Panther Prowl 5K Race Recap (20:34)


I raced today! It went extremely well.

I took a little break from blogging because I took a little break from racing. I’ve been working on building my base mileage instead. I realized I need to train a lot more if I want to be a speedier runner. This summer, I slowly worked my way up from 30 to 40 mpw and my body is responding extremely well. I feel much stronger and more efficient. I’ve started to experience moments when it feels like my legs run of their own volition. I’m hungry all the time, which is excellent, since it is pumpkin spice season.

Here are a few ways I’ve amped up my training:

  1. Group runs with fast guys: I’ve been doing a weekly 10K group run with runners who are much faster than me on a challenging, hilly course. Running with faster runners has been a huge incentive to, well, train faster. Plus, all the group #runchat makes the miles go by much more quickly (figuratively), too.
  2. Double run days: Once a week or so, I’ve been running twice a day: once in the afternoon and once in the evening. It’s a nice way to break up long stretches of writing and log some extra miles on tired legs for that extra endurance boost.
  3. Scenery change: I’ve moved to a new neighborhood that’s a total #runderland. There are so many beautiful parks to run through and it’s rejuvenating. After spending the last couple of years running laps around a giant shopping mall (I’m not kidding), I’m enjoying getting back in touch with nature.
  4. Mileage increase: These past three weeks, I’ve run 40 mpw. This week was a mini cutback week (35 miles) because I raced.
  5. Nutrition: I’ve been eating a lot. I’m a huge advocate of eating.

Today, I decided to jump into a local 5K with Chris and Hollie. I wanted to get back into racing shape in time for turkey trot season. I had zero expectations (aside from knowing I’d probably get sick) going into this race. I only caught two hours of sleep the night before, and my legs were still tired from a fast 10K training run on Wednesday. I bought a Wawa pumpkin spice coffee at 6:30AM to offset my fatigue. Wawa gives me wings.

Chris and I met Hollie at Pitman High School at 7:30, an hour before the race started. It was a bit chilly (50 degrees) and windy, but the sun was shining and the sky was brilliant blue. Hollie and I did a two mile warm up together and caught up on about 1/10 of the life gossip we need to catch up on. I actually felt pretty good lining up at the start, because I figured I’d run pretty poorly. My last race was in July and it didn’t go so well. Since I’m out of racing shape, I figured this race would be even worse.

At the siren, a bunch of guys, Chris, Hollie, and I took off in a lead pack. Within the first .5 mile, everyone but Chris, Hollie, a middle school kid, and me dropped off. Hollie and the middle school kid surged ahead while Chris and I went back and forth with each other for a mile and a half. It was easy to disassociate from the discomfort of racing because I was thoroughly engrossed in watching the competition unfold ahead of me. I was hoping Hollie would be the overall winner because I love seeing a woman win an entire race.

I didn’t look down at my watch for the first mile, because I didn’t want to feel discouraged. I hit my first split in 6:31, which is slow for me, but still within the realm of a good race. I left Chris behind on a downhill and kept chugging along. I could see the lead police car the entire time, which was nice, because I felt secure in knowing where the course was headed.

I don’t think I had a single negative thought during this entire race, which may be a first for me. I think that’s because, a few days ago, I watched this documentary, Finding Traction, about ultra runner Nikki Kimball’s quest to take down both the male and female record holders on Vermont’s 273-mile Long Trail. I learned a lot about myself and why I run through this film. It’s a must-watch, especially for female runners.

Anyway, I hit my second split in 6:43 and didn’t feel dead at all. I figured the last mile would go by quickly, and it did.

Until I hit the track. That lap around the track was agony. I got sick and felt sorry for the guy who passed me at the last second, because he had to maneuver around me while I was extremely ill. Still, when I saw the finish line clock at 20:20, I somehow managed to pull it together and sprint for the chute. I finished in 20:34, which is a 20 second PR for me. I couldn’t believe it! And here’s why I love racing: that guy who passed me at the last second was also extremely thrilled to have run a PR. He basically almost hugged me at the finish, even though I was covered in puke.

Hollie was the overall winner in 19:04, which is a spectacular time. I’m so excited for her, because she has been training exceptionally hard and truly deserves to see all her effort pay off.

Chris set a PR, too! He finished right behind me. #closingthegap

After the race, Chris and I bought cinnamon sugar lattes and took a stroll around the local farmers’ market.

I adore October. It is simply the best month – for running, and eating, and doing all the fall things. I love October running so much that I dedicated this week’s PhillyVoice story to why October is the very best month for aspiring runners to start getting in shape.

I’m proud of how well I raced this morning. I think today’s time reflects the extra work I’ve been putting in, and I’m looking forward to progressing more in the coming months.

Questions for the Internets:

What is the best pumpkin flavored food/beverage you’ve sampled so far during Fall 2015?

Did you race this weekend? If so, how did it go? 

What’s your ideal weekly mileage? 



Add yours →

  1. So sad I couldn’t run this one!


  2. I was so glad to see your blog pop up in my reader because I was wondering what happened to you! I know you are a writer for a living (as am I), and that sometimes that affects motivation to write for fun or blog, not to mention sometimes work gets busy because everything is always due at once. But, it’s good to see you were running that whole time and that you’ve raced again.

    Congratulations on the PR & 2nd place! It’s great that you PRed and that you and the other guy ran so close that you pushed each other to those times. Races like that are the best. Stinks that you were feeling sick but looks like it was worth it- and that your body is responding very well to the increase in mileage. I too have increased my mileage but am still waiting for some gains… at least I think I’m doing the right thing. My body has been able to handle it okay, just need to find an ideal race.

    The best pumpkin spice item I’ve had this year… I bought a candle from Bath and Body Works. It’s too hot here for pumpkin spice! Maybe next weekend when I’m in the NC mountains…


    • Thank you, Amy! You get me. 🙂 I knew I would be sick because that’s the price I pay for not racing in a while. I lost about 10 seconds, but that’s okay. Congrats on the mileage increase! From what I hear, it takes a bit for your body to absorb the extra distance before you start throwing down peak speed. Have fun in the mountains! That sounds like ideal autumn running.


  3. I was so happy for you and you deserved that PR. You’ve been working hard this summer and I know it’s the beginning of some awesome races. How did I not know about the Farmers Market? It looks amazing!


  4. Congrats on your PR Liz!! Sounds like a fantastic run for you – and living proof that increased mileage does reap rewards, even with no race specific training! I’m currently trying to do exactly the same thing: increase from 30 to 40 mpw, but always get stuck around the 37 number when the niggles set in! What is next on your horizon then? Will you target a 10K PR perhaps? xx


    • Thank you so much, Katie! Interestingly enough, I got stuck at around 37 miles for a few weeks, too. I credit yoga and foam rolling for getting me over the hump. You guessed it! I’m racing my first 10K in years next month and I’m really excited to break out of my 5K routine! 🙂


  5. I don’t know what I was more excited for here: to see a post from you, to see your AMAZING NEW PR HOLY CRAP SISTER YES, the pumpkin Puffins (what?!?!!? need those) or the puke and rally race recap. You. Are. Awesome!! Congrats and welcome back 🙂


  6. Hi there wanted to say great race you and you friend ran. I see you were in the 20:34. That awesome.
    I seen you at a few races,and group run on weds night.
    Your progreese looks great.
    I was surprised you were hungry after you were I’ll.

    Will you be doing any turkey trot this year ,i signed up for the medford 5k on turkey day and also hadden turkey trot on Sat.
    Happy running.


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