Category Archives: Race Recap

The Toughest 10K | Kemah, TX

My 1st 10K!!!

I signed up for this one with the husband on a complete whim! We were headed to Galveston for the weekend to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary and the Monday before our trip I decided to see if there were any races happening in the Galveston/Houston area.  Low and behold, I found The Toughest 10K in Kemah, TX.  I wasn’t specifically looking for a 10K but as soon as I saw it I was hooked.  I told the husband about it and he was just as excited about giving it a try as I was.  Everything, from packet pickup to the actual race, fit in so perfectly with our plans.  I was pumped for this race the minute – no – the second we signed up for it!  The race has a great Facebook page that they kept updated with little race tidbits that just fueled the excitement and anticipation.

It didn’t phase us that we hadn’t run a 10K before – we planned to take it nice and easy, run as much as we could and do a walk/run interval after that.  We were a bit nervous because the course went on the Kemah/Seabrook Bridge – four times, but I felt up for the challenge!

I could barely sleep the night before the race and jumped out of bed well before the alarm clock rang I was so dang excited.  I truly felt like a kid on Christmas morning! I never was so pumped and amped for a race before!

It was cloudy and humid – I was so thankful the sun decided not to show up for the race because it could have made things icky weather wise. A nice little breeze kept us cool – especially on the bridge.

There were close to 2 thousand people running the 10K, a good amount of spectators, and a large group of beyond awesome volunteers.  The volunteers rang their cowbells, yelled, and cheered for us – oh, and manned the water/Gatorade table like nobody’s business.  I was able to pick up a cup without ever breaking my stride. At one point, I told one of the volunteers that she was awesome, and she replied, “No, you’re awesome!” – and dammit – I felt awesome!

Steve and I had a really good supportive race.  If the water stop was on my side and he wanted a drink, I got it – and vice versus.  We talked to each other and kept each other going.  Definitely a nice way to celebrate an anniversary and I was (and am) so excited that we did our 1st 10K together.

We kicked ass, if I do say so myself.  We ran the whole time, kept a decent and consistent pace and finished just slightly over the one hour mark.  Official results have not been posted due to some technical difficulties, but preliminary results have us in at 1:01.  We were blown away with our performance and we were on a runner’s high for days! DAYS!

 High lights: So much to say! But, I think being able to run the whole darn thing will be one of my fave race moments ever.  Just performing beyond expectation is pretty sweet in and of itself.

Low lights: it started pouring rain as we crossed the finish totally killing the post race festivities.  Tents with food were set up around the beautiful Kemah boardwalk area and it would have been nicer if the rain held out just a little longer.  Still really didn’t stop us from inhaling the yummy treats and chatting with fellow finishers.

Race Swag: A kick ass technical shirt (no sponsors on the back, yo!), a hat, and finisher’s medal.

Post Race Eats: Breakfast burritos, ice cream (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Power Bars, Muscle Milk, Soda, water, and fresh fruit.  The best post race spread I have encountered thus far.

Miracle Mile: During the race I really paid attention to the volunteers. Kids and adults of all ages giving their all to make it a great race.  All of them seemed so friendly – from packet pickup to during the race – to post race.  I remember seeing kids raking up discarded cups on the side of the road with so much oomph and effort.  It was really cool to see.

I have to give it up to the Running Alliance Sports (RAS)! They put on a great race.  The Toughest 10K Kemah is part of  The Texas Bridge Series, the others being, The Toughest 10K Galveston and the La Porte Half Marathon.  I’m bummed that my schedule doesn’t allow for me to take on the 10K in Galveston this year, but I am keeping the race on my radar for next year.  Who knows, maybe we will take on the Texas Bridge Series.  I wouldn’t mind doing my first halfie organized by RAS. Dun dun DUN. Well see.

kemah boardwalk sign ginastevekemah ginapolicekemah ginakemah

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Electric Zombie Run 5K | Denton, TX

A night run? Zombies?! Glow sticks?!? Yes, please! The minute I read about this race, like two months ago, I knew I HAD to put this race on the calendar.  Since the race was at night and involved zombies. I figured it would be a good idea to bench my son from this race and secure a babysitter.  Friends of ours came through beautifully and made running the race sans son easy peasy.  The babysitters had everything under control before we even left for the race! We paid them in pizza, cupcakes and cake pops! I’d take that gig in an instant if someone promised me junk food for payment!

