I've blogged a lot about weddings and running lately, but not much about booze. So here's a brief review of a special beer I'm enjoying tonight.

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Weyerbacher is definitely one of my favorite breweries. In fact, I cannot recall a Weyerbacher beer I didn't enjoy.  So when one of Josh's frisbee teammate gifted us with this big bottle of Blasphemy, I was excited to try it out.

At 11.8% ABV (alcohol by volume), this corked, bottle conditioned Belgian Quad definitely packs a punch. The pour is dark and cloudy, and forms a thick, foamy head. The aroma is sweet and boozy, likely because of the whiskey barrels the beer was aged in. The initial flavor is sugary and bitter, with a whiskey aftertaste. There are also some hints of caramel, cherry, and plums.

I enjoyed sipping this beer slowly, like a fine bourbon. Quads are some of my favorite beers, with Ommegang Three Philosophers still sitting at the top of my list. I would buy Weyerbacher Blasphemy again, and would recommend pairing it with a very sharp aged cheddar or similarly strong cheese.

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Today I clicked over to one of my favorite blogs, "A Life Less Bullshit", written by Nicole Antoinette, who is one of my Oiselle teammates. I always feel super inspired and motivated after reading Nicole's blog, and today was no exception. In today's post  "If It Doesn't Fit, Stop Wearing It", Nicole discusses re-examining goals and how they relate to what you really want. This really struck a chord with me and my recent running situation. In fact, I almost felt a lightbulb pop above my head after reading it.

If you've been following me on social media at all, you've probably noticed that I haven't been discussing my marathon training much. That's because I am no longer training for the Rehoboth Marathon.

I honestly have not felt very inspired to train for this race over the past couple of months, especially the week leading up to my wedding and during our two week honeymoon in Spain. I hiked, biked, walked and explored but only ran two times over three weeks. During that time, my priority was my wedding and enjoying time exploring Spain with my husband, and running did not really come into play.

After returning from my honeymoon, I realized I would not have time to adequately get in shape for the race. Turns out, eating jamon and drinking cava for 2 weeks straight is not an ideal marathon training strategy. As a result,  I will either be dropping to the half or not running Rehoboth at all. I am very comfortable with this plan versus forcing myself to run a slow and miserable marathon just because I signed up for it.

This got me to start re-examining my BIG goals that I've been talking about since the spring. I mentioned two big goals I wanted to accomplish over the next couple years, which were qualifying for the 2016 Boston Marathon and running a 100k race.  At the time, qualifying for Boston was my priority and I set-up a plan to do it, which included a fall 2014 marathon, and two more marathons in 2015 to achieve a qualifying time by September 2015.

At this point, I believe qualifying for 2016 would be a big stretch for me, especially since I am not running a fall marathon this year. It is definitely possible, but the more I consider this goal, the more I find myself falling out of love with it. I reflect back to something I wrote back in the springtime, and realize I know myself better than I thought:

One thing I've learned over years of running is that I'm always changing and evolving as a runner. The beauty of this sport is that there are so many different avenues to take. Right now, I really want Boston, but I won't let it control me. If, for any reason, I feel this goal impeding on my relationship with running, I will step back and re-examine my priorities. The only way to stay healthy and happy in running is to remain flexible, which is my intention as I work towards achieving any long-term goals.

As I think back over the past several months of road running, I struggle to find the same feelings that I felt while training for trail ultras most of last year.  I've been postponing my longer road runs until Sunday afternoon when I would slog for 12 miles with no real purpose. While running faster on the roads can definitely be fun, it just isn't the same as running down pine covered single track trail. In fact, my absolute favorite part of our honeymoon was hiking to the top of Montserrat in Spain with Josh because it was just so damn beautiful up there. As much as I loved running short and fast races earlier this spring, I now feel myself being drawn back to the trails as I hoped would eventually happen after burning out a bit last year.

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On a peak at Montserrat
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One of the several unique peaks at Montserrat

At this point, I'm not sure what the next year of racing will bring. I'm considering everything right now, including ultras, and especially the 70.5 mile Laurel Highlands Ultra in Western PA. However, I'm trying not to make any abrupt decisions without considering the amount of training required. Registering for a race is the easiest part, but after 2013 I understand the huge commitment it takes to train properly for an ultra.

I'll close with a quote from the post that inspired my change of heart:

Dreams can be fluid. Your dream can be something that fuels you and sustains you, challenges you and inspires you – until it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t? That just means you’re ready to step into (and learn from) an entirely different dream – no explanation or justification necessary. 

