Monday, August 24, 2015

Run for the Red Twilight 5K Recap

This past Thursday I ran the Run for the Red Twilight 5K at Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, NY. This is the second year in a row that I have participated in this event. Last year I ran the 10K, this year I only ran the 5K. This race is an even race that benefits the American Red Cross, and has a great after party.

Thursday afternoon it started to get pretty dark outside and the weather channel had said the area was going to get hit with a pretty rough thunderstorm. It did pour pretty hard while I was at work, but it started to clear off by the time I got out of work. The race director had sent an e-mail earlier in the day stating that the race would go on if it were raining, and be canceled if it were thundering and lightening, but that the "post-race party" would still go on because they had a lot of food and drink and would not be able to reschedule the event.


After I got out of work I ran over to Red Robin to meet some friends for a quick dinner. Alex's Lemonade Stand was doing a fundraiser and I didn't want to miss it. I wasn't sure how a cheeseburger and fries were going to treat me during the 5K, but I guess I would soon find out. I pulled in just before 5, and Nita and Matt were already there waiting for me. Just inside the door there was a small lemonade stand set up with free samples of Red Robin's Freckled Lemonade. There was also a small jar for donations and rubber ALSF bracelets.




We were quickly seated and ordering. I decided on a Red's Tavern Double and Sweet Potato friends. Sadly, I had to inhale my food and run (literally) to get to my race on time since I still had to drive to Canandaigua, which is about a 40 minute commute, and I wasn't certain what traffic would be like. Traffic ended up being okay, and luckily, the friends I was running all arrived around the same time and were parked within the same row.



(Pre-race selfie with Linda, Court and Sara)

It was still drizzling a little bit, but we headed through the swampy mess the storm had left, over to the race tent to show the volunteers our ID's so we could get our over 21 bracelets. Then we made our way to the start. It wasn't long before we started, and thankfully the rain had cleared completely. I had forgotten my headphones, so I was running without music but I wasn't disappointed. Sonnenberg Gardens is beautiful and there was enough to keep me distracted for 3.1 miles. The race course took us around the Mansions gardens and the old VA Hospital. The course then took us through some of the neighborhoods in Canandaigua past some very large and beautiful homes.



(I couldn't find a course map, so here's the map from my watch)

I stuck to my intervals and was cruising along, glancing at my watch every now and then to see how I was doing on time. Throughout the race I wondered when that cheeseburger and fries was going to come back and haunt me, but it never did. Before I knew it I was about 400 meters from the finish. Since I didn't have my headphones, I heard people talking about a rainbow, so I glanced up, and they were right. It was beautiful, but it wasn't even raining and hadn't been. I made it to the entrance to the gardens and started to pick up my pace and made my way past the finish line. I stopped my watch and heard my friends yelling to me. I went over to where they were sitting and I told them I thought I had broken through my 11:00/mile barrier. I went back into my watch history and clicked on Thursday's date. Here's what I saw:



(Yes, I saved this from my SnapChat)

I had done it, my average pace was 10:45/mile and I had finished (according to my watch) in 33:33 (pretty funny)! I eventually went to the race website to look up my chip time, and they clocked me a 33:31, I'll take it, 2 seconds faster! And yes, I'm well aware that 33:33 is not a fast 5K time by any stretch of the imagination, however, considering my first 5K time ever was like 45 minutes, and my average time for a 5K prior to my surgery was roughly 36:00-37:00, I'd say I'm doing well!

We decided to stroll over to the food tent and grab ourselves a little post race grub and an adult beverage to refuel. They had a pretty good spread, pizza, hot dogs, coleslaw, fruit, cupcakes, cookies, etc. They also offered beer and wine. After we ate we walked over to where they were hanging the results, and as it turned out, Linda placed second in her age group, and Sara and Courtney placed second and third, respectively, in their age groups! We hung around for the awards, but for some odd reason they skipped over Sara and Courtney's age category when handing out the medals, so we decided to head out. Hopefully the medals get mailed to them.


Overall race review:

Pros:

Time: I love that this race is an evening race. Personally, I run better in the evenings because I've had a chance to hydrate throughout the day.
Price: I waited a little too long to register, so my race fee was $30.00 plus a processing fee, and I registered as a team with my friends. Individual fee was $35.00 during the last price increase.
Post Race Party: I do not know any other race that I run that throws a party like this one that is actually included in your race registration. There was a lot of free food and drinks (alcohol included)!

