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


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.


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.

Frosty 5k Recap

Sunday I ran my first race of 2014, the Frosty 5k, a small 5k put on by the Medina Rec Center. I ran this race last year, and really enjoyed it, so I had been looking forward to running it again. The race start was at 9:00 so I got up at 7:15, tried to relax and tested out a new pre run breakfast, the Au-In Almond Picky Bar. It was really good, light and didn’t give me any stomach issues. I then headed over to the rec center around 8:30 to pick up my bib, get a prime parking spot and debate if I had on enough or too many layers.

The crowd was small, but considering it was about 12*F, I was glad that there were people still out there braving the elements. Luckily the roads were clear and there wasn’t much wind, conditions were good and I was fighting away nerves. I didn’t have a goal for this race, but really wanted to focus on pacing myself. My biggest mistake in 5k’s is going out way too fast. I usually run my first mile around 7:00 and then struggle the rest of the way. Knowing that I had 4 more miles to run after the race, I wanted to keep it easy and try to stay around a 9:00 pace.

We started off and one group quickly sprinted ahead. A few more started to follow and it was hard not to go with the rest of the group. I kept watching my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t going too fast and was working on a 8:30 pace. Not bad, but I knew I had to slow down a little more. And that was hard. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be slow myself down in the first mile of the race while everyone was running full steam ahead.

The course was the same as last year, leaving the rec center, going through developments, running on Reagan Parkway, through more developments and heading back into the rec center. I didn’t focus much on the surroundings, but rather the street watching for ice and pot holes. However, within the first half mile it started to snow, and it was actually a little magical. It was slow and soft, and if I wasn’t running I would have enjoyed walking around in it.

The first mile was pretty easy, just finding my pace and making sure I wasn’t going too fast. Everyone was doing their own thing, so there wasn’t much passing happening. I hit the first mile in 9:06 and was feeling pretty good. I was slowly starting to catch up to the people in front of me and around a mile and a half in I passed two women. By this point the snow was starting to come down hard and it seemed to be coming from every direction. I continued on and found myself behind a tall gentleman. I drafted off of him for a bit and was grateful he was able to block the snow. I ended up passing him and continued on, right on pace, still feeling good.

I hit mile two at 18:xx and naturally started doing math in my head. Mile three was the hardest, not physically, but mentally. I had passed two more runners, but the snow was making it more difficult to run. When we started the race it was clear, so I didn’t have my YakTrax on. By the time we got to the third mile, the road was covered and you just expected to be the one to slip on ice. My legs wanted to go, but I kept holding them back, concerned my next step would put me flat on my back. I took advantage of the clear spots, but kept it safe in the snow covered areas. My pace was started to quicken and for once I wasn’t struggling to make it to the finish line.

I remember hitting 2.5 miles at 23:xx, I knew I was about a minute behind where I wanted to be, but considering the conditions, I wasn’t worried. I kept chugging along and passed another woman who had sprinted past me in the beginning. Now I was alone and just followed the signs to get me back home. I hit the 2.75 mile mark and was brought back to “Once a Runner” where Quenton focuses on the last lap of the mile. I imagined myself on the track, knowing it was too early to step it up (I’ve always been a 150m to the finish sprinter) and tried to open my stride. The course turned toward the rec center and had a slight uphill covered in snow, enough to keep me in check before it leveled out before the finish. The closer I got, the quicker I ran, and as Chariots of Fire came on my iPod, I finished my first 5k of 2014 feeling better than ever.

While the conditions got worse throughout the race, I wouldn’t say they caused too much damage in my run. I wasn’t running for a PR, but rather a controlled, comfortable pace. I didn’t want to end up struggling at the end of the race like I have so many times. I know I definitely could have pushed myself more, but I was timid because of the new snow on the roads. I’d rather focus on the pace than focus on a time and injure myself along the way.

I absolutely love this race. Even though there was a smaller turnout this year, I like how it’s so simple and doesn’t require all the bells and whistles. For $15, you can pre register to get a short sleeve shirt, food and the use of indoor bathrooms. While I’ve never seen a mile marker or much of a crowd, the local police do a great job of making sure that the roads are clear and that no cars will get in anyone’s way.

After the race, everyone comes inside for the awards ceremony. First place got a long sleeve shirt and water bottle, second place got a short sleeve shirt, and third place got a water bottle and lanyard. In addition, each AG winner got a $25 gift card to the rec center. I ended up with 1st in my age group, so that $15 was definitely worth it. As long as the rec center holds the 5k, I plan to be there every year.


