The Color Run Recap

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a race snob. When your first ever road race is also one of the World Marathon Majors, you get a different sense of how races should be organized and executed. With more race experience has come a more realistic expectation of smaller races and the knowledge that some races just have bad days.

I think I expected more out of The Color Run because of its size. 22,000 runners over two days, and it’s a national race series. It’s not like this was their first rodeo. It was their first New England- yes, but I refuse to believe that’s the explanation.

Super Spectator Caitlin decided to get in on the 5K action for the first time and I couldn’t have been more excited to be running her first road race with her. She did this race for two reasons. First, she’s training for a triathlon right now and figured a road race might be good for her. Second, if any race would look appealing it would be the one where you get to be sprayed with fun colors. I wanted this race to be the best first 5K experience anyone could have. If only we knew what we were in for.

We got to the parking lot (which was 8 miles from the race start) two hours before the not well advertised race start time of 10am. We figured that gave us plenty of time to get ready, grab a bus and be one of the first waves out of the start. We parked the car and went to the bus lines. After standing around for a half hour we looked around and realized one very scary fact: There were 3 staff members trying to organize 5,000 people getting on buses. The lines were not official, and the line to the right of us kept merging rushing over to whatever bus pulled closest to them- their turn or not. Over an hour later, we finally squeezed ourselves onto a bus to head to the start.

We got to the start and if any part of the race went well, that was it. Fun DJ keeping the crowd energized, workers making sure the waves were clearly defined (even if it was with crime scene tape) and plenty of shade so at least we weren’t baking in the sun. The waves were about 1,000 per which left plenty of room to spread out once you hit the course. A lot of 5Ks mess this up, so I’ll give them points for crowd control on the actual course.

Just a couple people in front of us.

We took a few minutes to take a “Before”

The Color Run advertises that you’re hit with one color every K. I hadn’t really thought about how the colors were thrown or what it would be like until the night before the race when Jim said “Isn’t not a good idea to inhale powder while you’re running?”. Good point Jim. The orange was first and the dust was a little thicker thank I would have expected for an event that you know people will be running through this stuff. Some colors were lighter than others and didn’t seem so bad. I knew the blue was going to be bad when the workers were wearing safety masks while throwing it. I got two feet into the blue section and thought I was going to choke on the blue dust. It was terrible. I stopped immediately after the dust cleared and gagged for at least a minute. Brutal.

The course itself was beautiful and stretched along a little seaside residential neighborhood. I’m curious how they worked this out with the neighborhood because there were no side streets and these people were literally stuck in their houses while the race went on. The one part of the race that really surprised me was a massive hill in the middle of it. Coming from a girl who ran Heartbreak Hill every Saturday this winter, I’m usually pretty good about hills. This hill was one of the most brutal I’ve ever run in my life. It was an incredibly steep incline with no decline once you finally got to the top. And what was right at the top? Another batch of color. Because when you’re trying to catch your breath after an intense hill run the first thing you want to do is inhale color dust.

The rest of the race went by pretty quickly, lots of color and people having fun. I got to the finish line and looked at my time, when I realized my distance was far more concerning. Since when is a 5K 2.7 miles? Really, Color Run? Few things irritate me more than when a race is not the advertised distance. This was my only complaint about the Providence Half Marathon this year, and that was longer than the 13.1 it was supposed to be. If I had to choose, I would rather it be a little longer than a little shorter. I just felt ripped off. Covered in a thick dust, and ripped off.

This is after.

Caitlin and I made a strict decision at the start that we were going straight to the busses after the race to try to avoid the crowds after the mess at the start. We finally found the bus pick up (because there were no signs to tell you where it was) and when we got there we were informed there had been a major accident on the highway and traffic was backed up for two hours. The later race waves were also delayed two hours and the busses were massively delayed because what should have been a 10 minute ride each way was now taking 40. There were two parking lots for the event, so we were split into two lines. Thankfully, the transport powers at be were on our side for at least that portion of the day because the busses that were coming were only picking up for our line for some reason. This obviously made the people in the other line less than pleased. Especially when a bus finally arrives for them and it’s a short bus. To rub salt in the wound, when the short bus opened its door, the glass from one of the panels shattered. That line wasn’t pleased.

We finally made it back and decided we needed to celebrate and decompress the only way we know how after races: burgers and beers. The Olympic coverage and locals offering their commentary were added bonuses.

We totally burned that off doing a < 5K

So that’s the Color Run. I would love to think that this is just a fluke occurrence and they are normally a well run event. I can still see the appeal and even think I’ll give it another shot next year if I hear good things from other cities. Every race deserves a second chance. They just have a LOT to make up for.

Have you ever done The Color Run? Did you do it this weekend? Was Sunday better than Saturday? Any good races I missed this weekend? Let’s hear it!

12 Weeks Until Newport!

It’s been a really busy two weeks. There was the prep for the Jamestown Half Marathon, which was all well and good until I woke up race morning at 3am with some not so nice indicators that I had a lovely bout of food poisoning.

