Try New Things Tuesday: Running “Naked”

Hi everyone!  It’s time for another installment of Try New Things Tuesday!

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This week’s new thing is running “naked”.  Not that kind of naked, people!  I’m talking about running without a watch or other timing device.  As you saw in my Hershey 10k recap, I had to run the race without my trusty watch.  While that’s something I’ve been thinking about trying for a while, I was kind of accidentally pushed into it sooner than I thought!

Many bloggers out there have spoken about their experiences running without their Garmin, and while the idea initially shocked me I started to realize that this was something I should probably try soon.  If I’m going to be honest here, I am kind of addicted to my Garmin, especially during races.  I love seeing my paces per mile and analyzing how I did based on how I felt.  But after last weekend’s Hot Chocolate 5k I’ve been seriously thinking about how my pace and PR goals can sometimes mess with my mind.  I have no idea how I would have done in that race without my Garmin, but I can honestly say that after seeing that mile #1 was 9:40 and realizing that I probably couldn’t pick up the pace enough to PR I started to feel sick and really talked myself out of even trying to run faster.  I finished that race with a stomach ache, low spirits, and a finish time that was 2 seconds away from my “C” goal for the race (sub-30:00).  I know that seeing my slow pace in mile #1 is what triggered my downfall and I know that it’s happened in many races before.  In fact, even though I got a 19 minute PR in the Love Run Half a few weeks ago I did actually talk myself out of speeding up at the end because I was already PRing, why push it?

So when I realized on Sunday that I had left my Garmin in my gym bag at my parent’s house I was scared but also kind of curious to see how I would do without a watch.  I knew that it would probably drive me crazy to run on feel alone but that I didn’t really have a choice right now.  Mile 1 was probably the toughest without a watch because I really try not to go out too fast and at that point I had no idea how fast I was going.  I could hear all the watches around me beeping when we hit 1 mile and I tried to spy on other people but no one was really talking about their pace.  I pushed myself hard through the halfway point and even though I usually never take water breaks in shorter races I realized that I really needed some water!  I would usually stress about my time in the water stops but since I didn’t have mile splits to analyze I decided that I wouldn’t stress about lost time.  I also heard a few people talking about their time at the 5k mark and it was in the high 9:00/mile range so that helped me feel confident that I was on track.

20140413-234530.jpgAndrew caught me (in the white shirt) after the first water stop – notice my lime green Garmin is not with me!

Running based on feel was tricky in Hershey Park because there were so many hills and my stomach was starting to hurt.  I wanted to slow down but knowing that I had no idea how fast/slow I was going kept me running as hard as I could.  I did look at my wrist a few times at the end of the race out of habit, which convinced me that this was a good idea!  I could tell my body was trying to quit on me and find excuses to run slower but without knowing my pace I couldn’t use that excuse to slow down!  I instead focused on picking people off and trying to see how many people I could pass at the end of the race.  There was one woman that I’d been battling it out with all race – I would pass her, she would pass me – but she was wearing a “Baby on board” shirt and I felt weird passing a pregnant woman for some reason.  At the end I just didn’t care and ran past her into the stadium.  I have to say that I had one of the strongest finishes ever and gave everything I had when crossing the finish line!  Even when I saw the time on the clock!

 

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You can’t see it in the picture, but my clock time was over 1:04.  Which would not have been a PR.  I was definitely worried as I grabbed my post-race food and medal, but as you saw in yesterday’s post I not only PRed but ran over 6 minutes faster than last year’s Hershey 10k!  I’m not sure if the PR was related to running without my Garmin, but I can honestly say that I felt much more relaxed and calm during the race and my focus was more about enjoying my surroundings and less on killing myself to make up some time in the last mile.  I think it definitely helped!

So what did I think about running without my Garmin?  Overall I give it a 5 out of 5!

  • The biggest drawback is that it was scary!  It’s so hard to run without it when you’ve run with it for so long.  It’s almost like an addiction – I felt like I was going to go crazy without it on my wrist!
  • After I got into a rhythm I felt much better about running without a Garmin, but mile 1 was hard.
  • It felt nice to not be stressed out about time, especially at the end when I was struggling so much.
  • I missed analyzing my mile splits after the race, but I know I did a great job and that’s all that matters!
  • I enjoyed focusing more on the run and less on my time.  I usually feel sick and worried about my time at the end of races, but in this race I just really wanted to finish so I could see my time so it was a different focus!
  • I always forget to pause my Garmin after the finish line anyways, so one less thing to worry about!

Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  I think my next 5k (whenever that is!) will be done without a watch to see if it makes any difference.  I feel that in longer races I rely on my Garmin to tell me if I’m going too fast and helps prevent burnout early in the race, but on my shorter races my Garmin stresses me out about PRing and makes me doubt myself.  I would never run a half without my Garmin but I think I might run the shorter races without it!

20130909-194800.jpgSorry Garmin, your days of 3 mile runs are over!  PS check out my shoes – this pic is old!

Do you ever take breaks from your Garmin?  If you’ve recently tried running “naked” how did you like it?  Did it help improve your race time?

Race Recap: Hershey 10k

Hi everyone!  I had a fabulous weekend which was mostly stress-free despite the face that we are moving to Alaska in less than a week!  We have so much to do but we still managed to have a bit of fun.  Friday was my last day of work which was really sad and difficult, so we celebrated with a happy hour at Frankford Hall.  Saturday Andrew and I spent all day hiking at Ricketts Glen State Park (look for a future post on that!) and hung out with two of my best friends ever.  And then on Sunday I had the Hershey 10k followed by a going away party that my parents threw for us!  It was a really great weekend!

The Hershey 10k has a special place in my heart because when I ran that race last year it was the first time that I ever felt like a “real runner”.  It was my longest distance at the time (and my only race longer than a 5k), the largest race I’d run so far, and the only race where there were people cheering for me and other runners!  I have such good memories of that race and remember how proud I was when I finished way earlier than planned in 1:08:44.  So when registration opened up for this year’s 10k, I signed up right away!

20140413-234709.jpgHershey Park makes for a really awesome race course!

My life has been pretty hectic lately and with a full schedule of races, packing, and planning my big move I felt really overwhelmed and stressed out before this race.  Since my half marathon 2 weeks ago I’ve only run twice, so I wasn’t feeling super confident about my abilities in this race.  I also kind of vaguely remembered that there were a lot of hills inside Hershey Park, so I figured a PR might not happen.  And the day before the race I hiked 7 miles up and down a very steep mountain and then had fried food and beer before getting only 5 hours of sleep.  So understandably on race morning I felt pretty awful and didn’t really want to run, but I sucked it up and headed out at 6:00 am for the race.

