A New Running Record for October…

I set a new record this October: most races run in a single month! Here are recaps of all five of them. 😄

Michelle’s Miles 5K

October 1, 2017 | Newtown Square, PA | 22nd overall, 2nd F! (results)

The first day of October really felt like fall, with crystal clear blue skies and a nice chill in the air. I couldn’t pass up this perfect racing weather so Matt and I woke up early and signed up for the 10th Annual Michelle’s Miles 5K on site at the Episcopal Academy. On the way to the start line I saw a familiar face – my Uncle Rory! He and my cousin, Danae, were also running the race. Yay for family!

The course took us on two different loops around Episcopal’s beautiful, college-like campus and we ran on pavement, grass, gravel, and the all-weather track.  There was more off-roading than I had anticipated, but I felt strong throughout the race and was happy to discover that I was the 2nd place female finisher! I was even happier about this when I realized that Michelle’s Miles had CASH PRIZES for the top 2 (or maybe 3?) finishers. I cheerfully spent my $50 prize money on new trail shoes at my favorite local shop, The Running Place, a few weeks later.

One Stride at a Time 5K

October 8, 2017 | Media, PA | 7th overall, 1st F! (results)

This was “MY” 5K and I am so thankful for all of the friends and family that helped make it a great success. Team Thorne raised $375 and in total the event raised $12,368.79 to help local families!! Thank you to Bill, Suzanne, Rob, Jean, Tom, Kristen, Lyra, Mike, Jocelyn, Olivia, Teddy, Rob, Meredith, Dixie, Nick, Amy, SuperLucas, Elias, Bob, Cheryl, Bob, Roe, Tony, Karen, Brian, Shelby, Kate, Elle, and Liia.  And thank you to my course-design partner, Eric Traugott… between the summer runs and the actual event I’m sure you agree that we spent waaay too much time on Williamson’s campus in 100% humidity!

The weather on October 8th was less than ideal, with oppressive humidity, tropical heat and the occasional rain shower. Nevertheless, 107 brave, sweaty souls reported to the starting line at 9AM to happily run and walk the course. I liked running the race, but my favorite part of the day was seeing everyone else enjoying this event after months of planning.

I’ll be sure to post next year’s date for the One Stride At A Time 5K as soon as it is confirmed. Hope to see even more of you out there in 2018!

Willistown Conservation Trust’s Run-A-Muck 5K

October 21, 2017 | Newtown Square, PA | 31st overall, 8th F (results)

Run-A-Muck holds a special place in my heart because it was the first 5K I completed after starting my run streak (and my post-college running ‘career’) in 2013. Run-A-Muck is a trail race that traverses privately owned farmland that’s been preserved by Willistown Conservation Trust. This year’s course was new (to me – it was actually new last year but I missed the race) and included a stream crossing, a haunted bamboo forest, and an insanely steep climb during the final quarter mile.

Although I was wearing snazzy new Saucony Peregrine trail shoes (bought with my Michelle’s Miles winnings!), this race just didn’t click for me. I didn’t have any spring in my step and I felt a little gassed right from the start. In hindsight, I don’t think I ate enough food in the hours before the race (the 3:30 start time threw me off!) but meh, lackluster races happen! Lack of pep aside, my favorite moment of the race was when I splashed shin-deep through Crum Creek on the way back to the finish line. The weather was hot and that cold creek water felt GREAT!

Run for the Mill 5K

October 28, 2017 | Glen Mills, PA | 21st overall, 3rd F (results)

Trail run redemption time. A week after Run-A-Muck I decided to tackle another trail race, this time the inaugural Run for the Mill 5K at nearby Newlin Grist Mill. Matt, Piper (and in the past, Bailey) and I have hiked in this park before and I love the perfectly straight industrial trail, remnants of an old railroad bed, and the dam and waterfall. Although I did not know the exact course we’d be running, I knew that the parking area (and start/finish) was at a lower elevation than most of the park, so this pretty much guaranteed that there’d be some nice downhill in the second half of the race.

I was not disappointed. After a flat and fast first mile the course turned up a hill and we climbed and climbed and climbed! Unlike at Run-A-Muck, I felt energized and actually passed a few guys during the ascent. Yeah! I knew there were a few women ahead of me but didn’t know how many. Towards the top of the climb I passed one woman and didn’t look back. Finally, almost exactly as my watch beeped the start of mile 3, the uphill was over and the real fun began.

I zoomed through mile 3, enjoying 100 feet of elevation drop in the first half mile. I felt in control and very happy with my new trail shoes, which felt light and were hugging my feet perfectly as I tore down the hill. Before I knew it the finish was in sight and I cruised across the line with a time that was 3 minutes faster than the week before.

