Love a Stray 5k Recap

I ran the Love-A-Stray 5k on Sunday for the third year in a row. I ran it in 2012 when they first started and had a fantastic race. Then I ran in in 2013 and they changed the course to a more runner friendly route. This year they kept the same course, and I had my best 5k yet of 2014! As I’ve mentioned before, Love-A-Stray has always held a special place in my heart. I volunteered with them in high school, and have adopted two wonderful cats from them. Knowing that proceeds from this race help their organization are always worth more than the run itself.

I originally signed up for the race as a recovery run from the Hermes 10 Miler. I was going to run with a friend and her puppy and enjoy the race from a different perspective. But when she couldn’t make it, the thought of truly racing it crossed my mind. Knowing that the 5k was the day after the 10 miler made me a little nervous. But I decided I’d play it by ear, and worst case scenario, I’d have three miles added in for the month of April.

I spent the night at my parent’s house, and got to the race with plenty of time to pick up my packet, do a short jog, and get in one more bathroom break. The weather was a lot colder than the previous day so I added gloves to my outfit and hoped I’d be warm enough by the time we got started.

I positioned myself between the 8:00 and 9:00 minute pace signs hoping that I could be pulled along by those running a faster pace. Once we were off I tried to go towards the side to avoid the crowd. I didn’t want to check my watch until about a half mile or once I found a pace I was comfortable with.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

I was feeling pretty good and decided to check my watch. I instantly slowed down once I saw I was pushing a 7:30 pace. I edged my way back and found myself behind a woman and her daughter. They were running just above 8:30 and I figured I’d join them for a while, there was no sense in pushing it this early in the race.

Waiting to make my move

Waiting to make my move

Mile 1- 8:20

We made our way around the woods and entered into the development before heading into the woods again. I was feeling good, but could feel a slight pain just under my heart and couldn’t decide if it was a cramp or my heart. I slowed down a bit and tried to focus on my breathing.

At about the halfway mark we reached the water stop. I normally don’t take water in a 5k, but I grabbed a cup, and threw some in my mouth and face. It seemed to help as the cramp started to go away by the third mile.

Mile 2- 8:48

Entering the third mile, I knew I had to pace myself properly. I remembered from last year that I started to get too excited to finish a little too early and wore myself down, so I tried to keep a steady pace the entire way. I was feeling good and actually felt better than the second mile. My only restraint was my legs, I kept trying to push them, but they just wouldn’t turn over quick enough. I knew this was from the race the day before, but I was honestly surprised they were still in the low 8’s range.

Coming in on the last half mile.

Coming in on the last half mile.

As we got closer to the opening at the end of the woods I had to hold myself back. I knew I had a few smaller turns before I could pick up my speed. As I made my way through the final turns I never once checked my watch. I relied solely on my legs and knew that whatever time I got, I had given it my all.

Mile 3 – 8:18

Done!

Done!

Last .1 – 7:27 pace

I squeaked in just under 26 minutes at 25:29. I needed a moment to catch my breath, but I was so excited and felt great! I had taken a minute and a half off my last 5k in March and completely passed over 26 minutes. I’m closing in on my post college PR, but honestly, I never felt so great or in control while racing a 5k. I didn’t know what to expect after the 10 miler, but knowing I left it all out on the course both days felt fantastic. The entire weekend showed me just how far I’ve come this year, and how strong I am.

Shortly after I finished, my sister and her boyfriend came over to greet me. They got to watch me finish and stayed for a bit to walk around and check out the vendors. It was nice to have someone at the finish for once, and it may have pushed me to run a little harder in the last mile.

Personal cheerleader

Personal cheerleader!

I can’t say enough good things about this race. Each year it gets better and better. And the competition gets faster and faster. The first three in my age group all ran 7:xx pace and completely left me in the dust. I hope to continue the tradition and run this race every year!

Race swag

Race swag

Results:

Time: 25:59

Age Group 25-29: 5/27

Gender: 26/227

Overall: 78/352

 

 

 

Medina Half Training: Week Eleven

This week was a little different than the normal week of training. Knowing that I had two big and important races this weekend, I wanted to make sure my legs were fresh and that I’d be ready to give it my all. So I gave myself a mini taper.

Monday I started off the week like normal with body fusion. I’m continuing to use the heavier weights and they’re becoming more comfortable for me. I just need to start lifting more on my own at home.

