Athlete’s Closet March 5K

Last Saturday I ran the final 5K in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series.  After a lackluster finish at this event in February my goal was to beat my previous course-best time of 23:47 from January.  I worked hard during the weeks leading up to Saturday’s race and I was fired up and ready to run FAST!

Unfortunately I did not get a chance to better my official course time.  Just before the race began the race director announced that the course had to be cut short due to snow and ice on a section of the road.  😞  On the bright side, he reminded us, we’d all get automatic PRs for running a 5K “minus a little bit” so at least I had that going for me! 😉  Ultimately the shortened course really wasn’t that bad but I’ll admit, I was sad to miss my chance at an official course PR after a month of hyping myself up!

Even with a short course I could still try to run my fastest pace of the series.  I couldn’t remember exactly what a sub 23:47 5K translated to in terms of pace so I focused on trying to stay in the mid-7:30s.  The first mile ticked by feeling relaxed, controlled and, dare I say it… easy in 7:22.  7:22!!! Whoops, a little TOO fast.  But I felt good so I rolled with it.  The second mile chirped by in 7:47 and I reasoned that I was pretty much on target with an average pace right around 7:35.  With less than a mile to go all I needed to do was hang on…

Athlete's Closet March 5K Garmin

According to Garmin I slowed down a ridiculous amount on the final uphill stretch (I think that’s a technological glitch… I have no recollection of that!) but I still managed to squeak through the finish in 21:48.  The race distance was 2.85 miles and my average pace was 7:39.  Was that good enough to beat January’s pace…..??  It turns out that YES, it was!!  If the course had been the full length and IF (big if) I had kept up the same pace, I was on track to run a 23:42 5K… 5 seconds faster than my January time on this course!  Woohoo!

AC 5K Finish

Seconds before crossing the finish line.  I think I’m preparing my fingers to turn off my watch.  Photo credit: Athlete’s Closet.

My finish time was good enough for 10th place overall, 3rd place woman and, for the 4th time in the race series, 1st in my age group. 😄

Before the race I promised myself that if I ran fast I could buy my first-ever pair of trail running shoes.  I think 7:39 pace qualified as fast so a few hours after the race I picked up these beauties:

Brooks Cascadia 9 shoes

Brooks Cascadia 9s.  They’re last year’s model which means that they were on sale!  I took them for a spin on Sunday at Ridley Creek State Park and they were nice and comfy despite the treacherously slippery slush and snow.  My GSP trail-trotting buddy approves!

The next race that I’m registered for is the final Pickle Run on March 28th.  I have a feeling that that won’t actually be my next race though… I’m pretty sure that I’ll be signing up for either a St. Paddy’s Day 5K this weekend or a 10K trail race on the 21st.  Or both.  We’ll see!  😄

Miles since last post: 62
Days since last post:  13
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2015 MILES: 329.2

Past Races:
•  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)

The Pickle Run #2: Trail Edition!

Last Saturday I ran the February Pickle Run at Ridley Creek State Park.  After running the all-road course at the January Pickle, I decided to give the trails a try in February and I am happy that I did!

The race traversed “3.8ish” miles of hilly, winding, snow-covered trails.  The trail course started out with the road-runners for the first half mile or so before veering into the woods where the first 10-15 minutes of trails flew by in a blur.  I was sandwiched between two guys and the three of us zoomed through the forest making great time with no other runners in sight.

The guy in yellow took the lead through the entire trail section and I stayed tucked in right behind him (as this photo illustrates... you can hardly see me!) Photo Credit: RunningMadPhoto

The guy in yellow took the lead through the entire trail section and I stayed tucked in right behind him (as this photo illustrates… you can hardly see me!) Photo Credit: RunningMadPhoto

Of course all of that fun downhill couldn’t last forever… with about 1.5 miles to go we turned onto the “white” trail and immediately started climbing.  And climbing.  I technically never walked, but I’m pretty sure that I was shuffling along at 15++ minute mile pace.  Finally the trail leveled out and I realized how completely dead my legs felt with another mile still to go.  Trail running is HARD!

Pickle Trail Run (2-26-15)_

Right before crossing over the multi-use roadway on the yellow trail the course plunged down a really steep hill.  Halfway down the hill I spotted one of the race’s signature googly-eyed pickles leaning up against a fallen tree but was too tired to go back up the hill for it.  I yelled “PICKLE!!” and the guy behind me mustered up the strength to turn back for the prize.  (Runners who find pickles on the course get silly awards like old VHS tapes and fake wall-mounted fish.  It’s all fun at the Pickle Run!)

