Trying To Plan

Every year I swear I will turn into a more organized person who plans things well in advanced. Sometimes I succeed and other times I end up paying the most expensive entry fee to a race because I waited to the last minute to register. I am going to do better this year.

Organized Sommee Card

So here it is for all of the internet to see my tentative race plan for the remainder of 2014.

Race The Bar Lakeland Bar Association 5K

Race The Bar is a run/walk 5K on April 26 at 6PM in Lakeland, Florida. It is an evening race, so that should be fun. It has a post race party with food, drinks, and door prizes. J actually did an internship with the Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. which is one of the race sponsors.

The Lakeland Runner’s Club 5K Watermelon series takes place on June 7, June 28, July 26, and August 23. $30 for four races that are always a ton of fun. This is my third year running this series and I know it will be a highlight of my summer running. This race also takes place in Lakeland, Florida around the beautiful Lake Hollingsworth.

Miracle Miles in Orlando Florida

Miracle Miles is one of the few 15K’s in Central Florida. I ran it once years ago and love the distance. The date for 2014 has not yet been announced but it normally is in September and will fit nicely into a fall half training plan. Miracle Miles is in Orlando, Florida.,

Red Ribbon Half Marathon & Run

The InnerAct Alliance Red Ribbon Half Marathon & Run is the only half marathon in Lakeland. This race is hilly (for Florida) course and I had so much fun running it last year. (Last years race report for those who are interested.) They are offering those who ran the inaugural race an entry for $45 if they register before April 13th. At that price for a half, it is impossible to say no.

So that’s my race plan for the rest of 2014. Not overly ambitious but it should be a lot of fun and I am hoping to cut a decent amount of time off of my 5K PR,.

Race Day Nerves

So tomorrow this is happening.

Celebration Marathon Half Marathon

I have not been this freaked out and nervous about a race since maybe my first 5K.

So what makes Half Marathon number six so particularly scary?

I have a nagging pain in my right leg that has bothered me since around Christmas. As race day got closer, I decided to take time off from running to see if it would get better on its own. So my peak week of training I did not run at all. The following week I ran a modified training schedule, pretty much eliminating all speed work, and felt uncomfortable but passable. Going into the taper week, I ran 12 miles on Saturday. Felt fine for the 12 miles but my pace is definitely slower. Rested completely until Friday which I used as a test run. My leg still hurts, but I was able run. Today (Saturday) I ran a three-mile shakeout which felt better but not 100%.

I think one of the worst feelings is being unprepared and that is exactly how I feel about this race.

So what to do?

I want to run it because I am cheap and I paid for it.

I want to run it because it is an inaugural race in a town that I love to run in.

It is so disappointing because this training cycle was going so well. The last race I ran in 2013 was a PR that put me on target to PR on this race. That is just not going to happen tomorrow.

So game change, I plan on running for fun tomorrow. If I have to walk because my leg hurts I will. Celebration is a beautiful place to run and I will enjoy my surroundings.

Celebration Running Bridge

Celebration Palm Trees

Celebration Running Path

Have you ever decided not to run a race?

Red Ribbon Half Marathon

On Saturday, I ran Half Marathon number five, the Red Ribbon Half Marathon in Lakeland, Florida. This half was special in so many ways. It is the first half that I trained with a group and the first J was able to attend.

My training group met the night before for dinner and a last minute pep-talk from our coach. This really helped with my nerves because I was starting to feel a little sick (similar to a sinus cold) and was freaking out. Spending months training and getting sick the day before a race is the worst. I was assured this sick feeling was normal and luckily, I woke up the next day and felt fine.

Saturday started off like most running Saturday’s. Coffee, toast with peanut butter and cats staring at me wondering why I am up at 4 AM. Lakeland is about a 30 minute drive from my house but I wanted to give myself enough time to park. I ended up getting turned around and ended up on the wrong side of Lake Mirror. Luckily, I stumbled upon a park-n-ride lot with plenty of empty spaces which just happened to be steps from the finish line.

As I discussed in my goal post, my ultimate goal for this race was a 2:15. The course being a challenge, my coach thought that running with the 2:20/2:25 pace group would be a good idea and trying to push at the end if I could. I planned on doing this but there was only a 2:30 pace group and I thought that pace would be to slow.

