Thursday, October 22, 2015

Runner's World Festival--4 for 4

Disclaimer: I received entry to Runner's World Festival and Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!
I also was given entry to the trail race and lodging by Runner's World however all opinions are my own.

You maybe wondering where my TARC 100 post is?  Well you are going to have to wait because a few short days after TARC, I headed to Bethlehem, PA for the Runner's World Festival, my annual pilgrimage.  Since I have some obligations to fulfill in the form of blogging, etc for the Festival, this post comes first.  Don't worry I will get back to TARC. 

I left work at lunchtime on Thursday to make my way to Bethlehem.  Yes, Thursday!!!  This year I was invited as an influencer for the event which meant I got to go up a day early and do lots of unique things that only the influencers were invited to.  Since I know writing about my ENTIRE experience would be extremely long, I'm going to break it up into a couple of posts.  This one will just be my race reports.  I will cover the influencer events in a separate post.

So even though I went Thursday afternoon, my first race wasn't until Friday afternoon at 3.  This year Bart added a trail race that was 3.8 miles long so that if you ran the HatTrick and the trail race then your total for the weekend would be 26.2, sounds like a great idea to me.   I arrived to the trail via Runner's World inlfluencer van.  We were very quickly and easily able to get our bibs.  I found Emir who was hanging out at the Altra tent (surprise!) and I used the potty.  Even though I wasn't sure what my legs would be capable of after the 100 mile attempt the weekend before, Emir and I also didn't want to get stuck in the congo line of runners.  We had both had previews of the course, Emir came up to Bethlehem last month to check it out with Bart and the runner's world gear editor and I had a preview earlier that morning with Bart, Golden Harper, Brian Beckstead, Jeremy Howlett, Colleeen Logan (all very important Altra people!) and all the other influencers.  So we both knew if we didn't start towards the front of the pack, we would be stuck in the pack which when it's only a 3.8 mile race, we may never get to our own pace.

inaugural trail race!

The race started with a downhill which turned into an all out sprint and then quickly turned uphill.  My lungs were burning and I was coughing.  I totally went out way too fast but at least I had my space.  Emir took off ahead, there's no way I was keeping up with him.  After that I settled into as much of a comfortable pace as possible when dealing with rocks, roots and some steep climbs.  A few people would pass me here and there but I was cool with it.  I literally could not go any faster nor did I want to.  After TARC the weekend before and knowing I still had 3 races after this one, I didn't want to be stupid.  Even though sometimes out and back sections can be annoying, I actually really enjoyed them in this race.  I saw Emir a few times and all the other influencers that I had spent the day with which made it super fun.  The only downside was that it felt a bit squished and difficult to navigate the single track with all the people going back and forth at once but to me challenges make things more fun so I didn't care.  At one of those sections, Emir said "You are 9th female!"  I thought "wow that's pretty cool!"  I think we had maybe 1.5 miles left and I felt like I had enough juice to maintain my pace that is until we got to the last hill.  It was just very steep and kind of lengthy so I just said "screw it" and walked up it.  I did get passed by another lady so I knew I was 10th but she was really moving up the hill and kept moving when we got to the top and I knew I wasn't going to catch her.  I crossed the finish in 37.02, extremely happy with a sub 10 minute pace and a top 10

That's fellow blogger Heather with me

Instead of a medal we were given REI bags with a stainless steel bottle, I thought this was very nice and useful.  The post race food was water and pizza, so good after that tough little course (about 700 feet of climbing!).  We hung around for a while talking to friends and cheering people into the finish and stayed for Golden's trail running clinic.  Even though I had attended a session earlier in the day where Golden presented some general running tips, I wanted to hear what he had to say about trail specific tips.  In the end, I was really happy we stayed for it.  He had some great advice for dealing with the footing, the steep climbs and even how to fall.  Other than the chilly air that had started to filter in, it was great!
Bloggers and Golden at the finish (Golden won)

Golden and Brian giving a trail running clinic
 After that we headed back to the steelstacks.  Unfortunately, it was just too complicated logistically to get the kids up for the kids races so it was a bit of a downer to see all the kids having a blast knowing that Niko and Una could have come.  At least I was still able to pick up their shirts and bibs which they were more than happy to receive when we brought them home.  Getting our bibs and swag was super easy as usual.  I think this year's swag was by far the best.  A long sleeve tech shirt, balega socks and a headsweats reversible winter hat.  We took a spin through the expo which has been the same perfect size since they made the move into the building rather than the parking lot of that first year.  By this time, we were getting hungry and needed a shower.  We got cleaned up and had a nice dinner at the Brewery.  When we got back, I was so tired.  I did want to watch some of the infamous Comfort Inn karaoke but no one we knew was there yet and we were beat so off to bed we went.

The next morning, Emir got up extra early to go to help at the Altra booth.  I got ready on my own and had some breakfast with a few bloggers then walked to the steelstacks to meet up with Emir.  It was fun hanging out pre race with our Altra friends.  Next thing I knew two of the other Bibrave Pros at the festival, Brenda and John showed up.  I was really happy to see them because I was afraid I wouldn't find them amongst the crowds.  We chatted and took some pics (duh).  Emir and I were feeling a bit sore from the trail race so we wanted to go out and loosen up a bit.  I also took advantage of the indoor potties at the steelstacks.  It amazes me every year how there is never a line over there, it's fantastic!  Then we hopped into the starting corral.  Bart, Whit and Deena Kastor were starting us off.  They did a great job of getting everyone fired up which I was in need of.  I had been coughing and sneezing since the trail race so I was just not feeling in the mood for running.  They helped get me in the spirit.
Bibrave Pros!


Emir and I started together but he's just clearly faster than me now (thanks alot coach Caleb!) and I need to run my own races.  I knew the 5K had a couple hills in the first mile so I took it a bit easier knowing I could pick it up after that.  I really was pretty surprised that I finished with a 7:57 pace, happy but surprised.

We went back inside after the 5K to the Altra booth, of course.  I chatted with fellow bloggers and Bibrave Pros and took more pics.  At first I felt energized and was thinking "oh good I feel better than last year after the 5K, I didn't push it too hard."  But after hanging around for about 30-40 minutes, I began to feel tired and just didn't feel like doing another race.  I told Emir we needed to head back out or I would lay down and take a nap.  We hit up the potties again and headed for the starting corral.  I don't know if it was actually colder, but it felt colder and windier than the start of the 5K which made me feel even less like running.  The first mile of the 10K felt like I was running with concrete on my legs.  They were sore and heavy.  I think I ran 9 something.  Emir and I ran a little over a mile together before he took off.  This being my 4th year, I knew the first 3 miles have pretty much all the hills so I chugged along.  I know I'm not great at climbing so I just took my time.  I also didn't want to completely kill myself knowing I still have the half to run on Sunday.  After the first 3 miles, I still felt decent so I started picking it up.  There were some nice crowds out for both the 5K and 10K so it really helped to boost me up a bit those last miles.  I crossed with a 8:29 pace.  Honestly, I was shocked.  Going into this weekend, I literally thought I would struggle to do anything under 10 minute pace.  Not only did I run 70 miles (22 hours) the weekend before but I really haven't run any solid fast miles since the spring even in training.  I've just been logging tons and tons of slow miles.

I found Emir pretty quickly, got some water, food and headed back guessed it, the Altra booth.  Apparently, Emir had become a shoe salesman at some point so he was selling shoes left and right.  I on the other hand spent a couple hours talking running and shoes to people I knew and people I didn't know.  It was pretty fun.  Eventually though I realized I was starving.   Things had really calmed down at the booth so we said we would be back later.  Jeremy recommended a restaurant called the The Bayou which was outstanding.  Highly recommend it.  I may have had a couple of beers with lunch which only enhanced my fatigue.
chocolate peanut butter porter, "pure bliss"  Oh and it was!
Emir is not one for naps so he went back to the steelstacks to help at the booth and attend a seminar.  I put myself down for a nap at the hotel since I had gotten to attend a bunch of sessions that were special for the influencers on friday.  When I woke up, Emir was texting me to come back to the steelstacks.  I went back and we helped close up the booth for the night.  We went out to dinner to a thai restaurant with our Altra friends.  It was really the best dinner outing I've had in a while.  It was just so nice to be included as part of the Altra family and get to know them better.  Also, I highly recommend Thai Thai 2.  The food is awesome and please tell them it's someone's birthday, you will thank me later ;-)

Jeremy from Altra, Jennifer, Heather and me

Laurel, Altra rep

Emir selling shoes
 In the morning, Emir and I had breakfast with some of the bloggers which was nice.  We decided to drive to the steelstacks so that way our car would be at the finish.  When we walked in, my co-worker Becky was standing there.  She was one of my HatTrick recruits after we ran it the first year and now she comes every year as well.  We decided to walk the half mile to the start line with her.

