Race 4 Life 5km

I am seeing a bit of a pre-race trend… Little A doesn’t sleep well the night before my races! Maybe he gets pre-race nerves for me?!?! This morning I lined up for my 5km race on not much more than 5 hours sleep. Lack of sleep the night before a race is no big deal to me if I have slept well during the week. In fact I am generally on such a pre-race high I run on nervous or excited energy anyway.

Running in the heat on the other hand IS a very big deal for me. And when it comes to running I use the word “hot” very loosely. In fact anything over 20 degrees to me is hot! So seeing a weather forecast of 36 degress for today was not very comforting.

Luckily for me I had just read The Arty Runnerchick’s post on 5 ways to make sure your race doesn’t suck (nice timing hey?). So I had adjusted my expectations and devised a race plan. In my few races since Little A came along I hadn’t really bothered with race plans. This was partly because I didn’t want to think or get excited about races and then not be able to run them (little babies are so unpredictable). But now Little A is much older and much less reliant on ME, having little periods of time away while I race are much more achieveable. So back to race plans for me.

Before bed last night I said to myself…. “tomorrow I am getting up and running the hardest and fastest 5km I can”. Yep, that was my race plan. I didn’t want to pace myself, I wanted to go out and try and achieve as close to 4 minute Ks as possible. Even if this meant my last Ks were 5 minutes Ks. I knew this approach was risky and not the smartest race plan but it was time to try something different (usually I am well paced and or finish stronger than I started).

Since I was going to run like a crazy fast woman (at least for the first few Ks) I had to dress for the occassion…

Chicking shirt and game ON!

Race for Life donates part of the entry fees to the Breast Cancer Foundation which has Pink as its super cool corporate colour. So I arrived at the race to a sea of Pink… AWESOME! Even some of the guys sported some pink tops – very big of them.

I collected my bib and made a dash for the loos for my “nervous pee”. Yep even if I have only been minutes before I left the house I always need to go pre-race now!!!

Ready to go I headed to the start line where I found Big A and Little A.

Soaking up the atmosphere

I took my final sip of water (while Big A took happy snaps) and then I headed for a warm up…

Can I get an IV with this stuff?

After a 5minute warm up my throat felt DRY already. I had drank water through the night and knew I was well hydrated. This was not going to be pretty!

At the start line I battled my first case of SERIOUS pre-race nerves. I had nervous energy in my arms and legs and felt sick to my gut. “It is just a run, go out there and do it” I told myself.

The commentator babbled away and I half-heartedly listened. At this point I just wanted to get going so this sick feeling in my gut would go away. He asked the girls in the front row what time they were hoping for… “under 20 minutes” they said. “Great, there goes my chance of placing” I thought. Big A who was standing on the sidelines next to me must have seen my face sink. ” Go Blitz em!” he said and with a bang of the gun we were off.

A beautiful morning in Adelaide (just not for running)

I just want to take a moment to THANK all the speed work for some pretty awesome quads. I have to say I never use to be a lover of my legs but now they are performance machines and I totally respect and appreciate them for what they do not what they look like. When I saw this photo – I was a little bit excited to see some serious quads are starting to develop. Wahoo!!!!

All the better to chick you with

Anyhow back to it. Apparently I was running so fast Big A mostly got photos of my back. Which is fine because that is the best view of my Chicking Shirt….

I’ll slow down a little so you can read the back of my shirt

I wasn’t in the lead pack but I had them in my sights….

A pack of runners ahead = a “chickers” dream

My first Km was my best. By the time I had knocked out 2Ks my mouth was SO DRY. It was horrible. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would stop at a drink station in a sub 25 minute race but when I saw that arm holding out a cup I snatched it like I hadn’t seen water in a week! I actually hate the whole race hydration thing. It is such an art to get in enough to maintain performance but not too much that it sits in your gut. I chucked back a mouthful, ditched the cup and ran on.

At this point I got some serious eye candy. Just ahead was a recreational runner with the running stroller I have been drooling over all week (see here). I couldn’t help but comment on his super cool wheels as I passed chicked him… I didn’t make out all of his response but I think he said “Its the best – its my sanity machine”.  Like I could be sold on this one anymore!! Funnily enough when I crossed the finishing line one of the first things Big A said was “Did you see the Chariot CX?”

Anyway as I was approaching the final Km I looked up to see the runners in front running downhill – my heart sank! Downhill meant there was going to be an uphill….NOOOOOO!!!!! But before I knew it I was on the final 400m. Now if there is one thing you must know about me I LOVE a sprint finish. So I put it into gear and brought that baby home!

So it wasn’t a great run but it sure was a great finish

Across the line I shook hands with the awesome runner chick who finished ahead of me. I had her in my sights the whole race but she was always out of reach. She ran a great race. I was pleased to hear though that she was feeling as crappy as I was!

