Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Race Talk and Happy National Running Day!

First things first, Happy National Running Day! June 4th of each year is the day dedicated to the sport that I have come to know and love. So if you love it too - go celebrate! If you don't, then that's okay too; go celebrate what you do love! :-)

Feel free to make your own badge, pledge your miles and more on the national running day webpage.

So did I run today?'s one of my cross-training/rest days and even though I heavily debated doing some type of run in celebration I decided that I celebrate running just about every other day and the fact that I didn't run today doesn't mean I'm not a runner. Instead, today I apparently decided to celebrate with some extra sleep. haha

I guess you could say that I'll be celebrating this upcoming weekend when I participate for the 5th straight year in the Idyllwild 5k/10k race in our local mountain community.

It's a tough race, for me anyways, for a lot of reasons. 1) It is in the mountains so at altitude - thinner air to breathe; 2) It has a LOT of hills; 3) Not a lot of course support as it is tiny, tiny, tiny; 4) Did I mention the hills???

Here's a pic of the course elevation:

Yeah, you see that downhill start followed by a massive climb for a few miles? It gets me every time. As I mentioned, this is my fifth straight year participating in this race, and my 4th time doing the 10k. Last year I was forced to do the 5k as I was still recovering from my knee surgery and rather than even attempting to run it, I planned on walking the entire thing; which I did.

So let's look at my previous finish times:
2010 - 1.22.12
2011 - 1.16.20
2012 - 1:22:15
2013 - did the 5k and didn't really care about time

The first year the race totally kicked my butt. So I headed to the local hill, that I still continue to use as a warm-up now at Diamond Valley Lake, and had my first introductions to "The Beast". I put in a lot of hill work that year because I was bound and determined to do better the next time around; and you can see that I did!! Then I slacked off in 2011/12 and returned to my flatlander ways and you can see that I went right back to where I was that first year.

My goal this year is to PR in every race distance and this is my first shot at getting a new personal best in the 10k! I'm really hoping to feel strong and confident on those hills, but I also already have my doubts. Let's talk strategy for a moment...

You can see that it is a downhill start, and that is actually part of the problem! It is a small race so it is easy to get caught up in the start line excitement especially because if you slack at the beginning you'll quickly find yourself all alone out there. I absolutely love running downhill, but I also tend to cramp up in my shins/calves if I go out too quickly and then I find myself losing time because I'm stopping to stretch my legs out. So it is imperative that I start off slowly. I want to spend the first mile or two getting in the groove and saving my energy for the hill.

At least you can't say it won't be scenic!!
As far as the hill goes I want to run if I can, but will walk it most more likely. It goes on for a really long time and the concern here is that if my heart rate gets too elevated I'll never be able to bring it back down and finish strong.

That downhill after the big ass hill - I plan on really capitalizing on it! I want to completely take off there and keep a run up the entire time until the final little hill close to the finish. I might walk that hill, I might run it - really it depends on how I'm feeling. But then I'll throw on the burners and sprint to the finish to quickly shut off the Garmin. This is not a chip timed race, but they do have folks recording the times at the end and they seem to usually be fairly accurate since you pretty much cross over the start line as soon as the horn goes off because it is so small.

In the past I've been able to really utilize fishing in this race, so I'll do that here as much as possible. There's just something so rewarding about picking a person and then passing them. I know that as much as I have struggled with this race, there are others that also do too so if I can capitalize on that in the later miles I will! hahaha

My big concerns for this weekend:

  • It's looking like it is going to be toasty warm this weekend! 
  • It's at altitude
  • I'm on my first week of 10-hour days for work so the fatigue usually really sets in by the end of the first week until I acclimate to the new hours by about week 3
  • We are renting a cabin so I won't be sleeping in my own bed which means I may not be as rested as I would like to be
  • My running has not been as stellar as I would like it to be lately...I haven't been pushing as much as I could/should and even though I've done a lot of hill walking, I haven't done a ton of hill running. That might bite me in the rear.
So with all that taken into consideration all I can do at this point is do my best! I'll go out there and put in the best effort that I can...I'll let you know how it all goes next week!


  1. I can remember reading your blog when you did this race the first time and seeing the pictures...I'm pretty sure I saw it on your sister's blog I almost feel like I ran it with you....but without the pain :). I also feel like I know "The Beast." It is so fun to vicariously see you go out there and be a true runner! You have come so far from the good old days of C25K....overcome setbacks, injuries, etc. You have truly conquered the "mental" part of running that eluded me. You are a runner! Doesn't that just amaze you when you think back about how it was in the first weeks of C25K? You are amazing and inspirational. I will be following to see how your race goes....but whatever the time or strategy....just the fact that after 5 years you are still in the mix is a huge accomplishment! I'm cheering for you! Run like a girl!

    1. Thank you, Kathy!! Yes, I am quite amazed actually that I'm still running and still love it especially when I thought it would never be a possibility for me. I can't say I've completely mastered the mental, but I can say that I keep trying to, at least. :-) I was re-reading that blog from the first race and my final comment was that during the race I kept thinking that I never wanted to do it again, but then I decided I would do it again the next year and here we are - 5 years after that and I want to participate every year for as long as I can!!! Our bodies truly are amazing things...

      Thank you so much for all your support & friendship over the years! I definitely appreciate it more than you know!

  2. This will be an excellent training run for your marathon! Hills are sprints disguised as speed bumps. I look forward to reading how your race goes. One thought I've started using during my races when I am feeling fatigued and thinking I can't go on is, "Step out of your comfort zone and you'll learn you are stronger than you think." And I always look around me to remind myself that everyone around me is probably hurting as much as I am.