What I’m Working Out to Wednesday

“Bloody Shirt”
Bastille

I’m a big fan of Bastille and loved their last album. In pole class, one of the other girls competing in the upcoming pole competition busted out a sick routine to a Bastille song that I never heard before, Bloody Shirt. The song was released in 2011 so it’s not new, but it was new to me. Apparently, it’s the cover of a song by a band “To Kill a King”. I also listened to the original and loved that too, so I now have a new band to get into. Today, I’m presenting you with the Bastille version. Because Bastille. Because I love the beat and the piano in it. Because I LOVE IT.

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Product Review: Graze

Disclaimer: I purchased this product on my own and have no affiliation with Graze. This review is based on my personal opinion of my recent experience with this company.

In my newfound love for subscription boxes, I also tried Graze. It’s a snack box. They will deliver snacks to your door weekly for $11.99/week. For that price, you get eight snacks, or about $1.50/snack.  I typically snack on things like Quest bars or other similar types of items, and those often run about $2.50/bar so this seemed like it was worth a try. You can go right over to their site and get your first box completely free – and you should. Free snacks! Head over to Graze and use this referral code: RMM76KZ2P to try it out.

I ordered this product back in February. I was unimpressed with it from the start and never planned to write a review. The site is a bit confusing to navigate at first. You can rate snacks, but I still have no idea how they decide what you’re getting. I get that you can “trash” the ones that you are uninterested in trying, but the other ratings are things like, “try, like, love”. If I’m right, you get a majority of items that you “love” and a few of the others mixed in. I’m still not sure.

Your first box (the free one) is really just a sampler. It came with four snacks, but a regular box that you pay for has eight snacks. I had no clue when the box was coming because there was no tracking info. I kept looking outside on my doorstep each day, but no box. I got an email saying it was on it’s way, but there was no way to track where it was.

As it turns out, the snacks come in smaller boxes and get delivered in the mailbox. It sat in my mailbox for several days, since we don’t always remember to check our mail each day. Fine for the time of year, but what about in the summer? They didn’t include ice packs or anything to keep it cool. Some of the snacks have chocolate in them that could melt if the weather was warmer. Weird.

I thought the box never came so I canceled the service before I even tried it. Once I figured out where my box was and got to try the snacks, I was semi-impressed. Semi, because though the snacks were really delicious and interesting, but they were small. I’m hangry 97.2% of the time, people. Don’t give me a handful of honey roasted cashews and try to pass it off as a filling snack. You can’t fool me.

I took zero pictures of the first box because I was just “meh” on the service. Also because I opened the box on a Friday and as you know, it’s game on for eating on the weekend for me. My husband and I ate the entire box of snacks before we even got to our usual Friday night pizza (you know, like an appetizer). I was sure Graze was a thing of the past and the only other thought I gave it was to cancel it.

Then, it redeemed itself. It sent you a survey asking why I canceled the service. I filled it out and I got a response offering me 50% off of two weeks worth of boxes. So eight snacks for $5.99? Okay, I like having a little treat in my pantry to snack on now that my mileage is up. I can get down with that.

Again, I got an email saying it was coming, but no idea when it would be delivered. I checked my mail the day I got the email and it was there, so that was a plus. Here is what a regular box looks like:

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In a regular sized box, there are two layers of snacks:imageimage

Note: you can choose all kinds of dietary preferences, including gluten free. I wanted them to send me some real treats so I just liked any snacks that looked different and fun, and this is what they sent me.

I really enjoyed the snacks they sent this time around, and I received my second discounted box this past Monday. I went on the site to cancel the service upon receipt of the box. As I was clicking “cancel”, they offered me another box at 50% off ($5.99)! I’m going to keep “canceling” after each delivery and see how long I can ride the 50% off train. I don’t think this service is worth full price. To have random, fun, healthy (ish) treats in the house – especially during my peak week of marathon training – is worth the $5.99.

