Race Recap: Twilight 5K-Ithaca, NY 6/11/14

A week and a half ago, I completed my first Twilight 5K in Ithaca.  It’s one of those summer races I have been meaning to do for a while now (hello cheap entry fee) and I finally bit the bullet and signed up.  I was feeling pretty good going into the race and was really hoping for a PR.  In some ways I did PR, because my time was shorter than my fastest racing 5K, but the distance was shorter that my last PR 5K (3.17 miles).

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In retrospect, I think I could have come close to hitting my PR goal if I hadn’t been so fixated on getting Runkeeper to work in my first quarter mile of the race.  It was an easy flat course and along a path I’ve run on many a time during my marathon training.  One thing I realized is that I really need to learn how to not place myself at the head of the pack!  I know I am not a fast runner so why do I put myself through the frustration of being passed by a million people?!  I hate the feeling of being passed.  It’s especially frustrating when said passers try to be encouraging.  I mean c’mon, we all know what you’re rely thinking.

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source:  http://theoatmeal.com/

Perhaps if I started in the back or middle of the pack I could for once gain the pleasure of passing someone by.  Alas, maybe someday I will learn!  Or maybe someday I will be a faster runner and it won’t bother me so much.

Overall, I think I did fairly well.  My pace was only 12secs off of my PR pace so it wasn’t like I completely flopped.  I look forward to more summer races and hope to work up my speed as I learn more about HR training and incorporating speed work.

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Race Recap: 5K Foam Fest-Batavia, NY 6/7/14

**NOTE:  As of July 17th, 2014 5KFoamFest has declared bankruptcy and is no longer offering races.  

This past weekend,  I ran my first 5KFoamFest Obstacle Race.  Overall, the experience was fun and entertaining, but I wouldn’t consider this to be one of the more challenging obstacle races out there. It’s definitely a great beginner course (unless you are deftly afraid of heights) and provides just enough of challenge for new runners to get a thrill of accomplishment.

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Let me preface by saying that I’ve only completed one other obstacle 5K, the Tough Turtle, a locally funded course.  So, my experience in the realm of obstacle races is fairly limited.  Another factor to consider in our experience is that we opted for a late heat at 1pm.  This meant the course was likely less congested than it could have been earlier in the day.

I think it worked to our advantage though because it meant less of a wait at certain points.  We did have to stop and wait a couple of times during the course, the few that I can remember were for the Aqua Lily Pads, The Cargo Climb, The Death Drop, and Monkey Business.

It’s a little bit of a blur now, but I think our first obstacle was the Aqua Lily Pads.  I actually really enjoyed this one and I was so proud of myself when I almost made it to the end without falling.  It was comical to watch those ahead of us attempt to work their way across.  There weren’t many that fared well (myself included).

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The Chamber of Foam was the next messy obstacle ahead.  I fully embraced it and went face first into the foam filled bouncy house.

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We then jogged/walked onto the next few obstacles which included a crawl through the mud and climbing over a wall.  This was followed by the biggest slip and slide ever!  It wasn’t as slippery as I would have expected though and it was a little more belly flop and stop than slip and slide, but we made due and ran the rest of it.

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The slip and slide was followed by the Trip Wire (no photos) and Mike’s Hard Lemonator (pictured below).

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We also had a few other obstacles that escape my mind.  Like I said, it all blurred together by the end.  All in all we had fun and I would definitely recommend this race if you are looking for a non-serious, fun 5k.  I’m a bit nit picky when it comes to races so I decided to make a list of my pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Great beginner obstacle race.
  • You get a lot of swag!  (race medal, t-shirt, race photos, mike’s hard lemonade, sticker)
  • FUN!  This race is a fun race and you don’t need to feel out-of-place or like you are in an environment with overly competitive people.
  • They provided a bag check.
  • Obstacles are spaced out enough to allow for recovery (great for new runners) and to avoid congestion.
  • Great wash station at the end of the race, the water wasn’t freezing!
  • Changing tents
  • Porta potties
  • Convenient parking.

Cons:

  • They ran out of t-shirt sizes by the time we were ready to pick them up, wish we could have picked them up before the race.
  • The course wasn’t very challenging (if you are looking for a challenge)
  • No finishing photo or finish announcement

If you want to get wet, foamy, and muddy all in one day be sure to hop on over to http://5kfoamfest.com/ and use CODE:FF3412 to save $5 on your registration.

 

 

SPA Review: Vega Sport Pre-workout

Disclaimer:  This is an unbiased review.  As an SPA, I am often provided with opportunities to review certain fitness/health related products.  I was not paid for my review, but did receive a free product for testing.

