Steel Rail Half Marathon Race Recap

I signed up for this race for several reasons:

  • It was local and I could sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • I would be mostly trained since I ran a half three weeks before this race.
  • It is a flat course.
  • I PR’d on this same course back in October.

Half Marathon Training:

If you read my blog, you know that my training included ZERO long runs but lot’s of races and a vacation in Florida.

Yes, I got some miles on the legs. I ran a slow half marathon (due to the fact that I didn’t train well), ran a 5k instead of my 12 mile long run, and then tapered with a 8 miler. And that’s it.  So be it.

Not what you’d expect for a runner wanting to get a PR.

I was still excited to run the race. I knew that I didn’t deserve to get a PR and I was hoping that I wouldn’t be too disappointed with a mediocre performance.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I reached out to FB friends who ran the Steel Rail Half Marathon last May and here’s what they said:

  • I loved it. Nice flat, downhill course.
  • The course is great!
  • Loved the course! It’s fast!

I also found some more info by searching online for reviews of the race.

The course is wonderful. It runs point-to-point from Lanesborough to Adams. It starts with two loops around the Berkshire Mall … then goes onto the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail for ten miles. The scenery is lovely. .. you can enjoy views of Mt. Greylock, lakes, and woods. And by the time you’re really hurting at mile ten, the trail starts gently sloping downhill, for real. If you want a half marathon PR, this is the course

Amenities included easy parking, plenty of porta-potties, a post-race massage tent, food, and beer. The tech race shirt was nice and offered women’s sizing. Prizes ran deep; Kent gave out generous checks for the top three overall winners and the top three masters, plus merchandise from his running store, Berkshire Running Center in downtown Pittsfield, for the top three age group winners… After the ceremony, buses delivered participants back to the start. I’d highly recommend this race…

Here’s the course map:

And the map of the elevation:

downhill at the end…sweet!

No 12 miles of walking the day before this half marathon!!! But I did do a lot of gardening. I decided against driving to Mass to get my bib (as I did in October) and instead spent a relaxing afternoon on the lake..

To celebrate both my birthday and the hubby’s, we went out to dinner. Carb loading to the max but no alcohol this time!

dinner view

I hardly ever get much sleep the night before a big race. And this night, it was no different.

Race Day:

So 6:30 am came early on Sunday morning. Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep in on a weekend??

The race was scheduled to start at 9:30 am. I was happy about the late start except for the fact that it was May not October and the temps could have been really warm.


Luckily the 90 degree temps left for awhile. And it was actually pretty chilly. I wore my usual half marathon outfit of a tank and skirt. Just added my DIY sleeves to discard when I warmed up.

According to Google, it should have taken about 1h 15 to get there.  So I left my house at 7:15 am.

My GPS took me on the back roads and it was a really gorgeous ride.

I got there plenty early. The race started in the parking lot of the Berkshire Shopping Mall.  Easy to get to and lots of parking.

gender-specific race shirt 🙂

I picked up by bib and race shirt. The bib had two timing chips that you have to attach with safety pins to your shorts or front of y our shirt.  Then you return them at the end of the race. Weird, right?

Since the race ended in Adams, MA, they gave you a bag to check stuff which would be available at the finish line.  Very convenient. I packed flip flops, a dry shirt and a jacket in it.

It was quite chilly – about 40 degrees colder than Thursday and cloudy. I shivered but knew that I would warm up once I started running. I stayed in my car for a while but eventually got out to mingle with the other runners. I didn’t see anyone that I knew but instantly made some new friends.  The runners were so friendly.

Since I had eaten breakfast three hours ago, I was hungry so ate a GU before the start.

Soon it was time to head to the start line.

The race is a blur as usual but here’s how I remember it:

Miles 1-3:

9:02, 9:17, 9:23

Image result for steel rail half

The starting line was in the parking lot. I wasn’t sure if there were chip timing or gun timing. And I didn’t start as close to the front as I usually do, though.

For the first two miles, you ran around the parking lot. Like any race, the first mile/mile-and-a-half, was a big congested.  This was the hilliest part of the course (and it wasn’t that hilly.)

