My #1 Reason to Race

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Last week I shared my #1 Race Pet Peeve here, but since I don’t like to be a Debbie Downer too often, this week I’m sharing what I’m most looking forward to when I can race again.

Have any guesses?

The Benefits of Racing
There are so many great things about racing:

  • Exploring a new location
  • Challenging yourself
  • That feeling of accomplishment at the end of the race

You can read more about reasons to race here.

The thing I’m most looking forward to?

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Of course racing with friends makes the atmosphere even more fun!

The Atmosphere!
The atmosphere at the start of a race — during the race, and the finish line — if you’ve never been, the energy is just amazing.

The energy of race day is why I’m not personally a fan of virtual races — there’s just no way to feel that excitement, that encouragement, that feeling that we’re all connected — in a virtual race.

The energy of race day is what got me hooked on racing in the first place. Maybe not the first time I raced, and probably not the second time either, but boy it hooked me from that first half marathon!

What are you most looking forward to about racing again? 

Do you think your first real race will be local or a destination race? 

Already have a race picked out? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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My #1 Race Pet Peeve

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I’m sure most runners right about now would be willing to overlook a lot of race faux pas if they could just race! Today’s subject was “What was the worst thing that ever happened to you at a race?”.

I’ve been lucky; nothing horrible has ever happened to me at a race. Instead I’m sharing one of my biggest race pet peeves.

sunset cup water drink
Water. Sometimes it makes or breaks a race | Photo by Meir Roth on Pexels.com

Running out of water!
This is what drove me to always carry water when I race — no matter what the distance is. Even for a 5k. I am a thirsty runner. Not only that, but did you know that your fascia (the webbing that surrounds pretty much everything in your body) gets more tangled the more dehydrated you are? I’ll be telling you more on Friday about that!

Some of the stiffness you feel post race (or the next day) can actually be traced to dehydrated fascia. It’s enough to drive you to drink!

Bottoms up
I have run numerous races where they’ve run out of cups, run out of water, or run out of both. Some only for the BOTPers like me — some for even the speedy runners. I understand that trying to figure out how much to get is a science, and that when the weather is not as predicted that can throw a real monkey wrench in things.

Maybe I can understand running out of water when it’s unseasonably hot (and not predicted to be so). But cups? That’s just disorganization. I know that putting on a race is not easy, but it seems to me that should never happen.

There is still nothing worse than running a really hot race, coming up to an aid station, and finding it dry (as dry as you are). Or finding they actually do have water — but no cups!

I’ve had some hot races with no water where I’ve given serious consideration to stealing someone’s water bottle — before I started to always carry my own water.

What’s your biggest race pet peeve? 

Do you already have a plan for your first race post C19 (whenever that may be)? 

Have you had races run out of water or cups or both? 

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Running Down a New Normal: Runfessions March 2020

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March most definitely did not go out like a lamb. As you can tell, I try to work on my Runfessions throughout the month, and I’d written most of this post before all the craziness really started.

It’s a great time to focus on the things that are good in our life, and these linkups are one of those things! I mean seriously, who would even read this blog without the linkups?

I would tell you . . .
I was rather relieved when it became difficult to visit my mom on her birthday. As much as I wanted to be there for her, I was still getting over something and I was teaching Yoga that morning.

I hated the fact that I couldn’t be there, but I’d struggled with whether or not I should be — I’d been sick, not very sick, but was it the right decision to go where there’s a large number of elderly people?

Update: Obviously now I know it was absolutely the right decision.

I runfess . . .
I was really interested in a Yin Yoga training locally this month. Unfortunately it fell as I was just getting back into running after being sick, and it was 2 full days on the weekend. I’d already missed a long run the week previously. It was forecast to rain the Friday before, and I didn’t feel recovered enough to do a long run in a chilly rain.

Update: that studio is closed, but they are livestreaming classes. The reason I wanted to take the course was to have an in person teaching, though, since my training was online.

I runfess . . .
I was getting pretty excited about going to DE for the half next month. I was researching things to do, we’d made our hotel reservation.

