Smaller By The Day
What's a Penguin Throwdown?
This week I was challenged by Zelanie to run a 5K. I wanted to get one more race in before winter hit full stride, and she had one scheduled thousands of miles away. Our PR's are very similar. So, we agreed on the terms, and decided to have a virtual race among fellow penguins.
We're both working on winter base building. I'm on a 22 day streak with an average of 40 miles per week. I agreed to not take a rest day in preparation, and she agreed to maintain her schedule.
We both agreed to leave electronic devices at home, and just run.
Weather in her neck of the woods is predicted to be 40's and rain. My race conditions were 40's and rain.
Her race begins in about 5 hours, but she's agreed to not peak at my results before the race.
Quick background - I have a tendency to do everything to an extreme, and have an athletic background. I usually stick with a sport until my doctor utters the word, "surgery". At one point, I was #2 in the country for drug tested bench press. I've weighed as much as 315 pounds. I got into running in 2010 and dropped to 225 pounds, and took the winter off. I never started again until this year when my weight had gotten back up to about 300 pounds.
I wanted to get back to that great feeling, and my fiance loves how much more relaxed I am when I have a sport in my life. Here's a glimpse at what I've done since starting to race this year (first 5K 31:02, warrior dash 48x, second 5K 26:58:52, first HM 2:03:57). My weight is down to 237. Then, there was today's throwdown:
The Race - I wanted to get in a good warm up, but it was so cold and rainy. My warm up consisted of me running about 1/2 mile, and then running some 20-30 second strides back. That's when I found out that they were going to run a 1-mile Santa Chase before the race.
Well, Santa fell down, which resulted in a second ambulance being called to the scene. Imagine the terror of small children as Santa lays there on the ground because you were chasing him. I'm not sure that was the best idea. Two things about this effected my race. 1) My short warm up was pretty well negated while waiting for Santa to recover (he's fine now). 2) We were all warned that the rolling hills that are traversed via boardwalk are slippery.
The boardwalk was slippery, curvy, uphill and downhill. Guess what! I can't worry about that. This is probably my last race of the year, and there's a fellow penguin on the west coast waiting for me to throw out an excuse. That wasn't going to happen.
Mile 1 - Wow, this pace is hard. My heart is racing, and my breathing is anything but easy. I tell myself, "This is because you didn't warm up. In training your first mile is always the slowest, even when it feels like the same pace. Just hang in there, and you're heart rate will come back to earth." There were a LOT of people maintaining this exact pace, and those that weren't were being passed fairly easily.
Mile 2 - The heart rate comes back down, but a lot of the people around me don't seem to be having such luck. They're dropping like flies. Oh, and here comes my favorite part. I sometimes train on a track that's shaped like a taco. It's completely up or down hill. I passed a lot on the uphill part, but I passed some pretty strong runners on the downhill. At first, I thought they were afraid of slipping, but then I heard their breathing as I passed. They were going faster downhill, but they weren't at all relaxed in doing so. I truly think that downhill running is an art that takes a lot of miles to understand. This was probably my fastest part of the race, and my most relaxed. I was basically letting gravity do the work, and it's good at what it does.
Mile 3 - More uphill, and back to pavement. Ugh...thank goodness for that downhill portion. I had checked out this part of the course earlier, and knew that while this section was kind of steep it was short. I pushed pretty darn hard, and just kept reminding myself that it would be over soon. Now, it's time to see what I've got left in the tank! Well, it felt like I was trying to get that last bit of toothpaste out of the tube. It takes a lot more work, and you don't get a lot. It was something though. Now, I just need to make it last to the end.
