Giuseppe’s First 5-K

Boy, what a weekend in the world of running.  First, New York was cancelled (I admit I was brought to tears when pictures of runners volunteering on Staten Island started getting posted) and then Toyko was added to the World Marathon Majors (joining Chicago, New York, Boston, London, and Berlin).

Meanwhile, in our neck of the woods, Giuseppe ran his first 5-K!

Our local Animal Humane Center organizes an annual race called the Doggie Dash and Dawdle 5-K that allows puppies to partake in the racing fun.

I mean, did we have any other option?

We put off signing up because I wasn’t sure I would be able to run much less keep up with a hyper puppy, but we registered on Thursday, picked up our packets, and I made Giuseppe his own little race bib.

We showed up on Sunday morning and got ourselves orientated.  Giuseppe was overwhelmed and excited with all of the dogs everywhere, but he was very well behaved.

The other dogs are about ready to fight.  Giuseppe is focused on getting to the start line on time. 

My parents and sister came to give Giuseppe moral support, and we ran into a few friends (including one of Aaron’s lifelong friends who does every race dressed as Batman) who were also dashing.  The race got off to a delayed start, but we eventually got lined up.  The runners without dogs got to start first, and it was a bit of a free for all for everyone else.

As anticipated, the first half mile was a major disaster.  I’m really good at weaving through people, but add in a puppy on a leash (and a bunch of other leashes just waiting to trip you), and it wasn’t quite as easy.

We were a little worried about Giuseppe because we haven’t been training him as much as we should since we’ve both been trying to recover from Chicago.  We got a pretty solid 2 mile run in with him on Friday just to make sure he wouldn’t collapse, but we didn’t know how it was going to turn out.

Turns out I’m the one we needed to worry about.

After a 2 week taper, the marathon, 3 weeks off of running, and a week of cautious attempts, I was in no condition to run a fast 5-K.

Meanwhile, Giuseppe was speeding along, completely focused.  I know he’s a smart puppy, but I’m positive he knew his goal was to run until he crossed the finish line.  Even as we passed my cheering family, he looked over, gave them a smile, and kept going (typically, he runs over and showers them with love and excitement).  We got to a steep hill and Aaron yelled out, “POWER UP IT SEPPE!” and he did.  I did not.

Meanwhile, we were averaging somewhere between 7:00 and 8:10 minute mile paces, passing the big dogs and doing just fine.  Giuseppe took a quick water stop (they had water stations for dogs and for humans), and then kept going.

I was DYING.  It took me one mile for my legs to warm up, but I just didn’t feel very good at all.  I  never do feel very good for 5-K’s, but I’m typically running faster than marathon pace.  OUT OF SHAPE.

But we kept running.  Giuseppe powered out a little bit, but he was determined to keep up.

We crossed the finish line together, giving us a finish time of 23:01!  Both my and Aaron’s Garmin showed the course was significantly short though.

We came in #31 and #32 out of people running with dogs, and I got a 3rd place age group medal!

I would like to point out for the record, that I finished faster than Aaron! 

After the race, Giuseppe was tired, but he seemed really happy, and overall not too bad off!

I LOVE 5-K’s! 

He got lots of treats and lots of hugs to celebrate his amazing accomplishment!

In other news, I joined athlinks this weekend on the encouragement of another friend we ran into at the race (he doesn’t have facebook, twitter, or instagram, so that was the only way he could keep track of our races).  I don’t really get it, but if you are on athlinks, you can be my friend and see my race times!

I hope you have a wonderful week! Happy 1 Day Until Political Ads are Over Day!

Freedom Run 5-K

“You can do anything for 21 minutes.”

This is what I say to myself before every 5-K.

Forget for a minute that I’ve only pulled off a 21 minute once (and that I very seldom run 5-K’s).

Yesterday was the Freedom Run 5-K.  Aaron was injured, so it was me and my sister and friend Loren who ran this race.

