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

Thoughts:

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?

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Training: Solid Workouts and Long 5ks

My training last week started off well and ended on a somewhat bittersweet note.  I started the week riding my high from the Phillies 5k, then as the week progressed, DOMS, lack of sleep and current events caught up with me.

Where to start?

Monday: 70 minutes easy
Tuesday: 65 minutes easy
Wednesday: Workout
Thursday: 70 minutes easy
Friday: 60 minutes easy
Saturday: 6X400s (7 miles total)
Sunday: Clean Air 5k (19:50)
Total: 61 miles

Easy runs were just that, easy.  Due to forecasted thunderstorms, I thought I would have to resort to running on the treadmill for a few days. I was lucky that I started running enough that I missed them.

Wednesday Workout:
1×15 minutes (6:31 pace)
1 mile (6:07)
2X8 minutes (6:30 pace)

As I mentioned on Instagram, this was definitely the best workout I’ve had in a very long time. I felt like I was on top of the world.

Saturday:
6X400 (1:35 average)

The goal of Saturday was to get some faster repeats.  Just to get some rust off.  I was tired, but they went according to plan.

Sunday:
Clean Air 5k (3.25 miles 19:50…average pace 6:05)

I was originally supposed to run a different race up North, but life came up, and I didn’t have enough time to get to the race.  There wasn’t a point to speed up there and so the morning of, I found something local.  I was disappointed, to say the least, but I made the best of the situation and found a local 5k that I was able to run.

However, the mess of the morning spilled into the race.  The race itself was an out and back on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia (where I actually set my PR last year), but the course was long.  Not only that, but they had 10k walkers start 15 minutes before 5k runners.  It meant for about a mile, I was weaving around walkers.  It wasn’t optimal, I didn’t feel great, and it was a mess of a morning.  Some races aren’t glamorous, and you just feel like garbage…that was the story there, but I’ll have a full recap later.

Running Posts of the week:
How to Transition to Minimalist Running Shoes
March Training
Phillies 5k (18:32)

Questions for you:
Have you ever DNSed?
I think whenever I sign up online before a race, something happens.
What was your best workout last week?

Phillies 5k (18:32)

The Phillies 5k is one of my favorite races.  I won last year, and I wanted to do the same this year (spoiler: I did).  Something about the excitement of Philadelphia, the atmosphere and 6,000 runners is motivating to me. Plus for a 6,000 person 5k, there is plenty of parking and restrooms with the massive Philadelphia Sports Complex.

Last year when I ran the Phillies 5k, I was coming off both a half marathon and 5k PR.  This year, I went in not racing a 5k in two months and not feeling confident in my running at all.  In fact, I have a post about that soon.  Never the less, I was excited to get back into it and work towards Spring PRs.  Luckily, it was just 14 MPH winds, with no rain.  Lately, that’s been my best racing weather in a few months.

I warmed up with my coworker Anita, and we headed to the race start.  Due to traffic on the course, the start was delayed a few minutes.  I just created witty banter with random people around, and by the time I knew it, we were off.phillies 5k start

The first mile wrapped around the stadium and headed into the wind.  I immediately felt the headwind, and questioned if I would be able to run well.  There were a couple of women in front of me as well as a large pack of men. I hoped I would just “do me” and be able to reel some of them in.  I hit the first mile in 6:00 minutes exactly and caught the first woman.  I thought, “well if I can keep that pace and the course is exact then it will at least be in the 18:30-18:40 range”.  But let’s be honest, keeping your first-mile pace in a 5k is a rather lofty goal in a 5k…

The next mile went into the Navy Yard.  I have raced a couple of races including the finish of Broad Street in the Navy Yard.  I know it’s flat but also windy along the water.  It definitely was windy but it wasn’t a headwind but more of a sidewind. I took the lack of headwind as an opportunity to surge and break up the pack of dudes. After surging, I hit the second mile in 5:49 and looked dead ahead to see a small, steep incline.  Due to the course direction, I realized very quickly it would be a headwind and climb.

The next mile was pain train all the way home.  I was running side by side with another male who pulled me along.  We headed up the short, steep incline.  Combined with riding the pain train, I can’t say it was my favorite part of the race.  There was a small out and back, and I was able to see several racers I knew going the opposite directions.  I love out and back races because it’s always motivational to see other runners out on course.

Then all of a sudden we turned into the (quarter of a mile long) parking lot to the finishers shoot.  The Philly Fanatic was there to bring me in and surged to an 18:32 5k.  I was pleased the lady win.phillies 5k win

Thoughts:

While this is a great 5k time and it’s hard to be disappointed with a win, this isn’t where I was hoping to be right now.  I do have a post later regarding where I’m at with running and where I would like to be. Over the past 6 months, with consistent training as well as speed work, I was hoping to be closer to 18 or honestly faster.phillies 5k me

A couple of years ago after starting to work towards a 5k, it took me several months to break through a plateau which is what I’m hoping is the case here.  In all, I had a great time with friends at the Phillies 5k.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been stuck in a plateau?

