Category Archives: recap

Folsom International Trithlon: Race Report

On Sunday, I completed my first olympic distance triathlon! If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know that I was most nervous about the swim. But thanks to my wetsuit and some extra swim practice the last few weeks, I made it around the course without any panic! This was also my last triathlon of the season, but I’m already looking forward to doing more next year. They are so much fun, and I know I definitely have room for improvement, and can do better triathlon-specific training.

We arrived at the park for the race extra early since transition opened at 5:30am, and we needed to pick up our packets. There were three different distance races occurring at the same time, and I wanted to make sure we had time to set up with a good spot in transition. Even though we had over 2 hours pre-race, the time went by SO fast! I was glad we got there early.

Swim: Goal — 36 minutes. Actual 32:39
We had a deep water swim start at 7:40am. As I planned, I started closer to the back of the pack — not too far back, but not on the front line. I gave myself a little room so I wouldn’t have to deal with getting kicked or swam into right away. This was the first race where I wore my wetsuit. The water was about 65 deegrees, and it felt perfect with the wetsuit on. I think the wetsuit helped me a ton! It makes it so much easier to keep your hips up and glide through the water. I was able to keep my breath steady, and stay calm throughout the swim, which I am so proud of myself for!

T1: Actual 2:33
I have never been able to time my transitions before, since the sprint triathlon I have done doesn’t time all the splits. Because of that I really had no idea what my transition times would be! During T1 I struggled a little bit to get my wetsuit off my ankles — it got stuck on the ankle timing chip. Something to practice, I guess.

Bike: Goal — 1:24. Actual: 1:23:05 (18.3 mph)
I was hoping to finish with a pace of at least 18 miles/hr. I ended up just barely over, so I was glad about that. According to my garmin (actually remembered it this time!), my mileage was a little long (about 26.25 mile). I started a little slow, and also had to slow some at the end due to lots of quick turns with not much space. Most of the time I just focused on keeping my legs moving and getting in some calories and water throughout.

There was one confusing turn where the sprint and international distance triathletes were supposed to turn right, and half iron (long course) distance triathletes were supposed to turn left. The signage only really showed sprint and long, so several international distance racers weren’t really sure which way to go. The volunteers also were a little confused. I know this made it difficult for several racers. Ryan actually ended up going the wrong way for over five miles, before turning around to the right course. I chose the right direction, but was very uncertain for a while if I made the right choice. I am so glad I did!

T2: Actual 1:26
I felt pretty quick in this transition. I had to run to the opposite end of the transition area to the run out. I think quick laces would help me be a little faster, so maybe for next season

Run: Goal — 55 minutes. Actual: 52:38 (8:26/mi pace)
In general, I thought the run went pretty well. Since I haven’t been very good about practicing brick workouts this summer, I wasn’t sure what my pace would be to run a 10k off the bike. I decided to settle into a comfortable pace for the first half, and push it with whatever I had left on the way back. The run course had some rolling hills, but none that were too crazy. At about mile 4, my stomach started to feel funny and I was burping a bit, so I stopped drinking water and just put whatever I had left out there until the end.

Overall: Goal — Finish under 3 hours. Final time: 2:52:21

There ended up being only 3 women in my age group who finished the race. I think one (who was super speedy!) likely went the wrong way at that confusing corner on the bike, and probably rode 56 miles! Because of that, I finished 1st in my age group!!

Check out the sweet swag!

My first olympic triathlon was a huge success! I am getting more and more comfortable in the water, and I finished under my time goal! I am excited to do a more focused triathlon training plan to improve my bike speed, transitions, and maybe my run after the bike.

I am really loving triathlon right now, and can’t wait to complete more next year!

Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon: Race Recap

Saturday morning I completed the Tri for Fun sprint triathlon. Yep, this is the same one I did back in early June! TBF Racing hosts 3 of the same tri over the course of the summer. The great thing about it is that you know how you are improving because it is the same route. One thing I do wish this race had is timing for each sport rather than just overall time. It would be nice to have official times for swim, bike, run and transitions.

Because of my calf strain earlier in the week, my plan for this race was to simply go out and have fun. I have been working on my swimming — trying to feel more comfortable in the water. I told myself that if I got to the run, and my calf hurt I was ok with walking to the finish. Being uninjured is more important than running in this one race.

Swim: 0.5 miles ~17 mins (I think…I always forget to look at the clock!)

