April Fools Half Marathon (1:30.30)

April Fools Half Marathon (1:30.30)

This year’s April Fools Half was a personal worst for me. It wasn’t the worst weather, but it wasn’t my day. It hasn’t my season, but that’s okay they all can’t be. I’ve come to terms with that, and I’m not magically expecting PRs. I’ve run the last five half marathons between 1:29-1:31. Far from the 1:24 I ran a couple of years ago in AC.

Going into April Fools, I had a lot going on. Earlier in the week, I had gotten shots in my upper thigh. Even though it had nothing to do with running, it made me sore. The week before, I cut out a workout, added an extra rest day, and just tried to rest. My legs did not feel good, and mentally I didn’t either.

But I love racing in Atlantic City, and I think the race is always well put together. The week leading up to the race had everything from torrential downpours, to thunderstorms, to the wind, and finally settled on no rain but 100% humidity. Joy! We haven’t had many days that have been humid. Yet, they seem to fall on race days.

While walking around, I felt like I was breathing through a straw. The race started with no issues, and we were off. Immediately I found myself as the fifth woman. The first four women were no more than 20 seconds in front of me. I bounced around a few places but ultimately settled into fourth.

The first mile I hit in 6:40. I felt pretty good. I thought, wow this might be a surprisingly good day for me. I just kind of cruising and felt like I wasn’t putting in that much effort.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

Thank you Lisa for the photos

The second mile I ran in 6:36 which looking back was a way to fast for the day. I didn’t feel bad, but you shouldn’t “feel bad” at mile 2 of a half marathon.

I hit the 5k in 20:38 which isn’t all that far off from some 5ks I’ve recently run. We just kept running along the boardwalk and couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front. The fog and humidity were thick, and I was sweating up a storm.

We left the boardwalk and headed towards Ventnor. I was running alone, and I couldn’t seem to get any sort of groove. I thought I might be able to hold the same pace, but the humidity began weighing on me.

The next couple of miles are on the streets of Ventnor. There isn’t a huge crowd, but it’s still fun. I hit the halfway point at 44:00 and I knew I would not be able to keep that pace. I had taken the race out too fast for the weather…

As we headed back towards Atlantic City, we began to see people coming in the opposite direction. It’s always my favorite part to see friends, and it makes the miles go by quickly.

My miles began to creep up, and I was averaging about 7 min miles. I’ve been hard on my running lately, and that didn’t help. I kept plugging along.  I waved to friends and just put one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving forward.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

Around mile 9, we went back on the boardwalk, and I told myself, just a half hour to go. I was using a lot of (out loud) self talk to get me towards the finish line. I counted down every mile which is not the attitude to have.

I determined at mile 10 I would need to run exactly 7-minute miles to break 1:30. People cheered for one woman and me kept saying: you are so close to 3rd place, she is only 2 minutes (LOL) ahead. Go. Go. Go. Finally, I said that wasn’t close at all, and she looked at me like I was crazy.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

Mile 11 and 12 continued, and I ran a 6:58 and 6:56. The final mile felt like it took forever. I crossed the finish in 1:30.30. My GPS said it was 13.2, but I won’t say I ran any tangents well (or even good).

Thoughts:

Two years ago, I had a similar experience at the April Fools Half. The race was well put together, but it wasn’t my day. Although, not my day in 2017 was still a 1:26. I’ve been hard on myself recently, and it feels as though running just isn’t coming together as I would like. 1:30.30 is a great time for so many, but for the amount of work I’ve put in, it’s not for me. I still had a great time at the April Fools Half, and it’s one of my favorite races of the season.  You can argue the weather was bad, but in ideal weather, it wouldn’t have been my day, my legs weren’t there.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you: 

Have you ever been to Atlantic City?

How do you shake out a bad race? 

Training: Recovery and Half Marathons

Training: Recovery and Half Marathons

Last week was a recovery week before the Atlantic City Half Marathon. I’ve needed a lot more rest and recovery this Spring. It’s caused my fitness journey to be much slower, but (knock on wood) I’ve stayed healthy. A few weeks ago, I came to terms that my fitness is not coming back (this Spring) anywhere close to what it was other years.  It’s hard, of course, not to compare yourself to previous fitness levels but you can’t always be there.

On a personal note, I also got a shot into my inner thigh on Tuesday afternoon. Nothing running related but it hurt a lot and on Wednesday I knew there was no way I was running, let alone doing a workout.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 8 miles with Alexis
Wednesday: Easy 20-minute walk
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: April Fools Half Marathon (1:30.30)

Thoughts:

Not a heck of a lot to say this week. It was low key and boring and truthfully that’s fine. I’ve been dealing with a lot of outside and life issues that have kept me busy. My easy runs were easy.

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Nice to get the legs moving this morning.