This also was the only part of the course where you could somewhat attempt to run tangents (Of course, I did.)

pic from FB

As usual, I got caught up in the excitement and when I glanced down at my Garmin, I saw that I was running 8:XX pace during the first mile. I quickly slowed down.  I knew that to trying to run that pace would be deadly.

I left on my DIY warm warmers but rolled them down but by the second time around, I tossed them (by the start line but forgot to pick them up after the race, anyway.)

Anita Louise Photography

pic from the web site

After mile 2, we left the parking lot and entered the trail.

A little while after we entered the trail, there was the first water stop.  I always stop at ALL water stops during a half marathon and even though I wasn’t warm or thirsty, I did so during this race, as well.

The trail was beautiful.  River at first on the right side, then also a lake on the left side.  Then eventually, the river was on the left side. I wish I could have gotten out my phone from my race belt more easily so I could have taken some photos.

pic from the website

I was still running at a decent pace and was in the zone. Of course, that pesky foot problem existed the whole time. (My bunion causes my big toe on my left foot to overlap the next toe causing toe pain and often sorenes on the bottom of my foot…ouch!!!)

Early on, a runner in pink asked me what my pace would be since she hadn’t run a half in many years.  I replied that I hoped that it would be around 10. To which she replied “I’ll try to keep you in my sight.”

She looked very fit and I was slightly ahead of her at various times during the race but at the water stops when I walked, she got way ahead.  Still it was nice to have someone to chat with so I tried to keep her pink shirt in my sights.

Miles 4-6:

9:55, 9:28, 9:30

As usual, after the first few miles, I started slowing  a little.  But I was still running at a decent pace (for me.)

There another water stop at almost mile 4 and I walked for a while. (I didn’t really need to but I am so used to walking when there is water.) I debated about eating a Gu but decided that I didn’t need it yet.

pic from Andrea’s FB)

We continued on the same trail and I just focused on the scenery.

The temperature was perfect for running.  Even a little chilly when we were running along the lake and could feel the cool breeze.

Then all of a sudden, maybe at almost mile 6, at another water stop, I realized that I was ahead of my time from the Ramblefest. Should I start thinking PR?

Nah!  Anything can and usually does happen during the second half of a half marathon.

So I walked and ate a GU.  (I wish I could eat them faster but I never can.)

Then it happened again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Garmin reset to zero!!! (It happened during my last 2 marathons.  There’s nothing to change in the settings!?)

So no idea of my current time. No idea of my current pace!! Pissed me off………..

Miles 7-9:

10:19, 9:41, 10:06

What could I do?  Nothing.

So I just continued piggy backing with the runner in pink and enjoying the FLAT course.

pic from Andrea’s FB

There was another water stop around mile 8 and I walked through that one too.  Again, I was amazed at our fresh my legs still felt.

I wasn’t sure what my average pace was however, I knew that I was running slower than the first half but not too badly. Since I don’t run by pace, it didn’t matter.  I had NO IDEA how much time had elapsed in the race. That would be how I would determine my finish time and if I were on track for a PR.

Such is life…

Miles 10-12

9:54, 10:42, 9:13

pic from Andrea’s FB

A little past mile 9, there was the next to last water stop.  I walked through it and ate my second GU.  I forgot to buy more so I was stuck with Chocolate and I instantly got stomach cramps…UGH!!

I was determined to muscle through them.  At least, the made me forget about my sore foot.

At mile 10 along the side of the road, I spotted Andrea, my roommate from the Philly Love Run.  We hugged. It was a great boost when I needed it.

She told that I looked strong and at that point, I decided that I wanted that PR…

Mile 13- 13.2:

8:47, ?? (My Garmin recorded the course as long.)

So I ran faster and caught up to the runner in pink and even passed her.

Believe it or not, my Garmin reset itself to zero again… it didn’t really matter since I hadn’t used it since mile 6.

Finally we left the trail. The race ended with a series of 2 left hand turns. We turned left onto Hoosac St. and left onto Depot St. and the finish line was on Depot St. in front of the Adams Visitor Center parking lot.

It seemed to take forever….

I wasn’t sure that I was going to PR.

But anyway as I made the last turn, I gave it everything I had.

