Sunday, December 4, 2011

Facing the 5k Fears/ Jingle Bell Run 5k Recap

People always say that we gain strength from facing our fears and although I agree, I am not always so good at doing this.  It is only natural to avoid the things that cause us pain, are uncomfortable or that we are fearful of.  Racing the 5k is one of these things for me.  Always has been.  I have a long history with the 5k racing distance.  Almost all of my experiences with it involve disappointment, walls, pain, puking, head case issues, and never being able to really run to my potential.  After college, I was so excited to never have to race another 5k for the rest of my days on this earth.  I was done!  Forever.  Or so I thought.

Last night my husband came home late after 8 long days in Washington D.C.  It was so easy to want to just  stay up late last night, watch a movie, catch up and sleep in this morning instead of pack the kids up on a cold early morning to head downtown to race a 5k.  I tried to get out of it.  I did.  I was a roller coaster of emotions the last 48 hours.  I went from nervous to excited to nervous to scared to death.  Last night and this morning I tried talking my husband into just agreeing to let me forget about the race, sleep in, set the alarm wrong...something, anything to get me out of racing this dreaded race.  He was having none of that nonsense.  I'm sure it was more to do with the fact that he didn't want me griping and moaning about how much I regretted giving up and running from my fears.  He's a smart man.  Happy Wife, Happy Life, right?  And in the long run, I wouldn't have been happy if I gave up before it was started.

Race:  Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis 5k and Kids 1k

GREAT Race for a good cause.  I would highly recommend this event for anyone looking for a fun winter race with or without kids!  

Why did I sign up?  For Fun and to see where I was at.  And to face my fears.  I caught the 5k bug after reading and hearing about so many of you racing them.

Goals:  Above all I wanted to push myself and race a hard race off of little to no speed work and 5k specific training. A baseline of sorts.  I wanted to start off somewhere between 6:20 and 6:25 and hold on.
A Goal:  Break 20 minutes finally!
B Goal:  Run a strong 20 something

Weather: Cold for us.  But NO Rain!  36 degreeish

Race Wear:  My lululemon bra and tank (love this tank because it is long and goes under things very nicely) with a New Balance long sleeve shirt over. My Zensah compression tight OF COURSE...LOVE these things for speed work and racing.  And against all fashion rules, I wear my Zensah neon yellow calf sleeves with the 3/4 length tights.  I like the feel...who cares that I look silly?  I don't.

Music:  Yes, I tried music for the first time ever in a 5k.  It served me well even though it really is such a short race and I hardly remember it EXCEPT I remember messing around with the song choices on my last mile.  What?  Who peruses their song selections on the last freaking mile of a 5k???  Um, yeah, that would be me.  Can you say adding seconds on to my final time?  Grr.  Oh well, learning lesson.  I was also playing with my Garmin instead of digging deep and kicking my own butt like one should in the last mile of a 5k.  I listened to music that I usually would never listen to and that would actually make me angry and irritated any other time.  Here's the songs I had on my playlist:

Hard by Rihanna and Jeezy
Hello Hurricane by Switchfoot (this one was actually a cool technoish one that I found off a youtube tempo run video)
Lose Yourself by Eminem (can I just say that usually I despise Eminem. Him and his music...just my opinion but his music served a purpose.)
Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce
Outta Your Mind by Lil' Jon (This one would usually make me especially annoyed but works for getting me going! Note:  swear words are heavy.)

Breakfast:  Toast with Peanut Butter and Coffee about 2-3 hours before

Warm Up:  Ran 2 miles with a few pick me ups.  Did some field drills that I used to do in college.  And ran the 1k kids run with my kids.

The 1k Kids Fun Run:  Um, FUN! Well, my oldest daughter took off fast, I held back with my 4 year old, and my husband ran with our 2 year old.  My four year old daughter is NOT a runner and I think we traumatized her.  She hated every second of it.  But it was the best 1k ever!  So much support and so many kids!!  Would highly recommend this event if you have kids and are in Portland.  At the finish, they all got goodie bags with all kinds of fun stuff...toothbrushes, hand clappers, some candy, etc.  And they got to run with ELVES!!  So fun!  For $10, our money when to a great cause, they had a fun time (except my daughter) and they got t-shirts too!  Cute ones.

