Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Arbutus Firecracker 10K

This hometown race began on a cloudy Thursday morning; perfect July 4th running conditions for the 30th annual event.  A group of our Moms RUN This Town chapter runners were feeling fresh and ready to go!

We wound 6.2 (more or less) through Arbutus and Relay, MD; past town homes, Victorian houses, down 'Main Street', through sprinklers, over bridges, under overpasses, down hills, and UP hills.  There were plenty of water stops along the way, tons of encouragement thanks to local residents, and even the sun stayed away for most of the race.  As we made it up the last hill (FINALLY!) we were given that last boost of fuel to head to the finish line by a snazzy group of cheerleaders.
What a welcome sight; I mean, really... HELLO!!!

Though the course is tough, we all finished (and none of us were last).  Below are the finisher's photos (sorry, Heather, you were too fast for our photographer!!!).

Way to go ladies! Same time, same place next year.  My house is open for your pre- and post-race needs!
Way to rock that sparkle skirt, Emily!
Debbie was a good sport about not knowing the course!
Emily's 8th grade history teacher; she had to include him!
Robyn and Karen finishing their first Firecracker!
Looking good (ha!)!
That blur is Erin, finishing HER first Firecracker!
Race Director, Valerie, finishing her hometown race!
Danielle, finishing HER first Firecracker!
Angie, finishing HER first Firecracker!
Erin, finishing the course and shaving time off of last year!!!

Excellent run, mamas!

Until next time; I'll see you on the road!


Friday, July 5, 2013

EC 5k & 10k - race recap

I had the pleasure of participating in the 4th Annual EC 5k & 10k on Sunday, June 30th.  This was the second year I ran the 10k, and also the second year they offered the 10k option.  Rip It Events puts on the race, along with duathlons and other road races throughout the year.  I've participated in their Columbia Turkey Trot in November, and I have not been disappointed by their events!

This 10k, and frankly the 5k, is not for the weary; check out the course map.
The course begins at the Banneker Center in Oella, goes to Old Frederick Road, a right onto Old Frederick Road, a right DOWNHILL on Frederick Road, a right UPHILL onto Westchester Avenue, and straight up the Trolley Trail #9! Another right was made onto Oella Avenue, where 5k participants turned right into Banneker Center toward the finish line and 10k participants turned right toward the turn-around cone.  Thanks right, folks, I got to do that again!  Thankfully, I had water at the bottom of Frederick Road (handed to me by a lovely BWC Catonsville training night participant!), and I got a nice cup of cold water as soon as I made my way out onto Oella Avenue again.  I must say, I was a lucky runner because I had two great cheering sections for this race; Emily and her family were at the corner of the Trolley Trail and Oella Avenue and Ed and our children were at Banneker.  I just had to keep my eye on the prize.  So, I went back out on the course, chatted (of course), and made my way down Frederick Road with some ladies.  I was chatting for 3/4 of a mile when we hit a flat bit, and I felt good enough to try to speed up a bit to gain some momentum for Westchester Avenue, again (but first, I needed a cup of water from my BWC friend)!  It's incredible to write, but that hot, humid, muggy morning, I felt amazing running up the Trolley Trail a second time; one wouldn't know by my finishing time, but I almost, maybe, kind of felt like I ran uphill better the second time around!  I encouraged a runner up the hill, as we leap-frogged positions, and then made a right and headed toward the finish line.  There is something to be said for cheerleaders, they really helped pull me through the last 1/4 mile; especially the great stranger who commented on my Moms RUN This Town shirt and shouted encouraging words!  As I ran toward the finish, MRTT got a major shout-out, and I saw that I beat last year's time by 9 minutes, so I was one soaked, tired, happy mama!

Once I finished, I grabbed a half of a banana, cup of Gatorade, and watermelon slice.  I cooled down for a bit with a fun game of hide-and-seek with Julia and Reed, and then I grabbed a cup of water and two bags of Doritos to satisfy my children's hunger for the short drive home.

I really like this race; I don't necessarily recommend it after being at the beach and running with no elevation changes for two weeks, but hey, I did it, so can you!  Also, they have a children's run following the starts of the 5k &10k; children received finisher's medals.  The ease of packet pick-up at Fleet Feet in Columbia, and unisex technical shirts are a nice touch, too!

Sorry for the lack of pictures in the post, I'm in vacation mode!

See you out on the roads!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Baltimore Women's Classic

This morning I participated in the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K.  This race raises money for the charity by the same name and supports women in the Baltimore area who are going through gynecologic cancer treatment and their every day matters.  Check this out to learn more about how the Baltimore Women's Classic charity assists gynecologic cancer patients.

