Wednesday, October 8, 2008

2008 Twin Cities Marathon

by Maureen

The day did not start off well. As my family and I pulled out of our garage it began to rain. We stopped at Starbucks so my daughter and I could get our favorite drinks. I don’t normally drink coffee and only drink Caramel Macchiato occasionally but so many people talk about staying off coffee the week/month before a marathon I thought I’d try it to see if it’d give me an extra boost – anything for a better finishing time right? It began to really pour down rain while we were in Starbucks. I was beginning to dread running the marathon since the weather guys had all been saying the rain was probably going to hold off until the afternoon and here it was 6:30 a.m. and already raining like crazy.
The marathon began at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The backup of cars wasn’t too bad but I decided to get out of the car anyway and walk. It was good I did as the area where I got out was right in front of Gate C, the starting area for the marathon. I was supposed to meet my training group at 7:00 a.m. I went in and saw a bunch of the group standing around but wanted to go to the bathroom so headed to the closest one. My favorite part about starting off at the Metrodome is we could use regular bathrooms inside and not have to use port-a-potties. Of course, there was a very long line. I went downstairs instead and there was only one person in front of me at the downstairs bathroom. I had placed my bib on my shirt but decided to move it to my shorts as it seemed to make my shirt ride up and it was harder to get my shirt back in place with my bib on it. I was standing in front of the sink by the exit door to the restroom so I could check in the mirror that my number was visible on my shorts. All of a sudden someone sprinted in the exit door and into the stall straight ahead of the door. IT WAS A MAN!!! I couldn’t believe it. I looked around to double check that I was really in the women’s restroom. A minute or so later he sprinted out and two women standing at the door said, “Was that a man?” They had funny looks on their faces. I told them, “Yep, that was a man” and they said there was a very long line at the men’s restroom. Very odd since it’s always women’s restrooms with long lines. I then had to go all the way back outside to drop off my sweats bag. When I went back into the Metrodome my group had already left to go out to the start line. I tried to find them near the 4:30 pace group but couldn’t. I was disappointed I wasn’t able to start off with my group but hoped I’d run into some of them along the way.
The Twin Cities allows 11,000 people to register for the marathon and has two start Corrals. Corral 1 I think is for the sub-3 hour runners and everybody else is in Corral 2. When the start gun went off it took over 5 minutes for me to cross the start line. It was 48 degrees at the start and had stopped raining. I wore the tank top from my training group and a throw-away sweatshirt since it was so chilly. As we left the start line we were in the downtown area with office buildings and businesses along the course, so not very many spectators. I began to warm up quickly and decided to take off my sweatshirt. Just as I did I saw a couple and the man picked up a discarded shirt and was showing it to the woman. I tossed my shirt near him and kept running. I looked back and the man had picked up my shirt and had a big smile on his face. It was a really good sweatshirt but way too big for me, especially since I’ve lost a lot of weight with all this running. I hope he was able to use it. I kept on the running gloves I had picked up at the expo for free. I knew I’d be in trouble if my fingers got cold.
Not far past this point I could hear the bells of the Basilica of St. Mary ringing. This church is America’s first basilica, built in 1914, and as you can imagine, a huge, beautiful old church. The bells were very loud as I ran passed the church and there were a bunch of people in front of the church cheering for us. It was great the church had the bells ringing for all us runners.
Just past this area we turned left and there was a line of port-a-potties. It’s also a park and about 15 or so guys were using the bathroom at the edge of the park. Disgusting! I noticed as I came around the corner the police officer manning the corner had what looked like a video camera out and had it pointed toward the men. I hope they get fined for urinating in public. It’s absolutely disgusting they didn’t even bother to go up into the trees/bushes. Plus, they are at mile 1 – why didn’t they go at the Metrodome??!! Plus the port-a-potties didn’t even have that long of a line. This is the only thing that’s been bugging me about this race.
