Stronger Every Day: January 2020

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Looking through songs with Strong as a theme (or in the Title) was surprising. Many seem to be about breakups, including this month’s song, for which I’m going old school with Chicago’s “Stronger Every Day” — the refrain spoke to me. Of course I love the song, and maybe break up songs are kind of appropriate, as I’m learning to let my father go to a better place — I wrote that last before my Dad had even passed away. It’s a great anthem, anyway!

Feeling stronger every day
(You know I’m alright now)

Running where & when I could

Getting in scheduled runs
Last week was understandably low on mileage, but movement is ingrained with me. Although I only got in 2 runs, I continued my step goal streak. My Garmin has my daily step goal low, about 7500. I averaged about 9700 steps a day last week, and some of them included walks inside the senior living community because it was so cold (or raining) outside.

Grade Earned:  A

Recording my runs
My new planner (Clever Fox, Amazon Affiliate link here) has definitely kept me more organized and more focused. It can still be a struggle to take the time to record my runs when I’m busy, but I’ve started out the year right. Well, until last week, when I completed stopped using the planner. I’m giving myself a pass on that for obvious reasons.

Grade Earned: A

Dynamic Warmup
There’s always some dynamic warmup. The duration varies, but something is always better than nothing!

Grade Earned: A

Foam Rolling
I actually brought my foam roller to my mom’s — and used it! There’s not a lot of space there, but my body thanks me when I use it.

Grade Earned: A

Tried to make healthy choices most of the time

Nutrition
Nutrition got better, but last week was a bit of a struggle. There were quite a few days with few healthy choices. As I said to Mr. Judy, I’m okay with the occasional not so healthy meal, but I don’t like a steady diet of it. I did bring food with me, which was very helpful, but there were days we were at my sister’s house, and I had to make the best choices I could.

Grade Earned: A-

Support

  • Massage? No.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? Still no.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? No, but I do need to book the next one.

Grade Earned: B-

Cross Training
I was getting back to more strength training, until last week, when there was none. I could definitely have done bodyweight exercises, or used the gym at my mom’s, but I walked and I did yoga and I called it a day. Most days were just busy, or emotionally taxing.

Grade Earned: B

January 2020  gets  . . . 
. . . a B+. I’m definitely not beating myself up. I did what I could, I was there for my family, and I tried not to push myself too hard. I rested when I didn’t feel well, and so far, knock on wood, I’m still feeling okay. Apparently I haven’t made any monthly goals since November, so I’m overdue.

Which leads me to February Goals:

  • Strength train 2 – 3x week. Definitely time to get back into strength training! Hopefully it can become more of a habit now that life is *hopefully* settling down.
  • Continue running 3 x week and maintaining my base. If I’m motivated, maybe I’ll add in a fourth day. My guess is that won’t happen anytime soon. I need some recovery time!
  • Start practicing at the Yoga Studio that’s close to me. I am hoping that now that life is a bit more normal, maybe I’ll either finally do some subbing or get at least one class of my own.
  • Foam roll when I’m able. Would love to foam roll at least occasionally on days that I don’t run.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Although I’d love to drop just a little weight, I’m still maintaining fairly well.
  • Meal plan on the weekends! I was just getting back into it (back into a lot of things) when life took a turn again. Pretty sure I’ll get back at it with the help of my new planner and more time at home.

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

What can change in a decade?

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People have been talking so much about 2019 being the close of the decade (or 2020 being the start of a new one). Seems they can’t even agree on when a new decade starts.

So What can Change in a Decade?

A whole lot, it turns out!

RIP, boys

Saying Goodbye
There were many losses in the last 10 years: Mr. Judy’s father, my sister’s MIL, 3 furkids (Simba, Chester, Gizmo) –more, of course, but those hit closest to home.

Chester was my velcro dog, always wanting to be held by me or on my lap

My father had brain surgery, my mother had surgery, and we emptied out my childhood home (and I am still going through their stuff, or my mom is giving me stuff to throw out or donate) . . . then we moved my parents to a senior living community.

Hard to believe this photo is from 2017. So much has changed.

Now we’ve moved my Dad into a nursing home. It wasn’t what anyone wanted, but it was just the only option as my Mom could no longer cope with his worsening dementia even with a live in aide.

