Dragon Run 5k (18:58)

On Saturday, I ran the Dragon Run 5k.  The local high school’s mascot is a dragon which is how it got it’s name.  I didn’t even know about the race until the week before when a student came into work and told me to do it.

As I mentioned in my log, I ran my longest run in 18 months the Wednesday before.  While I wasn’t recovering poorly, I didn’t feel amazing either.  My legs felt as if they had minimal pep.  That being said, I wanted to support the school.  I’m beyond the point that I let ego bother me.  If I ran a 20 or 21 minute 5k, I am happy to finish healthy.  It stinks at the time, but I’m not a professional runner and in the big picture, my time doesn’t really matter.  I still have a job and a blog whether I have a bad race or not.

I got to the race around 7:30.  I didn’t realize how big it was and there were over 700 runners and a huge craft show.  All of the roads were shut down. I’m not too familiar with the area, but I found a parking spot and went to the start to sign up.  I didn’t get a t-shirt which actually looked really cool! The woes of signing up late.

Warming up proved to be more of a challenge because it was a lot of country roads with no shoulder.  I was able to get a good warmup and made it to the start by 8:20.  I talked with several local kids.  While chatting, the gun went off.  There were no announcements or anything, just a gun.  It was the most abrupt start I’ve ever had!

Dragon Run me running

During the first mile, I felt indifferent.  It was muggy, and my legs didn’t feel like led bricks, but they also didn’t feel tapered and ready to run fast.  I still felt overwhelmed by the start and not prepared to actually race.  I ran with a pack of males anywhere from high school to their 60s. We crossed the first mile in 6:07 which I was pleasantly surprised with.  At that point, I decided anything under 20 minutes would be a good goal.

The middle mile was a hilly out and back.   After we had turned around, the rest of the racers kept me motivated.  Since I was running the pace of a lot of the local high school boys, I had a nice group to work with. We crossed the second mile in 6:03 which I was even more surprised with.

Dragon Run me running

During the last mile, my only goal was to run hard and finish hard.  Our pack had spread out, and I was running by myself.  During the final mile, a young student thought he was funny and sprinted side by side with me.  He was telling me to pick up the pace and entertaining his friends.  Luckily he didn’t last long.  I crossed the third mile in 6:03 as well.  I must be a metronome because I did that during last weeks 5k too.

During the last .1, not one, two or three but five high school boys outkicked me.  I don’t have a kick, but they were able to tow me just below 19 and finish in a chip time of 18:58.

Dragon Run me running


I was both happy and surprised with my time.  My only speed work during the last two months (after being injured) has been racing and I ran 17+ miles on Wednesday.  This is my fastest 5k post injury and I ran long the week before.

Questions for you:

Have you ever had someone run side by side with you?

Do you have a good finish line kick?

Donar Dash 5k (20:21)

I’m not sure why this race report was so difficult to write.  As I mentioned in my training log, I’ve had a hard time not comparing myself to running a few months ago.  A few months ago I was effortlessly cranking out workouts and 5ks below 19 minutes.  Then injury hit and now I struggle my way through a local 5k.  It’s hotter weather, and I’ve lost fitness after healing from an injury.  Specific to this race, I spent long days beforehand on my feet.  We had our annual sale at work, and it was the busiest few days of the year.  Why I decided to race a 5k is beyond me…

With that, I arrived around 7:30 on Saturday morning in Wilmington.  Throughout the 30 minute drive, it was sunny, down poured and then just cloudy and muggy.  I signed up for the race and did a short warmup.

I chatted with a few people at the race start. I didn’t recognize anyone, but it happens. I decided to run in a sports bra which is something I rarely do.  It was so hot; I wanted to feel as cool as possible.

The race started, and I found myself as first woman overall.  There were a few men around me.  We went around the stadium and then back into the downtown.  It felt like the first mile was taking forever and I ran it in 6:25. I was a little disappointed since I had run the first mile of my trail five miler in 6:30.  My goal was just to finish healthy, so I don’t know why I cared that much.

During the second mile, I found myself alone. We went along the riverfront and then back around the start and finish. Passing the finish around mile 2 of a 5k is always rough, but I just zoned out and focused on the finish. I ran the second mile in 6:37.

donar dash

The third mile went up a minor hill and back towards the start. I was riding the struggle bus all the way up the hill. My legs felt as though they had no pickup. I passed two men on the downhill who turned around and outkicked me in the homestretch.  I finished the third mile in 6:35 and crossed the finish in 20:21.

I can’t say I’m particularly proud of this race but it was a good baseline to where my fitness is right now.  When I started running a lot of 5ks last year, I was running anywhere between 20-20:30 too.  I’m hoping I’ll gain my fitness back in less time than it took last year but if I don’t…I don’t.  It’s mentally tough not to compare yourself to previous running goals, times and experiences.  I know I’ll eventually get back there if I train appropriately.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy.

