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Showing content with the highest reputation on 09/16/2019 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    The short: Mother Nature didn't want the Plaza 10K runners to have it easy this year, so she gave us 71 degrees with thunderstorms in the area and a dew point of 68. Historically I haven't raced well in these conditions, so I lined up ready to give it my all and to be thankful for whatever that was, without any specific time or pace expectations. I ran by effort and ignored my watch, and although I had an idea where I was at since the race had a course clock at the 5K mark, I was thrilled to see the finishing clock in the 36s as I came down the final stretch. My official time of 36:52 is 18 seconds off my PR, which I ran in 56 degrees on the same course last year, but it almost felt like a PR because it was much faster than I thought I would run in the weather we had. It is by far the best I've raced anything in temperatures over 70, and it felt so good after a disappointing 5K in similar conditions the previous weekend. My official results are here, and my Strava activity of the race can be seen here. I remembered not to stop my watch for once! On my drive to the race, Psalm 23 popped into my head The long: I had a hard time getting pumped up for this race because of the forecast. I was still feeling discouraged from the Brookhaven 5K, and the weather conditions were shaping up to be nearly identical for this race. I thought my fitness was there, but I didn't feel good about showing it in crap weather - plus optimism and denial hadn't worked the previous weekend! I was at this race solo, so this was my race day pic! However, as always I got excited when I got in the race environment and began warming up. This race is very competitive, so as usual one of my goals was to place as high as I could. My other goals were to get the best out of myself that day, and to not be afraid to hurt. The race started and I settled into the effort level that felt maintainable for 6.2 miles. Several women went out ahead of me, and I began setting my eyes on the ponytail closest to me and working towards it. I latched onto men here and there to help pull me up to the next ponytail. I passed Chander, who I ran most of Grandma's Marathon with, shortly after the mile mark and encouraged her to work her way up with me. The familiar course was comforting, although I caught myself thinking, "I remember how much cooler it was last year" a few times. Mid-race focus I was nearing a woman and feeling strong when we passed the 5K clock in 18:24. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or to breathe a sign of relief, since the pace felt hard but it also felt do-able, whereas the previous week I'd been nearly dead after racing a flatter 5K in 18:23. That gave me a nice boost and I accelerated past that women, encouraging her to work with me to catch the two ponytails ahead of us. A couple of my male pace buddies around mile 4 After that point I worked with a couple of men for the second half of the race. The effort was hard but I kept telling myself just to stay with them; they would get me in the 36s. Although I didn't have a time goal when I started the race, I sure had one after I saw my 5K course split, and that was to run something starting with a 36! I knew that wouldn't be an easy task, because the final 2 miles of this course have a lot of uphill and I've always positive split on it. Also, my coach told me that humidity affects us most in the second half of a race, which seems like a good explanation for why I positive split everything in the summer even though in general I consider myself a good negative splitter... I started to hurt really bad with 1.5 miles to go, but I was gaining slightly on a ponytail about 30 seconds ahead and wouldn't let myself give up, just in case! Running near the men helped a lot, but as they sprinted in the final 0.2 I didn't have much left to give - by that point I also knew that I wasn't going to move up or get caught in my female position. As I came down the final stretch, I saw that I was going to make it in the 36s and broke out in a smile! I remembered to not stop my watch right at the line in hopes of getting good finishing photos! The woman who won my age group was from Flagstaff, AZ Post-race, I ran an 8 mile cool down with great company, which has become tradition for this Sunday race that always coincides with marathon training (probably because I am always marathon training, bahaha!)! I felt pretty good on the slow cool down until we climbed a massive steep hill in the final mile, in search of Sharon's car... The race took about 8 photos of us finishing our cool down, hah! The more I reflected on my race, the better I felt about it. The woman who won the race last year in 34:36 ran 35:24 this time for second place, and she is in top shape preparing for the Twin Cities Marathon. Another fast female who ran 35:09 last year finished in 36:09 this year. I finished in front of a women I've never beat before, who ran 36:10 last year and 37:27 this time. Thinking about it that way, I felt that being 18 seconds slower than my 2018 time was perhaps equivalent to a 30-40 second PR, and this was sure a better checkpoint than my race the weekend before! Pretty happy with these grade-adjusted paces except for mile 6 and the final 0.24 - those show I didn't have much left to give! I wish mile 4 was instead mile 6 I wrote about my Plaza 2018 race here and my Plaza 2017 race here. Clearly I need to keep running this race every year, because I have never come away thinking it could have gone any better. I'm thankful I returned for the Plaza 10K magic in 2019. Psalm 23:1: The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want... 23:6: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. My course 5K splits were 18:24 and 18:27! Post-race brunch company Hahaha!