Usually, first impressions are everything and can make or break how I feel about a company. I wasn’t impressed with the sampler box, but Graze redeemed itself with the snack selections and continuous discounts. I don’t recommend going and purchasing the service, but I do recommend getting yourself a freebie treat since your first box is free using RMM76KZ2P. It’s free regardless, but they gave me that code so I figured I would share it. And who knows – do it, cancel it, and they might offer you some 50% off deals!

Another bonus: while you do have to put in your credit card information to get them to send you the service, but it’s super easy to “snooze” boxes and cancel the service when you are ready to discontinue.

Overall, it was a fun way to try some different treats in moderation, but not something I would purchase on the regular.

Would you ever try a snack box service?

Boston Marathon Training: Hansons, Week 15

It’s Monday, I’m off of work, and it’s pouring out. At some point, I’ll get up and run but until then, this is my plan:

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Because guess what. I survived peak week!!

I can’t believe 15 weeks of Hanson’s training is behind me. I remember looking at this plan in week 3, when I was sick on my couch. I feared everything about this training plan. It’s certainly not over yet – still two more track workouts and two more tempo runs to go – but I made it to the taper and I didn’t hate it. As a matter of fact, it was quite the opposite. I loved it.

I was much whinier when I hit my peak week in the fall. I was just re-reading that post and I had a whole paragraph on how much I “hated” the mid-week medium long run, which was 15 miles in the fall. These days, I’ve been logging two medium long runs and I’m really enjoying it. This time around, the medium long runs have some sort of purpose and last cycle I just ran miles. Not that one type of run is more effective than another, but by having something to shoot for makes the miles fly by more quickly.

Here’s the pace guide I’m using:

Marathon Goal –  3:05
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs –  7:03/mile
Recovery Runs – 9:11/mile
Aerobic A/Easy – 8:36
Aerobic B/Easy – 8:01
Long Run: 7:42

Monday, 3/21:  10 Mile Easy Run + Pole Fitness + Core/MYRTLs

Kicked off my Monday with core, MYRTLs, and NTC’s Alpha Abs workout.

SUPER windy day. 17 mph winds, 30 mph gusts. Headed out on the D&L trail for an easy run, and the wind was in my face. I felt pretty decent so I was excited that the wind would be at my back on the second half. NOPE. Turned around, and was slammed in the face with a gust. How is that possible? I probably would have been better off cutting this run at 8 miles. Hanson’s Monday runs are usually 6-8 miles, but in the program modifications section they recommend adding miles on your easy runs if you want more volume. So the 10 mile distance has been my goal when I have easy runs and enough time to fit it in. I did the out and back thing, so my options were to finish the run or walk it in. I didn’t feel like a two mile walk so I ran. 8:24-ish pace, really fading in the last two miles but mostly unscathed.

Headed to pole fitness class but I backed off a bit. We learned two new moves, and one was a spin that was kind of hard on your hip. I tried it once, didn’t like how it felt and decided I’d try again after Boston was over. Instead, I worked on some of the other moves we learned recently. Still a good workout, but I was a little bummed about the spin because it was really pretty.

Tuesday, 3/22: Track Workout: 3 mile warm up, 3×2 miles (@ MP -10 seconds/mile) w/800 meter recoveries, 3.5 mile cooldown (14 miles) + Core/Strength/MYRTLs

Last week, I was a little stressed over Track Tuesday because the workout just seemed so hard. While this week’s workout wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, it was familiar. I did this same workout two weeks ago and was able to get it done, and it was two days after a 10 mile race. I didn’t expect it to be “easy” but I almost breathed a sigh of relief when looking at my workouts this week because I already did this one.

Besides the wind (it’s been windy as EFF in these parts this week), the weather was ideal. Sunny, 50s, gorgeous. The goal was the same: warm up for three miles, 3×2 mile repeats in 13:40 (6:50 pace), recover for 800 meters and cooldown for three miles. That’s 13.5 and I hate ending on a .5. Last time, I cut the cooldown to 2.5 to end on 13. In the spirit of peak week, I decided to run the extra half mile for a grand total of 14 miles.

