Tag Archives: race

My First Run/Walk 5K (or I’m Still In Shock)

This past Saturday I had the Hard Rock Cafe 5K. I’ve done this race several times in the past and I had been really looking forward to it. It’s a really nice out and back flat course and since I have done the race before I’m very familiar with the course and know when I’m getting close to the turn around. For a while, I had been training hard to make this a run/walk race (for the first time ever!). But after getting sick I wasn’t able to train like I was before and I felt like I lost a lot of progress and endurance. I figured that I would do my best, but I wasn’t expecting too much for this race.

I was able to pick up my race stuff on Friday after work, so I prepped all my stuff Friday night before going to bed. I usually wear a hip pack to carry my phone, keys, and anything else I need before/during/after a race. But I knew that wearing that would make running very difficult, so I had to plan differently. Since my workout pants have a little pocket, I could put my phone in there and I strung my keys through my headphone cord and put those in the pocket too. So I was feeling very free for whatever running I was going to be able to do.

Race morning I woke up at 5am and quickly got ready. I ate a little bit of a banana so I’d have something in my stomach, but my nerves were getting the best of me so I couldn’t eat or drink too much. By 5:30am I was in my car and headed to Hollywood and Highland where the race was. Once I parked, I got ready in my car and in the parking lot since it was nicely lit down there and it was a bit warmer than it was outside. And about an hour before the race was supposed to start, I headed up to street level to stretch and do my best to prep before the start.

pre-race

I tried to keep moving around so I didn’t get too stiff and was stretching my legs and hips. I really didn’t want pain to be a reason why my race wouldn’t be good, so I was working hard to make sure my body was ready to go. I did find some friends before we started, and seeing them made me feel a bit more relaxed and ready to see what I could do. And before I knew it, we were ready to go (we started right on time at 7am which was nice).

I had my running watch ready to go with 1 minute intervals set. So I was planning on running for 1 minute and then walking for 1 minute for as long as I could. In my training runs on my own, I usually could do that 5 or 6 times and then I would have to start cutting back on the running time. I would do 45 or 30 seconds of the 1 minute run and then walk the rest. I knew this was likely to happen, so I wasn’t thinking ever that I could do the full running minutes for the entire race. I just wanted to try my best and see what I could do. For this race, I really just wanted to finish in under 50 minutes (which would easily be a PR). My long-term goal was to finish in under 45 minutes, but that wasn’t even a though for this race.

Once I started, I started my watch and my music and started to run. The first minute of running went by quickly and very easily. I tried to stay toward the side of the course so that I wouldn’t bother people by walking. Sometimes I had to go around walkers when I was running, but that wasn’t that big of a deal and just tried to not obstruct any other races.

When my running watch is doing intervals, the default screen is showing how much longer is in that interval and how many intervals I’ve done. I keep it on that screen and while I can get an idea of what time it is, I didn’t want to focus on my time while racing. The first mile marker came up and I was still able to do my full minute of running each interval and I was very happy with that. I passed the water station while walking and took a few sips of water before focusing on the second mile.

The second mile is always the tough one for this race for me. The turnaround is in this mile and I know the course probably too much so I’m pretty focused on how many blocks were left before turning back. I just tried to focus on my music and trying to do the best running I could do. I was still able to do my full minute of running each interval, which is significantly better than I’ve ever done during a training run. When I saw the turnaround sign, I was very happy. Normally, I try to tap the sign and I see it as good luck. But there was a slowish walker in my way and I couldn’t touch the sign this time. I tried not to let that get to me and just thought about how I was halfway done!

The second half was a bit tough. There were times where the running minute was feeling like it was taking forever. I would glance at my watch and see that there were less than 15 seconds to go before I could walk and I kept deciding to finish the running minute. I know that I told myself that I didn’t have to run/walk the entire race, but I am so competitive with myself and wanted to test my limits. Once I saw the 2 mile sign, I finally started to realize that I might actually be able to maintain my intervals for the entire race. There is a bit of a downhill going toward the finish line and that is always really nice to get to. I saw the markers for the 10K race and knew I had .2 miles left to go. I just kept saying to myself that I can totally finish at this pace because it was almost done.

My last walking interval was very close to the finish line. I knew I didn’t want to finish knowing I could have done more running. So I cut my walking minute short and decided I would run for the rest of the race. It ended up being about 90 seconds of running and I finished the race sprinting across the finish line.

I stopped my watch as soon as I crossed the finish line. I had seen the official race clock say that it was almost 46 minutes and I knew that I started after the official start since I was toward the middle of the pack. But when I looked at my watch to see what it said, I was so sure that I had screwed something up because I really could not believe it.

garmin-watch

My watch was saying that my time was 44:47.8. I really thought that I either started it too late or stopped it too soon and figured I would wait to see what the official time sheets said before I got too excited. I knew I finished in under 46 minutes because of the official clock and that was also unbelievable but I knew it was right.

