Pickle in the Streets 5K

pickle2Last Thursday night I ran my fifth “Pickle Run,” a goofy, lighthearted, prediction-style 5K organized by the local race-timing organization, Run The Day. Thursday’s “Pickle in the Streets” 5K was hosted by the Garden City Fire Company in Wallingford, PA and the course wound through the wonderfully flat neighborhoods around the fire house.

Pickle Runs are supposed to be fun and laid back. I have to admit, however, that I had been putting some major pressure on myself going into Thursday’s race. Thursday was my chance to see if I had broken out of the running slump that seemed to dominate my summer. Unfortunately, this race was a prediction run with no mile markers and no watches allowed, so I had to wait until the very last seconds of the race to get any feedback regarding how I was running.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would submit as my predicted finish time. Should I go big with my PR time of 23:25? Or set the bar low with my slump-inducing, last 5K finish time of 24:56 from May?? I finally settled on what was hopefully a realistic number: 23:41, my exact time from this race last year.

Thursday night arrived in fantastic form with low humidity and temperatures in the low 70s. I don’t think I’ve raced in weather that nice since April! Feeling naked without my trusty Garmin, I toed the start line with 111 other Picklers and we were off at 7PM sharp. (Or maybe a few minutes late… but no one cared because it’s a Pickle Run!) 😄

Thursday's merry band of Picklers (Credit: Run the Day)

Thursday’s merry band of Picklers (Credit: Run the Day)

I stayed with the crowd and set off running, happy to finally be on my way to discovering how I would fare in an end-of-summer 5K. The course had just taken a gentle left turn down a neighborhood street when suddenly everyone started yelling and I watched the leaders turn around and run back towards me… we had all taken a wrong turn! Luckily I hadn’t gone very far off course so it wasn’t a big deal. (The guys in the front had it much worse!) I’m still confused as to whether it was a prank (you know, because it’s a Pickle Run), or an honest mistake. Either way, we were all back on the correct road within a few seconds so this mishap really just helped to break up the first mile.

After what felt like 3 miles of hard running I finally turned back onto the main road that the fire house was on. I picked up my pace, sure that the finish would come into sight soon, only to watch in dismay as the runners in front of me turned back into the winding neighborhood streets. I guess we hadn’t actually run 3 miles yet, crap! I begrudgingly followed the course back onto the smaller streets for another few blocks of twists and turns until finally we emerged back on the main road “for real” and approached the finish.

As I ran towards the line I squinted to see the clock time. At first I thought it was ticking away in the 25’s (BOO!!) but then as I got closer realized that I was seeing 23’s… YES!!

Pickle Run Finish

My official chip time for Thursday’s race was 23:40, a single second faster than my haphazard prediction time. Crazy!! My close prediction earned me a googly-eyed “pickle” prize and, most importantly, helped me realize that I am, apparently, on track to be just fine this fall. After a tough summer that’s a HUGE relief!!

Summer Pickle Stats

Matt and I celebrated by going out to dinner in nearby Media, PA at the newly opened Sterling Pig Brewery. Yum! A great finish to a very satisfying day. 😄

Miles since last post:66.9
Days since last post: 14
2015 MILES: 1146.3

Past Races:
• August ’15: Boxcar Mile (8/13)
• 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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The Pickle Run #1

Last Saturday I ran the first of three Winter Pickle Runs in Ridley Creek State Park.  “Pickle Runs” are fun, prediction-style races organized by the local race-timing organization, Run the Day.  The “winners” of the Pickle Run are the participants that most accurately predict their finish time in advance.  This makes for a relaxed, jovial atmosphere and gives everyone a chance to take home one of the big prizes: a googly-eyed pickle in a beer stein!

My Pickle Prize!

Note to Self: Do not leave your pickle on the counter for a week while out of town in Las Vegas. It will be gross and deflated upon your return!!

Saturday’s Pickle Runners chose to run either a 3.1 mile road course or a 3.8-ish mile trail course.  I opted for the road option which ended up being identical to the 5K route that Martin’s Run followed back in October.  The trail course, which split off from the road after the first half mile, would definitely have been more exciting than my out-and-back road route, but apparently it was also very icy in the woods which made the trails a little treacherous for my non-yaktrax-clad Mizunos.  As long as ice isn’t an issue next month I will probably run the trail course in the February pickle.

