Year 3 of the Trinity Berwyn 5K

10 seconds faster than last week, 1 second faster than last year, and 6 seconds off my PR.
…that pretty much sums up my performance at this year’s Trinity Berwyn 5K!

2015 marked my third consecutive year running this race. In 2013 this was the fourth race of my post-college career. That first year I struggled and had to walk up the final hill before finishing in 25:48. In 2014 the Trinity 5K fell on my birthday and I zoomed through the rain with a new PR time of 23:32 – a great way to kick off my 30s! In 2015 I basically matched my previous year’s efforts, a sign that I’m right on pace for my end-of-year races!

Post Trinity 5K Selfie

2015’s edition of the Trinity Berwyn 5K was held on Saturday, November 7th. The weather was ideal for running – 61° and overcast – and I drove to the race alone while Matt and Piper slept in. After the two previous years I was very familiar with the course (which actually goes through my grandma’s old neighborhood!) so I knew what my plan would be.

Trinity Elevation Chart

Although it’s generally a good idea to start a 5K slow and try to run negative splits, this race’s elevation profile gave me a different idea. After a long downhill in the first mile, the second half of this course is mostly uphill with a steep climb in the final mile. For this reason I threw rational, negative-split thinking to the wind and decided to go out FAST. I wanted to take advantage of the downhill while it lasted!

Mile 1 clicked by in 7:13, feeling smooth and very comfortable thanks to 116 feet of elevation loss. I dropped to a relatively normal (for me) 5K pace of 7:44 during mile 2. Then the fun began.

Mile 3 was tough!! Gone was the cute “run with your heart” saying from the previous week’s race. This was just “run with your training and strength and hang in there for one. more. mile.” I pushed up the big hill, remembering how I had walked it two years before. As I neared the top I passed a guy and then really tried to pick up my pace as best I could. I had covered this section of the course during my warm up and knew that I was very close to the finish.

I flew through the third mile split with a time of 8:16. I think I probably ran up the hill at 9:00++ pace which meant that I really was moving quickly by the time my watch beeped the mile time. I took the final turn into the Trinity parking lot and saw the clock. Things were a blur by this point but I knew I needed to get across that line in under last year’s time. I gave the last few meters everything I had and crossed the line in 23:31… 10 seconds better than my race the week before, 1 second better than 2014, and a mere 6 seconds off of my all-time 5K personal best. Success!

Trinity 5K Stats_

After the race I ran a long cool down through the town of Berwyn before returning to Trinity to see the final results. I finished 5th place female and 1st in my age group! I collected my medal and then drove home to Matt and Piper to tell them all about my morning.  😄

I’m taking this weekend and next off from racing. I’ll be biding my time until Thanksgiving day, when I hope to finish even faster than 23:31 at my third running of the Seven Summits Turkey Trot. Hopefully come race day I’ll be targeting a new 5K PR!

Miles since last post: 43.2
Days since last post: 9
2015 MILES: 1503.4

Past Races:
• 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 Halloween 5K: Recap of The Boo Run

Last Saturday was Halloween and I decided to kick off the holiday with a local race. My choices were Philadelphia’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon (WAY too long for me!), a local “Zombie Run” where zombies chase you on the course (eek!) and a good old 5K race in the hilly neighborhoods of Wallingford, PA. I opted for the safe, non-living-dead option and at 10:30AM found myself toeing the start line of my second Wallingford road race in just 7 days. (See the Double OyVey 10K for the first.)

A beautiful day for a race! (Photo Credit: TCLR)

A beautiful day for a race! I’m the one wearing a different orange shirt. (Photo Credit: TCLR)

The inaugural “Boo Run” was hosted by local non-profit The Creative Living Room. The 5K course differed from any other race I’ve done in Wallingford and I thoroughly enjoyed its many twists and turns. The race began on a flat stretch of Plush Mill Road, passing Pendle Hill (a Quaker retreat) before veering right onto a section of the Leiper-Smedley Trail that was blanketed in colorful fall leaves. The course then plummeted downhill on Rogers Lane (mimicking the finish of the Fueled Up 5K) before turning right onto a loooong uphill section of Turner Road that lasted for most of the 2nd mile. After a quick loop through a neighborhood and a little downhill the race finished back at The Creative Living Room in the middle of a mini festival with sponsor tents, food, kids’ games and music.

The night before this race I read an article by Lauren Fleshman in which she laid out a strategy for the perfect 5K. The following line really stuck with me:

“Run the first mile with your head, the second mile with your focus, and the third mile with your heart.”

I attempted to follow this plan and repeated that mantra to myself multiple times during the race.

Running with my heart during mile 3.

Running with my heart during mile 3.

