Weekly Rundown: June 12-18

This week marks 10 weeks until Race for the Ark 5K, which kicks off Fall road racing in Charleston. Race for the Ark is held on the last Saturday in August and always hot, but attracts a fast field, large number of runners, and has a great course- which usually means a lot of fast finish times.

After last week’s Big Run 5K, I plugged my race time and pace into a calculator to get training paces for ARK. I would love to break my 5K PR from the Green and Lean 5K in 2016 (20:53), but I would be fine with beating my Race for the Ark 2016 time (21:20). If nothing else, I can enjoy the run and get some ideas for Fall training.

I found a plan in Pete Pfitzinger’s book, Road Racing for Serious Runners, and hope to incorporate some new workouts over the coming weeks. I’m too slow and broke for a coach, but if anyone has any ideas for how a token half marathoner can improve in a 5K, shoot them my way.

TWW

Monday 30 min. strength + 8.1 miles
Tuesday 7.5 miles
Wednesday 30 min. strength + 6.5 miles (6 x 600m track)
Thursday 60 min. yoga
Friday 7.8 miles (2 x 15 min. LT intervals)
Saturday 11.1 miles
Sunday 8 miles
Total 49.1 miles

Monday’s weather was quite nice for summer, so I ran the bridge with Steve and Emilie. It was our best bridge run in a long time. Since the weather is getting hotter and the Cooper River Bridge Run was three months ago, the bridge isn’t nearly as crowded in the afternoons which is nice. The bridge is probably my favorite place to run in town, and I never pass up a chance to run it with friends.

On Wednesday, I did a track workout. Our track workout is BYOW (Bring Your Own Workout) but we all try to warm up and cool down together. After our easy mile warm up, I joked that if we were doing the Runner’s World Summer Streak, we could call it a day… but we’re all training for races and triathlons.

For my workout, I ran 6 x 600m intervals. The plan from Road Racing for Serious Runners called for 5 x 600m, but who runs an odd number of intervals? I guess “serious runners” do, but I ran one more and logged some easy miles waiting on the others to finish.

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I took Thursday off work and went to Mt. Pleasant to do some shopping and have lunch with Clay. We went to Kairo’s Greek Kitchen, a new restaurant that serves gyros, rice bowls, and salads. I kept hearing people compare it to a “Greek Chipotle”, but aside from the line service, I didn’t get a fast food vibe.

I loved building my salad with four pieces of falafel, various veggies, and red pepper feta. Plus, my salad was served in a real bowl, and Clay’s gyro came on a real plate- not a basket with a wrapper. The prices were reasonable- both of us had a delicious lunch for about $20 total. If you’re in Mt. Pleasant and looking for a quick lunch or dinner, give Kairo’s a try.

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Thursday was quite the day of trying new things, and I went a Vin to Yin class at Soul Yoga. We did 30 minutes of vinyasa flow, followed by 30 minutes of yin yoga. I really enjoyed the class format and think it’s a great balance of stretching and restorative poses for runners.

Friday, I did an LT workout on the treadmill. It’s hard to hit lactate threshold pace for extended periods of time in the heat here. The plan called for 2 x 2-mile intervals, so I just opted for 15 minutes, which is slightly over two miles but I figure it takes at least 30 seconds for the treadmill belt to catch up anyway. I had some time to kill after my workout so I went shopping- the joy of when your Planet Fitness is located inside a mall.

Saturday’s long run was hot, but I managed to avoid the rain. Pop-up, scattered showers are life in the lowcountry during the summer. I ran from Mt. Pleasant over the bridge to Charleston and back, and while I was running to/from Charleston, it rained in Mt. Pleasant. The last two miles were pretty muggy from the rain, but my timing was right to not get wet.

Sunday, I ran with OnShore Recreation and ended the run with freeze pops and recovery beverages (orange gatorade + PBR combination). I just wanted to eat all the freeze pops and drink all the water for the rest of the day.

freeze-pops

Besides running, yoga was cancelled on Sunday for Father’s Day. Clay and I ended up going to lunch at Firehouse, then making a Costco + Home Depot run (the joys of home ownership). I hope everyone had a great Sunday!

I’m linking up with Holly at Hohoruns and Tricia at MississippiPiddlin‘ for their weekly wrap link and with Courtney of Eat, Pray, Run, DC.

Posted in Summerville, Summerville Running, Training Log | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Big Run 5K (22:28)

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'” – Peter Maher, Canadian marathon runner

For the past few summers, my training has basically been “racing myself into shape”. I ran numerous 5K races, often two in the same week. Last May, I ran five races- four 5Ks and one 10K- followed by three 5Ks in June.

After playing injury whack-a-mole in late 2016 and early 2017, I decided to limit my racing this summer and focus more on staying healthy. I set a goal to run a race each month this summer, enough so I don’t forget how but not so much that I get burnt out before the cooler weather this Fall.

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I learned about The Big Run 5K and loved the concept. The Big Run is a series of 5Ks sponsored by Fleet Feet Sports and Brooks Running and held all over the US on June 7, 2017- Global Running Day. The race’s theme was Locally Run, Nationally One, to unite runners across the country by running 5Ks at the same time.