When we got there, we heard some announcements about how the course would have no lighting and would be on x-country style terrain.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting THAT! The race director advised us not to make this a PR race or focus on our time as there would be no awards. Just go off and have fun with the zombies – and that is just what we did!  The race had such a cool atmosphere and everyone seemed so excited and pumped to go out and play with the Zombies. There was a really fun DJ and some people came in costumes and everyone was sporting a crap load of glow sticks! It was AWESOME! If you came in under 35 minutes you received a glow in the dark finisher medal that said I SURVIVED THE ELECTRIC ZOMBIE. If you came in after 35 minutes, you received a medal that said something like, YOU’RE TOO SLOW. YOU ARE A ZOMBIE.  You know I couldn’t bring home a you’re too slow medal for the medal rack so we had some good motivation to bust our asses a little bit.

As promised, the course was dark! Zombies stood on the side of the trails and did a really great job of jumping out at us from behind bushes, trees, and rocks.  Some runners had head lamps (why can’t I be that smart?!) but other than that and the moon, you couldn’t see too much.  Which is kind of a bummer because the zombies (whom I am pretty sure were volunteers) worked hard on their zombie looks, but it was a little too hard to see all the greatness. I only really got a good appreciation of their get ups after checking out some pictures on Instagram (thank you hastags!).  The zombies also set up the occasional strobe lights on the course which just made everything more creepier, haha.  Despite all that, I was only caught off guard once by a zombie when I was coming into the finish line.  They were hiding under a bridge and banging on it and I admit it, I totally yelped.  Out loud.

I had a really good run, felt great the whole time and came in under the 35 minute mark with plenty of time to spare.  We watched the other runners come in and yelled for them to pick it up so that they would be survivors!

All in all, it was a nicely organized fun run.   A perfect run to get you in that Halloween spirit and usher in fall.  Now, if only Texas would get the memo and turn down the heat. From what I understand, this was the inagural race and is part of a zombie series.  So, if you live in the Texas area or will be in the Texas area, you might want to go and check it out.  No need to be a hardcore runner to enjoy this one! http://www.electriczombierun.com/

High lights: Being a survivor, yo! Take that, zombies!

Low lights: not knowing course terrain before the race. I kinda wished that the website had more info on that so I would have been better prepared (mentally). No biggie, though. I probably was taking this race more seriously than I should have been.  I definitely had to change gears on race night.

Post Race Eats: water and Nutri-grain bars. Leftover deep dish pizza when I got home. Nom!

Race Swag: Cotton t-shirts, glow in the dark glow sticks and finisher medals.

Coming soon! Race recap of my first 10K!!

ginastevezombie ginazombiereportingforduty ginazombieahead

 

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September Soaring Virtual 5K | Wherever I Damn Well Pleased, TX

I was sent a link to virtual race organization and I was instantly intrigued. You pick the race distance, when you want to run your race (in the prescribed race week) and where you want to run your race.   After paying the race fee, you get your bib via email and you’re good to go! No dealing with packet pick up! I decided to go for it and signed up to experience what doing a virtual race would be like/feel like.

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September Virtual 5K bib by Jostrunning.com

I had a training run scheduled for the same day my virtual race week started so I decided to run my virtual 5K on the first day. I woke up, got dressed and started the race right outside my driveway! Can’t beat that! No fuss, no muss. I liked that i could pick the day and time to run my race.  I also liked that I didn’t have to disturb my sleeping son and cajole him into a jogging stroller.  He was still sleeping after I returned from my race – score!

I ran my virtual 5K like i would any other race and earned my fastest 5K time, yet! It did feel a little anticlimactic when there was no one waiting for me at the “finish”.  Although, bonus points: My husband had some cold water waiting for me when I walked back into the house! All I had to do post race was shower and send my race time to the Virtual 5K company.  In a few weeks they will send me a finisher’s medal! This month’s virtual race theme was airplanes and I cannot wait to get my airplane medal in the mail!

Would I do it again? Sure, why not!  I wouldn’t do all my races, this way, but I would certainly add some to my race calendar. It’s so easy to do and I never have to worry about emailing race organizers to see if jogging strollers are permitted.  I can map out my own course and make it as flat or as hilly as I want.  I think it would be fun to organize your own race and get a few local runners involved.  Think about the fun post-race party you could throw! Virtual races are definitely a great way to inject some fun into a training or long run! The virtual race didn’t have the same feeling or atmosphere as an in the flesh real race, but just knowing I would have to submit my time kept it competitive enough for me.

I’m sure virtually running is not for everyone, but for this girl – it worked! I liked the fact that I didn’t just dismiss it and tried something new!

