#RaceRecap: Boalsburg Memorial Day Run

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35th Anniversary medal

35th Anniversary medal

I’m back with a second race recap from Memorial Day weekend, this one for the 35th Annual Boalsburg Memorial Day Run. The course is a 3.8 mile trek that starts at Blue Spring Park. It runs through the quaint and historic downtown of Boalsburg, out of town on Main Street for two out-and-back sections that include long hills before returning to town via a downhill and flat stretch back to Blue Spring Park.

This was my second year doing the race. Last year I finished with a time of 31:45. It was hot and humid last year and this year wasn’t much different, although a little bit cooler if you were in the shade. I was happy to see I improved my time from last year by more than a minute with a 30:36. Again, while they don’t do awards I was happy to see I was fourth in the 18-29 age group.

This year the race was run for the first time by an organization called Left Right Repeat. The previous race director of many years retired. While the race does not offer awards of any kind, an added perk this year was a finishers medal for all participants in honor of the 35th anniversary of the event. As you can see above it’s a really nice medal with a pretty festive ribbon and it can be used as a bottle opener.

The race has a great turnout each year and this year was no different. The start is a bit of a jumble since we start in a field in the park, but the race quickly spreads out so you’re not feeling overly crowded for too long. I love that the course runs through downtown Boalsburg. Boalsburg has a great festival every Memorial Day so it’s great to run past all the vendors as they’re all at their booths cheering you on. Even when you head out of downtown, residents along the route set up chairs at the ends of their driveways and cheer on all the runners.

The course is challenging. Once you get out of downtown, you head up a long gradual hill to the first turnaround point. While you’re rewarded with a downhill section, when you turn onto Bailey Lane it’s back up hill for .6 miles. What’s tough is you can see the next turnaround point the entire time. Once again though you’re rewarded with a long downhill back to downtown Boalsburg before it flattens out to the finish line. The bulk of the course is not shaded so the sun proves to be its own challenge.

Gotta love those inclines!

Gotta love those inclines!

Despite new management this year, the race was once again well done. As per usual it was chip timed, the aid stations were managed well, and the finish line chute was organized. The water was right out of the chute so you didn’t have to walk far. I think this year I downed a bottle of water in possibly one long gulp.

If you ever find yourself up in this area around Memorial Day, consider taking part in the race and visiting the festival. It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday, remember the soldiers we lost, and support a local community.

Did you participate in a Memorial Day run/walk?

#RaceRecap: Black Moshannon 5k

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Excited to have finished 1st in my age group and fourth overall for women.

Excited to have finished 1st in my age group and fourth overall for women.

How was your Memorial Day weekend? Do anything special?

It was a busy weekend for me. I ran the Black Moshannon 5k on Saturday before a pretty low key afternoon. I was planning a long run for Sunday, but my allergies kicked in hard core Saturday afternoon and it wasn’t until about noon on Sunday I felt normal again. So, I opted against the long run and went for a 2 hour hike on a popular local trail that was new to us. I closed out Sunday with dinner with two college girlfriends.

I started off Memorial Day with the 35th Annual Memorial Day Run (recap to come later this week). After, Gabe and I walked around the festival in Boalsburg. Boalsburg is one of a couple towns that claim to have started the Memorial Day tradition/holiday to honor fallen soldiers. They have a great festival each year with reenactments, craft and food vendors, concerts, a car show and more. It’s very patriotic and I think it helps us all remember the true meaning of the day.

So anyway, rewind to Saturday and the Black Moshannon 5k. While I’ve run the 10k twice, I opted for the 5k this year. I had never run it and since I had been planning on that long run Sunday and another race Monday, I thought it would be good to go with a shorter distance. My shins get mad when I run several days in a row :-/

While the Black Moshannon 10k is known for its infamous hill early on in the race, the 5k is known for being flat and relatively fast. It’s an out-and-back course that deviates a bit on the way back. The elevation chart is below, but what appear to be hills according to it really aren’t noticeable, minus the short, steep one near the end.

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More than 150 people ran the 5k. It didn’t feel like that much, but we spread out pretty fast. Despite being in a state park, there were quite a few people along the route sitting out in front of their cabins cheering for the runners. The race starts a little later at 10 a.m., but the weather was perfect! Even if it had been warmer, the 5k route is almost entirely shaded.

I ran fast from the start and admit my legs fatigued a bit after a tough workout the day before. I kept pushing as I was curious to see if I could get close to my PR. Upon returning to the start the course heads up into a parking lot for another turnaround before you run into grass and up a steep hill to the road the 10k runners come down. It was a tough uphill but running downhill to the finish line was a nice reward.

