Turkey Trot, 2014 Edition

Yesterday morning I kicked off Thanksgiving with a turkey trot 5K race in Chesterbrook, PA.  This was my second year running the Seven Summits Turkey Trot and I’m pleased to report that I finished nearly 2 minutes faster than last year!  Also, I had a fantastic cheering section… Matt and Piper came to watch!

Piper and Annie Turkey Trot

The park was covered in snow from Wednesday’s storm and the weather was a brisk 34°, but the paved course was clear and I was dressed warmly in my new birthday tights and vest (thanks Mom!) so I didn’t mind the conditions.  The race began at 9:15am and I took off with 553 other runners, eager to put down a good time on the relatively flat course.

I completed the first mile in 7:24 which is actually a little slower than I was hoping to go out.  I remember thinking that I wanted to go faster, but my legs felt sort of stiff and heavy and just didn’t want to pick up the pace.  (I guess due to the cold?? I warmed up but then stood around waiting at the start for a long time.)  Mile 2 was a similar effort at 7:36 and Mile 3 ended up a little slower at 7:54.  (In mile 3’s defense, however, it was all uphill!)  Despite the slow down in mile 3 I still managed to cross the finish line with an official time of 23:40, just 8 seconds slower than my personal best!

Turkey Trot Stats

Matt and Piper were waiting for me at the finish line.  Piper had kept herself busy during the race greeting dozens of people and meeting a few other spectating dogs (even one GSP!) so she was quite content to curl up on my lap on our drive home.  All in all this was a great way to start off the holiday and I definitely hope to keep doing turkey trots on Thanksgiving mornings in the future!

My next two races are both in West Chester, PA next weekend.  I will be running the 2 mile Jingle Elf Run on Friday night and the 5 mile Brian’s Run on Sunday afternoon.  Hopefully my legs will feel a little quicker for the short distance on Friday!  🙂

Miles since last post:  95.1
Days since last post:  19
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1620

Related Posts:
•  Metal Run 5K (11/8/14)
•  Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1/14)  [New PR!]
•  Bark in the Park 5K (10/25/14)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18/14)
•  Martin’s Run 5K (10/5/14)
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14) [PR]
•  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) [PR]
•  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) [PR]
•  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) [PR]
•  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)

The Metal Fun Run and Chili Cook-Off

Yesterday I ran the Metal Walk and Fun Run 5K in Wilmington, Delaware with Matt’s brother, Dylan.  The race was pretty casual — no numbers, official scoring or results — but I knew that going in and decided to just enjoy myself and have fun spending time with Matt, Dylan, and Dylan’s wife, Jena.  Oh, and Piper, too!  This was Piper’s first time spectating a race and I think she really liked getting petted by dozens of race participants and spectators.  🙂

Annie and Piper Metal Run

The Metal Walk/Run benefited the ATI Foundation, a branch of Dylan’s employer, ATI Physical Therapy.  The 5K course looped us around the Wilmington Riverfront which is surprisingly beautiful.  (I guess I just think of Wilmington as a city that I pass through on I-95 on my way to somewhere else… but there’s actually a very nice city around the highway!!)  In addition to offering gorgeous views of the Christiana River, the Riverfront course also was extremely FLAT, a feature that I don’t see much of where I live in PA.

Going into the race I really only had one goal — run negative splits!!!  I wanted to run the first mile in 7:50 and then have enough energy left to pick up the pace in the second and third miles.  This seemed very doable on paper but, as usual, didn’t turn out quite how I had planned!

