Elves Can Run Too: a Jingle Bell 5k Race Report

Ever since I ran the Half Marathon, I’ve been wanting to do a 5K. I knew from my training that I had improved my speed, but the question was how much? I also wanted to run a race with my husband, so when he told me “his kids” (from school” were running the Asheville Jingle Bell 5K I knew I had to sign up. I also knew I wanted to wear a costume, after all with a name like that I needed jingle bells.

A $1 Santa hat, an Alabama tube top turned into an elf skirt with a pair of scissors and jingle bells, a cute pair of socks and some ribbon was all I needed. Right before the race I almost lost a bell, so I decided to secure them with safety pins, it was a good call.

The night before my husband was telling me he wasn’t going to run. I gave him a no nonsense speech and told him he didn’t have to do the timed race but that I expected him to run. After all I signed up because I knew he would run too. So he came. At the last minute I handed him a seasonal apron when he told me he didn’t have a costume and off we went.

The race was small, about 200 runners met at the Montford Recreation Center. Perfect sun and temperature in the low 40’s greeted us. There was tons of Santa hats and reindeer antlers. I met up with some colleagues from work and my running team as well. When the starting time drew near, I was surprised to find out we were starting on a randomly drawn line on the road. While the race was chipped, it is only based on the gun and your arrival under the gate. I even mapped the run and it looks more like 3.07 than 3.1 mile. Who cares the hills made up for the difference in my opinion.

2011 Jingle Bell Elf CostumeI was lucky enough to place myself toward the front, so when I started I probably only had 10 people or so in front of me. Two kids were flying up front, I had a few women around me. I wasn’t too worried about the first mile, it takes time for everyone  to settle into their pace.  The first mile was mostly downhill but I was still surprised at the mile marker when I glimpsed at my watch to see 7:15. Wow, I did not think I could keep up at that pace the whole time. But then again it was worth a shot. So I tried to keep it up as we hit the first uphill. I had about 4 girls around me at that point and easily passed one of them who had likely started too fast. I kept up with the other girl for a while until the next uphill.

As we hit mile 2, I was still under 8:00 pace with my time reading at 14:40 or so. There was only one girl with me at that point. I wasn’t sure who else was ahead of us but I could only see one other guy. She was ahead of me and putting some distance. I did almost catch up with her, but on the last hill to the finish she suddenly took off and finished really strong. At that point I felt close to puking and knew I couldn’t push much more. So I just let it go and ran my own race. I heard someone say: “You’re the first girls”. Wait? Say what?

I ran to the finish line, looking at the clock with a very pleasant surprise. I caught up with the other runner and gave her a high five. She smiled and told me how she heard me coming behind me and knew she had to give it a push to win. Oh yes because she did win, first place overall for the female, which made me 2nd female overall!!! I was lucky that she older than me which allowed me to finish 1st of my age group.
I finished in

22: 33.9

A whooping 7:15 pace. Needless to say I’m thrilled, a great PR even if the race wasn’t exactly accurate mileage wise.
I got the great fun to cheer all my friends arriving to the finish line as well as high five my husband who was running with the kids. Now first the amusing part, not only did I win first of the 25-29 age group but I also won best adult costume.

Two Happy RunnersOfficial Stats

Number of Finishers in this Division (5K Run/Walk): 157
Weather conditions at the start: 38 degrees F, 73%RH, calm winds, clear at 10:00am start
Age Group Division for this Race: Female 25 to 29
Overall Winner of this Division (Female): 22:31.5
Total Finishers in Age Group Female 25 to 29: 12
Your Finish Time: 22:33.9
Your Calculated Pace: 7:15/mile
Your Overall Finish Position within Division: 8
Your Overall Finish Position within Division & Age Group: 1
Overall Finish Position Percentile, all age groups: Top 5%
Overall Finish Position Percentile, your age group only: Top 8%


Elf Race Goal

I’m running my first 5k race since June tomorrow. It will actually be in the same area as the Chamber Challenge, so I know to expect hill. I don’t know the exact course because the website doesn’t give much information. My time for that one was 25:48 and it was a really hot day.

