Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hiking- Spring 2015

So, at the beginning of the year, Roger and I started with big plans to hike tons of parks and explore more places, then in June we started half marathon training and our hiking was decreased. However, before that, we got to hike some pretty awesome spots!

Colonel Denning State Park

We hiked The Flat Rock Trail at Colonel Denning state Park after my Hershey 10K, what was at that time the longest distance I had run. My legs were not very tired, and I was determined to keep moving through the day, but I did hurt my toe nail during the race, likely because my shoes were too small. My toe was throbbing and I started to think it was broken, but that didn't stop me from going hiking.

And the 2.5 mile climb to Flat Rock was completely worth the pain. The view from up there was amazing!


Most parts of the hike were going uphill, so we had to stop to catch our breath a few times. The view was so amazing, that we would definitely go back, hopefully this time with no painful and throbbing toes.


Bald Eagle State Park

We went there in April, we had been looking at Bald Eagle all winter, anxiously waiting for the weather to warm up to make it out there. This park is one of the biggest we have visited, the lake sits in the middle of the park, with a huge beach. There is a lot of bathrooms and changing rooms, so I can only imagine this is a very busy place in the summer. We hiked about 5 miles on Hunger Trail East and West. The week before we were at Bald Eagle, there had been a lot of rain, which made the downhill and lower parts of the trail very muddy. Still a very enjoyable hike and great views of the park from the water tank.


View from the Water tank


The part of the trail that went along the road
Parts of Appalachian Trail in Carlisle PA

When I did the Irish Jig Jog 5K, I noticed that there was access to the AT from the park. One Sunday afternoon, we drove out there and hiked about 3 miles of it. The parts that went along the Conodoguinet Creek were beautiful!

Conodoguinet Creek

 
 
We also went back to Gifford Pinchot State Park in York County, because we have only hiked small sections of the  park. We went after my son's t-ball game and packed a picnic. We hiked only about 2 miles, hiking with a tired 6 year old is quite challenging... I had to keep challenging him to run, so he would move.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Friday, October 23, 2015

Finding the Grand PA Canyon


I have desperately wanted to go see the falls at Ricketts Glenn all summer, but the Half marathon training was taking a lot of our time and energy. Back in September, I declared to Roger that we were going to see the falls at Ricketts Glenn and that was that, we would adjust our training for the long run after hiking the 7 miles, but that we will make it out to the falls. Then as we were driving up, I said “you know, we haven’t made it out to the PA Grand Canyon yet, we really need to check it out”. And he responded “Can we go now?” We were on the road already, had packed for a 7 mile hike and schedule the entire day for traveling and hiking, so after a little research on the iPhone, we decided change of plans, we are going to PA Grand Canyon. Only, we were off to the wrong place.
 
Hiking Road Trip

I can’t read and drive, it makes me very dizzy. We were on route 15 driving along Susquehanna River, going about 70 mph, with no place to stop and study the information. A quick search on Google Maps put me at Pine Creek Gorge, and gave me directions to there. We stopped at Panera on Selinsgrove to get our lunch, which would have been a great opportunity to study the route and find out where to see the Grand Canyon from. But that would have been just too easy. We followed the Google map directions and it dropped us off in the middle of NOWHERE. Really, there was nothing but mountain, road and a small water stream. We kept driving, imagining that there would be a park entrance coming up. We drove another 10 miles and nothing. We were surrounded by trees, and I had absolutely no signal on my phone for anything.

This is where Google Maps told us we were at the Grand Canyon, but it was really just the bottom of Pine Creek Gorge

