Albany Last Run 5k Race Recap

December 11, 2021 5 pm

The Albany Last Run is a very popular local race. In fact, it always sells out (at 2000). The race starts with fireworks and then you run uphill, around the light displays in the park and it ends with a downhill. I have run it every year since 2010 (except in 2019 when I was injured and in 2020 when it was canceled) and it is one of my favorite races.

So this was my TENTH time running this race!!

Unfortunately, this is the LAST YEAR for the Holiday Lights in the Park.  That probably means it is the last year for this race. Sigh.

Here is a pic from a previous year:

One year, I ran this race in the rain. Another year, in a blizzard.  This was how I finished the race in 2017.

icy and very slippery!! and yes, that’s me on the ground!

I was hoping for better weather this year.  Could it be any worse??

Before the race

They used to give out windbreakers for this race and I have them in many colors.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

The previous weekend, I finally took a break from racing and did a 8 mile long run.

Otherwise, the two weeks before, I had run a 15k, half marathon and 10k.

I guess to complete the series, I needed to run a 5k.

I didn’t say “race” because it’s very hard to “race” this race due to the weather conditions, the crowds, the ruts in the roads, slippery cobblestone, etc.  My finish times are all over the place though my course PR may have been back in 2010 (29:15) and PW 7 years later in 2017 (35:08).

Of course, I debated about what to wear… I always like to look festive. But rain was predicted…

And then the temps were supposed to go up to 60 degrees.  I almost switched to a skirt.

Due to the fact that this was the last year for this race, it did sell out!

To save time, I went to the race headquarters on Wednesday night and picked up my race packet.  In fact, I picked up 9 of them (for the others in my running group).

As in previous years, the shirt was uni-sex and TOO big!

and ugly gray…

Race Day:

I decided to keep my original race outfit but with a lighter shirt under my long cotton tee shirt.

Most of the group carpooled together because we were having a pot luck party after and wanted to leave our food off there before the race.

We parked in the underground parking garage. Super easy (though it did cost $5).

Immediately I ran into so many runners that I knew. Everyone comes for this race.

As usual, we wanted to take pre-race photos.  And a radio station was taking them and said they were send them to a phone.  We took many goofy group ones. (It too a while but eventually we did get those pics/videos.)

It was so fun (even wearing masks) to see everyone and their costumes were so creative.

Were You Seen at The 25th Annual St. Peter's Cardiac & Vascular Center Albany Last Run 5K on Dec. 11, 2021, in downtown Albany?

photo from TU

Finally we all left our warm home to go outside

yes, there was a Santa Claus (or two or three)

and he took our pic.

and watch the pre-race fireworks:

they were awesome

Almost all of my friends were planning to walk the whole race. I had run through the park a few times already and had seen seen the lights.

So I decided that I would run the race and left my friends and headed toward the start.

This is the course map:

This is the elevation according to my Garmin:

Mile 1: 

I always forget that this race is not chip timed and I should start close to the front.  It was very crowded and so I just pushed my way in near a few runners that I knew were at my pace.

It was dark as I crossed the start line, I am not sure that I started my Garmin right away (but whatever.)

The race started with an uphill, went through the city before we entered the park. It was crowded at first and usually the crowd thinned out but it really never did. I unsuccessfully tried to run but just was weaving in and out. And the lights around my neck broke so I had to throw them aside (and I’m sure the bulbs got crushed).

Once in the park, we were running under the festive holiday lights.  Though the road was filled with ruts and cracks, it was much lighter than on the streets.  We hit our second hill and I would have normally been tempted to walk up the steep hill but I didn’t need to and actually picked up the pace.

There was a clock at every mile.  It seemed that my pace was not great but too bad and around 10 mm.

Mile 2: 

It was still crowded and I was passing some runners but since I felt like I was running slow due to the crowds. I was able to enjoy the lights and the crazy costumes worn by the runners.  I got positive remarks from spectators about my outfit, as well.

Image result for albany last run

from a previous year.

During this mile, I was really having fun!! I was running up the hills (slowly) but not stressing about pace. My biggest issue was that I was roasting!!! It was like 60 degrees. I took off my gloves, rolled down my arm sleeves but I definitely should have dressed differently.

I took these pics the other day when I ran through the park.

