Time: 9:00 AM
Date: Sunday, April 24, 2016
This was my second time doing this race, which had its inaugural running last year. This year, I ran it solo, but my husband and daughter were there at the start and finish to cheer me on. We arrived shortly after 8am and it was cold (46*), sunny, and windy.
The course was the same and is described as “gently rolling” hills following the first major hill up Castle Hill. It is a pretty, but challenging course with limited traffic on mostly country roads.
Pre race, there was limited communication via email and Facebook.
same shirt as last year, so no date or year,
no timing chip in bib
no photographer anywhere
only 10 port-a-johns
There was a huge drop in partiipants – 620 in 2015 and 370 in 2016. The registration fee of $45 remained the same. they had water at each of the 3 stops and Gatorade at one.
About half way I thought I was doing okay because I was on track to beat 1:43, but I quickly realized that my time to beat was 1:34. At this point, I became discouraged since I did not think I could get a PR. Later I realized that there was a chance of beating my previous time, so I started to speed up around 8.5 miles. It was hard for me to pick up my pace but I did try to. mile 7 was my slowest and mile 10 was my fastest.
Post race, there was Smuttynose beer, Hint water, Stoneyfield yogurt, water, and pizza. We grabbed a few things and left. On our way home, I checked my 2015 results and compared them to these results. I realized that I had to compare gun times and that is whe I realized that I had gotten a PR!
Division Place: 35
Sticking to 1 race per month, race #3 for 2016 was on Sunday, March 20th, 2016 at 11:00AM.
This was my first time running this race and I chose it for various reasons: price $55, location – near my parent’s home, and timing – it fit in my training plan.
we stayed overnight in Somerset and then drove to New Bedford on the morning of the race. We parked in a parking garage a few blocks away from the start free of charge. We made our way to the start but Brian had to return to the car to put away his camera bag, since bags were not allowed. Brenna headed to bib pick up in the YMCA. I got my bib and shirt (a long sleeve navy tech shirt) and used the real bathrooms and then headed out to reunite with Brian and head to the start line.
It was 37 and cloudy at the start and I had chosen to wear my new Athleta outfit along with my Saucony running mittens, which I was glad for. I tried running with my hood, but the wind did not make that easy. I found that I went out a bit fast and then settled into a good pace. During the second half, I found myself running at a very comfortable pace – around 9:35, and tried to speed up. As I ran my last mile, I knew that a PR was possible. As I took the turn towards the finish line I saw Brian and Brenna and cheered. They then got me running towards the finish with my mittens in hand.
My first half was faster than my second, but the latter half was also winter and more uphill.
I was so excited to get a PR by almost 3 minutes!
1523 135/292 F4049 SANDRA MULDOWNEY 44 F 963 2:03:12 9:25
When: Sunday, February 7, 2016
Time: 10:00 am
Where: Knights of Columbus, 177 Lynnfield St., Lynn, MA
My training plan sort of dictated this race as well as the next few. I quickly realized that there were virtually no races that would work [10 mile long run] with my plan. I was beginning to lose hope when I came across this one – third oldest 15K in the USA! I thought, why not? It’s a new distance for me and it fits with my plan. There was very little info about it online although he has a lot of history. This truly was a no frills race – no swag at all – none! I did have a bib with a timing chip and a start and finish timing mat, which was good. At $1/km, this race was a bargain! At the start, we were able to stay warm and use real bathrooms in the KoC hall and then at the start [Pondview Lodge] about 1/4 mile down the road.
The course description meant nothing to me since I am not familiar with the area and I could not find a good description of it. There was no elevation map either. We started out in some residential neighborhoods and made our way over to an industrial park area before crossing over 128 and into a commercial area. There were 2 water stops around miles 3 and 6 [I think] and it was an out and back course. It was 36 and sunny at the start which made for a comfortable run, but trending a bit warm.
What I remember most about this course was the hills! The residential neighborhoods were hilly as were the more commercial areas and they were not small, short hills either as you can see from my Garmin screen shot. The roads were better than I expected after the recent snowfall, but there were still some icy, slushy patches that had to be avoided. Luckily, the downhills were clear so I was able to make up some time.
We finished in the parking lot of the KoC where a small group had gathered. Here are a few pics from the photographer.
Since it was a new race distance for me, I automatically ran a new PR, which I was happy with. Here are the official results. My Garmin had me running 9.53 mi total with an average pace of 9:21.