I crossed under 2:07 and IT WAS A PR!!!!!!!!!!! (My previous PR was 2:08:59 in October on this same course.)

Gun or Chip Time: 2:06:52

A 2 minute 7 second PR!!! Almost 14 minutes faster than my last half marathon! I’ll take it.

I was on cloud nine.  A PR is great but one that you didn’t plan for is even better.  It was the first half marathon where  I didn’t struggle to complete it. My legs never felt tired.  I’m not sure exactly why but I think at my age, the 4 rest days and the long taper (5ks rather than long runs) helped.

Post Race:

I got my medal, some water, a bagel, and a banana. Then I headed to get my free beer.

I’m not really a big beer drinker but this tasted good

With our food ticket, we could get anything that cost $3 for free. Believe it or not, we could have had a hamburger, chili, hot dog, sausage, fried dough but I chose a hot dog. And it was yummy!

I wandered around waiting for the results.

They gave out cash and pottery for top awards and a coffee tumbler for AG awards.

I also bumped into a former student of mine and her mom.  She won the Masters.

Congrats Michele! You are speedy!

I came in 5th or 6th in my AG, I think.

So I headed toward the buses. On the bus back to the mall, I chatted with some runners who are planning to run Wine Glass. We hoped to meet again.

My last stop before heading home was Target to do some shopping and get my post-race Starbucks.  Coincidentally, in Target, I ran into a law professor whom I used to work with. She had also run the race.

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Close enough to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • Organized packet pick-up.
  • Lots of parking and easy to locate.
  • Real bathrooms after the race.
  • Enthusiastic volunteers and crowd support.
  • Scenic course especially with the foliage and water views.
  • Flat course!!
  • No major injuries. (just the usual foot pain and some stomach cramps
  • Gender-specific shirts
  • Decent selection of refreshments (free beer & $3 food coupon)
  • The post race music, massages and food stands were nice
  • PRed!! Woot! Woot!

The Bad:

  • The two laps around the parking lot were boring. (It did save the expense of closing roads to make up the 13.1 miles)
  • The late start for a May race.
  • No professional race photos (just a few on the newspaper website and on FB)

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really.

It was a great race. I loved it! I would have enjoyed it even if I didn’t get a PR!  But that made it just sweeter.

one last look at my PR medal

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I don’t usually repeat half marathons but if I did, I would run this one again.

Final Stats:

Next Up:

Oct 1 – Wine Glass Half Marathon in Corning, NY. (or possibly the Maple Leaf Half in VT on Sept. 9.)


Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these wonderful ladies:

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs, Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and Patty @ My no-guilt life for


I’m also linking with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches’ Corner

Happy Running! Do you have a favorite Half Marathon? Do you train to PR? Or does it happen by surprise?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running Update: 5.15.17-5.22.17

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Last Week:

  • Monday – My legs were tired from running 2 days in a row but this might have been my last FRW Challenge group run so I went. It was great to be back after missing 2 weeks.  On the schedule was a 1 mile warm-up, 2 x 2 miles at race pace, jog cool down after each one, final cool down.  I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do it but I did the first one (3 laps on the trail) and didn’t die and on the 2nd one, I only ran race pace for the 3rd lap. It was tough but I survived!!

5 miles for the evening

  • Tuesday – Today I had to drive to Buffalo (5 hrs) for tomorrow’s training. No exercise at all.
  • Wednesday -After 8 hours of training, I had to drive home from Buffalo.  Again no exercise whatsoever.
  • Thursday – Summer arrived after an abbreviated spring. After work, I participated in the Workforce Challenge – a 3.5 mile race as part of my work team (along with 10,000 other runners.) It was 98 degrees with the humidity just as high.  I slogged along with everyone else and enjoyed meeting some new co-worker/runners.

33:40 (with lots of walking) 5th in my AG

  • Friday – Another rest day during my taper week and an hair appt. before mah jongg.
  • Saturday – Rest day #4 with some gardening, an nail appt, our first day on the lake and then out to dinner to celebrate belatedly my birthday and my hubby’s birthday (which was the next day.)
  • Sunday – Today I ran the Steel Rail Half Marathon in Mass. The course was flat, the weather was cool and my legs felt super rested. (It didn’t seem to matter that my Garmin keeps resetting after 6.2 miles.) The result: a shiny new PR!! I loved the course and enjoyed the race. Now for a training break!!

