The Glo Run 8/19/16

I ran the Glo Run 5k last night. Last year I saw photos friends posted of it and thought it looked really fun, so this year I did it.

The race has glow in the dark stuff that makes it fun but the drawback is that means the start has to be when it’s dark; 8:10pm. Keeping it real, I’m usually asleep by 8:22pm. (Yes, that exact time is when I go from reading/watching The Good Wife to eyes closed.) So the time was a challenge. Honestly 8:10am would be a late start for me. So I had a lot of time to stand around at the start. 


Races like this, where there’s some kind of “gimmick”, attract a lot of people who don’t normally run races. With that in mind, I tried to get in front of as many people as possible when they opened the start chute. 


We were like cattle. 

Then we all waited in there for a while, and I sized up the people next to me. I wasn’t planning on running for a PR, but I got the feeling there were walkers around me. Even though the announcer said walkers go in the back, people don’t listen. He’d also said white bibs in front (white, like mine, had timing chips) and I saw plenty of black bibs around me. 

Anyway, when 8:10 rolled around we were finally released. As predicted, I had to weave around plenty of walkers and slower runners. There were also kids sprinting in random directions and then stopping. I tried to be patient with them because good for kids for running a 5k but I’m old and set in my ways and I don’t like anyone in my space when I’m trying to get into my pace. 

We started running through the Muny parking lot and after we ran out of it I did finally get my own space to work out my pacing. I have been struggling hard core with my running so I hoped to just run the whole race and enjoy looking at bright stuff. 


They had glow in the dark inflatables every so often; all 80s themed. (The race was 80s themed.)

Then they had bright things to run past/through. 


There was 80s music playing at all the glow stations. I heard “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” roughly 500 times. 

We were in Forest Park, which was probably the best spot in St. Louis for a glow in the dark race, but there were still park lights on. 


As you can see, the crowd did thin out quite a bit near me. So I’m glad I got as close to the front as I did. 

Running through this thing was probably my favorite. I like feeling contained by things. 


More inflatables. I believe this was around mile two; I was so thankful to only have a mile to go. 

Lots and lots of people going through the thing I did at the beginning. This was a big event for walkers. 

Zack Morris phone near the finish. 


As we approached the Muny parking lot a guy near me stopped to walk just as we’d reached the top of a hill. I told him “you can do it, we’re almost there!” Then I passed him. I’m not a chump. 

When we approached the finish some girls passed me, and another near me started sprinting. I normally do that but I already knew this would be my slowest 5k in years. I had a very whatever attitude as I coasted into the finish. 


Then I got the hell out of there. It was almost 9pm after all. Grandma had sleeping to do. 


The chip timed option came with a medal, which was this. 


Meh. 

As I was laying in bed, I looked up my race results. 

Um, what? Fourth in my age group?!? That never happens. And fourteenth female??? Had I not let that pack of girls pass me at the end, I would have been even higher. 

Then I looked at the detailed results for women. 

I heard them announce the winner, Kristen Van Horn. I recognized her name because she writes a blog I read, The Concrete Runner. So that was cool. 

But even cooler to me was how close I was to the top. Had I run the same time as my last 5k, I would have been sixth female overall and won my age group. !!! So now of course I’m kicking myself for stopping to take pictures and not pushing the pace at the end. Oh well. Lesson learned. I suppose the fact that this was a non-runners race worked to my advantage, so if I run this next year I’ll try to race it. 

Need For Speed 5k 7/29/16

Last night I raced the Need For Speed 5k. It’s supposed to be the test of all the speedwork we’ve put in, but considering two of our speedwork sessions were cancelled due to weather, I skipped one because of my hip flexor, and I skipped one because it was way too hot, I wasn’t feeling especially speedy.

I looked at my Athlinks page and realized I hadn’t run a 5k in over a year. I did run a five mile race in March at just under 9 minute pace but a lot has happened since then. I decided my general goal would be under 30 minutes but I’d like to get as close to 27 as possible. (My three year old PR of 25:29 is going to take some work to approach.)

The race began at 7 but I was early to pick up my bib at 6. So I stood around and saw some Big River friends. (All photos courtesy of Robert Harrison, who takes photos of BRR events for fun.)

Cathy and me


We lined up at the start at the upper Muny parking lot in Forest Park. Everyone was happy that the weather was relatively mild; low 80s. There was a little bit of rain and the people around me and I said that was fine, even a little more rain would be great.

