When a Race is Really a Race

If you’ve been following my running lately, you may have noticed something.  I’ve been running races, but I haven’t been racing.

I’ve been half-assing them.

With my ego bruised from my DNF last fall, my only goal for my last marathon was to finish well and not fall apart.  I couldn’t afford to race with guts and risk falling apart again.  I just needed a happy race and I got it.

Then during my first 5K of the season a couple weeks ago, I just felt completely out of my element and dropped back into familiar marathon pace for the last half of the race.  It was good enough at the time.

But today was different.

I actually RACED!

I’ve run the Chilly Challenge 8K once before two years ago and haven’t run another 8K since, so I had no idea what to expect as far as pace.  Before I left the house, I entered my marathon time into a pace calculator to get a sense of what I should be able to accomplish.  It said 32:05.

This course is very hilly so I suspected I wouldn’t quite get that time.  There’s a hill at the start, two in the middle and a steep one at the finish.  But there is a nice, straight rolling section in the last mile and a half.

I wasn’t supposed to win. Katie is much faster than I am, so I had no problem letting her go up the first hill.

Mile 1: 6:33  I stuck to the race plan, not going out too fast.  I kept Katie in my sight, but the gap widened to 100-200 meters.  There was no way I would close that, so I just focused on making myself proud of the effort.

Mile 2: 6:49  Yes, there was an uphill here, but there was also a downhill.  I was settling back into a familiar rhythm of slowing down when the effort level went up.  Not again.  Not this time. 

Mile 3: 6:42  The middle section has a big loop for a turn around so you can see everyone’s position.  I couldn’t tell if I was closing the gap or not, but Katie did not seem to be getting farther away.  It was at the end of this mile that I decided that I would catch her.  No matter what.  She became my prey and I was going to hunt her down.

(It sounds so serious and mean when I type it out!  But this is honestly the mental game that I play racing that gets me to focus.)

Mile 4: 6:25   I dropped the hammer. That’s more like it!  I was closing in on her.  But I didn’t want to surge to early only to get passed again. I wanted to sneak up on her.

Final 9/10 mile: 6:34 pace Miraculously, I actually caught her about 3/4 of a mile from the finish. She had no clue I was there and couldn’t respond.  Katie is a powerful trail runner and I thought for sure she’d catch me on the last big hill so I gave it everything I had and kicked, gasping to the finish. She was nowhere in sight.

First place female, 32:28, 6:37/mile pace.  That calculator wasn’t so far off after all!

I raced so hard at the end that I had to lie in the grass for a minute at the finish.

More than the win or the PR, I am so happy with this race because I truly gave it my all.  Finally.

And on an unrelated note, I am really looking forward to celebrating tonight with my sister-in-law for her birthday.  Her favorite cake is chocolate with mint frosting so I made her one.  Vegan, of course!  Just have to show you this one.

Yum!

Oh, and next week is my week to start hosting the Run to the Top Extra Kick Podcast!  We answer one running-related question per day in a short daily episode.  Perfect to listen to during your warm up.  Click here to check it out on iTunes.  Or click here if you use Stitcher.

Look!  There I am with elite Tina Muir, head coach and running guru Jeff Gaudette, and the always amazing Coach Danny Fisher.  I am humbled.

Take a listen and let me know what you think!

Stupidly Easy Homemade Non-Dairy Yogurt

People must really like yogurt.

Strolling past the dairy section of any grocery store, you’ll see row after row of different kinds of yogurt.  Greek, fat free, almond, coconut, soy, “lite”, fruit flavored, plain…it’s seemingly endless.

I’m glad that the non-dairy yogurt selection is getting better lately, but if you flip over to the ingredients list, the majority of yogurts (both dairy and non-dairy) are full of sugar and additives.

Might as well buy ice cream instead!

Even if you are lucky enough to find plain soy yogurt, it’s typically thickened with gels and gums and will set you back at least $6 a pint.

All I want is thick, protein-rich, non-dairy yogurt teeming with healthy active cultures that will make my gut happy.

Is that so hard?

Actually, no it’s not.  It’s stupidly easy.

You can make yogurt at home in with about 10 minutes of active time without any special equipment other than a thermometer.  Four hours later and your fridge is stocked for the week for pennies.

All it takes is the milk of your choice and some pro-biotic bacteria.

