Reindeer Romp 5K

Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over I’m catching up on some posts from last year… here’s the recap of my 27th and final race of 2015!

Three weeks ago I ran the Reindeer Romp 5K in Havertown, PA. At the time what was most memorable about this race was the weather… it was 70 degrees, in Pennsylvania, in DECEMBER!!! (By comparison, it was 30 degrees when I raced this same weekend last year.)

The hot and humid weather was shocking at the time, but since then we’ve had multiple days in the mid-60s so now it seems less bizarre. The weather topped out at 71 degrees on Christmas eve!! Although I definitely prefer running in cold temps I have to admit that these warm days have been a nice way to ease into winter. 😄

Running in Philadelphia (in a tank top!) on Christmas Day

Running in Philadelphia (in a tank top!) on Christmas Day

So back to the race… this was my first time doing the Reindeer Romp. It was very well attended with over 500 runners, several vendors, AND a visit from Santa in the middle of the course!! Prior to this race I had PR’d three races in a row (5K2 mile, and 5 mile!), so I didn’t feel a burning need to vie for a new personal best at the Reindeer Romp. I figured I’d go out quick just in case I had another PR in me, but if a sub 23:17 seemed out of reach I’d just settle in and enjoy myself.

Reindeer Romp 5K Stats_

Thanks to a slight downhill during much of the first mile, split 1 was a speedy and comfortable 7:21, right on par with my 5K PR performance from Thanksgiving. But then mile 2 began with a long uphill climb. This hill combined with my fast first mile and the unusual heat and humidity definitely got to me and I struggled through the second mile with a split of 7:46. The only redeeming part of this mile was when a fire truck drove by and I belatedly realized that Santa Claus was on it, merrily cheering us on. Thanks for the encouragement, Santa!! 😄

I knew after seeing my second mile split that I wasn’t going to PR, so I just hung in there for mile 3, trying to keep my pace under 8:00. I just barely met that goal with a 7:57 and before I knew it was crossing the finish line with an official chip time of 23:49.

23:49. Not my best race of the year, but a very solid time, especially considering the weather and the fact that I had run two fast races the weekend before. I was feeling a little indifferent about my race performance until the race director announced the age group awards and I found out that I came in 3rd in my age group! That was a total surprise and cheered me right up, especially when they handed me a big glass mug with the race logo on it. What a great prize!!

Reindeer Romp Mug

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I ran 27 races in 2015: one 1 miler, one 2 miler, nineteen 5Ks, two 5 milers, three 10Ks, and one 10 miler. Overall the Reindeer Romp was a fun way to end my year of racing, but for my race schedule the timing of this race will always put it the weekend after my big double race weekend of the season. Therefore I think if I run the Romp next year it will again be as more of a fun, end-of-season event rather than a major goal race. There’s nothing wrong with that though, especially when a mid-course wave from Santa and a giant beer mug are involved!

Miles since last post: 120.7
Days since last post: 27
2015 TOTAL MILES: 1718
2016 MILES: 9.8

Past Races:
• December ’15: Jingle Elf Run (12/3) [2M PR], Brian’s Run (12/5) [5M PR]
• 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)

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PR ALERT!!! Haverford Twilight Run Recap

I ran a 5K PR last night at the Haverford Twilight Run and I am one happy runner!!!  My previous PR of 23:32 was set on November 1, 2014.  That was TWELVE 5Ks ago. (Plus two 10Ks, one 5 miler, one 2 miler and one trail race… I like racing, what can I say?).  In four of those 5Ks I crossed the line within 9 seconds of my PR time, but the elusive new record remained just out of reach until last night’s race.

I did not go into the Twilight Run thinking that I was in a position to PR.  After last weekend’s problematic 5K (terrible first mile pacing leading to my slowest 5K in months) the Twilight Run was my last chance to try to get my pacing under control before next weekend’s 10 mile Broad Street Run.  I signed up for the race on Wednesday with this sole purpose in mind and set two very firm goals for myself:  Run the first mile in 7:36 or slower and run one of the remaining two miles faster than the first mile.

Saturday’s weather was perfect: 57° and sunny.  The evening’s festivities kicked off at 5PM sharp with a kid’s mile challenge and I felt relaxed and happy as I watched all of the kids finish their race with huge smiles on their faces.  Then it was time for the 5K to start.  There were around 180 runners and I purposefully picked a starting position much farther back in the pack than I normally would, hoping that this would keep me from getting caught up in the excitement of the first mile.

Start of the Haverford Twilight 5K

Usually when the gun goes off I blast through the start, then spend the next few hundred yards dodging and weaving and generally running way too fast.  But not last night.  Nope, the gun went off, the crowd around me slowly moved into a jog, and I started my watch when we eventually meandered across the start line.  I fell into stride behind a group of runners and resisted the urge to zip around them.  I saw Matt about a quarter mile in and was feeling so relaxed that I goofed off for the camera (from too far away for the iPhone photo to turn out, unfortunately) before taking a leisurely right turn onto Darby Road.

The course was basically a big loop with two turnaround points.  I kept my pace very controlled through the first turnaround (about .65 miles in) and then sped up slightly as I doubled back towards the starting point where Matt was cheering.  Just as I passed Matt my watch beeped the first mile… 7:32.  A tiny bit faster than I was hoping for but overall much better than last week’s wild 7:16 split!

