Monthly Archives: May 2015

Fit Friday: Spring 2015 Recap

Wow!  June is almost here.  The last five months have flown by and Spring 2015 was home to a little bit of everything in my running world.  I know calling everything before June ‘spring 2015’ isn’t particularly accurate but I spent most of January and February focusing on events that came in when things started to warm up.

January – Training and Rock n Roll Arizona.  Racing in Phoenix was a blast!  It was a solid month for both running and strength training what left me feeling good going into an event free February.

February – Training.  Lots of training.  Running, lifting, Crossfitting.  At the end of this short month, I was ready to hit the race course in March and looking forward to a productive Spring 2015.

March – This was a big month.  I spent the first weekend acquiring my Crossfit Endurance Coaching certification and the next two weeks hammering home the things I had learned.  My cadence increased, my form improved, I continued to strength train all as I prepared for my training/check in race at Rock n Roll DC.  Little did I know, this would be my best racing half marathon performance of Spring 2015.  Seven days after drying out from a very wet DC where I was 26 seconds off my half PR after having run extra on purpose, leisurely walked through a water stop and stopped for a shoe issue, I was on to pacing Shamrock.  As always, Shamrock was a great event to wrap up two weeks of non-racing.  I rounded March out with a pair of solid 15 milers then entered an event free April.

April – This month was all about training.  I had two shots to lower my half marathon PR in May and really wanted to hit it.  After DC, I knew I was more than capable.  Running and strength training dominated the month.spring 2015

May – May was not what I expected or wanted.  My target Spring 2015 race was a disaster and I never fully recovered.  The very next weekend I was third overall female at one of my favorite events, the EquiKids Cross Country 5k.  While my performance was good enough to earn me a great award, my legs had felt crappy over the dirt course and I was slower than I wanted by over a minute.  Seven days after that, I was off to the St. Michael’s Half Marathon.  A second chance to get that PR I had bitterly missed in Kansas two weeks before, I was on pace to hit my goal at the 7 mile mark.  After that things fell apart.  I finished in worse shape than I had in Kansas, most likely due to the higher temperatures and humidity and never fully recovering from the knee issues I encountered out there.  The race itself was wonderful but I crossed the finish line burned out and ready for a change.

After St. Michael’s, I took a few days off to give my body the rest it needed.  The thought of running on a road was rather unappealing but I started back moving again with an easy 5k that felt great, a Crossfit WOD and two days of long walks and hilly hikes.  This final week in March I’ve tried to keep things fresh with a long run on the beach, a treadmill run and lots of Crossfit.  Speed and tempo work are on the schedule to wear May out this weekend.

June and Beyond – Training for Rock n Roll Chicago is on the docket for June as I put Spring 2015’s burn out behind me.  I’m taking it easy and giving myself lots of options like beach running and replacing some easy miles with tough rowing or cardio centered WODs.  I registered to race a 10k in September, back to back non-racing half marathons in October (two more states!) and a 5k in November.  It’s been a while since I focused on having success at a distance other than 13.1 and my fall goals are to set PRs at 5k and 10k with the potential for a racing half if I feel like it.


How was your Spring 2015?  Have you ever burned out?  What are your fall goals?


Race Recap Link-Up!

Welcome to the 5th Race Recap Link-Up!!
I love reading recaps from other bloggers. Its a great way to learn about different races, support other runners, and gain motivation.
A recap is the final leg of the race. It’s your chance to relive your race and allow others some insight. The training miles, the race day jitters, the glory of crossing the finish line.
the good – the bad – the ugly
We want to hear it all….

Meet the hosts…

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Jessica at The Silvah Lining: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin’
Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest
Meredith at FitNiceRunner | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube
We’d love it if you’d follow us on all social media & let us know you’ve shared a post.

Featured post from last week…

Christy at My Dirt Road Anthem ran the Run for Heaven's Sake Half Marathon

Christy at My Dirt Road Anthem ran the Run for Heaven’s Sake Half Marathon

I chose this race because Christy had a tough time but powered through and ended with a great time! Read about it here

About this link up…

It is active every Tuesday – Friday.
Link up your most recent recaps, or throwback to an old favorite. *If your post is unrelated to the theme, it will be deleted.
One recap will be featured on the next link up!
Read at least 3 other posts and leave them some love.
The more the merrier… share on your social media so others can link-up. #TuesdayTales
Grab the code to the link-up image below on your post or somewhere on your blog.

