Welcome to my training journal - round 2! After a significant hiatus from running and racing (significant meaning about 3 months with no races or regular training) I'm back and thought I would re-introduce myself.
My name is Jillian and I am 28 years old - I'll be 29 this summer and will be filming 1 second of every day leading up to my 30th birthday. I'm from the Boston area, which means Marathon Monday is one of my favorite days of the year to drink while I watch people run. I work with kids (middle and high school) which makes every day pretty interesting. I spend too much money on getting dinner and drinks with friends and I quote Parks and Recreation on the daily.
I was a runner in high school (sprints!) and then stopped running due to a combination of tendonitis and sports-induced asthma. Until I went to Disney during the 2017 Princess Weekend and was itching to join. A year later I was running it!
Since that fateful trip, I've run one 10k, three half marathons, and 2 5Ks. I am currently signed up for a 10k and will be running the fairytale challenge and the 5k during Princess weekend of 2020.
Citython 5k This is an old recap, but I ran my first 5k in a long time in November! This was a gorgeous, gorgeous day in the fall which was a nice difference from the gross, rainy October half marathon I had last dealt with. This 5k was a fundraiser for the non-profit I work at and I was with my mom, three friends from my old job, my neighbor, and two friends from high school.
I started at the back of the pack like I usually do and Jenna and I began our race up and down Comm Ave. I started the race with Jenna, but then I decided to stay with Colleen and Katie (high school friends) for a few minutes. I could feel myself speed up, so I decided to pick up speed to catch up with Jenna and continue my run with her. My colleagues Josh and Elise were behind me for a little bit, as was my friend Eric (friend Bridget, neighbor Siobhan, and mom were walking the route at the back of the pack). I felt great the entire time and finished the race in 33:47. I was SO CLOSE to maintaining an 11:00 mile and now I really want to get to a 11:00 race pace and eventually finish a 5k in 30 minutes.
I wish I could share more, but it was a long time ago and I don't really remember, to be honest. I just know I felt great and I finished strong after a terrible half marathon and it was just what I needed. A ton of fun and a great time.
FINAL TIME: 33:47
Testicular Cancer Awareness 5k
This race was a fundraiser hosted by my friend Shannon's boyfriend's family and the money went to Dana Farber and to raise awareness for Testicular Cancer. This was just this past weekend, too, so the memory is fresh! I ran this with Katie and Shannon and their friend Nicole.
I ran the entire first mile without stopping. Katie's goal was to run the entire race without walking, so I decided I would push myself to do as much as I could and my first mile was complete in 10:34. The moment we passed the first mile marker and turned the corner there was a hill. Katie said she was going to try to run it, and I would have, too, but then I heard Shannon say she was pausing to walk so I decided to also walk the hill. Then I continued to run with her and a girl who joined our group named Ashley up to the water stop at around 1.5 miles when I was able to pour the water over my head (a GORGEOUS high 50s, low 60s sunny day) and they stopped to drink.
I began to pull ahead and was running as much as I could - I even ran for a short amount of time with one of the men's medal winners in the older age bracket before pulling ahead of him. I wasn't quite on it for ratios here, but I was doing a run/walk where I ran until I couldn't. My second mile was complete in 11:38. My last mile was the slowest at 12:00 since I was doing more ratios. All in all my race was complete in around 36-37 minutes. I don't know my exact time because this wasn't a tracked race, though they did have clocks out. I just wasn't paying close attention because this was just a weekend training run for me. According to my RunKeeper (which I forgot to turn off after crossing the line) I ran 3.13 miles in 36:09 with an average pace of 11:32.
After finishing with Shannon (Katie ran nearly the whole thing and finished shortly before us) we went over for a BBQ and then headed home for the Game of Thrones premiere!
Boston Athletic Association 10k Training Journal
This is kind of a weird start to an update on my training because I'm a few weeks in... so I need to start in the fall after the half marathon... after that I didn't run again until my 5k for work, and then again until January... so let's start with my random runs in the winter...
I didn't fall, I just searched "winter running" on giphy and found this and it was really funny.
January 5: 4.04 miles 53:18 January 13: 4.5 miles in 58:10
Wow... two... that sounds about right. But they were both above 4 miles! I don't remember the details of these runs, except that one was through a trail in sort of rainy weather and the other might have been along the bike path.
Then I signed up for the BAA 10k on June 23 and it was time to start properly training.
I decided to try to follow the 10k plan from runDisney, which is 30 minute weekday runs with a slow build to 6 miles for the race. I sort of follow it, but mostly I'm finding that I'm doing my own thing which is 3 mile weekday runs and longer runs on the weekends.
