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Archive for the ‘Race Recaps’ Category

This post is a combination of my entrance into the world of minimalist running shoes …. and my new 5K PR!

I am going to back up a couple of weeks and first talk about my transition from the comfort and safety of my stabilizer Aasic shoes and orthodics to my new New Balance minimus zero.   I recently found out the Crossfit gym I go to has a running class/clinic each week for distance runners.  How neat! It sounded like something I needed and was excited to get some real running coaching – something I had not had since my one year of cross-country in high school.  At the very first session I attended, we all got recorded running about 200 meters and then watched ourselves to talked about our running form and technique (or lack of it in my case).   After watching my tape I was told right away I needed to ditch my shoes and my orthodics as soon as yesterday.  Um, excuse me?  I’m sorry.  I have been wearing these types of running shoes and orthodics for EIGHT years, ever since my cross-country coach told me the source of the pain I had during my first few weeks of running was from flat feet.  I got professionally fitted for orthodics and had been running (mostly) pain-free since then.  So when I was told that I would NOT be running with them by someone I had been working with for oh 20 minutes, I came up with a list of excuses why I had to keep wearing them.

I was then instructed to take off my shoes and run barefoot the same way I would run with my shoes on.  Here’s how that went:

“How did that feel?”

Me: “It hurts.”

“You know why?  Because you are striking with your heel every time you put your foot down.  But you had no sensation of that for the past ten years or running because your orthodics and ridiculously supported shoes have been masking that.  And that is why you probably got injured during your half and why you aren’t running as fast as you can and that is why you will no longer be wearing them.”

Fine.  I guess I will listen to you. (The stubbornness in me was not happy about being overruled).  I dragged my feet for a couple more days before I reluctantly went out and brought my first pair of minimus running shoes.  I took them out for a ten minute trial run when I got home.  My calves and shins were screaming at me.  But my feet felt light and I could actually feel the sensation of my foot strike.  Then just for kicks I put my old shoes and orthodics on and ran the same route.  I felt like I had weights on my feet.  I decided I would keep the minimalist shoes and try to start to like them!

This past week I have slowly been breaking them in, mainly using them while walking my dog or for crossfit.  They definitely hurt way less now when I walk so I am gradually going to start building up some running time in them.  I am still skeptical whether or not they will carry me through a half marathon or not, but I guess we will see.

My big dilemma with these new shoes was what I was going to wear during my 5K this weekend.  After some thought and talking it out, it was decided I should go with the old shoes as I am still weaning my way in with the new ones.  I was supposed to 5K with my old shoes and no orthodics, but I chickened out and put them in anyways to go back to my safe place.  I am weak.

The 5K I did this weekend was the City of Encinitas 5K.  It was a weekend long event with the 5K happening on Saturday and a triathlon scheduled for Sunday.

I picked up my race packet and number the day of with no trouble.  There was a small expo set up that had a combination of running and triathlon gear.  The 5K had a decent turnout, about 1100 runners in all.  The course was around the streets of Encinitas, nothing too scenic, with a couple of rolling hills here and there.

I had this  idea that I would try to beat my 5K PR from last month of 25:40. My goal was to get somewhere in the 24:00 minute range.  I kind of thought I was crazy because last month I had an awesome support group and this race I was doing for kicks and by myself.  But whatever, I figured I would go for it anyways.

Mile 1 Pace: 8:10

I tried to start closer to the front of the group instead of in the back because I am realizing that is where I lose a bunch of time weaving in and out of people.  I think I still need to push it up a little bit because I was still getting stuck behind strollers and joggers during the first .25 miles.  At least this helps me keep my pace somewhat under control.  I have so much nervous energy at the start that I just want to take off!

Mile 2: 8:08

I tried to really focus on my running form here, especially not striking with my heel since I had my moon boots of sneakers on.  I felt myself reverting to my old habits so easily, but then again, for the past 10 years that was how my body was used to running.  Old habits die-hard.  I know I have lots to work on!

Mile 3: 8:13

The last mile is such a mental game for me!  In a half, I just take off in the last mile.  In the 5K, I feel like I want to die.  My goal was to keep it under an 8:30 pace in hopes I would make my goal.  I could feel legs want to slow down, but once my watch read 20:00 I told myself just four more minutes and I would all be done. Well it was the longest four minutes I had felt in a long time but I finished with a final time of 24:50!! (Garmin time, and chip time was 24:47).  The course was just a tad short (I think about 0.05 mile short, but I would have a PR’ed even if I had to run the extra 10 seconds!)

I was so happy I actually broke that 25:00 barrier!  I now have my goals set on getting around the 22-23:00 minute group.  With yoga teacher training coming to an end, I will be shifting my focus back to running and training properly and I can’t wait to see what happens!

 

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Dear La Jolla Half Marathon,

I have heard stories about you ever since I moved here almost four years ago and ran my first half marathon.  I didn’t hear about your pretty views or running through neighborhoods with street names named after story books and fairy tales.  No, I heard about you and your hills.  Not only the monster hill you give runners half way through the race, but all the other ones you scatter here and there just to make sure the runners know you are still thinking about them.   I skillfully avoided signing up to run you for the last three and a half years by convientantly always working the weekend you came into town. I do not know what came over me this year, but suddenly I had the weekend free and I knew we had to meet.  Up until the day before, I still was not sure if I was going to see you.  You require a lot of hard work and dedication in order to hang with you, and ( I know you don’t want to hear this) but I just did not have the time to give you what you needed. But not to worry, as you know, I still showed up.  I knew you wouldn’t see me in my best form, and you would probably break me down, but I knew it was time that we finally met after all these years.  I’m not going to lie, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to see you all the way through, that I might have to walk, or that my splits would be really slow (In case you didn’t know, I have been running really well lately!) But I decided to take a chance on you anyways.

