Cam’s “Moonlight” 5K… in a Thunderstorm!!

Last night I ran Cam’s Moonlight 5K in Exton, PA.  With a 9PM start time, this was my first night race and, with a violent thunderstorm going on during the race, this was also my first race in torrential rain and lightning!  It was a unique experience to say the least.

I arrived at the corporate center where the race was being held at around 8:30pm to pick up my bib.  Although there were storms far to the southwest, the radar overhead was absolutely clear at this point.  I could see some ominous storm clouds on the horizon and it was just starting to drizzle ever so lightly, but I figured this was a passing shower at worst and kept my iPhone and headphones with me as I lined up with the 500 or so runners and walkers for the start of the race.

The start was really disorganized.  I didn’t see a start line and didn’t know which direction we would be running but realized that I was WAY in the back of the crowd when suddenly the pack started off at a jog ahead of me.  After my crowded-start experience at the Media 5 Miler, I was frustrated at the prospect of starting from the extreme rear and I quickly began weaving my way through the slow moving crowd to get into a better position.  After about 0.2 miles of dodging and weaving the crowd suddenly stopped (reminiscent of the doomed Color Out Cancer 5K race earlier this year!), and that’s when I realized that we had all been running TO GET TO the start line.  Crazy!

By the time the race really started from the actual start line, the skies were dark and the rain was falling steadily.  I was significantly closer to the front of the pack and after the real “GO” I set out on the course, happy to get a do-over on my start and ready to put down a good time in my first 5K road race since the Run for Victory.  About a minute into the race the clouds opened up and the torrential rain began.  Bolts of lightning lit up the pitch black sky and the edges of the smooth corporate center roads immediately turned into mini rivers of water rushing towards the nearest storm drain.  It was raining so hard that my headphones stopped working (they got quieter and quieter before dying completely at around 1.5 miles in) and I was taking in so much rainwater with each breath that I found myself consciously working to spit water out of my mouth every time I exhaled.  It was wild!!

If this race had been scheduled for 9:10PM instead of 9, I firmly believe that the race organizers would have cancelled it on the spot, but because the runners had just been released onto the course just as the storm hit it was too late to stop the race.  Luckily, the course was VERY well marked with glow sticks and dozens of volunteers who braved the storm to hold their positions at the various intersections we crossed.  (Thank you, volunteers!!)  Despite the excellent course marking, I quickly discovered that the darkness, rain, and monotony of the corporate center’s identical roads made it extremely difficult to get a feel for where I was on course.  When I hit the 1st mile split I tried to make a mental note of where I was, but by the second lap around the corporate center my headphones were dead and I had no idea if I was 1 mile or .25 miles from the finish.

Cam's Moonlight 5k Runkeeper

After what felt like an eternity of slogging through puddles and spitting out rain water, the finish finally came into sight.  I was thrilled to see that the race clock was still in the sub-25 range and I thankfully crossed the finish line at around the 24:46 mark.  Woohoo!!  A man at the finish line was yelling “RUNNERS, DO NOT STOP!! GO STRAIGHT TO YOUR CARS!!!!” so I got my bearings and marched right to my car, where I promptly soaked the driver’s seat and took this photo.  What a race!

Soaking Wet after the Cam 5K

Matt had driven separately from a lacrosse game to watch the race (he ended up staying in the car!) and he followed me home along Route 30 as the torrential rain continued.  It was raining so hard I could barely see the road and at one point I drove through what Matt said was about 8″ of rushing water.  I could feel the current start to push the car to the left so I stepped on the gas… scary!  (And yes, I know you should never drive across a flooded road, but it was raining so hard I couldn’t even see the river… whoops!)  Long story short, we made it home safe and sound and I was very thankful for dry clothes and a warm bed.