Last .1 - I can see where the finish line is, but you have to turn into the finish line. Seriously, it's a long straight stretch, and then you take a slight turn at the last second. I can't see the damn clock. In the back of my head, I'm thinking that I missed my PR, because the course was trickier than I'm used to. My thought is that if I miss a PR, I don't want to miss it by any more than I have to. I hear footsteps coming up behind me, and I try to kick. It dawns on me that I've been kicking for about a half mile. I'm running on fumes. Here comes the turn, and thank goodness. I sound like I've swallowed a Sasquatch, and he's angry. There's the clock....It hasn't reached 26 yet!!! For a brief moment, the thought of diving across the finish crossed my mind, but then I remembered the two women that stopped abruptly at the HM. I don't want anyone to run into me like that. So, I keep running.
After running back along the course to find my fiance, and encourage her to a PR, I finally checked the official results. I did it! A shiny new PR.
Chip Time: 25:48:48
Scale: 237 pounds
Zelanie, I'm truly hoping that you get a PR today as well. I just hope it's a 25:49 . Either way, I want to thank you for inspiring me today. My next planned race is the Chi Town Half Marathon.
Thanks for reading, or skimming...whichever.
Weight 100 pounds lost
5K 31:02 Sept. 2012 / 23:36 Sept. 2013 (Same Course)
10K 48:59 April 2013
HM 2:03:56 Nov. 2012 / 1:46:50 March 2013
MARATHON 3:57:33 Nov. 2013
Awesome job, and great PR. And on a tough course under slippery, crappy conditions to boot!
Great race report, it was really entertaining and I love the part about trying to squeeze the last bits out of the toothpaste tube. That is really how it feels sometimes (well, most of the time when you're knocked up!) I can't wait to see how Z does. I love the friendly competition
Running for two!
Pre-Preggo PRs--5k 23:00, 10k 49:07, HM 1:57:40
Post-Preggo PRs--5k TBD, 10k 54:45, HM 2:28:05
Thanks! I'm going to be really disappointed if she doesn't have a great race as well. I can't wait to read about her race.
A Man On The Run!
Great race Awood and congrats on the PR! As a new runner that weighs the same as you (but MUCH slower) you time is a great encouragement. I love the idea of a virtual race between penguins. I hope we see more of that, it would absolutely motivate me. I can't wait to see Zelanies RR.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.- Albert Einstein
Feets don't fail me now
YEAH Awood!! Great race, well done!! Can't wait to see how Zel does! Love that two of my favorite Pengs are inspiring each other from across the country.
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Zeke - Thank you! We all motivate each other, and it's crazy that we do it in different ways. We're definitely going to have find someone for you to virtual race. It's fun and motivating. At the actual race, it's rare that you know someone there and they are also at a similar level. Really fun!
Doc - Thank you. You're very inspiring too. I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do with a full training schedule without any setbacks. I have a feeling that even you'll be surprised.
Nice job, awood. Have we heard from Zel yet?
I think her race starts at 4 PM on the west coast. It's going to be a while.
I race in SparkleSkirts
Great job a_wood! Sounds like a challenging, but exciting race!
PRs: 5K- 28:16 (5/5/13) 10K- 1:00:13 (10/27/13) 4M- 41:43 (9/7/13) 15K- 1:34:25 (8/17/13) 10M- 1:56:30 (4/6/14) HM- 2:20:16 (4/13/14)
I started a blog about running :) Check it out if you care to
237 pounds, you are freaking fast.
Started-5/12, RWOL refugee,5k-24:23 (1/12/13),10K-55:37(9/15/12),HM-1:52:59(3/24/13)
Great race Awood!! Congrats on the PR!
I know Zel is gonna have a great race too!
My running blog
2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-40 10k | sub-1:25 HM | BQ done! | sub-3 M
PRs: 5K: 25:35 / 10K: 53:03 / 10mi: 1:26:15 / HM: 1:55:02 / FM: 4:50:35
Congratulations, Awood! You win the penguin trophy, for now. I am at the post race and just checking in by phone, but the time I saw on the clock as I passed was 26:02.
So close!!! Great job Zel!
Completed my first half marathon 2:09:04!!!