Polar Cap 4m Race Report

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I have run this race with blogger AJH several times and it was a tough hilly one but still fun.

Polar Cap - 2nd place in AG

Here we are winning AG awards in 2010

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

AG awards again in 2013

I ran with her last year but only she got an award.

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AJH’s award in 2014

AJH was running it again and I was looking forward to seeing her.

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don’t like that hill at the end but apparently we only run half the hill at the beginning this year

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during last year’s race

Also the weather was better than it has been – meaning it wasn’t snowing yet and it wasn’t sub-zero.  But it was COLD!!! In the teens when I left with snow showers predicted.

So I bundled up in my usual running layers and drove the hour ride up to Lake George.

Believe it or not, the temps warmed up to the 20s (heat wave!) and I discarded one layer.

I was glad I got there an hour early because I barely got a parking spot.  This new location does not have enough parking,  Many runners parked elsewhere and may have had their cars towed.

When I got there, AJH was already there. (She is hard core – drove all the way from VT.)

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nice to have gender-specific shirts – short sleeved – in the winter??

I chatted with some runners that I knew who were trying to talk me into  running a maathon.

Then I hung out inside with AJH until the race was about to start.

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I felt a little pressure to run fast since I didn’t win an AG award last year.  But you never know what will happen when you run a race and there are some fast runners in my age group. And this is a hilly course.

Previous Polar Cap Races:

2011 – 40:11
2013 – 41:40
2014 – 40:10

Runnin’ of the Green 4 milers (a flat course):

2014 – 38:07
2011 – 38:02 PR

Rabble Ramble:

2014 – 38:06

I have not been doing any 5ks or any speed work at all. My runs on the weekend have been long. So I was prepared for a slower time. Not a PR but maybe a course PR if I was lucky.

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I remembered the race started going uphill and my legs felt sluggish. Luckily they felt better as the race went on.

I walked after the first mile when there was a steepish hill.

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Then we went downhill for a while and it was slippery around the turns.

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I just plodded along admiring the scenery and trying for a consistent pace.

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This race has a very pretty course.  You run past the lake (which totally frozen & snow-covered)

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I really suck on the hills, I walked part of each one.  On one hill, while I was walking, a woman yelled “Don’t walk! Shuffle.” I replied that I wish I could. (In the end, I did pass her!!)

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heading toward the last hill

Unfortunately, the last half mile of this race is straight uphill!

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I think I walked twice on that hill because I wanted to finish strong. But I really had nothing left at the end.

I crossed according to the clock at 37:40! A NEW PR!!!!

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I was generally happy with the race.  I ran it faster than I thought I would.

AJH finished a little after me.

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We went inside to wait for the age group awards.

There was soup and fruit and baked goods – I am a sucker for home-made stuff and ate quite a few cookies. I also had the soup and 2 cups of chocolate milk.

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And we both won awards!!! Woo Hoo!! AJH for the 8th time.  She keeps her streak going!

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3rd and 2nd

Splits:

mile 1 – 9:12
mile 2 – 9:31
mile 3 – 9:40
mile 4 –  9:44

(Garmin time: 37:38)

Positive splits!!.  What else is new?

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

But with a big snowstorm coming, I decided to take advantage.  So I decided to run to the Winter Carnival in town.

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

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I wandered a bit.

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not sure what they were dressed up for?

Then I visited with friends who were volunteering.

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The outhouse races were beginning but I didn’t stay to watch.

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I ran around the lake and through the town and then to my friend’s house.  I talked to her hubby for about 2 hours! Then I ran back to my car.

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I wonder if the horses get cold?

I covered 4 miles in total.

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I may have stopped here…

Next, I drove north  to Bolton Landing. I ran to our marina, through town and to the Sagamore.

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the marina – my happy place (in the summer)

I stopped in a few stores…

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and inside the Sagamore before running back to car.

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one last view of the lake

Another 2 miles covered!

You are never too old to set another goal…does this mean I should run a marathon?

I decided to call it a day and head home.  (My LG friends wanted me to stop back for the car parade and the bonfire but I was pooped and wanted to drive before the snow started.)

’m linking this post up with Tara at Running n’ Reading for her Weekend Update!

Happy Running! Did you run or race this weekend?

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Reflections On My Last Half Marathon

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I had a great half marathon in West Palm Beach, Florida.

All the stars were aligned.  How could I not?

  • I was uninjured and not even coming off an injury
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happy healthy feet & legs!

  • The course was FLAT

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  • It was cool but not too cool at the start and during the race, it was warm but not too warm.

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  • There was barely any wind.

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  • You ran almost the whole race with water views.

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  • I was relaxed.
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the day before

  • I enjoyed the race while I was running it.

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As a result, I had a 9 minute PR and won my age group.  Perfect, right?

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Don’t get me wrong.  It didn’t come easy.  Running does NOT come easy to me.

