Monday, 11 May 2009

Race Report: Blenheim 7K

Alternate title: Reality check is full of shit. It had called for light rain during the race on Sunday. Instead, we got bright blue skies and a hell of a lot of sunshine. Hydration became an issue but at least I brought along sunglasses or I would have fried my retinas.

This 7K last year was my first race ever. All I recalled of it was lovely scenery of the grounds and lake and some smallish rolling hills in the second half of the course.

My memory is crap.

There were three huge-ass hills and a ton of gradual inclines all over the damn place. Also, a third of the race was on trails, so Princess Twinkletoes here had to be extra careful with her footing lest she hit a tree root with her gigantic clumsy foot and take a header.

To put it plainly, this race sucked. Three friends and I took on this course, with two of us sticking together until the halfway point. Up to this point we had both remarked how much all the hills bit, but she just had an easier time in taking them on and pulled ahead of me. She was in my sights the rest of the race, but I just could not catch up to her.

What really hit me hard was that I had no finishing kick. In every race I’ve run to date, including the marathon, I’ve always been able to sprint to the finish. Yesterday I had absolutely nothing.

My friend finished 45 seconds ahead of me. I’m super proud of her as this was her first road race in almost ten years. I don’t begrudge her her success, I just hate the fact that I couldn’t keep up with her.

Prior to yesterday, I was hoping for a 10 minute per mile race pace. After the first grueling hill, I prayed for a sub-11 minute pace. I got it but barely. My watch said I finished in about 46:45 which includes the 30 seconds it took to cross the start line. Sadly this was a non-chipped timed event. To really sink in how bad my pace was during the hills, I ran the first non-hilly mile in 9:45. Everything went to hell in a hand basket after that.

Sucktasticness aside, I PR’d by over three minutes. While that’s fantastic, the results have helped to highlight a part of me that I am not proud of. It’s not the fact that I’m slower than ditch water. It’s the fact that I hate being this slow but I do nothing about it yet still expect to see improvement.

My ultimate goal is to see some single digit mile pace numbers in my regular runs. And by single digit I mean 9. And by 9 I mean 9:59.

Since I’m finally sick of my own bitching, I’ve devised a plan to help me achieve this goal. Bitches, I’m finally going to incorporate some speedwork into my routine. Revolutionary, you say? You betcha! (Or, you know, not so much.)

Here at Diggin’ It, it’s all about baby steps. My habit of trying to do everything at once and then failing miserably will not repeat itself here. I’m starting small and building slowly. And I’m going to do it in my own weird-ass way.

There’s a park I run in often which has three loops. The smallest is 0.9 miles, the middle 1.1 miles and the largest is 1.4 miles. My plan is to re-incorporate tempo runs into my weekly running. With the requisite warm-up and cool down mile, I will attempt to run the 0.9 mile loop in a sub 10 minute/mile pace. I will do this once a week until I am successful. When I’ve achieved this goal, I will move on to the next loop, etc, etc until I can run a 5K distance in an average sub-10 minute pace.

After doing this for a few weeks, I hope to be disciplined enough to add in some 800 repeat sessions, but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew right now, so that’s staying on the backburner for the moment.

My first attempt at this will be tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes on Wednesday.

And just so you don’t think I’m a total Debbie Downer, my friends and I did have a good time overall yesterday. One friend had never raced before. She walked/ran her way to the finish and was only barely beaten by the guy in the banana costume while the other friend was running her longest distance ever and finished just a mere two and half minutes behind me. It was a wonderful day and we celebrated with a calorie-packed cream tea afterward. Nothing like a scone slathered in clotted cream and jam to soothe the soul. Or clog the arteries.

Blenheim Palace was also playing host to a movie crew yesterday too. Apparently they’re filming Gulliver’s Travels there right now. Sadly, there is no one stalk-worthy for me to trail after, but maybe that’s for the best.

All right, that’s definitely more than enough of my babbling for one day. I hope all the moms enjoyed a great mother’s day weekend. Here’s to a non-sucky week ahead for all of us.

Later gators.


Theresa said...

Still, a PR by over three minutes - that's excellent!

Here's to having goals!

Marcy said...

CONGRATS on the PR chica!! 3 minutes is 3 minutes no matter what!!

LMAO you are so much like me. I'm working the same route too (in terms of the speedwork) I think for someone like me (ie: lazy and not particularly motivated like most runners HAHA) it's going to be easier for me to gradually get into speed work than go from 3 months of easy base runs and then BAM look at my schedule and the first day of training calls for 3 x 1 mi's with 2 min rest intervals or whatever insanity I was doing last year. This year's plan-o starts off with easy speed work and then builds up to the harder stuff. Right now I'm only doing 2-4 x 30-45 sec intervals for the first couple weeks. Totally small and totally easy. Hopefully this way I'll be able to stick with the speed work in the long run. We shall see . . .

Jess said...

Congrats on the PR!

I've never been good about incorporating speed work either. I just hope I get faster.

Lily on the Road said...

hahaha, whiny, whiney, whiney, a little cheese with that whine please!!

Three minutes!! Think about it!! That's freeking awesome!!

Coach here, you 'wanna run fast, you 'gotta train fast!! LOL...get at it chica!! Glad the rest of the day went well ~ LMAO!!!

RunningLaur said...

Congrats on the PR!

It 100% sucks that getting faster doesn't happen just by wanting to. I've been testing that theory for a few months now. Good luck with the tempo runs - sounds like a good plan.

Merry said...

