2018 in Running

2018 in Running

If you don’t feel like reading a quick summary is as followed: I ran fewer miles, didn’t stress, set 2 PRs, and ran things I never thought I would.  Two intense trail races? Another marathon? Sure why not…

Here we go…

January:

I planned to run a 5k to kick in the new year, but I didn’t because it was cold. I don’t remember the exact temperature, but it was somewhere between 0-10 degrees. My best race in January was the Distance Series 15 miler in VA.  I averaged about 6:35 pace for 15 miles which is significantly faster than anything I’ve run towards the latter half of the year.

me running distance series va beach

It was a low key month as far as races, but the East Coast was cold and miserable for most of the month.

February:

February was my best of the month for running of the year.  I finally PRed in a half marathon.  It took over two years to get back to a PR, but I ran almost a minute faster than my previous.  As far as training went, every race I ran in February, just felt good.  I can’t believe it’s almost been 11 months since then and I hope I’m able to get back there again.Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

March:

I had a lot of fun training in March. When people ask my best performance of the year, I don’t think it’s my half or marathon PR. I actually think it was when I ran the Adrenaline Run in 18:29 in NJ, then drove 6 hours and ran the Shamrock Half in 1:23 in VA the next day. I wasn’t expecting to run that well, but I just felt good.  It was my fastest time at Shamrock but also the best weather.

shamrock half marathon va beach me running

April:

In 2017, I ran the April Fools race, and it was my last race before burning out. It was a culmination of too many things pulling me too many directions, so I took a mental and physical break. My goal for 2018, was to come back and win the April Fools Half. I’ve won the race before, but I wanted to win again. Of course, you can’t control who shows up, but it was one of my top five favorite running moments of the year. The weather was windy and rainy, and I also collided with a pedestrian, but I did what I wanted.  Here is the recap. 

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

May:

May was a quiet month as far as running. I ran less, I just kind of bebopped along with nothing crazy either way. I ran Broad Street in 1:03 which I was pleased with. Not my fastest or slowest. I got to see my family and have fun.  May started a long shift in mindset towards the end of the year that running became a lot of the “focus” in my life.  Yes, I ran, but I chose other things before running on more than one occasion.  While I don’t blog about my personal life with the military, it has been a busy later half. Some weeks, it takes more mental and physical time than my actual job, and that’s ok.

broad street 10 miler

In May, I also ran the Cape May 10k, a race I had wanted to run for years.  Sadly I felt like garbage the entire race, and it was one of the “worst” races I ran all year. I’ve run workouts faster, but it was fun to hang out with friends, and I enjoy Cape May.  A photo of me finishing what I consider my worst race of the year, but still smiling because it’s just running and it was a really good day anyway.

me running cape may 10k

June:

I didn’t race much in June. My favorite was a five miler in Atlantic City. It ended on the beach but was a lot of fun. I barely won and if it had been 6 miles, I would not. Atlantic City races are my favorite. Not because I love gambling or AC, but I think the races are all well put together and I just enjoy the time there. bungalow beach 5 miler atlantic city

July:

In July, I decided to run the Copper Mountain 25k, and I am so proud of myself for doing so. It was one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I’ve never run a trail race of that magnitude before.  It started at 9000 feet and climbed all the way to 12,000 feet. It was one of the reasons I decided to run another marathon. I hadn’t spent that much time on my feet in a long time, and I knew after that, I could do it again! It was one of my favorite race moments of the entire year.

under armour copper mountain race me running

August:

I had so much fun at Copper Mountain, I ran the Killington 25k. Killington was a much more challenging and rocky course. It was lower elevation, but the rockiness and technical uphill and downhill made for more hiking than running. I was just as proud of my accomplishment there too. I ran Killington in 3:20 which is the longest I’ve ever spent running.

underarmour killington 25k

September:

September started my “official” marathon training. Official is very loose because I didn’t follow a plan and ran when I ran. I knew I needed to get long runs in, but I also knew I wanted to get more shorter workouts and races in. I ran the Boothbay Harborfest Half Marathon which is the hilliest half I’ve done.  It was one of the best half marathons I had in the fall despite being minutes slower than every Spring half. (Every? Yes, after checking every LOL).

