Coastal Delaware 9k Recap

Over the weekend, I ran my first race of the year. It was much shorter than I had originally planned, but I’m thankful I was able to run at all. It was exactly three months from my first day of absolutely horrible shin pain to the day I crossed the finish line in Dewey Beach, Delaware. Pain free, and wearing this biggest smile I’ve had in months.

Pre Race

When we planned this trip back in the winter, we decided we’d make the 8 hour drive. As it approached on Friday, it seemed a lot more daunting. We left Friday night after work, and made it about 3 hours before we decided to stop for the night. We picked up on Saturday morning, and made the rest of the drive through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Thankfully the packet pickup and expo didn’t start until 2:00pm, so we didn’t have to rush.

After a few stops for food, gas and outlet shopping, we made it to Dewey Beach. Packet pickup was held outside of The Starboard restaurant, and gave the event a bit more of a beach feel. Packets came with our bib, official race shirt and a custom Tervis cup.

Beach town packet pickup

Beach town packet pickup

Pick up your packet, head to the beach!

Pick up your packet, head to the beach!

From here we stopped at the beach, dropped our bags off at the hotel and went to find something to eat. We had been given recommendations to stop at The Lighthouse, but after stopping in, it wasn’t a place we wanted to test the day before a race. Instead, we crossed the street to the Rusty Rudder, and after a few turns down a few hallways, we found the pasta dinner and buffet that was set up for the race. The food was great and we had some amazing views of the sunset.

The views are ok...

The views are ok…

The only thing left for the night was to lay out our outfits and try to get some sleep!

Race Day

We woke up between 5:15am and 6:00am on race day. The marathon, half and 9k had different starting times, which was nice because I got to sleep in a few extra minutes. Michelle and Mo left early to catch the bus to the start, while Mallory and I took our time getting ready before heading outside to watch the marathoners run by. Luckily we were able to see Michelle and Mo run by before we headed down to the start for our own race.

Looking goo at mile 1!

Looking goo at mile 1!

The bus line was quick and fairly empty, and the ride last 5 minutes at most. We were dropped off at the start, and had plenty of time to use the porta potties, relax and get in line.

Not your typical Ohio start line

Not your typical Ohio start line

At almost exactly 8:00am, we were off. We didn’t really have a plan for the race, other than to take it easy and walk if we needed. I had hoped to stay under and hour, but wasn’t going to put too much pressure on myself.

The first mile we ran along the coastal highway from the watch tower to a little outside of Dewey Beach. We had some views of the water, but it was mostly filled with high grass and some houses. I felt pretty good, but noticed I had some tightness in my left calf. It eventually went away and didn’t bother me the rest of the race.

Strong start to the race

Strong start to the race

From here we continued on into town seeing more shops and restaurants, showing it’s true colors of a little beach town. We also noticed how flat the course was, almost too flat. Which, had we been in perfect shape, it would have been perfect for a PR. We also had a bit of a headwind, but with the sun out, it kept us cool and wasn’t too much of a bother.

Mile 1 – 10:23

Mile 2 – 10:29

We pulled off the Coastal Highway and now we were running down Silver Lake Drive. We were able to run next to Silver Lake, which was absolutely beautiful, and picked out a few houses we wouldn’t mind buying. We still felt good, and didn’t have a need to push it at this time. Runners were starting to spread out, but it was also starting to warm up a bit.

Halfway there!

Halfway there!

From here we turned into a housing development and ran through a few different streets. We had a bit of shade from time to time, but nothing too helpful. We didn’t see too many people outside, but noticed a lot of cars and furniture on the side of the streets.

Mile 3 – 10:32

Mile 4 – 10:20

We turned back onto the Coastal Highway and knew we were in the home stretch. I grabbed a water and took a few sips at the water stop around mile 4. It was starting to warm up and I didn’t want to be too dehydrated.

We ducked off the highway again and back into some more housing developments where we finally had a decent amount of shade. Then suddenly, the first place half marathoner passed us. He was the only one we saw, and wondered where everyone else had gone. (He ended up finishing in 1:20, 6 minutes ahead of second place).

Mile 5 – 10:20
Once we hit mile 5, I knew we only had about .6 left to go. We were out in full sun and all of the tan colored buildings looked the same. Finally we ran past our hotel and all that was left was a turn to the finish. I couldn’t help but get excited and had the biggest grin the whole way to the finish. I think I almost started to tear up a bit as well.

All smiles into the finish

All smiles into the finish

I was so excited to cross that finish line that I completely forgot to stop my watch, so I have no idea what my last split was. We grabbed our medals and water and headed to the beach. It was still relatively empty so we had plenty of room to spread out. Luckily they had a computer out where you could check your time, I finished at 58:33, meeting my goal of under 1 hour!

I ran the entire race without walking or stopping and I had no pain at all. Despite the fact that I was running a 10:27 pace, I could not be happier. A month ago, I had no idea if I’d be able to run, let alone run the entire race. I’m far from PR shape, but I’m running again and building myself back to where I used to be.

Finished!

Finished!

Medal and beach, all you need post race

Medal and beach, all you need post race

Overall, I think this was a great race. The packet pickup was easy and went fairly quickly. The race was very well run and according to Michelle and Mo, the full was the most beautiful race they’ve run. After the race, they had a huge party on the beach which included music and a full buffet of real food including chicken, pasta, salad, bread deserts and a few others. Plus, every runner was able to get three beers for free after the race.

I would highly recommend this race, especially since they did such a wonderful job and it was only their second year. The full and the half are a bit expensive, so signing up early is key. The 9k option was a lot cheaper, and almost an automatic PR for everyone since it’s not a common distance. If the drive wasn’t so far, I’d consider doing it again in the future.

