Sunday, February 28, 2016

Spring Thaw Race Recap

Happy Monday everyone!  Today I'm excited to share my first race recap of the year.  On Saturday, I ran in the Spring Thaw race at North Park.  

This is an interesting race- there are three distances available (10, 15 and 20 miles) which equals 2, 3 or 4 laps around North Park.  Everyone is scored on the 10 mile distance, but you can decide on the day of the race which distance you're going to run.  I love this, because some times you're having a great day and other times you're not feeling it- so you can change your distance with no penalty or fee!  Love it.  There's also some pretty good swag- everyone who completes at least 10 miles gets a hat and medal.  15 milers also get a pair of gloves, and 20 milers get all of that and a neck warmer.  Here's what I got:


I decided to run the 15 miles (3 laps) and test my marathon race pace.  My goal was to run a 3-mile warm-up, 15 miles with at least 10 miles at MRP (9:04) for a total of 18 miles.  My plan was to run with the 9:00 pacer for the first two laps and hold on as long as I could for the final lap!  I'm going to break down the race by lap so you can see how I did!

Note- my miles splits are based on my Garmin and the lap time/overall times are all official race results so they are a bit different.  My watch was about 2/10 of a mile off which is why there's about a minute extra at the end!



Lap 1 (Miles 1-5) : 44:58
[8:47, 8:52, 9:00, 8:52, 8:53]
Listed to : Criminal podcast
Fuel : Date @ Mile 5

The race started out, and there was a huge group around the 9:00 pacer.  Everyone was talking and enjoying the race, so we started out a bit fast for the first few miles.  The course went counter-clockwise around the lake, starting at the boat house, so the first 2.5 miles are a one-way street that was closed for the race.  One bad thing about this course is that the road is extremely sloped on this half of the park, so I made sure to run in the middle of the road where it's more level as much as possible.  Doing this affected my tangents which is why my watch was off, but it was worth it for the sake of my hips and knees!


The second half of the park is on a busier road with three substantial uphills and downhills.  I actually prefer this half of the park.  The first half is pretty much 2.5 miles of the same scenery and the same rolling hills along one road, whereas the second half has turns and more "landmarks" that I know to look forward to.  It always seems like this section goes by a lot quicker!  Overall on this lap, I felt pretty good but a bit cold.  It was around 30 degrees and windy, so it took me a while to warm up!


Lap 2 (Miles 6-10) : 45:00
[8:50, 8:59, 8:56, 8:57, 8:51]
Fuel : Water @ Mile 6, 7.5, Honey Stinger Gel @ Mile 10

As soon as we crossed the start/finish line to start lap 2, I took a bite of my dates for a bit of fuel.  I wasn't really hungry or hurting yet, but I figured I should practice fueling during a race.  There were a lot of water stations set up- about one every mile- so I grabbed water at mile 6 and 7.5.  They also had a sport drink (I believe it was Glukos) which I enjoyed after the race, but sports drinks usually make me cramp up during races.  It didn't taste very sweet or sticky like some other sports drinks, so I actually think it wouldn't bother my stomach during a race!


I started to feel a bit sore on this lap.  My breathing was still relaxed and the pace felt easy, but my legs and arms were feeling really stiff.  It almost felt like they were frozen from the cold and were having a hard time bending or moving quickly.  I tried to loosen up a bit by shaking out my arms and doing some butt kicks and that helped a bit.  Overall on this lap, I still felt decent but was beginning to feel sore.


Lap 3 (Miles 11-15) : 43:50
[8:42, 8:54, 8:39, 8:39, 8:36 (extra 1:13)]
Listened to : Music
Fuel : Water @ Mile 11, 12.5, 14 Date @ Mile 12.5

Once we crossed the start/finish line to start the final lap, I ate a bit of my Honey Stinger Gold gel.  There was water right at the timing mat, so I went to grab some to wash down the gel.  Unfortunately, a bunch of people in front of me also grabbed water, so the volunteers didn't have time to pour new cups of water and I had to skip it.  I knew that water was just a mile away so I figured it wasn't a big deal.


As soon as we got away from the water, I switched on my music and told myself it was time to go!  I was still feeling pretty good and my body felt warmed up.  I also realized that I was the only one left with the pacer, so we started to talk a bit and I decided to stick with her on the first half of the lap.  This is the area where I struggle anyway, so I figured having someone to run with would help me out.  I also grabbed some water at mile 11 and 12.5, and had a piece of date at mile 12.5.


I started to pull away from the pacer around mile 12 and really felt great!  On all of my long runs, it seems like after the halfway point is when I really start to loosen up and feel my best, so I'm glad that that was the case in this race as well.  

The only issue that I had on this lap was that my stomach was bothering me right around mile 13.  I'm not sure if it was because I picked up the pace, or because I didn't wash down the gel right away and the second piece of date was too much, but it was really bothering me!  I was worried that the pacer would catch up to me and I would fall apart right at the end, so I'm glad that I kept it together for the final two miles and actually had my fastest miles of the race!  Overall, besides my stomach issues, I felt the best on this lap.  My body felt warmed up and relaxed, and I took a few minutes off my lap time.


Overall Time : 2:13:46
Overall Pace : 8:56/mile

I'm really happy with this race.  I executed my plan perfectly, and this was a huge confidence builder for hitting my goal of 4 hours in the marathon!  If I'm able to keep this same pace for 11.2 more miles, that's a 3:54:03 marathon.  I feel pretty good about that!  I just need to work on my fueling and continue training hard for the final 8 weeks!


