Penguins 6.6K and Urban Bourbon Half: A Tale of Two Races

Two races, back to back weeks. I did the 6.6K and totally crushed it. I did the 5K in 25:22 and slowed down just a small smidge for the remainder. I did 7min/30sec run walk splits. My final time was 34:10 and I placed absurdly well (for me).

Overall: 412/3371 (top 12%)

Women: 109/1842 (top 6%)

F30-34: 14/302 (top 4.6%)

I have never done better comparatively in an actual race. And then the next week happened. I was in San Diego for work and I did two long runs. After the second one on that Wednesday, my foot hurt a bit. I went to urgent care on Thursday to get it x-rayed and they confirmed that it wasn’t broken. So I figured I was good to do the race on Saturday. I was running with a friend, doing 3min/30sec run walk splits. Made it through the first four miles and then it all went to shit. My foot was hurting like crazy. I kept hobbling along at a pretty decent pace and hit the med tent at mile seven. The medic found the one spot that really hurt and told me it was likely muscular. He said I could be picked up by the sweeper car whenever it comes or go to the next water stop. I decided to keep going and asked at the water stop if they could call anyone. They said they couldn’t and, at that point, I decided to just finish the damn race and get my medal. I walked the rest at about a 14min/mile pace and finished in 3:04:44. If I take out the time at the med tent, I was slightly under 3 hours, which, considering I didn’t think I was going to finish at all, felt really good! Except now I’m 100% sure that I sprained my ankle and I’m hobbling around and ordered some crutches. Was this my best idea? Absolutely not. Do I have regrets? Ehhhh, not really.

Great Race 10K Recap

Last year’s Great Race was hot and miserable. This year was actually great. I had done a hard squat workout on Friday (which was a TERRIBLE idea), so my quads were still really sore on Sunday. I decided I wanted to PR my 5K and try to get under 25 minutes. Which isn’t the best plan for a 10K! But it worked out! I ran as hard as I could during the first half, hit my goal, then had to walk for a bit because I was DYING. After a minute of recover, I started running again and was mostly able to keep it up. The fifth mile was definitely the hardest for me and then I was able to push harder at the end to PR both my 10K and 5K by about 30 seconds each. My official 10K time was 53:19 (8:34/mile) and my 5K time was 24:55 (8:00/mile). I was 92/464 in my division (top 20%), 540/2,974 women (top 18%), and 1,715/5,776 overall (top 30%).

Mile Pace GAP Elev
1 7:56/mi 7:40/mi 12 ft
2 7:31/mi 7:52/mi -145 ft
3 8:20/mi 8:20/mi -13 ft
4 9:09/mi 9:28/mi -103 ft
5 9:42/mi 9:08/mi 37 ft
6 8:15/mi 8:18/mi -128 ft
0.32 7:08/mi 7:08/mi -5 ft

Pier To Peak Half Marathon Recap

I guess I shouldn’t have expected any less from “the world’s toughest half marathon.” I wasn’t sure if I should do it to begin with… I hadn’t done much hill training and I really haven’t even been running that much. A few friends convinced me to attempt it and I made the bargain with myself that, if I woke up in time, I would do it. Friends… I woke up at 3:30am, with plenty of time to drive from LA to Santa Barbara and arrive before 5:30am. It was cool and misty for the first two hours, so I really have no complaints. The first two miles were also pretty mild as far as elevation, so I kept a good steady pace. My goal was to stick with 90/30 intervals and I did that through about 8.5 miles. Mile 9 got a little tough and I had to start walking. I walked a lot of miles 9 through 11 because the elevation just got to be a bit too much. Then I finally got a bit of a downhill and that helped me start to run again and push the pace, no matter how tired I was. It definitely had a bit of a twist in the end: my watch said I was .2 miles from the finish, so I really started pushing it. I heard the people at the end… but then I just kept rounding corner after corner. In the end, my watch was 1/3 of a mile off. I ended up finishing in 3:03:01. Slower than I wanted (goal was sub 3), but I was almost never passed and was able to stay pretty consistent given the elevation (see my Grade Adjusted Pace in the table below).

