2018 York Half Marathon Recap

Happy long weekend! I hope that you all are enjoying the warm weather šŸ™‚

I want to take a moment to thank all service men and women who have fought for our freedom and continue to fight today. Thank you for all that you do.

Last weekend, I took part in the York Half Marathon, a fun local race.

Leading up to the weekend, I was still recovering from the Pittsburgh Half. I was taking my time with recovery since I ran harder than I ever had before. Additionally, on Friday, I started feeling REALLY bad…like horrible stomach cramps, nausea, and headaches bad. The stomach pains were enough to make me stay in bed after work on Friday and most of Saturday morning. I did make sure that I watched the royal wedding, however! How beautiful and sweet was it?!

After I got ready for the day on Saturday, I told Steve that I was going to play the race by ear…if I felt better, I would do it. if not, I wouldn’t worry about it. I had already PRed, so I didn’t need this race.

As the day went on, I began to feel slightly better, and I even got to help my sister get ready for her senior prom. She was on Prom Court. Isn’t she stunning?!

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Also, I chopped my hair two weeks ago, and I love it!

After the prom festivities, I made my way home and got to bed. I set my alarm and promised myself that I’d listen to my body in the morning.

When I woke up, I was surprised that I felt much better. I got ready, ate my breakfast, and then Steve and I drove down to the race area.

When we got there, I picked up my packet, which included a great race shirt and bag. I was so impressed! I then took my swag back to the car, put on my bib, and started to stretch out.

My goal for the race was simple: to finish. I wanted to take my time and truly enjoy my surroundings.

As the start time approached, I lined up at the start area and waited to begin.

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As ready as I was going to be! šŸ™‚

Before I knew it, it was time to begin. I started off slowly and settled into a comfortable pace. We started in the heart of York and quickly headed to the York Heritage Trail, a beautiful rail trail that stretches a wide area.

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We mainly rain on the gravel trail roads (as you can see here), which were a nice relief for my legs after months of pavement and treadmill running.

The miles were going pretty quickly. I was feeling good so I neglected my run/walk and kept running. I did stop for water breaks and took my time through those.

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The course was an out and back trail, which I liked. I knew what to expect towards the end of the race. The course was also pretty crowded for a local race. Because the course is so flat, many runners travel to try to qualify for Boston (there’s also a marathon during the weekend). But, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of runners by any means.

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I was feeling pretty good through mile 10.5, and then the sickness started coming back. I began to have stomach cramps and get pretty nauseous. I knew that I was almost done, so I decided to keep moving and get the race over with as quickly as possible.

The rest of the race was honestly a blur. I put my head down and kicked it into gear.

I quickly made my way to the finish line and crossed it with the smallest fist pump. I was just so happy to be done.

I got my medal, grabbed some water, and made my way to find Steve. He snapped this really sweaty photo of me before we headed home. At that point, I just wanted to go home, shower, and lay down.

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I spent the rest of the day in bed before venturing out for lunch with Steve’s parents for their anniversary. I was not able to eat much, however. I made sure that I got to bed early that night because I was so exhausted and felt so poorly.

I later learned that I had a 72-hour stomach bug. It was AWFUL!

I’m proud of myself for pushing through this race, and I can honestly say that it’s one of my hardest earned medals. I finished with a time of 1:57:50, which I am very happy with considering the circumstances. Because of this, I can always look back and smile when I think of this race, even though I felt so crappy.

So, what’s next? I actually am happy to say that I’m taking a slight break from half marathons. Nothing major, just a few months to let my legs rest after Dopey and the harder spring races that I completed. I’m hoping to get back into it in the fall or next spring!

Do you have any upcoming races? What are they?!

Design

2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon Recap

Hi, friends!

It’s absolutely beautiful outside today…at least in Central PA! As I admire the blue skies outside my window, I thought it would be a great day to recap my Pittsburgh Half Marathon experience.

Steve and I traveled to Pittsburgh the Friday before the race (May 4). We left after work, so we got to our friends’ house in Pittsburgh pretty late. We did get to spend a few hours catching up with our friends, which was great! We went to high school and college with a lot of our friends there, so it’s always great to catch up and share old memories.