I don’t own a GPS watch but I set my Runkeeper app to notify me at every half mile split so I could (theoretically) use that data stay on pace.  I wanted to hit my first split at right around 3:55, so I started the race out at what felt like a nice, controlled speed.  Then Runkeeper cheerily told me that I hit the first half mile in 3:29!!  Shoot!!!  My plan for a nice negative split race was already out the window and, despite adjusting my pace down for the rest of the first mile I still wound up with a 7:22 split.  Darn!  {Side note — Runners, how the heck do you manage to maintain a steady, normal pace for the first half mile of a race???  This skill seems to elude me.}

Metal Run Runkeeper Stats

During miles 2 and 3 I settled into a 7:50 pace (if only I could have started here!) and took in the beautiful riverfront views.  The course wound around a bit more before finishing back in the parking lot where we started.  There was no official scoring, but the finish line clock and my stopwatch agreed that I completed the 5K in 24:18.  Significantly slower than my hilly 23:32 finish last week, but I think that knowing this was an un-scored fun run definitely made me feel a little less competitive during the race.

The fun didn’t end with the 5K finish… we had CHILI to taste!!  The Metal Walk/Run event also included a competitive chili cook-off and race participants were given tickets for 5 chili tastings.  Matt, Dylan, Jena and I enjoyed generous samples of several types of chili and all agreed that one of the classic chili recipes with cornbread was our favorite.  The judges apparently agreed too because that chili won second place overall!  (We didn’t make it to the winner’s tasting but it must have been yummy if it beat our favorite!!)  Piper was great during all of this commotion, allowing Matt and I to pass her back and forth between us as we ate.  She even dozed off in my arms at one point… race spectating is hard work for a little pup!

After yesterday’s fun run, I have now raced 8 out of the last 9 weekends.  That’s a lot of racing!  I’ll be taking a break from my 5K addiction until Thanksgiving day when I’ll run the Seven Summits Turkey Trot.  I’m definitely looking forward to being able to sleep in on the weekends until then.  (That is, of course, if Piper will let me sleep in!)   😄

Miles since last post:  17.8
Days since last post:  4
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1524.7

Related Posts:
•  Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1/14)  [New PR!]
•  Bark in the Park 5K (10/25/14)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18/14)
•  Martin’s Run 5K (10/5/14)
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14) [PR]
•  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) [PR]
•  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) [PR]
•  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) [PR]
•  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)

Trinity Berwyn 5K (My 30th Birthday PR!!)

Last Saturday I had a big day.  I turned 30 and, perhaps MORE importantly, I ran a new personal best time in a 5K… 23:32!!  That time was a 9 second improvement on my previous best of 23:41 from The Pickle Run back in August.  Woohoo!

Annie after Trinity 5K

Saturday’s race was the Trinity Berwyn 5K, a local event hosted by the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Berwyn, PA.  I ran this race last year so I knew what to expect on the course… basically a huge downhill in the first mile and a frightening, soul-crushing uphill in the last mile.  Or at least the hill seemed soul-crushing last year… this year I must have FLOWN up that hill in order to finish with a new PR!  Here’s a breakdown of how Saturday’s race went:

Mile 1 – Wet Leaves Downhill (7:03 split)
I started out the race at what felt like a very controlled pace, trying to avoid going out too fast but at the same time wanting to take advantage of the big downhill.  It was windy and raining which didn’t bother me too much except that I was really worried about slipping on the wet leaves that were blanketing the road.  The leaves did have the positive effect of keeping my pace in check… if the footing had been better I would have definitely gone out much faster than I should have.

Also of note during mile 1… I ran by my grandma’s old house (sold 6-7 years ago) and observed a huge dumpster in the driveway.  I remembered wondering what construction they might be doing there before rolling into mile 2.  (During last year’s race I don’t even remember passing the house… funny how it was so much clearer this year!)

Mile 2 – Flat (7:34 split)
Mile 2 was all about maintaining my pace on the flat-ish neighborhood streets.  Due to the rain I had decided to run without music or headphones, meaning that I didn’t know exactly when the second mile started or what my first mile split had been.  (I had a stopwatch on but there were no mile markers on the course.)  I just ran ahead blindly, hoping that I was keeping up a pretty good pace.  I remember looking at my watch at 15:30 thinking “I must have finished the 2nd mile by now… right?” but now in hindsight I realize that I actually hit the 2 mile mark at 14:37.  Nice!

