Hot Chocolate 15k Race

Thank you to everyone who commented and helped me make my decision about running the Hot Chocolate 15k.  I took all of your comments into consideration and ended up registering for the race Friday afternoon.   Nothing like waiting until the last minute to sign up, right?  I know, I have some race-commitment issues, but the end result is I am really glad I did the race.  Plus as Erin suggested why not run the race AND get the new shoes too?  I like the way she thinks!

Before the race started

The race was in downtown Albuquerque and I arrived around 7am, just in time to see a few friends that were getting ready to start the 5k.  I’m not sure why the 5k started 30 minutes before the 15k, seems to make more sense to start the longer run first, but then again, I’m not a race director, so what do I know?  The 15k started at 7:45 and the weather was a nice 61 degrees.  I had hoped to run around 8 minute pace and see how that felt.  The course was completely flat, so I knew I probably wouldn’t be as fast as the downhill half marathon I ran a few weeks ago.

Near the finish line, ready to be done!

I’m glad I decided to run because I definitely pushed myself harder than I would have otherwise if I was just out on a run myself.  There were points where I so badly wanted to stop and walk, and had I just been on a training run I probably would have, but to stop and walk during a race is harder for me to do (even though I often times want to!).  I think it was also good to run the race because it helped me to know what areas I need to work on for my upcoming races.  I know I need to bump up my speed work which has been drastically lacking.  Also there is nothing like a race to remind me that the mental aspect of running is just as important as the physical.  This is an area that I definitely need some work on.

My total time was 1:13.54, average of 7:56 per mile.  I’m happy with this, although my last 2 miles were my slowest, which I’m not thrilled with.  I just didn’t have anything left to finish strong.  Oh well. I was so excited at the finish to see my hubs and daughter.  I hadn’t expected them to be there, so this was a nice surprise!

So excited my family came to the finish!

Also, I want to shout out to the Martin family, with 10 year old son, Cade, who did the 5k and he averaged an 8:05 pace.  Wow!  This kid has some talent!

Overall I was impressed with the race.  It was the first time this race was held in Albuquerque and they did a great job.  The race started on time, the course was well marked and supported, there were a ton of enthusiastic volunteers and who can complain with chocolate at the end?  All in all, I’m happy with my decision to run the race and think that it will help with my NYC Marathon Training.  Only 5 weeks to go!

Any one else race this weekend?  Have you ever done a Hot Chocolate Race?  What would your ideal treat be after a race?  Chocolate or something else?

 

To Race or Not to Race

I have yet to sign up for the Hot Chocolate 15k which happens to take place tomorrow.  I have been on the fence as to whether or not I should run this race.  When I first heard about the race it sounded fun and I have never raced the 15k distance, so I thought sure, I’m in.  Well, after my long history of missed marathons earlier this year (3 in case you are counting), I have been hesitant to sign up and pay for a race until it gets closer because if something happens again (injury, sickness, family crisis), I’d rather not be out the race entry fee.  So, I have not registered for tomorrow’s race yet and am now questioning if I’m going to do it.

Here is my dilemma…is it worth $68 to race tomorrow?  Part of me says yes because as I mentioned here, I have just felt so sluggish lately and have not done as many of my speed workouts as I should be doing for my NYC marathon training.  I just can’t seem to get myself to pick up the pace when I’m running by myself, so I think that if I run the race I can get a good speed workout/tempo run in, like I did when I ran the Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon 2 weeks ago.  The other part of me says that it is stupid to pay $68 simply to get a fast paced run in.  I could use that money to buy the new pair of Brooks Pure Connects I have been wanting!

Could Brooks have gone with a brighter color?!

Help me out, what do you think I should do this weekend…race or not race?

5 Feet of Focus

While on a run earlier this summer at Hopewell Lake in northern New Mexico, God was talking to me.  During the eight mile run it seemed that every way I turned I was going up hill.  Not just some rolling hills but mile long hills.  When I would look ahead it appeared like the hill was never ending, just up, up, up.  I’d feel discouraged and wonder can I keep running (really I was barely shuffling at this point) or do I need to stop and walk?  In that moment God spoke to me and said just focus five feet in front of you and keep going.  I realized this is what He was telling me about my life. Just focus on the moment I have given you right now, this day, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month.  Just enjoy the day I have given you.

After my run near Hopewell Lake this summer

I needed to hear this message as I had been getting consumed with concerns over my job, kids, my MS diagnosis, and what’s to come in the future.  Well, God reminded me in that moment of what is important, as He does in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So take a moment today to focus just five feet in front of you and enjoy the day that God has blessed us with.

Boston Here I Come

Look what I got in my email this weekend:

117th Boston Marathon

Dear Beth,
This is to notify you that your entry into the 117th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013 has been accepted.

 

I’m going to Boston!  I am so excited!  I still can’t believe that I actually qualified and will be running Boston next April.  The Boston Marathon is something I knew about before I was even a runner.  Then when I started running off and on years ago, I just thought it was something for people that are born runners and have spent their lives running.  Well, now I know it can be for average people like me that started running just for fun later in life.  When I started running I could not even run one mile at the marathon pace needed to qualify for Boston, so the thought that I accomplished that this summer is still hard for me to process.  When the qualifying times were lowered by 5 minutes (and 59 seconds!) last year, it was another little blow to me because I thought it was hard enough to get to the qualifying time for my age group at that point, let alone shave another 6 minutes off of that.

I ran my first marathon almost 3 years ago at the age of 38.  My time was 4:13.  As much as those last miles hurt, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to run another one.

 

After I finished my first marathon, the Duke City Marathon, in October 2009. I needed the tree to hold me up!

