Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Trot 10k

Let's get caught up a bit....
I ran the Clearwater Turkey Trot on Thursday morning, and ran my best race ever. Funny thing about it is that I felt awful leading up to the race. I have been battling the flu since Tuesday, and with a brutal work day on Wednesday, along with my family coming in town for Thanksgiving, I was just wiped out. I actually thought about bagging the race, but there were a few reasons why I ended up doing it.
1. My dad wanted to do it
2. This would be my first race since Chicago, and I needed to get a race of my potential in the books. The best thing you can do if you have a tough race, is to race again when you are HEALTHY!!
My goal for this race was to break 41:00. I ran a time trial 10k about 3 weeks before Chicago, and finished it in 41:52, but it was during the summer.... so I figured that in nice conditions, I could probably take close to a minute of my time.
So, anyways we (my dad and Julie) left from my house at 7:00 am, and drove to Clearwater. What a race!!! 15,000 people did all the Turkey Trot races... it was really cool! We hadn't signed up yet, so we went to sign up and then walked about 1.5 miles to our car to drop all of our goodies back to the car. We had about 30 minutes to spare after all of that, and I had to go to the potty. I thought to myself while I was walking to the start... "why is it that I am always sick before races?" Anxiety? Bad luck? Whatever... I just told myself that the quicker I get it over, hopefully nothing bad will happen...
Once we walked to the start, I saw one of my former patients that participated in the 5k earlier... that was pretty cool, because I knew she was going to be out there, but it was so many people I knew there was no way I would find her. But she found me so that was cool. A few minutes later, I saw a collegiate runner that I worked with a few months ago, who was running with her team. That was pretty cool... and it made me happy to see the people that I work with that are back to running. Made me feel good for them.
So anyways, Julie and myself started off at the same area, and we both had typical pre-race jitters, so we went and did some warm ups before the race. I think it helped us both.

So.. the race??? Ok, we started way to fast!!! The 1st mile had a slight downhill decline, and a bunch of people (at least 200-300) started out at around 6:00/mile for the 1st half mile... I slowed down and shouted to Julie to slow down!!! So I ended up hitting my first mile split in 6:27, once I probably ended up running the 2nd half of the 1st mile in right under a 7:00/mile. I fell into a somewhat comfortable groove, and all my sinus trouble and stomach issues were gone.
Mile two didn't feel too hard either, and it was encouraging because a good amount of people were already starting to fade back, which meant that I made the right decision about slowing down for that 2nd half of the 1st mile. The main thing I could remember about the 2nd mile was a guy who was out screaming for all of us to commit our lives to the Lord and pray for salvation..... and the guy on the opposite side of the street telling him to "GO HOME". Trust me, even though you are focused on what you are doing during the race, I try to take in all the stuff going around me. They also had a band playing at mile 2, which was pretty cool. Finished 2nd mile in 6:29. Mile 3, I was starting to work. By the end of it, I felt like I could stop already, but had to remind myself.. "Sorry buddy, this a 10k, not a 5k" So, mentally I had to dig deep and try to focus on holding pace for as long as I could. Body was still feeling suprisingly good, considering I didn't sleep a wink last night, and my tummy and sinuses bothered me all night. So, what I did from mile 3 to the end was race.... yup... it is the first time since I have been running that I actually started to race people. I tried to catch some people... then others were catching me...and it was fun!!!! There was the one guy who I passed, and then behind me I can hear he was laboring... and almost sound like he was trying to throw up, but within 20 seconds, he caught and passed me, and we did that for like 10 minutes or so... it really made me have to focus and work so hard.... this is probably the hardest I have ever worked in a race ever. But thanks to those guys, they pushed me harder than maybe I would have pushed myself. Mile 3- 6:34. Mile 4 was more racing and hurtin... and a Mexican band...that's all I remember... 6:37. Mile 5... was a killer hill (for Florida that is). I saw it from the end of mile 4, and was like... what the heck is this? We are in Florida for crying out loud!!!! So my heart rate started to spike, and my pace slowed... and I knew that I just had to get past it and not slow down to bad... I just didn't want to see a 7:00/mile pace on my watch... and I was close, but it didn't happen.... so that was great! After we passed the hill, there was a downhill portion and I made up the time by pushing with all I had and striding out more. Mile 6- 6:31. I truly didn't have anything left at that point. I just kept on looking at my watch and realizing that a PR was there for me!!! I tried to sprint the last .2, but it ended up being my slowest split of the race.... boo!!!! But hey... I'll take it... great race, huge PR and I ran better than what I thought I could do.
10k- 40:38 - average 6:33/mile... I think I placed 83rd out of 2408 participants...and I got a cool coffee mug for placing in the top 125 males in the race.... YAY!!!!!!
Unfortunately, in retrospect, I beat up my body so much leading up to the race with having the flu, working a lot. And with having family in town and doing a lot of hosting, I am burned out. I have the full-blown flu, my stomach is in havoc, and I can barely get out of bed. I have not run since Thursday, and the way I feel now, I don't think I will run for at least a few more days. I can't remember the last time I have not run at least 10 miles on the weekend. Last weekend, I ran 24 miles, and the week before I ran 26.2, but now??? I'm sitting here typing this from my couch. My body has had enough... I'm done, and today it will be me, my couch and the NFL.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Running by the stars... (house)

