Category Archives: exercise

Humble Pie: Kracker Classic 5K Race Report

I ran the Kracker Klassic 5K this weekend in my hometown (there is no link–that’s how small this race is!).   I was actually kind of excited to run this one because the race used to run by my house as a child and we always had a water station set up in our front yard.    Since it was a hometown race, I knew the route would be boring, but I’d see a lot of people I knew there*. 

I think this is my 6th 5K, so I should be fairly used to them by now, right?   Uh… No.  I FAILed miserably.   There are all kinds of excuses for why this happened:  heat, humidity, strength training the day before,…. etc., etc. 

But the bottom line is this:  I haven’t really been running consistently for months.  I thought it would be no problem to do “just a 5K.”  The morning of the race, I wasn’t really feeling it.  And I hadn’t pre-registered so I seriously considered skipping it, but I was kinda hoping to validate my surprise PR from last month.   I figured if I could finish under 32:00 I’d have an “official” PR to report.  No dice.  

My time was 34:5x, barely under 35 and almost a full 3 mins slower than last time.   This is my 3rd worst 5K time ever.  I ran better hungover for crying out loud!   I even took walk breaks. . .   in a 5K!   I ran a half marathon, damn it, I should be able to eek out 3 measly miles.   But I didn’t. 

The running gods have served me a piece of humble pie and I’m eating it.  I ran this morning with a renewed sense of purpose. I will NOT let heat/humidity keep me from training anymore. I *must* improve my times.  Otherwise, all that hard work for the half seems all for nothing.  I don’t even feel like a “real” runner right now.   


* I did see a lot of people I knew there, which ended up being more intimidating than I originally thought.  However, because it was a small hometown race, I actually knew a lot of the winners, which was super cool.

Foto Friday: Warrior Dash x2

I actually had a completely different post planned for today, but then I got an email that the professional pictures from Warrior Dash were up.   I was stoked that they were even able to read my bib # for some of these.   I haven’t *quite* finished looking through the “lost and found” pics to see if I can find myself diving into mud.   Rest assured that if I do, part 3 will be on the way!

Charging the Hills

Navigating a mud slide

Jumping over fire!

And again (This is my fave. I might have to purchase)

Apparently my dismount is less-than-graceful!

I am a Warrior!

This past weekend, I participated in the Warrior Dash Midwest, a 5K (ish) trail run with 12 obstacles thrown in for good measure.   I “ran” it with my friend NIkki, but–to be honest– we did a fair share of walking, so I consider it more of a fun run than a race.  Potatoes, pot-ah-toes.

The Warrior Dash is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced… and I had no clue what to expect.  I hadn’t really trained for it and was a little nervous about the obstacles. Our heat started at 10:30 and it was already SUPER hot and sunny.   But, my lord, it was SO MUCH FUN.    We jumped over cars, crawled through tunnels, scaled walls, climbed up cargo nets, jumped over fire, etc.

And then there was the mud!  There were a total of 3 mud obstacles, but–as always– they saved the best for last.  After the fire jump, you have to crawl under barbed wire in a HUGE mud pit.  As soon as I came up to the pit, I hear the crowd chanting “Dive. Dive. Dive.”   So I dove.   I got mud in my eyes… in my ears… in my nose… everywhere.  It was sooo much fun.

The after-party was the best part… lots of nice people gave us their free beer coupons and we had a great time conversing with other Warriors.   The bling was pretty nice, too:  A standard cotton tshirt, a cool medal, and–wait for it– a warrior helmet!!  Can’t get much better than that.

On to the pictures (many of which were “borrowed” from other people’s facebook pages…)

I was most intimidated by the cargo net

The hay bales were much easier than I expected. More like "hay steps"

The fire jump was FUN... much higher than anticipated

The Army crawl throuh mud was definitely the most fun!

Correction: The afterparty was the best part!




New friends! (this lady was clean when she started. Then her kids hugged her. We wanted our picture taken with "the mom")


There was mud everywhere…

On our shoes

On my legs (note the pieces of hay/straw stuck on them, too!)

On my face

In my ear

on my camera

and my bag

We finally got hosed off by one of these...

but only managed to get *kinda* clean (and a LOT sun burnt for me)

In the end, I finished in about 46 minutes.  I’m not at all concerned about the time, though. It was SO.MUCH.FUN.  We’re already thinking of what we’re going to do next year!

How to PR a 5K

3-5 months prior

1 month prior

  • Casually mention race to your boyfriend.  Suggest that you run the 10K relay as a twosome.   Subtly infer that you will beat him.

2 weeks prior

  • Run your first half marathon.  Live to tell (and write) about it.
  • Decide that the twosome is a dumb idea.  Tell boyfriend it won’t work out for scheduling reasons.
  • Have boyfriend convince you to re-consider.  Confirm with him that he’s serious. 
  • Sign up both the bf and  yourself for the race.  Realize there’s no turning back.
  • Convince some friends to sign up.

The week before

  • Run exactly twice.   For no more than 3 miles.  Call it “speedwork” even though you’re going at an 11:30 pace.

