Freihofer Run for Women Race Recap

This is the only race that I’ve run every year! This was my 12th time!!!!!

Freihofer's Run - Start

The website – can you see me? Right center – Pink hat & top

My first FRW was in 2008 (my first year of running). At the time, it was the farthest I’d ever run:

FRW - 2008

Due to construction, they changed the course four years ago.

They say that this course is faster…less congested and has a less steep hill at the start and finish.

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course map

I did run the new course the past four years and I liked it.

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heading downhill to the finish line

As with this race every year, I never know what will happen… I could break my foot again (as I did in 2013) or could have a course PR as I did last year.

And this was also my fifth Freihofer Training Challenge.

did my green hat stand out much last year?!

Training is a loose term. I kinda just showed up on most Monday runs. But each Monday seemed to follow either a half marathon or a long run. As a result, although I registered for the Advanced group, I never participated in any of the speed drills. Instead I ran easy with  the Intermediate or Beginner group. I only attended two of the Saturday runs since I was usually racing or resting.

2019 FTC group

But I was excited to be part of it and support all the runners who would be finishing their FIRST 5k. And see my “advanced” buddies who would hopefully PR.

In past years, the day before I walked to Empire State Plaza concourse at lunch to go to the expo and pick up my race packet. They used to have a really big expo with vendors and health-related exhibits. But the past two years, they have held it at a local college. I was able to stop by after work. This year, the expo was much improved. I met up with a few friends and quickly browsed the booths and only bought a pair of sunglasses (Goodrs, what else? I’m obsessed.)

yup, you get cookies and bread

Earlier in the week, they had predicted rain, But the forecast changed and it was a pretty nice morning. – sunny and around 60.

I hate parking garages and traffic so I parked at a yoga place and walked to the start. I used to do this every year. However, with the new course, it was an even longer hike. Like 2 miles!

It was still strange to walk down Madison Avenue and not see the race banners and not see the giant poster on the bridge.

pics from 4 years ago…

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The start was near a park across from the Capitol Building. I ran most of the way (about a mile) but then I bumped in a few people that I knew and I thought it rude to just run by.

I used to play tennis with Cindy. She has participated in all 41 Freihofer races (though now she just walks).

Finally I set off in search of the Freihofer Training Challenge tent.

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I chatted with many of my running friends and took quite a few pics.

I also bumped into many runners wearing Skirt Sports skirts.

there were even more but we couldn’t find them in time for the pic

Catching up with everyone made the time go by quickly and soon it was time to line up.

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Although it was very crowded, there were fewer runners than when it was Madison Avenue but it did seem to be more than last year (The loaded the corrals from the slowest to the fastest and everyone seemed to be in the correct corral).

start

Times Union photo 2016

Anyway, with the start (on a wider street), it didn’t take as long to get moving and the first hill was longer but not as steep.

heading up that hill

I started with Holly and Nancy from my FTC Group. I lost Holly behind me and Nancy (who is faster than both of us) surged ahead. I kept her in my sight but could never catch up to her. Right from the beginning, I had the feeling that my legs were moving but so slowly.

Smiling but it’s only the 1K point – my friend Holly (in orange) is still to my right

It was sunny at the start but then it got cloudy and HUMID!!! I felt very warm and thirsty.

When I got into the park and looked at my time, I was shocked at how slow it was. Usually mile 1 is my fastest.

I took this pic after the race

I continued to trudge along and couldn’t wait to walk at the first water stop around mile 1.25. (I was so thirsty.)

This course had you run around more of the park and it also seemed to avoid the bigger hills of the park.

I tried to pick up the pace for the second mile since the crowd had thinned out. I told myself that I would not walk until the next water stop. That was around mile 2.5. At this point, I was starting to get some energy.

leaving the park and trying to keep up with the youngsters

Kevin Morris Photograph (from FB)

Finally we left the park and headed downhill to the finish. Not the steep downhill that we used to have with the old course, but at least it was downhill.

At the 4k point – SOAR leader Karen (with unicorn headband) is to my right

I tried to run fast but I started my sprint too early and had no energy left as I approached the finish line. The humidity had really gotten to me. I walked briefly (Karen surged ahead) and then I picked up my pace as I crossed the finish line. At least it was under 28 minutes.

heading to the finish line

I knew with 3 walk breaks, I couldn’t come close to a PR (and I was not expecting one) but it was a decent time (even if it was slower than last year). I was happy!!

