new year’s race – downtown LA recap + review

This past Saturday night I ran the New Year’s Race through Downtown LA. I competed in the half marathon. It was a night race with a start time of 9 pm. My first race in a while, but it felt good to get back on my feet. It was also my first night race since track season back in high school, so that was a bit of a change.

race medal

First, I’ll give my race recap.

I came into this race on the tail end of a nasty cold, with about one month of ‘training’ – if you can call it that. I took about a month off of running between October and November due to nagging injuries. Needless to say, this race was hard. I wanted to come in around 1:30, although I expected this might be a lofty goal. I started out strong the first couple miles, logging 6:30 and 7:00 miles. Then I faced about 5 miles of hills. Steep hills. I am not naturally good at hills, especially when I do not run them often. My lack of training and hill inadequacy got the best of me. Around mile 7, I stopped mid-hill and cried. I actually broke into tears on the side of the course. This was right before the scenic entrance into Dodger Stadium, and I told myself I had to at least run through the stadium before I could find the med tent and call it quits. I made it through the stadium, took my GU to refuel, and thankfully the hills turned into mostly downhills from there on out. Once I got through mile 10, I knew I was going to finish. I made incredible speed on the way home, dropping into 7:00-7:15 miles. Ended up coming in at 1:36, and 3rd in my age division.

I will definitely take this as a lesson. Racing actually sucks when you don’t train. I can’t say I’ve ever broken down and cried in the middle of a race. Overall, I’m proud of my finish time given that I 1. barely trained 2. was sick and 3. stopped and cried during the race.

Now to my race review.

Overall, I felt that the event was well run, but the actual running course was terrible. The course was advertised as a night race through the streets of LA, although we ended up spending 5 miles running around the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. The race also started 15 minutes late, which is really inexcusable given the temperature was in the high 40’s – low 50’s. The course was also longer than 13.1 miles. I gathered that it was about 13.5, which is a significant difference. However, there were some perks of the race that were neat. The night race was an interesting idea and a nice change, but perhaps it should be rescheduled to a warmer time of year. Second, we got to personalize out race bibs. We were supposed to put our New Year’s Resolution, although clearly I missed the memo…

race bib

Would I do this race again? No.

Was it a good kick in the pants to get me back into race shape and worth while? Yes.

So, here’s to starting off 2013 with 13 miles!

Lauren

ww | think like a pro

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been training for a couple of half marathons for early 2013. Since early July I’ve been running regularly (6-7 days/week), building my base, increasing mileage, adding workouts, and staying healthy. Under my current training regime I attempt to complete the following every week:

1. Long run (60 min, 8-12 miles) – easy-moderate pace
2. Hills (repeats/hilly run/or hill strides during a run)
3. Mile repeats (currently I’m at 5x mile at 6 min pace)
4. Progressive run (sometimes I turn a long run into a long progressive, other times I just get 3-4 miles of progressive in, I’m trying to work up to a 10-12 mile tempo at 6:30-sub-6 min pace)
5. Abs + Pushups (I started using this plan for push-ups and while I can’t ever make it past week 4, it at least gives me a schedule) – 3x/week
6. Strength work (usually in the form of circuits in my backyard with free weights) – 2x/week
7. Dynamic stretching – everyday
8. Swim/cross train – recovery, get off my feet day

I guess I spend some time working out. In all honesty I rarely complete all of this every week. Maybe once every 3-4 weeks do I get through every single thing. However, I like to set goals and having this plan pasted on my bedroom wall motivates me to get up and do as much as I can. I’ve been tracking my workouts and trying to actually train with a more pro-mindset. Reading bios/interviews of pro-athletes is some of the most inspirational content I’ve found. This morning I was reading an interview with former US 10k record holder Chris Solinsky on his comeback from injury and what it was like to sit through the Olympic trials this past year.

After tripping over his dog in last year, Solinsky injured his hamstring and had to take a whole year off from the sport to recover. Coming back, has been anything but easy. Re-adjusting to running and re-gaining his stride and endurance are just the beginning of the challenges.

