Race Report: The Color Run Night – August 15, 2015

I’ve done two Color Runs before (spring 2013 and fall 2013), but I signed up for this on a whim because it was so cheap when they first started advertising it.

I’d never done a nighttime run before (since the Electric Run cancelled last year), but with it being a fun run and not for time, I didn’t really watch what I ate all day or anything like that. Actually, we went canoeing earlier in the day and alcohol was consumed, and then we went to a birthday party where I ate a lot of cake.

The run was located at the Nashville fairgrounds and was on a mix of pavement and grass. Probably more grass than pavement. They were playing pretty decent music, although you couldn’t hear it for most of the run.

I wasn’t feeling all that wonderful to be running (see alcohol and cake, above) so we walked every so often but ran most of it and at a pretty decent pace. It wasn’t terribly congested, like the previous two Color Runs I’ve done. That said, I didn’t actually track the run, so I’m only guessing that it was a decent pace based on what I was feeling and I wasn’t feeling great, so who knows.

color run night nashville

Jonathan did make me run at his pace for like 30 seconds and I about died.

I don’t remember how many color stations there were, but I don’t feel like we got as much color on us while going through them than in the daytime runs. But I liked the blacklights and the bubbles.

At the end, we got a medal and a pouch of color which we dumped all over each other. We hung out for about, oh, two minutes before I decided I wanted to take a shower and lie down.

All in all, it was a pretty fun run. I’d do it again with a large group.

Race Report: Tomato 5k – August 8, 2015

I mentioned before that I was coaching a group of East Nasty’s Potato to Tomato participants. This is an eight week couch to 5k program that culminates in running the Tomato 5k at the start of the Tomato Art Festival in East Nashville. So this race was a pretty big deal!

The group was meeting at 7am before the 7:30am start time, so I was up before 6am to get ready and head out. Jonathan came with me to take photos and cheer us on (he even made a sign!), so we headed out and arrived at our meeting spot around 6:50.

We found the group and took a few photos. Everyone seemed a little excited and a little nervous. This would be their longest run to date. The Wednesday before we had gone around 2.6 miles.

east nasty potato to tomato couch to 5k training

Before the start!
Photo from Kelley Luberecki.

Soon it was time to warm up. We did some walking and a light jog to the start line. We lined up as best as we could, took some more photos, and then…we were off!

Of the coaches in our group, Kym and I had decided to stick with the group pace of 13 minute miles. (Ralph planned on running with his girlfriend, who had sustained a mild injury during training.) A few of our group members took off right at the start, with one finishing at just over an 11 min pace!

east nasty potato to tomato couch to 5k training

Running with Monica and Kelley on the final mile!

Throughout the race, I bounced between group members, giving motivation and encouragement where I could. On the last mile, I started running with Monica, who was struggling with a side stitch. I told her to just hang on, there were only a couple more minutes left and pointed out that we could see the finish line. She later told me that this gave her the strength to finish, and she even put in a nice finishing kick!

We finished in 39:50, with a 12:51 average! I was so, so proud of our group.

east nasty potato to tomato couch to 5k training

Group 8 is no longer a bunch of potatoes!

We gathered back in our meeting spot for more photos and congratulations, then we were off to walk in the Tomato Parade.

east nasty potato to tomato couch to 5k training

The entire Potato to Tomato group.
Photo from East Nasty.

east nasty potato to tomato couch to 5k training

With fellow coaches, Kym and Ralph!
Photo from Ralph Booker.

I loved coaching this group so much. I received lots of wonderful thank you cards and sentiments from them, but I feel like I should thank them. It was just absolutely amazing to see a group of people who never thought they could run for three miles straight accomplish that very thing in just eight weeks. While I will not miss running in the same smelly shirt three times a week, I will truly miss seeing our group (eight is great!). I hope I get to run with all of them again in the future!

Ramblings about future races…

After two years of running and suffering some race-burnout this spring, I think I finally have a good grasp on what kind of races I like. I want to trim down the amount of times I’m racing in a year because, although I really enjoy it, running 2-3 races per month really eats up your weekends. And if those races aren’t really the kind you enjoy, what’s the point?