Trinity Runkeeper Stats

Mile 3 – HILL!!! (8:15 split)
Last year when I ran this 5K course the third mile took me 9 minutes, 42 seconds to complete because I had to stop and walk up the hill.  This year I knew the hill was coming and I attacked it!!  There’s a stretch of road where you can see the hill rising up ahead of you which is pretty intimidating.  I sometimes find myself automatically slowing down in anticipation of a hill, so during this section I kept telling myself that even though I could see the hill up ahead I wasn’t yet climbing the hill so there was no reason to slow down.  I kept moving at a pretty good clip and reached the top of the hill with about 0.3 miles to go.

At the top of the hill I glanced at my watch… 21:22.  I still didn’t have an exact idea of how far was left but I could hear the Trinity Church bell ringing over and over again through the wind and rain.  I knew that the course only took a few more turns before finishing in the church parking lot, and at that moment I decided that I was going to get a PR!

Last 0.1 – Birthday PR! (6:43 pace)
I hung on through the last few turns of the race, apparently picking up my pace as I went (according to RunKeeper, at least!).  I pounded into the parking lot and could see the race clock ticking away in the 23:20s… yes!!  I crossed the line and finished with an official time of 23:32.  Mission accomplished!!

Finishing Trinity 5K (PR!)

As previously mentioned, Saturday was my 30th birthday so this 5K was my first experience in the 30-39 age group.  If this race was any indication, the 30s are going to be tough.  I was 6th female overall but that was only good for 4th in the 30-39 age bracket!!  In an odd twist of fate the race director still had my age listed as 29 (maybe the computer doesn’t count my new age until the date has actually passed?) so they called me up in the awards ceremony for the top 20-29 AG award.  I explained to the announcer that I was now 30 and shouldn’t win the award but then a nice man from the church pushed a medal marked First Place 20-30 AG into my hands.  20-30?  Hmm.  That must be some kind of new award but OK, I’ll take it!  I’ll happily wait until my next 5k to officially vie for a “real” 30-39 AG award.

My next race will be the Metal Walk and Fun Run 5K in Wilmington, Delaware this Saturday.  I am excited because I’m going to have a very special spectator… Piper!  Matt’s going to watch the race with her on the sidelines and I can’t wait to snuggle her soft little puppy ears at the finish! 🙂

Miles since last post:  48.3
Days since last post:  10
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1506.9

Related Posts:
•  Bark in the Park 5K (10/25/14)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18/14)
•  Martin’s Run 5K (10/5/14)
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14)
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Bark In the Park 5K

Good morning! Well, by the time I post this blog it will probably be evening, but I am typing this from the car at 6:54am on Sunday morning as Matt and I are heading out to Wisconsin on a very important mission. I’ll tell you more about that in my next post! 🙂

Today’s post is a recap of the DelCo SPCA’s Bark in the Park 5K that I ran on Saturday at Rose Tree Park in Media, PA.  As the name implies, this was a dog-friendly event and runners were encouraged to race with a dog. I originally planned to run with Matt’s parents’ super-speedy GSP, Bella, but Bella wasn’t available so I switched things up and ran with Hershey the chocolate lab instead.

Hershey

Hershey is a sweet, loving 4 ½ year old pup who is extremely laid back and eager to please. She is not a runner (she’d much prefer to sleep all day!) so I was a little apprehensive about taking her to a 5K.  I ran a mile with her the day before the race to make sure that she could physically run and then showed up at the race Saturday morning hoping that she was ready to go!

When the race began Hershey shot out of the starting area with an uncharacteristic pep in her step and we happily ran our first mile together with her heeling impressively well at my side.  Good girl, Hershey!  Then the second mile came around and Hershey realized that this was not just a short jaunt in the park.  She slowed down significantly and by the second lap around the park’s cross country course I was running with my left arm extended out behind me, giving my running buddy an encouraging “come on, Hersh!” every minute or so.  Hershey never wanted to flat out stop but it was very clear that she had a different idea of what a comfortable 5K pace was.  Oh well!