This Saturday was probably the most eventful training run I have had over the past few months. Liz, one of my running buddies, invited Chris, Julie and myself to run with her in Avila, which is one of Tampa Bay's premier private country club communities. I have always wanted to see inside of that community, so I jumped on the opportunity to go over there and run with the group.

It was probably the coldest run of the year for me, as the starting temps were about 40 degrees. We ended up running 16 miles in around 2:25 and the temps were probably 45 when we finished. It was cold and because the community had a lot of trees, it never really warmed up.

So basically, it was a very cold running tour of Avila...

I enjoyed every minute of it, as I got to see so many houses of some of the big names in Tampa. So how big were these houses? Massive!!! It is so funny, because in my neighborhood there is one house that looks like it doesn't belong here. It is a custom home and it seems so huge... maybe 4,000-5,000 square feet.... well that is probably the smallest house in Avila...whew!!!

There was one house that looked like a castle!! No joke... don't believe me???

I told ya....

Anyways, my body felt a bit on the stiff side today, so after church I ended up running 7.5 miles, which has made my muscles feel so much better.

This upcoming week, I will be running the Turkey Trot with my dad on Thanksgiving day. It will be a 10k race, and I'm going to race this thing all out. I am hoping to break 41 minutes, as my 10k pr is unofficial, but it was 41:52 when I did a time trial right before the Chicago Marathon. I think that should happen... but thinking and doing are two separate things, right?

Anyways, it will be nice to race again... and the really nice part is that I will get rewarded with tons of great food later that day!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The "Easy Run"

Today's run brought me back to why I love to run so much. There is nothing better than doing an "easy run". An easy run is a run where you aren't striving to hit any time goals or distance goals.... you just run and run at a very low intensity to where you could have a full conversation at all times. It is the best feeling that you can have while running. You actually don't ever really want it to end... you just want to continue going at all times!! I trekked out this morning with no goals in mind... just run and put on the Ipod...when I felt like finishing, I would finish... that's it... and it was perfect.
I got onto the Suncoast trail by the 3rd mile...and at the end of the trail, I can tell that this guy was trying to talk to me. So, I took off my earphones and heard him say to me, "Are you even breathing???" and then he said, "I wish running could be that easy for me".

The truth is that easy running wasn't even possible for the first year that I ran. Every time I ran for the first 4-5 months, I felt like my heart was going to explode. Now, that was because I truly didn't know what I was doing. I just knew that I was very slow, and my goal was to finish as fast as possible...but it was more often than not...miserable!!!!

If I could give any advice to anyone who is new to running, or thinking of getting into running is that I would just try to run and not completely wipe yourself out. Once you get the hang of easy running, you will be surprised on how fresh you feel after all of your runs.