Before, After 2 months, After 4 months

Before, After 2 months, After 4 months

Tuesday I took a vacation day for my birthday and took the day to spoil myself. I originally wanted to run in the morning, but after hearing rain, I decided to move my run to the afternoon. Instead I got a massage and was able to hopefully get all the kinks out of my body. I really need to make a habit of getting a massage every couple of months because I felt so much better afterward.

After an afternoon of sun, clouds, hail and rain, the weather finally leveled out and started to warm back up again. Around 4:30 I headed out to Buckeye Woods to get some miles in. I started in the woods and kept it pretty easy, dodging puddles and roots, just trying to enjoy the trails.

Trail love

Trail love

At about 1.60 miles in I started seeing more people on the trail so I picked up my pace and headed over to the marsh. I had some headwind, but I was feeling pretty good. I stopped at an overlook just as my Garmin beeped 3 miles and took in the amazing views of the day.

Take it in.

Take a breath.

I’m not sure if it was the views, the perfect weather, or the massage, but once I jumped back on the path my legs were ready to go and they weren’t stopping anytime soon. I looked down at the Garmin and saw I was running an 8:13 pace. I kept going, and kept checking my watch, but it didn’t change. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I kept running, and it actually felt comfortable. I went back through the woods and up and around to the paved path, slowing a little, but never felt like I was struggling. The Garmin beeped and I kept going until I got to my car at an even faster pace. I don’t know how, but I felt great, never feeling like I couldn’t hold on. The run itself was the perfect gift.

Mile 1 – 9:35
Mile 2 – 9:11
Mile 3 – 9:05
Mile 4 – 8:18
Last .33 – 7:44 pace

Wednesday and Thursday I took off, but Friday I did a short run around the neighborhood to check on my legs. They were a little tight at first, but they loosened up. I finished up and felt like I was prepared for the weekend’s races.

Monday: Body Fusion Class – 30 minutes of lifting/abs/squats & 30 minutes of yoga

Tuesday: 4.33 Miles

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Off

Friday: 1.64 Miles

Saturday: Hermes 10 Miler

Sunday: Love-A-Stray Fur Fun 5k

Total Miles: 19 Miles

I’m saving my race recaps for later this week, but they were a big eye opener, and in a good way. Hermes 10 Miler was my B race for this spring. It was the race where I’d have a better guess at how my training was and what to expect come May 31st. I couldn’t be happier with how the weekend played out, and surprised at how well everything is coming together. I left it all on the courses this weekend, and sub 2:00 has never felt closer.

 

Weekly Fact about Type 1 Diabetes: If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, know that you’re not alone. And more importantly, that Diabetes won’t stop you from doing things you love. You can live a full life with Diabetes, it didn’t stop these people:

  • Halle Berry – Actress
  • Mary Tyler Moore -Actress
  • Bret Michaels – Musician
  • Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears Quarterback
  • Jackie Robinson – Former Dodger’s player
  • Gary Hall, Jr. –  Olympic Swimmer
  • Ryan Reed – Nascar driver
  • Scott Verplank – Professional Golfer
  • Sonia Sotomayer – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

If you’d like to help cure Type 1 Diabetes, you can donate here.

Friday Faves and a Giveaway!

April happens to be my favorite month, mostly because it’s my birthday month, so I wanted to do something a little different this time. This month, I wanted to share a list of my favorite things, and as a little bonus, a giveaway!

Favorite Shoes: Asics GT 2000 – These shoes, they are heavenly. I first tried them on at the Columbus Marathon expo in 2012, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve gone through a couple pairs, and I’ve never been more satisfied with a shoe. I’ve always been an Asics’ girl, but these are hands down my favorite. They recently released the GT 2000-2 which are currently sitting in my closet waiting for their first run!

Asics GT-2000, Heaven for your feet

Asics GT-2000, Heaven for your feet

Favorite Half Marathon: Sandy Ridge Half Marathon – No longer around, this half marathon will always have a place in my heart. This course ran on my street and surrounding roads I grew up running on, the roads where I fell in love with running. My favorite moment of this race was running by my parent’s house, hearing them cheer and seeing words of encouragement sprayed onto the road.

Run!

Run!

Favorite 5k: Love-A-Stray 5k – I’ve run this race every year it’s been around, and will be running it for the third straight year next weekend. I grew up volunteering at the Love-A-Stray shelter and adopted two cats from them as well, so this race has always held a special place in my heart. Registration is still open if you’re interested in running, pups can join too!