I grabbed my afternoon Starbucks and headed to the Saucon trail. After an uneventful warm up, I hammered it out:

  • 2 mile repeat #1 – 13:24 (6:42/mile)
  • 2 mile repeat #2 – 13:21 (6:40/mile)
  • 2 mile repeat #3 – 13:22 (6:41/mile)

For the 800s, I walked for 400 and jogged for 400. I took it nice and easy for the cooldown and had a lot of energy. I really enjoyed this run. I went home and got on my foam roller (Who even am I?). Last week, my legs felt tweaky on Friday and Saturday. The 5K was Sunday, and this was a killer speed workout. If I was going to survive this week, I probably should put a little more effort into my recovery. I also did MYRTLs, core, and NTC’s Runner Strength and Balance. That NTC workout is only 16 minutes and the last two minutes are stretching. It really complements speed work nicely.

Wednesday, 3/23: Core + Barre Strength + 2.3 Mile Walk + Pole Fitness 

Barre and core in the morning, competition practice at night. I had this great idea – to go for a short recovery run before pole. After all, it was peak week. Hanson’s states in their program modifications that if you want to add an easy run in on your rest day to add miles to go for it. I’d been mostly keeping the rest day somewhat sacred and not running at all. In the spirit of peak week, I thought I’d torture myself a bit more.

There was a trail I’ve never run on before, Penn Pump, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to check it out. Got dressed, got out of my car, started running and less than .1 into my run I stopped. My legs felt like lead from the track workout the day before. If anything, it scared me because I had a tempo run the next day. I walked instead since it was gorgeous out and I was already out there. I spent the entire time reassuring myself that my legs probably feel like this every week and that I would be totally fine on the tempo run the next day. The fatigue really scared me and it’s clear to me why Wednesday is a rest day. No bueno. I felt tired at pole class but worked on parts of my routine and was glad to go home and rest on the couch.

Thursday, 3/24:  Tempo Run, 16 miles – 3 mile warm up, 10 miles @ marathon pace, 3 mile cool down + Abs/MYRTLs 

I was still nervous about my Wednesday run attempt, but I had the day off of work. Perfect opportunity to really do a Boston “test run”. I ate my breakfast (sweet potato waffle, Just Great Stuff PB, and a banana) and got dressed. After I was appropriately coffeed up, I headed to the Plainfield trail. I got there so I could start at 10 am, just like the start time for Boston.

It was another beautiful day, and I felt decent on the warm up. After three easy miles, I picked up the pace. 6:47, 6:54, 6:55, 6:33, 6:41, 6:56, 6:48, 6:51, 6:48, 6:53. I cooled down for three miles and I felt really good. I thought to myself, I should just keep running and do 18-20. You know, in the spirit of peak week and all. But then I saw my car and I thought, nahhhh. I went home, did some core (including NTC’s Core Control workout) and MYRTLs and called it a day.

Friday, 3/25: 10 Miles Easy + Core/MYRTLs + Pole Fitness

10 easy miles with Emily and her fiancee, Aaron on the towpath in Easton. We averaged about an 8:25 pace. It was raining out when we started, but warm and sunny by the end of the run. I headed home, did core (including NTC’s Core Strength workout) and MYRTLs, and then went to pole class for about two hours. I had two very successful run throughs with my routine.

Saturday, 3/26: 11.3 Miles Easy + Pole + Core/MYRTLs

Ran with Mark and Kathy but was able to still keep the pace around an 8:03 and reign them in a little. Kathy had done her long run the day prior, so her legs were a bit tired anyway. Only problem is, we overshot the route by 1.3 miles. It killed me to stop on the .3 but I didn’t want to do more since I had my long run the next day. Headed to pole and had a REALLY good run through of my routine…so I uploaded it so you guys could finally see it!

HOWEVER: keep in mind that it’s still not smooth. Most of my issues are with the times I’m off the pole – I am not a dancer so I just look awkward. There are lots of timing errors (my whole beginning on the static pole is a little off and more rushed than it should be), directional issues (several tricks need to be facing the audience so you can actually see them) and when I went to do an inversion on the spin combo, it was really sloppy. But, it’s been my best take so far and I keep talking about it, soooooo…enjoy!

Whew!!! It’s coming along but still needs work! Came home, did core (including NTC’s Perfect Alignment workout) and MYRTLs and spent some quality time on the couch.