So for tomorrow I’m hoping to break under 25:00.

It should be a fun run too. The Jingle Bells 5k is one of many races organized by the Arthritis Foundation. Because of the theme people are encouraged to wear jingle bells and costumes.

So I found myself a red and white stripped Santa Hat, I’ll wear my dark green running group shirt, tights or a running skirt depending on weather with on top of it a homemade skirt with jingle bells at the bottom, fun socks and maybe a black buckle belt. I look forward to it.

Asheville Citizen-Times Half Marathon Pre-Race

Tomorrow I’m running my first Half-Marathon.
Yesterday I made us of the local’s night to go pick up my shirt and bib at UNC-A.
The expo was frankly disappointing. Not that much going on. I signed up for a few raffles and bought the 13.1 sticker I’ve wanted to put on my car.
No treats nothing. I was more impressed with the Dupont State Forest 12K which while they didn’t have an expo had a goody bag with gourmet salt and a few good coupons.

The T-shirt however is really cool. I like the design. The XS women size fits me. At last a race shirt that really works with my petite size, and the sponsors are not that big in the back.

As far as my goals tomorrow.
My C goal: 2h10mns and under
My B goal: 2h05mns and under (my 13 mile training run was in 2h04)
My A goal: under 2h.

Running skirt and work’s running shirt are ready along with a post run outfit (I’m lucky to have my brother in law and therefore a shower at his appartement available super close to the race). Temperature is going to be in the high 40’s to low 50’s so I’ll warm up with a long sleeve shirt and probably hand it to the husband before lining up.
Breakfast tomorrow should be half of a bagel with almond butter, half a banana and some coconut water.

Half Martahon Training Week 8

A Cairn at Skinny Dip Falls

Week 8? Already? Less than two months until the race and already half-way through training.
It was a great week for me, good interval, good tempo and cherry on the top my first time running 13 miles. Sure I could have done some biking in there but I’m happy with a little at home workout and some lovely hiking and swimming in a waterfall with my husband.

Monday Speedwork at the Park
Goal: 10-20 minute warm-up, 3 x (2 x 1200m) @ 8:34 pace, 10 minute cool-down

This was a rainy  speed work. I was very thankful that I had just gotten a Brooks running hat. It was perfect to protect me against the rain in my face while still enjoying the cooler air. There was a little lightning but nothing near so I just braved it out and I’m glad I did. Rain=lower temperature=happier me.

1.14 miles in 10’35” @9:17pace
1200m repeats 8:02, 7:38, 7:44, 7:34, 7:33, 7:40 (5’38”-6’00”)
.99 mile 10’17″@ 10:23 pace.

Wednesday Group Tempo
Goal: 6 miles @9:34 pace

It was another hot day, however we were running in Bent Creek which meant lovely forest and its shade so the temperature was really not so bad. Probably just in the high 80’s.
The three options with the group were 4.5, 5.5 and 7 miles. Knowing that I was attempting a 13 mile run that we I didn’t want to overdo it and picked the 5.
The first part was hard. We went up on the Shut in Trail. We were on it only for maybe 2 miles but there was some serious enough uphill that I had to walk in spots. The downhill went on one of my least favorite section, a steep knee killer one that made me feel I should have done the 7 miles one.
I was first to get back to the car and I really had a good run.

5.5 miles @ 9:41 pace

Forest Long Run
Goal 13 miles @10:09 pace

Detailed recap here: I can run a Half marathon.
It was a good run and I was really happy with my time. For some reason I often end up running my long runs faster than my tempo runs. Maybe because with the groups there is always a bit of shuffling at the beginning and also it’s in the hotter afternoons?

13.35 miles @9:30pace

Total miles:  25.45.
Super happy with my week and that’s all I have to say about it.

Semaine 8? Déjà? Moins de deux mois avant la course et déjà une moitié de l’entrainement derrière moi.
Ce fut une bonne semaine, bonne série de vitesse, bonne course tempo et pour couronner le tout 21km courus pour la première fois. Bon ça aurait été bien d’y ajouter un peu de vélo mais je suis satisfaire de quelques exercices à la maison et d’une jolie ballade ainsi qu’un plouf dans une cascade avec mon mari.