2:06:52 – PR!!!

21.5 miles done with 3 runs and 4 rest days

This Week:

  • Monday – FRW Challenge (4 miles) or solo 3 mile recovery run
  • Tuesday – rest, b-day dinner out & movie
  • Wednesday – 3 miles with Alyssa, STEM volunteer run
  • Thursday – rest, b-day dinner out
  • Friday – 3 miles, mah Jong chez moi
  • Saturday – 6 mile run
  • Sunday –  rest day, boating

Once again, I am linking up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin. See rules here.

http://hohoruns.blogspot.com

Happy Running! How is your running going? Did you race this weekend?

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2017 CDPHP® Workforce Team Challenge Race Recap

Thursday, May 18 6:25 pm

The CDPHP® Workforce Team Challenge is a 3.5-mile road race open to teams of employees from corporations, businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, not-for-profit corporations, and financial institutions. Participating companies, organizations, and agencies use the event as a platform to provide health and fitness opportunities in the workplace while promoting goodwill and camaraderie among their employees.

It takes place at the Empire State Plaza in Albany on a similar course to the old Freihofer course. It sells out early with a cap of 10,000 runners.

2011 – 33:41

At my former job, I ran this race once (in 2011), the only year I convinced them to have a team.  It was fun so I signed up to be part of a team at my new job.

That was before I knew I would be training Buffalo and have driven 5 hours home the night before.

And who knew that summer would arrive and it would be 98 degrees and HUMID.

Anyway as I remember it from 6 years ago, the course starts with a steep uphill and then flattens out.  You run through the park which has rolling hills ands then it ends with a steep downhill.

It is actually more of a run than a race.  With 10,000 participants and many walkers, I felt no pressure to do anything but finish.

When my co-worker went to get my shirt and bib, it wasn’t with the others. Eventually they tracked it down and I made plans to pick it up before the race.

Another issue is fueling. When and what do you eat for a race that starts at 6:25 pm?  

So when I finished work at 4pm, I stopped at Starbucks for a chocolate banana smoothie. I hoped that would be enough. 

To avoid the crowds, I parked my car (where I used take yoga) and walked about 1.5 miles to the start.

when I left work – it actually got up to 98 by start time

I was already sweating by the time I arrived at our designated photo meet-up.


We teamed up with the UAlbany team for a total of 60 runners. My workplace only had 13.

2 of my co-workers (in purple)

I wore my purple team shirt for a pre-race photo, then gave it to another co-worker who was not running.  I raced in a purple tank instead.

With 10,000 runners and no corral system, the runners seemed to line up for miles.  I just pushed my way into the middle and then gradually moved up.

And waited in the crowd (and sweated).

Sawyer Fredericks (winner of The Voice and a local) sang the National Anthem.

photo from the Gazette

Eventually, the race started.

This guy juggles during all his races

Of course, it took awhile before we even moved.

Workforce_Challenge-0217

last year’s start

The biggest problem with this race was that unless you were in the front and very fast, it was impossible to gain any speed.  There were walkers in the front who didn’t realize they shouldn’t be.  Then there were those who ran and then just stopped to walk.  The middle of the packers, like me, just weaved in and out, bumped into people saying “excuse me” though the entire race.

But then again except for a chosen group, it was not a “race.”  It was just a way to get out of the office and get some exercise with their co-workers.  Some businesses had 200-500 employees participating.

I think it’s a great thing. So I tried not to get annoyed or take it seriously. It helped that my Garmin refused to turn on.  And I was dying and nauseous from the heat.

Back to the race…

We started up a long uphill climb which flattened until we entered the park.

The course continued through the park with rolling hills – one or two being rather steep (I don’t remember much since I was delirious from the heat.)

There was a water stop that you passed twice.  I ran up until the first stop and then I walked.  I walked again at the 2nd water stop but by mile 3, I was fading fast.  I walked several more times.

