Race Recap: XTERRA Brandywine Creek Trail 12k

Race Recap: XTERRA Brandywine Creek Trail 12k

This past Sunday, I ran my first race of 2017.  I hadn’t specifically trained for this race, I just integrated it into my training for the Hyner 25k – my real focus of 2017.  Here is my race recap of a greatly organized, fun, and challenging trail race I recommend to all my trail running friends!

The alarm clock woke me up at 5:30 AM on Sunday morning.  The instant the alarm started beeping, I became mentally unprepared.  It was the morning of Daylight Savings so I had lost an hour of sleep despite going to bed relatively early the night before.  I was lying in bed, underneath a warm blanket, with my face smashed into a pillow wondering why anyone in the entire world would want to schedule a race for the morning of daylight savings.  I also wondered why anyone in the entire world would want to sign up for a race on the morning of daylight savings.  What was I thinking back in December when I had signed up for this?!?!  Nevertheless, I grumpily forced myself out of bed.

The morning’s temperature was a brisk 19 degrees when I woke up.  By 8 AM, at race start, it was predicted to be a much “warmer” 23 degrees.  This is also probably a factor that played in to the fact that I was completely mentally checked out of the race.  My brain was telling me to stay inside, to stay warm, and to go back to bed.  I was not in a mood to race on that morning.  I wanted sleep and warmth.

But instead, thanks to Josh, I got myself ready.  I had my normal toast with peanut butter and banana for breakfast.  I put on my insulated tights, a high pair of Smart Wool socks, two Under Armour long sleeves, my Sneakers and Spokes long sleeve jersey, my lobster gloves, two ear warmers, and of course, my Altra Lone Peaks.  That would be my race apparel.  I layered up with my Sneakers & Spokes sweatshirt and my ski jacket as well, which I would shed right before the start of the race.

We headed out the door by 6:35 AM.  We made it to the race start by a little after 7 AM.  I picked up my race number and swag bag.  We discussed with the brave volunteers (kudos to you all for willingly standing out there in 20 degree weather!) that Josh needed to transfer his bib to my dad due to an unforeseen injury.  They luckily made that process quite easy!  I was planning on doing a 2 mile warm-up but the freezing temperatures kept me warmly inside Josh’s Jeep instead during the minutes leading up to the race start.  I managed to get in 0.80 miles of a warm-up with my dad wearing my ski jacket.  I was just too cold to shed layers.

Most of the racers remained in their warm cars leading up to the race start.  I only saw a few racers attempting to get in a warm-up.  By 7:55 a lot of the racers began to meander towards the unofficial starting line.  We simply lined up at the top of the hill.  I inched toward the front of the crowd so I didn’t have to spend my energy trying to navigate through people.  We started the race a little after 8 AM since racers were still slowly meandering towards the start.  I just wanted to get running so that I could get warmer.  Josh and my mom stood to the side bundled up in their jackets.  I was grateful for them coming out to stand in the cold to watch us run down the hill and into the woods.  Trail races typically aren’t very spectator friendly.  The race director yelled “ready, set, go” while standing on top of a brick wall.  And before I really had time to process that the race was actually starting, we were all pounding down the hill and running towards the woods.

After the downhill, we made a left into a double-track trail.  I remember seeing one woman in front of me.  I hoped to keep her in my sights the whole time. The first mile was mostly downhill and flat so we all started out very fast.  I eventually caught up to the woman on one of the smaller, more gradual uphills.  I knew I had an advantage on these hills and I knew the hills that were coming up in the race.  Josh and I had done many nights of hill repeats on these hills.  I knew what to expect in the next 7 miles of the race. I passed the woman and I became the lead woman in the race.   I wondered how much longer it would be until another woman came up behind me.

