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Lake Merritt

Race Recap: Rhodes Race 5k

TNT race swag!

I almost forgot to write this race recap today – making me realize how “everyday” a 5k has become. Which is incredible, considering my humble beginnings and starting up, when a 5k was the ULTIMATE, the PINNACLE, the longest race I could ever imagine doing. And now I can just decide a day or two before, “Think I’ll do a 5k this weekend!”

Today’s race was very familiar and comforting in many ways – it was the perimeter of Lake Merritt, which I’ve run on dozens, maybe a hundred times. So I know the course like my own hand. And the race itself was organized by Team in Training folks as their way of fundraising for the cause – so it was also like a giant family reunion of hundreds of TNT people. I got to see friends from my prior triathlon team, and my hike team coach, and some of the running coaches that I know by sight. It was cozy and fun.

sporting our nifty team shirt

The race itself? Well it was all informal like, with people saying “line up by that sign over there” and then an airhorn went off, and boom! As ususal, I started out way too fast and pooped out very quickly. All that adrenaline! My Runkeeper told me that I was running about an 11 minute mile after 5 minutes. That is nowhere NEAR what I’ve been averaging lately, so I knew it was a bit much for me. Sure enough my feet started cramping up and my calf was also super tight so after about 10 minutes I was in full hobble mode and had to stop and do a good stretch.

I ended up running with a bunch of my teammates that I usually run with, and it was all friendly like for most of the race. We kept passing each other back and forth and it just felt… comfortable. Some of our teammates totally rocked it – Coach Nick won 2nd place in the 30-39 division and Lily and Holly loved it so much they doubled it up for a 10k!

coming through the finish a 2nd time!

The race was fun because they also had a “Canine Division” (so many happy dogs running!) and a “Stroller Division.” The winning kids and dogs even got prizes.

coach Mark, doggie Molly and Lily

It was all huge fun. Timewise, it turned out to be pretty much the slowest 5k race I’ve ever done. But you know what? I didn’t care. I felt happy to be out there on this beautiful day with a great group of people, and it was all good.

GO Team!!!!!!!
mini donuts at the finish!
so great to see prior tri teammate Katherine & hike coach Carolyn!
... and current teammates Ayala & Tori. Love them!

Going the Distance


Running Shoes

Originally uploaded by ArtsiAnnie

I think I have been kind of in denial about the fact that I actually registered for a half-marathon which is taking place in TWO WEEKS. But yesterday I received my race number in the mail and that sure woke me up fast! I was like.. umm… gulp.. WHAT did I do?!?!?

I felt like I had to decide if this was Real or not. The friend who invited me to participate said that she might end up switching over to the 5K. I am fine with doing a 5k, really, but then when I got that number in the mail, and saw the route map, I thought, oh, COULD I do it?!?

Thirteen point one miles is quite a distance. I thought I’d better check out my long-distance stamina and see what happens.

So this afternoon I went over to our lovely neighborhood lake which happens to be around 3 miles around (can be stretched to 3.5 or 5K if you take a bunch of extra side wrinkles, which I didn’t). I was all loaded up with gadgets! I had my Bodybugg on (for calories & steps), and also my iPhone which was set to Runkeeper (for distance and pace info) and for my music.

I figured I could do 2 laps and then decide. After the first lap (3 miles) I felt GREAT. Then I did the second one. After 6 miles, I felt pretty good, not BAD, but I knew that last one was gonna take some pushing. I was walking at an average of 14-14.4 minute mile, and then every so often I’d run for a few minutes, around 11-12 minute mile. That felt good.

But during that last lap, between 7-9 miles I could feel things breaking down. First my skin. I was wearing stupid socks and at one point I walked into a puddle so my feet got wet and then I got a blister. 🙂 The blister really bothered me when I ran. Then my hips started feeling like old-lady hips around mile 8. The only thing that relieved them was RUNNING, but then the blister whined at me. I was pretty happy to see my car at the end of the third lap.

