Bottomline Race for a Cause 5k RecapΒ 

I don’t run a lot of 5k’s but now I am left thinking maybe I should! 

This race is 4 years in the running and each year it gets better and better. My work puts it on which makes me more nervous because everyone I work with knows I run, so I put an absurd amount of pressure on myself. Saturday was no different. It’s also odd showing up at work on a Saturday, couldn’t get over that one either. 

Anyway, I got there about 8:20 and it was starting around 9:00. Start lines always freak me out! I have to get better about staying within myself and not letting other people intimidate me based on their warmups, etc. I found my running buddy Kailey and we did a quick mile warm up before the start. There were also people leading stretches and warm ups which was a cool addition this year! 

The start is in the street outside my work and before I knew it we were walking over. All night I thought about how I don’t know how to race 5k’s and I woke up feeling sick. I think I was making myself sick with stress. I told myself when I woke up that it was just a race, it doesn’t matter where I place or how I do because Chicago is my goal race. Chicago is everything I have been training for. Except then as we were on the start line and I lined up in the front another running friend Kim gave me better advice, she said just run. It doesn’t matter if it’s a PR just run. I like that, just run, just run, I started repeating it to myself. 

The horn sounded and we were off. I went out fast and then tried to reign it in a bit because the first part of the course is slightly uphill. I only glanced down at my watch a few times to see the pace but didn’t check any of my mile splits. I raced like I used to back in high school, by feel and by effort, just running. It was awesome, I felt strong and comfortable despite the 100% humidity! 

After mile one I felt I was going a little fast and wasn’t sure I could maintain it so I let the hill slow me down a bit for mile two. At mile two I knew there was a girl behind me comfortable following me. I also knew if I kept this pace up she would definitely pass me. I asked myself how bad I wanted it, how much more did I want to push or could I push? Then I just tried to catch the guys in front of me. There were about four. I passed two right away and the other two were farther in the distance. I focused on my breathing and holding on. 

Once I reached the corner I would go. I kept telling myself that. Hold strong now but don’t go full out yet. I reached the corner and I tried to kick it in. I had no idea if the girl was still on my tail. I heard people cheering for what sounded like “lauren” and I ran faster. I looked at the clock and saw 19:xx and ran harder through the finish. I crossed the line first female and third overall! 

I looked back and didn’t see a girl right away, she must have been 20 seconds or so behind me. Turns out the second place male’s name was “Loren”, but hey the cheering made me run faster so I should thank him! Official time was 19:07, even though I had the course a bit short, it would have been a PR regardless. I ran 20:30 on this course last year! 

The second I stopped running I felt like I had gone swimming, I was soaked! Happy but soaked. I stayed at the finish and cheered on my friends and colleagues. It was a PR for a lot of my friends! I won an amazon echo for coming in first! I also gave away some free months of Coaching for some of the top age group placers. 

Overall it was a great race and a great day. I left wondering if I should run more 5k’s and switch to shorter distances post Boston Marathon and I think that is definitely what I will do. I love the marathon but I also want to work on my speed again, now that I had a taste for what I fell in love with in high school track again πŸ™‚ 

Run for YouΒ 

We are runners. We run different distances and different ways. We all have different reasons to run. We want a personal best, we want to destress, we want to lose weight, we want the social aspect of running. The list goes on but what keeps you running? What are you running for? What sets your soul on fire? 

In this day and age running is very different because of social media and technology. Everything is about pace and distance and splits. Everything you could want to analyze from your run is at your fingertips. That is why It is more important these days that you remind yourself why YOU run. Not why somebody else runs, why do you? What gets you out of bed each morning? What motivates you to lace up your sneakers? Remind yourself what your goals are and stay within yourself. These days It is easier than ever to fall into the comparison trap, To analyze someone else’s life or running success by their Instagram feed. 

However, I am not against social media, but remind yourself that we all have different things that motivate us, different goals and different ways of getting there.  It also isn’t just social media, it’s all the data too. I work in an area where data is really important so I love that people are obsessed with it in regards to running but are we going too far? When was the last time you ran just to run? As in you laced up your shoes, picked your favorite route and maybe your favorite buddy and just went. Just ran. Nothing dictated your pace except how you felt. You can’t watch the seconds tick by or your pace change, you just run to feel alive. You run to feel the breeze and fresh air or you run to get to your favorite park. We all need to do that more often. Just run. A missed split shouldn’t ruin a whole run, you ran and that’s awesome! Although, I am guilty of this as well. 

