Tag Archives: 5k

Mt. Nittany 5k Race Recap

8 Sep

GUYS. I finally PRed in the 5k distance! Woo hoo!!!

On Sunday September 6th I ran the Mt. Nittany 5k.  It is a 5k that was being offered as another option during a local marathon. It was the first year that they offered the 5k. I have volunteered for the marathon in the past but decided to run the 5k this year since I don’t have many 5ks on the calendar this year. I do feel I have been getting faster and I wanted the opportunity to see how fast I could run a 5k.

I had 9 miles scheduled for Sunday for my training plan, so I planned to do the 5k and then tack on an extra 6. Since I ran the 5k HARD, I cut my run a bit short, totaling around 7.5 for the day.

The race started promptly at 9am. The weather was comfortable – low 60s and cloudy.

My goal was to run it as fast and as hard as I could, and suck up the pain and discomfort for the 3 miles. I did not plan to take walk breaks but figured if there came a time when I really felt I needed it, I could do it.

Mile 0-1 – 10:07

I felt good and let myself get caught up in the initial fast running. What the heck. I’d sustain it as I could.  It was mostly flat with a glorious downhill right around the 1 mile marker that I ran down as quickly as I could.

Mile 1-2 – 10:41

Mile two included more flat road, until the hill at about 1.6. I gave myself a 20 second walk break part of the way up the hill – I could tell my heart rate was high and wanted to bring it down a smidge without hurting my pace.

Mile 2-3 – 10:07

I talked to myself a lot during this mile. I told myself to suck it up and to not give up now. I knew a PR was in sight if I didn’t mentally give in to the discomfort.  I took another 15 second walk break to give myself a slight break before trying to run as hard and fast as possible to the finish line.

3-0.3 – 15.7 seconds – 8:25 pace

The course measured a smidge short on my Garmin but I am still counting this as a big ol’ PR!

Finishing time (Garmin) 31:10 – Average pace: 10:17 – Best Pace: 8:23 (what? how?) – OT: 31:11

My last 5k PR was set in April of 2010, and I beat that time by 1:50! I also cut a little more than THREE minutes of my last 5k time – at the triathlon relay!

I am so so happy that I have PRed in the 5k, 10k, and the half marathon this year. I feel like my hard work is finally paying off. 🙂

Happy Valley Sprint Triathlon Relay – Run Leg (Race Recap)

10 Jul

On Sunday July 5th I ran a team relay triathlon and was the runner for our team.

Being a part of a relay was a really cool experience. I’m not sure if doing a whole tri is really for me but being able to participate in a relay was a really fun way to experience it. It was great to be able to cheer on two of my friends as they took on the swim and bike legs and I was super excited to bring the team to the finish!

I went into the race with no expectations. I have been taking it easy since the Path of the Flood Half in May and focusing more on cross training at the gym, and getting in 3 easy-ish runs a week.  Needless to say, I hadn’t been properly training, and definitely not for a 5k.  My main goal was to finish and have fun!

I did 3/1 run/walk intervals for my spring races and it seemed to work (even earning me a PR for the 10k and Half distances, woo!).  One thing I often struggle with is losing time on the walk portion, especially towards the end of longer races when I’m more tired. I recently read an article from Jeff Galloway where it was recommended to cut walk intervals down to 30 seconds to avoid slowing down. So, for the past couple of weeks I have done my easy runs with a 1:30/0:30 run/walk interval. Adjusting to 30 seconds of walking was pretty easy for me because it’s the same ratio of running to walking as a 3/1 method.

Back to the race…

After putting the timing chip on my ankle I took off on the mostly-flat course. My plan was to do the 1:30/0:30s and see how it went in a race environment. No pressure.  The run course started off with a gradual uphill. I ended up running through my first walk interval because I was feeling so great. From there I followed the 1:30/30s pretty religiously.  I felt really great through out the entire course and even saw some familiar people that I high-fived along the way for a mid run boost. 🙂

SprintTri (1)

The great thing about starting on a gradual uphill is ending on a downhill!!

SprintTri (2)

(Another race offering free photos, I love this trend!)

SprintTri (3)

I crossed the finish in 34:18!!

You guys, this is the fastest 5k I have run since I PRed in 2010!  Maybe my speed is finally coming back. 🙂

After the race I caught up with my family who came to cheer me on.

SprintTri (4)

SprintTri (5)

After looking at my splits I am so so happy with my performance. I really think shortening the intervals made a huge difference for me. Most of my running intervals were in the 10-10:15 minute mile range!  They also stayed like this consistently through the whole race, which is super amazing.

My First Race (Tuesdays on the Run)

15 Jul
Tuesdays on the Run

Every Tuesday I am joining a link up with MCM Mamma Runs, Run the Great Wide Somewhere and My No Guilt Life. You can find out more about the link up here.

This weeks topic: Your First Race.

