Race Recap: It’s a race! It’s a long run! It’s the White Hall 15K!!

If you voted in my poll the other day…THANK YOU!! You helped me to make a very tough decision this weekend.

I think this qualifies as a landslide.

I think this qualifies as a landslide.

There were a couple other factors that led to my decision as well. For one thing, it snowed Friday. This snow was not gone on Saturday morning. After the temperature went up to about 60 degrees in the afternoon though, it was almost as if it never existed. (Thumbs up from me.) The forecast for Sunday ended up being a little warmer than Saturday morning and the winds were about the same.

Also – and I’ll go into this more in my training recap for the week – but starting on Tuesday night a chronic rotator cuff injury that I’ve been dealing with since I was a teenager flared up. The flare up was so bad that I would wake up in the middle of the night unable to move and screaming for my husband to come help me. It was scary. I needed the extra day to see if I could get the pain under control and by Saturday evening it wasn’t looking good.

Then I guess I figured out the correct ibuprofen/hydrocodone cocktail and woke up Sunday not-pain-free, but with a better range of motion than I had had all week. I figured I would give it a go. I wasn’t planning on actually racing anyway because this was all part of a longer long run so I didn’t even need to worry about doing my best. I just wanted to log the miles.

The race was at 8am. I woke up at 6 to medicate, tape my shoulder, eat a little breakfast and give myself enough time to get dressed because getting a sports bra on over my head had been a challenge the day before. I arrived to the NCR trail head at White Hall a little after 7am, paid my $2 to register, pinned on my second race bib of 2015 and prepared to knock out a few miles before the race start. I had never run north along the trail from this location and as it turned out I was in for a treat! It went through the Gunpowder Falls State Park. There was such beautiful scenery and beautiful waterfalls rolling past the trail. The temperature was a cool 35 degrees and I was feeling very little pain as I ran.

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I managed to get in a little more than 4 miles and when I arrived back at my car everyone was lining up to start. Perfect timing! I ate a few Stinger chews and found Sara. We hung out for a couple minutes before the airhorn sounded to kick off the race. Our club races are small, but there was a better turnout  this year than there was last year. We all got jammed up at the start, but pretty soon things fanned out.

One nice thing about the fact that I had already been out running (beyond being REALLY warmed up) was that I did not know exactly how far I had run or what my splits were like. I could have performed some simple math in my head to somewhat figure it out, but ain’t nobody got time for that. I preferred to enjoy the mystery and instead went by feel and without worry of time or distance at all. My watched beeped at each mile, but those beeps were for my own personal run. I hoped I wasn’t confusing anyone near me because they were not indicative of how long we had been on the course.

Despite the nasty weather we’ve had, the trail conditions were GREAT! There were a few spots with a bit of mud or standing water, but overall it was so much better than I ever would have anticipated. The temperature was pretty perfect too and they had two water stops set up along the way so that we would hit each twice (the course is an out and back). The volunteers were friendly  and boisterous which really added to a nice race experience for everyone.

I feel like this race flew by and it was so weird to come to the end with absolutely no idea what sort of time I was running. As it turns out, I finished in 1:14:35 (8:02 pace) and got second in my AG. Only 50 seconds less than my PR last year! It makes me kind of excited to do it again next year when I haven’t run 4 miles first/won’t have to worry about running an additional 6+ miles afterward! I wish I knew what my splits had been.

At the finish they had all sorts of awesome treats for us: drinks, bagels, fresh fruit…and I couldn’t enjoy any of it because I had to get going! I quickly slugged back a cup of Gatorade, refueled with the GU and chews I had with me, and bid farewell to my friends. More on how the rest of the run went later.

I love club races. They are always fun, the people are always nice, the volunteers are always great, and they are 2-freaking-dollars. Oh and often there is someone taking photos so you get a race pic or two for free.

white hall 15K

Cruising to the finish with a smile on my face!

The biggest downside to this race? When I arrived I overheard the race director saying that they had taken the port-o-john that usually sits at the White Hall trail head. And sure enough, it was gone. It had been there not even 12 hours before. WTF!? Who takes a port-o-john the night before there is an event scheduled right there!?