The whole time I was running, I kept looking at the ground trying to avoid cracks and uneven pavement and keeping an eye out for potholes and NOT FALL!! So far so good.  It was so nice that the roads were dry.

According to the clock, I was running about the same pace as mile 1.

Mile 3 – 3.1: 

Finally around mile 3, there was enough space to actually RUN. We continued our loop out of the park (the last hill) and then out onto the dark streets and down the hill to the finish line.

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Who doesn’t love a downhill finish?

However I made to sure to carefully sprint and I crossed at 31:XX (GT).

I was happy. I ran almost the whole thing!! And I did not fall!!

Post Race Activities:

I waited around at the finish line as others finished.

yes, of course Santa ran the race

Then all of a sudden, I saw two of my group – Heidi and Chris.  They had decided to run the race instead of walking it with the others.

We were sweaty so we went inside to stay warm,

glad we decided to take this pic since it took several days to retrieve the others.

I grabbed some water but there were only bananas and apples and we had a pot luck dinner planned for after so I didn’t eat anything.

Soon the walkers returned and we all headed out to our cars.  I was pretty sure none of us won any awards.

I finished 9th (in10 year age group) out of 85)

An after party has been an annual event with my running group.  But this year, it was also a going away party for Jenn who was moving away.

It was a fun time with lots of food and a cake.

Additional Race Reflections:

Yes, it was my slowest 5k this year but one of the most enjoyable 5ks that I ran. It was a great way to get into the holiday spirit and connect with other runners.

Positives:

  • well organized (including packet pick-up)
  • creative costumes
  • fireworks
  • scenic course (holiday lights)
  • live race
  • ample parking
  • warm place to hang out before and after the race
  • Real restrooms
  • lots of familiar faces
  • my running friends were there
  • NO RAIN or SNOW!

Negatives:

  • Gun Time not Chip time
  • Unisex shirts
  • 10 year age group awards
  • Slippery/ruddy roads
  • Refreshments (just apples & bananas)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes.  Definitely a must do if you live near Albany, NY.  Even fun to walk it and enjoy the light displays.

Obviously this race will not be happening again. Maybe something similar will be planned during the holidays for next year?

Final Stats:

GT

Splits:

no walk breaks?

Next Up:

Another local running organization has scheduled a few free races of varying distances called the Winter Series.

Dec 12 – 5.5k or 15k

Jan 1 – 3.75 m or HM
Jan 9 – 3m or 10k or 10m

Then a half marathon:

Jan 23, 2022

Happy Running?  Did you run in a holiday race this year?  If you did, what did you wear? 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.


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

Weekly Run Down for 12.5.21-12.12.21: The Last Last Run

One of my favorite races has always been the Albany Last Run where we run 3.1 miles through the holiday lights in Washington Park.  This race happened for the last time on Saturday night.

There will no longer be lights during the holidays in this park.  (Complaints about traffic…) I am assuming that this 5k race will no longer be held as a result.

Last Week:

  • Sunday – A beautiful fall day. Perfect for a hike at Thunder Mountain in Greenwich, NY.

  • Monday – A rainy morning and afternoon. Luckily it was not raining during lunchtime so I could get in my run. It wasn’t cold but the wind sure made it feel that way.

the wind even blew off the skeleton’s hat (bottom left)

  • Tuesday  – Another run through the lights in the park. This week, I had company and it was so much more fun than doing it alone.

2 miles solo and 3 with Alyssa

  • Wednesday – A rest day and an ugly weather day. Even snow was predicted.

I woke up to snow on the ground but luckily the sun came out mid-day and it all melted.

Anyway it was a busy work day.

After work, I went to pick up my race packet for Saturday’s race.  I also picked up packets for my friends (like 9).

Then I went for a walk nearby with friends and it started to snow again.

It was also the NYC Half Marathon Lottery day.  They had recently announced that if you were not double vaccinated, you could not run the race. I was hoping selfishly that it made my chances better (judging from the angry FB posts.)

boo! maybe next year…

  • Thursday – Again I woke up to snow but this time several inches.  Fingers crossed that I would be able to run later.

I had a dentist appointment today and when I was done, I had enough time to get my run done on the rail rail before darkness.  Always a treat not to have a mid-week run done at Ualbany (or in my boring neighborhood.)

mostly clear but slippery in parts – combined this route with some new neighborhoods

  • Friday – Another rest day (due the next day’s race).  The evening was spent with the mah jongg ladies.

