Sunday, July 30, 2017

Half Marathon Training - Week 7

If you noticed that I went right from week 5 to week 7, good catch. I mislabeled my blog post last week. I just finished week 7 of half marathon training.

Sunday - 5 miles Treadmill

I tried to run first thing in the morning, but I just wasn't feeling it. Technical malfunctions and just a general lack of motivation made me not run in the morning. But I turned on the air conditioner in my treadmill room in case I was able to get the motivation. Going into a very hot closed up room later in the day wasn't going to encourage me to run.

By 3 PM, I was feeling guilty for skipping my run and not riding either. So I got my running clothes on and went to run on the treadmill. I did my 5 mile workout where I do run/walk and each interval is 10% longer than the previous one. It wasn't some magical good workout, but it was done and I felt accomplished for doing it.

Monday - 3 miles Tempo

Me before the run. This is a pretty weird picture!

I ran this tempo run at River Park again. Basically the same run I did last week. A mile warm up, 3 miles at half marathon pace, and a mile cool down. I paced this run almost identically to last week. Hitting my first 2 splits right on target and running the last mile at 10k pace. It was hotter this week than last and my average HR for each mile showed it, being about 5 bpm higher.

I don't know how many more weeks I'll throw in a faster last mile. I probably should rein it in and run my half marathon pace. That is, after all, the point of the workout. To run half marathon pace and get it ingrained in me. But... we'll see.

Tuesday - 6 miles Trail

After the run. This was as much enthusiasm as I could muster for this run.
Love the trees and the lighting though.

This was a terrible run. Just awful. I went down to Henry Horton park to run first thing. I ate a small non-sausage patty and a banana about 40 minutes before I started my run. That's not unusual. About what I eat before easy runs.

During the first mile, I twisted my right ankle and fell to my hands and knees. Great start. :-( I walked for 3 or 4 minutes. I decided to go ahead and go to the bathroom about 1/2 mile down the trail and if my ankle still hurt a lot, I would just call it and go home. By the time I got to the bathroom, the pain wasn't nearly as bad, so I decided to go ahead with my run.

Not sure if that was a mistake or not. It was a horrible run. I was super tired, even though I'd gotten a decent amount of sleep the night before. And my legs were tired. Maybe I shouldn't have run that last mile of my tempo run at 10k pace after all. My splits were really slow. 3 of them were at the slow end of my easy pace, 2 of them were a full minute slower and the first split (where I twisted my ankle and visited the bathroom) was 3 minutes slower. Not just slow, I just felt like a big slug sliming my way across the trail. I was so tired; I couldn't even be happy it was over! That was too much energy to waste as I still had to drive home, take a shower and work the rest of the day.

I iced my ankle several times through the day. Wondering if I should even bother with my long run on Wednesday.

Wednesday - 10 miles Long Trail Run

But, of course, when push came to shove, I was running the next morning. My ankle felt fine and I was ready to give the long run a try. I was back at Bowie Nature Park for my long run.

Bowie has a Perimeter trail that is about 4.5 miles long and then several shorter trails inside that loop that interconnect with each other and provide access points to the Perimeter trail. So I had mapped out a course that ran the stand alone Horseshoe trail (about 1.25 miles long), then the Perimeter trail and then an inner loop that used short sections of the Perimeter trail to get me to other inner trails. Turned out to run very nicely and I'll likely run that again.

Have to enlarge. How many deer?

The run went much better than my easy run the day before. I eased into the run with a slow mile then was able to settle into a good rhythm.

Just at mile 6, I stopped back at my truck to refill my handheld and grab an extra gel if I needed it. I did not stop my watch while at the truck, but let the fact that the timer was still running motivate me to do my aid stop as fast as possible without dilly-dallying or letting the thought of going home early sink in.

I did slip into the bathroom for one minute 43 seconds, but I did stop my watch for that since it's a concrete building and I didn't want my GPS signal to go whacky on me. But I still minimized the amount of time my watch was stopped.

I was so eager to get back on trail that I went down the wrong trail! I caught myself within 100 meters and turned around to take off in another direction. I'd forgotten that I wanted to run a different inner loop configuration this time.

