Tag Archives: 10k training

Spring Fever 10k Recap and Review

The trouble with spring races in Colorado is that the weather is so stinking unpredictable. It can be 70 degrees and sunny one day and 20 degrees and snowing the next. That was the case last weekend for All-Out Multisport’s Spring Fever 5k, 10k, and half-marathon. Friday was sunny and in the high 40s. Sunday was sunny and in the mid-60s. Saturday, though, was snowy, windy, and in the high 20s/low 30s. Saturday was, of course, race day.

Usually when I race, I make an A, B, and C goal. For this race, though, I had three equally satisfying A goals, a B goal, and no C goals. My A goals were to PR, set a course record, and/or win the race. After studying the elevation chart, I knew the PR was unlikely (my current PR is 40:30, and that was run on an all-downhill course), but the course record (42:57) was in reach. Looking at past winning times, I thought winning was also in reach, but that would clearly depend on who else entered this year.

Since all those goals were dependent on outside factors, my B goal was simply to give all I had to the race. If I crossed the finish line completely spent, knowing I couldn’t have pushed harder, I’d be satisfied.

Since we had a work event in Denver on Friday night, J and I decided to get a hotel room and skip the extra driving. The race started at 9:30 and we were only about 30 minutes away, so we had plenty of time to eat some oatmeal, change outfits several times (that one was just me), and plan out the rest of our day. We arrived at the race around 8:45. I checked in, grabbed my bib, and hustled back to sit in the toasty car for a while (and change …again… into a warmer top). At about 9:05, I reluctantly got out of the car, did a mile warm-up with some quick strides, hit the bathrooms (heated, not porta-johns!), and lined up at the start.

"If I smile, I'll be warmer....right?"
“If I smile, I’ll be warmer….right?”


After what seemed like 8,000 announcements (not really that many. I was just cold), we were off!
image (10)


The first two miles were on a pretty steep downhill, and the wind was at our backs. Here were my splits and my corresponding thoughts:

Mile 1: “Too fast too fast too fast. Can’t slow down. WHAT ARE MY PARENTS DOING HERE?!” (They decided to take a spontaneous trip to see my brother in Denver and cheer me on at the race!) “That girl is getting ahead of me. Don’t let her get too far.” Split: 6:13

Mile 2:  “Let her go. She’s out of your league, and you’ll blow up trying to catch her.” Split: 6:32

During these first two miles, I made  a friend named Matt. As we turned into the wind, we took turns drafting for each other and exchanging concerns about when the uphill would begin.

Yay! Downhill! (That's my new friend in the orange)
Yay! Downhill! (That’s my new friend in the orange, and the winning woman leaving me in her dust.) Photo courtesy of runningguru.com.

Mile 3:
 “Found the uphill. Holy steep. And wind in the face. Gross. Lead girl is long gone. Hang on to second.” Split: 7:42

Mile 4: “I remember the elevation chart. It’s back to downhill after this mile. But ouch, seriously.” Split: 7:47

This is where my new friend Matt pulled ahead. There was another runner ahead of us, and Matt said, “Let’s catch him!” I told him to go on; I needed to keep something in reserves for the final uphill near the finish.

Mile 5: “Wheeeeeeee! More downhill! Headwinds while running downhill aren’t nearly as bad as uphill!” Split: 6:14

Mile 5.7: “Whoa. 5k course. Walkers. Strollers. I don’t like this.”

Mile 6: “Pass that guy in tights. Pass him on this little hill.” (Same guy I’d been tailing that Matt passed at Mile 4). Got him! Split: 6:53

Check out that ridiculous face I'm making. (photo courtesy of runningguru.com)
Check out that ridiculous face I’m making. (photo courtesy of runningguru.com)

Mile 6.01: Ouch. More uphill. Almost there. Push! Push!

MIle 6.2: Oh no, tights man. You will not come from behind now! (I beat him. Just barely.) Split: I don’t know because I didn’t stop my watch until over a minute later. 

MIle 6.21: Gasp. Gag. Don’tbarfdon’tbarfdon’tbarf. Walk it out.

Official Time: 43:00.

I neither PRd nor won. I was three seconds away from the old course record, but that didn’t matter, since the top woman ran sub-40. But I definitely made my “B” goal — I gave it all I had and pushed through on a tough course and a tougher day. So I’m pretty darn satisfied with that.

