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Turkey Trot 5 Miler

The Cleveland Turkey Trot is one of those races that since I have started running it, I don’t know if I will ever miss it. Besides the tradition of running this race every year, I love the low stress of the race. It’s always easy to get there and navigate. I also have no chance of even placing in my age group so I just run for me. Competing against myself is my favorite!

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Ryan’s cousin came to run with us too!

Like most races I set a goal for myself and for this one it was 37 minutes. I haven’t had the best year in running but I felt like I had this in my tank, it’s a 7:24 pace.

Mile 1: 7:25 – I did my best to go out at a comfortable pace since I normal go way too fast. My first mile was a 7:25, that’s really not too bad considering how I normally run.

Mile 2: 7:38 – There was a slight uphill starting at the end of mile 1 and going into 2 so it was a little hard to stay on pace.

Mile 3: 7:36 – Getting to mile 3 you had to go up and over a bridge so another hill but I had not really dropped off completely and I actually felt really good. Which is kind of rare at this point in a race for me.

Mile 4: 7:29 – Before I even got to mile 4, I felt so good that I started picking up the pace and thought I was flying. Dare I even say that this is the best that I have ever felt at this point in the race.

Mile 5: 6:27 – Now it might have felt like I ran a 6:27 last mile but I think the last mile was just a bit short. I probably would have gone sub 7 still since I did have the race at 4.95. So the last mile was only short by .05.

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I ended up running a 36:34, a 7:19 pace, kinda crazy how that pace still worked out even if I did have the course short by .05.

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Hofbrauhaus Half Marathon

After training hard all summer and putting in some serious tempo miles, I was excited to take a stab at running the Hofbrauhaus half marathon. It would be the first half marathon since I ran the Cleveland half so I was excited to get some redemption on a half and also prove to myself that my training was working. My goal was to run a 1:45 half and to have it feel easy.
I wasn’t feeling so well before the race and took many trips to the bathroom so that added some extra nerves to my race. When the race started I was really careful not to go too fast and let a lot of people pass me. I wanted this race to feel easy and to run strong til the end.
Mile 1 – 7:55, Mile 2 – 7:54, Mile 3 – 7:57, Mile 4 – 7:45
I was really happy with how easy the first couple miles felt. I guy popped up next to me and we ran together for a couple miles. I was liking his pace so I was hoping he would stick around but he left me as we entered MLK.
Mile 5 – 7:50, Mile 6 – 7:44, Mile 7 – 8:07, Mile 8 – 7:50

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I ran through MLK the weekend before so I was pretty familiar with the stretch we would be running. I knew exactly where the hill was and was mentally prepared to pick up the pace on the way back. As you can tell by my splits, the hill was at mile 7. It’s short but steep and you turn around pretty quickly and get to come right back down it.
Mile 9 – 8:15, Mile 10 – 7:58, Mile 11 – 8:01, Mile 12 – 8:06, Mile 13 – 6:46
I was not familiar with the area outside of MLK and was taken by surprise by the hilliness of mile 9 and 10. I had to work really hard to get my paces down. The hills weren’t huge just seemed like a lot of small rollers or gradual incline that slowed my pace. I am fairly certain miles 11-13 were flat but I had lost my speed at that point. I held on as best I could and I am happy looking at my splits that I was not too far off and didn’t drop my paces too much.

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The course was a touch short, about 12.95 on most watches instead of 13.1. My official time was 1:45:12 and was lucky to snag first in my age group and 8th overall female. I’m very interested in running this course again next year to see how much I can improve. However, we did have great weather for an August half so you never know what next year will be.

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Hermes 10 Miler 2017

For years the Hermes 10 Miler has been a favorite of mine. I’ve been running it off and on for the past couple years and even remember when they held this race downtown! Now I run it for a fast and flat 10 miler but also to help with spring marathon training.

This year I struggled with injuries and illness so I knew a PR was out of the question. However, I still had high hopes for a good race or at least a training run. I mean, either way, this race pace would be faster than if I was running on my own so it would be good for me.

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Hello awkward race photo

I started this race off pretty conservative for the first 3 miles. My hope was to have something left around mile 8 to push the last 2 miles. However, very quickly, my hamstring decided that it didn’t like running. The first 3 miles were ok but still felt like a struggle. At mile 5 I just started to feel tired and burnt out but at mile 6 I got a second wind and tried to pick it up.

 

Unfortunately, that second wind was short-lived as I struggled through miles 7 and 8 as well. In 2017 I ran a 1:13 on this course, I knew I wasn’t in that shape yet but was hoping for a 1:17. Looking at my watch, I saw that slowly slipping away and I was doing everything I could to not get passed by the 1:20 pace group.