By mile 7.5, it was getting harder to maintain pace, so I let my HR drift upwards for the last couple of miles to be able to maintain pace. But I was still within my HR limits for a long run. Any more miles at this point and I likely would have had some trouble maintaining pace and keeping my HR down. Good thing I got to stop at 10! :)

It was a hot and humid run at 85° with 80% humidity, but overall much better than my "easy" run on Tuesday. I ate breakfast of a packet of instant grits and a small non-sausage patty (I'm a vegetarian) about 50 minutes before running. I took 3 gels during the run. That might sound like a lot of fuel to faster runners, but when it takes 2 hours 20 minutes to do a 10 mile run, 3 gels is about right for me.

Thursday - 6 miles Trail

hydration vest with full water bottles

Wednesday evening, I got a Camelbak Circuit hydration vest. I've written an initial review on it and put it in its own post, so you can go there for more information about that.

I returned to Henry Horton to rerun the same 6 miles I did on Tuesday. I was hoping to have a better run as noted in the hopeful grin in my picture above. Taken before my run.

And yet. Somehow. this run was worse! Same general weather, same fuel. This time I made it 1.6 miles before twisting my left ankle! I twisted the right one on Tuesday. At least I managed to stay on my feet and not end up sprawled out on the trail. I whimpered and limped down the trail until I could walk normally. Then I took up a slow jog. I felt the pain on every single step. It wasn't excruciating, but it was there. Keeping me company.

Me. After the run. Not thrilled.

My run was slower even than on Tuesday. I did feel a bit better overall, not quite as tired, but I still couldn't get any speed up to even hit the slow end of my pacing zone. I did enjoy having extra water, although I did have to make an unscheduled pit stop during my cool down.

Me before the run (note the hopeful smile) without
the vest so you can see the pretty inknburn shirt!

I did get a new inknburn t-shirt and got to wear it for the first time on this run. I love their shirts. I'm addicted to them. So there you have it. New gear was the best thing about this run and likely the only reason I did it.

Again, I spent the day icing my ankle. This time the left one.

Friday - 7 miles Speed Workout 6x800

5 miles into my run. Hoping to beat the rain!

This was my second speed workout on the Hansons program. The first 3 speed workouts on the Hansons program are 12 x 400 meters, 8 x 600 meters and 6 x 800 meters. All with 400 meter jog recoveries. I missed my first workout, so I did the 12x400 last week. Because I did well on the 12x400, I decided to skip the 8x600 workout and do the 6x800 which would put me squarely back on track with my workouts.

Because of the jump from 400 to 800 meters, I was a little apprehensive about this workout. I was prepared to back off from 5k pace to 10k pace if I needed to. I was also a little worried about my ankle.

The forecast the night before called for rain all day on Friday, but when I got up, there was a clear spot in the radar, so I ate a non-sausage patty, grabbed an apple and headed to the paved Murfreesboro Greenway for my run.

My ankle didn't bother me at all during the run. The weather was 75° with 100% humidity, but no sun and a light breeze which felt heavenly after I got sweated up, which was pretty quick. I carried my small Nathan hand-held and left the vest at home. I don't think I'll use the vest during speed workouts.

I did a nice easy jog for the first mile, speeding up near the end to prep for the first half mile interval. I took off like a shot and had to dial back my speed for the first 3 intervals. My jog recoveries, that seemed too long during my 12x400 workout, went by pretty quickly. But I was jogging slowly, just concentrating on keeping jogging instead of walking. I did stop to take a couple of pictures or slowed to a walk to adjust my gear a little, but managed to jog for the most part.

By the 4th interval, I was still taking off too fast, but it was getting easier to get back into my target pace and a little harder to stay there for the entire half mile. My 5th interval was about the same.

My 6th interval, I took off too fast again, but this time, I decided to see how long I could hold a faster pace, so I didn't make myself slow down. This was my last hard effort of the week. Tomorrow was a rest day. I figured I'd be able to hold it for a quarter mile and then wouldn't even be able to hold to my 5k pace for the rest, but I was wrong. I managed to run that half mile in 4 minutes 47 seconds, a 9:34/mi average. Which is huge for me. Now I'm sure I couldn't have run the entire workout like that, but I was surprised I could run that for the last half mile of a tough week.