The Kid Run.  My little girl was NOT very happy.  

Course:  Mostly flat.  Out and back.  Great course through downtown Portland!

Mile 1: 6:26
Mile 2: 6:29
Mile 3: 6:35
.1:  5:50 pace

Official 20:01
10th woman overall
4th in my age group.  Again, stupid age group.  :)

Start/Mile 1: 6:26 I had my music in when the horn went off so I was a little slow to get off the line.  By that time, the 17 minute women were long gone as they should be.  Honestly, I felt like I wasn't running fast enough.  I spent the first mile looking at my watch a lot (well, I did this the entire race...way too much).  Next time I will listen to Raina and set my garmin to beep at me but if I use music then I can't hear that so I will have to figure something out. I kind of liked the music.  I also spent the first mile looking at my reflection in the store windows I passed and zigzagging a bit. Again, What?? So funny in retrospect.  When my Garmin beeped at mile one at 6:26, I had a few thoughts run through my head like:
*  I'm not so sure this is my day.
*  Well, that wasn't so hard.  I supposed I can keep going at this pace and it won't be so hard.
*  I wonder what kind of splits I would have to run in order to still break 20 minutes.
*  I think I could do this with minimal pain.  Isn't this always the goal?  ha ha.

Mile 2:  6:29 Felt strong and comfortable

Mile 3:  6:35 Kind of saw my time going all over the place.  Still staying within the limits of my "safety net" or sticking with the comfort zone instead of pushing myself to my limits.  This is kind of a bummer but a lesson for next time. Again.  A lesson I might be learning for some time.  This girl doesn't like pain. Who does?  But some can push themselves so much harder and I want that.  That part of the spirit that says "Let's do this!  Let's push hard and go ALL OUT!"  I'm not so good at this.  Mile 3 errors:
*  Like I mentioned, I was actually playing with my Garmin and ipod instead of digging deep putting myself in pain.

.1:  5:50 pace.  I could see the clock go from 19:45 to 19:46, 47, 48, ......Saw it change to 20 just as I was about to cross.  If someone got my picture at the finish, it will be quite funny because what I was thinking was written all over my face.

Last Kick.  I was pushing myself here.  Probably more than I think.  

Overall Feelings:
I'm happy.  This is a PR for me and I'll take it.  I know that I'm capable of more but we could all say that I suppose.  Truth is, I didn't bring it and if I'm ever going to find out what I can really do then I've got to be willing to dig deep.  The mental and the physical are so connected!  I felt strong the entire race.  Comfortably strong...within reason.  Obviously, it wasn't comfortable like snuggling under a blanket and watching a movie but I felt in control the entire time and never really pushed past that "safety net" as I said.  Am I disappointed that I didn't break 20 minutes?  Yes.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't.  Of course I am.  I'm a little pissed at myself to this but overall, I'm content.  This wasn't an A race.  I wasn't trained specifically for this and I had very little speed under my belt (mostly miles the last 4 weeks).  This makes me feel confident and EXCITED about marathon training.  What a great way to start Boston training!

That sub 20 will come.  It will.  IF I ever race a 5k again.  Not so sure that is in the cards for this runner.  Whatever, of course I will race another 5k.  I have a time to chase down, now don't I?  Watch out 5k, I'm coming for you someday. Forget the sub 20, I'll get that sub 19 yet.  Maybe even when I'm 40.   But now is not the time.  It's MARATHON TIME!  Bring IT!

After the race we spent a long morning/afternoon downtown drinking coffee, having lunch and even making some fun ornaments at this cool place we found.  
Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Can't wait to hear about race reports from Vegas (so would love to be there!), California International Marathon and more.  Please tell me if you raced this weekend.  Be on the look out for Tasha's race report from Healthy Diva.  She really is worth checking out.  So much talent there.  She's only just starting!  Love to you Tasha.



