Weekend 5K Race Recap

Is it Monday already? I had an awesome weekend and wish it didn’t end so soon. Mainly also because I didn’t get a chance to sleep in/catch up on sleep ;)

Friday night my mom and I went to see Luke Bryan at Madison Square Garden.

He was so good!! I’ve been wanting to see him for a while and I’m glad I finally did. We had to leave a bit early because we had the 5K in the morning, so that sucked but it was such a fun time. Even with leaving at 10:45, we didn’t get home until 1:30AM. Yay for 5 hours of sleep before running a race…

So Coach Marc wanted me to negative split the race and really focus on making the last mile the fastest. This is always the hardest part for me in 5Ks. I always end up going out to fast and fade hard towards the end.

My goal was to make my first mile 9:45 and go from there. We got there early to pick up our packets and have time to warm up. My mom’s friend was running too and it was her first race ever – so I was excited for her. It’s always great getting others involved with running!

Anyway, we did our warm up and lined up. My mom likes to run an even pace as opposed to going from easy(ish) pace to faster pace towards the end. She went off right from the start, whereas I stayed back.

My first mile was in 9:20. I felt good and was thinking oh wow, this will be good if I can maintain this! My second mile was 9:25. I slowed down a bit to try to gather my energy for the last mile. I still felt good though and not like I needed to slow down or walk, which is a big change from my first few races this year.

Once I hit the 2 mile marker I sped up. I started passing people which felt really good and also made me feel stronger. I would “pick people off” as we used to be told in high school cross country. I saw my Garmin “lap pace” slowly decreasing and just kept giving it all I had. I ended up running my last mile in 8:49, with my final .1 in 8:00!

I crossed the finish line feeling strong and proud of myself. A few weeks ago I ran a 5K in 30:44…this is a big difference! Granted, the course was flat and the temperature was perfect, but still!

I had a feeling this would be a good race because I had a tempo run on Wednesday that went really well. I am finally starting to feel more in shape than I have been recently. And I finally was able to follow Marc’s race strategy! :)

My mom and I both ended up winning 3rd in our age group. It was a great morning overall and now I can’t wait for the next race. I’m planning on a 5K and 10K in October. Now just need to stick to Marc’s training plan and keep getting into better shape!

Did any of you run a race over the weekend?

What is your usual 5K strategy?


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Oakley Mini 10K Recap

First off, you may (or may not) notice that I am not starting off Monday with my usual Monday Motivation posts. I think I’m going to retire those for now. But I do plan on replacing with weekly training recaps now that I will start running more and training for some more races, especially a half marathon! Do you guys like reading others’ training recaps?

Anyway, this weekend I ran the Oakley Mini 10K with my mom. It was our first NYRR race of the year…and it was awesome!

We were not trained for this at all. We haven’t been running much. I mean, we’ve still been exercising daily, but it’s consisted mostly of lifting, and cardio workout videos. It’s been fun to switch things up.

So yeah, I knew going into it that it’d be tough. But I was excited because it was also our first 10K! I think I was a bit too excited though because I only for 4 hours of sleep the night before. I could not fall asleep for the life of me. I even tried following my own sleeping tips. Nothing worked. At least I wasn’t going for a PR or anything or else I’d be even more frustrated.

We got up at 5 am and drove into NYC. The race started in Columbus Circle, made it’s way up Central Park west, then we did pretty much a full loop of the park. I’ve never ran the loop in that direction (clockwise), since most NYRR 4 mile races are counter-clockwise, so it was a nice change. Here’s us in the first mile (not sure what’s up with my arm):


Our way up the west side was a steady, slight incline the whole way…pretty much a mile. Even though the park is known to be hilly, I was excited to enter the park so get some rolling hills.

I felt fine until about 3.5 miles. Around 3 miles my mom was pulling away from me. She felt good so I let her go…though I wish I had brought headphones, because it was about to be a rough rest of the way!

Right before mile 4 I got a little dizzy. It was weird. So I stopped to walk through the water stop. After that came a pretty significant climb. I walked up that hill, probably for a good 2-3 minutes. I was feeling defeated, but then I told myself to get over it and get moving.