While running my cool down mile, I tried to do math in my head, trying to figure out how many miles I had for the week. I thought I would be at 39.5 when I finished this mile, so I decided to tack on an extra half mile to hit 40 for the week. I ran the last full mile too fast. Just 20 seconds slower than half marathon pace. So I really dialed it back for my final half mile to actually get a cool down.

Come to find out, my extra half mile got me to 39 miles for the week, not 40. Oh, well!

I did not take any gels during this run. I had a SaltStick capsule and an extra-strength tums along with a bottle of water when I got done. I used to use a Hammer Fizz tablet in my water bottle, but I still had headaches after a hard and/or hot workout. The past 2 weeks, I've been doing the SaltStick capsule and tums and the headaches have all but disappeared.

Weekly Stats

Number of Runs: 6
Number of Trail Runs: 3

Training Miles: 39 miles
Training Hours: 8 hours 59 minutes
Average Training Pace: 13:49/mi
Total Elevation: 1,535 feet

What's Next?

Well, more running. Week 8 is up on deck. Not many changes, though. An extra tempo mile and a new fun speed workout.

Camelbak Circuit Hydration Vest - Initial Review

Last week, I received new running gear! Yay. Always a fun thing! I got a CamelBak Circuit Hydration vest to help with hydration on longer runs with little access to water. I have an Amphipod belt that I used during marathon training, but when I put 4 water bottles on it (40 oz or 1.2 liters total), I had trouble with the back ones giving me some bruises. So I decided to try a vest.

Shoutout to my mom who helped me decided what color to get. They have a purple one and a black one. The black one has blue trim. The purple one has "fiery coral" trim. In the pictures online, the trim looked red. I don't generally like red and purple together. But my mom said to get that one anyway. So I did. When I got the vest, the trim is more hot pink than red. I'm not a big pink person, but hot pink is ok in the right circumstances and this is one of them.

The Circuit vest has 2 front pockets that are made to hold soft flask water bottles in addition to the 1.5 liter bladder in the back. The vest did not come with the water bottles, but did come with the bladder. Camelbak does make water bottles to go in this vest, but I didn't purchase those.

I have an 18 oz Salomon soft handheld. I don't really care for the way it straps onto my hand, so I don't use it much. I pulled the harness off it and used it in the vest.

I also have a Nathan Exoshot soft flask handheld that I absolutely adore. It is billed to carry 12 oz, but really only about 10, but still, it's a great size for me and the harness for my hand is great for me. I don't have to have it tight, or I can have it tight. I tried to fit the bottle into the vest with the harness still on the bottle, but that didn't work too well, so I grabbed my spare Exoshot flask and used that instead.

I took out the back bladder for the first run. I took it on an easy 6 miler. I really wanted to see how the vest would be without the weight and oppressive heat of the back bladder. And on a 6 mile run, did I really need more than 26 oz of water??

There is a small pocket perfect for a couple of gels just above the right water bottle and a tiny key pocket above that. I put a spare pair of earbuds in the key pocket and a couple gels in the gel pocket. (I didn't eat gels this run; just wanted to see how they'd ride there)

Above the left bottle, there is a zippered pocket that just fit my Google Pixel XL. Of note, this is the only pocket that zips. The other smaller pockets have a flap and the back pocket where the bladder goes has a flap. The water bottle pockets have drawstrings with stoppers.

I took off running and the Salomon prompted squirted out of the vest pocket and plopped on the ground. No worries. I shoved it back in and tightened the drawstring and that was the end of that. I figured if I didn't have to tighten that, why should I. But then, I did.

As I ran, I adjusted the straps of the vest until the front straps were as tight as they could go. As the water bottles deflated, I was a little annoyed at the vest bouncing up and down a little, but since the vest itself is very light and once the water was mostly gone, there was very little weight, I decided it wasn't too bad and the ability to have 26 oz of water and have my hands free was a big plus.

