Easy As Pie 5K Race Recap

On Saturday I raced an adorable local 5K in Brooktondale, NY right outside of Ithaca. The race, aptly titled “Easy As Pie 5K” was being run in-conjunction with their Apple Festival and farmer’s market.

Considering I ran a 50K last weekend and speed was the furthest thing from my mind, when my friend Melissa (the YOGA Melissa ;-)) invited me the Wednesday before, I had low expectations. I figured I would go, have fun and try hard if my body was feeling it.

Pre-Race:

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I woke up and we all (my Wednesday running group and I) decided to meet at the start at 8:30. It was a small race, so there was parking, meaning anywhere you wanted, plant your car.

We warmed up (haha) together and then retreated to the community center to stay warm until the start. I enjoyed that I could stay inside until 3 minutes to go.

The Course:

The course was really pretty and scenic for fall. There were a few hills, which of course was humbling in a 5K, but I was happy that we ran a loop so there was no turn around. Those really hurt to do.

After a few announcements, we were off. I found myself 4th woman pretty fast, mostly because I am terrible with fast starts. My legs don’t really know what to do. After the first mile, I caught up to the three ladies (two of them were from my running group and the third is the fastest woman over 50 in Ithaca!) and passed them along with the second place guy.

I stayed ahead until mile 2, when Chantal (from my running group) passed me. She ran so beautifully and pulled me along like a great friend 😉 I stayed about 10 meters behind her until about mile 2.5 when I passed her and stayed there to finish. She put in a great kick!

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The Results:

 

I ended up somewhere around 19:20, first female and second overall. I don’t really have a baseline, so to be honest, any time would have been fine.

I won a pie, but it wasn’t vegan, so I was given a free t-shirt instead. Technically the t-shirt was worth $15, so I’ll add that to my tax return this year.

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Final Thoughts:

Ow, that hurt a lot and I would rather do a 50K. In a weird way though, it felt good to hurt. Sometimes when I hurt, it is the only thing that makes me feel alive.

Shorter or longer distances?

What is the coolest race prize you’ve ever seen?

Ragnar ADK 2016

The short version of this would be:

We crushed it, knocked 2 hours off our time from last year and won the race (I think).

The longer version is a bit more interesting.

We arrived at Saratoga Springs at 4:30 on Friday morning. I drove into Syracuse that morning and caught a van at around 2AM.

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Our first team D started at 6:00AM, team C at 6:30AM and team D at 8:00. My team started at 1:00, so we had time to kill.

After seeing the first few teams off, we went to a health food grocery store to eat and chill. I was definitely ready for some food at that point. It also gave me a chance to meet and get to know a few new teammates. I think I was the only person in our van who isn’t an ultra runn and I was the youngest.

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Racing Team Roster
When we get back to the start line, we found out that if we chose, we could start the race at noon instead of 1 if we so choose. So, we started.

I was leg 6 in van 1, so I got to wait and watch all my teammates run first. Two new guys, Jason Mintz and Mike Weldon were two new to Ragnar runners and they totally crushed their legs, clocking sub 6 miles and getting us ahead.

When it came to my leg, I felt ready to go. The first two miles were a bit frustrating as I ran through a busy section in town. I had to stop multiple times for traffic and people. My first few splits were a bit slower, in the 6:30s range, but after I got out of town I picked it up. I had a nice road section of rolling hills and then came to a steep downhill trail. Being the only runner in my van who doesn’t regularly run trails, I was the most under qualified for this section. I focused on not falling down.

As I neared mile 5, I saw a “one mile to go” sign. I thought my leg was 5.7 miles, so when I got to 6, I thought I had made a wrong turn. I started getting a bit upset with myself, because I made a wrong turn last year. However, I saw another Ragnar sign and eventually made it to the exchange. I passed it to Dana who was the first runner in van 2.

