Scott Coffee 8K & Black Bear Tri Reports

So many races to catch you all up on!!   That will  give me more time to get caught up on my reader as well.  (Does anyone else feel like they will never be caught up on their readers?!?!)  I raced yesterday too but that post will have to wait…as will my hospital post (the fun never ends with me) and my general life update! 

Two weekends ago, I raced twice; first on Saturday at a local 8K and then Sunday in the Poconos for a relay tri.  I was the swimmer.  Obvi, right?

Friday night I had to work, and I had a bad week the days before so I was really not in the mood to race.  But I woke up Saturday and got ready to toe the line!  I ran into a few friends and my friend Kristen and I decided to start out together.  First mile…9 minutes…WHOA fast runner.  Had to slow that down or I was going to lose it.  We slowed it down a notch but by mile three we were still just under a 10 minute mile pace.  At about that time, I took off from Kristen (she would have done the same thing and I would have let her too)  because I was feeling like I could really push it.  I held on strong, only stopping at the final water stop and came through the finish at 49:57!  I have raced this course four years now, and all I wanted was to get in under 50 minutes.  I was ecstatic!!!!!

Pre-race with Kristen

Mom and pre-race

YES!!!! 🙂

After the race we grabbed a quick lunch and then R2 and I were headed to the poconos for race number two of the weekend!  We headed up to the Jim Thorpe campsite the night before for a night of cooking out and chatting around the fire.  (In addition to the good times, it is about a 2 hour drive, so going up the night before was a major morning of time saver!)  The ride up was going well until R2 missed his exit.  Have you ever missed an exit on the PA turnpike?  Not fun!  After that notsomuchfun time, we were finally there.  There were a total of 10 of us camping, however only four of us were doing the tent thing.  Our friends had a camper.  It worked out really well because we used the camper for making dinner 🙂  R2 is a former Eagle Scout, so I was camping with the best of them!  In fact, it was obvious that R2 had some experience when we compared our tent to our friends tent:

Even though we were camping and having fun, it was still the night before a race.  Bed early is still the rule!  Wake up call was 5am and after packing up the site we were off to the race.   I had a little bit of anxiety because I was remembering the prior year when the swim portion of this race chewed me up and spit me out.  Talk about humbling!  Well, this year I was back for redemption.  And I got it.  My swim was 30minutes and I felt great the entire time!!!  I quickly tagged off to Shauna for the bike and she was back in no time!  We were kicking ass one relay person at a time and next up was Lisa on the run.  As she passed us on the first lap, she yelled out “8 minute miles” and we could tell she was rocking it.  Turns out we were all right too- end result was 1st place female relay and 3rd relay overall!!  Wooohooo!!!!

R2 at his tri, spectating 🙂

Happy girl coming out of that swim!

Awards ceremony!!

Boston Trip Report Day 2 & The B.A.A. 5K Report

Haven’t read part 1 yet?  Don’t miss out on the fun and photos- go read it here.

Sunday morning was a super early start in the POURING rain!  I got dressed, had a granola bar and water and was on my way.  Thankfully by the time we got off the T-line and to the start, the rain had tapered off!  It was still quite cold, but I knew I would appreciate it once I was running.  (I don’t think my mom appreciated it at all!)  This was not “just” a 5K…it was the BOSTON 5K…that meant lots of spectators, a great atmosphere and a medal!  Yes, a medal!  SCORE!  And lots of bloggies 🙂  We met on the steps for some pre-race conversation; it was a great way to pass the time before getting to the start line.

The 5k was crowded at first but as the first 1/4 mile went on, I was able to get into a groove on my own.  I started out fast- way too fast- and hit the first hill with gusto!  I knew if I wanted to finish strong, I needed to slow down.  I hit the first mile at just over 10 minutes.  The second mile went relatively fast- the crowd support was amazing, the best I have ever witnessed for a 5k and I was loving all the cheers.  After passing the 2nd water stop, I decided to slow down because my shins were on fire.  I didn’t want to come away from this race focused on pain, I wanted to come away from this race being happy and having had a good time.  I took it down to a slow jog, but that ended up actually hurting more.  I struggled to get comfortable for the entire last mile- but thankfully, I had come across Morgan and Spike spectating and their cheers gave me a nice push to the finish.  Even though it was “just” a 5K, it was by far the coolest I ever ran!!! 