 
After we kept following the trees and the road, we found a state park and pulled into the parking lot to get maps, use the bathroom and figure out where we were. I reviewed the map, and after a little head scratching, I realized that we were nowhere NEAR the Grand Canyon. We were at Little Pine State Park, and although the park looked lovely and had a lot of different hiking trails, we wanted to go to the Grand Canyon.
I took a look at the map, a connected that we had to get into another few roads to get to the Grand Canyon. By this point we had already been driving for 2.30 hours, but we knew we were at least 1 hour away. We got in the car and kept driving.
1 hour later we were at Wellsboro Pa, a beautiful small town with a feel of the fictional Stars Hallow from Gilmore Girls. We stopped there and ate, because Roger and I were both getting grumpy and tired. We also grabbed a couple of maps at the visitor center, which gave us a better idea on how to get to the best viewing point for the Grand Canyon. We had the options of seeing the Grand Canyon from Leonard Harrison State Park or Colton Point State Park. It looked to me that we would have a better view from Colton Point, so We settled on  Colton Point State Park and took off again.
About 20 minutes later, we were at the entrance of the park, used the bathroom, learned from previous hiking experience to use the first bathroom we see.
This is both, the most convenient and disappointing way to get to the best view of the PA Grand Canyon.  We drove our car up the road and trail, it goes up the hill slowly, around and around… it felt like round and round to me anyway. We drove until we saw a parking lot, and a lot of people. Then all at once, there it was. The Grand Canyon view! There were a lot of people at the viewing point, it wasn’t crowded, but people were coming in and out.
Now, let me clarify on why this was disappointing. We went there to hike, hoping to find, like we did in Flat Rock, an amazing view at the end of a long difficult hike. Instead, we got to drive, park the car and boom! There is the magnificent view. It felt like we hadn’t earned it! We walked about 100 steps from the car to the viewing point. I think I understand that this has to be accessible for many people, as it is one of the best views of PA, maybe I’ll look for a hiking trail that goes to it from the bottom to the top and feel we earned the burn.



Roger at the Gran Canyon
 


The view from up in Colton Park was truly breathtaking. It looks like a painting, a beautiful painting. Being up there was very relaxing and Zen. I was tempted to reach in and touch what in my mind looked like a painting. We took a few pictures, but nothing makes justice to the beauty of nature. We stayed there for about 10 minutes, just admiring the beauty of the Canyon.
 
Since we were there, we wanted to see if there was another point to see the Canyon, but we didn't have a map, and couldn't find a park office to get a map, so we kept driving along the road and parked the car along a hill. Where there was a wedding taking place.
 
By now it was getting late for us to start hiking, but we also didn't want to come all this way and go home having walked only 100 steps, especially after spending most of the day in the car.
 
We picked a trail we found by the parking lot, called Turkey Trail. It said it was for experienced hikers, that the trail was narrow and proper shoes were needed. We took a bottle of water each and took off.
 
We agreed at that moment, we would walk 30 minutes and turn around. The trail was nicely marked with blue patches on the trees. Although the trail was small, and winding, we didn't get lost. We came upon a small water fall, we could hear it, but couldn't see it very well.
 
A little bit after, we saw what looked like a small short cut to the next trail below where we were walking. Roger denies this, but I asked him "Should we claim down this or walk the trail to get there?" We could see the trail in front of us and below us, he said "Let's climb down". At this moment, we didn't realize how steep the climb was, so we started to climb down. I went easily, holding branches, but then realized how steep the climb was and had to sit down and drag myself down. Roger was right behind me and seemed to be struggling. He had his water on one hand and struggling with his camera on the other.
 
This is a moment we will always look back at and laugh at each other for being so dumb. I asked him, trying to help, to pass his me water. My water was in my pocket and I was going to let his water "gently" roll down to the trail, after passing it down my legs. Again, we overly estimated how steep the climb was. He passed me his water, more like rolled it to me down the hill. I went to grab it, and as I was slowly passing it to my other arm to let it down the path with more tree and tree limbs, to have something to hold it, the bottle slipped off my fingers and off it went. It missed the trail below and kept rolling, rolling, rolling and rolling. We heard it roll all the way down to the bottom of the Canyon, so far down that we heard it hit the water. This was awful! I had never littered at a state park, and now I felt like a failure, because there was no way we would be making it down to the bottom of the Canyon to collect the bottle.
Roger after climbing down the hill
 
We crawled down the steep hill and said that we will stay in the trail, no matter how long it take us to get to the other side. We laughed, for a long time. Which could have been dangerous, the trail was very small and as proven by the water bottle, very steep to the bottom. We laughed mostly at our stupidity.
After our 35 minutes of hiking went by, we turned around and went back to the car. Made another stop at the Grand Canyon view and left to go home.
Things I wish I would have known before heading to the Grand Canyon:
  1. Go to Colton Point State Park for the best view.
  2. Pack lunch, and water
  3. Be ready to not hike very long
  4. I wish We could have had more time to explore Welsboro PA. We hope to go back in the winter.