So I lined up at the start, shivering, with the 2:15 pace group. I decided that if the pace felt fast, I would leave the group and finish the race alone. This was my first time running with a pace group and I am so glad I did. Yes, Florida is pretty flat, but we do have some hills and it seems like they were all in this race.

Elevation Red Ribbon Half Marathon 2013

Elevation Gain and Loss Red Ribbon Half Marathon 2013

Sticking with the pace group forced me to keep a steady pace and push through the hills.Of course all the the hill sprints, repeats, and hilly running routes, really prepared me to run this course. Not that the up and downs did not hurt, but I felt prepared for it.

Everything was going great until around mile 10. I got the worlds worst cramp and felt like death. I am pretty mad at myself for not just pushing through it (because what is three more miles after you just ran 10?) but I started to walk a bit. Hoping the cramp would go away and the 2:15 pace group passed me by.

So the last three miles were not my best but I was able to push through the last two hills. One, Johnson Ave., I ran quite a bit during my training. I hated it then and I hated it during the race. I will say that the cheering section near Florida Southern and all of the wonderful residents of Johnson Ave. did help keep me motivated up that terrible, terrible hill.

When the finish line was finally in my sights I was so relieved. Then I heard J screaming my name and it scared the crap out of me. I saw him snapping this picture.

Red Ribbon Half Marathon Finish

I just kind of stared at him a minute and kept going.

Red Ribbon Half Marathon Finish 2

Red Ribbon Half Marathon Finish Line Clock

After I crossed the finish line, I kept walking and ran into one of the girls from my training group. She did not mention it at the time, but she finished as the third female and second in her (and my) age group. I then remembered that J was there and I needed to find him because my phone was in my car. We walked over to the Runner’s Village to get my medal and some food.

Runner's Village Red Ribbon Half Marathon

The food was pretty good (provided by Publix.) They had muffins, granola, fruit, and chocolate milk. They were handing out those perfectly sized for the gym towels. I love those towels and think that every race should hand them out. J and I walked around a bit and watched the rest of my group finish. It was so amazing to watch people cross a finish line that I knew worked so hard.

I then made J take a picture of me with my medal. (I really need to learn how to stand getting my picture taken. I feel so silly posing, so I always just stand there.)

Red Ribbon Half Marathon 2013 DinaRuns Picture

Official chip time is 2:19:06 which is a PR by four minutes. On this hilly course, I’ll take it.

I was more consistent with my pace but it was obviously because I stuck to the 2:15 pace group for the majority of the race.

Red Ribbon Half Marathon Lakeland Florida Splits 2013

The timing is a little off because I ran with a brand new watch and didn’t realize that starting it was a two step process. My watch was off by a few minutes the entire race which was super annoying but completely my own fault.

I loved every second of this race and highly recommend it for anyone looking for a challenging course. For an inaugural race, the execution was flawless. This is one I definitely plan on running again.

The Post Where I Find Some Motivation

There may have been more of this lately.

Pizza Dominated

Than this.

Bathroom Selfie Runner

March was not a great month for me. I had a sinus infection that would not quit. I wasn’t sick enough to stay home from work but felt just crappy enough that working out just wasn’t happening.

Daily Mile Chart March 13

Nothing like seeing it in graph form.

I am feeling like myself again and slowly getting back on track.

Motivation PUSH

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I need to come up with a new plan for the next few months. The only thing I am certain of right now is that I am running the 18TH Annual Summer Sunrise Watermelon 5K Series.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K 2013

If you are in Central Florida, you have to run this series. The dates are June 1, June 22, July 20, and August 17. The races take place around Lake Hollingsworth and are put on by the Lakeland Runner’s Club. You can register online here for the series ($30) or the first race on June 1 ($10).

This series really helped me get through the I can’t believe how hot it is Florida summer while still getting my butt out there to run. Races really help me stay motivated. You can read my recaps of this series from 2012 here, here, here, and here.

2012 OUC Orlando Half Marathon

Going into OUC Orlando Half Marathon, I was very unsure of my training. (I vented about it here if you are interested.) I was all over the place with changing my training plan, getting sick, and feeling like I was never going to get faster.

Pity Party

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Like most things, it was much worse in my head.

