Heroes of Midlothian 5k – Year 3

For the third year, I drove to my hometown to run the Heroes of Midlothian 5k. Here’s some background on the race in my first year recap.

This race is put on by several of my high school classmates, and I believe in what they’re doing and raising money for. You can read more about the Foundation, Chris Kyle, Lyle Gordon and others here. Since we have a lot of activities going on this time of year (end of year, band concerts, prom, etc.) I can’t volunteer, but I run the race. My dad has also done the race every year, but this year was the first time my mom did. Her first 5k (which she walked pretty darn fast) was last September. Since then, her doctor cleared her to add in running breaks, so this was her 2nd race to do that. She is really having a blast watching her times go down, and I think she covered more miles than I did last month.

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I lowered the bar on my expectations since my last bit of speed work was the Radio Run in March. The one time since that I tried to do a few faster miles caused my foot to flare up.

So I stood in the start area with all the other runners having no idea what pace I was going to run. I thought anything close to 25:00 would be excellent for where I am in rebuilding. Patience. Progress.

The race starts with the Patriot Guard Riders. I eased in at a comfortable pace. My first mile (after weaving around kids who haven’t learned the art of pacing) was just under 8:00. I didn’t feel like I had gone out too fast and I was testing my foot. It seemed okay, so I picked up a bit in the second mile. Even with the hill, it was 7:52. Then right after that, my legs felt like bricks. Whoosh! My energy was gone. I don’t know what happened or if it was just my body’s way of responding to lack of speed training. That last mile was a booger. The humidity started to weigh me down too. But as I made the last turn, some of my high school friends were cheering for me. It was a reminder of those track meets doing 8 laps for the 3200 meters. Only this time I didn’t feel like a turtle. My pace for the last 1.1 mile was 8:08.

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My official time was 24:41 which garnered an age group win. I’m a little off from my PR, ok so maybe more than a little, but that’s not what this race was about. I’m happy to just have been a part.

I’m so proud of both my parents – who have competitive finish times. They have completely changed their health and are having fun with it too. I love seeing their growth with running.

My dad gave me the biggest compliment after the race. He reminded me that he started running because I told him he could do it. My brother then started running. Another couple my dad knows then became runners, and now my mom. He told me I was like Johnny Appleseed dropping seeds of running all over.

Now to see who’s next. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Back to Training

I’ve been trying to pay attention to my body as I continue to recover from my plantar fasciitis injury. Beginning last Wednesday, those first painful steps in the morning were not as painful. I could almost walk normally straight out of bed. The morning hobble is disappearing, and I am holding my breath.

 

My plan for the Saturday long run was to try for a mile or two over what I ran the week before. So 8-9 was my plan. Our running group meets on Saturday mornings, and depending on who’s there and how I feel usually determines my pace. This week my running friend was out of town for a 5k, and the rest of the group was all guys most of whom are faster than me on their slow day. There are a few variations of the route that we run, and this time most everyone was going to do the 5 mile loop. As always, when running with people who are faster, I push myself more than I would on my own. Around the three mile mark, they took a break and waited on me where the turn is to go back or another route. I was grateful for the chance to catch my breath. All my miles were just under 9:00 pace. As we headed back, they continued various conversations while I listened and tried to slow my breathing. Topics ranged from a “beerathon” to DNA and evolution. At the end of the loop I continued around the park for another mile with one of the other runners to finish just over 6 miles – the fastest consecutive miles I’ve run since April 11. My foot was fine, but I didn’t want to push too hard. I felt like I was making progress and was on cloud nine for the rest of the morning.

IMG_5880Sunday I planned to ride my bike. I’m trying to limit the days I run to five per week, and then cross train the other two. Well, the outside bike ride didn’t happen. The first round of storms hit right after we got up. Heavy rain. Which was on top of the heavy rain we received Saturday (which was sitting on top of Thursday and Friday’s storms too) After we got home from church another round of rain moved through. My husband checked the radar, and it looked like it was one round after another. I gave up waiting on a thunder-free window and rode the stationary bike for an hour. Then I ran two miles on the treadmill to see what that felt like after the bike. As soon as I stepped off the treadmill – and I was very sweaty – the tornado sirens in town started going off. It was 3:25 pm. I huddled in the downstairs bathroom (currently under remodel) shower stall with our two youngest kids while my husband was on the deck as lookout. My kids were not happy about being trapped with me and my sweat. My 9 year old told me I smelled bad, and the 12 year old opened her container of yogurt for a better aroma. They love me so much! When the sirens stopped, I had enough time to run upstairs,dry off, and refill my Nuun before the sirens started up again. There was so much rain! When the third round of sirens went off, water started flooding in the bathroom. There was so much water under the house. I put one child on siren watch and started scooping up water with cups and towels. Eventually the rain stopped, but I ended up under the house helping my husband dump buckets of water out of the opening down the hill. My upper body muscles were aching and a few times I didn’t think I could lift another bucket. My husband said, “If you can run a marathon. You can do this.” At one point I became overwhelmed and started crying. He said, “Do you cry when you run a marathon.” Why yes, sometimes I do. We got the water low enough to manage, called it done, showered and went to eat. It was after 7:00 pm.

