Two Pickles and a 10K

OK, I’m actually covering a fourth race in this recap as well, but Two Pickles, a 10K and Another 5K just wasn’t as catchy.

Credit: RunningMadPhoto

Yes, I am triumphantly waving a cucumber at the photographer. (Photo Cred: RunningMadPhoto)

The Pickle Run [5K Prediction]

February 17, 2018 | Media, PA | 2nd overall, 1st F (results)

Piper and I participated in the second of three “Pickle Runs” in mid-February on a chilly Saturday afternoon. Like all Pickle Runs, this was a prediction run. You state your time in advance, run without a watch, and the finishers closest to their predicted times win ridiculous gag prizes. I predicted 22:39 before the race and, amazingly, Piper and I finished just 2 seconds slower than that! We probably spent those 2 seconds veering off the road to collect a “pickle” (a cucumber with pipe cleaner arms and googly eyes) that was nestled at the edge of the woods.

Piper has run the Pickle course at Ridley Creek State Park multiple times now and she gets better every time. Since I have to run without a watch, I like to use Piper’s gait as a pace indicator. She spends most of the 5K in a rapid trot with her mouth barely open, but towards the end of the race I know that we’re really running fast if she breaks into a canter. I love running with my Piper. 💛

(Photo: RunningMadPhoto)

Chester County Winter Series 10K

March 4, 2018 | West Chester, PA | 10th overall, 4th F, 63.4% age percentage (results)

Still on a high after the Arches 9K in Utah, I set my sights on a 10K in early March. I ran a 10K on this course in March 2016 and was eager to better my previous time of 46:58. The conditions were not perfectly ideal at 37° with gusty winds, but I was still confident about my PR chances, right up until the moment we lined up for the start.

In 2016 the start and finish lines were the same, but this year the starter explained that the course had been remeasured and certified, so we’d need to start farther back to reach the official distance. Fair enough. The combined field of 5K and 10K runners moved back to a marked start line. But then, the starter announced that the 10K runners would need to start even farther back. He pointed out a shed at the end of a parking lot in the distance where we needed to go for the start. Boo. Check out the map below… see how far back we were from the finish line?

Once the race started it took me 1 minute and 39 seconds to reach the “old” start line from my previous PR. The chance for a new PR pretty much gone, I pushed ahead, just trying to better my paces from 2016’s race. In that race my splits had been 7:45, 7:37, 7:39, 7:41, 7:48, 7:47, and 6:16 for the final .2. This time around I tried to be careful not to start too fast, but still put down a comfortable 7:30. Then I proceeded to completely shock myself by keeping my pace under 7:36 FOR THE NEXT FIVE MILES!!

My Garmin was consistently off the entire race, telling me that I went through the 10K in 46:22 (which would have been a 36 second PR!) and reporting that the full course was 6.44 miles long. I know, I know… it’s a certified course so my watch was just plain wrong, but it still felt really good to see that average pace of 7:27 for a 6.44 mile race. 😀

My official 10K time of 47:59 was 1:01 slower than my 2016 time, but, considering that I had a 1:39 head start in 2016, I’m still counting this race as a new PR.

Post 10K reward at La Cabra Brewery

Another Pickle Run [5K Prediction]

March 17, 2018 | Media, PA | 2nd overall, 1st F (results)

Another winter month, another Pickle Run with Piper! This was almost a carbon copy of February’s race. Early on in the race Piper and I moved into 3rd place and soon found a pickle on the side of the road. We then hunted down the 2nd place guy ahead of us and passed him with a mile to go. Piper broke into a canter soon thereafter and we zoomed to the finish with our game faces on. (Check out Piper’s face in the first photo above… SO serious!!) 😄

The finish time was a little weird with this race. When Piper and I crossed the finish the clock said 22:41 (and it was a chipped race, so our official time should have been a few seconds faster than that), but when the results were posted online my time was recorded as 23:01. (???) Since I didn’t have a watch on I’ll never know how we really did, but I’m using the finish line clock time of 22:41 as our official time for my records. Piper didn’t care about the time; she just wanted to post-race popcorn!