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Recap Rewind – 1.31M = Runner’s High

So this last recap will make me all caught up in the race recap world! My latest race was more of a sprint than anything else.  It was billed as the

Moo Cow Mini Marathon | Fair Park, Dallas, Texas – July 20, 2013

Now I know I wrote marathon but it wasn’t really quite a marathon unless you’re a cow. Huh? Say Whaaa you say? When I say marathon, I mean a half marathon. When I say a half marathon, I mean 1.31 miles.  I’ll let the race website explain, The Moo Cow Mini  will be “2.62 miles in the Moo Cow Mini Marathon and 1.31 miles in the Moo Cow Mini Half Marathon. To a cow 2.62 miles is a marathon!” So there ya have it! If I chatted with a Cow down the road, he would be very proud of my halfie. Gimmicky? Yes.  A hell of a lot of fun, YES, again! (Side note: I urge you to take a peek at the FAQs on the website. Hilar. Love a race that doesn’t take themselves too seriously). I signed up for the half marathon and I’m so glad that I did because it was a blazing hot race morning.  It was me, the husband, and our son back in the jogging stroller.  Since we signed up for the shorter race we decided to just go all out and haul our butts from the get go. And we did! We hit our fastest pace ever and came in 16th and 17th place overall. The husband took 1st in his Age Group and I took 2nd in mine.  I was on a running high for days and it definitely put back a little running spark in my step. We had a blast and that’s what matters – not so much the distance. Who cares if it was a gimmicky race? It was a great opportunity to try something different and a great reminder not to take racing so serious.

Highlights: Taking home some hardware! A finisher medal and an Age Group medal. The husband and I both taking home awards was icing on the cake! So glad that I didn’t shy away from this race because of the short distance.

Low-lights: None. This one ranks as one of my all time faves. I hope to do it next year!

Post-Race Eats: Bananas, Nutri-grain bars, and lots and lots of water.  Free cans of Monster Energy Drink Samples.

Race Swag: Finisher Medal and a tech t-shirt.

Next race: a Zombie race in September unless I find a Labor Day race that sparks my interest.   Signing up for races is definitely helping us to explore more and more of the Dallas metroplex area (and beyond!).

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Recap Rewind – Part II: The Texas Series

Howdy, y’all. The Cherry Tree Relay marked my last official race in NY. Before I even moved, I signed The Husband and myself up for a 10K in Dallas. I was feeling pretty good from all my running and felt I could take on the new distance. Well, that turned in a colossal pipe dream. Hindsight is 20/20 because looking back at that decision, it was pretty stupid of me.

I started scouting out the Dallas area racing scene way before le move. I found the Disco 5K and 10K that looked sooo much fun – plus they promised a “huge disco medal” for all the finishers. I must have been blinded by the disco bling because I signed up for the 10K with little thought of logistics. After we moved to Texas and was able to focus on the impending race, I realized the following issues:

The race started at 7:45 AM and was approximately 45 mins away from my house. Gulp.

I didn’t have a babysitter for my son and the website said “no strollers” on the course. Uh oh.

It was May already and I hadn’t run AT ALL since February. Crap de la crap.

I really wasn’t sure what to do about the race and I was totally sweating it out. I really had little confidence that I could run a 10K and hello! No babysitter! The husband said he would sit it out, but I felt really bad that he would miss out on a finisher’s medal and that we would have to eat his race entry fee. Plus, I didn’t want to run my first 10K solo. Wah, wah, wah. So, I got my shite together and emailed the race organizer asking if we could switch from the 10K to the 5K. They replied that it would be no problem. Phew. But, what about the no babysitter issue? I do have some close friends nearby but asking someone to get up early on a Saturday morning to watch a squirmy two year old didn’t sit well with me. I couldn’t bring myself to ask. So, the husband and I decided that we would both suit up for the 5K and ask at the race if we could use the jogging stroller. If not, the husband would sit it out.

When we got to the race we asked the volunteers at the registration desk if we could run with the jogging stroller and they gave us a big smile and said sure! WAHOOOO! I felt the stress melt off immediately. Now with the background out of the way, on to the recap of my first Texas race.

