Monday, April 28, 2014

Country Music Half Marathon & Lots of Veggies

Some days call for the real stuff...

Saturday was the Country Music Half Marathon, and I ran it as a pacer. I had to carry that sign you see in the picture above for the time on it, with the goal of crossing the finish line at that time. Although carrying the sign was part of the job, the main part was motivating and pacing anyone with me (or seeing me) to finish in their goal time. I had really been looking forward to this for the last couple months. I'd been training for this time and, if I succeeded, not only would I be able to help other achieve their goals, I'd achieve mine also. My half marathon PR before Saturday was (officially) 1:49:19 (Tom King Half, March 14, 2009) or (unofficially) 1:48:30 (training run, September 25, 2010). Any my most recent Half Marathon race was

All the Nashville Striders pacers

My goal for Saturday's race was, obviously, 1:45:00. That breaks out to 8-minute miles, so that's what I trained for. It would also be a 3.5-minute PR, so that's what I was aiming for. I ran two training runs on the course over the last couple weeks, and I studied the couple miles I didn't run so that I would feel comfortable with the turns, hills, etc. In addition, I (unknowingly) trained with a crowd: The first time I ran the first 9 miles, I started downtown while all the fans for the NCAA Women's final-four or final game were downtown. Talk about crowds! Then I missed a turn and didn't quite get miles 9-10 quite right.

It's obvious who took this photo, right?

The second time I ran the first 10.5 miles, I started downtown while a Bruce Springsteen concert was happening and the pre-show fans were all around. The crowds weren't as bad, but people just were not paying attention and all over the sidewalks. On the plus side, I got all of those miles correct.

Neither run was at race pace, but I was still pretty confident I could perform when it mattered. For Saturday, I kept 9 of the first 10 miles just at or just below 8-minute miles. I wanted to leave time for slowing at aid stations, and I wanted to finish on time. That odd mile out (Mile 7, 8:19), was completely uphill and I purposely slowed there as well. The other miles were anywhere between 7:30 and 8:04). Miles 11 and 12 where a whole other story. My pace faded quite a bit, and I knew that I was falling off the pace given the location of the mile markers. Those miles were 8:47 and 8:52. At this point, I had a few people asking me whether I was still on pace (because I was holding a sign that said 1:45). I said I was close but a little slow. But, there was another 1:45 pacer who was about a minute up the road; to everyone who asked me whether I was on pace, I recommended that they not let me hold them back, noting the other pacer up the road and encouraging them to catch (or at least work to catch) her.

I was using my Garmin to pace (plus I had a bracelet telling me what all the mile splits should be), and according to my Garmin, I hit 13.1 at 1:45:02...however, the course according to my Garmin was 13.35 miles -- a quarter mile long. When I crossed the line at 1:47:02, I knew I hadn't reached my goal but was still thrilled. My overall pace according to my Garmin was 8:01 minutes per mile. I stood in the finish area for a few minutes looking for faces of people who had been around me during the race or with me before, but I didn't see many. That encouraged me, and I figured they'd finished just before me and at their goal time.


A few people came up to me afterward asking about my pace and finish time and saying thank you, so evidently more people were with me (or using me) than I'd noticed. In fact, one guy (Drew) had been running right next to me for nearly 10K and I didn't notice that until I tried to move to the opposite side of the road and moved right in to him. We exchanged words a few times, but I was so focused on maintaining the pace that I couldn't really have a real conversation.

If I had to do it again (or volunteered; I'd do it again), I'd either pace a 2-hour crew or I'd know I could run a 1:30 and still pace the 1:45 crew. The only thing I felt was lacking was my ability to compensate for the long course. I was able to pace the pace I'd trained at, but I wasn't able to run (or maintain) a pace slightly faster.

Overall, though, it was a blast. Post-race, I changed, iced my shoulder (turns out holding a sign is hard work!), and sat around with the other pacers for a while, chatting and listening to the live music and then race-winner announcements. Then it was home to put my feet up!

Official results are here (hopefully they stay at this link, but I never know).
Half Marathon: 1:47:02 (10K: 48:59; 10mi: 1:19:24; pace: 8:10/mile)
Age Group: 70/2,124; Gender: 313/12,509; Overall: 1,099/19,149

And of course, a grocery trip this weekend. Because
everyone needs to eat!
There are a lot of veggies (fresh and frozen) on sale this week. I took advantage of the sales paired with Qs today and will probably go back once more before this sale cycle ends.

Publix Trip (4-27)

Item (Quantity)  
Regular Price 
Sale Price  
Final Price  
Eat Smart
veggies (2)
GG Steamers
veggies (10)
5 x $2/2 MQs$2.95
Almond milk (2)3.00
2 x $1/1 PQs$3.00
Bananas (1.89 lb)0.59/lb
Snapea Crisps2.09----$2.09
Stouffers Family
Meals (2)
2 x $1/1 MQs$7.98
Publix shredded
cheese (2)
Publix turkey
3.99--$0.50/1 CQ$3.49
Sargento cheese
slices (2)
$0.60/2 MQ$4.40
Old Wisc. snack
Totals: 24 items$76.43$53.13$12.60 in MQs
$2.00 in PQs
$0.50 in CQ
+3.82 tax
$41.85 total
(saved 34.58,
or 45%)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Team Camp - Sewanee and Chattanooga

Fun times atop Signal Mountain
Last weekend Team Belladium headed south east to Chattanooga for a long weekend of riding.

Team picture! Amanda, Cali, Alicia, Parri, me, Shelly, Kim
Shannon, Catherine, Katherine, Emily, Valerie, and Anna
Friday we stopped in Sewanee to climb Monteagle and ride for a little while. Then we at dinner in Chatty at The Terminal and stayed for the weekend at The Crash Pad. We pretty much took over the kitchen and entire lower level, but it worked out perfectly for us. Friday's ride on Strava is here. The Monteagle climb is about 3.6 miles.

Friday afternoon in Sewanee before the ride

Sometime Saturday...

Saturday morning after a good breakfast (though not enough!), we headed out again, this time to climb Suck Creek Mountain and Signal Mountain. The morning ride on Strava ride is here. The Suck Creek climb is about 5.5 miles, and the Signal Mountain climb is about 6 miles.

Saturday afternoon before the ride
After our 60-mile morning ride, we chilled for a while, ate a lot of food, and then headed back out to play. The afternoon ride was much easier...the roads were all pretty flat and we weren't pushing ourselves very hard, but we did some teamwork drills and sprinted for the state line sign. I got it on the way out and completely forgot out it on the way it (so Todd got it). Stats from the ride on Strava are here.

Climbing Suck Creek Mountain...I was the first
to reach Todd (because I had a 5-min head start!)
Saturday night was pizza dinner and chilling outside during the AMAZING night. Perfect temps, perfect company, great food, all around good!

Enjoying the beautiful night on Saturday
Kim, Kat, Cath, and me
Sunday morning we got up and rode over to Lookout Mountain, climbing up via Scenic Highway. I'd ridden down that way a few times, but I don't think I'd ridden up that way. It was easier than the Ochs Highway climb, but it was in no way easy. Stats from the ride on Strava are here. The climb is about 2.9 miles.
Climbing again...seems like all we did all weekend!

Alicia and I were feeling like triathletes

Riding on Lookout Mountain on Sunday
Heading up Lookout Mountain on Sunday