Shirley Mae 5k

One of the ladies (Michelle) at our church rents out space to have Zumba classes several times a week. The Zumba class partners with our church every year to run the Shirley Mae 5k.

The Shirley Mae 5k raises money to help families who have been affected by breast cancer. This cause is very near and dear to our group as several ladies we know have had this cancer.

The church had bought 25 t-shirts for the team. Michelle informed me last week that she had my shirt. I was confused…I hadn’t signed up for the race due to my ongoing pelvis issues. After talking it over with my husband (and running 5 miles on Monday) we decided that I should run the race.

The 5 miles that I had run on Monday were a little shocking. You see I haven’t been running much. It just hurts too much. But that 5 miles?? Somehow I ran the segment of circle over 2 bridges to Ocean City and back the fastest that I’ve ever run it. I looked at the Strava course PR and thought how did that happen?? It wasn’t super fast at a 9:01 pace but certainly not the 9:45s that I have been running. I had gotten a new pair of shoes (NB Beacons) that have more cushion than my NB Zantes so maybe they helped??

The night before the race was a beautiful day. My son and I decided to hit a restaurant that had an outside deck. While there I told him how frustrated I was that every test that I’ve had on my pelvis shows nothing– no stress fracture, no weird female issues and only a small labrum tear that has been there since I tore my hamstring.

I said since apparently nothing is wrong with me I’m just going to go for it tomorrow. Smart, right? I had no idea what I would be able to run, but I wanted to just go. Not hold back. I’m so tired of my body hating me.

My husband, my friend’s husband and I arrived at the Atlantic City boardwalk nice and early to pick up our bibs.

It was very sunny and warm…like way warmer than I had expected! I suddenly regretted wearing the non-breathable pink Nike tank.

Trainers from the gym that I go to led a warm up stretch session that lasted less than 5 minutes. Thankfully I had stretched A LOT while waiting for the race to start.

From running this race last year I learned that it is not super competitive so I lined up much closer to the start line than I normally would. A beautiful rendition of the National Anthem was sung and then we were off!

I tried not to go out too hard but when I checked my watch I was running 7:30s. Oh boy. I was pretty sure that was much too fast. I tried backing off the pace. I was passing as many people as were passing me. The 1st mile clicked off in 7:48. I’m 99.99% sure that I haven’t run a mile in the 7s since tearing my hamstring. Yippee!!

I was really getting hot. I skipped the water stop at mile 1 and kept moving to the turn around. As I went around the turn I knew we’d be running into the wind. Ugh. It wasn’t terrible but it was noticeable. As I approached the water stop around mile 2 I grabbed a cup and drizzled the water down the front and back of my shirt. Not sure it helped much.

Mile 2: 8:04

As the course was an out and back I was seeing everyone from our team coming the other way. It was a lot of fun to give a little wave and grunt. No yelling or screaming out names because I was busy trying not to die.

With a mile left I was thinking just don’t stop. You got this! And the next thing I knew I was walking. Boo!!! After about 10 breaths I got my shizzle back together and picked up the pace.

My form was going to crap 💩 and my stupid left calf (connected to the dumb hamstring) was hurting. I knew I had less than 10 minutes and then I could be done.

Mile 3: 8:19

I wavered between feeling like I was going to puke and being okay. When I approached the finish line the clock said 24:5x. Seeing the possibility of going sub 25 gave me a boost. I turned on the very little bit of jets I had left.

.1 @ 8:00 pace

I grabbed a water bottle from a volunteer and made my way through all the volunteers that were crowded around the end. I’m beating that they would’ve moved out of my way quicker if they knew I was trying not to 🤮!!

I cheered the rest of the team in.

I finished with a 24:56.Winning my AG, (bettering my time from last year by 50 seconds) and being 6th OA female (very non competitive race).

At home my son asked if 24:56 was close to my PR. After checking Athlinks I found my 5k PR is a 24:01. I really have no idea how I ran a time 50 seconds off of my PR with very little actual running in my training. My 2nd fastest 5k ever!

