Global Energy 10k: RACE REPORT

I hadn’t planned on signing up for a race in September because of Florida’s heat, but I just couldn’t pass up the offer. Someone posted about the Global Energy races in one of my runDisney Facebook groups and there was a coupon code making the race free! I hadn’t heard of this race, nor had I planned on racing so soon this season, but since it was free I thought that I would give it a shot. The race, put together by Bimbo Bakeries, was for  either a 10k or 3k. It was run in 37 cities in 22 different countries all on the same day. The race has been run two years in a row, but this was the first time in Orlando. I chose to do the 10k.

Two days before the race I went downtown to pick up my packet at Orange Theory Fitness. The event merchandise I received was really nice and I was impressed! The race shirt was orange and blue, not my favorite color combination, but the material was a really soft tech material and the back of the shirt was a breathable mesh with all of the cities included in the race printed on it. I decided there that it would be the first time that I would wear the race shirt to the actual race. I also received a bag and a fitness towel. It was some of the best race swag that I have ever received!

The morning of the race I was a bit nervous. I wasn’t as well trained as I would have liked, the weather was warmer than any other race I had ever participated in, and I had injured myself.  Two days before the race I had gotten up early and ran outside (I had been running most of my runs on the treadmill because of the weather). My mind started wandering and my legs seemed heavy and I didn’t notice a raised crack in the side walk. I fell on my hands, elbow and right hip. The force of the fall was so extreme that I hit my head on the pavement. Thankfully my headband protected my head from getting scraped up, but it did hurt and I was taken aback. I got up in pain and noticed the blood dripping down my elbow and hands. I walked the mile and a half back home to wash up.

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So back to the morning of the race, I wan’t feeling my best. I woke up close to six, got ready, and then we headed to Festival Park were the race was held. There weren’t really parking signs so we got turned around heading to the parking lot. Once in line for parking it was pretty easy. We were able to park pretty close to the start line. As per my usual routine I waited around a bit and then headed to the porta potty line. Once out of there we made our way to the race starting area. Orange Theory lead a warm up that I participated in while Chris went to go get a spot near the start line. After the warm up we headed into the corral.

The corral for this race was just one big blocked off area at the starting line. There weren’t even pace markers so I just made my way near the front, but made sure there were people in front of me so I wasn’t first.

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Shortly after that it was time for the race to start. I was feeling extremely nervous at that time, but I knew that I just had to try my best. The countdown started, then the air horn, and we were off. I was a little too excited at the start. Once I started running a huge smile came across my face and I remembered why I was doing this. I looked down at my watch and I was at a 6:30 pace, which ended up hurting me in the long run. I tried to slow down a bit and settle into the run.

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The course went through downtown Orlando and on a lot of the same streets that the OUC Orlando Half Marathon goes through. Half of the race was on these downtown streets, a lot of which were brick roads. I made a conscious decision to make sure I didn’t trip on any rouge bricks.

At about mile two I starting questioning my choices in deciding to run. I had some thoughts about just stopping, but I am not a quitter so I tried my best to put those thoughts out of my head. The heat wasn’t too bad at the beginning as the sun was behind the buildings, but it heated up at the race went on.

A little after the half way point I past the road leading back to the finish line and ran on a sidewalk past an airport on the way to Lake Underhill. While heading towards the lake the winners of the race were passing us and heading back the other direction back to Festival Park and the finish line. I didn’t think I had that much more to run, but I was wrong. Once at the lake we went over a very long bridge and was told there was water at the other end. This was the first time that I have ever gotten water in a 10k before and I had the heat to thank for that. For some reason in my tired delusional state I thought that once we got our water we would turn around and head back the other direction. As it turns out we had to go around the entire lake which was about a 1.5 mile loop. I tried my best, but my legs just didn’t want to go any faster. I just focused on maintaining my pace and finishing.
Back on the sidewalk after the lake we passed runners that were just starting their journey around the lake. I felt for them because the sun was getting hotter by the minute. In no time at all, but in what felt like forever I was arriving at the six mile mark. Only .2 to go. I tried to speed up, but I don’t think I did. As I turned the corner that lead to the finish line I waved hi to Kim, one of my bosses from Track Shack. She was standing at the corner making sure the runners knew where to go.