IMG_0735

Results:

Official Time: 58:33 (First 9k, automatic PR)

Overall Place: 223/517

Female Overall: 142/375

AG 25-29: 16/27

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Frosty 5 Miler Recap

On Christmas Eve, I ran the Frosty 5 Mile race in Hudson. I typically don’t run any races near Christmas, but after a bunch of MCRR members signed up, I decided I would give it a shot. We met up at 6:45am and drove to Hudson, picked up our bibs, stayed warm in the car and watched the 1 Mile race.

The weather was a bit chilly, but it definitely could have been a lot colder, or worse, we could have been running on ice or snow. We decided to run the race as a group and do it as a fun run. We lined up, and shortly after the National Anthem, we were off!

We started from the square and ran up Main Street. This was the first time I’d ever been to Hudson, so I was enjoying the sights of the cute town and all of the older houses decorated for Christmas. We continued up College St. and ran around some more homes. The first mile had a nice gradual incline that didn’t seem as bad in the beginning, but I could feel it the longer we were running.

Mile 1-9:22

The first mile seemed to go on forever, but isn’t it always like that in the shorter races? At this point, I was wishing the race was a 5k, and I was a little concerned I was going to struggle with the race. After making our way past Western Reserve Academy we headed over to Hayden Parkway. We kept ourselves busy by talking and I could feel the pace start to pick up a bit. I was still feeling strong, but didn’t want to go out too fast and tire too much towards the end.

Mile 2-8:41

We continued along through the housing developments, which reminded me a little of Medina. The next mile and a half were pretty much a blur. Everything looked pretty much the same and there was nothing too exciting. At some point, Mo ran into some friends, so they joined us for a bit.

Mile 3-8:56

With two miles to go, I was still feeling pretty good, and trying not to check my Garmin. We headed down Ravenna Street, which was a little more open than the developments. Next, we headed to a park and ran around the two ponds. It was a  nice little break from the streets and even though most trees were without leaves, it was very pretty.

Mile 4-8:56

We finished up around the lake, and with just one mile left I started to pick up the pace a bit. We headed back towards the square and were greeted again with the older, beautiful homes. I checked my Garmin with about a half mile to go, and didn’t think I was anywhere close to my PR. So I didn’t push it too hard, but kept up a quicker pace. We had a few turns left but we finally made our last turn and headed into the finish line.

Mile 5-8:34

I thought this was a great race! I don’t run too many 5 milers, but this one is definitely on my list for future races. The course was well marked and Western Reserve Racing did a great job of hosting. We really lucked out with weather, which can always be dicy this time of year.

The course was beautiful, especially around the square and through the park. It isn’t too challenging, but there are a few smaller hills. And it turns out, it’s a pretty fast course. After checking my data, I was just 46 seconds off my PR! If I had known that, I would have pushed it a little more. I definitely recommend this race and will be there next year, weather permitting 😉

MCRR!

MCRR!

Results:

Official Time: 43:11

Age Group 25-29: 14/52

Female:106/282

Overall: 275/657

Fun new race tee!

Fun new race tee!

Seattle Half Marathon Recap

When we first starting planning our trip to Seattle back in the spring, I naturally looked up to see if there were any races during that weekend. Aside from some Thanksgiving Day races, I found four half marathons over the long weekend, and finally set my sights on the Seattle Half Marathon. I didn’t register at the time, but still planned on running it. When we got around to booking our flights, my fitness level was at it lowest. But over the last couple of months, I worked my way up in mileage and completed a half marathon. So I registered.

Going in, I didn’t really have any goals other than to finish. I was on vacation, this was going to be a fun run, and the perfect opportunity to cross Washington off my list of states. But since I had to have some plan in mind, I decided to stick with a 9:30 pace and see what would happen. But I also reminded myself that if I didn’t run well, it’d be ok.

I woke up Sunday morning around 5am, got ready, was extremely nervous and got down to the start line just in time for the race to start. I planned on getting there a little earlier, but those nerves got me. I was hoping it’d be a clear morning like the rest of the week so I could see the Space Needle next to us, unfortunately it was pretty foggy so you couldn’t see anything.

Ready to race!

Ready to race!

The half marathon started at 7:30 and the full marathon at 8:15. This was a wonderful idea since the starting area was less crowded as well as hopefully the race. I lined up between the 2:05-2:10 group. Honestly, I didn’t really check the elevation chart beforehand, it never occurred to me until we got there, and I heard from others, that it was a hilly course. I decided to stick between the two and let things happen. The National Anthem played, I still get goosebumps and almost tears before every race, and then we were off!

I spent most of the first mile just looking around. We started downtown and worked our way through the streets. I wasn’t familiar with the area, so I had the chance to see the city in a new way. I felt pretty well and my pace was good. I was a little concerned I was overdressed-two long sleeve base layers, but knew I’d figure it out later when I needed to.

We ran down 5th and had the monorail right above us. I didn’t see it moving, but thought that would be a neat sight for passengers to view. Right after the first mile marker we had our first hill, and it kept going for over a quarter of a mile. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, and kept trucking along.

Mile 1-9:20

Mile 2-8:52

We continued down 5th until we made our way to the Express Way. We started to have some incline and some great views of the city as it twisted around. I still couldn’t see as much as I hoped since it was foggy, but it made it somewhat more enjoyable. It was somewhere along here that I had a tap on my shoulder from a fellow Oiselle bird. We chatted for a bit, and she told me to save my energy now and that I’d need it from about mile 8 and on.