I am always a little intimidated by the swim start. I am usually a middle of the pack swimmer. The water was really warm, so I did not wear my wet suit. I started out right with the group, but got a little nervous about running into people, so I think I slowed down a bit. My first buoy turn was a little wide, so I think I ended up swimming a little extra. In general, I felt pretty good throughout the swim, and seemed to keep my heart rate under control. I am slowly feeling more confident in the water.

Bike: 16 miles

In my August race, I used my garmin during the bike and run in the multi sport mode. This was really nice, and I was planning to do that again. During T1, however, I forgot to put on the watch. I didn’t realize until I was about a half mile into the bike. Oops! Guess I was going to be biking by feel. I told myself to let my heart rate settle, but get into a comfortably hard pace. Hold it there until the turn around, then hammer it back to transition.

On the bike I passed a few women right away. I wanted to start picking people off. When I approached the turn around, I counted the number of women ahead of me. There were 12. By the time I finished the bike, there were 9. I knew that two were super speedy women from the swim wave after me, and at least one was only 14! The wind was a little against us on the way back. Throughout the bike I ate 3 Clif Bloks, and drank about half my water bottle. I felt good and strong throughout the bike.


Run: 3 miles

When I got back to transition for the bike, I decided not to run with my garmin either. I didn’t want to push myself to injury for a certain pace. Going by feel again. My calf felt fairly good…it was little tight at times, but no real pain, so I ran the whole way. I drank a cup or two of water during the run. One woman who I passed during the bike passed me on the run, but she was not in my age group. Otherwise I held my position.

I enjoyed not knowing my pace at the time to keep me from stressing over it. Now I wish I knew what I ran though! Haha.

These are some of the most intense race photos I think I have ever taken! The one on the left with the men chasing after me kind of cracks me up.

Finish: 1:34:53     (11th Overall woman and 3rd in my age group)

The girl next to me on the 2nd place podium stood up to collect awards for a couple of her friends or sisters. She was so excited to be up there.

Overall it was a great day, and I was so excited to get over a 2 minute PR over my June time on the same course. I was also incredibly thankful that my calf felt good and the race didn’t cause any additional issues. Up next is my first olympic distance triathlon this weekend!!

Also, a huge thank you to my friends Matt and Beko for taking all these amazing race photos!!

Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon: Race Recap

Saturday morning I completed a sprint distance triathlon at Rancho Seco Park called the Tri for Fun. It consisted of a 0.5 mile swim, 16 mile bike, and 3 mile run.

The park is about 45 minutes away for our house, and Ryan and I wanted to be sure to arrive by the time the transition area opened to get a good spot. So we got up at 4:30am, and rolled out by 5:30. There are so many things to pack for a tri that we were both worried we forgot something. Especially because we were also packing for a night of camping. Luckily, we did not. 🙂

Since we arrived early, we got a great spot in transition, right next to the bike in and run out. Also not far from the bike out. We picked up our bib numbers, and got body marked.

The race seemed to start right on time with the first wave of men swimmers at 8:00. Since I hadn’t gotten the chance to do a swim in my wetsuit, and the water felt pretty warm, I decided not to wear it. Women under 30 started in the 4th wave at 8:15.

{Pre-swim stretching}

As the swim started, I did a pretty good job of not getting worked up by the open water or going out too fast. It can feel daunting to see how far away the buoys are. I felt like all the women had surged out ahead of me, and I thought I fell behind right away. I just tried to keep moving, and hoped I could catch up on the bike and run. I did a better job than last year at sighting and staying on course, even though the second buoy was impossible to see in the sun glare! I did not see the clock when I finished the swim, so I’m not totally sure what my time was….but I’d estimate about 19 minutes.

{Heading to transition from the swim}

I ran up to transition, and as quickly as I could dried my feet, threw on my shoes, sunglasses , helmet and watch and stuffed some chews in my pocket.

When I got on the bike I saw one girl ahead of me, and decided my goal was to start picking people off. The bike course starts a down hill (to get out of the park) for about 2 miles, then goes down a road for about 6 miles until the turn around and heads straight back. I was able to pass a couple women in the bike. It seemed like there was a little head wind on the way out. The first half the bike was a bit slower than I wanted. As soon as I turned around I was able to pick up the pace a bunch! I think I averaged over 20mph the whole ride back until some of the uphill portion. My bike pace ended up at 18.6mph — half a mile per hour faster than last year.

