The 2018 Wine Run: Race Recap and my first WIN!

So I’m back again, this time with another race recap!

I think I had forgotten how many awesome races there are to do in the spring in New England and it becomes really easy to sign up for a different race every weekend! Case in point – I ran Harpoon on May 20th, the Run to Remember Half the week after, and this past Sunday, I ran a Wine Run in North Dartmouth, Mass!

Harpoon 5 Miler Recap

Run to Remember

I ran the Run to Remember super easy, just treating it as a supported long run. The Wine Run was supposed to be another casual fun run. I had signed up to do it with a friend months ago, in the dead of winter. It sounded like a blast – a 3 mile run through a vineyard, followed by a wine tasting, buffet dinner, and live music. Not a bad deal for the price of the race registration!

In the week or so leading up to the race, they sent out a participant information guide, and I noticed that all age group winners received a free bottle of wine! Well, the wheels in my head started turning, and my plan to take this easy evolved into “let’s see if you can win your age group!”. Haha, whoops.

The race was a little over an hour outside Boston at the Running Brook Vineyard. My friend and I arrived with about 30 minutes to spare to pick up our bibs and warm up. However, the check-in process was taking FOREVER and I started to get a little anxious. It eventually became clear that the race was not going to start on time because there were still plenty of people behind us in line who also still needed to get their bibs. After a good 40 minutes of waiting in line (not exaggerating), we finally got our bibs and were able to get settled and ready for the run.

Wine Run 2018I knew the course was going to be interesting. It was more of a trail run, looping through the grassy field and then zig-zagging through the aisles of the vineyard. Ideally, I wanted to run fast enough to place in my age group, but slow enough so that I wouldn’t trip and break an ankle. It was a pretty small race, probably around 400 people and I felt like winning my age group would be doable.

The “map” of the course –

Wine Run 2018 CourseRight before the start, the race director warned us to be careful of our footing and remarked that the course was a little short – around 2.7 miles instead of the advertised 3 miles. ‘No problem‘, I thought to myself, I was ok with running a little short. Then, with the blasting of the air horn, we were off!

I started towards the front of the pack, with two other fast looking ladies in front with me. Within the first quarter mile, the group settled into single file as that was about as wide as the track allowed. My early thought was to settle in behind the other women and then push later in the race. I didn’t stick with that plan long.

Wine Run 2018By about half a mile in, I was essentially on top of the first woman and felt like I had the energy to pass her. So with some trepidation, I passed on a slightly wider part of the trail, moving into the spot of first woman and third overall. At this point, my thought process was a little something like, “Oh shit. You better commit to this pace now. Don’t get passed!” Not exactly positive self-talk, but oh well – that’s still a work in progress.

At this point in the course, we started the weaving through the vines. I had to really focus on my footing and making the sharp turns at the end of the aisles. They had arrows directing the course, but there were a few spots that were a little confusing with me and the second place guy almost going down the wrong way.

Wine Run 2018 Race RecapI hit mile 1 in 7:20. I was a little surprised to see I was able to manage that time on this terrain, so I celebrated it as a small victory and kept pushing. Finally, after no less than 8 hairpin turns, we were done with running through the first vineyard and had a brief straightaway to recover on. I tried to soak it in and took a moment to assess where the nearest women were. The first woman I had passed was a ways back, but a different girl seemed fairly close, about one length of the vineyard aisle back. I would have to hold it together if I wanted to win the race outright, which by this point was the new goal.

I hit mile 2 in 7:20. Hot dang, only another .7 to go! Or so I thought. We entered the second vineyard and started running through the aisles with the sharp turns again. Ugh. I was so ready to be done with all the zig-zagging. In this stretch, I was clearly able to see where the second place woman was and the fourth place guy behind me. While this should have been a positive, I felt like it just heightened my anxiety about getting passed in the late stages of the race to know exactly where they were.

I was working pretty hard by this point – harder than I had really wanted to run, but I HAD to hold onto first. My watch hit mile 3 in 7:35. Wait, what? We were still running down the aisles of the vineyard, not near the finish yet and it was clear the course was NOT 2.7 miles, but actually over 3!