We welcomed a new furkid, too

In the midst of all those losses, we welcomed a new furkid, Bandit, a senior rescue. It got off to an extremely rocky start, and stayed that way for many months, but with time, love, training, and Nutricalm, Bandit found his forever home in our home — his third. Lola had also had multiple homes when we adopted her, but she was still a puppy. She needed a lot of training too, but at least she got along with humans and our other furkids.

The Big Move
We thought we’d retire in TX, we really did. Retiring in TX would also have meant Mr. Judy retiring from working. So we sold our home of 15 years, we packed up all our belongings (in one moving truck! — which included both our cars in addition to our furniture and stuff), and we made two plane trips to bring the boys (the cats) and the dogs to our new home in New York.

I became a Runner
I still kind of don’t know how it happened, but happen it did. Apparently I had started to experiment a bit with running when we lived in TX, but it wasn’t until I moved to NY that I became a Runner.

But I was never going to be a Racer. Oh no, not me. Not this turtle.

Not sure what this night would bring to me

I became a Racer
Then I ran my first 5k. It didn’t change my life. I ran another 5k, though. I decided a half marathon for my 50th birthday sounded like a good goal; I ran longer and longer races. Then I ran my first half marathon . . . and I was hooked. The dream of running a half marathon in every state was born. I am still far, far away from that goal, but it’s still a goal that motivates me. 

Happy I was already signed up for another in six weeks

I’ve also gone on to race more 5ks, 4 milers, 5 milers, 10ks, 15ks, and an 18 mile race.

Mud & Chocolate Half. Yup, I earned my chocolate with plenty of mud!

I became an occasional Trail Runner/Racer
2017. It feels so long ago. The year of 4 half PRs, including my first trail race (yes, chocolate was involved — as was my shoe coming apart in the last mile or so), my slowest half ever but hey, an automatic PR. Yup, my first trail race was a half marathon — go big or go home, right? 

Running trails with friends on a beautiful night

Since then I’ve done a couple of trail 5ks and one trail 10k. My running buddies were not interested in trails when I was training for my half, but last summer they finally decided trail running was cool, so I had some company on the trails for a change.

I haven’t ruled out a future trail half, but so far I mostly stick to road races.

Local friends do Wineglass

Racing with the Girls
Somehow most of those half marathons (but not all) have involved running friends, bloggers and non bloggers, local and not local. Even when it wasn’t a girls’ trip, somehow almost all our vacations became racecations.

HoHoRuns invited us to her home away from home in FL

Bloggers do UT

UT had me falling in love with hiking again

I remembered how much I love hiking
The racecation to UT reminded me that I really love to hike. Moderate day hikes (like not even all day). I’m always looking for hiking wherever we vacation now — and closer to home, too.

I lost the weight
It was the reason I started to run in the first place, to try to get those last 10 pounds off. At first it didn’t help. Eventually, though, after years of plateauing about 10 pounds above my very reasonable goal weight, I lost those 10 lbs. I’ve kept them off, too. At the moment I maintain my weight without even tracking my food, which is something I never thought would happen.

I used good old Weight Watchers. Going to meetings every week. I’ve been a Lifetime member roughly 30 years Although not attending meetings all that time, definitely often not at my goal weight all that time.

I’ve been maintaining that goal weight for about 6 years now. This last time I realized it wasn’t just about what I eat, but what was eating me. I think that’s the difference from all the other times I gained and lost 40 pounds (and yes, there were multiple times in my life that happened).

I became a Yoga Teacher
Like so many things in my life, I couldn’t tell you exactly when I started practicing Yoga, but I can tell you I’ve been practicing it a long time. I wanted to take my Yoga Teacher Training for a long time, at first I thought for my own knowledge; YTT is expensive!

Finally I decided to invest in me. I committed to YTT, and I knew that I wanted to teach. We did a specialty Yin Yoga module, and I knew that was what I wanted to teach. I also always knew that I wanted to make my practices meaningful, with mantras, inspiring quotes, meditations.

I started a Youtube Channel
Just squeaked in with that one! I believe that Yoga is so beneficial to everybody, and Youtube is a great way to make it accessible to everybody. I wasn’t going to start it this year, but I had things I wanted to share, so I sucked it up and I got it done.

