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 out 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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Weekly Run Down for 9.13.21-9.19.21: Reno and Half Marathon Training Continue

The house was still a disaster zone.  Not just the kitchen but now the family room, as well.

Finally, I had a Saturday without a race scheduled so I was able to do my long run in preparation for my next half marathon.

Last Week:

  • Monday – They started installing kitchen floor. After emptying the family room, it was decided not to put in a new floor…UGH!  Instead we may either clean the existing carpeting or buy new carpeting (Either way, I’m NOT putting that clutter back!)

After work, I ran with the ladies in the FTC group. Always a good workout when running with others.

  • Tuesday – Normally a walk day but I had a hair appt. after work and then had to rush home for a college reunion ZOOM.

progress on the new floor

  • Wednesday – In the office today meant a walk at lunch.  There were rain and thunderstorms in the forecast. Fingers crossed that they would start late.

There was also a SOAR group run scheduled but I decided instead to run at UAlbany and follow it with a walk with my BFF (We hadn’t caught up in a while.)

The rain did come earlier than I hoped but I was able to squeeze in a few miles near work.

had to sprint to my car to avoid getting soaked.

  • Thursday – I ran before work today since I thought that we would be walking the trails after work.

the weather was glorious…why don’t I do this more often??

This week we had planned on the Water Tower trail (part of the Pinebush trail system) but many couldn’t make it so we postponed until next Thursday. Instead I met Heidi to run on the Corning bike path along the Hudson R.. The second run of the day made up for my rained shortened run the day before.

so nice to have company for a run

The kitchen reno is done for now:

still no sink, dishwasher or countertops … sigh

  • Friday – On the reno front, the kitchen was supposed to be measured for the granite countertops. I waited and skipped my lunch walk and they cancelled for the second time!!! Grrr

Not much other activity today.  After work, my tennis friends and I had tickets to hear Aztec Two Step perform Simon and Garfunkel songs.

Aztec Two-Step 2.0 SHOW REEL - The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook (Old Friends)

This was so fun but would have been even better to sing along without masks lol

Of course, we met for a delicious dinner beforehand.

  • Saturday – Back to half marathon training. Today I ran 12 miles with Sherry, Heidi and Deirdre. After, we met the others for brunch.

the humidity was a killer but as always, it’s easier with a friend.

Then I rushed home hoping the countertop guy would show up.  He did!!! Hopefully they will be installed in a week or two.

But I think going up and down the stairs to put stuff back in the cabinets (and de-cluttering at the same time) may have been more  tiring than the 12 miles.

  • Sunday – Relaxing in the sun on our boat…

picture perfect day on Lake George

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday –  FTC run
  • Tuesday – rest day, walk with friends
  • Wednesday – run
  • Thursday – run, trail group walk
  • Friday – rest day, volunteer at packet pick-up
  • Saturday – Freihofer Run for Women 5k (+5 miles)
  • Sunday  – rest day, boating/hiking

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Malta 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? Is the weather interfering with your runs? Please share.

FFF: Tips for “Older Runners”

Recently I posted on Tips for Beginner Runners.

At the time, I got to thinking that many of these tips were still true for us “older” runners. By “older”, I mean OVER 50 years old.  (But “older” does NOT mean OLD lol).

I also realized that there may also be some other tips that only apply to those runners who are over 50.

So here you go:

1.Age Groups Rock.

I mean you should not be comparing your pace to someone younger than you.

I used to play competitive tennis and I hated that it seemed to only matter if you won or not and what your score was.

You may not win any awards because the numbers of those running in their later years have been increasing (and quite frankly many are faster than I ever was.)

But still, it’s good that you can see how you compare to someone your own age.

Love how Andrea  & I (who was my exact age) would compete with each other.

2. If you keep running, you will most likely get Slower.

I say “most likely” because I’m sure that there are runners who still improve as they age.

But as a rule, after 10 years of running, your finish times will be slower.

So if this bothers you, stop racing. LOL

I admit, it’s not easy to accept that my 5k and half marathon times have reverted to where they were when I first ran those distances.

slow but happy

3. Body Parts Will Hurt.

It’s part of the aging process. But it’s different for each runner.