We dragged our way around the second lap and focused on dodging the participants of the 1 mile walk that had started at the same time as the 5K.  The walkers took up an enormous amount of space on the course with their dogs wandering around at the end of their leashes, seemingly oblivious to the fact that a race was going on at the same time on the same course.  I don’t know how this could have been remedied, but it was certainly not ideal, especially since I had a dog of my own which made dodging the walkers that much more difficult.

Annie and Hershey 5K-

After about 21 minutes Hershey and I finally came into view of the finish line but we weren’t done quite yet (much to Hershey’s chagrin).  We ran past the finish and followed a poorly marked loop up and down a few more hills before turning back to finally cross the line.  We finished in 26:25*, good for 18th place overall out of 155 runners and 4th female.  I don’t know how many dogs were ahead of us but I think Hershey did a great job in her first 5K!

Bark in the Park Runkeeper

*The official race time clock was ticking away in the 29s when I finished and, according to the official results, my time was 29:32. I had both a stopwatch and Runkeeper recording my 26:25 finish so I am positive that the official time was not correct!

The Bark in the Park event benefited the Delaware County SPCA which is a great cause, but the 5K was poorly managed and I probably won’t go back next year. The race started 20 minutes late, parts of the course were virtually unmarked (especially that last loop to the finish), and the combination of the 5K runners with dogs trying to pass through the mob of oblivious walkers with dogs during the second lap of the course was just crazy. All of this plus the wildly inaccurate timing made Saturday a strange racing experience. Luckily, I was running purely to have fun and I think Hershey and I definitely accomplished that!! 🙂

Miles since last post:  37.4
Days since last post:  8
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1458.6

Related Posts:
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18/14)
•  Martin’s Run 5K (10/5/14)
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14)
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K

Two weeks ago when I ran Martin’s Run 5K and won $75 in gift certificates AND a signed baseball I was positive that I had hit the motherload of all 5K awards.  But guess what?  I was wrong because the raffle prizes that Matt and I won at this morning’s Fueled Up and Fired Up 5K in Wallingford, PA just paid for all of the 22 races that I’ve done in 2014!!  Here’s what we won:

  • A bucket of craft beer (pumpkin and fall varieties, of course!) and a gift certificate to Quotations, a gastropub in Media
  • Brunch for 6 at Brandywine Prime in Chadds Ford
  • And… drumroll, please… 150 gallons of heating oil from the event’s main sponsor, Wilson Oil!!

The heating oil alone is easily worth $450+ and is definitely something that we would otherwise be buying at this time of year so yeah, that just paid for all of my race entries from the last 10 months.  Thanks, Wilson Oil!  🙂

Annie Fueled Up

The race itself was pretty exciting too.  Last year’s Fueled Up 5K was my second race and I remember being so excited afterwards because I finished the race without walking (a big feat at the time!!) and I got a then PR-time of 26:51.  I knew going into today’s race that I can now run much faster, but I was curious to see how different my race and splits would be after 12 months of running.  Here’s a side by side comparison of last year vs. this year’s race!

I ran almost 3 minutes faster this year and finished with another sub-24 time (!!) of 23:56.  Woohoo!  As you can see in the stats above, I went out really fast but the first mile also had a huge downhill so that 7:16 pace felt surprisingly comfortable.  Matt and I passed one another a few times during the second mile as we wove through relatively flat neighborhoods, but then I pulled into the lead for good at the 2 mile marker, just before we entered the woods for the long climb up the paved Smedley-Leiper Trail.

