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2014 WV Race Review Changes

My racing scheduled has slowed down a little with winter upon us, but I’ve still been crazy busy with the holidays, work and preparing for a new semester as an adjunct professor. So I’m running a little behind on writing reviews for a couple of races I did complete at the beginning of January. (But they will be coming in the next few days!)

The main reason for my delay is that I’ve been trying to decide on a template to keep the race reviews consistent. I want to deliver information to you that may help you decide on whether or not to do the race in the future, but I want to be sure I don’t miss anything. So that has contributed to my belatedness as well. Please accept my apology and know I’ll step things up to get you more timely and accurate information.  Here’s is what future reviews will entail….

  • Race details such at distance, time, location, weather, cost, sponsor/charity, etc.
  • Pre-race and post-race events
  • Runner information such as how many, ages, etc.
  • Course details
  • How the race director, committee, volunteers did
  • Awards and how I did
  • Pros and cons
  • Miscellaneous such as history or race or area, local legend, etc.
  • Overall rating
  • Pictures of the race will always be included

Gold-Medal-225x300For the overall rating this year, I thought I would use something visual.  At first I thought I would use the Star Rating with one star being a bad race and five stars meaning it was a great, can’t-miss-this-next-year race.  But I didn’t think stars really related much to running.  So I decided to use medals.  Hey, we all love to get medals from the race…. this was my chance to give a medal back.  So I will give gold medals to top races, silver medals to middle ground races, and bronze medals to the needs-a-lot-of-work races.  Of course, please realize I’m giving you “MY” opinion of the race…. there are always others with different opinions.   But I do try to be open-minded when rating something.

Finally, and something I’m very excited about is the fact that I may have some guest bloggers helping me with race reviews.  Last year I ran in a lot of races, but of course I couldn’t hit all the races in West Virginia.  So I’m talking with some running friends of mine that hit races in other areas and of different distances to add some spice to my race reviews.

So I wanted to write-up this short post to let you know what’s coming to my running blog in the very, very near future.   If you run West Virginia races and would be interested in sharing your review here… just let me know.  I can’t pay you for the review, but I can help promote your blog, website, Facebook or Twitter page.  It’s always interesting to get a review from someone else’s perspective.

What do you think of the template I’ll use?? 

Is it too much information??

Am I missing any information someone may want to know about races here in West Virginia??

My 2013 In Review

Before I set any goals for 2014, I felt I needed to look at how I did in 2013… what I did right… what I did wrong… where  I’ve come from so I know where I need to go from here. Below are some of the milestones I’ve met over the past 12 months…

2013 medals

  • First consecutive 12 months of running in my life (2013 goal accomplished!!)
  • I will have run over 860 miles by December 31 (I still have 3 days left to run) (2013 goal of 500 miles…. SMASHED!!)
  • I will have my first ever 100-mile month in December
  • I ran 16 5k’s during the year (2013 goal of 10 5Ks accomplished!!)
  • Ran a sub-30 minute 5k (2013 goal accomplished!!)
  • My fastest 5k pace was 8:54 min/mile (I only did that once)
  • I ran 3 10k’s during the year
  • I ran a sub-60 minute 10k (2013 goal accomplished!!)
  • I ran 2 half marathons
  • The first half was my first half ever (2013 goal accomplished!!), and my first trail race since high school
  • I set a much better time on the second half at 02:19:18 since it wasn’t a trail race.

Some things I have learned over the past year from racing and training is as follows…

  • Trail racing is very, very, VERY hard!!  Never ever underestimate the trail!! :/
  • Don’t try to carb load with a heavy pasta dinner the night before the race…. start two days prior and end with LUNCH the day before!
  • Dress for temps 20 degrees warmer than what it really is, and in layers in case I get overheated
  • Drink lots of water every single day to be properly hydrated
  • Remember to eat and hydrate properly for trainings runs, especially long runs…. not just races
  • Although I have a good base now, I need to increase leg and core strength and do more speedwork to improve speed
  • LISTEN TO MY BODY!!  If I’m in pain, get it checked!!
  • Just because I burned 1,000 calories doesn’t mean I can eat 1,200 calories of junk food!!  Seriously!!
  • Don’t skip the long run!
  • Don’t skip breakfast!

