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3rd Annual Race Into the New Year 5k (St. Albans, WV)

NY Race 5kFor the first time ever, I ran a race on the first day of the year with the Third Annual Race Into the New Year 5k.  What an awesome way to start out 2014!  My husband, Tony and racing buddy, Wanda ran it with me.  We traveled to St. Albans, West Virginia (near our state capitol, Charleston) to run this afternoon 5K race.  Scheduling it at 2:00pm was a little different from what I’m used to, but they did that so people could stay up late on New Years Eve to celebrate, but not have to get up too early to race.  Being in mid-winter, I especially liked the afternoon time as it give the sun time to come out and warm things up a little.  Fortunately, the weather fully cooperated with a sunshiny day with temps in the 50’s to 60’s and little to no wind.  The cost for this race was $20 if you pre-registered and $25 on race day which included a nice T-shirt and post-race snacks.  This is the third and final race of the St. Albans Race Series which includes a quarter marathon in August, and 2- 5k’s (one in November and this one on New Years Day).  If you complete all three races, you earned a really cool looking medal (which is why I want to run the series in 2014).NY Race 5k3

There were a total of 189 runners participating in the race this year ranging in ages from 7 to 66.  It was a very nice turnout.  Over forty of the participants were involved with the 2013 racing series.  The race is a typical city race with a the course that started and ended at the St. Albans High School and winding around the streets of a small neighborhood.  There wasn’t much scenic beauty, but the neighborhood was well-kept and several people came out of their house to cheer the runners on.  The course was flat and fast with the exception of one small hill that even a beginner could easily handle.  The course record was broken this year by David McCollam, 34 with a time of 15:28.

The race was well run with a very unique starting event…. after making the general race announcements and before shooting the starting pistol, the race director got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend.  She said yes and all the racers and volunteers cheered for the young couple.  It was quite exciting.  The race was chip timed, so that sped up the awards program after the race.  For the post-race activities, there were the usual snacks and water available for the runners, and the race awards and series awards were handed out. Instead of medals, the age group winners for the race received cool trophies with penguins on the top and a Christmas tree ornament.

NY Race 5k 2

The series awards and medals were definitely an encouragement for everyone to run all three races for the 2014 series.  I finished the race in 30:46, but didn’t place nor did I set a PR, which was a disappointment since the course was so flat and fast.  But, just like the half marathon I would run a few days later, I had let the holidays get the best of my diet and training.  It was just a fun race anyway and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with Tony and Wanda.

I plan on doing this race again next year…. it was a great way to start out the new year and charge right into my running resolutions.  The only problem with the flat, fast course is that it’s easy to set a PR on it making the other 364 days extremely challenging to PR.  But since I didn’t do so well, I guess I don’t have that problem personally.

Silver-Medal-225x300Overall, the course wasn’t very challenging, making it was more of a fun race.  For that reason, I’m giving this race a silver medal since I consider it closer of an average 5k.

If you ran in this race, feel free to share your opinion.  What did you think of the proposal at the beginning of the race?

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.

December Goals….With a Little Help

So… I didn’t quite make all of my goals for November.  Please allow me a few minutes to revisit and appraise those goals.

  • A monthly mileage goal of 80 miles… Unfortunately I got in 68 miles, but pre-race tapering and post-race recovery for a half marathon took easily took away the 12 miles I needed to complete this goal. 😦
  • Do Jillian Michaels’ “Ripped in 30″ DVD at least 4 days a week…  I worked out with Jillian for 2 weeks, but then… half marathon.
  • Run a half marathon on November 24th in under 02:20:00…. I was successful here, and actually just now realized I was under the time I set.  I ran the half in 02:19:18!!
  • Maintain weight at 130-135 MAX!!  I weighed in at 137 yesterday.  Considering it was Thanksgiving last week, well….. I’ll take it.
  • Run at least three early morning, pre-work runs per week… Just couldn’t get my schedule set for this.  Will try it again later.

