Posts Tagged ‘ambler running club’

Normally, my first race of the season isn’t until March,when I typically do a cold and muddy 10K trail run.  Then again,  normally, it’s freezing cold in February.  This year it was balmy, and to counteract a particularly slow winter, running-wise, I thought I’d run the Fireside Frosbite 5-Miler, put on by the Ambler Running Club benefitting The Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association,  and also the Kelly Ann Dolan Foundation.  This year is the first year it’s been called “Fireside “, but there were no fires.  Fireside Bar & Grille is a big sponsor of the race.  Here’s my review.

This is a road race, though there is a little tiny bit of unpaved trail between mile 3 and 4.  The whole course is closed to traffic.  It starts at Wissahickon High School,  which brings us right to the ever-important issue of bathroom lines.  There were none.  The race organizers had access to the high school, with its numerous bathrooms, so there were no porta-potties and no waiting.  Yay!  The course winds through suburban streets and through the older streets in the Borough of Ambler.  Ambler was established in the 1850’s as a railroad depot, and has that small Pennsylvania town look and feel feel about it, so I particularly enjoyed that part of it.   There were a good number of spectators, many of whom were ringing handbells.  An Ambler tradition?  The course is pretty flat (at least compared to my normally running spots) and the roads are wide enough so that it wasn’t too crowded, though there were about 1500 runners.

The organizers did a great job starting on time with a minimum of standing around waiting for the gun, the race was chip timed and there was no backlog at the finish line.  I think there was one water -stop, though I wasn’t paying attention since I run with water.  At the finish, you were greeted by Frosty the giant pengun mascot who was high-fiving runners with his flipper-wing.  Post-race ceremonies started quickly, which is always a good thing, and there were lot of door prizes, including a really fantastic one..a Motoactv GPS and heart- rate monitor thingy that I really really want.  The post race food was impressive: hot dogs, sandwiches, fruit, coffee and the excellent donuts of Ambler Donuts, (which do not at all resemble those boring franchised donuts who shall go nameless but whose initials are DD).  So far every race I’ve run in Ambler  has involved hot dogs, and I’m not sure why ..another mysterious Amblerian tradition, I suppose.  I personally prefer some  carbs and coffee after a race, but lots of people seemed to be in the hot dog line.

Anyway, though I’m not much of a road-race person, as a way to jump start the running season, this is a fun and low-hassle run, for a good cause.


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Late winter in Philadelphia is nothing to write home about..while the air occasionally seems spring-like, the scenery is blah, no snow, just bleak leafless trees.  According to Punxatawny Phil, we can expect 6 more weeks of this, though I’m  a bit skeptical of rodent-based meteorology.  Saturday I explored part of the Wissahickon’s yellow and green trails that I didn’t know existed.  Sunday, I was pressed for time and couldn’t think of any trails close by that I particularly wanted to visit in this time of year, so I got the brilliantly misguided idea to go do some track repeats.  I admit, I’ve recently skimmed “Run Less Run Faster” and was perhaps entertaining silly ideas of an impressive finish at the Ambler Running Club’s Frostbite 5-miler race coming up  in a  couple of weeks.  I now realize what a silly notion that was.  And I’ve come to the bigger  realization that running around a track is like circling the drain for  me.  I can’t stand laps.  Track repeats suck the life out of me; they nibble away at my soul.     The plan today was to warm up fo 2 or 3 laps, then do a speed lap, then a slow lap, etc.  By the time I finished the warmup laps I could barely muster the energy to do a fast lap.  It was as if gravity was somehow super-concentrated on that track.  I managed, I think, 6 laps in total, before giving up, putting on my water belt and heading out for the road.  I ended up doing a 5 mile run around some moderately hilly suburban streets with much more ease and happiness than the 1.5 miels of track running.  So, I give up.  I don’t care about getting faster.

18 miles for the weekend.



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