Race Recap: Jaxson’s Dog Days of Summer 10k

This is my recap of my personal experience at this race. If you’re more interested in nitty gritty details, check out my BibRave review here. Also, don’t forget to help out your fellow runners by reviewing every race you run on BibRave.com!

When:  Saturday, July 25 at 8 am

Where:  Shelburne, VT

Weather:  Warm, sunny, and humid

Pre-Race:

Full disclosure here: I made a very poor choice the night before this race. We were at the ballpark so the Chess cast could sing the national anthem before the Lake Monsters game. I hadn’t had time to eat anything before we arrived and I was starving. We had carpooled with friends and couldn’t leave, so what did I do? I got nachos. You know the kind: fake liquidy orange spicy cheese, smothered with diced jalapenos and black olives and served with salsa and sour cream. I had a moment of prescience, like, “Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t eat these if I’m racing tomorrow…” *shrugs* *eats all the nachos* So yeah, bad nutrition choice there. And then the morning of, instead of my usual oatmeal or bagel, I had a bowl of cereal with almond milk. I also gulped down a glass of Nuun and then ran out the door.

I arrived about 30 minutes before race start, which was plenty of time for parking, getting my bib, using the restroom a couple of times, and greeting a few friends from run club. It was a very small race, with most people having chosen the 5k option, so I was not-so-secretly hoping I might squeak by with an Age Group award. I lined up towards the back of the pack, and with a surprisingly loud blast from the starting gun, we were off.

During the Race

For miles 1 and 2, I was working really hard to keep a slow, easy pace. I didn’t want to go out too fast and not have anything left for the end. I knew this race had a lot of rolling hills on the trail portion. Only about 1.2 miles of this race were on the road, and the rest were on the Ti-Haul Trail and the Shelburne Bay Rec Path, which is mostly shaded, and very pleasant, aside from the hills.

From mile 2.5ish to the turnaround at the water station/halfway point, I started to feel really rough. I was hot, sweaty, and thirsty. I also was starting to feel like maybe I hadn’t eaten enough. I stopped at the water station and had a cup of water and a cup of electrolytes to try to get something in my system.

I continued running, but slowed down significantly in the last few miles. At first, my mantra was “You’re almost done. It’s a beautiful day. You’re not last.” I repeated that over and over until mile 5, when it became: “Just finish. And don’t puke.” Eventually, I finally made it, and when I was in sight of the finish line, I picked it up for a fast finish. My friend Alan from run club was right there cheering for me, and I saw my friend Janet too (she had run the 5k).

Post Race

Immediately after I finished, I felt like I might puke, but didn’t. I got a bottle of water and just walked laps around the finishing area until my heart rate came down. There was a massage station and a stretching station run by a chiropractic office, so I took advantage of both of those. The chiro thinks I have an imbalance in my right hip, which I think is true based on my own observations, so that may require some attention in the future.

Photo Jul 25, 11 53 22 AMAfter stretching and massage, it was time for awards. Since there were only two females in my age group, and the other female was the first female overall for the 10k, I ended up winning my age group by default. Woo! I got a snazzy pint glass with the RaceVermont logo on it. I also won a free chiro evaluation from the raffle, which means that I can actually go get my hip checked out for free. Sweet!

I’m still processing this race, because it definitely didn’t go the way I’d hoped it would. I’ll probably do a deconstruction post later this week to try and figure out what happened. One thing I know for sure was a bad idea: jalapenos in copious amounts.

Have you ever totally sabotaged yourself before a race with poor nutrition?

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Race Recap: RaceVermont Cupid 5k

You can read my BibRave review here. Don’t forget to search for and write race reviews at BibRave.com!

What: RaceVermont Cupid 5k

Where/When: Shelburne, VT, February 14, 2015; 10 am

Pre-Race:
Packet pick-up was available at our local Fleet Feet location. It was very simple; in and out in less than 5 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised that I received a Bondi Band headband with the RaceVermont logo. In my experience, RaceVermont isn’t heavy on the swag, so when they advertised headbands or bandanas, I was picturing something cheap that I’d never use again. The idea for this race is that “attached” runners would wear a red headband, and single runners would wear white, so that singles could maybe make a love connection with someone who shares similar interests. I’m not sure how successful that aspect of the race was, but it didn’t really matter to me anyway.

On race morning, Ben and I got delayed, and we ended up arriving about 10 minutes before the start, which is cutting it a bit fine for me. Thankfully, Ben was able to drive me right up to the Field House, and then go park. He still got a decent parking space, which was nice.

