Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekly Recap 03/24/08 - 03/30/08

Monday: Swam a mile before class, including 600 yards nonstop -- a new best, but not for long! Ab workout in the evening.

Tuesday: Swam a mile with TNT. I was going to go farther but dinner was making a comeback and I've heard they don't like it when you throw up in the pool.

Wednesday: Swam a mile on my own, including 1000 yards nonstop -- a new best, but not for long! Ab workout in the evening.

Thursday: Swam a mile with TNT, including a lot of faster laps. Part of the workout was called 'swim golf.' The idea is you swim 50 yards and add your time to the number of strokes you took. I was able to hit 89 a couple times (50 seconds + 39 strokes) while pulling, I wonder what I could do if I could kick?

Friday: REST!

Saturday: Swam (you guessed it) one mile on my own, including 1200 yards nonstop -- a new best once again! I felt fresh again after several days off.

Sunday: Swam (once again) one mile with TNT. Shoulders were D.E.A.D. after my 1200 nonstop yesterday. The weird thing was, I didn't even know I was sore until I started swimming. Talk about a crappy surprise!

Total swim: 6 miles

Resting heart rate: 65 bpm


Not a bad week of training, all things considered. My knee is still healing, but its feeling WORLDS better than it was a week ago. Motivation hasn't been a problem this week, and I'm actually enjoying the swimming now that I can push myself.

For some reason, I really start enjoying a sport once I can push myself hard enough to make my muscles sore afterwards. The same happened with running, cycling, and rock climbing too. Maybe I have a little bit of masochist in me?

I'm feeling a lot stronger in the water lately, especially on shorter durations. A week ago, it was taking me ~18 strokes to get to the backstroke flags on a short interval, now I'm down to ~15. So, needless to say, all this pulling IS paying off with more strength. Although, looking at me I don't think anybody could tell. Not yet, anyways.

Sometime early this week I'm going to attempt a little bit of swimming without the pull buoy. If that goes well, I MIGHT give running a shot next weekend. Maybe. If I feel like it. But more importantly, if my coach lets me. I'll try water running first, just to play on the safe side. I don't need a relapse at this point!

Also, there is definitely a redesign coming up soon. Complete with a new name, color scheme, logo... the whole nine yards. It'll be revealed once I'm able to run, bike, and swim normally again. But until then, enjoy the suspense!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One Thousand

These past couple weeks my body has been keeping me from doing the running and biking I enjoy so much.

The result? The pool has become my friend. I've caught myself more often thinking "man, I want to go swim!" more often than I've caught myself thinking "man, I want to go for a run!"

The result? Progress. Gobs of it.

One month ago my swimming was going pretty good. I was getting to the point where I could comfortably swim 50 yards, and could swim 100 if I really pushed it. One practice Treacy talked me into pulling 300 yard with her, and practice drafting. We would switch off every 100 yards. I had to stop every 100 for 10-15 second to catch my breathe. Doing 300 yards almost killed me dead.

Fast forward to last week. All I can do is use the pull buoy in the pool right now, normal swimming hurts my knee. So I've been swimming nearly every day with my friend the pull buoy. Last Friday I swam 500 yards non stop, which was my goal to hit by the end of the month. I was pumped!

Fast forward again. Saturday I swam again, matching my 500 yard record. Monday I broke out with 600 yards, mmmm, progress! Tuesday I worked more on speed, but still swam a 400 (4x more than I could a month ago!) Today I broke loose. I jumped in and warmed up. Then I told myself "Hello self! Time to swim 700 yards!" So I did. Then I kept going. 700... 800... 900... 1000!

I don't plan to stop this progress I'm making in the pool any time soon. I'm really enjoying myself in the water now that I'm seeing improvements. I'm going to keep at it, because right now what I need and what I enjoy are exactly the same thing.


On a completely different note, Marcy is a butthead (in other news: they just found massive quantities of water in the Pacific Ocean) and tagged me! Here are the rules of the game: Write your own six word memoir, link to whoever tagged you, and tag five people. There are more rules, so if you want to be a good boy or girl read them on Marcy's blog.

Here are six words that describe my waking hours (I had to say waking to cut it down to 6 words):

Eat        Teach          Learn
     Swim           Bike            Run

And I am using the powers bestowed upon me to tag: YOU!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weekly Recap 03/17/08-03/23/08

Monday: Ran less than a mile. Found out this knee isn't in working order yet.

Tuesday: Swam half a mile with the pull buoy.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Swam half a mile with the pull buoy. Had Tracy look at my knee, she thinks its ITBS and has me doing a lot of work to fix it up.

