Last Half of the Year

During the past 6 months, Jim and I have stayed focused on training and ran 3 half marathons. Our last scheduled race of the year, Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon, was yesterday. We ran it and got our best times of the year.

We may drop into a few races over the winter because have been frustrated with being snowed out of winter races in the past. We will not preregister for anything until Spring but will continue with a less intense training schedule over the winter.

Do go out to Run Pennsyltucky and give a listen to our 25 minute podcast that covers the 2016 Gettsyburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon.img_6615

Hellbender Half Marathon 2016

2016-08-20 13.08.58 HDR2016-08-05 15.19.39A new Run Pennsyltucky podcast, perfect for a short run. I recap the 8th annual Hellbander Half Marathon this past weekend and my first distance race in well over a year! Jim and I are recovering well and hope you will give my quick unedited podcast a listen and hear what race we have on our radar next!

2012 NYC Marathon “Resolution”

not so much

not so much

Finally, ING NYC Marathon made a statement to telling runners who were to be in this year’s race what options they might have for refund/ future entry. Personally, I am still waiting to see when the 2013 lottery will open since it will be my 3rd time entering (last 2 denied entry) but it is nice to read what is going on.

Here is the letter from New York Road Runners President and CEO Mary Wittenberg:

Dear Marathon Runners:

Thank you all for your patience during the last seven weeks as we have worked through issues related to the cancellation of the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. Hurricane Sandy was a devastating event for our city, and our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and their families as they work to rebuild their homes and lives.

We are sorry that it has taken us longer to resolve these issues than we had originally hoped. We have been working to offer the best possible solutions in order to meet the needs of the many different groups associated with the Marathon.

Our goal was to offer a range of options to each of you so that you can choose which option works best for you.

MARATHON RUNNERS
2012 Marathoners may choose one of the following options:

Option #1 – Refund. While NYRR has always had a no-refund policy for the Marathon, given these extraordinary circumstances, we are offering runners who were entered in the 2012 Marathon, and were unable to run due to the cancellation 1, the opportunity to obtain a full refund of their 2012 Marathon entry fee (excluding the $11 processing fee); OR
Option #2 – Guaranteed entry to the ING New York City Marathon for 2013, 2014, or 2015. Entrants in the 2012 Marathon who choose this option will be granted guaranteed entry to the Marathon for the year they choose. Runners will be required to pay all processing and entry fees at the time of application (in the given year), with fees maintained at the same rate as those paid in 2012; OR
Option #3 – Guaranteed entry to the NYC Half 2013. Entrants in the 2012 Marathon who choose this option will be granted guaranteed entry to the NYC Half 2013, to be run on March 17, 2013. Runners will be required to pay all processing and entry fees at the time of application. Availability will be limited.

CHARITY RUNNERS
All runners who signed up to run the 2012 Marathon on behalf of Team for Kids or one of the official ING New York City Marathon charities and obtained their entry from NYRR will be offered the same options. The fundraising you did in connection with the 2012 Marathon will entitle you to any of the options above. If your 2012 Marathon entry fee was paid through your charity partner, you will be contacted directly by your charity.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL PARTNERS
All international runners who gained entry to the 2012 Marathon as part of a travel package with an official ING New York City Marathon International Travel Partner will be contacted directly by their International Travel Partner representative to facilitate their options.

TICKET-HOLDERS FOR OTHER RACE-WEEK EVENTS
Ticket-holders for any of the following events will be offered a full refund:

Marathon Eve Dinner
Reserved Grandstand Seating
Blue Line Lounge Presented by Tata Consultancy Services
Marathon in a Motorcoach
TrackMyRunnersTM via TXT

Those of you who were entered in the cancelled 2012 NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K will receive a separate e-mail outlining further details.