20140413-234658.jpgHersheypark Stadium

When we pulled up I was surprised because there seemed to be a lot more people than last year (turns out there were the same amount) and the finish line was in a runners only section so my husband couldn’t hang out with me until the race started like he usually does.  With 10 minutes until race time I realized to my horror that I had forgotten my Garmin at home!  I was in shock but there wasn’t much I could do about it at that point.  In fact, I’ve been reading a lot of race recaps of runners who run without a watch and how they are able to run faster because they’re less focused on numbers.  So I figured that since I didn’t have a choice in the matter I would just embrace running without a watch!

After high fiving the Reese’s guy at the start line I was off!  The course starts outside the stadium and goes through the Giant Center parking lot, down Hersheypark Drive, past the outlets, and finally spends about 2 miles in Hershey Park before finishing in the stadium.  I knew the course from last year and felt confident I could keep up a good pace before hitting the hills in Hershey Park.  I pushed myself pretty hard in the first mile but was feeling pretty good.  We kept going up little hills and I kept thinking “That’s got to be the last one for a while!” before running into another hill!  I seriously don’t remember all those hills from last time.  Near the halfway point I got to high five Andrew and stop for a bit of water before heading up the loooooong gradual hill that is Hersheypark Drive.  I literally checked my wrist to see what my halfway split was and had to laugh because I’d forgot that I wasn’t wearing a watch!  Many people around me were making comments about their pace and I was able to gather that I was running in the high 9:00/mile range which was good news.  Everything was going well until we entered Hershey Park.  I started feeling dizzy and my stomach hurt, and had to stop for water before pushing on.  The park is made up of very short but very steep hills and each one was a mental struggle for me.  I could feel myself slowing down and I had to use mental tricks to keep going (such as telling myself that even though my stomach hurt, my legs didn’t hurt at all so I could keep going).  When we hit the 9k mark I tried going faster even though I could see a long hill up to the stadium where the finish line was.  I can proudly say that I pushed hard at the end and went as fast as I could for my stadium finish!

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After getting my medal, water, and a lunch box filled with fruit, chocolate, and a cookie, I headed out onto the field to find Andrew.  He very patiently waited with me in a long line to see my results (since I didn’t have them on my watch like I usually do!) and I literally screamed when I saw that I’d run the race in 1:02:27 which is a new PR!  That totally gave me more energy and I was very excited to celebrate this race at Chocolate World!

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20140413-234642.jpgThis is honestly why I run.  I’m kind of obsessed with milkshakes!

What I liked about the race:

  • The fact that it’s in Hershey AKA the sweetest place on earth!  Everything in that town is somehow related to chocolate (if you don’t believe me, google “street lights in Hershey” to see what they’re shaped like!) and chocolate is my favorite!
  • The swag this year was the same exact shirt as last year…but it was a tech shirt instead of cotton!  I love long sleeved tech shirts from races and this one will get used again for sure!  We also got cute little lunch boxes filled with chocolate so I think they did a great job hooking us up!
  • While some of the course is spent in parking lots and on the road, I loved the scenery and especially loved running in Hershey Park and finishing in Hersheypark Stadium!  And after all the highway running at the Disney Princess Half I can’t ever complain about running on a highway again!
  • There were instant results after the race for people like me who didn’t have a watch
  • There were quite a few Hershey characters including the Reeses/Hershey Kiss guys and Coco the Hershey Bears mascot!
  • Chocolate World is like 10 feet away, and post-race chocolate peanut butter milkshakes are the perfect thing to drink after a race like that!
  • There were lots of spectators cheering us on and even some employees cheering us on in Hershey Park!

What I didn’t like about the race:

  • It was crowded at times, especially on the small walkways in Hershey Park.
  • The race started at 7:30 which is really early for me!
  • Only about half the runners got bananas in their post-race lunch boxes – the other half got apples.  Guess which one I got  :(
  • There were no typical post-race snacks like bagels, and after eating all the sugary stuff in my lunch box I was feeling pretty sick so I think a more normal food option would have been nice.
  • It was a pretty hilly course!  Clearly I should have done some extra hill training before this race!

Overall I would definitely run this race again!  How can you go wrong with a chocolate themed race that runs through an amusement park?  I wish I could be home to run the Hershey Half Marathon in October (chocolate aid stations!!!) because I really do love running in Hershey, even with all those hills!

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What’s the most unique race course you’ve ever run?  Have you ever refueled after a race with a milkshake?

 

 

Running Like A Tourist: Philly Bucket List Run!

Hi everyone!  I’m glad you enjoyed getting to know a little more about my life yesterday.  Now for some more details on that awesome run I had on Tuesday!  As you are all well aware, I ran my first half marathon in February and then ran my second half marathon 5 weeks later.  Training for such a long time really started to get to me in the end, and running was not as fun as it used to be.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I just went out for a run and didn’t stress over making a time/distance goal.  So I was desperately in need of a relaxing, fun run.

So on Tuesday my plan was to meet up with other runners at Philadelphia Runner in University City for a short fun run with Shack Track and Field.  All runners get a free drink after the run at Shake Shack, and you know I’ll do anything for a free milkshake!  So I headed into the city to try to make the run at 7:00 pm.  There were just 2 problems:  traffic and parking.  And I now have a massive jeep that makes parking suck even more!  So when 7:00 rolled around and I was still desperately driving around looking for parking I started to get upset.  Here I was wasting gas money and precious time that I could be speeding packing with nothing to show for it.  I starting driving back home when I randomly thought “Well what about running on the Schyulkill River Trail?”.  I was driving over the bridge and noticed tons of runners on the trail below me.  I then noticed a massive parking spot on the side of the bridge.  It was practically meant to be!  So after calling my husband to tell him about my change in plans, I started off on what ended up being one of the most fun runs I’ve ever done!

20140410-000649.jpgLooking down at the Schyulkill River Trail from the bridge!

Before I leave Philly there are tons of places I want to see again before we leave, and the fastest way to do that is while running!  So I had thought up a really awesome Philly Bucket List running route that would take me past all my favorite places in Philly.  While it was a bit late in the day to do the entire route, I decided I could probably knock about half of those items off my list and even without someone running with me I could still take selfies at all my favorite places!  So here’s the results of my Philly bucket list selfie run:

 

20140410-001153.jpgStop #1:  The Art Museum steps AKA the Rocky Steps!  I have never run these before and thought it would be really hard (there are a lot of steps!) but was happy to learn that it was really fun to run up to the top and it wasn’t tough at all!

20140410-001129.jpgThe view from the top!

20140410-001144.jpgCherry blossoms on the side of the Art Museum!  I love spring!