So all in all, I didn’t do too bad.  There’s still room for improvement.  Sometimes just learning how to set goals is a lesson in itself.  I’m learning more about me, my running, how to fit it into my schedule, when too much is too much and visa versa, and et cetera.  So goal setting is a lot like running, you just have to keep working on it, tweaking it and refining it, until someday, you’ve mastered it.  And with that being said… on with December’s goals.  😀

My goals are going to be a little different this month.  I’m getting a little motivation from a couple of sources.  One is my all-time favorite magazine, Runner’s World, and a little fun challenge from a Twitter group I’m apart of… #runchat.

  • This month I WILL HIT 100 MILES!! Do or die… 100!!!!
  • I will complete the Runner’s World Run Streak and run at least 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving Day to New Years Day.
  • I will complete 15 minutes of Nike Ab Core workouts every day during December.
  • I will run my last 5k of 2013 and complete it in under 28 minutes (a new 5k PR).
  • Return to and maintain weight at 130-135.  No excuses this month!!  Self discipline!!!
  • I will have fun by successfully completing the #RunChatHunt… a pictorial holiday-themed scavenger hunt. (See pic below.)

So what is one of your goals for December?  Are you streaking?  Run hunting?  Are you going to hit that last PR of the year? Above all, I hope you have fun this month!  Run happy!!  😀

1st Annual BUMS Run 5k (Buckhannon, WV)

This was, undoubtedly, one of the most enjoyable races I have participated in to date. The race organizers did an awesome job of adding a lot of extras into this race to keep everyone interested throughout the entire day. The 1st Annual BUMS Run 5k was held on Saturday, October 26th in Buckhannon, WV.  The temps were a frigid 29 degrees, but the sun was shining bright and there was little to no wind at all.  In addition to the 5k race, there was a Halloween costume contest, great door prizes and a health fair with several venders participating.  Up-beat music blared over the speakers prior to the race getting all of the runners, volunteers, venders and spectators anxious to get started.

bums race 4

The race started at the Jawbone Park in downtown Buckhannon, wound its way through town, on a river trail that followed the Buckhannon River and back through some lovely well-kept neighborhoods and returned to the starting line.  I always like a loop course the most as you get to see constant new scenery and keeps your mind going.  This was the second race I had run in Buckhannon, and both had portions of the course on the river trail which is very beautiful.  There were very few inclines with the hardest one being a fairly steep hill near the end.  But it was doable if you kept a slow, steady pace.

The race was sponsored by Rob’s Fitness Factory in Buckhannon, with the Young Bucks Association directing it and local volunteer fire department helping with traffic control.  The organizers did an amazingly awesome job with their first 5k.  Everything went so smoothly that one would have never guessed it was the first year for this race.  Racers had to be registered two weeks in advance to receive a T-shirt which kinda threw me aback when I didn’t get a T-shirt during the packet pickup.  But it was my fault because I didn’t read the registration guidelines thoroughly.  But I purchased one at the race for an extra $6 because I really liked the design.  I greatly appreciated the cause for this race as a portion of the proceeds went to the West Virginia University Cure Kids Cancer Fund and another portion went to local youth sports teams.  The race director informed me that $1,000 was raised for the WVU Cure Kids Cancer Fund!!  Awesome job!!

BUMS race One of the best parts of this race was the number of young people who participated.  Of 122 participants, 45 were kids 19 years old and under.  That’s 37%… what an amazing turnout!!  I didn’t set a new PR for a 5k, but I did very well in this race.  I finished 44th and was 2nd in my age division with a finish time of 28:24 (9:09 min/mile pace).  My racing buddy, Wanda was closing in on me as she finished 4th in our age division with a 29:39 time…. another sub-30 minute race for her… she’s gonna catch me one of these days. 😀

The medals were unique as winners received a dog tag with the races name and date on it.  The funniest part of the day was the costume contest.  Mr. Banana won and he definitely deserved it.  Actually, I thought he was quite a ham.  😀  Also making an appearance was Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf; Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2; and a host of other characters.  Additionally, a lot of spectators braved the cold to cheer on the runners.  Buckhannon as a whole did a great job supporting this race.

bums race 3

It was a good day, a great race and a whole lot of fun.  I hear they will be hosing another race in April 2014 and plan to attend if possible.  Thanks for doing such a great job!!