Overall, I liked this race (aside from the weather, but when you sign up for a March race in Colorado, you know what you’re potentially getting into). But it had some negatives, too. Here’s a quick rundown.


  • Well-organized. The half started about 10 minutes before the 10k, which started about 10 minutes before the 5k, and all the starts went smoothly. Bib pick-up was also very speedy and easy.
  • Indoor restrooms. This was a MAJOR plus on such a frigid day.
  • Gorgeous course. It’s in Golden, which is a beautiful area, and it circles a lake. If the weather was clear, it would have been absolutely stunning.
  • Tons of prizes. In addition to overall and age-group awards (I got a restaurant gift card for the second-place prize), the race had a ton of raffle giveaways — restaurant, massage, and running store gift cards, water bottles, gym memberships. I think they said they had over $7,000 in prizes.
  • A podium. What? Not a big deal? Whatever. I thought it was fun. Not all of us get to stand on podiums regularly.

    The top three popsicles... I mean women runners.
    The top three popsicles… I mean women runners.
  • Lots of aid stations and great volunteers. Seriously, how cool do you have to be to stand out in the freezing cold for a couple of hours, handing out water and shouting encouragement?
  • Cute shirts and medals. Honestly, I think finisher medals for short races are a little silly, but who wouldn’t love this bee?
    image (1) image (2)
  • A great cause. The race raises money for the Parkinson’s Association. Can’t fault that.
  • Free photo downloads. Many races charge obscene prices for the pictures, so getting these for free was pretty cool. Especially since I don’t want to pay for pictures in which I look like I’m simultaneously pooping and dying.


  • Having the 10k and the 5k course share the final 1.5 miles was not fun. It meant that the fast 10k runners came up behind the slow 5kers — people who were just there to walk it with their pals or kids, pushing strollers, etc., or as we got closer to the finish line, run-walkers who would abruptly stop and walk.  Not that there’s a thing wrong with those types of racers (J and I just walked one last weekend); it’s just a pain to bob and weave, especially when your energy is running out. A ton of people also had in headphones, so they couldn’t hear runners coming up behind them, gasping out “scuse me” or “onerleft” (that’s about all the enunciating I could do just then).
  • No hot drinks at the finish. All I wanted was something warm. Of course, if they did have coffee or hot chocolate, it would’ve been an 80-degree day and no one would have wanted it, so I can’t really fault the organizers for that one.

Overall, I enjoyed this race and recommend it. I’d do it or another All-Out Multisport event again … hopefully on a little nicer day.

Once again, I want to give a shout-out to Heather for designing my training plan. The hard, fast workouts definitely gave me the confidence to push through some of the tough spots in the race.

Tell me about a recent race of yours!

What are your tips for racing on tough days/courses?


The Best-Laid Plans…. Training Recap, 2/24-3/2

For once, I’m glad to see that it’s Sunday night, because that means this week is over! Suffice it to say that this was not my favorite week of all time. I’ll hit the details in the training recap:

Monday: Scheduled rest, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to get in Tuesday’s double workouts, so my options were to lift on Monday or make Wednesday a double. I chose sleep Wednesday morning over rest Monday and hit the gym for 45 minutes of strength training.

Me, Wednesday morning. (source)

Tuesday: Intervals: 4×800 @ 5:00 pace with 400m recovery. With warm-up an cool-down, 7 miles total. I keep hoping these will start to feel easier, but this pace is still incredibly hard for me.

Wednesday: And here began the not-so-super part of my week. I had jury duty, for one. Though it didn’t start until 8:45, I didn’t run first  thing, because I thought surely I’d be out of there by 4:00, and since the courthouse is merely a mile from my house, I could get in my 6-mile easy run well before dark. And then, when we were given 1.5 hours for lunch, I was even more excited, because I could “runch” like all the cool bloggers I follow.

I was so excited, apparently, that I forgot I was driving in a school zone. And I got pulled over. And I got a ticket. And I no longer had time to run. I thought it was the universe punishing me for driving that one mile instead of walking, but when I left that morning, it was no degrees outside (seriously, zero). But I walked back to the courthouse, at least.

I still thought we’d be done by 4ish… but no. At 5:45, I was speed-walking home in the last fading remnants of daylight. Treadmill it was. And I didn’t even do core work when I was done, because I was starving. Fail.

