Resolutions Revolutions

Meditations in Motion

On Saturday, January 4 my hubby Bill and I traveled with our friend Nancy to R.B. Winter State Park in mid-state Pennsylvania to participate in CJ’s Resolution Challenge, a three-hour timed race to benefit autism awareness.

This was my fifth CJ’s, so you know I love the race, which is always held on the first Saturday in January.

This race is actually two events rolled into one. When registering, you can opt for the RC Revolutions Race or the Last Man (or Woman) Standing Race.

In the first option, racers run a 1.5-ish mile loop for three hours. The man/woman who completes the most loops wins the race. Pretty straightforward.

In the second option, participants run the first loop in 20 minutes, the second loop in 19 minutes, the third in 18 minutes, et cetera. The last man/woman to successfully complete the loop in the designated amount of time wins.

We chose the first option.

The loop is a mix of single-track trails filled with roots, rocks, and mud and gravel park roads.

The weather conditions at the seventh annual CJ’s were overcast skies, intermittent light drizzle, and hazy. The temperature hovered in the mid-forties, 45 degrees higher than the temperature at the beginning of the fifth CJ’s two years ago. You never know what the first week of January will bring in central Pennsylvania.

Meditations in MotionWe picked up our packets and Bill availed himself of one of the donuts from the registration table, then we went back to the car to pin on our bibs and deposit our race swag. This year, each participant got a blanket with the CJ’s logo.

Ten minutes before the start of the race, we ambled over to the starting line for our pre-race instructions.

I had been scanning the crowd to find a very talented fellow blogger I know who was also running the race but I could not find him. Luckily, he found me and came over to say hello.

The race director counted us down and we were off. The loop began on a trail portion of the course, an uphill. The first 100 yards of the race was crowded, but the pack quickly thinned out.

Meditations in MotionNancy and I ran together and Bill, who was taking it easy that day, ran separately. We fell into an easy conversation resulting from a very long friendship. As we turned onto a downhill section of gravel road, which quickly became another uphill, I could hear Nancy’s breathing become more labored. She was suffering from a cold and not running her typical pace.

The road quickly morphed into another, longer trail section which contained some rolling hills and some stream crossings. Luckily, wooden bridges spanned the streams so runners did not have to wade across and get wet feet.

Another, mostly downhill, gravel road section lead us back to the starting line, our first loop completed in approximately 16 minutes.

We completed two more similar loops, then stopped for a drink of water at the aid station, which was stocked with candy, orange sections, pretzels, crackers, Coke, Gatorade, and various bars, gels, and beans.

At the beginning of our fourth loop, I began running my own pace. My running has been going well lately, except for an occasional recurrence of a nagging hamstring injury that flares up at the end of a long run. I wanted to run as far as possible before the potential for pain showed up.

I ran the fourth, fifth, and sixth laps solo, then stopped again for some pretzels and Gatorade.

Before the race, my goal was to complete nine loops for 13.5 miles. My longest run since the Marine Corps Marathon was almost 12 miles, so I thought this would be a reasonable distance to attempt. I began counting down the loops until my ninth one. I was aware of my hamstring, but certainly not in severe pain during these three loops.

At the end of nine loops, I still felt good and had plenty of time left, so I decided to do one more loop at a very easy pace. I walked up many of the hills, my hamstring beginning to ache.

When I finished my tenth loop, there was time left on the clock. I decided I would wait until the three-hour mark (you cannot begin any loops after this time) and see if Bill or Nancy came across the finish line. If one of them wanted to do one more loop with me, I would consider an 11th loop.

I shut off my watch and stood beside the trail. At 2:57, I saw Nancy coming down the hill toward the finish line. “Do you want to do one more?” I asked her.

Dumb question. Of course, Nancy wanted to do one more loop.

Meditations in Motion

We did one more very slow loop, crossed the finish line together, then got our medals and walked into the pavilion for some hot soup, bread, and chips. There were also home-made desserts available for the runners.

The official distance we covered was 16.5 miles, but Nancy’s Garmin showed 17.3 miles.

If you ever find yourself in Central Pennsylvania on the first weekend in January, this is a race not to miss. Here are some of the pros:

  • Excellent organization
  • Benefits a wonderful, worthwhile cause
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Good mix of trails and roads
  • Delicious and plentiful food both pre-and post-race
  • Well-stocked aid station
  • Different swag each year
  • Plentiful parking near the race start
  • Unusual race format
  • Very reasonable registration fee

Here are the cons:

  • nada

I enthusiastically recommend this race to anyone. You can do any distance you like, even if it’s only one loop. Runners are not required to run the entire three hours.

