Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dogwood Classic 5k 2013

This morning I ran 5k #13 in beautiful Knoxville, TN. I tried my best not to get completely worked up over the forecast this week and was only slightly worried yesterday when I looked to see there was a 70% chance of rain showers. When I got my race plan on Thursday from my coach my only reply back was, "Thanks... now all I need is for the rain to hold off until I cross the finish line." Turns out I got lucky there!

This race had day before race packet pick up but rather than drive to Knoxville we opted to just get our stuff this morning when we got to the site. I usually like to have everything laid out the night before the race and snap a picture but since I didn't have my bib I skipped that part of my pre-race routine. I did lay my clothes out last night so I wouldn't be scrambling this morning.

Every race morning pretty much starts the same. I am up at least 2-2.5 hours before the race start to eat and get dressed. My coach usually suggests a 1/2 mile run/walk outside before breakfast but since it was raining at my house I skipped that this morning. And because my stomach wasn't feeling exactly right this morning I pretty much skipped breakfast too. I would not usually skip breakfast for a long run or a speed workout but felt ok doing so this morning. I did have a couple of bites of a Clif Mojo bar and some water but other than that I just was afraid to eat much w/my stomach already being weird.

We got to the race about an hour early, picked up our packets and met up with friends. I was instructed to do a 2 mile warm up plus some drills before the race start so that is why my running friends/training pals and I did. Then we hopped in line for the port-o-potties and headed to the start. We had a few minutes so we also did a few striders and leg swings. I use to think it was ridiculous when I would see folks doing these things but now I am doing them and know they do really get my body good and loose before a run.

It also feels so weird to line up in the front 10% when I am most definitely not a front runner BUT somehow it works. Once the 1 2 gun went off and we started the race any nerves I had going on where gone. I settled in and felt great. My goal for the race was a PR (ran last year in 26:33) but to also hit 25:xx. My "race plan" looked something like this:

Mile 1 - 8:40
Mile 2 - 8:25-30
Mile 3 - all out

The race course can be described as this:
After a flat to gently rolling set of hills you pass by an Indian mound in the median just before the 1 mile point. Within another quarter mile you come to a beautiful fountain area in the center of the median/road. At this point the course leaves Cherokee Boulevard and navigates a loop around Talahi Gardens, returning to the fountain, at which point a right turn will start the runners on their way back. The finish area is flat to a slight downhill. 
(info taken from race website

I will say that after running this race last year I don't recall the "hills" or even the inclines despite having ran this route many times. I think it was helpful for me this morning that we did our warmup on the first mile of the course. It was  a good reminder of what to expect in the race. We of course took it slow for the warm up so I knew what I needed to do once the gun went off. I knew what paces I needed to try to hit but also told myself to just run fast and hit the end finish time goal.

These were my actual splits:
Mile 1 - 8:11
Mile 2 - 8:28
Mile 3 - 8:29
25:49 (Garmin time- started and stopped on the mat)

So, I didn't hit my plan to a T but I did hit the goal time and got a decent PR (44 seconds) considering.
Weather last year was sunny and 70 compared to this year's 50 and rainy (no rain fall during the race but there was prior to so we can say it was wet?).  I realize 44 seconds isn't a huge PR but my racing has mostly consisted of longer distance races over the last several months so I am pretty happy to have a PR at all.

Last year with a time of 26:33 I took 2nd place in the Athena Division (150lbs +).
This year??? Oh yeah. 25:56 (gun time) got me FIRST PLACE!!  and that would be my 3rd first place finish in a race since I started being coached in October 2012. I'm excited about the progress I've made and can't wait to see how summer training and races go.

My award (if you will) for my 1st place finish was a $10 gift cert to the local running store. Not bad and I won't complain but it was kind of weird that I got the same thing last year as 2nd place and a friend got 2nd place in her age group today but got $20, definitely something they should rethink or look into for next year. But like I said, I'm grateful for anything and will use my $10 for those much needed socks on my list. ;)

And of course no race day would be complete with the celebratory meal with friends!

