Rock n Roll Montreal Half Marathon Recap

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September 23, 2018

It seems like I’ve been planning to run this race forever. I signed up to run RnR Montreal as my 32th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I am a (first time) Rock n Blogger.
  • I enjoyed my RnR race experience in Vegas.
  • I love Montreal but haven’t been there in ages.
  • I wanted to run an International race.
  • I convinced some of my local runner friends to join me.
  • I was hoping the hot weather would be over by this time of year.

I apologize in advance that this post will be long. You may want to skip ahead to see what I liked and disliked about the race itself.

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon on May 18 in Brooklyn and since then I have completed easy weekday runs and longish runs on most weekends. I was so happy that only one of my long runs was done alone.  That one was the worst one, of course.

Though I don’t usually care much about my short runs, I do like to get in a 10, 11 and 12 miler before each half marathon.

I skipped my 10 mile long run entirely the weekend that I was in NYC with my Russian friend Anna. I normally add extra miles to my weekend 5k races.  But this summer, I skipped all my 5ks in favor of my long runs with friends.

I didn’t expect to run this half marathon at a PR pace. I was running it purely for the experience. But I hoped with the long runs done, the 13 miles would be easier and I would enjoy the race more.

However, we all know that anything can happen on race day and the weather and the course have so much impact on your results.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

On Friday, I drove to Montreal with Jeri, Heidi & Sherry (Jeri graciously agreed to drive.) Our two other friends, Chris & her hubby Mike would be arriving the next day. After a rainy drive which took longer than expected due to some wrong turns and construction (like 5 hours instead of 3), we arrived at our hotel pleasantly surprised at how nice it was (our last race-cation hotel was not LOL). We even got adjoining rooms.

Though we were hungry, we instead headed straight to the expo. Even with a map and directions, we still went in the wrong direction but eventually found it.  This was a prelude to the whole race experience. No signs, everything hard to find, no one seemed to know about anything related to the “big” race.  We picked up our bibs and although the lines were not long, some runners were picking up so many bibs that it took forever.  Eventually we realized that you could just go on any line even though they were marked according to bib number.

The swag bag was empty except for a note telling you to buy your subway tickets to get to the race before race day.  Apparently this was the first year that they didn’t give you a free subway ticket.

We wandered around the expo for a while.  It was very disappointing. Just a few vendors and expensive Brooks race-related items. The only thing we scored was a Larabar, some yogurt and a sample piece of a Kind bar.

Since it was too late to have lunch, we went back to hotel to drop off our stuff and change for dinner.  We walked to the Old City and had a delicious dinner (at Jardin Nelson) before it started to pour and necessitated an Uber ride back to our hotel.

Jardin Nelson used to be a hotel – it was where I used to stay when I brought my students to visit Montreal

The next day was my 5K race and Jeri’s 10K.  (I recapped it here.) After the race, we headed back to the Old City for lunch. (Runners think about food all the time, right?)

at Place Jacques Cartier across the street from Jardin Nelson

and then walked around the Port area and eventually back to our hotel.  So much for resting the legs. But it was a beautiful day in a beautiful city.

We finally met up with Chris and her hubby for dinner. Pizza, of course, to carb load for our big race! And then we walked back to our hotel discussing where to meet before the race. (The hotel lobby was the chosen spot.)

As I was setting out my clothes for the next day, I realized my strips of mole skin (that I use to prevent blisters on my feet) were missing (Jeri & both saw them on the desk). I looked everywhere and we concluded that the maid must have stolen them (lol) so we searched out a drug store and I found what I needed (plus a scissor to cut them.)  $20 CAD later, I was a Happy (yet poorer) Camper.

Race Day:

Alarm set for 5:30 am. After much debate, we decided to leave for the race at 6:30 am. (It started at 7:30 am.) I had originally picked our hotel because it was close to the subway.  The race used to start on the Jacques Cartier bridge but this year, they changed the course.  It now started 3 minutes from our hotel!! Score!

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and ate in the hotel room.

My original race outfit was going to be a tank and skirt.  But with each weather forecast predicting colder and colder temps, I kept changing my mind.

So in additional to the above, I added DIY arm sleeves, a throw away long sleeved shirt and gloves. I even had my aluminum blanket from a previous RnR race. I have been running in such hot, humid weather that it was strange to be cold. It was windy and high 40s and predicted to be in the 50s by the start.

We walked to the start but we were so early and COLD that we returned to the hotel lobby to hang out for awhile. We tried to plan where to meet up after the race. Texting is problematic in a foreign country.  The race advertised that there was a family meet-up spot by the first initial of the runner’s last name.  We had decided on the letter S (for Sole Sisters, our group name.) But there was no sign of such an area during the 5k and 10k so we ditched that plan (Good thing!) and picked an intersection not too far from the finish line.

It seemed to be getting warmer so I ditched my foil blanket. Eventually we all headed to the start line.  You were supposedly given corral assignments by estimated finish time. Sherry put 2:20 and was in Corral 8, Heidi put 3:30 and was in Corral 9 and I put 2:06 and was in Corral 10. Go figure.  We can add that to my long list of complaints. There were pacers (with rabbit ears) but they seemed to be in the wrong corrals as well (2:30 was ahead of 2:15??)  We wanted to start together but they were strict and I had to go back to Corral 10 (The last Corral, I believe).

It turned out fine. I befriended a fellow former French teacher who went to the same college as I did and graduated with a friend of mine.  They were even in the same sorority.

As I waited, I shed my long sleeved cotton shirt but kept on my gloves and arm warmers.

Each corral started with fireworks and after about 30 minutes, my Corral finally crossed the start line.

What was my plan for the race, you ask?