While I was waiting for the official times to be posted, I found some of my friends. My friend Brenda is a part of the Oscars/Halloween party group. She also had some issues with being able to train recently and was not expecting anything too crazy. But she was able to PR for the race and did amazing!

with-friends

I also ran into Heather, who is the executive director of My Friend’s Place. My Friend’s Place is the official charity for the race and they always have a team running it. It was great to get to see her again and I’m hoping I can do some more work with My Friend’s Place in the near future.

with-heather

Finally, the official time sheets were updated so I could check what my time was. And after looking at it, I finally had to believe that I did was well as my watch claimed.

official-time

My official time was 44:48 (which is basically the same thing as 44:47.8) Not only did I PR (by over 9 minutes) I actually beat the long-term goal I had of doing a race in under 45 minutes! I really did not expect to do anything close to this and even a few days later I’m still in a bit of shock. After having several disappointing races when I felt like I did really great, I was expecting this to be similar. But I actually did better than I ever could have imagined!

post-race

I wasn’t able to drive home right away because I was in such disbelief. I made a couple of phone calls to people who I knew wanted to know how my race went. Each time I said my time, I could barely believe what I was saying. But soon enough hopefully I’ll start to believe that I did it. I’ve got to focus now on some new race goals because I did all of them in a race that I was so stressed out about.

Once I got home, I added my new medal to my medal hanger (I’m looking at buying an extension for it since I’m running out of room).

medal-wall

I spent the rest of my day relaxing and trying to nap since I had gotten up so early that morning. I kept looking online at my race time trying to believe it and not think that I’m dreaming or that some mistake happened. I know that I had trained hard for this race, but my training never got such incredible results. I think a lot of it had to do with race day adrenaline and that helped me to run more than I normally can do.

I never expected to have such an amazing race day. I’m glad that I still pushed myself even though I knew that things might not go the way I was hoping they would. Even though I thought I had given up on myself a little bit, I guess deep down I really hadn’t and this was my mind’s way of telling me to keep pushing it. And I’ll get the chance to test that out again in about 6 months when I have the next 5K happening (unless I find another race I want to do before then). But for now, I’m just so happy and grateful that my hard work paid off and I had the greatest race day I even could have wanted.

best-race-ever

A 5K Morning (or My Friends Make Things Better)

This past Saturday was the Hollywood Half 5K. It’s my 4th year doing this race, and it’s one of my favorites! Even though there are some little hills during the race, it’s relatively flat so that’s a nice thing to have. Plus, they have the best race medals!

I shared with my friends that I would be doing this race and gave people some discount codes, but I really didn’t know who else would be doing the race. So I figured that I’d be doing this one solo and I was ok with that.

On Friday before race day, it was raining. I checked the weather and it was supposed to rain for the 1 hour I knew I’d be doing the race the next day so I was in a bit of a bad mood as I drove to Hollywood to pick up my race number. Rain isn’t fun for me and I know that I hate doing 5Ks in the rain. My mood was improved a bit when I got a meter that had time still left on it right outside the pickup location, but I was still feeling a bit angry so there is no smiling photo of me with my race number.

Race Number

I was able to get to bed by 9pm since I had to wake up at 4am and was just hoping that there wouldn’t be rain in the morning. As soon as I woke up, I checked the weather. It was still saying rain between 6 and 7am (the race started at 6am) so I planned my outfit accordingly. I wore a thinner shirt so if it got wet it wouldn’t feel so heavy and made sure I had a plastic bag with me to put my phone in for protection. The drive over to the start line had moments of pouring rain, but as I got to the parking lot at the start the rain was just a mist. By the time I parked and got onto Hollywood Blvd, the rain was done!

I walked a couple of times from the start line to back where my corral was to keep my muscles warm because I knew I’d be waiting a while to start. And of course, I had to do a pre-race selfie.

Pre-Race

I was in the second to last corral, but because the race started late and they were releasing corrals 3 minutes apart, they ended up putting the last 4 or 5 corrals together in a lump (we still didn’t start until after 6:30am when we were told everyone needed to start before 6:15am). I didn’t get a countdown to the start, but since I rarely get that I didn’t miss it too much.

As it’s been the past few years, the start was a slight downhill down a side street and back up the hill to where the start was before heading down Hollywood Blvd. The rain from the night before left the streets pretty slick and I had some moments when my foot slipped, but I was going strong. I was feeling pretty good until about 10 minutes in. Then my shin splints started acting up a bit and since I forgot to do my race tracker on my phone I had no clue how fast I was going. So I started to feel a bit upset again because I had no clue if I was doing well or really horribly. I got really into my head with the negative thoughts until walking past where the finish line was on the other side (the race is an out and back race but the start and finish are about a mile apart).

Right at the finish line area, I saw someone running out toward me. I looked over and it was my friend Jonathan from Orangetheory! I had given him a hard time the other day how I supported him at the marathon and how he’s never supported me at a race. I knew it was an early race (unlike the marathon where I was able to go in the late morning) and that it was a short race so it wasn’t a big deal. But I guess he felt bad because he was out there super early in the morning to cheer me on!

This was actually the first time that anyone has come to cheer me on for a race who wasn’t doing the race themselves. This was such an awesome surprise and I couldn’t believe that he had done it!

