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Running of the Squirrels 5k

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

USATF Recap

USATF Half Marathon Recap:
Goals:
Top 20 finish
PR (sub 1:15:42)

Actual:
15th overall
1:16:42

Despite the fact that storms were threatening a late start (or cancel. . . eek) the weather wasn't too bad for this event. This happened last weekend and all those storms we had in Missouri that caused all the flooding were working their way east to Ohio. It was a fairly humid morning, and we did get rained on around mile 8 or 9. However, I managed the humidity fairly well and I think this is what helped me place so high.

My race started 5 minutes before the Capital City Half race started, so I didn't get to run with Marshall. I just knew I couldn't run 5 minutes slower than him or he'd catch me before the finish!

In typical fashion of a championship event, I started out a bit to fast for myself. This happened to me the past 2 years also at the 10 mile championships. In the future, I'm going to make a conscious effort to not get carried away in the first 2 miles. I need to just trust that some of the ladies will come back to me as I preserve through the race. It's just fairly demoralizing when you open up with a 5:30 mile and are really close to being in last place, but I need to just do what works for me.

I never really knew what place I was in. I felt like I started really far back and slowly reeled in runners ahead of me that had also started out a bit to fast. I saw a couple ladies drop out as well, I don't know if it was the humidity or just not running the pace they wanted, so this also helped move me up to a higher finish.

I had trailed a girl for about miles 5-11, maintaining about the same distance the entire way (20 or so seconds). By the time we got to mile 11, I noticed I was finally gaining some ground on her. By mile 12, I think I had made up another 10-12 seconds on her! Great! I was starting to get a bit more competitive now. Right past mile 12, we started on a fairly decent size downhill, I was running about 5:25 pace, hoping I didn't start to go for it too early. I passed another girl that was struggling, and continued to focus on the girl I had been chasing the entire race. We finally got to the bottom of the  hill, had a right hand turn and started to climb a decent hill into a head wind. Let's just say my pace slowed severely, and I was positive that this girl I was chasing down would EASILY pass me right back. As I crested the top, nearly crawling, I was surprised I hadn't been passed back. I didn't want to look behind me, so I tried really hard to pay attention to the crowd to see if they were just cheering my name, or if the cheers included the other girl as well. Either way, I didn't want to chance it, and I didn't want my time to slow even more, so I made it to the finish line as quickly as my little legs would carry me.

Apparently that hill had the same affect on all the runners. And the girl I had been chasing down the entire time, happened to be the girl that we had dinner with at the elite pasta party the night before! Overall, I'm pleased with my time and EXTREMELY happy to finally break into the top 20 at a championship event. I wished I could have ran a PR,. I don't think that time (1:16) is a testament to my fitness, but apparently the race was pretty slow overall. I'm not sure why, but maybe the humidity and rain affected us more than I give it credit for. I'm also happy that I managed not to get a side stitch and felt fairly strong the entirety of the race.

Soaking wet by the time we got back to the hotel










**on a side note - several of the runners in the Capital City Columbus Half got pulled of the course. They black flagged it when a thunder and lightening storm came through. I'm thankful that both Marshall and I got to finish. However, the USATF race follows NCAA rules. So as long as I started, I would have had the opportunity to finish.

World's largest golf tee. Apparently this little town in Illinois had a whole bunch of  "World's Largest" items. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

April is off to a good start

Racing season has officially begun! The Reed's have got 5 "races" in 6 weeks - April through early May. This makes me feel like I'm in college again, traveling and racing every weekend.

We kicked things the first weekend in April. We headed down to Stockton State Park Marina to run in the 8th annual Crappie Day 5k. This was a good opportunity, being the week before Rock the Parkway Half Marathon, to get out the racing flats and get some speed work in. We ran surprisingly well. I ran my fastest time on that course, 17:21, which was a couple seconds faster than last year. This course always has more hills than I remember. It's actually not that bad, I'm just used to running in flat Springfield. For a bit more speed work, we jogged about a  mile away, to the flattest part we could find, and added 4 x 400. This was tough on tired legs.