This morning I found myself constantly refreshing the RunCCRS web site, eagerly waiting to see my final time and finish position.  Sadly, I got an email after lunch saying that the extensive rains caused the chip timing system to malfunction and no results would be provided. Boo.  😦  At least I paid attention to the timing clock as I crossed the finish line so I know my approximately time AND, most importantly, I ran another sub-25 5K!!!!  Forget the rain, lightning, no results, and everything else… I did it again!  Yay!!!  🙂

 

Miles since last post:  93.5
Days since last post:  18
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.81
2014 TOTAL MILES: 916.3

P.S. For anyone wondering what happened to the Swarthmore 5 Miler (7/3/14) and the Firecracker 5K (7/4/14) races that I was supposed to run over the holiday weekend…  BOTH got postponed due to storms (that, by the way, were far less severe than last night’s!).  I missed the make-up date for the Firecracker 5K but I’ll be running the Swat 5 Miler next Friday.

Related Posts:
•  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 (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Media 5 Miler – My biggest race yet!

On Friday night I ran the 34th annual Media 5 Mile Race in the borough of Media, a walkable (runnable!) little town located 12 miles west of Philadelphia.  Matt and I lived in Media for a few years before buying our house and although we cheered runners on in the past this was my first time actually running in Media’s biggest race of the year.

880 Media 5 Mile Race Start

The race was well organized with bib pick up on Wednesday, port-a-pottys available on random street corners around town, and polite, happy crowds.  The local police closed down the streets that the race course followed well in advance of the start time and the people living along the course set up chairs, signs, water stations and, in a few cases, sprinklers and hoses to prepare for the two 2.5 mile laps that the runners would make through their neighborhoods.

With 1,600 runners, the Media 5 Miler was my largest race to date.  (I know, still not that big compared to say, Broad Street’s 40,000 runners, but it was big for me!)  The sheer number of runners made the start a little difficult.  There were no corrals or pace groups, meaning that all of the runners were gathered in one huge crowd extending back from the starting line.  When the starter said “GO” it took several seconds for the crowd around me to even start moving.  Luckily the race was chipped so my official time didn’t begin until 29 seconds later when I actually crossed the starting line, but all of the runners around me basically shuffle-walked the first quarter mile or so before moving into a slow jog (with constant people-dodging) through the first several turns of the race.

The crowd of runners finally started to thin out when we hit the first big hill around the 1 mile mark.  Matt and I had jogged the course on Wednesday so I knew the hill was coming (and I knew that it kept going up around the next turn!) and I felt mentally ready for it.  I high-fived a runner wearing a giant pickle costume on the way up the hill before finally falling into what felt like a normal pace at the top of the hill.  At the end of the first lap we looped back around to State Street and I spotted Matt on the sidewalk taking photos.  Here I am smiling for the camera.

The second lap felt a lot harder.  Those hills that I had confidently powered up during lap 1 suddenly seemed like mountains and I trudged up them at a slow jog.  Luckily I felt a little better by the time I got to the top and before I knew it there was just a mile left to go.  I told my legs to go faster and somehow that worked (!) and I managed to make my 5th and final mile my fastest split of the race.  Woohoo!

My official chip finish time was 42:57, just 10 seconds off of my PR from March.  I would have really liked to beat my March time, but considering how I was stuck in major foot traffic during the first mile (something I definitely didn’t deal with in March) I think Friday’s race was a better overall performance.  I’m really excited about my last split… 7:54 on Friday vs. March’s 8:36 (!) and I know that I could have comfortably run a much faster first mile if I had had the room to do so.

So guess what this means?  That I’m signing up for another 5 mile race, of course!!  I’ll be running in the Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K on July 3rd, this time with a much smaller crowd and more 5 mile experience to fall back on.

Miles since last post:  101.5
Days since last post:  22
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.79
2014 TOTAL MILES: 822.8

Related Posts:
•  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 (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Double Trail Run Weekend

This weekend I ran TWO 5K trail races and I had a great time!  The first race was the Rocky Run 5K hosted by the Rocky Run YMCA in Media, PA on Friday night.  This race was originally scheduled for May 16th but it had to be postponed due to extremely heavy rainfall (over 2.5″ inches in 8 hours).  Postponing the race was a good call – the extra two weeks gave the winding trails behind the Y time to dry out and Friday’s weather was absolutely perfect.