At this point, in my head I was not doing very well, and was moving slower than last year — I hadn’t looked up my times, but thought I remembered what they were. I hoped I could at least do well on the run. T2 was also pretty quick. It was great that my spot in transition was so close to the bike in and run out. I threw on my sneakers, and grabbed my bib number and visor and head out.

If I had to describe the run in one word it would be HOT. The run is on a clay path, and is kind of rocky with small rolling hills and no shade coverage. I did not pass any women in the run. I tried to just keep pushing as hard as I could even when my quads were burning. I dumped water over my head at the water station to try to stay cool. My legs finally started feeling more normal with one mile to go. My average pace was 8:18/mile, about 30 seconds/mi faster than last year.

Throughout the race I had convinced myself I was so far behind. I thought I was slower than than last year — believing I had swam slower, biked the same, and ran the same. In reality, I swam about the same, transitioned faster, biked faster and ran faster this year. I didn’t realize how well I was doing until I could see the timing clock! It’s amazing how many different aspects there are to work on during a triathlon!

{Almost to the finish!!}

My final time was 1:37:15. Good enough for 3rd in my age group and 8th woman overall. A 5 min PR over last year!

{Ryan finished 2nd in his AG, and 18th overall!}

Even though I somehow didn’t think I was doing better than last year for a lot of the race, I didn’t let it defeat me. I just kept telling myself to do the best I could. Just finish the race and enjoy it. I guess I should’ve done a better job of looking up my previous race splits rather than trying to just remember them from a year ago! Haha.

But I had a lot of fun! I’m proud of myself for staying strong and doing my best. And will probably be searching for another triathlon for this summer. 🙂

THANKS to Matt for taking so many great photos!

Cleveland Half Marathon: Race Recap

Ryan and I flew out to Cleveland on a red-eye Thursday night, arriving Friday morning. It was great to be able to spend some time with family in addition to running the Cleveland half marathon. I’m actually writing this up on our flight back to California — I haven’t posted sooner since we were busy! I’ll focus this post on the race, but I’ll probably write another on the other fun things we did in Cleveland later this week.

Race morning was pretty typical. Cleveland Marathon has a 7am start. We had about a 30 minute drive and wanted to make sure to be early, so Ryan and I got up around 4:45am — so early!
We didn’t run into any big issues getting to the race start, except that the parking garage we had mapped to seemed non-existent, but there were plenty of lots nearby that were available. We hit up some porta-potties in a little park before reaching the race start area because we didn’t actually know what it was going to be like. This actually turned out to be a good thing for Ryan since the men’s room lines were even more crazy than the women’s room lines! It was cool to be able to walk around the Cleveland Browns stadium before the race. 
The start line was just outside the stadium, and there were big flags noting the pace corrals. I lined up near the 8:30/mile signs. It wasn’t too overly crowded, which was nice. Before the on-time start, they had someone sing the national anthem, and a moment of silence for Boston. One of the Cleveland Cavaliers wished us good luck and they also played some music to pump us up including “Cleveland Rocks”! It took me a couple minutes to actually get across the starting line.
The start of the race is actually uphill, but I didn’t mind because that helped me make sure to start out slow. I really tried not to worry much about pace for the first mile, just keep it easy. I hadn’t studied the course too much, so I wasn’t totally sure how hilly it would actually be. Turns out — not too bad, but a few overpasses, and a few gradual longer inclines (luckily all followed by declines). Mile 2 was downhill, and I still tried to make sure it felt easy. My watch showed me going at a pretty fast pace, but I tried not to let it make me nervous and focus on feel. 
Miles 1-3: 8:45, 8:09, 8:16
Somewhere at the end of mile 2, I found a guy who was going a great pace for me — about 8:20/mi. I tried to just follow along behind him. This was really great because I was getting bored already!! This whole stretch of road so far didn’t have much to look at and was actually like running on a highway. Unfortunately, I lost him at an aid station around mile 4.5. But thankfully the crowd picked up for a little while.
At this point, my pace had settled down and I was just trying to maintain speed and keep things reasonably comfortable until mile 10. I crossed the 10k split mat at 52:19. I felt pretty hot during most of the race, and made sure to drink water and/or gatorade at every aid station. I also dumped a cup of water on my head each time to cool me down. 
Miles 4-10: 8:21, 8:16, 8:24, 8:14, 8:15, 8:20, 8:20
At mile 10, I looked at my watch and realized I had about 27 minutes left to run the last 5k and make my goal time of sub 1:50. I was starting to feel tired but knew I could turn it up a little. I was trying to do the math in my head on the seconds I needed to drop. I decided to aim for as close to 8 minute miles as I could so I didn’t miss my goal. Miles 11 and 12 turned out to have a couple big overpasses, but I powered up them as hard as I could!
The last half mile was (oh so thankfully!!) downhill. I just let my legs ride and pushed it to the finish….trying to focus on breathing and not my exhausted legs!
Miles 11-13.1: 8:17, 7:56, 7:41, 1:41 (for last 0.24 miles)
My official finish time was 1:48:50! I was excited! I made my goal by over a minute!!! A 2-minute PR over the Oakland Half marathon.
Afterward it took a while to find everyone — the finisher’s area was super crowded with both 10k runners and half marathoners coming in. The first marathoner wasn’t far away either so there were a TON of spectators. Once we all met up, we enjoyed a celebratory post-race beer.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty good race. The bag check area was super organized, but I think there could have been a better family meeting space. The course I thought was a little unexciting, with a big stretch on the highway, and many of the roads with potholes. My favorite miles were 4-6 when there was good crowd support and it was through some of the neighborhoods. 
I did an OK job of running the tangents, which was my other goal for this race. According to my Garmin, I ran 13.24miles. Most of the race was fairly crowded, so I think some of this also had to do with weaving around people.
My legs have been sore since Sunday, so I know I worked hard! Yesterday and today I have been relaxing with family and flying back to California, so they are getting some good rest. I’ll probably be keeping the remainder of the week pretty easy.
Whew — this turned out to be a pretty long recap! Still can’t quite believe I actually have a half marathon time sub-1:50. Yay!