THE OPTION SELECTION PROCESS

Individual e-mails will be sent to all runners on January 10, 2013, and information will be posted on the Marathon website (www.ingnycmarathon.org), providing further details and terms and conditions for the obtaining of refunds and the choosing of an option. The option selection window will open on January 11, 2013, and you will have until January 25, 2013, to choose your option, so we ask that you please act quickly once you receive the instructional e-mail, as there will be no default option.
Please choose the option that works best for you. If you have any questions prior to receiving our instructional e-mail on January 10, please do not hesitate to contact NYRR customer service at customerservice@nyrr.org.

On behalf of all of us at NYRR, thank you for your patience and support. Our commitment is to work hard over the coming year to serve our runners and community and to return the ING New York City Marathon to being our city’s best day.

Yours in running,

Mary Wittenberg

President and CEO

Some Days You’re the Shark

Some Days You’re the Shark
I have mentioned a motivation we have while running races (Nittany Valley Half and Red Baron Half) how you can reel in your shark, being a like a sucker fish remora. This past weekend, Jimmy-the eye and I learned that we had been sharks!RudolphRomp2

We had reason to travel to Carlisle this past weekend and scoped out a festive race to participate in. We chose the Rudolph’s Romp 5k in Middletown. It was a fast course that had quite a few turns in it so I never expected to PR again at 25:33. That busted my best by over a minute! Jim came in 12 seconds before me so we were able to both see each other cross the finish line.

I scoped the finishers and saw I came in before any other women my age or older. Excitedly, Jim hustled to the car to get the camera in case I received an award after all of the runners were in. Just as I was walking away from the ordered list of finishers, I was approached by a tall and slender woman who said she had been trying to catch me, congratulated me on my finish and asked my time. I realized she must be in my age group, asked her time (20 seconds after me) and told her than any other day she would have caught me. I also told her that it was an honor to have her say that to me. I had been her shark!

Jim must have been held up getting the camera so I found him chatting with a fellow parked near our car. This turned out to be Jim’s remora who cheerfully accosted him with, “How old are you!?” Jim and I had passed him right in the final 1/2 mile and he was worried that Jim was in the 70+ group and then felt that he should just pretty much give up if he, “… was being passed by a woman in a skirt.” HA! The life of a shark is a new one for us.

goodbye running streakRudolphRomp1

My running streak (#RWRunStReak) paid the price for my speedy race. I felt my left achilles starting to get pretty sore near the end of the race. By the end of the day, I could tell I was hurt more than superficially. The next morning(s) confirmed it, I only ran about a mile each time but could tell that the recovery I had gained overnight wasn’t enough to start running again the next morning. I could probably heal very slowly and keep the streak alive but I think a day or so off will expedite the process and I can enjoy a night run to see the holiday lights more easily.

This morning was the first time in a month I haven’t run at least a mile. It feels odd since I had gotten into the habit but I can tell my leg will heal much more quickly this way. It is less sore than tight even now. The streak did teach me that I might be able to add a day of running the next time I am training for a specific race. Instead of believing that I absolutely need a day off in between every run day, I now know that I can have a low mileage/intensity day added in as long s I am not nursing an injury.

Poe’s Nevermore Half Marathon®

I shared how my imagination can wander during longer runs and how I created a local race called Poe’s Nevermore Half Marathon®. I was planning how the Boy Scout Camp could accommodate runners near the start line, exactly where there would be water stops and aid stations and how the toilets at Poe Paddy State Park are conveniently placed for the finish. I was even toying with the design of the finisher’s medal and how it should probably be near Hallowe’en, maybe even at night. Thus my mind wanders as I run.Nevermore_sm

Last week, Jim sent me a couple of images via email and my first thought was, “Darn! Someone beat me to it!” It was a logo for a race so much like mine that I knew I could never use the name without seeming like a blatant copy-cat. Jim then took the super cool design and used Photoshop to put it on my hat and shirt and made it look like I was finishing my planned course at Poe Paddy. The man is a wiz with Photoshop and it was very cute of him to make it look like it was my own.