With Jonathan

Even though Jonathan only had a short time left on his meter, he hung out and walked with me for a while. He even walked with me up the big hill that I hate on this race. It really meant a lot to me that he walked with me (he’s a pretty amazing runner and has won races in the past) and it was nice to have company on the big hill. At the top of the hill, he turned around to run back to his car. But the time that he walked with me really did reinvigorate me and I was feeling pretty awesome when I passed the mile 2 marker.

The turnaround point for the 5K is probably at 2.5 miles of the race, so I was close to it after doing the big hill. Just before I got to the turnaround, I saw someone running at me who had already turned around shouting my name. It was my friend Jordan! I had told her about the race before and she mentioned that she might do the 10K, but I had no idea that she ended up signing up! We gave each other a big hug and she ran toward the finish line as I walked to the turnaround and was on my way to the finish line myself.

The last portion of the race went ok. Again, I had no clue if I was killing it with my time or going really slow, so I just focused on having a good race day. And my day was going so much better between seeing my friends and the fact that it wasn’t raining! As soon as I turned onto Vine to cross the finish line, I decided to run the last little bit just because. I’m sure my official race photos will look cooler with me running compared to walking, but I really did it just to prove to myself that running isn’t impossible.

Post Race

As soon as I got my medal, I looked for Jordan to thank her for cheering me up and helping to make my race day better.

With Jordan

We walked together over to the timing board to see how we did, but there must have been an issue with it because nobody was bringing over updated sheets. Jordan had to leave and while I stuck it out a little longer, I had to get home to get ready. But on the way out I saw the timing company’s trailer and I nicely asked one of the guys in there if they could look up my time for me. It ended up being one of my slower times, but I discovered later that the race was really 3.19 miles and not 3.1. So I’m thinking if it was really 3.1 miles I would have been pretty close to my last 5K time.

While this was a slower race for me, it really was one of the better race days. I was able to do the race without dealing with the rain (it was pouring after I left on the way home) and I had people cheering me on that I wasn’t expecting. As much as I shouldn’t focus on race times, I know that I will. But it’s nice that my memories of this race won’t be my time but will be the smiling faces I got to see that day.

Hard Time At The Hard Rock Cafe 5K (or At Least I Looked Awesome!)

This past Saturday was the Hard Rock Cafe 5K (this year they also had a 10K, but I wasn’t going to do a 10K). It was my 3rd year doing this race and I was really excited to be doing the race again this year. And even more exciting, my friend Kate flew down to LA for the weekend to do the race with me (more about our weekend adventures tomorrow).

I wish I could tell you that I killed it at the race and everything went amazing. But sadly, that wasn’t the case.

I’m not 100% sure what happened, but things seemed weird starting the night before. As I was going to bed, I said to Kate how it didn’t feel like the night before a race. Maybe it’s because someone was sleeping in my living room. Maybe it was because I hadn’t gone to the bib pickup that day to get all my race stuff (Kate and I were going to pick our race things up on Saturday morning).

On race day, I was up at 4:30am and we were out the door by 5:15. Traffic was light so we got to the Hard Rock Cafe nice and early. We got our race stuff, went back down to my car in the parking structure, and got ready. Once it was closer to 6am, we went back up to the street to warm up and make sure we had good spots in the starting area so Kate could avoid the walkers and I could be out-of-the-way for the runners.

Hard Rock Cafe

And of course, we had to take a pre-race photo together.

Pre Race Photo

Kate went up to the front of the pack after that and I hung back and tried to relax and not stress out about the race. While I was waiting for the race to start, I managed to make a few new friends because of the awesome tank top I was wearing that day (hi Susie!!). The race was supposed to start at 7am, but we ended up starting closer to 7:15am.

Right from the beginning, things didn’t feel right to me. My legs were stiff from waiting so long for the start of the race and I was feeling pain in my shins and calf starting at the half mile mark. As much as I wanted to push myself, I was struggling. I checked out my tracking app on my phone at the 1 mile marker and saw that the first mile was about 30 seconds slower than what my mile time was at my PR.

At that point, I realized it would be pretty impossible to make up that time plus be 30 seconds faster on the next two miles, so I stopped trying to push as hard and decided to just focus on finishing without having to take a break.

Right after that realization, Kate was passing me going back toward the finish line. She was having a tough race as well (but she ended up placing 4th in our division, 7th in women, and 41st in the entire race).

The rest of the race seemed to take a while. I tried to focus on the streets going by and knowing that I will be done with the race soon enough. My race photos are all pretty serious looking since I was so focused.

Race Time

As I was almost at the finish line, I saw Kate hanging out there waiting for me to finish. She walked next to me for the last minute and we both were sharing how we had pretty bad race days. I crossed the finish line about 90 seconds slower than my PR (I split the different between my time at the Hard Rock Cafe 5K last year and the Hollywood Half 5K in April).

Even though I didn’t PR, I still got my amazing medal!

Post Race Selfie

After the race, Kate and I got breakfast at the Hard Rock Cafe and I got one last photo on the stairs to the Dolby theater to celebrate completing my race.

Oscar Stairs

As soon as I got home, I added my newest medal to my wall (which is starting to look very full now).

