September Roundup

September has come to an end, and I have some numbers rounded up to recap my month in running.  As always, you can catch up on my previous months’ recaps here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.  I am not running tonight, but will be attending a yoga class, so let’s take a look at my numbers for September.

I ran exactly 90 miles this month!  September’s 90 miles puts me at 713 miles for the year so far.  My goal is to reach 950 miles this year, and with three months left, I need to average at least 79 miles per month in October, November, and December to reach at least 950.  And, if I average at least 96 miles per month over the last 3 months of the year, I will get to 1000 miles for the year, which would be amazing!  I am really excited to hit the quadruple digits!Photo Sep 20, 9 33 49 AMSeptember was a very busy month, race wise!  The final two races of the Heartland 30k series, the Plaza 10k (10k PR!) and the Broadway Bridge 10k were in September, as was the Labor Day 5k.  I ran with the KC Running Co. Groupies 8 times, including 4 speed work sessions with the Groupies.  I missed most of the long Sunday runs, because of the Labor Day holiday weekend and then the two 10k races on Sundays.  I ran with Mom 3 times, when she was here over the Labor Day weekend, and finished the Labor Day 5k with her as well.  My longest run was 8 miles, on September 27th, with Amy at the KC Running Co. Sunday Groupie run.11994276_10100330663989283_814193399_n12025327_10100333951166753_1263268631_n12026654_10100336840591323_866744501_nI’ve still been seeing my chiropractor about once a week, still working on my right glute and left IT band issues.  I have (I should say, my chiropractors have) been making significant progress, and I’m doing much better… just trying to get that last 10% or so fixed.

I have also continued to practice yoga about once a week, and even got to attend a yoga class on the outfield at the K.  I missed my weekly yoga class twice during September, both due to running conflicts – celebrating KC Running Co.’s birthday at the Leawood store, and then a run and Running Healthy clinic with Golden Harper, the founder of Altra Running.Photo Sep 06, 9 21 48 AMDuring the month of September, I attempted to cut out sweets – pop, candy, donuts, etc.  I was successful for about a week to 10 days, but wasn’t able to make it the entire month.  I have drastically cut back on my sweets, which is a huge improvement, and I will continue to try to limit them, as I do feel better without sugar slogging me down.

The only other thing to share for September is that I treated my body and mind to a wonderful massage, something I get done about once a year, but could definitely use about once every 2-3 months!12016705_10100333951201683_1917265412_nLooking to October, I am visiting my sister in Milwaukee, and hope to get in a 10 mile long run before volunteering at the finish line of the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.  I am also running the KC Half Marathon, and hope to earn a shiny new PR!

How was your September? What are you looking forward to for October?

Race Dots Review

I was recently sent a set of Race Dots to try out, and with 4 races on my schedule in 4 consecutive weekends, it was a perfect month to ditch the safety pins and try out Race Dots!  First of all, what are Race Dots? “Race Dots are the simple, elegant and effective alternative to safety pins. Each Race Dot is a unique assembly of two magnets that lock together to hold your race number in place, but they never hurt your clothing.”  (From Race Dots’ website).  The following review is a summary of my own experiences with Race Dots, followed by my opinion of the product.  I was given Race Dots free of charge, but was not sponsored or paid for my review.

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The Race Dots set I received came with 5 Dots, an extra Dot in case one runs away.  Race Dots are sold in packs of 4, 5, and 10, and can also be purchased individually.  The back side of the magnet can also be purchased individually.  Race Dots are made in the USA, and come in many different colors, There are also limited edition Dots, and you can pay to have them customized, too.  The Race Dots are packaged on a handy piece of cardboard that has holes (like on a race bib) for the Dots to comfortably sit in.  I simply discarded the plastic and kept the cardboard to store my Race Dots.  A handy “User Tips” card is also included.

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Race Dots are different from traditional magnets; the design allows the front of the magnet to nest into the back of the magnet, so when the front is set on a race bib properly (using the pre-punched holes in the corners), it secures the bib very snugly.  It’s also mentioned in the paperwork that the bibs don’t interfere with race timing chips that sometimes are placed on the back of bibs, but it does warn to keep the magnets away from your phone, credit cards, and computers.  FYI, in the pic below, I couldn’t put my hand any closer to the back of the magnet without it snapping together… that’s how strong the magnets are!

