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September 22 2014 / Emily

Catching up on Race Reports

Time keeps flying, I keep running, but not blogging.  Time to catch up on some races!

June 7 – 5k on the Runway

On June 7th, I ran the 5k on the Runway at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI) over in Greensboro.  I tried to sign up a couple days before the race but when I went out during my lunch break to the store doing late registration, their credit card machine was down and I didn’t have enough cash to sign up.  So I took a pamphlet and just signed up the morning of the race.

As it happened, the day before I happened to mention it to a coworker friend, and it turns out her boyfriend was doing the 10k and she was going to do the 1 mile walk.  That meant I would have company.  Always a treat!

The morning of the race, I drove out to the airport and we took shuttle buses out onto the runway.  There was still air traffic on other runways, but not this section.  I was briefly concerned about this runway being closed for the First Lady, as Michelle Obama was in town for Maya Angelou’s funeral that weekend, and sometimes Air Force One (well, the plane that would be Air Force One if the president was on board) does touch-and-goes at PTI sometimes, so I thought it might be there.  Anyway, nothing came of that.

2-PTI 5k Prizes

I was able to quickly and easily sign up for the 5k, and got a nice soft purple t-shirt.  Chatted with my friend and her friends some.  Soon it was time for the 5k.  This course was flat and fast.  My goals were twofold: a new PR, and to break 23 minutes.  I had some speedwork under my belt as I had been training for Ultimate Runner, so I figured a straight flat course would be just the ticket.

The route was just 2.5 kilometers straight out the runway, then turn around and run straight back.  There was a slight incline on the out, with the wee tiny descent on the return leg.  Seems easy, but man it was like an illusion out there.  With no turns or change in scenery, it was like I never moved.  I was running, but not getting anywhere.  Finally made it to the turn and headed back to the finish.  It was hazy in the distance.  I knew it was there, obviously, but when I finally saw it clearly, I would put my head down to run hard for a minute, and I would swear it did not get any closer.  It was an oasis, just shimmering beyond reach.

Well.  Almost beyond reach.  I finally got there, and crossed with a time of 23:09, which netted me a six second PR (hooray!) but not the elusive 22:something.  Someday.

It also netted me third place in women 25-29, and for that I got a nice tile trivet.  Gotta love functional awards.  It’s in the stack of trivets and hot plates in my kitchen and has already been used plenty.

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June 28 – Ultimate Runner

I’ve blogged about Ultimate Runner a few times (2012 race, 2013 race) so I won’t go into a lot of depth this time.  But I PRed almost every distance!  I was particularly proud of my mile time.  It was a slightly smaller race this year so I was in a faster heat, and one of the slower seeded runners in that heat.  I was nervous that I would get left behind, but it proved to give motivation and pacing support.  I passed three people in the last 100m of the mile!

2011 2012 2013 2014
1 mile 6:55.0 6:59.9 6:51.3 6:36.3*
400 m 81.7 82.1 81.3 81.0*
800 m 3:18.9 3:12.1 3:13.2 3:10.7*
100 m 17.6 17.6 17.04* 17.7
5k 28:01 28:19 27:31 26:18*

(Asterisk indicates my PR for the event!  Obviously the 5k is an Ultimate Runner PR, not an overall 5k PR.)

1-UR - mile

finishing strong in the mile!

I also won my age group and received the coveted mug.  Never thought I’d go home with one of these.  People always tell me not to qualify wins, but I always do.  There was not a lot of competition in 20-29 age group.

1-IMG_20140628_224229_067

Neon yellow shirt, prize mug, sticker indicating total mileage of the event

It’s funny though, I guess I’m always qualifying my running.  A month or so after the race, I saw my next door neighbor for the first time in a while.  He was a collegiate runner and though he has stopped now, in his fifties, he still follows local running.  He saw an article in the newspaper the next day that listed the overall and age group winners, and thought he recognized my name.  We are mostly on a first-name basis so he asked me if I’d won the age group, given that the first name matched and the age seemed close.  When I confirmed it, he said “I thought that sounded right, but you are always talking down your running, so I was surprised to see it.”  Note to self – maybe you’re being a little too modest?

July 26 – Red Warrior Run 5k

This was a first-time event.  Turned out to be a rather small one, with only 51 finishers.  It was held at a vineyard called Cellar 4201 in East Bend, NC, just a short drive from home in Winston-Salem.

Per my usual tendencies, I was a bit later than planned leaving for the race.  I had signed up just a few days prior and already gone to packet pickup.  I arrived and parked no more than 15 minutes before the race.  Thank goodness for small events.