Showing the side straps

I might want to try to tighten up the side adjustments a little more to help with the bouncing when there is little water, but I need the water bottles to be in front of my body and out of the way of my arm swing. When my husband was helping me adjust it the night before the first run, I immediately felt where the bottles were the most balanced for me.

Vest from the back; no bladder and nothing else in the back pocket.

My phone rode just fine in the zippered pocket. Since my phone is so big, it's a little cumbersome to get in and out, but not too bad and I didn't have any trouble with the phone being right there. I was happy my phone was not in my pocket and as it was very close to my bluetooth earbuds, there was no interference and I was able to listen to my podcasts with clarity.

The vest might come in handy on some winter runs when I have to shed clothing while I run. I can run with the vest with no back bladder and have that pocket to stash a jacket or arm sleeves and gloves and other such things. Hard to think about winter runs when it's 90°+ out!

It was a successful first run. I need to continue to practice with it and at some point add the back bladder to it to see how it feels completely full.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Half Marathon Training - Week 5

I'm really late with this blog post, so just the highlights from last week.

Sunday - 6 mile Trail Race

Race for the finish! I'm the one on the right. I got beat!

I did a more thorough race recap last week. But as it falls into my training week, this was my tempo run for the week. All of my miles were slower than tempo pace due to being on trail, but were pretty close to tempo effort and heart rate, so I'll take that as a good run.

Monday - 4 miles Trail

Smith Park

Monday is my normal tempo run day, but since I ran the Bowie 6 Miler, this was an easy day on a hilly trail. I wore a Moving Comfort Fiona bra for the first time. I really like this bra! It fits nicely and no rubs. I think it's time to replace my older sports bras! The only thing I dislike about the bra is that it's a straight strap bra, not a cross in the back. This makes it hard to tuck my bluetooth "necklace" into my bra to keep it still.

This was a pretty warm day and an easy effort, so my pace was pretty slow. Great training though.

Tuesday - 5 miles Treadmill

I used the treadmill because I just didn't have time to get out to a trail. I don't really like to run on the road if I can get away with it. So I just hopped on the treadmill as soon as I got up.

This was my first treadmill workout with my new paces for half marathon training. I ran at a 12:30/mile pace for about 4 minutes, then walked for roughly 45 seconds. Each run/walk interval stayed that ratio, but got longer by 10% until I was running about 3/4 of a mile without a walk break. I like these types of runs on the treadmill because they ease me into the run and keep me from watching the clock and waiting for that next walk break. I used iFit to program my treadmill so it changed pace on its own while I ran and watched Hulu.

On a side note, my treadmill shoes are approaching 400 miles of use. I'll retire them to horse shoes when they get there.

Wednesday - 9 miles Trail

Bowie Nature Park

I returned to Bowie, where I'd run the 6 mile trail race, and ran 9 hot, sweaty miles. 91° and 70% humidity! Even though it was a trail run, my long run pace was right on target. I've got a pretty broad pace range for my long runs. 13:00/mi to 14:20/mi. On trail runs, I don't mind if it gets even slower as long as my HR is up there and I keep moving. But I managed 9 miles with a 13:57/mi average pace.

I had the mint chocolate GU I picked up at the race and I loved it!! I promptly ordered a box when I got home. I also had a couple of shot bloks at 2 different times during my run.

After my run, I usually take a Hammer Fizz tablet in a water bottle, but this time I took a SaltStick capsule and ate an extra strength Tums (for the calcium). I ate grapes and an apple on the way home as well as downing more water. I didn't have a headache for the rest of the day. Sometimes after long, hot runs, I have a headache until I go sleep. So this was a positive thing!

Thursday - 4 miles Treadmill

Back to the treadmill to save time going to find a place to run. Same workout as Tuesday, I just stopped at 4 miles.

Friday - 8 miles Speed Workout 12x400

A bunny along the trail

This was my first speed workout on the Hansons program. I was supposed to do one last week, but I was resting my foot for the race on Sunday. I went back and forth on what to do this week. All my other runs were the correct runs for the week, as if I hadn't take a couple of extra rest days. But I really wanted to be able to do the entire speed workout, so I chose to do the speed workout I'd skipped.

