Showing posts with label 10K. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 10K. Show all posts

Monday, May 23, 2016

Let's Talk About The Incredible Virtual Run!

Hey, remember when I signed up for that 10K virtual race back in March?  Yeah, I ran that!  Let's talk about it!

To refresh your memory, the race was The Incredible Virtual Run, organized by Level Up Runs.  This was the first virtual run I ever participated in, and it was a unique experience.  I signed up for the 10K option because I thought it would be easy-peasy to fit in a 6-ish mile run during the last couple weeks of training for the Flower City Half.  (This run was supposed to be completed between April 15-30, and Flower City was the 24th.)  Um, that was not a good plan, because I kiiiiind of forgot to factor in the pre-race taper, so I wasn't running a whole lot the week before Flower City.  That meant that I had to save the run for the last possible day--April 30, because it was far enough from Flower City that I felt recovered and was able to put in a good effort.

Even though this race wasn't "officially" timed (beyond what I saw on my Garmin), I still had a goal to try to beat my current 10K PR of 55:55.  Because I was making up my own race course, I could have totally cheesed out and done a flat/downhill route, but I didn't!  I purposely worked in some of the bigger hills in my area, because I wanted the challenge.

Long story short: goal achieved!  I finished in 54:16.  :)

Not a huge gain on my PR, but a gain nonetheless!  And I considered it a win, given the hills I threw in and the fact that I was only 1 week post-half-marathon.

So, given that this was my first virtual race, what did I think?

Pros: I loved that I had a big window in which to fit the race--you can plan around various weather conditions and scheduling conflicts to find a time that works for you.  You also get the advantage of running your race on whatever surface or route you prefer.  I liked that I was "racing" without all the pre-race adrenaline/pressure that comes from racing in a large crowd.  I was more in control of my pace than I usually am at a big, chaotic starting line.  And because there was a (pretty awesome!) medal coming to me at the end, I was motivated to hit my goal, even without the cheering crowds.
(As predicted, my kids are totally jealous of this medal and have already tried to steal it from me 5,462 times.)
Cons: I don't feel like I can call this race time a true PR, because it wasn't done with an official timing chip, and because I got to set my own race conditions--something that is not reflective of a "true" race setting.  Not a huge deal, but something to consider if you really want 100% confirmation of a PR goal.  My only other caveat is that, other than the race medal, the other swag I received was a $25 gift certificate to SLS3--something I was very excited about.  However, when I received it, I was bummed to find it was more of a coupon than a gift certificate--I can't use it in conjunction with any sales (and they are having a ton of good sales right now), or other promotions, and it does have an expiration date.  I wish they had referred to it as a coupon (granted, a high-value coupon) rather than a gift certificate, because it was a letdown to find that all these stipulations were attached to it.

Overall, this was a fun experience, and I think if I find myself between road races and need a motivational boost, another virtual race could be a great option.

Have you ever done a virtual race?  What other races do you have coming up??

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Well-Read Runner: Time to try a "virtual" race! + coupon code!

Hola, runners!  How many of you have heard of "virtual" races?  I had never known about such a thing until I started exploring the running blog community in early 2015.  For those that are clueless (as I was), a virtual race is one that you register for, get the swag/medal for...but is completed on your own time, in the location of your choice.  Fun, yes?  Adds a bit of spice to your normal neighborhood run.  Plus, you can mix it up and run it solo, or with friends; in your usual local park, or at a new locale; on the road, on a treadmill, or on trail...the options are many.

After looking into several virtual race options, I finally decided to give one a try.  Level Up Virtual Runs is hosting The Incredible Virtual Run in April.  I took one look at the medal design, and was like, OMG MY KIDS ARE GOING TO BE SO JEALOUS OF ME:
Running + Pixar = basically my life in a nutshell.
Participants choose their desired distance (5K, 10K, or half marathon) and must complete it at some time between April 15-April 30.  I'll be going for the 10K option.  (Yes, I am actually running the Flower City Half during this time period, so I guess I could count that and do the Incredible Virtual Run at the half distance, but it kind of feels like cheating to double count the same race!  Haha.)  The 10K will be good for me, because I will be doing race pace runs leading up to Flower City, so I can use the Incredible Virtual Run as a pace-pusher before my half marathon.

Yes, this requires a bit of scouts-honor accountability...but why pay for a race that you don't intend to really complete?  Go have fun with it!

I'll share my experience here post-virtual-race sometime in late April.  :)

Want to run with me?  Registration for The Incredible Virtual Run is open until April 15th at  The fee is $25: already affordable, BUT my readers can save 10% off their registrations by using the coupon code SAVE10.  And did I mention that all registered runners also get a $25 SLS3 gift certificate?  Sweet swag.  Let me know if you plan to join!  (And if not, have you ever done a virtual race before?  How did it go??)

(Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Incredible Virtual Run in exchange for this post--but all the excitement involved is mine-o-mine!  :) )

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Well-Read Runner: Monster Scramble 10K recap

A quick recap for you of the Monster Scramble 10K that I ran last Sunday, October 18.  You may remember that this was the 10K I was fundraising for in order to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  I'm DELIGHTED to report that I was the #1 fundraiser in the Rochester area!!  I reached a grand total of $765, and am so appreciative of every single person who donated.  It felt awesome to hand all that moola over to a great cause!!

The race took place at Mt. Hope Cemetery in downtown Rochester.  I'd never been to the cemetery before, but heard it was a great place to run if you love HILLS.  Knowing that beforehand, and taking my recent health issues into account, I knew going in that this was not going to be a PR race.  I was happy to take this one easy and enjoy the ride.

The race started at 10am, but I was parked at the shuttle pickup by 8:45.  I am not real familiar with downtown, and knew that I would have to park a few blocks away and take the shuttle to the race.  Plus, the night before, Tater Tot got a cold, and my husband and I decided that they would not be accompanying me to the race.  (There was a 1 mile trick-or-treat walk for families at the same time as the race...Small Fry was sad to miss out!)  So I planned to get there early in order to give time for the shuttle, packet pickup, and then a possible shuttle trip back to my car to drop off stuff (there was no bag drop...kind of inconvenient when they were giving out so much stuff at packet pickup) before heading back to the start line.
Pre-race.  Those are some super-cool Halloween tights/stockings from Target.  Never ran in stockings before this.  Was not as terrible as expected.  ;)
Unfortunately, I overplanned this one, because I was fully checked in by 9am, and had an hour to wait for race the cloudy 39 degree day.  I was not the only one who was early, and you could tell we all regretted it!  My fingers and toes were fairly numb by the time the race began (and that was with gloves and Drymax socks on).  Note to self: don't get there quite so early next time!

I'd had peanut butter toast for breakfast, and ate a banana around 9:30.  I probably could have done with more fuel, but I have such a hard time working up an appetite on race mornings.  I had my small handheld water bottle with me during the race, though the course was very well stocked with water along the way.  (I also held my friend Liz's bandana from a Muck MS event she did earlier this year, that says "I Muck It With MS" gave me some extra good juju when I needed it!!)  :)

Finally, 10am approached.  The start line was at the very bottom of a very, very, very long and steep hill.  3, 2, 1, GO and off we went up that hill!  I was feeling my lack of recent hill training immediately, and made it about 80% of the way up before I had to stop and walk the rest.  Oh well.  Kind of a kick in the pants right at the beginning, but I didn't get down on myself about it.  Hit the top of the hill, and back up to pace I went.
Pretty much all of my race photos are awful because the photographer was stationed at the bottom of a rocky hill that required you to be looking down and watching your footing the whole time!  Oh well!
Honestly, much of this run was very uneventful.  The cemetery actually made for beautiful scenery (as odd as that may sound), and it wasn't a very crowded race (even less so in the second half, when the 5Kers peeled off).  Just me and my music, trying to keep a decent pace and enjoying the run.  Yes, I did walk many of the hills, but because I knew I hadn't trained like I should, it didn't bother me.  But the 10K was two loops of the 5K course, and it was a bummer to watch all those racers finishing while I made my way up that killer hill again!!  :)  However, I did enjoy that everyone was much more spread out for the last 3 miles.

I finished this one in 59:29.  Not close to my fastest, but still under an hour, so I was pleased.  My stomach was feeling a little delicate afterwards (what else is new for me??), so I walked around for a while and watched the Best Costume awards being handed out before getting back on the shuttle and heading home.

Overall, this was a very fun race that supported an excellent cause.  Even though the course itself is challenging, I would love to do it again in future years, if only for the opportunity to fundraise again.  That said, I think this race would benefit from two things: a bag drop, and some sort of warming tent (depending on the weather).  But, neither of these things were a dealbreaker...just would have made the day a bit easier.

Have you done any Halloween-themed races?  Any great running costumes to share??

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Well-Read Runner needs your help!

Hello, friends!  Today, I'm not recapping a race or talking about training.  Nope, today I'm asking if you want to help a sista out, and I'm not afraid to beg!  :)

On October 18th, I am running the Monster Scramble 10K in Rochester, NY.  As soon as I heard about it, I was like, YUP, sign me up!  Because the proceeds from this race go to the fight against multiple sclerosis, which is an important cause for me.

