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.


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.

SF Aloha Run 5k Recap

While we were on vacation, I had hopes of running some sort of race. Luckily I found a 5k in San Francisco and I jumped at the chance to run somewhere new. I didn’t have a goal for this race, I really just wanted to get some miles in and enjoy the new scenery.

Saturday morning, I woke up extra early due to the time chance. We got ready, packed up the car, and headed to the other side of the city. We got there about 45 minutes early, picked up my packet, and relaxed until the race started.

Saturday morning, just hanging out at the bridge.

Saturday morning, just hanging out at the bridge.

Pre race was well run, and I really appreciated that they had pace groups, those 10:00 and under, 11:00-13:00, followed by those with dogs and strollers. I lined up where I estimated the 8:30 pace would be. I didn’t want to go out too quick, so I figured I’d play it by ear.

Ready to race!

Ready to race!

We were off and I was excited to run. The map showed a loop around Chrissy Park and a second half lap to the finish. We started on a sand/gravel path and it felt wonderful on the legs. I settled into a nice pace of 8:30, making sure I didn’t go out too quick. The loop took us towards the Golden Gate Bridge and I couldn’t help but get distracted by the views.

We continued along and made our first turn down the side of the park. About a half mile in, my stomach started to grumble and I realized I was suddenly starving. I also noticed that even though the weather was cool, the fog brought a moist feeling with the air.

Miles 1-8:32

We came up to the first mile and I was feeling pretty confident in my pace. A short while later I passed Darren, who I’m sure was thrilled he got dragged to another race of mine.

Working hard after mile 1

Working hard after mile 1

We continued along with what felt like the longest stretch of pavement. I started to wear down, and my pace slowed a bit, but stayed around 8:45-8:50. The hunger feeling and humidity/moist air was really playing minds games on me, and I struggled to stay focused.

Mile 2-8:47

We made the turn heading to mile 2 and I knew I could handle another 9 minutes of running. This part of the course we ran along the beach, so we dodged sections of sand and gravel. We also passed the water stop, but no one stopped, which actually surprised me.

We approached the turn off for the final half mile, and everyone noticed a giant banner that had “finish” written across it. We were only at 2.7 so I was slightly concerned until we got closer and realized it was for another event. This threw a bunch of people off, most of them had given their final kick and had nothing left for the real finish.

Mile 3-8:50

We made another hairpin turn and I started picking people off, mostly those who had just pushed it at the fake finish. My pace started to pick up and I finally felt like I was running like I should. I made the final turn into the finish and gave a decent kick to cross the line of my first California 5k.

Last .14-8:49 pace

Final kick

Final kick

Overall I thought this was a fun race. I didn’t really have a plan, and knew that since I was on vacation, I wouldn’t be taking it too seriously. I didn’t have my best performance, but with traveling and enjoying vacation, it didn’t really bother me. I also checked my Garmin data after the race, and noticed that it was a gradual uphill the entire way, which is why I probably didn’t run as well as I thought I could.

After the race there were vendors, a kids run and a few more local events. I picked up my shirt, bag and medal post race and took a few more pictures before packing up and heading on our day trip to Muir Woods.


My favorite part of the race, and really the reason I signed up was the race swag. Not only did we get shirts with the Golden Gate Bridge printed on them, but we got matching bags and medals. A great race, a great location, and a fun way to enjoy vacation!

Golden Gate gear!

Golden Gate gear!

Official Results:

Time: 27:21

Female: 23/232

Overall: 71/384

T1 Diabetes Awareness 5k Recap

A few weeks ago, a post was brought up on the MCRR page about a local 5k that would be happening in town. An eagle scout had planned his big project as a 5k for Type 1 Diabetes awareness, in honor of his sister who was diagnosed when she was 7 years old. If you remember, I’ve done fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and American Diabetes Association, so this 5k was something that I couldn’t miss.

With an 8am start, my normal Saturday morning was completely thrown off, but I did enjoy sleeping past 5am for once. I got up, got ready and was out the door by 7:15 to get to the race early for registration and a warm up. Once I got out the door, I was greeted by a thick cloud of fog and some pretty heavy humidity.

Living in the clouds

Living in the clouds

Beforehand I didn’t know much about the race or course, as it was all race day registration and no course map was available online. There was no charge for the race, but donations were appreciated. In return you received a blue wrist band from JDRF. I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout, probably around 50 people showed up to help this young man out.

