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

Stockcadeathon Race Recap 11/10/19

stockade18

I’d been stalking weather for this year’s Stockadeathon for a while and finally signed up on Tuesday. With another very stressful week on the family front, I was definitely feeling run down by race day and kind of questioning why I thought this was a good idea?

A nice long sleeve tech tee (I got mine before the race, as I’d signed up so late)

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup is always easy, and this year was no different. I signed up the same day I did as last year, but this year no race shirt at pickup (option to maybe get one after the race). No biggie … I have plenty of race shirts.

The weather & dressing
I say the same thing about this race every year: I thought I was overdressed in the beginning. I was definitely warm. When I took off my coat at the end, it was drenched in sweat. I also get cold towards the end of the race, and I’m unzipping and zipping my coat the entire race. I probably could have worn a lighter jacket, but this outfit was okay.  Same starting temp as last year too: 36.

I wore my an old New Balance jacket, my Wonder Wool Tee and Wonder Wool Skirt. Newton Distance on the feet. I also wore a buff around my neck; unlike last year I never found it annoying. I didn’t wear gloves at all, although I’d taken a couple of pairs, and that was the right call for me.

Yup, foot already painful but must smile for the photographer

My Race Plan
No race plan. Decided to try to run by feel. I did peak at where I was in mileage more than once, but I was never, ever aware of pace.

I parked at a hotel, as I’ve been doing the last few years. It’s about a 10 minute walk over to the Y, which hosts the runners before and after the race. Even though the Y has real bathrooms, the line for them is long. So I use the bathrooms in the hotel, and if there is a line, it’s usually short.

I got over to the Y to drop off my bag, and realized on the way that I’d forgotten my water bottles. I debated it, but knew I had enough time to go get them — so that was my warm up, partially running to and from my car. I’m actually really glad I got them. I used the bathroom one more time, since I was there, and headed back to the start — unfortunately it meant I never met up with any of my friends before the race. I even did a bit of dynamic stretching before the start.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:10. You start on a downhill. I always love a downhill. Quite a bit faster than last year (due to not looking at pace), but I actually think — which makes me a broken record lately — that it was fine.
  2. Mile 2: 10:57. Most of mile 2 is a long, gradual hill. Again a bit faster than last year. I did run/walk by feel up the hill.
  3. Mile 3: 12:15. You’re still going up. This mile was slower than last year.
  4. Mile 4: 10:55. Another mile quite a bit faster than last year.
  5. Mile 5: 11:37. Relatively flat. Slower than last year. Still running by feel . . . a course marshal was telling all the runners that it was downhill from here — and it isn’t. I told him to stop saying that!
  6. Mile 6: 11:08. Running around the lake in Central Park (see the photo above). Still relatively flat. Unfortunately this is where my foot started to be painful. Another mile significantly faster than last year.
  7. Mile 7: 11:49. A decent hill at mile 7.5. I ran/walked up again, and it was basically about the same pace as last year. Foot still painful (right foot on the bottom, over a bit towards the right). Painful enough that stress fracture thoughts flitted through my mind. It didn’t hurt much when I walked, but really hurt while I ran. What to do?
  8. Mile 8: 12:22. Despite the downhill, my pace slowed down significantly and you know how I love a downhill. My foot was really painful. Bad enough that a course marshal actually asked if I was okay.
  9. Mile 9: 11:26. The last mile is really downhill. By this point it seemed like I should just get it over with. Slower than last year, but not by too much.
  10. Last .47: 10:34. Still going downhill to the finish line. One of my sole sisters was handing out water at the finish, and I told her how much my foot was bothering me as she handed me a bottle of water. It was still really painful as I walked to get some food & my jacket, at which point I ran into Darlene and a few other running friends.  One of those friends is also a Skirt Sports Ambassador, and we were partially twinning in our outfits, but photo fail. My foot felt much better when I got back up after sitting for a while.

2015: 1:51:32 (an automatic PR — new distance)
2016: 1:49:31 (a most surprising 2 minute PR)
2017: 1:45:09 (crushed it for another PR!)
2018:  1:46:49, 11:28 average pace, 1170 our of 1308, 43 out of ?? F55-59
2019: 1:47:31, 11:33 average pace, 1259 our of 1409, 41 our of ?? F55-59

In 2017 they added the splits for each 5k (probably because you can now run this as part of a relay team), and I had beautiful negative splits:

1st 5K: 35:43
2nd 5k: 35:16
3rd 5k: 34:11 (gotta love a downhill finish)

Last year I was just consistent, apparently:

1st 5k:  35:25
2nd 5k: 35:42
3rd 5k:  35:43

And this year positive splits:

1st 5k: 35:11
2nd 5k: 35:50
3rd 5k: 36:31

Like last year, I chose to run this race totally by feel. I do think I did a great job considering the foot pain, but it also pains me (see what I did there?) knowing I would have pushed the pace more had my foot not been hurting — I think I *might* have been able to PR.

It’s annoying, but it’s life, and I’m definitely glad that in the end my foot seems okay.

Was the race well run?
Not enough water stops! I say this every year. I bring my own water. Otherwise this race is a well oiled machine with plenty of direction, course marshals, and lots of food and water for everyone post race. Even foam rollers! I really think having the post race stuff going on in the same building we use before the race is very helpful.

