Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

On April 6, I ran the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K race. I wasn’t super ready for the race, but I was as ready as I was going to be! My only goals were to have fun and enjoy the run. I figured I’d run a 10:30-10:50 mile pace since that was a little faster than my long run pace had been. I had struggled even on short runs at less than a 10:15 pace, so I wasn’t expecting too much.

I took a short 2.5 mile run on Friday before happy hour. Then on Saturday, I took a rest day. Saturday night, a few friends got together to make homemade pizza. I took a couple of beers with me (just 2!), and we chowed down and hung out. I went home about 10PM, and I was up early at 6:30AM.

I walked to my meet friend Rob, and we walked to the art museum just in time to see the 5K race start at 7:15. It was CHILLY – like 38 degrees, but it was sunny. It took me a little while to figure out what to wear, since it was over 50 when we finished. I ended up checking my coat and wearing an old sweatshirt to throw away right before we started. Otherwise, I wore my super cute new Ellie leggings, a tank top, and one of my trust black Under Armor long sleeve tops. I was warm at the end, but otherwise – I was okay. Rob and I waited around for the race to start, trying to stand in any sliver of sun light we could get.

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We started running down the Parkway towards Logan Square, around the circle and back to the museum. Then, it was an out and back on West River Drive.  I’m not sure what I did when I registered, but I was corralled almost at the back. I ended up starting up several corals with Rob, which was a little fast for me,  but I think it was a really good idea. I was certainly passed by people at the beginning, but I wasn’t running that much slower than them, and quickly fell into pace with people around me. I even passed quite a few people in the last few miles.

At mile 4, I paid attention to the mile clock for the first time, and I checked my RunKeeper. I was running slightly over a 10 minute mile pace! I felt good, so I made my goal at that point to finish under 95 minutes. It was a little ambitious, but I thought that I could do it. I only let myself look at RunKeeper every 2 miles, but was able to keep my pace on track with the mile clocks.. I thought I’d hate the out and back thing, but turn around was actually about mile 5.5, so well over half way. Mile 5 was actually my slowest mile, but I picked up the pace and mile 6 was my fastest!  My pace for the whole race was pretty consistent, and the last 3 miles were all right around 10:05.

During mile 7, I was so tired. I wanted to slow down, but I pushed through. That’s the point where I really think that my Sgt Nate training really started to help. I kept telling myself that I had pushed through the last 20 minutes of class so many times. By then, I was pretty warm and was getting sun burnt, and I’m so proud of myself for pushing through and not slowing down at all.

When I was in sight of the finish line, I heard Megan cheering, which helped me get across that finish line! My official finish time was 1:34:13, a 10:08 pace, though my RunKeeper had my a little faster than that.

Rob also did an awesome job – he finished in 1:26:31 at a 9:18 pace! I’m so proud of us both! Megan met us at the finish line with some Fireball for our hot chocolate (stellar idea by the way. Mummers, anyone?), and then we trekked over to Silk City for some delicious and well earned brunch.  I’d definitely run this race again next year!

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15K Training – Final Week!

imageLast Sunday morning, the weather was not ideal. It was a little cold and windy, but  I ran my 7 mile run anyway. I set off west through the city to the Schuylkill River Banks Trail, ran up about 1.5 miles and turned around at the end of Boat House Row. My splits were all between 10:50 and 11:08 (except for mile 6 which clocked in at 11:30). Overall pace was 11:02. Not fast, but after my other runs that week – this went well. I didn’t want to walk home, which was a good sign.

Then it got cold again. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, it didn’t get above like 35 degrees. I did some killer indoor Lithe and Professional Touch Fitness workouts, but I didn’t get outside to run. Wednesday night, Lt. Eric almost killed me with some intense HIIT training. Thursday morning (bright and early at 6am), Sgt Nate tried to kill me again with endless gauntlets and kettle bell training.  Thursday afternoon, even though I had done 2 killer workouts in 12 hours, I had to run. I hadn’t run in almost a week! I had low expectations due to my super tired body, but it turned out to be one of the best runs I’ve had in my 15K training yet! I ran 3 miles at a 10:04 pace. And get this, IT DIDNT FEEL HARD. I could hardly believe it. It was the same route I had run the week before when I had wanted to die.