Workforce_Challenge-0396

photo from last year

Eventually, you headed toward that downhill finish.  I got some energy back when I saw my co-worker cheering everyone on. She videoed me as I ran by.

When I saw the clock in the distance, I ran as fast as I could so that I could at least finish under 34 minutes.

I was very impressed by the race organization.  After you picked up water, you proceeded to a tent to get your time.

not an impressive time (way slower than my last race) but considering the heat and all the walking, I was content.

Then you continued on to get your race shirt, followed by another stop to a get bag with food.

I bumped into many running friends and we chatted as we walked around the Empire State Plaza.

Eventually, I made my way back to my co-workers and we made plans to meet at a bar downtown for beer and wings.

I, however, had to make the long walk back to my car…and the sky was darkening. You could see lightning and hear thunder in the distance.

Runners/walkers were still heading toward the finish line.  Everyone looked happy and to be having a great time.

It made me smile but I quickened my step to get to my car before the storm arrived.

And I did.

The highlight of the evening was meeting new co-workers and chatting about running over beer and wings.  We even discussed meeting weekly for a fun run.

So no race splits to report. No PR.  But I am glad to have participated in this race and I plan to run it again next year.


I am also sharing in the support love by linking up with a Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup hosted by

Ilka from Ilka’s Blog and Angela from Marathons & Motivation

Happy Running! Ever participate in a team race? Does the heat and humidity bother you?

 

TOLT: Half Marathons. What else?

Since it is Thursday, I’m linking up today with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

thinking out loud

Here’s what I’m thinking about today:

My Last Half Marathon.

If you read my race post, you know that it was a difficult race for me.  Some things were out of my control but as I prepare for my next one, I am also thinking about things I can control.

Things you cannot control:

  • Weather – temperature, wind, humidity, etc.
  • Course – hills, loops, etc.
  • Injuries – unforeseen
  • Porta Potty stops

Things you can control:

  • Clothing – do not wear new items
  • Training – doing the work (drills, long runs, etc.)
  • Food – before and during
  • Pacing (don’t go out too fast)

Things you could control but can’t:

  • Clothing – when you have to wear a new item (for many reasons)
  • Training – when work, family, illness, vacation interrupts your training
  • Food – when you cannot eat what you want to eat (for whatever reason)
  • Pacing – when you run with a slower friend or with an injury or lack of training

The important point to remember and I have to remind myself of this often is that even if things go wrong and you don’t have the race that you want for a variety of reasons (things that you can or cannot control), you still can enjoy the experience and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

My Next Half Marathon.

I’d love to say that I learned from all my recent pre-race snafus. But not quite.  I think I have the outfit and pre-race meal under control.  We’ll see about the weather.  And the course is pretty flat.

Image result for steel rail half

mostly on the bike path

But my training is even worse.  I missed my 12 mile run while on vacation in Florida. I ran a rushed 5k and spent the rest of the day like this: driving to Cape Haze, lunch on the river, driving to Fort Myers, visiting the Ford & Edison Winter Estates, dinner & drinks during sunset at the Ritz back in Naples.

And I don’t regret it.

The next weekend, I ran a special 5K and skipped the extra miles due to the rain. Then spent the afternoon with my mentee and her sons.

So what could have maybe been a half marathon PR most likely will not be. (Remember this same course was my half PR back in October.)

2:08:59 – PR!!!!!

Again.  Finishing=Winning.  That is my goal.

I am not that runner who puts in the work.  I am that runner who has a non-running life that often takes precedence. C’est la vie!

love my friends

 

and the hubs too

Happy Running! What’s going in your life?  Please share.  Are you serious about your half marathon times?

Running Update: 5.8.17-5.14.17

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Last Week:

  • Monday – Another day in paradise.  3 mile run followed by a tennis lesson then doubles play.  Then off to the beach.  Ended the day with dinner out ❤

Lino is our cute instructor

  • Tuesday – It was my birthday but the day was not too much different than the previous day.  I did all my favorite things: running, tennis, reading & Scrabble on the beach, dinner, drinks, dessert with a sunset view.  Awesomeness!

oops – 6.4K not miles (not enough time)

at Vanderbilt Beach

dinner at the Turtle Club

  • Wednesday – Last day of vacation.  I packed, had a tennis lesson but instead of playing tennis, I went to a Wildlife Sanctuary.  We had a nice 2.5 mile walk but because of the drought, we only saw an alligator and no birds (no water in the lakes).  We had our last Florida meal out and headed for the airport.

