Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July – PR? yes, please. Hot Dog? umm, no thanks!

4th of July – PRs? YES!!  Hotdogs? NO

4 on the 4th

For the past couple of years, I’ve done 4 on the 4th with a whole slew of people on the Fast Track Racing Team.  It’s a great race, rare that you race a 4 miler, has a few little inclines including a hill to the finish.  The past 2 years it’s been humid and in the 70s, this year was no different except for the fact that it was already in the 80s!  I was dripping with sweat during the warm up.  I wasn’t planning on racing because I was focused on training, didn’t wanna give up my Tuesday workout and it was blasted hot so race day registration didn’t seem all that appealing. 

Of course, people were trying to pressure me into taking off with them at the start but I said nah, I’m gonna take it easy.  Who runs a PR in this kinda weather?  I just wanted to get in a decent dose of mileage, 10 would make for a good day.  We toed the line and I was surrounded by the normal crew that I run with.  I told Brad that if I was anywhere near him, that he was sucking.  Previously he told me he responds well to negative energy like that during races, haha.  Rob is coming back from injury and Kelly is just a bit too fast so him and Rick are my usual targets.  Sherri was there too, were usually pretty competitive and put forth similar race times, great to have another girl in the area.

We started off with a slight downhill and I kinda got sucked in.  I wished the boys good luck and stayed back a bit.  I was feeling good but it was early on and anything can happen when heat and fatigue set in.  Around half a mile in, I knew I was racing this thing, I wasn’t going easy and there were no signs of slowing.  The above-mentioned Fast Trackers weren’t that far ahead of me.  I came across the 1st mile in 6:26 by my watch and 6:17 by the official clock, usually the race clock is faster than my watch, that’s strange, haha.  Seemed like an alright pace, couldn’t remember what kinda splits I ran the past 2 years since I didn’t research my past times.  Shortly thereafter, I came upon Brad. I told him good job and I think he said something along the lines of “wiki – no!” obviously didn’t want me to pass him.  I continued making progress and passing people.  Rick was my next target; a water stop and a hill were coming up so this was my chance.  This time I was nice and said hey rick, good job.  Usually I just sneak by without saying a peep, he shouted some words of encouragement and I kept on going. 

I could see Sherri up ahead and knew I could catch her.  Mile 2 came up along with a hairpin turn; I caught her and told her that we should work together.  My watch showed 12:38 at the mile marker so my 2nd mile was faster than the 1st, about a 6:12.  I was making up ground and still feeling surprisingly good.  Started to feel it a bit during the 3rd mile, there was another downhill so I opened up my stride and used it to my advantage then surged up the following uphill. 

Came across mile 3 at 19:07 so roughly a 6:30 mile.  After looking at my log, the past 2 years also had a slower 3rd mile of 6:38ish.  I was having trouble figuring out that mile split in my head, I’ve said it before, I stink at math and my brain was fried so trying to calculate splits was taking longer than usual.  Usually I’ll clear my watch for races so I can take splits but since I did a workout yesterday and didn’t have time to enter it into my log; I just left it as is.  Next, I was trying to calculate how much time I had left and what my finishing time would be.  I thought under 26:00 would be acceptable especially under these conditions. 

We turned another corner and there was a long straight away, I knew we turned at the end of the block then turned again before facing the hill to the finish.  I know I can take on hills, they don’t normally have an effect on me, I just do my thing, use my vertical power.  I could see Kelly not that far ahead of me but wasn’t sure if I could get to him but was using him as motivation.  Turned that last corner and he was a bit more ahead, I tried to push it up that hill but I was starting to feel it.  The heat was really getting to me and I was feeling sick, not stair climbing sick so told myself to push it and finish strong.  I just told myself not to collapse during that finishing stretch or at the finish, it wouldn’t be good.  Runners aren’t really into that thing and plus I’d end up with all sorts of wounds worse than rug burn. 