I started the race day off by waking up at the ungodly hour of 4 AM (in which I ask myself, why do I have to live in no-mans-land Polk County which is far from everywhere?) Had my typical pre-race breakfast of peanut butter and toast. I went back and forth on what to wear because the morning was in the low 50’s, which is chilly in the land of sunshine, but went with a t-shirt and shorts. I would much rather be chilly to start and comfortable during the race than sweating buckets because I am overdressed.

I got into Orlando with few issues and was lucky to be able to use J’s parking pass to park in a lot for free. (He goes to Florida A&M Law School which is in downtown Orlando.) The lot is a half a mile from Lake Eola so I counted that as my warm-up. The bathroom situation at the start was ideal, a fairly short wait for real bathrooms (no wait on the men’s side.) I love not having to use a porta-pottie.

I fought my way into the starting corral, lined up in between the 9-10 minute mile signs. There were so many people that I couldn’t even see the start, only the back of the heads of those in front of me. I was pretty cold in my shorts but luckily the wait was only a few minutes and then we were off.

I tried to start slow, my goal was to stay at a 10:30 pace, but did get caught up the the starting frenzy. It can be so difficult at the start to not get caught up in the frenzy of moving forward but I get better at every race.

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Race Route

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The race route was lovely and took you through some beautiful neighborhoods in Orlando. I loved everything about it minus the very painful brick roads. The last few miles had plenty of hills with bricks which may have caused me to swear. I get so paranoid running on uneven surfaces because I am a tad bit clumsy and likely to trip over my own feet, let alone uneven brick.

A few signs of what I consider a successful half marathon:

1. Not needing medical attention (this is one that I have for everyday life too.)

2. Not needing to pee (or at least being able to hold it until the end.)

3. Not bonking

So how did I do?

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Splits

I was a little slower than my goal to average a 10:30 m/m but I was able to avert a diaphragm cramp. I only am able to do this with some walking, so I walked a little.

My official time:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Official Time

My official time of 2:23:29 is a half marathon PR of eight minutes! I hoped I could PR but really was unsure if it would happen. This gives me so much hope that I can drop my time even further for Gasparilla in February.

The medal:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon Medal

The race shirt:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Shirt Race

Cool towels being handed out at the finish line:

Florida Milk Refuel Chocolate Milk Towel

So horrible, painful brick aside, I had so much fun running half marathon number three, the OUC Orlando Half Marathon.

Quest For A Sub-30 Minute 5K Race Number Four

The last race in my summer’s quest for sub-30 Minute 5K, is done. I really enjoyed the series put on by the Lakeland Runners Club. The races were well-organized and the volunteers were excellent. To read about the other races in this series, please see Race One, Race Two, and Race Three.

Running all four races, I earned this snazzy t-shirt.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Series 2012 Shirt

$30 for four 5K’s and a t-shirt, this series is such a good value.

The race took place around Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland, Florida. I really need to make an effort to run there more often because it is a beautiful area. The path around the lake has views of gorgeous homes, Florida Southern College (with their many Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings), and tons of birds. It is worth the drive to Lakeland if you are looking for a place to run in Central Florida.

The weather was clear but as humid as every August day is in Florida. This race I actually remembered to bring my sunglasses, so I could see when the sun was coming up. No major issues but I did have some slight cramping again. I am starting to think the cramping is caused by the humidity. My pace felt comfortable, so it was not that I was running too fast.

Splits:

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number 4 Splits

I am pleased with how even they are. They need to be a little bit faster for a sub-30 but I am getting there.

My strong finish and Garmin adjustment. (I like how this picture makes me look like I’m flying.)

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race Number 4 DinaRuns

Clock Time: 32:39

Chip Time: 32:18

This was the final race of the series and I was not able to run a sub-30 minute 5K. Even though I did not make my goal, I learned a lot training for a shorter distance. I did more speed training and tempo running than I ever have before.This has led to an increase in speed. Being a fairly new runner, learning how I feel and react to different types of training helps me learn what works best for me. Seeing the results of these training runs lets me know that I can get faster and my running can improve. I just have to put the work in.

This summer I was able to bring my 5K PR from 35:24 to 31:21. It is not a sub-30 but I’ll take it.