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my final training mileage

I followed a flexible training plan. I tried to be more consistent with my running.  Most weeks I ran 4 times (yellow squares). Even when it was cold, I got out there.

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Thanks Judy for the company!

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I also made sure I had my rest days (white squares).

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time with my mentee & her sons

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and with my friends

I love to race and I am happy that I ran some races (blue squares) too.  For me, races are my speed work.

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10K - 57:03 - PR

5k:29:02

In addition, the first 5 weeks, I did speed work on Mondays as part of a running group. After that, the speed work disappeared.

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But for me, the important part are the long runs. And I think I got them all in: 8, 9.3, 8, 8, 9.3, 11, 12, 13.2, 8.

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What was missing?

I would have liked to do more cross-training.  I played tennis once a week but I wish I had done more yoga to increase my flexibility and have gone to the gym more often to do some strength training exercises.

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I only went ONCE

It also would have been even more enjoyable knowing someone else at the race.  It is always nice to share race experiences with someone you know.

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fun at the Love Run Half Marathon last March

And of course, no one likes pain and my blisters hurt!!  But they were temporary and went away quickly.  (I was able to run a 15K a week later.)

As I write this, I am on Week 1 of the same training plan for the Asbury Park Half Marathon on April 18, 2015.

I registered for 3 half marathons in 2015.

The West Palm Beach race was supposed to be palm trees and sunshine and a race to enjoy being away from the cold.

The Walkway Half on June 13, 2015 is supposed to be a new cool race over the new bridge. There should be people I know running it. But it may be pretty hilly.

I was planning on the Asbury Park race to be my goal (PR) race.

However, after this past half marathon, things have changed in my mind.  Of course, I will train and run the best race I can.  But I no longer feel the PR pressure.  If 2:09:40 is my fastest time, I can live with that.

Asbury Park will be along the ocean and should be scenic.  But as we know, April can still be cold and windy.  I plan to enjoy it and we’ll see how it turns out.

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So for half marathon #2 of 2015, bring on the training! And…

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Happy Running! How do you deal with PR pressure?  Can you just run for fun?

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West Palm Beach Half Marathon Race Report

January 17, 2015 6:30 am

I was very excited to run this race.  First of all, I left the frigid Northeast. Secondly, I was healthy all year and hoping for a good race.

the course

After a sleepless night, I got up around 4:00 am, had my tea & oatmeal in my hotel room and then went down to the lobby around 5:00 am to wait for the shuttle to the race start.

It was chilly and dark.  I arrived early and there was hardly anyone there yet.  So I just walked around and shivered.  I was freezing.  I don’t know why since it was probably close to 60 degrees.

Eventually a lot of people arrived and many to register on site.  Apparently, they offered a Groupon to get more people to run.

For a half marathon, it was small – only about 500 runners.  There was also a 5k race (with about 300 runners) that would start 15 minutes after the half.

There was no bag check, just a locker than you had to pay for.  I decided to just wing it and if I lost my jacket, it would be OK. So I hid it under a table. The restrooms by the amphitheatre were locked but there were many porta-potties.  For some reason, I didn’t feel the need to go.

I met some nice people, as usual, to chat with while waiting.  One lady was hoping to finish under 2:10.  I said that I would love to do that someday too.

Soon it was time to line up.  I wound up standing next 2 older women from DC who urged me to come to DC and race.

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waiting to start

I was hoping that there would be chip times as well as gun times since I was some what in the middle of things. (It turned out that there were only gun times published.)

I should mention that this was the most beautiful course I have ever run.  During almost the whole race, you were looking at the water.You can’t beat that!

It was still dark when we started since it was only 6:30 am.  For the first mile, you ran around in the city and then looped around back to the start.

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From then on for a few miles, you were running along the water and watching the sun come up …awesome.

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I liked the sky in this pic – and they were free to download

I glanced at my Garmin every now and then to make sure I wasn’t running too fast (and at the end, too slow).

But as usual, the first half was a lot faster than the second.

There were abundant water stops…at least every 2 miles and I stopped and walked at every one except the first (and I regretted that immediately.)

Once the sun came up, it was warm but not oppressively so until maybe the last few miles.  I felt perfectly dressed in a tank top & skirt.

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you can see the sun shining brightly

What was nice about the course was that for the first 7 1/2 miles, every mile or so, the course took you inside a neighborhood.  It was nice to have varied scenery and then the course was curvy so you could cut the tangents (and I made sure I did just that.)

I took a Gu before the race and then again at miles 4, 8 and 12.  I really felt good and knew that I would PR if I didn’t fall and break something.

I remember being at 1:07 at mile 7 and 1:38 at mile 10. I was happy about that.

The main problem was my feet. AGAIN!  I started to get blisters (in the same place) around mile 6 and the one on my right foot got more and more painful as the race went on.

The last 5 1/2 miles of the race were straight along the water. (No tangents to cut.)

This was the FIRST race that I just toughed it out.  Sure I was tired but I refused to walk.

