Great Pumpkin 10k Race Recap 10/12/19


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


  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!

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


Great Pumpkin 10k Race Recap 10/13/18


This year I got to ride with friends so there was no mad dash to make it to the starting line like last year (read about it here). We had a fairly large group, with most doing the 5k, but this year there were a couple of friends doing the 10k, too. It’s always fun when you have friends cheering you into the finish line.

Packet Pickup
We all picked up our packets the day of the race this year, with no issues. Even my friend who’d registered after the tee cut off time got her tee.

In 2017

The weather & dressing
It was fifteen degrees cooler than last year’s race, which would have been fantastic — if there hadn’t also been a cool drizzle going on for pretty much the entire race.

Major drop in temps a year later. And this is the only photo I took since it was raining.

I wore my Skirt Sports Wonder Wool Tee (Skirt Sports Ambassador) under a Tough Chick Top and a Skirt Sports Charmed tight.

My Race Plan
I didn’t bother to ask Rachel @ Runningonhappy for a race plan (again). But Another Mother Runner just happened to run an article about 10ks recently, so I based my plan at that: shooting for an average of a 11:00 mm, I planned to go out at around 11:10 – 15, try to run 11 the next three miles, then see if I could pick up the pace the last two.

I did not look up my 10k PR or last year’s race — but I did know that the hills start when the 10k splits off from the 5k (you all start together).

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:58. A slightly fast start but nothing that would come back to haunt me.
  2. Mile 2: 11:09. Relatively flat. So just switch mile one and two and I’m right on track.
  3. Mile 3: 10:39. A slow decline and oops! Definitely way faster than I’d planned to run it..
  4. Mile 4: 10:40. A long decline and a long incline — I guess the decline must have been longer! The hills were already draining my energy.
  5. Mile 5: 11:19. Mostly a long hill, plus quite a bit of wet pine needles and pine cones that you need to be careful on. I got to see Running Buddy J here & shouted some encouragement. Definitely a tough mile.
  6. Mile 6: 10:47. Mostly downhill.
  7. Last .16: 10:45. And a sprint to the slightly uphill finish with my friends cheering me in.

1:07:14 — Official Time
10:50 Average Pace
6 out of 9 in F55-59
249 out of 321 Runners

Previous Years:
2017: 1:08:39 — Official Time, 11:03 Average Pace

Yes, it was both a 10k PR and a course PR. I met my goal although I didn’t quite follow my plan. Hills always make it hard for me to pace myself! A really good tune up race for my half in two weeks, which supposedly is rolling hills.

Was the race well run?
The race was extremely well marked and there were plenty of course marshals even on a cool, rainy day. There are a lot of refreshments after, but there’s a long line (even though the 5k was long finished!) and we skipped them (I had a protein bar with me). One of our group placed in her AG — I was definitely envious of her pint glass, but I was nowhere near placing in mine, even though there weren’t a lot of us.

Since I’m now a *little* familiar with the race, having run it two times, and went with friends, we had no problems with parking. If you miss the first entrance with the Great Pumpkin sign (we did, actually), do yourself a favor and turn around — you can thank me later. Otherwise you may have trouble finding the appropriate parking lot.

The real bathrooms at the pavilion are always a treat — and there are portapotties if you don’t want to wait on line, too. There’s a coat check, too, which Running Buddy J and I took advantage of. So my throwaway fleece lives to grace another race.


  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.

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. The weather (although it wasn’t that bad).
  2. The pavilion is too small for all the runners! Thankfully it wasn’t pouring.
  3. Hilly.
  4. The paths, for the most part, are quite narrow. And speaking of running with friends, two moms were running with their strollers, keeping together. While I was happy they had each other, I was not happy that they took up the entire path. And with my run/walk, I’d pass them, then fall behind, then have to pass them again . . . and again . . . maybe I was petty, but it was annoying. Then there was another mom pushing a stroller, who stopped to tie her shoe, and the stroller started to roll into the woods . . . runners closer to her alerted her and as far as I could tell her kid was just fine — never saw that before!

What I learned
Good question. I guess that I will probably never execute a race plan perfectly. I didn’t learn this, but it’s a good reminder — I really have a lot of trouble pacing myself on a hilly course. And always carry something to eat after the race — you can’t always rely on race food.


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


Soaking up that sea air: Spilling over tea/coffee October 2018


Anyone that follows me knows last weekend didn’t go as planned, other than soaking up some sunshine (way too much sunshine, actually) and basking in the sea air by the Ocean.