Although I always knew exactly where I was on the road course in terms of mileage, I really missed my Garmin’s pace updates and splits.  I usually go out way too fast so it was tough not having any guidance during the first mile.  By the second mile I was feeling pretty slow but then had my spirits unexpectedly lifted at the halfway turnaround point when I realized that there was only one woman ahead of me on the road course.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make up any ground on her after the turnaround and two other women ended up passing me in the final mile but I still finished the race in a solid 24:06.  Not bad for a 19° January morning!!

My predicted time was 23:53 (my official results time from Martin’s Run) so my actual time ended up being off by 13 seconds.  That was good enough for 5th place overall in terms of prediction accuracy, woohoo!  The first place person was only off of their predicted time by a mere 2 seconds.  Considering that no one had watches or any idea of the time that’s pretty amazing!!

My next race will be the third 5K in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series on February 7th.  In the meantime I get two whole weekends off from racing.  After a long business trip to Las Vegas last week (and a super-cramped red-eye flight home all night last night, ugh!) I am looking forward to spending some quality time relaxing on the couch with Matt and Piper!

Miles since last post: 82.3
Days since last post:  18
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2015 MILES: 109.5

Past Races:
•  January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3)
•  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 Day 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (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)

Firehouse Pickle in the Streets 5K

On Thursday evening Matt and I finally got to participate in a “Pickle Run,” one of a series of prediction 5Ks hosted by our awesome local race timing organization, Run the Day.  We tried to race in a Pickle Run in February but we were thwarted by the Ice Storm, and then we were signed up for another in March but I goofed and showed up for the start 4 hours late (we ended up running the race anyway and dubbed it the Un-Pickle Run).  Luckily history did not repeat itself a third time on Thursday because — spoiler alert — I ran a HUGE PR!!!

This edition of the Pickle Run was dubbed the Firehouse Pickle in the Streets 5K and it was hosted by the Garden City Fire Company in Wallingford, PA.  Since this was a prediction race, all of the participants guessed their finish times in advance and ran the race without any timing devices.  The “winner” wasn’t the fastest runner, but rather the one that guessed closest to their actual completion time.  I think this is a really fun idea and I’d definitely do a Pickle Run again in the future!

The race itself had about 100 participants and the course wound through the gloriously flat, quiet neighborhoods around the firehouse.  The first mile seemed slightly downhill and I went out FAST, thinking to myself that I better take advantage of that downhill while I could.  (Somehow it never felt like we had any uphills to make up for that downhill, but hey, I’m not complaining!)  I didn’t have RunKeeper telling my my splits so at points I felt a little disoriented in terms of how far along in the race I was and how fast I was going.  I really wanted a PR so I kept pushing myself to keep up my pace (whatever that pace was…).  The last thing I wanted was to feel like I let up at some point in the race only to find out that I missed a PR by a few seconds.

After what felt like way more than 3 miles of really hard running the finish line finally came into sight.  The race clock was turned around backwards so we couldn’t see it, of course… wouldn’t want anyone speeding up or slowing down to get closer to their predicted time!  Without any idea of my time I pounded across the finish feeling like I had left everything out on the course.  I turned around as I crossed the line and saw the clock…

23:41 !!!

YES!!!! A HUGE PR of more than 35 seconds!!!!!  The race felt hard but being totally surprised by that enormous PR made it all worth it.  The (very small) downside was that I had only predicted a 2-second PR time of 24:15 so I was way off my prediction time but hey, who cares, I ran sub-24!!! 🙂

Pickle Run "stats" (No timing devices were allowed during the race)

Matt also had a PR time of 23:08, a big improvement from his previous best of 23:47.  He had predicted a finish time of 23:00 so he won a pickle in a beer stein for being so close.  (Did I mention that the Pickle Runs have ridiculous prizes and awards?)  🙂

The Pickle

I’m thrilled to have run a sub-24 5K, but I’m pretty sure that the faster time was not an accident.  I’ve been doing weekly speedwork at a track with a local running group and, quite frankly, I would have been a little disappointed had I not run some sort of PR.  The speed workouts are really challenging but it’s great to see that the time spent on the track is clearly having an effect on my running.  Can’t wait to see how I’ll feel after a few more weeks of training during my next race, Willistown Conservation Trust’s Run-a-Muck on September 20th.  Run-a-Muck was my first race ever last year and I’m hoping to run significantly faster this year!

Miles since last post:  70
Days since last post:  14
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.82
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1165

 

Related Posts:
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  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 (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)