I think the biggest thing was once I got to the top. When I looked down, it was completely overwhelming. I also know I couldn’t have pushed myself any harder because my calves were shaking, which has never happened to me after a half before. I also could not believe how far I had gone as we were taking the shuttles down. The climb was steep enough that even the shuttle was going pretty slow on the way down and, with every turn, I kept realizing how high we really were. At one point, during mile 10, I think I said to the person running next to me “why did we sign up for this?”. I still stand by that and am not entirely sure what drove me. You can see the full results here (fastest was 1:35 and the fastest woman was 1:50!). I managed to be 227/288 , 72/100 women, and 16/22 in my division. And I was 1 of only 16 people who weren’t from California! I think this crowd was probably a bit tougher than the average half, so I’m pretty happy with how I did.

Mile Pace GAP Elev
1 10:06 /mi 9:51 /mi 40 ft
2 10:05 /mi 9:21 /mi 135 ft
3 12:01 /mi 10:01 /mi 266 ft
4 11:50 /mi 10:18 /mi 217 ft
5 14:34 /mi 10:55 /mi 409 ft
6 14:11 /mi 10:43 /mi 400 ft
7 13:34 /mi 10:28 /mi 377 ft
8 13:57 /mi 10:47 /mi 366 ft
9 14:57 /mi 11:24 /mi 396 ft
10 14:54 /mi 10:10 /mi 425 ft
11 18:20 /mi 12:58 /mi 482 ft
12 11:14 /mi 11:20 /mi -111 ft
13 16:46 /mi 12:42 /mi 380 ft
0.37 17:33 /mi 13:07 /mi 145 ft

Two Face 10K - Not Great Y'all

The Two Face 10K is a two-part 10K in North Park: first, you do a road 10K, then about 30 minutes later, you do a trail 10K. Y'know how sometimes you are feeling pretty good but then ten minutes into your workout you feel like total garbage? That is basically how I felt during the road race. Felt like a total drag and like I was going full effort to just barely scrape by with a 10min/mile pace some miles. It ended up being my second slowest 10K and I ended up solidly middle of the pack with a time of 58:26. The only positive I can say about my performance is that I felt good on the hills and barely even noticed them. Oh well... there's always the next race!

Presque Isle Half Marathon Recap

I decided to do this race oh... one week ago. A friend of mine was planning on going down and I decided to join her last minute. It's been really hot so I've been missing track and haven't been running as much. I knew I could still run a half, but I didn't want to go too crazy. I say that a lot, but this time I actually stuck to it. I started off a little faster and then actually pulled myself back, slowed down, and kept it at a nice 10:30-11min/mile pace. I did 90/30 intervals and felt pretty good throughout the whole race. It was between 73-78˚F during the race and pretty muggy. My hip flexor did get pretty tight early on (around mile 4), so I was also just happy when the road straightened out so it didn't get any worse.

Overall, it was a pretty fun race and I think I would definitely do it again next year. Here are my stats:

  • Time: 2:19:08
  • Pace: 10:37
  • Overall: 601/1076 (top 56%)
  • Division: 58/102 (top 57%)
  • Gender: 280/601 (top 47%)

Pittsburgh (Half) Marathon Weekend Recap

Well, that was surprising. Let's start with the 5K.

5K

I... did not do well in the 5K. Or at least I didn't quite get the time I expected. Which, granted, might have been a bit ambitious. But I'd been feeling pretty good and felt like I should be able to do three 8 minute miles in a row. I was wrong. My splits were more like:

Mile 1: 7:57
Mile 2: 8:23
Mile 3: 8:54

Totally the opposite of negative splits. Luckily for me, no one else was trying on the 5K, so I actually did pretty well comparatively!

Overall: 443/3789 (top 12%)
Women: 122/2219 (top 5%)
Division: 19/347 (top 5%)

Beggars can't be choosers, so I'll take it.

