Clinch River 5.5k Trail Race

I’m back in the Big Apple and re-adjusting to my return (helloooo overflowing inbox at work…). I really took advantage of my last few days in the country by soaking up sunshine and getting ready to race the Clinch River 5.5k on Saturday evening. I usually run races in the morning, so I was a little unsure of what to eat before a p.m. effort. I ended up eating a normal breakfast (granola, milk, and berries) and then having rice, bread, and leftover veggie kabobs for my mid day meal. This isn’t what I would normally eat for lunch, but the low-fiber and high-carb combination actually ended up working well. I also snacked on some pretzels and Gatorade later in the afternoon and had zero tummy troubles during the race.

By the time we got the race site, it was still sunny and close to 90 degrees. I tried to hydrate and stay in the shade until we were ready to run. At 6pm, the runners lined up and prepared to race the 5.5k trail loop.

St. Paul’s Mayor Fletcher (and former h.s. cross-country coach!) blew a whistle to start us off. The first 1/4 mile was mostly downhill/flat and then we began a 1 mile climb up a mountain (seriously). The single-track trail was so steep that nearly everyone had to walk at some points. Once we reached the top of the trail (elevation ~2,000 feet), the next 2 or so miles were mostly rolling downhill on gravel trail. Since the field was small, I ended up running most of the race solo. It reminded me a lot of a high school cross-country meet, actually.

My final time wasn’t super fast 29:55 for 5.5k (or ~8:30/mile), but considering the hills, terrain, and elevation, I still finished feeling like I had put forth a solid effort. Anddddd, the best part? I was the number one female!! In my eleven years of competitive running, I have never won my age group (let alone a race), so I was really excited to come away with a W. I scored a sweet trophy and a $100 savings bond.

Big thanks to my Dad and Pam who braved the hot temperatures to spectate and photograph the race.

I ended up running 8 miles for the day (2.5 mile shake-out run in the morning, 1 mile warm-up, 3.4 mile race, 1 mile+ cool-down) and my legs were complete toast. And despite refueling with plenty of Gatorade and a banana, I actually woke up in the middle of the night with calf cramps, gah!

Fortunately, I wasn’t too tired for some post race ice cream! After spending an hour or so at the town festival, I headed home, ate a bowl of granola, and passed out.

I had big plans for a long run the next morning, but my legs  said NO. I settled for 5 easy miles and a nature hike with my Dad before saying goodbye to Appalachia. It’s a good thing the scenery was so pretty – it distracted me from the hills (well, sort of…).

The view during Sunday’s 5-miler:

One last stop before heading to the airport – a nature walk around Hidden Valley Lake (it’s on top of a Mountain!). Before logging came to the area about 100 years ago, this lake used to be a high elevation cranberry bog and Dad says some wild cranberries can still be found. Yay, nature.

And finally, a give-away! It’s going to be ridiculously hot on the East Coast this week (95+ tomorrow), so if you’re going to run/exercise, you need to stay hydrated. After a hot, summer run I really like to chug ice cold coconut water because it has tons of Potassium. I know it can be a little $$ to buy, but luckily, Zico has offered to send one reader a FREE case of coconut water. To enter:

1) Go to Zico’s facebook page and “like” them:


2) Leave a comment on this post telling me how you plan to stay healthy this summer!

I’ll pick a winner randomly on Friday, June 10th. Note: All winners must be U.S. residents.

  • How awesome that you won!!

    I plan on staying healthy by running all of the summer races I signed up for (8 signed up so far!).

    Megan, if you have calf cramps, you aren’t getting enough fluids!  🙂

  • Madeline

    Yay!  Congrats 🙂  I love trail running, it makes the experience so much more enjoyable! 

    And delicious giveaway, I liked Zico on FB and plan on making this summer healthy by hydrating myself better and stretching more.

  • Congratulations on the race!

    This summer, I’m focusing on strength and cross training, as I’m currently recovering from an injury and can’t run.  I want to be in the best possible shape when I am able to run again!

    Coconut water is my favorite for post-workout hydration. Thanks!

  • Dana Coyle

    I pledge to do more speedwork so I can PR at the NYC marathon, and drink lots of coconut water in the process! 🙂

  • Congrats on the win!!  Love the trophy….and a savings bond, too funny!

  • VanessaG

    Yay!!! Great,no Awesome job on the race!! Awesome prize as well! I was def thinking of you Sat. I told you that you would win!! 🙂 This summer I plsn to drink lots more water. I need to rehydrate and refuel better after I run(hopefully, with cocunut water,haha) . Also, I will use sunscreen more…its gonna be a hot Summer! 🙂

  • Sarah

    I am training for my first marathon ever-started two weeks ago!  I would love to win the coconut water because I have never tried it but been curious-I liked Zico!

  • I plan on running really early in the morning before the city heats up (and before I can build up an excuse), and doing as many free yoga classes as i can. 

  • Hi!! I’m a long time reader (love your blog) and just started my own blog!! Check it out!
    For me the it is easy to stay healthy in the summer just because I love all the fresh summer produce!! I love LOVE LOVE veggies and fruit and it just tastes so much better fresh in the summer!! And I don’t have the stress of graduate school!!!