I went out to the Murfreesboro Greenway, a paved running/biking path about 35 minutes from my house. Tempo and Speed runs are mostly going to be done on pavement.

The workout was 12 intervals of 1/4 mile at 5k pace and 1/4 mile of recovery jog. I set up the workout in Garmin Connect and used the app to send the workout to my 935.

I started the run with a 1 mile warm up at an easy jog. Then started my intervals. The first 4 or 5 intervals felt fairly easy. I started each interval too fast and had to slow down. Then it got a little easier to maintain pace without going too fast. Then it got a little harder to maintain pace for the last 2 or 3 intervals. But I did it. Every 1/4 work interval clocked in at 2:42, plus or minus 2 seconds. My recovery jogs included some walking for the first several intervals just so I could adjust some stuff with my gear, but the last half was an easy jog for the intervals. I finished up with another mile cool down.

I took a gel during the 4th and 9th interval recovery jogs. I drank about 24 oz of water over the run.

Pretty happy with this run. And I was so glad to have it over. It was my last run of the week!

Weekly Stats:

Number of Runs: 6
Number of Trail Runs: 3

Training Miles: 36 miles
Training Hours: 8 hours 12 minutes
Average Training Pace: 13:36/mi
Total Elevation: 1,706 feet

What's Next?

Another week of running. Going to look really similar to this week, but an extra mile on the long run and a different configuration for the speed workout. And no trail race. lol

Monday, July 17, 2017

Half Marathon Training & Bowie 6 Miler trail race recap

So this blog post is a little late. I meant to write it up yesterday, but forgot, so here I am doing it after work on Monday.

Last week, I was scheduled for 5 days of  running since I rode my horse for 4 hours on Sunday. But I only got Monday's tempo run and Tuesday's easy run in before calling it quits for the week. I had some left foot pain and decided to let it heal up so I could run the Bowie 6 Miler yesterday morning.

Monday's tempo run was my first tempo run of the half marathon training cycle. My target pace for my tempo runs is 11:50/mi. Each tempo run will consist of 1 mile warm up at easy pace, the prescribed tempo miles and a 1 mile cool down at easy pace. Monday's run was a 3 miler.

I remember my first tempo run last year. I was petrified of 3 miles! This time, it was a breeze, even in 88° weather. I was right on target for my first 2 tempo miles, but went faster (11:13) for my last mile. I enjoy knocking out the last mile a little faster if I can. Last year, I didn't do the extra 2 miles for warm up and cool down, so we'll see how I like that. I went ahead and did my normal walking warm up and cool down on top of the easy jog miles, so a 3 mile run clocked in at 5.6 miles. As my tempo miles stretch out, the double warm up/cool down will become less of a percentage of my entire run. That's the way math works! I think.

I did this run at River Park in Brentwood, so paved path with minor elevation for the distance. The water fountain at Primm Park wasn't working so I had to hop into the bathroom and drink from the sink. I'd forgotten my handheld and doing 5 miles with no water was not an option in that heat!

Tuesday, I went to my local track (my back field) and did 8 laps for a total of 2.33 miles. That didn't include any warm up or cool down as I just did chores before and after for that and didn't track it. About 1,000 feet of elevation gain in that 2.33 miles. Goal was an "easy" run, so I ended up hiking up the hills, shuffling down them and running the short flat-ish spots. Technically, I was supposed to do 4 easy miles, but I think I got a good workout even still. Going down the hills I was feeling it in my foot, so I decided to call it for the rest of the week so I could still make the trail race.

Bowie 6 Miler Recap

The race was a 6 mile trail race Bowie Nature Park in Fairview, TN. Put on by the Nashville Running Company.

I received some really bad personal news over the weekend, so I debated going to run this race at all. I wasn't particularly feeling up to running and was crying a lot. Hard to run and cry at the same time. At the same time, I hadn't run in days and I thought running might help clear my head.