Annie Rocky Run 5K

The Y’s 5K course started out on a short pavement loop before entering the woods on the Rocky Run Trail.  (This trail is part of a large network of trails in Middletown Township including the Darlington and Linvill Trails… if you’re in the area I’d highly recommend checking them out!)  I’ve spent a lot of time hiking on these trails but I’ve never actually run on them so Friday’s race was a new experience for me.  The first 1 1/2 miles seemed pretty easy and I felt good as I dodged tree roots, mud, and rocks.  At the halfway turnaround I discovered that I was the 2nd place woman (woohoo!) which put some pressure on me to keep up my pace for the second half of the race.  I didn’t know how far behind me the 3rd place woman was, but I do remember the second half of the race feeling MUCH harder than the first half, probably because it was almost entirely uphill!

Rocky Run 5K Runkeeper Stats

The last mile wasn’t pretty, but I held onto my second place spot and finished in 27:40, good enough for 14th overall out of 88 runners, 2nd place female, and 1st in my age group.  The overall female winner was actually also in my age group but I got the AG award since she got the overall award.  🙂  The Rocky Run 5K marked the first time I’ve won an actual prize in a race — a $25 gift certificate to a local running store!! — and also helped me realize that I might REALLY like trail runs!

After my great off-road experience on Friday night, I decided to sign up for another local trail race on Sunday morning.  This race was Radnor Conservancy’s Race for Open Space 5K Trail Run.  It was held at the Willows mansion/park in Villanova, PA which is actually where my parents got married back in 1983!  Despite the Willows only being about 20 minutes from my house I’ve never actually been there, so it was pretty neat to visit the alcove and gardens that I’ve only ever seen in old wedding portraits.  I was surprised to discover that my parents’ wedding ceremony site is now a parking lot… I guess modern-day weddings happen somewhere else on the property??

Much like the Rocky Run 5K, the Race for Open Space started on a short stretch of pavement before entering the woods on winding, hilly trails.  My Runkeeper App couldn’t get a good GPS signal during the race and it reported that I had already run 5 miles after only 7:46 had elapsed.  Whoops!  The Runkeeper app continued to malfunction throughout the race (at one point it told that my mile split was 81 miles per hour!!) but it was useful just to know the race time even if the miles were way off.  I thought that this course seemed harder than the Rocky Run course so I was pleasantly surprised when I finished in 25:49… nearly 2 minutes faster than Friday’s time.  Yay!!

My 25:49 finish was good enough for 31st overall out of 96 runners, 10th place female, and 1st place in my age group.  🙂  Considering that I had not originally been planning to run any races this weekend, I was pretty thrilled with how my two trail races turned out.  Now I really can’t wait to do the Run-A-Muck trail race in September… I have a feeling that I am going to be able to improve significantly on my 35+ minute time from last year!!

My next race is the Media 5 Miler on June 20th.  This is a road race (which should feel easy after tree roots, rocks and mud!) and, with over 1500 runners, it will be the biggest race that I’ve run in so far.  Less than 3 weeks to go!

Miles since last post:  53.8
Days since last post:  13
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.81
2014 TOTAL MILES: 721.3

Related Posts:
•  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 (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Victory at Victory Brewing Company! [SUB-25!!!!!]

Yesterday Matt, my brother Billy, his girlfriend Suzanne, and I ran the Run for Ryan 5K at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA.  The four of us were team “Red, White and Brew” and we had a blast running and enjoying BBQ and Victory beer after the race.