Refueled immediately after with half a cider donut, a protein bar, then had hot chocolate at brunch. I make some healthy hot chocolate often, and only very occasionally indulge in the real stuff.

What I learned
I left later than last year, and it would have worked out beautifully — if I’d remembered the darn water bottles. While I missed chatting with my friends prior to the race, I know that having that water with me was the right decision for me.

I’m really proud that I ran by feel and still had a good race (aside from the foot pain). Pretty sure if it hadn’t been hurting I could have pushed a lot harder.

Positives:

  1. Extremely well organized race.
  2. Hot food inside post race, and enough for all.
  3. Real bathrooms at the Y and where I park.
  4. Although a hilly course, most (but not all) of the hills are frontloaded into the first half of the race.
  5. A nice downhill finish.
  6. Running with friends. Running into friends you haven’t seen in a while.

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. The course runs a little long.
  2. Challenging course (some might view that as a positive).
  3. Not enough water stops.
  4. Although parts of the course are very pretty, much of it just isn’t that interesting to me.
  5. I actually had chafing underneath the bra line (which I never do). I didn’t see/feel it til post race, and I put on anti chafe before showering so it never bothered me. I wore one of my wool bras, which I still love — this is the longest distance I’ve ever worn one for. Oddly I’ve been wearing them a lot this summer, too, including a lot of hot trail races. It wasn’t a big deal though.
Coming into the finish: please make it stop already!

Final Thoughts on My Foot
I don’t know what caused the pain, but my suspicion is that shoe was laced too tight coupled with the pounding on the uphills. It was slightly tender if I had to raise up on the ball of my foot later on race day, but otherwise fine, and fine now.

Should I have walked the end of the race? Really, I probably should have. It didn’t hurt as much when I walked. What if it had been the beginning of a stress fracture (or reaction) and by walking I averted that danger?

It really was stupid to keep running but I’m glad it wasn’t something serious. I hope it never happens again! Pain isn’t always temporary, my friends.

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

coachescorner

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

Best Damn Race Savannah Half Marathon Race Recap 2/16/19

bbdr

I have been looking at half marathons in Savannah forever, it seems. But I’m picky; just ask Mr. Judy. Many of the halfs there are in April — too hot and humid (and maybe rainy)!  Of course sometimes you can catch a break, but no. Just no.

Then Best Damn Races announced they would be doing their first race in Savannah — in February. Two days after my birthday. Sold. Remember, I also ran the inaugural BDR NOLA race (read about that here).

Packet Pickup & Expo
Pickup at Forsyth Park was super easy. I did have to show my license, which I find oddly enough is rare. The goody bag actually had a few goodies in it:

  • Pint Glass. They’d announced this recently so I knew that — love me a pint glass (good for smoothies).
  • A candy from Savannah Candy Kitchen along with a discount for the store.
  • A double package of biscoff cookies. Why? No idea — as far as I can tell there’s no connection to Savannah or GA. I’ve been playing around with shortbread as part of my fuel this training cycle — well, now I have plenty of Biscoff. Except no races. Maybe I should freeze them?

I didn’t even look at the expo, so I don’t know what they had. In NOLA there wasn’t a whole lot. The only downside is that Forsyth Park was a mile and a half from our hotel. Add to that the fact that I wanted to stop at City Market (outdoor shopping area) for some pizza, but had the wrong address, and also met up briefly with another Skirt Sports ambassador . . . let’s just say there was more walking the day before the race than I’d planned on.

bdrsavannah2
Lots of Skirt Sports hanging out before the start

The weather & dressing
Our first few days in Savannah were downright chilly. Cloudy, mornings in the 30s/40s. Dry. Yup, perfect racing weather. I did my last two training runs and I really wished I’d brought capris with me! I actually began to think I’d brought the wrong outfit for the race. Alas, the weather warmed up on race day. A lot.

Race morning actually seemed pretty good: cloudy, dry, but almost 60. It didn’t feel that humid . . . at the beginning. We were all saying the weather was perfect. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I wore my Skirt Sports Wonder Girl Tank (Skirt Sports Ambassador) and Cool It Skirt  — yes, the exact same outfit I wore in almost all of my halfs last year. The Wonder Girl Tank has the cleavage alley pocket, and after dropping my little tube of Saltstick Chews once, I put it in there — which worked great. I have a tendency to forget to take them, but this made it much easier; since they’re in their own little tube, there was no problem with sweat getting at them.

I went back and forth a lot about whether or not to wear compression socks, but in the end decided against it and am very glad that I did. It heated up quickly (although thankfully stayed cloudy the whole race). It spit rain just a tiny bit here and there, but there was never any real rain (which would have felt nice).

Then there was the whole shoegate fiasco (read about that here). I don’t think that was what caused the blood blister — my guess is it was the brand spanking new pair of Balegas I wore? I have the exact same pair, but new ones were just so clean. They looked so pretty and matched my outfit beautifully. Could they have really caused a blister? I guess we’ll never know.

And what didn’t I wear? My cool it towel! I brought it (just as I brought it to my Ocean City half). I decided not to wear it in both races, and in both races, that was a mistake (especially in OCNJ). Hopefully this time I will learn from my mistakes!

My Race Plan
I didn’t bother to ask Rachel @ Runningonhappy for a race plan — still! Training had been rather odd. I was so slow in the beginning, still feeling niggles, I basically chalked this up for a fun run. Then the niggles got better and my paces got better, and my secret goal was to prove to myself I could do better than 2:30, maybe even PR — without a downhill.

