Race recap: Martha’s Vineyard 20 miler

This past weekend, my running buddy Alexa and I ran the Martha’s Vineyard 20 miler. When I registered for Boston, I knew I wanted to do either this race or Eastern States, and MV won out since it would force me to get up to a 20 mile long run in before leaving for my honeymoon. TL;DR–this was a fantastic, well-run event and just the loveliest way to get a hard training run in!

Alexa and I headed down to Falmouth on Friday night, and stayed with my cousins before heading to the ferry terminal in Wood’s Hole nice and early. We ended up getting on the later of the two recommended ferries, which meant we had time to enjoy coffee at Pie in the Sky, a must-visit! We bought our tickets early and sauntered onto the ferry, which was comfortable and not too crowded. We even made some awesome ferry friends who were running the relay!

After a nice chat we made sure to use the boat’s bathrooms and walked off the gangway directly into the registration area. The bib pickup and bag drop were smooth and easy, and we were able to stay warm indoors at the ferry terminal, chatting with various running friends up until the race start.

After a loud gunshot blast, we were off! The first 10 miles of the race were beyond gorgeous–we were running along the shore on flat roads and paths, with amazing views of the ocean and the seaside homes. The weather was fabulous–in the upper 30s, sunny, and not too windy–and the first 10 miles were easy breezy. We treated this as a long run, not a true race, stopping to take water and fuel when we needed.

After the 10 mile mark we ramped it up for the first of three sets of MGP miles–just as the course got hilly and stayed that way until the end. We cranked it through three miles in the 7:30s and then hung together until mile 15, when I was feeling good enough to speed ahead. The only downside of the small race size was that I was pretty much alone for this last chunk–but the water stop volunteers and cops were awesome and I kicked it into high gear for the last three miles–7:38, 7:57, and 7:10. Overall, I finished at around an 8:10 average (according to my watch), feeling fairly strong and happy. 

Alexa was there soon afterwards and we grabbed a quick bite at the post-race gathering (they had Mexican food and hot chocolate!) We made a quick run to the shuttle though when we realized we could make the early ferry back to the Cape. We had a quick and comfy ride back to the terminal, and then we settled onto the ferry for some well-deserved post-race beers. Back in Falmouth we grabbed some stellar grub at Anejo, and we drove the 90 minutes back to Boston and were home by 6:30.

We had just the best mini racecation, and I would recommend the 20 miler to anyone who is training for a spring marathon. The relay looked super fun for anyone who isn’t (it’s 2 10 mile legs). Next race recap will be coming at you from my first international race in NEW ZEALAND, mate!

Boston marathon training: week 11

This was a huge and hugely successful week of training! First, this will be my last weekly update until mid-March–J and I are heading to New Zealand for our honeymoon on Wednesday and I’ll be mostly offline while I’m there. Follow me over on Instagram to see live updates from our adventures. I’ll definitely be running and hiking, but with no particular mileage goals. I want to fully embrace the experience 🙂

Back to week 11–I started the week off with 7 easy, creaky miles. Having switched my rest day from Sunday to Friday, I find Mondays are a little tough since I’m dealing with some residual soreness from my long runs. All the more reason to keep things nice and easy. Tuesday was my one big workout of the week and I was excited to be able to save it for the evening–I have trained myself to be a morning runner, but I definitely can dig deeper when I’m not running on empty. The first set of the 3×2 mile workout felt a little rough at a 7:09 pace, but the second one was steadier at 7:06 and the third I felt like I really locked onto the pace, and averaged a 6:54 🙂 The sunset didn’t hurt either!

Wednesday was recovery, and then Thursday I had a longer easy run (and another gorgeous view of the city). I did my core and strength work and really focused on form–man it was tough! It’s not fun but so good to get it done.

Friday was a much-needed rest day while Alexa and I hit the road to the Cape before Saturday’s Martha’s Vineyard 2o miler. I’ll have a recap up in the next couple of days, but we had a blast! It was an incredibly well-organized event on a gorgeous day (mid-30s and sunny). Despite a hilly second half, it was a perfect way to get my first 20 miler of this cycle done. Today I enjoyed the gorgeous snow from an overnight storm and J and I did a morning yoga class–a great start to working out the kinks. This afternoon once most of the snow had melted away I did my recovery run. Onto two more days of work before we jet off–can’t wait!!!

Week 11: 52.2 miles

  • Monday: 7 easy
  • Tuesday: 3×2 miles at HMGP for 9 total
  • Wednesday: 3.6 recovery miles
  • Thursday: 8.3 easy miles, mini band work + core
  • Friday: Rest day!
  • Saturday: 20 mile race
  • Sunday: 60 minute yoga, 4.1 recovery miles

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Winter Classic 5k Recap–new PR (so close!)

I’m back again with one last race recap of 2017 (I promise!) and I have to admit, I did not want to run this one. I definitely overbooked myself this fall on the racing front and was just feeling very blah overall this week–a little bit frustrated professionally, and annoyed I had missed a few runs/workouts due to poor planning. I was excited for a morning with the Oiselle gals but just not geared up for the 5k.

