Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March Madness

March 2021 in review!  

Total mileage for the month: 428.2, which is a pretty significant new monthly mileage PR for me (my previous was 400.2 in Dec. 2019)
  • March 1-7:  102.2
  • March 8-14:  91.9
  • March 15-21:  100.2
  • March 22-28:  90.3
  • March 29-April 4: 101.6

Races:
  • March 13:  Running of the Squirrels 5k in 18:36 (5:58 pace) for 1st overall female.  I accomplished the goals I had for this training race and really enjoyed the day, even with the constant rain for all 17.7 miles I ran!
  • March 27:  T-Town Half Marathon in 1:21:52 (6:11 pace) for 1st overall female.  I pretty much had the time of my life on the trip to this race with my running buddies, and my half performance and state record in 60 degrees running solo on some tricky elevation was icing on the cake.
Workouts:
  • March 3:  4 x 0:30 hill sprints with full recoveries, 6 x 1 mile tempos with 1:00 recoveries, 4 x 0:30 hill sprints with full recoveries - tempo splits were 6:03, 6:02, 5:56, 6:01, 6:01, 5:57 and hill sprint paces averaged about 6:15 (I miss free GAP!), 3 warm up, 2 cool down.  I was really pleased with how this went, because it was my first time nailing a workout during/after a 100 mile week!  During the first bit of each mile tempo I felt fatigued, but then I felt stronger as the mile went by.  We had a great group for this workout (Casey, Colin, Rebecca, Elise), and although I didn't have a pace match it's so helpful to have others out there working. 
  • March 6:  22 mile workout of 4 easy, 14 alternating 1 mile at marathon pace/1 mile at marathon pace + 1:00, 4 easy.  My goal for the marathon pace miles was to start at 6:30 and work down to 6:20, because I think my current marathon fitness is about 6:25.  My splits for the 14 alternating were 6:34, 7:32, 6:29, 7:23, 6:28, 7:27, 6:28, 7:16, 6:22, 7:27, 6:18, 7:19, 6:08, 7:40 - averaging 6:24 for the marathon pace miles, so perfect - although 6:08 is definitely not within my current marathon pace and I could sure feel that when running it.  Aside from that mile the workout felt really great and Colin ran every step of the way with me, which was helpful!  As with the March 3 workout, I was excited to hit this during such a high mileage week, and it gave me hope that maybe 100 mile weeks could be my marathon training sweet spot after all (I previously thought 90 was best because in 2019 I couldn't hit workouts during 100 mile weeks)...
  • March 10:  4 x 1:00 at 5k effort/1:00 off (2:00 jog before tempo), 4 mile tempo, jog to hill (took 3:11), 4 x 0:30 hill sprints (3.1 warm up, 3.2 cool down) - 1:00 pushes were 5:44, 5:40, 5:43, 5:50 pace, the 4 mile tempo splits were 6:08, 6:14, 6:16, 6:05, and the hill sprints were 5:57-6:04 (on the same hill I averaged 6:15 on the previous week!).  I wanted to be a little faster on the tempo segment (6:00ish), but we were in a wind advisory with 20+ mph winds and 30+ mph gusts, so I think wind-graded I did okay.  I felt good but not fantastic; I had a lot of miles on my legs and felt strong but not that fast. Casey, Christian, Colin, and David all ran part/all of the workout, and although no one really matched on pace as always it was nice to be out there working together!
  • March 13:  5k race in 18:36 via 5:57, 6:03, 5:57 (5:26 final 0.12), full recovery, 3 mile marathon effort in 6:26, 6:40, 6:20 (3.4 warm up and 8.2 cool down for 17.7 on the day).  You can read more about this in my race recap here, and all of these miles were wet!
  • March 17 (St Pats!): 6 mile wave tempo (0.5 at tempo/0.5 at marathon pace) + 4 x 1:00 hard.  My half mile splits on the 12 segments of the wave tempo were 3:00, 3:08, 3:01, 3:12, 3:00, 3:08, 3:06, 3:09, 3:04, 3:11, 2:56, 3:09, and my paces on the 1:00s were messed up but averaged 5:11 for the final 3 (I didn't get the first on my watch at all - and full disclosure two of them were on declines).  I was aiming for 6:05 pace on the tempos and 6:25 on the marathon pace portions so was generally a shade under. For a few segments in the middle there wasn't as much pace differentiation as I wanted, but it seemed like those tempos were up inclines and against the wind while the marathon pace was down decline with the wind to my back, so the effort felt more differentiated than the splits showed.  This was a really good workout for me because I struggle with finding different gears, so I was especially happy to get the 1:00s hard clearly faster than tempo pace - they also felt like the longest minute ever!
