On Thanksgiving, I ran the Medford Lakes Turkey Trot. I ran it last year and enjoyed the course. Plus the race organizers are friendly, so I wanted to come back. Until recently there wasn’t a “big” South Jersey Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.
This year the Medford Lakes turkey trot had about 1000 people. Medford is one of my favorite New Jersey towns, slightly woodsy and probably filled with plenty of wild turkeys…perfect for the day.
My husband and I arrived around 7:30 for the race at 8:30. To my surprise, I achieved one of the greatest accomplishments in racing history. Somehow in the 1000 person race, I was number 1. This is a race number that will be on the fridge for a very long time. Even though I was tired from the Philly half, it’s hard to be sad when you are race number 1.
We warmed up, easily got to the bathroom and made it to the start line by 8:30. Before we knew it, we were off. I never saw my husband after the gun went off. During the first quarter mile, I found myself as 10th women overall. I thought, woah this year got competitive. I said I would be happy under 19, but my dream goal was 18:35 (6 min pace). Last year I ran a great race of 18:48.
We hit the first mile in 5:56. It was a little bit faster than I anticipated and I wondered, would I regress and positive split? I was fourth women at that point and was running with a pack of males.
During the second mile, I kept waiting for my husband to pass me. I knew he was in much better fitness, so it was troubling he hadn’t run past me.
I began running closely to the third place women. My legs didn’t feel bad, but I could feel the Philly half in my legs too. I felt as if I was working hard but still had gas left in the tank. I hoped I would be able to hold under 6:15 for the last two miles and told myself I would be happy with that. I crossed mile 2 in 6:02 and found myself as second women overall.
I could see the first place women about 15 seconds in front. I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch her but it gave me something to focus on. As we winded through the woods, I found myself running alone. Someone chanted: way to go number 1. I wasn’t first but it was motivating. I became more confident and I was able to crank another 6-minute mile. We made the last turn and I crossed the third mile in 6:00 exactly.
The last .1, I just focused on the end and crossed in 18:30 by the chip time. At the very last second, I saw my husband, and I realized he was over and done. He ran a 17:15 which is his fastest since joining the Air Force 5 years ago. He had been in the lead pack the entire time which is why I never saw him. Honestly, I’m more excited for him than me.
I’m happy with my race, especially after Philly. It’s my fastest 5k post injury, so I can’t complain about that. In fact looking back it’s one of my fastest 5ks in 2016. The only two 5ks I’ve run faster have both been PRs (at the time). The Resolution Run (18:22) in a prom dress My Current PR: The Flower Show 5k (18:13)
Questions for you: Did you run a Turkey Trot? How was your Thanksgiving?
Sometimes, we don’t have it. Sometimes even with tapering, we don’t mentally have the race we hoped. That’s exactly what happened to me last Saturday. While the Philadelphia half is not the most enjoyable race to blog about, you can’t have good races without bad ones.
To be honest, I’m also not surprised. Throughout the week I didn’t feel good or mentally ready for the race. My mind and heart weren’t into it. But I paid $130 for the race, and I wasn’t injured. I hoped by posting on my social media I was running that maybe I would motivate myself. Yet, race day morning came, and I was anything but that.
I got to the race at 6:30. While going through the security, they confiscated my Gatorade. I’ve run 30+half marathons and hundreds of races, and I’ve never had my Gatorade confiscated. So I was left without any fluids before the start. They had water near the start, but I didn’t water, I wanted Gatorade. I did drink some water, but the line was long.
So when I lined up at the start I was thirsty. I met up with my friend Paul and we started (and ended) the race together. The race went off and out we went. While I had a seeded bib, I started in the first corral. There was no need for me to be in the elite corral…I wasn’t going to fool anyone. I had qualified to be there, but I preferred to run around people my pace, not be left alone.
During the first mile, I knew I was in for a rough race. My calves were tight, and I looked down only to realize I had run half mile. We hit the first mile in 6:40. I felt defeated. Mentally I knew I was not in a good spot. I told Paul not to feel obligated to stay with me (not that I would expect anyone to ever sacrifice their race).
