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Richmond Marathon Training: Week 6 – Green Mile Outreach 5K WINNER

Posted Aug 20 2013 3:16pm

Spoiler alert: I had a really tough running week and then I ran the Green Mile Outreach 5K and PR’d and also won my age group and came in second woman overall .


I’ll recap this race in detail, but first, here’s how my training was last week:



Week 5: August 12– August 18

  • Monday – OFF
  • Tuesday – 15 min w.u., 8 x 400m {was supposed to be at 10K pace but I forgot that part and basically sprinted the 400s and wanted to die} with 90 secs rest, 15 min c.d. (5.5 mi)
  • Wednesday – 55 mins easy (5.4 mi) + 13.42 mi bike ride
  • Thursday – OFF (sports massage)
  • Friday – 40 mins easy (4ish mi)
  • Saturday – 35 mins (3.1 mi)
  • Sunday – 12.5 miles = 4 miles + 5K race (24:20) + 5.5 miles (2:05 total running)

Total miles: 30.5

It was a really tough week of training. After the difficult time I had at the Falmouth Road Race , I was concerned about my overall health and my ability to continue marathon training. I ran twice more at the Cape that week — my interval run where I stupidly forgot the “10K pace” aspect of it and basically sprinted for 8 rounds of 400m and thought I was going to die. My rib was not happy. I also did a 55 minute “easy” run which felt really challenging.

Then Andy and I went bike riding for an hour. Afterwards, my neck exploded.

Something about cycling clearly aggravates my neck. I wonder if my indoor cycling instructing career is permanently over.

I canceled Refine for the following day and booked a sports massage with my genius healer. She made my neck feel so much better and she cured my calf injury . I haven’t felt any leg pain since and it is really nice to stop accusing my self of being dumb.

I did my short runs on Friday and Saturday slow and easy. My rib didn’t hurt much during my run on Friday, but I felt it afterwards. I wasn’t sure if I should skip Saturday’s run or not — I wanted to be at my best for the 5K on Sunday, and I wanted to be able to complete my long run — but the weather was gorgeous and I decided I’d go very slowly and if I felt ANY pain at all I would stop. I also decided to skip the 4×100 meter strides at the end of the run. I didn’t want to do anything that would aggravate my rib.

I didn’t feel pain, which was amazing, but it did feel precarious. It was a weird sensation where I felt just on the edge of pain, and I worried that if I sped up at all it would have hurt. I decided there was no way I could PR the 5K on Sunday and I was fine with that.

I figured Miranda and I could still place and I wouldn’t have to PR to get there. I was still hoping to magically keep up with her, but I would be totally fine if I didn’t given my situation.

Now, onto the good stuff:

Green Mile Outreach 5K Race Recap

As I mentioned, I didn’t expect to PR. I registered for this race hoping to, but then my entire body became injured and I decided to just run the strongest race I can. And because it was a really small race (174 participants), I hoped I could place. We checked the results from the year before and felt confident about our abilities to be among the top finishers. And I needed to stop bragging about placing second in my age group at the last small 5K I ran in Liberty State Park. It was over a year ago!

I recruited my new Jersey City running buddy Miranda to join me. She’s faster than me and I hoped she could pace me. Plus, it’s always more fun to run with a friend. (Also, thanks to the Twitters and Ashley Runningbun ‘s retweet of me for connecting us).

Originally, my training plain said to run 12-14 miles that day but after I told my coach about the 5K, she changed it. Instead, I could do the race + 6-8 miles if I felt up to it.

I know that Steph is my elite coach and if she isn’t worried about where I am, then I shouldn’t be. She knows better than me and that is why I pay her the big bucks/ But I feel like I’m behind in my training and I decided I’d go for 12 if I felt OK. If not, no big deal.

Before the 5K, I ran 4 easy miles. My rib felt fine and I was relieved, but worried it would act up during the race. Miranda and I picked up our bibs and stood at the start line — on the ACTUAL start line, small races FTW!

I wanted Miranda to pace me because my big mistake at that last 5K I did was starting out way too fast (6:53 mi that day, ummmm…) and suffering through the rest. I always wondered if I could have performed even better if I held back in the beginning.

Unfortunately, I still don’t know.

Mile 1: 7:13

I didn’t mean to do that. I had grand plans of holding a 7:50-8:00 pace the first two miles, then breaking free and running a strong, fast final mile.

dori and miranda

Me and Miranda during the first mile. NICE CITY VIEW. Next four photos courtesy of Green Mile Outreach Facebook page .

While I’m really happy with my Nike+ GPS Sportwatch (I get faster and more accurate GPS than my Garmin-wearing friends), it lacks a few features I’d really like to use:

  1. The ability to change interval parameters from the watch
  2. The ability to program a warm-up and cool-down into an interval run
  3. A virtual training partner

If I had a virtual training partner, I would have had my watch alert me if I was going too fast. It’s just so HARD to hold back when you’re at the front of the race!