Social media can also be a very encouraging place. I find that everyone is so supportive and kind. They want to see you succeed. Everyone inspires each other. Yes you can easily fall into a comparison trap but I believe it’s up to you to get out of that one. You have to stay true to your goals and your path and not all of a sudden want someone else’s. It’s tough but no one ever said life was easy. Goals are hard, life is hard. It took me two years to get to Boston. Two years of hard work. Two years of ups and downs, failures and successes, but I wouldn’t trade my journey for anyone else’s. it’s mine and I learned a hell of a lot along the way. 

So here’s to staying true to you, running with the wind, and reminding yourself why you fell in love with running from the beginning! With all three I don’t think anything can stop you! 

NH 10 Miler Race Recap

Yesterday was the NH 10 Miler. I honestly didn’t know what to expect but I was nervous because everyone kept stressing the hills. I thought maybe it’s not that bad… but it is! 

I woke up at 5:45 and rolled out of bed to have breakfast. I ate an English muffin with peanut butter and then dressed for the race. I could tell already that it was cool but told myself I would be fine once the sun came up. I left the house around 6 and headed towards Manchester. 

I got there earlier than expected and snagged a nice parking spot! I headed to get my number and then went back to my car for warmth, but first I took a photo of the lake. 

Around seven twenty I headed back to the start to get in a warm up. My head and hart weren’t really in it but I wanted to change that. I had been sick all week with a cold so I contemplated skipping this race more than once, but even just at the start I was glad I was here. Better to do a ten mile run with a thousand strangers than solo. I headed down a dirt path for a quick warm up jog and then did some dynamic stretching.

After that I headed to the start. I saw Liv and Krista right before! Then I headed to the seven minute pace area. I didn’t really have a plan but was hoping I could manage sub seven pace. Before I knew it the gun went off. I made a decision to be conservative for the first five miles and then start picking it up if I could. 

The first two miles weren’t bad, but then the hills started. Mile five was the worst, it felt never ending! My legs were on fire and I wasn’t sure I could sustain the pace I was currently doing let alone pick it up. I also had spend the first five miles behind a six03 runner hacking up a lung and sniffling so I felt bad for him. I almost wished he would take off ahead of me so I wouldn’t bother him anymore! 

Anyway after mile five I decided to remain conservative for a couple more Miles and then pick it up. I think that was my problem this race, too conservative. I held off too long and had too much at the end, but that happens in unfamiliar races. I thought I picked it up a bit from 6-8 but then another hill hit that really slowed me down. 

With one mile to go I didn’t take off because I still thought another hill was going to pop up. I held back until I realized I could see the finish! Then I gave what I had left. I think that’s the reason I am not completely happy with my time. I feel like I was smart but I held back too much, I could have given more. I shouldn’t have let the hills scare me but they did. I held back because of them and wish I had pushed it sooner. 

I wish I could have managed a sub seven minute pace. My watch says I did, but the official time says I didn’t. There is always next year. I need to learn to be happy with what I accomplish now. I am always achieving one thing and on to the next without giving myself time to be happy and proud. I am hoping to change that! 

Anyway I ended the race and said never again, but I think I will do it again. I honestly like hills they make me feel strong!   Hoping next year I can get a course PR and beat 1:11 which was my time this year. 

Coming Back from Mental/Physical Burnout

If you have followed my blog you have probably heard me mention how I over trained for the Sugarloaf Marathon, which also happened to be my first BQ. Well, someone today asked me how I came back from that and I realized I never touched on that piece. I figured sharing my story might help someone else in a similar situation.

A little background before I start. I believe I followed the Runner’s World sub 3:30 plan while training for Sugarloaf. I am not completely sure because I trained with a group from work. I love training with a group but I also don’t. I don’t in the sense that it is harder to control my pace. I found myself always running faster than I would if I was alone. This is really where it all started. My easy runs were around 8-8:30 for all runs and I was trying to BQ with a pace around 8 minutes. Now when I look back I don’t see how that made sense, but at the time to me it did. If I had to run 26.2 miles at 8 minutes, I better be able to run all my runs at 8 minutes to ensure I can. Right? SO WRONG. But moving on from that for now. Anyway, I got in the mindset that I always had to train harder, faster, longer, more, more, more. That was my downfall.

I say downfall lightly because I still BQ’s and ran a PR of 10 minutes (3:43-3:33), but man did I feel terrible the whole race. Not even just the race, by the end of my training I had no energy for runs. Getting myself out the door was so hard and all I ever wanted to do was sleep. All the paces that once felt “easy” now felt impossible to sustain. I also had a lot of aches and pains. I basically felt like I was falling apart and just making it to the starting line.

