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.

Pittsburgh Great Race 5k Race Report

So first a word about good life decisions. I make them. Moving here has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, hands down. I’ve been here less than 3 weeks and I’ve already run two 5Ks and today I PR’d. For realsies.

So it started Wednesday night. Kristi needed to give up her spot in the Great Race 10k, and Lynn came home at the end of a long day and asked if I had any interest in doing a 5k or 10k this weekend. I said I’d be up for a 5k, but I’m not ready for a 10k yet. So we figure out the details of transferring the registration to my name, and the next day I drive over to Kristi’s to have her sign the form. Lynn turns it in on Friday and comes home with our ‘Swag Bags’. This is happening.

I get up at 5 this morning, change into my race gear–it was supposed to be chilly with a good chance of wet. So I’m layered to the hilt. Decide to abandon a layer in the car, which turned out to be a good call. Lynn and I took the 5k shuttle to the start and kill the better part of the hour until start time. The strategy–middle of the road over the start line, then shift left for passing and all that. My goal was to PR. My best 5k time was my first race, what feels like eons ago, and it was 39-something. I wanted to see 38 or better on the clock, that’s all I wanted.

We started off and it was clear to me straight off that I love Pittsburgh. I LOVE IT. I love running through this city. I LOVE IT. It’s gorgeous. It’s friendly. And it’s just so much fun to run in. So we started running. And the really fun part about huge races like this for admittedly slow, but improving, runners like myself is that you actually get to pass people. A lot of people. So we’re weaving and bobbing and working our way through the crowd. Lynn was an awesome pacer. I felt solid and steady. I didn’t want to walk or even slow down because there was someone running with me. First mile was a breeze once I warmed up, though I was definitely ready for the water stop at the halfway point. Walked the first water stop. Continued, mile two was a little rougher, a little slower, but we hung in there. I knew that we were 2 minutes behind clock time, so when I heard 27:15 at the two mile I knew I had it in me to PR. I could do 13. So we continued. Last water stop I didn’t want to walk, I wanted that PR so we jogged through. MISTAKE! (Imagine that being sung.) I got a stitch in my side shortly thereafter and had it not been for Lynn I would’ve walked. But I didn’t. I kept going. Kept running. Groaning every few steps, trying desperately to massage the ache in my side, but I kept moving. We kept bobbing and weaving and passing. And after what felt like the longest finish chute EVER (I swear the ones for the half marathons are shorter) there was the clock. We finished. Scanned our bibs to get our times (thank you fancy QR coded bibs! I seriously hope they do that for the half marathon next year). 38:14. BAM!! And that, my friends, is how you PR. (Did I mention that Lynn was an awesome pacer? Totally couldn’t have done it without her.) We got the requisite Smiley cookie (another great thing about running in the ‘burgh) and headed back to the car to change out of our sweaty stuff into warmer stuff, picked up post-race caffeine (Diet Mt. Dew for Ben and coffee for Lynn and I) then made our way back to the finish area to find Kristi and wait for Ben and Kristi’s friend Melissa to finish. Lynn and I were almost hit by the press truck (members of the press riding on a flatbed) and then it started to rain steadily harder and harder as we waited for Ben and Melissa.

I was cold and wet, but you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I had PR’d! I had Dunkin Donuts coffee in my hand! I was surrounded by friends and in a city I love. Life is good. 😀

And I’m thinking I have to do the 10k next year. 🙂

Shaker 7 Road Race Report

This was such a great event. I decided to do it because someone I met in my Nonprofit Management Certificate program runs it as a fundraiser and she suggested it to me upon hearing about my first half marathon. It was a really well organized event; I’ve been to other smaller races that are not as well managed. I plan to send Dolores a note and let her know that it was great. And it was a fun run. I was nervous about it since it was the first time I’ve done this race, but it went well.

This is a PR for the 7-mile distance for me. I usually come in around 1:45, my last 7-miler was around 1:42, so I was hoping to push it and come in around 1:40. I was ecstatic to come in under that (official time was 1:38:24, my watch time was 1:38:18, either way, I’m thrilled). I was second to last, playing cat and mouse with this awesome older gentleman named Wayne, who I later found out was one of the founding sponsors of the race and in from California to run it. I introduced myself to him after and thanked him for the chase. He smiled and thanked me for giving him someone to run after.

And I won a raffle prize! I never win anything. Today I got this:

Badger Muscle Rub, Foot Balm and 2 Lip Tint & Shimmers. Local Organic products for the win!

Then we came home, had waffles, and I have done very little else. Today has been lovely and full of WIN.

Pittsburgh Half Recap

I don’t know where to start…

It was a great first half for me, and definitely the first of many.

The weather was perfect–all week we’d been vascillating between showers and t-storms. It ended up being showers, which was amazing. It was a very light rain that decreased through the duration, overcast but not dark, and nice and cool. The actual rain cut the humidity so it was perfect running weather (in my opinion). I’m not usually one to like running in rain, but I was so happy for it today.

I started too fast–it’s hard not to. But I was able to recover. I walked more than I wanted to, but overall I was very happy with my time. I was expecting to come in around 3:15:00, but my unspoken goal was 3:00:00. By mile 11 I was starting to hurt (my longest run in training was 10), by mile 12 I knew I wouldn’t make 3:00:00, but I knew I wouldn’t be too far off it either. I ended up coming in at 3:06:11, which I’m thrilled with. And as glad I was to be finished, and as sore as I am right now, I really can’t wait to do it again.

The whole thing was very emotional for me. I teared up when I crossed the start line–I was there, this was happening and I was really doing it! I teared up at other points along the route because I was doing it, OMG I was actually doing it. I wouldn’t let myself cry though, because it would have messed with my breathing and breathing was a million times more important, so I sucked it up and went along. I smiled almost the whole time because I’m that girl. Maybe not when I’m on a training run, but when I’m running in a race I smile. Less for the cameras and more for the sheer joy of the race. I’m a geek, what can I say?

I haven’t taken my medal off except for to shower. And I’m wearing my I ::heart:: 13.1 shirt. And I’ve already signed up for my next half marathon–that’s how much I love it. This is my distance. I’m not super interested in doing a full at this point, but if I ever do an official full marathon it will probably be Pittsburgh because running through the city was so much fun. Each of the different neighborhoods had a party going on with bands and cheerathoners.

Now, it’s time for some pictures:

my name on the wall at the Expo.

me all serious like at the start

me at mile 10 (when my boyfriend showed up on the sidelines!)

me and @runstaceyrun at the finish