A New PR at the Delaware Downhill 5K!

This race almost didn’t happen. And no, it wasn’t because our area was hit with an ice storm the morning the race was originally scheduled for. That was easy to predict and the race organizers gave everyone plenty of notice when they (wisely) decided to postpone the race by a day. No, the reason I almost did not start today’s Inaugural Delaware Downhill 5K was that my CAR decided that it did not want to start!!

Saturday's weather

I think the race organizers made the right call by not holding the race Saturday.

As usual, I had my pre-race morning planned down to the minute. I woke up at 5:45, let Piper out, had a light breakfast of coffee, cereal, and a clementine, let Piper in, wiped the mud off Piper’s feet and belly for 3+ minutes (that I had not planned for, ha!), then foam rolled, stretched and read for a while before waking Matt up. The race started at 9:45 so I figured leaving the house at 8:25 sharp would give me plenty of time to get there and get warmed up. Until we went out to our (only) car, turned the key in the ignition, and the engine wouldn’t start!!

Let me back up and tell you about this race. It’s a DOWNHILL, point-to-point course with 230+ feet of elevation loss, meaning that a PR was going to be extremely possible. The race t-shirt was billed as an ugly sweater tech T (awesome), and today’s weather was PERFECT racing weather — mid-50s and overcast. I really, really wanted to run this race, so imagine how sad I was as Matt and I sat in the cold garage, paging through the car manual and trying to figure out what was wrong.

While Matt checked the car battery connections under the hood I posted a defeated message on my run club’s facebook page. No downhill race for me today, boo. But then Matt tried the car again (using the “two foot” method, apparently?) and after many terrible-sounding cranks IT STARTED!!! It was 8:55 and we had a 40 minute drive ahead of us.

We zoomed down to Delaware in record time. Matt dropped me off right by the start and I found my run club friends almost immediately. They had my bib and ugly sweater shirt for me (thanks, Lysa!!) and within minutes of arriving on site I was standing at the start line, utterly unwarmed-up but very grateful to be there.

Going into this race, my PR was 23:17, which is an average page of 7:29 per mile. With this in mind I figured I should start out fast but not too aggressively, maybe with a 7:20 split. But then the race started and I was swept up by the festive runners in costumes and gradual, wonderful downhill, and before I knew it mile one was over in 6:59. So much for my plan!

Although this course is net downhill, mile 2 was mostly flat and even had some short uphill sections. After my blazing fast first mile I was not expecting this lack of descent and I struggled through this mile just a bit. But I knew that there had to be significant elevation loss waiting for me in the final mile so I wasn’t too worried when the middle mile beeped by in 7:43.


Next to the Brandywine River after the race.

At the start of mile 3 I ran past a volunteer who helpfully told me “It’s all downhill from here.” He was right! The course turned into the parks along the Brandywine and before I knew it there was just a half mile separating me from a new PR. I pushed hard down the final hill and spotted the finish with several hundred yards to go. Mile 3 was over in 7:18, a good improvement over my second mile.


I knew I was on track to PR, but I thought I was going to be much closer to 23:00 and really wanted to break 23 if possible. I flew through the homestretch and crossed the line with an official chip time of 23:38… a 39 second PR!!!


I had never seen a “PR Bell” in person, but, as luck would have it, there was a bell at the Delaware Downhill! (I guess this wasn’t luck… the organizers probably knew that there would be a lot of personal records on their PR-friendly course.) I collected my 3rd place age group award and happily rang the bell. Although my morning didn’t quite go as planned, I am very thankful that I was able to make it to the race and get the chance earn a new PR on this super fast course. 22:38 is going to be really hard to beat on a regular course!

As for the car, we still don’t know what was wrong. Matt kept it idling the whole time we were in Delaware and only turned it off (and back on again, just to see what it would do) when we were safely home after the race. We’ll see how it’s doing when we head out to Matt’s parents’ house for dinner tonight. Wish us luck!

Miles since last post: 311.6
Days since last post: 104
2016 MILES: 1538.9

Past Races:
• December ’16:
Jingle Elf 2M (12/2), Brian’s Run 5M (12/11)
• November ’16:
Trinity 5K (11/5), 7 Summits Turkey Trot (11/24)
• October ’16:
Run for the House 5K (10/1), True Blue 5K (10/16), Boo Run 5K (10/29)
• August ’16:
Cure4Cam Rustin (8/18)
• June ’16: Media 5 Miler (6/17), Cure4Cam (6/20)
• May ’16:
Media Mile (5/7) [1M PR], Rocky Run Trail 5K (5/13), Turtle Trot Trail 5K (5/15), Elwyn Max 5K (5/21)
• April ’16:
Evolve IP 5K (4/2), Empower the Children 5K (4/17), Haverford Twilight Run (4/23) [5K PR Tie]
• March ’16:
 St. Agnes 5K (3/5), 3-2-1 Loop 10K (3/12) [10K PR], Pickle Run (3/19)
• February ’16:
Pickle with Piper (2/20)
• January ’16:
Pickle Trail Run (1/30)
• December ’15: Jingle Elf Run (12/3) [2M PR], Brian’s Run (12/5) [5M PR], Reindeer Romp 5K (12/13)
• November ’15:
Trinity 5K (11/7), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/26) [5K PR]
• October ’15:
BAAR 5K (10/3), Double OyVey 10K (10/25) [10K PR], Boo Run 5K (10/31)
• September ’15: Run-A-Muck Trail 5K (9/19)
• August ’15:
Boxcar Mile (8/13), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/27)
• June ’15: Media 5 Mile (6/19)
• May ’15: Broad Street 10 Mile Run (5/3) [10M PR], Rocky Run Trail 5K (5/15), Victory 5K (5/17)
• April ’15: Tyler Trail 10K (4/11) [10K PR], Empower the Children 5K (4/18), Haverford Twilight 5K (4/26) [5K PR]
• March ’15:
Athlete’s Closet March 5K (3/7), St. Pat’s 5K (3/14), Granogue Trail 10K (3/21), Pickle Run #3 (3/28)
• February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7), Pickle Trail Run #2 (2/21)
• January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3), Pickle Run #1 (1/17)
• December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5) [2M PR]Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7) [5M PR], Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
• November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1)  [5K 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 5K (9/27)
• August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [5K PR]
• July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18) [5M PR]
• 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) [5K 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) [5K 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) [5K PR]
• September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
• The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)

The Metal Fun Run and Chili Cook-Off

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

Annie and Piper Metal Run

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

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

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

Metal Run Runkeeper Stats

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

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

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

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

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