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Xterra trail 10k (50:54)

Xterra trail 10k (50:54)

I had no plans to do this race until about 15 minutes before my husband left the house.  He had mentioned during the race Saturday night but I had just hoped he would forget. I woke up around 6:15 and my husband’s words at 6:30 in the morning were: “I am seriously doing this race”.  That day, I had planned to do a workout by myself but after thinking about it, I thought it might be fun to get out of my comfort zone.  I didn’t do anything I usually do to prepare for a race and just threw everything in a random bag and got in the car.

The 10k was down in super south NJ, just outside of Salem County.  It’s the part of NJ most people don’t even think exists and most of it is covered in farms or parks, which is great for trail racing.

Like most of the East Coast recently, we have gotten a lot of rain.  It’s rained on and off since last Friday and is supposed to continue most of the week.  Needless to say, the race was very muddy.  Even the “elites” said it would be a tough day on the course.  Always good to hear your first anything will be tough.

We got to the race a bit later than I particularly like and had time for about a mile warmup. I hadn’t charged my watch so ran about 10 minutes and decided that was a mile.

We were given course directions at 7:50 and the race went off at 8.  It was two loops (5kers did one loop and 10k did two).  It was a combination of grass, single track, and about 200 meters of road.

I self-seeded myself directly in the middle of the crowd.  I had no idea what to expect and didn’t want to be too far in the front but also not in the back either.  The race went off and it reminded me of a mass country style start.  We were all in a field, and it quickly funneled into the trail.  I found myself boxed in for the first mile or so.  My goal for the race was just run my own race AND NOT HURT MYSELF. If you know me, I am most likely to hurt myself in a cushioned room.

xterra mudlands 10k alloway nj me running

I thought the first mile must be taking forever.  I wasn’t sprinting and just running.  The course wasn’t “bad” as I thought it would be.  There was mud, but nothing too drastic.  I was running with a large pack of men.

During the second mile, I passed a couple of females and we headed into a much more challenging part of the course.  I had no idea what shoe to wear (TBH, I probably should have worn the same shoe I hike in: The Brooks Cascadia.)  I had opted to run in an old pair of college flats, which was a bad idea.  I shoud have run in spikes over those flats.

Around mile 2, a young kid asked me if we were at the 5k yet and I told him I thought we were about 2 miles in.  Turns out later, he won the 5k overall!  Since it was a two loop course, we went under the finishers shoot at 5k.  I hit the 5k around 25:30 minutes.

xterra mudlands 10k alloway nj me running

As we headed back through the field we started at, I was able to pass a few more people.  I could tell, I had more leg speed (from roads) but they had more technical skill through the mud and single track.

Mile 4 and 5 went uneventfully.  Around mile 4, a male in front of me fell.  I asked if he was okay and he said yes and got back up quickly. The course was much more torn up because of all the people that had come through.  I stepped in ankle deep mud and just plowed through.  My only goal was not to hurt myself.  I had no remorse if I had to stop, walk, or take things easy.

The last mile felt as though it never-ending.  I saw it was about 8:45 am and thought I probably had about 10 minutes or so left of racing.  I just kind of plugged along.

All of a sudden I popped out of the woods and saw the giant finish line ahead.  As I crossed, the announcer said I had won for females.  Then proceeded to ask if I was wearing road racing shoes.  I wasn’t expecting to win, and it was pretty cool to do so.  I had no idea I was even in first place because it’s hard to tell who is in front of you.

xterra mudlands 10k alloway nj me running

In all, I had a great time getting out of my comfort zone.  My only regret was not wearing a trail shoe but I didn’t hurt myself so it ended up ok.  A lot of locals said it was “the hardest trail race they’ve done’ but I don’t have anything to compare it too.

It reminds me a lot of open water swims because you can’t race for time, just on the conditions for the day!  I wouldn’t say I’m “hooked on trails”, and prefer the speed of and consistency of roads.

xterra mudlands 10k alloway nj me running

We were asked to do a jumping shot and I didn’t fall holding glass which is a rather big accomplishment for me

Questions for you:

Have you ever done a trail race?