Yogurt made from almond, rice, or cashew milk is delicious, but it will not be super thick or have much protein if that’s what you are after.  Without adding a thickener like cornstarch, you will get more of a kefir-like drink, perfect for adding to smoothies for a tangy kick.

Coconut milk yogurt can easily be made to be as thick as Greek yogurt, but it still lacks the protein and has a much higher fat content if you use canned coconut milk.

I typically make soy milk because it’s the only type of non-dairy milk that has a decent amount of protein.  To stay away from gels and gums and whatever else they put in it refrigerated soy milk, I choose the shelf-stable soy milk that contains nothing but water and organic soybeans (EdenSoy is a good example).

But after a while, using carton after carton of soy milk felt wasteful to me.  That’s when I discovered you can buy powdered organic soy milk!  Less packaging and a better value. Perfect!

The only trick to using powdered is that you need to make sure that you bring the water and powder to boiling to make sure that the powder is fully dissolved.  This keeps it from separating while it’s fermenting.

So how do I make yogurt without a yogurt maker?  I use a cooler!  I happen to have a lunch-sized insulated cooler that was designed to hold a six-pack of beer and not much else.  It fits six one-cup mason jars perfectly and allows me to make 5 cups of yogurt at a time.

Why not six?

Because one of those spots is reserved for a mason jar filled with boiling water which keeps the inside of the cooler at the perfect temperature.

The lid with the hole is the hot water

Low tech yogurt maker with nothing extra to buy or plug in!

The cheapskate minimalist in me practically sings with joy at this discovery.

So where does the yogurt bacteria come from?  You can get it one of two ways:  buy some yogurt of your choice and mix a couple tablespoons into your warm milk or use pro-biotic capsules.

I prefer to use the capsules because I get more consistent results, but I also like to add in a tablespoon of the last batch I’ve made, just to be sure it works.  Choose a brand that contains at least 50 billion active cultures for best results.  I use this brand.

So here’s how you do it in a nutshell:  bring 4 cups of milk just to boiling, let it cool to 110 degrees F, mix in your pro-biotic, pour into your clean containers, put into your cooler along with a jar of boiling water, and around four hours later, you have yogurt!

So simple.

You can even leave it overnight and wake up to fresh, tangy yogurt for breakfast.  Four hours is about the minimum and if you leave it for 12, it will be noticeably tangier.

Tangy, unflavored soy yogurt tastes very similar to dairy sour cream so that’s another great use for it.

Thick homemade yogurt!

Now, if you follow these instructions and try it, it might not work perfectly the first time or every single time.  Pro-biotics are living beings and like all living beings, they sometimes do things we don’t want them to do.

Here are a few tips:

If you wake up in the morning and the yogurt is still the same consistency of milk, there are only three possibilities of what happened:  the bacteria didn’t stay warm enough long enough,  they got too hot and died (or were dead to begin with), or there weren’t enough of them happy and active.

I have found that if I start a new batch from scratch without adding a spoonful of already made yogurt, that it doesn’t always set.

To fix this, you can simply pour the mixture back in the saucepan, carefully bring it back up to 110 degrees (no warmer) and add another dose of 50 billion cultures.  Pour back into the jars and snuggle them next to the jar of boiling water and let them be for another 4 hours.

Sometimes at the two-hour point, I take a peek and warm up the water again.  I don’t know if this really makes a difference, but it’s a little insurance that everyone’s staying nice and toasty.

Keep your jar of pro-biotics in the fridge to help keep them fresh.

My favorite way to use yogurt is in overnight oats.  It adds a nice tang and thickens up the oatmeal perfectly.

I also use it to make frozen yogurt, add it to smoothies, or mix it up with fresh fruit, cinnamon, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

If you try this, let me know what you think!

Protein Rich Soy Yogurt
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup powdered soy yogurt
  • 4 cups water
  • probiotic capsules containing at least 50 billion active cultures (try 100 billion for the first batch) that include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus salivarious, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus or more.

