Wednesday, September 28, 2016

PRR Perfect 10k

Last weekend, I did the Potomac River Running Perfect 10k.  PRR is a local running store and they put on a lot of races through the year.  This one offers a 10k option and a 10 mile option.  We're doing the Army 10 miler next week and so opted for the 10k.  PRR races tend to be really well organized and this one was no different.

There was plenty of pre-race communication.  The only confusing part is that the early communication said there would be plenty of parking but then the last email before the race said parking would be limited.  That confused me a bit but I was planning to get there early any way for pre-race packet pick up.

So I got there at 7am for an 8am race start.  There was plenty of parking available at the time I got there.  Packet pick up was a breeze with only one person in line in front of me when I got there.  Race morning was a bit chilly (which I loved!) so I walked back to the car, put away the shirt and pinned on my bib, and then sat in the car with the heater on until 7:30.

The line goes all the way back from the portapotties on the left to the building on the right.

We then walked back to where the registration was as I assumed the start was down there too.  We stopped at the portapotties on the way.  A long line had developed by that point by there were a lot of portapotties so the line moved really fast.  And then we followed the signs toward the start line, which ended up being right back near where we had parked.  Oops.

Anyway, there were signs with paces listed so you kind of had an idea of where to line up.  The 10k and 10miler started together and ran together for most of the race so it was a bit crowded, especially at the beginning of the course.  The roads were not completely closed.  In some places, we had a lane and in some places we only had the bike lane.  I feel like it was crowded for at least the first mile, and that was in the back of the pack!  I can't imagine how crowded the middle of the pack must have been.

The course was pretty and shaded at the beginning as we went through more of a neighborhood type area.  The last half of the course was on the side of a busy road and had a lot of sun.  It was also a hilly course.  I knew it had a reputation for hills and thought I was prepared.  I even remember thinking around mile 2 how it wasn't too bad.  Big mistake.  There was a big uphill right before the mile 3 marker and then another one after the mile 3 marker.  I know it's not true but it seemed like the uphills just kept coming after that. However, it ended with some nice downhill running.

I had no time goal for this race.  I officially ended in 1:19:09  which is an average pace of 12:46.  So pretty close to my Garmin time below  I'm pretty happy with that given the hills and the sun during the later half of the race.

The race ended on the track at the high school, which was kind of cool.  I really liked the finish and I liked the spinner medal.  One side says 10k and the other says 10 miles.

We stretched in the middle of the track after we were done.  It was nice, a lot of people seemed to be mingling and hanging out in that center section.  We grabbed bananas on our way out and then headed off to breakfast.

Overall, I enjoyed this race.  The only negative I had was the narrowness of the course in places which made it feel really congested at times.  There were plenty of pros including the cost (I paid $35 I think), the great organization, and free photos.  A portion of the proceeds go to the school's track team so also a good cause.  The course was hilly but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  I keep telling myself the hill training will pay off on my flat Fall races :)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Race 13.1 Baltimore Training Week 4

The 4th week of training is in the books!  This week required some shuffling around again but I managed to get all my scheduled workouts in by the end of the week.  It was weighted toward the end of the week though.  This was added on to a stressful week at work.  We have a big thing at the moment where I think the next 6 months or so is going to be particularly busy.

But enough work talk.  Here are the details of the fun things from this week!

Monday - rest day

Tuesday- body pump with a 15 minute warm up on the elliptical

Wednesday - unplanned rest day - I was so sore from body pump I could barely walk.  I wasn't going to be able to run and maintain any type of form.  So I moved this run to later in the week.  This week I think I'm going to have to exchange my run and body pump days so that doesn't happen again.

Thursday - 40 minutes at the gym after work.

Friday - rest day

Saturday - 3 mile run (moved from Wednesday) and yoga for strength training.  The unplanned rest day means this ended up a double work out day.

We also went to the national book festival today and had a fancy dinner at Convivial to celebrate our anniversary.  7 years of marriage!

Sunday - Potomac River Running's Perfect 10k race in Reston, VA.  I should have my recap up later this week but I enjoyed the race for the most part.