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Newport vs Newport Management

In my effort to run all 50 states and still have some money left for retirement, I like to look for back to back racing opportunities in close to each other states.  I found a pair this fall in the Hartford Half Marathon, which I’ll hopefully be pacing but definitely running on October 10th in Hartford, CT and the Rhode Races Newport Half Marathon in Newport, RI on October 11.  Or so I thought.  There’s some pretty serious road race trouble in Newport these days.

I registered to run the Newport Rhode Race put on by EIDENT Racing in 2015, as it has been for the past several years.  Earlier this week I received an email informing me there was an issue with them acquiring the necessary permits and the race would be held in nearby Narragansett.  No big deal.  I would still get to run my back to back races, knock off two states and visit the fun town of Newport.  After some tweeting and Googling, I discovered the real reason behind this change of venue: old Newport race management versus new Newport race management.  Another management company, owned by a former EIDENT employee, had taken advantage of a city council vote on race day permits by promising money to a board member’s charity.  This new management company also preyed upon a paid repair bill for sand dunes trampled by runners at EIDENT’s event in 2014.  Long story short, EIDENT was out, the new company was in and my race was moved (the whole story can be newport vs newportfound here).

So…  Here I am.  Was I not already registered, I’d have quite a conundrum on my hands.  Yes, EIDENT has to offer me a full refund but that wouldn’t cover 100% of the cost to register for the new Newport event.  Would a few extra dollars be worth different scenery?  To me, probably not.  The new company did something pretty crappy and I don’t want to support them.   It’s also cheaper to stick with the race I’m already registered for, the two locations are so close that it doesn’t really matter and Narragansett is a totally new place to explore.  It’s a sad story that will hopefully have a happy ending for all participants in either race.

I’ll be running EIDENT’s race, no matter where it is, and hoping race directors never act like this again.  Running should bring people together, not tear them apart or make them choose sides.  I might not be racing in Newport but I’ll still be able to go to The Barking Crab for dinner Saturday night, check off two states and rock my first back to back half marathons.  That’s what really matters.


 Have you ever had a race moved?  What would you do?

2015 St Michael’s Half Marathon

My 2015 St Michael’s Half Marathon recap and review is going to be a two part event, the review (here) and my recap (later).  I’m doing it this way because my experience was mind bogglingly dichotomous.  The race itself was very well done and I’m looking forward to participating again in the future.  My personal run was a complete mess that I would love to have back, pretend it never happened and/or erase from my memory.

Location – St Michael’s, Maryland, is a historic town on the Chesapeake Bay.  Home to local seafood restaurants, good shopping and lots to see, I 100% recommend staying at one of the bed and breakfasts within walking distance of the expo, start and finish.  The tree lined streets and bright green golf courses surrounding the water are beautiful in mid-May but beware the potential for warm to hot humid weather.  This year race temps were in the 70s with upwards of 75% humidity and occasional breezes reaching 10mph.

Expo – Small and easy to breeze through.  The weekend’s races have about 1,500 participants in the half, 650 in the 10k and 550 in the 5k along with race morning packet pick up that means the small community center is plenty large enough to handle everything even if there is a big rush on Friday.  It was nice that I could pick up my number and gender specific tech shirt without having to troll through a crowded vendor area like you are forced to do at some larger races but the option to shop for some running gear is still available.2015 st michael's half marathon

Dining – St. Michael’s is home to a bunch of local restaurants that feature seafood, burgers and lots in between.  The running festival brings with it a large influx of people on a normally busy enough weekend in the small town and an early dinner is recommended if you’re not looking to wait around.

Parking – Because I stayed within walking distance of both the start and finish, they’re only about 3/4 of a mile apart, I had no issues with parking.  Everyone who drove in was directed to free parking on neighborhood roads though unfortunately those same people seemed to have some trouble leaving.  The single road in and out of town got rather backed up post race so it probably pays off to hang out for a while after running.  I would definitely recommend car pooling if you’re not planning on staying extremely locally.