It was then I realized that it was NOT an existing race, Jim had created the whole logo just for me! I love how he does things like that to thrill me and make me laugh. He really got me that time and I love it!

Who wants to do this race and get a shirt like that!?NevermoreShirt_OL_sm

Seeing Red

The theme that goes with this title isn’t really in anger but I will list a few little quirky things that kind of have gotten under my skin as of late. For the most part, the red theme is a good thing because I had a chance to take place in the Red Baron Half Marathon this past weekend. I will save that good stuff for last.

Act 1 – Red State, Blue State

It is election day and living a what they call a “blue state” has had my past couple of weeks filled with calls endorsing Republican candidates. There may have been a few Democrat candidate calls too but I hung up before I could hear all of that the automated political message was promoting/bashing. Those calls are a real irritant and I was glad that today would bring an end to them.

As a recovery run from the Red Baron Half, today I ran a total of 4 miles to my polling place and back. Yes, I voted and specifically wore my Wineglass Marathon shirt to be all up in this one woman’s face who works at the polls. Before you judge me for being harsh, hear my story.

About 3 years ago, Jim and I were avid bike to work people and had been for years. On a warm summer morning on my way to campus I cheerfully said, “Hello,” as I pedaled past this woman biking up the steep Orchard Road (same stretch as that last mile Jim just ran on his 10 mile training run). Come that November, I saw her working at the polls and upon exiting she says to me, “My bike tires were under-inflated that day you passed me. I’ll be ready for you next time.”

Good golly! I had no idea that it had been a competition but to her it was. I never saw her biking in our neighborhood again but did see her out for a run with a friend. It was that very winter or the next I started running and from that point on have always run a loop to go vote. Each time she says to me, “Are you still biking?” and for the past couple of years I have replied, “Actually much less, I enjoy running now.” I always know she is going to say something about my biking and I can remember proudly running there and wearing my first Dry Valley Half Marathon shirt 2 years ago. When she saw it, her chosen election day quip to me was, “I got too old for running.”

Her son and ours were on the same t-ball team when they were 4 or 5 years old and she doesn’t look to be more than 5 years older than me. I thought her statement to be another excuse for maybe not running a half marathon like I had that year. It was pretty clear she just wasn’t going to let the moment I passed her go so this year I wore my first full marathon shirt. I was tired of not wanting to ruffle her feathers and am still super proud of my accomplishment. So, I was not very compassionate and knew she would comment on my cold weather running gear, or shirt, or something. As it turned out, she was still stuck on the bike thing and asked, “Did you bike here today?” As she read my shirt I replied, “No, actually I ran.” I am wondering what I should wear next spring.

As a red themed entr’acte, enjoy a video of the red squirrel that just chewed down my clothesline.

Act 2 – Little Red flags

Back to my next little irritant. Jim and I have enjoyed running a few local 5k, 8k, and 10k races together. We have noticed a pattern of glitches when we pick up our racing bibs or pre-registration swag. The registration folks look right through me and fall over themselves to help Jim. Sometimes it is funny because it happens even when he isn’t registered and I am. A few years ago at our annual Arts Festival 5k / 10k race, they just couldn’t wrap their head around the fact that Jim was running less than I was. The guy handing out t-shirts started belittling him for only running the 5k after I got my 10k packet.

Now that he is running longer distances and we are racing more regularly together, we have really noticed the discrepancy. He was actually the one to notice the pattern and added up all of the little red flags when I got frustrated at the Clearfield Pumpkin Run 5k. We had gone in to get our t-shirts and racing bibs/chips and they were all excited by helping Jim. They were surprised I was running too and asked what size shirt I had signed up for. They then took it and my bib/chip and stuffed it into Jim’s swag bag. Initially I was cool with that because I have so many big old shopping-style bags but as we emptied out the swag in the car, there was some cool stuff that we only got one of. Too shy to go back and make a fuss, I started to cry and remembered the other times they had fallen over themselves to get Jim registered. Previously I had been thrilled because he was just starting to race but my understanding was now starting to wear a bit thin.

