Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trek or Treat 5k Race Recap

Happy Halloween!

Last weekend I ran a Halloween 5k.  It was a local race sponsored by Luke's Locker running store called Trek or Treat.  I signed up for this race for 2 reasons.  #1) It was right in my backyard. And #2) I've never done a Halloween themed race.

The race encouraged costumes and of course I wanted to run in a costume.  This was my first time running in a costume so I started searching amazon.  I wanted to keep it simple.  I settled on a Wonderwoman t-shirt with attached cape.  Here is what I looked like race morning.

When I signed up to do this race, I didn't realize that my biggest fan (aka boyfriend) would be basically immobile post-op.  I was kind of bummed he wouldn't be able to come.  This is the first race he wouldn't be at to race me, pace me, or cheer me on.  I would have invited my parents, but alas they were out of town too.  So off to the race I went solo (this is also my excuse for the lack of photos).

I got there a little early.  The weather was looking yucky and it was threatening to rain, but the temperature was a perfect 53 degrees.  After sitting in my car for a while, I went to warm-up.  I did a half mile warm-up and stretched.  Then I went to find the starting line.  There was a kids 1k race before the 5k.  I watched the little ones line up in their costumes....adorable!

Finally it was time to race.  When I looked back, it only seemed about 300 runners or so.  It was a very small race.  I enjoyed seeing everyone who made costumes.  Even some of the top 5 finishers had some fun Halloween gear on.

The race started on roads around the shopping center but quickly changed to a paved trail.  This was perfect for this size race.  There was one point we were on a sidewalk and I had to run in the grass to pass someone.  Other than that, there was plenty of  room.  The race path also crossed itself in 2 places, but for the size of the race, it was never an issue.

My goal pace was 8:30 and I was happy to see timers at the mile 1 and mile 2 markers. I had my handy Garmin 10 strapped to my arm and was happy to see I was keeping my pace.  As I neared the finish line, people started cheering for "Wonderwoman" which made me smile.

I stopped my Garmin as I crossed the finish line and it read 26:33, a new PR by 1 second.

When I looked on the results table, the time said 26:32, but when it was posted online, it said 26:37.  I'm going to go with my Garmin time on this race.  I'm happy with my performance because it gives me confidence that my last race wasn't a fluke and that I really can run that fast (of course both courses were very flat).  I stuck around for the awards after everyone finished.  I'm happy to announce that I got first in my age group (8th female overall).

Adorable Gold Medal

Overall I really enjoyed this race.  I like smaller races as long as they are done professionally.  I know when Luke's Locker sponsors a race it will be done right.  There was even a lot of post-race food: bottled water, apples, oranges, and bananas.  Plus at least 6 sponsor tents that were handing out candy and popcorn for the kids and pamphlets for the adults (plus a little candy).  Brooks sponsored the t-shirts.  They were awesome.

Have you ever run a Halloween race?  Did you wear a costume?  And one last Halloween picture, my pumpkin (the one on the right).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chronic Compartment Syndrome

My favorite running buddy and loving boyfriend is voluntarily going under the knife tomorrow.  About a year ago, he began experiencing extreme calf pain after any races or speed work.  The pain would linger for days, worse than normal soreness.  He stopped racing and began running my pace.  This was very frustrating for someone who was used to running a 20 minute 5k.

Right before the Rave Run - one of his last pain-free races

He began reading books (like this one) and researching on the internet.  He came across a number of stories of athletes (runners and bikers mostly) experiencing the same symptoms.  It turns out there is a condition called Chronic Compartment Syndrome that can affect athletes that participate in repetitive impact sports (ie. running).

Chronic Compartment Syndrome occurs when a muscle expands or swells at a greater rate than allowed by the fascia (sheath of tissue) that surrounds the muscle.  For athletes, this is induced by extreme exercise.  I believe it is most common in the lower leg.  Of course pain in the legs can be caused by a number of things, but for him, this was it.

A few months ago, he had some tests done.  First they took an MRI of his legs.  Then they took pressure measurements of his calves before and after exercise.  This is an invasive test that involves large needles being shoved into your muscles.  He is a brave guy, and I'm glad I wasn't in his shoes.  His pressure measurements were high enough for the doctor to feel with confident that the diagnosis of Compartment Syndrome was correct.

