Tag Archives: equikids 5k

EquiKids 5k + Still Not There

I raced one of my favorite events of the year last weekend, the EquiKids 5k.  Not only do I love volunteering at the farm, racing through the trails each year is always fun.  The cross country 5k is preceded by a 1 Mile Run with the Hounds that Jordy was more than happy to participate in before hamming it up for the camera.equikids 5k

It’s the only cross country course I’m guaranteed to run every time it comes around and I usually don’t perform well.  Maybe it’s because I don’t train on trails very much if at all or because I get too distracted by all of the adorable kids, dogs and horses.  Any way you slice it, I was looking to turn my history of EquiKids 5k performances around this year.  I didn’t.

In spite of finishing as third overall female, it wasn’t a good race or even the race I wanted to run.  Due to some serious rain my schedule got a little screwy in the days before the race.  My final workout was hours later than it should have been.  I definitely could have been fresher at the start line but I also could have been less injured.

My glute injury is feeling much better.  It has had some unexpected side effects, however.  The different, more powerful, movement in my right leg has been leading to extra work for my right Achilles.  That has caused some definite stress on the tendon as it strengthens.  I ran a one mile warm up before toeing the starting line but failed to warm up as completely as I usually do because I was feeling fatigued.  Little did I know I’d pay for it.  About halfway through the race that right side felt like it was about to snap.  No, thanks.  I paused to rub it for five seconds then continued on.  It was a scary moment but felt fine the last 3k.

It was disappointing to realize I’m not where I thought I was in terms of bouncing back.  I understand the lumpy, muddy, ankle working course probably made things a little bit worse in that ankle.  That doesn’t make it feel any better.  The EquiKids 5k curse continues and I’m looking toward next year already.

Meredith

How often do you race on trails?  Love it or hate it?

EquiKids Cross Country 5k Recap

My favorite race of the year was Saturday and all mud aside, it was another fun day.  This was the fifth year consecutive year I’ve run the EquiKids Cross Country 5k.  It’s an event for the whole family with a half mile pony run for younger children, the 5k for everyone and a one mile run with the hounds.  I was excited even though I knew it was going to be muddy after five straight days of rain.  Trails, especially muddy ones, are far from my strength.

Race morning was overcast (but not raining!) with a little bit of humidity and middle of the road temperatures.  I went with long tights because of the mud, knowing I’d been running as close to the edges of the trails as I could for solid ground.  After my warm-up, I shed the half zip I’d been wearing against the morning’s cool breeze and lined up in my tank, long tights and about-to-be-muddy shoes.  We went off into the woods a few minutes after the little ones finished their half mile pony run.

There were the initial speedsters making the first section a bit crowded but they faded by the time we hit the woods.  I settled into an easy pace on the mushy surface and waited for my first foot to hit a puddle.  It took longer than I expected to find the first muddy spot.  Not being very skilled at racing through the mud, I slowly picked my way through with tiny, slow steps and picked things up when I was back on solid ground.  At the Mile 1 mark I had plenty of running room as the crowd spread out and it stayed that way through the end.  My watch was all over the place searching for help as I wove in and out of the trees with neither of us really knowing how fast I was moving.  I slipped a few times in mud, at one point swinging around a tree to help, glad I was taking things slowly instead of risking injury in an unfamiliar environment.equikids cross country 5k

I kicked as much as I could on the wet ground coming into the EquiKids Cross Country 5k finish and landed squarely in a big puddle of water.  It was a nice finish to a solid workout that had me smiling and working to stay balanced the whole time.  Definitely not one of my best 5k performances, I was happy to come out without having fallen in the mud or getting injured.  I ended up fourth female overall and second in my age group after the overall female was also the age group winner.  A bottle of water and two slices of pizza later, I was awarded my medal and made for the nice dry car.

It was another great year with weather that held out until after the dog mile, great people and good times.  In the end, 2016’s mud laced EquiKids Cross Country 5k taught me that I could probably benefit from hitting the trails more often.  With only one trail race and five or six easy trail outings per year, I tend to be overly cautious with my feet and also have lots of trouble feeling my pace on the soft surface.

Meredith

How do you run in mud?  Do you train specifically for trail races?

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!

Meredith

Do you race on trails?  Why or why not?

RnR DC + Race Schedule

It’s RnR DC Race Week!  I got things rolling with an easy barefoot two mile shakeout run in the sand on a gorgeous day.  Sunshine, 65 degrees and a stiff breeze made it feel like spring and I am definitely ready to run in fewer layers.  rnr dcNext Saturday’s half marathon isn’t a target race but I’m excited to get out there and see how it goes after working on my cadence.  The work I’ve been doing seemed to pay off with yesterday’s 12 miler.  It was happily better than expected and left me excited for my second ‘race’ of the year.

