Race Report: Runner’s World 10K & 5K

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Running the Runner’s World 5K (Runner’s World & Altra)

The Runner’s World 5K and Runner’s World 10K were Day 2 of the Runner’s World Half & Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Runner’s World brought me out to the race as their guest, along with a cadre of other bloggers. My quest? Run four races in three days for a total of 26.2 miles.

I was only half successful, thanks to plantar fasciitis. Despite that, I had a phenomenal time.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Race central

The Runner’s World Half & Festival is basically fantasy camp for runners. All participants—not just bloggers—at the weekend’s events had the opportunity to meet Deena Kastor, Bart Yasso, and the entire Runner’s World team. Seminars, running clinics, kids races, a dog run, pasta party, and other events filled our days and nights with all things running.

The Runner’s World 5K, 10K and Half-Marathons courses started and finished at SteelStacks, a 10-acre music, art, culture, and entertainment campus that was once home to the second largest steel manufacturer in the nation, Bethlehem Steel. Rising over the finish line is a series of iron-forging furnaces. The “stacks” are now home to 1,000 concerts and eight festivals annually, including the Runner’s World Half & Festival. It’s an incredible setting for a race.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Steel Stacks at night (RunKarlaRun.com)

I’ve already recapped the Altra Trail 3.8-mile Trail Race. Up now: The Runner’s World 5K & 10K, back-to-back events!

Runner’s World 5K

More than 1,655 participants tackled the Runner’s World 5K on Saturday, October 17 at 8:00 a.m. I lined up in the cold ready to for an easy jog.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Ready to run the 5K (RunKarlaRun.com)

It was about 40 degrees at the start, so I bundled up for the first time of the season. I wore (all freebies): Sparkle Athletic Headsweats visor, Oakley Polarized RPM sunglasses, Brooks Dash 1/2 Zip, Moving Comfort UpRise Crossback Sports Bra, New Balance Tonic Tank, GORE Running Wear Mythos Windstopper Gloves, Brooks Streaker Capri, Balega Hidden Contour socks (one of the race sponsors), and Asics Gel-Nimbus 17.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

My Runner’s World 5K race kit (RunKarlaRun.com)

The 5K course takes runners on a 3.1-mile tour of Bethlehem’s North Side. Shortly after the start, runners climb the Phillip J. Fahy Memorial Bridge to cross the Lehigh River. On the other side you see the Bethlehem Public Library and some of the town’s original 1741 settlements. Runners are treated to scenic views of South Mountain, Bethlehem’s eclectic South Side, and Lehigh University’s campus. Then a fast downhill turn brings you past Bethlehem’s City Hall and back to the Fahy Bridge. One of the most fun parts is running through the former Bethlehem Steel complex and past the Sands Casino to finish under a flaming arch (literally) in the shadow of the steel stacks.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

5K course

There’s really only one major hill to speak of as you cross the bridge near Mile 1. Then there’s a gentle incline as you head up the road to the casino, near Mile 2.5. Overall, I’d call this a generally easy course.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

5K elevation

I’d come to the race nursing a new niggle in my left foot that I suspected was plantar fasciitis. I walked the Altra Trail Run the day before and wanted to test out my foot on the road.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Heading out

So I consciously ran at a very easy pace, especially knowing I had another 6.2 miles to run after this. I was uber tuned into my body, and my foot in particular, which felt a little achy and tight, but not too bad.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Taking it easy

Taking it easy

All systems were go. So I just jogged, enjoyed the course, and mentally used the race as a warm-up for the 10K.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Fake it til you make it.

Then a twinge of abdominal cramps settled in. Grrrr. But you know what they say: fake it til you make it. So I just kept on smiling.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Yay! I’m almost done!

I finished in 33:17 at a 10:42 pace, then grabbed some water and a Subway chocolate chip cookie from the post-race refreshments. Chocolate makes everything better. As does a finish-line high-five.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Hi five! I’m done!

I had an hour between the 5K and 10K. So I brought clean, dry clothes to change into, rather than shivering in sweaty ones. I kept my visor, glasses, gloves, socks and shoes, and popped on a fresh bra, tank, and capris: New Balance Fashion Tank, New Balance Print Shapely Shaper Bra, and New Balance Performance Printed Capri.

TMI alert: Those cramps? My period. Big boo. The first two days of my period are usually misery. Didn’t bode well for the 10K and half-marathon. But at least the 5K was in the bag!