Me during this cycle of training
March 19: 3.03 miles • 37:50 • 12:29 avg pace
March 21: 3 miles • 37:01 • 12:20 avg pace
March 24: 4.75 miles • 1:01:14 • 12:53 avg pace
I have no memory of these runs, but they must have been fine? I believe I was still using my old shoes here. I was starting to have some pain when I rans, so I figured it was time for new shoes.
March 26: 3 miles • 37:18 • 12:25 avg pace
March 28: Treadmill run for 36:01 (I don't know the distance - I was away at a conference)
March 31: 6.2 miles • 1:18:02 • 12:35 avg pace
Still my old shoes. Hadn't gotten new ones yet. I tried to run 30 minutes straight on the treadmill but couldn't which made me feel sad because I used to be able to do that.
April 2: 3:01 miles • 40:36 • 13:30 avg pace
April 4: 3:01 miles • 38:34 • 12:48 avg pace
April 7: 3.39 miles • 45:10 • 13:20 avg pace
I actually bought new shoes this week after a painful 3 mile run on April 2. I was noticing after this that when I ran in my new shoes, I had some pain initially but then after a mile and a half or so it subsided. I thought it would get better down the line (the more runs I went on) but so far no go.
April 12: 3.03 miles • 38:58 • 12:51 avg pace
April 14: 3.13 miles • 36:09 • 11:32 avg pace (this was a 5k race that you can read about here)
I ran a whole mile straight in 10:36 or so which is amazing. My feet were sore the first mile but got better (I just got more tired and did some walking).
April 18: 2.26 miles • 25:57 • 11:29 avg pace (this is according to Jenna's run keeper, I was VERY slow here and came in behind her)
April 21: 3 miles • 39:06 • 13:01 avg pace
I did not want to go for the run on Tuesday. At all. I was so slow. And my feet were killing me. The easter run was okay. Jenna ended up running that evening and doing a 10k in under 1:10 (our goal for 6/23 is 1:05) and I am jealous! But I got to spend time with my niece who was SO snuggly and chatty - too bad she speaks toddler and I have no idea what she's saying.
April 23: 3.02 miles • 38:54 • 12:52 avg pace
April 25: 3.01 miles • 37:51 • 12:34 avg pace
I switched to running right from the start instead of starting with a 3 minute walk, so these paces are more on par with what I can do.
I think tomorrow I'll do 4-5 miles (aiming for 5) with Jenna before brunch with my girlfriends from high school.
Boston Athletic Association 10k Training Journal
Last time on... Survivor! Surviving running, that is...
I left you all hanging with a "will she or won't she" around my 5 mile run on April 28. And... I'm going to leave you hanging one more time!
Before I dive into the runs I've gone on since April 25, I want to remind myself of the great idea I had for this training journal. I want to post a song that is great for a running playlist every time I update. Now... we can all likely agree that I have not exactly been active on this journal lately, but it's time to get my butt in gear!
No more of this:
And definitely not this:
It's time to channel my inner Chris Traeger:
I am going to make every effort to post weekly after the June 23 10k! The reason for that is because I will officially be in training mode for the Princess Half Marathon weekend where my goal is to run the challenge (10k and Half) and 5k for a total of 4 medals and 1 unforgettable weekend. I will be going with my parents, who will run the 5k and 10k; my friends Eric, Bridget, and Jenna who will be running the 5k and 10k with me and Jenna will be doing the Half with me; and my Disney travel buddy Devin who is also running the half with her friend Julie.
Once the training journal switches to Princess Half Marathon training, I'll do my weekly songs!
Now! On with the show!
April 28: 5 miles • 57:00 • 11:23 avg pace
All right all right all right! Jenna and I did two laps of the pond in our hometown and I think I felt really good. I don't really remember too much.
May 5: 5 miles • 1:02:31 • 12:30 avg pace
I did a bad job. Only ran once on the weekend. Bright side is my shoes don't bother me anymore! I think I just needed to break them in.
I thought I had gone for a run this weekend (Mother's Day weekend) but apparently not? It was also my mom's birthday weekend so I guess I got caught up in the whirlwind that was family events.
Week 9 May 19: • 3.09 miles • 35:12: 11:24 avg pace
We got rained out here. We were supposed to run 6 miles but it started pouring at just about 2.5 miles and didn't look like it was going to let up. We did not have any rain gear and would probably have had phones and headphones short out on us, so we called it at 3 when we got back to the car.
