Race Recap: Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Thin Mint 5K 2018

I’m going to sum this race up in three words: Rain, cold, COOKIES. On Sunday, April 15, 2018, I ran the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Thin Mint 5K in Wilmington, DE.

I ran this race back in 2014 and had an awesome time! Here’s the race recap if you’re interested.

I had been keeping a side-eye on the weather the whole weekend, because I knew it was supposed to rain and come nowhere close to the over-eighty-degree weather of Saturday.

The location of the race also eluded me a bit, because the address was listed simply as “Lot E, Wilmington Riverfront”. Hubs knew in general where we were going, but without having a concrete address, it was confusing. Because of that, we left the house around 7:30 a.m. EST in hopes of getting there around 8:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start.

I registered the Angry Almost-Kinder (AAK) for the fun run, and I tried to hype her up beforehand. She had run one with me back in 2015, but this time I convinced her to run by herself. Kids’ fun runs are never long, and I knew she could cover the distance easily.

We didn’t hit any traffic going there, but when we pulled up to where I thought the race start was, there was no one around! We drove around the parking lot a bit, and I finally spied an ambulance and a couple of tables with volunteers—one of whom was my friend Suz! It was so good to see her, despite the weather and gloomy day. (Hi, Suz!!)

It was drizzling and SO COLD. I hopped out of the car while hubs and the AAK stayed warm inside to grab my race bib and my goodie bag. I love this race, because you receive a free box of Thin Mints! For a split second, I considered taking my goodies and going home, but I knew I wanted to get in some miles and that I could tough it out. I went back to the car for a few minutes to warm up, but the fun run started at 8:45 a.m., so we got out and trudged over to the starting line.

The AAK is typically the smallest/shorted in the lot, and that day was no exception. She ran as fast as her little legs could take her though, and I was wicked proud of her! One woman behind us said, “The little girl in the green jacket has great form!” And of course I yelled back, “That’s my daughter!” with a smile a mile wide. Here she is below in the green jacket and black/pink hat.

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After the fun run, hubs and the AAK went to a local coffee shop to stay warm while I ran. I stood at the starting line in my jacket and the AAK’s pink kid gloves. I’ve never raced in a jacket like this before, but there was no way I was going to run in that wind/cold without something. I looked over and I heard, “Becky?!” It was my friend Stephanie, whom I haven’t seen in forever! It was great to chat with her at the start of the race. Senator Tom Carper gave a speech and rallied the runners and walkers. I loved his line of (don’t quote me here), “I ran a 10K as a warm-up for this race. If I can do it, you can too!”

To give you an idea of how I felt, here’s a hilarious picture of me at the starting line with Bib 3125 on. Maybe I’m conducting a symphony? Or rockin’ out a killer drum solo?

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I told Stephanie that I’d be behind her the whole way, and that’s exactly how the race panned out. It was drizzling, so freakin’ windy, and downright cold. Hubs asked that I text him when I had about ten minutes to go so that they could meet me at the finish, so in my mind I was looking for the two-mile marker as my signal.

We passed the one-mile marker, and I felt like I was going at a decent pace without too much effort. I didn’t have my Nike+ Run Club app on (per usual during races now), so I just ran by feel. I wasn’t trying to give it my all, and I felt great throughout the race. (Read: In my head I wasn’t spouting curse words or thinking I was going to keel over and die.)

Overall, the course was extremely flat and fairly well-marked. There was a race in the same location a couple weeks before, so we were advised to watch out for cones with arrows for this race and to ignore any other signage on the ground. At one part, we ran right along the river on a wooden boardwalk where I almost bit it due to not paying enough attention to the transition. Points for not falling!

As an aside, I give major kudos to the volunteers and supports that day, because no one had any business being out in that weather! Everyone was so upbeat and friendly!