Of course the finish isn’t right at the top of the hill, you still have to run a bit. Dang, deceiving! I crossed the line and looked at my watch - 25:26!!!!  thats a 6:19 last mile, score.  I was totally shocked, I muttered something under my breath and a girl handed me a water, haha.   I couldn’t remember my PR from 2010, thought it was around 25:40, I knew last year was over 26.  so I was like wow I ran a 20-25 second PR, it wasn’t until I mentioned that to a few people that I realized it would really be about a 15 second PR, oops.  Oh well.  Not sure how I messed that up.  I actually looked up my times and last year I ran a 26:03, I went out strong but really faded the last 2 miles.  In 2010, I had a 25:34 so faster than I thought so my PR was only 8 seconds but no complaints from me.  That year, I went out a bit faster my first 2 miles were both 6:10 so this year my approach was a bit different.  I definitely finished stronger today and it was much hotter!

I have no clue how I ran a PR in this weather.  If I look at my training the past few days, it’s been top notch, no rest and my legs felt amazing today.  I thought I’d feel sluggish and run down but I didn’t.  If we were to look at my workouts for the 5 days leading up to the race, there was no slacking or taking it easy:

Friday – 60 minute spin, 60 minutes of alternating rowing / running
Saturday – Stairs, 2 miles easy, 2 mile mountain snake, 2 mile mountain viper
Sunday – 10 miles, 60 spin
Monday – 60 spin, 15 minutes rowing, 10 minutes mountain viper, ~7 miles
Tuesday – 60 spin, 3 mile mountain viper, 2 miles easy, 50 pushups

My vertical training seems to be working well for horizontal running, guess I’ll just continue with what I’m doing and see where this takes me. 

Theres a huge team party after the race, we have our tent set, people bring food, drinks whatever and we all just hang around for a while.  This year, the sun was so incredibly strong, I could feel my skin baking!  I kept trying to find shade, I'd venture out to talk to someone but quickly retreat, haha.  Of course, most of the crowd was chowing down on chips, salsa, hot dogs, etc.  I wasn't too enticed by the hot dogs, haha.  I had some fresh fruit and made a giant salad at WF when I got back.  The sun was really starting to get to me after being out there from 6 am to almost noon!!  I think the temps soared to a high of 102!! 

That night a few of us got together for some fireworks, good times.  Even at 11 pm, it was still toasty out there, in the 80s.  The fireworks were impressive and of course everything is better when youre surrounded by great company!

RAW Update

I'm still doing the raw thing, it’s been about 2 months now and still enjoying it.  For the most part, I feel strong during my workouts and overall I’m feeling good.  I've tried a few different salad dressing recipes which are tasty, nice to mix it up when I’m eating 2 giant salads a day.  Lisa gave me a poppy seed one which is amazing and was a hit on father’s day.  I also made a peach walnut one that was flavorful, it tasted better a day or so later, I think the flavors had a chance to mingle.  Most of the time I go with a simple balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and agave. 

I haven’t been having green smoothies as much recently; I need to get back into the habit.  Breakfast has usually consisted of a piece of fruit (apple, pear, mango), some greens (spinach, etc), mixed with cinnamon, agave,  nuts, dried fruits and a splash of non-dairy milk. 

I recently started reading Scott Jurek’s book, Eat & Run.  So far it’s a great read, highly recommended.  He's an ultramarathoner superstar and a vegan to boot, fantastic!  I think I can learn a lot from his mindset, outlook and approach to racing / life in general.  At the end of each chapter, he leaves a recipe so I have a few new things to try. 

This past weekend, I took a stab at granola and hemp milk.  The hemp milk was good, I jazzed it up a bit with cinnamon, also added the agave/maple syrup like he suggested.   For the granola, I had to soak oat groats for 6-8 hours, geesh.  I didn’t have enough so added some buckwheat to the mix.  Once it was done soaking, I put it in the food processor like the recipe said but it just turned into a mush glob.  I used about half of it following the recipe ingredients but experimenting with my own ratios.  I did my own thing with the rest of the groats/buckwheat.  I added cinnamon, agave, cocoa powder, pecans and raisins.  I could tell this was an excellent combo and without processing, it was looser and could spread across the pan.  The recipe wants ya to cook it for 2-4 hours at 250 degrees, I turned it down to the lowest my oven would go (170) and let it bake away.  Turned and tasted it periodically, my granola combo was turning out quite good.  I could tell the original version wasn’t gonna get as crispy or crunchy as I wanted it to but when it finished it was still tasty even though the texture was more of a soft cookie kinda thing then crunchy granola.  I had a huge batch; it lasted about 2.5 days, oops. 

