Race Reports

The most awesome race EVAH.


As you all may recall, my biggest challenge with this training thing is pacing myself. Since I’m new to running, I’m having to figure out what my pace is, and then how to maintain that pace when I’m surrounded by other runners. I know my long-distance pace is a 12-minute mile – but I screwed up ROYALLY during my half-marathon and ran the first 5+ miles at about 10.5 minutes per mile. I’m convinced that’s why the race went so poorly. That and the freezing cold rain, of course.

Yesterday, I told myself that my 5K pace seems to be about a 10-minute mile so I might want to keep about a 11-minute mile pace for the 10K. The problem is, I have no idea how to pace myself. I usually find someone who looks about my physical ability and hang out with them the first quarter-mile to see if they seem like a good fit. Then I shadow them the entire time.

My pace-guy was the older man, probably early fifties. After about a quarter-mile I heard him tell someone his best 10K time was 59 minutes, but usually he ran at about 1hr and 5 minutes. I thought, Hey. His pace is a little faster than I want, but it’s close, so let’s try keeping up with him.

I shadowed him for about four miles of the BEAUTIFUL course. I’m telling you – running across the Tennessee River on a dam while a barge is locking through is one of the coolest things in the world. The weather was awesome and the view was just gorgeous. If only all races were that awesome.

At about the three-mile mark, my pace-guy slowed down to let his wife catch up. She wasn’t too far behind me and I considered slowing down with him. I opted out of that for two reasons. (1) I was feeling good at my current pace, why slow down when I was almost halfway? And (2) that couple might be really creeped out by my stalker behavior.

Somewhere along the Patton Island bridge (which was creepy running across because it was a walkway covered in fencing but I kept having fears of falling off anyway) they came up behind me and passed me. It was very weird and I tried not to let it bug me. Luck for my ego, we hit a hill about a half-mile later that they walked up so I passed them up again.

I started getting really worn out with my pace at the 5-mile mark, but since I was almost done – I tried to hold as strong as I could. I finished at about 64 minutes which had me average about 10.5 minute miles. That is a GREAT time for me. I was super-duper-proud as was MrZ who knows how slow I am naturally. The best part of the ENTIRE thing was hearing them call out my name as I crossed the finish line. I’ve never been in a race that did that and let me tell you: They All Should. It was AWESOME.

All-in-all? A fantastic race that I did really well on. Nothing hurt during the race and my $10 socks seemed to do a great job keeping the blisters at bay. And I ran in shorts for the first time! I don’t know if I would have done it had the forecast not called for a warming, but it was perfect for yesterday. And Dude…if you look close enough? You can see my muscles! And that makes it all worth it right there.

27 thoughts on “The most awesome race EVAH.”

  1. Third time’s a charm. Or is this the fourth? I can’t keep up with you girl. Fantastic job. So how does it feel to be a role model for other women?

    When my husband adjusts his pace, he does it by breaths. His current is four steps while breathing in, three steps while exhaling.
    When you have a treadmill day you might try that. Like you, I just set the speed and I don’t think about my breathing.

    Have you ever heard of ways to aviod back pain while running? I got up to 5 miles in an hour and I feel great doing it, but everytime I do it by back kills me and I currently have a pinched nerve.

  2. Congratualtions it sounds like a beautiful day all around. What brand of sneakers do you wear? Looks like New Balance but can’t quite tell!

  3. I just want to say that I don’t even know you and I feel very proud! Congratulations! You are an inspiration… maybe it’s time I start running again.

  4. Woot! Great job!

    I’m running a 10k on Thanksgiving and I think the pace (or lack thereof) is going to kill me, too. That and I’m not sure I’ve actually run 6 consecutive miles in my entire life — I was a sprinter! Buuut, I want to do a half-marathon in the spring, so this is a necessary intermediate step.

  5. Hi there

    I don’t know you, but I have to tell you that I am inspired to tears by what you have done / continue to do. I admire so many things about you — but first let me tell you this.

    I, too, am a non-runner, and generally a slouch-type person. (I get a lot done, but it usually doesn’t involve me taking care of me … and the little “me” time I do have is so brief and infrequent that it is commonly spent in slouch-mode.) However. Unbelievable to even me, I trained for and ran a Rock and Roll marathon nearly three years ago, and then trained for the one 2 years ago (but got an injury just before and couldn’t do the race, despite having done two 20-mile training runs the month before, so you know I didn’t just chicken out). And then, in 2005 I got breast cancer, and have done only sporadic running ever since. After double mastectomy surgery and a summer of hell with the hated expanders, I had the final implant surgery a little over a year ago, and all is well in boobie land.