So, bottom line: 9 miles, 2 hours 10 minutes (average pace 14.44). My goal is to finish the half-M in less than 3 hours (15mph) so if I can keep up that pace I’m good. I felt really really tired at the end of 9, but I also felt like if I had to do 4 more I could do it. So that was really good.

I did learn:
1. I will bring moleskin, and wear better socks.
2. I will have water (water stations) and I will carry some nutrition (bars and/or Gu). I got pretty hungry around mile 8 and then after I stopped I was kind of bonky feeling. I went to a nearby store and guzzled a big bottle of Vitamin water. Then I came home and my bg was all high. Bleah.
3. I can probably do a half marathon in two weeks! Yahoozie!!!!!!

Off the Couch

OK, so due to semi-popular demand (thanks MizFit!) I am going to write about my extremely nascent running experience, specifically with Couch-to-5k, which I began… yesterday!

Earlier in the week, I did an actual 5k (walk/run combo) around the wonderful Lake Merritt. I have not circled Lake Merritt in wayyyy too long, despite its proximity to my house, and I wonder why I stayed away so long. (umm, maybe because I was on the couch) Anyway, it is a great training ground because its perimeter (I just looked it up: on the walking path, NOT the sidewalk) is exactly 5k, which is perfect.

Lake Merritt is called “the jewel of Oakland” and for good reason. It’s beautiful. It has a totally awesome bird sanctuary. It is incredibly diverse in terms of race, age, gender and socioeconomics. You see EVERYone going around the path on Lake Merritt. It made me feel so happy to be there. There were couples, and girlfriends, and tottering little old people, and babies and dogs (even though they are really not allowed) and super fit young athletes, and lots of people huffing and puffing, and just EVERYone. I went around sundown and got to see the pretty “circle of lights” light up, along with the gorgeous historical streetlamps. So it was great to be there.  I took my iPod and it took me exactly 41 minutes to go around the lake, I’d say probably 40-50% running. Not bad.

So I thought I was in FINE shape to do this Couch to 5k training, and even contemplated (HA HA HA HA!) skipping ahead to week 2 or 3 because I was feeling so ridiculously overconfident. I posted a notice on Facebook and a bunch of friends said they wanted to do it with me! (now THAT is one of the absolute COOLEST and best things about FB!)

My friend M happens to do some work in the same office as me. We met up in the office yesterday and at first we were going to go to the Lake, but realized we both were squeezed timewise b/c we had to pick up our kids at a certain time. So instead we went to one of Oakland’s OTHER jewels, ie. Mountain View Cemetery. This is where my trainer often takes me and runs me up and down the steps and ramps. It’s a beautiful and intense outdoor gym!

The first 3 sessions of Couch-to-5k consists of this: warmup walk for 5 minutes, then 60 second run, 90 second walk, 60 second run, 90 second walk. Keep going for 20 minutes.

Now. I scoffed at this workout. I was like, that is too easy! HA HA HA HA. I did come to eat those words. I was nervous. We walked from the office to the cemetery, which was more than five minutes. When we got into the gates, M set her very cool sports watch (she is a very accomplished gadget geek, which is one of the things which makes her an excellent running partner!) so that it would beep at 60 seconds, 90, 60, etc.

She said, “Go!” We set off on our first sixty. Can I just say that these were some of the LONGEST sixty seconds EVER? (dwarfed only perhaps by sixty seconds of being in active labor) I was rather stunned when it was over and I was so happy to be walking. For some reason, the 90 seconds went by quicker than the 60 – how is that? 🙂

I think we did 8 or 9 circuits of each, which was definitely more than 20 minutes, because we were late leaving and I was late picking up my kid and she TOTALLY let me have it. And I was beet red and sweaty. It had kicked my butt – the easy one! Ack!!

We do our 2nd set of this tomorrow, down at the Lake. My friend C is doing it “in tandem” on her treadmill. And I am meeting my other friend K on Sunday in San Francisco, since she was so eager to join in as well. I am happy to have all this company. But I am still chagrined that the first set of this workout was not as easy as I had imagined it would be.

Only one way to go from here, right? Onward!

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