I’ve done rowing, stairclimbing, biking, lifting, but actual running I’ve only been doing once or twice a week.

So what gives?? How did I run that time? And don’t get me wrong I’m super excited about my time, but also super frustrated because I’d love to train for a fast 1/2. Ugh 😑.

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New Jersey 1/2 Marathon – Pacing Duty

My body in general has just been a real pain. While training for the Phoenix Marathon I did something to my abdominal/pelvis area. Seriously, who knew that could get injured?

After 4-5 months of trying to continue training by cross training and not seeing much progress I finally broke down and went to the sports doctor. The sports doctor sent me to get a bone scan. Pretty sure it revealed nothing or the results were obscured. The test starts out with an injection of radioactive material. A few hours later you go back for the test. Radioactive material is sent out through your bones and can show where there are issues. The radioactive material exits your body through the bladder. The bladder sits right on your pubic bone. So that whole area of my body was lit up like a Christmas tree obscuring any abnormalities. I’m still baffled as to why this was the test I was sent for??

Anyway the sports doctor sent me to a surgeon to see if I had a hernia. The surgeon immediately nixed that idea and said I should go to my GYN doctor and get a pelvic ultrasound. Luckily (or unluckily) I already had an appointment made to see him. Let’s just say if you have a pelvic ultrasound you really ought to make someone buy you a drink first…. LOL. PU showed nothing, but the GYN did say he thought it might be pubic symphysitis. Awesome….3-8 months for it to go away.

All of this had me super frustrated going into the NJ 1/2. I really hadn’t done any long runs, consistent runs or even cross training…unless you want to count lifting. I considered DNS’ing but I had promised that I would pick up a few friends from the airport who were flying in for the race.

Friday morning I drove to Philadelphia to pick up Chris and Sara. Travel from Philly to Long Branch was completely uneventful. We ate lunch at Robinson’s Ale House before I dropped them at the hotel. I returned home due to former obligations.

I knew about 10 people running the race. 9 of us were running the 1/2 and one brave soul (Angela) was running the full. Angela posted on Facebook that she was hoping to run somewhere between a 4:30 and 4:45 and wanted to know if any of us were running that pace. Greg said he thought that pace would be good for him. I was like hell-a-hallelujah! Let me on that party bus.

I left my house at 5 am to get to the race which started at 7:30. Race organizers said to plan on getting to the race 1 1/2 hours early. I got off the NJ Parkway at exactly 6 am and then sat in traffic for 1 whole hour — 3 miles from the parking lot. It was a cluster-f for sure!

I quickly parked my car and somehow found Abby, Chris and Sara and got my bib from them. Thanks, ladies! I then immediately went to the port-a-potties. Ugh! Just like the traffic to get in the parking lots! As we were standing in line we heard the National Anthem being sung. I sighed realizing I was now going to be running alone. Boo!

I finished up and headed to corral 5/6 at 7:35. I heard someone say “Gwen!” It was Greg! Yippee! And then I heard someone in the corral say “Gwen!” I looked over and gave a blank stare. (OMG! I’m the worst) I’ve never met Angela, but I should’ve known it was her from her pictures and the pure fact that we had agreed to run together.

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The race is really essentially flat, but does have some slight rolling down as you make your way from the Monmouth Racetrack to the beach. Greg and I caught up on everything since the last time we saw each other — Vermont 100 on 100?? Angela is a real chatterbox and kept the conversation flowing.

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Early in the race a family was playing some really fun music. I broke off and ran up on their lawn to high five them. I guess I scared them because they looked like they were ready for me to attack. LOL. Sorry. Sometimes I get over exuberant when I hear some sweet jamz while running.

Greg stopped to use a port-a-potty at mile 5. Angela and I kept trucking. The first 5 miles were all in the 10:12-10:20 range. The next 5 we slowed a bit to the 10:25-10:35 range. I tried to let Angela lead so I’m not sure if the beginning miles were too fast or if we had slowed and she didn’t notice. It wasn’t until mile 8 that I looked down at my watch. The miles had just clicked by.

