Firecracker 4 Race Recap

              July 4, 2021 9:00 am

Most of my weekend running friends usually run this race.

if you read my weekly run downs, you may recognize a few of these runners

I never have joined them because it’s always hot, the race is crowded and I’d prefer to head up to the lake early.

For some reason, when I went to Fleet Feet to pick up new shoes, they offered a $5 discount for the race and $5 coupon for the store.

I’m a sucker for discounts and I signed up!! I also have not run in Saratoga in a while and I’ve always enjoyed running there.

I was hoping that some of my running friends would sign up too but if not, I knew there would be many others there who I knew.

Then I had to break it to my hubby as it would interfere with our lake plans.

pic from 2018

It wasn’t exactly boating weather so he was cool with me racing.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

It was fun to plan a patriotic race outfit (and hope it stayed warm and dry.)

red white and blue tank, skirt and socks

To save time on race day, I picked up my race packet at Fleet Feet on Thursday before my evening trail run.

The weather during week preceding the race was crazy – oppressive heat and humidity and then rain rain rain rain. Who knew what race day would bring? The forecast was for cool and rainy….

It was weird to run on a Sunday instead of a Saturday and to not do a weekend long run.

I actually walked on Saturday while my friends ran

The only constant was pizza the night before the race lol.

Race Day:

My last race was also a 4 miler (I won my AG and had a PR).

But this race was going to be more crowded, more competitive, and hillier.  I was only planning to enjoy running with others and the excitement of a live in-person race. No finish time and award goals at all!!

I ate my usual oatmeal and coffee breakfast. Thankfully, the heat wave had ended (and hopefully all the rain).

I planned to leave early because I had no idea where to park. But my friend Heidi offered to meet me and drive us.  She wanted to leave from Leah’s Cakery (4 exits before the race) at 8:10 am. Of course, if you know me, I like to get to races early. I was planning on being at the race by 7:45!! But I agreed and hoped that we would not be sprinting to the start line.

It was raining lightly on my way to meet Heidi. But she was right.  We easily found parking on the street and arrived in plenty of time for the 9 am race.

We walked toward the start…

We passed the finish line and made plans to meet there after the race.

Then of course, we took our obligatory pre-race photo.

glad that I wore a tank since it was quite humid. Those DIY arm sleeves did not last on long.

And then we mozied on down to the start area. It was cool to see how creatively everyone was dressed for this July 4th holiday race.

Although the race director had hoped to get at least 3000 runners, there were only about 2000. Still it was my largest post pandemic race. And the first one without anyone wearing a mask or social distancing rules  enforced. There was not even a staggered start.

Everyone just lined up together. There was so much excitement in the air. Live racing rocks!!

Heidi headed toward the back since she was recovering form an injury and running slower. I stayed toward the front and chatted with some runners that I knew.

As I mentioned, I had NEVER run this race so I was planning on going with the flow.  The only thing I remembered hearing was that there was a BIG hill during mile 4.

course map

elevation according to my Garmin

Mile 1:

As I mentioned, this was a crowded race. The bottleneck at the beginning slowed me down which was probably a good thing as I always start out too fast.

We began running down Broadway which was a slight downhill but eventually we did hit a hill before we turned left and ran past Congress Park.

It seemed like everyone was passing me by but when I glanced at my watch, it showed that my pace was under 9 minutes!!

Mile 2:

I was surrounded by runners the whole race. Several times I bumped into runners or they bumped into me.  Maybe I forgot what it was like to run a big race.

As we ran through neighborhoods, spectators enthusiastically cheered us on. One group sprayed us with a hose. I wasn’t super hot but it was humid and so it felt good.

There was a water stop and I did stop at it. They gave you a bottle of water. I and most runners, drank a little and then threw the bottle away. Volunteers had to spill out the water from each bottle. Such a waste but hey at least we didn’t have to carry our own water.

mile 2- never saw that photographer

but at least I WAS running lol

Mile 3:

We ran into a few rolling hills during this mile but none too bad. There were many different groups playing music. That was a nice distraction.

Saratoga is such a pretty town. I enjoyed running through its streets.

I was surprised that there was a second water stop since the race was only 4 miles. I did appreciate it and I took a bottle of water again. This time I walked longer. I felt a little dizzy and so I took a Gu (not for hunger but for the electrolytes.)

Mile 4:

I was warned about the steep hill in the last mile. And it did not disappoint. I was wishfully thinking that I could run up the whole thing.

Nope! I had to walk at least twice.

The best part was the ice pops that were handed out. I ate one as I continued to run up the hill very slowly.

Finally I spotted that big American flag which meant we were approaching the finish line.

I sprinted as fast as I could at this point. I saw 36:xx on the clock as I crossed the finish line and was pleasantly surprised.

I do remember trying to beat the guy with the stroller. Did I stop my watch too soon??

Done!!!

Post Race:

I immediately went to grab a bottle of water. The only refreshments were bananas and so I grabbed one and ate it while I was waiting for Heidi to finish.

I really enjoyed watching so many of the runners finish, especially those that I knew. I also got to admire all the patriotic outfits.

I chatted with a Holly, a runner that I used to race with all the time. (She ran the race but is suffering from a congenital blood disorder 😦 )

Eventually Heidi did arrive and she did much better than she hoped as well.

I checked the website to see if I won an age group award. Nope. 4th.  Not disappointed at all. In fact I beat Carolyn for the first time EVER in a race.

It was now starting to rain so we headed toward the car.

We decided to have brunch back at Leah’s where I left my car.  But it was closed for the 4th. Plan B was Lakeside Farms and a scrumptious lunch!!

On the way home I was feeling a little energetic or so I thought. I stopped at the Zim Smith bike path to see how many more miles my legs could still go.

The sun came out and my legs protested so I quit.

Additional Race Reflections:

I didn’t expect to enjoy this race as much as I did.  I also didn’t think I could run as well as I did.

I felt that I could have done better if I didn’t walk as much(but I always say that AFTER the race.)

But probably the most important factor was the weather.  Not much sun, a misty rain on and off and temps in the 60s.  Pretty perfect for running on a July 4th.

