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Race Recap: U Can Finish 5 Miler

20 Oct

Or can you?

No. You can’t. Which is ironic given the name of the race.

In case you’re wondering why you can’t finish, it’s mainly because the course wasn’t actually five miles in distance. It was closer to four and half miles. Seriously. Check out my Garmin at the end of the race:

Not quite 5 miles.

Not quite 5 miles.

But I digress. Let me start at the beginning.

My husband is running the Track Shack Running Series and this is one of the races in the series. Last week he asked me if I wanted to run this race again (we also ran it back on 10/10/10). After looking over my half marathon training schedule to see if the race would be a good fit and then checking with my trusty training partner Beth, I signed up for the race. And because I am alumni, I saved a couple of bucks on my registration. Score! All three of us are UCF alumni, so it’s always fun to take a jaunt back on campus.

Sunday morning, D, Beth and I set off for the main campus. There were jokes to be made about trying to find an actual current student that was awake since it was eerily quiet near the dorms.

A household united.

A household united.

Beth and I did, however, run into running friends and took the opportunity to catch up. Also, the sunrise was a gorgeous backdrop to the start of the race.

I'm a sucker for sunrises.

I’m a sucker for sunrises.

And did I mention the weather was perfect? Because it was. It was in the 60’s and cool, perfect for a run around our old campus. The race started on time (or at least I didn’t notice it starting late) and Beth and I set off running mile intervals (run one mile, walk one minute, repeat). We were busy reminiscing about our college years as we ran the first couple of miles. However, when we passed the three-mile marker, I noticed that my Garmin didn’t match up. And then when we passed the four-mile marker, Beth pointed out that the last mile seemed to go by too fast. Sure enough, when I checked my Garmin, I had a shorter distance.

We also started to notice that the course was getting confusing. There were cones lining a route, but runners going in a different direction. We noted that having volunteers there would probably help with the confusion. In fact, volunteers on the course seemed to be scarce. We later heard from our friends that they ran the wrong direction and had to turn around. Even with that error, they still didn’t hit five miles.

Also, I also couldn’t help but feel like the race course wasn’t quite taking advantage of the sprawling UCF campus. There were a couple times that we ran down one street just to double back. I’m not a big fan of doubling back unless I’ve lost something.

As we neared the finish line, I knew something was wrong. We weren’t supposed to finish yet! And sure enough, when we passed the finish line my Garmin showed our distance completed to be 4.54 miles. Enter all of the “you can’t finish” jokes you can think of. Oh, the irony!

Race Stats:

  • Distance: 5.00 4.54 mi.
  • Time: 50:46.92
  • Avg Pace: 11:10/mi.

PROS:

  • Get to run around campus without being chased by campus police
  • You’ll PR for sure since there aren’t many 5-mile races … or 4.5-mile races
  • Nostalgic race for UCF alumni
  • You get to see all of the new buildings that weren’t there when you were a student

CONS:

  • The 5-mile race wasn’t actually 5 mile in distance
  • Course was confusing at times
  • Volunteers were scarce
  • Only those that completed the double distance received medals (I saw way too many racers walk up to get a medal only to be turned away… AWKWARD)
  • Not a lot of spectators

FINAL VERDICT: I’m a big fan of Track Shack events, but this one seemed to lack the organization that their other races typically have. Also, I like people to cheer me on and this race didn’t have a lot of that going on. And, like a friend on Facebook said, I paid for five miles and only got four and a half miles. Overall, I probably won’t run this race next year. However, I will consider streaking on campus. 🙂

Did you run the U Can Finish 5-miler this year? What did you think? 

 

 

 

2013 Me vs. 2014 Me on Running 6 Miles

26 Sep

2013 Me: “We’re only running six miles? Sweet!”

aw_yiss

Image Source

2014 Me: “Whoa… We’re running six miles?!”

Not doing that

 Image Source

Why Runners Should Never Trust People

7 Aug

Two days ago a person almost killed me and my friend Rachelle. This was a person that I trusted to do what was right. I learned a valuable lesson. Never trust people.

Let me start from the beginning. It all started around 6am. My friend and I were a couple of miles into our four-mile run when we approached a four-way stop. As always, we slowed down to see if there were any cars approaching.

We saw the car coming, but it was still slowing down for the full stop. Since the car wasn’t full braked yet and would still have to stop at the stop sign, as you should always do at a stop sign, we thought we had time to cross. Also, by this time we were in the driver’s headlights so surely they could see us, right?

Wrong. Don’t trust people. The driver totally pulled one of these:

clueless

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As we were running right in front of her car, the driver shifted from slowing down to pausing to then accelerating. And we did this:

chelsea

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And just as she was about to hit us both, she slammed her brakes. I had jumped back and my friend had jumped forward to finish crossing the street. The driver tried to signal me to go ahead and cross in front of her. To which I gave her a look similar to this:

disbelief

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There was no way I was going to cross in front of her car. I didn’t trust her. So we went into a stand-off until she finally drove away and I crossed the street.