  • March 20:  Pushes of 0.2 at 6:03-6:15 pace alternating with 0.8 easy for the last 10 miles of my 23 mile long run. I was aiming for 6:15 pace on these and was a little under on most. I felt fantastic on this long run and it didn't feel long at all, which the pushes likely helped with since they broke it up.
  • March 23: 3 x 1 mile at half pace (6:07, 5:58 aided, 6:05) with 1:30 jog recoveries + 4 x 0:30 hard with full standing recoveries (paces of 5:02, 5:02, 4:54, 4:52 - the final 2 were aided), 3 warm up, 3.1 cool down. The wind was 28 mph the morning of this run so we ran in a way that we didn't have any headwind on the fast portions of the run, which also made the second mile at half pace have 58 feet of elevation drop (it was probably more like 6:08 effort).  The final two 0:30 efforts only had 5 and 7 feet of drop respectively, but maybe that's a lot within 30 seconds? My goal was 6:05-6:10 and have it not feel too hard, and it was successful!  Had I run any efforts into the wind, it would have undoubtedly felt too hard.
  • March 31:  6 mile light fartlek of 3:00 on/3:00 off on hills (3 warm up, 4 cool down).  Because I was still feeling a bit fatigued after my big weekend (25.7 miles including a half marathon race on Saturday + 15.3 miles on Sunday), I did this at a moderate instead of hard effort, aiming for the pushes to be about marathon pace.  They were 6:07-6:39, and I felt good aside from on the significant uphills.  We decided we would not run a pace-based workout on that route in the future!
  • Strides: March 2, 9, 12, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 26, 27, 30
  • Doubles:  March 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31
  • Strength Training:  weekly totals of 3:12, 2:30, 3:05, 1:25
Long Runs:
  • March 6:  22.2 miles (7:16), with a workout described above.  Colin and Casey also ran this workout and it's always ideal to have company for 22 milers!
  • March 7:  15 miles (8:10), which didn't feel too long but I was glad it was an easy paced run!  Rebecca, Abby, Casey, Colin, and David  joined for 10-15 of this run, and friends make the miles fly.
  • March 13:  17.7 miles, including 3.4 miles warm up, the Running of the Squirrels 5k, a 3 mile marathon pace effort, and 8.2 cool down.
  • March 14:  14.5 miles (8:07), that was supposed to be 13 but my running group was misguided on the route, hah.  We had a solid group - Christian, Sean, David, Rebecca, Colin, and Casey - and everyone ran long since the March 13 group run was canceled due to the deluge.
  • March 20:  23.3 miles (7:24), with 10 x 0.2 pushes, described above. Colin ran all of the miles with me and Casey did the first 13 with us.  I felt amazingly good on this run, and we ran it on the dirt trail that I will race on next month.  I didn't do a Sunday long run on March 21 since I was racing the following weekend!
  • March 27:  25.7 miles, including 2.6 warm up, the T-Town Half Marathon, and 10 more miles.  I was proud to get this done, and also proud of my restraint for not going 0.5 farther. I'd planned 25 so was over my distance, but Colin was also running 25 and had warmed up 2 miles so I finished with him, which was a testament to how decent I felt (on my cool down after the Cabin Fever Reliever 20k I did not run one extra step).
  • March 28:  15.3 miles (8:09), to complete my biggest weekend of 50k training!  I have no idea how I felt good doing this the day after running over 25 miles that included racing a hard half, but I did.  This weekend was my biggest weekend of 50k training and I feel ready!