Last year I vividly remember working SO HARD to keep from walking up the winding hills on the Smedley-Leiper Trail.  Apparently the race directors remember this too because this year they had a separately timed “King of the Hill” challenge that tracked the last 0.8 mile stretch for all of the 5K and 5 mile runners.  This was a fun idea and helped to give some additional insight about pacing and finishing speed.  I placed 7th overall in the 5K and, looking at the 5 mile results, if I had run the same pace in the 5 mile (not likely), I would have finished 8th overall.  So basically with all of the 5K and 5M runners lumped together for the last 0.8 mile stretch, I would be sitting in 14th place in terms of overall race pace.  But get this… for the King of the Hill challenge I ended up 8th overall!  So I actually ran up the big hill and finished the race at a much faster pace than several of the runners that had overall faster races.  (Sorry, that got a bit complicated there, but I find it interesting!)

Matt finished 13th overall and 2nd in his age group with a 24:46.

Matt finished 13th overall and 2nd in his age group with a 24:46.

My 23:56 finish time was good enough for 3rd place female and 1st in my age group which reminds me… I only have one more weekend to go before I join the 30-39 age group!!  I turn 30 on November 1st so I better have a good last race in the 20-29 AG in next Saturday’s Bark in the Park 5K.  As the name implies, the Bark in the Park is a dog friendly event so I will be borrowing Bella the GSP to run with me.  I’m looking forward to having a 4-legged racing buddy!

Miles since last post:  71.1
Days since last post:  13
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.88
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1421.2

Related Posts:
•  Martin’s Run 5K (10/5/14)
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14)
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Martin’s Run 5K

This morning I ran Martin’s Run 5K at my favorite local running spot, Ridley Creek State Park.  I’ll skip the race for a moment go right to the takeaways… check out these goodies!!  Best 5K haul EVER, right???

Prizes from Martin's Run

Yup, you’re seeing that right.  That’s a first place age group medal, a $25 gift certificate to Giant, a $50 gift cert to Buca di Beppo, a snazzy red t-shirt, and, oh yeah… a baseball autographed by Phillies first baseman, Ryan Howard!  The gift certificates were part of the (extremely generous) age group award and the baseball was the lucky result of $5 worth of raffle tickets that I bought on a whim after the race.  Good job, me!

The race itself was pretty awesome as well.  The 46° start temperature was the coldest weather I’ve run in since April and it felt fantastic.  We started on the park’s multi-use trail right at picnic area 17 and followed an out and back course over relatively flat terrain.  There was a downhill right before the turnaround point (and, consequently, an uphill right after the turnaround point!), but it really didn’t feel too hard after the hills at Run A Muck two weeks ago.

Unfortunately I have no idea what my splits were in today’s race.  Runkeeper occasionally likes to torment me by losing its GPS signal and bouncing my path all over the map, resulting in wildly inaccurate splits.  The app worked normally for my warm up and cool down, but decided to go haywire during the actual race, cheerfully reporting that I completed my first mile in a mere 3 minutes, 51 seconds when I had barely made it through the first half mile.  I was able to manually correct the course lines after the race but the timing data was lost.  Oh well!  I had a timer going on my (non-GPS) watch during the race as well so I filled in the few spots where I happened to look at it on the map below.

Martin's Run Runkeeper Stats

Regardless of what my splits were, I’m really happy with how today’s race went.  I finished in 23:54, 3rd place female, 1st place AG, and 13th overall out of 104 participants.  That’s two sub-24 races in a row!!!  🙂

Matt skipped today’s race but it turns out that I wasn’t alone.  I found two friends from my Monday night running group before the race started.  Yay!  I also came across a big, green Philadelphia celebrity after the race and got my picture taken with him…

Me with the Phillie Phanatic

I’ll be taking a break from racing next weekend because Matt and I will be busy partying it up with my brother-in-law and his soon-to-be wife at their wedding!!  Then my next race will be the Fueled Up and Fired Up 5K on October 18th.  Last year’s Fueled Up was the first 5K that I did without walking and I’m looking forward to seeing how much faster I can finish this year!

Miles since last post:  39.2
Days since last post:  7
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.86
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1350.1

Related Posts:
•  Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27/14)
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14)
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Haverford Township Day 5K

Annie on the Pennsy Trail

Yesterday morning Matt and I ran a mixed surface road/trail 5K in Havertown, PA.  The 8:30am race kicked off Haverford Township Day, a local festival with a parade, craft vendors, a flea market and live music.

