It’s definitely time to blog: I now have FOUR PRs to recap!

I’ve been terrible about recapping races lately, but after today’s awesome 5K I have FOUR new personal bests to share. So without further ado, here they are!

Haverford Twilight 5K

April 22, 2017 | Haverford, PA | 41st overall, 8th F, 3rd AG (results)

This was my third year running this race and I really wanted it to be my best yet. Last year I tied my PR (23:17) on this course by running the first 2 miles really fast and dying in mile 3. I did not want to repeat that mistake this year, but somehow I still managed to start the race much faster than I planned. In fact, I was within seconds of duplicating my too-fast times from 2016. Whoops! Fortunately for me, I was much stronger this year and was able to run a 7:30 third mile (compared to 8:00 the previous year!!) which made all the difference. I crossed the finish line in 22:54, thrilled with my new sub-23 personal best.

(Technically I had run faster than 22:54 twice before, but both previous efforts were “asterisk” PRs. One was a point-to-point downhill course (22:38) and the other was majorly Piper-assisted (22:43). Therefore, I happily accepted this Haverford Twilight time as my “official” 5K PR.)

The Broad Street Run 

May 7, 2017 | Philadelphia, PA | 6838th overall (oh yeah!), 1627th F, 348th AG (results)

The mother of all Philly races. Two weeks after the Twilight 5K I joined 40,000 runners (see, that 6838th place looks better now) in a 10 mile run down Broad Street. I ran this race in 2015 and this time around my primary goal was to beat my previous PR of 1:23:54. My secondary goal was to go sub-1:20, but that ended up being a little too aggressive for the day. I started off on pace for a fast time, but at around mile 7 hit a wall and had to work reallllly hard to earn my new PR. I finished about 2 1/2 minutes faster than my 2015 time with a time of 1:21:28. Hurrah!

FranksWine Downhill Mile Road Race

August 24, 2017 | Wilmington, DE | 46th overall, 9th F, 3rd AG (results)

Usually I don’t race in August, but when I realized that the weather was going to be unseasonably cool and discovered that this race ended a block from my brother- and sister-in-laws’ place in Trolley Square, I figured it was meant to be. Matt and I parked at the finish line, jogged to the start, then proceeded to race the fastest mile of our lives. I felt completely in control the entire race, and happily watched my quarter mile splits tick by evenly. I sprinted at the finish and earned a new PR of 6:20, 26 seconds faster than my previous best at the Media Mile in 2016.

Pints in the Square 5K

September 9, 2017 | Newtown Square, PA | 17th overall, 2nd F!! (results)

This was today’s race and the PR that finally got me to write this recap. Continue reading

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Piper’s PR at the St. Agnes 5K

Today Piper earned herself a new 5K record of 22:43! That time came within 5 seconds of my own personal best, which I set on a PR-friendly, point-to-point net downhill course in December. With that in mind, I’m going to consider today’s finish at the St. Agnes 5K my own new “loop course” personal best as well, albeit with an asterisk next to it for *Piper-assisted.  😄

post-race-selfie

As the asterisk indicates, I do know that at least some of our speedy time can be attributed to the fact that Piper sets a grueling pace and pulls me forward just a little bit throughout the entire race. (Except when we passed a cat in the first mile, then she pulled left!) Piper is a very serious running buddy who never lunges at other dogs, never veers off course, and never, ever stops to sniff or pee during a run. Once we’re moving Piper rarely breaks out of her rapid-fire trot stride; all she wants to do is go, go, GO!!

annie-piper-st-agnes

Here we are near the halfway point. Piper’s tongue is making a rare appearance. (Photo credit: St. Agnes 5K)

So about the race… Continue reading

A New PR at the Delaware Downhill 5K!

This race almost didn’t happen. And no, it wasn’t because our area was hit with an ice storm the morning the race was originally scheduled for. That was easy to predict and the race organizers gave everyone plenty of notice when they (wisely) decided to postpone the race by a day. No, the reason I almost did not start today’s Inaugural Delaware Downhill 5K was that my CAR decided that it did not want to start!!

Saturday's weather

I think the race organizers made the right call by not holding the race Saturday.

