NBA Fit Run Walk Dribble 5k Race Recap

Alternate titles for this post include: The 5k Time Trial, A Picky Bar PR, a PR to be Proud Of, and the more wordy but equally accurate Why You Should Always Stay in a Hotel That’s 0.3 Miles From The Start.

This weekend I travelled with hubster to the NBA All Star weekend (which he was working). While the weekend was mostly enjoyable, it was exhausting. I was not anticipating the crowds (rookie mistake) or feeling like I needed to have on full makeup at all moments of the weekend (spoiler alert: while I did wear makeup to the games, otherwise my face was naked). If there’s one thing my mother gave me (second spoiler alert: she gave me a lot more than one thing) its the confidence to go makeup free when others are dolled up, and wear whatever I want (*cough* Oiselle hoodie *cough*) when others are in mini-dresses and 8 inch heels. SERIOUSLY how do you walk in those!?!?!?

clockwise: elevator decal, me+kyrie, event tickets, best mexican restaurant in Houston, Astros Field that we snuck into, Hubster on the jumbotron.

clockwise: elevator decal, me+kyrie, event tickets, best mexican restaurant in Houston, Astros Field that we snuck into, Hubster on the jumbotron.

Of course the top highlights of the weekend included being super proud of the hubster, watching  the Cavs guys in action, and seeing all the hoopla associated with the weekend, but ranking right up there was the 5k I ran on Saturday. I was really excited (and, admittedly, a little nervous) for this 5k. Even though I’m in the midst of marathon training I knew I’d gained LOADS of fitness since the last time (and first time) I ran one and I was excited to practice “racing”.

***Cliff Notes Version of wordy post below: I PR’d by just under 2 minutes, got 2nd in my age group, 6th overall female, and most importantly finally ran a race and a time I was proud of: 22:17.***

Let’s rewind a little bit though…We arrived in Houston on Thursday, and after hubster had some meetings (during which I blogged and napped) went to dinner at the House of Blues where I had a delicious steak salad. We walked around the area where we were staying (not impressed) and made our way back to the hotel. I was in the comfy hotel bed, snuggled up with about 12 pillows by 8:45pm (which, OK, is really 9:45pm with the time change but still pretty impressive). IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Friday was a very enjoyable day. I bought coffee and oatmeal from the hotel lobby ($10 for the two, what a crime.), went on an enjoyable shakeout/easy run (in shorts!), had a delicious lunch at a cute Mexican restaurant (best meal of the trip), and then just relaxed until going to the rising stars game that night. All thoughts of the 5k were controlled – I let myself think about it, but always finished with visualizing myself doing something successful – whether I imagined a strong surge when the pain started, imagined keeping my mind strong, imagined a good start, I didn’t let myself dwell. I also didn’t let myself think about a “final time”.

The grossly overrated $6 oatmeal from the hotel lobby, and then the best and freshest lunch ever. When in Houston go to Irma's Southwest Grill. Best "lemonade" ever. (it's like fruit-ade!) and their guac and chile rellenos weren't too shabby either.

The grossly overrated $6 oatmeal from the hotel lobby, and then the best and freshest lunch ever. When in Houston go to Irma’s Southwest Grill. Best “lemonade” ever. (it’s like fruit-ade!) and their guac and chile rellenos weren’t too shabby either.

After the game is when the whole “OMG the day before the race is going perfect!” thing fell apart. I wanted to wait to eat dinner so I could do so with hubster (plus we’d had a late, large lunch). Unfortunately, by the time he got back to the hotel it was 11. It was packed with people everywhere, and there are not a lot of gluten-free friendly places in Houston, especially around where we were. We went down to try to get something in the hotel bar, but the only viable option was a $20 shrimp cocktail. No. Thanks. I went back up to the room, downed some tostitos chips and my 3rd picky bar of the day, and called it a night. Solid pre-race dinner. I tried to go to sleep but didn’t end up falling asleep until after 1 am. Strangely, I wasn’t worried. I knew I’d gotten great sleep/food 2 nights before the race and I’d always been told growing up that what you did 2 nights before was more important than the night before. **Side note: Anyone else heard that? Any truth to it, besides that in my own mind?

I woke on race day at 6:30, threw on some sweats, bought some more overpriced coffee from the lobby, and walked the short distance to race start to pick up my bib and race t-shirt. Instead of the normal “t-shirt” we got these basketball practice jerseys that are actually pretty cool, though I’m not sure i’ll ever wear it. After packet pick the best thing ever happened – I went back to the hotel. I relaxed and drank my coffee, pinned on my bib, donned my race gear, read some 5k recaps from this girl to get pumped (is that weird?), had my last 1.5 Lauren’s Mega Nuts Picky Bars (sniff, can’t wait till next month), stretched, and then made my way outside to start my warm up around 8 (race was scheduled to start at 8:30). I was totally spoiled staying so close to the start, it’s hard to beat a morning like that!