Loren is a crossfit/martial arts type dude who I’ve known since high school, and yesterday he ran his first 5-K since his days on our high school cross-country team.  So, naturally, there was some smack talking on facebook before the race.

Loren and I started off the race together, and we reached our first mile in 6:54, pretty close to my goal time.  But I couldn’t keep it up.

Meanwhile, the elites were running some ridiculous finish times.

For this race, and the last 10-K, I’ve had a weird issue.  I’ve felt like I’ve had to pee so bad that I am literally putting all of my concentration toward not having an accident.  (P.S., I love that I can talk about things like peeing to you.  As runners, I feel like pee is the least offensive of all bodily fluids/excrements that might come out during a race).

I don’t know if it is all in my head since as soon as I finish running, everything calms down, but my pace is absolutely affected by it.  My concentration goes toward avoiding an accident, and I’m terrified that if I run faster, then all hell will break loose. A 7:47 pace for a .1 mile sprint at the end of a 5-K is not my norm.

I finished in 22:47, 78th overall and 6th in my age group (4th if you take out the 2 elite ladies who finished 1st and 2nd overall).

This is obviously not the time I was shooting for.  But, whatever.  The new “take a chill pill” Amy is ok with this finish time.  (This is such a lie…I’m seriously saying WHAT THE F******CK but with a lot less asterisk).

Loren ran with me for the first 2.75 miles, and then sprinted ahead to finish about 17 seconds before me.  Go, Loren! Go!

And yes, he was wearing the Vibrams.

Such an attractive photo.

My sister ran the entire time without stopping! As soon as she heard me cheering for her at the end (i.e. saying GO FASTER), she totally sprinted toward that finish line!

{My sister and I  post race}

Afterwards we went to the post race party hosted by my friend (and Loren’s girlfriend) Kay’s non-profit.  We got bubbles and yummy food.

{My mom and sister, and Giuseppe sniffing out the pole}

And the boys did their manly exercises on park equipment.

I also made my race t-shirt based on something I found on pinterest! I took a $16 t-shirt from the Nike Factory outlet and made a racerback! You can find the instructions HERE.

You can see the racer back part in this picture.

I hope your 4th was wonderful! We grilled and had our own little fireworks show.  And….today feels like a Monday, but only 2 days left till the weekend!

How Did You Get to Your First 5-K?

My little sister has signed up for her first 5-K. Hooray!

Maybe all my nonstop talk about running has inspired her.  Although, she lives in Austin, so maybe she was influenced by Lunchbox (the radio DJ who ran a marathon without training). The other twin did her first 5-K in December, so maybe she just didn’t want to be the last person in our family to join the 5-K party.

In any case, yesterday she asked me for advice.

I have completely forgotten what it’s like to train into a first 5-K.

I ran my first before I started blogging, so I don’t have a log of what I was doing to prepare. Obviously I had to work myself up to running that many miles. Even though I did a lot of running in college, I fell off the bandwagon, and as recently as two years ago Aaron was having to prod me along, kicking and screaming the whole way.

But the pain and suffering has been blocked from my memory. I’m having a hard time remembering anything aside from the excitement of waiting for that first gun to go off, and the euphoric feeling of accomplishment after crossing the finish line with a bunch of crazy people cheering me on (thanks, P13!).

{At the finish of my first 5-K in May 2010. I’m the one-legged hopping t-rex in the center. Cute.}

But I’m thinking that getting to that first 5-K is probably a lot like getting to that first marathon.  I have started really training yet for my October marathon, but already I’m nervous.  There are so many new considerations and new tricks to try.  And the stress of just wanting to be able to get through it can be overwhelming.

So I’ve been trying to think of some sisterly advice that will help both twins with their 5-K’s based on my splotchy memories and my recent training.  What was I nervous about? What did I wish I had known?  Why does everyone in the world know how to fasten that little chip timer on their shoe except for me?

(disclaimer….I am not in any way a certified professional.  Even though I’m married to one, all I can do is speak from experience).