And finally, when I look at what I’ve done right and what I’ve done wrong… here’s a look at where I started a year ago to where I am now… 12 months later….

  • January 2013 I ran a total of 53.92 miles…. December 2013 I may double that as I currently sit at 93.39 miles and 3 days left to run… yea, I’ll double that!!
  • In January 2013 my longest run was 8 miles at a 12:00 min/mile pace…. I ran 10.5 miles today at a 10:30 min/mile pace
  • The longest distance I ran this year was 14 miles in November
  • Today I ran up hills with no problem that I couldn’t run up in January 2013
  • My first 5k of 2013 (March) took me 35:06 at a pace of 11:19 min/mile…. I ran my fastest 5k in September at an 8:52 min/mile pace…. I ran several 5k’s later in the year between 9:00-9:30 min/mile pace
  • I ran not just one, but TWO half marathons… the longest race I’ve ever run
  • January 2013 I weighed 130 pounds…. today I weighed in at 135 pounds.  I’m confident the increase is muscle.  🙂
  • I’ve lost over 3 inches around the waist, but feel I can still tone up more with some concentrated core exercising

runjunkeeProbably one of the coolest things about my running adventures this year is how I’ve made literally hundreds of new running friends both in real life as well as virtually.  I started out running alone, but then moved up to having my racing buddy, Wanda join me for most of my races and even my husband for a few.  Now, I’m part of a group of ladies who support and cheer each other on as we train and go to races together.  Additionally, I’ve met friends that I keep running into at different races on the circuit (no pun intended).  Then there are the virtual running friends I’ve met…. I started a Facebook running club called Central West Virginia Road Runners Club where I’m keeping in contact with folks in my area.  I’m also a part of an awesome Facebook group called Run JunkEes Run Club.  On Twitter, I virtually hang out at #RunChat and participate in a virtual group discussion every Sunday night.  It’s a great way to get and receive motivation and inspiration.

I would love to hear how you did in 2013.  Leave a comment below telling me about it, or better yet… I encourage you to write a post on your blog about it.  Let me know, and I’ll definitely stop by to read about your accomplishments and share it with my virtual friends.

Running in a Thousand Different Directions, But Still Running

There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day!!
There’s not enough of me to get everything done!!
I’m running in a thousand different directions!!

Do you ever say any of these?  If you’re half as busy as I am, you’re saying these to yourself constantly.  With a full-time job that typically runs well over a 40-hour week, a part-time job as an adjunct professor, being the pastor’s wife and music leader at a small country church, having a son who is a senior in high school and in every sport possible, a house to clean, laundry to wash and fold, taking dogs to the vet, and on and on and on… not to mention the shortening hours of sunlight… it’s been a struggle lately to get my running in.  Since I have a half marathon in just six weeks and a second one in January, I don’t want to slack on my mileage.  But how to squeeze it all in has recently left me a little concerned.

Last year this time, I didn’t have this problem.  But then I realized that last year this time, I was a true beginner runner.  I was training for my first 5k, and the furthest I might run at any given time was three miles tops.  Plus, I was only running two, three…maybe four days a week.  Now, I’m running 4 to 5 days a week and putting in 25 to 30 miles.  My one long run now takes more time than an entire week of runs a year ago.  So that explains why I’m facing this new conflict.  As a result, I have to reevaluate my schedule and make some sacrifices to get everything done that I need/want to get done.