So after debating it with myself, I finally left and showed up at the race venue at 7:30 AM. The race start was 8 AM and I hadn't picked up my bib yet. Fortunately, it was a small, local, laid-back race (about 200 runners) and I was able to walk right up to get my bib and t-shirt. There was a very short line for the bathroom (real bathroom with 4 stalls! And sinks and soap! No porta potties here!), so I was standing well back of the start line with 10 minutes to spare. I did some warm-up moves, still debating going back to the car and going home, but that was silly. I was there. I might as well run.

People gathering at the start.

I started dead last, or at least I think I was last. I was last of the pack. If there were others that started after the pack, then I wasn't last.

I jogged along behind everybody until the trail started to force people to spread out. I passed a couple of people, but nothing to get excited about. I wasn't really planning on racing this run anyway. My training schedule called for a tempo run of 3 miles on Monday, so I was planning to try to take it easy on the first mile at least and then maybe have 4-5 miles of tempo effort. Not supposed to be race effort.

A mile and a half out, I twisted my right ankle and had to pull off to let people pass me back. I walked for a couple minutes and then gingerly started running again until the pain subsided and then I was able to go back to a normal pace.

I passed a couple of people going uphill, even though I was walking. I started jogging again when my HR dropped too much and the incline leveled out a little.

At mile 3, another runner heard my GPS beep the 3rd mile and asked how far we'd gone. I answered and then fell into step with her, chatting about the trail left in the race since I train at Bowie and she had never run there. She was running all the hills and I was walking most of the hills, so at the next decent incline, I let her go on.

I caught her just before the aid station, but then I stopped to refill my handheld. I also picked up a mint chocolate GU. I didn't get a chance to try it during the race, but I am really interested to try it on my next training run that needs fuel. Probably my long run this week if I get to do it.

I managed to catch Suzanne after a little bit and we continued to chat until the last bit of the race which was on pavement, up a small incline.  She decided to sprint the finish and even though I knew I wasn't going to catch her, I chased her anyway. She beat me by 4 seconds. :-) Give or take! It was a small local race without timing chips. We high fived as soon as we slowed down and spent several minutes chatting and exchanging FB info before heading home. I really enjoyed running with Suzanne and chatting with her. Really made going to the run worth it. :)

What's next?

I'm going to try to get back to my training program. I missed my first speed workout, so I'm not sure how I'm going to adjust for that, but I have a few days to figure that out. For easy and long runs, I'm just going to jump into the current week and do those runs as scheduled as long as my right ankle and left foot hold out. Gotta do that strength work.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Music City July 4th 10k Race Recap

The Race

Music City July 4th 5k/10k put on by What Do You Run For? I have done this race many times and while I could park elsewhere, I'm pretty used to parking in the Public Square Parking garage just across the street from the square with the race booths set up. I did the same thing this year.

This year, we started at 7 AM instead of 8 AM. Which I'm all for, even though it meant I had to get up at 5 AM. It rained a lot the days and night before the run, but during the run, it was pretty nice. We lucked out on the temp, with it only in the mid-70s. The humidity was pretty high, but that's to be expected in Nashville, TN, on July 4.

They started the 5k and 10k together. The course is a single 5k loop that the 10kers do twice. I got my race packet (shirt, race number, and a drawstring backpack) and ran back to my truck to leave the shirt and grab my handheld water bottle.

I debated taking the handheld. Water stations were supposed to be around mile 1 and mile 2 and I assumed there would be one at the finish/start of the second loop. And while humid, it was a good 10-12° cooler than expected. Finally, I decided to take my own water bottle.

I saw several picture opportunities during the race that I would like to have, but I was going for a PR and decided not to pause for pictures.

I ended up at the start line just in time, but then the race didn't start for 11 more minutes. I was probably pretty annoying to my neighbors as I just couldn't stand still and bounced around like a ping pong ball. I remembered to take a gel before the start.

We finally got started and I again seeded myself too far back in the pack. I did the same thing at my 5k race on New Year's. I found myself hemmed in by walkers and had to dart around them to be able to run. I don't mind walkers. I do it. But 3 or 4 abreast in the middle of the lane slowing to walk with very little warning is pretty annoying. And walking on a downhill within 1/2 mile of starting boggles my mind. ;-)

Another pet peeve was people playing music through their phone speakers. Like I want to hear your music! I don't! If I want music, I'll pop my earbuds in and listen to my own tunes. It's one thing to do that on a solitary long run with nobody about or just the occasional person to pass, but in a crowded 5/10k start?

