Monday, February 22, 2016

Los Angeles Firecracker Run 5k - 2016

EVENT: Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 5K
DATE: Sunday, February 21, 2016
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
RACE BEGAN: 08:00 am
FINISH TIME: 0:25:08

For the fifth year in a row, I participated in the LA Chinatown Firecracker Run.  It has become a yearly tradition/goal for me to participate in this event.  You can see all of my previous medals in last year's recap.  Since there are 12 animals in the zodiac, I guess I still have seven of these races to do, but luckily, it's always a good time.

Speaking of good times, I did pretty well in this particular 5k.  This race kind of snuck up on me, as I've totally fallen out of the groove of racing.  Since I had Baby Tuesday, I walked this 5k last year and ran one in July that took nearly 28 minutes, which I was already happy about.

Between November and mid-January, I barely ran at all.  I was burnt out from running quite a bit in August and September... though by quite a bit I mean up to 5 miles at a time, maybe 12 ish miles a week.  After that period, I could probably count the miles I did in those three-ish months on less than one hand.  Then, I randomly felt inspired to run again after randomly getting myself out there one morning and actually enjoying myself.  I decided that I'd try to at least hit 366 miles this year to average a mile a day.  Since I started in mid-January, I had to catch up, but I did -- in runs ranging from 1-4 miles.


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Selfies with a toddler don't quite work out.  He
was busy playing with a coin-operated car.
There was some confusion on my part about whether I had signed up for the 5k or 10k.  I recall they were the same price at the time that I registered, and the confirmation e-mail did not seem differentiate the events.  But somewhere in my sleep-deprived mind, I thought I might have signed up for the 10k, so I was kind of nervous leading up to the race because I have yet to cover that distance in recent times, let alone up and up hills.  Yikes!  A few days before the race, I also caught a cold to boot.

Sunday morning, "The Ukrainian" and I took Tuesday in our jogging stroller and picked up our packets.  This is when I found out I had elected to run the 5k, and a part of me was disappointed.  With wrangling a toddler, though, I didn't have much time to think about this before the race started, so a minute before the start, I snuck away and got into the corral.  The start was slow and messy, and there was so much bottleneck the first mile or so.  I knew I had to spare "The Ukrainian" the pain of dealing with such crowds and hills with a stroller, so I was trying to make it back as soon as I could before the 10k would start a half hour after the 5k.

I mentioned last year that I noticed a course change from past years, though those differences didn't become that evident until I was running for time.  The 5k and 10k courses were merged, so both made a steep climb and climb up before a brief downhill where the 5k runners would turn around.  Luckily, my neighborhood is pretty hilly, so I managed to navigate when people would suddenly just stop entirely or things got narrow.

The flat ending stretch after the downhill was tough, but I was trying to pace myself with a boy who looked around 8-10 years old.  When I finished, I saw the clock was still in the 27s despite the slow start, and I had to catch my breath as people were crowding for medals.  I'm definitely not used to running at that kind of pace, which according to the results site, was 8:05 per hilly mile.  In previous years, I clocked in faster in a couple of 5ks, but that's because the course fell significantly short, so I never gave myself "credit" for a PR.  This year, since I did not track my run at all, I checked enough FitSnaps of other folks to feel pretty confident that this was 5k, if not for all the weaving I had to do.

I got back in time to relieve "The Ukrainian" of baby duty, and after his race started, I looped back to the recovery area with Tuesday, who proceeded to eat 80% of my post-race banana and fig bar and walked around the plaza.  While we were waiting, we also did a photo booth, though those photos aren't posted on the company's website yet.

Doing this race was much-needed for me after feeling bad about myself recently.  Although I had been running non-specifically, it felt nice to do something normal, even though there is more to "normal" now than there used to be.  I think that although my past running self would throw this race into a "10k or less" bucket like it isn't significant, it is definitely a milestone for me to be able to somewhat confidently declare a PR -- not just postpartum but ever. *updating my sidebar as we speak*

As for the future, I am looking into more of these types of runs to keep me motivated.  By now, I run regularly enough that it's not burning me out yet, so I have even considered making the leap to half-marathon training, although we will see.  Gotta handle that 10k thing first.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

As Bad as I Feel

Life right now is well-reflected by this salad-in-a-jar that was my lunch not too long ago.

Things are contained, but basic and kind of boring.  Oh, and lazy.

I haven't been doing too well on one of my goals for the year, which was to get back to my baseline weight.  I started the year doing really well... and was so close at that time.  But somewhere in that timeframe, I got the stomach flu and then treated recovery like a free-for-all since the holidays were just ending.  Suddenly, all the treats I didn't feel like eating that were still lingering around the house fell victim to my post-illness buffet.

Shortly after that, Baby Tuesday had a string of poor nights, some illness related, that left me going for carb-ville.  I'm now required to take yearly A1C tests to monitor my blood sugar, and it didn't really go in the direction I had hoped.  So I know I need to do better, but man.


I currently feel (and probably look) really terrible, and all of that happened within a month.  In January, I mentioned that I ran 31.5 miles (all in the second half) in attempt to average about a mile per day this year.  February is on track so far.  But even running/more consistent exercise could not counter stress/tired-ness eating and the fact that the time of weaning is 99% upon us and we've suddenly transitioned to mostly decent nights of sleep.  I think it has just been a lot of fluctuations that I'm not dealing with very well.

The baby, on the other hand, suddenly learned how to walk and hang out like a big boy.  This is timely, as it opens up more activities.  Activities are much-needed.  So fun!

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