Week 10 May 21: 3.01 miles • 36:30 • 12:09 avg pace
May 24: 3 miles • 35:45 • 11:55 avg pace
May 27: 6.2 miles • 1:16:10 • 12:17 avg pace
Back on the wagon! Looking good! Three runs in one week! I am Chris Traeger, after all. In all honesty, the 6.2 mile run was hot and I got a great tan, but I was not motivated. I wanted to quit. I wanted to eat donuts. I wanted to jump in the lake. I wanted lemonade and slush. I did not want to run. But I did. And that's not bad for a training run. I'm really hopeful I can keep momentum up this weekend.
Full disclosure, I didn't go for a run this week (Week 11). As you may know, I run a summer camp so this is my busiest time of year. I've been pulling a lot of early mornings and late nights at work and the stress remains high. And I'm not someone who feels less stressed after going for a run. Too much time alone with my thoughts causes the stress to get worse and all I can think about is the time I'm losing that I could be working. So I worked instead of ran. I am hoping that next week is better. I do plan on going for a run tomorrow.. so let's try to set me up for success...
Boston Athletic Association 10k Training Journal
The way I left it last week, I hadn't run at all and was planning on a run the following day (6/2). Let's see how that went...
Week 11 June 2: 6.11 miles • 1:12:53 • approx 12:00 avg pace
Let's talk about this really quick. This pace/time frame is Jenna's. I did the distance. I did not do the time. I was DYING here. Jenna's been much more consistent in training, especially in her weekday maintenance runs + some cross training. Being a bride will motivate you (standing next to the bride provides less motivation, turns out). Point being, I finished a few minutes after her because I more or less walked the last mile.
Science side of the internet: what's the science behind the maintenance runs? Why do they make weekend runs easier? Do they do that? I think they do. They must.
Anyway, this was a wakeup call for me. I wanted to do better. So I had a plan going into this past week: actually run during the week. I made it happen once. Let's see the results...
June 4: 3 miles • 34:35 • 11:31 avg pace June 8: 6.2 miles • 1:14:35 • 12:02 avg pace
First off, the June 4 run seems very fast. Jenna and I did finish together, but she would pause it and wait for me every so often and I was behind her, so I'm going out on a limb here and saying that I was about 30 seconds behind her?
With that said, on our long run on Saturday I decided to track myself instead of being tagged by Jenna in the workout so I had a better idea of what was going on with me. I also decided to run my own pace and see how I did instead of trying to keep pace with Jenna. Turns out I am in much better shape than I thought I was. I was behind Jenna, sure, but I felt strong the entire time instead of trying to keep up early on and then crashing halfway through. I'm guessing the maintenance run also helped a little bit. I feel good about the race coming up, especially if on a training run I'm doing 1:14:35. Maybe I can meet my goal on 6/23!
Boston Athletic Association 10k Training Journal
Hi. Yes. Hello. Hi. Not dead. Just in my busy summer season with running a summer camp at all. And y'know... not running much. Except for this week when I ran a bunch. Until today. When the kidney stones won and I loss. Anyway... I owe you some information.
Week Who Even Knows through Week Who Even Knows June 11: 3 miles • 36:40 • 12:13 avg pace
This quite literally might have been my only run between my last training run on June 8 and my race on June 23. I checked run keeper and I don't have any runs, and the ones Jenna has don't include me (that I can remember...) so let's agree that from June 8 to June 23 I ran exactly one training run before running a 6.2 mile race.
Anyway, I was going to do this whole update on all my running and then do a race recap, but I didn't train much, so I might as well just jump into the race recap. Ready? OK!
Boston Athletic Association 10k Race Recap
This was my first hometown race with the Boston Athletic Association. I've been going down to watch the Marathon nearly every year since my college years in 2008 (I took a break after the bombing) and so Jenna and I figured it was the perfect race to do for a 2019 kick off.
The race started in the Boston Common, bordered the public garden and then went up Comm Ave, over to Bay State Road for a hot minute, then back into Kenmore and up Comm Ave again, turning around just past Agganis Arena and back down Comm Ave and to the Common. Now, leading up to the race, I had done a 5k just around the same spot in November, so I thought I had a good sense of where it went. I assumed that we would go a mile and a half further than in the 5k to get it to a 10k, but I guess I have just zero sense of how far a mile is.
I should have known, too. I mean, I went to school at BU, so I walked the distance every day. I think from my dorm (right by Agganis Arena) to my classes (Kenmore Square) is 1.8 miles. So I should have been prepared but I just wasn't. What did give me a leg up is that, when I realize the route took us really far up, I knew the landscape. We were told it was a flat course, but I promise you, there's a nice, big, long hill and it's called all of Comm Ave.
Anyway, let's jump into the actual race... Apologies in advance, I have 0 photos on here.
Bib Pick Up
There was no pick up! They mailed it all to your house prior to race day. MVPs! MVPs! MVPs!
