Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Weekend Races

With chilly temps, cloudy skies and arctic winds, this weekend marked an official welcome to winter racing. I raced two 5ks - the Town Bank Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and The Big Chill on Sunday.

My major takeaway from the two races: I'm out of shape for racing 5ks!

Here's how the two races went down:

Town Bank Turkey Trot
This was a cold, cloudy morning to race. I wore an old pair of Oiselle Lesley Knickers, a Wazelle Long Sleeve and topped it off with Oiselle Feather Trials Hoodie. I was a tad worried about overheating during the race but ended up wishing I had also added a scarf or neckwarmer to the ensemble. The wind was brutal!

Anyhow, the race ended up being pretty slow for me. There were a few slick spots (bridges, wooded trails, etc.) and I decided to slow down to avoid falling. I also just wasn't feeling a crazy fast race. Despite the chill, I enjoyed running through such a pretty area. Toward the end of the race, I became aware of two ladies that were running near me. They both passed me in the third mile but I was able to pretty easily latch on and then kick past them in the stretch to the finish. 

My race stats:

Time: 22:49
Pace: 7:22 min/mile
Age Group Place: 2/XX
Gender Place: 9/XXX

My AG prize

Despite the slow time, I was okay with the result. The goal was to run at medium-hard effort and I felt I achieved that with the race!

The Big Chill
Earlier in the week, the forecast showed a nice sunny day with temps in the low 40s for this race. But by the time Sunday arrived, it was a cloudy, windy day with temps in the low 30s with a real feel in the low 20s. Brrr. So another day of bundling up in capris and a sweatshirt. 

I'll admit, I was kind of dreading this race all week. I'm not a fan of the course (it winds through an industrial park) and remember the building runners wait in before and after the race as being unheated. I was at least wrong about the building part - it was a warm and pleasant place to wait before the race. The course though ... just as boring as I remembered. And a stiff headwind made stretches of the race really tough. 

I really wanted to run this one faster since it is part of the Winter Run Series and counts toward the series points, but my legs just wouldn't have any of it. So it was slow going. I should have been smarter about tucking into a group to make the race a bit easier but ended up running alone for the most part. There were a few other people around me but no one close enough to share the wind burden with!

Here are my race results:

Time: 22:28
Pace: 7:15 min/mile
Age Group Place: 2/43
Gender Place: 10/XXX

Mom and I after the race with our AG medals!

So faster than Thanksgiving but not by much and not as fast as I wanted. But after chatting with Coach Matt, I do feel a bit better about the races. He pointed out that we haven't worked on 5k speed in a long time so it's going to take some work before it returns. As fitness improves, speed will improve as well.

Since Lakefront Marathon, I've pretty much been running without any specific goals. But now, my goal is clear - regain speed! Ha, if for no reason other than getting out of the cold faster at these winter races ;)

My questions for you:
  • What are your running goals for the winter season?
  • What workouts do you do to help regain speed?
  • What is your favorite holiday indulgence?

I can't stay away from Christmas cookies when they're within sight. So mine go straight into the freezer so I can control my portions by taking out only a few at a time :)

- ST


  1. Even though your times weren't as fast as you hoped, the races served there purpose by giving you a goal to chase after! It's super tough to go from training for longer races to all of a sudden jumping into shorter ones like that. I know I would probably be no where close to getting a 5k PR if I were to race one now with half marathon training! You're smart with the freezer haha Christmas cookies are my weakness too! :)

    1. That's what I've been reminding myself of although you know how it goes! At least it is something to work at this winter :)

  2. Great job on the races, love the pic of you and your mom!
    I think you did fabulously, even though you said they are slower times than you would have liked. But that's really the great thing about winter, time isn't really something to PR on in freezing temps, so just going out and enjoying the race can sometimes be the best part about winter races and running:) okay, so that is how I think of winter running, haha others may not agree:)

    1. I think you're right! I did have fun at the turkey trot even though I ran slower. It was nice to remember the scenery after a race for once :)

  3. I so love that you and Mom get to run so many races together. I bet you guys can even share Oiselle gear!

    1. I'll admit ... we may have more than one matching Oiselle outfit ;) Mom recently joined The Flock, which is perfect since she has nearly as much Oiselle as me!

  4. Out of shape or not, you are still really fast!!! Congrats! I'm so jealous that your mom runs races too! I wish I could get my mom to do the same.

    1. Thanks Nicole! I bet your mom would maybe try a 5k with you - that's how my mom got started :)

  5. I'm running an ultra in January. Then I'll start training for Boston.
    I run track once a week and add tempo runs when I'm needing to gain some speed.
    Indulgence: my Gran's cookies!!

    1. Wow, an ultra in January is definitely motivation to stay fit over the holidays - good for you! :)

  6. Great job on the races! I'm sure you'll get back to 5k speed in no time! My goal for winter running is to get my mileage back up and gain some speed. I think I'm going to stick to conquering half marathons next year, before I attempt another full. I've been doing a lot of HIIT classes at the barre code and I've noticed that has helped me maintain a steady/faster pace while running, even though it's an aerobics class (no running). Cookies are also my weakness. I like the idea of sticking them in the freezer. I'm going to have to try that!

    1. Maria, I'm about to check out your blog to read your Thanksgiving recap! I agree that classes can help improve running fitness even if there's no actual running. Plus, they are a nice break from the usual routine and it's fun to workout with others :)