The Seven and a Half Mile Warm Up {Recap of Paoli Race for Refugees}

11 miles were on my to-do list this weekend. For me, that wouldn’t usually go hand-in-hand with a 5K, but it was forecasted to be 66°F on Saturday morning. After a hot and humid summer I couldn’t let that lovely weather go to waste, so on Thursday I started toying with the idea of running 7.5 miles to get to a local 5K. That way I could get in my long run and my race. I talked it over with Matt and the idea grew on me as I described what route I would take and which race I would run. Maybe I could do this!

When I went to bed last night I still hadn’t registered for the race, but my mind was made up. Then, this morning I woke up at 6AM to the sound of rain hitting the windows. I checked the radar and there was a huge blob of green and yellow rain over the entire Philadelphia area. Hmm.

As if running for an hour to get to a 5K wasn’t going to be challenge enough, I decided that I was going to do it in the pouring rain. I signed up for the race at 7:22 and headed out the door a few minutes later with a running backpack stuffed with 1.5 liters of water, two energy gels, and a dry set of clothes wrapped in a grocery bag. Paoli or bust!!

Paoli Race for Refugees 5K

September 8, 2018 | Paoli, PA | 8th overall, 1st F (results)

My rain-soaked seven and a half mile warm up took my through the rolling hills of Willistown Township. Along the way I saw a caravan of police cars headed towards the race for traffic control. As I got closer I passed the race’s 2 mile sign (at the top of a wicked little uphill section of Grubb Road that always kicks my butt) and passed a group of raincoat-clad volunteers setting up a water station. At 8:45 I trotted into the Paoli Presbyterian Church parking lot. As water dripped off my hat, shirt, and elbows, I happily picked up my bib, changed my socks, stashed my bag, and lined up at the start.

This was a no pressure race for me and it was fantastic. I started farther back in the crowd than usual and I think I smiled ear to ear throughout most of the first mile as an upbeat song pumped through my headphones and positive thoughts rolled through my brain. “I ran TO a 5K! I am so much lighter without my hydration pack on! It is cool out!” Mile 1 beeped by in 8:16.

Mile 2 felt even better. I enjoyed the beautiful scenery as the course followed Valley Road past a historic schoolhouse, along an old stone wall, and around a huge grassy field. Then I tackled the Grubb Road hill and felt much faster going up it during the race than I had during my warm up. Mile 2 was over in a surprising 7:57.

The water station came into view next. I thanked the kids who were holding out cups but didn’t need anything to drink. I was almost done! Right around this time I realized that I had reached 10 miles. That’s the longest I’ve ever run and I still had nearly a mile to go. I was now in uncharted territory!!!

I turned my attention to a woman in a white shirt ahead of me. I had slowly gained on her since summiting the hill and I wondered if I could catch her. I kept getting closer and eventually pulled even to her as we pounded down Valley Road with less than a half mile to go. We exchanged a “good job!” and I made my move past her, hoping I had enough energy left in my legs to hold on.

And I did!! I zoomed past the police car at Waynesborough Road, turned into the church parking lot, and crossed the finish line as the clock hit 24:10. Woohoo!

Matt arrived just in time to take a photo of my finish and he hung out with me as we waited for awards. This was the only part of the day that did not go quite as planned. I loaded what I thought were preliminary results on my phone before the ceremony began and was concerned to see that my name was not shown. Furthermore, the runner listed as the first place female had a time of 25:17. I soon found out she was the woman in the white shirt. Although I wasn’t listed in the results, I figured that since I beat the woman in the white shirt I might have actually finished first place female overall, which was (thrilling!) news to me. Yay!

I ate popcorn and waited for the official awards, figuring that the timing company would have the rest of the runners added by then. But nope, the incomplete online results were the exact results that were read aloud. White shirt had already left for the day, so the female overall prize envelope went unclaimed as the announcer worked his way through the age group awards. It quickly became clear that my result was not the only one missing, and by the end of the ceremony a small crowd of soggy runners had formed around the awards table.

Fortunately the race timers had a handwritten record of the top finishers and they confirmed that I was indeed 1st place female and 8th overall! I thankfully accepted the prize envelope (which contained $75!!!!!), then gratefully crawled into the towel-lined passenger seat of our car for the ride home. After 11.2 miles I was tired, wet, and so, SO happy that I went outside of my comfort zone and added a 5K to my run this morning.