Medal Hanger

Even though the race wasn’t great for me, I did it and I didn’t finish last (which is something that I am terrified of doing one day). I’m so proud of Kate for how well she finished in the race and I’m glad that neither of us really gave up.

While I love my race medal (it’s so sparkly!), my favorite thing from the race was the shirt that I wore! I ordered a tank top from Mighty Petunia after doing a random google search for motivational tank tops. So many motivational tank tops are silly and cheesy, but I love the messages that are on the Mighty Petunia tanks. They are fun and I am already picking out which ones I want next! And I got a ton of compliments on it at the race.

Since I loved my Mighty Petunia tank top so much, Cathy (who is the owner of Mighty Petunia) has given me a promo code to share with all of you! If you buy something from their site, use the promo code “Bombshell” and you’ll get 10% off of your order. And the shirts are so reasonably priced already so the 10% off is just icing on the cake! I hope that you guys will take advantage of the discount and support this great business!

While my race day wasn’t great, I managed to find ways to keep a somewhat positive mindset and was able to focus on the things that made me happy (like my tank top and the medal I got at the finish line). My next 5K is in April and while I’m hoping I’ll PR at that race, I just want to have a more positive race experience and I’ll be happy.

A Week Until Race Day (or Helping Out My Friend’s Place)

The 3rd Hard Rock Cafe 5K is just over a week away. I’m excited for the race to see if I’ve made any improvement since my last 5K. And my best friend is coming to town to do the race with me! I’m also nervous because I know that my calf injury isn’t totally healed (it’s super close!) and I don’t want to hurt myself during the race.

There’s not much I can really do about how my calf (or my hip) will feel during the race. I know that I’m not going to push myself as much as I might have just to be careful. And I am going to time out my workouts leading up to the race to make sure I have rest days right before.

Since I can’t do much about dealing with injuries at the race, I’m trying to focus on something else. Last year, I got to tour My Friend’s Place, which is the official charity of the Hard Rock Cafe race. I’m so glad that I had that opportunity because I never really thought about homeless youth in Los Angeles. I’ve helped at shelters for homeless adults, but youth have very different needs. After touring  My Friend’s Place, I knew that I wanted to help out with donations in the future.

I hadn’t really been able to donate in the past year, but My Friend’s Place was always on my mind. Whenever someone mentioned having things to donate, if they were things on the wish list, I’d recommend they donate there.

Then, at the SAG-AFTRA Convention, one of my fellow delegates mentioned how AFTRA used to do donations at their conventions (this was before the two unions merged). Many delegates come from out-of-town and stay at the host hotel, and we know that most people don’t use the toiletries that the hotel provides in the bathroom. So at the AFTRA conventions, they would collect these toiletries and donate them to a place that could use them.

I connected with the delegate who brought up the donation idea (and got it all started) and said that if she didn’t have a charity in mind that I’d love to donate them to My Friend’s Place. So all of our donations (about 5 bags full) went to My Friend’s Place recently and we know that they will be going to good use.

I’ve also told my parents to bring all of the dog supplies that were Dante’s or Tucker’s that Tucker is too big for because My Friend’s Place allows the youth to bring their pets there and they need collars, leashes, and other pet supplies. So I will be doing that donation after Thanksgiving when I get them.

And the other day, a box showed up at my house. Somehow, I am on a baby/pregnancy mailing list (I’m not pregnant) and lots of baby related coupons have been arriving at my door. But this day, there were two cans of powdered baby formula inside!

Baby Mailing List

So I will be adding those to my post-Thanksgiving donation and several of my friends with kids will be giving me baby clothes that their kids have outgrown, the leftover diapers in a box that their baby has sized out of, and other baby supplies that are on the wish list. I’m really excited to have another nice size donation that I will be bringing to My Friend’s Place soon.

If any of you are in Los Angeles, I highly recommend donating to My Friend’s Place if you can. They are so happy for any donations they can get and I know that they are working on helping the homeless youth find jobs and homes so that they don’t have to sleep on the streets as adults. I know that I haven’t made a lot of donations in the past there, but I’m hoping to fix that now and to make donating there a somewhat regular thing.

I Can’t Believe My Race Time (or A 5K With My TIU Friends)

This past Saturday was the Hollywood Half 5K. This was my third year doing this race, and you might remember that last year the race didn’t go so well for me.

Even though I’ve been doing lots of treadmill training (and it showed in my last 5K), I was still so nervous going into this race. I knew that the hills that were added last year would still be there and those hills were the worst part of the race for me last year.

But I tried to stay positive. Lots of my new friends from my Tone It Up group were doing the race as well and we had plans to meet up before and after the race.

The day before the race, I went to go pick up my race number and other race things. I did meet up with one TIU friend, so that make the craziness of the expo a bit more fun. And as I always do, I took a selfie in my car with my race number.

Hollywood Half 5K Bib Number

With an early wake up time in the morning (4am), I made sure I put together my race bag the night before. I don’t think I’ve shared what’s in my race bag in the past, so here it is.

Race Bag

I attach my race number to the hip pack. In one pocket, I have my sunglasses, house/car keys, chapstick, and ID/money/credit card. In the other pocket, I have my headphones and phone (the phone isn’t in the picture since I used it to take a picture). I’m looking into upgrading to a race belt, but right now they are all too small for me.

