This morning I ran the Orange County Fair 5K and it was a lot of fun. This is in contrast to my experience at the same race last year. In early August 2014 I was nearing the end of my training program for my first half marathon so I had already completed several long runs (mostly successful – the less than stellar ones were still in my future). So when the OC Fair 5K rolled around I figured I would breeze through 3.1 miles with absolutely no trouble at all. It wasn’t even going to be a challenge! I couldn’t have been more wrong. (This should explain why I didn’t really write anything about it on my webpage at the time. Dwelling on failed runs is not helpful!) The summer had been relatively hot up to that point so I was thrilled on race day to see that the sky was overcast. This didn’t mean it was as cool as I would have liked, but the temperature was fairly reasonable and at least the sun wouldn’t be beating down on me the whole time. I was really confident when I started the race. 5K was nothing! But about halfway through I felt awful. When I walked through the water stop to get a drink I was sweating like a pig and I had a hard time catching my breath thanks to the high humidity (yes, it does happen in LA sometimes). I was not expecting to do so poorly running such a short distance. And I couldn’t quite get back into a good rhythm after the water stop. During the second half of the race I walked more than I ran. It was so discouraging. It was the first time I regretted running a race. Luckily I was able to put the bad experience behind me and happily participate in many other races.
I went into the OC Fair 5K this year with much more realistic expectations. 1) I made my #1 priority for the race to enjoy myself. Running through the Orange County Fairgrounds is pretty cool and I wanted to appreciate it this time around. Also, I got to hang out with a co-worker of mine and her awesome kids before the race so that by itself made the whole thing worthwhile. 2) I knew the weather was going to stink so I lowered my time/pace goals accordingly. I still had to take more walk breaks than I wanted to in the second half of the race (humidity is killer!), but that didn’t dishearten me as much as it did last year. Funny enough, today’s weather was almost exactly the same as last year’s. 3) I did not allow any poor performance to ruin my opinion of myself as a runner. While I wasn’t exactly proud of my performance today, I knew it wasn’t representative of my overall progress in my running career. The 2015 OC Fair 5K was just another step of my journey. And it’s a journey that doesn’t have a definite end! That’s what makes me smile every time I cross a finish line. Well, that and the cameras. Speaking of which, hopefully I’ll have some good photos to share soon!
As I mentioned in a previous post, on my second day in Hawaii I drove the Road to Hana with some girlfriends. The above photo was taken during a rare rain-free moment that day. It seriously rained every time we pulled over to see any of the sights! Thanks to the rain and the inevitable mud that followed, my sneakers were filthy by the end of the day. I should have cleaned them off before I left Maui, but we were far too busy the whole time to do such mundane things! (Of course I did get up early every morning to clean up from the night before, unload and reload the dishwashers, and get everything ready for breakfast. There was no time for stuff like shoe cleaning!) So when I packed my suitcase to fly home that Sunday I threw my dirty sneakers into my suitcase (into a plastic bag) and didn’t give them a second thought. However, when I woke up in Los Angeles the next day I realized that I hadn’t packed my gym bag for spinning class that evening. And guess which shoes I usually wear for spinning? Yep, the muddy sneakers. In order to minimize the stress of my first day back from vacation I decided to skip my usual gym class and just go running that night. Crisis averted…for a week at least. Fast forward to this morning when I remembered that I still hadn’t done anything the soiled state of my sneakers. Since I didn’t want to skip another spin class (especially not for such a ridiculous reason) I put engineering brain to work to find another solution. After giving it some thought, I dragged out an old pair of my Nike Zoom Structure shoes that I no longer wear for running and threw them into my gym bag. I figured they wouldn’t be ideal for spinning, but they would work in a pinch. How did they do, you ask? Much to my surprise, they were perfect! It was a happy accident indeed that I decided to wear them to my class today. If I’d just cleaned off my other sneakers sometime this week I never would have discovered the superiority of the Nikes. Laziness wins for a change!
Boeing on the Move 2015 has started! When I woke up on June 1st I had to remember to clip on my pedometer to make sure I was getting credit for the maximum number of steps. Not only does this eight-week challenge provide motivation for me to exercise more (plus keep up with my chores and spend less time on the couch less), but earning an Amazon gift card is a pretty good bonus. As long as I maintain an average of 13,000 steps/day I’ll get a $100 gift card. And since my normal running/walking schedule makes this a breeze, it’s basically free money. I’ll take it! We’re two weeks into Boeing on the Move and I’m averaging about 21,000 steps per day so far. On the days I don’t go running I take a long walk around Seal Beach in the evenings to make sure my step count average is maintained. Also, it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful June weather. While I was out waking tonight I found myself daydreaming about fall, but then I realized I should be savoring the beautifully cool evening that I was experiencing at that very moment! This weather makes exercising outdoors a pleasure. I know the heat of summer is right around the corner so I want to spend as much time outside as I can before those days arrive.