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Pull up chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me for the ultimate coffee tea date.

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I would tell you that while my finish time for my latest half certainly wasn’t what I wanted or dreamed about, I am still happy I ran the race.

There is only one half that I regret running — one I went into injured, not realizing how badly the race would aggravate said injury and how long it would take before I could run without pain again — months, really.

Like every race I run, though, I learned something from that awful half just as I learned something from this weekend’s half. You’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out what I learned! 🙂

Happy to have time by the sea

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that one way I deal with the ever shortening days over the last few years is by keeping extremely busy during Fall. This year is no different. I find when I’m busy, I may still get more tired and unmotivated as the daylight hours dwindle, but I’m just too busy to brood on it.

Finishing is winning & so is bumping into Skirt Sisters

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that I wish I’d known that a.happy.sole was going to be at my half last weekend! I only found out when she posted to IG. I messaged her, but she’d left directly after the race.

I will have to console myself with meeting up with several skirt sisters (unplanned) at the race.

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that skirts were also everywhere in the race last weekend. One was even a guy running in a skirt. Unfortunately, not too many from Skirt Sports.

I also saw quite a few people wearing the long sleeve race shirt during the race. Folks, it was a hot one. What were they thinking?

And then there were the two chicks wearing Lululemon tights and sport bras. Seriously, you ladies had bangin’ bodies, and if you had enough confidence to run in a sports bra why would you also run in tights on a hot day?


If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you you better believe I’m looking for a little redemption at my half at the end of October. I’m not sure that I do have a faster half in me without a downhill race, but I definitely know that I have a faster half in me than my last one!

It’s not so much the finish time that bothers me — believe me, I was well aware that you can’t PR forever — what bothered me was that I was just not able to keep on running. Physically I’m sure I could have, although the sun was most definitely taking a toll on me (and everyone around me if you look through Mr. Judy’s photos), but mentally I just couldn’t take it anymore. And I hate when that happens.

But first there’s a little 10k to run with some friends . . .

Tea? Iced Tea? Coffee? Decaf? Green smoothie?

Do you run in just your sports bra when it’s hot (on top, of course, I’m assuming something is on the bottom half)?

Do you wear the race shirt in the race?

Ever seen a guy racing in a skirt?

I am also linking up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy today.



Great Pumpkin 10k Race Recap 10/14/17


I sort of feel that I got both a trick and a treat in this race — tricked in the parking guidance, treated to a PR (although my Garmin shows the course just a smidge short).

I know this is a 10k race review, and it ought to be considerably shorter than a half review, but we “ran” into some problems which I want to detail — you just never know who you might help out. I apologize for the length in advance!

Packet Pickup
Can’t speak to it; my friend picked up our packets the day before the race. She had no complaints.

Very comfortable in my race outfit
The weather & dressing
60F in Fall isn’t the same as 60F in Spring or Summer. And cloudy and 60F is different than sunny and 60F. Although it would have been nice to have sunny skies, it didn’t rain (slight chance) and the cloud cover kept it nice and cool to run.

I wore my Skirtsports Wonder Wool Tee (Skirtsports Ambassador) — it’s really amazing — and a Skirtsports Cascade skirt. I stuck the bolero in my pocket, but after walking around for a while, I knew I wouldn’t need it (although it might have been nice after I finished).

It’s a very pretty park, but unfortunately I didn’t capture the prettier parts

My Race Plan
I didn’t bother to ask Rachel @ Runningonhappy for a race plan. Despite the fact that I was gunning for a PR, this was also a run for fun. No pressure, really.

I thought my 10k PR was about 1:10, maybe 1:09. But it’s been three years since I ran an official 10k (I’ve done a few at the winter series, which are supported long runs in the winter), and it turns out my PR is actually 1:11:12.

I deliberately didn’t look up my previous 10k PR. And I targeted a 1:08 finish.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 11:09. Much like Wineglass (read about that here), this race starts on a narrow road and it was crowded. I actually thought this mile would be slower due to the crowded conditions, and it was actually a bit faster than I’d planned to start.
  2. Mile 2: 11:21. It was at this mile that we saw the firetrucks entering the park. It turned out a young man had gone into cardiac arrest (we heard later that they expect him to recover fully). I basically averted my eyes and didn’t gawk, but my guess is I was slowed down by those that did — or just recovering a bit from that speedy first mile.There’s also a slight hill here. No one but me seemed to notice it, which didn’t bode well for the hilly second half of the race.
  3. Mile 3: 11:01. By mile 2, unlike Wineglass, I’d already found my own running space. This is where the 5k splits off to their finish and the masochists10k runners continue on.
  4. Mile 4: 11:00. There’s a pretty long hill here. It’s really not that much elevation wise, so why did it feel so hard? Yet it was the fastest mile of the race????
  5. Mile 5: 11:32. Mile five has another small hill. Which somehow doesn’t have a downhill according to the elevation chart; how is that possible?
  6. Mile 6: 11:14. Mile 6 has another small hill, but apparently we found the downhill from mile 5 + the downhill from mile 6 here.
  7. Last .14: 11:09. And a sprint to the slightly uphill finish.