A note from the race director:  BUMS stands for “Buckhannon Upshur Middle School”- most of the sports teams that participated were from the middle school here. The YoungBucs Association is a nonprofit that was created by my brother, Travis Foster (he also coaches middle school basketball). The association is intended to be a “blanket” organization for sports in Upshur County. The concept is that the organization works to fundraise throughout the year (with the help of all the benefitting teams/groups) and then when there is a need, teams can look to YoungBucs for support. So if the football team needs a little extra money for a trip to play-offs or if the soccer team needs new jerseys- YoungBucs can offer a stipend to help with the costs. It is really a neat concept! YoungBucs was started by my brother to help his basketball teams but has grown to the point where it can fiscally support more teams in our community.

Photos compliment of  Robbie Skinner and Young Bucks Association of Buckhannon, WV.  Used with permission.

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.  🙂


Calhoun Days 5k Trail Run/Walk (Mt. Zion, WV)

This morning, I crawled out of bed at 6:30am to get ready to meet Wanda for this weeks’ race. We had chosen to run in the Calhoun Days 5k Trail Run/Walk in Calhoun County, West Virginia to support the Calhoun County Park where the race was held. As I was making my coffee, I looked out of the kitchen window at the thick fog that hid everything past our driveway.  I walked outside on the front porch to sip on my coffee and get an idea of the temperature.  It felt cool, and I was certain that we would have a good day of running as long as the cool morning lasted.  Start-time for the race wasn’t until 10:00am, so the sun could still come out hot enough to burn off the fog and heat up the morning.  Knowing we were in a trail run was a comfort as one could safely presume we would be running through or, at the very least on the edge of the woods which would keep us cool.

I had to run some errands before I met up with Wanda at our designated time and location, so of course I was running about five minutes late.  Fortunately, Wanda is laid back, so she didn’t mind.  We always leave early enough to be at a race at least an hour early, so we knew we had plenty of time.  We actually arrived at the race just as planned at 9:00am,  We were one of the first participants to check in and pick up our packet, so the delay didn’t hurt us at all.

Once we got our packets, the next thing we did was locate the bathroom and changed our shoes.  I brought both my Saucony Mirage3 as well as my Brooks PureConnect 2 as I didn’t know what to expect with the terrain.  I decided to wear the Mirage3’s when I saw how damp the grass was due to the heavy fog.  I can get a little better traction with the trail shoes, so I probably needed all the help I could get to keep from slipping.

We all met at the top of the hill for the race director to make some announcements.  We had group prayer prior to the race as well which I greatly appreciate.  I’m thankful for the health to be able to run the race and covet God’s protection for myself and all the other runners.  A few directions were given and then a warning from the XC coach about “Big Mama”, a steep hill we would face somewhere on the course.  The coach was very familiar with the course as it is the trail used by the XC team for training and meets.

We started the race on time with 42 participants taking off from the starting line.  It was a good turnout for the first race the Calhoun Days committee had ever done.  The race director did a good job publicizing it on Facebook and throughout the community and high school XC teams.  There were kids from at least two, possibly three different high school teams participating.

Runtastic GPS map of the course.

Runtastic GPS map of the course.

The trail was not a disappointment at all.  I ran XC one year in high school when I was a sophomore, and the smell of the autumn air and the sound of footsteps hitting the grassy trail brought back memories from many, many years ago.  It made the race exciting.  The course ran around the edge of the Calhoun County Park and included running through meadows, beside and through woods on lightly gravelled trails, on one-lane gravel roads and a couple of mud puddles.  I was very impressed with how well the trail was maintained as not once did I have a concern or worry about tripping over something.  Also, there was plenty of room for runners to pass each other.

My Runtastic app showed that the length was actually 3.4 miles.  I asked three other people what their apps read, and they all had the same distance reading.  Personally, I don’t care if it’s a little more or less than an actual 3.1 5k … everyone is running the same distance.  Most races are off a little anyway, so I’ve learned to not pay much attention to the overall time, but the pace.  I ran an average of 10:00 minute/mile pace, which is over 1:00 minute/mile slower than the race I ran in last weekend, but this was a hilly trail race so a slower pace was to be expected.