We woke up pretty early on Saturday to get to the expo when it opened. I was really looking forward to this expo because in previous years, it’s always been full of awesome vendors and free samples.

We ubered down to the Convention Center and got in line at 8:45 (the expo opened at 9). Luckily, they let us in a few minutes early, and we raced over to the packet pick-up area to grab my bib. Three of our friends were also running the half, and we were able to go to the expo with one of them.

After picking up our packets, we headed toward the main expo area to check out the official merchandise and other vendor booths. Overall, I was sort of disappointed in the expo this year. I did buy two items (a “Runner of Steel” tank and a metal rack extender for my current metal rack), but it just seemed like the entire expo was taken down quite a few notches from the last two times I visited it. Not terrible, but not as great as I remember….and definitely not as many free samples.

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After we finished up at the expo, we headed to Smallman Galley where we ate a delicious brunch! I went to the Banhmilicious booth and got the egg and avocado rice bowl. IT WAS SO GOOD! I also got a raspberry herbal tea to help calm my nerves from the impending race.

We then took a leisurely walk through the Strip District, which I had never done before! We got so many free samples, and I was sure to purchase a bottle of wine and a homemade cannoli – YUM!

Then, we headed back to our friends’ house to drop off our stuff and hang out for a few hours before dinner. I took this opportunity to take a nice nap and keep my feet up. I knew I needed it!

After my nap, we headed down to Benny Fierro’s to get my pre-race tradition of pizza. I had never been to Benny’s before, and boy was I in for a treat! I wish I had taken a photo of my pizza slice – it was GINORMOUS!

I also made sure to get a milkshake from The Milkshake Factory…because…..when in Pittsburgh, you get a milkshake from The Milkshake Factory…always!

We made our way back to our friends’ house and I got ready for bed. I knew that I wanted to go to sleep fairly early since we had to leave the house early the next morning due to traffic.

We woke up around 4 the next morning, got ready, and ate our breakfasts. Then, we called an Uber and headed down to the race area. We got there about an hour early and chatted as we warmed up and stretched.

When it was about 30 minutes to race time, we all split ways and headed to our respective corrals. I was B, so I knew I wanted to get a good position so that I could run pretty quickly after starting.Ā I knew going into this race that I wanted to PR. I had worked hard for it, and I was ready.

Before I knew it, we were off! My goal was to NOT do my typical run/walk interval and instead run the entire race, minus the water stations. How people run and drink at the same time completely blows my mind….that’s talent!

I honestly didn’t take any photos during the race because I was trying so hard.

The miles flew by as we ran through the different neighborhoods (Strip District, North Side, etc.). I honestly didn’t even look at my watch until we headed across the river around mile 6.5. I was feeling great and knew that this was going to be a great day for a PR.

It was definitely humid, so I focused on my breathing…slow and steady, especially while running up the notorious Pittsburgh hills.

I kept my spirits high and my feet moving as I ran through the Southside and up the Birmingham Bridge. YIKES! I definitely forgot about how long the hill is from the beginning of the bridge to the other side of the river (it’s almost a mile long!)! But, I got through it, and I knew that it was all downhill from there.

In the meantime, Steve texted me when I was at mile 11 and said that he was at mile 12. I kept my eyes open as I was flying through the streets. I passed the mile 12 marker, but I did not see him. I didn’t text him back because I knew that I would be finishing soon and could get him after. He would have never made it to the finish line in time any way.

As I quickly approached the downtown area, I knew that I was so close to the finish line. I tried to avoid looking at my watch during this stretch, and instead, I focused on running as fast as I could. So, I had know idea how far ahead I was…I knew I was making good time though. I passed the mile 13 sign and really kicked it into gear – I mean FULL OUT SPRINTING!

This part of the race is always so fun – the crowd is so loud and you truly get chills as you cross the finish line. As soon as I crossed, I stopped my watch, and to my surprise, I had PRed by 4 minutes! My official time was 1:48:29! I couldn’t believe it!

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I immediately texted Steve and made my way to the finish line festival area where he was waiting. We celebrated with a few photos of course.

