Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sunrise 5 Miler Race Report

My plan to race shorter things as much as possible this summer as my speedwork leading up to the Erie Marathon is well underway. With the Johnnycake Jog two weekends back and the Painesville Sunrise 5 Miler this past weekend, I have been out of my comfort zone. This is good since I have focused on endurance all season. I am hoping these shorter, harder efforts combined with my long runs and solid base will net me those precious few minutes I need to line up in Boston next year!

The Sunrise race started in downtown Painesville at Veterans Park so this was a short, easy drive for us. We arrived around 7 to pick up our bibs and get in a quick warm up. It was already close to 80 degrees that early in the morning so I knew this would be a sufferfest! After a mile warm up Steve and I lined up. It was a smaller race but some fast runners from NERC were out there to make it competitive.

My first mile was about 7:15 so a little slower than my Johnnycake race but I knew this course was going to have some hills and with the heat and tired cycling legs I didn't expect to set a PR. I settled in to a good, challenging pace and kept moving forward. There were some good hills and the course was scenic. The last mile of the race winds you through a little park down in the valley so coming back to the finish you've got to climb out of the park and then up the street a good ways. With the heat and being late in the race this made me feel fatigued so I was very happy to see Steve screaming for me at the finish.

Greater Cleveland XC did the race timing so I was able to check my live results right away and see that I had placed 3rd female. My time was about 2-1/2 minutes slower than the Johnnycake at 38:13 versus the 35:56 but this was a more challenging course and it was hot and humid. Overall I am happy with the effort especially after doing a faster 50-mile bike ride the day before! Steve placed in his AG and 10th overall as there were some very fast guys out there running. He too was about 2 or so minutes slower than the Johnnycake.

Post race, happy with my 3rd place!
For coming in third I will get a small gift certificate in the mail for Second Sole Mentor, so that is good because I always need new stuff like socks. Next up is the Mayfield Wildcat 5K this weekend. This will be my first 5K since last October when I ran the Lakeland Clocktower run in 21:17. I would like to break 21 if I can but since this is speedwork moreso than racing I will be happy with anything between 21-22ish.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Johnnycake Jog Race Report for 2015

This was my second year running the Johnnycake Jog 5 Mile race in Mentor, Ohio. This one is right in my backyard and brings out a good amount of local talent. Last year I raced and ended up placing 3rd in my AG. This year I am happy to say that it went even better! It probably helps that I am running more, but I was also coming off of a marathon two weeks ago so I wasn't sure if the speed would be there yet.

Prerace w/ Steve
Since I signed up to run Erie in September I am planning to run a number of shorter local races like the Johnnycake as my speed work for the week. Before the race Steve and I got in a couple of warm up miles and then headed over to the start to line up. This is flat, fast course that starts on Mentor Avenue in front of the Lake County Fairgrounds. It's a fast start. My first mile was a 6:54. Then of course I slowed down some as my plan was to try to run about a 7:15 pace for the race. There is an incline as you near the top of Fairground Rd. This is probably the only incline on the course. I didn't labor as much here as I did last year but I was still happy to take the right onto 84 (Johnnycake Rd) and hit the first aid station for some water. From there it's a right turn on Mentor Avenue and then straight all the way down to the finish.

getting my award!
I ended up finishing in 35:54 (7:11 pace). Not a PR but a solid time for me right now so I was happy. It was good enough to win my age group this year as well so that was a big bonus. In addition to the award plaque I was given I also had my picture taken for the News Herald so that was fun!

My husband Steve ended up winning his age group again this year as well so that was great. We enjoyed talking with some of our running friends after the race and then treated ourselves to a smoothie at Pulp!

I am planning to run this one each year if I can because they do a nice job with the event all around including the course volunteers, food, awards and timing. Next up is the Sunrise 5 Miler in Painesville this weekend. That course will have some hills so it will be interesting to see where my time ends up but I am looking forward to pushing myself again. I really enjoy the 5 mile distance because it is a good test of fitness but there is no real recovery time needed so I can get right back to training!

Special thanks to Powerbar for fueling me through countless workouts and races including this one!

Friday, July 10, 2015

New Marathon PR at Charlevoix

I'm really happy that I decided to race the Charlevoix Marathon. Although I missed my BQ by a couple of minutes I was still happy with the new PR of 4 minutes and I enjoyed the whole race weekend experience with Steve. The weather was sunny and gorgeous and the sights of Northwest Michigan are beautiful indeed!


At the expo!
We left Cleveland Friday morning around 7am. The drive to Charlevoix, Michigan took about 7 hours from our house. We went straight to the Charlevoix Marathon expo before checking into our hotel, which was about 10 miles down the road in nearby Petoskey, Michigan. After unloading the car and relaxing for a little while we headed to Petoskey Brewing for dinner and a pre-race beer taste and drink. The food was excellent, the beer was good and we enjoyed the atmosphere. The staff and locals were friendly and talkative. After that it was back to the hotel to prep for the morning's race. After my last couple of races being triathlons it felt pretty easy to just get my running stuff ready!

