Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (24:30)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (24:30)

This is my third year running and also my slowest time yet!  The wind played a role, and I think my body caught up to me after trying to assimilate back into the real world from vacation.

I woke up on Sunday feeling exhausted.  I had gotten a deep tissue massage a few days prior, and while my legs had recovered well my half PR, I don’t think they did from the massage.

My in-laws, husband, and I got to the race around 9 am.  I did and quick warmup, realized how windy it was, and made it to the start.  By the time I knew it, we were off.

The first mile got out extremely slow.  It loops around the park and you go back under the start line before heading to down the canal.  My husband and a pack of four men was shortly ahead, followed by me.  My byline of racing lately is always chasing someone but never running with anyone.  I hit the first mile in 6:13 and wasn’t all that pleased.  I knew I was sore and it was windy but it’s always hard not to compare to what you have run before.

During the second mile, my husband and the lead pack separated.  I found myself running with another male chasing them down.  The towpath is on soft dirt/gravel and runs along the canal.  It was windy but not headwind or tailwind.  It was a crosswind where I somewhat worried I would be blown into the canal.  I hit the second mile in 6:08.

We made a 180 during mile 3 and headed back the way we came.  I enjoy mile 3 of the race because you see everyone else running and seeing other racers always motivates me.  I hit the third mile in 6:08.

The last mile was just trucking back to the start.  I felt better than the start but not great by any means.  I separated myself and was running alone.  I could see the finish and I saw my husband had pulled away and was going to win which was motivating.

I finished in 24:30 and it’s my slowest time yet, but the wind was definitely a factor.  This is only the second time both my husband and I have won a race together.  There are plenty of grilled cheeses and tomato soup at the end of the race (instead of the traditional banana), which makes it more fun.

grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 miler sick

Questions for you:

Have you done a unique race recently?

Where is the best grilled cheese you’ve gotten?


Phoenix Half Marathon (1:22.03)

Phoenix Half Marathon (1:22.03)

What to say about the Phoenix Half Marathon?

It’s a 54 second PR.  I had a good day.  Realistically, that is the general information about it.  I guess there is more though.

Anyway,  since running the full marathon a few years ago, I’ve wanted to come back and rerun the race but didn’t have a year I wanted too.  In fact, I wasn’t confident I would be able to make it to the race this year either.  I signed up and booked airfare last minute too.  I had been watching flight prices, and it wasn’t that much more to wait.

The week before the race, I felt “too good’.  Nothing had gone wrong, I didn’t have phantom pains, and I came off of back to back good races.  To be honest, I hadn’t had many issues in training.  In conversation with a good friend I said, the weather was looking good, my training was going well, and the course was fast…there was no real excuse to not run hard.

With that, my husband and I got to Phoenix, waited 90 minutes for a rental car (Yay, spring training for baseball) and got to our hotel.  The day before was relaxing, I got a longer shakeout run because my legs were stiff from flying.  We relaxed, went to the zoo, ate dinner at 4 pm and fell asleep at 8 pm.  My brother arrived at 11 pm, to visit.

The morning was uneventful, and my husband and I made it to the bus by 4:45 am.  The bus was a little louder than I would like but nothing terrible.  The start was wide open and allowed you to have your own space.  We started in the dark at a sharp and dark 6 am.

Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

One thing I don’t like is running in the dark.  I hadn’t thought about that component of the race, but most of the race was in the moonlight.  There were street lights but nothing like running in the daylight.  The first mile felt like it took forever.  I wondered how I would make it through a half.  I was running with a crowded pack, and we hit the mile in 6:22.  I thought either I can hold this pace or I can’t but I wouldn’t run even 6:22s the entire race.  6:22 was my exact previous PR pace.  The pace didn’t feel difficult, but you can’t judge any race by the first mile or even the first 12 miles.

The next few miles were uneventful.  It was dark, and not many people were out.  The crowd dwindled, and I was running with a pack of 6 women.  I noticed what other people were racing in, and it varied.  It was 39 degrees at the start and a lot of females wearing crop tops and shorts, many in runderwear, a few in capris and a few in sports bras.  It was pretty much everything. I ran between 6:15-6:18 miles for all of them.  It was boring, uneventful, and dark.  Each mile ticked off with nothing of note.

