Race Report: The Color Run – October 13, 2013

The Color Run is even more fun the second time around!

Since I had done the Color Run last spring, I knew what I was getting into and what I wanted to accomplish. I knew that I liked blue, pink, and purple (which all stay pretty vibrant), and I wanted to stay away from green, yellow, and orange (all of which I think have a tendency to make the colors look brown). I also had purchased a waterproof iPhone case, so I could bring my phone through for photos without worrying about it.

My outfit choice was a colorful skirt from RunningSkirts paired with the same Color Run tee as last time. You can see how well the color washes out of it, since it had sat in my bathroom for over six months without being washed and then I washed it the day before the run for the first time. I also put some blue hair extension clips in my hair, from a faerie costume I made years back.

Here’s our team’s before shot!

The Color Run - before

Carson, Hannah, Amanda, me, Daniel, and Jessica

We had signed up for the early 9am spot, but a few team members were running late, so we didn’t get on the course till 9:20 or so. It was the same course as last time, with the colors in roughly the same areas. The only real difference was that instead of orange being cornstarch, it was liquid, which didn’t matter much to me, since orange was one of the colors I was avoiding.

We jogged along (or I jogged along while some of the team walked), but it started to get really awesome when we hit pink! I even laid down to cover my back in pink (which mixed with the orange liquid that got sprayed on my back, formed a dark red…boo!).

Pink at the Color Run

Pink selfie!

Then we made it to the blue, and I faceplanted (on purpose) to cover my front in blue. By the time we reached the finish line (a leisurely 45 minutes after we started), I was pretty well colored, but it wasn’t over. We still had our color packs, and Daniel had purple! I instructed him to dump some on my head.

The Color Run - after

Post purplization.

One disappointing thing about the fall’s run is what seemed to be a lack of professional photographers. There weren’t any even stationed at the backdrop like last time, so we had to get other people to take our photos. Luckily, they were people my friend Jessica knew, so I didn’t feel too bad about making them take 10 different jump shots.

The Color Run - after

I think this was take three.

I did manage to not inhale/ingest as much color this time, so after I took a bath (which turned out awesomely half-blue, half-purple), I didn’t have much issue with color turning up weird places over the next few days. Still love the Color Run!

Race Report: The Zombie Run – September 29, 2013

Continuing my catchup on race reports…

My friend Lauren talked me into doing the Zombie Run a couple months ago with her and her husband. Neither of them are runners, so I went into it knowing that we would probably be walking a lot.

It was held at Shelby Bottoms with a 4pm starting time to allow the zombies to have their transformations into the undead completed. We were running as humans, as the zombies in this race don’t actually run, but just stand around waiting for runners to come by.

We arrived and went through check-in smoothly. I decided to put on the race tee, so I switched out shirts. There was no bag check, but they had given us all backpacks, so all my stuff got put in there. Note to self: I hate running with a backpack.

The start was a little late, but soon we were off. One thing they did really well was the whole cinematic effect. During the first half mile or so, you run by set-ups of people in lab coats screaming to turn around and go back, that there’s been an infestation! Then you pass by some more people in lab coats lying on the ground, dead. Finally, you reach the zombies.

In this race, each person has three life ribbons hanging off a belt. Once your life ribbons were gone, then I guess you are dead, though you get to keep running. Zombies were positioned across the trail, about three per spot and attempt to grab your ribbons. The ribbons on each side of me got taken pretty quickly, but the one in back eluded the zombies for a while.

After a water stop, we began mile two. My strategy was to casually jog up to the zombies, as if I were out of ribbons, and then sprint past them. This is exactly what I did when a zombie came out of nowhere and got my last ribbon! So with only one mile down and two to go, all three of us were the running dead.

The theming was the best part of the race. The water stations were labeled as “vaccination stations” and there were setups like a school bus full of zombies that we ran by.

I walked with Lauren and Chris most of the way, pushing them to run the downhills at least. With a half mile to go, I took off and left them. Sorry guys! Although that was mostly spent dodging all the other people that were walking and taking up the whole trail walking side-by-side.

Overall it was pretty fun, but I think there were way too many zombies on the course. It would be better if they were more spread out too, instead of clustered in groups. It was pretty impossible to make it all the way through with your life ribbons without cheating and getting more or hiding them in your pockets.

The Zombie Run

Race Report: Rockin’ Marathon Relay – September 7, 2013

This was an interesting but very fun race! The course was a 1.88 mile loop around Edwin Warner Park that we had to go around 14 times (the first time being slightly shorter) to complete the 26.2 marathon distance. That meant, with our four person team, two people had to run it three times and two people had to run it four.

