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)

Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K

Woohoo!  First obstacle race COMPLETE!  This morning Matt and I ran the Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K at Radnor Hunt in Malvern, PA.  The event web site proclaims that this is “NOT YOUR ORDINARY 5K RACE!” and they aren’t kidding!  The course included multiple horse jumps, ditches, and three trips through muddy, mucky water jumps.  What fun!

Water Jump #1 - we went straight through that muck and up the bank!

I spent hundreds of hours of my childhood on the grounds of Radnor Hunt.  In the 90s I was a proud member of Radnor Hunt Pony Club and I used to love dashing around and jumping over the horse jumps on foot after finishing up on horseback.  (I’m pretty sure this is why I became a hurdler once I started running track.)  I must admit, however, that clearing the jumps today was harder than I remembered… probably because as a kid I wasn’t also running a 5K in between the obstacles!

Today’s course was challenging, with steep hills and tall grass (and jumps, obviously).  By now I’ve done a few XC races but it still surprises me how much harder it is to run on grass than pavement, especially with soaking wet shoes!  Nevertheless, I ran hard and felt pretty positive throughout the entire race.  I’ve been doing speed workouts on the track for 3 weeks in a row now and I kept finding myself thinking in terms of track intervals like, at the halfway-ish point: “only 3 x 800s left to go… I can do that!” or, at the .25 to go mark, “just one more lap!!”  Despite feeling really tired on some of the steep uphill climbs, I was happily surprised at the finish as I kicked it in with what felt like a whole new level of speed than I am used to having at the end of a race.

I finished with a chip time of 27:49, 26th out of 265 women and 5th in my age group.  Matt finished in 27:05, 91st out of 289 men and 6th in his age group.  We agreed after the race that the hardest obstacle was by far the sequence where we ran into a water jump (deeper than the one shown above), then had to climb out of the water up a ~3 ft. bank before going over an enormous log jump.  That’s the one jump I actually sat on in the process of climbing over… it was big (and wet and muddy from everyone’s waterlogged shoes!)  I definitely gained a new appreciation for horses on today’s XC course.  🙂

Our next race will be the Firehouse Pickle in the Streets on August 28th.  This is a prediction format race where you guess your time in advance and then there’s a beer garden and BBQ afterwards.  Oh, and the course is fast, flat and ON PAVEMENT!  🙂 Looking forward to it!

Miles since last post:  72.5
Days since last post:  14
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.82
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1095

 

Related Posts:
•  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)

Riddlewood 5K and a familiar face in a random meme!

This morning I ran the Riddlewood Swim Club 5K and I was the first woman to cross the finish line!  But first, check out this totally random picture that I saw while scrolling through my Facebook feed this afternoon…

Bailey meme

That’s my BAILEY!!!  Somebody turned one of her flying dockdogs photos into an internet meme that’s being shared around Facebook.  Cool!  I don’t know who added the words but it definitely made me smile to see the determined, non-nonsense look on her little brown face as she flies through the air.  If you’re interested, you can view (and share) the original Facebook post here.

But back to running… I signed up last minute for a little 5K race this morning and it went really well!  The race was sponsored by the Riddlewood Swim Club and the course wound around the extremely hilly “Riddlewood” neighborhood of Media, PA.  I’m a big fan of local history so I have to share a quick bit of trivia behind the Riddlewood name:

“The name [Riddlewood] comes from famous racehorse owner Samuel D. Riddle, who owned the property before it was developed in the 1950s. The names of the streets in Riddlewood are named after Sam Riddle’s horses as follows: Man o’ War, War Admiral, War Trophy, Rampart East, Rampart West, Anamosa, and Soldier Song.”  (Source: Wikipedia)

Man o’ War was, according to Wikipedia, one of the greatest Thoroughbred race horses of all time.  He sired Triple Crown Winner War Admiral and was the grandfather (grandhorse?) to Seabiscuit.  Man o’ War’s owner, Sam Riddle died in 1951 and left his estate to be turned into what is now Riddle Memorial Hospital (and also Riddlewood!).  As another local twist, it was Sam’s relatives the Jeffords family that owned the estate that is now my favorite running spot, Ridley Creek State Park.

OK… history lesson over!

