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.
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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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Great Pumpkin 10k Race Recap 10/12/19

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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!
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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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18 in 2018

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2018 was just not a normal year. Normally I start the year with a short race on New Year’s Day — I’ve been doing this race for seven years! Depending what time you’re reading this, I’m either hanging out before the race, racing, or have just finished racing. The race was canceled in 2018 due to extreme cold. It had definitely been cold before, so just imagine how cold it must have been!

I usually wrap up the year in November with lots of racing too — guess what? Most of the races I wanted to do were canceled due to weather — again!

My title graphic is totally appropriate: the weather was just not normal. Very cold in January, then lots of snow — but it would warm up and all melt, then dump more, and warm up . . . and so on. Pretty much no Spring and right into an early, unusually hot, unusually humid summer. We mostly skipped Fall, too, and heading right into winter with unseasonably cold weather. And it rained . . . so much.

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All smiles early on (and after)

18 in 2018
Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I thought so. So I signed up for the 1812 Challenge (read about it here) and trained for and ran my longest race ever. Despite the chilly start and end of 2018, the summer turned out to be one of the hottest and most humid on record. Of course.

A big shout out to Coach Rachel @ Runningonhappy for coaching me through 18 miles!

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Looking for a pitstop!

But first let’s run down a mountain
I had a goal race to tackle before running 18 miles, though — literally running down a mountain in ID (read about it here). That was my only half PR of the year, but it was hard fought, and let’s just say the race itself was a total cluster — not the least of which was no medals, my first pitstop most likely due to some mild food poisoning, and a race company that folded up not long after the race.

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ID gave us some lovely hiking

Despite the food poisoning and not really being able to eat much at all after the race, except, ahem, a baked potato – in ID, naturally — we had a great vacation and I really enjoyed running all over ID and a bit of hiking, too.

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Loved my time by the ocean in Ocean City, NJ

And then the ocean
The Ocean City NJ Half had been on my radar a long time. I wanted to get through 1812 before pulling the gun on it, though. That’s 3 long distance races in 3 months’ time, after all. I felt good, though, so away we went. 

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. . . but the race was a huge struggle

Let’s just say I don’t seem to have good luck with ocean races (the exception being Panama City Beach 2 years ago). It was a warm day with lots of sun and not my worst or best performance, for sure (read about it here). I enjoyed my time by the ocean, though.

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The ocean was definitely not calm like this on race day

Finally, let’s run through a Nor’easter!
Another Ocean Half. A beautiful day before and after. And a literal Nor’easter the day of. Still one of the most fun races I’ve run due to the brilliance of having a different color bib for AMR retreat participants — the non runners and the runners alike cheered everyone on. It was awesome (read about it here)! And of course I got to share the experience with Running Buddy J.

There were a few PRs & more local races
My half PR streak may have been broken, but I pulled in a few PRs and was even 2nd in my AG in one race (but they only awarded first). Sometimes I was way in the BOTP, sometimes I moved up into the MOTP. In 2018 I ran:

  • 1 18 mile race (automatic PR as a new distance for me)
  • 3 Halfs (1 was a PR)
  • 1 15k
  • 2 10ks (both were PRs and hilly)
  • 1 5 mile race (this one actually was my first race of 2018 and was a PR, which is always a nice way to start the year — especially when you’re not even trying for it)
  • 1 4 mile race
  • 4 5ks (never even came close to the 5k PR, but had friends at all the races so had fun)
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Fun with friends

More friendly racing
I headed out to many races with friends. The cast of runners changed all the time, but most of the time I was with a group of friends, which always makes it more fun. I even managed to run into someone who’d commented on my blog during the 1812 Race, and we ran together several miles — thank you Dina! I hope the rest of your running year went well (we didn’t keep in touch, although we had so much in common!).

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So much trouble . . . mostly worth it 🙂

On the personal front
It was a tough year in many ways, with much ongoing drama that won’t be going away anytime soon: unhappy elderly parents; Gizmo’s kidney failure diagnosis; Lola’s Lyme Disease and Bronchitis and heart scare (she’s fine!, thank goodness, one sick furkid at a time, please).

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I’m not racing anymore in 2018, but I am training for a half in 2019! Say yes to carbs!

Ending on a high note
2018 may have been challenging, but it also included 2 trips near the ocean, more hiking through the beautiful mountains of ID — giving me my Sound of Music moment, many cuddles with the furkids and LOL moments at their antics, runs and races and get togethers with friends. And food, of course. Lots and lots of good food.

Always look for the silver linings — they’re always there!

