Eagle Up Ultra Race Recap (finally, I know)

This race…it was amazing. My original plan, back in the day, was to go for 50 miles. Doing what BRF did last year–50 here, 50 at Burning River. By the time my coach and I were laying plans though, I had 100k in my mind. Twice as far as I’ve ever run in my life (and the 50k I did was about 5 years ago…). For a long time I said 50 miles was my goal, then I gradually started to leak that I was going for 100k.

Set out on Friday to claim a campsite–needed a home base for our tent on Saturday–and to check into the hotel. Stopped for some delicious treats from Oakmont bakery (that ended up fueling me through the whole weekend, money very well spent). Stopped at packet pickup, set up the tent, grabbed a drink and some dinner, and got our stuff together at the hotel.

Went to bed. Got up stupid early to get ready and get to the grounds with our stuff. Met up with friends, took some pictures, used the bathroom–all that good pre-race stuff. I was sooo happy when we finally got started. I knew that I would not run the whole thing, but I wanted to run as much as I could manage, and I did run the first 2 laps without stopping. Gradually started working some walking in after that–especially since I then started stopping by the tent and aid station between laps.

Me before starting Eagle Up Ultra…

I’m super focused when I’m in a race type setting. Even though I didn’t have real time goals I was shooting for, I still wanted to do the best I could and not dawdle at the aid stations or stop for too long. The longer you are running, the more imperative it is to keep moving–stopping for too long makes it harder to continue on as your body wants to give into the rest. So I did my best to just keep moving. Once I hit my half way point I started to take a few more pictures on course to check in with people on Instagram.

Me smiling for the camera…
Me questioning all of the choices that have brought me to this moment…

BRF Sean happened to be at the aid station with our friends when I was stopped before my 50 mile lap. We joked for a minute, toasted (his beer and my jello shot) and then I dashed off saying “I have to crush your 50-mile time now”, which I did, by more than an hour. (I know, I know, he had a hernia…) Continued kicking ass and taking names. Said goodbye to the friends that had come to help out and “crew” for us (running back and forth to the tent to save us trips and stops). Before you know it, I was on my last out and back. I walked almost all of that. I was on my way in and I ran into Sean again and got a big hug–he couldn’t wait any longer he said, he needed to keep moving. Then I dug deep and ran into the finish. Almost shoved a guy out of my way because he wouldn’t move.

Me at the finish with my medal…

I far far exceeded my own expectations for this event. My goal was primarily to finish–I don’t believe in having real hard and fast time goals for your first stab at a distance. I had loosely set 20 hours as my B goal, and 18 hours as my C goal, though, to give myself something to shoot for, and I ended up finishing the 100k in just over 17 hours. (17:00:17 to be exact). I found out a couple of weeks after the fact that this earned me 2nd place in my age group–which floored me. Guess I’m kinda okay at this ultrarunning thing.

Swag…

Eagle Up Ultra is a truly awesome event. It’s very well organized and well-run. Aid station is amazing. The RD is an ultrarunner himself so he totally gets it. It’s a very friendly event and great for first timers and experienced runners alike. Highly recommend.

2019 Pittsburgh Marathon Recap

So I’m a little behind on the blogging–sorry friends, I’ve been using my morning time for some other things lately, I’ll do my best to get caught up here shortly. First and foremost I need to write about this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon weekend.

While all of my training is ultimately building towards my ultras (the first of which is just under a week away, *gulp*) the Pittsburgh Marathon was a goal race of mine this year. I wanted to PR at this marathon. That’s a tall order–Pittsburgh is known for being a tough course, most people don’t choose races with significant hills to shoot for PRs, but I’m also not most people. Pittsburgh is my half marathon PR even though I’ve done a lot of “easier” races, I wanted Pittsburgh to be my marathon PR too (at least for now).