For me, it’s my lower back. For others, it may be your feet or your hips.

Again, I say, if this bothers you, stop running.

and miss all the fun… !?

4. Misery Loves Company.

In other words, don’t go at it alone.  Run with others.  Find your tribe!

everyone in this group is over 50 and we know how to have a good time together.

5. Cross Training is even MORE Important as you get Older.

In addition to running, find another activity for those rest days – yoga, walking, weight lifting, spinning, etc.

I do a lot of walking and hiking but in those winter months, my stationary bike was my new best friend.

Happy Running! Are you an “older” runner? If so, any tips to add? Please share.

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Welcome to Fit Friday Five! Please join the hosts Me (My First 5K and More), Running With AttitudeRun Laugh Eat PieRuns with Pugs, and Zenaida

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Click here to enter

Race 4 The River Half Marathon Race Recap

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

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

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

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

Half Marathon Training:

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

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

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

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

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

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

I picked up my race packet Friday evening

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

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

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

Race Day:

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

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

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

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

There was plenty of parking in the grassy lot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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course map

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and elevation

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

Miles 1-3:

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

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

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

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

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

Miles 4-6

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

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

Miles 7-10

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

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

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

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

Miles 11-13.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally El.

So group picture time…

Post Race Activities:

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

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

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

By the time we got there, we were hungry.

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

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

Additional Race Reflections:

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

Positives:

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

Negatives:

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

Would I recommend this race?

Yes.

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

Final Stats:

Splits:

Walking definitely slowed down my pace the last few miles.

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

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

Next Up:

Two 5ks and another Half Marathon.


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


I’m also linking up here:

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

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

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Weekly Run Down for 9.6.21-9.12.21: WFH Extended, Kitchen Reno and a 5K

So nice to have a four-day work week. Even nicer that I do not have to go back to the office full-time until Sept. 20!! Woo Hoo!

And even though I just ran a half marathon, I did sign up and run a 5k race. It was a race that I’ve done several times in the past (so why not?)

The majority of my week was spent on kitchen reno stuff…

The last few weeks, 2 layers of flowered wallpaper and borders were removed (top) and the walls re-painted (bottom), new curtains. And all new appliances!!!

Last Week:

  • Monday – HOLIDAY! Day off from work! After a rainy Sunday, I was hoping that it would be boating weather. Since it was #nevermissamonday, I started the day with a run.  I decided on the other end of the rail trail for the waterfalls and bridges and it being downhill on the way back.  There were no DOMS from my recent half marathon. Always glad when nothing hurts.

did not need capris – it was warmer than I thought but still lovely running weather

We decided that it was indeed a boating day so we headed up to Lake George. It was raining when we arrived but then it turned out to be a picture perfect day on the lake.

rain clouds at the marina followed by sunshine in Red Rock Bay

  • Tuesday – Work day at the office means lunch walk for Starbucks.

had my first pumpkin latte and summer flowers are being replaced by fall mums.

It was a rest day so I met friends after work for a long walk on the rail trail.

I came home to my new kitchen:

morning (top), evening (bottom) – I told my hubby it would be like camping. Eating on paper plates and using the bathroom for water.

  • Wednesday – Working today from home allowed me to get in my run during lunch in case the predicted rain happened after work.

even with the breeze and lower humidity, I still don’t recommend running at NOON….hot!

Since the rain seemed to be delayed, I participated in a FTC group run followed by a smoothie tasting at the Athleta store in our mall.

just a small group came for the run and we got it done before the storms

  • Thursday – Since I ran twice the day before, I bagged the idea of getting up and running before going to the office. Besides, it was raining in the morning.

There was progress in the kitchen…

next up is the hardware, microwave 

I got in my office lunch walk (and Starbucks) since the rain had stopped.

After work, I met my friends for our weekly trail walk.  We went to Thacher again but to a different (and hillier trail.)

3 fun miles

And our favorite restaurant was open so we headed there after for dinner.

dinner view

  • Friday – Another rest day and day at the office. Got in a walk at lunch and after work.

microwave in and hardware added. onto the flooring next week

Played mah jongg in the evening after a few weeks off.