Or better yet, who just randomly takes the port-o-john EVER? That thing is ALWAYS THERE!

Interestingly enough, as I was leaving the house I suddenly thought that maybe I should bring some toilet paper along just in case. And this WOULD end up being the first time I’ve ever had to pee in the woods while out on a run. Oh well. Consider it a rite of passage and at least I had that TP.

Did you run or race this weekend? How did it go for you? 

I hope everyone has a great start to this new week!

xo,

Salt

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Race Recap: White Hall 15K…aka the Insta-PR!

Have you ever had one of those nightmares leading up to race day when you oversleep or get lost and somehow miss the start? I didn’t have one of those on Saturday night, but it did almost become my reality on Sunday morning.

I laid my flat self out the night before so that when my alarm went off at 6am I wouldn’t have to blindly rush around getting everything together and leave the house missing something important. Like say…my wallet a la last weekend.

flat salt

Knowing that it would be gloomy for start time on a trail with nothing green growing on it yet because spring has yet to really arrive here and MORE SNOW TOMORROW, I wanted to wear a lot of bright, happy colors. I think this outfit succeeded. I was dressed and out the door by around 10 of 7. The drive to the White Hall NCR trail area where the race was held should have theoretically taken me 20 minutes and start time wasn’t until 8. Getting there a little early would allow me to jog around on my ankle a bit to see what it could handle.

Good thing I gave myself some extra time.

The directions I had were somewhat vague and I didn’t realize I was lost for the first time until I had nearly crossed the state line into Pennsylvania. Panicking, I pulled over and searched frantically for another set of directions and almost started crying when I realized that the highway exit I needed was several miles before the one I had taken. I backtracked based on these new directions and got myself back on course, but then ended up lost AGAIN when I went the wrong way at a fork in the road. It was exactly like every pre-race bad dream I have ever had. I finally got myself where I needed to go with only a few minutes to spare.

Thankfully registration was easy because I had already signed up online, so I paid my $2 (LOVE CLUB RACES!) and collected my bib quickly. Then I went to stand in the long line for the lone port-o-john when the race directors started calling everyone over to the start. I looked at my watch: 7:58. ACK! Guess I would just have to hold it.

There were around 130 of us out there, so a little better attended than the freezing cold 8 miler in January and the weather was definitely more forgiving in the upper 30’s. We were given the rundown of the course, which was an out and back. They told us where we could expect some nasty conditions, which was something I had been afraid of after all the snow we have had. Then we were off! The start was pretty slow because at that point the trail is only a few feet across. After about a quarter mile, things spaced out a little and I was feeling pretty comfortable. My leg felt kind of weird, but not in a hurty way so I tried not to think about it too much.

Not long into the first mile I almost rolled one of my ankles and this would be a trend that would go on for the entire 9.4 miles of the race. Many people bike on this trail too and since the ground has been so wet I was constantly falling into tire tracks. And jumping over piles of horse dung (wheeeee!) because people ride their horses out there. Then the mud they told us about. And then the fallen trees which I hadn’t anticipated, but really didn’t mind having to go under and over because they added to that obstacle course-like appeal and made me feel a little like a badass.

Imperfect as some of the conditions were though, it really was beautiful out there.

At some point during the 2nd mile I started running alongside this one guy whom I had never met before and we ended up near each other until around mile 6 when I pulled ahead. We never actually spoke, but something about having him there made the race more pleasant. He had a really relaxed form and I felt like I was getting that laid back energy from him. At the finish we high-fived and he joked with me about what they must have had in the water at the hydration stop right before I had a little extra burst of speed.

I was feeling fairly good for most of the race, but as I hit the 7th mile I started to realize how much I have fallen out of shape in the past month+.  My ankle was the least of my worries; actually at that point it wasn’t bothering me at all. My legs were burning in a way that they haven’t for a very long time. My energy level was good – thanks, Energybits! – but my muscles were just so damn tired for the last couple miles. There was a woman up ahead of me that I had been gaining ground on for awhile, but after a certain point I gave up trying to catch up to her because it hurt and that’s not why I was out there yesterday. I would already have a PR when I finished anyway, and the thought of that was awesome.