The race began at Haverford Middle School and we wound around a few neighborhoods before spending a mile or so on a long, straight trail.  This was no ordinary trail, though… it was the old right of way for the Newtown Square Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad!  I’m a huge local history buff and I’m not gonna lie… that mile of trail was the primary reason we ran this race.  I love how railroads helped shape the development of communities and how their right of ways still play a role in routing of roads and potential public-use rail trails.  I also grew up in and still live in Newtown Square so this particular rail line is especially interesting to me.

If you love local history as much as I do, you can read more about the Newtown Square Branch and see the original, interactive version of the map above at AbandonedRails.com.
The Newtown Square Branch was closed down in the 1960s, and by the time I was born in the mid-eighties the tracks were gone and all that remained of the line were some old trestles and the right-of-way that we ran on yesterday.  If you love local history as much as I do, you can read more about the Newtown Square Branch and see the original, interactive version of the map above at AbandonedRails.com.

Although I was excited about the rail trail for historical reasons, it wasn’t exactly a fast running surface for a race.  Parts of the trail were covered with a thick layer of fresh, damp wood chips, which felt a bit like running in sand.  I definitely slowed down during the mile on the trail and was very happy to leave the railroad behind and return to paved roads just before the 2nd mile marker.

Back on the pavement I realized that I could see Matt a short distance ahead of me.  I passed him with a little over a half mile to go in the race and then set my sights on a woman who was maybe 50 feet ahead.  I wanted to go by her but was a little worried about using up my energy to pass her only to have her come up from behind and beat me at the finish.  With this in mind I stuck right behind her for the last half mile and then passed her as the finish line came into view.  She responded immediately by picking up her pace big time but by then I was determined to beat her.  We sprinted to the finish and I felt my legs go into a whole new gear (thank you, track workouts!!!!) as I blasted across the finish line in the lead.  Woohoo!

I often feel like I “sprint” to the finish of a 5K but yesterday I was actually sprinting for real.  Runkeeper shows my last 0.1 mile split at 4:58 pace and my final push at 4:20/mile.  Runkeeper isn’t perfectly accurate by any means, but I was definitely going fast!!!  I finished with a time of 23:50 (only 9 seconds off of my all-road 5K best!), good enough for 34th overall and 12th place woman.  Also, I’m totally psyched about my last mile split:  7:34!!!  🙂

Haverford Township 5K Runkeeper Stats

Matt finished right behind me in 23:56.  He told me afterwards that when I passed him during the race he wanted to tell me to go catch that girl ahead of us.  With that in mind I’m glad that I did catch her and that Matt was able to see it happen!

Matt on the Newtown Square Branch right-of-way

Matt on the Newtown Square Branch right-of-way

We ran a short cool down on the rail-trail so that I could take a better, slower look at it and then stuck around for the awards (Matt won a door prize!) before heading home.  All in all it was a fun morning with a great atmosphere and exciting course.  I’d go back again next year, especially if those wood chips get a little more compacted on the rail trail!

Miles since last post:  38.4
Days since last post:  7
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1310.9

Related Posts:
•  Run A Muck 5K-ish Trail Race (9/20/14)
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14)
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Run A Muck Trail Race

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

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

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

Run A Muck Runkeeper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Related Posts:
•  Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13/14)
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14)
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

TALK 5K Trail Run

OK, so I know I said in my last race recap that my next race would be Run A Muck on September 20th, but I just had to sneak in another local trail race last Saturday.  Run A Muck 2013 was my racing debut last September and with this past weekend’s event on the books I’ve now run a total of 25 races in a year!  (That may count as an official 5K addiction, right?)  I’ll probably do some sort of stats post about all of those races eventually, but for now let’s just say that I’m going to feel a LOT more comfortable at the start line of next week’s Run A Muck than I did last year!  🙂

But back to this weekend’s race recap…  On Saturday Matt and I ran the TALK 5K, a trail race on the beautiful grounds of the Garrett Williamson Foundation in Newtown Square, PA.  We live in Newtown Square so I loved getting the chance to see the Foundation’s trails and woods that are usually closed to the public!  The 5K benefited the TALK Institute which, according to the school’s web site, is the nation’s most progressive center for the education of children with autism and language disorders.

