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Book It 5k Race Recap

Book It 5k Race Recap

Last weekend, I ran my first 5k since June. Now that I’ve begun marathon training I won’t be tapering for many, if any, 5ks.  Since I haven’t been racing anything short, I had no idea what to expect.  Somewhere in the 20-21 minute range seemed about appropriate.  The course was short, and I ran roughly that pace.

I ran the Book It 5k much faster last year and enjoyed it because I got to see many of my friends and it is always a good time. Plus, I use the library frequently, so it seemed like a good idea.

I arrived to start around 7:45 am talked to a few friends, and then ran about 3 miles to warm up. I didn’t feel good, and my legs felt both stiff and sore. It felt like fatigue had caught up to me. I knew it wouldn’t be a miracle fast time, but I had to race with how I felt.

cherry hill book it 5k

We lined up along the grass, and I chatted with several friends.  By the time I knew it, we were off.  It starts on the grass.  Luckily there weren’t many geese in the way like last year.

As got off the grass I looked up to see I was about fifth or sixth place.  There was a young, 8-year-old female in front of me, as well as several friends.  Around the half mile, I settled into 3rd place, where I stayed the entire time (right behind a man pushing a stroller…who has also beat me pushing a double stroller).  I hit the first mile in 6:21 and all I could think was…how the heck am I going to keep this up?

The second mile happened without much of note.  It felt like it was barely moving. I wanted the race to be over.  I hit the second mile in 6:29.  I was shocked because it felt like I was crawling. My legs haven’t been that stiff while racing in a while, but I wasn’t surprised and thankful it wasn’t mile 2 of a half marathon or marathon.

cherry hill book it 5k

The last mile just hurt. I was sore, tired, and just wanted the race to be over. I felt as though the young girl was going to catch me.  Honestly, if she did it wouldn’t have bothered me either.  We ran back over the field, and I ran to the finish line.

I finished the race in 18:24 and I think it was somewhere around 2.5 short.  I’m guessing I would have run about 20 minutes or so.

cherry hill book it 5k

I feel good about that, and it’s about the same pace I stopped racing 5ks at. I didn’t feel great, and I know with a few more 5ks and speed under my belt, I’ll be able to hone in on some faster races.

I do plan to run several 5ks through marathon training. Racing frequently keeps me from feeling stale like I did before NYCM the first time.  Plus, it’s a great way to see friends. It’s hard to believe I ran multiple half marathons faster than this in the Spring, but it gives something to work towards.

Questions for you:

What is the sorest you’ve felt during a race?

What is your favorite book?

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Underarmour Killington 25k (3:20)

Underarmour Killington 25k (3:20)

The Underarmour Killington 25k was the hardest race I’ve ever run.  Yes, I’ve run a couple of marathons and yes I ran the Copper Mountain 25k last month at 9000 feet elevation, but Killington was harder.  For me anyway.  It was also the longest time running on my feet.  I’ve hiked longer, but never run that long.

Even though there were challenging portions, I enjoyed the heck out of it. When I finished the Killington race, I wasn’t 100% sure I would run it again, but after a few days, I do believe I would go back.  My reasoning for thinking about not rerunning it is straightforward: there are a lot of very steep downhills, and I do think it’s easy to injure yourself.  That being said I enjoyed it and thought the race was fun.

The drive from NJ to Vermont was uneventful, but it did take a lot longer than I anticipated.  I got there shortly before the race packet pickup ended the night before. You could pick up packets the same day, but I wasn’t sure how the morning before would play out. I wanted to be ready the night before.

The morning of the race, I ended up driving about 15 minutes down the road to get coffee because nowhere was open beforehand.  Last month at Copper, one of the places opened early which was nice.  It ate up some time, but I was up before my alarm anyway.

I got to the race start around 7 am, chatted with Allie, and by the time I knew it we were off. underarmour killington 25k

I was wrapping my mind around actually racing and the challenge it would be.  I didn’t have pressure to race hard, PR, and time was pretty much irrelevant because unless you run the course, it’s hard to fully explain every twist, knee-deep mud puddle, and 40% decline.

I was just at the race for me. I have a whole separate post about my lack of racing this summer, but I actually think it’s been good for me.

The race started, and the first mile was downhill.  I started way in the back because people kept passing me.  I don’t run downhills well at all, and I was being passed left and right.  Around mile 1.5, we started a serious climb.

The roles reversed, and I was passing people as if they were standing still.  I’m sure people just thought I started late but I was cruising by people (cruising being somewhere around 12 min miles).  I hit mile 2 around 12 minutes and was happy.

underarmour killington 25k

The next few miles climbed, and climbed, and also climbed.  It was very rocky like the Appalachians.  It was also extremely steep, and the inclines were anywhere between 20-40%.  After going for 40% for probably half a mile, 20% incline felt like a cakewalk.

I hit mile 5 around an hour.  I thought perhaps finishing 3 hours again would be doable, but the course kept getting more and more challenging.  So as the race progressed, it became clear I would only reach 3 hours if we ran on the roads.

The next few miles went between extreme uphill and extreme downhill.  It was either 20+% grade in one direction.  A few parts went off course and weren’t groomed.  You were just physically climbing up a mountain in knee-high grass.  I traded sports with a woman named Nancy and we got to chatting for a while (she ultimately left me in the dust the final downhill mile).