  • SaturdayMalta 5K. One of my favorite local 5ks. It’s nice to have races returning and to see so many familiar faces.  And the weather was perfect, as well.

After the race, I decided to run some more to see what the 10k course was like. I’m glad I did not race it….. downhill and then uphill the last few miles.

After 4 miles or so, I decided to continue my run on the Zim Smith trail..  I parked at Leah’s Cakery but changed my mind and ran in town. What a cute town and a nice change of pace.

got hungry after 2 more miles

  • Sunday – Decided since our home was already a mess to replace the carpeting in the family room with the same flooring as in the kitchen.  That meant emptying the family room (OY!!)

I did most of the packing up last night so that I could either go boating or hiking if the weather cooperated. The forecast was for rain up North so I chose to hike and head South. (Of course it was sunny and never rained. Grrrrr)

First I went to Mawignack Preserve in Catskill, NY. where Thomas Cole did most of his paintings.

It was only a mile hike so I drove to the Thomas Cole Historic Site.  I just missed the 2pm entrance time and didn’t want to wait another hour so I walked the grounds and then over the Rip Van Winkle bridge. If I had more time (and not rain coming), I would have continued to Olana.

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday –  FTC run
  • Tuesday – rest day, hair appt., College friends ZOOM
  • Wednesday – run, walkwith BFF
  • Thursday – run, trail group walk
  • Friday – rest day, CONCERT
  • Saturday – LONG RUN (12 miles)
  • Sunday  – rest day, boating/hiking

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Race 4 The River Half Marathon Race Recap
  • Friday – Tips for “Older” Runners

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.

FFF: Looking Forward to Fall

Whoa! Where did summer go?

I LOVE summer but here are a few things that I will enjoy this Fall:

1.Cooler and Less Humid Weather Conditions.

As I said, I normally love the sunshine and warm temps of summer.  But this summer, the humidity really tried my patience.

Hopefully, this Fall, my runs will be more comfortable and hence speedier.

2. Fall Foliage Viewing and More Hiking Activities.

Living in upstate New York, we are usually treated to gorgeous fall colors.  Hopefully the awful summer weather will not impact this.

The Fall is also for the same reason, my favorite season to hike in. Boating Sundays will end soon and be replaced by Hiking Sunday.

3. More Racing Ops.

Many of the Fall races are now being held in-person.

Great Pumpkin Challenge

Many of the spring races have been re-scheduled to this Fall.

 Freihofer Run for Women

4.  A Race-cation with Friends.

Last year, I went to NH with my running friends but the race was cancelled. So this year, we rented a house again and plan to spend 4 days in NH which will include running an in-person race and assorted shenanigans.

after our “virtual” Smuttynose Half Marathon

5.  Pumpkin everything and Cider Donuts!

Yes, I do love Fall food!! Especially those with added sugar LOL

Happy Running! Are you looking forward to Fall? If so, what activities do you have planned?

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Welcome to Fit Friday Five! Please join the hosts Me (My First 5K and More), Running With AttitudeRun Laugh Eat PieRuns with Pugs, and Zenaida

and add your link below:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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2021 Workforce Team Challenge Race Recap

CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge to Return in 2021 - CDPHP

August 26, 2021 – 5:30 pm-Altamont Fairgrounds

The CDPHP® Workforce Team Challenge is a 3.5-mile road race open to teams of employees from corporations, businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, not-for-profit corporations, and financial institutions. Participating companies, organizations, and agencies use the event as a platform to provide health and fitness opportunities in the workplace while promoting goodwill and camaraderie among their employees.

This race normally takes place in May at the Empire State Plaza in Albany on a similar course to the old Freihofer course. It sells out early with a cap of 10,000 runners.

At my former job, I ran this race once (in 2011), the only year I convinced them to have a team.  It was fun so I signed up to be part of a team at my new job five years ago. We didn’t actually have enough runners for our own team so we partnered with UAlbany. I ran it with this team the last two years, as well.

I enjoyed it and it was a good way to get to know others where I work

So COVID happened and last year’s race was cancelled.

This year, they scheduled it but postponed it from May until late August.