I kept plodding along, hoping to see a two-mile maker. At one point, I saw a HUGE MOUNTAIN, oh, wait, we’re in Delaware. OK, teeny-tiny hill coming up. The volunteer at the top of the hill was awesome and announced, “There’s a half-mile decline!” which of course I took advantage of. If you’ve ever read a race recap of mine, I dislike hills with passion, so of course I cursed a little bit under my breath. Flat and fast my ***! But really, it was just a tiny hill and nothing I couldn’t endure.

Still no two-mile marker in sight, and the next mile marker I saw was a small, yellow, three-mile marker cone. I literally raised my hands in a “what the?!” pose as I passed it. I yelled out more to myself than anyone else around, “Is that really the three-mile marker?!” So much for giving hubs a heads up!

As I sprinted toward the finish line, I knew I had come in at just about 30 minutes (30:28 to be exact), and I congratulated Stephanie on coming in just a bit before me. It turns out that we both won second place in our age groups! I’ve never placed before in my age group, so I was super excited. Granted, I’m in a different age bracket now, and there weren’t that many people there, but I’ll take it!

Here are Stephanie and I with our medals with my wind-swept, soaked hair:

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I was soaked to the bone but happy as a clam! Go us!

And can you guess what I did that night? I ate nearly the entire box of Thin Mints! (OK, I may have shared with hubs and the AAK, but the box was gone that night.)

The course is gorgeous, relatively flat, and the race support was wonderful! I’ll definitely be back again next year.

I also want to say thank you to Race Advisors, PlowOn Gum, and the nuun community, as well as Shelby, Lucy, and John’ya! I wouldn’t be anywhere without your love and support.

xoxo,
Becky

 

 

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March 2018 Miles

As I chase my goal of running 1,000 miles in 2018, I’m trying to keep things in perspective and realistic, because, well . . . life happens! I started the year out strong by running 84 miles in January. February was abysmal at 35 miles, so I’m very proud to report that I redeemed myself and ran 85 miles in March.

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Honestly, I accomplished that by not running any long runs at all! That wasn’t really my intention, but I’m kind of astonished that anyone could run that many miles in a month without going over six miles tops per run.

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Granted, 85 miles isn’t extraordinary for some runners, but for someone with a full-time job and a busy after-hours schedule, it can be tough sometimes. So how did I do it?

  1. Schedule your runs.
    I’m thankful that I work remotely, so I run primarily during my lunch breaks. It gives me just enough time to hop on the treadmill and shower. My co-workers giggle at me when my meeting reminder pops up with, “Run, Becky, run!” when I’m screen sharing during a Google Hangout. But it really does keep me on track!
  2. Make yourself a priority.
    I’m always torn about slotting in “me time”, because the Angry Almost-Kinder isn’t going to be this young forever. I think that’s why I haven’t been doing long runs on weekends (oh, and then there’s the weather factor). But I do know that if I don’t run, I’m not on my A game, so I make it a priority in my life.
  3. Cut yourself some slack.
    No one is perfect. NO ONE. Yes, I’m doing a run streak, but if I only have a mile in me one day, then that’s all I’ll do.
  4. Find your support system.
    I love online running communities, so I adore the awesome inspiration that I see from groups like the #BadAssLadyGang, The Running Lifestyle Show , and the Nuunbassadors group.

I hope these pointers help you reach your goals too!

xoxo,
Becky

Race Recap: atTAcK Addiction 5K 2018

I ran the atTAcK Addiction 5K on March 3, 2018, which was a day before my 36th birthday. I love running this race, because typically we have cake and ice cream to celebrate my birthday at my in-laws who live in town afterward, so I have something to look forward to after racing!

Hubs, the Angry Toddler (or the AT, whom will now be known as the Angry Kinder soon), and I plotted to leave the house by no later than 7:15 a.m. that morning, since it takes us about 45 minutes to get to New Castle from where we live. Typically I don’t eat before a race, but I made sure to pack lots of snacks (for the AT) and coffee (for the adults) for the drive. The AT was in happy spirits, and I was just grateful that we got out the door in time! The atTAcK Addiction 5K web site said that all individuals picking up their bibs should do so by 8:30 a.m., which seemed a little early to me. I typically pick up my bib on race day unless it’s for a larger race or a full marathon, so I figured as long as I got there about 15 minutes before the race, I’d be fine.