RnR DC comes in week five of my spring target race training schedule.  The weather is looking a little rainy but I’m hoping that will change.  Good weather would be a plus in week six, as well.  It’s home to the Shamrock Half Marathon, where I’ll be pacing the 1:52 group and has been a little chilly and windy the last two years.  After the Shamrock, it’s down to business for six more weeks heading to my goal race, the Prairie Fire Half Marathon.  I’ll be checking Kansas off my 50 States list the first week in May and kicking off a busy month of racing.  Six short days later I’ll roll into the EquiKids 5k and on 16 May I’ll be toeing the line at the St. Michael’s Half Marathon in Maryland.  Three races in three states in three weeks, phew!

After that busy stretch in May, I’ll get a few weeks to rest and play before starting a mileage build for the fall that includes Rock n Roll Chicago.  Even though it’ll be a hot one, I’m excited to see the city in a new different way as I check Illinois off my 50 states list and complete the third race of my 2015 Rock n Roll 3 Pack Tour Pass series (RnR AZ and RnR DC are the other two).  After Chicago in July, my race calendar is wide open.  I have a few ideas for fall events but haven’t committed to any yet.

Here are a few potential fall races for me:  Smuttynose Half, Newport Half, Hartford Half, Baystate Half, Morgantown Half and Freedom’s Run Half.

Meredith

Are you running RnR DC?  What’s on your fall schedule?

2014 EquiKids 5K and Run with the Hounds

2014 marked the third straight year Doug, Jordy and I participated in the EquiKids 5K and One Mile Run with the Hounds.  I love this event not only because it’s family friendly, but also because it supports one of my favorite charities.

Volunteering at EquiKids is one the most rewarding experiences I have on a regular basis, and supporting the riders in lessons and in the barn is always fun.  The staff, my fellow volunteers and riders are all amazing people with huge hearts that make the EquiKids family one you’re 2014 equikids 5khappy to be a part of.  Being a part of the EquiKids family makes running, and doggie dashing, on the second Sunday in May a can’t miss, incredibly fun event each year.

During the course of our adventurous Friday, Doug and I were able to squeeze picking our packets up at Running Etc in on our way to the Oceanfront Spring Crawl Volunteer Appreciation Party.  It was really fast and easy, and since we had registered early enough to be two of the first 200 and, as a perk, received awesome tech shirts instead of cotton.  Skipping to Race Day, Doug, Jordy and I got ready with breakfast and running gear, then piled into the car for our drive to the farm.  I fueled up with my usual GPS E2 on the way, feeling good and ready to go.

The farm is usually fairly quiet when I arrive on my normal Tuesday afternoon, then fills up as the day moves on with activity and laughter from volunteers and riders alike.  On Race Day, however, the farm bustles with runners instead of riders.  It’s awesome to see all of the people, most of whom don’t regularly get out to the facility, support the program.  As we pulled into the farm, we were pointed from one helpful volunteer to the next as we reached our parking spot in the grass.  Surrounded by other SUVs, all of the sedans were being parked in the dressage 2014 equikids 5karena.  I thought this was a great idea, a good way to prevent someone from getting stuck or digging up the grounds.

We had arrived early enough to have plenty of time for every member of our party to use the restroom, or grass, walk around a bit and stash the fruit salad I had made for the Volunteer Appreciation Picnic in a fridge.  In addition to the facilities regular restrooms, additional Port-a-Potties were installed for the day’s affairs and provided plenty of line free locations for everyone.  After a quick trip to the Volunteer Lounge’s restroom, I ran a short warm up while the little ones were trucking adorably through their Half Mile Pony Run.  During this short warm up I started to notice the humidity and wished I was wearing shorts.  Oh, well, no time to change.  A big group start, I hovered near the front as the 2014 EquiKids 5K participants lined up, listened to a few announcements and got ready to go.

The race went off as soon as everyone was in order, which was actually a little before the scheduled 8:20 Start Time.  No lines at the toilets and an early start?  It’s almost unheard of.  I faced a bit of traffic at the Start with the start-fast-then-faders around me and some of the quicker runners having started behind me, but it sorted out by the time we hit the woods for our first lap.  Twisting and turning as guided by volunteers through the woods, I was impressed with the levelness of the debris-free trails.  There were small pockets of not-quite-mud that were easily avoidable and I felt good passing the Mile 1 mark.

A water stop somewhere between Mile 1 and Mile 2 was very well manned with volunteers sporting their EquiKids t-shirts and it was great to see familiar faces cheering me on as I ran my first loop through the woods.  Leaving the woods at the halfway point, I noticed the air was moving again.  It had been still and humid in the woods but I didn’t realize it until I was out of them the first time.  Not looking forward to Lap 2.  I picked up my pace after my watch beeped for Mile 1.5 and raced my way back into the woods with my sights on picking off two ladies I could see in front of me.