Update: cancelled. I contacted the hotel we made the reservation at on their Website, but I haven’t heard back, so I guess I better call them. I never did call them, but they finally called me to tell me they’d be closing. Hello, check your Website occasionally. Well, I’ll give them a pass considering what’s going on.

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I runfess . . .
I have not had a massage in quite a few months. I didn’t get my usual birthday massage. I was, however, rewarded for my ongoing decluttering in my spare room — I came across a Spa Finder gift card for $50! That’s about the size of a tip for a massage (kidding, but not too far off the truth). I was so excited!

Update: Even though I’m fairly certain I didn’t have COVID-19, I’ve been practicing as much social distancing as possible just in case. Which means no massage right now. 😦 Of course the further update is they’re not open.

I would tell you . . .
I bought two new-to-me Brooks running shoes. The first time I wore the they were incredibly comfortable! Yet the next day the sole of my foot felt funny. Not painful, just kind of stretched and achy. I’d bought these shoes because my easy run shoes were about a year old with a lot of miles on them and I didn’t want to experience Plantar Fasciitis. WTF?

It remained that way several days, but eventually felt fine. In that time it occurred to me that I’d gone back to using my Shinttek (you can buy it here and read my review here) after a long hiatus, and that might be the culprit. Sure enough, after my next run, my feet felt fine. Whew!

Update: I’ve continued to run in the shoes and my feet feel completely normal. Thank goodness because I really like them!

Are you turning your thoughts to Fall now? 

Any virtual races you’re excited about (not my cup of tea)?

Do you have more running shoes than you really need now that there are no races?

What do you have to runfess from March? Come join us

ICYMI: I’m going back to basics today on the YouTube Channel here. I’m sharing tips to better planking. I hope to have another meditation out this weekend, and yet another next week! If you do like these meditations, please press the like button — it helps me continue to bring everyone free videos.

Be the first to know when I release new videos: sign up for my newsletter here to find out when I add new videos, and you’ll receive a free Self Love Affirmation PDF and a bonus audio-only version of this self love meditation.

Runfessions

I am also linking up with:

 

Your First Race Questions Answered

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Your first race is both exciting and terrifying at the same time:

  • What if I have to walk; am I not a “real” runner?
  • What if I come in last?
  • What do I wear?
  • How early do I have to get there?
  • What if I need a pitstop?
  • What do I eat?
  • Where do I put the bib?
  • What if I fall?
  • What if I get lost?
  • What is a starting mat?
  • What is a corral?

Spoiler alert: there’s a really good chance that none of the above will happen. Even if it does, you might find that the experience was so fulfilling you want to race again — welcome to the club! Let’s take a look at some of your questions & fears:

What if I have to walk; am I not a “real” runner?
I have run a fair amount of races, and I almost always walk at some point. I am definitely a “real” runner. People get really hung up on not walking, but the truth is a short walking break can help you finish stronger.

What if I come in last?
Someone has to. Chances are you won’t, but if you do, you crossed the same finish line as everyone else and you should be very proud of yourself for having the courage to race.

This race outfit is truly tried & tested having worn it for my hot 18 mile race

What do I wear?
The same clothes you trained in. I highly recommend check out Skirt Sports here (yes, I’m an Ambassador). I also highly recommend that you don’t wear anything cotton. And dress for about 10-20 degrees cooler than the actual weather, because you’ll get warm quickly when you race. If it’s cold before the start, consider putting something over your top that you can take off and just leave by the side of the road before the start. Sometimes it will still be there when you finish, but you can’t count on that, which is why it’s referred to as a throwaway. Some races actually collect all the throwaways and donate them.

How early do I have to get there?
I like to get to a race at least an hour before the start. There’s parking to deal with, and you will almost certainly need to visit a bathroom (if you’re lucky, a portapotty if you’re not) — maybe multiple times.

What if I need a pitstop?
Most races have a portapotty at some of the aid stations along the route, but shorter races may not. Make sure to read the instructions closely so you know what will be available.