So the Expo and the 5k were not remarkable. Sorry, they just weren’t. I visited my favorite shirt shop (shout out to Brag Swag…LOVE their stuff) and scored a couple new Pittsburgh designs, but very little aside from that. LOVE the official shirts this year, LOVE the Pittsburgh skyline Goodr sunglasses that we got as our premium. I used to love race expos, now I’m much more of a get in, get my stuff, make a lap, get out type of girl. The 5k on Saturday, was a 5k. I took it easy since it was a shakeout and not the race I was there for.

Sunday…oh Sunday…the main event. Met up with my friends in the morning. Little stressful getting us all to the starting corral–we seem to have different views of “on time” and when the event “starts” but it ended up being fine once I got my anxiety back in check. The group of us did our “Who Run? WE RUN!” chant which was fun. I ran the first 16 miles with my friend Lara. Ran up Forbes (which had been one of my goals). Got to watch BRF dance like a jagoff with the girls at Lululemon (my only regret is that I didn’t record it…it was EPIC). Had some beer. Pet some greyhounds (wanted to run with one but they were too cold and wet when I got there). Lara urged me to go at mile 16–she could tell I felt good and she was struggling. So I went off on my own and chased down my PR. Enjoyed seeing friends and my running club along the way (that Fireball at Mile 25 was EXACTLY what I needed for the final push). And then I crossed the line.

That face though…truly one of my favorite race pics…

5:23:19. 15 minutes faster than my marathon in March, on a much more “difficult” course. 20 minutes faster than my first marathon, which had been my PR until this year. That expression on my face is pure joy mixed with tears that were about to come a second later. I look vaguely horrified, but I LOVE that picture because I know how I felt in that moment. I was proud and happy. I felt amazing. This was far and away, of the 9 marathons I’ve run (so far) in my life the best I had ever felt during and after the race. It was the most fun I’ve had at a marathon. I posed for a pic with my medal. I got my medal engraved. I rang the PR bell (at BRF’s insistence). It was a truly awesome day.

Official pic with my medal…

And now…my next adventure awaits. Eagle Up Ultra 100k is this weekend. Yeah, 100k. I’ve been saying 50 miles for the longest time, but my goal is 100k. I can’t wait to get out there and see what I can do. I can’t wait for a long weekend with my friends, spending literally an entire day running. I had a really great 30-mile training run a few weeks back and I’m hoping that will be a good preview of coming attractions. I’m going into the weekend feeling really strong and well-prepared, so I guess we’ll see.

More soon, friends.

Race Recap–Two Rivers Marathon Festival

Got some coffee? Get some coffee. Or tea. Or whatever you like to drink. Settle in. It’s story time…

So ultra training means multiple 20+ mile runs. Coach told me early in the year that if I wanted to work in some races for my longer runs to make it more interesting, let her know. So, loving the bling as I do, I went in search of spring marathons–and found the Two Rivers Marathon Festival, which offers 4 distances (5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon) on both Saturday and Sunday. Medals offered for all distances. I can get a medal for my recovery run too? Sold. Signed up for the marathon on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.

In addition to offering all four distances on both days, the race has nice shirts, offers jackets for people who complete races (any combination of distances) both days, jackets for people who complete two marathons or two half marathons over the course of the weekend, there are special shirts for those who BQ on the course (lots of downhill to flat…high percentage of BQs). And the medals are huge! There is an animal “mascot”/logo each year and participants are polled for what animal they would like to see, and then the winner is incorporated into the medal and shirt/jacket logos for the year. Amazing swag. Really love it.

Race Swag–shirt, medal, jacket for doing two events.

So I sign up, and then realizing I’m going away for the entire weekend, ask if anyone in my circle wants to come with and run a couple of races. Naomi took the bait (hahaha)–she was looking for a half marathon anyway, and hey she also needed recovery miles on Sunday. Half marathon and 10k it is. We started planning our trip–found a hotel that met our criteria (fridge/microwave in room and hot tub) about an hours drive from the race and booked it. The race director sent multiple emails over the month or so before the race to update on details–shirts and jackets are in! Medals are in! Weather for race weekend looks great!–it was neat to have that kind of genuine and excited communication from the RD. We packed up our stuff, and headed out on Friday for packet pickup. Little did we realize (though perhaps we should have) that we were headed for Deliverance.