Compartment Syndrome is not something you have to treat.  It is not life threatening and if you change your exercise routine to contain more cross training and less strenuous workouts, the pain will likely fade.  The most successful treatment is surgery.  Incisions are made in the fascia surrounding the compartment to allow the muscles to expand fully.

My boyfriend spent a lot of time discerning whether to do the surgery, but he finally decided that he wants to get back to racing.  That means that early tomorrow I will be taking him to a surgery center to do surgery on his first leg.  Please say some prayers and send some happy thoughts that his surgery goes well tomorrow.

If anyone knows anything about Compartment Syndrome and would like to share, I'm grateful for your comments.  I think a disclaimer goes without saying, I am not a medical professional and probably have a few of the facts wrong.  Please, no criticisms.

And one more picture - the first race he paced me.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baylor Homecoming

I was going to write a post about running buddies, and that may still happen next week.  Unfortunately I've been distracted all day with my excitement for Baylor Homecoming which is this weekend.  Baylor does it big for homecoming.  There's a bonfire, parade, tailgates, and of course, the main attraction, the football game.  This year Baylor plays Iowa State at 6 pm Thursday.  You should all cheer for Baylor.  Sic 'em!

2007 - Freshman Year Bonfire

2008 - Sophmore Year with my BFF at the Bonfire

2010 - Catholic Student Association Float

2011 - First Homecoming as an alum with my Brother and Sister in Law

I hope you enjoyed a look back.  Now off to Waco.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Training Plan for the Dallas Half

It's official.  I put the finishing touches on my training plan last night.  I unofficially started training for the MetroPCS Dallas (Half) Marathon two weeks ago.  It's about time I wrote down my goals and plans.  My last half was in April and my time was 2:11:23.  I'm hoping to improve my PR by at least 5 minutes, which means my goal pace is going to be 9:40.

Now, for the plan you've all been waiting for.  Drumroll please....ta da!

It is not set in stone.  I almost never stick to a training plan 100% and almost always have a week when I get sick (knock on wood...not this time).  Also I'm a little nervous about doing the 8 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving so close to my half, so that may turn into a training run or a different 10k.

My focus will be to run 4 times a week and slowly increase my weekly mileage.  I added a tempo run each week so I don't get too comfortable at a 10 minute pace like I tend to do.  Lately my runs have been really fast (for me) and I've felt really good about it.  I am definitely looking forward to this round of training.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October Goals

Since I wandered aimlessly through September, let's start October with some goals.

1. Run a long run (long defined as 5 miles or greater) each week.

I'm so excited to shift my focus back to running.  Training for a tri was great, but I felt like my running was on a back burner.  Now I'm ready to start training for an early winter half marathon.  That means increasing my mileage.  If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed I'm counting my miles with the hashtag #100byHalloween.  This is a challenge sponsored by Tone It Up to get up and get moving this month.  Of course any form of cardio counts for the challenge, but it will keep my running on track.

2. Drink less soda.

I've kicked this habit a couple of times in my life, but I'm back to a daily dose of soda.  My weakness is Dr. Pepper Ten, that stuff is so good!  But after the sweetness and caffeine wears off, I usually feel pretty sluggish.  I want my energy to come from natural sources instead.  I'm hoping to increase my water and tea consumption to help taper down the sodas from one a day, to 2-3 per week by the end of the month.

3. Stretch after every workout.

Last week my calves were sore for 3 days after doing some cardio intervals that included jumping jacks.  I want to prevent injury and feel great.  This means more stretching!  And maybe the occasional foam roller session.  My body will thank me later.

4. Workout my core 2x per week.

When I start a run, I always tell myself that afterwards I'm going to take 5-10 minutes to do core exercises.  Guess what, I usually plop down under a ceiling fan after every run and wait for the sweat to stop pouring out (sorry...TMI).  This month, I want to change that habit and put some effort into building my core strength.  Here are some videos I want to try:

Post Cardio Ab Workout
Ten Minute Yoga Abs
8 Minute Abs  <- This throwback is a favorite of mine.

Happy October!  What are your goals?