Making Plans

It’s almost here, the time of year when the runners who live in the sun belt (otherwise know as Hades) start to base build for a fall half marathon (or marathon if you are much more hardcore than myself.) I have spent a lot of time deciding how much I want to race and where. So far my tentative plans are.

A Race:

Space Coast Marathon & Half- Marathon in Cocoa Beach.

Space Coast Marathon & Half-Marathon Cocoa Beach Florida

The expo is at Kennedy Space Center and the official snack is the moon pie. Plus there is a space-themed finishers medal. Last year was really awesome and would look great in my office.

Space Coast Half-Marathon 2011 Medal

So cool.

Miracle Miles 15K

This was my first (and only) 15K. It is a great distance and there are not enough of them. It also benefits the Alexander Center for Neonatology at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. If I can help babies and run a really fun race, count me in.

So there you have the two races that I am definitely going to run in the fall. I may toss in a few 5K’s (maybe not if my quest to a sub-30 does not pan out but who knows) and a 10K. I would also like to try a short trail race if I can find one in the area.

Do you have your fall racing schedule planned out? Am I missing out on any really awesome races?

Image Source

My Quest For A Sub-30 Minute 5K Race Number Two

On Saturday, I ran race two out of four in the Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon 5K. This series is the first in almost a year where I focused on the 5K and really improving my speed.

Lakeland Runner'ds Club Watermelon 5K Number 2

(Can you see me with my game face on?)

Saturday started out like many race mornings which is dark and much to early. This race being a part of a series I remembered how to get there which made the drive over uneventful. (I did forget which street I parked on and wondered around looking for my car for 15 minutes.) The lines for the number and timing chip pick-up were shorter than the first race. I met up with Faith, who has the same time goal and used to run this route when she lived in this area. I haven’t run with anyone since Miracle Miles last September, so having someone to talk to while waiting for the race to start was really great.

My training has gone really well and I have been pushing myself until I got sick. So sick, I had to take ten days off from exercising and was only able to run again a few days before the race. I do not think that gave me enough time to recover and be back in racing shape.

After the first mile, I knew there was no chance I could run a sub-30. I felt horrible and just could not push myself to go any faster. At the 1.5 mile mark, I told Faith that she should try to salvage her race and go ahead. I knew I would need more walk breaks and did not want to ruin anyone else’s race.

Even though this race was disappointing, there was a silver lining.

The Good:

Running with Faith

Seeing baby ducks (so cute!)

Pancakes afterwards

Lake Hollingsworth (so beautiful!)

Running after a time of forced rest always feels really great

The Bad:

Not making my goal

The weather (it has been raining non-stop because of the tropical storm in the Gulf.)

IMG_3658

(Why so serious?)

Chip time 33.01

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number 2

I knew this race was going to be difficult and that my chances of reaching my goal were slim. I am so close and have hope that race number three is the lucky one.

How do you come back from disappointment?

Race Nerves

Tomorrow is race two of the four in the Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon Series. This series is cost-effective, local, and the perfect time to try to run a sub-30 minute 5K. I am generally comfortable running races now but this one is making my stomach flip-flop.

This is my training from 6/11 to today.

Training Week 6-11 to 6-17

Training Week 6-18 to 6-24

I was much to sick last week to exercise at all and it took until Wednesday for me to feel well enough to run. It makes me nervous to have taken so much time off right before a race where I want to PR.

Getting back into the gym on Wednesday felt really great. I get so antsy when I have to be sedentary especially when I felt so terrible and completely unlike myself.

No Regrets

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I hope I am able to reach my goal in tomorrow race but all I can do is try my best.

Do you get nervous before a race?

Half Marathon Training Week Six

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

Half_Marathon_Training_Week_Six

Not my best week. Being sick really sidelined my workouts.

Key Workouts

Easy Runs: 1 of 3

Speed Training: 0 of 1

Long Run: 0 of 1

Strength Training: Upper Body 15 minutes

Total Miles: 5

Planed Miles: 27

Not much to say about this week but I felt it was better to rest through being sick, then to push myself and make it worse.

I planned on racing this weekend but am not sure if I should in light of being sick. It is a 10K, which is a distance I love, and for a good cause.

Polk Race For The Cure

Would you race this close to coming off of a cold?

How was your training last week? Did you reach your goals?