I only walked through the water stops and not as long as I normally do (I need to learn to open, eat Gu & drink water quicker.)

The scenery was so beautiful that I just focused on that and how lucky I was to be there.

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don’t you agree?

Finally the end was near.

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this is how I felt too

I had spotted that lady that wanted to finish under 2:10 as she passed me a little while ago. I tried to keep her in my sight but she eventually vanished.

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heading toward the finish line

I knew I had a good race and I was happy.

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I was hoping to finish under 2:18.

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Garmin time was 2:09:20!!! Woo Hoo! and I chicked that guy!

I crossed at 2:09:40! I was shocked!!

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The runner who wanted to finish under 2:10 killed it and we congratulated each other after the race.

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here she is …at 2:06!

There were pizza, bagels and all the usual refreshments at the finish. I wasn’t really hungry.  I found those 2 ladies from DC and we hung out waiting for the results and awards.

With all the Groupon registrations, it took quite a while to calculate the winners.  That was ok since my friend Georgette was late and I had re-scheduled my hotel check out for 1 pm.

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But, yes, I won my Age Group!! (The lady from DC came in 3rd.)

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yes, TWO medals are better than ONE

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 9:31
mile 2 – 9:27
mile 3 – 9:45
mile 4 – 9:58
mile 5 – 9:59
mile 6 – 10:09
mile 7 – 10:19
mile 8 – 10:27
mile 9 – 10:38
mile 10 – 10:22
mile 11 – 10:42
mile 12 – 10:59
mile 13 – 9:36

(short according to my Garmin but I did cut every tangent)

They are mostly positive, as always.  At least there no 11 minute miles and I finished strong.

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my view from the end of the race

Goals:

A. Age Group Award – YES!
B. Finish under 2:15
  – YES!
C. PR
(finish under 2:18:33) – YES!
D. Faster than my previous PR (
finish under 2:22:35 ) – YES!
E. Finish under 2 1/2 hours – YES!
F. Finish happy & uninjured 🙂 and wearing this medal – YES (with blisters):

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As you may guess, I was supper happy with how this race turned out. And then I was able to fully enjoy the rest of my time in Florida.

Happy Running!  Anyone get blisters? Any advice?


Tuesdays on the Run: Goals for 2015

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs hosts Tuesdays on the Run with April @ Run the great wide somewhere and Patty @ My no-guilt life!

This week’s topic is: 

GOALS
FOR

So here are my 15:

  1. Do not get injured.
  2. Run 3-4 times a week ALL YEAR.
  3. Continue fitting in tennis and/or yoga once a week.
  4. Do some upper body exercises.
  5. Finish all of my races under 10 minutes per mile (except half marathons)
  6. Run at least one race per month and at least 20 for the year.
  7. Run a race in another state.
  8. Run in NYC.
  9. Get several Age Group awards.
  10. PR in a half marathon.
  11. PR at another distance.
  12. Join a running group or two.
  13. Volunteer.
  14. Run over 900 miles.
  15. Continue to blog almost everyday.

I think my goals are pretty conservative. I think they are ALL achievable.

The toughest will be #10 & #11.  The most important will be #1. If #1 happens, then #6 and #14 can follow.

Happy Running.  Happy New Year!  What is your biggest goal for 2015?

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Hangover Half Marathon recap

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January 1, 2015

Every year, the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club puts on the Winter Series, a series of free races for its members ($5 for non-members). On New Year’s Day, starting at noon, they offer the Hangover Half or 3.5 Bill Hogan Run as Winter Series #2.

I had planned to run the 3.5 mile race. That was before the 15k that went surprisingly well.  Since then I have run 11 mile and 12 mile long runs (which didn’t go as well.)

So I decided that 13.1 miles would not be a stretch and that it would be motivating to have people around (and food after.)

For New Year’s Eve, my hubby and I had a quiet evening – just dinner out and a movie. We usually go Lake George on New Year’s Day but my hubby didn’t want to and I was fine with it.

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So when I arrived at the race on New Year’s Day, I switched my registration to the half marathon.

We had been enjoying unseasonably warm winter weather. Well, that ended. It was cold today and WINDY so back to those layers.

I arrived at UAlbany early and was surprised at how many people were running on New Year’s Day. There were over 300 running the half marathon.

I bumped into to several SRMs, some runners from the Turkey Trot training group and Judy whom I have run with recently. Judy & I hung out and chatted util the race began.

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at the start

As I have previously mentioned, the course is horribly boring (and ugly) and there is no crowd support.

It is pretty much 13.1 miles of me with my own thoughts and nothing to look at besides the backs of the fast runners lapping me. Yes, three laps of the same boring loop for the whole 13.1 miles.

Sounds like torture?

And it was.

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I ran without walking until the first water stop at around 4 miles.  It was so tough running into the wind. There were times that I was barely moving forward. My lips were getting wind burned and I was cold.Then when the wind was at our backs (not often enough), I unzipped my jacket and took off my gloves. This was the story of the whole race.

