SRA New Year’s Day 5K

1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi.
THAT’S how close I came to beating my 5K PR this morning!!

After Swarthmore 5K with Piper

I kicked off my 2015 with the S.R.A New Year’s Day 5K in Swarthmore, PA.  The weather was sunny and brisk and the race was well organized with a great turnout of around 220 runners.  The course was fun and relatively flat, starting and finishing with laps on the Swarthmore College track.

I really wanted to run a new personal best in this race.  As the opening line of this post indicates, I did not quite get my PR, but I feel confident saying that I put forth the absolute best effort that I was capable of today.  Although my official finish time of 23:36 was 4 seconds short of my PR from November’s Trinity Berwyn 5K, I think this was still my fastest 5K pace ever (Trinity might have been a little short) and I certainly FELT like I was running my hardest the while time!  Apparently my new Garmin heart rate monitor agrees… I averaged 192 bpm and maxed out at 202 bpm in the final 0.1 miles… I have no idea what my max heart rate is but that’s probably pretty close!!

The first mile of the race included a lap around the track and a gentle uphill and before I knew it my Garmin was beeping a 7:14 first split.  Good start!  As the second mile began I focused on my cadence, quickly getting my feet down on the pavement, especially when I started to feel a little tired.  The second mile was over in 7:46… not quite where I wanted to be but my second mile tends to be my slowest.

SRA New Year's 5K Stats

I knew that if I was going to beat my PR I would need to maintain around a 7:30 pace.  My first two splits averaged out to exactly 7:30 but I was feeling a little discouraged (and a lot tired) at the start of mile 3.  I kept focusing on my cadence (which apparently worked… I averaged 179 steps per minute throughout the whole race!) and tried to stay strong.  I saw Matt and Piper cheering me on by the college field house at the 21 minute mark and entered the stadium at 21:47 with a lap to go.  I knew at that point that I wasn’t going to quite get my PR but I still ran that last quarter mile as hard as I could.  I crossed the line with an official chip time of 23:36, just 4 seconds shy of my goal.

Last Lap

Overall today wasn’t easy.  I stayed strong, I ran hard and then I ran even harder when I felt like I was already going as fast as I could go.  Although I would have loved to start the new year with a PR I still feel very proud of my effort in Swarthmore today.  Oh, and my 23:36 finish was good enough for 7th woman overall AND 2nd place in my age group!  I got an awesome wooden medal with downtown Swarthmore etched on it (so cool!!) which is probably my favorite piece of race swag yet.  (Except for maybe the 150 gallons of heating oil that Matt and I won in a race raffle in September, that was pretty good too. 😜)

My next race is Saturday (I guess I should stop drinking beer and start re-hydrating now??) when I tackle the Athlete’s Closet 5K course in West Chester for the 5th time.  I’ll see how I feel by then but that race will probably end up being a little more laid back than today’s speedy tour of Swarthmore!

Miles since last post: 83.8
Days since last post:  18
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.86
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1773
2015 MILES: 4.6

Past Races:
•  December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5), Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7), Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
•  November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [PR], Metal Run 5K (11/8), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27)
•  October ’14: Martin’s Run 5K (10/5), Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18), Bark in the Park 5K (10/25)
•  September ’14: Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13), Run A Muck Trail Race (9/20), Haverford Township Day 5K (9/27)
•  August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [PR]
•  July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18)
•  June ’14: Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1), Media 5 Miler (6/20)
•  May ’14: Elwyn 5K (5/3), Run for Victory 5K (5/18) [PR], Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30)
•  April ’14: Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/, Rick’s Run 5K (4/19), St. Tim’s 5K (4/26)
•  March ’14: Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1), Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30)
•  February ’14: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1)
•  January ’14: Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4)
•  December ’13: Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14), New Year’s Eve YMCA 5K (12/31) [PR]
•  November ’13: Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2), Turkey Trot 5K (11/28)
•  October ’13: Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19), Oy Vey 5K (10/27) [PR]
•  September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K

Yesterday morning I ran the Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K, the first of four races in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series in West Chester, PA.  I ran this series last winter and had fun (despite the 10° temperature for January’s race!) so I signed up again for the whole series this year.

