Race Recap: 5K Chili Challenge, Ithaca NY 11/2/14

It was another bitter and brutally cold day for this year’s 5K Chili Challenge (last year’s weather was just as bad).  It took a lot of effort for me to make it out of bed and brave the elements, but I sucked it up and made it happen.
463633_846711335362788_1076732083611111049_oI had been fighting an upper respiratory infection during the week and my lungs had been feeling tight so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only been able to put in 4 miles that week and missed out on my 17 mile run so I figured this would be something that would at the least help me maintain some level of fitness.

Another motivator to get me out was that my two biggest fans came along to support me!  Craig and Connor braved the cold with me until the race started , but they later took refuge in the car while I ran.

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It was cold!  The wind was tough, but I dressed for the part.  I really loved the course for this 5K because it was a change of pace from mundane road races.  Trail running has become a new love of mine!  I often prefer it over other options and love that it provides a different level of challenge.

 

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In the first half of the race (the uphill portion) I was sure to take it easy.  This is where knowing the course really helped!  I was glad to reach the turn around point because I knew I could pick up the pace and improve my time during the slight downhill.  I even managed to pass a few groups of people!  This is something that never happens for me!

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I am a comfortable middle of the pack runner and usually end up on my own during the race, but it was nice to knowingly pass people and keep them at my tail.  I paced my fast mile in mile two and kept a strong and steady pace for mile three.

Like a perfect midpack runner, I finished off in 32:59 and placed 112/224 beating last year’s time by a hair.

 

 

Race Recap: 5K Foam Fest-Batavia, NY 6/7/14

**NOTE:  As of July 17th, 2014 5KFoamFest has declared bankruptcy and is no longer offering races.  

This past weekend,  I ran my first 5KFoamFest Obstacle Race.  Overall, the experience was fun and entertaining, but I wouldn’t consider this to be one of the more challenging obstacle races out there. It’s definitely a great beginner course (unless you are deftly afraid of heights) and provides just enough of challenge for new runners to get a thrill of accomplishment.

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Let me preface by saying that I’ve only completed one other obstacle 5K, the Tough Turtle, a locally funded course.  So, my experience in the realm of obstacle races is fairly limited.  Another factor to consider in our experience is that we opted for a late heat at 1pm.  This meant the course was likely less congested than it could have been earlier in the day.

I think it worked to our advantage though because it meant less of a wait at certain points.  We did have to stop and wait a couple of times during the course, the few that I can remember were for the Aqua Lily Pads, The Cargo Climb, The Death Drop, and Monkey Business.

It’s a little bit of a blur now, but I think our first obstacle was the Aqua Lily Pads.  I actually really enjoyed this one and I was so proud of myself when I almost made it to the end without falling.  It was comical to watch those ahead of us attempt to work their way across.  There weren’t many that fared well (myself included).

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The Chamber of Foam was the next messy obstacle ahead.  I fully embraced it and went face first into the foam filled bouncy house.

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We then jogged/walked onto the next few obstacles which included a crawl through the mud and climbing over a wall.  This was followed by the biggest slip and slide ever!  It wasn’t as slippery as I would have expected though and it was a little more belly flop and stop than slip and slide, but we made due and ran the rest of it.

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The slip and slide was followed by the Trip Wire (no photos) and Mike’s Hard Lemonator (pictured below).

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We also had a few other obstacles that escape my mind.  Like I said, it all blurred together by the end.  All in all we had fun and I would definitely recommend this race if you are looking for a non-serious, fun 5k.  I’m a bit nit picky when it comes to races so I decided to make a list of my pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Great beginner obstacle race.
  • You get a lot of swag!  (race medal, t-shirt, race photos, mike’s hard lemonade, sticker)
  • FUN!  This race is a fun race and you don’t need to feel out-of-place or like you are in an environment with overly competitive people.
  • They provided a bag check.
  • Obstacles are spaced out enough to allow for recovery (great for new runners) and to avoid congestion.
  • Great wash station at the end of the race, the water wasn’t freezing!
  • Changing tents
  • Porta potties
  • Convenient parking.

Cons:

  • They ran out of t-shirt sizes by the time we were ready to pick them up, wish we could have picked them up before the race.
  • The course wasn’t very challenging (if you are looking for a challenge)
  • No finishing photo or finish announcement

If you want to get wet, foamy, and muddy all in one day be sure to hop on over to http://5kfoamfest.com/ and use CODE:FF3412 to save $5 on your registration.

 

 

Race Recap: Seneca7-77.7 Mile Relay Race 4/27/14

We did it!  Our team finished off a long day of racing without dying.  This was my first long distance relay race and I’m happy to say that it went over pretty well.

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The days leading up to the race I was getting a bit nervous.  My run times were slacking due to my missed week and bronchitis recovery and I was seriously worried that I would not make it through at least one of my runs (after all, I had committed to this race while still hacking up a lung).

Post-marathon (in January), I haven’t booked nearly as many miles.  This came in part due to the craptastic weather combined with back to back sicknesses that took  me out of commission for weeks at a time.  In the 3 months post-marathon, I missed a cumulative of 3 weeks of running and hadn’t put in a run over 4.5 miles since.

This race was my get back to it race.  With 3 legs featuring steady and rolling hills I was ready for a wake up call.

My First leg wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected and the flat portions of the run provided me enough recovery to climb the slight hills.  The nice drop off at the end also allowed for a strong finish and left me feeling determined for my next legs.

Leg#5:  3.88 miles,  42:47, 11:01 pace (was actually 10:55-10:57, but didn’t stop my clock on time)

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My next leg wasn’t as thrilling.  The thought of rolling hills seemed fairly appealing, but the climbs were back in my face just as quickly as my drops and my HR never dropped below 176 bpm.  For me that is way higher than I am comfortable holding for long distances.  I usually prefer to stay in the 165 bpm range to avoid burnout.  Despite my struggle, I was able to end strong with relief that my longest run was over with.

Leg#12: 5.19 miles, 58:55, 11:21 pace

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 Then came my last leg.  The leg that I thought would be my little slice of heaven….yeah, it wasn’t.  This piece was by far the hardest.  I was already starting to feel tight from my prior runs and being crammed in a car all day and a steady climb was the last thing I wanted to see.

This leg actually didn’t bother me in the first mile.  Mile one was flat and easy.  It wasn’t until mile two that my legs started burning.  I kept seeing the peak of a hill and figured it would level out or go downhill.  I was wrong.  It just kept climbing and the last half mile was by far the worst!  I so badly contemplated stopping and walking.

Leg #19: 2.61 miles, 30:00, 11:29 pace

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My legs hurt, my heart rate was through the roof and it felt like every stride was propelling me nowhere.  People kept passing me with their words of encouragement and all I wanted to say was “fuck you” (yeah, I’m that kind of runner who gets pissed by the sympathetic compliments).  I can’t help it, I get in the zone and don’t necessarily want that pat on the back.  For me when I’m already struggling it can feel like a condescending slap in the face.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but it does make me feel like an asshole.

Despite my irate attitude, I finished off as strong as I could and ended my final leg with heart pounding satisfaction.

Our last two runners ran their final legs and our team ended up finishing at 7:42pm, which put us at a 9:47 pace for the day.  We crossed the finish together and received our corresponding finishers medals along with a hot bowl of chili and cornbread.

I really enjoyed this adventure and would love to be part of a race like this again.  It was definitely a new experience and it taught me that training on hills needs to happen more often.  I can see how it will work to my benefit even though I despise them.

Have you ever competed in a long distance relay?  What races are you training for?