Disco 5K and 10K | Fair Park, Dallas, Texas – May 19, 2013

Highlights: Receiving the finisher medal at the finish line. A volunteer also gave one to my son which I thought was uber cool. I was happy to have survived the race since that was my first run in a long time. Another runner dressed up in a huge disco ball and had music playing from somewhere inside the disco ball. I laughed so hard when I saw that awesomeness. The one thing that stands out for me about this race is not running related at all. After finishing, I was more proud that the husband and I ventured out and did the race and made it work. I was happy that we didn’t have to rely on anyone else and it felt kinda good. Go us! The husband did great pushing my son in the jogger. No easy feat, people, my son is a solid 36ish lbs.

Low lights: The course was meh. There was a long stretch of nothingness and it made the course a little boring. It was 75 degrees with about 75% humidity at the start of the race. No bueno for me but something I have to get used to in TX.

Post Race Eats: To die for pancakes! My stomach felt a little off so I only had a bite of these amazingly good pancakes and wished my tummy wasn’t arguing with me. The husband chowed down on them and couldn’t believe how good they were. He still talks about it to this day. I opted for an orange and shared a banana with my son. Muscle Milk was there giving out samples. We had some brunch at Corner Bakery when we got towards home.

Race Swag: FINISHER MEDAL! Hooray! Tie dye t-shirt.

As far as tackling a 10K? I think I’ll give it a whirl in the fall and will probably do it solo.

Fireworks 5K | McKinney, TX – July 4th, 2013

Highlights: Interesting course running through a master planned community, under a tunnel (ECHO! ECHO!), and a nice stretch of shade. A Dad with his family watching the race from his front lawn shouting out encouragement and course information to the runners. His kids were banging on a cow bell. Fun for the runners but probably not so fun for his next door neighbors at 8 something in the morning haha! I loved it! My son telling us to “GO, GO, GO!” and “FASTER!”. He’s a tough coach and available for all your race pacing needs.

Low lights: The finish line was in complete sun. It felt hard to push it at the end when the sun was bbbbblazing straight into your eyes. What? There are these things called sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun?! I’ll have to check into these contraptions. What’s that you say? Visors? Hmmm…

Post Race Eats: There was none. NONE. NOOOOOOONE. No food = cranky Gina. They ran out of water, too. I’m not saying all races should have a gourmet spread post race (who am I kidding, YES THEY SHOULD!) but when the website mentioned free Starbucks and snow cones, you kinda get a little a lot stabby when there are no signs of Starbucks and snow cones. Dammit, maybe all the fasties took all the good stuff. Time to up my game. The husband made some breakfast for us at home and we bought our own damn Starbucks.

Race Swag: A tech t-shirt. A local chiropractor gave out towels at the finish line which came in handy to wipe the massive amount of sweat off of…everywhere.

One more race recap and you’ll be all caught up. Happy dance!

 

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Recap Rewind – Part I: The Winter Series

Before I move forward with le blog, let’s rewind and review the last couple (5) of races:

2012

Cool 5K | Lake County, IL – November 24, 2012

Highlights: Running this brrrific race with Bobbi and Kim! PRing, but not realizing that fact until a month later (derp), and the super duper uber highlight moment: Kim surprising me and Bobbi with our very own personalized race medals! My first race medal, holla! I wore that medal proudly whilst gorging out on a post race brunch at Wildberry. Aww yeah. It’s worth mentioning that Kim put the medal in these cute paint can type containers with…DOVE CHOCOLATES…inside. I savored every damn chocolate, too. No one but me was allowed to touch em. I allowed myself one or two pieces after I completed a run until they were all gone.

Low lights: Having to eavesdrop instead of partaking in Bobbi and Kim’s convos like a stalker because I STILL CANT TALK AND BREATH AND RUN AND THINK AT THE SAME TIME! Sorry, ladies!

Post Race Eats: I recap this stuff because I care. Cookies! Followed by the aforementioned brunch at Wildberry.

Race Swag: A winter hat! My husband wore it all winter.

NYCRUNS HOT CHOCOLATE 5K | Roosevelt Island, NY – December 16, 2012

Highlights: Freaking everything. Kim was in town and paced me to another PR! Seriously, I probably owe this girl my first born – first a medal and then a PR! Which now that I think about it, I only PR with Kim…hmmm. Anyways, Kim paced me, yelled at me, and practically dragged me over the finish line. I kicked and screamed but she just yelled louder. Damn, she’s a good pacer. I ran this fun run with my Husband, my Brother-in-law, and Kim. My fave spectators kept watch of my son and it was just a fun Christmasy run. Roosevelt Island was decked out with Christmas decorations. Hot chocolate and bagels were waiting for us at the finish.