Unfortunately after mile 5, my lower back and left arm started bothering me. My legs were fine but the wind was slowing me down and I began to walk.

As in the previous HMRRC Winter series race, I was running alone most of the time.The speedy runners kept passing me but each one seem to say “Good job or you’re doing great.” That was nice. I, however, did not pass anyone.

I just kept plugging along trying to maintain good running form and minimize my arm & back ache.

The last 4 miles were the hardest.  It seemed that every runner that passed me by was on their last lap but I had to run one more grueling lap.

This is when I start counting my steps to keep up the pace.

Finally the end was near but 279 runners (out of 309) were done and when I came to the next to last turn, there was no volunteer and I went straight instead of turning left. Luckily I realized my mistake and turned around.  To make mattes worse, at the last turn, I had no idea whether to turn left or go straight so I waited until the next runner (an old guy) came so I would not run the wrong way again.

I tried to make up time for my mistakes and sprinted across the finish line at 2:18:33.

Believe it or not, that was a PR!!

Although, this was a tough race for me with the wind, I was happy that I didn’t quit.

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done!

Inside, I had some soup, bread, pizza and hot chocolate before I ventured out into the cold again. I knew I didn’t win a age group award. The majority of the runners finished under 2 hours and the slowest, I think finished in 2:30.

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Race Splits: (my Garmin actually worked)

mile 1 – 9:54
mile 2 – 10:05
mile 3 – 9:52
mile 4 – 10:04
mile 5 – 10:54 (water & gu)
mile 6 – 10:32
mile 7 – 10:36
mile 8 – 11:28 (water & gu)
mile 9 – 10:32
mile 10 – 10:54
mile 11 – 11:03 (water)
mile 12 –  10:54
mile 13- 10:47
.23 –  8:44

If only I was strong enough to run without walking, I would have a faster finish time.

My goal was to get through the race without too much pain and boredom. A PR was a plus!

I am glad that I started the new year with a race.

Now I have to stay healthy for 16 more days!

Happy Running! Did you run on New Year’s Day?

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Tuesdays on the Run: Wrap-up – A Look Back at 2014

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs hosts Tuesdays on the Run with April @ Run the great wide somewhere and Patty @ My no-guilt life!

This week’s topic is: Wrap-up – A Look Back at 2014

2014 was probably my best year of running. NO INJURIES!!!!!!!!

Here are some highlights:

  • 4 Destination races in 4 different states
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10 miler in CA.

before the race

5k In FL.

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a Half Marathon in PA.

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10 miler in NJ

  •  PRs at 5 distances

half marathon PR in March

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10 mile PR in October

15K PR in November

10K PR in November

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5K PR in September

  • Many many Age Group Awards (18, I think):
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one of my favorites

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$50 gift card to a restaurant

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  •  Ran lots of races (over 30) of which 20 were new races.  Most of these I want to run again next year.
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Troy Turkey Trot 10K

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Great Pumpkin Challenge

Run for the Roc - September

Run for the Roc 5K

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Adirondack Distance Challenge

  • Ran in some new places and met new faces
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Uncle Sam’s Bikeway & RPI Campus in Troy

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Blatnik Hill (part of Nisky bike trail)

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Union college campus & the STEM group members

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Prospect Park with the Turkey Troy Training group members

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ran in Central Park, NY for the first & hopefully not the last time

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new running buddy, Judy that I met on FB

Happy Running!  How was your 2014?

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2014 was a good year

report-card1Yes, it was a very good year:

  • ZERO injuries
  • 5 PRs
  • many races including three 10 mile races, four 10k races, two half marathons, three 15k races, fifteen 5k races and more…

So let’s take a closer look at my 2014 goals

1. Do not get injuredNo injuries, YAY!

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happy legs

happy feet

Saratoga Springs Half Marathon

happy body

2.  Run 3-4 times a week ALL YEAR. Yes!

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in the freezing cold

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in the spring

during my vacation

during my vacation

in the park

in the summer

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in the fall

3.  Continue fitting in tennis and/or yoga once a week and upper body & core strength exercises (planks & weights). Tennis YES, Yoga  Rarely, Planks & Weights SO  SO, Gym occasionally starting in October.

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my instructor returned from maternity leave on May 7 and then went out on leave for lyme disease in July…

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when I can remember to use them

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indoors except the summer

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4.  Finish all races (except 15ks & half marathons) at under 10 min. per mile paceAlmost all. Even a few under 9 min!!!

5.  Run at least one race per month and at least 20 for the yearYes!  33 races.

6.  Run a race in another state or even a NEW state. Yes in FOUR states! Mayor’s Wellness 10 miler in CA,  Lighthouse 5k in FL, the Love Run Half in PA and the Perfect 10 Miler in NJ (which is a NEW state).

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Lighthouse 5K  in FL.

