At last… My Broad Street Run Recap!

You can read about the days before the race here: Broad Street Run Part 1: The Pre-Race Build Up

BROAD STREET PART TWO: The Race!!

Me and my Broad Street Medal!

Going into Sunday’s 10 mile Broad Street Run I had three goals:

  1. Stay calm, slow and relaxed during the first mile. My Broad Street mantra: You can’t win a 10 mile race in the first mile, but you sure can lose it by going out WAY too fast!! (Going out too fast is my specialty)  😄
  2. Run faster than my wild-guess seed time of 1:25:00 (I had never actually run 10 miles without stopping before so I didn’t really know what I could do.)
  3. HAVE FUN!!!!

When the first runners began the race at 8AM I couldn’t even see the starting line. I was wedged between thousands of people in the green corral on Somerville Avenue. The corral had rapidly filled up in the 40 minutes before the race, with my personal space shrinking from having room to sit and stretch on the pavement to having barely enough space to take off my long-sleeved throwaway shirt. (I literally could not extend my arms out when I tried to take my shirt off due to the crowds… and then I had no where to throw it away so I just dropped it at my feet!) This wasn’t a problem though because everyone around me was just as excited and happy to run the race and we were all eager to get to the start line!

Photo Credit: The Broad Street Run

Organizing a race for 40,000 people is no easy task. I was in the green corral. Photo Credit: The Broad Street Run

Finally at 8:17 I shuffled through the start with my corral-mates. At that point I had been standing on pavement for over an hour and my lower legs and feet felt super tight. Almost immediately we passed a church congregation cheering us on with a life-sized cardboard cutout of the Pope (I did a double-take!) and I settled in at a leisurely pace, being careful not to weave, dodge, or otherwise use up energy trying to move around people. I just went with the flow. The first mile beeped by… 8:51. WAY too slow!! Whoops. Well, at least I met Goal #1!! :-)

With my first mile behind me my legs had started to loosen up and I picked up the pace a little. City Hall came into view (and was SO pretty in the morning sunlight!!) and miles 2-5 ticked by easily and surprisingly evenly in 8:09, 8:14, 8:15, 8:08. Before I knew it I was passing Girard Avenue and the crowds along the street were increasing with every step.

The crowds are such a special part of this race. Thousands of spectators lined Broad Street, with the bulk of them (as far as I remember, at least) packed into the 2 miles between Fairmount and Washington Avenues. The energy was amazing!!! People had funny signs, little kids were holding out their hands for high-fives, bands were playing on the sidewalks and City Hall kept looming closer and closer.

Miles 6 and 7 flew by. I zoomed around city hall (the only turns on the course) and got caught up in the excitement. My splits were something like 8:31, 8:19 (the tall buildings messed with my garmin a bit) but these miles were just a blur. There were so many people cheering and I was having a blast!!!

After City Hall I happened to look up at a street sign and realized that I was already at Catherine Street. Matt was planning to stand a block south at Christian so I started scanning the crowds for his green t-shirt. It’s a good thing I was looking for him because he had no idea what I was wearing (despite helping me with my flat selfie the day before 😀) and he didn’t see me. I spotted him without a problem and yelled a quick hello to Matt, his sister, her husband and their new baby boy before continuing south on Broad.

After hitting the 7 mile point I began to feel tired. The tall buildings and giant crowds of center city faded away and the course was straight, flat and in the direct sun. I had been grabbing sips of water at most water stops and dumping the rest of the cup over my head (definitely was a surprise when I did that with a gatorade by mistake! 😁) so I felt hydrated, but my left hip was getting tired. Still, I “only” had 3 miles left… I race that all the time! I pushed onward, focusing more on my music and less on the dwindling crowds. Miles 8-9 ticked by in 8:28 and 8:34.

The final quarter mile!! Photo credit: The Broad Street Run

The final quarter mile!! Photo credit: The Broad Street Run

In the last mile I finally passed by the stadiums and the Navy Yard sign swam into sight. Before the race everyone warned me that I’d still have 0.25 miles to go once I crossed through the Navy Yard gate so I knew that in theory, but MAN was that the longest quarter mile EVER!!! I just kept moving forward and finally, blissfully, passed under the giant Broad Street Run finish arch.  Woohoo!!!