I want to save my time and money for those events that I actually have a lot of fun at. So far, the top five races I’ve enjoyed the most would be:

  1. Walt Disney World Half Marathon
  2. Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon
  3. Hot Chocolate 15k
  4. Go Commando 5k
  5. Country Music Half Marathon

So what do all these races have in common? Most of them are urban, running through the city streets. They all have great crowd support. They mostly are fairly large races (Go Commando being the smallest with around 1k participants; all of the others have over 5k and most over 10k). All of them hand out medals.

It’s not to say that I don’t care for small races. I have ran some great smaller races. But they usually don’t bring out crowds, which I really, really like.

While I’ve never ran a race that I outright disliked, I do notice patterns in things that I find annoying. I don’t like courses that take runners doing a longer distance past the finish of the shorter distance (one of the reasons I would never run the full Country Music Marathon). I don’t particularly enjoy completely rural races; once you’ve seen one cow in a field, you’ve seen them all. I don’t want a cotton t-shirt.

Price also comes into play. Even though Cedars Frostbite is in the middle of nowhere without crowd support and doesn’t hand out medals, I still had a good time. Of course, it was only $8, so I had no real expectations of anything. But when you pay $40 for a race and get a cotton t-shirt and a boring course, it’s much more disappointing. On the other hand, Go Commando is high up because, even though it’s smaller and contained in a park, it’s cheap and you get a ton of good food, a tech shirt, and a medal.

Thus, here is my criteria for future races. Ideally, I would like for a race to meet four out of five, but I would make exceptions for anything particularly unique or one where I know lots of people that are participating.

  1. Lots of crowd support.
  2. Interesting location.
  3. Good food.
  4. Nice swag (shirts, medals, etc).
  5. Good value.

What do you look for in races?

Race Report: Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon – April 25, 2015

Out of all my spring races, this is the one I was looking the most forward to, and not just because it was the last one (although that was also awesome…very burnt out on racing at the moment). I had been told by many runners that this race is awesome. It’s flat (as long as you are running the half and not the full) and you get to run through Churchill Downs the week before the Derby. I really wanted a PR at it, but I didn’t think I was in shape for one since February’s weather and whatnot messed up my sub-2:10 plan. Still, I made it my A goal. My B goal (the one I thought was actually obtainable) was to just be better than Oak Barrel, since that was my training race for this.

A Goal: 2:13:25 or better
B Goal: 2:20:00 or better
C Goal: Just enjoy it!

Jonathan and I headed up to Louisville on Friday afternoon. We checked into the Galt House, which was the official race hotel. There were several other conventions and things going on at the hotel, including a body-building competition and a junior chess championship. It made for an interesting mix of people wandering around the hotel, but with so many people staying there, it meant the elevators were sloooooow.

After dumping our stuff in the room, we headed over to the expo. It was well-organized and went smoothly. We checked out several of the vendor booths, but I ultimately didn’t see anything I really wanted. We ate dinner at a local pub, wandered around the city for a bit, and then it was time to get some sleep.

Race Day

I had been obsessing over race morning weather all week. Rain and a possible thunderstorm were being forecast, with temperatures ranging anywhere from the 40s to the 70s. I had brought several outfits with me to have options depending on what it was actually doing that morning.

When I woke up at 6am, I checked the weather. It looked like there would definitely be rain with temperatures in the low 50s. I opted for shorts and a long-sleeved top. I had prepped a garbage bag the night before to wear over my clothes until the start of the race.

I headed out to the starting line. Corrals A, B, and C all seemed kind of sparse, but when I got to my corral, Corral D, people were everywhere! The gear check was also here, which may have been why. I squeezed in a spot near the front of the corral. I could see the marathon’s 4:30 pace group ahead of me in corral C. I knew I eventually wanted to try to catch up with them so I would be on course for a 2:15 half before the marathoners split from the half marathoners on mile 9.

