Monday, September 24, 2012

Race Recap: Miracle Miles 5K

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. I sure did! The highlight of my weekend would have to be running in the Miracle Miles 5K on Saturday morning. The race benefitted the NICU at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies and through a few generous donations from family and friends, I was able to raise almost $200 on my own to support such a great cause.

6 weeks ago I could hardly run a mile without struggling and I'm so happy to say that I successfully ran the 5K on Saturday. I ran all 3.1 miles, not even slowing down when I grabbed a cup of water from the volunteers somewhere after the 1 mile marker. I was so committed to running the whole thing, I convinced myself I could sip and run, which resulted in me pouring water down my shirt. Oh, this wasn't a wet t-shirt contest and 5K? I didn't get the memo...

I finished the race in 32:30 and I'm pretty satisfied with that time. I've only run one other 5K and that was back in 2010. I ran that one in about 34 minutes. I also didn't prepare for that one as much as with this one and I'm overall in much better shape than I was then. Comparatively, 32:30 is a huge improvement, but I am looking to get closer to 30 minutes in my next race.

I recruited my roommate to run with me. We were side-by-side
the whole race and I loved crossing the finish line with this girl!
I went into the race feeling pretty anxious. I had my training for the week of the race specifically planned out. I planned to run at least 5K on Tuesday, take a break and do about 4 miles on the elliptical on Wednesday, run 5K on Thursday and take Friday off. After a great run on Tuesday morning, I came down with a nasty stomach bug and wasn't able to work out at all on Wednesday or Thursday. To top it off, I was down 4 lbs in just two days from being sick and felt pretty weak from all of that. I obviously couldn't run on Friday with it being just one day before the race, so I was feeling a little....unprepared.

I felt really great at the start of the race. If I am going to get cramps while I run, they usually hit pretty quickly and I felt fine from the start. I felt comfortable with my pace and to play it safe, chose to stick to it although it felt a little slow. The first mile and a half was really a breeze, but I struggled for the remainder of the race. I used to struggle with the simple act of running. My calfs would get so sore and I would struggle with cramps and general pain. This wasn't the case on Saturday. For the first time in my life, I felt like my legs could go on for miles and miles. I didn't feel any soreness or cramping. What I struggled with for the last mile and a half was my breathing.

I've read a lot about how to control your breathing while running and I can't seem to stick to it. It's the same reason why I found yoga so challenging at first. If I lose control of my breathing for a second, I have such a hard time getting it under control again. I honestly feel like the entire 3.1 miles could have been a piece of cake if it weren't for my breathing, so that is something I obviously need to focus on improving.

There were several times I thought about taking a short walking break, but I'm so glad I didn't. It's a perfect example of not letting my thoughts get the best of me. Seeing the finish line with about 1/2 mile to go was such a relief and knowing I made it that far only motivated me to finish strong.

Overall, the race was a blast and I'm so glad I'm at a stage where I can run a full 5K. I have a few more races I plan to participate in throughout the fall and winter, so I can only imrove on this one. I'm feeling more confident in my running ability than I ever have before so I'm super psyched!

Tell me...

What do you struggle with most when you run? Any tips on getting my breathing under control?

8 comments:

  1. Thanks SO much for posting this! My first race is Friday and I'm nervous about my cramps, breathing, muscle soreness, and just about anything that can go wrong. I'm really glad to hear you talk about the breathing problems because I feel the same way when I run! I have to focus so hard to keep it in check. Congratulations on completing your race with great time!

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    1. Oh, and for breathing tips: What I found works for me is to do a "2-2" cadence, where I take a 2-beat breath in for every step (1 step is left foot, right foot) and a 2-beat breath out for every other step. I just focus and count until it's happening naturally.

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