Half Marathon

I did not think I would do well in the half. My training has been mediocre ever since I switched from the full to the half. I haven't done well in recent, shorter races (looking at you Pirates 10K and the 5K I did the day before!). So I lined up a little bit closer to the back, put some music on, and just did my best. And about midway through, I realized that my best this race might actually be my best ever. The one thing about Pittsburgh is that it has SO MANY HILLS. Every time I crested a hill, I thought "surely that will be the worst one". And yet, every time, I was wrong. According to my Garmin, the worst hill was actually at mile 12, which is also where I had the slowest pace. I still had energy, but my quads were feeling dead from hills. I've got a table of my pace/mile, but I also included what Strava calls "Grade-Adjusted Pace", which I think just exists to make me feel better about myself? Ok, maybe it actually helps determine if I put in even effort over even pace. Which, I think I did? According to the GAP, my pace only varied by a minute over the whole 13.1 miles.

Mile Pace GAP HR
  1 9:20 /mi 9:18 /mi 146 bpm
  2 9:04 /mi 9:04 /mi 147 bpm
  3 8:54 /mi 8:53 /mi 158 bpm
  4 9:07 /mi 8:59 /mi 167 bpm
  5 8:57 /mi 8:56 /mi 173 bpm
  6 8:41 /mi 8:39 /mi 172 bpm
  7 9:34 /mi 9:20 /mi 173 bpm
  8 9:05 /mi 8:57 /mi 169 bpm
  9 9:17 /mi 9:13 /mi 168 bpm
 10 9:30 /mi 9:24 /mi 173 bpm
 11 9:18 /mi 9:16 /mi 173 bpm
 12 9:55 /mi 9:14 /mi 172 bpm
 13 8:16 /mi 8:30 /mi 174 bpm
 14 7:13 /mi 7:31 /mi 176 bpm

I ended up coming in at 2:00:44, which is just SEVEN SECONDS slower than my personal record. Considering my PR was set at Run to Remember which had a total elevation of 138ft (this one was 454ft), I'm counting this as a personal record. I beat my previous time by over four minutes! I think I also did better comparatively than I ever have before in a half:

Overall: 3433/12795 (top 27%)
Women: 1342/7495 (top 18%)
Division: 238/1265 (top 19%)
Apparently I both run AND do double-unders with the same slack jaw and blank stare 😛

Apparently I both run AND do double-unders with the same slack jaw and blank stare 😛

Pirates Home Run 10K Recap

This race felt like the best example I've had recently of how tough I am on myself. I really thought I could PR this race, or at least do "well". Looking back, I did do pretty well! But during the entirety of the race, I just couldn't stop thinking about how much I was sucking. That I should be going faster. That I shouldn't be so tired.

I started off feeling good, but pretty quickly, I faded a bit. Part of it was on purpose (went out a bit too fast). But then I couldn't quite maintain the pace I wanted. It's a bit weird because my pace chart looks sorta like a V - not quite negative splits, but not entirely positive splits either. I did: 8:16, 8:39, 9:00, 9:49 (what happened mile 4???), 9:13, 8:56, with an overall pace of 9:06min/mile. Given that I was shooting for 8:20... I was just a bit off. I was really beating myself up until I looked at all my past times (not just my best). I actually landed right in the middle. And compared to the other people running, I crushed it. I was in the top 20% of both my division (25/122) and gender (73/365), and ending in the top 34% overall (235/692).

Here's what I learned:

  1. I should not be so hard on myself. Sometimes races don't go the way I expect them to and that's ok. That's what I love about shorter races: if I don't do as well as I want one week, I can do another race a few weeks later.
  2. I need to lower my expectations for the Pittsburgh Half in a few weeks. Since I had to switch from the full to the half, I've been a bit bummed and my training has suffered.
  3. I need to start doing track again. I've gone twice in the past month and I think I need to keep it up. My speed has definitely suffered since I stopped doing track.

Manchester Road Race 2017 Recap

This is still one of my favorite races but DAMN was it not a great one for me this year. I thought I could get under 40 but I totally ate it on the hill. Y'know how some days you just aren't feeling it? That ended up being me. My legs felt dead after just one mile. I was pretty sure I wasn't even going to hit 42 and I was going to have to run a fast 5K to get seeded again. I sprinted down the hill and it was a bit better, but then my fourth mile wasn't as fast as it should've been. I thought I couldn't make it, but I pulled it together and ran the last .748 miles at a 8min/mile pace. Somehow (somehow) I managed to get a personal record for the course by about 20 seconds, finishing in 41:18. Comparatively, I did better. This year, I got in the top 15% in my division (152/1007), top 13% in my gender (688/5349), top 25% overall. Maybe next year I can actually reach my goal.

