Tag Archives: Race Recap

Monster Mash Half Marathon Race Recap

27 Oct

On October 17 I ran the Monster Mash Half Marathon in Dover, Delaware.

My dad and I picked this race purely by chance. We wanted to find a race in a state near Pennsylvania that we hadn’t run in yet and Delaware was perfect!

The race turned out to be a great random choice. It was super well organized and we were able to find a hotel very close to where the race started.  We went to packet pickup on Friday evening and since it was a smaller race (about 1500 doing both the Half and the Full if I remember right) packet pickup was a breeze. They were selling Gu and other last minute supplies too which was a nice perk.

The swag for this race was some of the best I’ve seen. An awesome tech shirt, very nicely designed bib, a race specific oval car magnet and a few other goodies. The medal ended up being huge too!  🙂

IMG_3427

The race director was encouraging runners to dress in costume so I grabbed my red tech shirt and Minnie Mouse ears that I wore for the Disney Half!

IMG_3428

The race and packet pickup was at the Dover International Speedway.  The race started at 7 on Saturday so we got there around 6:15 which was plenty of time to use the (real) restrooms a few times and acclimate to the chilly weather. It was in the low 40s when we had to get out of the car for the final time before lining up.

IMG_3429

The race started right ON the speedway which was pretty cool!

IMG_3432

The first mile is literally going around the speedway before heading out and around Dover. It was really cool to see the banked turns on the raceway.

I went into this race knowing I wanted to push myself and try to PR. It was cool and I knew the course was flat so I was hoping the conditions would align for me. I planned to do 1:30 walk/30 sec run intervals to help me keep a regularish pace.

For the first mile I actually skipped my first few walk intervals because it was a bit crowded on the speedway and the sides were pretty slanted. I just let my adrenaline take me. About .75 miles in, I took my first walk break.

As we left the race track and went through Dover I felt REALLY good. I was booking it as fast as possible during the runs and using the walks as a little bit of recovery so I didn’t over exhaust myself. I kept looking at my watch and being happy with how my pace was going.

I hit 5 miles in just under an hour and was really happy.  10k came shortly there after in 1:11:00. I was a bit in disbelief in HOW great I felt and HOW fast I was able to run those intervals but I just went with it. I tried not to fear bonking and instead focused on hydrating at the water stops and taking my Gus at the appropriate intervals.  Every now and then I would think “okay you are feeling great, you can keep this up” and I did just that.

When I hit mile 10 in under 2 hours I knew I was in an awesome place. I started calculating how much time I had until I expected to finish and I was shocked that I would not only PR but could come in under 2:40!  Finishing in the 2:30s is a long term goal I’ve had since I ran my first half marathon 5 years ago and I couldn’t believe I could potentially finish in that time.  As I thought about this there were a few times when I got choked up and thought about how far I had come.  Then I’d remind myself to keep going, I wasn’t there yet. 🙂  In the last three miles the race became not about PRing, it became about proving to myself that I could do something I never thought I could.

And then I did it.

IMG_3449

I crossed the finish at 2:34:42. The official time has me at 2:34:00 – which frankly doesn’t make a ton of sense. But regardless, I finished COMFORTABLY in the 2:30s. I PRed by 16 minutes from the Path of the Flood Half in May, and overall this means I have cut 22 minutes from my half marathon time this year (my previous PR was 2:56:00.)

I also hit a 3 1/2 minute 10k PR during the first 10k of the race.

IMG_3441

I’m glad the medal was huge and heavy for this one because man did it feel good to have it around my neck. 🙂

IMG_3456

I wish I could tell you exactly what I did to have such an awesome race. In the week since I have been trying to peg it down to one thing and I just can’t. But I know I am becoming stronger, and if I don’t PR for the rest of the year it doesn’t matter, because I am stronger than I was even 6 months ago.

Advertisements

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.

Path Of The Flood Half Marathon Race Recap

18 Jun

On May 23rd I ran my 20th Half Marathon – The Path of the Flood Half Marathon in Johnstown, PA.  The Path of the Flood races were held last year to commemorate the 125th anniversary of a flood in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The races were a success so they brought them back this year for the 2nd year! There was a 5k, 10k and half marathon.  I live about 90 minutes from Johnstown so the day of the race my dad and I drove there and picked up our bibs and shirts.