Local runners! If you’re looking for an early September 5K next year, I definitely recommend the Paoli Race for Refugees. The course was beautiful, the volunteers were friendly, the DJ was energizing, and the after-race party had food, music and tons of activities for kids. I will plan to return in 2019, but maybe with a slightly shorter warm up. 😊

Miles since last post: 31.4
Days since last post: 7
2018 MILES: 957.4

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Sub-22!! 5K PR at the Cape May Zoo

In 11 hours I’ll be racing down Broad Street in Philadelphia! But first, here’s a recap of my personal record-breaking 5K from 2 weeks ago. (What better way to get psyched up for tomorrow’s race than to write about a PR, right?!)

Cape May Earth Day 5K

April 21, 2018 | Cape May Court House, NJ | 11th overall, 2nd F (results)

Cape May, New Jersey is quickly becoming one of my favorite getaway spots. Matt and I spent a week in Cape May last summer with his family and we headed there again last month for my cousin’s wedding. We arrived on an unseasonably cold and windy Friday evening and discovered that the quaint Victorian town is MUCH quieter in the off season than it was in July!

I woke up at 6AM on Saturday, ready to race. My sole early-morning breakfast option was the coffee shop in the iconic Congress Hall hotel. I was the first customer of the day and I enjoyed my coffee in solitude. I left through the doors facing the beach and was treated to a private view of Congress Hall’s sweeping lawn and the ocean beyond. What a perfect way to start the day!

The 5K was at the Cape May Zoo, a 20 minute drive north of town. As I lined up at the start I heard the woman in front of me chatting about how she typically runs sub-21.  I made a mental note NOT to try to keep up with her in the first mile and moments later we were off, zooming around the wonderfully flat grounds of the park surrounding the zoo.

I really wanted to PR this race and when I saw my first mile split of 7:11 I knew I was right on track. Then mile 2 began and it felt a LOT harder to keep up that pace. There were only one or two runners around me (sub-21 woman had disappeared ahead early on) so I tried to focus on my cadence and my arms. I was a little worried when I saw my second mile split of 7:21.

Luckily I had more energy left than I realized. I pushed hard in the third mile but wasn’t sure exactly how my time would stack up with my old PR of 22:03 until the finish line clock came into view. 21:38, 39, 40, 41… I ran as hard as I could and pounded through the finish with a new personal best of 21:52!!!!

After the race Matt and I explored the zoo, which was pretty nice considering that there’s no admission fee. The black bear reminded me of Piper’s chocolate lab buddy, Hershey, and we saw a red panda, wallabies snacking on kale, a very handsome lion, and a sociable cow. (Visitors were allowed to reach over the fence and pet her, much to her delight.)

After the zoo we returned to Cape May to stroll around town (and hit up the peanut butter shop, naturally) before getting cleaned up for the wedding.  The ceremony was on the beach (my first-ever beach wedding!!) and Matt and I had a great time at the reception back at our hotel. Congrats Kevin and Connor!

Ready for a wedding!

I had to squeeze in one more flat run before we left for home. While walking on the beach on Friday evening I realized that I really wanted to try running ON the beach, so I did just that on Sunday morning.  I had the entire beach to myself as I ran along the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean to Cape May Point. Matt met me there for breakfast and then we headed home, back to reality, hilly running routes, and Piper.

Cape May did not disappoint. My sub-22 5K PR was just one of many high points of the weekend, and even now I sometimes forget it happened. But it’s real… I actually ran 3.1 miles in 21:52!! I’m glad I don’t have to attempt to better that anytime soon.  I’ll settle for trying to chase down my 10 mile PR on Broad Street tomorrow morning instead. 😄

Miles since last post: 64.1
Days since last post: 20
2018 MILES: 471.6

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

Not quite as I planned: Recap of the Delaware “Flat” 5K

Here’s what was supposed to happen this weekend:

On Friday evening I had plans to meet Elle from A Fast Paced Life for dinner in Glen Mills, PA. After years of following each other’s blogs, I was really looking forward to meeting Elle in person. We would have had a delicious dinner, taken lots of photos to document the occasion like good little bloggers, and then ended our evening early in preparation for the next morning’s race.

Saturday morning was the big event and the real reason Elle was making the long drive down from Brooklyn.  At 9:45 Elle and I would meet again, this time on the streets of Wilmington for the second annual Delaware Downhill 5K. The point-to-point course had an elevation drop of over 200 feet, guaranteeing a fun, fast 3.1 miles. Elle and I have both been running personal bests lately and we both hoped to walk away with new PRs.

