As you know, the Tuesdays on the Run link up has been retired. There is now a new link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner). The new link up is called Tuesday Topics.
Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies.
Today’s Topic (appropriately as we approach Valentine’s Day) is What Do You Love About Running.
I could go on and on but I will limit it… (they are not in order of importance… they are actually listed in reverse order.)
Yup, it’s cool to get medals and awards. It is a concrete symbol of your accomplishment. Some are pretty too.
Opportunities to Travel
I don’t travel as much as other runners but I have gotten to visit California, Florida, Vermont, Philly, NJ, Las Vegas, Montreal and Paris!! I may not have gone to these locations if I had not registered for a race.
I would race every weekend if I could afford it. I love all distances though my favorites are the 5k and the half marathon. The excitement at the start line with the other runners and the feeling of accomplishment when you cross that finish line can’t be beat.
Local Running Friends
They are the best…. I don’t know where I’d be without them. Whether it is sharing some of my miserable long runs in the cold or seeing their smiling faces before a race or just chatting about running at a post-run brunch. Running Life is better with friends to support you.
Prizes awarded based on your Age
I love that that I am only competing against other women and the ones that are in my age group. I have played competitive tennis and unfortunately, it’s just WIN or Lose.
If I didn’t run, I probably wouldn’t blog and I would have missed out on meeting some fabulous ladies. My blog started as motivation to keep on running and now it is so much more… a way to stay connected to the running community.
It’s Friday so I’m linking up with Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostess and visit some other bloggers.
My topic for today is: Five Tips for Taking a Stress-free Race-cation
If you follow my blog, you know that right now, I am on a Race-cation – in Florida!!!
You may also know that I love to travel and when I do, I make sure that a race is included. I am fortunate to able to fit one into my schedule at least twice a year.
So here are some tips to avoid the stress:
1. Plan early.
Pick out a race and register. Decide how you are going to get there (drive or fly?) Arrange lodging (hotel or friends/family’s place?) Even decide how you get to the race start (walk, drive, subway, taxi, Uber, friend?)
It is less stressful to know all the details of your race-cation way in advance.
trained for this race together and/or roomed together – Love Run in Philly
I actually booked my flight for my current race-cation way back in October so I could use my FF miles. My sister-in-law lives about 30 minutes from the start so I am staying with her the night before and after the race. I rented a car so I don’t have to depend on anyone to drive me to the race start that early in the morning.
2. Start packing early but prepared for last minute changes in weather.
I start a few weeks in advance. I use a bed in my spare bedroom. Sometimes, I use an extra laundry basket. And every time I think of something to bring, I put it in the pile. You can’t do it all in advance because as we know, the weather forecasts will change. And the forecast is not always accurate. So bring a shirt for a warmer forecast and one for a cooler one. Bring a rain poncho & an umbrella. Of course, bring throw away clothes for race day.
I thought that it didn’t rain in southern California.
I am hoping that it won’t rain but it may and in Florida this time of year, it can be cold and it can be hot. This vacation was not tough to pack for… since I plan to be only running or hanging out at the pool or beach. (though often I have over-packed but still not have had the right clothes.)
3. Bring your race morning breakfast and any special food that you require.
I never count on that a friend/relative or hotel will have what I usually eat. I bring packets of oatmeal/cream of wheat and coffee. (Don’t forget a cup, bowl & spoon.) I also pack energy bars in case I need a snack the day before.
4. Plan to arrive at least 2 days before the race.
Of course, you’ll have time to relax. And if you car breaks down or your flight is cancelled, you won’t miss your race. (Yes, it happened to me twice.) And you will have time to get used to the weather or altitude by doing a test run.
From winter in the NE to winter in Fla. What a difference!
I planned to arrive Thursday afternoon (if everything goes as planned), rent a car and drive south to Delray Beach to visit with friends. Then I’ll drive north to Hobe Sound Friday night and visit with other friends. Saturday, I’ll head further north to get my race packet in Melbourne and then back south to Sebastien to stay overnight with my sister-in-law. My race is on Sunday and I fly home on Monday.
5. Have fun! Plan things to do in addition to running a race.
Do some sightseeing. Visiting a new place is one of the perks of a destination race!!
Red Rock Canyon trip during RnR Vegas Race-cation
During a recent race-cation in Florida, I went to a NY Mets spring training game, visited a bird sanctuary and met up of with different friends for various lunches and dinners.