I enjoyed running the 5k without any pressure that I hoped to do the same in the half.  I wanted to run easy and take in the scenery.  I had heard that the old course had hills but no one seemed to know what the new course was like.

I had HIGH expectations of a scenic course and lots of music to distract me from looking at my watch.

Anyway, here’s how the race went.  My Garmin has the splits in miles.  Being in Canada, the signs, however, were only in Kilometers.

Here is the course map:

And the elevation chart:

the chart was for the full so I just cut it in half.

Miles 1-3:

10:04, 9:33, 9:42

A very crowded start so there was a lot of weaving going on. We started near ChinaTown and made quite a few turns on the way to the Port area.  I tried to take it slow and of course, cut all the tangents.  The water stops were frequent enough…at least every 2 miles. I stopped at each one even though I gagged the first time I tried to drink the water (Ebola??)

We eventually ran over a short bridge and ran along the water.

Miles 4-6:

9:49, 10:12, 9:52

This part of the course was an out and back so you got to see the faster runners heading back into the city.  The route was lined with factories and very UGLY and BORING.

I continued drinking the disgusting water (what choice did I have?) and finally ate a GU around mile 5. The music was sporadic … just some speakers at a few turns.  Maybe a band or so on the whole course!!

Miles 7-9:

9:47, 10:05, 9:43

We headed back on this ugly route but the highlight was seeing my friends running in the opposite direction.  When I saw Heidi & Mike (who had  decided to walk the whole choice), I ran over and high fived them.

The legs were feeling fine.  The course was flat for the most part.  My feet hurt as usual (but that started at mile 1) and my lower back was achy too. Nothing to prevent me from running well.

Miles 10-12

10:03, 10:21, 10:18

I eventually took my second GU but I ran past the water and there was only Gatorade.  I hate Gatorade so I saw a guy with two cups of water so I boldly begged for one of his cups.  He graciously gave one to me.

Finally we headed back into the city.  I was hoping that we would run through St Catherine Street which was so pretty (pink balls hung across the street) but we did not.

The full marathon did continue toward the park (as the half did last year) and the botanical gardens.  It would have been nice to run by the prettier parts of Montreal.

Mile 13- 13.25

10:16, 9:36

I was told (afterward) that the last water stop (1Km from the finish) has banana halfs.  I just wanted to be done so this was the only water stop that I skipped.  Why would you want a banana before crossing the finish line??

I walked for the first time other than a water stop. I needed energy to sprint across the finish line. As in the 5k, I could not find the time on the finish line arch (too high…too small.. don’t know where it was).

you try seeing that number in the sun!!!

Anyway, I dragged myself through the finish chute and eventually was given my metal.

And finally found a half a cup of water. What seemed like after miles of walking, I entered the Finisher Only Area.  It was huge.  I tried to find something to eat but all I could find was a long line to get a cup of yogurt.  There were lots of vendors but NO FOOD!

So I went in search of my Re-Mix medal for running two races. None of the volunteers were any help but I finally found it on the opposite side of the area.

As I was leaving, I saw a booth with tea samples. They told me that it was contribution only (Who carries money to a race!?)  But I did score a Kind bar and another flower!!

Getting out of that area was very complicated.  But I needed to find my friends and I wanted to watch my walker friends cross the finish line.

I finally found Sherry (who had finished a little after me) and Jeri (who had run the 10k the day before) was not in our meeting spot but on the other side of the street. Of course, they would not let Sherry & I cross the street (during the race) so we were told to go through the shopping mall.  That was a mistake. That was where thousands of angry runners were on line to get their bags. (I read on FB that it some runners hours to get their bags.)

Well, I didn’t have to get my bag because Jeri was holding our sweatshirts.  I was very cold so we needed to get to her. Then we got a text from Chris who was hurting and sitting behind the stage outside the finisher area.  Off we went in search of her.

To make a very long story shorter, we found Chris and wandered through the finisher area.  I did see on the big screen on the far side of where we were, that an older runner was getting an award. I joked about whether or not I won one but I was too tired to go see.

Eventually we got to a spot to wait for Heidi and Mike and not a second too soon. There they were!  They made the cut off walking.  We were all so happy.

We texted them to meet us at the hotel.  The first thing they said to me was that they heard my name and that they thought I won an award. I laughed and said I hope it wasn’t money cuz I am NOT walking back there to get it.

It looks like it was a glass model of a guitar.  It would  be nice if they mailed it to me.  I’m not holding my breath.

Off to re-fuel!!!

Additional Race Reflections:

I don’t regret running this race. I would only regret a race if I ran it injured and made my injury worse. I love racing and especially racing with friends. I believe that for every race, you should always focus on the positives.

The Good:

  • Perfect weather.
  • Hotel located near the start and finish line
  • Friends!!
  • Montreal is a beautiful city to visit before & after the race.  (Wish I had more time to see more of it.)
  • Great food – again before and after the race in the local restaurants.
  • The course was pretty flat.
  • Many water stops (if you could drink it).
  • Some freebies at the end – flower, yogurt, kind bar and socks (if you waited in a LONG line)
  • Bag check (if you have hours to wait on line)
  • Nice awards (if you got one.)