The weather you gave all of us this morning was perfect!  Nice and cool (but not cold!) and cloudy.  I had no idea how popular you were!  There were cars lined up for miles trying to get to you.  Luckily, my hubby knows some secret ways around and got me to your starting point in plenty of time.  I love how prompt you are! No making all of us runners wait around, you started right on time.

I love the inspiration that you showed me right away!  A runner who was blind, another runner with a prosthetic leg, a team of heart transplant survivors, and another runner who had last 140 pounds running a half marathon every week for a year!  It was like you were telling me to get over my ego and stop worrying about my pace and if I could finish without walking- you showed me runners who had overcome way more than me to be here and I thank you for that!

I knew you could tell I was holding back the first mile, and that even though I wanted to run faster, I had to try really hard to not to go out too fast because I had a long road in front of me.  The first mile was familiar territory, the same course of my 10K in March!  It’s amazing when there are not 70 mph winds blowing how much more managable that first hill is!  I had wanted to keep my miles around a 10:00min/mile pace.  I knew that would feel way slow at first, but would hopefully help me make it to the end!  I cruise through mile 1 at 9:58, with my best pace in that mile 9:09.   Mile 2 came and went by 9 minutes and 40 seconds later – my best pace here was 8:18!  I felt myself going to fast so tried to keep it under control.

At mile 3, you showed us your first hill.  It was a little one but oh so steep! I slowed down to 10:07 pace, still feeling good going up the hill.

Right as we headed into that downhill, is when, LJ, I decided you hated me.  I was all excited to be cruising downhill when all of sudden the worst pain I had ever experienced while running hit me on the outside of my left knee.  LJ, I felt like you had sent someone with a hammer to slice my IT band apart.  I got really scared and stopped for a second, hoping it would go away, but every time I started up again, it got worse!  I knew in my head that there might be a chance that I may not finish you, but I didn’t think I would have to part ways as early as mile 4!  I run/walked mile 4 and finished in at 10:37.  I saw the monstrous mountain that is Torrey Pines in front of me, and I wanted so badly to try to conquer it.  I couldn’t quit now!  I knew I was risking a potentially major injury, but my stubborness was higher than ever.  I even managed to finish mile 5 and my fastest pace of the day – 9:51, all the time while it pain.

I started the climb at Torrey Pines, and amazingly, NO MORE PAIN! Not one single bit.  My pace slowed tremendously, but I realized that for the rest of this race, the hills were going to be my friend and the downhills were going to be my enemy. LJ, how did you know, but you the route you gave us ran right by the very spot I got engaged at!  It made that yucky hill all that much better.  Could you see how happy I was when I reached the top and I did not stop even once to walk??  I felt like I could finish the race right there and be happy.  In fact, I was confused why we had to keep running after we conquered that hill.  Wasn’t that enough for you?  I guess you wanted to see what we were all made of.  Miles 6 through 8 had the most elevation gain, as you could tell through my pace of 13:16, 11:06, and 10:57.

The next three miles my knee pain became more dull like so I was able to pick up my pace a bit (but not too much, I was really hoping to finish you at this point).  I made the decision to walk through all the water stations and stretch a little bit.  In my mind, I thought that would help things! I took a GU at mile 10 (mmm peanut butter) and I appreciated you being nice to me for a few miles.  I finished miles 9, 10, and 11 and 10:06, 10:00, and 10:12 respectively, with my best pace in all those miles being around 8:20-8:40.  You even included on your course the spot where we got married almost 11 months ago to the day!! I liked that too.

Mile 12 came and I swear you made that longest mile of my life LJ!  After my stop at the last water station, that excruiating pain in my left knee came back ten fold.  Thank you for giving me a hill at the end.  While everyone else was cursing you, I was so happy because that meant no knee pain.  However, you ended us on the steepest downhill ever.  It was so bad I almost started crying!  I even had to stop 100 yards before the finish to walk because it hurt so bad.  Yes, right by the finish – this was normally when I would be sprinting! But not today.  When I realized that walking didn’t even make it matter, I hobbled on through to the finish, limping all the way.  My mile 12 pace was 11:59 (pain all the way) and my finishing pace was 10:02.  I stopped my garmin during the times I was stretching at the water stations and walking through them, because I just wanted to know my average running time.  My total running distance ended up being 12.91 miles in a time of  2:17:54.  My total elapsed time was 2:25 (aka my official chip time).

LJ, thank you for teaching me many lessons today.  You taught me how to be humble and let go of my ego and I learned that just because you may have to stop and walk a little bit, completing 13.1 miles in any form is a pretty awesome accomplishment.  You showed me that no matter how bad I think I have it, there are others who have overcome far worse and are still out there kicking it.  You taught me that you really can make it to the top (of a hill) if you really set your mind to it.  You also taught me that I need a rest day and which is why the remainder of my day will be spent on the couch with frozen bags vegetables stuck to my knees.  I also please ask that you didn’t leave me permanmently damaged.  I have some fun races coming up I want to do!

Until next time –

Kait xoxo

La Jolla Half Marathon

Garmin Time (for 12.91 miles) 2:17:54

Chip Time: 2:25

Clock Time: 2:28

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