We are now at about mile 1. I’m lucky that my training group did the majority of our runs on the actual course so I was ready for the first hill coming up shortly. I knew it would be best to hold back and not push it. It was also very congested so it wouldn’t have done any good for me to try to weave in and out of people as I probably would have twisted my knee or something trying to get around everyone. I had made the decision to run/walk the first 2 miles to keep myself at a slow pace as we should do. It was still congested so I kept doing the run/walk for another half mile and then felt like I was okay to pick up the pace. Unfortunately, it was now also raining again. When we arrived at the first lake, Lake of the Isles, I jumped over onto the walking path with some other people to get out of the congestion. From Lake of the Isles we ran to Lake Calhoun. The wind had picked up by now with the rain and it was really blowing off the lake. We were now beginning to see a bunch of spectators. There were a small amount of spectators on the lake side of the street. A man running near me was yelling at the people thanking them for blocking the wind for us and yelling at the people on the opposite side to move over and help block the wind. He was hilarious. I love people like him joking around with the spectators.
After Lake Calhoun we went up a parkway with another hill and over to Lake Harriet. A man was warning people about a deep pot hole filled with water just ahead. I’d managed to avoid the deep puddles so far and was glad I heard him in time to avoid the pot hole. Unfortunately, just past him we turned left and this area is a slight uphill which meant all the water was flowing completely across the roadway and there was no way to avoid the water. I could feel my socks get really soaking wet. This was at about mile 6.5 and I just gave up trying to avoid the water now. I was lucky enough to know my husband was waiting for me at mile 14 with a dry pair of shoes and socks.
Just past mile 8 I stopped at a port-a-potty since the line was not very long. Just my luck though when I got to be the second person in line it took forever for the people to do there “stuff” and keep the line moving. This wasted time for me. I almost just got out of line but figured I might have the same problem at the next set of port-a-potties so just waited it out. While standing in line the rain was flowing off my hat.
I don’t remember exactly where along the course but I noticed as I was breathing white smoke was coming out of my mouth, it was that cold. I looked around and it was happening to other people too. Hard to miss with all the heavy breathers running along beside me.
I eventually made my way to Lake Nokomis, miles 11-13. Going across the bridge was a bit windy. Thank goodness it finally stopped raining. I’m sure I ran in the rain for about and hour and a half. When we got off the bridge there were once again a lot of spectators. I was in awe that so many people were standing out in the cold rain just to cheer for all of us.
I’m now getting close to mile 14 and there were even more spectators along this section. I began looking for the Milo donut/bakery shop since my husband and daughter were going to be just past this building. Thank goodness I knew where they were going to be or I’m sure I would have missed them among all the spectators. I stopped and they helped me get out of my soaking wet shoes and socks, dry my feet off, put Vaseline on to prevent blisters, and switch my timing chip to the dry pair of shoes. I had stuck a note to the dry shoes saying “chip” so I wouldn’t forget the timing chip. Wouldn’t that be awful if I’d forgotten my chip! This took at least 5 minutes but I think it was worth it as I didn’t get one blister. My husband had my favorite energy drink so I drank a bit of it and took my Ziploc bag of orange slices and ate them while running. I also took six mellowcreme pumpkins in a Ziploc bag that my husband folded over on my waistband so I’d have my sugar rush after mile 20. That worked well. Three of the pumpkins were on the inside and three were on the outside so it was balanced out and didn’t bounce as I ran -- something to think about if you don’t have pockets. I had Kleenex (bad allergies) and Gu in my one pocket and didn’t have room for the pumpkins.
Just past mile 15 we began running along the Mississippi River. There were people handing out bananas and I took one. There were not very many spectators along this part of the course but I couldn’t believe that I could hear the spectators on the OTHER SIDE of the River. Unbelievable, it’s a wide river. I got excited hearing spectators cheering on the other side. I made my way up and over the Franklin St. bridge (mile 19) and started down the other side of the river. As I came around the corner at the end of the bridge there was a big sign saying “Medtronics” – one of the big sponsors of the marathon – and once again a big group of spectators. Along this section the funny man who kept joking around with the spectators earlier in the race was running near me again. We ran close to the same pace for awhile and I enjoyed listening to all the funny things he had to say to the spectators.