Mile 2 gave me a lot of hope. I got caught in a crowd, and I ran a 5:58. During the second mile. I didn’t feel any better, but I thought, oh maybe I will surprise myself…That feeling was short lived.
I ran mile 3-4 and began to notice my watch was clicking miles later and later past the mile markers. I started to notice the mile markers were off. I ran each mile at 6:19, 6:24.
My goal by mile 5 was to evaluate how I felt at halfway. By then I knew I was not going to PR. I got to the halfway point around 42:30. I thought I could maybe even split to a 1:25.
I thought wrong.
We climbed a small hill during mile 6, and I ran a 6:55. I thought: “that hill really wasn’t too bad.”
Even though I felt awful, I was proud I climbed the hill well and passed several runners.
I came back and ran the next mile in 6:24. I thought: “Eh it was the hill that slowed me down”. This is still a great pace for me.
We began to see the elites coming back, and they looked like they were in pain. I kept wondering: what exactly is back there? Is it hilly? Then came the hill. I had mistaken the course to go elsewhere, and I realized just how hard the course was. Because the hill was on an angle, you were running up sideways. I couldn’t get a good rhythm, and my quads were burning. It was one of the hardest “half marathon moments,” I’ve had. The hill ate me up and spit me back up. When we finally made it out of that section, I ran a 7:17 mile. I felt crushed and defeated. I haven’t run a 7:17 mile in a half marathon in a very long time.
For the rest of the race, I focused on getting to the end. I put my sunglasses over my eyes and just zoned out. I wanted the race to be over. For no reason, I wanted to stop. However, I couldn’t do that…I wasn’t injured, and I needed blog content…(kidding). The next three miles went by without much excitement, and I ran 6:36, 6:46 and 6:41.
The final two miles I ran alone. There was no one within 15 seconds of me. Somehow I found a pocket of abandonment in a huge race. There was nothing of note. I saw my husband around 12.5, and it motivated me. I ran a 6:32 and 6:46 final mile.
I crossed the finish in 1:27.44. I was 25th women overall and quite far off on any goal time I considered weeks before
Typically I don’t care much about GPS, but I ran a 13.3 race (which was actually much shorter than many people). I don’t believe the course was accurate and for a big city race that is unacceptable.
I ran 2 miles alone during the race, and there was never a point I wasn’t running tangents. I was lucky I ran as short as possible even though I still ended .2 long.
I haven’t had a “bad” race in awhile. After my ankle injury, I’ve been building and running well. In all honesty, this was one of the worst races I’ve had in the last two years. It “bad” because the course was hard but because I wasn’t mentally into it and my body didn’t physically feel good.
Bad races do come with the sport.
Am I disappointed because I do know I’m in much better shape? Of course but there are plenty of other races to come. I finished injury free which is the most important part of running.
There are plenty of races in the sea of running. I smiled post race and had a great day afterward.
So far my short runs recovering from Philly have felt more enjoyable and pleasant than the half so that is motivating.🙂
Question for you: Have you ever felt mentally unexcited for an event or race?
Last weekend I ran a local 5k near my house. The race day started before the race. On my schedule, I had a workout of 2x5k. I could have done the workout by myself at home but what’s the fun in that? I knew a lot of friends running the race, plus my husband wanted to run…so why not?
The day before, we went flying. The plane ride was extremely turbulent, and I ended up getting sick and puking midflight. Luckily, I puked directly into a Nalgene and didn’t make a mess. Apparently running hard the day after getting sick is not optimal. When I woke up on Saturday morning, my throat hurt and I didn’t feel right.
I told myself several times; I had a hard few weeks of running plus getting sick is not optimal before a race. It was time to check my pride and ego right at the front door. To be honest, that’s always hard to do but I’m coming to terms with not every race can be my fastest.
My workout for the day was: Warmup: 3 miles 2x5k Cooldown: 3 miles
During my warmup, I knew I didn’t feel good. I knew it would be a race with a surprise or magical PR.
After my warmup, I went into my personal 5k. It’s hard to run a workout by yourself, especially knowing you’re going to race in an hour. I ran my first mile in 6:45 and immediately felt defeated. My goal was to be in the low 6:20s, but I knew my body was not going to cooperate. The area was hilly, and I felt like junk. I ran the second mile in 6:42 and the last mile in 6:31. I finished, and immediately felt defeated. I finished the first 5k in 20:48 and made it my goal to finish the second under 21:00.