Underarmour killington 25k

Between 6-7 miles, we hit a peak with gorgeous views below.  All I could think about after reaching the peak was that eventually we would go down and there would be more downhill.  I took a second to admire the views and the top of the gondola.

Around 15k, I stopped at an aid station and went for skittles.  At Copper, I decided I wanted Red Bull, but at Killington, skittles appealed to me.  They were fine, and I had no stomach issues.

underarmour killington 25k

I took my second gel at mile 10.  I had gone back and forth between one gel per hour, but instead of taking it at 2 hours I decided to eat skittles and take the gel about 10 minutes later.

The next 5 miles were grueling, and I wanted nothing more to be done.  I like running, but the race was challenging me both mentally and physically.  I had no plans to quit, but I was exhausted.  The woman I was running with, Nancy, and I concluded we had about one more hour of running.

The next mile went up the side of a mountain.  It wasn’t an actual trail, but we just went up the side.  We climbed for a while longer, and around mile 11 we went downhill for a bit.  As we went downhill many people popped out of nowhere and passed me.  They gained minutes on me because I took the downhill nice and easy.

One male went charging the downhill and fell face first into a giant mud pit.  It was kind of comical because he was okay.  I just repeated to myself: make it out of here healthy Hollie.  Take it easy, no one cares about your time.  It was true, and I logged miles between 15-18 minutes.

The downhill wasn’t a smooth, rolling downhill.  It was going downhill on rocky terrain at anywhere between 20-40% incline.  My quads were screaming.

Then around mile 12-14ish, we went back uphill.  All I could think was, why are we going uphill…we should almost be done.  What is going on?  I had no bearings of the where we were in relevance to the finish line.

Finally, a pack of three dudes caught me.  They had gotten lost somewhere on the course so they sailed right by.  I looked down and 15 feet in front of me, the course as flat.

Was it flat forever?  Were we almost done?  One more mile of flat?  I started to really charge.  My quads were screaming, and I felt like I was at PRing pace.  I looked down to realize I was at 12-minute pace.  I laughed and just repeated one more mile.

All of a sudden, I could see the finish line.  It was coming so soon.  I was yearning for it.  I felt like I was in slow motion.  Someone yelled go Hollie, and I crossed.  I was done.  That was it.  I felt like I had accomplished the world.

underarmour killington 25k

I had a great time.  The course challenged me in ways running has never challenged me.  It was as mentally challenging to keep going as physically.

underarmour killington elevation chart

I like the trails, and I would do the race again.  For the fall, I plan to stick to the roads and chase some road PRs.

Questions for you:

What is the hardest race you’ve done?

Are you a better uphill or downhill runner? 

Training Last Week: Working and Running at 12000 Feet

Training Last Week: Working and Running at 12000 Feet

So much to unpack from last week and weekend.  To say it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in awhile is an understatement.  I don’t even know where to start.  Training last week was good.  Even though I positive split like a boss, I had a decent “first workout back,”,  Then as most people know, over the weekend I ran the hardest running race I’ve done.  Can’t get much better than that!

Monday: 20 minutes easy
Tuesday: 60 minutes easy
Wednesday: 12X400 road/90 seconds rest (average 6:10)
Thursday: Am 30 minutes easy/PM: 2 miles Colorado
Friday: 45 minutes easy Colorado
Saturday: UnderArmour Copper Mountain Trail 25k (2:58)
Sunday: Rest and travel home

Thoughts:

There isn’t much to unpack there.  All of my runs were just that, easy.  I don’t have too much exciting about them because there wasn’t too much excitement that happened.  I ran easy.  My easy 2 miles in Colorado was a 2 mile (26-minute run) through the trails we were going to be running.  Running those miles, made me wonder, how the heck I would finish the trail race.

12X400 Workout:

The workout started well, and the first 6 averaged around 6 minute pace.  The second 6, however, just felt like a brick hit me and I couldn’t get my feet to move any faster.  I didn’t hurt injury-wise, but it was a reality check that I haven’t been doing speed the last few months so I won’t go as fast as when I was.  The second 6 averaged about 6:20 which with some work I hope I can progress faster than that again.

Copper Mountain Trail Race (2:58)

The Copper Mountain Trail Race was one of the best races I could hope for. I was running an intense trail race in Colorado, something I’ve never done, at an altitude I’ve never done.  I haven’t felt that nervous for a race since my first marathon, the NYCM.  I had no idea what to expect, and my only goal was to finish.  Making it to the top, I didn’t feel sick at 12000 feet of altitude, but to be honest, I think it’s because I hydrated well and took my time.  My slowest miles were definitely in the beginning.  They weren’t the hardest climbs, but I didn’t want to take it too fast.

The hardest parts (for me) were actually the technical downhill climbs towards the bottom.  Because I run (and walk) on my toes, my calves are far stronger than other areas of my legs.  I got passed by far more people on the downhill (maybe about 10 or so?).  I am very proud of my finish.  I had no idea what to expect and had zero expectations.  I could have finished in 4:29 (the cut off was 4:30) or the time I did and feel happy about it.  I’ll have a full recap soon.

The next week will be a lot of TLC.  I would like to get in a workout, I will be traveling again for a big family big birthday.  Probably no races next weekend, as I am going to the Taylor Swift concert ha!

Posts from the Week:

Today is My Birthday

Hiking Indian Wells State Park

Questions for you:

What has been your hardest race to date?

What is the highest elevation you’ve ever run? 

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?

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?

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