What is the hardest race you’ve ever done?

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Training: Easy Runs and Windy 10ks

Training: Easy Runs and Windy 10ks

Last week was a blur.  I actually had a hard time remembering what I even ran last week!  Some weeks I’m on top of writing a training log, other weeks I’m not.  Thank goodness for looking back at Instagram I guess.

me running

Monday: 60 minutes easy
Tuesday: 8-mile hike at Hartshorne Park
Wednesday: 60 minutes easy
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 60 minutes easy
Saturday: Cape May 10k (41:07)
Sunday: 13 mile easy run

All of my easy runs were just that, easy.  To be honest, I felt good in the beginning of the week and then by Friday I felt like Broad Street hit me!  There wasn’t enough time to do any workouts between Broad Street and the Cape May 10k, so I didn’t.

Cape May 10k: 41:07

I’ll have a full recap of the race, but it wasn’t my day.  My legs were tired, it was windy, and to add to my list of issues, I accidentally ran in old trainers.  Around mile 5, my feet started burning.  Not in a broken bone way, but in a “something is weird way”.  After the race, I realized I never changed into my racing shoes and was wearing old trainers.  These were trainers I retired from running altogether but decided they could still be ok for walking around.  No wonder my feet hurt, I was basically running a 10k on concrete.

I ran the April Fools half marathon 10k split as well as Broad Street in low 38, so racing a 10k in 41 isn’t a great time for me right now.  A 41 minute 10k is fantastic for many people, but it’s not awesome for me right now. Not a big deal, and I still had a lot of fun down the shore.  Do bad races stink? Of course, we all do but I’m already over it.

On Sunday, I had planned to run about 10 but literally ran into a few friends during my run.  I ended up running about 5 miles with them, which caused me to be out longer than I anticipated.  I’m glad I decided to run with my friends, and I can’t remember the last time I ran 13 miles straight through at a relaxed, comfortable pace.  It was nice to change it up.

Thoughts from the Week:

In all, I had a good week. The 10k didn’t go as I had hoped (My “C” goal was to break 40), but running is funny like that.  You’ll never feel good at every race.  If you do, you are probably going to test positive for something…

My plan for the remainder of May is just to have fun.  I have a lot going on the next few weeks, and I’ll still run, but I’m not going crazy.  My races might slower than the Spring, but it’s okay.

Posts from the Week:

Broad Street 10 Miler (1:02.51)

Exploring Cattus Island Park in Toms River

Recovering with Collagen Protein

Questions for you:

Do you have any 10k wisdom?

How was your week of training?

Broad Street 10 Miler (1:02.51)

Broad Street 10 Miler (1:02.51)

This year, Broad Street wasn’t about my running my fastest.  After PRing in the half marathon this February, I haven’t trained as consistently over the past few months.  Life has gotten away from me, and small things have popped up here and there.  I am still in shape, but am I in PRing shape?  No.  That’s okay, and you can’t be in peak performance all of the time.

Anyway, this year Broad Street was about my finishing happy.  I DNSed last year because I was burned out. I could have run, but I would have been miserable. I knew I had made the right decision when I spectated the end and had no sadness at all.

This year I was determined to finish healthy, happy, and with a smile.

I did all of that and even had a consistent and solid race.

Each year, both my dad and my father in law come up for Broad Street.  Both are avid runners, and my dad has been running far longer than I have.  Everything up to race day went without a hitch.  My dad got my bib at the Convention center.  We got to the stadiums around 6 and made it to the start line around 7.

broad street 10 miler

I was seeded bib F143.  I tried to use the “seeded bathrooms”, but the volunteer told me my bib was too high (I.E., I was too slow).  There wasn’t really a point for me to be seeded I guess. I started exactly where I did when I ran every other year in the red coral.

I didn’t have time to wait again to use the bathroom, and when you are surrounded by 40,000 other people, there isn’t anywhere to go.  I rarely start any race having to use the bathroom, but I didn’t have a choice. I respect that there were faster athletes, but it didn’t make it easier to start a race needing to use the bathroom.