The races were point-to-point, so you parked at the finish and then they shuttled us up to the half marathon start.  The race follows mostly the Path of the Flood Trail that goes along the path of the flood.  It is mostly crushed gravel.  I knew that this race was going to be the smallest I have run – there were only 200 runners doing the half. So I fully expected to pretty much be alone while I ran.

The race started right on time, and it honestly was a bit chilly for May. So I wore my arm sleeves with a tank top and skirt, assuming I could pull off the sleeves as needed.  The overall course was a net downhill which was awesome, and you could definitely feel like you were going on a slight decline for the majority of the time. I stuck to me 3/1 run/walk intervals, and like in previous races I planned to walk up any longer hills to preserve my energy.

The first mile or so goes through a neighborhood, which includes a huge hill, and then connects with the Path of the Flood trail.

The trail was gorgeous and the weather ended up being perfect. I never took off my arm sleeves but it was a little bit sunny and had a ton of shade so I never felt over heated. Especially for it being the end of May!

PathOfFlood (1)

It was also pretty easy to stay on the course, despite being alone, since it was a trail! I felt really good and ran quickly on my run intervals and allowed myself to recover on the walks. I kept my watch on the interval view so I wouldn’t get caught up in paces and just flipped it over to see my overall time when I’d pass large milestones – 5k, 10k, etc.  About 10k in I was feeling great. I hit the 10k mark in 1:17:00  I started to do the math in my head and knew that if I kept this pace up I could totally PR this thing.

Around mile 8 we went through the Staple Bend Tunnel which was a new experience!PathOfFloodStapleBendTunnel(source)

That tunnel was a bit DARK. But I focused on the light at the other end of it and slowed my pace a little and just kept going. It was really neat to run through it.

Shortly after the tunnel there were some pretty steep and rocky uphills that I had to trudge up and take my time coming down on the other side. My pace suffered a little here but I knew I could still edge out a PR.

Around mile 11ish (I think) I came to the end of the trail and saw the race photographers.

PathofFloodProI was still feeling really good. And major kudos to this race for offering the photos for free!

The last few miles of the course went through Johnstown, and honestly there were a few times when I was unsure that I was going the correct way. There were volunteers at major turns but not all of them. So I did second guess myself a bit between water stops and volunteers. I did provide this feedback to the race organizers, so hopefully this will get fixed in the future.

I kept doing my intervals and checking my watch. I knew a PR was a definite at this point, it was just a matter of how much I’d PR by. 🙂

I saw my dad about quarter mile from the finish and told him I knew I was going to PR by at least 5 minutes!

I crossed the finish and saw the best sight on my garmin…

PathOfFlood (2)OT was 2:50:50!! (There was no timing mat at the start which is why I think my watch is a slight bit off.)

That is a PR of 5:36!!!!  I was so happy to finish my 20th half and it was even better to get to celebrate it with a PR! My dad PRed too, so it was a good day all around.

PathOfFlood (3)

PathOfFlood (4)Overall, this was a great race, and I had a great time running it! It was awesome to find a close by race that explored an area I have never run in before! We will be back next year if they continue to do it!

PathOfFlood (5)

Asbury Park Half Marathon Race Recap

30 May

Okay, I’ve gotten a little flack for not staying up to date with my race reports (Hi Bruno!) sooooo it’s time for me to spend some time catching up. and I have THREE half marathon recaps to share. Three. Whoops. So, since I’ve gotta keep it chronological (it’s more fun that way) lets head back to mid April. My first half marathon of 2015 and #18 total.  And my first time on a reality TV show. Or at least signing a release for one…

My dad and I were looking for a race in a neighboring state (there are many options since we are in Pennsylvania). We were getting the itch to run before the Pittsburgh half at the beginning of May so we took a look in New Jersey and found a well reviewed race along the Jersey Shore in Asbury Park, NJ.

