Troy Turkey Trot 10K Race Recap

Image result for troy turkey trot 2019

November 25, 2021 8 am

This was my 6th time running the Troy Turkey Trot 10K.

I really enjoyed this race my first time I ran it in 2014 (in spite of the snowstorm) and now I look forward to running it every year.

happy because it was and still is my 10K PR (check out all the snow!)

In 2018, it was FREEZING and I DNSed the race partly because of the weather but mostly because I was going to running a hilly Half Marathon 2 days later (which seemed more important.)

In 2020, the race went virtual and I did not run it.

In 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, I even ran both races – the 10K followed by the 5k.  Why not? I was already dressed and ready to run. This year, I was not as crazy. Just the10K as in my first year.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I had signed up for the Turkey Trot Challenge but after two group meetings, I quit.

too late, too dark, no real coaches… yada yada

So there was no training for this race.  I considered it just a fun event to get outdoors’ meet up with other runners and justify all the food that I would consume later in the day.

Previous Troy Turkey Trot 10K times:

  • 2014 – 57:03 (PR)
  • 2015 – 59:33
  • 2016 – 57:51
  • 2017 – 57:42
  • 20:18 – DNS
  • 2019 – 59:06
  • 2:20 – cancelled

However, I ran a hilly half marathon just four days before the race and did a short run two days prior. During that short run, my legs reminded me that they were in recovery mode.

So I guess my goal for this year’s 10k could be sub 1 hour but really just being out there and running with a smile would make me happy!

2015, my PW

I picked up my bib the previous Saturday so I didn’t have to rush on race morning. The pick-up location was different for the first time (Italian Community Center) and a drive through… Traffic back-up so not a good idea (but it is what it is.)

and a unisex shirt that’s too big

I carb loaded with pasta (instead of pizza) Wednesday evening and planned my Thanksgiving running outfit. I tried to be festive but also comfortable for the running weather that day:

2 shirts or one? capris or skirt or tights?

Race Day:

Things didn’t start out great.  I didn’t sleep well the night before and the my alarm did not go off. Luckily my cat woke me up at 6:15 am.  But I had planned to leave at 6:30 in order to arrive early to get parking. So I got quickly dressed, choked down my coffee and cream of wheat (instead of oatmeal). I checked the weather. Yikes! 25 degrees.  I grabbed a vest and sprinted out the door.

One advantage of leaving a little later than planned was the beautiful sunrise during my drive

There was no traffic and I found parking in a lot across from a bowling alley where I parked in previous years. I was still early so I waited in my car until I saw some runners that I knew.

obligatory pre-race photo

and together we walked a few blocks to the Atrium where we could wait indoors for the race to begin.

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pic from a previous year but it’s the same start

There was no bag check and you had to wear a mask as you waited indoors (due to COVID, of course). Still there were indoor rest rooms and lots of runners hanging out. I was nice to be able to bump into  runners that I had not seen in awhile.

Tom and I used to see each other at many races (and he is known for this “power’ pose)

This a very popular local race as I mentioned so I always bump into so many runners that I know. I chatted until it was time to brave the temps.

Participants gather in the Atrium for the 2016 Troy Turkey Trot in Troy, NY, on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (Michael P. Farrell/Times Union)

inside the Atrium (a previous year) – so many more runners that year and you were allowed to hang out on both floors

The 10K started at 8 am followed by the kid’s one mile race and a one mile walk and then at 10 am, the most popular event, the 5K.

The 10K course this year was the same as previous years.

Elevation:

according to my Garmin – I think it lost a signal going over the bridge

As someone was singing the national anthem, I squeezed into the crowd with the 10 minute pace group. You had to wear a mask until you crossed the start. And everyone was!!

My plan for the race was to not to start out too fast and to run at an even pace and to save some for the last mile. (I know. I say that for every race. LOL)

Obviously this race was a lot less crowded than past years (since there was also a virtual option). But for my pace, I was running with others the whole race. Though, it seemed that they all were passing me by.

Miles 1-3.1:

The course is fairly flat. You start running down Broadway and then over the Green Island bridge, turn around and run back into the city. I knew from my first few steps a\that the legs were still sore from those hilly 13.1 miles on Sunday. I tried to pick up speed but the legs were begging me not to try.

I enjoyed seeing the fastest runners sprint by, as well as, those behind me.  I tried cheer both groups on.

After the bridge, we took a left and ran along the city streets for few miles. The roads were closed to traffic which was nice. My face and hands were cold.  In fact, it took half the race before my hands warmed up.  Even though my hands and face were cold, I was getting warm with the extra layer. I guess  could have left the vest off.

I didn’t have to look at my watch to know that I was running too slow to PR. I wasn’t sure if I would even finish under one hour. Besides, timing clocks were placed at every mile showing the gun time so I couldn’t even ignore my pace if I wanted to.

Miles 3.1-6.2:

Around this point, we again turned around and headed back toward the start. There a water stop but they were giving out bottles (due to COVID), It seemed like such a waste since I wasn’t that thirsty so I skipped it.

There was decent crowd support even on this cold day. There were even tables passing out beer. LOL

And again since it was an out and back, you got to see both faster and slower runners.

I was running with other runners but as I mentioned above, most kept passing me by. Eventually my friend Elisa caught up to me.  I was surprised because I am always behind her trying to keep her in my sight.

We ran together for a short time but I was struggling to keep a decent pace and she was not. I guess it pays to start out slow. Then my friend Nancy (who is also much faster than I am) came up behind me.  She also seemed to have a lot of speed left in her legs.

I lost them both but finally I was warm enough to take the gloves off and unzip my vest.  With the Hudson river in view, I knew that I was getting toward the end.  I decided not to eat my GU and skip the next two water stops.  I also normally walk a few times during a race so that I can finish stronger. But today, I just wanted to finish even if it meant a PW.

Finally I could hear the finish in the distance. I wanted to at least sprint through the finish line.

My friend Holly was on the side line cheering me on but I had a hard mustering up any real speed.

I tried to cross under 1 hour but sadly, I did not. There was no zip left in this girl’s step.

Yup, a course PW for sure (but chip timed so my finish time would still be under 1 hour.)

GOAL ACHIEVED!

must have seen the photographer lol

Post Race Activities:

I grabbed a bottle of water and they gave you a medal wrapped in plastic.  The only refreshments were a Kind bar (again due to COVID).  No age group awards handed out either. They would be mailed if you won.

 I hung out for awhile chatting with more friends.

Carolyn on the right is my age and my competition.

I bumped into Elisa again and we decided to stop for coffee on our walk back to our cars.

I was used to hanging around to run the 5k so it was strange to be done running. And it was even too cold (without a coat) to stay and cheer on the 5k runners.

Additional Race Reflections:

No matter what my finish time was, I was glad that I decided to run this race.  I love the atmosphere of this race. I enjoy the challenge of a 10k as opposed to a 5k.

that is the back of my hat… I had many compliments on that as runners ran by me.

This may have been the first race that I did not walk at all.  Here’s what I learned:

  • Successful racing is not about running without walking. Hey, Jeff Galloway BQed by running intervals.
  • I am faster when I take walk breaks.
  • You can build endurance with longer runs not by skipping the walks during your run.