A couple girls next to me were discussing the race, so I asked if they had run it before. One of the girls, who turned out to be a local, had and assured me that it was flat except for the ramps in and out of Churchill Downs.

The gun soon went off and all the corrals were released together.

Note: I’m using my Runkeeper splits for this report, instead of my Garmin splits. We went through several tunnels on the course and Garmin reports that all wonky. I did not run an 8 minute mile on mile 13 of a half marathon.

mini cooper pace car

They had Mini Cooper pace cars!

Mile 1: 10:37
Although the rain held off while we were in the corrals, it started to sprinkle right as I crossed the start line. The first mile actually went by super quick. Soon after I started, I saw Jonathan in front of the hotel cheering me on. I ran over and gave him a high five and he assured me I was almost done. Ha!

kdf half marathon 2015

Mile 2: 10:23
The first water stop was around mile 1.5, so I stopped briefly to gulp down some fluids.

Mile 3: 9:53
Time was still flying by at this point. I remember there were some spectators handing out orange slices, but I didn’t take one.

Mile 4: 10:16
I downed my first gel at the beginning of this mile in preparation for the second water station coming up.

Mile 5: 9:57
We passed a huge building that I assumed was a courthouse, but said it was a post office. Turns out it is a courthouse after all.

About halfway through the fifth mile as we turned onto 4th Street, there was an awesome large group of spectators cheering. I gave a couple high fives and then I realized that my shoe had come untied, a race first! I pulled over to the side and quickly retied it.

Mile 6: 9:53
Halfway through this mile, my shoe came untied again! I was frustrated, so I double knotted it this time and hoped it wasn’t too tight.

Mile 7: 9:29
I finally came up to the 4:30 marathon pace group during this mile. I thought about staying with them for a bit, but I was feeling good, so I went ahead and passed them, since they would be splitting off in two miles anyway. This told me that I was doing pretty good on time, since they had been ahead of me at the start.

We were running through a portion of the University of Louisville’s campus at this point, so there were lots of college kids out cheering us on. I ate my second gel right before the fourth water station at the start of the eighth mile.

Mile 8: 9:55
I knew when we reached the end of this mile, we would be right at Churchill Downs. I was so excited to get there.

Mile 9: 10:08
Running through Churchill Downs was awesome, even though it was probably the most congested part of the course. You go into a tunnel that runs underneath the horse track and come up on the inside of the field. There were horses running around on the outside, practicing and warming up for the next weekend’s race. They were so fast! It was completely exhilarating to be running so close to them. I wanted to stop to take a photo, but I knew I was doing well and didn’t want to use up any precious seconds of time. To exit, we went through another tunnel and up a ramp back to the street.

churchill downs half marathon

I was so enthralled with Churchill Downs, I didn’t even notice this photographer.

Mile 10: 9:45
After we left Churchill Downs, I started actually paying attention to my time. I was estimating around 2:11 if I kept my pace at this point. I knew it would be tough but I thought I could do it. So I pushed on.

We were running back through campus on this mile. I ate my last gel.

Mile 11: 9:32
I couldn’t believe there was only 5k left. I have never felt so strong at the end of a half. I wasn’t hurting at all. I continued giving spectators high fives as we ran back towards downtown.

Mile 12: 9:23
For the last couple miles, I put my Spotify playlist on. It pumped me up so much for the end of the race. I was practically dancing my way to the finish line. The rain started to pick up.

mile 12 of the ky derby minimarathon

Mile 13: 8:56
Jonathan was waiting for me back on Main Street as we neared the finish line. I knew I was definitely going to PR at this point, so I screamed “PR! PR!” at him as I ran by. I’m pretty sure I had been grinning like an idiot the entire mile, even though rain was pouring down at this point.

Final 0.1 (0.21 to Runkeeper): 1:43 (8:19 pace)
I posed for a picture before the finish line (now I’m stuck on victory fingers for some reason…I need some new poses) and then pushed with everything I had, around a 7:30 pace. I was so pumped. I knew I had done well, but I wasn’t sure how well. I pulled out my phone to see a text message with my time.

finishing the kentucky derby festival minimarathon

Finishing sprint!

