26 May 2013

on speed and BQs.

I don't remember when I decided I wanted to BQ.

I think it was around the time I ran my first marathon in 2005 (in 4:45 - an hour and five minutes away from my then-qualifying time of 3:40).

Four years later I ran a 3:50:53 at the National Marathon in Washington and thought I can do this. I can shave off 10 minutes, especially since I've been tri training with marathon training. I'll find a fast course (Steamtown, etc.) train my ass off, and run a 3:40:59 and go to Boston.

And then.

I trained for and raced Ironman Cozumel that fall. I was still running but true distance running took a backseat to 2 mile swims at 5 am and 100 mile bike rides on the weekend.

And then.

Eleven months after Ironman Cozumel, I had H.

And then.

The BAA dropped the qualifying times by 5 minutes.

And then.

I DNF'd RNR USA and ran a super shitty redemption marathon in 4:20:xx.

And then.

I finally lost the rest of the baby weight (don't get me wrong -- I still have about 10 lbs to go to be in Super Runner Shape and I need to buckle down and do it but it's hard).

And then.

I got faster. I'm getting faster. So far this year I have PR'd at the 5K, the 10K, and the half marathon. I PR'd the half marathon twice this year. I'm faster than I was pre baby .. faster than I was when I was 23 and weighed about 8 lbs less. I'm training smarter and (finally) getting serious at speedwork. I'm podium-ing in my AG. I know I'm not a superstar speedster, but for me and my running -- I'm getting to where I really want to go.

According to a VDOT calculator --- when I plugged in my current HM PR (I was tempted to use my 10K PR, but didn't because of the ridiculous(ly) fast downhill course) I got this:

McMillan Running gave me this (same HM PR time)

I have a 10 miler coming up in about three weeks, and I my goal is to break 1:20 (my PR is 1:21:46, set at the Army 10 in 2006). According to my VDOT/ pace prediction calculators, I should be able to do that.

And that brings us to the marathon. The first calculator predicts a 3:38. McMillan predicts a 3:41. I know that these are best case scenarios. I know they rely on high mileage training, perfect weather, and a flat, fast course. I also know that my best case scenario times are still 3-6 minutes faster than my current BQ time of 3:35:00. I'm not (that much of) an idiot, and trust me, I am not shooting for a sub 3:35 this fall. I was going to shoot for a sub 4, but looking at these calculators... I think I can go faster. (the problem, of course, is thinking that, going out too fast, and crashing and burning while singing THE WHEELS ON THE BUS ARE FALLING OFF FALLING OFF FALLING OFF in your head. or out loud.) Sub 3:50? I know it's early, and I need to see where I am closer to race day, which reminds me that I need to find a half marathon 4-6 weeks out to [re] evaluate marathon fitness.

And then if all goes well we will (we hope) provide H with a sibling next year. He'll be three this year and we don't want our kids spaced too far apart. That does mean, however, that I'll put my Boston dream on hold for a few more years. While I don't plan to gain as much weight (you know what they say about the best laid plans) and I do plan on running during my pregnancy (not letting my ego get the better of me) I know that (1) I won't be putting in the same mileage (2) or the same intensity (3) and c- section recovery takes time (4) training while nursing can be a PITA.

If I'm not honest I'll say oh that's okay, I really don't mind, Boston and running will always be there. If I'm really honest I'll say oh it kind of actually sucks, I've been working hard recently and I think that next year - without growing a baby - I could MAYBE go sub 3:35. But. (1) Maybe I could go sub 3:35, and maybe not. Maybe I'd get close and blow up and (2) H turns three (!) this fall. Presuming I get pregnant quickly, he'll be four when the new baby is here. I don't want to wait another year and neither does James (and it is his family, too ;)).

(If James could just pregnant this would be a lot easier.)

I'm a I-wanted-it-yesterday kind of person but running doesn't work that way.

(Well, running doesn't work that way for me. Looking at you oh-it's-my-first-marathon-oh-I-ran-a-3:25-wow-that's-pretty-cool people.)

It will just be that much sweeter, though, right? When I finally do it? When I get to the finish line and see James and H and baby no. 2 and a 3:34:xx on my watch?

(although, hell, by that time I may get those 5 more minutes and be back up to a 3:40).