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At mile 11 the full marathoners split off from the halfers. I was more than happy to send Angela on her way. I sped up a bit for the last 2 miles but not much as my silly stomach was not happy — 9:45, 9:09, and 8:26 for the last .2. Finish time 2:14:58

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After I finished I made my way through the food and towards the changing area. As I didn’t do a drop bag because I didn’t have the clear bag from the expo I quickly slipped on my wind breaker. It was a crisp 50-55* with some sprinkles thrown in for kicks and giggles.

I quickly found everyone in the mini beer prison. **Abby’s picture

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***Jonathan’s picture

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We drank our 26.2 beers while we waited for Greg and Sara to finish up their races. By the time I headed back for the shuttle to the race track I was freezing!

Most of us met back up at Robinson’s Ale House for one last hurrah. My favorite was hanging with Liz and Jonathan tag teaming at the bar.

Angela met us after a while and I’m sad to say my pacing did not lead her to a PR that day.

Marathons are tough!

 

Last Squatch Standing

I love following all of Gary Cantrell’s aka Lazarus Lake’s crazy races. The Barkley Marathons being the most popular.

Another one of his races that I stumbled upon was Laz’s Big Backyard. Competitors had to complete a 4 mile loop every hour. In the day it is a trail loop. During the night it is a road loop. Every hour competitors line up and head out again. Fascinating!

Really anyone can do 4 mph! It comes down to how far mentally you can go.

I stumbled across a race that I thought was similar. It was called the Last Squatch Standing. The rule of the race was that runners had to keep up with the time cut offs. Each mile the time decreased by a minute or 30 seconds or 15 seconds.

The one mile loop started in the park went up a muddy hill on a nice 4 foot wide trail then turned right onto a single track. The single track was runnable but full of rocks, roots and mud. It then turned right up the hill and back into the park.

I needed something to get me moving to train for NJ 1/2 Marathon so this sounded perfect!!

Race morning it was raining when I headed for the race. Ugh. Thankfully by race start the rain had stopped and the humidity had settled in…

All of the racers (about 50 of us) lined up and headed out for loop 1. We had 18 minutes. In my mind I knew I could walk it and make it back in time but I wanted to treat the race as a long run.

I headed across the grass and followed the pack into the forest.

Once in the forest the hill climbed. It was wide but since we had about an inch or 2 of rain overnight parts of the trail were flooded. One section we had to conga line over a log/root nature made bridge. (Or barrel through the huge puddle)

I walked/ran up the hill and then easy jogged around the single track. By the time I got back to the start I realized that my plan of making it to 12 miles + might be in jeopardy. My new goal was DO NOT GET HURT!!!!

Mile 1 12:00

I ditched my pullover and drank some water and lined up for mile 2 after 18 minutes ticked by. Mile 2 we had 17:00.

After mile 2 I talked to a guy dressed in an orange tank and blue shorts sitting on a picnic bench. I teased him asking if sitting down between laps was the way to go. He said he didn’t really know but was going to give it a try. We chatted some more and realized that we had both run the NYC 1/2 a few weeks prior.

At some point I hooked up with 2 guys who were running a really nice 11:00 pace. It just felt like a nice pace to be going around through the woods. At the announcement of each new lap starting I’d look around for them and say okay following you.

By mile 8 or 9 I realized they were going out a little faster than I wanted up the hill. I decided it was time to run my own race. I stuck to the back and ran my own speed. By now I was charging through the middle of the puddles. Splish splashing away. The temperatures had risen into the low 70s. I caught up to my favorite pacers on the single track.

Each lap saw more and more people either DQing themselves or being timed out.

I made it through 10 and then 11. I had moved my stuff closer to the start line because I was having less and less time between laps.

On lap 12 I ran up the hill and as I was making the right onto the single track I twisted my left ankle. I caught it quickly after letting out a little girl scream. I finished the loop with about 30 seconds to go.

Another lady said she was tapping out because she had to lead 2 spin classes the next day. I told her I was thinking of tapping out also. Better to quit uninjured than to get another lap and trip in the woods.