Running Highlights:
  • Well, I raced more this month than I did in all of 2020, so there is that!
  • I realized that every race I run right now is a masters PR, so cheers to two masters PRs this month.
  • I ran my second and third 100+ mile weeks of 2021 (my first was the final week of February).  The last week of February + first week was of March was my first time running two 100+ mile weeks in a row.  I've now done 100 miles in a week 5 times so I guess I should stop writing about it, but it still feels like a milestone to me!  As this is published I'm working on my fourth one of 2021, before I begin a gradual 3 week taper.
  • I won a Garmin 745 on an Instagram giveaway! I would have never splurged for this model on my own, but I'm planning to enjoy it now.  My 235 still works great so my husband is now using it, and I gave my 220 that he was using to a friend who needed one, so the benefits of this win were exponential.
  • I heard about this running shoe review website on a podcast, and have bookmarked it for the next time I'm in the market for racing shoes.
  • A friend mapped out the old Springfield Marathon course for me.  I ran this in 2004 when I lived in Kansas and didn't have a grasp on the area, but when we moved to our current home the farm roads looked very familiar and I knew the trail that made up part of the course, so I'd mostly put it together, but having the whole thing mapped was really exciting to me and I plan to run most of it on a 20+ miler soon (it is very not flat).
Girl gang morning run fun

Life Highlights
  • Albani had spring break the week after daylight savings time began - a brilliant move on her school district's part.  She and Jon did some gardening, some television watching, and a lot of junk food eating together.
  • Albani also had her first track meet, where she ran the 100 m dash and threw the shot put.  She'd never even practiced shot put so I don't know why she signed up for it, but we greatly enjoyed it.  My dad reminded me that I did long jump at my first track meet, which I also had never practiced, so...
  • I road tripped with several of my running buddies to the T-Town Half in Tulsa and felt like I was in college again.  We had countless laughs and I will always treasure the experience.
100 m dash

Shot put

So much cuteness here

Books:
  • Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
  • She Prays: A 31-Day Journey to Confident Conversations with God by Debbie Lindell and Lisa Harper
  • The Light of Christmas by Richard Paul Evans
  • Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker
  • Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom
  • Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren
  • The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
  • Running for My Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong and Mark A. Tabb
  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
  • Let Me Hear Your Voice: A Family's Triumph over Autism by Catherine Maurice
  • The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Theme for the month:
Progress is not linear!  When I first started back to workouts after my November time off, my tempos were in the 6:40s.  Then in January they dropped to 6:20s with really no inbetween, and at the end of February they dropped to 6:00s without much inbetween, all at about 165ish HR.  The 6:00s now actually feel a lot better than the 6:40s previously did - like now I'm letting it flow vs. fighting for it back in December.  Currently my workouts are about 5-10 seconds/mile slower than when I was at my lifetime peak fitness in fall 2019, which I'm pretty pleased about.  I still have a beef with a particular marathon time, so hope to build to that in the fall; I have been very tempted to add a spring marathon, but I am not going to.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The T-Town Half Marathon: Race Intoxication

The short:

I won a half marathon and set the Oklahoma female masters state record! I had an amazing race trip with my friends! Runners are the best people ever!  Everything is wonderful!

I didn't run quite as fast as I'd have liked at T-Town, but 60 degrees in March is much warmer than 60 degrees in September.  I was proud of my even pacing and solid performance running solo on a course with some tricky elevation.  As per usual, I'd have preferred a 30-40 degree day, pacing partners, and an easy course, but given the circumstances I don't really think this could have gone any better.  And, I got to break the tape!  Oh, also I ran 10 miles after the race for a 25.7 mile day (and had the restraint not to run 0.5 mile farther).

Official results are here, with my details here.

My Strava activity is here.

My dad's video of my finish is here.

The long:

I hadn't raced a half since White River in November 2019, so to say I was incredibly excited about this one is an understatement.  After I raced the Cabin Fever 20k in February and my workout paces came down throughout February and March, my anticipation kept growing, and by race week I fully in race intoxication!

Several members of my Miles from Mentor running group made the trip down to Tulsa, including Elise, Sean, Colin, Casey, Abby, and Brad, and my friend Andrew from Kansas City joined us in Oklahoma.  Several members of the crew were PR ready, which was extra exciting for me because I've been writing training schedules for several of them this season (proud "coaching" moments!).  I'm going to write a seperate post with trip stories, because the getaway was amazing and I kind of felt like I was in college again, including getting very little sleep on Friday night.