Jenna and I got there pretty early and secured a decent parking spot not far from the race start. We were going to park at her Dad's store, but we didn't need to and I think ended up being closer to the start than we would have if we went to her Dad's. Parking on a Sunday morning in Boston is a breeze - if you're early enough. And there are no meters on Sunday so it's free all day!
Once we walked over, we got ourselves situated and dropped our bag off in the bag drop area. They check your tag when you go in and again when you leave to ensure that you have the correct belongings. It's basically just a giant maze of bags. There were some tents, but not much to really do. We just dropped our things off and then waited until we were called to the corral. We found our way to slow pace area and settled in to wait. Once the elite runners were off (party in the back!) we were moving pretty quickly.
Prior to the race, Jenna and I had discussed that we would run our own races and if we separated, we would just meet up after. So I started my run keeper and we were off! And then my run keeper had a seizure or stroke or something and stopped working so I had to totally turn my phone off and back on to get it to work, so it got a little funky for a minute when I didn't have any intervals telling me what to do.
Mile 1: Mile one is from Boston Common, past the public garden, to Back Bay along Comm Ave. I allegedly did this in 10:54, but please remember that my phone was on the fritz. Mile 2: This brings us into Kenmore Square and onto Bay State Road. This was mostly shade and I wish it were like that the entire time. Run keeper says it was an 11:13 mile. Mile 3: Here we turned back onto Comm Ave and my gosh, it was a million degrees. We were running right uphill in the sun and I wanted to hurl. Someone was walking next to me and I told her that we were almost to the top of the hill, but I forgot to tell her that there was another one after it. Whoops. This was a big slowdown to 11:53. Mile 4: I had turned around on Comm Ave and was heading back (it's basically a big out and back route). This was fun because now the sun was directly in my face instead of to my back. I was dripping sweat. Also time to say goodbye to under-12 minute miles, here I hit 12:25. Mile 5: This part of the route is the downhill/relatively flat bit back to the Common. I Sped up a little bit, but to be fair it was downhill a bit and I hit 12:16. Mile 6: My slowest at the end here, 12:30. Just trucking along to the finish. A small hill as we go underneath Mass Ave. .02: Runkeeper has this at .04, but I think it's because I forgot to stop it, either way it was a quick one at 11:28. I was sure glad to be done.
For the post race, I first got my medal (no fairy dust) then went through and got all my food (a bagel, from what I can remember, and maybe a banana? Definitely a gatorade). Jenna and I found each other as I gave her a ring and we got out (but first, selfies).
We walked back to the car and cheered on runners as we walked along the route. Luckily, we were able to get out of Boston pretty easily because roads were reopening already.
I would 100% do this race again. In a heartbeat. And be better prepared. I know about the route now, so I would definitely have sunglasses or a hat ready to go. The water stops were perfect, so I was well-hydrated.
And my final time... Drum roll, please... was 1:15:53.
Run keeper has me at 1:15:47 with an average pace of 11:50. Not bad for feeling pretty unprepared. I feel like the discrepancy is due to my app freaking out. I know I can do better and I hope I do... in two weeks when I run a 10k again! Better prepared - maybe? If not, I'll sign up for an October one, too.
The Training Journal for Lots of Races That Have Never Been Mentioned
I'm the actual worst at updating this journal. Like... the last time I posted was at the end of August... about a race that happened in the middle of June... Since August I have run two 10ks and a 5k. And I mentioned exactly 0% of what's been going on.
I don't even know where to start... maybe with the training that happened between the BAA 10k and my next 10k in September? Sure, let's do that... then I can give the race recap for the September Race... then I can do the training for between that and my race yesterday... and I can do a race recap for both that 10k and the 5k I did two weeks ago. SO MANY RACES. SO LITTLE INFORMATION SHARING.
Okay, I need to sit down with my RunKeeper and see what I've done by going through my entire history and that of my Mom and Jenna, since they've tracked runs that I haven't.
Training Runs between June 23 and September 8 for the Mystic Runners Classic around Lake Quannapowitt Wow, it looks like the first training run I went on after the BAA 10k on June 23 was...
July 14: 3 miles • 38:27 • 12:49 avg pace
Two weeks later...
July 28: 3 miles • 36:43 • 12:13 avg pace
August 2: 3 miles • 36:11 • 12:01 avg pace
August 12: 4 miles • 49:21 • 12:18 avg pace
After these three runs, my mom and I went for a run the day before my best friend got married (and I got to be in her wedding. Insert the heart eyes emoji here).