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

5K medal

Runner’s World 10K

1,600 runners lined up for the Runner’s World 10K at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 17.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Old Bethlehem Steel

The course followed a similar route as the 5K in the early and late miles. But instead of a quick turnaround across the Lehigh River, we were treated to a tour of charming North Bethlehem, including the Historic Moravian settlement, the shops and restaurants of Main Street, the Moravian Book Shop, which touts itself as “the world’s oldest continually operated book store,” founded in 1745, and tree-lined residential streets with stately homes.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

10K course

As before, we finished through the Bethlehem Steel complex “in the shadow of the massive Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces, the first of which went into operation in 1863. From these massive structures, the rail lines that traverse our nation, the Navy ships that fought in both World Wars and countless steel I-beams that serve as the skeletons of many of our nation’s iconic skyscrapers were born,” as the Runner’s World Half & Festival website tells us.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

The finish awaits (RunKarlaRun.com)

The course was incredibly lovely in autumnal hues. There were some hearty climbs and happy downhills as the course rolled up and down the streets of Bethlehem. I prefer a rolling race to a pancake flat one. Yes, uphills suck, but then you get a break on the downhills. Whereas on flat courses you just have to grind the whole time.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

10K Elevation

Initially, I’d wanted to race the 10K. My PR is low-hanging fruit as the first 10K split of the 2014 Staten Island Half. But between my foot and my period, I decided to treat the race as a tempo run, and attempt to run at half-marathon race pace, roughly a 9:10 pace.

I lined up with the 9:00 pace board in the corral and steeled myself. When the gun went off, I got a little carried away. I ran the first two miles at an 8:54 pace. Oops.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Running a little too fast!

I had two other problems: I started to feel sharp stabs of pain in my heel with that extra speed and abdominal cramps were rolling through my body in waves.

So when I reached the Mile 2 marker and the course continued to climb, I gave up. My heel hurt, my cramps hurt, and I just wasn’t having it. I slowed to a walk, let out some audible moans, and proceeded to run-walk the next two miles, emphasis on the walk. I was all “tempo schmempo.”

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

My smile is gone!

I tried to appreciate the beauty of the course—it was incredibly lovely—while assessing what was going on with my foot. The shooting pains in my heel were intermittent. One minute it felt fine, the next it felt like, “Yow!”

Basically, my race pictures say it all. Usually, I’m smiling like an idiot. Not this time. A thousand thoughts were racing through my mind, worried about the injury, and what it might mean for the coming weeks.

I vacillated between walking it out and wanting to get it over with more quickly. What was worse? Spending more time on my foot by walking? Or spending less time on my foot and running the rest? The latter finally won out. By Mile 4, I just wanted to be done with the race between my foot and my cramps.

So I pulled myself together and resumed my tempo run. The last two miles are largely downhill or flat with just one climb of note, so it was easy enough. I ran 9:10 and 9:13 for those last two miles, with an 8:31 kick for the last .2-mile stretch.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Not feeling great

I crossed in 1:01:17 at an 9:52 overall pace. I grabbed some more water, a Subway sugar cookie this time, bagel and apple, and watched other runners come in as I assessed what had just happened.

I managed to run four of the six miles at tempo pace or faster, plus the 3.1 easy miles at the 5K earlier. With the Altra Trail Run the day before, my weekend mileage total was 13.1 miles.

But with my pain-induced melt-down, I knew that I should seriously consider not running the half-marathon the next day. My face says it all.

After sitting and watching runners finish for quite a while, and feeding my cramps with food, I started getting cold. So I grabbed my bag and caught up with some of the other bloggers Runner’s World brought out for the event.

At least I got to take a fun faux-cover shot.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Cover models!

When Injury Strikes

The 5K and 10K were Saturday, and I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for Monday. I suspected I had plantar fasciitis, but knew it could be something else, like a heel stress fracture, God forbid.

The weekend was walking intensive with a .9-mile walk from race headquarters, where all the events were happening, to my hotel. I didn’t have a car, cabs weren’t abundant, and I’m a Manhattanite, who is used to hoofing it. So I walked everywhere. On Saturday alone, I did this round-trip walk twice, plus jaunts to the Sands Casino and other spots around town, for a total of 5 miles on top of the 9.3 miles I ran. The day before I’d walked about 5.7 miles. All told, I ran or walked a total of 20 miles in two days.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Walk from hotel to race area

By Saturday night, my heel was aching. So I made the tough, but mature decision not to run the half-marathon on Sunday and wait to see what the doctor said on Monday.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Words to remember

It was a good thing. My doc told me I do in fact have plantar fasciitis with the very beginning of a heel spur. Even I could see it plain as day on the X-Ray. He told me no running for a week to start, wrapped my foot, and prescribed an anti-inflammatory. My doctor is also a runner, so he gets it. He told me it was really smart that I didn’t run the half.

