This past Friday, Matthew and I ran the Race Against Poverty in Chambersburg, PA. This 5k started at 8 pm. So, we ate dinner around 5:45- Chipotle. I had a naked burrito bowl- just rice, black beans, chicken, and mild salsa. I've eaten this probably hundreds of times before- it's one of my favorites!
After dinner, we headed over to enjoy the pre-race festivities. I got to meet up with Amanda- someone that I'd "met" through Team #runDisney. We also got to chat with some mutual friends/colleagues. This race featured a walk, a kid's race, and a lot of vendors/community organizations so there were quite a few people out for the event. A little before 8, they called the runners over to the starting line.
|Friends at the pre-race festivities.|
|All smiles before the race. That'll change soon enough...|
We'd heard from friends that this course was flat and fast. Could I PR my 5k again?! Maybe, I thought. After a few announcements, we were off! Matthew quickly ran ahead of me. I tried to settle into a comfortable rhythm and enjoy the race.
The first quarter mile was pretty non-eventful. It was a beautiful night- clear and about 75 degrees. I caught up to Amanda and we tried to grab the elusive mid-run selfie.
|Selfies while running are harder than they look!|
Then it started- some of the most intense pain I've experienced. It felt like someone was taking a knife and stabbing me repeatedly in the side of my stomach. I immediately started to walk.
After taking a few deep breaths, I started running again. And then the pain started again. If I could have stopped running right then, I would have. In fact, I might have been a little melodramatic on twitter and tweeted about a DNF (Did Not Finish). A little after mile one, I stopped to walk for about three and a half minutes. I knew that my dreams of a PR were shot. Lesson learned- no big meals within three hours of a race.
Luckily, this race went by pretty quickly. It was flat and easy. As I came within the last few hundred yards of the finish, I saw Matthew. He ran in with me- he'd also struggled with stomach pain during the race. I crossed the finish line and looked at the time- 33:56. Even with the amount of walking I had to do and the intense pain, I am still impressed that I was able to finish under 34 minutes. Progress!
|The best post-race food in the history of post-race food.|
After noshing on some amazingly ripe watermelon, Matthew and I went to catch a late-night showing of Maleficent in 3D. It was somewhere between "meh" and "good." Angelina was phenomenal and I loved how they reworked the story to show an alternate ending. But it wasn't as scary or thrilling as I'd hoped. We finally got home around midnight- we had to get some sleep because we had another 5k in just a few hours!
At 7:00 Saturday morning, we were up and out the door to my first trail 5k, the Charcoal Challenge! I'd found a race that started in a nearby state park- there was a half marathon and 5k offered. Since I've never run on a real trail before, we decided not to push our luck and just do the 5k.
When we got to the state park, the half marathoners were getting ready to start. There were probably about 100 people doing the half. The race director gave them some directions and then they were off! A half hour later, we were doing the same thing. Sheena, the race director, told us to look for the red tape- that would tell us which way to go when we got to a fork in the road/trail. She also let us know that there would be a few places with water bottles on a table for us if needed. This was truly a "no frills" race.
After the announcements, we were off! I felt 100 times better than the night before. I'd had a cup of coffee and an apple that morning and it was just the perfect amount of pre-race food. The first part of this race- roughly the first three quarters of a mile- was on a paved road with a slight incline. Then we turned off the road and went into the woods.
|Beautiful morning for a trail run!|
In the woods, it got a little trickier. At times, the path was so narrow, that Matthew and I had to run single file. Matthew stayed with me this race since I'd never run a trail before- he's the sweetest! Anyway, there were also lots of rocks and roots along the trail. It was mentally taxing having to constantly look down at my feet to make sure I didn't trip on anything. Road running is mindless; trail running requires much more focus.
|Thoroughly enjoying my first trail race.|
|Markers to keep us on the course.|
|Looking like the hardcore runner he is.|
|We even got to run near this awesome lake!|
After conquering a massive hill, we were finally close to the finish. This race was advertised as "3.1ish" miles and since my cell phone (which was tracking me using Map My Run) didn't get great service, I'm not 100% sure what the actual mileage was. I ended up with 3.24 miles in 41:13. Not too bad. But the best part of the race- both Matthew and I felt great. No more stomach pain- yay!
At the finish, they had lots of post-race goodies including Panera bagels and coffee. We split a bagel and then were on our way. It was a great race and we'll definitely do it again next year.
Later that night we went to a Beatles tribute band concert by The Mahoney Brothers at one of my favorite places, Boordy Vineyards. Long story short- the music was amazing, we drank lots of good wine, and my dad learned how to do the "wobble." Hilarious and super, super fun. All in all, a great weekend :-)
QOTD: Have you ever had to learn something about running or exercise "the hard way" AKA by a bad experience? What was it and how did you adapt moving forward?