I was PSYCHED for my downhill duel with Elle and I had the whole race planned out in my mind. I would run the first mile in 7:03, the same pace that I ran the first mile of the 2 mile Jingle Elf Run two weeks ago. Then I’d give into the downhill in mile 2 and aim for a sub-7 (!!) split. Finally, with a relatively flat final mile ahead of me, I would hold on for dear life, trying to keep up with Elle who is in BQ-marathon-shape and who certainly would have more strength in the final mile than I. Elle and I would cross the finish line together (ok, maybe I’d edge her out by a second, this is MY version of the story after all!) and we’d both drive home happy with our huge 5K PRs.

But none of that actually happened. Nope, Mother Nature had other plans so we had to adapt.

Here’s what actually transpired:

Friday morning I woke up and the first thing I saw was a “Winter Weather Advisory” on my phone. Winter weather? When I went to bed there wasn’t any snow in the forecast. Apparently the models changed overnight and, just like that, we were now supposed to get 2-4 inches of snow right in the middle of the evening commute. I immediately thought of Elle and sent her a quick message. Elle replied that she used to live in Canada and wasn’t scared of a little snow. Our weekend was still on track.

I worked all day Friday, happily watching the beautiful snow fall quietly on the cars in the parking lot outside my window. It wasn’t until 4:30PM when Matt and I left work that I realized how MUCH snow there really was. The roads were not treated at all and traffic was terrible. Our 5 minute commute took 20 minutes and, after watching a truck go off the road ahead of us, I decided that there was no way I was voluntarily going back out on the roads after dark. I sadly texted Elle to cancel our dinner. At least we’d get to see each other the next morning!

Saturday morning started like any race morning. I woke up really early, ate breakfast and hung out with Piper while we waited for the sun to come up. But then at 6:57AM I received an email: due to icy conditions the Downhill 5K was POSTPONED until Sunday! I could run Sunday but I felt terrible for poor Elle, who had driven all the way to Delaware in a snowstorm only to have dinner AND her race cancelled!

But we salvaged the day. Instead of racing downhill in Delaware, Elle met me at Okehocking Preserve for a snowy, hilly trail run. And it was perfect!! (Much less pressure than a downhill duel, I must say.) We crisscrossed our way around the preserve, chatting non-stop about our dogs (Piper and Bandit need to have a showdown one day, we decided), our running habits, and our lives outside of the blogosphere.

After our run we enjoyed a long brunch together before Elle set off on her journey home. It was such fun to meet Elle and I loved getting the chance to show her my local running trails, even if we didn’t get to race one another. Now we have an excuse to meet again at a future date for a second attempt at our duel!

Delaware “Flat” 5K

December 17, 2017 | Wilmington, DE | 26th overall, 5th F, 3rd AG (results)

I thought that the surprises were over but the weekend had one more for me. Saturday afternoon I got another email from the race organizers, this time to say that Sunday’s course was going to be modified to just be a flat out and back. So no downhill, no 200 ft. of elevation drop, and no inevitable PR. Boo. But I was still going to give it my best shot.

I woke up before the sun for the second weekend day in a row. This is proof – a predawn Piper pic in front of our Christmas tree.

I scoped out the first half mile of the course during my warm up and immediately noticed that there were several slight hills along the route, mostly thanks to the bridges that we’d cross back and forth over the Brandywine River four times. Fortunately the final half mile looked like it would have some gentle downhill, which always makes for a more exciting finish.

My race plan wasn’t especially well thought out – I had focused on preparing for the downhill course and didn’t really adjust my plan for the new flat-ish course. As a result I went out way too fast in the first mile, clocking a 7:05 split. Oops! I still felt good in mile 2, but realized my mistake when my Garmin beeped a 7:29 split.

I hung on for mile 3, waiting to reach that final bit of downhill. A woman had been ahead of me for the whole race and I had been gaining on her ever so slowly as the seconds ticked by. Finally the slight downhill began. (It sure felt like more of a hill when I was going up it at the start of the race!) I had to make a decision: should I really push myself and try to chase her down, or was she too far ahead to reach? I went for the push and surged forward, moving up close enough to her that a spectator in the homestretch started yelling, “SHE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU! GOOOO!!!” The woman sped up but by then I had already made up my mind. I sprinted by her and kept sprinting as hard as I could through the finish line. Got her!