As soon as my alarm went off at 4am, I was up and ready to go. I carpooled to the race with a TIU friend and we met a bunch of our other TIU friends near the start line.

TIU Pre Race

A few minutes before the race was supposed to start, we split up to go into our corrals. There was 1 friend in a corral with me, so I got her to take a quick pre-race photo for me.

Pre Race Photo

Since the race starts in waves and we were in corral 10, we had about 20 minutes between when the race started and when we actually started. By the time we got up to the start line, the sun was coming out.

Race Start

My friend in my corral with me had planned to stick with me during the race. It was her first 5K and she wasn’t sure how fast she would go. But she was really fast! We were only together for the first half of a block and then I didn’t see her again until we met up at the finish line!

The race started pretty ok for me. The first part of the race has a slight decline and then you turn around and go up a slight hill. My hips were feeling it right away, but I kept on going. And I noticed that while I was getting passed a lot, I was also doing some of the passing.

I had set my phone to track my race time and it gave me a little notification when it claimed I had gone a mile (it’s a bit off so I was about 40 feet from the first mile marker). But even with the app being a bit off, my mile time was a lot faster than I expected it to be. I tried to not get too excited and kept focusing on the race.

Toward the halfway point of the race, there was the big hill of the race. This hill was one that I was swearing under my breath during last year. But this year there was a distinct different. I’m guessing it’s because of my treadmill training at Orangetheory. I’m used to doing crazy inclines on the treadmill without being allowed to slow down. So on the big hill, most walkers around me were slowing down but I was maintaining my pace (and passing them!).

Before I knew it, I was getting ready to take the final turn before the finish line. I grabbed my phone out of my bag so I could stop the clock on my phone to see my unofficial time. And I glanced at the phone and all I remembered was that it was saying 53 minutes and some number of seconds.

I crossed the finish line, stopped my clock on my phone, and something happened because the time was erased from my phone!

I couldn’t do anything to bring the time back on the app, so I knew I’d have to wait until the official times were posted. So I walked to where my group was meeting so we could take a post race photo.

TIU Ladies

And of course I needed a photo with my new race bling!

Hollywood Half 5K

After taking our photos and chatting about how our races went, we went over to the timing board to see the official times. Everyone in my group had a PR! And when I looked at my time, I thought I was imagining things.

5K PR

My time was 53:52.8! My time at the Hard Rock Cafe 5K (my previous PR) was 56:52.9! I can’t believe that I had a 3 minute improvement over the past few months! Honestly, I still can’t believe I did that.

My ultimate 5K goal is to get below a 16 minute mile. That’s the requirement for races at Disneyland. And while I don’t know if I will ever do a 10K or a half marathon, I’d love to do a 5K at Disneyland one day.

After we all celebrated our PRs, the TIU ladies and I went out to breakfast. I figured such an awesome race meant that I could splurge a little on breakfast.

Post 5K Breakfast

Over breakfast, I just kept thinking how grateful I am that I have these awesome ladies in my life. They are such great motivators and I know that they will help push me to my next 5K goal. I’m hoping a bunch of them will do the Hard Rock Cafe 5K with me this fall.

And as soon as I got home, I had to add my latest addition to my medal wall.

Medal Wall

My wall is starting to look full now, but I bet I can fit at least 4 or 5 more medals on there before I need to build an extension (or more likely, have my dad build an extension).

Overall, I’m so glad that I didn’t let my nerves get in the way of me having an amazing race. And now that I have my new PR in my head, I can focus on the steps I need to take to get another PR in the fall!

Getting Faster Bit By Bit (or Speeding Up My Heart And My Walking)

I’m getting more and more used to my heart rate being fast during my workouts. And the more days that go by, the more normal my heart rate becomes. In fact, it might almost be back to before the medication this week or next.

It was nice for a little while to have my heart rate faster than usual. I felt like I was getting more out of my workouts since I was getting more time in the orange zone. I know that it doesn’t really work that way when your heart rate is fast due to medication, but it felt like that to me.

But this past week, getting into the orange zone wasn’t as easy this past week as it was the week before. I’m working on using heavier weights during all of my workouts, but I know that I have to step up my cardio as well.

I’ve been using the incline on the treadmill a lot more than I did in the past. For my base pace, power walkers are supposed to be at 3% incline. I now always have it at 4%. During my push pace, I used to be at somewhere between 6-9%. Now I have it at at least 10%. My all-out pace is still at 15%, but that’s because 15% is the highest that the treadmill goes.

But as I get in better and better shape, my heart rate doesn’t go as high with incline as it used to (it’s real proof that my heart is getting stronger!). I’ve tried to slowly increase my speed, but it hasn’t been easy.

When I started at Orangetheory, I was usually at 3.0 or 3.1 miles an hour. I liked 3.1 miles an hour because then I knew that at that speed it would take me exactly an hour to do a 5K. Eventually, I was at 3.2 miles an hour on the treadmill. And a little while ago I went up to 3.3 miles an hour.