From mile 4-6.2 I decided to do intervals. I knew I couldn’t hold a steady jog at a consistent pace, so I started running as fast as I could for 1 minute, then walking for 1 minute. Hey, I was still doing some miles around 10:45 so I’ll take it!

At mile 5 there was a pretty big cheering crowd so I got pumped up and tried to run as far as I could before walking again. Then I saw a sign for 800 meters to go and started running. I told myself I’d run to the end. I saw my sister right before the finish line and tried to speed up (to no avail). I was beat! I crossed the finish line though! Completed my first 10k!

My mom finished in 1:03 and I’m so proud of her! She had minor surgery in May and was not able to exercise for a month, so she has only been running for a few weeks. I finished in 1:08. 11 minutes per mile. I’ll take it for not being prepared. Plus, it was my first 10K so it’s automatically a PR right??!

We also got medals!


It was such a great race. The crowd support really helped throughout the tough hills of Central Park. The all-women atmosphere was inspiring. It just felt great running with about 6,000 other women on a Saturday morning. At one point, this woman told me it was her first time ever running 6 miles…good for her!

I definitely plan on running this again next year. And it also lit a fire in me to run a better 10k, and run one soon! I can’t wait to break that PR. I may or may not have found my new favorite race distance ;)

Oh, also one last random question. I saw this woman (who was wearing a birthday girl sash) right at the end with 400 meters to go. She started to walk, and I wanted to tap her and say, “Come on let’s bring this in together!” But I didn’t know if that’d be considered supportive or creepy? What do you think? I know I’d like it and it’d get me to push myself ’till the end. Thoughts?

Okay, sorry for such a long post, but it was just a great day. Can’t wait to complete our other 8 races so we can qualify for the 2015 NYC Marathon!

Did you run the Oakley Mini 10K? What did you think?

What’s your favorite race distance?


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Race To Wellness 5K – Recap

This was my first race of the spring season, and it was awesome!

I wasn’t expecting much out of this race, because I haven’t ran much since New York City Marathon. I figured I’d finish in 28-29 minutes…I was just hoping to finish in less than 30 minutes.

I signed up last minute because it was at a local park near me that I hadn’t ever ran at, but had heard was scenic. If you live in central Jersey, I highly suggest checking out Duke Farms – it’s beautiful!

It was supposed to rain all day, but thankfully it held off until after the race.

My mom and I got there around 8:15. She wasn’t running because of an injury, but came to take pictures and support me. This is probably like, the 3rd race I’ve ever ran without her. It’s weird because we run every race together usually, but I made a good playlist and was ready to go.

I had pre-registered, so I was a bit disappointed that 1) they didn’t have a bib for me and gave me a random, unregistered one, so my name isn’t in the results list and 2) they ran out of “goody bags” which was guaranteed for pre-registrants. Oh well.

Duke Farms is a large estate with a lot of history. Here’s a quick tidbit taken from their website:

J.B. Duke transformed more than 2,000 acres of farmland and woodlots into an extraordinary landscape. He excavated nine lakes, constructed some 45 buildings, and built nearly 2 ½ miles of stone walls and more than 18 miles of roadway.

We walked about a quarter of a mile from the registration area to the start line. That would have been good to know ahead of time so I knew how to time my warm-up and going to the bathroom, but it was a good little warm up too. As soon as we got to the start area, I knew it would be a scenic race. Here’s a picture of the start area:

duke farms 5kWe started right at 9:00, and I was off!

duke farm 5k1

I bought actual HEADphones for this race (as opposed to earphones) because I sweat a ton, so those always fall out of my ear. These were from Five Below and worked perfectly. The music helped me get in the zone and also push through the moments when I felt like walking. Oh yeah, I also bought some bright colored socks ;) 8 bucks at Claire’s!

I felt good during Mile 1. I kept looking at my watch and seeing 8:25-8:30 min. per mile pace. I was surprised, and naively thought I could hold that pace the whole race. HA.

