To say I finished strong for the 2015 race calendar would be an understatement. MT and I ran the Skagit Valley Jingle Bell 5k in early December and wowee-wee-wah. We both PR’d AGAIN.
My time of 31:26 was almost 3 minutes faster than my previous PR. I was on fire. In addition to a nice mostly flat course, the weather was cool, and I started in the front of the pack and kept up with some speedy runners. Having PR’d in the previous two races, I was feeling motivated to push myself hard in this race and was really aiming for a PR. Whodathunkit.
You might ask yourself, as I have been, what is going on?! Well, I’ll address this in a future post so stay tuned, but let me say that I realize I’m unlikely to touch this race PR any time soon. The course was just a bit shy of an actual 5k (3.05mi by my GPS watch) but I’m not going to let that last .05 get in the way of my celebrating this achievement. Even if the course had been correctly measured, my time would have had approximately an additional 20 seconds, which would still be a huge PR.
Now, it’s time to set new running goals for 2016! I’m pondering a few things and will let you all know as soon as I’ve decided!
Have you sent 2016 running goals yet? What are they?
November 14, 2015 at the Skagit Valley Fowl Fun Run I ran another 5k PR : 34:24 – almost a full minute faster than the previous PR.
I was running on very little sleep after receiving devastating news the night before, and in crappy weather, but somehow I just zoned out and maintained an average pace just under 11mins. This was HUGE for me.
I spent the first mile just keeping my head down and trying to keep the rain out of my eyes. Once I settled into my pace and the crowd thinned a bit, I stayed on the heels of a woman who had knee high pink leopard print socks on. And next thing I knew, the race was over. She kicked into high gear at the last 50 meters or so and I couldn’t keep up with her, but following close to her the whole race gave me something to focus on.
MT, of course, ran as well but did the 10k. She also achieved an impressive PR and we both left in high spirits. Being my forever cheerleader, MT has served as continuous running (and life) inspiration to me over the years and I am immensely grateful for her friendship and encouragement. This day was particularly difficult for me to get through, and I was extra thankful to have her by my side and to have something to celebrate.
We didn’t take a picture after the race, or at least I don’t have one – so instead, here are two other pics of MT and I.
Here we are in 2013 before the Whidbey Island half marathon. This was my first half marathon which was quite the challenge. I don’t think I would have had the courage to do it without her. The weather was awful, but the day remains as an all-time favorite memory.
This one is a bit more recent. We went to the pumpkin patch together in October and couldn’t help but snap this selfie.
I busted my left ankle (the only real good one I had left, if you’re following my injury history) falling down some stairs on September 29th which was a major bummer. (It was also the least of the bummers in my life that day but that story is for another time…)
On October 10th, after taking about a week off of running to nurse my ankle, I ran the Everyday Super Heros 5k with my best running buddy, MT. It was a small crowd so we decided to start near the front of the pack rather than navigate strollers and dogs and children. This turned out to be a great strategy for me. While I certainly didn’t have negative splits on the race, my quick start pace set me up for a 5k PR of 35:18 (ok, it was seconds longer than my Whidbey race, but this race was all trails and hilly rather than flat and pavement, so I count it).
MT’s amazing little one even ran across the finish line holding my hand. It was a good race.
July was a bit more steady in terms of running. Even on a three week vacation I managed to get in regular runs. I love running when I travel because it gives me a new way to see the location. I enjoy looking up routes, checking out local running sites, and then mapping out a place to go. I started my vacation in Anchorage where Mr. and I ran the Boondocks Breakaway 5k. It was a memorably difficult race as we’d arrived the day before and had Opening Night festivities with friends the evening before the race.
The Boondocks Breakaway 5k was through wilderness on a cross country skiing track in Kincade Park. It featured rolling hills and lots of twists and turns. It was a smallish crowd of maybe 50 runners and Mr. and I were certainly in the back third. The folks were kind and I won a door prize of an awesome waterbottle! While running we saw a moose right on the side of the trail. It was my first live moose sighting – pretty nuts how huge it was and Mr. tells me it wasn’t full grown. We got in one other run on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail while visiting and since we didn’t have a race photo (too distracted/hungover to remember to take one), we got this gem:
After Alaska, I flew to Chicago where I got in a jaunt through my childhood neighborhood. Such fun to see the changes to the streets and houses while plodding along. My Dad’s garden was in fine summer form!
Next, my dad and I drove to Iowa to see my sister and her family. While there, I couldn’t pass up the Solon Beef Days 5k. Beef Days. Yup – I was cracking up when I heard about the race and it was a short drive from my sister’s house. It was quite the adjustment to run in the heat and humidity of Iowa summer. It felt like running through pudding the air was so thick and hot. My big sis was a champ and major kudos to Solon for having a rad trough. All I ever want to eat after a race now is watermelon. Perfect.