Friday: Swam a mile with the pull buoy, more below. Ab workout in the evening.

Saturday: Swam a mile with the pull buoy.

Sunday: Rest day, pool is closed for Easter. Boo!

Total run: 0.77 miles
Total bike: 0 miles
Total swim: 3 miles


Despite the disappointment early in the week when I found out my knee wasn't better, my attitude has really taken a turn for the better these past couple days. Why? Its the swimming.

This injury is from biking or running, or some combination of the two. Which leaves me right where I should be anyways: in the pool. With regards to triathlons, I have no worries about the running. Thats what I do. It's what I'm good at. My biking has some room for improvement, but I can tough through a bike ride. I've done it in the past and I can do it again.

Swimming is where I need the work. I haven't even completed the race distance yet in the pool, but I've done so several times with the bike and run. The pool is where progress is going to be made. Not just in terms of time, but in terms of being able to finish a race.

So I hit the pool. I swam with TNT using that damn pull buoy for a half a mile two days. I hated it. Each time, though, my knee felt better afterwards. It was like a 30 minute ice bath.

Then I mixed things up: I swam on my own, without the team. I swam when I had no obligation to do so. I swam for me, and it was amazing! I actually enjoyed it. I got in the pool with an intent of pulling 300 yards non-stop, which would have been tied for my longest yet, but after a several week break. Bam! 300 yards. Then I kept going: 350, 400, 450, 500.

I stopped at 500, but was starting to "get it." I started to see what it meant to be in the zone while swimming. If I swam too fast, I could simply slow down to recover, rather than needing to stop. I was able to fade out, but have my body do what I've taught it these past several months.

Next week? Lots of swimming. I'm going to focus all my energy on it. Once I can swim without the pull buoy, I'll think about giving running a shot again. Until then, I got a date with the foam roller!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Diagnosis

Well, I have good news and bad news.

The good news: I talked to my friend Tracy, who is about to get her PhD in Physiology, and now know what is wrong with my knee. That means I have a game plan to tackle the problem. Something to preoccupy myself with and to make myself stronger again. I know the likely cause, and with enough patience I know the solution.

The bad news? It's IT band syndrome (ITBS). Yuck.

Here is the gist of what is going on with my knee. My IT band got tight, either from the race or too much biking. Also, the muscles above and to the right of my right knee are significantly weaker than on the other side. Now that she's pointed it out, I can tell that it's actually visually noticeable. I can see the problem.

Great. We know the problem. Now, what to do about it?
  • Foam roll the shit out of it (thats the technical term), twice a day
  • Dig into the trigger points to loosen it up
  • Incorporate some of my old PT exercises back into my routine
  • RICED (Thats RICE + drugs)
  • Do some balance exercises too, to strengthen the leg
  • Get back on top of my core workouts
Sound like enough to keep me busy? Yeah. I think so.

I'm also going to keep at it with the swimming. I've swam twice this week just using the pull buoy (no kicking), and although its extremely boring my knee always feels better afterwards. It's all I can do to get an aerobic workout in, so I'm going to force myself to go at it with all I got.

So there's the game plan. Now all that stands between me and running is to do it. Time to get on top of it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Turning Back Around

For a while there, it seemed like everything was working against me. I couldn't run, bike, or swim. Homework was piled up, and grading was just the icing on the cake. Luckily, all that is turning around.

The school work is finally subsiding (or will be on Monday). I'm starting to get grades back from midterms, too, and lets just say this semester is strongly resembling my last one. I have nothing to grade. Let me reiterate that: I have nothing to grade. I even got to go home for several days last week, which was phenomenal since I got to see my cousin for the first time in a year since he also drove to Illinois for the weekend.

To top it all off, I think this knee is getting better.

I made it out for a run this morning, which was great! I decided to only run around the block, which was about 3/4 of a mile. There's no point in pushing it. It was only a little test run to see how my knee reacted. It did react, a little bit. I could feel it a little bit at the top on the right side of my right knee, but it was a very dull pain.

More importantly, I didn't feel as though I regretted it afterwards. My body didn't say "ohhh, you shouldn't have done that!" I'm considering myself on the mend and am planning to swim Tuesday night, then run again on Wednesday morning assuming all goes well these next few days. Update: I woke up today (Tuesday) and my knee is hurting again. Back on the roller coaster, I guess? Ugh.

