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Irish Festival 5k (20:25)

Irish Festival 5k (20:25)

Last week I jumped into the Irish Festival 5k in Bergen County (just near the George Washington Bridge).  My husband and I were traveling to Connecticut to pick up car parts, and it seemed like a fun race.  It was a different location, and somewhere we had never raced.  In fact, just a couple of miles near the George Washington Bridge is a beautiful part that you can get plenty of miles in.

Anyway, we arrived around 8 am, and it was already scorching hot.  As we looked around, we noticed there was absolutely no shade around.  The park was made up of open fields, water, and multiple soccer fields.  I knew immediately it was going to be very hot.

We warmed up about 3 miles, and I had already sweat through my entire outfit.  Luckily, I packed 5 running outfits for 2 days.  The race started a little late, and we stood in the sun for another few minutes.  Once we started, I found myself in third overall.  I could see the first two women ahead, and I thought I might be able to catch one.

The first mile headed out, and there was a small downhill.  I caught the second place women around mile 1, and we both hit the mile around 6:20.

During the second mile, another woman sailed by me as if I was standing still.  She cruised by me so quickly, I honestly didn’t know if she was in the race and it took the better part of the next mile to figure it out.  I only wondered because at the pace she passed me, she must have either missed the start or started very far in the back, and this wasn’t a big race.

I hit the second mile in 6:40.  I grabbed water which was hot.  I just wanted the race to be done.

The third mile loops around a large open meadow.  You can see the finish from about 2.1, so it doesn’t make the final mile feel any more comfortable.  I was going back and forth with a couple of men.  One passed me, and one did not.  Finally, I hit the last mile in 6:45 and just powered to the finish in 20:25.

It’s my slowest time since last summer, but I’m not disappointed.  It was a hot day on a harder course.  I’m not in the fitness I was 6 months ago, and that is okay!  My husband finished in 18:57 which is good for the training as well.  It was fun and I’m glad we still ran.

Questions for you:

What is the hottest race you’ve done?

This one was one of the hotter, a 10k in Texas, as well as a half marathon in Texas, were both up there.

How do you adjust to the heat?

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Newport 10 Miler (1:03.57)

Newport 10 Miler (1:03.57)

Last weekend I decided to run the Newport 10 Miler.  As many people know, my brother is in the Navy.  Over the last year, he’s gone to various schools around the country.  It’s been awesome because I’ve been able to see him several times including for the Christmas last year and in Phoenix. He leaves to go back to Spain soon, so as one last hurrah my parents drove up to see me, and we drove up to see him.

I heard the Newport 10 miler was a beautiful course, so I decided to run.  I wasn’t all that concerned about pace or my finishing time.  May and June are always dicey months for me where I seem to get niggles I ignore which ultimately turn into an injury.  This May I bebopped around with my training and workouts.  It wasn’t as if I didn’t run, but running wasn’t my priority.  I have no regrets about that.

The race officials sent several emails saying parking was difficult and to get there as early as possible.  Even though the race started at 7:30, they recommended getting there at 5 am.  Dad and I met them halfway and got there at about 6.  Honestly, I’m glad we didn’t get there any later because parking is challenging and there is one 1 lane going in and out, so there is a lot of traffic

The race started at 7:30.  After chatting for a while with a few people who I didn’t know, it was time to go.  I planned to run my own race. I knew I wasn’t in the same shape as Broad Street, so I wasn’t going to be dumb and run it like I was. The over 1-mile walk to/from my car was warm up for me, and I didn’t do anything extra.

The first mile, I ran with a bunch of men.  There were several women in front, but I was tucked into a pack of dudes.  We went up and around and honestly, there were several rolling hills that I wasn’t expecting. I ran the first mile in 6:35 and I thought, eh; I would be happy with the race being at that pace but never judge a race by the first mile…

The next two miles went by quickly.  We turned and ran near the water. It was beautiful.  Both miles I ran at 6:33 and I felt good about it.  By mile 3, I found myself as the 3rd woman.  I could see the first two women running side by side about 30 seconds ahead.