 

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Hershey Half Marathon- My Race Review



Date of the Race: October 18th, 2015 at 7:30 am

Weather: 39° light wind, partly cloudy.

Price: $75, Registered in June.

Shirt: Dark navy blue, tech long sleeve.

Goodies: 2 tickets to Hershey Park on the Dark, a coupon for $2 off a child’s admission or $8 adult admission for up to 8 tickets, drawstring Hershey Half Marathon bag, 13.1 car magnet, a small Twizzlers candy, a small bag of Brookside chocolate covered blueberries and a couple other coupons I don’t remember.

Overall Course- Hilly, but fun.

Bathrooms- There was plenty of bathrooms, inside the stadium and portable toilets. Both had long lines before the start, but that’s expected, and bathrooms along with aid stations.

Race Website
 

Yess!! I have now completed a Half Marathon! After the entire summer and part of the spring of training, we completed the Hershey Half Marathon yesterday. I had an amazing experience, and although my knees hurt right now, I can’t wait to do another half marathon!

Saturday- Packet pick up

We picked up or race packets early Saturday morning, we wanted to have the opportunity to check out the expo and then go to Hershey Park. Packet pick up was easy, grabbed our envelopes, our goodies bag, and our shirt. I am always worried to end up with a fluorescent color shirt, or a color I won’t like, but I was happy this was a dark navy blue color. I will for sure be wearing this shirt! #braggingrights


Day of the Race- before the race

We had run through the schedule several times, and we were to leave at 5:30 am. Woke up at 5:15, rolled out of bed, got dressed and kissed my son, who had by now jumped in my bed. I told him I was leaving for the race, but I was almost sure he didn’t hear me. My sister got up and wished me luck.

We went to Dunkin Donuts for our normal pre-run breakfast. I was getting more nervous, excited and was tired from being up at 5:30 am, and the smell of the cream cheese made nauseous.

We arrived at Hershey Park at 5:55 am. There were a lot of other runners arriving at this time, and the parking lot was CRAZY with people driving all over the place. There was no Hershey security directing traffic, so everybody took more than a few liberties on driving like a maniac in the parking lot. I’m surprised there wasn’t an accident in the parking lot! People were speeding and driving all over the place.
 

I sat on the car making my playlist, and slowly eating my bagel, knowing that if I didn’t eat it, I would be hungry and would do poorly on the race. I finished my coffee and started to put on the last of my running layers, and trying to decide on what sweater/ jacket to wear. I chose my New Balance quilted pink jacket.


 

I know we were on the car for a while, but it seems that the 45 minutes flew by. At 6:50 we started to walk towards the stadium to use the bathroom, and start warming up. At around 7:10, Roger said that he forgot his iPod on the car, so we used this as our running warm up. We took the last “before race” pictures behind the colorful sunrise. Then went and lined up on the side of the stadium. We were there for the opening remarks, the national anthem, which we couldn’t hear. Lillian, the Hershey Half Marathon Miracle Child called the start of the race, and we slowly walked to the Start, and started running at the RFID readers.

The Race

There were no pacers, and no other organization as for the goal pace. So, I had to pass a lot of runners who were going slower than I wanted to be. The first 1-3 miles were familiar, as they were the same as the route for the Hershey 10K. There were some hills, but awesome energy all through the course. I skipped the first water stop, I wasn’t feeling thirsty or hot, so used that to keep moving. I saw a man with an amputated leg, who was running with a running prosthetic, what an inspiration!

 

I stayed at my comfortable pace, knowing I was up for 13.1 miles. I read a lot of different articles on what to do for the first half marathon. And most said “Stick to your training and your pace”. To keep my breathing in check, I was singing for most of the run. I picked songs that have motivated me at some point of my life, and some with great energy. Mile 1 went by fast, faster than at any other race I’ve done this year.

After mile 2, the race went into the Hershey Park; where there was a live band playing The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 miles). What a perfect selection! And the band was amazing! I ran close to the band and shouted a hurried “Thank you!” and got a high five from a member of the band. I ran in by the Founders way, ran by the Chevrolet Music Box Theatre (The Pioneer Frontier area), by Skyrush, trough (The Hallow area), trough the Boardwalk, out to Midway America and out of the park. Slowed down for some water before exiting the park. Running through Hershey Park is always my favorite part, and it went by very quickly.

