Heart & Soul Wooster Half Marathon

I am somewhat unfamiliar with the area of Wooster. As far as I know, I have been there once and it was to visit a local brewery, JAFB. Then when I saw the elevation for the race I must have read it as flat. However, when driving to the race on race day I said “good thing we don’t have to run any of these hills during the race”. Little did I know I was about to eat my words.

It was fairly cold on race morning. Cold enough that I was wishing for a throwaway top and gloves. Hard to believe that in August in Cleveland.

HeartnSoul Half startI shivered as I stood at the start line but reminded myself that I would warm up soon and the temps wouldn’t feel so bad. This race had pace groups which was awesome, so I lined up with the 1:40 finish time group. My plan was to stay on pace with them and if a PR was there that would be great if not then I would run that pace as long as I could.

The race started and the 1:40 pace group took off 7:15 pace (way faster than they should have been) so I stayed with them for the first mile. Which included a major hill that I didn’t expect. Then as we made our way out onto a main road, I realized that this was not going to be the flat race I had anticipated and I let the 1:40 group pull ahead and steadied into a 7:40 pace which was closer to a 1:40 finish time.

As I turned into a development I noticed signs for the higher miles and figured out that we must go through this area again later in the race. Which wasn’t going to be so great since there were some not so fun hills during this race. I slowly started to curse Chelsea for pointing out this race. One of the only things that kept me going was telling myself that it would be awesome training for the Akron Marathon.

My paces were all over, mostly because I felt like we were constantly going uphill and not getting a break. I couldn’t figure out what pace to run. Naturally, I forgot GU for this race so it was my saving grace when I saw they had it at one of the waterstops a couple miles before the turnaround. Which was where I saw the overall male runner who was crushing the course! The overall male winner ended up running a 1:08!!! The second place runner didn’t come in for a full 8 minutes!

As I looped a big grassy area, I started wondering where the 1:45 group was since they had not passed me yet and I was estimating my finish in the 1:50s. It wasn’t until mile 10 that the 1:45 group finally passed me and by then I was in the zone and just trying to pick off the miles, I was still assuming I would run a 1:50.

As I chipped away at the last couple miles, I had no idea how to run the course because I didn’t know how many hills were left. I also didn’t know what else my legs could take. At mile 12 I started to really pick up my pace and for the last mile I ran a 7:05 pace! The closer I got to the finish line I could see the clock and I checked my watch to make sure but HOLY CRAP! I was actually going to run a good time!

I quickly got over Chelsea not warning me about the hills as I crossed the finish line in 1:43:13 a 7:55 pace. 11 female overall and 5th in my age group. I’m not sure what the 1:45 pace group ran as they finished before me, as well as the 1:40 pace group which wasn’t even in sight.

Overall and yes, minus the hills, this was a great race and course. I would run it again depending on my training plan and because it was super cheap!

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Patrick Joyce 5K

Originally I was going to run the North Ridgeville Lions 10K since there are not many 10K’s around. However, Ryan read me the reason on why this local race was being held and I got all soft and had to support it.

It’s not just a scholarship fundraising run and it’s not just a race to support students from the local school, Our Lady of Angels, that want to attend St. Edwards High school. It’s a also a race to raise awareness to genetic heart conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Which is what happened to a local West Park resident, Patrick Joyce, when he was just a freshmen in college.

We have been blessed with some amazing race temps in Cleveland this summer. And not just race temps but also general running temps. I could definitely get used to this. Anyways, this race was close enough that we could run to the start and use it as our warm up.

Start of the race

Start of the race

I knew the first mile of this race would be fast as it was straight and flat. I actually did really good at not going out too fast and held back a bit. I laughed as some of the young kids blew past me, knowing I would be passing them soon as they went out too fast.

The miles for this race did not blow by as we weaved through the streets of West Park. I felt like I was running smart but was completely dead. I slowly passed the kids who blew past me and slowly started to look ahead and pick off the next victim.

I ran most of the race alone but didn’t have anything in me to pick up the pace and my second mile was very slow. However, as I got close to the finish line I got excited as I looked at my watch and realized I might have a shot at a decent time. Or at least faster than I have been running lately.

I picked up the pace, got that nice vomit feeling where I push too hard and want to puke and came in for a 21:35! Which I was completely pumped about until I saw the race was .1 short :( Still I was happy with the time and how well I ran even though I felt like death during the race.

1st in my age group and 4th overall

1st in my age group and 4th overall

It’s pretty embarrassing when you are on the high podium and the person next to you is on the next step down and practically the same height. Also, I think these shorts might be lucky…

Pint glass awards

Pint glass awards

Pint glass awards are definitely a thing this year and I’m totally ok with that! However, can I put in a request for coffee mugs for next year…

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A Shot In The Dark 4 Miler

It has been a few years since I ran the Winking Lizard’s A Shot in the Dark 4 Miler so I was excited when I found out I was free the weekend of the race and could run in it this year. I had hoped a bunch of my friends would be free and could go out after but they were all out of town so Ryan I used it as an early celebration to our first anniversary!

Tech Shirts this year!