Instructions

  1. Mix water and soy powder in a saucepan that holds at least 8 cups. (If you are not careful, this mixture can boil over so you want to use a larger pot than might seem necessary.)
  2. Bring to just boiling and whisk.
  3. Allow milk to cool to 110 degrees F (takes 20-30 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen)
  4. Whisk in pro-biotics and/or a tablespoon of already-made yogurt.
  5. Pour into five small mason jars and close lids.
  6. Place jars in a small cooler along with a mason jar of boiling water.
  7. Close cooler and check yogurt after 3-4 hours.
  8. If not set yet, refresh boiling water and check again in a couple hours.
7.6.6
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http://theplantedrunner.com/stupidly-easy-homemade-non-dairy-yogurt/

 

 

Nanu, Nanu! Space Age Bod Pod Testing

I just got back from outer space.  At least that’s what it feels like inside a Bod Pod body composition analysis chamber.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you were probably born in the 90s and missed the classic 70s/80s show Mork and Mindy with Robin Williams.

Here’s a visual:

Mork cracks open his egg spaceship and arrives on Earth

I’ve been going to UNC Asheville’s Biometric Center each February since 2015.  When I starting training hard for marathons, I dropped about 12 pounds and I was worried I was getting too skinny.

Turns out I wasn’t.  In 2015, my body fat percentage was 17.4% which is normal for female athletes.  When I went back the following year, my weight had stayed stable, but I lost 2.4% of my body fat and put on 2 pounds of muscle.

Naturally, I was really happy about that because I’m a petite 5′ 3″ and 2 pounds of muscle is a lot for me.

So I figured that if I kept doing the same things, I’d stay the same.

Not exactly.

After Boston last year, I gained 6 pounds in two weeks while recovering.  This is completely normal and expected so I didn’t mind.  The body needs to heal and repair and you can’t expect to stay at your peak leanness all year long.

But then when it came time to get lean again for fall racing, the scale wouldn’t budge and even creeped up a bit higher.  I made sure that I was eating well–not too much and not too little–but what had worked for me before didn’t work anymore.

I had had to dial back my heavy strength training last summer because it was making me too tired and sore to run well, but I never gave it up completely.  I suspected that I was losing some muscle and gaining some fat, but I couldn’t figure out why.

But yet, I was still getting faster.

On route to a PR at the French Broad Half, October 2016

Last fall I was logging 70 to 80 miles per week (more than ever!) and yet I was getting just a little heavier.

My clothes still fit, but I gained an inch around my thighs and my waist. Ugh.

What the heck was going on?  Don’t tell me it’s hormones or getting older or any of that!

But could it be?

Being lean is important to racing your fastest, but all pounds aren’t equal.  If you gain weight and most of it’s muscle, you will be faster because you are leaner and stronger.

Being light is not the goal.

I don’t want to be skinny.  I want to be strong.

And fast.

The Bod Pod is one way of measuring how much fat and muscle you have that is a lot more accurate that a simple skin fold test.  It’s not perfect, but it’s been shown to be within 1-2%.  The absolute numbers aren’t as important as the change over time.

I could tell just by looking in the mirror that the muscle definition in my abs was not as pronounced as it was before Boston.  I was prepared for the test to reveal that I’ve gained some fat.

And even though I’m picking up heavier things again, I doubted that I could have put on much muscle, if any.

I braced myself for the results.

Turns out I have put on a little over two pounds of fat from last year, but I still carry less than I did in 2015.  I came in at 16.9% body fat, which I am very happy with.  I was at 15% in 2016 and that’s about as lean as I ever want to be.  Anything less than that for women can lead to compromised performance, which I definitely don’t want!

But the cool part is that I’ve gained another pound of muscle.  So that’s a total of three powerful pounds in two years.

Not too bad!

So that explains why I couldn’t get back down to “race weight” despite doing the same things I was doing before.  Now that I am stronger, my ideal race weight is different and that’s a good thing.

Body weight and body composition can be a sensitive topic for some people, especially women, so I want to address that part of why I do this testing and why I share my numbers with you.

I love running and I love food and I love to nerd out on nutrition and data and analysis.  I share my numbers not to brag or complain or compare to anyone else, but to be honest with my experience and the things I find interesting.

I like to get tested once a year so that I can have a little reassurance that I’m on the right track.  I know now that I might never get to 110 pounds again and even better, I don’t even need to try!  I can let go of the idea that I have a fixed “race weight” and something is wrong with me if I can’t get back down there again.

You can be an amazing runner at 15% or 20% or 25% body fat or even higher than that.  Body composition is only one piece of the equation and not even remotely the most important one.

We are all striving to be the best we can be for ourselves and that looks different on every body.