August 17: 6.29 miles • 1:25:02 • 13:31 avg pace
A note about this run with my mom... she and I started out together running along the bike path that follows the channel separating Cape Cod from mainland Massachusetts. It was a really cool spot to run and it sounds like they host events there which flabbergasts me because it's a bike path! It's narrow! I can't imagine a race there, especially if it's out and back (which I have no idea the set up... I'm just spitballing here.) Anyway, we basically ran from the Bourne Bridge to the Sagamore and back. My dad was having some foot pain issues, so he started behind us and did his own thing, so we caught back up with him as we came back and once he and my mom were together for the end of it, I took off and finished a few minutes before them. At least 5 minutes ahead.
a boat on the channel during our run; all glammed up for the wedding
Okay, back to training runs...
August 25: 6.2 miles • 1:15:41 • 12:12 avg pace
August 27: 3 miles • 38:16 • 12:45 avg pace
August 29: 2.22 miles • 31:04; 14:01 avg pace (The day the Kidney Stones won)
August 31: 2.23 miles • 25:17; 11:20 avg pace (Run with & tracked by Jenna)
September 2: 6.2 miles • 1:17:28; 12:29 avg pace (Ran with & tracked by Jenna)
September 8: 4 miles • 48:01 • 12:00 avg pace
So, those 11 runs bring me to the first race recap, which I will put in another post to keep this nice and clean for links on the first page!
The Mystic Runners Classic is held at Lake Quannapowitt by the local running group. This is the 10k race that Jenna used for Proof of Time for the 2018 Princess Half, so we decided to sign up to use it as Proof of Time for the 2020 Princess Half. If you recall, we both had run the BAA 10k, but since we had plenty of time between the June race and the November 19 Proof of Time due date, we decided to race as many 10ks as possible to hit our Proof of Time goal.
Spoiler alert: this race went better for Jenna than it went for me.
Bib Pick Up + Pre Race
Jenna picked me up and we drove the 10 minutes up the highway to the race start and parked. Plenty of parking spaces and plenty of time given to get there.
I don't remember if I ate breakfast before, but I have a vague memory of peanut butter and banana - so I think that's what I did for breakfast. We both had bananas and peanut butter in the car.
We ran out to pick up our bibs but had time to kill (bib pick up was a breeze - we went to the desk and they had us turn around real quick to look at our Bib numbers, then come back to check in). It took maybe 5 minutes. We also got a t-shirt! We headed back to the car and sat in the warmth (it was a bit cool and overcast when we arrived) and watched the kids race. It was really cute. You can tell it's a local running group because a lot of the parents knew each other and were clearly going to race afterwards.
Afterwards, we headed back inside to use the bathroom and then went to line up for the start of the race!
Once again, this was a "do you" race. If we needed to split we would (and we totally did). We knew this route really well because we train here all the time. One lap around the lake is about 3 miles, so two laps + a little bit gets you to 6.2 miles. Jenna said they changed where you started slightly, but it wasn't a big change. It did mean that the finish was not at the same place as the start, but that's fine with me. The route is quite flat and since it goes around a lake, there are some parts that are nice and cool with the wind off the water. Some other places, however, are not.
As this is a September Race in New England, the cool, overcast weather from the morning burned off during the race. The sun came out and it became quite warm, so I took off my outer layer during the race... Actually. I should probably start telling you about the race... Let's go!
Mile 1: This started in front of one of the corporate buildings at what I consider to be the "back" of the lake. It took us around the back of the building through the parking lot, and along the main road that follows the edge of the lake. I started quite strong and felt good about my first mile time. 10:55
Mile 2: I tend to think of the lake as having three parts, each about a mile long. There's the road side, the neighborhood side, and the office side. The second mile was most of the road side and a little bit of the neighborhood side. I had major slow down here, and I wish I knew why. This part is super flat and cool... it should have been faster. 11:45 Mile 3: The third mile was the neighborhood side, passing some historic buildings and the cemetery. I hit mile 3 about ⅓ of the way before the start line. This is where it starts getting slightly hilly and warm because of the trees blocking the breeze. 11:29 Mile 4: The fourth mile is more or less the same as first, but it ends earlier so that the next mile is truly the length of the main road. Anyway, my time was 11:53. This part of the course was not my friend. Mile 5: The neighborhood part again! I continued to slow down - I was struggling. It had been getting warmer and sunnier and I was just not doing well. 12:03 Mile 6.3: The last mile didn't take me to the last turn into the corporate park, with the change in the start line and addition of the parking lot, it made the route a little longer if we had started and finished in the same spot. They had us turn into where the bib pick up was for the finish. I continued to be slow, but Jenna was there to cheer me in! 12:29
This race used to get you a finisher's medal, but instead of medals this year they gave us sunglasses. A little disappointing when you expect a medal, but not the end of the world. We went inside to grab food with our meal ticket (one of the perks - the post race party) but when we went in they were doing the awards and we didn't feel like waiting for food, especially when they didn't advertise any vegetarian meals and Jenna doesn't eat meat. Instead, we decided to go have a small photo shoot by the lake with our sunglasses and then drive North to get donuts and to see Jenna's new baby cousin (I met this baby before some of her family).