1:08:39 — Official Time
11:03 Average Pace

5k split: 35:19
10k split: 34:23 (the hilly portion!)

I came damn close to my goal, which was slightly ambitious as it turned out anyway. Now, according to my Garmin, my average pace was actually 11:13, which I do believe is more accurate; the course was very slightly short. I was shooting for about an 11mm — there were a few of them in there.

Interesting side note: I put my most recent half finish time into the McMillan calculator. According to it, I could expect a 10k finish time of 1:10:33. I know these types of calculators are just an estimate, and that a lot has to do with the course and the day.

I’ve always found, though, that I can usually run the shorter races faster than it predicts, but the half is usually slower than it predicts. So while it predicted a 1:10:33 10k, which I beat by almost 2 minutes, based on that same 10k finish time it predicts a 2:24:50 half marathon, and my recent half was 4 minutes slower.

Which just tells me what I already know: my long distance endurance isn’t where it ought to be. But maybe someday I’ll live up to that prediction, too.

Was the race well run?
The race was extremely well marked and I would say there were many more course marshals than were even necessary — it’s pretty rare you can say that!

There were only two water stops for the 10k (or if there were more, I missed them). Extremely happy I chose to use a handheld water bottle (I didn’t use any of the aid stations).

We spent far too much time wandering around here looking for a bathroom, when we still had a mile to get to the start line

Now ahem. Let’s talk about the volunteers and parking. Despite the fact that the friend I drove in with has lived here all her life, neither of us really knows the park well and neither of us had ever run this race before. In fact, I had never actually parked in the park before; I’d always run into it from somewhere else.

There was a sign at the first turn into the park (there are several; it’s a large park) for the race, but we didn’t see it until it was too late to make the turn. No worries, I thought, we’ll just take the next turn, which also had a sign for the race. When we went to park, we asked the volunteer if this was parking for our race and where the start was. He told us it was, and that the pavilion for the start was a straight walk down the road.

So we got out, figuring we were there in plenty of time, and walked around in search of the real bathrooms Darlene had mentioned in a previous review. We saw the finish line (or so we thought). There were also lot of kids running around, also searching for bathrooms. We also saw the baked goods the race boasts of and we were drooling.

At least, that’s what we thought.

Turns out while what the volunteer said was true, he gave us a bum steer. Where we parked was probably about a mile away from the start of our race. There was also a high school cross country meet going on — and that was the food and the finish line we thought was ours.

So we’re walking around after using portapotties, texting back and forth a bit with our other friends, and we simply can’t find the start. I told my friend to stay there, and since I had a warmup to do anyway, I ran back to the car to grab the map. The problem was that the map didn’t show where we actually were.

We ran into a couple of women running the opposite way, and asked them if they were going to our race, and they were. But they were running. We ran a bit, but my friend has never done more than a 5k, so she had to walk eventually, but luckily we kept them in sight until we found the crowd going to the start. It was a long walk to the start.

We briefly met up with our other friends, so I was able to introduce my friend to them — they were also doing the 5k, while I was doing the 10k.

There were no signs to the start where we happened to end up, and we got confused by the other race going on (although we did know there was more than one event going on).

There was still a fair amount of goodies by the time I finished, but many were obviously store bought and not home made (although some were), but truly, it was just underwhelming to me and I didn’t eat too much. The spread at the cross country meet was so much better. We had to walk past it on our way back to the car — which we actually managed to find without getting lost — I was really super tempted to stop and grab stuff, but I was good and didn’t.


  1. Pretty course.
  2. I got to see more of the park than I’d seen before.
  3. Real bathrooms (at least afterwards, for us).
  4. A well marked and well directed course.
  5. Plenty of food even for the BOTPers.
  6. Nice long sleeved tech shirt.
  7. The entry includes a free raffle ticket — unfortunately I wasn’t able to use mine due to our whole parking/start line snafu.
  8. Running with friends.