Despite the good news, I'm officially canceling my half marathon for the spring. Sure, I might be able to do it, but it's a really bad idea at this point and simply begging for a relapse. Everything else is still on, unless this knee takes longer than expected to heal.

And don't think I forgot: Happy St. Patricks Day!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Weekly Recap 03/10/08 - 03/16/08

This week's recap is going to be a little different than usual. You know why? No workouts. None at all. Unless, maybe, you count randomly jogging to my car to test out my knee.

I'm not frustrated, though, not like last week. Last week's recap got posted immediately after finding out I couldn't even water run. I was ticked, frustrated, and ready to bite someone's head off after finding out my last means of exercise jumped out the window.

But this week wasn't that bad, I just just RICED: rest, ice, compression, elevation, and DRUGS (don't worry, just Aleve)! Plus it was spring break, even if I spent the majority of my time working on stuff, the last few days were break-like.

I ended up going home, and got to see my cousin and his girlfriend both of which I hadn't seen in over a year. Hung out with them, played with the dogs, all the stuff I miss down in Kentucky. All in all, I'd call it a rewarding week.

Nutrition completely went out the window this week. Completely. It was no where to be found. I was only eating about 5 times better than Marcy, and that's saying something! Common foods were pizza, BBQ ribs, and pizza. Common snacks included home made cookies, ice cream, cake, and girl scout cookies. The motivation to eat good just completely goes out the window for me when I don't look at it as fuel for tomorrow's workout!

Luckily, workouts commence tomorrow. I'm planning a very easy one or two mile run just to test out this knee. I'm optimistic since it has been feeling better these past couple days. Then Tuesday I'm swimming. If this knee is still hurting, I'm still swimming. I will use the pull buoy for a full 90 minutes if thats what it takes to get a workout in without hurting my knee. I hate the pull buoy, but I'm going to make it my b*tch if I have to.

And now, I'm off to dream land, hopefully. My sleep schedule is all jacked up after break, as expected. I spent a lot of nights up til 3am with my cousin (which is 4am EST), so it's gonna take some work to get back some normal sleep patterns to form again!

Hope everybody had a great week!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Looking at the Trends

I've talked about it quite a bit lately, but I'll rehash it: I'm a big fan of looking at the trends in running, biking, and swimming. It really helps see what works. But more importantly, it shows you what doesn't.

It shows you what gets you injured.

Hey, I'm injured. Let's look at the trends and see what there is to find.

Backtrack! It's August 2007. I'm training like never before, in the best shape of my life. BAM! I put my foot in a pothole and have to take several days off. I probably needed the rest anyways with how I'd been training. Next week, I'm feeling good. Really good. I go out in full force and do the week I was planning before I hurt my ankle. As a result, my hip gets injured.

Okay, back to the present. A few weeks ago I was, once again, training like crazy. Swimming, biking, running like never before. Then my body says "hey! quit it! *cough* *sneeze* *phlegm*" I take a few days off. Next week, I'm feeling good. Really good. I go out in full force and do the week I was planning before I hurt my ankle got sick. As a result, my hip knee gets injured.

See a trend?

Bottom line is this: I need to be careful when coming off a break, even a short one. Going at it with too much gusto can sideline me quicker than anything.

Also, I need to be extremely careful coming off this particular injury. This time, it isn't just about fun and fitness. This time, people are counting on me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

I just ate tacos. And they were fantastic.

The Bad

Just kidding, there's more good, thankfully!

My knee is starting to feel a little bit better. I still don't see myself doing, uh, anything this week, but it's at least getting better. I went to the A.R.T. guy today. He thinks he can help, and I got one treatment today, but I'm going to sit on it a little bit longer. I'm kind of iffy about therapy (see "The Ugly"). I'm also making progress on my pile of work, so I'm hoping to make it home on Thursday. Maybe I will get a few days off!

Luckily, though, I've been in this "hyper learning mode." I'm not sure what caused it, but I'm finding everything extremely interesting lately, almost anything from my classes to biking to web servers to... other computer science topics I won't bore you with. Hopefully it sticks around for a while (like until I graduate)!

The Bad

The knee isn't perfect, though. When I shower the heat from the water makes it sore for a little bit. But no worries, hygiene is not going to end up listed under "The Bad"! Also, my sleep schedule is completely jacked up. The last two nights I was working on stuff until about 3am. When I don't work out I never fully wake up, but I also don't really get tired at night. I live in limbo, it sucks!

Also, I will comically put under "The Bad" that my computer is too fast. In one of my assignments I need to compare the speed of my program to another, but I can only time them so accurately. The result? Yep, everything takes 0.00 seconds and I can't see any more accuracy to make conclusions. Who wants to donate an old crappy computer?!

