Friday, November 23, 2018

ALSO Youth Turkey Trot 5k

It's been awhile since I've run a Turkey Trot, but I'm a sucker for family events, so when my sister floated the idea of running the ALSO Youth 5k on Thanksgiving morning, I had to say yes. The race fit in nicely with my training plan, too; I planned to go easy so my legs would still be fresh for my long run on Saturday.
Gordon drove Steph, Matt, and me to the race start around 6:15 in the morning. He wasn't running, but kindly volunteered to watch our stuff and get photos for us.
Race morning, I opted to wear the Wonder Wool shortsleeved top rather than the Watch Me Go because it was a little warmer than anticipated.
We picked up our packets and wasted 40 minutes waiting for the start by using the bathroom multiple times. This race benefits a great cause; all proceeds go to ALSO Youth, which is an organization for LGBTQIA kids ages 13-21 who are in need of a community and support. It was really nice to see 1500 participants supporting the cause in this red county in Florida.
Steph borrowed my Redemption Shorties so she'd have a pocket for her phone.
Matt opted to wear his HRC equality flag, since he was just running for fun and didn't foresee himself placing.
The downside of this race is that it's very popular and runs a pretty narrow route. It was a full 2 1/2 minutes between the starting gun and when Steph and I crossed the start line. (Matt had gone ahead of us.)
Moseying along to the start line.
For the first mile or so, Steph and I stayed together. We had to dodge in and out of a lot of walkers the entire race. That's another downside of...well, of turkey trots in general: they tend to attract race newbies and tons of young kids. In other words, there's a major lack of race etiquette on the course.

I had planned to walk the ascents of the bridge, but felt pretty good on the first one. After cresting the top, Steph overtook me and we ran the rest of the race alone.
I took my one and only walk break on the second ascent. I was just tired. Plus, the wind was now against me and my music station was boring me to death. I changed music and was running again after one minute of walking. It was all I needed to power up the rest of the bridge and through the end of the race.
With half a mile to go, I began to regret my effort. I knew the dodging-and-weaving from early in the race was going to add mileage, and I knew I had a long run on Saturday. I realized I should have set a more conservative goal, something like 33 minutes, and just taken it easy. But now I was in it and I just couldn't let up this close to the end. I kept on pushing right through the finish line.
The others found me and we rested a bit and then found our finishing times. I wasn't sure what to make of mine; considering the total distance according to my watch, the chip pace/time seemed off, but since I wasn't really hoping for a strong performance, I didn't mind much. None of us placed, so we decided to head home.
Steph's and my finishing times according to the chip.
My Garmin data. The distance tracked long, so I think my actual 5k was probably sub-30; that being said, I should have run this much easier than I did.
I'm glad we ran the turkey trot, but I do hope the organizers fix the congestion issue next year. Even just having walkers start five or ten minutes ahead of racers would be helpful! That said, it's been 9 years on this same course, so I doubt a solution is forthcoming.

The course is definitely a tough one, so it's not always easy to fit into my schedule, but I do hope to be back in future years to do this one again so I can continue supporting the cause.

*Edit: My legs held up fine and felt good on Saturday. A little tired, but not painful; I kept my pace a little easier than it has been on previous long runs and was fine!


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Holiday Sales & Reviews (Skirt Sports)

This is my third year as a Skirt Sports ambassador, and each year Nicole (the founder) and Noelle (the ambassador liaison) improve the program. The newest update to the program is that ambassadors now have personalized referral links to share.

Know that if you shop through my links, this helps N & N track my range as an ambassador and it gives me a little clout boost, but I do not receive a monetary commission for it.

As always, you can use my code for 15% off, too! It's 456ABKRUNS.

I've finally had the chance to test out some of the winter styles and I'm loving the Watch Me Go Top. It has ventilated panels to keep you from overheating, has thumb-holes for a secure fit, and has built-in windows for your watch to peek through! And, bonus!, those windows are featured on both sleeves, so it's lefty-friendly.
I also wore the Wonder Wool tops (long- and short-sleeved) along with the Toasty Tights and the winter headband while I was in Tennessee for Chattajack and can attest to their warmth and coziness.
The Black Friday sale is going on now through Cyber Monday, so now is a great time to treat yourself to something new.

Happy shopping!


Sunday, November 11, 2018

A1A Training: The First Week

I don't plan to do weekly recaps of training for this race. I'm leaning toward monthly "plans vs. reality" posts. However, the first week deserves its own little spotlight, so here it is.
I went into this first week of training feeling nervous. I was on my period and volleyball season was in full swing. That meant sticking to a running schedule that included runs after practices and games, plus an early-morning Saturday run after a long week. I was more worried about how my body would fare than whether I'd be able to commit; I'm in a very focused and committed mindset right now.

More daunting still, this is the first time I'm training for a race totally alone. With all my past half and full marathons, I've had a running buddy for at least part of every long run.
I mocked up a plan a few weeks ago, but bought myself a little calendar for hardcopy tracking, too. My plan is in light blue, possible scheduling conflicts are in green, and my actual miles are in dark blue.

As you can see, the beginning-of-training excitement served me well this week. I made this plan with a conservative mindset, but in practice decided to push myself. I didn't want to overdo anything, but I also didn't want to let myself off the hook.

Monday's run was by far the toughest. The four miles felt hard. I think the time change has something to do with that; it's hard to run when it's so dark out. Tuesday's run felt really good, though, and Thursday's two miles (squeezed in on the treadmill before our volleyball game) were easy but boring. By Saturday, I felt ready for five.
I was definitely overthinking prepping for a "long run" of five miles. I wasn't sure what route I wanted to take or if I wanted to take water with me. I couldn't remember what kind of pre-run food I'd need to have for a morning run of this distance.
I ended up having a mug of coffee and a gf Honeystinger waffle. I also ended up scrapping my original plan for the run (which allowed for a water break at 3 miles) and did the full five without stopping. (Well, I had one stop at a crosswalk and one brief walk break from 4.05 to 4.08 or so.) I kept a steady pace the entire run. My legs didn't hurt, but they did feel tired during and after.
I had forgotten the joy of the morning run. Every time I passed another runner and we waved and smiled at each other, I felt an extra little kick in my step. The weather was a cool 72 degrees - despite the high humidity, that was a treat. And I finished with plenty of time to get ready for Elizabeth's baby shower later that morning.

It was the perfect end to my first week back; it left me feeling confident and strong. It proved that I can get up and do a long run alone.
Feeling like superwoman!
The most discomfort I had during the week as I built mileage was in my feet. I really struggle with finding comfortable, supportive, cute work shoes. It may be time to look for a new pair, or to seek out some inserts at the very least.

So, yeah! Week one, done! I am feeling as excited and confident as ever! This may not be my fastest or strongest half, but I'm going to be prepared and I'm going to run it, and that's all that matters to me right now!