Or “how to get an award for running slow”
Well, my first official 5k race was…a learning experience. As it is in most cases, I’m sure. The race was pretty small in size, and I actually got 2nd in my age group and was the 4th overall woman. Given my time, this is only an example of how slow the field was overall and not at all a representation of my speed. Not gonna lie, it was still kiiinda cool to be handed a plaque after I crossed the finish line even if I didn’t totally feel like I earned it. The hubster was running the half marathon event of the race, so after I finished and cooled down a little I jogged about a mile and a half back up the course and cheered for the half marathon participants (it was so quiet! Very few spectators) until he passed by. He was struggling so I ran with him the last mile or so to the finish area, which was pretty fun.
Thing I learned in my 24:20 minutes of pain (and the preceeding minutes)
- I went out way too fast and got caught up in the start. My first mile was roughly a 7:15, which I would have loved to run for all three, but I’m just not that strong right now. My second mile was 7:58 and my third mile-point-one and change (actually the race when mapped out on gmap-pedometer comes to 3.17 miles, which lowered my per mile split by 10 seconds, but who’s counting) was a speedy 8:58. YIKES! Those are some nasty positive splits. Had my first mile been more around 7:40 I think my splits would have been much more even. Next time.
- It is not worth sacrificing your warm-up to make sure you start at the front of a gun-timed race. Or maybe it is. I’m not really sure, all I know is that a) I did NOT warm up properly b) it is much more necessary to warm up for a 5k than a longer race and c) I felt like crap pretty much the entire 3 miles, which I blame partly on the lack of warm up. I do realize that I may not have gotten second if I’d started further back, then again, I may have run faster overall.
- I really need to strengthen my posterior chain. aka my hamstrings/glutes/calves.
- Eleven-year-olds are speedy little suckers. Yes, little kid that I drafted off of for the last 2 miles, I’m talking to you. I checked the race results, you’re 11 even though you look like you’re eight. At one point around mile 2.5 he passes his coach, and, without sounding out of breath at all asks “how much further coach?” Coach:”about 3/4 mile” Me: cursing under my breath. Kid:”Thank you!” Meanwhile I’m breathing like a horse and trying with all my might not to let my body slow down to the pace it wants to run. Getting beat by an 11 year old in a 5k is almost as bad as getting beat by a 71 year old in a marathon. I’m really hoping someday soon I can showcase the race picture taken around mile 2 that shows us running together, me most likely with a look of pure misery on my face and him looking like he’s skipping through a field of flowers.
- I could also use some work on my mental toughness. This was a tough race, mentally, I think. As I said, it was a small race, with very few spectators and even fewer cheering spectators. Basically you were running in complete silence, on a road with woods (aka no scenery) on either side, with just a few people running around you. Even though my pace slowed drastically I was only passed by a couple people (all men). It was a race without distraction, which means it required the utmost of mental toughness. And when that coach told that little kid that we had 3/4 of a mile left I could just feel my brain slipping. And I let it go, a little bit. “Screw it. You’re getting beat by an 8 year old, you just slowed down by 45 seconds on your last mile, you’re not going to beat your time-trial 5k time, just give up” And I think I did slow down a little bit for a few seconds before I snapped myself back with a little mental math that was probably incorrect given my blood oxygen levels that showed me a way I could PR if I ran a certain time on this last little bit.
- I wanted to run a faster time than 24:20, and I was definitely disappointed when I saw that time-clock.And a little embarrassed. I don’t want to be that slow. But there were definitely some positives that came out of this race.
My favorite things about this race:
- Races, especially small ones, remind me how awesome the running community is. All runners (or most I guess I should say) are friendly. There were so many random people that we just started up conversations with today, from the line in the porta-potty to the start line to the post-race tent, everyone talks to each other and I just think it’s such a cool environment.
- I had a kick at the end of the race. Inevitably at the end of every race I’ve run I’m neck and neck with someone, usually another female. I always vow to drop them, and I always get dropped. My kick is not something to fear, by any means. Basically it’s non-existant. But today, once again, I was neck and neck with a woman and I said NO! And I beat her. And it felt really good… until I looked at the time-clock and saw how slow I’d run.
- This race made me want to run more, and run faster. Which I guess is really all I could ask for. I didn’t train for this 5k specifically, I wanted to use it as a benchmark as I build a base going into training for the Cleveland Marathon. I’m coming back to running from a very busy summer/year that did not include much consistent weekly mileage, so I’ve been ramping it back up for the past 6 weeks or so. This was a great, albeit painful, motivating factor for me to keep getting that mileage in so I can get faster and get where I want to be. Sweet!
OK, Enough about running. How about some homemade Granola?
This granola recipe is the one my mom made for us growing up, and it is D-E-LICIOUS! It’s from the cookbook Whole Foods for the Whole Family, and our cookbook at home does not have that creepy mustached man on the cover, who’s idea was that? I doubt it was grown in support of Mo-vember. Anyway, you can use a variety of ingredients to make this granola your own, but I bolded the ones that my mom/I use when making her version.
Start with 5 to 6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats.
Add 6 cups total of any or all of these:
- soy flour
- whole wheat flour (1 cup)
- wheat germ
- rolled wheat flakes
- sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds (1 cup of one of these)
- non-fat dry milk powder (1 cup)
- shredded coconut (1 cup)
- unsalted nuts, chopped (almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans) (1 cup)
- 1 cup bran
- 1/2 cup millet
- 1/4 c soy grits
- 2 T nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
Heat in a large roasting pan: (in the oven or I just heat it on the stovetop. since I don’t use butter it doesn’t take much heat for these to become thinned)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 – 1 cup oil or 2 sticks butter
- 1/2 – 1 cup honey, molasses or maple syrup, or any mixture of these (I use 1/2 cup each of honey and maple syrup)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
When liquid mixture is warm and thinned, begin adding dry ingredients. (I actually mix all the dry ingredients first and then just pour the liquid mix into the dry ingredients and stir well…guess that makes it multiple-pan granola but oh well)
Toast right in the roasting/mixing pan! (I use a jelly roll pan, it’s OK if the granola is kind of heaped on the pan because you will stir it…a lot.)
Bake at 250 degrees for approximately 2 hours, taking out and stirring every 20 minutes.
When the cereal is cool you could always mix in up to 2 cups of dried fruit like raisins, apple, or apricots, but this stuff is way too good without that. Extremely good with some yogurt or milk for breakfast or, if you’re like me and my little brother, just eat all the big clumps out of the container as a snack 🙂
Happy Sunday, I’m off to experiment with Butternut Squash again. I’ll let you know how it goes…