HT 3.9 (26:12) miler Race Recap

Where to begin with this race recap?

This race was doomed from the beginning.  I still had an enjoyable time, but there were so many snafus that it’s hard to even be mad.  Due to some personal afternoon obligations, I had a rare Saturday off.  I was able to do most any race in the local area, and it didn’t have to rely on an early start time.

Unfortunately race wise, this actually did me no favors, and it was both hot and humid at the start.  By 10 am, it was already in the high 80s with the humidity at 99%.

But a race is a race, and my only goal is to keep trucking along.  Any race I finish injury free is good in my books. My husband and I warmed up, and before the race, I had already sweat through my entire outfit.  As someone who doesn’t sweat a whole heck of a lot, I knew it was going to be hot.

We lined up at the race start, and the race organizers told us to make sure the chip was on our left shoe.  As we were waiting, they announced everyone was facing the wrong way, and we needed to turn around and move the chip to our right shoe.  By this time, it was 15 minutes after the scheduled race start, and I was dehydrated.

Finally; they announced the race, and we were off.  There were dozens of people in front of me, which made it easy to follow at the start.  During the first half mile, we did a giant circle which actually caused us to cross paths and potentially collide with other racers going the opposite direction.  I crossed the first mile in 6:20 and was pleasantly surprised.  The course was relatively hilly, so I was excited to potentially break 20 minutes again on a difficult course.  Little did I know what the next 2.9 miles would hold.

During the second mile, we began running a loop.  By this point, a small pack had formed including my personal friend, Brittany and several men.  As we passed one volunteer, he told us to keep going.  We followed, and by the time I knew it, we had done a full loop and were starting the second loop.

I was now running by myself with several people following me.  I directly asked the volunteer again which way to go, and he said to continue this way.  I had a sinking feeling it was not accurate. I said: “I’ve already run one loop” and he said I still went that way.  I hit the second mile in 6:27.

Several people followed me.  Another volunteer then directed me into a parking lot and all of a sudden I found myself in someone’s back yard.  I stopped for a second and just turned around and went back to the same loop I had already run twice.  By that point, I had lost several people, and it was just myself and another guy running together.  I saw the pack of women I had run with further ahead, so I was able to somewhat follow them.

As I approached the third mile, the volunteer directing told us to turn there.  I knew I didn’t need the extra mileage because I was already longer.  I asked him: “what about the other people running straight to the finish?”  He laughed at said: they are going the wrong way.

I turned and headed around the lake. My watch beeped 3 miles, and I knew it was probably going to be another mile to go.

As I finally saw the finish line, we did a giant loop around a parking lot.  My friend, Brittany, came back and directed me to the finish line.  She had still run longer but had been directly to about 3.4.  I crossed the finish in 26:12 and with stops had an overall pace of 6:42.

The race director was friendly and apologized for all of the issues.  To be honest, I wasn’t looking for “the best race ever” but a good workout.  Of course, it’s frustrating to have so many issues with a single race but if that is the worst thing to happen that day, I’m okay with it.  I still had an enjoyable time hanging out with friends and supporting a local community.

It does give me confidence, I’m in sub 20-minute fitness when I have a good race.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run and get lost?

What is your ideal race start time?

I like 5ks that start between 7:30-8:30 am.  I prefer half marathons to start at 7:00 am.

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Training Log: Adding Mileage and Racing

My goal for the next few weeks is to slowly build mileage while hopefully racing.  While I know none of the races will be PRs, or close, they will serve their purpose as workouts.  I’ll adjust to running 3 quicker miles a week, with the rest of the miles being anywhere between 8:30-10 minute miles.  If I charge my watch and use it for half of my runs, I’ll consider it a success.

As I come back from my break, my goal is to do so healthily.  Overdoing it isn’t going to build fitness any faster and it will just set me up for an injury (or five).  As someone who is already injury prone, I don’t need more odds against me.

This week went well, and I did exactly what I wanted.  Even though it was extremely hot and humid, I was able to motivate myself get through runs.

Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: Holy Angels 5k (3.9 miles)  26:12
 Sunday: OFF

All of my weekday runs were smooth and uneventful.  By 6 am, the temperature was already in the 80s, so I tried to get them done as soon as possible.  I felt like I had run a marathon by how tired I was after running in the heat.