After about a mile+ warm up, we met on the track at the middle school and got instructions on the race as well as information about Type 1 Diabetes. I couldn’t help but almost tear up after seeing how much had been put into this race. With final instructions done, we lined up on the track and were ready to go. Unfortunately, I don’t have my splits since my Garmin had a total meltdown and I wasn’t able to upload it in time.

We started off with a lap on the track, and I tried to find a comfortable pace knowing that it was a little hotter than what I was used to. I was hovering between 7:58-8:01 pace and was feeling great. Once we finished our lap, we made our way onto a path and back near the elementary school. From this point on we were on all grass, and the race quickly turned into a cross country course. Not expecting this, I tried to slow myself down because I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up the quick pace on the grass.

During the first mile I could feel myself slowing down, but I was still feeling ok. I tried to watch my footing, because the last thing I need is an injury from a 5k. We were in and out of the shade as we made a large loop in the grass. It wasn’t until about the first mile mark that I noticed how many people had dropped back. I was currently sitting in 4th female and probably 8th/9th overall.

I grabbed some water at the water stop and was thankful for the fluids. It was also around this point that I had a young boy right next to me that I just couldn’t shake. We made our way around the giant loop again, and just before the second mile marker, I was able to pull ahead, leaving the young kid behind.

With a mile left to go, I was starting to feel worn down. My legs felt tired from the uneven ground, and I was sweating more than I think I ever have. We came up around the front of the middle school and along the sidewalk next to the road. I was finally able to get some speed and noticed that Liz, the 3rd place female had disappeared.

I continued on my way, making it through the last section of grass before we made a final lap on the track. That lap felt like the longest lap ever, but it was nice I was able to see who was in front of me. About 200 meters in front of me, was the 1st and 2nd place female, and about two other men were finishing up on the track. I had my final kick in the last 150 meters and finished up 3rd place female with a time of 28:06.

This definitely wasn’t your normal 5k, but the meaning behind it was the most important thing to me. There was no official timing or places/awards so I can only go off the time that was yelled out as I crossed the finish line. My time was much slower than what I anticipated, but based on the fact the course was about 90-95% grass, I’m not really surprised. I’m so glad I made the time to come out for this 5k, and I’m proud of the eagle scout for accomplishing his goals with this race.

Running for a cause

Running for a cause

Run.4.Fun 5k Recap

Last Friday instead of relaxing and going to bed early, I ran a local 5k the night before my long run. I was satisfied with my 5k time from the previous week, but I really wondered what I could do with fresh legs. The Run.4.Fun is an annual 5k put on by the Medina City Schools Foundation. And even though I don’t live within Medina City School limits, I was happy to run a race where money would be going to a good cause.

I spent all Friday watching what I ate, over hydrating, and making sure I was mentally ready to run. Knowing that I’d only have an hour until the race started once I got home from work, I rushed to get everything ready and made it to the high school by 7:00. I ran into a few MCRR members and asked them about the course. The said it had some gradual inclines, including the last half mile. Hearing this I immediately threw the thought of a PR out the window, and just hoped to have a strong race.

Right before 7:30, everyone lined up, and I felt ready to go. Instead of focusing on my watch, I wanted to listen to my legs and see what they were truly capable of. The first mile was very similar to the Frosty 5k course and  I was thankful I didn’t have to be cautious of the ice. We headed out of the high school and around one of the developments that is part of the Medina Half course. I was feeling pretty good, but noticed I was hanging around a 7:56 pace.

I wasn’t sure how long I could hang on, but continued to keep a steady pace until the end of the first mile. I knew if I wanted to survive, I’d have to slow it down. We passed the first water stop and I made my way to the outside to avoid the hustle just in time to see that mile 1 was in the books.

Mile 1- 8:08

The second mile has always been the hardest for me. Usually because I’m regretting how quickly I went out on the first mile. I knew I wanted to keep this mile a little slower, but not as slow as last week’s second mile. I was still feeling comfortable enough that I wasn’t sucking wind, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to push it during my last mile. We covered a few neighborhoods with some slight inclines, but they weren’t too awful.

Mile 2- 8:34

I’m not sure why or how, but in the beginning of the third mile, seconds began to fall off my pace instantly. I started to pick people off, one by one and could feel myself getting quicker. We rounded out towards more neighborhoods and made our way back towards the high school.