Annie and Piper after AC#1--

As usual, Matt and Piper came along to watch — race-spectating is a great way to socialize and tire out a puppy!  Matt and Piper went for a walk during the race and, much to Matt’s surprise, they discovered a paddock full of llamas right in the middle of an otherwise normal suburban neighborhood street!!  Piper and the llamas seemed equally fascinated by one another… the llamas trotted right over to the fence to check her out and Piper watched cautiously from the other side of the street, blurting out a few tentative “woofs” to see what they’d do (the llamas didn’t care).  Matt brought me over to the llamas to show me Piper’s reaction after the race was over.  Very funny!

Piper sees the llamas-

But back to the race… I remembered from last year’s races that this 5K course isn’t particularly exciting or easy.  It zig-zags out through hilly neighborhoods, loops around a bit and then zig-zags back to the finish.  I find the constant turns to be disorienting (I never know which direction I’m pointing until I get back to the road where the finish line is) but after running this course three times last winter I at least have a better idea of when to expect the next hill.

Athlete's Closet #1 Stats-

The first mile of the race flew by in a quick 7:29.  The second mile suddenly felt a lot harder and crept by in a sluggish-feeling 8:11.  But then my legs redeemed themselves during mile 3 when I was able to pick up my pace up a long hill (passing 2 people!) and then finish strong with a final split of 7:57.  After running two races last weekend I went into this race just wanting to have fun and stay relaxed and with a finish time of 23:55 I think I certainly accomplished that goal!

I’ll be capping off 2014 with two final events: a fun, 3 mile prediction run at The Running Place next weekend and then the New Year’s Eve 5K at the Upper Main Line YMCA.  Last year I ran a PR at the New Year’s Eve race and I’ve already set my sights on a new PR there this year!

Miles since last post: 21.4
Days since last post:  5
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1693.8

Related Posts:
•  Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7/14)
•  Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5/14)
•  Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27/14)
•  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)

Brian’s Run Race Recap

On Sunday I ran the 37th Annual Brian’s Run, a well-attended, well-organized local race in West Chester, PA.  The race went really, really well.  The sun was shining, the crowd support was fantastic, and oh yeah… I ran a HUGE PR!!  I finished the 5 mile course in 39:11, nearly a minute and 20 seconds faster than my previous best time from the Swarthmore 8K in July.  Woohoo!!

Billy, Piper and Annie after Brian's Run-

There were so many good things about Sunday’s race.  My brother Billy ran with me (well, not WITH me because he took off at the start and beat me by 20 seconds, but still, he was there!) and Matt and Piper formed our personal cheering section.  I passed them about a mile and a quarter into the race and smiled for the camera… I think my expression pretty much sums up how I was feeling!

Racing Happy!

Control was my keyword for the 5 mile course.  I have often struggled with going out too fast in a 5K and then feeling really terrible with a mile to go.  I did not want to make that mistake in a 5 mile race so I really focused on making sure that my first mile was comfortable, relaxed and under control.  I checked my Garmin throughout the first mile and knew that I was going fast (it ended up being a 7:33 split), but I felt really good so I just rolled with it.

Much to my surprise, I maintained that first mile high straight through the second mile, completing that in a time of 7:42.  Then the course plunged down a big hill and the fun began… hill after hill after hill!  (Or at least it felt that way.)  I definitely slowed down for miles 3 and 4, but I still felt strong and in control.  I’ve been doing a lot of hill work in my neighborhood so hills are no longer as intimidating as they used to be.  🙂

Because I had banked some time during the first two miles I wasn’t too worried when my Garmin beeped an 8:09 and 8:16 for my middle miles.  Ok, maybe I was a little worried by that 8:16, but by then I had just a mile to go!  After a final hill climb I returned to flatter ground and completed the race with a lap around the big red Henderson High School track.  It was a fun way to end a race!  Shockingly, I somehow picked up my pace enough during the last mile to put down my fastest split of the day.  I didn’t see that coming!

Brian's Run Stats-

I finished with an official time of 39:11, good enough for 133rd overall out of 582 runners, 31st female and 15th in my age group.  The full results are here… check out that first place finish time of 24:35, whoa!