Did you race this weekend? If so, let me know how  you did! Virtual high fives to all!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday Randoms

~ I haven't posted a lot since the events in Boston.  My running coach and several friends were there. So, even though I was not there it still hit pretty close to home. I didn't really feel like I needed to write a whole post regarding my feelings on the even since I wasn't there. Most of what I might have said was so similar to what others were saying about the events. They were tragic and something I never have even began to think about when I have lined up at the start of race. I am thankful for all of those involved in apprehending the suspect(s). I hope for everyone that answers come soon so that those involved can gain some sense of closure. I'll continue to pray for those families who lost loved ones and those that were injured. I can't even being to imagine what any of them are (or have been) going through.

~I seriously am desperate for pretty toenails. I've mostly taken pride in my runners feet. These babies have taken me many many miles over the last 5 yrs and more so really in the last 2. I've lost at least 4 toenails and not just once but several times. Here we are in the beginning of spring and sandal season yet my toenails are a hot mess. I refuse to spend $$ on pedicures because when you're missing toenails you just should not subject those poor folks to such sights. lol I've tried to just paint my toenails myself but again I've had to paint flesh on a couple of toes, so weird. Ahh but here I am really really hopeful that I can get something done with my piggies to at least ease my mind that I don't have the ugliest toes in E. Tn.

~ I haven't posted much lately on my workouts (well unless you follow me on DM) or my race schedule, but I am very excited with how things are progressing. Workouts are going very well and today I did my first 800m repeats workout. I kinda liked it. I'm also pretty excited about my race schedule. I'm hopeful I can snag some PRs soon. My focus for summer running is going to be getting faster on shorter distances (5ks 8ks 10ks) and begin marathon training. I'll be running my 2nd full marathon in the fall!!

~ I think I need an ab/core intervention or challenge of some sort. If you know of a great one please share it with me!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CHKM 2013 - part 2

Once that gun went off my feet started moving. There was so much excitement all around me and the crowds were great. I don't run with music anymore (unless I'm on a treadmill, which is rare) so I was just listening to the conversations around me and the music when there was some. It was interesting hearing people talk. I finally settled into my pace and my thoughts and ran as best as I could.

My race plan was specific and did my best to stick to my paces but I wanted to give myself some leeway for the hills that I knew I'd be tackling. My plan also called for me to take water at each water stop and do a gel every 3 miles. That part for me now is so routine on long runs that I hardly have to think about it.

I knew early on in the race (before mile 3) that my legs just were not feeling it. Something was off. I wasn't letting that get to me mentally but physically I knew things weren't going as I needed them to. I took a short (very short) little break at just 3 miles and was back on my way. I took a gel as soon as I began the incline up Neyland Drive onto Kingston Pike and then water at the next stop. I was feeling much better once I got onto KP and knew that the downhill into Sequoyah Hills I could gain some time back from where I took the walk break. I was still on pace to hit the splits I needed to and meet my goal at the end.

Once in Sequoyah Hills the crowd spread out a little which was nice.  They also really worked on their signs this year which was very entertaining! Naked cheerleaders anyone!? haha Yep, they advertised them the entire way  and even hung bras in trees but thankfully those naughty girls were on break by the time I reached their spot. ;)

I hit the 10k split at 59:23 and was pleased. I waited a bit to take my next gel with just minutes to go before hitting Noelton, my nemesis hill! I wanted to run the entire thing this year but was dealing with issues with my knee since early in the race and going up/down hills seemed to make it a bit more angry than I was liking. I ran the hill portions of Noelton but took a slight walk break on the split in the middle where it "flattens" out a tiny bit before tackling the 2nd half. Once up Noelton I grabbed water and then I was headed to my favorite part of the race! I LOVE the greenway.

My only issue with the greenway was how crowded it was. I was leap frogging one girl for a while which didn't bother me. It was the group of 3-4 men that were doing some kind of run/walk interval that was frustrating. They were basically running 3-4 wide across the narrow greenway and when they did their walk portion of their intervals they did NOT move things to the right and basically stopped right in front of me. Annoying! I would have been a total turd and said something but no reason for that. I just hit the side of the greenway and moved quickly past them. My only issue on the greenway was the downhills, my left knee was grumpy every downhill movement I made. I was so worried about this but just pressed on.