Low light: Taking a walk break. Siiiigh. It was a small one, but I could have and should have pushed myself. My fault.

Post Race Eats: Hot chocolate and bagels, yo! My Road ID does not say RUN FOR BAGELS for nothing. Plus a post race brunch with Kim, The Husband, and Fave spectators. What is it about post race brunches?! Always so nom nom nom!

2013

NYRR GRIDIRON CLASSIC 4M | Central Park, NY – February 3, 2013

Highlights: New distance = automatic PR! I ran this in lieu of the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5k. I was all signed up to run the Dash with the Brother in law and husband but Hurricane Sandy arrived and the rest is history that everyone is aware of and I don’t need to recap that. The race was on Superbowl Sunday and runners were encouraged to wear football related gear so we did! Also, we got to “vote” who we thought would win the Superbowl by running under the appropriate team banners around Mile 3-ish I thought that was cool.

Low lights: I arrived way early and had to wait in the cold in a corral. This race was fun but didn’t help to entirely erase the disappointment of not running the Dash. I was grateful that the NYRR allowed us to choose another race, but as my move date was fast approaching, it stung not being able to participate in that race again.

Post Race Eats – Bagels! This is New York, afterall. Post race brunch (LOVE THOSE) with the Husband a few hours later.

Race Swag: a long-sleeved heavy weight shirt.

Valentine’s Day 5K – Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY – February 11, 2013

Highlights: I ran this race on a whim to use as a little training for the following week’s relay held on the same course. Prospect Park. Home to Mt. PITA. I totally ran that whole course and all the way up that freakin hill. It was a shining moment for me and I was prrrroud!

Low lights: Nothing, I ran up that stupid hill. Booyah.

Post Race Eats – Can you guess? Bagels! And since we were in the neighborhood, donuts from Dun-Well Donuts.

Race Swag: A red carnation flower, a water bottle and a long sleeved heavy weight t-shirt.

2013 Cherry Tree 10 Miler and 3 Person Relay – Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY – February 17, 2013

Highlights: Partaking in the relay for the second time! This time it was my Brother in law, Husband, and I running “against” Kim, her husband, and her brother in law. Collectively, we were the RELAYTEDS! I’ll just let you think about that for a moment. My favorite part was running with Kim’s husband whom I never had the opportunity to run with ever. And yes, I made it up the hill, again. Slowly.

Low lights: A last minute babysitting snafu left us without a babysitter. We had to switch around legs and sprint back to home base to hang out with my son. It all worked out in the end, but the stress of trying to figure out a new game plan together with a couple of other things floating around my head – I didn’t enjoy this race as much as I would have liked.

Race Swag: Running gloves, which came in super handy during the race! Totally beats last year’s “hats”.

Post Race Eats: I saved room for DUN WELL DONUTS! Look at that, we were in the neighborhood, again! And leftover pizza! Le Yum!

Thanks for reading this far! I commend your endurance! Part II: The Texas Edition will follow soonish.

Let me end this marathon recapping session by wishing Kim a very happy birthday today and also, big huge congratulations to my friend, Courtney on her recent engagement! Banner week!

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Run for Congo Women Race Report | Roosevelt Island, N.Y.

I decided very last minute to run this race.  I had it on my radar for a while but didn’t register for it because my running for September was pretty close to zilch.  I ran a race on Labor Day and that was pretty much it until September 22nd.  The running lapse was due in part me trying to wait out the humidity for cooler temps.  When the cooler temps came my son got sick and then passed it on to me.  It’s crazy how much an illness or two can really side line me from my running routine.  I was relieved when I picked it up again towards the end of the month as I didn’t seem to lose much in the way of my running ability – thankfully.  I was almost too scared to start running again.  I’ve been slowly increasing the mileage and pushing myself to keep going and I’m pretty happy with how everything has been going for the last couple of weeks. So, since I felt pretty good I decided to sign up for the race on race day. I didn’t mention it to anyone just in case I decided to skip the run.

The Run for the Congo Women brought me back to Roosevelt Island!  As my Dad said to me, I must really like running flat courses.  Yup! This race marked my 7th race and my 3rd at Roosevelt Island.   I can’t seem to get enough of those Roosevelt Island runs!

It was a shot gun start but was chipped timed (that really threw me for some reason).  The chips were connected to a piece of Velcro that I strapped onto my wrist. I’m used to the chip being on the bib and was a little worried that the chip on my wrist would annoy me during my run.  It didn’t – it was really light weight and I hardly noticed it during the run.