As mile 4 approached, I could tell I was catching one of the females.  I consider myself a somewhat strong “wind runner.”  I don’t get upset when the wind is blasting in your face, I just put my head down and go.  It’s probably because most of my half marathons were in the wind last year.  We hit some headwind, and I just propelled myself forward as best as I could.me running newport 10k

On the downhill around mile 5, I caught one of the women and found myself as second.  I felt good.

My primary goal of this race was to run faster per mile than last month when I ran a 41 minute 10k.  That 10k race left me feeling demotivated and wondering if I was even in good running shape anymore.  Silly but since then I’ve just been in a funk.

I hit the 10k of this 10 miler around 40:30 which was almost 40 seconds faster on a harder course.  I also knew with the headwind we had going out, we would have a tailwind for part of the second half, and we did.

After that, I told myself to just focus on the finish.  I wasn’t tapered, or even really ready for the rolling hills on the course.  Would I say the course was a hard, hilly, course?  No, but I will say the elevation changes a lot, and you aren’t ever really on a flat surface.  My body was not ready for that.

The next 2 miles without any note.  A woman told me I was “so close to catching the first place woman,” but I knew the first woman was gapping.

me running newport 10k

Around mile 9, we entered the Fort and headed to the finish.  When you pass the Fort, you still have about half of a mile to go.  Those finishes are mentally tough because you never feel like the half-mile will end.

Finally, I ran through the Fort gates and saw the finish.  I crossed in 1:03.57 and as second woman overall.  I was pleasantly surprised with my time as well as placing.  Over the last month, I haven’t put as much time and effort into running (which yes, would mean it’s not a priority in my life right now).me running newport 10k

It’s not a PR, but Newport was definitely a fun and challenging course.  I was surprised with the rolling hills.  It’s not a “hilly” course, but there aren’t many sections you are running on a flat surface.  It’s either up or down.  I’m happy with my effort and I’m hoping to get back to running more routinely soon.

Questions for you:

What is the most scenic race you’ve done?

Have you ever been to Newport?

Xterra trail 10k (50:54)

Xterra trail 10k (50:54)

I had no plans to do this race until about 15 minutes before my husband left the house.  He had mentioned during the race Saturday night but I had just hoped he would forget. I woke up around 6:15 and my husband’s words at 6:30 in the morning were: “I am seriously doing this race”.  That day, I had planned to do a workout by myself but after thinking about it, I thought it might be fun to get out of my comfort zone.  I didn’t do anything I usually do to prepare for a race and just threw everything in a random bag and got in the car.

The 10k was down in super south NJ, just outside of Salem County.  It’s the part of NJ most people don’t even think exists and most of it is covered in farms or parks, which is great for trail racing.

Like most of the East Coast recently, we have gotten a lot of rain.  It’s rained on and off since last Friday and is supposed to continue most of the week.  Needless to say, the race was very muddy.  Even the “elites” said it would be a tough day on the course.  Always good to hear your first anything will be tough.

We got to the race a bit later than I particularly like and had time for about a mile warmup. I hadn’t charged my watch so ran about 10 minutes and decided that was a mile.

We were given course directions at 7:50 and the race went off at 8.  It was two loops (5kers did one loop and 10k did two).  It was a combination of grass, single track, and about 200 meters of road.

I self-seeded myself directly in the middle of the crowd.  I had no idea what to expect and didn’t want to be too far in the front but also not in the back either.  The race went off and it reminded me of a mass country style start.  We were all in a field, and it quickly funneled into the trail.  I found myself boxed in for the first mile or so.  My goal for the race was just run my own race AND NOT HURT MYSELF. If you know me, I am most likely to hurt myself in a cushioned room.

xterra mudlands 10k alloway nj me running

I thought the first mile must be taking forever.  I wasn’t sprinting and just running.  The course wasn’t “bad” as I thought it would be.  There was mud, but nothing too drastic.  I was running with a large pack of men.

During the second mile, I passed a couple of females and we headed into a much more challenging part of the course.  I had no idea what shoe to wear (TBH, I probably should have worn the same shoe I hike in: The Brooks Cascadia.)  I had opted to run in an old pair of college flats, which was a bad idea.  I shoud have run in spikes over those flats.