The Bad:

  • There was only one sign advertising the race that we saw throughout the city.
  • No one seemed to support the race or know it was happening. Not even the hotel or the restaurants.
  • Disappointing expo. They only had paper maps of the 5k and 10k and very few vendors.
  • Don’t advertise a family meet-up location if there isn’t one.
  • Corrals were supposed to be set up by estimated finish time and were NOT. Pacers were not reliable for this reason as well.
  • Not enough music on the course – maybe 3 bands and some recorded music at stops. No rock n roll!!
  • Most of the course was boring…the longest part of the race was along a dilapidated factory area.
  • The water was almost undrinkable – metal tasting, it made you gag.
  • The only fruit was a half a banana 1 km before the finish line (and I missed it).
  • The bag check was utter chaos.  A long line in a shopping mall with runners eventually just grabbing their bags.  I heard it took 1-2 hours to retrieve your bag.
  • Finish line timer very small and hard to see. I missed it in both of my races.
  • No timers at all on the course.
  • A water spray to cool you off on the course – it was 50 degrees!!
  • No bottled water for finishers. You walked forever to find a half cup of water.
  • The volunteers were not helpful.  They did not seem to know much.  It took me forever to find my guitar medal.
  • Post race food. What food?  A kind bar, some juice samples and a long line to get a cup of yogurt.
  • The course measured 13.3 and I cut all the tangents.
  • No foil blankets. It was quite chilly.
  • Mediocre medal. Montreal has some beautiful sites! The other RnR medals are awesome.

FB has hundreds of comments about this RnR race and almost all were negative.

Would I recommend this race?

No!! Not unless, the organizers read all the reviews (which were horrendous) and make some changes.

On Facebook, the race director apologized and promised big improvements for next year….

Final Stats:

positive splits big time..but happy with my pace. It was faster than the 5K.

Next Up:

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October 14

It’s Tuesday so don’t forget to link up with these wonderful ladies:

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs, Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and Patty @ My no-guilt life

I am also joining up with Running on HappySuzlyfeCrazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


Happy Running!  Have you ever run a big race and been disappointed?  Have you run this race in the past? Do you plan to run it in the future?

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘N Roll Montreal Half Marathon as part of being a Rock n Blogger.


Weekly Wrap for 9.17.18-9.23.18: Race Time!!


An exciting week because I did not have to travel except for going to Montreal for my big race(s).

  • Monday – FOMO had me signing up for the Troy Turkey Trot Training Challenge. I cannot go every Monday (due to work) and will probably never go to the Saturday runs but I enjoy the drills when I do go and love my running pals. Last night was the first night and though it was humid and the run hilly. I loved it!!

  • Tuesday – I got scheduled to sub on my former tennis contract. I was hoping to also get in a short run in before (if the rain stopped.) Holy heat and humidity but I did get in a short one at the town park but I was as wet as if it rained (from sweat.)

  • Wednesday – Rest day due to my monthly tennis ladies meet up (of course, the weather was perfect for running.) This month we went to the movies followed by dinner. As usual, lots of laughs.  Love these ladies!!

  • Thursday – Last run before my mini race-cation to Montreal and then rushed home to pack.

the uAlbany loop

  • Friday – Drive with 3 of my running buds to Montreal. No major problems besides the torrendous rain and getting lost LOL. We checked into the hotel, visited the expo and walked to Old City to have dinner. More rain so we ubered back to the hotel.
  • Saturday – I signed up for the 5k today and my roomie signed up for the 10k. Mine started at 8 am and hers at 8:30. But we walked to the start together.  The weather was cool and absolutely perfect.  I had planned to walk the 5k but instead I ran it slowly and took in the sights.  The best way to run a race in a new city. I need to do this more often,

After I was done, we all got to cheer my roomie in.  The rest of the day was spend having lunch, walking around town and then carb-loading in the evening with the whole group to get ready for big one.

  • SundayRace Day!! Another perfect weather day.  We were all so excited to run this race.  Unfortunately, the weather and friends were the only good things I could say about this race. But Half Marathon #32 is done.  I actually won 2nd in my age group but was too tired to pick up my award.

Afterward, we had a delicious lunch in the Old City and then drove home. Another short race-cation has come to an end. And it was a fun one (even though the race experience was not what we hoped.)

This Coming Week – 

  • Monday –  drive to Liverpool for work, 3 recovery miles. 
  • Tuesday   3 miles, Liverpool
  • Wednesday – rest day, drive home
  • Thursday4 miles
  • Friday – rest day, bus to NYC
  • SaturdayGovernors Island 5k, bus home
  • Sunday – Boating Sunday

Please link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Wendy @ Taking the Long Way Home


Happy Running! How is your running going? What’s new with you?  Any big races on the horizon? Please share.


Ultimate Coffee Date – July and Friday Five

It’s that time of the month…

It’s COFFEE ice cream, of course!!

to join up with Coco & Deborah for their ultimate coffee date.

1. Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I am always training for some long race.  This summer is no different.  But I am thinking that I am a much better short distance runner.

I am more successful and there’s less stress in running 3 miles vs 13.

But then there’s the medal and the pride. Not sure I can give that up…

Ever think of sticking to the shorter races?

2. Over coffee…

I’d tell you that all of a sudden it is summer.  I’ve been waiting so long for these temps.  They are great for boating

but for running…not so much.

And I refuse to run on the treadmill!!

planned on 4 and this was all I could muster…

Do you struggle to run when the temps are over 80? Do you ever give in and run on the mill?

3. Over coffee…

I’d tell that I complained about never being home but I kinda miss my NYC traveling.  Mainly because of the places to run there. There’s nothing like NYC for running.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I’d love to run on Governor’s Island, Roosevelt Island, over all the bridges, etc.

Ever run in NYC and understand what I mean?

4. Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I still haven’t made my decision for a winter Florida race.

I thought I would go to Florida, as usual, to visit my friends and family and of course, run a half marathon. Maybe this one???

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But some local runner friends are tempting me with this race.  It’s been on my bucket list and it would be more fun to run it with people that I know…

Image result for key west half marathon 2019

unfortunately I think the expense (flights/hotel) is leading me to save this one for another year

Ever have a hard time choosing a race or is it just me?

5. Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I enjoyed my summer mid-week races a lot.  It allowed me to not have to choose between long runs/boating and racing on the weekend.