We parted ways, and continued along, still feeling pretty good and enjoying the chance to run. It was around the 4th mile marker that we made our way into the tunnel. I can’t remember really ever running in a tunnel, so I thought this was pretty neat, and it was, at least for a little while. I started to get warm and thought maybe I should take a layer off, but decided to wait until I got back out in the fresh air. I was also getting to the point where I was over the tunnel, and I just needed to get out. Finally we were out and back into the cold, crisp air. Perfect!

Mile 3- 9:58

Mile 4- 9:26

From here we turned left onto Lake Washington Blvd. But I was pretty jealous of the marathon runners, they’d get to go onto the floating bridge and down to Seward Park. I thought about taking pictures, but I was in a pretty good groove and didn’t want to mess things up. Google Maps does a good job capturing it, but just imagine that it was foggy and gray, and the water was barely visible.

This, but foggy. Photo cred: Google

This, but foggy. Photo: Google

We had a few rollers along the way, but nothing too crazy. I actually prefered the slight up and down so my legs wouldn’t get too bored with a completely flat route. I was still really enjoying myself, singing in my head to a really good iPod playlist and taking in the sights. I loved seeing the different style of houses on the waterfront and trying to sneak views of the lake.

I took my Honey Stinger chew a little after mile 6, still feeling good, still amazing at how beautiful the area was. But I was also aware that the hill would be coming up soon, so I started to brace myself for it. It was also around this point that Lake Washington Blvd. turned into McGilvera Blvd, which we followed until we turned onto E. Galer.

Mile 5-9:23

Mile 6-9:26

And this is where it hurt. We hit a hill, and it was not fun. It kept going and going, and I kept wondering, is this the big hill everyone talked about? It has to be. But I had no idea what was in store for my poor, little legs.

Just part of the up! Photo cred: Google

Just part of the up! Photo: Google

We turned onto E. Madison, and the hill continued to go up, and up. But I kept my head up, turned my legs over and made it to the top somehow. For a moment I wasn’t sure how I’d keep going, but I did. And I was greeted by the Oiselle Cowbell Corner, a nice reward for the treacherous hills.

Survived the hill! Photo: Sarah H.

Survived the hill! Photo: Sarah H.

Mile 7-9:51

Mile 8-9:54

 

Madison wasn’t too memorable, just a bunch of houses and a main street. I suppose I was a bit tired from the hill, but even so my legs were feeling good and I didn’t want to stop. We continued along to Interlaken Blvd. and I was surprised with how green and lush everything looked.

We passed by the Japanese Garden and Washington Park, I couldn’t help by smile was we were surrounded by trees, the vibrant green just standing out from the slight fog that still lingered. It was about this point that I truly felt like this was exactly what I was hoping for. It was cool, crisp, foggy and the fog was in and out of the course. When I imagine Seattle, this is what I thought of.

I could run this every day. Photo: Google

I could run this every day. Photo: Google

Mile 9-9:13

Mile 10-10:05

At this point I knew I had a 5k left, and I knew it wouldn’t be as hard as the final stretch in some previous races. We made our way onto Boylston and headed back towards the city. My legs still felt strong, but I was reaching the point where I could probably stop for a quick port-a-potty moment. I thought about holding on until the finish, but every time we went downhill, I knew I should stop sooner than later.

I finally made the decision to stop, but it was occupied. Luckily a volunteer told me about one down the street, so I continued along to the next one. It was occupied as well, so I about two minutes waiting in two lines.

After, I felt much better, and we made our way back onto the Express Way towards the finish. I wanted to pick up the pace a bit, but not too much where I would be too worn out. However, I couldn’t help but get excited as we got turned onto the city streets, knowing the finish was close.

Mile 11-9:49

Mile 12-12:38 (bathroom stop)

The final mile seemed to take forever. We were winding through downtown, but since I wasn’t familiar with the area, I still wasn’t sure where we were. I kept checking my watch, thinking I should see the stadium, but it was nowhere to be seen.

It wasn’t until we actually passed the mile marker that I realized how far off my Garmin was. When we passed the marker, my watch was already at 13.19, no wonder that last mile took forever. But I knew I couldn’t give up, I had just .1 to go!

Mile 13-9:05

Coming into the finish

Coming into the finish

I rounded into the stadium and was taken aback at everything. I looked around the crowd and searched for my sister and Darren. I didn’t seen anyone, so I kept going and crossed the finish of my 24th half.

Last. .1-.2? 9:20 pace

Seattle Support Team!

Seattle Support Team!

Overall I really enjoyed this race, and honestly it was probably one of my top 10 favorites. I barely looked at my watch or checked my pace, instead I just enjoyed what I was doing. It was such a fun course that had a variety of views and areas around town, but was also a bit challenging with some of the hills. It was a bit chillier than I had hoped, but it turned out it was perfect weather and I felt like I had the complete Seattle experience.

Definitely not flat

Definitely not flat

The only thing I had an issue with was my Garmin and course length. My guess is that the tunnel may have skewed things a bit and that I may not have hit the tangents properly. But not big deal.

Race swag

Race swag

I highly recommend this race if you’re looking for a destination race. Everything was put on well, from the expo to the race to the finish/recovery area. I never had any issues, and don’t remember hearing any complaints. I will certainly be back out there to run it, as long as I have family in Seattle!

IMG_1314

 

Results:

Official Time: 2:10:36

Age Group 25-29: 201/444

Female: 1,115/2,678

Overall: 2,466/4/758

 

 

Second Sole Made in America Half Marathon Recap

Sunday morning I ran the Second Sole Made in America Half Marathon, my first half since May. I didn’t have a goal in mind, especially since I had really only “trained” for the past five weeks. I knew I just wanted to get back out there and complete the distance. I decided to aim for a 9:30 pace and see where it went. If I felt it was too hard, I’d back off, if it felt too easy, I’d push it a bit, but no pressure to to PR or try to come close.