Around mile 2, a young kid asked me if we were at the 5k yet and I told him I thought we were about 2 miles in.  Turns out later, he won the 5k overall!  Since it was a two loop course, we went under the finishers shoot at 5k.  I hit the 5k around 25:30 minutes.

xterra mudlands 10k alloway nj me running

As we headed back through the field we started at, I was able to pass a few more people.  I could tell, I had more leg speed (from roads) but they had more technical skill through the mud and single track.

Mile 4 and 5 went uneventfully.  Around mile 4, a male in front of me fell.  I asked if he was okay and he said yes and got back up quickly. The course was much more torn up because of all the people that had come through.  I stepped in ankle deep mud and just plowed through.  My only goal was not to hurt myself.  I had no remorse if I had to stop, walk, or take things easy.

The last mile felt as though it never-ending.  I saw it was about 8:45 am and thought I probably had about 10 minutes or so left of racing.  I just kind of plugged along.

All of a sudden I popped out of the woods and saw the giant finish line ahead.  As I crossed, the announcer said I had won for females.  Then proceeded to ask if I was wearing road racing shoes.  I wasn’t expecting to win, and it was pretty cool to do so.  I had no idea I was even in first place because it’s hard to tell who is in front of you.

xterra mudlands 10k alloway nj me running

In all, I had a great time getting out of my comfort zone.  My only regret was not wearing a trail shoe but I didn’t hurt myself so it ended up ok.  A lot of locals said it was “the hardest trail race they’ve done’ but I don’t have anything to compare it too.

It reminds me a lot of open water swims because you can’t race for time, just on the conditions for the day!  I wouldn’t say I’m “hooked on trails”, and prefer the speed of and consistency of roads.

xterra mudlands 10k alloway nj me running

We were asked to do a jumping shot and I didn’t fall holding glass which is a rather big accomplishment for me

Questions for you:

Have you ever done a trail race?

What is the hardest race you’ve ever done?

Cape May 10k (41:07)

Cape May 10k (41:07)

A 41:07 is a great 10k time, but it’s not a great 10k time for me.  In fact, I ran a 38:13 10k during the April Fools Half Marathon and ran almost 20 seconds per faster in the Broad Street 10 miler last weekend.  Not great races come with the territory and not every race is going to be “the best ever”.  I wouldn’t use the term bad because I started and finished injury free. A race I left inured, I would call bad.

Anyway, my husband and I left the house around 5:30 am on Saturday.  When we left, it was a torrential downpour.  The roads were flooded, and it looked like it would be one of the most challenging races ever.

Last year, a storm had passed through during the race, and it was so unseasonable the weather channel was down filming Cape May.  I knew there was very little that would cancel the race.

As we were driving down, the weather cleared up.  It was extremely windy along the shore but at least not raining.

We got to the race around 7, signed up and went on a short warmup.  I saw a few people I knew got to the start, and by the time I knew it, we were off.  The 5k and 10k went off together.  During the first mile, I knew I didn’t feel good.

It wasn’t the feeling where things would get better.  I didn’t feel good, and I knew I wouldn’t during the entire race. I was more tired and sore then I had been all week.  I knew the next few miles were not going to be fun and spoiler: they weren’t!

I hit the first mile in 6:18 but I knew we had a tailwind.  I didn’t know much about the course, but since it went along the shore, I assumed it would be windy. I ran the second mile alone and it was into the headwind.  I heard my watch beep and I looked down to a 6:46.  At that point, I knew there was no point in stressing about time, and I just needed to get through the race.

We ran into a straight headwind for the third mile.  I was running alone and into 35 mph headwind.  It felt magnified since we were right along the water.  I hit mile 3 in 6:58.  It was slower than most, if not all, of my half marathon miles in 2018.

After reaching the halfway point, I told myself “just a 5k left”.  We turned around mile 4 and headed back towards the start.  This time we had a tailwind for a mile, and I ran a 6:36.  I should tell you I felt magically better, but I felt no different than when I ran the first half of the race.

