Diva Dash disappointment

Oh, Diva Dash.  I had such high hopes for you.

Your website promised excitement, challenge, and fun all rolled into a women’s only obstacle course.  Your website was brilliantly done.  Beautifully designed.  It really sold it to me.

Too bad you spent more on your website than on planning the actual event.

To be fair, Saturday’s Diva Dash was the first ever, and Austin was the first city to host one.  That said, the Diva Dash was not THAT different from a straight-up 5K or a 10K.  I’ve been to plenty of those that were extremely well planned.  I’m shocked that a national magazine like SHAPE didn’t organize better.

Cindy, Beth, Beth and StephEver the optimist, I’ll start with what I liked:

  • Friends
    I’m so glad I had friends to do this with, otherwise I would have been really bummed out.  Beth and Steph signed up with me, and we all drove out together with Beth’s friend, Beth.
  • The idea
    They had some good ideas.  I liked the obstacle course idea and the idea of bonding with a bunch of other ladies.  It seemed empowering.
  • Lunch afterward
    We all went to Z’Tejas after the run and had a chance to laugh about the experience and drink margaritas.  Definitely a plus.
  • GenAustin benefited
    The race proceeds all went to Gen Austin, which is a great local cause.  At least I helped other girls.

OK, so here’s what the problems were:

  • Packet pickup chaos
    There were roughly 3,000 people signed up for this event and pre-event packet pickup was planned for just 4 hours the evening before at RunTex on Riverside, which is a tiny place with little parking — plus there were some huge events going on in downtown Austin and Auditorium Shores, so streets were closed.  The event highly encourage packet pickup before the event.  It was chaotic.
  • Ran out of numbers?
    You would think that knowing how many people are signed up for a run would help you order enough bib numbers, but apparently not.  They didn’t have a number for me, so they wrote it on a sticker from the Zilker Holiday Tree 5K.  I felt gipped.  I already ran that race.
  • Not enough shuttle buses
    We were told to park at the exposition center and take the shuttle bus 1.5 miles to Walker E. Long Park.  The line was super long, and there didn’t seem to be enough buses, so we waited in line for 45 minutes.  Some ladies waited over an hour.  Thank goodness we got there early, but even then, by the time we walked into the park at 10am, all of the raffles were over and the bathrooms were out of toilet paper.
  • TP!
    That reminds me — what’s the deal with running out of toilet paper by 10am?  You know you have 3,000 women — tell the vendor to stock enough!
  • No timing option
    I knew I started at 10:30am — but I have no idea when I finished.  There was no clock, and the race was not timed.  At the finish line, were were shuttled into a chute and formed a line so they could write down our numbers in the order they came through.
    I know this is supposed to be a fun run — but there WAS a prize (a trip to Aruba) on the line.
  • That’s an obstacle?
    I was no fan of the obstacles.  They were kind of inane, although the first one, where you had to walk across a rope bridge, was kinda fun.  They weren’t really challenging,  I also felt gipped because the advertising had a barbell in it, so I was hoping to have to lift something.
    There were no barbells.
  • Water, water, no where
    It was hot.  There were no water stations until the end.  And there were no volunteers handing out water.  You had to find a cup and fill it up.  There was also no food — unless you wanted to pay.  No fruit, no nothing after the race.  If we wanted to eat, you had to bring your own or order up at one of the numerous vendors.

There were numerous other planning and execution problems, but I’ll spare you.  I could go on and on about how disappointed I am about this run, but what I’m most disappointed in is myself.  I ran it very poorly, and maybe that’s what pisses me off the most.

I actually felt like I had to stop and walk several times throughout the course — and I did.  I probably would have walked more had Steph not been running with me and encouraging me to keep going.  (Thank you Steph!  You’re awesome!)

It’s been a long time since I felt that awful during a race (and I use the term “race” loosely), and I’m embarrassed.  I hope I’m not that bad of a runner.  It’s puzzling that I was all smiles during the Cap 10K and felt like I was going to keel over during the Diva Dash (a 5K).  I wonder if the heat got to me.  I guess I need to start doing more training in the heat, if I’m going to overcome that.

Now that I’ve had my rant about the Diva Dash… let us never speak of it again.

Paramount Break-A-Leg 5K 2011

My friend and running buddy Jenny puts the Paramount 5K like this — it’s the race for lazy people.