I loved getting a chance to see the Garrett Williamson Foundation's beautiful grounds -- look at that view!

I loved getting a chance to see the Garrett Williamson Foundation’s beautiful grounds — look at that view!

I wanted to run this 5K as a warm up for Run A Muck, so I went into the race with a plan: take it easy during miles 1 and 2 and then push pretty hard for the final mile.  I had no total race time in mind, but as a reference my trail run PR was 25:49 (that’s what it was before Saturday, anyway) so I thought that a time around there would be nice.  Here’s how things ended up playing out:

Mile 1 (8:30 goal, 7:51 actual) – I made a point of starting out really easy and staying very comfortable and relaxed during mile one.  I was surprised that most of this mile was actually on pavement (much easier to run on than trails!) and there was a little downhill as well, so my split ended up a lot faster than planned.  I still count this split as a success because I felt very relaxed the whole time and went into the next mile feeling energized.

Mile 2 (8:20 goal, 9:00 actual) – OK, so I felt great coming off mile 1, but at the start of mile 2 the course turned into the woods and plunged down a treacherous, rocky hill (the kind of downhill that’s not even fun because you’re too busy dodging rocks!)  The rest of the mile was challenging, with more trails and a serious up hill climb.  I missed my goal time, but the numbers don’t reflect the fact that I passed at least THREE men going up one of the hills.  The men had all slowed to a walk and I was able to keeping running right past them and then – miraculously – somehow I accelerated off the top of the hill and totally left them in the dust.  Slow split or not, I’m counting mile 2 as a big victory for that reason alone!

Mile 3 (sub-8 goal, 8:06 actual) – Mile 3 continued with the uphill trend (we really paid for that rocky downhill from mile 1) but I felt strong and was able to accelerate quite a bit.  When the course exited the woods I realized that I could see Matt in the field ahead of me (and I saw him see me as he rounded a corner… watch out, Matt, here I come!!).  I decided that today was the day to try to catch him and with around a quarter mile to go in the race I pulled even with him.  We ran together for a few strides, then I pulled ahead!

Matt, right after he beat me across the finish line!!!

Matt, right after he beat me across the finish line!!!

Final 0.1 Mile – I pounded through the final stretch, dodging the 1 mile walk participants who were just making their way back to the start/finish line.  With mere feet separating me from the line I saw a blur fly past me – MATT!! – and, just like that, Matt caught back up and managed to beat me.  Darn it!!  I’ll have to remember to sprint harder across the finish line next time!!! 🙂  We both ended up with the same time (25:40, a new trail PR for me!) which put us at 13th and 14th overall.  I was also 4th place woman and 2nd in my age group.  Cool!

Talk 5K Runkeeper Stats

Overall, the TALK 5K was a great experience.  It was clear that the race organizers, participants and volunteers were happy to be spending their Saturday morning supporting a good cause and the race atmosphere was very positive and upbeat.  At this point I think that it was a good mental warm up for Run A Muck next week… we’ll see how that race goes (and if I finally get to beat Matt?) next weekend!  🙂

Miles since last post:  77.8
Days since last post:  15
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.83
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1242.8

 

Related Posts:
•  Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28/14)
•  Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17/14)
•  Riddlewood Swim Club 5K (8/3/14)
•  Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K (7/18/14)
•  Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10/14)
•  Media 5 Miler (6/20/14)
•  Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1/14)
•  Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30/14)
•  Run for Victory 5K (5/18/14)
•  Elwyn 5K (5/3/14)
•  St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
•  Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
•  Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
•  Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

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)