We crossed the Brandywine Creek and started up a climb that Josh and I call “the unknown trail”.  I’ve done this hill many of times and it’s a tough one.  I had promised Josh that I would not walk or powerhike any of the hills during the race.  Not only was I racing for myself, I was also racing for him.  I tried my best to “speedily” get up the hill but my “speedy” on hills can sometimes be slower than a powerhike.  But nevertheless, I kept my running form the entire way up the hill.  A woman came up behind me (that didn’t take long) and asked to pass me on the left.  I willingly allowed her to.  We began our descent down “the unknown trail”.  Next, we would be ascending Rocky Run.

After about another half mile, we crossed a stream which lead us directly into the uphill of Rocky Run.  They had kindly strung a rope across the stream to make crossing easier, but I had stupid-ly crossed on the wrong side of the rope which then required me to step over the rope when I got to the other side of the stream.  Stupid me.  We then immediately began our ascent of Rocky Run.  I had run up this hill many of times before too so I knew exactly what kind of pain my legs and lungs would be feeling.  A lot of racers around me broke their running form and started power hiking but  I tried my best to keep powering up the hill.  When I finally got to the top, I took one big deep breath.  The trail would flatten out a little bit until we descended the other side of Rocky Run.

This is where Josh and my mom randomly appeared in the woods!  They were hiking towards me in attempt to see my ascend Rocky Run but I had beat them to it (I guess I was just running too fast for them to make it there in time!).  They cheered me on and Josh told me that Rocky Run was “just a little hill”.  Little was an understatement at that point.

Shortly after seeing them, we started the descent of Rocky Run.  I’ve been told by Josh that I am a strong downhill runner.  In that moment of time, I felt invincible going down that hill.  I passed a gentlemen that was being much more cautious than I was.  I was weaving from left to right on the trail in hopes of finding the best (and smoothest) line down the trail.  I was leaping from point to point.  I felt like I was flying!  I wasted no time going down Rocky Run and running that hill so many times in the past gave me a huge confidence boost during the race.

We crossed Brandywine Creek again and ran on singletrack for about another mile before being led to a fielded area.  On the singletrack, I tried my best to hold a faster-than-normal trail pace for me.  There were muddy spots on the trail and I tried my best to avoid getting my feet wet – my toes would’ve froze! – but I also didn’t slow down in the muddy parts; after all, I was in a race.

When we turned out of the singletrack and into the woods, we were instantly greeted by the sights of a very large hill.  I commented aloud, “oh my goodness”. The man behind me commented back but I don’t remember what he said exactly.  We ascended the hill.  The course leveled off, went downhill, then uphill again.  The last mile of the race became a gradual uphill that went on, and on, and on.  I had no idea where the finish line was or how much further I had to go – I refused to look at my watch the entire race.  I tried my best to just keep moving forward.  My body hurt and I felt exhausted.  We ascended one last final hill and were gifted a downhill to the finish.  I was so relieved!  I crossed the finish line as fast as I could and as strong as I could.  The clock read 1:06.  This, I was content with.

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When I finished, I was handed a medal but I was too cold and too sore to process it all.  I tried my best to walk past the pavilion so that I could find Josh and my parents.  Josh was holding my ski jacket (best boyfriend ever!) which I instantly put on.  My body hurt so bad.  They told me that they thought I might have finished as the 2nd female finisher – I agreed with them since I only remembered seeing the one woman pass me near the top of “the unknown trail”.  This made me happy!

After a brief talk with my parents and Josh, I told them I needed to go get on dry clothes so I wouldn’t freeze in my own sweat (sorry for the gross image of that happening).  I slowly walked towards Josh’s Jeep while clinging to his arm, hoping to steal some of his body heat.  I got in the Jeep and exchanged my race shirts for dry shirts and a sweatshirt.

We walked back the finish area hoping they might have the awards ceremony soon.  The race director eventually announced that due to the frigid temperatures their computer systems had basically froze so they weren’t able to host the awards ceremony without seeing the official results. I was bummed that I wouldn’t get to be announced as the 2nd place female finisher, but I also was content because I wanted to go get a hot shower and just lie in bed.  The race director announced that awards would be mailed instead.