It was a cross country/trail race that started through the vineyards and then weaved through the woods surrounding.  I’ve run a fair number of trail races and this was definitely the toughest trail 5k I have done.  Though, I’d spent the previous month or two preparing for Ultimate Runner and thus given lots of time to the relatively bouncy and completely flat surface of the track, so this was a stark contrast to my recent training.  And it was a doozy.

deceptive hill

deceptive hill

I started too fast and bounced out to the front, holding rank as the leading woman only briefly.  Female after female passed me as I struggled up some of the inclines, but over time I passed them back.  A lot of trail races I run are on moderate-to-heavily traveled hiking and running trails, with obvious wear on the route.  This one really just seemed to be on a 4-wheeler trail and though it was well-marked, the actual trail wasn’t always stomped down.  There were a few gotta-get-your-feet-wet stream crossings so it became squishier as the course snaked on.  My early thought of “well just break 30 that should be easy” was fading fast.

Soon though, I emerged from the woods over one last little creek (no need to try and hop across rocks when your socks are already sopping) and back through the vines.  One last hill for good measure and then onto the gravel drive to the finish.

My time of 31:14 was good for 13th overall, and third place female.  I had a few friends present who also placed in the overall or age groups!  We all took home a bottle of wine for our efforts, which is, like the trivet from the Runway 5k and the mug from Ultimate Runner, quite a functional award!  All participants of age were also given a logo wine glass and a complimentary wine tasting, including the Red Warrior which is the namesake for the race.  Honestly the biggest reason I signed up for the race was that the giveaway shirt was a singlet tank rather than a t-shirt, so the rest of this was just gravy.  I made out like a bandit!

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1-Red Warrior 5k Prizes

August 23 – Air Force 10k

On to August… this was one of those “shoot I really should sign up for my monthly race” sort of events.  I had a very busy month and was pleased to find this race relatively nearby in Greensboro.  It was at a park called Bur Mil Park which I had always intended to visit, the price was right (under $25), and the beneficiary was the Wounded Warrior Project, so lots of favorable reasons to pick it.

Then the day came and WHOA it was a steamy one.  Incredible humidity.  This was my first 10k since March 2012 and my pacing was completely off, after training for 5ks and track work earlier in the summer, then sliding back into longer distances in preceding weeks.  I took the first mile at around 5k pace before realizing that was a tremendously poor choice, and dialing it back.

The route was all on a paved greenway surrounding a lake.  We started with a short out and back of just over a mile, then passed back through the start/finish to a longer out and back.  I counted the women passing me until I knew I was the fourth place female, and it wasn’t long before I realized I had no chance of bettering that placement unless someone in front of me just totally bonked.  Fortunately for the other ladies and unfortunately for me, that did not happen.

3-Air Force 10k prizes

I hauled my completely sweat-drenched self over the finish line in 51:16, which made it a PR, which was unbelievable on that humid sticky North Carolina summer morning.  Honestly I sort of question if it was a true 10 kilometers, but I suppose that I did indeed train hard this summer and I shouldn’t talk myself down just because I was surprised at my speed!

Turns out for this event there were only top three overall awards, so no official age group placement for me, but logically since I was the fourth woman, I sort of won my age group.  That is important because……

Looking Ahead

With that, I say farewell to the 20-29 or 25-29 (once even 14-29) age groups.

Tomorrow I turn 30 and this weekend I mark the occasion with the Salem Lake Trail Races 30k, and my first foray into the 30-34/30-39 age group.

Goodbye 20s, it has been rewarding!  You will forever be the decade when I ran my first 5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon, 50k and 50 mile races, not to mention all the other less-common distances.  My twenties were the decade of Starting To Run.  I have notched 93 races in this span, and learned a lot along the way.   The age groups get a lot more competitive now, but this year I’ve managed to choose a number of races where I was in the top overall (or close to it) so here’s to more of those races, and more awards!

Happy running.

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7 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Paul Starling / Sep 22 2014 10:18 PM

    Always love reading about your running adventures! Keep them coming!

  2. sgtharp / Sep 23 2014 6:16 AM

    Good stuff, Whippersnapper — albeit an ancient whippersnapper now. 😉

    • Emily / Sep 25 2014 9:43 AM

      if I’m ancient, then what does that make you, Dad? 🙂

  3. Darrel Wells / Sep 23 2014 9:20 AM

    First – Happy Birthday, Emily! Thanks for catching me up on your summer races. It sounds like it was a good season for you!

    I’m waiting for more details about eating, napping, and drinking, however!

    • Emily / Sep 25 2014 9:44 AM

      thank you Darrel! It was a good summer. I do have a food post to make, but I figured I’d start with a more substantial post after my blogging hiatus. 🙂

  4. Dana Custer / Sep 26 2014 10:34 AM

    Emily, you are amazing! I can’t believe your ultimate runner times! As, as always, it is such a pleasure reading your blog- you are hilarious and gifted! Keep it up! Can’t wait to see you in Dec!

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