Image result for nyc runs

They sponsor 7 races (5k) on Weds in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and Ice Cream Social 5k on Jun 12.

If only locally, we had some mid-week races.

I did find one and of course, I signed up!!

Would you like to run evening races in the summer during the week or would you prefer races on the weekend?

It’s Friday so I’m linking up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostesses and visit some other bloggers.

Happy Running! Got anything to spill? Share it here!

Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap

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MAY 19, 2018

It seems like I’ve been planning to run this race forever. But actually it is a lottery and this year, I was determined to get in.  I sat at the computer and exactly at noon, I clicked Register and my friend Sue and I both got in. (Sue is my partner in crime for the France 8k and the Shape Half – both in NYC)

I signed up to run Brooklyn as my 31th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I love NYC (and Brooklyn).
  • I had enough hotel points for a free room.
  • My friend Sue agreed to run the race and room with me.
  • NYRR races are so well-organized
  • Who wouldn’t want to finish at the beach in Coney Island.
  • It was on a Saturday so I would still have Sunday at home.

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon on March 17 in Florida and since then I have completed easy weekday runs and longish runs on most weekends.

Though I don’t usually care much about my short runs, I do like to get in a 10, 11 and 12 miler before each half marathon.

I skipped my 12 mile long run entirely the weekend that I was on vacation in Florida. I added extra miles to my weekend 5k races.  Only ONE of my long runs was completed without a break in between the miles and that was the last one of 9 miles

I am sure that this is NOT the my best way for prepare to run 13 miles. I am a coach’s nightmare. LOL.

However, I wasn’t really worried. I didn’t expect to run the half marathon at a PR pace anyway. I was running it purely for the experience.

Dealing with a crazy work schedule, travel and rain does not equal a fast finish time. The goal for this half marathon was survival and enjoyment!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep on my last half marathon in NYC and Vegas– rest the legs the day before.

So we didn’t really walk that much.  We took the bus to Manhattan and then the subway to Brooklyn so we could check into the hotel.  Then we took a subway to Pier 2 to the Pre-Race Party to get our shirt and bib.

The Pre-Race party was a little disappointing. Not many booths or food and there was no entertainment. But if you just wanted to get in and out, it was fine. You could also get any information you needed about the race and logistics.  We asked a lot of people about what time to be at the race and got many conflicting answers so made our own decision.

While we were at the pier, we did a little sightseeing by touring an old schooner and watching a glass blowing demonstration on an Erie Canal boat. Our last stop was Coney Island where we had a delicious pasta dinner before heading back to the hotel to call it an early night.

Race Day:

Alarm set for 5 am. After much debate, we decided to leave for the race at 6:30 am.

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and ate in the hotel room. Good thing because the hotel breakfast didn’t open until 6:30 am.

My original race outfit was going to be a tank and skirt.  But with each weather forecast predicting colder and colder temps, I kept changing my mind.

So in additional to the above, I added compression leg sleeves, DIY arm sleeves, a throw way long sleeved shirt and a rain poncho.

I was very close to adding capris and a jacket but decided at the last moment that I didn’t want to be too warm.  Sue and I both also decided against a checked bag based on the logistics, long bag check lines and having to wait outside in the rain even longer.

Our hotel was fairly close to the start so we would have walked if it hadn’t been raining so hard. We had planned to call an uber but two sisters outside our hotel had already called one and offered us a ride.  We accepted and hung out with them for a while before the race (one was running her first half… poor thing.)

We arrived at 6:45 to cold pouring rain and wind and did our best to stay dry by standing under one canopy after another.

Unfortunately we had to eventually get to the start. We waited so long that wave 1 (we were in wave 2) had already started. That meant we had to run across the course.  Just imagine how hard it is to cross between runners running at a 5-6 min pace.  I almost had a heart attack but we all did it successfully.

Then we had to wait on a very long line in order to go through security before getting into our corrals.

We decided to stay under a canopy until the very last minute and it was the right decision.  Then the line moved pretty fast and we pushed our way into the corrals and just moved to about the 10 minute pacer.

I kept my rain poncho on until it was time to begin. Many runners kept theirs on all or most of the race.  I thought that it would be too uncomfortable. I normally take off my throw away shirt too (because it was heavy cotton) but I was just too cold.  I wished that I had gloves on, as well.

My plan for the race, as usual, was to stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated) and to stop and walk longer to eat a GU at every 4 miles or so. And of course, not slip and fall or succumb to hypothermia.  Sue and I planned to meet inside the Coney Island subway station and go back to the hotel together.

Anyway, here’s how the race went (photos courtesy of the NYRR website):

Miles 1-3:

9:53, 9:58, 9:14

As you can see, it was quite congested in the beginning of the race.  For the first 3 miles, you run outside of Prospect Park and there were minor ups and downs in the elevation.  I tried not to step in any big puddles but in trying to cut the tangents, I stepped in one monster one.  In addition to my feet now being soaked and sloshing around, my throw away was getting water logged and I had to stop and toss it.  The good news is that it was covering my watch and I couldn’t worry about my pace.  I still had on my DIY arm sleeves for warmth.

My plan to stop at every water stop slowed me down because in this race, they were at every mile (not every 2 miles as I am used to.)  I stopped anyway even though I wasn’t thirsty.  They were a tempting opportunity to walk and so that’s what I regrettably did.

Miles 4-6:

9:41, 10:27, 10:01

At mile 4, you head into the park. It starts off flat and just before Mile 5 comes the biggest hill on the course which is not as steep as some of those Central Park hills, but seems like it will never end. I continued my water stop walking and used the one at hilly mile 5 to eat my first GU. Thankfully as you loop around the park, you discover what goes up must come down and you get to enjoy a nice downhill.  This was my favorite part of the race. At this point, I rolled down my arm sleeves.  They were so wet that they weren’t keeping me warm anyway.