It’s held in conjunction with the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon.  It’s 3 miles versus 13 or 26.  It sure seems lazy on the surface.

But in reality, 5K isn’t anything to turn your nose up at.  It’s a great distance for people who want to be fit overall — not just have great endurance.  Plus it seems like EVERYONE is doing a marathon these days, and I hate following the crowd.  I’m OK with the 5K and 10K for now.

I like running the Paramount.  The course is good and it’s kind of cool to be there with all of those runners, feeding off of the excitement about the marathon.

Last year really sucked.  All I wanted to do was finish.  This year was different.  My running has improved, but I just wanted to have fun.  And it was.

Here are my stats.

My time was 29:46.  I was 286 overall.  Could I have run faster?  Yeah — I think so.  I wasn’t pushing myself like I could have.

But this run was a reminder that the 10K is only a month away.  I went home and signed up.  And Jenny and I are going to start increasing the miles.  I’ve never run 6 miles before.  This should be fun.

I snapped off a few photos after the race, once I met up with the family at the finish line.  see the guy in the Livestrong outfit?  Is that Lance Armstrong finishing the Half?

A fun run

Talk about a fun run!

We had a blast at the inaugural Zilker Holiday Tree 5K on Sunday!

The weather was perfect, well — almost.  It was a little cold, but once we got running we quickly warmed up.

I think I took it a little too easy.  I kept the pace slow because Andy’s calf muscle has been really bothering him (I’m surprised he ran, frankly).  He had to stop about 1.5 miles in and told me to go on.  I crossed the finish line at 37 minutes — and I knew I had gone really slow, but it was a fun run, and I’ve been eating like crap for two days, so all I wanted to do was finish without stopping.

I accomplished that.  In fact — I didn’t have anything to worry about.  I felt absolutely terrific at the end.  I want to do this run again next year!!

What motivates you?

Picture, if you will, two people sitting on the back of a car truck, eating muffins and chatting.  The air is crisp and cold, and both people are donned in running clothes.  There is laughter, sometimes furrowed brows and always conversation.

That was me and Jenny on Saturday after our run.  I had made gingerbread muffins and brought them as an after run treat.  Normally, I don’t eat muffins because of the grains.  But it was special. It was our last run together of the year, and it was our way of celebrating the coming of Christmas.

It’s hard for me to motivate myself to go running all alone — especially when it’s cold.  Having Jenny to run with makes it easier.  I love this article about the buddy effect from Mark’s Daily Apple.  It’s sooooo true.

We ran the 3.1 miles (5K) loop on Saturday morning.  It took us about 30 minutes, because a couple of times we stopped to walk.  It was our best run since Mads was born.

I’m planning on doing some run drills this week with Andy, because the Zilker Holiday run is only a week away now.  It should be really fun, even if my time stinks.

Week of intensity… and rest

No, I haven’t felt much like writing as of late.

I’ve still been working my tail off in my workouts, but I’ve also been crawling into bed early each night, desperately trying to snatch whatever extra hours of sleep I can before that alarm goes off the next morning.  I’ve been craving 9 and 10 hours of sleep a night.  Sometimes 8 hours just aren’t enough.

Looking back at my performance journal since Tuesday, I see an awful lot of rest days.  Not that that is necessarily a bad thing — it just doesn’t happen very often.  And it’s odd to see so much white space in a week where I’ve not missed Crossfit or Kung Fu at all.

I am thoroughly in the midst of a fever to review my Kung Fu material before my test.  The pre-test is February 23 — just over a week away.  The test itself is on February 25.  Both are on Crossfit days and both are in the late evening, when I’m usually crawling into bed.  I’m praying that I have my head together enough to show that I really do know my material.  I’m much more together in the morning, and testing will definitely be a challenge.

Thursday’s WOD turned out to be a really good one for me:

30-20-10 DB snatch (M 35# / W 25#)
20-10-30 Box Jumps
10-30-20 Pull ups

I used 15# for the weight so I could focus on form and still move quickly.  Zach’s description of pulling the dumbbell up like you’re starting a lawnmower really made sense to me.  Still, I had the move down better on the right side that the left side for some reason.

I made myself jump on the box for at least half of the jumps — except the 10 set, when I jumped for all of them.  On pull ups, I felt weak — it had been a while since I had worked on pull ups.

I finished in 14:34.