20140410-001203.jpgStop #2:  the Rocky statue!  I got tired of waiting in line so I just took a selfie with Rocky and some random fans

20140410-001214.jpgRunning into the city.  This was the route we took during the Love Run Half, but it was too foggy to see the buildings during that race!

20140410-001318.jpgStop #3:  City Hall!  It was impossible to take a selfie of it without cutting William Penn out of the picture!

20140410-001537.jpgStop #4:  Love Park!  Worst selfie ever but hey, it’s harder than it looks.  Also my hair was a hot mess at this point.

20140410-001328.jpgRunning back towards my car!

20140410-001337.jpgBack at the start!  The river looks so much prettier at night!

20140410-001403.jpgMy Jeep deserves some selfie love too!  Notice the sweet new 13.1 magnet!

The entire run including time for selfies, waiting in line for pictures with Rocky, and all the millions of traffic lights took 1 hour to complete.  I only ran about 3.5 miles (I forgot to turn Run Keeper off and started driving around which added to my total distance ran!) but it was the best 3.5 miles ever!  I didn’t care about my pace or my finishing time goals or even how far I was running.  I just ran.  I ran fast on the long stretches of sidewalk and slow around all the touristy spots.  I people watched while I waited for traffic lights to change.  My brain didn’t think one negative thing the entire time and it felt so good!  And bonus perk:  my new shoes officially rock!  Nothing on my lower body hurt during this run and I give my new shoes all the credit!

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After running I realized I was starving and totally forgot to eat dinner, so I headed over to Shake Shack to eat the dinner I’d planned on eating with the Shack Track and Field runners.  If you’ve never had their cheeseburgers and milkshakes you are seriously missing out!  No pictures of that because I ate that thing so fast!  Overall it was a perfect run with a really happy ending.  And for the record, after my run I was able to find a parking spot right in front of Shake Shack.  I guess everything really does happen for a reason!  And hopefully next week I’ll be able to finish my Philly Bucket List run with all the places I want to run in Old City!

Have you ever done a touristy run around the city?  Do you take running selfies?  Are you as addicted to Shake Shack as I am?

A Day In the Life Of Kristen K.

Hi everyone!  As you know, it’s my last week at my current job since I’m moving next week!  Right now I work at a nonprofit that helps high school students find and keep jobs.  I’m a job coach (or an “Employment Training Specialist” as my business card states!) which means that I help students apply for jobs, learn how to interview, and then help support them when they find jobs or internships.  I also help them travel to and from work on public transportation and also help negotiate social situations for students who need assistance.  I have my own caseload but work with about 20 different students and each day varies.  I’ve been there for over two and a half years and it’s blowing my mind that I’ll be done working there on Friday.  I love my job (even though there have been some ups and downs lately) and decided I wanted to do one of those “A day in the life” posts that I see all the time on other blogs.  You guys have read about my after-work life, now it’s time to see what a typical day looks like before I start a whole new life up in Alaska!  So here is a recap of yesterday aka a typical day in the life of Kristen K!

6:30 – My alarm goes off and I hit snooze a bunch of times.  I hate waking up in the dark!  I finally turn off my alarm and check my email in bed before forcing myself to get up.

7:00 – Get ready for work.  Today I’m low maintenance because it’s the Phillies Home Opener and I’m rocking my Phillies shirt!

7:30 – Check my work email again, respond to emails, and write a summary report.  I have no pictures of anything that happened before I left the house because ain’t nobody got time for that.

8:00-8:30 – Drive to our suburban office.  Check email again.  Get a text from student #1, who has extreme anxiety issues.  She wants to confirm that I’ll be at the trolley stop by the office waiting for her, so I leave the office early to make sure she won’t get there before me!

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8:40-12:30 – I meet student #1 at the trolley stop and she leads the way to the bus stop.  She has a long travel route!  On the bus we talk about the latest episodes of Teen Mom 2 which is our favorite subject.  I’m clearly a teenager in a 26 year old body.  At work I sit a few feet away from her as she inputs data into a library computer system.  Student #1 is awesome at her job but needs a job coach for situations that cause anxiety, such as making a mistake with her work.  Today she has an awesome shift!  We travel back to the trolley stop and she heads home…while I head to Wawa for some coffee!

20140409-010957.jpgThe greatest place on earth!

12:30-1:00 – Answer emails, talk to coworkers about how my students have been doing recently.  I also quickly eat my lunch because I don’t actually get a lunch break at this job!

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1:00-2:10 – I sign out the office car and drive up to student #2, who goes to school up in Glenside.  It’s such a long drive from the office but at least I get to drive by Arcadia University, which is where I got my Masters degree!

2:10-5:00 – I drive student #2 to his job at a hotel where cancer patients can stay for free while receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.  Student #2 does janitorial work and needs much more support than most of my students.  Today he vacuumed and dusted everything ahead of schedule and did not need too much assistance from me, which is honestly not typical but I’ll take it!  He’s a huge Phillies fan so I tried to get him home in time to catch most of the Home Opener.

zac picSorry for the creepy face covering, but I didn’t want to share his picture!  I did want to share our awesome Phillies shirts though!  He wears a Phillies shirt almost every day!

5:00-7:00 – Drive back to the office to drop off the office car.  I’m tired and sick of driving but figure that I can make it into the city in time to catch the Shack Track and Field group run that’s happening at 7:00 at Shake Shack, so I rush home to change and then drive over to University City.

7:00-9:00 – I get stuck in traffic and miss the start of the group run, so I decide to run around Philly on my own.  More details will be in tomorrow’s post, but let’s just say that I had an awesome run!  After getting in an hour of cardio I headed to Shake Shack anyways since I’d been craving one of their burgers all day!  I also grab a chocolate PB milkshake for the drive home.

20140409-011116.jpgView from the top of the Art Museum aka Rocky steps!

9:00-12:00 – I take a shower and catch up on Facebook and my favorite blogs.  I also wrote this lovely post that you’re reading now  :)

12:00 – Bedtime!

So there you have it!  I don’t get much sleep and never seem to have a free moment (and I never realized how much time I actually spend driving around, oh man!) but I love being busy and wouldn’t have it any other way!  I’ll make sure to do another one of these posts when I’m living in Alaska so I can see how much of a difference it is living there!

Have you ever done one of these posts?  What’s your typical day like?

Try New Things Tuesday: Volunteering At A Race!

Hi everyone!  Thanks for your comments on yesterday’s post, it’s good to know I’m not alone in finishing only a few seconds away from my goal time!  Now for something I haven’t done in a while:  Try New Things Tuesday!  This week I’m going to talk about volunteering at the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k packet pickup!