What do I eat?
Like what to wear, you should eat the same foods you ate before your runs while training. You did train, right?

Notice the variety of ways to wear a bib, including on your leg

Where do I put the bib?
Races provide you with safety pins. You pin the bib to either your top (in the front!), or some people like to pin it to their bottoms. I like to use a race belt so that I don’t have to put pinholes in my clothes.

What if I fall?
It happens, although for most of us it’s relatively rare. If you’re can’t go on, try to find a volunteer — at the very least get out of the way of other runners! Even if you do fall, chances are you can finish, so just pick yourself up and continue. If your gait  (how you run) is altered (you’re limping), or you’re in pain, walk instead of running — you will only injure yourself further if you run with an altered gait.

What if I get lost?
It’s very unlikely that you’ll get lost, unless it’s a trail race. Definitely study the course if a map is provided (which also helps you to know where aid stations and portapotties might be located).

If you happen to get lost and you can’t figure out where to go — this is another reason to always run with a phone! I’ve never been lost in a road race so far, although I’ve wondered a time or two if I was. I have taken a wrong turn in trail races, but so far nothing overly dramatic.

What is a starting mat?
Under the start line there is usually (but not always) a rubber mat. That mat reads the chip (most likely on your bib these days) and that is how your start time is captured. Sometimes there are mats at midway points during the race, which would show you your “splits” (a segment of a race, for instance the 5k time, or midway, in a 10k).

There is also usually a mat under the Finish Line. In fact, there are often two. This records your finish time; the reason there are two is just in case one of the mats fails.

This is what happens in a chip timed race (which is most, but not all, races today). So if you start late, it doesn’t really matter, because your chip will be read when you start and finish.

What is a corral?
Some races are so big that they only release a certain amount of runners at a time, which helps to decrease runner congestion on the course.

If your race uses corrals, you will be assigned a corral. You can always move back to a slower corral, but if you want to move forward to a faster one, you usually have to put in a request. Some races really enforce corrals; many do not.

There’s also a possibility of a wave start. It’s basically the same thing as corrals, only there is a wait time between waves before the next wave is released. With corrals you just start moving forward as soon as the race starts, with the first corrals, which should have the faster runners, crossing the start line first

You’re going to do great
No matter how the race goes, as long as you finish, you did great. It’s a PR (which stands for Personal Record). You’ll learn a lot. Hopefully you’ll have some fun, but sometimes those first races are too stressful to really enjoy. It may not change your life — but it probably will, as I wrote about here.

I hope I’ve answered some of your questions and fears about your first race. There is a lot more that goes into racing than meets the eye!

What was your first race?

What do you wish you’d known then?

What other first race questions do you have? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Respect the Distance

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Do you ever feel like you can run a certain distance — doesn’t matter if you’ve trained for it or you’re injured — you’ve done it in the past so you know you can just go out and do it, right?

Maybe not
This post isn’t aimed at any one person, which I say because I can think of a few of my friends who might think it’s aimed at them, and it isn’t — or maybe, in a way, it is. I’ve seen so many runners who take on distances they haven’t trained for, either due to life happening or injury recovery.

So many runners get onto social media asking what other runners think of their situation, and the advice is often of course you can do it. Do they know how you feel? Do they know your body?

Marathoners, in particular, have a tendency to get cocky and say “it’s just 10 miles”, because in marathon training, that’s a baby long run.

Everyone thought I would run a marathon after tackling an 18 mile race. I knew there’s a vast difference between 18 miles & a marathon

I can say this of course, because I’ve never run a marathon. 18 miles is a far cry from a marathon. It doesn’t take a toll on your body the way a marathon does.

The next time you’re thinking of taking on a distance you know that you’re really not prepared for, I hope that you’ll at least stop and give it some thought.

Is running this distance worth the potential injury?

Do you really want to run this distance, or do you just not want to throw away the money you’ve invested in this race?

If you decide “I’ll just use this as a training run” — can you really? Or will you get caught up in the excitement of the starting line and run too hard?

