The good news is that I am getting stronger at swim clinic and feeling good on the bike. The bad news is that I’m not running fast at the moment even after coming off the Boston Marathon. In fact I’ve been a bit tired and still feel like I’m recovering from the big event and crazy cold winter of training. I did give myself a week off from running before starting my official triathlon training for the 70.3 mile Pumpkinman. I’m doing more swimming and cycling but much less running now. So my recent 5K running events weren’t as fast as I would have hoped. But my main goals are the half iron distance in September and the California International Marathon in early December. You can’t always have it all, but sometimes I do!
Our beautiful Vermont State Capital Building
Last Thursday evening I ran the Vermont Corporate Cup 5K race for the first time after work. This is a super fun event which draws out literally thousands of people who work for corporate, state and non-profit organizations (2,420 runners total). This all takes place in downtown Montpelier, VT. There is both a running and walking race. You form teams of three people and pick a clever team name. You may have mixed teams or all female or all male. I work for one of the largest coffee companies in the country and we had a turnout of over 100 people run and walk the event. It was amazing! My team included Jenny and Jess who both are finance folks like myself. Jenny and I have both run the Boston Marathon so I came up with the team name: Boston Bean Counters. It is goofy but I thought it was clever.
Until the previous Saturday when I ran a “practice” 5k race for the Corp Cup, I hadn’t done an officially timed 5K race since 2011! And I haven’t done dedicated track workouts in about two years! So I really shouldn’t expect myself to be running a sub 20 minute 5K like I did 3 years ago when track workouts were part of my weekly diet. But of course we do put these kind of expectations and pressure on ourselves. That is the nature of us runners!
The Vermont Corporate Cup was a great race on so many levels. But it was also a difficult course with many turns, thousands of people, small quick hills, and sometimes rough road conditions (due to the winter). It was also a hot and humid evening! I noticed that everyone was drenched with sweat after the race, myself included. That certainly didn’t help my time! But that is the nature of New England weather. Extremes are the norm around here lately!
Discussing race strategies and pacing with Amy before the mass start
I ran the course with Scott as a warm up to see what was in store for me that night. It was not going to be an easy run out there. I got myself up close to the starting line so I could try and sprint out with the mass of runners. This race has a huge crazy mass start where it seems that EVERYONE is sprinting for their life! When I looked down at my Garmin after about a half mile I saw a pace of 5:50 minutes per mile! WOA!! That is way too fast! So I did slow it down for the first mile to a reasonable 6:20 pace. I knew that there was no way humanly possible I was going to do around 6 minutes per mile that night. The next mile was through some neighborhoods off of Elm Street which had a few small up and downhills that were fun. But it was here that I was starting to feel like a 6:20 pace was not going to be sustainable. The course on mile 2 had a lot of turns (8 turns that went around a figure 8 pattern) and it was difficult for me to squeak a 6:33 pace for mile 2. It was on mile two where I actually did take some water at the water station. I would normally not bother in a 5K, but it was hot and a quick sip felt good. I spilt the rest down my back to cool off (like I did at Boston).
Mile 3 was back on Elm Street where I could regroup for a bit and get my speed back up. It was shaded but still felt hot and humid. I was loosing steam and knew the bulk of mile 3 was going to be the most difficult part of the course. We turned right up a small quick hill on Court Street where I saw Scott taking photos of us. I was hurting but I dug in and made it over and down to Taylor Street. We then made a quick right onto a path that went left over a bridge. This definitely slowed me down. The course went along the bike path adjacent to Memorial drive. I was really feeling maxed out at this point and knew the worse was yet to come. The last part of mile 3 has a nice short hill that feels like a pain cave and that is where I saw my pace plummet to a 6:51. Wow, I run faster than that in a half marathon! But the last 2/10 of a mile were a fast downhill for which I was grateful! I even got my pace down to a 6:07 for the very end. Unfortunately the 10th place woman passed me at the very last 1/10 of a mile. At that point I just didn’t care and wanted to be done! Next time I will dig deeper and and give it a bit more fight!! I was actually very disappointed I missed out on the top 10 women, but next year I’ll be back!
Overall, my Garmin showed an average pace of 6:34 and 3.17 miles. It was hard to run the tangents so I accumulated a bit more than 5 kilometers. My official time was 20:45 with an average pace of 6:41! Yikes, I think I could do that pace for a good flat 10K race if I was rested and trained! But it’s all good! I was 11th out of 1,183 women which isn’t too shabby even if it wasn’t a competitive field. My team came in third place out 174 mixed corporate teams! That is awesome! Congrats to Jenny and Jess! I’m so proud of them! Jess hardly even trains or runs that much and was less than a minute behind me! Well, he is also in his 20s, not 40s!