That morning was frigid. I’d like to think that I’m cut from hearty New England cloth, but man oh man was it cold. I begrudgingly suggested that hubs and the AT stay outside while I ran inside the gym to grab my bib, since the crowd was too large to fight with a stroller. (Side note: We don’t typically use a stroller anymore, but I was concerned with getting to the start line on time, and we parked a few blocks away, so I popped the AT in a stroller so that we could move more quickly. Plus it was so cold that I figured the quicker we got the AT inside, the better.)

The line for runners who had already registered was extremely small, so I got through the bib line in all of two minutes tops. Kudos to the volunteers for their well-oiled machine! Then I went back outside, but I couldn’t find hubs or the AT anywhere. As I stood hugging the side of the building to protect myself from the wind, I oogled at the crowds and teams gathered outside. I’d say around 80 percent of participants were not runners, which really goes to show what a great cause this race is for. Usually only us crazy runners would brave the wind and cold like this!

Here I am at the start of the race—of course I had to represent the awesome PlowOn Gum, and I tried to rep Race Advisors, but it was too cold for just a running headband!

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The race started just after 9 a.m., and I tried to situate myself at the very front of the pack. As you all are well aware, I’m not a fast runner, but I knew that since the majority of participants were walkers, that I’d want to get ahead of majority. Before we took off, I heard someone say that the wind would be at our backs most of the time. Spoiler alert: He lied!

Here I am at the start of the race cheesing it up for the photographer:

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I don’t normally even wear gloves or a hat for a 5K, but the wind was so brutal that I was wicked grateful to have what I did. I didn’t turn my Nike+ Run Club app on in the #NoWatchMe spirit of Tina Muir, but it felt like I was running in slow motion because I was so cold and the wind was whipping.

I knew the route well, because I’ve raced in New Castle numerous times, and the course brings runners around a residential/historical section called The Strand, through Old New Castle (the downtown area), out toward Battery Park, and along part of the trail in Battery Park.

I kept chugging along at what felt like a slower-than-normal pace, and my SOL Republic Shadow wireless headphones kept flap-flap-flappin’ behind me. They were a gift from hubs one year, and I desperately needed a new pair of headphones then, but I definitely need to get a different model/type—at least for racing. When I wasn’t trying to shield myself from the wind, I was literally holding my headphones with one hand so that they’d stay in place. It was extremely annoying, and if anyone has recommendations for headphones that stay in your ears and don’t have a lot of movement to them, I’m all ears! (Get it?!)

At a little after 2 miles, I hit a mental road block and stopped to walk for about 30 seconds or so. Physically I know I could’ve pushed harder, but once you stop to walk, it’s hard to get going again. I pulled off my gloves and hat, because I was overheating too. I kicked myself afterward for walking because of my chip time. If only I hadn’t walked, I would’ve come in under 29 minutes! But it was neat to come in 18th in my age group!

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Hubs and the AT met me at the finish line, as I grabbed a few bottles of water and gave them the usual hugs and kisses. The AT never wants a smooch because, “Mommy, you’re sweaty!”

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We went inside the gym to scope out the post-race food, which consisted of delicious soft pretzels, donuts, bananas, and more. I was really impressed with the amount and variety of the selection.

But what I was really looking forward to was my post-race cake!

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I would most definitely recommend this race to all, and I’ll surely be back next year!

For more information about the atTAcK Addiction organization, please head over to the Facebook page. And if you’d like to donate to my Team Miles for Smiles group through the Snowdrop Foundation, please go here.

Mini Race Recap: Angela Ivory Memorial 50K ~ 1/20/18

Gosh I’ve been delinquent in finishing this race review—so sorry! The Angela Ivory Memorial 50K/50-Miler was held on Saturday, January 20, 2018. This was the second year that I attended—and the second year that I had to leave early to attend the Angry Toddler’s friend’s birthday party. I’m not complaining whatsoever, because the party was a blast, and I got to ice skate with the Angry Toddler for the first time! I just feel like I still have this challenge to conquer at some point in my life.