Questions for you:
Is it hot where you are?
Do you typically know people at local races? 

The 5k: Quick and Dirty

5ks are quick and dirty. 

reasons to run a 5k

During a 5k, you have two options:

Option 1: You blink and the race is over

Option 2: You take the race out too fast, and it feels like five back to back marathons. 

If you’ve run more than one 5k, you’ve probably experienced both situations.

So why race such a short tactical and precise race?

The half marathon and marathon bug has bit a lot of people.  “Only” becomes associated with half marathoners and new runner has become associated with those training for 5ks.  5ks are one of the most painful and intense races distances despite being one of the shortest.  Thinking out loud, any athlete can benefit from adding a few 5ks into their training plan. 

  1. The need for speed: They make you feel fast. Longer distances make you feel strong and shorter distances make you feel fast.
  2. 5ks are quick and dirty. 5ks are all of a distance “race pain” in a short amount of time.  This means the race is more mentally challenging and much more intense.
  3. If you have a terrible race, try again next week: I’ve had some terrible 5ks only to be chased by an awesome 5k the following week.  A few years ago, I raced one of the most mentally challenging and grueling 5ks I’ve ever run.  It was slow (for me), my legs were fatigued, and I felt awful.  I had high expectations and fell hard.  I rested and recovered and ran an entire 90 seconds faster the following weekend.  Have a poor marathon? It’s much harder to have a come back the next weekend.
  4. Consistency and benchmarks: with 5ks you can see improvement over the course of time. You can mark your progress.  I’ve raced 5ks for the last 11 months, and I’ve been able to track my progress from starting at a 20:20 to recently an 18:13. For some people, myself included, seeing progress is motivating.  I like to feel like my hard work is paying off!
  5. They are fun. It’s one of the few distances you can see a range of people finish.  It could be someone’s first 5k or someone going for a PR.  Either way, most racers stay for the entire race!

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race distance?

When was the last 5k you ran?

Phillies Charity 5k (18:27)

My husband and I registered for the Phillies 5k a while ago.  The race has been on my bucket list since hearing about it last year.  It’s well put together, the registration fee helps the Phillies charity, and you get to finish with a lap around the stadium.  It’s a unique and fun 5k but it sells out quickly, so I bit the bullet a few months ago and signed up.  I normally and wait until the last minute to sign up for any race.

After the Shamrock half last weekend, I was sore and tired.  Time wise, I had no idea what to expect.  I haven’t raced a 5k since my PR at the Flower Show 5k.  To be honest, I toed the line wanting to win.  You can’t control who shows up to a race so that is a game of rolling the dice.  I normally don’t make goals of winning or placing but overall winners received autographed baseball bats which was awesome.

We got to the race around 8 am, warmed up and then headed to the race start.  My legs felt tired and heavy.  I mentioned yesterday; my hamstring has been acting up since Shamrock, and it has taken me a lot longer for my legs to recover.  It’s not anything for me to worry about (yet) but it’s something I want to monitor. 

The race started at 9 am.  It went out fast, and I found myself boxed in between several racers.  We made a few turns in the parking lot and around the stadium.  You don’t realize how big the stadium is until you’re doing laps around it!  I hit the first mile in 5:44.  I was pleasantly surprised because I didn’t feel that good.  I think guts and grit prevailed, because I desperately wanted to win.

The second mile went by in a blur.  I felt like I blinked and the second mile was over.  We went through a park and near a band.  Racers were running the opposite direction yelling  “first woman,” and it was motivating.  I hit the second mile in 5:40.  I haven’t run a mile that quickly in over three years.  I was excited because I didn’t feel great but was still running well.

To recap: mile 2 was my fastest mile in 3 years, and mile 1 was my second fastest. 

The third mile ran directly into headwind.  It was demotivating but I reminded myself it was a beautiful day, and at least the weather was nice.  The last mile of any 5k is always challenging and a windy mile is no exception.  We turned the corner and faced the finish line for over a quarter of a mile.  It felt like the like the finish line was not getting any closer.  I hit the third mile in 6:09 which I wasn’t surprised about.  It was windy, and I felt like I was still working hard.

As I approached the finish line, the Phillies Phanatic rode his go-kart to “run me in”.  I even got to break the tape.  I finished the race in 18:27.

via Phillies facebook
via Phillies 


Winning such a big race was cool.  I’m hoping I get back on track because I believe I have a 5k PR in me.  If there hadn’t been a headwind, I think I could have dropped a few seconds from my time.  I ran my fastest two miles in almost three years (5:40 and 5:44).  This race was on tired legs, and it’s motivating to know when my legs felt 100% I do have a faster 5k in me.  After the race they also interviewed me.  I didn’t think it was possible for me to be more awkward than usual but life is full of surprises…

phillies 5k interview

The Phillies 5k was a well put together and fun race.  The winners received an autographed baseball bat.