I started this blog
It’s not my first blog. In fact, I’ve been a WordPress user for a very long time. My first blog was in about 2000, although I’m pretty sure that that one at least started with me just coding in HTML. I’ve had previous blogs about my cats, about graphic design, and a really short lived one about cookbooks.

This blog is the first personal blog I’ve had that really found its audience. My previous professional blog about graphic design did quite well, and I managed a large, thriving community of designers and those interested in design.

A decade can definitely change you!
Thank you for walking (or running) down memory lane with me — if you got to the end, you deserve a prize and I thank you for reading!

I can honestly say that I am a different person than I was ten years ago. Some people like to do the same things, year in and year out. Go to the same places for vacations. Live in the same city you were born in. There’s comfort in that, but despite the fact that change can be stressful, I like to change things up.

Jobs, where I live, hobbies, activities, where I travel to — even where I run! I haven’t really worked at one job more than about 10 years, although my stint at About.com (RIP) was a bit more than 10 years, but not by much

Change is the only thing certain in life. Well, death and taxes, I suppose, but aren’t they just changes after all?

What do you thinkwill change for you in the 20s?

What do you wantto change for you in the 20s?

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Love Hurts: December 2019

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I got to racing so much in November that apparently I was too busy writing up race recaps and never recapped November! It’s my favorite time of year to race, which is why I have so many long sleeve tech shirts (which I like to sleep in).

Running has been going well on just three days a week. No goal races in the near future, just keepin’ on keepin’ on. Running didn’t hurt me, but life? It’s been tough. Love can definitely hurt sometimes.

Love hurts, love scars
Love wounds and mars

Don’t get me wrong: I’m believe that it’s better to have loved & lost than to never love at all. Endings, though; endings can hurt. If we didn’t open our hearts, it wouldn’t hurt — but then we’d close our hearts to so much love. The hurt lets us know that we’ve love and been loved. In the case of love, no pain, no gain.

gwy runner digestion final
Loosen up those tight runner muscles!

By the way, there’s a new video on my Youtube Channel. Once the hustle and bustle of your holiday is over — especially if maybe you’ve eaten a bit more than you planned to! — check out my Yin Yoga Runner Stretch & Digestion video here. This one is a longer one, so make sure you can carve out a little me time for yourself.

I’ll be making more me time a goal for January! Will I be able to meet that goal? Stay tuned!

Around ice or on the mill, I got it done

Getting in scheduled runs
Still no schedule, no racing, no big races on the horizon . . . but still running. And I definitely deserve an A for some of the cold temps I’ve been running in lately!

Grade Earned:  A

Recording my runs
I was doing well, but all the video editing I’ve been doing eats up way too much of my time. I know it’ll get easier as I learn the software, but still, things have gotten a little spotty again.

Grade Earned: B-

Dynamic Warmup
Still skimping on the warmups — but yes, I’m at least doing a few things before I start to tun. Even on the days when it feels like single digits.

Grade Earned: B+

Foam Rolling
I have been doing well with foam rolling before my runs. Not at any other time, but you do what you can. I moved the stick upstairs with the thought of occasionally using it . . . it remains untouched so far.

Grade Earned: B

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Trying alternative pastas

Nutrition
Nutrition has been a struggle as it always is in the shorter days, but for the most part, so far, I seem to be winning that struggle. A little indulgence here and there, which of course is fine — trying to make sure I don’t use the holidays as an excuse to indulge all the time — that’s the trick: pick your indulgences, enjoy them, but don’t make it an every day occurrence.

Grade Earned: A

Support

  • Massage? Not this month.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? Still need to schedule it. Been too busy with other appointments.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? Made it after reading this, LOL — I had been thinking about it, so this got me to do it!

Grade Earned: B

Lots of yoga

Cross Training
There’s been a lot of yoga, for obvious reasons. I’ve been able to do a bit more strength training, but with more travel to my parents on the horizon, that will probably drop back down. I’ve started to incorporate Soul Strolls on the treadmill since often the roads are too iffy or the days are just too short.