And then I saw the last half mile. We had a gradual incline that pretty much lasted the entire last half of the third mile. I tried to be strong, but couldn’t help but slow down some. I made my way around a few people, and was so glad when I finally saw the mile 3 marker. At this point, all I needed to do was round the last turn up to the track and finish that long 100 meter stretch.

Mile 3- 8:08

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t constantly checking my Garmin the last part of the race. I hadn’t done much math, but I knew I’d be cutting it close, especially after the long incline. I gave it all I had and crossed the finish with a new post college PR!

Last .1 – 7:00 pace

I was ecstatic after I finished, and very close to losing everything in my stomach. I made my way to the inside of the track and spoke with a few MCRR members who all seemed to have a great day out there too.

This 5k was a great race, not only because of my time, but it was also well organized. Since February I’ve dropped almost 3 minutes off my 5k time, and I couldn’t be more excited. I still have about 3 minutes to drop to beat my all time PR, but I’m getting closer. I’d like to see if I can get under 25 this year, but for now I’m content with my 5k time.

I didn’t stay for awards, but I ended up with third in my age group and won a medal and a gift card to Active Runner. Completely unexpected, but very grateful.




Time: 25:26

AG 25-59: 3/14

Gender: 38/225

Overall: 119/458

Love A Stray 5k Recap

Sunday morning, 12 hours after Yeti Set Go! 10k, I made my way up towards the lake and ran a 5k for some pretty adorable pups. I ran this race last year and loved it, but what made it such a great race was that proceeds were going to a local animal shelter, one that I volunteered at throughout high school. Love a Stray is a local non-kill pet shelter that takes in dogs and cats. In high school I adopted my favorite cat Carter from there, who sadly passed away last year. A few years ago I adopted the adorable and mischievous Ralphie, who makes many cameos on my Instagram feed. If you can adopt, do it! All of these animals need loving homes.

Who wouldn't want to adopt this fun little creature

Who wouldn’t want to adopt this fun little creature, aka house destroyer

The course was a little different this year, starting at the high school instead of The Landings, but it still went through the same wooded park. The weather was chilly and was perfect for another trial of my Flying Pig race day outfit. Yes I did wear the same outfit for two back to back races, not ashamed. It was also sprinkling a little bit, but held off until after the race was over. I was feeling pretty good and my legs weren’t too tight. The starting line was full of 400+ runners, and their dogs, so it was a little crowded, but not too bad. Just as soon as we lined up, we were off.

I wasn’t looking for a time with this race, I just wanted to run and give back to the shelter. I settled into a comfortable pace at about 8:30. We headed into the woods and it was still a bit crowded, but the further we got, the more it thinned out. The path was paved and relatively smooth. I hit my first mile right around the 8:30 mark. I decided to slow down a bit, knowing that I didn’t have it in me to PR. My legs were a little sore, so I just wanted to loosen them up. I fell into the groove and made my way through the course.

The course was pretty much the same the entire way, black top through the woods. There was one water stop in between parks at the corner of a housing development, but I didn’t stop. It was a little boring, but if I was running with a dog it would have been a great course. It was well protected and didn’t interfere with traffic or any neighborhoods. I hit mile 2 at 8:54 and mile 3 at 8:49. I finished at 26:46, no PR but a solid, well paced run just 12 hours after some crazy trail running.

After the results were posted online I felt better about my run. I didn’t place in my age group, but I did well overall. If you’re looking for a race to run with your dog, I definitely recommend this one.

Also, the shirts are designed by local kids, which is great. I pre-registered, but they only had large left. My shirt, along with my Yeti Set Go shirt will both be arriving in the mail in two weeks. I’ll be sure to add those to each recap.

*Updated Picture

Mile 2-3

Official Results

Time: 26:46

Overall: 125/433

Female: 54/287

Age Group 25-29: 8/39

Turkey Burner 5k Recap

I’m thankful for hills. At least that’s what I kept telling myself as I ran the Turkey Burner 5k in Hinckley over Thanksgiving. This post is a little delayed, but I think we’re all moving slow this week. Thanksgiving plans weren’t confirmed until about Wednesday night, so I hadn’t pre registered for any race. Luckily Hinckley had a 5k that was close and relatively inexpensive. I tried to get there early so I could register, get a good parking spot and find out where I was even running.

