Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Another Race? Broad Street 10 Miler

You might be thinking to yourself, “didn’t she just run a half marathon last weekend and PR? Why is she racing again?” Well, those thoughts would be correct. Sometimes I’m smart, but most of the time I’m not.

The Broad Street 10 Miler in Philadelphia is a race that has always been on my radar. So when a bunch of my friends from college decided they wanted to run it this year, I couldn’t help but throw my name into the lottery with them. I had friends from high school, college, and post-college (should I call that “adulthood?”) all signed up for the race, so I knew it would be a good time. Since I was originally shooting to PR at the Shamrock Half, I thought there would be plenty of time between the two races. Thanks to my ITB issues in January I pushed back my PR half marathon attempt, leaving it just one week before Broad Street. At first I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I just skip the run? Run it easy? Eventually I decided to run, but wasn’t really sure what my running plan would be up until I started running.

I had little expectations going into the race. Since I raced last weekend, I knew pushing my body to the same effort level was not smart. It helped that my PR for this distance was over two years old, so I knew I wouldn’t have to push hard (or at all, really) to beat it. That helped to quell my inner competitor a bit and allowed me to have a more relaxed approach to the race. I stayed at my friend’s apartment the night before and slept on her pull-out couch, I didn’t do anything fancy for dinner or breakfast, and I didn’t get to the race until about 20 minutes before it was supposed to start (which was a bit stressful).

While waiting in my corral for the start, I was kept quite entertained by men doing static stretching (tisk, tisk), a guy dropping to the ground and doing a handful of push-ups multiple times, and other antics. It was the perfect distraction from being chilly and wanting the race to just start. The forecast had predicted a relatively warm and sunny day, but by the time we started it was overcast and quite cool. I had my (sweet) sunglasses with me, but decided to hold them in my hand and hope that the sun would come out eventually. At about 8:25am the wheelchair corral was off, and 5 minutes later right at 8:30 the elites and red corral were sent on their way. By 8:33 I was crossing the start of my first Broad Street Run!

Jersey Birds do Philly! Me + Hollie after the race

Jersey Birds do Philly! Me + Hollie after the race

Per the usual, I took off at the start and made my way to the left side of the road in a comfortable spot. I’d heard nightmares about how crowded and bottle-necked the start and other parts of the race can be due to the nearly 40,000 participants, so I wanted to make sure early on that I had enough room to breathe. Since I was in the second corral and Broad Street is really wide and there were no real turns, I never experienced any overcrowding. While you would think a straight-shot race may be boring, it was quite the opposite. There were plenty of spectators, and the undulation in the road provided a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the sea of people up ahead. My first mile was way too fast and the next two were slower, but still too fast (6:58, 7:05, 7:11), and I knew I needed to slow down.

After passing the 3.1 in just about my current 5k PR, I made a conscious effort to slow. The next four miles were 7:18, 7:13, 7:21, 7:17. It was difficult to actually get myself to slow down enough. I’d lower my effort, and somehow I’d look down at my watch and be running faster than before. It was frustrating because I knew I needed to be running slower, yet my body wouldn’t let me. Of course that sounds like one of those “that’s not a bad problem to have!” situations, but I really didn’t want to be pushing my body too much. My effort was probably at around 90%, when it really should have been no more than 80%. It wasn’t until mile 8 where I actually slowed down to the pace I should have been running the whole race. My fast start combined with the sun and heat (which made an appearance around mile 2) were finally catching up to me. Under normal circumstances I would have been upset that I slowed so significantly from the start to finish of the race, but I was actually relieved! The last three miles were 7:38, 7:43, and 7:35. I crossed the finish line in 1:13:41 – a new PR by 10 minutes!

University of Scranton swimmers + soccer players turned runners?

University of Scranton swimmers + soccer players turned runners?