For this trip, I’m sure I’ll explore and find something different to do and see.
and why should you??
Happy Running! Any other tips for taking race-vacations?
You all know how much I love Lake George (at least in the summertime). Well, this race gets me up to the lake in the winter. Ex-blogger Andrea (now runner friend) and I had run this race together SIX times already. She had run this race 12 times!!!
I was injured in 2012 and couldn’t run but AJH did snag another award.
I ran with her in 2014 but only she got an award.
AJH’s award in 2014
Then in 2015, we both got awards and for the first time, I beat her.
another hat for AJH but my first.
I was away in 2016 but we ran it together in 2017. I won my AG and surprisingly got a PR!!!
We ran it last year and almost froze to death. It was 4 degrees!! (But I came in 2nd in my AG).
Andrea signed up, of course, again this year and I was looking forward to seeing her.
But then a few weeks before the race, I stumbled upon her daughter’s post on IG:
My faith in the universe has been totally rocked but my faith in my mother is more ironclad than ever. This strong and tenacious woman ran her first marathon the year she turned 50(!), beat me by 20 minutes during my first 26.2 mile jaunt(!), conquered her maiden triathlon at 60(!), regularly rides 40-50-60-70-80+ miles on her trusty blue bike(!), read 171 books last year(!), and now she’s one big surgery into beating cancer. She’s the very greatest bad ass I know and I have no doubt that she’s gonna absolutely pulverize this fucking cancer, with even less mercy than she showed me when she left me in her dust on the Marine Corps Marathon course.
And yes, it brought tears to my eyes. It rocked my world, for sure.
I started reading her blog when I started running. She inspired me from the beginning. We are the same age exactly!! But she has run longer, farther, faster…even has competed in triathlons.
We met face-to-face for the first time at a race in 2010 and since then have completed in many races together (in addition to this race 6 times). I have even stayed at her house in VT twice.
Silks & Satins 5k – 2010
Adirondack Half – 2011
Biggest Loser 5k – 2013
VCM Relay – 2015
VCM Relay – 2016
FRW – 2017
Race the Train – 2017
She has also come to my area each year to participate in a duathlon. I have always come to the race to cheer her on.
So I ran this race with a heavy heart. I ran it for Andrea.
here she is finishing last year’s race walking on a bum knee but with a smile
Back to the race recap…
The thing with this race, you never know where it’s going to start and what the course will be (besides hilly.) Two years ago, they changed the course for the third time.
during the snowy 2014 race
during the cold 2015 race
getting my PR in 2017
chillin’ after last year’s race
I have not been doing any speed work at all or running on any hills. (Um …do I ever? lol) My runs on the weekend have been longish. So as usual, I went into this race with no expectations other than to have fun and stay healthy.
When I woke up, I checked Lake George’s weather and saw this:
yikes! And no I didn’t consider bailing!
So I bundled up in my usual running layers (2 shirts, DIY arm sleeves, vest, skirt/tights, gaiter, beanie, mittens). One of my running friends, Barbara, also wanted to run this race so we drove the hour ride up to Lake George together. It was nice to have company.
We arrived around 9ish and got a great parking spot in a nearby parking lot.
Packet pick-up was again at the parish hall of the church in Lake George. This newer location was warm and had restrooms which is always a plus.
another cotton t-shirt to give away
Eventually runners did arrive and I chatted with some whom I knew until Andrea arrived. She is hard core – drove over 2 hours from VT since her doctor said that she could walk the race. Yes, in addition to hard core, she is definitely Badass!!!
We waited until the last minute to go out into the cold. We had to walk quite a ways as the race started in town by the lake. (Since the race repeated its course, I will re-post some of my pics from previous years. It was too cold to take any))
There was no real starting line and the race was not chip timed. Even though I ran the race last year, I didn’t really remember what the course was like so here is a map that I found online.
I am directionally challenged anyway so it wouldn’t have meant much to me even if I looked at the map before the race.
waiting to begin (pic from D. Olden)
Luckily we didn’t have to wait long in the cold before the race started. There seemed to be less than 100 runners which is much fewer than usual (probably because of the cold temps.)