As I raced towards the finish line I was told to stay to the left because the 3k finishers were on the right. I hurried over the finish line and did my fist pump as I was finally able to stop and catch my breadth. It was a nice feeling, but I started to feel a little sick not long after that. I vowed to improve my training so the next race would seem easier and I would feel stronger. I received my medal which was very nice and one of my biggest. It had the host city, Beijing, on the back. After that I went to get all of the refreshments which included some breakfast bars, water, a banana, and a huge orange. I opened the water and devoured it at once. There weren’t photographers at this race, so I had Chris take my finishing photo in front of the Orlando sign.

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There were some tents around and I was able to get some more snacks and a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. My bib had a coupon for a free sandwich from a food truck so we went to stand in that line as I ate my bagel. After I got my grilled cheese sandwich we walked around to see what the other booths were and then I wanted to leave. It was time for me to relax at home after a nice long shower.

I ended up finishing the race in 54:37 giving me an 8:49 minute per mile pace. It was my worst 10k time, but I was very proud of it considering the circumstances. I just have to train harder and go out stronger next time.

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Race Recovery and Taking it Easy

After my race a couple weeks ago I took a couple of much needed days off.  It was nice to have some rest time, but I was really wanting to get back out there and train hard so I can get a PR in February.  My hips were still a bit sore so I decided to do some short runs that were no longer than five miles.  The first two days I ran 3.27 miles with a rest day in-between and felt great!  On the third run day, however, I believe that I pushed myself too far.  I was running at a pretty fast pace and at about mile two I experienced major pain in my right hip, so I cut my five mile run short and headed home, very slowly.

I decided to take some more rest days and finally go get my x-rays taken.  After three days of rest and some mild cross training, I couldn’t help but run until I found out the results of the x-rays. It wasn’t the smartest idea, but yesterday I ran a very slow 5k.  It was probably the slowest pace that I have every trained at. I knew that at the first feeling of pain that was anything more than soreness or mild discomfort, I would stop running and walk the rest of the way home.   I actually didn’t feel that bad.  I don’t know if it would have hurt more if I ran faster, but it only seems to hurt a lot if I twist my body or go up stairs.  I have to make sure that my hips are centered and turned forwards to lessen the pain.

Today I ran the furthest that I have run since the half marathon: five miles.  I started off slow, but increased the speed as much as I felt my body would allow.  The main reason I sped up was because I wanted to get out of the heat as soon as possible!  Is this really December?  My phone said it was 73 degrees out, but it felt almost unbearable because of the humidity!  On the plus side I got to wear my new dark side training shirt for the Star Wars Half Marathon in April.  Unfortunately all I could think about was how I would have to run that half in heat like this.  Whoever thought of having a half marathon in Florida in late April really doesn’t know anything about Florida weather.   I hope I am able to survive it, though I am not counting on a PR.

This evening I received word about my x-rays and apparently everything looks fine!  I will go in on Tuesday to discuss what to do next because my hips are still in pain.  Hopefully they will figure it out.  I did sign up for another race; the Lady Track Shack 5k at the end of January.  I will be running with my Mum, but not with her.  She said that I can go ahead, but she will be running in the race too!  I’m hoping to set a PR since the only 5k I have done was my first race ever at 27:25.  I also am going to be following a modified Nike training plan leading up to Princess weekend.  Since I am three weeks behind now and I haven’t been running much, I am going to slowly increase my mileage while doing their format with long runs, speed workouts, and recovery runs.  I also want to add in more cross-training and hill workouts!  We’ll see how it goes!

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Lion helping me work out

2015 OUC Orlando Half Marathon: RACE REPORT

The day I had been training for months in advance had finally arrived and I was about to run my first half marathon. On December 5th I got out of bed about 5:30 in the morning and proceeded to get ready to leave for the race. I had laid out everything that I would need the night before so I wouldn’t forget anything. I worry a lot and am always worried that I will forget my race bib or something. Luckily that did not happen and at about 6 am we left under the dark, early morning sky and headed for downtown Orlando.
I had done plenty of parking research beforehand so we headed in that general direction and followed the line of cars heading into a garage. I was surprised to see that it was only five dollars! After we parked we walked a couple blocks to the starting area. There were a lot of people there already. We just walked around and Chris took some pre-race photos of me. At about 7 am I got up enough courage to talk to the 1:50 pacer who I planned on following. I told him it was my first half. He gave me some pointers and I asked him about his strategy. He said to not start off too fast because there are so many people at the start and it is hard to get around them. He also warned me about a hill at mile ten that I should save my energy for. I thanked him and then headed for the restroom line. It was a lot longer than I had imagined and I started worrying about being late for the start of the race. When I got to the front of the line I saw my parents. My parents, along with my sister and her husband, were running the 5k. It started ten minutes after my race in the opposite direction. After I went to the restroom, I said bye to them and then made my way to the half marathon starting line.