Grade Earned: A-

November/December 2019  gets  . . . 
. . . an B. I know, lots of As, lots of good stuff, but the goals . . . I met 4 out of 7 goals. Not so great. Life has been busy. I may not have been staying with my mom as much, but I was still going to see my parents. Obviously that’s going to ramp up again and I will be away a lot again.

November Goals: (yes, never made goals for December)

  • Strength train 2 – 3x week. Y. Slowly began to do a bit more, but it will be a struggle with more travel for the forseeable future.
  • See if I can at least sometimes get back to a 4 x week running schedule. N. Nope, too much going on in my life right now. I’m happy with where my running’s at, though..
  • Approach another studio about getting on their substitute list. N. I kind of put my eggs in one basket with the first studio. I recently discover my eye doctor is a sub there. You can’t make this stuff up!
  • Foam roll when I’m able. Y. Before runs.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Y. Still not tracking, still mostly maintaining (which means I bounce around a few pounds, but it’s not an upward creep). Being home more did help. Hopefully I’ll find the right balance going into 2020.
  • Meal plan on the weekends! N. Still struggling with it. I still need to keep reminding myself that this is a goal. 
  • A race? At some point?. Y. Three of them, in fact: two in November and one in December.

Which leads me to January Goals:

  • Strength train 2 – 3x week. There will be a lot of back and forth, with no ending date. I’ll do what I can, when I can — as always..
  • Maintain running 3 x week. I’m doing well on that schedule and with nothing big on the horizon see no need to ramp it up.
  • Study chair/slow yoga. Another to-do on my long list of to-dos to get off the ground teaching is to target some of the senior centers around me. I need to get comfortable with chair yoga. Not saying you can’t do regular yoga if you’re a “senior”, of course!
  • Foam roll when I’m able. Keep foam rolling before runs. Try to grab the stick occasionally.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Winter is always my tough season when it comes to eating. I stopped tracking 8 months ago, and have continued to maintain my weight — a huge win for me!
  • Meal plan on the weekends! I’ll keep putting this in until I get back to it. Which I haven’t managed yet. 
  • Carve out more me time. Between YTT, my parents, teaching yoga (which requires a lot of prep work for me — someday it’ll be more muscle memory, but that day is in the future), the dogs, trying to learn video editing! — let’s just say I’ve got away from some of the self care routines I know are important to keep me healthy.

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Last Run Albany Race Recap 12/7/19

No running through the snow but plenty of snow on the ground made the narrow city  streets even narrower this year for Last Run Albany. Add in icy bits (my racing nemesis lately) and it’s a good thing I always consider Last Run Albany a fun run.

You always think it’s too cold for photos, but then they’re so good!

Packet Pickup
This year they changed the location of packet pickup (same building, just a different location within the building), and it seemed to go much smoother. I caught a ride with friends, but I was one of the few who hadn’t already picked up my packet (one other friend hadn’t).

Both of us who picked up our packets the night of the race left the bags inside and yup, they were waiting for us when we were done.

The new shirts get two thumbs up

Everyone liked the new snowflake logo and the red color of the shirts. We got a $5 coupon to a local co-op food store, and a blinking light — which is more than we’ve received in years past.

All the snow made the streets really narrow (first time there’s been that much snow on the ground for this race, for me)

Plan — what plan?
My plan was simple again this year: have fun. Run by feel. End of story. Some of my friends were walking, but since I’d only run twice that week, I wanted to run. I planned to treat it as a fun run.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 13:04. The first mile of this race is always frustrating, what with the narrow streets, the dark, some cobblestones. Throw in the 2 feet of snow we’d just had, and the frustration was upped: we came to a complete standstill several times this mile; it was a full minute slower than last year.
  2. Mile 2:  11:53. Mile 2 goes through the holiday lights in the park, with some uphills. Unlike last year I decided to walk up one of the hills here. It was my only walk break of the race. Still a minute slower than last year.
  3. Miles 3: 9:56. We all agreed we just love this downhill finish. This mile was slightly faster than last year. One of the course marshals said we only had a half mile to go at some point, and I swear that felt more like a mile than half a mile!
  4. Last .17: 8:57. The sprint to the end was just a teeniest bit faster than last year.

The last couple of 5ks this year wanted to frustrate me. This race will never be a PR — too crowded, too dark in places, and usually some slippery bits to boot. But a course PR? That’d be sweet.