My official time was 31:42- I am very happy with that because I really did get to enjoy the race and take it all in.  I had thought about pushing for a PR, and I probably could have gotten it, but after rethinking it just before go-time I decided to just have fun with the run since I wasn’t sure I would ever get to do it again. 

After the 5K, my mom and I headed immediately for coffee which was much needed!  before we headed over for bloggy breakfast we stopped to watch some of the invitational mile.  It was pretty cool to see some young runners out there and made even better by the funny commentary provided by Spike!  By the time 10am rolled around there were some seriously hungry runnnahs out there!  We headed over to Stephanies on Newbury for breakfast- and while they didn’t have our confirmation (Morgan was in charge of this…the most organized person EVER…something tells me this was a problem on the resturants behalf and NOT Morgan!) they were quick to accomodate our group.  After getting settled in with our coffee’s and Mimosa’s, it was a total chat-fest!  Next to being THISCLOSE to Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall, this was honestly, one of my favorite times all weekend!  Plus, I had just about the best waffle EVER!  Stacked high with strawberries and whipped cream.  (Katie managed to have whipped cream with a side of waffle!)  I was definitely sad to see the breakfast end!

 

From breakfast, it was back to the hotel to get ready to meet up with my Mom’s friend Lorna!  Back on the T-Line…back to the hotel…back to the T-Line…and into the Financial District we went!  We enjoyed a great dinner at Red Sky and then went for some ice cream.  We ended up back at Lorna’s house until quite late and by the time I got home, I was beat!

Up next…Marathon Monday ♥

Shamrock 8K Race Report

First race of 2011 is in the books!

I headed down on Friday to lovely Virginia Beach- had a fairly uneventful drive and got there about 2pm.  The expo seemed smaller to me this year than last and we really didn’t spend too much time there.  I wanted to get some CEP’s but they weren’t there so that was the only real bummer for me. That  night, her cousins (we stayed at their house right off the beach) made a fabulous dinner of Alfredo and Salmon.  Ah-mazing.  And then it was off to bed.

Pre-Race:  Up and at em by 5:30 and to the race by 6:15.  We got a fabulous parking space which was nice because it was raining. Ugh. I don’t so much mind running in rain, but I very much mind standing around in it.  Once we got down to 31st street where the start line was, we stayed out of the wind/rain at the local hotel.  Right before they started lining us up, the rain stopped.  But the wind…well, that would be a whole nother story!

Race: Nicole and I started off together at a comfortable pace just under 10 minute miles.  Everything felt good.  I was really just cruising…and at a pace slightly faster than I am used to for starting out.  It felt good, so I kept up with it.  The first mile flew by.  As did the second mile.  As I came into the third mile I knew I needed to slow it down- Nicole went ahead and I kept steady at about a 10minute mile.  I came into the 5k mark at a little over 29 minutes.  This was good!  It was all good.  Until I got to the boardwalk.  Mile 4 was a complete fail.  The wind was horrible- sand in my eye (even with my glasses on), wind pounding me in the face, everyone trying to run on the left so as not be hit by the sand…crowded, annoying, fail!  With that said, I did not let it get me down- I knew I had a bad mile, but I also knew I could still make my goal of under 50:00.  I pushed so hard.  Dug deep. Thought positive. I did everything I could.  I left it all out there in mile 5.  And I came in at 51:13.  1 minute and 13 seconds over my goal. 

Breakdown:

Mile 1- 9:44

Mile 2- 19:38

Mile 3- 29:35

Mile 4- 41:07

Mile 5- 51:13

Overall, I am happy with my performance.  So I didn’t make my goal.  So that sucks.  But the race was hard fought.  And this time last year, I was hardly even running.  This was my first race of 2011′ my first race since November of 2010.  At the end of the day, I gave it all I had.  It wasn’t my best showing, but it was my best effort.

Stats:

Division- 252/719

Gender- 1384/4867

Overall- 2994/7675

Post-Race:  Met up with Nicole (she ran 47:02!) and headed to grab our post race adult beverages.  Yum!  Snacked, listened to some music and then grabbed lunch at a local place called TapHouse.  Awesome lunch!  Then headed home and took a nap before going out on the town that night. 

