a training run for me as well. The goal at the end of this is to run the Richmond Marathon, which I officially signed up for recently as well. The goal is to be a marathoner. To reserve the right to say, “Yeah, I did it. Jealous?” And to get a medal and put stickers on my car.

I can’t wait!

Double Digit Fears

Tomorrow I am planning to break the double digits in my training runs. And I am a little more than kind of scared. And nervous. Scared and nervous. Not sure if this is the best way to prepare for this major obstacle in my running career, but maybe it’ll get the adrenaline pumping.

Ten miles. Ten miles might actually be mine tomorrow.

But what if I fail? Well, I try again next week I suppose.

I did my speed work training on Tuesday night with little to no issue. Besides the heat on Thursday my four mile run was pretty smooth. Does this mean that tomorrow will be a terrible run? I really really hope not. After the debacle that was last week, I am really hoping that this will go much better.

Shockingly, I am planning to wake up early. Like, before I normally do for work. In order to go running. This is how serious I am about this. Tomorrow’s temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 90s with ridiculous humidity. I feel like if I have any chance in doing this well, then I need to get up before the sun and finish before 9am. Ugh. Also, I am not going to eat oatmeal tomorrow before the run. I’ve been eating cheerios before long runs because it agrees with me, last week I switched it up with oatmeal and I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fail of last week.

Hopefully these changes result in a big win push of confidence for training. I definitely didn’t think that eight weeks ago I would be as committed today as I was on day one. And I don’t plan to quit until I have that marathon medal in my hand.

Did you feel like a superhero after your first double digit run? What did you do to prepare? Any words of encouragement you can offer up to this scared running girl? Let’s discuss!!

PS – I redid my about page. If you want to get to know me a little better, check it out.

Sweat!? Nope! I glisten!

Yesterday, I officially began training for my first marathon.

(You can read a little bit around my running history here and sort of here)

I’ve been a little nervous about beginning this process for a bunch of reasons, but mainly because it is such a time commitment. Giving up time with friends and my husband for training? Are these sacrifices I am willing to make? What about the days that I really just don’t feel like exercising – will those days determine if I make it past the finish line? Pile on thoughts of inadequacy and you can understand why a girl might get a little scared.

To celebrate kicking off this new routine in my life, I treated myself to some snazzy new workout gear.

I like bright colors… a lot.

 I also took the obligatory before photos so I can (hopefully) reflect on how my body has changed as I continue this process.

The body of a newbie distance runner. (Also, no sucking in!)

Once these were taken, I was off to the gym. I wanted to run outside last night, but the humidity said “Girl, you crazy.” Since jogging outside has become my preferred method of running, I was slightly bummed to get on a treadmill. Am I the only person who thinks that the treadmill propels you forward? I find outside I am able to move a little faster and go a little further; on the treadmill, I am seriously watching the distance gauge like a hawk praying that I can make it as far as I’ve planned.

For my first day of training, I did a three mile run on the treadmill. My new shirt, which I was told shouldn’t ride up while jogging, ran up so much I was readjusting every minute or so. Ugh! So annoying. (If you have any tips for how to prevent this with compression tops, please please send them my way!) And I did take three or four one minute breaks to grab water, pull my shirt down as far as possible and wipe the sweat off my face. And my iPod decided that it didn’t want to play a song and then nothing else so I took a moment to fix it. But still, I’d say it was a pretty successful first day.

I ended up going just a little further than I was supposed to, but I also cooled down. My pace was solid 12 minute per mile. While I might be slow,  I figure I can only go up from there. Total time spent on treadmill: 39 minutes.

This sums up how I felt afterward: 

Energized and ready to tackle this race!

Any brand/style recommendations for compression tops that don’t ride up while you run? Or even just running tops with good wick — better yet, whats your favorite and why? Any tips for making running on the treadmill more interesting? What do you do to stay motivated and pumped up during a workout? Let’s discuss!