Clean Air 5k (19:50)

I wasn’t supposed to run this race.  In fact, until about 2 hours before, I had planned to drive up 90 minutes North to a different race.  Sometimes life happens, and I wasn’t able too.  Which is unfortunate because I had actually signed up for the original race too!

I knew about the Clean Air 5k/10k plus a good friend of mine, Noelle, was running.  When I realized I wasn’t able to drive north, I decided to leech on with her and go into Philadelphia.  She was running the 10k, but I figured the 5k was enough for me.

The course itself was a simple out and back on the Schuylkill River.  In fact, it was the exact place I set my 5k PR last year.

Noelle and I warmed up, and I knew I didn’t feel great. Of course, the weather was pretty much ideal, and I felt like garbage.

The 5k started 15 minutes after the 10k, so I waited around and then lined up.  All of a sudden we were off.

As I settled into racing, I saw a huge pack of men and women taking off out in front.  To be honest, I was surprised the 5k was so competitive, but you never know who will show up.

I found my groove and hit the first mile in 5:57.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace.  My calves were stiff, and I just didn’t feel good.  Not every race can be your best, and I figured quickly this was not going to be great.

Thanks to my friend Paul for these photos

The next mile began weaving through the 10k walkers.  I felt as though I couldn’t get any momentum because I was going around and weaving.  We hit the 180-degree turn around mile 1.6, and at that point, I knew the course would probably be long.

As I headed back towards back to Philadelphia, I caught one woman.  From someone watching the races, it was probably easy to see who was running which race. However, when you are racing it’s hard to pay attention to multiple people going different paces.  I hit mile 2 around 6:07 and just focused on the finish.

The third mile was rough, and I just wanted the race to be over.  I didn’t regret running, but I was riding the pain train home.  During the third mile, a woman passed me and tried to motivate me to hang with her.  As much as I wanted to keep up, it wasn’t in the cards, and she took over fourth place.

The last half mile was spent trying to get home.  When I crossed the third mile in 6:09, I knew there was no way it would be an accurate course.  I finished up with 3.25 miles in 19:50 and overall pace of 6:05.  That would equate out to an 18:45 5k which is about what I’ve been running.  A little bit slower on an easier course, but I felt more fatigued.clean air 5k


I can’t say I’m happy about the time, course or how the events that morning played out but some days are like that.  I’m proud I still competed, and I had an enjoyable time with friends.  Plus it’s nice not to race in pouring rain.

Noelle and I post race

Questions for you:

What was the last morning things didn’t go as planned?

Have you ever raced a long course?


Training last Week: Travel and 5k (18:42)

Training last Week: Travel and 5k (18:42)

Training last week clicked off well. I ran what I needed to and got the mileage in.  I don’t have any complaints about the week.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes (9:20 pace) Core
Tuesday: Easy 7 miles (8:40)
Wednesday: Workout Core
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes (9:05 pace)
Friday: Easy 60 minutes Core
Saturday: Workout: Polar Bear 5k (18:42)
Sunday Easy Mercedes Course Preview
Total: 59  miles

Easy Runs:

My easy runs were slower than usual last week but it was also humid. Most of the days last week were either running in 100% humidity or the rain. I didn’t feel bad or injured, but the heat change was noticeable.

Wednesdays Workout:
4X60 seconds (average 6:00)
1X10 minutes (6:33)
1X3 minutes (5:56)
4X60 seconds (average 6:10)

The workout was definetely different and a nice change. Something I do like about my coach is that he doesn’t give the same workouts weekly. I’m not doing 10x400s each week hoping to see improvmeent, or worse comparing myself when I don’t.

As far as execution, it was one of my better workouts in the last few weeks.
Polar Bear 5k (18:42):

My husband and I decided to take a road trip last weekend. We went to Atlanta and then Birmingham. We have been to Altanta a few times, so we stayed away from the touristy things. We stumbled upon a 5k and when we went there, I was shocked! It was a 1000+ person 5k and we weren’t expecting that. I had a workout that day of 2X5k at 6:45 pace.

I ran the first 5k at 5:58 and the second at 6:50. It was a lot faster than planned.

My splits were 6:00, 5:55 and 5:58. I ran a smart race and I’m happy with it. It was a moderately difficult course and I’ll have a recap soon.

This workout is more mentally challening than anything.  The second 5k is always extremely difficult to get out there. It takes a lot of mental pep talk after a race to get back and run hard by yourself again (I’ve done this workout a couple times: Haddonfield Road Race and Run for Jack). I didn’t want to interfere with racers and I ended up running part of the workout in a hilly neighborhood.

We swung by Birmingham on the way back and did the last Mercedes Course Preview Run.  While the Merecedes half won’t be a goal race for me, it was nice to check out the course.  I didn’t realize it was as hilly as it is.

In summary, it was a good week. The next two weeks are bigger race weeks for me with the Double Bridges 15k in Pensacola next weekend and the Mercedes Half Marathon the following.

Running Related Posts from the Week:
How to Run with a Significant Other
Running Books I’m Reading

Questions for you:
What is the biggest race you’ve ever done?
How was your week of workouts?

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.


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!)


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