They also changed the venue.  No longer in the city of Albany but the course would be on the hills of Altamont. There would also be a staggered start and start an hour earlier:

5:30PM – Wave A (Males 24:30 and under)
5:40PM – Wave B (Females 28:00 and under)
5:50PM – Wave C
6:00PM – Wave D
6:10PM – Wave E
6:20PM – Wave F

Many post-COVID races have taken place here due to the openness of the start/finish area and the wide country roads.

I got an email at work that the team we had previously run with was not organizing a team. So instead we joined a new team (SUNY System Admin.) There would be about 25 of us (a few others opted to run the race virtually.)

Pre-Race Preparations and Activities:

If you read my blog, you know that I have a half marathon soon (on Sept. 4) and that I have been running a few shorter races on the weekend.

3.5 miles is an odd distance but with running mostly 3 miles on weekdays, it should not have been a stretch.

The last 3.5 race that I ran was this one back in May of 2019. My time was a PR but on a completely different course.

32:56

Last June I did run a 4 mile race on a similar course in Altamont.

 36:38

I really had no goal but I assumed that my finish time would be somewhere between those two times.  Of course, weather could be a factor as well.

The predicted temp was 90 degrees with 90% humidity!!!!!!!!! Holy moley!

Race Day:

I was scheduled for wave C (5:50 pm).  But we were asked to arrive at 5 pm for a 5:10 group photo.

I was working from home that day so at least I would not have to decide what to wear in the morning and carry my clothes to work.  I did not know if we would have team shirts but I wore purple as I did the other years since UAlbany colors are purple and gold.

I also had to remember to bring a cup to fill up at the water stops (a COVID restriction).

Another issue was fueling. When and what do you eat for a race that starts at 5:50 pm?

So when I finished work at 4pm, I ate a protein bar and a banana and hoped that would be enough.

I doubted that there would be 10,000 racers but still, I left early in order to get parking.

We were emailed a map as to where to meet the team captain and get our bib and shirt.

Even with the map, I wandered around and had difficulty finding my group. I eventually did find them at the farthest point from the parking lot. They picked that spot because it was close to the start. I was now already sweaty.  Not a good sign.

Too far a walk to return to my car so I just hung out with the group (many of whom I was meeting for the first time).

We gathered for a picture and then waited to be called to the start line.

One of my co-workers is very fast so he started with the first group. We walked slowly to the start as to catch him going by.

Below is the published course map:

And the elevation chart:

yikes – HILLS!

Mile 1:

As you see from the elevation chart above, the first mile has some downhills. I needed to remember to start out slow so I would have energy to climb the hills later.

Plus I was sweaty before I even started to run.

Luis, my co-worker, wanted us to run together. He said that I would keep him slower at the beginning. I’m faster than him so I’m not sure how I should have taken that comment. But I said that we could try it and see how it goes.

I think we were neck and neck the first mile.  It was very hot so I tried to run slower and it wasn’t hilly yet…

But the sun was getting lower in the sky and so you were running most of the race with the sun in your face (and zero shade).  I wore my favorite Goodr sunglasses but there was a black spot in the middle of one lens (so annoying that I kept taking them on and off.)

Mile 2:

During this mile, the climb started.  And so did my walking.  Luis continued to run. He got ahead when I walked but I quickly caught up when I ran.

We were asked to carry our own water or bring a cup to re-fill at the water stop. I was assuming there would be one at least at the half way point.

Nope… no sign.  I was dying of thirst but continued to drag myself along.

At least with running along country roads, the scenery was pretty.

Mile 3-3.5:

We continued with rolling hills. I ran a little, walked a lot.  When I ran, I tried to run at a decent pace.

Everyone was so sweaty. It looked like the runners had gone swimming.

Finally around mile 2.75, there was a water stop and they provided cups of water (WTH?)  I drank two and walked for awhile.

I would see Luis ahead and finally he had slowed to a shuffle.

I managed to pass him (and asked him if he was ok. He responded HOT!).

The end was kinda a blur.  I remember someone spraying us with a hose. That was so needed.

There was somewhat of a downhill toward the end. I just wanted to finish at this point. We entered the fair grounds and I passed my friends volunteering at the results booth. They cheered me on.