I finished in 23:37 as the fourth overall female and 1st in the 25-29 age group. It was a 3 second PR. I was happy with that. I know that when I move away from where I live to a more populated area I probably won’t such good finishes, but I’ll enjoy them for now :)

Overall, I thought the race continued to be well done. After so many years, they know what they’re doing at this point. My only criticism is of the water station at the turnaround point for the 5k. I don’t generally take water in a 5k, especially when the weather is cool, but I know there are a lot of runners who do. There were two teenagers (I think they were teens) there with two Gatorade coolers. The cups were still stacked and they were just standing there leaning on the coolers. If you needed water it was almost as if you would have to fill your own cup. Not exactly how water stations tend to work. Other than that, it was a great race and morning and I’d do it again next year.

Did you run/race this weekend?

 

Pinspire Me Friday – Vol. 38, Relief for Tight Hips

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Does anyone else have really tight hips? I know it can’t just be me. My Pinterest feed has been full of stretches for tight hips lately, which is perfect since I need some help in that area.

I’ve been trying to do yoga once a week, which I realize isn’t enough to make too much of a difference, but it’s a start. I’m also making sure I take time to stretch after runs and workouts, something I’d been skipping quite a bit.

For this week’s post, I thought I’d share some hip stretches I found on Pinterest that had also been recommended to me by my friend and trainer at the gym.

Some of these might need modified depending on the depth of stretch you want/need.

Some of these might need modified depending on the depth of stretch you want/need. Source: PopSugar.com

While I’m not as flexible as the model for these stretches, I can definitely do them at a lesser degree and get a great stretch. As you can see, they’re poses you might go through in a yoga class.  I find these to be great after I get home from a run when my muscles are still plenty warm.

A few more!

A few more! Source: SkinnyMom.com

I also really enjoy the above three stretches, especially the second one. We do it in the Restorative Yoga class I like, as well as after bootcamp at the gym.

What are your favorite stretches, especially for areas that tend to be tight like hips and hamstrings? I’d love to hear about them!

Pinspire Me Friday – Vol. 37

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squatchallenge

Source: PopSugar.com/fitness

I found this recently on Pinterest and though it might be something fun. I actually really like squats so it seemed like something I could do to add some extra movement to my days, which are spent mostly at a desk. Womp, womp.

I did day 1 yesterday and despite it being day 1 and a short one, I felt a little burn :)

Towards the end of the month it gets to be a lot of squats so you could always spread them out throughout the day. Use it as an excuse to get out of your desk chair for a few minutes every hour or couple hours. Plus a little movement might help recharge your brain for whatever project you’re working on.

Remember to always check with your doctor before starting a fitness program. 

#MayIBeginYoga2015 Challenge

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I’m just going to say it.

I’ve never been a fan of yoga. Well, maybe I was in college when I took the Monday night 9 pm yoga class at the fitness center. Although maybe it was just because I could still rely on my history as a dancer to get me through it. No such luck anymore!

After running my third marathon and realizing how much flexibility I’ve lost, specifically how tight my hips have become, I decided I needed to make an effort to get yoga in my life. And… to figure out how to enjoy it.

You’re probably thinking, how can you not enjoy yoga?

Well, over the past few years I’ve tried taking a yoga class here or there. I always left the class feeling worse than I did when I went in. It felt like a workout or it hurt and ultimately the frustration discouraged me rather than motivated me.

Well I finally said enough was enough and that I would go into this adventure with an open mind and a positive attitude and just strive to improve. Ultimately it’s going to help my running and overall fitness. That should be and is my motivation!

So two days after my marathon I headed to a Restorative Yoga class at a local studio. This studio offers a variety of classes from aerial yoga to power yoga to hot yoga and more. They even have a combo class where you do 30 minutes of cycle and 30 minutes of yoga, a class called X-ploga that combines yoga and pilates, and much more. I have often taken cycle classes there, but have only sparingly tried the other offerings. I’m currently too intimidated to try the full on yoga classes.

The restorative yoga class is excellent. According to the website description, it focuses on lengthening postures and strengthening asanas. What I really love is that the last 10-15 minutes of class is spent rolling out using yoga balls. It really does wonders for my muscles. Another thing I’m trying to do is the yoga workout on the BeachBody 21-Day Fix dvds. I did the 21-Day Fix last year with my dear friend Anna over at Charmed Wellness. The yoga workout is only 30 minutes, but I find that it’s a great way to get in some yoga.

In addition, I decided to join in the #MayIBeginYoga2015 challenge on Instagram hosted by @BeachYogaGirl and @Kinoyoga.

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While I haven’t committed to daily practice, I am trying the poses each day. I’m learning a lot about my flexibility, or lack thereof, especially in my hips. It’s also giving me an opportunity to look at my form and where I need to put some more focus. Here is a look at the first couple days.