I woke up at 7 a.m. EST on Saturday morning literally bargaining with myself to get out of bed. I just felt so warm and cozy, but I knew I needed to get in the miles for my 1,000-mile challenge, and I adore running at Killens Pond State Park where the race was held. I got out of bed, crept quietly downstairs, got dressed, grabbed my gear, and was out the door by about 7:20.

Hubs and the Angry Toddler left me a sign, which I always love!

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It took roughly 25 minutes to get there, and when I arrived, I was greeted by at least ten cars lined up waiting to enter the park. This happened last year as well. I didn’t mind, but I knew I only had from ~8–10 a.m. EST to run before I had to leave for the party, so I was itching to start ASAP.

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Finally a ranger opened the gates, and we all followed each other into the park. We set up the “aid station” on a central picnic table that included a ton of goodies like clementines, Doritos, cookies, water, and so on. We all said hi to each other, commented on how cold it was (~32 degrees F), and I eavesdropped as some folks caught up with each other/reminisced about other area races.

The race director, Gene, wasn’t there at the start, so around 8:30 a.m., a friendly veteran named AJ decided to officially start the race. Since this is a fat-ass race (free, no official timing or aid stations), we all took a group photo before we headed off. Some expressed concerns that they’d get lost along the trail, so AJ offered to run the first ~3-mile lap slowly so that others could follow and get the lay of the land. Since this was a 50K/50-miler, the 50K group would run about ten times around the trail loop. My Nike+ Run Club app showed that the loop was definitely less than 3 miles, so I guess if I were to do the 50K distance, I’d probably run more than ten loops just to make sure I really went the distance?!

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Slowly doesn’t describe AJ’s pace in the least. I think he must have misspoken and said speedy instead, because I was literally the last runner in the pack, and I struggled to keep up. Granted, I’m a road runner who has always been in the middle to back of the pack, but sheesh! These runners looked like gazelles, and I looked like the lone hippo.

I think I had waited around too long in the cold without proper layers before the race, so my body felt stiff and frigid. I felt like I had no turnover power in my legs and like I was huffing and puffing.

I was fine with being the last one, but I was nervous that I’d miss the yellow trail markers. Another woman and I made a wrong turn once about three-quarters of the way around the first loop, but a friendly soul steered us in the right direction, and we were off again. I remember her from last year, as we got off track at about the same area with each other. You’d think we would’ve remembered or learned!

Near-fall #1 came a little bit before I finished the first loop. I literally flew into the air but somehow managed to land on my feet. Gazelle status achieved!

Repeat that at least two more times.

Oh, then comes the actual fall. That was somewhere in my second loop. I caught myself on my palms, quickly glanced backward to see if anyone saw, turned a lovely shade of dark red, and continued on my merry way. I wasn’t hurt at all, except for my pride. At that point, I went into trash-self-talk mode where I chastised myself for pretending to be a trail runner and for not knowing what the heck I was doing. I broke several trail running rules by using headphones and by using road shoes.

I tried to get out of my head by looking at the scenery and listening to the We’re Alive podcast. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you must!

All in all though, I was able to get in my 7 planned miles. It was a gorgeous morning, and you can’t beat the scenery. I had to do an out-and-back portion to get up to 7 miles total, so at one point I was running against the flow so to speak. I felt like every time I ran into a runner, I had to explain why it looked like I was going the wrong way haha. (“Not going the wrong way—have to get back for a birthday party!” I’d mutter.)

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Before my last little jaunt though, I talked to the Gene the RD who apparently flies out from the west coast to put on this event. That boggles my mind! He is super nice and sets up a wipe-off board for folks to track their loops and such. He has a daughter named Rebecca and a son named Clayton, so I felt like we had a special bond.