Two Rivers takes place across the state, in a little town called Lackawaxen, PA. Upon arrival we learned there is no cell reception there (thank goodness the GPS lasted long enough to get us there, and we remembered enough to get out). We parked at a scary looking general store (complete with “Deplorables Welcome” and “cashier is armed” signs on the door) and walked across the street to the park to get our bibs and swag for the weekend. Packet pickup was unremarkable if slightly disorganized, but hey, it’s a small low-key race, there were two people there (one doing bibs, one handling the rest of the shirts/jackets) and it’s not like there was a mob of people picking up. We helped the guy find our jackets and moved on with our lives.

Got to the hotel, checked-in, unloaded and found food, which was easy–we were staying about an hour away from the race itself. While I didn’t love having an extra hour of driving on either side of the race, given the area the race was in, I’m glad we opted to stay further out. It was worth it to have the luxuries of civilization–multiple restaurants around the hotel which made eating easier, Walmart and Target for items you might have forgotten, gas nearby for refueling, cell phone reception, etc. The extra drive was well worth having needs easily met. We came back and prepared for the Saturday events.

So Saturday morning, we’re up and at ’em early. Chilly to start, but predicted to be in the 60s by the time I’m done, so I roll sleeveless (with arm warmers) and capris. We drive the hour to the finish, and get on a bus to the start. The first half of the course (well, the first 11 miles) is beautiful rolling hills through a wooded setting along the rivers. It was really pretty. Saturday’s event is larger, so there are pacers for the full marathon (and therefore for the first 11ish miles of the half). Aid stations every two miles–they only offer water and gatorade, but on Saturday they will put anything you want at any of the aid stations for you. I kept my nutrition with me so I could be sure to have it when I needed it. The course was pretty straightforward, but well marked with consistent reliable mile markers and the few turns were called out with signs and markings on the ground. The second half of the course is out and back along the river, but much more flat, which anyone who knows me knows I struggle with. It’s totally a mental thing–I love the challenge of hills, I’m a solid hill runner, and a good downhill runner. I know how to use them to my advantage. Flats feel endless to me. I really struggled with the back half of the course. It got a little lonely since it’s a small field, though the other runners and aid station volunteers were encouraging. I still felt great physically, but mentally I struggled on the flats and it was difficult to keep myself from walking too much. That said…I stayed ahead of the 5:30 pacer until around mile 20. And I managed to pull myself together to eek out an almost 5 minute PR for my marathon time. Official time was 5:38:59.

Pre-race on Saturday

Due to having a significant amount of elevation loss and the flat finish this course is touted for having a high percentage of Boston Qualifiers. I wasn’t last, but I was towards the back of the pack. Everything was still up for me. Some aid stations were running out of cups, but race officials did everything they could to rectify that as quickly as possible once they learned of the issue. The finish line area didn’t have much in the way of refreshments, but had a food truck that runners could get a free item from. The other notable thing about the course is that it is not closed–you are out there with cars. Most were very respectful of the runners, so I didn’t have a huge issue with this. The series also touts generous time limits–none. They’ll wait for the last runner to come in. I was really impressed with this little race series. We didn’t stick around long after on Saturday, I was ready to go shower and get food, so we headed back to the hotel and did just that. Got pizza, and enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub for a bit. Then prepped for Sunday’s fun.

Crossing the finish line on Saturday.

Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday, except we also had to be completely out of the hotel when we left in the AM. Scrambled a little getting out, but still got to the finish to catch my bus. Naomi’s race started near the finish on Sunday so I was flying solo. I could tell that I raced on Saturday–I was sore. Which actually really made me happy. I know I could’ve pushed harder on the flat stretch, but the ache told me that I did push and I could be satisfied with that. I got to run the “fun” part of the course again for day 2. Much, much smaller field than Saturday, but still good. It was cooler on Sunday, it rained most of the race (at least for me). Despite racing a marathon the day before, I was cruising on the hills again, but I let myself walk some when I needed it–this was my “recovery” run, after all. Aid stations same as Saturday, though there were not necessarily volunteers at each. There were cups and liquids though, which was all I needed. Mile markers and course markings same as Saturday. Talked to some people out on the course that I’d been leap-frogging with for most of the race. It was a really pleasant experience, and I came in with a respectable time–2:37:23.

