Turkey Trot, 2014 Edition

Yesterday morning I kicked off Thanksgiving with a turkey trot 5K race in Chesterbrook, PA.  This was my second year running the Seven Summits Turkey Trot and I’m pleased to report that I finished nearly 2 minutes faster than last year!  Also, I had a fantastic cheering section… Matt and Piper came to watch!

Piper and Annie Turkey Trot

The park was covered in snow from Wednesday’s storm and the weather was a brisk 34°, but the paved course was clear and I was dressed warmly in my new birthday tights and vest (thanks Mom!) so I didn’t mind the conditions.  The race began at 9:15am and I took off with 553 other runners, eager to put down a good time on the relatively flat course.

I completed the first mile in 7:24 which is actually a little slower than I was hoping to go out.  I remember thinking that I wanted to go faster, but my legs felt sort of stiff and heavy and just didn’t want to pick up the pace.  (I guess due to the cold?? I warmed up but then stood around waiting at the start for a long time.)  Mile 2 was a similar effort at 7:36 and Mile 3 ended up a little slower at 7:54.  (In mile 3’s defense, however, it was all uphill!)  Despite the slow down in mile 3 I still managed to cross the finish line with an official time of 23:40, just 8 seconds slower than my personal best!

Turkey Trot Stats

Matt and Piper were waiting for me at the finish line.  Piper had kept herself busy during the race greeting dozens of people and meeting a few other other spectating dogs (even one GSP!) so she was quite content to curl up on my lap on our drive home.  All in all this was a great way to start off the holiday and I definitely hope to keep doing turkey trots on Thanksgiving mornings in the future!

My next two races are both in West Chester, PA next weekend.  I will be running the 2 mile Jingle Elf Run on Friday night and the 5 mile Brian’s Run on Sunday afternoon.  Hopefully my legs will feel a little quicker for the short distance on Friday!  :-)

Miles since last post:  95.1
Days since last post:  19
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1620

Related Posts:
•  Metal Run 5K (11/8/14)
•  Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1/14)  [New PR!]
•  Bark in the Park 5K (10/25/14)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18/14)
•  Martin’s Run 5K (10/5/14)
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14) [PR]
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14) [PR]
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13) [PR]
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13) [PR]
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Snow Day!

Happy Thanksgiving eve!  It snowed in eastern Pennsylvania today.  The snow might have been less than ideal for people traveling along the I-95 corridor for the holiday, but Matt and I were off from work and had a blast playing with Piper in her first snowstorm.

Little Piper puppy in the snow

Piper took the snow in stride.  She spent the first several minutes trying to eat the mysterious white stuff, then joined Matt for a slippery game of fetch.  I snapped some photos as they played.

After our playtime in the snow we went inside for hot cocoa (for us) and nap time (for Pipe).  So far she’s been great about settling down for quiet snuggle time on the couch while we watch tv (or edit snow day photos).  I’ll have to take a photo of her actually sleeping someday (my mom still doesn’t believe that Piper EVER sits still!) but for now I’ll leave you with this gem.  I love this wacky puppy!

I'm Helping!!!

Piper visits Newlin Grist Mill

Regal Piper Pup

As you might expect, Piper’s arrival has had a big impact on our daily routine.  Matt and I are waking up earlier on work days, stopping home 2-3 times to let her out during the day, and (still!) taking turns setting an alarm for a middle-of-the-night potty break.  We are also making sure to do at least one mentally and/or physically stimulating activity with Piper every day to tire her out.  On weekdays it’s practically dark when we get home from work which limits us to activities around the house like wobble-disc practice in the kitchen or epic games of fetch in the back yard. (Fetch is, of course, frequently interrupted when Piper gets distracted and tries to eat deer poop, but I digress!)  Weekends, however, are a whole different story… daylight means that we can go hiking!