Tech Shirts this year!

I had been watching the weather all day but knew there was a storm headed our way and would probably get rained on during the race. About an hour before the race, I was right and it started to rain but ended quickly and then drizzled off and on until the start of the race. About 5 minutes before the race started it started to rain a little harder. By the time the gun went off it was a full on downpour.

It was raining so hard I couldn’t see in front of me and so much water got into my eyes that both of my contacts came out! By some miracle I was able to get the contacts back into my eyes but was contemplating even taking this race seriously because of all the rain. When I say it was raining, the streets were practically flooding in areas and I was completely weighed down because of all the water.

Ashotinthedark2014

I also didn’t have a Garmin for this race because it had stopped working a week prior so I wasn’t so sure on my pace for this race. Did I go out too fast? Too slow? Was I slowing down later in the race?

I think the rain finally started to slow down around mile 3 but I was so wet it really didn’t matter how much more it rained.

I started to do the math in my head and knew if I kept up the pace I was at I could go sub 30 at this race, which was my goal. The course had changed this year and no longer went over 2 bridges but was completely flat and fast!

As I made the final turn I picked up my pace knowing I was going to go sub 30 but by how much could I go! I ended up finishing with a time of 29:47 a 7:27 pace.

ShotinthedarkBecause this race is so big I usually don’t place. When I placed a couple years ago the award was a shot glass award that was on a plaque but the shot glass was removable…not that I ever used it or anything. This year the award was a pint glass which I didn’t think I would get but I did!

I ended up being 2nd in my age group! Not a bad way to start our anniversary weekend.

photo 2(12)

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Wellington Cheese 10K

With 10K’s being rare in this area, I jumped at a chance to run this one (even if I was crunched for time because I needed to get 18 miles in before a wedding that afternoon). I’ve heard about it for the past couple years but always seem to be busy and can’t make it. But I made it this year!

Yes that is a stinky cheese square running

Yes that is a stinky cheese square running

This being my first time in Wellington OH, I assumed it was a flat area and but I didn’t know how cute it was, adorable little country town. Yet still an easy drive into the more suburban areas.

I had been having trouble with my Garmin watch but was hoping it would last for the race and miles after so I could get my long run in. Spoiler: Watch lasted for the race but not the miles after :( and hasn’t turned on since but it fully charged :(

This race starts both the 5K and 10K at the same time but the race director did a good job of moving and young kids or walkers to the back. This was nice because it made for a seamless start to the race. A race that surprisingly brings out some decent talent.

I ran the first mile conservatively and tried to position myself among the 5Kers without going out too fast. However, my second mile was super slow, really for no reason other than I probably zoned out. The course remained flat and we eventually split off from the 5K and continued across a busy street and onto some residential areas. I think the only hill on the entire course was to go over some railroad tracks.

The whole race I really had no idea how many people were in front of me. I could see 1 girl but she was too far in front of me to catch. However, I got good wind at mile 3 and started to pick up my pace by 10 secs. I was slowly catching up to her but had to take my time and not go too hard too fast. I told myself if I didn’t get her by mile 5 then I probably wouldn’t catch her so I had hoped to catch her soon.

By mile 4.5 I was getting closer and was getting faster. Overall I was happy to be negative splitting this race! Mile 5 clicked and I realized I was getting closer to the other girl but realistically I wasn’t going to be able to catch her. Secretly I thanked her in my head for helping me to negative split. Eventually I could feel someone creeping up on me and I hoped it was a guy because I was at that point where I didn’t have much to kick left with less than a mile to go. Low and behold it wasn’t a guy it was Sarah!

If it was a guy creeping up I would have let them pass me buy and hold my pace. Since it was Sarah I glued myself to her to ride out the race and push both of us to good hard races. turning into the school I let Sarah continue the speedy pace because I was at the “Pukey Pace” where if I go any faster I am going to puke and not be able to run.

I made the almost a full lap around the track and ended up finishing 4th overall and 1st in my age group with a time of 46:22. To tell you how close 2nd and 3rd place were to me, I was 21 seconds behind 2nd place and 6 seconds behind 3rd.

I will definitely be back at this race next year with the hope of shaving some time off my 10K and getting a shiny new 10K PR!

 

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Summer Sprint Recap: My First Triathlon!

There was a lot of nervousness going into just signing up for my first triathlon so I decided to sign up for 2 at the same time because I need to have 2 under my belt to fully comprehend this new sport I’ve stumbled on.

On race day, I drove to the race in a thunderstorm. Thunder, lightning and a downpour of rain. I was sure it would get canceled, or at least the swim would. As I arrived to pick up my packet I was informed that the race was still on! Maybe a slight delay but it would go on.

I was pretty confused receiving a bib number for my bike and lots of other small things that I’m not used to when running a road race. I tried to pretend like I had a clue what I was doing but I was a little lost. Luckily, I had a friend volunteering at the race and she was able to give me some pointers and make sure I was where I needed to be.