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The start line area was full of people already! The way it was set up was that you had to enter at the ten plus minute area and then squeeze through the crowd until you get to your appropriate pace. I said goodbye to Chris and did just that. As I made my way up there I saw my pacer and headed towards him. Then it was waiting time. I kept thinking about having finished the race and enjoying the free chocolate milk at the post race party for extra motivation.  My heart was racing as the start time neared. I noticed that there was a drone flying right above the starting line and wondered what that could be for. The National Anthem was sung and then the wheel chair competitors started.

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A minute later it was our turn to start. I was so worried, but I knew that all I had to do was try my best. The pacer was right, it was pretty crowded for the first half mile or so. I ran right behind him and then a space opened up in front of me. I was feeling great despite the fact that I didn’t warm up, so I ran ahead. I kept looking at my Garmin watch and the pace stayed around 8:20-8:30 per mile. I was very happy with those paces so I just kept doing what I was doing as I enjoyed the run around Orlando.

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It was pretty quiet the first couple of miles and then after mile two the entertainment started. The course featured live singing performances, DJs, and multiple water stops. Every time I came to an entertainment stop or cheering section I was pumped up for a bit and then the music and noise faded away and it got pretty quiet again. I’m used to running with my headphones on, but during races I leave the headphones at home so I can take everything in. A lot of the course throughout was run on bricks which was great for me because I had plenty of practice with that running surface in Boston.

I felt great during the first five miles and even thought that I may beat my goal time, but that is when it started going down hill. I started out with an 8:19 pace during mile one, which was great because that was what I wanted my race pace to be. I sped up to an 8:15 pace for mile two; my fastest average pace of the race. During mile three I went back down to my race pace at 8:21. During miles four and five my pace continued to decrease at 8:27 and 8:29 respectively. It was during mile five when my pacer caught up to me. I was able to stay in front of him for about half a mile, but then I lost pace at a water stop and he got ahead. At that point it was getting hotter out and I did not want to miss any water stops. I slowed down a bit as I came to them, tried to drink some from the cup as I continued to run, and then dumped the rest on my head and threw the cup to the side of the street. During one of the stops I misjudged the toss on my head and the entire liquid went over my head. With each water stop I got better and better at my drink and head toss.

Despite having a pretty good pace of 8:23 during mile six, I lost my pacer completely. At one point I heard one of the DJs up ahead mention the 1:50 pacer passing by, but I never saw him again. I was a bit discouraged and started feeling the fatigue. My paces got slower and slower and they never recovered.

Miles seven, eight, and nine were my last miles in the eight minute per mile range at 8:31, 8:39, and 8:56. I ran up to what I thought was a water stop, but in fact it was a beer stop. Who drinks beer while they are running? I didn’t find out what it was until after I had already grabbed one. I thought that it had been a Gatorade. I dropped it to the side causing it it splash and get beer all over my hand. I ignored the horrible smell, wiped my hand on my skirt and continued on. Half way through mile eight they were handing out energy gels. I got excited when I saw that they were they same brand that I had been using during my training runs. I opened it and instantly noticed how sweet it was as it touched my tongue. It was a lot sweeter then any of the flavors that I had trained with. Unfortunately, the gels were given out at a water stop so I had to wait until the next one to quench my thirst after I finished one. I ate most of the gel and hoped that I would last until the next water stop.

It was at about mile ten when my real troubles began. I was able to get water at mile nine and a half, but the gel had made me have a sick feeling in my stomach causing me to slow down considerably. Miles ten, eleven, and twelve were done at 9:11, 9:19, and 9:18, which is my training pace. Mile thirteen was my slowest mile at 9:22. My training plan had said to speed up and run faster than race pace starting at mile ten, but I did the exact opposite. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but I felt like I couldn’t go any faster. I kept thinking that all I wanted to do was finish; I just had to finish. I just wanted to meet my family at the end and enjoy my chocolate milk, but those last few miles seemed to take forever. I honestly thought of how great it would be to just stop running and rest for a bit, but I did not quit. I’m proud of myself that I completed the entire race without stopping once, even through the water stops.