When offered this opportunity to review a Vega Sport product of my choosing I was pumped!  I had read up on the company and seeing that they offered all clean plant-based products was enticing.  I had been on the search for a good pre-workout that wouldn’t leave me with a racing heart, but would still give me a nice energy boost.

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I’ll admit, I was rather skeptical because I prefer to limit these types of products, but after trying it I did notice an increase in my energy and workout performance.  My first trial came the night I decided to incorporate hill training.  I had just had a very long day and the last thing I wanted to do was go out and run. Rather than call it a night, I decided to test out the Vega Sport Acai Berry pre-workout.  It did the trick! Now, I am not full on sure if it was the placebo effect of taking a pre-workout, but it gave me an instant boost.

I conquered the hills and my heart didn’t explode.  I had just the right amount of energy to get through the run and didn’t feel over-stimulated or sick to my stomach.

As far as taste goes, it could be better.  I am not a fan of Redbull flavored things and this reminded me of said drink.  I preferred to dilute mine with extra water and a lot of ice so that it was easier to stomach.  Though I really liked the effect of the pre-workout, taste is a pretty important factor too and it would be the one thing holding me back from buying this on my own.  Perhaps the lemon-lime flavor is more tolerable?

Do you want to learn more about Vega Sport pre-workout?  Below I’ve shared some information provided by the website…

Pre-Workout Energizer

“Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer is a pre-workout drink mix sporting a unique blend of 13 synergistic plant-based performance-improving ingredients, like green tea, yerba mate, coconut oil and rhodiola, specifically selected to:

  • Provide immediate and sustained energy
  • Increase endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • Enhance mental focus and recovery

Featuring two complementary carbohydrates, Pre-Workout Energizer is balanced to provide both instant and slower-burning fuel for your workouts. Organic sprouted brown rice syrup has a high glycemic index (90), entering the bloodstream quickly, while organic palm nectar has a low glycemic index (35), providing slow, steady energy that will not spike or crash.

Take Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer 20 minutes before your workout to help you get in the zone with energy to burn!”

 

Like I mentioned earlier in my post, I really like the effects of this product, but taste proved to be a challenge.  Have you ever tried any pre-workouts?  What brands or flavors?

 

Building Speed and Happy Belated National Running Day!

Ever since I completed my first full marathon back in January I’ve been struggling with building my speed.  As of late, it seemed that no matter how hard I tried I could barely break an 11:00 minute pace for my 5K distances.  If I could get sub 11 minutes for my 3-4 mile runs, it was a good day.

I’m not a fast runner (hello, I’m a Slow Mo Mother Runner!), but back in November before my mileage was crazy high, I ran my best 5k at a 10:10 pace.  I also ran a 10k with a sub 11:00 pace.  Both of these have been tough paces to obtain again.  That was until this past weekend!  I finally hit a 10:10 pace again!

10346366_721909884527565_5399344539351721673_nI was thrilled with my run!  I wasn’t expecting much when I stepped out the door that morning.  In fact, my run started off crappy because Pandora wasn’t working and I ended up running without any music.  I was worried that it might slow me down, but there was something nice about a trail run without the distraction of rhythmic beats in my ears.

I listened to my breathing, watched my HR, and went with the flow.  Mile 2 was a bit trying, but once I turned around at 1.7 miles I knew I was over halfway finished and I knew I had room to push myself because I was nowhere near my max HR.  So I kept an eye on my Polar FT40 and told myself I would build my HR at 1/4 mile increments.  It worked!  I build my speed back up and finished off strong.  It was a pretty awesome feeling to hit that mark again.

For the month of May, post relay race, I had been working on building my speed.  I incorporated hills, fartleks, and built my mileage for a couple of runs.  I’ve also listened to my HR and have been working on what points during a run to really push myself.  Ideally, I’ve found that staying at 160 for the first half of my run and then building things up and pushing hard towards the latter half works best.  I do max out around 185-190 and can’t really push myself for too long at that HR, but I find it’s my sprint rate and it works for that last short final push.

I even went out yesterday on National Running Day and put in a decent 5K with a 10:37 split.  I’m still trying to master the negative split because mine still look like uneven pyramids. I am getting stronger and can feel myself getting faster.

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These next couple of months I am reading up and playing around with a few things to see where it takes me.  One other thing that I have been trying to master is my stride.  I’m so used to a heavy legged short stride and would really love to get away from that for my shorter runs.  Based on my current research it seems that a lot of small changes can mean a world of difference with pace. My goal before the end of the summer is to get  sub 10:00 min pace for a 5K distance.  I would love to see a 9:00 too!

What are your pace goals?  What are you doing to get faster?  How are you building your speed?