Positives:

  • Ample parking (parking garage and street parking)
  • Well marked course.
  • Lots of familiar faces.
  • Interesting course.
  • Friendly volunteers.
  • Music entertainment along the course.
  • Volunteers calling out times at each mile.
  • Enthusiastic spectators (sprinklers and ice pops)
  • Easy and organized packet pick-up on Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun.
  • Real restrooms before and after and ample number of port-potties
  • Two water stops for a 4 mile race.
  • Free photos.
  • Awards (3 deep) for 5 year age group awards
  • Weather (not as hot as earlier in the week and fairly dry)
  • A real race.

Negatives:

  • Bottled water at the water stops (COVD safe but most was wasted)
  • Post-race refreshments (again COVID safe – but just bananas)
  • Steep hill at mile 4

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I loved it.  I hope that I can make it work and run it again another year.

Final Stats:

It was a 12 second PR!!!!!!!!! And the course was longer and hillier than the Rabbit Ramble.

As you can see below, I’m still the Queen of the Positive Splits.

At least my pace was more consistent than the last race.

2 waterstop walks and two hill walks.

Next Up:

A new 5k on July 25,

2021 FASNY Hudson 5K Run/Walk

then another new 5k on August 8,

and a 10k on August 14.

 I ran the 5k in 2017


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! Did you race on July 4th? Did you run or race this past weekend? Any in-person races on your schedule yet? Please share.

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Rabbit Ramble 4 Mile Race Recap

No photo description available.

                    June 12, 2021 – 9:00 am

Another in-person race. Very exciting.

Of course, FOMO has started and several of my running friends were going. Plus there was BRUNCH mentioned for after.

So I signed up!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I had done this race several years ago but in recent years, the dates conflicted with other things.

Due to COVID, they kept the 4 mile distance but changed the course. It was also re-scheduled from April to June.

This is not a popular distance but I have done quite a few races at this distance (Of course, not recently due to COVID).

my last one was in Feb. 2020.

My PR was 37:21 at the Polar Cap Run in 2017. Most of the 4 mile times were between 37 and 41 minutes.

I had no PR aspirations.  Racing for me is just about running with my friends and doing my best while staying uninjured.

The in-person version of the race was only open to a limited number of participants due to COVID restrictions. The in-person race had a staggered, socially-distanced start to the race.

This year since the race was later in the year, the weather was more summer-like but nothing like last weekend’s record high temps.  The wrench was that  rain was in the forecast.  I was hoping it would not be a washout.

I decided to wear my usual summer outfit:

skirt, tank with possible change of shirt and addition of diy arm sleeves

Of course, I had pizza for my race carb loading (yes I carb load for all races not matter the distance. lol)

The new course was supposedly similar to a previous 5k. My friend remarked that it was “mostly flat with a few not too bad hills.”

Race Day:

The race started at 9 am which was great since it would be a 30 minute drive from my house.

And finally the heat wave ended so I was not disappointed in the later start. Unfortunately I woke up to pouring rain!!! According to my weather app, it was supposed to end by rain start. Finger crossed that I did not have to run another race in the rain.

I changed from my tank to a tee and grabbed a rain jacket.

After my race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, I left to carpool with Barbara whom I met around 7:45 am.

The race started and ended at Bozenkill Park on Gun Club Road in Altamont. We arrived around 8:05 to pick up our bibs. We parked in a big grassy (wet) parking lot and as soon as we arrived, the rain let up. Sherry arrived soon after.

We walked over to the pavilion to get our race packet

which was a cotton tee shirt, a bottle of water and a banana.  This was the first race that there was no sign of anyone wearing a mask!?  It didn’t bother me since I was vaccinated and we were outside. Still, it felt weird.

We returned to our car to stash our stuff and bumped in Judy. Now our group was complete . The others (Debbie, Jan, Deirdre, Heidi & Chris) had decided to skip the race and cheer us on and then meet after for brunch.

It was perfect running temps (60s) but with the humidity and the sun peaking out, I had wished I had worn my tank.

Soon it was time to head to the start. As you can see, there was no official start line.

It was so nice to be running a shorter race because I bumped into many runners that I knew whom I had not seen in ages. I used run 5ks every weekend and you would see the same people.

It was supposed to be a staggered start. But it was more like people separated and then they just started running. I wasn’t in the front but had moved ahead of my friends because I was chatting with some other runners.

Mile 1:

I should mention that my legs should have been very rested. There was a lot of walking this past week but barely any running since last Saturday. As you can see above, the first mile had an uphill. It wasn’t that steep and I was able to run the whole thing. I’m sure I started out too fast but that’s what I always do.

Mile 2:

After the first mile, it was rather flat and just a little rolling. I was getting tired but tried to keep going until the water stop.

I actually wore my Garmin which I only wear for important races. But somehow, the settings changed because it showed me the time elapsed instead of my pace.  Very confusing when I saw “13:xx”. I felt like I was definitely running fast and then I realized that it was NOT my pace showing.

During this mile, we entered a neighborhood. There was point where we ran in a cul-de-sac which gave me the opportunity to see and cheer my friends who were a little behind me.

Eventually I passed my running friends who were there to cheer us on. Definitely a morale booster.

Mile 3:

Finally there was a water stop. I was so glad to have a drink and to walk for awhile.

Of course I felt guilty for walking so long that I tried to speed up and make up some ground.

After the water stop, we left the neighborhood and headed back on the road toward the start.

I was surprised and elated that I passed my cheering running friends for the second time.  They reminded me that bagels were awaiting me.

Mile 4:

Just trying to keep up the pace and finish strong. It was all a blur at this point.  Short races are hard!!

I saw a runner who worked at our local Fleet Feet. She was ahead of me the whole race. But somehow I was able to pass her.

As we crossed the finish line, they pulled off the bottom of our bib so they could record the your finish time. I never looked at the clock but according to my Garmin, it was 36:38. It was very happy!

Not far behind me was Barbara.

Next came Sherry.

Then Judy raced this older guy and almost beat him.

We hung around for a while. They were giving 5-year age group awards. But since it was not chip timed, they had to figure things out manually, It was taking forever and our friends were waiting for us at the restaurant. So we left.

Actually got it in the mail a few days later.

The best part of the day was actually after the race. We met the others for brunch.  I had chocolate milk and bagel, cream cheese n lox.  We chatted and laughed for hours.

I found later that we all won age group awards.

Additional Race Reflections:

Positives:

  • Safety restrictions in place (outdoors, no food, no award ceremony).
  • Ample parking.
  • Well marked course.
  • Lots of familiar faces
  • Interesting course
  • Friendly volunteers
  • 2 mile walk option.
  • Medals (3 deep) for 5 year age group awards
  • Weather
  • A real race.

Negatives:

  • Not chip timed
  • Cotton shirt
  • No post-race food (due to COVID?)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes.

It was well-organized. It will be even more fun when there are no COVID restrictions and it is scheduled in April when the weather is cooler.

Final Stats:

Probably the most consistent splits I’ve ever had.

Although it doesn’t look that way above.

I felt pretty strong the whole race.  I didn’t push myself as hard as I could.  I also did not do any speedwork to prepare for the race.  So I was pretty satisfied with how things went.

Believe it or not. It was a PR!

Next Up:

???

No races on my schedule until September.


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! Did you run or race this past weekend? How’s your weather? Any in-person races on your schedule yet? Please share.

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Polar Cap Race Recap

This post was hard to write and you’ll see why as you read on…

You all know how much I love Lake George (at least in the summertime).  Well, this race gets me up to the lake in the winter.  Ex-blogger Andrea (now runner friend) and I have run this race together SEVEN times. She has done this race 13 times (in a row)!!!

Polar Cap - 2nd place in AG

Here we are winning AG awards in 2011

AJH got 2nd place...we won a lunch bag which matches the race shirt

AG awards again in 2013

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I ran with her in 2014 but only she got an award

2nd

In 2015, another hat for Andrea but my first and I beat her for the first time

I surprisingly got a PR in 2017

Together again and freezing in 2018 

a bitter sweet AG award because Andrea who was battling cancer came but had to walk the course

And yes, Andrea’s cancer diagnosis rocked my world, for sure. But she is strong and I was pretty confident that she would beat it.

I started reading her blog when I started running. She inspired me from the beginning. We are the same age exactly!! But she has run longer, farther, faster…even has competed in triathlons.

We met face-to-face for the first time at a race in 2010 and since then we have completed many races together (in addition to this race 7 times). I have even stayed at her house in VT twice.

She has also come to my area each year to participate in a duathlon. I have always come to the race to cheer her on.

But this year, for the FIRST time, Andrea did not come to the Polar Cap race.  She valiantly lost her fight with cancer and died a few weeks earlier. So I ran this race alone with a heavy heart. I ran it for Andrea…

Back to the race recap…

The thing with this race, you never know where it’s going to start and what the course will be (besides hilly.)  Three years ago, they changed the course for the third time.

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during the snowy 2014 race

polarcap15-4

during the cold 2015 race

getting my PR in 2017

I have not been doing any speed work at all or running on any hills. (Um …do I ever? lol) My runs on the weekend have been longish. And I have been suffering with a sore foot for it seems like forever. So as usual, I went into this race with no expectations other than to have fun and finish standing.

I bundled up in my usual running layers (2 shirts, DIY arm sleeves, vest, skirt/tights, gaiter, beanie, gloves).

I arrived around 9ish and got a great parking spot in a nearby parking lot.

Packet pick-up was again at the parish hall of the church in Lake George. This newer location was warm and had restrooms which is always a plus.

Instead of a shirt this year, they gave you a hat.

Eventually runners did arrive and I chatted with some whom I knew. It was strange not to be waiting for Andrea to drive in from VT. Definitely made me feel said…

Hi Don Yeaton (credit)

For the first time since startled running this race, it was not frigid…so I decided leave the vest behind.

We all waited until the last minute to go out into the cold. We had to walk quite a ways as the race started in town by the lake. (Since the race repeated its course, I will re-post some of my pics from previous years in addition to this year’s pics.)

There was no real starting line and the race was not chip timed. Even though I’ve run this course in previous years, I never really remember what the course was like so here is a map that I found online.

img_4026

I am directionally challenged anyway so it wouldn’t have meant much to me even if I looked at the map before the race.

waiting to begin (pic from D. Olden)

Before the they started the race, they had a moment of silence for Andrea and then announced that this year’s race would be dedicated to her.  I got pretty emotional but luckily, the race started quickly after and I concentrated on running.

My foot, in my mind, had gotten less painful but I realized that during this race, it really HAD NOT.  It hurt with EVERY step.  It made me very mad and frustrated but then I thought about Andrea and all the pain she had gone through this past year.  And I just ran through the pain. It was just a race…and I would finish it no matter how long it took.

A lot of the course was a blur, as usual, but here’s what I remember. Rather than taking pictures during this race again, I’m posting a previous year’s as they did not change the course.

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pic from FB – cute markers at each mile

The first mile started with a slight uphill and then it flattened out.  I concentrated on the scenery and surprisingly, the ground was not as slippery as I feared. Still, I needed to pay attention.

img_3982

Mile two started where the race used to start and than meant a steepish hill.  I told myself to be smart since I had another half marathon in TWO weeks and I never train on hills.  However this time, I pushed myself to run slowly and not walk.  It was practically a crawl and I did it. At this point, I actually felt warm and took off my gloves. I was happy that I did not wear that vest.

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img_3987

The longest and biggest was at mile 3 and although it was only 1/2 mile, it seemed to go on forever. This time I walked/ran it. Afterward we were rewarded with a nice downhill. I am always hesitant to go all out on the downhills especially with the black ice.  One particular runner (in my age group) had been behind me (and always finishes after me) breezed by me.  As she did, she yelled “This downhill runner got you this time.”  The competitive part of me wanted to speed up and overtake her.  But my foot was killing me and I decided to just let her beat me.

Finally for mile 4, we ran along the lake and back into town.  At this point, I wanted to be done and picked up the pace. Luckily the hills were finally over. I didn’t care about a PR but I secretly want to win an AG award. But I had no idea where the other runners in my AG were in at this time in the course (besides the one who passed me by on the downhill).

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Finally, I saw that the clock ahead and it read 37:xx. I sprinted as fast as I could (as not to finish over 38:XX) and crossed around 37:55.

The runner who beat me was there gloating… “I’m so happy to have finally beat you,” she said.

It was too cold to wait around for others so I walked back to the church.

There was chicken noodle soup, bread, bagels, chocolate milk, fruit and baked goods – I am a sucker for home-made stuff and ate quite a few cookies and brownies (and chocolate-covered pretzels). I also had the soup and of course, the chocolate milk!

I chatted with some running friends while waiting for the age group awards.

next year Jill & Sue will no longer be in my AG.

And I did indeed win one…2nd and my friend Sue won 3rd.

we’re old but going strong

With a 12 mile long run on my schedule for the day, I had been debating about skipping this race. Once I found out that Andrea had died, I knew that I could not skip this race.  It was one of her favorites. I had to do it.

I debated about running more. My foot hurt…a lot but I had a half marathon to run in TWO weeks.  So changed my shoes, put my vest back on and I ran around the church area and then into town to the Winter Carnival.

IMG_4971

This was the first day of the event which is held every weekend in February.

I ran around town some more… for about 5 more miles.  I didn’t get my 12 miles in but 9 was sufficient in my book.

cooling off… ha ha

As usual, I loved doing the race (even with the hills and sore foot). Small local races are the best.

Race Splits:

mile 1: 9:09
mile 2: 9:37
mile 3: 9:54
mile 4: 8:58
.05: 7:11

Garmin time: 37:51
Official time : 37:55

The whole time I was running, I felt like I was going sooo slow. I couldn’t really push off my sore foot and I felt like my form was suffering as well. I also thought that my 4 mile PR was like 35:XX. I was shocked when I sat down to write this… and discovered that my PR was 37:21 and that my finish time was faster than the last two years 38:28, 38:47 (when I was healthy).

Polar Cap Race Recap

Feb. 2, 2019 – 10 am – Lake George, NY

You all know how much I love Lake George (at least in the summertime).  Well, this race gets me up to the lake in the winter.  Ex-blogger Andrea (now runner friend) and I had run this race together SIX times already. She had run this race 12 times!!!

Polar Cap - 2nd place in AG

Here we are winning AG awards in 2011

I was injured in 2012 and couldn’t run but AJH did snag another award.

AJH got 2nd place...we won a lunch bag which matches the race shirt

AG awards again in 2013

I ran with her in 2014 but only she got an award.

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AJH’s award in 2014

Then in 2015, we both got awards and for the first time, I beat her.

2nd

another hat for AJH but my first.

I was away in 2016 but we ran it together in 2017.  I won my AG and surprisingly got a PR!!!

We ran it last year and almost froze to death. It was 4 degrees!! (But I came in 2nd in my AG).

Andrea came even though she was injured and had to walk the whole course

Andrea signed up, of course, again this year and I was looking forward to seeing her.

But then a few weeks before the race, I stumbled upon her daughter’s post on IG:

My faith in the universe has been totally rocked but my faith in my mother is more ironclad than ever. This strong and tenacious woman ran her first marathon the year she turned 50(!), beat me by 20 minutes during my first 26.2 mile jaunt(!), conquered her maiden triathlon at 60(!), regularly rides 40-50-60-70-80+ miles on her trusty blue bike(!), read 171 books last year(!), and now she’s one big surgery into beating cancer. She’s the very greatest bad ass I know and I have no doubt that she’s gonna absolutely pulverize this fucking cancer, with even less mercy than she showed me when she left me in her dust on the Marine Corps Marathon course.

And yes, it brought tears to my eyes. It rocked my world, for sure.

I started reading her blog when I started running. She inspired me from the beginning. We are the same age exactly!! But she has run longer, farther, faster…even has competed in triathlons.

We met face-to-face for the first time at a race in 2010 and since then have completed in many races together (in addition to this race 6 times). I have even stayed at her house in VT twice.

She has also come to my area each year to participate in a duathlon. I have always come to the race to cheer her on.

So I ran this race with a heavy heart. I ran it for Andrea.

here she is finishing last year’s race walking on a bum knee but with a smile

Back to the race recap…

The thing with this race, you never know where it’s going to start and what the course will be (besides hilly.)  Two years ago, they changed the course for the third time.

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during the snowy 2014 race

polarcap15-4

during the cold 2015 race

getting my PR in 2017

chillin’ after last year’s race

I have not been doing any speed work at all or running on any hills. (Um …do I ever? lol) My runs on the weekend have been longish. So as usual, I went into this race with no expectations other than to have fun and stay healthy.

When I woke up, I checked Lake George’s weather and saw this:

yikes! And no I didn’t consider bailing!

So I bundled up in my usual running layers (2 shirts, DIY arm sleeves, vest, skirt/tights, gaiter, beanie, mittens). One of my running friends, Barbara, also wanted to run this race so we drove the hour ride up to Lake George together. It was nice to have company.

We arrived around 9ish and got a great parking spot in a nearby parking lot.

Packet pick-up was again at the parish hall of the church in Lake George.  This newer location was warm and had restrooms which is always a plus.

another cotton t-shirt to give away

Eventually runners did arrive and I chatted with some whom I knew until Andrea arrived. She is hard core – drove over 2 hours from VT since her doctor said that she could walk the race. Yes, in addition to hard core, she is definitely Badass!!!

We waited until the last minute to go out into the cold. We had to walk quite a ways as the race started in town by the lake. (Since the race repeated its course, I will re-post some of my pics from previous years. It was too cold to take any))

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There was no real starting line and the race was not chip timed. Even though I ran the race last year, I didn’t really remember what the course was like so here is a map that I found online.

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I am directionally challenged anyway so it wouldn’t have meant much to me even if I looked at the map before the race.

waiting to begin (pic from D. Olden)

Luckily we didn’t have to wait long in the cold before the race started. There seemed to be less than 100 runners which is much fewer than usual (probably because of the cold temps.)

A lot of the course was a blur, as usual, but here’s what I remember. Rather than taking pictures during this race again, I’m posting last year’s as they did not change the course.

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pic from FB – cute markers at each mile

The first mile started with a slight uphill and then it flattened out. I was cold (at least my face and lips were from the wind) and my legs felt very stiff since I hadn’t warmed up. I was ok with that because I wanted to start out slow.  I also found my stomach growling since the race started at 10 am and I had eaten 3 hours ago. I concentrated on the scenery and surprisingly, the ground was not as slippery as I feared. Still, I needed to pay attention.

I wore again my new “old” Garmin and I thought I fixed it to show pace.  But nope but at least now, it does measure the pace which I looked at after the race.

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Mile two started where the race used to start and than meant a steepish hill.  I told myself to be smart since I had a half marathon in ONE week and I never run on hills.  However this time, I pushed myself to run slowly and not walk.  It was practically a crawl and I did it. At this point, I was actually thawing out.  In fact, I felt warm.

img_3983

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The longest and biggest was at mile 3 and although it was only 1/2 mile, it seemed to go on forever.  This time I walked/ran it. Afterward we were rewarded with a nice downhill. I am always hesitant to go all out on the downhills so many runners passed me by but that was better than getting DOMS. Believe it or not, I was so warm that I unzipped my vest and took off my mittens.

Finally for mile 4, we ran along the lake and back into town.  At this point, I wanted to be done and picked up the pace. Luckily the hills were finally over. I didn’t care about a PR but I secretly want to win an AG award.  But I had no idea where the other runners in my AG were in at this time in the course.

Understandably (due to the weather), there were fewer volunteers than normal.  There was a point along the lake where there was a roundabout and I had no idea where to run.  I stopped and called to the last volunteer and asked which way to go.  He told me and I ran a little more and then was confused. I turned back and he gestured to continue straight.  I think I went the right way and eventually there was another volunteer ahead at the next to last turn before the finish line,

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Finally, I saw that the clock ahead and it read 38:xx.  I sprinted as fast as I could and crossed at 38:28.

Barbara finished just a few minutes after me.  I thought about waiting around for Andrea but it was TOO COLD so Barbara and I walked back to the church together.

There was chicken noodle soup, bread, bagels, chocolate milk, fruit and baked goods – I am a sucker for home-made stuff and ate quite a few cookies and brownies (and chocolate-covered pretzels). I also had the soup and of course, the chocolate milk!

Due to technical glitches and the runners still out on the course, we had to wait around for the age group awards. It was quite a while so I chatted with a law professor that I used to work with and snacked on the refreshments.

And both Barbara and I won our age groups. So there were not many runners in our age groups. Still a win’s a win.

While Andrea was out walking the race, I mentioned to the race director that she had run this race 13 times and it was the only race that she has run EVERY year.

I think she was surprised and hopefully happy with the “Badass”award.

With 8 miles on my “training” schedule for the day, I debated about running more (for about a second) but it was TOO COLD. We did put on warmer clothes and walked into town to the Winter Carnival.

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This was the first day of the event which is held every weekend in February.

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they had a chili cook-off. but the line was too long and it was freezing

I said hello to my friend who was volunteering and then we walked back to my car and headed home.

As usual, I loved doing the race (even if it was cold). Small local races are the best and running one with a friend is just icing on the cake.

Race Splits:

mile 1: 9:06
mile 2: 10:02
mile 3: 9:48
mile 4: 9:07
.05: 7:36

Garmin time: 38:26
Official time : 38:28

PR – 37:21


Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies.


I’m also linking this post with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches’ Corner.

Happy Running! Have you raced yet this year? How do you feel about cold weather races?

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Weekly Wrap for 1.28.19-2.2.19 – The Polar Vortex and Taper Time

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Polar Cap Race Report

Feb. 3, 2018 – 10 am – Lake George, NY

You all know how much I love Lake George (at least in the summertime).  Well, this race gets me up to the lake in the winter.  Ex-blogger AJH (now runner friend) and I have run this race together many times.

Polar Cap - 2nd place in AG

Here we are winning AG awards in 2011

I was injured in 2012 and couldn’t run but AJH did snag another award.

AJH got 2nd place...we won a lunch bag which matches the race shirt

AG awards again in 2013

I ran with her in 2014 but only she got an award.

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AJH’s award in 2014

Then in 2015, we both got awards and for the first time, I beat her.

2nd

another hat for AJH but my first.

I was away in 2016 but we ran it together last year.  AJH did not get an award (but she is such a great sport) and I won my AG and surprisingly got a PR!!!

AJH was running it, of course, again this year and I was looking forward to seeing her.  We hadn’t seen each other since August at the Race the Train race.

The thing with this race, you never know where it’s going to start and what the course will be (besides hilly.)  Last year, they changed the course for the third time.

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during the snowy 2014 race

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during the cold 2015 race

getting my PR last year

I have not been doing any speed work at all or running on any hills. (Um …do I ever? lol) My runs on the weekend have been longish. So as usual I went into this race with no expectations other than to have a good time.

But it was so COLD!!! In the single digits. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

So I bundled up in my usual running layers (2 shirts, jacket, skirt, tights, gaiter, beanie, mittens with hand warmers) and drove the hour ride up to Lake George.

not today but the same outfit

Well, obviously my age is rearing its ugly head. In other words, I’m having more senior moments. Because I went to bed very late (mah jongg hostessing), I was tired the next morning and rushed out the door without my Apple Watch and my Garmin. Ugh! I could have gone back to get it but I didn’t want to be late for the race.

As I drove north, I watched the car thermometer drop from 8 to 2 degrees.

I arrived around 8ish and got a great parking spot but was surprised that no one had yet arrived.

Why?

Because the race started at 10 am. Duh! I was 2 hours early!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (And yes, I could have returned home to get my watch!!!)

Packet pick-up was again at the parish hall of the church in Lake George.  This newer location was warm and had restrooms which is always a plus.

my friend Sue and speedy Kim, now in my AG

Eventually runners did arrive and I chatted with some whom I knew until AJH arrived. (She is hard core – drove over 2 hours from VT. and is injured so had to walk the whole race.)

We waited until the last minute to go out into the cold. We had to walk quite a ways as the race started in town by the lake. (Since the race repeated its course, I will re-post some of my pics from last year.)

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There was no real starting line and the race was not chip timed. Even though I ran the race last year, I didn’t really remember what the course was like so here is a map that I found online.

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I am directionally challenged anyway so it wouldn’t have meant much to me even if I looked at the map before the race.

waiting to begin (pic from D. Olden)

Luckily we didn’t have to wait long in the cold before the race started. There seemed to be only a little over 100 runners which is much fewer than usual (probably because of the cold temps.) I knew that this race would be interesting without a watch.  Not because I was going for a PR but because I sometimes glance down at my watch to see if I am running too fast at the beginning or have slowed down too much at the end.  Nothing I could do about it now so I just decided to try not to freeze to death and enjoy the pretty scenery.

A lot of the course was a blur, as usual, but here’s what I remember.

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pic from FB – cute markers at each mile

The first mile started with a slight uphill and then it flattened out. I was cold (at least my face and lips were from the wind) and my legs felt very stiff since I hadn’t warmed up. I was ok with that because I wanted to start out slow.  I also found my stomach growling since the race started at 10 am and I had eaten 3 1/2 hours ago.

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Mile two started where the race used to start and than meant a steepish hill.  I told myself to be smart since I had a half marathon in 6 weeks and I never run on hills.  However this time, I pushed myself to run slowly and not walk.  It was practically a crawl and I did it. At this point, I was actually thawing out.  In fact, I felt warm.

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The longest and biggest was at mile 3 and although it was only 1/2 mile, it seemed to go on forever.  This time I walked/ran it. Afterward we were rewarded with a nice downhill. I am always hesitant to go all out on the downhills so many runners passed me by but that was better than getting DOMS. Believe it or not, I was so warm that I unzipped my jacket and took off my mittens.

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Finally for mile 4, we ran along the lake and back into town.  At this point, I wanted to be done and picked up the pace. Luckily the hills were finally over. I didn’t care about a PR but I secretly want to win an AG award.  But I had no idea where the other runners in my AG were in at this time in the course.

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I saw that the clock ahead read 38:xx.  I sprinted as fast as I could and crossed at 38:48.

Initially I was disappointed.  My time was slower than last year and even slower than 3 years ago. It’s tough when you run without a watch because you have no idea what your pace is.  Could I have finished faster if I had known?  Definitely!!  I’m pretty competitive. I would have pushed myself more. But it’s not the end of the world.  There will be other races.

AJH was walking so I decided to wait for her.  But it was too cold to stand still so I headed back onto the course and ran it in reverse until I met up with her.

A soon  as she finished, we walked back to the church together.

There was chicken noodle soup, bread, chocolate milk, fruit and baked goods – I am a sucker for home-made stuff and ate quite a few cookies and brownies. I also had the soup.

We waited around for the age group awards. surprisingly, I did win one – second.

won a headband/gaiter/cap thingie

After AJH left, I was debating on changing my clothes and leaving or running more.

With 8 miles on my “training” schedule for the day, I decided to stick around and try to find somewhere to run. I had already run about 2 miles while waiting for AJH so I ran around the lake a bit and then to the Winter Carnival in town to get 2 more miles in.

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This was the first day of the event which is held every weekend in February.

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they had a chili cook-off. I just donated my money because the line was too long and I was freezing!

I visited with friends who were volunteering and took some pics.

Eventually it seemed to be getting colder so I headed back to my car (that I had left at the church).

freezing my butt off (literally)

As usual, I loved doing the race (even if it was cold). Small local races are the best and running one with friends is just icing on the cake.


I’m also linking this post with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches’ Corner.

Happy Running! Have you raced yet this year?

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Weekly Wrap for 1.29.18-2.4.18: Let the training begin

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When I first started running half marathons, I used to start “training” 12 weeks before the race. My next one is my 30th half marathon and it is in 6 weeks (I think – check out my Ultimate Coffee Date post for an update on my situation) so I guess I need to start increasing my long run distance. (That is what I now call “training.”)

Last week – 

  • Monday –  Another day in the high 30s with no snow or rain. I decided to check out my favorite path to see if the ice had melted and I was very excited that it had. I even had enough time before it got dark to squeeze in a run.

love the extra hour of daylight

  • Tuesday – Since I was not travelling, I was able to play in my tennis group.  As in previous weeks, I took advantage of the fact that there is a treadmill there and ran struggled through a few miles on it.

only 2 miles but I did sweat…why do they keep these rooms so hot?

  • Wednesday – We can’t get a break with the weather … cold and windy again but I did get in a run before meeting my BFF for a walk around the mall.

campus + pond loop

  • Thursday – Finally a deserved rest day. Instead did some errands after work and then went out to dinner with a friend.
  • Friday – Rest day #2 and mah jongg at my house.
  • Saturday – Today my third race of 2018 (and my first serious one), the Polar Cap Run, a 4-miler. And a cold one it was.  Though it was not a fast one for me, I still managed to snag 2nd in my age group.  (Recap will be coming soon…)

Afterward I ran 4 more miles (2 while waiting for AJH to finish and 2 around town).

  • Sunday –  Another rest day and my first visit to Hot Yoga.  I have been meaning to start back at yoga and with these cold temps, hot yoga seemed perfect.

Afterward, we went out to lunch to celebrate my stepson’s engagement!!

an April wedding is planned 🙂

I’m not a big football fan but wasn’t that a great game?

This Coming Week

  • Monday 4 miles
  • Tuesday drive to Buffalo, rest day
  • Wednesday –  3-4 miles?
  • Thursday 3-4 miles?
  • Friday – rest day, drive home
  • Saturday9 mile run
  • Sunday – rest day

Please link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and NEW host Wendy @ Taking the Long Way Home 

Happy Running! How is your running going? What’s new with you? How are dealing with winter? Please share.

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Winter Series #4 Race Recap

Once again the Hudson Mohawk Runners Club sponsored a FREE race for its members and this weekend, they offered distances of 3M, 15K and 30K.

Since I have a half marathon in 7 weeks, I probably should have chosen to run the 15K but I ran 7 miles the day before so I decided to run the 3 Miler as a recovery run instead.

during the 15k in 2015

and again

in 2017

These Winter Series races start at 10 am so you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. Barbara decided at the last minute to run the race with me so we drove together. I always leave early to get parking since these races are often crowded and there may be other events going on at UAlbany at the same time. Well, I guess I didn’t leave early enough since the lot was already full when we arrived.  So I dropped Barbara off to register and I parked in another lot and walked over.

The weather was perfect for racing. It was in the 40s and less windy than the day before. I wore something similiar to what I wore the day before but wound up taking off my jacket, vest and gloves.

What I love about this local race is that you get to see a lot of people that you know. And since the weather was so nice (and warmer than the last race), the numbers were significantly higher.

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2015 meet up with Judy & Barbara (I ran the 15k that year too.)

And I immediately bumped into many different running friends. We chatted. Some were running the 3 miler and others the 15k.  I even spotted Patrick, my coach from the Turkey Trot & Freihofer running groups.

Anyway we hung indoors until the last minute and then made our way outside.

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the start (pic from Winter Series #1)

All three distances started at the same location this week. As usual, I started not too far away from the front (since it is not chip timed) and let the speedy runners pass me by.

Right away, the 3 milers split from the 15kers and 30kers but the speedy longer distance runners eventually will pass you by midway.

not that it matters ’cause I just follow the other runners but the 3 miler is basically a loop

For most of the race, I felt perfectly dressed (for a change). I unzipped my shirt and pushed up my sleeves (many runners were even in shorts!) when the wind was at my back but then it got chilly when you were running into the wind.

This time, I was familiar with the course since I just ran it in December.  I remembered the hill at the beginning and then some rolling hills in the middle, ending with a slight hill.  Nothing too challenging.

I am usually pretty bored by this course because it is just a road and office buildings.  But I ran and chatted with different friends throughout the race.  First Nancy, then Anne, then Mona, etc.  Each one after a short period ran ahead and left me behind.

running with Nancy.

It didn’t bother me at all. I tried to run at my own relaxed pace. Of course, I’m not sure what exactly that is (since I don’t look at my Garmin until I’m done).

I was very happy that my legs didn’t feel tired at all and I couldn’t even tell that I had run the day before.

Eventually as we neared the finish line, I took off and tried to cross under 27 minutes.

Nope, I did not – 27:02 (slower than the last time which was at 26:49).

After Barbara finished, we went inside had some refreshments. There was pumpkin apple chili, bread, fruit, cookies and hot cocoa.  Free race..free good food. Win-win.

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The awards were for 10 year age groups and just top 2.

Although my finish time was slower than the last time, obviously the speedy runners in my age group ran the 15k so I won my age group (as did Nancy.)

I was very happy with how I ran this race as a recovery run – I pushed myself just enough but not too much. It wasn’t a PR and not even a course PR. But I am pretty thrilled to have a pace of under 9 mm for each mile.  Maybe a 5k PR is in my future….

Race splits:

mile 1 – 8:50
mile 2 – 8:57
mile 3 – 8:54
.06

Finish Time – 27:02

Next Saturday, I signed up for a 4 mile race in Lake George. Fingers crossed for no ice or snow.

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AJH (from VT) & I at this race in 2015. We try to do this one together every year.


I’m also linking this post with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches’ Corner.

Happy Running! How you are enduring the winter? Did you run or race this past weekend?

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 Running Update: 2.27.17-3.5.17 and 3.6.17-3.12.17

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So since I was on vacation last Monday, this is a TWO week update.

Two Weeks Ago:

  • Monday –  my legs were tired but rain was in the forecast for the next few days so I dragged them out for an after work run around campus

it was not a great one but as they say a bad run is better than no run & I listened to another podcast

  • Tuesday – It was supposed to rain but never did but I had scheduled  a rest day anyway. After work, I played tennis and attended  a STEM committee meeting
  • Wednesday -Warm, windy day.  I met Alyssa for a run.  We ran on the rail trail instead of our usual campus loop. It was a great run. Finally!

running with friends is the best!

  • Thursday – Winter temps returned. Snow flurries and insane winds.  I had planned to run at lunch but decided against and then had a hair appt. after work.  So resting for my big race began a day early.
  • Friday – 6 am flight to West Palm Beach.  Arrived, picked up a rental car with my friend Fran. We met Fonda (whom I would be staying with) in Delray Beach. We had a nice lunch, walked around town and then decided to walk around Green Cay to do some bird watching. We went back into town to visit the art gallerys (First Friday event in Delray) and the shops and eventually enjoyed a light dinner. I finally dropped my friend Fran off at her hotel and then drove to Fonda’s to call it a (long) day.

  • Saturday – Started the day off with a walk around the golf course where Fonda lives, then headed to Wakodahatchee for more bird watching. Saw alligators, iguanas and tons of birds nesting. Even saw some newly hatched baby birds. After, I picked up Fran and we had lunch with some old friends in Delray Beach.

After lunch, Fran and I drove an hour to Hutchinson Island so I could pick up my race packet. Then we headed to Hobe Sound where we had dinner with Georgette and her husband (with whom I would be staying for the next two nights). After dinner, Georgette was nice enough to take Fran to her hotel in Stuart so I could hit the hay early.

  • Sunday – Today I ran the Treasure Coast Half Marathon. It was a beautiful course and I enjoyed it even though I felt my lack of training, it was insanely windy, I had stomach cramps the first half, and sore feet and lower back the second half. Yes. I am a crazy runner.

2:18:25 – Half Marathon #24

After the race, I drove to Fran’s hotel so I could shower and change and then off we went to a Mets vs Cardinals spring training game. The Mets lost 14-10 but we still had fun. After the game, we went out to dinner with Georgette and her husband. Another busy LONG day.

20 miles done with 3 runs and 4 rest days

Last Week:

  • Monday –  Georgette and I got up early to take her dog for a walk on the beach.

I am in my “happy place.”

Afterwards, I picked up Fran at her hotel and we drove to Stuart where we had a lovely lunch with an old friend and then we strolled through the shops in town.

Eventually we dropped of the car in West Palm Beach and prepared to fly home.  As usual, it wasn’t without hassles and delays.  I won’t go into details but I didn’t get home until 1 am. 😦

  • Tuesday – I did 2 webinars at work, rented a car and then drove to Liverpool, NY.  A rest day but not a day of “rest.”
  • Wednesday -Trained all day and drove home from Liverpool.  Another day without running and without any “rest.”
  • Thursday –  Grateful to be back home and able to run with Alyssa. It was a great run.  Wish they all could feel this good.

  • Friday – Day 4 of rest from running and an evening with my mah jongg friends.
  • Saturday – I ran the Runnin’ of the Green Race (4 miler).  Winter returned with a vengeance.  It was -9 with the wind chill…BRRRR!!! I have never been so cold.

37:48 – not fast but at least I didn’t get frost bite

I had planned to run some more miles after the race but it was just too cold.

I had a lovely evening catching up with a friend – wine, food, wine, dessert. Just what I needed after a tough week.

  • Sunday – Another rest day (without rest).  Filled the day with unpacking, laundry, cleaning, shopping and lots  of cooking (yes, you heard that right) …all the stuff that doesn’t get done when you are away

10 miles done with 2 runs and 5 rest days

This Week:

  • Monday – 6 miles with Alyssa
  • Tuesday – rest day, work training
  • Wednesday – 3 miles, dinner out with tennis ladies, travel to Liverpool, NY for work
  • Thursday – 6 miles, training, drive home from Liverpool
  • Fridayrest day, 3 miles, mah jongg
  • Saturday – proctor MPRES
  • Sunday 8 mile run

Once again, I am linking up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin. See rules here.

http://hohoruns.blogspot.com


Happy Running! How is your running going? How is your running weather?

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Runnin’ of the Green Race Recap

This used to be a very popular race.  It was flat and fast with awesome swag.

Two years, they changed the location.  It is no longer flat and gone are the tech shirts, beer glasses, etc. As a result, not as many runners do the race.

I ran it that year and didn’t like the course as much but still enjoyed running it.

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in 2015 – 37:27

I had just run a half marathon this past Sunday and only ran once this past week.  So as I have said about all my races, I run for fun.  I race because I enjoy it.  I don’t really train so I don’t expect a good time.  Of course, I am over the moon if I unexpectedly PR.

I did run a 4 mile race in February and I finished at 37:21 – a PR!!  I was pretty sure that with the wind and my weary legs that a PR would not happen in this race.

Plus, this is the weather I woke up to:

the coldest day of the year!!

Yes, you got that right. -9 with the wind chill.  Most runners would stay home and wait until later to run or run on the treadmill.

I did consider DNSing the race but in the end, I fished out my winter clothes (clothes that I didn’t even have to wear this winter or even last winter) and headed out.

The race began at 10 am but I left early in order to make sure I got a parking space in the school lot.

We received a cotton tee shirt which I will send to my running buddy. Then I debated about how many layers I would wear. I ditched one shirt and a fleece vest and decided to only wear one layer and a down jacket (I have never run in it before.) I even wore my heavier tights for the first time in years.

all dressed in Green for “Runnin of the Green”

I bumped into the usual folks that I see at all the HMRRC races.  I also saw the lady that I will be rooming with in NYC for the Shape Half Marathon. We chatted until it was time to go outside.

In fact we waited until the very last second.  It was FREEZING!!!!!!! The wind was blowing and I was wondering why I was running in this weather. As was everyone else.

I normally start near the front but I wasn’t paying attention and we were standing somewhere in the middle when all of a sudden, the race started.. .Oh well!

At least I was prepared that there would be hills and mostly at the end of the race when you were tired.

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course

So we left the school parking lot, turned left onto a main road and we ran INTO the wind. Similar to Florida except it wasn’t 70 degrees, it was 7 degrees.

My face was freezing.  I couldn’t feel my lips.  My hands were numb as well as were my feet.  Plus it was so hard to breathe. So I just trudged along.

Eventually we turned in a residential neighborhood and the wind wasn’t so bad.  In fact, I almost felt a little warm in my down jacket.

That didn’t last because the hills came and we, of course, were again running to the wind.

I managed to run without walking until mile 3 and then the wind and hills were getting to me.

Finally we were back on the main road that lead to the high school and I got a second wind as the wind was finally as our backs.

I crossed at 37:48.  Not a PR or even a course PR but I was surprised that it was under 38 minutes.

I quickly ran inside to thaw out.

The refreshments, as usual, were decent – soup, pizza, fruit, cookies, hot chocolate.  I ate everything while waiting for the awards.

I hung out with the same ladies as before the race. The awards were for 10 year age groups. I didn’t win anything.  I think I was 6th. (It was only a medal anyway!)

Considering that I have done no speed work and just ran a half marathon, I was pleased with my time.

Splits:

mile 1 – 9:17
mile 2 – 9:01
mile 3 – 9:53
mile 4 – 9:09
.04 – 6:43

Garmin time – 37:36 (I used my old 205 since the battery does last for 4 miles.)

I had planned to run 3 more miles as I am supposedly training for my next half marathon on April 30 but it was just TOO COLD.

Maybe I’ll have better luck next weekend and be able to run 8 miles in warmer, less windy temps.


I am sharing in the support love by linking up with a Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup hosted by

Ilka from Ilka’s Blog and Angela from Marathons & Motivation

 Happy Running! Do you run a St. Patty’s Day-themed race?

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