Hmmm…60 degrees and rain predicted…do I change to a skirt?

  • Saturday – A rainy day!! And Race Night. Albany Last Run.  This is always a good time (not referring to finish time lol) because all my friends run it. And it never rained until later that night!!!

Afterward, we all gathered for a pot luck dinner and a farewell to one of our friends who is moving away.

  • Sunday – The first local (free) Winter Series Race was held today.  Always a hard decision. Do I run it? Or do I do my 8 mile long run? Or skip both options and just go for a hike.

Well, the sun was shining and I looked at the list of those signed up and they had all run the night before too…so why not?

I did not run the 15k which was another option in this race but I did come in 3rd in the 10 year AG (though they only gave out prizes for 1 & 2)

It was so much fun since it was smaller (150 vs 1500) and I was able to chat with so many runners.

After some soup, cookies and hot chocolate, I set out to compete more miles so I could count it as a long run.

my legs were more tired than I thought and the wind picked up so I called it at 7 for the day.

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday –   run at lunch, volunteering
  • Tuesday – run at lunch, after work BBF birthday dinner
  • Wednesday – rest day,  after work dinner out with walking friends
  • Thursday – run before work, tennis holiday party
  • Friday -rest day, mah jongg or full moon hike
  • Saturday Long Run, Holiday dinner with family
  • Sunday – rest day, hiking, anniversary mah jongg sinner

and a few of us bloggers are offering a fitness challenge starting next week.  Please join us!

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – 2021 in Bling
  • Friday – Big Hairy Goal for 2022

I am linking up with Kim and Deborah for

I encourage you to do the same. Grab the graphic, drop your link on the host blogs and play along! Please be sure to always comment on the HOST’s blogs, as well as visit and comment on as many other blogs as you can.

Happy Running! How is your running going? Any in-person races planned?  Did you run a Turkey Trot? Please share.

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).

Weekly Run Down for 10.18.21-10.24.21: Fall Temps, more Hikes and a 5K

Last week, I complained that although it looked like Fall, it felt like summer.

This week, thanks to weekend rain, the temps cooled down.  That didn’t make me happy but I am savoring the last minutes of afternoon daylight. And I did get some fall hiking in.

Though, I’m in the meddle of training for a half marathon, I participated in a 5k (for charity reasons).  Always feels good when you give back.

Last Week:

  • Monday – No time to run but after work, it’s still light enough and I decided on UAlbany (post rain shower). I did not realize how cold and windy it had gotten.

brrr! run shortened due to frozen ears and hands. (the purple line was from a recent race.)

And then after dinner, I met my BFF for a walk around the mall.

  • Tuesday  – My 3rd meeting with the TTTC group was scheduled for tonight.  I am debating about leaving the group. It involves waiting until 6 pm to run and running around a college campus and/or track in the dark. And not much coaching (which used to be the highlight for me) and fewer and different participants each week.

So instead I ran during lunch

chilly at first but with the sun, I warmed up quickly

and then was able to meet friends to walk after work.

chose a different place – Pine hollow arboretum

  • Wednesday – Rest Day!  I did take a walk at lunch but then met my tennis friends to visit a local museum and then out to dinner (at a restaurant on the Mohawk river).  Always a fun time getting together with these ladies.

3 left before the group photo

  • Thursday – A run squeezed in at lunch (in case my friend was unavailable after work).

crazy weather. it seemed that summer was back. the top left house has the skeletons in a different pose each week – beer pong, fencing, riding a tractor and today painting

It was the right move since my friend was indeed unable to run so instead I went for a hike,

Five Rivers was lovely and nearby.

  • Friday – Rest Day!  Not much activity…just mah jongg in the evening and getting ready my #flatme.

fingers crossed that it is not as chilly as predicted.

  • SaturdaySummer Smith Memorial 5k. This race used to be in May but due to COVID, it got changed to today.  Poor timing since I had a 10 mile long run planned for the day. As soon as I arrived, I didn’t regret my choice to run it one bit.

changed my outfit and sweat but connected with a lot of familiar faces and even won my age group.

I had the choice of running 7 more miles after the race or joining others for  brunch.

Yup, I chose brunch with my running friends and then did some errands.

  • Sunday – Plans are made to be broken. I decided to only run 7 miles and on a new path…

a great path to run on and the weather was perfect…but I HATE running alone!

and then go hiking after (in that area).

Hike #1: many trails…I could have stayed forever…

Hike #2: loved being outdoors on this beautiful day

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday –   run, walk with friends
  • Tuesday – TTTC group run, track workout
  • Wednesday – rest day, hair appt.
  • Thursday – run
  • Friday -rest day, mah jongg
  • Saturday Long Run (11 miles)
  • Sunday – rest day, hiking

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Summer Smith Memorial 5K Race Recap
  • Friday – Runfessions

I am linking up with Kim and Deborah for

I encourage you to do the same. Grab the graphic, drop your link on the host blogs and play along! Please be sure to always comment on the HOST’s blogs, as well as visit and comment on as many other blogs as you can.

Happy Running! How is your running going? Any in-person races planned? Please share.

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..

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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…

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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).

Weekly Run Down for 9.20-9.26.21: WFH and Race Week

Good News! I applied to work from home until at least Dec. 31. And it got accepted!! And I have my COVID booster shot scheduled (very happy about this!!!)

Bad News! We were still eating on paper plates! And our washing machine broke! And my car headlight quit! (That’s three, right?)

On the running front: This week included a half marathon taper and my favorite 5k race!

Last Week:

  • Monday – The kitchen was status quo but we decided instead of replacing the carpet in adjoining family room, to just have it cleaned (as ell as the other rooms upstairs). How does this impact my running? Having to stay home and wait for workers to arrive.

But it was still #nevermissamonday with our last Freihofer Training Group run.

Just an easy 3 miles which never feels easy lol Blurry? That what happens when you snap a pic while running.

  • Tuesday – A scheduled rest day so just a walk after work with friends,
  • Wednesday – I decided to drive to the end of the rail trail since I hadn’t run that way in a while. And a running friend was able to meet me to run and for dinner after. Win. Win.

  • Thursday – Working from home makes it easier to squeeze in a run before work…but it was raining.

When our after work trail walk got cancelled, I was able to do my run then

glad that the sunflowers ae still around… but got a little wet toward the end but at least got it done before the storms

and head to the expo to pick up my race packet (and volunteer swag.)

  • Friday – I volunteered after work at packet pick-up for tomorrow’s race. It was fun and I met some new people, chatted with runners that I already knew and even met a few elite runners.

Then I got my #flatme ready for the next day.

  • SaturdayFreihofer Run for Women 5k Race -. This race is always special since it’s the only race I’ve run every year (except 2020.)  #13 completed with perfect weather and lots of friend meet-ups.

still remains my favorite race

Some extra miles added before and after = half marathon taper completed as well.

ran to the race in the fog, ran back after and then around the beautiful park

  • Sunday – I was hoping to go on our boat but the hubby had a tennis match so Hiking Sunday started early this Fall.

a beautiful day at Huyck preserve

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday –  run
  • Tuesday – Turkey Trot Challenge (TTC) group run
  • Wednesday – rest day, walk with friends
  • Thursday – run, trail group walk
  • Friday – rest day, drive to NH
  • Saturday – rest day, NH activities including packet pick-up and course preview
  • Sunday  – Smuttynose Half Marathon

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Freihofer Run for Women Race Recap
  • Friday – Ultimate Coffee Date

Next Week on the Run– 

  • Monday – rest day in NH
  • Tuesday – Turkey Trot Challenge (TTC) group run
  • Wednesday – run, walk with friends
  • Thursday – run, trail group walk
  • Friday – rest day, COVID booster, mah jongg
  • Saturday – Long Run?
  • Sunday  – rest day, boating or hiking

Next Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Blogger Interview
  • Friday – Big Hairy Goal (Pt 1)

I am linking up with Kim and Deborah for

I encourage you to do the same. Grab the graphic, drop your link on the host blogs and play along! Please be sure to always comment on the HOST’s blogs, as well as visit and comment on as many other blogs as you can.

Happy Running! How is your running going? Any in-person races planned? Is the weather interfering with your runs? Please share.

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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Run for the Roses 5k Race Recap

My first 5k of 2021 was back in May and I did fairly well. My only goal was to run a in-person race.