The day before

  • Remind your friends to hydrate. 
  • Drink lots of coffee.
  • Fail to hydrate yourself.

The night before

  • Go out for happy hour.  Have approximately 5 beers.  Fail to eat dinner.
  • Get greasy drive through burger, fries, and mozerella sticks approximately 10:30 p.m.
  • Go to another bar and have 2 more beers.
  • Wait up for the boyfriend to get home.
  • Go to bed around 2:30 a.m.
  • Toss and turn all night.

The day of the race

  • Get up at 8 a.m. with a MAXIMUM of 3 straight hours of sleep.
  • Attempt to hydrate.  Take some Tylenol.  Let the dog out.  Will the room to stop spinning.
  • Fail to find armband for the iPhone.  Decide this run doesn’t need to be documented.
  • Get the bf up at 8:30.  Calmly mention the race starts at 9:00.
  • Drive to race site.  Listen to boyfriend complain about agreeing to sign up.
  • Arrive at 8:45.  Find friends.  Give boyfriend keys.  Make way to starting line.

During race

  • Start the first quarter mile or so with super-speedy friend.  The one who just had a baby and still runs WAY faster than you. Begin to eat her dust as she pulls out ahead.
  • Realize that although the course is a boring loop you’ve run three times before, it’s not so bad.
  • Pass Mile one.  Get time.  10:12.  Not bad.
  • Pass the halfway point.  Hear people yell your name.  Realize it’s not the boyfriend. Momentarily worry that he has actually fallen asleep on the ground somewhere.
  • Pass Mile two.  Get time.  21:00.  Not bad at all.  Feel PR coming.
  • Decide that if you push it you can get in under 30:00
  • Feel a teeny bit pukey.  Decide that 30 is maybe pushing it a bit.
  • Near the hill at the end.  Realize you’re almost there.  See your super-speedy friend who has already finished.
  • Receive encouragement from a lady in a sports bra and biker shorts as you charge up the hill at the end.
  • Pass off your baton (aka tongue depressor) to the boyfriend.   Ask for your time.
  • Feel vaguely like puking.  But hold it in.
  • Do not receive a time.   Ask for it again.
  • Hear some random person say 32.  
  • Realize that this is almost a 3 minute PR.  Continue to hold back puking.


  • Grab some water and wait for your friends who are running the open 5K to finish.
  • Remember (too late) that they finish at a different spot.
  • Meet up with friends to wait for the boyfriend to finish.
  • Curse the fact that you didn’t look at your watch at the beginning.  Nor did you have your phone/RunKeeper.
  • Get in trouble for ogling a good-looking roofer.
  • Respond “no” when someone asks if that’s the boyfriend coming towards the finish line.
  • Realize that you do not recognize your own boyfriend when he’s running.
  • Cheer boyfriend on as he crosses the finish line.  Offer water and cookie that are respectfully declined.
  • Ask boyfriend what the final time was. 
  • Do the math in your head.
  • Lament the fact that said boyfriend, who is not a runner, and hasn’t trained ONE MINUTE for this race has beaten you. 
  • Listen as boyfriend describes excruciating pain he’s in and states that he’s never doing anything like it again.
  • Go to derby practice and revel in the fact that he will be unable to walk the next day.

That, my friends, is a sure-fire way to break your 5K PR.  It’s *technically* my 3rd PR in 6 weeks (the other two were default PRs since they were new distances), but I don’t have official results since only the relay is timed.   I’m 100% confident I could’ve broken 30 if I hadn’t been hungover, sleep deprived, and just a teeny bit bored.

Are you ready??

As the Illinois Marathon (and half-marathon…which I’m running)quickly approaches, I’ve been getting the same question over and over:  Are you ready??

Truth is:  I’m not.   Although I’ve been training since mid-January (I’ll have to look up the exact date), I don’t feel ready.  

I’d like to tell myself to “trust in my training,”  but I don’t feel like I’ve had the most successful training cycle– I missed a couple long runs, shortened some of my mid-week runs and haven’t really felt on for a while now.   Many of my long runs start off strong and then peter out near the end.    Even some of the shorter ones have been less-than-stellar. 

I’ve been running 3 or so times a week and getting plenty of cross-training via derby, but I just don’t feel ready.   Although I still enjoy running, I enjoy derby more and have been focusing a lot of my time on that the last few weeks (more on derby later, I promise!)

By now, I had hoped to be up to the full 13 miles, but I’m not.  I did “10” last weekend.  I put 10 in quotes because it was technically just 9.58… and I took a 2-min walk break at mile 6 and slowed down for some stop lights.  This is analagous to the advice they give about slowing down/walking through water stops, but I think I’d be much more confident if I had a full 10 mi of RUNNING under my belt.   

I’d hoped that by running a 10K a couple weeks ago, it would decrease my race anxiety… but I think it only made it worse.  There’s NO REASON for me to take walk breaks in a 6 mi run, yet I did.   I hope I don’t give up that early in the half.    I’d like to finish in a respectable time (right now, “respectable” is looking like 2:30:00… sad, I know!), but I dont’ want to get so hung up on time that I psyche myself out.