My final time, for the record, was 1:13:24. About two minutes faster than the BAA 10k, but not where I was when I ran the 10k in 2017 (that was an official time of 1:11:something and an unofficial time of 1:09:something).
I wish I had done better on this race. I think that I had sort of psyched myself out because I've been really struggling with my headspace while training this year. And my training runs here had not been as fast as I wanted. Jenna and I had a lot of training runs where she would be faster than I was and have to wait, and I would push myself to try to keep up... Either way. Not great. I'd love to redeem myself here one day. It certainly made me feel like I needed another race to get a better POT.
Okay, we are back into training. This basically covers the rest of September and all of October. At this time, the only race I was signed up for was a 5k that benefited my local YMCA and as I was training, I decided I wanted a better proof of time so that I could hopefully be in the same corral as Jenna and she wouldn't need to fall back (at the Mystic Runners Classic she had a time of 1:04:10) so I signed up for a 10k in November. Let's get into the training runs...
September 25: 3 miles • 35:47 • 11:55 avg pace
September 27: 3 miles • 38:59 • 13:00 avg pace
September 29: 4.7 miles • 1:00:05 • 12:47 avg pace
October 6: 4.95 miles • 58:57 • 11:54 avg pace (Ran with & tracked by Jenna)
October 8: 3 miles • 35:12 • 11:42 avg pace
October 20: 4.17 miles • 57:48 • 13:52 avg pace (Ran with Mom + our Husky)
October 22: 3 miles • 36:26 • 12:08 avg pace
two gorgeous photos from my run with my mom and our dog.
YMCA 5k Race Recap
I feel like this would be a pretty boring post without the race recap for the 5k, so let's go. Like I mentioned, this was for our local YMCA. I worked there part time through grad school and then it was my first job out of grad school, but I had never run any of our races because of being (a) a student and (b) a non runner. Once I did start running, I had a half marathon scheduled the same day as the 5k in 2018, which was the same time I left for a new organization.
This year's race both benefited the Y and was in memory of a former staff member and veteran. He retired shortly before I left and then, just a few months into retirement, he died suddenly. It was totally sudden and heartbreaking so it was the perfect way to honor his memory and I had to be there.
I signed up to run with my friend Eric (we met working at the YMCA) and drove the 5 minutes down the street to park at the race start. Bib Pick Up was easy (it helps that I know most of the staff) and then we had plenty of time to kill. I threw my stuff in Eric's office for safe keeping (I didn't feel like walking up to my car) and we hung out in the sun while we waited for the race to begin. With our race entry we got a t-shirt and some coupons and entry into the post-race party which we ended up skipping so that we could get breakfast with our friend Bridget instead.
This route is one I run all the time since it's near my house. So I was very familiar. The only difference is that it started on the main road, which I don't run because I run from my house to the trail that leads to the pond, which is across from the Y. It would be way too narrow for the 200+ runners, so the road made sense to start.
Mile 1: Like I said, this started at the Y and went along the main road until it turned down a side street that leads to the pond. My first mile was 10:42. This was a wicked hill, too. I was going to do my usual 2:1 ratio, but Eric wanted to run straight so I decided to see what I was made of. The answer is jelly. I am made of jelly. Since it was uphill, my legs were tired so I turned it into a 5:1 ratio and maintained that the rest of the race.
Mile 2: The second mile was along the pond and up a hill - mostly paved, which was nice. Only a little bit of trail running here. I was still doing the 5:1 ratio and maintaining what I thought was a decent clip. I had definitely slowed down, though, and this mile was 11:11
Mile 3: Usually when I run the pond I run all the way around it, but instead when turning left off the path, we turned left again and went back the way we came. Instead of going all the way back to the road leading to the main road, we went onto the trail that leads directly to the Y. I was pretty tired at this point, but felt pretty good and finished strong at 11:23 for the mile and a pace of 9:48 for the run up to the finish line.
It wasn't my fastest 5k, but it certainly helped propel me into the headspace I needed to be in. I also was sure to eat breakfast before the race (peanut butter and banana on an English Muffin) because I had a theory that I wasn't eating well before races, which was impacting my energy and therefore my time and stamina. This also propelled me to talk to my boss at work about shifting my hours while I train for the Princess Challenge to ensure morning runs twice a week (which she is allowing me to do).