I didn’t partake in the food/beverages during the race, but everyone brought a great spread of options. I think if I do it next year, I’ll bring a hand-held water bottle, a gallon jug of water, nuun, Gus, and maybe some trail mix or something sweet/salty that wouldn’t sit in my stomach like a lead ball. I’m not sure how else you figure out what to eat during an ultra, aside from trial and error during training. Here I am afterward sporting my Race Advisors headband and my The Running Lifestyle Show shirt.

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If you’re looking for a race with no frills, very friendly folks, and don’t mind zero crowd support, no official aid stations, and no official bathrooms along the route, then this race is definitely for you. I didn’t feel unsafe at all, and in fact, I kind of relished feeling alone in the woods. It was quiet and serene (well, aside from the zombie noises from the We’re Alive podcast).

Here we are ice skating at the party afterward!

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You want me to do WHAT?

1000MilesWhen I thought about setting my 2018 goals, I knew I wanted to set the bar higher than last year. Thanks to my nuun Facebook family, I found a graphical way to track my goal of reaching 1,000 miles in 2018. I’m cowering just thinking about such a large goal, but I know it’s doable. I’m a very visual person, so this tracker looked wicked simple and engaging to use. (Read: I won’t stop using it two weeks into the new year because it’s too labor intensive). Kudos to the #nuunambassadors2018!

I sent this graphic to both my sweet #IRUN4Sibling Lucy and my Snowdrop Foundation pediatric cancer SURVIVOR Joh’Nya (go Team Miles for Smiles!) so that they can have fun tracking on their end.

I’m also excited to announce that I’m featured on The Running Lifestyle Show’s podcast episode this week about goal setting and attaining your goals. I talk about how to realistically fit running in while being a mom, wife, full-time project manager, freelance editor, and so on. It can be hilariously overwhelming at times, but running is so paramount to my mental health. I work from home, so I run either on my treadmill or outdoors during my lunch breaks. I schedule these breaks in my work Gmail calendar and also leave an away message on my work GChat that literally says, “RUNNING” so that my fab co-workers know what I’m doing.

In 2018, I’m also taking a different approach to running by incorporating strength training and cross training. We all know that runners should do both, but typically running wins priority wise. To tackle this issue, I’ve started doing arm-weight exercises (think five-pound weights to start) with hubs while we watch an hour of TV in the evenings. That’s our time together, and I’m so elated that he’s joining in to become healthier. It’s so much more enjoyable and long-lasting if we do it together as a team.

I’m off to a bit of a slow start this year in terms of mileage, but I know I’ll make up the miles as I go. I seem to be on an unintentional run streak, so we’ll see where that takes me! It seems like whenever I actually publicly announce that I’m doing a run streak, I inevitably break the streak a few days later. So this is probably a mind trick on my part, but hey, whatever works, right?! I also acknowledge that my mileage is lower on some days, because I do want to focus on strength training as well.

How do YOU fit it all in?

To keep me motivated, if you donate to Team Miles for Smiles, I’ll run the equivalent number of miles per dollar donated. We’re up to $846.20, and our team goal is to raise $1,000!

Speaking of motivation, I think my mantra this year is going to be, “I’m a kick-ass work in progress!” I get so tripped up on the overall picture that I think it’s a much better idea to focus on the here and now of each day and remember that every positive/healthful choice I make is a step in the right direction.

Here’s to an amazing 2018!

Keep on running,
Becky

 

750, Baby!

CaptureGuys, I just hit my goal of running 750 miles in 2017! I originally started out just wanting to surpass last year’s goal of 610 miles, and I never thought I’d blow that number out of the water.

And I couldn’t have achieved this accomplishment without the love and support of my family and friends. My husband, Tom, has had to endure countless early mornings, waiting for me to get back from long Saturday or Sunday runs, offering foot massages, and readying my trusty nuun water. Thank you for being my rock, my cheerleader, and my nurse.  I couldn’t have done this without you!