Training up to it:

1) First and foremost, do not be a weenie.  Whining, complaining, and self-doubt are not allowed.  It won’t feel great at first.  It doesn’t feel great at first for anybody.  If you want to get this thing done, you’ll have to get over it.

2) If you aren’t already, go out for 3 miles.  Try and run as much of it as you can, but if you have to walk, that’s ok.  Repeat this 3-4 times a week until you can run the entire distance.  Remember to push yourself.  Check out a “Couch to 5-K” plan.

3) Hydrate.  Side cramps and muscle cramps are usually the results of not drinking enough water.

4) Do crunches and/or planks everyday.  A strong core is the basis for everything else.

5) Pay attention to your pre-running eating habits. Do you eat before you run? What do you eat before you run? How long do you usually wait after eating before you run? The last thing you want is an upset stomach.

6) If you are running on a treadmill exclusively, get out there in the real world! Treadmill running is a lot different from road running. Also, most courses aren’t completely flat.  Have you tried running uphill?

7) Build up your confidence level.  You can do this!

On race day:

1) Eat something about an hour and a half beforehand.  A banana, some oatmeal, or some granola bar are all good choices. I usually avoid dairy and anything with too much sugar.

2) I usually stop drinking water an hour before I have to leave to the race.  And then I get to the race with enough time to use the facilities twice before starting.  Also, get over your fear of porta-potties.  They are gross and awful, but you must learn to love them (We were raised to fear public restrooms).

3) Don’t overdress.  Unless it is literally below freezing outside, you probably don’t need lots of layers. Once you get moving, you’ll warm up.

4) Read the race emails and instructions very carefully! Is there race day packet pick-up? Where is the starting line? Will there be a gear check? These are all very important details. I’ve seen so many people freak out the night before a race when they realize they’ve missed packet pick-up.

5) I always bring extra safety pins for bib pinning just in case.  I’ve yet to need them, but you never know.

6) Make sure your iPod is charged if you are going to use one (I ran my first half with my dead iPod in my pocket).

7) If this is your first 5-K, you probably want to line up toward the back.  This is standard racing etiquette.  Faster people toward the front, less fast people toward the back.  On that note, if you need to stop and walk during the race, move over to the side first.  Otherwise the person behind will most likely run into you. And you will be judged without mercy.

8) ENJOY! This is supposed to be fun!  And you’ve worked hard for this!

9) CELEBRATE YOUR 5-K VICTORY!  I am a big believer in celebration.  I’m talking big juicy cheeseburgers, beer (except the twins who are underage until May), celebration pictures, and a happy dance.

{Chaunte Lowe’s Happy Dance}

I’m really happy to see my family participate in races.  I think 5-Ks are a huge fitness motivator.  They give people a concrete goal and deadline to work toward, not to mention a major sense of accomplishment after finishing.  And 5-Ks are the gateway to a lifestyle change.  Maybe soon my sisters and I will be running marathons together (stop rolling your eyes, sisters!).

Does anyone else have any words of wisdom for a first time 5-Ker?

Anything you wish you knew going into that first race?

Sweetheart Run 5-K

My Bucket List goal was to run a race every month. 

Because my wallet cannot afford monthly Rock n Roll races (and I’m not yet crazy enough to run 12 half marathons a year), I knew most of these races would have to be local, shorter in distance and much smaller.

February’s race was the Sweetheart Run 5-K. Because this was a “Sweetheart” run, you had the option of competing as a couple.  We signed up as “Team Lavender.” Creative, I know.

I had a Valentine’s race outfit all planned out.   I bought a cute Valentine’s short sleeve at Target, and I had crazy socks.  It had been so warm, so shorts and a short sleeve shirt didn’t seem impractical.

But then we woke up yesterday morning to find the temperature at about 20 degrees (windchill factor 7).  My hopes of pink glory were crushed and replaced with all my winter running gear. 

