Saturday, May 26, 2012

Red Hills Festival 5K Race Recap

Red Hills Festival 5K Results: 17:26 for 1st overall person & female, $200
3.5 mile w/u, 5k road race, 6 mile c/d

My goal for this race was to better my 5K road race PR from 5 years ago...if at all possible. Last year I ran 17:48 here, so if I did not run faster than that something was wrong with me.

After getting a call Friday afternoon from the race director of Cotton Row, I learned that my friend Tiffany (McWilliams-Dudley) had dropped out of Monday's race. I text her asking what was up and she informed me that she had to work. Originally I had thought about running the Louisville 5K AND Cotton Row in hopes that I could score two road PRs in one weekend. When she asked about Louisville I was sold, knowing Tiffany would show gave me a much better chance at a road PR.

Now Tiffany has only been training 9 weeks, BUT when your running background includes 3 NCAA titles and a former NCAA record in the outdoor doesn't take long to post some respectable times. Besides, her 5k road PR is something like 16:30 on a course I know is measured long.

Tiffany and I got to Louisville about the same time and ran the course as part of our warm-up. Last year running this race (and the course an additional 3 times as part of my cool-down) I remember the first mile being slightly down hill, the middle mile flat, and the last mile up hill. Tiffany told me she was looking to try and run 5:40 pace. I figured that was actually going to end up being a 5:30.

The race started around 8:00am and immediately Tiffany and I saw ourselves in 2nd and 3rd overall. The person leading is famous for going out really hard the first 500m, so we tucked in before passing him around the 1km mark. Now I know $200 is not a lot of money, but I really thought we would at least have a few more males up front pushing us along. Instead, Tiffany and I were already destined for 1 and 2 less than 5 minutes into the race. It was going to be lonely.
Tiffany and I after the race

Mile 1: 5:32
I was pleased with myself for staying relaxed early. I really felt like I could run another 2 miles at this pace or faster. I thought of two scenarios, 1.) I save what I have and run the last mile as hard as I possibly can and try to guarantee the win, 2.) Test the second mile and if I fall a part, work hard with Tiffany when she passes me in hopes that I can salvage the race. I chose scenario #2.

Mile 2: 5:28
I went through 2 miles in 11:00. For a road race, that was just fine. I really wanted to be around 10:55 but I had been alone from the first mile, not a single sound behind me and only a cop car out front. I started to hurt pretty bad right here. I kept trying to get my legs to turn over but I knew I was slowing down heading into the uphill section of the race.

Mile 3: 6:04, I then let out a baby kick to get back on it in the final straight.
Even though this mile is uphill, I really had a hard time fighting by myself. I tried everything to get my legs to turn over but I was going into survival mode. Last year, I battled it out with a male in the final mile. This year, I was doing all the battling myself and failing.
Me and the 1st place male.
I turned the corner back unto the main drag of town and saw the finish line up head. I looked down at my watch and realized, not only was I going to PR, but I was going to win the whole thing. I tried kicking it in as best I could before crossing the line. Tiffany followed just shortly after in 18:00. The first male was 7 seconds behind her in 18:07.

We ran almost another hour taking pictures for RodsRacers, joining the wee ones in the fun run, and discussing our race plans. Tiffany has registered for the Chicago Marathon, but to get into the Elite Development field, she has to run 1:21 for the half. I don't think the question is IF she will do it, I think the question is more when and what race. If anyone has any recommendations, let me know. She needs to run it before September to be eligible.

 All in all, it was a good morning. Well worth the small fortune I paid for a baby sitter to watch Maddy.

What to do next? Not really sure. I'm taking a few weeks off or racing and focus on getting my miles more consistent. Oh, and the 10K PR is on the back burner for now. There is always another race...another year even.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bulldog Miles Success.

Yesterday Houston and Maddy got up early to time me running Bulldog Miles on Mugshots (which I was very thankful for). Goal: try not to die.
1.5 mile w/u & c/d
-4*80 seconds on the road w/ 30-60sec rest. (Trying to average around 5:20-5:25)
-2*800m on 3rd Mugshots mile. (2:39, 2:45)
-1x1 mile on last mugshots mile (this mile is short and downhill)  5:03
(like I said, short & downhill)
-2x800m back up on Mugshots
2:34 (short), 2:38 (up!)
-4*60seconds w/ 30-60 rest. (Dying)
- the rest was short, maybe 80-90 sec between 800s and 2.5 min after the mile

I haven't ran mugshots anymore because I'm not sure how accurate it is and I'm always tempted to cut the median. Today was OK, however because I wanted to run this workout to compare to something I Did last year.

I am happy to say that this workout got better as it went on. And even though the last mile is mostly down hill and short, that's the fastest I have ever ran on it. I am starting to feel confident about my ability to run a fast 5k or 10k. I'm hoping this workout is the start of good things (times) to come later.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Training Week.