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We then met up with our friends and headed to brunch/lunch on Mount Washington. I got a pierogi bowl, a typical Pittsburgh dish, and I was given a free beer from my waitress for participating in the race. How sweet?!

Then, we headed back to our friends’ house so that I could shower. Because Steve worked the next day, we knew that we had to get back fairly quickly.

I, however, took the day off on Monday. I spent time with my pup , relaxed, and celebrated my PR.

Overall, my experience at the 2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon was FANTASTIC! I always love this race and the crowds that it draws. It’s definitely an experience like no other.

But, that’s it for now. Next up: my recap of the York Half Marathon, which I completed last weekend!

Have you ever run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon? Tell me about your experience!

Design

2017 CC Mini Thon 5K Recap

Happy Halloween, friends!

This past weekend, I completed the Cedar Cliff Mini Thon 5K as part of my 10-mile maintenance run. I was the 4th girl (according to my sister), but the race experience wasn’t what I expected.Ā Follow along to find out why.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early and completed 6.9 miles around my neighborhood. I kept my pace nice and slow (averaging a 9:44 minute/mile pace), and really focused on my breathing. After completing the preliminary miles, I changed out of my clothes (it was very cold and I knew I needed to get into dry clothes!), grabbed a Gu and water, and headed out the door.

The race was only 10 minutes from my house, so the drive did not take long at all.

Once I got to the park where the race would be held, I walked up to the pavilion and picked up my packet. I will say that I was VERY impressed with the race packet! The race was run by my sister’s class, so I wasn’t expecting to get so many goodies! In the goodie bag (which was a nice, sturdy string bag), we got our race shirt, some Four Diamonds stickers, Halloween candy, a nice ballpoint pen, a Four Diamonds lanyard, and two complimentary one-week passes to our local LA Fitness. Not bad for a local race!

After I took my goodies back to my car, I began stretching out my legs and doing what I could to warm my muscles back up. About 15 minutes before race start, I took my Gu and met up with my sister and dad (they came to watch me since they live 5 minutes away).

After a few moments of chatting, I headed to the “start line.” My dad snapped this pic, which made me giggle.

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My dad is too funny!

Then, with some non-descriptive, last-minute course descriptions from the race director, we were off! I started out nice and slow and really focused on settling in to a comfortable pace. This race was not about winning or getting a PR. I really did it to donate to a good cause and break up another training run.

As we exited the park, I realized that I totally forgot to start my watch….oh, Sara….

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I made the 5K Instagram post. Clearly, you can tell that running makes me happy haha. And, no, I was not last. There was just a big gap between my part of the race pack and the next.

I had heard that this race was going to follow the annual Turkey Trot course exactly, so at what I’m guessing was the 1.5-mile mark, we hit the school. Now, I’ve run the Turkey Trot for the last 4 years, so I’m very familiar with the course for that. At first, it seemed like we were following the course, but as soon as we hit the school, about .15-.2 of the course was cut out. This really confused me, and I hesitated when everyone else went a different way…BUT no one was there to direct us otherwise.Ā Usually after the school, we head up and make a loop around the library before heading back to the main road.Ā So, thinking that we’d make up the distance later, I followed the rest of the pack to stay on track.

Well….I was very wrong…..

We never officially made up that distance. We ran a straight shot back to the park, and before I could even comprehend what had happened on the course, I was crossing the finish line.

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And, at that moment, I so wished that I had worn my watch. Just how short was the course? Should I have run more earlier?

I walked through the finisher’s shoot and headed towards my family. My sister informed me that I was the 4th girl to cross, so that sort of brightened up my mood. I felt so guilty…like I had cheated the 5K somehow..even though I followed everyone else.

After I met up with my family, we headed towards the pavilion to get some food and water. The amount and quality of food that they had out was AMAZING! There was fruit, applesauce, hundreds of pastries and donuts, water, and CapriSuns!

As we entered the food line, we overheard some of the race volunteers chatting about how so many people cheated and cut the course. My sister, intrigued by the conversation, went up to chat with the volunteers (since most of them were her classmates). When she came back to our area, she noted that most people cut out the library and just headed back to the park. So…they were talking about literally everyone who ran the race…This frustrated me a little. There wasn’t anyone on the course to direct us to the library, and thinking that there were some changes from the Turkey Trot course, everyone just headed down the main road. But, I put that behind me. I did the best I could, as did everyone else on the course.