I got there around 8:20 and went right away to register. Unfortunately they didn’t have any shirts left, and had run out days ago. Bummer,  it was a pretty nice long sleeve shirt and I was looking forward to adding another to my growing collection. It was freezing and I regretted not bringing a headband, so I spent most of the time before the race in my car. The race was set to start at 9:00, but at 8:55 they let everyone know they were going to start at 9:10. It ended up being 9:15 by the time we started, and there was no send off. I looked up and saw people running and started on my way.

I was still freezing and was hoping to use the first mile to warm up, get my pace and use the last mile to speed things up. I was wrong. A quarter mile in a hill started, and it kept going and winding up, and up until we reached the first mile. A tough start to the race and many were dropping behind or walking already. I powered through, but my pace was not impressive, I came in at the first mile around a 10:00 pace. But with an incline, comes a decline and we were heading down hill to the water stop. I passed and just kept going. We then had two smaller hills, not as bad, but they were still hills. Around mile 2 was the last hill. It was a steep one, and I struggled with this one, but I knew we were almost done and hopefully the rest would be easy. Everything after that was a slight down hill followed by a quick turn into the finish. I crossed the line at 27:40, not bad for 4 hills.

Four hills, why not?

Overall, it wasn’t a bad race. There weren’t any mile markers, so I was glad to have  my Garmin, but my pace was all over the place. I averaged a 9:03 pace, but was up to 10:00 going up hills and down to 7:40 running down hill. Unfortunately I can’t find results, and don’t think they’ll be posted. It was a beautiful course around Hinckley Reservation, probably the most scenic 5k I’ve done. I wish I had my phone so I could have taken pictures along the way. I’m hoping to get back out there sometime and really do some damage on those hills. If anything it was a good course to get my run in for the day, with a few hundred other people.


**Official results posted***

Overall -152/502

AG -4/15

LAS 5k Fur Fun Run Recap

Instead of joining everyone in the fun Saturday for the Hermes 10 Miler, I gave my legs a rest after two weeks of major races and settled on a local 5k. This 5k actually meant a lot more to me than others. Love-A-Stray, the main sponsor of the race, is a local non-profit, volunteer run, no-kill pet shelter.  They have two divisions, one focused on dogs, and the other focused on cats. I used to volunteer at the cat location back in high school. This resulted in many years of kitten kisses and coming home with my first LAS buddy, Carter.

Once I moved out of my parent’s house and didn’t want to disrupt the old man (the cat, not my dad) I immediately went back to LAS and found my wild little monster, Ralphie.

If you’re looking for a furry friend, you can probably find one here 🙂

Now on to the race recap! I headed to The Landings in Avon Lake and picked up my packet. The first thing I noticed, there were a ton of dogs, pretty sure I was the only one without a dog. We lined up for the race and headed out of the parking lot and through the landings. Things were going fast and I quickly found my pace. We headed into Kopf Family Reservation, and I finally checked my watch. I was cruising at a sub 8:30 pace and feeling pretty good.

And then my pet peeve runner showed up. For the next half mile or so a fellow runner kept speeding up, passing me, and slowing way down right in front of me. I nearly tripped over him a few times. At this point we were at the half way point, and I knew I had to make my move or else this guy would ruin my entire race. He already dropped my pace to 9:20. I opened my stride and let my legs do the work. I instantly felt like I was dropping seconds from my pace, and at the 2 mile mark, I was down to an 8:30 pace. One mile to go and I just kept moving, I skipped the water stop and tried picking off runners one by one. About 600 meters to go, and I got the anxious, nervous, omgimgoingsofastimgoingtopukebutimsocloseihavetofinish feeling. I get this feeling at every race now, and I love it. I kicked it in for the last 100 feet, and saw 25 on the clock, crossing the line at what I thought was 25:57. Two seconds off PR.

But I wasn’t upset, I was content with my race, my legs felt great, and I wanted more. I felt like maybe I knew how to run 5k’s again. So to enjoy the great run, I scanned the vendors and found myself on Rescue Row, full of puppies for adoption! Nothing says a great race by trying to take a puppy home!

Puppies and runners!

Overall it was a great race for a great cause. Race results were even better. I ended up getting third in my age group and received a $10 Active Runner gift card, awesome!

Official results:

Time-25:55 (PR Tie)



After four weekends of races, I’m putting my legs on hold and just packing in the miles until Cleveland Half Marathon. My hope is to let my body fully recover and get ready for some major training plans coming up!