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The first race I used Race Dots on was the Dot to Dot 10k.  I received my bib the night before the race, and was able to secure my bib to my shirt beforehand, with my race shirt on the floor and me crouched over it with the bib and magnets.  I admit, I struggled a bit.  The magnets are super strong, and it was hard to place the bib where I wanted it while trying to keep the magnets from snapping together.  I finally managed to get it all set, but I was a bit frustrated at how hard it was.  My first thought was that safety pins would be easier.  During the race, the magnets did not budge.  There was no irritation on my skin from having the Dots on, and the weight of the magnets was not noticeable at all.  Having the Race Dots on my shirt didn’t cause any extra bounce, but the top two magnets snapped to the bottom two magnets when I bent down to untie my shoes after the race!

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The next weekend, I had the Labor Day 5k on my schedule.  This particular race did not offer packet pickup until the morning of the race.  I took my Race Dots, and attempted to put them on while wearing my shirt, and it was too difficult.  I ended up using safety pins.

The following weekend was the Plaza 10k.  I heard a couple tips about getting used to Race Dots, and  opted to only use the top two Dots to secure my bib.  Once again, it did take me a little while to get the bib on the shirt, but it was smoother than the first attempt two weeks prior.  The Dots stayed put, the bib stayed put, and I really liked only using two Dots.  FYI, for those who use bib belts, the top two holes of the bib are the only two used, so using two dots works very similarly.  It’s hard to see the Race Dots in the photo below, because the yellow on the Dots blends into the bib, but if you look closely at the runners near me and then at my bib, you can see the yellow Dots!

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

The very next weekend was the Broadway Bridge 10k, and once again, I used Race Dots to secure my bib to my shirt the night before the race.  I used the two top holes of the bib and used only two Race Dots, and I was able to fasten my bib fairly quickly, and fairly easily.  Race Dots are definitely something you have to kind of practice a few times before you become efficient, or at least that’s my take.  The bib stayed put through the race perfectly.

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Final thoughts: Race Dots work.  No safety pins are needed to secure your bib!  BUT, that being said, would I spend $20 on a pack of Dots?  Probably not.  I, personally, don’t mind using safety pins, and I don’t mind putting safety in holes in the shirts I wear to races.  I pick shirts that I won’t mind if they get dirty at the race, if safety pins leave holes in them, or if they get snagged or ripped while running on the course.  Now I’m not saying I’m going out there with the goal of beating up my gear, but I go into the race knowing that anything is possible, and my shirt, shoes, pants, body, etc, may get beaten up for one reason or another.

I do think Race Dots could be a great benefit to those who have expensive race singlets or triathlon bike kits or wet suits they don’t want to put safety pin holes in.  Or for winter running when you wear a thick jacket and want your bib on the outside.  Or they would be a fun novelty race item for those who have extra money to spend on things like this.  But for the average joe runner, they are cool, but not a necessity.  I’ll continue to use Race Dots when I am able to pick up my bib before the race and secure my bib to my shirt prior to the race, but probably for races that have packet pick up immediately before the race, I will stick to the ease of safety pins.

2015 Plaza 10k Race Recap

The Plaza 10k took place over the weekend, and it’s time for a race recap!  I ran this race last year, my recap is here.  The Plaza 10k this year was 10k two out of three in the Heartland 30k series.  The first 10k was the Dot to Dot 10k, (recap here) and next week is the final race, the Broadway Bridge 10k.

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Sunday morning came super early, and I, for one, was not quite ready to get up!  Jasper and I enjoyed some chilly temps before I left for the race with Amy.

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Amy and I parked on the Plaza, and walked around for a while to keep warm and get our legs ready for the race.  After a quick bathroom trip, we were ready to go, with over 3000 of our closest running friends.  The Plaza 10k is a relatively young race; this year was the 5th year for the race.  KC Running Co. runs this event, and it’s very well run, organized, and on time.  12033506_10100333975393203_102643097_n

The location for the race, the Country Club Plaza, is just gorgeous, and this is one of the prettiest courses I’ve had the opportunity to run.  We ran on beautiful tree lined streets, by the the Nelson Atkins, the JC Nichols Fountain, and Brush Creek.  There were also lots of spectators and fun signs to read on the way by.  Both last year and this year, I’ve enjoyed the course immensely, and the weather in early to mid September is just perfect.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

My number one goal for this 10k was to run it all.  Before the Plaza 10k this past weekend, I have completed 5 10ks, and I’ve walked in all of them except one.  I know I am capable of running 6+ miles, I’ve done it before, but something always makes me walk (usually my mind!).  There was no reason to walk during the Dot to Dot 10k two weeks ago, yet I did.  I had several pep-talks to myself during the week leading up to this 10k and was determined to not walk.