I often go out too fast in the first mile, so on Saturday I tried to use my head and worked hard to stay at a slow, steady pace that didn’t feel too hard. I chose not to look at my watch for the first split because I didn’t want to spend mile 2 overthinking how fast or slow I went out. If I had looked, I would have seen that mile 1 was over in 7:37.

Mile 2 was almost entirely uphill. I knew this hill was coming but that didn’t make it any easier. I tried to stay focused on my cadence and pace but when my watch beeped a second mile split of 8:06 I figured that I probably wasn’t going to finish the race with an especially fast time. (Plus remember, I didn’t know about the 7:37 first mile!)

As soon as mile 3 began I told myself to relax and just give the end of the race everything I had left. At that point I was pretty sure that I was currently the first place female on the course. If that was the case I certainly didn’t want to get passed in the last mile so I pushed myself hard, only glancing back once at a turn to confirm that no one was right on my heels.

The finish line finally came into view along with a big surprise… the clock was in the mid-23s!! I happily crossed the line as the clock struck 23:41 and was thrilled when the race timer told me I was indeed the first place woman. Woohoo!

Boo Run 5K Stats

After the race when I checked my final split I did a double take… apparently I ran the last mile in 7:31!!! That’s my fastest final mile ever (tied with Brian’s Run, to be precise) and one of the only times that the final mile has been my fastest of a race. Cool!

Top female Boo Run finishers. (Photo Credit: TCLR)

Top female Boo Run finishers. (Photo Credit: TCLR)

The first place prize was a gift certificate to a local yoga studio. The certificate is being mailed to me and I haven’t received it yet, but I think it’s for 5 weeks of yoga or 5 classes or something like that. I haven’t done yoga before but I guess next month I’ll have to give it a try! 😀

My next race is tomorrow’s Trinity 5K, where I will once again try to apply the head-focus-heart mantra to my run. Trinity ends with a giant uphill in mile 3 so I don’t think I’ll be running a negative split, but hopefully I can put down a good 5K time for the second weekend in a row!

Miles since last post: 47.4
Days since last post: 10
2015 MILES: 1460.2

Past Races:
• October ’15: BAAR 5K (10/3), Double OyVey 10K (10/25) [10K PR]
• 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)

Double OyVey 10K Recap and a New PR!

Yesterday I ran my first road 10K ever! After two challenging trail 10Ks earlier this year I was fairly sure that the easier road surface would enable me to run a new personal best, but I had no idea what a realistic 10K goal was. Here were my goals going into the race:

  1. “A” Goal: Sub-50. Again, I had no idea what I would do in a 10K but this seemed like a challenging goal, much like the sub-25 minute 5K time that I chased down during my first year of racing.
  2. “B” Goal: Beat my Broad Street Run 10K Split. I thought I remembered getting a 10K split of 52:30-ish during May’s Broad Street 10-miler so I decided this time would be my second goal to beat. (Note: After yesterday’s race I looked up my actual Broad Street stats and realized that my 10K split had been more like 50:24… sort of glad that I didn’t know that was the real goal going into this race!)
  3. “C” Goal: Beat my previous 10K PR of 58:34. My old PR was set on a hilly trail course at the Tyler Arboretum back in April. If I can’t beat this time on the road something is wrong with me!
Double OyVey 10K Finish!

Spoiler Alert: I finished in 49:50!!!!!
(Photo Credit: Ohev Shalom)

Sunday’s Double OyVey 10K was hosted by Ohev Shalom Synagogue in Wallingford, PA. The race began at 10AM and I started off conservatively with a relaxed first mile split of 7:52. Just after mile 1 the 10K runners veered off from the nice, flat 5K course (a course that I PR’d on back in 2013!) and plunged down a steep hill onto Avondale Road.

We wound around on Avondale for a mile or so, passing under the Blue Route (I-476) and by the Thomas Leiper House. Mile 2 beeped by in 8:04. We eventually emerged out of the woods and onto quiet neighborhood streets, where the course proceeded to climb, and climb, and climb. Up up up! At the top of the hill my watch finally reported that Mile 3 had taken me 8:41 to complete.

I glanced at my watch to see my 5K split and was dismayed to see 25:16. That sub-50 goal was looking less and less attainable. Nevertheless, I knew I had a lot of downhill ahead of me and I was pretty sure that I was currently the first place female on the 10K course. I ran on, trying to keep up my cadence and carefully watching for the white arrows on the road that would indicate my next turn.

Mile 4 clicked by in 8:06. Not bad, but the course’s steepest hill awaited me on the climb back up Avondale Road to 320. This climb felt HARD and I focused on putting one foot ahead of the other while listening to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” — isn’t it funny how you remember some songs so clearly during a race?

Mile 5 beeped by in 8:38, with a total cumulative time of 42:26-ish. If that time was correct I was way off my sub-50 goal and running even slower than my Media 5 Mile race from June. This was disappointing, but I knew that my watch was somewhat off as it hadn’t been lining up with the mile markers that I saw out on the course. I pushed on, telling myself that I only had one flat mile to go.