The next week we had both pre-registered for the Flat ‘N Fast 4-Miler. Jim was recovering from being sick and chose not to run it. I reminded him that he at least got a t-shirt out of the registration and he said, “How about I wait in the car so not to confuse registration? That way if there is swag, we will both get our share when I pick mine up later.” I said, “Yes! Maybe hide below the dashboard as I get mine so they don’t see you!” We laughed and I got both of our shirts since there wasn’t anything else at the registration table. Do remember, Jim DID win the goodie basket though. hmmmmm

We quickly forgot the strategy though because just a week later I decided to, spur of the moment, run the Dry Valley Half Marathon this year. The organizer and his wife were both teachers at our high school, the sweet woman was our 8th grade math teacher and we knew her before they married. We are always glad to see them and were pleased to have volunteered the year before (Happy Samhain… with Snow!?) when I was coming back from an injury. Jim and I approached the registration table and we were all grins and greetings. I then got down to business, pulling out my money to register and they slapped down 2 registration forms. I didn’t pick up on that little red flag because I was pleased to show them that I had already filled one out that I had printed at home.

I think the woman handing out the t-shirts assumed I was registering Jim because she was all over him, “What size do you want? Oh, her too? Well, what about you? Only her!?” Gosh, he wasn’t even in running clothes but I guess it was plenty early for him to change. *sigh*

Act 3 – Red Baron Half Marathon

As I said in the beginning, I wanted to save to good stuff for last. No race rant here, the organizers did a great job and I had a blast getting together with a Daily Mile buddy, Rosalie!

I paid enough attention to all of those little red flags in Act 2 that I chose to ride to the start line and register by myself by taking the provided bus. That was after Jim eased my mind by driving the course from finish to start then start to finish. What a dear, dear friend he is, I should have let him come along on the bus and they would probably have given him something just for being there.

Some folks might be asking what I was doing there. If you have been counting, this would make the 4th race I ran since the Wineglass Marathon. That is one every weekend with only the week after the marathon off. Yes, it is pretty crazy but this race has been on my radar since last year. I noticed that, when paired with the Wineglass Marathon, the Red Baron Half Marathon offers an extra incentive to do both; you become a member of the Wine Baron Club. Last year they got a really cool Red Shirt to prove they ran both races in the same year.

After I registered, I had quite a while before the race started. I found a big cushy chair in the one lounge and decided to chill out since I was a little nervous. I was glad to have driven the course because there were so many less unknowns and that helped me plan a bit for the BIG HULKING HILL AFTER MILE 5!

It is quite intimidating, especially when you crest a hill just after mile 4 and can see it looming in the distance with a smaller hiccup or 2 over the next mile and a half in the foreground. I was glad to have seen it before running it but that was mostly what was on my mind as I sat there on my own. I was in a thoughtful frame of mind, planning my attack as the room filled over the next 45 minutes. I saw another woman across the room who looked as quiet as I did and I thought about maybe talking to her but then thought that we both seemed to be in a good place, just mentally preparing for the run.

It was getting quite full and chairs were being snatched up as runners organized their stuff around me. It was actually getting a little warm with all the bodies and I took off my warm-up pants to reveal that I was one of the very few that wasn’t wearing full length tights or capri length cold weather gear. My Brooks PR Mesh Skort II didn’t even come down to mid-thigh and I looked around wondering if I had made the right choice. I stopped second guessing and told myself that I knew my body – I liked bare legs even in the mid 20s. Even with a breeze and snow, I would be fine in the 30s.

Eventually a family of 3 plopped their stuff down in the chair next to mine. The mom didn’t look like she was going to run but the dad and 20-something daughter started gearing up. Mother and daughter were very animated and chatty. They were talkative in that kind of loud way that seemed to beg other people to join in their conversation. “You have gotten so skinny, Alicia!” the mom gushed to her tall and very solidly built daughter. “Braid my hair, Mom,” bossed the daughter, “Oh my God Dad, what were you thinking wearing shorts today!?”