At mile 1.5 I started to slow down to a 9:00 min. per mile pace, and there were some small, rolling hills. I kept reminding myself I was halfway done.

At mile 2 I was like, okay time to get into it. I found people ahead of me and tried to keep up with them or pass them. During the last mile of any race I like to throw in some surges. I timed the surges to the chorus of whatever song was playing, so I’d accelerate for about a 1 minute, and then slow down a bit before doing it again.

I finally saw the finish line and started to run as fast as I could – and passed about 3 people! Always feels good to do that right at the finish :)

Finished in 28:04. I felt like I could have probably sped it up a bit more in the last mile, but overall it was a good effort and I felt strong throughout. There were 1-2 times I really wanted to walk for a minute, but I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and focused on one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I feel like a 5K is tougher than a marathon ;)


Now I can’t wait for my next 5K! I probably won’t be running another until late April or early May because I’d like to build a base now. I want to work towards breaking my 5K PR of 25:42. We’ll see how it goes!

Have you ran any 5Ks recently or any coming up?

Do you like racing with music? Headphones or earphones?


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5th Avenue Mile Race Recap

This is one of my favorite races.  While some people may think it’s crazy to pay to run 1 mile…actually people think it’s crazy to pay in general…this race is so fun!

Saw this on Jess’s Facebook Page (blog: racepacewellness.com)

I was also excited because my dad would be running this one too, along with me and my mom. The race is broken up into age groups, so we all got to see/cheer each other on.

We got there around 8 and I registered and quickly did a 1 mile warm up. I was hoping to beat last year’s time of 7:07, but I knew it might be hard. I had run the past 12 days prior (didn’t actually realize this until now) and the day before we had a big tailgate for the Rutgers football game, aka I was standing for hours. It’d be hard but I was going to try to get that PR!

I had butterflies waiting in the corral and once I started running. I had to calm down in order to breath right. Does anyone else get butterflies when they first start a race?

I love this race because it really does fly by. They have signs at 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile, and 100 meters to go. At the half mile mark there is a slight downhill so you can really turn it on for the rest of the race.

I was feeling more tired during the race than I did last year so I figured I wouldn’t PR. I tried not to look at the clock, plus I’m bad at mental math anyway so it would do me no good. I suppose I could have looked at the street signs (the race is 20 blocks) but I didn’t think of that lol. I started my phone stop watch at the line and planned to stop it once I crossed.

Before I knew it, it was over! I sprinted the last 100 meters because 3 girls around me sped up and I did not want to be passed! I finished in 7:23. I’m okay with that!

Afterwards, my mom and dad went for their warm up run, as their races were back to back. I couldn’t get a picture of my mom because I lost her in the crowd, but here’s my dad:


He had been running the past few weeks again to prepare for this race and I knew he was excited for it. He didn’t think he could break 8:30, but he ran 7:22! We stayed and watched a few more races, then my mom and I went to run an extra 3 miles. When we got back, the 80+ category was up. Seriously so inspirational! Check out this man:

I hope I am still running when I am older, I don’t care how slow I go.

Afterwards, we went to get some breakfast before the professionals race. I wanted to watch Jenny Simpson race, especially because I got a pic with her at this very race last year!

She won the race in around 4:18? Seriously, can I be that fast??

I didn’t get to take a picture with her, however I did get one with Olympian Leo Manzano:

As I was writing this post, I looked up 1 mile races in NJ…and found one on Nov. 30! I will definitely try to run that, and hope I can PR since it will be after the marathon!

Overall, it was a great day for a race. Can’t wait to run it again next year!

Have you raced 1 mile before? What’s your favorite race distance?


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Are You Faster Than a Ridge Runner 5K

This past Sunday I ran my first 5K of the season! I wasn’t expecting anything huge from this race…I was using it more as a a fitness test. While I obviously WANTED a 5K PR, I knew it was unrealistically…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try. Despite that, I finished in 27:55.