Sunday: 3/27:  Long Run, 20.7 Miles + Core/MYRTLs

I know, a 20 miler. On Hansons. What the what? As per my Hansons running bible:

  • Long runs shouldn’t exceed 25-30 percent of weekly mileage
  • 2:30-3:00 time limit should be enforced, suggesting that exceeding those guidelines offers no physiological benefit.
  • What’s right for an 80-mile-a-week runner is not right for one who puts in 40 miles per week.

Originally, I’d planned on topping out at 18 miles. Mentally, I was fine with it – I’ve run successful marathons with less than an 18 miler under my belt. But I started seeing 70 mile weeks earlier in my training this time around, and realized I would have a week where I hit volume in the 80s. Even with my long run at 18 miles during the 70 mile range, I was barely hitting the 25 percent mark. If I hit 80 miles, 18 was only 23 percent. So I decided I would adhere to the 2:30 time limit and take the focus off distance. If I wasn’t feeling too speedy that day, maybe it would be 18 miles. Whatever the case, I wasn’t going over 2:30.

It met Megan at 7:30am and we started off down the towpath. Cassie was meeting us at 8:30 so we figured we’d start on the trail. I’d put in a good chunk of distance the day before and Megan did a track workout, so we vowed to take it easy. We started running and talking, and by mile 3 we logged our first sub-7 minute mile. It was faster necessary, but my heart rate was fine and I was talking without being winded. We turned at 30 minutes, which was a little over four miles, and cruised back. We were still averaging 7:00-7:05 pace. It’s a flat trail, so I figured we’d slow down when we hit the roads. At worst, I could call it a day at 16 miles – the distance Hanson’s recommends anyway. I wasn’t too panicked, just enjoying my time with my friend.

We swung by the cars and picked up Cassie and continued on the roads of Bethlehem, which is where things get hilly. We slowed down for about a mile, but then continued to average 7-7:10 pace over the next eight miles. I felt really good, and the run felt like it flew by. Megan had to go do the family thing and was capping out at 16 miles, and Cassie never had a run on her schedule and just wanted to come run a loop with us so they were both going to finish up around the same time. We circled back towards our cars as we hit mile 16, I grabbed my iPod (and a quick Easter running selfie) and continued on.

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I still felt great. I didn’t feel the need to push the pace anymore but still averaged 7:20-7:30 pace for the last four miles. I realized I’d be a bit further from my car at mile 20, and was planning to walk. However, I still hadn’t hit 2:30 so I told myself I could run the extra .7 to make it an even 82 for the week, since the .3 from yesterday was still bothering me! I finished 20.7 miles at 7:16 pace in 2:30:30. It was an awesome run. I truly love running with those girls. They are so fast, but they make it feel so fun and effortless. They make it feel like it’s effortless for me, too. I wish they could come and run Boston by my side because I have no doubt in my mind that it would be an automatic PR.

My husband and I headed to church for Easter:

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And then my sister-in-laws house, where I didn’t hold back on the dessert spread. Those are the days I consider worth cheating and eating whatever I want!

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And when I finally had a chance to get through my mail, I found this:

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What a fitting end to peak week 🙂

How was your Easter? Anyone else just finish up peak week?

♥ Total ♥ 82 miles ♥

Foodie Friday: Maple Dijon Chicken with Bacon

Can I still post about meat on a Friday during Lent? I hope so, because I made this amazing chicken dish for dinner this week and you guys need the recipe. It was quick, easy and fabulous! This has comfort food written all over it, but replaces some of the usual ingredients found in comfort foods with healthy alternatives. For example, a recipe like this might require the use of Cream of Mushroom soup, which is high in sodium. Instead, this recipe uses real mushrooms and coconut milk to achieve a similar (and much better) result.
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Maple Dijon Chicken with Bacon
Serves 4
Adapted from Wholesomelicious

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts
  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • 12 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method

