Long time, no talk! Fall has been quite busy so far, but in a good way. Josh and I moved into our new house just over a month ago, and while we still have a long way to go with unpacking and decorating, I already love our neighborhood! Mostly, because we live less than a quarter mile from a pretty amazing trail system which includes both Pennypack and Lorimer Parks. I'm so grateful everyday that I can to run out my front door to these trails, and being so close to parks has definitely improved my quality of life so far.
It turns out that taking off most of the summer from running after DNF'ing at Laurel Highlands was a good thing for me. Here's what my fall running/racing has looked like so far:
Race for the Bottom Line 5k - 24:27, 1st Age Group (F19-29) & 4th Female Overall
I signed up for this 5k on a whim the night before the September 13th race. The location was perfect, about 1.5 miles down the street from my new house. The run was small, with about 70 runners all together. I wanted to use this race as a barometer for my current fitness level to help with 5k training paces this fall.
Looking back, I should have just run to the race as a warmup instead of driving, because my legs felt a little heavy in the beginning of the run. I started out as 5th or 6th woman, moved up to 3rd during the first half. Then around the halfway point, I was passed by a woman who eventually beat me out to the finish. I was proud for keeping pace with her for the back half, staying within about 5 to 10 yards of her the whole time. Overall, I was happy with this performance after coming off of a few months rest from running. Though it's far from my PR of 22:47, it gives me a good baseline to work from.
Barathon 5k - 29:40, 1st overall
On September 19th (our first wedding anniversary!), Josh and I ran the "Barathon 5k" that our friends Ryan and Elizabeth have been putting on for the last 6 years. Basically, a bunch of our friends all get together and run a 1 kilometer loop 5 times, and drink a beer every kilometer. This was my 3rd year running the race, and first Barathon win! This year was my fastest time as well, with a 29:40. Full disclosure, the fastest of our friends weren't running. But I'll take a win anyway!
Sloppy Cuckoo Quarter Marathon (6.55 mile trail run) - 1:01:33, 1st Female
I signed up for this race as soon as I heard it was being rescheduled from "Popeocolypse" weekend here in Philadelphia. It was held on October 11th in Pennypack Park, located in Northeast Philadelphia, about a mile from my new house. This was one of my goal races of the fall, though I still felt a little unprepared at the starting line.
I ran my ass off and really gave it everything I had that day. The first couple of miles were difficult for me, but by the halfway point, I had settled in as 2nd place female. I finally caught up to the 1st place woman and passed her with less than a mile to go, and would not see her again. When I crossed the finish line, I wasn't sure if I had actually won because there were a lot of different races going on that day. Runners were also crossing the finish line for the half marathon, full marathon, and 12 hour at the same time, but when they called my name during awards I was surprised and happy that I had really won!
My mom was visiting that weekend as well, and it was pretty awesome that she was there supporting me as I won my first race. Uberendurance Sports always puts on amazing races—they also put on a few other races I've run including Dirty German 25k/50k, Naked Bavarian 26.2, and 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut. I am anxiously awaiting my first place prize, which is an authentic, mechanical Black Forest cuckoo clock!
What's Coming Up
I'm running another 5k this Saturday, October 24th, the "5k 4 K9s", benefiting Almost Home Dog Rescue. I'm hoping to take at least a minute or more off my time from September's 24:27 5k time. I'm more confident in my racing at this point, and I've been incorporating more hills and speedwork into my training. Recovering from hard workouts is also easier in our new house, since it came with a hot tub!
I'm planning to run at least two more 5ks before the end of 2015, including the Abington YMCA Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. I'm hoping that race will be the one where I can get below 22:47, but I'm planning another yet to be determined race in December in case I don't PR at the turkey trot. If I do PR, I'll look to lower my time even further in December.