Monthly Archives: December 2019

Race Report: Reindeer Romp 4K

This race was over two weeks ago.  Yep, I suck.

This race is part of the Polar Bear Grand Prix, a three-part race series that lasts through the winter, with each race increasing in length a bit.  It is also part of the Run 502 series and I totally signed up for this because I need all three races to get the big Fleur de Lis hanger medal.  Not just bling, completist bling. 

Back sometime this summer or early fall, there was an email that the deadline was approaching to register for the series and get the extra swag.  I asked Spouse if he wanted to do this series with me.  Arguments for:  1) in our neighborhood park (literally a 15 minute walk from our front door) 2) nothing longer that 4 miles 3) extra swag  Arguments against:  1) running

Spouse is not a runner.  He does but does not enjoy cardio.  He far prefers lifting weights while understands cardio is necessary a few times a week.  So he does cardio a few times a week and hates every minute.  For whatever weird reason, he said “sure!” when I asked him if he wanted to do this series with me.  The morning of the race I asked him if he was drunk when he agreed to this, because he looked so regretful. 

At least the swag was good!  The race shirt was a long-sleeved grey tech shirt, men’s and women’s styles, with a small logo.  I have so many ass-ugly race shirts—loud colors, huge and hideous pictures—so this was welcome.  A bunch of my shirts I have turned into tank tops, with varying degrees of success.  Long sleeves are fine, but regular t-shirts tend to not get worn.  Any runner who signed up for the three-race series got a zip-up tech jacket, which is pretty decent quality and, again, not ugly.  And any runner who signed up by the cut off got a red and white stocking cap.  I don’t really wear stocking caps, but they’re nice to have around for cold-weather dog walks.

Our biggest discussion pre-race was whether to drive or walk and when to leave.  I prefer to be early.  It lowers my general anxiety level about parking and random snafus when I know I will be leaving with lots of time to spare.  I don’t mind just sitting in my car for a bit before a race.  I also tend to get a good parking spot, which makes getting out easier.  Spouse is typically a very On Time person, but he did a 5K downtown with me in February and was not a fan of the waiting around for the race to start.  I didn’t blame him—it was cold as fuck that morning and that particular race had a DJ playing loud pop music, which neither of us enjoy. 

When we got there, I chatted with people from my running group, but I missed the group photo because I waited too long to make a decision about getting in line for the portapot. 

The race start and end is at the top of a hill.  The first at least quarter mile is downhill and we didn’t do any walking intervals, so that mile was pretty speedy.  Then I became aware of my poor clothing choices. 

I had gotten a Lu Lu Lemon gift card for my birthday back in April, and I had just used it to buy a fancy new warm jacket for cold-weather running. My North Face jacket is past its prime and I figured I should replace it before it died all the way.  I had a few doubts about how warm the new jacket was, so I figured this 30ish degree morning would be a good test.  Again, don’t ignore the wisdom of “nothing new on race day”.  I need to either wear fewer layers under it or straight up save it for actual cold.  I started overheating shortly after the first mile and had to do intervals the rest of the race.

Spouse on the other hand was doing fine.  He powered up the first big hill, where I was cursing and paranoid about my wonky hamstring.  Apparently not skipping leg day paid off for him.  I was mostly fine though until the last hill.  It was rough.  So rough.  Spouse was ahead of me and I told him not to wait, but he said he wanted us to cross the finish line together. 

I managed to not die and finally the end was in sight.  There was a woman just ahead of me, and she and I had been passing each other most of the last half mile.  I wanted to finish ahead of her.  I’m apparently a petty, competitive bitch.  So I sprinted at the end, but didn’t tell him to keep up with me.  So I finished a second ahead of him.  After he specifically told me he wanted to cross the finish line together.  He was irritated with me.  I felt bad. 

Crossing the finish line “together”

I can’t remember our finish time; the pace was around 10 minute mile I think.  A bit skeptical because on Garmin, Strava, and Map My Run, the distance was longer than 2.4 miles. Yes, I use three gps trackers.  I have a Garmin Vivoactive 3 that seems the least accurate in the park, where I mostly run, but it’s fine everywhere else and it gives me cues for intervals, as well as other features I appreciate.  I started using the Map My Run app years ago and I’m not even sure why I still turn it on, as I don’t really look at the data all that much any more.  I guess I like the audio announcement of mileage, total time, and split pace.  I’ve used the Strava app for a while now and find it accurate, and I get what I need from the free version. 

After the race we were offered fruit snacks and rock-hard granola bars.  We stuck around a bit for awards then went home.  It was a fun race with good organization and free race photos.  My wonky hamstring didn’t bother me as much as my recent lack of running hills regularly.  I need to let it heal, but I also don’t want to lose the training and fitness I’ve managed to claw back in the last few weeks.

Race Report: Santa Sprint and Stroll 5K, 7 December 2019

This race was part of the Run the 502 series, where you run at least 8 races and get a special big medal.  I probably wouldn’t have signed up for it otherwise, but I’m glad I did.  It was organized fine and a nice wake-up call for me.  I had to go looking for information on packet pick-up and the correct start time, though it wasn’t hard to find.  My only complaint is that the shirt was fugly. 