Wine Run 2018I had a moment of grumpiness, but it was relieved by finally finishing with the loops through the second vineyard. All that was left was a stretch of straightaway through a grassy field, onto a dirt road and into the finish. Without all the hairpin turns, I was able to pick up the pace again, running 7:06 pace for the last .37 of a mile, nearly catching the second place guy. As I came around the final turn up to the finish, I was surprised to see the race organizers pull out a finish tape – which I got to break!! It was such an exciting moment for me, never having won a race before!

(There were race photographers there so I am hopeful that a good picture was taken but as of this writing, no race photos have been published yet. I’ll update this post to include some if they ever go up!)

The first and second place guys congratulated me, and we all stood around catching our breath and chugging some water. Not too long later, my friend finished and we celebrated by grabbing our wine glasses and bee-lining it to the sampling.

Wine Run 2018It was such a beautiful day for a run and some wine. 🙂

My prize!

Wine Run 2018Overall, this race was a ton of fun and I’m not just saying that because I did well! Even with the troubles with bib pick-up, the run and post-race party more than made up for it. And I am SO excited to now be able to say that I have WON a race! Now please excuse me – I’m going to go have a glass of my wine. 🙂

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Run for the Troops 2018 RACE RECAP

Hello again!

I know it’s been a while, so let’s catch up on a few things before I dive into the recap of the 5k I ran on Sunday.

  1. I got to watch the Boston Marathon and saw Des Linden run by. As crazy and cold as the marathon was, it was also magical. I’m so glad I had a group of friends to spectate with (and an apartment to run inside and warm up in between cheering). Boston Marathon 2018
  2. I’ve had a bit of a career switch again. While I don’t want to get into the details, I’m happy about it and think it’ll be for the best.
  3. After getting some much needed rest after Hyannis, I am back to training and feel great! My last few weeks have been around 30-35 miles per week and I think I’m laying a solid foundation for Chicago (October 7th).

Ok! Now, let’s dive into this weekend.

The Run for the Troops race is one of my mom’s favorites and we’ve been doing it for several years now. The week before, I had gone back and read my race recap from it in 2015 and I was cracking up. In it, I write “I knew I wanted to push the pace, so I wished my mom good luck and went to stand with the 8-minute mile section. Mile 1 – 7:55. I was quite happy to look down at my watch to see this split after the first mile…” I ended up running a 23:34, which is an average of 7:35/mile, and at the time it was a PR (though I had broken it since then).

Considering I ran Mile 22 of Hyannis in a 7:53, I was pretty dang confident “pushing the pace” was no longer an 8 minute mile. But honestly, I hadn’t raced a 5k in so long that I didn’t know what I was capable of. I tentatively thought I should go out at a 7:20 and push the pace from there, but in the end I just decided to run by feel.

We got there early and my mom and I picked up our bibs. I went outside to warm up on a little paved track next to the Andover Senior Center. We cut it a little closer than I wanted with walking around trying to find the bib pick-up so I only had time for a 1.75 mile warm-up and a few quick drills. After all my hamstring issues, I don’t like to skimp on the warm-up for a hard effort.

Right before 9, I headed to the start and made sure I got a good spot towards the front. It’s a pretty popular 5k and can get congested so I wanted to make sure I had the room to open up my stride without dodging walkers and kids. Right on time, we were off!

The course is pretty rolling and right in the first mile, we were going up a gradual uphill. As expected, everyone took off at an insane pace and people were flying by me. I was running around 6:50ish pace early in the mile and told myself to rein it in and just focus on running my race.

Run for the Troops 5k Course MapI knew I was running the first mile faster than I had originally planned on, but my coach had told me that mile 1 should be “manageable”. I honestly felt like I was managing fine. It was a fast pace but I felt strong. I hit Mile 1 in 7:03.