  1. Cook the bacon on medium-high heat until crispy. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside. Reserve about a tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan. I pour the extra grease into a Pyrex measuring cup and use it to cook other parts of my meal.
  2. Dry the chicken with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the chicken). Do not cook all the way through. Remove chicken from pan, but keep pan hot.
  3. Add a splash of bacon grease (or coconut oil) if the pan is dry, and add the mushrooms and leeks. Saute for 5-6 minutes, or until mushrooms are fragrant and leeks are softened. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Crumble the bacon into small pieces and return to the pan with mushrooms. Add chicken and coconut milk, stir to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together dijon and maple syrup. Pour mixture into the pan and continue to whisk until well combined.
  6. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I just served this with a side of sauteed brussels sprouts – I quartered them and sauteed them in a little bit of the reserved bacon grease and seasoned them with salt and pepper. You could also serve this over zoodles, spaghetti squash, or brown rice. Even my non-Paleoish husband agreed!

What’s your favorite go-to comfort food?

Hell Week

Little known fact: In college, I was a sorority girl. Ohhhh, yes I was. Zeta Tau Alpha. Any sisters out there?

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That feels like a lifetime ago. I was a whole different person – I cared about things like tanning, drinking, smoking (yes, I was a smoker!), bar hopping, frat parties, and anything else your typical college sorority girl was into. I was *that* girl. In my “spare” time (oh, the difference between “spare” time as a college student versus an adult), I spent my days doing things like “canning” (raising funds for our philanthropy, Susan G. Komen), hazing pledges, planning homecoming/Greek week festivities, occasionally studying, and going to meetings associated with Greek life. I look at pictures and don’t even recognize the person in the photos. I don’t regret a single second of it, but it’s certainly something I’d prefer to leave in the past 🙂

All of the frats/sororities out there say they don’t condone hazing. You know what I think about that?

There’s this thing that happens to most pledges called Hell Week. The brothers and sisters of your respective organization sort of torture you for an entire week with hazing rituals and activities. We are the sister’s bitches for a week and got run into the ground.

Here I am, in my peak week of training. I don’t reflect back on my experience with Greek life too often, but I keep thinking about it this week. Particularly about Hell Week. Peak Week. Hell Week.

  • Instead of hydrating with Gatorade after a night of binge drinking so I can sober up for Bio, I’m sucking back Nuun tablets to nail speed workouts.
  • Instead of waking up and mowing an egg bagel with cream cheese from Country Bagel on High Street in hopes of preventing dry heaving and absorbing the alcohol, I’m eating things like almond flour flatbreads and sweet potato waffles to prevent shitting my pants during workouts.
  • Instead of fetching the older sisters cheesesteaks from Philly in the middle of the night because they’re drunk and hungry, I’m preparing weird Paleo-ish meals and don’t know what life is like past 9pm.
  • Instead of being sore and tired from scrubbing the houses of the older sisters after a huge rager that we weren’t invited to, I’m sore from track workouts, marathon paced miles, and existing in general.
  • My own chores are being completely neglected, and I’m wishing for a pledge of my own to fold my growing laundry pile and do the dishes in the sink.
  • Instead of making sure all of the sister’s needs are met before bed, I make sure I do my abs, MYRTLS, and pay homage to my foam roller.
  • Instead of looking forward to the next frat party and $1 well drinks at the bar, I’m looking forward to the workout where I will reward myself with the new Caramelized Honey Latte from Starbucks.
  • Instead of funneling beer, I’m funneling coffee (in theory).
  • Instead of answering to a bunch of bitchy sisters, I answer to the Hanson boys and Luke Humphrey.

But even though Hell Week as a pledge was hellish, I never hated it. It might not be a part of my life that I wish to relive, but it’s a fun memory to look back on. I could chalk it up good character building experience and move on. In a sorority, Hell Week does actually serve a purpose: to tie together all of the activities/experiences you completed during the period you are considered a pledge. Some say it’s degrading, but we used to say it builds trust and confidence in the people you are going to call your sisters.

Peak week in marathon training is also a good character building experience. It’s meant to tie everything together that you’ve developed during training. It’s meant to put your speed to the test with long track workouts and tempo runs, and take you to your maximum weekly mileage. It builds mental grit and tenacity and for some, it takes you almost to your breaking point. It builds trust and confidence in the work you’ve done to get you to the starting line. Much like hell week, peak week is challenging and tiring….but I also don’t hate it.