So… here are some of my resolutions…

busy calendar

  1. First and foremost, write down my schedule at least weekly.  Don’t try to keep it in my head… write it down and post it where I’ll see it every day.  I keep a hard copy on my fridge and an electronic copy on iCalendars that shows up on my iPhone and computer.
  2. I have to remember that there are others involved and take them into consideration when setting up my schedule.  Directly… my husband and my son (because, you know… I kinda live with them).  More indirectly is my sailor-daughter, my teacher-daughter and her husband, my other family/friends, my church, my jobs, the community committees for which I volunteer… even my dogs are part of the equation.  I can’t totally ignore these folks, and if I consider their plans when setting up mine, then I’ll be a little more prepared to plan around events and activities.
  3. Instead of going into work early as I usually do, on some days I’m going to start doing some early morning running.  I don’t really like that since its pitch dark… living in the country, I’m more afraid of wild animals than I am creepers.  However, the time will be changing soon and it will get brighter earlier.  I gave it a try this morning 6:00am with an easy 3-mile run, and carried my 38 Special.  I felt much safer and confident running alone, which is the only alternative I have when running early morning.  However, if I’m going to run this time of day, I do need to run at 5:15-5:30am… I was late for work this morning. 😦
  4. My commute to work is 25-30 minutes, which is a huge waste of sunlight during shorter days. So, on days that I can’t/don’t get an early morning run in due to weather or whatnot, I’ll plan on coming into work early as normal.  I’ll bring my running gear with me, quit a little earlier and run right after work while it’s still daylight.
  5. I reserve long runs for the weekend since I’m now in the double digits and it takes me at least two hours to finish.   I have primarily used Sunday for the long run, with Saturday being secondary if/when necessary (Saturday is my house cleaning/laundry/errand running day… oh yea, and my sleep-in day).  However, I think I’m going to change that up since racing season is slowing down and I’m not running many 5k’s or 10k’s on Saturday mornings.  I’ll sacrifice the sleeping in and get up early to knock out the long run on Saturday mornings BEFORE I do the housework, laundry and errands.  Perhaps working around the house after the long run will keep me loose, and help alleviate some of the stiffness and soreness.

Right now that’s all I can think of to help me find more time to get the mileage in that I want to run.  Running at lunch time really isn’t an option as I only get 30 minutes plus I usually work through it anyway (if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a workaholic).  The early morning runs will allow me to get a run in on the days that I teach in the evening as well as make it to church and my son’s sporting events that take up the other evenings.   And maybe Sunday’s can be used as a true “day of rest” as it’s supposed to be… with maybe just a little bit of yoga to stretch out and relax from the week of running.   And BTW… I hate… no LOATH the treadmill.  It is reserved for days that there is no way possible I can get outside to run.  I’ll do everything I can to run outside first.  The treadmill is absolutely, positively The. Last. Option.  So I don’t even include that on my schedule.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with scheduling problem.  I can’t even fathom how those of you with young children manage to have the energy left to run let alone find the time to run.  But I would love to hear your secrets to getting everything done when you’re running in a thousand different directions, and still find time to lace up the running shoes and get in some miles.  Please feel free to share with a comment here…. I or another reader just might incorporate your idea into our running schedule.

To help you smile, here’s a little funny I found for setting schedules.  I don’t know about you, but this is a definite motivation for me to keep running in my schedule no matter what I have to do.  🙂


It’s My Birthday and I’ll Run if I Want To!!

Today’s my birthday! Yep, I turn 45 years old today. I like to state it a couple of different ways, though, just for the humor of it. I might say something like “I’m halfway to 90!” or “Today I’m celebrating the 6th anniversary of my 35th birthday!”  However I put it, it’s all the same… I’m getting older.


Each year for my birthday, I like to spend some time alone reflecting on the past year… what I’ve done or not done, where I’ve been, what I’ve accomplished, how I’ve failed and so on.  I always try to use the past year as a confidence builder and a learning tool.  So quickly, I want to recap the past year in regards to my physical fitness plan and goals.  I started running at the end of August 2012, so I’ve just been enjoying the sport for slightly over a year.  I think I’ve done well…  I accomplished much more than I anticipated.

In regards to physical fitness:

  • I used to walk/run 2-3 times per week… now I run 4-5 times per week
  • I couldn’t run three miles… now I can run 13 miles
  • I started out averaging 6-8 miles per week… now I average 25-30 miles per week
  • I couldn’t run up hills… now I can’t run up all of them, but there’s noticeable improvement
  • On off days, I now do resistance training or weight lifting
  • I love running with my husband… although I still need my solitary runs once in a while, too


Since last September 3rd, I have completed a total of 17 races:

  • 14 5k’s with a PR of 28:01 at a 9:00 min/mile pace
  • 2 10k’s with a PR of 01:02:44 at a 10:06 min/mile pace
  • 1 half marathon with a disappointing time of 02:49:08 at a really really slow pace… but I finished!!
  • The HM was my first half as well as my first trail run!!!


Injuries include …

  • I twisted my right knee during my first 5k in October 15th, so I started taking Glucosamine.  No problems since.
  • I had problems with my right hip in early summer.  Bought new shoes, visited the chiropractor a few times and pushed through it.  Hip feels great now!