It was a good trip and I am glad I went, but I was exhausted by the time I got home on Sunday night.  I drove right to R2’s house and stayed there so I didn’t even unpack until after I got home from work yesterday!  I woke up today, swam and tonight I work!  Training is in full swing; I feel great but I am tired! I need a vacation from the vacations I have been taking!!! 

And of course…photos:

 

Up Next- First Race Of 2011

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

When I planned my race schedule for 2011, I was purposeful about waiting until I had some base-training before even thinking about racing.  The first plan was to race a half in March, but thinking that could be pushing it, I decided to keep it simple.  So, this weekend, my first race of 2011- a nice little 8K along with beaches of Virginia. 🙂  That’s right, I am headed back down to VA Beach! 

I really did want to claim redemption after last year, but the truth is, I really would just be pushing myself.  Right now, I have been following the 10% rule like it is my job and I have been really putting in some quality training.  The 8K simply fits better into where I am right now with my training.  And even though my runs have been good for the most part, I have no idea what to expect from this race.  My last 8K was only a few weeks after I was allowed to run again last year and I posted just over 50:00.  I would really like to break 50:00, so I have made 49:49 my goal for the race.  If I hit it, I do.  If not, I don’t.  Either way, the first race of 2011 will be in the books!

Two Sidenotes:

  • This morning at the gym…with eight available ellipticals, the hairest man alive who was also sweating like a pig and breathing hard while talking on his cell phone…got on the machine right next to me.  This happens to me ALL.THE.TIME!  Why is it that people insist on getting on the machine right next to me when there are plenty others available?!?!  Ahh…life’s greatest mysteries.
  • Today is the start of March Madness–> let the insanity begin.  My brackets are done and I am just waiting for 12:15 when it all begins to go down!  Let’s go UNC Tarheels ♥

2011 Race Schedule

Just because I have decided to take the pressure off when it comes to training and keep my goals more personal, doesn’t mean I don’t have a race schedule planned.  And here it is!

Shamrock 8K; Virginia Beach, VA- My first race of 2011.  My friend Nicole and I planned to do the half-marathon but did not sign up in time unfortunately.  Since we had already found a placed to stay, taken the time off work and planned the trip we decided to at least do the 8k and then just spectate the half and full.  I really wanted to run this race since I had to bag it last year after my injury, but I guess it is just not meant to be for me.  At the very least, I will enjoy 4 days in VA Beach 🙂 

B.A.A Boston 5k; Boston, MA- This is obviously assuming I get in on the day registration opens.  I know it is going to be a crapshoot since 27402378 are trying to sign up but hopefully I will get in.  Either way, I will still be in Boston for the marathon and I am way ridiculously beyond excited to reconnect with and meet new bloggers 🙂  It is going to be a super fabulous weekend.

Frederick 1/2 Marathon; Frederick, MD- I actually just decided on this the last week.  I wanted a May 1/2 marathon and this one fits best into my schedule.  Plus, since I deferred Baltimore to this year, I will get the Double Medal 🙂

Black Bear Olympic Relay; Poconos, PA- Despite the freezing cold, rain and getting sick in the water, I loved this race.  I was the swimmer last year with my friends Kurt and Brian and I am the swimmer this year with my friends Shauna and Lisa.  Hopefully we get better weather and I can get some revenge on that swim course!

Boilermaker 15K; Utica, NY- This race takes place the day after my 30th birthday so a few of my friends and I are heading up to race and party it up!  We are spending the weekend, including my actual birthday there and then running is specially made shirts!  Other than Boston, I am most excited for this race.

NJ State Sprint; Mercer, NJ- This is my “A” race for 2011…this is my favorite course by far and as anyone who reads my blog knows, run by my favorite RD’s, CGI.  I am not even kidding…this race is great!  Even in 100 degree weather last year it was enjoyable.  If you are looking for a mid-July tri, I cannot recommend anything more than this race!

Belmar Sprint; Belmar, NJ- This race is pretty simple but still one of my favorites.  I love the ocean swim, the simplicity of the looped bike course and the run along the beach.  This will be my third consecutive year racing this course and I look forward to getting even better this year than last year.

Timberman Sprint; Lake Winnipesaukee, NH- This is the only race on this schedule that I am still back and forth on; the entry fee is ridiculous and hard to justify but a lot of my teammates will be there and it will make for a fun weekend.  Plus…Chrissie Wellington.  Yeah, her.