I saw a lot of people complain about the portion of the half marathon into Tyson Park and going back up onto Cumberland. This portion of the race is nice to me. There's a decent water station and Gu stop plus it's where the local Fleet Feet store hangs out to cheer which is nice this late in the race. I took another gel coming out of the greenway and into Tyson Park and then water. I wasn't overly excited about the time on my watch but wasn't totally bummed either. I knew I was still making decent enough time on the course given the fact that I felt less than stellar.

Coming out of Tyson Park there was a couple with a hilarious sign that I wish I could remember. What I do recall is the girl saying, "Smile if you peed a little!!" Apparently someone behind me smiled because as I was past them the she yelled, "Oh that's a big smile, you must have peed a lot!" haha I love running humor and could totally relate.

I felt strong as I made the turn onto Cumberland and passed a lady wearing a shirt announcing her birthday. I said Happy Birthday to her as I passed and was on my way. I knew going up Cumberland that I still had to tackle the hills of Ft Sanders and was ready. There was a group with water and I took a small cup, walking as I drank it. I came up on a guy that looked about my age (and familiar) so I patted him on the back as I approached him and said, "Let's Go, you got this," before I picked my running pace back up again. He was not amused and did not start running again. (I stalked pics later and saw that he finished about 2 minutes after me).

There isn't a lot of crowd support on this last little portion of the race. This was the portion of the race that I was suppose to be running at an "all out" pace. I was trying really hard and was watching my Garmin A LOT more than I cared to be, but I was hitting sub 9 pace like I was suppose to so I was hopeful of my finish time. By this point in the race I remember thinking how hot it felt but I was close to done. I still had to meet my partner and began thinking about the exchange zone and handoff. Once I saw the downhill towards the stadium I picked it up even more. I had a decent portion of downhill left but knew from reading the race instructions that to get my official 13.1 finish time I would be running uphill. Boo hiss yuck!

I saw some friendly faces as I entered the World's Fair park area and heard lots of  " Go Kim" coming from the sidelines and that was a nice boost. I handed off my slap bracelet to Dave (my relay partner) and we chatted about my part of the race, how he was feeling, how I was feeling, etc. I was on pace at the exchange for a PR but once I hit the hill to my finish I was spent. I wanted to be done. I told Dave to just go and run his best race. I would see him at the finish.

Prior to the race I wasn't worried at all about the finish. I was confident that I could run my race and meet the goal. Ugh but that finish up the hill sucked ass. I didn't like it and I didn't mind telling the girl sitting there at the clock that I felt that way. lol She didn't reply to my whining which was nice. I hit my watch a few seconds after I had already turned back around but my "official"unofficial finish was like 2:05. Not a pr as far as 13.1 goes (I actually ran 13.2, if that counts lol) but I was fine with that. I didn't hit my goal for the day but under the circumstances I was fine with that too.

13.2 miles 2:05 av. pace 9:33

I waited around the next 2 hours outside the stadium waiting for Dave to finish. I knew what our projected finish time was and also knew how long Dave planned to run his 13.1 for. It was fun watching my friends and other racers enter the stadium. I did a lot of cheering for others as I waited for Dave. When I saw Dave in the distance I prepped myself for the run into Neyland Stadium with him. As soon as he got to me he said we were going to really  pick it up when we hit the grass. I was afraid I didn't have it in me to sprint at that point but I did. Team One Sock Gone finished 26.2 miles!!!

Out of 37 2 person relay teams we finished 17th. I was pleased with that. I  probably will never be able to run a marathon that fast solo.

26.2 miles official finish time 4:07:41

It was so much fun running this race as a relay team. Even though it didn't go as I had planned and I didn't meet my goal finish time I am still happy to report that on the half marathon course  I now have a 23 minute course PR. I ran the half as my first half marathon in 2011. That's quite an improve over the last 2 years if you ask me. THAT is something to celebrate and believe me... I did!!

It may not have been the perfect race but I still managed to keep a smile on my face.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

CHKM 2013 - part 1

This weekend was chalk full of running fun. Friday the family and I mostly took it easy while we prepped for the events of "marathon" weekend. I had signed us all up to volunteer at the expo where we worked to hand out race day shirts to lots of amazing runners. It was a family affair and we enjoyed hanging with friends most of the day.

I've said it before and will say it again... I love to volunteer for our local events. If you get a chance to give back to your running community this is the best way. Races cannot happen without the help of volunteers!