So moving on to the actual race:
I lined up next to my husband and a few local friends. All of a sudden we were off. I found myself as fifth woman overall. I knew one of the women was extremely fast so catching her would not be an option. I checked my ego at the start line and raced in the moment. (which was not a great moment). During the first mile, we climbed a steep hill. I focused on just climbing, and I crossed the first mile in 6:08. I was surprisingly happy.
During the second mile, I passed two women and found myself as the third lady overall. I was running side by side by side with the second women who I eventually passed. For the rest of the race, I ran alone. The next person in front of me was my husband, and he was over a minute ahead. It was a lonely race. It was like I was doing a workout alone. I crossed the second mile in 6:18. It was much faster than anticipated.
The third mile climbed a large and surprising hill. I thought we had gotten the hill done in the first mile, but boy was I mistaken. Even though the race is a few short miles from my house, I had no idea the hill was back there. I was in second place, but the third place women was not too far behind. I was feeling sick, and my stomach hurt from the day before. I was struggling to control my breathing. I just focused on charging the downhill and getting to the finish line.
I crossed the third mile in 6:12 and finished in 19:20. I was shocked I finished 90 seconds faster than my first 5k, but I also needed that confidence booster as well. After the first 5k and not feeling great, I was feeling demotivated. I was happy with the workout as well as the second 5k.
I’m still recovering from that flight. I don’t typically get motion sickness but we never expected it to be that turbulent. I’m just glad we didn’t fly before a goal race!
Question for you: Have you ever done a workout during a race? Do you get motion sickness?
I’ve volunteered at the Bridge Run for two years now at the water stop. This year I was the token employee that got to run the race.
Last week, I had a big training week, so I knew the race was going to be riding the pain train. Since you’re running up the Ben Franklin Bridge and it can be windy, it’s not a “fast” course. Since this is a race my work sponsors, I knew a lot of people running. It wasn’t a local 5k and had about 4000 runners.
It’s hard to run a race you aren’t tapered, but with the amount of racing I do, not every race can be. To be honest, while warming up, I felt like $hit. I was in such a bad spot mentally; I wasn’t sure I would even race. I’m sure my husband wanted to drop me during the warmup since all I did was whine.😉
I ran up to the start and saw several of my friends and coworkers at the base of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Starting at the base of the bridge was surreal. The bridge was closed, and we stood right near the toll booths. I had flashbacks to New York City Marathon. Before we knew it, the race was off. I found myself running with friend Michele. We were going back and fourth climbing the bridge. Very early into the race, my legs felt exhausted. I looked down expecting to be at mile 1…only to find out I was .5 in and not even at the top. We crossed the first mile in 6:30.
We came down from the top and turned around on the Philadelphia side. The downhill felt nice, but it was windy. I crossed the 1.55 in 9:50. As we turned around and headed back, we saw runners going in the opposite direction. I saw a bunch of my friends and it was motivating. I hit mile 2 in 6:09.
The third mile finished climbing the Ben Franklin and went downhill. It was a beautiful view staring back into New Jersey. I was running in a pack of 4 women, and we hit 3 miles in 18:50.
As I came down and back in New Jersey, I felt different muscles. I no longer felt as if I was running uphill or downhill…just running flat. The pack was pulling me through, and I ran a 5:53 mile. There were no hills and no wind. If only all of the miles were like that.
The next mile focused on getting to the mile 5. I knew my coworkers and friends were at mile 5 doing the water stop. It kept me motivated and focused. Around mile 5, I saw them. My good friend, Julie, captured this video of me high fiving her. I hit mile 5 in 6:13 and focused on the final mile.
The last mile had a couple of small uphills. My quads were toast. Then the final mile had a headwind. I crossed the sixth mile in 6:26 and was happy. The last .2 headed onto Campbell’s field. Michele cranked out an impressive kick and finished directly in front of me, winning for female masters. My boss announced my name as I crossed in 38:58.