Wish granted. When the race started at 7pm, the sky opened up into a colossal downpour. See if you can find me. I’m making great “rain faces”.



The first quarter mile I could barely see and was really wishing I wore a hat. My shoes were instantly soaked and there was no point in avoiding puddles because everything was a puddle. I settled into a hard pace and didn’t look at my watch until it beeped at mile 1. It said 8 something. I wasn’t sure that was sustainable but I just kept plugging along. At some point the rain stopped but I was already soaked so it really didn’t matter. I felt myself slowing a bit. Thoughts of walking were randomly popping in my head but I denied them. I told myself I could run slower but I could not stop. Mental training is the toughest.

After winding through Forest Park a bit we again approached the upper Muny lot and mile 3. I was so ready to be done. Then it began raining again. A nice way to bookend the race. I found myself alone as I came to the finish; there were only 160 racers registered so everyone had plenty of space. Normally when I see the finish I sprint. I didn’t do that this time; maybe I’m out of practice or maybe I need other people to race against.


I will say my new friend Stephanie, pictured behind me, provided a ton of motivation for me. She passed me before mile 1 and I kept her in my sights the whole race. She forced me to keep my pace up and eventually I passed her before mile 3. 

I’m done, yay!


Here’s my official results and my Garmin splits:



After I finished I cheered Anna and Cathy on and then partook in the free Urban Chestnut beer. I appreciate that Big River has good local beer instead of the usual AB products. Then I stood under a tree for a while, drinking beer as it rained. I was actually cold at one point. Eventually I saw Cathy under a tent so I joined her and met some new BRR friends. I can’t say enough about Big River Running. Their events foster a running community and I’ve met so many great people as a result. This event was a lot of fun; I’ll definitely do it again next year.

My Race Calendar

I’m still getting weekly treatment for my sore hip flexor, but that’s going well enough that I’ve signed up for some races. Big River Running Training Team started last Sunday so I’m again following a half marathon training schedule though I haven’t signed up for one yet. I’m enjoying the flexibility. I’m also enjoying running with far less hair.

Throwback to when I was two!


Here’s what I have committed to:

Need for Speed 5k Friday July 29th – I signed up for this the other day after Dr. Rasch said he thought I’d be fine to run in it. This race is the culmination of our summer speedwork sessions and pretty cheap (was around $14 with my speedwork discount). Before this hip annoyance my goal would have been a PR, sub 25 minutes, but now it will be a surprise. Sub 27 would be nice.

The Glo Run Friday August 19th – Another Friday night 5k. The only other fun run I’ve done is Color Me Rad in Madison. That was a fun experience, but it was not timed and the course was short. The Glo Run does have a chip timed option, which I selected, which will satisfy the competitor in me. And while I’ve run night races before, I’ve never run one when it’s dark, so I’m looking forward to that. Plus Glo stuff.

That’s the end of what I’ve actually signed up for, but I have some others in mind.

One or more of the Rock ‘n Roll Races October 15th-16th – The Rock ‘n Roll Half got me in to distance running in 2011, but I haven’t done that race since my sub 2:00:00 PR of 2013. Now that I run without music, I think I’d appreciate the on course bands more. 
The Go! Halloween 10k Sunday October 23rd – I love this race because people dress up. Last fall I ran the half marathon as batgirl.

I don’t know what I’ll dress up as this year, but I do know I want to run for 6.2 miles, not 13.1.

St. Louis Track Club Half Marathon Sunday November 6th – This is the only local half marathon I haven’t done, which is its major selling point. One of my running friends told me it’s great, but I know it’s hilly (Clayton is hilly), which I normally avoid like the plague. 

St. Louis Turkey Trot 8k – I’ve had my eye on this race for years because they give out cinnamon rolls at the end. I know I could simply purchase cinnamon rolls, but it’s much more satisfying to run 8k, whatever distance that is, in questionable weather, and then receive one. Plus, we get fleeces as part of our entry fee. I’m doing it!

The Macklind Mile 6/25/16

Hello!

I ran my fourth Macklind Mile yesterday.

Before yesterday, I hadn’t run a mile since the KT82 Trail Relay three weeks ago. I may do a more detailed post later, but the short version is my hip flexor pain never went away so I’ve been getting treatment on it at Precison Health Group. My doctor had me do a test .50 mile run Thursday. I completed that with no pain, so he cleared me to run Saturday, with the caveat that I listen to my body. 
I was so happy to be able to run because this is one of my favorite races. The one mile course on Macklind is only a couple miles from our house in south city and it has a real neighborhoody feel. People stand on their porches or sit in their front lawns and watch runners go by, like a parade. And it’s the complete opposite of most of the races I train for so it’s fun to mix it up. 

My women’s competitive heat didn’t begin until 8:50 so I parked near the finish around 8am and walked to the start as my warm up. As I walked north on the course the non competitive wave was running south. I saw lots of people running with strollers and lots of pretty young kids running a full mile. I don’t often get to spectate so this was a real treat. Seeing all the people trying their hardest, especially the young kids, made me overcome with emotion and nearly in tears most of my walk. Nothing gets you into a racing frame of mind like a good cry.

I got to the start around 8:20 and stood around getting nervous for half an hour. The pressure should have been totally off–I haven’t run in three weeks, if I hurt I planned to walk, etc–and yet I still felt nauseated. I had way too much time to think (obsess). I was thinking it would be nice to run the mile in the 8s, there’s no way I’m touching last year’s PR of 7:04, oh god what if I’m no longer fit enough to run a mile in 9 minutes. I was happy when then horn blew at 8:50 and I could just focus on seeing what my body could do that day. 

The course starts on a sharp downhill and I let myself get swept up in the crowd. I was certain the pace I started at was unsustainable (probably in the 6s) but I decided to just bank the time. After that downhill there’s a gradual uphill, which is a surprise if you’ve never run this race advertised as a net downhill (which it is). I allowed my body to slow up to recover a little but was still passing people. My breathing was a hot mess (haven’t run in three weeks!) but my body was strong and pain free. So grateful for that. 

I decided not to look at my watch at all. They have quarter mile signs along the route so I focused on putting them in my sights and reaching them. I had a lot of “soon this will be over”s going through my mind any time walking seemed like a good idea. We hit the half mile mark and I saw the race clock showed a time in the 3:30s. That’s certainly not a 9 minute mile! That gave me a giant boost of confidence as we reached the part of the course that is just downhill. 


That last section of the course you can see the finish line in the distance and big crowds of people near Big River Running. It’s pretty exciting. However you can see that a long time and that’s tough when you’re running at maximum effort. Instead I focused on the bodies ahead of me. I tried to catch people but it seemed everyone around me had the same idea because we were all locked into our positions even though I know we were running faster. 

Closer to the finish I could see the race clock. It still had a time beginning with a 6 on it. Um, what? Who am I and what am I doing? Around that time I heard Meghan from training team scream “GO NORA!” I did not see her, but I knew it was her. It’s nice to have loud friends. (She’s in black, on the left.)

Anyway, back to the race clock. It had a 6 on it but it was nearly to 7. I gave every last ounce of what I had to try and break 7.


Despite apparently levitating to the finish, I came up a little short of breaking 7 minutes. 


However, given my PR of 7:04 was last year when I was running regularly and had no injuries to speak of, I am thrilled with my official time. 

And I am super motivated to run a mile in the 6s. This will happen, someday.

Anyway, enough about me. This year the race organizers added a new event, the dog mile! Since I prefer animals to people, this event made my dreams come true. 

This dog was the winner, and ran the mile in about 4:30. That’s the real time. There was also a person with him. 

Here are some of the other finishers. 






A Corgi!

The following dog had to be coaxed with a tummy rub before finishing.



He did finish.🙂

After the dog mile the elites ran, which was over very quickly. Then it was time for the kids quarter mile dash, which is pretty adorable. 

Some kids are in it to win it. 


Some kids need a little help. 


Some kids are trying to figure out where they are. 


That’s my friend Monica’s son, and I think he knew where he was, but he was just in awe of everything and taking it in. So cute. 


And of course, some kids are just not having it. 

The kids quarter mile was the last race, so after that my Big River friends and I took a photo. 


What a great day!

KT82 Trail Relay 6/4/16

This will be long, but that’s to be expected for a race that lasted more than 12 hours.

Short version:

The KT82 was an awesome race and I ran it with a bunch of awesome people and today I am more sore than I’ve ever been from any of the races I’ve done in my life. I’d do it again.

Long version:

My team, Woody’s Wonderkids, met in the parking lot of Kohl’s at 270 and Olive at 5:30am. My college friend Paul Woody was our captain and I’d met Gina before but I was meeting TJ, Kim, Donna and her husband Mike (recruited to drive the van) for the first time. We loaded into the van and drove to Parkway North High School for our 6:15am start.