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Before the race, I threw down some small goals that I wanted to meet.  I wanted to run 2M straight before thinking about a walk break and I wanted to come in faster that my previous Roosevelt Island time.  I did both! I felt a lot stronger than my past two Roosevelt Island runs but not nearly as strong as the race I ran in Illinois.  I think weather is still playing a factor with these races.  It was about 70 degrees and sunny.  I was hoping that the temps would be a lot cooler for an early morning October race.

The Husband and my son were there to cheer me on.  They are such good sports. They saw me off at the start, again at around mile one and at the finish! The Husband noticed that they didn’t have a mat at the start so I edged up closer to the starting line but not close enough where I would be trampled by the fasties.

The race was pretty well organized save for the fact that it started about 20 mins late.  No biggie.  No race marshals so no one to high five with along the way.  I did manage one single high five for a guy running with a child.  The little girl would get a burst of energy and sprint from one bench to another and the poor man had to try and keep up with her sprinting spurts.  I gave him a high five when he and the little girl were catching a break on the bench! He seemed to get a kick out of it.

My one and only complaint was that the water stop was located at about mile 2.34 which is a little too late in the game for my liking.  I had already passed and stopped at a water fountain before I came upon the water stop.

I came in at 35:43. I’m happy that I came in slightly faster than my last race – still didn’t beat my IL PR.  I wish I could have pushed myself more for a better time, but that is an ongoing effort. I love, love, LOVE coming into the finish line and seeing my boys.  It’s beyond nice having someone waiting for you at the finish!  Favorite part of the race! Race swag! They gave out plastic tote bags with hand and foot creams and a lubricating cream! Pretty cool! They had cookies, bagels, bananas and sample sized Luna bars (S’more flavor) post race.  I wasn’t really that hungry so I grabbed a cookie for Steve and a banana for myself.

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 What’s next?

Hopefully I won’t get derailed from running and I can continue train for a November race.  I want to get outside more and focus on pace and form. Form because my calves are still sore so I’m thinking I’m doing something wrong. Any tips?

 

Labor Day 5K | Roosevelt Island, NY

“Whether someone’s a 3-hour or 6-hour marathoner, they’re still a marathoner. Whether someone runs a 5K in 18 minutes or 40 minutes, they’re still a runner. You are not allowed to ask “Hey, how’d your race go?” as a way to open the door to brag about yourself. Let them have the spotlight! Give ‘em a high five, smile, and shut up. It’s their moment.” – Susan Lacke, www.nomeatathlete.com

So, with that said, on to the recap!

I was back on Roosevelt Island to run a 5K with The Husband and Brother-in-Law on Labor Day.  I don’t know what it is, but I really like running races on this Island.  I have no idea why, because both races haven’t been spectacular.  It must be the course itself; relatively flat with amazing views.  Manhattan on one side, Queens on the other side.  Throw in a light house and a tram and it’s a pretty darn unique place to run.

The Husband and I decided to run this race together.  Usually it’s every man for themselves, but I was really hoping to match my time from my last race or do better so he said he would stick with me and push me along if needed.  That was all well and good on paper, didn’t quite translate too well on the course.  The Husband did a great job of staying by my side but unfortunately not even he could help power me through my “Must. Stop. Legs. Are. Falling. Off” mentality. I had a great first mile but then the humidity started to beat the crap out of me.  Sigh.  Around mile two, I just felt nauseas and I could feel the water I took from my water bottle sloshing around my tummy.  Fun times.  So yeah, there were walk breaks. Although, my walk breaks are improving! They aren’t for that long anymore!

Favorite race moments: giving high fives to the race marshals and volunteers whether they wanted it or not.  The husband was probably cringing at my high fiving action (don’t think I didn’t see the high five you gave to that girl around Mile 2, Steve), but dammit, I need some enthusiasm people!  Special thanks to the guy at the lighthouse turn that gave me an awesome high five and declared that my hi five was his first of the race.  Second favorite race moment: Crossing the finish line with The Husband.   In what’s becoming a tradition, we held hands crossing the finish line. It drew a lot of cheers from the small crowd gathering around the finish line. What can I say, I do it for the people. Haha.

Overall, I enjoyed the race. I just wish more people on the Island would come out and cheer us on – it always seems so deserted. Cheering spectators always go such a long way.

I think I finished in 36:09 – not exactly where I wanted to be, but again, I have trouble running in humidity, so I’m trying to cut myself a little slack.  I am so hoping the fall will bring better races runs.  I’m eyeing another Roosevelt Island run in October.  For some reason, I just want to have a decent run and I want to have it there.