7. Run at least 10 NEW races. Yes20!- Mayor’s Wellness 10m, HMRRC Winter Series #3 15K, Lighthouse 5k, Love Run, Bacon Hill 5k, Rabbit Ramble 4m, Cherry Blossom 5k, Spring Run off 10k, Mom’s 5K, Betar Byway 5K, Strawberry Fest 5K, Adirondack Distance Run, Saratoga Half Marathon, Turning Point 5K, Run for the Roc 5K, Apple Run 5K, Great Pumpkin Challenge 10K , Perfect 10 Miler, Troy Turkey Trot 10k, HMRRC#1 15K

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first annual Love Run

Bacon Hill Bonanza

Bacon Hill 5k

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Spring Run Off 10K

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Strawberry Fest 5K

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Saratoga Half Marathon

Run for the Roc - October

Run for the Roc 5K

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Great Pumpkin Challenge 10K

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Troy Turkey Trot 10K

8. Run in NYCYes! Not a race but I ran there.

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9. Get an Age Group award. Yes! 18 of them – 3rd at Mayor’s Wellness, 1st at Lighthouse 5K, 1st at Bacon Hill 5k, 2nd at Rabbit Ramble 4m, 2nd at Cherry Blossom 5k, 3rd at Spring Run Off 10K, 1st at Mom’s Day 5k, 1st at Betar Byway 5K, 1st at Strawberry Fest 5K,  2nd at Saratoga HM, 3rd at Turning Pt 5K,  2nd at Jailhouse Rock 5k, 3rd at Malta 5k, 2nd at Run for the Roc 5k, 1st at Apple Run 5K, 1st at Falling Leaves 5K, 1st at Run off that Turkey 5K, 3rd at Albany Last Run 5K

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Mayor’s Wellness 10m

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Cherry Blossom5k

Mom's Day 5K

Mom’s Day 5K

Spring Run Off - May

Spring Run Off  10K

Betar Byway - June

Betar Byway  5K

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Strawberry fest 5K

Turning Point - July

Turning Point 5k

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Malta 5k

10. Run a 10 mile race. Yes!  3 – Mayor’s Wellness 10m, Adirondack Distance Run and Perfect 10 Miler.

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Mayor’s Wellness 10m

Adirondack Distance Run

10 miler - 1:38:45

11. Run at least one half marathon. Yes! 2 – The Love Run and Saratoga Half Marathon

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Saratoga Half

12. PR in a half marathon. Yes! at the Love Run.

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4 sec PR

13. Run over 800 miles.  Yes!  Over 900 miles!

2014

most miles ever

14. Continue to blog almost everyday. Yes! 

Goal added for the second half of the year:

  • PR in a 5K.  Yes!
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Run for the Roc – 19 sec PR over 2011 PR

Achievements that weren’t goals:

  • PR in a 10K
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Troy Turkey Trot

  • PR in a 10 mile race
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Perfect 10 miler

  • PR in a 15K
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Stockadeathon

Yes, at age 61, I PRed at every distance this year.  I’m not getting older, I’m getting better!!

Happy Running! Do you have yearly goals?  If so, how did you do this year?

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Stockadeathon 15K race recap

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This is my third time running this 15k race. In 2011, my first time, I finished in 1:36:08.  I was injured in 2012 and then I ran it last year and finished with  a disappointing 142:22.

This year, I was hoping for a rebound.

But since this was a brand new course…who knew??

My legs should have been fresh since I hadn’t run on Thurs, Friday or Saturday. (Yes I skipped my Friday run out of laziness.)

With over 2000 runners in this race, they were forced to make some changes to the course.

It no longer started and ended in Central Park. It also started earlier – 8:30 am

This is a description of the new course:

The Stockade-athon 15K course was modified in 2014 and now starts near Veterans Park in downtown Schenectady. The course travels west on State Street for 1K before entering the historic Stockade District and proceeding on a scenic bike path in Riverside Park along the Mohawk River. The course exits the Stockade District via Front Street after crossing Erie Blvd. The course then proceeds east on Nott Street past Union College before entering the historic GE Plot residential neighborhood via Lenox Ave, Douglas Rd and Rugby Rd. The course exits Rugby Road and proceeds north on Waverly Place near the 5K mark. The course turns east off Waverly and follows Grand Blvd to the city boundary with Niskayuna, then proceeds south on Dean Street to Central Parkway past 8k. After a 1K residential loop on Central Parkway, the course enters beautiful Central Park and follows a bike path around Iroquois Lake and Duck Pond before reaching its highest elevation near 12K. The final 3k is mostly downhill or flat as the course exits Central Park and proceeds west through historic Vale Cemetery and Vale Park before a final downhill section on Franklin Street to the finish at City Hall.

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To save time, I picked up my race packet on Saturday at Fleet Feet in Albany.

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nice long sleeve tech shirt

As usual, I didn’t sleep much the night before the race. I woke up with a bloody nose (sinuses not used to cold weather, I guess.) I had decided what to wear but still wasn’t sure about how cold it would be. It was in the 30s when I got up and it was forecasted to warm up to the high 40s.