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Disclaimer: Now and then, I feel guilty that my goal wasn’t 1,000 miles. What the what?! Seriously, (talking to myself now), 750 miles is an amazing accomplishment! I’m going to strive for a 1,000-mile goal in 2018, but I’m very proud of fitting in 750 miles in between work, freelancing, and family life.

Let’s celebrate one of YOUR accomplishments in 2017. What are you most proud of? Please share in the comments section!

Looking Ahead to 2018

killens-pondNow that the new year is almost upon us, and some runners have their race calendars planned out already, I thought it would be helpful to write up my race wish list for 2018.

  • nuun Year Dash (virtual) ~ January 12, 2018 (until January 21)
    • I love virtual races, especially in the winter, because it means I don’t have to drag the family along with me!
  • Angela Ivory Memorial 50K ~ January 20, 2018 (FREE!) Killen’s Pond State Park ~ Felton, DE
    • Course description: A 3.12 mile dirt loop, totally within Killen’s Pond State Park. Roots, rocks, but gentler than most trails. North trail is broad and mostly dirt. Southside trail is single track with some roots and rocks.
    • I ran 7 miles of this race last year before having to leave for a toddler’s birthday party. Here’s my mini race recap.
  • Chocolate 5K Run/Walk ~ February 10, 2018 Delaware Technical Community College ~ Dover, DE
    • My friend Lindsey often does this race, and it looks like so much fun!
    • Post-race festivities include food & beverage—everything chocolate!
  • atTAcK Addiction 5K – E-Racing the Stigma ~ March 3, 2018 New Castle, DE
    • I love this race, since it’s usually around my birthday! In 2018, it’s a day before my 36th birthday, plus it happens to be right around the corner from my in-laws’ house.
    • Proceeds from the event will benefit atTAcK addiction, a grassroots 501(c)(3) charitable foundation established to assist individuals and families impacted by addiction. The organization provides support for recovering addicts and their loved ones, advocates for policy changes, educates families about opiate addiction and treatment options, works to prevent drug use, and strives to end the stigma of the disease.
  • Blue Earl 5K/Shuffle ~ April 2018
    • The Smyrna Clayton Running Club sponsored the first-ever Blue Earl 5K/Shuffle in 2017, and I’d love to return in 2018!
    • It was a well organized race, had great post-race food and beer, and attendance was stellar!
    • Here’s my race recap.
  • Dover Air Force Base Heritage Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk ~ April 2018?
    • This is a tricky one, because I can never find correct/updated information online to register. TriSports Events should have it listed properly, but the entry is from 2015 and says that I am “not allowed to view this race.”
  • Delaware Marathon Running Festival ~ April 29, 2018 Wilmington, DE
    • I PRed this course last year on Mother’s Day. Here’s my race recap. I’m disappointed that they changed the date for 2018, as this is always a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
    • This was a tough course for me because it was so hilly. I may opt to run the Dover AFB half instead, since they’re both in April.
  • Monster Mash Half Marathon ~ October 20, 2018 Dover, DE
    • At the time, I didn’t like the course, but I think it was just my mindset that particular day. I think if I had a pair of sunglasses or a visor, I would’ve been much happier!
    • Here’s my race recap.
  • C & D Canal Half Marathon ~ November 4, 2018 New Castle, DE
    • I ran the first year of this race and loved it! Some think that the out-and-back course is boring, but I loved looking at the water and running in a new-to-me spot.
    • Here’s my race recap.
  • Rehoboth Beach Marathon ~ December 8, 2018 Rehoboth Beach, DE
    • This is my absolute favorite all-time race EVER. Race Director Mary Beth and the countless volunteers are simply outstanding! Here’s this year’s race recap.
    • I’m nervous, because the Angry Toddler’s birthday is December 7, so we may have to schedule her party for a Sunday next year to accommodate this race (sorry, hubs!).

I tend to not race in the summer months, simply because I dislike being hot, and I’m usually marathon training. Do you have any races on your list for 2018? I’d love to hear about them!