Autumn Leaves 5 Miler With a Side of Cough

Miscellaneous

Life has happened.

Work is a mad house. We moved into our new apartment. My parents moved to Cincinnati. I’m planning one of my best friend’s bridal showers and helping with the wedding in December. I’ve been incredibly sick and coughing for over three weeks… I’m not even going to pretend that I haven’t fallen way behind on training and running. In the past three weeks I’ve had two workouts: 1.) I jumped on a trampoline for about 6 minutes before I coughed up both lungs 2.) I ran a five mile race, which was hell.

After last year’s post marathon 4-month hiatus, I was determined not to let it happen again this year. Sure I didn’t need to be running 20 miles every weekend, but a 10-12 miler here and there and hitting the gym a few days a week wouldn’t hurt. I know it has only been three weeks, but I can already feel my decreased fitness level, not to mention my diet has been awful, which in turn makes me feel awful.

I finished up some antibiotics a few days ago and I am slowly starting to feel better. I still have an obnoxious cough though and I’m nervous to run or do any vigorous, long-term activity.

Last weekend I ran the Northeast Running Club’s Autumn Leaves 5 Miler at Lake Farmpark because A.) I had already signed-up and paid for it B.) I wanted to knock out my November race ASAP since I hate running in cold weather.

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The race was muddy and cold, but it was manageable. I didn’t talk to anyone. I was simply there to run the race, get it over with and go home. I started off SUPER slow because I didn’t want to be coughing the entire race. Anytime I coughed a little bit, I slowed my pace even more. My finishing time was embarrassing compared to the five miler I ran back in April, yet someone I placed second in my age group. (What a joke.)

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I ran straight through the finish line to my car, where I coughed hysterically in semi-private. At one point I looked over and saw a man cleaning off his shoes (because the course was incredibly muddy) and he was eying me cautiously, probably wondering if I was about to die or not. I wanted to shout “WHAT!!? HAVEN’T YOU SEEN SOMEONE COUGH BEFORE? DON’T LOOK AT ME!!” but instead I took off my muddy shoes, got in my car and continued coughing.
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Since we moved to a new area we bought new gym memberships. The fiancé has gone a few times this week while I’ve stayed home and gotten the apartment under control (we’ve been there less than a week now). I am planning on going to the gym tomorrow if it rains, but if it doesn’t I’m going to go on a slow, “exploring the city” 5 miler. We’ll see how the weather turns out and how I feel come tomorrow morning. I just hope I can enjoy some sort of activity without coughing like I smoked for 50 years. Tonight we are having the sister-in-law over for drinks and dinner and continuing to unpack and get our lives under control.

Life is happening that’s for sure and I am going to make it a priority this next week to fit in workouts, work on my diet and try to see opportunity in all the new changes and challenges life is throwing at me.

Keep running!

Cleveland Half Marathon Review & Preparing to “TRI”

Miscellaneous

SPOILER ALERT: They changed the course this year and although I only ran it once before in 2013, compared to last year, it didn’t meet my expectations.

2014 Cleveland Half Marathon Review:

  • Cleveland has been obsessed with the new Cleveland Convention Center lately, and to be honest, it’s really not that amazing. Yes it looks pretty, but this was the Cleveland freaking Marathon – it should have stayed right there in front of Lake Erie, in front of the Cleveland Browns Stadium and in front of the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Instead they pushed us into Public Square to start the race and then crammed us into the green by the new Convention Center to end the race.
  •  The corals leading up to the start of the race were irrelevant and it was packed to the brim. Starting in Public Square is overrated and was just a bad idea in general. We had way more room in front of the Browns Stadium last year, plus we were right on the water – it screamed Cleveland! This year we were smashed between buildings and unable to see anything around us.

    Smashed into corals pre-race

    Smashed into corals pre-race

  • The crowd support wasn’t as great as I expected. I read somewhere that the reason the course changed was to get MORE crowd support, ironically.
  • One of my favorite parts about last year was entering the Shoreway stretch into Lakewood and looking ahead and seeing a giant swarm of runners heading up the hill. It was amazing and inspiring to see. This year they threw that hill and highway stretch in for the last 1.5 miles of the course. Nothing was more suffocating than a hill at mile 11 and seeing nothing but a stretch of bland highway ahead of you. At this point runners were all spread out and struggling and it didn’t have the same inspiring effect as last year.
  • In 2013’s course, I loved crossing the bridge from Tremont and heading back into the city past Progressive Field. I loved turning the corner on St. Clair and heading down to the finish line. The 2013 course winded and twisted runners around the buildings of downtown Cleveland and you could hear the finish line as you grew closer and closer. This year, the finish line appeared out of nowhere after a grueling highway hill. There was nothing special. No magic. No inspiration.
  • The entire course was reversed compared to 2013. At mile three this year we were passing a church and neighborhood block party passing out beer that we had passed at mile 11 the year before. The whole thing mentally threw me off.
  • The finish line straight was super narrow and I had a hard time getting around other runners while I was trying to sprint it out.
  • Despite how awful I thought the course was, I still managed to set a new PR time for a half – and so did the fiance! My new PR is 2:11. (Next I’m going for 2:05.)
Still managed to set a new PR!