Broad Street Stats

I completed the race in 1:23:54, a full minute faster than my seed time. My first mile (8:51) was by far my slowest and I finished strong with a final mile split of 8:25. Overall, I averaged a pace of 8:23 over 10 miles… a feat that I never thought I would be able to pull off. I was tired, hot, and very, very happy at the end of the race.  😄

6838th place never felt so good...

6863rd place never felt so good…!

All in all this was a very rewarding, exciting experience and I would definitely consider running Broad Street again. I loved getting dropped off at the start (thanks Matt!!!) and I think that I fed off the energy of the crowds rather than being overwhelmed by them. Sure, it would have been nice to be able to warm up, stretch, or go to the bathroom in the hour before the race started, but having the chance to run 10 miles down Broad Street with 40K runners and huge crowd support made it all worth it in the end!

Miles since last post: 63.1
Days since last post: 13
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 618.2

 Past Races:

•  April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11), Empower the Children 5K (4/18), Haverford Twilight 5K (4/26)
•  March ’15:
Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14), Granogue Trail 10K (3/21), Pickle Run #3 (3/28)
•  February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7), Pickle Trail Run #2 (2/21)
•  January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3), Pickle Run #1 (1/17)
•  December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5), Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7), Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
•  November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [PR], Metal Run 5K (11/8), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27)
•  October ’14: Martin’s Run 5K (10/5), Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18), Bark in the Park 5K (10/25)
•  September ’14: Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13), Run A Muck Trail Race (9/20), Haverford Township 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [PR]
•  July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18)
•  June ’14: Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1), Media 5 Miler (6/20)
•  May ’14: Elwyn 5K (5/3), Run for Victory 5K (5/18) [PR], Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30)
•  April ’14: Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/, Rick’s Run 5K (4/19), St. Tim’s 5K (4/26)
•  March ’14: Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1), Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30)
•  February ’14: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1)
•  January ’14: Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4)
•  December ’13: Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14), New Year’s Eve YMCA 5K (12/31) [PR]
•  November ’13: Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2), Turkey Trot 5K (11/28)
•  October ’13: Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19), Oy Vey 5K (10/27) [PR]
•  September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Broad Street Run Recap Part 1: The Build Up!

Last Sunday I ran my biggest, longest, straightest, and most exciting race to date… Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run!!  I wanted to write a recap immediately following the 10 mile race but life (aka crazy-busy days at work!!) got in the way of my blogging time and I’m just now getting a chance to share my Broad Street story.  Without further ado, here it is! (Well, half of it, at least!)

BROAD STREET PART ONE: The Pre-Race Build Up!

course-map2014 for mini appWith over 40,000 runners, the Broad Street Run is the nation’s largest 10 miler and its straight, net downhill route is one of the fastest courses in the county.  The point-to-point race starts in the Olney neighborhood of north Philadelphia and follows Broad Street south through the city, wrapping counter-clockwise around City Hall at around the 5.7 mile mark and eventually ending in south Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.

I have many friends and family members who have raced Broad Street (most notably my Uncle Rory who is one of six runners to complete it 36 years in a row!) and they all have their own Broad Street stories and opinions.  Sure, it’s insanely crowded, the port-a-potty lines are 45 minutes long, the logistics of parking your car 10 miles from the starting line can be challenging… but everyone agrees, if you’re a runner in the Philadelphia area you HAVE to run Broad Street at least once.  It’s a running spectacle, an opportunity to see the city from a unique perspective, a chance to run with 39,999 people for 10 miles down a single road… it’s a Philadelphia tradition!

I completely fell for the sentimental aspect of the race and decided in January that I definitely wanted to try to run Broad Street.  I signed up for the lottery (that’s right, they capped the race at 40,000 runners!) and found out that I got into the race in February.  I spent March and April increasing mileage, racing 5Ks and trail 10Ks and doing weekly speedwork on the track.  By the time the first weekend in May rolled around I felt relaxed, prepared and really, REALLY excited to run Broad Street!