It was tough. Not gonna lie. So my average pace ended up being 9 min. per mile. That’s around my goal pace for the half marathon so it was a bit discouraging that that pace was so hard for only 5K! My legs felt fine, no shin pain really…but my breathing was just off. My lungs just didn’t feel like they could handle it. My first mile was in 8:30 and then it all dropped from there.


But it’s ok! It’s a starting point for my goal 5K race on April 21, and my half marathon on April 27. I’d love to break my 5K PR of 25:42 in April, and break my half marathon PR of 2:07. We’ll see!

Anyway, my mom and I placed 3rd in our age group at the 5K. She did awesome! She came in front of me in 26:39. It’s one of her fastest times yet. She’s trying to beat her PR of 26:10. So we both got some medals out of it!

And they ran out of race shirts since we registered that day, so we got this awesome shirt instead (that was for the high school kids who sponsored the race):

I love memes :)

Did you run a race this weekend? How did you do?


Race Recap: The Big Chill 5K

The Big Chill is a 5K at Rutgers University that happens every year in December. Instead of a registration fee, runners bring a toy which is then donated to children in New Brunswick who may have otherwise not gotten a gift for present. Every year thousands of runners participate, and thousands of toys are donated to children. It’s an overall great, heart-warming day…and it’s awesome to see all of the toys on the stage post-race. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Big Chill.

This would actually also be me and my mom’s last 5K of the year! We were shooting for PRs but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. It’s okay though because it was such a fun day!

The race was at 9 am, but I was there at 7 am to work for our marketing team. I was used to being up that early since we get up around 5:30 for NYRR races too (at least that’s over with for this year). My friend Courtney met up with me before the race so that we could run together too. We lined up at the starting line around 8:45 with over 7,000 other runners.

Isn’t that a crazy amount of runners?! I love it. We lined up towards the front because we didn’t want our time to be delayed. We also were allowed in a corral towards the front because we noted we ran a 5K in under 30 minutes.

The gun went off and we crossed the starting line in probably under 10 seconds. I felt awesome the first mile. The first half of that mile was downhill, and the second half was a slight incline. We got to mile 1 in 8:20.

I honestly felt that from that point on the whole race was on a slight incline! I knew I slowed down in mile 2, which we did in around 9 minutes. It was hard keeping a consistent pace around corners and stuff when there are so many runners. I knew it would be hard to PR at this race but I figured I would try!

At mile 2 I tried to pick up the pace but just couldn’t. My quads were burning. Lifting and doing squats/lunges on Wednesday was a bad life decision! We were still moving at a good clip though so I resigned myself that I wouldn’t get a PR but would just try to do my best.

Half a mile away from the finish I honestly wanted to walk. My quads have never burned in races before, so I really think it’s because I did some strength training that week. Courtney felt a lot stronger than I did so I told her to go ahead without me. I wanted to walk, but I mustered up the strength to keep running as fast as I could, and repeated the mantra “I Run This Body” which Dorothy from Mile-Posts came up with. Seriously, if you need some positivity and motivation check out her blog.

Anyway, I didn’t end up walking, and ran as fast as I could in the last 100 meters to finish in 26:50. I was glad I finished in under 27! We got some goodies at the finish line, like a mug, lanyard and lunchbox. I always like free swag. We headed inside to stretch, get water, and fill up on the post-race food. Bagels and chocolate chip cookies? Get in mah belly.

Overall it was a great day! The weather was perfect (close to 50), the runners and walkers all had a blast, and it was so amazing to see all of the toys collected.

You can see all of the presents on the stage at the top of the picture. There were probably 7-7,500 runners, if not more, which means that many presents for children in need! Runners and walkers are also well taken care of with cool swag, shirts, food and raffle prizes such as an iPad mini and Kindle.

I definitely plan on running again next year!

If you’re a Rutgers student, alumni or just live in the area, did you run the race? What did you think? Make sure to follow Rutgers Recreation on Facebook and Twitter for more info on future events, pictures from the race, and more =)


Race Recap: Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff

The race that happened hours before Hurricane Sandy hit.