All in all Brian’s Run was a great experience and I definitely hope to run this race again next year.  After a fall full of 5Ks it was exciting to compete at a different distance and very gratifying when I ran such a big PR.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I totally wiped out on a sidewalk grate in Philly after a party on Saturday night, falling on my butt and side so hard that I cut my elbow through a winter jacket and sweater, so I guess I’m also thankful that I was even ABLE to run on Sunday!  (City dwellers know, I’m sure, that metal grates get very slippery when it’s raining… I learned my lesson Saturday night!)

My next race will be the first of the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series 5Ks next Saturday morning.  After last weekend’s double races I’m just planning on going out and having fun!

Miles since last post: 16.1
Days since last post:  3
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1672.4

Related Posts:
•  Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5/14)
•  Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27/14)
•  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)

Jingle Elf Run (Automatic 2 Mile PR!)

On Friday night I ran the Jingle Elf Run in West Chester, PA.  The 2 mile race circled through downtown West Chester and kicked off the borough’s GIGANTIC Christmas parade.  I had no idea how big the parade and surrounding festivities were going to be beforehand but let me tell you, West Chester takes the holidays seriously!

After driving around for 25 minutes trying to find parking (and finally ending up on the 6th floor of a parking garage because the first 5 were completely full already!) Matt, Piper and I finally arrived at Chester County Running Store to pick up my bib.  Despite a steady drizzle West Chester’s Market Street was already packed with spectators at 6:15 (the parade didn’t start until 7:30!) and there were TV lights and stages and barricades everywhere.  It was a very exciting atmosphere for a race!

Piper and Annie after Jingle Elf

Promptly at 6:30 the race began and 181 runners (many dressed as elves) surged up Market Street towards the TV lights.  The race course was 2 laps around a nice, easy-to-remember rectangular route that was relatively flat and wide with nice turns and fantastic crowd support.  We ran west on Market, turned north on New for a block, then came east on Gay Street, West Chester’s main restaurant and shopping area, before a quick turn south on Matlack which brought us back to the bright lights of Market.

I had never run a 2 mile race before Friday so I knew that whatever I ran was going to be an automatic personal best.  My goal was to beat my 5K PR pace of 7:36 but I also really wanted to break 15 minutes.  I went out FAST, knowing that I only had to maintain my speed for 2 miles instead of the usual 3.1.  I was wrapped up in the crowd and festivities during the first mile and didn’t notice how fast I was going until my Garmin beeped my first mile split… 6:51.8 !!!!!  Yep, pretty darn fast.  I was going through the TV lights when I saw that so if anyone took a picture of me I’m sure they couldn’t miss the big grin on my face when I saw that split.  😀

Of course after my blazing fast first mile I still had another to go.  I really tried to stay strong for that final mile but let me tell you… Gay Street seemed much longer the second time around!!  With about 1/4 mile to go I saw Matt and Piper cheering me on from the sidewalk and I picked up my pace to the finish (I tried, at least).  My garmin chirped a 2nd mile split of 7:24 shortly before I crossed the finish line with an official time of 14:33.  Yes!!!

Jingle Elf Stats

If someone had told me that I needed to run 2 miles with a 7:08 average pace I probably would have been a nervous wreck before the race.  But just going out there and doing it felt great!!!  I ended up 34th overall, 11th woman and 3rd in my age group.  Also I got to hold a snuggly, sleepy Piper on my lap on the drive home so I definitely went home a winner.  🙂

My next race starts in 2 hours… it’s the 5 mile Brian’s Run, also in West Chester.  I think my legs have recovered from Friday and I’m hunting for another PR… wish me luck!

Miles since last post:  36.3
Days since last post:  8
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1656.3

Related Posts:
•  Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27/14)
•  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)

Color Out Cancer 5K

Today my brother and I ran the Color Out Cancer 5K in West Chester, PA.  There were lots of ups and downs, so I’ve decided to recap the race with a list of pros and cons.  First the biggest pro of the day – I got to run with my brother!

