Friday, January 4, 2013

A Build Up and a Virtual "race"

In case anyone thinks I only have PR races...
How bad can 5k be? Or 5 miles? I was determined to find out yesterday.

Looking back, I am not sure exactly why I joined the 5 by the 5th virtual race series. I rarely need motivation to run (and run hard).  I have already done my 5k training for the year...maybe the decade. I am in the process of rebuilding endurance, and that means lots of easy running (that is not really easy yet), and longer runs.

Something about it sounded fun...A race..on your terms, within a window, reporting your results by a set day.

No timing chips, starting guns.
                                              Bib optional.
                                                                   Make your own water station.


I set out of the house yesterday to test myself on legs that can't remember how to go fast, but are remembering how to go far. Here's how it went down:

I pinned on an old bib from a good race, and warmed up (I had to, because I foolishly set out in shorts!) with 3 miles @about 8-8:20/mile, finishing up a hill. At the top I did some dynamic stretching and got ready to "race".

The "plan" was to run at threshold heart rate zone and NOT LOOK AT MY PACE. I figured I could do this for 5 miles. (Except I haven't done much threshold work in 8 weeks. And I find it really hard not to check my pace.) The 5 miler was sounding good.

I took off with a slight downhill for the first mile (thank God it was downhill) and didn't get my HR up to the zone until the end of the first mile.
My watch beeped at 6:19 and my plan fell apart...

I ran the 2nd mile down and uphill and watched my heart rate go into "no-man's land" as Jack Daniels calls it- the space between Interval and Threshold. I decided I would do a 5k and not a 5 miler.

And then I changed my mind back to the 5 miler.
And I changed it again, back to the 5k
And again,
And again.

And my watch beeped at 6:35 for mile 2, so I knew I had better make it 5 miles, so that pace looked better.

Once more, I changed my mind. Maybe I could run a fast 3rd mile and get the pain over with. So I went faster. Until it started to hurt, and I changed my mind back to the 5 miler.

In the third mile, all pride was out of the way and I just wanted to end the "race". The third mile was over in 6:40.

What to do? I had plans to finish a longer run and this was not working well in my plan. It was a beautiful, cold clear day and I wanted to be running an easy run.

I wimped out at 3.11 and did the last .11 in 48 seconds. For a 5k of  20:22. (Not a PR. I have excuses a-plenty, but I shall keep them to myself)

Then I ran another 9 miles to finish the run on a happy note. :)

Bet you didn't know: 
The best part about a virtual race is that 
YOU decide whether it counts or not. 


Have you ever had indecision during a race? 
This isn't the first time I have had this problem! A virtual race gives many opportunities to change plans mid-race.  I have certainly considered quitting mid race. Many times.

43 comments:

  1. Eh, a virtual race is mentally more like a tempo, and a 20 minute 5k tempo sounds great to me. During real races I don't think much, but I'm indecisive all the time during training runs.

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    1. Ha! a 20 minute 5k tempo would be a slow tempo for you! In any case, it was a hard enough tempo for my calves to get sore while running yesterday :)

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  2. Sorry that things didn't go according to plan. I would have been over the moon with a 20 min 5 k, though - I've never been able to run that fast in my life! :)

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    1. Thanks karien!! Keep after it. Pushing a stroller is a workout in itself. :)

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  3. A race alone? That even sounds like it would suck. I'm sorry you felt so miserable out there; but as said above, your paces weren't TOO terrible. I think we've all be in "that place" where we are hating a workout and just want it over as quickly as possible. One of the advantages of having a coach is that he TELLS you what to do, taking out all the guess work. All the years I coached myself, I often ended up with a totally different workout than planned in the first 5 minutes of my run. Of course, devil's advocate would say that's a good thing because you are responding to what your body is trying to tell you. Of course, half the time my body is telling me to take a nap, so...

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    1. LOL at that last sentence! A coach's instructions would be nice to have sometimes...

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  4. During races, I wonder if I can do what I set out to do and if I should even try. That's when I need to be my own cheerleader!

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    1. You do pretty well at what you set out to, Tina!

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  5. I always run faster in a "real" race than a virtual one. Glad you can participate! It's fun to see how people are using it- some as tempo run accountability, or tracking progress, or whatever you want... no need to pr every time. :)

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    1. No need indeed. Thanks for hostessing, Laura!

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  6. I'm with Laura: I go faster in 'real' races for sure. Good on you for getting out there. I think I'm making 5ks my focus this year...

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    1. It would be fun to see how speedy you can get, Marcia!!

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  7. Indecision during a race? Um, yes! I do not like racing. One of the reasons I've convinced Ray that I just want to run the marathon and no races in between. I'm a bit of a head case. ha! Indecision during a virtual race or workout on my own? YES! Always harder to keep going and hit the paces when you are out there on your own. So much harder to get yourself in that GO mode. Good job getting a good workout in even if it isn't exactly what you wanted. I'm celebrating just running 3 in the middle of my 10 the other day and going sub 7 on two of them..ha! If you count 6:55 and 6:59 but it counts, right?! Now, on my last one, I'm pretty sure my heart rate was beyond that no man's land if I used my HR monitor like I should. I dropped the ball on that one. darn it. I should take it with me today. Good to read a Raina post.

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    1. Oh, wow!! I didn't realize you weren't going to race at all while training for this marathon. I have done that twice. and almost 3 times- until taper. It's a little scary, but can also build faith. workouts done well don't need to be races. Races just help predict.

      Glad to hear from you on training, Amanda!