Capital City Classic 10K: Race Recap

Last week I last minute signed up for a 10k for Sunday morning — the Capital City Classic. After learning I made it on the Nuun Hood to Coast team, I wanted to have a more up to date 10k time, since the last time I ran one was a year ago. In fact, it was this same race last year!

So, Sunday morning I got up bright and early for the race. The temperatures were going to be warm, and race start wasn’t until 8:00am, so I made sure to wear lightweight clothing. (Check out this post for a few other tips for hot weather running)

We arrived at the start area about 7:15am, and everything seemed very organized. Not too many people were around yet. We still had to pick up our bibs, so I did that right away without any issues. The organization that runs the race (Change of Pace Foundation) had blue and yellow ribbons out you could wear in honor of Boston.

Afterward, I got in the bathroom line.  Good thing I did right away because the lines got crazy long! In fact, they actually pushed back the start time by 5 minutes to help ensure not as many people missed the start. I am sure there were still people in line though when we got going. Next year, I suggest more portapoties than just 20!

Before the race started at 8:05am, we had a moment of silence for Boston. I apprecited that the race organizers really did a good job of recognizing the events in Boston both with this moment of silence and the ribbons.

{pre-race with my Run for Boston ribbons}

The race had a 5k, 10k and 10 mile options and all 3 races started together. Because of that the beginning of the race was a little crowded, but it didn’t seem to be an issue. The first half of the course was nice and flat, running a small loop along the Sacramento River and into Old Sacramento.

Miles 1-3: 7:50, 7:53, 7:43

The second half of the course was a little tougher — again still mostly flat, but it had a few sections of gravel, one spot to run between big boulders and some running on a boardwalk. It also had a couple steep but short inclines and declines on those gravel sections. I was nervous running down the gravel! Luckily, no falling occurred! There was also one spot where it was a little unclear which way the 10k and 10 mile runners were supposed to go, but the volunteer helped point it out at the last second.

Miles 4-finish: 7:45, 7:42, 7:37, 7:14 pace for last 0.2

By the end of the race, I was getting pretty warm, and was working hard to keep up the pace. I was hoping I’d be able to keep pretty close to my pace at the Running of the Elk race — and I did! I’m also excited I was able to get a slight negative split. Not going out too fast is something I have been trying to focus on.

Official finish time: 48:20. (7:47/mi pace)

Good enough in this little local race for 2nd place in my age group and 5th overall woman! Sweet!! This is nearly 45 seconds per mile faster for me than this same race last year. I’m so excited by this improvement!

