Pancakes and a PR!

I have been super busy working down at my dad’s house.  I finally got it to a good place for my realtor’s photographer to come in and take pictures this morning…so now I’m going to relax for a couple of days before the house goes up on the MLS.  Fortunately nobody is living in the house, so it should be pretty easy to keep clean for showings!

IMG_1377Anyway, one of the things I’ve been wanting to post is about a race I did on Sunday morning.  The race, called the Pancake Run, is put on by the Runner’s Den, the store I have been training with all during the fall.  This was the final race that was included or heavily discounted with our training program package.  One of the many things I loved about this race is that it is only about a 5-10 minute drive from my house.  The start and finish line are in the outer loop of a nearby mall so, on a Sunday morning, there was ample parking.  The other thing I love about this race is that it is sponsored by IHOP, and we were promised pancakes at the finish line.  Mmmm, pancakes.  This is a treat I rarely eat any more but I figured after a good run, I would indulge a bit.

When I registered for the race, I had signed up the “Double Stack” which was to be a 5K race that started at 8am, followed by a 10K race starting at 9:15am.  Those that run super fast on the 5K would have a longer break before the next race.  Part of me was looking forward to the challenge of this unique set-up and would welcome getting a good 9+ miles done for the day; however, I also have been eager to actually run a 5K really hard and finally get an official 5K race time “in the books” since losing my weight and taking up running over the past year or so.  I have done a 10K and now 4 half marathons but have not run a 5K!  This is pretty backwards, usually people start with the 5K.  Now, I have done lots of 5K’s over the years, but I was never at the weight and/or running shape that I am in now.  Anyway, about 2 weeks ago I received the competition schedule for Erin’s first gymnastics meet of the season and her check-in time was at 9:30 am and she would be competing by 10:15 am or so.  I figured a 10K would take me until at least 10:15-10:25 am and then I would still need to get home, shower, etc. and drive 20 minutes to the meet.  She has been working so hard since August, and I have been anticipating this first competition for a long time.  She has really done well in the off season to get ready.  I didn’t want to miss any of it.  So, after talking to her about it, she told me that she felt confident that she could get her hair braided and ready herself in the competition bun/hairdo that they need (*sniff*, she is growing up) and that I could meet them there after the 5K run and my shower, etc.

I didn’t have time to pick up my race packet the day before (I had to put in 5+ hours of “volunteer time” at the gymnastics meet the day before since our gym was hosting it) so I left home a few minutes earlier to check-in at the race.  I had also been notified that I was a winner of a raffle drawing prize – which ended up just being a pair of running socks.  There was plenty of time to get my bib and swag bag and take it back to my car – I even stayed inside my car with my heated seats for a few extra minutes too because I am aIMG_1378 wimp.  As the start time drew closer, I made my way to the starting line – I was cracking up because there was a giant pancake running around and it had the name “Bonnie” across the back.  I took a photo and sent it to my dear Ragnar friend and teammate, Bonnie.  The Runner’s Den also had contracted with GameFace Media to take free race photos so the photographer was there in the starting area taking pictures.  I asked him to get a shot of the back of my t-shirt because I was wearing my ‘I Run 4 Brennan’ shirt.

I got a little bit of a late start because I was messing around with my phone and headphones, but eventually I crossed the starting line.  Unfortunately this also put me back with the large number of walkers and I had to weave in and out of them for a while at the start.  It was a little annoying but I actually felt kinda fast too.

Several weeks ago I ran Katie’s Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K with a goal of 34:00.  I really struggled on that run and was lucky to finish in 34:34.  So, for this 5K I hoped for 34:00 again but even told myself that, if I felt good, it was time to push for the 33:00 I have been striving for since October.  The fastest I got then, on my training runs, was 33:06.  Saturday night before I went to bed, I looked at a pace calculator and determined I would need to average 10:37/mi to hit 33:00.  I knew I could do that for a mile or two but I haven’t been able to sustain that pace.