So how’d that work for me?

  • Mile 1:  10:45. It was a crowded start, but also a small race, so I’d moved up between the 2:30 and 2:20 pacers, which probably accounts for the speedy for me pace. Did I start out too fast? Maybe, but I don’t really think I did.
  • Mile 2:  11:12. Narrow streets, very crowded.
  • Mile 3:  11:05. Flat. It took a few miles to find my own space to run.
  • Mile 4:  11:04. Flat.
  • Mile 5:  10:50. Flat.
  • Mile 6:  11:18. I remember we ran under an overpass here, so there was a dip in the road — don’t ask me why I slowed down. Futzing with fuel, no doubt.
  • Mile 7:  11:09. This was a nice — but very narrow — paved running path around Hull Park. There was one girl who was just ahead of me for most of the race, also a run/walker, and she seemed to feel that she could just walk whenever she wanted to without caring what was going on behind her — she would walk on the narrow path instead of getting over onto the sidewalk next to it. Yes, she pissed me off.
  • Mile 8:  11:48. We ran down pass Hull Park, then turned around and ran around the other side of it. Again, not sure why this was a slow mile.
  • Mile 9:  11:34. Flat.
  • Mile 10: 11:58. It was, thankfully, a cloudy day. But by now the temps were getting warm for someone who’d been dealing with polar vortexes a lot. Also a toe on my left foot had begun to hurt — I suspected a blister, even though I am not prone to them and I’d applied anti chafe stuff generously to my feet (and other chafe prone areas — it turned out to be a blood blister and there was no chafing elsewhere).
  • Mile 11: 12:09. Flat.
  • Mile 12: 12:07. Mostly flat, the beginnings of a slight incline that would carry over into the next mile.
  • Mile 13: 12:13. This course is pancake flat, but there is just a very slight incline in this mile. Normally I am ready to be done here and pull out a fast mile. Nope. Now, a word about that 2:30 pacer. In the beginning of the race she was definitely running faster than a 2:30 half — in fact, one girl said she was on track for a 2:15 race and she was running around me. The pacer was actually using run/walk intervals. At some point, though, later in the race, she ended up behind me, which obviously made me think I was going to achieve my goal. She did pass me in this last mile and crossed the finish line pretty much right at 2:30.
  • Last .12: 8:34. I did manage to sprint it to the finish line.

2:30:33 — Official Time
11:30 Average Pace
16 out of 30 in F55-59
216 our of 374 Female Runners
408 out of 599 Runners

bdrsavannah1
Notice the 2:30 pacer . . . behind me — if only I could’ve kept up this pace later!

So no, I didn’t meet my goal. I’d worked hard to get comfortable being uncomfortable with slightly overdressing my treadmill runs and some outside runs during this training cycle (although it’s hard when it’s super cold!); this worked well for me in NOLA and I guess it did help here, but I still don’t know if I can do better than a 2:30ish half without a downhill.

OTOH, I never had time to acclimate. It was raw and much colder for my other two runs in Savannah: 50 and 39! This half started at 61. While the blister hurt, it wasn’t that bad and I don’t think it effected my race (after the race is a different story!). My half in NOLA was much hotter, much more humid, and there was sun towards the end — yes, it was a little bit slower, but the runs I’d done to acclimate were also in line with what I actually got dealt with on race day.

bdrsavannah4
The energy was obviously there — the mental power, not so much

Should I have started out slower? I think the short answer is yes, but OTOH, until the second half, my pace was very consistent. I do think that it was the warm day with no chance to acclimate that got to me. That plus the stress of losing Gizmo shortly before the race and probably walking around too much the day before the race — I have to say while I was excited at the start as I always am, my legs felt dead from the start.

Oddly enough I had a rather similar race in Cape Cod — but no blisters — under vastly different weather circumstances! I am only a little disappointed. No real injuries, a decent time for me especially considering the change in weather, and another state added.

Will I be stuck in this finish time area until another breakthrough — or have I peaked? Only time will tell. There are many more states to add!

bdrsavannah3
That hydration vest is so important to me — and makes me look like my boobs are at my waist, too! Function over form.

Was the race well run?
Best Damn Race puts on great races. If you sign up early enough they are not expensive. Volunteers are enthusiastic. Courses are well marked — in fact the course is the only place they lost points for me — I think it was one of the most boring half courses I’ve ever run. Which is sad, because Savannah is a really lovely city. Luckily we were able to see it on our own.

I use a hydration vest, so I never stopped at an aid station, but as far as I could tell they seemed well stocked (I hope they were for those further back than me). There was still lots of food when I finished — again, hopefully there was for the runners finishing after me. But Dunkin Donuts had run out of chocolate donut holes. 😦

bdrsavannah5
In my post race daze I kept trying to get the top off of the mini brownies. It was just a sheet of plastic I could easily lift. At least they were worth it!

There was still a nice spread:

  • Donut holes
  • Pizza (there was a small wait, but I am not that hungry immediately following a half and didn’t want pizza at 10:30 in the morning anyway)
  • Candy — there were still mini Snickers! Score!
  • Bananas (they did look rather green, though)
  • Mini brownie bites that were so fudgy and delicious!
bdrsavannah6
Hurts so good. Yes, it was actually in the 60s. No, it didn’t feel like it after I stopped running.

