2019 Races

It’s that time of year. The time when runners eagerly start planning out their race schedules for the year. Obviously, I’m no exception. I didn’t run a single race in 2018 due to pregnancy and having a newborn, so I’m itching to get back out there. Some shiny new PRs would be great, but I mostly just want to have some goals to work toward now that I’m not working.

Because I’m a full-time mom and we are now living on a single income, I have to be a lot more selective about races. These days, location and price are paramount. Gone are the days when I could wake up at 3:30 am and drive to upstate New York and back in a single day just for a race. If it’s further than an hour’s drive, it’s not happening. And the price-to-swag ratio has to work out. I’m not paying $50 for a race with no medal, ya dig?

The pickings in my area are rather slim, but there are a few good races that I’m pretty excited about, including some repeats. Obviously, it’s early days, and I’m not 100% sure that these races will all work for me, but I think one-ish race per month from May through November is realistic from a training and expense standpoint.

Behold, my tentative race schedule:

May
Right now, I have three races that I’d like to do in May, but will likely only run one or two. First, the Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k, which I’ve run every year since we moved back from Boston except last year. They haven’t actually posted the date yet, but it’s an annual event, and usually takes place in early May.

Next up is the GMAA Pump it Up 5 Miler on May 4. I ran this race back in 2015 and really enjoyed it. With a $15 registration fee, it’s a deal, and it’s also very close to home. There are no frills–no medals, no shirts, but there are bagels at the finish line and VERY good raffle and age group prizes. Unfortunately, the Jiggety Jog and Pump it Up 5 Miler have a history of being held on the same day. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen this year!

Lastly is the Vermont City Marathon Relay. I’m definitely not ready to train for another full, but I’d love to run a leg of the relay. I have some friends who usually put a team together, so we’ll see what happens there.

July 
I’ve put the Stowe 8 Miler on my race wish list many times, but I’ve never actually gone ahead and done the thing. It’s a unique distance, it’s close to home, and finishers get a medal, a shirt, and a craft beer. This is my kind of race!

August
Another race I’ve heard great things about but never gotten around to running is the Fairfax Egg Run. They offer a 5k and 10k in addition to a kids’ race. I haven’t run a 10k race in ages, and they serve breakfast at the finish. This race is also super close to our house, which is a big bonus.

October
I got my current half marathon PR at the Leaf Peepers Half in 2017, and while it was a VERY challenging course, it was also lots of fun. Registration is cheap, and while you don’t get a medal, you can get a shirt for an extra $5. Post-race food is good, and again, it’s fairly close to home. I’m not sure I want to train for a half this year, but if I do, this will be it.

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Aaaah, memories

November
Another unique distance and fairly new race on the scene would be the Vermont 10 Miler. Last year was the inaugural race, and from what I saw on social media, it was very popular. The registration fee is very reasonable, and finishers get a medal and a shirt. Stowe is also just a hop, skip and a jump away, which makes it all the more appealing.

What are some criteria that help you decide which races to run?

 

Roller Coaster Race Recap Part 1: The Run

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Roller Coaster Race Lake George as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I decided to do this recap in two parts, since I technically participated in two races. If you want just a brief recap of the details, feel free to check out my BibRave review here.

What/Where/When: Roller Coaster 10k @ Great Escape, Lake George, NY, 7/16/16

Weather: Mid-60’s at the start, sunny, with 90% humidity!

Pre-Race:
I had to wake up at 3:30 am to drive to Lake George on the morning of the race because I couldn’t afford a hotel stay. It was an uneventful drive and after a stop at Dunkin Donuts for some much-needed caffeine, I arrived at the Great Escape at about 6:15 am. I was really happy that the race offered race day packet pickup, otherwise I may not have been able to do it.

Photo Jul 16, 6 26 34 AM

Packet pick-up was very smooth, and while gear check was available, I just decided to leave my stuff in my car, which was only a short walk away from the start line. There was a DJ booth set up, and announcements were made every so often. I just hung out in the staging area, which was a big parking lot, warming up and waiting to start. I managed to get into a porta potty before the lines got too long. While there were only about 300 runners between the 5k and 10k, the number of porta potties was too low, in my opinion. There were still a lot of runners in line to go when it was time to start.

On the Course:
The course was a loop around and through the park, or a double loop for the 10k runners. I was very concerned about the humidity, but the course was surprisingly well-shaded; I’d say at least half the course has decent tree cover. It’s also a nice mix of packed sand/dirt trails and running on pavement, so it was easy on the joints.