I grabbed some cookies and some chocolate milk. It was definitely less congested than when it was by the fountains on the Plaza. No long lines for food.

yum!!!!

I ran into even more runners again that I knew. Every where I turned, there was someone familiar – from work, tennis, races, etc. That’s what’s great about running a big local race.

The first time runners were so excited. That put a smile on my face. I remembered why I love this race and it was never because of my awesome finish times.

I walked back to the Training Challenge Tent to get some more food and chatted with friends for awhile.

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Many runners were excited about their PRs. I may not have run my fastest time but I still enjoyed myself.

You get what you put in. I did not do all the speed workouts so I can’t be disappointed. I also just ran a half marathon and I am no spring chicken. My time may not have been as fast as last year (a course PR of 27:37) but faster than two years ago (27:52). So I was very pleased with that.

Splits:

mile 1- 9:10
mile 2- 8:54
mile 3 – 8:40
.14 – 6:47

Chip time – 27:47

Negative splits!!!! Woo Hoo!

There was computer set up so you could check your time and to see if you won an age group award.

And 5 out of 98 in my age group. Even a PR wouldn’t have gotten me an award. (Who is that lady from Boulder!?)

I hung out for a while in the FTC tent making plans for a post race brunch (the important things).

Sole Sisters +1 and -2

Eventually I walked back to my car. (It was uphill for about 2 miles). I walked part of the way with a friend Denise and we walked the along the last part of the course. We got to cheer those last few runners in…so cool!!

I have a 15K in a few weeks so I had planned to run another 3 miles. Brunch with friends was calling my name. And I am weak. Last year, I ran the extra miles. This year, I ate coconut crusted French toast.

So FRW #12 is in the books!

The tradition is still alive! It was again a great local race with over 3,500 women running it. Can’t wait to run it again next year.

On a side note: When I got home, I check IG and found this picture.

This is my friend who is in the midst of chemo treatments but drove from VT to do this race!  It puts everything in perspective!!


It’s Tuesday so don’t forget to link up with these wonderful ladies:  Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

Happy Running! How was your weekend? Did you race? If so, how did it go? Do you have a favorite race that you run every year?

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Weekly Run Down – 6.3.19-6.9.19: Another week, another 5k

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Last Week –

  • Monday – Although I did run the two days prior, it was not raining and I was meeting a friend for a later dinner, so I squeezed in a few miles on the trail trail.

  • Tuesday Finally a rest day but I did sub for a friend and played tennis (in the group I used to play in on Tuesdays). I hadn’t played since Florida but it was still fun catching up with friends on the court and afterwards at dinner.

  • Wednesday – Ice Cream group run #1 and Global Running Day.

You know I am all over anything that includes ice cream. Just in case, I did bail on the run since thunderstorms were predicted, I walked my Virtual Run during lunch.

The rain did hold off. But it was very humid and the ice cream was a welcome post-run treat.

there are few things better than running with friends + ice cream

  • Thursday – Another rest day due to a much needed hair appt. I did get in a pre-work and lunch time walk.

viewed from my walk

  • Friday – A quick run after work and before my weekly mah jongg game.

at the Corning Bike trail along the Hudson R. A steamy run but not complaining. Better than cold and rain.

  • Saturday – Many 5ks to choose from today but I decided instead of running to volunteer at a race.  My fellow Sole Sister, Chris, was hosting a water stop at her house (which was on the race course).  It was so rewarding to participate in this way (I need to volunteer more often) and the post race barbecue rocked, as well.

  • Sunday – I have race fever.  Two races today. First the Betar Byway 5k followed by the Moreau Mile.  Both I have already run in the past but several years ago. It was a beautiful course but holy hills!

a hard race but won my age group in BOTH races (though I didn’t stay to get my medals) – love the tech tank in purple

After the race, I headed up North to go boating with the hubby. It was a gorgeous day to relax on the water in the sun!!

and I did change into my bathing suit and went into the water for about a sec. Brrrr

Great Sacandaga Half Marathon Race Recap

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever. As with all my big races, I impulsively sign up way in advance (and then often regret it LOL). In fact, I signed up for this one before my previous half marathons.  If I had known about the last local one, I probably would not have signed up for this one.