Miles 7-9:

8:56, 9:41, 10:09

As you come through Mile 7 just outside the park, you head to Ocean Parkway with a quick dip down and a steady bump in elevation on the entrance ramp.

I tried to think of this as my final stretch to the finish line. But it felt like Ocean Parkway would never end. Until this point in the race, I was really feeling strong. My lack of long runs really reared its ugly head at mile 9. I started to get a big blister on my left foot (where I always get one).  It was painful and I think it made my gait awkward.  My lower back starting aching and then the arch on the bottom of my right foot started feeling funky.  As a result, walks at the water stops were getting longer. To make things worse, it was raining even harder. Believe it or not, there were lively crowds all along the course…even in this weather. That helped a lot.

Miles 10-12

10:35, 10:02, 10:25

Still running down that endless Ocean Parkway. At mile 10, I ate my second GU and walked what seemed like forever hoping to get some zip in my step. Finally as you run South, the Avenues go in order from A to Z then you make a right hand turn onto Surf Avenue where you can see the roller coasters up ahead. But by mile 12, I barely had any energy. I just willed myself to continue. I knew the end was near.

Mile 13- 13.25

9:56, 9:21

Soon I saw the sign that said “800 meters to go” and then I was finally on the boardwalk.  The finish line seemed so far away but all of a sudden, the race was over.  I crossed….

Garmin time= 2:11:18
Gun time = 3:09:46
Chip time = 2:11:23

I got my medal and then was handed a bag with water, gatorade and some snacks.

too cold and wet to take any fancy pix with the medal 😦

I followed the crowd to exit and my original plan was to hang around, go to the After Party in MCU Stadium (where you got beer, pizza, Nathan’s famous hot dogs, etc.) but I was FREEZING!!!!!

a friend’s pic from FB

So I made a bee line to the subway to wait for my friend Sue.

I checked my phone and saw a message from her. “DNF. Quit at mile 5. Took an early train back to Albany.”


I had the feeling that she didn’t want to run in the rain.  At mile 5 we had looped the park and it was an easy walk back to the hotel.

Now I was stuck alone in the rain in NYC until my 6:30 pm bus home.

(In the end, it was fine. I had a nice lunch and went to the movies.)

Additional Race Reflections:

Though there were timing clocks at every mile during the race, they started when the elites of wave 1 started so I really wasn’t sure how I was doing.  I kept thinking that I was about an hour less than the displayed time. It was hard to see my watch because of my arm sleeves (I had only rolled them down not thrown them away.) So I was pleased at my time. I thought I would finish much slower. I knew I would not PR but secretly, I wanted to finish faster than 2:12.  That was the qualifying time for my new age group for the NYC Half Marathon next March. (I may not run it but it’s nice to qualify for something.)

Well, this was a bucket list race for me.  Since I didn’t train hard, I was expecting to completely enjoy my experience, take lots of photos, hang out at the beach, etc.

All of this impossible in such miserable weather conditions.

But no, I don’t regret running the race.  I actually liked the course more than I thought I would.  The hills weren’t as bad as Central Park.  More than 25,000 excited runners. So much energy. NYRR puts on a first class event.

even Deena Kastor was not smiling

The Good:

  • Easy organized packet pick-up.
  • Lots of information from sign up to race day
  • The excitement and energy
  • Prospect Park part of the course
  • Ending on the board walk of Coney Island
  • Hot Dogs and Beer at the Post-Race Party
  • Water & Gatorade Stops at every mile (many tables of cups and many volunteers)
  • Crowd Support (even in the rain)

The Bad:

  • Running down Ocean Ave for so long was a little boring
  • Pre-Race Party was disappointing – few vendors
  • Congested before the start due to security check

The Ugly:

  • The Weather!!

Would I recommend this race?

Yes definitely. Too bad, it sells out so fast.  I would do it again if I could wait to see the weather forecast first.

Final Stats:

It was not my fastest half marathon. But it was actually faster than my last two half marathons.

I am pretty sure than if I had seriously trained and the weather was better (Honestly the rain just put me in a foul mood), I would have had a better finish time.  But “it is what it is.”  I chose to run those 5ks instead of doing my long runs (and I don’t regret it one bit).  And you can’t control the weather.  It was the same for every runner.

Next Up:

Image result for rock n roll montreal

September 23, 2018 

It’s Tuesday so don’t forget to link up with these wonderful ladies:

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs, Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and Patty @ My no-guilt life

I am also joining up with Running on HappySuzlyfeCrazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


Happy Running!  Have you ever a big run in the rain?  Do you prefer large races or small ones?

Weekly Wrap for 5.14.18-5.20.18: Race Week


  • Monday – I was supposed to have jury duty but I didn’t have to appear today. So I was able to attend Week 9 of the Freihofer Training Challenge group run. Being a taper week for me and having run 12 miles in the previous two days, I hesitated going and definitely about doing the Advanced speed workout. So I went and ran with the beginner group. A slow easy 3.5 miles. Just perfect. And I got to run and chat with a friend Denise who has been injured and I haven’t seen in ages.

  • Tuesday -Again I didn’t have to report for jury duty. So I was able to play tennis after work.  Rest day for running (after running 3 days in a row and besides it was raining. My tennis lessons over vacation must have helped but we won both sets.
  • Wednesday – Finally reported for jury duty. I did take a long walk to the court instead of paying for parking or taking the bus. Not selected as a juror because I asked to be dismissed (chose to report again in Dec.) But no running again due to a hair appointment.