Thursday: Annnd the failing continued. My stomach felt a little off when I woke up, but settled by lunchtime, so I ate. Bad choice. Shortly after school got out, I realized that I was sinking into sickland and needed to head home. But because I’m a moron, I still tried to run — on the treadmill, at least, so I could stop immediately if necessary. It was necessary. I made it 0.75 miles, retired to the couch, and called J, begging him to pick up saltines for me.

True story.

Friday: After being up most of Thursday night being sick, and still feeling awful Friday morning, I took my first-ever sick day from work (broke my almost seven-year streak). Obviously, I did not get in the scheduled strength workout. I did empty the dishwasher and take out the trash… and then I had to lie on the couch for an hour to recover. Awesome.

Saturday: Thank goodness, that was just one of those horrid 24-hour bugs. I slept nearly 10 hours Friday night and woke up Saturday feeling like a new person. I ate some oatmeal and still felt normal, so J and I ran some errands, and then I decided to try a run. I stayed on the treadmill so that, like on Thursday, I could stop immediately if I needed to. It was frigid and blowing snow out, so treadmilling wasn’t painful. Incredibly enough, I felt good. I really did not anticipate getting in my scheduled 10-miler, but I did. Around mile 9, I could really tell that I was fueled by only oatmeal and Friday’s saltines, and by the time I finished, I was in pretty dire need of calories, but otherwise I felt fine. Given that my focus as soon as I stepped off the treadmill was getting food, I spaced out the post-run stretch.

Sunday: I had a lot to do today to make up for Friday’s complete lack of productivity, so I just hopped on the treadmill when I woke up and cranked out the speed workout that was scheduled for Thursday: 2 x 2 miles at 10k pace and 2 x1 mile at 10k pace, all with 400m recoveries: 8 miles total with warm-up and cool-down. It felt SO GOOD to feel normal. Then, I did some core and stretching.

Totals: In all, I really only missed a strength workout and a recovery run, so things were not so bad as they seemed. I got in 31 miles, 45 minutes of strength training, and 15 minutes of stretching. Not bad for only 4 days of running, I suppose.

These jury duty and sick days messed up my non-workout schedule, too, so I apologize in advance for being gone from the blog world this coming week. My original plan was to stagger end-of-quarter assignments: my freshmen were to give (and turn in paper copies of) speeches on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, giving me those three days and the weekend to get them graded before my sophomores turned in projects on Monday.

But now, everyone’s stuff is coming in on Monday (and probably Tuesday), and grades have to be in on Friday. Friday is a teacher work day, aside from a few hours of standardized test training (yay!), so that will help. Even so, I’ll be a grading fool during the evenings this week.

I drafted a couple of posts last night, so I should get those up at least, but I probably won’t have much time to comment on your blogs. Sorry. I’ll catch up on the weekend, I promise!

When was the last time you got sick? Are you a baby when you’re sick, too?

Ever served on a jury? I did, a couple of years ago. It was actually pretty interesting.

10k Training Week 4 (or: How A Chick Who Hates to Rest Does Recovery Weeks)

Well, here we are again at Sunday night. That was quick. Anybody do anything fun over the weekend? I did not. Yesterday, we had our annual meeting with our financial planner, where we discussed retirement and life insurance.

Because nothing says “fun Saturday morning” like talking about preparing for the untimely demise of your dearly beloved. We had lunch with J’s family afterward; Mexican food perked me right back up.

I think I may have mentioned a few (thousand) times that training for a fast 10k instead of a long-distance race has been quite a mental switch for me. This week was especially… odd, I guess. It was a recovery week, and it seemed really strange to me to take a recovery week when I hadn’t been increasing mileage. But, as I have many times over the past four weeks, I told myself to trust the plan and trust that Heather knows better than I do…you know, with her coaching certification and all. Trust is important.
This meme-maker earns bonus points for correctly using the apostrophe. 

Anyway, here’s how this recovery week looked:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: The same wicked-hard interval workout as last week: 2 x 400m, then 2 x 800m, all with 800m rest. 6.5 miles total. Oh, and I solved the treadmill-tripping-the-powerstrip issue. By plugging it into the WALL instead of the powerstrip. I am so smart.

Tuesdays are usually double days, with intervals in the mornings and strength at night. I knew I was going to have to move the strength workout, because I’d planned on going to the basketball game that night. But did you know that if you don’t actually turn on your alarm, it won’t go off in the morning? I didn’t make it out of bed to run, so that night I didn’t make it to the basketball game and ran instead. Not winning.