We walked over to the whiteboard and wrote our names on the whiteboard.

Smart but bummer.

I stayed to watch the rest of the runners carry on. One of my pacer guys tapped out around mile 16. The other one made it to 21 miles!! I researched him later and found out he has a 3:20 marathon PR. Oops! Maybe I shouldn’t have been pacing off of him…

The winning lady made it to mile 20. She was phenomenal! 41 years young!!

Six guys lined up to go through mile 22, 5 for 23 miles, 3 for 24 miles and 2 for 25 miles.

Remember my buddy who used the picnic bench in between laps?? He ended up winning after the other guy tapped out after completing mile 25. Mr Orange tank/blue shorts blasted around the last loop (#26) in ~6:10! (I researched his NYC1/2 time — 1:22 😱)

What a fun day!

***I messed up lapping on loop 2. 🤦‍♀️

United Airlines NYC 1/2 Marathon

My friend Cathy has always wanted to run the NYC Marathon. When she saw that there was a lottery for the 1/2 she asked if I would enter with her. I’m always game for an adventure so I entered.

The lottery emails came out. I was in. She was not. Well, drat. This was her dream race. Not my dream race.

I complained to anyone who would listen about the logistics. I am not very experienced with navigating the NYC public transportation system and truthfully it kind of freaks me out especially when I would need to be at the race start area at 6:55 am.

My daughter is a college student at NJIT in Newark, NJ right near NYC. She has an apartment off campus so I bunked with her for the weekend.

We took the train into NYC to pick up my bib on Saturday late afternoon. Waited in line to get inside:

Very small expo for a race of 25,000 runners.

Found my name on the banner:

Took some silly pictures because why not?

We were hungry by the time we left so we headed to a restaurant called the Smokehouse. Everything seemed to be of Irish ☘️ descent so we were worried about crowds. When we got inside it seemed pretty crowded in the first floor so I asked about going upstairs. We got a table near the back by this group who were all dressed in kilts. Little did we realize this was a bagpipe band.

Next thing we know they are rehearsing their songs to go play on the main floor.

My daughter was not impressed…LOL

I lined up my excuses of why my race wouldn’t go well.

And then we headed back on the subway to the train to the light rail to her car and finally made it back to her apartment for the night.

I looked up possible ways to make it to Prospect Park in the morning. The quickest public transportation route would take me 2 hours. Sigh. My daughter is such a trooper. She readily offered to drive me into the city. ❤️

I fell asleep while playing with her cat and watching Project Runway. I slept amazingly well.

I was up by 5:10 the next morning. We were out the door by 5:45 for my 8:10 start. It was smooth sailing into the city until we got close to the park. We arrived by 7:00 am.

I got out of the car and quickly realized how cold it was. I had a long sleeved green shirt and capris for the race. On top of that I had a sweatshirt and a pair of throwaway tights. I slipped on my mittens, put on my trash bag and thanked the volunteer for a heat sheet. I’m pretty sure homeless people had better styling than I did. I was still cold in the 25* blustery wind.

I was really questioning how I was going to strip down when the race started. I made my way to the POPs. Unlike Phoenix the POPs were plentiful and I only had to wait a few minutes. (Really amazing for a field of 25,000 runners)

I grabbed a mini bottle of water and headed off in search of my corral. I found the correct corral but they were only letting in waves 1 & 2. I was in wave 3. After a few minutes they closed the corral gates. If you were in that wave but didn’t make it in time you were locked out. Quite a few runners were screaming and yelling about it being unjust, demanding refunds. It was kind of crazy and scary.

Someone yelled out to jump the fence. The next thing I know people are hurdling over the fence. It was unbelievable.

***My thoughts on this — NYC is so organized that they give you a flow chart of when to be where. If you were late that is not the organization or volunteers fault. It is yours. Wait for the next wave. It will not kill you…. Getting off my soapbox now.

After maybe 5 minutes we were let into the corral. I was trying to plan my disrobing at the last possible minute. They had large blue bins in the corrals and as long your throwaways made it in those bins the clothing would be donated. (Well done, NYC) The volunteers also gathered up all of the heat sheets to reuse.