But before all that was the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. I wanted to beat last years time. I figured with the first 3 minutes of walking to get through the crowd last year that wouldn’t be an issue. Until we got there this year and somehow, all of the walkers made their way to the FRONT of the start line. 7 minutes. That’s right. I spent 7 minutes forced to walk in a herd to get past the walkers. There was no PR. But there was a good race with good people, and that’s what matters. Not really, but I’ll pretend.

We’re a fun bunch. Our shirts said “Run? i thought you said RUM!” They were laughed at.

 

Not rockstar status.

So back to Jamestown. I’ve never not started a race before and I’m so disappointed that this was my first no-show. Jamestown was actually the stop in the Triple Crown I was looking forward to most simply because it is so overwhelmingly beautiful I figured it would help distract me from the extra warm 13.1 miles. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only Rhode Scholar battling stomach issues that day- Mallory- I hope you’re feeling better!

With the no-start behind me, I got some rest, stopped throwing up and go back to the pavement with the major race 12 weeks out. I’m really excited to be in the home stretch of training although I know this pretty much ruins any shot I had at a social life on Fridays for the rest of the summer, but that’s ok. Getting into high mileage mode I took some time to think about what went wrong with my Boston training this year and how I can get to the finish line of the Newport Marathon healthy, happy, and maybe before Jim. I really want this vacation. I’m competitive and over-worked. This isn’t a great combination.

I took a long look at my training plan from last year and I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of hitting 17-miles, then backing down to 12, then back up to 19, I’m going to gradually increase until 4 weeks out. I’ll add two miles every week to my long run until I hit 20, then I’ll go back down to 15, 10 and 5. I have not run this plan by any sort of official coach, doctor or other runner. It just seems to feel right to me, so I’m going to go with it.

I knew I was over training for Boston last year when my knee started to act up and my overall health went down the tubes. Knock on wood, my knee and the rest of me has been perfectly fine this time around! I truly believe it’s all because I’m taking a lot more stock in listening to my body and not pushing myself when it doesn’t feel right just because a piece of paper says I should be. At first this went against every good runner instinct in my body. I should be dead at the end of every run. If you’re not hurting you’re not training hard enough. HOW WAS I NOT ASKED TO THE OLYMPIC TRIALS? I know, I wonder that too. I checked the event schedule and I appears they took out “Running at a slightly below average pace for extended periods of time and stopping to take funny photos along the way” this year. Maybe 2016.

These are the types of pictures I take in the middle of a run.

Overall I am feeling really great, and I think I’m going to be ready come October 14. Last night at dinner I asked Jim if he had even started any sort of training yet and his response was “I am training. I ate a salad today.” I suppose that should give me slight confidence boost in this whole thing but I’m not counting him out. All 5’3” of me is going to have a serious natural disadvantage going up against 6’5” of naturally athletically gifted “My 5K PR is 20:01”-ness. Our friends have also started making side bets amongst themselves. I won’t share what they are putting the odds at. All I have to say is that every single one of you will be buying me a beer when we get back from Newport.

Aside from training, life has been pretty much summer as usual in my life. A country concert, time on the boat and long days at work. Unfortunately those don’t go away just because the sun came out to play.

Boat life doesn’t suck.

 

Caitlin insisted there be a photo of us here without her Super Spectating. Here you go world. Country Concert-ing Caitlin

Tonight will be 3 miles that I am determined to negative split. I really will get the hang of this one day, I promise. Really, I do.

And in true RunBritRun fashion, I need advice from all my fit and fabulous friends out there. Have any of you tried the Nike+ Fuel band? I feel like this might be something really cool, or a huge waste of money. Any lovers/haters out there want to share their thoughts? I need some real world reviews before I spend a bunch of money on another running toy I may never use. Please and thank you.

Corporate Challenge Day

I’m a planner. Usually, a pretty good one at that. I like to make lists, schedules, track mileage and prep accordingly for all things in life. This is why I’m told I’m good at my job. Project planning and management. I make lists, I check things off. It’s a type-A paradise.

This week was not so well planned. To be fair, it kind of snuck up on me, but now that it’s here I’m realizing just how poorly planned it was. It’s one thing to have two races in a week. It’s quite another to have two races in a week, the week following a vacation that involved very little running; and a concert immediately following the second, much longer race. Oops.

There’s no turning back now, so I’ve been training as normal pretending that I’m just as prepared as ever. Monday night I hit the cemetery and was completely serene for the first mile of my run. I went into that deep thought/day-dreaming type of running where you tend to forget that you’re actually running. Then this guy ran out in front of me to remind me.

We were in the middle of a stare down. Bambi took it quite seriously.

The last time I came this close to a deer was on the highway home in the middle of the night a couple winters ago.  That encounter didn’t end well for me, the deer, or my car. It did make for some pretty funny stories and a lot of Bambi jokes at my expense.