Wednesday: The best thing about this recovery week was Wednesday’s 4-miler. Since it was so short,  I didn’t have to run in the morning in order to lift at night. I just ran the four (outside! In daylight! Spring is coming!), then lifted for 45 minutes.

Thursday: I cheated on my plan a little. But just a little. The schedule said 6 easy, but since the Run to the Shrine is in just three months, I’ve got to start hitting hills. So I did hill pyramids. Then I did some core. And I stretched, so I wasn’t a complete rebel.

Friday: I so desperately wanted to repeat Wednesday’s workout, but I was a good girl (for two weeks in a row!) and just lifted. And did the spin bike for 20 minutes.

Saturday: 8-mile progression run. I love progression runs, but they are one of the hardest workouts for me to do right. I always start out too fast. (Just like I do in races…maybe there is a pattern here). But yesterday’s overindulgence in tortilla chips at lunch turned out to be a (miserable) blessing in disguise: I had to start slow in order to keep those chips in line. And then when they had settled, I was able to kill the last three miles in 7:04, 6:45, and 6:36. Boom. And then I stretched, just like I was supposed to.

Sunday: 4-mile recovery run, then some core.

Totals: 28.5 miles, 1.5 hours strength, 30 minutes stretching. That’s like…two weeks post-marathon type of mileage, and it’s messing with my head. Someone please tell me that this will make me super fast.

I was pretty stoked to get in three outdoor runs last week. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in some more this week. The weather looks like it should be pretty decent, so it’s just dependent on if I can get out of work in time or not.

Do you love, hate, or love/hate recovery weeks? 

Favorite type of indulgence food? Tortilla chips are not even my favorite, but I sure ate them Saturday.


Weekly Workouts and Museum Fun

Hello, friends! Happy Sunday!

I hope you had a good weekend…I did! More on that in a second; first, let me tell you about Week 3 of “run a fast 10k” training. Here’s how it looked:

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: AM:  Intervals: 2 x 400m with 800m rest, then 2 x 800m with 800m rest. My stupid treadmill kept tripping the surge protector again. I’m not sure why it does that… if it says it goes 12 mph, then shouldn’t it go 12 mph without kicking me off?! Not cool. I’m pretty sure I ended up with 6.5 miles total, if I did all my math right after having to start over several times.
PM: 45 minutes strength. I get a new strength routine this coming week, and I’m not too sad to see this one go. I didn’t love it.

Wednesday:  6 miles easy plus core

Thursday: Intervals at 10k pace: 2 miles at goal pace with 0.4 miles recovery, the 4 x 1-mile with 0.4 recovery. 9 miles total, then stretching.

Friday: 45 minutes strength. I SO BADLY wanted to run, but I was good and followed the plan (for once).

Saturday: 9 miles. The weatherman had been saying all week that the weekend temps would be in the upper 50s, so imagine my disappointment when we topped out at 40 with 15-20 mph winds. Actually, I wasn’t that disappointed, since it was finally above freezing and most of the ice had melted.
photo (34)

Sunday: 4 recovery miles plus core.

Totals: 34.5 miles, 1:30 strength training

Pretend there is a smooth transition here. It was a good weekend, and I want to show you some pictures. 

I heard something about Friday’s being a holiday? 🙂 J and I don’t really care about Valentine’s Day, so we made breakfast-for-dinner and watched the Olympics while I looked at fall marathons online. It was pretty ideal.

photo (33)We went out for dinner for a friend’s birthday Saturday night. I actually fixed my hair and figured I’d better document it to prove that it does, in fact, happen.

Today, we went to Denver for brunch and an afternoon at the History Colorado Center with my brother and his girlfriend. We decided to do this instead of exchanging Christmas gifts, and this weekend our schedules finally aligned.

This museum is fairly new, and I’d never been. It was a lot of fun — lots of interactive exhibits and interesting info.  I definitely recommend it if you’re in the area!

image (7)I’m milking a plastic cow. The bucket lights up as you “fill” it.

image (6)This is outside the museum, but those mountains are over by where I grew up. I miss them!
20140216_133533Jordan is terrified of my driving in this Model T.

And that was the weekend in a nutshell! We have tomorrow off, which is awesome.  Of course, I have to spend most of it grading, but at least I can grade on my couch, in my sweatpants, with my coffee, instead of squeezing in grading before and after school, huddled by my space heater.

Do you like museums? What’s the best one you’ve been to?

Anybody else off tomorrow?