Day 1: Downward Dog

Day 1: Downward Dog

Day 2: Plank

Day 2: Plank (pardon the cat toys)

Day 3: Chaturangadandasana

Day 3: Chaturangadandasana

Day 4: Upward Dog Day 5: Warrior I

Day 4: Upward Dog
Day 5: Warrior I

Day 6: Warrior II Day 7: Lotus

Day 6: Warrior II (this was a #tbt)
Day 7: Lotus

Keeping up with this has been fun, along with seeing all the other participants on Instagram. It’s nice to see other beginners like me.

One final thing I plan to try to take advantage of is the yoga/pilates video classes at Anytime Fitness. The gym has a studio that you can reserve as part of your membership. They have a variety of video workouts that are projected on a big screen and it’s almost like you’re in a live class. I was checking out the listing and they have several yoga and pilates videos of varying lengths.

So there you have it! My foray into yoga has begun. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and if I manage to develop a love for it along the way.

Do you practice yoga? Have any advice to offer a beginning yogi?

Pinspire Me Friday – Vol. 36

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We’ll call this post, “Pinterest Successes!” There are plenty of “Pinterest Fail” posts out there, but I’m not going to add to them today.

Not sure if I’ve ever shared this, but I don’t really enjoy cooking. Baking I love, but cooking has never really been a favorite. In the past when I did cook, I followed recipes and was careful to follow them exactly. I was afraid to deviate even a little for fear of ruining things. Somehow I’d still screw things up from time to time and this did not help change my mind about cooking.

I’ve come to enjoy cooking a bit more over the past few years. Gabe loves to cook and learn new techniques and try new things. I enjoyed being in the kitchen with him and over time have tried to learn some things.

I’d say the past few months have really changed. I’ve been way more involved in cooking dinner. I’ve been trying to plan meals out for a few days in advance and it’s been fun taking turns and also continuing to cook together some nights.

Part of this change of heart has been finding new recipes that have been very successful. Several of these I found on Pinterest, or through bloggers and pinned to cook at a later date. I thought I’d share some with you in case you’re looking to try something new and yummy!

A Savory Summer Treat

Source: Eat Food 4 Life

Source: EatGood4Life.com

 A Great Day for Greens

Source: www.gimmesomeoven.com

Source: GimmeSomeOven.com

Sweet & Spicy

Source: TheLeanGreenBean.com

Source: TheLeanGreenBean.com

A Chocolate Treat

Source: BunsInMyOven.com

Source: BunsInMyOven.com

Do you have any Pinterest recipe successes?

#RaceRecap: Gettysburg North South Marathon

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Marathon No. 3 is in the books! Can’t really believe it, but definitely very happy about it. Big thanks to all who supported me throughout my training and on race day, both near and far. Very thankful to have had Gabe there. It was great to see him at miles 3 and 15, as well as coming up the final hill to the finish line. Also have to thank friends Lori and Jen for making the trip down to cheer Regan and I on yesterday.

Gabe and I headed down Saturday afternoon to hit packet pickup, check in to the hotel, and meet Lori, and Regan and her family for dinner. Packet pickup was painless and right next to the hotel. We ate dinner in downtown Gettysburg at O’Rorke’s, an Irish and American restaurant. After dinner, we headed over to the outlets where we got some great deals at Adidas, Under Armour and Old Navy.

We stayed at the headquarters hotel, The Courtyard by Marriott, which is just outside of downtown off of Rt. 15. It seemed brand new! There was also a new Wyndham right next door, as well as a movie theater, an Appalachian Brewhouse restaurant, and one other restaurant. The race offered a shuttle bus to and from the race beginning at 6 am. We grabbed it at 6:30 and had plenty of time to spare since it was a short trip.

The race start/finish was in a neighborhood just outside of the downtown area. They utilized the lawn of a local elementary school. The race had a bag check area, as well as a store for extra race goodies. The start line was about a block away from the finish.

The marathon started with the national anthem before a canon blast sent us off running. That was kind of a cool start, definitely got your heart pumping if you weren’t expecting it. I decided to not carry my phone with my during the race, but at times wished I’d had it to take photos of the scenery. Oh well…it’s definitely in my memory.

Due to the course being on narrow country roads, they advised spectators to not drive the course and instead offered a shuttle bus to the 3 and 15 mile markers, which was a section of the course that overlapped. It was great to come up the hill and see Gabe and Lori. I even stopped for a few seconds to chat the second time.

The traffic was pretty minimal and controlled by both police and construction crews who directed traffic to ensure we weren’t stuck at intersections and could safely cross streets. Most of the time there would only be cars in one direction. Water stops were located about every 2 miles, give or take a 1/4 mile or so. They offered both water and Gatorade, as well as Gu at the mile 16 and 20 aid stations. I carry my own Clifshots so I wasn’t looking to take Gu, but I personally think they should offer Gu somewhere around the 10 mile mark and again at somewhere between 16-20. That’s just my opinion though! Regardless, the volunteers were all great, very encouraging and a positive presence.