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

 

 

85 comments

  1. What a trooper – you ran in the drizzle and that is admirable since it is drizzle in January, not in mid-Summer. I think I remember you running in this event last year. All pros and no cons is good. I’ve been in boots, not lacing up my walking shoes due to icy conditions, but like your disparity in temps from one event to the other, we had temps that rose some about 30 degrees over the course of today – the weather is wacky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It actually wasn’t too bad. I was prepared and brought a complete change of clothing – down to my underwear – for after the race. Plus they had really good soup after the race and a big fire going in the fireplace to help us warm up.
      I did write about this race last year too. It’s been held for 7 years and I have done it 5 times. The weather certainly is wacky. We had snow on Tuesday (about 2 inches) that is still on the ground but they are predicting temperatures in the 60s for this weekend! Yay!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought you did Laurie – I remembered the name of the event. I almost walked to the Park this morning, just a light mist and almost 50, but we are having strange weather this weekend too – we have temps in the 50s and are having 2-4 inches of rain in a 24-hour period beginning at midnight tonight. I went out and checked the downspouts that they were clear and could drain freely and went down the street and cleared debris from the storm drains. The weather folks suggested doing that. The mid-part of the state will have freezing rain but as of now we will stay warmer and no ice hazards. I could enjoy 60 for sure! I think once we get through Sunday, we will have a few good/warmer days again. The older I get, the more I’ve become more of a “weather worrier” – grrrr to climate change!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Grrr to climate change indeed. I’m writing a post about that right now. Thankfully, it’s a beautiful day here. We went out last night and didn’t even need coats at 9:00. The temperature was still 65 degrees!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow – that is great weather Laurie. I am sorry to report that we have weather that is 30 degrees colder than yesterday at this time … in fact the temps dropped 30 degrees in the course of the day Saturday, then we got 2.5 inches of rain during the day and it turned to freezing rain – we were lucky compared to the northern suburbs, but it is icy out and I did not go out and likely will not walk for a few more days as we are getting another round of freezing rain tonight.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, we are definitely getting spoiled by this warm weather. The good news (for me) is that we leave for Florida in a week, so we are looking forward to more warm weather there. Sorry you could not walk today. Freezing rain is the worst!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I’ll bet you and Bill are counting the days because this warmer weather is great, but you are always looking over your shoulder for the “real Winter” to arrive. We have gotten rid of the ice late this afternoon so that is good, but we will be having another ice/snow storm on Friday afternoon … hopefully it fizzles out, but at least I will get out a few days in a row before the next weather event.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, we just looked at the weather forecast for my sister’s location in Florida. It has been in the 80s recently but the week we visit, it will be in the 60s. Kind of disappointed about that, but 60s are still nice in January!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, that is a disappointment, but you still can wear light clothing and will have nice weather for a run every day, maybe even on the beach. The 60s sure beats boots, heavy parkas and woolens – that is for sure. I finally got down to the Park today since the ice melted – it was not warm, but I’ll take a clear and dry day in January any day!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that’s how it was last year too – like April, not June or July. I am not more concerned about the forecast for Saturday. We are supposed to get several inches of snow and we have a trail 25k on our schedule in Maryland (about an hour away from our house). Glad you got to the park today. Clear and dry in January is good. You are so right!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Today was nice too – even sunny which was great. The cold does not bother me, just the precip. Unfortunately there are 200 million people in line to endure a Winter storm that begins Friday night – the northeast is in the bulls eye, but hopefully your 25K event is not affected. We will endure some of this storm here in Michigan – 3 to 5 inches of snow and some freezing rain in the mix as well. Ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, our race Saturday morning looks doubtful. They will have the race in the snow, sleet, and freezing rain but we worry about driving home after the race. We will have to see. It’s my favorite race of the year. I hate to miss it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is going to be bad here – 3 to 6 inches of snow, but some may melt later when the rain comes along, but high winds also. Likely the same scenario for you guys.
        Unfortunately you won’t be around if they postpone the race a week, but it’s highly unlikely they will do that as runners from out of state will not appreciate that. Yes, the driving when the roads are icy – never easy to do that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Keep your fingers crossed for us, Linda. We are going to go to the race. I just hope we can get home! Bundle up and stay safe. I can’t imagine they would cancel the race due to weather.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good luck Laurie – yes, getting there as your races usually start early in the morning will be easier. Hope you are not inundated with snow and/or ice. They are saving this is a “thumping snow” for us – that is snow coming down 1-2 inches per hour from midnight til 10:00 a.m. Then the rain begins. I am guessing I’ll shovel early and hope the driveway does not turn into a sheet of ice after that. The weather will go to 40 degrees, and it would be great to have all the precip roll down the driveway. Stay safe too and then you can look forward to Florida.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Linda. We ran the race today with very little snow. Not even enough to stick on the ground. As soon as we left, though, it began to snow hard. The snow soon changed to sleet, then freezing rain. I was so glad we finished when we did. Driving home wasn’t too bad. We did have to slow down. We don’t have enough snow to shovel – maybe about an inch including the ice. Stay safe with all that snow and ice at your house, Linda.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am glad you went and decided to give it a go since it is your favorite race Laurie. Me, the ultimate Winter Weenie, would have caved and stayed home. We really got slammed with the snow mixed with freezing rain … I am glad to be inside and hope it is not treacherous on the sidewalks once we have a freeze-up overnight. Like you, I dislike Winter very much.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are not far from where Anne Mehrling lives – it is nice there. I visited years ago, went through the Smoky Mountains and to the little town of Cherokee. I was there in May and there was black ice in the mountains and we were advised at the hotel to wait until later in the day. In May no less and long before we talked about global warming!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know! I was thinking about Anne. It is terribly cold here and windy. We heard the schools are delayed here tomorrow due to the dangerously low wind chills. You would not see that in PA!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hate to sound like an old fogey, but they never delayed our schools and we had no buses … yes, I walked to school as my mom did not drive and junior high and high school were next to each other (1.4 miles each way) so six years doing that route and one year to elementary school after we moved to the U.S. They have shut the schools for the kids (all ages) in May or September when it has been too hot and humid.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, thanks for the shout out. I was pretty impressed with the race organization too. I feel very blessed to pick the year that the temps were in the 40s, but somehow, I feel that I missed out on a rite of passage.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the format of the race! It’s fun, relaxed and benefits a charity as well!
    And looking at those donuts at the registration table – I would do anything to have one or two of these.
    But wait, what is your kidney-stone-hubby Bill doing, running for 3 hours? Shouldn’t he be lying on a surgery table somewhere? Or was he just VERY determined to participate in the CJ Resolution Challenge?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to admit that loops drive me crazy. My trail half was 3 loops and that was 1 loop too many! Probably similar weather conditions, too.