Red, White and Brew after the 5K

I’ve been gearing up for this 5K for months (I signed up for it in early January) and it’s been my unofficial goal race all Spring.  This was my wishlist plan going into the race:

  1. Chill out during mile 1.  Don’t let the excitement of the start and the big crowd make me go out faster than I should.  (This has been a problem in the past; I hoped for an 8:25-ish first mile.)
  2. Run negative splits.  Finish strong!
  3. Beat my current PR of 25:13 from the YMCA’s New Year’s Eve 5K.
  4. Finish in sub-25:00

Lofty goals, I know, but I have been working hard and I knew this course was going to be fairly flat (a rarity around here, apparently!) with a very exciting, fun atmosphere.  I also had just come off of a super strong training run at Ridley Creek on Friday where I had shocked myself with huge negative splits (8:45, 8:11, 7:30..!) and a positive experience at the Elwyn 5K where I really concentrated on taking it easy during mile 1 so that I’d have some juice left for the rest of the race.

The subject line probably tipped you off to the fact that I ran sub-25 so I’ll just tell you right now.  My official chip time was…

24:17  !!!!!!

That’s nearly a MINUTE faster than my previous personal best!  I was (and still am!) thrilled!

Victory 5K Runkeeper Stats

During the race, however, I was pretty worried that I had (once again), gone out at a pace that was way faster than I could maintain.  The race began just fine and I felt like I was succeeding with Part 1 of my plan as I settled into what felt like  a comfortable, easy pace for the first mile.  In fact it felt a little TOO easy and I thought I might have chilled out a little too much, until Runkeeper cheerfully reported that I had completed my first mile in 7:42.  Yup, almost 45 seconds faster than I planned to run.  Crap!  As I started to mentally chastise myself for going out too fast I realized that I still felt inexplicably good.  I put the first mile behind me and instead focused on trying to keep that pace up for my second mile.

The moment Runkeeper reported my second mile split – 7:54 – I knew that I was definitely going to get a PR.  I had 1.1 miles go and only needed to complete them in ~9 minute pace to beat 25:13.  Woohoo!  I hadn’t run my second mile quite as fast as the first but amazingly I had maintained a sub-8 pace and still felt good.  With renewed energy I pushed into my 3rd mile and back towards the brewery.  (Oh yeah, did I mentioned that there was free beer waiting for me at the finish????)  With about 0.3 miles left to go my abdomen started to cramp up, but I knew that I was on pace for a big PR and I tried really hard not to slow down.  Runkeeper reported my third split – 8:00 – just before I came around the bend and into view of the finish line clock that was slowly ticking its way through the low 24’s.  I sprinted as fast as I could and finished with an official chip time of 24:17.  Victory!!!!!

Annie finish line

Our entire team finished with PRs, with Billy coming in 39th overall, Matt finishing with a new personal best time of 23:47, and Suzanne completing her first 5K ever!  I finished 101/644 overall, 25/344 women, and 5/58 in my age group.  Woohoo!  As part of our race entries, we all got free BBQ sandwiches and 2 beers each.  Matt had a lacrosse game immediately following the race so we all generously helped him drink his beers.  🙂

It was really nice to run with Matt, Billy and Suzanne (and to have my mom cheering and snapping photos from the sidelines!) and I am super psyched that I was able to crush my time goal (even if I wasn’t so successful at running negative splits!).  It was also quite enjoyable to kick back and drink a few beers in the gorgeous 65° weather after the race. 🙂

My next race will be the Rocky Run Trail Run 5K on May 30th.  The course will follow some of the Middletown Trails that I have hiked on and blogged about in the past so that should be fun.  After my big PR yesterday I think I’ll just plan on having a good off-road experience and enjoying the scenery.

Miles since last post:  62.5
Days since last post:  14
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.83
2014 TOTAL MILES: 667.5

Related Posts:
•  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 (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Over the Hills and Through the Woods… the Elwyn 5K!

