Saturday, August 13, 2011

A new 5k PR!

Today I ran in the Crawfish Crawl 5k in Tualatin, Oregon and set myself a new PR! After the race I nabbed someone from the crowd and had them snap a pic of me from my phone. Note to self: remember to bring a decent camera!

The race wasn't chip timed so when the gun went off so did the timer. I came in on the clock at about 30:10 but I was about 12 seconds back in the pack to start (as I knew I wouldn't be one of the fast ones!). I should have started the Garmin when I went over the start line but I started it with the gun - either way, gun time or not I still beat my previous fastest at 30:44 which was at the beginning in April at the Race for the Roses.

The course was fast and flat but I've been running 11-13 minute miles recently in Forest Park on hilly trails so it was a nice change to be on pavement (for once) and get a good run in. RunwithPaula - the event host seems to put on some great races. I'm looking forward to the Pints to Pasta 10k in about a month!

Setting a new personal best always feels great. Running sub-10 miles the whole race feels even better! I've run in quite a few 5k's since I started as they are a fun distance and obviously a great starting point. Plus, as you will see, I'm kind of addicted to races.

My first race was the Shamrock Run in March of this year (3.13.11) and it was a huge race. 32 thousand people came together this year for the event and I was freaking out at the sheer number of people this event attracted. Were all races like this?? There were 3 courses: a 5, 8 and 15k - and 12 thousand were running the 5k with me. To give you an idea of how packed the start line was I put myself about half-way back in the pack and didn't cross the start line for over 10 minutes after the gun.

This photo is not mine (credit goes to omygodtom from Flickr) but this is how packed the course was:

It was an overcast, slightly rainy and chilly March morning. It was the sleep in, eat a late breakfast and watch some mindless tv show kind of day but hell no, I was out there and going to run that race! My nerves were on overdrive and I slept about 2 hours the night before and didn't have any coffee or food pre-race. I could only hope my adrenaline and sheer determination was going to get me through. To be honest, I prefer cool and overcast much more than sunny/warm for running so I was happy the famous Portland mist was happening because it felt great!

The hardest part on the course is running up Broadway, which is about 3/4 of a mile (or more) uphill and not very forgiving. I walked a lot but only allowed myself about 10-15 seconds each time. I picked someone who had a solid, steady pace and I kept her close. That aid station half-way through saved me and I guzzled down two cups of water then chugged on and realized I had lost my race-buddy. Oh well - time to keep going! The saving grace was the end of the race, which was flat with some gradual downhill through the finish line. I powered through and was sure I had clocked about 30 minutes but that was before the days of my garmin forerunner.

When I checked my official time a few hours later and saw it was 33:15 I was really disappointed and slightly embarrassed. At that point I had never run over 2 miles and had cut the Couch to 5k program a few weeks short so I should have been elated but I had (stupidly) set my goal too high. In retrospect, I realize I probably shouldn't have even had a time goal and I also shouldn't have let my (ex) boyfriend and his friends, who were runners of 2+ years, influence how I felt about myself. They were supportive and not judgmental or anything, it was my own hang up and I'm glad I tossed it out pretty fast!

After the race we all met up at a local pub for some beer and about 30 minutes into hanging out I could tell something was wrong. The post run elation wore off really quick as I felt sick to my stomach. I was having horrible cramps so I assumed my time of the month had decided to jump in on my post-race partying and cut it short. I remember walking home (at least another mile) and having a strong desire to pop some ibuprofen and curl up into the fetal position. That walk lasted forever. After a couple hours the cramps went away and I rejoined society and could finally tell people I had run my first official race. Besides the pain I was completely hooked on running races and signed up for all the local running store newsletters to keep tabs on upcoming events. The Portland area has so many events that I was walking into a whole new world that I knew existed but never really paid attention to. Kid in a candy store - check!

I chalked the pains up to hormones but fast forward to my second 5k (which was my personal best until today) and I felt even worse afterward. After some reading online I figured out that my innards getting used to be jostled around and they were revolting - hence the mind numbing lower abdominal pain. It would go away but I needed to keep a pretty regular running schedule or else killer cramps would stop any post-race fun. I didn't really listen until the end of April/beginning of May though and signed up for a race every weekend from the end of April to beginning of June to keep myself on point. This, folks, is how you become completely addicted to races....and get a lot of shirts.

My favorite shirt so far though is the one I was wearing today from my 1/2 a few weeks ago. The Shamrock run shirt is also an adidas shirt and rank among the top! Some races give out crappy unisex cotton shirts that I only wear to bed and usually wake up sweating because they aren't breathable at all. I'm not in it for the shirts (contrary to popular belief since I talk about them a lot) but I'll say I get pretty stoked when there is a good one! Today's shirt was a nice technical shirt made by Mizuno. The cut is a bit short for my liking but I'm sure it'll get some non-bedtime use!

If you've made it through this entry you're pretty stellar. I feel like I've got quite a bit to catch up on and will try to incorporate a bit of my running history/races into each entry. I'll also dig up some photos to keep it interesting!

This week I had to reduce my mileage due to a hip injury. Unfortunately, I've been having a lot of issues recently which I'll elaborate on soon. It all stemmed from getting a new pair of shoes though.... seriously y'all, the right shoe makes all the difference. I am finally in a pair that seem to be perfect:

(Also in the photo it's the battle of the local running stores! The Portland Running Company tattoo - for a raffle - and my Fit Right NW socks. Haha)

I will admit that I love Brooks but their shoes haven't ever felt 'right' on my feet until I tried these out. They're the Glycerin 9's and they make running on pavement feel like clouds. I've gotten about 15 miles out of them so far and I think they may be the ones. Brooks, I love you!

Time for a shower, sandwich and maybe a quick nap! Have a great weekend and get out there and enjoy the weather, wherever you are!

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