    Glad you didn’t have to get across any streams — I can’t imagine that’s fun in winter.

    You guys always find the most awesome races.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought loops would drive me crazy too, but I have done several times loop races and I don’t mind. Plus you pass the aid station every 1.5 miles, which is nice for refueling and getting a drink. I don’t like to carry food/water with me on a run.

      I have a lot of help finding races – my friend Nancy is our race director! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • I ran this race too, and for me, the loops actually made the race easier. I found each loop mentally easier than the last (even though I was definitely tired). The last 1/2 mile of each loop was very downhill which made me excited to dive into the next loop.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This sounds like something worth trying some year! I’m really considering not doing the winter series next year so I can consider other races. I was running the John Rudy 5 miler the day you ran this.

    I can’t speak to your hamstring injury but I’ve noticed lately if I get any small flares in mine while running if I refocus my form to ensure my pelvis isn’t tilting forward and I’m more upright vs leaning it usually goes away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I stopped doing the winter series the year I began doing Phunt. I liked the winter series and you can’t beat the price, but I had done it for a bunch of years and was ready for something new.

      Thanks for the tip, Tracy. I will have to watch that. Mine flares at the end of a long run. Maybe it’s because I’m getting tired and my form is deteriorating.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, if I ran this is how I would like to do it. In loops and and at a reasonable pace. You even had time to wait for your friend to see if she wanted to do another loop! I am so glad that your hamstring injury did not flare up to derail you. Sounds like a win-win day, and a
    great cause to boot!

    Thanks for sharing all of this,

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fun fun fun!!! I’d definitely be game for this! It sounds a lot like the two ultras I did (one was a 6-hour and the other a 12-hour…both on the same course but different years). We had a 1-mile loop to do, so your 1.5-mile would be (perhaps?) a little more exciting πŸ™‚ It’s great when they have a great spread of real food and you can run it at your leisure. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really was fun. I’ve done a 6-hour race and a 24-hour relay that were loop courses too and I really liked them. One of the benefits is that you pass the aid station and can fuel up every 1.5 miles! πŸ™‚

      Like

  8. Congrats on all the loops! I have a friend that has done that run several times. I wonder if she ran it this year?
    We go to RB Winter State park once in a while. We did a hike there the summer before last and I admit we got lost. We knew we were lost when we came to a stream and no way to cross it besides jump…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Many congratulations! I am liking the sound of this race – no pressure, just do as many laps as you can in the time frame. Makes it more of a personal challenge than anything else! Kudos to you for doing it so soon after Christmas, I would have been waddling with the amount of Chocolate Orange’s I ate, that is total dedication and even better you could do it with friends too! Sim x

    Liked by 1 person

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