Series de Vitesse au Parc
Objectif: échauffementL 10-20mn, 3x(2x1200m) @ allure de 8:34, 10 minutes facile.

C’était une série sous la pluie. Heureusement je venais d’obtenir une casquette de course Brooks. Parfait pour me proteger de la pluie dans les yeux tout en profitant quand même de l’air frais. Il y avait quelques éclairs mais rien de proche, du coup j’ai bravé le temps et j’ai bien fait. Pluie=températures plus basses= je suis bien plus heureuse.

1.14 miles en 10’35, allure 9:17
série de 1200m, allure de : 8:02, 7:38, 7:34, 7:33, 7:40 (entre 5’38” et 6 minutes)
.99 miles en 10’17” allure de 10:23.

Course Tempo en Groupe
Objectif: 6 miles à une allure de 9:34

Encore une journée bien chaude. Heureusement nous sommes allés courir à Bent Creek ce qui veux dire à l’ombre de la forêt, du coup les temperatures étaient plus supportables, en dessous de 30°C.
Les trois options du groupe était 4,5; 5,5 et 7 miles. Sachant que j’allais tenter 13 miles cette semaine là je ne voulais pas en faire trop et j’ai choisi l’option 5 miles.
La première partie était la plus dure. Nous avons suivi le Shut in Trail. Nous y étions desus que pour deux miles, mais il y avait des montées suffisantes pour que je marche par endroit. La descente par contre était sur une section que je n’aime pas. Un descente casse-genoux qui m’a fait regretter le parcours de 7 miles.
J’étais la première à la voiture, une bonne course quoi.

5,5 miles à une allure de 9:41

Longue Course en Foret
Objectif: 13 miles à une allure de 10:09

Détails ici: Je peu courir un semi-marathon.
Une bonne course et j’étais trés contente de mon temps. Je ne sais pas pourquoi mais il semble que je vais plus vite pour mes courses longues que ltes temps. Peut-etre parce qu’avec le groupe il y a toujours un peu de pietinement au depart et qu’il fait plus chaud l’apres midi?

13.35 miles à une allure de 9:30

Miles total: 25,45.
Trés contente de ma semaine, rien de plus à dire.

I Can Run a Half Marathon

My husband’s brother in-law has 11 marathons under his belt. So while he is not a running guru I consider him to be well versed in running stuff. When they came to town I showed him my training plan and he was quite surprised.
He said he had never seen a Half-Marathon training plan that takes you above 13.1 miles. In fact most training plans tend to stop around 12 miles keep the magic 13.1 for the arrival line. The training plan I’m following takes me all the way up to 15 miles! And I’m ok with that, it’s giving me amazing confidence in my capacity to run.

According to the plan I should have run the 13 miles last week, but with his sis’ in town I had to reorganized things so I did it today instead of the 10 miles run.
I picked the course I had my eyes on since I got the running book and decided to run the Half: South Ridge Loop. 13.35 miles, 760 feet of elevation change, rated 14/20 on the difficulty level.

I had done part of South Ridge and Hardtimes, so I knew there would be a lot of uphill. There is a little downhill too in fact, this run is like a roller coaster, going up and down against the side of the mountain. I was so happy when I saw the lineup of cairns announcing the apex. And yes the 2 miles on Bent Creek Forest Rd seemed to take forever, but then again I was thankful for the slight downhill and the creek by my side. My left leg was hurting in the last three miles. Almost like a cramp, but more of a “your muscles just ran 9 miles, enough already” kind of feeling.

I am so proud of myself because I just ran at the pace that felt right to me and I finished in 2h07’02”. Which means that I ran the 13.1 in…. 2h04’41”!!!! My PHMP has me finishing in 2h06. I’m already under that goal.
I can’t help it, I think I’m going to aim for a sub 2h. It’s just too tempting, especially since the HM won’t go nearly as high up. According to the map it’s only about 250 feet of elevation change.

