Sunday, June 30, 2013

That is a grade schooler!

I've lost 300 sticks of butter y'all. THREE ZERO ZERO. That is 75 pounds! Shut the freaking front door! Actually 75.2 to be exact. It is amazing. I got more bling for my weight watchers key chain (you get something new for each 25 pounds) and feel amazing. It has been a pretty big week for me all around. I announced to my team at work that I will be transitioning to a new position. I took a lateral move to another claims department- which I am beyond excited for! One of current co-workers became engaged over the weekend and because I soon won't be able to see her every day I added as a friend on Facebook, if you know me I barely use my Facebook, I almost never post anything myself, often other people just tag me when we are together. Well she said my profile picture looked nothing like me and I needed to update. So yesterday after my momentous 75 pounds I took a couple of new pictures. I am against selfies in general but my roommate was out of town and desperate times call for desperate measures. The best part of the whole thing? Facebook's facial recognition program couldn't guess that the update profile picture was me. I had changed so much that it wasn't able to identify me!!! Take that Facebook! Hahaha. I was able to spot that my niece Emily should be tagged as my sister, and that my nephews should be tagged as Chelsey but didn't have any suggestions so me. Plus I have been getting a lot of love in the form of likes and comments, which is amazing. Not why I posted an updated picture but I don't tire of hearing how good I look. One my friends even texted me to say how I amazing I looked. I was feeling the love to the max. It has been amazing. But I need someone to help with some more pictures, if you want to come to Des Moines to do a photo shoot let me know I will pay you in love and beer or wine!
6/29/2013 75 pounds gone!

Run to Exile... The 5K that wasn't

June 8th I ran my 7th 5K of the year. Except this one wasn't quite a 5K, but I will get to that. When I originally thought about signing up for this race I thought I might want to complete the 10K rather than the 5K, but I hadn't done any real training for it. I just knew that was one of my goals for the summer. However my boss and I had talked a lot about running and she wanted to give a race a try but not by herself. So we both ended up signing up for the 5K or the Betty race. At Exile Brewing company all of the beers are named after women and so the races were too. You could choose from a 5K, 10K or half marathon. This is the first afternoon race I had ever run, most races start fairly early in the morning to take advantage of the cooler temps, I think the goal the organizers were trying to accomplish was to have the race transition to a party at the brewing company and that would work better if it started in the afternoon.

The weather was pretty good, if a little bit cloudy, and the forecast was a little iffy about the possibility of rain. Tina and I arrived at Exile where they were going to bus us to the starting points of the races. This was another slightly odd thing, most 5K's are out and back loops, meaning you start and finish in roughly the same location, that way no one has to worry about being bused to a separate location. There were a lot of participants- I mean a lot, we got there plenty early and were in line halfway up the block just waiting to get on a bus. Some of the volunteers said they were a little overwhelmed by the number of people who had signed up. It was the inaugural race, but they had a pretty amazing social media campaign for it and had a deal on living social that made it really cheap to participate in. By the time we finally got on a bus the race was already supposed to have started.

Once we got the the starting area we had to wait for a few more buses to arrive and then we were off. The course was not great at the beginning we started in the street and had to climb a rocky hill up to the riverwalk bike/walking trails. Since Tina had never completed a race before we game planned that we would stick together. She had been running faster than me when she was training but wasn't able to go long distances without walking breaks. I am almost the opposite I can run longer distances but I'm not fast. We agreed to try to maintain a 10:30 mile pace and run the whole thing. This ending up being great, but halfway into the race I wasn't feeling it at all- not sure if it was the running in the afternoon after I eaten more than I typically would or the sun/heat difference of running in the afternoon, or if it was just a bad running day for me but I wasn't enjoying the run much. But I keep going because I knew someone else was depending on my to help pace them and that she really wanted to run the whole thing. Prior to the race a ran her through some quick race etiquette rules that lots of new runners don't always realize, like if you are going to walk get off to the side, try to pass people on the left etc. Once we hit the riverwalk trail things were pretty good. The pack was pretty thick but lots of people where starting to tapper off and walk. Tina and I did a lot of dodging others and passing (this Tina admitted was her favorite part- passing others that looked more fit but couldn't run well). Once we had a view of downtown Des Moines I seriously wished I had a camera. It was so perfect with the skyline. We ran by Principal Park (where the I-cubs play) it was between games so lots of people saw us. This is where our water station was as well. I had also warned Tina about these. I grab and run through them, but it is often better to run past the bottle neck, everyone stops for water at the beginning of the station but there are almost always volunteers at the end just waiting for someone. We both made it through without choking- score one for the girls! After that we were running parallel to MLK that goes by the science center. I know that area of Des Moines pretty well because I used to work downtown. At mile two we highfived each other, she was using her mymaprun app on her phone and it was saying we were doing a 10:12 mile pace, which is probably another reason I wasn't welling great- that is faster than my running pace most times. By the time I could see Exile I knew there was no way we were going to get a whole 3.1 miles in. We had barely just gone past 2 miles. It also just started to sprinkle so I don't think I was too upset about the possibility of not getting another .5 miles in but still. We crossed the finish line sprinting, in large part because we had been saving up to run another .5 miles. My watch said we had done 2.56, and Tina's phone said 2.64 (which I think was just a difference between when we pushed start on our devices as there wasn't a clear starting line) we clocked in around 25 minutes. I didn't keep my time because it was being timed by the race, but I have never been able to find the official results anywhere, which bums me out a bit, but since it wasn't a true 5K distance I don't care. Tina had a great time running and I think would definitely do another race. We finished in time to grab a beer before it really started to rain and were able to watch the 1st couple of 10K racers finish.
Me and Tina post race, that isn't all sweat some of it is rain!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dam to Dam 5K