 

Unfortunately, it took 2 years of battling injuries to get back to the starting line.  A year ago I finally made it to my second marathon, the St. George Marathon in Utah.  I had trained well and thought I had a chance at qualifying for Boston.  I was on pace to do so until mile 23 when the heat slammed me against the infamous “wall”.  It took everything I had to walk the rest of the way and cross that line…in a time of 4:13.  As frustrating as that day was, I didn’t give up, I still hoped that someday I could hit my BQ time of 3:45, and 9 months later I ran a 3:42 at the Foot Traffic Marathon in Portland.  And now, it’s official…I’m going to run Boston!

Anyone else running Boston next April?  Anyone been to Boston that can give me some pointers on where to stay, what to do, while we are there?

Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday I ran the Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon.  The race was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, about an hour from where I live in Albuquerque.  Fortunately my friend, Cathy, that was also running the race, told me the day before that our hubbies could drop us off at the start line which would allow for an extra hour of sleep on race morning, yes please!  That allowed me to “sleep in” until 4:45 Sunday morning.  I got up and got ready and then had a little panic attack when my Garmin that I charged all night, froze up.  I have been having some problems with it, but I have been hoping it can hang on a little longer before I have to buy a new one.  I took a deep breath and thought I may just have to run this race by feel (which I do not do ever).  I know some people are really good at sensing their own pace, I am not one of them.  Sometimes I feel like I am running really hard thinking I must be under 7:30 pace and look down and see a 9 something.  Definitely not my forte.  My husband came to the rescue and reset my watch and it seemed to start working again, and luckily it made it through the race fine.   After I got myself ready, I roused the kids from their slumber, we got loaded in the car and we were off for Santa Fe.  We had a little mishap finding the place, my iPhone directed us to the wrong starting area, but Cathy came to the rescue again after I called her and she told us where to go.  We got to the start area about 45 minutes prior to the 8am start. After a bathroom stop and a little warm up jog, we were ready to go.

Prior to the start, a nice crisp 46 degrees out.

The race started off uphill which is never any fun right out the gate, but I knew it was going to be a 2 mile stretch until we hit some downhill, so my goal was to just grind it out and attack the hill the best I could.  I was thinking 9 minute miles would be good for the first 2 uphill miles and that I could possibly still hit a time of 1:45 for the race. Well, I surprised myself with an 8:41 and 8:37!  Then I was happily greeted with a nice downhill and clocked 7:28, 7:29, 7:36, 7:35 the next few miles.  The course leveled out a bit after this and I slowed down a little. Have I told you that I love downhill races?!  Some people say they wreck their legs from the downhill impact and tear up the quads. For some reason my legs (and lungs) love the downhill!  Bring it on!  If you have a downhill race you want me to run, the answer is yes! 

After the course leveled out we had more uphill and some rolling hills. I forced myself to take a Vega Gu at mile 7.  I say forced because I hate fueling on runs.  My stomach wants nothing but water, but I know my body needs something more than that.  So I play games with myself and say things like “after you take the Gu I’ll let you turn on your music”.  I know, really mature, right?  But it worked.  Gu down and music on!

Happy because I finished the Gu and am throwing the wrapper to my hubs.

Miles 7-12 were 7:54, 7:53, 7:57, 7:56, 7:55, 8:08.  Some of these miles got a little challenging and I started questioning why and how I was going to run another marathon in 7 weeks.  13.1 miles is plenty long and tough enough.  Why do I torture self with full marathons?  Having run enough races now, I know these are normal thoughts and feelings to have during a race when you are pushing hard, but I always find it funny (afterwards at least), because I LOVE the full marathon distance.  I just may not “feel” like I love it during a half or full race.

With 1.1 miles to go I was feeling good and pounded out a 7:40 for mile 13 and 7:27 pace for the last tenth of a mile. Race finished!  Time of 1:43.27.

I met my family at the finish, grabbed a coconut water, threw some ice on my head and then went back to cheer Cathy in.  We had separated near the start when her shoe came untied, but she had an amazing race, beating her time from last year by 5 minutes!

One of the great things about this race is that there were some special guests involved.  Billy Mills, the 1964 Olympic Gold Medal winner in the 10,000 meters was at the race and signed posters afterward.  Mr. Mills founded Running Strong for American Indian Youth, a group that has raised over $100 million dollars to help support families and encourage and inspire youth.

Billy Mills, 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist

There were also representatives of the Tarahumara participating in the race.  If any of you have read Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run”, you know about the impact that this tribe from the Copper Canyon of Mexico has had on running.  I was privileged to run along side one of the tribe members for a bit during the race, it was truly inspiring.

Before the race, 2 of the Tarahumara with their tire soled running huaraches.

Overall I really enjoyed this race.  The organization was amazing, the course was prettier than I expected, and the weather was gorgeous.  If I had to criticize anything it would be that there wasn’t any food (that I saw) at the finish line other than some bananas.  I had heard that Whole Foods was one of the sponsors, so I thought there would be some yummy after race treats, but I didn’t see anything at all.  The coconut water was great at the finish, and they had another energy type drink too, but a little food would have been nice.  The only other minor critique I have would be that the race shirts are an ugly forest green color.  I just can’t really picture ever wearing this shirt, not a great color in my opinion.  But these are minor issues to me when running a race.  I think they hit a home run in regards to the organization, communication leading up to the race via email, the volunteers, and the course.  It was one of the best races I’ve ever run in New Mexico and I look forward to running it again in the future.  I want to thank Joseph Karnes and Global Running Culture for sponsoring me to run this race.

Did you run this weekend?  Have you read “Born to Run”?  Ever heard of the Tarahumara?

*Global Running Culture sponsored me to run the Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon. All opinions are my own.