As I approached the first water stop around mile 1, there was a line and the volunteers were frantically pouring cups. I took a sip from my handheld and bypassed the water table. Mile 1 dinged at 11:25. A little faster than my projected 11:45 to hit a PR, but I knew there were more hills ahead.

We circled Nissan Stadium and crossed over the Cumberland River. The approach was an uphill, so I ran partway up, then walked until the crest and picked up running again. The second mile had more downhill than uphill and that mile took me 11:24. Way to keep a steady pace, I thought, but can I keep it up?

We turned on 5th Avenue and ran past the Country Music Hall of Fame toward the Bridgestone Arena. Fortunately, we were only on 5th Ave for a block because it was HOT. No breeze and just gross. I was really happy to get out to a breeze again.

The second water station was around mile 2.3. Again, it was pretty busy, so I took another couple sips from my water bottle and passed it by. I had been taking a few sips here and there and had some water left. I knew I'd be taking a gel in soon and I always take water with my gel.

Just before the turn onto Union Street and into the downhill before the 1/2 way mark, I took my second gel. A tad early, but I knew I wanted to be able to concentrate on the downhill and not be distracted by a gel. I took a few good swallows of water with the gel and headed down the hill. Mile 3 passed with an 11:28 pace. Ok, slipping a little. but still pretty close to the other miles.

At the halfway mark, I manually pressed my lap key and noted the time for the 5k. 35:57. So this is a little embarrassing. I saw that time and I was not happy! My goal time for this race was 1 hour 13 minutes. So the halfway mark would have been 36:30. I was 33 seconds ahead at the halfway mark.

But for some reason, my brain thought it was 37:57, which if I could keep pace and not go slower, would still push me to almost 1 hour 16 minutes, which would not be a PR. So I was annoyed at the half-way mark because I thought I was doing so well (I was) but [I thought] my watch said I was slower than I thought I was. If I'd had more wits about me, I would have realized I couldn't be running an 11:25/mi pace for the first 5k and still be slower than my target pace of 11:45. Just brain not working right, I guess.

I'm not really into quitting, so I didn't just stop or slow down or just say forget it. I kept running. I ran up the little rise to the first bridge crossing, fully expecting to see the halfway water stop. And nada. No water stop! Wow. I was super glad I hadn't drained my water bottle at the last gel. I was pretty low, but I had some more water.

I went into cruise mode, running downhill, letting gravity and my leg turnover pull me down the hill and past 6 or 8 runners that were walking or running slower than me. It wasn't a big downhill, but I'll take advantage of every bit of downward slope I can!

I finally felt like I was settling into my run. I am not really a good short distance runner. Anything under 3 miles and I never really settle in. There were a lot fewer people around me. I began to run the tangents and running where I needed/wanted to without having to worry about running into people or getting in somebody else's way.

I popped one of my bluetooth earbuds in and pressed the play button. Nothing. I had prepped my music before the run, so I should have been able to just press play and get my running playlist. I turned off the earbuds and heard the little disconnect tone. Then turned them back on. And didn't hear a tone. Nothing. My heart sank and I got really annoyed when I realized they weren't coming on. Even though I'd put them on the charger the night before, they must be dead. I'd been counting on my music to help push me through the last half of the race and keep my tempo up for that PR that I thought was already in jeopardy, if not completely toast.

On long runs, I carry a spare set of basic (non-bluetooth) earbuds for just such an occasion, but I'd left those in my duffel bag in my truck. No recourse. Nothing to do but

So I ran. I made it to the mile 1 (mile 4.1) water station. This time there were plenty of cups ready to grab and only one other runner in the vicinity. Since I was low on water, I would have stood in line anyway. I needed the water. I grabbed the cup and kept walking while drinking and took off running the minute I was done.