Positives:

  • The weather = chilly but no wind so still nice for racing
  • Race organization – considering COVID restrictions, it was very well organized.
  • Race location – place to stay warm indoors with indoor bathrooms
  • Mostly flat course
  • Two distance options – 5k and 10k
  • Virtual option.
  • Knowing lots of runners.  Racing is fun with friends.
  • Ample parking
  • Well marked course.
  • Varied scenery including river views
  • A lot of pre-race information.
  • Timing clocks at every mile.
  • Three water stops.
  • Enthusiastic spectators.
  • Cool medal.
  • Custom masks given to all participants
  • Lots of media coverage.
  • A real race.

Negatives:

  • Bottles instead of cups at water stops.
  • Unisex shirts
  • No bag check
  • Minimal post-race refreshments
  • No immediate results
  • You have to BUY the photos

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Definitely.  It is well-organized and there’s a distance for everyone. Many runners are in costumes.

(However, if I run the half marathon the weekend before again, I may sign up for the 5k instead of the 10k. And there is also now a 5k right near my house.  We’ll see. I have a whole year to think about it.)

Usually 10,000 participate in these races. The attendance was still over 5,000 this year. A very fun way to start the holiday.

Final Stats:

Splits:

surprise, surprise…positive splits!! (and I started my watch a few seconds late)

NO WALKs but a lot of slowdowns

When I got home, I checked the results and guess what? I actually won an age group award for the first time in this race.

They are mailing them this year. I’ll let you know what I get. Hopefully not a medal.

even more interesting to look at the age graded results. wish more races published this.

Then later that afternoon, I ate back all the calories that I had burned off. LOL

Next Up:

A fun local 5k.

Albany Last Run 5K Race Reviews | Albany, New York

12/11/21

Then in February, I will be running a half marathon in Florida.

12th Florida Marathon and Half Marathon (Publix Florida Marathon & 1/2) 2021. Melbourne, Florida, USA. February 2021 | LetSportPeople.com

2/13/22

Happy Running! Did you run off that turkey? If so, how did it go? Please share.

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There is a link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies and you should too.


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

Upstate Classic Half Marathon Race Recap

yes, that’s me!

My fifth and final half marathon for 2021.

I signed up for the Upstate Classic Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I had run the course twice before so I was familiar with the hills.
  • It was local and I could sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • It was local so I would know a lot of the runners.
  • I had run a half in September and October so I was sorta already trained.

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. For 2020, I had the ambitious goal of running 12 Half Marathons – one each month. The pandemic wrecked those plans.  For 2021, it was just race whatever half marathons were available.  As a result, I was lucky to have already run FOUR this year.

The difference in the training cycle for the race this year was that I didn’t have to run all my long runs solo.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I did some short runs during the week prior to the race: Tues, Wed, Friday:

Packet pick up was easy peasy.  I just went to the race headquarters on Friday, drove in, gave them my bib # and they handed me a hoodie and a bib.  All was done outdoors.

I skipped my long run on Saturday and walked with friends and then after, I met those who ran for brunch.

My usual carb loading dinner was pizza, of course and then I tried to figure out what to wear.  It was forecast to be cold and cloudy. Similar to the weather in my last race but we would be at a higher altitude. I hate being overdressed (and was tempted to even wear a skirt) but I reluctantly chose a beanie, 2 long sleeved shirts, DIY arm sleeves, capris/skirt, compression calf sleeves and gloves.

last year’s shirt and beanie

My biggest dilemma was what to do about water.  I hate to carry my water bottle but there would be no cups of water provided on the course, only table to fill up your own bottle. In the end, I grabbed a paper cup, flattened it and put that in my pocket, as I have done in other post-COVID races.

Race Day:

I woke up early and looked outside and it was SNOWING!!  It did not stick but I re-thought the race outfit and switched from a skirt and compression socks to tights (under a skirt).

I had my usual pre-race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee. The race didn’t start until 8:30 am but I was ready so I left at 7am. I thought about my race plan on the ride …

So what was the plan???

  • HM PR – 2:06:52 – no way!
  • Last HM – 2:16:05 – doubtful!
  • H2H April 2021 – 2:22:51 (same course)
  • Upstate Classic Nov. 2020 – 2:23:37 (same course but no watch)

Just finish.  No time goal!! But I would love to have improved my time on this course (so under 2:22:51).

The course:

A loop starting and ending in the same location.

and not flat… at all:

I got there an hour early and parked in a muddy parking lot and then sat in my car.  It was in the low 30’s and I wanted to stay warm until the last moment especially since there was no bag check.

Around 8am, I dragged myself out of my warm car toward the race start.

Brrrrr! I shivered but I got to connect with many runners that I knew. I was especially glad to see Alyssa whom I used run and race with all the time.

There was no staggered starts this time.  They called runners to the start line by pace.  We waited until they said “Everyone else” since it was chip timed anyway.

we seem to run all the same races

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

(Some pictures are from a previous race since the course was identical.)

Miles 1-3:

I started running with Alyssa so we could chat and catch up on things. I was familiar with this course since this was my 3rd time but obviously since we were running on roads, there were cars. You were supposed to run on the shoulder but it was slanted and I found it awkward. So I ran toward the middle of the road until a car came by.  I was more comfortable that way. But the negative was not running the tangents. 😦

the familiar dinosaur

I lost Alyssa (whose asthma was bothering her) but continued to run with some other friends.  So far the hills weren’t too bad. I could even run up them.

Miles 3- 6.2:

I skipped the first water stop. I had a paper cup in my pocket but it was a pain to get it out and I wasn’t hungry or thirsty yet.

Around mile 4, we passed by Indian Ladder Farms and the smell of fresh cider donuts filled the air.

I started to get hungry about that time and ate a GU but boy was I wishing I had some water.

The rolling hills continued.

The hills ceased to roll and started to become steep hills.  Those type of hills where it was even hard to walk up them.  But walk I did and trying to pick up the pace on the downhill.

As soon as the big hills started, I lost my friends. And they continued to get farther and farther ahead.

I kept repeating to myself “Run your own race.” and “One foot in front of the other.”

Miles 6.2-8.75

Every now and then I would glance at my watch.  My pace was by no means fast but considering all the walking, it was not as bad as I feared.

The second water stop was around the 10k point and this time, I did stop and had my paper cup filled.

The big hills seems to more frequent the second half of the race.

mile 6.3

Miles 8.75 – 11.1

It think there was another water stop around mile 8.75. I’m sure that I stopped and refilled my cup. I also ate another GU.  I never really felt hungry during the race but knew I should fuel.

The race continued the same way.  The amazing thing was that my feet did not hurt.  (I had decided for the first time not to tape them and to risk getting blisters.)  My quads were getting achy from all the hills.  It’s always something. So I focused on the scenery which was very pretty…farms, mountain views, etc.

The course marshals were very enthusiastic. I knew many of them.  There were some families camped out in their driveways.  But for the most part, we were running on the roads in the country… no place for spectators.

But surprisingly around mile 10.5, there was table of guys giving out bottles of water and alcohol.  It was one of our boating friends. He asked me if I was coming back around.  I yelled “Hell no!”  (This race had a marathon too…two loops of this insanely hilly course.)

Miles 11.1-13.3

mile 11.1

More hills. They never seemed to end.  And one last water stop.  I just wanted to finish but I decided to fill my cup one last time.

Mile 13 seemed like a full marathon.   My legs just died. To make matters worse, there was one hill after another.  I walked most of this mile so that I could sprint across the finish line and not embarrass myself.

We were also running in a more trafficked area. It was annoying to keep moving over.

But eventually we turned into the fair grounds  And like that I was done.