Overall it’s a pretty flat course, with a few small hills, only one of which is truly noteworthy, around the 1.5 mile mark of the loop. I just tried to take it easy and be in the moment. If I felt good, I picked up the pace, if I felt overheated or tired, I slowed down. There were two water stops on the loop, which I think was just enough, but even so, the humidity was awful, and I seriously considered just stopping after 5k.

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Starting loop #2

Somehow I managed to convince myself to finish the full 10k, and repeated the loop around the park. There were some very cool parts, like running behind my favorite roller coaster, the Comet, but on the whole, it’s not a super exciting course. Lots of twists and sharp turns through the park itself. I will say, though, that the volunteers on the course were top notch. The course was very well-marked with chalk arrows, and plenty of volunteers at any of the areas where runners might be confused about which way to go. All of the volunteers were super helpful and encouraging, which made a mentally tough race a lot nicer for me.

During the last half mile or so, I found myself chasing another woman. I didn’t want to kick too early and end up puking at the finish, so I stayed close to her. As we neared the finish line, her daughter was waiting for her and encouraging her to finish strong. She sped up, so I did too, and we ended up racing each other to the finish. She almost passed me right before the finish line, but I kicked it up to a sprint and finished just ahead of her. I’m just a little bit competitive sometimes… My official finish time was 1:03:18, which is a 3 minute PR for me! Woohoo!

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You can see the woman I was racing on the right

Post-Race:

Photo Jul 16, 8 41 16 AMThere were volunteers on hand to immediately dispense medals, and the food tent was a short distance away. My only complaint about the race comes here: all of the beverages were warm. Not one single cold beverage to be found. They had water, three different flavors of Gatorade, and Muscle Milk, but they were all warm-to-hot. All I wanted after such a disgustingly warm and humid race was a cold drink, and there were none. I was so excited to see chocolate Muscle Milk, but when I picked it up and it was warm, I actually said “Ugh!” out loud and put it back. I couldn’t imagine drinking a warm protein shake. Ugh.

I was also a little disappointed with the food. There were bananas, apples, dry grocery store bagels (maybe there were spreads, but I didn’t see them), and cookies. I really could have used something a bit more substantial, especially considering that none of the food vendors in the park opened until 11 am (which I didn’t find out until later), and it was now only 9 am. But that’s a tale for the “Ride” race recap.

I stretched out a bit in the finish area, ate my banana, then went to my car to get my bag with change of clothes etc for my day in the park. And that’s where I’ll leave it until part 2.

Would you drink a room temperature Muscle Milk?

Roller Coaster Race Goals

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Roller Coaster Race Lake George as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

When I first registered for this race way back when, I had big dreams of a nice 10k PR. My official 10k race PR is just over 1:06, though I’ve run faster than that during virtual races or training runs. The problem is, I didn’t run for three weeks due to my tailbone injury, and I haven’t run more than 5 miles in one go since marathon training.

At this point, all I can hope for is that I am able to finish the race without killing myself. Aside from the lack of training, I have to wake up at 3 am to drive the 2 hours to Lake George on Saturday morning because I can’t afford a hotel stay. I will most likely be exhausted and grumpy, so I can’t really see myself running a snappy 10k.

Still though, I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t lay out some official goals, even though some of them are pretty unlikely at this point. The A goal is my “Holy crap, everything is going perfectly and I can’t believe this is happening right now” goal. The B goal is my “I am super duper stoked about this” goal, and the C goal is my realistic, “unless something goes horribly wrong I can do this” goal.

  • A Goal: Sub-60 finish. I know I can do this. I’ve done it before, just not in a while.
  • B Goal: PR, which is anything under 1:06. This isn’t totally out of the question, but it is nowhere near a given, considering my training lately.
  • C Goal: Finish healthy and uninjured. I’ve been through a lot lately with my running, and I’m just starting to get back to the point where it’s pain-free and enjoyable. I don’t want to throw it away chasing PR dreams.

What I end up doing on race day will be a totally in-the-moment decision based on how I feel at the start line, and I will be constantly re-evaluating throughout the race to make sure that I achieve my most important goal–finishing still able to run. And regardless of how the race goes, I’m very excited to spend some time in the park, riding roller coasters, and hitting some water slides in Splashwater Kingdom. One of my fellow BibRave Pros will be there, and I think a few of my friends have also registered, so I’m hoping to hook up with some people, otherwise I’ll be on my own all day.