Around mile 5, the bottom of my feet started to burn.  It is a sensation I haven’t had in a very long time and typically happens with trainers, not flats.  I couldn’t figure it out.  I told myself, if it gets worse you will stop and NGAF that you “had a mile to go”.

The final mile went along the boardwalk.  My feet hurt, but they weren’t getting worse.   Around mile 5.5, you could see the finish, and I just wanted to be done.  My friend and local, Grace, passed me around 5.5 like I was standing still.  It was the only person I ran “with” for the last 5 miles.

I crossed the finish in 41:07.  On a “bad day,” I had wanted to run around 40 minutes, but I didn’t meet that goal.  The minute I stopped, my feet hurt.

A lot.

It wasn’t a bone or tendon hurt, but the bottom of my feet just burned.  I had to sit down for a second.  I quickly took off my shoes only to realize I never put on my racing flats.  I had worn a pair of trainers that had 500 miles on them.  I remember putting them in the donation pile at home, but I had taken them out to “wear casually”.  No wonder my feet hurt.  I had essentially run with no cushion on the pavement for 6.2 miles.

Ultimately from wearing the wrong shoes, I lost both of my middle toenails.  I’m embarrassed it happened, but oh well.  With or without my racing shoes, it wasn’t my day.  I wasn’t feeling great and it was also windy. I’m not happy with my time, but I’m happy I’m healthy.  Not every race will be your best. I’m not devastated because it’s unhealthy to think you’ll feel perfect every day.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite racing shoe?

For 10ks I like the Saucony Type A.

Do you like the 10k?  What are some 10k tips you have?

Broad Street 10 Miler (1:02.51)

Broad Street 10 Miler (1:02.51)

This year, Broad Street wasn’t about my running my fastest.  After PRing in the half marathon this February, I haven’t trained as consistently over the past few months.  Life has gotten away from me, and small things have popped up here and there.  I am still in shape, but am I in PRing shape?  No.  That’s okay, and you can’t be in peak performance all of the time.

Anyway, this year Broad Street was about my finishing happy.  I DNSed last year because I was burned out. I could have run, but I would have been miserable. I knew I had made the right decision when I spectated the end and had no sadness at all.

This year I was determined to finish healthy, happy, and with a smile.

I did all of that and even had a consistent and solid race.

Each year, both my dad and my father in law come up for Broad Street.  Both are avid runners, and my dad has been running far longer than I have.  Everything up to race day went without a hitch.  My dad got my bib at the Convention center.  We got to the stadiums around 6 and made it to the start line around 7.

broad street 10 miler

I was seeded bib F143.  I tried to use the “seeded bathrooms”, but the volunteer told me my bib was too high (I.E., I was too slow).  There wasn’t really a point for me to be seeded I guess. I started exactly where I did when I ran every other year in the red coral.

I didn’t have time to wait again to use the bathroom, and when you are surrounded by 40,000 other people, there isn’t anywhere to go.  I rarely start any race having to use the bathroom, but I didn’t have a choice. I respect that there were faster athletes, but it didn’t make it easier to start a race needing to use the bathroom.

The race started right at 8 am, and we were off.  I told myself 1,000 times to run my race.  Time didn’t matter, but finishing happy and strong did.  I wasn’t sure what I was capable of.  I thought faster than the 1:05s I ran a few years ago but slower than my PR of 1:01.59.

My plan was just run my own race. I saw many people I knew storm by me, but I was in my own world.  The first mile of Broad Street always gets out fast anyway.  I ran a 6:15 and I thought, I think that’s half marathon PR pace but I would not be able to sustain that.

I saw a couple of friends during the second mile that zoomed by me. I thought, dang I’ve run fast in races with them before, and they are just floating by.  No big deal though. The next few miles went without much excitement.  I ran a 6:15, 6:16, 6:15.

By the time I knew it, we were doing the one turn in the entire race, around City Hall.  That is when I saw a few people in front, I knew I was going to reel in.  The humidity had started to get to me. It was forecasted to rain during Broad Street but never did.  The weather had spiked over the week from 40 to 60 and humid.  I wasn’t as prepared for it.  It was by no means bad weather, but was it wasn’t whether we were accustomed too!