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Why did I decide to volunteer for the Hot Chocolate race series?  I’ve honestly been thinking about volunteering for races in the past, but for some reason I never think to actually sign up to do it.  Probably because all the races I think about volunteering for are the ones I’m already running in!  But after the Love Run Half Marathon a week ago all I could think about was those poor volunteers who had to stand out in the freezing cold rain cheering for us and handing us water for hours.  Sure, running that race was tough and uncomfortable, but I’m sure standing in the rain for hours was even worse!  But somehow they did it with a smile on their faces and I seriously couldn’t have done it without them.  So when I got an email a few days after the Love Run asking for volunteers for the Hot Chocolate race series, I decided to check it out.  It turns out that even though I couldn’t volunteer on race day since I was running it, there were opportunities for me to volunteer for packet pickup, especially since I was off work last week and could do an earlier shift!  Plus I noticed that volunteers got a free shirt!  I’m a sucker for free things!

volunteer shirts

I got the long sleeved shirt at the top, which is really comfy and roomy!  Anyways, last Friday I headed over to Philadelphia Runner in Glen Mills to work packet pickup from 1:30-6:30.  I thought that was a pretty long shift, but I was definitely willing to help out!  I was a bit intimidated when I first arrived because the store was pretty busy and I had to jump into it right away.  There were 3 other girls volunteering and they helped me learn the ropes!  My task was to greet the runners and ask for either their last name or an email that I could scan into the system.  After looking them up, the computer told me what corral they were assigned to.  I had to pick a random bib from their corral, scan it, and then their name would print out on a sticker and I would put it on the back of their race bib for ID.  I then had to check the sticker for the size they had registered for.  Each runner got a pre-packed drawstring bag with their race hoodie and bib pins inside.  All I had to do was put their bib inside the bag and add a mug if they had used a promo code when registering, and I was done!  90% of the time it took me only 30 seconds to complete the entire thing!  I also had to remind each runner that there was a table full of free chocolate by the door and that Philadelphia Runner was offering 10% off their entire purchase!  I could tell that most of the runners were happy with the process and enjoyed the free chocolate and the discount at the store.

Unfortunately there were a few runners that did not make my job easy.  There were many people who complained about the early race start and seemed to be offended that the suggested arrival time was 6:30.  I actually had to remind a few people that I did not work for the race company because they were so mad at me!  I just feel like when you register for a race in any large city you will probably need to arrive early to find parking and I would never get mad at race staff or volunteers over that!  The worst incident of the day involved one runner who was offended that he was in corral I and felt that he should be in corral A.  Unfortunately the corrals were A-H for the 5k and I-O for the 15k but he didn’t seem to understand that he was actually in fact in the first corral of the 15k and got pretty angry at the volunteers and race staff over his corral placement.  I felt really bad for the race employee that had to feel his wrath for 5 minutes.  Luckily he was the only truly angry person that we met that day and everything else went smoothly!

I really enjoyed meeting other volunteers and talking to them about running.  I have no runner friends so it was nice talking about my favorite races and the ones I’m signed up for in the future.  I also met a lot of volunteers and runners who had run the Love Run and we had fun talking about how crazy the race conditions were!

So how did I like volunteering at a race?  I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

What I loved:

  • Giving back to the running community.  Most runners don’t give any thought to the volunteers who help make every race possible, and I wanted to change that!  I’ll definitely never look at packet pickup the same way again!
  • Meeting lots of new runners and getting to wish them all good luck!
  • Getting free stuff for volunteering!  I not only got that free shirt but tons of free chocolate as well!
  • Learning more about the logistics of putting on a race.

What I didn’t like:

  • Dealing with the very few amount of people who were rude and miserable.  I know from working in retail that this is unavoidable when you work with the public, but I was hoping that all the runners would be too excited about running for chocolate that they wouldn’t yell at me!

I would definitely recommend volunteering at a local race, especially if you’ve never done it before!  It’s such a fun way to get involved without having to stress about actually running the race.

Hot-Chocolate-BannerThanks Hot Chocolate 5k/15k for letting me volunteer!

But the best part of the day was when one of the race employees told me that Philadelphia Runner was offering a whopping 25% off all merchandise for volunteers instead of the 10% that everyone else was getting!  I took a peek at the stability shoe section of the store and one employee came over to briefly talk to me about my running shoe needs.  I mentioned that my shoes were still okay but I’d need to replace them soon and the Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s were sold out everywhere online so I didn’t know what to do.  He promised that after packet pickup ended he would help me find a shoe that would replace my Mizunos, so once I finished working at 6:30 we sat down to figure out what kind of shoe I was looking for.  I swear this guy was some kind of magical running shoe guru because he was so incredibly helpful!  He watched me walk across the store and when I returned he not only confirmed that I overpronate, but asked if my left foot hurts more than my right.  I was shocked that he could tell that just by watching me walk for 5 seconds!  He then had me try on the Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s (so much more narrow and not as comfy), some Brooks shoes (weird arch support that my feet did not like), some Asics, and then finally a pair of Adidas Supernova Glide 6 shoes.  At first I was skeptical about buying Adidas running shoes – I think the last time I owned Adidas shoes I was in middle school!  But I couldn’t ignore the fact that the shoes were super comfy and fit really well.  He let me run up and down the sidewalk outside the store and when I came back he was smiling at me like he could tell they were the ones.  Even though they weren’t the cutest shoes in the store I could just tell they were the best shoes in the store for my crazy feet.  And it didn’t hurt that I had a 25% discount either!

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So here they are!  My new kicks!  I’m sad that they are such a bland color after buying bright pink and blue shoes in the past, but they do have really bright laces so that helps!  And my practical husband says that now they’ll go with more of my stuff.  He’s so good at finding the positives!  I also did a bit of research once I got home and it turns out that the Adidas Boost shoes have some kind of super awesome shoe technology and they’re actually really nice shoes.  In fact, Runner’s World Magazine just named them the Editor’s Choice Award winner in their spring shoe guide!  So I’m glad I’m giving them a try!

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Although technically I shouldn’t be able to return them after wearing them, the amazing employee whispered to me that I could try them out over the next 2 weeks and return them if I didn’t like them.  So I decided to try them out for a short 1 miler on the treadmill on Saturday.  I love how comfy they are and think that I might actually like how they feel more than my Mizunos!  Only time will tell, so I’ll keep trying them out on shorter runs and keep you all updated!

Have you ever volunteered at a race or packet pickup?  Who else is buying new shoes right now?

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 5k (Plus Some Monday Motivation From My Husband!)