Bacon Hill Bonanza- 28:30

I ran my 2nd 5k two weeks ago. That race was a spur of the moment decision. I hate to do speed drills and I wanted to get back some pep in my step. So I signed up for a race. It was quite muggy and I enjoyed the race even though I definitely was NOT as peppy as I had hoped.

FASNY 5k – 29:29

This race, my 3rd 5k race has a different backstory.

I kinda thought I’d do a trail 5k because I enjoyed hiking at Landis Arborteum and there was a 5k scheduled there this weekend.

But I got a FB message about this race from a runner (Lisa) who lives in Indiana and was part of a race-cation in 2014 that I participated in (with her high school classmates.) She was going to be in town this weekend and wanted all of us to race together again.

How could I refuse?

The event consists of a USATF sanctioned 5K foot race, a 2.5 mile guided nature walk, and children’s 1 Mile Fun Run, at Grafton Lakes State Park.

The 5K race was advertised as “challenging but offering runners of all skill levels a beautiful race course through scenic Grafton Lakes State Park, and the surrounding area.” All participants also received a tee-shirt,  book, and a rose. The proceeds form the race go to support the Grafton Community Library.

And so without a second thought, I signed up.

I had never heard of this race but I knew that the area was scenic and I had hiked there in the winter.

As I always do, I scoured the Internet for a review of this race and I found one from someone I actually knew.  This what she started her race recap with: The race director came over to get things going, and opened with “Welcome to the 31st Annual Run for the Roses! As you know, this is one of the toughest 5K courses in the area, so we’re really glad to have you all here today.”

Ok, then. So at least I was prepared beforehand for hills and lots of them. By prepared I mean that I knew about them a few days before.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Outside of those two races, I mentioned, I have done zero speed work.  In some ways 5ks are harder than half marathons. You feel like you should run fast and before you get warmed up, it’s over. To make things were even more challenging, I never train/run on hills.

The week going into the race had me running 3 times and once long and hilly.

The day before the race, I rested on our boat.

The weather was dry and coolish during the week and of course, started warming up by the weekend.

However, summer race dressing is fairly simple – tank, skirt.

Race Day:

I had my oatmeal and coffee and left early, as usual, for a first time for me race. I was already 70 degrees when I left at 7 am and even drizzled on my way. The rain was  short lived and the sun started peaking out.

This park has lots of trail and places to swim and kayak.

I had no problems finding the race location so I had arrived over an hour before the race start.

I picked up my shirt and bib and waited around for my friends.

Since it was sponsored by the library, you got a free book too. I chose a photography book on France (of course,)

Lisa arrived first and Heidi. We chatted and chatted and soon after Andrea arrived with her husband and father.

obligatory pre-race pic

I recognized a few runners that I knew. There were two guys dressed up as Teletubbies and some serious runners.

I think she was first female.

Soon it was time to head toward the start line.

We didn’t plan to run together. Lisa is very fast and Andrea was planning to run/walk with Heidi. So we took one last pic and separated.

As I mentioned, I only knew that it was a looped course and after the first mile, it was mostly uphill.

May be an image of map and text

 

from my Garmin…it doesn’t look as bad as it felt.

Mile 1

The race started with a slight uphill on the main road leading into the park. Then there was a gradual downhill. The first thing I realized that when I didn’t wear my race bely and had my phone in the pocket, my skirt kept falling down. I decided to just carry my phone in my hand the whole race.

I also tried to pick up the pace since I figured this was the only mile that I would not be walking (and I was right.)  It was breezy by the lake and out on the  road, there was no shade and pretty steamy

Mile 2

There was a water stop at the beginning of this mile and a sprinkler (yay). I was not expecting water but it was welcome. I was getting warm.

The course shifted to flat and then about a quarter mile later, started heading uphill. And yes, I had to walk.

Mile 3- 3.1

There was a second water stop here so I grabbed some and walked even longer.

After turning left around mile 2.1 (yup, 1.5 to 2.1 was pure uphill), we had a short little downhill.

Then it was a pure uphill for the next 0.6, with no breaks at all.

I walked several times during the last 2 miles…not sure how many times.  But due to my walking, I was able to pass those who struggled to run up those hills…including the Teletubbies (lol).