The Ugly

Right now, the ugly is very ugly. Yesterday I got a call from the one type of business nobody wants to hear from. Thats right, a collection agency. Wait. W T F?! I don't owe anything to anybody, do I?

Apparently I do.

My physical therapist has been trying (although not very hard) to mail a bill to my address, but has been leaving the apartment number off. So rather than call me (which he did several times during therapy, he has my number) he decided to pass it on to a collection agency who says "Hello! Give us $xxx.xx by tomorrow or the puppy your credit history gets it!"

It basically works out to me paying the wrong person the deductible (ART guy got that) and the PT charging me more than the amount (which they swore up and down) they said they would. Unf. Ramen noodles, anyone?


That's whats up in my life. Thanks to everyone for the extremely encouraging comments! Here's some responses:

Christine - Don't go calling Endurance Trends 'little', it's going to be anything but little. Good luck with the 'little' degree you're working on, too. :)

Nic - The Relenting Runner is dead. He won't be back unless one of my legs literally falls off. Although, I do have a clever name up my sleeve if I decide to completely change my focus to triathlons...

PreFan - Never tried Accelerade. I usually stick with Gatorade, even though I know it really isn't the healthiest choice ('lethal' amounts of HF Corn Syrup).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weekly Recap 03/03/08 - 03/09/08

Monday: Bike in the morning

Tuesday: Run in the morning. Knee was very vocal afterwards. Swimming hurts my knee, so I water ran in the evening.

Wednesday: Nothing.

Thursday: Water run.

Friday: Nothing

Saturday: Nothing

Sunday: Even water running is hurting my knee. Going back to ART guy tomorrow.

Total bike: something insignificant
Total run: something insignificant
Total swim: none


Can't run. Can't bike. Can't swim. Can't water run.

I hate quitting endorphins cold turkey.

I'm glad your week was better than mine.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Finally. Spring break. The college student's mental vacation to kick back, relax, have a good time, and enjoy the spring weather.


Sure, whatever you say.

Last night we got 4-5 inches of snow, with a couple more on the forecast. Great way to kick off break, eh? Oh well, it'll keep me inside to actually get work done. That's the optimistic part of me this morning.

Here's my superfun plans for break:

  • Finish database project
  • Get reasonably far in animation project
  • Start compilers project
  • Grade stuff
  • Grade more stuff
  • Send out more TNT letters
  • Go home if I have time

Sounds like a plan, right homies?

I'm actually not ALL complaints, because I actually find a lot of this stuff interesting. Just not as interesting as, say, riding my bike outside. Or running without bundling. Or hell, running at all, since I'm forcing myself to take a full week off due to my knee (next run is Tuesday). I'm about halfway there and I'm already desperate for some endorphins, but you could probably tell that just by reading!

To top it all off, last night I emailed a professor to clarify something in our project. It was a legitimate question about something ambiguous in the way the project was worded. His response? Very condescending, misspelled my name (come on, it's in my signature), etc, etc.

Finally, on a positive note, I've been doing a lot of planning for the Garmin type project I mentioned a few days ago. The name of the project is going to be ... *drum roll*... Endurance Trends. I'm also going to make it a little bigger than originally planned, but that part's going to be a surprise a little bit further down the road, stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Learning from Past Mistakes

I like to believe life is largely about learning. Every day you learn something new to apply in the future, whether you'll admit it or not. Although, sometimes even the smartest of us are thick skulled and refuse to learn the most basic things, no matter how long they hammer away at our heads.

Remember my hip injury? That hammered away at my head for three months "don't over do it!", "shoulda just taken a few days off!", "don't be afraid to take a short break, to avoid a long one!", "stop picking on your sister!", "don't forget to turn off the oven!"

Okay... maybe it didn't cause all of those, but the first few definitely got drilled into my head. And damnit, I'm going to listen. I do need to realize I'm not invincible. I should just take a few days off if something hurts. Short breaks won't cause the sky to cave in.

Now, you being the smart people that you are, have probably realized I'm talking about this for a reason. A good reason. An inflamed reason.

Stupid right knee.

After this weekend it's been feeling a little bit off, although I didn't want to call it injured until yesterday after my run. I haven't felt any stabbing pain, but something is wrong with it, without a doubt. Something in my knee is inflamed, and I'm not sure how else to describe it. I'm sure you know the feeling.