I looked at the Dad then back to them then down to my bare legs and back to them. They were on to the next subject, “My last run I was hitting 8 minute miles! Dad, where are you going!?” “Oh my lord Ben, like you couldn’t have remembered your sandwich before you came in from the parking lot?” The dad left to get his sandwich and I picked up all of my stuff and moved 3 seats away. I might still be able to hear them but with any luck, the daughter’s 8 minute miles would keep her and her dad well out in front of me for the entire race. (ok – that was a snarky little rant but I swear I had a blast this day)

Rosalie arrived in her red 2011 Wine Baron shirt. She is a spitfire, at 62 she nabs Age Group awards left and right because she is unstoppable. Her enthusiasm quelled my nerves and we talked running as we got ready for the start. The wind was picking up a bit and we got our baggage packed into the support vehicle that transported the bags back to the start line. She and I both like to run our own race, have our own music and strategies so it was really nice to not worry about staying together yet we knew we would be close since our pace is so similar.

At the starting line, an announcement was made that over 400 runners were participating, up about 50 from the year before. The gun sounded and we were off as I started a little farther back than 1/2 way in the pack. We looped around a little neighborhood for the first couple of miles then back for one last look at the Corning Community College on the top of the hill.

Mile 3 ticked by soon after we passed the Spencer Crest Nature Center which is the beneficiary of the entrance fees from this race. Jim and I had enjoyed letterboxing there a few years ago and were really glad such a cool place was having funds directed to it from this race.

This course had water stations at miles 3, 5, 9 and 12 and all also offered Gatorade. It was after the first water station and at mile 4 where we topped one of the rolling hills to see the big ol’ hill in the distance. I whooped with glee because it was so massive and runners were spread out as far as I could see over the next mile and a half. It was just awesome.

I ended up tackling that hill with no problem at all and ate up the crazy downhill over next 4 miles. Downhills are my sweet spot so this course suited me. The only thing I didn’t like about the course was that you had to be super aware for the last few miles because it was clearly open to traffic. With just a couple of miles to go, the course turns in to the park that I was familiar with from the Glassfest 8k.

As we had driven past the park earlier, I had mentioned to Jim that I would miss giving him a kiss as we ran through the one tunnel. Leave it to my man to have trotted out to the park to leave me a bunch of chalk messages for my final couple of miles. When I got to the underpass/tunnel I read, “Think a Kiss!” It was the very best.

Other chalk drawings reminded me to “Stay Loose (Footloose)” and Rosalie mentioned that Footloose was one of her playlist songs too! I also read one that reminded me to “Finish Like Freddie” and had a drawing of Freddie Mercury’s Rage Pose. I vowed to do it again at the end.

The end was at the Corning YMCA and before that was breezy Tioga Street along the Chemung River. I was getting cold and had even taken my fingers out of my gloves to double back onto my clammy palms to try to get warm. All of the chalk messages made me smile and kept me motivated to keep moving.

About 1/2 mile from the finish, I saw a chalk message that Jim had written, “Reel in Your Shark.” This makes reference to how sometimes when you are driving on the highway or running in a race you sometimes feel like a shark with a remora stuck to your back (or vice versa). I looked ahead. Who was my shark? There was a guy I had been playing leap-frog with since about mile 7 but he was about 1/2 block ahead. I doubted that I could reel him in but dug in a little bit to try. Amazingly, he slowly started to get closer and there was only a couple of other runners between me and him. So maybe I could focus on reeling the lady with the french braids and the guy in the shorts first…

Oh. My. G… It was that young woman and her father that I was all snarky about in the lobby of the Commons before the start! I was SO going to pass Ms. 8 Minute Mile and dug in so deep that I blasted past them AND my shark even before we turned onto the bridge that crossed the river. I imagined them hot on my heals and didn’t let up even as I spiralled around cutting under the bridge and could see I had left them well behind.