Respect the recovery, too
I know I am always harping on recovery, but that’s because it’s so important! Is it that important to you to run this race — or is it more important to you to recover well from your last race and have a better “time” at your next race?

The first time we tackle any longer distance (let’s say any race that is double digits — but it might be a smaller distance for your body) it’s really wise to take some time off of running afterward. Even if you feel fine. Maybe especially if you feel fine.

As your body gets used to running that distance, you won’t need as much recovery time. But the first time? First times are special. Society today seems to reward people only when they push harder and farther. The real reward? A healthy, uninjured body.

Instead of pushing yourself into the next big thing, take some downtime to bask in all that you accomplished and thank your body for all that it does for you. Your body will thank you for that! — Chocolaterunsjudy

It was “only” a 15k, but I went up to double digit runs to train for it

Final thoughts: It’s only . . .
We’ve all said it: it’s only 5 miles. It’s only 8 miles.  It’s only a half. It’s true that as you train, your body adapts to longer and longer distances. It’s kind of miraculous. That doesn’t mean that your body is a machine that can just keep going without breaking.

Learn to listen to your body. Sometimes even learn to ignore your body and listen to your brain — your brain may tell you that you’re not ready, or that you need more rest, but your ego (or social media) might tell you you can do it.

It’s never “only”. It’s hard. Racing is hard. Sometimes even just running is hard. Ignoring niggles, outright injuries, and what your body or head is telling you you need — it often doesn’t end pretty. Be smart, and you’ll enjoy running a long, long time.

Do you take time off running after a hard race?

How much time, and for what distance?

Have you ever regretted not taking time off running after a race?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

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

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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

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Girls on the Run 5k Race Recap 11/24/19

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Girls on the Run (also known as GOTR) is an awesome nonprofit that helps train young girls to run a 5k, but more importantly, also helps them with their self esteem. The lovely Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner runs one of these groups, by the way.

This was my third time running this 5k (not in consecutive years) and it’s always been kind to me. In fact, it’s my “real” 5k PR. I say real because technically I have one a few seconds faster, but I also know that course was short. Like at least a quarter mile short.

Love the color; not so much the 100% Cotton

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was Friday night at our local Fleet Feet, from 4-7. The locals know how crazy busy that road gets on a Friday afternoon, but I knew it would make my life simpler not having to go back and forth to my car on Saturday.

I ran some errands in the vicinity and got there just a tad before 4, and they were enthusiastic, all set up, and ready to go. I had signed up on Wednesday, so they had to make me a packet, but it was quick and easy.

Not a lot of swag: some True Lemon drink samples and a lip balm. I actually used on of the True Lemon samples last week. The 100% cotton tee was a pretty teal color — of course I prefer a tech fabric, but sometimes in the winter I like to wear cotton tees under a sweater to keep warm.

The river is why I love this path

Getting There & Hanging Out
Since I had picked up my bib the night before and was going solo, I didn’t feel the need to get there super early: only an hour before, LOL. I parked in the Riverfront parking garage, which is free on weekends, and a short walk over a bridge to the race start.

We run in this area frequently, and it’s actually one of my favorite areas to run (but only in a group, as there have been several attacks there), so I knew where other free parking was, but I was unsure how far from the start the alternative parking lots were. Note to self: only a quarter of a mile.

I stayed in the car and meditated a bit. I had a really good feeling about this race. It was sunny, but still cold out. Eventually I got out and used a portapotty, walked around a bit (asking a stranger to take my photo), and then did my warmup.

I almost went back to the car to get my slightly heavier jacket, as my teeth were literally chattering as I walked over to the race start — but in the end, after I warmed up, I was fine.

Loving the Skirt Sports High Waist 7/8 Tights!

The weather & dressing
The weather was on the chilly side, but really, it was pretty darn nice. Partially sunny. Wind not too bad. 36F (which passes for warm this time of year here).

I chose Skirt Sports Wonder Wool Long Sleeve , Light-ish Jacket, and High Rise 7/8 Tight. (Skirt Sports Ambassador). I had light convertible gloves on as I walked around and did my warm up, but by the first half mile or so my hands were warm and I put them in my pockets. Newton Motion on the feet.