When I finished on Saturday I said I wouldn’t come back to double. The flat stretch got to me too much, but that the flat stretch was the only thing I didn’t like. I’ve since come to decide that I just need to work on my mental game so I’m not psyched out by flats. Probably won’t go back next year, but I will most likely go back and get a double marathon at some point, because I really enjoyed this little race series in the middle of nowhere, PA. The RD is in contact frequently. There are free race photos that will be available later this week. He was personally at the race and hands on talking to people all weekend, and is really open to suggestions on how they can improve the experience for runners. I highly recommend this little race festival–beautiful scenic course, great swag, and they are really great to the runners.

More soon, friends.

Happy New Year!

So once again time got away from me…but I’ll catch you up quickly where we left off…

The race I was going to tell you about was the Bobcat Trail Half Marathon. A real true legit trail race. With a generous time limit, I knew I would finish, even if it was ugly. And with rains the week before the race, I can assure you that it was. I went out by myself, and honestly I loved it. It was cold. It was muddy. I fell a bunch and there were parts that scared the crap outta me (creek crossing up to my thighs? crossing a ravine on essentially a 2×4? single track next to some steep drop offs?) but I did it. When I got scared, I took a breath and pushed through. It was a beautiful and challenging course through Burr Oak State Park in Ohio, and I would love to do it again sometime when it’s not muddy af. But I am SO glad that I did it.

After that I did the Penton Turkey Trot in my hometown on Thanksgiving. This is the race, as some long time readers may recall, that I nearly drowned in on my first attempt. I finally felt ready for redemption. It was AMAZING! It is seriously going to rival Pittsburgh for my favorite Turkey Trot and will be tough to decide each year. The course for Penton is a cross country course–little bit of real trail, grass, some road. It was so much fun! Then I tried another trail race at the beginning of December and while it didn’t go as I’d hoped/planned, I’m glad I went out and tried. Trail is tough, it’s unpredictable, but man is it rewarding.

Finished 2018 out with one of my favorite 5ks–the Harmony Silvester. Hilly and awful, I love it. This year it rained and I had a stitch the entire time, but it was good. Even with the stitch I actually ran all of the hills for the first time ever, and I sprinted up the last hill to the finish (slow sprint, but I put it all out there). Started 2019 with the Resolution Run 5k with some of my friends, and it was another good time.

Looking ahead…I’m nervous about some of the stuff on the horizon for me. But if your goals don’t scare you, you’re not thinking big enough. I didn’t have trepidation at first, which concerned me, but now that I’m actually into my training–oh yeah, it’s there. Which is good. Feel the fear, do it anyway, and I fully intend to. I’m registered for both 50-mile races. Getting back into distance has been fun. I mean, I for sure have the “oh god, why am I doing this” moment when I’m setting out for a long run, but honestly 15 miles feels less daunting to me than 3 miles sometimes.

One of the things looking back on 2018 that makes me a little sad is that I didn’t blog as much. I think it’s because I struggled so much emotionally with running and training and it was easier to back away than to ‘use my words.’ That said I know better. I know that writing about the hard things makes them easier, that being vulnerable is always better than holding back. I wish I had written more. So this year I’m going to. My goal is to post twice a week, and regular readers can feel free to nudge me if I haven’t posted at least once in the past week. I want to document this training cycle–even when it’s ugly, even when it’s boring, even when it’s hard. Because I know that it will be, and I know that if I write about it I’ll come out stronger on the other side.

Cheers to the new year, friends. More soon.