I ended up in 3rd place, which earned me a gift certificate to Chester County Running Store and – even better – an amazing medal that was HAND FORGED in Newlin Grist Mill’s blacksmith shop!! This is hands down the coolest (and heaviest!) medal I have ever received!

The Boo Run 5K

October 29, 2017 | Wallingford, PA | 4th overall, 1st F!! (results)

It wasn’t my plan to run back-to-back races, but I woke up on Sunday wanting to race again. I knew that The Creative Living Room was hosting their 3rd annual Boo Run at 2PM so I started off my day with a super hearty breakfast and kept an eye on the massive rain storm that was forecasted to dump 2-3 inches of rain on Southeastern PA. It poured all morning and was still pouring as I left for the race, but by that point I was determined to go and figured that a little rain couldn’t stop me from enjoying a race.

I arrived, paid my entry fee, and got some quick pointers on the course, which was different than the previous two years. Come to think of it, this course has changed each year. The Creative Living Room is fortunate to have so many 5K route options at their doorstep! I love racing in Wallingford and was excited to see where this year’s course would take me.

Boo Run start line. (Photo: The Creative Living Room)

At 1:40 the rain magically stopped and didn’t start up again until my drive home. Perfect!! Soon we were off and headed straight to Matt’s childhood neighborhood! We looped around, passing directly by his old house and a house of one of Piper’s Nosework classmates, before turning back towards the start line and a different neighborhood loop. Despite the soggy weather the course was perfectly marked and there were volunteers pointing the way at every single turn. Now that I’ve helped to organize a 5K I realize what a feat that is all by itself!

I could see from the start that I was the first woman and I held onto that position for the rest of the race. I jockeyed back and forth with a few guys and cruised through the course with relatively even splits, finishing in 22:25.  (My garmin said the course was a tad short so that’s not as close to my PR as it looks!) I was very pleased with my race considering I ran a trail race yesterday!

As was the case at previous Boo Runs, the organizers went all out with post-race food, drinks, kid-friendly activities and prizes. I won a goodie bag from Bryn Mawr Running Company and was impressed by all of the sponsors and donated prizes the Boo Run had for the runners. Once again, now that I’ve organized a race I have a whole new appreciation for these details!! I will definitely try to return to the Boo Run again next year.

Actually, I will be putting all FIVE of these October races on my calendar for next year. Each offers an interesting local course and supports a great cause. Now if I could only figure out how to guarantee another Newlin Grist Mill blacksmith  medal… that thing is awesome!!

Miles since last post: 194.7
Days since last post: 50
2017 MILES: 1112.1
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Run-A-Muck Trail Race

On September 19th I ran Willistown Conservation Trust’s “Run-A-Muck” trail race for the third year in a row. Two years ago this was my first race ever and I worked really hard to cross the finish line with an average run/walk pace of 9:40/mile. Last year I did some major hill training prior to the event and was able to run the entire course, crushing it (and beating my brother and Matt!) with an average of 8:30/mile.

1482 RaM Start

My performance at this year’s Run-A-Muck was a mixture of the two prior years. I started out strong, feeling fast and under control with a first mile split of 8:10. Then the never-ending, rolling hills began and I felt my legs getting heavier and slowing down with every step. At that point I decided that I just had to make it through the two mile marker and then I would allow myself to walk up the insane hills in mile three if I needed to.

My Garmin beeped a 9:13 second mile just as I commenced a steep climb on a wooded single-track trail. This is where the course climbs 100 feet in a mere 0.15 miles!! Somehow I ran this whole section last year, but this year sanity prevailed and I walked — no, trudged — up it. After that walking break I jogged the downhills and flats but just couldn’t make myself run up any more hills.

Run A Muck Trail Stats_

Thankfully, the Run-A-Muck course ends on a downhill. I crested the final hill with just enough energy to manage a somewhat strong-looking kick to the finish. I was so happy to be almost done that I smiled the whole way in, as captured in grainy detail on Matt’s cell phone. 😄

1510 Almost to the finish!

1513 Finish

After the race was over Matt, Piper and I hiked the “muckers” (walking) course and then enjoyed an outdoor country supper under a big tent with live music, free beverages, and great company. This may have not been my best race performance, but it was certainly a fun night!! I’ll definitely plan to take on the Run-A-Muck course again next year, but maybe I should do a little more hill training first! 😄

Miles since last post: 148.8
Days since last post: 31
2015 MILES: 1295.1

Past Races:
• 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)

Run A Muck Trail Race

Yesterday afternoon at 4PM Willistown Conservation Trust‘s annual Run A Muck cross country race began.  28 minutes later, I beat Matt and my brother and finally got the chance to see how far my running has progressed over the past year.