It’s another run in the books (#6!), may I have my high five now?

Rally for Autism 5k – Libertyville, IL

Let me just preface this race report with saying that

this was the best. race. ever.

A day after proclaiming that I would never run another damn race again, I let Kim talk me into signing up for the Rally for Autism 5K in Illinois.  She’s very persuasive.  Not to mention the fact that this would be my first out of town race, strollers were permitted, and that this race was for an amazing cause, it was practically a no brainer to say yes.  Or Maybe it was because my brain was still all melty from the race we ran the day before in 80 degree-weather-at-9 AM-with-1000%-humidity, hmmm…). But honestly, running for a worthy cause like Autism research and supporting families affected by Autism was icing on the cake.  So, Kim signed me and The Husband up for the race and we planned to run with my son in a jogging stroller.  Admittedly, I was a bit apprehensive about running another race in the summer, but figured how much worse could it be than my last sweltering race that took place in Hell.

So let’s get started with the race recap!  We picked up our bibs and tech t-shirts (aww yeah, tech t-shirt!!) after our flight to Chicago.  Pick up was super easy and we were greeted by smiles and friendly faces from the race coordinators.  Kim surprised us with a race shirt for LP to commemorate his first 5k with this awesomely customized shirt:

My First 5k : ) photo by Kim Skaff

On race day we were blessed with the most amazing weather I have encountered in August in a really long time.  A sunny 70 degrees with a slight breeze. In August. In Chicago.  The race coordinators must be good friends with the race gods to score that kind of weather in the middle of August.  We couldn’t ask for anything more.

Kim’s friend kindly let us borrow her jogging stroller so we didn’t have to haul ours from NYC.  Kim volunteered to push him in the jogger and she was great at it!  I wish I could bottle some of her energy for myself! Not only was she running while pushing a stroller, she entertained LP the whole time with her silliness.   I think there may have been the occasional wheelies, too. I may or may not have loaded the stroller with essentials like water bottles (mine), useless sun visors (mine) and select baby items (not mine). Hope that stroller wasn’t too heavy for you, Kim!

The race was held at the Independence Grove Forest Preserve and it was gorgeous.  Jaw dropping gorgeous.  We had sweeping views of rolling hills, trees and lakes! At one point the path curved and  you could see all the speedy runners blazing a trail before us.  It was inspiring! The course had a couple of bridges that we got to run across.  What is it about running across a bridge that’s so fun?! The scenery did a lot to take my mind off of the actual running.  Kim and LP were great pacers, we couldn’t really bust out of the pack because it was just too tricky to do that with a jogger and that really helped me not to go out too fast.  I loved being able to run with a pack! I usually get left behind pretty quickly so this was a nice change! The volunteers did a great job of cheering us on along the way and get this, there was not one, but TWO water stops.  Say what!? I’ve given up on actually trying to drink water out of a cup while running, so instead I took the opportunity to splash some in my face.  The best thing about taking water cups from the water station is crushing the cups in your fist and throwing it off to the side like a bad ass.  That will never get old for me. Never.

Steve, Kim, and I wore orange running shirts and we got a few fun compliments about them along the way.  We even ran into another gentleman wearing an orange shirt and Kim asked him if he wanted to join our Orange Shirt Club.  I don’t think he was interested in joining. Sad face.

We kept a pretty manageable pace for me and ran the race in …drum roll…34:27! Which just happens to be a personal best for moi.  Thank you, thank you.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to slip that into everyday conversation with random people since the race.  “So how was your weekend? Mine was pretty good, PRed a race, what did you do?” and “Sure, I’ll have fries with that, after all I broke my previous Personal Record just the other day”.

One of the things I absolutely loved about this race was deciding to stick together with Kim and The Husband.  They are faster runners than I am, so it felt good that they weren’t worried about breaking PR’s or anything like that.  We crossed the finish line holding hands – which had to be a bit tricky for Kim since she was pushing a jogger. And bonus! I didn’t feel like death after the race, I felt freakin great! Plus, I got to meet a lot of Kim’s friends from her running club which was really cool.  She knows a great bunch of people!

I just have to mention the post-race food: hot dogs, chips, fruit, muffins, and bagels! What a spread and I was all too willing to consume any and all calories I expended during the race.

My son enjoyed “running”, too.  After the race he took the opportunity to wander into pictures with Kim and her friends.  He has no shame.