I am happy with my effort. I’ve always wanted to run the Bridge Run. Even though I wasn’t tapered or having the best morning, I’m glad I ran. I highly recommend anyone local should run!
I ran the Bone Run last year, and it was short. Even though it’s USATF certified the finish line isn’t where it should be to keep the certification. Sure I could claim I ran an 18:08, but there is no point in lying to myself or readers. Hopefully, soon I’ll run an 18:08 but the course is about .05 short which is about 20 seconds.
Moving on, this race deserves a buildup story. During my warmup, I got extremely lost. Fifteen minutes beforehand, I found myself 3 miles from the race start. Somehow I had found my way to the furthest point from the start. After crying to a random UPS driver just trying to do his job, I found myself being delivered directly to the race start. Somehow I made it but honestly I can’t be more thankful. I was delivered and dropped off by a UPS driver…my life never fails to amuse me. If he hadn’t been so kind, I wouldn’t have been able to race.
After getting to the start, I had about 2 minutes beforehand. I saw a few of my friends and chatted.
By the time I knew it, we were off! The race heads into a single lane track and into the woods. There were a lot of high schoolers at the race, so the start was extremely crowded. I was elbow to elbow. Instead of throwing elbows with high schoolers, I just kind of tucked behind them and waited for an opening. The first mile was through trails and mud. I thought being the older and wiser (LOL..) runner I am; I would be able to pass several later in the race.
I crossed the first mile in 5:53. Effort wise I felt faster, but my legs did not have pep.
The second mile opened up, and it was much wider. I was able to have some breathing room and made a few moves. I was the third woman overall and could see both the first and second place woman ahead. This was the most boring and easiest of the miles, and I ran a 5:58. There were minimal roots so I could focus on “just running”.
The third mile headed back into a single track path. It was tough to get any rhythm. I was running in a small pack (which is extremely difficult on single lane). I couldn’t see the roots in front of me, and I was worried I was one fall away from hurting myself.
My legs felt fatigued, and I desperately wanted to break away from the pack. I couldn’t move my legs any faster, despite trying. Finally, around 2.7, I passed the second place woman. From 2.7 to the end it became a race to maintain that lead. It felt like the longest few minutes of my life.
I crossed the third mile in 6:09. I was sad because I was hoping for faster but my legs didn’t have it. Plus, the terrain was difficult. As we came out of the woods, I saw the finish line ahead, and I knew they hadn’t fixed the course. My heart sunk but not much you can do.
I crossed in 18:08 and second woman overall.
I’m happy with my effort level. It was one of the strangest mornings of my life. I went from not thinking I would be able to run, to running, to being upset the course wasn’t fixed. With the conditions and terrain, I am happy with my time. However, I am looking to find a flat and fast road 5k to test my current fitness level as well. My guess is that won’t happen until Thanksgiving.
Questions for you:
Do you like Cross Country and Trail Races?
Have you ever tripped and fallen while running?
I have tripped many times which has included fracturing my elbow and getting stitches.
Despite the rain, wind and delayed start I got everything I wanted out of the base (Beat 539) half marathon. I was able to negative split the race and come back strong, after running hard the weekend before.
Do you race well in the rain?
Last Saturday I ran the base half marathon which was also called the “Beat 539 half marathon”. The full marathon runs along Route 539 and if you have to run faster than 5 hours for 19 miles.
The full is USATF certified, and on a good weather day, it’s a fast course (minimal wind, blocked road, flat). Since there were several races that weekend: (Atlantic City as well as the Perfect 10 Miler), all of the races had a small turnout. There were about 200 people who ran the half marathon and 100 that ran the full.
My dad came up as well last weekend to visit. Together we drove to Lakehurst base for the start of the half. Since it was on base, the entire car was searched back to front. (Even though we were both military). When we got there, we headed to the fitness center where the other runners were. Around 7:30, everyone headed outside. I had no idea why and by the time I knew it, we were the only ones in the building.
I didn’t want to head outside, but I also didn’t want to be the only ones inside. It was pouring rain, 40 degrees and windy. Once I went outside, I realized everyone was walking close to a mile (yes a mile) to the start line.