Mile 6 was the hardest mile for me physically. After the climb up Avondale my legs felt heavy and my whole body was fatigued. The final stretch of neighborhood seemed to last forever and I really focused on trying to get my feet down on the pavement as quickly as possible. Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” helped me with fast turnover… don’t judge me, it is the PERFECT upbeat, fast-cadence song!  😄

OyVey 10K Stats_

At long last I reached Rt. 320 and took the left turn into the Synagogue’s parking lot. The race organizer passed me in the final seconds and I attempted to pick up my pace to stay with him… but mostly I was just relieved that it was a man – not a woman – who was passing me right at the end!

I felt my watch vibrate for mile 6 but didn’t bother to look because I had just spotted the finish line clock. It was ticking away at 49:40! Up until that moment I did not believe that sub-50 was within reach, but when I saw the clock I started sprinting for the finish, eager to earn my shiny new PR. I crossed the line in 49:50, first female and third overall in a very small field of 10K runners.

Overall the Double OyVey 10K was a great race with very friendly people and a low-key, relaxed vibe… AND a cool name! The course was certainly not easy, but 10Ks are rare in the western Philadelphia suburbs and I was very happy to finally get a chance to race this distance on a road course. Now I’m looking forward to the mental boost that Sunday’s race will give me when I return to a “mere” 5K next weekend!

Miles since last post: 80.8
Days since last post: 17
2015 MILES: 1412.8

Past Races:
• October ’15: BAAR 5K (10/3)
• 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)

Perfect Racing Weather? [BAAR 5K Recap]

Ask anyone from the east coast what last Saturday’s weather was like and they’ll tell you it was miserable. Thanks to Hurricane Joachin, Saturday was cold, dreary and windy with the occasional spitting drizzle. Yes, it was definitely not ideal weather for hosting an outdoor party (which we tried to do later in the day) or for volunteering at a race, but as far as I’m concerned it was absolutely PERFECT racing weather!!

Just right for racing.

Just right.

I am a cold weather runner. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve announced that at Tuesday track nights, on group runs, or after a particularly hot and humid race. July, August and September were nearly unbearable, but I knew I just had to hang in there through the heat of summer and wait until better weather arrived in the fall. “The mid-50s,” I’d say, “THAT’S my ideal racing weather!”

When I saw that the weekend forecast called for unseasonably cold weather (in the mid-50s!) I decided to put my money where my mouth is. I woke up before Piper on Saturday, bundled up in the most layers I’ve worn since April, and arrived bright and early at the BAAR 5K to sign up for the race on site. I think the poor volunteers were shocked that someone actually WANTED to be outside in those conditions! 😄

Start of the Race (Photo Credit: BAAR 5K)

Start of the Race (Photo Credit: BAAR 5K)

The 3rd Annual Brain Aneurysm Awareness Run (aka the BAAR 5K) began promptly at 9AM. I was not familiar with the course, but the starter told us that we’d be finishing on the same 3/4 mile stretch that we started on, so I paid extra attention to the first few minutes of the race. I was excited to discover that we seemed to be hitting a lot of uphills – that meant that we’d have downhill towards the finish!

With only 86 runners, the field was small and initially it was easy to see who was in front of me. The eventual 1st place female finisher shot out of the start looking strong and relaxed. I didn’t worry about trying to catch her as I watched her sprint up the first hill. I was sitting in 2nd for a minute or two before a girl in black passed me. I have a tendency to run too fast in the first mile, so I told myself to let her go and worry about trying to track her down later in the race if possible.

Miles 1 and 2 ticked by in 7:40 and 7:49. I was still in the 3rd place female spot and, surprisingly, the girl in black was still in sight. I started playing a mental game and told myself that I was racing from a position of strength. The girl in black was setting the pace and fending me off whenever I got too close, but I was simply cruising along and biding my time. This sort of positive thinking is rare for me (but it’s so nice when it happens!!) and, as a result, I felt unusually strong and very rational during the entire race. I also wasn’t listening to music which definitely helped my mid-race focus!

My chance for a pass attempt came towards the end of the race. The course took a downhill turn with about a half mile to go and I used the decline to pick up my pace and close the gap between myself and the girl in black. I positioned myself almost directly behind her through the 3 mile split. I have been doing a lot of speedwork and I hoped that I could out-kick her from that position once the finish line came into view.

Finishing strong!!! (Photo Credit: BAAR 5K)

The final kick!! (Photo Credit: BAAR 5K)

With a block to go we were both coming in fast. I swerved out from behind the G.i.b. and made my move. I sprinted hard and focused on a spot on the horizon, just trying to get there as quickly as possible. I realized a few strides into my kick that this was a CHIPPED race and I had started at the front of the pack. If the G.i.b. had started towards the back she might still beat me in the race even if I crossed the line first! I shifted into an even faster gear and ran as hard as I could through the line, not even breaking stride to stop my Garmin.