I think by this point the course had me at about mile 4. Shortly after running out the park, I saw a man holding a Mexican Flag, and I was not thinking so only gave him a thumbs up and kept running.

Mile 4 took the race behind Zoo America, I saw an animal, couldn’t tell you what it was, looking at us. The race went along the stream that goes by the zoo and the park, behind the Hershey Chocolate silos and under a train bridge, tunnel. As I was getting close to this, two trains were going across in opposite directions, it was super cool!

Mile 4.5-6 were the longest of the entire race. Although I wasn’t feeling tired, out of breath or unmotivated, I kept thinking mile 5 was the longest yet. I had no desire to stop, but my head was feeling the cold and the 5 miles I had just done.

When I did the 10K back in April, I kept having super crazy thoughts, like “Why am I doing this? Should I get a tattoo? Why is this person taking a ton of selfies?” at the Hershey Half none of those were there. I only kept thinking to keep going, to finish this; that this was like a long run, but with a marked route, a cheering and supportive crowd, and water stops. I just wanted to keep running and to finish the race.

Around mile 5.5 there was another water stop, this time I slowed down and walked in to the water station and grabbed water and a cup of Gatorade. I sipped both slowly and took off running again.

For as long as mile 4-6 were, Mile 6-8 felt almost nonexistent in the run. I crossed Chocolate Avenue and saw the relays switching. Saw the finishers walking around with their medals. I didn’t see what the medal was, only that they had one.

Ran up the hill towards Milton Hershey School, and thanked Roger inside my head for all the hill training we did during the summer. The hills felt almost like nothing!

This has not happened to me at any other race, but it has happened at Zumba and Yoga… I ran into several fart clouds. I know farting is a natural body function, but still caught me off guard. I wonder if I can get #fartclouds to be a new hash tag.

At around mile 7, I saw the man with the Mexican flag again and this time I shouted a very loud “Viva Mexico!” at him. He yelled something back, but I didn’t hear what he said.

Mile 7.5-10 went through Milton Hershey School. At mile 8 there was a DJ playing loud music, I shouted a muffled thank you in his direction. I also took a moment to post a “5 Miles to go” pic on Instagram, it made me feel better.

Another recommendation I saw about doing the first half marathon was to high five as many people as possible, so I took full advantage of this at Milton Hershey school and high fived a ton of kids who were out cheering on the runners. Slowed down for another water stop and saw a long line at the Portable toilets at the aid station.
  

We turned around by an entrance and I saw Roger, who was about 2 miles behind me. Gave him a quick high 5 and kept running.

As we were exciting Milton Hershey, there was a high school marching band playing music. I couldn’t name the song, but went and shouted thank you to the people standing by the running line and gave high fives to them. Also shortly after, there was a group of school cheerleaders, high fived as many of them as I could and said thank you.

I know I just said that mile 7.5-9 felt super short, but my mind is completely blocking mile 10-11.5. I know I stopped and walked a few steps after mile 11, and again a half mile later, but it went by fast. But I remember thinking at the mile 10 marker, “only a 5K to go”.

I saw the Hershey Chocolate Silos and knew my son and my sister would be at mile 12. So kept moving, kept my pace. In Front of the factory I saw the man with the Mexican flag again, yelled thank you and “Viva Mexico!” At him again. Also took a picture of him!

 

The last hill was a big hill, but we had already done so many hills, and I knew that this one was coming up I ran half way up, slowed down and walked a few steps, then started running again because I knew my son was just around the corner. This was the chocolate aid/fueling station. I don’t really like chocolate, but grabbed three small chocolate minis. I saw my son and my sister and ran over and gave him a big hug and kiss and told him thank you for coming to see me! And gave him the chocolate I had just taken from the volunteers. I became overly emotional at this point, I was so happy to see him there! I was so happy to think I was almost done, and what an accomplishment I will have... I started to choke up with some tears, but told myself to calm down and keep going, didn’t have time for a full out crying scene at mile 12, and to save it for the finish. I controlled myself and kept moving.

At this point it was just about 12 miles. I knew I was almost there and had but a mile to go. My hip was starting to hurt, and my shins were a little tight, but I knew I could rest in 1 mile. Besides, seeing my son re-energized me.