  1. What a fun, fun day! Congrats on the PR, I have no doubt you'll be sub 20 or 19 your next 5k!

  2. I'm glad your husband didn't let you pike or you'd never know that you've got a 19 in the bag when you run your next 5k. But you'll have to leave your music alone!! Seriously? You were selecting songs while you were running that fast? Next time it's set and forget.

  3. Great job on your PR!!! Congrats!! My best advice, as far as music goes, is to wear one earbud. I wrap the other around my bra strap. That way I can have the best of both worlds. And "Lose Yourself" is my favorite running song EVER.

  4. Great race! I ran the 5k in college too and I have strange fears about it as well. Too many tough races in college has left me a headcase in the 5k. I managed to run right at 20:06 so I'm with you on wanting that sub 20 5k! Congrats to you! You will get than on your next race! Oh, and yes, I vowed not to run with music on the short races. I get distracted and tend to not focus on racing!!

  5. Congrats on the PR and what a cute getup!! :)

    I know the feeling about 5k's-there's something about the short fast stuff that can be mentally challenging.

    I'm stealing a line from "Run Like a Girl and Mean It" (who's also one of my besties); when recapping her 5k P: at mile 2 I knew I could do this". Simple but powerful.

    Stay at it and sub 20:00 is yours!

  6. Damn that's fast! Congrats on the PR and so happy you went for it. It feels so good, doesn't it?!

  7. OK-marathon comment-Beware:)

    Your first paragraph. LOVE it. Makes me excited to read the rest. Can you see I'm commenting as I go!!

    First of all, our husbands were in Washington D.C. at the same time for a day! They could have met up! I think last I heard you were excited so I'm laughing at the inevitable roller coaster of emotions that takes place the hours before a race!! Everyone has them. You dealt with them WELL!!

    You don't look silly! You look adorable but really, I'm disappointed that you didn't glue some glitter on those calf sleeves!

    Yes, leave the damn ipod alone. I never even remember what's playing on mine but I do know that I don't mess with it!!!

    Super awesome race Amanda!!! Our splits so similar for 5K except completely backwards for me. You felt MUCH better than I did though! MUCH better. I was definitely in pain. My word girl, I will never underestimate your potential. You are LOADED with talent. I think this is a drop in the bucket for you. A great race but just the tip of the iceberg.....that is provided you like ice:)

    OK-I could go on forever. I will read this a few more times I'm sure!! Love your actual recap. Seriously, I'm proud of you but you can't sit on this. NO ONE sits on a 20:01-ha ha! Sub 20 is a given for you next time! You better get registered for another one!!! Can't wait for Boston!!

  8. great job Amanda! I wish I wuold have looked into this race...I would have brought the kids down to run this morning - it would have been so fun! And I could have seen you speeding by!

    Congrats on the PR!

  9. Congrats on your new PR and a super fast 5k. You rocked it girl and next time the sub 20 is in the bag for you, no doubt! You even had it in you today.

  10. That is SO fast, and without any specific training! Don't let 2 seconds steal the accomplishment from you--I think you did wonderfully.

    And I actually listen to music in short races MORE than in long races, relatively speaking. I really need the push to go fast. I've never minded 5Ks or 10Ks, but I've also never dreamed of going as fast as you do.

  11. Amanda this was a fantastic race!!!!! I totally get what you're saying though. I didn't want to dig deep an dpush on my last mile either! I kept teling myself that I didn't want to feel that pain. in hindsight it is annoying...but I think in every race we feel that maybe we could have pushed is part of the racing struggle. I seem to only be able to get into that 3rd gear if someone is pacing me and yelling at me. perhaps we can do this for eachother? lol I did the opposite and stopped looking at my watch almost completely for mile 2 and 3. I told myself I would just run by feel. NOt sure what the crap I was thinking now when I missed the 20 mark by 10 seconds? sigh....I realize the 5K is a super tricky race and needs to be executed VERY carefully!!!
    I am planning to run another 5K to try and break 20 again on either dec 31 or Jan 1. wouldn't it be sweet if we took turns and we could each pace each other the last mile? ...oh me and my big ideas! lol
    again, GREAT race today! I knew you would be so close to that 20 minute are so much faster than you give yourself credit for!!! super PROUD of you!