I gave my victorious rage pose fist in the air at the finish to an all new personal record, 2:03:33. Jim caught me on film with my finish time and was so happy to hear people enthusiastically cheer for my final kick and pose at the end.

Rosalie, whom I had passed at one point, came in soon after. She took first place in her age group and I got second in mine. A very satisfying finish to this half marathon in Corning and most likely my last for the year as I focus on Jim’s final weeks of training for his. I will ride this high for a while and enjoy what ever else comes my way.

Braving the Storm

Today was one of those days that we dread because so many worms were flooded out of the ground they should be nestled in. It is because of how were dodge critters on our runs that inspired the name of this blog. We don’t want to harm any living creatures and today found me doing what felt like hop-scotch as I swerved and leapt over any worms in my path.

Hurricane Sandy added some drama and challenges to this week. Today, my run was in the dregs of the storm. Yesterday forced Jim to resort to 4.5 miles on the treadmill. The day before, I grabbed a rain free window of 2 hours to run the local Dry Valley Half Marathon.

Make that 2 hours, 5 minutes and 17 seconds – a personal best for any half marathon I have run by. I bettered my time by 1:39 and course time by almost 20 minutes. I was in the area to visit my dad in the hospital and help the folks get things out of their basement in case they got some flooding. A few changes in plans happened; Dad got out of the hospital and Jim was the only helper since I was pretty tired after the race. I was glad to give my medal to Dad since he was the one who first coached me in running when I was a kid. I ran the race in his honor and hung the medal on his neck as a welcome home. We are glad he is out of the hospital, recovering at home and the hurricane seems to have spared us all and water and wind damages.

One final thing to note is that I was not so exhausted at the end of the race that I remembered to finally strike a finish line pose I had been meaning to do (see image to the right). Jim caught it perfectly on our camera. To understand the Freddie Mercury Rage Pose, go to the link and read the history. I just love how a simple pose can say so much and it totally summed up how I felt as I finished this race.

You Can’t Beat…

You can’t beat beets! That what my Dad always says and I have to agree with him. This vibrantly colored root vegetable is frequenting local food markets and CSAs right now. Amy shared a couple with me from her bounty and yesterday I put one of them to good use by making a batch of my Walnut Beet Burgers. They were as quick and flavorful as I remembered and I was glad to have blogged the recipe I came up with last year.

Beets from NYC certainly aren’t local for us so it will make more sense when I share that we went to visit Arron & Amy this past weekend. Arron’s week of performances in City Center culminated in my favorite ballet of all time, In the Upper Room. His artistic prowess was lauded in the New York Times a couple of days ago. The reviewer found his phrasing in the piece unbeatable, comparing him to one of the world’s top ballet dancers.

Arron Scott is so stylish a dancer that, even when he’s beside Mr. Cornejo in “In the Upper Room,” it’s to him I look to see just how a phrase should be accentuated.

I seem to be blogging backward because even before going to the city to visit with Amy (her first time seeing In the Upper Room) Jim and I had some wonderful times together earlier that day. We made time to finally stop in Bloomsburg and had lunch at Prana Juice Bar and Namaste Cafe. Columbia County is just a hair outside of the limits that are set for the judging for the Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards but it is still home to one other very few all vegetarian restaurants in central Pennsylvania.

Prana was having a Harvest Festival and it was in full swing during the time we chose to visit. This may have caused minor delays and unsynchronized arrival of our food being served but the staff was great about it all. They were cheerful and not in a spacy and oblivious way. They were aware of the increased patronage of the day and recognized it to us in a way that was a pleasant matter of fact and didn’t come off as a whiny excuse as it could have. The place was very busy but we were well taken care of as we placed the order, were directed to seating of our choice, getting our order correct and checking that it was to our liking.

We sat at a cute two-seater in a small room toward the front of the building where we could enjoy the live entertainment that was on the front porch, pleasant acoustic guitar performances graced the length of the festival. It was during this time that some of the other guests were the only unpleasant issue we had. One mom’s free-range parenting style allowed her elementary school aged girls to bang their small pumpkin gourds on the keys of a piano that we sat 3 feet from. She stood over them, enjoying the cacophony until I had to tell her that Jim and I couldn’t hear what each other were saying. Soon after, a young man in his late teens came wandering in and started looking under the cushions of a plush couch that was on the other side of our table. I assumed he had lost something but he turned to explain to us he was looking for spare change, ” …hoping to find $.50.” He went on to share that he was hoping to buy a small portion of one the cleansing juices, “…before I have to poop.” I grabbed up my change purse and gave him 2 quarters so he would be able to… um… get on with his business somewhere other than the dining area.

The juices do sound incredible and I am hoping the fellow got a schmecken of the Pranayumma, carrot, apple and beet juice because it would be my choice. We stuck to water though and ordered the Organic Soup du Jour, a thick vegetable stew with so many hearty and tender veggies we couldn’t count them all. It was well seasoned and might have even classified as a mild vegetable chili, a perfect bowl and a crisp Fall day.

We also shared and Avocado Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus Wrap. The hummus wasn’t super spicy but the flavors of jalapeno and cilantro were just enough to set it apart from the traditional. Fresh and perfect avocado wedges, crunchy but mild onions and other veggies were all wrapped up together with a nice sprig of kale to make a huge wrap. A few slices of gala apple and seedless grapes blessed the plate and added fresh color and flavor as a garnish, very nice.

Prices were pretty reasonable for the quality of food, portion size and customer service we received. The staff really seemed to care about how our meal was and we assured them that we would be returning. Prana Juice Bar and Namaste Cafe isn’t just a groovy idea, it is a well run restaurant that should be on every vegetarian’s radar. We were assured that it is rare to come across a menu item that can not be made vegan (vegan cheese choices on sandwiches) and the kitchen and staff are eager to please all dietary needs without being preachy, judgmental or conversationally aggressive.

You can’t beat a nice run before a long trip in the car. Yet one step earlier in our day we made a stop in Mifflinburg to participate in a local fundraiser for the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, the Flat ‘N Fast 4-Mile run/walk. I used this well maintained and new rail trail for quite a few of my longer training runs before my first marathon this year. Jim biked as I logged many a mile so we were very appreciative of the location and condition of this trail. The entry fees and festive race were all in support of the trail, we got on board by pre-registering a few weeks prior.

When you pre-register for something you never know for sure what the weather will be like or how you will be feeling the day of the race. The weather was perfect and but poor Jim had been pretty sick the day before and wasn’t quite up to a 4 mile jog followed by a drive to the city and then also attending the ballet. He decided to just collect his race shirt and rest while he waited for me at the finish line.

The race was well run, they provided a shuttle to the start line and transported warm-up clothes back to the finish line for all runners. I chose to warm up by jogging to the start line but did take advantage of clothing transport by tossing my gloves in and collecting them later. They also had markers for specific pace groups so that the slower runners and walkers wouldn’t get trampled by the speedsters.

This was the first time I ever toed the line with the sub 9:00 minute milers. It made me feel almost legit as I stayed up with a woman who looked like she could be in my age group as long as I could. I had to let her go after the first mile and she came in 6 runners ahead of me by averaging an 8:25 minute mile. She took first in the 55 – 59-year-old women. Luckily I am only 50; she took veterans but I got 1st in my age group of 50-54!

As we waited to collect my award, a cool ceramic mug with the race logo and year printed on it, Jim entered a raffle for a basket of local goodies. I told him that I hoped they would choose his ticket since I wanted him to come away with something since he didn’t run that morning. I screamed with delight when they called his number. He was such a good sport about letting me still run the race and driving to the city, his support is unbeatable and he deserves prizes like this all the time.