Patriot Day 5k – Post Race Recap and Unexpected PR

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Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a “post-race recap.” I’ve been running a few races this year but haven’t really taken the time to review them. Since this blog is partly about running, it’s about time that I recap a race of mine.

This past weekend was a “holiday” of sorts to remember and honor those that served our country on that awful day 15 years ago. I was a freshman in high school sitting at my desk in earth science watching the news as the two towers fell down.

I will never forget that day and our country will always remember those that had fallen with the towers. The company I work for, 3W Races, holds a race every year to honor those first responders and military that were there that day and that continue to serve our country. The Patriot Day race started out as a 10k and 5k but this year we only did the 5k. Not being responsible for the production of this race, I decided to run it! Talk about perks of the job!

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This race is in Denver and around a beautiful park in the city, Sloans Lake. Being a super flat course (the most flat of any of 3W’s courses), I wanted to see what my current fitness level is by racing as hard as I could. I didn’t want to wear a watch, I just wanted to go off of feel. After getting this time, I plan on picking some running goals and deciding what I actually want to do with the sport.

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I showed up to the park pretty early, getting plenty of time to talk with friends and get a warm up in. One friend in particular told me he wanted to PR which would be a sub 25 minute 5k for him. He told me he wanted run with me, or at least keep me in his sights. I figured we could run together since my time would be somewhere around 25 minutes anyway. That’s what I’ve been running in recent races.

The whistle was blown and off we went. My friend and I ran pretty hard from the start line. I have a bad habit of starting off too fast, and even though I tried not to this time, I knew we were running pretty quickly! I don’t know even remember what the time was, but we were both shocked when his watch beeped at the first mile marker. I told my friend that it’s okay, we can still get that PR as long as we hold where we’re at.

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By mile two, he was still on my shoulder; I knew he was set up for a PR. I waved my hand up, holding a “one” on my fingers telling him we only had one more mile left. I pushed it a little harder, still feeling great.

Then, with three-quarters of a mile left, I looked down and saw my shoe untied! I swear I doubled knotted that thing and ironically, I was even thinking about shoes untying while running.  UUURRRGGG. Not stopping, I just became very aware of where I was putting my feet down at.

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I passed a group and they reminded me of the mishap but I still kept going. I passed my friend’s wife on the course and told her he was right behind me. Looking up, the finish line was in sight and I pushed even harder.

Noticing that I was finishing around 23 minutes, my friend was definitely in for PR. I looked back and there he was, flying in for a minute and a half PR! So excited, we high-fived and he thanked “Coach Vestal.”

 

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Feeling pretty good, I started thinking about my PR. I honestly couldn’t remember it, but had my phone with me. Checking my blog, where I record such things, I found that I had beaten my PR as well. I couldn’t believe it. I had not goal of a PR, just a fast race. I have been feeling super slow lately, and not as fit as I used to be, but I had indeed ran my fastest ever 5k! The best part, is I still feel room for improvement!

A PR kind of day, about half a dozen of us gotten PRs! It was awesome! We all got to take turns re-setting the time clock to our times, and took some celebratory pictures then headed to a local brewery for celebratory beers.

1st in my Age Group!

I was also 1st in my Age Group!

Colfax Marathon Relay – Pre Race Prep

Picking up my packet for the 2016 Colfax Relay

Picking up my packet for the 2016 Colfax Relay

At 4:00am, tomorrow morning, my alarm will be going off.

At 4:45am tomorrow morning I will just be parking my car.

At 5:00am tomorrow, I will have finished my coffee and start walking over to City Park in Denver.

2016, running!

2016, running!

At 5:15am, I’ll be starting my warm up for a 6.4 mile run.

When it gets to 5:45am, I’ll have taken off all my warm clothes and be waiting in Coral A with a bunch of other eager runners.

And at 6:00am, tomorrow morning, I will starting the first leg of the Colfax Marathon relay for the third year in a row!

2014 Relay team, and all City of Golden employees running colfax!

2014 Relay team, and all City of Golden employees running colfax!

As always, I am running with four other lovely ladies that all work for the City of Golden in some way. Consisting of HR, police officers and rec center employees, our ladies relay team, the Golden Foxes, are racing in the Colfax Marathon Relay – The Government Cup to try to raise money for the Foothills Animal shelter.

A couple of years ago, we placed 4th and raised $1,000 for a different Golden charity. I hope we can do it again!

2014 Packet Pick Up

2014 Packet Pick Up

Chances are, when you finally read this, I’ll have finished the first leg of the relay, approximately 7:00am, and be patiently waiting around the expo for the rest of the Golden Foxes to finish so we can celebrate!

Celebrating after the 2015 Race!

Celebrating after the 2015 Race!

Check out my recap from 2014.

Have you run any of the Colfax Marathon weekend events?? 

Run Like the Wind – Pre-Race Prep

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This weekend, I’m tackling race number two for 2016. I’m also checking off state number 13 and half marathon number 13! That’s pretty awesome, but I’m not sure how the race itself will go.

On Sunday, I am taking on the trails of Ellensburg, Washington. As many times as I’ve been to Washington I have yet to run a race there.   There’s a ton of great ones, yet the timing has never worked out.

Growing up, my Mom and I went out to Washington to visit my Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles about once a year. At the time, my Grandparents lived in Snohomish, a small town outside of Seattle. As I got older, the trips weren’t as often, but I’ve still been out there a quite a few times, visiting Ellensburg instead, when my Grandparents moved to the other side of the mountains.

Visiting my grandparents as a kid. That's at Mount Saint Helens

Visiting my grandparents as a kid. That’s at Mount Saint Helen’s

Last year, if you remember I went out there sometime at the end of the summer to see my family. This time, my visit comes in conjunction with my Grandpa’s  memorial service. My Grandpa passed away at the end of last year.  We decided to hold the memorial service until his birthday so that it would not coincide with the holidays and give people time to plan the trip.

Knowing when I’d be traveling, I looked for a race in Washington. Bingo, I found one the weekend before, in the same town my Grandparents live in! The Run Like the Wind Running Festival is actually in Ellensburg, WA. It was a sign; I just had to do it! My Grandpa wasn’t a runner (that I know of) but running is my way to cope with life so I’m running this race in his honor. It might not mean much to any one else, but that’s how I can process him being gone and remember him.

My Grandpa and I were buds! I'm a lot like him now as I've gotten older!

My Grandpa and I were buds! I’m a lot like him now as I’ve gotten older.

My boyfriend is joining me, along with one of his friends. We have taken this week off from work to make it all around trip. I will fly out while Ben and his friend drive out. This whole trip will consist of me running a race, Ben and his friend climbing Mt. Rainier, family time, Grandpa’s memorial service and a road trip back to Colorado.  Knocking off a lot of things with one stone!

The Race Prep:

They call this a trail running festival. We’ll see how their trail race compares to those out here in Colorado. 😉 The course description says there’s still about 10% on the road so I’m not sure if my Roost MUT Team (the Mountain and Ultra race team I am on) will be impressed our not. Either way, trail race or not, it looks like a fun event..and hard!

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The race is hosted on the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility, hence the name Run Like the Wind. The trail description says you wind through the facility and get to run right next to the turbines! Cool, huh!? They also “promise” gorgeous views! Don’t worry, I’ll be running with my camera (mainly so I have a phone for when I die on the course).

I’m really excited about the course, even if it is hard, because it looks really cool judging from the description and the pictures on Facebook. I’m also really excited about the finish line for a few reasons:

1. I’ll be done with another state checked off.

2. There’s beer, a band and a wide array of finisher’s food!

3. The finisher’s medal looks SWEET!

4. My Grandma and Uncle will be waiting for me! That’s a new experience for me!

Now, just have to get through the actual 13.1 miles…

5d29f3393a55ec10c8982120a306e32f_1aj5The Actual Race Prep:

So… my training hasn’t been that great. Actually it’s been pretty awful. In fact, it’s pretty nonexistent. Don’t judge me. I’ve been lucky to get in three days a week of running and my longest run was about 8 or 9 miles, about a month ago. This is has been a lot to do with my schedule (working four jobs) and a couple of teams I have joined (my running team has obligations and I joined a volleyball league).