While my run was not stellar, the overall experience made it an epic evening! Many of my running and swim clinic friends were there. It turned out that Angie and Alex were seconds behind me! Nice to know I had company out there. And it was also great hanging out with so many co-workers who ran and walked that night. There was a nice gathering and celebration at the Cider House where I got to socialize with with people from work who love to run. How great is that! Scott and I stayed for a while and had a couple beers and a dinner. It turns out that the Cider House has 3 vegan dinner options! I am so excited about this because we live less than 20 minutes away. The Jerk Seitan dinner was yummy and filling! They make their own seitan (wheat meat) and do a fantastic job. I can’t wait to try their grilled tofu with peanut sauce!
One of the highlights of the night was finally meeting Amy who also works in the same company. I saw Amy running in the freezing cold polar temperatures week after week all winter during lunchtime! I didn’t know who she was. She was the only woman I saw out there while I was running alone. It seemed every Wednesday we were both doing intervals and tempo work on River Road during the coldest wind chills. So it was awesome to finally connect at the Corporate Cup and realize we work for the same company! Amy is a fast runner who specializes more in the track distances and road races. She is also a super nice person who is passionate about running! We even did our first lunch run together this past Friday! Maybe she can help me get my speed back!
Last Saturday I ran a 5K race put on by RaceVermont. They do a great job putting on local running races as well as triathlons in the Shelburne and Charlotte area of Vermont. Because I hadn’t run an officially time 5K race in about 3 years, I wanted to have one under my belt before the Corporate Cup. I didn’t really know where I was in regards to the smaller faster races. So this was a good test! And it was also a lot of fun and a great experience!
When we woke up early on Saturday morning the rain was pelting our window and seemed to be raining and blowing sideways. It didn’t look like it was going to be a nice morning for a race. I almost wanted to go back to bed! Driving over wasn’t much better as it was still windy and raining hard. As always we got to the race early. Luckily by the time I was out on my warm up run it was only raining very lightly. But it was also rather warm and humid especially for this time of year.
My friend Jess ran the 5K with me and her husband Chris ran the half marathon also put on the same day. Scott was taking photos since he had a 17 mile run scheduled on Sunday. The 5 & 10K runners started first right at 8:00am. It wasn’t a huge field of runners so the start wasn’t too crazy. I didn’t really know what I could do, so I played it a bit conservatively in the beginning. We started out at a reasonable pace for the first 3/4 of a mile which was slightly downhill on paved roads. We then turned right onto the Ti path which is a flat gravel path for runners and cyclists. Because of the heavy rains that night and morning there were some large puddles in the path and muddy sections especially in the beginning. My pace was a solid 6:20 minutes per mile for the first mile and I was feeling pretty good. It was overcast and the rain had stopped. I enjoyed running in the wooded Ti path. At the halfway point we turned around and ran back. My pace on mile two was a bit slower at a 6:26 and it felt hard to keep up a good speed on the gravel trail. And I was getting tired on mile 2!
About 1/3 through mile 3 I noticed my pace got slower and it felt hard running at a 6:47! Geez I could only guess that I was still tired from Boston. Luckily once we turned left back onto the pavement my pace picked back up to a 6:40 for mile 3. It was a slight gradual uphill that felt like it took forever! But at least I was moving faster on the pavement. The last 1/10 of mile went quickly and my time ended up at a 20:33. My Garmin clocked a distance of 3.17 and an average pace of 6:29. I was the first woman and second overall. But it was a small field and I didn’t really have anyone to push me. I did win another Vermont Teddy Bear which of course made me very happy!!
In Other News……
Here is a photo of my new time trial bike which will be ridden in the triathlons we are doing this summer. I am very excited about the is bike! I’ve already started training on it. It’s very different from any of my other bikes! But it is super fast and powerful! This kind of bike is what the “big kids” ride in the Ironman distances! Like the old saying goes: you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight!
Scott will be running the Vermont City Marathon next Sunday which is very exciting! He has been training so hard all winter and is running very strong! I can’t wait for the big day! I just hope it’s not going to be too hot like it was for me three years ago! Keep your fingers crossed! This photo was taken today while I ran with Scott on his last long run before the marathon. Go Scott! I’m so proud of you!