To this day I think the reason I made it over the finish line in 3:33 is because I was running that race in memory of my boyfriends mother. The whole 26.2 miles I was thinking of everyone except myself, running for something bigger than me, running for people that can’t run. I told myself if I want all of my goals in life to come true, I have to be ready to work for them, through the sweat, tears and sometimes pain. Β My mental strength was on point that day, even though physically I wasn’t in the best shape.

Let’s get to the important stuff, how did I recover? Honestly, I know some people won’t want to hear this but I stopped running. I was happy with my accomplishment, my BQ and I had no races in the near future so I decided to take at least a month off and make sure all my ailments were better before returning. I know some people take a couple weeks and then ease back with easy running, I didn’t do this. You see, I lost my love for running somewhere along the way to Sugarloaf and I wanted to get it back, but I knew it would take time. Luckily, I got a puppy to fill that time!

Getting my own puppy and juggling working and spending every other moment with her, resulted in me taking the entire summer off from running. I stayed in shape and I ran from time to time but not frequently. If I did run, I ran without a watch and made sure I was running because I wanted to not because I thought I needed to. It was a freeing summer, I had time for other things. I could focus on my friends, boyfriend, family, puppy and soaking up the sunshine trying new things. It was refreshing. I will note I stayed in shape with gym classes and non-running cardio.

Eventually I missed running so I started adding in a couple runs a week, all watch-less. All my aches and pains were gone, my energy was back and most importantly my love for running returned. From there I slowly built up my running again, starting with 5k’s which I had never raced before. A new distance brought the familiar excitement of trying to conquer a new distance.

Then even though I didn’t expect to get in I signed up and crossed my fingers my time was good enough for a Boston number. Unfortunately it wasn’t, but when that happens it lights a fire in you that I had never experienced before. I was more determined than ever to run sub 3:30 to ensure I would get into Boston. So in September I decided to sign up for Napa Marathon again and this time I would do things differently, I would hire a coach.

What prevented me from over-training second time around?

  • SLOW easy days – before I ran 8-8:30 for easy days, for Napa and now I run 9-10 pace
  • Listening to my body –Β I wasn’t afraid to sleep in and fit a run in later if I knew my body needed it or alter a workout if it wasn’t my day
  • Better diet – I ate a very well rounded diet, for Sugarloaf my eating habits were not the best πŸ˜‰

How did my training differ?

  • Variation in workouts
  • Tempos & Speed
  • Guidance on paces

Then in early March I crossed the finish line in 3:20! If you are in a similar situation, I know its easy to get caught up in social media and what other people are doing, but if you are burnt out give yourself a break or mix it up. In the long run you will be a better runner!

Tips for overcoming burn out or over-training:

  • Make sure you are running for you & you love it
  • Don’t fall into the comparison trap
  • Give yourself a break/hiatus if needed
  • Run watch-less
  • Find new locations to explore
  • Get rid of your plan and just run when you want for however long you want

Chicago Training Week 11 Recap

This week I made it into the 50 mile a week range! With a little less than two months to go until Chicago now is where the training starts to pick up! 

Monday: 1 birthday mile 

Tuesday: 5.3 miles easy. Was supposed to be seven but had to fit it in at lunch and didn’t have time after so did what I could!!

Wednesday: 10 morning miles with no watch, lovely πŸ™‚ 

Thursday: 6 easy miles, 5 run on the roads and 1 on the trails with the dogs! 

Friday: 8 mile speed, 3×1 mile at 6:45, 6:35, 6:31 with .25 recovery between 

Saturday: 6 miles easy and a band workout as well as foam rolling 

Sunday: 18 miles, longest run of this cycle so far! 

Week total 54.5

Year total 1226.25 woohoo!

Chicago Training Week 10 RecapΒ 

Some of you may have seen that I ran Beach to Beacon this weekend! What an amazing race. If you are considering doing it check out my Recap that I posted Saturday!

It was a bit of a cutback Week with the race but still a week of great runs. 

Monday: rest day 

Tuesday: 7.5 miles total split between morning and lunch since I slept in! 

Wednesday: 6.75 miles with 5×2 minutes hard (6:13, 6:15, 6:18, 6:00, 6:28) with 1 minute recovery and 2x 1 minute hard (6:02, 5:52), followed by some planks!

Thursday: 4.5 trails with Angela! 

Friday: 3 mile easy shakeout 

Saturday: beach 2 beacon!! 43:03 and 16th in my age group. Was a little disappointed in my time at first because I think I could have left more out there but now I am happy with it. Ready to try more 10k races in the future!!

Sunday: 9.3 easy miles 9:36 avg pace. My head wasn’t in this run so I cut it a bit short because I found myself just not wanting to run which isn’t like me, so decided to stop short and start fresh this week. 

Week total 37.25

2017 total 1171.75

Had a great weekend with my family, why do weekends go by so fast!! 