Well, we're barely halfway through November, so there's not much to recap regarding training, so let's start this post with some radical vulnerability before talking about the two training runs before the 10k.
I was in a great frame of mind when this whole running journey began in the summer of 2017. I had just come off the vacation at Disney where I drooled over race medals and was itching for some of my own. That summer I went on a run with Jenna (who, at the time, worked for me) because she had signed up for the 2018 Princess Half and I figured... why the heck not? She and I went for a run together, I signed up for the race, and then I began my training. She and I would go for the occasional run together, but for the most part we were training independently. She ran a few 10ks, I ran mine... and we compared paces and realized we were within seconds of each other. So we started training together and ran the 2018 race together.
After that race, our friendship really solidified even further (to the point that I was in her wedding just a month ago) and we signed up for two more half marathons to run together. At this time, we both had moved on from the Y and were working at a hospital (her) and a new non profit (me) so the training in the summer went haywire for me. We continued to run, though, and I mostly ran because of her encouragement. We decided to run the 2020 half marathon together again for my 30th birthday year and get as many friends as possible to join us.
We signed up for the Princess weekend challenge and 5k in the spring and new it was time to get our butts into high gear for training. We needed to get new POTs and train train train. Jenna killed it, for the record. We definitely both struggled with BAA due to inconsistent training + brutally hot weather. But it was okay, that was to get our baseline so we could train for the 10k in September... which I struggled with because my work/life balance in the summer is... not great. #understatement
We ran that race and, as you guys just read, she killed it and it killed me. So I signed up for one more (she would be unable to race, but that's OK because her POT was incredible and she would be doing things like going on her honeymoon.) My goal was to get near her POT. I had read the thread here that talked about POT cut offs for corrals and I knew my goal would be to get under 1:08.
Well, I had a few goals. One was to get under 1:13 (my last), one was to get under 1:11 (my best) and the third was to get under 1:08 (the cutoff to move up a corral).
I knew that in order for this to happen, I needed to make a change.
Some background: in the fall, my parking situation at work changed and I was no longer able to drive to work. In the summer, my ability to run basically goes to a 0 because I run a summer camp and I am heading off to work at 7:00 am and back home at 6:00 pm if I'm lucky. And after a long day in the hot sun, the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run. All I wanted then was dinner and sleep. My first year on the new job, I wasn't great about running in the fall/winter, but I had no races on the docket and I was "getting used to" my schedule. My commute for the Y was 5-10 minutes... my commute now was an hour each way. So, once again, I was out of the house by 7:45 and home at 6:00 (if I was lucky) and I didn't want to run so early, and getting home at that time meant it was dark. Now with no parking... I am a slave to public transport and my commute is (at best) an hour and a half... that's 3 hours a day.
This was clearly not sustainable... and now I have the Princess Challenge on my plate. I had to talk to my boss about changing my hours so I could run before work. I sat with her on Monday and asked if I could work late on Tuesdays (I already work late Thursdays, so my start time is 10:30). This way I could go for a morning run twice a week, which means running when the sun is up and not at the ungodly hour of 5 am. She thankfully said yes to this through February, so I'm able to train.
NOW... let's talk training real quick...
November 5: 3 miles • 35:30 • 11:51 avg pace
November : 3 miles • 35:27 • 11:49 avg pace
Well... that was a LOT of word vomit, so I will keep you on the edge of your seats and give you a race recap in the next post...
Okay.. You got a lot of words thrown at you this time. Let's see if I can be brief.
Bib Pick Up + Pre Race
This race took place about an hour drive from my house and started at 8:00 am, so that made for an early morning. I had slept terrible the night before because of anxiety, but I felt surprisingly awake when my alarm did go off at 5:00 am. I stayed in bed for a little bit before getting ready (everything was laid out) and grabbing my bag to change/shower at my friend's house after the race. I even had time to put on my eyebrows and mascara. I made a PB and Banana sandwich for breakfast and took it with me since I wasn't hungry.
They had bib pick up available the night before, but the drive wasn't worth it when you could go the morning of. My goal was to get there at about 7:30 and I parked at 7:25. Parking was tight, but I managed a space. I walked right in, went right to the table and had my bib and t-shirt in just a minute. I love that this (like all races I've been to) provide the pins. I ended up taking these four and leaving them in my car at the end of the race in case I ever need them.
Since I had time to kill, I brought the shirt to my car (I had nowhere to store it and Devin, who was going to join me, was out with an injury, so I couldn't hand it to her to hold) and then walked back into the gym to use the bathroom and basically hang out the half hour prior to the race. I sat against the wall and sort of stretched, but mostly people watched. These folks looked like serious runners. I tried to eat my sandwich, too, but I struggled to chew due to anxiety.