Team Aching Bad (ah, my love of punny team names!) consisted of Amanda, my friend Jessica, and my coworker Jeff. Amanda and Jessica are about on the same level running-wise. I’m a little speedier than them, and Jeff is a little speedier than me.

Being one of the two fastest (lol), that means I was one of the lucky four time runners! I did get to do the (only slightly) shorter first lap, so my total official mileage for the day was 7.4 miles. The most I’ve ever run in one day!

Amanda and Jeff

Amanda and Jeff hanging out during Jessica’s first lap

For the first lap, we started about what looked to be a hundred feet in front of the start line, but “officially” was about a tenth of a mile ahead. (I will note that my Garmin did not detect that much of a difference so my watch average pace for the first lap is noticeably different from my official average pace.) The horn sounded and we were off!

The first half of the course is pretty much entirely uphill. The second half is downhill with some flats. The first half is awful. Thankfully, they positioned a water station at the top of the hill, which I took advantage of every single lap.

I felt pretty speedy on the first lap. I ran up much of the hill. (I did walk a few times…that thing was steep!) Then I flew downhill. I had a quick pause on the flat to catch my breath and ran to pass the baton to Jeff, who was running after me. Below is my pace graph for the first lap, where you can see elevation too. The slowdown at the very end was due to me forgetting to turn off my watch!

first lap pacing

I think everyone on our team had about a similar first lap experience: horror at the gigantic hill and a joyous downhill run. It seemed like my second lap came before I knew it! It was a lot tougher. I walked up more of the hill and more on the flats. The third was even harder. By then, it was getting closer to mid-day and the sun was bearing down on us. The temperature had risen nearly twenty degrees since we started.

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I was trying to psych myself up for the final lap. Amanda promised me three Fig Newtons from the food station if I did it in 20 minutes. For every minute slower, I would lose a cookie. I pushed as hard as I could and did it in 21 minutes. I got two Fig Newtons (and some crackers and a banana).

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All in all, we finished our marathon in a little over five hours. So we’re not going to qualify for Boston anytime soon, but it was a blast (except for that hill).

Team Aching Bad

Team Aching Bad!

Here’s our official results with my laps highlighted:
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Garmin says the average pace for my first lap was around 10:18, and Strava reports my fastest mile was 8:48! I would say all that speed training has helped, but I’m sure a lot of that has to do with gravity. I know downhill running can destroy your quads, but my hamstrings were what was mostly sore the next day, so my downhill form must not be too terrible. But super good news: no hip pain at all!

I’m not quite ready for Ragnar yet, but relays are FUN!

Shoes: Pearl Izumi Road N2

Week of 8/19/13 – 8/25/13

week of 8/19/13 to 8/25/13

I didn’t mean to take a rest day on Monday, since I was scheduled to do 45 minutes, but finishing off the first season of “Game of Thrones” somehow usurped my running plans. So, instead, I went out for the first time this week on Tuesday. I got a late start, and I didn’t think I could do 45 minutes before it got dark, so I decided to skip ahead to the next workout on my training plan: 2 miles easy. I ran the first mile without walking, but ran it much too fast in 10:56. I need to learn to slow down! So I ran/walked the second mile, coming in at an average pace of 12:29.

The next day I decided to do the next workout, the same speed interval workout I did last week. But look how much faster I was! Compare last week’s intervals on the left with this week’s on the right. With the exception of two walking intervals, I was faster on all of the running and walking sections. Speedy speedster!

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This was on a different route. The one from last week was very flat. This week’s had a couple of hills, which I think makes it even more impressive that I was able to maintain speed uphill, since that’s something I struggle with. Did I mention it was 85 and humid and I had forgotten my water bottle at home? I really have no idea how I managed a sub-9 min/mile pace for a full minute without water, not once but five times. Maybe last month’s hydration routine worked. Next week’s intervals have me doing 13 of them with only 1 minute walk breaks instead of 1:30, so we will see if I can stay as speedy!

After a rest day, I tackled 2.5 miles on Friday after work with Amanda. We were going to Nashville Shores afterwards, so we figured we might as well get hot and sweaty before cooling off in the lazy river. She normally runs in a very flat area, so I made sure to plan a route with some hills for her to tackle, since she needs the practice before our relay in a couple weeks. We went over the pedestrian bridge in downtown (which starts with about 0.2 mile of a 5.5% grade), around LP Field, through Cumberland Park, and then back over the bridge. Can I just say that I kind of enjoy pushing people to run? Maybe I have a future as a trainer (you know, if I ever get decent at it myself). I successfully got her to run up the bridge the first time around, but she gave up on it halfway through on the second time. (I actually ran up it, ran down it, then ran back up it to catch up with her, and back down it. I was having a good running day.)

