Monday, November 3, 2014


Whoa, how is it November already? This year has been so jam-packed, it has absolutely flown by. And I've doing a lot of running since my last post about the Love Run! (Side note: I must be a masochist because I registered again for next year's Love Run. Surely it can't be a monsoon two years in a row, right?)

So, here are all of the races I have done since then, stories to follow:
84/6/2014Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
94/13/201419th Annual Gift of Life Donor Dash
104/19/20145k Run for Clean Air
115/4/2014Broad Street Run
125/18/2014Philadelphia Bar Association 5K Run/Walk
136/1/2014Penn Alexander School Run for Arts & Science 5K
146/14/2014Baltimore 10-miler
156/29/2014Freedom 5K Run
167/3/2014Red White & Zoo Fun Run
177/9/2014Runbucks Christmas in July
187/20/2014Stoehmann Back On My Feet in24 Philadelphia Midnight Madness
198/17/2014CCFA - Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's Guts and Glory 5K
        209/6/2014 The Philly 10k
219/20/2014Rock'n'Roll 5k
229/21/2014Rock'n'Roll Half
2310/5/2014XPN 5k
2410/12/2014Justice for All
2510/18/2014Runner's World Half Festival - Hat Trick
2610/18/2014Runner's World Half Festival - Hat Trick
2710/19/2014Runner's World Half Festival - Hat Trick
2811/2/2014Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge

Here are the highlights!
The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, Washington D.C.
This one was pretty special. I took the bus down with friends, did packet pickup and checked in to my hotel. Got to meet up with a friend who lives in the area and his girlfriend (who I know from undergrad as well!) for dinner, which was lovely. We hung out until much too late for the night before a race, and then I hustled back to my hotel room and got to hang out with another D.C.-area friend who split the room with me to be closer to the race start. We chatted for a bit, made sure everything was laid out and ready, and hit the hay. Race morning was fun, getting ready and walking over with my friend, meeting up with my Philly friends and then a chilly but lovely run. The cherry blossoms were just starting to come out, but it was beautiful. After the race and getting cleaned up, I ventured out to Sticky Fingers (vegan) bakery for some brunch and goodies to take home. It was a really great weekend, and I would love to do more D.C. races. Running around the Mall is tons of fun, and the change in scenery makes the miles fly by!

Broad Street Run
This one is a staple for me - Broad Street was my first venture into distance running, and the spirit along the course is unrivaled, I think. The start and finish are incredibly crowded, which is the biggest downside. The crowds make a PR a challenge, but the past few years the weather has been quite pleasant. This year was extra fun as my D.C. running buddy came up and we had our own gluten-free pasta dinner the night before, a friend from Baltimore came up for the weekend and we carpooled with another Philly friend, E. The three of us started together, and E and I ran all the way together which was fun. A good day!

Penn Alexander School Run for Arts & Science 5K
The PAS run was the spring season 5k for Girls on the Run Philadelphia, and we had a great time! I think it was fun for the Girls on the Run participants to get to run with a bunch of other kids, and to run through Penn's campus and the new(ish) Penn Park. I enjoyed the race and getting to the finish to cheer on the rest of the finishers. It's always so great to see the GOTR girls crossing the finish line at a sprint - even if they've been walking parts of the race - and finish with a big grin amongst the cheers of their friends, family, volunteers and everyone else. Love it!

Baltimore 10 Miler
The folks in Baltimore know how to put on a great summer race! I took the train down and met up with my friend, and we enjoyed a nice dinner at a great Thai restaurant. I spent the night at her place so we had plenty of time to catch up, and then got to sleep for an early morning. The race starting line was not too far from her place and we got there in plenty of time to hit the porta-potties and get to the starting line with no stress. So what makes this a great race? Cold washcloths and watermelon slices as soon as you cross the finish line. Genius! The race premium is very nice as well, a lightweight Born long-sleeve quarter zip. I've been enjoying it now that the weather has turned cool! Noodles & Company was a sponsor and all the race participants received a coupon for a free entree, so after getting cleaned up post-race we went and enjoyed ours. Another great weekend!

Alright, that's enough for one go - next up the in24 Midnight Madness! Soon, I promise. Meanwhile, I'll be tapering and trying to stay fit and healthy for the marathon coming up on 11/22. My right knee has been sore, so I am trying to walk a fine line of resting it and staying in shape for 26.2. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Love Run, or Running in a Monsoon

I've been meaning to write this post for awhile. This is definitely one of the first things that slides when life is busy.
On to the story!
Race #7 (of my 30 planned for this year) was the Philadelphia Love Run, a half marathon.
The organizer is a company that has several other great races around the area, so I had a feeling it would be a pretty good race despite this being the first one. The expo was not terribly exciting, but the race premium was a nice mug (which I've been enjoying), and the tech shirt was pretty nice as well.

Race day forecast was iffy - chance of rain increasing as the day went on. It was misting a tad as I headed down to the race start, but not bad. I wore capris and my water-resistant half-zip and Goretex shoes, just in case. Temps were supposed to be in the 50s for the duration of the race.

The organizers had a nice setup with tents for teams, and I had joined another Girls on the Run team. I met up with my friend E at the team tent. It started to drizzle a bit, so we waited under there until the last minute, checked gear, and went to the start line. It started to rain a bit more significantly, but still not so bad. Once we got started running I figured it would be alright. The race got started, and off we went. Less than a mile in the wind picked up a bit. As we were passing a group of spectators under a canopy, the wind caught the canopy and started to lift it up. E and I narrowly avoided getting tangled in it, although I raised one hand to ward off a head blow and banged my wrist a bit (nothing serious). It was surprisingly heavy. Another female runner right behind us was not so lucky and got knocked over by the fly-away canopy. We stopped to see if she needed help but several spectators were quick to assist, so we continued on our way. What a start to a race!

Even with the excitement, we settled into the run, and the rain wasn't too bad. Until about halfway through. The heavens opened up, and it began to pour. I discovered my water-resistant anorak was definitely only resistant, and even Goretex shoes can't hold up to sheets of water flowing down your leg. Everything was soaked. E and I were both freezing, but the only thing to do was continue on. I tried to take comfort in the fact that, at least it wasn't sleeting! I don't think I've ever been so relieved to finish a race! We made it through, shivering, and E got her hot chocolate after the finish. Despite the race organizer's best efforts with cardboard, there was a huge muddy mess getting to the gear check. I thought I was going to lose a shoe trying to walk through! We were so soaked and cold we headed home as soon as we got our stuff. I was so thankful for the mylar sheet, but it wasn't enough. I made my way to the trolley stop and got on - when I got off there was a puddle in the seat from all the water dripping off of me. At least the seat was plastic! I was so very thankful for a hot shower, warm and dry clothes, and hot chocolate and food to warm up when I got home!

This race will definitely live on in my memory in infamy. Here's hoping that's the worst weather I ever race in!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


It has once again been far too long since I posted anything. The title pretty much sums up how I have been. My life has been extra crazy recently: my husband and I separated in February, and I moved at the beginning of March, so I have begun a new chapter of my life. It's a good thing, but not without some adjustments and growing pains. We have, so far, managed to keep things fairly amicable and have filed for divorce without the aid of lawyers. The dogs and I are getting used to apartment living - it has been awhile for me, and it's all new for them - and I am enjoying my much shorter commute to work. I think we are starting to settle into our new routines, and we're all happy the weather is finally starting to resemble spring!

Now, onto the belated race reports! Since my last report, I've knocked out three more:

Race #5: Fireside Frostbite Five Miler (2/22/14)
I had not done this one before, and was not aware of just how big it was. There were 1258 finishers, compared to Feel the Love with just under 300, or Shiver by the River with around 475 for the 5 and 10k combined. For a winter race, it was remarkably big. Even though I knew a handful of people racing this one, I never saw any of them in the crowd. I was running a little later than ideal getting out there, and parking was pretty crowded, but I managed to score one of the last spots in the parking lot of the school where the race was held. The high for the day was relatively warm, and it was supposed to be around 40 degrees by the time the race was due to start. However, as soon as I stepped out of the car and nearly slipped and fell I realized the ice had not all melted yet. The race organizers were working hard to get salt down along the course and school grounds to help melt it and prevent any injuries, and delayed the start by 15 minutes to give things a chance to thaw a bit more. But the sun was shining, and it was a nice day for a race (once the ice melted).

As I headed to line up for the start I realized there was a good-sized snow bank lining the street, between the sidewalk I was walking down and the road we would be running down. Others had clearly gone before me, so I thought I could safely step where someone else had stepped before to get across. So, I put my right foot into a shoe print in the snow bank to hop over, and as soon as I transferred my weight to that foot I sunk in, right up to my knee! I tried to continue forward by I was good and stuck and had to put my left foot back down on the pavement in order to free my right. It must have been pretty comical watching me flail around. My shin stung too, which I thought was odd - it was just snow, afterall - but I realized after I got home that it was icy and hard enough that my leg got scraped right through my tights. Attempt two got me over the snow bank and into starting position.

After that, the race was uneventful. The ice had mostly cleared and there were just a few slushy spots left. I finished in 50:25, neither my worst nor my best 5 miler. I don't remember anything noteworthy about the course, but the availability of indoor bathrooms at the start/finish (inside the school) is a definite plus in my book!

Race #6: Athlete’s Closet Winter Series March St. Patrick's Day Themed 5 Miler (3/1/14)

This one was another race I had not done before, and a bit of an adventure. A running store out in the suburbs organizes a winter series, and this was the last in the series for the year. Besides being inexpensive and closer than the Shiver by the River races, this one was dog-friendly, so I could take Pinky! My awesome friend, E, agreed to drive both of us out there. I was in the thick of packing and moving (moving day was the next day), so I almost bailed on this one. It was a nice break, though.

Race day morning she picked Pinky and I, and we made our way out to the race. Neither of us managed to come up with anything St Patrick's day-themed, but we made it out in plenty of time for the start. Pinky didn't know quite what to make of everything. Bib pickup was in the running store, and the start was around the corner in a residential neighborhood. This race was tiny, with just over 50 finishers. It was a great intro race for Pinky, not too big and overwhelming! We got to the start point and the block was lined with cars on either side, and the racers in the middle of the road. 

Just as we were getting ready to start the race, someone from the Fire Department came through and yelled at the crowd and race director that we could not be in the road. Apparently the neighbors hadn't been made aware of what was going on either, because several people in front of their homes were confused and wondering what we were doing. A hothead or two in the crowd tried to engage with the fire department representative rather than just getting out of the way until they were gone. Finally everything got squared away and we lined up again, and this time actually got underway. The course looped around through the neighborhood twice to complete the 5 miles. We made it about 2 blocks when Pinky had to answer the call of nature and made  a sudden stop right in front of E. It would have been a great moment for a video camera to capture, as E hurdled Pinky to avoid getting tripped. After that little snafu we got back to running and made it through the rest of the race without event. About a block of the course was along a pretty busy street and we were forced to run with traffic for it; that portion was a bit nerve-wracking, but we made it through alright. Pinky was thrilled to sprint it in to the finish chute, and I think we were probably quite the sight with her ears flapping and me trying to keep pace with her. The volunteers seemed pretty amused. 

Afterward the three of us returned to the running store for refreshments and the awards ceremony. Overall it was a bit of an adventure and I don't know if I would do that one again, but it was a nice afternoon and offered a chance to catch up with E. Plus, 6 down, 24 to go!

I still owe you one more race report, but bed is calling. Next up will be the story of the Race #7: The inaugural Love Run. It's too good of a story to rush. Plus, this weekend I head to DC for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler! I can't wait for that one; the weather looks good, a couple of running buddies are taking the same bus down and back with me, and another is rooming with me which should be a great opportunity for us to reconnect (it's been awhile) as well.

And as a reminder, along with the craziness of running thirty races in one year, I'm aiming to raise $3,000 for Girls on the Run Philadelphia. If you're feeling generous, please go to to donate. Any amount is very much appreciated, I still have a long way to go!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Inspirational Reading for Your Snow Day

If you're in the area getting hit by Winter Storm Pax: happy snow day! If not, I hope you're enjoying warmer weather and clear, ice and snow-free streets and sidewalks. I enjoyed my snow day by catching up on some sleep and making pancakes and tempeh bacon for brunch. Yum!

Sometimes the cold dark days of winter get me down a little, and I need a little inspiration. I shared some of blogger James Clear's work before, and now I want to share from another blog I enjoy: this awesome post from Nerd Fitness. This one definitely hit home for me. I am absolutely one of those people that feels the need to finish what I started, whether it's still enjoyable or not. Sometimes it is important, sometimes it isn't.

Enjoy! Come back and tell me how you're going to work on "leveling up".

Monday, February 10, 2014

Race Reviews (4 of them) with a Side of Biking

I have once again been remiss in posting, but the good news is I have four races under my belt for 2014 already to tell you about. Just 26 more to go!

Race #1: New Year's Eve 5k

As the name suggests, this race takes place on New Year's Eve, but starts right at midnight - so it was my first official race of 2014! There was an open bar and buffet at a bar by the ballpark leading up to the start of the race, and then we headed out into the cold to run a 5k through the parking lot. The course itself was pretty boring. What made this one special (besides being at midnight) was the NYE fireworks display going off right overhead while we were running. It was pretty awesome to get to watch fireworks for the duration of the race. It was quite chilly so I was highly motivated to finish quickly and pulled in a new PR (by a few seconds). One of my awesome co-workers joined me for this one, which made it all the more awesome. It was really a great way to start out the year and my 30 for 30 challenge!

Race #2: 38th The "Mayor's" Icicle Ten Miler (1/12/14)

With winter weather in full-swing (and a good dose of laziness) I was woefully under-prepared for this one. My steadfast running buddy and her partner do this one nearly every year and invited me along, so I was able to hitch a ride with them and had a buddy to run with. It's a smaller race, but has been growing. This one is in Wilmington, out of the Central YMCA, which is quite nice. Packet pickup is indoors, along with use of the locker rooms. Indoor bathrooms are definitely a plus, especially in January! We took dry clothes and were able to shower and change afterwards, which helped warm us up and made the trip home more pleasant. The course is fairly hilly, and neither of us were as fit as we would've liked so it was one of our slower 10 milers. But we made it through, and got to enjoy brunch at a nearby pub/restaurant where the after-party takes place before heading home.

Race #3: Shiver by the River #3 (2/2/14)

I had intended to run the Lehigh Valley Road Runners Superbowl 10k but it sold out before I registered. Oops! I also considered a 5k in West Chester on Saturday, which is about a 30 minute drive from home, but I joined a fun run at City Sports for the unveiling of the new Brooks shoe at 11pm the night before and it made for quite a late night. Totally worth it, but I didn't make it out of bed in time to get out there. So, I made the drive out to Reading for the third of the four race Shiver by the River series. The series is also on the smaller side, and pretty low-key, but nicely organized. I appreciate that the start is at 11am also, because it is a 1 1/2 hour drive out there. Also, it's only $15 per race, or $40 for the entire series. There is a 5k and 10k option, just two loops instead of one. I was tempted to just do the 5k (another chilly day and I still haven't been training regularly), but I figured I had to justify the long drive and stuck it out for the 10k. I wasn't aiming for a particular time since I'd been running irregularly, so I went a little slower than I perhaps could've, although not quite as slow as intended.

Race #4: Feel the Love Couples 5k (2/8/14)

This one took place in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, put on by the Bryn Mawr Racing Co. Of course the proximity to Valentine's Day makes the theme fairly obvious. This is the first time I had done this particular race. It's a twist on your average 5k: the awards are based on a "couple" team, and each person runs the loop in opposite directions. You get to see each other a few times along the course this way, and the awards are based on your combined time as a couple. You can sign up with your partner, or ask to be paired with someone, or just run as a loner (but then  you're not eligible for prizes). It was pretty cute. Another unusual feature is the fact that it started at 3:30pm. Given that it takes place in February and was pretty chilly even at this hour, I have no complaints about this, but it was definitely a departure from the normal race start times in the early morning. If you're not a morning person (like me), this is a pretty great race. Also, this one had the cutest race shirt of the year so far, and was quite affordable at $20 advance. The course wasn't the most scenic, but there was a nice stretch along the water where we got to see some of the huge ships docked out there. It's advertised as being "flat and fast", and it was indeed quite flat. I had a nice surprise with this one too, when I saw my running buddies at bib pickup before the race (the same ones I went to Wilmington with). I wasn't expecting company for this one, but they'd gotten an entry given to them at the last moment and ended up coming. So I once again had a running buddy, which was a great bonus that made it more enjoyable.

And that brings you up-to-date on my 2014 races. Next up, the Frostbite 5 miler on Feb. 22nd!

I think I'm off to a pretty good start, I just need to get back in my groove with running regularly. We've had quite the winter with lots of snow and ice and bitter cold temperatures, so I have found it challenging to get out the door to go run. I could hit the treadmill instead, but that comes with the logistical challenges of getting to the gym in the morning before work, or keeping my evening schedule clear so I can get there afterward (and keeping my motivation up). We just got even more snow this evening, and more bitter cold temps forecasted for the week, so winter is showing no signs of mercy just yet. Spring can't come soon enough! 

To switch things up a bit (and avoid the cold), I joined the T3 triathlon club's indoor "Biking for Breakfast" event today. Now, I don't actually do triathlons, so I'm a bit of a poser (although I openly admit this). I might venture into the world of duathlons one day, if I can get a decent bike. And figure out how to ride without sitting and walking hurting for the next 2 days. Okay, it hurts right now, and I'm anticipating it will take a couple of days to go away. I definitely see the utility of the padded shorts. 

That aside, it was a good workout and a fun crowd. The club really is a great group of people, and we had awesome volunteers cooking pancakes and waffles for us too. I brought a vegan and gluten-free waffle batter that they kindly cooked up for me, so I even had a yummy breakfast awaiting me when I got off the bike. Philadelphia Bikesmith, who hosted us, was awesome and set both me and my brother-in-law up on bikes and trainers for the workout. It was an all-around good time. In part due to this awesome event, I decided to go ahead and renew my club membership. I didn't feel like I made great use of it last year, but the board is really on fire this year. Since I'm considering dabbling in the world of biking in the near future, and they've been doing a great job cranking out awesome events, I think it's going to be totally worth it this year.

On that note, I need to get some sleep! I'd love to hear if anyone has tips on how to bike more comfortably, or favorite cold weather workout motivation!