I Hate 5ks

Jul 25

I Hate 5ks

After threatening to sign up for three or four different marathons since last fall, I finally pulled the trigger and plunked down the registration fee for the Tunnel Lite Marathon September 15th. It’s a point-to-point with a net elevation loss, so pretty easy-peasy as far as marathon courses go. My running volume lately has thus increased as Coach T has started prepping me to haul my chubby ass 26.2 miles. Fitness-wise (and weight-wise) I’m still not where I was last season, but at least now I have a race to train for. My return to a regular training schedule got my coach’s seamless, sweat-wicking undies in a twist and she excitedly instructed me to find two 10ks to run as part of my marathon training. July has been a hectic month for me — Jason and I traveled to a wedding in Philadelphia earlier this month, plus he’s racing his first 50 mile ultramarathon this weekend — so I only had a couple weekends free to find a potential race. After informing Teresa of my dilemma, she said I could find a 5k to run this month and a 10k in August. Crap. 5ks suck for one reason: they hurt. If you’re intent on doing a 5k as a fun run, that’s fine, 3.1 miles is a fine distance for a walk or a jog or a combination of the two. But if your coach wants you to “race” the 5k, you’re essentially tasked with sprinting the entire distance and are a half-burp away from horking up one or both lungs at any given moment. There’s nothing “aerobic” about a 5k. From the moment you take off to the moment you cross the finish line, you feel like you’re going to die. Another reason I don’t like 5ks is because my SALS (Stumpy Asian Leg Syndrome) don’t make me much of a sprinter. I always tell people that I’m built for duration. I’m not terribly fast, but when you stretch out the distance long enough, my sheer stubbornness pushes me to maintain a somewhat decent pace until I manage to finish. For short distances, however, I’m no Usain Bolt. Whenever we do sprint work at track, teammates who I’m...

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Becca Fall Down, Go Boom: My Ironman Canada 2012 Race Report

Oct 11

Becca Fall Down, Go Boom: My Ironman Canada 2012 Race Report

Welcome back, reader! It’s been a while, I know. I took a little hiatus after Ironman Canada to laze around and get fat, so now that I am sufficiently rested and newly-pudgy, it’s time for me to get back into the swing of things, and what better way to move forward than to recap a race I did a month and a half ago, right? If you’re all, “Pffft, this was forever ago, gimme some new material already!”, don’t worry, I’ve got some more timely stuff in the pipeline. But for the 12 of you who have been bugging me to bust out this bad boy, enjoy my ridiculously belated Ironman Canada 2012 race report (oh, and here’s 2010’s race report, aka The Longest Race Report in the History of Race Reports, if you care to revisit that one). Pre-Race Shenanigans Jas and I left for Penticton the Wednesday before the race, stopping a couple (meaning hundreds) of times so I could pee and pick up some healthy, pre-race organic, gluten-free, paleo-friendly nourishment… …just kidding, I had a gas station corn dog, a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, and about five pounds of potato chips. Every time I sign up for these endurance races, I fill out all of the information so far in advance that I’ve forgotten what I’ve written until I have to review the forms before the event. This means that Present Me will usually be simultaneously amused and embarrassed by Past Me’s responses. Case in point: when I went to pick up all of my important race crap, I saw this: The elderly volunteer who was going over my information with me did a double-take and laughed pretty hard, saying, “I haven’t seen that one before!” I took that as a sign to keep putting bullshit in my forms for future events. Thanks, lady! With registration taken care of, I taper tantrum-ed my way through my final pre-race workouts (“Eeeeekkk, my foot is hurting during this bike ride! I knew I should have brought my old nasty cycling shoes instead of the new pair!”; “Holy shit, this water is so rough! Why is it so rough?! It’s going to be even worse on race day, I know it!!”),...

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Boston Deferrals Need to HTFU