{Ryan and I celebrating our 2nd place age group finishes!}

The 10-miler runners were given finishers medals, but there was also an optional participation medal to purchase if you did the 5k or 10k. Ryan bought one to include on his medal rack, but we also ended up both bringing home Age Group Awards medals too. Change of Pace does a great job on their medals — and this race was no exception. Check them out!

 {medals with the women’s tech tee}

{participation medal and award winner medal}

I always think it is fun when a race gives out a good medal — something earned and to be proud of. I have decided every time I run a good race, it just makes me want to sign up and do another one! I’m already looking forward to my next race in May.

There are a lot of races between last weekend and this weekend. Did you race last weekend? What’s next on your race calendar?

Running of the Elk Half Marathon Relay: Race Recap

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that Ryan and I had a great race on Sunday morning in the Running of the Elk Half Marathon Relay. In fact, we won the coed division!

Our team is the Fat Penguins
Still working on perfecting a penguin drawing.

Since everyone likes to hear all the details, let’s start at the beginning. Race start was 8am, but we had about a 20 minute drive and still needed to get our packets, so we got up around 5am. Our friends Matt & Raechel were also running the relay, so we all drove to the race start together. We swung by the race start for the guys to pick up our race packets and once they brought back our bibs Raechel and I headed to the exchange point.

Ryan was running the first leg (7.5 miles) and I ran the second leg (5.6 miles) for our team. I don’t know much about the race start since I headed over to the exchange right away. But the exchange point was set up well with a few portopotties and a radio station and drumline for entertainment.

The actual exchange seemed a little confusing for the first few teams. I think the race organizers originally wanted relay runners to leave the main road to exchange and the second runner to return to the road. But it didn’t really happen that way. Instead, after the first runner crossed the timing mat, they just high fived the second runner and #2 continued running. I think it worked out ok since the race wasn’t very big, once a couple teams had gone through. With more runners, this may have gotten in the way of the half marathoners.

Anyway — Ryan was hoping to maintain at least a 7 min/mi pace for his leg, putting him arriving at the exchange around 53 minutes. He was actually able to cross a minute or so early, and his average pace was about 6:53. (Of course, I didn’t know exactly what his pace was until we finished). But what I did know was that he was only the third relay person across the timing mat, and the first in the coed relay! It was then my turn to keep us moving ahead!

Relay exchange is so exciting and it really pumps you up to get tagged in to run! I started the first 0.25 miles of my leg going way too fast! I guess I was just excited!!! I realized pretty quickly though and started to slow down.

Since the race was on the smaller side (around 800 half marathoners), and Ryan kept a good pace, runners in our area were very spread out. It was so strange to be running nearly alone in a race. The runners near me were also keeping a faster pace, so I was passed by a couple right away. But then it was mostly just me trying to keep up my pace and chase down the faster guys. I was only passed by one woman (first woman in the half marathon)! I also only recognized one guy who passed me as being part of the relay. So, generally I knew we were doing pretty well.

My goal was finish with an average pace of less than 8 min/mi. My estimated 10k time from McMillanRunning based on my most recent half marathon pace was a 7:52/mi, but I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to maintain that. I ended up being able to run my leg of the relay in 7:44/mi! Much better than I thought I could do! Ryan said he thought he ran about 0.05 miles too short, and I ran my leg a little long. Our overall distance according to our watches was 13.15 miles.

My splits were:
Mile 1 – 7:40 (oops, too fast!)
Mile 2 – 7:53 (that’s better — feeling more maintainable)
Mile 3 – 7:45 (finally in a rhythm — no longer thinking about pace too much)
Mile 4 – 7:47
Mile 5 – 7:52
Mile 0.7 – 7:25 min/mi

I crossed the finish line for our relay team in 1:35:20!! I was so freaking excited! I just knew we had won it! I saw Ryan right after I crossed the finish line and gave him the BIGGEST hug!

After I finished, we wandered around the finish line area for a while, and cheered on Raechel to the finish. Then we scrounged up some pancakes (best post race food!) and picked up our award once our time was official! I also found my friend Ana who raced the half. She’s currently training for her first full marathon!

Our award was this awesome Running of the Elk tile — actually we each got one, so we have two. Now we are trying to decide where to put them! Maybe on the mantle?! Gotta celebrate our victories and improved performance, right?

Half medal was a little larger than the relay medal. 
They also even gave super tiny medals for the 5k — seemed like a fun idea for families and kids!