170 18 Sandra Muldowney 44 F 12/17 F4044 merrimack NH 1:29:07 9:34
||Sunday, January 17, 2016
||9:15 am *NEW START TIME*
||Copper Door Restaurant • Bedford, NH
Sarah and I drove together and left home shortly after 8am. The traffic in Bedford was very heavy and it took a while for us to get past the light on 101 and be able to get into the parking area. There was a very detailed parking map given to us ahead of time which also included the shuttle bus stops on it. We parked easily and got on the first bus we saw, which literally took us out of the industrial park area and across 101, up the hill and to the Copper Door parking lot where the start line was located. As we were getting ready to head to the start line we saw many people taking the bus in the reverse direction and I wondered how they would make it back up to the start line in time. By the time we dropped off a bag at bag check, we had about 20 minutes to wait. We headed for the port-o-potties, which there weren’t many and waited in line. It was 34* and cloudy at race start and I felt like I was dressed perfectly for me. My hands did get cold and never really warmed up once I put my Saucony gloves on. Once we were done, they were making an announcement for everyone to head into the corral area. It was so crowded and I got stuck at the front of the 10:00-12:00 pace area. The race was sold out at 2,000 runners. The start was packed and it was very hard to run. I found that I was passing people for much of the race [except on the downhills]. The first 1/2 mile was tough due to crowding, which made it slow. There was a decent hill just past the 2 mile mark where i slowed down to 10:25 and was still passing people, but on the downhill, I did not make up much time because I was tentative. I was worried about ice and slipping and falling and so I held back and felt like my gait was off. Overall, I felt good, although my left was bothering me in the morning while getting ready. It wasn’t the most scenic course and I thought it was too tight for the number of runners. They called my name as I came across the finish line, which was cool. I grabbed a Gatorade and went to wait/watch for Sarah. I met a friend from my running club at the Y and we chatted. Unfortunately, I missed Sarah cross the finish line, but here we are on the other side shortly after she finished.
We did not stick around for the post-race refreshments because we were sweaty and cold. There seemed to be plenty of food and drink, but the area was quite crowded. Muscle Milk and Stonyfield were also there. Here is the only official race picture of me running towards the finish line.
Here are my results!
November 1, 2015
Start time: 8:00 AM
Location: Seekonk High School – Seekonk, MA
Today, I ran for the first time post MCM and was the 8th female to finish. I placed 18th out of 46 runners with a time of 27:51.44 [gun time] for the Black Goose 5K. You might be asking why I ran a race 1 week post marathon. The answer is – I was going to support my younger brother on his first 5K, but he did not train or register, so I ran it anyway. It was the day after Halloween, so we travelled to my parent’s house and stayed overnight, which made race morning easy with a short 20 minute drive. Brian registered for the half marathon, so off we went around 6:15. Parking was filling up when we arrived but luckily we got a good spot behind the school. We picked up our bibs and shirts at the school and then went back to the truck to get ready.
There was no real fanfare at this inaugural race. We all gathered at the entrance for race announcements before heading the the start. The marathon and half-marathon folks gathered at the start line (no timing mat) and set off 5 minutes before the 5K group. When our group was called, it was quickly apparent that we were missing people. Some had stayed behind in the parking lot as we were told, but I have a feeling that some set off with the first group, which would give them an advantage in terms of getting a head start.
The course was mostly flat with an elevation gain of only 26ft. There were virtually no spectators along the course or at the finish line, aside from family and friends.
There were a few course photographers along the route, but none at the start or finish. Thank you for the free action pics!
The weather was perfect and I felt good. My goal was not a PR but a strong race given that i was still recovery mode from my marathon. I started out fast, but slowed 14 seconds for mile 2 and then 13 seconds more for mile 3.my overall pace was 8:54 which was fast r than I had been running recently.
18 667 Muldowney, Sandra 27:51.44
Pre-race night – we had an early dinner with Team Beef at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. My dinner consisted of an iceberg wedge salad with bacon, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, and buttermilk dressing along with chive mashed potatoes, beef sirloin with roasted mushroom Demi , and corn bread. After listening to Dorothy Beal I was lucky enough to chat with her.
We headed back to our hotel shortly after 8 and I prepared Flat Sandra. I said good night at 9, and fell asleep easily.
Race morning – My alarm went off at 3:55am, but I had been tossing and turning since 12:30 when I got up to use the bathroom. I had everything prepared ahead of time, so getting ready was easy. I got some coffee from the Executive Lounge at our hotel (Hilton Crystal City) and ate half a bagel with peanut butter and half a banana around 4:40am. Looking back, it was probably not the best idea to eat so far ahead of my race starting (7:55), and I also don’t think I ate enough. Brian and I went to the lobby to meet two BAMRs (Lisa and Jaime) from the AMR Find Your Strong group.