Start – 10k goes first, half 10 minutes later and 5k after that.  The entire start was delayed roughly 15 minutes due to I don’t know what and made the 2015 St Michael’s Half Marathon a little bit hotter than it could have been.  Port-a-Potty lines were fairly long and moved slowly, there should be a system where those who start later are behind those who are racing earlier.  The general area was spacious enough for all runners to have lots of room to warm up and everyone lined up in the starting chute where they belonged, which is always nice.  There was gear check but I didn’t use it.

Course – The course is very flat though run mostly on the right side of the road which can get a little bit irritating to hips and knees.  With warm temperatures, tree lined portions are great but not quite often enough.  It’s a scenic, quiet course that’s traffic controlled for the most part.  You will find cars on the other side of cones or, during one stretch, trying to weave down a long straightaway through the race course.  I also wondered if the golfers we ran past a few times were bothered by the hustle and bustle of 1,500 runners.  There are several out and back stretches that can get slightly tedious but also provide a good chance to see friends who are running.

Course Support – Water, Gatorade and at one, GU.  They come about every 1.5 miles but some between the stops stretches in direct sunlight felt a whole lot longer.  Each stop had plenty of volunteers and I did notice emergency vehicles parked at intervals along the course.  I did not notice Port-a-Potties at the water stops but wasn’t really paying attention as I watched a few people hop off into the course-side woods.  At each turn there were volunteers guiding runners in the correct direction along with good signage pointing the way.  The crowd is slim and mostly people at the ends of their driveways cheering or waving until the last 800M and the Finish area is jam packed.

Post Race – After being announced crossing the finish line, runners received their 2015 St Michael’s Half Marathon medals, bananas, PB&J sandwiches, water and Gatorade.  Each participant gets one free beer at the after party where is more available for purchase.

I had a good time at the 2015 St Michael’s Half Marathon even if my run wasn’t so great.  I’d love to go back for another shot at the flat course, the small town feel and nice swag this well organized race provided.


Do you like small or big races more?  Why?

Racing Again + Warmer Weather

I’m racing again!  This weekend I’ll be tackling the St. Michael’s Running Festival Half Marathon in St. Michael’s, Maryland.  My mom is coming down from Philadelphia to carry my gear cheer me on and I’m looking forward to exploring the small, historic town a bit both before and after my run.

I’ll kind of be shooting for the PR I missed in Kansas but am not putting as much pressure on myself to perform at my best as I did two weeks ago.  It always takes me a while to adjust to the warmer weather and humidity that come with summer.  I am definitely not there yet and I’d rather racing againhold off until the fall for another try than hurt myself.  The Saturday race gets a somewhat late start at 7:40 and with a predicted low of 66 Friday night, I’ll expect temperatures to climb up from 68 as I travel 13+ miles.  Winds are supposed to be below 10 mph (yay!) and there a 40% chance of rain.  I’ll definitely take wet shoes over some serious heat, after all, it worked out pretty well in DC.  Looking at the course map and elevation chart (the only one I could find), the heat and possible humidity will be my biggest concerns.  I’ll be racing again on a course just as flat as my last three that features some tight turns I’ll have to hug .

Even thought I’m not putting a ton of pressure on myself to hit a new PR, I’d still like to get one this spring.  Hydration, fueling and staying loose after the 3.5 hour drive will be my priorities once arriving in St. Michael’s later today so I can negate the potentially warmer weather as much as possible.  I know I’m capable of lowering my current PR in good (cool-ish, not windy, low humidity) weather but ideal conditions are no guarantee on race days.  My training has been going well in spite of my last long run being the disaster it was two weeks ago and some breathing struggles on hot, humid training runs.

With good training behind me, my legs feel good, I’m excited to be racing again, feeling less pressure than I did the last two weeks and ready to finish the season with a solid run.


Are you racing this weekend?  How do you adjust to the summer heat?

2015 EquiKids Cross Country 5k

My second race week in a row featured the 2015 EquiKids Cross Country 5k.  It was their 13th annual event, my fourth time participating and Doug and Jordy’s third time tackling the 1 Mile Run with the Hounds.  I look forward to the spring for this run each year because it’s fun for the whole family.  Plus, getting Jordy out there to race is always good for a few laughs.