Kim, TJ, Paul, Donna, Gina, me

Rain was in the forecast (it had already been raining in south city) and as we waited for Gina to start it began pouring. So we huddled under a tent with the organizers and random members of the other 15 or so teams with our start time.

Still, we preferred rain to hot sun so it was fine. At 6:15am sharp the first members of the teams to run were released and we cheered as Gina ran around the track, through a grassy area, and towards the Katy Trail.

The rest of us headed to the van and drove to exchange 1, the Lakehouse Bar & Grill.

We were using the Find Friends iPhone app to track Gina so we had an idea of when she’d arrive. However after many minutes of her appearing to be right there but us not seeing her, we realized she’d left her phone in the van so it wouldn’t get wet. LOL. So we just guessed at her arrival time, and soon she finished her 2.29 miles and handed off to Paul.


Paul was off to do his 3.93 miles and we all got in the van and drove to exchange 2, 364 Access. While waiting for him people used the port-a-potties and walked around. Of course it began pouring on us as we stood outside, so we ran back into the van and drove closer to the exchange spot. When his Find Friends dot was close to us (and he actually had his phone :)) we got out to cheer him and TJ, our next runner, on.

The timing chip was in the orange slap bracelet.

As TJ ran to Greens Bottom Road Trail Head, we drove there.

Paul changed and I began eating snacks. It was only about 7:45am but I’d gotten up at 4am so I was hungry again (I ate my normal bowl of honey nut cherrios at 4am). I figured I should just eat and drink all day, so that’s what I did.

TJ handed off to Donna after 3.20 miles.

Donna’s leg was 7.25 miles, so once we arrived at MO Research Park/Busch Greenway, we had some time to relax.

I used a disgusting port-a-potty (to be expected at an event with lots of runners) then waited with the team for Donna to come in. Kim was up next for her 4.72 mile leg off the Katy Trail and onto a trail through the woods.


We went back to the van and discovered one of the two sliding doors (that were both a challenge to shut) was no longer operable due to the handle breaking off in TJ’s hand. We had the Little Miss Sunsine van. It was pretty perfect for a team of sweaty runners, though, and with some finagling TJ got the door shut and we drove to the Lewis & Clark Trail Head, where I’d finally get to run!

I was very excited to be assigned this 5.73 mile leg. I’d looked into hiking at this very spot earlier this year but didn’t end up going.

While I waited for Kim to emerge from the woods I watched other people come out completely covered in mud (it had been raining the previous day and this morning). Lots of people had fallen in it; one girl was bloody. Then a volunteer informed the people waiting to run that there’s a staircase about two miles in so be extra careful. Huh. I’d previously wondered if a leg labeled “difficult” meant lots of uneven trail footing or changes in elevation. Turns out it meant that, plus the unexpected gift from Mother Nature of lots and lots of mud.

Leg 6 started out innocently enough.

Then I started seeing muddy spots.

This is fine, I thought, I’ll just do a little bit of weaving and stay on solid footing. And then…
Neat. Giant patches of mud and water covering the trail. I still made an attempt to gingerly step on the less wet parts (LOL) but the ground felt loose everywhere so my pace slowed dramatically.

Then the trail started going downhill. Thankfully the mud was sporadic but I did have to slow to find good footing and not roll down the hills. I feel like I’m underselling the elevation by using the word hills, because this is what I was dealing with.

When I reached the first dip in elevation I immediately had to go back up.


I mean, come on! As I told my team, this would have been a challenging hike, but running up a trail made of rocks and roots–what!? A girl passed me up this hill, running the whole time. I walked a good bit of this. It was like stairs.

Speaking of, stairs!

Despite the volunteer’s warnings, these stairs were the least of my problems. At least they were downhill and dry.
More people passed me on the downhill. Shirt off = very fast.

In the woods I was often alone, which was fine, I didn’t want any witnesses if I fell, but there were also plenty of volunteers. They pointed out the safest places to step and the correct direction to go. Two of the women told me when I was almost out of the woods, which was very motivating. (I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it was dry.)

At around the 3.1 mile mark I reached the point where the wooded trail meets the Katy Trail. It was so steep and slick I had to literally climb out of the woods using a rope the volunteers had tied to a tree. I wish I had a picture of that craziness but I was too focused on plowing through.