Friday, I was so sore from the previous 3 workouts in 36 hours, that I had to take a rest day. Then, the monsoon rains came all weekend and I didn’t run again until yesterday, though I did pull myself to a KILLER Skinny Mini with Meg on Sunday at Lithe.

Yesterday, I set out to run 6 miles. I ran the first 2.5 miles with my roommate, Natalie, and then I set off across the bridge. On the way up, a pretty attractive man was running down towards Philly. He took his earbuds out and said “You’re looking great! Keep it up!” That was just enough to power up the rest of the way! I made it down to the Camden side, passing a man of questionable character – and started back up. OH. MY. GOD. It’s always hard, but running head first into strong winds is almost enough to kill your spirit. I made it, and on my way back down towards the Philly side, I got a thumbs up and a “good job” from another runner. I love when you are running and you get some unexpected encouragement! My overall pace was 10:49, and it felt strong. Despite the winds and the hills on the bridge, I started and ended feeling strong. My last mile was a minute faster than my first! And the second uphill on the bridge, into the wind, was stronger and faster than the first uphill.  I followed up the run with some AWESOME Miso Ramen from Cheu Noodle Bar with a friend. Go there immediately.

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Miso Ramen from Cheu Noodle Bar

I’ll do a couple more short runs between now and Sunday – and I’ll go and run the 15K. I don’t have any expectations for myself other than to have some fun. I’m going to run at a pace that feels enjoyable, while still trying to challenge myself. So far, they are calling for good weather, so hopefully that holds true.

Race recap to come!  Anyone else running the 15K Hot Chocolate Run on Sunday in Philadelphia?

On Running Fast in the Wind

I’ve been basically following my 15K training plan, I’m happy to report.

Last week, I ran 4 miles on Monday at an overall 10:30 min/mile pace, an easy 3 miles on Tuesday at an 11:00 min/mile pace, and 6 miles over the Ben Franklin Bridge on Saturday at an 11:00 min/mile pace. If you have never run over the bridge, it’s sort of killer. It’s basically 3/4 of mile uphill, then 3/4 of a mile downhill. Then you turn around and do it over. The first time up going towards Camden, I always think “This isn’t so bad! Why don’t I do this all the time?” Then, I get to the NJ side and have to turn around and part way up think “Oh, right. This sucks.” When I finally get back to Philadelphia, I’m always *so* happy to be on flat terrain. The runs weren’t fast, but felt strong.

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I never get tired of this view.

This past week, I also ran a few times- following my training schedule. This past week, it was freezing at the beginning of the week, so I ran Thursday and Friday. Both runs were SO. HARD. MUCH harder than they should have been. Without any super good reason for it. I ran 3 miles on Thursday at a 9:40 pace (my splits were not even – 9:20, 10:12, and 9:34.) That’s fast for me. Especially with the amount of running I’ve been doing over the past few months. I was short on time and trying to run fast, but I guess I started out TOO fast – because my splits are usually not that all over the place. It was windy too, which didn’t help. Friday, another super windy day – I ran 3.5 miles at a 10:19 pace. My splits were MUCH better and more even – but it felt SO. HARD. Like, the I-want-to-stop-and-walk-home kind of hard.  (I didn’t though, don’t worry). My friend Matt insists that it was the wind, but I don’t know.  I’m running 7 miles on Sunday, so hopefully it won’t feel so freakin’ hard. I guess everyone has off weeks, but these *definitely* didn’t feel strong like last week’s runs.

Have you run across the bridge? I think it’s probably my favorite view of the city, which always makes up for the heart pounding climb back up from Camden.  Any other favorite views from a running path?