Hi everyone! I had such an exciting weekend! It started out on Friday with volunteering at the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k packet pickup (which you can read about tomorrow!), some new running shoes (you can also read about that tomorrow, yay!), and finished with the Hot Chocolate 5k on Sunday morning! Since I was working packet pickup, I have only good things to say about it :) For real though, it was super fast and easy! RAM Racing opted to do packet pickup from Thursday-Saturday at Philadelphia Runner in University City and Friday-Saturday at Philadelphia Runner at Glen Mills (out in the suburbs) instead of one big expo in Center City. I loved this plan because the Philadelphia Runner in Glen Mills has a parking lot and is in the same shopping center as a Whole Foods, so it was worth the trip! There were 10,000 people running the races on Sunday, so the bibs were assigned by corral based on finishing time and everything was done electronically to make it fast and easy for race participants (and volunteers!). The race swag is seriously awesome and I will definitely be using it again! The moisture-wicking hoodie fit perfectly, and if you put in a code during registration you got a free travel mug too!  It says, “Will run for:  Chocolate” in each check box!

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Now came the tough part: waking up at 5:30 for the race! The 5k started at 7:15 and I knew from the crowd of 10,000 people at last week’s race in the exact same spot that we would have to get there early for parking, so we had to leave the house at 6:15. And even though the weather has been getting warmer, it was in the 30s that early in the morning. I was cold!

20140407-001505.jpgCold at the start line!

I had somehow scored a spot in corral B based on my estimated finishing time of about 30 minutes. This made me crazy nervous and I really felt the need to try to PR during this race. There were just 3 little problems: I had a pretty ambitions 5k time to overcome (28:41), I hate running on MLK drive, and I just ran a half marathon last weekend and hadn’t run since! Plus all day Saturday I’d felt awful and had pretty bad stomach pain, so I wasn’t feeling my best. Even so, I decided to push myself to see what would happen. The course was pretty crowded the entire time so I had to do a lot of weaving in the first half of the race. It was a pretty typical Philly 5k course on MLK Drive with the finish line at the Art Museum. Like I said earlier, me and this race course don’t really get along (my last 2 5ks here were miserable and definitely not PRs) but it does have pretty views of Boathouse Row and the Art Museum along the river. During the second half of the race my stomach started hurting like crazy and I let it mentally get to me. I just felt like giving up during mile 3 and was actually nervous I was going to throw up if I tried to speed up. I really couldn’t push myself at the end, which led to this finish line picture from Andrew where I look like I’m about to fall over!

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After crossing the finish line I really felt sick but decided to push through it and get my finisher’s mug! There was not only the greatest hot chocolate I’ve ever had at a race, but chocolate fondue with marshmallows, pretzels, graham crackers, and a banana to dip in it!

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We sat down on the stairs for a bit so I could get started, but my stomach hurt so bad that we decided to leave right away. I definitely had a stomach ache all day and was pretty miserable. But I felt a whole lot worse when I saw this:

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Seriously! Two seconds away from getting under 30 minutes?!?! I have only done one 5k that was under 30 minutes and all my other ones have been crazy close, but 30:01 is just ridiculous! I was just so frustrated that I started crying when I saw my results. And then my awesome husband saved the day with some early Monday Motivation for me! He reminded me that the last time I ran it was 13.1 miles in the freezing rain, so it was okay to be a bit slower than expected during this race. He also reminded me that after my first half marathon it hurt to run for about 2 weeks, but I’d been able to recover much better despite running faster! He also said that there will be many other 5ks in my life so it’s okay if I don’t PR right now while I’m working on running longer distances. He made me feel so much better! Plus, I discovered that even with my not-so-fast finish time I was still in the top 21% of 5k finishers! That’s actually my best race placement ever so at least I have one thing to celebrate!

So what did I think about the Hot Chocolate 5k?

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What I liked:

  • The race swag! It’s stuff that I will actually use again and it’s really cute!
  • The corrals based on anticipated finish time. Even though I had to weave around people, I knew that no one would be walking (in fact, the corrals at the beginning said “No walkers” on them) and I knew that people were able to line up correctly.
  • Even though I haven’t had the best experiences on this 5k course, I do have to say that it’s pretty flat and scenic!
  • The finisher’s mug was amazing! Everything tasted so good and it was nice to have something warm after running in the cold!
  • Everyone seemed to be having a great time and I could tell how much everyone loved chocolate! It definitely wasn’t a super serious race and it was a great race for first timers!

What I didn’t like:

  • The early start time. I know they had to do it, but I hated having to get up so early especially because I knew it wouldn’t be warm by the time the race started.
  • It’s a bit pricy for a 5k if you don’t sign up right away.  Luckily I got to run this race for free due to a race entry giveaway!  But I would sign up for this race only if the price hadn’t increased at all because the people who signed up last minute definitely had to pay a lot!

As you can tell, there’s not much to dislike about this race! It’s been traveling all over the country throughout the winter and should be coming to a city near you soon! If it does you definitely need to sign up because the swag and post race food are amazing!

Have you ever missed a goal time by only 2 seconds? If you’re used to running long distances do you struggle with running faster 5ks? Have you ever run a chocolate themed race?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Week After Half #2

Hi everyone!  It’s been a pretty awesome week for the following reasons:

1.  Last weekend’s Love Run Half Marathon is still giving me warm fuzzy feelings.  It was easier on my body and my mind than I ever thought possible, and whenever someone mentions it I start smiling like a crazy person.  Yep, I’m half crazy.  What’s not so great is the fact that we were promised free finish line photos…and after seeing them today mine are not there!!!!  I seriously have no pictures of this race!  Well, except this random one that they expect me to buy.  Nope!

20140404-010141.jpgTechnically it’s not my worst…

2.  I had off work all week to pack and do other terribly stressful things related to moving, and I actually did a pretty good job!  I never realized how much stuff I had in my closets!  The best part was finding long lost things that I’ve been looking for forever!  My best find:  a bag of new, never worn Minnetonka moccasins that I put away last spring when I bought them all on sale and have been looking for ever since!

3.  But this week wasn’t all work!  Wednesday my coworker BFFs and I went to Rehoboth Beach, DE for the day!  We ate donuts from the Fractured Prune, shopped at the outlets, and hung out on the beach before happy hour at Dogfish Head Brewery.  It was seriously the perfect day and it was just the break I needed from packing and stressing!

20140404-010409.jpgI am going to miss these girls!  They make life at the office so much better!

4.  I realized yesterday that every single race I’ve done this year has been a PR!  I’ve only done 4 (check out the 14 in 2014 tab for my list of races!) but that’s pretty crazy.  No pressure, right?

5.  Speaking of races, I have yet another race this weekend!  I’m running the Hot Chocolate 5k in Philly on Sunday and I’m really excited because, like last week’s Love Run Half, I won free registration through a giveaway!  Yay to free swag and chocolate!  The weather looks incredible and it’s at the same location as the Love Run so I’ll make sure to take lots of pictures and hang out after the race this time!