My race weekend began with volunteering at packet pick-up for a few hours Friday then a nacho dinner at the Green Parrot.  I got a good night’s sleep and woke up ready to rock the trails Saturday morning.  Outside my window, the ground was covered with heavy fog after Friday night’s light rain and I immediately knew it would be humid out there on the double loop trail course.  I wasn’t too concerned about mud, the EquiKids team does a great job getting the trails ready.  It wasn’t raining and there was a cloud cover which meant the humidity would stick around for a while but there have definitely been less favorable conditions to fight through in previous years.

We arrived at EquiKids about an hour before the 5k start.  Doug and I socialized while Jordy made a few new friends and enjoyed exploring.  I started my warm up 30 minutes before the race with some stretching and mobility work then jogged one easy 800 and a second with three strides.  My legs felt good, though not as fresh as I would have liked, lined up at the Start for announcements, ready to work.  I had been a bit concerned after the previous week’s messiness and was relieved to feel almost back to normal.  Before I knew it, we were off.

I held my pace steady as the usual start too fast crowd sprinted by me and entered the first lap in the woods realizing I definitely would have benefited from a longer warm-up.  The shorter the race, the longer the warm-up, but I failed to follow through on this occasion.  Oops.  The trails were edged by a few barely muddy spots and the expected humidity was in full force.  It took my heart rate a little longer than usual to settle down into racing mode with the thicker air and by the 1 Mile mark I finally felt ready to get in gear.

Unfortunately, my watch did not.  I had trouble with it giving my accurate timing information when running through the woods (I know this is not a 9:10 mile…) and since I don’t run on dirt often, it was hard for me to nail down my desired pace.  I gradually passed the too fast starters as my legs and heart settled in, all warmed up now.  Popping back out of the woods on Lap 1, my watch got a better signal and I maintained my 7:15 pace until hitting the soft dirt again for Lap 2.

Thanks to the course design, I counted four ladies in front of me before reentering the woods.  I vowed to not let myself be passed and was happy to stay in my position.  Sticking with my pace helped me pick off two lades in front of me after the Mile 2 sign and I was on the edge of passing a third past the 2.5 mile mark when a left turn stopped us both in our tracks as we avoided colliding with one of the awesome Team Hoyt participants.  We both took off again and I gained a few meters on her as we entered the final stretch.  I knew I was in position to place in my age group, or even overall, as I eased into the Finish Line while she kicked to pass me in the final 50 meters.2015 equikids cross country 5k

I finished the 2015 EquiKids Cross Country 5k as third female overall and was happy with the end result even if I wasn’t much faster than last year.  My legs felt decent but I hadn’t warmed up enough and was still coming back from Prairie Fire.  The humidity also impacted my performance, especially coupled with the too short warm-up.  Now I know I need a longer 5k warm-up!

A few minutes later, Doug and Jordy lined up to take on the 1 Mile Run with the Hounds.  They beat last year’s time by a good margin and Jordy celebrated by laying down in the dirt.  The post race party and awards were filled with pizza, lettuce wraps, raffles, beer, water, friends and adorable dogs.  I can’t wait for the 2016 event!


Do you race on trails?  Why or why not?

Fit Friday: What The Proofs Prove

It’s been a whirlwind of a race week since getting home from Kansas late Monday night but after some solid strength and running workouts, I’m feeling fresh and uninjured on this Fit Friday.  I received my proofs from last Sunday’s disaster race Wednesday evening and they did a pretty good job of justifying exactly how I felt.  One thing I like about race photos is how they show me, or a client, maintaining my form or totally losing it as a race progresses.  A great evaluation tool.  The Prairie Fire proofs prove that I did lose it pretty badly and was lucky to come away without a serious injury.

Let’s take a look at the evidence.  I had felt my form fall apart after tweaking my knee around Mile 7 and know my motion for the next six miles was bad news from the chaffing, knee pain and posterior soreness.  Actually seeing how I was moving made me want to cringe.  My left foot was not coming off the ground in a normal, acceptable or efficient way.  My knee is torquing in a way if most certainly should not and I’m not I could get it in that position if I tried.  My left hip was rotating funny, leading me to over stride and heel strike on the right to compensate.  After seeing it, I’m glad I got away without serious damage.