Wildwood 1/2 Marathon- Wildwood, NJ- This is the newest 1/2 marathon in the CGI half-marathon series and I am very excited about this race.  Not only does it take place the same time I am on vacation in Wildwood, but so many of my teammates are racing this and with the entry fee you get a ticket into Morey’s Pier and water park.  So after the race we will be hanging out on the boardwalk and beach AND then back at my place to hang out.  It will be a most excellent way to end summer!

Baltimore 1/2 Marathon- Baltimore, MD- I deferred this race last year to this year and as much as I loved this race in 2009, Baltimore does not make it easy to stay overnight there.  The hotels in the area do not accommodate even though they are “race supporting” hotels.  I found it all to be very frustrating and if I run into issues again this year, I probably won’t bother with the race anymore.  Which would be a shame since I really do like it and they give out the coolest medals!

Philadelphia Marathon- Philadelphia, NJ- Yup. Giving it another go. I am unsure if I will ever attempt a second, so the first has to be Philly.  The half distance has my little racing heart and I cannot think of any other full that I would want to be my first.

I put a lot less on my plate this year than last but as you can see, I am also going to give the marathon another try.  My first attempt was a bust but I feel like this year could be my year.  Especially because I have full intentions of going into every race the way I did the Philly half this year.  And of course, at the end of the day, all I want to do is finish.

I am sure there will be some 5k’s and 10k’s dispersed in there but for the most part, I want to keep it more simple for 2011.  I am still toying with Steelman again if I can get a relay together but I don’t think I’ll be adding in any more big races.  I am excited for all the traveling I get to do with my racing this year and picked my races bases in large part based on that.  I figure, I got nothing holding me back right now…midas well get all the traveling I can get it while I can.

Will I be seeing any of you at any of the above races???

Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Report

Other title options:

-Redemption!

-Dear Philly, I kicked your ass!

-How the hell did that happen?

-Will I ever PR again?

Notes:

  • I had worked Saturday at the expo for 3 hours and then again at my night job until closing!  Not kidding…no one would cover my shift, or switch with me, so I worked from 5pm-12am the night before. 
  • I resigned myself to the idea that this race would be just for fun and that I should have low expectations.  In fact, I never even thought about a time goal…I basically just wanted to finish happy and not injured.  I told my mom to expect me around 2:30-2:35, although I did say I was going to try to stick with a pace group and there was a chance I could come in before 2:30.

Pre-Race:

I was so wired when I got in from work that I could not sleep.  I ended up dozing off for about two hours but it was 4am before I knew it!  My mom met up with me at my house and we were off.  We met up with my friend Brian and followed him to a garage and then headed over to the Art Museum. 

About 30 minutes before the race my stomach started hating me and I needed a bathroom STAT.  The line was 2390823908 people long and I seriously thought I might die.  The pain was unreal and I could not even imagine how I would run in it were to continue through the race.  I made it through the line and to my corral but within minutes, I needed the bathroom again.  Ugh, this was not good!  Luckily after stop number #2, I felt a little better and even luckier, I was done just in time to start with my corral, although I was at the very back.

Race:

Miles 1-3; I did not start off well.  Between my stomach bothering me and having to move through the crowd of slower-than-me runners and walkers, I was having a hard time.  I got to the 5k at just under 36:00…I was not happy!  Then it occurred to me that I had two options.  1- allow this to ruin my race and just give in or 2- get through the rough patch and press on.  I did not want to get down on myself early; I pretty much said to myself “get it together” and then that is exactly what I did!

Miles 4-6.2; At about the mile 4 mark, I realized I was making up some time and when I looked up, I saw the 5:00 pace group not far ahead of me.  This was the pace group I had hoped to spend some time running with but because I got into my corral too late and got behind because of my disastrous first three miles, I had lost sight of them.  But here they were just a little bit ahead.  I knew if I pushed a little harder I could catch up to them.  I stopped at the water stop to take a GU and then pressed on with the 5:00 pace balloons in sight.  I saw my TT friends cheering and it was exactly the boost I needed to pick up my pace!  And then I was there- running with the pace group 🙂  The thing is, once I got there, I felt like I could go faster; I went with my gut and kept on moving.  I was feeling so good- everything was going right…this was the best I ever felt and i decided at that moment, unless anything insane happened, I was going to PR this race.  I was going to make it happen.  I reached the 10K mark at 1:07:30…I was under an 11:00/minute pace.  I had made up SO MUCH time!