I missed Tulip Fest due to rain and these are past prime but still beautiful

  • Thursday – Back at work and because I was in town, I had signed up with my co-workers (as I did last year) to participate in the Workforce Challenge. Ten thousand runners in a 3.5 mile race downtown.  Crazy, right with a half marathon in two days!? So to make sure that I didn’t race, I didn’t wear my watch.  And I met someday who works upstairs from me who wanted a running partner to get her through the race. She’s much slower than me so it was perfect. We chatted and chatted and dodged the walkers. I may have finished 10 minutes slower than last year but who cares?
  • Friday – Took the bus to NYC with my running buddy Sue and subwayed to Brooklyn to check into our hotel, go to the expo and get ready for race day. That included a delicious pasta dinner in Coney Island.
  • Saturday – Race Day. Brooklyn Half Marathon. I had been looking forward to this race for years. Not as a goal race but for the experience. Running around Prospect Park and finishing at Coney Island. What was not in the plan was the RAIN!! Cold pouring rain and wind. It was so bad that Sue quit after mile 5 and took the train home. I persevered and finished. The last 4 miles were painful but I didn’t succumb to hyperthermia.

not my best nor my worst but at least fast enough to qualify for 2019 NYC Half.

Alone in the city on a rainy day so I opted to have a nice lunch and go to the movies.

Image result for book club movie

  • SundayRest Day. We were hoping for boating weather but the nope, rainy  Instead we did go out to a nice brunch to celebrate both of our May birthdays (and both qualifying for Medicare.)

This Coming Week

  • Monday –  train to NYC for work, 4 miles 
  • Tuesday  rest day
  • Wednesday – 3 miles or Al Goldstein 5k (in Brooklyn)
  • Thursday3 miles
  • Friday – rest day. train home
  • Saturday –  6 miles
  • Sunday – rest day, boating?

Please link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Wendy @ Taking the Long Way Home

Happy Running! How is your running going? What’s new with you? Anyone ever have jury duty?  What about running a big race in the rain?


March Report Card

Image result for welcome april goodbye march

Spring did not arrive in March.  There was a lot of snow but I was lucky to escape for a few days to sunny Florida.

Anyhow, here’s how March worked out for me:

Weekday Runs:

I was able to run at least 3 times outdoors each week which is great because I HATE the tradmill. As I mentioned March was a snowy month.  Four nor’easters in 3 weeks!!!!

I ran at UAlbany (near work) or near home.  Unfortunately, my preferred routes don’t have lights but the good news is that it is staying light longer since we moved the clocks ahead one hour. I did run while working in NYC and in Liverpool.  The best thing about my job is running in different places. My weekday runs were usually around 3-4 miles (occasionally more and occasionally less).

Long Runs:

Work and the weather has made it tough to get in my weekend long runs. But since I ran a half marathon in the middle, I did get a few in before I left.  Then I took a break but continued with some extra miles after a race at the end of the month.

Total Mileage:

I ran 92 miles this month.  An increase in miles basically because March is a long month and I ran a half marathon this month. The important thing is that I am feeling healthy so all is good.


I had several races on my schedule this month. I ran the Brew 2 Brew Half Marathon during my vacation in Florida. When I returned, I ran two local races, Shamrock Shuffle, a 5 miler and the Ice Break Challenge, a 5k. Both were fun and I met up with several friends at each. I also had course PRs and won my age group in both races.  A nice perk!

Cross Training:

I only played tennis once indoors.  It’s doubles so not a great workout but better than nothing. I wish I could play more but …WORK WORK WORK!!!

I did NOT work out at the gym at all.

I did not attend a yoga class. The month just got away from me and I was hardly home during the week. Then on the weekend, I was playing catch up.

I did not walk at lunch. But working in NYC does get me a lot of steps. I did go for an after dinner walk in Liverpool.

Other News:

The highlight of my month was my trip to Florida. I especially enjoyed the warm temps and sunshine. I was able to visit with five different friends and as well as my sister-in-law.

Despite all my work travel, I was able to squeeze in some friend time and hubby time. These are usually spent with dinners in a restaurant. I ended the month with a Passover Seder with my Mah jongg friends.

The Freihofer Training Challenge began. I have yet to be able to go since I’ve been working out of town on Mondays and racing on Saturdays. I guess I shouldn’t have signed up this year. (Miss my coach and my running buds.)

FTC – March 2016

Feeling healthy so Life Is Good.

Looking Ahead:

Half Marathon #31 in May.

It’s a big one and it’s been on my bucket list for years.

Image result for brooklyn half marathon 2018

May 19, 2018

I have some shorter races planned as well. My racing schedule picks up in the spring.

This is my list so far for the next 2 months:

  • 4-14-18 – Code Blue 8K and/or 4-15-18 – Delmar Dash (5m)
  • 4-21-18 – Bacon Hill Bonanza 5k and/or 4-22-18 – Sasha’s Super Hero Run 5k
  • 4-28-18 – Spring Run Off 5k /10k and/or 4-29-18 – Cherry Blossom 5k
  • 5-06-18 – Tropicool 5k (in FL)
  • 5-12-18 – Summer Smith Memorial 5k
  • 5-17-18- Workforce Challenge (3.5 m)
  • 5-19-18 – Brooklyn Half Marathon

I am linking to Deb at DebRuns for her March Race Linkup:

Deb Runs
No monthly goals.

This motto worked for 2016 & 2017 so I’m sticking with it in 2018!

I’m linking up with these wonderful ladies:

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs, Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and Patty @ My no-guilt life for

My Topic is: Give your running month a letter grade.

I’d say overall an A-

Despite the work travel, vacation and crazy winter weather, I did my best to get in my runs. Strength training just never happens so I’ve decided not to beat myself up about it. I ran 2 shorter races and without any speed drills, I had course PRs and won my age group in both. 🙂

Spring can’t come soon enough for this fair weather runner.

