Summer Smith Memorial 5K Race Recap


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 –


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.



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!!


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?


TOTR: Happy B-day to Me

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

For Today’s Topic, I’m choosing: How to Celebrate Your Birthday as a Runner

It’s an appropriate topic because today is my birthday.

And I happen to be celebrating on vacation in sunny Florida!!

So when it’s your b-day, here’s what I recommend:

  • Run a race.

Of course that depends on the time of year.  You can always run a virtual race if none is scheduled.

Mastodon Challenge 5K

I ran the Mastodon Challenger two years on my birthday.  I love the race and the photo.  Yes, I fell (what else is new) but continued on to finish with blood dripping down my legs and arms and broken watch in my hand (I felt badass especially when I came in 2nd in my AG)

  • Run your age.

You can run it in miles or kilometers.

I’m pretty old so I think this year, it will in Ks. How many Ks do you think I’ll run??

  • Do something that makes you happy.

For me, it’s the tulips in the park and spending time with my mentee and her sons. Tulip Fest weekend is always held around my birthday. Lucky me!

  • Forget the healthy eating and indulge.

You can run it off the next day! LOL.

I love to go out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants.  It has to have a water view and great desserts!!

It’s usually a restaurant on Lake George but this year, I’ll have to settle for the Gulf.

birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant in Naples, Fl- The Turtle Club (2012)

Happy Running! How do you celebrate your birthday?

Running Update: 5.1.17-5.7.17


Last Week:

  • Monday – Since I had run a half marathon the day before, I decided to skip our FRW Challenge Group training today. I ran an easy 3 miles and went home to pack.

No foot pain or DOMS. Amazing

  • Tuesday – It was raining off and on so instead of a run and tennis, I went to the gym. Then I packed and prepared for my 3:00 am wake up.
  • Wednesday – 6 am flight to Florida. We landed in Ft Myers and picked up a rental car to drive to Naples.  This is our 12th tennis trip here so we  have a routine and it felt like coming home – unpacking, grocery shopping, relaxing by the pool, dinner out, chatting, sleep?…
  • Thursday – My first Florida run – holy humidity! My goal is to run 3.5 miles most days before my tennis lesson and doubles play.  Then we pack a lunch and spend the rest of the day on the beach, soaking up vitamin D, reading, playing Scrabble or strolling along the water – heavenly!

  • Friday – Rain interfered with our morning tennis plans so we went shopping and out to lunch. I did manage get in a run before dinner  Rather than dinner out, we stayed in and had our annual book club night while celebrating cinco de mayo.

  • Saturday – No running today, just a walk, tennis, the beach and dinner out before going to a show. Another day in paradise.

  • Sunday – Today I ran a 5K race. It warm and humid but still a fun time.  Found out that those older Floridians are fast! After the race, I rushed home to get ready for our day trip to Cape Haze and Fort Myers.

27:31 and 3rd in my AG

We had lunch and then visited the Ford and Edison winter estates. We ended the day with dinner and drinks at the Ritz watching sunset.

13 miles done with 4 runs and 3 rest days

This Week:

  • Monday – 3 mile run, tennis, beach, dinner out
  • Tuesday – 4 mile run, tennis, beach, dinner out
  • Wednesday – rest, tennis, pool, fly home
  • Thursday – 6 miles with Alyssa
  • Friday – rest, gym?, mah jongg
  • Saturday – 5K race (+ 7 more miles)
  • Sunday –  rest, gym?, Mother’s Day

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

Happy Running! How is your running going?


Ultimate Coffee Date – May

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Since today is the first Saturday in May, I am joining up with Coco & Deborah for their ultimate coffee date.

Over coffee or tea…

I’d tell you that since I signed up for my free 6 month gym membership, I’ve used the machines at least once a week…sometimes even twice.  That’s impressive for me!

Over coffee and tea…

I’d tell you that I am currently in Naples, Florida trying to figure out how to run in the heat. It is not as hot as it as it normally is when I visit each year (we are here 2 weeks early).  Only 80s rather than 90s but it is the humidity that is tough to get used to.

Over coffee and tea…

I’d tell you that I am thinking of actually running a 5k race while I’m here on vacation. (No surprise.)

May 7 – 7:30 am

The problem is transportation.  The rental car is not in my name.  I would have to either drive it illegally or get someone in my house to drive me at 6:30 am….

Stay tuned…

Over coffee and tea…

I’d tell you that I wish I were more motivated to train well.  I know I can run faster and PR but…. I’m not putting the work in. But maybe having fun is more important…

my Half PR in October – my May 21 half is on the same course

Over coffee and tea…

I’d tell you that running along Lake George a few weekends ago wet my appetite for boating!  I can’t wait to be back on the lake.

Happy Running! Got anything to spill?


Friday Five 2.0 – Non-Race-cations

Since it’s Friday, I’m linking up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostesses and visit some other bloggers.

Since I am currently is Naples, FL, I am choosing my topic as Five Ways to Enjoy a Non-Race-cation.

The majority of my vacations are race-cations.  But once a year, I go on vacation without a race included during the trip.

And yes, I do have fun anyway and here’s how:

  1. Find another sport that gets you moving.


I usually play tennis for at least two hours every morning. Not many miles on the legs when playing doubles but I’m still moving (and sweating.)

But it could be yoga, swimming, biking, etc.

2. Get those miles in however you can.

isn't this even more inviting??

No better place to walk than along the water.

bike riding every morning around World Tennis Center

I also have access to a bike to ride around the neighborhood.

And if you are lucky, there may be places nearby to go hiking. Visiting museums or roaming interesting shops and markets give your those extra steps.

3. If possible, squeeze in a few short runs.


It’s tough when you stay out late every night and you get up early to play tennis. So my runs are short but still rewarding.


4. Do other things you enjoy that you don’t normally get to do.


We go to the theater. Last year we went to a comedy club.


We visit gardens & parks.

during our sunset cruise
We go on sunset cruises.  I hope to also get to go kayaking one year.

5. Eat healthy during the day but in the evening, do some no-guilt splurging.


I eat my usual oatmeal in the morning, yogurt & fruit at the beach for lunch and then…. No limits!


We go out to dinner every night. It is always a blast.

Happy Running! Do you take non-race-cations? If so, what do you do to for fun instead of racing?



I Need a Vacation and Some Vitamin D

This morning I left for the tennis ladies’ 12th trip together to Naples, Florida. (For some of us, this is our 20th tennis trip – 1 Palm Springs, 5 Las Vegas, 1 Dominican Republic, 1 Delray Beach.)

Naples Fla

There will 10 of us (two newbies) and we are renting 2 villas (from the same lady) in World Tennis Center.

This is my third trip to Florida in the past year. (Remember, my half marathon in Stuart in March and another last December where I had #holottafun). The purpose of this trip is to play tennis and do some female-bonding. (There are few races this time of year in Florida 😦 )

May - tennnis vacation in Florida

this year again our favorite tennis instructor Billy Bob will not be there 😦

We will have a new instructor again this year.

We will be playing tennis everyday from 8-11 am.


and then we will be busy the rest of the day with a variety of fun/relaxing activities.


lots of these views


and these

I am bringing my running clothes. Will I run??? I certainly hope so!!


these were my enthusiastic friends in 2008 – will I be able to get them to run with me??? Doubt it.

I need to run since I have a half marathon when I return.


view from one of my runs last year

and another – not too shabby but I wish we were staying closer to the Gulf.

I will post lots of pics in IG. So follow me (@dsc59)

Happy Running! I will miss you all! Stay healthy!