At 12.10 I saw what was the beginning of the “Miracle Mile” and a couple more hills. The last hill, right behind Chocolate World was my defeater. I was tired, and was starting to feel hungry, so stopped for my longest walking break, about .07 of a mile. I started running again and we went into the Hershey Park lot, and into the Trolley lane. I looked around to the people who were cheering on all the runners, and saw some of the finishers with their medals and foil blankets. I could see the stadium and a lot of the people were shouting “you are almost there, keep going”. I still had energy and started to speed up towards the finish. I am not clear now on what the dialogue in my head was, but I vaguely remember thinking “I’m done, I’m done, I’m done!”. I started sprinting as soon as I entered the Hershey Stadium. Again, when I did the 10K at the finish line, I was just glad to be done. But at the Hershey Half, I was full of energy, sprinting at the end as fast as I could. I crossed the finish line and the clock said something line 2.09. 33. I collected my medal from an adorable little girl and kept walking towards the end, got a bottle of water, my recovery bag and my foil blanket. I walked around some, and as the full effect of what I had just accomplished hit me. I started quietly crying! Not sobbing or screaming, just had lots of tears coming.


 

I went to the finish line to wait for Roger and get a picture of him at the finish line, but my phone turned off because of low battery. He crossed the finish line around 2.33. I congratulated him and walked with him to get his medal, recovery pack and water.

We lined up to get a picture with the Hershey Half Marathon backdrop. And heard the announcements for the winners. The first place overall runner came in at 1.13 and the first place female was 1.18.

We were cold and hungry, so we headed to the car and went to meet my family at Crackle Barrel in Lancaster.

The race was amazing! The crows were very supportive, as were the people in town cheering everybody. My memory could be wrong, as I was mostly focused on the running, but I remember seeing people along the route 80% of the time. The bands, the DJ and the cheer squad were an extra layer of awesome. I loved my shirt and my medal, and will likely be wearing my shirt again! And will for sure be back for another Hershey Half Marathon.

Some of my favorite signs

“Don’t trust a fart after mile 10”

“Smile if you peed a little bit”

“Hurry up so we can start drinking”

“Si se Puede” (made by my sister!)

“Smile if you are not wearing underwear”

“You are only half crazy”

“Worst parade ever”

“There is food at the end”

“You think you are tired? My arms are killing me from holding this sign”

And my son’s sign that said “Go mommy and Roger”

Some songs from my playlist

Back in Black –ACDC

Delirando- La Ley

Jefe de Jefes- Tigres del Norte

Sin Tantita Pena- Alejandro Fernandez

El Amor El Amor- zumba

Contracorriente- Enrique Bunbury

Dejenme Si Estoy Llorando- El Gran Silencio

Boulevard of the Broken Dreams – Green Day

Aqui- La Ley

Aqui- Bunbury

Ahora- Bunbury

La Colegiala – Calo

Indian Sunshine- Zumba

De mis Pasos- Julienta Venegas

Fighter – Christina Aguilera

The Best is Yet to Come- Michael Buble

Mal Amor- Margarita Rosa De Francisco

Crazy thoughts- very few

Mile 3, only this for 10 more miles.

God! Will mile 5 ever end

Don’t stop running!

Yay! My son is here!

Sprint, sprint! Almost done!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

3 days to the Hershey Half Marathon


 

The road has been long, the runs has been long, the work outs have been difficult, the injuries have been there, and now after 4.5 months of training, the Hershey Half Marathon is 3 days away. I need to do a quick mental review for myself, just to remind myself that I have done all the work I needed to do well.

My Map My run said that I have done 300 miles of running, interval training, walking and hiking. 300 miles seems like such a huge number!

Injuries (All self-diagnosed)

Shin Splints, left posterior- I had not known pain such as that of shin splints! It came about after I increased my mileage too fast.  I went from comfortably running 3 miles to 5, almost overnight. Icing, streching and compression sleeves fixed me up. The icing helped so much more than I could imagine.

Bruised rib- As I was learning how to breathe and my lungs were learning to expand while running long distances and hills I bruised my ribs. It hurt to take a deep breath for about 3 weeks.

A collection of pains and aches- While my legs adapted magnificently and were barely sore, other parts of my legs and body were in some pain through the whole process.

Around the beginning of June I started to have a nagging pain on the side of my hip. I changed my running sneakers and that helped for about a month, then it came back mid-July. There were a couple of nights that I couldn’t sleep because of the pain on my hip. I started to do a lot more hip stretches after my runs, that alleviated a lot of the after run pain.  