As usual, I had my pre-race morning planned down to the minute. I woke up at 5:45, let Piper out, had a light breakfast of coffee, cereal, and a clementine, let Piper in, wiped the mud off Piper’s feet and belly for 3+ minutes (that I had not planned for, ha!), then foam rolled, stretched and read for a while before waking Matt up. The race started at 9:45 so I figured leaving the house at 8:25 sharp would give me plenty of time to get there and get warmed up. Until we went out to our (only) car, turned the key in the ignition, and the engine wouldn’t start!! Continue reading

My 5,280 Foot PR

The last time I raced a mile was on August 13, 2015 when I ran just over 4 laps (1,609 meters) around the Henderson High School track. I trained hard for the inaugural Boxcar Mile and finished with an official time of 6:56. I came away from that race happy with my performance but feeling that I definitely had the potential to run faster.

My second chance to race a mile came last Saturday when I participated in the 2nd annual Media Mile hosted by 5280 Race Series. Unlike the Boxcar event, this was a road race with a gentle decline in the first half followed by a slight uphill towards the finish. The gradual climb would make this race more challenging than running on a track, but I figured that the road course would be mentally easier since I wouldn’t be running the same loop four times.

I woke up early Saturday morning, posted a quick blog recap of my last 5K, and then set off through the pouring rain to Media. I warmed up through the waterlogged town with my raincoat zipped all the way up and my hood on, side-stepping around puddles on the uneven brick sidewalks. I told myself that despite the rain the weather really wasn’t that bad. Compared to the 71° summer heat at the Boxcar Mile I’ll take 52 and rainy any day!

So much rain.

So much rain. I texted this to Matt, who was still asleep at the time. He’s glad he didn’t come to spectate!

I shed my raincoat at 8:57am and lined up on Front Street by the county courthouse. In a moment of panic I realized that I hadn’t updated my Garmin to auto-split at the half mile, so I spent the final seconds fiddling with my watch, finishing just in time to hear Ready, Set, GO!!!

The downhill in the first quarter mile made it hard to hold back, but I knew that the finish would be ugly if I got carried away sprinting too fast. I consciously decided to let some people pass me and fell into a comfortably fast rhythm as the mid-way point approached.  A man was standing at the half calling out splits… I hadn’t needed to set my watch after all! I blew through the half in 3:15. Possibly my fastest 800 meters ever and technically on pace for a 6:30 finish, but the uphill was coming!

Media Mile Stats

The hill that I had spent so much time mentally preparing for seemed like it was over before I had time to think about it. I guess that’s how things go in a 1 mile race? Looking at the elevation chart, there was still a slight incline all the way to the finish, but with 600m to go I knew the worst was over.

I powered up State Street feeling strangely in control. I fell into stride behind a girl in neon green and imagined that we were in a track workout together and my job was to stay right on her heels. With a few blocks to go I realized that I could actually PASS her, so I did! I veered around her and then, sure that she would respond to my challenge, picked up my pace and never looked back.

I made the final turn into Veteran’s Square at what felt like a sprint. I was greeted by another short uphill but by that point I didn’t care: the finish clock was in sight! It was ticking away in the high 6:30s and I KNEW I was going to PR. I ran hard and crossed the line with a chip time of 6:46. A 10 second PR!!!!

Finishing the Media Mile

I just missed an age group award but that’s OK because I ran my fastest mile ever!!! My first half was significantly faster than the second, but I think that was the right strategy given the terrain. I will definitely plan to race the Media Mile again in the future, hopefully minus the rain! 😄

My next race is tonight when I’ll be running the Rocky Run Trail 5K for the third year in a row. Then I’ll finish off the weekend at Okehocking Preserve with another 5K trail race. I’m going to be one tired runner by Sunday afternoon. Wish me luck!

A wet post-race selfie

Miles since last post: 28.9
Days since last post: 6
2016 MILES: 649.5

Past Races:
• April ’16:
Evolve IP 5K (4/2), Empower the Children 5K (4/17), Haverford Twilight Run (4/23) [5K PR Tie]
• March ’16:
 St. Agnes 5K (3/5), 3-2-1 Loop 10K (3/12) [10K PR], Pickle Run (3/19)
• February ’16:
Pickle with Piper (2/20)
• January ’16:
Pickle Trail Run (1/30)
• December ’15: Jingle Elf Run (12/3) [2M PR], Brian’s Run (12/5) [5M PR], Reindeer Romp 5K (12/13)
• 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)

That time I TIED my 5K PR!

Or, how NOT to pace a 5K.

On Saturday, April 23rd I ran the Haverford Twilight 5K for the second year in a row. Last year I PR’d at this race and this year I felt that I was absolutely in position to run another personal best. I was so sure that I could beat my previous time of 23:17 that I cockily told Matt as I left for the race that I’d text him my new PR as soon as the run was over.

