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Allen Stone Run-Swim-Run (41:07)

Allen Stone Run-Swim-Run (41:07)

After several years of not racing the Allen Stone, I decided I would go for it.

I have been swimming the most consistently since actually competing in swimming, so it made sense.  The last time I competed was 2013. I raced from 2010-2013, with one year breaking a tibia, two years placing in age group, and one year winning overall.  So I have a history with it.

Dad and I arrived around 7, warmed up, and relaxed. The Allen Stone Braveheart is a memorial to Allen Stone, a fallen seal and those after as well. They read the names of fallen seals, and it’s always heartbreaking.  They have parachuters come in as well.  The 5kers go off and then we have about 30 minutes until we do.

At 8:15, we lined up at the beach, and we were off.

Allen Stone Run Swim Run

The first 1000 meters runs in soft sand. It’s crowded, and I entered the water as 55th overall. It went by in a blur. I tried to run as fast as possible without hurting myself. Looking back, the beach 1k is something I can improve on.

Then it was time to enter the water. You wear an ankle timer, so the beach run and swim are recorded.  We ran over a mat then were off to swim. Swimming in open water is always weird because nothing about it is consistent. You get toppled by waves, kicked in the face, swim over hot and cold spots, and wonder what is swimming underneath you.

Despite swimming in college, I know it’s my weaker event now. I knew I needed to make good time in the swim to even place. Placing wasn’t the goal, but it’s always nice.

It felt like the swim was taking forever. Honestly, I thought I was swimming slower than the pool. Finally, I saw the buoy and swam into the shore. I could see a few women running on the beach in front.

I entered the transition, which went surprisingly smooth. I’ve done transitions before but not since the race in 2013 (and truthfully I hadn’t practiced either). But I was in and out in less than 90 seconds.  I felt proud. I don’t stress in transitions, which I think has helped me. The more I stress (with anything), the easier it is for me to mess up.

A volunteer told me I was 12th women. I thought I could at least reel in two women during the 5k on the boardwalk for a top 10 finish.

During the first mile, I caught two women and breezed by. The course is out and back so around 1.3, I could see the leaders coming back.

The first women were 3-4th overall, and I knew there was no way I could catch up.

Immediately in front of me, there was a woman about 15 seconds in front and another woman about a minute. I thought I might be able to catch them.

It was scorching and humid, and I was cooking on the boardwalk. I don’t know if it had been a stand-alone 5k if I would have gone much faster because it was so hot with no shade.

I hit the turnaround and passed another woman. As I headed back, I could see a couple of women a few minutes ahead.

Since it’s on the boardwalk, you can pretty much see the King Neptune Statue and the end at the turnaround. It felt like a very long 10 minutes.

As I kept running straight, I could tell I was gaining on the 2nd and 3rd place women. I just ran as hard as I could and tried to catch them.

Ultimately I finished about 20 seconds behind them.

I crossed as 4th woman and 10th overall. I’m happy with the result. No one passed me (male or female) in the run, and I had a better swim average than I thought.

This is the only type event of this nature I’ll do, and I have no interest in biking.

Questions for you:

Have you ever done a multi-sport event?

Have you swum in open water?

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Run for Toilets 5k Recap

Run for Toilets 5k Recap

I was looking forward to this race all week. The race benefited the Elks Lodge and was to raise money to rebuild their bathrooms. I was hoping they would go “all-out” with the theme and they did.

My parents own a house on the Eastern Shore of Va near Onancock. Dad and I spent the night up there. The race started at 8, and we got there around 7:15. When we got there, there weren’t too many people.

We registered and picked up our T-shirt’s and stared at the awards: plungers. I didn’t think the race could get better.Run for the toilets onancock shirt

Plus the Plunger Awards!

Run for the toilets onancock awards

By 7 am, it was already in the 80s. After racing the day before and with the heat, my goal was to run around 7:15 per mile.

We lined up at the race was off right at 8 am. It was a small race and immediately found myself as the first woman. I ran the entire race alone, which was fine. I had two goals: to win a plunger and to work hard but not injure myself.

I crossed the first mile right at 7:15. I felt like I was working hard but not overworking.

Run for the toilets onancock

The second mile went through downtown Accomac and did a u-turn and headed back towards Front Street. For a small race, the course was better marked than many bigger races I’ve done.

I hit the second mile in 7:18 which I was happy with.

The final mile headed back on front street and towards the finish. There was no shade, and it was hot. You can also see the finish line about half a mile away! I thought I was never going to get there.

When I got to the finish, I was surprised to find I got to break a tape. Not just any tape, but a tape made of toilet paper.

Run for the toilets onancock breaking tape

I don’t think any other tape will beat that. I crossed in 21:50 and got a plunger trophy.

My goal was to run hard but not get injured and I did that.  It felt more like a workout than anything, but I’m happy with my effort and I’ve even more thrilled with how much fun the race was.

I hope they continue to do the race because they were committed to the theme. Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

What’s the funniest race you’ve done?

What’s the smallest race you’ve done?

Firecracker 5k (20:10)

Firecracker 5k (20:10)

I haven’t run the Firecracker 5k in a few years. I never seem to be healthy at the race. I signed up a few days before keep me honest about showing up. (Last year I said I might run but then decided not to because it was hot).

Anyway, I arrived around 7, grabbed my bib, and warmed up. After about 2 minutes, it was already hot enough. Summer came fast, and the temperature lows have been in the 70s with the humidity at 95%+.

My favorite part of the entire race was watching the turkey get escorted off the course by the Haddon Heights Police.