I finally got in the 45 minute workout I was supposed to do on Monday over the weekend. Well, it actually turned into an hour workout. I really wish I would have looked at the weather a little more closely before I headed out. Because it was HOT. I meant to get out sooner (when it was cooler), but I had a late night out (Titans game and then Broadway Brewhouse, so I didn’t get home till nearly 1 am) so there was no way I was getting up at 6 or 7. Anyway, my plan was to do a 50 minute out and back on the greenway, with a focus on hill training. That all flew out the window once I actually got out there and started running. I tried running up the first big hill but had to walk halfway up it. It was just too hot. My body was using all its energy to try to keep me cool and had nothing left for running. By 1.5 miles in, I was almost out of water, so I altered my route to go by a water fountain. This is what extended the time. The route to the water fountain is also a lot hillier than the route I had planned to take. So, really, the day’s run was more of a walk with some runs on the downhills. Honestly, on the uphills, even walking was difficult. I’m pretty sure I ended up overhydrating because my body was releasing so much salt that the water I was taking in couldn’t get absorbed. Would have been a great day for some Gatorade, but all I had was water. Lesson learned: when the heat index is over 90 degrees, don’t plan to do a long run. And especially don’t plan to do it well.

Only three more weeks till half marathon training starts!

Race Report: Law Enforcement Memorial 5k – May 18, 2013

Wow, what a race!

NIC team at the Law Enforcement Memorial 5k

Photo by Michael Reyes.

I woke up on race day around 6 am and got ready. I popped a couple ibuprofin before heading out, just to ensure that my still slightly sore ankle wouldn’t bother me.

I arrived just before 7 am. I picked up my bib number and goodie bag, then did a brief warm up jogging to my car and back a couple times before some dynamic stretching. I had decided to wear my new running skirt and tank, and I was glad for this decision. I’ve decided I adore running skirts, since they don’t ride up like shorts do. Plus it has two convenient hidden pockets for things like car keys; none of my shorts have pockets at all. I also decided to use my new Amphipod as my phone holder, instead of my armband. I’ll talk more about that thing in the future.

Amanda and I at the Law Enforcement Memorial 5k

I had planned in my head that I wanted to try to run it in 35 minutes. I was thinking of aiming for a 12:00 first mile, 11:30 for the second, and 11:00 for the final.

The race started around 10 after 8. Amanda was pushing her son in the jogging stroller, so I knew I was going to eventually take off and leave her, but we ran together for the first tenth of a mile or so. I was trying to pace myself, but she was running ahead of me, so I started out faster than I had planned, around 11 min/mile pace. And then I just kept that pace somehow.

The first mile I ran in 10:57. I was pretty amazed by this. I took a slight walk break at the first water station to gulp down some fluid and then kept on running. At the start of the second mile, you loop back so you are passing everyone still on the first mile. As I passed people I knew, we all cheered each other on. After that, I was on my own. A hill loomed toward the end of the second mile, and I ended up walking a bit of it to the second water station. Here, I took a few sips and then dumped the rest on my very sweaty (it was cloudy but HUMID) head before starting to run again. I clocked in the second mile at 10:13.

The final mile(ish) was pretty hilly and I found myself walking up a few hills. It didn’t bother me, since I was way ahead of my goal time. I sprinted across the finish line with an official time of 30:03.

Law Enforcement Memorial 5k

Above you can see my overall pacing (and notice where my short walk breaks were). Below is a graph of my quarter mile splits, where you can see where I wore myself out a bit before the start of the second mile.

Quarter Mile Splits

Now, according to my Garmin data, the course was slightly short of a 5k. It was around 2.85 miles. Still, even if there was another quarter mile to go, I would have easily beaten my 35 minute goal time and my previous PR of 36:47. I was still so energetic at the end of the race that I felt I could have run another 5k, ha. I guess it was all the adrenaline?

Deb and I at the Law Enforcement Memorial 5k

Photo by Michael Reyes.

I broke a lot of my personal bests. I beat my previous 1k best by four seconds, coming in at 6:12. I also (crazily) beat my one mile time at 10:09. And I scored my best two mile time with 20:47.

Overall, it was a pretty amazing day, and I am so proud of myself for what I have been able to accomplish so far!

Shoes: Skechers GoRun 2