Questions for you:

Are you a baseball fan?

Have you ever run a race put on by a professional sports team?

Festival of Races 5k (19:13)

The Festival of Races in Syracuse, NY is a race I’ve always wanted to do.  I’ve been signed up for the race a couple of times, but I’ve been injured both times.  I’ve mentioned before, but I get injured in August and am forced to sit out August, September and October.  This year since I backed off of training I enjoyed running in the early fall.

Anyways, my husband I drove up to the race on Saturday.  Surprisingly Syracuse is only about 4.5 hours away from our house in New Jersey.  We both went to college in NYS, and it was a fun mini race-cation.  The bonus, of course, was getting to hang out and see Heather. We arrived the night before the race, so we didn’t leave NJ at 3 am the next morning.

We arrived at the race around 8.  The men ran at 8:50 and the women raced at 9:50. To be honest, 9:50 is later than I normally like.  I warmed up with Heather, and we watched the men’s race.  Something I miss from cross country is all male or all female runs.

After warming up, I lined up at the starting line.  I somehow forgot to put my racing flats on so I had to do go back and do that too.  I positioned myself further back at the start because I knew the race was very competitive.  The race went off at exactly 9:50.

Festival of Races
Image from Bob Brock

During the first mile, I felt decent.  I didn’t feel good or bad.  It was interesting because the race was the US Masters Championship, the Master runners wore a second bib on the back of their singlets.  The second bib meant if the racer was over 40 and in front of me, I knew!  Anyone who was not a master did not wear a second bib.  During the first mile I knew there were several women over 40, 50 and even a women who was over 60.  It was both awesome and motivating to run with so how many fast women!  I hit the first mile in 6:01.

I knew the second mile would make or break me.  It normally does in the 5k.  I began to focus on the women in front of me.  I passed a few women, including the US women’s 5k 60-64-year-old record holder.  I hit the halfway point in 9:20.

During the second half of the race, I found myself in an awkward limbo zone and running by myself.  There weren’t too many people near me.  There were plenty of people in front and many people behind me but no one in my 10-second bubble.  I hit the second mile in 6:16.

The third mile I just focused on finishing.  The Festival had both the mile and kilometers marked, so you knew exactly where you were on the course at all times. There were a lot of spectators throughout the third mile as well as one small hill.

We climbed the hill and immediately saw “400 meters to go.” I thought to myself that 400s are my go to workout so I can power through and do this. I sprinted to the end and passed both Heather and Tim, who were cheering on the side.

The US women’s 60-64 5k Record Holder was closing space and nearly passed me again at the finish. I felt like a celebrity was approaching. I saw the clock tick 18:59…19:00…19:01…I was close to breaking 19 but not that is still a decent amount of time. I crossed the finish in 19:13 with a closing mile at 6:23. I finished 16th women overall and 6th in my age group.

Image from Bob Brock
Image from Bob Brock


Looking back, the Festival of Races is my fastest race in two years.  My closest race since was the Firecracker 5k in July.  I am happy because I am slowly progressing towards my goals of Pring.  However, in a world where everyone wants everything done faster, it’s still not quick enough (kidding).  It’s motivating to see speed work coming together.

I felt strong, but I don’t feel as if I worked 45 seconds harder than other races. I’m hoping that I will be able to continue to run closer to this pace versus up around a 20 minute 5k. I broke through Plateau number 1, and hopefully plateau number 2 brings me back below 19 minutes.  

Festival of Races 5k

Questions for you:

Have you ever raced a Women’s only or Men’s only race?

I enjoy doing them and would do them again!

What goal are you currently chasing? (running, life, fitness, whatever!)


Maple Shade Soccer Club 5kish (20:51)

After running the Rotary 5k on Saturday I decided to pull a double and run the Maple Shade soccer club 5k on Sunday.  The race was only 15 minutes from my house so I thought…why not?

I woke up Sunday morning and felt decent.  I felt better than the day before but “dancing and heel DOMS” had set in (Is that a thing…I don’t know).  I feel silly saying my calves were sore from wearing stilettos but it is what it is.

I arrived to the race around 8am.  It started at 9 and I did a 3 mile warm up. At the start I looked a little better then the Rotary Run.  I at least had my hair pulled back and I had removed all of the makeup from 2 nights prior.  After I warmed up I finally found the restrooms and headed to the start.  The race director (who was also a personal friend) said a few words and we were off.

The course was remarkably simple…it was 3 laps around the high school and then around the track. Even I couldn’t get lost with that!

