training for a 5k

The Final Countdown…

…to my first 5k of the summer!

As of today I have about 13 days before the first 5k I signed up for. This one I’m running with Michael. I think we both feel behind in our training. I signed up for the two 5k’s back in March and then two weeks later had my back issues. My running had been going pretty well–I was running on a consistent basis at the gym and actually running a bit outside thanks to the mild winter/spring we had. But the back injury set me back. A lot.

I didn’t think too much about it at the time because my #1 concern was healing my back! Physical therapy, rest, ice, massage, chiropractor, standing desk at work…It took longer than I was expecting to get back to normal but honestly I think I got lucky. I would say I am 99% fixed now with some “flare ups” occasionally of tight muscles in my back but overall I think I got lucky healing as quickly as I did.

As a result of all this, I wasn’t running much or lifting weights. In fact, if I remember correctly I took about a month off from both things. Getting back into it was slow but I got there.

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Because of all this I would say I am a month or two behind on where I’d like to be. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be walking some of my 5k. I’m okay with this. I am going to listen to my body and not push it. It’s not worth it to me. Running 85% of the rest is good enough for me.

Michael said he feels behind schedule as well. But he also feels like he has the muscles to run the whole thing now despite that. And he’s probably right. He’s been doing way more cycling than me all year long and I think he has the cardio and the leg muscles from that to run it. He had an ankle injury early on in the training so that was his setback. I wish we were both a little further along in our training but it is what it is.

I had an early appointment and so I decided to go for a run on the nearby track beforehand. It was so nice to run outside. It was going to be a very hot day and at 7:30am it was already hot out! I put on some tunes, walked/jogged down the neighborhood to the school and joined the other runners on the track.

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For some reason my heart rate was spiking a lot. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe I was a little tired/dehydrated. I don’t know. But I had to walk a little bit more than normal. Despite that I had a good run and my knees held up nicely.

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I ran/jogged back to the house, chugged some water and then decided to spend my cool down walking Bella.

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I’m glad I walked Bella early. It was hot but not too hot yet and that night it was close to 100 degrees! Too hot for Little Miss to walk.

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Back at the house I used the foam roller and did some stretches before rushing to get out the door for my appointment.

I’m excited about my race. I think it will be good and it will be fun to do it with Michael. My hope is that by my second 5k in mid-September will be better because I’ll have one more month to train for it!

Are you running any races this summer? How is your training going?

Race Day!

5k

The big day finally arrived! I was excited to run the 5k (after like 3 years off from doing running races) but also nervous. I did the Couch to 5k program, as you can read in the updates I did, and while I had enough time to train for it, I don’t necessarily feel like I was well trained for it. I didn’t feel prepared and honestly could have used another month to train for it. But instead of beating myself up about it, I decided to look at this as just something fun and not have the expectation to run the entire thing. Walking breaks are ok.

I did the Gabriel Park 5k with my friend Robyn. I am so glad we were able to run it together. It was nice to have the encouragement of a partner. I woke up early in order to get over to that side of town in time and pick up my racing bib. I met up with Robyn and we got ready for the race. It was going to be a hot day–in the high 80’s–and they were predicting thunder storms too, but thankfully at 8am it wasn’t too hot already.

This series is obviously meant for families and to encourage youngsters to try running. They did a little kid 1k before the race started that was totally adorable! There were so pretty tiny runners! Some that needed the help of mom and dad, too. 🙂

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Robyn and I got our bibs and hit the bathroom line before it was super long then stretched. It was almost time! When I had signed up for this 5k I didn’t really give much thought to which park. I was more focused on the date. As the race got closer I realized, Oh crap–that’s the park in SW Portland with all the hills. I used to live in Multnomah Village ages ago and Gabriel Park is quite hilly.

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We got in the middle of the pack and the race started. The trail through Gabriel Park is rather narrow and there were spots where there was gravel or tree roots coming up so I just focused on where my feet were going. It was partially downhill for the start. In the past I made the common mistake of starting too fast in races. This time I didn’t–I knew that I needed to go slow on this race and the narrow trail kind of forced me to slow down.