The race started right at 8 am, and we were off.  I told myself 1,000 times to run my race.  Time didn’t matter, but finishing happy and strong did.  I wasn’t sure what I was capable of.  I thought faster than the 1:05s I ran a few years ago but slower than my PR of 1:01.59.

My plan was just run my own race. I saw many people I knew storm by me, but I was in my own world.  The first mile of Broad Street always gets out fast anyway.  I ran a 6:15 and I thought, I think that’s half marathon PR pace but I would not be able to sustain that.

I saw a couple of friends during the second mile that zoomed by me. I thought, dang I’ve run fast in races with them before, and they are just floating by.  No big deal though. The next few miles went without much excitement.  I ran a 6:15, 6:16, 6:15.

By the time I knew it, we were doing the one turn in the entire race, around City Hall.  That is when I saw a few people in front, I knew I was going to reel in.  The humidity had started to get to me. It was forecasted to rain during Broad Street but never did.  The weather had spiked over the week from 40 to 60 and humid.  I wasn’t as prepared for it.  It was by no means bad weather, but was it wasn’t whether we were accustomed too!

Around city hall, I saw my good friend and coworker (thanks TJ) which motivated me.  The small turn in the race makes mile 5 fly by.  I think it breaks up the course well and by the time you know it, you’re over halfway done.  I ran mile 5 in 6:19.

During the next few miles, I focused on reeling people in.  It gave me the motivation to keep plugging along. I hit mile 6 in 6:10 and mile 7 in 6:11. I didn’t purposely run faster, I just did.

The heat and humidity hit me during the next few miles.  I was still enjoying myself, high fiving kids, etc. but I did not feel “on top of the world”.  My stomach was in knots because of the heat.  I always take Gatorade/electrolyte aid on course for anything more than a 10k.  I had been taking the on-course aid.

The last three miles, I traded back and forth with local runner Bryan.  I recognized him from other races, and we later chatted afterward. Around mile 7, I told myself, my goal was to run under 63.  Not a race PR but still a strong race for me.  I just needed to hold on.

broad street 10 miler

The last 3 miles were a bit of a blur.  I ran as fast as my legs would take me.  My legs never felt great, or loose during the race but they didn’t feel awful either.  Finally, we hit the Navy Yard at 9.75, and I began smiling.  I knew I was almost home and almost done.

broad street 10 miler

I powered to the finish and actually passed someone!  (In case you don’t know, I have the world’s worst kick).  I crossed in 1:02.51 and 35th female overall.  Apparently, I was beaming after the race and don’t even remember this.

broad street 10 miler

Thoughts:

I’m happy with how Broad Street went. It wasn’t my fastest or my slowest, but I was able to run a strong and consistent race.  I smiled the entire way.  It was nice to see so many friends along the course as well as after.  Even in a 40,000 person race you always see someone! Both my father and father in law had great races as well.

Questions for you:

What is the biggest race you’ve run?

Have you ever raced a 10 miler?

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.08)

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.08)

The April Fools Half race is typically one of my favorite races of the year. I PRed in 2014, won in 2015, and as most people know last year wasn’t my day.  Even though last year wasn’t my day, I enjoyed how well the race was put together and seeing friends.

Moving forward, not running well in 2017 meant I was hoping to run better in 2018. I wanted redemption (for myself).  As the race drew closer, I found myself having similar burn out symptoms as 2017.  A few weeks ago, I took several days off and focused on rest and recovery.  It was what I needed, and when the race drew closer, I felt more ready.

Like many racers this past weekend (People that ran Boston are awesome!), the conditions were not pleasant. It was spitting rain, and extremely windy. For me, I would rather it rain or not rain.  The change in weather made it difficult to prepare for.

Racing in torrential downpours is different than running in a dry 45 degree.  While driving down, I noticed we were going to deal with direct headwind and tailwind.  In 2016, it year it was Gail force winds, but crosswinds.  You never got a direct headwind, just sidewind down the shore.  It wasn’t pleasant, but it was better than racing through a headwind. This year it looked like you would run fast going out, then get your face smacked with the wind coming back.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

And that’s exactly what happened.