And with that, I’m going to get something to eat!

 

A Little Racing, A Lot of Luck

It’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy.

Except when you win.  Then comparison is awesome.

Well, sort of.

When you put your toe on the starting line and then you cross the finish line before the rest of those in your field, it’s a wonderful feeling.  Sure, there are always people out there that are faster, but you showed up.  And to be faster than everyone that showed up is worth celebrating.

But like they teach in kindergarten, winning isn’t everything.  It’s how you played the game.  With running, it’s how you ran the race.

And even though I’m certainly very happy to have been the first female at this weekend’s Valentine’s Day 5K, it also happened to be the slowest I’ve ever raced a 5K.

I won with my personal worst.

I don’t want this to come across as being ungrateful or in any way insulting to those who raced on Saturday.  I’m not trying to compare myself to those that raced with me, I’m comparing myself to myself.

Which still steals a little joy.

Now, I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me for running a lackluster race that I ended up winning. I realize that many recreational runners would love to be in my position. I am simply telling my story so that I can improve and maybe inspire someone else to get better.

There are lots of reasons I didn’t run faster.  The course is hilly and there is a steep incline in the first half mile and rolls a bit before looping back.  It’s not a PR course and everyone’s times are a little slower than they would be on a flatter course.

Chasing the leaders up the first hill

Coming off marathon training, I haven’t pushed myself into the red zone in a long time.  My body and my brain have forgotten the pain of such an intense race.  So even though I’m pretty fit, I’m not well-prepared for the 5K right now.

Here’s why:

A big part of good training is specificity or workouts that mimic the duration and intensity of what you’d go through in that particular race.  Which means the long simmer of marathon training feels nothing like the fiery burn of 5K training.

Another thing that caught up with me was a flawed race plan.  I have always gone out too fast in the 5K, so I really wanted to be sure I didn’t do that this time.  The big hill is right at the beginning so I figured that would keep me slow for the first mile and I could really make up time after that.

But that didn’t happen.

I crested the hill and headed on to the flatter greenway section and my first mile was 6:23.  I thought that was about perfect for my fitness and was pretty happy with that.

But after telling myself over and over to stay even, stay slow, stay controlled for over six minutes, I stayed slow for the rest of the race.  I never increased my effort level, which is essential for simply maintaining pace, let alone speeding up.

I coasted between pack groups and never felt the adrenaline rush of trying to reel someone in.  By the end of the first mile, there was so much space around me that I just settled in and didn’t feel any drive to push harder.

Downhill with no one in sight

I ran the last two miles just a touch faster than my marathon pace.

I have built up a big aerobic base from marathon training, but my anaerobic development obviously needs a lot of work.  Aerobic capacity is the ability to use oxygen to move your muscles.  You build a big aerobic engine from lots of easy running.  Anaerobic capacity is the ability to run beyond the point where you are consuming oxygen at the highest rate you can.  In other words, sprinting.

While the 5K is mostly an aerobic race, anaerobic capacity still matters.  According to a study done at Georgia State University, “anaerobic capacity explained 31 percent of the individual differences in 5K times. Aerobic capacity and ventilatory threshold (the point at which you begin breathing hard) combined explained another 50 percent of 5K performance.”

I really had no expectations for this race, so of course it’s nice to be lucky enough to win.  Every race is a lesson and I know where I need to improve.

While I can’t control who stands next to me on the starting line, I can control how hard I work to get better for the next race.

And if I truly run my best for the day, that will give me a sense of joy that can’t be compared.

Soft, High Protein Whole Wheat Bread

It seems impossible, right?

Whole wheat bread is supposed to be tough, grainy, and perhaps a little dry.  Kids turn their noses up at the thought of whole wheat and reach for the white.  It’s an acquired taste that you get used to when trying to eat a healthy diet with more whole grains.

Bread is normally full of carbohydrates and usually a bit skimpy on protein.  And the good stuff made with only whole ingredients costs upwards of $5 a loaf in the store.

So what if I told you I created a recipe for whole wheat bread that is not only healthy, but soft, delicious, full of protein and about $1 a loaf to make?

It’s true!

The secret is vital wheat gluten.  Now before you crinkle your eyebrows at what has become almost an evil word these days, remember that gluten is the protein that makes stretchy wheat bread possible.  It traps the air inside the loaf creating the webbing of air pockets that is essential to the delicious texture of bread.  If you are lucky enough to be gluten tolerant (the vast majority of us are), then it can become an important part of a healthy diet, especially for vegans.