The race on Saturday was eventful to say the least.  I’ll have a race recap later in the week but it was first time race that started late (and a 10 am start is late enough) and had over 10 turns and only a handful of volunteers.  Needless to say, most course participants got extremely lost and I ended up running 3.9 miles.  I’m still happy with my race efforts and live to race another day.

In other running news, I was accepted to be an ambassador for Rabbit Apparel.  I’ve liked their apparel since first trying it about 6 months ago.  I’ve also had nothing but positive interactions with members of the team as well as the brand and company.  When they announced ambassador applications, I knew it was a company I wanted to apply too.  I haven’t been an ambassador for an apparel company in awhile, but I’m looking forward to starting a new path with Rabbit.

If anyone was interested in trying out a piece of clothing, you can use this link and receive 10% off!

This now means I’ll represent both Rabbit and CEP Compression.  I stand behind both brands of making high-quality products and being great people as well.

Posts from the week:

Brooks Pureflow Shoe Review

Westside 5k (21:00)

Questions for you:

Are you an ambassador for any companies? 

How was your week of training?

Westside 5k (21:00)

Jumping into a race after time off is always humbling.  Last week, I ripped off the band-aid and ran a 5k in Wilmington.  Before the race, I didn’t look at the course terrain or elevation.  I just saw the date, time and that I could make it to work on time. When my husband and I got there, we realized how hilly the race would be.

I had no goals race the race.  I wanted to finish healthy and injury free.  Spoiler: I did just that.  The night before, I had a migraine.  I hadn’t slept the best during the last week, so I ended up falling asleep at 8 pm and slept until 6 am.  When I woke up, I had my doubts I even wanted to do the race, but my husband asked: so when are we leaving…I groaned and said in an hour.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to race but I knew it would be a shock to the system.With that, we arrived for the race, signed up and did a 3-mile warmup.  I felt fine warming up, but I knew the hilly course would make it a difficult course whether I was in shape or not.

There was both a 5k and 10k starting together, and the races went off together.  The first mile went almost exclusively uphill.  I was running with a pack of people, and I felt good.  I thought: surely I must be going around 6:30 miles.  I crossed the first mile in 6:55.  I was shocked but happy with my effort.

The next mile continued to climb.  I’ve run several races in Wilmington, so I knew the general terrain and area.  As we reached the halfway turnaround, I saw my husband in second overall but was quickly catching the first place.  He looked comfortable.  We turned around and headed back towards where we came.  I crossed the second mile in 7:01 and thought: I guess a 21 minute 5k is probably going to be out of my reach today.

I never felt bad during the last mile, but not in shape either. I just charged back to the start.  I passed one person and finished the last mile in 6:30.  I was pleasantly surprised.

I finished the 5k in 21:00 exactly.  My slowest 5k in a very long time?  Yes but I’m pleased with my race.  My goal was to finish healthy and strong which I did.  The course was difficult.  My husband ran an 18:30 which id about 90 seconds slower than he has been recently running (so it gives me more confidence it was a challenging course).  

Is it hard not to compare myself to when I was running 18:30 a few months ago?  Of course, but I’m happy with how I ran and I’m looking forward to gaining back my fitness.

 Questions for you:

What is the most difficult course you’ve run?

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.17)

I’ve mentioned countless times I’ve been stuck in a plateau since October.  The April Fools half marathon was supposed to be “the redemption race”.  As you can see, that didn’t happen.

That being said, I have no regrets about the race, and I raced as hard as I could for the day.  It just wasn’t my day.  Which is also unfortunate because the weather was also ideal.  I have a lengthy post about training hard and not meeting your goals, but today is just a post about a girl running her heart out in Atlantic City.

I was back and forth with getting a hotel room down the shore but ultimately chose to sleep in my own bed.  I left my house at 6 am and arrived at the race around 7:15.  Somehow I managed to get the very last parking spot in the Resorts Casino Hotel which is a parking lot that fits at least 1000 cars. I’m always pushing the limits when I go to races, and of course, this was no exception.

I got to the race start and was able to use one of the dozens of nice casino bathrooms.  I always think Atlantic City races are underrated.  There is plenty of parking, nice bathrooms and they are well put together.

Not much of note happened before the race.  I chatted to a few local friends beforehand but nothing crazy.  The race started at 8 and off we went.