Annie and Billy CoC5K

Color Out Cancer 5K – The Cons:

The Course Marking – I had what felt like a fantastic start in today’s race but it was immediately foiled by a complete lack of directions on the course.  There was no course map and we had been assured at the start that there were people on the course with signs so we’d all know where to turn.  Unfortunately the organizers neglected to mark the very first turn which occurred about 200 meters into the race, so we all went straight, directly into a little neighborhood.  We got about a quarter mile in before the road dead-ended.  It was clear at that point that we were definitely off course so everyone stopped, turned around, and milled around for a bit before cutting through a random parking lot and eventually getting back on course.  Talk about a frustrating way to start a race!  (I remember wishing that they’d just bring us all back to the start line and restart the race!)

At another point in the race I was approaching an intersection and had lost sight of the person in front of me.  There was a volunteer (and yes, I realize that he was a volunteer, and for that I thank him) standing in the intersection with a giant neon posterboard sign FOLDED IN HALF IN HIS HAND (!!!), making it impossible to actually see the sign.  I had no idea where to go and finally had to yell “WHICH WAY??” before he pointed the direction.  Not ideal.

The Course in General – As I mentioned, there was no map so I had no idea where we were going.  All I knew was that it was two laps because that’s the only actual information they gave us at the start of the race.  I was fine with this; I figured I’d get the lay of the land during the first lap and then I’d know where I was in relation to the finish on the second.  But the problem is, that first lap seemed to take FOREVER.  By the time I passed the start line the race clock showed I had already been racing for 20:30!  I realized then that not only was the course terribly marked, apparently this was more like a 5 MILE race!  Again, no big deal, and I adjusted by settling down into a little bit of a slower, more comfortable “5 mile” pace.  Less than a mile into lap 2 I was shocked to turn a corner and see the finish line ahead… and that’s when I learned that the second lap was a much shorter loop than the first.  Which would have been good to know in advance.

My Music – When I start an activity on Runkeeper it usually auto-plays my 5K music.  The music didn’t start today.  I normally would have just ignored this, but when we all stopped after going off course I tried to fiddle with my phone to get the music going.  But my phone was utterly, inexplicably unresponsive.  I could open the music app but it wouldn’t let me hit play or even scroll through songs.  I got so desperate that I actually asked Siri to help me out (Yes, I was that weirdo commanding my headphones to “Play Safe and Sound!!“) but to no avail.  After the finish I eventually had to restart my phone in order to get the music to work.  Strange.

Not exactly a tech shirt...

Not exactly a tech shirt…

The Free Tech Shirt – Not a major con here compared to the other race issues, but the race registration clearly stated that participants would get a ‘sport teck’ shirt.  My brother was especially excited about this because it would be his second 5K shirt and his first tech race shirt.  The moment I looked in the race bag I knew that he was going to be disappointed.  The “tech shirt” was a (very) see-through white polyester shirt with pink writing on it.  Not likely to ever get worn in public.  Oh well.

Runkeeper CoC 5K

Color Out Cancer 5K – The Pros:

Despite the course issues and phone malfunction the race really wasn’t that bad.  Here are a few of the things that were great about today’s race!

Running with family! – My brother Billy ran the race with me and his girlfriend Suzanne braved the drizzly, windy weather to cheer us on.  Billy did great in the race, coming in 8th overall with a time of 25:35.  The best part of the morning happened after the race when the three of us went to the Market Street Grill for breakfast… I had an empanada omelet with chipotle sour cream and pepper jack cheese.  YUM!

At least it isn't pouring!

At least it wasn’t pouring!

My Pace (considering the course issues) – The race ended up being around 3.4 miles long.  I finished 18th overall in 28:13 which would have been roughly a 25:43 5K.  If you factor in the time spent turning around and being lost at the start and that’s actually not too shabby!

The Weather – Wait, didn’t I just say that Suzanne braved wind and rain to watch us run?  True, but I think that mid-40s and overcast is pretty great running weather.  I was a little cold at the start but warmed up quickly and then felt very comfortable in tights and a long sleeve shirt.  Also, it was down-pouring on my drive home so I am very thankful that we did not have to run through that!