However, I signed up for the Great Sacandaga Half Marathon as my 37th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • It’s local. I can sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • My friend Alyssa talked me into it (and then I talked my friend Sherry and Deirdre into it.)
  • It looked like a really scenic course.
  • It was close after my previous half (5 weeks) and 15k (3 weeks) so I would be sorta already trained for it.

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.

After my February Half in Florida, due to possibly walking on the beach, I experienced leg discomfort.

So, I skipped many runs and sought the help of a chiro who did ART on my leg. I completed about 8 ART sessions (with minimal relief.)

However, on March 17, the pain disappeared and I was able to run 13.1 miles!!

Since that day, I have run two 5 mile races, another half marathon, a 15k race, two 5k races and a 3.5 mile race.  All were pain-free!!!

Whether or not, my calf injury was cured or it was just adrenaline, we’ll never know.

But being a Nervous Nellie, my goal for this race was finishing, having fun and not re-injuring my leg!!

So what about training??

Since my last half marathon on April 13, there was a 8 mile run, a 15k race, a 5k race on May 5, and another 5k race on May 11.

Yup, that’s it!!

NO DOUBLE DIGIT RUNS!! And only 3 miles the two weekend prior!

hoping for lots of muscle memory

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I checked the weather and it looked to be perfect – a rarity for me. Not that it matters. I always wear the same half marathon combination with added throw aways.

The race was advertised as “mainly flat, with a few rolling hills and gentle inclines, offering spectacular views of the Great Sacandaga Lake and the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.”

Well, we all know that all race directors say that their course is “FLAT.” I didn’t believe it for a moment.

I asked on FB and they said it was flat and the course was on the easy side.  Yeah, right?

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Anyway, below is a map of the course.

Race Day:

I got up around 6:00 am and ate my usual oatmeal coffee breakfast. Then I drove to our meeting place about 30 minutes away.

There were six of us going and four of us met to drive together. Alyssa offered to drive and we met her around 7:15 am.

Believe it or not, it RAINED the whole drive!!

I was nervous since I did not catch the rain memo and was not prepared (no jacket or poncho or umbrella).

The rain Gods listened and it stopped raining as soon as we arrived. We parked at the school which was the first parking lot we saw.

There was abundant parking and we could have parked so much closer (Next year.)

So we walked to firehouse to check our after race attire and to pick up our bibs and race shirts.

cotton shirt – no female small so they gave me a child’s XL

Then we used the porta-potties and just waited for the race to begin. I also bumped into our other friends Deirdre and Kevin.

Only 350 runners.  So small compared to my last two half marathons (2,500 and 25,000).

start and end of the race

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

The race began promptly at 9:00 AM on South Main St. in front of the firehouse (as pictured above.) I lined up with Alyssa and Karen somewhere in the middle and Deirdre and Sherry headed toward the back of the pack. Kevin went up front. I wasn’t sure if it were chip timed but I was planning a most likely slow pace so I didn’t care.

We proceeded to run around this small town (passed our car where I threw my DIY arm sleeves)

and then headed west out of the Village and over the bridge. I quickly lost Alyssa and Karen and spent most of race running along side the same runners.

We eventually ran south through the historic Sacandaga Park on Rte 152. This part of the course was very pretty and with its towering pine trees and views of the lake.

There were water stops every two miles. As per my normal, I planned to drink and walk at each one but not take my first GU until mile 4. Well, with a 6:00 am wake up, I was starved so I ate one GU at miles 2, 6 and 10. Three in a race was more than usual but it worked out well. (I didn’t feel faint at the end like the last half.)

The course was by no means flat. It was rolling hills. Nothing really steep and I was able to continue running slowing up the hills and then tried to make up time on the downhills.

My legs felt tired at around mile 4 but then for some reason, I got into a rhythm.

It was getting warmer but this part of the course was shaded by the trees and there was a slight breeze.

The route continued south on Rte 152 until reaching the Bunker Hill Rd.  We traveled that entire road until reaching Rte 30, at which point we turned north onto Rte 30.

I was really enjoying the race until that fated turn.  I was prepared because on the way to the race, we saw the mile 8, 9, 10 signs and remarked about the lack of scenery.

It was boring, grueling and the sun was beating down (with ZERO shade). I just continued my usual pace and focused on finishing strong.