In regards to elevation gain, there were 3-4 minor hills included in the trail, and then of course “Big Mama.”  At around the 2.5 mile mark, The CCHS XC coach was cheering us on from the sideline and telling us “Big Mama” was just ahead.  All I could think was… Dang!!  I was hoping that last hill was “Big Mama!”  Well, “Big Mama” definitely gets her reputation honestly, as she was quite steep and long.  Some people like having the hardest part of the course at the end, but I would prefer to hit a big hill like that at the beginning to get it over with while I have lots of energy.  So I struggled up her, but fortunately coasted down to the finish line once I got over her.

Just a small portion of the beautiful trail at the Calhoun County Park.

Just a small portion of the beautiful trail at the Calhoun County Park. This is NOT “Big Mama.”  🙂

All in all, this course was absolutely beautiful yet challenging.  Not impossible, but definitely not a walk in the park either (no pun intended).  As a matter of fact, Wanda and I talked about making the trip once every 6-8 weeks to run this course as a strength training run.  The director, Amy Nicholas told me this was the first time she had ever directed a race, but you would never know it.  She did a good job running the race, and we all walked away with a really cool T-shirt and some other goodies (see below).  I placed 1st in the 40-49 year old Female division, and Wanda placed 3rd.  We have decided we will be doing the Second Annual Calhoun Days 5k Trail Run/Walk next year, and look forward to it already.  If you’re looking for a small race that’s run well, with courteous participants on a beautiful, challenging course that supports a worthy cause, then watch for this race on the RoadID and iPlayOutside websites.  See ya next year!!

The race T-shirt, souvenir chit, metal, bib and some post cards of the beautiful park.

The race T-shirt, souvenir chit, metal, bib and some post cards of the beautiful park.

9/11 Heroes Run (Clarksburg, WV)

Yesterday morning (September 7, 2013) I ran in the 9/11 Heroes Run in Clarksburg, WV. The race started at 9:00am with temperatures at around 55 degrees… darn near perfect. The cost for this race was $25 and you could easily register at the 9/11 Heroes Run website.   There was no map of the course available on the site which became a pre-race conversation piece with several runners.  It can cause some anxiety for runners who are not familiar with the downtown layout.  This is the second race I’ve run, and the third my racing buddy Wanda has run in Clarksburg.  Although every race has been in the same area, the course for each has been a little different, taking different streets to end up in the same place.

This time, we started off on Main Street and kept making left turns until we ran a large rectangle, then repeated it 1 1/2 more times. The entire race was on city streets that made for a flat, fast course. I use Runtastic to track my run, and it read that the greatest elevation gain was only 127 feet, so it wasn’t too hill-challenging. The local law enforcement showed up in force to block roads to keep the runners safe and give us plenty of room to run. As always, they did a great job.   There were no water stops available on this race.  It doesn’t bother me as I don’t drink any water for shorter races… I usually need hydration for the longer runs that are double digit in mileage.  But there may have been some runners that would have like to quench their thirst during the last mile of the race when the temperature started to get a little higher.

Unfortunately, not many folks showed up for this inaugural race. As a matter of fact, there were only 27 participants making it one of the smallest races I’ve run in this year. It’s really a shame that more folks couldn’t have been there, but it was scheduled on the same day as the Color Me Rad 5k race in Morgantown, WV. Rumor was that 6,000 to 8,000 people were registered for the Color race, which really pulled folks away from the 9/11 run.  After the race, I chatted with the race director (a soldier with the US Army Recruiting office) thanking him for starting it and encouraged him to give it a try again next year.  Hopefully he will give it another go and will be able to avoid other big races in northern WV.  It’s a very worthy cause with a large portion of the NET proceeds raised from the local race distributed back into the community.  Since I work with a lot of military veterans and firemen/EMT volunteers, and especially since I have a daughter in the Navy, the mission of this race has a special meaning for me.  I ran it in honor of my sailor girl and all of her shipmates!!