On Saturday morning Matt and I ran the Elwyn Maximum 5K, a road/trail/XC race held on the beautiful grounds of the Elwyn school just west of Media, PA.  This was our first off-road race since our racing debut at Run-A-Muck last September.  All of my races since Run-A-Muck have been on pavement and I had forgotten how much harder it is to run off-road.  (This also made me realize how hard Run-A-Muck really was… I’m lucky I didn’t quit running immediately after that race!)  Mixed surfaces aside, the race course was beautiful, the other runners were friendly and supportive, and I had a blast!

Annie after Elwyn 5K

After going out way too fast in the St. Tim’s 5K last week, I was determined to run my first mile at a reasonable pace.  I curbed my competitive instincts at the start and let people run by me, keeping myself to what felt like a comfortable jog.  The first mile ended up being mostly downhill and was all on pavement, so my split was still pretty quick at ~7:34, but I felt much more under control at the 1 mile marker than I was during St. Tim’s.  This was good because the next 2 miles were very challenging, with trails, grass, and loooong up hill climbs!

At around 1.25 miles the course left the road and entered the woods, where we were greeted by a steep climb up a wood chip trail.  Then we exited out into a soggy, grassy field (where I passed two people… that never happens in the middle of a race!!) and started a steady 0.8 mile climb that felt like it lasted forever. (And those people passed me back, oh well!)  The wet grass footing was challenging but I pushed through, knowing that eventually we’d return to pavement.  At one point around mile 2 we ran down a short driveway and I remember feeling so excited that we were back on the road, only to realize that the volunteers were actually directing us to yet another field for another 3/4 miles of XC running.  During this last stretch on the muddy grass I was only about 50 feet behind Matt, but just as I thought I might try to pass him he put on a burst of speed and pulled ahead.

We finally returned to the road with about 0.35 miles left to go.  I was SO HAPPY to have pavement under my feet again!  I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that I apparently also had enough energy left to pick up some speed and run my third mile faster than my second.  Woohoo!  I finished in 26:17… FASTER than my St. Tim’s run despite this course being much, much more challenging.  I know that the trick was going out with a more controlled pace and I can’t wait to get a chance to try out that technique on an all-road course!

Matt finished strong, passing a few people right at the line for an official time of 26:12.  He ended up 2nd place in his age group and won this fancy blue Elwyn mug.  Doesn’t he look happy?  🙂

Matt with his Elwyn 5K Mug

Our next race is Victory Brewery Company’s Run for Victory 5K on May 18th.  They have a beer garden and BBQ after the race, which is apparently a very fast and flat ROAD course.  Looking forward to it!!!

Miles since last post:  42.4
Days since last post:  8
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2014 TOTAL MILES: 605.0

Related Posts:
•  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 (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

A Gold Medal at St. Tim’s 5K!

Yesterday afternoon I ran the St. Tim’s 5K and I won!!  Granted, it was a very small race (33 participants) but I was thrilled to lead from start to finish and take home the gold!  🙂

Going into this race I had high hopes.  I was under the impression that the course was flat (it wasn’t) and the sunny 70° weather was perfect for running, so I was hoping for a PR.  With that in mind I exploded off the start line, eager to get into a good position to get around the first narrow turn out of the parking lot.  To my surprise, no one else seemed to be running with me and before I knew it I came to the first intersection and realized that I had no idea where the course went.  Luckily the course was arrowed and a police car was clearing the way ahead with its lights on, so after my initial confusion passed I excitedly took off alone in the lead.

The combination of the unfamiliar lead position and my amped-up expectations made for a very quick first mile (7:34).  Just as I was deciding that I might have gone out a little too fast I arrived at the bottom of an ENORMOUS hill.  (So much for the flat course!!)  I trudged up the hill at a slow jog and figured that someone would certainly be passing me soon after my sudden deceleration.  But no one came.  I didn’t want to turn around and look, but I could hear the spectators cheering me on and I tried to listen after I passed to find out if they were cheering for someone close behind me.  It wasn’t until the last 1/2 mile that I finally heard someone say “they’re right behind you!!” so I tried to make my tired body move a little faster.  Finally with about .15 to go I realized how close I was to victory and I finished strong.  Woohoo!