Book It 5K

April 7, 2018 | Wallingford to Swarthmore, PA | 13th overall, 3rd F (results)

I ran this race last year on the same weekend, same course, and in similar conditions, so this was a fun chance to gauge my 2018 5K fitness. This is a point-to-point race and, like last year, I parked at the finish line in Swarthmore and ran a 2 mile warm up to the start line in Wallingford. Last year I finished in 23:19 with mile splits of 7:26, 7:57, 7:34. This year my slowest mile was 7:25 and I improved my finish time by 52 seconds!!

So what’s next on my race calendar? Well, Matt and I will be in Cape May, NJ for a wedding next weekend and I think we’re going to sign up for the Cape May Earth Day 5K on Saturday morning. That’s pretty much guaranteed to be FLAT so it could be a good chance for a potential PR! Training has been going great this year so anything is possible…

Miles since last post: 231.2
Days since last post: 56
2018 MILES: 407.5

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A 10K PR at the 3-2-1 Loop Race!

6 laps, 1.03 miles each. That pretty much sums up last Saturday’s 3-2-1 Loop Race. Well, that and the fact that I ran a huge PR!! The concept of the Loop Race was simple: runners could either compete as part of a 3-person relay (running 3, 2, and 1 laps) OR as individuals in the 5K (3 laps) or 10K (6 laps). I signed up for the 10K option two days before the race and I sure am glad that I did!!

runtheloop copy

6 laps, 1.03 miles each. For many runners, that actually sounds unbearably boring. The repetitive nature of this course was certainly daunting, but it allowed me to treat this 10K like a drill. I wanted to run a more consistent, even pace (my splits are usually all over the place) and also planned to be very strict with myself about not going out too fast in the first mile (an all-to-common occurrence for me in shorter races). I reminded myself of my mantra from last year’s Broad Street 10 Miler: You can’t win a race in the first mile, but you can definitely blow it by going out way too fast!!

Me, my shadow, and my shiny new 10K PR!!!

This recap is long so allow me to spoil the ending… I didn’t go out too fast and I totally PR’d!!!!! Also, my bright orange shirt makes my arm look radioactive.

At 9AM sharp I crossed the start line with a mixed field of relay runners, 5K-ers and 10K-ers. My goal for the first mile was a very conservative 7:58. (By comparison, in the previous week’s 5K I went out in 7:24!) I felt like I positively crawled through this lap and I had to check my watch multiple times to remind myself to slow down. Finally with the start line in sight my watch beeped 7:45 — not too far off my goal — and I continued into Loop #2.

Each 1.03 mile loop made a circuit around Downingtown West High School and Middle School. The middle school sits about 24 feet higher than the high school, so during the first half of each loop we’d gradually climb a slight incline, and then we’d get to descend back down to complete the lap. I liked that the downhill was in the latter part of the lap since it helped me get some momentum going into each mile split. Before I knew it my second mile was over in 7:37.

My third mile felt routine. Sure, I was running hard, but I was also making sure I didn’t push too much since I still had three more 1.03 mile loops to go. When my watch beeped a 7:39 split I didn’t think much of it, but then I turned the corner towards the start/finish line and saw the race clock. For 5K runners this was the finish line and I breezed through in 23:21…  just FOUR SECONDS off my 5K PR!

Prior to this race I had only ever completed one road 10K: the hilly Double OyVey 10K last October. I believed that I was capable of bettering my OyVey time of 49:50 but the question was, by how much? After seeing my 5K split I realized that I definitely had the 10K PR locked up… at that point even a 26 minute 5K would get me across the finish in under 49:50! Now it was up to me to maintain my speed through three more laps.