Boothbay harborfest half marathon

My husband, father-in-law, and I all ran the Air Force half marathon. I ran much slower than the year before, but it was one of the hottest races, and they ended up shutting down the race early for safety. I got some of my favorite race photos from the race, so I came out with something.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

October:

October continued my running.  While training for New York, I never really felt like I got back into shape. I was in shape, but I wasn’t in the same shape as the Spring. I ran the Atlantic City half in 1:27 and felt good about that.  atlantic city half marathon me running

November:

November was about the marathon. I ran a 3:07 which I’m proud of.  It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I was granted the very last (YAY for being the caboose) spot in the sub-elite corral. I got to watch the professionals warm up, hang out with them, and just relax. Then I ran a 7 minute PR. I never felt like I was in the best shape ever for the marathon, but I did feel like I was in “good shape.”  I wasn’t in the same fitness as the winter and while it’s a 7 minute PR, I know I’m capable of doing more when I want too and when I get back to faster fitness.

New York City marathon me running

December:

December has been about building back fitness. It’s taken me a lot longer to come back (coming back from nothing is apparently more difficult than injury), but I’m okay with it. Some seasons are better than other. In December, I also ran my 50th half marathon in Baltimore. It was one of the least safe races I’ve done, and I took the race out too fast for how I felt but that’s ok, I had a great time.

me running race 13.1 baltimore

As the end of the year approaches, I reflect on how good of the year 2018 was for running. Running will never be my life’s focus, but I’m glad to have a good year filled with more good races than bad, and new PRs too.

I look forward to what 2019 will bring. I don’t have any huge goals right now because I don’t know where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, and where life will take me in 2019. My goal for running is always to stay healthy, injury free, and just enjoy it.

Questions for you:

How was your year of racing and training?

What was your favorite race? Least favorite race? 

Base Building Week 5: Good.

Base Building Week 5: Good.

Training in December can be difficult but that’s why I choose not to stress about running. I run, I do workouts, but do I stress with extra rest days, shorter runs, or trying something different? No.

A few years ago,  I trained for a winter marathon and while rewarding, it was tough for me to balance family, live, and 20 mile long runs.

Anyway, training last week was good.  I seem to use the word “good” in place of uneventful, but training was boring.  I did what I needed, and trekked along.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 3X1 mile (6:30, 6:30, 6:30) Total miles 10
Thursday: 30-minute walk (nothing strenuous)
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Lonely 5k Week 2: 19:57.3 Total miles 10
Sunday: Long Run

Thoughts:

Like usual, the easy runs were easy. There was nothing exciting or eventful.

Wednesdays Workout: 3X1 mile (6:30, 6:30, 6:30) with 90 seconds rest.

This run felt harder than it should have and I was not as fast as I would have liked.  My legs just didn’t have it and I was tired.  I was proud of my effort and consistency but past that, I was ready to move on from the workout. 

Lonely 5k Week 2: 19:57.3

Last week, I ran a 20:00.3 and was 3 seconds faster this week. It was much windier but no rain.  I am someone who thrives on racing and just having a hard effort each week. I find I am the most confident and I’ve been in the best shape when that happens. Unfortunately, this time of year and through January, there aren’t a lot of races (basically none) in NJ.  Last week, when my race was canceled due to weather, I decided to run my own.  I don’t know how long I’ll continue the trend but it’s been fun the last 2 weeks.

I ran a 6:29, 6:30, 6:22. To be honest, I thought it would just be a few seconds slower than last week but I found another gear and passed my time from last week. I visualized myself outkicking me ha.  Anyway, I am pleased with a faster time on a harder day. 