My second goal for a 10k is to get under 62 minutes; I would LOVE to be under an hour, but my goal for 2015 is to get under 62 minutes.  I didn’t know if this would be possible at this race, but I knew my my previous PR would likely be smashed if I could run the whole thing without walking.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

 Around mile 2.5.  Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

As I said before, the weather couldn’t have been any more perfect.  I was running steady, and felt good through the halfway 5k point.  In the first half, there is one fairly significant hill, but it didn’t go on too long, and was really not as bad as I remembered from last year, plus I have had a year full of hill training since last year’s Plaza 10k, when the KC hills were still new to me.

Around mile 3.5 or so, I saw Amy up ahead of me.  There was a gradual downhill before turning onto Swope Parkway, and I caught up to her by the second water stop, just after mile 4  I wanted to surprise her, as we’ve never finished a race together before.  I tucked in a step or two behind her, and shadowed her for the next two miles.

In hindsight, I should have popped up next to her, and kept my good-feeling pace up, but Amy was trucking along at a good clip too, so at the time, it felt like a good idea to tuck in and let her lead me.  Funny thing about this photo below, she had NO idea I was there.  None, whatsoever.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

I continued to follow Amy through miles 4-6, just as step or two behind her (I have absolutely NO idea how she didn’t feel me right there behind her… she was in her zone, and her music must have drowned out everything else!).  We made it up the long, gentle hill on Swope, and around to Brookside Blvd. With just under a quarter mile of sweet, sweet downhill left, I popped up next to Amy, and she yelled so loudly!  We ran step for step down to the finish line, and finished hand in hand, for the first time ever.

Photos courtesy KC Running Co.

Photos courtesy KC Running Co.

I PR’d by 4 minutes and 27 seconds, beating my PR that I earned 2 weeks ago at Dot to Dot 10k.  I beat my last year’s Plaza 10k time by 7 minutes and 31 seconds.  The official time was 1:03:00, and my goal of 62 minutes was missed by 60 seconds.  Could I have run 62 minutes, I think I could have,  My decision to tuck in with Amy and not truly push through the last 2 miles may have cost me a minute or so on my time, but the feeling of crossing the finish line with her was amazing, and likely won’t happen again for a while! I still remember when Mom and I crossed the finish line of a couple 5k’s together, and it’s really a special feeling.

Photo Sep 14, 7 31 49 PM

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I met up with a friend (great job Paul!) while Amy and I were receiving our medals, and shortly after, met up with some KC Running Co. Groupie friends.  We drank our celebratory chocolate milk, got our finish time slips, and had some photos taken.

Photo Sep 14, 7 34 59 PM

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A very scary, but amazing thing happened while we were chatting with friends.  A 10k finisher crossed the line and collapsed, and a few seconds later, CPR and chest compressions were being preformed by spectators and EMT’s.  Several minutes later, an ambulance and fire truck arrived, and he was taken away, while chest compressions were still being performed.  I later learned that he was stable at a nearby hospital, but I don’t know who he is, or precisely what happened.  If you could keep him and his family, and those who jumped in to care for him in your thoughts and prayers, I know it will help him continue to fight to be well again.

After everything settled down, we watched the Kids Run, talked with a few more friends, and made our way home.  Later, I was looking through last year’s 10k pictures, and made the collage below, comparing last year to this year.  I don’t generally post transformation pictures, because to me, it doesn’t seem like much has transformed, but looking at a 1 year span, I can see many things are different within myself, both inside and out.  I feel pride when looking at what has changed in the last year, and I also feel hope and joy for the journey that I am on.

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Next Sunday is the Broadway Bridge 10k, the final 10k of the 30k series.  My hope is that the weather is just as gorgeous as it was for the Plaza 10k.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull out a 3rd straight 10k PR, I guess all we can do is wait and see!