Spring weather in the Midwest is pretty unpredictable but almost always windy, so leading up to the race I'd been worried we would have a 20+ mph headwind for half of the out-and-back course, since I'd had several recent workouts in high winds.  I didn't think about it being warm since we'd still been having cool overnight lows and the race started at 7:30 a.m., but somehow race morning managed to be the highest overnight low of the year so far at around 60 degrees.  60 degrees feels much warmer the first time you run hard in it each season, and even when I am used to it I never run as well in it as I do at 30-45, so I just decided to be thankful it wasn't windy.  I race by effort, and one of the many perks of changing to that approach has been that I don't have to think about how much to adjust my goal pace for weather conditions; actually I don't have to think about my goal pace at all, although based on my workouts I knew 6:00-6:10 should be where I was at on a good day.

I warmed up with my friends then we lined up with some extra space and masks until the last minute due to COVID protocols.  After the gun, Brad was quick to take the lead, a few other men were out fast, a woman in buns took off, and Colin was following.  I settled into a comfortably hard pace with Andrew and had a pretty relaxed first couple of miles, although I told him I definitely wanted to chase down the woman ahead of us.  We caught up with her around mile 2, which was also when we moved from the road onto a running/bike trail, and then she hung onto us for maybe a quarter mile after that before I took the female lead.  I felt like I'd gone out conservatively and also felt very strong, so I was confident with leading.  

During mile 1

I was hoping that Andrew and I could work together for most of the race, but he didn't have a good day and fell back by mile 4 (based on his recent workouts I fully expected him to beat me, but he had a little illness that cost him a good race).  I could see a man in black significantly ahead of me, but there were also a lot of non-racers on the trail and it was a little confusing; the trail split into two sides at parts, which I later learned were the bike portion and the run side, but I was unclear on where I should be so looked ahead to others.  I think the race assumed most entrants were local and knew what they should be doing, but everyone in our Missouri group was confused; our trails are nowhere near that advanced, hah!

On the bike path, probably around 

I mostly just focused on maintaining my effort and running the tangents on the curvy path.  I did the calculations and figured I'd see Brad about 0.25 from the turn around, so when he came back the other way I knew I was getting close.  I then saw Colin in second and two more men before I came upon an aid station.  There'd been one every couple of miles on the trail and this one was no different, so I thought the turn around must be a little farther up.  After I'd run maybe 10 seconds past, the lady at the aid station started yelling at me to turn around at the table.  I immediately turned back at that point, but I lost some time and nicely told her that she should let people know to turn around sooner since it wasn't marked (I later found out that she told Casey but Elise did exactly what I did).  I grabbed a water bottle off the table to take with a gel.  I usually don't take anything in halves, but since I was running so far on the day I knew I needed to stay on top of fueling, plus I always appreciate a mid-race caffeine boost.

Once I turned around, the race became even more enjoyable.  A cyclist with the race began riding with me as I navigated the "back" against the rest of the racers.  I saw Andrew and encouraged him to come get me.  I saw Casey in second female position not far behind.  I saw Elise in fifth female rapidly gaining on fourth.  I then saw the rest of the field at some point between miles 6.5 and about 10.  So many people cheered for and encouraged me; it was amazing!  I had a huge grin on my face, which I think then made more people yell "first female", "you're moving!", etc.  Runners are really the most encouraging and supportive people on the earth.  The race didn't have mile markers so each time I heard my watch beep I made sure to mentally note where I was at, and I was doing a countdown on miles left to 12 (because the final mile takes care of itself).  I also budgeted my energy for the final 2.5 miles with a lot of climbing - it had been hard to enjoy the downhill at the beginning knowing I had to go back up it!

This is not much elevation overall, but the
way it was distributed was a bit of a trick

Around mile 10 my lead cyclist handed me off to a police motorcycle escort.  Once we got off the trail I was really thankful for him, because the course was kind of confusing and not well-marked (Casey actually got off the course at that point because no one directed her, although she ended up getting back on the course in a different spot that was a little longer).  I was gaining on the man in front of me, and around mile 11.5 he turned around and asked my police escort where to go.  Trying to catch him kept me pushing in the final couple of miles in spite of the hills, and grade-adjusted the final mile was my fastest of the race.  Toward the end I continued to feel really strong, but not necessary speedy, which is unsurprising given I've been doing strength-based training and high mileage (that I probably didn't cut back as much as I should have for this race - it was a 90 mile week). 


