Sunday, March 18, 2012

Race Report: ShamRock & Roll 10K

Summary: it was a great race.  My performance: not so much.  This is my 3rd Kona Running Co event (did Solstice 10K and Wicked Halloween 10K in 2011), and they always do a great job.  Great shirts, medals, courses, water stops, post-race food, etc.  I actually didn't wait in line for the post-race food and drink today because we were going out to brunch, but Jeff got a vitamin water.  The weather wasn't bad.  Temperature was good (50s I think?), but it felt a little humid to me.  

As for the race, I knew pretty quickly I wasn't going to PR.  By mile 3 I had adjusted my goal from a PR (better than 53:13 or 8:34/mile) to anything less than 9 min/mile, and by mile 5 I wasn't even sure if I was going to make that.    You know you had a bad race when only one mile out of 6 was actually at or below your goal pace (goal of 8:30/mile).  The last mile my only goal was to not stop and walk, as you can probably tell by the dramatic pace drop mile 5 if you look at my mile splits:

Final result was 54:50.7, or 8:51 per mile.  Full results here.  I don't know how much of it was psychological vs. phlegm-y lungs vs. weather (I'm still used to cold-weather running and haven't quite adapted to the warmer temps yet), but I'm pretty sure in ideal conditions I could have done much better.  Okay, at least a little bit better.  I'm not taking this as an accurate reflection of my current ability.  Maybe it is though, and I'm just overestimating what should be able to do. 

I had a lot of rattling in my lungs when I was breathing hard, and kept trying to cough it up (with some success), but didn't want to spit because I am a notoriously bad spitter (especially on the run) and was afraid I'd hit myself (or worse - somebody else), so I just kept swallowing it.  Dee-lish.  Then by about the halfway point, every time I coughed it made me have to pee (ok, I did have a little leakage, I admit it), so that made it double fun.  Running is gross.  Remind me to tell you about the time I sat on the side of Huron Parkway in the snow and peed through my pants this winter.  That was an all time low.  Ha. 

I never really "hit my stride" or "got into a groove" or anything like that today.  Runners' high? Nope, I was pretty much rocking a runner's low for 55 minutes.  My head was all "poor me", "I'm going so slow", "Is it over yet", "my stupid lungs", blah blah.  Even my music was annoying me.  I kept flipping songs b/c none of them were helping.

When I finished I was actually pretty happy with my time, because I felt like it was much worse than that when I was out there.  I had long since given up on a PR, so I was quite happy to stay under 9, given how much I struggled. 

And the real perk, this race gave medals to the finishers, so slow or no, we all win!
(Photo courtesy of Irina!  Thanks!)
Jeff & Irina went with me and they both had good races and good times, yay!  After Jeff & I finished we walked the course backwards to find Irina and run in with her.  That was fun because I saw a lot of people from my running group and could say hi.  I hope they all had good races.  Especially Coach, since I feel terrible for getting her sick.  I imagine she had more phlegm to contend with than I did.

We went to Leo's Coney Island after we were done for brunch.  Yum.  Then took some parking lot - self photos when I realized we had failed to take any for my obligatory blog entry.  Jeff had already left (it's a long story as to why, but he drove separately), so he's not included.  Sorry honey. 

Some of the photos came out better than some of the others :P

 I was in a much better mood after finding Irina and Jeff and eating brunch than I was during the race!  (Oh by the way, Irina's in the green hat, in case that's not obvious.  And I'm ducking in the good pictures because she's teensy weensy.  Like a squirrel.  A 4'9" squirrel.  Sorry Irina.) 

So I had a mini disaster when I got home.  In the photo below, that's my bright orange sports bra on the left, and my brand new race shirt (flipped inside out for emphasis in the photo).  The bra isn't new and it's been washed several times, but it bled onto my shirt!  You could see it right side out too.  I didn't even wear the shirt to the race, I changed afterward during (yes during) brunch because my sweat was drying and I was getting cold.  Luckily it only bled on the back, probably because I was leaning against the booth and against my seat on the way home.  Anyway, it's okay after all-- I rinsed the shirt with cold water in the sink and it came right out.  Phew. 