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. There absolutely needs to be more & better signage.
  2. Volunteers need to be better informed too (they could have told us there was closer parking lots than where we were parking).
  3. Hilly.
  4. Plenty of post race food, but nothing really all that appetizing.

Just curious: anyone know what kind of car this is?

What I learned
Never trust a volunteer? Rubberneckers exist in races, too?

Seriously, sometimes you just have to get lost — and that can help with your warmup (if not with your anxiety).

Speaking of recovery, here was mine

And as I wrote about in the Friday Five, always have a snack for after the race — just in case the race offerings aren’t what you really want/crave. I did have something in my pocket, but it was chocolate covered, and yeah, it melted and got all over my hands because it was mixed in with my Saltstick chews and my Honeystinger chews.

So also keep the chocolate separate just in case . . .


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


It’s the Great Pumpkin!: 10/9-15 Weekly Wrap

There hasn’t been a lot of short distance racing this year, but I tried a new-to-me 10 k this weekend. I’m usually traveling this time of year since it’s right around our anniversary, but this year we front loaded most of our travel in the first half of the year. Except for a teeny escape next weekend.

I’m joining up with the Weekly Wrap from Holly @ Hohoruns and Tricia @ Misssipppiddlin to kick off those holiday-themed races.


Workouts update

  • Monday: Dogwalk, DM HIIT
  • Tuesday: Dogwalk, 4 miles easy
  • Wednesday: Dogwalk, DM Booty, YFPR Knees
  • Thursday:  Dogwalk, 4 miles easy, YFPR Knees
  • Friday: Dogwalk, JY Run Your Core
  • Saturday: Great Pumpkin Challenge 10k (with lots of walking)
  • Sunday: Dogwalk, DM Balance

Mileage: 14 (+8)

JY = Jasyoga
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running updates 


Dude, stop sniffing so much on the run!


On an Indian Summer Fall day, I headed out for an easy 4 mile run in the afternoon. The first 3 miles were actually a pretty good pace; then I picked up Bandit and took it easy since it’s been a long time since he’s run with me.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween


Another afternoon run, although my legs felt heavy and sluggish. Thursday is a busy meeting/errand day, so that’s probably why. I did the first mile+ with Bandit because I wanted to do strides at the end, with a race coming up this weekend. So Bandit got 2 runs this week.

There was more scenic areas, but this is what I caputred


I ran this with a lot of the Wineglass girls. Sort of. I also went with another friend, and neither of us had done the race before nor did we know the park it’s held in well. Let’s just say that the volunteer didn’t do a great job directing us, and we had a long walk to the start (and we weren’t even sure where the heck that was!).

So we just barely saw them before the start of the race. I didn’t see Darlene until afterwards. I lined up a bit further in front than my other friends, and chatted up several of the runners around us, one who was doing her first 5k (the 5k and 10k starts together) and another that had just done Wineglass, too, and was wearing the race top.

Thanks to Darlene I knew the second half of the race was hilly — yup — and I haven’t run a 10k, other than the winter series (free supported long runs) in 3 years! But yes, it was a PR. Kind of . . . you’ll have to wait til Tuesday for the full report.


Hmm, dark vs light skirt sister?

Favorites of the week
Always nice to run a race with so many friends in attendance. I have to also give a shout out to the Skirtsports Wonder Wool tee — seriously, it wicks so good. If it weren’t for my sports bra, you’d never even know that I’d run a race. Another home run from Skirtsports! Now I just need me a wool sports bra — they do make them, although sadly not Skirtsports. Not yet, anyway. While I am a Skirtsports Ambassador, I don’t make any money if you buy using my links.



Love camo

I was going to link up for #fashionfriday but never got around to it. But I do love these camo jeans from Gap (on sale now, not an affiliate but really, I should be!).

Growing out my bangs

Last but not least, I finally got my hair cut! It’s been far too long. And my hair was far too long, too. Decided to grow out my bangs for a little change. I probably won’t like it; I’ve done it before and I always go back to bangs, but there’s not really much I can change about my hair unless I go really short, which I don’t want to do.

And that’s a wrap 


This week I am also linking up with the Sunday Fitness & Food Linkup brought to you by Ilka @ Ilka’s Blog and Angela @ Marathons & Motivation.

Let’s get the conversation started:

Ever tried a wool sports bra?

Favorite holiday race? 

How did you get moving this weekend?