I caught one of the women at the Mile 2 mark as I kicked up one more gear to finish my last mile.  I didn’t have the kick I wanted and my legs felt a bit heavy, probably because of a combination of cocktails Friday evening and the dirt course.  All of Mile 2 was in the woods and it was hotter, more still and more humid that the last trip.  Popping out of the woods just before the Mile 3 mark felt awesome and I passed the second woman I’d been chasing just before rounding the final turn.  I ran hard, but still managed to smile, for the last 0.2 miles and crossed 2014 Equikids 5kthe 2014 EquiKids 5K Finish Line with a chip time of 24:17.

I met up with Doug and Jordy who were getting ready for their own race, chomped on a banana and drank an ice-cold bottled water.  Watching the final 5K participants cross the line, I stretched out, cooled down and put on dry socks.  Next thing I knew, dogs were pulling their people off the Start line and the One Mile Run with the Hounds was on.  Doug and Jordy did a great job, taking two minutes off of last year’s time with the help of Jordy’s now repaired CCL tendon.2014 equikids 5k

After the boys crossed the Finish Line, we munched pizza, drank a few tasty adult sodas and socializing with fellow dog owners, runners and EquiKids volunteers while waiting for the results and Award Ceremony.  My chip time put me in 30th place overall and second in the 30-39 age group.  While it wasn’t exactly the pace or race I wanted to turn in, I was happy to have a good run, especially on the dirt and mud and hit my goal of placing in my age group.  And yes, I also know the margaritas and adult sodas I had Friday night didn’t help me out any.  The Awards Ceremony went smoothly as both humans and canines hammed it up for 2014 equikids 5kthe camera and I happily headed to the podium to receive my medal.

With the Awards Ceremony wrapped up, the indoor arena began to clear out and we moved tables to prepare for the Volunteer Picnic.  It was nice to sit down and relax with my fellow volunteers, and Jordy definitely enjoyed his share of the widely varied, delicious offerings of the pot luck buffet.  A successful day in the books for all three of us, I picked up my Volunteer Appreciation Gift (this awesome, thick beach towel) then met Doug and Jordy at the car.

Meredith

Do you work with any charities?  How often do you run on cross country courses?

Busy Weekend, Monday Catch-Up

It’s time to catch-up!   First off, Happy Monday!  I hope you all day a wonderful Mother’s Day and great weekend.  Luckily, the busy week I mentioned last Monday wasn’t quite as busy as I had planned it to catch-upbe, resulting in a stress free weekend of fun.

Let’s start the Busy Weekend Catch-Up with Thursday.  Doug and I were supposed to attend a dinner party with several of his work associates.  Unfortunately, Doug came home Wednesday evening with a swollen face, draining sinuses and a fever.  Even though he felt a bit better by Thursday evening, a dinner party wasn’t exactly the first activity on our list and we ended up not going.  I was actually glad to have the quiet night since my Friday was going to be extra busy with clients due to the EquiKids 5K instead of work Saturday morning.

Doug felt better Friday, and we resumed our busy weekend schedule.  First thing after work Friday, we went to the Volunteer Appreciation Happy Hour for those of us who had helped with the Oceanfront Spring Crawl at Side Street Cantina.  We didn’t plan on being there long since it started at 6 and we had tickets to the Led Leppelin Symphony at 8, but immediately got into a pair of margaritas, chips with salsa and two orders of delicious tacos.  By the time we said goodbye to our friends and fellow volunteers, we had both downed three margaritas and filled our stomachs to the brim.

It was a quick drive to the Town Center area for the Led Zeppelin Symphony where there was quite a hustle and bustle of activity as pre-prom dinners began, the Virginia Arts Festival continued with street performances and concert attendees lined up and entered the Sandler Center.  The concert was amazing.  The Virginia Symphony was excellent, and not having been to the Sandler Center for music before, I was impressed with the concert hall’s acoustics.  We catch-uphad seats 15 or so rows from the stage, right in the center and I’d definitely recommend seeing Brent Havens conduct the 2+ hour show if you have an opportunity.

Walking out of the Sandler Center post-concert, we happened upon a large crowd gathered around a group of performers hanging from, riding on and pedaling the most interesting rigging I’ve seen.  Arriving just in time to see some serious feats of strength and muscle control, Doug and I sat on a bench and watched the Cirque Mechanics for about twenty minutes before heading home.  It would have been great to catch the wonderful performers’ entire show, but hopefully I’ll have another chance.

A short walk to the car and we were homeward bound.  As I hit the hay around 11:30pm Friday evening, I did admit to myself three margaritas followed by two adult sodas at the concert were not two of my best Race Prep ideas.  I drank another glass of water, hoped my mild headache went away by the time my 6am wake-up call came around and quickly fell asleep.