I walked several a few more times after I passed them so I could sprint across the finish line as they called my name.

Post Race Activities:

I got a bottle of water and grabbed some food.

starved .. this did not suffice

Two of my running friends were volunteering at the results table so I headed there to check out my time and to make plans for dinner after.

happy to have survived this sweatfest

Then I walked all the way back to my car to change my shirt and shoes.  On the way, I saw that they were giving out popsicles to the finishers.  I grabbed one!!

sooo good!!!!!!!!

After changing into flip flops, I hiked back to hang out with my friends and to cheer the other runners to the finish line. Despite the heat, everyone was enthusiastic and encouraging.  That’s what I love about racing!!

Additional Race Reflections:

I’m sure this course and date were temporary and will go back to May. Hopefully more runners will participate next year as well. (less than 1K this compared to 10K in previous years).

You can’t do anything about the weather, so I’m happy to have taken it slow and I was feeling ok (and just sweaty) after the race.

Positives:

  • Safety restrictions in place (outdoors, staggered starts, post-race refreshments in a bag).
  • Ample parking.
  • Well marked course.
  • Lots of familiar faces.
  • Interesting course.
  • Friendly volunteers.
  • Popsicles.
  • Team tee shirt contest.
  • Team atmosphere.
  • A real race.

Negatives:

  • Hilly course
  • No shade
  • Water stop (at mile 2.75?)
  • HOT, HUMID weather conditions
  • Post-race refreshments (COVID?)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes.

It was well-organized. It will be even more fun when there are no COVID restrictions and it is scheduled in May on the original course. It’s a good way interact with fellow workers and meet workers that run whom you didn’t know before.

Final Stats:

This chart shows how often I walked after mile 1:

there were no awards besides Team awards. I did win my AG.

My team SUNY came in 2nd.

Next Up:

Half marathon #3 for 2021:

Screenshot_20210610-070949_Gmail (1).jpg

I was hoping that I’d be better trained for this one…but it’s hard in the summer. The course, for once, is not supposed to be hilly and a cool down was predicted for the weather 🙂

However, I’m just happy that races are happening again and I am healthy enough to run them.


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

Weekly Run Down (x2) for 8.23.21-9.5.21: NYC, the Hamptons and a Half Marathon

It’s catch up time.  I skipped last week’s Run Down since I was away for four days.

I was in NYC where I met up with some college friends (and saw the Van Gogh exhibit), then I spent the weekend with my college roomie who lives in the Hamptons (on LI) and then I returned to NYC for some sightseeing and a special meet-up.

This past week I was both recuperating and preparing to run a half marathon.  It was one of the few trainings where life seemed to take precedence over my long runs.  But as we know, I don’t race for my job and finish times are a mere signal of accomplishment (no matter how slow or fast.)

So Half Marathon #51 is in the books.

Two Weeks Ago:

  • Monday – We got spared from the worst of the tropical storm but there was rain and a lot of rain…all day! I was wondering if it would ever stop and I would be able to go to my Freihofer Training Run. I will run when caught in the rain but but to go when it is already pouring???

Well, the rain stopped before the run and we got treated to a rainbow.  What didn’t stop was the HUMIDITY!!

the group ran 4 miles with 3- 3 min. surges. I quit after 3 miles (blister and sore back).

  • Tuesday – My after work walk with friends got cancelled in favor of a reunion with three other teachers that I used to work with. We had dinner at a restaurant on the water in Saratoga.  It was fun catching up.

great views and great conversation

  • Wednesday – Back in the office so I did my usual lunch Starbucks walk.

this was interesting

After work, the last “ice cream” run was held. I debated about going but since it was on trails and the day before a race, I did instead a quick slow run at UAlbany followed by ice cream and a walk with friends.

Holy Moley…HOT!

  • Thursday – Tonight the Workforce Challenge Race was scheduled on a new date and time (normally in May) and in a new locale (normally in downtown Albany.) It is always hot and humid during this race and tonight didn’t disappoint. The course was harder (HILLS) and there were fewer participants but always glad to have an opportunity to race with others.

soooo sweaty!!!!!!

Two of my running friends volunteered so we all went out after.