But this week, I really wanted to push myself. Maybe it’s because in my head I’ve realized that there is no way that I will not have another surgery on my hip in my near future. It’s inevitable and I better use my hip before it gets cut up and I have a long recovery. So I went to 3.4 miles an hour for all 3 of my workouts. I know that this isn’t that fast yet and I’m still below 3.5 miles an hour which is the bottom of what power walkers are considered at Orangetheory, but it’s improvement.

And I need to keep taking steps like this in increasing my speed. I’ve decided that if I ever decided to do a half marathon, the only one that I will consider will be one at Disneyland. If I’m going to do something that crazy, I might as well be at my favorite place in the world. All Disneyland races have a required pace time of a 16-minute per mile or faster.

So I found this great chart online to help me get to my goal of 16 minute miles.

Walking Speed Guide

I would probably want to be at 3.9 miles an hour on the treadmill to feel comfortable doing a Disneyland race. I know that those races have lots of awesome photo ops, and I’d want to have time to take advantage of those. On the Disneyland race website they even recommend having a training pace of 15-minute miles to allow for the photo ops. So that would bring me to 4.0 miles an hour on the treadmill.

That seems like so far away from where I am right now. But in reality, it’s not that much more of a jump than what I have done from when I started at Orangetheory to now. So maybe in another year (unless I have my hip surgery), I’ll be at my goal speed.

I’m thinking of making a training plan to figure out how to steadily increase my speed. I’m also looking at making a plan for increasing my weights as well. I might work on that this week when I have some time between customers at my day job.

But if any of you have ideas on how to make a plan to increase my speed (I’m not even starting to think about increasing my distance yet), I’d really love to hear your recommendations. I’m really so new at all of this, so I can use any help that I can get!

Being A Spectator (or Watching And Not Wanting To Do The Marathon)

This weekend was the LA marathon, and again, I watched a lot of it from my house (it didn’t help that we were having a crazy heat wave).

I’ve previously talked about how in the past I thought that maybe one day I would do a marathon but how I no longer have that desire. I always thought that a marathon was the ultimate thing to do to prove that I’m in better shape than I was before. But I don’t feel like that is the truth anymore.

I was up right after the start of the marathon and watched it live on the news for a good portion of the beginning. I even got to watch the winner cross the finish line.

IMG_5025

The marathon starts at Dodgers Stadium and then ends up at the ocean. But part of the course was only about a 10 minute drive from my house. And since I knew a few people running the marathon, I decided to head out and watch the runners for a little while.

I was handing out between mile 19 and 20, so a lot of the racers were starting to look a little tired (plus the heat wasn’t helping).

IMG_5028

I think that almost everyone I knew running the race passed where I was before I got there. But I still was cheering on for random people running by. There were runners who were barefoot, wearing crazy costumes, dribbling a basketball the entire time, and blind racers tethered to a guide.

After watching the racers for a while, I saw a somewhat familiar face run past where I was standing. It was Rachel from “The Biggest Loser”. I knew that she had gained some weight back after the finale (she looked much better after not being so incredibly skinny), and she looked pretty great running down Santa Monica Blvd.

I also saw one of my favorite authors running the race. I knew she was running because she posted about it on her Instagram, but it was still pretty exciting to see her! I cheered for her, but she was super focused and didn’t hear me (I told her on twitter that I cheered and she thought that that was pretty cool).

While it was inspiring for me to watch the runners, it made me realize that I have no desire to ever do a marathon anymore. I’m happy with doing a couple of 5Ks each year (it looks like I might only be doing 2 or 3 this year). And maybe one day I’ll do a 10K. But I see no reason to do a longer race than that.

I’ve talked about this before about how in the past I looked at 5Ks as a primary source of exercise. Now that I have a regular workout routine, I look at the races as bonuses and not necessary to try to get in shape.

I feel such a sense of relief that I don’t feel the pressure to ever do a marathon. I’m more than happy to go out and support people I know doing a marathon (I’ll probably try to get a group together for next year’s LA marathon and have a bunch of people cheering). It’s a huge accomplishment and everyone who did race should be insanely proud of themselves.

But it’s nice to know that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something by not doing a marathon.

Hard Rock Cafe 5K Take 2 (or Trying To Not Be Frustrated With A PR)

This past Saturday was the Hard Rock Cafe 5K. You may remember that I PRed on this race last year. I also recently learned a lot more about the charity that this race helps out, My Friend’s Place.

I’ve never done treadmill training prior to a race before. All my walking training has been on city streets, and I don’t do that too often. It’s not super safe with traffic and the sidewalks (if there are any) aren’t too even. So for all my past races, I hadn’t training probably as much as I should.

But this time, I’ve been spending about an hour and a half each week on a treadmill (1/2 of an hour-long class 3 times a week). And while those treadmill segments have been tough on me because of all the incline work we do, I’ve never gone into a race feeling this prepared.

But I had never really been this nervous either. My last race was back in June for the Culver City 5K, and that was my worst 5K time ever. But that was also a race that I did before I started at Orangetheory.

Packet pick up on Friday was very easy. It was the same place it was last year, so I was able to get in and out in less than 10 minutes (not easy to do when you are at a major tourist attraction in Hollywood). I got home and got my bib number ready as well as a shirt that I bought just for this race.