Still managed to set a new PR!

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but the race really did not meet my expectations this year. Maybe I set them too high though. Last year this was my first half marathon ever and the entire sport of competitive running was brand new to me. Regardless, I favored 2013’s course and I hope they switch some things around based off of people’s comments – because from what I heard – the hill during the last 1.5 miles was not a crowd favorite. I still love Cleveland though and I imagine I’ll be back next year.

The three amigos flexing at mile 3

The three amigos flexing at mile 3

So what’s next?

Well… I’m doing it… My first triathlon! I’m two weeks out from The Great Western Reserve Triathlon on June 8th in Ravenna. Of course I’ll be doing the Sprint Distance – 750 meter swim (.46 mile), 13.1 mile bike ride and 3.1 mile run. I’ve been training for about three months and although I’ve gotten better at swimming in that time, I’m still incredibly nervous and intimidated by the open water.

This past weekend I did my trial run-through in which I completed the entire distance in all three sports. I finished everything (including transitioning) in 1:53. I set my goal to finish in around 2 hours, although I won’t be mad if I don’t make that time. My main goal here is to not drown during the swim! As soon as my feet hit the solid ground after that swim on race day I will be one happy girl! My trial run-through gave me confidence that I can compete in the swim, but I have a tendency to focus more on time and just trying to get it over with. When I think like this my form gets sloppy and I quickly become exhausted. As long as I remain cool, calm and collected and I swim with good form then I’ll be good to go, but if I panic and flop around trying to stay afloat I’m done for. Worrying about the swim has seriously kept me up at night lately, but I have to remain in control of my fears.  I have to go into the race with the mentality that I will beast mode that swim and it will be a piece of cake. If I think and believe that I can do, then I’m already half way there.


In terms of the bike and run – I got this 🙂

More races coming up:

  • Mentor Flag Day 5K on June 11.
  • Lake Health Half Marathon in Kirtland on June 15 (I wanted to run this race last year, but it was all sold out when I went to register. It should be a nice, scenic run and I’ve heard good things about it.)
  • Woodland 5K in Kirtland on June 22 at the Holden Arboretum.

Lots of big races coming up! I’m so excited and nervous for all of them. Big things are happening and training is at an all-time high. (Is it weird that I get excited about waking up at 5AM to train!?)

This is what I love about summer – training and going out there and running your heart out at the race. I love summer and I love race season!

Train all winter, race all summer.

Miscellaneous

I think this might be the summer of races, and I’m not mad about it either.

I’ve ran a couple races the past three weeks and have so many more marked down on my calendar over the next couple months. The boyfriend and I seem to be in an official racing kind of lingo lately. There’s just something so exciting about running a race. The registering, the bib number, lining up, the mile markers, the crowds, the excitement. I love hearing pace times being yelled out, running along side complete strangers and the cheers as you sprint the last few feet into the finish line. Anyone who trains all winter on a treadmill is really missing out if they don’t run any of the races offered in the summer around Northeast Ohio. I mean we only get four nice months of weather anyways, so as a runner you better take advantage of it!

I ran a 10K in Northfield two weeks ago. You could run either a 5K or a 10K. All proceeds from the race went to stop human trafficking and it was put on by a local church. The race size was relatively small, but the route included mostly bike trail running and a few good hills. My mom walked the 5K and set a new PR for herself! I finished the 10K in just under an hour, which I was happy about. More info on the race can be found here.

Mom and I after the race.

Mom and I after the race.

Yesterday night the boyfriend and I got a group of friends together to run the Mentor Flag Day 5K. It was supposed to storm, but it actually only ended up sprinkling as everyone started to cross the finish line. The event included post race food, which was awesome. I set a new PR for my 5K time (26:45), which isn’t amazing, but the last 5K I didnt was in December and my time was 34 something, so I’ll take it. The race was on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., which I actually really liked after a long work day. This is a great family event too. More information on the race can be found here.   

America!

America!

I really wanted to run The Lake Health Half Marathon this Sunday, but the race is sold out. Why they stop accepting entries? I’m not sure, but I’m pretty bummed. Plus the race was only a cool $50 compared to other halfs AND only 15 mintues from my house, but oh well.

This week marks 16 weeks out from the Akron Marathon. I’ve tossed around the idea of trying to run the full, but it’s not set in stone yet. I’m following a bare minimum training schedule for a full, but who knows if I’ll just stick with the half instead. The mileage is way down to only 18 miles a week right now, so it’s currently no big deal. We’ll see what happens I guess!

I hope everyone is taking advantage of summer and running a few races!

Keeping Running!