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Today I’m signed up to volunteer at packet pickup for the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k at Philadelphia Runner – Glen Mills!  If you’re picking up your packet today make sure to say hi!  I’ve never volunteered at a race before but I feel like I should give back, especially after last weekend’s super rainy race.  I have a feeling there might be some chocolate at this packet pickup so I’m looking forward to it!

How was your week?  Have you ever volunteered at a race?  Have you ever found something awesome in your closets that you thought you lost?

I’m A Half Marathoner…Again!

Hi everyone!  As if you didn’t know, Sunday I ran half marathon #2 – the Love Run Half in Philly.  Despite the cold pouring rain I managed a 19 minute PR and had the most fun I’ve ever had at a race!  After my first half marathon I was so pumped to officially be a half marathoner and couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about my race.  How did Disney Princess compare to the Love Run?  Was the Love Run easier?

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How I felt before the race:

  • Disney Princess:  very nervous about finishing the race because I’d only done 11 miles before the race.  I also didn’t know how I would do in the humidity and stressed endlessly over bringing water on the course.  I barely slept but was excited to become a half marathoner!
  • The Love Run:  I had foot and leg pain during the week leading up to the race, and only ran 8 miles before the race (although I was technically still trained from Disney).  I was horrified to learn that it was going to be cold and rainy during the race and thought about not running it.  I then had nightmares for 2 days before the race.

How I felt at the expo:

  • Disney Princess:  BUY ALL THE THINGS.
  • The Love Run:  Wow that took 3 minutes…let’s go eat pie at Reading Terminal Market!

 

20140220-213045.jpgTurns out not every race has “I Did It!” shirts.  Womp womp.

How I felt on race morning:

  • Disney Princess:  super nervous!  I couldn’t talk to anyone or think straight.  I also drank a ton of water and had to wait in the massive porta potty line and almost missed my corral start.
  • The Love Run:  Despite all my worries leading up to the race I was surprisingly calm before the race.  My husband and I talked about packing for Alaska and I was able to stay upbeat during the car ride to the race.  I also felt prepared with my waterproof jacket and hoped it wouldn’t pour too much (ha!).

How I felt during the first half of the race:

  • Disney Princess:  I was so excited and had a huge adrenaline rush!  Every time I saw something exciting (like the entrance to Magic Kingdom) I stopped for pictures.  I enjoyed running with so many other girls in costumes but was annoyed by the large amount of people and how difficult it was to navigate through crowds of walkers.  Running down Main Street and through Cinderella’s castle was so emotional that I got teary eyed!
  • The Love Run:  I loved running through center city Philly and felt so happy that there were volunteers out on the course despite the crappy weather.  I felt like we were covering ground really quickly and loved seeing all the sights that I usually only get to see when I’m stuck in traffic!

20140225-231351.jpgPretty much the coolest halfway point of a race EVER.

How I felt in the second half of the race:

  • Disney Princess:  Ugh.  It felt just like a training run, only scarier because it was a real race.  By mile 7 I was already in the unfortunate mindset that all the fun stuff was done and now I just had to make it to Epcot in one piece.  Running along the highway was pretty boring and most of the fun character stuff was repeated since it was an out-and-back course.  I mentally struggled until mile 10, and then my mind wanted me to speed up but I couldn’t physically do it.
  • The Love Run:  At the halfway point I was shocked to discover that not only was I on pace to possibly make my crazy awesome time goal, I was feeling GOOD!  We ran past the Please Touch Museum and then back down onto MLK drive.  Each mile had something for me to mentally look forward to (mile 7 we got back on MLK drive, mile 8 I could take a Sport Bean, mile 9 we turned back towards the Art Museum, and miles 10-13 I was just happy to be in double digits!).  It was raining so hard that the only thing I could think to do was keep running fast to get it over with sooner.  I never felt tired, dizzy, or in pain and ran strong in the last few miles.  In fact, it almost felt..easy!  Although I know if I would have sped up I would have probably started to hurt a lot.

How I felt at the finish line:

  • Disney Princess:  so emotional that I actually cried!  And then I cried again when I dropped my banana on the ground while trying to call Andrew.  Rungry tears.
  • The Love Run:  blown away by my time.  The whole time I thought my Garmin might have been lying to me, but crossing the finish line made it real!  I also cried after this race because I was so cold and wet and couldn’t find Andrew for at least 15 minutes.  I wish I had a finish line pic but it was raining too hard!

20140225-231448.jpgFinding Andrew is so tough after these big races – we need to get better at meeting plans!

How I felt for the rest of the day:

  • Disney Princess:  OMG OMG OMG I’M A HALF MARATHONER!!!!  And then I ate tons of things that were bad for me, walked around Magic Kingdom for hours, and then puked when we got home.
  • The Love Run:  I was all smiles on the car ride home and my husband commented on how much better I was doing vs. Disney Princess.  I took a super hot shower since I was freezing, and then fell asleep instantly.  While sitting up.  My husband bought me my usual post-race Wawa breakfast sandwich and I drank coffee, which then made my heart feel weird all day.  I was very warm and dizzy for a while but after drinking a lot of water throughout the day I felt much better.  By dinner I was back to normal!

20140331-001359.jpgPost-race Tastykakes are an awesome idea! And no puking!

How I felt the next day:

  • Disney Princess:  So. Much. Leg. Pain.  Omg.  We drove 17 hours home and my legs and lower back were not happy.  I tried to go to Barre3 2 days after and had to skip it because it still hurt too much.
  • The Love Run:  I woke up on Monday with very little leg pain but some lower back pain.  After foam rolling I felt much better and was able to not only drive an hour home to Reading to visit my parents, but walked around a lot!  On Tuesday I went to Barre3 and made it through all the leg work so I feel pretty well recovered!

How I feel about running another half:

  • Disney Princess:  Um…how soon is that next half?  Only 5 weeks?  Crap.
  • The Love Run:  Is there another one I can run this weekend?  I wonder how soon I can try to PR again!  (just kidding!)

I think overall I had a much better time at the Love Run because there were less unknown elements, less crowding, and I felt much stronger in the second half of the race.  Now that I’ve done more than one half, I’m feeling like it’s a pretty fun distance to do and I’m seriously looking for one to put on my summer race calendar in Alaska!  I love how it’s long enough that you have to train for it, you don’t need to be super speedy like a 5k, and you can spend more time out on the race course enjoying the experience!  Now that the big fear of 13.1 miles is gone, I really think this is going to be my favorite race length!

What was your favorite half marathon (or other race distance!)?  What about your least favorite and why?  Did you recover from your second one faster?