The Swim: Almost everyone is afraid of the swim but I have this huge fear of water when I can’t touch the bottom. It took me a while to get over swimming in the pool in the deep end. Now I fly through the water in the pool. However, I’m still getting over that fear in the open water. Especially in scary Lake Erie where you can’t see and there are crazy under tows. I only had 3 open water swims prior to this race.

Anyways, I put on my wetsuit and cap and headed to the swim start and was able to get in a quick warm up. I had a little freak out when I first got in the water to warm up but I pulled myself together and was able to calm down and get myself ready for the swim. The freak out is all in my head, I don’t start screaming or flailing my arms or anything. When then swim started, I ran as far as I could into the water and then when I couldn’t touch I started my swim.

I'm out there somewhere for the swim start.

I’m out there somewhere for the swim start.

As I start to actually swim I noticed the water was very rough out past the break wall. Everytime I tried to swim I just got tossed around. I could barely get a stroke in because the waves were knocking me back. I ended up rotating my swimming styles between breast stroke, freestyle and floating on my back. I kept telling myself “You are fine” “You’ve got this” “You won’t drown”. As I am telling myself this, people are clinging to the breakwall composing themselves or crying. I took quite a few gulps of water but finally made it to the turn to come back to shore. Doing so we had waves going in our direction and I was able to actually do a proper freestyle into shore. Total Swim: 14:32 (my goal was under 10 mins so I have some work to do). The best swim advice: There is no substitute for open water swimming. I don’t care how good or comfortable you are in the pool. the open water is a completely new ball game!

I had no idea when to start getting out of my wetsuit so I started doing it when I saw someone else do it too!

I had no idea when to start getting out of my wetsuit so I started doing it when I saw someone else do it too!

T1: I really know nothing about transitions but just tried to get ready to bike as quickly as possible. T1 time was 2:17 (My goal was under 2 mins)

The Bike: You think riding a bike is easy but I’ve found I have quite a few struggles with transitioning to riding my road bike. It’s also hard to ride my road bike in running shoes. in the rain. I was kind of shocked that I got passed A LOT while on the bike. I was pedaling as fast as I possibly could. Apparently I have to learn how to use the gears on my bike as I keep my bike in the same gear the whole time. Bike Time: 49:21 (My goal was under 45).

photo 3(7) photo 2(10) photo 5(3)

T2: All I had to do was park my bike and take off my helmet so this was an easy transition for me. T2 Time: 45 secs

The Run: Finally! The best part of the triathlon! The part I know I can do. The legs always feel a little weird after already completing 2 events. Which explains the weird shuffle thing that people were doing. Not me though, I was in my element and cruising. All those times I got passed on the bike now seemed ok as I passed multiple people on the run. I finished the run in 25:16 (My goal time was under 27!)

The Run

The Run- The part where I know what I am doing

Overall Finish Time: 1:32:12 and 4th in my age group. I couldn’t be happier with my first ever triathlon finish. All day I just couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome it was.

Now the question I’ve received from a lot of people is “Are you giving up running and marathoning?” No WAY! I love running and marathoning. Triathlons are just a new challenge for me and something to tackle. It will be my summer fling:)

Looking forward to my second triathlon to see what I’ve learned since my first.

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Summer Shape Up with a Giveaway from Balance Bar!

UPDATE: And the winner is….Susan!!

The winner was chosen using random.org.

Time to celebrate summer with some goodies from Balance Bar and Ball Canning!

THIS COULD BE YOURS!

THIS COULD BE YOURS!

I don’t know about you but I love summer merely for the fact that the weather is gorgeous and I just want to be outside playing everyday. Yes, I am 30 years old and still play outside! Running, Swimming, Biking, even throwing the football around if it gets me outside and active for a bit.

This summer Balance Bar is hosting some awesome ways to shape up this summer. There is multiple content on their site to check out, the videos are my favorite but there are also weekly giveaways on their Facebook page. And in a few weeks, certified trainer/complete bad ass Holly, will be leading a twitter chat to share tips on staying healthy (there is also a grand prize giveaway). The twitter chat will be on July 31st at 3pm SO BE THERE!

For the giveaway on this blog, you will receive some balance bars, cookies dough ones are my favorite (that’s why there aren’t many pictured on the blog…I already ate some). You will also receive some headphones and a mason jar that comes with a water infuser. A water what? A nifty gadget for your water so you can have fun flavored water for your workouts! Lemon water, cucumber water, watermelon/basil water. The possibilities are endless!

Mason jar to use for the water infuser. (my ugly hand and pretty blue walls are not include)d

Mason jar to use for the water infuser. (my ugly hand and pretty blue walls are not include)d

You can enter the giveaway by doing some or all of the following:

1.) Tell me your favorite way to celebrate summer?

2.) Follow Balance Bar on twitter or like them on Facebook. (leave a comment below telling me so)

3.) Follow Ball Canning on twitter or like them on Facebook.  (leave a comment below telling me so)

4.) Tweet “I want to win an @balancebar #SummerShapeUP giveaway from @mojamala2 http://bit.ly/1t0ZgrN” (You can tweet once a day until July 18th at noon)

The giveaway is open from now until July 18th at noon. Good Luck!

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