IMG_3992

I also went to get my usual race bag ready. When I went to grab my personal heart rate monitor, I saw this.

IMG_3993

I haven’t used it in a while since I use the heart rate system at Orangetheory. I’m sure that all it needs is a new battery, but I wasn’t going to run around town trying to find a watch store that was still open. So I decided to download the Map My Run app on my iPhone and use that to time myself (more on that in a minute).

I set multiple alarms for 5am, because I’m always nervous that I won’t wake up. Except this time, I woke up at 3am and could not get back to sleep. I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to sleep anymore around 4:45am and started to get ready.

It was an easy drive in the dark to get to the race start. I parked, and by the time I was on the street, the sun was coming up.

IMG_4001

I thought that I would be alone for this entire race, but a fellow blogger, Anne, decided to start the race walking with me. We got started pretty quickly and I felt like we were going a good pace. Anne stuck with me for about the first 10 minutes, but she had planned on running, so after 10 minutes she said that she’d meet me at the finish line and was off.

I was in a groove during this race. I had added some new songs to my race mix on my phone and I was keeping up with the pack of people (not getting passed every second like last year).

Then, all of a sudden the Map My Run app spoke to me over my music. It had said that just over 17 minutes had passed and I had done 1 mile.

I was shocked! At Orangetheory I average about 18:45 a mile. But I thought that maybe I was going a lot faster than I thought. But then about a minute later, I passed the 1 mile marker.

I was confused, but I kept going. Each time the app talked to me, I was averaging about a 17 minute mile but I wouldn’t see the official mile marker until about a minute later. I didn’t know if the course was long or if the app was off. Either way, I was making great time and I wasn’t hurting nearly as much as I usually do.

The halfway point was great to see. I was thinking of this race as about 2 treadmill sections at Orangetheory (since I’m on the treadmill just about 30 minutes each class). As I turned around and walked the other direction, I realized just how many people were still behind me! This was not at all like last year where at the half way point I was in the last 5 people and the van to pick people up was right on my tail.

I got closer and closer to the finish line and again at the 3 mile point, my app told me that I had done 3 miles well before I saw the official marker. But I knew that the finish line was close and I hurried up.

I crossed the finish line and looked at the timer on the app. It said 56:53 and that the race was 3.36 miles. I was really confused about the distance listed. I ended up finding someone who had a GPS watch and asked him what his watch said the distance was. He said it was 3.11. So clearly, my app was off and all my mile times it was telling me was wrong.

While I waited for the official time to be posted, I tried not to be mad and just look at the awesome medal I earned!

IMG_4007

When my official time was posted, I did the race in 56:52! That’s a huge improvement for me! About 10 minutes fast than my 5K in June and just about a minute and a half faster than my old PR!

I was so happy to have a new PR, but I was pretty pissed about the app lying to me. If I try to use it again for another race, I might just ignore the distance it says and just look at the stopwatch feature since that was pretty accurate.

I found Anne at the finish line and she got a PR as well! We took some victory pictures and then we each had to head home (I was in serious need of a nap).

When I got home, I took a quick shower and noticed that even getting home I was not feeling as sore as I usually do. I normally have issues with my feet and hips hurting after a race, and the only pain I was feeling this time was some tightness in my legs and the pain from a massive blister that pops and shredded the skin (it looks super gross and I will spare you all from having to see a picture of it).

Even now, a few days after my race, I’m not feeling my usual pain. Seriously, my Orangetheory workouts have been paying off! Even if the scale isn’t going down the way I feel it should, the non-scale victories keep showing up! If I’m able to do more races without my usual pain, I might consider doing more races or even thinking about trying for a 10K one day (I had really given up on that dream).

While I’m still a little down that I was so excited to hear on the app that I was doing 17 minute miles when that wasn’t true, I’m trying to only focus on the positives. And what made me smile even more than getting a PR that day was putting on all the medals that I’ve earned over the past 2 years and seeing how far I’ve come.

IMG_4017

My medal holder is starting to look full, but I know that there is room for whatever races I end up doing next year.

IMG_4026

Training For A 5K Without Planning On Doing Them (or I Think I’m Only Doing 3 5Ks This Year)

I’ve been thinking a lot about 5Ks lately. I was on such a streak with them last year. And I’ve talked about why I’ve eliminated 5Ks as part of my goals for the year.

But I’m thinking about them a lot because I keep getting emails to sign up for them. Some of them are races that I did last year, and some of them are just random ones from one of the various mailing lists I’m on now.

The only 5K that I have planned to do the rest of this year is the Hard Rock one. I signed up for that as soon as it was available because it was a good race to do. And I was planning on signing up for the weSPARK race, but I got a phone call a few weeks ago to let me know that that race was cancelled.

But to be honest, I wasn’t sad that it was cancelled. It was almost more of a relief that I don’t have to do it if I don’t want to.

I am signed up for one race already for next year and that’s the Hollywood Half 5K. Again, it’s a fun course (or at least it should be) and it has a nice medal so that’s always a plus in my book.