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Messy Mother’s Day

 

The next day every muscle in my body hurt – but my heel felt great!

After mowing Monday evening, I discovered that even though I was sore, I am getting stronger. The core work I’ve been doing the last few months is paying off. I decided to do my long run Tuesday morning since I’m running a 5k Saturday. This will be my first race since I took a break to heal my foot. It wasn’t a fast long run, but it’s the farthest I’ve run since my last half marathon.

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After all the activity the past few days, I feel like I’m training hard again. My quads and hamstrings are sore, my upper body is tense, and I pulled out my ice packs after my long run. I’m building up for my next half marathon in June, but remembering to be patient with my body. I was discharged from my Airrosti doctor today with instructions to call in the next few weeks if it doesn’t continue to improve, and to keep doing my balance and strength exercises. I’m hoping to see all this strength work pay huge dividends when I start marathon season.

 

Another Perspective (Volunteering for a Race)

Last week I ran five days and a total of 21 miles. On Thursday, I asked my Airrosti doctor about a long run. I had been running three and four milers. He told me I could run as far as I wanted to as long as there was no sharp or stabbing pain. If that happened, I had to stop immediately.

I headed out with my running friend Saturday morning with a plan to hopefully make it five or six miles. We meet at the park and usually head out for a five mile loop then finish any extra around the park.

This was the result:

A little slower, but I'll take it!

A little slower, but I’ll take it!

By the middle of the sixth mile, my foot started throbbing but once I went home- rolled, stretched, and iced – it was better. I was happy with my distance and it felt good to push my endurance. I’m amazed at how quickly it disappeared. Last fall it was common for me to run 7 miles before work, and now double digits are a distant memory. Actually, it’s only been three weeks since my last half marathon, but it feels so much longer.

After my run, my husband and I headed downtown to the new Farmer’s Market to check it out. I thought it would just be an easy ride there and back. Two hours later, which included a ride to a (not so easy) trail that goes around a small lake, we were back in the driveway and my quads were crying. I could write a whole post just about the ride. I actually muttered the phrase “I can’t.” Instead, here’s a highlight:

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Note all the mud on his tires…and bluebonnets

 

Early Sunday morning I left the house at 4:30 to head to Dallas. I was volunteering for the Skyline Half. I encourage all runners to volunteer for a race – especially a water stop. It will make you appreciate the volunteers so much more once you have experienced it yourself.

They get as little sleep as the runners do.

5:30 am check in!

5:30 am check in!

There is a lot of waiting.

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Then finally some action with a rush of runners. I discovered after yelling out “Gatorade!” forty times, the word sounds really strange. It was a warm day for runners, and since it was down in the river basin it was sticky too. I saw some of my friends from our running group, and they seemed excited to see me. I was also surprised to see some just hang out for a bit before moving on. I typically don’t stop at aid stations unless I’m refilling my hand-held so it was another side of racing I hadn’t seen. There was more waiting as the pack thinned out before the walkers started coming. When the last runner came through, we finished cleaning up. Instead of waiting for the truck to pick us up, we walked back to the start area – which took about 15 minutes. It was also where the closest porta-potties were located (as far as we knew). The finish area was mostly cleared out and there were just a few runners left to come through.

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When I got back to my car, it had been almost 6 hours since I’d had anything to eat. I only drank water as we were walking back. No porta-potties meant no drinking for me. I was hot, gatorade stained, tired, and famished. Oh and my feet hurt. But the best part was that because I was part of a group of volunteers that helped out the Dallas chapter of Back on my Feet, a member was able to get registered and ran his first half marathon that day. I also heard words of thanks and appreciation from runners throughout the morning. It was worth it.

Tell me, have you volunteered for a race? What did you get to do?