5k Turkey Trot Recap

Wahooooooooo!!!! Okay, I just needed to let that out :  )

Yesterday’s 5k went way better than expected.

I woke up and got ready for what was going to be my coldest race to date.

Snapshot 2013-11-29 18-05-57

I was glad that I had run an easy two miles the day before to get acclimated to the weather because holy freezing temps!

The race actually started pretty late, 9:00 a.m., giving it a chance to warm up. At go time it must have been around 35 degrees which I know isn’t technically cold, but for this girl it certainly is.

I went out with the mentality that I wanted to hang out in the 8 minute range throughout the race. I knew there was an almost mile long incline starting around mile 2 so I also wanted to make sure I had stamina to get through that.

The gun shot and we were off! There was the usual speedster crowd at the start and around the half mile it began to dissipate. I was feeling pretty good when my watch beeped the first mile complete and showed me 8:09. Yes! That was great news knowing that in about a half mile the incline would start. I turned the corner and there it was. I picked it up a little to adjust and kept trucking along. Mile two, 8:49. Yay! I was on cloud nine seeing that despite the long incline I had maintained an 8 something pace. I rode that high into the end of the race finishing at 25:44 (official time). Yes, 25:44, a new PR for me!!! I was in total shock. I had majorly surpassed my goal of finishing under 27:00.

5kturk1  5k watch time

My husband, who had finished earlier, was at the finish line with a look of astonishment. Once I crossed, he met me saying, “You are amazing!! Do you know what your time is? Under 26:00!!” I was so exhausted but thrilled I couldn’t even talk, I just let him envelope his arms around me.

Once I was able to catch my breath, we went to the racing station to check out where I had placed overall and if I would have a chance to place in my age group. I saw the 14-19 group and then mine, 20-29. I was a little bummed they hadn’t split my group as it had been the largest show and I ended up placing 4th, 8th overall for women, and 28th overall for the race. I was sad for maybe 2 seconds and then I remembered 25:44!!!!

On the car ride home, I told my husband of a funny thing that happened around mile two. After the crowd dissipated at the beginning, I found myself running alongside an older gentleman. We were running at the same pace and stayed together for about a mile when I passed him to adjust for the incline. He was still at earshot behind me (I was running with no music!) when I heard him say to another runner, “Don’t let her beat you.”

Was that “you” he was referring to me?

A few seconds later a tall blonde teen began to surge past me. My instincts reacted and I could feel my legs start to quicken but I immediately said to myself, “Helly, this is your race, your pace. Don’t ruin what you’ve got going on to try and show up someone else.”

I went back to my pace and let the blonde go. It wasn’t worth it.

Overall, I am beyond thrilled with the results of yesterday’s race. Not only did I get a better time than I expected, I feel like I’ve grown as a runner these past few months. My training has taught me so much. I very easily could have attempted to pass that girl but I knew that I would be risking burning myself out at the end. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have cared. Now, I know that the race wasn’t against her.

5kturkeytrot

–What are some things you’ve learned as a runner?

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A Whole Lotta Jitters

It’s 5k Turkey Trot Eve and I’m having trouble getting myself to go to sleep. A lot of things have happened the last few days that have my mind going as fast as I’d like to run tomorrow.

On Tuesday I went to a sports medicine doctor to get my shins looked at. The pain in my left leg has increased so that when I walk up and down my stairs at home I can feel the deep ache with each step. It made me worry enough to set up an appointment.

I got a quick x-ray done and then waited to discuss the results with the doctor. He asked me a few questions then began to discuss the x-ray with me. He said that from what he could see and from what I had told him, it didn’t look like shin splints but more like a stress fracture. He suggested getting an MRI done and no running for 6-8 weeks so I can work with a physical therapist to recover. I did not take this news very well at all.

My first initial thought and question was what would happen if I still ran? He told me that I’d likely end up in a boot or crutches.