The race was on Saturday so we left around lunch time on Friday to make the 4.5 hour trek to the shore. Packet pickup was right along the shore in Asbury Park and was a breeze. It also gave us a chance to check out where to park the morning of the race since it was in the same place.

Quick story…

The Race Director had posted on facebook a few days prior that there would be a TV show filming at the expo and during the race.  There was also plenty of guessing on facebook about what TV show it was… Real Housewives? A Jersey Shore spin off? I didn’t really think much of it to be honest.  When we went to the expo there were signs up everywhere saying that by being at the location you were agreeing to be represented on TV. My dad and I were walking around and I stopped at the Gu booth to get some free packets of Gu blocks (yes, seriously, totally complete packets for free!) and as I turned around I saw a camera crew right behind me with lights, a boom mic, everything. I quickly ducked out of the way and hoped I hadn’t actually got in the shot.  As I walked back towards my dad there was a tap on my shoulder and a guy from the film crew asked me to sign a release and take a photo holding it since I was in their shot. Oops. I asked what show they were from and they said they were filming for a show called Human Resources. I had been joking with my friends that I planned to avoid any potential camera crews at all costs and then accidentally ended up in their shot anyhow. Figures. 🙂

My dad and I stayed in a hotel about 20 minutes away so after (mis)navigating a multi-lane traffic circle we grabbed dinner and headed to the hotel to relax and sleep.

The next morning the race didn’t start until 8:30 so we actually got to sleep in a bit, eat breakfast, and head out. Parking was free and right near the race start/finish, right along the boardwalk. We parked right next to The Stone Pony – the bar where Sprinsteen aparently got his start.

Before the race we hung out and chatted with a few other runners – including a fellow Half Fanatic.  She actually snapped a photo of me for the facebook page. Asbury Park Half (2)This was actually my first race wearing my fanatics gear and I picked a good one. There were so many other fanatics on the course and it was awesome to cheer each other on!

My dad and I also grabbed a photo in from of the ocean. Asbury Park Half (1)

 

We also ended up in the background of another part of the filming for Human Resources. No release form needed this time though.

Right around 8:30 the race started.  The temperature was in the mid 50s and got up to about the low 70s if I remember right. There was also very little shade and so honestly from about 9:30 on it felt warmer than what I was used to.

The course is flat and close to the ocean, and comprised mostly of a bunch of out and backs. This can be fun because you see the other runners a LOT so I got to wave to my dad a lot. But can also be a bit demotivating when you are heading out and watching people head back in. Around mile 9 we actually passed the finish line, and had to keep going past it. That was a bit rough mentally.

Asbury Park Half (3)

 

I felt great for probably the first 8 miles. I stuck to my tried and true 3/1 run/walk intervals. I felt like I was able to push myself appropriately on the runs and recover some on the walks. I said hi to a ton of fanatics and looked at the ocean and just took it all in. It was very scenic.

What I didn’t anticipate was how it would feel to run on the boardwalk itself.

Asbury Park Half (4)New Jersey is still recovering from Hurricaine Sandy. As a result, different parts of the Asbury Park boardwalk are different materials. The first stretch of boardwalk was wood, and it was old so it was a bit warped. I had to watch to make sure I didn’t trip on anything uneven.

Asbury Park Half (5)

 

Another area had synthetic wood planks that were laid diagonally. I was shocked to realized that it made me feel dizzy to run on this. That coupled with the increasing sun and temperatures and the fact that my fueling got out of whack (completely my fault, I wasn’t paying attention to when I needed to Gu) made the last 4 miles or so feel really really rough.

Asbury Park Half (6)

That is the photo of someone ready to be done and over that finish line!

I finished in 3:04:08 – not a time I am particularly proud of, but despite that I can tell I am getting stronger. A year or two ago I probably would have finished even slower given the conditions.

My dad and I snapped a photo at the end.

Asbury Park Half (7)

 

Major kudos for this race providing FREE race photos! What an awesome perk!!!

So all in all, not the start to my Half Marathons this season that I was hoping for since I had PRed a week before at the Hershey 10k. But it was fun to run along the Jersey Shore and check NJ off the list. The race overall was very well organized and a good course if you like something flat.