Color Out Cancer 5K

Today my brother and I ran the Color Out Cancer 5K in West Chester, PA.  There were lots of ups and downs, so I’ve decided to recap the race with a list of pros and cons.  First the biggest pro of the day – I got to run with my brother!

Annie and Billy CoC5K

Color Out Cancer 5K – The Cons:

The Course Marking – I had what felt like a fantastic start in today’s race but it was immediately foiled by a complete lack of directions on the course.  There was no course map and we had been assured at the start that there were people on the course with signs so we’d all know where to turn.  Unfortunately the organizers neglected to mark the very first turn which occurred about 200 meters into the race, so we all went straight, directly into a little neighborhood.  We got about a quarter mile in before the road dead-ended.  It was clear at that point that we were definitely off course so everyone stopped, turned around, and milled around for a bit before cutting through a random parking lot and eventually getting back on course.  Talk about a frustrating way to start a race!  (I remember wishing that they’d just bring us all back to the start line and restart the race!)

At another point in the race I was approaching an intersection and had lost sight of the person in front of me.  There was a volunteer (and yes, I realize that he was a volunteer, and for that I thank him) standing in the intersection with a giant neon posterboard sign FOLDED IN HALF IN HIS HAND (!!!), making it impossible to actually see the sign.  I had no idea where to go and finally had to yell “WHICH WAY??” before he pointed the direction.  Not ideal.

The Course in General – As I mentioned, there was no map so I had no idea where we were going.  All I knew was that it was two laps because that’s the only actual information they gave us at the start of the race.  I was fine with this; I figured I’d get the lay of the land during the first lap and then I’d know where I was in relation to the finish on the second.  But the problem is, that first lap seemed to take FOREVER.  By the time I passed the start line the race clock showed I had already been racing for 20:30!  I realized then that not only was the course terribly marked, apparently this was more like a 5 MILE race!  Again, no big deal, and I adjusted by settling down into a little bit of a slower, more comfortable “5 mile” pace.  Less than a mile into lap 2 I was shocked to turn a corner and see the finish line ahead… and that’s when I learned that the second lap was a much shorter loop than the first.  Which would have been good to know in advance.

My Music – When I start an activity on Runkeeper it usually auto-plays my 5K music.  The music didn’t start today.  I normally would have just ignored this, but when we all stopped after going off course I tried to fiddle with my phone to get the music going.  But my phone was utterly, inexplicably unresponsive.  I could open the music app but it wouldn’t let me hit play or even scroll through songs.  I got so desperate that I actually asked Siri to help me out (Yes, I was that weirdo commanding my headphones to “Play Safe and Sound!!“) but to no avail.  After the finish I eventually had to restart my phone in order to get the music to work.  Strange.

Not exactly a tech shirt...

Not exactly a tech shirt…

The Free Tech Shirt – Not a major con here compared to the other race issues, but the race registration clearly stated that participants would get a ‘sport teck’ shirt.  My brother was especially excited about this because it would be his second 5K shirt and his first tech race shirt.  The moment I looked in the race bag I knew that he was going to be disappointed.  The “tech shirt” was a (very) see-through white polyester shirt with pink writing on it.  Not likely to ever get worn in public.  Oh well.

Runkeeper CoC 5K

Color Out Cancer 5K – The Pros:

Despite the course issues and phone malfunction the race really wasn’t that bad.  Here are a few of the things that were great about today’s race!

Running with family! – My brother Billy ran the race with me and his girlfriend Suzanne braved the drizzly, windy weather to cheer us on.  Billy did great in the race, coming in 8th overall with a time of 25:35.  The best part of the morning happened after the race when the three of us went to the Market Street Grill for breakfast… I had an empanada omelet with chipotle sour cream and pepper jack cheese.  YUM!

At least it isn't pouring!

At least it wasn’t pouring!

My Pace (considering the course issues) – The race ended up being around 3.4 miles long.  I finished 18th overall in 28:13 which would have been roughly a 25:43 5K.  If you factor in the time spent turning around and being lost at the start and that’s actually not too shabby!

The Weather – Wait, didn’t I just say that Suzanne braved wind and rain to watch us run?  True, but I think that mid-40s and overcast is pretty great running weather.  I was a little cold at the start but warmed up quickly and then felt very comfortable in tights and a long sleeve shirt.  Also, it was down-pouring on my drive home so I am very thankful that we did not have to run through that!