A lot of the course was a blur, as usual, but here’s what I remember. Rather than taking pictures during this race again, I’m posting last year’s as they did not change the course.
pic from FB – cute markers at each mile
The first mile started with a slight uphill and then it flattened out. I was cold (at least my face and lips were from the wind) and my legs felt very stiff since I hadn’t warmed up. I was ok with that because I wanted to start out slow. I also found my stomach growling since the race started at 10 am and I had eaten 3 hours ago. I concentrated on the scenery and surprisingly, the ground was not as slippery as I feared. Still, I needed to pay attention.
I wore again my new “old” Garmin and I thought I fixed it to show pace. But nope but at least now, it does measure the pace which I looked at after the race.
Mile two started where the race used to start and than meant a steepish hill. I told myself to be smart since I had a half marathon in ONE week and I never run on hills. However this time, I pushed myself to run slowly and not walk. It was practically a crawl and I did it. At this point, I was actually thawing out. In fact, I felt warm.
The longest and biggest was at mile 3 and although it was only 1/2 mile, it seemed to go on forever. This time I walked/ran it. Afterward we were rewarded with a nice downhill. I am always hesitant to go all out on the downhills so many runners passed me by but that was better than getting DOMS. Believe it or not, I was so warm that I unzipped my vest and took off my mittens.
Finally for mile 4, we ran along the lake and back into town. At this point, I wanted to be done and picked up the pace. Luckily the hills were finally over. I didn’t care about a PR but I secretly want to win an AG award. But I had no idea where the other runners in my AG were in at this time in the course.
Understandably (due to the weather), there were fewer volunteers than normal. There was a point along the lake where there was a roundabout and I had no idea where to run. I stopped and called to the last volunteer and asked which way to go. He told me and I ran a little more and then was confused. I turned back and he gestured to continue straight. I think I went the right way and eventually there was another volunteer ahead at the next to last turn before the finish line,
Finally, I saw that the clock ahead and it read 38:xx. I sprinted as fast as I could and crossed at 38:28.
Barbara finished just a few minutes after me. I thought about waiting around for Andrea but it was TOO COLD so Barbara and I walked back to the church together.
There was chicken noodle soup, bread, bagels, chocolate milk, fruit and baked goods – I am a sucker for home-made stuff and ate quite a few cookies and brownies (and chocolate-covered pretzels). I also had the soup and of course, the chocolate milk!
Due to technical glitches and the runners still out on the course, we had to wait around for the age group awards. It was quite a while so I chatted with a law professor that I used to work with and snacked on the refreshments.
And both Barbara and I won our age groups. So there were not many runners in our age groups. Still a win’s a win.
While Andrea was out walking the race, I mentioned to the race director that she had run this race 13 times and it was the only race that she has run EVERY year.
I think she was surprised and hopefully happy with the “Badass”award.
With 8 miles on my “training” schedule for the day, I debated about running more (for about a second) but it was TOO COLD. We did put on warmer clothes and walked into town to the Winter Carnival.
This was the first day of the event which is held every weekend in February.
they had a chili cook-off. but the line was too long and it was freezing
I said hello to my friend who was volunteering and then we walked back to my car and headed home.
As usual, I loved doing the race (even if it was cold). Small local races are the best and running one with a friend is just icing on the cake.
This is the week all half marathoners look forward to. The Taper. However it was also the week that it was TOO COLD to run outdoors. I did have my first “real” race of the year (the others were just fun free ones) and didn’t freeze to death.
Last week –
Monday – It was cold and windy as usual but the sun was out for at least the beginning of my run. It now stays lighter longer each week. I ran the only place I know with clear paths and then I met my BFF for a walk around the mall.
the 3rd day in a row running which I never do…now I know why…after 2 miles, my legs said “enough”
Tuesday – After running 3 days in a row, it was time to rest the old legs. A snow storm was predicted as well and I had to work late.
Wednesday – After a long work day, I planned to run at Ualbany but…
Nope even too cold for me…the wind was brutal.
Thursday – Since I was going into work late, I thought about a before work run. Then I looked at the temps and quickly changed my mind.
no can do. winter 2019, I hate you!
Since I had a hair appointment after work, this almost turned into a rest day for the THIRD day in a row. But I bit the bullet went to UAlbany at night for a run. It was cold. No lie but no wind and I didn’t freeze to death.
I was not the only crazy person running there. 7 degrees when I started and 2 when I finished. Brrrr
Friday – And the polar vortex continues..
actual temps not windchill
I could have run after work since I hadn’t run Tues or Wed. but I didn’t want to run the day before a race so I declared it another rest day. THREE days of NO RUNNING —not sick or injured. I.Hate.Winter. This week turned into a real taper.