Breakfast: a white bread toast with almond butter and some coconut water.
I had half of a chocolate mint gu at 50:00, a Margarita Cliff Block (extra salt) at 1h20. I finished the Gu after then run and add a mini Luna bar too.

Le beau-frère de mon mari a déjà couru 11 marathons. Même si ce n’est pas un gourou de la course j’estime qu’il s’y connait du coup. Quand ils sont venu nous voir je lui ai montre mon programme d’entrainement et il était surpris.
Il m’a dit n’avoir jamais vu un entrainement pour un Semi-Marathon qui te fait aller au delà de 21km. De ce fait la plupart des entrainements s’arrêtent aux alentours de 19 et des poussières, gardent les 21km magiques pour le passage de l’arrivée. Le programme que je suit m’amène a 24km! ça me va, ça me donne une incroyable confiance quand a ma capacité de courir.

D’après le programme j’aurais du courir les 21km la semaine dernière, mais avec la visite de sa soeur il m’a fallu tout réorganiser et du coup je l’ai fait aujourd’hui a la place des 16km.
J’ai choisi un parcours que je zieutais depuis que j’ai mon livre de course et que j’ai décidé de faire le semi-marathon: la boucle de South Ridge. 21,48km; 230m de dénivelé, notée 14/20 en difficulté.

J’avais déjà fait une partie de South Ridge et Hardtimes, donc je savais qu’il y avait de la montée. Mais il y a aussi pas mal de descente, du coup c’est un peu comme les montagnes russes, monter et descendre a flan de montagne. J’étais contente quand j’ai vu l’alignement de cairns qui annonçaient le “sommet”. Et oui les 3km a suivre la route forestière de Bent Creek semblait durer une éternité, mais en même temps j’étais bien contente d’avoir une légère descente et le ruisseau a mes cotés. Les muscles de la jambe gauche tiraient sur les 3 derniers miles, presque comme une crampe, mais bon plutôt comme “tes muscles viennent de courir 15km, c’est pas un peu fini oui?”.

Je suis très fière de moi car j’ai couru a l’allure que je sentais et j’ai fini en 2h07’02”. Ce qui veux dire que j’ai couru les 21km en 2h04’41”!!! J’avais prévu de finir le semi-marathon en 2h06. J’ai déjà dépassé cet objectif.
Je ne peux pas m’empêcher du coup, je crois que je vais viser de finir en moins de 2h. C’est trop tentant, surtout que le semi-marathon n’ira certainement pas aussi haut. D’après la carte il n’y a que 68m de dénivelés (non cumule).

Petit-dej: une tartine de pain blanc avec du beurre d’amandes.
Durant la course: 1/2 Gu menthe-chocolat a 50mn, un block CLiff a la margarita (plus de sel) a 1h20. J’ai fini le Gu apres la course et mange une demie Luna Bar.

Half Marathon Training: Week 11

River Arts District Buildings
Monday Speedwork at the Park
Goal: 6x800m @8:29-8:34 pace

As I got to the park I was not feeling it. One of those days where my body felt a little worn out. But then as I warmed up it started to rain. While the air was super humid it did cool down the atmosphere and made it a lot more bareable and easier. Yeah for rain!

I did 1.45 miles at a 9:45 pace to warmup.
The 800m repeats were at 7:28, 7:24, 7:26, 7:24, 7:24 and 7:28 pace so between 3’34 and 3’43”. Pretty Good!
Cooloff was 1.12 miles @9:10 pace.
I find it hard to really slow down after speedwork it seems.

Tempo run in West Asheville
Goal 5 miles @9:35 pace
It was road running with a nice good hill in the middle. It took us from a brewery down to the river art district where we crossed the French Broad River twice.
The nice treat was to have a good local wheat beer after the run.
I did much better with it than the week before, maybe it wasn’t as hot, or maybe it wasn’t as strong.
I ran 6.23 miles at 8:58 pace.

Long Run in Bent Creek
Goal: 12 miles @10:09 pace.
I learned my lesson last week and did my long run in the morning. What a difference in energy not to have the blasting heat!
I actually started in the fog, when up once of my favorite and tough run called Hickory Top Loop, I added a little loop in the beginning by going via the Ledford Trail. Overall it’s a total of about 850feet of elevation change. I like a good challenge.