I turned the corner and finally sped up as the finish line came into view. I couldn’t believe that I had made it! It had been a long journey, over half a year long journey, and I was finally there at the finish line for my first half marathon. As I approached the finish line I looked to the right and saw Chris standing there taking pictures and a big smile appeared on my face. I’m thankful that he supports my running. As I crossed the finish line I continued to smile as I did my Jeter fist pump over the timing matte. It was an incredible feeling. As I got my finishing medal I heard my family calling to me. It means a lot that they were there to see me cross the finish line.

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As soon as I got my medal I had to sit down in the grass. I guess the race had taken everything out of me. After a quick break and a post race snack we made our way though the rest of the finishing area where there were lots of post race foods provided by Publix including oranges, bananas, bagels, and muffins (there was even a pumpkin one!). During the post race party I was able to get my chocolate milk and some other goodies including a nice bag from OUC. As I was talking to one of the vendors I got really dizzy and had to sit on the ground. The vendor brought me a water and a runner stretching next to me gave me a gel to eat. It seems I still have to master fueling during a race.

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My final finishing time was 1:54:55. Though it was a little over my goal time, I am really proud of it. I gave everything that I had during that race and it just motivated me to train harder for the next one and learn how to better fuel. I have already signed up for next years OUC Orlando half and I still have Princess and Star Wars coming up. I am more determined than ever to improve on my running and I can’t wait for my next race!

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OUC Half Training – W12D83 – Distance 2 Miles

I finally got to try out my new Garmin 225 watch today!  It worked great!  I love that I can look down and see my pace right there in real time.  There is also so much data that I could view after the run including heart rate, cadence and stride length.  After I use it some more and know all the ins and outs I will write a review about it.

Today’s run was two miles to get me loose for tomorrow’s race.  The first mile was done at a nice, easy pace of 9:19.  I can always tell running-wise if I’m feeling good when my easy pace is in the 9:20 range, which is a minute slower than my anticipated race pace. During the next mile I was supposed to speed up for the first half mile and then cool-down for the second half.  The average pace for that mile was 8:25 where my fastest pace was 7:19.  It gives me confidence for tomorrow that my cool down portion was still at a fast pace, but felt easy.  After running really fast, race pace felt comfortable.  I hope that happens tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

OUC Half Training – W12D81 – Distance 4 Miles

Today was my last maintenance run before the race. I was supposed to run three miles at an easy pace and then speed up for the last mile. I felt good except for the hip pain, which I went to the doctor for today. I was told to ice it and look up hip stretches to do leading up to the race. I will go for x-rays tomorrow, but there is nothing they can do before Saturday. I was able to complete my 4.06 miles in 36:27 with my last mile taking 8:08.

OUC_packetAfter my run I headed over to Track Shack to pick up my packet for Saturday! The race shirt is really nice and was made by Raw Threads, so it is made out of a soft bamboo material. I also received a drawstring bag with the race logo on it. I will bring that to the race to hold all of my supplies for afterwards.

I also received my Garmin watch today! I’m really excited to try it out on a run, but I will have to wait until Friday for my last run before the race. I will probably spend my rest day tomorrow reading the manual. I can’t wait!

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OUC Half Training – W12D80 – Distance 5 Miles

Today was an easy five mile run and my last training run in Ocala before I headed back to Orlando.  I started off slow at almost a ten minute per mile pace and then picked up speed a bit after I had warmed up.  I felt great running-wise except for my hip pain.  I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow where I will ask about it.  Not sure what to do about hip pain, but I hope that I find out and it doesn’t affect my race on Saturday.  I finished the 5.03 in 47:12.  Only four more days until race day!

OUC Half Training – W12D79 – Distance 7 Miles

20151130_074934.jpgToday was the last progression run before race day.  I got up at about 7 am and it was 57 degrees out!  I ran to the trail again, and since it was an hour earlier this time the sun wasn’t high enough to reach above the trees.  The first two miles were a warm up where I hovered between 9:30 and 9:40 per mile.  Right before I entered the trail I started my progression.  Again I was able to judge my speed pretty well.  I started at a 9:20 pace in mile three and ended with an 8:03 pace for mile six.  I felt great except for the fact that my hips were hurting during the run.  I think I injured them by sitting in a horrible chair with no cushion in Boston every day for work.  I hope I recover before Saturday, but it is not looking good.  The last mile was supposed to be a cool down, but like usual I ran it at a faster pace after I had been going so fast.

Today was cyber Monday and I finally bought a gps watch!  The Garmin Forerunner 225 went on a lightning deal on Amazon for only $200.  I can’t wait to get it in and try it out on a run!