Chicago Marathon Recap - NEVER AGAIN

The marathon has finally defeated me. I trained as hard as I could (with a full-time job), the course was flat, and the weather was decent. However, I still ended up with knee pain during the race. I ended up planning well for it: since I expected it to happen, I went out a bit harder at the beginning. That ended up allowing me to get a PR even though I walked a lot of the last 6 miles. But, let me start from the beginning:

I got up at 5am so I could eat a Honey Stinger snack bar that I grabbed at the expo. I took my time, got ready, and jogged over until I hit the crowd. My wave started at 8:35am and I got there around 7am. I hung out near the 4:45 pacer with a friend of mine, getting pumped up. I ended up starting near the 4:20 pace group. I wanted to hit a reasonable pace, but also wanted to push hard enough to guarantee myself a PR even if my knees started hurting late in the race. I posted decent times for my 5K, 10K, and half. Just a little over two years ago, that 5K pace would've been a PR for me and the half time is better than 3 of my other halves. My overall pace through mile 15 was a 10 min/mile pace. I started slowing down a bit (got a little tired, go figure). Somewhere around mile 17, I knew I was definitely going to finish and definitely finish under my previous time of 5:55. I kept up decently until my knee started hurting around mile 19-20. At that point, I had to start walking a lot. Usually, when I started running, my knee would hurt even more and I had to stop again. It was a little demoralizing because I'd have people try to encourage me, but the problem was that I couldn't run more without seriously injuring myself. I managed to save up enough energy and push through the pain to run the last 200m across the finish line. It felt great to finish, but I immediately knew that I was never going to do that again.

I finished in 4:59, 11105/21476 (top 52%) women, 1974/3587 (top 56%)  in my division, and 26,777/44,257 (top 61%) overall. My knees hurt and I may or may not have a stress fracture in my ankle.

Split Feeling Time Diff min/mile
5K 😄 00:29:19 29:19 09:26
10K 😀 00:59:28 30:10 09:43
15K 😀 01:30:19 30:52 09:56
20K 🙂 02:02:25 32:06 10:20
HALF 🙌 02:09:41 07:16 10:39
25K 😎 02:36:19 26:39 11:00
30K 🙏 03:12:12 35:53 11:33
35K 🤕 03:53:04 40:53 13:10
40K 💩 04:40:49 47:46 15:22
Finish 💀 04:59:22 18:33 13:36

Since it's been a few days since the race, I've been thinking a lot about what I could've done to make it better. I think I would have to be unemployed or working part-time and training almost full-time. My best halves have happened when I've been running longer in training. Running longer than a marathon in training is pretty impossible given my current schedule. Plus, I love racing! I'm going to go back to doing shorter races, probably a bunch of halves, maybe a few longer trail runs. It was a good experience, but I think it is not for me... at least not right now.

The Great Race Recap - Possibly My Hottest 10K?

When I signed up for the Great Race, I did not imagine that it would be this hot in late September. Well... today has a high of 89 and yesterday, it was between 75 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The course was only about half shaded, so I ended up getting beat up by the heat pretty quickly. Admittedly, I started out a little bit too fast. But when I realized that I was on track for a 5K PR, I just decided to keep pushing it. It paid off and I finished the 5K in 25:13. If I had been running the 5K, it would've put me in the top 11% overall. I had to slow down a bit after that, but really not by too much! What really got me was mile 5. There was no shade, it had a bit of an uphill, and I was just spent. If it had been a bit cooler, I think I could've kept up my pace and finished two minutes faster overall. Next year! End result of the 10K was a finish time of 53:48 (pace of 8:39/mile). I finished top 18% in my division, top 14% of women, and top 25% overall. I was a bit bummed that I didn't hit my goal of 50 minutes, but I think I can do it next year!