Matt and I went to the Broad Street Expo at the Philly Convention Center on Friday night to pick up my race bib.  We wandered around a bit, I bought a tech shirt from my favorite running store, and then we enjoyed a nice Italian dinner at restaurant close to our house before calling it a night.

My local running store at the Broad Street Expo! (Photo Credit: The Running Place)

My local running store at the Broad Street Expo! (Photo Credit: The Running Place)

I kept Saturday similarly laid back, just doing a short shake out run on the treadmill and taking a flat selfie (a la Salt!) that Piper photobombed.  Then I took a nice lavender and epsom salt bath while reading bloggers’ recaps of prior Broad Street runs online.  I was excited and ready to go!

Broad Street Flat Selfie

My alarm went off at 3:50AM Sunday morning and, for once, I got to wake Piper up!  I enjoyed a nice breakfast of cereal, peanut butter toast and coffee and then read a book while stretching and foam rolling on the bedroom floor.  I woke Matt up at 5:40 and we were on the road at 6AM sharp.

Because Broad Street is a point-to-point course, runners typically park their cars in South Philly at the stadiums and then take a very crowded subway ride 10 miles north to the start.  This is, according to “everyone,” part of the Broad Street experience, but it’s one that I skipped on Sunday.  Matt generously agreed to drop me off at the starting line and it couldn’t have been easier.  We took local roads in from the western suburbs and, even with a stop for Matt to grab some coffee, we made it there in about 40 minutes.  I hopped out of the car and immediately found a huge bank of port-a-potties with only 10 or so people waiting – perfect!

By 7:20AM I was in my corral and ready  to go.  After months of training and build up I was just 40 minutes away from my first 10 mile race!!!

Read on… BROAD STREET PART TWO:  THE RACE!!

Triple Dog Weekend

Triple Dog Weekend

What’s better than enjoying a gorgeous Spring weekend outside in the yard? Sharing that yard with your two best friends, of course! I’m pretty sure that was Piper’s attitude a few weeks ago when Hershey the Chocolate Lab and Bella the GSP spent a long weekend with us.

Piper is 8 months old and full of impish puppy energy. Having two friends over at the same time meant that Piper could keep playing at her usual warp speed while the older dogs took turns resting. Piper would eagerly goad Hershey into a game of tug, then zoom around the yard a couple dozen times with Bella, return to instigate a wrestling match with Hershey, and finish off the rotation with a game of frisbee keep-away with her GSP twin.

During the rare moments when Piper needed a break all three dogs lounged around, blissfully chewing on sticks. SO many sticks! I never knew how many sticks were in our yard until we had three dogs scouring every inch of the lawn in an effort to find the biggest and best specimen. At one point Piper showed up with a small log (where did THAT come from??) and Bella gave her tips on how to position it just right to get the best chewing leverage. (Click on the photos to zoom in and see Piper’s funny expressions – priceless!)

I’m pretty sure that our triple dog weekend was the absolute highlight of Piper’s life thus far. Not only did she spend it with two friends in PERFECT mid-70s weather, she was also finally able to run loose in the yard without a leash or long line attached to her collar! We were in the final stages of training her to our underground “invisible fence” and, since the older dogs both know the boundaries of the yard, this was the perfect opportunity to see what Piper would do on her own with less direct supervision. Piper thoroughly enjoyed her freedom and never once showed any interest in leaving the yard.  Success!

Can you tell how much fun the dogs were having? 😀 Except in that one photo up top where Piper got totally crushed by Hershey… I didn’t realize how hard Hershey fell on her until I saw the photo afterwards!! Luckily none of the dogs sustained any permanent damage over the weekend and everyone went home tired and happy.

Love this pup.

I love this pup. ❤️

PR ALERT!!! Haverford Twilight Run Recap

I ran a 5K PR last night at the Haverford Twilight Run and I am one happy runner!!!  My previous PR of 23:32 was set on November 1, 2014.  That was TWELVE 5Ks ago. (Plus two 10Ks, one 5 miler, one 2 miler and one trail race… I like racing, what can I say?).  In four of those 5Ks I crossed the line within 9 seconds of my PR time, but the elusive new record remained just out of reach until last night’s race.