To earn a new PR I knew that I’d need to keep my first mile under control and run consistent splits. If my goal was to run, say, 23:10, my ideal splits would be something like 7:28, 7:32, 7:31, with a final 0.1 mile kick at around 6:30 pace.

Fast Times Split Table

As the table above illustrates, I’ve been running relatively fast times this spring and my pacing has been getting more consistent. With this in mind I believed that hovering right around that 7:30 mark during the bulk of the 3.1 mile race seemed like a reasonable and attainable goal.

So how did the race actually go? Not QUITE as planned.

I started the 5K several rows back to ensure that I wouldn’t get caught up in the initial mad rush of kids and sprinters who tend to stop or drastically slow down after the first quarter mile. I would describe my pace as “strong.” Not comfortable, but not pushing too hard either. Then I glanced down at my watch and realized I was averaging 6:50 pace for the first .3 miles. Whoops!

I slowed down and fell in behind a man wearing a bright blue shirt that said something about a running coach. I didn’t know if he was the coach or the coached, but either way I figured he could probably run a more consistent pace that I could so I resisted the urge to zoom past him and instead tucked in right behind him as we came off the first turnaround.

Before I knew it, mile 1 was over in 7:13.

I knew that I was way off pace, but oddly I still felt fantastic. Strong, happy, and matching my blue-shirted running coach stride for stride. We powered into mile 2 and zipped southeast down Darby Road at a nice clip.

I glanced at my watch again… I was still averaging a 7:13 pace halfway through the second mile. Whoa. Thoughts started swirling around in my head as I edged past the coach:

Could I somehow have underestimated my PR potential by this much?
Should I back off of this crazy a$$ pace right now??
Am I going to go sub-23??!!

How painful is mile 3 going to be?

Mile 2 ticked by in another, perfectly even 7:13. Unbelievable!!

But then the headwind kicked in. Oh yeah, did I mention that there was a 14mph wind coming out of the NNW? And guess which way I was headed for the third and final mile? Not good. The tailwind that had pushed me southeast for my fastest 2nd mile ever was now mercilessly slamming me in the face. My wildly off-pace 7:13 miles caught up with me and I struggled along, praying for the moment that I’d get to turn right on Mill Road, out of the wind and towards the finish.

At last the end was in sight. Mile 3 blipped by in a disappointing 8:00 split but I ignored my watch and pushed with everything I had towards the finish.  I crossed the line with a chip time of 23:17… exactly tying my PR.

Haverford Twilight 5K Stats

I know without a doubt that I messed up in those first two miles. But at the time they just felt so easy, so strong… so RIGHT! Some delusional part of my oxygen-deprived brain was telling me “Go for it!!” and I didn’t want to miss out on the chance to PR big because I was too conservative at the start.

That’s my problem right there. I always feel the urge to bank time and therefore go out too fast. How do I fix this? Do I have to run a terribly uneven 5K every once in a while to remind myself of how not to pace a race? At least during the Haverford Twilight Run I was able to TIE my PR (yay!) but I still believe that I should have been able to beat that time and set a new PR with a better executed race.

Going out too fast in my first mile shouldn’t be too much of a problem in my next race because it’s just a single mile! At 9AM today I’ll be dashing through the streets of Media, PA for a 1 mile race hosted by the 5280 race series. The only mile I’ve ever raced was on a track last August so I’m very excited to see how this morning’s road race will unfold!

Miles since last post: 0
Days since last post: 0
2016 MILES: 620.6

Past Races:
• April ’16: Evolve IP 5K (4/2), Empower the Children 5K (4/17)
• March ’16:
 St. Agnes 5K (3/5), 3-2-1 Loop 10K (3/12) [10K PR], Pickle Run (3/19)
• February ’16:
Pickle with Piper (2/20)
• January ’16:
Pickle Trail Run (1/30)
• December ’15: Jingle Elf Run (12/3) [2M PR], Brian’s Run (12/5) [5M PR], Reindeer Romp 5K (12/13)
• 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)

A 10K PR at the 3-2-1 Loop Race!

6 laps, 1.03 miles each. That pretty much sums up last Saturday’s 3-2-1 Loop Race. Well, that and the fact that I ran a huge PR!! The concept of the Loop Race was simple: runners could either compete as part of a 3-person relay (running 3, 2, and 1 laps) OR as individuals in the 5K (3 laps) or 10K (6 laps). I signed up for the 10K option two days before the race and I sure am glad that I did!!

runtheloop copy

6 laps, 1.03 miles each. For many runners, that actually sounds unbearably boring. The repetitive nature of this course was certainly daunting, but it allowed me to treat this 10K like a drill. I wanted to run a more consistent, even pace (my splits are usually all over the place) and also planned to be very strict with myself about not going out too fast in the first mile (an all-to-common occurrence for me in shorter races). I reminded myself of my mantra from last year’s Broad Street 10 Miler: You can’t win a race in the first mile, but you can definitely blow it by going out way too fast!!