Ok, so a little fast. But I was still feeling relatively good-ish. Mile 2 had more small rolling hills and I focused on my arm drive to power up. At this point, I was starting to pass some folks who had gone out too fast and that was just the mental boost I needed. Around 2.5, I spotted another woman I recognized from the Good Times Series 5ks – I ran those races every week during the summer of 2015 and this lady had beat me EVERY TIME in those. She wasn’t too far ahead so I focused on maintaining my pace and keeping an eye on her. We must have been the only women near each other at this point in the race because at one point, a friend called out hi to her and said that there was one “right behind” (ME)! Mile 2 was a 7:13. Again, I was almost surprised to see this split, but I had come this far, so I wanted to close out the race right.

Mile 3 was where I had to really step up my mental game. I had been creeping up on the Good Times Series lady and eventually I was passing her. I threw down a surge and passed as authoritatively as I could so that she wouldn’t try to come with me. But then I also had the fear that she would pass me before the end. I thought a lot about Deena Kastor’s new book which I had just finished reading. She talked a lot about positive mindset and self-talk, and I tried to implement every one of her tricks. There were a couple of brutal hills in the last mile, and by the last one, I was starting to feel a little grumpy (and vaguely tempted to walk).

Run for the Troops 5k elevation profileAnd that was when I realized, this is it. This is the mental moment where you can check out and run comfortably, or you can continue to push until you taste blood in the back of your throat (her words, not mine). So I grinded up that hill and tried to take advantage on the downhill. Mile 3 – 7:01 (I definitely think this would have been sub-7 if there hadn’t been that brutal hill).

Finally, I could hear the music and see the turn-off into the parking lot where the race was finishing. Whipping around the corner, I could hear someone shout “5th female”! Which was such a cool feeling. I’m not usually that close to the front and it just made me feel like such a badass. The Good Times Series lady never passed me and I crossed the finish line in 22:02.

Run for the Troops 5k

I was indeed 5th female, and 3rd in my age group. I was also a good 1 minute and 30 seconds faster than when I ran it in 2015. It’s moments like these that are why I love running so gosh darn much. There’s nothing like good old race results for looking at how far you’ve come from when you started. And you know I’m coming for that sub 22 minute 5k!

Post race starbucksNo medals at the race this year so we got some Starbucks to celebrate with instead. 🙂

So overall, a really fun day and it’s got me feeling even more excited for the other races I have coming up! May is going to be a busy month with the Harpoon 5-Miler on the 20th followed by the Run to Remember Half on the 27th. Can’t wait to run those and keep cruisin’ towards Chicago!

 


5ks vs. Marathons

I have run a lot of 5ks recently (even excluding the Turkey Trot mishap). There was the Boston River Run, then the Indie 5k at The Running Event in Orlando, FL (I skipped the recap on this one… There wasn’t much exciting about it to be totally honest), and this past weekend, I ran the Yulefest 5k (though I used this as more of a workout and less of a race).

Vazee 2090 Review | 2 Generations RunningAfter all these races, I had a bit of a realization.

5ks are really, freaking hard.

The 5k I ran in Orlando was PANCAKE flat, though hot and humid and I was seriously wiped out by Mile 2. It was such a struggle to keep running, which seems ridiculous given that the race was only 3.1 miles.

As crazy as it sounds, I think I prefer the slow burn of 26.2 miles to the intense blast of pain that comes with racing a 5k. Yes, the marathon beats your legs up more (and I have yet to lose a toenail from a 5k), but there is something about ticking off the miles in a marathon that makes me feel almost superhuman strong (as tired as you are by mile 20).

Baystate Marathon 2016 Race RecapI have yet to really race a 5k where I did not feel like I was at death’s door by the end.

It’s funny because people automatically assume that it’s the “less serious” runners who are running 5ks for the most part. But running a really good, fast 5k is arguably much harder than running a decent marathon time. And this is definitely something I struggle with. I was really happy with my performance at Baystate. I’m proud of running a 3:53, and I’m also 100% confident that I can improve on that. It’s harder to feel that way about the 5k, when I feel like I am clawing tooth and nail to take a few seconds off.

The 5k brings back memories of the first time I raced the 400 in high school (one lap around the track). I took off fast and kept up fairly well with the older girls at first, until the final 150 meters where my legs just locked up. I felt like I was still running hard but to everyone else, it looked like I was jogging it in.