My very first race was a 5k on June 27, 2009, in Skippack Pennsylvania (a suburb of Philadelphia). The 5k was the culmination of going through the Couch to 5k Program. Luckily I created race reports back in the day to share on the Runner’s World Beginners Forum so here is my recap that I posted 5(!) years ago.


I started with the beginners 5k program on Runner’s World at the beginning of May. After finishing the program I did my first race on june 27th – a 5k benefiting a local lions club. My dad, brother and boyfriend [Becca’s note: this “boyfriend” is now my husband – crazy how that works out!] all did it with me which was great support. My dad stayed towards the back of the group with me and ran at my pace (even though I am sure it was too slow for him).

I was extremely nervous because I didn’t know what to expect at a race and this ultimately effected my performance unfortunately.

The course was around some local neighborhoods. We started off pretty good – roughly a 10:30 minute first mile. Typically I run at 12/12:30 min mile so I was pretty proud. I didn’t feel that I was pushing myself too much.

During the 2nd mile I began to have some problems. First of all, I had been so nervous that my breathing rate was out of control from the time we started and I wasn’t able to really get it under control. Second, I hadn’t done a lot of hill work prior to the race but the course itself ended up being uphill for probably 2.25 of the 3.1 miles. I really struggled with running up hill after a mile or so. My boyfriend told me later that he really struggled with this as well – and he is very in shape – so I don’t feel too bad about the fact that I struggled here. The bummer is that I did have to slow down to a extremely brisk walk in order to get myself through those hills. My original goal had been to run the whole thing but I knew if I forced myself to do that on a harder than expected course I would really struggle towards the end.

Running through that finish line was the best feeling I’ve ever had. All in all I finished in 37:26 – which I am pretty proud of considering during training it took me 38+ to finish 3.1 miles (and I got this time even walked a portion of it).

I also came across some photos from my first race:

Waiting to start – I remember feeling SO SO nervous.

Finishing the race – I remember this last stretch felt SO HARD. Also looking at this photo I realized just how far I have come in my fitness journey.

After the race. Gatorade never tasted so good!



Runners World Heartbreak Hill 5k Race Recap + Expo Fun

10 Jun

Wow, this past weekend really was great. I came away with a renewed excitement towards running and continue to be thankful for the amazingly supportive community of runners. My excitement around the weekend made me want to get this recap up as soon as possible!!!

My dad and I flew into Boston on Friday (June 6) and after checking into our hotel and grabbing an amazing lunch in Wellesley we got to Boston College for Bib Pickup right as the expo was opening at 3.


Runner’s World really hooked us up – we got a tech shirt for the 5k and another for the Half.  Yay for gender specific tech shirts!!!

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Super cute shirts and bibs @hhhalf

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We walked around the expo a bit to check things out before grabbing a light dinner on the way back to the hotel.

On Saturdy the 5k started at 7am. We had no issues driving and parking on campus – signage was good and we left early enough we didn’t run into any traffic.

I was very relaxed about the 5k. I just wanted to have fun and take in the sights in and around Boston College. I knew I had to save my legs for the Half Marathon the next day.

The course was gorgeous – we started off on campus before circling around it, around the near by reservoir and then back to the start for the finish.




So scenic. But oh my gosh. The last 2 miles felt like they were uphill, and the sun was out in full blast.

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3.1 down. 13.1 to go tomorrow. Now to rest.

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I came in at 39:36 – which on a typical day I would be disappointed with. At first I was pissed about my time, because honestly it felt like I was running so.much.harder. than that. I felt like I had to fight for that time. But after stalking the #hhhalf twitter feed and hearing others experiences, it seems like it was a tough one for many people because of the sun and heat, so I felt a little bit better.

After the 5k my dad and I hit up the expo for a few last minute things…and I had to do this, of course…



Then we went to Zaftigs, in Brookline, a nearby town. This restaurant was recomended to me by a friend and also ranked high on Yelp. Four words: Banana Stuffed French Toast. Perfect post-race brunch. 🙂 As we left there was a line forming outside so we timed it perfectly!

After a quick shower my dad and I went back to Boston College to hit up some of the seminars. This is where my only real complaint comes in – we had to pay a parking fee of $10 twice on this day – once for the 5k and once when we came back to go to the seminars. Major bummer. It would have been nice if they had let us be readmitted since we had already been there once that day.

The seminars were pretty awesome. I attended one about Women’s Running which featured four women – one who is a doctor, one who went from 16 minute miles to a 21 minute 5k PR in 2 years (WOW), a master’s woman, and Shalane Flanagan.


It was so cool to hear all of their perspectives and really interesting to hear what Shalane’s fueling strategy is for a half (…she doesnt have one, becuase “it’s too short”) and how she felt about the Boston Marathon this year.

After that I got in line to meet Shalane and get her to sign my bib. I met her a while back when my dad ran the Marine Corps Marathon but was excited for another opportunity. The photo came out a bit blurry but it was so awesome meeting her.