Me, my shadow, and my shiny new 10K PR!!!

This recap is long so allow me to spoil the ending… I didn’t go out too fast and I totally PR’d!!!!! Also, my bright orange shirt makes my arm look radioactive.

At 9AM sharp I crossed the start line with a mixed field of relay runners, 5K-ers and 10K-ers. My goal for the first mile was a very conservative 7:58. (By comparison, in the previous week’s 5K I went out in 7:24!) I felt like I positively crawled through this lap and I had to check my watch multiple times to remind myself to slow down. Finally with the start line in sight my watch beeped 7:45 — not too far off my goal — and I continued into Loop #2.

Each 1.03 mile loop made a circuit around Downingtown West High School and Middle School. The middle school sits about 24 feet higher than the high school, so during the first half of each loop we’d gradually climb a slight incline, and then we’d get to descend back down to complete the lap. I liked that the downhill was in the latter part of the lap since it helped me get some momentum going into each mile split. Before I knew it my second mile was over in 7:37.

My third mile felt routine. Sure, I was running hard, but I was also making sure I didn’t push too much since I still had three more 1.03 mile loops to go. When my watch beeped a 7:39 split I didn’t think much of it, but then I turned the corner towards the start/finish line and saw the race clock. For 5K runners this was the finish line and I breezed through in 23:21…  just FOUR SECONDS off my 5K PR!

Prior to this race I had only ever completed one road 10K: the hilly Double OyVey 10K last October. I believed that I was capable of bettering my OyVey time of 49:50 but the question was, by how much? After seeing my 5K split I realized that I definitely had the 10K PR locked up… at that point even a 26 minute 5K would get me across the finish in under 49:50! Now it was up to me to maintain my speed through three more laps.

During laps 4 and 5 I felt like I was stuck in an uncomfortable, never-ending holding pattern. I knew I was on track for an awesome finish, but it wasn’t time to get excited yet. I just had to hang on and let my legs do their job through these miles. Hang on I did, with two more sub-8 splits. During these laps I set a new unofficial 4 mile PR (30:42) and came within 2 seconds of my 5 mile PR from last December. I was on fire!!!

At long last the 6th lap began. I had been passing the same spectators for the last 38 minutes and was very thankful that this would be my final time seeing them. Amusingly, most spectators had obviously become confused by the crazy relay/5K/10K mixture that was going on and had resorted to helpfully yelling “You’re almost there!!!” every. single. time I looped by. Now that was finally true!!!

In the midst of the race I hadn’t figured out what time I was going to finish in. All I knew is that I was definitely going to PR and hopefully could finish in under 48 minutes. As I turned the last corner for the sixth and final time the clock came into view… it was ticking away in the 46:40s!! I ran as hard as I could crossed the line at 46:58, nearly 3 minutes faster than my previous 10K best!!!

3-2-1 Loop 10K Stats_

If I learned one thing from this 10K, it’s that I absolutely MUST start races slower. It seems counter intuitive, but I know I can achieve faster overall times if I begin with a more conservative first mile. Heck, apparently I can run back-to-back 5Ks in 23:21 and 23:37…. BOTH faster than the previous week’s actual 5K race. Crazy!

The second takeaway is that the core strengthening that I’ve been doing as part of my new year’s resolution is definitely helping. I did not do any speed work leading up to this race, but still somehow managed to come extremely close to breaking my 5K and 5 mile PRs… both of which were set during my end-of-season peak last fall. I’m excited to see how fast I can run when I actually start “training” on the track! My first workout of the season was last Tuesday so time will tell.

This post has gotten way too long so I’ll end with this:

6 laps, 1.03 miles each… a huge new PR and a fantastic way to kick off the spring season!

Miles since last post: 19.4
Days since last post: 4
2016 MILES: 375.8

Past Races:
• March ’16: St. Agnes 5K (3/5)
• February ’16:
Pickle with Piper (2/20)
• January ’16:
Pickle Trail Run (1/30)
• December ’15: Jingle Elf Run (12/3) [2M PR], Brian’s Run (12/5) [5M PR], Reindeer Romp 5K (12/13)
• 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)

Brian’s Run 5 Miler

This afternoon I raced the 5 mile Brian’s Run in West Chester, PA. Last year I ran a huge personal best of 39:11 at this race and still think of that performance as one of my top three best races ever. 2014’s race was so good that I actually had second thoughts about registering for Brian’s Run this year… I just didn’t think there was any way I could improve on last year’s time.

