October 11, 2011

Fall Color 5K Race Recap & Upcoming Race Plans

So I'm a little late with this recap...oops.  Life got in the way. :)  Two Sundays ago I ran the Fall Color 5K at a nearby arboretum.  Last Spring Mrs. Literacy Coach and I had planned to run a 10K race at the arboretum, but bailed last minute because she felt under trained, my IT bands were a painfully knotty mess, and it was cold and rainy.  I was disappointed because I'd heard the arboretum is BEAUTIFUL, so when I heard about their fall 5K race I knew I didn't want to miss it.  This was the first race I have ever gone to completely on my own.  If I'm not running with someone, in the past I've convinced a buddy to go with me, but no such luck with this race!  It turned out for the best, though, because it was not a spectator-friendly course.
When I woke up the morning of the race, I wasn't too pleased to discover temperatures in the 30s (yes, the 30s...which seems so weird to write as I sit here on my balcony in a tank top and capris just a week and a half later...), complete with a frost-covered windshiled.  Oh ice scraper, I have NOT missed you...
My ice-covered windshield...
Since it's been awhile since I've run in colder temperatures, I found myself completely confused about what to wear.  Do high 30s temperatures mean I need 2 layers or 3?  Do I need to cover my ears?  Gloves?  I was a mess!  I ended up dressing a little too warmly for the race, but I think if I'd left off a layer I would have frozen waiting around beforehand!  I knew that the course was going to be on the more difficult side, with almost the entire first mile going uphill!  Yikes!  Hills are not really my friends.  Luckily, after that first mile the course had several more hills, but involved more downhill than up.  I found myself basing my run/walk pattern more on whether I was running up or downhill rather than on my watch intervals, which worked pretty well.

Between the hilly course and the fact that I was still getting over a cold, I went into this race expecting to just take it easy and enjoy the gorgeous fall trees surrounding the course, but I didn't do half bad.  I crossed the finish line in 33:06, my slowest 5K this year, but not so bad all things considered.  By the end I was exhausted, though!
Me stumbling to a walk after crossing the finish line...I think this picture perfectly captures how I felt afterwards--ready for a nap!

After my summer of injury debacles, it feels wonderful to race 5Ks this fall.  When I was crying hysterically convinced I had another tibial stress fracture back in July, I could care less about distance running.  All I wanted to be able to do was just plain run again, and a 5K distance sounded so good.  I have to say, I am loving me some 5Ks right now!  That being said, the longing for distance running is definitely still at the back of my mind!  My eyes are set on the Kentucky Derby 1/2 Marathon at the end of April, and I am determined to learn from my training mistakes and do the right thing for my body this time around.  After my talks with my PT this summer and my reflections on my past training, I now understand how important cross training, step-back weeks, and SLOW mileage increases are for me.

So, last month I created a training plan that should take me through fall and winter all the way to the spring half-marathon and beyond.  Instead of following a 12-week half marathon training plan that increases 1-2 miles a week, this plan focuses on building a solid mileage base this fall that includes 2 short (3 mile) runs during the week and 1 longer run on weekends.  The long run will gradually increase up to about 5 or 6 miles, and then stays there for a few weeks.  This winter I'll start half-training (the LONGEST TRAINING PROGRAM EVER! because I am just that cool...), and instead of upping the long run a mile every week, my new plan is to up it 1/2 mile 2 weeks in a row, then step back to an easy 3 mile run on the third week.  All of these ideas are based on what I worked on and talked about with my PT this summer, and what we figured out my body needs to stay strong and uninjured.  I'm also trying to keep up the cross-training weights, and yoga that helped me heal this summer and will help me keep from getting injured again!
Anyways, I'm sure you're bored to death by this point and/or stopped reading long ago!  Sorry for being boring.  I do have a few more races coming up this fall that I'm excited about, including a 10K at the end of October that will be my longest run since the 10 miler in July after which my body basically fell apart and beged for mercy!!!  I know I've put a lot more thought into this plan to "train smarter" this year, and I hope I am able to stick to it!

What races are you looking forward to?

What mistakes have you made and learned from since you started running?
I've always tried to follow all of the injury prevention rules (like increasing mileage only 10% a week), but the biggest thing I've learned is that those rules maybe aren't conservative enough for my body.  I've also learned that cross training and weights actually ARE important to become a better runner!  I definitely learned that one the hard way...

Read more of my race recaps here!


  1. ahhhh!!! obviously i am looking SO forward to derby as well and hoping i get to meet you there! congrats on the 5k! i feel the same way about the weather right now...not sure what to wear at all!

    i think i have learned to run the way (mileage, time of day, week, place, etc) that is best for me rather than trying to match others. What they do might not be best for me and that is okay!

  2. Congrats on the 5K! I'm glad it felt comfortable for you :) I really wish I liked to run.... haha!

  3. Congrats on the 5K! The Kentucky Derby Half sounds like a good one to run. You'll be ready!

  4. I am soo happy for you! Great race lady and i love that picture. Your plan sounds much like what I need to do and it sounds perfect. I can't wait to see you soar :)


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