I shuffled through start not sure how my race would go. I hadn’t run in 2 1/2-3 weeks due to my ab pain. (I had rowed and stairclimbed.)

The run starts in the middle of Prospect Park and winds it’s way through. Immediately we were climbing. As I was running I was assessing how everything felt. Pretty happy to say I felt A-Ok.

After leaving the park we ran on this little out and back section and I searched for one of my Vermont 100 on 100 team members. I couldn’t find him in the sea of runners.

The next big climb was on the Manhattan Bridge. It was not super steep but it just seemed to go on forever. I did stop and walk for about 15 seconds (my only walk other than the few fluid stops). It is that 3rd peak on the graph up there. So many people were stopping to take selfies. Very annoying.

I cruised down the back side and was really happy with how I felt. There were some really great views of the city from the river roads and the crowd support was amazing.

At about the 8.5 mile mark I realized that somehow I only had a little over 4 miles to go and I still felt great! (Except for my stupid calves. I’ve got to find some way to strengthen them. I guess not pounding the pavement for 3 weeks let them get weak?) I was wavering through being too cold and slightly to warm. I had realized early on that I couldn’t stop to walk because I would freeze!

When we got into Manhattan the crowds were electric. I was giving people high fives and tapping the power up signs.

I was counting the streets because I knew Central Park was around 69th Street. Much to my surprise I was freaking loving this race!

The roads going to Central Park peak and valley so you are either running up or down. I loved it! Yeah, me, the hill hater.

As we entered Central Park I started looking for my daughter but never did see her. I was still running really well although my bad hammy was screaming from the hills.

I charged through the finish line so stinking happy it was ridiculous.

I didn’t really know what to make of my time but after reading this quote from an elite I guess I’m going to be okay with it.

My savior (ie. my Daughter) met me at a nearby Starbucks with my dry clothes.

We headed back to her apartment for a quick shower and then to brunch. I celebrated with a Brooklyn Defender IPA.

Stats from the race. I’ve never seen an age graded placing. Very cool stat!

I highly recommend this race to anyone who wants to run NYC!

The shirt is amazing as well!

The Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon

After successfully completing my 3 legs in the Vermont 100 on 100 last summer (although with quite a bit of pain) I decided to try to train for a marathon. I eliminated ALL forms of cross training to try to figure out exactly which exercises were still making my hamstring swell. It turns out biking and rowing were no good, but ellipticaling and stair climbing were fine.

I used Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Marathon plan and did not miss one run (although I did substitute stair climbing or ellipticaling when my hamstring or calves were giving me trouble.)

I picked the Phoenix Marathon as my goal race because it has a net elevation loss and who doesn’t want to go to Phoenix in the winter??

My college roommate C quickly agreed to join me and signed up for the half. My other friend N had lots of time free as she had just resigned from her job so she quickly joined in to spectate.

I contacted Garbo and MoSheppo to see if they would be up for a rendez vous. They quickly agreed.

Perfect.

All I had to do now was get to the start line healthy. And I did for the most part. Around Rehoboth (12/8) I developed some low abdomen/pelvic pain. Tight hip flexors? Abdominal strain? Groin pull? I have no idea. I pulled the plug on pretty much any and all speedwork.

C, N and I flew out to Phoenix on Wednesday, 2/6. N had mentioned it would be great to drive the course so we did that after eating dinner. The starting area was beautiful!

I posted the picture on Facebook and let the world know I was running another marathon. What a big dope. Now everyone would know if it didn’t go well. Sigh.

The next morning we got up bright and early and headed off to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in search of the Tom’s Thumb Trail. Garbo had advised me that hiking 2 days before a marathon is less than ideal. If Garbo had talked to my mom before giving the advice he would’ve realized I’m not the best at following advice. Sorry

C, N and I headed up 1200 feet in 2.5 miles to reach Tom’s Thumb. Every where we looked we were just blown away by the views!