Just before Thanksgiving I set my doubts aside and signed up for Brian’s Run, resolving to simply do my best and not worry about last year’s time. Then I ran a 5K PR on Thanksgiving Day and a 2 mile PR two days ago and started to think maybe… maybe there WAS some way that I could run another 39:11… but probably not.

Perfect day for a race

I arrived at the race about an hour early, picked up my bib and immediately bumped into a friend from my running club. The weather was gorgeous for December – mid 50s and sunny without a cloud in the sky – so we decided that we’d race in short sleeves (a wise choice) before running a short warm up together.

The race began promptly at 1PM and I crossed the start line with 487 other runners. My race plan was to basically just try to equal my splits from last year’s race, so that’s how I’ll recap each mile.

Mile 1 – 2014 Split: 7:33
The course starts by looping through the neighborhoods next to Henderson High School. I only glanced at my watch once during this mile to look at my average pace… 7:15. Too fast! I dialed it back slightly but then purposefully did not look at my mile split. I figured there was nothing I could do about it now and it was better NOT to know so I wouldn’t spend the next four miles over-thinking my overall race time. If I had looked, I would have seen a 7:25 split.

Mile 2 – 2014 Split: 7:42
The second mile swings by the high school (the start/finish point) before veering northwest into the hilly portion of the race. At this point I switched on my music (I ran the first 1.5ish miles without it) in an attempt to take my mind off the hills. The second mile includes a nice section of downhill, so I was pleased but not shocked to see a split of 7:29.

Mile 3 – 2014 Split: 8:06
The third and fourth miles of this course are tough, with rolling hills and lots of turns. I was really happy to have my 5K playlist streaming through my earbuds and I used the upbeat songs to try to increase my cadence and keep my pace up. I was excited to see my third mile split of 8:03… maybe there was a chance I could come close to last year’s time.

Mile 4 – 2014 Split: 8:16
I made a point of checking my 5K split as this mile began. I went through the 5K in 23:42, the same time I had raced The Boo Run in just 5 weeks ago. Only now I had another 1.9 miles to go! The fourth mile finished off with a huge climb and I was thrilled to see my watch report an 8:13 split. It was then that I realized I could definitely PR this race!

Mile 5 – 2014 Split: 7:31
In 2014 that final split time of 7:31 was an absolute record for me. I have never even finished a 5K’s final mile faster than that! This year I pounded into the fifth mile knowing that a PR was completely within reach; all I had to do was run FAST for a few more minutes.

This race finishes with 1 1/2 laps on the track in Henderson High School’s stadium – the same place I ran the Boxcar Mile in August. As part of the chip timing you get your final 400m split and I knew that last year’s time had been 1:50. With that in mind, I decided that as long as the clock was not past 37:11 when I passed the finish for my final lap, I was definitely going to PR.  Imagine my surprise when I passed the clock at 36:42! Just one lap left…

The last lap was really, really hard. At that point I didn’t care that my PR was basically locked up; I just wanted to go as fast as I possibly could. It turns out that the fastest 400m I could muster at that point was a 1:47 (7:08 pace) which put me across the finish line at precisely 38 minutes and 28 seconds… A 43 SECOND PERSONAL BEST!!!! And the final mile split? 7:18!!!!!

Brians Run Stats_

Wow. I really didn’t see this PR coming, and certainly never imagined that I was capable of PR-ing by 43 seconds! Moments after crossing the line I got a text from Matt who had been watching my race via Garmin’s LiveTrack function: “Did you just crush your PR?” Why YES!! I DID!!!! Best feeling ever.

Happy Selfie Post Brian's Run

I joined up with another running friend after the race for a nice, long, happy cool down (we both PR’d) and then drove straight home to shower and write this post. (Well, I had to write the Jingle Elf post first, but you get the idea.) I have now been lucky enough to PR three different race distances in a row. Each of them were exciting, but this 38:28 finish at Brian’s Run takes the cake. Best race ever!

My next race (and possibly my final race of 2015) is the Reindeer Romp in Havertown next Sunday. Before today’s race I was planning to just take it easy at the Romp and run it for fun, but now I’m thinking that I might be in position to come close to another PR… we’ll see what happens!!

Miles since last post: 0
Days since last post: 0
2015 MILES: 1607.1

Past Races:
• December ’15: Jingle Elf Run (12/3) [2M 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)