Monthly Archives: September 2012

Race #12: Toughest 10k Kemah

To spice up our training plan this year, Maggie suggested we register for the Texas Bridge Series.  This is a series of three races that each feature one bridge in Texas.  The first two are 10ks and the final race is a half marathon.  You get a medal for completing each race and a bonus medal if you complete all three.  Motivated by the medals, we decided to register!

This first race was on September 15, 2012 in Kemah.  This 10k goes back and forth over the Kemah Bridge twice.  I was a little nervous about the bridge.  With a 4.3 and 5% grade, this bridge goes 83 feet above the water.  I was nervous about how my knees would do, and considering that we train on flat ground, how well I would be able to run up the hills.  But hopefully these hills will be good training for the Disney races that take you up over highways!

I absolutely loved this race.  It was definitely the most beautiful scenery I’ve had in a race.  You can’t see it in this picture, but there was water on both sides of the bridge.

We started at the Kemah Boardwalk.  We were picking up our packets in the morning and it was a very efficient process.  We took our goody bags back to the car and attached our chips and pinned on our numbers.  The weather was beautiful.  It was cool, but not so much that I was cold.

At the start line, a fellow runner mentioned that we would be going over the bridge a total of four times.  Oops, I must have missed that!  I thought we would go over and back just once, but it was twice.

Our initial plan was to stick with our 6/4 intervals, but we threw that out and just ran how we felt.  Realizing there would be plenty of uphills to walk, we ran the first mile straight in 10:25.

Miles 2-5 included the hills.  The first time up wasn’t too bad.  We ran a good chunk of it!  It was so exciting to reach the top, so we coasted down, running the entire down hill and back down under the bridge.  Each time we crossed the bridge, we ran at least parts of the uphills.  We would pick lamp posts as our goals to run to, and then walk to the next lamp post before running more.

I think this was one of my favorite races because we weren’t running for time, and we weren’t running by the watch.  We ran the entire race based just on how we felt and I was able to enjoy the scenery.  I also felt very tough, running up those hills and not wearing out.

Our final ascent up the bridge was a little more difficult.  As we were approaching the hill, I felt that my legs were sore.  They felt like they had been beat up a bit.  But it hurt in a good way; I felt more energy, realizing that I wasn’t worn out yet and could tell this was a really good work out for my legs.

Our final mile was the best.  We decided to run most of it, with hopefully just one walk break through a water station.  About a quarter mile from the finish line, I felt my knee tensing up.  It hit me very suddenly and I knew instantly it was my IT band.  I could have powered through the pain, but Maggie agreed to take a quick walk break with me.  It was worth it – after a minute or so of walking, when we started to run again, the pain was gone.

We powered through to the finish line, finishing our last mile (with the walk break) in 10:12.  Our splits:

  • Mile 1:  10:25
  • Mile 2:  11:36
  • Mile 3:  11:02
  • Mile 4:  11:16
  • Mile 5:  11:05
  • Mile 6:  10:12
  • Mile 6.0 – 6.37:  9:24 pace
  • Total:  1:09:03 (10:50 average pace)

Although this was the slowest 10k I’ve run, I felt awesome about it.  We didn’t want to push it too hard on this run because it was supposed to be a long training run.  I felt like we pushed it just enough to feel good about the race, but we clearly had some left to give at the end of the race.  And we listened to our bodies the entire time.

The post-race treats were awesome too.  Ice cream, popsicles, tacos (including egg and potato!), muscle milk, watermelon, orange slices, and bananas.  And don’t forget the glittery medal!  It was definitely a success, and I can’t wait for the next two bridge series races.

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Goofy Training: The First 4 Weeks

Goofy Training crept up on me quickly!  We were originally going to start training on September 10, so this should have been Week 1.  But given the running shape I was in (or lack of running shape), I added an additional three weeks of training to get up to speed.  Goofy Training officially started on August 20.

This was the training plan.

I’ve come close to following it; so far I have only missed one (3 mile) run.  But I have not done so well on keeping up with the yoga.

Week One

We started out strong on August 20, completing 4.25 miles instead of the planned 3.  At this point we are run/walking all runs, not just the long runs.  It took 54 minutes to run/walk the first 4 miles.

We also went above our planned 4 miles on August 21, completing a slow 5 miles in just under an hour.  I wish I could say we planned it, but we achieved negative splits:

  • Mile 1:  13:35
  • Mile 2:  12:09
  • Mile 3:  11:59
  • Mile 4:  11:35
  • Mile 5:  10:07

Thursday was an easy 3 miles.  Our first “long” run on Saturday was another 5 miles.  The weather was hot that day, and after the first 3 miles, we decided to walk the rest.  That has been one of the biggest challenges in training in August.  The Texas weather has still been brutal.  For now, the focus is on getting the mileage in, no matter what it takes.