Last year’s Run A Muck was my first race ever.  The course was long (3.6 miles), extremely hilly, and just plain HARD.  Last year I took lots of walking breaks, poured water over my head at every water station, and dragged myself across the finish in 35:16 — around a 9:47/mile pace.

This year’s course was still ridiculously hard, with a 100 foot climb in just 2/10s of a mile, gratuitous uphill and downhill repeats, and a wooded section that was basically a staircase (going up, of course).  But that’s where the similarities end. This year I was much better prepared and I’m excited to report that I finished the 3.3 mile course in 28:08!  That’s an average pace of 8:30… more than 1:15 per mile faster than last year!

Run A Muck Runkeeper

In addition to finishing with a much better time, I also ran the whole freakin’ course.  The WHOLE thing!!  This may not seem that impressive – it’s just a 5K, after all – but let me tell you… the last 1.5 miles of this course were brutal.  Towards the end it seemed like EVERYONE was walking.  I thought about walking for a moment (you know, the old “I could probably walk up this hill just as fast as I’m running it” argument) but I kept moving (albeit slowly) and ended up passing a bunch of people in the last mile.

Speaking of passing people… I beat Matt AND my brother in yesterday’s race!!  I pulled even with Matt around the 1 mile marker and was planning on running with him when a woman passed us and I decided to try to run with her instead.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep up with her for long (she was the eventual female winner), but that little spurt of speed took me past Matt for the rest of the race.

I caught up to my brother Billy with around a mile to go.  He was walking up a wickedly steep hill (along with everyone else around him) and at first I didn’t realize it was him.  In past races Billy has been much faster than me – back at Victory in May he beat me by more than 2 minutes – but I guess my long runs and track workouts are paying off.  I trudged past him at a slow jog as we crested the hill and just kept on going.

The last few minutes of this race felt like they lasted forever.  I was exhausted.  Mentally I’d gotten a little boost when I passed Billy, but then two women passed me near the end looking super strong.  I had been sitting in 2nd up to that point and picked up my pace in an effort to keep up with them, but I lagged behind as they powered up the final hill and cruised down to the finish a few seconds ahead of me.

My 28:08 finish was good enough for 17th overall and 4th place woman.  Billy crossed the line in 28:24 (19th) with Matt close behind at 28:51 (21st).  The full results are here.

Matt and I cooled down with a nice hike along the Run A Muck walking course.  All of the land that Run A Muck traversed is privately owned and open just for this event, so it was nice to get a chance to walk around and take some photos of the beautiful (aka EVIL!!) rolling hills and farmland that we’d just run through.

After our hike we joined back up with my family to partake in an outdoor “country supper,” complete with chili and cornbread, beer complements of Victory Brewing Company, and a live band.  All in all, this was a fantastic event that I’ll definitely do again next year.  Maybe in another year I’ll be able to run even faster!  🙂

Miles since last post:  29.7
Days since last post:  6
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1272.5

 

Related Posts:
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14)
•  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)

Run-A-Muck 5K

We made it!!  Matt and I successfully completed the Willistown Conservation Trust “Run-A-Muck” 5K race yesterday afternoon.  The race ended up being longer than a 5k and it was SUPER hilly, but we finished!

My original goal was to beat 32 minutes (i.e. run 10 minute miles) so when I came over the last hill and saw the finish line clock at 35 minutes I was a little disappointed.  That is, until Matt told me that his and other runners’ GPS running apps were saying that the race was more like 3.65 miles long.  That means I DID meet my pace goal, woohoo!

In addition to meeting my goal I was also the 8th female and 34th overall to cross the finish line which was pretty cool and unexpected.  Granted, there were only about 105 runners AND one of the females ahead of me was an 11-year-old girl, but eh… oh well!  🙂  (By the way, I learned that little kids can be ridiculous runners!  I guess they just never get tired?  Crazy!)

Run-A-Muck Map

The course was tough… it took us through beautiful horse fields, around several ponds, up what seemed like a near-vertical climb in the woods (I walked it), and along a dirt road.  I started out WAY too fast (7:30-8:00 mile, eek!) and then I paid for it on every single steep uphill climb after that, but it was a good learning experience and I think this will just make future races that much easier.

Overall, the race was hard but the feeling of accomplishment after crossing the finish line made it totally worth it.  I’m already looking for another local 5K to enter in October… looking forward to it!  🙂