During laps 4 and 5 I felt like I was stuck in an uncomfortable, never-ending holding pattern. I knew I was on track for an awesome finish, but it wasn’t time to get excited yet. I just had to hang on and let my legs do their job through these miles. Hang on I did, with two more sub-8 splits. During these laps I set a new unofficial 4 mile PR (30:42) and came within 2 seconds of my 5 mile PR from last December. I was on fire!!!

At long last the 6th lap began. I had been passing the same spectators for the last 38 minutes and was very thankful that this would be my final time seeing them. Amusingly, most spectators had obviously become confused by the crazy relay/5K/10K mixture that was going on and had resorted to helpfully yelling “You’re almost there!!!” every. single. time I looped by. Now that was finally true!!!

In the midst of the race I hadn’t figured out what time I was going to finish in. All I knew is that I was definitely going to PR and hopefully could finish in under 48 minutes. As I turned the last corner for the sixth and final time the clock came into view… it was ticking away in the 46:40s!! I ran as hard as I could crossed the line at 46:58, nearly 3 minutes faster than my previous 10K best!!!

3-2-1 Loop 10K Stats_

If I learned one thing from this 10K, it’s that I absolutely MUST start races slower. It seems counter intuitive, but I know I can achieve faster overall times if I begin with a more conservative first mile. Heck, apparently I can run back-to-back 5Ks in 23:21 and 23:37…. BOTH faster than the previous week’s actual 5K race. Crazy!

The second takeaway is that the core strengthening that I’ve been doing as part of my new year’s resolution is definitely helping. I did not do any speed work leading up to this race, but still somehow managed to come extremely close to breaking my 5K and 5 mile PRs… both of which were set during my end-of-season peak last fall. I’m excited to see how fast I can run when I actually start “training” on the track! My first workout of the season was last Tuesday so time will tell.

This post has gotten way too long so I’ll end with this:

6 laps, 1.03 miles each… a huge new PR and a fantastic way to kick off the spring season!

Miles since last post: 19.4
Days since last post: 4
2016 MILES: 375.8

Past Races:
• March ’16: St. Agnes 5K (3/5)
• February ’16:
Pickle with Piper (2/20)
• January ’16:
Pickle Trail Run (1/30)
• December ’15: Jingle Elf Run (12/3) [2M PR], Brian’s Run (12/5) [5M PR], Reindeer Romp 5K (12/13)
• November ’15:
Trinity 5K (11/7), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/26) [5K PR]
• October ’15:
BAAR 5K (10/3), Double OyVey 10K (10/25) [10K PR], Boo Run 5K (10/31)
• September ’15: Run-A-Muck Trail 5K (9/19)
• August ’15:
Boxcar Mile (8/13), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/27)
• June ’15: Media 5 Mile (6/19)
• May ’15: Broad Street 10 Mile Run (5/3) [10M PR], Rocky Run Trail 5K (5/15), Victory 5K (5/17)
• April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11) [10K PR], Empower the Children 5K (4/18), Haverford Twilight 5K (4/26) [5K PR]
• 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) [2M PR]Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7) [5M PR], Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
• November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [5K 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) [5K PR]
• July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18) [5M PR]
• 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) [5K 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) [5K 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) [5K PR]
• September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
• The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Double OyVey 10K Recap and a New PR!

Yesterday I ran my first road 10K ever! After two challenging trail 10Ks earlier this year I was fairly sure that the easier road surface would enable me to run a new personal best, but I had no idea what a realistic 10K goal was. Here were my goals going into the race:

  1. “A” Goal: Sub-50. Again, I had no idea what I would do in a 10K but this seemed like a challenging goal, much like the sub-25 minute 5K time that I chased down during my first year of racing.
  2. “B” Goal: Beat my Broad Street Run 10K Split. I thought I remembered getting a 10K split of 52:30-ish during May’s Broad Street 10-miler so I decided this time would be my second goal to beat. (Note: After yesterday’s race I looked up my actual Broad Street stats and realized that my 10K split had been more like 50:24… sort of glad that I didn’t know that was the real goal going into this race!)
  3. “C” Goal: Beat my previous 10K PR of 58:34. My old PR was set on a hilly trail course at the Tyler Arboretum back in April. If I can’t beat this time on the road something is wrong with me!
Double OyVey 10K Finish!