We chatted, used the bathrooms, and took some pictures before heading to the shuttle at the corner of Crystal Dr. and 23rd st. The shuttles were motor coaches and were very organized with one marine per bus. We got the last 3 seats at the back of one of the buses and took the short drive to Runners Village. It was not raining at that point, but it did start and I was grateful for my velour track jacket (which was my throwaway). We used the porta-potties often without having to wait in lines. We camped out under a small tent and chatted. As far as nerves go, I was unusually calm and was feeling ready to go on a “long run.” Both Lisa and Jaime brought food, which was probably smart but I was not particularly hungry. I did not eat anything else before starting. Pre- race ceremonies started at 7:25 and we walked from the parking lot to the road where we saw thousands of runners lining up according to predicted finish times. Lisa, Jaime and I said good-bye and wished each other good luck before we each went our separate ways. I never the saw the 4:15 Cliff Pace group but lined up between 4:15-4:30. I parted with my jacket, but kept my gloves on.
My race: the gun went off and we all started shuffling towards the start line. It took about 10 minutes for me to cross the timing mat. The start was slow and congested and this was the case for much of the race. I have never run a race of this magnitude and was surprised to have people always by my side. I had to go around people often, which caused me to use up energy and added lots of extra steps – a total of .55 miles – so technically, I ran more than a marathon (26.5)! I kept with my fueling plan of every 3 miles – from 3-18, but stopped after I had a hard time stomaching 4 sport beans at mile 18. After that I took only small sips of water and Gatorade from the aid stations. I used the aid stations to refill my water bottle 2-3 times, but this was a challenge because of the crowds at each stop and at times they were filling cups and other times pouring directly into water bottles. Given the number of runners, I think they should have had more stops with maybe fewer tables, which might eliminate the congestion and mess (which could potentially be tripping hazards). I did not partake in the first aid station which was oranges, but loved the smell. I did not like the fact that there were orange peels all over the road, which I could have slipped on. I was extra careful in this section. I did grab 2 citrus gels at the second aid station and was given 3 small packs of Sport Beans at the third aid station. I avoided the final aid station, which had DD munchkins!
I decided to go without music and take in the full experience of the scenery and spectators, but did have one earbud in. I used Motivo and listened to pre-recorded messages about the course as well as cheers from friends. At the half way mark, I decided to turn on my running playlist, but quickly discovered that Motivo would only interrupt the music but not play the message, so I just ran with Motivo and no music! This is very different for me because I typically listen to audiobooks on my long runs and music on all my short runs. I very rarely go ‘naked.’
As far as pacing goes, I was very aware of needing to start out slow, but did not see this as being an issue with how crowded it was. My paces were pretty steady until mile 22.
Where I really slowed down and never really recovered until the last couple of miles. I saw Brian and Brenna at mile 18 and my lower back was killing me at that point. We took a few pictures, exchanged hugs and kisses, and I was off again.
I started feeling queasy before the 14th street bridge and that lasted through Crystal City and beyond. In addition, my right knee was hurting me and I was not sure if I was going to really damage it if I ran so I decided to do more walking than “running.” Mile 22 saw a 3 minute increase per mile and each mile thereafter was a huge struggle with my pace falling back even further until I reached mile 25. The last 1.75 miles saw an increase in my pace with my last .75 being faster than the previous 9 miles.
According to my Garmin, I stopped for a total of 4:10 to see Brian and Brenna as well as at each of the aid stations and to stretch/massage my knee. I never stopped to use the bathroom, although I saw many men relieving themselves on walls.
My favorite parts were entering Georgetown, running by the river, The National Mall area, and Crystal City. Crossing the finish line was a bit disappointing. I lost my arm warmer, which was tucked into my race belt, just a few feet before finishing and that distracted me because for a moment, I contemplated turning back and grabbing it (but that would have been a bad idea since there were so many runners all around me finishing). I was looking for Brian and Brenna but could not find them. I crossed the finish l
ine and just kept walking until I found the marines with our medals. Having the marine salute me and place the medal around my neck was an amazing experience.
Post race – After getting my medal, I went towards the food/water lines, but did not realize I would not be able to get back to the Iwo Jima memorial for my picture. I only realized that when I was being corraled. I met up with a fellow Team Beef runner and we walked through the finish area together, which was nice, since I had gotten a message that Brian’s phone was dead and Brenna was letting me know that they were on their way to the family link up area [M]. I walked for what seemed like forever and was so grateful for the watermelon chunks in Rosslyn which tasted better than anything I could have dreamed of. Once I reached the family like up area, I waited for Brian and Brenna to arrive. I was so happy when they finally reached me!
When I signed up the AMR Find your Strong marathon challenge, my goal for this marathon was to finish happy and healthy and I did that. Was I happy with my finishing time? NO, but there will be other races and it leaves room for improvement.
16738/23,212 overall finishers 28% ile
40-44 females – finished 1118/1760 36%ile
6771/10,439 overall females 35%ile