Hike hike hike

Since Piper is still very young, meandering hikes in the woods are a great way to tire her out without causing too much stress on her joints.  To keep things interesting, we’ve been visiting a different local park or trail each weekend.  This has been a fun way to re-explore some of our old favorite hiking spots that I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while.  One such local gem is Newlin Grist Mill.

Newlin Grist Mill is a 160 acre park and historical site in Glen Mills, PA.  You can read more about the park’s history, working grist mill and educational programs on their web site.  I’m sure that all of that historical stuff is cool (convincing plug, right?) but WE visit the park for its miles of secluded nature trails that wind along an abandoned rail line and a beautiful stream.  Here are some photos from our hike a few weekends ago…

Newlin Grist Mill’s trails are well maintained and clearly marked, but I have not been able to find an actual detailed trail map of the park.  There’s a basic map at the parking lot showing park boundaries and general right-of-ways, but it’s missing most of the side trails that we actually hiked on.  Luckily, the park is relatively small and most of the major trails tend to be oriented east-west along the old rail line and stream.  This makes it hard to get lost and fun to explore… perfect for hiking with a 10-week-old puppy!

Oh Hi!

If you’re in the western Philadelphia suburbs and are looking for a low-key, relaxed hike with lots of stream views and history, I’d definitely recommend spending an afternoon at Newlin Grist Mill!

Newlin Grist Mill
219 South Cheyney Road
Glen Mills, PA 19342  (map)
www.newlingristmill.org

The Darlington Trail (Piper-style!)

Darlington Trail Hike 10-31-14On Halloween Matt and I took Piper hiking on the Darlington Trail.  The Darlington Trail is a public hiking trail in Middletown Township, Delaware County, PA that winds along Chester Creek and an abandoned section of railroad that once connected Media to West Chester.  Naturally, I brought my camera along to document this adventure and wanted to share a few of my favorite shots here.

Warning… lots of cute puppy photos ahead!!! 😊

Piper loved climbing around on the train tracks and even walked on one track balance beam-style for a few steps.

Piper on the train tracks 3Piper on the train tracks 1Piper on the train tracks 2

In order to get a good photo angle of little Piper I ended up lying down on the tracks, which put me at the perfect level for a surprise puppy attack!

Surprise puppy attack on the tracks!

Piper was a total ham on the hike and kept pausing to look at the camera.

Piper 3PiperPiper the GSP PuppyPiper 2

Even when Piper got a break from walking she still made a point of looking at the camera!

Piper keeping an eye on me Piper takes a break from hiking

At the end of the hike little Piper happily snoozed in my arms on the drive home.  She is such a sweetie.

Piper sitting in the grass-

That’s it for this hike, but don’t worry, I have photos from a more recent hiking adventure that I will share soon!  :-)

The Metal Fun Run and Chili Cook-Off

Yesterday I ran the Metal Walk and Fun Run 5K in Wilmington, Delaware with Matt’s brother, Dylan.  The race was pretty casual — no numbers, official scoring or results — but I knew that going in and decided to just enjoy myself and have fun spending time with Matt, Dylan, and Dylan’s wife, Jena.  Oh, and Piper, too!  This was Piper’s first time spectating a race and I think she really liked getting petted by dozens of race participants and spectators.  :-)

Annie and Piper Metal Run

The Metal Walk/Run benefited the ATI Foundation, a branch of Dylan’s employer, ATI Physical Therapy.  The 5K course looped us around the Wilmington Riverfront which is surprisingly beautiful.  (I guess I just think of Wilmington as a city that I pass through on I-95 on my way to somewhere else… but there’s actually a very nice city around the highway!!)  In addition to offering gorgeous views of the Christiana River, the Riverfront course also was extremely FLAT, a feature that I don’t see much of where I live in PA.

Going into the race I really only had one goal — run negative splits!!!  I wanted to run the first mile in 7:50 and then have enough energy left to pick up the pace in the second and third miles.  This seemed very doable on paper but, as usual, didn’t turn out quite how I had planned!