I sprinted through the finish line and RD who was the announcer said a lot of cool things about me as I crossed the finish line.

Post Race Activities:

I immediately got my food – a boxed lunch but there was also a table of refreshments that looked more appealing – pastries, quiche, bread, etc.

That I went to see my results and found out that I came in 2nd in my age group.

gloves

Alyssa had also finished so we hung out at a picnic table and ate.  The sun had come out and it was a perfect Fall weather day.

Additional Race Reflections:

It seems that my recap above was a bunch of complaints.  But on the whole, the race was a really good experience. I have zero regrets in running it. And if you never run on hills, they are HARD. I walked them so I wouldn’t get injured. And I felt fine after the race.

In fact, my time was a lot better than I expected. In fact it was course PR – more than 3 minutes faster than in April on the same course.

It gives me hope that I could improve upon it on a flatter course. (It was more than 3 minutes slower than my last half marathon. lol)

The Good:

  • A Live Race!!!
  • Connecting with local runners.
  • Felt safe with the provided restrictions.
  • Decent post race food. (box lunch of pre-ordered sandwich, apple, brownie) and a table of other refreshments (quiche, bead, pastries)
  • Well organized.
  • Lots of pre-race information
  • Easy packet pick up
  • Ample parking
  • Enthusiastic volunteers (even with the cold weather)
  • Live tracking for others to follow runners and runners to get immediate results
  • Free photos
  • A live race!!!

The Bad:

  • Hilly Course.
  • No water provided (unless you carried your own bottle).
  • Most of my running group did not participate.
  • Not trained for hills or racing (my fault).
  • Traffic during the last mile or so.

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really

Final Stats:

well, I had a decent first half of the race!!

Splits:

did I walk 15 times?? They were ALL the uphills. lol

Would I recommend this race?

Sure.  Pretty scenery and the perks mentioned above. But TRAIN ON HILLS before you run it!!

Next Up:

A Thanksgiving 10K

A fun local 5k.

Albany Last Run 5K Race Reviews | Albany, New York

Dec 11, 2022

Then in February, I will be running a half marathon in Florida.

12th Florida Marathon and Half Marathon (Publix Florida Marathon & 1/2) 2021. Melbourne, Florida, USA. February 2021 | LetSportPeople.com

Feb. 13, 2022

Happy Running! Run any big races in 2021? How did it go?  Did you set and meet your goals? Any planned for 2022? Please share.

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Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

 

TT: What I Learned From My Worst Race

Next week’s topic is What did you learn from your worst race?

Ok, I am a week early again.  But I already posted last week about What I learned from my Best race.

Obviously, runners may disagree on the definition of a “bad” race.  It could have been a DNF, one that resulted in a injury, one with PW or just one that didn’t go as planned (re: finish time, weather, etc.)

I am going to talk about my Worst Half Marathon:

I cite this one as my worst not because it was a PW but it was a race that I was the most disappointed afterwards.

Santa Clarita HM (in CA) – Nov 2011

Here is what I learned from that race:

  • Over training is worse than under training.

2011 was the first year that I ran the half marathon distance and for this race, I really wanted to PR.

As part of my training runs, I ran a 13 mile run and also a half marathon.

Instead of being better prepared, my legs felt tired.

  • For Race-cations, bring clothes for all temps and weather conditions.

I checked the forecast before I left for CA, and it didn’t show rain for race day.

And of course, it poured for most of the race.

Now I always bring a poncho to at least stay dry while waiting for the race to start.

  • The goal for the race should NOT only be to get a PR.

Because that was my only goal, when I realized that it wasn’t possible, I gave up on doing my best.

The good news is that that was the first and last time that I’ve had a goal of PR for a half marathon.

My goal is now to enjoy the experience, do my best and finish uninjured.  As a result, I don’t get as disappointed.

  • Mental Preparation is just as important as physical.

When the weather turned out to be miserable, I mentally prepared myself for a bad race… and so I had one.

I thought it never rained in southern California

I have had rainy half marathons after that but I’ve changed my outlook – “It is what it is” and “maybe I’ll get to the finish line faster.”

before the Brooklyn HM… it was one of my better half marathons

  • After a disappointing race, move on and sign up for another.

or have a drink. LOL

the best Bloody Mary in LA – it helped us forget that race

I didn’t give up on half marathons after that race… I’ve run almost 50 more.

I’ve learned to always race with a smile (no mater what.)

  • Even in your “worst” race, there are positives.  Look for them. Savor them.

I ran the race with the sister of my good high school friend.

I visited many sites in LA and Santa Monica and also met up with two former students who had moved here.

Happy Running! What have you learned from your “worst” race? Please share. 

runner-sig


Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

Summer Smith Memorial 5K Race Recap

ssm5k

October 23, 2021 – 9:45 am – The Crossings

This was the fifth year for this 5K race which is organized by the mother of one of the STEM runners who died of an overdose after completing her first 5k. This is her story – https://www.summersmith5k.com/summer-s-story

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I was in the middle of training for a November 15k race and a half marathon…

However, I just had to do this race. I knew that there would be many other runners and volunteers from the STEM program. I wanted to support this cause and I am fortunate to have known and run with Summer.

The first four years that I ran this race, it was held at the end of May and started at a local High School.

Due to COVID, the date was changed and the location was witched to The Crossings.  The Crossings is not my favorite place to race. I have run there so often but it is what it is.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

It was a few weeks after a half marathon (Oct. 3) and a few weeks before another half marathon (Nov 21).

So I’ve done the short runs on weekdays.

And long runs on the weekend.

I carb load with pizza whether it is 13.1 miles or 3.1.  I also wear the same outfit:

I added arm warmer and gloves but had a feeling that I might be cold.

Race Day:

The race, as previously mentioned, started at The Crossings where there are real bathrooms, easy parking, and ample room to hang out before and after the race.

Many who were in Summer’s STEM group were there. It was pretty emotional. I still get teary-eyed when I think about her.

This race is always one of the most organized races I’ve run. After you got your bib, you got a bag labelled with your name with a shirt and other swag.

There were tables with representatives from relevant organizations (alcohol & drug abuse) also giving out freebies.

There were also many many raffle items  (most running-related but again I forgot to bring $$).

Before the race (at 9 am), there was a prayer and dedication ceremony

followed by a balloon release.

31 balloons were released for Summer (that was her age when she died).

Then purple balloons released for the others who also lost their lives due to drugs or alcohol.  Probably not a dry eye in the crowd.


The ceremony was followed by music and a Zumba session as well as a kids race.

I waited around and chatted with many of the runners that I knew and many that I haven’t seen since the last STEM race.

hanging with my friend Judy

As you can see, it was very cool before we started the race. I changed my outfit and added a long sleeved shirt under my shirt. I also had gloves, a jacket and arm warmers.

The the sun came out and I wisely took off my jacket and arm warmers.  Some of my running friends who didn’t run the race came out to cheer.  They held my throw-aways, cheered us on and took photos. ❤ ❤

The course:

Image

a 3.2 loop around the park

Elevation according to my Garmin:

looks hillier than it was… mostly flat with some rolling hills

I have run this 5k route for several races but not in recent years (May 2016) …and it’s never been one of my better 5ks.

Mile 1:

I lined up pretty close to the front since there were many slower runners and walkers in this race.

I just did the best I could.  Not PR fast but I wanted to finish with a respectable time.  With the chilly temps and no warm up, my legs felt like lead at the beginning.  I There was a lot of support along the course.  Friends of the families who lost loved ones to drugs were holding signs in their memory.  I was glad that I was running to support this charity.