19 May 2013

two, two, TWO race reports in one [entry] !

Hills of Milltown 5K

Sunday, May 12

Ellicott City, Maryland

One of my coworkers is on the board for the Ellicott City Historical Society, and he suggested to me - and a few others in the office - to run the Hills of Milltown 5K Challenge, described justly: Even the down hill is up hill in this challenging annual spring 5K sharpener! The race route is scenic as well as challenging AND HISTORIC!  This 5K route proves a worthy challenge to even the advanced runner. With multiple hills along the way even the down hill is up hill in this scenic loop course which passes 13 historic sites. A challenge for beginners and a tough spring workout for those competing in longer distance or multi-sport races in the summer. The final approach to the summit climbs over-land to circle the beautiful ruins of the Patapsco Female Institute.

I understand that a race with the word HILLS in the title probably means I can't bitch about the course, but it's my blog so pffffft.

The race was on Mother's Day, but I didn't want to drag H and James out of bed so early (you know what's not a great idea? waking a sleeping toddler!) so we decided to meet for brunch after the race. I was probably the second racer there, and used that time to run a 2 1/2 warm up. I'm still undecided if a longer warm up helps or hinders or doesn't do anything at all. I've PR'd with warming up and I've PR'd without it. I've run good races with a warm up and bad races with a warm up.

Anyhow, I met up with a few coworkers (that's the last time I stand in the sun for a photo -- I'm so pale I'm practically see through!) pre race, so that was fun.

Then it was time to start.
And that, my bloggy friends, was not fun.

That first hill? BRUTAL.

Like oh-my-god-I-can't-breathe-my-legs-are-toast-no-jelly-no-jellytoast. My heart rate was skyrocketing.

And then it went down hill again. Hooray!

^^ coming up from the court house (behind the guy in the yellow)

And then back up. and then a nice long downhill and some rollers and then another long, tough climb. I let loose on the final downhill but my body was so spent I couldn't really pick up too much speed.

There were four women ahead of me (five if you count the woman who passed me at the end. I guess I should), so I didn't think I'd place. Based on my time (25:26.81) I didn't think I'd place.

... Imagine my delight and surprise when I got the emailed results the following morning:

31- 50 Female
1. G.S. F43 MD - 24:49.48
2. Tricia C. F31 MD - 25:26.81
3. K.O. F41 City MD - 26:25.68
Me? Second in an age group (and a large AG - 20 years)?? holy cow that's awesome!

Tell her what she won, Johnny!

Trishie, you've just won a Pandora bracelet and a charm!*

(charm I won: white with flowers on the right)
(*I already had the bracelet, so the nice folks at Pandora let me exchange it for two charms)

Time: 25:26
Pace: 8:12 (mile 1 - 8:11/ mile 2 - 8:06/ mile 3 - 8:23)

Overall: 28/ 175
Women: 87/ 175
AG (F31-50): 2/ 43

Following week...

Musical Madness 5K

Saturday, May 18

Fulton, Maryland

Friday afternoon I got a Facebook message from my friend Becky, another Ironman-turned-momma-shortly-after-Ironman. Did I want to do a 5K Saturday morning with her and another BT girl, Traci (another multi-sport momma)? My initial response was no, I couldn't, but after checking my calender (free!) and realizing I wanted to see if I could pick up another PR on a flat(ter) course, and after checking with James re: his schedule, I decided to do it.

Friday afternoon, after work/ daycare, H and I went to Feet First in Columbia to register. The race also had a 1K kids fun run, so why not?

We woke up and were out the door by 7am. Breakfast = frosted mini wheat for me and H. Coffee for James at the race start (bold move, James).

We met up with friends and H met Becky and Josh's little girl (one year younger than him and way cute). Neither would say hi but I think they got in a high five/ fist bump.

Lined up and we are off!

^^wow, a race photo were I don't look super awful! I mean, that's a win right there!