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My team was then off for a few hours, so we fueled up, rested and watched Mike and Alan pound tons of vegan snacks. You know they are ultra runners, because holy sh*t they can EAT!

We started our next series of legs at about 6:30PM and again everyone crushed them. When I was coming up, I just felt off. I have been struggling with confidence in my racing lately and although I knew I had nothing to prove, I still felt almost sick with anxiety. Thank you to my team who was so supportive and great. They talked me down off my pedestal and I started my leg of 8.7 miles.

Running at night is always something foreign to me. Tonight I felt fine once I got going, but I was lonely. There aren’t too many runners out there and the night feels empty. I thought I heard wolves, but it was most likely in my head. There was a bear sighting, but I saw no wild life, just blinking red lights. I made it to the next exchange in about an hour, accomplished, but not too impressed with my time. (Again, thank you to who talked me out of my funk).

Our team then went to the next major exchange, which was a creepy race track with no indoor bathrooms or anything. We just all slept inside the van and tried to rest before our next legs. Little did I know, van 2 missed an exchange point, so one of our runners, Ian, ran about 13 miles for his leg instead of 8. He totally rocked it and probably got us more ahead. Thanks Ian for making up for my slower time.

When we got the bracelet for our last legs, it was about 2:30 in the morning. This was the first Ragnar where we had two night legs. The one benefit of being the last person to go was that I had a sorta lighter leg. I began my leg at 6:15, which is when I normally wake up to run. I was tired, but so ready to crank out 4.4 last miles. My only goal for this was to stay ahead of an ultra team we had been running closely to all day. I can say I was successful.

After I handed off to Dana, a few of our teammates got this idea that we had to race the ultra team, who passed us on the next leg. A couple of the guys, who shall remain nameless, started keeping track of how many minutes we were behind the ultra team and coaching van 2 on how to get us back to them. In all honestly, it was really fun because I kept telling our runners that they should just have fun and not worry about catching this team. The ultra team was really good by the way, like father 60 years of age clocking 6:00 miles good.

So, instead of going to the finish line, we followed our other van cheering and “inspiring them” to catch the other team. I enjoyed this a lot more than sitting at the finish line waiting, so even if I wasn’t too keen on coaching our second van, it was nice to be out there. This was all in good fun. The other team was really nice and they beat us by a couple minutes to the finish.

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We finished with an unofficial time of 22:47 which broke 24 hours and beat our time last year by 2 hours. We also won our division, as the ultra team was not competing officially with us.

Our other teams also did very well and finished soon after us. We finished up with an awards ceremony and a drive back to Saratoga Springs.

Overall, even though I wish I could have raced harder, I think racing last weekend was a factor in my lingering fatigue. This race was the most fun I’d had and I’m once again surrounded by new friends. We really outdid ourselves this weekend and I couldn’t be happier with our team.

Check out the hashtag #strongheartsveganpower on Instagram and Twitter to see all the updates from the other teams.

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Check out how a bunch of #vegans won RagnarADK 2016! Click To Tweet

Thanks again to all the support we recieved and all the companies who donated to us. Our donation this year went to Maple Farm Animal Sanctuary, so show them some love too!

Strong Hearts Vegan Power website
Our Sponsors
Maple Farm Animal Sanctuary

Watergap 50K Race Recap 2016

I must begin this post thanking the race director, and my friend Ian for putting on this race. He did a great job with logistics, information, prizes and the course was great. I am proud to be on his Red Newt Racing team. Thanks again for a perfect first ultramarthon!

Pre-Race

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I drove down on Friday fully intending to sleep in my car at the race start. Luckily my friend Peter offered me a bed at his farm. If you’re ever in the Delaware area, check out Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary. Peter and his wife Gabrielle have done an amazing job creating a rescue for otherwise doomed farm animals.

I got my number and met a fellow Strong Hearts team member, Jason Young and his family for dinner. His kids are the cutest! Their older daughter (name omitted for privacy, but it’s a beautiful name, I just have to mentioned that) colored me a picture while we ate and I carried it with me in my pack during the race.