 

The Love Run Half Marathon Race Recap: AKA The Time I Randomly PRed by 19 Minutes

Hi everyone!  If you’ve been reading my blog lately you’ll know that since Disney Princess I’ve been struggling to keep up with my training plan for the Love Run Half.  Some weeks I was logging less than 10 miles per week and spending all my time at Barre3 since my legs were so tired.  Most of the time I was just doing stuff to prepare for my big move to Alaska in less than 3 weeks.  And the 2 long runs I managed to do in the last 5 weeks were both 8 miles long so I was feeling less than prepared.  Pair that with my recent weird foot pain and I was a total mess leading up to yesterday’s Love Run Half Marathon in Philly.  In fact, for the 2 nights before the race I had nightmares about it and was barely able to sleep.  Ugh.  On Friday after work I drove over to the convention center to pick up my bib, shirt, and mug.  Packet pickup was super easy and there were barely any people there at 4:00 pm so I was in and out in only a few minutes!  Bonus:  I had enough time on the parking meter to hit up Reading Terminal Market for some pre-race Shoo Fly Pie with my coworker!

20140331-001649.jpgThe mug says “I finished, sweet!”

Saturday night I forced myself to go to sleep at 10:00 and woke up at 6:30 to get ready for my second half marathon!  I’d been stalking the weather all week and to my absolute horror I realized I was going to be running this thing in the rain.  It had been raining in Philly for days and I was just hoping that the rain might let up a bit during the 3ish hours that I was going to be outside.  Just to be safe, I wore my new super thin waterproof  North Face jacket with a thin long sleeved shirt underneath, fleece-lined moisture wicking leggings, and wool socks to prevent blisters.  I also brought my new gloves that were supposed to be water and wind resistant as well as my trusty Lululemon head warmer.  I was terrified that I would be too cold but since this was my first time running in a waterproof jacket I figured I would play it safe and wear a thinner shirt (note:  I know I’m not supposed to try new things on race day but this was an exception since I figured not wearing waterproof layers would make me even more miserable.  I need to train in the rain more!).  I also wrote my Grandpa’s name on my arm to help keep me motivated during the race.

20140331-001347.jpgI know it washed off with all the rain but it was just helpful knowing that it was there  <3

We ended up leaving a bit later than expected since we live so close to the race, but we also seemed to underestimate how many people would be trying to park in Fairmount near the Art Museum!  Andrew had to actually drop me off at the starting line because he couldn’t find a spot in time!  The good news is that I only had to spend 10 minutes shivering outside before the race started.  I chose not to take my phone because I was afraid it would get wet so we just figured we’d meet up after the race.  Before the race started I had made the decision to try to run near the 12:00/mile pacer even with all my training and foot injury worries.  I knew doing that would give me a better chance at a PR and would motivate me to keep going if things got tough.  I told Andrew so that he could watch out for me on the course.  When lining up in the corral I couldn’t get close to the pacer so I started off in front of him and figured once he passed me I’d catch up.  Funny enough that never happened…

Miles 1-4 were super fun and I seriously wish the whole race had taken place in center city!  Even with all the rain/fog the view of all the buildings was awesome and I loved running towards City Hall.  We ran down to Independence Hall and then ran back towards the Art Museum, passing iconic Love Park that gave the half marathon its name.  I wish I’d had my phone so I could have taken pictures!  Running towards the Art Museum was my favorite part – there were so many people out in the rain cheering us on and it’s such a cool view!  I also saw Andrew right before mile 4 and he was so surprised and happy to see me.  At that point I realized I was going really fast.  My Garmin actually confirms that the first 3 miles were all in the late 10:00/mile pace range, which is waaaaaay off from my usual 12:00-12:30/mile training pace.  I was feeling pretty good and was afraid to slow down, so I figured I would try to sustain that pace for as long as I could.  After running past the Art Museum we headed down MLK drive along the Schuylkill River.  It’s such a pretty view and I loved how flat it was!  During mile 5 we ran up a hill into Fairmount Park.  Mile 6 took us past the Please Touch Museum and I realized as I ran through the halfway point that I was going way faster than planned.  My Garmin told me that I had been running for 1:15, which would put me on track for a sub-2:30 finish!  That’s my ultimate dream goal and I never thought I’d be able to do it, especially so soon after my 2:49 finish at Disney!  So at that point I told myself that I was going to keep up this pace and not slow down unless I really felt sick or injured.

As soon as I made that decision, it started pouring.  Like really, really hard.  It was pretty shocking at first, but I soon got used to it and even enjoyed how it felt to run in the rain!  I didn’t have to worry about getting sweaty, running through puddles and making my feet wet, or about how much it sucked when the volunteers spilled my water cup on me (it happened but clearly didn’t matter!).  I just kept pushing and was able to maintain my pace even with all of the rain in my eyes.  Everything was going well until 2 small things happened:  my shoe came untied for the first time ever, and the rain began to make my bib disintegrate which caused it to fall off.  Tying my shoe caused my legs to feel weird and painful for a few minutes, and having to walk while attempting to re-pin my bib on (with wet, numb hands that didn’t work correctly) put a pretty good chunk of time on my finishing time. In fact, my bib fell off 4 different times!  That could seriously have been another minute off my time!  Despite these distractions I was able to keep up a pretty fast pace while drinking water at each aid station and fueling with Sport Beans at every other aid station.  Although my legs and feet hurt a little, I was feeling really good overall.  I kept checking at each mile and realized that I was still on pace for 2:30, but that I’d have to really push at the end to get in under 2:30.  Just knowing that my super crazy goal pace was attainable powered me along, even though I knew I’d just be happy to PR at all.  The last few miles were filled with a lot of people walking – not as bad as Disney, but I still had to weave a lot and it was starting to tire me out.  In mile 13 my race bib fell off for the 3rd and 4th time, and after wasting so much time reattaching it only to feel it fall apart in my hands I just gave up and decided to hold it in my hands when I crossed the finish.  At mile 13 I knew I wasn’t going to make it in my crazy goal time (stupid bib!) but I still pushed as hard as I could and crossed the finish in the most insanely unthinkable time!

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I was so happy to have PRed by 19 minutes in only 5 weeks!  It’s so crazy how much stronger I am after training for Disney Princess.  I need to have more faith in myself!  I have never been so happy to see a finishers medal – I really earned that thing!

20140331-001615.jpgNo post-race medal picture due to the pouring rain so my post-shower medal pic will have to do!