My Foot didn’t hurt! – I haven’t mentioned it on the blog, but after my 10 mile run two weeks ago I woke up with intense pain on the outside/bottom of my right foot.  It was pretty much identical to the pain I felt when I had Peroneal Tendonitis in my left foot last fall, so I reacted immediately by icing my foot/ankle regularly, taking ibuprofen 3x a day for a week, wearing my compression socks whenever possible, and cutting out running completely in favor of logging miles on the elliptical machine in my garage.  Today was the first time I’ve run since my 10 mile run and my foot felt great!!!  That’s a huge relief.  I’m still being cautious though… when I got home I put on my compression socks, propped my foot up on the couch and iced it.  Hopefully it will still feel this good tomorrow!

I get to redeem myself on Thursday, IN LAS VEGAS!!! – Sure, today’s race wasn’t the greatest experience ever, but luckily I only have to wait another 4 days before I get a chance to run even faster!  Matt and I will be running in the Security 5K, a race that’s associated with the conference that we’ll be in town for.  I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures and dry weather!! 🙂

Miles since last post:  57.2
Days since last post:  14
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.88
2014 TOTAL MILES: 436.3

Related Posts:
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Mile (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)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  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)

 

Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler

Yesterday I ran the fourth and final race in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series.  Unlike the previous three 5K races, the Winter Series finale was a 5 mile course, making this my longest race ever!  My goals going in were to be relaxed, have a positive experience, and hopefully finish in under 45 minutes.  And guess what?  Mission accomplished!  I finished first in my age group with a 42:47!!!  Woohoo!

Annie after the AC 5 miler

My race day prep was a little different than usual for this 5 miler in that it involved Italian wedding soup and (a tiny bit of) champagne.  Yup, I was at a wedding until about an hour before the race started!  🙂  That made for a very fun morning and it helped to keep me really relaxed since my mind was focused on family and friends rather than on the impending longer-than-usual race distance.

At 37° and sunny the weather was pretty awesome compared to this winter’s typical sub-freezing temps.  I didn’t even need gloves!  The 5 mile course was hilly but overall I felt great.  I still have my Runkeeper app configured to only tell me my time, distance and pace when I hit 25 minutes, so I ran the first 3 miles not knowing how I was doing.  Then when the app finally started reporting my stats I realized that I was comfortably running much faster than I expected and that made the last 2 miles seem even easier to complete.

AC 5 mile Runkeeper

Matt was waiting on the street to cheer me on at about the 4.75 mile mark (right where I turned left from Warren Rd onto David Ln) and then he was able to take the short route to the finish in time to snap a photo of me pounding towards the finish line.  I was running so fast that my headphones fell out… might need to get some Yurbuds soon to remedy that!

Finishing the 5 mile

Finishing a 5 mile race in under 43:00 was a fantastic surprise and I can’t wait to see how easy a 5K is going to feel in comparison!!  Our next race will be the Pickle Run in Ridley Creek State Park on March 15th.  You may remember that we were supposed to do the Pickle Run in February, but unfortunately it got postponed due to damage from the ice storm so I still haven’t gotten the chance to race in our local park!  I am really, really looking forward to it!

Miles since last post:  140.8
Days since last post:  27
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.91
2014 TOTAL MILES: 307.7

Related Posts:
•  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)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  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)

Athlete’s Closet Run for Love 5K

Matt and I ran the third race in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series on Saturday.  Following the loss of our beautiful pup, Bailey, on Thursday night, we decided that we still wanted to race but we were also feeling completely emotionally and physically drained.  As a result, the race didn’t feel particularly good, but it was definitely good for us to get outside and run.

Post 5K in our GSP t-shirts cropped

My brother Billy (or “Bill” as he likes to be called now that he’s an adult!!) wasn’t planning on running with us but he decided last minute that he’d come and run with me for support.  We all wore our “The Little GSP” t-shirts in memory of Bailey and, true to his word, Billy kept pace with me throughout the entire race.  I told him at the start that he should tell me to go faster when I was plodding up the (many) hills on the course, so he did and I think it made me go a little faster.

Despite Billy’s best efforts, this was not a stellar race for Matt and me.  We both finished within seconds of each other in the 26:02-ish range which is 2+ minutes off of Matt’s target time and at least 45 seconds slower than I was aiming for.  At least I was able to finish strong AND I have photographic proof of it!  With a few hundred feet to go I started sprinting and my step-father captured this photo.  I think this may be the first photo of me in a 5K where I look like I’m actually running!  (Usually I’m mid-stride with a painful expression on my face!)

My sprint to the finish

Here are my RunKeeper stats for the race.  Again, nothing too impressive but, considering the circumstances, not terrible either.  The weather was beautiful (35° and sunny) and we had a great cheering section in the form of my brother’s girlfriend Suzanne, my mom, and my step-father.  It was really nice of them all to come out to support us… thanks guys!!!