 I’m also linking this post with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches’ Corner.

Happy Running! How did your March turn out? Anything exciting planned for April? 

What grade would you give your running month?


Brew 2 Brew Half Marathon Race Recap

March 17, 2018

It seems like I’ve been planning this race-cation forever (since November) and now it’s come and gone.

I signed up for my 30th Half Marathon in Florida for several reasons:

  • I love race-cations.
  • I had enough FF miles for a free flight.
  • I have many many friends who winter in Florida (as well as my sister-in-law who moved to Florida) who have offered me places to stay.
  • I am sick of this cold weather and need some sunshine in my life!!!!!!!!
  • I love the beach, ocean views, climbing to the top of lighthouses, visiting bird sanctuaries, morning sunsets, etc.
  • The races are usually flat and have awesome views.

So I signed for the Singer Island Half Marathon because of the reviews and the amazing views.  If you read my blog, you know that the race was cancelled.

I had to choose another Florida half marathon on the east coast and Brew 2 Brew, an inaugural (un-scenic) race was my only option.

I was not excited about this race for many reasons. The first being that all my experiences with inaugural half marathon races have not been good and I have run quite a few. Secondly, the website had very little information about the race.  I had to email the director several times to find out if there was a medal, when & where packet pickup was and what the course was like.

Eventually, I got this email (and everyone I showed it to laughed):

Should I carry this or will they mark the course? My brother-in-law said to call him when I get lost. LOL

Also because of the lack of advertising, there were not many runners signed up for the race.

But you know me, I’m game for a challenge and I love racing enough to pay $80 or more to do this “race.”

Spoiler Alert: This race turned out so differently that I thought it would. I did something I’ve never done before.  And I enjoyed it more than any other half I have done.

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon on November 13 in Las Vegas and since then I have completed easy weekday runs and long runs on most weekends.

Though I don’t usually care much about my short runs, I do like to get in a 10, 11 and 12 miler before each half marathon.

I skipped my long run entirely the weekend that I was snowed in in Buffalo. I added extra miles to my weekend group runs.  NONE of my long runs was completed without a break in between the miles. I am sure that this is NOT the my best way for prepare to run 13 miles. I am a coach’s nightmare. LOL.

However, I wasn’t really worried. I didn’t expect to run the half marathon at a PR pace anyway.

Training in the snowy, windy frigid NE and racing in the warm humid SE does not equal a fast finish time. The goal for this half marathon was survival and enjoyment!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep on my last race-cation — rest the legs the day before and fuel adequately before the race.

The day I arrived in Florida, I relaxed at the pool (need that vitamin D), walked around a bird sanctuary and started my carb loading with pizza out with my Delray Beach host.  The next day, I went for an easy run, did more relaxing at the pool, walking on the beach (continuing my vitamin D intake) and had dinner out with an old friend.

On the day before the race, I took a leisurely walk, went out for brunch with my college roommate, and took my host to do some errands before I left Delray Beach. Then I drove about 1 3/4 hours north to Vero Beach while munching on leftover pizza. As soon as I arrived, I spotted Abbotts Custard, my favorite dessert place in Rochester, NY. I had to have some, right?

My second stop was to pick my race packet at a local running store (where I also snagged Birthday Cake GU)

yes, that is a COTTON shirt!!

and then on to locate the race start/finish. It was easy to find the Walking Tree Brewery and it had a large parking lot. Now I could relax about the race logistics.

The last stop was my sister in law and her husband’s who lived about 1/2 hour north in Sebastian. I was planning on spending the night there.

We all went out to an Italian restaurant so I could carb load and then we relaxed at home for the rest of the evening (and I got my racing stuff ready for the next day.)

didn’t need those arm sleeves

The weather forecasted looked perfect:

I hoped to be done before it got very warm and it wasn’t very humid

Race Day:

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me (to the disappointment of my sister-in-law who got up to make me something to eat.)

Look how fresh my 70 year old sister-in-law looks at 5 am!!

It was chilly so I added a throw away shirt over my traditional half marathon outfit and took off for the race start.

I arrived about an hour early (too early!) and hung out with other runners inside the brewery. I was surprised at how many runners were wearing the cotton green race shirt.

this was taken after but you get the picture about the shirts

And compared to all of my 29 previous half marathons, this one was very small. Most likely, the smallest with only a little over 100 runners.

So it was dark and quiet – no music, no fanfare, little excitement.

Finally it was time to head to the start line. I reluctantly took over my long sleeved shirt (and that was the right decision.)

I stood close to the front figuring that there would be no chip timing. They did mention that there would be signs at all the (29) turns and arrows spray painted on the ground (Phew!)

No national anthem or gun start. Just a guy staying “Go.”

Yes, I finally located a course map

I’ll do my best to recap the race but I don’t remember much – there was nothing interesting to look at (scenery-wise) and no spectators to speak of.

I didn’t feel excited as I normally do before a half marathon.  I just wanted to get done and continue my Florida vacation.

This is very odd because usually the RACE is the highlight of my race-cation.

My plan, as usual, was to stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated) and to stop and walk longer to eat a GU at every other water stop.

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

see any bridges or ocean views? Noooo! Waaah!

Miles 1-3:

9:31, 9:50, 10:01

We started running from the brewery into some neighborhoods.  You can see on the map that there were lots of turns and yes, they were visibility marked.  The roads weren’t closed to traffic but at this hour, it was pretty quiet. I, of course, made sure to run the tangents.  I ran the first mile with a few different women. During the second mile, a runner came up to me and asked me what pace I was running.  I replied that it was close 10.  We started chatting. She was from VA and visiting her parents. She was also running her FIRST HALF MARATHON (and was a newby runner).  She didn’t have a watch and her longest run ever was 9 miles. She told her husband and son that she thought she would be finishing with about a 12 min/mi pace. She asked if she could with me.  I had never run a half marathon or even a whole race with someone else but I replied “Sure. The company would be fun.” I also told her that I wasn’t sure what my finish time would be but it would be faster than 12 min/mile.  I warned her that I walk at every water stop and usually run the first half faster than the second half when I often walk more if I run out of gas.  She said that she would try to keep up as long as she could and was very grateful. So we chatted and chatted as I had planned, I stopped for water close to the mile two marker.  The sun had come up and it was already starting to get warm.  I unconsciously made the decision to forget about time and just enjoy the company of Ann, my new running friend.

most of the runners were dressed in green for this St Patrick’s Day race

Miles 4-6:

10:22, 10:17, 10:09

The course eventually looped back toward the start and around the airport parking lot. My next walk break was to eat a Gu. I was hungry since it had been hours since my breakfast. I walked longer since I have yet to figure out how to drink, open the Gu and eat it while running.  Ann also had been wondering if this course had any porta-potties.  I told her that I didn’t think so.  The only one (yes, only ONE!) was near the start.  So she decided to stop when we passed it.  I didn’t stop but just continued running slowly in hopes that she would catch up.  I kinda liked having someone to talk to during the race.

Miles 7-9:

10:35, 11:16, 11:18

And yes, Ann did catch up.  She said she didn’t think she could finish the race alone. I had developed a big blister on my left foot (where I always get one due to a bunion).  It was painful so I didn’t have a hard time slowing down to run with Ann. We continued to run easy and converse.  At this point in the race, we were running WITH traffic on a main road.  Since we were running next to each other, this was a little dangerous but luckily, the cars moved over adequately.  It did still make me uncomfortable.  This part of the race seemed to go on forever. Ann and I were both getting warm and dragging.  And it was very boring.  Absolutely nothing to look at. We stopped for water and I ate my second Gu around mile 8.  The highlight was seeing Ann’s son who was volunteering at the water stop.

Miles 10-12

11:23, 11:20, 11:11

Finally we got to the turn around.  I never really looked at my watch but as you can see we were crawling.  Once we were running in the opposite direction on this road, we knew that the end of the race was near.  And with the out and back, we were able to see the fast runners and now the slower runners. During these miles, I started to get stomach cramps.  I was hoping that I wouldn’t need a porta-potty because there were none. Fortunately, the feeling went away by mile 13 (whew!) but it did make it hard to run at a faster pace.

Mile 13- 13.14:

10:15, 7:35

Ann and I both decided that despite the heat and our weary legs, we would pick up the pace and run faster for the last mile. And we did, even sprinting through the finish line (where she narrowly beat me.)

Garmin time= 2:18:28
Gun time = 2:20:00
Chip time = 2:19:56

Ann hugged me with tears in her eyes and then was greeted by her husband.  I was so happy for her.  Happier than if I had PR’d.

coincidentally our numbers are 448 and 449 – we registered at different times and our last names are not that close…odd?

My sister-in-law and her friend were waiting for me after I crossed the finish line.  That was nice. I rarely have a family member cheering for me at the end of a race.

so hot and sweaty and yes, the medal is smaller than my Garmin

I got my medal, grabbed some food (though I wasn’t hungry) and went inside the brewery to get my free beer.

We waited around until they posted the results and yes, I did win an age group award – a distant 3rd.

a plastic beer mug filled with a few candies

I said good-bye to my new running friend (after we exchanged phone numbers) and headed back to my sister-in-law’s home to shower and then head out for a celebratory lunch.

there was food too and ice cream after 🙂

Additional Race Reflections:

So I didn’t plan to have such a slow finish time.  My legs were rested. I was properly fueled. The weather was perfect and the course was flat.  But for the first time, I selflessly forgot about MY race and ran the race (for 12 miles) with some else and helped this new runner finish her FIRST half marathon. Not only was it rewarding but I enjoyed the race.  I wasn’t winded and I wasn’t obsessed with my pace and trying to figure out my finish time.  I was able to run again the next three days in a row.

Two days later, I did get in my bridge run and ocean views

The Good:

  • Easy packet pick-up.
  • Real bathrooms and comfortable location to wait at the start/finish.
  • Flat course.
  • Free beer
  • Perfect weather conditions
  • Water and Gatorade stops at least every 2 miles
  • Gu available at a water stop midway
  • Well marked course
  • Participants in costumes
  • No major injuries.
  • Running 12 miles with a runner and chatting the whole race.
  • My sister in law and her friend cheering me on at the finish line.

The Bad:

  • 29 turns on the course (mostly at the beginning)
  • Boring course – zero scenic views
  • Poor advertising (not enough info on the website)
  • Running with traffic for most of the race
  • No porta potties on the course (except the start which was also mile 5)
  • Cotton race shirt
  • Small medal
  • No race photos
  • Flat course (I actually enjoy the variety of ups and downs)
  • Training (broken up long runs)
  • Stomach Cramps (miles 10-12), Blister from mile 5+

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really.

Would I recommend this race?

No. Not for the price. And all the “Bads” listed above.

Final Stats:

It was not my slowest half marathon.  But I have run hillier races and races in windy conditions where my finish time was faster. Still I am glad that I ran this race rather than not running one at all.  I made the right decision.

Next Up:

May 19, 2018 

Image result for brooklyn half marathon 2018
This was one will be the totally the opposite – big crowds, lots of excitement, hills, beach finish… Looking forward to it….

I’m also linking this post with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches’ Corner.

Happy Running!  Have you ever run an inaugural or low budget race?  Have you ever given up on your time goals to help someone finish a race?