I was between 5 different outfits depending on if the rain held off but ultimately decided to wear my Goretex jacket and shorts. I was happy I did.  Between my half marathon and Boston, it’s amazing to me, how many people are embarrassed to race in a jacket.  Race smart, and put some clothes on.

We got to the start around 6:45, chatted with friends, then lined up at 8.  By the time I knew it, we were off!  When the race started, I immediately found myself running alone. I remained alone for the entire race. I was within 15 seconds of one male, but for the most part, I ran alone.

The first few miles went by quickly. We had a significant tailwind.  I ran between 6:15-6:17 and hit the first 5k in 19:26. I felt good and better than I have in a while. Of course, the wind helped, but mentally I felt good.

The next few miles left the boardwalk.  I began counting down the miles.  It’s never good when you start counting down the miles at mile 5.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

I hit the 10k in a wind-aided 38:13. It was just under PR pace.  I’m not one to take my races out fast, and the pace was faster than my PR at Phoenix.  I didn’t suddenly think, today I would PR because I knew the headwind would be nasty.  I did, however, feel good. ]

At 6.55 miles in, we turned around, and that is pretty much where all of the “race action” happened.

Immediately, into hitting the wind, I thought omg this will be rough.  We were running into an unblocked 35 mph headwind.  Which we did for the remainder of the race.  You could see the waves crashing on the shore and birds basically going backward.  At some points, I would stop dead in my tracks.  I had no one to draft off of, no one to commiserate with, just me and my thoughts (which mostly consisted of 4 letter words).

I knew it was important to run for the conditions and forget about pace. I ran mile 7 in 6:27.  The next two miles were two of the hardest miles I’ve run in my life (behind mile 16 of the New York City Marathon).  The wind was blowing straight in your face.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

We were tucked along the shore, and the buildings didn’t provide a lot of protection.  I began passing racers going the opposite direction who were cheering.  I recognized many and tried to cheer, but it was difficult to hear anything over the wind blasting in your face.  I ran mile 8 in 7:15 and mile 9 in 6:58.  Two of my slowest half marathon miles in a long time, but I didn’t care.  I knew what the conditions were.

At mile 9, I told myself okay 4 miles to go.  We entered the unprotected boardwalk.  The shore was right there, and along the coast it gets windy.  I’ve never run in 35 mph headwind for a race, let alone along the waterfront.  Before the race, I had thought maybe a jacket was too much, but at mile 9 I was happy with it.  I had purposely only put 2 pins on my bib in case I wanted to delayer, but I was cold the last 4 miles.

I kept plugging along, and the miles slowly started ticking away.  My legs felt great, but the headwind was still there.  The miles went by without a lot of excitement.

Around mile 12, a woman darted across the boardwalk.  The boardwalk is wooden, and with the rain the boardwalk was slick.  The slickness is what caused me to wear the more cushioned Nike Zoom Fly, versus a racing flat.  Coincidently, I chose the shoe so I wouldn’t slip and fall.

When the cyclist saw the women, he told her to get off the course.  I, not as nicely, said to move. She didn’t, and within a second we collided and were both on the ground.  I fell directly onto my tailbone.  There was nothing more the cyclist or myself could have done to prevent that. It stunk, but it happened.

I layed there, on the ground at mile 12 of the race I desperately wanted to finish strong. The adrenaline kicked in, and before I knew it, I was up again. My adrenaline was pumping, just telling myself I had 7 more minutes of running.  At that point, nothing hurt.  The cyclist asked me if I was okay and I said yes.  All I could think about was finishing the race.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

The last mile was tough, to begin with.  It’s a straight line, down the boardwalk.  It was windy, I had just fallen, and wanted the race to be done.  Finally, I saw the finish.

Like 2015, they weren’t able to inflate the blow up this year due to the wind.  Then I saw  I was going to break the tape.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

Every emotion came out.  The previous night’s makeup was running from the rain, I was smiling, and I crossed the finish line in 1:26.08.