When we got back to Josh’s I took a hot shower.  I had no appetite, my body ached, and I was still cold.  I turned down scrambled eggs that Josh had cooked as a 2nd breakfast.  I just wanted to take a nap.  So by 11 AM, I was laying in bed wrapped in a blanket.  I didn’t move a single muscle.  I eventually fell asleep for about 2 hours.  Josh continued with his day and did things around the house but I was so ache-y that I just needed to stay still.

Eventually I forced myself to eat a piece of toast and real food later on. Due to losing an hour of sleep, being freezing cold for 2-3 hours in the morning and racing a challenging course, my body felt broken.

It took me some time to recover that day, but I looked back on it and was very happy with my race. It was a great course – about 100 feet of gain per mile which is pretty challenging for a trail race in Delaware – with some great ascents and descents.  It’s exciting to see my name in the top 3 female finishers.  This is the first time I’ve ever seen that.  My average pace (8:53/mile) was the fastest I’ve ever averaged at a run through the trails of Brandywine.  All of these factors combined have boosted my confidence a little bit for Hyner in a little over a month.  I know I’m not the fastest trail runner, but I know my strengths and weaknesses on the trail.  I feel strong, I feel more confident, and I feel like I’m getting more and more prepared for all the trail races ahead of me.

Huge shoutout to the race director of such a great race and all the volunteers who stood out in the freezing temps on a Sunday morning.  Shoutout to my dad for placing 15th overall and 2nd in his age group.  Shoutout to my mom for supporting me and my dad always in our races – no matter the temperature. And lastly, shoutout to Josh:  for pushing me to do hill repeats to make me a stronger runner, for supporting me always despite my complaints, fears, and doubts, and for bringing my jacket to the finish of the race knowing that I would be shivering uncontrollably without it – thanks for being my best friend!

Onward and upward to Hyner!

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Runner’s World Half Marathon – Race Recap

Runner’s World Half Marathon – Race Recap

This past Sunday I raced the Runner’s World Half Marathon in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  This was the culminating race of the Runner’s World Half Marathon Festival after a weekend of various races.

Because I had to work a 12 hour shift on Saturday, this race weekend was slightly different than most race weekends for me.  I wasn’t able to visit the 2-day expo hosted by Runner’s World as I was forced to pick-up my bib on race morning due to other “adult responsibilities”.  I also wasn’t able to run the day before the race which was a huge mental barrier for me.  Because I worked 6:45 AM until 7 PM, I had little to no choice than to skip a pre-race shake-out run.  I didn’t want to wake up at 5 AM and go for a shake-out run because I feared running by myself so early in the morning and I didn’t want to run at 8 PM after work because that would cut in to my sleep the night before the race – after all, we had to leave for the race at 3:30 AM.

I consumed my carbo-loading pasta dinner after getting done my 12 hour shift, packed up some last minute things for race morning, and was in bed by 9:30 PM.  My alarm was set for 3 AM which would leave me with 30 minutes to get my race outfit on and get out the door.

I was grateful to have my mom with me on race day as my dad and Josh were racing an adventure race at Brandywine the same day.  We left the house around 3:35 AM and started out towards Bethlehem with the full moon shining high in the sky.  We passed about 7 total cars within the 30 minute drive to the highway we needed to get on.  The roads were dark and the rest of the world was still fast asleep.

Half way to Bethlehem, I realized I forgot my red Gatorade in the fridge so we stopped at a Wawa off the Turnpike since we knew we would have plenty of time to spare once we arrived to the race location.  I opted for a blue Gatorade and continued on our way.

We arrived at the designated race parking lots around 5:25 AM and nobody was around.  The parking lots were dark and empty, and I actually questioned whether I had the right date for the race.  We asked a security guard where to park and he directed us to a different lot.  Still the only ones parked in a huge parking lot, we gathered our belongings and I double and triple checked that I had everything I needed.