Mile 2-3

On course last year

Favorite Place to Run – I will always love running in the Cleveland Metro Parks. There are so many opportunities and trails to discover, it’s hard to have a bad day running there. I don’t get there as often as I used to, so my second favorite has become Buckeye Woods and slowly creeping up to my number one spot.

Welcome to my happy place.

Welcome to my happy place.

Favorite Band on my iPod – Anberlin has been a favorite for a long time. Whether it’s a long run, or a race, they pump me up and remind me of how far I’ve come. They’re finishing up their last year together, but listening to them will always be a good reminder of the many, many miles I’ve run.

Favorite Run Fuel – Sport Beans are without a doubt my favorite thing to snack on during long runs and races. With such a sweet tooth, I’m not sure how I keep these in stock at home. I did a review last year, and naturally my favorite was and still is Lemon Lime. Best packet for long runs? That definitely has to be the assorted pack. This year they’ve introduced Extreme Pomegranate and Extreme Assorted.

Sport Bean Flavors

Sport Bean Flavors

Favorite Nuun – It’s no surprise that my favorite Nuun is Lemon Lime. Lemon Lime has always been my thing, and Nuun does it perfectly. They recently came out with Nuun Energy, which keeps the refreshing taste of the lemon lime flavor, but adds caffeine to stay hydrated and awake all day. Can you say perfection?

How do you make Lemon Lime better? Add caffeine!

How do you make Lemon Lime better? Add caffeine!

So here’s my chance to share the love of one of my favorite things. The awesome folks at Nuun are joining in on my birthday month and letting one lucky winner pick their favorite Nuun 4 pack for themselves! Here are the rules:

  • The contest will run from Friday, April 18th to Thursday April 24th, ending at 9:00 EST.
  • A winner will be randomly picked and announced on the blog on Friday, April 25th.
  • You may enter one time per option, leave a comment telling me which options you choose.

Here’s how to enter!

Good luck and stay hydrated!

Love A Stray 5k Recap

Sunday morning, 12 hours after Yeti Set Go! 10k, I made my way up towards the lake and ran a 5k for some pretty adorable pups. I ran this race last year and loved it, but what made it such a great race was that proceeds were going to a local animal shelter, one that I volunteered at throughout high school. Love a Stray is a local non-kill pet shelter that takes in dogs and cats. In high school I adopted my favorite cat Carter from there, who sadly passed away last year. A few years ago I adopted the adorable and mischievous Ralphie, who makes many cameos on my Instagram feed. If you can adopt, do it! All of these animals need loving homes.

Who wouldn't want to adopt this fun little creature

Who wouldn’t want to adopt this fun little creature, aka house destroyer

The course was a little different this year, starting at the high school instead of The Landings, but it still went through the same wooded park. The weather was chilly and was perfect for another trial of my Flying Pig race day outfit. Yes I did wear the same outfit for two back to back races, not ashamed. It was also sprinkling a little bit, but held off until after the race was over. I was feeling pretty good and my legs weren’t too tight. The starting line was full of 400+ runners, and their dogs, so it was a little crowded, but not too bad. Just as soon as we lined up, we were off.

I wasn’t looking for a time with this race, I just wanted to run and give back to the shelter. I settled into a comfortable pace at about 8:30. We headed into the woods and it was still a bit crowded, but the further we got, the more it thinned out. The path was paved and relatively smooth. I hit my first mile right around the 8:30 mark. I decided to slow down a bit, knowing that I didn’t have it in me to PR. My legs were a little sore, so I just wanted to loosen them up. I fell into the groove and made my way through the course.

The course was pretty much the same the entire way, black top through the woods. There was one water stop in between parks at the corner of a housing development, but I didn’t stop. It was a little boring, but if I was running with a dog it would have been a great course. It was well protected and didn’t interfere with traffic or any neighborhoods. I hit mile 2 at 8:54 and mile 3 at 8:49. I finished at 26:46, no PR but a solid, well paced run just 12 hours after some crazy trail running.

After the results were posted online I felt better about my run. I didn’t place in my age group, but I did well overall. If you’re looking for a race to run with your dog, I definitely recommend this one.

Also, the shirts are designed by local kids, which is great. I pre-registered, but they only had large left. My shirt, along with my Yeti Set Go shirt will both be arriving in the mail in two weeks. I’ll be sure to add those to each recap.

*Updated Picture

Mile 2-3

Official Results

Time: 26:46

Overall: 125/433

Female: 54/287

Age Group 25-29: 8/39