Although the race course wasn’t ideal, it was still nice to get out to do another local race. I’ve been doing so many RunDisney races in the last two years that I haven’t really had time for too many local races. While I probably won’t do this race again next year, it was a nice change of pace. And, although the course was cut short by the runners, I’m happy that I was able to get out and add to my maintenance run.

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Do you like to do any local races?

Design

WDW Marathon Weekend: Medals Revealed!

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Photos courtesy of RunDisney’s Instagram page

YOU GUYS, OH MY GOSH?!?!?! Today, RunDisney revealed the 25th anniversary WDW Marathon Weekend medals, and THEY ARE GORGEOUS! I’ve never been so in love with a set of RunDisney medals, and I’m so excited to make all of them mine. šŸ™‚ Seriously though, how great are these?!

I know that this is a short post, but I’ll be back soon with updates on all things Dopey Challenge. Stay tuned, and, in the mean time, stare at these beauties some more!

Design

Another Half Marathon?!

Yep…you read that right…I signed up for yet another half marathon.Ā What?!

This time, I’ll be competing in the Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon on Oct. 22.Ā Yes, I’m still in the midst of training for my very first Dopey Challenge in January 2018, but I really wanted to find a way to break up some of my longer training runs in the middle of the cycle.

A few weeks back, I was searching for half marathons that occurred on the same days as my long runs this fall/winter. The only one that fit this requirement in my area was the Blue-Gray Half Marathon. And, I actually did this race in 2014 – which was a bonus!

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This race occurs on the same day as my 16-mile training run in late October. My plan for the day is simple: run 2.9 miles at home and then head to Gettysburg for the race and take it EASY. No PRs and no competing for prizes. I honestly am going to treat this race like a RunDisney race, using an easy pace and truly taking it all in. Fall in Pennsylvania is absolutely beautiful, and this race takes you on a scenic wooded tour of the town of Gettysburg and the historic Gettysburg Battlefield, so I don’t want to miss out!

While I’m not setting any goals, I’m still going to treat this as a serious training run, with the proper fueling, water and intervals. I don’t want to mess with a good thing!

I am VERY excited for this race! I had such a great time back in 2014, and it looks like the race coordinator has made a ton of updates since then, including more race time on the battlefield and a post-race beer garden. How cool is that?!

If any of you are planning on running this race, let’s chat! I’d love to meet you šŸ™‚

Design

My Running Belt Collection

Hi, friends! With my 11-miler coming up this weekend, I’ve got running, fuel, and gear on the brain. So, today, I want to talk a little bit about how I store all of my gear when I run.

First things first: let’s start out by discussing how and when I use a running belt. I usually don’t need a lot of “stuff” for my shorter weekly runs, which range anywhere from 2-8 miles during this training plan. I don’t like to drink too much water (for obvious reasons relating to my bladder :)), and my body doesn’t require fuel for any runs less than 10 miles. I also usually don’t carry my own water with me during races (except Marathons), unless the race course does not feature any. I do, however, always carry my phone, no matter how far I’m running.

With all of that being said, I usually don’t wear a running belt for any training runs under 10 miles. I don’t find it necessary, and I like to just be “free.”

Alright…so when I do run longer than 10 miles, what do I use?

I’ve gathered a fairly large collection of running belts over the years, and I’ve narrowed down a few of my favorites below:

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  • Fitletic Mini Sport Belt (I believe I had a different model, but this is the most current version that I can find). This was my very first running belt. After I decided to sign up for my very first half marathon in 2013, I did A TON of research on what I would need to train. Because I followed several RunDisney bloggers/social media gurus, I was instantly drawn to this belt. It was water resistant, had plenty of storage for my phone and cards, and did not ride up. Now that phones have gotten larger, I don’t really use this belt all that often anymore. Fitletic does sell separate pouches for phones and other add-ons, but as you’ll see below, I have plenty of other options to choose from when training!