Obviously, everyone tends to prefer things they are good at and I won’t lie that that probably plays a big part in my preference. My marathon time has improved in huge jumps over 3 attempts, but with the 5k, it’s been quite the challenge to shave off SECONDS, and I have raced more 5ks than I can count.

I know I’ll get there in my 5k, it’s just a question of putting in the work and training.

So shoutout to all the 5k runners out there! Props to you for crushing it in a race that doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves. And if you haven’t read Lauren Fleshman’s article, 10 Reasons the 5k is Freaking Awesome, you’ve GOT to read it. 🙂

Happy weekend and try to stay warm out there! It is going to be in the low teens in New England this weekend and I am pretty much ready to spend the entire weekend curled up under a blanket. 🙂


Holiday Running + Yulefest 5k

Happy Monday folks!

Can you believe we are almost halfway through the month of December?? And almost to Christmas?!

Christmas is coming | 2 Generations RunningIn keeping with the holiday spirit, I ran the Yulefest 5k in Cambridge on Sunday. With it being my 3rd 5k in a month, I decided to treat this race as more of a workout followed by a fantastic post-race party (my running club was one of the biggest teams to sign up so we had our own tent, supply of soft pretzels, Bolloco breakfast burritos, and of course, beer/hard cider).

So in spite of the frigid temps (low 20’s), I was pretty excited for this race.

Our club did a group warm-up (1 mile easy paced followed by some drills) and then it was time to go! My goal was to reign myself in on the 5k and then I was going to finish up with 4 x 2 minute intervals to round out the workout.

I got into the starting corral with only a couple minutes to spare and couldn’t work my way backwards to my desired pace group, which probably contributed to me going out a little faster than intended. Nevertheless, I didn’t feel like I was killing myself (which is how I typically feel in 5ks) so I thought that was a good sign. I hit the first mile in 7:21.

The course was mostly flat with a couple of gentle hills. While it felt super cold standing around, I have to say, the temps felt MUCH better for running than they did in the 5k I ran in Orlando last week. Plus, it was tons of fun running with all the reindeer (I was wearing a pair of antlers myself), santas, and elves. I even got a high-five from Santa outside a bar. 🙂 Mile 2 was slower but more on target for my desired pace – 7:39.

In mile 2-3, I was running next to an older guy who was breathing extremely hard (really more like gasping). I wasn’t listening to music so I felt hyper-aware of it. The good news was that it reminded me to tune in to my own breathing/effort levels. I still felt pretty solid. I knew I was working, but I didn’t feel like I was running myself into the ground (the way the guy next to me was). I hit mile 3 in 7:40 and then had an exciting .1 finish with tons of folks cheering. It amped me up and I managed to run the final stretch at a 6:53 pace, overall 23:42. Not a PR, but also not a bad time for me.

I happily grabbed a water and then made my way past the crowd to find an open area to finish up with my intervals. The sidewalks were crowded, but I quickly found a little park, which was the perfect size for my 2 minute intervals. The first was a little slow as I dodged the folks on the sidewalks – 7:33 pace. The last 3 were much better and made me pretty excited (as tough as they were).

Interval 2 – 2 min @ 6:56/mile

Interval 3 – 2 min @ 6:54/mile

Interval 4 – 2 min @ 6:48/mile.

And all after running a 5k at an avg 7:31/mile pace. 🙂

I know the intervals are short but it does make me pretty excited to see sub-7 min paces popping up on my watch. Gives me good feelings about what will happen in half marathon #17. 🙂

After finishing the intervals, I made my way back to enjoy the post-race party. It was chilly, but still an awesome time. And my running club won for fastest team!

yulefestHow was your weekend?

Did anyone else race? Any holiday themed runs?


The Race that Wasn’t

Remember how I said I was running a Turkey Trot this year and was all excited to try to beat my time from the Boston River Run? I had it all planned out – I was going to show up an hour early, pick up my packet, warm up, and then race. My plan was to drive over by myself since no one else in my family was joining me for this 5k. At the last minute, my dad decided to come along to watch.

We headed over to Ayer and got there in about 20 minutes. I thought it was a little surprising that there were so few cars on the road, but figured that most people didn’t want to show up an hour early for a 5k. Similarly, there were some spectators standing along the course, but no runners. I didn’t think much of it and hurried over to the fire station where packet pick-up was.