Any brothers and sisters out there? Anyone else in the height of their race training this week?

 

What I’m Working Out To Wednesday

“Soap”
Melanie Martinez

I keep hearing this song at pole class. I finally went home and downloaded the whole album. It was really hard for me to pick just one song off of this album to share – I really like the whole thing! I actually knew a whole bunch of songs off of the album, I just didn’t realize they were all hers. I guess she was a competitor on The Voice, which I never watch so I didn’t know that until I did a little research on her.

The lyrics to her songs are surprisingly dark. If you just have it on as background music, you’d think you are listening to some lighthearted pop music. Which is what I thought since it was usually playing as background music at the pole studio. Her voice is really beautiful, so if you aren’t paying attention to what she’s saying the songs just sound pretty and fun. Her songs have titles like, “Sippy Cup” (the lyrics for that are pretty cray) and “Mrs. Potato Head”. Your initial reaction is that there isn’t too much depth there. Give them a closer listen, and something tells me this young lady had a tough childhood.

She looks insane in the video, but the song is great:

Check out Mad Hatter, Sippy Cup, Dollhouse, Pity Party, Mrs. Potato Head…I just had to stop myself or I would have listed every song on the whole album!!

Melanie? Dark lyrics? Yay or nay?

Race Review: St. Pat’s 5K

I woke up on Sunday morning and thought, nope. Not doing it. No 5K for me today. Not in the mood.

My whole body felt tired and sore. I just wanted to sleep and be lazy on my couch. This race doesn’t start until 12:45 pm so it wasn’t like I didn’t have enough time to wake up and drink a vat of coffee. I figured I show up and warm up. If I wasn’t feeling it I would just go run a loop around Lehigh Parkway. The end goal here is Boston, so if I didn’t think it was the right move I was set on walking away and bagging it.

I just had a protein bar for breakfast (have you tried the RX bars yet? OMG) and my first round of coffee and ran some errands. I grabbed a Starbucks while I was out to keep riding the caffeine train. I came home and ate a sweet potato waffle with some Just Great Stuff chocolate peanut butter. I decided it would be a good time to try out my new breakfast food before a race. I went to church for Palm Sunday, grabbed my gear and headed to the west end of Allentown. The race is only a few miles from my house, and registration started around 11. I got there by 11:30, parked, grabbed my bib and said hello to some friends. I headed out for a quick warm up to assess how I was feeling. I ran three easy miles and thought about my goals for the race as I was warming up:

  • Goal A – 18:59 (I just wanted to break 19!)
  • Goal B – 19:00 (would be a PR but also aligned with what Hansons predicts a 3:05 marathoner can run)
  • Goal C– 19:24 (a PR since my previous PR was 19:25 from 2014)
  • Goal D – Finish relatively unscathed (5Ks are bruisers!)

Much to my surprise, my legs felt okay. Not amazing, but certainly not terrible enough to shut it down. I stopped at my car, dropped off my extra layers and took a Gu. I’d eaten my waffle over two hours ago and figured I could use an extra boost – plus, it’s good practice to race with the fuel I plan to use in Boston.

I lined up at the start and noticed a pretty decent field of local runners, including Amy G. She’s super fast and wins the race each year, but she’s also my friend. She recently won the Super Bowl Sunday 10K in something like 39 minutes. I knew that if I ran this race and felt good, I wanted to try to go sub 19. I had been texting with her earlier that week and told her about my goal. I was hoping I could chase her to achieve it.

The weather was predicted to be horrible, but the forecast changed and as we prepared to start running it was gorgeous out. I was overdressed but I didn’t care: it was sunny and cool (low 40s). Perfect. The gun sounded, and we were off. There were a lot of females lined up at the front, and I shot out as quickly as possible to see who followed me. Within the first quarter mile, I was running with all guys but noticed Christina C. next to me, another local speedy runner. My legs felt light so I kicked it up just a little more and dropped her.