I don’t own a GPS watch but I set my Runkeeper app to notify me at every half mile split so I could (theoretically) use that data stay on pace.  I wanted to hit my first split at right around 3:55, so I started the race out at what felt like a nice, controlled speed.  Then Runkeeper cheerily told me that I hit the first half mile in 3:29!!  Shoot!!!  My plan for a nice negative split race was already out the window and, despite adjusting my pace down for the rest of the first mile I still wound up with a 7:22 split.  Darn!  {Side note — Runners, how the heck do you manage to maintain a steady, normal pace for the first half mile of a race???  This skill seems to elude me.}

Metal Run Runkeeper Stats

During miles 2 and 3 I settled into a 7:50 pace (if only I could have started here!) and took in the beautiful riverfront views.  The course wound around a bit more before finishing back in the parking lot where we started.  There was no official scoring, but the finish line clock and my stopwatch agreed that I completed the 5K in 24:18.  Significantly slower than my hilly 23:32 finish last week, but I think that knowing this was an un-scored fun run definitely made me feel a little less competitive during the race.

The fun didn’t end with the 5K finish… we had CHILI to taste!!  The Metal Walk/Run event also included a competitive chili cook-off and race participants were given tickets for 5 chili tastings.  Matt, Dylan, Jena and I enjoyed generous samples of several types of chili and all agreed that one of the classic chili recipes with cornbread was our favorite.  The judges apparently agreed too because that chili won second place overall!  (We didn’t make it to the winner’s tasting but it must have been yummy if it beat our favorite!!)  Piper was great during all of this commotion, allowing Matt and I to pass her back and forth between us as we ate.  She even dozed off in my arms at one point… race spectating is hard work for a little pup!

After yesterday’s fun run, I have now raced 8 out of the last 9 weekends.  That’s a lot of racing!  I’ll be taking a break from my 5K addiction until Thanksgiving day when I’ll run the Seven Summits Turkey Trot.  I’m definitely looking forward to being able to sleep in on the weekends until then.  (That is, of course, if Piper will let me sleep in!)   😄

Miles since last post:  17.8
Days since last post:  4
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1524.7

Related Posts:
•  Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1/14)  [New PR!]
•  Bark in the Park 5K (10/25/14)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18/14)
•  Martin’s Run 5K (10/5/14)
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14) [PR]
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14) [PR]
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13) [PR]
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13) [PR]
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Trinity Berwyn 5K (My 30th Birthday PR!!)

Last Saturday I had a big day.  I turned 30 and, perhaps MORE importantly, I ran a new personal best time in a 5K… 23:32!!  That time was a 9 second improvement on my previous best of 23:41 from The Pickle Run back in August.  Woohoo!

Annie after Trinity 5K

Saturday’s race was the Trinity Berwyn 5K, a local event hosted by the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Berwyn, PA.  I ran this race last year so I knew what to expect on the course… basically a huge downhill in the first mile and a frightening, soul-crushing uphill in the last mile.  Or at least the hill seemed soul-crushing last year… this year I must have FLOWN up that hill in order to finish with a new PR!  Here’s a breakdown of how Saturday’s race went:

Mile 1 – Wet Leaves Downhill (7:03 split)
I started out the race at what felt like a very controlled pace, trying to avoid going out too fast but at the same time wanting to take advantage of the big downhill.  It was windy and raining which didn’t bother me too much except that I was really worried about slipping on the wet leaves that were blanketing the road.  The leaves did have the positive effect of keeping my pace in check… if the footing had been better I would have definitely gone out much faster than I should have.

Also of note during mile 1… I ran by my grandma’s old house (sold 6-7 years ago) and observed a huge dumpster in the driveway.  I remembered wondering what construction they might be doing there before rolling into mile 2.  (During last year’s race I don’t even remember passing the house… funny how it was so much clearer this year!)