Apr 20

Look, I get that it was unseasonably warm on Monday and that it made for hotter than usual Boston Marathon race conditions, but deciding not to race or deferring to next year because you didn’t like the temperature is just laughable. If you’re elite or athletic enough to be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon, you can deal with a hot race. There are thousands of runners who would have killed to race on Monday, regardless of the conditions, and you’re telling me that you’re too big a diva to run when it gets to the mid-80s? Gimme a break. A higher than usual percentage of racers (3,863) didn’t even bother showing up to pick up their numbers this year. Obviously a portion of the no-shows could be folks who had injuries (as was the case of a friend of mine who tore her hamstring and was unable to race) or had a situation pop up where they couldn’t race (a family emergency, work conflict, etc), but the rate was higher than in previous years. Of the 22,426 runners who did show up to pick up their numbers, 427 deferred, which is even worse than not bothering to show up in the first place. You travel all the way to Boston, pick up your number, and then decide that you’re going to chump out and run next year in the hopes that temperatures will be more to your satisfaction? Ridiculous. Yes, I know it was hot. I know it was uncomfortable. I know that overall times were slower than previous years and that more people were treated for heat-related ailments (cramping, exhaustion, overheating). But that’s the nature of racing. You sign up for a race not knowing what’s going to come your way. You can do the training and prepare for it as best you can, but there are certain factors you can’t control on race day that you just have to deal with. Do you think the 2011 Ironman Canada athletes wanted to race in upper-90 degree heat all day? Obviously not, but they showed up at the start line and powered their way through like champs, and they raced 140.6 miles in adverse conditions, not just...

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My Own Worst Enemy

Jul 08

My Own Worst Enemy

Most of my posts on Mediocre Athlete contain self-deprecating comments and faux-negativity about my workouts or my races. I do it for the lulz, but the truth is that nobody is harder on me than myself. At the end of the day, I am my own worst enemy, an exceptionally tough critic. I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way; after all, a big reason you train for a race, no matter the distance, is to push yourself outside your comfort zone to see what you’re truly made of. For me though, I often push myself so hard that it can end up being detrimental. I’m like my own overbearing Asian mother (“Why you no run faster during race? And how come you not doctor?”). Ever since I had a taste of my first half Ironman three years ago, a big goal for me is to go sub-6 hours. I feel that it’s something I can easily accomplish. Each year I’ve continued to improve and become more familiar and comfortable with the sport. After four half Ironman races thus far, however, my personal best is a 6:29 from 2010’s hellishly windy Boise 70.3. I know that everyone was much slower that day, that I couldn’t control the weather, that I would have cycled much faster if conditions were better, that I actually placed decently in my age group. But I was focused on that time goal like Gollum’s fixation on that seemingly innocent little ring, so I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed. Then Ironman Canada came and went and I had a race that exceeded my expectations. I would have gladly traded in every bad race or training workout that year for the day I ended up having, and after my biggest race of the season I was at an all-time high. I had just done an Ironman, for schmuck’s sake — I could do anything. No, I could crush anything. I was going to do a marathon and I was going to kill it. I was going to do a bunch of 70.3s next year and they’d all be under 6 hours. Hell, I’d be creeping up on 5:30s. I’d improve across the board and...

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You Can’t Pause Crap Weather

Nov 22

You gotta love living and training in Seattle. I always defend the city I’ve lived in for the past 9 years whenever people go “Herp derp doesn’t it rain there all the time?” by saying that it’s more gray days and occasional rain vs. nonstop downpours. Then I feel like a jackass whenever I strap on my running shoes and look woefully out the window as the cold rain splashes against the glass. Sad trombone. Nonetheless, it’s Seattle, and you gotta put up with some shitty weather if you want to stick to your running regime and are absolutely useless on a treadmill (sentiments I’ll reserve for another post). On Friday I HTFU’d and yanked on the running tights + long-sleeved shirt to trudge through a quick 3 1/2 mile run through Capitol Hill. Not only was it raining, as usual, but the temperature had dropped to balls freezingly cold (if I had any, that is). As I was running up the shoulderless and sidewalk-challenged Interlaken hill in my black running clothes, I cursed the Pacific Northwest for turning apocalypticly dark at 4 pm in the fall and winter. The last thing a driver heading up the windy road will see is my minorly crooked white teeth as my mouth pulls back into a horrific grimace while my stubby body bounces off the windshield. With my dying breath I’d utter “Damn you…Seattle…Nirvana…is…overrated…uaghhhhh.” When I was about two blocks from home, my right foot slipped on a wet, pulpy pile of soggy decaying leaves, and my ankle promptly rolled while I windmill arm’d and jazz-handed myself back upright. Naturally, this display of grace occurred at a busy 4-way intersection that not only contained a line of cars, but happened to have a bus stop full of people who caught my America’s Got Talent live audition tape. Now I get to nurse tendinitis, Achilles tightness, and a stiff ankle. On Sunday, I was lured to the morning group run with promises of a post-workout brunch that was kind of crappy due to Surly Goth Waitress and a sub-par biscuits and gravy with an order of poached eggs that somehow translated to “hard boiled” back in the kitchen. When I woke up...

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