Around July, I started to get a pain that felt like shin splints on my right posterior. I did the stretching, icing and the compression sleeves, but the pain was just moving around. The pain was coming from my ankle, with pressure on the Achilles heel. The pain was only during running, and after wearing an ankle brace, the pain started to slowly go away, but I have to wear the compression sleeves while running anything longer than 8 miles.

So, legs were not sore, but the rest of my body was achy for the first 2 months of long runs. Around mid-August the recovering started to go faster and I no longer had pain in my feet and or knees after long runs.

The extra work outs

Roger, my running partner and coach told me I had to add weight training to prevent injuries. So, I did about 2 weight training sessions per week. I got pretty good at doing pull ups, almost managed to do one. Still have more work to do on that.

 I had to cut back on Yoga. With work, school for my son, soccer practice and running, keeping up with Yoga got to be very difficult. I could have cut back on Zumba, but I love Zumba, and not going would only make me grouchy.

Unfortunately, after a few trial and errors, I had to cut back on 5K races and hiking. I love 5K races, and have improved my time by more than I ever thought possible. But running a 5K at the best speed by body can, followed by a Sunday Long run got to be too much for my body, and would slow down my long runs.

Long hikes became more difficult because of time mostly. And After hiking 8 miles one day, our legs were really tired for long runs. We cut back to shorter hikes. Roger especially did not enjoy doing long hikes and then long runs. What I regret most of this is that we didn’t get to go to Glenn Rickets Falls yet.

We were supposed to add biking to our training, that didn’t quite work out.

We are as ready as we could possibly be. Roger tells me that my Half marathon should be below 2 hours, but I know myself better, and know that I will end up somewhere around 2 hours and 10 minutes. I know the excitement and rush of the run will carry me through the pain and fatigue, but also know that the race will be hard. Here we go!
 

 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Oxford Oktoberfest 5K



So, Roger told me that I was crazy for trying a 5K one week before the Hershey Half Marathon… but telling me I’m crazy is more of an incentive for me to do things.

Race date: October 10, 2015. Race started at 9:00am.

Location: Oxford PA

Cost: $30 (registered the day of the race)

Weather : Sunny, high 50s, low wind.

** There was an injured runner at mile 1, according to the organizers, she fell, but was reported to be ok**

Last year I did a 5K in my USA hometown, Oxford PA. I had only gotten about 5 hours of sleep, and was very tired from the Pitbull concert the night before, but I had a lot of fun at the run. My family has lived in Oxford PA for over 15 years. Oxford is a small and quaint town in Chester County Pa. Close to Philadelphia, to Washington DC and Baltimore. The town is in a corner of the state, in which it would take about 10-20 minutes to get to Delaware or Maryland.  

Oxford has been doing a 5K organized by the Oxford Main Street for 11 years, but they skipped it this year. I don’t know why. I was a little sad that there would not be a 5K in Oxford this year, so when my sister emailed me 3 weeks ago, asking if I would do the Oxford Oktoberfest 5K with her, I immediately said “Yes!” knowing that the Hershey Half would be a week away. I didn’t doubt agreeing to it, because I love running with my sister and I love running in my hometown.