Fleet Feet Sports Mt. Pleasant and Summerville don’t disappoint when it comes to events, so even though this was an inaugural race, I knew they’d do a fantastic job. With so many national sponsors, the race also offered great swag- a soft cotton t-shirt, stylish beach bag, and a cool finisher’s medal.

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Pre-Race

Since race day fell in the middle of a rainy week, everyone was on-edge about the weather. Every weather outlet showed high chances of rain, including thunderstorms, but Fleet Feet insisted the race would go on. Several runners I knew who were registered opted to pick up their packets early and not even chance it. I’d already paid and couldn’t bear the option of another DNS after Myrtle Beach and Catch the Leprechaun, so I vowed to run unless the race was cancelled. Only lightening/severe storms cancels races, not rain. 

My “A” goal was to run a sub-22, since my Run Like a Mother 5K in May indicated that I could. If we had a torrential downpour, my plan was to run easy, celebrate Global Running Day with friends, and sign up for another race on Thursday or Saturday.

I arrived at Riverfront Park, warmed up with two miles ,and didn’t feel so great. My legs felt the last week of running and fatigue from Monday’s speed workout. Also, North Charleston has a paper mill nearby, and it is not a pleasant scent when it rains.

The weather didn’t feel like Charleston in June, and you know you’re heat acclimated when 66 degrees feels cold. It started raining about five minutes before the start, and it was just heavy enough to make me put my iPod in my pocket so it wouldn’t get destroyed by rain.

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Race Day

The race started on time and rather abruptly- my Garmin was barely synced and ready to go. Everyone took off super fast and passed me by, just how I hoped they would so I could get a psychological boost when passing them on the course. The course had some gravel and a lot of turns in the first mile (6:55). Given the cooler temperatures, I felt okay. Noisette Blvd. was straight road, and I ran alongside another man and behind a pack of guys until I passed them right after the mile marker.

We made a few more turns, then back onto Noisette Blvd. At this point, other runners were nearing the turn around point and a few of them cheered for me, giving me a big boost. At mile two (7:02), I saw the second place lady, Morgan, ahead of me but knew I’d be hard pressed to catch her.  I passed two more guys but was starting to feel a little gassed.

Turning toward Riverfront Park, I felt the headwind coming off the Cooper River. While the wind beat me down, I had no one to chase down- Morgan and another guy were well ahead of me. Toward the end of Mile 3 (7:19), the course was gravel, rocks, and a bit of slick mud, and I felt the slowdown. The last mile had a lot of turns like the first mile.

I heard Brian, who I met at a Blue Sky Endurance group run last winter, behind me encouraging me, telling me to speed it up. I knew the home stretch of the race was paved, so I gave everything in the tank. Amazingly, I had something left and ran the last .17 at a 6:38 pace. Thanks Brian, even if you did beat me by a second at the finish.

I finished in 22:28 and placed third female overall.

Post-Race

After the race, I cooled down with Bill and Billy (who won) and talked to the other ladies who I ran near to congratulate them and chat. We waited on the awards ceremony and enjoyed the food trucks and post-race refreshments from BJs Wholesale, which just opened in Summerville.

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It started pouring rain toward the end of the race, so a lot of runners headed home to beat the weather and because it was getting late (this was a Wednesday night race that started at 7 PM, so it was late for anyone with a significant drive home). The rain started coming down in sheets and flooded the shelter.

I was glad the rain wasn’t terrible during the run, but I felt sorry for the Fleet Feet employees, timing crew, and volunteers who had to dissemble the finish arch, banners, clean up, and load up in that wet mess.

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My Thoughts 

I was disappointed in not meeting my sub-22 goal. I logged 3.17 miles for the course and had an average 7:04 pace according to my Garmin. Still, your race finish time is what your chip logs, not what your Garmin says when you reach 3.11 miles. The course length is what’s designated by the USATF Certification, not what your Garmin reads post-race.

Above all, I decided NOT to beat myself up over this race. I took a risk registering early. I showed up on race day when many runners opted to pick up their packets and not run. I ran the race coming off a 47 mile week and a speed workout two days before. After smelling paper mill on my warmup and the rain starting five minutes before the race, I started the race when I could have gotten in my car and gone to the gym to treadmill/tempo.

Starting a race when you know it will not be your best performance takes guts, and many runners would’ve opted out. Many did, and I’m proud I didn’t.

I may not be happy with my time, but I was healthy enough to run it and earn an awesome finisher’s medal. The finisher’s medal art represents the running community, from stroller runners to awards, to “the wall” and even a smelly porta john- who can’t help but smile?

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Race Name: The Big Run 5K

Location: North Charleston, SC (Riverfront Park).

Date and Time: June 7, 2017, 7 PM.

Course: Flat road, gravel trail, curvy course, shade closed course. USATF Certified.

Swag: Soft cotton shirt, backpack, finisher’s medal for all runners.

Post-race Food: Trail mix, granola bars, bananas, apples. Food trucks on site, but not included with entry fee.

Weather: 66 degrees, 88% humidity, 12 mph winds.

Posted in 5Ks, Fleet Feet Mount Pleasant, Fleet Feet Summerville, North Charleston, Race Recaps, Race Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments