Mission Complete

I was finally able to check something off of my bucket list this past weekend.  For the past 5 years or so I have tried to get into a very fun 5k down in Delaware. It’s called the Dogfish Dash and it is held by Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE.  Dogfish is very special to me and my husband. They have such an awesome selection of beers – probably some of our favorites and the brewery is about a mile up the road from where he grew up.  It has grown over the past 20 years into an amazing brewery that we try to visit as often as possible. And my basement has a beer room which is pretty much dedicated to all things Dogfish.

Well each year for the past 10 or so years they have held an awesome race called the Dogfish Dash.  I have tried over the years to get in but it sells out VERY fast.  One year I was in and just about to check out with my credit card and BOOM it was full. This was literally less than 10 minutes after the race opened up. Thankfully I didn’t get in that year because I ended up getting pregnant with Owen.  I could barely walk, let alone run a race.  Two other times I attempted but it was full within minutes even when they had two races a 5k and a 10k. I would never attempt the 10k but both always sold out faster than any concert that I have ever attempted to get tickets for.

This year was going to be different!  I could feel it. I still wasn’t training at all but I knew that I just wanted into this race.   I have always heard that it was a fun time and of course there’s BEER at the end of it.  Oh and I forgot to mention that the race was no longer a 5k, it was now an 8k.  That’s two extra miles people! AHHH but I was going to do it.  It helped that my new neighbors up the road were going to run in it in too.

As registration day approached I sat by my computer, probably with a highly fatty lunch and Coke Zero in hand, counting down to the moment registration opened up.  I was determined to get in this year, even though I was carrying a ton of extra weight and couldn’t run a 1/4 mile without feeling like my heart was going to pop out of my chest. Registration opened and I typed as fast I could filling in all of the personal, financial information and then finally after several glitches with their checkout process freezing, I did get my confirmation email! YEAH, I was in. I was probably more excited about getting in than running the race!!!!!!  I signed Joey up as well but after his terrible leg injury this summer, we knew he was just going to be my cheerleader (and designated beer drinker).

So now I was set! The race was months away and I had plenty of time to train, right? I did run a 5k in May called The Hair of the Dog at the Working Dog Winery.

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I struggled through that one.  Right away my leg cramped up, but I didn’t give up and I finished it. But I am not going to lie, it was rough. But I will do anything for wine. Notice a theme with my races? I only run towards alcohol, isn’t that the only thing worth running towards? Haha

So after the Working Dog 5k, I thought that if I just trained over the next few months then I would be okay at the Dash.  Well, life took over.  I spent the summer running kids all over the place for camps, Owen cried every time that I tried putting him in day care at the gym and honestly I just gave up and drank wine and ignored the fact that the race was quickly approaching. I figured at the very least, I would walk the race and just come in last. As long as I could beat the street sweepers that were going to pick up trash after the race, then I was still going to do it.

The kids finally went back to school. Owen too (I’ll blog about that soon). So I was able to go to the gym and train – I trained a solid 4 days (eeek).  Oh but I did give up wine and ate a lot healthier for a few weeks prior to the race so that was one good thing. I could run on a treadmill but the same leg pain that bothered me during the May 5k was killing me again.  I ran through it each day but I knew it was not going away before the race. I thought about giving up and not going through with it, but I knew that I would kick myself if I did that. I always tell the boys that they need to follow through with things, I couldn’t show them that it was okay to give up. Especially Ben, he knew that my leg hurt but was always there to offer support or bring me my ice pack when I needed it. I couldn’t let him down.

Well this past Saturday, we loaded the family up and headed down to Milton, Delaware to the race packet pickup at the Brewery! I will say that Dogfish Head really does put together a nice swag bag.  The t-shirts were awesome and the tote bags were pretty cool too. But the best is the beer kanteen that you get when you complete the race (keep reading to see that cup).

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The night before I was full of nerves, I couldn’t sleep and my leg was killing me.  But early Sunday morning, Joey and I got up and headed over to the brewery to prep for the race.  The set up there is amazing.  Beer tents, food tents, DJs, and people. Lots and lots of people!  We had to get there early and had about an hour and a half to kill.  It was nerve wracking waiting around but also good for me.  I wished that I had taken a few more pictures but I just wanted to focus on the race.

Finally, 9:30am arrived and the gun went off.  I was running with a few of my friends but I knew that they would be gone within the first few seconds after we crossed the starting line.  They are actual runners. Within the first 1/4 mile both legs and my knee started to hurt. I thought to myself what the hell did I get myself into? Why did I push myself when I knew that I was out of shape?  But I just kept on running.  The first mile was the absolute hardest. I was in so much pain but as soon as I saw a mom pushing a double stroller running probably an 8 minute mile, I knew that I could do it too.  I mean it looked like one of her kids was only a few weeks old.  She was hardcore. I saw older woman walking, I saw men on the side of the road stretching out their cramped legs.  I knew that I was in good company.  I was probably running with the same crew for about 3 of the 5 miles.  Once the true racers took off and things spread out it was a little less stressful.

This time around I had no issues with breathing. I didn’t feel like I could die. It helped that it was also an absolutely GORGEOUS DAY! We had zero humidity, cool temperatures and such a nice breeze.  As I was running, I kept thinking just 4 more miles, just 3 more miles, etc.  I saw a sign that said 1/2 way done.  Then there were kids along the route high fiving all of the runners.  The fact that they were still there when this slow poke ran by was very uplifting.

There was even a point where I ran past a sign that showed your current time at the 5k point.  I noticed that I had beat my earlier 5k time from May so that gave me hope that I could do this. That I could actually run, errr slightly jog 5 miles.  Finally I saw this sign and knew that I was going to finish.

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I am very familiar with the town and I knew that the brewery was so close.  As I rounded the corner and got ready to turn into the brewery I started running full speed. As I approached the finish line, I saw Joey standing on the side cheering me on and taking pictures/video.  I ran across the line and felt so much relief! I know people run all of the time, I know that many people can do 7 minute miles or can run marathons but I am not one of them.  This is a huge accomplishment for me.  Yeah I may have finished in 1801st place but I finished.  Oh and there were several hundred people that came in after me. I expected my time to be closer to 1 hour 30 minutes based on my last run before race day but I surprised myself.

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As soon as I crossed that finish line, I ran over and grabbed my free beer cup, then I met up with Joey and our friends (who finished about 15 minutes ahead of me) for some brews and music and food.

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We enjoyed some post party festivities for a few hours after the race but I knew that if I sat down that I might not get back up. It was a Sunday and we still had to head back to NJ that afternoon/evening.  The kids had school the next day and Joey had work.  It was a long day and next year I plan on everyone taking a vacation day the Monday after.   I want to thank my husband for supporting me on race day, I want to thank my in-laws for watching the three crazy boys while I could check something off of my bucket list and I want to thank all of my awesome friends that lifted me up with their support over the past few weeks and on race day! It kept me motivated to not throw in the towel and to keep on moving.

So there’s only a few more months until registration opens for next years race. I plan on entering once again, this time I am going to train. Yeah I know that I have said that before, but I promise that this time I will.  Who is going to hold me to that????

PS – I haven’t been back to the gym to run since the race. My leg is still bothering me but I plan on heading back next week.

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All You Runners, Please Help!!!

Okay so I started running as some form of exercise about 9 months ago. I started off well, then slacked off a bit, but now I am trying to get my butt back into gear so I can run my first 5K this year! I already know which one I am signing up for the Dogfish Dash in Delaware. Of course the end goal is beer so I know that I can make it 3.1 miles for beer! I just don’t want to come in last place so I need some help, advice, etc. I have a few questions for all of you runners out there (see below). Please comment in the post so I can become a “runner” soon!

Right now this is my motto!

  1. What are the best types of sneakers to wear. I am using just basic every day sneaker from Kohls. I know that they are not great for running but I didn’t want to make an investment until I started showing improvement. 
  2. What’s the best type of clothing to wear? Any specific brands? I am talking tops, shorts/pants and socks? 
  3. Girls – Now this is for the big busted ladies out there (woo hoo!) but I need a really good sports bra. I was in pain while running the other day and my back still hurts and I am still sporting black eyes! Any recommendations? I can’t spend my entire run holding onto the girls b/c that may look a bit weird to the other runners. 
  4. What is a good time to expect for a “novice” runner. I started out with 15 minute miles – remember I am sooooooo out of shape! I mean I couldn’t even run more than 2 tenths of a mile when I first started and today I did under an 11 minute mile – my personal best! I know that I WILL DO BETTER but it’s going to take some time.  Again what is good for an average runner who is doing it for fun?
  5. Any other tips you can share with me? Please do! 

Thanks for any and all advice!

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