Much like my last 5k, where I came oh-so-close to an actual PR, I think I could’ve snagged that course PR if the first mile hadn’t had so many traffic jams, or if I hadn’t stopped to walk during mile 2.

I was still quite pleased with my time. It wasn’t an easy run for me, but on the other hand, I never really felt like I was running all that hard, except for the last little bit coming into the finish. Not falling is always an accomplishment for this race.

2019: 36:57 (a five way tie)
90 our of 184 F5059
872 our of 1513 runners

2018: 35:39

2017: 54:17 (snowing again!)

2016: 39:35

2015: 37:09

2014 – 34:27

2013: 38:10 (snowing!)

Good friends, good times, some missing, some new additions

The weather & dressing
I have an outfit for this race the last few years: North Face Thermoball, Skirtsports Wonder Wool Tee and Skirtsports Heartbreaker Skirt (I’m a Skirtsports Ambassador), and Mudgear Compression socks with Hannukah socks over them. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

The costumes are always entertaining (how do people run in these things?)

I wore trail shoes because I knew there would be icy/snowy bits, and there were. Not a lot, but at night, it’s really easy to slip and fall.

I felt perfectly comfy in my running outfit, until we stood outside waiting for everyone to finish — then I got really cold!

Same temps as last year, but all that snow!

Was the race well run?
I usually treat this race as a literal fun run. There are fireworks before the start (see my post on IG), and despite the dark I’ve never had any question which way to go. There are refreshments after: nothing too exciting — apples, bananas, and cheese. There is also a raffle for door prizes.

There are medals for AG awards, and no, I didn’t even come close — which I knew I wouldn’t. Here’s the thing, though: one of my friends won her AG, the 70-79 year AG. There were 9 women.

I came in 90 out of 184 in the 50-59 AG! A solid MOTP, which is fine by me. I just looked at the difference in the participants in those two age groups. I hope that I am one of those 9 — or more! — women still running races when I am my friend’s age. I actually expect that there will be more women in that group when I’m that age, since there has been a strong increase in women running since I started.

Albany Last Run is always a good way to bring a year of racing to a close.

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Reunited & It Feels So Good: October 2019

breunited

I got a small break in October (see last month’s “grade” herefor what’s been going on), but it ramped up at the end of the month with my Dad’s discharge from rehab and scrambling to try to find a suitable aide for him. They don’t give you much notice.

Even with a break, there was a lot of time at my mom’s

Running continued pretty strong, and since I was home most weekends, I also got to do some of my favorite Fall races, with varying degrees of success.

There`s one perfect fit
And sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited
Cause we`re reunited

Getting in scheduled runs
Even though I continued to play it by ear, from necessity, I also ramped up my running miles just in case I run a 15k in November. If the weather is good, I’ll do it (despite mostly likely little friend support) — although if a Nor’Easter or Blizzard comes through, no thanks!

Grade Earned:  A

One of my favorite things to do in fall — race!

Recording my runs
The scramble at the end of the month to get my parents settled caused some run recording to be spotty, but for the most part, it’s been better than it has been. Still lots of holes sometimes, though.

Grade Earned: B-

Dynamic Warmup
Still skimping on the warmups, but at least most days I’m going through some high knees, some butt kicks, and some leg swings. It’s something.

Grade Earned: B

Foam Rolling
I’d dearly like to get back to daily rolling, but for now mostly I’m rolling before my runs.

Grade Earned: B

There may have been a few too many treats in October

Nutrition
Nutrition has been okay. Most of the time fairly good, but occasional eating stuff I know is not really helping my body. I’m human, like everyone else — mostly I’ve been able to maintain my weight with the normal fall to winter creep. Time to cook has often been an issue.

Grade Earned: A-

Support

  • Massage? Not this month.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? I need to schedule an appointment soon. Probably after the 15k.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? No! The hair got downright scary, but it’s been trimmed and shaped. Even one of my mom’s friends commented on how nice it looked (of course that was after being washed, but before running).

Grade Earned: A

Cross Training
Yoga continued strong. There’s still some light strength training (some days a bit heavier) or some bodyweight exercising. Not quite as much walking as the days got shorter, colder, and busier, but there’s been more running miles.