Around city hall, I saw my good friend and coworker (thanks TJ) which motivated me.  The small turn in the race makes mile 5 fly by.  I think it breaks up the course well and by the time you know it, you’re over halfway done.  I ran mile 5 in 6:19.

During the next few miles, I focused on reeling people in.  It gave me the motivation to keep plugging along. I hit mile 6 in 6:10 and mile 7 in 6:11. I didn’t purposely run faster, I just did.

The heat and humidity hit me during the next few miles.  I was still enjoying myself, high fiving kids, etc. but I did not feel “on top of the world”.  My stomach was in knots because of the heat.  I always take Gatorade/electrolyte aid on course for anything more than a 10k.  I had been taking the on-course aid.

The last three miles, I traded back and forth with local runner Bryan.  I recognized him from other races, and we later chatted afterward. Around mile 7, I told myself, my goal was to run under 63.  Not a race PR but still a strong race for me.  I just needed to hold on.

broad street 10 miler

The last 3 miles were a bit of a blur.  I ran as fast as my legs would take me.  My legs never felt great, or loose during the race but they didn’t feel awful either.  Finally, we hit the Navy Yard at 9.75, and I began smiling.  I knew I was almost home and almost done.

broad street 10 miler

I powered to the finish and actually passed someone!  (In case you don’t know, I have the world’s worst kick).  I crossed in 1:02.51 and 35th female overall.  Apparently, I was beaming after the race and don’t even remember this.

broad street 10 miler

Thoughts:

I’m happy with how Broad Street went. It wasn’t my fastest or my slowest, but I was able to run a strong and consistent race.  I smiled the entire way.  It was nice to see so many friends along the course as well as after.  Even in a 40,000 person race you always see someone! Both my father and father in law had great races as well.

Questions for you:

What is the biggest race you’ve run?

Have you ever raced a 10 miler?

Last Minute Broad Street Run Tips

Last Minute Broad Street Run Tips

The Broad Street Run in Philadelphia is one of my favorite races.  I’ve run in 2014, 2015, and 2016.  Last year, I was burned out and spectated, but I do plan to run again this year.  Spectating always brings a new perspective to a race, so it was fun to join my mother in law, as well as thousands cheering along the way.  The 10-mile race itself is enormous.  Thinking out loud, 40,000+ people packed into 10 miles is a lot different than 50,000 packed into 26.2 like the NYCM.

Many locals asked if I could put together a few tips about racing.

Last Minute Broad Street Run Tips

Tips for the Philadelphia Broad Street Run:

Get to the Race Early:

This could be a tip for any race.  Of course, you don’t want to miss your goal race!   The race begins at 8 a.m. for the red coral.  The corrals go off about 5-10 minutes apart, so most people don’t leave right at 8 am.

The transportation situation is honestly one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the entire race.  If you are traveling to the start alone, it’s easiest to park at the Citizens bank stadium lots and either take the Septa line or one of the bases.  There are PLENTY of subways to get all racers to the starting line.  Parking is not a big deal because of all the lots, but I cannot stress how important it is to get there early.

Subway trains begin running at 5:30 a.m. They will even run direct express trains.  If you are coming from Center City board the Walnut/Locust stop.

When I mentioned early, it is best to board a train around 6:00 a.m.  It does take about 35 minutes for trains to reach the start with stops, and there will be lines for rest rooms once you are there,

Don’t Forget Race Day Essentials.

I feel like this is always good advice but don’t forget everything you need.  If doing a flat lay on Instagram helps you remember, then, by all means, do it.  I think I need to go that route because I always forget something to local races.

Bring a Throwaway Top:

This year the weather is looking good, and maybe rainy, but it does get cold if you are waiting around in line.  In 2016, it was 40 degrees and pouring rain, and it was awful to wait around!  All discarded clothing is donated so you won’t feel bad.  With the current weather predicted, light rain and 50s I’ll wear a light jacket to at least throw away.