At about 7:55, everyone started filing out of the gym and lining up to start. The race director came out and explained that we all began together, and that after mile 1 the 5k split off to the right, then shortly after the 10k would split off while the half marathon went straight. Then it was follow the signs and the occasional person. He also said that on the back of every arrow or mile marker was his phone number written and that if you needed anything or couldn't finish, to call him and he would come pick you up. He also said that if you DNF-ed, you would get free entry for the next year's race. I wish we had known, then Devin could have started the race, walked for a bit, then called to be removed and tried next year.
waiting for the race to start
Mile 1: I set my run keeper to the 2:1 ratio and decided that I would aim for a 5:1 ratio like at the 5k the race before. Usually, I use my phone and it syncs to my watch/headphones, but for some reason my watch freaked out and I had to start it a second time 10 seconds later on my phone. But then it was also alerting me on my watch? Annoying, but I managed. I ended up running the entire first mile in 10:08! This is the fastest mile I've run in a LONG time - maybe since 2017 or 2018. The first mile was straight and fairly flat. 10:08
Mile 2: At this point, I switched to ratios. I slowed way down, too. And I'm not sure why. Probably because I ran so quickly during mile 1. I hoped that the fast first mile gave me a bit of a cushion for for finishing where I wanted to finish. I'm not sure if I switched to 5:1 or directly to 2:1, but I do remember how gorgeous the neighborhood was. Some small hills. 11:40
Mile 3: This was straight and gorgeous through a rural neighborhood. Just stunning. Around this time, I believe, the half marathon had split from us and it was just 10k runners. I had been leap frogging a woman for a bit and finally passed her for good. I think I was literally in second to last place because I didn't see anyone behind her and the people in front of me were a solid few minutes ahead. These were some seriously good runners. 11:30
Mile 4: Still rural. Still gorgeous. Speeding back up but not quite under 11:00 like I had hoped, but not near 12:00, which was good. I had done the math, and I needed to maintain an 11 minute mile. I really hoped that first mile would hold me, but at least I was speeding up. 11:16
Mile 5: This part of the course took me back into neighborhood. I was trying to figure out where I was in comparison to the finish line, and the answer was not far. I was back to being speedy, too. 10:47
Mile 6: The last mile was the rest of the neighborhood and back on the main drag where we all started out. I was so tired, and I was itching to make the timing right. I started checking my phone and watch more on the walk breaks. I also tried to run more and my intervals got a little wonky. I didn't feel fast. I got to the finish line and saw that I was just under 1:10 and I really wanted to beat 1:10, so I sprinted into the end. 10:49
After finishing you were handed a water bottle with a medal wrapped around it. There was no one at the finish line, I swear. There were two volunteers managing the finish line, two volunteers handing out the medal/water, and then like, 4 folks were waiting for someone to finish. It was weird. Also as I was running down the finish chute, people who had finished were walking toward me? So they had to move so I could run by them. It was weird. There was no post-race party that I was aware of, but there were awards for half marathon and overall finishers? No awards for the 5k or 10k. I'm not sure. I got my stuff, asked for someone to take my photo, and then decided to just head to my friend's house for breakfast and to freshen up before we headed back to Boston to the MFA.
This race used the same folks to time it as the 5k the weekend before, so there was a place to type in your bib number and it printed your results. Let's just say I swore out loud when I saw my results. The unofficial results had me finishing after 1:10, so I was excited for that (then even more excited hours later when the official results came through and I was under 1:10). But I swore because I was 3rd in my age division for the 10k. I never thought I would place so I was too excited to care that there was no award ceremony for the 10k.
The face of a girl third in her age division with a personal best.
I can't lie, guys. As excited I am by breaking 1:10 and having a personal record AND being third in my age division... I have some disappointments. I'll start with those so I can end on a high. I wish I had done a 5:1 ratio the entire race or run the last mile straight. I literally needed to cut just seconds off each mile to hit the under 1:08 goal that would have moved me up a corral. I was so close and to fall short by a minute is really disheartening. I definitely spent some time wondering what more I could have done to have had a better time.
On the bright side... this is the best run I've had in months. I was worried that I'd never be as good as I was when I was training for Princess the first time. Since my last half marathon at the end of 2018, I've gained almost 30 lbs and while it may not look like it, it feels really bad. I don't weigh myself often because I know it's not a reflection of my health, but it's been really hard for me mentally.
I'm hoping that this is the turnaround point as I go into training for Princess and into 2020 in general. I'm hopeful that I can get better and better if I work for it and am consistent. I need to continue to advocate for myself to ensure that I can do the things I need to do to meet my goals. And I'm ready for it.