The Lost Dutchman Races 2013 Race Report

Well, apologies for taking a few days off from blogging. It’s been a busy week. As it happens, in addition to planning my Spring Break volunteer trip to Honduras and attempting to finish my dissertation, I also have three job interviews in the span of three weeks. I’m fully aware that having a lot of people interested in me is nothing to complain about, but it’s sure creating havoc with my schedule.

I’ve been signed up for the Lost Dutchman 10K since December. Last year I went to the event with my friend, who was running the half marathon, and we made an overnight trip of it and had a great time. (Report.) This year, though, I decided to make it a day trip. I’m already spending too much time away from home in the coming month. In fact I spent this past Thursday and Friday in Florida, came home and slept most of Saturday, then set my alarm for 4:45AM to wake up this morning and drive. Um, fun.

Whimsical western taxidermy fun

Whimsical western taxidermy fun

I have to say this for the Lost Dutchman, though: For being a locally organized, relatively large event (5 races, with hundreds of competitors in each) the organization is better than many other races I’ve run. I got to the race parking area 35 minutes before start time, and I was able to catch the shuttle, use the bathroom, pick up my packet, check my gear bag, take some pictures, and get to the starting line with time to spare! The only glitch was that they didn’t have a tech tee in my size, but I was able to give them my address and they promised to send me one in the mail. Class act. The race area also featured some silly photo ops and kid friendly activities, including Mary the burro.

LD_Burro

But you all probably want to know about the race, huh? Well, last week you may recall that I set a 10K PR on a training run and was doubting my ability to do it again today. But guess what? My week-old PR fell in a spectacular way this morning.

Mile 1–9:22

Mile 2–9:20

Mile 3–9:02

Mile 4–9:06

Mile 5–8:55

Mile 6–8:50

Mile 6.2–8:40*

LD_Medal13

2013 10K Medal

In all, I finished just under 56:30, earning me a new PR and a 10th place finish in my age group. I’m really pleased and amazed at this performance, especially on a somewhat hilly course. I’m sure it helps that I’ve been doing so many longer runs these past few months, but today I also didn’t try to police my pace. In a half marathon if I saw a time under 9 minutes/mile I’d probably freak out and force myself to go slower, but I had enough confidence in my ability to finish a 10K that I just kept pushing. Maybe I should think more about adopting this mentality in all my races.

After the race I got some tasty food and was able to watch some really fast marathon finishers. If you’re a runner (or walker) and you ever happen to be in Apache Junction in February, definitely do the Lost Dutchman. The event supports local causes, has a great community feel, and builds awesome memories. I hope this Lost Dutchman won’t be the last for me.

 

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The Second PR of 2013

Lost Dutchman 10K Medal 2012

Lost Dutchman 10K Medal 2012

Yeah, that happened in a totally unexpected way. I set a 10K PR on my long run yesterday. I started off feeling good and thinking about the Lost Dutchman 10K, which I’m running this upcoming weekend. I’ve been hoping to finish this race in under 1 hour, which I’ve managed to do on training runs several times before. However, the Lost Dutchman is pretty hilly (despite their claims that it is flat, it’s rolling all the way) and I’ve been kind of lazy about training in the past month. Anyway, I ran my first mile yesterday in 9:42 and just decided to keep pushing. I ended up hitting the 10K mark at 58:38, a new PR by just over 30 seconds. Then I immediately had to stop and remember how to breathe, then I ran about three more miles. Win.

Just a little sore today. Let’s hope I manage something similar next Sunday.

(By the way, I totally love the Lost Dutchman and I might shake someone down to get a full marathon medal… or at least to get a picture of one.)

Welcome to 2013

Happy New Year, everyone. I started off 2013 this evening with a cold first 5K, followed by a little reward.

Screen shot 2013-01-01 at 9.07.40 PM

So what am I looking for in 2013? I had a hard time making resolutions for this year, because I expect this to be a year of changes. Most of the things I left unaccomplished in 2012 were professional in nature: I am planning to finish my Ph.D. in May, and I hope to find an academic job in my field starting in the fall. So those are solid goals. In terms of running, I am definitely doing the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in a few weeks and the Zion Half Marathon in March. Last night I also registered for the Lost Dutchman 10K in February, which I ran last year and really enjoyed. In the first half of the year, I am also planning some work-related travel: To Honduras in March and San Francisco in April. So… yeah, a busy few months. Most of my other travel, running, and personal plans beyond May are contingent on what happens after graduation.

It’s exciting and scary to be facing such an uncertain time ahead, but I know I made a lot of personal progress in 2o12 and I’m confident I can keep those changes up moving forward. I already started the year off with a run and a morning of volunteering at the animal shelter, which seems like a good start.

Hope you all had a safe and happy holiday!