I knew I was running a good pace but kept thinking about the fact that the “big hill” was just ahead at about mile 21. Finally I heard one of the people from my training group calling out my name. We ran together for a little while and she told me the group had actually started out behind me as they were just in front of the 4:45 pacer at the start line and I was lined up at the 4:30 pacer. At the next water stop she got ahead of me. We were getting close to the “big hill” I was dreading. Going up the hill she started walking and I caught up to her and told her I was thinking of all the things a previous coach of ours had taught us about running up hills and I told her I had the coach “in my head” getting me up the hill. She started running up the hill again and thanked me for helping her through it. It made me feel good to be able to help her.
Once you’re up the hill you round the corner and are at the University of St. Thomas and then finally on Summit Ave. THIS IS WHERE THE MARATHON REALLY STARTS. I was now at about mile 21 ½ along with thousands of spectators lining the street. Summit Ave. is a very long but gradual hill that seemed to take forever in training whenever I ran it. On race day there are so many spectators along Summit that it doesn’t even seem like the same street -- there are people the entire 5 miles to the finish line cheering for every single runner.
At mile 23 I felt like I had to try to speed up and kick it in to the finish line. It was really hard as I was getting tired and my legs were really feeling it. I knew if I kept up my pace though I’d be close to a 4:30 marathon and I was still in awe of that fact. I began my training hoping for a 4:45, so I was really motivated to keep going. My training buddy fell behind me just a little bit, but another person from my training group now caught up with me. That helped me to pick up the pace a little, but he got ahead of me.
Somewhere around mile 24 one of the three coaches from my training group and his group of friends were screaming out my name. It was so awesome to hear my name being yelled out over all the noise of the spectators! That put a little spring in my run.
I knew I was getting close to mile 25 which is where the Target tunnel is located. Target is a big sponsor of the marathon also. They have a tunnel you run through with music blaring. I knew once I got through the tunnel I’d be able to see the curve a little ways up, which meant I was almost to Cathedral Hill. You wouldn’t think the spectators could get any louder but I began to hear the spectators at the finish area and you can’t even see them yet!!!
Cathedral Hill is the downhill, FINAL portion of the course where you run past the massive Cathedral of St. Paul. As you come around the corner and see the Cathedral rise up in front of you, you know you’ve made it. As you come down the hill the spectators are so loud, you just can’t imagine how loud they are at this point. I found out later that night another one of my coaches was across from the Cathedral with a group of people including his brother taking pictures. He said they were yelling my name but I didn’t hear them. He says his brother got an awesome picture of me with the Cathedral in the background. I sure hope so and can’t wait for him to download the pictures. Another person from my regular run club also said he saw me at the Cathedral and I looked strong. I didn’t hear him yelling out to me either. Wow!
Now that I rounded the Cathedral the Finish Line is straight ahead, with people still lining the course, and you can see the State Capitol building just beyond the Finish Line. My husband and daughter were just before the Finish Line but once again I couldn’t hear them calling out my name it was so loud and I never saw them. My husband did get some pictures of me coming into the finish. I picked up my speed as best as I could and finished the marathon in 4:33:39. Not bad for someone who just got back into running two years ago.
At the Finish Line I was given my medal. Later when I looked at the medal it’s funny that it looks like a big rain drop after all the rain we had to run through. I was also given a warming blanket and a piece of tape to keep it closed so my hands would be free. I was glad to have the blanket as I knew I was going to start getting cold very quickly now that I was not running anymore. It was in the 50s when I finished. They had bottled water, delicious rolls from Great Harvest Bread Co., bananas, Land O Lakes chocolate milk, and believe it or not, hot soup – I got the chicken soup. I then had my chip removed and went over to have my picture taken with my medal. As we were leaving, a runner proposed to his girlfriend at the Finish Line as they crossed the finish. It was so romantic.
I can’t say enough about the awesome spectators at this race. THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people stood out in the cold rain and cheered for us. As I was coming into the finish I felt like an elite runner so many people were cheering. Every one of you should add this to your “soon to do” marathons so you can have as great a marathon as I had, even in the pouring down rain.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Great Eastern Endurance Run