Race Day dawned with the threat of rain, some heavy humidity and warm temperatures.  Doug, Jordy and I piled in the car and drove to the EquiKids farm.  Our third consecutive year participating in the 5K (me) and One Mile Run with the Hounds (Doug and Jordy) was a big catch-upsuccess and you can catch my review and recap later this week.  Post race, all three of us took nice long naps while we waited for my Mom to arrive in Virginia Beach.  After she got in, we grilled tenderloin fajitas with black bean salad for dinner, indulging in another round of Mexian inspired food, and watched The Words before heading to bed early.

Mother’s Day began with an easy 5.5 mile run to wrap up my 36 mile week with a dose of warmth and humidity.  After the run, Doug, Mom and I went to Rudee’s for brunch in the lovely outdoors and had a tasty meal.  Mom is here for the next few days, and I’m sure I’ll have some exciting activities to report on, so thanks for the catch-up and stay tuned!

Meredith

What did you do this weekend?  How did you celebrate your Mom?

No Good Reason

This week’s Tuesday Two A Day was great.  A 3 mile surge run paired with a lovely 24 minute AMRAP at North End Crossfit were my treats for the day and how fun they were.  Usually a speed work day, Tuesday Two A Day called for hills again, but I just couldn’t find the drive to run in a parking garage again.  The humidity had finally dissipated from Sunday and Monday, and all I wanted to do was breathe as much fresh air as I could.   Doing that meant finding another speed workout to pass the time with.  Detesting 800M repeats and joyfully seeing them on next week’s to-do list made me cross those off quickly, and 400M repeats like last week would have been pretty boring, so I got a little crazy.  I had enjoyed the only other surge workout I had ever done a few weeks ago, why not give it another go?  Go, I did, and fun, it was.  Running left my legs nice and warmed up for a workout that was even more fun leg work.  Calling for 400M runs, air squats and box jumps, I pushed my now dead legs through North End’s 24 minute AMRAP and was very happy to finish.  One big smile, two deep breaths, three big stretches and another Tuesday Two A Day was in the books!

I did not wake up sore this morning, which wasn’t surprising, but with only 10 days left until Fall Race Season 2013 kicks off, I surprised myself with a reward: I took the day off.  Well, not completely, because then I would call it a rest day, but I didn’t get it done with my friends at North End Crossfit this morning or go for a run.  After spending the morning lifting, pushing and prodding at EquiKids, with the best bunch of volunteers and kids around, it was off to work where I rode my bike alongside a running client for 40 minutes.  I had no really good reason for taking it easy today, especially since I wasn’t sore, didn’t have an aching ankle or pulled core muscle, but I had no good reason to push it, either.  I wasn’t particularly looking forward to not having a day off until Sunday, meaning seven days of workouts in a row, but I wasn’t dreading it.  With yesterday’s triumph, and good runs on Sunday and Monday, I said to myself, “Self, why get hurt now?  10 days til race season, and you’ve got the most important workout of the week, your long run, coming on Friday.  A day off is exactly what you need.”  I was quite successfully convinced that there was no good reason not to.

Tomorrow it’s back to strength training and Boot Campers, then on Friday it’s the last 90 minute training run before race season kicks off and my long runs ratchet up to 105 minutes for two weeks and 120 minutes for the three weeks after that leading me to Philly.  Let’s hope the rains hold off and I can stick with my schedule for all those weeks!

Meredith

The Countdown is On!

A great morning on the beach and a rest day to get ready for tomorrow’s 90 minute run makes for a nice Saturday afternoon.  North End Crossfit put me through a workout that crushed my shoulders yesterday, so scheduling today off was not only quite lucky, but handy.  After a post work snack, I took a peek at the predicted weather for my long run tomorrow and noticed it had changed slightly, so it looks like I’ll be heading out a little earlier than originally planned.  So much for ‘sleeping in’ until the late hour of 7:30am.  Checking out the weather turned me on to my calendar, and I happened to look ahead to August 2013.  That’s when I saw it:  ‘OBX Sandbar 5K‘ painted in bright red ink all over August 4th.

That led me to think “Two Weeks til Race Day!” with much excitement.  Fall Race Season 2013 kicks off two weeks from tomorrow and it’s about time.  I was definitely ready for a break after finishing my spring races with the Flying Pirate Half Marathon and EquiKids 5K, but have missed the fun of putting my all out there for the last 3 months.  The Sandbar is a great kick off race because of its location on the sand in the Outer Banks, its small size and the crowd.  A great crowd turns up for the race, then sticks around for a post race party starts early and rolls right on into a day on the beach.  Last year’s finisher item, a Sandbar 5K frisbee, came in especially handy.  Even though I’ve been training on the sand in bare feet, I will be racing in shoes just like last year, and am excited to see how much of an improvement there is.

Sandbar 5K Frisbee

After the Sandbar 5K, it’s time to get serious about setting a new PR in Philly, then on to the rest of the Fall’s races.

Meredith