Are you a baseball fan?

 

Training: Recovering and a 5k

My training last week went decently.  As I wrap up the last week of March, I have reflected a lot about my training in the last few months.  By now, I hoped I would have progressed to faster times that I’m currently running.

The short notes version is I’ve been stuck in a plateau for the last 6 months.  While yes, running an 18:32 5k last weekend is a great time.  In fact, two years ago I would be amazed by that time. It’s not where I had hoped or wanted to be at this point.  I’ve been consistently training, logging speed workouts, and logging injury free miles.  Hopefully, soon I’ll be able to break out of that plateau.

Training last week:

Monday: 45 mins easy
Tuesday: Workout: 2X15 mins/5X200s
Wednesday: 60 mins easy
Thursday: OFF
Friday: 65 mins easy
Saturday: Phillies 5k (18:32)
Sunday: 90 minutes easy
Total: 52 miles

Workout:
2X15 minutes (6:41,  6:51)
5X200 (6:00)

This workout was supposed to be much faster (6:23 per/mile).  As I mentioned last training post, I didn’t recover from Shamrock well at all, and it took me almost 2 weeks to feel normal.  During the workout, I didn’t feel fresh, and it was both cold and windy.  I got the workout done and moved on.

Phillies 5k: (18:32)
As most people know from Instagram, I won the Phillies 5k again this year.  While it was a different course, my time was 5 seconds slower than last year.  Last year’s conditions were ideal. However, this year it was windier than anticipated (14 MPH along the water).  Either way, it wasn’t raining which means it was the best weather I’ve had for racing in months.

The race itself went moderately well.  I ran for the course for the conditions.  My splits were 6:00, 5:49 and 6:06 which is based on the wind as well as small hill at the beginning of mile 3.  I left the race bittersweet.  Was I happy with a win?  Of course.  Was I glad to still be in the 18:30-18:40 bubble that I’ve been in since October?  No.

I’m excited to run a few more 5ks in the next few weeks to get my speed back.  To be honest, I’ve missed running them!

Posts from the week:
Hoka Bondi 5 Shoe Review
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running

Questions for you:
Have you ever been stuck in a plateau? I’ve been stuck in a few.  A few years ago on my quest to get back to my PR (for about 3 years my 5k PR was 18:35), I was stuck running 19-19:10.
What was your best workout last week?

Silk City Diner and Lounge (Philadelphia)

Right off the bat, the Silk City Diner in Philadelphia is one of the biggest letdown restaurants I’ve had in awhile. It was on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives so it must be good right?

Sadly, not quite

Atmosphere: A
The Silk City Diner and lLunge are both a nightclub and a train car diner in one.  Except for PBs Diner and Tap Room in New Jersey, you don’t see that combination often.

silk city diner philadelphia

On one side you have the diner, which is an old school trolley car diner.

On the other side is a full out night club. Apparently, they have live DJ, and it draws a huge crowd. I went for dinner around 5 pm, but by the time we left at 6 pm, they were seating people in the nightclub too. Perhaps next time, I’ll come for the dance party and relive good old college.

Service: D
The waitress was friendly, but she only came over to bring our food and drinks. Not once more and then we waited over 20 minutes for a check. We never received refills for any of our drinks.

Coffee: D
The coffee was drinkable, but it was nothing unique or unusual. Even though they had a full bar as well as plenty of desserts, the waitress informed me they don’t have whipped cream. What kind of diner doesn’t have whipped cream? 

Silk City Diner Philadelphia

Food: B
The menu at the Silk City is limited, and they don’t serve breakfast all day. You can only order a few choices for dinner including fish and chips, pork chops, steak, and salads.

I ordered the fish and chips with fries from their specials menu. It was good, and I don’t have any complaints about the meal itself. The French fries were fresh and one of the better diner french fries I’ve had recently.

Silk City Diner Philadelphia

Cost: $
For my fish and chips and coffee, the cost was $15. It was one of the cheaper diner meals I’ve had.

Summary/Would I come back?
I’m disappointed with the Silk City Diner. The service, lack of menu items as well as lack of good coffee left me underwhelmed.  The meal itself wasn’t bad, but it’s not somewhere I would seek out to go.  I doubt I’ll come back.

Atmosphere: A
Service: D
Coffee: D
Food: B
Cost: $10-15
Overall: C

Close by diners I prefer (basically anything): Oregon, Trolley Car, Green Eggs or Marathon Grill

Questions for you:
Have you ever been disappointed with a restaurant on TV?
Do you have any good night club stories?
I spent my fair share in bars and night clubs in college. The Silk City Diner let me reminisce about it.

