Media 5 Miler – My biggest race yet!

On Friday night I ran the 34th annual Media 5 Mile Race in the borough of Media, a walkable (runnable!) little town located 12 miles west of Philadelphia.  Matt and I lived in Media for a few years before buying our house and although we cheered runners on in the past this was my first time actually running in Media’s biggest race of the year.

880 Media 5 Mile Race Start

The race was well organized with bib pick up on Wednesday, port-a-pottys available on random street corners around town, and polite, happy crowds.  The local police closed down the streets that the race course followed well in advance of the start time and the people living along the course set up chairs, signs, water stations and, in a few cases, sprinklers and hoses to prepare for the two 2.5 mile laps that the runners would make through their neighborhoods.

With 1,600 runners, the Media 5 Miler was my largest race to date.  (I know, still not that big compared to say, Broad Street’s 40,000 runners, but it was big for me!)  The sheer number of runners made the start a little difficult.  There were no corrals or pace groups, meaning that all of the runners were gathered in one huge crowd extending back from the starting line.  When the starter said “GO” it took several seconds for the crowd around me to even start moving.  Luckily the race was chipped so my official time didn’t begin until 29 seconds later when I actually crossed the starting line, but all of the runners around me basically shuffle-walked the first quarter mile or so before moving into a slow jog (with constant people-dodging) through the first several turns of the race.

The crowd of runners finally started to thin out when we hit the first big hill around the 1 mile mark.  Matt and I had jogged the course on Wednesday so I knew the hill was coming (and I knew that it kept going up around the next turn!) and I felt mentally ready for it.  I high-fived a runner wearing a giant pickle costume on the way up the hill before finally falling into what felt like a normal pace at the top of the hill.  At the end of the first lap we looped back around to State Street and I spotted Matt on the sidewalk taking photos.  Here I am smiling for the camera.

The second lap felt a lot harder.  Those hills that I had confidently powered up during lap 1 suddenly seemed like mountains and I trudged up them at a slow jog.  Luckily I felt a little better by the time I got to the top and before I knew it there was just a mile left to go.  I told my legs to go faster and somehow that worked (!) and I managed to make my 5th and final mile my fastest split of the race.  Woohoo!

My official chip finish time was 42:57, just 10 seconds off of my PR from March.  I would have really liked to beat my March time, but considering how I was stuck in major foot traffic during the first mile (something I definitely didn’t deal with in March) I think Friday’s race was a better overall performance.  I’m really excited about my last split… 7:54 on Friday vs. March’s 8:36 (!) and I know that I could have comfortably run a much faster first mile if I had had the room to do so.

So guess what this means?  That I’m signing up for another 5 mile race, of course!!  I’ll be running in the Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K on July 3rd, this time with a much smaller crowd and more 5 mile experience to fall back on.

Miles since last post:  101.5
Days since last post:  22
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.79
2014 TOTAL MILES: 822.8

Related Posts:
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

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Ridley Creek State Park

In honor of my 100th post (yes, it’s my 100th post!) I’m going to feature one of my very favorite hiking spots ever:  Ridley Creek State Park.  “Ridley Creek,” as we call it, is a 2,600 acre park located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, approximately 15 miles west of Philadelphia.  It also happens to be about 2 miles from our house which makes it a very convenient place to enjoy nature while getting some exercise!

Ridley Creek State Park Map (TheLittleGSP.com)

Matt and I both grew up in this area so we’ve been coming to Ridley Creek State Park with our families since long before we met one another in college.  Come to think of it, we both spent SO much time here as kids that it’s actually pretty likely that we unknowingly passed each other on the bike trail or splashed around in the creek together at some point in our childhoods.

Ridley Creek features miles of secluded hiking trails, multiple family-friendly picnic areas, and a 4.5 mile paved trail.  The paved trail is popular with walkers, runners, and bikers.  The trail has mile-markers every tenth of a mile and the scenery along the way includes thick woods, cornfields, deserted 19th century stone houses, and, of course, Ridley Creek itself.  Matt, Bailey, and I walk this trail fairly often.  Most recently we went on Day 14 of my mile-a-day “Streak” and the next day I was definitely feeling the combined effects of the hilly 4.5 mile walk and my morning mile!

In addition to the paved trail, Matt and I also enjoy hiking in the much more secluded northern section of the park.  This area is usually utilized by horseback riders but we started to frequent it after discovering an off-road hunter’s parking lot (1) near our house last February.  The 4.25 mile trail can be a bit difficult to follow if you don’t know where you’re going but I love how sections of it makes you feel like you’re 100 miles away from civilization or, better yet, like you’ve gone back in time.  In fact, if you follow the gas pipeline right-of-way up the (very steep) hill you’ll actually come across a forgotten cemetery that hails back to the 1800s.  Cool!

If you’re ever in Delaware County looking for a good place to take a hike I’d definitely recommend stopping by Ridley Creek State Park.  If you have been to Ridley Creek before please let me know what your favorite trail is in the comments section below!  🙂

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