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Oh you know…just a blurry photo WITH SHALANE FLANNAGAN

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13.1 time!!

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Dream big! Love it.

After meeting her I stood in line for an hour to get shoe recommendations at the Runner’s World Shoe Finder booth. Let me tell you, it was worth every minute waiting in line.

The guy had me stand on a thing so he could analyze my arches (I have neutral arches), then I ran on a treadmill as he filmed my gait from the back and side. It was so cool seeing the slowed down video! I heel strike (no suprise there), and have a normal amount of pronation. He also asked about any issues with my current shoes (my current issue is huge calluses on the outside of my toes) and talked about what may be causing it.

In the end I told him that I really liked having a low toe-heel drop shoe, and a light-weight shoe without a ton of padding. He recommended three specific shoes for me (a Brooks model, a Newton model and a Nike model). I was so thrilled to have such thorough recommendations!! I ordered a new pair of shoes to hopefully get me started with Marathon training on the right foot (haha) so I’ll be sure to share how I like them when they come in.

Moral of the story though – if you ever have the opportunity to do the Shoe Finder booth at a Runner’s World event – DO IT. Even if there is a line. It is totally and completely worth it.

Once I was finished there, my dad and I went to a course strategy session for the half marathon with Bart Yasso, David McGillivray (he was the race director for these races and is also the RD for the Boston Marathon), and the pace group leader.


My dad and I went to a similar session at the Runners World Half & Festival and yet again found it to be very helpful. They recommended really taking it easy on the first half of the course since it was down hill first, in order to conserve energy. I felt  like I had a plan to tackle the race course after this session. 🙂

We headed to the Pasta Dinner with the editors after this session, which was a nice all-you-can-eat setup on the Boston College campus. We left after we had our fill and hit the sack early.

This is getting a bit long so look for the Half Marathon Recap soon!

7 Mile Run + Beaver Stadium Run 5k (Race Recap)

22 Apr

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend.

The hubby and I are embarking on major spring cleaning, including going through everything in our basement and purging and organizing. So needless to say, my weekend was filled with a lot of cleaning and organizing, as well as a good bit of running, to be expected. 🙂

I totally slacked on Saturday with getting out the door to do my scheduled 10 miler. I just wasn’t feeling it. So instead I decided to do 7 miles before my planned 5k race on Sunday.

On Sunday I woke up around 7 so that I was to the race location by 8. I was able to check in and get my packet, drop it off in my car, and then I went off to do 7 miles. I had a rough route in mind but I sort of winged it. I took it super duper slow. LOTS of walk breaks. I didn’t want to be a complete failure for the 5k later in the day. 🙂 I did the 7 miles in 1:45. Like I said, super duper slow and easy. My legs felt pretty good when I was done. I purposely chugged a lot of water and took a Gu (something I normally wouldn’t do for a 7 mile run) so that I was hydrated and getting some “food”.

I got back from my run around 9:45, and took some time to change my clothes (so glad I thought to bring an extra shirt to change into!), eat some Gu chomps, chug some more water, go to the bathroom, etc. It was a little chilly outside so I spent a good 10 minutes in my car just trying to get my body heat back to normal again.

The race didn’t start until 11, but I was glad to have a lot of time to relax, change, stretch and mill around with some friends before it started. The race was the Beaver Stadium Run, in State College, PA. I have run this race for four years now (here is my 2011 recap) and I am so impressed with how it has literally doubled in size every year. This year there was ~3500ish runners! That’s more than at the Hershey 10k! Super impressive. The race benefits the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania so it is a great cause.



I was decked out in pink. 🙂 I had decided early on that this race was just for fun. And give the crowds at the beginning and all the weaving I needed to do, in addition to the fact that there was only a chip at the end, I am so glad I did. My official time was 39:17, but according to my Garmin (which I started when I crossed the start), my time was 38:14. Not my best by any stretch but I had a good time and felt strong given that it was miles 8, 9 and 10 for me.

At the end of the race you get to run through the tunnel and onto the 50 yard line of Beaver Stadium’s field. It is a rush, especially if you’re a Nittany Lion football fan. 🙂

Franco Harris has been a huge supporter of the race since the beginning (the first year I even met him and got a photo with him – I’ll have to share that sometime!). I give him a big ol’ high five as I ran to the finish line.



And what’s this?! A finish line photo where I look like I’m having fun?! Awesome! haha. It pays to have a friend who is one of the photographers for the event. 😉



After the race I met up with my friends, and our friend who was a photographer for the event. We milked having access to stand on Beaver Stadium’s turf for as long as we could and took a bazillion photos. I just wanted to share this one.beaverstadiumrun2013_5She was taking individual photos of us, and the way we were standing, I joked that I felt like a cheerleader, so I put my arm up to cheer. 🙂

Running the Beaver Stadium Run is a great opportunity. It’s well-organized (though I think they’re going to have to be careful if the race size continues to grow like it has the past four years), a great course and finish line, and for a really good cause.