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

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Weekend Getaway to Virginia’s Eastern Shore

This morning it snowed (AGAIN!!) but as I type this huddled next to our propane stove I am thinking of the warm, sunny, amazing weekend that Matt and I just spent with our friends in the quaint seaside town of Cape Charles on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Cape Charles Beach

We drove down to Cape Charles on Friday afternoon and checked into Cape Charles Blue, a cool boutique hotel with exposed brick walls and super high ceilings.  Then we walked down the little main street to Kelly’s Gingernut Pub, a great restaurant/bar in a converted bank that dates back to 1907.  We ate in the old bank vault and the food was delicious… I had bangers and mash (yum!!!) and Matt had a rich shepherd’s pie with lamb and beef.  In addition to excellent food Kelly’s also had 10+ beers on tap which made it the perfect place to hang out with our friends the next day.

On Saturday we woke up to perfect blue skies and amazing temperatures in the mid-60s.  After the insanely cold winter we’ve been having in Pennsylvania it felt like we had traveled to an exotic tropical island!  I went for a run that I had intended to be around 4 miles, but I felt invigorated by the great weather (and the total lack of hills) so I kept on running until I hit 6 miles.  I paused a few times to take photos of the beach and fishing pier.  What a beautiful day!!!

After my run we joined our friends at Kelly’s for drinks before hopping on a chartered minibus and heading up to nearby Machipongo, Virginia for the weekend’s main event – the Barrier Island Center’s Annual Oyster Roast.  The Oyster Roast is an all-you-can-eat oyster and clam fest that benefits the Center’s mission of protecting and preserving the history of Virginia’s barrier islands.  And when I say all you can eat, I mean it!  There were huge metal counter-height tables set up on a grassy lawn and the caterers continuously delivered perfectly roasted, steaming hot oysters and clams to the tables by the bushel-full (or maybe by the half-bushel-full… either way it was a lot of mollusks!)  We crowded around the tables with little containers of melted butter and cocktail sauce and ate oysters as fast as we could.  They were delicious!

31 Shucking Oysters

That’s Matt shucking an oyster in the photo above.  I was a little hesitant about using the oyster knife so Matt opened my oysters for me.  Luckily the clams were already steamed open so I could eat those while I waited.  🙂

After a late post-Oyster-Fest night at Kelly’s we woke up to another unseasonably warm day on Sunday.  Matt and I went on an easy 3 mile run around town before joining a few of our friends for breakfast and saying our goodbyes.  5 hours of driving later we returned home to our snow-covered yard and cold temperatures which was a bummer, but at least we got to enjoy two days of spring-like bliss in Virginia!

Cape Charles beach