Piper goes Viral after hiking Crum Woods

Holy Cow.  This photo of Piper has received over 23,000 views on Flickr since yesterday morning:

Piper's Famous Photo

I wonder… does having 23,000 views qualify as “going viral”?  It is certainly the most buzz any content that I’ve ever created has garnered in a short period of time!  To her credit, Piper is pretty freakin’ adorable in this photo so I don’t blame those 23,000 people for clicking on her photo.  😉  The full resolution image can be viewed here if you’re interested in seeing it in all its viral glory on Flickr.


Anyway… I took The Photo while hiking with Pipe and Matt in Crum Woods.  This 220-acre woodland is situated on the western edge of Swarthmore College’s campus in Delaware County, PA.  It features 3.5 miles of hiking trails, fantastic views of Crum Creek, and a giant railroad bridge that carries Septa’s Media/Elwyn line over the creek.

To access the Crum Woods trail we parked on the western (opposite) side of Crum Creek at the Leiper-Smedley trail parking lot off of Avondale Road and walked down Avondale to Yale Ave.  The trails in this southern section of Crum Woods were dotted with tree roots and sloped steeply down to the creek, but the path evened out to a nice walking trail once we made it north of the trailhead by the Swarthmore College fieldhouse.

I love train tracks and bridges, so it’s no surprise that my favorite part of Crum Woods was where the Septa rail line crossed Crum Creek.  Just before reaching the bridge the trail emerged out of the woods into “Crum Meadow,” where Piper licked her first frozen puddle and we had great views of the trestles crossing the creek.  The view from under the bridge was even more impressive and I may have made Matt and Piper wait around for 5-10 minutes just in case a train came along while we were under it.  (Sadly, we did not see a train.)

Leiper-Smedley Trail

After reaching the northern terminus of Crum Woods, we decided to make the hike more interesting by looping back to our car via the paved Leiper-Smedley trail on the other side of the creek.  Unfortunately Crum Woods and Leiper-Smedley are not officially connected on the northern end, so in order to access L-S we had to jog a short stretch of Plush Mill Road and skirt along the shoulder until we reached the trailhead.  We were lucky that Piper was still small enough for Matt to easily carry her during this stretch… this impromptu trail connection would not have been ideal if we had had a larger dog or small children in tow.

Our return trip along the Leiper-Smedley Trail was uneventful and mostly downhill, woohoo!  I’ve run on this trail several times, most recently going UP the trail in the other direction at the Fueled Up and Fired Up 5K in September.  The trail is well marked and has a much less exciting train bridge on it than Crum Woods… but it’s a train bridge nonetheless, so of course I took a picture!!

I definitely enjoyed our Crum Woods hike because I had never been to Crum Woods before, but overall it was a bit of a choppy walk and there are probably better hiking loops in the area.  The southern portion of the trail was a little treacherous and the northern end didn’t technically connect to Leiper-Smedley, but with good hiking shoes and a quick jog up Plush Mill Road we made it work.  Plus, Piper thoroughly enjoyed herself and was very tired afterwards… Mission Accomplished!!!

Piper having fun on the hike

Useful Links:
Crum Woods Web Site
Official Crum Woods Trail Map & Brochure (PDF)
High-res version of Crum Woods Map with our 4 mile hike overlayed (JPG)

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)

Another 5K in the Books!

Matt and I ran another 5K this morning and it was fun!!  I had two goals going into the race:  #1 – Don’t walk and #2 – Finish in under 30 minutes.  Not only did I run the whole thing, I finished in under 27 minutes!!  I’m still surprised!

Fueled Up 5K Annie

The “Fueled Up & Fired Up Pick 5 Challenge” race took place in Matt’s hometown of Wallingford, PA and was sponsored by Wilson Oil & Propane.  We started at the Wallingford train station and wound around neighborhoods for two miles before tackling the hilly Smedley-Leiper Trail that parallels the Blue Route (I-476).  Thankfully, the race finished with a nice downhill towards the Wilson Oil parking lot.

Matt was the 7th finisher overall with a time of 24:52 and I was the 4th female to cross the line with a 26:51.  We both ended up first in our 20-29 age group which was kind of cool.  Granted, there were only a few people in our age group and the entire 5K race only had 67 entries, but I was still pretty excited!

Fueled Up 5K Matt

I had a very different strategy for this race than I had for the Run-A-Muck 5K we ran last month.  I tackled the Run-A-Muck with no watch, no music, no iPhone… just me and nature.  Because of this, I went out way too fast in that race and then mentally gave up on the hills and walked (a lot).  I also took a big gulp of water at a water station during the Run-A-Muck which made me feel sick for the rest of the race.  I tried to apply what I learned last month in today’s race.  I used RunKeeper to track my pace, I had a nice, upbeat music playlist to listen to, and I didn’t stop for water.  I’ve also been practicing running up hills in my neighborhood which helped me mentally when I got to a long uphill near the end of today’s race.  All in all a big improvement!  🙂

Here’s RunKeeper’s summary of today’s race.  (The finish time is a bit off because I was late hitting the stop button.)  The hills in the Smedley-Leiper trail definitely hurt my pace in the 3rd mile but overall this was much faster than I was expecting.

Fueled Up 5K Stats from Runkeeper

Here’s my latest mile tally.  Many of these miles were done on the elliptical due to my sore foot but it seemed that cross-training worked because my foot feels a lot better now!

Miles since last post:  69.6
Days since last post:  17
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 5.03

Our next 5K is next Sunday and then we’re entered in another one the following Saturday.  Go big or go home, right?

Related Posts:
•  Limping my Way to 400 Miles (10/3/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  300 miles and a 5K in my future (9/9/13)
•  200 miles!  (8/26/13)
•  100 Miles in 21 Days! (8/7/13)
•  100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge: 49 Miles to Go! (7/29/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)