So that was my week!  I hope everyone else had a great week.  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow

Monday, September 19, 2016

Race 13.1 Baltimore Training Week 3

RAnother week of training in the books.  The early part of the week didn't go exactly as expected but I shuffled some things around and did manage to get in all the workouts I wanted so I'm going to count this one as a win :)  And I'm happy that I got my 10,000 steps even on my rest days.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - Body Pump and 15 minute warm up on the elliptical

Wednesday- Unplanned rest day - This was supposed to be running on the track.  But I left the office after work, walked out to the car, and it wouldn't start!  Someone from security tried to jump it and it still wouldn't start.  I had to wait for a tow and then take it to the shop to see what could be done.  Looking on the positive side, at least it was still under warranty and they gave us a loaner to use while the car was in the shop.

Thursday - 45 minutes on the elliptical at the gym in the evening.

Friday - 3 mile run.  Wednesday's run got moved to Friday morning and in the neighborhood instead of the track.

There was also a beautiful sunrise that day and I felt like this run went really well.

Saturday- Yoga for strength training and a 3 mile walk with my dad.  My parents were visiting this weekend so I had a great walk with my dad in the morning after breakfast.

Sunday - 8 mile run.  I was nervous about this run since last week went so badly but this one was great.  I also met up with friends for the run and that always helps.  We were on the Capital Crescent Trail and we started early enough that the heat didn't feel too bad until our last 3 miles or so.

Afterward, we went to a new restaurant that my parents wanted to try out.  It was delicious!  I only managed to get photos of dessert since we were all hungry and scarfed up everything else too quickly for photos.

So that was my week!  I hope everyone else had a great week.  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Volunteering at the Parks Half Marathon

Several people mentioned in the comments on my last post that they hadn't had the opportunity to volunteer at a race yet.  So I thought I'd write a bit about my experience volunteering at the MCRRC Parks Half Marathon last weekend.

Now, every volunteer experience is different.  I feel like the better organized a race is, the better the volunteer experience is too.  And vice versa.  So if there's a race you're thinking about running but not sure about or not ready yet, volunteering is a great way to get an inside look at the race organization.  Most of my volunteer experiences have been great, but there has been one that was not so great.

In general, I've loved volunteering for MCRRC races.  It is my local running club and I run a lot of their races throughout the year.  So I'm happy for a way to give back as well.  In addition, their races are really well organized and that leads for a great volunteer experience.

So how does it work?  All of the race volunteer assignments I've signed up for start with a web site where you register.  The website generally lists the different type of volunteer assignments and the date/time the assignment begins and ends. There tend to be opportunities before race day as well in case race day doesn't work out for you.  Things like packet stuffing and packet pick up usually.  But you can pick which one works best for you based on time and interest.  In the past, I've done water stops, course marshal, day of registration, finish line bag check, and finish line medal hand out.  The finish line medal assignment is my favorite, but they were all good experiences.

Medals after we had unwrapped them

So this particular weekend, I was back at the finish line.  Before the race day, we received an email from the finish line volunteer lead which provided all the details we needed for race day.  I showed up a couple minutes before our 7am report time, checked in at the volunteer tent, and got my volunteer shirt to wear.  I just put it on over the shirt I was already wearing.  I then went over to my lead, she checked me in on her list, and I went to work unwrapping medals.

Piles of blankets ready to go

In addition to receiving medals, finishers at this race got blankets.  So task number 2 was unboxing blankets and stacking them on a table.  We did not unwrap these because we figured that no body was actually going to want to use their blanket that day since it was pretty hot.  We just organized them so that they would be easy to grab.

As with many events, there was a bit of a dead period once we were done with the preparations but before the runners came in.  The race provided donuts and coffee for the volunteers at this point, which was much appreciated.  This was also a good time to talk to fellow volunteers and get to know them a bit more.  The race lead also took this time to give further instruction, splitting us up into people to hand out the medals and people to hand out the blankets.  I handed out medals last year so I was on blankets this year.  She also stationed a couple people by the tables holding the blankets/medals so that they could make sure none were taken and also providing fresh supplies to us as we ran out.