We had a group of MCRR members running, and most of us met up at 6:15 to make the drive to Massillon. We ended up arriving early, but it gave us plenty of time to stay warm and use the port-a-potties a few times. The race started at 8:00, with some sun on our back, it was the perfect weather for a half.

We started next to the Tuscarawas River and had a slight downhill. We were on a back road that twisted and winded around some houses, industrial buildings and woods. I was definitely nervous and hoped I could find a good pace to stick with. I started a bit too fast but was able to slow myself down by the first mile.

It was within the first mile or two that I realized I had to use the restroom again. Race nerves? I tried to focus on my surroundings and fellow runners, which seemed to help a bit.

Mile 1- 9:16

Mile 2- 9:21

The road had some rollers, but nothing too big to handle. Surprisingly I actually enjoyed having some uphill and downhill rather than an absolutely flat course. The trees hadn’t lost all of their leaves yet, so it was somewhat pretty when we were surrounded by woods.

The biggest hill came in mile 3 and I felt confident climbing it. I was a little worried my hip wouldn’t approve and I’d have some pain, but luckily my legs felt great. My stomach on the other hand didn’t. I kept my eye out for a port-a-potty, but nothing.

Mile 3- 9:34

Mile 4- 9:30

Around mile 4 we got off the road and turned onto the towpath. I was excited for some flat land, beautiful scenery and hopefully a steady pace.

We continued along and my pace was still decent, along with some pain free legs. My need for a bathroom was growing, and I even thought about dodging behind a tree. Instead, I kept my eyes focused in front of me, praying a port-a-potty would appear after each bend.

Mile 5- 9:32

Mile 6- 9:46

I should have taken my honey stinger at mile 6, but I was too nervous it would cause me harm, so I waited, focused on the runners around me, and zoned out for a while. I noticed my pace dropped a bit, but every time I tried to speed up a bit, my stomach would rebel. Back to focusing on the runners and the scenery.

Mile 7- 9:49

Mile 8- 11:57

By mile 7 I was starting to struggle. I had gotten to the point where I was getting a bit bored of the trees and desperately needing that bathroom. I trudged along, no longer caring about my pace, but contemplating dropping if I didn’t feel better soon.

But then, magically a port-a-potty appeared right  before the turn around. Finally! I lost about 2 minutes, but I felt like a new person and was ready to run! I also took the time to eat a Honey Stinger to get my energy up for the last 5 miles.

Mile 9- 9:39

Mile 10- 9:50

We pass the turn point and headed back toward the start. The sun was in and out of my eyes so I focused on the ground. It was a little uneven, and I didn’t want to trip or slip on leaves. I felt much better and even my legs felt great. Thankfully up to this point, my legs were handling the half well.

Mile 11- 9:55

Mile 12- 11:24

I continued along and would bounce back and forth between zoning out and trying to pass runners. My legs were beginning to become sore, which I knew would happen eventually. I started to stop at each mile marker to stretch my legs and hips, hoping they could keep up with the final miles.

My back started to cramp up in the last mile and a half, so I started stopping every half mile to stretch, walk a bit, and get my body to a comfortable pace to finish. I kept getting pulled in with the other runners paces, so I tried to imagine myself on a short run on my own trail to get me to the finish.

Mile 13- 11:01

With a mile left, I knew I could make it, because I certainly questioned it earlier on. I kept a pace I was comfortable with, without stressing my hips too much. We made our way to the finish, and I was excited to see the MCRR group at the top of the bridge before the finish. ( I swear I was excited to see you guys, even though my face didn’t show it.) I pushed what I had left, and crossed the line of my 23rd half.

Las 0.20 – 9:23 pace

When you cross the line, you’re given your medal and a blanket, and offered water, food and the option to get beer. I grabbed my stuff and met up with the rest of the group. We hung around for a while and then walked back to our cars. Shuttles were available, but why not walk some more after running 13 miles!

Lovely MCRR group!

Lovely MCRR group!

Overall, this was a pretty good race. Despite my own personal stomach issues, the course was pretty well laid out, 4 miles on rolling roads and the rest on the towpath. Everything seemed well organized and from what I’ve read, the race has improved a bunch in it’s third year. I don’t know if I’ll run it again soon, but I recommend trying it out. And for $30, you can’t beat such a great deal.

Race swag

Race swag

Results

Time: 2:12:36

Age Group 25-29:12/20

Female: 122/240

Overall: 297/453

Paws for the Cause 5k Recap

This past Saturday I ran the 3rd Annual Medina SPCA Paws for the Cause 5k. This was the first time I had signed up for the race, and I was excited to get another 5k in before the weather turned for the worse. Even better, proceeds go to protect injured, abused and neglected animals that the SPCA takes in.

The race started at 9, so I got there at 8:30, picked up my bib, used the restroom, warmed up a bit and met up with some fell MCRR members. The race course was the same as the Twin Sizzler 5k, and also almost every 5k in Medina, so I was fairly familiar with what to expect.

Because the race was put on by the SPCA, dogs were allowed to participate. I positioned myself up near the front to avoid getting tangled or stuck behind any dogs. I knew I didn’t want to go out too fast, so I aimed to stay at 8:40 for the first mile, and then negative split.

Ready to start!

Ready to start!

We started from the square and headed south towards 57. We started with a nice decline, and then had our forever incline up 57. I waited a bit to check my pace, and found myself going a little too slow. I started to pick it up, but felt like I was never really moving fast. I even got to a point where I was by myself and started to zone out a bit. This was not what I wanted for my first mile, but for some reason, I couldn’t get into the groove. Surprisingly, I hit my first mile under goal.