There’s beer, too, of course, but I don’t drink and although I had my wrist band to give away, I just totally forgot about it. There are also free massages, and they take their time with you, which obviously meant a wait, but it was well worth it. It was more of a sports massage — in fact, my calves were actually killing me afterwards because she used deep pressure — yes, I had some black and blue marks, but I bruise easily. I did think about telling her to ease up on the pressure, but I figured I probably needed it and they did feel a lot better the next day (as did my blister, thankfully).

img_4350
The meetups make the race so much more fun!

Positives:

  1. Best Damn Races are so well organized
  2. A goody bag with actual goodies!
  3. A pint glass
  4. A cloudy day — I’m pretty sure my time would have suffered a lot more if it had been sunny
  5. Free photos (up quickly)
  6. Free massages
  7. Meeting up with some Skirt Sisters
  8. Meeting up with Karen @ Runningfifty
  9. Plenty of food at the finish line

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. Much warmer than the rest of our stay in Savannah
  2. The course — it really did not showcase Savannah at all
  3. My first blister in a race
  4. This is not a huge negative, but BDR NOLA used a drawstring bag for the goody bag & I use it all the time; I was looking forward to a new one but this goody bag was a canvas shopping bag

What I learned
Nothing new on race day. Nothing new on race day. I’m usually pretty good about this, and the one other time I did it (BDR NOLA, oddly enough), it worked out just fine. I’ll never really know why I got the blister, and it may have nothing to do with the new socks, but were they worth it? Probably not.

Double check addresses. I had the wrong address for one of the places I wanted to stop at on the way to packet pickup — I spent far too much time on my feet looking in the wrong place. Totally my bad.

These aren’t things I learned, but rather things I knew and this trip just hammered it home for me:

  • I totally prefer to put my vacation before the race. Almost every runner I know is the other way around. You never know how you’re going to feel after a race. If you end up injured (it can happen!), then the rest of your vacation is going to suck. Sure, you can also injure yourself before the race, and that would totally suck, too, but at least you’d still have a vacation.
  • Leave yourself a little wiggle room to get there. We left in one heck of a snowstorm — we really weren’t sure we’d make it out of here (thank goodness we did). We left on a Tuesday and the race was Saturday. If we’d left on Wednesday, as we’d originally planned, I’m not sure we would have made it. We would still have had enough time to get there before the race even so (although our vacation would have suffered). This also gives you time to acclimate to different weather. It was just unfortunate for me that race day weather was quite different from the days leading up to it.
  • The Cool It Towel helps. Worse comes to worse, you can stash it in a pocket. Wear the damn thing if it’s hot!

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

Bill Hogan 3.5 mile Race Recap 1/1/19

bbillhogan19
Thanks for the photo, Darlene

This race isn’t scenic. It isn’t fun. And the weather is usually in some way nasty — this year it was with 30 mph winds gusting up to 40 mph. Yet, I come back year after year — I always feel my year starts out on the right foot with this “race”.

The Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Clubputs on what they call the winter series. They are, at their heart, a supported long run:

  • There are water stops
  • There are course marshals
  • There are different distances to choose from
  • There is food afterwards
  • There are photographers
  • There is no fee for club members; $5 for non-members

What they are not:

  • They are not chip timed
  • They are not accurately measured
  • They are not scenic

Packet Pickup
There are no packets, since there are no bibs or chips or medals. I like the fact that the race doesn’t start until noon, even though I don’t stay up til midnight on New Year’s, but it does make eating a little funky.

However, despite the lack of shirts or even bibs, you still have to come early (parking can go quickly sometimes) and you do have to sign in — whether you registered online (I never do) or not.

This year I picked up one of our running group who lives near me (she’d driven me to Last Run) — we left around 10:45. We were definitely early, but some of our group were already there. I hit the indoor bathroom before there was a line.

Why yes, there was a plan
I planned to treat the race as a mini tempo run. I planned to warmup & cooldown in the first and last half mile, and push the pace the rest of the race.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:37. Some moderate inclines and declines. Oops, didn’t quite follow the plan here.
  2. Mile 2: 10:29. Mostly flat.
  3. Mile 3: 10:23. Mostly a long, slow decline. In previous years I’d slowed down in mile 3, despite the decline. Here I’m working on some nice negative splits!
  4. Last .7: 11:13. Well, I did follow the plan and pulled back the pace here. I won’t lie, either — I was tired and quite happy to slow down. Until I saw that I was close to my PR for this race after all. It was probably close to a 5k PR at that point, too.

My times for this race:

  • 2011: 38:48
  • 2012: 40:40
  • 2013: 41:15
  • 2014: 40:45
  • 2015:  39:22
  • 2016: 38:45
  • 2017: 40:03
  • 2019: 39:41

The weather & dressing
The weather was warmer than most years, around 40, but with those nasty winds, the feels like was in the 30s. I wore my Skirt Sports Triple Pocket Tight in Charmed, Skirt Sports Toasty Cheeks Skirt(because of that wind!), Wonder Wool Long Sleeve (I’m a Skirt Sports Ambassador), and New Balance Jacket. I was happy with how I dressed.

What I Learned
No race is ever all good or all bad, of course, and it helps to look back at both the positives and negatives. Negatives:

  • Only one water stop. Unlike most people, I like to drink water every mile — even for a cold almost 4 mile race. So I just carry a small water bottle with me.
  • The wind! It was nasty.
  • The very unscenic course.