After getting to the start line in the pouring rain, the race was postponed. There was flooding along the course due to the storm and the race director informed us there were sections that were completely flooded over. By 8:30, I was freezing, miserable and not even wanting to run. For those who don’t know, I don’t run well in the rain. I would rather run when it’s 100 degrees than when it’s 40 degrees and rainy.
Unfortunately this year alone I’ve run Shamrock half marathon, Broad Street 10 miler and this race in the pouring 40-degree rain. So life is trying to make me love the rain. Due to my luck, I bought a Gortex jacket and haven’t looked back.
To the race: once we started at 8:41, I was cold and miserable. I wasn’t warmed up, and I didn’t feel good. My goal was to run 6:40-6:50 the first half and try and hammer down after that. Due to weather, I wouldn’t be disappointed if that didn’t happen.
I felt stiff during the first two miles. My legs were tired; I was shivering, and I was just trying to warm up. I was running in a pack of about four people. There was one male leader ahead followed by my pack. The course went through a few rolling hills, and I ran a 6:40 then 6:43.
Around mile 3, I found myself with one other male. We were running alone with the first male way far ahead. It was the last time I would run with anyone. Around mile 4 I left him and ran the entire race all by myself. That’s what happens with small races, though.
From mile 4-6, we were running on a couple different runways and roads. It was a lot of side wind and not much view. It was boring, lonely and honestly mentally challenging. There were no spectators except several military personal passing out water every other mile.
I noticed cones going in the opposite direction, and I was excited. It meant that there was an out and back portion and I would get to see other runners. Out and back courses typically motivate me and seeing other runners motivate me too. I’m a talkative runner and people cheer for me; I cheer for them too. Out and back courses generally pump me up.
As I headed around mile 6, we entered a soft muddy ground. I assumed this would be the portion that was flooded over and caused the delayed start. The next mile was muddy were soft. My feet sunk in but it wasn’t flooded (yet). Then I saw the flooded section. There was no way around it, and I just closed my eyes, cursed about 20 vulgar words under my breath and charged straight through. It was about ankle deep.
There was another flooded section, and I charged through that too. After that, I mentally regrouped. I hit the halfway point in 43:40.
My A goal at the halfway was to drop the hammer and negative split the race.
My B goal was to maintain the same pace and be under 1:28.
My C goal was to finish because and not have a situation like Shamrock earlier this year. As you can see, that race haunts me.
And then for me, the race began. The second half of the race went by much faster than the first. I ran mile 7 in 6:16 and I began feeling confident. I felt as if I had finally warmed up. Mile 8 and 9 were both at 6:16 too. Since I was running the race entirely by myself, there isn’t a lot to say. I could see the overall male about 30 seconds in front of me. I wanted to catch him!
During mile 11, we rounded a turn, and I could see the finish line. Since the base is open (Lakehurst is a flight base so there are very few trees and you can see for miles), I could see the finish line 2 miles away.
The finish line is at the moment of the famous Hindenburg disaster. Before the race, I actually did not realize that happened in New Jersey. The blimp hanger is huge (over 300 feet tall and 900 in length), so you can see that for a lot of the race.
It felt like we were almost done, but anyone running a half marathon can tell you, 2 miles is a long way. I guess I was overly motivated and ran a 6:07 11th mile.
As we rounded a turn into mile 12, it hit me. It began hailing, and there was a significant headwind. It was blowing me backward as I tried to progress forwards. Except mile 16 at the NYCM, it was one of the hardest miles I’ve run. It was windy, hailing and I could see the finish line. It just wasn’t coming any closer.
My effort was still high but due to the wind, I ran the last mile in 6:40. Finally, I crossed the finish in 1:25.29. I quickly grabbed warmed clothing and changed afterward.
After racing Runners World 5k and Half last weekend, I wasn’t expecting to be faster. With the weather, I got everything I wanted out of the race. If you are looking for a flat, fast marathon, I recommend it.
Questions for you: Rain: Love it or hate it? What is the smallest race you’ve run? How about the biggest?
I think the Run from the Sun half in Watertown, NY was a little smaller but this is one of the smallest halves I’ve run.