Riddlewood Runkeeper Stats

The 5K itself was tiny, with only around 30 participants.  We started by running straight up a steep hill and kept climbing for what felt like the entire first mile.  Around the halfway point the course took us along an equally steep downhill before looping by the swim club and going right back up the huge hill again.  Talk about a good hill workout!  🙂

I felt like I managed all of these hills pretty well and during the second lap’s climb I was actually able to pass two guys who had been in front of me for the whole race.  I pulled away from them and set my sights on a younger guy that was about 200 feet ahead of me.  I knew that the finish was going to be a steep downhill and I really thought I could catch this guy, but he picked up his pace significantly during the last 1/4 mile or so and I couldn’t quite get him.  As it was, I ended up finishing the race with a 7:53 third mile split (my fastest last mile ever!) and clocked a ridiculous 5:10 split on my final 0.1 mile.  I was running into the finish so fast that I thought I might fall over!

Struggling to keep my balance down the hill into the finish.

Struggling to keep my balance down the hill into the finish.

In addition to running my best third mile split, today also marks the first time that I’ve ever raced purely negative splits!  Of course, the fact that the whole first mile was uphill and the third mile was primarily flat or downhill certainly helped this happen, but I’m still pretty psyched!  Oh, and also, I was the first place woman!  Woohoo!  🙂

Annie at Riddlewood

My next race will be the Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K on August 17th.  That is an XC race with horse jumps so it should be VERY interesting!!

Miles since last post:  38.7
Days since last post:  7
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.80
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1022.5

 

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

Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K

Way back on Friday, July 18th I ran the Swarthmore Lion’s Independence Eve 8K.  (Latest race recap ever, I know!)  As the name suggests, the “Independence Eve” 8K was supposed to be held on July 3rd but due to severe storms it was postponed.  This was fine with me – the make up date ended up being a beautiful, low-humidity July evening.  I love it when the weather cooperates on race day!

After the Swat 8K Race

Swarthmore is a quiet residential town located west of Philadelphia in Delaware County, PA.  The race started near the borough hall at 7PM and the course wound through the beautiful wooded campus of Swarthmore College before coming back through the tiny town center and looping around on neighborhood streets.  There were around 100 runners (including lots of very fast kids!!) which I thought was an ideal size after experiencing the Media 5 Mile’s 1600 competitors.

Swat 8K start

Swarthmore 8K start on Park Avenue

I started off at a nice steady pace (7:58) as the first mile took us onto Swarthmore College’s campus and up a long, winding hill.  I knew the hill was coming (but was still surprised by how steep it was!) and I remember feeling encouraged by the fact that we would soon get to run back down the hill at around the 2nd mile marker.  Sure enough, what goes up must come down and I happily cruised down the hill as Milky Chance’s “Stolen Dance” pumped through my earbuds with a comfortable second mile split of 8:03.

“Stolen Dance” is my new favorite running song, second only Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound,” which Pandora thoughtfully started to play just as I felt like I was losing some steam as I passed the 3 mile marker.  I really tried to pick up my pace, but that 4th mile still ended up being my slowest.  As I reached the 4 mile point a spectator was calling out splits.  Very helpful in theory, but actually extremely UNhelpful because she clearly had assumed that the race started promptly at 7:00:00 PM (it didn’t) SO, she was giving us times that were about 2 1/2 minutes slower than they should have been.  I was crushed for about 200 yards after hearing her call out 34:34 as I passed (how could I have slowed down to an 11 minute 4th mile?!?) until my Runkeeper belatedly chimed in to tell me that my 4th mile split was in fact 8:19 and that my total race time so far was still in the 32’s.  That cheered me right up, especially as I realized that I was on track to crush my old 5 mile PR of 42:47.  YIPPEE!!!

As the finish line clock swam into view I was completely shocked to see it still ticking away in the low 40s. !!!  I decided that I was going to cross that line by 40:30 and I sprinted towards the finish, leaning across the electronic chip line like I was back in a college 100m hurdle race (in the heat of the moment I forgot that this doesn’t remotely matter in a chip-timed distance race, but whatever..).  My clock finish time was exactly 40:30 and my chip time was 40:28.  WOOHOO!!!!!

I ran a cool down and got back to the borough hall just as the awards were starting.  I was pleasantly surprised to get a 2nd place age group medal (there were only 5 females total in my age group) but mostly I’m just thrilled by my 5 mile time.  A 40:30 finish means that I averaged an 8:06 pace and before that slow 4th mile time my 5K split was likely sub-25.  After spending all Winter and Spring hunting down a sub-25 5K time I’m tickled that I can apparently run that fast now in a 5 MILE race with a huge uphill climb.  I can’t wait to see what I can do in some road 5Ks once the weather starts to get nice this Fall!!  🙂

That’s enough blogging for today – the weather is gorgeous this afternoon so I’m headed out to a local running store’s group 5 mile run.  Happy running, everyone!

 

Miles since last post:  67.4
Days since last post:  16
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.79
2014 TOTAL MILES: 983.8

 

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

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)