The race finally returned to pavement with less than 1/4 mile to go (or something like that… this was a prediction run so no watches allowed!) and the tired trail runners rejoined the 5K road runners who were also in the homestretch.  I was thrilled to be back on pavement and I picked up my pace and sprinted into the finish.  Trail pickle complete!

Annie Pickle Run Finish

Photo Credit: Run the Day

My finish time of 35:40 means that I ran at an average pace of 9:23 per mile.  Slower than road race pace, for sure, but also much faster than my mid-week trail runs so I’m happy with that!  Before the race began I haphazardly guessed that I’d finish in 36:00 not really knowing what the conditions would be like.  Wildly, this meant that my prediction was only 20 seconds off which was good enough for 3rd place and another pickle-in-a-beer stein award.  Awesome!

My next race is March 7th… the last of the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series.  I have been sticking with my speed work and tempo runs and I am looking forward to running FAST on the nice, even pavement!!

Miles since last post: 32
Days since last post:  7
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2015 MILES: 267.2

Past Races:
•  February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7/15)
•  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)

Athlete’s Closet February 5K and a Renewed Need for Speed

Last Saturday I ran the third of four 5Ks in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series.  Coming off of a month of slower trail runs, time in Vegas and really no speedwork to speak of, it was not surprising that I finished Saturday’s 5K much slower than my January 5K time from the exact same course.

Athlete's Closet Feb 5K Garmin

I started out a little too quickly (ok, a LOT too quickly!) and then faded pretty significantly towards the end of the race.  I felt OK the entire time (well, until I looked at my watch after mile 2 and saw 8:11!) but I just couldn’t make my legs go any faster.  My finish time of 24:00 was 13 seconds slower than January’s AC 5K but, surprisingly, was still good enough for 3rd woman overall and top in my age group.  I guess we’re all getting a little slower as winter drags on!

Despite my lackluster performance I left the race with renewed determination.  I want to beat my course best time of 23:47 during March’s Athlete’s Closet 5K and I know I can do it!  I drove home feeling excited by the prospect of resuming speedwork (crazy, right??!) and found myself looking forward to picking up the pace on training runs.  The final Athlete’s Closet 5K in on March 7th and I am going to be ready for it!!

I have four weeks to work on my speed.  I kicked things off Monday with 5 miles on the treadmill while watching Seven Years in Tibet.* Then things really got going on Tuesday with my first speed workout since before Thanksgiving: 6 x 800m intervals on the treadmill with 400m jog recovery in between.  3:42, 3:41, 3:37, 3:35, 3:32, 3:25… I CRUSHED this workout with a better average pace than I ever ran on the track last Fall.  After a nice cool down I climbed off the treadmill more determined than ever.

6x800m speedwork

*Side note: I last saw Seven Years in Tibet when I was 13.  It was SO much better to watch now! Fascinating 1940s history plus young Brad Pitt.
Enough of this machine! Take me hiking!!!

I don’t have a specific training plan per se, but between now and March 7th I plan to do at least three more speedwork sessions (maybe a 400-800-1200-1200-800-400 ladder? Bring it on!) as well as a few tempo runs and some easy miles on the trails.  Today, however, will be as close as I get to a rest day – I’m taking Piper hiking after work! 😄

Miles since last post: 87.1
Days since last post:  18
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 196.6

Past Races:
•  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 Day 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)

The Pickle Run #1

Last Saturday I ran the first of three Winter Pickle Runs in Ridley Creek State Park.  “Pickle Runs” are fun, prediction-style races organized by the local race-timing organization, Run the Day.  The “winners” of the Pickle Run are the participants that most accurately predict their finish time in advance.  This makes for a relaxed, jovial atmosphere and gives everyone a chance to take home one of the big prizes: a googly-eyed pickle in a beer stein!

My Pickle Prize!

Note to Self: Do not leave your pickle on the counter for a week while out of town in Las Vegas. It will be gross and deflated upon your return!!

Saturday’s Pickle Runners chose to run either a 3.1 mile road course or a 3.8-ish mile trail course.  I opted for the road option which ended up being identical to the 5K route that Martin’s Run followed back in October.  The trail course, which split off from the road after the first half mile, would definitely have been more exciting than my out-and-back road route, but apparently it was also very icy in the woods which made the trails a little treacherous for my non-yaktrax-clad Mizunos.  As long as ice isn’t an issue next month I will probably run the trail course in the February pickle.