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  • The Buddy Pouch. These were actually gifts from Aunt for Christmas a few years ago. She got me both sizes so that I could have options when running. One fits my phone, while the other does not. I’ll admit – I was extremely skeptical about this pouch before I used it. Would the magnetic strip really hold? Would the velcro be strong enough for my fuel and phone? But, I am happy to report that I was wrong. Although not ideal for long runs, this pouch is perfect for long walks, hikes, and runs under 10 miles. This does not bounce, and it keeps all of my items in tact.

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  • Flip Belt. I’ll be honest…I totally bought this because everyone was talking about it. I Ā didn’t necessarily need a new belt at the time, but I really wanted to try it. And, to my delight, it is one of the best running belts I’ve ever tried, and it’s super simple to use! You slip your belongings into the holes and then flip it inside-out. Easy! I’ve used this on a few long training runs, and I’ve never had any issues. I’ll surely be using this again throughout the duration of my Dopey training!

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  • Fitletic Forte Armband. Ok…so this isn’t a running belt per say, but I do use this a lot, so I think it deserves to be featured in this post. I love this armband! I’ve used it for several half marathons, and it’s been great! This armband provides the perfect amount of storage for my phone and Gu, and it comfortably stays put on my arm. I love it!

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  • Fitletic Hydra 16 oz. Belt. And, finally, this is the most recent belt that I purchased. While training for my first two marathons in 2015 and 2016, Steve would ride the bike next to me to keep me company – since I had never gone that far before. He also carried a bag full of water bottles for me to use at any time. This time around, Steve and I have some other commitments, so I’m not sure that he will be able to ride next to me for every long training run. So, I decided to look for a running belt that would meet my hydration needs. Because I had such a great experience with my first Fitletic pouch, I decided to go back to it. I haven’t tried this belt out yet, but I’ve heard rave reviews from multiple bloggers and YouTubers. I’m hoping to try it out in the next few weeks!

And, those are the belts that I tend to use during my training cycles. I love them all and use them for very different reasons. I’m looking forward to using my new Fitletic hydration belt, and I’ll be sure to post a review once I do!

What’s your running belt of choice?

Design

 

RunDisney Costume Favorites

Now that Dopey Challenge is on my horizon, it’s time to start thinking about what costumes I’m going to “create” for each of the four races….but where to begin?

I thought I’dĀ take a look back at my previous costumes for some inspiration.

1. 2015 Princess Half Marathon

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For this race, I dressed as Minnie Mouse – I had to go with a classic character for my first Disney race!

To put this costume together, I used:

  • A cheapĀ black tank top from Target
  • A Sparkle Athletic skirt*
  • Reebok black running capris*
  • Disney Minnie Mouse ears

2. 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon

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For this race, I dressed as Belle – my favorite princess!

To make this costume, I used:

3. 2017 Enchanted 10K

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This year’s Glass Slipper Challenge crept up on me, and I didn’t leave ample time to make costumes. Therefore, I used a few things I had lying around to create my costumes.

For this race, I used:

4. 2017 Princess Half Marathon

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Because I was short on time, I reused parts of my Belle costume from Marathon weekend. I perfectly matched the theming for the weekend!

For this version of Belle, I used:

With all of these races and costumes, I’ve definitely learned what works the best for me. You’ll notice that most of my costumesĀ have included Raw Threads shirts and Sparkle Skirts – which are both adorable ANDĀ comfortable! I plan to use these for some of my Dopey costumes, and I also plan to buy Zensah compression sleeves and Sparkle Athletic visors to match each costume as well. I’m still thinking through some aspects of each costume, but I’ll be sure to reveal them onceĀ I’ve decided!

What are some of your favorite costume essentials for RunDisney races?

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*This post was not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned, and all opinions and views are my own.

Going Dopey in 2018?!

Yep, you heard me – I’ve registered to run RunDisney’s Dopey Challenge in 2018! No, I’m not crazy, and yes, I’m so excited! This is currently the number one item on my bucket list, and I’m very ready to give it my best shot next year!

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So,Ā for those of you whom I haven’t already talked to, the Dopey Challenge is the epitome of RunDisney challenges. Participants complete a 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday, and a full marathon on Sunday during Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. That’s 4 races, 4 parks, and 48.6 magical miles!