Changing the subject now to GPS watches while racing.  I usually wear my watch while racing, because I love having the data afterward (like the splits posted above), but I don't look at it while I race.  I either change the view mode to just time of day (like a regular watch), but it can be too easy to push the button and take a quick peek at the pace.  So today I actually changed the watch setup to only display pace and distance and everything in kilometers, instead of miles.  So while I did look at my watch a few times to check the elapsed time when I ran by some mile markers, the pace displayed 5:30 min/km.  Hmm... No idea how fast that is.

The reason I don't want to know is kind of three-fold.  1) You reduce your chances of having a "breakthrough" race where you speed dramatically increases.  If I set a goal of 8:30 per mile and use my watch to hit that consistently, I basically have zero chance of doing dramatically better than expected.  And that is the best feeling ever.  2) (which is actually kind of the same as #1), if I see the pace I can get "spooked".  I run my training runs *much* slower than my race pace, and don't do a whole lot of speedwork, so seeing a 7:45 pace on my watch when I'm used to running 9:45s can be scary.  Like "oh crap, I better slow down or I'm going to die", even though I feel fine and could potentially sustain that (for a 5K at least).  3) If you look at your watch and see your doing craptacular, goals down the drain, etc., it can be too easy to throw in the towel and just say "screw it" and stop trying, rather than continuing to push with a glimmer of hope in the back of your mind.  That's kind of what kept me going today.  I definitely didn't think I was hitting my goals, but there's always a chance, and I would have hated to blow it by walking at the end.  Like, maybe the reason I felt like crap was because I was going SO FREAKING FAST and didn't realize it, and I could ruin if I stopped and walked now.  (Turns out that wasn't true, but my point is that false hope can be helpful, and you can't have false hope if you're staring at the sad truth on your wrist).  There was that, and also the fact that I had to blog about it, and didn't want to post a REALLY terrible time and confess to walking.  So thanks for that.  I think. The "pressure" kind of sucked though.  You jerks.  :P

Now I'm second guessing myself though.  I think I'm going to try my next 5K music-negative and GPS-positive.  I'm so sick of chasing my stupid 5K PR of 24:47.6 (still standing since 2005!!) that I think I'm going to try to pace it out with my watch at the next one, and even go without music.  It's not going to be fun, but you know, no pain no gain or whatever.  The plus side of the watch is that it should help me hold back at the beginning and not go out too fast (I did a pretty good job of that today's 10K, but I have a bad tendency to fly out of the gate at 5Ks).  On the other hand, it isn't 100% accurate and it jumps around, so if I slow down based on it I could end up shooting myself in the foot. Aargh.  I just want to run faster.  Get on with it already. 

Jeff just told me I should take the fact that we're married out of my blog.  He's embarrassed that I put pee stories on the internet.  Haha. 

Sorry this got so long, but you know, nobody made you read it.  :)


  1. Good job! Sorry you didn't do as well as you had hoped, but I hope you still had some fun!

    My thing with the GPS watch is that I wear it, but I only look at it when it beeps (every half mile.)

    1. Thanks! You win some, you lose some :) How did you do? I saw three different people that I thought you were you, but I wasn't sure so I didn't say hi to any of them. Obviously I was wrong at least twice, probably all 3 times!

    2. Update: I just saw your photo on detroitrunner's blog ( and I think I did see you. One of the 3 possible-yous I saw was wearing an orange shirt! Next time I'm sure I'll recognize you with confidence :)

  2. 1. So many shout-outs! Wow!!
    2. You're my hero.
    3. Ty, you're a rocket scientist. You ran a 10*K*. So if you're going 5:30 min per *K*... Come on, I know you can multiply by 10. (Shakes head.)
    4. All of this made me giggle. Thanks. :) :)
    5. Oh, and thanks for saying I got a good time. :)

    1. True about the 10K, but I actually never remember my goal finish times, I only know what I'm aiming for in minutes per mile. And converting mins/km to mins/mi is much more difficult. Like right now, typing this, I have no idea what my 10K PR time is, or what I ran today's 10K at, total time wise. I know it was 8:51 per mile though!

    2. Also, I typed that you got a good time based on your post-race conversations with me. That was before you told me it was your worst-ever 10K time. So yeah, I take it back. :)

    3. I'm sure there's an online calculator for that...

    4. Yeah..or I could convert it myself with a regular calculator or a pencil & paper, but not in my head while running!

  3. Good idea, switching to min/km! I never thought to do that. I would probably end up trying to do the math in my head while racing, which would make the time fly by ;)

    Good job on the race, even though you didn't PR!


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