- Nicole Antoinette

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At sunset on September 19th, Josh and I were married lakeside at Woodloch Resort in the Pocono mountains in front of all our family and friends. I can't express adequately in words how special the day was to both of us. After a long year of wedding planning, everything culminated into the perfect day we hoped it would be.

photo credit: ashley lynn fry
photo credit: ashley lynn fry
wedding sunset
photo credit: ashley lynn fry

I spent the morning getting ready with my bridesmaids, mom, and mother-in-law  at one of the guest houses at the resort. Since the ceremony wasn't until 6 PM, we were able to take our time getting ready while sipping mimosas.

wedding getting ready

me and wedding dress

After we were ready, we headed over to the mill for our first look. Seeing Josh for the first time  was one of the most special parts of our wedding day. We were both overcome with emotion and our photographer Ashley Lynn Fry captured this beautifully on camera.

wedding first look
photo credit: ashley lynn fry

 After our first look, we headed over to the Inn on the shuttle:

shuttle

We took a few more photos at the venue and waited for our guests to arrive. Then it was time for the ceremony!

wedding sign wedding program

wedding window

drinks table 2

me and dad wedding

ceremony sunset

kiss ceremony walking back ceremony

After our unique ceremony, which was a mix of Christian and Jewish traditions, we took a few more photos and headed inside for our cocktail hour. We said hello to as many people as possible and all of a sudden it was time for the reception!

placecard table cards table

first dance

After our intros and first dances we had a few AMAZING toasts given by my dad, Josh's brother Seth, and my maid of honor Diana. Then we ate dinner and cut our cake:

cake first taste

Then it was finally time for dancing!

horah dancing 2 dancing 1 me nick dancing

Needless to say, our reception was awesome, and although we opted for an extra hour at the venue, I wished it could have been even longer! The dance floor was packed all night and I basically never stopped dancing.

Afterwards, everyone came back to our guest house and we had a huge bonfire/after party which didn't end until 4 AM.

afterparty

The weekend didn't stop there! We hosted a breakfast on Saturday morning for our guests, and then checked out a few of Woodloch's amenities including the hot tub and paddleboats on the lake.

wedding bridal party

Josh and I are so grateful for our amazing friends and family, who all traveled significant distances to attend our wedding. We are loving married life so far and are so happy to finally be husband and wife. Hopefully I'll get a chance to blog about our honeymoon in the near future, and I'll definitely post our professional photos once we get those back as well!

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Last week marked my first week of marathon training for Rehoboth Beach! I can't believe it's already time to start training, because that means that my wedding is less than a month away. If I continue to post sporadically, it's because my life is wrapped up in seating charts, welcome bags, and favors, not because I don't want to blog. While wedding planning has remained relatively stress-free, there is still a lot of work to be done which doesn't leave a ton of time for everything else.

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As far as running goes, I've been feeling really strong lately, after building up a good base this summer. While my paces are not really where I'd like them to be, I attribute it to my heat-induced asthma and not necessarily a decline in fitness. I'm aiming to run 9 minute miles for the marathon and I think once the temperatures cool down I will be on my way towards achieving that goal.

Here's what week 1 of training looked like:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5.5 miles

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 6.5 miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 14.5 miles

Sunday: 6 miles

Total mileage = 32.5 miles

I feel good about week 1, especially because it's my first 30+ mile week in months. My legs are sore and I'm hungrier than usual which means it's definitely marathon season!  Though I went back and forth about running a fall marathon because of the wedding, I am really glad I signed up for Rehoboth. Training gives this hectic time a little structure and provides a necessary outlet for stress release.

Hope everyone else's training seasons are going well!

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No, I am not injured, but today marked my first "DNS" (did not start) in my running career. I was registered to run the Back on My Feet in24 5k, but ultimately decided earlier this week that I was not prepared to race a 5k.

I haven't done anything resembling speedwork since I set my 5k PR at the Healthy Trails 5k on April 13th.  That was more than three months ago. I've been very focused on trying to build my marathon training base safely and slowly this summer, and have not incorporated any speedwork into my training yet. Last time I ran a 5k unprepared was on January 1st of this year, and while I posted a time I was happy with, I felt a lot of achilles and calf pain for several months following that race. On top of that, my right hip flexor has been feeling pretty tight for the past couple of weeks and I knew running fast could aggravate that more. For all of these reasons, I was hesitant to race a 5k today.