You’re #2 on the all-time U.S. 5000-meter list and #2 on the 10,000 list. That may sound far away now, but you were very formidable not long ago. Obviously, you feel you can get back to that level.
CS: Definitely. There are days when I’m like, “Oh my gosh, how did I do that?” But like I say, the talent never goes away. And I know that I’ve been there. That’s one thing that’s always helped me out, throughout my career, when I’ve had good times, bad times. I know I’ve been there, so I know I can get back. I’m busting my butt every week. One of those weeks, something’s going to click. Obviously, I’m not going to be back to peak performance within a few weeks.

Knowing how good you have been, and realizing you’re no where close to that shape can be extremely discouraging. I often reflect on how I used to run in high school. Running 7 days a week, tempos every Monday, sub 5:30 in the mile, 18 min 3 mile. I haven’t yet convinced myself that I can get back to that shape, but like Solinsky states, the talent never goes away. It’s hard to watch yourself battle through workouts that were easy a year or two ago. And even more challenging is sitting at home watching the Olympic trials when you know you are good enough to be there yourself.

Was was it like for you to watch the Olympics this year?
CS: The Olympics were actually a lot easier than the Trials. The Trials, it was tough. I had family in town, because they’d planned on coming in and watching. Being there watching the Trials and feeling I should be out on that track racing, that was hard. The Olympics were a lot more finite: “Okay, I’m not on the team and I’m just watching.”

What amazes me about this interview is the perspective that Solinsky has. He pictures himself getting back in the game, being back in the shape he once was. He imagines himself competing at a high level again. He knows that he may be doing 75% of what his training partners are doing, but that he will get to 100% when the time is right. Yes short term goals are important, pushing yourself everyday is imperative, but when a set-back occurs it only means those goals have to be re-adjusted. Obviously an injury changes your outlook on your career, yet having the willpower to fight back after it is what truly makes an pro athlete.

Over the past week I developed some heel soreness that won’t seem to let up with shoe/terrain change and massage/heat/ice therapy. I’ve decided to take a week or so off from running and stick to swimming and cycling. It’s discouraging, especially since for the past two years I haven’t gone 3-months without suffering from some sort of injury. I haven’t quite figured out what the problem is, terrain, shoes, training, or something else. It’s nearly always a left foot issue. But training my brain to think more like a pro-athlete helps me overcome the disappointment. Today is not the first day I have had to take a day off, nor will it likely be my last. I may not be in the shape that I hope to be, but I will get there. For me, running is for life. My career is not over because of one minor setback. I work my butt off today, so that I will see results later. The miles add up, the training kicks in, and the talent never goes away.

Lauren

pacific northwest

I spent last week adventuring in the Pacific Northwest. Flew into Seattle, Washington and spent a couple days in the city and around UW. Then took a bus to Portland, Oregon and spent time in the city, at Pacific University in Forest Grove, and Beaverton (visiting the Nike national headquarters).

Here’s a visual recap…

On the awesome Seattle transportation with the guy I kinda like.

Pike’s Place

The fish market. Yes, fish were thrown.

I’ve eaten this!!! In Sweden…I wasn’t a fan, but it brings back memories.

Who knew there was a chicken of the woods?

A whole shop dedicated to cheese. Om.

Only in PBR country. Tried it on tap and I have to say, I’m a fan.

The Space Needle!!!

View from the Needle.

I know, we’re cute aren’t we.

Repping that Bruin swag.

Riding the UW mascot. Woof!

Let’s talk about the best.donuts.in.the.world.

At Top Shop in Seattle. One pumpkin spice donut + one original glazed. TO DIE FOR.

OMG. OMG.

And then it was off to Oregon!

Being silly around Nike headquarters.

And that’s all the pics I took in Oregon. I really liked Washington I guess…

There is talk of a rib cookout this weekend…stay tuned!

Lauren