I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s that bad. I can still run and really want to keep training. My leg hurts when I start the run but then subsides to a tolerable ache the rest of the way. My husband asked, after I told him of my incredulity, what then was the purpose of the appointment if what I was going to do anyway was continue to run? Sometimes I hate when he’s so rational.

I discussed my feelings with my running buddies and with their knowledge and advice I’ve decided to get the MRI done and a second opinion. I think I’ll have more peace of mind then.

In the meantime, I guess because I don’t know how much time I have left to run, I plan on going along with the Runner’s World Running Streak of running at least 1 mile starting Thanksgiving to New Year’s. I love challenges like this. I love challenges period! Lol!

Tomorrow’s race starts my racing season. After the Turkey Trot, I have 2 races in December—a 15k and a 5k, a ½ marathon in January, a (virtual) ½ in February, and my first full marathon in March. It makes me incredibly sad to think I won’t be able to do any of this. This is what keeps going, keeps me motivated.

I’m hoping tomorrow’s race goes well. I’m hoping the MRI disproves the stress fracture diagnosis. I’m hoping my legs heal soon. I’m hoping I can continue to run.

I’ll fill you in with the Turkey Trot run tomorrow—Happy Thanksgiving!

–Are you running on Thanksgiving?

Running With (no!) Music

When I ran cross country in high school, we weren’t allowed to run with music. This was not a problem considering that back in my day, if we wanted to run with music, we’d be hauling with us a portable cd player.

I discovered the iPod my freshman year of college when I moved to the city. I was gifted an iPod shuffle and thought it was a pretty nifty invention. Of course, I started using it to exercise and really never looked back.

If I forget or misplace my iPod, I run without listening to music; but, very rarely do I intentionally decide to go without it.

On Saturday it was cold and rainy—a rarity in Arizona. I met up with my run club shivering and anxious to get the show on the road. I stood clutching my iPod tightly, ready to hit play as soon as we started. We set off and I found myself running alongside Jim. He asked me how my legs were feeling and I told him that I had set up an appointment with a sports medicine doctor on Tuesday to get them looked at. We continued to chat and I could hear Kelly Clarkson tell me that what doesn’t kill makes her stronger faintly in the background, my earphones hanging around my neck. I lowered the volume.

After a while, I glanced at my watch and saw that a mile had gone by! I knew that I was running at a leisurely pace having talked to Jim the entire way, but I was surprised at how good I felt and how it seemed time had passed by without much preoccupation—I hadn’t checked my watch that entire mile. I started to pick up my pace and drift away from Jim. It was dark out still and I could hear the wind blowing through the trees and the rain hit the water in the canal beside me. I could also hear Jennifer Lopez tell me to get on the floor.

I unplugged my earphones and tucked them in my pocket and turned off my iPod. I decided I was running the rest of the way listening to nature instead.

The first mile had been a slow one but it served as a perfect warm-up as the rest of the run went by smoothly. I felt pretty darn good. I noticed that as I was listening to the sounds around me I was also more aware of what was around me. I noticed the horses in the backyards of houses, the bridge connecting the two sides of the canal at mile 4, and the height of some of the trees I passed. Things I probably would not have paid much attention to had I been listening to music. Sometimes, I become so entranced by a song that I have no idea where I’m at. Other times, I’m keenly aware of a song’s length and am so focused at how much song is left before the next one starts. I become pretty familiar with my playlists and get anxious to hear a certain song and want the current one to end.

I had no such worries that day.

If you noticed my splits on Saturday, you’d see that I picked up my pace as the run went on. Music did not help me do it. I did it. I was thinking about this after my run and wandered if maybe music was having too much control over my running. Was I being influenced by the pace of the song? Do I concentrate better without my iPod? Am I able to focus more on my running instead of the song lyrics?

Saturday’s run felt so great that I’ve decided to try a few more workouts without it. I might be on to something here.

–Do you listen to music when you run?

–Do you think music can have an influence on your pace?