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Shiver by the River 10k – December 2012

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This was the first race I have done in a long, long time! See how happy I am…

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The last run I did was…The Marsh Creek Trail Run in July! It sure feels like forever ago. This race, Shiver by the River, is a series of 4 runs. There was this one in December and then one each month: January, February and March! I’m excited to run the same course each month and will be working towards beating my previous time. Think I can do it?! I hope so! This time I was bib 312…

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Marsh Creek Raptor Trail Run 5/10 Miles

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Last weekend I ran the Marsh Creek Raptor Trail Run in Downingtown, PA. This was the first trail run I had ever done and I was a bit anxious about it. I went into the run thinking the trail would be a dirt path through the woods, but little did I realize it was more of steep inclines, lots of rocks and many fallen tree branches. I totally looked ill prepared when I showed up in my running skirt. I was at Marshall’s a few weeks ago and saw this running skirt for $14.99 and snagged it up. I’m sure there is a great debate about running skirts because, well running in a skirt just seems like an oxymoron. I wanted to try a running skirt because sometimes my shorts bunch up in the front causing me to have to readjust all the time and it drives me crazy. With a running skirt, there was no readjusting needed!

Needless to say, the run was about 40 minutes from my house and luckily Joe drove me, because I always get nervous before a run and would hate to have to figure out where I were going and be nervous for the run at the same time. We made a wrong turn once or twice on the drive down, which did have me biting my fingernails. Whoops.  We arrived at the race at 8:40 and it started at 9:00. I like to get to a race at least 45 minutes before it starts to get acclimated, but this time that wasn’t happening. Fortunately, the race was really small and I walked right up to the registration table, picked up my things and was on my way.

For this run, you paid the same amount to run the 5 miles as you did the 10 miles and this allowed you to make the decision while running which distance you wanted to run. I went to the run thinking I am definitely doing the 10, but after about half way through the run, I had second thoughts. The race was way more challenging than I expected with many steep uphill climbs and I felt like the 5 mile course was just enough.

Here are the positives about a trail run:

  • Hilly and rocky courses are a nice change of pace from running on the street/pavement.
  • Nature is a beautiful thing, you can take it all in on a trail run.
  • Trail runs are marked with chalk and flags making it almost like a treasure hunt.
  • Crossing over fallen trees and streams adds more challenge to your workout.
  • You get muddy and feel like a real hardcore runner!

Here are the negatives about a trail run:

  • You can easily over turn your ankle (I know from experience)
  • Some of the steep inclines are very difficult to run up.
  • If the trail is narrow, passing other runners is hard.
  • Not as many water stations are set up.
  • Doing any loop 2 times can be monotonous (possibly just for this run, not all)
  • Bottlenecks occurred 2 times because of narrow path – you were at a complete stop

Overall, I really enjoyed the trail run. I liked the rockiness of it and felt like it was a total challenge. I felt like after 5 miles of trail running I had completed 10! It was really neat to enjoy nature and run at the same time. I am used to running in my neighborhood or even on the treadmill, so again it was a really nice changed of scenery. I definitely want to do more trail runs for all of the positive reasons listed above. I think running a trail run is enjoyable, too because you aren’t worried about your time as much as you are completing the race safely. I really slowed down when I got to parts that were extremely rocky with a steep incline for my own safety. Many people took their time on these parts of the race because finishing the race strong is more important than finishing injured or not finishing at all. I liked not worrying about my time in the race because most of the time when I am doing a race, that’s all I am focused upon: time, time, time. I did finish the run in 49 minutes and 10 seconds. Not bad for a 5 mile trail run with rocks, steep inclines, fallen branches, streams, and many more obstacles!

Have you ever done a trail run? What were your experiences?

Back on My Feet 20in24 Race

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Last weekend, I ran the Stroehmann Back on My Feet 20 in 24 race in Fairmont Park, Philadelphia.

Back on My Feet

Founded by Anne Mahlum in 2007, Back on My Feet (BoMF) is a national nonprofit organization that is dedicated to creating independence and self-sufficiency within the homeless and other underserved populations by first engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem. The organization does not provide food nor shelter, but instead provides a community that embraces equality, respect, discipline, teamwork and leadership. Back on My Feet’s approach focuses on the very profound and innate desire for all of us – regardless of age, race, socio-economic status – to feel recognized, appreciated, valued and important. Through dedication and hard work, Members earn the opportunity to create a new road for themselves by advancing to the “Next Steps” phase of the program where they gain access to educational, job training and employment opportunities, as well as financial aid. In short, BoMF focuses on changing the direction of people’s lives by changing the way they see themselves (source)

If you have been reading for a bit now, you might know I work for a bread baking company and part of this company, Stroehmann Bakeries, was one of the sponsors for the 20in24 race. I was lucky enough to receive an email from someone in the marketing department of Stroehmann Bakeries, who was looking for another team member to run the 8.4 mile loop and be part of the relay. That person came to the right person – being me – and with hardly any contemplation at all, I said YES! I love to do races and not only that but I enjoy being involved in work related activities outside of work. The reasons why…

Work Sponsored Activities:

  • Encourage networking with others in your company you might not see on a daily basis.
  • Help you join together with your colleagues on a more personal level.
  • Give coworkers an opportunity to share similar interests.
  • Allow you to converse with colleagues on other topics besides WORK.
  • Create an environment that is less stressful and chaotic than the busy work place.

Do you like doing activities with coworkers or joining in on work sponsored activities?

Well the run itself went great. Timeri, a coworker of mine, and I headed down to Philadelphia around 7:30 AM on Saturday morning. We got to Philadelphia around 9:10 AM, which was plenty of time – the race started at 10:00 AM. I wanted to be there early because I was the first member of the relay to run. The relay itself wasn’t very pressure filled – no baton hand offs or anything, thank goodness. It had been raining on and off all morning and, of course, as the clock struck 10, it came back on. I started running and was alone for about the first mile or so. I ended up almost bumping into a group of men running and just so happened to strike up conversation with one of the runners. Coincidentally enough, the runner was the same age as me and also went to the same college and we know many of the same people! He and I ran for the rest of the miles and it was a total motivator to finish the 8.4 miles strong. I really didn’t “train” for this run because I had no idea I was going to be doing it until last minute but I can say I did a few longer runs within the past few weeks, anywhere between 5 to 6 miles. With that being said, I didn’t feel totally ill prepared to run 8 miles in the rain. I would say it is better to run in the rain than the extreme heat and humidity. What do you think?

Would you rather run in the rain or in the heat/humidity?

All in all, the race went very well. I finished strong, I felt strong and I felt great contributing to a good cause.  I completed the 8.4 miles in 1 hour and 13 minutes 20 seconds. Average pace: 8:42.

I think the founder of this foundation is awesome and I hope one day I am able to make a difference like this in the world!