Piper, Pickles, and Peanut Butter (Recap of the March Pickle Run!)

Hello my name is Piper and I like to lick pickles.

Hello my name is Piper and I like to lick pickles.

On Saturday Piper joined me for the March Pickle Run in Ridley Creek State Park. Like last month’s pickle, this was a 5K prediction run on a paved out-and-back course. In February I conservatively guessed that Piper and I would finish in 24:30 but then we crushed the course in 23:47. This month I was more aggressive and entered 23:30 as our expected finish time.

Piper and I lined up towards the front of the pack (last month we started too far back and had a challenging time weaving through the crowds) and crossed the start line at 10AM. My game plan was to run the first mile very conservatively — maybe in 7:45 like my 10K last week — but of course there are no watches allowed in the Pickle Run so I don’t have any idea how long the first mile lasted. All I know is that I felt really comfortable and very happy to have Piper trotting along at my side.

After the first mile I realized that Piper and I were in third place. Over the next quarter mile we picked up our pace and steadily gained ground before passing the man in front of us. With that task complete, I suddenly remembered that the organizers of the Pickle Run hide “pickles” (cucumbers with pipe-cleaner arms and googley eyes) around the course for runners to find during the race. I once glimpsed a pickle during a race last year but have never claimed one for myself… until Saturday! About a minute after I started searching I spotted a pickle nestled in the brush about 10 feet off the path. I let out a little squeal of excitement, and, much to Piper’s confusion, swerved off the road to claim my prize. The pickle collection went smoothly and Piper and I were back on the course in seconds.

Last month when Piper and I hit the uphill climb at the turnaround point Piper lagged behind and seemed a little tired. This month the weather was much cooler (40°) and together we powered up the hill with the race leader just barely in sight. After about a half mile of running with the pickle in my right hand I finally looked down at it and realized that it had a big smiling “mouth” made out of sprinkles and peanut butter.  The sprinkles were starting to melt onto my palm but all I could think was how much Piper was going to love the peanut butter when we finished!

Pickle Stats Mar16

I would have loved to know our split for the final mile because it felt FAST.  We gained ground on the leader and I was strong and in control. Piper heeled perfectly by my side, trotting at a rapid clip with her mouth firmly closed… I guess we still weren’t moving fast enough to exert Piper in 40° weather! Before I knew it we were turning onto the narrow path that twisted up to the finish line. I watched the leader cross the line about 15 seconds ahead of us and then we sprinted through the finish.

Our official chip time was 23:36 — 11 seconds faster than last month and a new course record for me. Plus we found a pickle!!! I scooped off some of the peanut butter around the pickle’s pom-pom “nose” and fed it to Piper right after we finished. 😄

After the pickle run

Running with Piper is bringing me such joy. She is well-behaved, makes other runners smile, and I truly feel like I have a companion out there on the course with me. Plus she’s always good for a laugh… Piper may or may not have stuck her entire head under the stall next to me in the ladies’ restroom just to say hi to our neighbor right before the race. Whoops!

As we watched the post-race awards Piper waited patiently beside me, taking the occasional lick of pickle “hair” (more peanut butter and sprinkles) and making a big to-do of licking her lips and nose very thoroughly after each taste. Our finish time was only 6 seconds off my prediction, so we won a second pickle in addition to the one we found on course. Double treats for Piper!! Exactly the prize she deserved for her new 5K PR.

656 Piper Pickle_

Miles since last post: 18.5
Days since last post: 4
2016 MILES: 394.3

Past Races:
• March ’16: St. Agnes 5K (3/5), 3-2-1 Loop 10K (3/12) [10K PR]
• 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)

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The Pickle Run #3

Guess what?  I won a race today!!  It was a prediction run – the third and final Winter Pickle Run – and somehow I managed to cross the finish line first AND do so within 1 second of my predicted time… crazy!!

6491 Pickle Run

After a tough 10K on the trails last week, I opted to run the all-road 5K course in today’s race.  Both the road and trail runners started together for the first 0.7 miles and by the time the trail runners veered off into the woods I had no clue as to how many runners were ahead of me on the road course.  Well it turns out the answer was… NONE!  I realized this at the halfway turnaround point and spent the entire second half of the race pushing to hang onto my lead.

This is on the way back... now I know I'm in the lead!

This is on the way back… now I know I’m in the lead and I’m focused on trying to keep it that way!

I didn’t want to psych myself out by looking back and seeing someone right on my heels, so I kept my eyes on the road ahead and ran like imaginary demons were chasing me.  Go go go!!!  I was listening to music and at one point I thought a walker on their way out to the turnaround said something like “she’s right behind you!” but apparently that was all in my head, because when I finally made the last sharp little turn to the finish line I glanced to my left and there was nobody in sight.