Last Saturday I completed the Dam to Dam 5K and I had a great time. Finally the weather was cooperating with my races and we had no rain or cold! It was perfect running weather! I knew quite a few people either running in the 20K or the 5K but wasn't planning on running with anyone. I prepped for this race like most of my others, trying to get plenty of sleep getting up early to eat breakfast at my normal time etc. I am a mildly superstitious person and up until last Saturday's race I had worn the same socks and shoes in every race. (this is crazy I realize, however it was working, I was getting better times in each race and it somehow felt like a vital part of my race prep) However during this last month I had really felt like I was having a mental block preventing me from training wells on my runs. It was frustrating- even though I was running several times a week a felt like I was having zero improvement. I was mentally giving up and walking at distances I knew I could run. Finally the Wednesday before I had a good run, everything fell into place and I was running (say in forest gump voice). So Saturday I decided to wear exactly what had worked for me on Wednesday, down to the socks.

I got downtown with time to spare, I was little concerned about the parking situation because it was such a nice day I figured people would be downtown for the farmers market, and there was extra traffic to the Principal Golf Classic. When I got the the start area I immediately head for the porta potties, I was doing a great job of hydrating fyi. After a quick stop in the porta potties I flashed my ID to get my alcohol wrist band for after the race (clearly I had my priorities for post race refueling). I walked over to the finish line and was amazed to see a pretty steady stream of 20K runners finishing. They were killing it with times just over an hour I was also jealous because they were already grabbing a beer and kicking back. Before lining up I saw an old college friend who was racing alone, we chatted until line up and it definately helped me kill time and not get nervous pre race.

I lined up between the 10 min mile pacer sign and the 11 minute mile pacer. This race had 3000 runners so it was pretty crowded. I keep telling myself that I didn't need to get a PR (personal record), if I just finished it without walking it would be 100% fine. It is harder to improve your times in big crowds typically because there are so many people that you either need to weave between to pass or if they are so many that you can't pass they often control your pace for you. It was really difficult to hear the announcer but finally they started the National Anthem and soon we were off. One advantage of a bigger race is that timing chips are more accurate. I have run 5 races this year that were officially timed, however only 3 of those 5 had a mat you needed to cross to start your timing chip. In big races this can be critical, if you are in the middle of the pack like me you didn't even cross the start line until 1 minute after the race started. Some races just have your beginning time as the gun time, meaning everyone's timer starts at the same time regardless of when you cross the start line.

The first mile was pretty easy, the sun was high enough that I didn't have to squint and people seemed to be moving pretty quickly. Around 1/2 mile in I started to have to dodge people people that were stopping to walk. The course was actually pretty similar to the route Laura and I completed in the Red Flannel run so it was kind of nice to run by everything again but be warm this time. Once we make the turn in the east village I knew what was coming- a hill. Hills are not my friends, and based on the people I could see starting to walk it wasn't everyone else's either. But a managed to make it up the hill and turn in front of the capitol for the 1st water station, this was another mess, everyone stopping for water. I just keep going past the first couple of groups, a volunteer handed me my water and I kept right on running. The next 1/2 mile was awesome. It was downhill and I felt like I was really trucking. I hadn't really been looking at my watch to see my pace, because like I explained above I didn't think I had much of a shot getting a PR and didn't want to sike myself out by watching my pace to much.

Once I crossed the river again, I could start to really feel the wind, up until then I hadn't noticed any wind at all. I was starting to feel tired before the 2 mile mark but I just kept pushing. That is when people were lining the streets to cheer the runners on the where the 20K course and the 5K course met up. There was another water station and I felt good enough to make sure I thanked the volunteers who were cheering us on and giving us water. Things were going pretty well and I no longer had to dodge as many people, most of the walk/runners I had already passed and really the only people in front of me  were runners. This is where I finally glanced at my watch and I was doing a pretty decent pace. Once I could see the 400 meter sign I knew I was doing well. Between the 400 meter sign and the 200 meter sign I saw a woman next to me stop to walk. I really wanted to say- honey you are so close to the end just keep going, but I didn't feel it was my place. I keep trucking, once I could see the race clock I really tried to kick it into gear I was close to having a personal record and really wanted to get it. I finished pretty strong and stopped my watch- according to my watch my finish time was 33:21 for just over 3.16 miles. I grabbed my water, powerade, bbq sandwich, banana, chocolate milk and beer. No for real these are just an assortment of things I picked up on my way to the beer. When I finally got to the beer the line was long and by the time I got it, it wasn't really what I wanted. I forced myself to drink most of a cup but it really wasn't sitting well so I ditched the rest. All that work and I didn't even finish my beer!

It took most of the day for the official race results to be posted, but it was worth it. I finished with an official chip time of 33:08 (which is a 10:40 a mile pace) and a new PR!!!! Comparison to 5 years ago when I completed this same race I finished with a time of 42:01 (which was a 13:31 mile pace).

I also finished 703 out of 1678 of the women and 127 out of 303 in my age division. Pretty please with these stats!