While in Iowa my runner brother-in-law suggested a trail at Harvest Preserve. It was a beautiful shady trail but ended up being half hike half run. There is an impressive sculpture collection at the Preserve so I kept stopping to check them out – also, I was clearly the first person there that day and had to contend with the plethora of spider webs across the trail. It was early, but hot and this pic is me with sun and sweat in my eyes.
The final stop on my trip was the Philly area to visit my brother and sister-in-law. They live near a cool two path on the Delaware River so I made my way along that canal for a nice 5 miler while I was visiting. I tried to find a race in the area but the only options were a 45 min+ drive and I just didn’t want to loose that much time with family. The two path was half shady and nicely maintained. There were locals fishing in the canal, bikers riding by, and families walking with strollers. It was sparsely populated though so the run was quiet and beautiful.
While I am proud I continued to get some runs in while on vacation, I didn’t’ quite get in my full monthly mileage as I’d hoped. Still, I ran 24.7 miles in 5 different states and completed two more 5k races!
July Mileage: 24.7
Year-to-date Mileage: 206.7
Year-to-date Races: 10
June began with nasty illness and the end of the academic year. This meant no time to take sick days from work combined with feeling miserable and just wanting to sleep. Every morning when my alarm clock when off I was irate:
What started off as a rough cold turned into sinus infection and bronchitis. Needless to say, with that much chest congestion, breathing issues, and energy sapped, I was not a running machine. When I get sick like that it sinks my spirits and I get frustrated beyond belief that I cannot be doing the things I want to be doing. When I picked back up my running mid-month, I was still trying to take it a little easy on myself. I got in the June race – Camano Island Crab Dash 5k, and finished the month with 24.5 miles. Respectable considering the circumstances.
June Mileage: 24.5
Year-to-date Mileage: 182
Last weekend I ran the Camano Island Crab Dash 5k! It was a beautiful hilly run with a great crowd. There were less crab costumes and hats than anticipated, but the runners were kind and encouraging. Locals came to the road to cheer folks on, and the race organizers did a fantastic job of course marking, water stations, and support after the race. This was a local gem I will most certainly do again!
The ever-inspiring MT did the 10k and tackled a nasty hill at mile 4-5 – called King Crab Hill. I was not sad that the 5k didn’t head that direction. We had some nice ups and downs but nothing traumatic. Here we enjoying the pre-race shade.
The race shirts are so good: a cartoon crab with a different brand of running shoe on each leg. Adorable. Post-race and feeling accomplished, we changed out of sweaty gear for the ride home.
We stopped at Salt & Thistle Provisions in Stanwood to celebrate their grand opening where we met the Stanwood mayor, grabbed some presents for our families, enjoyed delicious coffee, and split the best carrot cupcake I’ve ever had. We also couldn’t resist taking home some cinnamon rolls right from the oven. What a fabulous June race!
Today marks the three year anniversary to my very first 5k – the Whatcom Literacy Council 5k in 2012.
I missed writing about my runniversary in April, but it was not lost on me that I have now been a runner for 3 years. I’ve been reflecting on my journey and progress lately, so this raceiversary is ripe with feels. That first race was so daunting. I was scared and nervous milling around the start line. Mr. came to cheer me on, but I felt so alone. The people, the process, it was all very foreign.
I made the usual rookie mistakes during the race and I’d never run on anything but very flat pavement. The race tackled some decent hills and was 90% on gravel and dirt trails. It was surprising how different it was to run with people around. I’d only ever run alone at that point, and the whole thing made me feel exposed and vulnerable and watched.
When I crossed the finish line, I don’t think I realized quite what I’d done. I knew I’d run my first race, but what I didn’t know was what I’d gotten myself into longer term. The bug really bit me quite hard and I signed up for race after race for the next 6 months. It was an enthusiastic race season and I started to push out of comfort zones with distance and location, trails and obstacles, books and podcasts.
I’ve been sick for the last few weeks – really down for the count with some awful flu/cold – and I’m only just now starting to run again. I’ve been half itching to get out and half dreading hitting the pavement and finding out how taking almost three weeks off had destroyed so much of the progress I’ve been enjoying this year. But instead, last night I found myself beaming ear to ear as I plodded along. It was such a joy to be out again in the sun treading well-worn side walks and passing familiar houses. I didn’t go far, and I didn’t go fast, but I was surprised at how great it felt.
Running feels truly integrated into my life these days. The last few weeks have been really rough forcing myself to stay in and rest. I’ve missed tons of great weather but I’ve also missed the physical and mental release. Without running, I think I might curl up in a ball and wither away.
I am running my June 5k this weekend and I’ll most certainly be thinking about my raceiversary and how far I’ve come, and how far I’ve gone.