I did not go into the Twilight Run thinking that I was in a position to PR.  After last weekend’s problematic 5K (terrible first mile pacing leading to my slowest 5K in months) the Twilight Run was my last chance to try to get my pacing under control before next weekend’s 10 mile Broad Street Run.  I signed up for the race on Wednesday with this sole purpose in mind and set two very firm goals for myself:  Run the first mile in 7:36 or slower and run one of the remaining two miles faster than the first mile.

Saturday’s weather was perfect: 57° and sunny.  The evening’s festivities kicked off at 5PM sharp with a kid’s mile challenge and I felt relaxed and happy as I watched all of the kids finish their race with huge smiles on their faces.  Then it was time for the 5K to start.  There were around 180 runners and I purposefully picked a starting position much farther back in the pack than I normally would, hoping that this would keep me from getting caught up in the excitement of the first mile.

Start of the Haverford Twilight 5K

Usually when the gun goes off I blast through the start, then spend the next few hundred yards dodging and weaving and generally running way too fast.  But not last night.  Nope, the gun went off, the crowd around me slowly moved into a jog, and I started my watch when we eventually meandered across the start line.  I fell into stride behind a group of runners and resisted the urge to zip around them.  I saw Matt about a quarter mile in and was feeling so relaxed that I goofed off for the camera (from too far away for the iPhone photo to turn out, unfortunately) before taking a leisurely right turn onto Darby Road.

The course was basically a big loop with two turnaround points.  I kept my pace very controlled through the first turnaround (about .65 miles in) and then sped up slightly as I doubled back towards the starting point where Matt was cheering.  Just as I passed Matt my watch beeped the first mile… 7:32.  A tiny bit faster than I was hoping for but overall much better than last week’s wild 7:16 split!

Checking the first mile split.

Checking the first mile split.

I cruised along during the second mile, focusing on my running form and cadence and clapping for the leaders as they passed on their way back to the finish.  I didn’t look at my watch until just after the second turnaround when it beeped again… 7:23.  WHAT?!??!  I was shocked.  That is the fastest second mile I have ever run.  WOW!  I realized at that point that I was absolutely on track for a PR.  All I had to do was keep up a reasonable pace for the third and final mile.

The third mile was hard work.  I really pushed myself and looked at my watch a lot to check my average pace for that mile (a feature that I love on my Garmin!)  I kept an eye on the road ahead, hoping to see the library on the corner which marked where I would get to turn towards the finish.  I knew if I could just get to the final quarter mile straightaway I would be able to hang on.

Mile 3 beeped by in 7:38 (I did it!!) but by then I was running too hard to really process the split.  I could barely see the finish line clock, then realized that it was quickly ticking away through the 23-teens.  I ran harder and watched the 20s go by and then blasted across the line just as the clock struck 23:32 (my old PR), making sure to hit my watch as I crossed.

My official finish time?  23:25!!!  Yep, my super slow start not only helped me run a faster second mile, it also gave me 7 extra seconds of clock time to work with!  Double win!!

Haverford Twilight 5K Stats

My new PR time was good enough for 39th overall, 10th woman (with 5 of the females ahead of me being teenagers!), and 2nd in my age group.  Woohoo!  I ate a celebratory banana and ran a cool down, then Matt took me out to Iron Hill Brewery (my favorite) for a PR dinner. 😄

After the Haverford Twilight 5K

At the Twilight Run I learned that it is possible to start a race “slow” and still have energy to speed up later in the race.  I also learned that it’s much more pleasant to run a faster second mile and pass people than it is to slow down in the second mile and feel like you are losing ground.  After last night’s PR success I am looking forward to putting these lessons to use on Broad Street next Sunday.  One week to go!