This was the 3rd annual Oxford Oktoberfest 5K, and I have to say that they still have things to learn. I have been to more than a few small races, but none bothered me as much as this one did. Here are some of the things I think they could work on, to make the race better.
  • Have enough Bananas and water for 200+ runners. They ran out of bananas and water. By the time we were ready to get some food in our stomach, they were out of bananas. Race started at 9:30, bananas were gone by 10:15. By around 10:40 they were out of water too. There was beer, but I don’t typically drink beer at 10:30 am, and with the Half Marathon next week, I am not drinking any alcohol. I went to the Oktoberfest tent, looking for more water and found boxes of donuts; I grabbed a donut for my sister and coffee for myself. I overheard somebody said those were for the volunteers.  By around 10:45, there were three bags of bananas on the table, still in the grocery back from across the street.
  •  Have the medals or other prices ready for the winners. The race director came out and said that there had been a misunderstanding with the orders for the medals, and that they didn’t have any medals. They were very apologetic about it, and said that they would mail them to the winners, but still… it says that somebody didn’t care enough to make sure things were in order.
  •  My Map My run registered it at 3.01 miles and Roger’s Garmin registered 3.0. My sister’s Fitbit registered 2.85 miles.  I find it very disappointing when I show up for a race advertised as a 5K, which ends up being really a 4.82K. I read up on this, and chances are that My Map My run was wrong, but equal chance that the race was miscounted. I can still say I did 8 minutes miles.
  • Please let me have a T-shirt! I swear I’m not bitter about this one! I might sound bitter, but I was only hurt. I have stated many times that I love collecting race shirts. I don’t wear them, but that is my own business. I went to register online on Thursday. The registration link said that registration closed at 12:00 on Thursday before the race. I went online at 11:02 am on Thursday and tried to register, but the site told me registration was closed. I thought it was weird; it was only 11:00. I didn’t mind, I could still register at the race. At the registration the volunteers were not giving out any shirts, they kept saying that they were only for the pre-registered runners. Weird. I have been to many races, and registered late and still managed to snag a tshirt. Even last year at the Hero run, I registered late and didn’t get a shirt, but after the race the volunteers were giving them to any of the runners who didn’t get one. The girl at the table said to me “Please take it, we can’t use them again, the shirt will be different next year”.
Well, not at this race. They were not giving out any t-shirts to anybody registering that day, at all. At the end of the race, I saw a box full of t-shirts at the registration table and thought that I could ask nicely and get one. But the race organizer nicely said “No, sorry!”

At the awards ceremony, after apologizing for not having the medals, he made a point to apologize again to those who didn’t get a t-shirt, saying that they “have gotten burned” in the past with the t-shirts.  Ok, I get it. Last year it rained and they probably got stuck with a small group of runners and tshirts left over. I get it, but that is just cruel. I have never organized a race, but I want to assume that you want to keep the people giving you money happy, and get them to return next year to give you more money… give us the t-shirt!

Now to the race

We arrived there at 8:15, drove from Harrisburg that morning, so we had eaten on the road. Roger decided that morning that he would be running, to get a sub 28 min 5K on record.  We arrived a little later than we wanted, but we still had time to register, use the bathroom, get more coffee and warm up. We didn’t see any portable toilets, so we walked across the street to Dunkin Donuts to use the facilities.
 
The race started promptly at 9:00 am. My sisters met us at the start line. We were debating on whether to wear long sleeves or a jacket, it felt very cold. I wore one of Roger’s long sleeve compression shirts and capris, he wore a sleeveless compression shirt and shorts. I was insanely jealous of my sisters, who wore black leggings and matching orange long sleeve tech shirts.

The race was 217 runners, no pacers and no organization of pace. I have a son, and he has no interest on participating in races. So, I always wish that parents who bring their kids to races and have them run with them, had review a few things with their kids before the race. Things like, 1. You don’t have to run the whole thing, but when you stop running, stay on the right side of the road. 2. Tie and double tie your shoes before the race starts.3. There are a few crazies here, who intend on running the whole thing and will run you over if you stop in front of them.

We started off in the middle of the race, and had to dodge many runners, most of them kids with their parents, most who were stopping in the middle of the road.

Once we started running, and I got past all the kids and their parents, I kept a good pace. For the first time in a while, I didn’t feel like I was dying the first mile. I ended up running behind a woman who was running on her tippy toes; I don’t know how she was managing this. We were around mile 1, when I passed her. That looked exhausting!

Right after a small hill at mile 1, there was an injured runner on the side of the road, and many people were surrounding her. I slowed down to see if there was anything I needed to do, but kept going seeing that there were others who were with her. I would not be doing more than crowing the scene.  I did slow down to send a text message to my sisters and Roger, in case they would get caught by the EMT or ambulance on the road.

We ran along route 472, a road in which I have driven hundreds of times! It was nice to run it.  I was feeling good, and kept going with my pace; I had run two hills and had no problems with my breathing, my ankle or my shin splints. Around mile 2.75, I was starting to feel like I wanted to stop, but told myself to keep on. I was closed to the finish line and saw that the timer was at 24.18, so I started sprinting to the finish line. I crossed at 24.33, and I kept walking around to slow my sprinting breathing. When I went to stop by Map My run app, my heart jumped, the timer said 3.01 and I was a good few feet away from the finish line, I had already stopped running and had already pressed the finish my run button.  Oh well! Made my notes on MMR and went to take pictures of the rest of the family at the finish line.