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

After the race, I was asked about my back.  I chose not to cool down, because of my tailbone. I talked with friends, including my good friend and local runner Erin.

I did get an X-ray which didn’t find anything broken.  In my personal experience, x-rays have never shown small fractures but if anything, I know it’s not shattered.  I’ve never hurt my tailbone before! That being said, I’m still cautious.  Due to where I hit, I got a few other tests done including a spinal tap to make sure nothing around my brain was bleeding (which it isn’t).

While 1:26.08 is “only” 9 seconds faster than the previous year: the weather was much more difficult (the weather was almost ideal last year), but most importantly, I crossed mentally feeling good.

Questions for you:
Did you race last weekend?  How was it?
Have you ever fallen during a race?

Training Log: Travel and the Phillies 5k

Training Log: Travel and the Phillies 5k

Last week was spent being busy but also attempting to recover from races.  As you can see from the word “attempt”, it probably wasn’t my best attempt.  The next few weeks are going to be very busy and not because of my running store job. For instance, yesterday I had something pop up which caused me to miss fun plans with friends.

To be honest, running takes the least amount of priority in my life.  Yes, I work at a running store and have a running blog but it isn’t, and never will be my sole focus in life.  It’s just what I choose to post on the internet.  During the next month, I will still run consistently but I won’t have a lot of time for the little things outside of that.  I’m worried I might over exhaust myself like I did last year which led to my burnout.  If that becomes the case this year I’ll just step back which prevent a month or more break. I am more familiar with signs and warnings (of my personal burnout) which makes it easier.

Anyway-

Not a lot to say about this week.  I consistently ran and raced one of my favorite races of the year: The Phillies 5k.  I’ve now won 3 years in a row which is a good feeling.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes and drive back to NJ
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes+ART with Dr. Kemonosh
Saturday: Phillies 5k (19:07)
Sunday: Long Run with fast finish (14 miles with 5 at 6:50)

Thoughts:

Not a lot to say about this week.  I skipped a midweek workout because my body was not ready for that after the Adrenaline 5k and Shamrock Half Marathon last week.  I wish I had been able to get a massage earlier in the week, however, another snowstorm on Wednesday closed almost everything down.  The snow has affected training but it affects everyone.  I’ll never put my safety in danger to run outdoors or travel somewhere.

The Phillies 5k was a rough day for me.  It’s my slowest 5k in a while, however, I gave it my all for the day.  My all for the day was a 19:07.  A lot of things happened that morning including forgetting my racing flats but I’m proud of finishing and getting another win.  Not every day will be your best.  I’m not mad, sad, or disappointed because there are many more 5ks in the sea of racing.

My next “big race” is the April Fools half marathon which I would like to run well at.  Last year, it was my final race before a break from burnout so it would be nice to have redemption there.  Until then, I’ll just focus on life, running, and recovery.  I’ll run a few 5ks before to keep sharp.

Posts from the Week:

My Start to Running

Questions for you:

Are you a baseball fan?

How do you fit in runs when you are busy?

Adrenaline Run 5k (18:29)

Adrenaline Run 5k (18:29)

Last weekend I ran two races. Initially, I didn’t plan to do both. However, it just worked out. I needed to stay in New Jersey until Saturday, and at that point, I was in town for my local running stores biggest 5k of the year: The Adrenaline Run 5k. Before my plans changed to stay in New Jersey, I had already signed up for the Shamrock Half.

My new goal was to run as hard as possible at the Adrenaline and then just pick up the pieces at the Shamrock. I know I’m in good shape, but in short, Adrenaline didn’t show that. I had reasons I needed to stay in NJ, and I underestimated how busy I would be the week before.

I arrived to the Adrenaline Run and didn’t feel as good as I would have hoped. I felt very meh. I warmed up with my friend Shae, arrived to the start, and by the time I knew it, we were off. During the first mile, I was caught in a pack of people and got a slow start. Not only that, but I just felt stale. My legs felt heavy, and my speed wasn’t there.

I hit the first mile in 6:00 and immediately felt defeated. I couldn’t get in a rhythm and I felt like nothing felt easy.