We picked up our race packets Saturday as well and walked around the expo for a bit. Nothing too exciting for us. There were some good vendors but nothing that I really couldn't live without. It seems like there may have been more vendors the last couple of years because it was (or seemed to be) easier to move around.

We had signed the kids up for the kids run that evening so we stayed in Knoxville rather than driving back home. That might be something we regretted the next day. Anyway, I didn't take my camera for the run because I also had to do my easy 3 shakeout run still for the day. This too would be something I regretted waiting all day to get done.  So, since I didn't have my camera I was happy that a friend snagged some great shots of my son and I running our mile.

I ran with my son and my hubby ran with our daughter. My son and I finished in 9:29 and my hubby/daughter duo finished around 12 minutes. I'm so proud of both of my kids!

After the race we had dinner out with friends and then headed home to get ready for our race the next morning. As usual race day outfit was planned and all gear was laid out before bed.

Normally I will have stalked the 10 day forecast and stressed over what to wear. I didn't do that this time around. I listened to the weather but didn't give it much thought on how it would impact my race or even let it control too much what I would wear. I chose a tank and my running skirt for Sunday's race. I think the temp was around 45 or so to start and I started out with arm sleeves but shed those at the start line. I was happy with that decision once I started running. It's crazy what cold weather running has done for me as far as dressing. I use to be really bad about overdressing even in very cold temps. I think the skirt and tank was a wise choice since the temps were set to rise to mid/high 60s by the time I would be finished running.

Our running group (the KTC Socialites) decided to meet early for a pre-race group pic. I always love this part of running/racing. My group and training partners mean so much to me. Though we may all be different paces we are all still there running the same race and supporting each other. It's such a great feeling.

After pics we all headed to the start line. It was at that point we all split into our respective corrals and waited for the gun to go off. I was super nervous and felt as though I had been placed in the completely wrong corral (A) but knew it was based on our projected finish time. A friend and I just decided to stay in the last 3/4 of our corral and to the right. I'd do what I could to keep my pace according to the race plan my coach sent me. The National Anthem was sang, the hand cyclists were off and BAM gun... GO!

Stay tuned for the good stuff. :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Reflection and Preparation - my favorite race

Two years ago I made a decision to take my running from the casual 5k to the half marathon. At the time I had been running for almost 3 years and my longest long run was probably a very slow 5 miler but I was determined to make 13.1 mine in 2011. With my hubby by my side the entire race I finished standing. Our goal that day for our first half marathon was 2:30 or less. We actually finished in 2:28:05. Below are some photographic memories we made that day.

A year later, on a training run in January (or was it as late as February??) 2012 where I ran my first 14 miler, I made the decision to go for the full marathon in April. What did I have to lose by training and going for it? Not a thing. And with a dear friend by my side I ran, walked and cussed (yep!) my way through 26.2 miles. I of course had wanted to finish in 4:30 but knew that my goal for my first marathon was to finish. That I did! April Fool's Day 2012 I crossed the finish line on the 50 yard line in Neyland Stadium after 26.2 miles in 4:58:33. The best and most supportive race paparazzi ever was there to capture my finest moments that day.

This year a new event has been added to the race. There will be a 2 person marathon relay. A friend and I have paired up as team "One Sock Gone." Those of you that know me in real life or have been around the blog long enough know exactly what that team name means! haha Let's hope I won't need any spare socks (or arm wamers) on Sunday. I'll be covering the first half of the course and handing off at 12.8 miles to Dave and meeting him just outside Neyland Stadium for our grand finish! Of course we have a goal in mind and I've studied my race plan and will do my best (as I always do) to stick to it and meet my goal, but at the end of the day if I have a good time and race with all my heart I know it will be an awesome time again.

This race is my absolute favorite event to participate in from the training to the volunteering and finally the finish line! If you are ever in Knoxville and need a great race you should definitely check out the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. They have a race for everyone from a kids mile on Saturday to a 5k, half marathon, marathon, 4 person marathon relay and this year a 2 person marathon relay! It's the best place to eat your hills for breakfast.

I've put in the training and now it's time to put it on the road. Check back here on Sunday (or Monday depending on the after party!) for a race recap!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hey Nuun, don't make me sad.