As for weight …

  • I haven’t lost any weight, but have maintained at 130 pounds.  That’s acceptable for a 5 foot, 5 inch female.
  • I have cut my body fat percentage down to 25%
  • I have lost over 4 inches from my waist


Miscellaneous …

  • When the dog starts coming after me… I’ve learned to walk, speak slowly in a deep voice and get the pepperspray ready
  • I have learned to eat slimy GU Energy Gel… and like it!
  • I have learned to endure ice baths after long runs.
  • I’m getting a nice collection of T-shirts 😀
  • I need one of those fancy hangers for all the race bling I’ve earned so far.


It will be interesting when I look back in 2014 and see where I’ll be a year from today.  Well… I gotta sign off now and get in my first run in as a 45-year-old.

How have you done since your last birthday??

Run to Read 10k (Fairmont, WV)

Last Friday night, I ran the Run to Read 10k in Fairmont, WV.  My running buddy and faithful sidekick, Wanda went with me.  This was a new experience for both of us as the race was held on a Friday evening at 6:30.  I was a little worried about the time for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s a Friday evening . . . the end of a work week.  Typically I’m exhausted by the time Friday comes, so I wasn’t sure if I’d have the energy to run a 10k.  And I proved myself to be correct.  Adding the fact that it was a 90 minute drive didn’t help.
  2. The time of day could be difficult.  It can still be fairly warm and muggy at 6:30pm, so we weren’t sure how the weather would play a part.  Fortunately, a cold front had passed through West Virginia during the previous couple of days, so at race time it was 81 degrees with low humidity.  But it was still warm and the sun was shining very brightly.  I typically run later in the evening to avoid the heat and humidity.

10k race fairmont3But even facing those obstacles, Wanda and I took on the challenge.  The course was probably the toughest course we had run all year.  I’ve run a dozen 5k’s and one other 10k so far during my 2013 running season, and this course won the prize for most difficult hands down.  A close second would be the Clarksburg 10k I ran a month earlier.  The course was a double 5k course.  The beginning was somewhat deceptive as most of it was down hill.  I kept telling myself that this would end up being fairly easy if the whole course was like the beginning.  But then at about mile 2.5, I realized that to run the down hill, I had to go up.  For almost a full mile, the incline was slow and steady.  I find those types of inclines to be more difficult than a short steep climb, myself.  My first time around the course I nearly made it completely up the hill without walking.  However, I ended up walking a little with the hopes of not completely draining myself knowing that I would have to run up this hill again at the end of the race.  Unfortunately, with the heat combined with the weariness of the end of a long work week, the second time up the hill at mile five got me.

I didn’t do well with this race.  Actually, it was probably my worst.  I added a full eight minutes my 10k time and run an 11:00 min/mile pace.  I was very discouraged with my performance, but over the past couple of days I’ve looked at it as a good learning experience.  I have a Midnight Blast 5k in Summersville, WV coming up in a couple of weeks on a Friday night, so hopefully with this one, I can get a good amount of rest prior to the race.

As for the folks who organized the race, they did a good job.  It was small (only 58 participants), but it was well-organized and a great family event.  They held it at the city pool and gave free-swimming passes to all the participants and their families for the evening.  There was loads of post-race food, too.  In addition to the 10k, they also held a 1600 meter dash and a 5k at 7:30pm.  Best of all, it was a good fundraiser for the community library and literacy program.  That’s always a plus in my book knowing that my small contribution helped the people of the community while I got to do some healthy fun.

Furthermore, this race is part of a three-race series sponsored by the Literacy Volunteers of Marion County.  It involves running a half marathon that was held in January, and the 10k and 5k held last Friday.  Those who participate in all three races earn a special-made T-shirt and prizes for the overall winners with the most points earned from the three combined races (age graded).  The unfortunate thing was if your time for the 10k was over an hour (like Wanda and me), you couldn’t get back in time to run the 5k.  I wish they would flip-flop the races and run the 5k first.  That would give folks time to rest a little and still participate in the 10k (and make it a little cooler for the longer run).  The concept is unique though, and I hope to be able to run all three races next year.  I will definitely need to do some major hill repeats to prepare for the shorter races, though.  I’m not going to let that hill get the best of me the next time!!