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!

Update: June 2015

Yeah, it’s been awhile!

June was my lowest mileage month in a long time; I didn’t even manage to hit 40 miles! However, it’s not because I wasn’t running. Just most of my runs were a lot shorter. Why? I’ve been coaching East Nasty’s Couch to 5k group, Potato 2 Tomato!

As I mentioned in my goals for the year, coaching a Couch to 5k group was something that I thought I would enjoy. And I really do! There are 200+ participants in the program, so we are broken down into pace groups with 3-4 coaches assigned to each group. I was assigned to the 13 min/mi group.

Right now we are on week three of our training, which consists of a 90 sec run, 90 sec walk, 3 min run, and 3 min walk repeated a number of times (Monday we did it twice, Wednesday three times, and Saturday we will go four times). Everyone has been great so far! We started them on hills yesterday because the goal race is the Tomato 5k in East Nashville, which is, uh, a little hilly.

Since these runs are at a slower pace with walk breaks, I’ve been trying to fit in 2-3 runs at my own pace each week as well. Motivation has been tough when the heat index is over 100 degrees for two weeks straight!

I also traveled a bit during June. Earlier in the month, I flew to Chicago to second shoot a wedding. It was a great respite from the heat in Nashville! My longest run of the month was while I was there, a four miler down part of Magnificent Mile and the lakefront trail.\

Chicago lakefront trail

View of the city from the trail

Last weekend, Jonathan and I got away for the weekend at a bed and breakfast in Asheville, North Carolina. We had a great time exploring the Biltmore, going hiking, and enjoying Asheville’s cool vibe. We ate lots of great food too, including the B&B’s fantastic breakfast, tapas at Zambra, and delicious sandwiches at Tupelo Honey Cafe.

biltmore estate

So far summer is going great! Going to have to start building up the running a bit more soon though.