Corkscrew Nature Sanctuary

  • Thursday – Back to reality – cooler temps and WORK! Ugh! The highlight on my day was getting to run with Alyssa and we chose to run in the park to view the tulips.  (Rain is predicted for the Tulip Fest this weekend.)

  • Friday – Rest day but did squeeze in a trip to the gym before mah jongg.

empty on a Friday after work??

  • Saturday – Rain was predicted so I wasn’t looking forward to this 5k race. But it is an important cause (memorial to a former STEM runner) so I was planning on going no matter what. And it poured!!!

27:26 – 1st in my AG

I had hoped to run 7 more miles after the race but I was too wet so I bailed on my long run. Instead I went to the movies (Boss Baby) and dinner (milkshakes and burgers at Johnny Rockets) with my mentee and her sons.

my favorite super heroes

  • Sunday – The forecast was for rain so I didn’t sign up for a race. But it never rained. So instead I celebrated Mother’s Day with a run on the unpaved rail trail followed by a big dinner at my MIL’s.

23 miles done with 5 runs and 2 rest days

This Week:

  • Monday – FRW Challenge (3-4 miles)
  • Tuesday – rest, work travel (to Buffalo)
  • Wednesday – rest, out of town work and travel home
  • Thursday – Corporate Challenge race (3.5 miles)
  • Friday – rest, hair appt, mah Jong
  • Saturday – rest
  • Sunday – Steel Rail Half Marathon

Once again, I am linking up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin. See rules here.

http://hohoruns.blogspot.com

Happy Running! How is your running going?

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Summer Smith Memorial 5K Race Recap

ssm5k

May 13, 2017 – 9:30 am

This is the second year for this 5K race and is organized by the mother of one of the STEM runners who died of an overdose after completing her first 5k. This is her story – https://www.gofundme.com/Summer5k4addiction

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I had just returned from 8 days in Florida where I did a lot of eating, drinking and sitting on the beach.  I did some running but not enough. Plus the forecast for today was cool and rainy.

But I just had to do this race. I knew that there would be many other runners and volunteers from the STEM program. I wanted to support this cause and I am fortunate to have known and run with Summer.

13248563_10153573244986074_671826626102940317_o

2016

I did run this race last year. I remember it as NOT being flat. But I did win my AG and finished with a respectable 28:29 time.

Photos from last year (on a sunny day):

It wasn’t as cool as it had been while I was away on vacation but the rain started even earlier than predicted.  I was still exhausted from my Florida vacation and my weekend trip to NYC and I really did not feel like running in the rain.  But as soon as I arrived, my mood lifted.

 I arrived early, grabbed a needed cup of coffee and immediately bumped into those purple shirted runners. All the ones that were in Summer’s STEM group were there. It was pretty emotional. I still get teary-eyed when I think about her.

Another local runner that I know also led a team of runners. Her son had died recently of a drug overdose.

This race was one of the most organized races I’ve run. After you got your bib, you got a bag labelled with your name with a shirt and other swag. There were tables with representatives from relevant organizations (alcohol & drug abuse) also giving out freebies. And there were great raffle prizes – all running-related.


Before the race, there was a dedication ceremony followed by a balloon release. We all cried during Summer’s mom’s emotional tribute to her daughter.


The ceremony was followed by music and a Zumba session.  I opted out. It was raining even harder and I went inside to stay dry and warm.

I stayed inside out of the rain until it was time to proceed out to the road to start the race.

Here’s the course description:

Start/Finish of this out-and-back 5 km course is on West Dr on the south side of Guilderland High School. The course proceeds out West Dr to turn L onto School Rd, continues across the intersection with Depot Rd onto Meadowdale Rd, then bears L at Frederick Rd to Mile 1 on Meadowdale Rd and continues to the Turnaround point. The inbound route retraces the outbound route of the course to Mile 2 on Meadowdale Rd and Mile 3 on West Dr just after the turn off School Rd, and continues to the Finish.