Race Morning:

Race morning!
The wake up call came at 4:45am but as usual I was up a little before then. It's weird but my body seems to know what time to get up for big races. I had a coffee, took a quick shower and got dressed and then ate some breakfast consisting of Granola and Cashew Milk and watermelon and we were off.

Steve was racing the half marathon so he was pumped up as well!

The drive to Charlevoix was easy and took about 15-20 minutes. We were able to find street parking very close to the start area.

The start for the marathon was 6:30 and the half started at 7 so we had plenty of time to warm up and stretch and use the restroom.

The Start & First Half:

Steve stood close to me as we lined up and sang the Star Spangled Banner. I had tears in my eyes as I am always emotional at the start of big races. I was excited to get going and see this course that I heard was so beautiful. The start went well. Although it is a smaller race with several hundred people the beginning made it seem bigger. It took a good mile or two to spread everyone out into their paces. I was not able to run with a pace group as there was either 3:30 or 3:42 and I was aiming for 3:35-3:38. My first couple miles were spot on. I met a girl Mindy who was also trying to BQ at the same pace as me so we chatted throughout the race at different points.

I started to speed up some after I took my first gel and thought it would be better to be a little above my goal pace to compensate for any stops for water or potty. I did stop to pee at mile 6 and then maybe went out a little fast for a mile or two to catch back up with the group I was running with. In hindsight this probably expended too much effort but I felt wonderful at that point. At mile 8.5 there is a decent little climb for about 1/2 mile all said. It wasn't too much concern on the first half but with the course being an out and back I had to do it again later on.

Half Turn Around & Second Half:

Gorgeous Scenery!
I felt really good at the half turn around and ran my first 13.1 in 1:45. This was maybe 2-3 minutes ahead of my goal pace, which said I should be around 1:47-1:48. I kept the momentum up for a while and never really struggled until the hill on the way back. Even then I felt okay and just slowed down incrementally. The fatigue really set in for me around 19-20 but I was able to push through and then had a setback at mile 21 where I slowed. It was getting hotter with full sun and I struggle more in the heat. Mile 22 was rough, 23 was better, 24 was rough and then I picked it up towards the end when my friend Mindy passed me and gave me some encouragement. I knew it would be a long shot to BQ as my average pace went from an initial 8:05-8:08 down to an 8:25-8:28. I did still think it was possible to PR the race, which would still be a small win for me that day so I pushed harder.

Finish & Post Race:

At the finish a girl tried to pass me and I kicked harder because I hate to get passed at the last second so that was fun. I finished in 3:42:45 for my actual time (8:30 pace), which was about 4 minutes faster than my PR in Toledo in late April.Steve ran over to see me at the finish and I was still cramping and was extremely thirsty. With all the allergy issues I was having I think I was dehydrated as I downed 3 of 4 bottles of water immediately. My stomach was queezie so eating was not an option but I was able to drink a couple of chocolate milks to get some recovery calories in.

post race!
We hung around to wait for the awards as Steve placed first in his age group in the half! I was able to get in some pizza after a little while and then we headed to the hotel to get showered. We were both really hungry so we headed into town in Petoskey and had a great lunch and post race IPA at Mitchell St Pub. We also checked out Beard Brewing and tasted some of their local brews. After that we headed to nearby Harbor Springs to check out the beach and town. It was a cute, upscale area. We enjoyed some hard-earned icecream and then headed back to Petoskey later for dinner at the Duffy's Garage & Grill. Then it was back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

Sunday we had a quick breakfast, packed up and made the trip back to Cleveland. The drive went smooth and we were home around 2:30 in time to hit the Willoughby Brewing Nutsmasher Release party where we enjoyed that beer along with sampling tastes of a couple others.

Closing Thoughts:

I loved the race. The course is gorgeous. It is relatively flat at 800 ft of elevation gain but it is not pancake flat. I loved the area - especially the Gaslight District in Petoskey. I plan to visit the area again and maybe do the race again as well. The beer is good but NOT as good as Ohio. I guess we are spoiled like that!

Because I was so close this time I made the decision to run the Erie Marathon on September 13. I am excited to have this opportunity to continue my journey. I am blessed this year to be healthy and running well and I want to take advantage of this fitness and try once more for that BQ in 2016. September 13 is the last day before Boston 2016 registration opens! Wish me luck!

P.S. I also qualified for Marathon Maniacs for completing my third marathon in 62 days. That's pretty fun I think in a running nerd kindof way! :)

Below are a couple of images from the beautiful area...enjoy!

Downtown Petoskey Pier at Sunset

Sunrise along to route driving to the race!

Downtown Petoskey's "Gaslight District"