Monday, May 30, 2016

Sunday Runday: Holmdel Park

It's hard to believe we're at Memorial Day already! Where is this year going?

This may seem like a random post, but yesterday was kind of a random run, so why not?

I had to take my sister to work yesterday since her car wasn't working. I had originally planned to go to the gym for a 30 minute spin and Power class. However, after I dropped her off, I really wasn't feeling the gym too much. I wanted to run, but not in my usual spot around town. All of my running gear (sneakers, Garmin, RoadID, and headphones) was already with me, so I decided to take a side trip to Holmdel Park, which I heard was beautiful and someplace I never went to. I looked up directions on my phone, and was off!

It took me about 15-20 minutes to get to the park, and I was able to get parking easily too, since it was about 9:00 in the morning when I got there. There were people, but not so many that I had to worry about crowding. Win!

I only had my large liter of water with me, which I didn't want to carry while I was running. Thankfully, I had an empty small one in my car and the park had fountains at their restrooms where people could fill their bottles. Awesome!

I've seen these fountains at the hospital, and wish more places would install them! Makes refilling bottles so easy!

Once I filled up and went to the restroom, I checked out the map so I had an idea where I was going. This park is a popular spot for running, as many schools in the area have cross country meets here and several 5K's are held here too.

Not the best quality pic, but whatever. It'll do. ;-)

As for my running plan? I didn't have one! I just wanted to enjoy the run and the scenery. This was my first time running in a park, and really didn't want to set expectations too high. 

I did exactly what I wanted to. 

The terrain was extremely mixed, with anything from flat to hilly, and paved roads to trails and gravel. It was challenging at times, not just from the terrain, but the heat. It was fine when I got there, but started to feel hot after awhile. I just pulled back the pace and enjoyed the views. 

As for this hill part of the park, I think I ran almost as much as I walked! Not too shabby for this girl who usually runs on flat roads! 

After a few loops, I made it back to my car and decided to call it a day. I had no plan, but impressed myself with what I did!

Nothing too fast, but not bad for a hot run with mixed terrain!

I enjoyed this so much yesterday that I think I might sneak in a few more trips to this park throughout the season! However, I think trail shoes are a must for this area. I was feeling it when I hit the dirt and gravel. Road running shoes will work, but I think I could benefit from something with a little more traction. 

Takeaway from yesterday: It's not always about making good time, but having a good time. You bet I did!

Have you ever decided to change your workout spur of the moment? How did it work for you?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Spring Into Summer 5K (Middletown, NJ)

I learned two things from Saturday's race:

1) Not every race can be a PR (course or overall).
2) 2016 is looking to be the year of "Progress, not perfection."

This has become a race that I look forward to every year. I mean, with an awesome atmosphere, a pretty flat course, and a reasonable cost, it can't be beat! So, you bet I was excited for my fifth straight Spring Into Summer!

Therefore, I won't be going into too many specs on this race itself. I've done it enough, so you get the idea of it by now. ;-)

I went with yellow as my main race color for the NJM 5K, and was feeling the same vibe for this one. I also wanted to rep the We Run Social crew, so you know what shirt I was going with! 

In addition to the shirt, I got a We Run Social Momentum wrap, thanks to a collaboration with Pavey! I ordered it on Sunday, and hoped it would get to me by Friday. Sure enough, it was waiting for me on Friday afternoon when I got home from work!

You know I wore this on Saturday too! ;-)

First off, I can't say how awesome it was to go back to a morning race. I was able to get up, eat, check my socials, and go! 

I got to the race site and kind of just mingled until it was time to line up. I got there too early, so time seemed to drag more than in the past. Oh well.

Once we lined up, I got a selfie that was not the best and too late for me to post to Insta, but I actually used it to link up to this post. Here you go. 

I'm sure the guy behind me knew I was crazy. Guess some people don't run social. Haha.

Next thing I knew, the horn sounded, and we were off!

I had a plan like usual: Run when I felt comfortable, walk as needed, but it was really "PR or bust." My current 5K PR is 34:33, which was at the Rook Run, and I didn't even know it at the time. I knew that it would be possible on this course, and wanted it so bad.

Well, I went out too fast (AGAIN!) and hit the one mile at 11:05. Realistically, I should have known better, and once again, didn't learn my lesson. Can we say, "Pea brain?"

Anyway, I knew my second mile would be slower, and it was, at 11:33. At that point, I could either really push it and have a mile below 11:00, and still PR or accept that this would not be a PR day, and try to enjoy the last mile, and at least negative split the second and third miles.