Rather than push it until it's serious, I'm going to be cautious about it. No running (that caused it), no biking (that irritates it), and no swimming (that, somehow, hurts it). I'm taking a few days off from everything except the activity that comes straight from the bowels of hell. The only activity I would rank as shittier than running on a treadmill. And you know how I feel about running on a treadmill.

Yes, thats right. Water running. It is, undoubtedly, the most boring thing I have ever done in my life. Right down there with watching paint dry. I despise it. I can't even listen to music to make the time go faster, or gauge how much work I'm doing to at least tell me it's worthwhile. It's almost impossible to get my heart rate up, too.

But I'm going to do it, because it's the only thing I CAN do. It does massage my knee. It maintains my range of motion. It doesn't do any damage. It will be worthwhile. I won't have to do it for long, so long as I'm not stupid about anything.

As with all injuries, there has to be a cause. With my hip, it was a matter of having an intensive speed workout followed by a long run two days later. In this case, I have it narrowed down to a few things. First, I got a blister on my right foot (same knee). I've just been running through it, BUT more than likely I've subconsciously changed how I land on my foot to avoid the blister which could cause my knee to move slightly differently.

Second, I ran faster than usual at the 5k this weekend which could easily cause a lot of damage.

Third, my right shoe has a "leak" in it. The sealed area that uses air for cushioning got popped, somehow. It squeaks when it gets wet and is blowing out the air, so I know my right foot doesn't have as much padding as it's used to.

So here's what I'm going to do about it. First, I'm taking a few days off and doing some water running. I'm also doing the RICE routine and trying to let this blister heal. When I start running again, nothing fast. Just low key running with my HR around 150 bpm. If none of that works, I'm going to go buy new shoes even though I'm not due for another 100 miles.

So there's the game plan. Nothing left to do now but execute it!

Oh. And I got into the PhD program today! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Race Pictures

Last night I got the picture's in the email from the race. Thought I'd share!

Dad & me before the race

Staying loose before the race starts

Hanging around just before the start, two fast guys on the right

The race starts, the four fast guys are on the left

End of the race, giving it all I got!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Ma Nature's Feeling Fiesty

I've been watching the forecast for today the past couple days. They've been calling for 50-60 degrees in the morning, and kept changing their mind when it was going to rain. I woke up this morning and it was about 55 degrees and sunny. Perfect, right?


The only exception? The wind. My God the wind. I've ridden in wind before, some rides around 15-20 mph gusts and they were rough. They pushed me forward on the way out, and pushed my limits on the way back.

Today the winds were sustained at 23 MPH with gusts around 35 straight out of the south. I'll be honest, the thought of hitting the trainer crossed my mind... for about a second. The competition doesn't care of it's windy. And if they do? Well then, I just got a step ahead.

On the way out, there were flat stretches (not downhills) where I was pushing 30 MPH with the wind at my back, it was great. I felt pro, even though I knew it was only because of the wind at my back. Going east and west was probably the most dangerous, since the gusts were making it fairly difficult to control the bike, but I managed to keep control.

Going south was brutal. I was sitting in my granny gear for the majority of that stretch, working like hell just to go 10-12 MPH. Much less dangerous, though, since the gusts weren't threatening to throw me off the road or into traffic.

Finally, I got back to the school. And kept riding. Screw you, Ma Nature, I'm not done with you yet. Time to put you in your place for another 10 miles.

More of the same on the second lap. But I finally finished and really felt like I had accomplished something. Here's the numbers:

Time: 1:51:12
Distance: 31.01 miles
Speed: 16.7 mph
Cadence: 94 rpm
HR: 153 bpm

I'll leave you with this:

Why Do You Run [or Ride]?

Because you're wondering if your grandchildren will too.

Because its raining.

Because you can, and others can't.

Because its faster than walking.

Because that shaky-leg-thing is all about nervous energy.

Because you can't fly.

Because you can fly.

Because your personal best is just that, yours.

Because the pain of a blister is nothing compared to the pain of stopping.

Because you like the resistance the wind gives you.

Because you like the resistance you give the wind.

Just Because.

-NYC Marathon Ad

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weekly Recap 02/24/08 - 03/02/08

Monday: Breakthrough bike ride, 31 miles. Longest distance in a long time, didn't demolish me like last time I went 30+.

Tuesday: Confidence building run in the morning: two miles under 6 minute pace. Swam in the evening.

Wednesday: Easy run in the morning, really trying to take it easy with the race on Saturday without cutting out any volume.