Volunteers milling around waiting for the first runner to come through

Then the first runner came in, the volunteers all cheered wildly, and he was provided with his medal and blanket.  The runners came in slowly at the beginning and it definitely felt like there were too many volunteers.  But by the middle, more and more runners were coming in bunches at the same time.  And at that point, it felt like there weren't enough volunteers!  It was funny because a lot of runners seemed a bit out of it (to be expected after a hot 13.1 miles) and almost passed by without getting their finisher items.  So we handed out the items and kept an eye out for people who passed by without getting something so we could run after them to provide it.  Or course, it went back to a trickle of runners at the end.  The beginning and end weren't too busy but it was definitely hectic in the middle.

We also kept an eye out for people who seemed like they needed medical.  There were people nearby with wheelchairs and we were to call out for them if needed.  The other thing that wasn't part of our official duties but was good to be prepared for, was to be able to answer questions from runners.  So if you're stationed at the finish line, it's good to know where the food is, where bathrooms are, where transportation is, where medical is, etc.

And that was my volunteer experience!  It was really well organized and really fulfilling, but also hard work.  I definitely had a new appreciation for volunteers at races once I started doing it myself.  I didn't run 13.1 miles but I was also tired and ache-y afterward.  The best part of the day was seeing the looks of gratitude on runner's faces, especially as we handed out the blankets because many people didn't know they were going to get something in addition to the medal.

So if you haven't had a chance to volunteer at a race yet, I highly recommend it!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Race 13.1 Baltimore Training Week 2

I hope everyone is doing well and had a good week!  My week was a mixed bag but I got all of my runs in, though only managed 1 strength training session.  Here's the summary.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - Body Pump

Wednesday - Morning run

Thursday - Rest day

Friday - 40 minutes at the gym

Saturday - 7 mile run.  I really struggled on this one.  I don't think I've had paces this slow since I started running in 2014.  It was essentially the same route as my 6 miles last weekend so I'm not sure why it was such a struggle.  But then I realized that the temperatures were at least 10 degrees hotter, I ran out of water around mile 4, and the humidity was higher too.  The only good thing I can say about this one is at least it got done.

Sunday - Rest day.  I had meant to get in some strength training today but it didn't happen.  I got up early to volunteer at the Parks Half marathon.  I was stationed at the finish line handing out the finisher's premium, which was a really nice blanket.  I also helped unwrap all the medals before the runners began to arrive.

And in the evening, we went to see a Weird Al Yankovic concert at Wolf Trap.  This is more Mike's thing than mine but it was a really fun concert.  Weird Al puts on a great show!

So that's my week!  I hope everyone else had a good week too.  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Race 13.1 Baltimore training week 1

Last week was the first week of training for Race 13.1 Baltimore!  The race is the first weekend of December and I'll be using the RnR Vegas Half as a training run leading up to it.  Last week was also a bit of a weird week because Mike was going to Atlanta and I dropped him off at the airport Wednesday evening.  Also, I went camping with some friends over the weekend so I had a lot of prep to do for that.  It didn't end up being an ideal training week but it was ok.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - Body Pump

Wednesday - rest day.  I meant to wake up early and go for a run but I slept pretty badly and didn't make it out of bed on time.  And I was dropping Mike off at the airport in the evening.

Thursday- Almost 45 minutes on the elliptical.  I woke up early but it was raining.  So I ended up going to the gym after work.

Friday - 6 mile run.  This week's long run was supposed to be 6 miles and I knew I wouldn't get it on the weekend while we were camping.  So I woke up early on Friday and got it in before leaving to meet my friends at the campground.  Initially, I had planned to do my 3 mile neighborhood loop twice.  But I worried that I would cut it short if I ran by the house again.  So I ended up just adding in random mileage as I could so it was a bit of a haphazard route.  But it got the job done!

Saturday- yoga and lots of walking.

Sunday - Again, lots of walking while we were out camping.  Here are a couple photos of the area.