Was 2018 naughty or nice to you?

What are you looking forward to in 2019?

And last, but most definitely not least, a fond farewell to Tuesdays on the Run. Thank you Marcia, Erika, and Patty for giving us such a wonderful space to hook up and link up with other bloggers every week.  Thank you for all your hard work. 

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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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Goals: Met & Looking into 2019

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When it comes to running goals, I had four main goals for 2018:

  1. Stay injury free
  2. Run the 1812 Challenge
  3. PR a 5k
  4. Add 2 new states

So how’d that work for me? Let’s see!

Stay injury free
Despite ending the year with some piriformis/hamstring pain, I’d say I rocked this. The only time I taped was for my races — until after those races were over, and those niggles intensified — then I had to do some remedial taping, but it seemed to help tremendously and knock on wood the niggles are just niggles.

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Thank goodness for a cloudy day! 18 miles done with a smile on my face.

Run the 1812 Challenge
I’d pretty much decided to do this before 2018 began. I didn’t tell anyone — other than my coach Rachel @ Runningonhappy, my running friends, and Mr. Judy. 

I can have laser like focus when it comes to something I want to do, and so it was with training for the 1812 Challenge — which was supposed to be 18.12 miles, but came up a little short at 18 miles. No worries, it was still the longest race I’ve ever run.

No race is ever easy, and I’d be lying if I said I was sure I could do it . . . until I did a 17.12 mile training run. I still knew that a lot of things can go wrong in 18 miles, but thankfully the Running Gods smiled on me that day (read about it here).

Mission accept and conquered.

PR a 5k
This one was an epic failure. I never got to train specifically for a 5k like I’d planned to, and I only ran a few 5ks. And none of them were anywhere near a PR. The closest was Last Run Albany (read about that here), which I always consider a fun run (and even that wasn’t close to my 5k PR!

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Conquering a mountain in ID with Skirt Sisters

Add 2 new states
I truly didn’t think this would happen. 1812 isn’t a half, obviously, and anyway I’ve already run my half in NY. MA was also a repeat state.

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Definitely a challenge of a different kind, but adding another state was wort it (and time in Ocean City, NJ)

I was able to persuade Mr. Judy to take a little trip on down to Ocean City, NJ (read about it here), however, and that along with my half in ID (read about it here) gave me 2 new states for 2018 to bring me up to 18 states in 2018 — and that 18 mile race in 2018 (and yes, I liked the sound of that when I signed up for it).

My 2019 Crystal Ball . . .
. . . is a bit cloudy. Although I’m training for BDR Savannah (read more about that here if you want to join me!), it’s still a question mark. There’s Gizmo, there’s my parents, there’s a lot of things that could get in the way. I’ve started training for it though, and hope it will be my birthday present.

I enjoy working towards goals, so here goes:

  • Add 2 new states. Hopefully GA, and then who knows? One is better than none. I still have Revel Mt. Hood on the brain, but maybe I’m better off if I just pick a fall half. Or maybe this is the year for Rehoboth Beach (within driving distance) or Kiawah Island . . .Action steps:
    • Research hotels for Rehoboth and Kiawah.
    • Research other fall halfs.
  • Stay injury free.Action Steps:
    • Iron Strength.
    • Prehab.
    • Foam Rolling.
    • Yoga more than once in a blue moon.
  • PR a 5k (still a tall order but it’s still one that motivates me!). Action Steps:
    • Train for a spring 5k.
    • Research & choose several potential spring 5ks.
  • Remember my word for 2019 (read about it here) and keep it in mind. Action Steps:
    • Write it in my Planner.
    • Pick a different quote about Love for each month and write it in my planner.
    • Look for a plaque at Homegoods with some sort of quote about Love that I can put somewhere I’ll see it frequently (like by the computer!).

Have you thought about goals for 2019?

How did you do in your 2018 goals?

If you’re not goal-oriented, what motivates you to keep active?

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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 12/8/18

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.

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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.

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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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Have I let myself go? + a Giveaway

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Have you?

I have a dirty secret. In fact, I have several sheet pans that I’ve had forever and not bothered to clean, so I just slap some foil over them and then throw out said foil when I’m done.

Am I just lazy? Have I stopped taking care of my things?

I know today’s subject is Runner’s Gifts, and hopefully I’ll have a few for you on Friday (ones I suggest, not actual gifts, although if you keep reading I do have something for three lucky people). You can bet I’ll be reading your blogs for ideas, but for today, I have something else on my mind.