On Sunday I went for an easy 4 mile walk.  I thought this would be good for a rest day, but I think I need to do yoga or actually rest on rest days.

Week Two

On Monday we did our 3 miles.  I think we tried for walk 3 / run 7 intervals.  Our goal is to eventually run the whole three miles on easy runs, but we are building up slowly again.  We probably could run more, but given the weather, I’m cutting us some slack.

On Wednesday we ran/walked our 5 miles.

I missed our 3 miles this week.  I was planning to make up for it after work on Friday, but was so exhausted, I decided to skip it.  I definitely regretted it.  I could have made time for it, but I didn’t.

On Saturday we ran our second long run of 6 miles.  It was another slow run, but we kept up our run/walk intervals.  I know this is how we will get faster.  We finished in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Week Three

We did an easy 3 miles on Monday and Thursday.

On Tuesday, we ran another 6 miles.  I was reminded of one of the things I love best about running:  just how quickly you see results.  We cut off about 3.5 minutes from our first 6 mile run, just 3 days later!  That might not sound like much, but it was about 35 seconds faster per mile, and that felt good.

Saturday was a 7 mile long run.  For this run, we decided to try a new running spot in Houston and ran at the Rice University loop.  It is another loop about 3 miles, but there is much more shade from trees around almost the entire loop.  It was a nice change of scenery, but it lacked water fountains (we only saw one), and the path was more narrow than our normal running route.

We ran 4 minute walk / 6 minute run intervals and felt strong the entire time.  Mile four was our slowest.  After lapping the park once, we did not see any water fountains (I noticed we missed one the second time around).  We left the running path and went in search of a restaurant to fill up our water bottles.  We were hoping for a Subway or other fast food stop, but no such luck.  We ended up at a little French bakery with quiche that looked amazing.  It was tough to be tempted mid-run!  They were nice enough to let us fill up our water bottles, so I will have to go back some time for quiche.

We made another loop around the park.  Our last mile was our fastest at 10:23.  It helped to have the extra shade, but I’m not sure I would do another long run at this park.  I need to know there is plenty of water available for our long runs!  I think it’s mostly mental, but I feel stressed when I am worried about the next time I’ll be able to fill up my water.

On Sunday I went for another 4 mile walk.  I definitely need to start taking Sundays as rest days!

Week Four

It’s hard to believe that we were supposed to just now be starting our training.  I am so glad we added a few extra weeks.  This was a tougher week for me.

Monday was another easy 3 miles.  I started feeling pain in my knee about half way through the run, so we walked the rest.  I am over-sensitive to my IT band this year.  Last year I tried to run through pain, and I paid for it by injuring myself very early in training.

Tuesday also became a walk.  I was sick Tuesday morning; I get migraines, but I think I actually had a tension headache.  Either way, I was sick to my stomach and could not get rid of my headache by the time we were supposed to run.  We were supposed to run 6 miles, but decided to go for Thursday’s 4 miles instead.  My running partners were nice enough to walk the 4 miles with me.  I was just happy to have gotten the mileage in.
Thursday was rough.  We were supposed to run 6 miles to make up for Tuesday, but it was storming outside almost all day, and was clearly not going to let up for the evening.  Maggie ran this one on her own, and I decided to take on the treadmill.  When I started, I wasn’t convinced I would make the whole 6 miles on the treadmill, but decided that any mileage I could get in was better than nothing.

I really impressed myself by finishing the whole 6 miles!  It was not continuous.  I ran/walked 3 miles while watching an episode of Arrested Development on my iPhone.  I then took a break to watch Big Brother.  I couldn’t miss watching it live!  But each commercial, I went upstairs to the treadmill to run for 2-3 minutes.  I finished a whole mile during the commercials!  Silly, I know, but mentally it was a lot easier to face the last 2 miles after the show.  I put on another episode of Arrested Development and finished run/walking the 6 miles.  And then rewarded myself with a slice of Pat’s birthday cake.

Our long run this week was actually a 10k race!  It was supposed to be 8 miles, but I was so tired after the race, I decided to let it go.   I will save the race recap for another post 🙂

All in all, training has been successful so far.  It hasn’t been fast, but it’s difficult to focus on speed at this point, knowing that the goal is to just get through the 39.3 miles.