On a related note, on the second day of Boeing on the Move I registered for yet another Disney race. Last year when I wrote about the beginning of Boeing on the Move 2014 I mentioned signing up for the Star Wars 5K and 10K at Disneyland in January 2015. This year I made an even bigger commitment by registering for the Star Wars Rebel Challenge – a combination of the 10K and half marathon – in January 2016. The reason I’m able to do these races is because I decided not to train for the 2016 Walt Disney World marathon, which is also in January (as detailed in my New Year’s Resolution #1). There’s always a silver living, right? (Don’t worry, I’m still planning to run a marathon eventually. Hopefully the Disney World marathon in 2017.) Not only am I excited for the Rebel Challenge itself, but in general I’m looking forward to participating in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend when I’m not injured. Last year I was still hurt after the Disney World half marathon so I didn’t really get to enjoy the Star Wars races because I was in pain. I have every expectation that next time will be different, especially since I’ve figured out what the root cause of my knee pain is. No guarantees, of course, but I’m going to do everything in my power to stay healthy for all of the awesome fall and winter races!
A couple of weeks ago I ran the Orange County 5K. It was my reluctant backup plan after deciding to forgo the OC half marathon because my abbreviated training plan after my knee injury hadn’t really prepared me for it. Actually, by the time race day rolled around I probably could have handled 13.1 miles, but it was better than I didn’t try. (This was a huge benefit one week later when I ran the Tinkerbell 10K and half marathon, but that’s a story for another post.) One of my co-workers ran the half marathon wearing my bib so at least my registration didn’t go to waste. May 3rd was perfect running weather – cool, cloudy, and calm. May Gray has been kind to us so far this month. (Another thing I’ll write about in a later post.) This was in stark contrast to last year when we were at the tail end of an unseasonably hot week. Actually, the 2014 Orange County 5K was my first 5K, and only my second race ever. I’d like to say I was faster this year, but that wouldn’t be true. After my injury back in January I was just happy to be running without any pain! I was slow, but fairly steady, and I crossed the finish line with a smile in my face. Maybe it was just a 5K, but I was still proud. My running regimen was finally back on track!
P.S. My co-worker finished the OC half marathon in less than two hours! Crazy!
Spring has been nuts so far. My initial foray back into running post-injury went well, but I wasn’t very consistent. However, a few weeks ago I started running regularly again and for a while it was going well. I ran four miles, three days a week and my knee didn’t hurt at all. It was fantastic. But then I started increasing my mileage. About three weeks ago I ran six miles in my attempt to start getting ready for my next half marathon. It wasn’t a great run because it was a bit warm and the Powerade Zero I brought with my made me nauseous. During my walking breaks I stretched a bit to keep my knee healthy, and when I thought I had succeeded. But the next day I was really disappointed that it was hurting. I went to spinning that Monday night, which helped a little, but my knee still didn’t feel quite right. So I took a week off from running. I also went to the chiropractor which helped a little, but not nearly as much as I was hoping. Unfortunately the best therapy for my particular problem is rest, which is frustrating with so many races coming up I May. So I made a difficult decision. After weighing all of my options, I decided to forgo the Orange County half marathon on May 3rd. Mostly because I won’t be anywhere near prepared to run 13.1 miles that day, but also because I don’t want to risk getting injured before the Tinkerbell races at Disneyland the next weekend. Fortuitously, one of my co-workers wants to take my OC half marathon bib so it won’t go to waste. As a consolation prize I decided to do the OC 5K instead since I still want to get a medal that weekend. I’m still worried about not being ready for the Tinkerbell 10K and half marathon on May 9th and 10th, but at least skipping the OC half marathon will give me a better chance of being uninjured. I paid a lot of money for the Disney races and I am going to get my medals! The good news is that my run last night was the best I’ve had since I got hurt in January. Everything clicked. Granted, I ran really slowly (even for me), but at least I wasn’t exhausted and gasping for air the whole time. Hopefully this trend continues. Fingers crossed!