Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Christmas Story 10K

The race bibs for this race were sweet!

This past Saturday I competed in the A Christmas Story 10K.  For those of you who aren't from Cleveland.  The movie A Christmas Story was filmed here locally and released back in 1983.  The house used in the movie is actually located just outside downtown.  A few years back, it was purchased by a fan and completely remodeled to look like it did in the movie.  When the movie was filmed, only the outside was used as the rest was shot on a sound stage.  Surprisingly, they have been able to get both inside and out to completely look like the movie.

A Christmas Story house

A Christmas Story is my favorite holiday movie.  I still remember where I was when I saw it for the first time.  Fun fact:  My dad was a teacher and kids from his class where used as extras during the scene that Ralphie went to see Santa.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited to run from downtown to the house and back.  Plus, waiting for me at the finish would be a "Major Award."

Just like the rest of Fall here in Ohio.  Temps were absolutely frigid Saturday morning.  I met up with my sister, fellow Cleveland Marathon blogger Jessica, and the Heller's prior to the race.  I hid out in Tower City while trying to stay warm.  I made a pretty big mistake getting out the the starting line late.  This race was vastly over-sold and the 10K and 5K were starting at the same time.  Initially, I thought I had lined up correctly.  Except, I was wrong on the starting line location.  I ended up in the back and didn't cross the start line until 10 minutes after the start.

I had no expectations going into this race.  I hadn't ran more than 4/5 miles this fall as I've been focused more on shorter distances and speedwork.  My plan was to have an average pace around 9:20 and if I felt good, maybe average 9:10.

The route

As the race began, I felt really good.  The start was very crowded, but I was able to make up some ground on the outside.  We hung a right turn and headed up the Superior bridge.  I continued to feel strong and pushed the pace further.  I made my next mistake as I saw my friends Steve and Jill.  Yelling "do it for the Bacon", I knocked my headphones out of my ears.  Unable to get them back in with gloves on.  I had to stop take off my gloves and put them back in.  Even with stopping, my first mile was 7:50.

Things began to get worse as my hands began to hurt.  As I approached mile 2, they became completely numb.  Blowing on them and flexing my fingers did nothing to help.  I began to wonder if I should drop out or would I do damage to them if I continued on.  I tried pulling my fingers out of the glove and clinching them in a fist while I left the glove on around my fist.  Thankfully, this worked and I continued on.

My splits

I made it to the house and we split off from the 5K race heading back to town.  The wind was brutal and it seemed to get colder heading back.  I still felt really good and kept running as best I could.  It was still pretty crowded until I got to mile 5.  We headed back over the bridge and this is when things got interesting.  Most were running the sidewalk, but I stuck to the road as it had more traction.  I'm not sure who's bright idea it was, but we had to make a left at the bottom of the bridge on a sidewalk that was nothing, but ice.  Sadly, a lady had just crashed in front of me.  I frantically tried not to break pace as to not slip and headed straight for the grass.  It was really a dangerous situation and I hope nobody got seriously injured.  With a half mile to go, my shoe came untied.  I kept going.  At this point I didn't want to ruin the great run I was having.

brrrrrrrrr....that was cold

I crossed the finish line in 52:06.  It wasn't PR, but this was easily my best running race of 2013.  I never in a million years would have guessed i'd run a 8:28 pace for 6.2 miles.  I was so excited to get my finisher medal and enjoy a well deserved Christmas Ale.  The time was good enough for 38/102 in my age group and 294/1578 overall.

Post race celebrating with Kelly Heller and her husband photo bombing us in the background

My favorite post race tradition....Christmas Ale. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2013 Turkey Trot 5 miler

This was my first time at this race and my first Thanksgiving day race.  Unlike most runners, I'm not a big fan of turkey day races.  My philosophy is that I spend most of the year doing races or workouts that its nice to just have a fat day.  My sister was running this race and talked me into doing it.

It's been a cold November here in Ohio and today was no different.  It was freezing and the wind off Lake Erie cut right through you.  To make things even more pleasant.  It began to snow about an hour before the race.  Luckily, they had a building open for us to stay warm in prior to the race.  Just forget using the potty as the line was as long as the race.

Since it was so cold out.  I made the mistake of being late to the starting line.  This was a pretty large race with close to 8,000 runners.  So, it wasn't a bright idea to start in the back.  During the first mile, I just zigged and zagged.  Trying find open space and dry pavement.  The road was still packed through the first mile and a half.  It was so bad,  I ended up running on the sidewalk to trying to establish a pace.

The route

Next up was the only climb of the race and I made my second mistake of sticking on the sidewalk.  Apparently, quite a few others had the same idea and they all decided to walk up the hill.  To make matters worse the sidewalk is blocked by a cement divider and I had no place to go.  Time was clicking by and I was pinned in till mile 2.  I had a goal of running 45 minutes as I had a Christmas Ale bet with my friend Liz and to have a shot of winning.  I needed to run a 44-45, but was already close to a minute off pace with 3 miles to go.

Elevation chart

The last 3 miles were flat.  The snow was continuing to come down and road conditions became worse with every stride.  I still picked up the pace and planned on trying to run a 5K pace back into town.  Race traffic wasn't terrible the last 3 miles, but the road conditions were miserable.  The slush had become so slick that I had zero grip with my shoes (which were new).  It became a fine balance between trying to go fast without pulling a muscle.

My splits for this race. 

Miles 4 and 5 clicked by and I finished in 45:13.  Despite the weather conditions it ended up being a pretty good race.  I've been doing speed workouts the past month and it was good to see them begin to pay off.   I hadn't been running well this Fall as doing runs after long rides this summer left me with zero speed.  I ended up 110/256 in my age group and 1683rd overall.  I'll definitely take being in the top half as this was a very competitive race.

Post race with my sister.