Before Mile 7


After Mile 7

I felt terrible post race but much better by Monday night.  I took it out easy Tuesday for a light recovery run and some bodyweight exercises to stretch out my tight muscles and test my knee.  I was sore but mobile and loosened up as the run went on.  A massive sigh of relief.  I turned up the heat on Wednesday and rocked a tough interval workout pain free after heavy lifting in the morning.  This week’s solid strength and running workouts have me feeling fast, fit and uninjured heading into another race weekend.

I’m excited for my third EquiKids Cross Country 5k and glad I’ll be tackling it healthy.  Hopefully this weekend’s proofs will be much better than last’s.


How do you use race photos?  Have you ever cringed when seeing your body move?

Prairie Fire Half Marathon

I’ve been talking about the Prairie Fire Half Marathon for months.  It was my target spring half marathon and I worked hard for 12 weeks leading to race day.  Unfortunately, my race was a disaster.  Doug and I flew out to Kansas Friday after I had a not so great night’s sleep Thursday but my plan was to crash on arrival and sleep late Saturday.

Some family issues were stressing me out a bit, preventing this plan from working.  Saturday morning we took things easy.  I did some push-ups, squats and foam rolling before we made our way to the expo for packet pick-up.  Happening in the same space as a larger event, expo parking was difficult but getting through pick-up was fast and simple.  I had my ID ready to go and they didn’t even want it!  I was surprised we were not given clear bags for gear check but the race day information said they would be prairie fire half marathonavailable at ‘the tent’ race morning.  The tech shirts are nice and lightweight with the race’s adorable mascot, Sparky, front and center.  Each year Sparky gets dressed up as a different character and in 2015 he was a cow-bunny.  Next up was lunch at River City Brewing Company where we caught some of the Derby Day races and tasted a few local beers.  The food was excellent and the variety of beers is enough to make anyone happy.  I had been hoping the cocktail would help me take a post-lunch nap before watching the Kentucky Derby and dinner.  It didn’t.  No nap.  So tired.

Derby and our traditional order in pizza dinner behind me, I hit the hay early.  Not knowing what to expect for gear check, I had packed my race bag in a gallon clear freezer bag and hoped for the best.  My legs felt pretty good but I could tell two rough nights were starting to take a toll.  One more weather check before closing my eyes confirmed that we’d be facing 15-18 mile an hour winds all morning and I knew I needed to rest up.  The dogs that went nuts several times during the night did not concur.  I had six on/off hours of mediocre sleep for the third night in a row.  Climbing out of bed on race morning, my legs felt worse than they had the day before and a short foam rolling session didn’t help nearly as much as I wanted.  Knowing I was going to be racing wind and wanting any advantage I could get, I decided to race in my lighter shoes.  The longest run I prairie fire half marathonhad done in them was 10 miles but it hadn’t left me with any pain or soreness and I knew I could manage.  Breakfast and E2 down the hatch, it was off to the races.

We arrived at the Start/Finish area around 6:30 for the 7:30 start to find gear check was not yet open.  It was a bit chilly in the dim light with the breeze, leading us to seek shelter in the host hotel.  With less than 3,000 runners, the hotel was very quiet, had no lines for the clean bathrooms and was a good spot to stay warm, stretch out and think about my race plan.  I wanted to run Mile 1 through Mile 10 around 7:15 -7:20 pace then kick to 7-7:10 for the final 5k.  At 7am, Doug and I dropped our gear where it turned out they did have bigger clear bags then started our warm-ups.  Mine left me feeling mentally good about the plan and my legs were starting to feel back to normal, ready to work.

The Start wasn’t corralled but everyone was asking around to make sure they lined up in the right spot.  It was a nice change from some of the larger races with corral jumpers that I can’t stand, especially when chasing a PR.  The gun went off right on time and I kept my eye on the 1:30 pacers, making sure they slowly and steadily pulled away from me.  The course was flat and windy as it wound through the city, eventually leading us into two out and backs that made an almost bunny ear shape.  The wind was definitely noticeable but through the first four miles we had some protection from neighborhood buildings.  In spite of the wind, I was right on target through Mile 6.  The shaded course felt really nice and I was doing a good job of taking turns or tangents as tightly as possible as I made the turnaround at Mile 6.  By Mile 6.5 I was looking on the other side of road for Doug when I noticed that the road was pretty seriously banked.  And not in my favor.  My left knee was inches higher than my right with each footfall which is a big trigger for my knee pain.  As I side-fived Doug just past the Mile 7 mark a few minutes later, I knew my race was over.