Positives:

  • Chatting with friends pre and post race.
  • It’s free if you’re a HMRRC member — including food before and after the race (although they used to serve pizza and no longer do). Bananas, cookies, bread, peanut butter, soup, etc. I just ate the snack I’d brought with me, though.
  • Starting the year off with a “race”.
  • I won’t lie — I was a little miffed when I realized if I’d just pushed a bit harder that last 3/4 mile, I could have started the year off with a shiny new PR. I realize, though, that I hadn’t planned to really race it, and that I did a very good job considering the winds. I’m very happy with my performance.

Was the race well run?
Yes, the race is very well run. The volunteers (thank you!) do an excellent job of directing you, and there was more signage this year, too — there’s also a half marathon, so there are several places where the half marathoners go a different route.

It’s not chip timed, as I said, but there is a finish clock and you’re handed a numbered index card as you cross the finish line to write down your time. There was also a table at the finish line — outside! — so that you could hand in your card right away — brrrr! It might have been nice running weather, but I’d be really cold having to sit out there.

Will I run it again next year? If I’m here and the weather isn’t too atrocious, no doubt you’ll find me running this race on New Year’s Day 2020.

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

Last Run Albany Race Recap 12/8/18

No snowy selfies this year, and that’s a good thing! OTOH, while I was with a group, I raced alone . . . so no friendly chatting during the race. Ah, but was it a good race?

The egg (a theater). We park below it.

Packet Pickup
This year Darlene @ Myfirst5k offered to pick up bibs. In the end, she picked up 10 — which required going to multiple lines, since it’s done alphabetically. She was definitely a trooper!

No extra swag at all this year, but at least the race shirt was a long sleeve tech tee, unlike last year’s cotton blend — it ran large this year, though — good thing I just use mine to sleep in anyway.

Our merry band is growing.

Plan — what plan?
My plan was simple again this year: have fun. Run by feel. End of story. I hadn’t felt great most of the week and hadn’t run since Monday. With no snow this year, I was definitely planning on running! Or run/walking.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 12:03. It’s dark. The roads are uneven with a little bit of cobblestone. And it’s crowded. This mile felt super slow, and yet it was about my easy run pace.
  2. Mile 2:  10:59. Mile 2 goes through the holiday lights in the park, with some uphills. I’d basically had to run that first mile with no walk breaks due to the crowded conditions, and somehow mentally I decided to just keep running. I definitely felt tired a few times, but 2 miles down with no walking.
  3. Miles 3: 10:12. It’s downhill to the finish. Still running. Love the downhills and have absolutely no idea what pace I was running. I was definitely tired but it also didn’t feel super hard.
  4. Last .17: 9:02. I forgot about the photographer at the finish . . . I swear, truest finish line photo ever and sorry 984, what were you thinking running in too big sweatpants? It looks like I’m walking but I definitely wasn’t.

blastrun2018

I thought maybe it was a course PR, but darn, apparently I really tried to race it in 2014. Would you believe that this is probably the first 5k I’ve ever run with no walk breaks, ever?

Even though most of my slow years were running with other friends, sometimes it’s also nice to be able to run your own pace.

I had zero idea of my pace at any point during the race. Now of course I’m thinking, darn, if that start wasn’t so crowded, but OTOH I may have fizzled at the end if I’d started out faster. Or not. We’ll never know. Definitely not my fastest 5k, but overall, a lot of fun and the pace was a really big surprise — I was not at all trying to be “fast”.

2018: 35:39

2017: 54:17 (snowing again!)

2016: 39:35

2015: 37:09

2014 – 34:27

2013: 38:10 (snowing!)

The weather & dressing
Exactly the same as 2017 as it turns out: 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.

I did try Kim @ Runningonthefly’s suggestion to put a headband over my hat to keep my ears warm — I didn’t get it on right (too busy chatting apparently) and no one pointed out how dorky I looked. Good thing it wasn’t that cold.

The fireworks are nice but it’s so COLD!

Was the race well run?
Yes — the swag is now nonexistent, but thing are looking up with a tech tee and there was actually some food still around when I finished — although I couldn’t locate the water outside, there was plenty inside. Of course last year we finished almost 20 minutes later . . .

I got a ride with a friend this year — and good thing, too, as my husband had just replaced the dead battery in the car and I didn’t want to test it out  — we parked in my usual place — the Egg’s Visitor Center’s lot — it costs just $5 and that’s where the packet pickup is; you don’t even have to go outside until the race starts. We got there around 4ish (the race starts at 5); there was already a line of cars, but still plenty of parking spaces.

Santa’s helpers

Last year I hosted a potluck afterwards, this year the other Judy hosted. Our group has grown . . . there was lots of yummy food and some attempted knitting.

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tor-box

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

Stockcadeathon Race Recap 11/11/18

stockade18

Stockadeathon is the only 15k I’ve ever done. I really like the distance — long enough to be a challenge, but ends at about the time I start to get really tired. This year’s race dawned with a dusting of snow, and snow continued to pelt the windshield on the drive to the race, but that’s when it ended and the sun came up, setting us up for a sunny, if chilly race.

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup is always easy., and this year was no different. Unlike last year, even thoughI signed up very late (Tuesday, I believe) I still got a race shirt, which was a nice long sleeve tech tee.