12.28 miles @9:55 pace.

Total 23.98.
All my workouts were faster than planned and it made me feel very empowered.

Planned Half Marathon Pace

Rythme Prévu du Semi-Marathon.

I’m trying to follow the FIRST Half Marathon training program. I say trying because I took it easy in May when my knee wasn’t feeling 100%. It’s still not 100% but it’s better and didn’t hurt one bit on a hard 830feet elevation change run of 9.3 miles Friday. So I take it that I’m on a good track (no pun intended).

Anyhow I had planned to do the 18 weeks training based on my March 12k trail race pace of 9:30. So my PHMP would have been 9:50 (9:30+20seconds). However my last long race was a 15k which I ran in 1:26:45, a 9:19 pace.
So I’m now reviewing my training plan because according to my 15k I could aim for a PHMP of 9:39. Maybe even 9:31 according to the Running Times. That seems hard to believe, but then again… My tempo run on Wednesday ended up at a 8:25 pace instead of like 9:39. Maybe I’m just underestimating myself?

So I now need to reevaluate all the training paces for the program. I think I’ll go with a PHMP of 9:39 and aim to finish around 2h06mn. Although I’d be happy with 2h10 or more like my first plan said. After all it will be my first half-marathon and it’s definitely not a flat course!

J’essaye de suivre le Programme d’Entrainement du Semi-Marathon de FIRST. Je dis essayer car je ne l’ai pas suivit a la lettre en mai vu que mon genou n’était pas à 100%. Il n’est d’ailleurs toujours pas à 100% mais mieux et je n’ai pas eu de problème lors de ma course de 15km avec 250m de dénivelé vendredi. Donc je suis sur le bon chemin.
Dans tous les cas j’avais prévu de faire l’entrainement de 18 semaines en me basant sur mon temps de la course sur sentier au mois de mars où j’avais un rythme de 9:30 (par mile). Donc mon RPSM aurait été de 9:50 (9:30 plus 20 secondes). Sauf que lors de la dernière course de 15km je l’ai fini en 1h26m45s, soit un rythme de 9:19.

Du coup je révise mon entrainement puisque d’aprés le 15km je pourrais avoir un RPSM de 9:39. Voire même 9:31 d’aprés Running Times. J’ai du mal à y croire, mais après tout… Mais j’ai couru ma course tempo mercredi au rythme de 8:25 au lieu de 9:39. Donc peut etre que je me sous-estime?

Bon du coup je réevalue les rythmes d’entrainement. Je pense que je vais viser un RPSM de 9:39 pour finir aux alentours de 2h06.
Bien que je serais bien contente de finir en 2h10 ou plus comme prévu au départ. Aprés tout c’est mon premier semi-marathon est c’est loin d’être un parcours plat!

I Credit Trail Running To My Improvement

Je Crédite La Course Sur Sentier Pour Mon Amélioration

I’ve been running on trails for the majority of my runs since January. I don’t aim for a specific pace. I just go with my gut feeling and check on my watch to estimate the average at the end. No speeword for me, I still need to find a track where I can go practice and figure out how to do speedwork anyway.
So I was shocked this morning when I compared my stats on a 3.1 miles run I do around my neighborhood.
01/19 29:00 (note:recovering from the flu). I had been running a 3.07 course in 27:48 early January.
01/26 26:56
03/09 25:37
04/20 25:09

So I’ve improved my (easy course) 5K by a good 2 minutes and a half. Crazy. I knew those hills were doing something good to me, but I didn’t think it was that much. I really don’t feel that I pushed it yesterday, I went with what felt right.
So I’m really excited to see what I’ll do in my next official 5K in June!