Spoiler Alert: I finished in 49:50!!!!!
(Photo Credit: Ohev Shalom)

Sunday’s Double OyVey 10K was hosted by Ohev Shalom Synagogue in Wallingford, PA. The race began at 10AM and I started off conservatively with a relaxed first mile split of 7:52. Just after mile 1 the 10K runners veered off from the nice, flat 5K course (a course that I PR’d on back in 2013!) and plunged down a steep hill onto Avondale Road.

We wound around on Avondale for a mile or so, passing under the Blue Route (I-476) and by the Thomas Leiper House. Mile 2 beeped by in 8:04. We eventually emerged out of the woods and onto quiet neighborhood streets, where the course proceeded to climb, and climb, and climb. Up up up! At the top of the hill my watch finally reported that Mile 3 had taken me 8:41 to complete.

I glanced at my watch to see my 5K split and was dismayed to see 25:16. That sub-50 goal was looking less and less attainable. Nevertheless, I knew I had a lot of downhill ahead of me and I was pretty sure that I was currently the first place female on the 10K course. I ran on, trying to keep up my cadence and carefully watching for the white arrows on the road that would indicate my next turn.

Mile 4 clicked by in 8:06. Not bad, but the course’s steepest hill awaited me on the climb back up Avondale Road to 320. This climb felt HARD and I focused on putting one foot ahead of the other while listening to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” — isn’t it funny how you remember some songs so clearly during a race?

Mile 5 beeped by in 8:38, with a total cumulative time of 42:26-ish. If that time was correct I was way off my sub-50 goal and running even slower than my Media 5 Mile race from June. This was disappointing, but I knew that my watch was somewhat off as it hadn’t been lining up with the mile markers that I saw out on the course. I pushed on, telling myself that I only had one flat mile to go.

Mile 6 was the hardest mile for me physically. After the climb up Avondale my legs felt heavy and my whole body was fatigued. The final stretch of neighborhood seemed to last forever and I really focused on trying to get my feet down on the pavement as quickly as possible. Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” helped me with fast turnover… don’t judge me, it is the PERFECT upbeat, fast-cadence song!  😄

OyVey 10K Stats_

At long last I reached Rt. 320 and took the left turn into the Synagogue’s parking lot. The race organizer passed me in the final seconds and I attempted to pick up my pace to stay with him… but mostly I was just relieved that it was a man – not a woman – who was passing me right at the end!

I felt my watch vibrate for mile 6 but didn’t bother to look because I had just spotted the finish line clock. It was ticking away at 49:40! Up until that moment I did not believe that sub-50 was within reach, but when I saw the clock I started sprinting for the finish, eager to earn my shiny new PR. I crossed the line in 49:50, first female and third overall in a very small field of 10K runners.

Overall the Double OyVey 10K was a great race with very friendly people and a low-key, relaxed vibe… AND a cool name! The course was certainly not easy, but 10Ks are rare in the western Philadelphia suburbs and I was very happy to finally get a chance to race this distance on a road course. Now I’m looking forward to the mental boost that Sunday’s race will give me when I return to a “mere” 5K next weekend!

Miles since last post: 80.8
Days since last post: 17
2015 MILES: 1412.8

Past Races:
• October ’15: BAAR 5K (10/3)
• September ’15: Run-A-Muck Trail 5K (9/19)
• August ’15:
Boxcar Mile (8/13), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/27)
• June ’15: Media 5 Mile (6/19)
• May ’15: Broad Street 10 Mile Run (5/3) [10M PR], Rocky Run Trail 5K (5/15), Victory 5K (5/17)
• April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11) [10K PR], Empower the Children 5K (4/18), Haverford Twilight 5K (4/26) [5K PR]
• 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) [2M PR]Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7) [5M PR], Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
• November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [5K 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) [5K PR]
• July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18) [5M PR]
• 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) [5K 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) [5K 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) [5K 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!!!!