Anyone else have a race this weekend?
Do you like running odd distance races like this?
What did you do this weekend?
linking up with HollyTricia and Katie

64 comments:

  1. Fantastic job! You are definitely on track for a 4 hour marathon!

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  2. Nice work! I'm impressed with how consistent your cadence was throughout the run! I don't really look at my data much but when I did I would definitely see the fatigue impact me and my turnover would slow up until the final push for the finish. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Kelli! I was surprised too. I didn't even know my watch did that so I'll be looking at cadence more often in the future!

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  3. Those look like some serious hills - congrats!

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    1. They felt serious too haha! Thanks Michelle!

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  4. Solid pacing! Congrats on a great race and I'd say you're definitely on track to hit your sub 4 hour goal! :)

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  5. Love the Spring Thaw! Sounds like you had a great race. Odd distances races are kind of fun to me, it's usually a new PR & a fun way to break up the monotony.

    I've tried Glukos a time or two (lemon flavor) & have to say I really like it. It's more like taking a shot of lemonade. It's very thin & water like in consistency & is not sugary. When I try to run & drink a sports drink I usually can't swallow well enough & end up choking. So, if you decide you want to experiment more, I have to say I give Glukos two thumbs up.

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    1. Good to hear you had a good experience with Glukos! Might have to pick some up :)

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  6. Awesome job! And love the Criminal podcast. I loved the one with the Tree, lol.

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  7. Perfect pacing! Really great race, Gretchen! If you can get your fueling figured out (hopefully it was just lack of water with the gel) you are going to have an awesome marathon!

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    1. PS: I can't believe how much your running has improved since the Biggest Loser Half last year! So wonderful to see your hard work and dedication paying off! Go Gretch!!!

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    2. Thank you Heather! I hope I can figure out fueling too..so frustrating!

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  8. Congrats on an awesome pace! And I love that photo of you smiliing and running - so great! I ran my second 5K of the year this weekend! It was a beautiful day in Denver and I ran with two friends so it was a lot of fun! :)

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    1. Thanks Emma! Great job on the race and I hope you post a recap!

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  9. whoa!! you rocked it!! there's so much i have to learn with running!

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    1. Thanks! I still have a lot to learn too :)

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  10. Great job Gretchen!!! You really have been doing awesome this training!

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  11. Awesome job- lots of hard work paying off! I'm currently injured so I'm jealous of this race but putting it on my calendar for next year!

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  12. Wow, that's a long race for the winter time! You look like you're having a lot of fun.

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    1. I actually was believe it or not! It's a fun race :)

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  13. Great job girl! Such a cool race concept! Looking through all of your pictures you look strong and in control -- so great to see :)

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  14. Congratulations! It sounds like you ran an awesome race! And those pictures are great too. Ahh so happy for you! I also like that you got a hat and gloves instead of the standard t-shirt. Such a cool idea.

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    1. Thank you Amanda :) I like having different things instead of another shirt as well!

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  15. You are an incredible runner!!! I love watching your recaps- you look strong!

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    1. You are SO sweet Julia! Thank you for the support :)

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  16. I have never done a 15 mile race. I don't think I've ever even done a 10 mile race! You did so well, Gretchen! I AM PUMPED for you, and I have no doubt you can do a sub-4!

    Great idea to wait to listen to music until the later miles. It would have given you such a huge boost of energy.

    Congrats!

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    1. Andrew and I are BOTH going to crush it, I just know it. If not our next full will have to be at the same time and you can pull us both across!

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  17. What an interesting race with the three choices of distance. They do a really nice job with the swag giving you things other than the tech shirt. Nice job keeping your pace and pulling away at the end. That was great training for your upcoming marathon.

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  18. Wow you were right there and it sounds like an awesome race for you. I've never done a 15 mile race before but I've always wanted too.

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  19. That is awesome! Congratulations! You have some great action pictures there! I love that you included what you listened to for each lap.

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  20. Glad this race was a successful test for your marathon pace! Sounds like you're right on track to really crush your marathon! Oh, and I ran .14 over this year and .13 over last year. I think it's impossible to not run over because the road is so wide!

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    1. I'm happy too! Pleasantly surprised to tell you the truth :) Glad to hear I'm not the only one who was way off! So funny when you hear everyone's watches beeping and the mile flag is still a few yards ahead!

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  21. Congrats! You are definitely on track for a sub-4, I know it! All of those race distances sound so fun, especially the 10 and 15 milers.

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  22. Great job! I ran a half marathon once that was on the side of a highway so the entire course was on a slant and it wrecked havoc on my knee and hip! No good! Keep up the great work!

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  23. congrats on the awesome race girl! sorry about your stomach though, that's the worst. how cool that you can decide what distance you want to run on the day. so nifty!

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  24. Wow - Great race, especially the last 5 miles!
    I've done a 7K, and am signed up for my first 15-mi race this summer, but I actually prefer "standard" distances because I like to compare myself to previous times.

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    1. Thank you! I agree..love to compare! Good luck in your races :)

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  25. Congratulations !! Way to go!! a 15 miler sounds really cool! and awesome race goodies!

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  26. SO impressive Gretchen! Your motivation and commitment to running is so motivating!! Well done girl!! Hope that you're having a great week!
    xoxo Cailee!

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    1. Thanks Cailee! Hope you're having a great week as well :)

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  27. WOW your pace is AMAZING!! Love that you kept yourself running with podcasts :)

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    1. Podcasts are my favorite to keep my pace!

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  28. Incredible job, Gretchen! I think you'll nail that sub 4 marathon goal. I've never even heard of a Glukos products before. The concept of the melting snowman is very cute and it looks like the medal is huge. I recently received a race toboggan instead of a T-shirt, and I really like that idea. Thanks for linking with us.

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  29. Yasss! That is all. *Virtual High 10!!!* Super proud of you! Way to stick with it mentally and physically! :)

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  30. Congrats on a great race... I agree, such a confidence builder when things go as planned. Enjoy !

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  31. What a great race for you! I'd just kill for those paces :)

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