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The pacer for the 1:20 group is a running friend of mine so it was nice to see a familiar face after a bad race.

As much as I kicked on the way to the finish line. I still ended up finishing right with the 1:20 pace group. I ended up running a 1:20:04. I was and still am very sad about my time. I put in a lot of work and training and a 1:20 doesn’t show half the work I put in. But I keep telling myself, you have to have those bad runs to get a good run. So I think those good runs are coming, just have to keep hanging on!

 

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Malachi 5 Miler

This might go down as the coldest race I have ever ran. Not only was it cold but it was windy too. At least once a year I say “I feel stupid for running in this” and this year, this race was it.

So why run this race in the first place? Well, it’s the only race I have not missed since I started running. 9 years in a row I have showed up to this race so I couldn’t stop now. Even if I couldn’t feel most of my body.

Instead of my normal 1.5 mile warm up, I did 2 miles because it was so cold. You know how most of the time you start running, warm up and are fine. Well after a 2 mile warm up, I was still freezing and even with hand warmers I couldn’t feel my hands.

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Staying warm in the car.

I was excited for the race to start so that I could run and get back to the car and turn the heat on. When the race started I went out at a comfortable pace. My goal was to have some energy at the end and avoid having dead legs. I did a pretty good job, despite being cold and wanting to go faster. I ended up running 7:43 for the first mile. I tried to pick it up a little bit for the second mile because I was feeling good and ran the second mile in 7:33.

At around mile 2.5, I was finally warm enough to feel body parts again. My quads were so cold they were very heavy. It was an odd feeling to have legs that were so dead from the cold. I ran the 3rd mile in 7:43 but then struggled big time with the 4th mile and ran 8:23. Eek!

I ended up finishing with a time of 38:53. I was hoping to go sub 37. With injuries and being sick I had missed some workouts so I thought a 37 sounded reasonable for the first race of the season. Apparently, I have some work to do…

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Excuse the finger in this photo
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Reindeer Run 5K 2016

Most years, the Reindeer Run 5K is my last race of the year. The weather is too unpredictable in December to plan to race in Cleveland. Also, I like to enjoy the holidays and take a break from racing. However, not only is the Reindeer Run my last race of the year, it is also the last race usually until March! It’s a crazy long time for me to not have any races.

With this race being the last of the year, I always hope to run a good time. That whole go out with a band kind of thing. Luckily, Ryan ran his last race of the year a day before mine so I had my own personal pacer for this race.

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It was a little chilly at the start and I felt like I was the only one in shorts. But I had these awesome penguin socks that were so festive, I had to show them off. Plus, I really like running in shorts.

Ryan and I had discussed the pace and finish time I wanted so we were all set. He let me start the race on my own and then jumped in a few meters later so the start line was less crowded. However, we didn’t quite come in on time for the first mile. And I think the first mile was a bit long. No worries, we had the second mile to tackle. However, my legs just didn’t have it.

With 1.5 miles to go, I think Ryan realized we weren’t going to hit the goal time and knew it just wasn’t there. With that in mind, he stayed positive and kept pushing me to keep running hard and pass people. It was really nice, especially with 1 mile to go when my legs wanted to slow down and felt like sludge.

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I ended up running a 23:05, definitely not what I was aiming for. After running the Turkey Trot, I really thought I could pull off a good last race of the year. Oh well, I have a couple months off racing now and then the plan is to come back faster for 2017!

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Turkey Trot 2016

I think the Turkey Trot might be my longest standing race that I have not missed. I am always in town for it, I always brave the winter for it and I am miraculously not injured for it. Looking back it looks like I’ve done the Turkey Trot every year since 2007, next year will be 10 years!

Luckily, last year and this year we have had pretty decent weather for this race. Last year, I easily wore shorts. This year, I also wore shorts but it was probably questionable on if I should have been wearing them as my legs turned bright red.

We started a new tradition last year where Ryan’s cousin comes with us. I love this because I hope it means she’s inspired to run. And she must like it if she came back again this year.

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Over the years the Turkey Trot course has changed a bit but always starts and ends in downtown Cleveland. This year was a new course and both the 5K and 5 mile started at the same time.

I was slowly chipping away at my race times so I had high hopes for this race but went in extra conservative and only wanted to run a 37:30. After listening to 3 patriotic songs the race started.

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Hanging out with The Healthsource of Avon crew.

It’s always hard when both the 5K and 5 mile start at the same time because you have to really pay attention to your pace and not get caught up with the 5K paces. I have no idea how I managed to actually go out at a decent pace and not go too crazy.

Luckily, the 5K split off early on so it was easier for me to guide my pace. I am awful at pacing myself by the way. With 2 hills, my pace was extra crazy and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t hit my goal time.