My Foot didn’t hurt! – I haven’t mentioned it on the blog, but after my 10 mile run two weeks ago I woke up with intense pain on the outside/bottom of my right foot.  It was pretty much identical to the pain I felt when I had Peroneal Tendonitis in my left foot last fall, so I reacted immediately by icing my foot/ankle regularly, taking ibuprofen 3x a day for a week, wearing my compression socks whenever possible, and cutting out running completely in favor of logging miles on the elliptical machine in my garage.  Today was the first time I’ve run since my 10 mile run and my foot felt great!!!  That’s a huge relief.  I’m still being cautious though… when I got home I put on my compression socks, propped my foot up on the couch and iced it.  Hopefully it will still feel this good tomorrow!

I get to redeem myself on Thursday, IN LAS VEGAS!!! – Sure, today’s race wasn’t the greatest experience ever, but luckily I only have to wait another 4 days before I get a chance to run even faster!  Matt and I will be running in the Security 5K, a race that’s associated with the conference that we’ll be in town for.  I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures and dry weather!! 🙂

Miles since last post:  57.2
Days since last post:  14
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.88
2014 TOTAL MILES: 436.3

Related Posts:
•  Athlete’s Closet March 5 Mile (3/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

 

Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler

Yesterday I ran the fourth and final race in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series.  Unlike the previous three 5K races, the Winter Series finale was a 5 mile course, making this my longest race ever!  My goals going in were to be relaxed, have a positive experience, and hopefully finish in under 45 minutes.  And guess what?  Mission accomplished!  I finished first in my age group with a 42:47!!!  Woohoo!

Annie after the AC 5 miler

My race day prep was a little different than usual for this 5 miler in that it involved Italian wedding soup and (a tiny bit of) champagne.  Yup, I was at a wedding until about an hour before the race started!  🙂  That made for a very fun morning and it helped to keep me really relaxed since my mind was focused on family and friends rather than on the impending longer-than-usual race distance.

At 37° and sunny the weather was pretty awesome compared to this winter’s typical sub-freezing temps.  I didn’t even need gloves!  The 5 mile course was hilly but overall I felt great.  I still have my Runkeeper app configured to only tell me my time, distance and pace when I hit 25 minutes, so I ran the first 3 miles not knowing how I was doing.  Then when the app finally started reporting my stats I realized that I was comfortably running much faster than I expected and that made the last 2 miles seem even easier to complete.

AC 5 mile Runkeeper

Matt was waiting on the street to cheer me on at about the 4.75 mile mark (right where I turned left from Warren Rd onto David Ln) and then he was able to take the short route to the finish in time to snap a photo of me pounding towards the finish line.  I was running so fast that my headphones fell out… might need to get some Yurbuds soon to remedy that!

Finishing the 5 mile

Finishing a 5 mile race in under 43:00 was a fantastic surprise and I can’t wait to see how easy a 5K is going to feel in comparison!!  Our next race will be the Pickle Run in Ridley Creek State Park on March 15th.  You may remember that we were supposed to do the Pickle Run in February, but unfortunately it got postponed due to damage from the ice storm so I still haven’t gotten the chance to race in our local park!  I am really, really looking forward to it!

Miles since last post:  140.8
Days since last post:  27
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.91
2014 TOTAL MILES: 307.7

Related Posts:
•  Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Athlete’s Closet Run for Love 5K

Matt and I ran the third race in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series on Saturday.  Following the loss of our beautiful pup, Bailey, on Thursday night, we decided that we still wanted to race but we were also feeling completely emotionally and physically drained.  As a result, the race didn’t feel particularly good, but it was definitely good for us to get outside and run.

Post 5K in our GSP t-shirts cropped

My brother Billy (or “Bill” as he likes to be called now that he’s an adult!!) wasn’t planning on running with us but he decided last minute that he’d come and run with me for support.  We all wore our “The Little GSP” t-shirts in memory of Bailey and, true to his word, Billy kept pace with me throughout the entire race.  I told him at the start that he should tell me to go faster when I was plodding up the (many) hills on the course, so he did and I think it made me go a little faster.