Mile 2 – Flat (7:34 split)
Mile 2 was all about maintaining my pace on the flat-ish neighborhood streets.  Due to the rain I had decided to run without music or headphones, meaning that I didn’t know exactly when the second mile started or what my first mile split had been.  (I had a stopwatch on but there were no mile markers on the course.)  I just ran ahead blindly, hoping that I was keeping up a pretty good pace.  I remember looking at my watch at 15:30 thinking “I must have finished the 2nd mile by now… right?” but now in hindsight I realize that I actually hit the 2 mile mark at 14:37.  Nice!

Trinity Runkeeper Stats

Mile 3 – HILL!!! (8:15 split)
Last year when I ran this 5K course the third mile took me 9 minutes, 42 seconds to complete because I had to stop and walk up the hill.  This year I knew the hill was coming and I attacked it!!  There’s a stretch of road where you can see the hill rising up ahead of you which is pretty intimidating.  I sometimes find myself automatically slowing down in anticipation of a hill, so during this section I kept telling myself that even though I could see the hill up ahead I wasn’t yet climbing the hill so there was no reason to slow down.  I kept moving at a pretty good clip and reached the top of the hill with about 0.3 miles to go.

At the top of the hill I glanced at my watch… 21:22.  I still didn’t have an exact idea of how far was left but I could hear the Trinity Church bell ringing over and over again through the wind and rain.  I knew that the course only took a few more turns before finishing in the church parking lot, and at that moment I decided that I was going to get a PR!

Last 0.1 – Birthday PR! (6:43 pace)
I hung on through the last few turns of the race, apparently picking up my pace as I went (according to RunKeeper, at least!).  I pounded into the parking lot and could see the race clock ticking away in the 23:20s… yes!!  I crossed the line and finished with an official time of 23:32.  Mission accomplished!!

Finishing Trinity 5K (PR!)

As previously mentioned, Saturday was my 30th birthday so this 5K was my first experience in the 30-39 age group.  If this race was any indication, the 30s are going to be tough.  I was 6th female overall but that was only good for 4th in the 30-39 age bracket!!  In an odd twist of fate the race director still had my age listed as 29 (maybe the computer doesn’t count my new age until the date has actually passed?) so they called me up in the awards ceremony for the top 20-29 AG award.  I explained to the announcer that I was now 30 and shouldn’t win the award but then a nice man from the church pushed a medal marked First Place 20-30 AG into my hands.  20-30?  Hmm.  That must be some kind of new award but OK, I’ll take it!  I’ll happily wait until my next 5k to officially vie for a “real” 30-39 AG award.

My next race will be the Metal Walk and Fun Run 5K in Wilmington, Delaware this Saturday.  I am excited because I’m going to have a very special spectator… Piper!  Matt’s going to watch the race with her on the sidelines and I can’t wait to snuggle her soft little puppy ears at the finish! :-)

Miles since last post:  48.3
Days since last post:  10
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1506.9

Related Posts:
•  Bark in the Park 5K (10/25/14)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18/14)
•  Martin’s Run 5K (10/5/14)
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14)
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Welcome Home, Piper!!

We got a puppy!  Matt and I are thrilled to welcome Piper into our lives and home.  Isn’t she adorable?

Our new GSP puppy Piper

Piper is a two month old German Shorthaired Pointer.  Yesterday Matt and I drove from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin to pick Piper up from her breeder, Alliwood Shorthairs, and we just made it home from our 1750 mile round trip this afternoon.  We drove there in about 14 hours, stopped for a few hours in a Chicago-area hotel with Piper (not easy with a little pup!), before getting back on the road at about 2:15am this morning.  Needless to say, we are exhausted and should probably be sleeping right now… but I want to share a few more photos of our goofy, happy, snuggly new family member first!!

We are looking forward to enjoying many adventures with Piper!  (The first of which starts tonight… housebreaking!)  :-)

Our new puppy Piper