Don’t Look Backwards – You’re Not Going That Way

Somehow, some way, it’s the middle of May.

I’m not sure how this happened. We were just sitting here, watching the snow fall last month (literally, it was just last month). New Jersey managed to skip over spring completely. Oh wait, not completely, because ALLERGIES are here in full force.

But yeah, other than that, it’s basically summer with temps most days in the 80s. Or raining. That’s what we’ve got going on over here. Summer or rain.

Here, for example, we were able to give out awards to our awesome HKRS runners… right before the skies opened up to a lovely downpour. Thanks to Kathleen B Photography for this picture!

At the end of 2017, I shared my race plans for 2018. Due to changes in plans and a few injuries, three of those didn’t happen. Did that stop me for registering for more races? NO! IT DID NOT. And now that the spring Healthy Kids Running Series is complete, I can begin training once more, the way I should prepare for races.

june

The inaugural Bungalow Beach Run is a 5 mile race that takes place in Atlantic City. As soon as I heard about this race, I knew I had to register!

First of all, it’s held by one of my favorites, the Atlantic City Marathon Races Series.

Secondly, the first 100 people to register get a beach towel (and you know I was one of those first 100 people!).

Registration cost was only $35 when the race opened (hello, affordable) and is currently $45. There’s day of packet pickup, medals, beer, entertainment, and THE BEACH. Plus, many of my local friends signed up for this one so I know it’s going to be a good time. I can’t wait!

august

Here’s a destination race for me – Vacation Races Elk Double. I’ll be taking a little trip across the country to join Jenn at her favorite race weekend!

I’m so excited for this for several reasons:

  1. JENN. I get my Jennifer! I haven’t seen her for far too long and I can’t wait! Not only that, but I get to spend 16.2 miles with her.
  2. Colorado. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. If you haven’t been there, you should go!
  3. I’m bringing my family along with me! My boys are SO EXCITED for all things travel related but they’re really fixated on going to Colorado. Probably because of number 2.

So yes, I am really pumped for this and while I don’t want to rush time along or anything, I am very much looking forward to August! (And yes, I totally just copied and pasted my blurb from the previous blog. Not even going to pretend otherwise.)

I love a good 10k and I have it on good authority (aka all of my friends RAVE about this race) that The Philly 10k is amazing! This races sells out quickly each year and its piqued my interest mainly because it’s a race that takes place in Philly but not by the Art Museum. For those who live around this area, we know that most races happen on the same course, or at least a good portion of it does.

NOT THE PHILLY 10k! The course goes through South Street and Center City, which is a refreshing change! Sure it’s in August, and sure it may be hotter than the surface of the sun, and sure I might be regretting this in a few months… but for now? I’m stoked.

september

Back in 2013, Vic and Kyle ran the Bird-In-Hand Half Marathon. I believe it was then that I added this race to my bucket list. Five long years later, I have finally registered. Rachel and I needed a destination road trip and when she mentioned Bird-In-Hand, I said SOLD!

Last September we ran the Shenandoah Half together but since it’s not returning this year, we decided to set our sights on a tried and true race. Many runners, including many Team Shenanigans members talk about their love for this one so I’m really excited to experience all the hills it has to offer. Having run Ragnar PA last year also gives me a good idea of what to expect.

HEALTHY KIDS RUNNING SERIES HAPPENS MID-SEPTEMBER TO MID-OCTOBER. I’M BEING SMART (THIS TIME) AND NOT REGISTERING FOR ANY RACES DURING IT. I LEARNED MY LESSON!

october

I’m going back to A.C. and I’ll give you a hint: I won’t be doing the marathon, half marathon, or 5k during this race weekend. That’s right, it’s my favorite race distance, the 10k! I’ve run this race a couple of times in the past, both times were in the rain actually so I’m not really sure how the bodes for this October but I’m hoping for a nice fall day.

And I’m just going to put this out there: Finish Line Beer Garden.

Do with that what you will.

november

My very first road race was the Rothman 8k in 2011 during the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. While I was laid up with my broken wrist and in the middle of what I like to refer to as FOREVERWINTER, I decided that I was going to return to the race where it all began for me. After posting about it on Facebook, a good amount of people decided they’d sign up too! (I swear, I didn’t even work at talking anyone into it.)(Okay, maybe a little but they were highly motivated!)

I’m looking forward to this one because I really like this race weekend but I don’t want to do commit to training for a half (or full, for that matter – but that sorta goes without saying) around that time of year. A late November 8k is just right and since the weekend before Thanksgiving it always leaves me with warm fuzzies about running as we go into the holidays.

As always, there could be another race that comes on my radar for 2018 but these are the ones that are set in stone for now! I’m looking forward to all of them. I’ve adjusted my goals for this year, I’m not looking to PR any of these races and with my training thus far, I don’t think it’s very likely. My main goal is to get them done, remain injury free, and have a good time!

Race recap: hotter than hades at the Bird-in-Hand half marathon

Rough.

With one word to describe the Bird-in-Hand half marathon, this lone thought keeps topping my list.

It was a warm and muggy morning, with pre-dawn temps well into the 70s. Humidity was 96%. Oof.

IMG_0719An Amish family of runners at the race site

After an insane work week earlier this month, I headed to my hometown to run the rural road race for the second straight year. Lancaster, Pennsylvania is Amish country. Home to many in the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish and Mennonite community. Many in the county’s Amish community love to run and have a growing reputation as strong competitors in running circles. And this annual race is organized by that growing running community.