The weather was not at all agreeable–windchill had the temps down to -6F, so it was great that we were able to wait inside the Field House. I wore a fleece-lined hat, my wool Buff scarf to cover my face, three long sleeved shirts with a pink t-shirt over that, and leggings. Thankfully, they didn’t make us wait outside too long before firing the starting gun.

During the Race:
This course is part of the same course that I ran for the RaceVermont Fall Half Marathon, so I was familiar with the route. It’s a simple out and back along Harbor Road, and it’s not terribly scenic. It had been snowing pretty steadily all morning, so the road was a bit slick, and I slipped a few times. I had forgotten my Garmin and my phone was being stupid, so I was running “naked,” and had no idea how fast I was going at any point. I tried to just run by feel and not go too fast at the outset.

The turnaround point is at the top of a small hill, and I was proud that I was able to keep a pretty steady pace up the hill, and then kicked it up a bit on the downhill. At this point, I was steadily gaining on two ladies wearing tutus, and just kept chanting to myself “Don’t lose the tutus, don’t lose the tutus.” Eventually, I passed one of the tutu ladies, but during the last tenth of a mile, the other tutu lady took off like a bat out of hell and finished way before me.

Coming into the finish, I still had gas in the tank and could have finished faster, but the chute was kind of narrow, and I didn’t want to be a jerk and push my way past the lady in front of me, so I just stayed right behind her. I was so focused on getting inside and warming up that I didn’t even notice the clock when I finished, and so I didn’t know my official time until about an hour later when results were posted online.

Post Race:
Once again, a big kudos to RaceVermont for knowing that when I finish a race, I want a great big bottle of water. There were two volunteers right inside the Field House doors handing out full-sized bottles of water to finishers. I went up to the mezzanine and grabbed a hot chocolate, entered the Fleet Feet raffle for a race vest, and we skedaddled. I didn’t feel like waiting for everyone to finish to take part in the RaceVermont raffle and awards ceremony, but they had some really nice prizes–Vermont Teddy Bears, bottles of wine, and lots of gear from Fleet Feet.

When I checked the results later, I was shocked to find this:

Chip time: 29:54; 3rd in age group(!!!); 40th overall out of 82 runners.

I’m gonna go ahead and attribute that age group placement to the minimal turnout because of the weather. Even so, it was pretty cool. And I was pleasantly surprised to break 30 minutes without any kind of pace tracking. I think that all of the cross-training/strength training I’ve been doing lately is making me stronger, which is so awesome.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures. Ben took some on his phone, but hasn’t sent them to me yet 😦

Have you ever run a race “naked”?

When was the last time you totally surprised yourself with your performance during a race?

Race Recap: RaceVermont Half Marathon

What:  RaceVermont Fall Half Marathon
When:  Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014
Where:  Shelburne, VT

Pre-Race:
I had written a big, long-winded rant about RaceVermont’s communication issues, but I decided it came off really whiny, so I’m just going to sum up with:  RaceVermont has some communication issues.  Incorrectly addressed emails, emails with incorrect info, and a changed start time that wasn’t communicated until the Monday before the event.  Failure to communicate aside, RaceVermont knows how to put on a race.

Packet pick up was at my local Fleet Feet store, so there wasn’t any “expo” to speak of–they just handed me my bib and that was that.  The woman working packet pick-up was actually the woman who fitted me for my shoes, although I doubt she remembered me.  She warned me that the course was “hilly but pretty.”  Pro tip:  when a woman who works in a running store tells you the course is hilly, she’s not lying.

Race start was 8 am, so I woke up at 6, had a bagel with sunflower seed butter, some coffee, and a tall glass of Nuun.  I prepped my gear, Body Glided the heck out of various body parts, taped my blister-prone feet, double-checked my to-do/to bring list, and headed out.  I was flying solo on this one since Ben had to prep for his first week of solo teaching.  I arrived about 20 minutes before the start, hit the porta-potties, and hung out in the field house, out of the cold and wind.

Photo Nov 02, 7 55 48 AM

There was a DJ from a local radio station playing music and making announcements, and it was really nice to have an indoor space to warm up.  At the last minute, RaceVermont decided to add a 5k and 10k option as well, so the 5k and 10k people started at 8, and the half marathoners started shortly after that.

Race:
It was cold (34 degrees F, with a windchill temp of about 23), windy (20-30 mph winds) and HILLY.  The first 5 or so miles, I felt awesome.  We were winding through local neighborhoods, where houses and trees helped to cut the wind.  There wasn’t a lot of spectator support, but the volunteers were AWESOME.  At about mile 4, I saw a guy running in a banana costume and yelled “Yeah, banana!”  He was not impressed.  Come on, guy, you can’t show up to a half marathon dressed as a banana and not smile when someone yells “Yeah, banana!”  It’s just not right.