Although I always knew exactly where I was on the road course in terms of mileage, I really missed my Garmin’s pace updates and splits.  I usually go out way too fast so it was tough not having any guidance during the first mile.  By the second mile I was feeling pretty slow but then had my spirits unexpectedly lifted at the halfway turnaround point when I realized that there was only one woman ahead of me on the road course.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make up any ground on her after the turnaround and two other women ended up passing me in the final mile but I still finished the race in a solid 24:06.  Not bad for a 19° January morning!!

My predicted time was 23:53 (my official results time from Martin’s Run) so my actual time ended up being off by 13 seconds.  That was good enough for 5th place overall in terms of prediction accuracy, woohoo!  The first place person was only off of their predicted time by a mere 2 seconds.  Considering that no one had watches or any idea of the time that’s pretty amazing!!

My next race will be the third 5K in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series on February 7th.  In the meantime I get two whole weekends off from racing.  After a long business trip to Las Vegas last week (and a super-cramped red-eye flight home all night last night, ugh!) I am looking forward to spending some quality time relaxing on the couch with Matt and Piper!

Miles since last post: 82.3
Days since last post:  18
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 109.5

Past Races:
•  January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3)
•  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 Day 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (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)

Athlete’s Closet New Year’s 5K

On January 3rd I ran my second race of 2015, the Athlete’s Closet New Year’s 5K in West Chester, PA.  After a fast race on New Year’s Day my plan was to show up, have fun, and stay relaxed.  The verdict?  I ended up running a comfortable, happy race and still had enough gas in the tank to totally crush the finish with a huge spurt of speed, putting down a new course personal best time in the process.  Oh yeah!

Athlete's Closet Jan 5K Garmin

It’s no secret that I tend to go out way too fast in the first mile of a 5K.  On New Year’s Day when I was trying to run a PR I completed my first mile in 7:15.  Yikes!!  During Saturday’s “fun, relaxed” race, by comparison, I went out in a much more practical 7:34 and, not surprisingly, felt significantly better during the second half of the race.  I felt so good, in fact, that in the last mile when the course began a long uphill climb I was able to pass a man who had been holding steady in front of me for the first two miles.  It feels strange to say it, but after all of my hill running I may actually LIKE hills now!!

My relaxed first mile really paid off in the final stretch of Saturday’s race when I made the last turn back onto Isabel Lane.  The finish line had not yet come into view but what WAS in view were the two runners ahead of me.  The first was a man who had previously been running with hill guy.  He was pretty close to me so I figured that I could probably catch him as we closed in on the finish.  The second runner was a woman in neon yellow who was way, WAY ahead of me.  Normally I never would have considered her to be within reach but something suddenly clicked in my brain and I found myself utterly determined to catch her.  I picked up my pace and watched the space between us disappear.  In a blur I saw someone warning her I was coming but then I shifted gears again into what felt like a full out sprint.  I blew through the finish with a second to spare.  What an exhilarating way to end a race!

Photo credit: Athlete's Closet

Photo credit: Athlete’s Closet

Matt and Piper stayed at home on Saturday so the photo for this recap was just going to be an in-the-car selfie BUT, as luck would have it, one of the race organizers from the Athlete’s Closet captured the above photo just before the finish.  Perfect timing!!  I was surprised to see how calm my facial expression looks in this photo considering how hard I felt I was running!

My next race will be the Pickle Run in Ridley Creek State Park on January 17th.  Like the Pickle Run that I did in August, this will be a fun prediction-style race with no watches allowed.  Hopefully I can match Saturday’s relaxed first mile pace without my Garmin’s help!

Miles since last post: 22.6
Days since last post:  5
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.86
2015 MILES: 27.2

Past Races:
•  January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1)
•  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 Day 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (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)

SRA New Year’s Day 5K

1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi.
THAT’S how close I came to beating my 5K PR this morning!!

After Swarthmore 5K with Piper

I kicked off my 2015 with the S.R.A New Year’s Day 5K in Swarthmore, PA.  The weather was sunny and brisk and the race was well organized with a great turnout of around 220 runners.  The course was fun and relatively flat, starting and finishing with laps on the Swarthmore College track.