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I left extra early not knowing where exactly to park. I got there around 7:15am and found a spot in a convenient lot a few blocks from the start of the race.

I walked to the YMCA to use the restroom and check my extra clothes. There I bumped into a few familiar faces.

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with Bev, a former mah jongg player whom I have’t seen in a while

I used the restroom right away and was glad that I did since the line got very very long later on. I also decided to take off my extra layer (the shirt under my purple shirt) but keep my gloves.  It was so nice to have some place to stay warm before the race.  They even had water, coffee, donuts, fruit, etc.  I didn’t eat anything since I ate breakfast before I left but did take a GU. (For some reason. it gave me an instant stomachache which never let up the whole race.  Strange? I’ve never had a problem with GU.)

Soon, it was time to walk a few blocks and head to the starting line, Bev and I started together towards the front.

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photo from Daily Gazette

As with any big race, it was very slow going at first. As the description above stated, we headed west along the Mohawk River into the Stockade section of town. (One criticism that I have read about the race is that you didn’t run as much through this area as in the past.)

photo by David Giacalone

I really liked this course.  It was so varied that it also took your mind off the hills. With the large number of runners, I felt like I was always running with others and it kept me going.

Yes, it was hilly.  The first half had a lot more hills but they were manageable. (Even I ran up them.)  The second half had fewer hills but they were steeper.

During the first half of the race, the sun peaked out and there was no wind so I was warm (so glad I took off that shirt and regretted holding those gloves.) But during the second half, it clouded up and got breezy and I was a little chilled by the end.

After the bike path and the Stockade area, we ran past Union College and around various residential neighborhoods.

It was fun to spot many volunteers that I knew. The crowd support was great, as well.

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This photo was taken by Elisa at the 5K point

We actually ran past my friend. Bev’s house. Her family was out front with a big sign that said: “You’re not old. You’re not slow. You’re Bev Skoll. Now Go, Go Go!!”

That made me smile.  I yelled hello and tried to run “faster.”

I was trying to keep my pace around 10 but at this point I was starting to slow down.  I had a stomachache and the hills were relentless.  How could I not?  I still felt strong and stronger than I had during the 10 miler 2 weeks ago.

Around mile 6, we entered Central Park with its rolling hills and pretty foliage.

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still leaves on the trees

I had at this point walked through both water stops and a few other times (including once to take a GU).  My pace was still strong but my stomach cramps lingered on and I walked again.

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I always smile for the camera.

Between mile 7 and 8 is where the BIG hills came.  I walked up the first one.  And it was the first hill that I walked up (those Troy hill runs must be helping.) Then I decided to run up the second because I heard it was the last one.  It was so steep that when I got to the top, my legs were jelly and I could hardly run.

At this point, I was excited that the hills were over and I got a second wind. We proceeded to run through the cemetery and then through a park before heading DOWNHILL to the finish line at city hall.

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gunning for a PR

When I saw the clock, I ran as fast as I could.

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Yay! Got it!

As soon as I was done, I saw a bunch of SRMs and then I waited for my friend Bev, to cross.

I looked at the results and saw that I finished at 1:33:23 — 9 minutes faster than last year and a new PR by almost 3 minutes!! I was thrilled.  I was 11th out of 29 in my age group. (No award for me…and they gave out nice pottery too)

I walked to the YMCA to change into warmer clothes and then went to Proctors to get something to eat. There was vegetable soup, pizza, bagels, cider donuts, fruit, chocolate milk, yogurt, and lots more.

I bumped into Bev again and we hung out and ate.  Then we wandered over to the indoors Farmers Market — 2 floors of local baked goods, fruits, vegetables.  Unfortunately I didn’t have any money on me so we just sampled the food and walked around.

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So this race was everything I hoped and more. The race was well organized and though my pace was slower than 2 weeks ago, I felt better.  The hills slowed me down but I ran up almost all of them.

Good news! I did not get blisters!! I wore different shoes and put waterproof bandaids over the old blisters. (However, I’m not sure they helped because they felt off.)

Bad news! Upset stomach and lower back pain.  (Dinner?? Shoes?)

Splits:

mile 1 – 8:49
mile 2 – 9:29
mile 3 – 10:03
mile 4 – 10:04
mile 5 – 9:49
mile 6 – 10:30
mile 7 – 10:35
mile 8 – 10:58
mile 9 – 10:02
.4 –  8:26

As you can see below, my pace for the 10K portion was 9:55 and then the final 5K, it was 10:20.

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Race Goals:

A: PR  (under 1:36:08) YES!
B: Faster than last year (under 1:42:22) YES!
C: Finish happy and healthy (hopefully without any blisters!) YES!

Ibuprofen and a hot shower cured my back ache.  The day ended with a Chinese dinner with my Mah Jongg group to celebrate 6 years of playing together.