Getting rid of what I don’t want one little bit at a time

One day I just started cleaning
It was shortly after Thanksgiving, when I think I used one of the sheet pans that hadn’t been cleaned in years. I looked at it, and I knew I could clean it up. Not all in one go, and it was definitely going to take a lot of elbow grease (and baking soda), but there really was no excuse for leaving these pans in such a condition.

I am working on them, a little bit at a time. It makes me happy to have functional and beautiful things around me, and my sheet pans were functional — but definitely not something you feel good serving people from.

Feeling good is the name of the game
I’m sure by now you’re wondering how any of this ties in with my title. It’s no secret I’ve been struggling with my weight for a while now. It’s not a lot of weight, and I know there are definitely friends that don’t get it — why would such a small amount bother you? — and there are definitely friends that do get it. 

I realized one day, though, that I used to walk a lot more. That I’d become rather complacent about the non-running days, you know, the days I don’t get a lot of steps in? Especially in Winter (even though it’s only Fall!), when there are often days at a time we can’t get the dogs out for a walk.

I’m a runner, though. I run a lot. I’ve packed in a lot of races back to back to back. My average daily steps are good enough. Or are they?

I realized, at the same time I realized that I used to walk more, that no, I can’t rest on my laurels. I need to move more, plain and simple. It gets harder and harder to lose weight as we age, and dropping those steps down probably aren’t helping me much.

There’s only so much pacing around the house I can do, though (and I do do that). So I’ve gotten back on the treadmill, walking and watching the news or tv shows Mr. Judy doesn’t like. Or watching and walking along with Pahla B’s walking/running workouts, which are brilliantly disguised podcasts (find her Youtube channel here).

It’s not about punishing myself
It’s not a punishment. I have no daily step goal I’m really aiming for, and on days I run, I certainly don’t feel the need to get in an extra walk, although I do try to avoid sitting too much, because we all know sitting all the time is the new kiss of death, right?

So no, I’m not trying to walk off what I’m eating. It’s not about punishment.

It’s about taking better care of myself, when you get right down to it. Which leads me to . . .

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A little (or a lot) lost here

My title
Many mothers, and many middle aged women, have a tendency to take care of everyone else . . . and not themselves. The last time I had a major weight gain? Yup, that was part of it. A different cat with kidney failure. Then a new puppy. Still working at the time, too. A husband who traveled a lot for work. 

I ate relatively healthy, I was active (although not a runner yet), and yet the pounds kept creeping up until I no longer recognized myself and I was at my heaviest weight ever.

We have a tendency to take care of everything and everybody and we just let ourselves go until we no longer know who we are any more. The good news?

It all starts with loving ourselves
It’s never easy, of course, but it always starts with loving yourself. Even that can be done in baby steps — you may love your smile, your eyes, your hair, a body part . . . and there are probably things you don’t love about yourself. Don’t worry about what you don’t love, focus on what you do love.

Find what brings you joy. Try new things. Take some me time. Slowly you will find yourself again. It’s not being selfish — the people who love you will benefit the most if you’re happy.

Have you ever felt like you lost yourself?

Were you able to find yourself again?

How did you find yourself again?

Giveaway: Calling all Honeystinger Fans!
Honeystinger loves to give back, and today, I’ve got three codes good for 37% off of one orderbefore Dec. 15, at honeystinger.com only and good only for non-Hive athletes. I’m gonna make it simple: the first three people to email me herewill get a code, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

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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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November 2018: Did I pass?

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When it comes to racing, 2018 was just an odd year. Some highs, some lows, and a lot of races that just didn’t happen (but luckily weren’t registered for so I lost nothing).

Seriously amazing I ever got outside considering how dreary November has been!

Getting in scheduled runs
Essentially there were no scheduled runs. No big goal races. Not as much racing as I usually do in November, as it turns out. Since it’s my one month off season and I’ve been having some aches, I’ve dropped down to running three times per week.

Grade Earned:  A

Recording my runs
I continued to not record my runs. Why? Because I had to figure out where in my journal to put them after stopping for so long. I mean, how silly is that? Halfway through the month I did sit down, pull up my big girl panties, and start recording stuff again.

Grade Earned: C+

Dynamic Warmup
For the most part I’ve continued to do well here. I was too busy running to the start of Stockadeathon (read about it here) to warm up. 

Grade Earned: A-

Foam Rolling
After the triggerpoint session at the AMR Retreat, I made it a goal to start shooting for daily foam rolling. Of course I skip a day here and there, but I am foam rolling almost every day.

Grade Earned: A+

Enjoyed Thanksgiving but not enjoying the extra weight that’s clinging!