Miles since last post: 8.5
Days since last post: 2
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 555.1

 Past Races:

•  April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11), Empower the Children 5K (4/18)
•  March ’15:
Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14), Granogue Trail 10K (3/21), Pickle Run #3 (3/28)
•  February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7), Pickle Trail Run #2 (2/21)
•  January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3), Pickle Run #1 (1/17)
•  December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5), Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7), Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
•  November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [PR], Metal Run 5K (11/8), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27)
•  October ’14: Martin’s Run 5K (10/5), Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18), Bark in the Park 5K (10/25)
•  September ’14: Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13), Run A Muck Trail Race (9/20), Haverford Township 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [PR]
•  July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18)
•  June ’14: Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1), Media 5 Miler (6/20)
•  May ’14: Elwyn 5K (5/3), Run for Victory 5K (5/18) [PR], Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30)
•  April ’14: Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/, Rick’s Run 5K (4/19), St. Tim’s 5K (4/26)
•  March ’14: Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1), Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30)
•  February ’14: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1)
•  January ’14: Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4)
•  December ’13: Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14), New Year’s Eve YMCA 5K (12/31) [PR]
•  November ’13: Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2), Turkey Trot 5K (11/28)
•  October ’13: Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19), Oy Vey 5K (10/27) [PR]
•  September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Empower the Children 5K

Last Saturday Matt and I ran the Empower the Children 5K.  This low key 5K looped through the neighborhood of Westgate Hills in Havertown, PA and benefitted a local nonprofit, Child Guidance Resource Centers.

Annie and Matt after the Child Guidance 5K

I’ve been slow in writing this recap because this was ultimately not a stellar race for me.  Don’t get me wrong — the race atmosphere, friends, gorgeous weather, and post-race food (cupcakes!!) were awesome, but I did not perform especially well.  I finished in 24:36 – my slowest road 5K since August – and felt sluggish and hot through much of the race.

Luckily there’s no mystery as to why I ran so slow and felt so terrible.  I am quite sure that it’s due to the fact that I ran the first mile like an insane person, going through the split in 7:16.  WAY too fast!!  I was attempting to run by feel and was purposefully not looking at my watch, but apparently this is not a good race strategy for me.  (But, much better to find that out in a 3 mile race rather than during next week’s 10 mile Broad Street Run, right?) 😉

This elevation chart does not do the hills on this course justice!  :-)

As the second mile began I was blissfully unaware of my pacing snafu and continued to move around the course as fast as I could.  At the 1.3 mile mark the course turned up a steep hill and a woman wearing orange passed me like I was standing still.  I had been the first place woman until that point and as I watched her striding effortlessly up the hill I resigned myself to the fact that this was not my day.  (Another 5K error – negative thinking!)

The race continued around a second loop of the same course and I kept orange woman in sight.  Then a woman in black also passed me and I struggled to stay with both ladies as the big hill came into sight again with a quarter mile to go.  Both women powered up the hill ahead of me looking strong and I trailed behind, trying to keep it together for one more minute of racing.

On the final straightaway with the finish line in sight I watched as the woman in black passed the woman in orange and then… I couldn’t believe my eyes… Orange started WALKING!!!  What???  Before that moment I was positive that I would be the third place female but with renewed energy I decided that I was going to give this finish everything I had in an attempt to catch up with Orange before the line.  In the words of one of our spectating friends, I went into total beastmode and sprinted towards the finish, passing Orange and nabbing the second place spot.  Whew!

Child Guidance 5K Photos

Photo Credit: CGRC

After a moment of trying to catch my breath I turned around just in time to see Matt finishing strong. This was his first race since Run A Muck in September and he handled the hilly course well, ending up 8th overall and first in his age group with a time of 25:45.

This race was a good wake up call for me.  Running the first mile 20 seconds faster than my goal pace was painful in this 5K, but it would be so much worse if I were to make this same mistake in the 10 mile Broad Street Run next week.  I already know that I should not start out too fast in theory, but having Saturday’s experience of feeling terrible in miles 2 and 3 after a crazy start was an excellent reminder that I hope will stay with me until race day on May 3rd!