My friend and I couldn’t believe what had just transpired. How did she not see us? Why didn’t she stop at the stop sign? Why couldn’t we run a 9-minute mile? (Okay, maybe that last question is off topic, but when your life flashes before your eyes you can’t help where your mind goes.)

Tuesday morning I learned my lesson as a runner: Never trust people. Unless they are handing out free pretzels during a marathon. Then, by golly, take all the free pretzels you can get your hands on.

Have you ever been almost hit by a car while running?

 

 

I did it again…

6 Feb

I ran through another spider web this morning. I’m not sure why spiders keep spinning webs across streets and how it is that I keep hitting them first out of the group, but I don’t like it one bit.

Thanks to my girls, who attempted to de-web me while laughing their heads off.

Meanwhile, this was me:

does_not_want

Best 2013 Race Photo

1 Jan
My training partner, Beth, and me at the end of the 2013 Chicago Marathon

My training partner, Beth, and me at the end of the 2013 Chicago Marathon

I rarely purchase race photos because of their ridiculously high prices. However, this photo perfectly captured how great my training partner, Beth, and I felt when we crossed the finish line of the 2013 Chicago Marathon. Anyone that has worked with me in the past (one particular high-five-loving colleague in particular) knows that I much rather prefer a laid-back fist pump to the overly happy high five. Let’s just blame this one on my having just run for 26.2. miles.

This photo made a perfect gift for Beth this Christmas and I printed out a copy for myself as well. Whenever things get tough in 2014, I want to remember how hard I worked to balance all of the demands of 2013 … and how great it felt to cross that finish line.

“Are you still running?”

2 Nov

I’ve gotten this question a lot since I ran the Chicago Marathon. In fact, I get it a lot after every race I run. Usually I look at people and say something like this:

right

GIF Source: Reaction GIFs

Mmmmhmmm.

But this time it’s been a little different. If you’re wondering if I got injured again while running this marathon, I didn’t. Surprisingly I feel great. The first week after the marathon I promised myself to take it easy and not run. After running that far, my body definitely earned the right to sleep in.

The week after the marathon I went on a couple of easy runs with my girls and followed them up with catching up over coffee. It was amazing.

But then almost two weeks after my marathon, I faced another challenge of my tolerance for pain and endurance: I sat for almost five hours getting my new ink.

You see, I had been putting off getting my newest tattoo forever because I was always training for something. New tattoos require healing that running does not afford me so the time was never right. When I signed up for Chicago, I promised myself to finally make time afterwards.

So now when people ask me if I’m still running, my answer is more like this:

shaking_head_breaking_bad

GIF Source: Reaction GIFs

Sad.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to run again in a couple of weeks … Just in time for my annual run of the Turkey Trot. I might even run the Orlando Half Marathon in December. If I do run the half, though, I will have to head home right after the marathon, then shower and  head over to finish the rest of my tattoo.  Ew. Running a half then having to sit still and getting poked at with needles for five hours doesn’t sound like much fun.

And then I’ll be unable to run for another few weeks again. That’s so sad … all I want to do is …

run

GIF Source: Reaction GIFs

I’m already growing restless.

Also, I’m still on season 3 of Breaking Bad. So. Good. Maybe that’s what I will do with all of my free time during my MBA holiday break. 🙂

Good Luck to Me!

11 Oct

I can’t believe that on Sunday I am running the Chicago Marathon. Here are some random thoughts as I get ready to leave for Chicago …

Weather

After four months of training during the most brutally hot  months of the year, I stepped out of my house for my last short run before the race to find weather like this:

Finally!

Finally!

To say that I loved the new low temps would be an understatement. I was in heaven.

And then there’s this:

Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 5.59.51 AM

The temp from Thursday’s run will be the HIGH for Sunday’s marathon. And the chance of rain has dropped to only 10%! It’s going to be perfect running weather.

Throwaways

Last night I got a text from my friend (and running partner for the marathon) asking me what size I wore and what color sweatpants I wanted. She was at Wal-Mart picking up throwaways for the morning of the race. She sent me this pic:

sweats

Sweatpants: $5.96 at Wal-Mart

I’m a bore so I picked gray. But I wasn’t thinking about others in my decision… I bet someone would’ve loved some nice purple sweats donated to them. There’s always next time.

Fuel

Earlier this week I received a special “care” package from the team at KIND Healthy Snacks.