I suppose I could have gone out and run an easy to moderate 3.1 miles at the race this morning, but I knew that I would push myself once I crossed the start line.  I am a competitive person, and don't love the idea of running faster and shorter races just for fun. So I made the executive decision not to run.

To be honest, DNS'ing is not fun. I feel guilty for not running the 5k this morning, especially because Back on My Feet generously provided me with the race bib. But in the end, my health has to come first, and I was not ready to willingly put myself in a situation where I could end up with an injury right as I begin marathon training.

I want to thank Back on My Feet again for the amazing opportunities they have provided me with this year, and look forward to working with them again soon in the future.

Things have been a bit quieter than usual around the blog these days. Mostly because I've been really busy with summer get-togethers and wedding-related activities on the weekends. Additionally, I don't feel obligated to post as much while I'm not actively training, and I don't believe in posting just for the sake of posting.

Having said that, I am at a really good place with running right now. I'm still recovering from an intensely packed spring racing schedule (10 races!) and taking my runs pretty easy during the sweltering and soupy summer days. I'm in a place where I actually look forward to waking up at 5:30 to get in early runs before the heat of the day, as I slowly and steadily build my base for the Rehoboth Marathon. The race isn't until December 6th, but after running an average of 15-20 miles per week for the first five months of this year, I am stepping up my mileage slowly and safely to get back to where I need to be when I start official marathon training in August. As of right now, I'm very happy with my weekly mileage being back in the upper 20's and working my way into the 30's for the start of marathon training in August. I've never been a high mileage runner, even while ultra training, and I don't intend to exceed more than 55 miles per week during marathon training.

I had originally planned to train for Rehoboth using the Pfitzinger 18/55 plan. At this point, I am unsure if my body and lifestyle can accommodate this plan. I am doing more research into other training plans, but in the end, I might create my own, which has always worked for me in the past. I intend on starting to "officially" train in early August.

In case you don't follow me on social media where I broadcast much of my running and life (twitter: @trailscocktails, instagram: @trailscocktails), here's a few snapshots of what I've been up to so far this summer:

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Hiking in Buck Hill Falls, PA
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The Ben Franklin Bridge, one of my favorite running spots in Philly
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My bachelorette party in NY!
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Me and my brother Nick on July 4th
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A 7 miler through Valley Forge National Park
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Finding a new trail at Valley Forge

I'm looking forward to actually spending the weekend here in Philly, something I haven't done in several weeks. I'm hoping to get out on a hike with Whiskey, who may love the woods even more than I do.

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Photo credit: Ashley Lynn Fry
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Photo credit: Ashley Lynn Fry

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On Saturday, June 14th I ran the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon with my friend Janine. This race is put on by Uberendurance Sports, the same folks that put on the Dirty German and many other races in the Philly area. They are always German themed, and are always high quality, fun races!

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source

Janine had been thinking about running her first half for a long time, and after the Tyler Trail 10k this year, she was finally ready to pull the trigger. I suggested this one because it's a smaller race (max 1000 people) and takes place in Pennypack Park. The race is actually run on the bike path for 12 miles and on a trail for about one mile. I also told her it would be flat but I would find out later that is not the case.

We met up at the Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein German Club in Northeast Philly around 6:15 AM. Since Pennypack has very limited parking, there were shuttle buses running to and from the German club to the park. We picked up our bibs and race shirts, hit the surprisingly short restroom line, and got on a bus by 6:45. We reached the park by 7:00 and spent 30 minutes stretching and sitting before the start. The air was slightly chilly which was a very good sign of a mild day for racing.

On the shuttle!
On the shuttle!

I signed up the race with the intentions of running with Janine the whole time to give her support throughout, whether it was in the form of cheering or just some water.  Our plan was to go slowly and take walk breaks when needed, especially as the day warmed up. We lined up in Wave 3, which went off around 7:40.

Lined up at the start

The first few miles were crowded as the 1,000 runners dispersed along the bike path. The wave start was nice because we found ourselves around other runners of about the same pace. Once we were inside the park, it was definitely more humid than we expected, but we slowed our pace accordingly to account for it.  Thankfully, most of the course was shaded which helped counteract the humidity.

The course is an out and back, with aid stations every 2 miles, so we hit about 7 all together. There was water and Gatorade at each, and one station had Hammer gels.  We took advantage of the beverages at every stop, which I think helped us really stay on top of our hydration. I also carried a handheld water bottle which we both drank from frequently.