Around mile 2.7, we turned right to get back on the main road that the race had started on.

The uphill continued until 2.9, and then we got a short little downhill (30 feet of drop) before the course flattened out to the finish.

Unfortunately, while the final loop around to the finish was flat, it felt long – we crossed under the start banner and then made a huge circle around the parking lot.

We made the two right hand turns to reverse direction and finally I saw the finish line ahead of me.

I did my best to sprint through the finish line but the hills had sapped much of my energy.

But I saw on the clock that I was finishing under 30 minutes so I was thrilled.

As soon as you crossed the finish line, they handed you a rose. Very sweet.

Elisa was part of another group that I used to run with…she finished just a head of me

Lisa had already finished and we waited and cheered on Andrea and Heidi.

first came the Teletubbies

Heidi had not been running so planned to walk but she didn’t and did great.

Post Race Activities:

We grabbed some water, fruit and cookies while waiting for the awards. Both Lisa and I came in second in our 10 year age groups.

Then we reminisced about our rainy Philly half and discussed possible race-cations we could take together … maybe Arizona next year??

farewell pic with Andrea’s Dad

Everyone  had to rush off so no post-race brunch. If I was more organized I would have brought my bathing suit and stayed and gone swimming.

Instead, on my way home, I stopped at a nearby trail to check out the waterfalls.

Additional Race Reflections:

I would never have picked this race on my own. But I really enjoyed the experience. I feel fortunate to be part of these women’s “tribe.” As Andrea put it: “There are no accidents nor coincidences in life. Everything happens for a reason – so glad our universes collided!” So true.

And it was a lovely small town race with about175 runners. Yes it was challenging but maybe not so much if I trained on hills.

Positives:

  • Friends Reunion
  • A real race.
  • Nice swag – tech shirt, book, a rose
  • location- pretty park with trails and a lake
  • Real bathrooms and showers

Negatives:

  • the HILLS

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. It was well organized.

Final Stats:

Garmin = 29:21 (no timing mat at the start)

another positive split race

yikes… I walked 7 times

Although my finish time was about the same as my last 5k two weeks ago, this course was harder. So I was not disappointed. Obviously if I do not train, I can’t expect those faster times.  But right now, I am content just to be out there running.

Next Up:

Whipple City 5K/10K - Greenwich, New York - Running

August 14, 2021 – I signed for the 10k


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?  Any in-person races on your schedule yet? Please share.

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Weekly Run Down for 8.2.21-8.8.21: Runner Reunion

On Sunday, I ran an unplanned 5k race.  I was excited to run it only because I would be meeting up with runners that I ran an half marathon with in 2014 and haven’t run with since.

I can’t believe this rainy race was that long ago. Lisa (3rd from left) lives in Indiana and was in town. Andrea (far right) drove over from VT for today’s 5k.

What was really nice was that I could enjoy the race because I did on my long run on Friday.

Last Week:

  • Monday –  It had rained the night before but it appeared that we may have a dry week.  I got in a walk at lunch (in the neighborhood since I was working from home today).

❤ ❤ sunflowers

and as per usual, I went to my Freihofer group run. It is a training run for beginners and intermediates but as I have mentioned before, there is no advanced group so for me, it’s a chance to run with new and old running friends.

7:2 intervals, each faster

  • Tuesday – A busy work day (even though I was at home. After work, I had to skip my long walk because I had a hair appointment.

Afterwards, I did meet my BFF for walk around the outdoor mall.

  • Wednesday – Back in the office with my new look:

time for a change – cut about 5 inches off

and so the lunch/Starbucks walk happened:

love these colors!!

Today there was a choice for either the Ice Cream group run or the SOAR group run. I enjoy running with the runners in each group so I basically choose by location. Since the ice cream run was at The Crossings where I had run on Saturday and Monday, I chose SOAR.  It was at UAlbany and near my work.

as always, I met someone new and it made my run much more pleasant.

  • Thursday – I thought that I might get up early and run before work today because at the Trail Runs, I mostly walk. But I went to bed late the night before so that didn’t happen.  I even contemplated running at lunch but the wardrobe change is too complicated.

So being in the office again, I took my usual lunch walk:

always finding new pretty color combinations.

The trail run (or walk in my case), was held again at Tawasetha Park.  The course was different but it was still fun and there were so many familiar faces.