Checking the first mile split.

Checking the first mile split.

I cruised along during the second mile, focusing on my running form and cadence and clapping for the leaders as they passed on their way back to the finish.  I didn’t look at my watch until just after the second turnaround when it beeped again… 7:23.  WHAT?!??!  I was shocked.  That is the fastest second mile I have ever run.  WOW!  I realized at that point that I was absolutely on track for a PR.  All I had to do was keep up a reasonable pace for the third and final mile.

The third mile was hard work.  I really pushed myself and looked at my watch a lot to check my average pace for that mile (a feature that I love on my Garmin!)  I kept an eye on the road ahead, hoping to see the library on the corner which marked where I would get to turn towards the finish.  I knew if I could just get to the final quarter mile straightaway I would be able to hang on.

Mile 3 beeped by in 7:38 (I did it!!) but by then I was running too hard to really process the split.  I could barely see the finish line clock, then realized that it was quickly ticking away through the 23-teens.  I ran harder and watched the 20s go by and then blasted across the line just as the clock struck 23:32 (my old PR), making sure to hit my watch as I crossed.

My official finish time?  23:25!!!  Yep, my super slow start not only helped me run a faster second mile, it also gave me 7 extra seconds of clock time to work with!  Double win!!

Haverford Twilight 5K Stats

My new PR time was good enough for 39th overall, 10th woman (with 5 of the females ahead of me being teenagers!), and 2nd in my age group.  Woohoo!  I ate a celebratory banana and ran a cool down, then Matt took me out to Iron Hill Brewery (my favorite) for a PR dinner. 😄

After the Haverford Twilight 5K

At the Twilight Run I learned that it is possible to start a race “slow” and still have energy to speed up later in the race.  I also learned that it’s much more pleasant to run a faster second mile and pass people than it is to slow down in the second mile and feel like you are losing ground.  After last night’s PR success I am looking forward to putting these lessons to use on Broad Street next Sunday.  One week to go!

Miles since last post: 8.5
Days since last post: 2
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 555.1

 Past Races:

•  April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11), Empower the Children 5K (4/18)
•  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)

Empower the Children 5K

Last Saturday Matt and I ran the Empower the Children 5K.  This low key 5K looped through the neighborhood of Westgate Hills in Havertown, PA and benefitted a local nonprofit, Child Guidance Resource Centers.

Annie and Matt after the Child Guidance 5K

I’ve been slow in writing this recap because this was ultimately not a stellar race for me.  Don’t get me wrong — the race atmosphere, friends, gorgeous weather, and post-race food (cupcakes!!) were awesome, but I did not perform especially well.  I finished in 24:36 – my slowest road 5K since August – and felt sluggish and hot through much of the race.

Luckily there’s no mystery as to why I ran so slow and felt so terrible.  I am quite sure that it’s due to the fact that I ran the first mile like an insane person, going through the split in 7:16.  WAY too fast!!  I was attempting to run by feel and was purposefully not looking at my watch, but apparently this is not a good race strategy for me.  (But, much better to find that out in a 3 mile race rather than during next week’s 10 mile Broad Street Run, right?) 😉

This elevation chart does not do the hills on this course justice!  :-)

As the second mile began I was blissfully unaware of my pacing snafu and continued to move around the course as fast as I could.  At the 1.3 mile mark the course turned up a steep hill and a woman wearing orange passed me like I was standing still.  I had been the first place woman until that point and as I watched her striding effortlessly up the hill I resigned myself to the fact that this was not my day.  (Another 5K error – negative thinking!)

The race continued around a second loop of the same course and I kept orange woman in sight.  Then a woman in black also passed me and I struggled to stay with both ladies as the big hill came into sight again with a quarter mile to go.  Both women powered up the hill ahead of me looking strong and I trailed behind, trying to keep it together for one more minute of racing.

On the final straightaway with the finish line in sight I watched as the woman in black passed the woman in orange and then… I couldn’t believe my eyes… Orange started WALKING!!!  What???  Before that moment I was positive that I would be the third place female but with renewed energy I decided that I was going to give this finish everything I had in an attempt to catch up with Orange before the line.  In the words of one of our spectating friends, I went into total beastmode and sprinted towards the finish, passing Orange and nabbing the second place spot.  Whew!

Child Guidance 5K Photos

Photo Credit: CGRC

After a moment of trying to catch my breath I turned around just in time to see Matt finishing strong. This was his first race since Run A Muck in September and he handled the hilly course well, ending up 8th overall and first in his age group with a time of 25:45.

This race was a good wake up call for me.  Running the first mile 20 seconds faster than my goal pace was painful in this 5K, but it would be so much worse if I were to make this same mistake in the 10 mile Broad Street Run next week.  I already know that I should not start out too fast in theory, but having Saturday’s experience of feeling terrible in miles 2 and 3 after a crazy start was an excellent reminder that I hope will stay with me until race day on May 3rd!

Miles since last post: 60.3
Days since last post: 12
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 546.6

 

Past Races:
•  April ’15:
Tyler Trail 10K (4/11)
•  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)