Race day ready in Oiselle - PR city!

Race day ready in Oiselle – PR city!

The actual race

First lets take a look at the goals I’d laid out for myself the day before:


#1: Have a successful warm up. The warm up of my last 5k was not very good non existent, and I had talked at length with my coach about the warm up/my concerns. I timed everything based off the fact that things seemed to be running on time and the race would start very close to the time they said it would. Luckily, it was a small race (500 ish runners, I think) and well run and we started at 8:30 on the dot. I literally finished my last stride and wiggled my way up as close to the front as I could just in time for a few words from the mayor, the anthem, and then the gun. PERFECTION.IMG00362-20130216-1013

#2: Go out fast but not too fast. Right before the start a girl who looked like a pretty legit runner came up and stood next to me. We wished each other good luck and in my head I was praying we would be about the same pace so I could hang on to her. About 400 yards into the race, after the kids who started at a sprint and then stopped abruptly (one dead in front of me, I almost took him out) were out of the picture I did a pace check. I was around 6:50 min/mile, and I knew that was on the fast side of where I wanted to be. Then legit runner girl passed me and pulled ahead. While a tiny part of me said “hang on to her, you feel good” the rational part of me said “we need to keep this at a 7 min/mi pace to keep from imploding. And I let her go. Smartest move ever, pat on the back for Abbey. I had my watch set to take splits every half mile and the first half mile ticked by before I  knew it: 7:01 pace. PERFECT. The second half mile beep also came before I knew it: 7:06 pace. STILL ROCKING IT. I got ready to pass  people in mile 2…

#3: Smile every half mile. I sort of did this. With every beep of the watch it was more like this: “OK Abbey, another half mile down. Keep breathing. Stay relaxed. OH CRAP I’M SUPPOSED TO BE SMILING. {small smile} Yeah that’s good enough. It’s hard to smile when you’re breathing hard. But my heart is smiling. Does that count? Who cares, focus on your breath…” So I’m going to say this goal was loosely achieved. I thought about it at least?

#4: Pick off as many people as possible in mile 2. There was only one problem with this goal. By mile 2 there really weren’t all that many people around. I think I passed a couple guys but there definitely were no girls in sight. The only downside of running a smaller race is there are less people running at your pace. In looking at the results there were only a handful of guys that finished within 30 seconds of me, and no girls. Splits for the 3rd and 4th half mile: 7:11, 7:09. Still right on pace (I was shooting for a 7:10 avg pace)

#5: Start over every mile. I think I did pretty good with this mentally. I was surprised that the 2nd mile really wasn’t that bad, and I didn’t really “fall apart” until the 3rd mile. Yes, the 3rd mile was HARD. I was hurting and I was ALONE. There were two guys about 25 meters in front of me and I was trying my best to close the distance between them but I wasn’t going anywhere. Everything felt like it was in slow motion, time felt like it was moving backwards, the wind was picking up, my arms were getting heavy. This is where I lost it a little bit mentally. I was telling myself to push, to feel the pain and then run harder, but my legs didn’t seem to be going faster. My splits for the 3rd mile: 7:27, 7:28. Ouch.

I was surprised by my speed the last .1 – I ran it at 6:12 pace, which to me says that I had more in the tank to give during that 3rd mile. Or that I could have started my final sprint sooner. I’m not sure which.

Essentially, as soon as I got “comfortable feeling uncomfortable” the race was over. But as soon as I finished I got this overwhelming urge to train harder, keep getting faster, and do some big things. I learned a lot AND had a successful race and until now I didn’t think it was possible to do both those things in the same race. The best thing about this race was that even though I was right on my A+ goal (avg 7:10 pace) there were things that didn’t go right, things I could have done better. When I finished I realized there is still a lot of potential hiding in runner Abbey, and I am so motivated to keep drawing it out!

Then, in true Abbey fashion, I finished off the weekend with a complete FAIL run on Sunday. I had 10 miles easy on the docket but hubster had the morning off, so I spent it with him. By the time I set out for my run there were OMG so many people EVERYWHERE. Running outside was deemed impossible after 2.5 miles. I went inside to try the hotel treadmill and made it about .6 miles before I threw in the towel there, and then headed outside to eek out a solid 5 mile total for the day. Which, at the end of the day, I was totally OK with.

And now, in honor of my dreadmill run tomorrow at way-too-effing-early-o’clock, I leave you with this:

Thanks to Laurel Mathiesen for the pic!

Thanks to Laurel Mathiesen for the pic!

4 thoughts on “NBA Fit Run Walk Dribble 5k Race Recap

  1. A. I’m super jealous of your Oiselle outfit. I was just staring at those shirts online last night. Cute!!!
    B. Awesome job on your pacing and scoring a sweet new PR!!
    C. Which marathon are you training for?

  2. Pingback: Looking ahead (optimistically) | eat good, live good, feel good

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