Maybe I shouldn’t have run the 5K or 10K either, but I hadn’t had that shooting pain in my heel before. That’s really what stopped me in my tracks.

I ended up taking 11 days off completely, then easing back into things after my doc cleared me to run. On doctor’s orders I’m still on the medication, give my foot an ice-bath after every run, and stretch my calves copiously. My arch is still tight, but thankfully all the pain is gone. I’ve also got a sleep boot on order.

So come Sunday morning, instead of running the Runner’s World Half, I was a cheerleader instead. One more recap of the Runner’s World Half & Festival to come!

As mentioned above, I attended the race as a guest of Runner’s World. But as always, all opinions are purely my own. Seriously. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

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Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


11 2015

17 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Sucks about the injury. Sending thoughts for a speedy recovery.

    I love your outfit! The colors are lovely. I’m tempted to splurge and get the jacket, but I’m on a reduce what I have lifestyle (I own too much stuff).

    My favorite course is a downhill, but I prefer flat over hilly, even if the hills are small and rolling.
    Elle recently posted..Be Monumental!My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you, Elle! I totally feel you on the reduction front. Living in NYC is a challenge and a blessing—-I can’t hang on to too much stuff, because I just don’t have the space for it. So when I get something new, something old goes. I find I get rid of more “regular” clothes and hang on to the running clothes!

  2. Merri #

    Some races can definitely be more challenging than others! I was a runner in my younger years and took a break to raise a family. Big mistake! (stopping running, not the family part!) I came back to running when I turned 49 years old and not having to deal with my special girl time (what my mother called my period) is such a wonderful feeling. Your race photos still look amazing! The red lipstick totally rocks! Feel better soon.

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you! I *always* race in red lipstick. Just makes me feel ready to face the world (and on course photographers, haha). Thank you for giving me something to look forward to as a runner down the road: no more “special girl time!” Love that!

  3. 5

    Injuries are no fun, but you made the correct decision by skipping the half marathon on Sunday. Your race outfits were really cute and I also have the lovely Brooks Dash 1/2 zip in silver and I love it. We have been fortunate with our weather here in NC, so it is still brand new! Wish I had spotted you at the end of the NYC Marathon last Sunday, but I was so emotional at the finish line I totally forgot you were announcing. We spent the evening celebrating at the Plaza Hotel which was so much fun!
    Pam and Christine recently posted..New York City Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Sounds like you did it up right if you celebrated at the Plaza! Congrats on your race! I always try to spot the folks I know, but it’s tough in the sea of 50,000. Hopefully, we’ll see you in NYC again!

  4. 7

    I know you made the right decision. I can’t wait to see you running strong again. I’m glad we got to meet Karla. You are such an incredible person!
    Hollie recently posted..Modern Malt (Syracuse, NY)My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you, Hollie! It was really wonderful to meet you too. I’m all about my calf massages now!

  5. 9

    I so want to do this event! Maybe next year if I manage to not have a marathon on tap for October.

    Hope your foot heals quickly and that the boot does the trick :)
    Judith recently posted..Enough with the “My Garmin says the race course was long”!!!My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks so much! It’s heartening to hear from runners who have had PF and come out on the other side.

  6. 11

    Boo for the injury and for the cramps!! I can be fairly useless the first few days so I totally get that pain. You made the right decision not to run the half. It sounds like both the 5K and 10K had great courses. Love the outfits – especially the purple!! I’m a sucker for anything purple.
    Emily recently posted..2015 Detroit Half MarathonMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Me too! I’m a purple girl. Purple makes everything better.

  7. 13

    Hope your foot is feeling better! Did your doctor have any thoughts on kinesio taping your foot? I taped mine for PF and I thought it really helped!

    I’d love to do these Runner’s World Races one day – so many races, so little time (and money!).
    Danielle recently posted..Race Recap – 2015 Wine & Dine Half (of a Half) MarathonMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I taped my foot for the 5K & 10K. I still had pain, but maybe it would have been worse without the tape! My doctor taped me for a week. Now the pain comes and goes, so I’m thinking of taping again to see if it helps. Glad to hear it worked for you! Gives me hope :)

  8. 15

    Karla, you’re the most stylish runner I know! Here’s to a speedy recovery.

  9. 17

    Good one. Very informative.