Grade Earned: B

October 2019  gets  . . . 
. . . an B+. Still hanging in there at running three times a week, lots of yoga, a little bit of weight training. A few races: a slow trail 5k (read about it here), including a surprising 10k PR (read about it here) and a 5k that still didn’t break me out of my 5k rut (read about it here).

September Goals:

  • Strength train 2 – 3x week. Y. Not as heavy/intense as I usually do, but I did what I could.
  • Do my best to remain in running maintenance goal. Y. Actually, I got up to double digits in prep for the 15k. I’ll drop back down into running maintenance afterwards. Maybe . . . stay tuned.
  • Develop at least one vinyasa class. Y. Actually, developed two (the memorization is a different story). Taught private Yin Yoga classes. Got on the sub list at one local studio.
  • Foam roll when I’m able. Y. I’ve done better with it.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Y. Still not tracking, still mostly maintaining (which means I bounce around a few pounds, but it’s not an upward creep). Although I need to keep a close eye on it going into winter — hopefully being home more often will help.
  • Meal plan on the weekends! N. Still struggling with it. After the beginning of the month I was just exhausted from everything going on, at the end of the month there was the mad scramble to get my parents settled. 
  • A race? At some point?. Y. Three of them, in fact.

Which leads me to November Goals:

  • Strength train 2 – 3x week. This will always be a goal. Hopefully November will be an easier month (if my parents stay healthy). I won’t be hosting Thanksgiving because my Dad can’t make the trip. Both relieved and a bit wistful at the same time.
  • See if I can at least sometimes get back to a 4 x week running schedule. I’ve done okay on 3 x week. It’s not the first time I’ve only run 3 x week, either. 4 x per week is my sweet spot, though.
  • Approach another studio about getting on their substitute list. It’s scary, but I know that I still need a lot of experience, and there’s only one way to get it.
  • Foam roll when I’m able. Would love to foam roll at least occasionally on days that I don’t run.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. It’s been back and forth. Not up enough that I feel the need to track, but I really hope that being home more will mean it settles down some.
  • Meal plan on the weekends! I’ll keep putting this in until I get back to it. Which I haven’t managed yet. But maybe with only the occasional day trip to my parents.
  • A race? At some point? I still want to tackle another 5k if the weather is favorable, and the weather is looking good for the 15k, too.

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Lawson Lake Trail 5k Race Recap 10/14/19

I know, I know — I just ran a 10k a couple of days before this “race”. I use the term race loosely. Trail runs/races just tend to be fun runs for me. That’s the attitude I went into this with. A gorgeous weekend, a lake, trails, friends. What could go wrong?

This fire felt great while we waited to start!

Packet Pickup
We all picked up our bibs the day of the race with no issues. It’s basically a club run, although there are bibs and timing chips — but no tee (no problem!) and no swag. Unless you’re one of the overall winners, then you get a free entry to the trail race of your choice in 2020.

I picked up Darlene @ Myfirst5kon my way there, and we got there early, which was a good thing because the one parking lot open was tiny.

We ran around this area twice at the start and once towards the end

There are two races (which start together): a 5k and a 5 miler. This was only the second year the event has been offered.

Ok, so light capris are not so flattering (but they were comfortable)

The weather & dressing
Another beautiful day to run with low wind and temps in the 50s. I wore my Skirt Sports Blue Deco Watch Me Go Top (Skirt Sports Ambassador) and a Skirt Sports Pocketopia Capris with the Toasty Girl Vest. The Blue Deco top is very lightweight, and I knew a lot of the run would be in the woods, and hence shady and cool. I did get warm, but I’m also glad I kept the vest on.

Am I on the right path? Have I missed a turn?