Once we were off I positioned myself as first women. I saw three men ahead that were running in a tight pack. Included in the pack was Marc who ultimately won. There was no one between the leaders and I.  I basically ran the entire race by myself.  During the first mile I realized I felt okay but not great. I was surprised when my watch beeped and I ran the first mile/lap in 6:07.

During the second mile one person passed me and that put me into fifth overall. It was the three leaders ahead, one male and then myself.  I ran the race entirely by myself staying in fifth place. The race was completely uneventful and reminded me of mile repeats around the track. You run a lap around the high school and then do it twice more…

I ran the second mile in 6:27 and the third mile in 6:33. There wasn’t anything eventful about either mile, it felt more like a workout I was trying to power through!

When we I hit the third mile I realized there was no way the 5k would be an actual 5k. We were at least .1 from the track and the course also went around the track. I was disapointed because I know on a normal length course I would have been below 20 minutes.

My Garmin told me I ran a 5k in 19:50 and clearly it knows everything. I powered through and finished the race in 20:51. I don’t know how much longer the race course actually was…my GPS says 3.3 which would make sense with 3X1 mile laps and going around the track. Oh well it’s not like a life or death situation.


I haven’t really felt great in a race for a few weeks. That comes from racing after being out late or eating poorly the night before or in this case racing the day before. I can’t wait to see what I do on legs that aren’t tired.

The race itself was fun and I don’t regret it. If it was my goal race I might be have been more irritated about the bonus distance…but it wasn’t. I would prefer a course longer anyways.  So sorry no race photos all weekend but sometimes that is how it goes.

Questions for you:
What is the most humorous race course you’ve run?
Have you ever had heel DOMS?  Is that even a thing? 

Rotary 5k (20:12)

After my fall the week before I decided to run a local 5k in Runnemede, NJ. I had actually been signed up for the Ocean City half marathon on Sunday but with Pope traffic and not wanting to run a half marathon…I decided not to go to the half.

The evening before the race I had been out late at the Air Force Ball wearing 7-inch stilettos.  My eating and drinking left a lot to be desired prerace and I was more cautious due to my fall. In summary I had every excuse you can think of!

Anyways we got to the race around 7:30.  It started at 8:30 but there was no one there except for the race volunteers.  It was probably better we were alone because I looked and felt a mess. We warmed up and I realized my hair scrunchy had fallen out.  So I was stuck with my hair in a falling out side braid.  For some odd reason I decided I need to clean out my car and didn’t have any in there either…I don’t know what was more shocking, the fact I had cleaned my car or I had no hair scrunchies.  I took a silent prayer at the start and hoped my hair stayed in place.

In summery for a visual of starting this race (since I have no race photos):

I had makeup on from last night, my hair was coming out of a side braid and my knee had about 12 half falling off bandaids. I looked like that “cool aunt” that the rest of their moms keep their kids from hanging out with. Hashtag: GrimerHeimer

Then all of a sudden and out of nowhere the race began. There was no warning, just an air horn.  I made it my secret goal to beat all the kids wearing Nike frees.  My feet were cringing just thinking about it (The woes of working at a running store).

During the first mile I positioned myself as first women overall.  I felt decent but I was not expecting the wind or hills on the course.  For some reason I thought the course was flat but it wasn’t. I ran the first mile in 6:11. That was slower then most of my recent 5ks but after a night out, the weather and my fall it wasn’t a surprise.

During the second mile I began catching a couple of boys.  It felt good to catch people.  The wind was blowing directly into my face but I made the best of it.  There were also several hills and turns.  Around 1.5 we turned around and I could see the leaders including my husband.  Seeing people at the turn around kept me motivated.  I ran mile 2 in 6:21.

I was riding the pain train during mile 3.  I knew I didn’t have a lot of energy left and I felt that.  I was really struggling to make it to the finish line.  I always try and remember that there isn’t much time left until the race is over. My bandaid fell off somewhere in this mile. I don’t have any open wounds left but scabs still gross me out. I ran the last mile in 6:45 and turned the corner to power to the end.

I finished in 20:12. I was pleased with the race because I made it to both the start and finish. I had a few factors going against me that particular race:

  • Air Force Ball: Calves were pretty sore from heels, dancing and I ate a 24 ounce steak at 10pm.
  • My training the week prior was like playing Russian Roulette.
  • I didn’t really feel that tired at the end. I honestly feel like I could keep this pace for a while. I feel like I cannot get my legs to move any faster.  To me that signals I need to hammer down on more 400s and faster stuff at the track.

In summary I’m happy with the race.

Questions for you:
Do you like wearing heels or flats?
Honestly I’m a lot more comfortable in heels but I also walk on my toes.
What shoes do you race in?