Seconds after we crossed the finish line. Did I mention that the woman I passed and I were wearing matching shirts from last year’s race? (Photo: Triassic Sports)

I finished in 22:37, one second faster than my time on the actual downhill course last year.  I later realized my final push to the finish was definitely worth it. Unbeknownst to me, another woman in the 30-39 age group was right behind me, finishing with a chip time of 22:41. If I hadn’t sprinted I wouldn’t have placed in my age group. (That’s why you always sprint at the end of a chipped race… you never know how close the finish might actually be!) My prize was an ugly Christmas sweater for a wine bottle. I’m sure it will get some good use over the holidays!

That’s it for tonight… I’ve been working on this post for too long and need to go to bed!! (I blame it on waking up for a race two days in a row!)

Miles since last post: 47.8
Days since last post: 14
2017 MILES: 1286.4
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November Races

I just earned two HUGE PRs this weekend but before I can tell you about them I have to quickly recap my November races. Without further ado, here they are!

Panther Pajama 5K

November 11, 2017 | Wallingford, PA | 34th overall, 3rd AG (results)

I signed up for this race at the last minute and enjoyed it despite the 28° weather. The race began and ended at Matt’s alma mater, Strath Haven, and the course wound around the Wallingford neighborhoods that I have raced in several times before. I kept up a pretty good pace for the first two miles but struggled a bit with the uphill in mile 3. I blame the cold weather. 😊

West Chester Friends School 5K

November 18, 2017 | West Chester, PA | 4th overall, 2nd F (results)

This was Piper’s first race of the season! Piper is a joy to run with. She snorts and trots along happily and I get a kick out of the reactions we get from volunteers, other runners, and random people on the street. (Case in point: THREE separate pedestrians spontaneously complimented Piper during our warm up!)

When I race with Piper I forgo music and instead keep up a fairly constant banter with my running buddy. OK, it’s a rather one-sided conversation, but there’s lots of “Piper, HEEL!” “Piper, WAIT!” and, my favorite, “Piper, THIS WAY!!” which does actually get a turning response out of her. This particular race was three identical loops and Piper definitely got the hang of the course’s turns by the third lap.

Together we finished in 22:38, a new personal best for Piper and a fun morning for me. I love my pup!

Seven Summits Turkey Trot 5K

November 23, 2017 | Chesterbrook, PA | 85th overall, 16th F (results)

Bird dog.

Happy Thanksgiving! Last year we made Piper wear a turkey costume for about 3 minutes and the above photo is proof. What a goofball.

On Thanksgiving morning I ran the Seven Summits Turkey Trot 5K for the fifth year in a row. Since the course has been identical all five years, it is easy to see my progress over time:

2013   25:23
2014   23:40
2015   23:25
2016   23:50
2017   23:01 !

Yep, I ran a new course PR by 24 seconds this year! In 2015 my splits were 7:20, 7:22, 7:51. This year, by comparison, I was much stronger in mile 3 and managed 7:33, 7:19, 7:27!! I also went out a little slower which makes the rest of the race much more enjoyable. 😊 Afterwards I hugged Piper (who didn’t look as thrilled about my time as I did) and later ate a heaping plateful of mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, sausage stuffing, Brussel sprouts braised in cream, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and numerous other Thanksgiving delicacies. There were so many sides that I didn’t make room for turkey until the next day.

OK, those were my November races. Now I can’t wait to tell you about the two races I crushed THIS weekend! Coming soon…

Miles since last post: 123.5
Days since last post: 35
2017 MILES: 1235.6
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A New Running Record for October…

I set a new record this October: most races run in a single month! Here are recaps of all five of them. 😄

Michelle’s Miles 5K

October 1, 2017 | Newtown Square, PA | 22nd overall, 2nd F! (results)

The first day of October really felt like fall, with crystal clear blue skies and a nice chill in the air. I couldn’t pass up this perfect racing weather so Matt and I woke up early and signed up for the 10th Annual Michelle’s Miles 5K on site at the Episcopal Academy. On the way to the start line I saw a familiar face – my Uncle Rory! He and my cousin, Danae, were also running the race. Yay for family!

The course took us on two different loops around Episcopal’s beautiful, college-like campus and we ran on pavement, grass, gravel, and the all-weather track.  There was more off-roading than I had anticipated, but I felt strong throughout the race and was happy to discover that I was the 2nd place female finisher! I was even happier about this when I realized that Michelle’s Miles had CASH PRIZES for the top 2 (or maybe 3?) finishers. I cheerfully spent my $50 prize money on new trail shoes at my favorite local shop, The Running Place, a few weeks later.