Thursday: Bike-swim brick in the evening. This swim was absolutely huge. Something clicked again and my endurance is starting to go up in the pool. Ended the swim with 200 yards non-stop which was a new high.

Friday: Rest day!

Saturday: 5k race in the morning, ran 17:45. Make sure you read my race report! Ultimately it showed me I'm in better shape than I thought, and even that time didn't wipe me out. Afterwards I walked around campus with my parents for a few hours, then went out for 21 miles on the bike that evening before going to the comedy club. Long day!

Sunday: Swam in the morning. Legs were pretty sore from yesterday, big surprise huh? I swam my mile, with 300 yards non-stop at the end of the workout. Set out for a 6 mile run in the evening and ended up doing 8 because the weather was so nice: 63 degrees and sunny!

Total run: 28.15 miles
Total bike: 67.25 miles
Total swim: 3.3 miles

Weighted total: 63.77 miles
Resting HR: 54 bpm (Friday night)


Absolutely. Great. Week. Of. Training. Period. .

The rest week I took definitely paid off BIG TIME! I felt fresh and ready to knock out a great week of training. I planned it out and pulled off every workout as planned or better.

I had a lot of reminders showing me my training paying off all week long. 31 mile bike ride on Monday. Endurance improvements in the pool. 5k @ 5:40 pace. Recovery run today with an average heart rate of 156 bpm but average pace of 7:09/mile.

Did I mention you should read my race report?

Next week should be a repeat of this week, but with a long run on Saturday instead of a race.

I hope everybody else had a great week!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Clover Classic 5K Race Report

I woke up this morning, tired and groggy. My parents got into town last night a few hours later than I had hoped, so my sleep was a little lacking. Luckily, I woke up a little bit as I ran to the race and did my warmup.

I did my usual pre-race scan. Look around for the competition. Who's it gonna be? Who are the fast guys? Who do I have to watch out for? I picked out five people that looked like they could give me a run for my money. They looked fast. Really fast. I was right about four of them.

They called us to the starting line. The national anthem never played, which I thought was kind of strange. I like hearing it before a race, it gets me focused. Oh well. No big deal.

Runners set. HHHOOOONNNKKKKK (air horn)!

Off we go.

I stuck with the lead pack for the first half a block or so. They looked fast, but my fitness is nothing to cough at either. Oh? Garmin says we're running 4:45 pace?

Time to back off. That's not happening today.

I pulled back a little bit. The lead pack pulled away, and there was nobody even close behind me. I'm still feeling pretty good. The pace is challenging, but manageable. Mile 1: 5:43.

For this next part of the race I was all alone. The lead pack had secured a significant gap, and nobody was very close behind me. This was me vs. myself. Nobody to push me except the voice that knew sub 18 was possible. At the mile and a half mark or so, we had the turnaround since this was a straight out and back course. I love an out and back race, since I get to cheer for people I know, and get some support in return. The way back was downhill, too, which was nice! Mile 2: 5:50.

During the last mile I was, surprisingly, still passing people going in the other direction. Mostly just walkers, some kids sprinting until they were tired, then gasping for air and doing it again. There were a few people smoking, which added a nice twist to the oxygen my lungs were so desperately craving. The end of this mile was pretty painful, but I still feel like I could have pushed harder. Mile 3: 5:37.

Finally, the end was in site. I saw my mom taking pictures from the side of the road, but a smile wasn't happening. I was focused. The picture she took isn't pretty, but it definitely shows I'm giving it all I got.

Time: 17:45
Avg HR: 184 bpm
Overall: 5th out of ??? (couple hundred?)
Age Group: 1st

All in all, I'm happy with what this race tells me. I'm in good shape, even better than I had thought a few days ago. Only 20 seconds off my PR back when I was training hard as ever back in July, despite taking 3 months off this winter. I still felt like I could have pushed harder. My average heart rate wasn't as high as it usually is for a 5k, and I just didn't feel as spent as usual at the end.

Everybody I knew got an award today. I got 1st in my age group. My dad got 3rd in his. Treacy and Shannon from TNT both got age group awards too, and I had to pick up a medal for a friend who left early! It was great that everybody had such a successful day, we got some pictures of all of us, too, which I'll be posting in a few days.

Even though it was a great race, I'm hungry for more. I'm capable of better. I have a PR waiting in the near future, if I can find another 5k that fits into my schedule. For now, though, it's back to training. Even if I'm capable of better, training is going to help me improve more than racing will.

Next up is the Splash & Dash (500yd swim / 5k run) in late March. I hope they're ready for me, because I'll be ready for them!