My finishing time was 22.03 which put me:

2nd out of 100 females and

7th out of 147 runners overall

It wasn’t the time I had hoped for and finishing knowing that I didn’t run my best isn’t great but I ran my best in the conditions and at the end of the day it is still a PB!!!! More importantly it was a race experience that I learned a lot from. I set out for the first time aiming for a positive split (I was experimenting with whether positive splits work better for me over shorter distances). It was the hottest race I have ever ran in and it was the first time I have ran “competitively” and wanted to or even dared to dream about placing. It was the first time I had SERIOUS pre-race nerves.

If you are looking for a great race in Adelaide around this time of year I highly recommend this one. Not only does it support a great cause but it is one of Adelaide’s nicer running courses around the Torrens.

Did you race this weekend? What has been your worst race?

What awesome changes have you seen in your body since starting running?

Ever been to Adelaide?

If you want to do it – do it!

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Yesterday I hit the treadmill for my intervals. 5 x 800s. I secretely hoped that I would achieve a 2 minute 45 second interval but in the end I had to settle for a 2 minute 47 second one as my best (on the plus side there is room for improvement!). It was a tough session, partly because mentally I was drained and partly because I pushed SO hard I was at my absolute limits but MOSTLY because it was hot.

Make no mistake about it I am not a hot weather runner. I fall apart. I get stomach cramps, feel light headed, dizzy and lose pace dramtically. I know what you are thinking – hydrate better right? I could run with an IV of fluid and still not be a “hot weather” runner. I am the queen of hydration… One of my nick names is “glug glug glug”! In the first few months of breast feeding I would put down 5 litres a day like it was no ones business.

So by the time I had finished my last interval yesterday, I was feeling pretty terrible. Little A was asleep and as much as I wanted a nice long relaxing cool down (and to clock up some extra Ks Miles for September Miles Madness) I wanted to stop MORE.

Then it occured to me – how am I ever going to become a better runner in the heat if I don’t run in the heat. Don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting choosing the hottest part of the day to head out or continuing to run when you are faint or dizzy. But after my last interval I had demolished a bottle of water and I wasn’t feeling ill just sluggish…couldn’t be bothered, too hard!

Moving my running around the weather is easy. Get up at the crack of dawn, take your rest day on the hottest day and do your hardest longest sessions on the coolest days. But what happens when one day I line up for a race and it is freakishly HOT. I have never “sucked up” a run in the heat. I dare say it would be my first DNF (which I am not scared of… I accept this will one day happen!) but I don’t want “too soft to run in the heat” to be the reason!

I realised the only way I was ever going to be able to run in the heat is if I run in the heat. Genius hey? So I continued on for my long and “relaxing” cool down.  Amazingly as every minute passed I felt a little bit better. Yes some of it was recovering from my awesome but crazy intervals but some of it was also my body adapting to the heat. If well hydrated and realistic about your pace running in the heat can be quite good (yep I am trying to convince myself!) Decreased chance of injury is definitely a big plus for warmer weather running!

In 2 weeks I will be following NO training plan but I will definitely be “training” to be an ALL conditions runner. Time to toughen up!!!

Are you a freak hot weather runner?

Running… the answer to everything

Hmmm maybe this wonder week only lasted 3 days I thought to myself as I washed Little A’s breakfast bowl. The little guy was playing happily in his high chair and after only waking for one feed the night before it was a nice contrast to the grizzly bub I had encountered on and off over the last few days. Little A was just shy of 23 weeks and I had put his grizzling and desperate need for mummy and cuddles down to a wonder week.

After the breakfast clean up, I took Little A in to Big A who was enjoying a snooze in. The two boys played and cuddled while I got dressed for my run. It was Sunday and I was due to do my long run. I was keen to crank out some Ks so I decided I would do a treadmill run. The plan was 90 minutes and my goal was 18km.

With everything in place for my run I offered Little A his pre-sleep feed. After a whole lot of fussing and not much feeding I decided it was time to wrap and settle the obviously over tired baby.

As soon as I laid the little guy on his wrap grizzling turned to screaming. I sat in the nursing chair cuddling and rocking confident that he was just over-tired and would settle soon…

10 minutes later and no sign of settling Big A came in to take over. I was happy to trade places by this stage. I paced the hallway waiting for my cue (silence) to jump on the treadmill… 10 minutes later we were no closer to having a sleeping baby.

The longer it took to settle the worse it was getting. I decided to bite the bullet and started packing the pram. I told Big A of my plan and he happily placed the “unsettleable” baby in to the pram.

By the time I hit the end of the street the little guy was fast asleep. Once we reached the river I plugged my hands-free in and called Big A to make plans. We hadn’t managed to exchange a word over the screaming baby and I wanted to make sure he was on stand-by in case the miserable-looking sky decided to leak on us. I decided I would do an hour run (if the weather allowed) and meet Big A at Macdonalds for raison toast and coffee (we earned it!)

11km later I pulled off the track and started the recovery walk to meet Big A. The little guy was still fast asleep and stayed that way for another hour while we enjoyed our coffee and toast. Apparently screaming at the top of your lungs for 30 minutes is tiring work!