Going WAY too fast for the camera. ;-) (Photo Credit: BAAR 5K)

Going WAY too fast for the camera. 😉 (Photo Credit: BAAR 5K)

The results of the race weren’t announced until 40+ minutes after my crazy finish. I didn’t know if I had managed to secure the second place spot until the moment the race organizer called my name. Second place female, woohoo!!!

Although this wasn’t my best 5K time by any means, Saturday’s race felt like a complete success. I stuck with my plan to not kill myself in the first mile, stayed mentally positive throughout the entire race, and finished VERY strong. Plus, my prizes paid for my entry fee. I love it when that happens! 😄

BAAR 5K Stats

Someone commented during last Tuesday’s track workout that their season is winding down now that summer has ended. I think the opposite is true for me. My racing season is just getting started!!

Miles since last post: 32.9
Days since last post: 7
2015 MILES: 1328

Past Races:
• 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)

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)

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)

Boxcar Mile

When was the last time you raced a single mile? Before last Thursday, my only attempt at the mile was in 2003. I was a senior in high school and had just torn my ACL, meaning that I wasn’t able compete in my usual hurdles or jumping events. I still wanted to participate in my final season of high school track so I attempted the mile (ouch!!) before resorting to shot put for a few weeks. I don’t remember my exact mile finish time, but I think it’s safe to say that between my lack of preparation for that distance and knee injury there’s no way that I finished in less than 8:30.

High school hurdles. Luckily there are no photos of my super slow high school mile!!!

High school hurdles. Luckily there are no photos of my super slow high school mile!!!

Fast forward to 2015. I now consider the 5K to be a routine race distance and haven’t raced anything shorter than 2 miles in years. It’s rare for any local race to be less than a 5K, so when I got this email in mid-July I was immediately intrigued:

RunCCRS Boxcar Mile Email

Yes… a SINGLE MILE ON A TRACK (!!), at a local high school. Basically an exact repeat of my 2003 event, except this time I would be way better prepared. I signed up and put down a seed time of 6:55… maybe wishful thinking for an August race, but hopefully not too far out of reach.

Thursday, August 13th arrived before I knew it. My heat of the Inaugural Boxcar Mile was scheduled to start at 7:05PM and I eagerly toed the mile start line with 24 other runners. I had a fairly detailed plan for such a short race, with each quarter mile broken down by goal time (1:38, 3:25, 5:08, 6:50). Here’s how things turned out:

Boxcar Mile Stats_

As usual, I went out a little too quickly. I immediately realized this at the 200m (1/8 mile) mark when I saw that I was on pace for a 6:07 mile. Whoops! I dialed my pace back slightly but still went through the quarter and half a little fast. As I expected, the third lap was the hardest. I tried to keep up my pace but slipped a little from my goal time, going through the ¾ mile mark in 5:11.

1132 Digging deep in the last lap

It all came down to the final lap. I gritted my teeth (literally, see above photo) and dug deep for some extra speed. As I rounded the final turn I could see the clock ticking away in the high 6:30s… better hurry up!! I found some tiny last bit of energy and ran as hard as I could through the finish, crossing the line in 6:56.52. Sub-7:00!!!!

Mile Finish!!

It certainly wasn’t easy, but I was VERY happy to squeak in under that 7:00 mark. I think I can run even faster, especially in cooler weather with a smarter first lap. Now if only there were more mile races around here!

After the amateur “Citizens Races” were over, the pros came out for the real show. The Boxcar Mile is part of the nationwide Bring Back the Mile race series and Thursday’s race sponsors were offering more than $8000 (!!) in prize money to professional runners who beat specific qualifying times. Cool! We watched and cheered as the pros battled it out on the track, with three woman finishing sub-4:37 and three men flying through the finish in less than 4 minutes!

Watching these amazing runners zoom around the track was really inspiring (but also made me feel really slow, HA!). I loved witnessing this level of talent at a local venue and the experience felt extra special because I had also just raced a mile around the very same track. I will definitely run the Boxcar Mile again next year and highly recommend it to anyone in the area… even if it’s just to come out and watch the pros!

When was the last time YOU raced a mile?

Miles since last post: 119.6
Days since last post: 26
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.82
2015 MILES: 1079.4

Past Races:
•  June ’15: Media 5 Mile (6/19)
•  May ’15: Broad Street 10 Mile Run (5/3), Rocky Run Trail 5K (5/15), Victory 5K (5/17)
•  April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11), Empower the Children 5K (4/18), Haverford Twilight 5K (4/26)
•  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), 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)