Photo Nov 02, 9 06 27 AM

What’s a Vermont race without cows?

At mile 7, shit got HILLY.  For the next couple of miles, I was pretty much running up one hill after another, into the wind.  Thankfully, all my hill repeats this summer seem to have paid off, because from mile 7 on, I just started passing people, and no one passed me 🙂

Photo Nov 02, 9 13 43 AM

So scenic. So hilly (this is at the bottom of an ENORMOUS hill).

At mile 10, the course went onto the Shelburne Bay Path and the Ti Path, which is the path that the Ticonderoga steam boat traveled when it was removed from Shelburne Bay and set up at Shelburne Museum.  I’ve never actually done any trail running before, and I’m gonna be honest, it was kind of creepy.  I typically avoid trail running alone because I’ve watched too many horror movies, and I was totally expecting a knife-wielding psycho to pop out and attack me, since by this point I was all alone on the trail.  I was also getting really tired.  I started giving my legs little pep talks–“Come on legs, you’ve been so great, you’re doing such a good job, let’s finish strong!”

Toward mile 12, I came upon a couple of girls up ahead, which was great, because a) I was still scared of the woods, and b) needed someone to chase.  Just as I was passing both of them, a photographer popped out of nowhere and took a picture of me grinning like an idiot and passing those girls 🙂

As I came back out onto the road during mile 13, I pulled my phone out of my race belt so I could see where I was at time-wise, only to stare in horror at the fact that somewhere during mile 11, my Nike+ app had just stopped.  I had no idea how long I’d been running or if I was anywhere near my goal.  I had no choice but to just keep running and hope I was doing ok.  At this point, I didn’t have anything left to give, and it took all my effort to somewhat speed up for the last 0.1 mile to cross the timing mat.

Post-Race:
Immediately upon exiting the finisher’s chute, I was handed my medal and a bottle of water.  Plus one-zillion points to RaceVermont for understanding that the thing runners want most when finishing a race is a fricken bottle of ice cold water!  I headed into the field house on shaky legs and bee-lined to the Moe’s Southwest Grill booth, where I received not the anticipated burrito, but a bowl of chili and a bag of tortilla chips and a raffle ticket.  At first, I was pretty disappointed that there was no burrito, when that’s what had initially been advertised (again, RaceVermont is not great with communication), but after sitting down and inhaling said chili and chips, I was mollified.  It was probably easier to eat with my compromised fine motor skills at that moment anyway.

I was disappointed that my Nike+ app had failed me so miserably, and was anxious about having to wait until results were posted online, but about 10 seconds before I finished my chili, the DJ announced that they were posting results in the field house hallway.  Score!  I waddled over there after finishing my food and my mouth literally fell open in shock when I saw my time:  2:18:06.  Not only did I PR, not only did I finish sub 2:30, but I shaved 23 minutes off my previous half marathon PR!  Woo!

Photo Nov 02, 11 00 30 AM

I decided to hang around for the awards ceremony and raffle because they had some great prizes–pint glasses, 3 pairs of ear buds, 3 pairs of Balega socks, a really nice pair of polarized sunglasses, and 2 pairs of Saucony shoes.  Unfortunately, I didn’t win any awards or raffle prizes, but it was cool to see all the stuff they gave away.

I spent the rest of the day in PJ pants, wearing my medal, eating apple pie and my body weight in nachos and snuggling our friends’ baby .  And finally, around 7 pm, I got a delicious, mini, vegan cupcake with chocolate frosting and pink sprinkles.  No picture, because I inhaled that sucker!

Overall:
Aside from the aforementioned communication problems, this was a pretty great race.  It’s awesome to have an indoor waiting area when it’s cold and windy, and there were actual bathrooms available too, which I didn’t realize until after I’d already used a porta-potty.  The volunteers were A+ excellent–very encouraging and full of energy.  I was somewhat disappointed that a race shirt was not included in the registration fee–they were selling them for $25 extra, when I already paid $55 for the entry fee.  They looked nice–hunter green, long sleeved, v-neck tech shirts, but there’s no way I was going to pay extra for one.  While I didn’t get a burrito afterwards like I was expecting, the choice of vegetarian or beef chili was nice, and it was tasty even though it wasn’t a burrito.  Also, they definitely pulled out all the stops for raffle and age group prizes.  And can we get an “Ay-men!” for getting a bottle of water immediately upon finishing?  It seems like a lot of races just don’t get this.

And now that I’ve achieved my sub-2:30 goal, I’m going to take the winter off from long distances and just maintain my fitness with shorter runs and lots of cross-training (hopefully lots of Nordic skiing!).

What’s your big running/racing goal right now?