The lack of training is largely due to me being exhausted from doing all that. To be completely fair, if I was slightly more motivated, I’m sure I could have squeezed a full-fledged training program in there, but  that would have meant me being  even more exhausted (if that’s even possible) and less time to spend with my boyfriend.

I’m not here to play the “I’m busier than you game.” It is what it is.

The good thing: I did get in a 2 hour run (only 7.5 miles but on an intense trail) about two weeks ago. Take that however you want.

My plan:

Since I’ll be lucky if I have any sort of long distance endurance built up, I plan on taking it easy. My goal is to JUST FINISH. Oh, it’s going to hard to not go out strong in the beginning. There’s alway that little competitive me in the back of my head urging me to burn myself out, but I’m going to have to duck tape that little competitive me’s mouth shut.

I’m not going to like time. It’s going be painfully slow. I’m going to cringe when I see it. It’ll most likely be the slowest I have ever been.

But I’m going to have to just accept it.

I plan on going out at a nice steady pace; maybe even taking a one to two-minute walking break every mile. That way I don’t completely exhausted myself, or injure myself, before I’m walking the whole second half of the race!

There’s no sense in hurting myself just to get a good time. I can still get a new state, sweet medal by taking it easy and just finishing. I’m not going to drop down to a shorter distance because, frankly, I want a medal from the state of Washington!

At least I’ll come away with good pictures!

So if you would like to follow my clumsy journey in Washington, follow me on Instagram or Twitter. I’ll be sure to bring you up to date info of my race! 🙂

Your turn: Would you do this race, given a lack of training, to reach a goal (racing all the states)? Or are you super competitive and if you can’t do well, drop out?

Erin Go Braugh 7.77k Recap (first race of 2016!)

This post is about a month over due, as is always my fashion, but we’ve got a wet, slushy snowstorm in CO, and I have time to work on my blog. Here it goes anyway..

Back in March, it’s been a month now, I finally had a Saturday off from working. Almost every weekend I was either working one of 3W’s events or going to promote 3W at someone else’s event.

I decided to sign up to actually run the Erin Go Braugh 7.77k in Westminster, instead of sleeping in. This would be my first race of the year! It is one of our signature holiday races at 3W Races and I have run it for the past three years, this being the fourth.

The first time on this course was in 2013 with a couple of friends of mine, before I was a 3W Ambassador. We dressed up in lots of green, someone even wore a cape, and we took to the Westminster trail.

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2013 with Shay, Bajia and I can’t remember that guy’s name….. : /

In 2014, I was an ambassador and raced with my fellow 3W Friends.

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2014

Last year, I remember feeling really sick that day, but raced anyway since this is my favorite 3W event (tied with Turkey Trek in November).

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2015, Susan and I ran together for a lot of the race, then she took off! Yes, I ran with my clover balloon the whole race!

This year, I was super stoked  to race but hadn’t really set any goals, unsure of how I would do. I kinda wanted to PR (at this 7.77k distance), I kinda wanted to win my age group… but I wasn’t sure how fast I could actually run. My training has been on and off for a lot of reasons.

So I showed up to the race, tied my shoes and set off to run how I felt.

Turns out I felt pretty strong! I came in at 39:24, my second fastest time on this course (although this year’s course was tiny bit different). In 2013, I ran the 7.77k in 38:35, super fast, although I don’t want that to take away from this year’s accomplishment.

I started off steady, focussing on my breathing and found a nice comfortable pace. I found people up ahead to stick with and focussed on my form. As I got further and further into the race, I picked up my pace, dropping a lady I was running with for a majority of the race. Then, I found a girl ahead, “Purple Shorts,” I nicked named her.  In my head I told myself to catch up to her. We kept going back and forth with being in the lead. With about a quarter mile left, finish line in site, I kicked it!

I felt STRONG and flew like the wind (at least in my mind’s eye), and reached the finish line with a smile on my face! I found Purple Shorts to tell her good job and she says, “Geez, you have a good kick! I tried to keep up with you!”

While waiting for the results, hoping I had done well, I joined my friends and the boyfriend for a Lucky Charm feast!

Finally, results were in. I took first in my age group! Extremely happy with the race, Ben and I left, I took a nap and we finished the day with some rock climbing.