I don’t think any of us expected it to hit us this hard. I still can’t believe some of the pictures I am seeing. Again, my thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected in the tri-state area.

Anyways, the race was great. We were up at 5:30 am to get into New York City. NYRR said they would make an announcement at 5 am as to whether it was still on, and it was!

We got to Central Park around 7:45 to register, and basically just had time to pick up bibs, pee and get into the corrals.

People milling around the registration area in Central Park

We did a quick warm-up and then went into our corral with 10 minutes to spare. I found a new warm-up routine I have been doing before runs. Along with butt kicks, high knees, etc, I have started doing step-ups on my stairs. That really warms up the glutes, hips, and hammies! Before the race, I did this on the bleachers that are set up for the marathon.

Right before heading to our corral

I went into this race thinking I’d run at an easy pace. It was just going to be a training run for my mom and me. We started off easy and were just chatting and commenting on people’s awesome costumes. When we got to mile 1 I noticed we were running sub-10. I figured, alright, I feel really good and this is not taxing, so I’ll just keep going at whatever pace I feel is good!

It was a 5 mile race, so I didn’t think we would keep that pace the whole time. But all throughout I felt awesome. Around miles 3 and 3.5 I started getting a little tired and slowed down from 3.5-4. Once I got to 4 miles, I figured I’d speed it up a bit for the final mile and my mom and I split up (though she was only 10 seconds behind). For the first time, I had a strong finish for the entire last mile and didn’t feel like I was going to throw up when I crossed the finish. It was also the same finish line we crossed last year when we finished the New York City Marathon :) I finished in 48:19, with an average 9:40 pace. I’ll take it!

We picked up some apples and bagels post-race, stretched and then headed out. It was a great race in the greatest park in the city, which I really hope hasn’t seen too much damage.

Our next race is the Dash to the Finish Line 5K on Saturday in Central Park, though we aren’t sure if it will be cancelled or not. We plan on going into NYC to watch the New York City Marathon on Sunday, but we are waiting to hear from NYRR on what their decision will be.

Have you participated in any New York Road Runner events?


At the same finish line as the New York City Marathon!


Race Recap: 5th Avenue Mile

The 5th Avenue Mile was amazing!!! Seriously, I still am feeling runner’s high from that race. It was my first time running it and I had a great time.

This was the first race where my mom and I were running separately. Since it’s a large field, they split runners up into age groups. My race was at 8:55 am and hers was at 10:10 am.

As some of you may know, I am NOT a morning person. But my running coach, Marc, sent me a race-day game plan earlier in the week where he urged me to get there with enough time to get my bib, warm-up, etc. Usually I’m running late and get there with just enough time to pick up my bib, run a few strides and line up. Miraculously, I made it there before registration even opened! I had enough time to register, do some pre-race stuff, and then do a 1 mile warm-up in central park. I was so early that, even once I finished my warm-up, the starting area was still empty :)

About five minutes later they called my age group in. I lined up closer to the front because once the gun went off, I just wanted to bolt!

Nervous before starting!

They counted down letting us know we had 5 minutes…2 minutes…1 minute…30 seconds…10 seconds, ah! I had so many butterflies because I had no idea what to expect. I had never run a mile on the roads before and had no idea how fast to go out. Once the gun went off I just ran as fast as I could!

My sister got one picture of me running and I’m in the corner, so I decided to be artsy and highlight myself:

I felt like I was going too fast, but again, I had no clue. At the quarter-mile point there was a slight upgrade apparently, but I didn’t really feel it. Those are the perks of living in a rural town with lots of hills…lots of hill training on daily runs! After the 1/2 mile point it was all downhill but I didn’t know if I should speed up. I looked at the clock and couldn’t believe my time so I figured I was going way too fast for my own good. At 3/4 of a mile I kicked it up until the finish. I finished in 7:07! My fastest mile time since high school! If only I could keep that pace for a 5K race…

Runner’s High

I feel like it may have been possible to run closer to 7 flat, but I am super happy with my time! The good thing about this race starting and ending at different points is that I was forced to do my mile cooldown. I jogged back up to the start to tell my mom about the race and course, and wish her luck. She ended up also running a fast time of 7:20 which she was very happy with.