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Run Around the Square Recap

I did Run Around The Square this past Saturday. It's an annual 5K in Regent Square (my neighborhood). It's pretty brutal and includes a tougher climb than I have ever done in a 5K, with 285 ft of elevation gain. I crushed the first mile and then the second mile started straight uphill and totally crushed me. I was able to really pick up the pace again at mile 2.3. I ended up finishing in 26:27 (8:31I didn't PR in this one, but I'm pretty happy since I only did one minute slower than my PR and that was at only 10 ft of elevation gain. I was 23/104 in my class (30-35 women, top 25%) and I was in the top 33% overall. It definitely really smoked my legs. I did a 17 mile run the day after and I was smoked after 12 miles and had to push through.

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Pittsburgh Half Marathon - The Comeback!

I know I haven't written in awhile, but I haven't been completely dormant. I went back to Crossfit in March and didn't run during that month. We moved to Pittsburgh at the beginning of April and I also started at Pittsburgh Fit. It's been great there so far, a little more balanced than a normal Crossfit gym. I've been going there five times a week and running four times a week, taking either Saturday or Sunday as my rest day. I also signed up for RunCoach and it's been pretty helpful as well! It basically gives me the same schedule that my former running coach gave me. Since I hadn't run much from December through March, I was pretty worried that I wouldn't be able to finish this half. I was worried that my knees would start to hurt again.

But then Sunday came and I just ran my own race. I put my podcasts on and ran a 7min run, 1 min walk iteration the whole way. The hills definitely got to me a bit and I slowed down a bit near the end, but I never had to switch to a 3:1. Overall time was 2:05:13, which was my second fastest race since Run To Remember (this race had 300 ft more elevation gain). My fastest mile was actually my last one at 8:39/mile, which I was pretty stoked about. I ended up in the top 35% overall and top 25% in both all females and in my division. I didn't start this race intending to go hard, but I was feeling good and I just ran my race and it turned out pretty darn well. I got a small amount of knee pain at the end of mile 13, but luckily that went away as I sprinted to the finish. I also got a few "nice tights!" shoutouts from the spectators. Which, fair... my tights are awesome.

Roxbury Marathon Recap - DNF

First up: even though I did not finish this race, I still am very proud of my performance. And I'm also proud that I was finally smart enough to know when to quit before I really injured myself.

I have a long history of knee injuries. I first got diagnosed with patella tendonitis while playing ultimate frisbee my freshman year of college. I have not been able to play competitive ultimate since. I did 8 months of physical therapy and was finally able to get back to working out. I was told that I shouldn't run, so I started crossfit and mostly did a bunch of rowing as a running substitution. A few years later, my stubbornness got the best of me and I decided (without talking to a doctor or PT) that I was now healthy enough to run again... so I signed up to run a marathon. I trained for 4-5 months, did a mediocre job, missed some training ones, and totally ate it on race day. I finished in 5:55:50, limping across the finish line. Got myself another 6 months of PT and took another year off running. When I started running again in earnest in May 2015, I decided to take it slow. I did mostly just 5Ks in 2015 and did my first half in May 2016 after running all winter. I've had a few setbacks, but overall my knees have been doing pretty well. Which bring us to...

This past Saturday at the Roxbury Marathon. The route is pretty brutal and it was 18-20F that morning. The water in my hydration pack actually froze! I started off strong. My coach had recommended that I lean forward (really, resist leaning back) while going down hills. That really helped me gain some speed without killing my muscles. I was able to keep up a 9:30 pace for the first 16 miles. Sometime near the end of mile 17, my right knee started to hurt. It was a familiar feeling and I immediately started walking. I tried running a bit more, but then the pain got worse. I walked the last 1.75 miles and called it quits at 19.25 miles (my third out of five loops), a total of 3:26:46. Had it not been so cold, I still could have finished in under 5:30... even walking the last 8 miles.

I have never run that fast that far, so I'm still really proud. My second fastest half was at a 9:33min/mile pace, and I managed to keep that up for an extra 3 miles. The cold plus the hills plus my knee just did not end up being the best day for me. I'm feeling pretty good today, so after another couple of days of rest, I'm going to keep running and try another marathon in the fall.