My knee was hurting and I could feel the entirely of my posterior chain getting angry.  I love to have running room but with no one to block the wind in front of me from the Mile 4 mark on and a knee that would surely start screaming shortly, I was pretty unhappy when I stopped for water at Mile 8.5, walking for a few seconds to shake my knee out.  By Mile 10 my pace was flagging and all I wanted to do was keep running.  My knee was feeling marginally better back on level ground but the damage had already been done.  During another walking break at Mile 11 I started to worry about being able to run across the Finish line.  I didn’t want to push my prairie fire half marathonknee and now calves, hamstrings and glutes to the point of injury with another race in six days.  I hoped it was a gently tweaked knee exacerbated by my different shoes, making for a quick fix.  Desperate to just finish, I settled into an easy 8:15 pace for the final two miles and took several more short walks.  I crossed the Prairie Fire Half Marathon finish at 1:40.21 and was completely crushed both physically and mentally.  The announcer gave me a special shout out for having traveled from Virginia Beach that put a little bright spot on my most disappointing race to date.  I had missed all of my goals and worried I ruined my chances at racing the next two weekends.  I picked up a great medal, some water and Gatorade then took my shoes off as quickly as possible.  It was while removing my socks I noticed some serious chaffing on the inside of my left leg.  I had worn my race day shorts a million times before without chaffing and it just showed me how lucky I was to get out of moving in a funky way for six miles without injury.

As I waited for Doug, who hit a 5 minute PR, I thought about what had gone wrong.  I think the wind played a part, sucking out some extra energy early, not sleeping for three nights was definitely a performance dampener, stressing about something un-race related was less than ideal, twisting my knee was awful and quite possibly my change of shoes just compounded everything.  After Doug finished we enjoyed the well stocked after party with chicken, pizza and chocolate milk.  The post race festivities included a live band, loads of food and drink all on a big grassy field with plenty of Port-a-Potties.  On course, water stops had been just about every two miles with water, Gatorade, first-aid kits and Port-a-Potties and crowd support was thin for large sections.  You can check out my review on BibRave right here where I talk more about the ins and outs of the event.  The Prairie Fire Half Marathon was a well managed event with a hometown feel, solid course support and a good post-race party that I would consider running again.


Have you ever been injured during a race?  What did you do?

Ready to Race + New Bling

It’s here!  My first race of 2015.  Yes, I’ve participated in other races but I didn’t ‘race’ them.  Rock n Roll Arizona, Rock n Roll DC and Shamrock were all great training runs and helped me stay positive about training through a rough winter (I even earned this fancy new bling from Rock n Roll for having completed two of their events so far this year).  The first few days after ready to raceShamrock were hard.  I knew I didn’t have anything on the calendar other than training for the entire month of April, I was itching to turn up the pace.  The itch has settled down as I’ve done lots of fast running in the last two weeks and after a really solid workout yesterday, I’m feeling more than ready to race for the first time this year.

I’m excited to see what I have when I leave it all out there after spending a lot of time working to improve my cadence and get faster this spring.  I’m stronger and more durable than I was six months ago.  My legs feel great and a Prairie Fire PR is definitely within reach.  I only missed one by 32 seconds on a hilly, rainy, RnR DC course where I made an effort to pick up extra distance for my training run on the way from Start to Finish six weeks ago.

Knowing a PR is acheivable is helping me stay relaxed about my race plan (last 5k hard) but I’m a little concerned about the weather.  It’s tornado season and the predicted winds are averaging 25 miles an hour for race morning.  While some of my training runs have featured winds ranging from 10-20 miles an hour, it wasn’t particularly enjoyable.  Hopefully the wind won’t be in my face for the first ten miles and I’ll be able to stick with my plan for a negative split.  So here I am, chomping at the bit on Kentucky Derby weekend, ready to race.  These are my goals:

A Goal: PR, place in age group.
B Goal: PR.
C Goal:  Finish under 1:38.

I’ll be disappointed if I come home without a new PR but I know life, and maybe some serious headwind, happens.  Whether I hit a new PR or not, I’ll be staying ready to race for next week’s EquiKids 5k and the following week’s St. Michael’s Running Festival.


Are you running this weekend?  How do you know when you’re ready to race?