And just like that! I’ve completed the Plano Balloon Festival Challenge! This was my first time doing two races in one weekend and, I will tell you, I underestimated the challenge of doing a 5K and Half Marathon back-to-back! Besides running a full marathon, this is the hardest I’ve ever pushed my body. Overall, I am extremely proud of myself for the hard work I put in this weekend. It was an amazing experience.
THANK YOU to Lifelong Endurance for continuing to help me reach my goals. I did not do this alone and would not be where I am at today if it weren’t for your guidance. Truly, thank you.
Let’s see how the week leading up to RACE DAY went!
Plan: 6 miles easy/58:17/9:43 min/mile
Ran: 6.01 miles/56:48/9:27 min/mile
I felt stiff and tired at the start of this run, for at least the first mile, then started to loosen up and feel better as time went on. I actually ended up having to slow myself down! It’s funny how a run can change on you like that. The last 1-2 miles were a challenge, though, as the heat got to me. I was tired. It was 95 degrees.
It’s not just one run in the heat that pushes me over the edge, but an entire summer – months – of running in the heat is extremely draining. It’s still full-blown Summer in Texas.
Plan: “Pre-Race!”/2 miles easy, 2x 1 mile @ 7:45, 7:35, 3:00 rest, 4×400 @ 7:15, 90 sec rest, 2 miles easy/7.5 miles/1:07:38/9:01 min/mile
Ran: 7.51 miles/1:05:56/8:47 min/mile
HOT. THICK. HUMID. 103 DEGREES.
Yes, I wrote this in all caps in my journal. I remember the feeling I had after this run. Again, the heat is making me cranky. I think it’s because the weather “teased” us with slightly cooler weather last week, so this whole 100+ degrees thing is like a slap (punch, rather) in the face.
“TOUGHEST RUN. EVER?” I wrote. I started slow, stiff, tired, hot, and doubtful. I surprised myself when I was even able to run in the 7’s. How am I even doing this? I thought. I was and am seriously proud of myself for pulling this one off. I planned to savor my mid-week rest day tomorrow!
Race week rest day!
Plan: 4 miles easy/39:00/9:45 min/mile
Ran: 4.01/38:54/9:42 min/mile
It was one of “those” days. “I did not want to do this,” I wrote.
It did not feel good. I hoped to be out of this funk tomorrow, and especially by race weekend! This run was not easy and had me worried about reaching my goals this weekend.
Plan: 3 easy miles + 3x100m strides/3.0 miles/29:00/9:45 min/mile
Ran: 3.20 miles/30:02/9:23 min/mile
This one felt good! It was hot (what’s new?) but my legs felt fine. Just hoping for fresh legs this weekend!
I’ll just start with the good news: Personal Record!!! AND a time good for 1st in AG!
Starting off, I didn’t think I’d PR. I’d look down to see “7:20” on my watch and knew I needed closer to a 7 flat to beat my previous personal record (the only other 5K that I’ve raced). I was in between thinking I could just run easy for this one and save my energy for tomorrow’s Half, and wanting to push and do my best.
I felt good, running in the 7’s felt easy to start (thanks, adrenaline!) so I decided to cruise for the first mile then push. Push is exactly what I did. I pushed hard enough to PR (YAY!), but also hard enough that after rolling through the finish line then coming to a complete stop, my calves cramped. BAD. I ended up sitting in medical for about an hour before I could manage to stand. I did manage to get up and walk around after a while, and fortunately was so chuffed with my time that I didn’t care what else happened. I eventually got to walk around and enjoy the free breakfast and the festival before heading home to ice, foam roll, and do anything in my power to get the calves to cooperate before tomorrow’s race!
Needless to say, I was nervous for how I’d feel this morning. My calves felt like they were used as punching bags then I did 99,000 calf raises. Not great. But the more I moved them (stretched, walked around), the better they felt. So, yes, I could’ve taken my PR and just called it a weekend, but I don’t give up. I would be at the Start line for the Half Marathon. I woke up extra (extra) early so I could stretch, foam roll, move, and do everything that loosened the calves up.
After warming up pre-race and a few miles into the Half, the calves were OK. More than anything, the extreme humidity and heat got to me this race. It was a TOUGH morning for a run. Everyone felt it. The last few miles were grueling. I knew pretty quickly that I wouldn’t PR (needed something under 1:50 for that), so I just ran at an enjoyable pace. Not easy, because it wasn’t easy, but enjoyable. I didn’t kill myself. I went with an alternative goal. I’d be happy just to finish this run and enjoy it along the way. I set a new goal of sub-2 hours, which I just barely managed.
It was nice to enjoy the scenery and not expect too much. I am extremely happy with a 5K PR and even with how I preformed on Sunday. I gave it my best. I still have work to do and am more excited to run and determined to reach my goals than ever!
Now, today is Monday and, despite what a sane person might think, I am actually really excited for a (easy) run today!!! This weekend I proved to myself that I have the potential and just need to continue to put in work!
Here are links to my full reviews (course, race management, swag, etc.) of the Plano Balloon Festival races on BibRave.com. Remember to read & review your races on BibRave.com and find the perfect race!
Plano Balloon Fest 5K review: https://www.bibrave.com/races/plano-balloon-festival/8187
Half Marathon Review: https://www.bibrave.com/races/plano-balloon-festival/8188
What time of year do you most enjoy running races?