Inside, there was a busy group of volunteers doling out the post-race apple crisp. I was surprised to not see anyone handing out race packets. I asked an older gentleman if I was in the right place for bib pick-up.

“Packet pick-up? It’s over – the race is almost over!”

And that’s when it dawned on me. It was 8:12. I had thought the race started at 9, but nope. 8 am sharp. $h!t. I think I got confused because when I had been looking for a turkey trot to sign up for, I had been between 2 options – one at 9 am and this one, at 8 am.

Embarrassed, I hurried back outside to explain the situation to my dad but found him talking to a couple of runners from my running club. He’d clearly heard the news. I had missed the race.

img_1980-editedSmiling, but I’m actually pretty embarrassed and disappointed.

We hung around for a bit and watched as the fastest runners started coming in and crossing the finish line. The only saving grace was the most adorable yellow lab puppy that was there with a spectator that I got to pet for a bit while the pup attempted to play with our giant, 10-year old lab that my dad had brought with us.

We went home after a while and I channeled my frustration into a 5-mile progression run. M1 – 9:20, M2 – 8:59, M3 – 8:58, M4 – 8:45, M5 – 8:32. The rest of Thanksgiving was a wonderful day with my family and plenty of delicious food. I was bummed about the race but I definitely did not let it spoil the rest of the day.

I’m happy to have another 5k coming up on Wednesday this week at a running conference I’ll be attending for work. I’ll have the chance to redeem myself and you can bet your life I’ll be double-checking the start time, my alarm, AND the packet pick-up times. Generally speaking, I’m a very organized person and I love to plan things in advance. We’ll call this one a wake-up call to give my own races a little more attention to detail the next time around. 🙂

Have you ever missed a race? What was the cause?


Boston River Run 5k

Happy Monday folks!

Can you believe we’re pretty much halfway through November? I can’t. But, I’m stoked that Thanksgiving is only a short 2 weeks away. 🙂 I can’t think of anything better than a holiday that includes a race, time with family, and LOTS of pie. Seriously, Thanksgiving is the holiday of all holidays for runners!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This past weekend, I ran the first 5k of 3 that I recently signed up for, the Boston River Run 5k. This was a small race held at Artesani Park along the Charles River in Boston. This was also my first race (and sustained effort) since Baystate. Chatting with my mom on Friday, we spontaneously decided to turn it into a girls weekend, even though she couldn’t run (injuries suck). We had a low-key night on Saturday, which was perfect since I was pretty exhausted from working an event Saturday morning.

On Sunday, we Ubered over to the park with plenty of time for me to grab my bib and fit in a decent warm-up. It was sunny and in the low 50’s, pretty much a beautiful fall day. I jogged an easy mile and then did some stretching and drills followed by a few strides. In the past, I’ve been very  loosey-goosey with my warm-ups, but I’m making an effort to try to include them now because they do make a huge difference.

We listened to the National Anthem and then lined up. My mom got into place to play race photographer. 🙂 It was a bit of a narrow bike path that we were running on, so I tried to put myself towards the front of the corral so that I wouldn’t have to weave around people like crazy. Right at 9 am, we were off!

I must have been pretty excited that first mile because I really took off. Probably a little too fast. But, the 5k is kind of supposed to be all out, so I’m still  struggling with figuring out how one is supposed to pace it. Anyway, I took off like a bat out of hell and was running hard with some very fast ladies at the front of the pack. I looked down at my watch and saw that my pace was in the 6:40 range. Eek. This was going to hurt. I hit the first mile in 6:57. As far as I know, this is the fastest mile I have ever run. Pretty exciting stuff, but running another 2 miles after that was really freaking hard.

After the first mile, it finally registered in my brain that I still had another 2.1 miles to go and that I was going to need to slow down a bit. There was a slight incline as we crossed a bridge to the other side of the river which also slowed me down a bit. I tried to concentrate on my breathing, but that was slightly alarming because I sounded like I was dying (I have mild exercise-induced asthma and it’s worse in the cold air). So I just tried to focus on the couple of runners ahead of me, trying to keep pace with them. Second mile – 7:31. I slowed down by more than 30 seconds, but this still felt tough!