Official Time: 2:09:47


I seriously have never felt so good after a half. I wasn’t hurting. I wasn’t exhausted. I had given this race everything I had and was rewarded with an awesome PR.

As I came through the finisher’s chute, a medal was placed around my neck and I was given a mylar blanket (my first race space blanket!). The food line was kind of chaotic but I managed to grab a bagel and some chocolate milk (they also had bananas, chips, and crackers available, from what I could see through the crowd).

I found Jonathan and then got to take a whack at the gong that was set up for you to hit if you got a PR!

PR gong

Race Review

I loved nearly everything about this race.

Even though all the corrals went out at once, the beginning never felt so congested that I couldn’t go the pace I wanted. Maybe that has more to do with people lining up in the appropriate corrals, I’m not sure, but I didn’t start too fast or too slow.

The course was great. Lots of interesting things to look at and, of course, running through Churchill Downs was amazing, especially with the horses out practicing. And it was, in fact, fairly flat. A few inclines here and there, but nothing I would call a hill. There were ramps going in and out of Churchill Downs, but they were short.

The volunteers and spectators were fantastic. Especially considering that it was raining the whole time! They all deserve medals for standing out in that. I was a little worried that the rain would keep the crowd support down, but it absolutely surpassed all my expectations. There were large crowds of spectators sprinkled all throughout the course, not just at the start and finish. I love that.

There were plenty of water stations, and it seemed like most of them also had Powerade, if that’s important to you. (I accidentally grabbed a Powerade once instead of a water.) I can’t speak for any gels they had on the course, since I had brought my own, but a lot of spectators were also handing out orange slices.

My only small quibble was the congestion around the food table at the end. I don’t know if that’s because they had to set it up in a smaller area under an overpass to keep it out of the rain or what, but I was unable to grab a banana. I did manage to get other stuff though, so it wasn’t a huge deal.

I loved the PR gong! The shirts are nice and the medal is definitely one of my favorites. They had engraving on-site for $10, but I was tired of standing out in the rain, so I will probably get it engraved with my time elsewhere.

Race Analysis

I wish every race felt like this! I never had a negative thought enter my mind. I never felt like I needed to walk. I knew this was my last race of the season, so I gave it my all and didn’t hold back anything.

I negative split every 5k. That’s amazing.

5k splits


Night Before: pepperoni pizza and soft pretzels with beer cheese
Pre-Race: nothing, I forgot to eat
During Race: three Huma gels: one strawberry and two lemonade
Post-Race: blueberry bagel and chocolate milk


Sports Bra: Champion Shape T-Back
Top: Lululemon Run Swiftly 1/2 Zip
Bottom: Oiselle Distance Shorts
Socks: my trusty Injinjis
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2

Race Report: Purity Moosic City Dairy Dash 5k and 10k – April 11, 2015

I volunteered at this race last year, so I got to see all the yummy stuff that the runners get to eat post-race. I needed to get something close to 10 miles in, so I opted to run the 5k/10k combo.

I wasn’t quite sure how to pace this thing. If it had been an actual 15k, I would have started slower and finished faster. However, the 10k started 30 minutes after the 5k and I wanted to be at the start line when that happened, so I wasn’t straggling behind everyone else for the whole race. So, I decided I would push a little harder than I normally would for the first 5k to attempt to get in under 30 minutes.

Race Day

I woke up at 6am (much better than the last race’s 4am wake up time) and got ready. It was supposed to be in the 50s/60s and sunny, so I opted for shorts and a short-sleeved top.

purity moosic city dairy dash

I arrived in plenty of time. I had picked up my packet the evening before, so I had already pinned my bibs and attached my timers. I made a quick stop at the port-a-potties, then sat in my car for a bit (it was cold) until I got a message from my cousin Gillian (who was running the 10k) that she had parked. I met up with her, we got her packet, and then waited for the 5k to start.

purity dairy dash

With Gillian before the start.