Miranda and I realized our error and tried to slow down. “I’m definitely not going to PR,” I told her. She turned her head to look back and said, “We are the leading women by far.”

dori and miranda 2


I should also mention that I put contact paper over the face of my watch. I didn’t want to constantly look down and bemoan how many tenths of miles I had left. I didn’t wear my watch when I PR’d at the Richmond Half Marathon and it was so freeing. I don’t plan on using it during the marathon. And I just read this Runner’s World article about how our technology can hold us back and our bodies know how to pace ourselves for any given distance.

I didn’t want to think about my pace or my abilities. I wanted to run as strong a race as I could without overthinking.

At the same time, I needed my watch for the long run so I couldn’t just leave it at home. And since I had it, I might as well use it! Covering the face seemed like the best option.

When the first mile beeped I did take a peek to see the pace. When I called out to Miranda (who knew not to tell me any data she saw on her own watch) to say “I PEEKED!”, she was already too far ahead of me to hear.

Good for her! And I was on my own. My goal was to keep her in my sight for the rest of the race.

Soon after, a man ran up to me and said, “Nice pace.” Then he asked if we passed the 1-mile point and I didn’t want to be rude so I engaged him in conversation, all the while thinking “DOES HE UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH I AM SUFFERING RIGHT NOW?” He ran ahead after a minute, and I was glad for that!

My neck exploded again. The spasm went from the top of my shoulder up the entire side of my neck. It was really intense, and I pushed through the pain.

Right before the halfway turnaround, the new Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop passed me. He is an Ironman.

What up, Mayor! Can you please fix the traffic lights so they SOMETIMES let people walk?

What up, Mayor! Can you please fix the traffic lights so they SOMETIMES let people walk?

I had some water at the turnaround and continued on my way.

Mile 2: 8:06.

I felt like crap. I wanted to be done. I remembered how miserable 5Ks are.

They are the worst. RUNNING IS SO HARD.

Running alongside Lady Liberty

Running alongside Lady Liberty

I knew I wasn’t achieving my goal of negative splits or a super strong, fast finish, but I figured I could maybe speed up a little for this last mile.


That ended up being my slowest mile. By this point I was just keeping my eyes straight ahead for signs the finish line was close. I saw Miranda but there was no way I was getting anywhere near her. I was just happy I kept her in my line of vision the entire time. I kept pushing through.

As I approached the finish, I saw Andy and Larry waving at me and I smiled. That gave me the boost I needed to pick up the pace in those last seconds.

Almost done!

Almost there! I felt the WORST but I saw Andy and our pup. That made me smile.

Mile 3: 8:21

Final .1:  6:45

And then I was DONE!

dori crosses finish

PR! Also, shirt, shorts & shoes found in my Favorite Running Gear post.

As soon as I crossed Miranda came up to me and said “We are first and second women!”

I couldn’t even care for that first few seconds; I was so relieved to be finished.

And to reunite with my puppy.

dori and larry

My #1 spectator

I’m not sure when I realized I PR’d. It might have been as I crossed the finish line or even a little before, but I knew it for certain when I stopped my watch.

I have two official times on the site, 24:19 and 24:20. That is a 7- or 8-second PR, and I am thrilled!

5k leaderboard

dori certificate

After the 5K Miranda and I ran a mile and then went to the awards ceremony to receive our awards. Last time I placed, I left because I didn’t expect to win anything. This time, I did. Except that they only awarded first place — and since Miranda and I are in the same age group and she won women’s overall, I got to win our age group.

Awards for everyone!

dori accepting prize

Accepting my award


Age group winners

Age group winners

I got a certificate and Miranda won a plaque!

dori and miranda with prizes


After we got out awards, we ran another 4.5 miles and by the end I was struggling to breathe. But I finished my longest training run this year — a total of 12.5 miles — and I feel ready to tackle even longer distances in the coming weeks.

I know that many of you reading can and have run faster 5Ks than me. I’m not (that) dumb. I don’t think I’m some amazingly talented runner. But a small local race is an amazing way for a middle-of-the-packer like myself to get a major confidence boost! I highly recommend it. I feel awesome and I love being able to tell people, when they asked how my weekend was, that I won a race. And I have been saying that. A lot.

I also think that in better circumstances (no injuries) and more training, I could break 24. That is my next 5K goal.

Not only did this race boost my confidence for the day, it boosted my confidence about the entire marathon. I kept wishing I was in the same running shape as last year, and then I beat last year’s time. My rib didn’t kill me, I don’t think my injury is too serious and I do think I can get completely past it if I am smart about the rest of my training. Not only will I take my easy runs easy, I will ice and rest as needed.

Have you ever placed at a race? Do you use small local races to help you feel better about yourself? Has your mayor ever passed you in a race? I NEED ANSWERS.

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