One Stride at a Time 5K

October 8, 2017 | Media, PA | 7th overall, 1st F! (results)

This was “MY” 5K and I am so thankful for all of the friends and family that helped make it a great success. Team Thorne raised $375 and in total the event raised $12,368.79 to help local families!! Thank you to Bill, Suzanne, Rob, Jean, Tom, Kristen, Lyra, Mike, Jocelyn, Olivia, Teddy, Rob, Meredith, Dixie, Nick, Amy, SuperLucas, Elias, Bob, Cheryl, Bob, Roe, Tony, Karen, Brian, Shelby, Kate, Elle, and Liia.  And thank you to my course-design partner, Eric Traugott… between the summer runs and the actual event I’m sure you agree that we spent waaay too much time on Williamson’s campus in 100% humidity!

The weather on October 8th was less than ideal, with oppressive humidity, tropical heat and the occasional rain shower. Nevertheless, 107 brave, sweaty souls reported to the starting line at 9AM to happily run and walk the course. I liked running the race, but my favorite part of the day was seeing everyone else enjoying this event after months of planning.

I’ll be sure to post next year’s date for the One Stride At A Time 5K as soon as it is confirmed. Hope to see even more of you out there in 2018!

Willistown Conservation Trust’s Run-A-Muck 5K

October 21, 2017 | Newtown Square, PA | 31st overall, 8th F (results)

Run-A-Muck holds a special place in my heart because it was the first 5K I completed after starting my run streak (and my post-college running ‘career’) in 2013. Run-A-Muck is a trail race that traverses privately owned farmland that’s been preserved by Willistown Conservation Trust. This year’s course was new (to me – it was actually new last year but I missed the race) and included a stream crossing, a haunted bamboo forest, and an insanely steep climb during the final quarter mile.

Although I was wearing snazzy new Saucony Peregrine trail shoes (bought with my Michelle’s Miles winnings!), this race just didn’t click for me. I didn’t have any spring in my step and I felt a little gassed right from the start. In hindsight, I don’t think I ate enough food in the hours before the race (the 3:30 start time threw me off!) but meh, lackluster races happen! Lack of pep aside, my favorite moment of the race was when I splashed shin-deep through Crum Creek on the way back to the finish line. The weather was hot and that cold creek water felt GREAT!

Run for the Mill 5K

October 28, 2017 | Glen Mills, PA | 21st overall, 3rd F (results)

Trail run redemption time. A week after Run-A-Muck I decided to tackle another trail race, this time the inaugural Run for the Mill 5K at nearby Newlin Grist Mill. Matt, Piper (and in the past, Bailey) and I have hiked in this park before and I love the perfectly straight industrial trail, remnants of an old railroad bed, and the dam and waterfall. Although I did not know the exact course we’d be running, I knew that the parking area (and start/finish) was at a lower elevation than most of the park, so this pretty much guaranteed that there’d be some nice downhill in the second half of the race.

I was not disappointed. After a flat and fast first mile the course turned up a hill and we climbed and climbed and climbed! Unlike at Run-A-Muck, I felt energized and actually passed a few guys during the ascent. Yeah! I knew there were a few women ahead of me but didn’t know how many. Towards the top of the climb I passed one woman and didn’t look back. Finally, almost exactly as my watch beeped the start of mile 3, the uphill was over and the real fun began.

I zoomed through mile 3, enjoying 100 feet of elevation drop in the first half mile. I felt in control and very happy with my new trail shoes, which felt light and were hugging my feet perfectly as I tore down the hill. Before I knew it the finish was in sight and I cruised across the line with a time that was 3 minutes faster than the week before.

I ended up in 3rd place, which earned me a gift certificate to Chester County Running Store and – even better – an amazing medal that was HAND FORGED in Newlin Grist Mill’s blacksmith shop!! This is hands down the coolest (and heaviest!) medal I have ever received!

The Boo Run 5K

October 29, 2017 | Wallingford, PA | 4th overall, 1st F!! (results)

It wasn’t my plan to run back-to-back races, but I woke up on Sunday wanting to race again. I knew that The Creative Living Room was hosting their 3rd annual Boo Run at 2PM so I started off my day with a super hearty breakfast and kept an eye on the massive rain storm that was forecasted to dump 2-3 inches of rain on Southeastern PA. It poured all morning and was still pouring as I left for the race, but by that point I was determined to go and figured that a little rain couldn’t stop me from enjoying a race.