Cons:

Water Stops: Again, the only water stop I noticed on the course was about .5 miles from the finish of the 5K. Whether this was the only water stop for the 10K or not like it was last year, I don't know, but I would be happier with one more stop should it be needed.

QOTD: When do you feel you run better? Are you a morning runner or an evening runner?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Women Run the Roc 5K Recap

Today I'm officially 16 weeks post-op, and it's so hard to believe how far I've come! Saturday, August 8th, I ran the Women Run the Roc 5K for the second year in a row. This race is sponsored by Fleet Feet and run by Yellow Jacket Racing, and is a race specifically for women (and one lucky guy). Friday night I actually stayed in a hotel on the east side of the city because my cousin and his fiance got married on Saturday, so my brother and I had a room for the weekend for the wedding. My coworker, Linda, and her daughter, Trish, picked me up at the hotel and we rode into the city together.

This year the race was actually moved to the Rochester Museum and Science Center. In past years it was held at Frontier Field. We parked just past the RMSC on the road and walked over the where race day packet pick up was being held and just hung out for a bit. Trish decided to go for a light jog to warm her muscles up, and Linda and I decided to take a walk around the block. Once we got back it was almost time for the race to start. We snapped a quick picture and jumped in the sea of women and waited.


(Selfie before the race)

The race started right at 8 AM, and Trish took off! I hung out around the middle of the pack and stuck to my intervals which I'm so used to (1 minute run : 1 minute walk). It was a beautiful morning and already starting to heat up. I was thankful that I took my warm-up off and tied it around my waist before I started the race.

The course had a few small inclines, but nothing horrible, just enough to let you know you were working. About halfway through the race I started to feel a little tired and very warm with the sun beating down on me, so I changed my intervals to 1 minute run : 2 minute walk and felt comfortable with that.



I finished the race (according to my watch) in 34:37. I'll take it - it averaged out to be 11:01/mile. I'm SO close to breaking through that 11 minute mile barrier! I'm slowly improving, and I'll be honest, I haven't been training as consistently as I should be. Shame on me, but now it's seriously time to get back on track because the runDisney Wine and Dine 1/2 is roughly 85 days away (yikes!). Trish, the speed demon, placed first overall, and Linda placed 4th in her age group!


(Another pre-race picture)

After the race we hung out and waited for Trish to receive her award. While we waited we grabbed a small bite to eat from the spread offered by the race. Bagels (with cream cheese or peanut butter), bananas, carrots, and cookies. After Trish got her award, we headed out in search of some coffee. Then I had to head back to the hotel to get ready for my cousins wedding. I always enjoy running with Linda and Trish. They're both so fun and encouraging, and I strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle that they have set for themselves.

Pros:
Race location and course: Not that I haven't enjoyed the course in years past, but the new location offered a change of scenery which I thought was great!
Price: As long as you registered by August 5th it was $22.00, which I think is one of the cheapest races I've run in a few years. If you registered the day before the race it was $25.00, and race day it was $30.00 (still not bad).
Post Race Food: The food was provided by Mario's Cafe which is located within the RMCS. Not that the spread was anything special, however, some races don't even provide a post race treat.

Cons:
Cotton T-shirt: This is seriously my only complaint. In years past, the race swag was a Women Run the Roc Sweatyband, and I LOVED that because it was different from other races. This year they gave out a women's cut cotton tee. I like that the shirt is a women's cut, so it actually does fit me, but mine also has a hole in it. And it's cotton...

All in all, I would highly recommend this race to my female friends looking to run a race - especially a first timer. Especially with it being female focused, it's not as intimidating as other races could seem.

16 Week Post-Op Update: As I stated above, I have not been running as consistently as I should be, especially considering I'm training for a half marathon. However, I have noticed improvements in my running. My speed is slowly improving. I've also noticed that while running, my legs don't cramp up as much as they used to, and during my run/walk intervals, I've noticed my heart rate recovering much quicker than it used it.

I had my co-worker do a quick echo on me last week (mainly because my Attendings were curious) to see how my heart was recovering, and if it was normalizing in size and function. My right heart is now within normal limits for size, however, my right heart function is still just mildly reduced.

(Normal in size)

Unfortunately, I tried to upload a video of my heart, but it won't work. Boo. :(

QOTD: Ladies, have you ever run any women's specific races? Guys, have you ever dressed up as a princess for a race?