At least I can wear the reversible hat I finally finished knitting.
Saturday -Today I ran the Polar Cap Run, one of my favorite 4 mile races. Only one of my Sole Sisters, Barbara, was game enough to accompany me on the 1 hour drive to run this race. In addition to running the race, I was planning to connect with my VT friend, Andrea. The temp was 2 degrees when we started but we survived the cold and the HILLS and both of us even won our age groups.
Andrea kept her streak alive and did the race for the 13th time!
Sunday -Originally I thought that today would be a rest day because I would have, as usual, added more miles on to the Polar Cap Run and call it “long run completed.” But it was too cold!! So I contacted Judy and I accompanied her on 8 of her 12 miles. Win. Win. And it was a balmy 32 degrees!
This Coming Week – Race Week!
Monday – 4 miles
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – rest day – pack
Thursday – rest day, early flight to West Palm Beach, FL, drive to Delray Beach
Friday – 4 miles, drive to Hobo Sound
Saturday – rest day, drive to Melbourne (packet pick up), drive to Sebastien
time to join up with Coco & Deborah
for their ultimate coffee date.
Where I live, we’re in the middle of a polar vortex so it’s HOT coffee in the morning before work and red wine in front of the fireplace at night.
1. Over coffee/wine…
I’d tell you that I actually for the first time ever maybe, I did ALL my long runs!!! (And the temps got colder with each one!) Do I hear the applause?
Thanks to my running friends…. I feel prepared to run 13.1 miles on February 10.
Do you have to have company to run your long runs or are you able to do them solo?
I’d tell you that I can’t wait to skip town. My last hotel stay (for work) was Dec 20 and my last vacation stay was Paris in October.
We haven’t had a really bad winter (until recently) but still I am looking forward to feeling the sand beneath my toes.
I am not weather stalking (well, maybe a little). It may not be warm but I know that it will be warmer than it is in NY.
Anyone else have a warm weather race-cation planned?
I’d tell you that after this coming half marathon on Feb. 10, I have another TWO halfs (NYC, Helderberg to Hudson), a 15k (Hot Chocolate Brooklyn) , a third half (Great Sacandaga), a 15k (Adirondack Lakes) this spring and then a fourth half marathon (Surftown RI). That will keep me from obsessing about my first FULL marathon….
I promise not to count down and panic until after September 8 (when I start my 13+ mile long runs…)
Nov 3, 2019… 26.2 miles …OMG!!
Do you have a lot of big races on your schedule? Or do you train for one at a time?
I’d tell you that that I’ve already looked into half marathons for next winter (and I haven’t even run this year’s yet.)
in Vero Beach
Feb 18, 2020
Are you a planner or do you sign up for your races at the last minute?
I’d tell you that I’ve become a Nike Zoom Vomero hoarder. Even when I need new ones, I have a hard time giving up the old ones. I rotate them and keep the older ones for shorter runs and races. The problem is that I don’t keep track of the number of miles on the shoes. I seem to need new ones frequently (my feet and lower back tell me when) and especially when running a half marathon.
Nov 2018 – my latest pair
another in Oct 2018?
another in Sept 2018?
I’m on the verge of buying a black version of the new 14s. Please stop me!
Anyone else have too many pairs of the same shoe?
It’s also Friday so I’m also linking up with Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostess and visit some other bloggers.
Happy Running! Got anything to spill? Share it here! What are you drinking to stay warm?
Once again the Hudson Mohawk Runners Club sponsored a FREE race for its members and this weekend, they offered distances of 3M, 15K and 30K.
Since I have a half marathon in 2 weeks, I did my long run of 12 miles the day before and instead of the 15K, I chose the 3 miler as a recovery run.
This is the 4th time, I’ve run this race. As you can see from the pics below, it is more often cold and snowy than not. (Last year was the best weather year.)
during the 15k in 2015
and again in 2017
but the 3 miler in 2018
These Winter Series races start at 10 am so you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. However, I had an upset stomach and didn’t sleep well. I still felt nauseous when I got up and seriously considered not going. Most of my friends had run the day before so they wouldn’t be there as well.
But when I saw how cold and lousy the week’s forecast was, I decided that I might as well give it a shot. I mean, I wasn’t planning to race it anyway.
I left kinda late but there was still parking spots in the lot.