Fortunately, we eventually looped back through Sacandaga Park on Rte 152. At this point, I felt stronger than the early miles.  I passed Karen who was now struggling with IT band pain.

I passed this Canadian guy who was ahead of me the whole race.

Then on the bridge into town, I passed Alyssa who had also slowed down.

We finally returned to the little town of Northville, finishing near the fire station on South Main St. where the race started.

I knew I hadn’t run a PR race but I did have enough at the end to sprint through the finish line.

I got my medal, water and waited for Alyssa who finished about a minute later and Karen, about 3 minutes later.

We headed to bag check and then to check finish times.

I was shocked to see that I won my age group but then again, it was a small race.

Behind the firehouse were the refreshments and tents to sit in the shade or by the water.

I had some cookies and waited for the awards ceremony. Everyone in our group had now finished. They all ran well and Deirdre even had a PR.

And I won my FIRST trophy ever!!

And to celebrate ALL our achievements, we went out to lunch …on the lake.

Additional Race Reflections:

Surprisingly, this half marathons went much better than I had thought. Not exactly sure if it was because I did not over train (or train) but fresh legs seemed to work for me (this time).

I did not care about my finish time but what I cared about was feeling good during those last few miles.

It rarely happens that my last miles are as fast as my first.  I notoriously get slower and slower with each mile.

I had no calf pain or the usual foot and back pain.

As a result, I enjoyed the whole race.

Mile Splits:

  1. 9:55
  2. 9:39
  3. 9:47
  4. 10:10
  5. 10:16
  6. 9:49
  7. 10:26
  8. 10:30
  9. 10:08
  10. 10:58
  11. 9:52
  12. 9:58
  13. 9:56

.18    8:35

     2:13:03

This was the FIRST year for this race.  They obviously planned it carefully.

The Good:

  • Small numbers for an inaugural race – 350 runners registered, 269 finished
  • Easy packet pick-up.
  • Lots of accessible parking in town.
  • Many porta potties at the start.
  • Bag Check.
  • Chip timing with net times
  • Water and Gatorade stops every two miles
  • Decent crowd support
  • Well marked course for each mile
  • Scenic views and lakes views for at least half the race
  • Shaded seated areas to relax after the race
  • Trophies for age group winners
  • Free photos
  • Nearby – no transportation or hotel costs.
  • Racing with friends
  • No rain

The Bad:

  • Cotton shirts
  • The boring, unshaded course during miles 8-10
  • I dropped my arm sleeves by the car so I wouldn’t forget them…I forgot them!

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. For an inaugural race, they did a fantastic job attending to most details. Too bad it is the same weekend as some other great races.

It will be tough to decide next May whether to run the Steel Rail Half or the Brooklyn Half or this race.

Next Up:

No more Half Marathons until Sept. 8. But I do have a 15K on June 22.


There is now a link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

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


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

and Wild Workout Wednesday with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle.

Happy Running! Have you had success with inaugural races? Did you race this weekend? Do you have a big race coming up? Please share.

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Weekly Run Down: 5.27.19-6.2.19 – A movie week and a race!

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It was only a 5k and I hadn’t trained for it but it was a race that I always look forward to. I haven’t gone to the movies in ages and I saw TWO this week.

Last Week –

  • Monday – Day off for the Memorial Day holiday. Started the day with a 4.5 mile run with running friend Barbara. It was first time that we’ve run together since she broke her elbow in March. It was great catching up. No pics even though we did run/walk because I guess I was too busy talking and then when we were done, I bumped into an old running friend that I didn’t seen in awhile.

Spent most of the rest of the day outdoors gardening. Boy, do I love this sunshine and warm temps!

  • Tuesday – Rest day because I was belatedly celebrating my birthday with my BFF. We went out to dinner and a movie.
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definitely thought provoking and an interesting ending – I like foreign films for that reason

  • Wednesday – I went to the 2nd SOAR run after work. It was a trail run this week and I kept my fingers crossed for no rain (although I knew that it would be muddy.) It was a clinic and we learned HOW to run trails.  It was actually fun. Some of the runners quit after the first loop but I continued with a friend and it was more scenic than the first loop. Glad I did it (without trail shoes no less). Unfortunately my schedule is pretty full and I cannot participate in any of the Thursday trail runs in June. I know trail racing is not in any of my future plans but maybe I will become a trail runner.