About a week later Little A’s bottom 2 teeth cut through his gums. Was it a wonder week, was it teething, was it separation anxiety or was it just a REALLY over tired baby? I don’t know. Either way I thank god for stroller running. The little guy settled and got what he needed (sleep), Big A got what he needed (caffeine) and I got what I needed (a run).

I know there will be a next time and when that comes around I want hesitate about getting Little A in that stroller!

A whole lot of good that REST did me!

I was expecting some great runs this week after an “easier” week last week but what I got was just the opposite. Even though I hit all my target speeds I really didn’t feel strong in any of my runs this week. I think I must have caught a mild version of Big A’s cold as I had the sniffles and was just NOT feeling inspired.

Suprisingly I still managed to do all my 5 planned sessions but today, after a week of feeling less than peak I decided to listen to my body and traded my 90 minute Long Run for a 30 minute Easy Run. I am so pleased I did because as the day has gone on I have started to feel much more myself. Hopefully I have kicked the “lurgy” to the kerb and wont be needing 10+ hours sleep every night anymore.

On top of all the extra sleep I have also needed extra food. Between breast feeding and running I was already an energy burning machine but add in the sudden cool weather and my poor body fighting a bug and I have had to eat like a monster for the last couple of weeks to keep up with what it is demanding. To keep my energy up I have introduced a new meal to the day and it fits in nicely between breakfast and morning tea! Its kind of “breakfast round #2”. I’ve got to stop writing about eating, I am working up an appetite just thinking about it.

After Little A was born I set my sights on a half marathon. I chose the half because getting out the long runs required for a marathon was just not going to fit into my schedule with a newborn. I also decided that as I had such limited training time I would focus on speed and not distance and just have one token long run each week to build up to the half marathon distance. This week aside, I am LOVING the speed work. A 5 minute warm up, 20-30 minutes of flogging myself and a 5 minute cool down fits in perfectly with Little A’s routine and these high intensity runs are just firing me up.

And now that I am reaping the benefits of all this speed work I am wondering if all my efforts are a little bit wasted on a half marathon when I am only doing one token long run per week. Should I be focusing on shorter distances in which I will be able to maximise my speed work training and focus on the longer distances when I am focusing my training more on distance?

Do I shoot for the longer distance or do I focus on achieving 5km and 10km PBs? There are pros and cons of both for me at the moment. For example the shorter speed sessions are easier to fit in but the longer slower sessions will be easier to do when I start running with the pram soon. Realistically I could achieve both this year but even then which should I do first? Should I peak my fitness and then build up distance or build up distance and then work on speed? Decisions, decisions!

Well at least I have something to think about on my training runs this week. Hopefully I can make a decision by the end of the week and adjust my program accordingly.

All in all it wasn’t my best week of running but its not always going to be sunshine and roses. On that note here’s my favourite quote for the week:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”

That kind of run

On Wednesday I endured one of those runs where nothing goes your way and you wonder why you bothered trying! In a wee 40 minutes I had to contend with all of the following:

Mosquitos
A mosquito or two wouldn’t usually bother me but I wasn’t about to let the nasty things near Little A and his precious skin. I was pretty sure dowsing him in aeroguard wasn’t a good idea so I raced inside looking for a solution. . . a “food throw”! It worked a treat at mosquito-proofing his little rocker. . . I thought it was a genius idea!

YAWN. . . Too tired to care that mum has decorated me in kitchen linen

Hair Problems
I finally got my warm up out and was re-tying my hair ready for the business end of the run and my hair tie snapped. There was no way I was getting off the belt again so I made do.

Lack of support
Once I was up to pace I discovered that I hadn’t managed to put a proper sports bra on in my rush and was uh well. . . bouncing around. Again, I was not getting of this treadmill so I stuffed my shirt up the bottom of my bra hoping the extra padding would “lock” them in. (sort of helped. . .not really!)

Pit stop
Moments later I realised that I hadn’t made a pit stop before I started. Pre-baby this wouldn’t have been a big deal but a 40 minute run on a full bladder these days. . . not so good. But I decided to endure as long as I could. . . I really didn’t want to get off again!

Chaffing
By the 20 minute mark I started to feel that horrible rubbing and stinging feeling that can only be chafing. Getting off the treadmill for vaseline or to change shorts wasn’t an option so I tucked my shorts up into my knickers (yes I was quite the sight at this stage!) I was finishing this damn run and I didn’t care if my inner thighs were red raw at the end of it!

So with Little A taking refuge under a food throw, my shirt tucked up my bra, my shorts stuffed up my knickers, my wild hair flying every where and a full bladder I pounded out my 40 mins.

Oh how my life has changed. There is no time to be a “princess” and get things in order for my run anymore. . . if Little A is asleep I start running and don’t stop for anything. My running time is precious and not a minute of it will get wasted.