After the race I quickly found my friend from high school and her fellow Central Park Track Club Runners. After that I was able to find Hollie and chat with her for a few minutes before making my way to the port-o-potties to change out of my sopping wet racing clothes. As I was coming out I heard a “Danielle!” and turned to see Oiselle teammate Danielle waiting in line herself! By the time I made it back to the designated meeting place, my friends started to arrive. They all had great races themselves, and it’s fun to look at us now – running road races after spending so many years in the pool as swimmers! We had a great brunch at Fado after scaling a mud wall and hopping over a highway divide to get to the subway. I even got to stop at Whole Foods on the way home! It was  a great weekend with some of my best friends from college with a side of running – what more could I ask for?

I have a week of some more base building before getting started on some 5k work. I can’t wait for summer!

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Jam-Packed

Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes on Thursday! Because one day of celebration isn’t enough, I was able to extend the festivities throughout the weekend.

After a half day of work and a trip to the doctor’s (I finally have my diagnosis – more on that later!), I got together with my family for dinner and fro-yo in my hometown. Only in Westfield, New Jersey would it be appropriate to have two self-serve fro-yo establishments within blocks of one another. We decided on Yapple Yogurt for two reasons: the inside of the store is cute, and they have salted caramel pretzel flavored yogurt. I didn’t even need to question my decision.

Each year on the Friday after my birthday, I know I have plans. Ever since my teammate and friend was tragically killed back in 2006, we all get together for a golf outing to support causes that were near and dear to his heart. It’s great to see familiar faces that I spent so much time with in college, and it’s also an excuse for everyone to go out in Philly afterwards. Since it’s close to my birthday, I always get suckered into birthday shots (not that I’m complaining), and no matter how old we get, our old college selves come out to play for a bit. This year we headed to City Tap House in University City, and thanks to their rooftop lounge we got to watch the awesome thunderstorm from a cool location (we tried to sit outside, and the 97 degrees at 11pm thing wasn’t happening).

After a quick 4-mile run on Saturday morning through University City, it was off to The Pop Shop in Collingswood. If you are ever in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, you NEED to go here. Aside from their soda shop throwback look, they have tons of different grilled cheese sandwiches and fries available for you to devour (and don’t forget about the flavored soda or milkshakes). They also have vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options, which I think is pretty neat. Being the bad food blogger that I am, there are zero pictures from The Pop Shop. Assume it’s because I spent the entire time shoveling food into my mouth. The rest of Saturday was spent trying to get things together for our Eurotrip, and an early bed-time for Sunday’s long run.

The weather has been nice and toasty the past few days, so getting up early to run on Sunday was a must. Because I’m going on vacation and I won’t be able to get in a super-long run while I’m away, I figured I’d split the difference between this past Sunday’s scheduled run and next Sunday’s, which left me with 11 miles. I luckily ran the majority of the miles on a shade-covered path, but that didn’t stop me from looking like I jumped in a pool when all was said and done. Thankfully, I was able to literally jump in the pool when I got home.

The weekend wrapped up with a seriously delicious dinner – Caribbean Jerk Salmon Bowl with Mango Salsa, courtesy of A Pinch of Yum. This was so easy and flavorful, and I had enough leftover to justify bringing it for lunch the next day.

While the weekend was jam-packed, the next few days are going to be even more-so. I’ve got a lot to do in the next two days before heading to my parents to run the annual Firecracker 4-miler, and then jet off to Europe! I have plans to blog while across the pond, but I’d say the odds are forever not in my favor (like what I did there?).

Tell me: what did you do this weekend?

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Too Much Fun and a Giveaway!

Not too long ago I was posting about how I gave my two weeks notice, and was ready to start student teaching. Well, in reality that was more than 14 weeks ago, and I’m all done! I finished student teaching last Friday, took the Praxis II Saturday, and am finishing up the semester this week. Being a teacher is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s crazy to think that I am finally at the point where I can actually look for teaching jobs. So to celebrate on Saturday I headed down to Philly to meet up with some of my college friends and enjoy dinner and drinks. Nothing like spending the evening pretending you’re still in college!