I might have been okay with a Watch Me Go Top instead of the Wonder Wool, but all in all, I was happy with this outfit.

I lined up close to the start to try & avoid too many girls (they can stop suddenly in front of you!)

My Race Plan
I put a little thought into how to handle this race. Yes, I wanted to run hard and chase that PR (this race being my 5k PR, after all, and flat, too!). I haven’t been training super hard, of course, and I slept horribly the night before.

I always knew it would be run in positive splits, and I was okay with that.

  • A Goal: PR
  • B Goal: How fast can I comfortably run that first mile and what could I hang onto after that?
  • C Goal: Run Naked
  • D Goal: Finish with a smile on my face feeling good

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 9:49. My Garmin Vivoactive 3 can be wonky on the first mile. If I just go by what it says, sometimes I’ve slowed down thinking I was running too fast — and I wasn’t. So I just wanted to go comfortably hard. I think that’s the fastest mile I’ve ever run in a race, so mission accomplished. Obviously I decided against the run naked goal.
  2. Mile 2: 10:13. I knew this mile would be slower. I don’t walk at all the first mile, so the second, when I take a short walk break to drink some water, is always slower.
  3. Mile 3: 10:31. I wish I could’ve held on to mile 2’s pace. Even just a tiny bit slower would have snagged me that PR.
  4. Last .10: 9:44. A sprint to the finish. Yes, indeed, finished with a smile and feeling good (well, feeling spent when I crossed the finish line but overall happy with the race after I caught my breath).

31:31 — Official Time
10:09 Average Pace
33 out of 159 (remember, lots of young girls!)
1 out of 6 F55-59

2016: 31:28, 10:08 Average Pace
2015: 31:37, 10:11 Average Pace

The official time is Gun Time (man, I hate when they do that). Net time was 31:27 (which would have been a 1 second PR, LOL!).

There was some ice on the course in several different spots, and I chose to slow to a walk over those spots. I’m quite sure I could have eeked out those few extra seconds for a PR had the course been ice-free, but you do what you do and if it’s not an actual PR, it’s not. No whining. I am very happy with this race.

Don’t get too excited about the fact that I was first in  my AG (whether you did 5 or 10 year AGs), because this isn’t a race that draws the speedsters. This race is about the girls, and a lot of people don’t enjoy dodging around them. Oddly enough, almost all my fastest 5ks have been ones that are geared to girls.

Was the race well run?
The race started exactly on time and miracle of miracles, my Garmin showed it was also exactly 3.10 miles. There was a warm up (geared to the girls) before the start. It’s a simple out and back on a narrow path, and yet there are plenty of course marshals to cheer the girls (and adults) on.

The swag and the after race refreshments were underwhelming, but at least there was something, and it’s a good cause.

Final Thoughts
Was it a PR, or wasn’t it? I guess it wasn’t. So tantalizingly close. Much like my recent 15k, I think it could have been without the icy spots, but there’s no prize for could-have-beens (or PRs, for that fact).

There might still be a couple of 5ks in the next few weeks. One is strictly a fun run. The other depends on weather, again. PR or not, I am so, so pleased with this race. I have been running roughly 11 years now. I don’t think my PR days are behind me, not yet, although you never know.

Are PRs important to me? Yes and no. Running is still about challenging myself, being the best version of me under the circumstances given to me on race day. Some day inevitably I will slow down and my PR days will be behind me. I’ll keep running, as long as I’m able to. Maybe I’ll race less. Maybe I’ll run less in general. As long as my body can run, though, I will run.

This race is for a good cause: using running to help young girls feel better about themselves. I wish I’d been exposed to something like this as a young girl, although chances are I would have hated it. I encourage you to see if there’s a chapter near you here.

There are definitely days I wish it hadn’t taken me until my mid 40s to find my inner athlete, although on the other hand, there are days I’m thankful that I started so late, because running may be good for our bodies, but it also is hard on them.

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