I hit the halfway in 38:56.  Around the halfway mark, our park started to divide once more.  2 women went ahead, followed by me, followed by everyone else.  For the next few miles, I always felt like I was chasing someone, but never running with anyone.  Miles 7-9 were the hardest of the race.  You’re halfway, but you realize you have a very long way to go.  I began to question everything.

Here I was, running in the dark, in Phoenix by myself.  I had been dropped by the two women which didn’t help.  I had taken the race out faster than I have ever taken a half marathon race out.  Sure, I was below my PR pace but I was starting to feel fatigued, and I lost a PR at the Dallas half marathon in the final few miles due to cramps.

Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

Even though they were gaining space, the two females pulled me along for the miles 9 and 10, and we ran 6:08.  I hit the 10-mile mark in 1:02.30.  At that moment, I knew I should have run my own race because my legs began to feel fatigued.

I told myself: 5k left.  You need to run a 5k in 20:27 and you will PR.

Another woman passed me around mile 10 who I did a double take and thought it was Shalane Flanagan. She passed me as if I was standing still. I attempted to stay with her while also weaving in and out of 10kers.  The 10k merge was one of the only components I didn’t care for during the race.  Many were blocking the entire course or running 3-4 across, and I had to zig-zag around.  It was not the energy I had, nor wanted to use.

Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

I hit both mile 11 and 12 and in 6:26.  During the final mile, things began to look more familiar from the full marathon, and I remembered the feeling of the last mile of the marathon.  Everything was coming together.  We turned the corner, and I saw the finish line, the clock.  I just powered to the end.  I could see it ticking in the 1:21s and I was trying to make it under 1:22 but my legs didn’t have it.  I crossed in 1:22.03 and a 54 second PR.


A PR is a PR.  I’m thrilled with it.  I do know the race course was easier than my previous PR in Carlsbad, but I also know I’m in better fitness too.  I realized at the Phoenix half marathon that I don’t like to race in the dark.  Obviously, I can run fast in the dark, but it’s certainly not my favorite.

I think I have a lot more to give in the Spring racing scene and I’m looking forward to it.  For those who asked, my husband decided a few days ago that he was going to take the race easy for him, and finished in a 1:27.

Questions for you:

When was your last race PR?

Do you prefer running in the morning, afternoon, or night?

Frostbite 5 miler (30:25)

Frostbite 5 miler (30:25)

Last weekend I ran the Frostbite 5 miler.  To be honest, I hadn’t treated my body well the week before.  Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, and I like to celebrate with sugar.   It doesn’t have to be a fancy date, but I’ll be the first to tell you I didn’t make healthy choices.

I have always wanted to do the Frostbite 5 miler.  It’s competitive race as well as challenging course too.

My husband and I arrived at the race a little later than anticipated and I got about 2-mile warmup in.  I would have preferred a little longer, but took what I could get.  As I was delayering at the start; the race went off.  I panicked threw my long sleeve off and sprinted out.  I was boxed in, but I was able to run on the outside and slowly progress where I wanted.  The first mile I went out fast trying to get to a better spot.

I had no idea what place I was in, and I didn’t care.  I made an arbitrary goal of under 31 minutes for 5 miles.  6:10 was fast, but I thought my fitness was there.  I hit the first mile in 5:57.

During the second mile, I settled in a good rhythm and was going back and forth with another local female runner.  I gathered I was in the top ten of women which was cool with me.  We hit the second mile in 5:51 and I knew I was not going to hold that forever.

The next two miles climbed several hills.  We did makeup with downhills, but the long hills definitely took their toll on my quads.  Every uphill my friend would pass me, and downhills I would run by her.  Ultimately she passed me and never looked back.  We hit both miles in 6:14.

The last mile was almost all uphill and my legs were not in the mood to climb anything else.  I kept looking at my watch and hoping the race would finish soon.  The final mile felt like it took forever, but I finished in 6:05 and crossed the finish in 30:25.  I was 6th women overall.

frostbite 5 miler me running

I’m happy, and pleasantly surprised with my finish.  My goal had been under 31 and with the rolling hills, I can’t complain.  Technically I also ran an 18:35 5k which is my fastest 5k in a while too.  It feels good to be coming back to fitness.

