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Good news! I’ve completely finished my degree! I do still have a paper we need to submit for publication, but that will be down the line. Thesis is finally done! That being said, I should be writing more often now as I have more free time. I am still trying to lock down a job, but had an interview last week which I think went well. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I had a very nice Thanksgiving weekend, complete with two turkey dinners! One with my friends, and one with my family. I wasn’t sure if I would feel up to racing the free 5k on Saturday morning after a Friday night turkey dinner, but I set my alarm and decided to see how I felt when I got up. The weather looked decent and I felt ok (I tried not to completely stuff my face) so I got ready and went to the 5k. I was pretty sure I was in PR shape based on how I did at the Army run, so I was planning to race it.

I arrived around 20 minutes before the start, so I grabbed my sticker (that’s what they give instead of bibs), went to the washroom, and warmed up a little bit. It was pretty decent racing weather: overcast, not too windy and kind of cool. I lined up near the front since this run is notorious for people starting too close up and I didn’t want to be dodging around too much. To my dismay, they said we would be running the course in reverse. Traditionally, I’ve found the reverse route more difficult because the hill you climb is steeper this way (or it seems like it anyways). I wasn’t sure how it would play out for going for a PR.

I’ll save you the play by play along the course (it’s a big square and you run it twice). I finished the first half in 13 minutes and I knew if I could hold the pace, I would be well under my record. It was tough but I managed to do it! Either my watch went crazy, or the course was longer because of the reverse route, but it measured in a 3.16 miles. So my time was 26:01, but my Garmin thinks my 5k record is 25:35. I beat my previous time of 26:25 by a lot either way so I’m happy! As per usual, Ian Hunter took some excellent pictures of everyone.

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This was right after the start. It actually looks like I’m running for once!

I am not photogenic while racing. I tried to smile and it looks like I’m smirking… haha. The smirk happened on the first lap.

Second lap pictures turned out a lot better. I actually look like I’m enjoying myself!

As I mentioned, this course is not flat. This graph isn’t the greatest, but you can tell where the hills were based on my pace. I slowed going up, but sped up going down for both laps. I even was running under an 8 minute mile going down the hill. It was a good day for me!

Pace

This was pretty encouraging. I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in. My previous 5k time came off of doing speed work. This time, it was simply from running higher mileage for marathon training. In the future, I think I’d like to specifically train for a 5k and see how fast I can go!

Now to transition, my marathon is in two weeks! I can finally write about my goals for the race. I’ve had some solid training and should come in at around 430 miles ran since July when I toe the start line. I was more consistent with my runs, and put extra focus on making sure to make my longs runs. I was supposed to do two 20 milers, but only managed one. The first one was on a hot day and I tapped out at 17 miles because I was feeling dizzy. But! My second one was last week and everything finally clicked. I did the full 20 miles at a 10:39 pace/ mile. This is “fast” for me.

I also felt like I could keep going, and the pace was not at all too fast. I was comfortable and could have sped up. Now I finally feel ready to race and I’m pretty confident I will actually be able to run the whole thing. I only walked on my last 20 miler to send a text message about when I would be home haha.

So here are my goals for the race now that I have a better idea of what’s possible.

A Goal: Sub 4:30. I am pretty sure if everything clicks, I can go under 4:30. I am hesitant to shoot for faster than that since the marathon is a beast. You never know what could happen

B Goal: Sub 4:45. I think this is also very likely since that would mean holding the pace of my 20 mile run without speeding up at all. Barring disaster, it should be possible!

C Goal: Sub 5:00. At the very least, I would like to have a time that starts with a 4. I have put way more training in than my previous marathons and want it to pay off!

D Goal: Just finish (hopefully under 5:15, my current PR!). I think even if I’m having a terrible day, this should be possible.

So there it is! My goals are officially written out. I hope I can meet them! The only thing I am worried about with this race is how I will eat breakfast at the right time. We will have to head out early to get there. I think I may just eat in the car on the way there so it’s closer to how I was eating in training. Other than that, I’m actually not feeling nervous! I’m excited!

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the nice run I took yesterday on the trails near my parents’ house. It was a warm and humid fall day and I just enjoyed being out!

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I thought this speed limit sign was funny.

Lastly, congratulations to anyone who raced this weekend!

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