The October Run Down

Hello November! October was quite a good month, in terms of running! I finished the month with 105 miles, which ties March’s total for the most miles in a month this year.  Catch up with my previous months’ recaps here:January, FebruaryMarch, AprilMay, June, JulyAugust, and September.

With 105 miles for October, my yearly total is now 861 miles! I am right on track to crush my long time goal of reaching 1000 miles in a year! I will have to average 70 miles for November and December to get to that magical 1000 number.

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October started out with an amazing 10 miler in Hays, with Chris and Momma.  We were in Hays for Oktoberfest, and had a very chilly, great feeling 10 miler to start off our weekend and the month.  Sunday morning I ran another 5 miles with Mom.  I cherish our runs together becuase they don’t happen as often as they used to.

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I had 1 race in October, the KC Half.  This was my third year running the half marathon, and it was my slowest time due to several struggles I had.  Chris ran his very first half marathon and CRUSHED it!  My full race recap is here.

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I only ran with the KC Running Co. Groupies once, but got in lots of great solo runs and lots of great runs with Chris.  I also only made it to a cycle class once in October.  I need to get back to regularly going to cycle, it is such great cross training.

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My longest solo run was 9 miles, on Oct. 29.  I had a 10 miler with Chris on Oct. 1, and I also had two 7 milers thrown in during October, along with the half marathon.  I have definitely gained some endurance over the last few months, by slowing my runs down and going for longer, slower distances.  Because of the slow down, I have also been enjoying my runs more.

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Looking forward to November, I have 1 half marathon planned, the Longview Half Marathon at Longview Lake in Lee’s Summit.  This will be the third year for this race (I think), but my first year running it.  Other than that race, I plan to keep working on my endurance, time on my feet, and feeling stronger in my runs.

October Run-Down:
Running: 21 runs, totaling 105 miles.
Cycling: 1 cycle class, 30 minutes, totaling 7.5 miles
Longest Run: 10 miles, October 1st, in Hays.
Races: KC Half Marathon

Prepping for a Race

I have three half marathons coming up in the next three months.  I’m no expert on racing, not by a long shot, nor am I an expert on how to prepare for a race, but I do have some tips that have helped me prepare for the best of my ability, to perform the best I am able, on race day.  I’d like to share some of my race prep tips, and I’d love to hear any you have, too!

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3-4 weeks before the race:

Have your race outfit(s) ready to go.  Make sure you’ve worn them for test runs that are similar to race day conditions.  Definitely don’t go into the race wearing something you’ve never worn before!  It’s always best to have a “dress rehearsal,” if you will, run a long run, or a race-paced training run in the clothes you plan on wearing for race day.  Make sure you don’t randomly chafe or blister; make sure your shirt doesn’t ride up, or your pants slip around and feel uncomfortable.  There should be no surprises on race day.

Also, have your nutrition planned out; especially if you’re going to be taking fuel during the race.  Every long run, try out your pre-race nutrition, so that your stomach isn’t surprised by something weird.  For me, I can’t eat nuts/peanut butter before a race, and I also can’t drink a ton of water beforehand.  Knowing this helps me prep for my pre-race meal, to avoid extra bathroom stops or cramps during the race.

The week leading up to the race:

HYDRATE!  During the week before the race, I drink extra water to help me be as hydrated as possible going into race day.  As I said earlier, I can’t drink loads of water on race morning, so I make sure my body is properly hydrated before race day.  Also, eat good meals.  I struggle with my diet on a day to day basis, but during the week of a race, I really try to focus on getting good, solid, nutritious meals.

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Taper, if you’re running a long race, or a hard, fast race.  I feel my legs are freshest if I run 2-3 times at a slow, easy pace, the week leading up to a half marathon.  For a race shorter than a half marathon, I don’t really need to taper off, but taking an extra day off can help my legs feel fresher for race day.  I also try to wear my compression sleeves a couple times during the week leading up to race day, which just make my calves feel super happy.

1-2 days before the race:

Lay out your race day outfit.  Make sure you have everything you need BEFORE race morning! I lay out my clothes in “flat Renee,” pin my bib on my shirt, lay out the exact outfit I’m wearing, including shoes, nutrition, socks, underwear, visor…  Have it all out, that way you can see what you have before race day.

