Shiver by the River – 3rd Race

I realize I started this blog late in this race series, so the first one I’m going to write about is the third race out of four in the series.

The Shiver by the River series is put on by the Pagoda Pacers Athletic Club (of which I recently became a member) and is held in Jim Dietrich Park in Reading, PA. The course is a 5K loop out of the park and through a surrounding neighborhood. At the end of the first loop, you can choose to go through the chute and finish, or take another lap and run the 10K. The course uphill right out of the gate. In fact, the whole first mile is a decent incline. RunKeeper tracked the first mile as a 354 ft elevation climb.  The series is one race per month during the Winter. This year it was December, January, February, and March. In December, I was only just beginning to train for 10K races, and I barely had enough stamina to finish the 5K. For the January race, I braved the 10K for the first time, and finished in just over 1 hour.

So to the real point of today’s post, the 3rd Shiver race that was held this past Sunday, February 10th, 2013. It was by far the coldest race day so far. It was 27 degrees Fahrenheit at the starting gun. The run started out as the others, a massive traffic-jam of people getting started, but it stretched out pretty quickly over the first mile. Overall, this was my best pace for a race yet. I finished the 5K in a personal record of 27 minutes, and the 10K at 58 minutes. Here’s a snap from my RunKeeper dashboard:

Shiver 3 RunKeeper Stats

My challenges this race were challenges I still am not sure how to overcome. First, is fuel. This race starts at 11am, which is a mighty long time to go without eating anything. I have tried eating a few various things early in the morning on a race day, but I inevitably end up with cramps later in the race if I eat anything. I’ve tried a small bowl of cereal, oatmeal, and for this race, tried a Clif bar at 7am, a full 4 hours before the gun. I started cramping up significantly at about 2 miles into the race. By the time I made the turn for the second half, I was hurting pretty bad. I grabbed a cup of water at the hydration station on the turn, and that seemed to help me for a little bit, but if you examine the graphic above, you can see I had to walk for a few minutes around Mile 4 to finally get it to settle down. If this is something you struggle with, or have a strategy that works for you, I’d love to discuss in the comments. I just feel like I don’t have as much energy for the race if I eat nothing that morning, but eating nothing is the only way I can be sure not to get time-killing (and side-killing) cramps.

I also think I jinxed myself a bit by stating in my initial post that my knees have never felt better. A little over a week ago, there was snow and ice on the ground, so I ditched my normal training runs and went into the basement to use my elliptical machine. I did two workouts (Saturday and Monday) on the elliptical and suddenly I notice that when I’m going downstairs, I can hear and feel a clicking sound in my left knee. I took a run on Wednesday anyway (5 miles) and my knee was painful through pretty much the whole thing. So I’m thinking it’s an early stage Runner’s Knee, so I’m going to have to back off the mileage a bit and let it heal up for a while. I am mildly concerned about my next scheduled run, the Quakertown Rotary Club Run for Youth 10 Mile coming up on Saturday, March 3rd. I’m inclined to run it anyway and just deal with any knee fallout afterwards. I’m hopeful because my knee only was a little sore during the Shiver race on Sunday, and feels just fine today. Regardless, I’m going to back off the training runs for a little bit and focus on some other stuff in the interim, like some weight lifting and core strength exercises. Anyone else have advice for beating Runner’s Knee?

I really like the Shiver series. It’s a really nice venue, the people are extremely friendly and supportive, and you get some home made chicken noodle soup at the end. What’s not to love? The final Shiver race is coming up on Sunday, March 10th.


3 thoughts on “Shiver by the River – 3rd Race

  1. Chneih

    Hey Greg, Congratulations on beating your PR! About the fuel, I normally have a heavy breakfast and lunch pre-race day. Then a banana and a cliff bar 2hrs before the race. Finally, I take one cliff shot 15mins before the gun. There’s one race when I forgot to bring a cliff shot and they’re giving away GU. I ended up running with cramps and an upset stomach. There were evidence on my shirt that I threw up 🙂 I guess I wasn’t used to GU nor was it a good idea to start using it during a race. About the runner’s knee, I still have it once in a awhile specially when I’m running on hills. It’s the downhill that kills me. Knee strap helps me a lot though.

    Hope this helps.I wish you luck on your next race. Let’s keep running!

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