I really wanted to run a new personal best in this race.  As the opening line of this post indicates, I did not quite get my PR, but I feel confident saying that I put forth the absolute best effort that I was capable of today.  Although my official finish time of 23:36 was 4 seconds short of my PR from November’s Trinity Berwyn 5K, I think this was still my fastest 5K pace ever (Trinity might have been a little short) and I certainly FELT like I was running my hardest the while time!  Apparently my new Garmin heart rate monitor agrees… I averaged 192 bpm and maxed out at 202 bpm in the final 0.1 miles… I have no idea what my max heart rate is but that’s probably pretty close!!

The first mile of the race included a lap around the track and a gentle uphill and before I knew it my Garmin was beeping a 7:14 first split.  Good start!  As the second mile began I focused on my cadence, quickly getting my feet down on the pavement, especially when I started to feel a little tired.  The second mile was over in 7:46… not quite where I wanted to be but my second mile tends to be my slowest.

SRA New Year's 5K Stats

I knew that if I was going to beat my PR I would need to maintain around a 7:30 pace.  My first two splits averaged out to exactly 7:30 but I was feeling a little discouraged (and a lot tired) at the start of mile 3.  I kept focusing on my cadence (which apparently worked… I averaged 179 steps per minute throughout the whole race!) and tried to stay strong.  I saw Matt and Piper cheering me on by the college field house at the 21 minute mark and entered the stadium at 21:47 with a lap to go.  I knew at that point that I wasn’t going to quite get my PR but I still ran that last quarter mile as hard as I could.  I crossed the line with an official chip time of 23:36, just 4 seconds shy of my goal.

Last Lap

Overall today wasn’t easy.  I stayed strong, I ran hard and then I ran even harder when I felt like I was already going as fast as I could go.  Although I would have loved to start the new year with a PR I still feel very proud of my effort in Swarthmore today.  Oh, and my 23:36 finish was good enough for 7th woman overall AND 2nd place in my age group!  I got an awesome wooden medal with downtown Swarthmore etched on it (so cool!!) which is probably my favorite piece of race swag yet.  (Except for maybe the 150 gallons of heating oil that Matt and I won in a race raffle in September, that was pretty good too. 😜)

My next race is Saturday (I guess I should stop drinking beer and start re-hydrating now??) when I tackle the Athlete’s Closet 5K course in West Chester for the 5th time.  I’ll see how I feel by then but that race will probably end up being a little more laid back than today’s speedy tour of Swarthmore!

Miles since last post: 83.8
Days since last post:  18
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.86
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1773
2015 MILES: 4.6

Past Races:
•  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 Day 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (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)

Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K

Yesterday morning I ran the Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K, the first of four races in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series in West Chester, PA.  I ran this series last winter and had fun (despite the 10° temperature for January’s race!) so I signed up again for the whole series this year.

Annie and Piper after AC#1--

As usual, Matt and Piper came along to watch — race-spectating is a great way to socialize and tire out a puppy!  Matt and Piper went for a walk during the race and, much to Matt’s surprise, they discovered a paddock full of llamas right in the middle of an otherwise normal suburban neighborhood street!!  Piper and the llamas seemed equally fascinated by one another… the llamas trotted right over to the fence to check her out and Piper watched cautiously from the other side of the street, blurting out a few tentative “woofs” to see what they’d do (the llamas didn’t care).  Matt brought me over to the llamas to show me Piper’s reaction after the race was over.  Very funny!

Piper sees the llamas-

But back to the race… I remembered from last year’s races that this 5K course isn’t particularly exciting or easy.  It zig-zags out through hilly neighborhoods, loops around a bit and then zig-zags back to the finish.  I find the constant turns to be disorienting (I never know which direction I’m pointing until I get back to the road where the finish line is) but after running this course three times last winter I at least have a better idea of when to expect the next hill.

Athlete's Closet #1 Stats-

The first mile of the race flew by in a quick 7:29.  The second mile suddenly felt a lot harder and crept by in a sluggish-feeling 8:11.  But then my legs redeemed themselves during mile 3 when I was able to pick up my pace up a long hill (passing 2 people!) and then finish strong with a final split of 7:57.  After running two races last weekend I went into this race just wanting to have fun and stay relaxed and with a finish time of 23:55 I think I certainly accomplished that goal!

I’ll be capping off 2014 with two final events: a fun, 3 mile prediction run at The Running Place next weekend and then the New Year’s Eve 5K at the Upper Main Line YMCA.  Last year I ran a PR at the New Year’s Eve race and I’ve already set my sights on a new PR there this year!

Miles since last post: 21.4
Days since last post:  5
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1693.8

Related Posts:
•  Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7/14)
•  Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5/14)
•  Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27/14)
•  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)