DSF Rebel Run 5k

On Saturday the high school I attended held a 5k to raise money for their athletics program.  I don’t run many 5k’s, but with the Monument Avenue 10k a mere three weeks away, I figured I could use it as a practice race as well as a chance to do some speed work.  Plus, the school’s athletics program is definitely a cause that I support!  (I ran cross country and track in high school.)  I talked my brother into running with me, as he is training for the same 10k and also benefited from this school’s athletics program.

Rebel Run

It was quite chilly standing around before the race started, but once we started running we warmed up pretty quickly.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect in terms of how fast I could finish the race–the last 5k I ran was almost a year ago–but I decided to aim for an 8-minute mile pace.  Unfortunately, my Garmin watch broke that morning as I was putting it on, so rather than knowing my minute-by-minute pace, I had to rely on a regular stopwatch and how I felt (I know… horrible.)

Garmin

Has anyone had a Garmin break like this before?  The rubber holding the metal piece just tore, so there was no way I could wear it!  Does anyone know if Garmin can/will replace that segment of the watch?  I was pretty bummed.

The course itself was a nice trip down memory lane–we ran through the neighborhoods by the school where we used to do our cross country practice runs.  Ross and I maintained a steady, but quick pace, and judging by the mile-markers, we determined we were running just faster than goal pace.

As we emerged from the neighborhood and approached the school grounds (probably a quarter mile from the finish), we gradually passed two high school girls.  Moments later they passed us, having clearly picked up speed and decided we were their “don’t let them beat us” people (Runners, you know what I’m talking about.)  Ross, sensing a challenge and being competitive to his core, asked if he could take off toward the finish.  He passed the girls quickly, and I was not far behind.  I heard them mumble something as Ross passed, and then again as I did.  Sorry, girls. 😀

My official time was 23:47–a personal best for me!  (Hey, I said I ran cross country in high school… I didn’t say I ran it well.)  My average mile pace was 7:40, and of that I am pretty dang proud.

The race provided some good quality time with the bro, boosted my confidence for the upcoming 10k, and made for a generally pleasant morning.  I just may incorporate more 5k’s into my life from here on out. 🙂

Do you run 5ks regularly?  What is your favorite race distance?  

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Treadmill Tempo Run

Yesterday I finally registered for the Monument Avenue 10k–one of the largest 10k’s in the country with over 40,000 participants, and an especially great race in a city known for doing races very well.  On April 13, a large majority of Richmonders will be running, walking, or spectating.

While I only registered yesterday, I have officially been training for a couple of weeks, and have assumed I’d run the race since last year…and the year before.  For someone who loves running, this is not a race to miss.

Four years ago, I surprised myself by finishing this 10k in 50:03.  I had no idea I could run that fast and gained a new running confidence as a result.  The next year I did not run the race.  In fact, I only ran at all three times in the period of about six months, but that’s another story–one that involves a scarring 20-mile run with 25 mph wind and bad directions.  I digress.  The following year (two years ago,) I made a comeback and finished the race in 50:28.

Last year, having been so close to running sub-50 minutes in the previous years, I trained hard.  When race day arrived, I was ready.  My legs felt good, and I was completely confident that I’d see  49:__ when I crossed the finish line.  I ran my the first four miles at approximately a 7:55 mile pace, which  would put me well under 50 minutes at the finish.  Then, just after passing the marker for mile 4, I felt a sharp pain in my side.  I slowed down to allow the cramp to work itself out, but it only worsened.  I walked.  I stretched and took deep breaths.  When the pain subsided a bit, I began running again, knowing I’d banked enough time to still achieve my goal.  Unfortunately, the pain kept returning (and it was not a pain I could push through.)  Severely disappointed (and a little embarrassed), I walked/jogged/hobbled the last 2.2 miles of the race, finishing in 55:03.  

This year I want so badly to break the 50-minute mark, and I am kicking myself for only beginning training a month before the race.  (I do run regularly, so I am not starting from scratch, but still…) Believe it or not, the purpose of this post was not to give a four year race recap, but talk about a specific training run 😉

The Tempo Run

The short: running at a tough, but manageable pace for 2+ miles, to train your body to maintain speed at longer distances.