After getting my medal I immediately grabbed a mylar blanket and some water.  Then I was herded farther down Eakins Oval to the food tent where I was given a cute little bag filled with a banana, an Uncrustables PB&J, a bag of chips, a soft pretzel, and TASTYKAKE BUTTERSCOTCH KRIMPETS!  My favorites!!!  I had to ask one of the volunteers to open my water because my fingers didn’t work, and then I set out on the long and terrible quest to find Andrew.  Literally 99.9% of people there had black umbrellas, but Andrew had an orange one so I thought it would be easy to find him.  Unfortunately 2 other guys had orange umbrellas, so I spent a lot of energy running through massive puddles of mud in the pouring rain thinking I had found him only to discover that it wasn’t him.  After about 15 minutes I did find a hot chocolate tent and stopped to get some before bursting into tears because I was so tired, scared, and alone.  I realized my lack of planning was causing me to be so miserable and lost.  Note to self:  always plan a meet-up spot!  As I was crying I noticed an orange umbrella across the massive mud pit and realized it was him!  I ran through ankle deep mud screaming his name and I basically threw myself at him sobbing.  He was so proud of me and said he didn’t expect me to finish that soon so he’d missed me crossing the finish!  Thank god for runner tracking which let him know I had finished!  Then we had to somehow get out of the finisher’s area and back to the car which was another 10 minute walk.  I was so cold that I began to hyperventilate and couldn’t breathe so Andrew suggested that I wait in the lobby of The Philadelphian while he got the car.  It was so warm in that lobby, but a lot of old rich people came up to me to ask if I was okay and to comment on how wet my clothes were.  Um thanks, I had no idea I was wet.  Luckily the door man didn’t kick me out and I was able to jump right into Andrew’s warm car for the ride home!

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I honestly have to say that the Love Run is now my #1 favorite run of all time!

What I liked:

  • The awesome places we ran through in Philly!  I’m planning on doing a “goodbye Philly” run that includes all the iconic Philly locations before I leave, but this race knocked a ton of them off my list already!  We ran past the Liberty Bell/Independence Hall, City Hall, Love Park, the Art Museum, Boathouse Row, Please Touch Museum, and had awesome views of the Schuylkill River!
  • The cheering crowds that were out despite the rain!
  • The amount of runners – about 10,000 signed up and I think over 7,000 actually ran so while I was always surrounded by other runners there were no major overcrowding issues and I only had to weave at the end.
  • If it had been nice out the finisher’s festival would have been awesome!  I did really appreciate the hot chocolate and the pre-packed race bags with awesome snacks!
  • The race swag was awesome!  We got a shirt, a mug, and the biggest and shiniest medal that I own!
  • Most of the race was flat and the hilly sections were manageable.
  • Despite the rain, the weather was much better than Florida (and I was probably just as wet as Disney with all that humidity!)

What I didn’t like:

  • How muddy and confusing the finisher’s festival was, but I know that all that mud couldn’t be helped due to the rain!
  • That the harder miles of the race took place on MLK drive with almost no one to cheer us on and keep us motivated.  I think that finishing in center city would have been better because the crowds would have kept me in a more positive mindset.
  • The material they used to make the bibs – I don’t know if they were less sturdy than other bibs out there, but mine partially disintegrated and I had to hold it when I crossed the finish because it wouldn’t stay on!

20140331-001625.jpgPretty sure race bibs aren’t supposed to look like that.  Also, they should have holes for the pins!

Overall this was my favorite race due to the location, views, and awesome PR!  If you’re looking for a Philly race to add to your 2015 race schedule you should definitely choose this one!  And now I can’t wait for my next half marathon – I might just be able to beat that crazy hard goal next time!

Have you ever run for hours in the pouring rain?  Have you ever lost someone at the end of a race?  What’s your biggest PR amount between races?

I Need A Running Mantra!

Hi everyone!  I just wanted to say that I completely respect any runners who can run long races close together and train for them correctly.  In fact, I respect any runners who can stick to their training plans.  That was me a few weeks ago, but it’s not me now and I’m kind of a hot mess.

20140225-231537.jpgCan I just skip to this part of the race?

Half #2 is in TWO DAYS and I’m not really sure how to feel about it.  I’ve been running less runs per week and shorter longer runs that I had planned.  And ever since Disney Princess, my feet have been strangely hurting.  I’ve always trusted my super comfy Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s to get my feet across the finish line in one piece, but after my half I had a weird pain on the top outer corner of my feet.  The people at Road Runner Sports suggested these super expensive inserts that got molded to fit my feet because they thought the pain was from my overpronation, but after 3 runs in them over a 2 week period of time the foot pain was so awful that I could barely walk.  Looks like they’re going back.  My shoes were inspected and they told me that they’re still in great shape and seem to be wearing well, so I’m not sure what’s going on there.  All I know is that my feet hurt now, and that mixed with the pain that I always get on the back of my knees after running are making me crazy nervous for this race.  Yesterday I ran an easy 3.1 miles as my final workout before the race, and while I enjoyed running through RCSP I did notice that both areas felt a bit uncomfortable.  Not enough to stop me from running or make me say I was hurt, but it was still there and I know it will be there on Sunday.  Of course I’m going to run this race and I’m going to try to do the best I can.  But I don’t want to get an injury so I may have to reevaluate my goals.  In fact, I just have one goal now:

finish.line.2

I’ve got other half marathons coming up this year (more info on that next week!) and I can try to PR there.  I can take a slight break from training after this race and try to get back into fun, easy running so that my feet can get back to normal.  And then I’ll train like I did for Disney and totally rock those other races.  I might even get a sub 2:30, who knows?  But that won’t be happening on Sunday.  On Sunday I’m going to go out for a nice run with 10,000 other people past the Liberty Bell, the Schyulkill River, and the Art Museum.  I might even run up those stairs after the race (okay maybe not!) after eating my post-race pretzels and chocolate.  I’ll wear that medal all day and walk around saying things like “Oh I ran a half marathon today, no big deal” because I’ve always wanted to say that to people.  And that’s all that really matters.  PRs don’t always happen, but I do want to make sure this race is one I’ll always remember as being an amazing experience, not one I injured my feet on.

And this is where you all come in!  I briefly wrote about this race on Monday and said that this little phrase was going to be my running mantra for the race:

icanandiwill

Because I do know that even with the weird foot issues and the light training I can get through those 13.1 miles.  And I will do it somehow.  But I think I need a few more sayings to motivate me.  I know it’s going to be tough and all these fears and “what ifs” are scaring me right now and I need to mentally get back on track.  So share with me your favorite running mantra!  What gets you through those tough miles?

And to help me get through each mile, I’m dedicating this race to my grandpa.  He hadn’t been able to run (or walk) pain-free in years and I’ve got the ability to run as far as I want every day.  So those 13.1 miles are going to be for him  <3  Hopefully remembering him will get me across the finish line with a smile on my face!

Have you ever felt unprepared for a longer race?  Have you ever run a race with weird foot/leg pain and was it a bad idea?  And what’s your running mantra that gets you through the tough parts of racing?