2012 in Review: Running

So, as promised, here is my last year-in-review post. I saved running for last because I wanted to add to my yearly miles total with a last-minute run today, but also because I’m so proud of my accomplishments in this area. Eating right and losing weight is something to be proud of, too, but running is work. And even though I’ve been a runner for many years now, I still consider myself not much of an athlete, and I think of being fit and competitive as something I have to put a lot of effort into. So, here are the numbers and highlights:

1. By the Miles

2012 Total Miles: 757

December Total Miles: 100.3

Screen shot 2012-12-31 at 6.17.45 PM

December was my first ever 100+ mile month of running. Part of that is due to training for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon next month, but part of it is because I had a lot of time off and didn’t do as much cross training as usual while the gym was closed for the holidays. I’ll start to taper over the next couple of weeks, so January 2013 will be a lighter month. Nonetheless I hope to add to my overall yearly mileage in 2013. I’d like to continue averaging 20-25 miles/week, and to avoid some of the injuries that bothered me this past year.

2. By the clock

This year was the first time that I regularly kept track of my speed in training. Especially with 10Ks and half marathons, my goal in the past was always just to train and finish. This year, I got more ambitious and thanks to my purchase of a Garmin Forerunner 210 in the spring and some careful data collection from March onward, I got some great results.

Fastest Mile: 8:39 (Nov. 15, training run)

Fastest 5K: 27:59 (Sept. 25, training run)

Fastest 10K: 59:25 (Nov. 4, training run)

Fastest Half Marathon: 2:14:XX (Oct. 6, Arizona Half Marathon)

Each of these is an all-time personal best for me, and note that each of these times have come in the last few months. I’m getting faster. I started 2012 running 10:30-11:00 miles. I am now consistently running 9:00-9:30 miles, except on my longest runs. In 2013, watch out. I may become almost competitive. LOL.

3. In pictures

I got some great medals, great schwag, and a few cool pictures of myself.

Race medal

Temecula Half Marathon/5K Medal

Lost Dutchman 10K Medal

Lost Dutchman 10K Medal

Fast and the Furriest 10K

Fast and the Furriest 10K

photo-2

Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic 5K

Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic 5K

AZHalf_Web

Safe to say 2012 was my best running year ever… But I have a lot planned for next year, too. Thanks again to my blog friends and followers for your motivation, encouragement, and attention this year!

The Fast and the Furriest 10K Race Report

On Saturday June 9, I ran The Fast and the Furriest 10K, only I almost didn’t. But I’ll get to that.

I had high hopes for a new PR at this race. I’ve been running faster than my previous PR pace ever since coming back to the Rochester area. My longest training run was just 5.8 miles, but I hoped my record pace could hold out. I picked up my race packet at the Ridgeway Ave. Fleet Feet location a couple of days before the race. One of my few complaints about the event was that online information about race times and packet pickup was contradictory. Packet pickup times and locations listed on the city’s event Web site and on Active.com were conflicting, but ultimately an e-mail from Yellowjacket Racing cleared up the confusion. The race shirt is just kind of OK—it will make sure I get seen if I wear it while night running—but the race numbers are cute and the packet was composed with pet owners in mind. (The Verona Street Animal Society and Rochester Animal Services are beneficiaries of the event.) Also included were coupons for local vet services, a packet of dog treats from a local realtor, and a packet of Milk Bone “trail mix” for dogs. My little one approved of that.

The morning of the race I faced a difficult decision. I woke up two hours before race time to a steady rain. My dog wouldn’t go outside, and I wondered if I shouldn’t either. Knowing that Rochesterians are used to bad weather, I had little doubt that the race would go on. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a part of it. I’m not new to bad weather racing (Temecula Valley, anyone?), but running a 10K is a different ball game than running a 5K. I made the decision to suit up and drive into the city anyway, just to see if weather got better toward race time. It rained so hard on the way in that I almost turned around, but when I got within a few blocks of the start and saw runners warming up in spite of the rain I knew there was no turning back.

I think this is one of the smallest runs I’ve ever taken part in, perhaps due in part to the weather. Despite lots of promotion online and in print, race results recorded just 211 finishers for the 10K. (A 5K and a dog walk were also offered.) The start was a bit disorganized—announcers were hard to hear over the chatter and were not adequately amplified. I guess electronic amplification and rain don’t mix. As a result, I think most of the pack took off early. I was mid-pack about a block down the road when I heard the starting horn actually blow. This may be why my Garmin times were faster than the mile times announced by race volunteers all the way through.

At the actual start of the race it had briefly stopped raining, but it started up again a few blocks in and continued the whole way. I was so focused on my running that it really wasn’t too much of a bother, except that: a) wet feet late in the race were really annoying. Between rain and puddles I was soaked to my socks; b) my double-tied shoes came untied during the race, which I blame on soaked laces. I lost a few seconds to re-tie them. The race course took us through downtown, along the Genesee River to the University of Rochester area, back across the river, and up back to downtown with a finish outside the Verona Street Animal Shelter. In good weather, it’s not a bad place to run. I’ve run some of these streets as part of the Rochester Half Marathon and on lunchtime runs when I worked in downtown Rochester. The neighborhood is a bit rough, but at 8AM on a Saturday with a pack of runners, there were no problems.