So, if you're a Beatles fan you might have just hummed the title of this post to the tune of Hey Jude! ha. That's just me trying to be witty. See when I get nervous and the shy in me comes out I try my best to be funny. Please, oh please, say it worked just this once!?

Ok, onto the real stuff here y'all.
I told ya before that my favorite hydration company Nuun chose me as an ambassador this year and I am THRILLED about that. But I want more than to just share my complete and total Nuun love with the world.
See runners have what they like to call a running bucket list (or at least I do). Different runners have all kinds of races and events on their bucket lists. This can be anything from a PR to something like qualifying for and running Boston Marathon. For me and 2013 it includes running Hood to Coast with the Team Nuun!!

Last year I pondered the idea of submitting my application but I let my  nerves, being shy and lack of confidence take over and didn't do it. I was like, "they won't pick the girl that barely runs a 10:30 mile to run with them," or "why would they pick the girl with the most unknown blog in the blogosphere to run on their team?" So, I didn't finish my application.

Well, I found myself getting over my fears this year (with the help of my biggest fan and supporter, my hubby) and submitted my application. Will they pick me? I don't know. I've gotten much faster thanks to great coaching, my blog has grown but really I don't want those to be the only factors in why they would or would not choose this former fat mother of two for their completely awesome relay team!

I wondered for a while if I had what it takes to even make a video. Am I creative enough? Do I have a story to tell?  What would be the one thing about me that would be compelling enough to be picked? I had no clue (still don't) but I put my fears aside (sort of, I still hate rejection!) and went for it. With the help of my amazing hubby we put together the following video. And now all I can do is sit back, relax and know that even if I am not chosen and can't cross Hood to Coast off my bucket list for 2013 I can cross off "get over the fear," from my list of goals for 2013.

Without further hesitation here goes....

Fingers crossed Nuun picks me to continue my running journey as part of their Nuun Hood to Coast relay team for 2013!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A shirt, a review and a discount for you!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the awesome Jessie at Build A Sign because a couple of years ago I had worked with them to create some amazing signs for my first half marathon (courtesy of them!!). And I was so happy with the outcome of my signs, the ease of working with the company and their offer for my readers that I was thrilled to work with them again. This time it wasn't going to be a sign or bumper stickers! Instead.....

t- shirt!! I love love love clothes. I had played around on other sites "creating" different ideas for tees before but never had much luck. However, it was so super easy with Dress United. They have a lot of different styles of shirts from tees to hoodies and in a wide variety of colors. AND the best part is they didn't just offer unisex sizing! I know for a lot of you ladies this is a nice perk as it was to me. :)  You also have the option to use their images or to upload an image of your own. They also offer a variety of different fonts and colors so the possibilities are really endless, which is why it took me several days to come up with something I liked even as simple as it all was.

I'm a bit of a no frills kind of girl when it comes to shirts, especially one that would represent MY blog so I knew I wanted to keep it simple and clean. I simply chose a shirt and color, uploaded an image and added the wording I wanted. Done. Their site walks you through each step. It was that easy.

The only negative for me was ordering what I thought was the right size. Normally in a women's shirt or even unisex tee I get a medium. That was the case this time. I looked at the sizing in comparison to all my other shirts and went with the medium. Unfortunately it didn't fit. Sadness. I would say it probably is more like your typical adult small if that. So, if you do order be sure to size up 1-2 sizes on the women's American Apparel long sleeve tees!!

Here are a couple of pics I snapped of the logo. Note: The colors I used on a black tee are pink and lime green. They did not photograph well with my iPhone which is not a reflection of Dress United or their product, just the quality of the camera on my phone. The first picture is the back of the tee and the second is the front. The logo on the back is quite large and you have the option to size this any way you wish! The wording on the front is over the left breast/chest area and appears bigger in the pic due to zooming in on it. Again, you can resize it anyway you wish or place it on any area of the front of the shirt. Again, all of this was super easy to do. Despite the poor sizing the quality of the shirt itself is nice.

Now for all of my readers Dress United is offering a 30% off discount with the code BLOG30OFF4U.   So head on over to their site and create something special for your next race or event! 

Thanks again to the fine folks at Dress United for this opportunity!