Stretchy strands of gluten developing

The reason that white bread is so soft is because the bran from the wheat has been stripped away, leaving more gluten in the flour per cup.  If you try to make a loaf of whole wheat bread without adding vital wheat gluten, it will be dense and heavy simply because by volume there is a lot less protein creating the air pockets.

By replacing about a quarter of the whole wheat flour in my normal recipe with VWG, I created billowy loaves that have more than 10 grams of protein in each 129 calorie serving!  Just amazing.

Fresh out of the oven

I like to use long, skinny silicone loaf pans to get small sandwich slices.  I get about 20 slices per loaf and each serving is two slices.

My favorite method of baking bread is to create a sponge.  This simply means a wet flour mix with yeast and/or sourdough that is allowed to develop before adding the rest of the dry ingredients.  You mix up the sponge, let it sit for an hour (or overnight with all sourdough) then work in the second half of the flour and the salt.  I prefer this method because there is no double-rising of the dough and it seems to take less time.

I prefer to weigh my ingredients in grams so that I can get exact measurements each time.  Once you get used to weighing, you’ll never go back to using volume again.

This has become my absolute favorite loaf of bread.  I typically sneak a little sourdough starter in with the sponge to get all that fermented goodness, but I still rely on some yeast because I get impatient.  The recipe below skips the sourdough.

Enjoy!

Serves 2 slices

Soft, High Protein Whole Wheat Bread

Soft, billowy, high protein whole wheat sandwich bread.

3 hrPrep Time

35 minCook Time

3 hr, 35 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • Sponge:
  • 3 1/3 cups of whole wheat flour (403 grams)
    1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp instant yeast
    2 1/4 cups warm water (532 grams)
    1 tbsp molasses
  • Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (222 grams)
    1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten (180 grams)
    2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. For the sponge, mix all of the sponge ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium until well mixed, about five minutes.
  2. Remove whisk attachment, cover bowl, and let rest for an hour until very bubbly.
  3. Add the dough ingredients and with the dough hook attachment, mix at low speed until no dry flour remains.
  4. Mix on medium speed for about ten minutes until dough is smooth.
  5. Divide into to equal halves and shape into rounds.
  6. Cover with parchment paper and let rest 15 minutes.
  7. Shape into logs and place into floured bread pans.
  8. Let rise covered with parchment and a towel in a warm place 60-90 minutes or until risen over the sides of the pans.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Let rest in pans for 10 minutes before removing them.
  12. Cool completely before slicing.
Cuisine: Whole Wheat Bread |

Notes

129 calories, 21.5 grams carbs, 0.6 grams fat, 10 grams of protein

7.6.6
21
http://theplantedrunner.com/soft-high-protein-whole-wheat-bread/

 

 

Plan Your Race Well and You Just Might Surprise Yourself

One of the things that I love about racing is the anticipation. You have no idea how well you are going to do until you cross the finish line.  You could have the best training, the best coach, the best nutrition, the best weather, (or none of those) and your performance capability is still a surprise until the end.

Especially if it’s a distance you’ve never raced before.

How are you supposed to plan for a race that you’ve never done before?  You have no idea of what your body and your brain are capable of!  You can make an educated guess, of course, but sometimes you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

As a coach at Runners Connect, my job is to help plan race strategy for athletes who have never raced before. But if the runner doesn’t know what he is capable of, how on earth am I supposed to figure that out? I’m a coach, not a psychic!

Communication is the key.

Successful coaching happens when there is an open dialogue between the athlete and the coach.  It’s a relationship where both parties work together at a goal and feedback goes both ways.

Let me tell you about Jay.  Jay likes to work hard and isn’t afraid to push himself.  “I tend to be an extremely impulsive person in general,” he said, “and this trait bleeds over strongly into my races.”

Being impulsive in a race can lead to disaster.

Jay had his very first half marathon coming up and he was working on a race strategy.  The race was the Desert Classic in Surprise, AZ and the course was out and back with a long, gradual uphill to the half-way point, followed by a long, gradual downhill in the second half.

That’s pretty much an ideal course because the incline forces you to be slower in the first half and the decline will allow you to fly through the second half to the end.  The elusive negative split.