~~

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)

Granogue 10K Trail Run

Today I learned that 10K trail races in the snow are not for the faint of heart.  Or the faint of ankles, knees, or breath, for that matter.  Luckily I must have just enough of each of these because this morning I finished my first ever 10K!

Feeling good 2.5 miles in

Let’s jump right to the chase… the Granogue 10K Trail Run was 6.2 miles of snowy, slushy, slippery trails with wildly steep hills and gorgeous, sweeping views of the Brandywine valley and creek.  In other words, this was a hell of a race to pick as my first 10K!  I had fun but MAN was it hard!!

Trail conditions

Going into the race I had a few lofty goals including (a) finish under an hour, or (b) at the very least maintain a pace under 10:00 min./mile, OR, if all else fails, (c), don’t walk.  Well, let’s just say that I promptly reassessed those goals when my watch reported that it had taken me nearly 10 minutes to slog through the very first mile (usually my fastest).  At that point I quickly realized that I had left out the most important goal of all: (d) finish the dang race!

Granogue 10K Stats

Finish I did, but not without a healthy dose of uphill walking.  For a while I was hoping that I wouldn’t need to walk, but then the course took a sharp turn up and away from the Brandywine Creek at around the 3.2 mile point.  According to Garmin this hill gained 169 feet over just 0.15 miles.  A 21% grade, eek!  After a short bit of slow uphill running I realized that all of the other runners ahead of me were walking and I mercifully slowed down to a power-hike-type walk where I pushed on my quads with my hands with each step.  (I think I read about this technique somewhere online?).  This seemed to work as I didn’t lose any ground on the hills and was able to return to a jog at the top.

The course switch-backed through the woods, up and down gullies and ravines and, at one point, under what’s called “Glue Sniffer’s Bridge” (wonder what that story is?) before scaling the hill back up to the Granogue Estate.  At this point my brain was fried and I was just putting one foot in front of the other… but then I saw Matt!  He came to the race to cheer me on and take pictures and it definitely gave me a boost to see him standing by the side of the trail.

Thumbs Up during the 10K

After an eternity my watch finally beeped off the 6th mile split and I knew I was in the homestretch.  With another short uphill (of course!) the finish line was in sight and I ran as hard as I could, worried that a woman I had just passed might be right on my heels trying to beat me across the line.  I wasn’t 100% sure where the actual finish “line” was (there was just a big chute) so I kept running hard until I nearly collided with the guy who needed to tear the number off of my bib.  Whoops! Matt met me immediately after I exited the finish chute and took this photo… I was definitely in the middle of saying “WOW, that was SO HARD!!!”

WOW that was HARD!!

All in all this was an extremely challenging course made even more difficult by the slippery snow conditions.  Some of the downhills were almost as taxing as the (non-22% grade) uphills because it was tricky to stay upright on the slushy, muddy ground.  I think that I will like the 10K distance in the future – especially on a road! – but I have to admit that today was a little overwhelming.  I’m not sure if I would run Granogue again next year (definitely not with snow on the ground) but we’ll see… maybe by then I’ll be more experienced with both trails and 10Ks which will make this course seem easier! 😀

Plus, you can’t argue with these views… Granogue Estate sits (very) high on a hill facing the First State National Monument (aka Woodlawn Trustees nature preserve) with the Brandywine Creek and a seldom-used freight train line in between.  It’s beautiful here!!

I’ll be racing again next weekend, but I don’t know yet if I’ll be opting for the Pickle Road or Trail course.  After today pavement sounds nice, but depending on the conditions I might want a chance to redeem myself on the trails before the Tyler 10K trail race on April 11th.  I’m hoping that Tyler is easier than Granogue!!!

Miles since last post: 30.7
Days since last post:  6
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2015 MILES: 376.4

Granogue 10K

Past Races:
•  March ’15:
Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14)
•  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)