October 31, 2010

I ran through Hell!

Today was my first 10k race! There is a town in Michigan that is named Hell... and they had a 5k/10k race today called "Run Through Hell on Halloween".  Renee and I signed up for the 10k, and my friends Evie, Kerri, and Jessica signed up for the 5k. The race was at 9:30 this morning and Hell was about an hour away. We met at Jessica's house and she drove us all in her minivan. I didn't want to go all-out and wear a costume, but I wanted to be a little festive, so last night Renee and I went to Target and bought some Halloween socks. I had a shirt that said "BOO" on it that I bought at Goodwill, so I wore that too.

It was FREEZING--31 degrees in Hell this morning!  Anyway, we got there, picked up our packets, used the porta-potties (eww!) and then lined up for the race. I was shivering so badly while we waited. I was bouncing up and down, trying to keep my toes from going completely numb.  Renee and I were toward the front, because I learned that lesson the hard way in the Detroit 5k. I didn't want to have to dodge people to get up to my pace. Renee was hoping to finish in under 50 minutes, so she was going to fly past me right away.

Finally, the race started. I started running at it felt like EVERYONE was passing me. I was afraid to turn around and look. There were 3,000 people running (all the 5k and 10k people started together, and then it split off after 3/4 of a mile). I just kept reminding myself that I don't have to rush, I could just do my "happy pace" and finish the damn thing.

There were so. many. hills.  Ugh! I even checked out the elevation online before we went, but it didn't prepare me for this. One hill after another, and the whole course was a dirt road.  We went 3.1 miles out, and then turned around and headed back to total the 6.2 miles. Once I made the turn-around, I saw that I wasn't even CLOSE to being last. After I passed mile 4, I saw people that were still before the mile 2 marker.

I felt pretty good the whole way. The hills were tough, but I had read that if you take small but quick strides on hills, it makes them a lot easier. And that helped a lot. You don't feel the incline nearly as much when you do it that way.  The last mile was almost all downhill, so I finished pretty strong.

My finish time was 56:25 (that's a 9:05/mile average).  I placed 23rd in my age group, which I don't think is very good, but I have no idea how many were in my age group.  Renee finished in 47-something. She placed 4th in her age group! I hope I'm that fast someday.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures:

Evie, Kerrie, Renee, Jessica, me

The ugliest shirts EVER

Love this finish line pic of me

I wish this pic was bigger--love the determination :)

October 17, 2010

My first 5k!

Feeling ambitious, I included "Enter a 5k race and RUN it" as one of the goals on my 30x30 list. At that point, I had never run 3 miles in my entire life! I was probably about 220 pounds, and I literally could not even run 1/10th of a mile. I was in the "honeymoon phase" of weight loss, and felt very ambitious as I included it on the list, but I really did not believe it was possible.

I registered for that 5k and planned on working my way up to running 3.1 miles by October. In March, I decided to start training. I ran as far as I could, and it was not even 1/10th of a mile. It was discouraging, but I tried again a couple of days later. I went a little farther than last time. Each time after that, I tried to add a little more time to my runs.

In April, I ran my first 5k distance... and my pace was well over a 13 minute/mile. After that, I began running 5k three times per week, and worked on going a little faster each time. By the end of May, I was at a 10:42 pace. On July 2nd, I ran 5k in under 30 minutes, which was a HUGE goal for me! (a 9:25 pace). I STILL did not actually do a 5k race, because I was holding out for the one in October with Renee.

In the meantime, I began running longer distances as well. I did a couple of shorter runs and one long run per week. On August 11, I ran 15k (9.3 miles)!! It just blows my mind that I went from literally not running at ALL to running 15k in just 5 months.

I started adding in a couple of speed workouts here and there. On September 15, I did a "practice" 5k--basically just a 5k run, but I ran it as if I was racing, just to see what my time was. I finished in 26:41 (8:37/mi)!! I was SHOCKED. So I set a goal of finishing my October 5k race in under 26 minutes.

This morning (race day) I woke up at 4 AM. I had to be at Renee's house at 5:30 to head up to Detroit. Renee's husband drove, and our friend Jessica came along too. When we got there, we watched the marathoners start their race, which was exciting. After that, we went to our start line.

When the race started, it took us a few minutes to get to the starting line. It was REALLY congested with people--there were 2300 running the 5k. I spent the first half mile to mile dodging people and trying to get up to my faster pace. I really felt like I was going too slow. After about a mile, it cleared a little, so I was able to go faster. I screwed up when setting up my Garmin Forerunner, so I had no clue how I was doing. Renee stayed with me the whole time, even though her pace is normally much faster than mine. She wanted to finish with me, which I thought was awesome of her.

At one point, I tried to take a picture while I was running. The Detroit skyline actually looked pretty cool, but my picture was (obviously) very blurry:

I'm used to doing 5-7 mile runs, so the 3 miles went by really fast. My legs felt like rubber at the end, though, because I'm not used to doing that fast of a pace. We crossed the finish line and I had no idea what my finish time was.

We went and watched some of the marathoners and half-marathoners run, and we took a couple of pictures of ourselves.

On the way home, we looked up our results online. My results:

Finish time: 27:16 (8:46/mi)
I placed: 246 overall; 74th out of the females; 7th in my age group of 25-29.

All-in-all, I did pretty well. I was hoping for under 26, but I think that the congestion in the beginning of the race really slowed me down. I think it's a great time for a first 5k race, though!

A picture of Renee and I:

Renee, Jessica, and I under the starting line:

My running paraphernalia:

I thought it was hilarious that the D-TAG (for my shoe) said "ROUND IS GOOD" in caps. I spent the last 14 months trying NOT to be round :)