Long Run: 14 miles averaging 8:21 pace with a faster finish

I’ve started wearing my GPS watch more on long runs to get a good idea of pace. I had planned to run between 10-12 but do some marathon paced work (around 7:15 for me), but opted for a solid long run with my husband. He asked if I wanted to run but “it needed to be between 8:15-8:30 pace).  That’s not a pace that ever feels easy to me during trianing.  It felt comfortable enough to chat, but I knew I was working harder. We ran the last 3 around 8 minutes. I felt good about it.

Next week between Christmas and New Years, I’ll be traveling a lot to see family. My training will roughly stay the same (or as close as what happens).

Posts from the Week:

Treadmills are Ok.

Matcha Collagen Latte

Questions for you:

Do you train through the Holidays?

Do you like racing or no?

Treadmills are Ok.

Treadmills are Ok.

After careful thinking about a title, I realized honesty is the best policy and truth be told:

I don’t hate the treadmill.

Many long-time readers know I went to college and worked in Upstate, NY for several years. I’ve spent plenty of winters training almost exclusively on the treadmill.

Before you say: “just get out there and run outside,” I’ll also let you know that I’ve slipped on ice and broken my arm when walking outside. There is zero shame in running in the treadmill or getting out there. Where you run only effects you, no one else. If running on the treadmill makes you feel good…cool.  There are some days; I just prefer the treadmill even when the weather is decent.

While New Jersey is a lot easier to run outdoors year-round, some places such as Upstate New York are not.  When I lived in New York State, some winters it was -30 outside and you’re so bundled up you can’t get more than a speed waddle outside.

I enjoy running, but I’m not going to run outside only to be miserable or be unsafe while doing so.

Back to the point of this post, I don’t mind running on the treadmill.  I’m able to put in a certain pace, zone out, and go.  A few years ago, there was a significant ice storm the night before my last my last twenty miler before Phoenix marathon. It was either run 20 miles on a treadmill or miss the run.  I watched 3 hours of Say Yes to the Dress, and it wasn’t bad.

treadmill running

But how do you run on the treadmill if you actually hate it?

First, change your mindset: 

If you call it the “dreadmill,” of course, you aren’t going to enjoy it. I should take this mentality with shopping and call it dreading…maybe I wouldn’t like that too.

Do a Workout You Couldn’t Normally Do:

Is your area hilly?  Use the treadmill to get a flat run in.  Or use the treadmill to run a more hilly run.  You can get a run that you aren’t ordinarily able too.

Last winter, I did several shorter workouts on the treadmill.  Having a treadmill forces you to run workouts at a certain pace. I don’t necessarily love that, but it is a lot easier to get a good feeling of what a pace feels like than trying to run it outdoors.   I remember doing 12X400s on a treadmill at 6:00-minute pace to see how it felt.

Find a Friend:

Most runners aren’t the same pace.  With a treadmill, you can both run at your respected speed but still run together.  It’s a great tool to catch up with friends, and both get a good run in.

Netflix and Run:

I won’t tell you how many TV shows or series I’ve binge-watched while running.  You can catch up on TV, the news or whatever and still get a run.  It’s a lot harder to watch TV and run outside.  These days, podcasts are all of the rage. I find it much easier to listen to a podcast inside versus outside.

The treadmill isn’t a bad training device.  Sadly, it does get a bad rep.

Questions for you:

Do you run on the treadmill?

What is your favorite treadmill workout?

Christmas Classic 5 Miler (32:46)

Christmas Classic 5 Miler (32:46)

Last weekend, I ran the Christmas Classic 5 Miler in Bethlehem, PA.  I haven’t been to Bethlehem since the Runners World half in 2017, so it was nice to go back.  I’ve run the Runners World 5k and half for a few years, so I know that Bethlehem is not flat. I wasn’t expecting a pancake course, and it did not disappoint.

The race started at 9:10 which was nice because my husband and I could sleep in.  We left the house around 6:45 am and got to Bethelam around 8.  Packet pickup was at the YMCA and there was plenty of parking. I don’t usually get excited about race t-shirts but a cotton long sleeve race t-shirt is the unicorn of running shirts.