The course was made up of rolling hills, with the bulk of the hills between miles 1 and 11. The second half of the course was more rolling and flat with an overall descent in elevation that you can see below.

elevation

Sorry it’s a bit small, but you can at least see the ups and downs.

The worst hill was definitely that first big peak you can see between miles 6 and 8.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve stopped wearing my GPS watch, even during races, choosing to run by how I feel. Early on in this race I had a general idea of my pace after overhearing other people talking about what their watch said. I was hovering just above 10 min/mile, which was close to the pace I’d run my 20-mile training run in, and it felt comfortable. Eventually I caught up to the 4:25 pacer. I stuck with the small group from about mile 8-18 but at that point began to fall off.

I think I passed mile 19 before they really started to gain some space in front of me. I was a bit bummed about this, but told myself to keep them in sight if I could as I still could get under what I had deemed my unrealistic goal of 4:30. Around mile 22, the gap had widened and the aches started to take over. I guess this might be the wall that people talk about, but I don’t know if I’d call it that. I was still running, albeit a bit slower and a bit down on myself. I was even at one point doubting I’d ever do another marathon :(

At the mile 23 aid station, the volunteers were so loud and cheerful. One kid had a sign that said “Touch here for power!” and so me and another lady did and he yelled “You got this! Only 3 miles to go!” It was a great pick-me-up. I stopped for two short walk breaks. The problem I find with walking at that point is that everything starts to hurt and it hurts more to start running again before eventually everything numbs back up. Basically that keeps me running and has gotten better with each marathon.

The final two miles took you past Gettysburg High School, which is absolutely incredible, and through a neighborhood. After returning to the main road, I passed a guy who was clapping and said only 500 yards to go. That was definitely great to hear and I even found the energy to speed up a bit.

Coming up the final hill before turning the corner to the finish line.

Coming up the final hill before turning the corner to the finish line.

Gabe, Jen and Lori were right where the above photo was taken, cheering, waving and taking pictures. They definitely made me smile. The lady at the turn was also great, as were all the people leading up to the finish line. It’s great that everyone cheers even though they have no idea who you are.

I was very pleased to see I was crossing in under 4:30 with an official time of 4:28:08. I honestly thought the 4:25 pace group had increased the gap too far as I hadn’t seen them the last 2 miles.

I got my medal and headed into the food tent grabbing two waters, two chocolate milks (don’t keep a girl from her chocolate milk after she’s run 26.2 miles), a banana and a bag of pretzels.

Gabe had walked over and told me the North had won the timing competition so I’d get an extra prize, a pint glass.

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I love that the flags have shoes at the bottoms of the poles. Sorry it’s blurry!

This is a quote from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which was also on the pint glass.

This is a quote from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which was also on the pint glass.

We hung out along the hill for a bit with Lori and Jen, cheering on runners and chatting. Since we had to get the shuttle back to the hotel to get the car we left a bit early before Regan had crossed the finish line so we could meet them at Tommy’s Pizza in downtown. We got back, I grabbed some clothes from my car and changed in the hotel bathroom (no late checkout) and tried to clean up as best I could.

We met the group at Tommy’s for lunch where I finally got to congratulate Regan. She did great and overcame some challenges in her training due to injury. She should be so proud!

The marathoners!

The marathoners!

After lunch, Gabe and I headed over to the Pennsylvania Civil War memorial for a picture and grabbed some Rita’s ice as a treat. Then we hopped in the car for the 2 hour ride back home.

A beautiful memorial on a beautiful day. Glad we stopped for a photo!

A beautiful memorial on a beautiful day. Glad we stopped for a photo!

Overall it was a great day and a great race. The weather was perfect, sunny with a high in the mid to upper 50s. I couldn’t have asked for better weather. It wasn’t windy, but there was often a nice light breeze. Despite my doubts around mile 22 that I’d ever subject myself to a marathon again, I had completely changed my mind before I had even reached the finish line. I shed a few tears when I saw Gabe, but I was happy not sad.

Running a marathon is hard. I don’t think anyone would or could say otherwise. But it’s worth it to me. I am proud of myself for committing to the training, getting through the race and improving my overall time. Even if I hadn’t PR’d, I’d still be proud for simply going out there and trying my best.

What’s next? Well some rest time, but hopefully I’ll be in good shape to run either the Black Moshannon 5k or 10k in May, as well as the Zooma Women’s Half Marathon in Annapolis on May 30. I also think there are a few more marathons I’d like to tackle!

Question: Did you run or race this weekend? How’d it go?