Mile 1- 8:36

We turned into one of the developments and started the section of turns and rollers. I tried to stay consistent with my pace since I was feeling good, but some of the hills got the best of me. And I was again reminded I need to do more hill work.

This mile went by quickly and shortly after I felt we entered the development, we were on our way out and heading up South Court.

Mile 2- 8:47

I knew If I wanted to do well, I’d need to pick up the pace in the last mile. We continued along Court, and I focused on the ground ahead of me. I knew the uphill finish would be here soon and I wanted to prepare myself.

We turned onto the brick road and surprisingly, I still felt great. I felt like I was flying. I wasn’t, those bricks can be so deceiving. So I picked up the pace and moved to the side for the flattest section.

We ran past the 57 intersection and I knew that dreaded hill was coming. I was started to get into a groove and I felt confident I would be able to crush the hill this time. As myself and another runner approached East Smith I watched as a cop allowed to cars to go through the intersection. He saw us getting closer and stopped traffic so we could cross to get to the finish line. As we entered the intersection, an old, black SUV came speeding through, not even 5 feet to the left of us. We immediately had to stop or else he would have hit us. The cop yelled at him, but he had no clue what was going on.

Mile 3- 8:17

I caught my breath and tried to get back into somewhat of a decent pace as I continued up the hill to the finish. I felt off and just wanted to be done, so I sped up as much as I could to cross the finish line.

Last .1- 7:11 pace

Almost to the finish!

Almost to the finish!

Overall, this was a great event. I will gladly run any race that supports animals, especially local. The course was predictable, which I enjoy because I know when I can push it, and when to save it. I never had any issues running into any dogs, and they all seemed to be pretty well behaved. Participant dogs even got a little bandanna to wear during the race. Can I borrow someone’s dog for next year?

After I finished, I saw Mallory and her dog Walter finish and we walked over to the goodies table. I was a little distraught that I was so close to going under 26, but I’ll take a few extra seconds rather than getting hit. It was a good reminder to be aware of traffic, even during races.

Post race with some speedy MCRR ladies.

Post race with some speedy MCRR ladies.

I’ll certainly be back to race next year, and hopefully I’ll be able to run a course PR!

Clearly upset they couldn't participate

Clearly upset they couldn’t participate

Results:

Time: 26:00

Age Group 20-29: 7/64

Female Overall: 28/316

Overall: 66/465

Race with Grace 5k Recap

Sunday I ran the Medina Race with Grace 5k. It was my first race since the Twin Sizzler back on the 4th of July, and after just two weeks of running again, I had a much better day than expected. With just a few runs under my belt, I had no idea what to expect. I’m still a bit out of shape, Medina is forever hilly in all directions, and speed work is something I haven’t done in months. But after seeing so many group members sign up, and spending the previous day volunteering at NorthCoast 24, I figured I’d give it a shot, and run it for fun.

Woke up Sunday morning, got ready and arrived at the start line with a half hour to go. I wasn’t really nervous, but I was excited to get out there and run, especially with so many MCRR members on the course. Ideally, I wanted to finish under 27. I felt with little running and no speed work, I should be able to pull it off.

We started at the hospital, which was a nice change to all the other 5ks in town that start on the square. We went from the back parking lot, up around the hospital and right onto Route 18. We had a nice little downhill before going back uphill again. I worked on finding my pace and was concerned about going out too fast. Somewhere I settled around 8:50-8:45 and decided to hang onto the pace until the first mile.

From Rt.18 we turned right onto Foot and back into a development. The neighborhood was relatively flat and it was a good way to settle into a decent pace. Sarah came up behind me and I thought of sticking with her, but decided to run my own pace and focus on my own race.

Mile 1 – 8:53

We finished up in the neighborhood and turned right onto Smith. I still felt pretty good and so I sped up a bit. I bounced between 8:30-8:40, cautious not to let myself speed up too much.

Next we turned into another development, which again was pretty flat compared to most, but it did have some small rollers. I’ve run both developments many times so I was fairly familiar with the route. I zoned out some during this mile, but still aware of my pace and the runners around me. We had more turns in this mile, and it felt like it went on forever.

Mile 2 – 8:39

With a mile left, I was still feeling really good. I started to pick up the pace, but careful not to go too fast too early and have nothing left in the tank at the end.

We made our way out on Guilford, and then right on Washington. We had a nice little downhill, which definitely helped to get my legs excited for the finish. But every downhill, must be met with an uphill, and we had our biggest hill at about 2.6 miles. I powered up, knowing we were close, also knowing we’d have another downhill ahead of us.

Turning into the entrance of the hospital, I tried to pick it up a bit. I took advantage of the downhill and tried to pick off a few runners on my way in. I followed the course to the back of the parking lot, and saw one final turn.

Mile 3 – 8:20

I turned and there was the finish, a lot closer than I expected. So like any runner, I booked it. And watched the clock, pleasantly surprised with how much time I had until the clock would hit 27 minutes.

Last .1 – 7:20 pace

Coming into the finish!

Coming into the finish!

I finished up with 26:25. Not a PR by any means, not even close, but I was happy with my finish. For the second 5k this year, I had negative split on the course and finished feeling great, rather than doubled over losing my breakfast. I enjoyed the race and honestly, that’s all I wanted.

Medina County Road Runners finished 2nd place as a team out of over 20+. And I ended up 3rd in my age group out of 22. We had a lot of runners place in their age groups, so it was a good day all around for MCRR.