5k, Mile 1: 9:43
There was some nice crowd support at the start of the race, along Athens Way. After a quarter mile or so, we turned onto Great Circle for an out-and-back section. I just tried to maintain a steady fastish pace. I was feeling pretty good.

5k, Mile 2: 9:34
The halfway point came and went without a water stop. I was kind of wanting some at this point. We had passed Athens Way for the second out-and-back section in the other direction. I just told myself it would be over soon.

5k, Mile 3: 9:18
The only water stop on the course was right at the end of mile 2/beginning of mile 3. I briefly stopped to gulp down some water, then pushed on. I started counting in my head to distract me from the discomfort of knowing that I really had six more miles to go after this.

5k, Final 0.1 (0.14 to my Garmin): 1:12 (8:44 pace)
I pushed with everything I had and right as I crossed the finish line, the gun for the 10k went off. No breaks allowed! I joined the throng of people heading towards the start line again.

Official 5k Time: 29:40
I liked that I managed to run negative splits on this race!

10k, Mile 1: 9:57
10k, Mile 2: 10:13
I was pretty tired from running a sub-30 5k, but I knew I could push on. I hoped that the 10k would have a water station before the two mile mark. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. While my strategy for the 5k was to run it straight (except for the water stop), my 10k strategy was a one minute walk at the start of each mile.

purity dairy dash 10k

I look exhausted already.

10k, Mile 3: 10:37
10k, Mile 4: 10:29
The first water stop of the 10k was at the start of the third mile right before we got on the greenway. We were on the greenway for the next three miles. You could just see runners for miles ahead of you. It was a little disheartening because you could tell you weren’t anywhere close to being done. I tried to enjoy the nice view of the river for these three miles, but I really was just ready to be done.

10k, Mile 5: 10:49
At the start of mile five, I started singing Disney songs in my head. I got through “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”, “Love is an Open Door”, and “Let it Go” before we finally got off the greenway for the final mile.

10k, Mile 6: 10:45
I continued with “Part of Your World”, “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, and “When Will My Life Begin” on this mile.

10k, Final 0.2 (0.26 to my Garmin): 2:10 (8:20 pace)
We were finally turning back onto Athens Way. The crowd support was back. I gave it everything I had, for my fastest quarter mile of the entire day.

purity dairy dash 10k

The exhaustion continues.

Official 10k Time: 1:05:22
A little slower than my last few 10ks (and my last 15k), but I’ll take it!

After finishing, I downed a banana, then went in search of mac and cheese. There wasn’t any. 😦 I guess all the 5k finishers got to it because all they had out were sausage balls. Instead, I grabbed an ice cream sandwich from the ice cream truck, and then met up with Gillian.

purity dairy dash ice cream sandwich

Yay, ice cream!

Race Review

This was a well-organized race with a unusual-for-Nashville flat course. I was a little worried about the logistics of running both races, but had no problems doing so. (For what it’s worth, next year they will be offering an actual 15k, so I doubt the 5k/10k combo will exist anymore.)

Now that I’m going on my third year of running, I am figuring out what kind of races I prefer. You’ve seen me mention before that I like a lot of crowd support. This one has some at the start/end, but not much elsewhere. (And it’s impossible to have any on the three mile section of the greenway.) Not necessarily a negative thing for other people, I just like more.

But the volunteers were fantastic, packet pickup was quick and painless, and the ice cream was tasty! And chocolate milk! I do wish I had been able to get some mac and cheese at the end, though. I was sad that I missed it.

Race Analysis


Night Before: I think I had Zaxby’s. I was being lazy.
Pre-Race: half a bagel with peanut butter
During Race: just water
Post-Race: banana, ice cream sandwich, chocolate milk


Sports Bra: Gracie’s Gear
Top: Asics short-sleeved top (I need to retire this one and get a new white top; this one got stained with hair dye during the last race I did in the rain)
Bottom: Lululemon Speed Short
Socks: my trusty Injinjis
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2