SJ Giant Race

Last week, after some convincing by my good friend Leslie, Meg, Hillary and I found ourselves signed up for the SJ Giant Race on Saturday, June 1.  Yes, my first race in over two months (the last one was when I PRed at the 5k before giving in to my injury.)  With all of two days to mentally and physically prepare myself, my goal was to run hard, to see where my fitness was at.

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Race morning came and we met at 6am, and headed over the hill to San Jose.  We arrived and parked with only about 25 minutes to spare, and by the time we hit the bathroom, Leslie and I only had about 5 minutes to warmup for our 5k before we had to make our way to the front of the pack.  Hillary and Meg were running the five mile race as a progression run, so I did not get to run with them.

I started off really strong in the race.

Mile 1: 6:40

I felt good, and heading into the second mile I was still running strong.  But then, then it hit me.  The stomach of death.  And I started feeling crappy, and slowing down.

Mile 2: 7:01

By the time I was running the third mile, my body was dragging, my stomach was winning, and then we hit some grassy portions and cobblestones that made me watch my step as I was running.

Mile 3: 7:24

Then I saw the mile 3 sign and I started picking up pace — just .1 to go!  Oh wait, it was really like .2 to go.  Though I did love how we finished by running into the outfield of the SJ Giants stadium.

Time: 21:30

Hillary, Meg, Me, Leslie post-race

Hillary, Meg, Me, Leslie post-race

Though it wasn’t my best race, it was a fun one for sure.  I loved spending the morning at a race with my favorite SFM ambassador Meg, and two of my favorite SCE ladies, Hillary and Leslie (who won the 5k with a time of 19:40!!).  And officially meeting another fabulous Santa Cruz runner, Trinity, who took second in the 5k!

Meg, Leslie, Trinity, Me, Hillary post-race

Meg, Leslie, Trinity, Me, Hillary post-race

Once the results were posted, I was surprised to find out that my 21:30 got me 5th woman OA and 1st in my AG!  Nice surprise for a not-feeling-so-well race.  Yay!

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg & I post-race

I don’t want to downplay this, I know that I have become much faster and a better runner over the past year. I mean a year ago I was excited to run a 22:50 5k.  And now a 21:30 is ‘not-so-good’ race.  I know that I have come a long way, and am so proud and happy of my accomplishments.  But, I’m working hard for — and am really trying — to become stronger and faster.  I’m not disappointed in my performance, I’d just like to (for once) not have a stomach problems and perform to the best of my ability.  One thing is for certain: I need to figure out what the heck is up with my stomach these days.  I even took 2 immodium at 5:30am, and the only thing that did was make me constipated for the next two days.  TMI, you’re welcome.

What’s up next?  The Fabulous 5k at the SF Marathon on June 16, 2013.  And then, I’m headed south to Peru for a month, where I’m trying to find a road race, but will otherwise be focused on crosstraining sightseeing and getting in short runs when I can.

Will you be there SFM weekend?  If so, come look for me and all the other ambassadors at the Expo Friday & Saturday — and on the course, race day!

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A Different Kind of Race Weekend

This past weekend, I once again had the opportunity to be a part of the race committee of Surfer’s Path Marathon & Capitola Half Marathon & Relay.  It was its second year, and I was on the race committee last year, however this year was different — I couldn’t run so I took on a slightly different role.  Mainly, I was the registration/fix you entry/lost your bib/etc go-to woman.  I also orchestrated the registration/bib pick up volunteers alongside my good friend, and fellow SFM Ambassador Alisyn.

The start of Surfer's Path Marathon & Capitola Half Marathon & Relay

The start of Surfer’s Path Marathon & Capitola Half Marathon & Relay

Being on the committee side of a race is a completely different view of the world, and while I really wished I had been able to run this morning (I actually contemplated it for about five seconds before realizing running 13.1 miles after having run no more than 2 miles at a time in over 3 weeks, would be a HORRIBLE idea.  (<–I should get extra points for that, that are stored as minutes taken off my half PR the next time I race.  Just sayin’.)).

Having finished the race weekend, a second year on the committee, but this year a lot more involved hands on race weekend of the events and coordination, I have realized just how much goes in to making a race — especially a long distance race — happen.  There are so many logistics, so many volunteers needed, so much sponsorship and of course finding ways to show the runners you care about them and are proud of them without it being noticed how much work is actually going into it.  But let me tell you, it takes a lot of people and a lot of time and effort.  And I was amazed by how many people were out there and excited to make this a great experience for runners of all abilities.

Volunteers Working at 6am Raceday (Photo cred: Paulette)

Volunteers Working at 6am Raceday (Photo cred: Paulette)

So next time you run a race, thank at least one volunteer.  Without that person the race might not have happened or you might not have gotten ___fill in the blank___.

Me, Paulette & Alisyn after Saturday's Exp (Photo cred: Alisyn)

Me, Paulette & Alisyn after Saturday’s Exp (Photo cred: Alisyn)

At the end of the day though, well weekend, I have to say that being on the volunteer/committee side of the race is just as rewarding and tiring as running the race itself.  And although I love the racing side (and hope to be back soon), I enjoyed hanging out all weekend with Alisyn and Paulette (another SFM Ambassador), and Alisyn’s beau Matt, watching my team (including Meg) dominate the relay, seeing Laurel crush the half marathon, spectating Skinny Runner win the full marathon for the women, her friend R get a huge PR in the half marathon, and seeing all the smiling faces of all the runners finishing their first race or their fiftieth race.

Hillary, Laura, Meg & I post-race

Hillary, Laura, Meg & I post-race

I helped bring those smiles and accomplishments to life, and for that I am forever thankful.  (Full disclosure: I still hope to be on the runners side again next year.)

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A New Adventure

Something that terrifies a lot of people — and don’t get me wrong, it scares me too — is starting over.  Starting over completely doing something new, in some place new, where you know basically no one.  Its a frightening thing to do, but its something that I believe can make you stronger if you can be okay getting outside of your comfort zone.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m about to embark on a new adventure this summer.  One that takes me 3000 miles away from where I currently am (and therefore my friends and family) past where my parents live in beautiful Minnesota to Washington, D.C. where I will be starting law school.

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 6.20.48 PMThe Bitter Lawyer (this is a fantastic econ/law joke if you get it…nerd alert!)

Yes, yes that means I will be simultaneously be working on my J.D. and PhD at the same time, but I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities that this will bring for my career and how much better its going to prepare for my future.

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As great as this all is, I’m moving 3000 miles away from my friends and family, and moving to a city where I currently have less than 5 friends, two of who are probably leaving for grads chool themselves.  While I’m excited and putting on a happy face, I am also nervous and sad to leave the wonderful friends I’ve made here in Santa Cruz and move to a place where I will be essentially alone, and have to start all over again.  I know that this is the best move for my career, but am still apprehensive as to whether or not its the best move for me personally.

Regardless, I hope you join me on this new journey, as I navigate through a new city, new school adventures, and finding new friends, races and fitness communities.  Thank you for being a part of my adventures thus far — I can’t wait to share the new ones with you all!

— Anyone live in the DC/NoVa area who runs or does triathlons and/or know of a training/racing group?  I’d love to get involved in a group or meet up with people just as soon as I arrive in August!!  If you live there, or know someone who does and would be interested in having a new friend, please let me email me (phdstrides (at) gmail (dot) com)