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Bay Area Turkey Day - Run

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Clear Lake, Texas
United States
36F / 2C
Total Time = 23m 37s
Overall Rank = 58/516
Age Group = F30-39
Age Group Rank = 3/85
Pre-race routine:

Packet pick-up was the day before the race, but they weren't handing out timing chips till the morning of the race. They would start handing out timing chips at 6:30, so I figured I should leave the house around 6:15, so I set my alarm for 5:30 to give myself enough time to wake up, eat something, take care of stuff, and goof around online. I ate a banana and a little bit of granola. I was feeling really hungry, but I didn't want to run on a full stomach, so I limited myself to that. I also ate a Gu about 30 minutes before the start of the race.
Event warmup:

I wanted to get in about 10 minutes of easy running before the race to get the legs moving, the HR up, and get the initial "omg, this sucks!" feeling out of the way before the start of the race. It was cold out (36F) but dry. I was wearing a tank, long-sleeved tech tee, a light jacket, shorts, sweats, gloves, and a beanie for the warm-up. It was chilly at first, but by the time I made my way back to the car, I was starting to sweat a little, so I figured I should be fine if I ditched the jacket and sweats....I briefly thought about taking off my long-sleeved tee and putting on my makeshift arm warmers (a pair of socks with the toe box cut out), but wasn't really sure if that would be enough.

I did a little bit of stretching and a little more running, then lined up at the start. They had a kid's 1k event starting at 7:30 and would start us when they finished. Was feeling pretty comfortable temperature-wise standing around with everyone at the start....was hoping that wouldn't mean I'd overheat later!
  • 23m 37s
  • 3.1 miles
  • 07m 37s  min/mile

This was my first running race since June, 2012 -- have been dealing with a nagging knee injury since July, 2012 and didn't really start running again until August, 2013. This race was about determining where my run fitness is (getting a new baseline) and not using what I'd been doing a year and a half ago as a basis. I've only been running for a few months (only been above 10mpw since October), so not yet at a volume that I'd like to be at, but I'm working my way there. Based on all of that, I was not going in expecting a PR of any sorts....I just wanted to see where my fitness was.

In the time that I haven't been running, I've been cycling a lot, and have done a number of 20 minute power tests. I've learned that if I go out too hard at the start, I'm going to die part-way through and not get a very good representation of my fitness. So lately I've been starting a little under my target power and building throughout the 20 minutes. I had a conversation with myself that I should follow that idea for this race -- don't go out and blast a 6:45 first mile only to limp it in at 9:30 at the end! So I started out easy, purely basing my pace on RPE (not looking at my pace at all). When I got to mile 1, I saw that I did it in 8:02, which is fast for me!

At this point, I took note of how I was feeling -- things felt pretty comfortable, I wasn't feeling any pain (joints, muscles, cardio-wise), so I started to push it a little more. I hit the turn-around and started to come up on a guy I used to swim with (Brice). I was starting to feel the burn at this point, but continued to push it. Brice realized it was me (I would have said "hi", but I didn't want to waste my precious breath!) and he settled in at my pace. It was nice to have someone suffer along with me. We hit mile 2 and my watch read 7:47 -- awesome, the additional effort did result in a faster pace! I wondered if I could make the third mile faster than that....I felt doubtful as I don't know that I've ever even run a 7:47 mile in my life! But I was going to try like hell.

Brice and I continued together and about half a mile out, he noted that we only had a few minutes to go. We picked it up again. Coming down the last block, there was no one in front of us except the photographer....I'm sure there are a bunch of pictures of the two of us coming in with me looking like I'm ready to die! My race pictures are all pretty terrible....this will certainly be no exception!

As we turned into the parking lot and could see the finish line, Brice said, "Let's go!" I kicked it up a little bit, but I really had paced this race very well and didn't have a lot left to give at the end....I told him to go and he crushed it! I cruised it in and saw the third mile split come in at 7:41....awesome!!! I literally could not have paced this race better, each mile slightly faster than the last. I'm very happy with how this went.

Oh, and my previous 5k PR was 25:32, so I pretty much crushed that....and I wasn't expecting to at all, so it was really nice to see that the "run lots, mostly easy" plan I'm following does work! And I'm really excited to see what I'll be able to do in the future when I'm up at a running volume that I'd like to be at....but I'll continue to build that cautiously and do everything I can to stay healthy.
What would you do differently?:

Not a damn thing! I'm so happy with how I paced this -- the experience I've gained has shown me how to race smarter.

Obviously in the future, I'd like to have more run volume (and a slightly warmer day!), but for where I'm at right now, I think I raced this about as well as I could.
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed a banana and a water and promptly consumed them (god, why am I always so hungry?!?!), did a little bit of stretching (probably not enough, but will foam roll later), changed into some dry clothes, and then BS'ed with Brice, his wife, Melanie, Jim, Robbie, and Cathy until awards.

Somehow managed to land on the podium, so I waited around for awards, then got in my car and cranked up the heat because it was cold!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not as much run volume as I'd like, near-freezing temperatures

Event comments:

This race isn't anything super special, but I'd definitely do it again. The fact that they had packet pickup the day before the race, but didn't hand out timing chips until the morning of the race was kind of weird to me -- wish we could have just picked up packets morning of instead. They also didn't post a course map or start time anywhere, which I thought was weird. But the race went off fine, so no big deal in the end.

Last updated: 2013-11-23 12:00 AM
00:23:37 | 03.1 miles | 07m 37s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/85
Overall: 0/516
Performance: Good
Mile 1 - 8:02, 162 bpm Mile 2 - 7:47, 171 bpm Mile 3 - 7:41, 172 bpm
Course: Out and back from On the Run, through some residential areas in Clear Lake
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2013-11-28 11:22 AM

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Houston, Texas
Subject: Bay Area Turkey Day

2013-11-28 12:13 PM
in reply to: #4905814

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Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day

NICOLE!!! :)What an awesome race for you!  I can't believe how fast you are on as little running as you've been doing!  Now that you're rounding the corner on the knee and getting regular runs, it will be very interesting to see how your run fitness progresses.  What an incredible race.  Congrats on your comeback and your PR!

2013-11-28 12:25 PM
in reply to: #4905814

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day

Sweet PR!  Nice work!

2013-11-28 12:30 PM
in reply to: axteraa

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day
Nicole...You ROCK girl!

crushed PR
no injury
solid training
race photos that you're not happy with=BIG effort (usually)

Congratulations! I am very, very happy for you.
This does mean good things for you in 2014...

Nice, very nice.
2013-11-28 2:56 PM
in reply to: dtoce

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Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day

Nicole, AWESOME!  I have seen the 'run lots, mostly easy' work really well for me as well, but a couple months of running and a 2min PR is fantastic!  Good for you.  Now bring on the turkey! 

2013-11-28 6:15 PM
in reply to: #4905814

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Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day

Nicole, congrats on the PR and the AG podium. Big win for you to be running so speedy and without pain. Hoping this holds and you have a nice winter season of training to set you up for some great racing next year. 

2013-11-29 6:59 AM
in reply to: kcarroll

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day

Thanks for the nice words, everyone!

If yesterday's race could be any better to me, today it is -- my knee doesn't feel any worse today than any other normal day!  That's huge!  I expected it to be tight/sore today given yesterday's pounding, but everything feels just fine.  I'm so excited!  I don't think my knee will ever be the way it used to be, but it's not holding me back anymore

Off to swim this morning, and and easy run later today!

2013-11-29 7:13 AM
in reply to: ligersandtions

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Bay Area Turkey Day

Great race and way to crush your PR.  Well executed, too...gotta love the negative split.

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