The last week of August ended the Moms on the Run (MOTR) 2017 Spring/Summer season. The final week of the 18 week season always includes a practice 5k, a banquet, and the season-end 5k/10k.
This season was a little different from last year for a few different reasons. First, the location I was at had the learn to run option and a V02 max option; the V02 max option consisted of speed work to basically increase how much oxygen the body can utilize during exercise. You can read a bit more about V02 max here. The other major reason this season was different for me was the fact that I was marathon training for the first half of the season. Due to the marathon training, I bounced between the V02 max and learn to run group to vary my intensity. I found that I was more sore after the speed work than I’d been from running in a LONG time; therefore, varying the intensity helped me ease that soreness and stay healthy.
As a result of the combination of those long, slow miles from marathon training and the speed work, I found my short distance speeds increased. As I mentioned in my City of Trails post, I PR’d my 5k, effectively crushing a PR that had stood since my very first year of running (2011). Since then, I’ve been able to hit sub-11:00 paces pretty consistently at the 5k, which is fast for me. Also, I’m better able to determine my pace based on feel; it’s become a fun game to guess my pace, and then confirm with my watch. I find that I’m more accurate than I was prior to this year. Lastly, I can feel a huge difference in my leg muscle mass, even though it isn’t very visible other than in my calves. All around, I’m really happy with my accomplishments from this season.
The accomplishments from the season are the reason for the banquet; it gives us an opportunity to ditch the running clothes and celebrate our accomplishments together. It’s pretty special when a group of 400+ women get together to celebrate themselves and each other. The keynote speaker was Olympic runner Carrie Tollefson. It was a fun night.
I wore a dark teal dress that I instantly feel in love with the second I spotted it at the store. I felt glamorous and comfortable in it. It never hurts when you receive several compliments, including ones from women you’ve never met before!
The season finished out with the 5k/10k at Lake Elmo Park Reserve, which is the same location from last year. I arrived early to help with some setup items, and ended up helping staff the merchandise table. As a MOTR Ambassador, part of my commitment is volunteering at events; as you probably already know from reading previous posts, I LOVE volunteering, so this is an easy one for me.
Last year I ran the 10k, but chose to run the 5k this year. I’ve put in a lot of miles and wanted to be able to take it easy and have more time to cheer others on and chat with friends, along with volunteering, so it was an easy choice for me.
The night before the race, I *may* have stayed up too late while drinking wine with Nate. Therefore, I didn’t have big expectations for the race. But, I lined up in the 11:30-12:00 pace corral and told myself to just enjoy the scenery and get the distance done.
Once I started running, it felt hard. I looked once at my watch a few minute in and realized it hadn’t started when I hit the button, so I chose not to look at my watch again. I rarely run with music, so I again went without it and just reflected on my running journey instead. It still amazes me when I think about what I’ve accomplished and the memories and friends I’ve gained from this craziness! I also chatted with, gave high fives to, and encouraged other runners along the course.
The time felt like it passed quickly. As I neared the finish line, the course was sprinkled with MOTR coaches and participants, who were shouting out encouragement, giving high fives and cheering. I picked up the speed and sprinted across the line. Because my watch hadn’t started, I really didn’t know my time, though one of my friends told me I was under 35 minutes. Not bad, I thought, considering I hadn’t slept much and had fueled with wine.
I was shocked when I got home and saw the posted results. My finishing time was 33:30, a 10:47 pace! While it wasn’t a PR, it was MUCH better than I expected for that particular day. Clearly, my training was effective this year.
After cheering on friends still finishing, and some of the little ones in the kids races, I headed back to the merchandise table to help out and buy the shirt I’d had my eye on. As the day wrapped up, I helped pack up shirts and then headed home, where I spent the remainder of the day relaxing.
It was a fantastic weekend, a successful season, and has been an awesome running year so far. With just over three months left of this year, I have already more than doubled my previous highest annual running mileage, run my first marathon, and PR’d my 5k.
Next up is my second Ragnar Trail Northwoods and I can’t wait to spend the weekend with another group of my awesome running friends.
What has been the highlight of your year?
If you’re a runner, tell me about your favorite race from this year!