My goal for this challenge is simple: to finish with a smile on my face. To do this, I need to be sure to train properly, both with my diet and exercise. I plan to use Hal Higdon’s training plan, which consists of 18 weeks of “normal” marathon training in addition toĀ simulated Dopey mini race weeks. This training plan begins with a 13-mile long run on week one and culminates with a 20-mile run three weeks out from race weekend. Because week one starts with pretty high mileage, I’ll be doing some initial training this summer to get my conditioning back up to 13 miles.

I’ve heard that simulated Dopey weeks, running 3-4 days in a row, really helps to get participants into the right mindset and trains their legs to run multiple days in a row. Let’s hope this helps me!

With 241 days until race weekend in January, my initial training phase begins in just a few short weeks. I will be sure to blog every few weeks with my thoughts/progression, so please follow along as I share my journey to the Dopey Challenge!

Design

The 2017 Hard Cider Run Recap

This pastĀ weekend, my husband, best friend, and I ran The Hard Cider Run in Gettysburg, PA. We signed up back in January and had been training ever since. My husband and best friend have recently gotten in to running, so I was excited to participate in the race with them!

Let’s first start with the reason that we signed up: free cider. We are big cider people, so the “free” glass at the end of the race was definitely a big selling point. I say “free” because it was included in our race fee.

While signing up, my husband and I noticed that the race coordinators were also offering a “Hungry Apple Challenge.” Hmm…..as most of you know, my husband and I are big foodies…it’s actually one of our biggest passions…

In order to complete the challenge, runners had to run the 5K AND eat an apple cider donut after each mile marker. Although I love food, I was hesitant when my husband suggested adding on the challenge. Running and food usually don’t mix well for me. But, I put my fears of throwing up aside and signed up for the challenge. Once my best friend heard that we were doing the race, she quickly signed up to join us!

Race day started out pretty gloomy with several thunderstorms making their way through the area. Packet pick-up was delayed for an hour until the storms passed. Nevertheless, we made our way to the hidden winery in Gettysburg. We made turn after turn until we finally reached it: the “hilliest” winery ever. Once my husband saw the cones at the entrance to the winery, which was at the bottom of the biggest hill we’ve ever seen, he almost lost it…hehe!

Once we were parked, we waited in line and quickly got our race shirts and bibs. You guys, I’m in love with the race shirts we received!

The saying on the back says “Train, Race, Drink,” and the front of the shirt has an apple with a mustache – so cute! Excuse my sweat in these photos – I had just gotten back from a run.

We took our shirts back to the car and made our way to the start line…which was at the bottom of yet another hill…oh boy…

Selfies at the start line!

We lined up, and before we knew it, the DJ counted down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1…GO!” And we were off!

The beginning of the course was very narrow and slippery, so we had to walk the first few tenths of a mile until we reached a flat part of the course. We finally settled in to our groove of doing intervals and made our way to mile 1. I was a little nervous about how these donuts were going to go down, but I was up for the challenge. Mile 1 was approaching and we made our way to the donut stand. The race volunteer marked off the first numberĀ on our bibs and handed us the biggest apple cider donut I’ve ever seen…oh boy….here goes nothing…

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As you can see, I was the slowest eater of the group…

After shoveling in donut #1, I took a sip of water and carried on with Steve and Alexa. The terrain between miles 1 and 2 was fairly easy – we ran along the flat pathway until we came to a HUGE downhill portion of the race (at least .3 of a mile). We flew down the hill supper fast, made the turn at the bottom, and started the trek back up that same hill….mind you, this is the same huge hill we passed when we entered the winery. We made it to the half-way part of the hill before we had to stop to walk….as did every other person running the race.

After what seemed like forever, we finally made it to the top and started running before we were quickly met with mile 2 and another donut. The next volunteer made another mark on ourĀ bib and handed us ourĀ second donut.

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This donut didn’t go down nearly as easily, but I did eventually finish it!

After finishing, we looked ahead and saw that miles 2-3 looked fairly easy (just a lot of winding back and forth within the apple trees in the winery. Easy enough! This part of the course flew by, and in an instant, we were at the third donut stand. The volunteer marked off our last number and gave us our final donut.