After an early dinner of calzones and French fries, I got to Peter’s house and get in bed at 8:30PM. I slept really well and was awoken by a rooster just before my alarm at 6:00AM

Everyone meets at the finish and then takes buses to the start, 30 miles away. The course follows the Delaware Watergap trail for 30 miles. Pretty self explanatory and not easy to get lost. After getting off the bus, a bathroom trip in the cornfield and a blowing of the rams horn from Ian, I was running my first ultramarathon.

Race:

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I began the race behind a few women, but after a mile or so it was myself and one other lady. She introduced herself and we talked for the first 10 miles. She actually went to Cornell so she knew where I worked. We traded places for a while and even took a wrong turn together, adding a mile onto the race. The wrong turn was due to some hunting markers being the same color as the race markers. After getting back on track, I had no other issues following the trail.

At the third aid station, she went to the bathroom and that was the last time I saw her.

The race is mostly rails trails with some single track at the end. Quite honestly, perfect for someone like me. I started off with gloves but took them off about half way, the weather was great. I clicked off miles between 7 and 8 pace, but wasn’t really focused on it. This race had no expectations, so I felt really relaxed. After 20 miles I remember thinking, ok I would be satisfied if I stopped now, but really, I didn’t feel like I wanted to stop. It felt good to be out there with no problems or distractions.

The last few miles had some single track and some steep inclines, but nothing crazy. It felt good to switch it up after all the flat trail. The last little bit of finish was on grass and I think I actually sped up for that section. I could have kept going (maybe, hindsight is 20/20).

Results:

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4:07 unofficial (7:26 pace) course record and first female.

The winning male time was 3:16. No words.

This is only the second year this race is being run, so I see a lot of fast future times on this course.

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Fuel:

I drank coffee and ate a date before the race.

I drank Tailwind at the aid stations, at a mini Clifbar at mile 15 and some dried mango at the last aid station.

Next time, I think I’ll just drink Tailwind in my bottle.

Post-race thoughts:

I needed this race. Attempting speed this past summer was not working for me. I was not having much fun and feeling burned out. After Ragnar, I realized I needed to find my love of running again. I started running not to be fast or anything like that, I run because I love it. I needed a race with no expectations. A race where I told myself to go slow, to walk if I needed it and to have fun. This race was perfect for me.

Have I signed up for another? No.

I am taking some time off mentally and physically. It is needed. I am very happy to end my season with this race. There is nothing worse than ending a season with a bad taste in your mouth.

The future of the blog

Good morning everyone.

Yesterday morning I woke up to find the past month of posts had been deleted from my account. This was due to my switching host service providers, and I am in the process of seeing if they can be restored.

Oddly, when this happened, I was not sad or upset, more I accepted it. My favorite posts are my race recaps, which I can rewrite, and just sharing the amazing experiences I have doing races and being with my teammates.

It is unfortunate that this happened, but also caused me to think about the future of my blog.

Do I like writing informational posts?

What is it that brings me joy?

What am I most proud of?

I realized that I am sad about losing all the work, but I am content with what I plan to do next. I enjoy writing about running and racing the most. Recipes and product reviews are fun and so are some of my “How-to” and step guides, but really, I like exploring the inter-working of my mind when running.

I will rewrite recaps for Ragnar, Watergap and even write a recap for Rochester, but the other posts I wrote, well, they may be lost.

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That is ok. I want this blog to be a reflection of myself. This is not my coaching website and I am not certified yet. This is a personal blog about my life as a vegan endurance runner. I want to shift back to that.

I will still do nut butter reviews occasionally because that is a huge part of my life 😉

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But I will mostly be talking about racing, my teammates and running as both a spiritual release and a pathway for vegan activism.

Thank you for reading thus far.

Welcome to the evolution of my blog.