Emir and I were feeling very tired in the legs so we opted not to do any running before the start, just walking.  Once we got up there, I needed the potty again.  Luckily there were plenty and the line moved fast.  We hopped into the starting corral.  Bart, Whit and Deena were all there to start us again.  I just kept saying "Oh man, I realllly don't feel like running right now."  I was just feeling so depleted from ALLL the running of the last two weekends.  It was so hard to get started but once I did I was happy.  Everyone on the course and lining the course were so enthusiastic and encouraging, you can't help but have a smile on your face.  Emir and I ran together for a mile or two.  He didn't feel like going fast either.  But then slowly he started getting ahead of me.  He said he felt bad leaving me but I told him to go.  He clearly can go alot faster than me now which is pretty normal.  He's a solid 9 inches taller than me and a guy, he should be faster.  And while I maybe could have pushed a little harder to try and stay with him longer, I really just didn't want to.  I felt I was pushing hard enough and really just wanted to enjoy myself.  This was not meant to be a PR event for me so I just wanted to have fun.  As seems to be the theme for these races, the first half has more of the uphills which I knew so I ran accordingly.  I ended up with a negative split which I totally expected.  At the beginning of the race, I made a goal for myself to just break 2 hours hopefully breaking 9 min pace.  I just felt like that was reasonable yet pushing myself past what I thought I would do at the festival.  In the end I ran 1:57, 8:55 pace.  It felt good.

I love stats and Bart told me to put all my times together for the 4 races to make my marathon.  So of course while Emir was showering after the races, I was busy calculating everything.  I ended up with a 3:50 marathon which I felt was pretty solid.  I was able to do that on super tired legs, 3.8 of it was slower on trail and about 2000 feet of climbing for the weekend.  And why might I be obsessing about all of this? Well I've got the Philly Marathon coming up in about a month.  Going into the Runner's World weekend, I had serious doubts about what kind of speed I could bring to the marathon.  I know last year, I came out of my long, slow ultra cycles with some good speed that actually ended up getting me several PR's including my BQ at Philly but this year I spent way longer in ultra mode and with way longer distances.  It made me question whether it was reasonable to think I could go for the BQ again which now is this monkey on my back since I didn't make the cut for 2016.  I just really want to run Boston one time and I'm RIGHT THERE.  Anyway, long story short, the festival helped me to realize that it is reasonable to think I have a chance to PR and BQ at Philly.  And actually it gave me some good confidence.  I'm going to focus on some intense speed work the next few weeks followed by taper and hopefully legs will be feeling good.


Brian Beckstead

Altra Man!!!!
As far as the Runner's World Festival itself, it was truly the weekend I needed after (spoiler alert) my first DNF.   I was on a roller coaster of emotions which I'll talk about when I write my TARC post.   I feel like no matter how down I might be, this Runner's World weekend always makes me fall in love with running and the running community all over again.  EVERYONE is so supportive and enthusiastic.  All the courses are challenging but fun and lined with great crowds, the trail race was a GREAT addition.  Everything is so well organized.  Bethlehem is a beautiful, historic town, perfect for this weekend.  And there is so much more to the weekend than just the races with the seminars, the kids races, dog race and pasta dinner.  It's all about running, all weekend long and who knows better than what we runners love than Bart Yasso and Runner's World.  And let's face it, who doesn't love free beer and free race pics?!

My only criticism, bring back the running movies!!!  I can't remember if it was only the first year or the first two years, but we loved them and miss them.  Other than that, perfect! :-)

You can check out the 2013 and 2014 Runner's World posts, I didn't have a blog in 2012 ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on top 10 at the trail race! Love that pic of you and Heather. And you can totally PR & BQ at Philly! I'll be running the half. See you there!