Turkey being escorted off the road

Anyway, I got to my car, chatted with my coworker, and we headed towards the start, and I got to talk to coach Girard (if you read the newsletter, you know Girard gave great wisdom there).

By the time we knew it, we were off; I saw four females take off and assumed my place for the day would be fifth (which seems terrible to expect in the first .1).

The first mile felt like it was taking forever. I ran a 6:17, which is my fastest mile in a long time.

During the next mile, I saw I was slowly catching two females. I caught one female around 1.5.  I was shocked because 5ks haven’t been my scene in a while, so passing anyone is surprising.  I passed the next woman around mile 2 and found myself as the third woman overall.

The second half of the course has a few small hills, and I noticed I was catching the next woman. Even though I wasn’t moving much faster, I got the third place woman around mile 2.

The last mile was spent trying to maintain my podium spot. As we headed into the final stretch, I heard heavy breathing and two males outkicked me. I couldn’t give any more energy if I tried.

I crossed in 20:10, which is what I had for the day. I was happy with my effort and for the weather.  I even got to see and chat good friend and writer for the NYT Jen M at the race.

Jen M and I Haddon Heights firecracker 5k

Questions for you:

Did you run a Fourth of July Race? How did it go?

Pineland Strider 10k (44:05)

Pineland Strider 10k (44:05)

This was possibly the hottest and most humid race I’ve done since living in Texas.  By no coincidence, it was also my slowest. It’s been a few years since I’ve run the Pineland Striders 10k. I know many of the local group members and local runners, so it’s always fun to run.

I arrived with my father in law around 7:30 am. We signed up and together with the local running store owner, did about 2-mile warmup. By the time it was time to start, I was sweating through my clothing.

The 5k and 10k go off together.  I was too busy chatting, and all of a sudden, we were off. For the first mile, I was running with a few local runners and friends. We hit the first mile around 6:45, and it felt challenging. My legs felt tired, and the humidity. I thought to myself: We have how many more miles?

The 5k turned around, and the 10k kept going. I found myself running with a friend, and we were tied for the first woman overall.  The next few miles were uneventful. We were running even splits of 6:55. It felt challenging, but I could still talk. The humidity was sinking in, and I felt how oppressive it was.

The roads weren’t closed, and during mile 3, several cars came whizzing by. I felt a bit uncomfortable but managed to stay out of their way. I couldn’t keep up and remained as second woman the rest of the way.

During the fourth mile, we began catching the 5kers.  We were going on a narrow path, so it was more challenging to pass people. I’m sure the 5kers were just as frustrated. We kept trucking along.

By mile 5, I was running alone and just death marching it to the finish line. It was the most humid day we’ve had so far, and my entire body felt it. I looked as if I had gone swimming.

As I remembered, the last mile cuts across the field and around the track. The last thing you want to do at the end of a 10k is run through the field. It’s a nice challenge toward the end. I didn’t want to hurt myself, so I just focused on staying smooth. I wasn’t going to pass anyone, so I didn’t feel forced to “sprint to the end.”

Pineland Striders 10k

Due to track maintenance, this year we went around and over gravel. The last .75 was one of the most challenging race finishes I’ve done. I crossed the finish in 44:05 and as second woman. While it’s one of my slower races, it was hot and humid, and the dew point was 74!

It was great to see so many friends and run another race with my father in law.

Pineland Striders 10k Tim's Dad and I

Questions for you:

What is the most challenging race finish you’ve done?

Do you prefer racing on grass or road? 

Red Bank Classic 5k Recap

Red Bank Classic 5k Recap

Last weekend I headed up to Red Bank to run the Red Bank Classic 5k. I’ve heard it’s fun and Red Bank is one of my favorite NJ shore towns. Ultimately the race ended as my slowest 5k in many years and slower per mile then the half marathon I ran alone last week.

The morning of my body didn’t feel great. I contemplated just not running, but I had already signed up. I was tired the morning of, and since I was so slow getting there, I only had time for about a mile warm up (usually for a 5k, I like 2-3 miles).

We lined up at 8:25. The race was supposed to start at 8:30, but we delayed until 8:40.

Red bank Classic 5k time and i

Photo from Red Bank Pulse

When we finally took off, I collided with another racer. Not just collided, both of us fell to the ground. While we didn’t injure ourselves, we were both on the ground. When you fall on the ground during the first quarter of a mile, it’s tough to get back up. All I could think was “gee great. My race felt done before it had begun.”

I tried to reevaluate my situation. I was thankful to be running, and I wasn’t injured. I already knew my body didn’t feel great that morning, so it wasn’t like I was going to magically run a PR. I picked myself up and got back into the race. The first mile was spent weaving through runners.

During the second mile, there was a considerable hill. I should have looked at the course map beforehand because I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t know Red Bank had any hills, but it was there. While running up the hill, my legs and quads burned. I wanted to give up right there. I started running with another woman, and it motivated me to keep going.

By the third mile, I was looking to finish. It’s comical how tired I felt, because I was running slower than my half last weekend as well as five miles, but I was more exhausted. My body didn’t have it for the day.

We made the turn, and I finally saw the finish line in around 21 minutes. I’m happy with my effort, and I gave it what I had for the day. If I hadn’t fallen, I would have probably run low 20s, but I fell, and I can’t change that. I am happy it didn’t happen at a goal race.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. This weeks newsletter is how to get the most out of your local running store!

Questions for you:

Have you fallen at a race before?

What is the hardest 5k you’ve done? 

 

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