Immediately I noticed a woman take off ahead.  I knew she would win.

Win the race I won last year.  After about a minute of letting that sink in, I focused on my own race. You can’t control who shows up.

With that, I focused on the first mile.  I’ve run the race twice before (in 2014 and 2016), and I know the course well.  The first mile went down the wooden boardwalk.  I was running in a pack, and we hit the first mile in 6:20. I was surprised, and honestly, I didn’t feel that bad.april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

The next two miles were uneventful.  I ran with the pack, and we logged an exact 20 minute 5k.  I felt extremely stiff when running.  Throughout the entire race, I never felt like I loosened up.

Around mile 3.5 we got off the boardwalk and headed onto the paved street.  As we crossed down, someone was on their cell phone texting, and I had to shout please look up.  Otherwise, I would have run smack into him! At that point, I began feeling stale, and I suppose that would have given me an excuse to drop out. Other than that the fourth mile was uneventful.

During the next two miles, I focused on getting to the halfway point.  I knew we would be turning around and I wanted to get my bearings.  I knew my friend Erin was gaining behind me and I knew the elite woman was several minutes in front.  Other than that, I was running alone and knew nothing.  Around 5.5, I saw the leaders turning around, and the elite lady was second overall for both and female.  That was amazing to see (because she had also run the 11k the day before).

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

I crossed the turnaround in 42:30 and found myself side by side with Erin.  She looked strong and was on target for a PR.  It was super motivating because despite feeling like garbage, seeing friends succeed still motivates me.  As we started running the opposite direction, I saw several local runners cheering.

I felt terrible was just trying to put it behind me.  I hit the 7th and 8th mile in 6:48.  There was a surprisingly strong headwind during the two miles, and it crushed me both mentally and physically.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

There have been a handful of races I was one thought away from dropping out. Atlantic City was one of them.  I didn’t have anyone expecting me at the finish line.  There were no friends or family to look in the eyes for me to say why I quit.  I never need anyone at the finish line, but it made it easy to justify just stopping. I wasn’t injured, but mentally I was destroyed.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

For some reason, I kept going.  I remembered both marathons with 3 miles to go that I felt the same way: like I would never get there.  I just remembered the race was probably 30 minutes more of my life and I was done.

We ran back onto the wooden Boardwalk could see the Resorts hotel and the finish several miles in the distance.  My friend Erin, myself and another male were running down the boardwalk side by side.

By mile 10, I just gave it everything I had and surged.  I didn’t have much left in the tank but ran 11 and 12 in 6:30.

As I remembered, the last mile of Atlantic City races feels never ending.  You see the casino where the race ends but don’t see the actual finish line until a quarter mile to go.  I had broken up the pack and was running alone.

I finally saw the finish line and gave it everything I had, but it was not enough.  Erin passed me in the final stride and won out second place.  Our chip times were identical but overall goes by gun and she finished one second faster.  I finished bittersweet.  I fell short of my training cycle goals, and I placed third in a race I had won last year.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

Thoughts: 

Even though I finished with my slowest time on the best weather day, I’ve had for that race I was happy to finish healthy.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running
Post Race with Erin picking up awards

It’s been nearly a week since I finished and had time to reflect.  My goal for the last 6 months was to PR at the April Fools half marathon, and I missed that goal by about 4 minutes.  As I mentioned in my last training post. 1:26 is a respectable half marathon time, but it’s not the time I trained for.  When you don’t meet goals, it stinks.  I’ve accepted it and moved on.  While running is what I choose to post about on social media, it does not define my life.  I finished the training cycle healthy, and while I didn’t meet any goals or expectations, there are many more years and training cycles left in my life.

I won’t lie and say I’m happy with the race because I’m not.  I will not, however, let it define me and I’ll continue to move forward.

Post Race with good friend Meredith who PRed!

What’s next? 

I do have Broad Street 10 miler next weekend, which will be more of a fun race for me than anything.  Last year, I surprised myself and ran a 1:01.57.  This year I’m excited to spend time with my family.  Of course, I would love to run well, but I’ve removed expectations from the race, and my only goal is to have fun.

I’m still formulating plans and goals for the summer, but the summer is the time for enjoying local races in the community.

Questions for you:

Have you ever not met expectations for a training cycle?

Have you been to Atlantic City? 

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?

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?