Before leaving for the race, I hadn’t made much of an effort and threw a bunch of stuff in a bag.  When I got to the race, I realized I didn’t have a long sleeve shirt or my puffer vest. It was 20 degrees and I had planned to run in both. I almost ran in the race shirt, but since I had capris, I figured the tank and arm warmers would be fine.

I warmed up and felt decent.  Just as we got to the start, the 5k was off. The 5k started 10 minutes before the 5 miler. It was a crowded downhill start.  I found myself as fifth women overall. My legs didn’t feel great and just felt like I’ve started training again. I didn’t have a big goal for the race, just to get a hard workout in.

I hit the first mile in 6:35 and felt okay about it. Lately, I’ve struggled not to compare myself to earlier in the year, but I know that fitness will come again.  We caught up to many of the 5kers which was frustrating because we were going around many people walking 3-4 across. Finally, we turned off and went different directions.

During the second mile, I passed two women and found myself running side by side with a male.  He would tuck in behind me as if I provided some sort of draft for him.

I liked the course because I could get an idea of where I was in relation to other racers.  I saw my husband flying by and I was happy for him.  He had a rough week as well as a long flight the day before, so he wasn’t thrilled to be running.

We passed the water stop around mile 2.5 and I needed water. I hadn’t hydrated enough and I found myself probably getting a side stitch.  Unfortunately, due to crowding of the 5k and 5 miler, there was no way I could grab water. I didn’t stop and kept going.

I hit the third mile in 6:35 and felt decent. I knew the last 2 miles would be rough. We were at the lowest part of Bethlehem but the race itself had started at the highest peak. When we would go up?  It was a question I kept wondering…

We didn’t run back up in the fourth mile.  During the fourth mile, I found myself running alone and as the second woman, although I knew 3rd was coming up behind me.

Then around mile 4.5, we hit the hill. The 5kers were also climbing the hill and I weaved around people. I tried to run the tangent as best as possible but also not look like I was struggling, and just make it up. The entire hill wasn’t more than .25, but it was steep.  At the last turn, I high fived the local running store mascot and powered to the finish.

During my last .1 finish, I was weaving around 5kers trying to hold the next woman off. Two 5kers went to raise their hands, and cross holding hands but unfortunately one smacked me directly in the face. I looked overly dramatic but I wasn’t all that mad. I crossed in 32:46 which was a decent time for where I’m at fitness wise as well as for the course.me running christmas classic

I’m happy with my effort on the day. I’ve only run a few courses that have racers overlap at different distances and now I’ve done it twice in a row. 5

Questions for you:

Do you like themed races?

Have you ever run in the race t-shirt?

I thought it was borderline comical when I said I might end up doing that and the number of people that thought it was “the end of the world.”

Race 13.1 Baltimore (1:30.58)

Race 13.1 Baltimore (1:30.58)

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts about the Race 13.1 in Baltimore. I made the decision to race only a few days before. It’s not the first time I’ve decided to race a half right before and I figured it would be a good workout.

We drove down the night before and got to Baltimore around 9 pm. I couldn’t fall asleep and since the race started at an early 7 am, the alarm clock at 4:45 wasn’t welcomed. There have only been a few times an alarm clock has jolted me awake, and of course race day was one of them. On race morning, it was one of a few things that went wrong.

I got ready and on our way our for coffee, the hotel door lock mechanism wasn’t working, so we got locked out of our room. I had things I could race with so instead of wasting time with that situation, we just went over.

Then race packet pickup took over 30 minutes.  That wasn’t too big of a deal, because I had no plans to warm up anyway.

Because of the packet pickup, the race was delayed, and I stood at the start freezing. When the race finally started, I was stiff, tired, and running 13.1 miles was the last thing I wanted to do. I reminded myself the race was a workout to get towards fitness. I’m far away from running another 1:22, but every PR starts somewhere.