Questions for you:

What’s your favorite distance to race?

Do you run downhills or uphills better?

Cupids Chase 5k (18:38)

Cupids Chase 5k (18:38)

Last weekend I ran the Cupids Chase 5k in Moorestown, NJ.  After my 3 mile race the weekend before, I was hoping for an accurate course this week.  I knew it would be a competitive race and I was looking to get a good baseline of where I was.

The race started later than I would have liked at 10:00.  It was forecasted to rain, but luckily it held off until my cool down when it poured rain.  I got to the race at 9, warmed up, and by the time I knew it, we were off.  I was excited to see a few of my local friends at the start.  As you can see by the photos, I guess I went through a lot of emotions during the race.

First, I was deep in thought and possibly angry…

cupids chase 5k moorestown me

The first mile was uneventful, and I ran with a pack of males, including most that recognized.  It weaved around Strawbridge Lake.  I hit the first mile in 5:59 and was pleasantly surprised.  I didn’t feel bad, and I had gotten a decent amount of sleep but was still surprised.  My legs just felt meh.  It was my first mile below 6 minutes in a while.

But then I was full of regret

cupids chase 5k moorestown me

The next mile, I ran by myself.  There was one male in front of me, but no one around.  I stayed in that position the entire time.  The course was an out and back but had 2 180 degree turns.  We hit the first 180 at about the halfway point.  The ground was slick, and I nearly fell but was able to maintain good speed around the turn.  I hit the second mile in 5:52 which is my fastest mile in a long time.

The final mile was just about getting back to the end.  To add the extra .1, we went around another park that included another 180 turn.  Because, in general, the course was an out and back, I was able to see my friends as they went the opposite direction.  It gave me motivation.  I thrive on seeing friends or racing with other people.  I hit the third mile in 6:02 which in a 5k I can’t complain because it was still plenty of energy in the tank.  With the turnaround and running alone, I was definitely happy with that.

Then I was desperate for the finish line to be close 

cupids chase 5k moorestown me

The final .1, I just ran as fast as I could and crossed the finish line in 18:38.  It’s my fastest 5k in nearly a year, and I could not be more excited.  I know I have a long way to go, but it was great motivation.

Questions for you:

Do you like themed races?

Do you prefer out and back courses or loops?

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mercy 3 Miler (18:20)

I thought I had written a race recap, but it turns out…it disappeared into space. Usually, I post race recaps on Tuesdays, but since it opened up my blog yesterday with none, it gets delayed a day.  I know, you’re devastated.

So anyway, on Saturday I raced my first shorter distance race since December.  It was a nice low key rust buster.

The morning itself was a disaster.  I went to get cash from my ATM card, and it was denied.  I’m actually not sure why as I do have money in my account, and my pin number was accurate, and the card was not expired, but that is here nor there.  Then the race wasn’t accepting cards for payment.  Luckily, I had a checkbook but it left me with not much time to warm up.

Other reasons to complain were I hadn’t slept well, it was cold and windy, and my legs were sore.  But I was at the race, and I was going to run.  I warmed up a couple of miles, felt meh and made my way to the start line.  At the start, I saw a lot of friends and local runners I hadn’t seen in a few months.  It was motivating, and by the time I knew it, we were off.

As you can see below, I am always talking…you never have to worry about interrupting my “prerace” 

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mercy

During the first mile, I found myself in fourth place, and I stayed there the entire race.  There was a pack of males whom I knew that led the way.  I never felt as though I was “racing” and more as if I was running a workout alone.  There wasn’t really anyone to run with, and it was just a sprint towards the finish.  I hit the first mile in 6:05, but it was deep underneath a couple of jackets, so I only knew my splits after I finished.

The second mile went to an out and back.  I could see the leaders as they turned around and it motivated me.   As I was coming back, I saw my friends, and it was motivating and kept me engaged in the race.  For a lot of the race, I never felt as though I was “racing.”  I hit the second mile in 6:08 and felt fine.  My legs just felt tired and couldn’t turn over any faster.