The first half went by uneventfully, though we climbed many more hills than I expected. We walked most of the hills to save energy, which definitely helped later on in the race.

At about the half way point (mile 6.5) the course turns off the bike path and onto one of the main trails in Pennypack. It was very familiar since I had just run it in May during the Dirty German 25k!

me j9 trail

j9 trail

The difference now was that the trail was VERY muddy due to the downpours of the previous few days. We embraced it and pushed on for about another mile until we hit the bike path again.

The day became noticeably more hot and humid in the second half, so we slowed again to account for the heat. But regardless of the heat, we were motivated by seeing the full marathon race leaders coming back our way. We also befriended another pair of experienced runner/first timers who we leapfrogged back and forth for the remainder of the race and cheered on.

Once we passed the 10 mile marker,  Janine officially set a new personal distance record!

janine running
A new PDR at mile 10!

The last 5k felt longer than 3.1 miles but I tried to keep encouraging Janine to push forward and she did. Soon enough, we heard the finish line music and rounded the bend to cross the finish line in 2:37!

Finishers!
Finishers!

Afterwards, we shuttled back to the German Club for some brats and beer. There was a huge stage set-up on the grounds where  traditional German dancers performed and race awards were announced.

german dancing
German dancing   source

I am so proud and honored to have accompanied Janine as she finished her first half marathon! Of course I love running on my own, but running with friends is always more fun. I can't wait to see her crush her next one!

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I talk a LOT about goals on this blog. Perhaps because they are the driving force behind what keeps me running. When I don't have a goal in mind, I still run, but the motivation to improve isn't really there. That's why when anyone asks me how to become a more consistent runner, I tell them to sign up for a goal race.

I used to be terrified of big goals because I didn't know where to start. Nowadays, when I set big running goals, I do not fear them as much as I used to because I have a pretty good system in place to accomplish them. So here's my 8 step process for achieving goals in a nutshell.

This process does not only apply to running goals. However, I approach it from a runner's perspective.

1. Choose your BIG goal. Follow your heart. 

This step is a lot harder than it seems on the surface. There are so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose what you want to accomplish. I find that my definition of BIG usually changes with the more I do. For example, last year my BIG goal was to run a 50 miler, and in 2014 & 2015 my BIG goal is to qualify for the 2016 Boston Marathon (sub-3:35).

Discovering a big goal is a bit like falling in love. You get a certain indescribable feeling that is intimately yours, and you can't seem to stop thinking about it. It's that butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling that scares you and excites you all at the same time. 

Whatever your big goal is, make sure your heart is in it. if it isn't, you probably won't put in the work to achieve your goal. It's easy to pick goals that seem "right" because your peers are doing it, but that will never be a good motivator while you're training.  Your BIG goal should also scare you a little bit. If it doesn't, you may want to set the bar higher.

2. Publicly admit your goal.

To be honest, I've wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon for a long time. I never could admit to myself or anyone else that I actually WANTED to run Boston because I always thought I was too slow and couldn't get faster.  After realizing early 2014 that I WAS getting faster, I finally admitted to myself that I truly wanted to BQ. Then I publicly admitted this on my blog, where friends, family, and the running community could see it. Now, I have a REAL goal, not just something floating around in my head that no one else knows about.

Once we publicly acknowledge our goals, they become real, and we learn to hold ourselves accountable.

3. Put your goal in your face. EVERYDAY.

This is really one of the easiest, yet most important steps in the whole process. I am a visual person and need consistent, visual reminders throughout the day. Last year, I wore my Erica Sara Designs "Say it, Do it" bracelet for the whole year without taking it off. Each day I woke up, I saw my goal on my wrist.  I'm buying another one for my new goal and highly recommend "wearing" your goal. That way you have a constant visual reminder of what you are working towards.

bracelet

My other visual strategies for my BQ goal involve my iPhone, a constant companion (ahem, addiction) for me. I set my morning running alarms with goal-related titles and set my phone background with my BQ time goal:

iphone goals

These small, but consistent visual cues reinforce your brain to make choices in the present that will positively impact your future goals.

4.  Create a PLAN to achieve your goal.

Goal setting may seem lofty and idealistic, but at the root of it, goal setting is very precise. Realistically, you can't sign up for your first marathon, run a few times before the race, and then show up and accomplish your goal on race day. You must put a plan in motion to achieve it.

While training for a specific race, I believe in using a training plan 100%. They give consistency and show progress along the way to achieving your goal. There are millions of training resources on the internet and in books, so there's no excuse not to plan your training when trying to achieve a big goal.