I lined up with one of the STEM volunteers who said she ran at my pace. (Not true, she’s way faster.)  Patrick, my FRW training coach works for the timing company and announced to the crowd: “There’s Darlene and she’s going to PR today!”  Nice. I wasn’t planning to race it and now I sorta felt like I should. Grrrr.

So I just did the best I could.  Not PR fast but I wanted to finish with a respectable time.  With the chilly temps and no warm up, my legs felt like lead at the beginning.  It was also a slight uphill for the first mile.  I wore my windbreaker over my STEM tee shirt because it was raining. But my jacket isn’t breathable and I was pretty warm. The course levels out a bit and then when we turn left, there is a steeper hill (but not bad at all).  There was a lot of support along the course even in the rain.  Friends of the families who lost loved ones to drugs were holding signs in their memory.  I was glad that I was running to support this charity.

We turned around at the halfway point and continued on this country road back to the high school.  I just tried to maintain a consistent pace.  I didn’t have t he energy to push myself to a PR but I knew I had to face Patrick on Monday so I saved some so I could sprint through the finish line, at least.

I crossed around 27:26.  I was happy.  And of course, the first thing Patrick said was: “Did you PR?”  I responded: “No.  You jinxed me!”

I wanted to wait to watch some of the other runners finish but I was soaked and went inside to take off my jacket and get some food.

There was chocolate milk and donuts.  I was a happy camper.


I hung around because I was pretty sure that I got an age group award.  And I did – FIRST!!

They decided to move the awards ceremony to the gym.  Wise decision. Patrick handed me my award and added “She should have PR’d but she said that I jinxed her!”  Geez.

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 8:40
mile 2 – 8:54
mile 3 – 8:50
.14 – 8:05

My second 5k in a row with all laps under 9 mm.  It wasn’t a PR but it was a course PR.  I finished over one minute faster than last year.

Could I have Pr’d?  Perhaps if I were in the right frame of mind and pushed myself to run faster. (Should I feel like puking when I cross the line?? Um, I don’t.)

I must say that I have enjoyed my last two 5ks.

And especially this race. I was happy to support this charity. Plus the race was so well-organized. The only negative was the rain!

I am so humbled by these STEM women and others who have overcome adversity. And I am glad to be a part of their lives.

Now on to my next challenge.  13.1 miles!!!

With a half marathon next Sunday, I had planned to go run 7 more miles and then go to the Tulip Fest in the park. But the weather wouldn’t cooperate. It poured all day so instead I went to the movies and out to dinner with the girl I mentor and her sons.  (Today is our 9 year anniversary.)

Today is also Mother’s Day and I was tempted to race.  In fact, this is the FIRST Mother’s Day (except 2012) that I didn’t run a race.

I think I may just run some miles before heading my MIL’s.


I am also sharing in the support love by linking up with a Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup hosted by

Ilka from Ilka’s Blog and Angela from Marathons & Motivation

Happy Running! How was your weekend? Did you run or race? How did you celebrate Mother’s Day!!

runner-sig

Tropicool 5K Race Recap

May 7, 2017 – 7:30 am

As you may remember, this race took place during my annual non-running tennis vacation in Naples, Florida. I take lessons and play tennis every morning and then spend the afternoon on the beach.  Each evening I go out for drinks, dinner and dessert with my nine friends. Eight days of pure relaxation and enjoyment…


I love it.  It’s my only vacation that doesn’t include a race.  You have to admit that racing during a vacation does add an element of stress.

This year was a little different in that we changed the dates. We were in Naples two weeks earlier and that meant that the temps were only in the 80s (not the 90s) and that the racing season was not over.

I happened on a 5k race that took place on Sunday which was conveniently a day that my friends and I had planned a tourist day. (No tennis was scheduled.)

Here are the description of the race and the course map:

Enjoy a wonderful 5K race that showcases the beautiful streets of Olde Naples. This course is two loops starting on Broad Street.

So I signed up for the race and even convinced one of my tennis friends to do it with me.