  • Thursday – There was a club trail run that evening but I decided to instead run right after work close to home

hooray for sunshine on the Corning bike trail

and then head to the expo.

went at the perfect time and met so many friends there

  • Friday – Rest Day!!
  • Saturday – Race Day! Today I ran the Freihofer Run for Women, a 5k that I have run 12 times (every year). And it did not disappoint. The atmosphere is the best and I love spending the morning with friends.  The race itself is secondary.

not a PR. Not even a course PR but I was thrilled to have negatives splits, a sub 28 finish,  zero injuries and a post race brunch with friends.

The hubby & I thought that we might go to the lake in the afternoon but the forecast originally was for rain…that never happened (never believe the weather app). Instead, I did errands, cleaning, gardening and then we went out to dinner.

  • Sunday – Yesterday I had planned to run 7 miles. I ran 1 mile or so before the 5k race so that was only 4 miles. And I went out to lunch and dinner.  In other words, I needed to run today. I wanted to 7 but it was so warm and humid, I was glad to get in 5. I went out too late (and Barbara had already run) so I was solo on the trail with only my podcasts to keep me company.

I came home from the run (and the gym) and it had started to rain.  Instead of gardening, the hubby and I went to the movies.

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not bad…not great. Bohemian Rhapsody was better.

2019 Workforce Challenge Race Recap

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.

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 two years ago. We didn’t actually have enough runners for our own team so we partnered with UAlbany. I ran it with this team last year, as well.

I enjoyed it and it was a good way to get to know others where I work

Anyway I remembered the course from 7 years ago and the course starts with a steep uphill and then flattens out.  You run through the park which has rolling hills and then it ends with a steep downhill.

It is actually more of a run than a race.  With 10,000 participants and many walkers, you feel (at least I do) no pressure to do anything but finish.

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 ate a bar and a banana and 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.

The weather was a little warm (70) but at least we had a day without rain. I had woken up that morning with a headache and stiff neck. My neck was still stiff but not enough to prevent me from running a race.


My team was very organized. Again this year, they had set up a tent with water and refreshments.  I walked around for a while searching for the tent but finally located it (in a place not far from where it was the year before.)

I had already picked up my team tee and bib during lunch at UAlbany.

But I wore the shirt from two years ago but only put on this year’s team tee for a pre-race photo. It was too big again this year (Unisex!!)

I think I missed the photo but it was pretty much the same cast of characters as last year plus or minus a few.

While waiting for the race to start, I chatted with those that I knew from work. We chatted about running, of course and made plans to go out after the race.

We eventually headed to the start. With a cap of 10,000 runners every year, this year, they decided to add corrals.  I was in the second corral (LIME green). We pushed our way in (as predicted many ignored their correct corral) and moved up as far we could.

And then just waited in the crowd.

Two years ago, Sawyer Fredericks (winner of The Voice and a local) sang the National Anthem. This year, it was an unknown local.

Eventually, the race started.

Of course, it took awhile before we even moved.

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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.  Even with the corrals, I was playing bumper cars the whole race. It seemed even more crowded this year even without the walkers in front of me. So middle of the packers, like me, just weaved in and out, bumped into people saying “excuse me” though out the entire race.

My neck was stiff and the sun in eyes.  I was too warm. Plus so many cracks in the pavements to watch out for (In fact one of my co-workers fell during the 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 I ran much of race with a running friend (until I lost her), listened to music and soaked up everyone’s excitement.

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 but I didn’t walk.

There was a water stop that you passed twice.  I ran until the first stop and then I walked.  I walked again at the 2nd water stop. I walked one more time at the mile 3 sign.

Because I started out so slow and never ran fast, I never felt tired or out of breath.  A new concept for me.

Warm? YES!!

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photo from last year

Eventually, you headed toward that downhill finish.  I was tempted to go into an all out sprint but it was a steep downhill so I had to hold back.

Runners make their way down Madison Ave. during the 2019 CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge at the Empire State Plaza on Thursday, May 16, 2019 in Albany, N.Y. (Lori Van Buren/Times Union)

photo from TU

When I saw the clock in the distance, I picked up the pace so that I could finish under 33 minutes.

And I did (chip time).