Thoughts? This was a great race and we had perfect weather. Any race that begins with weather in the low/mid 50’s is alright with me. The course was great. I was extremely familiar with all the streets we ran on, mostly from living on that side of town a few years ago. It has some hills, but it’s the flattest course I’ve run in Medina. If I was in shape, there’s no doubt I would have gone under 26, maybe even under 25. And I definitely see myself running this again next year.

Results:

Age Group 25-29: 3/22

Female: 76/360

Overall: 196/632

 

Age group award: Medal, carnation, and Ralph.

Age group award: Medal, carnation, and Ralph.

Twin Sizzler 5k Recap

Last Saturday, July 4th, I ran my third Twin Sizzler 5k. This year I decided to run just the 5k and skip the 10k. The weather was surprisingly cooler for race day, with 65 degrees at the start and some slight wind a few times on the course.

The race started at 7:45, but I got down to the square by 7:15 to pick up my bib and shirt and hit the restroom before the start. I got a little under a mile in for my warm up and was ready to run. I didn’t have a certain time I was focused on, I just knew I didn’t want to go out too quick, and I didn’t want to have a meltdown on the uphill finish. Surprising, I was actually pretty relaxed. That is until a minute before the race started and my stomach was a mess.

The race started and I realized I was a little too far back in the pack. Instead of going out too fast, I was going out too slow, somewhere around a 9:07 pace. I started to weave in and out of the group to find a better spot, and finally settled on an 8:45 pace. My stomach was still hurting and I was too afraid to push myself any faster at that point.

The course starts on the square with a nice downhill onto Rt. 57 out of town. Eventually the road begins an incline and I was happy I didn’t have to do the 10k after this, with it’s continual incline into Montville Township. Just before our first turn we came across the first mile marker and a water stop. I skipped the water and was starting to feel a little better.

Mile 1- 8:45

Starting the second mile, it was refreshing that for once I didn’t feel like death, clinging onto a time that I wouldn’t be able to hold. I was feeling better with every step I took and wanted to base this next mile off of feel, not time.

During the second mile we went through some developments and had some rolling hills along the way. They didn’t feel as bad as they typically do and I was able to pass people as I made my way along the course. I continued along, quietly bringing my pace down, and keeping my eyes off my Garmin.

Mile 2- 8:33

With the last mile ahead of me I knew I wanted to pick up the pace. I also knew the finish would be difficult, and I was still unsure of what my stomach had planned. I told myself I’d be ok with an 8:20 pace, but again wanted to go by feel, rather than time.

Somewhere in the beginning of the last mile, I noticed a gentleman was near me and would stay around my pace. He’d push when I pushed, and back off when I backed off. It was nice to have a little company, even though we didn’t say anything.

As we made the turn down South Court, I tried to get myself in the zone. I took advantage of the short downhill and mentally prepared myself for the finish. We turned right on South Street, and then left on South Broadway. We were met again with my favorite part, the brick road. I started to pick up my pace a bit, but was careful not to trip on any loose bricks. I could feel the energy that had been saved up and hoped it would stay throughout the rest of the race.

We passed the intersection of 57 and memories of my Medina Half finish crossed my mind. Even though I had started with a sour stomach, it was no where to be seen and my legs wanted to take control.

We passed the railroad tracks, and then started our long incline past East Smith. As I took each step up hill, I knew I would have a much better finish than before. I kept picking up the pace, trying to go faster.

Mile 3- 8:14

With just a small section left I gave it everything I had and sprinted up the rest of the hill and into the finish. I turned around just in time to see the silent gentleman finish and congratulated him on the race.

Last .1- 7:04 pace

FullSizeRender

For the first time, quite possibly ever, I ran negative splits on my 5k. And I felt great after I finished. I didn’t run a PR, but I ran a smart race and I ran based on how I felt rather than checking my watch everything 30 seconds.

While I’m not sure I’ll ever PR on the Twin Sizzler course, I was able to run my fastest Twin Sizzler to date. And now I know where I stand time-wise on the 5k and I have an idea of where I can be if I really push myself. There is no doubt that I can drop under 25 minutes for the 5k again, but unfortunately a sub 23 is probably something that I left in college.

Not your flat 5k.

Not your flat 5k.

It was a great race, great weather and I’m glad I’ve been able to run the Twin Sizzler every year. It’s something that I plan on doing every year while living in Medina. And maybe one day I’ll sign up for the 10k again…

Tech tee and trouble

Tech tee and trouble

Results:

Official Chip Time: 25:51

AG 25-29: 4/23

Female: 65/295

Overall: 223/608

Akron Half Marathon Training

Well, here we are. Back to day one of a new training cycle. I have to admit, I’ve been working on this training plan for months. I’ve changed it more times than I can remember, but I think I’m finally happy with it. It’s a little more intense than I’m used to, and will be a bit harder in the beginning coming off a running rut. But I’m excited and looking forward to the next 16 weeks.

Here’s a look at what to expect….

Timing: We’re back to a 16 week plan, but I’m certain that 14 weeks is best for me. The only reason I pushed it out to 16 was to accommodate for the two weeks in August that I’ll be busy getting married and enjoying my honeymoon. The extra two weeks will hopefully give me enough time to prepare before, and as long as I do some running in those two weeks, I shouldn’t be too far behind when I get back to reality.

Cross training: I know, I know, I always say I’ll cross train. But this time I will! Summer is the perfect time to get out and walk the neighborhood on rest days, bike into town and practice yoga on the deck. I’m struggling to find a yoga class that works, mostly fits my schedule of evening practice, but I’ve found a short term solution. I started watching Jasyoga videos, and they’re easy to follow. I can do them on my own time, and pick as many as I want.