5. Make your goal a priority.

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of goal setting, then forget about it when a last minute happy hour pops up or when it's pouring outside. While flexibility is important while training, consistent training is more important. Obviously some events take precedence over training, but it may be necessary to skip some social outings in order to accomplish your goal.

6. Track your progress towards your goal. 

I started this blog in 2013 as a way to track my progress towards running my first 50k and 50 mile races. It managed to hold me accountable in the best ways possible. I could also look back and see how far I had come during the year in terms of mileage and distance. I also use an annual Google spreadsheet to track EVERY run during each year.

To track your progress, you don't need to create a blog or use a Google spreadsheet, but you need some way of keeping tabs on where you've been and where you are going. I recommend Google spreadsheets because they are so easy and accessible from any computer or smartphone, but if you enjoy pen and paper or a big desk calendar, have at it!

7. Execute your goal. 

If you've put in the work in steps 1-6, executing your goal should be a no brainer. I'm not saying it will be easy, but by this point, you should be aware of the effort it will take to achieve your goal. A lot of people say that your goal race is like the "victory lap" of your training, and I like to treat it as such. This is not the day for negative thoughts or doubts. This is the time for you to celebrate all the hard work you've put in over the past months/years and enjoy the ride.

8. Review and recover

That's it! Hopefully you have accomplished your goal and are basking in the glory of self-achievement. If not, there's always next time. But it's important to look back and realize what you did right and wrong during your training and race day. This is where tracking your progress (step 6) comes in handy. It's important to take time to reflect on your accomplishments or failures, so you can recognize what to do next time.

I also put together a quick and handy infographic of the process, so pin it, save it, print it, tape it to your mirror, whatever! Hopefully this will help you with your next BIG goal!

8 Steps to Achieving Your Next Big Goal

Do you have a specific process for goal setting? 

Do you use visual cues to help you accomplish your goals? 

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Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of modeling some of the latest Oiselle gear at City Sports Philadelphia! City Sports is one of my favorite spots to buy running gear in Philly, and now that they carry Oiselle, I'm sure I'll stop by there even more.

City Sports Philly at 16th and Walnut St source

I headed over to City Sports right after work, and was immediately greeted by TWO-TIME OLYMPIAN and Oiselle Regional Sales Rep, Vicki Rudawsky. Vicki was one of the original "sister heroes" brought on by Oiselle in 2008 and is an amazingly positive and knowledgable representative for the brand.

I also met the other "models", Alyssa (Vicki's daughter who is a collegiate runner) and Oiselle Volee teammate Stacey (@derunningmom), who blogs over at derunningmom.com . Unfortunately Jessica (@Miss_JLH), another Oiselle teammate, was unable to make it due to horrendous traffic, but thankfully one of the City Sports team members was able to fill in. We chatted for a bit before putting on our "looks" and then it was time for the event!

city sports oiselle table
Fleshman Power Dolls, stickers, and more!

As guests arrived, we chatted with them about the history of Oiselle, what we love about the clothing, and what it means to be a part of the Oiselle team. I was so happy and thankful to see my soon-to-be in-laws Eileen and Charlie, my future brother-in-law, Seth, and my friends Katy, Janine, and Steph all in attendance at the event. After chatting for awhile with everyone, it was time for the show!

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Loved my outfit!

I wore burgen Roga shorts (the item that brought me to Oiselle), a fresh green Flyte short sleeve, glovers, and the coveted Flyer Jacket. I absolutely love the burgen color of the shorts, and the light, softness of the Flyer jacket.

Guests enjoyed some snacks and wine while we Vicki described the pieces we wore and the functionality of each piece. Afterwards, we each walked around and let people feel the soft and light technical fabrics.

oiselle city sports with vicki
The models!

After the show, there was a raffle held for the accessories we were all wearing including the glovers, arm warmers, spike bag, and a Trials Hoodie. Surprisingly, I ended up winning the glovers I wore during the show! I was so excited because I'd been coveting these guys since they first debuted this Spring. My friend Steph also won the orange arm warmers!

glovers-green
Oiselle Lux Glovers    source

Overall, this was a fantastic event! Everyone had a great time, and I was really proud to represent Oiselle in some of their best gear. Head to your local City Sports today to snag some of these looks today!

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My goal for the Dirty German 25k (15.5 miles) this year was to go out and have fun day on the trails. I wanted it to be an easygoing, no pressure run, celebrating the culmination of a packed season of short and fast races.