By SuSu

Well, let’s just say I’m just on cloud nine over how well the race went on Saturday. I think back that at the end of May 2007, I weighed over 270 pounds and could barely walk, much less run. Now, less than a year and a half later, I’m 137 pounds lighter and just finished my first half-marathon trail race. But, not only finished, I won my age division, was the 6th female to cross the finish line and the 19th overall finisher (It was a small race – 85 signed up, 62 started the race, 56 finished). This journey has been one of growth, of transformation, and of empowering. What I knew in my head, I now believe in my heart that the human spirit has the potential to overcome any obstacle, and to achieve any goal, strengthened by God and the power of prayer, and the will and dedication to succeed.

Race Details: Friday, after picking up the popup camper (the electrical system needed repairing), my DD and I headed down to Sherando Lake. It was a rainy two hour drive. Once we got to the park, we found out that there were only 3 or 4 campsites left. Good thing we didn’t have any delays! We got the last site in the loop we wanted to camp in, set up and headed back into town for dinner. (Setting up the camper without DH is another story, but we got her done). Although I got to bed early, I couldn’t sleep. The rain was pounding on the camper roof, and I was having self doubts. Finally, 5 am arrived. It was cold and rainy and I couldn’t decided what to wear. I put on my rain pants, a sleeveless shirt and my rain jacket thinking I could peel layers before the race if I wanted. I also wore my knee pads and had on weight training gloves. I arrived at the race site at 5:55 am and watched the 100k and 50k racers take off in the dark. By race time it was still cold and rainy, so I left my layers on. That was probably a mistake but I hate being cold!

We took off down the park road and started to climb the hill. I felt pretty good, and was trying to hold myself back so I wouldn’t go out too fast. One fellow asked me how I felt and I said “I’m scared, it’s my first race!” He was very encouraging – more about him later. When we crested the hill, I saw that there were a good many runners ahead of me. I didn’t want to be caught behind someone going up the mountain, so I picked up the pace and passed several runners. Now we started the mountain climb. For as rainy as it was, the footing was actually pretty good. Unfortunately, my plan didn’t work and I was still behind someone going slower than I wanted. There was a group of 5 of us stuck behind the one person. The trail was really narrow and rocky and her pace was okay so I decided to hang back for a while. I figured it would keep me from expending too much energy too early. Now, I was hot. Since we were mostly “power hiking” I was able to take my jacket off and tie it around my waist. Finally, after 700-800 ft of climbing we crested the ridge and I was able to get around her and pick up the pace again. I was running pretty good, but I could tell I didn’t quite have my “chi” going. Then I fell, and shortly after, fell again. Good thing I had my knee pads and gloves. I decided to slow down and catch my equilibrium. At this point, several runners passed me and I was getting a little discouraged. “Run your own race,” I kept saying to myself. I got behind one runner and followed her along the ridge. There were several rocky climbs so it was a combination of running and hiking. There were moments where it was just me and the trail and I felt my rhythm returning.

The first aid station was at 5.7 miles. Some of the runners stopped, but I felt good and kept going. I had my sport beans, my electrolyte water and my pemmican so I was good to keep going. This allowed me to pass some of the runners who had passed me. The next phase of the race was down a trail that followed a water fall. It had some pretty steep descents and lots of twists and turns. Two women passed me and I followed them the best I could, but some of the descents were tricky. “Run your own race,” I kept telling myself again. After splashing through the creek where the waterfall crosses, we started to climb again. At this point I passed some runners, but those two women were still ahead of me. My “friend” caught up and passed me. “You’re doing great!” he said. Next aid station was at 7.7 miles. For me, it was the turning point.

I knew I could finish from there. One more climb and then it was downhill to the finish line. I grabbed a quick drink and kept going, leaving my friend at the rest area. After about half a mile down the trail once again went up the mountain. The first park was a rocky ditch and hard to run. Up ahead I could see the two women that had passed me. I pushed hard up the hill, running as much as I could (it was about a 600-700 ft climb). I passed one of the women and a few others. The leaders of the race were coming back down the trail and as they passed one of them step on a branch which broke and flew at me, nicking me in the face just below the eyeball. Whew that was close! My friend had joined me, but didn’t pass – he was content for me to lead the charge up the hill.

At the next rest stop (9.3 miles) again I just grabbed a drink and kept going. That meant I passed the other woman! For a while the trail went up and down, but I really picked up my pace and ran all of it. One of the 50k runners got behind me and I told him he could pass, but he said I was doing a good pace and he wanted to follow. Then everything clicked – we hit the last 3 miles and it was all downhill. I let myself free fall down the mountain. It was almost as if I was outside myself. The pace was fast and I knew one wrong move and I would tumble dangerously down the mountain, but I was in the zone and I knew it wouldn’t happen. It was me and the 50k runner and my friend behind him. After splashing through a few creeks and with about a mile to go the 50k runner took off to push toward the finish. We entered the campground and my friend encouraged me, told me how good I had done. Throughout the day, I had told him about my weight loss and what it had taken for me to get there and that I just wanted to finish. Finally he moved on ahead. I was tired but I knew I only had about ½ mile to go. As I entered the finish area I looked up and saw that I was just under 3:08! (My goal had been to finish in 3:30 - The first place female finished in 2:43) Then, while I was walking around, trying to loosen up my tired legs, my friend had gone to the race director and told her my weight loss story. She asked for my e-mail and they might put something about it on their website. A little while later she came back and told me I had won my age division. At that point, I was in shock. She smiled and said, “It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it.” Indeed it does.

After the race, I have a good idea of how I want to train, especially going into the fall and winter.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Copenhagen Marathon May 18th, 2008

Goal: Another under 5 hour marathon.

To sum it up: not the marathon I wanted. It had to be a combination of things that some were out of my control but still it was a disappointment

I left MSP on Thrusday and arrived in CPH on Friday afternoon and the marathon was on Sunday. I hydrated on the flight and had lots of bagels and bananas. I think I correctly fueled during the week but once in Denmark the fueling / food was different. Friday after arriving we also headed to the Expo. It was rather small but I got a few good tech shirts. I also tried to chat up the 5 hour pacer but she didn't speak English. That worried me. I rested Friday evening but couldn't sleep well during the night. On Saturday DH was visiting with friends. They decided to walk around and I reminded them I was running a marathon the next day and needed to rest my legs. No luck. We ended up walking around for 2 hours. Mistake of one of many. Saturday evening couldn't find a decent place to have my normal pasta dinner. I finally got to see my son in the first time in 2 weeks. I sure missed him. Again didn't sleep well at night. The bathrooms where shared for a whole floor in the hotel, which was odd and ruined my normal bathroom rountine.

Race day: I brought my normal oatmeal packets and some peanut butter to put on the bread. It just didn't fill me up like when I'm at home. Trying to get all family members ready and a 3 year old to the start line was more hassle. I still haden't had my normal action and that was worrysome. So I left without them and hooked up with an English runner walking to the start. I was rushed to get my bag checked and get back to the start line. I didn't have a chance to pee again. Standing with the 5 hour pacer I was nervous but my legs felt dead and not fresh. Not a good sign. During the whole race I was about 3 strides behind the pacer and that didn't feel comfortable and they were running some fast miles and I knew that was going to hurt me in the end. By mile 6 I just couldn't keep pace with the pacer and let them go. They weren't too far ahead of me. By mile 10 I couldn't see them anymore. I knew my paces and I knew I was still on pace. I hit the half way mark in 2:30, right on target if no slowing down but I knew I was going to. It felt forced all the way to the half. By mile 16 my legs where shot and had enough. This is where I mentally gave up and didn't care if I walked and sat down to fix my shoe. I just wanted to stop but I forged on. By this time there weren't many runners near by and the thought of I hope I'm not last kept crossing my mind. It's werid running in a different country to see the KM's keep getting bigger and bigger and having the spectators shout at you in Danish. I know Danish so that was helpful. My Garmin was measuring longer and that was frustrating. My DH came looking for me at the end and wasn't helpful at all. He wanted to know why I wasn't running and what was taking so long. I told him I didn't care and just wanted to stop walking. I told him I was walking until I could see the finish line and slightly run across it because I only had enough in my legs to do that. I saw the end but didn't care and made it across with an annoyed look on my face. Final time was 5:49:xx. Yeah, my second worst marathon time. The second half time was 3:20.

Note to add: I was also 8 weeks pregnant at the time. That would also explain the fatigue and why my long runs weren't going as great as they should have been. I can't be too disappointed because of all the factors but I still am.

Next: Continue to run throughout my pregnancy and then stay active. Targeting a half marathon maybe at 18 weeks. Not going for speed. Just for fun. The time limit is 3.5 so I think I could do it. Then once the baby is born get back into shape and work on my half marathon time. Once I can get a sub 2 hour half, I'll focus on another marathon. I have to take off about 6 mins.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Eat To Train!

I have been reading "Nutrition Periodization for Endurance Athletes" by Bob Seebohar. He is a Registered Dietician who works with Olympic Athletes among others.

He talked about how and what we eat. The thing he said that resonated with me was that we should eat to train, not train to eat. Having struggled with my weight for pretty much my whole life, I really did start running to be able to eat more.

Once I started racing, I discovered training and started working on being a better runner. Part of this progression is that I have had to look at my eating and hydration habits for more than just weight control.

To me, eating to train means that my choices of fuel and hydration and their consistency are the things that prepare me to run--the meal I eat the morning of my race, while it may help me is not the determining factor in my performance.

I've always said that running is a cummulative event--it is not a History final, you cannot cram for it. I hope I can continue to do prepare and not cram.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Easing back into it

Well, my pain / soreness in my left leg hamstring / knee is still there but it comes and goes. I saw my normal doctor in early March to get a referal to a good PT person but that didn't help. I was referred to a neurological doctor. All the tests came back negative with them. Of course it did because it is some sort of a muscle pull not related to the nerves. So in March I had two weeks completely off from running. One week was also due to the flu.

I have ran 5 runs since the time off and illness. Those runs weren't the best but slowly I felt my pace was coming back. The leg is kinda sore when I run but bareable. However, on April 3rd, after my run I stretched and foam rolled my leg and immediately after my leg was super painful to walk on. I have been icing it on and off and doing short walk breaks at work. That seems to help but I don't know if my leg can take running on it for the distance I need to get in.
If this marathon was anywhere but Copenhagen, Denmark I would cancel. I know my leg needs to heal from whatever is causing the pain and it won't go away with the continued increase in long run mileage. This is not how I wanted this race to go. I'm just hoping to get to the start line. I just know the feelings of running a marathon and I sometimes don't know if my leg will be able to handle the distance on race day. I am trying to stay positive but it's hard and every run I do the pain is there somewhat. It just doesn't feel like last fall's training for Columbus.

There is 43 days to go. I don't think I can afford anymore days off from running as my long run days haven't been long and they end with a big decrease in pace. Doing shorter runs feel fine but not %100 but anything over 9/10 miles isn't fun. I know it's not supposr to be fun but they don't feel like they should. I keep saying it's mostly mental. I do see myself crossing the finish line. So that's a plus. I'll keep at it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Down and Out! Injured

Well, it's been awhile since I last posted. Just as what I suspected Pfitz was too much for me to handle. Weekly mileage including the half marathon weekend: 36, 32, 35, 25, 28, 23, 0. Somewhere along the way I didn't listen to my body soon enough. I seem to be injured and the pain / soreness isn't going away. I have pain in my lower back right side and pain in my left leg the whole leg from the hip to the ankle. I saw my normal doctor and I have an apt with neurological doctor on the 17th. That's another week. She looked at my xray of my lower back and was concerned. I'm was just hoping for a referal to a good PT person. She thinks it may be a pinched nerve. I've looked that up but not all of it applies. The strange thing is that sort of pain always appears training for a Spring Marathon.

So I ran 1 mile to test out the level of pain or if it's just magnified in my mind, pace was good and that's about it. This isn't looking good. My back felt fine. It's mainly my left leg that is the issue. It's the hamstring that is still super tight but the soreness and pain is in the bending motion of the knee and the muscles and tendons of the upper calf. The knee felt fine it's just all the attachement to it like the hamstring and calf. It felt like there wasn't enough strenght to push off the ground to sustain all the pounding. Running uphill is where I slowed but straight way wasn't looking good either. I just don't get it. I'm 9 weeks out to the marathon. Argh!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Securian Frozen Winter Carnivel Half Marathon

I did it. Finished my 9th Half Marathon. I keep improving which is a great thing. However, as I become a better runner the improvement are smaller and smaller. I feel very improvement has to comes with tougher training. I used to improve with minimal training by 10 minutes but my last 3 half marathons were by 2 minutes. To shave off those 2 minutes each time is a killer. At this rate my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon is a ways off in the future.

Time: 2:06:34, ave pace 9:40. PR by almost 2 minutes.
Field size: 1007 out of 1208.
Spilts: 8:35, 9:03, 9:13, 9:18, 9:44 (hill), 9:26, 9:25, 9:22, 9:20, 9:48 (hill), 9:53, 9:50, 10:24
To work on: pacing. First 2 miles too fast, thus the graudal slow down towards the end. The last 3 miles were killer. My legs were shot and they felt like dead weight. They didn't seem that fast but gosh be golly they were.

I just don't understand how some runners are just naturally faster and I have to work for everything that comes to me. I'll work hard for the improvements but I wished I didn't have to. Why do I strive for something that I'll never be able to reach; which is a faster runner. I just need to be happy with the results but there will always be something to complain about. I think that is what is wrong with being a competitive person with myself. In the end no matter the outcome I'll never be satisfied. I can never be one of those carefree runners. I will always need to run with my watch to know the miles and the pace. I think being so caught up in that I'm sometimes missing the point. Sometimes the sport of running is so frustrating. But other times it's the greatest feeling in the world. It's hard to mesh those two feelings together. I think once put altogether a PR could be made that I'm proud of.