My Race Plan
Again no race plan — run where I can, walk where it was steep or rocky or lots of roots. I didn’t think about the carpeting of leaves, and that certainly came into play.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 12:12. Slight downs & ups while we looped around the parking lot with views of the lake — twice. The road here was unpaved with a smattering of gravel, but it wasn’t a true trail for most of the first mile so I was able to keep a decent pace.
  2. Mile 2: 18:23. The fun began in mile two. About halfway through the race I found myself basically alone. Darlene and Running Buddy J were walking, and were behind me for a while here, but I’d lost almost all the rest of the runners. The leaves were deep, there were many roots and rocks, and I wasn’t sure if I was going the right way . . . often. There was a lot of walking. A lot of walking. I’ve never “run” a trail so slowly, LOL!
  3. Mile 3: 15:50. They had told us that we would go up a “small uphill” right before the downhill finish. Small my a$$. Okay, maybe to some runners it would be small — it was pretty darn steep in my opinion and just cruel at the end!
  4. Last .06: 12:40. It was, at least, downhill to the finish, and I’ve never met a downhill I didn’t love.

46:53 — Official Time
15:06 Average Pace
4 out of 5 in F55-59
40 out of 47 Runners

They were gonna walk (well, they mostly did). The final downhill to the finish.

I get a giggle that the runners who finished before and after me are from the same town as me — and both are 20 years younger than me. My first trail 5k, which was in the summer, was about 4 minutes faster, and one I ran earlier this year was a whopping 10 minutes faster. Both of them were in the summer, so no carpet of leaves to contend with.

Why do race directors always put a hill right before the end?

Was the race well run?
The race was well marked, although there were long stretches without flags that seriously had me wondering if I’d taken a wrong turn. I told everyone I really counted it as a victory that I didn’t get lost. There were a few course marshals here and there, too, but I appreciate that that is very difficult on trail races.

We thought there were pies in here . . .

I personally didn’t need the medal at the end, although it’s a nice touch, as was the cider donuts. We’d all seen the boxes, but thought they were pies for AG awards (there were no AG awards, not that that mattered for me) — indeed they were cider donuts and plenty of them, although they were really cold so not terribly enticing to me. That half in the box is from me.

What I really wanted? Water! Again, I understand that everything had to be hauled up there. There was an empty gallon jug of water by the food. Had there been water somewhere else? I’d left the water bottle I brought with me in the car.

There were burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers (two, which Running Buddy J and I snagged), and chips for post race food. Not terribly exciting. This was not a potluck — too bad, I think a potluck would have been much more fun!

Positives:

  1. Another pretty park.
  2. Chip timing.
  3. Free lunch post race.
  4. Running with friends.
  5. A medal — I don’t need it for a simple 5k, but I’m sure others enjoyed it.
  6. Perfect running weather.

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. A challenging course, especially with the deep carpet of leaves.
  2. More flags on the course, please!
  3. More water post race, too, please!
  4. Small parking lot.

What I learned
I’m really not sure I’d do this race again. Maybe I was just in a mood? My friends enjoyed it. It wasn’t expensive. Perhaps if I hadn’t been as anxious about getting lost I would have enjoyed it more. Or if I’d been running with a friend. I spent almost the entire second half of the race pretty much alone — worried that I’d missed a turn somewhere, and would never be found as there was no cell phone service out there. Although maybe Darlene wold have wondered where her ride was.
btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Great Pumpkin 10k Race Recap 10/12/19

bgreatpumpkin

Our group was slightly smaller than in past years, with Darlene @ Myfirst5kresting up for her 20 miler the next day (7 + a Half), and another running friend not able to make it. About evenly split between 5kers and 10kers.

Packet Pickup
We all picked up our packets the day of the race this year, with no issues. They changed the tee design (which we all like) just slightly, and we all still liked it. Warned that they are a men’s style, I got a small — it was still rather large on me but better large than small I say.

We got there early enough to park by the pavilion that the race is held at, so we were able to go back and forth to the car frequently. The real bathrooms are always a plus and oddly never super crowded.

Cool It Long Sleeve under the fleece (which I took off for the race); as you can see it was a bit cool before we started but warmed up quickly!

The weather & dressing
It was pretty much perfection this year, in the low to mid 50s, with almost no wind at all.

I wore my Skirt Sports Cool It Top (Skirt Sports Ambassador) and a Skirt Sports Pocketopia Capris. It was cold when we left, but I knew it would be warming up. I have to say I wish I’d worn a skirt instead of the capris, but I actually like not having to reach underneath my skirt to get at my water bottles, too.

The Cool It Long Sleeve actually works great in the Fall transitional weather — keeping you mostly covered can keep you warm before you start, but also still help you stay somewhat cool as you warm up during the race. Go figure.