I woke up around 5:15 for the 8:30 start. I always lay out my clothes and gear the night before a race, but I still love waking up extra early on race mornings. There is nothing like race morning anticipation, a feeling which I've grown to love instead of dread over the past couple of years. I spent about an hour drinking coffee, eating breakfast, and browsing blogs and social media, and then got dressed and out the door.

pre dirty german 25k
I was really excited on the way to the race!

I made a conscious decision to leave my phone in the car for this race. I was already going to be carrying a water bottle, and didn't want any extra objects to worry about in case I fell (spoiler alert, I fell.) While this means I have fewer photos for the blog, it also means that I paid more attention to nature and the people around me during the race.

After dropping my race swag off in the car, I headed back down to the start just in time. Then we were off!

dirty german start
The 25k start       source: Finished Photography

The course was the same 25k loop I remembered from last year. I fell into a nice and steady 9:30ish pace in the first couple miles, which felt a bit difficult and labored. I haven't been training on trails too much, so I eased back on the pace and allowed people to start passing me. I must say that after racing much shorter and faster races this year, it was not easy to let people pass me. But then I remembered my goal of having a FUN day on the trail and eased back into a steady 10 minute pace.

One noticeable difference between 2013 and 2014 was the number of people I saw on the trail. Last year, the 25k, 50k and 50 miler all started at the same time. This year, they were staggered in 1/2 hour increments. While it made for easier navigation of the trails, it would have been nice to have more people to chat with.

The course is set up as a figure 8, so aid station 1 can also serve as aid station 3. At my first visit (around 4 miles) I downed a cup of gatorade and continued on my way. I was definitely glad I brought my water bottle because the aid stations were about 4 miles apart and the day was warming up fast.

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Under the bridge (photo circa 2013). It looked the same this year

The next couple of miles passed by easily, and I pressed on at an easy, but not TOO easy pace. I would end up keeping up that level of energy for the whole race.

At aid station 2 (around mile 8), I filled my water bottle and grabbed some cold Coke, one of my favorite trail race treats. I also picked up a quarter of a PB&J sandwich and ate it as I left the aid station. The next few miles were mainly run on the bike path, which like last year, was my least favorite part of the course.

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Bike path (circa 2013)

After a few miles on the bike path, my hips started feeling tight and reminded me I was not quite trained for a race of this distance. The course turned back onto trails for a couple of miles, and then we ended up back at aid station #1 which was now aid station #3, approximately mile 12.  I washed down a couple of potatoes dipped in salt with some Gatorade and a nice cold cup of beer.  The beer was refreshing and reminded me I only had a few miles left to go!

Soon after leaving aid station 3, I came to my favorite part of the race. There is one section of twisty, single track, switchback trails in Pennypack park that looks like it was designed by mountain bikers. These trails wind around each other in circles and loops so you can see and hear other runners through the trees as you're running. This part of the race always makes me feel like a kid again, and really brings me back to everything I love about trail running.

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The twisty single-track (circa 2013)

Soon enough, I heard the music and festivities of the finish line, but remembered from last year that there was still a mile or 2 to go even after hearing the finish. Excited to be done soon, I started to pick up the pace. As I began to run faster, my tired feet did not respond as well and all of a sudden I found myself face down on the ground.  I picked myself up and continued on, laughing it off since I ALWAYS manage to fall right before finishing trail races.

dirty german finish
Finished!     Photo credit: George (wcrunner2 on runningahead.com)

I crossed the finish in 2:35, averaging a 10 minute flat pace. I was pretty happy with my pace for a 15.5 mile trail race, especially since it was my farthest run since the 50 miler last fall. I finished right around midpack, 92nd out of 208 finishers and 7th in my age group. I am happy that I accomplished my goal of having a fun day on the trails, with no pressure to PR or win any awards.

After the race, I met up with George from the RunningAhead forums I post in, and chatted with him while I enjoyed some delicious German food. The potato salad was spectacular, and made up for the fact that they didn't serve potato pancakes this year. I sipped a Bell's Oberon, one of my favorite summer beers. Oberon is stronger than many wheat beers at 5.8% ABV, but its light and slightly citrus flavors are perfect for a warm summer day.

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Overall, the Dirty German Endurance Fest was everything I expected and wished for this year. I had a really fun day on the trails and loved being back in the trail racing atmosphere. Since I've now run the 25k and the 50k, all that's left for me to conquer is the 50 miler one day!

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