Do you set goals for races even if training hasn’t been great?

 

GIVEAWAY: One Entry to Roller Coaster Race Lake George

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Roller Coaster Race Lake George as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Hooray, friends! I have a giveaway for you! As you may remember, I will be running the Roller Coaster Race 10k in Lake George on July 16. This is a USATF-certified course, and there’s also a certified 5k option. The race course winds around The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom theme park in Lake George, and your registration also gets you a park ticket for the day plus free parking!

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There’s also the option to “ride” a 5k worth of distance in roller coasters, with a separate medal and t-shirt for the riding race. You can bet your butt that I’ll be going home with TWO medals, because I love love love roller coasters.

If you’re interested in entering the giveaway and possibly joining me in Lake George, leave a blog post comment telling me about your favorite roller coaster or theme park, or both! Your comment is your entry.

***The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!***

The fine print: Giveaway will be open until 12 am ET on Sunday, July 10th. One entry per person. Winner will be chosen via random number generator. Winner will be notified on Monday, July 11, and will receive a free registration code valid only for the Lake George Race on July 16. The last day for online registration is Tuesday, July 12, so registration code must be redeemed by then.

So What Now?

You might have noticed that I’ve been taking this whole marathon DNF thing pretty hard. I honestly feel like I’m grieving. Like I’ve lost something that I can never get back. I’m still sorting through my feelings and trying to decide if another marathon is a) in the books at all, and b) if I want to do it sooner rather than later. It’s hard to figure out, and I’m taking my time. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already looking at fall marathons (it’s part of the decision-making process), but NOTHING has been decided yet.

In the meantime, though, I’m trying to find something else to focus on, and THANK GOODNESS I’m already signed up for a 10k race in July.

Coaster Swag

On July 16, I’ll be running the Run or Ride 10k at the Great Escape theme park in Lake George, NY through my association with the BibRave Pro program. There are MANY reasons I’m excited for this race. Here are just a few reasons:

  1. The Great Escape is my favorite theme park
  2. My favorite rollercoaster, the Comet, is there
  3. I’m thinking a 10k PR is a distinct possibility
  4. I get TWO medals–one for running, and another for riding rollercoasters

This week is week one of my 10k training plan, and I’m VERY excited to get back to speed work and running shorter, faster distances.

I also need to re-learn how to eat like a normal person, and not a person who is training for a marathon. For the last several months, I have literally been eating whatever I want, whenever I want, with very few restrictions. For a short while after my chat with Coach Suz, things were better, and then they weren’t. I sort of mentally threw my hands up in the air and said “Fuck it! I’m marathon training. I’ll deal with this shit later.” And now it’s later and it’s time to deal with this shit. Time to back away from the sweets and the booze, dial in portion sizes, and eat a lot more fruits and veggies. Thankfully, summer is pretty much here, so it’s a lot easier to access tasty, fresh produce.

I’ll still being going to hot yoga once a week, which I’m very excited about, and I’ll be trying to incorporate even just a tiny bit of strength training into my workouts, because I know I can only benefit from it. I’m also excited to get back to running with various running clubs again. The Terrible Turtles are all WAY faster than me, but they’re fun and welcoming, so I hope to join them at least once a week for a long run, and maybe a few trail races too, which would be totally new to me.

Do you like to ride rollercoasters?

A Breakdown of My First 10k Race

As I mentioned in my race recap post yesterday, my first official 10k race did not go the way I had planned. I ran a slower pace than I would have liked, slower than I know I’m capable of. Also, to be quite frank, I felt like crap for most of the race, which is no fun. I’ve spent a lot of time since Saturday thinking about where things went off the rails, so I decided to do a breakdown of what went right versus what went poorly, in the hopes that I can learn from my mistakes and hopefully do a better job of preparing myself next time.

What Went Right

  • Got plenty of sleep
  • My outfit was perfect for the weather and conditions

What Went Wrong

  • Huge helping of greasy, spicy nachos the night before
  • Didn’t eat enough pre-race
  • Should have brought a handheld water bottle or hydration belt–it was hot and humid
  • Should have had some kind of fuel mid-run, but I ran out of gels and chews recently and haven’t had a chance to buy more
  • My shakeout run the night before was way too fast, which may have tired out my legs

This was the most disappointing race I’ve had in a while. I’ve run virtual 10k races before, as well as 10k training runs, and I’ve finished all of them faster than I finished this race. It’s also really discouraging to feel like hell for 6.2 miles. I definitely need to get my weekend long runs up to 6 miles on the regular so that these middle distances don’t feel so long and awful.