Roger came in at 27.30, but his picture was blocked by a panting girl bent over at the finish line…. I truly can appreciate being out of breath at the finish line, but does anybody remember to keep moving after you cross the finish line? Move! There are other crazies coming! Nina came in at 31.04, Maria came in at 36.47.

Roger was very excited to have run a sub 28 min 5K… I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was short of a .10th of a mile. He realized it and did the math; he would still be under 28 if he would add the 10th.

I got water for my sisters and Roger and the last banana. Around this time, it was announced that there was beer for anybody over 21. And they were out of bananas…. I’m going to ignore that the only post race snack was water and bananas. I don’t understand how they run out of bananas at a race, knowing you registered 200+ people. Shortly after I went to get water, and the water was also gone.

Maybe I’ve been running too much this summer, but I was a little surprised there were no water stops. I understand that this was a short run, but one water stop never hurt anybody.
 
It was announced at the awards ceremony that the injured runner from mile 1 was conscious and ok. It is believed that she tripped and fell.

The top finisher had a final time of 17.10. There was also a 13 year old kid who finished at 17.26! Everybody was amazed!


I got a new PR for a 5K, which I didn’t think was possible, after my disaster race in Bird In Hand. I feel more confident for the Hershey Half next weekend.

We stayed for the photo op for the winners, because I placed top tree of my age group. This is such a new adventure! After 1 year of running 5Ks to have gotten 4 recognitions at races! It’s pretty amazing! I have two medals for placing top 3 in my age group, and 1 for first place female (for a very very small race).  I will be anxiously waiting for my medal to arrive on the mail!
 
Here is the bottom line, I enjoyed the race, it was a nice course and I enjoyed running in Oxford. I know I complained about the kids and the tshirts, and lack of bananas, but that is normal. If I would have gotten a tshirt, I would have likely been back for this event next year, the flat out “No Tshirt for you” was a huge turn off. It seems the organizers need to get a list of things to have for the 5K, 150 shirts, bananas and water for 200+ people and medals for the winners. Worst organized race that I’ve been to.

Race Link

Results
 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

What did I do last week? Training Review Week Sept 27-Oct 3rd



It is two weeks before the half marathon, last night I did 13 miles of running, and only took a few walking breaks. It’s hard to believe my body is capable of running 13 miles, and that I will be running the half in two weeks. I looked at the miles I did last week and felt a little disappointed in myself, only completed 17 miles…. Then I looked back and realized it wasn’t that I was lazy… I was busy!

Sunday- The Ana and Roger “We are Rungry 15K”. We wanted to do a 15K before the half marathon, but the only 15K race we could find was in Eerie PA, which is a 5 hour drive. We couldn’t afford the hotel, so we made our own 15K. Roger got us shirts and medals; we did our usual Hershey Route, but only 15 Kilometers, instead of the 12 miles we were scheduled for. It was fun! We are even talking about doing it next year.

Monday – My son was with me, rest day. My boy is awesome, but school nights are hectic and busy. I had to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things, so we ended up getting bread, cheese and chorizo to have for dinner. My son got a bagel and ate it on the way home… he gave me a bite, it was delicious!

Tuesday – Soccer practice cancelled. 1 hour of Zumba and 5 miles on the treadmill.

I haven’t run on a treadmill since February, when I was training for the Hershey 10K, and I don’t remember it being so painful and life draining.

I love going to Zumba, the loud music, the awesome beats, the dancing! It all makes me very happy! 1 hour is about the equivalent of 2.5 miles of running and it stretches out the little bit of hip pain that I get after long runs.

Wednesday- I did 1 hour of zumba, and 3 miles on the treadmill. Either because I was tired, or haven’t run on a treadmill in a long time, but I lost my form on the treadmill and that kept bothering my ankles. It was painful. I normally do a full 20 minutes of weights, but I was tired and hungry, and had to call my son, so only did about 10 minutes.

Thursday- My son’s soccer practice, so just walked around the field during the rain. His father forgot the soccer shoes, so I had to fly back to my place to get his other sneakers.

Friday- It was raining the entire morning. We were supposed to run part of the Hershey Half course, but the rain didn’t stop at all. So the running plans turned into a rest day.

Saturday- enjoyed some warm apple treats at the National Apple Harvest Festival! And enjoyed some drizzle and cold weather… yay fall… !