Healthy Habits: I finally jumped on the bandwagon and got a Fit Bit back in April, and I regret I didn’t get it sooner! I’ve realized how far I am from my 10,000 step goal on rest days, how little sleep I actually get, and how much water I’m not drinking. I’m hoping that by paying attention to my Fit Bit more, I can find a good balance and hopefully not wear myself down. Here’s what I’ve found so far, which is actually disappointing.

-Average of 21 ounces of water a day

-Average of 6,000 steps a day

-Average of 4.5 hrs of sleep, 180 minutes restless

-Average of 200 calories under consumed per day

And I wondered why I was always so exhausted and unmotivated! The proof is in the pudding. I’m definitely not sleeping enough and it is causing problems. I know I need to make some changes and here’s where I’d like to be.

-Average of 60 ounces of water a day

-Average of 12,000 steps a day (on running days)

-Average of 5.5-6 hrs of sleep, 100 minutes restless at night

-Average of 200 calories over consumed per day (and eat healthier)

Training: Training this time around is going to be harder. For the longest time, I’ve accepted myself as an average runner, and never felt the need to push myself  beyond my comfort zone. And while that’s perfectly fine, I know at some point I need to push myself just a little bit further. So here’s what I’ve changed for this training cycle.

-Higher mileage. I plan on staying between 30-35 miles per week, with the exception of a few weeks. This also means running 5 days a week, and not dipping below 4 miles for a workout.

-Speed workouts. I excelled at running 800’s last year, and was right on time with almost every workout. This time I wanted to try something different, so I’ll be alternating between 400’s, 800’s and 1600’s to hopefully make myself quicker.

-Races as workouts. I used races as workouts when I ran sub 2:00 last year. I was able to get my mileage in, but I also worked a little harder for it, helping me control my pace and race smart.

-Pre planning. Outside of my regular excel file that holds my plan, I have a second that already has every location for each run planned out. I have 10 different locations randomly thrown into my schedule, so I know ahead of time where I’ll be running and what I’ll be running. This should hopefully prevent burnout and help to keep my mind fresh.

-Fueling. I know I need to work on my fueling plan, and this time I’m open to new ideas and products. I have a sensitive stomach so I have to be careful of what I take. I’ve picked up a few new products and I’m looking forward to trying them on my long runs.

 

After all is said and done, I’ll have 16 weeks to train for the Akron Half Marathon. I’m hoping to stick to the plan as close as I can, but we all know that things come up and sometimes a run is missed. I hope to push myself more than I have and become a better, stronger runner. Here’s what we have to look forward to…

Capture

Only 110 days to go!!

Medina Half Marathon Recap

Last Saturday I ran the Medina Half Marathon, and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After the HOF half, I had high expectations to continue on with a strong training period between then and the beginning of Akron training. But unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. Between a week and a half with vertigo and finding myself in a running rut, my mileage was pretty low. Thankfully, Mallory, who was also in a running rut, agreed to run with me and we decided to turn the race into a fun run.

I got up around 4:45 Saturday morning, ate, got dressed and prepared for the race. The start time was moved back to 6:45 this year, which was nice. I left my house around 6:15, found parking and was on the square by 6:30. The 5 minute drive to the race, and multiple parking lots is always a huge plus in my book.

I met up with Mallory, we lined up and we were ready to take it easy on a 13.1 mile jog around town. Once the race started, we were off and tried to stay with a 10:00 minute pace. Neither of us had run any long runs since April, but we figured we could handle the pace for the distance we had ahead of us.

We stayed behind the 2:10 pace group as they started a bit fast, easy to do when the first two miles have some declines in them. We noticed right away that the air was thick with humidity and I was already sweating heavily by mile two. We kept an easy pace, talked and eventually were joined by Amy.

Mile 1-9:38

Mile 2-9:42

The course was a little different this year, so we ended up with more time winding through developments in the beginning of the course. It was a good way to keep my mind off the miles and rather the company I had while running.

Between mile 2 and 3, we ended up with Christy, who decided to join us for our easy run. We chatted for a while, and she kept reminding us how “cold and snowy” it was. Her positive outlook helped to keep my mind off the heat and humidity for a bit.

Mile 3-9:51

Mile 4-9:43

Our first rollers came on Reagan and just like always, slowed me down a bit. From here we headed toward Lake Medina, but unfortunately couldn’t use the new path, so we took to the roads and onto the grass path at the top of the lake. It was starting to heat up, and it was around mile 5 that I took my first Sport Beans. I took two, hoping that it keep me full for a longer amount of time than just one.

Mile 5-9:56

Mile 6-10:06

As we were leaving the lake, I stopped for a quick porta potty stop. There was a short line, so it slowed me down a bit. I was a little concerned I was dehydrated so early into the race because my mouth was so dry just 6 miles in. Thankfully I was hydrated, but instead, I was feeling the side effects of new medication.

From here we went up 18, giant hill included and back into another development before heading to Smith. I was starting to feel a little tired, but figured it was just leftover from the hill. Mallory was working on encouraging me to keep going and reminding me that we were more than half way there. It helped, but I was starting to hit a wall.

Mile 7-13:48 (potty stop)

Mile 8-10:35

From Smith we turned into some more developments, which was a new part of the course this year. I actually enjoyed this section, despite the rollers. The twists and turns kept it interesting and kept my mind off checking my watch. I took two more Sport Beans around mile 8.

Mile 9-11:27

Mile 10-12:58

I’m not sure when, but Heather joined Mallory and I between mile 8-10. It was also during this time that I really started to break down. My legs were feeling ok, but I felt hot, dehydrated, and sick to my stomach. I started to feel so guilty about bringing Mallory down with my negative thoughts and bad attitude. I told her to go ahead and I’d make my way to the finish line, but she refused to leave.