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The trail went downhill and then started to go into a wooded area. It was almost like trail running! It was darker (sunglasses came off) and the ground was soft with dirt and pine needles, so that was nice!

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The course was two times around the park to make it a 5k. I started out pretty strong without walking too much, and then I took too many walking breaks to count. The hills were killer and I started walking up the steep hills instead of trying to run them. I definitely liked the wooded part of the trail best (except for the downhill parts because that made me faster LOL). We crossed a few different foot bridges over creeks, too.

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That poor kid in front of us, he kept telling his mom he felt like he was going to puke. Robyn and I kept passing them and then they’d pass us whenever we walked. I wanted as far away from that kid as possible in case he did puke! After making the first time around the park, I was still feeling pretty good and my knees were doing great. Towards the tail end the route the hills were getting a lot harder and I ended up walking them. I knew that was going to make my “official time” crap but oh well…what are you gonna do, right?

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It’s difficult to tell in the above picture but the parts of the trail that had hills also had switch backs. This picture was taken from one of the switch backs at the bottom. So it was pretty steep at the end. Once Robyn and I got to the top of the hill we could see the finish and it was pretty much downhill. We finished strong and ran across the finish line.

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(That picture was taken before the race.) The finish line was crowded and there was music and a photographer. The person on the microphone was encouraging and congratulating all the runners as they crossed the finish line and we got our ribbons. 😀 Right as we finished the thunder and lightening storms started (thankfully no rain). It was really loud! The thunder boomed in the sky and it was kind of ominous.

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I don’t care if it’s a dorky ribbon, I like it! I’m so happy I got to race. I wish I could have run more of it but I just wasn’t prepared for hills. I had been training on a track most of these months. My knees did great during most of the race. Towards the end my right knee started to feel a little tight and achy and I think part of that was the hills and part of it was running downhill and stepping too hard. I need to be more mindful of being light on my feet. Other than that I was feeling really good.

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OFFICIAL TIME: 35:45

After that Robyn and I went out for brunch. Pre-race I’d had a bagel thin with cream cheese with some vanilla yogurt mixed with strawberries and blueberries. I was ready for food AND COFFEE.

Post-Race

We went over to Down to Earth Cafe in Multnomah Village. Because I used to live in Multnomah Village it was kind of cool to go back there. I saw my old apartment, which brought up lots of weird and fond memories. There were lots of new businesses and restaurants in the Village and I want to go back and explore some of them. I just never really go over to SW Portland.

The Cafe was super cute (and small) but we got there just in time to get a table without having to wait. Other places were starting to get lines waiting. I ended up ordering the brie and turkey grilled sandwich with a salad and dijon vinaigrette. It was all pretty tasty. I do think the sandwich could have used maybe some balsamic or something on it but other than that it tasted great. Service was excellent and it was pretty affordable. They had vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Robyn got the Northwest Scramble and it came with an English muffin and cottage cheese (it looked really tasty).

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After brunch I headed home. First things first: foam roller! Ouch ouch. I did a few times throughout the day. Then I took a bath with the eucalyptus and spearmint epsom salts. The hot bath felt so nice after that sweaty, humid run. Both Bella and Fat Kitty perched on the edge of the tub and supervised, of course. I closed my eyes and felt like I could have taken a nap! Man I was tired. After the bath I put on some Biofreeze on my quads and iced my knees just in case.

I felt really really good the rest of the day, if not a little overly tired. The next day I woke up a little stiff but ok. Walking helped loosen things up. My quads were sore and my right knee was a little achy but it wasn’t painful–just your typical soreness after a hard run.

I was so happy with the race. Sure it was harder than I was expecting, I had to walk more than I had hoped, and my time wasn’t anything special, but I’m glad I finished it successfully and felt good afterward.