Police motorcycle escort (lights were
flashing but you can't tell here)

Coming down the finishing stretch with the motorcycle was fun, and as I got closer I saw a finishing ribbon held out for me to "break", which was great!  The announcer said my name, town, and overall female place while I raised my arms through the tape with a huge smile on my face.  I also saw 1:21 on the clock, which I was pleased with on the day.  Before the race I'd predicted 1:19-1:21 as my range, although if I'd have known how warm it was going to be I'd have changed that to 1:21-1:23.

Finish!
I smiled for some photos, found friends, changed shoes, and grabbed a lot of nutrition to tackle 10 more miles for the day (I've been calling it a "10 mile cool down", but that is a bit of a misnomer).  Colin is also 50k training and was in for the extra 10, Abby made the trip with us in order to visit and cheer so did this for her main run, and my friend Liz who lives in Tulsa joined us as part of her long run.  I wasn't quite sure how the extra distance would go, but I'd learned from my Cabin Fever cool down bonk that I needed a lot of nutrition so I felt like I was eating much of the run but that definitely helped (2 gels, a bottle of UCAN, a pack of chews).  I could have used more water and thought the fountains on the trail would work to refill the small bottle I had, but they were turned off (thanks, COVID).  I actually only needed 9.3 miles to hit 25 total, but Colin hadn't warmed up quite as long as I had and I felt great so I ran until he hit 25.  I was then of course tempted to just go to 26.2 since I was a half mile away, but there really wasn't any reason to.
Amazing crew

All in all, it was a wonderful experience.  My friends are amazing, and my race was my best on the day.  I'm proud of my 25.7 mile day and of my even pacing.  Everyone in the group was 2-4 minutes off the times expected, which I didn't like for anyone but made me feel like I'd have definitely run faster in different weather, since I'm 100% sure they all have faster times in them right now.  Finish times with predicted times in ( ): Brad was 1st overall male in 1:15 (1:12), Colin was 3rd overall male in 1:20 (1:17), Andrew won his age group with 1:24 (1:19), Casey was 2nd overall female in 1:27/really 1:26 (1:23), and Elise won her age group with 1:34 (1:31) - Sean was a bit injured so was more off but it was for a different reason.  I've been very guilty of chasing the perfect race and being unsatisfied with anything less, but I think I'm finally learning that I can be very happy with my race AND know that I have a faster one in me.  I also appreciate the running community more than words can express.

Miles from Mentor group (minus Brad)

The masters state record was a wonderful surprise, because it wasn't even on my radar...I kind of think I'm still 29, bahaha!  The man in charge of maintaining the records said they are working on updating the website - link coming soon - but he sent me the files of the records for age groups. Masters is 40+, so I'm including applicable age groups here - Joan Benoit Samuelson actually had the record at 1:21:57 before me, so it's sure a good thing that I didn't run any farther past that turn around!  This is definitely the first time I've broken a record held by a marathon Olympic gold medalist (1984 marathon), although her 1:21 at age 51 is astronomically more impressive.

In regards to my pacing, Strava doesn't do grade-adjusted pace on free accounts any more, but my latest hack has been looking at the race on someone else's paid account and converting my own mile paces to GAP.  It takes a little effort, but it's worth my monthly Strava savings considering that's the only paid account feature I want.  Here are my splits:

I could use a little work on miles 10-11

I am so thankful for the joy God brings me through the running community and racing.  And now I have a half master's PR to beat!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Running of the Squirrels 5k was more rainy than squirrely!

The short:

I ran a 5k, you know, because those fit so well with half marathon and 50k training.  I actually did it for $100 cash and a cute porcelain squirrel trophy, although driving to the race in the pouring rain I had second thoughts.  Luckily it was 50 degrees so being soaked wasn't torturous, and I was able to win overall female for said cash and squirrel, with an 18:36 via splits of 5:57, 6:03, 5:57 (5:26 final 0.12).  I then ran the course again at marathon effort (6:28 average) and an 8.2 mile cool down, which along with a 3.4 mile warm up gave me a 17.7 mile long run for the day.

My race on Strava is here.