Once I was past Mile 2, it all became about survival. I only had a mile to go, so I just had to hold steady and try not to fall apart anymore than I already was. We passed a water station and I was tempted to grab a cup but I knew it would probably add seconds onto my time (not really an issue in a marathon, but in a 5k, those seconds matter!).

Boston River Run 5k

After what felt like an eternity, we were finally looping back into the park where the spectators were waiting. My watch beeped for Mile 3 – 7:33. Score! I had managed to hold the pace for another mile. I sprinted across the finish, stride for stride with an older gentleman who had caught up to me during the third mile. Final time: 22:57, which comes to an average pace of 7:19 per mile.

Boston River Run 5k

Boston River Run 5kALMOST THERE!!

Overall, I’m happy with this effort. This does make me realize though that what I consider my 5k PR (the 22:29) was 100% because the course was short. My average pace for that race was 7:24/mile. Slower than what I ran on Sunday, but roughly 30 seconds faster in overall time, which doesn’t make sense. So if that course had been the correct 3.1 miles, I would have finished in 22:56, pretty much equivalent to what I ran today.

So this puts me in a bit of a conundrum. I guess if I’m being realistic, I should call today’s 22:57 my PR. Either that, or I just have to go out and run another 5k (on an accurate course) and beat 22:29. I’ll have another shot in a few weeks on Thanksgiving so we will see what happens then! 🙂

Are you running a turkey trot? Have you run a short course before? Favorite type of pie on Thanksgiving? I’m a big fan of pecan pie myself. 🙂


Back At It Again!

Hey Friends!

Hope you all had a great weekend! I popped in on Saturday to share a review of a fantastic new brand of compression socks, so if you missed my review, be sure to check it out!

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, one of the things I have been looking forward to most is getting back to running some speedy 5ks now that my marathon season is over. I’m very excited to officially have a few races on my calendar as part of that plan! Next Sunday, I’ll be running the Boston River Run 5k. Given that it’s along the Charles, it should be flat and fast. I’m very curious to see how my legs will handle it. I ran a different 5k along the Charles shortly after Delaware and hit a pretty big PR, so I’m wondering if I will see a similar effect this time around? Honestly, I don’t have any expectations though. I really want to use it to gauge my current fitness level. I also signed up for a local Turkey Trot 5k for Thanksgiving. That course should have a few rolling hills in it, but I just want to have fun and get a little exercise in before feasting with my family. 🙂 Then in December, I’ll be running the Cambridge Yulefest 5k. This race is HUGELY popular with my running club and pretty much everyone I’ve talked to about it has said that it’s an absolute blast, so I’m pretty excited for it. So 3 5ks in 2 months! Praise the lord for short races with quick recovery times.

I eased back into some running this week, but so far, I’ve still been keeping the mileage pretty low and most of the runs on the easy side.

Monday – I flew home so no workout. But it felt good to come home to Boston!

Tuesday – An easy 4-miler on my regular route. I ran in the early afternoon and it felt great to finally be back at it.

Wednesday– I ran home from work. I LOVE that I can get in a nice, 4.5 mile run from my office! I wish I had done this sooner! I was treated to this pretty epic view which just made it that much better. I’m beginning to think Boston might just have the prettiest sunsets ever.

img_1796Thursday – Speed workout with my running club. It has been ages since I’ve been to one of these workouts! Between my travel schedule and marathon training, I hadn’t been there in MONTHS. Now that things have slowed down at work, I’m really looking forward to attending these workouts and getting more involved in the club.

Friday – Much needed rest day. I was a little sore from the workout the day before, so I think my legs needed the rest.

Saturday – Another easy 4-miler.Running RouteThere’s nothing like running in the Fall. My route is looking gorgeous!

Sunday – Rest day.

Overall, my legs are feeling pretty good. I’m looking forward to starting to incorporate some harder workouts, some races, and to start slowly increasing my mileage again.

How was your week? What’s your favorite part of Fall running – cooler temps, beautiful scenery, something else?