  • Friday – DAY OFF from work. Woo Hoo! A running friend was spending the week at a retreat house on Lake George. She invited me up for the day.

Calendar

I ran some insanely hilly hot miles. It helped that the bike path was shady and it was nice to have a change of scenery:

Deirdre ran/walked the first 6 with me and then I ran 4 more solo.

and then we ate, cooled off in the lake, chatted and I read – all with views of the southern part of the lake (not where I boat.)

Georgia O’Keefe painted when staying here. The cold water was so refreshing and necessary!

  • Saturday – Normally this is my long run day but since I had a race the next day, I was planning on meeting my running friends for a walk. However, my hubby wanted to go on our boat (since I had a race the next day.) I had no problem changing my plans. And it was another lovely day on the water.

  • Sunday – Run for the Roses 5K. This was a race that I had never run and a park I had never run in. But it was so fun to meet-up with old running friends (3 states represented). I almost didn’t mind ALL the hills. lol

definitely a hard course and of course, hot and humid but even with all that walking, I came in 2nd in my AG.

I decided afterward to stop to hike at a nearby waterfall.

worth it!!

Afterward on my way to do some grocery shopping, I turned down a road that I hadn’t been down in over 20 years. I was reminiscing about how my teacher friend and I used to meet and walk here every night until I moved. And then I looked up and there she was walking!!!! Very weird. But it gets weirder. She hasn’t walked here since we stopped meeting.

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday –  FTC run
  • Tuesday – rest day, walk with friends
  • Wednesday – Ice Cream run
  • Thursday – Day at the Race track, ARE Trail Run
  • Friday – rest day, mah jongg
  • Saturday – Whipple City 10k (+ more miles)
  • Sunday –rest day, walk/hike, boating?

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Run for the Roses 5k Race Recap
  • Friday – Returning to Peleton

I am linking up with Kim and Deborah for

I encourage you to do the same. Grab the graphic, drop your link on the host blogs and play along! Please be sure to always comment on the HOST’s blogs, as well as visit and comment on as many other blogs as you can.

Happy Running! How is your running going? Any in-person races planned? Have you ever participated in a reunion with runners? Ever run a race just because others are running it? Please share.

FASNY 5K Race Recap

2021 FASNY Hudson 5K Run/Walk

July 25, 2021

This was a spur of the moment decision. I hate to do drills and I would like to get back some pep in my step. So I signed up for a 5k.

During the year of COVID, there wasn’t much racing going on.  I kept running and mostly ran slow long runs or half marathons.

Things have been slowly opening up but still not too many racing opportunities.

I used to just race every weekend. Now that I have friends to run with on the weekend, I’m being more selective in my races.  I passed up a few 5ks in favor of this one because I wanted to run in a different location.

I wasn’t exactly sure about the course but I have several times in the past raced in Saratoga State Park … and enjoyed it.

13592347_10207200017179843_5463760716667114421_n

Voila. This 5k!

Of course, I wasn’t thinking that it was mid-July. Hello heat and humidity.

So although my last 5k was in May and I did fairly well, now I was doubtful that I would be any faster in this race.

Bacon Hill Bonanza- 28:30 & AG winner

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Saturday is my normal long run day and I have a half marathon on September. Instead I went up to the lake with the hubby.

My plan to was to add more miles after the race the next day and so it could count as a “long” run.

There was a lot of relaxing going on. Since I had pizza per usual on Friday night, I ate a healthy pre-race dinner of … ice cream.

As per summer of 2021, the forecast had rain in it.  I’ve given up trying to prepare for it so just planned to wear my usual race outfit – tank & skirt.

Race Day:

I knew zilch about this race and knew no one running it. I was hoping there were be a decent crowd. (I once ran a 5k with 18 people lol)

It was an inaugural race and this company normally organizes races in NYC and LI.  So there were no reviews that I could read.

I looked up the last FASNY 5K race in June and there were only 20 runners. Yikes.

It rained on and off all night but when I woke up, it was only drizzling. I thought that I might get lucky and have a dry race. Just to be safe, I added another shirt, shoes, and rain poncho to my race gear.

I knew the start was at the Warming Hut in Saratoga State Park.  I left early because I didn’t remember exactly where that was in the huge park.