The race started and we were treated to a nice downhill (AHEM Hills of Milltown). I was running sub 7s holy crap that's fast for me. I finished the first mile in just under 7 minutes. Of course at this point I am all kinds of optimistic - I could break 21 minutes! I'm a superstar! I'm going to quit my job and become a professional athlete! - but that sunshine-y feeling ended as the course flattened out a bit and I realized that the downhill ... would be uphill on the way back. Okay, perhaps not a sub 21 but maybe a PR? As the race continued I was hurting - as you do with a 5K - and wondering why I thought this was a good idea, why would any sane person run fast for fun.... good god does this hurt. Made the turn around and headed back. I told myself to just HOLD ON. The last half mile was super painful and I was beat by a kid. Seriously, like a 10 year old. I saw James and H and made it to the finish. I wanted to puke but I didn't, so that's also a win.

I wasn't sure about my time - watch read 22:56 and I didn't look at the clock (not a chip race). Was happy with my time, although I'd love to go faster. New goal: sub 22.

H's race report: ran 100 feet. stopped. walked a little. tantrum. carried by daddy to the finish.
least favorite part? the race. waiting for race results. taking pictures with mommy. not being able to run into the street. the door at the bakery was heavy.

And speaking of said race results ... I truly didn't think I'd place. There were a lot of women in front of me and the AGs were 10Y (30-39). And then I went over and checked the results. Out of the top three overall women --- two were in my AG, so they wouldn't count for AG awards. And then ... one... two.. three -- holy crap, that's me! I'm third! I counted again. And again. And then checked that the overall women wouldn't count towards the AG awards.

We stuck around and H came up with my to get my award -- a medal and a $15 to a local bar. sweet!

And then we had coffee and tea and bagels and the kids made giant messes with the muffins (we left a big tip and the boys cleaned muffin crumbs off of the floor - thanks guys!)

it's hard to get a get photo with three crazy toddlers and a baby ^^
Time: 22:54 - PR!
Pace: 7:22 (mile 1 - 6:59/ mile 2 - 7:32/ mile 3 - 7:39.... I think this is called a positive split.)

Overall: 43/ 198
Women: 12/ 91
AG (F30-39): 3/15

12 May 2013

a(nother) PR ! woot! [pike's peek 10k]

April 21, 2013
My previous 10K PR was on this course -- wayyyy back in 2007, when I was still in law school, when J and I were living in a 500SF row house in Butcher's Hill, when I was driving my POS Chevy Cavalier, when I didn't have a toddler and did have considerably more free time. That year I ran a 47:50 // 7:42 pace.

I figured that based on my prior races this year I could PR this distance. And if there is ever a course to run fast -- this is it.

While there are a couple small uphills, this course is downhill/ flat. You park at Shady Grove Metro Station, run the course down to (the soon to be demolished) White Flint Plaza, and then take the Metro back to Shady Grove. Point-to-point. And fast. (so fast that the winner's average pace was 4:34. yeeps)

[yes, Pike's Peak is a crazy hilly marathon in Colorado. Pike's Peek is along Rockville PIKE. get it? ha. and almost all of it is downhill]

It was around 40*F at the start -- that weird temp where it's probably too cold for tights but maybe not and while a hat is probably overkill it doesn't feel like it at the start. I ended up in a long sleeved shirt and a running skirt. (I got really hot around mile 4 but it was too cold for short sleeves at the start so oh well).

My IronBuddy Deb saw these photos and said I think all those PRs are going to your head. Did you really start out at the very front? But no, Deb, no - just the front of my wave.

(that's me, in the middle - wearing a pink shirt)

I knew what pace I needed to maintain to PR, so natch I tried to run faster than that which always works out so well.

1 7:24.0
2 7:26.2
3 7:25.3
4 7:25.4
5 7:33.7
6 7:27.6
7 1:22.2 

Around mile 4, mile 4 1/2 ish I started feeling super shitty. Like, I-went-out-way-too-fast-and-now-I-have-to-hang-on-but-it-really-really-really-hurts shitty. Fortunately, mile 4 was only 2 miles from the finish, so I told myself to just HANG ON and run this pace for 15 more minutes.

I did but it HURT.

I came down into the finishers chute (passing a girl that turned out to be in my AG, so score) and came in at 46:03/ 7:25 pace. And a 1 minute 47 second PR!

Overall: 384/ 2448
Women: 82/ 1277
AG: 18/ 216

And because I can't NOT check, McMillan puts this 10K effort at a 3:36 marathon and a 1:42:40 half. YUP.