I don’t want to waste all of these weeks of training by burning out in the end, so I’m hoping for a few solid runs this week and I’m going to try 13 on Sunday– even if I have to take some scheduled walk breaks. 

So much of running is mental and I know if I let the “what if’s” into my head, I’ll be DOA.  But with my recent setbacks, it’s hard to keep them at bay.   I’m hoping I’ll get a little push from the race day adrenaline… and so far the forecast seems doable.  But my nerves are definitely cranked up to 11 for this one. 

I MUST do this…  Wish me luck!  

(Just don’t tell me that I’ll do “fine.”  I’ve heard that so many times and it’s about to make me pull my hair out!)

First 10K– an automatic PR!

I ran the Safe Kids 10K on Saturday.  I finished in 1:10:45, which is an 11:24 min/mile pace.  I’m not especially happy with my performance (see below), but I’m glad I did it.

Positive:  I finished.  My pace was comparable to my training runs.
Negative: I should have finished faster.  I lost my confidence and took too many walk breaks (really any walk break in a 10K is too many for me.  I’ve run 6 mi without stopping numerous times).

Positive:  I was surprised to see two of the Derby Girls out on the course.  One was running the 10K and I tried to keep her in my sight as long as possible.   The other one *smoked* by me in the 5K! 
Negative:  The course itself was BORING– a 4 lap loop around a local park. I’ve run it as a 5K and it wasn’t so bad, but by the 3rd lap, I was sick of seeing the same sights.  

Positive:  I *smashed* my previous 5K record by over 2 mins
Negative:  I started out too fast and paid for it in the end (see above re: walk breaks)

Positive:  I got much-needed race experience before the half-marathon (<3 weeks away…yikes!)
Negative:  The race was really small and I never really “ran my own race.” Instead, I tried too hard to keep up with other runners (I did not want to come in last!)

Positive:  This race made me realize how much I need a “race plan” for the half.
Negative:  I’m not really sure what that plan should be.   All through my training, I’ve been thinking I’d just run as far as I can before stopping.  I’m now thinking maybe I should schedule in some walk breaks so they’re not so defeating if I take them at the end.  When/where should I take them?  I’m thinking maybe miles 6 and 10?  

A few other random gripes:

  • I forgot my watch and my RunKeeper app crapped out on me again.  IF I continue running after the half, I may need to upgrade or invest in a Garmin.  But I don’t know how much more running I’m going to do.
  • At the end of the 2nd lap, another runner comes up behind me and says: “You can do it… We’re almost done” to which I replied: “No, honey, I’ve got two more laps to go.”   She said: “Oh, 10K?  Good for you. I’m impressed.”     Not really sure what that means as I was starting to struggle by that point.   Thanks for the motivation, lady!
  • After my 3rd lap, I was really struggling.  The clock read 51:xx:xx.   One of the volunteers tried to point me towards the finishing chute.  Once again I had to say: “Sorry, I’m not done yet.”    Ugh.  Talk about motivation-killer!

Thank Goodness

First things first– I got my 9 miler in this weekend. Yay!  Thanks for all your words of encouragement.  

I was a bit nervous about the run, but I did a few things that I think helped get me out of the funk:

  • I set out to run for time, not distance.  I didn’t even look at the map before I left.  I just put on my watch and said I wasn’t stopping for two hours.
  • I ran a different route including parts of the half-marathon race route that I’d never run before.
  • I switched directions. (I usually run in a counter-clockwise loop from my house. This time I went clockwise)
  • I made a new “long run” playlist for my iPod.
  • I slowed down… WAY down.  Someone commented that I should just jog or shuffle when I get tired.  My run = jog and my jog = shuffle.  I was slow, but I knew I could get the miles in.
  • I ran in the morning, which I usually prefer, but haven’t been able to do lately.

It was one of the best runs I’ve ever had.   The weather was perfect (for me)– a little cool at the beginning, overcast and breezy, but not windy.  The first hour literally flew by– I was running through unfamiliar territory and just soaking in my surroundings. I was smiling as other runners passed by, completely taking in the experience.  

At about mile 7, I was certain that I could run 10.  I was even composing the “double-digit” status update in my head.  At about Mile 8, I was back in my neighborhood and I knew how much further I’d have to run.  This kinda set me back, but I wasn’t stopping until I was I was 100% certain I’d run 9 miles. 

I ran for almost 2 hours and then stopped about a mile from home to cool down.   When I stopped to check my RunKeeper app for my phone I was muy disappointed–  it didn’t work :( I have no data from the run and I ran through some “unchartable” areas, so I don’t  have completely accurate data on my run.   My best guess is 9.1 miles (which I think is conservative) in 1:51.   I missed my goal of running for 2 hours, but I made my mileage for the week and I feel great about it. 

I also passed a rabbit statue in the park and a dead bunny on the side of the road, which I thought was uber-appropriate for an Easter  run!