  12. You're so darn fast. On a whole different (slower) level, I totally get your feeling, though. Most races I do, I think, hmmm, if I actually trained for this, how would I do?

    From that last picture it looked like your daughter has forgiven you guys. :)

  13. You had really good mile splits. Way to go on facing your fears and tackling that baby head on! 5K's are a entirely different beast than everything else. You WILL get your sub 20 5K but for now enjoy that awesome PR!! Also, yeah- our age group sucks!! :-(

  14. I love the jingle bell runs!!! I ran the one in Spokane 3 years ago and it was a lot of fun and supports a great cause. You did awesome my speedy friend!!! You have already built up such a strong base for your Boston training. I'm looking forward to hearing all of your updates in the coming months. More importantly, thank you for being such an inspiration to me on my little running journey. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have met you at Girlfriends. Keep it up speedster! Hugs!!!!!

  15. Congrats on your PR! Stupid, stupid age group.

  16. Another wonderful race recap from you! I KNEW this was a PR race for you!!! A PR is a PR!! It's a fantastic race! Would you have been happier with 20:10? I like 20:01- 19:59 is that much closer. :)

    You are loaded with ability and this race is just a tiny, tiny little sliver of it. You may have some dragons to slay with the 5k, but you put in a BIG sword today.

    There are some things to chew on for the next race, but each race has its own lessons. I am super proud of you for taking it on and can't blame you for wearing the ipod. :) Maybe next time only one earbud? Or maybe 2. Not everyone responds like a robot to the beeping GPS. It confused the heck out of me the first time, so I just ran as fast as I could anytime it made a weird sound.

    So glad you got your man back too. Hope you enjoyed the post race celebration :))

    I say, why wait until after you are done marathon training to go sub 20? I think you could do it in a 60-70 mile week, especially with the early volume you are getting in. Your legs are getting more and more used to it- and will respond well with a little speed and then a rest week.
    Sub 19? Definitely a doable goal for you too.

  17. Great job having a family fit morning! 20:01 with garmin and music distractions? Yeah, 5K needs to watch out. Looking foward to reading about you chasing that sub 20.

  18. SO thrilled you ran this. I do think that if you run another 5K before January 1st you will get the sub 20. One second! Darn it!

    Yes, I've said it again and again, you have a lot of talent. You ran this with just one speed session, Amanda, and PRed. How amazing is this?

    Facing fears, yes, and look at the reward:)

    Oh, and for 5Ks I select a few songs only (20 min) and make a playlist. That way, I don't have to mess up with it.

  19. I dont think that I could bike that fast -- well done and congrats!!

  20. OMG you are so close!!
    Find a fast course, get there, and just get it done. You need this sub 20 thing off your back, and it's yours.

  21. Well Amanda you showed that 5k who's boss!!! Great job speedy! I completely think a sub 20 is in your cards soon! Love the cool place you found!

  22. Good for you for staring down the 5k fears and conquering them. And in really, really speedy fashion I might add! You've got that sub-20 in you and it will come next time. For now, just enjoy your victory--you deserve it!

  23. Congrats on your PR! You are so speedy - I think you have to race another one just to get that sub-20. :)

  24. 20:01 is AWESOME!!! next 5k you will be way under 20! 5k's make me nervous because they are so short I worry about getting my legs going in time! congrats on a great race! xoxo!

  25. Congrats on the PR. A PR is always good but I can understand being a little bummed, especially because you were so close. You faced your fears and did awesome. And don't you feel great that you didn't skip it!

  26. Great race and recap! Congratulations on the PR and facinig your fear. The kids run sounds like so much fun!

  27. Even if you feel like you didn't push hard enough here, you still did amazing! It's a PR right? Celebrate! You'll totally get that sub 20, then sub 19...and maybe more. Wish I knew the secrets to this tricky distance because from the outside looking in it seems easy, but it's completely not and can be very frustrating.

    On to Boston! Whoohoo!

  28. Amazing time, especially during marathon training! You are knocking on sub-20:00's door, and you earned a PR. Be proud of yourself and come back to the 5k after the marathon. I ran my fastest 5k about two months after a marathon; enough time to recover, but not so much that I lost the fitness.

  29. Congrats on the PR! Okay, I tell everyone this, but I've found that it can take 3-5 5ks in close succession to really get a good PR. The first 5K is like shock to the body. It's just not accustom to the pace, but it adapts fast. I bet if you were to run two more races (in the next month or so) you'd be in the mid 19s...

  30. wow wow wow....speedy....congrats!
    That is fast!
    arent you so happy you went?!!
    next weekend is our Holiday race!
    1 mile for the boys, this will be my youngest's first 1 miler and a half marathon for me!

    Ho Ho Ho!!!
    send some speed my way please!!!

  31. awesome race! i too have rocked the "sleeves+capris=tights" look. it will totally catch on one of these days :)

  32. oh yes, sub 20 is around the corner. You can most definitely do it soon, if you want it. (Pushing to the puke level is NOT a 5k requirement. maybe this is why you hate them)

    you pushed for a PR and that is racing. You did it! Be proud! you can totally go sub 20 during your marathon training. Go for it lady!

  33. Those darn two seconds... ;) congrats on the PR! A sub 20 is so close, next time next time! 5ks are brutal though... How is it easier to talk yourself into a marathon? I don't get how our brains function like that...

  34. You should be so proud, not just for your PR but for facing your fears and winning! The 5K is a tough race even though it's short and you did amazing! I found myself fiddling with my music on a recent 4 mile race and thought about how pathetic it was! Great job!

  35. Soooooo Close!!! Next time you beat the 20 minutes, for sure!! And you are right with that amazing time you are "only" 4th in your AG!? Wow, Portland has a lot of speedy runners!! Come to VA and you will win a race with that time :)

  36. Oh, WOW, sweet thing, you were RIGHT THERE! Darn! I know the feeling of trying and trying for that sub-20. I know it's in my future as well! I'm proud of you for pushing through those fears...we've all got to do it to gain that confidence. You do inspire me!
    Thanks for your sweet wishes and thoughts. You are an incredible woman and friend and we are all SO fortunate to have your writing, your thoughts and your ambitions out there for us to be **touched**!
    Thanks so, so much...

  37. Girl, next time leave that I-pod at home! You can break 20 when you're not messing with equipment. :) Glad you didn't set the alarm wrong-- that's an impressive race.

    I love reading about your training, racing and real life stuff that comes with both. Keep at it; memorize the songs and let them play in your head while you're running people down! Just start counting about halfway through; work on one at a time-- it helps to concentrate on racing rather than how bad you feel, and it won't cost you any seconds.

  38. Very very proud of you Amanda! The 5k is a HUGE fear of mine as well and facing it is an accomplishment in and of itself. Congrats on facing your fear and setting a PR!!

    P.S. I think the outfit looks great. :) Love the yellow socks.

  39. That was still a pretty good time. Do you think the weather affected you much? So close to sub 20.

    I ran a 20:08 5k back in September. I think I could have gone sub 20 had I done some things better and if the roads weren't all wet.

    Those 5ks are about 20 minutes of pain. I don't look forward to them much either.

  40. You'll get sub 20. I have absolutely NO DOUBT. Especially because you've been base trianing for a marathon! NOT training for a 5k. Big difference.

    I love that you call them pick *me* ups. I just call them pick ups, but I may have to change that :)

    Great job on an awesome PR!