That night, knowing I would be really sore the next day, I decided to do one of my challenge WODs.  Andy and Luke joined me.  Luke was doing his version of a burpee on the mat while Andy and I:

Sumo Deadlift High Pull

I used 20# and finished in 6:47.  I was toast for 2 days after that.

I managed to put off the challenge endurance WOD until Sunday morning, when I ran the Paramount 5K — probably my last race until late fall 2010.  I was kind of fudging the WOD, and I hope I don’t get fussed at for it, but I wasn’t looking forward to running 3 miles on the heels of a 3 mile run.

Here’s what the WOD was:

Run 3 miles
3 min at 80%
1 min at 50%

I’m going to guess that I did that.  There were times I felt like I was really pushing it, and times I had to slow down.  I was really proud that I didn’t stop.  I just kept going.

Thank goodness my friend Jenny ran with me, because I probably wouldn’t have done it without her.  She helped me pace myself and stuck near me the whole time.

I don’t have my exact time yet (I wore a chip), but I crossed the finish line around 30:40 — and I started about 20 seconds after the race started, give or take.  That’s a slow mile, but right now, I’ll take it.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  Don’t forget to enjoy dark chocolate — everyone deserves a yummy treat!

My first 5K

Cindy and Jenny before the raceI ran the Race for the Cure 5K untimed event this morning.  Technically it’s not the first time I’ve ever run 3.1 miles, but it is the first time I’ve ever done it for an official event.

My running buddy Jenny ran this one with me.  We were part of Team KVUE — but we didn’t see one other person from our team until we got close to the starting line, and that was Terri Gruca, who was up on the podium with the other announcers.

Jenny and I learned a few things from this event.

1. Spend the few extra bucks to race this event in the TIMED category.

We signed up for untimed, based on Jenny’s previous experience, thinking that there would be a big clock at the start line so we could time ourselves.

There wasn’t.  And I’m not sure if we actually started at 8, because the announcers were so busy thanking everyone.

Also, we were in the front of the “holding area”, but when they let us through to go to the start line, there were tons of people already there, and most of them looked like they weren’t going to run.  We navigated our way toward the front around banners and strollers.  Ick.  It was annoying.

2.  Sleep

I actually went to bed early the night before
because I know how important this part is.  But my sleep was unsettled,
and between the dog waking me up 4 times to go outside and the child
being sick and crawling in bed at 5, I’m not sure how rested I really

3. Pace yourself.

Jenny warned me to run the first mile a little more slowly, but in running around slow people and walkers and down hill, we started off fast.  By the time we got to the first uphill, I wasn’t smiling much anymore.  And by the second uphill, I was huffing and puffing.  At mile marker 2, I was really feeling worn out, and my paced slowed.  I couldn’t keep up with Jenny as we hit yet another uphill, but I caught back up with her later when she slowed down to look for me.

That third mile was a doozy, and near the end, I actually walked a few paces to catch my breath, picking up the pace only when I saw the finish line ahead.

All in all, I think we finished the 5K in about 30 minutes, which is about the 10 minute mile I was going for.  It’s impossible to know for sure, since there was no reliable clock and I don’t wear a watch — but not bad.

As Jenny says — sometimes we have good runs, and sometimes we have bad runs.  Today was somewhere in the middle for me.

Richard and Cindy after the runAt the finish line, we ran into another friend who had arrived late because of the insane traffic around the Domain. (Apparently, a lot of people were late for the Race for the Cure, which was held at a new location this year.)

He decided to run over to the start point and do it, so I hung around and waited for him, watching a lot of the folks walk away from the finish and toward the scores of vendors providing free goodies for the participants.

I ate a banana and later an orange while I waited.  (Thank goodness they provided fresh fruit and water).  I avoided the protein bars, sugar waters and yogurt.

Organizers predicted about 22,000 participants at today’s Race for the Cure.  I thought I would be more moved by the many pink signs on people’s backs reading who they were racing for.  It was nice to see so many people moved by a single cause — fighting breast cancer.  But, I don’t know… I just wasn’t emotionally moved by the sea of pink.  Maybe it’s that part of me that wants to forget the suffering my mother endured 15 years ago.  Or maybe it’s because I don’t want to think about what could be in my future.  As I confided in Richard on the way back to the cars, yearly mammograms are in my near future — not far.  And my doctor has urged me to undergo BRACAnalysis, to see if I have the breast cancer gene, because my risk is just THAT strong.

Or maybe… I just wanted to run.  Yeah, that’s it.