Here’s what he had to say before the race:  “I want to run under 1:28, closer to 1:27. Under 1:27 would be mind blowing. I’m unlikely to win this race so I want to focus on formulating a race plan and sticking to it.  I know from recent training that 6:45 is a doable pace for me over 6 miles.”

Okay, I’m thinking, a 6:45 pace is a 1:28 half.  He needs to be able to run over twice the distance at that speed to reach his goal.  Which he has never done before.

This was the race plan he came up with:

Goal finish time of 1:27:30 (6:40/mile pace)
Miles 1-3 6:46 pace (uphill)
Miles 4-6 6:42 pace (uphill)
Mile 7 6:40 pace, with the extra 2 seconds being made up on the steepish back half.
Mile 8-12 6:38 pace (downhill)
Mile 13 titrate pace to tunnel vision. Cross finish line just on the edge of blindness.

His drive and determination to succeed through pain is impressive, right?  But he still had concerns.

“My biggest fear is that the field isn’t as competitive as I think it will be and I get baited into an actual race and do something stupid early and bonk hard late.”  Very valid point.  “I’m already mentally preparing myself to let people go and stick to the plan hoping to find them on the last mile.”

The ability to let other people go ahead at the beginning is essential.  Competition is great, but if others around you are going faster than your race pace, you have to just let them.  It’s not easy to do, especially if you are as competitive as Jay is.  I love how he recognized this trait in himself ahead of time and prepared for it!

But I did feel that his plan needed a little work.

“My first thought is that your pace goals seem too rigid,” I told him.  I know from personal experience that if you set a to-the-second time goal and you don’t get it on the dot, it allows space for that negative voice to get louder. “I’d rather see at least a 5 second range so that if you miss something, it doesn’t mentally hurt your race.”

I suggested that he set a “floor” for the first half miles, as in the pace that he should absolutely run no faster. A 6:46 pace is not conservative enough for the first few miles, especially considering it’s uphill. Racing too fast in the beginning consumes energy that will always be stolen from the last few miles.

But, (and here’s the scary part) if he goes too slow at the beginning, the deficit created will be too great to make up in the last half, even going down hill.  It’s a very fine line.

“How much time can you make up on the downhill?” I asked. “Miles 8-12 will need to be closer to 6:30 pace. How long have you been able to keep that pace in training? Especially when you are tired?”

“I can run a 6:30 mile after 6 quick miles,” he replied, “but I have no idea how many more.”

The answer to that would be a surprise until race day.

I had really high hopes for Jay.  But I have to admit that I was anxious as well.  If he succeeded, then I succeeded as well.  But what if he failed because of the advice I gave him?

I just had to keep my fingers crossed.

So how did Jay do?  Let’s look at his splits with my thoughts in italics.

Miles 1-3: 6:50, 6:48, 6:44.  Yes!  He’s being conservative!

Miles 4-6: 6:43, 6:43, 6:47.  Starting to pick up the pace, but staying pretty steady uphill.

Mile 7: 6:33. Really picking up the pace as he heads downhill.

Miles 8-12: 6:23, 6:26, 6:28, 6:36, 6:32. Flying downhill!

Mile 13:  6:30.  Those 6:20-30 pace miles are catching up to him, but still so fast!

Final 0.11: 37 seconds (5:36 pace). What a kick!

13.11 miles: 1:26:47, pace 6:37/mile.  He crushed it!!!!

Jay after crushing his A+ goal

Jay finished a whopping 45 seconds faster than his A goal and even crushed his “mind-blowing” goal!

He was ecstatic.  Jay finished 7th overall and second in his age group.

Here’s what he told the Runners Connect Community about the race:  “Running under 1:27 was absolutely awesome.  Coach Claire and I weren’t sure if I could run 6:30 pace when I was tired. Turns out I can’t. I can run 6:20’s.”  Yes!!!

He credits his success to the plan we worked on together. “Ran a conservative first half (thanks to good insight from Coach Claire) and had a strong finish. Instead of getting caught up trying to run with the lead pack I let them go early and just ran my own race.”

I’m so proud of Jay.  He planned for the ideal race, taking into account what he saw were his weaknesses and stuck to the plan, far surpassing what he ever thought possible.

Such a wonderful surprise.

 

 

Leading image credit:  bikeacrossamerica.net