As we were off, I settled in with a few high school kids. The race went out past a bagel shop, and helicopter pad did a 180 turn around .75 in. I hit the first mile in 6:37 which was relatively shocking.  That is faster than one of my miles last 5k.

As we rounded another turn, we saw the 5k/10k off, and I saw my husband. I started to settle into a groove and hit the second mile in 6:47.  That was better, but I struggled to get into a groove.

We went around the Harbor on a very narrow path. I could have easily fallen into the Harbor, and the number of turns on the waterfront made it impossible to get any momentum.  I surprised myself and consistently ran around 6:40.

Then we merged with the 5k and 10kers who were mostly walking. It was an extremely unpleasant and dangerous situation for everyone. The half marathoners were forced to weave around 5k/10kers who were walking or walking 2+ across. I watched as two people collided (both were fine).

None of the half marathoners were able to get water or Gatorade at the stop, because of crowding. Sure, I could have stopped and waited for water, but I didn’t.

Around the water stop, there was a direction for 10k/13.1 to go one way, and 5k to go another. It seemed like they needed a few more volunteers there because many people went the wrong way. Following the crowd didn’t “cut it” because the crowd was so large.

me running race 13.1 baltimore

After that, the race spread out because it was just the 10k and half.  We ran straight through Baltimore and then around the Harbor.  On the roads, I was maintaining between 6:40-6:45 mile and on the harbor pier, I was maintaining about 6:50. I was pleased because my body didn’t feel that great.

I needed to pass a few 10kers on the Harbor Pier. The path was narrow, and as I tried to pass, I slipped on the slick Harbor Pier. While I was able to catch myself and not fall, I became worried I had strained something (I strained my quad a long time ago, running on a slick surface).  Luckily, it was nothing.

I passed the halfway point in 44:20.  I was surprised but happy. I thought, wow I could break 1:30 again today.  Clearly, that didn’t happen.

The second half of the race got much rougher for me. Mentally, I wasn’t into it.  Mile 7 felt as though it took forever.  I saw the leaders coming back towards me. I saw the first guy and decided to see how far ahead he was. I watched my clock, and he was almost 3 minutes ahead of all racers.

Around mile 8, we did a 180 around the Under Armour Headquarters to head back. I’ve always wanted to see the Under Armour building and it was massive. The next few miles, I just focused on trucking forward.  My miles were slowly creeping into the 6:50s.

Around mile 9, two people who weren’t racing began jogging by. The race volunteer almost missed me to tell me the turn (which I cluelessly would have missed too). I yelled, do we turn here and said: Are you running?

At mile 10, I told myself “just a 5k” to go. I remembered the New York Marathon when I said the same thing.  Mile 10 was lonely, and I ran a 6:55.

The final two miles went along the pier. It was almost as if right at mile 11, my lefts seized up and got heavy. I never felt great during the race, but I went from eh, to not feeling good at all. I ended up talking with a guy for a few seconds which broke up the monotony.

The final two miles felt like the final miles of a marathon.  We met back up with more 10kes, and I weaved around people on the narrow pier.

Finally, we rounded the last turn, and I could see the finish. I just wanted to be there.  I ran the last two miles in 7:22 and crossed the finish line in 1:30.58.  The 10k/13.1 finished together and I only wish I had noticed what was happening around me at the time.  I make a finishing cameo around 1:02.32

I am pleased with my effort. From the number of runners on the narrow course to the amount of turns, I didn’t find it to be an easy course. I know I didn’t run the tangents well, and I believe my GPS said 13.3.  I don’t put much stock in GPS data, but I didn’t take the shortest possible route.

The weather, however, was beautiful. I am glad I chose to run the race, untapered and to see where I was at. I don’t regret running and I had a fun time in Baltimore.  I am glad all of the small issues came up during one race: lack of sleep, hotel issues, and race course woes.

I’ll continue racing as much as the weather cooperates in hopes to build back fitness.

Questions for you:

What is the most dangerous race you’ve run?

Are you good at running tangents? 

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