My good friend Liz was diagnosed with MS last year, at the age of 31 and just weeks before her wedding.  What a suck-fest, right?  When she shared the diagnosis with me a few months later, I was devastated for her.  I knew very little about the disease before her diagnosis, but what I've since heard from her and read about myself shows that she has a lifelong battle ahead.  There is no cure for MS.  Luckily, Liz caught it early and has a great team of doctors to help her out along the way.  And hopefully, as research into the disease continues, better treatments (and maybe a CURE!) could help her even more in the future.

After I signed up for Monster Scramble, I was surprised when a few of my Facebook friends came forward (privately) and told me that they, too, were diagnosed with MS within the last few years.  This disease is more prevalent than I originally knew, and makes me even more motivated to assist where I can.

So, as you may have guessed, runners of the Monster Scramble race are encouraged to fundraise for the event, and I am indeed doing so!  My original goal was $500, but I've gone above that (yay!) and am now shooting for $1000.  Any little bit helps!  $5, $10, $20, whatever you've got!  That money is going to an important cause and will help the millions of people around the world who are battling multiple sclerosis.

If you'd like to make a donation, you can do so HERE at my fundraising page (just click the gray button on the left that says "Donate to Me").  And please feel free to share this with any family or friends who might want to help out.

Thanks, readers!!  I'll report back next month with my final fundraising totals (and a race recap, of course!).  :)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Well-Read Runner: New Plans!

Hello, runner/reader friends!  After taking over a month off from this feature after the Mystic Half, I'm back with a little update on my running activities of late.

After taking a much-needed break, I've been back in the saddle, just running for fun.  I have a love-hate relationship with non-training runs.  I love them, because it's nice to just go out, ignore the Garmin, not worry about pace or distance, take in the scenery.  Sometimes when I'm in training, I'm so focused on whether I'm hitting race pace, or what direction I need to go in order to add that extra mile to my run, that I can't just enjoy the act of running.  So, running-for-fun has been rather excellent in that regard.

However, when I don't have a training goal, I get lazy.  It's hard to motivate myself to get up for early morning runs (the best time of day for me to fit them in).  It's hard to push myself to do more than 2-3 miles at a time, if I know I don't have to.  I don't want to lose the speed I've gained in race training, but it's hard to run speedy when you know you can just take it easy!

And so, new goals are now in place.  They are:

1. Set a 5K PR before year's end.
I don't think this is a particularly hard goal, seeing as how last week, after a REALLY REALLY bad day, I went for a run and beat my 5K race PR (27:02) by OVER A MINUTE.

What??  I signed up for the Shoreline 5K in Hamlin, NY later this month, which is rumored to be fast and flat.  Time to crush my sub-27:00 goal!  I'm also registered for Vino and the Beasts obstacle run 5K next month (basically an excuse for my friends and I to drink wine while running?), as well as the Summerfest 5K in Mendon on Labor Day weekend, but that one is partially on trails (which I've never raced before), so I'm doing it without PR goals in mind.

2. Run at least 1 race that is longer than 5K before the end of the year.
This will likely be the Monster Scramble 10K in Rochester in October--one of my close friends was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year, and the race raises money for the National MS Society.  I plan to fundraise like heck and run my heart out!!

3. Sign up for the 2016 Four Seasons Challenge.
Here's why I'm not going very long in distance for the rest of 2015--because 2016 is gonna be killer!  I am dying to sign up for the Four Season Challenge, which requires you to run the 4 Rochester half marathons in one calendar year: Winter Warrior (January), Flower City (April), Shoreline (July), and Rochester (September).  In addition to making me into a certified bad-ass, completing the challenge also means you get a gigantic, bling-bling medal at the end (in addition to the ones you get at the end of each race).  I feel juuuuust a little crazy for doing this, but I am really stoked about it.  I believe registration will be opening around my birthday, so I already hinted to my husband that this would be a great gift.  ;)

So that's where I'm at.  Even though I'm fairly confident in my ability to get a PR at Shoreline in a few weeks, I'll be working on some speed work before then...and pushing myself to get up for those 5am runs more often!!

Now that we're at mid-year, how are your fitness goals going?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Well-Read Runner: GLCC Wavy Waters 10K Recap!

Week 8 of training for the Mystic Half Marathon is done...two-thirds done!  I can't believe it.

Total distance for the week: 18.12 miles

The real story this week is my 10K race (see the end of this post), but here's a review of my training during the week leading up to it...

Monday: Rest.  Much needed after the 10 miles I put in Sunday.  I was soooooore.