Then I slowly made my way back through the crowd to the tent and my co-workers. This year again, they had a huge spread for us  – cheese, crackers, humus, salsa, chips, marinated veggies, fresh fruit, etc.

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

not speedy but a course PR.

Then you continued on to get your race shirt, followed by another stop to a get bag with food. The lines moved very quickly.  There were lots of volunteers to make sure everything went smoothly.

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 my stiff neck was even more painful than before the race so I decided to go home.

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 since it was getting late.

The highlight of the evening was chatting with co-workers and meeting new runners.  Getting in my last run before my half marathon was just gravy.

Race Splits:

mile 1: 9:39
mile 2: 9:31
mile 3: 9:16
.5: 8:16

Negative splits – Woo Hoo!! Course PR and a 3.5 PR (well I don’t run many of these.)

No age group awards given but I would have placed 2nd.


I am glad to have participated in this race. It is run by a local running club and they seemed to try to improve the race each year. This year, for example,

  • They added corrals in the start area to separate participants by their predicted times. Participants were issued a bib of the color of the corral where they will be expected to start.
  • Capital Cardiology Associates offered blood pressure tests at their tent prior to the race and post-race.
  • Albany Massage Professionals offered massages both before and after the race.
  • There were five bands performing for the race participants.

I definitely plan to run it again next year.


It’s Tuesday so don’t forget to link up with these wonderful ladies:  Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

Happy Running! Ever participate in a team race? 

Summer Smith Memorial 5K Race Recap

ssm5k

May 11, 2019 – 9:45 am

This was the fourth year for this 5K race which 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 the day before from 8 days in Florida where I did a lot of eating, drinking and sitting on the beach. I did some running but due to the heat and humidity, it was more of a slog. Plus the forecast for today was cool and windy.

However, 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.

I did run this race the past three years as well. I remember it as NOT being flat. But I did win my AG and finished with a respectable 28:29, 27:26 and 27:24 times.

Photos from two years ago:

It was cool, sunny (in the high 40s – low 50s) with lots of wind.  I was still exhausted from my Florida vacation, woke up with a headache and really did not feel like running.

But as soon as I arrived, my mood lifted.

The race starts at a local high school so there are real bathrooms, easy parking, and ample room to hang out before and after the race.

I grabbed a needed cup of coffee and immediately bumped into some purple shirted runners. Many who were in Summer’s STEM group were there. It was pretty emotional. I still get teary-eyed when I think about her.

Sean’s Team last year

Another local runner that I know, Karen, also led a team of runners. Her son, Sean, had also died of a drug overdose. I forgot to sign up to be on her team this year (so I just ran for her virtually).

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.

There were also many many raffle items  (most running-related but again I forgot to bring $$).

Before the race, there was a dedication ceremony followed by a balloon release.

31 balloons released for Summer

Then more balloons released for the others who also lost their lives due to drugs.  Probably not a dry eye in the crowd.


The ceremony was followed by music and a Zumba session.  I opted out and went inside.

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

I approached the start line and bumped into fellow Sole Sister (and STEM mentor), Judy and my running friend Tom.

in his standard “power pose”

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 pretty close to the front since there were many slower runners and walkers in this race.

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 DIY arm warmers for a bit but quickly pulled them down. The sun made it feel warmer than the actual temps. But the WIND!!! We seemed to be running INTO it most of the race.

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.  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. It was windy and I didn’t have the energy to push myself to a PR but I tried to save some so I could sprint through the finish line, at least.

I crossed at 27:XX.  I was satisfied.

I wanted to wait to watch some of the other runners finish but I was chilly so I went inside to put on my long sleeve shirt and get some food.

There was chocolate milk, fruit, bagels and donuts.  I was a happy camper.


Tom and I checked the results and we both got an award!!

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 8:55
mile 2 – 8:51
mile 3 – 8:46
.14 – 7:49

Garmin time = 27:39

All my laps were under 9 m/m.  I was pleased with that and I ran NEGATIVE splits!! It wasn’t a 5K PR and it was not even a course PR (last year I finished in 27:21.) But it was faster than last week which was on a FLAT course.

Champ liked my metal too

Could I have Pr’d?  Doubtful.  These legs are getting older. Tom says that I will not get faster unless I lift weights. (Not happening!!)