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Happy Running! Did you run or race this past weekend? If so, how did it go?

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The Perfect 10 Miler race recap

10-26-14 in NJ

I had been excited about this race since last March.

I coordinated it with a visit to a college friend, Andrea, who lives in NJ.

I drove to her house on Friday.  Then on Saturday, we took the ferry into NYC for a college reunion.

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on the ferry

A group of 7 of us who spent our junior year abroad in Nice, France (41 years ago!!) met for brunch at a French restaurant (of course) and we chatted and chatted.

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the group outside the restaurant

Since this was a French brunch, there was no pasta on the menu so I had crepes instead. I also had creme brulee for dessert but neither seemed to be substantial enough.

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After we left the restaurant, we walked around Washington Square Park and I bought a NYC pretzel (I had to carb load, right?)

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Then instead of taking the subway, we decided to walk to the High Line, walk it to end and then to the ferry. (Walking all afternoon the day before a race in uncomfortable shoes? What was I thinking???)

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I walked on the High Line last year but they have recently extended it.

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view from the High line

By the time we got back, the sun was setting.

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view on NJ from NYC

We decided to stop for pizza back in NJ (more carbs for me!!)

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our view of NYC from the restaurant in NJ

I paid extra to pick up my race packet on race day so I needed to leave earlier even earlier on Sunday.

I originally thought that my friend lived closer to the race than she did.  According to Google, it would take anywhere between 1 h 5 min and 1 h 20 min. Since the race started at 8 am and I wanted to be there at 7 am, I had to leave around 5:15 am (ouch!)

With maybe 5000 runners, I was nervous about how long it would take me to into in the park and that the park would close at 7:15 am.

So of course, I couldn’t sleep at all.

I got up at 4:30 am and had my hot cereal and tea and headed out.  At this hour, there was no traffic and thanks to my Garmin GPS, I had no problems finding Mercer County Park.

I arrived as one of the first cars in the parking lot.

I walked to the skating rink (still dark out!) and picked up my race packet.  There were indoor restrooms (but NO toilet paper).

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glad I got this photo – never saw them again – where are their speedos?

Then, I walked back to my car.  I decided since there was a bag check and it was a long walk, I would get my clothes to change into for after the race.

At this point, the parking lot was filling up and there was a long line of traffic getting into the park.  I was glad that I had arrived early.

I walked back to the rink, checked my bag and used the restroom. (There were single porta potties everywhere but the lines were LONG.)

Soon it was time to walk to the start (which was quite a long walk.) There were lots and lots of porta potties there …who knew?

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started with my DIY arm warmers on

The weather was perfect for racing…in the 50s and sunny.  It was breezy and  it was supposed to get very windy later.

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I lined up near the 9 min/mile pacer.  I planned to stay there as long as I could.

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It was very crowded at the start and I had a hard time moving.  I weaved in and out through the crowd for quite a while.

As per my usual plan, I started out fast and walked through the water stops.  I expected them at least every 2 miles but the first two weren’t until mile 2.5 and mile 5 and I regretted not carrying water… I was so thirsty.  After that, the stops seemed to be every mile.

I was warm & ditched my cheap DIY arm warmers.  It was warm enough to have worn a tank top but I was fine with what I wore.

Around mile 4, I took a Gu and then realized that I had lost my other Gu.  No problem since they were giving out energy gels at one of the water stops later.

Luckily I grabbed some red licorice around mile 6 because I missed the gels around mile 8.

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To sum up the race, my pace was decent for the first five miles.  Then I developed blisters and they got more and more painful.  As they got painful, I ran slower and walked more.

I never saw the 10 min/mi pacer which really surprised me.

The course was nice…you ran around the park and then around a college campus and back…nothing really scenic but not very hilly which made me happy.

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The last mile seemed to go on forever. The wind had picked up and we were running into it.

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I definitely didn’t have the energy to sprint like I usually do through the finish line but I was so glad to be done and take off my shoes!

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I crossed at 1:38:45 (chip time).

As soon as you were done, you could go to a computer and check your time.

Then I limped to the food tent where they boasted of having “Healthy Clean Eats” …pretzels, grilled zucchini, peppers, asparagus and chicken.

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I wanted a bagel, cookies or donuts and chocolate milk…wah! wah!

But I ate the pretzel and went to change my clothes. (There was supposed to be beer and mimosas but I didn’t see any.)

done with my not so perfect 10 miles

They gave out awards early.  I didn’t need to stay, I was 8th in my age group.  The winner ran a 7 min. miles!! At age 60!

Believe it or not,  this was a PR for me (by almost 6 minutes)!! My previous 10 mile times were 1:44:39 and 1:49:55.

Race Stats:

finished 770 out of 1977
finished 8 out of 36 in my age group

Splits:

mile 1- 9:39
mile 2- 9:12
mile 3 -9:23
mile 4- 9:25
mile 5 – 10:16
mile 6 – 10:17
mile 7 – 10:27
mile 8 – 10:41
mile 9 – 10:27
mile 10 – 10:07

love the hoodie

I was happy with my time and I enjoyed racing but on the whole, the race was just so-so.