I could tell from my Garmin that my pace was fast (by my standards) throughout. Anything under 10:30/mi would make for a new PR, and my longer training runs were around 10:25/mi while shorter runs (up to 4 miles) were under 10:00/mi pace. On race day, I was thrilled to be consistently under 10:00/mi. I’ve never run for so long at this speed, and though I was concerned about being wet and tired at the end I held out and crossed the finish line in 61:27—a new PR by about 4 minutes!

This about says it all regarding the weather

The 10K is still a growth area for me. This was only actually my third 10K ever—after the ridiculously hilly 2010 Cinco de Mayo 10K in Tucson and the 2012 Lost Dutchman 10K in Apache Junction—and every race has been faster than the last. I believe I could shave a little more time off my 10K in the future, but I’m pleased with this performance and I think it shows the result of more training miles, weight loss, and a better diet—all things I’ve worked hard at in 2012. An interesting side note to this is that even at an overall 9:55/mi pace I was one of the slower finishers in this race. I’d like to think this is because rain deterred a lot of slower runners and walkers who might have otherwise participated.

Support along the course was good, with times announced each mile as runners passed. Post-race entertainment included live music, an expo of pet products and services, and an open house at the Verona Street Shelter with adoptable pets. Weather cleared up within 15 or 20 minutes of the finish so I got to enjoy some of this while attempting to dry off. These two pups pictured here are among the many pets at the shelter looking for forever homes. These adorable babies have no front legs, but they were as happy and loving as any puppies could be. I hope someone in the Rochester area will give these little ones a bright future!

The Lost Dutchman 10K: Running for the Gold

This weekend, I ran the Lost Dutchman 10K in Apache Junction, Arizona. I was super excited about this race for a couple of reasons:

  • First, in spite of the fact that I’ve done a lot of runs of 6 miles or more, I have only ever done one previous 10K race, and it was awful. This race was bound to be a PR for me, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hoped I could get under 1:10, but I suspected I might be able to do even better than that.
  • Second, I’d been wanting to race in the Lost Dutchman event since the first year I’ve lived in Arizona. The scenery seemed great, I heard good things from other runners, and the medals are nifty. There’s even some interesting lore behind the story of the Lost Dutchman and his mine, and those sorts of tales just fascinate me. In past years, the date of the race didn’t line up for me, but this year it seemed meant to be.

My BRF (Best Running Friend) Bean and I went up to the Phoenix area yesterday to get our packets and prepare for the running fun. She was planning to do the half, which meant getting up extra early today–her run started 45 minutes before mine. Here are some pics from the Apache Junction area, including a couple winning pics of this morning’s sunrise.

View at the Expo Center

Sunrise at Apache Junction

Another great view

Overall, the race went great for me. I think Bean and I both have the same complaints about the event, which are minor overall: parking was limited, and those who arrived late had quite a hike to the start; line-ups for the start of the various events (half marathon, 10K, 8K, 2 miles–the marathon started at a different location) were not clearly announced, leaving some runners surprised when the gun went off (the guy in front of me was texting at the start of the race!); and the course was a bit different than what we expected. The 10K was advertised as an out-and-back that was slightly uphill the first 5K, downhill the last 5K. In fact, there were rolling hills all the way. I’m pleased and surprised that I was able to power through the way I did.

The good news: The course was beautiful. While we were on roads the whole time, the area is mostly undeveloped and there are great views of saguaro, desert brush, and the Superstition Mountains. Roads were also completely shut down for us, giving runners space to spread out, and support along the course was great from volunteers and spectators. At the end, there was plenty of food and some entertainment (which we didn’t stick around to see). The medals are all beautiful, and the shirt is also pretty snappy.

Great medal!

This was a PR for me by 10 minutes, and I came in at around 1:05. I credit part of that to my last-minute decision to fill up my water bottle with Zico coconut water, which helped give me calories and energy along the way. I hate most sports drinks and usually just take water and Gu on longer runs, but coconut water has been working well for me. It kept me going strong long enough that I didn’t even need to take my gel. Don’t get me wrong, I was exhausted at the end of the race, but holding a 10:30 pace throughout is a big deal for me! Bean did pretty well, too, finishing the half in about 2:08.

Given all of my issues and insecurities lately, today was a confidence builder that I really needed. I have to admit, though, the whole experience got me thinking about building up some more distance. I can’t help but feel ambitious when I’m surrounded by so many marathon and half marathon runners. Besides, with all the running medals I’m getting, I’m going to have to buy a medal rack soon. Might as well fill it up! Happy Sunday, everyone!