MaryPat, my partner in crime

I still wasn’t sure that we were going to run the race.  For one thing – how would we get there?  Neither one of us had a car nor were we listed as drivers on the rental car.

However, I guess, this race was meant to be because it all worked out.  One of my friends had to leave to catch an early morning flight on Sunday.  One of our rental car drivers, Catalina, agreed to drop us off at the race start on the way to the airport.  Then another friend, Pat, who currently lives in Florida and had her own car, offered to pick us up after the race.

So the day before the race, Pat picked up our shirts and bibs while we were playing tennis. As usual, we spent the rest of the day at the beach. Afterwards, we went out to an awesome dinner which included a few glasses of wine.  (Oops I don’t usually drink the night before a race but I’m on vacay…) Then we went to a show.  Obviously, it turned out to be a later night than normal.

Sunday morning, I groggily ate my usual race breakfast at 5:30 am. The only problem was that my running buddy, MaryPat, decided not to run the race with me. (Her hip had been bothering her.) So I was solo.

Bad Ass Coffee – pretty appropriate

Catalina dropped me off in town around 6:15 am. It was still kinda dark and no one was around yet. I was also a little chilly but I had on my DIY arm sleeves and the race shirt which I planned to hide while running the race.  Luckily I found an open coffee shop, bought a cup of coffee and hung out until I saw some other racers walk by.

Around 7 am, I walked three blocks to the start and hung out there. This was not a big race.  There were about 400 runners – all ages and very friendly.

Right as I was heading to the start, I looked up and recognized Rebecca, someone that I used to play tennis with back home several years ago. She had moved to Naples.  (We had run the Naples Half as our first halfs in 2011 without even knowing it at the time.) Small world!!

The sun was now out and it was starting to get warm.  But it was not as warm as it could have been.  As you can see from the map, the course winds around town and through the neighborhoods twice. And it was flat!!

I had no plan for the race – finish and get back to my tennis friends so we could leave on our day trip.  I started out behind some older ladies but they left me in the dust early on.

the older ladies are the ones in the sports bras

My legs felt like lead but my biggest problem was that I had cotton mouth.  I was soooo thirsty.  My throat and lips were parched. Was it the heat? Or maybe the wine??? I couldn’t wait to get to the water stop… It seemed like forever but I think it was halfway.

The course was small so there were spectators cheering all along it.  Although we looped, I didn’t find it boring because I didn’t even notice.

I never looked at my Garmin.  And I walked at the one water stop.  Besides that, I just enjoyed running around Olde Naples and especially along Gordon Drive where you could see the Gulf at the end of each cross street.  I was shocked when I crossed at 27:xx.

There was a computer nearby that told you your actual time.  Mine was recorded as 27:31.  I was very happy. For a second, I thought – why didn’t you check your watch and run faster to possibly get a PR? (it’s currently 27:11 from 2014.) But just for a second. A PR was NOT a goal for this race. ( I just ran a half marathon the weekend before.)

I waited for Rebecca and we hung out for a little while and chatted.

almost 2nd!!

I did win 3rd in my age group and I could have had my first podium finish, but Pat was picking me up so I couldn’t wait.  Rebecca did convince the race director (whom she knew) to give me my award (a nice tumbler).

posing for my “fake” podium finish

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 8:50
mile 2 – 8:58
mile 3 – 8:56
.14 – 7:59

The first time all laps are under 9 mm 🙂

I am so happy that I ran this race.  I loved the course and it was very well-organized. (Maybe I’ll return next year.)

I am especially glad all the logistics worked out.  I got home in plenty of time and my friends and I enjoyed a lovely day.

lunch on the river in Placida, visit to the Edison & Ford winter estates in Ft Myers, dinner & drinks with a sunset view at the Ritz in Naples


Since it is Thursday, I’m linking up today with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

thinking out loud

I’m also linking with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches’ Corner

and with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup!

Five Reasons to Run the Tropicool 5K?

  1. Small yet well-organized local race
  2. Flat course
  3. Scenic Route
  4. Practical AG awards
  5. Great way to get in an early morning run or speed workout

Happy Running! Ever run an unplanned race while on vacation?