It seemed to be more hype than anything.  Maybe it was because this was the first race that I have done alone…no friends or family running or watching…or that my feet hurt and I didn’t run well the second half.

When I was done, I met my friend at Grounds for Sculpture which was about 10 minutes away. We had lunch (crepes again) and walked the gardens for 5 hours (my poor footsies) looking at Seward Johnson‘s sculptures. It was wonderful.

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I am wearing my race shirt.

The next day, I stopped off to visit a boating friend who also lives in NJ.

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still eating to recover from my race 🙂

I had a great time visiting my NJ friends, seeing my college friends, walking around NYC and Grounds for Sculpture and for the first time ever, my destination race was not the highlight of my weekend.

Happy Running! How was your weekend? Ever run a race that didn’t meet your expectations?

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Run for the Roc 5k race recap

I’ve never run this race before.  I signed up because it was a new race for me and it was on Sunday (I had to work & had a party on Saturday).  It also took place in Saratoga where I wanted to run in the park there afterward. And I love the race track.

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this past August

When I was a teacher and off for the summer, I used to go to the races often.  Now I just go once for breakfast.

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As you can see from the map above, the race is run around the race track. It should be pretty flat.

Unfortunately, it was very warm especially for this time of year and the race started at 11 am.

It was sunny and in the 70s. Very warm for this time of year!!

I knew that this would be a crowded race and the kids race and team photo ops would be first so I planned to arrive early. I got there about an hour early, found parking in a big lot and picked up my race packet.

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I had forgotten that you could personalize your bib.  JA is my running buddy. You also got a long sleeve lime green tech shirt. It was nice that they had (many) real bathrooms, massages and a bag check. So I checked my shirt, walked around and watched the kids race.

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finish line for the kids race

It was getting warmer so I tried to drink more water and stay in the shade.

(While I was waiting, my hubby called saying he and my friends were waiting for me on an island in Lake George.  I guess he forgot that the race started so late and of course said “Can’t you just skip it?”  You know what my response was and he agreed to come get me at the marina in a few hours.)

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pre-race photo

Then we had to line up.  There were signs for paces and I stood with the 8-9 min milers.  I think there were about 800 runners.

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you can see me on the right

The course was very winding.  So I tried to run the tangents but if you did, you were in the sun.

As usual, I went out fast.  It was warm and I found it hard to breathe but I willed myself to not stop until at least the halfway point.  I even skipped the water.

Eventually, I did stop and walk for a while. I hated to do it but when I do, I get a second wind.

I tried not to look at my Garmin but when I did glance at it around mile 2, I got PR thoughts in my brain.

But again during the last mile, I felt the need to walk AGAIN!  I knew I couldn’t finish strong unless I did.

I figured my PR hopes were over and tried to just finish without puking.

As I approached the finish line, I saw 26:XX. I was shocked but couldn’t muster up enough energy to break 27 minutes.

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I am coming …

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a little closer

Needless to say, I was happy.

I wasn’t very hungry unfortunately because the post-race refreshments were great – the usual bars, yogurt, bananas, apples but also CHOCOLATE MILK, string cheese, homemade PUMPKIN muffins and hot dogs, etc.

I had 2 chocolate milks and took a muffin to go.

I checked the results and saw that I won 2nd in my age group…engraved rocks (run for ROC, get it?)

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there were a lot of fast runners in this race.

I took a photo of the award but didn’t stay because they said they would mail it to me.

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Obviously, since my hubby was patiently waiting for me, I couldn’t go to the park and finish my long run 😦 That will have to wait until next weekend.

My race goals were almost the same as all my other 5Ks:

  • run each mile under 10 min. YES! even mile 1 under 9 min!!!!
  • run the whole thing.  NO! but I had a PR!!!!!!!!!!
  • win a AG award.  YES! 2nd.
  • have fun & stay healthy. YES!

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 8:46
mile 2  – 9:05 (walk #1)
mile 3 –  9:05 (walk #2)
.1 – .7:19

27:09 according to my Garmin and officially 27:11 – a PR by 19 seconds!!!!  My last 5K PR was set 4 years ago.

Even though I had positive splits (as usual), I had a faster time than 2 weeks ago when I ran without stopping!?

My day ended as wonderfully as it began.  My hubby picked me up at the marina and we spent the afternoon with friends.

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They had a “Low country boil.”

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fish, shrimp, clams, corn, chicken, suadage, etc.

We listened to music, danced and played a trivia game.

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visitor to the island

After they left, we hung around for a while and I went to a run/walk on the trail…I think I covered about 2 miles.

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trees are still green here

Then it was time to head back home 😦

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Hopefully this won’t be our last time on the Lake for the season (2 more weekends left.)

Happy Running! How was your weekend?  Any running or racing to report?

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