Mile 1 felt pretty good though and I was happy when my Garmin beeped 10:08!  I slowed down just a hair so that I didn’t completely overdo it.  I kept my cadence fast but with short strides.  Mile 2 beeped and I was at 10:21.  Wow!  I really had a good shot now of making the 33:00!  I didn’t do the math in my head but I knew I had a good 30+ seconds extra to work with on top of the 10:37+.  I have to also remember that it isn’t 3 miles – there is that other .1 mile, which doesn’t seem like much until you still have to run it … and fast.  There was a 2nd water stop and I took just a few seconds to walk through it to get a quick drink and pushed off from there, determined to give it everything I had.  I think the energy of the race really fueled my fire.  Virtual races are fun, but they don’t give you the same push as knowing there is a timing chip on you and physical finish line ahead.  I told myself that I had the opportunity to finally achieve a goal I have been striving for for far too long and it was well within reach – and that just 10 minutes of discomfort would be OK. IMG_1383I don’t think I push myself hard enough when I train.  I must not be, because I should have been making further strides in my times by now.  So, on this day, I would take myself to that discomfort level.  And, before I knew it, the finish line was in my sights and I cruised in for a finish, stopping my Garmin and almost immediately receiving a text on my phone with my official finish time (yes, I tracked myself…)  I was elated to see 32:14 both on my Garmin and on the text.  Holy crap…I crushed my 33:00 goal.  This was way more than I had hoped for.

I had a hard time finding any water and walked around for a few minutes until I finally found a table handing out water bottles.  I was a little pissed off that they didn’t have them ready when we came in but then I thought about it and remembered this was only a 5K, not a half or full marathon.  I was crunched for time so I decided to go get my pancakes because they looked really good before I headed home to get ready to leave for the meet. IMG_1382 They had several large griddles going and were passing out two big IHOP pancakes for and a sausage link for every runner.  They even had tables with cinnamon apples, blueberries, syrups, chocolate chips, bananas and whipped cream for toppings.  Wow, my son would have LOVED this (funny story…more on that later…)

I made the short drive home and Paul was getting close to leaving with Erin (as promised, her hair was braided and in a nice secure bun).  They took one car and headed out to the meet and I jumped in the shower and met them down there about 30 minutes later.  She was unusually nervous for this meet since some of the new skills have been elusive so far.  But, she did great!  She had a little trouble on her stronger event, trampoline, but aside from accidentally substituting in the wrong skill in her first pass, she looked great – and IMG_5485 IMG_5508she even nailed her final skill which she normally falls on.  I was really proud of her.  It was unfortunate that her score was so low because of the earlier skill switch but she’ll get that straightened out for next time.  They perform 10 skills per routine and this year, since she is level 8, she has a second 10-skill routine.  So, she basically has gone from 10 to 20 things she has to keep straight in her little 10 year old brain – not super easy when you are flipping over and over again on a trampoline!  She finished the meet with a 1st place in Tumbling (awesome since this is historically her worst event), 2nd in Trampoline, and 5th in Double-Mini (but 1st through 5th were only separated by 1 point).  Overall, it was a successful start to her season – a season that will drag on until late June possibly.

Here is the data from Garmin Connect.  Nothing too exciting, except that for the first time probably ever, my cadence is in the “green” more often than not.  Sometimes I will hit the green briefly but then it drops down significantly.  As much as I try to shorten my stride when I run longer runs, I think the SPM count really is an indicator of speed too.  Unless I’m running closer to a 10:00/mi, I’m just not going to hit the 163 spm “green zone”.

pancake run garmin connect

So, to conclude my Pancake Run report, I have to fess up to something that I realized after the race.  I went online to look at my race standings, etc. and when I typed in my last name, it gave me the option for “Martha” or “Nathan”.  At first I thought it was funny that there was another ‘Nathan Kaiser’ running the race – until I noticed that he didn’t finish.  And then I realized that, oh crap, did I end up registering him for the race and totally forget about it…um, yes.  I did.  I dug through my emails and found my receipt and I did pay for him to run.  Paid quite a bit, actually.  I’m so mad at myself!  Especially after I realized how much he would have loved the pancakes.  I told my Solemates about my goof and Katie ended up including it in her Motivational Monday post too.  Yep, file that one in the ‘mom of the year’ files with all of my other winning entries….*sigh*







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