It felt really hard to breathe. I thought it was the cold air.  But probably when I look at my pace, as usual I started out too fast. The course was a loop so I saw two of my runner friends cheering during the first mile (and then again during the last).

Mile 2:

The rolling hills started during this mile.  I slowed down and I felt a lot better. But I definitely regretted that extra shirt. I was HOT!!  The crowd also spread out and I was alone most of this mile.

This was a water stop but I passed it by without stopping.

The crowd support was great.  Every volunteer that I passed carry a sign (for a loved one lost to drugs/alcohol), thanked me for running the race.

I saw another running friend cheering me on during this mile as well. I was surprised but glad to see her.

Mile 3-3.1:

Ok now I was getting tired.  I probably could have dragged myself through the last mile and not walk. But I always felt energized after a quick walk and I did.

But as I got close to the finish line, I walked one more time.

Of course when I saw my friends, I picked up the pace.

Finally the finish line was in sight, I gave it all I had (which wasn’t much at this point) as my friend yelled “Go Darlene. You got this. Sub 30.”

My thought was “Sub-30?” but then I looked at the clock and it said 28:XX. Phew!

I was pleased. I knew the two walks during the last mile would definitely prevent me from having my first sub 28 finish of the year. (In fact this was slower than my previous four 5ks).

I waited for Judy to finish and was happy that she had a good race too.

Post Race:

We hung around for awhile, chatted and then looked at the results.

Both Judy and I won our age group!! About 200 in the race.

I was starved since I had eaten breakfast 5 hours ago so I had some chocolate milk and pizza.

We decided not to wait for the awards and to go out to brunch.

This is the medal that I would have gotten (and I have several of the same ones from other years)

And those extra 7 miles that was supposed to run just got postponed to Sunday.

Additional Race Reflections:

I was happy to support this charity. Plus the race was so well-organized.

I am so humbled by these STEM women and others who have overcome adversity. And I am glad to be a part of their lives.

Tyler has WON this race 5 years in a row honoring his brother. 

Positives:

    • Ample parking.
    • Well marked course.
    • Varied park scenery.
    • Virtual option available.
    • Indoor restrooms
    • A real race.
    • Flatish course.
    • Immediate results.
    • Chocolate milk.
    • Many familiar faces.
    • Crowd Support
    • Post-race Refreshments
    • Great cause.

Negatives:

    • Too familiar course
    • Annoying uphills
    • Over Dressed (my fault)
    • No speedwork to prepare (my fault)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Great organization. Great cause!!!

It will next be on June 11 and if possible back on its original course.

Final Stats:

Splits:

two walks during mile 3…

Next Up:

a 15k  on November 14 and another half marathon on November 21.

Stockadeathon – 15K Road Race

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Happy Running! What is your favorite charity to support for a race? Do race because of the cause?

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Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

TT: National Savings Day (a week late)

glove- $1, arm sleeves – $1, shirt – from a race, skirt – free gift from a friend, calf sleeves – w/ ambassador discount

This Tuesday’s topic is How do you save money on running gear/races?

Ok so this was last week’s topic. Better Late than Never.

I admit it. I’m cheap sometimes.  I do not have to buy all the gadgets or expensive clothing.

Here are a few ways I save money:

  • Register for races EARLY.

I know that this can be dangerous but I always register when the price is the cheapest.  I may have been burned a few times but I know that I have saved more money than I’ve lost.

I’m already registering for 2022 races as they become available.

  • DIY Arm Sleeves

Even though I am a Zensah ambassador, I just buy cheap ($1 ones if possible) knee socks and cut off the foot. I can either throw them away or stuff them in a pocket.

  • Dollar Store Gloves

Love them. They’re light. You can double up (in colder weather) and most importantly, they’re cheap so you will probably never lose them.

  • Older Models of Shoes

Once you find a pair of running shoes you love, they will change them.  The good news that that the older models are cheaper.

  • Online Used Running Clothes

I have gotten some great deals on clothing in good condition that other runners no longer want.  There are many sites. Poshmark is one.  Skirt Sports has a FB page as well.

Even better is to sell the clothes that no longer fit or than you no longer wear.  Use that money to buy new stuff lol

I runfessed about both HERE.

  • Go Low Tech

What did runners do before treadmills, watches and recovery tools??

Don’t hate me for saying this…

But instead of buying a treadmill, run outside!  Instead of a foam roller, use a tennis, golf or lacrosse ball.

Do you really need all the stats on the latest running watch?

  • Become an Ambassador

I will say that it is not easy to get selected as a brand ambassador especially for the competitive ones (if you do not have a high readership or zillions of followers on your social media accounts).

And the discounts you get (due to the increased number of ambassadors and cost of products) are not as great as in the past.  But still it is something if you are are going to buy those items anyway.

My two favorites:

Happy Running! How do you save money on running gear/races?? Please share. 

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Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

Smuttynose ROCKFEST Half Marathon Race Recap

The plan was to run this race last October. My friends and I rented a house but the race was canceled. We decided to adapt the course and run it on own own.

So when the race was re-scheduled, we knew that we had to try again.

Though many races had been cancelled this year due to COVID, I managed to race three half marathons already: A1A Fort Lauderdale (Feb), Helderberg to Hudson (April) and Race 4 the River (Sept.)

So I signed up for the Smuttynose Half Marathon as my 52th Half Marathon (46th if you don’t count the 2020 virtuals) for several reasons:

  • It was a ‘real” race.
  • A race-cation.
  • Eight of my friends would be running/supporting the race.
  • Running along the ocean.
  • Flat course.
  • Smuttynose craft beer, lobstah rolls, clam chowdah, and live music at the finish line. Duh?

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. But I do run 3 miles several times during the work week. All my weekday runs are mostly group ones.

And on the weekends, I try to do my Long Run. Usually most of my miles are with one or more of my running friends. However, some shorter races did interrupt my mileage (as shown below).

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

My taper consisted of a 5k race + a few more and then an short easy run on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.  That meant two rest days before the race. Perfect, right?

We carpooled and left for NH on Friday morning with a stop for lunch, then some jumping (and laughing) on the beach (why not?) and dinner out with a view of the ocean.

Jan and I woke up early on Saturday morning to catch the sunrise.  Then we all drove to Kennebunkport, ME to have lunch, and browse the shops before we returned to Hampton Beach, NH for packet pick-up.

We scored some matching shirts for $5 so back to beach we headed to see if our jumping could be improved. lol

We decided to pick up pizza for our carb loading and eat it by our fire pit.

Finally #flatmes were organized and we headed to bed early (though I never can sleep the night before a race.)

Race Day:

Sorry to be a broken record about not training well. But it was summer and my goal for races these days is FINISH happy (that is not injured and ready to do another.) But I did hope (as I mentioned in a previous post) to finish one second faster than my last half marathon.

course map

elevation

The race was advertised as follows:

With an elevation gain of only 60 feet, The Smuttynose Rockfest Half is the flattest, fastest and most scenic half marathon course in New England! The course begins with two thrilling loops around downtown Hampton Beach. It then heads north on Ocean Boulevard right along the beach and then turns inland for a loop on tree-lined roads before coming back out to the ocean at Mile 10. It finishes with a three-mile stretch along the beach, ending at the famous Sea Shell Stage for a well-deserved party! This course is very spectator friendly with great views of the runners at the Start, Mile 2, Mile 5, and at the Finish. All miles are marked with mile markers and all corners have at least one arrow. Race marshals and police will be stationed at any confusing corners.