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  8. I'm glad you have days like this too! I admit that I enjoy virtual races every now and then (I'm in the 5 by the 5th too), but I don't take them as seriously as real races that I've paid for. Usually I just embed them in scheduled runs and take the middle miles as the "race". My New Year's race shows you that I am nowhere near fast, even for me, right now.

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    1. Ha! Misery loves company :) I need to come see your new year's race. Wasn't it a prediction run??

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  9. I cannot even count how many times I have wanted to quit in a real race. I think at some point in every race I have that thought cross my mind. I was joking with Matt about it the other night and he admitted that it is one of my downfalls. I made the comment maybe I should see a sports psychologist and he agreed with me! LOL. What the heck? I didn't think I was that crazy!

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    1. It's funny he agreed!! Actually, I think a sports psychologist would be very helpful and probably worth every penny. Happens to be one I like to read right HERE :)

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  10. After all the miles you put in in December I don't know how you are still standing. You rock if you ask me!

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    1. Thanks Michael! I'll attribute this rocking race to you and your challenge!

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  11. I love that you pinned on an old race bib! Do you save them a special way? I never know what to do with all the race medals and bibs.

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    1. I have seen some great uses for them, but I just end up stashing them wherever, and later filing them to an underwear drawer. :)

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  12. Haha, I love the back and forth banter with yourself on the distance. I've done this many times, only it's "do I quit now or finish?"

    You'll always run faster in a real race when there's competition and adrenaline rushes. I think you did fantastic...can you send me some of those speedy leg juice my way?!?

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    1. I think it's illegal to send that stuff in the mail! haha

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  13. This made me laugh bc I play so many games with myself during training. I always start out by saying that I can always stop during a hard tempo, or see how I feel, etc - I never do stop but it makes it easier to attempt runs that seem intimidating! As far as racing goes, part of the reason why I don't like racing is that, well, I can't tell myself that I can stop, ha!

    That is an impressive pace after a ton of miles and no speed work, Raina!

    About the no men's land HR - funny how Hudson believes that one can improve the quickest by running 10 beats above MAF HR, which is a bit of a no men's land for Daniels.

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    1. I should try your trick. Maybe if I tell myself I can stop before I go into it, I will not want to! In a real race, I never stop of course...(though I thought about it once in a very long 5k, and walked a lot more than I should have in Boston 2011)

      We really need to chat about MAF. I don't have your Hudson book :( .What I read online is 180-age +5- which would be 147 (Don't like the age formula- way too high for me for easy).

      I use heart rate reserve, so my top end "easy aerobic" is 138, Threshold numbers are 141-157..so I guess adding 10 points would put me at 148 (in the Daniels/Pfitz Threshold zone), but I was above that for this "race".

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    2. So...we are training more alike ? than I thought ?

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  14. I chuckle at the fact that you think your paces were slow. I'd kill for those right now. I've never done a virtual race, but sounds like it's a win, win! Then to finish up with a 9 miler, ha! You definitely inspire!!!

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    1. Thank you, Tyarra! It was fun to "race" even if it was just a push for me out of my comfort zone. I like to race fully trained.

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  15. I think the virtual aspect of a race like this makes it hard to commit 100% and hard to push yourself as hard as you would otherwise (especially when you haven't completely decided on a distance). It was a strong run no matter what. :)

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  16. Usually in a real race I'm committed (and thinking I SHOULD be committed), but during training runs my head is all over the place...trying to go faster, then thinking, hey just run an easy run, then trying to go faster. Ugh.

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    1. Oh! So it sounds like you prefer a bit of threshold or marathon pace intervals! :) Or a fartlek- my favorite :)

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  17. You are so speedy! I had to laugh because I did the same thing this week on a run and couldn't decided if I wanted to make it hard and short or long and easy. I also went short and hard! (well hard for me a walk in the park for you ;)

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    1. It is hard to make up your mind sometimes! :) Thank goodness we can run more than once a week and have a little of everything.

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  18. Sorry I missed that one - love 5ks. I haven't run a PR since '92, so I'm used to not always running a PR ;-)

    On the indecision question, in races, never indecisive about finishing (but that means some ugly positive splits at times). I think it was Deek who said he never gave himself the option of DNFing a race. Having that mindset helps one relax. In training though, yes. Sometimes I've modified an interval session or time-trial during the running - but I like to think that's being sensible and listening to my body.

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    1. You make some good points about modifying- and this really was more of a time trial, as you imply.

      I haven't really raced enough to need to DNF, but if there were a second chance ahead and I had a crummy day happening (like so many at Boston 2012) I would pull the plug.

      Guessing that 92 was a good year :) Over to check out your blog!!

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  19. I have yet to try a virtual race. While I would miss having the other participants around to give me a rush, I would like the fact that I can do it at any time and without worrying about everyone checking out my results to see just how slow I am! Haha!

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    1. Best part...no results reported unless you happen to write a blog post!

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  20. As others have said, I would kill for paces like that! I kind of like virtual races. It puts some motivation into my regular runs. Haven't done one in awhile, though. I'll have to be on the lookout for one.

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  21. I think that is a pretty good time for a virtual race...I have to join the crowd and say I dream of those splits. Good job on another 9 miles. Each run or race teaches us something!

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  22. Ha! If it isn't written specifically on paper, I have a hard time making up my mind what I'm doing during a run. Basically, I have a hard time with any coherent thought process while running. But that was a strong run, followed by 9 miles. Pretty darn good training day.:)

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  23. Your inner monologe sounds a lot like what I would tell myself. It was very entertaining. :) Do I ever have indecision during a race? Every time. It's painful so I say to myself why am I doing this??? Then the race is over and I forget about how painful the racing part is. :)

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