Piper goes Viral after hiking Crum Woods

Holy Cow.  This photo of Piper has received over 23,000 views on Flickr since yesterday morning:

Piper's Famous Photo

I wonder… does having 23,000 views qualify as “going viral”?  It is certainly the most buzz any content that I’ve ever created has garnered in a short period of time!  To her credit, Piper is pretty freakin’ adorable in this photo so I don’t blame those 23,000 people for clicking on her photo.  😉  The full resolution image can be viewed here if you’re interested in seeing it in all its viral glory on Flickr.

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Anyway… I took The Photo while hiking with Pipe and Matt in Crum Woods.  This 220-acre woodland is situated on the western edge of Swarthmore College’s campus in Delaware County, PA.  It features 3.5 miles of hiking trails, fantastic views of Crum Creek, and a giant railroad bridge that carries Septa’s Media/Elwyn line over the creek.

To access the Crum Woods trail we parked on the western (opposite) side of Crum Creek at the Leiper-Smedley trail parking lot off of Avondale Road and walked down Avondale to Yale Ave.  The trails in this southern section of Crum Woods were dotted with tree roots and sloped steeply down to the creek, but the path evened out to a nice walking trail once we made it north of the trailhead by the Swarthmore College fieldhouse.

I love train tracks and bridges, so it’s no surprise that my favorite part of Crum Woods was where the Septa rail line crossed Crum Creek.  Just before reaching the bridge the trail emerged out of the woods into “Crum Meadow,” where Piper licked her first frozen puddle and we had great views of the trestles crossing the creek.  The view from under the bridge was even more impressive and I may have made Matt and Piper wait around for 5-10 minutes just in case a train came along while we were under it.  (Sadly, we did not see a train.)

Leiper-Smedley Trail

After reaching the northern terminus of Crum Woods, we decided to make the hike more interesting by looping back to our car via the paved Leiper-Smedley trail on the other side of the creek.  Unfortunately Crum Woods and Leiper-Smedley are not officially connected on the northern end, so in order to access L-S we had to jog a short stretch of Plush Mill Road and skirt along the shoulder until we reached the trailhead.  We were lucky that Piper was still small enough for Matt to easily carry her during this stretch… this impromptu trail connection would not have been ideal if we had had a larger dog or small children in tow.

Our return trip along the Leiper-Smedley Trail was uneventful and mostly downhill, woohoo!  I’ve run on this trail several times, most recently going UP the trail in the other direction at the Fueled Up and Fired Up 5K in September.  The trail is well marked and has a much less exciting train bridge on it than Crum Woods… but it’s a train bridge nonetheless, so of course I took a picture!!

I definitely enjoyed our Crum Woods hike because I had never been to Crum Woods before, but overall it was a bit of a choppy walk and there are probably better hiking loops in the area.  The southern portion of the trail was a little treacherous and the northern end didn’t technically connect to Leiper-Smedley, but with good hiking shoes and a quick jog up Plush Mill Road we made it work.  Plus, Piper thoroughly enjoyed herself and was very tired afterwards… Mission Accomplished!!!

Piper having fun on the hike

Useful Links:
Crum Woods Web Site
Official Crum Woods Trail Map & Brochure (PDF)
High-res version of Crum Woods Map with our 4 mile hike overlayed (JPG)

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Oy Vey 5K !

Matt and I ran our second 5K race in as many weekends this morning.  The race had a great name – the “Oy Vey 5K” – and, just like last weekend’s race, it took place in Wallingford, PA.  I had two goals going into this race:  #1 – run faster than last week’s 26:51 time and #2 – finish in under 26 minutes.  And guess what?? I did both!!  My official race time was 25:16 which is a huge PR for me – even better than my best time from high school.  On top of that I was the first female finisher of the race!

Annie - Oy Vey 5K

The Oy Vey 5K was hosted by Congregation Ohev Shalom.  We parked at the Synagogue, walked a short distance into nearby neighborhoods to the start line, and raced on a nice flat out-and-back course.  The race finished back at the synagogue where they had food, water, and raffle prizes for everyone.  All in all a great morning!

Matt was the 7th finisher overall with a time of 24:21 (faster than his time of 24:52 from last week).  I was 8th overall and only about a minute behind Matt the whole race which meant that I could see him most of the time.  Matt didn’t know how close I was until we go to the halfway/turn around point and then he realized that I was right there behind him and he cheered me on.  Woohoo!