Miles since last post: 60.3
Days since last post: 12
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 546.6

 

Past Races:
•  April ’15:
Tyler Trail 10K (4/11)
•  March ’15:
Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14), Granogue Trail 10K (3/21), Pickle Run #3 (3/28)
•  February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7), Pickle Trail Run #2 (2/21)
•  January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3), Pickle Run #1 (1/17)
•  December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5), Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7), Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
•  November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [PR], Metal Run 5K (11/8), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27)
•  October ’14: Martin’s Run 5K (10/5), Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18), Bark in the Park 5K (10/25)
•  September ’14: Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13), Run A Muck Trail Race (9/20), Haverford Township 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [PR]
•  July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18)
•  June ’14: Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1), Media 5 Miler (6/20)
•  May ’14: Elwyn 5K (5/3), Run for Victory 5K (5/18) [PR], Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30)
•  April ’14: Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/, Rick’s Run 5K (4/19), St. Tim’s 5K (4/26)
•  March ’14: Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1), Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30)
•  February ’14: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1)
•  January ’14: Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4)
•  December ’13: Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14), New Year’s Eve YMCA 5K (12/31) [PR]
•  November ’13: Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2), Turkey Trot 5K (11/28)
•  October ’13: Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19), Oy Vey 5K (10/27) [PR]
•  September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Tyler Trail 10K Race Recap

Stream Crossing!  (Image © 2015 Eric Mundy and John Greenstine. Source) https://plus.google.com/photos/115911381219551998085/albums/6136825500143490737)

Stream Crossing!
(Image © 2015 Eric Mundy and John Greenstine. Source)

Three weeks ago I ran my first 10K on snow-covered, narrow, insanely hilly trails. It was HARD!  I survived that race but met none of my goals (except finishing) and came away from it hoping that I could learn from my trail 10K experience and be stronger at the next race.

The next race (aka my opportunity for trail redemption) arrived in the form of the Tyler Arboretum Trail 10K last Saturday morning.  How did it go?  Well, let’s look at it in terms of my goals from the previous 10K…

  1. Don’t walk.  SUCCESS!
  2. Average better than 10:00/mile pace.  SUCCESS!!
  3. Finish in under an hour (9:39 pace).  SUCCESS!!!

I am so proud to share that I met ALL of my goals, finishing this fun, challenging trail race with a new PR time of 58:34… 12 1/2 minutes faster than my previous trail 10K!  Here I am immediately after the race when I saw my time. Woohoo!

Yay! I did it!

The 6.2 mile course wound around Tyler Arboretum, a private, 650-acre arboretum that borders Ridley Creek State Park.  The course included many rolling hills, four stream crossings, and beautifully maintained, wide trails.  I ran without music (unusual for me!) which gave me lots of time to think during the race.  With that in mind, I’m going to split my recap into a series of observations that I made while running:

Trail Runners are really nice!

During my previous trail 10K I realized that no one around me was listening to music.  Instead they were politely saying “on your left” when they passed me or “nice job!” when I passed them.  Crazy!  I felt like a total newbie with my iPhone and ear buds and quickly turned my music way down to better hear my fellow trail runners.

During the Tyler 10K I left my phone in the car and definitely enjoyed being able to hear all of the banter around me.  Runners were chatting about hills, encouraging one another, and, when two runners fell right in front of me on a downhill stretch, checking to make sure that everyone was OK and able to proceed.  Trail runners are NICE!!

Tyler 10K 1

I happily joined in on the occasional chit chat and had a nice exchange with an older guy who panted out “let’s go Pink, see you at the top!” as he passed me on a steep uphill climb.

I like stream crossings.  A lot!

The Tyler 10K course included four stream crossings.  Runners had three options: (1) be a superhuman and leap across the creek in a single bound, (2) slow down and tip-toe across some slippery rocks, or (3) run straight through the water.  After a winter of running in snow, ice, and mud, I’m pretty accustomed to running with wet feet so I went into the race thinking that I would go with option 3… unless the rocks looked easy, in which case I’d try to stay dry as long as I could.

The first stream crossing felt like it came up really quickly and before I knew it I had already swerved around a few people who were slowing down to do the rock thing.  I plowed through the water and emerged on the far bank, happy and wet.

I continued to splash through the remaining three stream crossings, simply choosing the path of least resistance.  It was great fun!  (For proof just look at my insanely happy expression in the photo above… who in their right mind looks that excited to get their feet wet??) ;-)

Heart Rates and Hills, oh my!