The blood stain on the hood looked slightly creepy. I still wonder what the car parked next to me thought.

Anyways. Thankfully this deer kept on its merry way after a 90 second staring contest and I got to finish my run in peace. It was certainly one of those mind clearing runs that I needed. I always do my best thinking while running. I’m not saying I do serious thinking, but good thinking. This time I day dreamed about the Bachelorette and if Emily and Arie get married how their kids might look. Serious, insightful thoughts, I know. Solid use of 2 miles.

Mondays post was about some general goals for the week, and I’ve done pretty well with sticking to them. Except for the mac and cheese my brother made me last night, but I had a ton of veggies with it so I’m calling it a wash.

Now time for the race goals. Tonight is the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge Boston. It’s a nighttime 3.5 mile run with a ton of local companies participating. I’m team captain for my team and I will admit- as a company we are grossly under prepared. We had set up group training runs for Wednesdays, and if you’re around Boston at all you know that it has rained every single Wednesday except one since April. I guess mother nature just wasn’t on our side. So despite my best efforts, I will not be setting any company goals for this 5K. Here are my own personal goals.

 

–       Do not walk. I said this on Monday and I’ll say it again. I need to RACE. Not run, walk, take a couple pictures, then run again. RACE.

–       Beat last years time. That was a 37:30. I don’t care if I beat it by :10 or 10:00, I just want to see improvement.

–       Help the team have fun. Not a lot of people in my company consider themselves runners and a lot find it pretty terrible. I just want this to be a fun experience for everyone.

Those are my goals. Now I must return to making check lists, preparing schedules, and my general organization ridden life. Item #1- More coffee.

PS. That “Give up coffee” thing hasn’t gone so well.  Happy Thursday!

Is anyone else running Boston tonight? Let me know who to look out for!!!

Back to Reality and the Busy Week Ahead

Welcome back everyone! The past week was exactly what I needed. I don’t know if you could tell or not, but I’ve been more than slightly stressed lately. Work has been incredibly busy, marathon training is a part time job in and of itself, some family stuff came up and having a social life is a nice dream I try to hold on to. As of 5pm on June 29th, I was determined to put all things work/stress related behind me and start the drive to Michigan with one goal: no stress. It’s a pretty tall order when you’re facing a 15 road trip.

More than a few people like to tell Jim and I they think we are insane for driving to Michigan instead of flying every time we go. I drive a little Sentra for a reason, and that reason is I can go halfway across the country from <$100 in gas each way. One speeding ticket later (thanks a lot Ohio), we arrived at Jim’s parents house around 10:30am. We had a drink with his mom and Dad and woke up 5 hours later on the couch. According to his mom we made it through about 5 minutes of whatever was on TV before we were both dead to the world. To be honest, I’m impressed we made it to the couch.

The whole week was filled with lots of family, old friends, little kids and all things Midwestern. I won’t bore you with details of a vacation you didn’t go on, so here are the basics:

–       I went on a 4 mile run. There were farms, corn fields and hay. And a wasp that decided to sting me. That sucked. I thought it was a bee at first, then it kept stinging me. I also tried to keep running while swatting this hellish creature off of my back, which forced me to run in circles. The farmer staring at me from his tractor probably thought I was possessed. I was certainly screaming enough to make this a logical conclusion.

This was my view for all 4 miles.

–       I ate way too many things covered in cheese, fried, or of the pizza variety. We also drank a lot. There is no healthy way to eat on a road trip, and I was aware of that going in. I’m still trying to get my cholesterol back to a normal level.

That’s normal for 2 people by 4pm, right?

–       Taking stitches out is something that should be done by a medical professional. Apparently, Jim feels I’m just as qualified and forced me to do it instead.

This is not what I thought I’d be doing at 1am.

–       Every vacation should consist of no cell phone reception, no access to email and no internet. There are very few ways to completely disconnect from work anymore, and having all communication with the office cut off without option is the only way to stick to it. I was completely OK with this by day 2.

The week ahead looks busy. A little too busy. Getting back in the groove of work/train/life after 9 days off can be more than a little overwhelming, but add in a  company 5K Thursday, a half marathon on Saturday, followed by a concert that night and the whole thing just blows up ten fold. I’ve set a few goals for the week to try and keep me on track.

Be in bed by 10pm every night– I’m going to need my 7-8 hours of shut eye to power through this week.

Do not walk at any point during the company 5K– I’ve always taken these short races super lightly and will stop to walk with a friend or take a picture of something cool. I’ve realized I should start actually racing these races in order to improve.

Eat healthy all week– I really need to start fixing some of the damage I did to my body over the last 9 days. Whole grains and veggies weren’t seen too often. Bringing those back with some force. I will probably break this after the 5K if the after party is anything like last years.

5K means 5 beers after, right? And pizza. Lots of pizza.

Hope you all enjoyed your week as much as I did! Happy Monday! What did you do for the 4th? Any fun races or workouts?