Manchester Road Race Recap

It was the 80th year of the Manchester Road Race in Manchester, CT and they definitely have this nailed. This was one of my favorite races that I've ever run. It was packed (11,225 people finished the race, but about 15,000 were registered), but the atmosphere was great, it was well organized, and I didn't feel too crammed at any given point (despite being constantly surrounded by people). The spectators were the best part. I've never been to a race that was that well attended! You couldn't run more than 10 feet without encountering another group. I also appreciated that they actually seeded people (instead of letting people self-select), so you were either in a corral (and had a ticket) or you were just in the mass of people in the back. I was able to get in the U42 corral and I think that definitely contributed to my enjoyment of this race.

As far as the actual race, it was mostly smooth sailing for all 4.748 miles, other than the massive hill that took up the entirety of mile 2. I ended up walking a bit of that due to my total lack of hill training, but I was able to make it up by keeping up an 8:20 pace as soon as I crested the hill through the end of the race. I finished the race in 41:33 (an 8:45/mile pace) and finished 3,032 (top 30%) and was 302 out of 1513 in my division (top 20%). I'm pretty proud of my run and could not be happier with the finish. I know I could definitely do better with some more hill training, but for a first go around, I'm pretty stoked!

Now to prepare for the marathon in under two weeks...

Cambridge Half Marathon

This past Sunday (November 13, 2016), I ran the Cambridge Half Marathon through Cambridge and Belmont.

Splits

  1. 9:03
  2. 9:19
  3. 9:10
  4. 10:13
  5. 9:04
  6. 9:07
  7. 9:28
  8. 9:21
  9. 9:56
  10. 10:47
  11. 10:17
  12. 9:49
  13. 8:43

Pre-race

However... I barely ran this week because I got unroofed blisters on both my arches from running the previous weekend. I didn't figure out the best way to deal with them until Friday and ended up taking 4 days off running this past week. I only did 6 miles on Monday and 3 on Saturday. I felt pretty good on the morning of the race, got enough sleep, had a solid dinner the night before. I didn't get up as early as I had planned, so I wasn't able to eat breakfast, but I did have a GU Stroopwafel prior to starting the race.

Race

I told myself I would keep the pace around 9:15 for the first 7 miles, then speed up just a bit for the last 6. I was mostly able to do that (other than a side stitch in mile 4 that caused me to stop for a minute). However, during mile 7 I started fading and I really hit a wall in mile 9. I had to start walking a bit because I felt I had no energy left. I had a bit more GU and was able to rally in the last two miles, but I really fell short of my goals and was not feeling really positive. The race itself was great... they did a great job of closing off the roads, plenty of spectators, not too crowded once we started running. But apparently, it was not the day for me.

Final Time

2:06:05

BAA Half + Oktoberfest 5k Recaps

I just got this tool and it has made a huge difference in how my feet feel. Because I was feeling slightly better, I was able to argue myself into doing both the Oktoberfest 5K and the BAA Half. I was pretty much always going to do the 5K... it's short and I didn't see any reason to skip it. However, I had convinced myself that I shouldn't do the half. Then I convinced myself that I should a few days before. Why? Because it was the last race in the distance medley and I didn't feel like I should skip it unless I was feeling really shitty (which I wasn't). So here are the race recaps!

Oktoberfest 5K was a solid race. The Cambridge 5K folks always know how to put on a great event. They are never too crowded and always a good time. Since it's Cambridge, the courses are almost always completely flat. While I didn't improve as much as I wanted to, I did decrease my overall time by about 30 seconds and finished in 25:26 (an 8:11 min/mile pace). Near the end I started slowing down, so I made the choice to take some strategic walk breaks. I had been on track to finish my last mile in 9 minutes. By taking the walk breaks and catching my breath, I was able to keep that last mile down to 8:20. Lesson: there is no shame in walking. Granted, half the time I walk during a race, I get some comment like "you got this! almost done!" from some stranger. Not sure about everyone else, but comments like that make me feel like I'm failing by walking... instead of making a strategic decision that will allow me to get a better time than I would if I had kept running.