Each of the posts stated the elevation. C was computing how far we had climbed up with each new pole.

Sweeping views

Pretending I’m Simba and surveying the land

We each took turns holding the boulders in place.

N’s fancy so she held 2.

Don’t fall backwards…

N was pretty much the creator of our photography sessions. Stand on one foot and do tree pose. Uh huh….I immediately fell out of pose as soon as she clicked the camera.

Tom’s Thumb

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People were more than happy to take our picture as they were climbing up so they could catch their breath. I believe Four Peaks are in the background.

N and C were placing beats on when I wouldn’t be able to hold back and fly the rest of the way down the mountain. Harumph I can walk all the…… WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Later that afternoon N,C, and I stood on a random corner and waited for my random internet stranger friends to pick us up. First we tried texting our location and then I tried talking to Garbo. I sent Mo and Garbo our location via Google Maps. Apparently I had freaked Garbo out with my fast talking Jersey accent so he next had Mo call me. Next thing you know Garbo, Mo and Garbo’s brand new car came rolling up and my friends are so gullible that they piled in the back seat with me.

Mo, C, N and I talked and laughed and Garbo tried his best ignore us, but we wouldn’t go away. Mo and Garbo took us to Four Peaks Brewing (the namesake of the Four Peaks mountain we stood in front of earlier!!!) The food and beer were delicious and the company was the best!

You can tell by the t-shirt that it was really Garbo!!!

I told Garbo my real dream was to meet him on his fabled track. He begrudgingly told me where it was located and we agreed to meet the next afternoon.

That night we tried to get some sunset pictures. they turned out meh.

This is where my race would be starting. Just run down that road.

We heard coyotes howling as soon as the sun dropped. I stood close to the car. C & N would be my sacrifices! I’m a good friend like that!

The next morning we picked up our race packets. C and I had very nicely paid for and registered N for the 10k. I mean really what are friends for if they can’t strong arm you into a little run?? (N would be walking as she has had knee problems that are slowly getting better due to a recent injection. I made her promise me to walk. She said she would….wait until you see what a liar she is! Lol)

Our next stop was the Phoenix Zoo. C loves the zoo.

Six miles of walking later we were headed for the track! I was like a kid on Christmas morning.

Earlier that morning Garbo had put up the Stark Raving Mad Mile and asked for bets to be placed on my finishing time. I really need to talk with some of you…..6:59???? Seriously my fastest time for the mile ever was a 7:17 (or maybe a 7:11??). The winner of the prediction would get M & Ms. Yum!

Headed to the start line:

Running with one of my pacers:

My hopes of running on the track with Garbo were dashed. The gates to the track were locked and Garbo wouldn’t jump the railing. My friends and I have no scruples so the Stark Raving Mad Mile was a huge success….unless you bet I would run a sub 10:00 mile. One of my pacers has a bum knee, silly.

I slept like a champ that night…I mean what little of it there was. Wake up time was 4:00 am so we could catch our various buses.

The bus lines reminded me of Boston ( the last marathon I ran)

At the top of the mountain I stayed on a warm bus just a little too long but so did many others. I was in a very long P-O-P line when the race started. According to everyone around me it happens every year. I do have serious complaints re: the whole POP situation through the entire race.

Since I am now Abby 2.0 my stomach was in gastrointestinal upset from the get go. I stopped 4 freaking times to use the POP. Mile 3, mile 8, 20 & 24. At every POP there was at least a 4 minute wait. the mile 8 POP people were coming out of saying that the toilets were going to overflow. I bravely went in and closed the door. After dry heaving 4 times because of the smell I flung the door open and yelled, “It’s bad! Like really, really bad!”

I had adopted a run a mile and walk a minute from the beginning because i knew how rough my long training runs had been. At mile 15 I sent N a text that said I was walking it in because of my stomach. Every time I passed a timing mat N would say, “She’s not walking!”

I had managed to pull myself together and was running pretty consistent paces when I wasn’t diving for the next bathroom.