Mile one of the second lap done in 10:42. Wait, what?? That's a bit faster than my 5k PR pace. It helped that I was able to cruise down the hill at my own pace and not dodge other runners like I had to do in the first mile.

As I approached the 2nd Cumberland River crossing on this lap, I counted the light poles to the crest of the bridge before it leveled out. 8 or 9. So I ran to the 4th one (passing a lady walking the hill). I glanced behind me and saw a pack of runners just past the water station. Wow. I'm not used to seeing many people behind me! I turned back to the job at hand and walked briskly up to the top and picked up running again. The lady I passed also began running when I did and I matched strides with her for about a minute before pulling away. Not sure if I sped up or she slowed down, but when the downhill hit, I went into cruise mode and off I went. So glad I practice running downhill!

Mile 2 of the second lap was done in 11:07. Slower than my previous mile, but still faster than any of the miles in the first lap. I took my last gel here. I debated taking another gel so close to the finish, but I decided it wasn't a bad idea and it might kick in by the last 1/4 mile. At the very least, it would keep me from crashing at the finish before I could get more food into me.

I got another drink at the last water stop and thanked the volunteers. I was a little tired at this point and could feel my legs getting heavy, but I only had about 3/4 mile left, so picked up the pace after I was done with my water.

After a couple more mild hill climbs, I rounded the corner and headed down the home stretch. I felt my watch vibrate to indicate the last full mile but I didn't bother glancing down to see the split time. I could see the finish line and hear the announcer. A lady was coming up behind me with a pacer friend. The pacer said something like "go on, you can do this" and I have NO idea who he was talking to, but I took it to be me and started running faster. :-D.

The finish clock showed 1:11:11. I wanted to hit under 1:12:00! 1:12:00 would be a PR in itself and I knew my chip time was less than gun time. I ran and made it in 1:11:50 gun time. :-) Whoo-hooo!! My chip time was 1:10:20! A good solid PR from my previous record of 1:14:30 set in 2012 at the Hendersonville Classic on Memorial Day.

I didn't realize until I was analyzing my watch data that I'd inadvertently added 2 minutes to my half-way time when doing math to determine if I was on track for a PR. I'm really glad I didn't just phone it in the last half because that almost certainly would have meant no PR.

I got my medal, a bottle of water, and a banana and headed to my truck. I drank the water, dropped my bib, medal, and handheld off at the truck and headed back outside munching on the banana. There was a Starbucks a few blocks away, so I ordered a Frappuccino from the app and walked to get it. Coming back, I realized that using the parking garage pay station and elevator furthest away from the race venue was actually pretty nice and no waiting.

The Training

Pretty happy with this race and my PR. I set out and trained to PR this race and got it done. Admittedly, the weather helped. A LOT. Humid, yes, but 10° less than expected and some cloud cover is a big help.

My 10k training started back in April just after the Bridge Street Half Marathon. I decided to run a lot of easy miles and a lot of trail miles. I used HR and breathing to determine if I was running easy or not. I also tried to add in a lot of elevation. I did run some negative split runs and some speed interval runs, especially in the last 6 weeks of training.

All done!

Training stats

12 Weeks
Number of Runs: 41
Number of Trail Runs: 21

Longest Run: 12 miles; trail miles no less
Training miles: 135

Training hours; 34 hours 54 minutes
Average Training Pace: 15:30 <- Go slow to get faster?? :-D
Total Elevation: 14,208 feet

Interestingly enough (to me), my elevation for 10k training was only 4,000 feet less than when I trained for the Chattanooga Marathon. I think hill work, at least in small doses, agrees with me.

I did have a little issue with my left arch giving me some trouble during this training cycle. I'm going to have to step up my strength exercises and make sure I don't let that turn into a big issue.

What's Next?

I've been training for the Iron Horse Half Marathon for the last 4 or 5 weeks. The overlap with 10k training was a little weird and not something I really want to repeat. I probably ran more the last 3 weeks of 10k training than I normally would have because I was also training for the half marathon so I could leap into the Hansons Half Marathon training in week 5. But they were easy miles and it's hard to argue with a 4 minute 10 second PR. But starting next week, I can "just" train for the half marathon.