All of the pre-race emails designated these particular lots as the only lots available for parking, so my mom and I had no choice but to walk 1.5 miles to the Arts Quest building for bib pick-up.  Here we were, at 5:30 AM walking down Daly Ave in the dark past the start, Sands Casino, and the outlets both layered with warm clothes.

We finally arrived to the Arts Quest building and I was able to pick up my race bib and race shirt.  I am quite disappointed with the size of the long sleeve shirt I received.  Usually I fit comfortably into a small, but the volunteers at the shirt pick-up warned me the sizes were running small.  So, heeding to their warning,  I opted for a medium.  When I got home and actually put on the medium, the sleeves were about 2 inches too short, and the shirt just didn’t fit right.  Believe me, I don’t do these races for the race shirts or the medals, but if Runner’s World expected me to wear this shirt around to advertise their race, they’re going to be quite disappointed in me.

Regardless, my mom and I hung out in the Arts Quest building until about 7 AM to stay warm before walking 3/4 of  a mile back to the starting line.  I used the bathroom two more times (my nerves were really getting to me!).  We started our walk back to the starting line and by this time, Josh was awake so I was able to update him on safely making it to the race with ample time to spare!  While we were walking my mom and I also got to talk to one of the pacers for the race who was pacing the 8:25 goal-pace runners.  I told him I hoped to be ahead of his pace group the entire time and I hope I didn’t offend him.  He didn’t seem offended and he wished me luck as he continued down a different road to a warmer place to wait out the remaining time until the start.

At 7:25 AM I decided to go on a 15 minute warm-up run to get the blood flowing.  I ran back to the bathrooms at the Art Quest building since no bathrooms were available at the start line but was appalled by the line and couldn’t afford to wait in line.  I located another bathroom which was just as bad of a wait so I decided to do some exploring on my own and located a much less popular bathroom in the outlets at Sands Casino.  Turns out, there were about one hundred runners in this building waiting inside to stay warm until the race started – it wasn’t even that cold out!

starting-line
Picture from the starting line

After locating and using the bathroom for the third time that morning, I ran back to the start to meet my mom before the race started.  At this time, I opted to run in my spandex shorts, my Sneakers and Spokes singlet, and arm sleeves.  I had been debating all morning whether to run in my shorts or 3/4 length tights but running in shorts was definitely a good choice!  I striped off my layers one by one as the starting time quickly approached.  I told my mom to head down the street a ways as she would have a better chance of seeing me in the mass of people further down the street.

At this time, I also found Tiffany, our previous Altra tech rep for Sneakers and Spokes, and I was so excited to see her!  She had won the 3.8 mile trail run on Friday, and also raced the 5k and 10k Saturday, and here she was ready to take on the 13.1 mile race as well (click here to read her race recap!).  We were both very excited that we found each other in the mass of people.  We wished each other good luck and by that time it was just about time to start.

I found myself towards the front of the crowd as nobody seemed too ambitious to start towards the front.  After the national anthem, the gun was shot off and the mass of runners started their way down Daly Ave.  The start was on a downhill so it seemed that everyone was moving pretty quickly.  I knew it was going to be a fast mile but I felt comfortable and knew once it flattened out that I could settle in to a pace.  We made a few turns and crossed a bridge, then the uphills started.

My goal for this race was to run a 1/2 marathon PR of sub-1:41 but I didn’t expect the course to be nearly as hilly as it was.  It seemed that every half mile was either an uphill or a downhill.  The uphills got my heart rate up, and the downhills destroyed by quads.  After every downhill, it would take me nearly a quarter of a mile to regain a consistent pace and by that time we were going back uphill.  It was a vicious cycle and I remember thinking numerous times that I just wanted the race to be over and done with already….we were only 3 miles into the race.

The course weaved us through some streets of Bethlehem – the main street in Bethlehem which was lined with about 100 or so spectators, and back neighborhood streets of Bethlehem that got me questioning where I was.  I had no idea where I was the entire race and the neighborhoods we ran through were quaint and quiet.  The course wasn’t lined with spectators like big city races and I was actually somewhat disappointed that not more spectators were out and about – I was under the assumption that this was a big event for Bethlehem.  I guess I was wrong.

Mile 6 brought a huge uphill that seemed to go on forever.  I knew at the 10k mark that a text would be sent to my family and friends tracking me so that motivated me to get to that point but I still felt tired and ready for the race to be done.  I knew how much the uphills were slowing down my pace so I tried to make up as much time on the downhills as my legs would permit.  Other racers kept passing me – I actually don’t think there was a single person that I personally passed from mile 2-11.  Everyone seemed to be passing me.  I kept thinking that I must really be slowing down and I had a feeling that 8:25 pacer we met earlier was going to also pass me (he never did).

At the 10 mile mark the clock read 1:18.  After some quick calculations, I realized a PR was out of reach but I could try my best to run under 1:45.  That became my new goal.  We crossed the bridge again to get back to the finishing area and a fellow racer was alternating between running and walking.  I figured he probably just was cramped up or maybe pulled a muscle.  When I eventually did pass him I asked him if he was ok and he said he was fine.  I kept running hoping he was indeed fine.

We passed the finishing area and looped back around for an additional 1/2 mile until the finish.  At this time, I saw a fellow South Jersey runner that I know by association (check out her race recap here).  She told me I was doing a great job but at this point I felt absolutely horrible and I was sure I was running very very slow.  In the last 1/2 mile I got a painful stitch right below my rib cage that pulled with every step.  It hurt but I had no choice but to keep moving forward.

The finishing stretch included a local high school band playing pep songs, and spectators lining the last 200m of the race.  I tried my best to look strong and to finish strong but my legs weren’t moving very fast.  People kept passing me.  I just wanted to be done.  I crossed the finish line next to a man carrying an American flag.  My finishing time was 1:43.

finishing-picture
after the race – check out my Altra Torins!

I was handed a medal and a heat blanket.  It didn’t feel nearly as warm as the one after the Philadelphia Marathon but I was grateful for it.  I walked over to grab from an array of snacks.  I picked up some veggie straws, granola bars, and a chocolate bar (mmm chocolate!).  I met my mom at our designated meeting spot and she congratulated me.  We walked over to a sculpture and she took a few pictures of me.  I tried my best to look happy even though I felt physically drained.

My feet felt great in my Altra Torins.  I didn’t get any blisters and I was happy to have raced in my Torins as the race was sponsored by Altra – this was actually one of the main reasons I signed up to run this race!

My mom informed me that there was a platform that ran along the steel stacks if I wanted to go up there and check it.  This required me to climb 3 flights of stairs but I made it to the top.  I got an awesome view of the finishing area and the rest of the runners finishing.

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view of the festival from the steel stacks

After that, we made our way back to the car which was yet another 1.5 miles away.  This was a much slower walk than earlier in the morning.  Luckily when we arrived back to the parking area there were actually cars parked in the lots from other races.  That made us feel better about our choice to park so far away – after all, we were only following the instructions listed specifically in the race emails.

I changed into warmer clothes and we started our drive back home.  My legs ached and I was exhausted.  Although I didn’t run a 1/2 marathon PR like I intended too, I was happy with the fact that I got in a solid training run for my marathon.  The marathon is my bigger goal and this 1/2 was just conveniently at the mid-point of my training.  My splits weren’t as consistent as I would have liked them to be, but due to the rolling hills throughout the course I have accepted them for what they are.  Now I know that the next 2 weeks of marathon training before tapering need to be solid training weeks.  My body needs to be ready for 26.2 miles.

Race Review:

Organization – I would give this race an “A” for organization.  Offering race day bib pick-up was convenient and the race was very well organized.  There are two things keeping me from giving this race an A+ – the inconvenience of parking and not having bathrooms available at the start line.