Despite Billy’s best efforts, this was not a stellar race for Matt and me.  We both finished within seconds of each other in the 26:02-ish range which is 2+ minutes off of Matt’s target time and at least 45 seconds slower than I was aiming for.  At least I was able to finish strong AND I have photographic proof of it!  With a few hundred feet to go I started sprinting and my step-father captured this photo.  I think this may be the first photo of me in a 5K where I look like I’m actually running!  (Usually I’m mid-stride with a painful expression on my face!)

My sprint to the finish

Here are my RunKeeper stats for the race.  Again, nothing too impressive but, considering the circumstances, not terrible either.  The weather was beautiful (35° and sunny) and we had a great cheering section in the form of my brother’s girlfriend Suzanne, my mom, and my step-father.  It was really nice of them all to come out to support us… thanks guys!!!

February 5K Runkeeper Stats

Our next race will be the Pickle Run in Ridley Creek State Park on February 15th.  I’ve heard great things about the Pickle Run Series (they’re super fun AND they’re predictive, meaning that the winner is the one who most accurately predicts their time in advance!) and it should be really neat to finally run a race on our “home” course at the park.  I’m looking forward to it!

Miles since last post:  75.3
Days since last post:  15
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.87
2014 TOTAL MILES: 166.9

Family at the 5K

Related Posts:
•  Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Athlete’s Closet January 5K

Matt and I ran the second 5K in the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series this morning.  This race was special for two reasons… we had our first-ever spectators/cheering squad (my mom and stepfather) AND both of our brothers ran the race with us!!!  Here we are at the finish… my brother Billy (#167), Matt’s brother Dylan (#145), me, and Matt.  Yay for family running together!

Athlete's Closet January 5K

Billy was the first finisher of our group (15th overall) with Dylan (17th), Matt (20th) and me (23rd) close behind.  Matt’s time was 25:45 and mine was 26:19… much slower than usual but we had a good excuse… the roads were partially covered in snow and it was really, really cold out.  It was a mere 1°F when we arrived at the event.  ONE DEGREE!!!  By the time the race actually started it had probably warmed up to around 10° but that’s still pretty chilly!

It was COLD!

I knew it was going to be cold so I tried to plan my clothing accordingly.  I was wearing SmartWool compression socks, Athleta’s Relay Tights, a thin Under Armour Twisted Tech T-shirt, Athleta’s Queen’s Luscious super-soft long-sleeve half zip, the Sugoi Firewall 180 Jacket, a head band, lightweight gloves, and a neck warmer from my mom that was made out of some sort of super-breathable tech material.  All of that layering paid off because I felt good at the start line and got just hot enough during the race to unzip my jacket and long-sleeved shirt and put my gloves in my pockets.  Oddly my toes went numb for the first mile or so but I’m not sure if that was from the cold or from my compression socks… I’ve never run in these socks before so I’ll have to do some investigating to figure out what was going on!

Cold Weather 5K Gear

Today’s 3.1 mile course took us on the same route as the Athlete’s Closet December 5K.  It was fairly hilly with a few big, slippery uphills towards the end of the race.  I tracked the run on my iPhone with Runkeeper as usual but unfortunately I couldn’t get the “start” button to work at the beginning of the race.  I ended up running the first several hundred yards looking at my armband trying in vain to push the stupid button with my “iPhone friendly” gloves (which, for the record, had been working fine up to that point!).  I finally got it to work about .1 into the race after taking one glove off and licking my finger before tapping the phone screen  Jeez!  Maybe it was too cold out?  All of this excitement resulted in my splits being a little messed up since I had to manually edit the course distance in Runkeeper afterwards.  Oh well!

Runkeeper Stats Athlete's Closet January 5K

Overall today was chilly and not quite as fast as I was hoping for, but it was really fun to have our brothers running with us and to have our very own spectators.  I figure if our family was able to survive today’s frigid temperatures they can survive anything!  Hopefully they will join us again for the next 5K of the Winter Series on February 1st!  🙂

Miles since last post:  16.3
Days since last post:  4
Avg. Daily Miles since July 18th: 4.84
2014 TOTAL MILES: 16.3

Athlete's Closet 5K

Related Posts:
•  New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
•  Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Athlete’s Closet December 5K

Guess what?  It’s snowing out again!  I’ll be headed to the kitchen to make another warm and hearty stew in a few minutes, but first I want to recap the 5K that I ran this morning.  It was the first in a series of four winter races sponsored by the Athlete’s Closet, a local running store in West Chester, PA.  I finished in 25:27 (approximately… official results aren’t posted yet) and I somehow managed to place first in my age group!