  • Friday – Off on a very early train to NYC. When I arrived at Penn Station (or now we use Moynihan Hall), I met up with my college friends and we all took the subway to have a yummy brunch together.

After brunch, we taxied to the Van Gogh expo. I had already seen it (in Montreal) but my friends had not. Even with all the COVID restrictions, it was still enjoyable.  Glad I got to see it again.

on the bottom left is the original Van Gogh from MOMA.

After the expo, we headed back uptown to catch the Cezanne exhibit in the Modern Museum of Art. What else would French majors do? And afterward, we had drinks and a bite to eat.

Then my roommate and I took the LIRR out to her place in the the Hamptons where I would spend the weekend.

  • Saturday – I woke up early to get in a run in my roomie’s neighborhood. It’s always nice to run in a new place.

I ran to the bay and then found a nature preserve. Didn’t get in my planned 10 miles but so what?

It was quite windy so we decided instead of the beach to go to a winery.  There are zillions on eastern LI.

Pindar is one of the largest so we chose that one…did lots of tasting and even found a sunflower field on the way home.

For dinner, we settled on a seafood meal with a view of the LI Sound.

  • Sunday – My host was a late riser so that gave me the opportunity to again go for a run.

I headed to the same preserve as the day before but ran a different route there and on a different trail.

The weather today was nice enough to head to the beach… that made me super happy.

note the pic on the middle left – do not leave unoccupied food on the beach lol

We chose this beach because my friend wanted to give me the opportunity to run over a bridge.

I will admit that I walked to the top and ran down and repeated that going back. (There was also a seafood/bakery on the other end.)

For dinner, we chose an Italian restaurant (of course with a view.)

Last Week:

  • Monday – My plan was to head back to NYC on the train.  It is 2h30 ride and there are not many trains.  I did have time to run before I left but decided instead to save my legs for walking around Manhattan.

I had thought that I would walk around Central Park but Cari recommended that I go someplace new.  So I hopped the subway and headed toward the Little Island. (Thanks Cari for the suggestion.)

an oasis in the middle of the Hudson River (near 13th St)….so unique.. the only problem was the heat and humidity lol

With time to kill until dinner and needing some shade, I decided to walk the High Line.

although I’ve done the walk so many times, there’s always something new to see.

The real reason that I added an extra day to my trip was to see two dear friends that I hadn’t seen in forever.

dinner and chatting until I had to leave to catch my train home.

I returned home by train (with no travel issues.)

  • Tuesday  – I was pooped from my 4 day vacation. Luckily I was still working from home. I was able to squeeze in a run before meeting friends to walk on the rail trail.

what’s with this humidity!?

  • Wednesday – Today the forecast was for rain but I was hoping to be able walk and to attend the SOAR/ice cream group run after work. At lunch, I checked the forecast and made the decision to run then rather than waiting.

It was cloudy and in the 60s but still very humid…it drizzled at the beginning and end of the run

It was the right decision since it rained all afternoon. We wound up doing our walk in the mall.

  • Thursday – Rest Day!  The ARE trail runs had ended but my running friend had decided to continue these as walks each week on a a different trail. Today we chose Thacher Park. (The weather was cool and would have been perfect for a evening race…just saying.)

a fun 3.2 mile trail

Unfortunately our favorite post-hike restaurant was closed so we had to choose an alternate.

  • Friday – Rest Day #2. I picked up my bib for the race the next day,

got my outfit ready and played mah jongg.

ready or not!

  • Saturday Race 4 the River Half Marathon. Finally a race where it was not very hot or humid and one where the course was not super hilly. Still it felt hard but thanks to my friends, I had a fun time before, during and after.

we carpooled to the start, I ran almost the whole run chatting with friends and went for drinks and food after…so glad racing is back!

  • Sunday – Recovery Day and packing up the kitchen for the reno.

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday –  DAY OFF (Holiday) – FTC run
  • Tuesday – (Kitchen reno starts!) rest day, walk with friends
  • Wednesday – run
  • Thursday – run, trail walk
  • Friday -rest day, mah jongg
  • Saturday Malta 5K (+5-8 more miles)
  • Sunday – rest day, boating

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Workforce Challenge Race Recap
  • Friday – Looking Forward to Fall

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.