IMG_7631

KIND Package … Mmm …

Ever since I started my MBA, I haven’t had time to make my homemade peanut butter protein bites, which are the perfect pre-run snack. So instead, I’ve been grabbing KIND bars at the store, which are the next best thing for me. KIND Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein has been my favorite, but I have a feeling I might find a new favorite in here.

Don’t. Get. Sick.

People seem to be sick all around me. I’ve been taking this daily in hopes that I don’t contract deadly disease.

IMG_7572

And finally there’s this:

good-luck-not-hitting-encouragement-ecard-someecards

Source

Much luck to all of you running a race this weekend! I’ll catch you on the flip side of 26.2.

Chicago Marathon Training | Week 18

8 Oct

To tell you that life has been busy lately would be quite the understatement. Sometimes I find myself standing there in a daze, trying to remember what’s next in my long days. Thankfully I have a handy iPhone to remind me of my next steps. If only my iPhone could get me some sleep and some much wanted time with my lady friends!

On the bright side, tapering means I’ve been able to sleep in an extra 30 minutes or so on run days … and running less mileage means I’m not as tired afterwards. I’ve even noticed my coffee intake reduce … slightly.

It helps to remind myself to take everything one day at a time. If you happen to see me out in public talking to myself, here’s what I’m likely saying:

You can do this. Just take it one day at a time. One. Day. At. A time.

Marathon day you’ll find me talking to myself saying something very similar:

You can do this. Just take it one mile at a time. One. Mile. At. A time.

With that, here’s how week 18’s taper went:

Tuesday / Track Easy Run (3 mi)

I could not get up for track. I just couldn’t. I tried. On only a few hours of sleep, I dragged myself out of bed and brushed my teeth. Then after some delirious consideration, I texted my running mate and told her I was going back to bed. Those were the best extra two hours of sleep ever. Then I woke up in a panic … surely if I don’t keep up my training schedule something awful will happen. Pains will appear out of nowhere or my muscles will freeze up or my leg will just plain fall off! So I threw on my running clothes and went for an easy run around my ‘hood.

I’m happy to report that aside from just feeling really tired, my legs were fine. Nothing locked up. Nothing fell off. 😉

  • Distance: 3.22 mi
  • Time: 39:45.64
  • Avg Pace: 12:20/mi

I can’t help but notice that I’m getting slower by the day.

Thursday / Pace Run (6 mi)

I have class Monday and Wednesday nights after work and our group meets Wednesday nights after class. Basically, I didn’t get home from my day until almost midnight. I didn’t fall asleep until almost 1 AM. But because I had cancelled Tuesday, I couldn’t bring myself to do it again. So I dragged myself out of bed with only three hours of sleep with the promise that if we ran fast, I would have time to come home and sleep again.

I love making that promise to myself because I know it’s never true. When I get home I almost always opt to have a really nice long stretching session. That’s alright. Lying to myself seems to work.

  • Distance: 5.36 mi*
  • Time: 01:00:49*
  • Avg Pace: 11:20/mi*

* So… I kinda did it again. I forgot to stop my Garmin and drove a quarter mile down the street before I remembered to hit stop. I think we ran just over 5 miles and our average pace was closer to 12:20/mi.

Saturday Sunday / Long Run (9 mi.)

There was no way I could make it to Saturday’s morning run, so my Chicago Marathon training partner, Beth, and I decided to run on Sunday instead.

We switched things up and decided to run around downtown Orlando (usually we run in Winter Park). It was fun to run my old running routes. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed running by Lake Eola and seeing the fountain, which Beth compared to a giant bidet. I will always now imagine a giant stopping his destruction of downtown Orlando to wash his bottom.

After hitting up Lake Eola, we headed towards Lake Highland Prep and hopped on the Orlando Urban Trail for a couple of miles. It’s been ages since I first ran the trail, so it was nice to run it again.

Before we knew it, our run was over and I was off to shower and start a crazy busy day.

I didn’t have my Garmin on me and I’m too lazy to text my friend and ask her how long it took us to run.

This week will be my final (19th) week of training. This morning I ran a hot, sticky three miles with Beth and Thursday we’ll do the same. And then before we know it, we’ll be standing at the start line of the Chicago Marathon.

What a crazy ride this has been. I can’t believe I’ve survived the summer marathon training without self-combusting. I really, really, really hope that our race day weather gives us some relief from hot and muggy.

Here’s the current forecast:

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 8.19.44 AMHere’s to hoping the rain holds off too!

Me Next Sunday

4 Oct

BuzzFeed has summed up nicely the eight stages that my training partner Beth and I will likely go through next Sunday while running the Chicago Marathon. Yeah, I’d say this about covers it.

When I ran into a spider web this morning …

12 Sep

shocked

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And then when I ran into another one …

frightened

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And then after my run when I found a spider web entangled in my borrowed Garmin with a tiny little bug carcass in it …

disgusted

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Ew.