Well, I knew it wasn't my day, but I still didn't negative split the last two miles. I came in at 12:04. I knew the PR was gone, but I could still at least finish faster than I did three weeks ago.

I gave it all I had, and ended the last 0.10 or so at exactly 1:00. I flew across the finish, and I finished another race!  

Shortly after I crossed, I stopped my Garmin, and had a time of 35:43 for 3.13 miles. I had just gotten a course personal worst. I was super disappointed with that for sure. I had said all week that the goal was "PR or bust" Well, I busted alright. 

I hung out for a bit to see the later finishers come in, and to see official times. It turns out that my official time was 35:34 (11:28 pace). I was just over a minute slower than my PR, but 36 seconds faster than my race three weeks earlier. Still not in the brightest of spirits, but I felt a little better. 

Since I didn't get a full body shot before the race, I got one before I left. Not the most flattering pic, but here you go. Also included are the Garmin shot and my Momentum bracelets of the day. 

Overall, I learned that not every race is a PR, and you don't know what version of you or the course will show up on race day. It was not a perfect day weather wise, as has been the norm for the last few weeks. Aside from feeling like I busted, I had an awesome experience again, my outfit was a hit (must have been all the, and I know that this is not my last time on this course. I know that faster races are coming too, this year and in years to come. You can bet I will be back on this course in 2017!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

NJM 5K (Long Branch, NJ)

Confession: I am not a fan of afternoon races. I was thisclose to backing out of this one when they announced the time switch from 8:30 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon. 

However, I decided to suck it up and run anyway since I figured there's a first time for everything. 

Yesterday seemed to DRAG until it was time for me to get dressed and head to the race site in the afternoon. I decided on a yellow theme for my outfit, since I found neon yellow sleeves at the marathon expo on Friday. I knew I wanted to be in a tank, since once I got going I wouldn't want long sleeves (temperature was around 60). 

I got to the race site around 2, in time to see the end of the kids' races, which was the best part. All the kids with their medals were so cute! Can't wait until I get to do that kind of stuff with my nephew! I'll have a little running buddy soon enough! 

Anyway, even when I was down there, time seemed to DRAG until it was time to line up for the race. They had sort of a corral system in place, but it was self-seeding. I lined up with the 10:01-12:00 group, since that's what I run anyway. I wasn't going for a PR, since this was the first race of the year, but I figured about 35:00 would be a good finish. However, I knew that if I finished at a pace below 12:00/mile, then it was a good race.

The sun and wind were not doing my selfie game any favors, so this start line shot is about as good as you're going to get. ;-) 

One thing that this race taught me (for about the millionth time) is NOT to go out too fast. I did that, and hit a half mile in just over five minutes. I had to reel it in a bit, and ended up with 11:20 for my first mile. Perfect. I was well within my goal pace and having a good time.

I was running when I felt comfortable, walking when I needed, but did not stop moving once. I told myself that this was for real and every second counted. This was not a goal race, but I knew that I wanted to still have a solid outing. Oh, and enjoy the ocean views. Isn't that the point of a race along the ocean? ;-)

Another thing about this course I was not a fan of was the out-and-back part. Runners coming at you one way or another and that messes with my head a bit. I hit the water station right at 1.5 and picked the pace back up. Still, I was positive splitting, and hit the second mile at 11:36. Still within my goal pace, but made me realize that I went out too fast. Again.

Most races I am mentally spent by the time I hit the third mile, but I just kept telling myself "Keep moving forward." I ended up with a 12:14 third mile, but still felt solid. At this point, I took out my headphones and just soaked it in. I wanted to end on a positive note, and I did just that.

I pulled back a bit to save it for the end, and had a 1:04 for the final tenth mile! I crossed the finish and race #15 was in the books! 

I didn't stop my Garmin right away, so that had me at 36:13 for 3.13 miles (I started pretty much the moment I crossed the start mat), with a pace of 11:35. I hit my goal pace, so I was more than happy with that!

After I stopped my watch, I got my medal and a water, then stuck around to watch the later runners come in. I believe that the last finishers should have as much support as the earlier ones, so I cheered them in too! 

Before I left, I looked up my official results. I had a time of 36:10, with a pace of 11:39. I was still happy with that, since I had a solid race and accomplished my goal. 

Once I got back to my car, I got a better picture with my medal and the bracelets I chose to wear yesterday. 

Overall, I enjoyed this race. Running through Pier Village and along the ocean is one of my favorite things, and I got both, plus a medal in one race. The only thing that I would like is for them to move this race back to the morning, as it seems to be a better time for a race. Still, I will be back next year! I already paid for it, so I better be back! ;-)