Pretty good collection

Pretty good collection, love the snowman on the participant shirt!


Results (No official results have been posted)

Garmin Time: 28:11

Age Group 20-29: 1/4


Twin Sizzler 5k Recap

Almost a week later, I have my recap on the Twin Sizzler 5k I ran on the 4th of July. Last year I ran Bay Days in  Bay Village and was a little bummed I wouldn’t be able to run it this year. Lucky for me, Medina had their own festival of events for the holiday. The Twin Sizzler provided a ton of events for the community including a 5k run, 10k run, 27 mile Community bike ride, 27 mile expert bike ride, 1 mile kids fun run, and a 5k walk. If that wasn’t enough, you could run both the 5k and the 10k for a double workout. All proceeds went to the Red Cross of Medina County, and with well over 800 people in attendance, we definitely helped out our local chapter. There was also a DJ, activities for kids, and a ton of families out for the holiday.

The race was slated to start at 7:45 and with how hot and humid it has been, it was much better than a 9:00 start. Lucky for us, the sun stayed behind the clouds, but the humidity was thick and people were sweating before we started. I got there around 7:25, and headed straight to bib pick up. If you registered early (which I finally did for once!) you were promised a t-shirt. Unfortunately they had run out of smalls by the time I got there, so I was given a medium. I plan on donating it since I already have way too many shirts.

Around 7:40 we were told that we’d had a delay of the start. We eventually got going around 7:55, only a 10 minute delay. Still feeling warmed up, I didn’t have a goal, I just wanted to survive the muck of the humidity. The first mile had a bit of a down hill and wound through some of the downtown streets. I knew I didn’t want to go out too hard, but didn’t want to focus on my time. I let my legs do the work and I was somewhere near a 7:50 pace. I pulled back and tired to slow myself down. It was getting hotter and hotter and I knew that it would be a tough race. We came up on the first mile and I was around 8:30. Right after the marker was a water stop. I grabbed a glass, drinking some, but dumping most on my head. I don’t normal grab water in 5k’s, but I couldn’t get enough of it.

We continued on through more neighborhoods and I could feel my pace slowing down. I bounced between 8:45 and 9:10, always struggling to keep a solid pace. Most of the course was very familiar either from previous runs or from the Medina Half Marathon. It was relatively flat, but had some gradual inclines throughout the second mile. I was still feeling pretty strong, but didn’t want to go too fast and not have anything left for the finish.

I don’t remember what time I hit the third mile, but I was excited to see more water. This time the cup was filled up a bit too much, so I had more difficultly drinking it and running. I slowed down a bit, but then tried to pick my pace back up. The last mile was straight towards the square and I knew we’d have an uphill incline. I was starting to get hotter and sweatier, but tried to ignore it. With a half mile to go I was around 23:xx and everyone started to pick up the pace. I felt great and followed the crowd. Crossing the rail road tracks we had about 400 feet left, the incline of the hill started and I felt off. I hate finishing uphill because I usually feel sick so I tried to relax and just ignored my pace. I slowed quite a bit, but was nervous that I’d lose whatever was in my stomach on the course. About a hundred feet to go and I gagged. I told myself to stop, and just get to the finish. Fifty feet from the finish I gagged again, and nothing. I jogged to the finish line, barely stopped my Garmin and was off to the side. The humidity had gotten the best of me.

After grabbing some water and heading to my car, I started to feel much better. I drove home and suddenly felt that like I could run some more…if the humidity wasn’t so thick. I almost regretted not signing up for the 10k as well, but after the 5k, I was glad I only had one race. Besides for the last half mile I felt great throughout the entire run. I was dissapointed with my time and pacing, but I know that the heat plays a big factor in this. It was no where near a PR, but I feel that I’ll definitely be dropping time once the weather cools off.

Overall the race was great. The course was well marked and relatively flat considering some of the major hills around. Having two water stops was awesome, but I think I had too much water in my stomach, which didn’t help later on. There was only one sprinkler on the course, but many more would have been appreciated. I’ll definitely run this race next year and even think about doing the 10k.

Decked in Red, White, and Blue!

Decked in Red, White, and Blue!


Garmin: 27:06

Overall: 298/670

Female Overall: 107/356

Age Group (25-29): 15/40