I noticed Amy off to the left side of the course starting to make a break for it, and I almost conceded. She wins every year – I can’t beat her. Just keep her in your sights and focus on that sub 19 finish. We were only a half mile into the race at this point. But then, Meg’s words from a comment she made on my Quakertown 10 Mile post resonated in my head: Why NOT me?

So once again, I kicked the pace up just a little bit more and Amy fell back. My Garmin beeped to indicate I’d reached a mile and I glanced down. Oh, fuckMile 1: 5:53.

The upside to seeing a sub 6 minute mile on my watch: the only other time I ever logged a full sub 6 minute mile was the first mile of my last 5K PR (it was a 5:59). So I thought I had a shot for a PR. The downside was that I ran a HUGE positive split that day (like barely broke a 7 min pace on the last mile), and I really didn’t want to repeat that. I knew I was going to positive split the race because I’m certainly not familiar with holding sub-6s at this point, but I didn’t want it to be a HUGE difference.

The course is two loops, so after the mile beeped I knew it wasn’t long before we’d be coming past the finish line and I’d be halfway. I was still in first place and even though I was running faster than I ever have, I felt really good. Very controlled, light legs, not out of breath. I was hugging the left side of the course to run the tangents and there were kids with their hands out for high fives. I made a point to slap their hands and smile at the spectators to take the focus off the race. I came past the finish line and my friends were all out cheering and I could tell they were ecstatic to see that I was leading the race. My fast friend, Megan, was on the sidelines screaming, and Mark H. was there cheering with his girlfriend Krissa. It was super exciting, and I felt like I was flying. Mile 2: 6:08. 

I was really happy with my second mile. Ultimately, I wanted to keep the pace under 6:10 to get as close (or under) that 19 minute mark. I knew I needed to average 6:06 pace to achieve goal A, and mile 2 was only two seconds off. But I had time in the bank and just one more mile left. I didn’t think I could maintain my pace but I didn’t feel awful.

I was still in first place but had no idea how close Amy was (or any other female). This mile is really more of a blur but I just kept thinking, why NOT me? I focused on trying to run hard, but to save a teeny bit in the event it came down to an all out sprint – like it should have at my last race in Quakertown, where I gave up. I rounded the corner and had .1 left. I was still leading, but still had no clue by how much. Mile 3: 6:17.

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You can see the three of us coming to the finish line for the last .1. The people in the background are just getting ready to go for their second loop. It was pretty exciting to run a race like that because as you passed people, they would start cheering.

I saw the finish line and took off. I saw 18:30 on the clock and knew I had it. I was smiling from ear to ear as I crossed. My Garmin said 18:51, but my chip time was 18:48! 11 seconds faster than my A goal, and good enough for first place. Amy was on my tail, crossing 21 seconds after me in 19:09. Holy. Freaking. Crap. I just went sub-19!  Final .1: 5:33 pace.
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Megan came over to hug me and I literally started jumping up and down like a two year old. I couldn’t even hold it in. I usually try to keep my composure a little better, but I was so surprised and excited that I couldn’t contain it. I waited for a few friends to finish the race, and then I set out for a solo cool down. I wanted to run another four miles. I was worried I would miss the award ceremony so I just did two easy miles. I would have had plenty of time to finish my cool down, but I headed over to the building where the post race foods/award ceremony was held.

This was the first time I ever won cash! It was $50 plus a gift card to a local pub for $15. I was so excited. Amy got 2nd, and the other girl I mentioned – Christina – got 2nd in her age group. So many females ran sub-20 that day. It was really exciting. I walked back to my car on cloud nine. I still really wanted to finish my run (I was just riding that runner’s high) so as I drove home, I passed the entrance for Lehigh Parkway and pulled in. I did my final two miles, making it 10 miles for the day. Whatever, maybe they were junk miles and there was no aerobic benefit at that point, but I just wanted a minute to appreciate running and process what just happened.

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I swear I took my bib off for the run. 🙂 I rewarded myself with my favorite: a Latte Macchiato with whole milk from Starbucks before heading home to relax. It still feels so surreal.

Ever wake up on a race morning not feeling it, only to go and reach your goal?