I hustled to the finish line with absolutely no idea of my time.  The clock was turned to the side so I couldn’t see it until just as I crossed… 23:43 clock time – EXACTLY my predicted time!!

March Pickle Stats

I’ve run this course two times, first in October for Martin’s Run (23:53) and again in January at the first Pickle Run (24:06).  With that in mind I am really happy with my official chip time of 23:42 from today’s race!!  I’m not gonna lie… after the Granogue 10K last weekend I spent the entire week feeling sore, fatigued and not particularly quick so today’s performance was also a major confidence booster.

As you might have guessed from all the photos, Matt joined me at today’s race with the camera AND Piper in tow!  Piper watched the runners go by and checked out my googly-eyed pickle prize at the end of the race.  All of that activity tired her out… she’s currently passed out on Matt’s lap.  😊

6498 Piper watching the picklers

My next race won’t be until April 11th when I tackle the trails at the Tyler 10K.  That’s right… after four races in a row I’m actually taking a weekend off!  I don’t know what I’m going to do Saturday morning… maybe sleep in??  Sounds good to me! 😄

Miles since last post: 31.5
Days since last post:  7
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2015 MILES: 407.9

6486 Pickle Run

Past Races:
•  March ’15:
Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14), Granogue Trail 10K (3/21)
•  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), 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 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (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)

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)

My Un-Pickle Run 5K and a 10 mile run!

I have long been awaiting a chance to run a race at Ridley Creek State Park and I finally got my chance yesterday… except that I thought the race started 5 hours after it actually did, so I completely missed it.  Doh!!!

Yesterday should have been the perfect day to race… the temperature was a wonderful 57°, the sun was shining, and I was super psyched to get a chance to run on my relatively flat “home” course.  I remember thinking that the biggest challenge might actually be dodging all of the walkers, dogs, and bikers that would surely also be enjoying the park at 3PM on such a beautiful afternoon.  That and finding a spot to park, since the already crowded parking lot would no doubt be overflowing with the addition of all of the racers’ cars.

When Matt and I pulled into the parking lot at 2:20 (forty minutes early for our “3PM” race), I was shocked to see so many open parking spots.  Were all of the other racers running late, I wondered?  Then we came around the bend to where I was sure the Run The Day registration table would be set up, only to see a few late afternoon picnickers enjoying the lovely weather.  What?!!  I then checked the race web site and realized my mistake… the race had started at 10AM and was long over.  Boo.  😦

Me after my UNpickle Run at Ridley Creek

Me after my un-Pickle Run. That’s Ridley Creek in the background. I love this park!

Matt and I were all ready to race so we decided to run our own un-Pickle Run (maybe that would be a Cucumber Run??).  We started promptly at 2:30PM and, race or no race, I was still determined to get my PR.  We didn’t run the exact Pickle Run course (the race would have had us do a 1.5-ish mile out and back) so our route ended up with more downhill than the real race had, but nevertheless I got my personal best!!!!  I crossed the “finish” with a huge PR time of 24:25.  My previous best was 25:13 from the New Year’s Eve 5K so I was very happy with my time.  Now if only I could have done it in a real race!  🙂

UnPickle 5K Runkeeper Stats

In other running news, I ran my longest distance ever today – 10 MILES!!  Matt had a lacrosse game at Rosemont College and I tagged along in order to go on a nice run on the Main Line.  When I ran track (hurdles/sprints) at Haverford College I spent a ton of time doing shorter runs in this area so it was nice to get back to my running roots with the long run today.  My run took me from the Septa (R5) train station at Rosemont all the way to Narberth and back… that’s 6 stations in all!!  (And I can name them in order by heart because I’m a dork… Rosemont, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Ardmore, Wynnewood, Narberth.  I wrote my college thesis on the Main Line so I could also tell you all sorts of useful useless historical facts about them, don’t get me started.)  Anyway, it wasn’t easy and I definitely got pretty tired around miles 7-8, but I did it!!  My run started before Matt’s lacrosse game began and I didn’t get back until his game was over.  I felt very hard core!!

Here are the Runkeeper stats for today’s run… I stayed close to the train tracks to avoid the bulk of the traffic lights and intersections but I still (mercifully) got stopped at a few lights and had a chance to stretch.  I also paused my workout to use the restroom at the Ardmore Wawa… I spent a ton of money there in college so I figure I am entitled to a free pit stop!

10 Mile Run (Runkeeper Stats)

After my epic run and Matt’s lacrosse game we stopped at a place in Bryn Mawr called *ndulge cupcake boutique for cupcakes (the mocha-cola cupcake was delicious!) and then I drained my entire Camelbak waterbottle before collapsing into a bubble bath with my Kindle for an hour or so.  Life is good!

Miles since last post:  75.4
Days since last post:  15
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.92
2014 TOTAL MILES: 379.1