St Tims Finish

Overall it was very exciting to win a race but I know that I could have run faster if I had paced myself a little better.  I need to get more disciplined about my starts… a 7:34 first mile doesn’t do me any good if it makes me so tired that I slow down to ~9:00 pace for the rest of the race.  (Although maybe in yesterday’s race the fast start actually did help because it put me so far in the lead that it was mentally harder for anyone to pass me later on??)  Either way, running a more consistent race (or even – gasp – negative splits???) is definitely going to be something that I work on moving forward.  Look at these ugly splits from yesterday… eek!

St Tim's 5K Runkeeper

My next race is the Elwyn Maximum 5K next Saturday.  Apparently the Elwyn course is a mixture of roads and hilly trails so I think that it will be a great opportunity for me to chill out and focus on running a more even-paced race!

Miles since last post:  28.3
Days since last post:  6
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2014 TOTAL MILES: 562.6

Related Posts:
•  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 Mile (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)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Thank you to DD, a kind spectator who took the two photos of me during the race and who was kind enough to email them to me!

Rick’s Run 5K at Ridley Creek State Park

I’ve been trying to run a race at Ridley Creek State Park since February and I’m happy to report that I finally got my chance!  On Saturday morning I joined 458 other runners at my “local” state park for Rick’s Run, a 5K that helps fund research for Esophageal Cancer.  The weather was beautiful (58 and sunny), the race was well organized, and the runners, volunteers, and spectators helped to create an exciting, friendly atmosphere that I really enjoyed.

All fun aside, the 5K course was TOUGH.  To paraphrase the race organizer at the start line, “You’re all going to run down the hill [for 1 1/2 miles] until you see the water station, then you turn around and run back up!!”

Post-race selfie... I made it up the hill!

Post-race selfie… I made it up the hill!

I’ve run this downhill section of the RCSP loop many times (most recently during my un-Pickle Run), and I knew that coming back up it was going to slow me down significantly.  Therefore I decided to go out FAST to preemptively make up time down the hill, then just slog through the uphill on the way back.  This strategy started out great and I felt like I flew through the first half of the race.  (Runkeeper agrees… apparently I reached the halfway point in sub-23:00 pace!)

As I neared the turnaround I was inspired by the leaders that were already powering back up the hill so I starting clapping and cheering for them (especially for the 2nd place runner – a 14 year old girl!!).  I think this episode of well-intentioned sportsmanship led to my downfall, however, because as soon as I hit the halfway mark I got a terrible side-stitch that lasted for the next mile.  Blech!!!

Rick's Run Runkeeper Stats

In spite of the stabbing pain in my abdomen I pushed onward up the hill, albeit at a MUCH slower pace than the first half of the race.  I never broke down and walked (although at times I wanted to!) and with about .5 left to go the side-stitch pain mercifully started to subside.  With renewed energy I picked up my pace and was able to finish strong across the finish line.  My chip time was 25:56 which put me at 30th overall and 9th female overall out of 256 women!

The cramp was, quite literally, a thorn in my side and I know I could have run up the hill faster without it.  I don’t get side-stitches very often and I have been mentally dissecting my race prep trying to figure out where I went wrong.  Good hydration? Check.  Banana with a light breakfast 3 hours before the race? Done and done. Warm up?  Yup! (OK, just a tiny warm up, but it was more than I usually do…).  After much consideration I have concluded that the dreaded side-stitch must have been caused by my irregular breathing while cheering during the race.  I guess that’s the last time I’ll do that!!  🙂

Have you gotten a side-stitch during a race?  Did you figure out what caused it and/or how to prevent it from happening again??  (Please share your secret!!!!)

Miles since last post:  78
Days since last post:  16
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2014 TOTAL MILES: 534.3

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