Beach 2 Beacon Race Recap

I love the 10k distance. Once I get over this year of marathons, I really do want to focus on shorter distances like the half marathon and 10k for a bit before I jump into any more lofty distance goals like ultras. I think my body will need a break.

Today was Beach 2 Beacon in Cape Elizabeth Maine. I have wanted to run this race since I moved to Portsmouth and heard about it! Growing up in Mass I was always a Falmouth Road Race girl and Beach to Beacon is very similar, awesome course, crowd support, extremely organized and tons of energy! I say it’s the Falmouth of Maine πŸ™‚ The race sells out within minutes because well lets just say, I am not the only one that knows how awesome it is! This year I was lucky that my fingers moved fast enough to sign up in time for a number!!

Now for the recap. I stayed in Cape Elizabeth Friday night with my sister’s good friend from college. It was perfect, I could’t have asked for better company or a more convenient spot. Also, her family loves the race and they were all running, they had everything figured out for my sister and I, so when it came to race logistics we just followed them. It made the race so much more enjoyable when you can eliminate that stress.

We left the house at 6:30 and made the 5 minute walk from her house to Cape Elizabeth high school to hop on a shuttle. There were tons of buses lined up and we got on the first one and we were off. We arrived at the start in maybe 10 minutes. We had lots of time to spare at the start, but it was so cool to see all the runners. I honestly just took it all in and people watched a bit before hopping in the portajohn line – didn’t want to wait too long the lines can get ridiculous. Especially if a race has around 8 thousand runners!

Eventually I ran into my friend Angela Happy Fit Mama. We have quickly become running friends, spending some early mornings on local seacoast trails each week. We chatted a bit, took some pictures and started making our way closer to the start. We realized we had some time before starting so we decided to do a little warm up which really just involved running down a short trail and back. I could tell just how humid it was after that short jog. I already felt sticky. We got back to the start area and realized we couldn’t get back inside the gated area because there were too many people so we chilled on the outside in hopes that once it started we could sneak in. While waiting I ran into Live Free and Run who is just as sweet in person as she is on instagram! I hope we run into each other more often, I have to go on more runcations like her πŸ™‚

Around 8:12 we were off, everyone in front of us started moving faster than I expected, so we got inside the gate easily. I thought I would have to walk to the start line for about 5 minutes, but I think it only took maybe 2 for everyone to move up. I quickly remembered that running popular races is in a way a lot more difficult due to the weaving you have to do in the beginning. I got boxed in a few times and was getting really frustrated. I felt like I was wasting energy trying to find ways to get around people. Initially, I was frustrated with the crowds but then I realized with larger races the benefit is the constant crown support. I never went a stretch without spectators or people cheering and that truly kept me going.

Side rant, Early into the race I saw a girl dart straight across the road to see her friends cheering on the other side and she straight up took a man out and didn’t do anything about it. She didn’t even try to weave to get to the other side she just ran right in front of everyone. Runner etiquette people! NEVER DO THAT! Or if you do, have the decency to stop and help the person up or apologize. Okay, that’s the end of that rant back to my recap. 

It was SO humid, after the first mile I was dripping in sweat, so I wasn’t sure how hard I should push. I truly wanted to hold around a 6:40-6:45 pace but with the 100% humidity I knew that may not be in the cards so I focused on effort. I honestly didn’t look at my splits I just looked at the clocks as I passed them. I tried to keep my effort comfortably hard and I think I definitely have more work to do on that because I had more left at the end, but this is a relatively new distance for me so I am still happy!  Once I started I decided to stick around a 7 minute pace for the first 2-3 then slowly pick it up if i could. My last .2 miles was a 5:37 pace and I was 16 in my division. 

Some things I loved during the race:

  • First, the entire course, beautiful!
  • Whoever was handing out bacon on the side of the road, amazing!
  • The outfits/costumes, I can’t imagine running in a speedo, props to the two dudes I saw multiple times. Gold was a nice touch!
  • The bands, especially the one playing the lion king, that really helped me up the hill.
  • The last .2 of the race. I loved the people and the area, I took the energy of the crowd and ran a 5:37 pace for the last kick…WHAT HOW?!

Outside of the actual running, what I loved:

  • All the free things, gift cards, cases of soda, sunglasses, food, etc. Lets just say I happily walked away with a box full of goodies.
  • Meeting up with friends
  • Watching other people finish and seeing the emotion on their faces
  • the organization of the whole event, it was basically flawless and I know A LOT of work goes in. So thank you volunteers and everyone planning such an awesome event!

Fingers crossed this race becomes a tradition! 

Happy Sunday everyone!!