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This donut was definitely hard to get down. WhileĀ Steve finished his donut, Alexa and I had to carry ours with us. We only had .1 to go, after all! We did one last pass through the apple trees, made a turn, and sprinted through the finish! We quickly finished our donuts and were handed our medals (one for the challenge and one for the race).

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How cute are these medals?!

We walked to the end of the finisher corral and got our glass and a can of Jack’s Hard Cider. We could choose between a dry or a sweet cider, but we all got sweet.

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Check out this cute glass!

We found an empty patch of grass, set our stuff down, and did a little stretching. Shortly after, we sipped on our ciders and took a ton of finisher photos to celebrate.

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Overall, this was definitely a fun experienceĀ and a great race to do with other people!Ā Although it was weird not going for time, I had a blast with two of my favorite people and finished with a smile on my face (and I didn’t throw up!)!

Design

2017 Lead the Way 5K Recap

Happy Monday! Today I want to recap the Lead the Way 5K that I participated in last weekend.

It was a beautiful day for a run – not too hot, not too sunny, and very breezy! The race started at 1:00 p.m., so I had all morning to relax and hydrate. I even made a peanut butter & jelly smoothie (my recent obsession…these taste JUST like the pb&j milkshakes from 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios!)!

I spentĀ the morning watching Gilmore Girls, cuddling with my puppy, and stretching. Then, it was time to go!

I got to the race location (Messiah College) at 12:00 p.m., picked up my packet, and began stretching. My sister was staying with us this weekend, so she decided to come and cheer me on!

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She looks older than me, but, in fact, she’s 7 years younger!

While I was one of the first few runners there, other runners and walkers quickly began to arrive. I was starting to get nervous, which is typical for me during pre-race festivities. I tried to remain focused on my goal: a PR. Out of all of the 5Ks I’d run, I still hadn’t beaten my first 5K time. That was my goal for this race…I was running alone and had been training hard.

Before I knew it, it was time to line up. The race coordinators asked that fast runners move to the front, average runners move to the middle, and slower runners/walkers moveĀ to the back. I knew I wasn’t going to be one of the fastest runners there (I never am), but I really didn’t know where to stand in comparison to other runners because I’d never seen their pace! I found an openĀ spot towards the middle-front, and I settled in. With less than one minute to go, I did some deep breathing and got myself mentally ready. Then, the announcer shot his gunĀ and we were off!

I tried to not start off too fast so that I could ensure that I would run the entire time, but people were weaving passed me on both sides. After running around the field of the athletic complex, we made our way to the trails….where we were met with hill after hill. The first few weren’t too bad, but as soon as I got to the .53 mark, I started to question if my goal was too lofty. I put my head down and tried to focus on breathing and keeping my feet moving.

Before I knew it, we were passing the first mile marker. Only 2.1 to go! The next mile was uphill and it was nearly impossible to keepĀ up my pace. At that moment, I decided that I just wanted to finish the race and throw my PR goal out the window. I kept breathing and carried on. Miles 1.2-2.65 were a blur. I remember the hills, but everything else sort of ran together.

Finally, at mile 2.65, I could see the finish line. IĀ started sprinting because I honestly just wanted to be done.Ā The crowd (although small) became louder and I could see my sister at the finish! I crossed the finish line and immediately started walking – I was so exhausted! I was proud of myself for giving it my all, but I also was a little bummed that this race proved harder than I thought it would be. I didn’t want to look at my watch because I knew it would make me feel like a failure. Instead,Ā I decided to make my way to the water tub.

Then, out of nowhere, the race coordinator came up to me and said, “Great race! Under 25!”

Wait…what did he say? Under 25?!?!

I quickly ran over to the results table to check my time. 24:49! An almost 2-minute PR!! I also got 1st in my age group (femailed under 29), 2nd in my gender, and 8th overall!

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I immediately forgot how exhausted I was and gave my sister a big hug! I did it! We decided to getĀ celebratory sundaes to celebrate on the way home!

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Reeser’s the best!

This was definitely the hardest race I’ve ever done, and I’m so happy that I was able to finish and accomplish my goal. When the toughness settles in, I’ll always remember this moment and know that I WILL get through it!

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