Putting my best foot forward, I started race morning with a light breakfast and then an easy warmup jog, during which I learned my speedy friend Cait and I were feeling equally ambivalent about the race. However, it was a clear and cold morning–similar to last year, which was a great race for me. As Cait and I shed our layers she asked me what I was thinking for pace, and I mentioned maybe trying to run a tempo a bit faster than my half marathon pace (7 min/mile-ish). She asked what I thought about 6:40s, and of course (as I am very susceptible to running peer pressure) I told her I’d give it a whirl.

We started up near-ish to the front of the corrals and took the announcer’s advice to “go go go!” The first mile started a little bit slow as we worked our way around some slower runners to settle into the pack. We hit the first full mile split at 6:34–right on track. I barely looked at my watch during this race, keeping the effort hard but steady and pacing along with Cait. The second mile started to feel pretty tough–there’s a slight but steady uphill at this point, and my nose was pretty stuffed up from the cold. I got a little lift from seeing a friend in the pack and getting some cheers from the girls spectating. Cait and I checked in with each other to make sure the pace was ok, and then pushed through the second mile at a 6:29. I knew at this point I was going to hang on as best I could, gutting it out to the finish. We could tell there weren’t many women ahead of us so we picked off a few in the last quarter mile or so, hitting mile 3 at a 6:22 pace and then sprinting it in at  5:20 pace for the .1.

I wasn’t quite sure where we had ended up, but was THRILLED when both of our watches both said 19:59!! It turns out my official time was 20:01, which is a little bit frustrating, but either way it’s a huge 33 second PR for me–and close enough to a sub-20. Running a 19:XX 5k has been a dream goal of mine for a long time, and considering I wasn’t even going to run hard I’m super proud of my time. I came in as 13th female (out of 934), 75th overall (out of 1766), and 3rd in my age group. Big, huge THANK YOU to Cait for pacing me to a time I didn’t think was possible!! Chase your fast friends, guys–it’s the best way to get faster yourself.

We ended the morning with a quick stop by the post-race party (it was COLD) and then a fun coffee meetup with the team. Big props to the Cambridge Classic folks for a well-organized race, as always! I like that this one brings out both the folks who want to run/race hard and the folks who want to wear funny costumes and party afterwards. And everyone in between 🙂

Back soon with a recap of the first official week of Boston training! I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things.

Prospect Park Turkey Trot (3rd place woman + 5 mile PR!)

The view from the train!

Hey there, friends! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Our family tradition is to spend the holiday with cousins in NYC, and for the past few years I’ve been scoping out Turkey Trot options. Most years I’ve been too late to get into the uber-popular Prospect Park Track Club’s Turkey Trot, but this year my brother and I managed to snag bibs before the race sold out! We took an easy subway ride down to Brooklyn on Thanksgiving morning and had plenty of time to grab our bibs before heading out into the chilly morning for a warmup jog.

This race was super organized and efficient, and the indoor space to stay warm + use the clean bathrooms was a major perk. This was my first time in Prospect Park and it was absolutely gorgeous. We kept our layers on as long as possible before sneaking up to the front of the start corrals. The one downside of this race was that the start wasn’t seeded at all, which made for a pretty chaotic start with 2000+ runners and walkers. Either way, Ari was off like a shot and I started out at a hard but steady clip. I did have some goals in mind for this race:

  • A goal: PR the 5 mile distance (sub 34:09, which I ran at the Harpoon 5 Miler).
  • B goal: Place in my AG (probably sub 35:00 or so)
  • C goal: Finish and have fun!

Given those goals, I figured I would try to keep the pace under 6:50, which was my previous 5 mile PR pace. The first mile was on a slight downhill, and felt fairly smooth at  6:40 pace. During mile 2 we started to climb up, so I kept my effort even and let it slip a bit to a 6:48 pace. During mile 3, we hit a fairly long and steep climb, and my pace was at a 7:02. It was at this point that the crowd had thinned considerably, but the course wasn’t closed off so there were lots of walkers and joggers in and around the racers. I was legitimately shocked when someone called out from the side of the path “You’re third woman!” I was pretty convinced they were wrong, but just in case I figured I would hold on as best I could despite some small cramps that were creeping up. I got some encouragement from J along the sidelines and then put my head down and cranked the pace up to a 6:29 for mile 4 and another 6:29 for mile 5. Before I knew it, I had crossed the finish line and was being directed over to the sidelines to pick up my prize–for the first time in my life, I had come in as the third female finisher!! I dizzily spelled my name for the guy at the finish line and happily accepted my prize–an apple crumb pie, which I proudly carried as we headed for celebratory hot chocolate and snacks at the finish.

I have to say that placing in a race has been a semi-secret goal of mine this year. Running in a city like Boston, it feels like no matter how fast I get I can’t even crack the top of my age group. I’ve considered signing up for some small local 5ks to try to place, but it feels a little bit like cheating–I don’t want to run a race just to win an award. So this was an incredibly gratifying surprise, especially given that this was a good-size race in a big city. My official time was 33:31, which was good for 3rd woman overall (out of 1,260 female finishers). Needless to say, I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day. Overall, the race was reasonably priced ($25 if you register early), had great swag and medals, and was well-organized and fun. I’m hoping to be back next year with more family members in tow!

I hope you had a fantastic holiday! Did you trot? Have you ever placed in a race?