  • Katelynwyszynski

    I’m training for my first-ever marathon this summer…and as I’ve
    discovered over the last week or so…running in NYC heat is going
    to take some getting used to! And will also take a LOT of lessons in
    hydration. So thats my motivation behind scoring some pricey coconut
    water for a freeee sampling 🙂

  • Julie Cousins

    How am I going to stay healthy this summer? Eat all of my CSA veggies. Sometimes I have a hard time eating all of them but my goal is to finish them all this summer. I am also going to start using my TRX for strength training.

    Congrats on the W!!!! One of my lifetime goals is to win a race. I have won my age group a few time but never in all my years of competitive running have I won a race. Congrats!

  • Congrats on the win!!! That must have been a great feeling – cheers!

  • Brittney Kleinfelter

    “liked Zico” + Plan on staying healthy by training for my first marathon!

  • Olga

    I LOVE Zico coconut water and have been a fan of them before they were even available in stores in my area of Madison, WI! I have shelled out lots of $$ and wish they would sell wholesale like at Sam’s Club or Costco. But my plan for this summer is to start a new eating lifestyle (not diet) by improving my eating habits and eating the delicious nutrient rich food only available in these next summer months! 

  • Craig

    I am a zico fanatic and have been for years. I plan on moving from the exercise bike in the gym to outdoor running and rollerblading. That’s my summer fitness plan.

  • Mipa514

    staying fit with hiking adirondacks, running and biking around long island and entered a few crossfit boot camps to really kick my butt. Plenty of coconut water to rehydrate too

  • THE Manny

    Just ran SD Marathon this past Sunday… gotta stay healthy and active all summer while training for my first Ironman 70.3!! #drinkZico

  • I actually stumbled on to your Facebook page and blog through the ZICO promotion.  I love to cook and started running again last year so I was really excited to find the blog!  I have read a couple posts, definitely want to check out that Thai restaurant and am interested in competing in some local NYC races/events coming up so I will be looking to the site for inspiration and direction!

  • Setherton

    I plan to RUN and SWING KETTLEBELLS. A lot. The end.

  • I plan to stay healthy by getting out and riding my bike and going on hikes and swimming and lots more fun outdoor activities. Also by drinking ZIco

  • I plan to stay healthy this summer by eating right and enjoying all the wonderful outdoor activities Boulder, my town, has to offer! 😀

  • sarah gusky kemer

    I am doing yoga every day this summer to stay active and fit!!  I’ll also be walking with my husband.

  • Lynne Meyer

    I’ve been a Zico fan for a while now! 🙂 This summer, I plan to stay healthy by taking advantage of our local farmer’s markets more, including more fresh/local produce into all our meals.

    lynne1971 (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Erin G.

    Congrats on the win in your race! I’ve been following your blog since last fall (I haven’t left comments in awhile- don’t mean to be a lurker!) and it’s been great and inspiring reading your posts since then! You’re also inspiring in that you take chances on cool different types of races- like a PM trail race- something that diverges from the norm of an 8am road race. Running doesn’t always have to follow the same routine and it can be whatever we make of it 🙂 Which I think is the true beauty of the sport. 

    As far as how I plan to stay healthy this summer: lots of running, swimming, and cycling for triathlons, ice baths, stretching, yoga…and taking good care of my IT band so I can train for the marathon healthily in the fall! And lots of good sleep, fruits and veggies… and making fresh gazpacho. 

  • Guest

    I’m gonna start eating less processed food!:)

  • My summer plan includes signing up for a bunch of late summer/early fall races so I don’t lose the momentum I’ve got going so far this year.

  • I lliked Zico on FB!

  • I plan on staying healthy this summer by carrying around an insulated water bottle with ice cold water at all times!!  

    Congrats on your win!

  • Melissa

    I have signed up for an all women’s half marathon on Sept 3rd in Indianapolis. Soooo I have to train and run to get ready for this event. Even in the hot temps.

  • Birthingbliss

    FB friend of ZICO my whole family drinks it as often as possible and i bring 2 bottles to every birth one for the Mama and one for me the doula! My fitness challenge teaching yoga to over 60 kids in summer camp and chasing my 3 & 6 year old boys around

  • Boswife

    I already like zico as michele malone. This summer we are cooking more from scratch and exercising every day

  • Maria B

    Staying healthy this summer by training hard and Hydrating enough for the last two half marathons I’m joining this year. Zico of course is what’s going to be in hydration bottle

  • Don’t we always want to be healthy and then end up getting derailed. That happens to me when family visits, we say “it’s OK we are on vacation” that seems to be our favorite phrase. I am my families “health nut” and it is my job to show them how to make healthier choices. But after finding great drink alternatives like Zico, it is easier to be healthy. Also, if I win, I promise to share!!!

  • bridget

    I’m staying healthy by training for my second marathon … I really need to focus on hydration and it is so darned hard for me!!!  Thanks!

  • Pumpkin Princess

    I will stay healthy this summer by replacing my canned pumpkin habit with a bottled coconut water habit. (After all, they are both fruits!) Believe it or not, you can’t get canned pumpkin in the summer where I live!  While I like Zico on Facebook, I like it better in my stomach! POTASSIUM, BABY!

  • Kaitlin Pruett

    I plan on doing some P90X and training for my first 1/2 marathon in October!

  • Kristan

    Congrats on winning the race!! That is awesome. So impressive on a hot day. You will be to suffer through XC with us! Also awesome- your intense running photo. Love it!

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