We were asked to arrive at the start area between 6 and 6:30 am to avoid the traffic.  And they were right!!  We piled into one car and quickly found a spot in a nearby lot (the start was only about 5 min or 2.5 miles from our home.)

We hung out, chatted, used real restrooms and watched the sunrise. We got so lucky with the weather. It was PERFECT!! 50’s clouds/sun and a slight breeze.

The half marathon was scheduled to start at 8 am and the 5k at 8:40.

Soon it was time to head to start and line up by pace/finish times. We didn’t need to check a bag since two of our friends who were not racing held onto our throw-aways.

I lined up with Alyssa at the 2:10-2:20 finish time sign.  The others in our group moved farther back…

Miles 1-3:

We headed south to start our two “thrilling” loops.  I ran with Alyssa for a while but I knew that I needed to let her go ahead eventually since she was trying for a PR.

Although we started in a staggered fashion, it was very slow going and crowded for the first mile. I had to do a lot of weaving…but at least that kept my pace down.  Mile 1 was along the ocean and then mile 2 looped back to the start.  It was great to see our two cheerleaders there and I was able to throw them my DIY arm sleeves. I was perfectly dressed in my tank and skirt.  It was warm when the sun came out but heading south, we were treated to a nice breeze.

There was also a water stop toward the end of mile 2. I wasn’t really thirsty but stopped for a quick drink and a walk break.  Then we continued south again toward the bridge.

don’t I look happy? It was early in the race lol

Miles 4-6

I forgot about the bridge… so I guess this was our first hill.  As bridges go, it wasn’t bad and the view was gorgeous. We were able as we crossed to see the speedy runners. I even spotted Jenn. At the end of the bridge was our second water stop. I ate my first GU here and walked a bit longer. Eventually mid-way during mile 5, we turned around and headed back.  This gave you the opportunity to see the slower runners and cheer them on.  I think we passed that same water stop.  I don’t remember if I stopped or not but probably I did.  We now followed the ocean route back toward the start.  I got to see for the 2nd time, our two race cheerleaders. Loved that!

Miles 7-9

For the next few miles, we were running along the ocean. It was visible at times but often not because of the high walls. There was another water stop around 7.5.  I think this was where that in addition to Gatorade and water, they handed out a gel.

mile 8

Eventually around 8.5, we turned into the neighborhoods.  There was also another water stop before the turn and I ate my 2nd GU at this time.

The neighborhoods were a nice diversion but here came the HILLS!! It was very winding… six or seven turns.  Each one had a hill… the hills weren’t steep but at this point in the race, my legs protested and I walked a few times on the uphill.  Many homeowners were out in their driveways cheering us on. That was really nice!

this road actually led right to our house…but in the race, we turned before we got there

I took these pics on my way down to the beach the next day

Miles 10-13.1

Finally we left the neighborhoods and the hills and ran 3 miles along the ocean route toward the finish line.

This always where my pace dies….  The only thing that kept me going was the finish line and that the pain in my feet would end at that time (yes, my left neuroma ached the WHOLE race!!!)

The view along the ocean was exactly the same as before.  I loved being able to see the slower runners and even high five my friends as they went by.

There was one more water stop around mile 12.5.  I walked trying to gather up enough energy to reach the finish line.

It seemed like FOREVER but I finally heard cheers and caught sight of the clock. I sprinted, of course, and heard my friends yelling my name. For the first time EVER, my legs started cramping…OUCH!!

After I crossed, I was handed my medal and a bottle of water.  I immediately grabbed a banana and ate it.  That seemed to help with the cramps.

Post Race Activities:

We all waited at the finish line to cheer each of our friends in… and they all did great.

It was also cool that all you did was take a pic of the QR code on your bib to get your results and AG placement.

After everyone was done, we headed to the food tent and got our clam chowder and lobster roll. I was starved by this point.

Although we could have gotten two free beers, the line was too long and so we just headed home. I wanted to soak my achy feet in the cold water but it was just too far a walk in the sand.

Additional Race Reflections:

It was so fun to be out there and soak up the racing atmosphere again. It was even more fun to run a race with friends.

Sole Sisters is what we’ve named out group

After the first half of the race, PR thoughts always run through my head.. but I knew that I had NOT trained well enough for that and just focused on finishing the race healthy.  I may never be that fast again…but the good news is that it was my fastest half since May 2019 (Sacandaga) and it was a 2020-21 PR (and almost 5 minutes faster than the last one).

Positives:

  • A Real Race.
  • Part of a 4 day race-cation with friends.
  • Ocean views.
  • Easy Packet pick-up
  • Discounted shirts from previous years ($5)
  • Post race refreshments – clam chowder, lobster roll, bananas, water, two beers
  • Crowd support.
  • Varied route – bridge, ocean route, neighborhood loop
  • Free Photos
  • Instant race results (scan QR code on bib)
  • Great swag for AG awards
  • Nice fleece and medal provided to all runners.
  • Staggered start by pace.
  • Adequate number of water stops
  • Perfect weather
  • Real bathrooms near start and finish
  • Plenty of parking.
  • Roads closed to traffic.

Negatives:

  • Hills during Mile 8-10
  • 10 year Age Groups
  • Painful foot

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. yes. For all the reasons mentioned above.

Final Stats:

Splits:

Walking definitely slowed down my pace the last few miles. I already mentioned that things usually go downhill for me after mile 10…

My legs were more tired after the race than usual. I attribute that to running those two 5ks and skipping those long runs (but sometimes fun trumps finish times).

I’m still in that age group where many runners are still very FAST (especially if it is 10 not 5 year age groups.)

I was 15th out of 41 … a lot higher if it were 5 year groups and 1st if I were 70+

All in all, I was happy with the results (things considered.)

Next Up:

a 5k …

6th Annual Summer Smith 5k Addiction Awareness Memorial Run – Oct. 23. 2021

followed by a 15k and another half marathon in November.

Stockadeathon – 15K Road Race

Nov. 14, 2021

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Nov. 21, 2021


Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

Happy Running! Have run a real race yet? If so, how did go? Are you planning to run one? Please share.

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TT: Blogger Interview

This Tuesday’s topic is Interview your Favorite Blogger.

I could not pick a “favorite” so I chose the blogger whom I’ve met in person (3 times)

and the running blogger whom I have been following the longest… (since 2009). She previously blogged as Running Off at the Mouth and The Studly Runner before her current blog Marcia’s Healthy Slice.

So here are her answers to my questions:

  • When did you start blogging?

I started blogging in January, 2009.   

  • Why did you start blogging?

I planned to use it as a training journal toward my first Boston Marathon. I never planned on anyone reading it. 

  • What do you enjoy most about blogging?

The best part of blogging is the community and the friends you meet along the way.

  • What do you enjoy least?

The worst part is when you feel like you “have to” blog but you don’t really have much to say.

  • How has your blog changed through the years?

At the beginning it was called Running Off at the Mouth. When I BQ’d a 3rd time it was renamed to The Studly Runner. When I stopped caring about BQs, it got its current name.

  • Do you have any changes planned for your blog?

I don’t really have any future plans for my blog. I feel like blogs are on their way out. I keep it as a way of keeping in touch with my circle of friends.

  • On the running front – do you have any current goals?