Athlete's Closet 5K

Matt sat this race out because he’s been having some serious back pain.  I missed him on the course but I still got to see him at the start and finish cheering me on which was nice.

I tried something new with RunKeeper today.  Usually I have the app report my time, pace, distance, etc. every 5 minutes and every .5 miles.  I realize that’s a ton of stat reporting but it gives me something to think about during the race.  This race, however, I decided to do away with all of the stats.  I set RunKeeper to only tell me my stats when the race time hit 25 minutes.  In other words, I hoped that I would finish the race before hearing any stats!  As it turned out, the finish line was within sight and I was already running as fast as I could when my phone started talking to me, so I was pretty close to my goal.  After I crossed the finish line I looked at my splits and realized that this is the first time that I’ve ever managed to run my 3rd mile faster than my 2nd… woohoo!!

Athlete's Closet Dec. 5K Runkeeper Stats

When the race was over all of the runners gathered at the Athlete’s Closet for cookies, water, and a quick awards ceremony.  The results weren’t posted so I didn’t even know my official time, much less how I had finished relative to other 20-29 year old females.  As a result I was shocked when they called my name for top in my age group.  I got this shiny medal with the event name engraved on the back… cool!!

I got a medal!

Our next race is the Athlete’s Closet New Year’s 5K on January 4th.  I don’t know if it will be the exact same course, but based on today’s terrain I should probably do some serious hill training between now and then!  🙂

Miles since last post:  75.6
Days since last post:  16
Average Daily Miles since July 18th: 4.778
TOTAL MILES: 716.8

Related Posts:
•  Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
•  Let’s Go Streaking! (11/21/13)
•  Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
•  Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
•  Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
•  Limping my Way to 400 Miles (10/3/13)
•  Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
•  The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

Stroud Preserve

Last weekend Matt, Bailey and I took a hike in the beautiful Stroud Preserve located just west of West Chester, Pennsylvania.  This was our first time visiting this nature preserve and we really enjoyed the rolling hills, scenic views, and well-marked trails.

Stroud Preserve is maintained by Natural Lands Trust, a non-profit land conservation organization in southeastern Pennsylvania.  According to the NLT web site:

Stroud Preserve consists of 571 acres of culturally and ecologically important land in Chester County. This rolling mosaic of once-pastured grasslands, working farmlands, and woodlands now serves as wildlife habitat and a unique site for research by the Stroud Water Research Center, one of the premier stream research labs in North America.

Here are some photos from our hike on Saturday:

If you’re looking for a peaceful, natural area to hike in southeastern Pennsylvania l would definitely recommend paying a visit to Stroud Preserve.  The preserve is located at 454 North Creek Road, West Chester, PA 19382 and a copy of NLT’s trail map is below.

STROUD-H1-MapPlease note that only the trails marked with solid lines are dog-friendly and dogs should be kept on leash at all times.  With this in mind we took Bailey on the Yellow Trail loop with a detour onto the Gray Trail to avoid the no-dogs area and we finished up around the northern part of the Purple trail.   Our hike was about 3.2 miles long.  If we go back sometime without Bailey (which is unlikely since she LOVES going hiking!!) we’d probably try the full red loop which is supposed to be 4.2 miles long.

Bailey loves hiking!

Bailey loves hiking!

Here are links to some other hiking spots in Chester and Delaware County, PA that I’ve blogged about.  Enjoy!

•   Ridley Creek State Park (Edgmont Township, PA)
•   Okehocking Preserve (Willistown Township, PA)
•   Darlington Trail (Middletown Township, PA)
•   Linvill Trail (Middletown Township, PA)

Stroud Preserve Cornfield