I popped out on even, dry, ground.

Roughly 296 people passed me on this section. I did pass one guy though! But the people who passed me were super fast–the later starting super fast teams had caught up.

I was so spent from the wooded section that it was extremely challenging to keep running. I did take some walk breaks. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw a crowd in the distance but my leg ended up shorter than advertised (no problem with that!) and I was relieved to slap the bracelet on TJ.

My pace was all over the place. My road pace does not translate to difficult trails.
I knew averaging over the 10:30/mile requirement could cause us problems later, especially since TJ was likely to face the same terrain I did.

I changed and found a live butterfly to wear as a broach.


Meanwhile, TJ suffered through his 5.73 mile run at the Weldon Spring Trail Head (although he said it was closer to 6 miles; he must have gotten my mileage).

Kim began her 4.43 mile run to Matson.  
And just like that it was time for me to prepare to run again; I had leg 9 from Matson to Augusta. Between my legs I had a bunch of Gatorade, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bunch of pretzel rods, a couple pickles, some coconut pieces, and a popsicle from the volunteers at Matson. Also during this time the sun decided to stay out for good, meaning it was a warm 73 degrees when I started at 1:18pm.


My route looked like some variation of this the whole time.


Pretty, yes, peaceful, yes, but oh my god was it monotonous. I’m thankful for the trees that made it mostly shady but it sure would have been nice to see something interesting. I did get a glimpse of the river at one point.


And there were volunteers at a water station and a crossing guard to stop traffic when the trail crossed the street but I saw no other runners, just bikers not involved with the KT82. This is one of the side effects of falling behind 10:30/mile team pace–everyone is ahead either by running or being asked to skip legs. I didn’t want that to happen to us so I pushed the pace, and even with some walk breaks I was so proud of my pacing for a mid day run.


I had been about to take another walk break when I saw Paul in the distance. That motivated me to run to the end.


We actually arrived just after the cut off time but the volunteer let Paul go anyway because he said he was going to make up some time.


Paul’s leg was 7.56 miles, so we had time to pause and enjoy the live band playing at the restaurant on the hill in Augusta.

I’ve been to Augusta years ago to a brewery and maybe also a winery but I forgot how quaint and adorable this area is. I’d like to come back when I’m not on an Amazing Race like timetable.

We drove through beautiful wine country on the way to the next exchange point and hoped Paul was able to enjoy the views of rolling green hills, grapes growing in vineyards, and endless skylines.


Apparently not. His route sounded like mine but longer and with sun the whole time. He was exhausted when he finished.


He did make up some time, though, and we were all very proud of our badass captain.


Donna took over at Dutzow (so many places I’ve never heard of) and we hoped she could make up some more time on her 3.78 mile leg. Unfortunately as we waited for her at Marthasville they began breaking down the signs and taking away the trash cans. We’d been experiencing this the past few legs but this time they also told us we had to skip two legs. We skipped two “easy” 3.50ish legs; one was TJ’s and one was mine. We were both spent and fine with the decision.


So we resumed on leg 14 at Treloar where Kim ran 4.17 miles to Gina at Bernheimer Road. Gina hadn’t run since 6:15am and was ready to go!


It was nice to be around other race participants again. Skipping legs was a good idea.

Kim, happy to be done for the day.

Gina headed off into what appeared to be a flat area.
But apparently that was a huge fake out because she said the whole 5.18 route to Lost Creek Winery felt uphill. It was a hilly area.

The winery was so cute. I’d like to come back here, and I’m indifferent to wine.

 

The end of Gina’s leg had her emerging from the depths of the earth.

There was a huge crowd behind us and they all cheered her up the hill. Paul was fortunate to get to run down the hill for his last leg, 3.42 miles.

He passed off to Donna at Case Road for leg 17.


And before we knew it, she was passing off to Gina at McKittrick for leg 18, the final 2.59miles to Hermann and the finish!

We drove past Gina; the last leg is on the shoulder of the road.



We parked and met up with Gina near the finish and then ran in together.

Finished!


We couldn’t have done it without our awesome driver Mike and our 7th team member, the van.

Today I am sore in: my calves, my quads, my bum right hip flexor, my feet, and my entire back. I generally don’t have much soreness after races so this is pretty impressive! Even so I am looking back on the experience fondly. I love being part of a team and this one was so positive and hilarious that the sore muscles don’t even bother me. I hope we can do this race again next year!