Oregon Diner (Philadelphia)

Before leaving for Alabama, I found myself at the Oregon Diner in Philadelphia (How many states can reference in one line?).  I originally found it because there are huge signs for the Oregon Diner near the Walt Whitman Bridge.  Sometimes finding diners based on their signage can be a gamble but overall I enjoyed my trip to the Oregon Diner.

When we arrived, it was late.  Dinner around 8 pm is super late for me.  I wasn’t starving, but I knew if I didn’t eat I would wake around 2 am starving.

Atmosphere: A

The Oregon Diner is huge.  The outside has plenty of parking and could probably hold at least 200 people.

The inside has three rooms with plenty of booths and tables as well as a full bar.  Each room has its own personality.  We sat in a corner booth.

Service: A
Our waitress was hilarious and friendly.  It was clear she was a local favorite and had been working there for years. She was definitely in the top tier of waiters we’ve had.

Coffee: A
The Oregon Diner brewed hot and fresh local Lacas coffee.  The waitress also added more whipped cream than coffee.  It was the best combination.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

Food: A

The menu at the Oregon Diner is one of the biggest of any diner I’ve been too.  There are over 200 menu items and 20 pages.  Since I wasn’t too hungry, I ordered the pickled beets salad with salmon.

Oregon Diner Philadelphia

The salad itself was a normal size, but the piece of salmon was huge.  I have not had a salad with salmon that is bigger than the salad itself.  It was one of the better salads I’ve had, and I was full afterward.  I have no complaints.

Cost: $
For the coffee and salad, the cost was $17.  For the amount of food, especially the amount of the salmon, it was a great deal. 

Overall Summary/Would I Come Back?

I enjoyed the Oregon Diner and had a great experience.  Plus it’s closeby so I will definitely be back.  There are a bunch of menu items I want to try.  If you are ever in the local area, I would recommend it (and invite me too).

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $10-20

Overall: A
Questions for you:
Do you like beets?

Run for Jack 5k (18:30)

My husband and I wanted to run a race on New Years.  Typically when we are out of town, and there are plenty of races.  Surprisingly there weren’t a lot of New Years Races around Southern New Jersey, so we were forced to travel.  There were a few options within an hour (all with different start times), and we decided to go for a 10:30 am race start.  Honestly, I would have preferred an earlier start, but that wasn’t a choice but there were not any.

When we arrived to the Haverford area in PA, I quickly realized the race wasn’t going to be flat.  I had hoped for a solid race effort on a flat course but that wasn’t an option either.  Now that I’m racing less, I want those races to count (which is silly).  I had a workout so I already knew it wasn’t a PRing race.

The goal of the workout was 2x5k at 20:00 min with 3 mins rest in between.  I’ve done the workout before and I will say it’s one of the tougher ones. Since joining Mckirdy trained, I’ve been racing less, and several of my races have been workouts.  It’s been an adjustment, but I do get the best of both worlds.

I warmed up on the course with my husband.  We quickly went to the restroom and made it to the start line.  The race was already later than I liked and then it was delayed by 10 minutes.  I stayed positive even though I wasn’t a happy camper.

Finally, the race went off, and I found myself as third woman overall.  I stayed there the entire time.  At first, I thought I might be able to catch the first or second woman but then by .5 I knew that was not happening.  The first mile was flat with a long gradual downhill.  Of the three miles, the first was set up to be the fastest.  I passed a couple of kids and crossed the first mile in 6:16.  I felt stale and didn’t feel great.  Running a 6:16 mile wasn’t where I mentally wanted to be.

The second mile climbed up a hill and looped past the start.  I started to feel much looser and built some confidence.  I crossed the second mile in 6:03 and felt much better about the situation.  It was a harder mile and I ran faster.

The third mile went by like such a blur.  I was running alone and had a pack of males about 10 feet in front of me.  I just focused on them.  I wanted to catch up to them.  I knew the last 400 meters finished directly uphill and I kept cringing thinking about it.

You could see the clock at the top of the hill over a quarter of a mile away.  It felt like it wasn’t coming any closer.  I just climbed the hill and staring at the clock directly ahead.

I passed one male at the bottom of the hill, but he came back and outkicked me in the final few strides.  I crossed the finish in 18:30 exactly.

I jogged to my car and went back for my personal 5k.  To be honest, I felt better running the second 5k than I did the first.  I ran alone and away from the race course.  My splits were 6:25, 6:39, 6:29.  I finished up in 20:15 and felt pretty pleased with myself.

Thoughts:

I know I’m currently in 5k PRing shape but haven’t had the opportunity to race on a flat course and good day.  I’m extremely pleased with the workout as a whole.   

Questions for you:

What is a perfect race start time for you?

I like races that start between 7:30-8:30.

How was your New Years Day?