It was a chilly morning, in the mid-to-upper 20s.  The sun was shining bright though and there was no wind.  I dressed in a warm, wicking long-sleeved shirt with the race long-sleeved t-shirt over it, with a lightish jacket with good pockets and my new fleece-lined Skirt Sports Toasty Queen leggings.  It was the first time to wear the leggings, maybe not too smart to wear something new on race day, but it was just a 5K.  So if I’m miserable, it’s only for half an hour tops.

The starting and ending point was at Barrett Middle School, and the pre-race was in the gym.  It was nice to not have to freeze waiting around.  Santa was inside, met up with people from my running group, talked to some neighbors, got the group photo.  Then everyone went outside for the start of the race.

This was a hard race for me.  The course was flat and fine, down Frankfort Avenue, which had been closed to traffic for the duration.  I started out at a comfortable pace, skipping intervals for the first almost mile.  But the cold air was like breathing fire.  I did not have a neck warmer to pull over the bottom half of my face, which would have helped, but I knew it would make me warm after not too long, so I elected to skip it.  Probably not the smartest decision but whatever. 

The last two miles I mostly did my usual 2 minutes run/30 seconds walk intervals.  I felt somewhat better, my lungs were no longer going to explode, but it was rough.  The sun was right in my face and my sunglasses kept fogging up.  I think my main problem is the “it’s just a 5K” mindset.  I hadn’t really hydrated or eaten well in the days leading up.  I drank beer and bourbon and red wine the evening before—an unholy combination of poor choices.  My training had slowed way down while I rested my stupid hamstring.  I just felt unprepared in general. 

I finished with several women from my running group, so that was cool.  We took some pictures afterward, then went back into the gym.  They had coffee, bagels and cream cheese, and donuts for participants.  After indulging in a really delicious bagel and chatting, I went home.  By that time, I was melting.  My new leggings are heavy and warm and probably only appropriate for very cold mornings.  It would have been better to wear something lighter and been chilly for a short quarter mile, but live and learn.  Those leggings will be great when it’s for-real cold and I’m looking for excuses to skip a run. 

Later in the day, the race results went online, and I was surprised to find out I took third place in my age group.  That was somewhat gratifying, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to get back to where I was in October and keep improving.  I’ve got a race tomorrow morning—the Reindeer Romp 4K—a short race in the neighborhood park and the first race in the Polar Bear Grand Prix series.  I somehow convinced, without much arm twisting, my husband to sign up too.  Now I just need to decide if I’m going to run the course with him and chat and have fun…or push it and see if I can stay in the top 3 of my age group.

Race Report: Iroquois Hill Runners Thanksgiving 5 Miler

I’ve in the past been against Thanksgiving runs, in theory and in practice.  I mean, why would you get up early to run in the cold on a holiday, especially if you got drunk with people you went to high school with the night before or if you have a turkey to emergency defrost?

Obviously a lot has changed for me.  I am now a runner who likes to run with people.  I wasn’t exactly planning on doing a Thanksgiving run this year—I hadn’t ruled it out and was kind of assuming I’d probably do one—but I saw the shirt for the Iroquois Hill Runners Thanksgiving 5 Miler and was smitten.  So many ugly shirts from races I’ve done this year made me a sucker for a cute shirt and this one was adorable. 

the shirt

A word about Iroquois Park.  It’s part of Louisville’s Park System and is located south of the city.  It’s kind of a heavily wooded, big hill, with a path/road of rolling hills around the outside and an interior road going more or less straight up to a scenic overlook of the best views in the county.  I’ve done the loop a few times.  It’s a fun place to run.  I’ve only done the inside road up to the top once, and it was amazing.  Hard, but the view and sense of accomplishment was worth it.  The route for the 5 mile race was basically up a hill for two and a half miles, then down the same distance.

I ride shared with a couple friends from my running group.  We got there plenty early and found other people in MRTT/SRTT.  Always good to see running friends.  Lots of fun costumes in general—turkey hats, autumn-colored tutus, even a guy dressed up like a pilgrim.  It was chilly, but the energy from everyone was infectious.  Everyone was so happy!  Yay Thanksgiving!

I hooked back up with the friends I came with and one of their close friends, and we started together with an easy pace.  About a mile in, we started doing intervals.  Lots of laughing and joking.  I was having such a good time.  After what seemed like not very long, a truck with loud horns started coming toward us, signaling to everyone to get over because the leaders were on their way down.  Amazing how fast they were. 

Soon we were at the top, where we took a break for a group photo in front of the beautiful view.  Then it was time to go downhill!  We kept our easy pace and skipped a few intervals.  At the last mile, one of my friends held back, I think because of a cramp, and another friend stayed with her.  The other guy and I wanted to get it over with, so we just kept going and went faster.  He finished a few seconds before me, then a minute or so later, the other two friends crossed the finish line.  I got my fastest split ever on that last mile, 8:44.  It was almost all downhill, but it was the fifth mile after almost 300 ft of elevation gain.  The race was so incredibly fun.  Running it with friends made it the best, and I can’t wait to do it again next year.  Hopefully I can get my husband to do it too.