    So I should be good, right? Wrong. It seems as if I am trying to hide myself behind the flubber. I am now pretty much like your “before” photo (but without the gorgeous baby). I’ve gone from a size 2 pants (which was not natural, it’s just because I was just training so much) to a size ** (I can’t really say, because I cut the labels out as soon as I buy / decide to keep them). I’ve been trying, trying, trying to get myself going, but it’s just not happening. I go to work, take care of the house, the child (the homework), the man, the pets (and don’t do any of it very well), and not much else.

    And then you decided to train for a marathon. That was me 3 years ago … So I’ve been reading about your progress and identifying with it every step of the way (when I first started training, I couldn’t run 1 mile without stopping to walk (and breathe); a few months later, 6 miles was my “short run.” Wow, right?!) Hmph. Fast forward to now, and I’m fat and depressed and sad (not sure why I’m sad; and fortunately only the fat part is showing).

    But that beautiful picture you posted today — it is glorious! You look so fit, and happy and healthy! And so I can stop typing and finally (maybe) go out for a run, I want to tell you this: it sounds very corny, but I think your story is going to help me get back what I’ve lost. You really are an inspiration, in so many ways. As a mother, a wife, a friend, a working mom, a role model for that little girl, as an honest and soul-baring writer and yes, as an athlete. I admire you so much.

    So thank you for sharing your life. I’m going to go out for a walk or a run or something, and I’m going to be thinking about you along the way.

    Oh, a couple more notes: Thorlo running socks — thick and padded and cushy. And Body Glide — for wherever a seam or tag or anything friction-y might touch your skin. And as for getting your pace, etc., see if your family will authorize a GPS / HRM / Distance and Pace thingie — expensive but so so fun and motivating.

    All done now. Feel free to delete this much-too-long entry as soon as you read it. I’m not as brave as you are, especially when it comes to putting my personal “stuff” out there.

    Happy running πŸ™‚

  6. Congratulations of an awesome day!!! You look fabulous … and the before and after pics are INSPIRATIONAL!!!
    noogies to that cutie in your arms too!

  7. Aside from the physically fit part and superness of your running physique – you look incredibly happy. It’s an awesome and inspiring combination. Congrats!

  8. Congratulations Zoot!! You look gorgeous. I hope you know how much we out here in “Internetland” appreciate the inspiration you provide!!

    I read that Lance Armstrong had the same problem with pacing when he ran the NYC Marathon this month. (There iwas a one page thing in Sports Illustrated this past week) He said that marathon was hardest physical thing he’s ever done. And he is by far the best athlete in the world! So don’t worry girl! You’ll get it.

    Rock on!

  9. What a great accomplishment ! You must be so pleased with your success !

    And your family as well !

    You should (if you ever find the time) make a scrapbook to show your daughter when she grows up. It would be so cool. And include the “before” photo.

    I am deeply impressed !

  10. You rule, chickie! I didn’t realize how much work you’d done tilI looked at both photos. You look so wonderful and happy and healthy. I’m proud of you.

  11. Hey Congrats! I used to read you but lost your bookmark in a crash. Now, you’re the first one to come off of the randomizer… yay for NaBloPoMo. you can find me, trucking my way through Novermber, too…
    I’ve bookmarked you again… I’ll be back

  12. Congrats on such a great time!!! WHOO HOO!! You are lookin AWESOME!!!!!!!! πŸ™‚ You should be sooo proud of yourself.

  13. Wow, you rock. And you look so good. Now i have to go find the before foto everybody is talking about….

  14. Another helpful tool in trying to pace is a heart rate monitor. You can get one at Target for like $40. When you practice or are on the treadmill you can see where your heart rate is at the pace you want to be at. It helps avoid sprinting early and then dying at the end. Plus it will beep at you if you go too high or too low.

  15. Hey Zoot! You looked beautiful then and you look even more beautiful now! Congratulations on your success! I’ve lost 30 pounds without any exercise and have vowed to RUN down the last twenty pounds to reach my goal of 150. I’m not that tall, but I have alot of boobage…so I have to find the premiere of running bras before I hit the pavement along with some decent running shoes. Have a wonderful TGiving!!

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