Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reviewing 2012 Races

Thanks to Kim for creating this handy template to review races from the previous year.  As I reflect on my races and running journey of 2012, there are a plethora of words that go through my head: success, failure, excitement, awe, disappointment... The list could go on and on.  2012 was a year of extremes - I had some really good moments and some really crappy moments.  It was a year that I learned much more about myself as a runner than ever before.  
Races participated in: 15 
Races “raced” (of x amount above): 14 - all but the Chiller in Schiller due to miscommunication
DNFs: 0
DNSs: 0
5 (4 road and 1 trail)
8K: none officially, but the Chiller race is closest to this distance than any other
5M: none
10k: 2
HM: 4 (3 road and 1 trail)
M: 1 officially (I also ran the Rockford marathon with my friends after I finished the half)
Ultra: 1 (Ragnar Relay Madison to Chicago race)
New to me distances: Ultra relay and trail races 
States run in: Illinois and Wisconsin for races, but I also ran in California, Colorado, and Iowa this year
Road: 12
Technical Trail: 3

Months run in: 11/12 - not July due to injury
Hottest race: Rockford Half Marathon or Ragnar - both were really warm
Coldest race: Polar Dash 10k

Participation medals received: 7
AG medals received: 8 (not counting my turkey or Thriller "goody bag")
PRs: 3 - marathon, half marathon, and 10k
Placed in AG: 10
Races run alone: 7
Races run with others: 5 
Who: Random people from my running club, my BFF (three times), another blogger friend
Acted as pacer: 1 - Rockford (half) Marathon.  My friends were trying to achieve marathon maniac status so I ran the second part of the marathon with them.  
Races run without music:
Races run without Garmin: 0 (I love my Garmin)
Races run in costume: 0
Favorites: Illinois Marathon because that is where I BQ'd and had a massive PR, Heritage Haul Half Marathon because I did so much better than I thought I would do, and The Drumstick Dash because I won it
Medal: The Illinois Marathon and Heritage Haul medals because those races were so special for me
Bib: ??? I don't care too much about bibs

Taken just after crossing the finish line at the Illinois Marathon in April

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Lately, my blog has been neglected for a variety of reasons.  Sure, I've had things I could have written about, or posted something on track workouts or failed/successful long runs.  But I didn't.  Life became busier (and still is), and "blog" went to the near bottom of my to-do list.  What's been going on in my life the past 17 days?  I believe only bullet points can tell the story.

  • The Schiller Chiller race affected me more than I care to admit.  It took me two weeks to mentally get back into a good running mindset.  It kills me that my last race of 2012 sucked, and it stings.  Being the anal-about-numbers person that I am, I logged onto Athlinks, quite possibly my favorite running website, and searched to see if the results were posted.  Sure enough, I found my name, although it did not automatically get claimed under my name.  I decided I didn't want to claim it, as it is not a valid time.  
  • I had my birthday last week.  My age group does not change even though I am a year older, so there is nothing much to report.  Overall, I had a great birthday.  The years truly go faster the older I get.  
  • I've been doing track still, both outside and indoors.  Yesterday I met some of my track teammates at an indoor track to run mile repeats - 6.5 laps were equal to one mile.  It was a lot of running hard, slowing down to make the turn, the picking up speed again.  Overall, I was happy: 6:40, 6:31, and 6:27 and none felt hard.  I'm hoping I can run that well at my upcoming relay.  
  • Speaking of the relay, all 4 of us, plus our track coach, have different opinions of how we should approach it.  Our goal is simple: win.  There is a timing anklet that needs to be worn at all times, and that is the cause of our dilemma.  I think we should run mile repeats, while another wants to run 2 - 5ks, another a backwards ladder, and the other 800s.  The only thing we have decided upon is that we are going to coordinate our outfits.  Black shorts and pink tops will surely help us win...right?
  • I read a statistic that 1 in 20 type 1 diabetics will die from low blood sugar in their sleep.  Normally, statistics don't effect me.  However, for some reason, this one has not left my mind.  I feel like 5% is an incredibly high number.  Honestly, there have been many times where I wonder if I'll be one of the 5%, which scares me.  I want to be part of the 95%.
  • On Saturday I was going to go to the Chicago Running Bloggers holiday meet-up.  But, on Friday I got a text from a lady in my running club whose daughter is diabetic.  She was going a presentation at her school and asked if I could come and support her.  After weighing the options, I decided that supporting this girl was more important than me going to Chicago.  I know I made the correct choice.  
  • I fell while running on the path tonight with my friend.  I simply tripped and went down.  I have a bloody hand and two scrapes on my knees.  This is the second time I've fallen since August.  I have reached a new all-time record for personal clumsiness.  
  • I picked my goal races for 2013.  Granted, I reserve the right to change them if I want to, but I have big goals and think they are attainable.  I'm hoping my training is top-notch.  
  • I might run more miles this year than last year.  Considering I didn't run for an entire, month, I consider this a huge accomplishment.  
  • I do not believe the world is going to end.  My running club is celebrating life continuing on on Saturday with a group run. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chiller Schiller 5k (not really) Race Report