I don’t have running goals for myself right now but I’m doing a ton of coaching. I have a handful of athletes who I suspect will be punching their ticket to Boston this fall and that is very exciting. 

  • And what are your proudest achievements as a runner and/or blogger?

My proudest running achievements are of course running the Boston Qualifers and completing the 6 World Marathon Majors.

My daughters were very young when I started blogging and running seriously and I’d like to think I’ve been a role model for them for setting goals, working hard toward them and taking on crazy adventures.

I’d like to thank Marcia. I know she’s been an inspiration to me and other runners and bloggers.

Happy Running! Do you have any favorite bloggers?  If you follow Marcia, did you learn anything new from this interview? Please share. 

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Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

Freihofer Run for Women 5k Race Recap

September 25, 2021 – 9:00 am

This is the only race that I’ve run every year! This was my 14th time!!!!! (In 2020, it went virtual so actually my 13th in-person FRW race.)

It is always held the Saturday after Memorial Day but due to COVID, the race was moved to the Fall.

on their webpage…can you spot me in the pink cap?

My first FRW was in 2008 (my first year of running). At the time, it was the farthest I’d ever run:

FRW - 2008

Due to construction, they changed the course six years ago.

They say that this course is faster…less congested and has a less steep hill at the start and finish.

5kCoursePDF

course map

elevation according to my Garmin

I did run the new course the past six years and I liked it better than the original..

11390014_10204734206056106_2523342973555152804_n

heading downhill to the finish line

Pre-Race Preparations and Activities:

As with this race every year, I never know what will happen… I could break my foot again (as I did in 2013) or could have a course PR as I did in 2018.

And this was also my sixth Freihofer Training Challenge.

did my green hat stand out much in 2018?!

Training is a loose term. I kinda just showed up on most Monday runs. But each Monday seemed to follow either a half marathon or a long run. As a result, although I registered for the Advanced group, I never participated in any of their speed drills. Instead I ran with the Intermediate group (since there was no Advanced group at the location I signed up for.)

But I was excited to be part of it and support all the runners who would be finishing their FIRST 5k. And see my “current and past FTC” buddies who would hopefully PR.

In past years, the day before I walked to Empire State Plaza concourse at lunch to go to the expo and pick up my race packet. They used to have a really big expo with vendors and health-related exhibits. But the past few years, they have held it at a local college. I was able to stop by after work and some things I needed or didn’t (like another pair of Goodrs!)

Due to COVID, the expo was cancelled and there was only packet pick-up at the same location.

I ran nearby on Thursday after work so I got my stuff at that time.

cookies and bread are always a nice perk.

On Friday evening I volunteered at packet pick-up and then skipped playing mah jongg in favor of a pizza dinner and time to organize my #flatme.

last year’s race tank and the usual Skirt Skirt skirt, Zensah calf sleeves, Goodrs and Topos shoes.

Race Day:

I hate parking garages and traffic so I parked at a yoga place and walked to the start. I used to do this every year. However, with the new course, it was an even longer hike. Like almost 2 miles!

It was still strange to run down Madison Avenue and not see the race banners and not see the giant poster on the bridge.

pics from 6 years ago…

20140530-145628-53788286.jpg

The start was near a park across from the Capitol Building. I ran most of the way on the foggy paths. Though the temps were pretty cool, it still seemed humid.

Soon the start line as in sight.

I ran past it and entered the City Hall park..

in search of the Training Challenge tent.

I was quite early so I continued to run around until more runners arrived.

I chatted with many of my running friends and took quite a few pics.

Carolyn and I are exactly the same age – she’s faster!!

Catching up with everyone made the time go by quickly and soon it was time to line up for our Training Challenge photo.

The fog had burned off along with the humidity… but the sun did come out.  I’m not complaining. This was the best weather we’ve ever had for this race.

I was scheduled to start in corral 2 so I headed that way and bumped into a few friends there.

me & Nancy, both in RED

They were all faster than me but said that this would be a slow race for them.  Ha Ha.

Mile 1:

It is usually very crowded during the first mile but this year were fewer runners than in previous year (about 1000 vs 3500).

start

Times Union photo 2016

I actually made sure this time to start my Garmin.

runners were definitely more spread out this year

The race began with a long steep uphill.  It’s a good thing since it kept you at a slower pace.

how did I get ahead of Nancy…well, that’s didn’t last long!

Remember those runner friends who said this would be as slow one for them today. Nope. They easily surged ahead and I never caught up to them.

But I did run the whole uphill… it was slow but I did not have to walk.

Mile 1 continued as we turned left and entered the park (and the hill ended).

There were rolling hills throughout the park.  They were not bad and even I could run them without walking.

The worst part were all the potholes and cracks in the roads…the worst that it’s ever been. There were cones over the potholes but you had to weaving back n forth to avoid them and you had to keep your eyes pealed to ground to make sure you didn’t trip.

I took this pic after the race a few years ago

Mile 2:

There was a water stop around mile 1.25.  Yes with cups, too. But I didn’t feel the need to stop.

More rolling hills during this mile as you ran around the park circling the lake.  Only one of the hills was steep but it was very short.

I tried to pick up the pace for the second mile. I told myself that I would not walk until the next water stop.

Mile 3-3.1:

That was around mile 2.5. At this point, I was starting to get thirsty so I did stop and get a drink. It was nice for a change not to have to carry your own water.

Finally we left the park and headed toward the street we started on.

It was a long downhill and I had to remember not to start sprinting too soon.  I’ve made that mistake in past years.

Eventually I see the 3 mile sign and I started to run as fast as I could while posing for the photographers and running though the finish line.

getting serious as the end is near…

must be slowing down because that runner in yellow has passed me by

trying to catch her…

nope…just finish strong…

I did see that the timing clock read 28:XX…. No course PR for this girl today!

Post Race Activities:

I knew with a walk and zero speed work, I couldn’t come close to a PR (and I was not expecting one). It was a decent time (even if it was slower than my last 5k and my last two Freihofer 5ks) and I was happy!!

I grabbed some food and some chocolate milk. There was much less congestion than in past years.

there were also bananas, oranges, apples, yogurt, bagels, orange juice, bars…

Then I went back to the finish line to cheer in some friends.

I ran into even more runners again that I knew. Every where I turned, there was someone familiar – from a job, tennis, races, etc. That’s what’s great about running a popular local race.

You may recognize Mary Pat (on the right) from the 2008 pic.

The first time runners were so excited. That put a smile on my face. I remembered why I love this race and it was never because of my awesome finish times.

I hung around for awhile and then we all went to cheer on the last runners to finish… It was two older ladies who flew in from Ireland!!

I knew that I needed to get going because I wanted to run more miles.  On my way out, I caught some of the awards ceremony.  Such amazing finish times. There was a runner, aged 58, who finished in 18 minutes!

Additional Race Reflections:

Many runners were excited about their PRs. I may not have run my fastest time but I still enjoyed myself.

You get what you put in. I did not do all the speed workouts so I can’t be disappointed. I also recently ran a half marathon (and am training for one next weekend) and I am no spring chicken. My time may not have been as fast as 2018 (a course PR of 27:37) but faster than many of my 5ks this year.

So I was very pleased with that.

Positives:

  • Safety restrictions in place (outdoors, staggered starts).
  • Ample parking.
  • Well marked course.
  • Lots of familiar faces.
  • Interesting course (through a  beautiful park).
  • Downhill finish.
  • Friendly and abundant number of volunteers.
  • Chocolate Milk.
  • Decent post-race refreshments.
  • Two real water stops (with cups).
  • The electric atmosphere.
  • Virtual option.
  • Free finish and start photos
  • Nice Swag for a 5k (mask, t-shirt, medal, cookies, bread)
  • All women – all ages, all paces…
  • A real race.