I arrived, paid my entry fee, and got some quick pointers on the course, which was different than the previous two years. Come to think of it, this course has changed each year. The Creative Living Room is fortunate to have so many 5K route options at their doorstep! I love racing in Wallingford and was excited to see where this year’s course would take me.

Boo Run start line. (Photo: The Creative Living Room)

At 1:40 the rain magically stopped and didn’t start up again until my drive home. Perfect!! Soon we were off and headed straight to Matt’s childhood neighborhood! We looped around, passing directly by his old house and a house of one of Piper’s Nosework classmates, before turning back towards the start line and a different neighborhood loop. Despite the soggy weather the course was perfectly marked and there were volunteers pointing the way at every single turn. Now that I’ve helped to organize a 5K I realize what a feat that is all by itself!

I could see from the start that I was the first woman and I held onto that position for the rest of the race. I jockeyed back and forth with a few guys and cruised through the course with relatively even splits, finishing in 22:25.  (My garmin said the course was a tad short so that’s not as close to my PR as it looks!) I was very pleased with my race considering I ran a trail race yesterday!

As was the case at previous Boo Runs, the organizers went all out with post-race food, drinks, kid-friendly activities and prizes. I won a goodie bag from Bryn Mawr Running Company and was impressed by all of the sponsors and donated prizes the Boo Run had for the runners. Once again, now that I’ve organized a race I have a whole new appreciation for these details!! I will definitely try to return to the Boo Run again next year.

Actually, I will be putting all FIVE of these October races on my calendar for next year. Each offers an interesting local course and supports a great cause. Now if I could only figure out how to guarantee another Newlin Grist Mill blacksmith  medal… that thing is awesome!!

Miles since last post: 194.7
Days since last post: 50
2017 MILES: 1112.1
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Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Next Sunday I am running the One Stride At A Time 5K in Media, PA. To me, this is much more than “just another 5K.” Why? Because this is the FIRST race that I have personally helped organize and I designed the course!!

For the past five months I have been working to plan this event with a wonderful team from Child Guidance Resource Centers, a private, non-profit behavioral health organization based in Havertown. All funds raised on October 8th will directly support local families struggling with addiction, mental health, and behavioral health needs with a focus on awareness and prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.

So where does that “Money-Where-My-Mouth-Is” title come in?  Ultimately the goal of this 5K is to fundraise, and I am hoping that my own “Team Thorne” can pull together a respectable contribution to support programs for local families struggling with substance abuse. But I’m not just asking you for a donation, I’m throwing down a challenge of my own: for every single donation made to “Team Thorne” by race day, Matt and I will personally make a $10 donation of our own!

That’s right, for every donation YOU make to Team Thorne, Matt and I will add another $10. Please consider giving to this worthy cause!

https://www.runtheday.com/donations/46915

My goal is to raise another $370 between now and next Sunday. Any donation, no matter the size, would be greatly appreciated!

It’s technically called Team Thorne, but I’ve been waiting for an excuse to share this logo for months!

For my local friends and family, it would mean the world to me if you joined me at the One Stride At A Time 5K on Sunday. Running is not a requirement! You can walk the 5K course, walk a 1 1/2 mile loop, or alternate between running and walking like my mom plans to do. (We’ll see if she lets my stepfather win or if she tries to out-sprint him at the finish!) 😊

Williamson’s Rowan Hall, aka the location of our mid-race water station!

The race will be held at the beautiful Williamson College of the Trades on Route 352 in Media. Williamson’s campus is private and normally closed to the public, so it will be a special treat to see the rolling hills, tree-lined roads, and interesting architecture at the school. Because I helped to design the course, I’ve already run multiple loops around campus and every time I’m there I feel like I’ve earned super-exclusive access to a secret spot.

The 5K has a Superhero theme and is extremely kid-friendly, so bring your kids (and their costumes!) and strollers. Leashed dogs are welcome as well, but I’m sorry to report that Piper will not be in attendance since Matt and I will be busy volunteering before and after the race. In addition to the 5K at 9AM, the mornings’ festivities will also include a kids’ timed mile (8:30AM), a costume contest, and a raffle.

To register for the 5K, visit https://www.runtheday.com/register/detail/one-stride-at-a-time.  Join “Team Thorne” during registration if you’d like to… we are the biggest team in the event!

To donate, visit https://www.runtheday.com/donations/46915. Donate in honor of “Team Thorne.” And remember, for every donation to Team Thorne, Matt and I will make a personal donation of $10. Thank you!!!

That’s it for tonight, friends. Hope to see some of you at Williamson on Sunday and more of you in the Team of Thornes online!!