I also need to come up with a pre-race plan/routine. More often than not, I just do what I feel like doing in the moment. I usually have oatmeal or a bagel before a race, but sometimes I mix it up and have cereal or eggs. I usually eat a healthy dinner the night before a race, but sometimes I have nachos, or a big greasy burger. My race performance is generally unpredictable as a result. Sometimes I feel amazing, and others, I feel like death. I’d be willing to bet that having a more consistent plan of attack will help me perform better.

Do you have a pre-race routine/ritual, or do you fly by the seat of your pants like me?

Race Recap: Jaxson’s Dog Days of Summer 10k

This is my recap of my personal experience at this race. If you’re more interested in nitty gritty details, check out my BibRave review here. Also, don’t forget to help out your fellow runners by reviewing every race you run on BibRave.com!

When:  Saturday, July 25 at 8 am

Where:  Shelburne, VT

Weather:  Warm, sunny, and humid

Pre-Race:

Full disclosure here: I made a very poor choice the night before this race. We were at the ballpark so the Chess cast could sing the national anthem before the Lake Monsters game. I hadn’t had time to eat anything before we arrived and I was starving. We had carpooled with friends and couldn’t leave, so what did I do? I got nachos. You know the kind: fake liquidy orange spicy cheese, smothered with diced jalapenos and black olives and served with salsa and sour cream. I had a moment of prescience, like, “Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t eat these if I’m racing tomorrow…” *shrugs* *eats all the nachos* So yeah, bad nutrition choice there. And then the morning of, instead of my usual oatmeal or bagel, I had a bowl of cereal with almond milk. I also gulped down a glass of Nuun and then ran out the door.

I arrived about 30 minutes before race start, which was plenty of time for parking, getting my bib, using the restroom a couple of times, and greeting a few friends from run club. It was a very small race, with most people having chosen the 5k option, so I was not-so-secretly hoping I might squeak by with an Age Group award. I lined up towards the back of the pack, and with a surprisingly loud blast from the starting gun, we were off.

During the Race

For miles 1 and 2, I was working really hard to keep a slow, easy pace. I didn’t want to go out too fast and not have anything left for the end. I knew this race had a lot of rolling hills on the trail portion. Only about 1.2 miles of this race were on the road, and the rest were on the Ti-Haul Trail and the Shelburne Bay Rec Path, which is mostly shaded, and very pleasant, aside from the hills.

From mile 2.5ish to the turnaround at the water station/halfway point, I started to feel really rough. I was hot, sweaty, and thirsty. I also was starting to feel like maybe I hadn’t eaten enough. I stopped at the water station and had a cup of water and a cup of electrolytes to try to get something in my system.

I continued running, but slowed down significantly in the last few miles. At first, my mantra was “You’re almost done. It’s a beautiful day. You’re not last.” I repeated that over and over until mile 5, when it became: “Just finish. And don’t puke.” Eventually, I finally made it, and when I was in sight of the finish line, I picked it up for a fast finish. My friend Alan from run club was right there cheering for me, and I saw my friend Janet too (she had run the 5k).

Post Race

Immediately after I finished, I felt like I might puke, but didn’t. I got a bottle of water and just walked laps around the finishing area until my heart rate came down. There was a massage station and a stretching station run by a chiropractic office, so I took advantage of both of those. The chiro thinks I have an imbalance in my right hip, which I think is true based on my own observations, so that may require some attention in the future.

Photo Jul 25, 11 53 22 AMAfter stretching and massage, it was time for awards. Since there were only two females in my age group, and the other female was the first female overall for the 10k, I ended up winning my age group by default. Woo! I got a snazzy pint glass with the RaceVermont logo on it. I also won a free chiro evaluation from the raffle, which means that I can actually go get my hip checked out for free. Sweet!

I’m still processing this race, because it definitely didn’t go the way I’d hoped it would. I’ll probably do a deconstruction post later this week to try and figure out what happened. One thing I know for sure was a bad idea: jalapenos in copious amounts.

Have you ever totally sabotaged yourself before a race with poor nutrition?