Negatives:

  • Uphill first mile.
  • Fewer runners.
  • Uneven pavement in the park.
  • No expo.

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. It’s a great local race. And having it be ALL WOMEN makes it even more special.

May be an image of child, standing and outdoors

this pic says it all!! (from FB)

Final Stats:

Splits:

Negative splits!!!! Woo Hoo!

There was computer set up so you could check your time and to see if you won an age group award.

And 5th again…

Eventually I ran/walked back to my car. (It was uphill for about 2 miles).

I have a Half Marathon in a ONE week so I wanted to run another few miles.  So I went back and ran around the park.  This time I had more time to admire the fall flower arrangements.

2 +1+2 = 5 🙂

So FRW #13 is in the books!

The tradition is still alive! It was again a great local race with many women running it. Can’t wait to run it again next year on the REAL date (and without any restrictions.)

Next Up:

Half marathon #52.

It is a race-cation in NH and will also be half marathon #4 for 2021:

The Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon & 5k

The course is not supposed to be hilly and mostly along the ocean. My group of running friends will be either running the race or cheering.  Can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It’s Tuesday so don’t forget to link up with these wonderful ladies:  Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

Malta 5k Race Recap

VIRTUAL Malta 5K & 10K presented by GlobalFoundries Registration Page

September 11, 2021

This race used to be one of my favorites. Not because the director, Paul Loomis, reads my blog or that my stepson works at Global Foundaries, one of the sponsors of the race. But because of the easy parking, indoor restrooms, post race chocolate milk, generous age group awards, lots of familiar faces to run with and its flawless organization.  For these reasons and more, I kept coming back.

This was my 6th time running this 5k. So you can say that I was familiar with this course. However, I haven’t run the race since 2016. And now they also added a 10k.

The course itself is not very exciting…you are running around chip plants but the loops let you see the fast runners and all those runners that are behind you twice during the race. And though there are a few uphills and downhills, it’s basically flat so no complaints.

For my first two years of running this race, I was recovering from injuries (a broken ankle and then a broken foot.) I finished in 29:53 and 29:49 and was thrilled with a sub-30 minute time.  In 2014 and 2015, I was healthy and so I improved my time to 28:47 and 28:56. Finally I got a course PR in 2016 and finished in 27:30.

However, my hope for the race this year was to finish uninjured and have enough in the tank to run more miles after the race. (My next half marathon is 3 weeks away!!!)

After 5 years off, I had no PR dreams as old age has set in. lol. But if the other old ladies didn’t show up, I could maybe win an AG award.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Due to work and other stuff, I did not have time to run at all on Thursday or Friday.  But at least I did a run on Monday and Wednesday.

My legs felt pretty good in spite of being only a week after running 13.1 miles. (Maybe those FOUR rest days helped.)

Packet pick-up was on Thursday and Friday at the local Fleet feet store but it wasn’t worth the long drive so I decided to arrive early and pick it up on race day.

Race Day:

The forecast was for cooler weather and sunshine.  Perfect running weather for the second weekend in a row. Hope this is a trend.

I got there early to get parking and did get a spot in the parking lot right near the exit.

As I mentioned, it is very well-organized – signs for the race, indoor and outdoor bathrooms  (Masks were required if you entered the indoor facility.)

Race day packet pick-up was between 7-8 am. You received a State Farm bag with shirt (if you paid an extra $10), running cap, & Hannaford water bottle.  I opted not to buy a shirt.

PPU was normally set up inside but today it was outside due to COVID restrictions.

The 5k race started at 8:30 am (15 minutes after the 10k.)

I walked around to shake out the legs. There was food, drinks and freebies set up.

This was a welcome sight:

There were many more runners than I had expected. I bumped into many that I knew.

three frequent 5k racers (Holly, Nancy & Alice)

Finally we headed to the start line.

I left my friends and moved up.  Not to the front with the speedsters but not far back either.

Mile 1:

There were no corrals but social distancing (and masks) were encouraged.

As usual, I tried to start out slow but probably didn’t.

The course goes straight for about 1.5 miles and then loops back.

Mile 2:

After we passed the mile 1 marker, I looked down at my Garmin and realized that it never started,  I debated whether or not to run without it but in the end I started it (about 1.1 miles)

Halfway through this mile we turned right and ran uphill. Not a steep hill but they always feel hard to me.

This part of the course is nice because you get to see the faster runners and then you loop back and see the slower runners.

the other pix were after the race… you can see me on the right in this one during the race

It was downhill for a bit until we turned.

Mile 3-3.1:

As usual, I was petering out. Since I had no idea what my time was, I wasn’t motivated to run hard. So I walked.  Then I got back my energy for a while until I neared the finish line. Ugh! I walked again.

That gave me the ability to at least to sprint through the finish line.

I was surprised to see 28:XX.

The 10k runners got a medal. The 5k runners only got one if they were under 12.

Post Race:

The refreshments were outside this year. I grabbed some milk and fruit and chatted while waiting for the results.

Heidi whom I ran with at the Run for the Roses 5k

The last time I ran this race (in 2016), everyone got a small bottle of champagne and a gift card to a restaurant.  For 2nd place, it was to the Recovery Room and for $50.

This year there was no awards ceremony and if you won an award, you had to pick it up at the local Fleet Feet store.

I came in 3rd in 10 year age groups.

one second behind 2nd (but this is why I love 5 year age groups)

It was getting warm but I decided to change shoes and shirt and check out the 10K course.  Boy am I glad I didn’t run it. The last few miles of the 10k were uphill the whole way.

After about 4 miles, I had had enough.

I drove one exit south to the Zim Smith Bike Path and parked at Leah’s Cakery.

But instead of running on the bike path, I ran in the town. So cute. The best idea!!

only 2 of those miles were here but it was 9 miles for the day.

Though there was a a lot of walking during those last 6 miles, I still rewarded myself with quiche and a brownie.

Additional Race Reflections:

I was pleasantly surprised with the turn out and also with my time.

I’m pretty sure I would have done better if I had started my watch. I most likely would not have walked twice during the last mile if I knew how well was doing. I’m also pretty sure that my faster finish time was weather-related.

Oh well, there will be more races.  Just happy to be to out there.

Positives:

  • Ample parking.
  • Well marked course.
  • Varied park scenery.
  • Virtual option available.
  • Both 5k and 10 options.
  • A no shirt option (at a lower cost) but you still got a cap.
  • Discount provided if you ran the virtual 2020 race.
  • Participant manual provided several days before the race.
  • Indoor restrooms
  • A real race.
  • Flatish course.
  • Immediate results.
  • Medals (and cold brew coffee) to 10K finishers.
  • Medals to 5k finishers 12 and under.
  • Chocolate milk.
  • Many familiar faces.

Negatives:

  • No water stops (COVID restrictions)
  • No awards ceremony (COVID restrictions)
  • 10 year age groups
  • No medals to 5k finishers over 12.
  • Lack of speed work (my fault).
  • No pace recorded for miles 1.1 (my fault)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Great organization. You may be able to PR for the 5k but the 10k would be a challenge.

Final Stats:

Splits:

for the last 2:04 miles of the 5k

Next Up:

Another 5k on Sept 25

and then a half marathon.


Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

Happy Running! Did you run or race this past weekend? Any in-person races on your schedule yet? Please share.

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Race 4 The River Half Marathon Race Recap

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With most of the local races either cancelled or virtual, Albany Running Exchange had been scheduling COVID Safety Plan approved races.  I completed a half marathon in November 2020 and in April 2021. Both of these races were held in hilly Altamont, NY.

In March I ran their five mile race and then in May a point-to-point 10 miler.  Although the weather did not cooperate, the course was along the river and the bike path, mostly flat or downhill and in Schenectady, NY.

So I signed up for the Race 4 The River Half Marathon as my 51th Half Marathon (45th if you don’t count the 2020 virtuals) for several reasons:

  • It was a ‘real” race.
  • It was local and I could sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • It was local so I would know a lot of the runners.
  • I was familiar with most of the course as it was similar to the 10 miler than I ran in May.
  • I convinced some friends to run it too.
  • It was advertised as having a Net Downhill Course and FREE BEER, Food, and LIVE MUSIC

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. But I do run 3 miles several times during the work week. All my weekday runs are mostly group ones.

And on the weekends, I try to do my Long Run. Usually most of my miles are with one or more of my running friends. However, some shorter races did interrupt my mileage (as I mention below).

The logistics were also complicated for this race. Either you parked at the start and got a ride back to your car after the race or you parked at the finish and got a ride to the start (or pay for the shuttle).

My preference was to park at the finish (even though that meant getting up earlier.)

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Usually on the weekends, I do run 10 miles. But this month I skipped a few in favor of a vacation and racing.  It’s amazing how quickly the endurance that you built up leaves.

I picked up my race packet Friday evening

and carb loaded on the usual pizza and debated about what to wear the next day.

It was supposed to be cooler and less humid than any of my previous races. I hated to jinx it but the weather seemed perfect!

Yup, the usual Skirt Sports tank and skirt with Zensah compression calf sleeves

Race Day:

I got up around 4:15 am on Saturday morning (ouch) and was on the road by 5:15 for my 40 minute drive to race parking.

The race started near Mabee Farms at 7:30 am and ended at Schenectady Community College (SCCC).

I parked my car at SCCC, the finish for the race.  I had almost signed up for the shuttle so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting back to my car after the race.  However, my friend Karen offered to drive me and the others (Alyssa, Sherry, Stan) to the start if someone would drive her back to her car after.  I accepted so that I wouldn’t have deal with masking and walking to the shuttle.

I met everyone at 6:00, left my car in the designated parking lot and we drove to the start which was about 15 minutes away.

There was plenty of parking in the grassy lot.

We were very early so we had time to walk around and sightsee.

It was a little chilly so we hung out in the barn.

We also noticed that in addition to porta-potties, there were REAL restrooms (always a great perk.)

Finally, it was time to head to the start. So we parted with our jackets and checked them at Bag Check. I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle (since it was already hours since my breakfast.)

The race started at 7:30 am. There were no waves, just instructions to social distance.

This was a FIRST annual race so there were no reviews to read. I had hoped that when they said it was a flat/downhill course, they were not lying.

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course map

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and elevation

Sorry to be a broken record about not training well. But it was summer and my goal for races these days is FINISH happy (that is not injured and ready to do another.)

Miles 1-3:

The race began near Mabee Farm Historical site. The first mile headed west, mostly on Route 5S. We ran along the road and fairly soon connected with the Erie Canal Bike Path.

In other words, the canal was on our right and most of the race was run on the path with water views. I ran the first mile with Alyssa and Karen. We chatted and chatted. It was great catching up since I don’t run with them often.

My legs were feeling good so I ran ahead caught up to an old friend, Elisa. More chatting which made the miles pretty painless. She is faster but slowed down because she was planning to run about 7 more miles after the race.

The scenery was pretty. The Mohawk river changed to being on the left.

The first water stop was a little after mile 3 at Pattersonville Bike Path parking on 5S.  This was my first walk break.  I used my paper cup (as I did in my previous in-person cupless races).  That waffle kept me going and so I decided to wait on my Gu,

Miles 4-6

Most of the race is a blur. I was feeling pretty strong. Soon Stan caught up to us and the three of us ran together until mile 9. I’m not sure I ever ran a whole race with someone but it was a lot more fun than running alone.

Around mile 5, I finally got hungry so I stopped to eat my Gu (trying to eat and run slowly) and walked again at the second water stop little before mile 6 at Iroquois St/Bike Path.

Miles 7-10

The course was pretty flat and shady for the most part.  The temps were rising. I was glad to have worn a tank and skirt. The third water stop was around mile 8 at Kiwanis Park. I walked again. This time longer.

Around mile 9, some annoying hills appeared. Maybe there weren’t big hills and I was just getting tired. I tried to run up them but it was more like a slog.

At this point, my lower back started to ache and I waved Elisa and Stan ahead.

For the first time in the race, I was running alone.  And I was walking more and running slower.

Miles 11-13.1

The final water stop was around Mile 11 at MH Bike Path lot. I ate another GU – Chocolate Smores.  Ugh! This flavor made me very nauseous!!

Elisa had slowed down and Stan ran ahead. So I continued to run with her.

I hadn’t considered winning an age group award but at mile 12, my competition (Joan) passed me by (She wound up 4th in 10 year AG awards anyway.)  For a millisecond, I thought that I should try to pass her but nah, no reason.

Elisa and I continued together on the bike path until Schenectady Community College.  We raced each other through the finish line…and she beat me!

I was so happy to have finished that I didn’t care.

Stan had already finished. Soon Alyssa and Karen finished. Then Sherry.

And finally El.

So group picture time…

Post Race Activities:

We grabbed our lunches and I headed to my car to change clothes and shoes.

not bad… but unfortunately none of us felt like eating right away.

There was a band, beer, food, etc. at a restaurant nearby. There was a shuttle but since it was only .2 miles, we decided to walk.

By the time we got there, we were hungry.

there was also pizza, warm pretzels, fried artichokes ordered as well

We stayed for several hours listening to the band and chatting…about running, of course.

Additional Race Reflections:

This was a first annual race.  Many of the other local races are still cancelled so this racing company has been trying to hold a few races. I am so glad they are. It was so fun to be out there and soak up the racing atmosphere again.

Positives:

  • Ample parking at the start and finish.
  • Real restrooms at Mabee Farm
  • Bag check
  • Well marked course.
  • Varied scenery including river views
  • Shuttle to the start (if needed).
  • Flat course.
  • A real race.
  • Well organized.
  • A lot of pre-race information.
  • Decent Post-race food.
  • Cool medal.
  • Free Beer
  • A real race.

Negatives:

  • Cupless water stops.
  • 10 year age group awards.
  • No photos.

Would I recommend this race?

Yes.

I liked the course. It was well-organized. I bet more runners sign up next (if COVID ever ends.)

Final Stats:

Splits:

Walking definitely slowed down my pace the last few miles.

All in all, I was very happy with how I ran the race.  My splits were more consistent than usual.  But also the early miles were much slower than usual. Given the flatness of the course, I could have probably run faster but you can’t talk if you run fast. lol

Not expecting a PR and faster than my last five in-person half marathons.  I need to be realistic…maybe those faster half marathon paces will not happen again. (But hey, I’m not giving up…)

Next Up:

Two 5ks and another Half Marathon.


Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

Happy Running! Have run a real race yet? If so, how did go? Are you planning to run one? Please share.

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