FFF: Ultimate Coffee Date for Sept. ’21

It’s that time of the month…

time to join up with Coco & Deborah
for their ultimate coffee date.

After two months of going into the office three days a week, this month I will have to go back EVERYDAY!

I know I did it for many years before but still…. HOW???

I am so jealous of you runners who do not have to do your hair, make-up, put on jewelry and nice clothes and then pack a lunch, pre-run snack and your running stuff for all possible weather conditions. (RANT over!)

1. Over coffee… 

I’d tell you that I registered for Half Marathon #51 (counting all the virtuals of 2020). It is TOMORROW. Gulp!

Screenshot_20210610-070949_Gmail (1).jpg

2.Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I ran 9 half marathons in 2020. However, I feel a little rusty. This is only my 3rd this year

and the last one was back in April.

3.Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I signed up for several more races in September and October:

    • 09-11-21 – Malta 5k
    • 09-25-21 – Freihofer Run for Women 5k
    • 10-03-21 – Smuttynose Half Marathon
    • 10-09-21 – Great Pumpkin Challenge 5k
    • 10-23-21 – Summer Smith Memorial 5k

4.Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I’d tell you that I won 2nd place in a photo contest.

I won what’s in the picture not what the email says.

However, I didn’t remember entering and I had no idea which photo won.  Glad they posted the winning pics:

took this one back in March

5.Over coffee…

I’d tell you that my kitchen make-over project is more stressful than training for a marathon.

  1. Having someone remove all the wallpaper and then paint.
  2. Buying all new appliances, having them delivered and installed
  3. Picking out cabinets, flooring, tile, etc.
  4. Hiring someone to install them.
  5. Picking out countertops and hiring someone to install.
  6. Having the cabinets and flooring delivered (my hubby has to pick up) and installed.
  7. Having countertops delivered and installed
  8. Odds and ends like new curtains, hardware and outlet covers, etc.

Much harder and longer than my 16 week marathon training plan. It leaves me wondering why I decided to do this and if I will get to that finish line…

Happy Running! What’s new with you?  Please share.


 

 

 

 

 


It’s Friday so I’m also linking up with bloggers, Me (My First 5K and More), Running With AttitudeRun Laugh Eat PieRuns with Pugs, and Zenaida!

So Join in!

And don’t forget to link back to your hostesses and visit some other bloggers.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

TT: Tips for Beginner Runners

I’m skipping ahead to next Tuesday’s topic: Tips for Beginner Runners It’s been awhile since I started running (like 2008). I’ve learned a lot since then. And although I am not a certified coach, I have mentored and run with many beginner running groups.

So here are my favorite tips:

  • Join a group or a class.

It’s much easier than going at it alone.  You will make friends and a coach/mentor will help avoid form and training mistakes.

a fun 10 week program

  • If there is no class or group available to you, use the Couch25k app.

This app will guide through walk/run intervals and prepare you to complete a 5k.

The STEM group also used this app even though in a group

  • Sign up for a 5k race.

This will motivate you to do your runs and give you a goal.

if possible, one with a medal!

  • Buy good running shoes.

Go to a running store, if possible, try on a few shoes. Return the shoes if they are not comfortable (most stores will allow you to return your shoes.)

How to Buy the Best Running Shoes | GQ

so many choices…

  •  Even a bad run is better then no run at all.

Runs that suck will happen. Forget and move on.

oh well

  • Buy running clothes you look good in and that are comfortable.

I recommend breathable shirts and shorts/skirts with pockets.

  • Running is not an excuse to triple your intake of doughnuts.

Yes, runners gain weight too.  Try to eat a healthy snack (such as a banana) before you run and something with protein after (bagel, chocolate milk).

  • Add other forms of exercise to your routine on days that you do not run.

This could be walking, biking, hiking, yoga, strength training,

or going to the gym!

  • Don’t neglect and irritate your family and friends by spending all your time talking about running.

It’s only a small part of your life…though it may be one of the BEST parts.

Happy Running! What tips can you add to this list?  Please share.  runner-sig


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


I’m also linking up here:

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

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