The BAA Half was not what I expected. Mostly my own fault because I didn't bother to look at the course map ahead of time. It's in Jamaica Plain, so it starts off in the opposite side of the city from me, so it was a bit hard to get to and from there. The course was also quite hilly, which was a surprise since the other BAA races (the 5K and the 10K) were downtown and incredibly flat. It was also incredibly rainy this past Sunday. And cold. Considering 10000 people were registered and only 6200 people finished, I think a significant amount skipped this race. And since the cutoff time was 3 hours, I'd wager a large amount of people didn't finish. I finished in 2:08:52, which was 3640 overall and 416/832 in my division. The extra cool part for me was that I was one of the last people to start (they closed the start 2 minutes after I crossed), so getting to run past at least 3600 people was pretty cool! The course was also really pretty. If it was a nicer day, I probably would've really enjoyed this race (despite the crowd). As it was, I was not too cold while running, but as soon as I stopped, I was freezing. My clothes were soaking wet. I had a jacket that I had kept in my hydration pack that I put on, but it quickly soaked through as well. I had to wait about 20 minutes for an uber, so, by the time I got home, I had been cold and soaking wet for about an hour. My lips were blue and I couldn't stop shaking. But at least I got a medal with three unicorns on it! As for the Distance Medley as a whole, I finished in 3:31:33, 71/196 in my division and 322/932 out of all women. While it does feel like an accomplishment, I probably wouldn't do it again.

Quick rainy selfie right after finishing the race. Not freezing yet!

Quick rainy selfie right after finishing the race. Not freezing yet!

Ragnar Trail Relay New England Recap: Always Good To Be Prepared

This past weekend I ran my first Ragnar Trail Relay (which was also my first trail race). This particular race was in the mountains of Northfield, MA, just about two hours outside of Boston. I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy the trails, but significantly less sure that I was going to enjoy the "camping overnight" aspect. That ended up being totally accurate. I really don't like camping! The only relief is that I couldn't actually sleep that much anyway, so my back could only hurt so much. My team also forgot the cover to our canopy. And the fuel for our camp stove... luckily b.good was there with food that we could buy and I was definitely grateful for the breakfast sandwich Saturday morning. Speaking of teams and being prepared...

If you do one of these, definitely make sure you are with a team that you feel like you can count on. The team that I was on was definitely not prepared and I'm not just talking about forgetting to bring things. One of my teammates was wearing shoes that had no support and a hole in the sole... he rolled his ankle in the first loop and couldn't do the rest of the trail. Another teammate hadn't run more than 3 miles in years and only ran on a track. Another one only runs occasionally and was not prepared for the 7 miles. The lack of preparedness led to us not actually finishing. We were going to try to make up the injured guy's legs, but then I also said that I would take the long leg for the woman who didn't run distances. We fell behind and the most I can say is that everyone who could run, finished their 3 legs. Whatever, let's talk about the actual running!

The scene while waiting for a teammate to finish on Friday afternoon.

The scene while waiting for a teammate to finish on Friday afternoon.

The trails were awesome. They were super clearly marked, so it was pretty hard to get lost, even at night. Like most New England trails, there were tons of roots and rocks, so I did have to be careful. And even being careful, I still rolled my ankle a bit (not to the point of injury, just mild frustration) and I fell on my face once while I was running down a hill. Even with all that, the runs were awesome because everyone was so positive and supportive. Anyone who runs by would say "awesome job!" or "keep it up!". The struggle on these hills was definitely real, so it was nice to hear that as I'm going up a hill that would never end. Also, almost everyone I talked to walked up every single hill. It wasn't really worth the effort expended to be 1 minute faster up each of them.