Swag – I would give this race a “B-” for swag.  Knowing how big of a company Runner’s World is, I expected quality swag.  I am very disappointed in the situation with the race shirts.  However, I do like the medals that were handed out for the race – it also functions as a bottle opener!

Course – I would give this race a “B” for the course.  I wasn’t overly impressed with where the course brought the runners, as there were very many desolate and quiet sections of the course  (“how the heck did we get here?!”).  If you’re looking for a more challenging half marathon this is the race for you! Do not expect a PR, but do expect a nice challenge for both your quads and your calf muscles!

Spectator-friendly – I would give this race a “B-” in regards to how spectator friendly it was. My mom was only able to see me at the start and the finish. There weren’t very many spectators throughout the course, however most of the spectators congregated around the start/finish area.  If you’re looking for a race that will keep your adrenaline flowing for the entire course, you may want to look for a different race.

Would I do this race again?

Simply, the answer is no.  This was a one and done race for me.  I wasn’t impressed with the course and I’d rather find a 1/2 marathon closer than a 2-hour drive.   It was fun while it lasted, and I’m happy with such a great training run leading up my marathon but I wouldn’t go back to this race time and time again.

I am 100% looking forward to my goal race – the Philadelphia Marathon!  Time to put in some solid work this next 2 weeks before I start tapering!!

Marathon Training Update

Marathon Training Update

I’m not sure what week of marathon training I’m on now (these past few weeks have been a whirlwind so I’ve lost track) but this past week is definitely a blog-able week of training.

Last Sunday, since I went home for the weekend, I got to go trail running in Delaware with my dad and his two running friends (a serious ultrarunner and an aspiring ultrarunner). Considering I was the only female, my speed on the trails was much slower than theirs – especially on the uphills. There were multiple times that they left me in the dust on the uphills despite my determination to keep up with them. But I didn’t let that get me down. I just went my own speed and caught up to them on the downhills.  And you’re probably wondering where these hills are in Delaware.  Trust me, considering we ran 1400 feet of elevation gain/lost, there were hills.  Almost 2 hours into or run we found ourselves in the midst of a cross country race. We had to outrun the middle schooler headed in the same direction as us which actually ended up being harder than we thought (probably because we were nearly 2 hours into our run and he was only 10 minutes into his race).  We found a side-trail and escaped being caught by the neon-orange hatted child chasing us down.

We finished our run in a little over 2 hours.  My GPS watch read 11.7 miles.  If you do the math you’re probably thinking, “wow, they were running really slow”. This is what happens when you run on challenging trails.  Every step is a pre-contemplated process in order to successful navigate roots, branches, and rocks to prevent ankle rolls.  And plus, long runs are supposed to be slower – especially when you add in elevation changes.  This was a great run spent with great company.  And despite being the only female on this run and being guided by extremely athletic male runners, I would definitely go on a trail run with them again in the future!

I switched my Monday and Tuesday run so that I could recover a little from Sunday’s long run.  I ran 5 miles Monday and 7.3 miles on Tuesday.  The upper part of my ankle hurt these days but I figured it was because my ankles weren’t accustomed to the challenges of the trail since 85% of my runs at school are on pavement.

I also switched my Wednesday and Saturday runs.  Wednesdays are usually work out days but I was doing a 5k on Saturday and I knew that that would be my workout for the week.  And since Saturdays are usually my long run day, I opted to do a mid-week long run instead of a workout.  This day I ran 10 miles. This is also the day I became determined to find a local running club to run with and find some fellow runners to do long runs with for the rest of my marathon training.  My long run averaged just under my goal marathon race pace which I was pleased with.  I just really needed to find some running buddies.

