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One Weekend…Three Races; Runner’s World Hat Trick

Running doubles used to be one of my favorite things to do. Then in the last training cycle I started focusing on speed work and tempos, so I cut back on those extra runs to have quality runs and more time for cross training.  This weekend made me remember why I loved doubles…pure running, simply for the sake of running.

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If I hadn’t been so exhausted from my sheer excitement of meeting running legends and talking to amazing people it would have been even more fun. So how does one recap three races:

I ran a 5k
I ran a 10k
I ran a half marathon
It was awesome.

Good enough? While I tried to capture some pictures during the run, I think it’s hard to truly explain why this weekend was so wonderful. My body may not have been primed for these races, but I wanted it and I wanted to feel that running passion again. Success!!

MY HAT TRICK GAME PLAN
My plan for the 5K was to practice marathon pace, then an hour later take off at an easy pace for the 10k. This worked out great on day one, but I was worried about the hills taking a toll on day two. Luckily my body responded and I felt amazing for the half marathon. I had to hold myself back the entire race because I didn’t want to overdo it and go to NYC on fatigued legs. I stuck to my game plan of running the first 8 easy and then I transitioned to marathon pace.

So no PR’s, but that wasn’t the goal. The goal was feeling good from start to finish, practicing hills, practicing marathon pace and I think the only thing that really hurt by the time I left was my face because I couldn’t stop smiling.

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Thanks to Ashley for this great photo where I actually look like I’m running for once!! Post race it was amazing to have so many wonderful women to connect with and share our experiences! Lynda, me, Linz, Tina, Jill, Katherine.

COURSE
From the ING Marathon site: “The truth is Miami and Miami Beach are at sea level; we have really no noticeable elevation changes.” Hence I knew I would be getting in a great NYC marathon practice run by hitting up all three races in Bethlehem…after hearing Bart Yasso and David Wiley talk I’m pretty sure they included every hill in Bethlehem! This made for a challenging course, but if you can embrace the up hills, the down hills give you lots of chances to make up speed.
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Each of the three courses shared many of the same streets, as they all started outside the Bethlehem Steel Stacks. This turned out to be one of the coolest backdrops for a race start that I have seen in a long time. As Bart Yasso explained in his talks, the Steel Stacks are a major part of this cities history from when they were the way to put bread on the table by working long hard days to after it closed and the town came alive in new ways. The area is now used for festivals and is being revitalized with shops, theaters, etc.
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Finish line area - Post run tour with Bart Yasso, Altra Zero Drop Shoes and all the Fitfluential ladies.

During the 10K, I pulled out my iPhone to snap some photos…but I feel like nothing can quite give you the true feeling of how pretty this little town was to run through! Maybe I’m biased because I haven’t experienced fall leaves in three years, but the colors were so vivid, the air so crisp and the spectators SO FRIENDLY!! Being a small town you can’t expect large crowds, but the spectators who showed up where amazing. They never stopped clapping and cheering and dancing around.

RunnersWorldCourseAMENITIESDuring the 5K and 10K, there were not a lot of water stations and only 1 Gatorade station near the middle of the 10K. This surprised me because I’m used to Miami races now where there is water and sports drinks galore on just about any length of course.  The 5K /10K post race  also felt a bit “bare bones” with a bagel, banana and apple.  I believe this is because it’s a race organized by runners and so they stuck to the essentials! Most of us don’t need or want pastries after a short run, but it has become the norm at other races to help draw in more people.

The half marathon course provided Gatorade at almost every water station and GU’s around the 8 mile mark.  The post race food was also more robust including bagels, bananas, apples, Clif bars, Gatorade and pretzels. Again the focus here was on quality, healthy foods which is a tribute to the entire Rodale organization and how they view food as fuel.  Luckily they also had mylar blankets after the half marathon because it was a much cooler morning and that chill snuck up pretty quick in our sweaty clothes.

Porta potties and bathrooms were plentiful prior to all races, eliminating any concerns about taking care of things. Additionally the plentiful parking made it possible to arrive a little later to the start area so that you didn’t have to wait in the cold and to leave bags in cars if you didn’t want to gear check. 

Runner’s World really focused their efforts on the special things that only they could offer!

- Running the course with Bart Yasso
- Bart Yasso announcing everyone who crossed the finish
- Running with Shalane Flanagan and Dean Karnazes
- Special movie and speaker presentations like Matt Long and Trish Hamilton
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Dean Karnazes and Bart Yasso being mobbed by all of us Fitfluential bloggers! Harold, Sara B, me, Lynda, Katie, Ashley, Katherine, Jill, Carly and Linz. Matt Long and me.
 
Haven't had enough of my Runner's World experience, check out this Runner's World Behind the Scenes post.

WORKOUTS
Oct 15

AM: Woke up in Palm Beach with 0 desire to get up, but of course I did because it was a chance to checkout new scenery!! 45 min walk, 30 min weights/core
PM: All day working Oakley Pro-Am
Oct 16
AM: 6.25 miles - moderate pace, 15 min walk
PM: 2.75 miles - easy pace, 20 min walk - Went to group run where everyone was wearing pink for breast cancer awareness…Ok couldn’t talk David in to pink, but we both took our Garmins so we kinda matched. Winking smile
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Oct 17
AM: 4.5 mile easy run, 15 min walk, 40 min bike trainer
PM: 20 min stretch, strength train
Oct 18AM: Core work, Start the travel to PA!
Oct 19
AM: 3.8 mile easy run around Bethlehem with Bart Yasso as our tour guide
PM: Crazy amounts of walking all over
Oct 20
AM: 5K, 10K, plus lots more walking
Oct 21
AM: Runner’s World Half Marathon, walking (are you seeing a trend)
PM: Drive back to Philly, fly back to Miami
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Gratitude JournalRunning_motivation
Oct 22
I am humbled to have run with legends this weekend and grateful they were so gracious and open!

Thanks to Fitfluential for making this event possible. I was provided free entry to all races, but the actual running and opinions are entirely me.

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