I think of myself as a runner who likes, even embraces, hills.  I do a lot of hill running in my neighborhood and on the trails at Okehocking Preserve and I know that even if I get really fatigued going up a hill I can usually recover quickly once the terrain levels out.  Unfortunately my confidence took a big hit during the previous trail 10K when I had to slow to a walk SEVERAL times on hills, and I left that race thinking that a goal of “don’t walk” for a trail race might not be attainable for me.

With that backstory in mind, I went into Tyler hoping that I could make it up the hills without walking, but completely unsure about my ability to do so.  When the first major hill loomed into view after the stream crossing I looked up and saw many people walking, but I also realized that I could actually see the crest of the hill and it didn’t look so bad!  I jogged up the hill, passing a few walkers in the process, and recovered at the top.  Hurrah!

I realize that there is a point at which it becomes more energy efficient to walk up a hill during a trail race.  I’m not sure exactly where that point is for me, so I resorted to looking at my heart rate to help me determine how much effort was too much.  I know that my max. heart rate during a 5K seems to be somewhere around 198-202 bpm and in a speed workout it’s not uncommon to finish each interval at around 190.  I fixated on that 190 rate and checked my Garmin on uphill climbs to make sure that my heart rate stayed below that number.  None of the hills were too crazy so it all worked out and I never had to walk!

Tyler 10K Stats

I definitely have some room for improvement on downhills.  I would love to be able to zoom down slopes like a mountain goat (or like many of my fellow competitors on Saturday), but I’m scared to really let myself go all out.  I have enough trouble seeing rocks and roots under leaves on flat ground, much less as I’m flying down a hill.  I figure that for now I’ll be satisfied with letting the speedy downhillers pass me on the descents and then I’ll pass them back on the climbs.  ;-)

I am really excited about Broad Street.

Many times during a hard 5K I’ve found myself thinking “Why do I race? Is this even fun? This is so HARD!” Of course, I always feel happy the moment a race ends, but my point is that racing is not always my favorite activity while the race is actually going on.  So, imagine my surprise on Saturday when, at around the 4 mile mark, I found myself daydreaming about the Broad Street Run!  Granted, I was thinking that I would hopefully feel better at the Broad Street 4 mile marker then I was feeling at that point during the trail 10K, but overall the idea of running another 5-6 miles on pavement really didn’t seem too bad.  The 10 mile Broad Street Run is 20 days away and I am pumped!!!!

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In the final half mile of the 10K there were two runners right in front of me: a man and a woman.  I set my sights on the woman and slowly gained on her.  As the finish line came into view I decided that I was definitely going to pass her (even though trail runners are really nice it’s still a race, after all!) and with a hundred yards to go I somehow started sprinting.  I passed both runners and blasted across the finish line (Garmin says my pace was 4:13 at the end????!) before collapsing in a happy, tired heap.

Sprinting into the finish

According to the official results, I finished 7th in my age group, 24th female, and 104th overall out of 388 runners!

All in all, the Tyler Trail 10K was a fantastic experience.  I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was, I “unplugged” and enjoyed the runners, scenery, and the thoughts rambling around in my head, and I know for sure that I’m having a blast racing!

My next race will be with Matt!  We’re running the Empower the Children 5K in Havertown, PA next Saturday.  Then it’s on to Broad Street!!

Miles since last post: 78.4
Days since last post: 15
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2015 MILES: 486.3

 