It was cold but not as cold as it had been recently. I wore something similar to what I wore the day before but with a lighter vest and lighter gloves.
2 shirts, DIY arm warmers, fleece vest, tights, skirt, compression leg sleeves, wool socks, etc.
What I love about this local race is that you get to see a lot of people whom you know.
2015 meet up with Judy & Barbara (I ran the 15k that year.)
2018 meet up with Barbara
And I immediately bumped into many different running friends. We chatted. Some were running the 3 miler and others the 15k. Some were even running the 30k.
Alyssa was volunteering and Jenny the 30k
Anyway we hung indoors until the last minute and then made our way outside.
the start (pic from a previous Winter Series)
All three distances started at the same location this week. As usual, I started not too far away from the front (since it is not chip timed) and let the speedy runners pass me by.
Right away, the 3 milers split from the 15kers and 30kers but the speedy longer distance runners eventually will pass you by midway.
not that it matters ’cause I just follow the other runners but the 3 miler is basically a loop
For most of the race, I felt perfectly dressed. I was warm at times and unzipped my vest and took off my gloves but other times, when we were running into the wind, I was glad I wore all the layers I did.
I was familiar with the course since I ran it in December and just two weeks ago. I remembered the hill at the beginning and then some rolling hills in the middle, ending with a slight hill. Nothing too challenging.
The difference this race was the snowy conditions and the possibility of ice on the route. I knew that my time would be slower and that was fine by me. I didn’t want to risk falling (with a Florida half in 2 weeks.)
I also felt sick to my stomach the WHOLE race. That and the wind made it difficult to run fast.
I am also usually pretty bored by this course because it is just a road and office buildings. But I ran and chatted with different friends throughout the race. Each one after a short period ran ahead and left me behind.
running with Nancy in 2018
It didn’t bother me at all. I tried to run at my own relaxed pace. Of course, I’m not sure what exactly that was (since I don’t look at my Garmin until I’m done).
I was very happy that my legs didn’t feel tired at all and I couldn’t even tell that I had run the day before. But obviously from my finish time, I was not running as fast as I normally would.
Many of the runners that I knew were volunteering. It was nice to have them shout out your name as you ran by a few times to offer support.
Before I knew it, I saw the finish line, I took off and tried to cross under 28 minutes.
Nope, I did not – 28:12.
It was my slowest time of all the 3 milers that I have run on this course. And I have run 5 of them. (My PR is 26:49).
Still very content with my time. I did run 12 miles the day before. I expected to be slow.
I waited for Judy to finish but got distracted by a friend and missed taking her photo as I was chatting.
Bethany & I were wearing the same Skirt Sports toasty cheeks tights
Eventually I went inside to get some food. They had delicious roasted red pepper soup, breads, fruits, cookies, hot chocolate, etc. It’s great that there are such variety of post-race refreshments for a free race.
Believe it or not, I felt better after the race than before or during and ate all of the above.
I waited with some friends for the awards – you never know…The awards were for 10 year age groups and just top 2.
Although my finish time was slower than the previous races I’ve run here, obviously the speedy runners in my age group ran the 15k so I won an age group award – 2nd.
I was very happy with how I used this race as a recovery run. It was also cool to win a loaf of bread- my first in this year’s series.
mile 1 – ?
mile 2 – ?
mile 3 – ?
Finish Time – 28:12
So why no split times, you ask?
I love my original Garmin – 205. I’ve had two of them and recently I saw one on Ebay for $19 (with no tax or shipping) so I bought it. Obviously, I forgot to set it up for pace per mile.
I glanced at my watch about once a mile and I know for a fact, that each mile was slower than the previous one. high 8s for mile 1, low 9s for mile 2, high 9s for mile 3.
Again, I made the right decision to run this race. No pain. The legs felt great. I.LOVE.RACING!!
The only negative was:
I lost my favorite hat!!! I took it off and put it with my vest, gloves and my extra coat. When I left, I forgot it. I went back later and it was gone!!! Boo!!!!
One more Winter Series race this year (Jan 27) and I will be volunteering instead of running. At least, Ill get a hat.
Next Saturday, I signed up for a 4 mile race in Lake George. Fingers crossed for no sub-zero temps or icy roads.
AJH (from VT) & I at this race. We try to do this one together every year.
As you know, the Tuesdays on the Run link up has been retired. There is now a new link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner). The new link up is called Tuesday Topics.
Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies.