Sunday, August 17, 2014

But Was It Fun?

Today I ran twelve miles on the Towpath with the Towpath Turtles.  Shelby, Vimarie, and I had a great conversation about our race goals.

Pre-run Fuel:  Panera blueberry bagel, coffee with Thin Mint creamer, lots of water

During run:  GU Blackberry

Post-run Fuel:  1/2 cup milk with two teaspoons Carnation Breakfast drink, pasta with red sauce, zucchini, and a fried egg

This is EXACTLY how I look after running 12 miles in the rain.  I feel terrible that I somehow cut off Shelby and Vimarie, but hey, this is all about me, right?

As I wrote before, we discussed race goals for this year.  All three of us will be running the Natatorium 5k in the beginning of September and the Akron Half Marathon at the end of September.  I am very comfortable with my goal for the Nat: I have a pace in mind that I am sure I can sustain for 3.1 miles, and I have been practicing that pace at least once a week.  5k's are all about suffering: if you enjoy running a 5k, you didn't race it.  I always know that if I want to PR a 5k, I must endure pain and push myself.
This is EXACTLY how I look when I am suffering from a 5k.

 I tell myself that I can endure anything for fewer than thirty minutes.  I am ok with this; it is the half marathon that has me thinking.

As you remember from my race recap of the Perfect 10 Miler, I cut off about thirteen minutes from my previous time running this race.  What was different?  Well, I am mostly back in full training after my foot injury, and I also lost about fourteen pounds.  These are things that I am prepared to do to better my time in a race.  As I ran this race, I realized that if I am serious about my half marathon goal, training and weight loss aren't enough.  I need to cut off about twelve minutes in my half marathon PR, so I know I have some serious work to do, but not just on my body; I need to put my head in the game.  That is, if I intend to run a sub-two hour half marathon, I need to resign myself to the fact that it won't be a fun race.

I am mourning the loss of my fun race time.  Akron Marathon is very special to me.  For ten years the blue line ran by my house, and the kids and I would come out and cheer on the runners.  In 2012, I ran the half marathon, and I loved every minute of it.  Every picture you see of me shows that I am having a ball.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am having a ball in the Akron Half Marathon, 2012.

I felt the same way running the 2013 Medina Half Marathon.

Ok, I was happy here because I was annoying David.

I realize now that my attitude toward racing has to change.  If I want to accomplish my goal, and it's a lofty one, I need to resign myself to more than discomfort; I need to think about suffering.  This means that I may have to change several factors that contribute to my enjoyment of a race:

1.  I may have to ditch the music.  I can't fathom running 13.1 miles without my race music, but if I intend to run quickly, I may have to pay more attention to my rhythmic breathing.  This is the most problematic adjustment to make for me, so I need to give it some thought.

2.  I need to carry a water bottle instead of walking through the water stops.  I usually hit up at least three stops during a half marathon, and this may be adding more time than I would like.  I like walking through the water stops; it gives me something I can look forward to.  I'm just not sure that it is worth the extra time, though.  Plus, I HATE carrying my water.

3.  I need to think about running with a partner.  I usually like to run my own race, but running with Shelby helped keep me accountable.  If we can find a way to coincide our fueling, we may be able to keep each other going.

4.  Most of all, I need to recognize that if I am having fun DURING the race, I am not working hard enough.  Now I need to tell myself that two hours of suffering won't kill me.

I have talked to several runners about this, and it's like this is the big secret to races.  Nobody ever tells you that if you're serious about a PR, you won't have fun.  I've got a lot of thinking to do.

When (if ever) did you realize that running a race wasn't supposed to be fun?

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Race Recap: The Perfect 10 Miler

It all began with my innocent question on Facebook:

Are deep fried mac and cheese bites the proper fuel before the Perfect 10 Miler? Hypothetically.

The answers ranged from the funny--a movie clip of a woman on the toilet (which I will not post here), the philosophical (Shouldn't the real question be "Is there ever a time deep fried Mac and cheese bites are a bad idea?"), the empathetic (Pretty sure Hamburger Festival was not ideal.), and the mildly condemnatory (I would say the whole enterprise is flawed, but...).  Do you want to know the answer?  Just wait; I'm getting there.

This morning I woke up at 4:30 am to prepare for the Perfect 10 Miler at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst, Ohio.  I carefully laid out my gear the night before:

I organized this BEFORE I went out for beer and mac and cheese bites. . . er, that is, if I actually DID indulge in mac and cheese bites.  Hypothetically.
I met the other members of The Ohio Runner's Network for a warm up and a picture.

We look so happy to be there before 7am!
So, I have been feeling angsty about this race for several reasons: 1) I had to transfer my bib last year because of the horrible NUT incident, 2) the course changed this year, and I didn't know the area, and 3) I have been trying to figure out what my race pace is for any race longer than five miles (prep for the Akron Half Marathon), and I'm not really good at figuring out my pace by the way I feel.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but as usual, my follow-through is kind of lousy.  Let's get to the race review, shall we?

The Good:  

The course began and ended at Legacy Village, which meant that there was plenty of parking.  This is a smaller race than some, but previous years' staging at Brush High School meant that many of us scrambled for parking.  

The bathrooms were REAL bathrooms in the mall.  There was plenty of soap and paper towels!  

The food at the end was plentiful.  I'd like to emphasize this because in the past, there was no more food or water for the runners at the tail end of the race.  There were bananas, bagel pieces, protein bars, and cookies from Eat n Park.  Usually the cookies are the first thing to run out, so I was happy that the race coordinators had supplied many more this year.  In fact, I'm grateful to them because they allowed me to take two cookies on the way out.  My kids love the smiley-face cookies!

The crowd support was minimal, but the people who were out there were fantastic.  My favorite sign said, "Run faster--there's a zombie behind you!!!"  A few people had hoses going, which I really appreciate since it was really hot, even at 7:30 in the morning.

The water stops were at almost every mile along the route, and there were some great volunteers manning those stations.  Many of them were teens, and they served up water and Gatorade with smiles and cheers.

Today Mike earned his SuperFan shirt by taking pictures and cheering for us.

This was the first 10 miler for the Towpath Turtles, who are training for the Akron Half Marathon, and they all finished strong, and they looked outstanding!

Here is our medal shot: We are SOOOO happy to be done with it!

The Bad:

The course changed this year; in the past it has been an out-and-back, with one looooong road making up most of it.  I used to complain about that course; now, I think I won't anymore.  The new course had many turns in it (Shelby said she counted seventeen?), and there were HILLS!!!  The hills were in the first two miles, which were also the last two miles.  While I really didn't mind the turns, and I thought the neighborhoods were really nice, finishing on a hill is NOT COOL AT ALL.  

Some of our Turtles lost their way during one of the turns.  I had seen course marshals along the way, but I'm guessing that they left their posts a little too soon.  That isn't very safe, and in this case, it really threw off our Turtles.

The Ugly:

Well, that would be me again.  Don't get me wrong; I PR'd this race.  It's just that I realized a few things in this race, and it was a bit frustrating.

1.  I need to come up with a plan and stick to it.  My original plan had been to run my race, starting at a ten minute mile to warmup, switch to a 9:30 pace, and then try to run the last two miles at 9:15 or faster.  Because the first half-mile of the race was all downhill, I thought it would be stupid to waste that opportunity, so I went out fast.  Again.  Here are my splits:

Mile 1:  9:14
Mile 2:  9:06
Mile 3:  9:14
Mile 4:  9:20
Mile 5:  9:17
Mile 6:  9:46 (fuel with GU)
Mile 7:  9:33  
Mile 8:  9:32
Mile 9:  9:49
Mile 10:  9:41

Ok, now that I'm looking at my splits, I don't feel so bad.  The mile 6 slowdown was because I was fueling.  I do think that everything fell apart after mile 6.  I kept looking at my Garmin and trying to get it together, but my legs wouldn't cooperate.  It could have been worse, but I think I could have done better.  Sheila, my coach from OneLife Fitness, thinks that I am too distracted by music and chitchat.  In fact, she posted this picture on Facebook with an admonition for me:

I am on the left, adjusting my earbud.  Sheila's caption:  Get RID of the distractions, Steph!
I admit that music is important to me during runs; it keeps me from killing people.  For more info about this, read my post about running without music.  There may be a day when I can do a long race without music, and do better, but that day was not today.  As for the chitchat, I am puzzled.  I think I remember that Shelby and I had about three short exchanges in the six-plus miles we ran together.  They were something like this:

A.  Shelby:  Watch out.  Stroller.  Me:  Ugh.  I hope she gets disqualified.

B.  Shelby:  Is that man carrying a shirt or his underwear?  Me:  I feel better believing it's his shirt.

C.  Shelby:  Just relax.  Take it easy.  Me:  Dude, YOU'RE the one who's going fast!  I'm trying to keep up with your pace!!!!

I may have been a little snippy with Shelby.  Sorry.

Anyway. . . 

2.  The course was short!  My Garmin measured it at 9.78.  Now, I know what you are thinking:  Garmins aren't always predictable, blah blah blah.  At least four other runners around me came up with the same distance.  This makes me angry because now I feel like I don't deserve the official pace on the webpage (which I will share in a moment)

3.  This race just messed with my head.  I actually did a lot of smart things:  early bedtime (although I didn't get to sleep early), morning fuel with Panera bagel and coffee (can't break the ritual), plenty of water before, during, and after.  I know I talked about the mac and cheese bites, but really, I had TWO BITES along with a grilled cheese sandwich and a salad.  Ok, and two beers, but I drank a LOT of water with all of that.  Anyway, I've had some stuff on my mind lately, and it didn't allow me to be satisfied with my results.  Peeps, learn from my mistake:  Take your successes when you can.  Be thankful for them.  Keep that attitude of gratitude.  After all, this time last year I was on crutches.

In keeping with my attitude of gratitude, I'd like to thank Sheila for pushing me to try harder, Shelby for coaching me through six miles of this race, and the Towpath Turtles for allowing me to run with them on their long training runs.  This is a great group!

So. . . Are deep fried mac and cheese bites the proper fuel before the Perfect 10 Miler?

Judge for yourself:

Perfect 10 Miler 2012:  1:45:27, 10:32 pace, 46 in age group

Spring Training 10 Mile (March 2014):  1:43:04, 10:18 pace

Perfect 10 Miler 2014:  1:32:34, 9:17 pace, 11 in age group

Major, PR, Baby!

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm happy about a PR.

I think it was the mac and cheese bites.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Rain-Running in the Canal. . . Fulton, that Is

Today I ran with Michael and Joy on the Towpath in Canal Fulton.  Of course, it rained.  I blame Michael; he and Joy blame me.  Joy seems to be blameless in this circumstance, so I think Michael and I should call a truce and toss her in the canal.

This is EXACTLY how I look when running in the rain.  As you can see, I am two happy kids.

Just kidding.  This is really how I look in the rain.  What am I doing here?  Protecting a doll?  By the way, the caption for this pic is "Defeated by Rain."

Canal Fulton is such a cute town; I've never seen it when everything is open, but there are at least two ice cream shops, which is a win in my book.  The woods are really green and pretty, and I love hearing the bullfrogs in the canal as we run by.

Canal Fulton
As we ran (in the rain), I saw horseshoe prints in the mud because there are still canal horses that move barges along the river.  I've never seen this, but I hope to some day.

Canal Horses Moving a Barge

Michael and Joy are super-fast, so I knew I had to be on my A-game today.  Unfortunately, it was difficult to be on my A-game after several bottles of wine over a hot card game the previous night and only five hours of sleep.  It seems that this may be a good time to discuss night-before-run fuel, but first let's run over the other stats:

Pre-run Fuel:  Panera blueberry bagel, cream cheese, hazelnut coffee with Thin Mints creamer

Mid-run Fuel: Mandarin Orange GU, lots of water

Post-run Lunch:  Asian veggie burger with cheese and spinach, sliced cucumbers, raw sugar snap peas (Ahem.  Please note that I got it right this time!)

Ok, let's talk about the night before a run or a race.  You're supposed to carb-load, right?  Right. . .and wrong.  Everybody is different, and every body has different needs.  There are loads of articles on carb-loading (see what I did there?) in Runners World, but here is one answer from Jenny Hadfield about the need for carb-loading.  Go ahead and read it.  Browse a little if you want; I'll wait.

What I get from some light research on the topic is that someone who has my body type (I'm not exactly skinny.  Let's say that I am zaftig.  Go ahead; look it up.  I'll wait.)  probably doesn't need to cram down the carbs the week before the race.  This doesn't mean that I don't enjoy a nice plate of pasta before my long run; it just means that I don't necessarily have to eat that pasta for more than a day as long as I am in balance during the week.

The most important thing to consider about eating the night before the long run or a race is to figure out ahead of time what reactions you have the next day to the food you've eaten.  If you are like me (Hi!  Zaftig girl here!), you have a stomach of iron.  There are very few foods that give me a bad reaction the next day, even if I race.  Well, chili.  I can't eat chili the night before a race.  Wanna know why?  No?  Ok.

Oddly enough, I usually do end up eating some type of pasta on Saturday nights, the night before my long runs or most of my races.  VERY oddly, it's not the good type of pasta; it's usually carbonara or fettucine alfredo with lots of vegetables.  (Zaftig, remember?)  I think it's because by that point in the week, I don't really want any meat, and I know I'll want a steak the next day.  I do try to practice portion control, and I definitely try to eat more vegetables than creamy pasta.  Some days are better than others.

I didn't make this, but I do put lots of vegetables in my fettucine.

Last night I had pasta with red sauce and a huge meatball at my brother's house.  Not bad, right?  Salad to go with it, so I'm still doing well, right?  How about the chocolate cream pie?  No?  How about the wine we had with dinner and while we played cards?  This, as you can see, is where I could have had a problem.  Indulging in a glass of wine (or two) with dinner the night before a long run or race probably won't kill your experience, but it probably won't improve it either.

"A bottle of red, a bottle of white/ It all depends upon your appetite"

Since today wasn't a race, I'm not going to beat myself up over it, but next week is the Perfect 10-Miler, and I intend to use it as a test run to see if I've made any improvements in my training for the Akron Half Marathon.  This means that I should limit the vino.  It also means I should get plenty of sleep this week and next Saturday night, which I think will be the topic of a post after my race recap next week.

Stay tuned for the Perfect 10-Miler, Peeps!

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fueling for the Long Run

Sooooo humid and muggy today!

I ran nine miles on the Towpath with the Turtles.  The last part of the run was a half-mile hill (5% grade), so we got to finish strong by running downhill.

After the run, we had a lovely tour of the Mustill Store, one of Akron's FREE museums that show the history of the canal and lock system.  Bonus:  the store sells popsicles!  Anyway, the nice docent talked to us about what the canal used to look like in the Akron area.  He also explained where the Blue Line for the Akron Half and Full Marathons used to go in previous years, and in return, we sweated all over the floor of the museum.

The Ohio and Erie Canal in the 1870s

The Ohio and Erie Canal today

Sheila, the coach for the Towpath Turtles and OneLife Fitness, talked to us about finding the best pre-run fuel for long run days.  As this is one area that I feel I have covered in my fitness regime, I thought I would write about it today.

My long, slow run is always on a Sunday because that is the day that my husband is home from work, so he can be with the kids while I am out for a few hours.  I look forward to Sundays because I can spend some quality time by myself (or with fellow runners), and because I actually get to EAT YUMMY FOOD for breakfast.  Normally, during the week I run on an empty stomach, and after the run I eat oatmeal with fruit or cereal with fruit, but Sunday is my day to eat what I want, and what I want is a bagel with cream cheese.

Hello, Beautiful.  Come to Mama.
I have a Panera just down the street from me, and my husband has NO PROBLEMS going to get bagels for the family, so I have made Panera bagels and cream cheese a part of my long, slow distance (LSD!) for three years now.  I am partial to blueberry bagels, and my husband loves the chocolate chip bagels.

It was incredibly lucky for me that Panera has decided to sponsor the Akron Marathon this year, and even better when they asked me if Panera's meals were a part of my training for the Half Marathon.  Ummm, yeah!  So, now I get to share my blog with all of you who are training for running the Blue Line.  (I received a gift card to Panera in order to supplement my training meals, but all opinions are my own.  The only way I'll ever unabashedly shill for a company is if it's a WINE COMPANY, and even then it has to be a wine I like.  I'm still waiting for that opportunity to explain how wine is an important part of my training.)

In any case, the bagel with a shmear of cream cheese has about 440 calories, and with a cup of hazelnut coffee, I am raring to go for at least six miles.  Panera has a training menu for the Akron marathon, and it does have some really interesting choices for pre- and post-run fuel, but I am hooked on the bagel.  Not only does it fuel my body properly, it perks me up at 5:30 in the morning on a Sunday, and it gives me a reason to look forward to the long run.

The most important thing about food/nutrition choices is that you have to experiment until you find something that works for your body and what you intend to do.  I know runners who eat bananas with peanut butter, English muffins, oatmeal. . . you name it.  If it helps your body to be strong and run efficiently, then you should eat it.

The second most important thing about food/nutrition choices is that when you find something that works for your runs and your races, DON'T CHANGE IT!!!  I would never decide to change up my pre-run breakfast for a race; that's a bunch of craziness waiting to happen.

So. . . to sum up:

Pre-run fuel:  Panera bagel with plain cream cheese (about a tablespoon), hazelnut coffee with Thin Mint creamer

Fuel during run:  Chocolate Outrage GU (see my post about fueling during the run)

Post-run recovery:  1 cup of tortellini salad.  Somebody should tape my mouth shut.  Seriously, what was I thinking?  

Maybe by next week I will be psychologically prepared enough to examine my stupid food choices after the long run.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Running the Blue LIne

Today I ran a portion of the Akron Blue Line with the Towpath Turtles.  The Blue Line refers to an actual blue line painted on the roads around Akron to guide runners for the Akron Marathon.

This is EXACTLY how I look (like a BOSS)  running the Blue Line.   Just kidding.  This is Diane Nakuri, but that is really the Blue Line she is running in the Akron Marathon.
This really is EXACTLY how I look running the Blue Line.  Akron Marathon 2012, running the half.
Photo credit:  Christa Hammontree

At various points of the year, Akron runners like to go over parts of it to prepare for races.  There are many advantages to a Blue Line Run:

1.  Pre-mapped route with easy-to-determine mileage

2.  Runners can preview any part of the run by looking on YouTube.

3.  Shakes up the long run (remember last week's post?)

4.  Builds excitement for the upcoming race (The Akron Marathon/Half Marathon/Relay is on September 27, 2014.  Click here for more info.)

5.  Builds pride in community

The route that I ran today is particularly meaningful to me.  It is the route I ran when I first went ten miles (without ever thinking I could do so).  It is the same route I ran when I wrote my first blog post two years ago.  Today was the first time I've run it since I broke my foot, and I felt GREAT.  I am especially proud of the fact that while I brought my music, and I had it prepped, I never actually put the earbuds in and listened to it.  I talked with the Turtles, and when I didn't talk (which was actually for most of the ten miles), I concentrated on my form and my breathing.  It was surprisingly peaceful inside my head today.  Huh.

Pre-run fuel:

1 Panera blueberry bagel with cream cheese

Coffee with Girl Scout Thin Mints creamer (oh man, I am addicted to this)

Fuel at Mile 6:  Chocolate Outrage GU energy gel

Plenty of water throughout, thanks to Jone, who had a mobile water stop.

Post-run Fuel: Leftover fettucine Alfredo with broccoli.  Hangs head in shame

I clearly have work to do on the post-run fuel.  More on that in my next post.

Thank you to the Towpath Turtles for letting me run with them on this humid, but still beautiful day!

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shake up the Long Run

Are you tired of the same routine every day?  Do you have one beloved neighborhood route that you run all the time?  How about if you try to shake things up once in a while?

Distance runners get especially tired of their "long run" routes, possibly because after two hours on the road, we get bored anyway.  I know that I need something to be excited about on Sundays in order to get up at five in the morning to prepare for my lsd.  No, peeps, I do not indulge in acid; LSD stands for long, slow distance run.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am so. bored. with. running.

What helps me is having a different route to run each week.  I can still run my beloved neighborhood loop or do four strenuous, hilly miles on Sand Run path during the week, but Sundays need to be different.  Think about what makes a long run tiresome for you.  Is it having to carry water/fuel/tons of Kleenex?  Shhh, I have sinus issues; don't judge.  Is it not having access to a bathroom when you think you will need it?  Maybe it's that your pace is different than most in your running group?

The solution to all of these problems could be running a loop.  Now, loops can be monotonous, so I would not suggest running them every week, but once in a while they can be a treat on the long run.  Don't want to carry stuff?  No problem--stash your loot on the loop and revisit when you wish.  Is your pace faster/slower than others in your group?  No problem--run the opposite way on the loop to catch up and then continue running.  Also, many runners will accommodate slower/faster paces if they know that it's just for a mile or two.  Likewise, you can choose a faster partner and keep up for that one loop knowing that you can always slow down later.  You may find yourself running with a different partner for every loop.  How's that for shaking things up?

Today I ran a 1.8 mile loop at Hudson Springs Park with The Towpath Turtles.  The Turtles were going to run five loops, and I ran six.  We put all of our water, bug spray, fuel, and whatnot on a picnic table along with a board with our names on it.  Every time we passed the table, we would stop and make a tally mark next to our names to keep the numbers straight.  Genius!

Hudson Springs Park Trail in November
Hudson Springs in November.  Photo Credit:  Kevin Payravi

I really enjoyed this for several reasons:  1) Hudson Springs has a very pretty route going through the woods and around a lake, 2)the path is quite hilly, but not so much that I had to walk it (like on a trail), and 3) I got to run with different people all the time.  This was my morning to catch up with Jen  and Kathy, and we had great conversations.  When they got tired of me, they told me to move on, and I did.

Running a loop was a great way for me to shake up my long/slow, and it was fun to connect with other runners without worrying about pace.  In fact, my Garmin blew out halfway through the run (because we ran in a rainstorm), and I didn't care because I knew what the distance would be, and I could just estimate the total time.

I wonder where I'll run next week.

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Race Recap: Bay Days 5 Miler

Happy Independence Day!

"You're a grand, old flag; you're a high-flyin' flag, and forever in peace may you wave!"
Today I celebrated my freedom to run in the Bay Days Five-Miler in Bay Village, Ohio.  The call went out to area running clubs to submit teams of five or more to compete against each other.  The Ohio Runner's Network (TORN) stepped up to the challenge.

Mandy, Michael, me, Joy, Tracy, and Brad

I was nervous about this race for several reasons:

1.  As I wrote in my previous post (I Am Jinxed), I have been afraid that my LEFT foot is broken.  I worried that this might be the end of running for a while, so I've been working out on a recumbent bike and weightlifting for the past week.

2.  I ran with some really fast people today.  My team members are beasts, and it was evident when we arrived that this small race was full of badasses.  Specifically, most of the badasses had the last name of Zangmeister.  It's the only name in Bay Village, apparently.  Anyway, I didn't want to embarrass my team.

3.  Not knowing the race, I was worried about the availability of bathrooms (after an hour drive) and parking.  Both weren't an issue, thank goodness.

4.  I am a neurotic freak, and I just worry a lot.

Before I tell you about the race, I want to tell you about what happened at the track two days ago.  It was my first day of seasonal speed and hill training with OneLife Fitness Coaching, and the first day always means assessments.  I hadn't eaten since breakfast, but I knew I wanted to avoid bonking so I ate a snack fifteen minutes before the workout.  When it came time to run two timed miles around the track, I was ready.  Too ready.  I took off like a shot, and I ran the first lap at a 7:42/mile pace.  The second lap I slowed it to an 8:00/mile pace, and the third I was at 8:15/mile.  After the fourth lap,  I just. . .stopped.  I couldn't go on.

"What are you doing?" Sheila (my coach) asked me.

"Can't. Do. It," I panted, leaning against the fence, "Can't. Go. On."

Sheila shook her head and said, "The clock is still running.  You can do it.  Go."  So I did.

It was really stupid of me to run out so fast when I knew I couldn't sustain it.  I know what a good pace for me is, and I know how far to push myself.  Clearly I needed a smack in the head to remind me to stop being an idiot.

It was was with this experience in mind that I set off in the five-miler.  The gun went off, and so did I.  I took off after Joy, who is a speed demon, and then I heard Sheila's voice in my head saying,"Run smart.  You know what your pace should be.  Don't mess around," so I let Joy go.  It took me the first mile to dial it back to a sustainable pace.  Then I started thinking about how and when I should push myself.  I experimented with surges where I ran faster in the first half of each mile, and then I slowed it down in the second half.  I liked this because it felt like I was giving myself a little reward in each mile.

One thing I am really proud of is that my last mile was my fastest by about twenty seconds.  Negative splits, anyone?

The course was really flat and pretty, running through the neighborhoods of Bay Village.  The weather was PERFECT, in the sixties and not too much hot sun.  I ran through three sprinklers, waved to some little kids, and high-fived a member of the military in uniform, thanking him for his service.  I finished my race with watermelon, a popsicle, and my TORN friends.

We are happy it's over!
This race helped me to gain some information about myself.  I finished very strong, and I suspect that I could have pushed myself a wee bit more, maybe a few more seconds per mile.  This is good to know because I was starting to lose some confidence in my running abilities.

I also enjoyed this race because my team mates are awesome people.  I look forward to running more races with TORN in the future, specifically races that involve lots of chocolate.  I'm looking at you, Hot Chocolate 15k.