My first run was at 8pm on Friday and was the 7.3 mile loop. That was my most potentially fatal run and I'm still surprised I didn't hurt myself given the amount I tripped. Even with that, it was still one of my best runs. After that, I stretched and attempted to get some sleep. I got up around 4am to prep for my next run (which ended up starting at 5:20am). That was the yellow loop: 4.9 miles. The time and temp made it feel the best out of all the runs, but my time was the worst. I think the lack of sleep made the hill at the beginning feel just a bit worse. At this point, we had talked subs and I was going to sub my green for another red. However, I really wanted to experience the green. When one of my teammates asked for a running buddy on her green leg, I happily volunteered. The green leg was pretty fun! It was nice and short and had a solid downhill for the second mile, which made it just fly by. By the time I got to my second red loop an hour after finishing the green loop, it was almost 10F warmer and even the shade of the woods couldn't stop me from sweating. Running the red loop in the daylight gave me a more accurate comparison to the other loops... the second time running it, I barely tripped at all. I think if I had run red as the sun was rising, I could have had a pretty excellent time.

As is, I feel pretty good with my performance. I also feel like I would probably do an ultra team if I were to do this again. While having time in between the runs was nice (stretching helped recovery SO MUCH), the 6-8 hours between legs (had I just done the ones I was supposed to do) was way too much. I would also buy some more camping equipment so I didn't end up sleeping on the ground. Definitely a fun environment and well organized, so I would recommend Ragnar events to others without hesitation.

B.A.A. 10K Recap: OMG SO HOT

I did the B.A.A. 10K this morning and it was so hot and awful. They said at the beginning that 10,000 people had signed up, but luckily only 7,811 showed up. Small blessings. It surprised me that there were only 900 fewer people than at the 5K, which was such a small dent, I didn't even notice that there were fewer people. It was so crowded that, even though I was waiting in line at the porta-potties when the race started, I still made it into the right corral and started the race with everyone else... 15 minutes after the initial starting gun.

At the start with about 5000 people behind me

At the start with about 5000 people behind me

I do not do well in the heat. It was about 73 degrees and super sunny with no breeze (WTF BOSTON YOU ARE ALWAYS WINDY). I don't really sweat, which is a blessing and a curse, because I overheat like crazy. If I didn't have my hydration pack, I legit think I would have passed out. I felt strong the first two miles and did those sub 9. But then the next two were at 9 minutes and the last two were 9:30+. I really didn't feel good about this race overall, but it definitely felt better organized than the 5K so there's that.

In the end, I finished in 56:11. I finished in top 40% overall and top 27% in my division. Combined with my 5K time, I'm now 70th in my division for the Distance Medley and in the top 26% of women overall. For that, I'm super proud!

Mayflower Brewing Half Marathon Recap

This was a very hilly, hot race. From that perspective, it was a good training run. I now know that I do need 2 liters of water when running long distances on a hot day. Also, that I really need to do more trail runs. However, as a half marathon, it was not that great. My main complaint is that for at least 4 miles, the roads were open to traffic both ways. Routinely we had to cross the road while cars were coming down and it just didn't feel very safe. It was a good after party, but it just wasn't quite worth it. Also, they definitely did not have enough porta-potties. There was a massive line before the start of the race, but then there also weren't enough during the race. I spent 7 minutes just in line waiting to go to the bathroom at around 3.5 miles in. The next one, at 8 miles, looked like the line was probably just as long.

Overall, I ended up finishing in a chill 2:21:30. Glad I did it, but I will not be running this race again.

Run To Remember Half Recap: KILLED IT

That went infinitely better than I thought it would. I didn't get quite enough sleep, but when I woke up, I was excited and feeling good. I was planning on doing around 10 minute miles and felt like that was a good speed that I could keep up (and would cut five minutes off my time). Then I didn't keep with my planned pace...

Because I went a lot faster. I not only PR'd my half marathon, I also PR'd my 10K. I was really worried I went too fast out of the gate and wouldn't be able to keep it up, but I just kept feeling great. I decided to only do every other walk interval (ending up with a 7:1 run:walk) except for miles 9-12, when I did 3:1. I was able to do 6 out of 13 miles at a sub 9min/mile pace. I finished in 2:00:37, almost a full 15 minutes faster than my last one. I did a 9:12 pace, 1:08 faster than my last per mile, and 13 sec per mile faster than the Freedom Run 5K just last year.

I didn't actually win this race... but I sure as hell felt like I did! I finished in the top 40% in my division and top 41% overall.