Race 1: Havin' A Crappie Day 5k
Goal A - 1st female
Goal B - sub 17:30
Actual - 1st female; tied Marshall for 2nd overall
Actual - 17:21, then added 4 x 400 (all sub 78)

I think this was just past 2 miles in

Race 2: Rock the Parkway Half Marathon
Goal A - Top 2 female
Goal B - Sub 1:17
Actual - First female (10th overall: men and women); 1:18:10

I fell a bit short of my goal time, 70 seconds off. However, I feel pretty good about this race. This is an out and back type course, so the way back was into a 15-20 mph head wind. It was just a bit too much for me to maintain pace. Also the race didn't seem as competitive up in front, so the top 12 runners were very spread out. The next person behind me was over 90 seconds back. Luckily I had Marshall with me through about 10 or so miles. He then proceeded to have an awesomely fast finish and catch the runner in front of us, so he finished in 8th place. This was his highest finish at this race, despite being probably one of his slowest times on this course. 

March in Review:
1 race - Big 12 12k run; first female
Kimi - 305 miles
Penny - 4 miles (21 yearly total)
1 day no running
Highest week - 72 miles

Penny slacked off a bit this month. . . better get her back into shape ;)

I'm feeling really fit right now. I got my body fat checked today and it's right around where I usually am for goal races. I've got 3 weeks until the Half Marathon Championships!! Let's hope the weather is wonderful and I can have some good workouts the next few weeks. The focus these next weeks are going to be practicing taking in nutrition with cups during long runs. I got a mild side stitch around mile 3-4 during the half marathon this past week, and I'm blaming my awful ability to take in water through cups. 

Big 12 run; Finish line photo - it snowed the entire morning!!
In other news, the upstairs room is just about finished. The room that we started fixing the Friday after Thanksgiving. The room that Marshall thought would take only 4 weeks and be done by Christmas. Here we are 4 months later and it is just about done. It looks great though! Probably the best room in the house. Each room we fix gets better and better as we learn from past mistakes. I'm thinking we should have started up there. Haha! Pictures to come soon!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Februrary 2017 in Review

Kimi - 259 miles
Penny - 5 miles
Longest run - 17 miles
Highest week - 67 miles
Day's off - 0 days

February turned out to be quite a good month. My tempo runs are up to 4 miles, and I'm trying to run my shorter stuff at paces faster than last year. So far, this has been a success. I also had a good track workout last week.


This was my first time on track this year, and I haven't been on it since early November. Felt good to get some turn-over. I busted out some 400's, 300's, and 200's. It was harder than I thought it was going to be simply because I kept recovery to a minimum (between 30-60 seconds depending on the distance of which repeat I was on). It was meant to be a good workout though - because it was raining an yucky all day until I headed to Drury track after work. Then the sun was shining and weather was warm for February :)

Unfortunately, February is ending on a low note. I got sick AGAIN. I'm usually a pretty healthy person - never miss work, sick once per year, etc. Well, if you remember January's recap (Click Here) I was sick about 4 weeks ago. However, at that time I had to take off 3 days of running. This time I've been able to push through, but did drop a workout this past weekend. It was short lived because I'm really feeling a lot better only 4 days later. Apparently everybody has been sick off and on the past couple months.

Much to our surprise, this past Sunday Marshall and I got to run in a snow shower! Really big flakes also. And to think I was wearing shorts 3 days before this happened! This may be the only snow we get, so it definitely brought a smile to our faces. Marshall enjoyed it so much that he even decided to run an extra 2 miles and finish up with me :) Penny wasn't as thrilled with the snow as I was. She went out and turned right back around to come back inside.

Picture doesn't do it justice - it was beautiful
In other news, we are still working on the room above the garage. This past weekend, we took down the railing and are in the process of staining and painting. We also did a lot of other odds-n-ends and felt like we made good progress. We still have a long list of tasks, but most can be done in only a couple hours or so :)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

January in Review

The year started off great for me. I was rocking and rolling. The first three weeks I ran over 60 miles. Unfortunately, I got a cold and ended up taking 3 days off. I took a Monday off, tried to run Tuesday and felt fine, but then woke up the next morning with a scratchy throat again.

Luckily, these days off didn't hinder me too much. Our plans to run in Phoenix at the end of February fell through. I'm looking on the bright side though, this gave me a few weeks to simply put in some solid mileage with no workouts. It also gives Marshall time to ramp back up in his running. This is going to allow me to focus on the Half Marathon Championships at the end of April! I've only finished in the top 20 at a Championship race once, so I'm hoping to peak at this race and come away with a new PR! I think it is going to be very competitive, you have to run sub 1:18 just for a comped entry.

