Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weekend running recap - MLK 5K & run club long run

As I mentioned, this week I kicked things up a notch from 0 to 60 with my running levels, which is in large part to the fact that I made the decision on Monday to officially join a "training team."  The group is a part of the Running Nerds run club in Atlanta that I had randomly heard about from a runner in Atlanta and had been following on Instagram since August.  The group is all trying to tackle breaking 2:00 hours in a half marathon.

I signed up on Monday and did a workout with them on Tuesday morning for some speed work, then a tempo run on Wednesday (which, meant that I ran hard but not full furce) on my own, and then a easy run on Thursday all per their plan.  The training team is just a small segment of the broader "Running Nerds" run group, and I had my first activity with exposure to that broader group at Atlanta's MLK 5K in Piedmont Park.

This isn't a race I probably would have signed up to run without the group, but since we had a run to do that was at "race pace" and I knew it would give me an opportunity to meet more people, I decided to go for it.   I picked up my packet on Friday night and was excited to see the t-shirt that came with it.  For whatever reason, I love when races give out these shirts.  Fitted, cotton shirts.  I NEVER wear the unisex cotton t-shirts you get at races, and I rarely wear the tech t-shirts.  If I am wearing a tech shirt, I am probably usually wearing either a tank top or a long sleeved.  I love these long, fitted cotton shirts and love the colors/design of this one.

As far as races go, the race itself was... okay?  It had a "cross country" start, which I have never experienced before, but essentially meant that they just let us loose on a field with no official start line.  We sprinted across a field, and up a hill to a path that the course started on.  The rest of the race was along a path within Atlanta's Piedmont Park and was a pretty course, the hills were fine, with a bit of downhill.  And the coolest part was that all along the course there were different groups of drummers banging out some impressive beats that definitely kept you moving.

I wasn't a fan of the start and I wasn't a fan of the finish either, which brought you again, off the path, to finish by first running through mulch, down a short steep hill, and then back across the grass to the finish shoot.  It felt awkward and I am not used to running not on pavement so I get overly cautious.  We've had some cold weather in Atlanta and on Saturday morning there was lots of frost on the grass and some parts of the course, such as a wooden bridge we ran over, were pretty slick.  The race also started about 20 minutes after I thought it was going to start.  Which, just meant a lot of standing in the cold.

But, I did love the drummers along the course and it was fun to have a group of people to stand around in the cold with!  The Running Nerds had a booth at the race, with some hot chocolate and snacks and hand warmers, which were very clutch!  I started to meet some new people both before and after the race, and it was a cool experience doing a 5K with a team like that.  I finished the race in 28:09.

On Sunday morning I was up early again to meet the group that is a part of the training team to do my first long run with the group.  Today's run was 7 miles and I was realllly nervous going into.  The target pace for the run was 10:00/min miles and that was supposed to be a "slow" run.  I have been running more about a 10:40/pace lately on flat and even slower on hills, so I was unsure of what I was going to be able to do.  The run coaches keep everyone together so I was really nervous that I would be way behind and dragging the group back.  [Side note: the nerves didn't stop me from appreciating the beautiful morning as I head out to meet the group!  And yes, I stopped in the middle of the road to take this picture.  Nobody was coming!]

We met up at 8:00 a.m. and went out a little bit afterwards.  For the first half of the run, I was a good visual distance behind the main group, keeping up with them but not too far behind.  I ran with one of the running coaches and she said our first mile was in 9:25 so I felt really good about that!  I actually felt pretty strong for most of the race, and the just tried to focus on staying with the group.  I knew that I was running harder than I would be on my own, but also felt like I had enough in me to keep going for at least the current mile.  I kept waiting for myself to crash, but I think I did okay with how I kept going.

It was really, really cool to see more of Atlanta on foot.  We ran through the neighborhood of Little Five Points, which is definitely something I want to return to check out, through Virginia Highlands, and then finished at a little coffee shop which is exactly where we started as well.  I used RunKeeper to track my run (my Garmin broke in the fall and I haven't replaced it yet) and RunKeeper told me that my splits were 11:08; 9:47; 10:11; 10:42; 9:33; 10:42; 10:55.  Since the coach said our first mile was 9:25, I think the different is from me starting the run a bit early and then waiting at a stoplight.  As well, I know that there were a few stop lights that I was stuck at in the middle miles too, so I think the first 10:42 can be attributed to that.  The last two miles were slower because it was pretty much entirely uphill, which you can see from this chart!

The whole run was in 1:14:02 which averages to a 10:25 min/mile.  At the end of the run, I couldn't decide if I was proud of it or not.  I did not hit the 10:00 min/mile goal, but I also pretty much knew that was going to happen.  So, truly, I think I should be proud of this run.  Especially compared to what I have been running lately, I know I pushed myself and I know that I ran harder than if I were to have run on my own.  What makes me really nervous is that 10:00 min/mile wasn't just the goal, but that was supposed to be the EASY pace.  I ran a 10:25 min/mile but that was pushing it!  And I was still in the back of the group!  So I have mixed feelings.  But I did earn my coffee today!

It was nice to not have to think about where I was going and have a group leading (although a few times I thought I was going to get lost and I think ran harder to try and keep up!)  We hung out for coffee afterwards and I am excited to get to know the group more and do more runs with them!  It also doesn't hurt that they have the same affinity I do for taking lots of pictures :)

I still haven't picked a goal race to work towards, as I am waiting to see how some of my upcoming travel turns out.  However, whatever it is, it will be fun to work towards it with this group!

P.S. Missing my #TeamBABU crew always!!

No comments:

Post a Comment