Monday: 10 miles recovery
Tuesday: AM: 8 miles, PM: 2 miles with the stroller (put Maddy to sleep)
Wednesday:  3 mile w/u @6:50 pace, 2 mile c/d @ 6:50 pace
5 min @ goal 10K Pace (5:36) 2 min rest, 20 min @ goal HM Pace (5:52) 2.5 min rest, 10 min progressive (start @ 6:07 working down to 5:13 pace) 11+
PM: 4 miles w/ the jogger
Thursday: 80 minutes easy on south farm (10.5)
Friday:  8 miles with strides, legs still dead so cut my run short
Saturday: 17 miles w/ 16 miles @6:35 (felt great!)
Sunday: AM: 8 miles PM: 4 miles
-83 miles

The workout  on Wednesday was hard.  I could tell my legs were having a little bit of trouble with the 5:36 pace at first …but I felt strong.  Finally, after 3 weeks, I feel like I am getting my legs back.

The 20 min at tempo portion was what separates “the girls from the ladies”…..It was hard.
I figured it would not be that hard being that it was only 20 minutes and it was a pace less than 10 seconds faster than my current half-marathon pace (PR pace). However, after about 12 minutes I started to struggle, I broke it up by managing the rest of the interval in minutes.  Once I had less than a half mile remaining, I knew I could do it.

Houston had designed this workout for me.  I am sad to say that I did not run it the way he told me to. Originally, I was given only 60 seconds rest, but when I finished each section I realized I needed more time to recover.  I’m really going to have to work on the recovery portion in these next few months.

The 10 minutes progressive was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The first two minutes I ran at 6:07 pace which I felt like I was recovering.  I just continuously dropped the pace down each :30 to :60 seconds until I was basically sprinting with less than 90 seconds to go.

It was a good morning.

This workout was just what I needed.  Gum Tree was quite honestly my worst performance since returning to running after having Maddy (if you compare fitness to race times and how badly I died after half way). The course was fair and I ran slow.  My legs are finally back, I owe it to myself to run another one for a respectable 10k PR.

Saturday’s run was awesome.  I felt good from the beginning and my pace did not slow on the hills or the gravel. It’s been a few weeks since I have been out at Boardtown and I was reminded how much I miss being in the company of about 40 other running locals.

Next week I’ve got another pretty hard session before the Cotton Row 10K on Memorial Day.  Honestly, I have no idea what to expect because I’m seeded 7th with my 10KM split from Nationals.
No expectations on placing, I just want to execute this race to my strengths.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gum Tree 10K Mini Recap & Back to Feeling Normal

After 3 weeks of being sick with a Half-Marathon PR sandwiched in between, I finally got a some what decent week of mileage. Unfortunately, I was scheduled to run the Gum Tree 10K on Saturday, so I forced myself into a hard workout Tuesday without completely recovering from stomach flu or the 2nd sinus infection.

Tuesday ended up being the only day I could workout, and closer to the race and my legs would not have recovered, and further and it would have been pointless. Its sad the Tuesday's workout was the only workout I have done in 2.5 weeks with the exception of the actual half-marathon race. I'm not feeling sorry for myself, getting sick for three weeks straight happens when you don't get enough sleep and run 80 miles a week.

Gum Tree 10K is a very competitive race that is loaded with elites. It is also only an hour away from my home in Tupelo, Mississippi. This year was probably the most competitive women's field they have ever had. I happy to say that I did crack the elite 8 even with a very sub-par performance.
That is a "Oh wow, I thought I was 9th kinda smile." Lucked out today.

Warming up Saturday morning I could feel the heaviness in my legs. A few strides left me feeling tight and shaky especially in my calves and hamstrings. To make matters worse, I went out way to fast from the gun and hurt like hell for the first two miles (not what 10K is suppose to feel like- 5:27 through the first mile through residential neighborhoods.). Three miles in my race was basically over.. I tried to get it back with 2 miles to go but my legs just wouldn't respond to anything. I just basically survived.

I ran 37:10 (which is, sadly, still a state record). Gum Tree is still a fairly tough course, but its fair. If your looking at that time and thinking..."Wait isn't that basically your half-marathon pace?" You are absolutely right. I split 10k faster than that during a half-marathon.
After I finished the race I ran around taking photos for the Rod's Racers Facebook page. You can view  the photos at:   
After talking with Houston I had a moment of clarity. He told me, "You are not running 10Ks and 5Ks to your strengths, you are running them to your weaknesses." This is why he is the coach and I am not. It makes so much sense that I was frustrated I had not realized it sooner.

So to finish off the spring racing season on a high note (and not a low one) I am going to run another 10K, this time I will run the first 3 miles as a tempo effort- at slightly fast than HM pace- and then race the next three miles with everything I have left. I figure at this point I have nothing to loose and everything to gain...especially a PR.