I know I’m in PR shape and possibly in sub 18 shape, but it wasn’t my day. After I realized that, I just moved past my mentality and just wanted to run a strong race.

During the second mile, I was running with a pack of women, many of whom I knew personally and are friends. We went around a few turns and down a small hill. I nearly slipped, and I panicked I had pulled something. Due to my form, running downhill in a race is one of the most likely places I’ll get injured.

I rounded the turn and saw my coworkers at the water stop, and I gave a quick wave and mile. To be honest, seeing all three put me in a better mood (thanks, Shawn, Ralph, and Jeff) and I knew I was halfway. I climbed a hill and hit the second mile in 6:10.me running haddonfield adrenaline 5k

I went from feeling happy back down into a slump. Apparently, I rode a lot of emotions during that race. The last mile felt like I finally woke up and just powered to the finish line. I was still with the pack, and we all powered through. We ran the last mile in 5:47 and I crossed in 18:32 with a chip time of 18:29.

Thank you for the photo Norm

me running adrenaline 5k haddonfield nj

While I’m not exactly satisfied with the race, I do know I didn’t feel good and it wasn’t my day, I had a great time seeing so many of local NJ friends and runners. I was 10th women overall and I believe 106th overall. It is my fastest 5k in the calendar year, despite not the fitness I know I’m in.

Questions for you:

Do you use positive self-talk to get you through races?

Not Every Run is Fun

Not Every Run is Fun

When I first began my journey running, it felt hard.  Today, running still feels hard.

The meaning has changed and what was once difficult is now longer not, however, every training cycle presents itself with new challenges.

Not Every Run is Fun

Every new runner has asked:

Does running ever any easier?  

Do veteran runners always feel good running?

Do elites feel like they are cake walking every mile?

No, no, and also no

I love running, and for the most part, I’ve had a lot of great runs.  I have a running blog and work at a running store.  However, like anyone I’ve also had some terrible runs.  It’s not all the Instagram highlight and picture-perfect reel.  No one lives are!

There have been plenty of times I’ve woken up and thought, “nope, I’m not running today” and gone back to sleep.  This has been enhanced by the recent time change and daylight saving time.

If you have been running for any amount of time, you’ve probably had a time when running felt stale.

It’s boring; there isn’t anything to look forward too, and you’ve lost all of your motivation.  You’ve had several runs you’ve struggled getting through, and it just seems like…ugh why bother.  This happened to me, around this time last year.  I didn’t go through my big burnout until last April. However, I began to feel stale around March.  I firmly believe if I had taken a couple of weeks off last March, I probably wouldn’t have taken four months off in April.

Could have, would have, should have, but I have no regrets.

The truth is, running never really gets much easier.  Every runner new or old struggled with getting out of the door at some point.

Here are a few ideas that can change your mindset and motivation:

Often times, change is the key to breaking out of a rut. 

Find a Running Partner:

Run by anyone you see, but just don’t approach someone because that could get awkward.  But seriously, change up who you are running with. Thinking out loud, it makes the run feel entirely different!  Even running on the same route with someone new makes the run fly by.  Even listening to a new podcast makes it feel like you’re running with someone.

Run different mileage:

Ideas include:

  • Decrease your distance
  • Run two short runs versus one longer run.
  • If you were training for a longer race, train for a shorter run.
  • Add cross training or find a new class

Change where you run
A change of scenery can be a good thing.  Personally, racing in a different location each week keeps me from getting bored. Try running on the trails, different neighborhoods, or even the treadmill.  Sometimes catching up on trashy TV and running on the treadmill is what I want to do.  I wrote a post about not hating the treadmill!  With a rest day, race, running with someone, and workout, I normally only run the same route 1-2X per week.  It keeps things interesting.

Most importantly!

When all else fails and running is just not going well, take a break.  There is plenty more to life than running.  Even if you’re an elite runner, you still probably enjoy a few things outside of moving your feet.

A break never hurts and can help you come back stronger.  At the end of the day, it’s just running.

Question for you: How do you break out of a rut?

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