Race Recap: Amherst Skeleton Run 5k

So, I’m a a little crazy. We all know that. I love to run races. I don’t always race them, but I LOVE to take part in them. So I decided it was a good idea to run a 5k the week after my full marathon. Mind you my marathon was not a PR race, and I recovered quicker than I expected–I ran with my crew that Wednesday night and kicked so much ass. So I went to Ohio to run this race with my best friend and her husband. I initially had no plans to ‘race’ it. Just run it. But then there was the threat of her competitive streak coming out so I offered that she could pace me. And she took me up on it.

I’m used to running with people, but not actually having a Pacer. I’m used to being able to do what I want, essentially, which means I seldom push myself as hard as I could. I back off, as is my MO. Not something I’m necessarily proud of, but its how I operate. We didn’t really discuss strategy, which was a mistake. We went hard at it for the first mile plus. And then I started to panic, and couldn’t regulate my breathing. I took a minute and got myself back under control and DID manage to pull off a 5 second PR on my 5k time. Getting there.

What kills me is that I know I could have done better if I hadn’t panicked. And there was no good reason for me to have panicked. Physically I was fine. Mentally…that’s another story. I got in my head, and I, quite literally, choked.

Still it’s a fun little race, and I’m glad I did it. I’m glad my bestie paced me (even though I wasn’t thrilled at the time).

my bestie and I nearing the 5k finish

If I had written this post a week ago, right after the race, it would’ve been different. But it’s been a big week. A lot has happened (mostly good) and I am able to see connections in hindsight. More soon.

Race Recap: PIT Fly By 5k

Missing some race reports, but clearly if they’d been particularly noteworthy I would’ve found it in me to post…so no sleep lost. This weekend I completed race #30 for the year (so far)…10 more to go to meet my goal.

This is a fun race, I did it last year. 5k with a medal, and you all know I love the bling. Flat and fast course at the airport. I did not PR this year, I was about a minute off, but it was better than my past few 5ks had been so I was happy with it. I *might* have PR’d, but my phone fell out of my belt at one point and I lost some time doubling back to get it. That doesn’t account for the whole minute, but there also came a point that once I knew I wasn’t going to PR I didn’t dig as deep as I could’ve if I’d been close.  So oh well, is what it is. Overall I’m happy with it. I’ll probably do this race again because it’s fun and kinda different.

After the race I made a whirlwind trip to Ohio for the day for a much needed visit. Really low mileage last week, and its making me vaguely crazy. Definitely need to log some more miles this week. That said–I’ll be happy when marathon training is over. A few more weeks and the race will be behind me, which I’m really looking forward to. I’m excited to move onto the next set of goals and adventures. Big plans in the works for 2018…

Happy Monday, friends.

Marathon Training: Week 4

This was a week, let me tell you. Slightly less stressful but HOT. Rested on Monday since I raced on Sunday. Tuesday I blew off my cross-training workout in favor of an impromptu date night with my husband. Wednesday I did my now usual group run with the SCRR East Enders, though only 2 of us showed up and I cut it short because it was HOT and I was completely drained. Thursday was the second SCRR Flash 5k (though it was my first) and I didn’t get the time that I wanted, but it was a great event and I had a fantastic time. A Flash 5k is kind of like Flash Mob for runners–date and time are publicized ahead, but location isn’t released until that day. You show up, you run. No charge, no frills, just a mass of people running a 5k. And this particular one had a couple of local food trucks, so I snagged some dinner before I headed home. Shout out to The Coop Pgh for the AMAZING Chicken & Waffles…seriously hit the spot and they were incredible. Friday was cross training and a warm up mile at Pittsburgh Kettlebell and Performance. Great class, decent mile. Got it done. Saturday I needed to log 10 miles for my long run, so I headed out to Annie’s Run–a local 6 hour trail event fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation put on by a member of my running club. Didn’t do the full 6 hours, just the 10 miles I needed to get in. Another great no frills event, with excellent food at the aid station. I’m not a trail girl, but I’d do it again.

Sunday I spent recovering and preparing for my work trip this week. I’m on a plane for Milwaukee at the butt crack of dawn on Monday morning and not coming back until Friday evening. Did some finagling to figure out runs while I’m out there, and hopefully I can hook up with their local running club for a run or two-we’ll see. More later.

Happy Monday, Friends.

Race Recap: Youngstown Half Marathon

I love racing. I love it. Even when I’m not pushing for time, I love the environment, the atmosphere, the thrill of the event, the bling at the end (can’t forget that now!). So no one should be surprised that I finished the Ogden (did I mention how amazing that was?) and pretty much immediately signed up for the inaugural Youngstown Half Marathon–because who doesn’t want to race every weekend?  That said, and I actually emailed the RD to make sure we could do it–race day pickup was my deal breaker. I was already making two trips to Ohio that week, a third was fine, but a fourth to pick up race packets was a non-starter. Fortunately, they said race day pickup was fine so the hubs and I signed up. A group from my running club was going, it was gonna be a good day.

Sunday morning we got up stupid early–really stupid early, like 3:30 AM–to get ready so we could head to Youngstown. Mind you the drive takes an hour 15 to an hour and a half, wanted to get there around 6 for packet pickup, race started at 7. So we left at 4:30. Which was slight overkill, but hey, live and learn. Got there, got our packets, got warmed up and ready, got the group photo for the running club, and soon we were in the street ready to start.

Great course, great great course. The half is mostly through Mill Creek park, which I have run before, though man, did I forget about the hills. Like I knew that hills were a thing, but after the Ogden last weekend I kind of brushed them off. MISTAKE. I struggled on this course, much more than I did at Ogden, largely because I underestimated the hills. Admittedly my nutrition has also been off balance lately, and I suffered for that as well. Plenty of good moments during this race, though. I flew on the downhills (that’s always been a strength of mine). And this bridge, in the middle of the park, which I LOVE:

It was the first year for this event and it was really well done–well organized, well executed, and I was overall pleased with the experience. The problems I had had zero to do with the race itself, and I would definitely consider this race again. Also…check out this medal! The photo does not do the glitter justice:

 

And in other news, when I went to update my stats on the Half Fanatics website I realized that I was soooo close to mooning up…I just needed one more race within a week. Sooooo I signed up for another half marathon this weekend. Closer to home on the GAP trail, a smaller event but it will still be nice and will get me that last race (4 half marathons in 37 days) I need to moon up.

Lots going on as I prepare for a round of full marathon training, but more on that later. Happy Monday, friends.

Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend Recap

One of my favorite weekends of the year–Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend! The Pittsburgh Half was the first big race that I ran back in 2011, and it was in training for it that I really fell in love with running, and I suppose with racing. Starting on Friday, with the GNC Live Well Health and Fitness Expo. Usually I’d just go on Saturday, but this year I signed up for the Steel Challenge–a 5k on Saturday and one of the longer races (half, full, or relay) on Sunday, so I wanted to pick up everything before Saturday. I took a half day at work so I could wander around at the Expo and spend money. Which I did (with my husband’s blessing) because RUNNING and ALL OF THE THINGS. I get so excited for Expos, but then I’m always somewhat disappointed when I actually get there. It’s always a little chaotic by the nature of being an Expo, but still I wandered around for quite awhile and found some great stuff, ran into a friend, and signed up for the P3R Mega Ticket–Liberty Mile, EQT Pittsburgh 10-Miler, and next year’s Pittsburgh Half Marathon (or full, but I’m doing the half again), so hey, first race for 2018 is officially lined up and paid for!

Next up was the 5k on Saturday morning. The course runs around the North Side near the stadiums, and the science Center, then into town where you finish at the Official finish line. They have offered the Steel Challenge for 3 years now, and this is the first time I’ve taken part. I LOVED it. I told myself the 5k was just going to be a fun run. I wasn’t trying to PR, I wasn’t going to push myself, I needed to save all that for Sunday. And I didn’t. I ran a nice easy 5k, came in with a solid 32:42, though I did manage to negative split (each mile was a little faster than the previous one),  which rarely happens in my world so I was pretty pumped about that. One of the SCRR crew managed to capture this shot of me near the finish line and I LOVE it! One of my favorite race photos ever:

Good form, I’m smiling even though it rained the entire race. I’d just slapped 5 with a random lady and there was a kid ahead with his hand out so I left mine out to get him. And I was completely unaware of the camera. I wasn’t cheesing for him, I was just genuinely happy and in the moment. It’s how I feel when I’m racing (though admittedly I’m not always smiling).  The race went well, and I was happy. I definitely want to do it again.