Back in October, I ran the Thriller in Schiller 5k trail race and had a good time.  I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.  A few weeks ago, while trying to stay motivated to train in a meaningful way, I signed up for the Chiller Schiller race.  I had never raced in December before, and was familiar with the terrain from my previous race.  However, this time the result was much, much different.

I slept in Saturday morning and got to the race site at 9:30 to pick up my packet before the 10 AM start.    They had the map for both the 5k and 10k races out on the table, so I looked at the 5k and saw it was an out and back course, with the turn around spot being at mile 1.75 or so it appeared.

The group that puts on the races isn't too organized, but from what I hear, trail races aren't too organized.  I just used to running road races, where things have to be in order for things to run smoothly.  Deciding to forego warming up, I went over to the start line a few minutes before 10 AM, thinking I'd be near the front.

The announcer said some things in a loud speaker, which wasn't too loud and pointed in the opposite direction of where I was standing, and then shot the gun off.  Off I went, and felt pretty good the first mile.  I kept looking for a river crossing or something fun and exciting to conquer, but it was mostly just a path.  At mile 1.5, I started to look for the turn-around spot.  I wasn't running with any music, so I listened to the volunteers to see where they were directing the runners to go.  But, I heard nothing so I continued to run on.

By mile 2, I figured there was a mistake.  I fully admit that I have no sense of direction, but I knew that we were still running away from the finish line.  By mile 2.5, I started to get frustrated.  I asked the volunteers working the water stop at that point if I missed the 5k turn around, to which they replied "This is the 10k course."  At mile 3.18, I stopped running.

I was upset that I was on the 10k course, when I only planned on running a 5k that morning.  For me, the mindset of a 5k is far different than that of a 10k.  Also, the preparation is different as far as diabetes is concerned.  There was a man on a bike who was there to watch his wife run so I talked with him for a bit.  He told me the turn-around was where the person with the cow-bell was standing.  I waited for a few others I knew running the race to come by, but ended up missing them while I was talking to that guy.  Eventually, I started to run again.

I caught up to 4 other people that I talked to before the race had started, who were also now running the 10k instead of the 5k.  I crossed the finish line at 5.25 miles (the 10k was a mile short) and decided it was a good thing I didn't have any expectations for this race.

I learned after the race from another runner that the 5k started 15 minutes or so after the 10k.  Never did I hear this, or read it.  Maybe I just missed it, but I reviewed old emails and nothing was mentioned.

In a way, I feel disappointment.  I would have most likely gotten 1st or 2nd in the 5k (I don't know what the #1 female time was).  I think what is most bothersome is that this is my last race of 2012.  I have always felt that your last of the year should be something that you are proud of - time or effort-wise - to propel you into the new year of training and racing.  Do I really need some more trail socks, the prize for winners?  No, not at all.  But I do want the energy from that race to have a positive impact on my training.  Unfortunately, it left a rather bitter taste in my mouth.

However, as I have learned this year, all races are learning experiences.  From this race, I learned:

  • Ask if races start at the same time or different times
  • Always know the course route
  • Trail racing is far, far different than road racing
  • Breakfast after races with other bloggers is wonderful 
My suggestions for the race organization:
  • Have different bibs for the different distances
  • Put in your email that the races will start at different times
  • Put signs on the registration table that races start at different times
  • Get a more powerful microphone for your announcements
I contemplated signing up for another race next weekend so I can end the year on a positive note, but decided against it.  I have bigger plans for the spring and summer, so I'll be focusing my energy on those instead.  My goals are new and exciting, and honestly a bit scary, but that makes them even more exciting.  2012 was the best year I've had racing, and can't wait to see what 2013 will bring.