The race itself was great considering how small it was (235 5-k finishers). It was well-organized, the course was pretty easy (but not very scenic) and they had breakfast items afterwards.   And they had a Kids-K which was completely adorable (we only felt a little weird talking pictures of other people’s children).

The more I run half marathons, the less I’m liking 5-k distances.  It is nice to be done after 25 minutes and not be sore the next day, but you are having to run much faster, and I’m not very fast.  Plus, you don’t have time to make up for any little hiccups because every second counts. 

We haven’t been training this last month and most of our runs have been “recovery runs” even though we have nothing to recover from. For the race, I had no juice, I couldn’t breathe, and I never felt like I warmed up. 

I finished almost 2 minutes slower than my last 5-K time: 22:53. I finished 33rd overall (Aaron finished 12), and I was the 7th female to cross the line.

I got 3rd place in my age group so I got a medal! (yay!).  Aaron came in 4th for his age group, JUST barely missing a medal. I have been wanting to place SO bad, and I’m pretty stoked that it finally happened! (even though I wish it was with a time I was more proud of).

{If you look at the results, both people in the team that placed 4th actually finished before me.  Good thing I have Aaron to help make up for my slowness!…And incidentally we knew both couples who beat us!}

AND we got 3rd place in the couples division, so we walked away with more medals and a super fancy Nambe crystal vase (retailing at $150) which is pretty amazing race swag!   Winning the vase alone was way worth doing the race!

So, we didn’t have a great race (neither of us came anywhere close to our PR times), but we ended up placing anyway! Sometimes the joy of winning (especially fancy vases) trumps personal accomplishment!

I think I’m going to really like doing these little local races!

Will Run For Beer

Courtesy of Divine Proportion (you can see both of us if you look close)

When I first started dating Aaron, we were having the “what are we?” talk,  and he asked me to be his girlfriend, and without skipping a beat, also asked if I would run a half marathon with him…in the same sentence.  Was that my price to pay for the privilege of being his girlfriend? I agreed in a “sure….that’ll happen” kind of way.  Aaron competes in Ironman Triathlons.  For him, a half marathon is a Sunday morning workout.

Well, that was almost three years ago, and I figured this couch potato could safely forget about the half-marathon condition, especially since we were now married and he couldn’t back out so easily if I refused! I guess I was not so lucky. 

We are planning on running a half marathon in September.  To get ready, we are obviously running a lot, buying really cute athletic clothes (well, me anyway), and doing some shorter distance races.  When I saw the Will Run for Beer 5-K advertised, I knew this was a race after my own heart.  Low pressure, and an after party at my favorite microbrewery, Chama River Brewing Company. 

The race was great.  It was hosted by Divine Proportion and capped at 400 runner/walkers, so much smaller than Run for the Zoo.  Despite the pleasant temperatures all week, Saturday hit a rather warm 85 degrees making the very unshaded course a little hot.  Times were taken manually as opposed to having a chip timer, so it really wasn’t a serious race as much as an excuse to have some beers at Chama afterward!

The finish line area

Photo courtesy of Divine Proportions

Photo courtesy of Divine Proportions

The Lavenders made out pretty well.  Aaron ran the course in 19.55, coming in 6th overall and 2nd in his age group, which won him a snazzy beer cup.  I ran the course in my best time ever, 24.10!  I finished 36th overall and 6th in my age group! 

Snazzy Beer Cup Trophy

He's so happy that he won his Beer Cup! (photo courtesy of Divine Proportions)


We ran, and we got Chama beer!


Chama was packed with runner people!

Despite my best efforts, I am kind of enjoying running and racing.  I plan on doing the 10-K at Run for the Zoo in a month.  Aaron might make a runner of this girl yet!

Aaron crossing the finish line! 19.55 (photo courtesy of Divine Proportions)

A lady on the sidelines is yelling at the guy behind me to catch me... he didn't! (photo courtesy of Divine Proportions)