Eventually, the 5K and the 5 mile merge and chaos ensued. Okay, not complete chaos but it was definitely less than ideal. Basically, the 5K runners took up the whole course and the 5 milers were running single file or weaving through the 5K runners. This definitely slowed me down and caused a little frustration. However, I tried to remember a couple things.

One, I was not going to win or even place in my age group for this race. Two, the 5K runners do not realize what is happening and the problem they are causing. Three, it’s the Turkey Trot and it’s supposed to be FUN!

Somehow, I think being slowed down actually helped me out. I felt like I had so much energy for the last mile of the race. I was picking it up like crazy for the last mile and was completely shocked when I crossed the line with 36:56. WAY WAY WAY better than I expected.

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River Run Half Marathon 2016

While I may have taken a couple weeks off this summer and lost all my speed. Literally, no speed whatsoever in these legs, I did not lose the distance. I could easily run long distances after taking so many weeks off. However, they were all very slow miles. Naturally, I thought it would be a great idea to run the River Run half marathon.

The River Run half marathon is a favorite in our house because that is where Ryan and I met. On the bus to the start of the race when I sat down next to him, all those years ago…

I should have went into this race with a realistic goal of like 1:45-1:50. Instead, in my head I thought I would run close to a 1:43. In the spring, I was in shape for a sub 1:40 so I thought 3 minutes slower would be easy.

To start, I went out too fast, no surprise there but by mile 2 I was done. Like completely ready to quit. In my head for the next couple miles, I told myself I could quit and should just stop running. Then I day dreamed about if I was smarter and was a spectator for the race instead.

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Current Status: Trying to figure out where to drop out of the race.

Surprisingly, as much as I was hating running and myself during the race, the miles clicked by quickly. Mile 6 was there before I knew it. I honestly have no idea why I kept running this race. I had no idea what my finish time would be but knew it would be much slower than what I had predicted.

The next couple miles kept going by fast despite my pace dropping significantly. I hit mile 10 and knew I was not going to quit by this point and I kept telling myself, only a 5K left.

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As I neared the finish line, I could see my friends who already finished that were heading out for some cool down miles. They cheered when they saw me but I wouldn’t even look at them. Despite being close to the finish line, I was still cranky about my declining time.

I finished with a time of 1:47:52 an 8:12 pace. One of my slowest half marathons in a very long time.

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Hermes 10 Miler 2016

You can go ahead and file the Hermes 10 Miler under one of my favorite races. I have run this race many times, even when it was a downtown race! I do love the Edgewater/Lakewood course though. Minimal hills and turns like this race are perfect for PRs.

In most years that I have run this race, I have overdressed. This year I was not only determined to not overdress but to wear shorts. I have no idea why that crazy idea was in my head but I showed up to the race in shorts and was freezing! At least I had a long sleeve to run in and wasn’t crazy enough to wear a tank or tee.

I was smart enough to bring pants and a jacket to warm up in. (thanks for capturing our cold walk Will)

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I warmed up as close to the race time as I possibly could so I could keep my warm up clothes on. Poor Ryan was being a champ and planning to pace me for the race and he also wore shorts! To tell you how cold it actually was, he ran in pants!

I don’t normally have Ryan pace me or run with me but I really wanted someone to keep me from going out to fast or fading too hard after I got tired. We normally run the same races but since he wasn’t racing I took full advantage of his pacing duties and told him my aggressive pace of 7:18. Which is no problem for Ryan to run. Yay!

Mile 1 – 7:11 – A little fast but there is some downhill at the beginning that is hard not to take advantage of.

Mile 2 – 7:18, Mile 3 – 7:20, Mile 4 – 7:19 – To be completely honest, these paces felt too fast. I felt tired and winded and had to dig deep to tell myself to keep going and not give up. Thank God Ryan was pacing me because I probably would have given up and slowed down.

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Can you see how pink my legs are from the cold? I do have pink compression socks on.

Around mile 2, a heavy breather got close to me and I actually prayed that she would pass me so that I couldn’t have to hear her breathing anymore. My goodness, I thought I was tired and winded but she sounded like she was hyperventilating. She did end up passing me and I was totally ok with that…Until we caught back up with her.

Mile 5 – 7:25, Mile 6 – 7:31, Mile 7 – 7:34 – At this point in the race we had reached the turnaround point and were on our way back to the finish area. Ryan was doing a really good job doing all the talking and telling me not to talk as we were running. At one point he wanted me to pick it up but i didn’t have anything left to pick it up.

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Just a walk in the park for Ryan

We were also on the tails of the Heavy Breather and I was hoping that we would pass her and she was just fade fast so that I wouldn’t have to hear her. As we neared her, she was still breathing heavy. Like how are you not tired of breathing that hard woman!