It turned out that it was really easy to find so I arrived early. Remember that drizzle? It was now a downpour.

I just sat in my car until it let up a little so I could get my bib.  Good thing I had an umbrella.

No shirt but a cooling neck thing (that I would never use). #13! Isn’t that an unlucky number?

The rain continued to come down but I just waited. I drove too far to not race.

Eventually, the rain did lighten and I got out of my car to head to the start.

Thumbs up because it was no longer raining hard. Notice that I decided NOT to wear WHITE running shoes…

It was a small crowd as predicted (35 runners). I did know three runners (whom I befriended when I used to run 5ks every weekend.)

I thought that the race would probably start on grass, continue to the roads with some hills thrown in.

I was totally wrong. It was an out and back on different paths in the park

and pretty flat.

If it weren’t for the unhealthy air conditions and the oppressive humidity, it would have been a nice race.

But unfortunately, it was one of those days. And one of those races that you want to forget and move on.

Mile 1:

The race started on a muddy dirt path and then we turned left and ran on a path along a road in the park. It was quite narrow and crowded but the real problem was the puddles of mud that you had to weave around.

My feet were immediately soaked and then I had to stop to tie my shoe. It was actually a relief since my legs felt like lead from the get go. Probably due to getting out of the car and starting to run right away.

Eventually we turned left onto a wider and drier path.

The first mile felt like a marathon. I had a hard time breathing and walked again.  It was so steamy that a little rain would have been welcomed.  But as you may have guessed, it stayed dry the whole race.

Mile 2:

We continued on this path until the turn around. I tried to slow down my pace so that I was not so out of breath and to focus on the scenery more as it is such a pretty place to run.

Mile 3- 3.1:

We continued on the same path as we started. So puddles and more puddles. I’m pretty sure that I walked again at the beginning of this mile and again toward the end.

At this point, the runner had spread out. I was never running alone but there was no one that I as trying to keep up with or pass. I was just trying to get to the finish line.

The return course changed slightly as we didn’t turn onto the path we started on. We continued straight and then turned in on an even muddier path.

Finally I caught a glimpse of the end and picked up the speed.

After I crossed the finish line, I grabbed a small bottle of water and waited for my friends to finish. There was no food or age group awards.

My first thoughts were pretty negative: Why did I pay money for this?  Why did this race feel so hard? How could I possibly run a half marathon?

Luckily these thoughts quickly switched to being happy to race again and to being outside in a beautiful park while I was chatting with other runners about upcoming races that we were all planning to run.

Post Race:

it was a good thing that I brought along some Gu since there were no post-race refreshments.

After a short rest, I was feeling more energetic and decided to enjoy the scenery in this park. So I started out to re-trace the 5k route.

Somehow, I missed the turn around and then turned left to run on a path along the main road.

and then I successfully circled back to my car. My friends were still there so we chatted. Then I continued running in the opposite direction. The gardens in this park are fabulous.

I then ran past the golf course and eventually back to my car.

So I got my long run done (3 + 3 + 3) and rewarded myself with some goodies at the farmer’s market there.

Additional Race Reflections:

Positives:

  • Ample parking.
  • Well marked course.
  • Varied park scenery.
  • Virtual option available.
  • A real race.
  • Flat course.
  • Immediate results.
  • Free photos.

Negatives:

  • No age group awards.
  • No race shirt.
  • No spectators.
  • Only 35 runners.
  • Poor air quality.
  • Very humid temps.
  • No water stop.
  • No post-race refreshments (just water)
  • Lack of speed work (my fault).

Would I recommend this race?

Nah.

I only chose this race because of its location and that there were no other races on the schedule. In hindsight, I should have skipped it and done my long run with my friends the day before.

Final Stats:

I wasn’t expecting a PR or a fabulous finish time. Could I have fun faster or walked less?  Maybe. But there didn’t seem to be a reason to.  No age group awards. I was just running for me and because it makes me feel good to race.

I was a little disappointed in that my pace was faster in both of my previous 4 mile races on more difficult courses.

I could blame the weather. But it doesn’t really matter. There will be other races. I may run better or I may run worse.

A friend recently wrote on FB about long runs and races: “They are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’ll get.”

So true.

Next Up:

Another 5k on August 8.


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? Did you experience a heat wave? Any in-person races on your schedule yet? Please share.

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