Tuesday: 4.5 miles, easy pace.  Not gonna lie--this one hurt.  I did my best to get into bed early the night before, but Small Fry was up (no lie) every 30 minutes between 11:30pm and 4:00am.  When my alarm went off at 5am, it felt like a terrible practical joke.  But I got up and did the run.  My left quad was aching for most of it, and my splits were all over the place.  Part of me wanted to go fast (I always do that after a long, slow weekend run...I get antsy and want to see a faster pace), but the other part of me was hurtin' fo' sho'.  At the 3 mile mark, I asked myself, "Could I have a conversation with someone right now?"  And the answer was a definite no.  So, this was not as easy as it should have been.  But I did feel good afterwards, knowing I pounded it out.

Wednesday: 40 minute tempo run.
  On the treadmill.  Hard as per usual.  Nothing new to report!

Thursday: 3 miles easy pace.  SUCH a better run than Tuesday.  No soreness, and I could tell right out of the gate that I was feeling gooooood.  I did the first two miles easy (9:39 and 9:36), then decided that I wanted to do the last mile at 10K pace.  I've done 10K pace on the treadmill a few times here and there, but I haven't done it outdoors in a long time.  I wanted to practice for this weekend's race.  10K pace for me is roughly 9:10, but after feeling so good the first two miles, when I sped up I had a REALLY hard time keeping it under control.  I ended up finishing the last mile in 8:47.  Okay, a bit faster than what I can handle running for 6.3 miles, but I guess it's good that I felt so strong?  :)

Friday: Rest.  I spent almost the entire day playing outside with my boys (including dragging their bikes to the park down the street...I should have driven instead), and was more tired by the end of the day than I ever am on a running day!  Haha.  So much for rest, but it was a lovely day.

Saturday: Rest.  Made sure to take it easier today in preparation for tomorrow's race.

Sunday: GLCC Wavy Waters 10K.  Much like the Hearts of Iron 5K, I chose this race simply because I needed a 10K in my training plan, and time-wise, this one fit perfectly.  I did very little research about the race (how big it was, course map, etc) before I signed up in March.  I knew that it benefitted a local daycare center (I like that, good cause) and it was taking place along Seneca Lake (scenery!).  However, this past Tuesday, I did a little more Googling to check it out.  And it turns out...that exactly 22 people ran it last year.  TWENTY!TWO!  If I had run it, I would have definitely placed in my AG...because there were only 2 people in my AG.

Commence race nerves, yet again--because as with Hearts of Iron, the thought that I could place had me SUPER excited.

Race morning, I woke up at 5:45am.  Ate 2 pieces of peanut butter toast and a banana, slugged down my water.  I was wearing my Nike Pro knee-length compression shorts, but I had no idea what to do for a shirt.  Weather was calling for 65-ish degrees by the 9am start time, but it was on Seneca Lake (windy).  So, I put on a New Balance tank, then packed a t-shirt and a long-sleeve shirt in the car just in case.

I had an hour's drive ahead of me, so I left around 6:45am and got to the race location in Geneva (Lake Trout Capital of the World! Things I learned today) a little before 8am.  As I suspected, it was windy and chilly.  I decided that I should change into my long sleeve shirt.  BUT...then I realized that, of the 3 shirts I had with me, only 1 had a pocket for my car key, and that was the tank top.  Hey, no problem, I'll just tie my car key into my shoe laces, like I do for my house key when I run at home sometimes.

Apparently I forgot that my car does not have a regular key (push-button start, so I don't look at it much), and there was no way this big honkin' thing was getting tied to my shoe.
Damn you, giant key fob!
Le sigh.  Tank top it would be then.  I was afraid of being cold, but at this point I had wasted 15 minutes on this shirt decision, so I ran into the building to check in and warm up.  I pinned on my bib, then went outside to do a little bit of a running warm up, as much to get my legs going as to get used to the temperature.

(In hindsight, the tank top was a good choice--the sun was on us for the whole race, and by the end it was almost 70!  I warmed up by the 1 mile mark anyway.)

I brought my Clif Shot Blocks as pre-race fuel.  I ate 3 of them 20 minutes before the start, and chased with a bunch of water.  No issues to report and I had good energy during the race.

At 9am, 10K runners were called to the start (there was also a 5K starting at 9:15).  There were 24 of us at the start line--definitely my smallest race so far!  One of the guys started asking everyone if they had any idea where we were going, and we all started laughing when we realized none of us had any familiarity with the course.  "Well, I hope someone out there does!" someone joked.  The race director came over and gave us a rough idea of how we would be starting out, then some rather complicated directions about following yellow balloons and red balloons...I just started hoping that the people in front of me would figure it out.  :)

Then, we were off!  And wouldn't you know it...we all crossed the street and promptly took the wrong right turn.  Fortunately, we figured it out fast and looped back to the correct road.  OOPS.  After that first turn, we went through a pedestrian tunnel and came out right next to Seneca Lake.  What a gorgeous view:

The entire race was along the lake.  I could get used to running like this!