I attended a beautiful wedding on Sunday afternoon in South Jersey, and the food was amazing. A highlight was the favors – little cake balls! One of them was a complete delicious surprise, and it was a cinnamon cake and I’m hanging on to the second for as long as I possible can (which means it’s a miracle I haven’t eaten it already).

Now onto the giveaway goodies! When the folks at Peloponnese contacted me asking if I’d be interested in sampling their entertaining package and offering it to a reader, I couldn’t turn it down. I’m a huge fan of the grocery store olive bar, and my parents always have a container in their fridge. So when I headed to their house last Friday for a celebratory post-student teaching, pre-test dinner, I brought the package with me. I was a bit skeptical at the jarred olives, but was pleasantly surprised! I’m a big Kalamata olive fan and went to town on them. We had quite an impressive appetizer spread, and the adorable olive platter didn’t hurt the occasion either! 

You have the chance to win the entire Entertaining with Peloponnese package too! Here’s what is included:
– Artichoke Spread
– Hummus Spread
– Halved Kalamata Gourmet Black Olives
– Florina Whole Sweet Peppers
– Baba Ganoush
– Antipasto Party Olives
– Specialty Olive Bowl

To enter, you can do any of the following. The more you do, the more chances you have (leave a comment for each)!:
**You have until Saturday 5/5 at 9pm EST to enter!
– Leave a comment telling me what you’d do with this party pack – have people over for wine and olives? Keep it all for yourself?
– Tweet about the giveaway – “I want to win a Peloponnese Entertaining Pack from @Foodosaurusrex!”
– “Like” Peloponnese Mediterranean Foods on Facebook
– Follow FoodosaurusRex on Twitter 

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I’m a Marathoner! – Philadelphia Marathon Recap

For whatever reason, running a marathon is something that has been on my to-do list for years – even before I started running. There’s something elusive about the marathon, and being a marathoner, that intrigued me enough to pick up running with that as my end goal. I always knew that training for a marathon required a lot of work, but I figured I was up for the challenge.

After running the Disney Half Marathon, even though I was injured, I knew we wanted to run a marathon later in the year. I first set our sights on the Pittsburgh Marathon in May, but soon realized I wouldn’t be healed in time, and a rush training job for our very first marathon would be a recipe for disaster. So, I decided on Philadelphia – there weren’t any pace requirements, it was a relatively cheap race ($65), and was close enough. Unfortunately I never got to the all important 20 mile long run – I only made it to 18, and it was a struggle. Needless to say I was extra nervous on race day.

After a carbo-loading dinner on Saturday, it was early to bed for our 4:30a wake-up call. My usual pre-race meal was a little more difficult for me to get down because of nerves, but we were ready to go by 5:45, and made my way to the starting corrals about a mile from our hotel. Since I was hoping to run between 4:30 and 5 hours, I was in the 7th of 8 corrals. It took my coral about 22 minutes from the official start of the race to get going, which was definitely a shorter wait than I had anticipated. It was chilly, but as soon as I started moving I was thankful for my short and t-shirt combo, with homemade arm warmers (hello tube socks) and cheap gloves.

So pretty at 5a

As soon as we crossed the mat, people took off. Since the half and full start together, we were a mixed crowd which I had to remind myself of. One guy near me joked “everyone’s gotta be a hero!” and it was then that I realized I needed to make sure not to be one of those people – I had a long morning ahead of me. There wasn’t really any point during the first miles where I felt great. I usually start off feeling strong with fresh legs and then slowly get tired, but my legs didn’t feel all that great from the beginning. I wasn’t worried, though, and I kept my pace just around 10 minutes, which was a little too fast. I wanted to keep an even 10:20, but my legs just wouldn’t go that slow. They sure went that slow later!

The first half was really crowded. I didn’t even stop for water at the first two stations for fear of getting trampled. Towards the end of the first half, a woman cut right in front of me, and literally bent down to the ground to pick something up. I didn’t have enough time to move, and wound up slamming into her. All I could think was “seriously?” and was glad I didn’t hurt myself. As we were nearing the halfway mark, it was hard to hear people screaming “Alright, this is it! Just a little more!” knowing that I was only half way there. As we rounded the corner, though, I got a glimpse of some elites coming in which was awesome.

I would be lying if I didn’t say the second half was a struggle. The real struggle didn’t start until we were in Manayunk. First, it was just me wanting things to be over, but then my legs got in on the party too. I saw some college friends right before and after mile 20, which helped push me a bit more, but then the legs just didn’t want to go. It really was a 20 mile race, followed by 6.2 miles of struggle. These miles were anywhere from about a 10:30 to 12:30 pace, give or take. I had been walking through the water stations from when I started taking water/Gatorade, but this time each stop had a little bit longer of a walk, as my knees were starting to hurt. Miles 22 to 23 were combinations of running and walking (very brief), until finally at mile 23 it was time to suck it up and run the last 3.2. The course was pretty bare of spectators, so I had no shame in walking. In all honesty if there were more people watching, I probably wouldn’t have stopped running at all.

That’s me all the way over to the left!

Either way, I pushed it to the end and somehow got myself to a low 9 pace for the last half mile or so. Having people cheer my name was awesome – and I have every intention on wearing a shirt with my name on it for every long race I run that doesn’t have named bibs moving forward. I came in at just 5 hours, (having started about 23 minutes after the first wave), for an official time of 4:37:34! I had hoped to come in under 4:45, with my ultimate happy goal of 4:30, so I was right in the middle.

Officially Marathoners!

The reward was a hot shower followed by Chipotle, and lounging on the couch all night and the next day (with a few errands). It’s now been 3 days, and I think I’m ready to get my Turkey Trot on Thursday. Considering I could barely walk right after the race, I am so amazed at the human body.

The training for this race was far from perfect, and it was my very first one. I’m hoping that next go around I can get closer to 4:15 with adequate training and no injuries! Unfortunately, that go-around isn’t going to be my next marathon, which happens to be the Disney Marathon in December. Why, you may ask? Because I am insane, and I’m doing the Goofy Challenge (half marathon Saturday, marathon Sunday). That race is just going to be about having fun, accomplishing 39.3 miles in 2 days, and scoring 3 medals and hopefully a lot of pictures with characters!

It feels so great to finally be able to call myself a marathoner. I have so much more respect for people that do marathons (or ultras) than I did even before I ran the race. It sounds mush, and I’m far from it, but its an honor to be in that group (even if I just squeezed in).

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Caramel Apples!

As you’re (hopefully) enjoying this post, I’m currently presenting functionality of my company’s software to some of our business partners. Imagine how thrilling time and attendance time allocation through managing and configuring cost centers can be!

For the conference that’s held the third week in October every year (this is year number three), each team member does two presentations on different things within the system. Yes, we’re a time and attendance, payroll, and HR software development company – I support the software that my fiancé makes, how cute! At the end of one of our joint presentations, my work BFF slash bridesmaid and I always play a game. This year, we decided to play a version of Jeopardy. With that we of course needed to also come up with a fun prize to give out to the winners. Last year, we gave out candy, but figured we needed to spice it up. Since the theme of the conference is always Halloween, we went with caramel apples!

While perusing the store on our lunch break, we stumbled upon a package of pre-made caramel that you literally stretch over an apple, bake for 5 minutes, let cool, and enjoy. While I first thought it might be a cop-out to not melt our own caramels and dip the apples, I also realized we needed something quick and easy for a week night. We wanted to decorate them, but couldn’t find any black and orange sprinkles, so we grabbed Halloween themed Oreos.

I have every intention of making real caramel apples, but if you’re ever in a hurry, or maybe you’re planning to make these with some yougin’s, I would highly recommend these. Hopefully, at the end of the game, our partners will recommend them based on flavor, too!

PS  – The Double Tree chain of hotels are genius. All hotels should offer warm chocolate chip cookies upon check-in!

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