Unless you are in the Red corral or an Elite, you Don’t Start directly at 8 am:

Broad Street divides runners into corrals based on speed. The time between each corral is about 5-10 minutes so plan accordingly. Even though you may not start at 8 am, the roads are closed, and it becomes increasingly difficult to get to the start the later it gets.

If you have spectators watching, know Where They Are:

On a beautiful day, thousands of people spectate. It can be difficult to find your family or friends if they tell you somewhere around mile 7 or 8 (or wherever).

Stay hydrated

With 40,000 people running the water stations get crowded, and most people stop to walk.  Pay attention and don’t fall (believe me a tailbone injury is not fun). Around the water, stations are slippery and sticky from hydration, Gatorade, and GU.

Plan your water breaks, and you can find a list of stops here.

Don’t Stop at the Navy Yard:

Many people think the gates at the Navy yard is the finish.  It’s not, and you have about a quarter of a mile to go.  The quarter of a mile feels like forever but you’re almost done.  If you are a spectator, refrain from saying “almost done”.

Pick a Meeting Spot at the Navy Yard:

Last year, we spent nearly 90 minutes trying to meet up with my father in law.  The end can be a “dead zone” for cell service so find a spot to meet people.  Make sure you have established this beforehand.  There is a map of the finish line area here.

After the Race, you Will Walk:

You don’t finish right at your car and typically, I’ve had to walk between 1-2 miles to get back.  No big deal, but be prepared.  I remember after finishing the NYCM several years ago, my body could not handle walking the amount afterwards.  In 2016, you were walking around the Navy Yard in the pouring rain.

Finally, of Course, Have Fun:

It’s running!  Unless you are competing for prize money and racing Broad Street is your job, make sure to have fun.  At the end of the day, it’s one of the most iconic races and the most iconic in Philadelphia.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run Broad Street?

What is the biggest race you’ve run?

Making Strides 5k (19:08)

Making Strides 5k (19:08)

Last weekend I decided to hop into a local race down in Pine Hill, NJ.  The race benefited program planning for Ovarian Cancer awareness, which is near and dear to my heart.

I knew it would be smart to get some faster miles on my legs before racing the Broad Street Run this weekend.  While my tailbone hasn’t bothered me while running over the last few days, I hadn’t raced anything, and I didn’t want to jump into a 10-mile race, not knowing what to expect.

I arrived at the race around 8 am, signed up, and warmed up.  I walked over to the starting line on the local track.  I’ve never started a 5k on a track.  I finished several races on a track and races that ended on a track, but this race did a loop around the track and left.

At 9 am we were off.  The lap around the track was interesting.  The walk started directly after, so we had walkers to cheer us on.  I high fived a little kid as I completed my first loop.  We ran onto the field, and the headed towards the road.  During the first half mile, I found myself in second place overall.  I stayed there the entire time and ran the entire race by myself.  The first mile incorporated track, grass, dirt, and road.  It felt like it took forever.  Realistically it was my fastest mile in the last month, and I hit mile 1 in 5:49.  To be honest, I was shocked!

As I went into mile 2, I realized I probably took the race out too fast.  I wasn’t tapered, and the week prior had been not glamorous.  The second mile looped around a baseball field and headed towards a neighborhood.  I thought I was going the wrong way, but luckily the volunteer pointed in the right way.  My legs began to feel sore, but I was able to hold a 6:08 mile.

making strides 5k pine hill nj

During the last mile, I was hurting.  My tailbone felt fine, but my legs did not feel good.  I was running alone, and I knew I had paid the price of taking the race out too quickly.  I’ve learned that lesson before, but it’s never fun in a 5k. I just focused on finishing the race.  We ran back around the field, and entered the track around 2.9 miles and ran a final loop around the track.

I ran the last mile in 6:13 and finished in 19:08.  Do I think the course was a little long?  Probably, but I’m happy with the result and even happier my tailbone felt good. The mix of terrain made it a more challenging, but fun course.

I ran a similar time at the Phillies 5k last month, which was windy but still challenging.  I haven’t run any fast 5ks lately due to weather, terrain, or life.  I feel good about the race and that my tailbone has finally turned a corner.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run on the track?

Would you prefer to run on trails or pavement?

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