Post-race with my mom

After her race, we stuck around to wait for Kara Goucher…my running idol! Since we were already in the area she’d be signing we ended up being first in line to see her. She was giving a special gift to the first 25 in line, which ended up being her book (which I already have…and she already signed). I told her about that when I went up and she laughed and said “I love it! This is old news to you then” so she signed my bib. I asked her why Shalane (her training partner) wasn’t there and she said she was supposed to be but her parents came into down. Dang! I would have loved to meet Shalane Flanagan. Anyway, we then chatted about her strength training and she told me she lifts 3 times a week on her easy running days and does a lot of core work. Good to know!

So excited to chat with Kara!

Afterwards, we headed back to 5th Ave. to watch the professional races. I was excited to see Jenny Simpson…especially after she replied to my tweet earlier in the week asking if she was running the race!

Sadly, I didn’t catch her during the women’s race – they’re so fast!

BUT, I did run into her after the race!! This seriously made my day. I met a World Champion!

Me with Jenny Simpson

On our walk back up 5th Avenue to our car, we caught some of the pro men’s action as well.

Overall, it was an awesome day. I had so much fun. The streets were lined with people cheering on runners. The race was short and sweet. I will definitely be running this again next year. Only 8 more races to go until we complete the NYRR 9+1 program and are heading to the ING New York City Marathon in 2013!

I’m going to end this on an inspirational note.

See that man up there? I believe he ran in the 60-69 age group. Just look at his finish time! Talk about inspiration. That makes me believe that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to achieve great things.

Next NYRR race? The Poland Spring Kickoff on Oct. 28.

Are any of you running a race soon? What’s your favorite race distance?


Race Recap: NYRR Back to Football 4 Miler

The Back to Football Run was a late addition to the NYRR race lineup, but I’m glad they added it!

Last Thursday, my mom and I ventured to Central Park for this race, and were just hoping not to have a debacle like what occurred in our Harlem 5K race (for those who didn’t read that post on my tumblr, I’ll be recapping it in another post coming soon). We left early in order to factor in traffic since the race was at 7:30 p.m. Good thing we did because 1) there was a ton of traffic and 2) we got lost. We’ve driven to Central Park a decent amount now, but we still don’t know how to get there!

The Bandshell by Bethesda Terrace…my favorite park of Central Park

It was a good night for a race. I always feel better during night races. Registration was in person only, so we got there and took care of that. Well…my mom did, while I snapped some pictures of the Super Bowl trophy!

Go Giants!

My brother and sister were with us too so they served as our photographers. Once we finished registering we met up with them and headed to the corrals.

Waiting to start

I think Amani Toomer spoke for a bit? He also ran. Boomer and Carton from WFAN were there as well and were the announcers getting the crowd pumped as we ran through.

It was an awesome atmosphere with everyone wearing their team’s jerseys. I wore my Giants shirt I got from the NYG 5K I ran during the summer. Go Giants!

We ran this at an easy pace, we weren’t really trying to race it or anything. However, compared to other 4 mile races on this same course, we both agreed we felt a lot better this time around! We felt strong throughout the whole race. The first 3 miles are pretty much up and down and up and down through Central Park. The last mile is all downhill which is awesome. After those hills, your legs need a break!

Anyway, we cruised through that last mile in 8:30! We finished in 37:40 with an average pace of 9:22, which I’m proud of.

Sprinting to the finish!

Blurry…but my mom and I crossing the finish :)

I really do love NYRR races. I’ve read plenty of negative reviews about them but I think for the most part they are pretty well run and I love the atmosphere and energy during races. Running with literally thousands of people makes it a lot easier to get through the race. You feed off of that energy and before you know it, the race it over!

Me, my brother behind us, and my mom post-race (right before our walk to the car where a huge rat ran right in front of me…oh NYC…)

Have you ran any NYRR races or are you doing their 9+1 program for the 2013 New York City Marathon??