Here are the recipes if ya'll are interested:

Hemp Milk

¼ cup raw shelled hemp seeds
4 cups water
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1-2 teaspoons agave nectar or maple syrup (optional)

Place hemp seeds, water, and salt in a blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and milky.  For sweeter milk, add agave/maple syrup to taste.  Hemp milk keeps for 4-5 days in fridge.

Apple-Cinnamon Granola

*The secrets to this recipe are the soaked oat groats and hemp milk.  Soaking the oat groats (the whole-grain form of oats) promotes the release of enzymes that aid digestion.  Hemp seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and hemp milk creates a creamy, light accompaniment to crunchy granola.  Its perfect for before or after a morning workout or race.

1-2 teaspoons coconut oil
4 cups raw oat groats (soaked in water for 6-8 hours or overnight, then drained)
1 apple, cored and sliced
½ cup dried coconut flakes
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple syrup or 1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup raw almonds, chopped
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds, chopped
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250.  grease two baking sheets with coconut oil.

Process oats, apple, coconut, cinnamon, sweetener, vanilla, and salt in a food processor for 30 seconds.  Scrape sides, process for another 30 seconds, and repeat one more time.  Transfer the mix to large mixing bowl and combine with nuts/seeds and raisins.  Mix thoroughly.

Spread mixture in thin layer on baking sheets.  Bake for 2-4 hours, turning granola a few times, until dried and crisp.  You can set oven temp higher and reduce baking time but check frequently to avoid burning. 

Cool and stir in raisins.  Serve with non-dairy milk and sliced banana or fresh berries.  Keeps for 3-4 weeks in airtight container.  Makes 8-10 servings.

Lisa's Poppyseed Salad

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons diced onions
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
lettuce or mixed greens*
1 cup cashews**
1/2 cup dried cranberries**
1 apple , peeled, cored and cubed
1 pear, cubed

* I used a spring mix with spinach and added kale
**I just tossed in a bunch of random  nuts / dried fruits, whatever I wanted. 

I also used organic vegan cane sugar and agave instead of normal sugar, decreased the amount too.  I added some diced bell peppers and avocado to the salad to add extra pizazz

Dressing Instructions:
In blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, and salt. Mix until well blended. With machine still running, add oil in a slow steady stream until mixture is thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds and process just a few seconds more to mix.

In a large server, layer lettuce/greens, nuts, dried fruit, apple and pear.  Toss to mix then pour dressing over just before serving and toss to coat.

Peach Walnut Summer Salad

Heres the link for a peach walnut dressing, I got from whole foods.  I didn’t make the salad, just the dressing


  1. Hi Kristin,

    Great overview of it all. It is weird how we don't really know before we start - are we ready to go hard, or not? Especially when there was no preparation to go hard that day. I do find that keeping track of my pulse rates helps me know when i'm ready to go hard. I'll start that again. I do a bpm count as i first wake up and am still laying down immobile. I do one when I'm sitting and before coffee. I do one standing at some point in the morning. You'll get to know your average when you're really rested - and will be surprised to see that some days you're ready and you wouldn't have thought so.

    I'd been working out hard with little rest recently too - and then yesterday did a 12:38 up the first climb and I wasn't even pushing hard. Then, the next climb I did a 15 min. It was great to have good times back again on the 2nd climb, I've been wiped out of energy lately after 20-25 minutes of any intense exercise. Like a bug... Anyway I think the bug is gone. Now I'll have another try at the 3.7km 1500foot mountain climb not too far away. An awesome run, but tough to push up for 40 minutes.

  2. i think sometimes i have better races when im not planning on actually racing them and just hit it when the gun goes off. theres no added pressure or thought involved, just go with it.

    i have trouble counting my bpm, at rest its not an issue but if i try to do it after climbing, its going too fast and i lose count, haha. do you ever use a HR monitor?

    wow, seems like youve had some great workouts, way to go! this mountain you have sounds awesome, kinda jealous. i love when i hit fast times and it doesnt feel that hard, its a great feeling!