I just wanted the last mile to be over.  It felt as though I was running a marathon, not a 5k.  We went over train tracks and near a significant amount of ice.  I just took the turn wider and I felt fine.  As approached the finish line, I heard my watch beep.  Oh, exactly 3 miles.  I crossed in 18:20 and with a 6:07 last mile.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mercy

The race was supposed to be a 5k, however, apparently, it was not. It was nice it was at least exactly 3 miles and I can say I ran 3 miles in 18:20 versus 3.06 in whatever.  If I had continued the pace it would have been about an 18:57 5k, which I’m confident I could have done.

Other than that, not much else to say.  I’m happy with my effort, and I felt good despite everything.  I’m just as glad to be back out there and seeing friends too.

Questions for you:

Have you run a short course?

What is the coldest you’ve raced in?

Distance Series 15 Miler (1:39.46)

Last weekend I ran my first race in almost two months. It wasn’t that I wanted to avoid races. However, races haven’t happened near me.  They have gotten canceled due to storms or just don’t exist. Or the limited that have occurred haven’t fit in my schedule.

Last weekend, I drove to visit my parents. I knew the Distance Series was happening, but I decided to play it by ear.  I’ve run several before, however, not in the last few years. When I lived in VA, I was a member of Tidewater Striders…now I just call myself a Satelite Strider.

I decided if the weather was decent (above 10), I would sign up. As the days drew closer, the weather was looking amazing. It was dreamy.

My dad and I got to the race a lot earlier than we anticipated.  We found ourselves at Fort Monroe a solid 75 minutes before race start. I had no plans to do a warm-up and was able to catch up with friends the entire time.  I rarely do a warmup before half marathons, and since 15 miles was my longest run in a while, I didn’t find it necessary.  I was just going to use the first few miles to warm up.

At 8:55, racers made our way to the start. There was both a 10 miler and a 15 miler. I chose the 15 miler. Even though 15 miles would be my longest run in over a year and my longest race since my marathon 3 years ago. I thought it would be a good challenge for me.  I had no goals and told anyone who asked it was a half marathon with a bonus round.  I had zero clue how the race would go.  I knew I was in decent shape, but how decent was the question.

The course itself is 3 loops around Fort Monroe. If the weather is ideal (like it was when we raced), then it’s beautiful. If there is a lot of wind, then it can be extremely unpleasant. If you asked me to race there in the 20s and a windy day, I would laugh.  I might get blown into the River.  You would never escape the wind since you are running the outer loop of an island. Luckily, the weather was ideal.

I started the race in a large pack consisting of myself, legend Steve, good friend Andrew, and a couple of other local runners. All of them had workouts, and my goal was to finish strong. I knew based on their respected plans, I wouldn’t have people to run with the entire time, but I was going to make the best of the pack while it lasted.

Ultimately we ran the first four miles together. We were talking, catching up and hanging out. Let it be known this is probably the only time I will “hang out” with those guys, as Steve is tapering for the Rocky Racoon and Andrew is getting ready for another marathon.  I’ll take it. The miles went 6:50, 6:46, 6:42, and 6:46. They felt effortless, and by the time I knew it, Steve and Andrew said they were going into their workout.

The other woman and I left the pack. She was doing running the 10 miler and doing a marathon paced workout. She asked if I wanted to join her and I said sure. We ran a 6:36, 6:38, and 6:46 mile. I could tell I was beginning to get antsy and I was raring to go.

So I kicked it into the next gear. I hit mile 8 in 6:33 and felt good. I was surprised and thought, today is the day you need. I ran mile 9 in 6:29 and mile 10 in 6:33. At mile 10 they directed 10 Milers to the finish, and I went into lap 3.

I chuckled to myself because I’ve done a few workouts in my neighborhood doing several laps around the same loop. My 70-year neighbors comment “it’s like watching “real life Nascar” and that’s how I felt.

Between mile 10-11, I began passing people who were on a previous lap. There was some weaving but nothing unmanageable and I thrive off of seeing other runners. I ran mile 10 in 6:31 and mile 11 in 6:25. I couldn’t believe how good I felt.