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Taking a walk on Wednesday loosened up muscles from my shot but it was nothing strenuous.

Atlantic City Half (1:30.30):

This was my slower year by 4 minutes. I’m not blaming the weather because even though it was humid, we’ve had years it’s been Gail force winds, torrential downpour, and everything in between.  It just wasn’t my day. I was pretty bummed to run a 1:30.30, because I ran Shamrock last month in 1:29 (the day after racing the Adrenaline Run).  It is what it is. I remind myself that running doesn’t define me.

Posts from the Week:

The Difference Between Runners and Non-Runners

Four Years of Marriage

Four Years of Marriage

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

Did you race this weekend? (Or Boston?)

What is your favorite type of weather to race in? Your least favorite?

Shamrock Half Marathon (1:29.52)

Shamrock Half Marathon (1:29.52)

This was my 8th year running Shamrock. Many long term readers know but I grew up in the greater VA Beach area. 1:29.52 is neither my fastest nor my slowest Shamrock. It’s on the slower side, but that’s okay.

Last year I had an incredible experience that would be hard to beat and ran a 1:23. This year the goal was just to finish healthy. My training over the winter was nothing to write home about, and I’ve come to terms that this Spring might be a rebuilding season for me (something I personally seem to need after every marathon?).

Anyway, I arrived at the start around 6 am. The weather was ideal. It was low 40s, some wind but not much. Most importantly, it wasn’t raining. Two years ago,it poured rain and was low 30s.

Before the race, I met up with my good friend Jen. We haven’t seen each other since we both lived in NYS. We’ve both since moved, but it was nice to catch up. She ultimately ran a 1:18 and placed 3rd.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

After that, I tooled around and got to the start about 5 minutes early. I talked with rabbit teammate, Nick, and by the time I knew it, we were off.

Since the half and full start together now, it was crowded. Right off the bat, I felt decent. Plus unlike the day prior, I remembered to start my watch. I plugged along and cruised the first mile in 6:44. I felt good and realized a sub 90 minute half was doable if I continued to feel okay through the race — a great goal to make a mile 1.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

At mile 2, I saw my dad’s friend and waved. I started getting into a rhythm.  The next three miles were relatively boring. I logged 6:44, 6:44, 6:40 (mile 4 on the gradual uphill was my fastest), 6:44. At mile 5, I was feeling good. I thought wow, this is much faster than I anticipated (I didn’t have a goal prerace, but didn’t anticipate being that fast either).

Then we entered Fort Story, and it all changed. Fort Story is a lonely part of the race. Unless you have a military ID, spectators can’t get on the base. It’s right along the water so extremely windy. In fact, one year there was a layer of sand across the entire course.

Miles 7-9 broke me both mentally and physically. I didn’t feel good, and I was running alone. There was some wind but nothing terrible. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel good because I had raced the day before, I just mentally felt disconnected and my legs felt stale. I told myself, make it to mile 10, and you’ll be heading directly home. I ran a 6:55, 6:59, 6:50, and kept it barely under 7 minutes.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

I knew the 90-minute pace group was probably catching me soon.  Around mile 10, a man started talking to me about “my form”.  I wasn’t feeling the greatest and not in the mood to chat. We kept plugging along.

Mile 11 went down with nothing major. I ran a 6:55 and we had some wind at our backs. At mile 12, the 90-minute/3 hour marathon pace group engulfed me. I thought, wow I really did slow down. I also felt my shoe beginning to come untied, and it just felt like the wheels had come off.

The group engulfed and went around me and it stung. I hit mile 12 just over 1:22 and I knew I was still at 1:30 pace. Now I was just much closer than the start of the race. It made me feel a little better the group was ahead of their goal pace.

The last mile goes to directly into the wind. When you’re close to a time goal, running into the wind the last mile is the last thing you want to do.  You can see the tent and King Neptune and it just never feels like it’s getting closer.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Then at mile 13, I saw it click 1:29:10.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

I tried to sprint as hard as I could to the finish. I didn’t have much gas left but it was enough to get right under 1:30.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Thoughts:

I’m pleased with the race but know I have a long way to go fitness wise. In all, another good Shamrock. It’s one of my favorite races of the year and I always enjoy seeing local friends as well as others that come from far.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach

Chilling on the beach with Nick

Questions for you:

Have you run a race for several years in a row?

What is your favorite race? 

 

Leprechaun 7 Miler (45:51)

Leprechaun 7 Miler (45:51)

I haven’t run the Leprechaun Run in a couple of years. Last time I raced, there was only an option to run 5 miles. Since then, they’ve added a seven miler as well. I decided to run the seven milers because it was a fun distance. The race goes along the Kelly Drive and Schuylkill River.  Despite being 15 minutes away, it’s been nearly a year since I raced in Philadelphia.