Sunday was the half marathon, one of my favorite races ever. I LOVE running through the city of Pittsburgh. Had to change the course this year due to some construction projects, which made me really sad. They had to cut out some of my beloved bridges, and replaced it with a loop through the North side (again). It was fine, I still love it, though I sincerely hope they can bring the bridges back because to me running bridges is way more fun, and way more iconic Pittsburgh than a stadium tour (though we do have some nice ones).

I had a really steep goal for this race. I wanted to hit or break 2:15. Earlier this year I would’ve been absolutely crushed and/or pissed that I didn’t do that. I didn’t, and I wasn’t. I could tell pretty early in the race it wasn’t going to happen, so I just adjusted my sights–I really just wanted to PR, even if it was only by seconds. I had a great time. I enjoyed running through the city, I enjoyed the spectator signs, slapping 5 with random strangers and small children. I gave everything I had to the race, I can tell because I’m sore today from a distance my body is used to. And I DID PR, by about 3 minutes, 2:26:49 (previous PR was 2:29:53).

Post race I hung around the Finish Line Festival and killed time until my husband finished the marathon. Didn’t take as full advantage of the SCRR perks as I should have (now that I know what to expect, I think next year will be different). Didn’t take advantage of the cool but goofy photo ops, didn’t even ring the PR bell, because it’s not about any of that for me and I didn’t feel like waiting in the lines, quite honestly. At the end of the day I know I PR’d and I hope to break it again before the year is up. And these beauties are mine:

I have much more to share, but that will come soon. Happy Monday, friends.

Race Recaps…

So to jump right back in…I’ve done three races in basically as many weeks. So here’s a brief rundown of the events. I ended 2016 with a bang by doing the Harmony Silvester 5k on 12/31 where I managed to eek out a PR for the end of the year–33:04, a little over a minute faster than my previous 5k PR and a great place to end the year. It’s a nice race, rolling course, which is my favorite (I never seem to do as well on flat courses), decent number of participants. Having run in Harmony before, I’ve definitely encountered worse hills on other courses (looking at you Shamrock Shuffle Half Marathon). The race goes by gun time, which makes me even happier with my time. Overall a great event, and one I would definitely go back to.

Then on New Year’s Day we started off right with the First Day 5k. Not a gently rolling course, but a hilly beast that has kicked my butt now two years in a row. Finished two minutes slower than the Harmony race the day before, which I’m remarkably okay with as it was a solid 7 minutes faster than I did the same race and course the previous year, so I couldn’t be upset. It’s a tough course. I always underestimate the hills and end up walking (which, while there’s no shame in it, pisses me off a little). So hill work it is. Because if I hadn’t walked, I probably would’ve PR’d on that course, and now I want to do that. First goal for 2018, boom.

Last weekend I participated in my first group training run with the Steel City Road Runners–the Marathon Training Kickoff run. I’m doing the half at Pittsburgh this year, because I have a score to settle and honestly, I prefer the half to the full. I prefer to train for a full during the heat of the summer and end up rewarded with cooler temps on race day than vice versa. But I’m planning to run an ultra (and potentially now a full) in June, so doing the full marathon training makes way more sense. It was cold, and awful, and my pace SUCKED, but I got the miles done and had a good time. More group runs are in my future, for sure.

This weekend I did the Chilly Cheeks 5-miler up in Hermitage. Again, cold, which seems to be affecting my pace more than I want it to (and more than I want to admit it does). It wasn’t a tough course, but it *felt* tough. And my time was about a minute slower than the 5-miler I did in November, but when put in perspective of the fact it was significantly colder, I can accept it. Lots of work to do to hit my time goals, but I’m not starting off from a bad place.

Week is off to a solid start. Happy Monday, friends.