5k + Open Water Swim Report: Something Old, Something New

This past Saturday my husband and I ran in the Blue Star Salute Foundation 5k. It was the first part of an all-day celebration to honor our fallen military service members from Alabama, and each runner had the name of one of Alabama’s fallen heroes on their race bib. The event was nothing short of inspirational and life-affirming.Blue Star Salute 2014_2

As for the actual run–it felt strange trying to get my legs to engage in “race mode” rather than the slow and smooth approach I take with distance running.  By the end of mile 2 I was settling into my half marathon pace, and then I realized why I love (and miss) running a 5k–I was 0.1 miles from the finish. SPRINT!!

I couldn’t catch the 16-yr-old in front of me–he got a whiff that I was trying to pass and he turned on his magical-little-kid-turbo-thrusters–and I couldn’t close the 2-second gap.

I came in first for my age group and I was the 4th female to finish overall out of 295 runners. I wasn’t aiming to place, but it’s always nice to have a little nod for your efforts (or to see that you’re on the first page of the results board).

My husband, who’s a freaking animal, crossed the finish line (pushing our twins in the stroller) less than 2 minutes (1:19) after me. In proper race etiquette, we both started at the very back of the race with our stroller, which means a lot of dodging and making up for time on the race clock. If you’re interested, check out this outstanding video o f the event. You can catch me at 33 seconds starting in the back with our stroller, then running to the finish at 34 seconds, and my husband and son at 58 seconds.

Blue Star Salute 2014_4

Official Online Results: http://www.productionsbylittleredhen.com/resultsinfo_s.asp?raceid=bssf14 Blue Star Salute_11

Oh yeah… it would have been brilliant if I had stopped my watch after I crossed the finish line.

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On Sunday I faced one of my biggest fears–returning to something I used to be good at–swimming. That is, a 3-mile, open-water ocean swim. What can I say… I like to go big.3 mile bridge swim3-mile Bridge Swim

In college, I could swim a mile in 30-35 minutes (in a pool), so my estimated finish time (accounting for age, training, environment, etc.) was 2 hours, 30 minutes. I had planned to train, but in my own personal style, showed up on race morning for my first real swim in a decade with no preparation. I was counting on two things to carry me through: mental determination and muscle memory. Both worked in my favor and I swam the entire thing breaststroke and finished in 2:15:27, 7th for my age group.

My biggest pre-race fear: DROWNING. I even wrote a note to my kids, just in case something went terribly wrong. Instead, the swim felt incredibly easy. I took my time and didn’t fight the water, letting the rhythm of the chop guide my stroke. At times I would roll on my side and stare at the blue sky, feeling invigorated and truly alive. Needless to say, the salt water messed with my brain and this is just the beginning of my journey into open water swimming.

I did join my local US Master’s Swimming team this week. For the first time in years, I will finally have a coach and commit to practicing. I’m pretty excited and I can’t wait to get back in the water.

As always, thanks for reading!


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3 Mile Bridge Swim_4

Breakfast (3:30-4:00 am):

1 large banana

16 oz water with 1 GU Brew Electrolyte Drink Tablet, flavor Lemon Lime

8 oz. 1/2 water, 1/2 orange Gatorade

2 Extra Strength Tylenol (feeling feverish/both twins sick with vomiting, etc. the day before)

Back to bed until 5:20 am

Departing for Pensacola (5:45 am):

2 Succeed S-Caps

1 liter of water mixed with 1 Clif Shot Electrolyte Hydration Drink Mix, flavor Cranberry Razz — sipped on this until race start

One hour prior to race start (6:30 am):

2 GUChomps, flavor Peach Tea (2x caffeine)

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