I drove to PA with my running pal Ray and connected with the lovely Kyle and Christina for our big Saturday morning run – the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon.

We headed to the race site in rural Lancaster County early Saturday morning amidst the fog and were treated to a stellar sunrise.

IMG_0704Ah, Lancaster

We arrived early so we could all mentally prepare. When Kyle suggested we run intervals together – I immediately agreed. Repeated cycles of five minutes of running and one minute of walking sounded like a brilliant way to tackle this muggy 13.1.

IMG_0722From left: me, Kyle, Christina and Ray

As we prepped to run and lined up at the start, we spotted a few ladies pinning each other’s race bibs on their dresses. That’s right – many of the Amish run in their everyday clothes, including hair coverings. And sneakers.

IMG_0743Let’s race, ladies

Soon enough, it was go time. Kyle and I ran together, and we were thankful to stick to our interval plan. Dozens of people passed us each time we walked those first few miles.

Among them, we repeatedly encountered an Amish man running with his young daughter. We cheered each time we saw them, noting how fantastic their joint venture was.

IMG_0748Seriously, I love this duo.

By mile three, I was drenched. I’m talking soaked to the bone. Kyle and I stopped to walk at least twice each mile.

Around the turnaround at mile five, Kyle waved me on. Her legs were heavy, as she’d run a 20-miler just 6 days prior.

I pushed ahead, passing folks as I ran, then watching them pass me by when it was my time to walk.

The next hour was such a challenge. I was overheated. I wanted to stop, but I didn’t. I stuck to Kyle’s plan, even though I was now running solo. I listened to her voice on my head. I didn’t want to let her down by walking too long, or running too slowly .

IMG_0750Running through the corn(fields)

The race itself was a stunning, but hilly course through the cornfields and farmland in Lancaster. Every mile or so, Amish kids manned water and Gatorade stations, and alerted runners to the beverages in four-part harmony.

Amish and Mennonite families cheered us along, many while also doused us with water from garden hoses and sprinklers.

With the heat and humidity, race organizers added about a dozen huge coolers filled with ice along the route. Each time I spotted one, I grabbed a handful, ate a few cubes and shoved ice down my bra.

I sounded like a maraca as I ran on.

As I ran on I saw lots of horses, cows and goats. There were loads of farms, fields and even a half-dozen one-room schoolhouses and horse-drawn buggies galore.

Around mile 8, I hoofed it up a hill and spotted something out of the ordinary.

IMG_0752um, what?

Am I hallucinating, or is that a pair of camels?

Turns out, I said that out loud as another runner answered, informing me that yes indeedy, camels were hanging out along the side of the road.

I spent the next few miles wondering why. I learned more the following week when I found an article about a camel dairy farm  in the Lancaster paper’s news archives. Did you know you can milk them? Yup. But apparently they are not incredibly willing participants.

By this point of the race, I was passing people left and right. Please don’t get me wrong. I certainly wasn’t speeding. My running time was just a 9-minute-mile pace. I’d just started walking far earlier than most, so I had more in my reserves as we all pressed on. (Thank you Kyle!!)

We cut through a farm on a gravel toad, where I tripped over a cornstalk and nearly landed flat on my face. Somehow I caught myself and moved on. It was along this stretch that cups of Rita’s Water Ice were distributed. So happy! The sugar rush added some pep to my step.

The last miles were tough. I’d been seeing occupied ambulances whiz by and volunteers and medics helping collapsed runners along the course. I was concerned about hydrating properly and making it to the end.

As it turned out, more than 50 of the 1,700 registered runners suffered heat exhaustion. Some even went to the hospital. The high for the day was 91.

I didn’t walk that last mile. I just wanted to finish. When I rounded the final turn onto a grass field and sprinted (eh, as much as I could muster) to the finish, I heard an announcer share finishers ‘ names and hometowns.

I never heard my name, but I couldn’t have cared less. I was done.

I guzzled water and chocolate milk and ate a banana before I tripped over Ray in the field and encountered my mom. A few minutes later, we heard Kyle ‘s name announced as she finished the run.

IMG_0721The hot air balloon launch at the start. This never gets old.

My time was 5 minutes slower than last year, when conditions were far more ideal. But I placed in the top third, compared to last year when I was solidly in the middle.

It wasn’t my best race by far. But I’m so proud of how all three of us fared – each about 15 minutes off our PR paces. But given the conditions, we ran smart and made it through without injuring ourselves. So to us, the race was a success!

IMG_0775We’re done! As Christina said, the race was so brutal we lost a whole human. Not to worry, she finished uninjured!

Despite the sizzling conditions, I love this small-town race and would do it again in a heartbeat. Plus, you get a handcrafted medal made from a horseshoe. I nearly tipped over – again – when an Amish girl placed it around my neck.

These miles marked my first double digit run this month for me toward Scootadoot’s Million Mile Run. And NEWS!  This month, starting today (9/15) at midnight, Volvo is matching funds of donations to Alex’s Lemonade Stand for up to $30,000!

The number 30 is significant because every hour, 30 news cases of cancer affect children under the age of 20 worldwide.

That means any donation given during this period will go TWICE AS FAR!

If you wish to donate, check out our team page – We’ve raised $800 for pediatric cancer halfway through September!

Have you run a race in less-than-ideal conditions? How did you cope? Did you ever not finish due to overheating? Have you heard of this race?