February 5K Runkeeper Stats

Our next race will be the Pickle Run in Ridley Creek State Park on February 15th.  I’ve heard great things about the Pickle Run Series (they’re super fun AND they’re predictive, meaning that the winner is the one who most accurately predicts their time in advance!) and it should be really neat to finally run a race on our “home” course at the park.  I’m looking forward to it!

Miles since last post:  75.3
Days since last post:  15
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 166.9

Family at the 5K

Related Posts:
•  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)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  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)

Athlete’s Closet January 5K

Matt and I ran the second 5K in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series this morning.  This race was special for two reasons… we had our first-ever spectators/cheering squad (my mom and stepfather) AND both of our brothers ran the race with us!!!  Here we are at the finish… my brother Billy (#167), Matt’s brother Dylan (#145), me, and Matt.  Yay for family running together!

Athlete's Closet January 5K

Billy was the first finisher of our group (15th overall) with Dylan (17th), Matt (20th) and me (23rd) close behind.  Matt’s time was 25:45 and mine was 26:19… much slower than usual but we had a good excuse… the roads were partially covered in snow and it was really, really cold out.  It was a mere 1°F when we arrived at the event.  ONE DEGREE!!!  By the time the race actually started it had probably warmed up to around 10° but that’s still pretty chilly!

It was COLD!

I knew it was going to be cold so I tried to plan my clothing accordingly.  I was wearing SmartWool compression socks, Athleta’s Relay Tights, a thin Under Armour Twisted Tech T-shirt, Athleta’s Queen’s Luscious super-soft long-sleeve half zip, the Sugoi Firewall 180 Jacket, a head band, lightweight gloves, and a neck warmer from my mom that was made out of some sort of super-breathable tech material.  All of that layering paid off because I felt good at the start line and got just hot enough during the race to unzip my jacket and long-sleeved shirt and put my gloves in my pockets.  Oddly my toes went numb for the first mile or so but I’m not sure if that was from the cold or from my compression socks… I’ve never run in these socks before so I’ll have to do some investigating to figure out what was going on!

Cold Weather 5K Gear

Today’s 3.1 mile course took us on the same route as the Athlete’s Closet December 5K.  It was fairly hilly with a few big, slippery uphills towards the end of the race.  I tracked the run on my iPhone with Runkeeper as usual but unfortunately I couldn’t get the “start” button to work at the beginning of the race.  I ended up running the first several hundred yards looking at my armband trying in vain to push the stupid button with my “iPhone friendly” gloves (which, for the record, had been working fine up to that point!).  I finally got it to work about .1 into the race after taking one glove off and licking my finger before tapping the phone screen  Jeez!  Maybe it was too cold out?  All of this excitement resulted in my splits being a little messed up since I had to manually edit the course distance in Runkeeper afterwards.  Oh well!

Runkeeper Stats Athlete's Closet January 5K

Overall today was chilly and not quite as fast as I was hoping for, but it was really fun to have our brothers running with us and to have our very own spectators.  I figure if our family was able to survive today’s frigid temperatures they can survive anything!  Hopefully they will join us again for the next 5K of the Winter Series on February 1st!  🙂

Miles since last post:  16.3
Days since last post:  4
Avg. Daily Miles since July 18th: 4.84
2014 TOTAL MILES: 16.3

Athlete's Closet 5K

Related Posts:
•  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)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  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)

New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA

I ran my seventh and final 5K of 2013 this morning and I set a new personal best!!!  I finished in 25 minutes, 13 seconds which is 3 seconds better than my previous best time from the Oy Vey 5K back in October, woohoo!  This course was hillier than Oy Vey (and at 29°F it was a little chillier out!!) so overall I am thrilled to end my year on this note.  Yippee!!!

Selfie after the NYE 5K

A very happy post-race selfie in the car. Notice Bailey in the back?

Matt couldn’t make it to this race because he had to finish his year-end inventory count at the office.  (The realities of managing a manufacturing business!)  This means that this was my first solo race.  I wasn’t completely alone however because Bailey came along for the ride!  She loves the car and she waited patiently under a comforter on her big fleecy car bed while I ran.  What a good pup!

Bailey waiting in the car

My four-legged 5K companion waiting patiently in the car.

Getting back to the race…  This was the 30th Annual New Year’s Eve 5K sponsored by the YMCA of the Upper Main Line in Berwyn, PA.  The course was a neighborhood out-and-back and I think it was the first race that I’ve run where the beginning half of the course has a lot of uphill climbs (which leaves more downhill for the second half!!).  I really liked that and as I was running the first part of the race I kept thinking about how I was going to take advantage of those downhills on my way back.