Even the course marshals get into the holiday spirit. They warned us not to lose our heads.

My Race Plan
Nope, no race plan. No expectations, either. Running has been squeezed in when I can lately, and speed work has been pretty much non existent. I have run a few times at my mom’s, though, which is super hilly — as is the second portion of this 10k.

I was hoping to keep it under an 11 mm every mile, but I knew that between the stress the past six weeks and a few really restless nights recently that was a tall order and I also knew I’d be okay with whatever the race handed me — well, within reason, of course. I wouldn’t be happy with an injury!

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:19. A fast start (quite a bit faster than last year) but nothing that would come back to haunt me.
  2. Mile 2: 10:48. Relatively flat. So just switch mile one and two and I’m right on track. <== that’s what I wrote last year. Still true. Faster than last year.
  3. Mile 3: 10:19. A slow decline and again faster than last year.
  4. Mile 4: 10:50. A long decline and a long incline. Slower than last year but not by a lot. I learned from Firecracker 4 this summer that with steep hills like these I’m better off doing run/walk, so I did. Just by feel.
  5. Mile 5: 11:09. Mostly a long hill. A bit faster than last year. Darn, that 11 at the front! Like last year, I got to see Running Buddy J here & shouted some encouragement. Definitely a tough mile. I also passed another running friend here who is generally faster than me so I was pleased.
  6. Mile 6: 10:56. Mostly downhill. A bit slower than last year.
  7. Last .16: 10:51. And a sprint to the slightly uphill finish with my friends cheering me in. Again just a bit slower than last year. Usually I can sprint in the last little bit but that darn small uphill before the finish gets me every time.

1:06:06 — Official Time
10:39 Average Pace
9 out of 19 in F55-59
233 out of 299 Runners

Previous Years:
2018: 1:07:14 — Official Time, 10:50 Average Pace
2017: 1:08:39 — Official Time, 11:03 Average Pace

Yes, like last year, it was both a 10k PR and a course PR. I mostly met my goal; that one mile was just barely over an 11 mm so I say that’s splitting hairs. Extremely pleased with such a strong race on so little training (and sleep). I’ve lowered my 10k time since my first, eight years ago, but about 5ish minutes.

Seriously, though, where were those 10:19s in my recent 5k? Oh yeah, that one wasn’t mostly downhill, as the first half of this 10k is.

I really do think those few hilly runs at my mom’s were good training. Or maybe the HR training has also been helping? My easy runs are a lot slower than they have been, but for this race, I completely ignored my HR and turned off HR alerts, too.

Running Buddy J was pleased with her stemless wineglass for her AG 3rd place

Was the race well run?
The race is extremely well marked and there are plenty of course marshals. There are a lot of refreshments after, but there’s a long line (even though the 5k was long finished!). Although mostly the baked goods are just okay. Some year I’ll remember to photograph the spread. Running buddy J placed in her AG. I was very pleased with my PR.

People get into the holiday spirit with costumes (there’s also a kid’s race), and there’s a fire at the pavilion — in addition to those real bathrooms

Positives:

  1. Such a pretty park to run through, especially in the Fall.
  2. Real bathrooms.
  3. A well marked and well directed course.
  4. Nice long sleeved tech shirt.
  5. The entry includes a free raffle ticket — unfortunately I didn’t win anything (again!).
  6. Running with friends.
  7. A PR is always sweet.
  8. Perfect running weather.

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. Challenging hills.
  2. The paths, for the most part, are quite narrow, although this time I never really got too frustrated and felt I found my own space for much of the race.

What I learned
Using intervals on steep hills will probably always be the way to go for me. I didn’t use intervals on those hills at my moms for my last run there, but I also ran significantly slower. More than 2 minutes per mile slower.

Those little walk breaks are to help prevent fatigue from setting in, and they work. I won’t say you won’t get tired, you still do. But the break will help you have enough energy to power up the hill when you are back to running.

If none of my friends end up doing the November 15k, it will be a hard decision. Do I really want to do it by myself? Assuming that I am here, that is always up in the air the last 6 weeks. Maybe. Just to see what I can do. Fall really is my favorite time of year to race!
btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner