Sunday, June 12, 2016

Reflections on the Women's Distance Festival

I've run the Women's Distance Festival 5k for the past three years.

Going into this year's race, I looked back on the previous two races and thought about how things had changed

It's definitely been surprising!


The 2014 race (recap) was a high point in my running adventures. I set a 5k personal record of 32:24, much to my surprise. 

I was alone in Marcy's 11:00 pace group,
so she adjusted our pace (unknown to me).
I ran a 10:27 pace & was shocked.

  • Feet: they were numb for half of this race, and I finally went to a podiatrist afterwards
  • Speed Goals: I wondered if I could achieve a sub-30 5k
  • Intervals: I had yet to discover run/walk intervals, and ran the whole race without walking
  • Marathon: I was sure I didn't want to run a marathon


The 2015 race (recap) coincided with the first week of Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) training. I did the race in the middle of my long run and kept the pace easy, finishing in 38:17. Mentally it was hard to look back on the 32:24 from 2014 and wonder if I would ever get back there again.

Coach Norma, Mary, & me
It was Mary's 1st race in 17 years;
it helped me to view the race through her eyes.
photo courtesy of Brian Kent


In the weeks leading up to the race, I was telling people that it was my 3rd year running the race, and I get slower every year. But I had forgotten that 2015 was a training run as opposed to maximum effort. It dawned on me that maybe I could beat last year's time without putting my toe at risk.

WDF always has great swag
This year's theme was "Ladies Power Up"
Look at the power on the cap lights - wow!

I started out conservatively with the 4:2 interval group. We ran the first mile at 12:33. I stuck with the group for most of the 2nd mile, taking off on my own after the water stop (hi to Emily at the water stop!). My second mile was 12:24. My toe felt good and I kept pushing the pace. It was going to be close; I wasn't sure if I could do it.

Sallie & Lynn
photo courtesy of Mike
Shawn in a truly triumphant momemnt
photo courtesy of Mike

I finished my last walk interval as I crested the last big hill. I knew Coach Mike would be on the other side and would say something inspirational. As I started my run and looked towards Mike, I realized Susan was there to run me in! I can't even describe the pure joy I felt when I saw her. It was motivating and uplifting.

Susan running me in to the finish
photo courtesy of Mike

Susan ran with me and encouraged me to pass the women in front of me. I told her I couldn't, I felt like I was going to throw up. She said she thought I could. So I pushed through, passed the women,  and kept my eye on the finish line turn, crossing at 37:55. I beat last year's time.
  • Feet: I now have hallux ridigus & a return of numbness. I'm learning new ways to manage my toes
  • Speed Goals: I'm so far away from a sub-30 5k, but I'd still like to get there. I have to get back to sub-35 first. 
  • Intervals: run/walk intervals are still my thing. I ran (and negative split!) MCM with 3:1 intervals (recap).
  • Marathon: I'm so glad I experienced MCM. I'll never say never, but I don't expect to run a marathon again

It will be interesting to see where I am in my running journey for the 2017 Women's Distance Festival.


  1. I'm so glad I was able to surprise you there. I wish I could say it was a big plan that I had but honestly it all started when I was elbowed at 4:25 and couldn't go back to sleep...

    1. Well, tell your buddy his errant elbow made my day & thank you :)