At mile 12, I grabbed Gatorade and told myself 3 more miles. I knew after 13.1 anything could happen. The half is the longest distance I’ve raced in several years. I’ve run 14 miles in the last few months but not 15 and no races above 13.1. I just hoped I would continue to feel good.  I tried to remind myself it’s unnecessary to run 26.2 miles while training for a marathon and this was the same mentality.

I hit the half around 1:27. I felt strong, and I also felt weird. The last half I ran, the Philadelphia Half marathon I ran in 1:27.57.  I felt like utter garbage and even stopped. Granted I was coming off food poisoning. At 13.1 at the Distance Series, I felt like a million bucks and I was excited.

I passed a few friends on their second loop and gave a couple of high fives. I reminded myself, you now have less than 12 minutes. You can do it.  For some reason, when I feel as though I have 12 minutes left in a race, I tend to get over whatever mid miles mental block I have.

I focused on the guy in front of me who was about 30 seconds ahead. I wanted so badly to catch him. In 2017, I gave up a lot of races because I didn’t have a kick or energy towards the finish. I wanted to start 2018 racing with a new year, new me mentality.

me running distance series va beach

I began cranking, and I ran mile 14 in 6:33. There was a little cross breeze. The final mile faces the finish line. You can see the building in the distance although it doesn’t feel as though it ever gets much closer.

I just ran. I ran as hard as my legs would turn over.  I didn’t waste extra energy. I put all of the energy towards the forward motion of what I was there to do. I passed a lot of people on their second loop as well as the guy I had. Even watching. My last mile was my fastest by far, and I ran a 6:06.

I crossed the finish as the first woman in 1:39.45 and 6:34 overall pace. I was extremely pleased. I hadn’t expected to feel that good, but I have no complaints. It feels good to start 2018 on a good racing foot. I feel as though I gained a lot of my running confidence back.  A couple people have asked but I am not training for a marathon.  It was fun to get out of my comfort zone for a longer race and I felt good doing it, but there is a lot more running, training, and commitment involved with a marathon.

Questions for you:

What is the longest race distance you’ve run?

What are some fun “nontraditional” distances you’ve run?


Haddonfield Road Race (19:59)

On Saturday, I ran the Haddonfield Road Race.  I’ve run before, and I know the course is moderately challenging.  As I said in my training log two weeks ago, coming home from vacation, I caught food poisoning.  They diagnosed it, and I am recovering decently.  On Saturday I was not 100%, but I felt good enough to toe the line.

Since I am running Philly half marathon again on Saturday, my goal was to tempo and get a good workout from the race.  I know the course is one of the most difficult in the area, plus getting over an illness, and the cold weather, there wasn’t a point to go crazy.  To be fair, I didn’t think I could go crazy anyway. I had made that goal the night before, and thank goodness I did.

The morning of the race was a disaster.  I had gone to bed around 9 pm the night before but ended up sleeping in until 7.  I had a few errands to run in the morning before the race and work, and by the time I knew it, I was running late to the race.  Luckily, it all worked out, and I made it to the start line.  After realizing I was still wearing a fashionable Abercombie Puffer vest, I delayered that, and we were off.

The first mile went up a large hill and turned.  There was a huge pack in front, followed by me.  Somehow I’ve run a lot of races that I end up running by myself.  We ran up the hills of the first mile, and I ran a 6:25. It was precisely where I wanted to be, but I also knew I was tired and fatigued.  I didn’t even think I would be able to hold that.

During the second mile, I began catching a few people.  I remember last year running that mile completely alone, so I was excited to chase someone.  I hit the second mile in 6:26 and was happy.

The last mile had one last hill.  Bonus hill, if you want to call it.  By that time I hit the mile around 2.5, I was toast.  I’ve been training out west, so I secretly hoping my lung compacity would be higher than it was.  But I felt like garbage and just powered through.  I surged down the hill and ran a 19:59 5k.

The goal was 20 minutes, and I ran 19:59.  I’m happy with how it went, with everything that happened in the morning.

haddonfield road race me running

Questions for you:

Do you prefer hilly or flat courses?

What is the coldest race you’ve run?

This one was 22 degrees which is one of the colder races I’ve done.  I’ve run a few below 20 but around this temperature is about my limit.

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