I pushed myself through the whole race and when I rounded the final turn and saw the clock at 24:51 I started sprinting (well, it was probably more of a powerful jog at that point but I felt like I was sprinting!) and I cruised across the finish with 3 seconds to spare.  I think I was 2nd in my age group, 5th female overall, and 30th runner overall in a field of around 100.  Cool!

NYE 5K Runkeeper Stats

My next race is the Athlete’s Closet January 5K this Saturday.  Rumor has it that Matt, Matt’s brother, AND my brother are all running in it too!  I think that will be fun to see familiar faces out on the course and I’m looking forward to it!  Happy New Year everyone!!!

Miles since last post:  95.2
Days since last post:  17
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 4.86
TOTAL MILES: 812.0

Related Posts:
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Limping my Way to 400 Miles (10/3/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Athlete’s Closet December 5K

Guess what?  It’s snowing out again!  I’ll be headed to the kitchen to make another warm and hearty stew in a few minutes, but first I want to recap the 5K that I ran this morning.  It was the first in a series of four winter races sponsored by the Athlete’s Closet, a local running store in West Chester, PA.  I finished in 25:27 (approximately… official results aren’t posted yet) and I somehow managed to place first in my age group!

Athlete's Closet 5K

Matt sat this race out because he’s been having some serious back pain.  I missed him on the course but I still got to see him at the start and finish cheering me on which was nice.

I tried something new with RunKeeper today.  Usually I have the app report my time, pace, distance, etc. every 5 minutes and every .5 miles.  I realize that’s a ton of stat reporting but it gives me something to think about during the race.  This race, however, I decided to do away with all of the stats.  I set RunKeeper to only tell me my stats when the race time hit 25 minutes.  In other words, I hoped that I would finish the race before hearing any stats!  As it turned out, the finish line was within sight and I was already running as fast as I could when my phone started talking to me, so I was pretty close to my goal.  After I crossed the finish line I looked at my splits and realized that this is the first time that I’ve ever managed to run my 3rd mile faster than my 2nd… woohoo!!

Athlete's Closet Dec. 5K Runkeeper Stats

When the race was over all of the runners gathered at the Athlete’s Closet for cookies, water, and a quick awards ceremony.  The results weren’t posted so I didn’t even know my official time, much less how I had finished relative to other 20-29 year old females.  As a result I was shocked when they called my name for top in my age group.  I got this shiny medal with the event name engraved on the back… cool!!

I got a medal!

Our next race is the Athlete’s Closet New Year’s 5K on January 4th.  I don’t know if it will be the exact same course, but based on today’s terrain I should probably do some serious hill training between now and then!  🙂

Miles since last post:  75.6
Days since last post:  16
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 4.778
TOTAL MILES: 716.8

Related Posts:
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Limping my Way to 400 Miles (10/3/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Turkey Trot 5K

Happy Thanksgiving!  Matt and I kicked off our holiday weekend at 8:45am with the Seven Summits 5K Turkey Trot in Chesterbrook, PA.  Well actually we didn’t end up kicking anything off at 8:45 because the race started extremely late…  What I really should say is that we stood around with 595 other runners for 30 minutes in the windy 29°F weather before kicking our weekend off at 9:15!  🙂  The cold wait obviously didn’t slow Matt down… he was one of the top 100 finishers and his 23:53 finishing time was a 28 second personal best!

Matt after the Turkey Trot

My race wasn’t too shabby, either.  I finished in 25:23 which was good enough for 56th female (out of 317).  Overall, I’m happy with that because of the wind and frigid temps, but I have to admit that my goal going into the race was to run sub-25 so I’m a tiny bit sad that I didn’t do that.  Not too sad though, because I still came within a mere 7 seconds of my personal best!  Plus, now I feel that much more determined to run even faster in our next 5K on December 15th!!

Annie after the Turkey Trot

Here are my RunKeeper stats for the race.  Probably my most even-paced race so far… I was attempting to go out nice and steady and maintain an 8:00-ish pace for the entire race (which would have given me my desired sub-25 time) but I couldn’t quite keep that pace up.  In my next race I think I’ll go back to the strategy of going out more aggressively in the first mile and finishing with whatever I have left.

RunKeeper Stats Turkey Trot

As I mentioned before there were several hundred people in the race so after we finished we didn’t stick around.  Instead we hopped in the car, cranked up the heat, and went out for bagels and coffee.  Oh, but we were well disciplined and did run a little cool down in the bagel shop’s parking lot before going in to eat.  I’m sure the people in the shop thought we were nuts!  Here I am on the drive home with my coffee.  I was very happy to be done running and ready to start the Thanksgiving festivities!

On the drive home

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Miles since last post:  27.2
Days since last post:  7
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 4.79
TOTAL MILES: 641.2

Related Posts:
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Limping my Way to 400 Miles (10/3/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)