But I am doing more training, or at least what I consider training, for my 5Ks this year than ever before. Pretty much ever class at Orangetheory I’m spending about 30 minutes on the treadmill. That’s about half the time it takes me to do a 5K. The only times I don’t spend that long on the treadmill are run/row days. But a majority of the time, I’m getting in my 30 minutes.

Since I never trained on a treadmill for the races before, I’m not sure if it’s helping or not. I know it isn’t hurting, but there’s something different when the machine is forcing you to go a certain speed. I know that I have my bursts of speed and my moments of slowing down in a race, but you can’t really do that on a treadmill.

I’ve got some time before the Hard Rock race so I won’t know how the treadmill training will have worked out for a while. But I am curious to see how my body reacts to the next race. And maybe if it’s a really positive response, I’ll sign up for more races for the future.

But for now, I’m just focusing on my regular workouts and not stressing about the 5Ks yet. I know that when the Hard Rock one gets closer I will have the same fear about not being able to finish and getting picked up by the sweeper van. That’s the risk in doing a 5K only race (there’s plenty of time for me to finish when some people are doing 10Ks or 1/2 marathons).

And I am considering finding alternative types of races or competitions to try. I know another blogger who does stair climbing races, but that’s not really a possibility for me with all my hip issues. But if any of you have suggestions for other race types events, let me know!

Culver City 5K (or 5K #2 For The Year)

I’ve obviously slowed down on the number of 5Ks that I’m doing this year. In fact, at this point last year, I had just done 5K #5 (and reached my year-long goal 6 months early!). But when I had that goal in mind, I didn’t have any other workouts that I love. Now I have 2 different workouts that I’m really enjoying so my 5Ks aren’t getting the same focus that they used to.

But I’m still going to do some of my favorite races, and this past weekend was one of the ones I really enjoyed last year. It’s the Culver City 5K (if you couldn’t guess that already from the title of the post). I like this race for a few reasons. One, it’s a super flat course. I actually walk a similar path when I do some walking in my neighborhood. Two, this 5K starts and ends about 3 blocks from my house so it’s extremely easy to get to. And three, there is a discounted entry for substitute teachers of Culver City Unified (which I’m still signed up to do), so I don’t have to spend a ton of money to do the race.

This past Saturday was the bib pickup and it’s held in the parking lot of one of the schools I used to sub at a lot. It’s easy to get to and since this race is pretty small, it’s only takes about a minute to get everything done.

IMG_3205

Since the race is pretty much down the street from me and it had an 8am start, I didn’t have to wake up too early. But as soon as I got up in the morning, I realized that it could be a pretty warm morning. And I’ve had issues with crazy hot 5Ks in the past and haven’t liked it. So I drank a ton of water and tried to think cool thoughts as I headed over to the start line.

I was also very excited for this race because I finally got to meet a new friend in person! Lyndsay blogs on The Balance Brunette and we had connected recently over several FB groups that we are both a part of. She lives very close to me and we had been trying to meet up at a happy hour or something, but our schedules just didn’t match up. But we realized that we both were doing this 5K, so we finally got to meet!

IMG_3213

Originally, Lyndsay was going to run this 5K, but since some things had come up, she changed her mind and decided to walk with me. I warned her that I am slow and if she felt like she wanted to go faster she could ditch me and my feelings wouldn’t be hurt. But she said that she planned to stick with me.

Of course, I had to get a quick “before” photo of me before the race started.

IMG_3210

We ended up being toward the front of the pack for the start, but we stayed off to the side to make sure we didn’t make any of the runner mad.

This was one of my slowest 5Ks ever. I finished in about 1 hour and 8 minutes. But I don’t care. I know that I walked slower than I would if I was racing alone because I wanted to chat with Lyndsay while we walked. And if I had been going as fast as I could, I would be too out of breath.

We had a nice walk together just chatting about random stuff. We did a lot of chatting about blogging and the various issues we both have. We also both babysit so we talked about that as well.

And at around the one mile marker, one of the coolest things that has happened to me so far regarding this blog happened. Lyndsay and I were walking and I was telling her a funny story about a store that we were walking past when I heard someone yell, “Jen, hi!”. I turned to look who had called my name and I didn’t recognize her. Since I’m horrible with faces and names I figured I just forgot who she was. But as she came up to me she told me that she reads this blog and just wanted to say hello! How cool is that!?!? And to the woman who said hi, you totally made my day! But you didn’t say what your name was so I can’t acknowledge you properly. Hopefully you are reading this and you can comment and let me know who you are!

After finishing the 5K, Lyndsay and I had to get some victory pictures with our new race bling.

IMG_3215 IMG_3219

This was actually Lyndsay’s first race where she got a medal (and I know it won’t be the last)!

Eventually we headed our separate ways to head home.

Even though this was my slowest 5K possibly ever, I totally consider this a success. I finished and I didn’t finish last (about 15 people finished after us). That’s all that matters. And I got to finally meet my new friend.

My medal holder in my living room is starting to get a bit full now. I think it looks awesome. My dad is scared that I’m reaching the weight limit on it. Hope not because I know I’ve got some more awesome race bling coming up later this year!

IMG_3222