Past Races:
•  March ’15:
Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14), Granogue Trail 10K (3/21), Pickle Run #3 (3/28)
•  February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7), Pickle Trail Run #2 (2/21)
•  January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3), Pickle Run #1 (1/17)
•  December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5), Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7), Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
•  November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [PR], Metal Run 5K (11/8), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27)
•  October ’14: Martin’s Run 5K (10/5), Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18), Bark in the Park 5K (10/25)
•  September ’14: Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13), Run A Muck Trail Race (9/20), Haverford Township 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [PR]
•  July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18)
•  June ’14: Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1), Media 5 Miler (6/20)
•  May ’14: Elwyn 5K (5/3), Run for Victory 5K (5/18) [PR], Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30)
•  April ’14: Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/, Rick’s Run 5K (4/19), St. Tim’s 5K (4/26)
•  March ’14: Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1), Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30)
•  February ’14: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1)
•  January ’14: Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4)
•  December ’13: Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14), New Year’s Eve YMCA 5K (12/31) [PR]
•  November ’13: Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2), Turkey Trot 5K (11/28)
•  October ’13: Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19), Oy Vey 5K (10/27) [PR]
•  September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Thursday Thoughts

I once read somewhere that you should never begin a post by apologizing for not blogging regularly, so I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to tell you about a few of the random things that are on my mind this lovely Thursday afternoon…

1. Instagram

Way back in December when I had maybe …50 (?) followers I shared this image of Piper checking out her reflection in Ridley Creek. That photo was the first of many Piper (and Bailey) shots that have since been featured and shared on Instagram and I now have about 40 times the followers that I had last year. I think people are going to be shocked when someday I post a sweaty race photo instead of a cute Piper pic, but for now I’m having fun sharing my adorable little GSP with the IG world.

Log Shower jump Carry

Want to see more of Piper?  Follow me @The_Little_GSP 😄

2. Run Run Run!

The Broad Street 10 miler is 3 ½ weeks away and I am getting excited!! I restarted speedwork on the track last week and I had a fantastic 8 mile training run experience at Ridley Creek State Park on Saturday. During the run I never looked at my watch and just focused on staying relaxed and listening to Serial (the podcast) and the miles flew by.

RCSP 8 miler

Before I get to Broad Street, I still need to tackle the Tyler Arboretum 10K Trail Run this Saturday. I’m feeling less confident about that race after a tough time on the trails at Granogue, but I’m interested to see how I will do without snow on the ground. There might be some mud though… this is the current forecast for tomorrow. Eek!

At least Saturday's weather is looking perfect!!

At least Saturday’s weather is looking perfect!

3. Family

Last weekend Matt and I got to see everyone from both of our families on Easter. “Everyone” now includes 2 newborn babies! Plus 3 siblings, 3 step-siblings, 6 sibling spouses/fiancés, 1 toddler, 4 parents (/in-laws), and 9 (9!!) dogs. Luckily all 9 dogs did not participate in the Easter festivities because that would have been crazy.

I was designated the official family photographer but in the interest of everyone’s privacy (I’m looking at you, Suzanne! 😉) I won’t post the group shot. Instead here’s one of me and Matt.

Annie and Matt

This is what we look like when we aren’t hiking or running. 

4. Food

The weather was beautiful over Easter weekend so Matt and I pulled out the grill for the first time this year.  Yippee! Saturday we had patty melts (burgers with melted Swiss and grilled onions on buttered toast) and Monday we made what is possibly our fanciest grilled dinner yet: Paella!

Paella

Don’t worry, the recipe for this grilled masterpiece will be coming soon. And it’s surprisingly not that hard, considering how crazy it looks.

5. Piper

No post would be complete without a shout out to my little pup. (Oh, I already did that in #1, didn’t I? Well here’s more.) Piper is 7 months old now and has recently had some major breakthroughs. First off, she hasn’t had an accident in her crate since March 31st (not that I’m counting) and secondly, Piper has now graduated to sleeping in our bedroom in a big crate rather than all alone in her little crate downstairs. She has been very quiet so far and I think she likes the extra sleeping space.

Hopefully Piper’s next breakthrough will be summoning the courage to walk up our front staircase. These stairs are “floating” with open space between them that goes all the way down to the basement stairs below. Piper is, somewhat understandably, completely and utterly freaked out by these stairs. She won’t even come up for cheese! We’re taking it slow, one step at a time (literally).

Yes, the stairs are scary, but this is the puppy who climbs all over the place on hikes. Look what she did on Monday… what an agile little pup!

 

That’s it for today. I’m off to The Running Place to pick up my Tyler 10K bib. Wish me luck on Saturday! (I think I’m going to need it!)