One of the sole sisters was volunteering at packet pickup and I stopped to chat with her a bit before leaving.

At least zippers allow me to regulate my temperature

The weather & dressing
I said this about my last half (read about it here), about this race last year — and again, this year! I thought I was overdressed in the beginning. I was definitely warm. When I took off my coat at the end, it was drenched in sweat. But I also got cold towards the end of the race. I probably could have worn a lighter outer layer, but this outfit was okay. At least I didn’t have to drag out the Thermoball to run in like I did last year! It was 36 at the start this year, compared to last year’s 28.

img_3475
Maybe I overreacted to the snow . . . but it was also supposed to be a little windy; it wasn’t that bad — especially in comparison to running a half in a Nor’easter, of course!

I wore my Skirt Sports Double Take Reversible jacket, my Wonder Wool Tee and Wonder Wool Skirt. Newton Distance on the feet. I also wore a buff around my neck, but I did find that annoying later in the race. I had fleece glittens (convertible mittens) on the first couple of miles, took them off and put them in the back pocket of my coat, but then at the end my hands were so cold! Since I’d lost so much time stuffing everything in there at mile 3, I didn’t want to futz with it again, so I just sucked it up.

My Race Plan
No race plan. No looking at last year’s results, either. When you register they ask you your predicted finish time and I actually guessed fairly close to what I ended up running. I don’t know why they ask as there isn’t a corral start.

I parked at a hotel, as I’ve been doing the last few years. It’s about a 10 minute walk over to the Y, which hosts the runners before and after the race. Even though the Y has real bathrooms, the line for them is usually extremely long. So I use the bathrooms in the hotel, and if there is a line, it’s usually quite short.

I went in at about 8 am to use the bathrooms the first time. Then I chatted up a couple who turned out were actually staying in the hotel, and went to use the bathroom one more time. And then I realized that it was about 8:15 and the race starts at 8:30 and I still needed to drop off stuff at bag check and it was about a 10 minute walk to the Y . . . Oy!

Always a good time with these ladies. Darlene is taking the photo.

So I got my warmup mile (but no dynamic stretching) done as I ran to the Y, passing the Sole Sisters on the way there. I’m really glad I decided to still drop my sweatshirt and jacket off, because I was very chilled after the race and still had that walk back to the car. I made it to the start with a couple of minutes to spare, but I also ended up lining up closer to the start than I should (pace wise) and apologized to everyone around me.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:53. You start on a downhill. I do love a downhill, and I didn’t take my first walk break until halfway through this mile because it was too crowded and narrow to stop before then. I briefly saw one of my Sole Sisters running friends (and that was the last time I saw her during the race!).
  2. Mile 2: 11:14. Most of mile 2 is a long, gradual hill. I was running fast to catch up briefly with a fellow Skirt Sports sister. Miles 1 & 2 were faster than last year . . . but no other mile was.
  3. Mile 3: 11:49. You’re still going up. I suspect that when I changed out one water bottle for another in mile 3 I did lose a significant amount of time, causing this mile to be slower than it should have been. I was having trouble getting the full water bottle — which, as it turns out, was leaking, so I’m glad I switched them — out of the pocket.
  4. Mile 4: 11:32. They changed the course this year, and took out the part along the river on the bike path. Which was nice and flat and very scenic. I thought this course was actually hillier, although looking at my stats it wasn’t (it seems to get less hilly each year, and this is the first time since I started running it that the course has changed!); Darlene thought it seemed easier. It seemed to me that every time we made a turn — and there are plenty — we were going uphill.
  5. Mile 5: 11:00. Relatively flat. I saw a couple of my friends, who were course marshals, midway through this mile — they always give me a boost!
  6. Mile 6: 11:30. Running around the lake in Central Park. Still relatively flat.
  7. Mile 7: 11:46. A decent hill at mile 7.5. This was about the only hill that felt not as bad as last year. Yet I still went up it slower.
  8. Mile 8: 11:45. Through the cemetery and mostly downhill. And yet the same pace as the uphill . . .
  9. Mile 9: 11:13. The last mile is really downhill; last year I was way faster this mile. This year I wasn’t watching my Garmin.
  10. Last .41: 9:57. I was hoping the new course wouldn’t run long . . . but it did.

2015: 1:51:32 (an automatic PR — new distance)
2016: 1:49:31 (a most surprising 2 minute PR)
2017: 1:45:09 (crushed it for another PR!)
2018:  1:46:49, 11:28 average pace, 1170 our of 1308, 43 out of ?? F55-59

In 2017 they added the splits for each 5k (probably because you can now run this as part of a relay team), and I had beautiful negative splits:

1st 5K: 35:43
2nd 5k: 35:16
3rd 5k: 34:11 (gotta love a downhill finish)

This year I was just consistent, apparently:

1st 5k:  35:25
2nd 5k: 35:42
3rd 5k:  35:43

Why do I turn out that right foot? How do I correct that????

I chose to run by feel for the race. On the one hand, I’m glad I did. My piriformis and hamstrings have been complaining for a while. And they were sure sore after the race, too (despite foam rolling before and after and legs up the wall later on).

On the other hand, when I saw I was 1:49 off of my PR . . . I know I could have pushed harder. I know that often when I run by feel, I’m slower (but not always). Could I have pushed hard enough for a PR? Probably. Would it have just aggravated my niggles more than was worth it? Well, we’ll never know, will we. I’m feeling okay the day after.