Je cours sur sentier la majorité du temps depuis janvier. Je ne vise pas un rythme particulier, je vais avec ce qui me semble juste et je ne regarde ma montre qu’une fois arrivée pour connaitre mon rythme. Pas d’exercices de vitesse pour moi, il me faut de toute facon trouver une piste pour ca et je ne sais pas encore comment m’entrainer en vitesse.
Du coup j’étais choqué ce matin quand j’ai comparé mes stats de course sur une boucle de 3.1 miles dans le quartier.
19/01 29:00 (fin de grippe). Je pouvais faire 3.07 miles en 27:48 début Janvier.
26/01 26:56
09/03 25/37
20/04 25:09

Donc sur un parcours (facile) de 5km j’ai progressé de deux minutes et demi. C’est fou! Je savais que les pentes étaient utiles, mais je ne pensais pas à ce point là. Surtout que je n’ai pas l’impression d’avoir poussé le rythme hier, j’ai juste courru comme je le sentais.
Du coup il me tarde de voir de quoi je suis capable pour la prochaine course de 5km en Juin!

Not as Fit as a 40 Years Old

Pas Autant En Forme que Quelqu’un de 40 Ans

Running Track
In February 2010 we joined my husband’s family on a cruise. It was our first time on a cruise boat and we had a good time. We tried the fitness room, the climbing wall, the ice skating rink, the running track, it was fun.
Then I went to a morning workout class which my 40 year old Floridian sister-in-law attended as well.

Now let me tell you. I always considered myself to be fit. After all I hike every week or so in the Appalachian mountains, I go bouldering with my husband. So something that would qualify like as an active person right?
That’s what I thought too until that class. Not only did I come out of there sweating like crazy and feeling like I had down the craziest workout, but the entire time I looked at my SIL and frankly I don’t think she even broke a sweat. She did all 10 series of 10 push-ups without her knees on the ground either!

Call me competitive, but I’m in my late twenties and I couldn’t believe I was in worse shape than an older woman living in the flat lands. I always couldn’t believe I was so out of shape. So I took the matters in hand and starting exercising more.
I used the workout session exercises back home to work on my muscles and I took on running by signing up for a race. I wanted to do free exercises and not pay for a gym membership.

One year later I’m still not as fit as my SIL but I’m ok with that. She does sports bootcamps at 5am and runs way more races than I could dream off. But I enjoy running for myself and I’m more fit than I’ve ever been. So I’m thankful for the wake up call.

En février 2010 j’ai rejoint la famille de mon mari pour une croisière. C’était notre première fois sur un bateau de croisière et nous en avons bien profité. Nous avons testé la salle de sports, le mur d’escalade, la patinoire, la piste de course à pied, c’était chouette.
Et puis un matin j’ai décidé de suivre une classe au centre de fitness où j’ai retrouvé ma belle-soeur.
Laissez moi vous dire d’abord que je me suis toujours considérée comme étant en forme. Aprés tout fait de la randonnée toutes les semaines ou presque, de l’esclade de bloc avec mon mari. Donc je pense que le qualificatif d’active est valide, non?
C’est ce que je pensais du moins jusqu’à cette classe. Non seulement je suis sortie de la en sueur et avec la sensation d’avoir fait les exercices les plus dur de ma vie, mais je regardais ma belle-soeur et je ne pense pas qu’elle ait sué même une goute. Sans compter qu’elle a fait les 10 séries de 10 pompes sans les genoux au sol!

Dites que je suis compétitive, mais ayant la vingtaine je n’arrivais pas a croire que j’étais en pire forme qu’une femme plus agée vivant sur terrain plat. Je n’arrivais pas non plus à croire que j’étais si peu en forme. Donc j’ai pris les choses en main et je me suis mise plus sérieusement à l’exercice physique.
J’ai réutilisé les exercices de cette classe une fois a la maison pour renforcer les muscles et je me suis inscrite à une course à pied pour me motiver à courir. Je voulais surtout des exercices gratuits et pas une carte de gym.

Un an plus tard je ne suis toujours pas au niveau de ma belle-soeur, mais ça ne me gène pas. Elle fait des bootcamps a 5h du matin et cours plus de course que ce que je peux me permettre. Mais j’aime courir pour moi même, et je suis en meilleure forme que je n’ai jamais été. Donc je suis reconnaissante pour ce rappel à l’ordre.