Thursday, May 11, 2017

Where I Learn: I Am Not A Sprinter

Subtitle: Be careful what you teach your children as it may come back to bite you

Each year a local running group in my area sponsors an Open Community Track Meet. It is a fundraiser for an athletic scholarship for the local university (which I attended) and it is a really fun event that somehow I've never had a chance to participate in until this year. The event starts out with a few kids races and then several adult races, all super casual and the fun part is awards are given to 4th place finishers (as 4th place is an underappreciated placing).

2 Tough Girls Ready to Run
I talked to my little, who is 7 about it, and she was interested in competing. See she is training in order to do the Insane Inflatable race in Nov. and as excited as she is to bounce on the obstacles, she is nervous about the 5K distance. So I've been scheduling small races throughout the year to prove to her she can do it. The plan was she would do the 2 kids events (the 50 meter and 100 meter sprints) and then daddy would take her home while I did a few of the adult races. She was nervous but excited and we geared up and headed to the track.

Unfortunately on the way I got a call from the husband that he wouldn't make it in time due to a meeting at work. No big deal, a friend and her daughter would also be there and my little could hang with them while I run a few events. The meet went kinda late so we'd have to leave early which meant no 5K for me which I was ok with. Wasn't looking forward to doing 13 laps around the track anyway, that just sound's kinda boring to me.

First event was exclusive to the kids of a local school so we just watched and the little got to see what she would be doing. Next up, the kid's 50 meter. She raced in the 2nd group (1st was under 6, her wave was 7-8 year olds) and she ran her little heart out finishing solidly in the middle of the pack. Pulled up daddy on Facetime so he could watch. She was super excited and got a ribbon. Next up was the 100 meter and it didn't quite go as well for her. First of all, it was a HOT day. 84 degrees with no shade, and this was her first time sprinting. I recommended that she not run as hard as she could and instead pace herself to not run out of steam. She took that to heart and ended up placing last, which she was disappointed in. It took a bit to convince her that finishing last wasn't a big deal, that I was so proud of her for doing it and the important thing was she tried her best and had fun. That being brave enough to compete was the real win here, and it didn't matter her place. Our friends did the same and we were able to convince her. This will come back on me though.

Next up were the adult races. I first competed in a 100 meter sprint. I am not a sprinter. It was just a small group of us, 4 ladies and I managed to squeak out a 2nd place finish (1st place was WAY ahead of me though). Next event, 1 mile sprint. I took 1 look at the competition and was like, nope. It was mixed gender, only 1 other girl, and pretty sure the other competitors were about 15 years younger than me on average. I told my friend that I was going to sit it out as there was no way I could compete with them. Then I hear a little voice telling me, "Mommy, it is fine if you come in last place, what is important is that you try your best. I'll be proud of you no matter what."

After the 1 mile. I may have been last, but was still feeling strong
So you know what happened next of course. I lined up, fully expecting to get killed. And that is pretty much what happened. Although I will say, I did not technically come in last as I did pass this guy during the 2nd lap, but he quit shortly after. So I was the last one to cross the finish, but I did complete all 4 laps. Really wish I had been wearing some kind of timing so I know what my pace was, but if I had to guess, it was somewhere around just under 9 min mile, which for me is pretty great. I got a huge hug at the end and a very happy little girl who didn't feel so bad about finishing last anymore because mommy, who is a "real runner" also finished last in her event. So yeah, humbling, but worth it.

After that, I competed in one last event, the 4x 100 meter relay. We formed a team on the side of the track which consisted of 3 of us who are in a running group together and this nice guy we just met at the event. I was the 2nd leg and had a lot of fun talking to this really nervous 4th grader who had never run a relay before. I gave him some tips and made him laugh some and he did awesome. I think our team came in 5th, but I honestly wasn't paying attention, it was just for fun.

By then it was almost 7 pm and I had a little who hadn't had dinner and needed a shower so it was time to take her home. Overall, it was a lot of fun and the little said she wanted to do it again (she was sad she'd have to wait a year). But yeah, while I may compete again next year, I'll stick to distance running over sprinting thank you very much!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Kings Mountain Marathon (Half) Race Recap

This was my first year running the Kings Mountain Half Marathon, but it has quite a reputation with local running groups as it is touted as an out and back course that is somehow uphill both ways. I mean, it is on a mountain for goodness sake. I'm not going to sugar coat it, this is a tough course, but when you finish it, you feel like a total badass!
The race is pretty small, just 170 participants for both the Half and the Full which started at the same time. With it being so small, each running is given special attention, with a welcome to the race twitter post by the management company when you register, to several pre-race emails. The race management (coordinated by Adventure Geeks Productions) really get to know the racers, recognizing multi-year participants by face/name making it a real intimate race.
I did day of packet pickup and it went super smooth and quick. I arrived early and carpooled with a friend and we were able to park right at the start. Participants who arrived later would have to park a mile or so away, but there was a shuttle bus bringing them to the start, so it was not a big deal. We received bags with s really nice tech shirt, a buff and Clif bar. We were told to hold on to the bottom portion of our bib to exchange for a post race meal (burger, hot dog or chicken sandwich with chips, muffin and drink) provided by a local Boy Scout troop.
The course winds through Kings Mountain State Park, which is absolutely beautiful. It was an unusually hot and humid race day, but luckily being on the mountain cooled things slightly, plus the course is very wooded so there was lots of shade. I considered not wearing my sunglasses, but glad I did for the last 2 miles when the sun came up fully. The first 4.5 miles of the Half was on paved road, which wasn't closed, but very minimal traffic (the Half and the Full followed the same route for just over a mile with the Half turning left and the Full turning right). After cresting a pretty big hill, the next 5 miles (consisting of about 2.5 miles down and then back again at the half way point) of the Half were on a gravel road with some pretty decent up and downs. At the turn around there was a port-a-potty and an aide station. The course had fully stocked aide stations about every 2. 5 miles with water, Gatorade, gels, protein bars and toilet paper (just in case you needed to hit the woods) and lots of volunteers cheering on the runners. At mile 10, someone was handing out cold towels and ice. The last 4.5 miles was running back to the start but somehow, the hills seemed so much worse the 2nd time around, esp the one at around 11.5 miles. I really had to push myself up that one and I think everyone within my sight walked a portion of it (including me).
At the finish, there were lots of people cheering runners and the race director called out each person as they crossed the line. The medal was awesome and doubled as a bottle opener. Despite the hills, heat and humidity, I managed a 3rd place age group finish! The awards ceremony was really nice with place boxes for award winners to stand on. Overall winners were given glass plaques while AG winners were given pint glasses with the race logo. It was awesome.
In summary, this race was a challenge, probably the hardest race I've ever done, but also one of the most enjoyable and best managed. I will absolutely do it again next year. Highly, highly recommend!!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

For the Love of Oofos

My Project Pink Oofos. <3
This is a long overdue post that I have been meaning to make. About a month ago, I received via a contest on Twitter during a #BibChat, a free pair of Oofos Recovery Sandals. Let me just get this out of the way, THEY ARE THE BEST THINGS THAT I'VE EVER PUT ON MY FEET!! EVER!!

Okay, you can see I am excited about them. And I am feeling guilty that I haven't posted earlier, but ya'll let me tell you, go and get yourself some now if you are a runner. Previous to being amazingly gifted these flip flops that were sent from above, I was developing a nasty case of plantar fascitis in my left foot. I was keeping it at bay with stretching, but could feel it creeping up after each run. Now I have these bad boys to cradle my arches and the pain pretty much as disappeared. These shoes are no joke. I ran a crazy tough half marathon last weekend and smart me packed my Oofos in my race day bag. I'm not even kidding, I crossed the finish line, got my medal, and went straight to my car to change. My calves were starting to cramp up on the walk over and the moment I put them on, I felt my feet and legs relax.
No shame. Wore them right up on the podium.

Anyway, just wanted to extend a huge thank you to both BibRave and Oofos for gifting me these little clouds to walk on. I wish I could wear them at all times. I am planning to get myself a pair of the slide sandals so I can wear them with socks (yeah, gonna be that girl) too.

If you've ever been considering recovery footwear, seriously, you should. Check them out here- Also, be sure to join me and other awesome people in the running community each Tuesday evening at 9 pm (EST) for #BibChat on Twitter to chat about running topics and for chances to win awesome sponsor prizes. Just log on to your Twitter and follow BibRave - to find out more.

How about you? Any specialty footwear that you are all excited about? Love your shoes? Tell me about them.