Monday: 11 miles
Tuesday: 3 mile w/u, 10.5 X 1000m @5:36 mile pace with 90 rest, 2 mile c/d
PM: 15 min jog w/ the stroller
Wednesday: 11 miles
Thursday: AM:5 miles, PM:5.5 miles w/ a failed speed fartlek (got through 2-3 intervals pretty good, legs too dead after that)
Friday: 8 miles easy (7:20 pace)
Saturday: 20 min w/u, 20 min c/d, 10K race in 37:10, 20 min c/d (11.5)
Sunday: 15 miles on the treadmill in 1:47:44
Miles for the week: 79

Half this week was treadmill miles, Houston was gone to the SEC Conference Meet. Maddy spent Saturday morning with her Grandparents while I ran. I don't know whats more impressive this morning, the fact that I got 15 miles in, or that I was able to distract Maddy for almost 2 hours. Happy Mothers Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


To all my coaching friends out there....

“Poem About…The Coach”

Dewaine Grahn’s  - “HOT CORNER” –Oakland Independent, Editor Sports Columnist
Editors Note:  I wrote this poem for the Nebraska Coaches’ Association banquet earlier this month.  With a new
high-school sports season starting this weekend, I thought this is a perfect time to publish the poem.

Behold the man whom all want to approach.
All want a piece of him.  He’s The Coach.
A high-visibility job.  The pay is poor,
Considering the hours, the flak and the chore.
He wants to win and prepares to the hilt.
W’s are expected in the program he’s built.
He may win trophies, even state-champ honor,
But it’s never enough, He could be a goner
If a parent or a fan, obnoxious and loud,
Incited the right folks in the school-board crowd.
His every action is intensely studied,
The longer the coaches, the more he’s blooded.
Encourages the players to play hard and scrappy,
Always worrying ‘bout keeping ‘em all happy.
Who’s gonna start and who’ll be on the bench?
Which moms and dads will create a stench?
How hard to push in summer?  Will it hurt baseball?
If he backs off, will they be ready come fall?
Will new uniforms be OK’d by the A.D.?
Will the new assistant be all he wants him to be?
A misbehaving player…how many games should be sit?
And will the administration stand behind it?
All those practices and games…the season’s so long,
Good thing Coach’s spouse is understanding and strong.
Coach loves his job.  It’s truly a passion.
Love of the kids never goes out of fashion.
When the season ends, though a struggle it’s been,
Coach can hardly wait to do it all again.
A coach connects in ways no other teacher can
‘Cuz coaching is far more than making a game plan.
Coach can’t have bad days.  Must always be on the beam.
Preaches respect the ref and “there’s no “I” in ‘Team’”.
It tears his heart out when a player breaks the rule,
Bringing dishonor to family, coach and school.
He tries to mold players to be all they can be,
    And he cries real tears that few will ever see.
Coach knows for a fact, more than his bosses,
That his impact goes way beyond wins and losses.
Coach feels lack of appreciation for all he does,
But he sucks it up each year, simply because.It’s the gift God gave him.  It’s what he loves to do.
It’s a privilege and a joy experienced by only a few.
Just when he thinks he may have failed the test,
A player says, of all his teachers, Coach was the best.
When it’s all said and done; when summation you encroach,
The best title in the world is that of, simply, “Coach”.
Thanks for all you do in gyms, fields and courts.
Nothing builds character better than sports.
To the coaches in this room, allow me to say:
“Thank you for the honor given to me today.”


Saturday, May 5, 2012


I got sick again this week, this time much worse than the last two times. I had to leave work, go home and try to sleep it off. At one point my fever was 102, but it broke finally about 8PM Friday night. I woke up this morning dehydrated, tired and light headed.

I've been working and running a lot and not sleeping as much as I should so its my own fault for getting sick. I missed the Cotton Classic 10K this morning, very sad. Next week I have Gum Tree 10K and then a 5K two weeks later. After that, I'm taking a recovery week and then hibernating for the summer.


It has taken me a year to get up to 85 miles a week (just a few times), probably because I started from 0 after pregnancy. I have mapped out months of high mileage before my fall marathon. I am excited about it, but I need to go into as fresh as possible...and no stomach flu.

I see people running amazing all around me..its so motivating. There is a common denominator in all these fast times I have been seeing...hard work. For me, I know what works, I know how to get better.
And, quite honestly, I need to run a bit more.

Obviously, today is not the day to start. It took me 20 minutes to get Maddy dressed this morning because there were stairs involved. After a day or two of taking it easy, I plan to be back to normal.

Good luck everyone that is racing this weekend.

Sunday: 2 mile w/u, Half-Marathon in 1:19:01, 10 min c/d
Monday: Recovery run in Montreal
Tuesday: 9 miles w/ Kelly hamstring tight
Wednesday: Recovery run, hamstring
Thursday: 12 miles good pace w/ friends
Friday: 5 miles @ 7:03, not feeling good (stomach flu)