Matt - Oy Vey 5K

I think there were a few things that helped me run faster today.  First, my time last week was much better then I expected so that gave me the confidence to set my sights on an even faster goal this week.  I went out aggressively in pursuit of my sub-26 goal (7:47 1st mile) so that put me on track for a good time even when I got tired towards the end.  Secondly, the course was really flat which was very nice after last weeks’ (seemingly) mountainous terrain.  🙂

I did have one technological glitch during the race.  My running playlist started off as usual with Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance but then, to my horror, I realized that my phone was set to repeat that same song over and over and over again… oh no!  I contemplated trying to fiddle with my iPhone while running (or maybe trying to talk to Siri and get her to fix it??!) but I eventually gave up and just listened to a LOT of Bad Romance.  I think I need to remove that song from my playlist for next week – I’m sick of it!

Here’s RunKeeper’s summary of today’s race.  As usual, the finish time and distance are a little off.  I guess I’d rather have my phone telling me that I still have another .2 to go and then actually be done rather than the other way around though, right?

Oy Vey 5K Runkeeper Stats

I almost forgot to mention… with 1.3 miles left to go in the race I hit 500 miles!!!!  I’ve been running since July 18th and I’ve had a blast.  Here’s to the next 500 miles!

Miles since last post:  28.7
Days since last post:  8
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 4.91
TOTAL MILES: 501.3

Related Posts:
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Limping my Way to 400 Miles (10/3/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  300 miles and a 5K in my future (9/9/13)
•  200 miles!  (8/26/13)
•  100 Miles in 21 Days! (8/7/13)
•  100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge: 49 Miles to Go! (7/29/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Another 5K in the Books!

Matt and I ran another 5K this morning and it was fun!!  I had two goals going into the race:  #1 – Don’t walk and #2 – Finish in under 30 minutes.  Not only did I run the whole thing, I finished in under 27 minutes!!  I’m still surprised!

Fueled Up 5K Annie

The “Fueled Up & Fired Up Pick 5 Challenge” race took place in Matt’s hometown of Wallingford, PA and was sponsored by Wilson Oil & Propane.  We started at the Wallingford train station and wound around neighborhoods for two miles before tackling the hilly Smedley-Leiper Trail that parallels the Blue Route (I-476).  Thankfully, the race finished with a nice downhill towards the Wilson Oil parking lot.

Matt was the 7th finisher overall with a time of 24:52 and I was the 4th female to cross the line with a 26:51.  We both ended up first in our 20-29 age group which was kind of cool.  Granted, there were only a few people in our age group and the entire 5K race only had 67 entries, but I was still pretty excited!

Fueled Up 5K Matt

I had a very different strategy for this race than I had for the Run-A-Muck 5K we ran last month.  I tackled the Run-A-Muck with no watch, no music, no iPhone… just me and nature.  Because of this, I went out way too fast in that race and then mentally gave up on the hills and walked (a lot).  I also took a big gulp of water at a water station during the Run-A-Muck which made me feel sick for the rest of the race.  I tried to apply what I learned last month in today’s race.  I used RunKeeper to track my pace, I had a nice, upbeat music playlist to listen to, and I didn’t stop for water.  I’ve also been practicing running up hills in my neighborhood which helped me mentally when I got to a long uphill near the end of today’s race.  All in all a big improvement!  🙂

Here’s RunKeeper’s summary of today’s race.  (The finish time is a bit off because I was late hitting the stop button.)  The hills in the Smedley-Leiper trail definitely hurt my pace in the 3rd mile but overall this was much faster than I was expecting.

Fueled Up 5K Stats from Runkeeper

Here’s my latest mile tally.  Many of these miles were done on the elliptical due to my sore foot but it seemed that cross-training worked because my foot feels a lot better now!

Miles since last post:  69.6
Days since last post:  17
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 5.03
TOTAL MILES: 472.6

Our next 5K is next Sunday and then we’re entered in another one the following Saturday.  Go big or go home, right?

Related Posts:
•  Limping my Way to 400 Miles (10/3/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  300 miles and a 5K in my future (9/9/13)
•  200 miles!  (8/26/13)
•  100 Miles in 21 Days! (8/7/13)
•  100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge: 49 Miles to Go! (7/29/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)