The long: Eh, just read this article.

Tempo runs are a great tool for getting faster, which is exactly what I want to do, so I have been incorporating them into my 10k training.  Here’s what I did last week:

Treadmill Tempo

Hopefully I will be able to run the tempo miles faster in time, but this is where I am at the moment!

Anyone else running the Monument Ave 10k?  Do you have a goal time?

Happy running!

2013 Goals and New Year’s Day Cuisine

My most successful New Year’s resolution to date was one I made in college to wear earrings every day for the entire year.  I’d had my ears pierced for years but was very lazy about actually wearing jewelry.  I aced that resolution (Can you “ace” a resolution? Achieve? Complete?); I wore earrings every.single.day.  Doing so did not make me a better person in any profound way, but it helped me feel a little more put together when I left the house.  The following year I resolved to wear high heels at least three times a week; that lasted until roughly the end of January, when I decided to embrace my (lack of) height and give my poor feet a break.  Since then I have been far less creative.

This year I am setting New Year’s Goals (essentially the same as resolutions, I just like the idea of “goals” more than that of “resolutions.”)  Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Blog at least twice a week.  I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and 2013 is the year! I don’t care if no one reads it (well, that’s not true…I’d be sad if no one read it…), I am blogging!

2. Run at least three races, including a marathon.  I’ve run half marathons and 10-ks consistently since my early college years, but I’ve only completed one full marathon, and it was five years ago.  I think I’ve reached the point where saying, “I run marathons,” is not entirely true.  A more accurate statement would be, “I ran a marathon one time in college.”  It’s time to push myself a little harder.

3. Eat a cleaner diet.  Those of you who know me well might be laughing at this; relatively speaking, I eat very healthy, organic, straight-from-the-earth food most of the time.  But, those of you who know me well also know that I rarely say no to ice cream!  If you were to ask Andrew about this topic, he might quote me last night as saying, “I just want so much chocolate.”  So, in 2013 we are aiming to cut back a bit on the added sugar, as well as add more of a variety of vegetables (quantity is not an issue, but we do tend to get stuck in a broccoli/kale/peppers cycle.)

That’s a good start for the blog, I think.

On New Year’s Day we hung out and watched football with friends, so we pushed our semi-traditional NYD meal to January 2.

On the menu:  Pork Chops Marsala, Black-Eyed Peas, and Collard Greens

DSCN7065(Sub-goal of goal #1: learn to take better photos, especially of food in bad light ;-))

We scanned a few recipes for a Marsala sauce, then improvised.  Here’s our recipe:

Pork Chops Marsala

-4 pork chops

-1 package of mushrooms, sliced

-2 cloves of garlic, minced

-2 c chicken broth

-1/2 c cooking sherry

– flour (gluten-free for Andrew)

-salt, pepper, thyme

-olive oil

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; 2. add olive oil, then mushrooms, and saute until brown.  3. While mushrooms are browning, season the pork chops with a little salt and pepper, then coat with flour.  4. Remove mushrooms from skillet.  5. If needed, add more olive oil to the skillet, add the pork chops, and cook until both sides are browned (a few minutes on each side.) 6. Remove pork chops from skillet. 7. Add garlic and saute until it starts smelling delicious (a few minutes :)). 8. Add mushrooms back to the skillet, plus ~2 tbsp flour and thyme, and cook for about a minute.  9. Add the chicken broth and sherry, stir constantly, and bring to a boil. 10. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 2 minutes.  11. Return pork to pan, and let simmer for a few minutes until pork is cooked all the way through.  12. Enjoy!

This was not our healthiest recipe, but oh-so-delicious!  It’s definitely a keeper!

We had half a package of turkey bacon, so we incorporated that into the greens and black-eyed peas.

For the black-eyed peas we chopped a few slices of the turkey bacon into small pieces and sauteed them in a medium sauce pan.  Then we added minced garlic, and after a few minutes we added 2 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of dry black-eyed peas, and brought everything to a boil.  Then we reduced the heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

The collard greens were very simple as well: greens + turkey bacon + chicken broth, simmer for 30 minutes or so, add apple cider vinegar, and simmer a little longer!

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2013!