I loved this prop!
The long:

Things that will get me to race a 5k:

  1. Prize money
  2. The ability to make the race part of a long run workout
  3. Porcelain squirrel trophies

Running of the Squirrels on March 13 had all of the above, so I was in!  What I wasn't in for was the very rainy race morning, but I'd pre-registered so what was I to do but still run it?  Plus my running group canceled their run that morning due to heavy rain...

I was excited for this race (because, a race!!), but I wasn't sure how much pep my legs would have with the miles they had on them; 2 days before the race my rolling 7 day mileage was 102 and the day before it was 97 (I was also coming off 3 days of work travel).  I only ran 4 miles plus strides the day before the race, so that had to help some but this obviously wasn't a goal race (because, 5k!) and I did not anticipate that it would be competitive (because, small town Missouri). My plan was just to run by effort and go for the win, and I also hoped I didn't have to go too deep since I wanted to get in many more miles after the race.

It rained for over 24 hours straight before the race, and the hourly forecast showed 100% chance of rain each hour all race morning, so I knew there was no hope of staying dry but when Colin, Derek, and I ran the course for a warm up I also realized we were going to be running through a lot of standing water.  It turns out that Marionville doesn't have the best drainage... But, the rain stayed moderate (never heavy) while we were running, and it was 50 degrees so it could have been much worse!  We also saw a real white squirrel during our warm up.

After our warm up, some drills, and strides, we lined up in a pretty small race field.  I think the rain scared a lot of people away, because the last time I ran this race it was much larger (there were only 58 finishers this year).  After the gun, 6 men took off ahead of me, and I settled into pace and began working on closing the gap to the closest.  I focused on giving a good effort for 3.1 miles, but leaving a little in the tank because I wanted to finish the rest of my running for the day without dying.  As is typical when I'm in the depths of high mileage, I felt strong but not fast.  I'd passed half of the men by the mile mark, and the next was fading so I focused on working up to him, which I did around halfway.  I then worked on reeling the second place male in, and I gained a lot of ground but ran out of time and he finished 13 seconds in front of me (he had been with my running buddy Colin at the mile in 5:30ish so did not pace quite as evenly as me).

After I finished I looked at my splits, and I was really happy to see how well I paced.  I have learned that I typically do best when I don't look at my watch during races, and this race was no different.  Pre-race I thought I was in shape to run about 5:50 pace for a 5k, and I still think I am but I need no rain or water crossings to do it.  :-)  I am not quite in shape to break 18 right now, but I am also doing primarily strength-based training (tempos, hills, progressions - not straight speed), so I'm happy that I can run sub-6:00 in sub-par conditions.  My PR was 18:25 for a very long time, which also gives me perspective here.  I doubt I'll ever train specifically for a 5k, but you never know!

Splits

I cheered a few friends in after I finished, then changed my shoes and Colin and I were off for another loop of the course at marathon effort.  I was aiming to run 6:25 pace, and we averaged 6:28 via 6:26, 6:40, 6:20...I felt good but just lost focus and talked too much during mile 2.  We then went to check on the awards, which were supposed to start "any minute" but took over 20 minutes to begin and then started with 10 and under, so we stood around waiting for longer than I'd have liked for our overall awards that were presented last.  I was also freezing since I was in soaking wet clothes (I didn't think I had time or reason to change)!

Colin was first male overall & Derek first masters male!

Not my best photography, but good race stuff

You can kind of tell how soaked I was here

Professional race photo, hah

After getting $100 bills and porcelain squirrels, Colin and I were off for 7.5-8 more miles that ended up being 8.2 and giving me 17.7 for the day (I was planning 17 so this was real close).  Those miles started draggy and slow (8:43 first), but after warming back up we were back to a comfortable 7:30ish.  It rained the entire cool down too, so I got in a lot of very wet miles.  I wore 3 different shirts and 3 pairs of shoes during the course of the event, and my car's hatchback was filled with wet apparel by the end of it.  I'm happy to report I had no chafing or blisters, which was perhaps the biggest victory of the day!

I'm thankful to be back to racing, even 5ks (which we all know are not my forte).  I ran this race in 2015 so now I have two porcelain squirrels, and Albani says I need to get a papa squirrel next year!

They're so cute!