The race started promptly at 7:30 am.  The start time was perfect because I could get back to work in NJ on time. At the time, I felt like it was too early, but it all worked out. Truthfully I had no idea what to expect in 7 miles. After running a few 5ks and four milers around 6:30 pace, I figured somewhere around 6:50.

I ran about a 2-mile warmup.  I got to the start at 7:25.  There were a short speech and dedication to Special Olympics. I always appreciate this race because the proceeds go directly to Special Olympics. We got going around 7:35.

The five and seven milers both went off together; the seven milers just went further. Around .1 into the race, I realized I forgot to start my watch.  I started it, but it meant all of my miles were off. It was fine and no big deal.  I ran the first mile with my husband, and we hit it in 6:39.

During the second mile, I started to find my rhythm. I ran the race almost all alone.  Most of the race was without event.  It felt like a time trial with myself. Since I’ve been running hard 5ks alone, it was no different. I hit the second mile around 6:35 and I was pleasantly surprised. I felt good.

As we went by mile 2.5, I noticed the only female in front of me turned. She was doing the five miles, which meant I was in first place. I was pleasantly surprised. I hit mile 3 in 6:34 and felt great. I knew I hadn’t taken it out too fast and felt relaxed; it was just a matter of counting down the miles.

We turned around at 3.5 and headed back to the start. I saw my good friend Pat (who took the photo), who is the race director for many unique and local races.

I like a good out and back course because I feel like I excel in an out and back course.

I hit mile 4 in 6:34. I told myself, “it’s only a 5k left”.  Because that’s all I’ve been running recently.  When we hit the 2.5 mile/5 miles turn around, we began to cross paths with other runners.

I ran mile 5 in 6:30 and felt good. I couldn’t believe I was running at nearly the same pace as the weekend before.

I found myself weaving around other races for the last 2 miles. It was no big deal. I ran a 6:28 and 6:28. I crossed in 45:51 and I was pleased with that.

Thoughts:

I’m pleased and excited about that. I wasn’t expecting to run 6:33 pace for 7 miles but truthfully I had no idea what to expect.  It’s been hard not to compare myself to previous fitness levels, but I know the fitness will come back.

I’m looking forward to getting more races under my belt and getting faster again.

If you’re looking for more running and running industry news, subscribe to my newsletter

Questions for you:

Have you ever run a 7-mile race? It’s like a 10k with a bonus round.

Do you prefer loop courses, point to point, or out and back? 

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (25:55)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (25:55)

This is my fourth year racing and my fourth year winning. As I posted on Instagram, it’s my slowest year yet, but I’ve been running less this winter as well.

The race started, and 10 and my husband and I arrived around 9. We picked up our bibs and warmed up. We had gotten a lot of snow and rain the week prior, so the course was torn up. The course itself is an easy trail, but after weather, the path can be flooded muddy, and slippery.

At 10 am, we went off. There were a few men, including my husband, that took off in front of me.

Before entering the trail, the race goes around a huge loop in the park. This particular year, some barricades crossed the regular path. The first 20 people or so, including myself didn’t think much of it and just kept going straight.

You would think running the course four times; I would know that’s wrong. All of a sudden we heard yelling and saw other runners going the other direction. We cut across the field and got back on track.  The field was muddy and with plenty of potholes. I didn’t sprint because I didn’t want to misstep into a pothole.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

Messing up the course messed with my rhythm but I found it again around mile 1. I hit the first mile in 6:31 which was slower than I wanted to be but put it in the back of my mind.

The next mile headed straight. At this point, there were two males in front of me, including my husband. I was essentially running alone. I hit the second mile in 6:26.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

The third mile had a turnaround, and with the mud, I took that extremely slow. Slow enough I know I lost a solid 5 seconds. Doing a 180 in mud, I could visualize myself falling into the canal next to the path.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

I caught the second place male and found myself second overall. The third mile goes straight back, so you see everyone running in the opposite direction.  I appreciate this aspect because I like seeing other racers and friends. It also lets you know where you stand in the race. I hit the third mile in 6:26.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

For the fourth mile, I just focused on getting back. We got off the path and ran towards the start. About 40 seconds in front of me, I watched my husband break the tape. I sprinted towards the end and finished the last mile in 6:31.

me running grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 mile

Thoughts:

I’m happy with my effort. It can be hard not to compare yourself to previous fitness levels, and I’m trying not to do that. I know it will take a long time for me to get where I want to be. After any of my marathons, I’ve felt like my speed has taken a hit and it takes me a lot longer to gain it back.  Finally, many people asked but after the race, there is an unlimited grilled cheese and tomato soup buffet.  Plus all racers get a free tomato soup/coffee mug. (one of the reasons I enjoy the race is how unique it is)/

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Questions for you:

Have you done a 4 miler before?

Would you rather run in mud or sand?

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