2013It was the best of races, and the worst of days. I had signed up for the 15K - my first time at that distance - as a training race for what was going to be my first half marathon a month later. On the spur of the moment I had done a half marathon for training two weeks prior to the Mastodon. Achieving a fitness level capable of completing half marathons was my biggest accomplishment of 2013. It followed a nearly 50-lb weight loss in 2012.
I used the Galloway run/walk method for both halfs and the Mastodon. During the first half, I felt my best between miles 4 and 9. By mile 12 I was exhausted and not having fun anymore, although I perked up when I heard my name over the loudspeaker at the finish line 2:29 after I started.
The night before the Mastodon run, my husband, brother-in-law and I spent the evening with their mother at her house. Her health had been rapidly declining, and we knew she wouldn't be with us much longer. I helped my sister-in-law get her ready for bed, and we made a plan to do the same the following night and as many nights after that as necessary. We did not realize how short her time was; she would pass away the next afternoon.
The race was on a Sunday that year. We planned that I would race, and my husband would go to Mass and then his Mom's house. I offered to skip the race and go with him, but he sent me on my way.
The weather was overcast and raining by the end of the race, and in the 50s I think. Here is the elevation profile:
|I remember thinking that it would be easy after the first 5.5 miles, but by then even those teeny-tiny rises looked big to me! The effort must have showed on my face, because for the final mile or two the volunteers kept asking me if I was OK.|
My plan was to run 2:30/walk 0:45 for the hilly first six miles, and then try to run the final three. I started the interval app right away, but ended up ignoring it and skipping the first several walk breaks since the course started off downhill and I just went with the flow. Then a funny thing happened when I started doing the intervals. Obeying the app, I ended up running up most of the hills and walking the flats and downhills! Another racer even noticed and commented a couple of times.
I finished in 1:36 for a pace of 10:22 per mile - almost a whole minute faster per mile than my half-marathon pace two weeks before! I was so surprised that to this day I still wonder if the clock malfunctioned. The runner who had commented on my hill-running was at the finish line cheering me on. I went home and told my husband that 15K was my favorite distance.
2014I've come to realize that many runners don't repeat races. But this one is 10 minutes from the house, and I have an emotional connection to it. Also, I remember that I liked the distance in 2013 (when I was in half-marathon shape, which didn't last long). I've decided that being able to complete 15K is a fitness level that I'd like to maintain.
I started this blog at the same time I started my training for the 2014 race, as a way to keep myself motivated and accountable. Both the blog and the training turned out to be two of many false starts in 2014! Spent quite a lot of time putting together a training program targeting the Mastodon 15K as my goal race. The plan included hills and speed work. I still used the run//walk method for any distance greater than 6 or 7 miles, and I was undecided whether to do the intervals again or try to run the whole way.
I did get some good workouts in that I wrote about here, here and here. But, as I also wrote about, I ended up skipping a lot of my weekday runs and tried to make up for them by incorporating extra hills and speed work into my weekend long run. That was Mistake #1.
|Long run training route, winter 2014. |
2015 was worse!
Mistake #2 was training in ill-fitting shoes. The new ones I had gotten in the fall never seemed quite right and my feet hurt, so two weeks before the race I did my final long run in an old pair. Instead of relief, I got a black, painful toenail! Which led to Mistake #3 - a new pair of shoes for the race! Bad timing, I know!
Thunderstorms were predicted, but at the beginning of the race it was just a soft rain. The rain didn't last long, but the air stayed so soupy that when the sun came out we all wished the rain would come back to cool us off! It had been a long, cold winter, and no one had run in warm, extremely humid conditions yet that year.
Again, I ran the first one and a half to two miles, then did run/walk intervals. I expected to be slower than in 2013, and I was: 1:49, pace 11:44 minute/mile. I was happy with that, considering how uncomfortable the weather was, how much my feet hurt, and how lackadaisical my training had been.
Because of my sore feet, I only did one other race in 2014. In September I got my feet X-rayed and got diagnosed with extensor tendonitis. No stress fractures - yay! The doctor didn't tell me to stop running; he recommended some exercises and inserts in my shoes.
2015I started the year with new shoes, inserts and a 4-running-days-per-week training plan, which I quickly realized was way too ambitious. Mistake #1 was Cheez-its, Mistake #2 was peanuts, Mistake #3 was beer, #4 . . . well, you get the idea. The race motto is "Get Your Mastodon On," and I feel like I did! On my belly, on my thighs, etc. So, 20 or so lbs heavier this year than last and the tendonitis still flares up. But, I proved two weeks ago that I can run 9.3 miles - with no walk breaks - even if it did take over 2 hours! Cohoes, I've got my Mastodon on and here I come!
Run Like a Mastodon!