Mile 8 – 7:44, Mile 9 – 7:53 – Ugh, looking at this paces and seeing how much they were dropping hurts a little. To be honest, I started to feel a little sick and knew if I pushed any harder that I would indeed puke. Ryan tried to get me to pick up the pace but I just couldn’t without the thought of puking.

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I was pretty sure that woman in black was going to pass me at the finish but she never did. phew.

Coming in for the last mile has a lot of downhill so that felt awesome to not have to push my pace. I had a big lead on Heavy Breather which was a relief because that noise was nauseating. I ended up crossing the finish line in 1:13:28 a 7:20 pace. Not too far off what I was aiming for but I did want to go sub 1:13. Next time!

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After the race, I came home to the funniest thing in the world…my dog had climbed into my sweatshirt and got stuck in the sleeve!

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He looks sad here but I promise you his tail was wagging.

 

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River Run Half Marathom 2015

I am suddenly reminded that I should probably write race recaps within the first 2 weeks that I do a race. Otherwise, I am left doing them 2+ months later and trying to remember how it went and what the weather was like. AKA be a better blogger Jess.

I don’t remember exactly what the weather was like but I believe I remember seeing people somewhat bundled. Tights, capris, long sleeves etc. I was feeling brave and went with shorts and compression socks.

I usually try to make River Run a goal half marathon for the year. I feel it is a PR friendly course and it goes through some areas that I run through regularly so it is familiar to me. I can pick off my favorite area that I run through. I can also chip away and know exactly where I am on the course at all times.

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This year it was even easier to know where I was on the course because I had spent a lot of time biking in the metroparks while training for the Ironman.

Originally when I signed up for the River Run half marathon, I was pretty sure it would be my goal running race of the year and the race that I would PR at. As it got closer to race day, I slowly realized that the half marathon PR likely was not there. Ironman training slowly took over my life so a speedy half marathon did not seem likely.

That didn’t mean I wouldn’t give it a try though. Basing off the past couple races of the summer I decided I would probably run a 1:42-1:43 and set out at that pace. Within the first mile, I found my unofficial pacer Maureen. Maureen is a local runner who kicks my ass at almost every race. I don’t know how she does it since she is in her 50s! She is pretty much my life goal to run her paces at that age.

I seriously spent the rest of the race pacing with Maureen. Neither one of us was backing down on the pace and it was awesome because it was exactly where I wanted to be. And I didn’t want to slow down because I knew I would never get back to that pace.

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However, after a tough battle, at mile 12 I was done. Not done done and had to walk done. Just done running a 7:xx pace (I have no idea what pace we were running). The last mile was easily my slowest but I kept trucking along to the finish.

I finished the race in 1:43:13, exactly where I thought I would be and I had zero disappointments in this race. I was actually very pleased with how I executed it. After the race I discovered that I had actually placed in my age group!!! This race is huge so I didn’t expect that to happen.

We celebrated the race with a crab and shrimp boil.

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Winking Lizard 4 Miler 2015

Signing up for summer races you always have the threat of it being a hot race. Well the Winking Lizard 4 miler was exactly that this year. Which is the complete opposite of the monsoon from last year’s Winking Lizard 4 miler.

It doesn’t help that this race starts in the evening, usually round 6pm, which can be the hottest part of the day. But that’s also part of the fun! Being able to sleep in and do a night race and then maybe grab some drinks afterwards with other runner friends. Also the night races tend to bring out non runners who don’t want to get up early for races.

After a quick 1.5 mile warm up I thought “wow it’s hot” “But totally manageable” and had little worries before the race. Other than I was going to be very sweaty after.

Just before the race started I ran into a bunch of runner friends all at once and it was so nice to quickly catch up with them. When the race started, so many people went out very fast and quickly died due to the heat. Within the first couple minutes it was nice to pass so many people.

I felt pretty good up until mile 2. At mile 2 I felt like I hit a wall and was completely done. I was so hot and nauseous almost instantly. Shortly after mile 2, everyone around me started walking and I was looking around like ” did they cancel the race due to heat?” Walking sounded like a great idea to me at that point.

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Melting

I eventually saw the next mile marker sign and was hoping that I somehow missed the 3 mile marker and this was somehow a 3.5 mile marker. The thought of runner 1 more mile in the heat sounded awful.

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Still Melting

However, when I got to that mile marker it was the 3 mile mark and I had to keep going. Usually towards the end of a race I have a nice kick and can’t pick up the pace hard for the last bit. However, for this race I had nothing. I ended up finishing in 30:22. My goal was to go sub 29 and i wasn’t even close. I did place 3rd in my age group! I have no idea how that happened, when I originally looked at results I was 4th but something must have changed!

Put a fork in me, I am done!
Put a fork in me, I am done!