I must say that I have enjoyed my last two 5ks. I have won awards without doing any speed work. My calf feels FINE too.

And especially loved this race. I was happy to support this charity. Plus the race was so well-organized. The only negative was the the wind and how tired I was from my trip (and the day delay in getting home. 😦

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.

Tyler has WON this race 3 years in a row. His brother Zach died in 2015.

With a half marathon in a week, I had planned to run 7 more miles and then go to the Tulip Fest in the park with the girl I mentor and her two sons.  (May 14, 2018 was our 11 year anniversary.)

the kids are getting so big…I had a blast

But I decided to skip the extra miles and do my long run the next day. (Well, bad idea because it rained all day and I never got the run in 😦 )


Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with these ladies. Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner). Hope you do too!


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

Happy Running! What is your favorite charity to support for a race? Do race because of the cause?

runner-sig

Tropicool 5K Race Recap

May 5, 2019- 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 tennis friends. Eight days of pure relaxation and enjoyment… (every May since 2005)

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

Two years we changed our 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 yet.

I happened upon a 5k race that took place on the Sunday during our stay. One of my friends offered to get up at the crack of dawn and drop me off and another offered to pick me up.

I unexpectedly bumped into a tennis friend, Rebecca, who had moved to Naples and despite the heat, did fairly well.

And so I registered for the same race again last year. I did even better than the year before.

met Rebecca again at the race

Here again is 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.

I’m not a fan of loops but at least it was only a 5K and I don’t remember it bothering me. So of course, I signed up again!!

As she did last year, my friend Catalina agreed to drop me off at the race start.  I was familiar with the race location so I didn’t need to arrive as early as I did the first year.

The day before the race, 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 was on vacay…) Then we went to the theatre followed by a stop at an ice cream shop.  Obviously, it turned out to be a later night than normal.

Sunday morning, I groggily ate my usual race breakfast at 5:30 am.  I got dropped me off in town around 6:30 am. It was still kinda dark and there were still not many runners there.

Unlike last year, I did not pick up my race packet the day before.  So I did before the race. It was again a mug (instead of a shirt).  I had to hide the mug under a tree since I did have a bag or a car.

so happy to get practical swag.

Then I walked a block to the beach to hang out until around 7 am.

This was not a big race.  There were about 350 runners – all ages and very friendly.

The sun was now out and it was starting to get warm.  But it was not as warm as it could have been.  I checked the weather app on my phone. Holy cow!!!

I wore my usual race attire minus the compression socks –

I wasn’t sure if my friend Rebecca was racing but she was and showed up only minutes before the start of the race.

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 – just finish and get back to my tennis friends so we could get on with the day’s activities.

I race a lot as you know but lately it’s been longer races. In fact, I hadn’t raced a 5k since the end of September. Over SIX MONTHS ago!!

This made me a little nervous. Do I remember how to run fast?

From the get go, my legs felt like lead but my biggest problem was that I had a hard time breathing and I felt dizzy. Was it the heat?  Most likely it was not being acclimated to the humidity. I couldn’t wait to get to the water stop… It seemed like forever but I think it was during mile 2.  I stopped and walked for a while (longer than normal). I actually felt worse after walking so I ran and tried to just get to the finish line without puking.

Eventually it appeared and I gave it my all.

I was shocked when I crossed at 28:xx. I felt so much slower.

As soon as I crossed, I saw my friend Pat who was picking me up.  I quickly checked the results to see if I won an award.

Two years ago, I was 3rd in my age group. Last year, I was the Senior Grand Masters Winner. But this year with my slowest time on this course, I came in FIRST!!

I told the race director that I had to leave so he gave me my award and I didn’t have to wait for the awards ceremony.

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 8:58
mile 2 – 9:12
mile 3 – 9:08
.14 – 8:00

So back to the race…

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 enjoyed running around Olde Naples and especially along Gordon Drive where you could see the Gulf at the end of each cross street.

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

Yes, last year I ran this race in 27:28 under similar conditions. But my slower time was due to injuries, more long races or maybe just the aging process. I am just thrilled to be running pain-free!!

After the race, I had to rush back to play tennis with my friends.

in Pat’s convertible 🙂


It’s Tuesday so don’t forget to link up with these wonderful ladies:  Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

Happy Running! Ever run a 5K race while on vacation?