Cold and rain can't stop me!
January Review:
Kimi - 245 miles
Penny - 11 miles
Day's off - 4
0 races yet - Although, I did volunteer at Cabin Fever Reliever. I had the very important job of making sure all the 20k runners added on a little out/back section of the race. I got several comments that this was the worst part of the race ;) but mark my words. . . every runner ran down that stretch :) It was a good time and everyone was upbeat. Marshall even got some great pictures of everyone (click here to see pics).

In other news, we are STILL working on the attic. The boys got all the drywall up and sanded. Marshall and Dad textured all the walls and ceiling. Now the walls are painted a very pretty Beige. . . and I also talked Marshall into re-painting three of the walls in our bedroom!!! The master bedroom turned out nothing like what the picture/inspiration looked like. We have hated it for nearly 3 years, now I'm SO glad I talked him into changing it!! :)

I think she has been digging. . .

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Year in Review

3010 miles
12 races (some used as workouts)
4 PR's
 Highest weekly mileage - 77 (had several weeks at 75)

The Good:
What a great year it was for me and my running this year. I was very fortunate to PR in the half marathon twice this year. The first time was in April where I ran a 1:16:10 to shave a couple seconds off my prior PR of 1:16:26 (at the same race the year prior - Rock the Parkway). Then about 2-2.5 months later, I had a surprisingly high finish in Duluth, MN where I finished 3rd and ran a 1:15:43 (Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon)!!

Most surprisingly though, was that I had two really awesome 10k's this fall. I even beat my track time from college, (where I finished 4th at NCAA Division II Championships in 2010). Even if it was only by a second. I never thought I would beat my track time, but thought I could come close. Ended up with a 34:51 at Plaza 10k. This makes me wonder what I could do if I got back on a track?

The Not So Good:
I had a good marathon last year, and was planning on running a stellar PR in Los Angeles at the trials early in 2016, which would have left 10 months geared toward running faster at the shorter distances. Unfortunately, the trials didn't go as planned, but I proceeded forward with my plan of nailing some 10k's this past fall.

My favorites of 2016:

  • Best Race Experience - Seems like every year it always goes back to Duluth, MN and Grandma's Marathon/Gary Bjorklund half. This event is the kick-off to summer up there, and the entire town makes runners feel welcome and are genuinely excited for everyone to be there. Plus, the race is amazing: great course, great crowd support, usually great weather! Marshall ran a PR up there this year and finally broke 6:00/mile pace for his marathon (His recap here). 
  • Most Memorable Race - Olympic Marathon Trials. Enough said. 



  • Best Run/Workout - There were two I couldn't choose between. The first was 10 x 800 (w/2.5-3 min recovery). All were 2:37 or faster (okay. . . one was a 2:38) PLUS I ended with a 2:32. This was 2 weeks before the trials, and why I thought I would nail that race. 
The second was 5 x mile repeats on the track before Gary Bjorklund Half. Splits were 5:28, 5:25, 5:24, 5:25, 5:21. This was a weekday morning before work. . . really didn't see those splits coming!

  • Best New Piece of Gear - Saucony Kinvara 7. First shoe to run a marathon in with no blisters!
  • Most Inspirational Runner of 2016 - I'm gonna go with Meb Keflezighi. He's 41 years old and still made our Olympic team in the marathon. While I'm sure he would have liked to finish higher at the Rio Olympics, he has the heart of a champion. He even finished in true Meb fashion (doing push-ups after he slipped/fell right at the finish)

Goals for 2017:
  • Run a good half/possible PR. I'm going to have 2 really good opportunities for this. In 8 weeks I'm going to be in Phoenix. Then in April, I'm hoping to qualify for the USA Half marathon Championships in Ohio. I should be well under the qualifications with my 1:15 (I think it only requires sub 1:18 for an entry)
  • Run another Olympic Trials qualifying time in the marathon. Standards haven't been released yet, but I'm hoping they get released before we head to Chicago in October. Otherwise, I will have to run a standard next year. I'm guessing the B standard will remain somewhere around the 2:43-45 ish area. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winter Break Is Over

I'm back at it. . . just in time for it to get really cold! This past week I front loaded my miles so that I wouldn't have go very far once the morning temps dropped into the teens. We even saw some wintry mix Wednesday evening for a few hours.