 Baltimore Women's Classic 5K Race

In 2011, I participated in the BWC's eight week 5K Training Program.  After completing the training program, I ran the BWC and took almost three minutes off of my 5K time!  Who knew speedwork on the track was so important!? 
wooo!  It was a hot morning two years ago! (and I'm sorry, I can't make this pic any smaller- trust me, I wish I could!)
This year, I volunteered as a coach and had a fantastic time supporting women in their fitness journey to run or walk their first 5K or improve their current 5K time.  I also had the opportunity to represent my gym MissFIT at both the Centennial Park and Catonsville BWC 5K Training Program locations providing the warm up.

Packet pick-up was super convenient because we were able to get our race packets on the final night of our training program.  No need to make an extra special trip to a running store to get the packet or be tempted to buy any "must have" or "great deal" items :o)  I especially liked this year's training shirt with the nod to the Maryland flag and the colorful print on the race shirt.

There was a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding this race in our Catonsville MRTT group.  For many this was their first 5K or first women's only event.  For some, it was their first "big" race- with over 4,200 women registered!  Additionally, several women found our MRTT group through the 5K Training Program. 

In the week leading up to the race, we discussed carpools and logistics.  Five of us met at the library at 645am on race morning to carpool to the city for the event.  One of our MRTT members was able to get us a parking pass from her husband's work, so we had no problems finding a place to park and getting to Rash Field in time for the group photo.  I had suggested we meet at 730am before the race for a group photo.  It was a great way to kick off the fantastic race and fun event!  We had a great turnout for our photo!
So fun to meet and say "hey!"  And it totally looks like the top row coordinated their shirts!

After a lively and sweaty warm-up by Lynne Brick from Brick Bodies, we headed to over to Key Highway for the 8am race start.  The start was very organized with volunteers holding pace signs to assist the runners with their line-up.  I spotted some ladies from the Centennial training and was able to chat with them for a bit and wish them luck.  I also saw a mom from Rebekah's pre-school class and said "hi" and she commented on my shirt, so I told her about MRTT.  I lined up near the front of the 9-10 minute/mile pace group with Karen, and within a few minutes we were on our way.

The morning was warm but not so bad.  I was thankful that it was cloudy and there was only one hill at the beginning of the course.  Karen and I did some weaving in the beginning and then firmly planted ourselves in the passing lane on the left during most of the race.  The volunteers and police officers on course were fantastic and encouraging.  We saw Lisa, another BWC Coach from the Catonsville training group, along the route.  What I love about this race is that there are women of every age, shape, size, and background coming together in the name of fitness and support.  That was clear to see on the course this morning.

I was feeling really good and pushing my pace a little, so Karen and I split around mile 2 or 2 1/2.  As I was turning onto the promenade, I saw another of our MRTT members who was volunteering as a course marshal and gave her a high five before picking up the pace to the finish.  When I looked down at my watch as I went through the finish, I couldn't believe my time- 26:05!  I knew I was pushing it, but was I really going that fast?  WOW!

Another thing I just love about the BWC race is all of the fabulous things you receive as you cross the finish line- a cool wet towel, a rose, a chilled water bottle, and new this year, a fantastic, glittery medal!!!  Once I received all my goodies, I went to our meeting location to catch up with and wait for my MRTT ladies.

While waiting, I saw my 9th grade Biology teacher (Man, is she fast!  My goal is to beat her in a race one day!) and she asked if I thought the course was short...  deja vu to ZOOMA Annapolis 10K, anyone!?  I just told her I thought the course was the same, but I really couldn't remember all the details from two years ago. 

Pretty soon, everyone was finishing up and meeting, proudly showing off their hard earned medals!
Danielle was so happy with her finish!
Sam, Karen, Chrissy, and Heather showing off their hard-earned bling!
Erin finished her first official 5K with Brooke and Colleen- I was their camp counselor (feeling a little old right now!) 

I didn't get a chance to take everyone's picture, but I loved sharing in their joy of accomplishing and completing this race!  I am so proud of each and every one of these ladies, and of those that I didn't get a chance to meet up with this morning!  You all are amazing!!!

And speaking of amazing, BWC has some of the best post-race food around.  We grabbed some Panera bagels and watermelon and took a stroll through the Festival Village.  Many of us have been inspired by Deb's colorful running wardrobe, so we were excited to see what the vendors had to offer.  I LOVE the shirts from Run Pretty Far so we stopped by their booth.
Mom + Miles
Can anyone else relate to this!?
 We all knew Spunkwear was going to be there like they had been in previous years, so we were disappointed to see that they didn't show.  We are all pretty huge fans of their Maryland pattern.
A fun Maryland-based sportswear company!

 With that, we headed back to the van to come home.  Overall, I had a fantastic time and was so glad that I could share this race experience with so many women in our MRTT Chapter.  When I got the chance to check the computer, people were posting on the BWC Facebook page that their gps was recording the course as being 2.9 or so miles instead of 3.1.  So far, the only response from BWC has been that they are looking into it.  Regardless of the distance, this race raises money for a worthy cause, includes a training program that encourages and empowers women to take charge of their health and lifestyle, and is a fun event.  I had a great time!