Garbo was waiiting for me at mile 24. I almost missed him because he said he’d be on the right side of the street but then ended up on the left. It was so great to see a friendly face with a racing pinata! (I think this is N’s picture below.)

I managed to take a page from Quadracool’s book and smile at all of the photographers. I mean really I wasn’t all that upset. Sure, my time was way off what I wanted it to be but running 10:30s for 26.2 with 4 POP stops after a year long hamstring tear? I’ll take it.

My ugly splits if you care

Final time 4:35

C had a great race and finished in 2:15. Much better than she thought. And look at N down there. Does that look like walking to you??? Claims she only ran the last 1/8th of a mile. Finished the 6.2 with a 14 minute pace!

After showering and getting food we went to the Hole in the Wall. Pretty cool, but also not a “must see.”

C & N made me slow down climbing to the top.

C was happy that I made her do more climbing….

Camelback Mountains in the background.

Since it was still early we decided to hit the Botanical gardens. It was beautiful!

Garbo’s little racing pineapples!

One of the girls that ran on our Vermont 100 on 100 team is a traveling nurse. She currently is working in Mesa, AZ so she reached out to me and asked if we wanted to hit up a sunrise hike.

Well sure in theory that sounds great but the only day that made sense was the day after the marathon. I verified with C and N that they still wanted to go because truthfully I wasn’t sure my post marathon legs were up for the climb. They both wanted to go so at 6:30 am we met D and climbed to the top of Piestewa Peak. It was my absolute freaking favorite thing we did. The views were spectacular!

N refused to go any higher. Something about it being steep or her legs were tired.

The last bit to the top was worth it. Stunning and breath taking.

We checked out of our AirBnb and headed to Old Scottsdale for a look around. None of us was too impressed so luckily N saw a post from Garbo that the track was open! C (who really loved talking to Garbo) almost got us killed going the wrong way through a turning lane and then making a wild U-turn so she could hit the correct turn got us to the track in record time. I’m sure by now Garbo and Mo thought we were stalkers the way we kept showing up.

We broke bread one last time and then Garbo took the broken bread and kept on walking.

The taste of victory was sweet indeed.

Rehoboth – The Unsmiling Happy Runner

Rehoboth, DE. The running mecca of our little group.

It seems so odd. Delaware? Really? A mecca? How?

It’s strange but true. Even this Jersey girl has been converted to loving Rehoboth, DE.

My 1st trip to Delaware was my very 1st big Loopfest. (The Loop on RW is where we all met.) My nerves were a mess. December, 2015.

I ran a PR 1/2 marathon that year. I was on top of the world…..or maybe just in Delaware. 1:49: 5x

Last year I was desperately trying to recover from a hamstring tear. I thought about not going to Rehoboth, but with so many of my favorite people in attendance the decision was pretty clear.

The after party was worth it!

This year I opted to take the ferry from Cape May, N.J. to Lewes, DE. Without a doubt the best decision ever. $8!

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Rehoboth_Ferry

This year I wasn’t sure how to tackle the course. Do I go big and try to run 8:30s the whole way? Do I run it as a training run at 9:20s? Or maybe a pace run of 8:50s?

I reached out to a couple of people. One said, “It’s a race. Go fast.” I should have known that would be his response. Another person said if it wasn’t my main goal then treat it as a training run or pace run.

In my head I really knew that I was going to do whatever my body let me do on race day. I had run 17 6 days prior along with a 4 and 9 on Tuesday & Wednesday.

It was cold the morning of the race.  Like trash bag cold.

Rehoboth_Truck

The race course starts out heading away from the beach on the main drag. I always have a hard time getting down to race pace in that 1st mile. I guess a warm up mile would’ve been smart. 9:00

The next few miles go through some residential areas and along the beach. The ground felt so cold and hard that every foot fall felt difficult. 8:37, 8:39, 8:48

Rehoboth_Beach1

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to push anymore. It just seemed so darn hard. A sub 2 seemed in the bag before the race started and at that point I just didn’t even know if that was possible. I backed off the gas a bit. 9:09, 8:46

Rehoboth_Road_Notfeelingit1

I took a gel somewhere in here. It was as thick as caramel. Too darn cold. I’d put some in my mouth and there it would sit. Blech.

As we were coming up to an aid station I started looking frantically for a POP. There wasn’t one there. OMG. This could be a problem!

Thankfully as we were entering onto the trail section there was a POP on the right AND left! Using a POP with gloves and freezing hands is not as easy as one might think. 10:46.

With the stomach issues taken care of and the Gu kicking in I was feeling like a new runner. Most people said the trail slowed them down. It slowed me down in 2015, but not this year. My feet and body were loving the dirt. It no longer felt as if I was crashing down on concrete.

I worked my way around so many people. 8:39, 8:54, 8:37, 8:34

As we finished up the trail section I knew there were only a few road miles left. Yessss! I might just finish this thing strong! 8:35

We crossed the open metal grate bridge coming back to town. I have a huge fear I’m going to catch my foot and tear myself up. Tip toe, tip toe.

I was feeling amazing. I pushed the pace as I past the spectators that were cheering. 8:24

With the finish line up ahead I passed as many people as I could. 7:58 for the final .1. I usually don’t have anything left at the end so it felt good to be able to pick it up.

Rehoboth_Finish

Final time of 1:56:41 — 8:53 pace. Take out POP stop and Strava says it was an 8:44 pace. Not bad for being in the middle of training and feeling so horrible at the beginning.

Rehoboth_Medal

At the finish I found Abby, Chris and Dave all waiting. We headed back to get quick showers before going back to cheer on the marathoners.

The after party did not fall short of our expectations. Thanks to all of the ladies and the shenanigans while dancing.

Running + dancing + amazing people = One of my favorite times of the year

Too soon it was time for me to head back to NJ.

Delaware, I will be back.

 

 

 

Can I Do It?

So the MRI of my lower hamstring came back. Nothing shows on the film. So strange that there is so much pain behind and on the outside of my knee but it all looks normal.

My thoughts are that exercise that pushes my knee out to the side inflames it — Kettlebell swings, heavy lifting. I had stopped All but the minimum of cross training before Rehoboth and managed a 2:00 marathon.

Perhaps it’s time to try again?

I plotted out a marathon plan to run Tunnel Light in September. Go big or go home, right? The plan starts next week but I was super excited to give training a go again so I made a pre-week. Yay!

On Sunday I started out with an easy 5 on the plan. Somehow I ended up running 5.7 while trying to add onto my 4 to make it 5. It was cold!! for an April morning. I had on my face mask for 1/2 of the time as the wind was cold.

My warm up mile came in at 10:00 but I think was actually quicker due to a stop to make sure Strava was actually recording. 😋

The next few miles were super peppy. I was running some fartleks but nothing structured. I was really happy with the 8:30-9:00 pace for miles 2-5.7. Yippee!

After church I was still feeling good so I decided to run Monday’s miles early and give myself Monday off. I ran the trails around the gravel pit at what I felt was an easy pace. 3.4 at 9:26.

Monday was off but I did walk on the treadmill to get to 10,000 steps.

Tuesday I was planned a 20 minute tempo the Hal Higdon way. Hal Higdon says warm up for about a mile and then cut down every 5 minutes to get to your 10k pace. As usual I’ve no idea 🤷‍♀️ what my 10k pace is.

Started out nervous as always. Why do I get so nervous?? Ran for a mile feeling a bit of my hamstring but it loosened as I ran. 9:32

And then I started cutting down. I was aiming for 9:00 for 1st 5 minutes. Ummm not so much 8:34. Then I picked it up a bit 8:10 for the next mile. I did stop and do some squats and to catch my breath a few times. Trying to get my lungs back.

For the last 5 minutes I tried to pick it up a little more. Really didn’t have much left. Probably came in somewhere around 8:10 again. I felt a pull at the top of hamstring. 😡

Slowed the pace but still ran the last mile in 9:05. 4.57 miles in 39:48

Wednesday is off. Maybe yoga. Hoping my hamstring settles down. 🙏