9_11 heroes runI felt really good during the race.  I had been very busy with a graphic design project the week prior, so I didn’t get to run near as much as I wanted to.  I was worried that I had lost my edge, but I did well.  The cool temps helped a lot as well.  I finished the race at 28:52 with a pace of 8:52 min/mile, but after looking at my Runtastic app it showed that the race distance was actually 3.25 miles instead of the typical 3.1 (something I notice at a lot of the smaller races).  I did some figuring and realized that had the race been the true distance, I would have finished in 27:35 which would have been a nice PR for me.  I finished Third Overall female and was right behind the first and second place winners.  The three of us finished within 10 seconds of each other.  They were both 10-15 years younger than me, so that gave me another reason to be happy with my performance.  It’s always nice to be able to keep up with the younger runners.  We earned some really awesome medals, and received nice T-shirts and a dog tag, too.  I will be very proud to wear this shirt to other races and when I workout.

This is one race I will definitely participant in next year.  I just hope the director wasn’t too discouraged with the turnout and not set one up next year.  He did say he was doing the same race at Morgantown, WV today (Sunday, September 8).  I encourage you to keep this race in mind to give to its worthy cause and support all the heroes keeping us safe and free.  The 9/11 Heroes Run is being held all over the county, so see if there’s one scheduled near you and sign up.  If not, consider setting up on for next year.  You can find more information about the Travis Manion Memorial Fund and the 9/11 Heroes Run on their website.  🙂


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??

Midnight Blast 5k (Summersville, WV)

I finished my very first midnight race on Friday night.  Leading up to it, I was quite nervous, but it ended up being a very enjoyable experience.  The race was held in Summersville, WV, and we started at the Summersville Arena and Conference Center.  The route was a double loop that took us from the center, through Food Lion parting lot, up a Northside Drive, around a bank and couple of other buildings then back to Food Lion.  On the second time around, we crossed the finish line at the Conference Center.  The route was fairly fast with only a couple of minor inclines.  The fastest time for guys was 17:36 and the fastest female finished in 19:44.

The local police helped with what little traffic was there and the majority of the course was well-lit, so I didn’t feel safety was an issue.  Additionally, with the double loop, there was always some runners around you, and there were lots of volunteers to make sure you didn’t take a wrong turn or get lost.

It was a lot of fun as nearly everyone was wearing glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets (provided by the race sponsor).  Some of us had lights on our ball caps . . . I set mine to blink on and off.  About half way through the race, I passed by some spectators and heard a little girl say, “Hey, why does that lady get a blinking light?”  I just smiled to myself and kept on running. 🙂

The weather was perfect.  I had worried that we would get rained on, but it cleared off just in time for the race.  The roads were wet, but it was fun to run through the mud holes.  The temperature was around 70 degrees and I felt a light breeze a few times.  The best part was the low humidity.  My breathing came easy and my legs didn’t feel tired throughout the entire race, so I was able to keep a good steady pace and even recorded a negative split on the last mile.

summersville midnight blastProbably the best part of this race was the amount of teenagers and young adults in the group.  There were a total of 81 runners participating, and if I were to guess, half of them were kids.  Of course, this was a fund-raiser for the Summersville Middle School Cross County team, so that contributed to the statistic.  🙂

Speaking of kids, I have to say that on a personal level, I was thrilled to have two of my kids with me.  My daughters, Brittany and Katie accompanied me and my racing buddy, Wanda to Summersville.  It was a special treat as Katie is a sailor stationed in South Carolina.  She doesn’t get to come home often, so it’s such a blessing when she does.  I was in 7th Heaven when I saw them cheering me on as I crossed the finish line.

All together, it was one of the best races I’ve competed in this summer.  Having my girls there with me, the perfect weather, the youthful exuberance and the uniqueness of the time of the race made it memorable and fun.  The fact that I placed second in my division and recorded the second best time (28:20) of the 2013 season made it even that much better.  They gave the race the perfect name . . . because I definitely had a BLAST!!