The recap for the actual race begins the night before. A couple two doors down fought the entire night. From about 11 pm to 5 am, they screamed at each other and slammed doors. I’m not sure if I was more frustrated or impressed by their fighting stamina. I woke up around 4:45 to another fight and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was glad this wasn’t going on during a goal race and just decided to wake up.
After waking up and relaxing, I walked to the race at 7. Runners World changed the bag check this year, and it was over half a mile, away. By the time Ty and I realized this, it was too late for me. I couldn’t drop a bag off, go to the restroom and get to the race on time. I also didn’t care to be delayered that far in advance before the race or run in my racing flats to the start. So I took a risk and stashed my bag in the bushes. It’s not something I advise, but I made it to the start on time. (Yes, I thought about what a poor decision that was for half of the race. My shoes and cell phone are both replaceable, but it would have been a costly replacement).
The race went off right at 8. After the November Project workout as well as 5k the day before, I didn’t have high hopes for an amazing time. Plus, I’m not in the fitness I would like after my ankle injury. Last year I ran a 1:28 and my goal was to run faster than that.
The only thing I remembered about the course from last year was it was hilly for the first 10 miles, and the last three were downhill. It’s a tough and challenging course, but it’s set up pretty well.
The first mile went by fast. I was running in a pack of people, and we hit the first mile in 6:22. I thought it would be one of my fastest miles since it was downhill.
I noticed three women in front of me, and I focused on them. One of the women was the overall winner of the 5k the day before. The second mile went downhill. I passed a few men and hit the second mile in 6:27.
During the third mile, we climbed, and I ran close to another woman. She passed me on the uphill, and I would pass her on the downhill. She had such great form climbing the hills, and I tried to mimic her. It was like she was climbing hundreds of feet effortlessly. I was in awe, and we hit the third mile in 6:33.
The fourth and fifth mile went by without any notice. I was bouncing around and running with a pack. I guessed I was moving places anywhere from 3-5th. There was a pretty large pack of us! I ran mile 4 at 6:31 and mile 5 at 6:30.
I knew mile 6 was going to be a steep climb and it didn’t disappoint. I focused on making it to the halfway point. I ran a 6:49 mile but I wasn’t fading, and the pack did about the same.
Finally, around the halfway point, someone shouted 3,4,5th female. There was a potential podium finisher in our pack (which actually it was another woman who outkicked us all!). It didn’t necessarily motivate me to run any harder, but it was nice to know where we were. I realized at the halfway point; I didn’t feel too bad. I wasn’t fading, and my splits were direct responses to hills. I had a feeling I might finish well.
I hit the halfway point in 42:34. It would equate to a 1:25.08 half. I made the goal of breaking 1:26 which wasn’t based on anything but feeling good.
I knew one of my friends was passing water out around mile 8 so I just focused on that. By this point, I was running in the same pack consisting of myself, two women and a male. It kept me motivated and pushed me to keep moving. After a turn around mile 9, I also noticed there were about four other women 10 seconds behind.
I hit the ten-mile point in about 1:05 and I desperately wanted to break 1:26. This was when I began pushing the pace. I knew the last 5k was a lot of downhill, so I was going to take advantage of it. I rarely have downhill advantage over any racer, but I began pushing and broke away from the females. The male and I progressed together.
Around mile 11, we went over the bridge and a new woman passed me like I was standing still. I knew at that very moment; she had clutched 3rd. I did not have the leg turnover or speed and I knew if it came down to the last .1, she would easily outkick me. I did, however, attempt to keep up and mile 11 was the fastest mile I’ve ever run during a half marathon (5:58). It was also partially downhill.
The final two miles were spent by myself. I just focused on the end. The last mile is the same last mile the 5k uses. I just kept wanting to see the finishers line. Around mile 13, I saw Erica Sara and her son which motivated me.
I crossed the finish line in 1:24.17 and I was both ecstatic and shocked. That is my third fastest half marathon (Behind my PR at Carlsbad and Atlantic City 2014). I still cannot believe I ran that well given the circumstances and I do believe it sets me up for a great rest of the year.
Course Elevation Profile:
I’m extremely proud of this time. It’s my third fastest half in non-ideal circumstances. I’m excited to see where the rest of fall and winter takes me.