Tag Archive: PR

April Fools Half Marathon 2014

Today was the April Fools Half Marathon in Atlantic City – my favorite race.  The conditions were perfect for running!  Sunny, cool and filled with a lot of great running friends. 


There were 15 girls from my running club running today.  This race seems to be the first half marathon for many girls in my club, and today was no exception.  Plus, a lot of us were looking for PRs, so it was sure to be an exciting day!

pre race collage

A bunch of us decided to wear tutus in response to the negative comments recently published by Self magazine.  It was my first tutu race and I have to admit that it was more festive than just regular running clothes. 

tutu gilrs

Part of the fun of racing with friends is hanging out before and after the race.  It’s always an early morning, but it is also always worth it.

sol pre race 5

One of the reasons I love this race so much is that the course travels parallel to the beach in Atlantic City.  I love the beach in the morning – it reminds me of the summers I worked on the beach when I was younger.  The sun on the water is so beautiful and the seagulls are cheering you on. 

beach collage

Eileen and I ran together for a lot of the race.  We chatted the race away like it was another training run. 


The race starts at the Revel casino in Atlantic City and runs through three other beach towns before coming back.  One of the highlights of the course is Lucy the 6 story elephant statue in Margate.  You can actually go inside the statue and come out on top for an elephant ride!  If you want to learn more about Lucy, look here.  http://www.lucytheelephant.org/?presets=preset5


I was hoping to get a PR at this race.  My prior best time for a half marathon was 2 hours, 10 minutes.  Last year I ran this race in 2 hours, 15 minutes.  Eileen and I didn’t sprint the course, but we kept an eye on our pace as we went.  Towards the end I decided to pick it up a bit to be sure I would get in under 2 hours.  Guess what?  I did it!  1 hour, 58 minutes! 

mdal collage

It is always a great feeling when you reach a goal!  I was not the only one either!  Many of my girls set a new PR today.  Time to celebrate.  How convenient that they give you free beer after the race!  (Yes, Cindy had one too!)

sol post race1

We had fun hanging out after we finished and cheering the rest of our girls in.

post race collage

Did I mention that we were also celebrating 2 birthdays today?  Here is Danielle with her birthday gear.

birthday girl

We were off to a celebratory lunch at Margaritaville after everyone finished.  It was officially the longest lunch we have had, but definitely fun.

sol post race lunch1

Then I got to come home and tell my boys the good news.  :)


If I had to guess, I would say I am going to be sore tomorrow.  Here is a throw back picture of my girls from a Jingle Bell race in 2012.  Today was so much fun, but I must admit that I missed some of my girls who could not make it.  Next year I hope we get all of the gang together for this one.

throw back 2012


So, I am wondering, did you have a good weekend?  What did you do?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day a day early!  Today was my running club’s 5k / 10k race Shamrocks for Sandy.  What a fun morning!

me & boys


We were there bright and early.  Well, dark and early actually. 

Mom me & boys

My parents brought the boys and stayed for the entire race.  Thanks guys!

Shamrocks 4 Sandy 010

mom & boys

Holly and I had to get our pictures early at this race – she had a job to do later.

me & Holly

The one mile kids run is a leprechaun chase.  Guess who was the leprechaun?  I began to fear for her safety when the boys mentioned the kids were going to try to see who could “tag” her first!  She is a brave girl!  Doesn’t she look cute as the leprechaun?

Shamrocks 4 Sandy 006

Cindy had a crazy costume too.  Fittingly, she was a shamrock this year.

Shamrocks 4 Sandy 007

One quick picture of the boys before the kids’ race.

Shamrocks 4 Sandy 008

And one of my SOL sisters.

balloon arch pre race

The boys were very excited about their race!  In fact, I tried to catch them to run with them and it took me half a mile.  LOL

kids start1

They were even more excited to get their medals at the finish line. 

Dane medal me & boys medals

Here are the medals.

Shamrocks 4 Sandy 012 Shamrocks 4 Sandy 013

It was such a nice day to run.  The weather actually cooperated for once!  Here is Eileen running.


I ran the 10k today.  Guess what?  I got 3rd place in my age group!  Yay!  My official time was 53 minutes 43 second for 6.2 miles.  That is an 8:40 pace.  Not bad for me!

me medal

 This one is mine. :)


Eileen and I ran the second lap together and we both ended up with 3rd place in our age group.  Thanks for the run Eileen!

Shamrocks 4 Sandy 021

And here are my girls after the race.  Lots of medals!

Balloon Arch post race

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to enjoy a relaxing run today or go for the medal.  I am glad I pushed myself.  I thought of my boys as I was running the last windy, uphill (sort of) road and pushed myself.  So glad I did.  Thanks to my friends who pushed me today too.  I needed that.


So, I am wondering, how do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?


Running Faster

This past Sunday a new world record was set for the fastest marathon.  Wilson Kipsang of Kenya ran 26.2 miles in 2:03:23!  This means he was able to sustain a pace of less than a 4.5 minute mile!

passion run

Most of us are reasonably happy to complete a half marathon in two hours.  But what if you want to get faster?  Maybe you are looking to break your 5k PR or just shave some time off of your per mile pace.  How do you do it?  Well, you have to train.  There are various methods to choose from – intervals, fartleks, tempo runs, hills.  You can pick one method or try a combination.  See what works best for you.  Before you try any speed training, though, make sure you have a solid running base to prevent injury.  Also, speed training may not be the best idea if you are increasing mileage to prepare for a long distance run.


The first step in running faster is to be aware of your pace.  I highly recommend a running watch with GPS.  If you are a competitive person, I bet this alone will make you faster!  Once you see your own time you will want to run harder to beat it.

Now that you have your watch, try speed training once a week.  Maybe you will like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  This type of structured interval training requires you to run from 10 – 60 seconds at race pace (full effort), followed by a recovery period of slower running for 1 – 4 minutes.  You may want to start with two intervals and work up to a workout including ten intervals.  This type of low volume, high intensity training is sure to make you faster!

It will

If intervals are not your thing, try fartleks.  OK, go ahead and laugh.  It does sound funny.  The word fartlek is a Swedish word that means “speed play.”  This unstructured approach alternates moderate to hard efforts into an otherwise easy run.  For example, while running you will just decide to go all out – to the next mailbox, or maybe to “that” tree.  This approach does not focus on pace or distance.  You decide how fast you want to go and for how long you want to maintain the effort before slowing down for a recovery period.  Fartleks are fun if you run with a group.

If you do not want to run intervals at all you can try a tempo run to increase your speed.  In a tempo run, you start your run with a warm up.  Once warmed up, you run for a pre-established distance at a comfortably hard pace, followed by a cool down.  Your comfortably hard pace should be slower than race pace, but still somewhat difficult.  Your exact pace will vary depending upon the weather and your course.  An example of a tempo run might be a 5 – 10 minute warm up followed by a 15 – 20 minute tempo run, ended with a 5 – 10 minute cool down.  Tempo training improves your focus, helps you run faster and can act as a race simulation.

Running hills can also help you run faster.  Although hill training is not my favorite, it has been shown to build strength and muscle elasticity.  This extra power will increase your speed.  You can work hills into any of the above training, or just add hills to your regular distance.

Stop done

Whenever you are speed training, be careful to avoid injury.  Be sure to stretch and fuel properly.  Take rest when your body needs it.  When you run hard, it will feel uncomfortable.  Try to focus your attention on positive thoughts.  Run faster today to run faster on race day!

So, I am wondering, have you tried speed training?  What works best for you?

2,010 Feet

A little over two hours after I started, I ran up the steepest hill I have seen in my running career and pushed myself to go faster and pass under the tall black rectangular finish line.  I had pursued this end with singular focus for the last three uphill and heavily slanted miles and now was having trouble getting my legs to stop moving.  I had smiled for the final camera man sitting on top of the finish line, but the truth was that last hill was a fight.  This picture is of the finish line and the overall winner of the race – Stanley Biwott.  You can see the incline a bit here, but most of it is just past that turn and to the right.

RnR Run Finish

I am not one to just stop after a race.  I need to walk it off a bit.  So I passed the volunteers handing out finisher medals in a bit of a fog and in search of Gatorade.  Soon, however, the excitement set in for me and I claimed my medal.  : )

RnR Medal

Of course I had stopped my Garmin and my Runkeeper after crossing the finish line.  So while looking for a cold drink I decided to check my stats.  This race was not a speed PR for me for a half marathon.  So I was surprised to see my Runkeeper announcing a new personal record.  As it turns out, it was for elevation climbed!  MY FAVORITE!  2,010 feet.  Well that explains a lot.

RnR Run1  RnR Run 0  RnR Run6

So, I am wondering, have you ever run a race with an uphill finish?  How did you feel about it?


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