Was the race well run?
Not enough water stops! I say this every year. I bring my own water. Otherwise this race is a well oiled machine with plenty of direction, course marshals, and lots of food and water for everyone post race. Even foam rollers! I really think having the post race stuff going on in the same building we use before the race — last year was the first year they did that — is very helpful.

What I learned
I can leave later for the race, but pay attention to time and leave from the hotel I park at early enough so that I don’t have to run to the start (yes, it’s chip timed, but who really wants to start at the BOTP if they don’t have to?).

I’m still kind of kicking myself for not paying more attention to my Garmin. It doesn’t make a race “less fun” for me when I do. Last year, however, this race wasn’t just two weeks after a hard half. I had 6 weeks in between my half and this race. I’m sure that played into what went down.

On the other hand, for not paying attention to my Garmin, it was actually a pretty decent pace for me. So maybe there still is something to be said for running by feel.

Positives:

  1. Extremely well organized race.
  2. Hot food inside post race, and enough for all.
  3. Real bathrooms — I didn’t use the bathrooms at the Y. Darlene said the lines weren’t bad, but my guess is later on they were. I’ve never seen them not be bad.
  4. Although a hilly course, most (but not all) of the hills are frontloaded into the first half of the race.
  5. A nice downhill finish.
  6. Running with friends. Running into friends you haven’t seen in a while.

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. The course runs a little long.
  2. Challenging course (some might view that as a positive).
  3. Not enough water stops.
  4. Although parts of the course are very pretty, much of it just isn’t that interesting to me. And they took out one of my favorite parts this year!

Tor-box

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

Cape Cod Half Marathon Race Recap 10/27/18

CCM-logo-2018

I had already run a half in MA. The Cape Cod Half Marathon was included in the price of the AMR Retreat. I mean, I’d already paid for it. There was no shorter race. I always thought I’d do a half on Cape Cod, having spent so much time on it over the years. What could go wrong?

img_3415
There’s a hole at the top for your ponytail

Packet Pickup & Expo
We all walked over, together as a group, to the expo to pick up our packets. All BAMRs had been registered at the same time and therefore we were all in the same line to pick up our bibs. And it grew long quickly. Luckily I had the good sense to get into line the minute we got there; I didn’t have to wait long.

The expo is not large, but it does have more than just the basics. Which was nice, as I do a lot of small races and you’re lucky if there’s any expo at all with them. I bought:

  • A fleece lined hat with a hole for your ponytail from Her Tribe Athleticswhich I love!
  • A Grid foam roller and MB5 Massage Ball from Triggerpoint. I swore I wouldn’t be buying another foam roller . . . luckily I’d already been to the Triggerpoint session and so I knew I wanted one, and the price at the expo was actually a good deal. Fun fact: I bought some Triggerpoint products at the expo at my very first half seven years ago — and I still use them to this day.
  • Men’s S (wish they had an XS!) convertible mittens from illumiNITE. You know, the one that’s gloves with half fingers but with a part that goes over so it converts to mittens. One of the things I liked about these was that there is veclro for the thumb so you can expose the tip of your thumb, too. Parts of them are reflective, too. I considered running in them, but I’d brought other convertible gloves (better known as glittens) and ended up using them.
img_3395-1
Before we all looked like drowned rats

The weather & dressing
I could write a book about this. Because yes, as you’ve heard, it was an honest-to-God Nor’easter on race day.

I wore my Skirt Sports Wonder Wool Tee (Skirt Sports Ambassador) under a Tough Chick TopSkirt Sports Charmed tight.and Toasty Cheeks Skirt to keep my butt warm, illumiNITE Hat (long bill, great for rainy days — click hereto see it) with my buff over the top of the hat and over my ears to keep the hat on in the wind. Which is exactly what I wore for the Great Pumpkin Challenge (read about it here), minus the buff because although that race was rainy, it wasn’t that windy.

I had already discovered in a training run that using the buff to keep on the hat in windy conditions worked perfectly. I think I had to grab the hat once the whole race and those wind gusts were fierce!

Did that work for me? Sort of. I started the race the first couple of miles thinking I’d overdressed, but as the race went on and I got wetter and wetter (and the rain got heavier) I was very comfortable — except for the fact that the Tough Chick Top soaked up all that water. The Wonder Wool Tee kept my core mostly dry, though, and I was able to store my gloves in the kangaroo pocket of the Tough Chick Top. Along with my phone in a ziplock — which is why I took no photos at all.

I wonder, though, if I should have gone with a raincoat rather than the Tough Chick Top. My running raincoat is somewhat breathable, so I probably wouldn’t have overheated although I also wouldn’t have stayed completely dry; on the other hand, I certainly didn’t stay completely dry with what I chose to wear.

I know that running in a raincoat, even one specific to running, can cause you to overheat, but that’s what zippers are for. Well, hopefully I’ll never run another half in a Nor’easter and won’t have to make these decisions again and sorry for blathering on so long about them!

bcape4
In the green tights on the left. Sorry I didn’t get a photo while I was dry!

My Race Plan
I didn’t bother to ask Rachel @ Runningonhappy for a race plan (again; still?). I still had the last half’s race plan. That pretty much went out the window (again) and it was a mostly run-by-feel race.

img_3386
The one thing I’m sad about is that it was such a beautiful course, but we couldn’t really appreciate it due to the weather. And race day was the only bad weather of the weekend. Go figure.