Nutrition
#thestruggleisreal. I’ve definitely cleaned up my act nutrition-wise, but the unseasonably cold temps and dreary weather this month have not made it easy. Thanksgiving was one day where I chose to eat what I wanted, but didn’t go crazy, and with hosting, by the time I sat down to my full plate I wasn’t even all that hungry. Or maybe it was the appetizers . . . whatever. The bottom line is I didn’t go crazy and I didn’t let it bleed into the whole weekend.

I’d like to say the last few pounds I’m struggling with have melted off, but no. Not yet.

Grade Earned: B+

Support

  • Massage? No.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? No, but when I’m not racing I only do every other month as maintenance, so no reason for it this month.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? Done. Hallelujah that was long overdue!
  • I even did a few more foot epsom soaks.

Grade Earned: A

Cross Training
I haven’t been lifting weights, but I’ve put yoga in more of a starring role and Pilates, too. The stationary bike is seeing some action.

Grade Earned: B

November 2018  gets  . . . 
. . . an B+. I think in a way it was a better month than October, getting back to more basics, but As are for perfection and it certainly wasn’t perfect.

November Goals:

    • Continue to Prehab. Y. I’ve been really good about trying to rehab those aches (so rehab, really, not so much prehab; oh well).
    • Strength train 2-3 x week. N. But more Pilates and Yoga.
    • Some extra Core TLC. N. Well, sort of, I bought a Triggerpoint DVD that is actually a core routine and have used it a bunch of times — working your core AND foam rolling? Yes, please.
    • Foam roll almost daily. Y. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to roll the kinks out, but then again, the Triggerpoint demonstrator talked about a person who rolled for a year to really see progress.
    • Swim! N. Cold arrived early this month and seems to be here to stay.
    • Play around with savory snacks (and report back on them!). N.Not really. I mean, I have started to play with them a bit, but kind of fell off the wagon this month.
    • Meal plan on the weekends! Y. Mostly, anyway. Sometimes it was just noting what leftovers I had on hand — even that makes a difference! I worked hard to make sure we had plenty of leftovers before Thanksgiving so I didn’t have to worry about dinner in that crazy week.

Which leads me to December Goals:

    • Continue to Prehab. As always, something is always better than nothing.
    • Add on some short strength training 2-3 x week. Pilates is a great workout, but I truly believe that actually lifting weights will help me age better. So while I’ll continue to concentrate more on Pilates and Yoga, I need to start lifting, even if it’s just a little.
    • Bring more yoga back into my life. While I never stopped doing yoga, I realized one day, when I was so stiff during a yoga DVD, that I’ve let it slide more than I should. Way more. I do wish there was time to keep all the activity balls in the air!
    • Some extra Core TLC. I need to make this more front & center again.
    • Foam roll almost daily. I’d really like to say daily, but I just know that won’t happen. 
    • Play around with savory snacks (and report back on them!). I have just a few I enjoy. This month, it’s time to add at least one more savory snack to my repertoire!
    • Meal plan on the weekends! Much easier to shop and eat well when I have a plan. 

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.

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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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Why I’m grateful for running

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There are so many benefits to running, but this Thanksgiving I’m grateful that running gets me out there in nature. I won’t run through everything, but I have run in some pretty hot conditions, in a Nor’easter, into the single digits, into wind that almost blew me into Lake Champlain, occasionally in snow storms — which is very peaceful unless it’s slippery.

I thought about this yesterday on my run. We had another dusting of snow overnight. The skies were absolutely a hazy shade of winter. The sun was nowhere to be found.

Beauty was everywhere to be found, if you just got out there and looked for it. That dusting of fresh snow clinging to the evergeens and the bright red holly berries. The creeping ice on the lake. The fall leaves still peaking out of the snow. The interesting foot/paw prints in the snow.

I would hole up in my house, barely getting out to walk the dogs, if it weren’t for running, and my days are better for those runs when I do get outside and brave the elements.

I won’t keep you long, as I still have a Thanksgiving dinner to get together, but I will leave you with a few scenes from my run yesterday. I’d love to see what you’re seeing on the run!

Running may push us outside of our comfort zones, but it also narrows down our focus to things we would never notice if we didn’t run. This Thanksgiving I am grateful for the things I see on the run.
— Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy

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.

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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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Tell me in the comments:

What are you grateful for from your runs?

What are you grateful for in your life right now?

Stockcadeathon Race Recap 11/11/18

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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.

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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!

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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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Cape Cod Half Marathon Race Recap 10/27/18

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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?

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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.
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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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