Running, Walking, and My Favorite Canadian

Last night was our second group run for Women Run/Walk Memphis.  I am coaching with the Intermediate 2 group and many of the women in the group have run a 5K before but are working on getting faster or getting back into running after a hiatus for one reason or another.

Due to the heat and the group’s pace goals, we train using run/walk intervals (9 minutes running, 1 minute walking).  I’ve never used a run/walk plan before.  Even when I started running again a couple years ago, my general strategy was to just run until either A) I wore myself out or B) I finished the route.

I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the run/walk approach though.  It is a really nice strategy for large group runs because it tends to make it easier to keep a little pace group together.

In terms of experience, I am definitely a baby compared to the other coaches, so I am probably learning as much as anyone else there (including lots of good stretches).

Last night our group did 4 miles and in two weeks they will peak at 5 miles.  I also got to try out my new Brooks PureGrits.  At first they felt a little loose, but after wearing them all evening, they seemed to start to conform to my feet a little better.  I’ll have to do a couple more runs in them before I make up my mind.

Also, my friend Ruchee gifted me a ticket to see Michael Buble on Wednesday night.  Words cannot describe how excited I am about this.  I love me some Michael Buble.  The concert may make it difficult for me to get to spin Thursday morning (I am currently on a streak of 19 consecutive weeks), but I’m going to try and make it all the same.  In honor of Mr. Buble, here is a link to MB songs sorted by BPM to run to.  You’re welcome.

http://jog.fm/workout-songs/by/michael-buble?order=desc&sort=bpm

Road Race Series 5K

Yesterday was my first race of the season for the Road Race Series (5K, 5 miler, 10K, 10 miler, and half marathon).

My training as of late has not been the stuff PRs are made of.  As such, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this race.  We’ve actually had a relatively mild summer here in Memphis, but the temperatures warmed up on Saturday and Sunday morning was warm and muggy.

To make matters worse, I never received my race packet (timing chip and bib) in the mail, so I had to get to the race extra early at 6am to get that straightened out.  Fortunately the MRTC volunteers are really helpful and hooked me up with a new timing chip and number, but the whole thing made me a little anxious.

Who knew such a little timing chip could cause so much stress?

As I ran my warmup mile, I was not in a good mood.  The humidity was making my ponytail gross, so I was forced to pull it up in a haphazard bun to try and keep it from getting so sweaty.

The time came for us to line up though, and as I looked around at all the people I knew and all the smiling runners, I relaxed.  All of a sudden my lack of training, the heat, and the humidity didn’t seem to matter.  Who cared!  I was about to run a great race with some truly great people.  All the races in the series take place on Sunday mornings, making it hard to regularly attend any church service, but in a lot of ways, this community serves the same purpose.  Here was a group of people who genuinely cares about each other, cares about our community, and strives to improve themselves.  Thinking about all of that made me smile and as the race started I felt good.

The first mile was a little crowded, but I wasn’t too surprised when I clocked in on pace for a PR.  I knew the rest of the race would probably be slower since its hilly and I’m not in shape for a PR, but I was okay with that. 

I had put my iPod on shuffle, and I was really pleased when a Juvenile song came on.  You can take the girl out of New Orleans, but you can’t take New Orleans out of the girl!

I’m not sure if I was looking down to check my Garmin or if I was just really enjoying Juvenile.  Note the sad excuse for a ponytail/bun.

As expected, the second part of the race was harder and I got passed a couple times, but I managed to have enough steam left to pick up my pace as I ran to the finish at the entrance of the park.

Finishing time:  23:56 (compared to 23:00 last year), average pace  7:43

It would be easy to beat myself up about my time since it is nearly a minute slower than the prior year, but I’m actually okay with it.  I’m just happy to have enjoyed the race.  I also know that if I PR my half marathon come November, I can easily make up for my slower 5K time (the series rankings are based on a net time for all races).  

I followed the race with some easy cool down miles and the resolve to find a 5K sometime in the fall or winter when the weather is less oppressive.

Ladies’ Night!

Last night our local running store hosted a ladies’ night and I am so glad I managed to stop by for a bit.

There were snacks, booze, and special shoe discounts- a runner’s favorite things!  I was really impressed with how well attended it was.  The store was packed wall to wall with female runners getting ready for 5Ks, marathons, and everything in between.  I am so lucky to live in a city with great running groups for women.  What impressed me the most last night though was how many men in our community are supportive of these girls.  From men that coach us, cheer for us, fit us for shoes, and take care of chores while we go run, we are some spoiled ladies!

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Love these ladies!

Of course I couldn’t leave without picking up a pair of shoes (don’t judge me- I haven’t bought shoes since February).  I opted for a pair of Brooks PureGrits.  The PureGrits are new to me, but they are so similar to the PureFlows that I think I will probably like them a lot. 

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New shoes- a thing of beauty.

This morning I ran an easy three with Izzy in tow.  We must have been asleep during the first mile because it clocked in at a 10:30 pace.  Fortunately, we picked it up to an 8 minute pace during the back half of the run, so it wasn’t a totally lost cause.  I have the Road Race Series 5K this Sunday and honestly don’t have any expectations for it.  Between vacation, moving, and the new kitty, training hasn’t been on point.

Speaking of the new kitty, she is doing just fine!  She did very well at the vet’s yesterday and weighs a whopping 1 pound and 4 ounces.  Her appetite has grown considerably though, so I think she will be a healthier size very soon.  Outside of some intestinal parasites (yuck) she appears to be a healthy girl.  We’ll know more when we take her back for her next checkup.  Oh- she also has a name now!  We are calling her Annie.  It seems to have the right balance of sweetness and spunk.

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Annie asking for breakfast.