Snowman Stampede 5 Miler Race Report

Coming back from injury after my DNF at the RnRAZ race has actually been good. I’ve been eating great and hitting the gym and boot camp a lot. After last week’s 5K PR, I toyed with the idea of doing a local 5 mile race. I waited to run until Thursday, when I pulled off a 7:30 paced 3 miler around my neighbourhood, complete with sprints, without even paying attention to my watch. After that, I decided I wanted to run the Snowman Stampede 5M Race.

Friday night I checked my old PR (37:05 – 7:25mm) and read all my old race reports. Just reading them I had a sense that I was in a good position to kill it. I actually almost tweeted “watch out 5mile PR, I have my sights on you” but I didn’t want to be too cocky 🙂 Again, these past two weeks my race distance is the longest I’ve run since my injury.

Saturday morning I woke up at 4 am for no good reason, but it gave me time to fuel and get ready for the run. I did 100 squats (it started out to be a test for the 200 squat challenge – once I hit 100, I decided I don’t need to take the challenge) and stretches for my hamstrings. It was nice and sunny out, so I decided to wear a tank top and shorts. Really, I need not to be an amateur with this stuff and remember to at least pack gloves – I was a bit chilly before the race started.

I was happy to see a timing mat at the starting line, unlike last week. Still, I lined up close to the front so as to avoid dodging too many folks. I told myself that I’d be happy with a 7:15 pace, and soon enough we were off!

When I moved here, someone told me it takes 2 years to get used to the altitude. I don’t know if derby or speedwork or boot camp or nutrition have changed the runner I am. But I settled into an almost-comfortable-well-let’s-call-it-easily-sustainable pace reasonably quickly.

M1: 7:05 / avgHR 168
I glanced at my watch at the first mile, but it was more out of interest than monitoring. This was how it was last week as well: I’m not running against the clock, I’m running according to my body. I didnt feel like I was taxing myself too much that I’d pay for later, so I just kept trucking.

M2: 7:08 / avgHR 181
There was a cold headwind for the first half of the race, but I felt good. The course is one I’ve run and ridden my bike on frequently as it connects to the trail by my house.

M3: 7:06 / avgHR 179
And soon enough we were at the turn around! I counted several women ahead of me but didn’t pay attention to my actual place. I’ve done that a few times and I think it takes me a bit out of the zone I need to be in. I know some people don’t like out and back courses, but I do. I knew the way and let my feet lead. I felt so strong, it still seemed close to effortless. It was on the way back that I started to pass a few folks.

M4: 6:57 / avgHR 182
I saw a woman up ahead and set my sights on her. I actually didn’t plan to pass her so quickly, but most folks weren’t picking up speed like I was. I did see another woman ahead who was holding strong, and I kept my sights on her.

M5: 6:49 / avgHR 185
The last mile had a bit of a hill and some twists and turns on unpaved road and rocks. It was a bit of an annoying finish as the woman ahead of me stayed strong. Finally we were in the final stretch and I saw her accelerate and I couldn’t catch up. But, there was the finishing clock, with 34:xx! The minutes clicked over to 35.xx as I crossed the line, feeling strong and happy.

Final: 35:05 – 7:01 pace. A 2 minute PR (24 seconds per mile improvement!)

I don’t think I’d looked at my watch since mile 2, so it was pretty exciting to see my final time. What a huge PR! I treated myself to a melting pot sampler (pineapple, cheesecake, marshmallow, strawberry and chocolate to dip it in). Then they posted the results, and I got 2nd in my age group! (actually I got third, but the first place woman won the whole race so she was ineligible for AG awards). I collected my $15 gift certificate from a local running store (perfect! I need new shoes) and then headed home. I actually jumped on my bike and rode for a few miles, keeping the legs moving and getting them worked out. I was ravenous for the rest of the day (ok, so I may be hungry a lot now regardless) and made sure to eat healthy to refuel. Later in the evening was the Denver Roller Dolls bout and afterparty where I danced, but my left knee was a bit sore. I’ll need to watch that! While I’m working on correcting my gait and balance, I anticipate it’ll take my ole knee some time to adapt. That’s honestly why I haven’t purchased new shoes yet, I want to get things figured out regarding my stride first.

This was seriously such a great race. It felt like a marathon, effort-wise. I didn’t kill myself and hate myself through part of the race. I definitely pushed at the end but I had good even effort. Hrm, think having good clean-burning fuel instead of simple carbs helps with that? As I ran, I thought about the tremendous improvement I’ve already seen this year, and it made me look forward a bit. I have a guaranteed entry to the Colfax Marathon on May 15th, but I’m not going to run that. But I only missed the NYCM half marathon qualifying standard by 1:44 last year, I feel like I could take it this year. That’s a 7:24 pace and based on how easy this 5 miles at 7:01 felt, I feel pretty confident. Something to think about..

I’m trying hard not to figure out what to race next weekend, really hard.. but I know I need not to get too caught up in racing and make sure I’m doing the training I need to perform as I want. But I told myself this was a year of short distances, and I can’t believe how much I’m actually looking forward to it!

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