Sweet Penelope
There is 11 weeks until the Phoenix Half marathon. I'm going to begin workouts next week. I did get a small head start on some uptempo work. The last two weeks I met with Ashley and ran some of her workouts with her. This was fun and more motivation to actually get up when it's cold and go run.

Penny-aided last mile - she doesn't know how to pace. 

Week in Review:
49 miles (projected)
1 workout
4 miles w/Penelope
10 mile long run

New racing flats for next year
I hit a double digit run for the first time since the marathon this week :) I'm glad to have the time off because I feel so much better than I had for the last 2-3 months. Marshall (coaching info) and I finally got my schedule finished for Phoenix and I'm looking forward to some of the longer up-tempos. It's bringing back memories of training for the trials this time last year ;)

I got some new flats for next year, they feel pretty sweet so far. They are orange and red, but I'm calling them the Runner's version of Ruby Slippers - maybe they'll be magical next year!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

First Marathon win

Bass Pro Marathon:
1st female
tied Marshall for 5th overall
2:44:57
RESULTS

Last Sunday, I capped off 2016 with my final race. I completed my 6th marathon and got my first ever marathon win! For November, we really couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. I've been participating in a Bass Pro race since 2011, but have yet to run the marathon until this year.

I always liked running local events. It's nice to sleep in your own bed, be able to cook myself a nice dinner, and have home course advantage. My parents and Marshall's parents were able to come watch us run, and it being an open course, we saw them several times. This really helped because for some reason, this race doesn't have very good crowd support. Yes, the aid stations were awesome (especially the one near mile 24), but considering probably over half this race is through residential neighborhoods, it was rather lonely. Many times when Marshall and I run in Springfield it becomes somewhat of a tempo effort because it ends up being just the two of us working together.  Those that know me best, know I thrive off competition. Nearly all my PR's have come in races that I don't win.

However, this race was some-what out of the norm. Thankfully we did have company through mile 19, but rather than working with us, this runner was more content to just let us pull him through the miles (so still felt like a tempo). Either way, it was nice to have a small group of three for most of the race. By the time we split up, we had already run into some half marathoners anyways. Usually with a race this long and grueling you build some comradery and everyone works together.

Excited to see all 4 parents
 The first half of the race was boring, and mostly it was just me trying to be patient and not get carried away. We ran the uphills through Southern Hills fairly conservatively and used the down hills when we could. I've been fighting a small hip/gluteal annoyance (been REHABBING) and I didn't start to notice it until mile 13-14, so that a plus. Wind hadn't been an issue until we reached the downtown area.


Unfortunately, it was my own fatigue that let our little pack break up at mile 19. I had fought some ups/downs through the downtown area with just enough of a head wind to make me tired. It wasn't so much that he sped up that much, but that I had dropped off a couple seconds per mile. Marshall (having run a 2:36 earlier this year and several sub 2:40 marathons. . . click HERE for his blog) could have easily left me and probably taken 4th place overall, stayed and helped me keep the pace honest the last 10k. The race had gone off without a hitch up to this point. We came through half way at 1:22:xx (low) and had every intention of a negative split. Didn't quite happen, but we had nearly even split (1:22 high for second half).

Once we made it to the top of Jefferson, I could start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We had about a 5k to go were already running into half marathoners that hadn't finished yet. Thankfully we had Dale as a lead bicyclist to clear the way for us. We managed to finish just under 2:45, so we were happy for that. Our goal was to be somewhere between 2:43-2:45 and we were right there in the mix.

First ever marathon win :)
While I didn't PR and was about 6 minutes off, I'm happy and content. I went into this race knowing that I wouldn't PR because the course/atmosphere simply isn't designed for a that kind of a race. However, being a low-key race, this allowed me to really enjoy just running, seeing my parents and in-laws, and enjoy the local atmosphere and the pride I feel when I race in Springfield.

2:44:57
 What's next you ask? Well I took 5 days completely off running. Next week is very low-key and low mileage as well. I can always tell when I'm getting fatigued because instead of "I get to go run" it becomes "I have to go run". I'm going to get some much needed rest and recovery so I can bounce back into2017 with lots of energy and motivation!