Now we are both on a runner’s high, and thinking of the next running race! (You can probably already tell based on all exclamation points.) We might do a 10k or 10 miler in a few weeks, and our next half marathon is in Cleveland in the middle of May. Already looking forward to it.

Oakland Half Marathon Race Recap

Since last week’s race was supposed to be my goal half marathon this spring, I planned to go to the Oakland Half Marathon with a laid-back attitude. I won an entry into this race from PavementRunner‘s giveaway a couple months ago. I was really looking forward to racing in a new location. When I signed up, Ryan decided to race this one as well! As an added bonus, we have friends who live one mile from the race start, so we had a great place to stay, an easy race morning commute, and fans to cheer us on!

The half marathon started at 9:15am — a later start, but it allowed for closer finish times with the marathon (which started at 7:30am). Since the marathon and 5k were already started, the race start area was pretty quiet. The only minor issue we had before the race start was in the bag check — the signs weren’t quite right, so it was a little hard to tell which line to get in. But it worked out ok.

The race started right on time. At the gun, they blew a a huge burst of confetti to run through — it was so fun! The course had a TON of turns, especially in the first 3 miles. This made it hard to run the tangents well since there were so many runners at this point too!

Once I got going, I realized my legs were feeling pretty good, and not too sluggish from the Shamrockin’ Half, so I decided to run a similar pace and see how it went. This race was amazing because there were SO MANY people out cheering at every point along this course!! I think it ranks as one of the most spectated races I have been a part of! I think I had a huge smile on my face for almost all of this race. Check out some of my race photos.

By the last 3 miles, I was definitely getting tired… but the last 3 miles of a half I always feel so close to the finish that it somehow pulls me along. Our friends were out cheering at mile 10, so it was fun to see them! Then, there was a DJ playing some great music with about 0.75 miles left to go that really fired me up to push hard to the finish. The last 0.2 miles are up a small hill (that after running so long makes it feel difficult!), but you could see the finish line right there at the top!

Based on my Garmin, I ran 13.35 miles, with an average pace of 8:20/mi! My official time was 1:50:52 — 11 seconds faster than last week! Ryan also had a great race, and had a big PR — his official finish time was 1:37:17!

Needless to say, we were excited to celebrate with a post-race beer! This race gave two drinks after the race, but we shared with our friends so they could celebrate with us.

Overall, I thought this was a very well run race. The bands and music along the course were great. The crowd support was amazing. Definitely one to consider doing again in the future. Thanks PavementRunner for the opportunity!

Lucky Shamrock’n

The Shamrock’n Half Marathon was scheduled as my goal race for this spring season. After getting a few second PR on somewhat minimal training at the Davis Stampede in early February, I knew I had a lot more in me! So, I started trying to be more consistent with my weekly runs, and also added in speedwork.

This year the Shamrock’n Half increased its number of participants to 7,500. It seems to be one of the most popular races around here, so we were sure to sign up early! But with so many people racing, today we wanted to be sure that we made it to the race early to not feel rushed before the start. Race start time was 7:45, and we arrived at 6:20 — probably a little earlier than necessary, but not much after we arrived the traffic really started backing up! I was glad we got there early — I’d rather be early and relaxed than sit in traffic and get worried about missing my start.

There were 4 waves to the start (every 15 minutes), but I was in the first wave, so I didn’t have to wait around. The race organizers did a good job of making sure people stayed in the correct wave. The race seemed to start right on time and without any issues!

Rockin’ some neon green with my ProCompression socks and NWM t-shirt!

The course for Shamrock’n is really nice — curves through downtown Sacramento a bit, then followed along a bike path for a few miles before heading back into downtown and finishing in the local baseball stadium (just like yesterday’s Biggest Loser Walk). Overall it is flat with a couple super tiny “hills” on bridges to go over the river. They also have bands every few miles to keep you entertained.

I have to admit, even though this was my 10th half marathon, I was nervous before the start. Does that ever go away? I mean, I don’t mind it but its just a little funny to me. I guess when you put in so much time/effort into training for something it makes sense. I usually relax once I’m a mile or so into the race….this one was no different.

Honestly, this race really flew by for me. The first couple miles of the race were pretty crowded, but I tried not to do too much weaving. My first mile was a 8:28, which I thought was too fast, but that race adrenaline always gets me a little. I was able to slow it down a tiny bit the next two miles to 8:41, which was about where I actually wanted to start. After that I just stopped thinking so much about pace and just let myself get comfortable and ride it out for a while, which turned out to be back to about 8:24-8:28. My plan was to keep up this pace until mile 10 and then turn it up for the last 5k.

I was able to do exactly that! Mile 12 I started getting tired so my pace slowed a tiny bit, but for the last 1.1, I was able to pick it back up again to finish off strong!

My final time was 1:51:03 — a PR by 5 minutes!!! I’m SO excited! Even two days later, I’m still on cloud nine.

 Of course I had to get a post- race Killian’s Irish Red on St. Patrick’s Day!

Afterward we hung around to cheer on some other friend to the finish, have a post-race beer, and recap the events. Actually Ryan and I and two of our friends all PR’ed! It was a very exciting day! Now I’m so excited to keep working on speed and seeing what I can do!

Haircut and a 5k

It was a pretty low key week this week. I continued my P90x routine (only a few more weeks to go!), but skipped out on the legs workout yesterday because of my goal half marathon tomorrow.

Instead of the workout, I got my hair cut! I seriously hadn’t gotten my hair cut in close to 10 months! I know, I know — I’m lazy about the hair cuts. Now I feel fresh and ready for spring! I always think it feels so funny to wash my hair after cutting so much off. Also, the stylist curled it, which I hardly ever do! It was fun to have a new style all afternoon! Today, its back to being straight. 

before                                                                       after

This morning, Ryan and I walked the Biggest Loser Inaugural 5K Run/Walk in Sacramento in support of getting people moving, and as a work even for Ryan’s young professionals group. We debated for a while when we were signing up whether to run or walk it. We ended up deciding to walk since we want to make sure we are not tired out for our race tomorrow too, and a few others from his work were also planning to walk it. Ryan and I walked the race together, which was awesome! It was so great to talk and catch up since he was traveling for work all week. Our final finishing time was about 42:25 (13:41/mi pace).

Overall, I think the Biggest Loser 5K was a great environment for first time runners and walkers. There was one water station, and a couple groups of people at “cheer stations”. We finished the race by entering through the back of the local baseball stadium, and going around the warning track. The volunteers were very good, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Overall the environment seemed really welcoming to just getting people up and moving, and enjoying the day! There were even awards for the top 3 places in each age group for both runners and walkers separately. And everyone got a participation medal! We got an extra little shamrock keychain for doing both today’s event, and participating in tomorrow’s half. Ryan won 1st for men’s walkers in his age group!

Tomorrow morning is the Shamrock’n Half Marathon! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Do you watch The Biggest Loser TV show? We have watched the last few seasons, and have really gotten into it. It is great to see people taking control of their lives and gaining self confidence.

Have you ever walked a race instead of running? This was my first time walking a race!

Davis Stampede Race Recap

Race day for the Davis Stampede started with my usual morning wakeup. I had a bar and a banana for breakfast and went back to bed for 2 more hours.

The race started at 8am, and was only 20 minutes away, so I didn’t have to get up too early. My second alarm went off at 6:15.

Once we got to the race start area, we got all our stuff together. Time seemed to go quickly and the bathroom line was pretty long, so we ended up jumping in the start line with only a minute to go!

My initial goal was to aim for about a 2:00 half marathon.

The first mile I completed at a 9:08, and felt great! The pacer for 2:00 passed me after 1.5 miles– she was going a little too fast I think, but I decided to just stick with her. She slowed down after realizing she was going too fast, but I was feeling so good that I decided to keep up the speedy pace.

At mile 6 I stopped for a quick pit stop. What felt like a short stop actually increased my average pace by 7 seconds! Killer. But I kept plugging along.

Miles 6-8 were on a gravelly path, which felt much more difficult than running on pavement. I give props to those who do trail running!

In the last few miles, my legs were really feeling tired, but I kept myself moving as fast as my short little legs could carry me.

My final time was 1:56:06. A PR by 5 seconds!!

 I am SO proud of this since I don’t feel like I did my best training, and I also had the pit stop. It makes me so much more excited to see how I will do in March after putting in some more mileage.

Not only did I PR, but Ryan had a HUGE PR in his 10k. He beat his previous time by 3 minutes! I am so excited for him.

 We celebrated another great day of racing by hanging out with friends, playing games, eating lots of amazing food, and watching the Super Bowl (in compression gear, of course).

Rockin’ the ProCompression socks and CW-X capri’s

Can’t wait to see how the rest of my 2013 racing season goes!