I had a bit of an equipment malfunction at the start...I started my Garmin, then went to start my Nike+ app on my phone (in the armband) music started.  Huh?  I tried to get a look at my phone, but with the sun reflecting on the armband, I couldn't see what was wrong.  I finally gave it up and left it alone until about 1 mile in, when we hit some shade and I was able to fix it.  Yet another reason why I need a FlipBelt instead of this freaking armband.

Between the wrong turn, the phone malfunction, and my amazement over the lakefront, I got rather distracted from my pace, and when I finally looked down at my Garmin a few minutes in, it said 7:25.  "DIAL IT DOWN, LUTHER" my inner voice said.  (Please tell me that I'm not the only one who uses Luther the Anger Translator as a mental coach?  If you're not familiar, click the link and thank me later.)  My goal pace was between 9:00-9:15.  I tried to slow it down, but it was hard to keep myself in check.  Finally, I kept hitting 8:45 pretty comfortably, so I decided to just let it ride there for a while and hope for the best.

With so few people in the pack, we spread out pretty quickly.  There was a girl in black who passed me around the 1 mile mark, and stayed ahead of me by about 15 seconds for quite a while.  The next person in front of her was a girl in purple who was waaaaaayyyyy ahead, barely in my sights most of the time.  So for much of the race, I was running solo, which was fine.  I had a good view and (after the first mile) some good tunes to keep me happy.  Even though I was trying to PR this race, I made sure to spend a lot of time just soaking up the was a beautiful day, and I have a tendency to lose sight of my surroundings when doing a race.  I wanted to try to enjoy it all a bit more.  :)

Just before 4 miles, I noticed I was coming up on the girl in black.  I stayed right behind her for a half mile or so, before I realized I was kind of just using her as a pacer.  And I didn't want to pace with her, I wanted to PASS her.  So I dialed it up just enough to get the job done.  (After we finished, she told me she used me as a pacer for the last two miles...haha!)  Purple girl was still eons ahead of me, so with that pass completed, I was truly solo the last two miles.

The course itself, other than being picturesque, was also amazingly, awesomely, fantastically FLAT.  We basically curved down along the lakefront and then looped back.  The nice thing about this is that the sun was at our backs for the second half.  The not-so-nice thing was that when we looped back, you could see the white tents at the finish line...three loooooong looking miles away.  Kind of a tough thing to be staring at the whole second half!

After my stellar first mile or two, I did lose steam towards the end.  I looked down at my Garmin at one point during the last mile, and saw 9:55.  WHAT!  I knew I was getting lazy, so I pushed it up a little more.  Then, at the last turn heading toward the finish (quarter mile to go), a volunteer was clapping as I passed and said, "Way to go!  Way to go guys!"  GUYS??  I thought I was alone!  Did the girl in black really save herself for a last minute pass??  I started sprinting, then realized that that made me feel like I was going to puke.  Considering that the finish was at the daycare center, with tons of little kids all around, I thought puking at the finish might be a poor choice this day.  So, I took a few deep breaths, kept my form in check, and just went as hard as I could, sans vomit.  I did get passed--by a total sleeper cell, a woman who I saw a good minute behind me at the second water stop.  She kicked it up in the second half for sure!!

I finished strong and ended with a final time of 55:55--PR by over a minute!  I was delighted.  Despite the fact that I positive-split the entire race, I was still overjoyed with this performance.  (And hey...the last two miles were slowest, but they were closest to my target pace...haha.)

Mile splits:
1 - 8:31
2 - 8:38
3 - 8:52
4 - 8:52
5 - 9:01
6 - 9:25

And yes--there were only 2 people in my age group (the other one was that distant Purple Girl), so second place AG for me!  And a medal this time!  Ooooh, fancy.

Overall, this was a fantastic training race for me.  I was able to practice with fueling, as well as a possible race-day outfit for the half, and I had plenty of times during the race when I felt like I was flagging, but I kept myself mentally focused.  Plus, the ego boost of an AG award never hurts.  :)

I am linking up again with Tara's Weekend Update at Running 'N Reading (a fantastic blog for runners and readers alike!!).  Check it out!

How was your running week, friends?

Anyone else race this weekend?  It was a beautiful weekend for it (here in the Northeast, at least).  :)
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