  2. 1 point
    I was the official tagger alonger at this year’s 100 on 100 this past weekend a few weeks ago. It’s really hard to describe and I always sucked at writing about Loopmeets so I’ll just tell you a bit about it. This year the team was fivestarks, Apple Pie, the incorrectly named Slow Running and Pat representing the OG, and Gonzo Runner and Paige bringing in some fresh (and very fast) blood. Fivestarks had made arrangements to pick Gonzo Runner up from Newark Airport on her way to Vermont. She graciously offered to let me start my tagging along there. It was a nice ride up. I love hanging out with these two and usually catch about half the NJ references. I haven't seen Gwen since the NJ half and Steve since Peachtree last year so there was a lot of catching up. I was supposed to be studying a little on the drive (more on that later) but I wound up chatting with the two of them with my book open on my lap the whole way up. You would too if you had been there. I’ll briefly recap race day but for the most part if you weren’t there, it’s your own fault for missing it. Wake up early. Drive. Hop out of the van to cheer. Drive. Hop out of the van to cheer. Snacks. Drive. Cheer. POP stop. Repeat until well into the night. Of course, along the way, everyone is joking around and having fun. I found out that I am incredibly bad at recognizing our runners from far away. I also found out that Paige, who is married to Pat, is crazy fast and completely fearless. She stayed out running during an electrical storm that had us all hiding in the van and, I suspect, other teams packing it in for the day. My favorite part of the day happened at night when fivestarks suggested that I run the last leg with her. I haven’t run in weeks because my back went out again and, on a good day, I’m a lot slower than her so I was a little nervous. Plus I was in very retired running shoes and a bra bra not a sports bra. BUT how many times would I be able to run through the backroads of Vermont in the pitch black with fivestarks? (Okay, technically the answer is probably annually but hush) So after a bit of finessing of the situation and deciding that I was not a bandit – I was a pacer – ignoring the fact that that pace is slower, we were off. Two things – Gwen is really fun to run with, she kept us on a nice clip without it ever feeling too hard or making me feel like I was holding her back. And it was dark. Like pitch black. It was kind of fun on the uphills because getting to the top would be a happy surprise. The downhills were fun too until I’d shine my headlamp out to take a peek and then get intimidated by how steep the hill was. I’m going to abruptly leave off there because I have more to tell about. Edit: I am captaining the 2020 team and I have to admit that after a few years of doing this with various people on the team, it really sucks that there are only six spots. I know we say this every year, but can't we have two teams? Please? Maybe a 12 person van with two runners out at once? Or two mini vans but our runners run together so we can still all mix in together? I'm just saying... So, I am studying to take my GMAT so I can start my masters this spring. I’m excited and scared and I’ll probably have to rent out my place and live someplace cheaper while I’m doing it. That part sucks but I am looking forward to a change of pace. I pretty much have to relearn algebra and geometry and even a lot of basic math for the test. It’s taking all of my time just keeping up with my prep class so I am going to defer NYC this year. I was behind on training anyway because of my back and don’t feel like I have anything to prove by gutting it out again this year. Edit: I was really happy about this decision until I was helping my RB strategize meeting up with her people at the finish, etc. Now I'm a little sad that I won't be running it but not sad enough to want to go into it undertrained. Am I soft? Maybe but I'd rather not kill myself trying to finish and then have to come back mentally and physically in time for Atlanta. So, I'm just going to focus on Atlanta. I have some more plans as far as school goes but I don’t want to say anything about it yet. Speaking of training. I just haven't had it since 2017. I really need to just commit myself and BE CONSISTENT but between injury, life, depression, weight gain, weight loss, falling off the smoking wagon, depression, getting back on the wagon, trying to maintain actual real life relationships with other human beings, and all the other things, I just haven't had a good season. I know that those are all just excuses but it doesn't help me get past that either, ya know? Sometimes I look back and remember 2017 fondly - waking up before dawn every day, running while the sun came up, that feeling of being on top of things, of accomplishing things, seeing my paces drop, seeing speedwork and hill work and running on dead legs pay off, and I think about how much I want to be back there. But then... I think that that was all I had then. Running could be the most important thing because it was everything. Do I really want to be back there? Really? But if not that then what?
  3. 1 point
    Eyes forward, KRG. Plenty of good times (running and otherwise) ahead.
  4. 1 point
    Sounds so fun! Running will always be there, in whatever capacity is best for you at different times. It always lets you come back!
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