My shiny new 15K PR that I learned last night was good for first place in my age group!

15kPR

I felt a little like I was going to throw up at the end, but I got it under control pretty quickly. I ate some GU that I had forgotten I had in my pocket and grabbed a water to sip on as I watched more people cross the finish. Just like the last BRRC event I attended, the volunteers were awesome and enthusiastic, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, and they had a great spread of post-race snacks out for everyone. All I could think about was a venti vanilla macchiato though so I didn’t hang out very long. Why do I crave giant specialty coffees so much after I run!?

I did snap a picture of the landscape though before hightailing it to Starbucks. Beautiful, but hopefully soon it won’t be so dead and brown looking.

landscape

Did I mention that we were getting more snow tomorrow? Because yeah. More snow tomorrow.

Have you ever gotten lost on the way to a race? Do you like wearing eye-searingly bright colors when you run? Are you getting more snow tomorrow?

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Saturday was beautiful and we actually got to play outside for awhile!

treeclimber

She’s so weird.

~ Salt

PRO Compression giveaway <—- HERE

Spring is here! {And so is my 15K!}

HEY EVERYBODY!! Just before 1pm today we finally get to bid this seemingly never-ending winter farewell. IT’S SPRING! Even the forecast for the next couple days seems to be doing it right:

weather

All the better to melt whatever remains of the snow and ice on the trail and turn it into a disgusting, muddy mess for my 15K on Sunday. This was the Saltmobile on Monday morning when I went outside to leave for work.

snowcar

Naturally the Saltmobile is white. PS. Her name is Blanche.

That’s just so not right. It’s also not right that after those three, pretty, sunny, warm-ish days the temperatures are going to dip back into the 40’s for the next week. 40’s is better than teens though so I should probably shut my face.

As I said, the White Hall 15K is this weekend and to be honest, I’m totally freaking out. This is the race that was supposed to go off earlier in the month and much to my excitement was postponed because of the onslaught of bad winter weather around here. This postponement was a wonderful gift and now everything was going to be PERFECT! But no. Now there has been a lot of melting since the random-pain-in-the-ass St. Paddy’s Day storm which I’m worried could lead to twisted ankles and total new shoe ruination on a sloppy trail. Then of course I was optimistic that the extra two weeks would give me some more time to heal and obviously I did a really good job of letting myself do that by running like I stole something in my race last weekend. Resting: You’re doing it wrong.

The worst part though – besides the obvious issues I’ve been talking about ad nauseam on here so I’ll spare you any more – is that I feel woefully under-trained. I ran my longest distance since February 12 on Tuesday: 6.2 miles on the treadmill. It wasn’t terrible. I finished strong, was able to walk afterward, and the fact that I consider something like that to be a big win is pretty sad. Anyway, I’m not sure how adding an extra 5K on to it would have worked out. I guess my only option is to go into this race with zero expectations, take it easy, and don’t do anything stupid.

Actually another option would be to not do it at all, but that’s not even an option so moving right along…

It’s not all doom and gloom!

There is a silver lining that I was reminded of this by my friend Amber at PB & PRs and her recent instant-PR 10 miler. No matter how I finish, this race will be a PR because I’ve never done a 15K before. I have nothing to compare my time to. It’s also nice to know that once I’m totally healed up – because I WILL be back to 100% hopefully sooner than later – it will be easy to beat myself.

I’m choosing to be optimistic. (I’m a coffee bean not a carrot.)

Start time: 8am.
Predicted start temperature: 37 degrees.
I guess I’d better not pack those running tights into the back of my closet just yet. Ugh.

Have you ever gone into a race feeling like you were seriously lacking in the training department? Are you as excited for spring as I am!?

~ Salt

PS: The PRO Compression giveaway is happening! Enter here!