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Make sure your watch is charged, music is synced, headphones are working, etc.  I don’t listen to music, so I don’t need the music/headphones, but I do make sure my watch is fully synced and updated, and that if there is a timing chip, it’s on my shoes, ready to go.  No need to worry about electronics on race morning.

Get good sleep.  For lots of huge races, it’s difficult to sleep well the night before a race.  By making sure you sleep well the week leading up to the race, especially a few days before the race, your body is just that much more rested.

Pack a bag of supplies for race morning/post race.  After a half marathon, all I want to do is change into dry, clean clothes, and put on sandals.  I also just want to sit/lay down, but sometimes I can’t do that, so having fresh clothes and something comfortable other than running shoes makes things feel better until I’m able to shower and lay with my legs up a wall.  I recommend having a change of clothing, sandals or some kind of comfortable footwear, deodorant, face/body wipes, and a snack that you know your body can handle.  You never know what, or if, the race is handing out after you’re finished, so you want to make sure you have something to snack on if you’re in need.

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Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com from the KC Half Marathon.

Race morning:

Get up, eat your meal 1 1/2 to 2 hours before the race (or earlier/later, depending on what your body can handle), get dressed in your clothes that are already laid out, grab your supplies, and head to the race!

No stress on race day, and nothing new on race day.  That’s the best advice I can give.  Plan as much as you can before the race to put as little stress on your mind/body as possible.  And don’t ever do anything new on race day, everything you do, from eating to clothing to pre-race warmup should all be routine and normal.  Don’t do sprints or calisthenics if you see someone doing them, if you’re not used to doing them race morning.  Don’t eat/drink something just because the person standing next to you is; your schedule/plan is not based on theirs!

Best of all, HAVE FUN and ENJOY the race!  Best of luck to all those racing this weekend, or coming up soon.  If you have any other pre-race tips, please share!

Dot to Dot 10k Race Recap

The Dot to Dot 10k, which is the first race of the Heartland 30k series, is over and done, and I’m here to tell you all about it.  Friday, I picked up my packet at KC Running Co, which also included the shirt for the 30k series.  It rained about the time I was going to bed, so I was anxious to see what kind of weather we would have for race morning.  The weather ended up being cool for the race, but muggy and damp too.

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Amy and I got to the race, which was at Corporate Woods, about 35 minutes before the 7:30am race start.  We had plenty of time to check out the port-o-potties and walk around before the race started.  We met up with Mark and made our way to the corral about 10 minutes before the race started.

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I didn’t really know much about this race before signing up for the series, or even before race morning.  The race is to benefit pediatric brain tumor research.  The race directors said a few words about Paulina Cooper, who is the little girl the race was named for, which was touching, and a nice touch to inform people, like me, who didn’t really know much about why the race is here, and what it’s all about.  So many times you just sign up to race for the medal, the chance to race and PR, etc, and don’t really think about the charity it is sponsoring, so it was really nice to learn a little something about it.

Information from dottodotrun.org

Information from dottodotrun.org

The race itself was a 5k and 10k, with the 10k looping around the 5k course twice.  Personally, I don’t really like looped courses, because it sure is hard to make yourself run around again after you’ve seen the finish line!  It was nice to see all the 5k runners with the 10k runners, as we all started at the same time.  The damp, cool, muggy weather was not completely ideal, but I was very happy that it wasn’t a typical August hot and humid morning.

I walked more than I should have (which is NONE!)… but overall, I managed a 2+ minute PR on my 10k time.  I think I let the looped course get to me, and I’ve also had some weird back tightness, which did bother me during the race as well.  With 2 more 10k’s to go in this series, I have my fingers crossed that I can maybe knock another minute or two off my time!

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Photo courtesy of Run and Shoot Freelance Collective and KC Running Co.

Met back up with Amy after the race for our traditional finish line photo.  We also drank some chocolate milk, and had a few bites of bagel.  There was a spread of food after the race, which was a bit surprising because it wasn’t a huge race.  Post race grub included pizza, bagels, bananas, oranges, chocolate milk, water, and strawberry banana smoothie samples.

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My chiropractor will be happy to know that Amy and I came back to my house and foam rolled after the race.  Bonus points, Dr. Shabel?  I put my medal up, and put my bib in my bib book.  Overall, I’m pleased with the race, it was very well run, the volunteers were great, and I’m now 1/3 done with the Heartland 30k series!

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Up next, the Plaza 10k in 2 weeks, and then the Broadway Bridge 10k in 3 weeks!