Running: It's actually more expensive than therapy
You know the feeling after watching an inspirational documentary? It's a pretty powerful, isn't it? My obsession with running and racing led me to "The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young." It's a documentary on Netflix and follows the 2012 Barkley race while giving great insight into the background and history of it.
If you aren't familiar with the Barkley Marathon, it is an approximate 100-mile trail race in Tennessee consisting of 5 loops with a 60-hour time limit. What exactly makes this race so challenging? Everything about it is a challenge.
1. The registration- The Barkley is limited to 40 runners per year and finding out how to apply is an accomplishment itself. Entry details are not advertised publicly, and you can't find this information on the internet either. You must find a way to get in touch with the race director Gary "Lazarus Lake" Cantrell (probably from a previous applicant I'm guessing) then write an essay on "Why I Should be Allowed to Run in the Barkley", and pay a $1.60 application fee (yes that's right one dollar and 60 cents).
2. Bib #1- Bib 1 is always reserved for "the human sacrifice" as Cantrell calls it. This person is the least likely to finish even one lap of the race out of all the applicants, and he's usually right about that.
3. There are none of the usual ultra aid stations. Just a few jugs of water and of course the runner's cars after completion of a full loop.
4. The race started in 1986, and as of 2017, the entire race has only been completed 18 times by 15 different runners. Most participants don't finish.
Trust me there are more reasons why this race is so challenging. The documentary is incredible! I recommend it to anyone runner or not you should check it out. It inspired me for my 4.25-mile trail run I have coming up haha.
I love purchasing items that make running and working out more enjoyable. Here are some recent finds of non-essential but helpful items that I want to share.
Memory Foam Inserts
I run with memory foam shoes because of nagging shin splints that never seem to go away. With as many miles as I put on, I find myself having to change shoes every couple of months because the memory foam wears out. The shoes are otherwise in decent shape, so it seems like a waste. Well, I recently discovered memory foam insoles sold by themselves. You just replace them with the old, worn out ones and you're all set for more miles. They range from $10-25 on Amazon or Walmart. I don't know why I never thought of this before.
Treadmill Trails App
This app is the coolest! While most gym treadmills have this technology, mine, unfortunately, do not. With this app, you can download several great running trails to use during a treadmill run. I set up my phone, and it feels like I'm there. Examples include Hawaii beaches, Central Park, and an Italian Castle trail to name a few. The app itself is free, and new trails are 99 cents to add to your collection.
This technology is nowhere near new but new to me. I find coffee and any other hot drink disgusting and cold tea never seems to have enough caffeine. That's why this water is perfect especially race morning when the last thing I want to do is try to force down an acidic drink like tea. It's regular water with electrolytes and caffeine infused in it. How great is that! You can find these at the grocery store or Amazon and range in price and caffeine content.
Do you ever feel like you're going to die of boredom from running on the treadmill? Treadmills (aka deadmills) get a lot of criticism from many runners for being monotonous and dull. Don't worry I used to be like too until I joined the gym last winter to avoid the outside when it's cold and dark. I soon realized the many benefits to the treadmill and would like to share.
Of course, it's best to combine a mix of outdoor and indoor workouts. The treadmill can be a great tool to add to your practice.
Saturday 8/12/17 was the Runningal Memorial Red Solo Cup 4k race in Port Orange, FL.
In my previous post, I mentioned how last year this was my first race ever. It will always hold a special place in my heart as one of my favorites. I ran this 4k in 18:46 last year with an average pace of 7:34/mile. I remember being pretty satisfied with that.
Last week was a successful training week I felt good about where I was physically and mentally in my preparation. I ran a couple of treadmill runs at a 6:53 pace for 3 miles, so I felt comfortable in setting a goal time for under 17 minutes (which would be around a 6:51 average mile pace for a 4k run).
I opted for early packet pickup since it was close to my house and meant I wouldn't have to leave super early because this event was quite large with around 350 finishers. The weather was supposed to be hot and humid (that's why there aren't many August races in Florida) but it was overcast and pleasant.
Mile 1 6:37
My watch is usually a couple of seconds off from the official pace for some reason. Maybe I start it too early or don't stop it soon enough. These speeds come from my watch so they might be off by a little bit. The starting line was a narrow one this time, and there was a bunch of grass behind it which I didn't want to get stuck in even though it was a chip start race. We ran around the Pavillion shopping plaza, so there were many turns which can be tough, but everything was marked very well it wasn't a problem at all. I felt pretty confident about my first mile for the most part.
Mile 2 6:55
I realize I probably should practice negative splits because it's something I can never accomplish in the heat of a race. After mile one was over, I started to feel fatigue and struggled to maintain my pace. I tried my best to focus and stride. It wasn't a terrible mile just not my best. The course was pleasant too. It was nice to see the side of the shopping center I don't normally get to see.
Mile .48 6:45
After my watch beeped signifying the end of mile 2 I knew it was time to speed up. I don't remember much from this point except seeing the finish line and trying to give it everything I had. At this moment I was notably pleased it was only a 4k. I saw the finisher clock creep up on 17 minutes so I raced to achieve my goal. My official chip time was 16:59 so I did it! I felt especially proud of myself for meeting this particular goal and overall having a great race.
The Swag/Final Thoughts
I love when races give finisher medals, and these were fabulous. The t shirt was high quality, and the awards were these lovely red solo cups. The race was so organized and put together so well. The directors and volunteers did a fantastic job, and I look forward to hopefully seeing this race again next year! Now it's time to train for three weeks and hopefully have a better pace at my next race.
Overall: 10th of 347
2nd Place Female
One year ago this weekend will mark the one year anniversary of my first competitive race. I grew up an athlete and missed having a sport. I had always been a runner at heart (well it was mostly just for fun, and I never knew my pace or wanted to). I decided about nine months earlier that I would run in a local race because it just seemed like a fun challenge. I didn't know going into it if this was a one time deal or not. I didn't even know how racing worked so all I could do what keep an open mind. I trained almost every day for it starting with a 10 minute/mile pace for a 5k gradually getting to under 8 minutes where I felt comfortable enough to compete.
I'll be the first to admit I had no idea what I was doing. I knew nothing of negative splits or even simple pacing strategies. I remember all the thoughts going through my mind the first race. "Did I start off too fast, I bet I did." "Do I have enough energy to finish with a strong last mile" and of course "why isn't this over yet it feels like we've been running for hours."
After what seemed like forever, I completed my first race and got a sweet finisher's medal as a reward. To my surprise, I won an overall female award also which was quite the honor. After this race, I was hooked and knew running would be my next project. My 5k times around this point were slightly under 24 minutes, and I was okay with at the moment but surely wanted to improve with practice. It's crazy to see how far I've come since then from everything to my pacing strategies, my workouts, and my overall running times. It's been quite the year racing, and I look forward to what the future holds with running.