This race had such a good vibe and I really enjoyed it.  I was excited to shave off a few minutes off my last PR and to run the race alongside Kim and The Husband.  And because you are still reading this recap, I just want to mention again, that I PRed.  In case you may have missed that part in the post.

Did I hear someone yell “sppeeeeech!”.  Well ok, if you insist:

Big huge thanks to Kim for doing all the stroller pushing; Kim’s husband for being our official race photographer; and the race coordinators for pulling off such a well organized and fun race! Another big thanks to Kim’s friend for lending us a stroller!  Having LP with us the entire time was such a treat! Thank you treadmill and humid basement!  Humid basement, if it wasn’t for you, I probably wouldn’t have been so appreciative of the amazing weather we had!

2nd Annual 5k Run Benefiting the Icla Da Silva Foundation Race Recap

Progress. That’s how I’ll sum up this race.

Packet Pick-Up:

How come no one ever recaps the packet pick-up in their race reports?  I’ll do it! The pick-up went pretty smooth and I got a t-shirt.  Well, that’ss why no one ever talks about the pick-up…booor-ing.

The Runners:

Me, The Husband, and the Brother-in-law.  You may remember the Brother-in-law from such races as the Prospect Park Relay.

Race Day:

The race was held on Roosevelt Island.  Despite the island being so accessible to Queens and Manhattan, I haven’t spent much time on the Island at all.  It’s a small island, very residential and has amazing views of Manhattan. The Island felt like a college campus and it was so quiet.   It was a small race, which I LOVED.  Approximately 400 runners give or take.  The race started promptly at 9 am and I thought it was pretty well organized.  Not that I have a lot of races to compare it with, but everything went smoothly. My only teeny tiny complaint was the mile markers. The markers were arrow shaped signs so I couldn’t tell if it meant that’s were the mile was or that the mile marker was up ahead.  Stuff like that annoys the crap out of me when I’m running.  I must learn to go with the flow more, but I like knowing where I am. I took my Garmin on the race with me, but it wouldn’t cooperate.  Translation: I couldn’t get it to do what I wanted.  Translation: I stoooopid.

Here’s a map of the course:

I loved the course! The views, when I remembered to take it all in, were gorgeous. Some highlights: a light house, a view of the hospital where my son was born, bridges, and the Manhattan skyline.  There were lots of times on the course that there was very little  shade and the beating sun made me feel a tad crappy.  Not to self, wear a sun visor on sunny days.  Derp.  I ran my first mile in about 10 mins which is not like me.  I’m usually a lot slower than that. I couldn’t keep that pace much longer after mile 1 and slowed down considerably after that.  There were a few walk breaks, which I am ok with.  I just didn’t get the training in that I wanted to for this race. I choked on the water at the water stop, again.  Seriously, any volunteers to help me train for water intake during races?  Double derp.

Spectators:

My Dad, his wife, and my son came out to cheer us on! They waited for us around Mile 1 – they were easy to spot as there were not too many other spectators.  I got high fives all around and my Dad sang the Rocky Theme Song.  Bonus points, Dad! My son was busy looking at his feet when I passed by.  We saw them again at the finish line where my son was still looking at his feet.

The End:

I pushed it hard for the last .25 mile and flew to the finish line (that’s how it felt).  I got some cheers from the spectators and the look of pride on my Dad’s face was priceless.  Oh, and someone handed me water at the finish line.  That was freaking awesome.  The volunteers were so on their game.

The time:

36:21.  Total meh, but I think it’s better than my last race — so progress! I’m getting somewhere slowly.  That’s all I can really ask for when my runs have been so sporadic.

Things to remember for next time:

Wear a visor on sunny days.

Learn to be in the moment more and focus less on the finish line.  I realized after the race when I was talking to my fellow racers that I missed a lot of interesting sights. Like the young skateboarders stopping their skateboarding to gawk at the runners.  Like the Starbucks we passed.   I did notice a runner at Mile 2 throw up her hands airplane style as we took the turn.  I want to be more like that girl.  She was having fun.  I’m not going to win trophies at these events so I might was well have fun with it.  I want to be like the girl wearing the purple knee highs and purple plaid kilt.  Oh wait, that was a guy wearing that stuff.  I just want to be able to have more fun while running. I want to be like this girl.

I so want to go back and run around Roosevelt Island again.  Doesn’t have to be for a race.  I just want to go back and check it all out again.  I think it’s a nice sign of progress when a race leaves you wanting more.

Nice job, Roosevelt Island 5K.

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