Miles 6.2-10; This was the hilliest part of the course (you know, as hilly as it gets for the area) but also the best miles for me mentally.  I kept reminding myself that this was a fun race and that I was having fun.  I thought about how Kate told me that she felt like her Ironman went as well as it did because she stayed postive, so I just tried to channel all my positive energy.  I made myself run up each hill no matter what…just kept telling myself one foot in front of the other.  And every time the thought of walking crossed my mind, I just reminded myself that I was on my way to a PR!  I took a GU at mile 8 and Mile 10 was reached at 1:48.  Still under an 11:00/pace and very much on target for a PR.

Miles 11-12; In every half-marathon in the past, I have fallen apart at mile 11.  So as I approached mile 11, I had a little chat with the asphalt.  My legs were hurting…my shins were on fire and my left calf was angry.  But I was not stopping.  No way.  I directed my mind to think positive and get the frick to the finish line.  I had come this far…made up time…and was well on my way to a PR…I was.not.stopping!  I thought pushing through mile 11 was the toughest part of the race until I reached mile 12.  Now I had to pee.  I tried to run through it…just get to the finish and then pee.  But my bladder was having nothing of it- and the porta-potty lines were FAR too long.  I was NOT going to ruin my PR by waiting in a damn porta-potty line.  No friggen way.  So I did what any classy Jersey girl would do in this situation…I pee’d in the bushes.  Free of my need to pee and back on my feet running, I blasted into mile 13 ready to get to the finish.

Mile 13-13.1; The crowd support through the finish was amazing.  And not even kidding, I texted my mom to let her know I was on my way in- I didn’t want her to miss me.  I could not believe I was at the finish- I was elated.  The crowd was cheering and I saw my mom and Brian and I was running as fast as I could- and then…I crossed the line at 2:23:08!!!!!

Post-race: GLOW GLOW GLOW GLOW 🙂  Followed by some pictures, gatorade, a banana and the very slow walk back to the car.  Then it was home to sleep for a few hours because I am crazy and went into work that night!

Prior to this race, my PR was 2:27:44…so I improved by over 4 full minutes!  I have been chasing that damn PR since May 2009 and it felt so good to finally reach my goal.  In addition to a 4 minute overall PR, this was a 10 minute course PR!!!

More Notes:

  • I walked the water stops and I stopped once to stretch my calf and once to pee.  Other than that I ran the ENTIRE race.  I never stopped moving (except to pee) no matter what, I just kept going!!!
  • Mike- I looked for you at medals!  I asked all the way through the line if anyone knew where Mike was- but to no avail 😦  One guy thought I was looking for my dad and tried to direct me to the meet-up area and a few others looked at me as though I had a personality disorder.  Awesome.
  • The crowd support for this race was really good- especially in the cheer sections.  Music going, people dressed up…Philly does spectating well 🙂
  • This race would not be possible without the help of volunteers and the Philadelphia Police Department.  The officers throughout the race are wonderful.  I appreciate them being out there more than I can say.  Philadelphia cops have a tough job every day and it was a joy to see them on the course. 
  • I am quite sore.  I chaperoned an ice skating trip yesterday and that has only added to the soreness.  I plan to spin out my legs this afternoon but I am taking a week off from running.  It is officially the off season!!!

Thank you for all your support- all the well wishes and happy vibes.  My excitement over my PR has not ended yet.  I smiled through writing this whole report.  This is the report I thought I would have to wait until 2011 to write.  2010 has been a rollercoaster year- being injured and told I might not be able to run until summer…proving THAT wrong and running as early as April.  Racing back to back weekends over summer and PR’ing through them was amazing…but nothing tops this race.  This was the highlight of my year.  I had to bag so many races…and I fought with myself over each one.  I was hard on myself for not running Philly Rock and Roll…I did not feel ready and I did not feel I should race.  I know more than every that I made the right decision.  This was to be my comeback race…and my only plan was to get to the start and finish lines.  The PR is the AMAZINGLY SWEET icing on top 🙂

Photos: