Grand Slam Anyone? #RunnersWorld

I was born and raised in Pennsylvania until 1990, when my family decided to move to Maine.  We make it a point to go back and visit family about once a year... but I've never raced in Pennsylvania.  Well - I checked that off my bucket list at the Runner's World Half and Festival!  I actually checked off my first FOUR PA races in one weekend!  How about that?

The TRAIL Race!

rocking my Sparkly Soul Headband, Spandits Inferno Shorts, ProCompression sleeves and
pc racers & my Altra Torins
This year Runner's World added a new race to their running festival - a 3.8 mile trail run, which brings to total running mileage to 26.2 miles!  I felt honored to participate in the first year of adding a 4th race to the festival.

The Trail Race took place Friday afternoon at South Mountain Park.  David and Lacey took us over in the vans - which was rather awesome!  Not having to worry about how to get there, where to park!  

pre race selfies with Nancy and Linzee 

We had already toured the area earlier in the day and had a sneak preview of part of the course...but still really didn't know what we had in store for us!  I was nervous about running on trails.  I like them - but I also fear getting injured.  My plan was to just take it in and enjoy myself.  And that I did!

loved the instant stats right to my phone!
thank you Runner's World for a kickass app!

But somehow I came in 4th for my division?  Really?  Ward asked if there was only 4 people in my division.  Haha, funny guy.

And how about FREE race photos?  YES!

showing off our "medals" or REI swag bags... either way...bloggers love to show off!

we're a pretty awesome group..aren't we?  
The 5k! 
Both the 5k and 10k were held Saturday morning at the Steel Stacks.  It was a little chilly, but not too bad.  I opted to go with a short sleeved shirt and bring my arm sleeves just in case.
Headsweats cap, fleece Brooks arm sleeves, Altra Torins, ProCompression PC racers,
Atayne Maine shirt and my newest Spandits print - Mamba!

It was also David Willey's birthday, you know, editor in chief of Runner's World.  That guy knows how to throw a party!

The best part of a chilly race morning?  Getting to hang out inside to stay warm!  And no porta-potties!  

Altras for the win!  Heather and I opted to run in our Altras!  
Erika (middle) is an ambassador and always runs in hers!  I love the colors of her One 2.5's!  

Steel Stacks!  I must be obsessed with them...because I keep taking pictures of them.  

The course itself was a great one!  Just a couple of hills in there to give you a challenge, but nothing compared to the hills I've run up here in Maine.  I did enjoy running on the other side of the river and maybe got too excited when I realized I ran past a place I parked a couple of years ago when Ward and Wade ran the Lehigh Valley Marathon.  (another race on my bucket list)

I wanted the 5k to be a good speed workout...but wanted something left in the tank knowing I still had the 10k and half marathon to get through.  I was aiming for 8:10's - 8:20's...and failed miserably.

These race photos are great!  The only difference between my 5k and 10k photos are the arm sleeves.

The 10K!
There was a little wait between the 5k and 10k, so I headed inside to stay warm.  When it got closer to the start, I found Susan and Heather and we headed over to the starting area again.  This time, I opted to bring my arm sleeves because I wasn't going to run as fast and knew I'd be a little colder.

The 10k course started off on the same 5k course, but had a little extra loop to it.  It was so pretty!  Again... a couple of hills but it was all good!  I don't want a super flat race anyway.

What I did love was the final stretch...which is the same final stretch for the 5k and half... coming in under the arch with the fire on top.  The music was pumping and then you get high fives from Bart and Deena!  Oh heck yes!

I was super happy with my time!  A little faster than I should have...but I just went with it.  Why not? Right!  

Showing off our 5k and 10k medals.... awesome pants and kickass shoes!  I love my roomie!  

And check it out!  Happy bloggers showing off their Altras and medals!  

The Half Marathon!
Sunday morning was the half marathon...and the forecast was calling for cold.  Like 29F.  This Maine girl is used to this.... in November/December.  It really takes me until February to think that 29F is "warm" on the first cold day, I grabbed my winter running hoodie.  Perhaps a little overdressed but I definitely wasn't racing and wasn't going to get very warm at all.

oh look!  Spandits!  Inferno capris now! Altra Torins, ProCompression PC Racers, and Headsweats headband

5 minutes prior to the start, Heather and I were hanging out around the 9 minute mile pacer..when I got a text from my dad.  "At the start".  Whoa.....say what?  Heather is super chill....and came with me while we scoured the crowd looking for my dad...who dragged poor Barb out of bed and made the drive from Harrisburg to Bethlehem to surprise me.  And that he did!  It totally made my day!  Thank you, dad and Barb!!!!

After some hugs and photos, Heather and I made our way back into the starting area and soon we were off... soon we saw Susan and Laura!  Here's a great Headsweaty Selfie!

Heather stuck with me the entire time.  It was so fun to run with her!  She's a freaking riot and a great runner!  I am in awe of her training for a 24 hour race.

 It got me thinking that I should do one some day.  We didn't have any goals with this one...just to finish and have fun!  And that we did!

After we finished, we grabbed our medals (that Heather and I brought and put in our bags at bag we'd have all 3!) and took a quick photo with Susan, Allie and Laura.  

And then we were off to find my dad and Barb...and take a photo with all of my medals and the Steel Stacks.

And you know what?  I ran all 4 races - yep - the ENTIRE Grand Slam in my new Altra Torins!   Something I never would have done before with other running shoes...but these shoes are the best! Thank you, Altra!  

Thank you, David and the rest of the Runner's World Crew for a fabulous four days!  I don't know why I was selected, and probably never will know, but to have this opportunity was a dream come true!  I will cherish these moments forever.  Hopefully I'll be able to return to Runner's World next year!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Runner's World Half and Festival as a blogger influencer.  I was not required to write a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  


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