From then on, we walked the water stops and hills and would run the flat sections. I shuffled behind Mallory and Heather, going through moments of feeling fine to feeling sick to my stomach. I started to think I had too many Sport Beans, or maybe I should take a salt tab. Nothing was helping and the miles seemed to drag on.

Mile 11-12:33

Mile 12-12:50

We finally made it to mile 12 as we headed down South Court and back towards the square. I continued to shuffle along, dreading the finish line. We made our way closer and with about a half mile to go,we ran down the brick road. I always loved this part because it reminded me of Muskingum. But I also knew that after the brick finished, the uphill finish line was waiting.

Mile 13-12:49

Last .1 -11:33 pace

And then suddenly with about 400 feet to go, I started to feel light headed, and sick. I told Mallory and Heather to go ahead and I started to walk, getting a hold of my bearings. I slowly began to jog and made my way toward the finish. And as quickly as I felt miserable, I felt normal again.

Making my way to the finish

Making my way to the finish

I crossed the line of my 22nd half marathon, and regretted letting myself run so under trained. I felt like I had let myself down, the Medina Road Runners down, and of course Mallory. But I finished, and that was good enough for me that day.

Wouldn't have finished without her!

Wouldn’t have finished without her!

Thoughts-

Despite my less than spectacular attempt at running, I still love this race. The community support and cheering sections along the course are fantastic. The water stops were easy to navigate and each had their own personality. The new course is much better than last year, and even though I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of that hill on 18, it seemed to be a bit flatter. Well, as flat as you can get in Medina. And of course, the finish line support is the best. There are always so many people lined up along the hill, that you can’t help but dig deep for some kind of sprint.

Hills, hills, and hills!

Hills, hills, and hills!

I know exactly what went wrong to cause my horrible race, and I have only myself to blame. I slacked off a bunch in the past month, and was no way ready to run a half marathon, at least one that I’d be proud of. I also didn’t fuel as well as I had hoped.I need to take a break from Sport Beans because I still can’t figure out how to chew and run at the same time. I’m ready to try something new and I’m going to start incorporating Honey Stinger back into my training. But I’m also open to other options.

As far as hydration, I was a mess. I was not ready to run in the heat and humidity, so I second guessed everything. Combine that with the constant dry mouth due to a new medication, I had no idea if I was actually hydrated or not. I need to go back to drinking water at every mile marker, taking a salt tab every six miles, and throwing some Nuun into my water after mile 10. I know better, I just didn’t execute this properly.

After running this race three years in a row, I still love it. It’s a challenging course, but the crowd support and 5 minute drive are worth it all. I know I’ll be back next year!

Race swag

Race swag

 

Results

Official Time: 2:27:36

Age Group 25-29: 46/72

Female: 325/537

Overall: 607/886

2015 Race Schedule

It’s a few weeks into 2015, but I can finally say I have most of my races figured out for the next 12 months. Originally I wanted to run a race in every month, but I don’t think that will happen now. January is a tough month for races, and most of them are trail. I’m not that good at trails, and combining them with harsh weather is just asking for an injury. So I move on, and look to other races.

There’s no marathon on the schedule, mostly because I won’t have the time or effort to put towards that distance this year. But instead, I’m looking to run more 5k’s, half marathons and spend more time on the trails. I want to focus on speed this year, and break my fear of pushing myself past my comfort zone.

I’ll have two half marathons I’ll focus on this year, Canton in the spring, and Akron in the fall. Both are courses I’ve never run, and both will bring me a challenge. I’ll throw in a few others for fun, but the goal will be to hit 1:55. I know I can do it, I just have to want it enough to push myself through the 10-13 mile wall.

As for 5k’s, well, I’m certain I’ll break 25:00. I’m nowhere near my college speed, so hitting 22:xx/23:xx won’t be happening. But 24:xx, it’s there.

Here’s a look at my tentative race schedule for 2015. It will change, races could be dropped, and races could be added. I’m still waiting on two websites to update, but for right now, this is what I’ve been able to gather.

February 7, 2015 – Blizzard Busters 5k/10k

February 28, 2015 – Flirt with Dirt 10k

March 14, 2015 – St. Malachi 5 Miler

March 2015 – Shamrock 5k/15k

March 21, 2015 – Strongsville Super Saturday 5k

March 22, 2015 – Spring TRAINing 10 Miler

April 12, 2015 – Towpath Half Marathon

April 18, 2015 – Earth Day 5k

April 26, 2015 – Canton Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon

May 9, 2015 – Flap Jack & Jill 15k

May 30, 2015 – Medina Half Marathon

June 12, 2015 – Down and Dirty 5 Miler

June 21, 2015 – Towpath Ten-Ten

June 2015 – Park to Park Half Marathon

July 4, 2015 – Twin Sizzler 5k

July 5, 2015 – Muddy Paws 5 Mile/10 Mile

July 2015 – Wellington Cheese Fest 10k

August 2015 – Buehler’s Heart & Sole Half Marathon

September 2015 – Run for the Trails 5k

September 13, 2015 – River Run Half Marathon

September 19, 2015 – Dirty Rocks 10k

September 26, 2015 – Akron Half Marathon

October 17, 2015 – Chippewa Creek 10 Mile Challenge

October 2015 – Towpath Half Marathon

October 2015 – Medina SPCA Paws for the Cause 5k

October 2015 – Buckeye Half Marathon

November 12, 2015 – Dirty Dirty 12k

November 2015 – Brunswick Devil Dash 5k

November 26, 2015 – Turkey Burner 5k

December 24, 2015 – Frosty 5 Mile

Any races that I need to add onto my schedule? What’s your goal race of 2015?