So how’d that work for me?

  • Mile 1:  10:58. As we walked to the start & waited to start we all said this isn’t so bad. Yes, it was raining, but fairly lightly, and yes, it was windy. First mile is mostly flat.
  • Mile 2:  11:03. There’s a very slight incline here.
  • Mile 3:  10:56. Relatively flat.
  • Mile 4:  11:09. A slight incline.
  • Mile 5:  11:48. Although there were no hills in mile 5, there were two small bridges. And on every bridge, the winds really caught you. Not to mention battling an almost constant headwind was tiring me out.
  • Mile 6:  11:32. With the turnaround the wind was finally blissfully at our backs, and that made a huge difference. The other difference? Being cheered on by and cheering on fellow BAMRs in our purple bibs.
  • Mile 7:  11:31. The wind continued to be at my back and I got my proverbial second wind, but the damage from battling all that wind was already done.
  • Mile 8:  11:47. A mostly flat mile. Don’t know what happened here.
  • Mile 9:  11:21. Mostly flat but beginning a climb.
  • Mile 10: 11:50. This is the same hill as in mile 4, but of course, later in the race, the wind has worn me down, and the rain is coming down heavier.
  • Mile 11: 12:03. Another flat mile but the rain seems horizontal now. My clothes weight about 3 x more.
  • Mile 12: 11:53. Right before mile 12 there was a cheering squad of BAMRs led by Dimity, who greeted every runner with “you’re looking strong”. It gave a much needed lift to all our spirits and I high fived everyone in the group. I wish I could say it gave me a third wind, but alas, it did not.
  • Mile 13: 12:08. One of my main goals for this race was to do a better job than Ocean City (read about it here). And I did — I never gave up on my run/walk intervals. Of course, when it’s cold, rainy, and windy, you don’t want to spend any more time out there than you have to! I am also happy to report that it was more than 10 minutes faster than the last time I did a windy race, three years ago — and that one was at least dry!
  • Last .24: 11:32. Obviously some of my slower miles were more mental than physical — I was still able to sprint it in. On the other hand, often my last mile is my fastest, because I’m just so ready to be done, and the last full mile was my slowest.

2:32:46 — Official Time
11:39 Average Pace
67 out of 91 in F50-59
989 out of 1180 Runners

Previous Years:
My last windy, hilly (but dry) half was 2:43:14 & a PR at the time

I was pretty sure when I started this race it would not be a PR. And yet quite a few BAMR runners did PR this race. One woman by 11 minutes! I did want to beat my time from Ocean City, which I did with no problems. I also wanted to hold onto my run/walk intervals the whole race, and I did that too. The cherry on top was beating out my finish time from the last cool, windy, hilly half I did three years ago by almost ten minutes – it didn’t even rain at that race!

Was the race well run?
As far as I could tell, the race was mostly well run. Although support seemed a little scant on the roads, and in fact one person did take the wrong turn. I guess I was always near enough to someone not to have to worry about that.

As usual I carried my own water, but the aid stations seemed well stocked and I was definitely in the BOTP. There was still plenty of food (and medals) when I finished, and I waited for Running Buddy J — the food was still plentiful when she finished, as well. At the finish line the heat blankets were put around you, although the medal was handed to you and the water you had to take from the table.

There were tents set up for the food, with enough space for a fair number of runners to stand around, eat, and chat.

This really is a great little race with a very scenic course, and Falmouth is a cute little town (with the beautiful nearby Shining Sea bike path that goes on for miles). I highly recommend it!

Positives:

  1. Running with so many others and cheering each other on.
  2. BAMR cheering squads! You guys rocked.
  3. A nice little expo.
  4. A beautiful course (just wish I didn’t have to see it in the driving rain).
  5. The efforts to make this an eco-conscious race, with composting for leftover food. For instance, I didn’t finish my chowder, or donut, for that fact, and I could just throw everything into the composting bin. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that at a race before!
  6. No chafing, no blisters.
  7. A much faster finish than my last hilly & windy half (with no rain).
  8. A much faster finish than my last half.
  9. Those cider donuts at the finish. 🙂

Of course no race is perfect. The downsides:

  1. The weather. Nor’easter. Nuff said.
  2. Not much spectator support (not counting our BAMR cheering squads!). Nor’ester. Nuff said. There were some, which is pretty astounding when you think about it. Some marathoners were in a house overlooking the course, cheering us on.
  3. I missed the girl with the Snickers (or she wasn’t out when I ran by). I love Snickers!

What I learned
I knew this already, but I will always run better in cold weather — even nasty cold weather — than I will in blazing sun. Another thing I already know: being able to walk to and from a race (and use the bathroom in your own room) is so much more pleasant than driving, worrying about parking, and portapotties.

Running with a group and having a way to easily identify other runners from the group on the run was sheer genius and turned what could have been a miserable race into a lot more fun that it should have been considering the weather.

I still need to learn how to push harder when I’m tired. Sometimes I can do it . . . and sometimes I can’t. I suppose that that is to be expected, but I think it is definitely something I can work on — somehow!

Tor-box

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

Great Pumpkin 10k Race Recap 10/13/18

bgreatpumpkin

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.

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.

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.

Tor-box

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