Sucktastic or not, I still award you a gold star for the run. Congrats!

tfh said...

Congratulations on a PR, even if it felt horrible. And I'll look forward to seeing how your speedwork goes-- I have a loop like that nearby and did something slightly similar, before I realized that if I did the same workout on the track there would be no hills to contend with. (Bad me.)

X-Country2 said...

3 minutes is a long time! Nice work!

I like your speedwork plan. I think you're going to surprise yourself with how fast you get. :o)

Calyx Meredith said...

Congrats on the PR (sucktastic though the rest of the race may have been)!! Good luck with the baby steps in speed work.

Carolina John said...

Glad you had fun at the race (no, really, it was fun, right?)

you're come to enjoy speedwork. i love it now. i didn't do any speedwork my first marathon training cycle, but i'm putting it in now and love it.

Heather said...

Congrats on your PR! Your plan for tempo runs sounds really doable. I just started doing tempo runs with this training cycle and have really come to enjoy them.

Ted said...

Hey.. that is still fantastic. You were able to shave off 3 minutes. Congrats on the PR. Believe me, it is vital to incorporate speedwork to your training. It does help.

Ace said...

Rockin' the PR DESPITE the hills. Word.

Mike said...

I'm with Lily. No whining allowed when you get a PR - especially by 3 minutes - on a 7k.

Excellent work.

Irish Cream said...

Fabulous PR! Seriously, 3 minutes is quite a bit on a 7K! You should be seriously proud! And I promise if you stick with the speed training, it WILL make you faster. And I have to admit, throwing in speed intervals and tempo runs really does make training far more interesting than just logging mile after boring mile at base pace. Good luck! :)

raulgonemobile said...

Nice job on that PR..

I hate doing speedwork, but I try to mix it in once in a while. Even if it's not a lot, I think it helps some. Same with hill work..

I think your approach seems pretty sound, though

Spike said...

Sweet job with the new PR! Seriously, hills can kill a good pace, so don't get too upset. Oh, and tempo runs are helpful, but suck hard.

Kristina said...

Best first sentence I've read on a blog in a long time.
And congrats on the PR!

Vava said...

Mmmmmmmmmm... "huge ass hills"!

Jessica said...

Nice job on the PR. I hate speedwork with a passion, but it does work!!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

And just so you don’t think I’m a total Debbie Downer, my friends and I did have a good time overall yesterday. ...

Sorry, sister, but by the time I got to the paragraph that started with that senstence, I had already slit my wrists and bled all over my n*ts@ck. Do you intend to pay to have my n*ts@ck dry-cleaned? Hmmm?

Seems the least you could do.

How would this post have read if you hadn't PR'd?

[Memo to self: Ask Teh Marcy if she's PMSing because if SHE is, then X. is because they're in sync that way, and then that might explain the downerish tone of this report of what was a f*cking PR, after all!1!]

Man - go have a beer and celebrate! (I hear they know a little something about making good bitters in the UK.)

Do NOT under any circumstances drink any more of that beer+lemonade shiz!

I am NOT kidding!

Have a real beer.

But ... beer + 'tang? That's fine.

Nitmos said...

Congratulations on the PR!

Yes, speed work does have this weird side effect of producing...speed. Good luck in the hunt for the single digit minute!

aron said...

awesome job on the PR!!

Anonymous said...

Great idea to incorporate speedwork in your training. It works very well. Before you know it, you will go like the wind.

The Blenheim run sounds great. It's great to run a race with a friend.

nwgdc said...

"My ultimate goal is to see some single digit mile pace numbers in my regular runs. And by single digit I mean 9. And by 9 I mean 9:59."

Now that's funny. And--hey--it's a damn PR!

Now get busy arranging for Glaven's S@ck cleaning.

Anonymous said...

Nice PR!! And I know exactly how you feel. For the longest time I bemoaned the fact that I just was NOT getting any faster. The problem was that I was running longer and building endurance but doing NOTHING to increase my speed. When I incorporated just one weekly track workout into the mix I saw substantial improvements.
Give it a go - you WILL get faster. Soon you'll be doing 9:59 with ease. Okay - with RELATIVE ease! :)

Run For Life said...

Yay for the PR! Sorry it didn't go as planned but your speedwork schedule sounds like it'll be good. :)

I love cream tea. That had to have made up for those d@mn hills. ;)

MCM Mama said...

Good job on the PR! I've had races like that though, where you just don't enjoy it, even though you ran it faster than before.

I like your tempo plan. When I start up speedwork again in June, I'm going to be taking baby steps this time too.

joyRuN said...

Still got the PR, right? Right???

Yes. I'm very familiar with that sick & tired of being so f*cking slow. But I'm also lazy. Which is why it took me until January of this year to finally get my @$$ in gear & do some dayum speedwork.

As much as I'd like to b*tch slap the next person who tells me that I need to run fast in order to get fast, it's unfortunately true.


Jamie said...

A PR is always a good thing - Congrats! Glad it was a good day with friends and you got something good out of it besides a PR -- a new plan! Good luck!

The Laminator said...

I find it interesting that running at the paces you run, you're still a PR hog like me! At least we have that in common. But you PR'd this weekend, and I didn't, so in my mind, you did very well. I congratulate you.

Missy said...

PR is a PR so take that! I love the clot and a clog for your post race recovery food. Why is it that I crave all things baaaad for me. Best of luck with the speedwork, it works, it sucks but it works!

Marci said...

A three minute PR on a 7K race is huge!Congrats!