Thursday and Friday were easy runs because of the high mileage earlier in the week and to prepare for Saturday’s race.  Thursday I ran an easy 4.3 and Friday I ran an easy (but torturous) 4 miles.  Friday’s run was marked with unpleasant attitude toward the hills I run on all the time.  I miss being able to run consistent mile splits.  The rolling hills up here make running a consistent pace impossible and that got to me.  I can’t wait to go home and run on the nice trail that runs parallel to my backyard.  I can’t wait to go home and have running buddies all the time.  I miss running with my dad and my dog.  I miss running with Angela and gossiping about life to distract us from the miles.  I miss RRCW.  I just felt mentally defeated after a week of runs and various sorenesses and pains.  I needed to regain focus so I could do well in my 5k on Saturday.

20151010_090314And then it was Saturday.  I woke up, had my typical peanut butter on toast for breakfast, and drove the 20 minutes to the race.  The race was at a well-known amusement park near my college so I knew exactly where I had to go for the race.  This took some stress away because I was familiar with the amusement park.  I picked up my bib and complimentary t-shirt and did a 2.5 mile warm-up.  I had packed my arm sleeves just in case it was cold but after my warm-up I knew I would be just fine with my spandex shorts and the tshirt I packed to run in.  This was also the 1st race I was running since my dad opened his business.  I felt like a sponsored athlete because I was running to represent his business! (see picture)

The race was 100% on the road.  It started with a slight uphill into a short but steep downhill.  90% of the first mile was uphill but I managed to run a 7:01.  I tried settling in with the runners around me.  On the downhill I surged ahead to use gravity to my advantage.  The majority of the 2nd mile was downhill but this mile was slower (7:21).  The third mile started with a 1/2 mile significant uphill that made me realize how tired I was.  I tried not letting it defeat me but I think it did.  As I reached the top of the hill I felt like I could’ve walked faster.  With a half mile left, a man on the side of the road directing runners where to go told me it was all downhill to the finish.  I remember doubting what he said to me because I was expecting at least 1 more rolling hill.  But he was right – the last 1/2 mile was completely downhill.  I ran my 3rd mile the slowest thanks to that annoying uphill.

20151010_111921I crossed the finish line in 22:49.  One of my goals was to average under 7:30 pace.  I averaged 7:19 pace.  I managed to get a 1st in my age group (20-24) award and was rewarded a palm-sized medal.  Because I ran a time I was rather unimpressed by, I opted to run a 4.3 mile cool down.  I probably could’ve ran further because I felt fine during my cool down but I didn’t want to go too overboard.  I finished the day with a total mileage of 10.1 miles and that made me extremely happy!

After spreading the word of my race results to family and Angela, I was reassured that my time was okay considering I’m training for a marathon which is 8 times the distance of a 5k (and yes, I did the math to figure that out). This made me feel better since I was so down about my race.  I also realized much later in the day that Saturday was my third long run of the week.  My Sunday-Saturday mileage was 52 miles….I HAVEN’T RAN A 50+ WEEK SINCE SUMMER 2014!  So making this discovery made me a thousand times happier because I love love LOOOOVE running far. And maybe the reason I ran an unimpressive 5k is because I had already put in 45 miles leading up to that race.  I’m just super excited that I had a great weekly mileage!

After the race I drove to a nearby running store to ask about local running clubs. Although the woman working in the store wasn’t aware of any running clubs in the area, she reassured me that the running store was trying to start to organize group runs.  This made me excited because I reallllllly need people to run with on a consistent basis.  She was also extremely friendly and we had a nice conversation about running and running stores.  It was an uplifting visit!

Today I swam to cross-train since Sundays are typically my rest day.  Despite feeling mentally defeated during the week, I pushed through and managed a week of high miles.  This week’s goals are to make healthier food choices, stay focused on the long-term goal, and to embrace any challenges that come my way.  Although these are all very broad goals, my main focus of the week is just to get through my 3 midterms and exam.  It’s going to be a rough week but I’ve been able to use running as a stress-reliever for the first half of the semester and this week will be no different.

39 days until marathon day!!!