Pelham Half Marathon Race Recap

November 24, 2018                                       8:00 am

It seems like I’ve been planning to run this race forever. I signed up for this race almost a year ago and because:

  • My running buddy Alyssa (whom I haven’t raced with in quite a while) talked me into it.
  • It was cheap. ($30 early-bird registration).
  • It was driveable. (2 1/2 hours)
  • I had enough points for a free hotel room.
  • Still not too cold (hopefully) to make the miles unbearable.
  • Alyssa was trying to run a sub 2:00 half and I wanted to be there to support and/or congratulate her (That was before either of us looked at the elevation chart and realized that this might be the hilliest course we’ve ever run.)

Here’s the race description:

A community-driven race. It is capped at 800 runners. The race starts and finishes in downtown Pelham and takes runners through the two villages of Pelham and Pelham Manor.

It was started by 9 local runners 7 years ago and has grown each year. The entire race covers an area of 2.2 square miles.  Yes, lots of twists and turns.

Each water station (6 of them), each hill (7 of them) and each mile has a local sponsor.

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 but I ran a 20 km race in Paris on October 14. I was not fully trained but had enough time to get there.

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 but I do like to get in a 11 and 12 miler before each half marathon. After completing my last big race, I had busy weekends (and stupidly signed up for 2 races). So I just never got those scheduled long runs done.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

The day before the race, Alyssa and I drove to our hotel in White Plains. We checked in and then drove to Pelham (about 20 minutes away) to get our bibs. It was in a tiny pop-up store. We were also handed a paper bag with our shirt.

We checked out the race start and made sure we knew where to park the next day.

nice long sleeved tech shirt

Then we had a nice carb-loaded dinner. I usually eat pizza but this restaurant did not have any so I settled on chicken parm and pasta (and I ate way too much!!) It turned out that our waiter and 2 of the other waiters were running the race as well. It was fun to chat with them and get some more info on the course.

We headed back to our hotel which happened to be across the street from a huge mall so we spent a few hours there walking off our dinner.  Then we stopped at Whole Foods to get dessert. (Definitely well-fueled for this race)

Back at the hotel, we planned our race day outfits and tried to get to bed early.  (But who can sleep the night before a big race?)

Race Day:

We got up at 5:30 am and I ate my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee that I had brought from home. Then I again debated about how many layers to wear.  It was in the 20s but no wind and the sun would be out. I added another shirt and a vest and brought a jacket to check and wear before and after the race.

We left around 6:30 am and had no problems getting there and finding a place to park.  We walked to the Town Hall which was next the race start. There we checked a bag and used the “real” restrooms.  A policeman tried to tell us to use the porta-potties outside and that the restroom was for the volunteers. But I pointed out that it said on the race website that there were indoor restrooms available so he let us stay and use them.

Then we just waited inside where it was warm until it was time for the race to start.

They announced a yoga warm-up outside but it was too cold. The first few miles would be my warm up.

Finally we couldn’t delay it anymore and we headed to the start and waited with the other runners.

So here’s how the race went.

The course map:

 2017 PHM Half Marathon Course Map

7 hills?!

and elevation chart:

yikes!

After looking at the elevation map and talking to others who had run the race, I decided that survival was my only goal.  This was the plan:

  • Run the tangents.
  • Walk up the hills.
  • Don’t push the pace.
  • Finish uninjured.
  • Enjoy the race.

Miles 1-4:

9:57, 9:32,10:30, 9:46

Alyssa and I started out together.  Before the race, I told her not to worry about losing me and that I would most likely be running slower than her.

So as predicted, I quickly got behind her. But for the first few miles, I could see her bright pink jacket in the distance.

We headed north from the start. It was constant twists and turns. I tried as much as possible to run the tangents. The big hills were labeled but if you look at the chart above, you’ll see that in between the big hills were small hills.  It was just up then down and then up again, etc.

from Long Distance Lawyer’s Blog

I think I was trying to keep Alyssa in my sight because I was definitely running too fast the first 2 miles. I even tried to slowly run up Hill #1.  I planned to walk at each water stop but I think I missed the first one. I was enjoying the neighborhood views and the foliage.

from Long Distance Lawyer’s Blog

More twists and turns and then Hill #2. This was billed as the worst one. There was even a sign that said “Sorry.” I walked it and it was killing my quads to walk up a hill that steep.

Of course, the downhills were a welcome sight but if I ran down them fast, I would feel it days later so I kept my speed in check.

Soon there was Hill #3 which I walked up as well and finally I stopped for water around mile 4.  I expected the water to be frozen due to the temps but it was not.

The sun also came out so I unzipped my vest and took off my gloves. I stayed that way until the last few miles when the clouds came back.

Miles 5-8:

10:30, 10:29,11:09,10:47

The hills and twists and turns continued. As some point, I caught up to Alyssa and we ran together for a while and then I lost her.

I walked at each water stop.  There were signs announcing each one. I think they were around every 2 miles. For the first long race ever, I just was not hungry. I had 3 Gus in my pocket but just drank water until mile 12.

The course through this small town was very varied. We ran through neighborhoods with amazing mansions and then on roads where there was traffic. There were volunteers at every turn (which were also marked with red arrows) and plenty of policemen making sure traffic was stopped for the runners.

from Long Distance Lawyer’s Blog

My favorite part of the course running on a path around the lake. You can see Alyssa yelling at me to sped up because there was a photographer ahead. LOL

I ran as fast as I could but the photographer didn’t get our picture together 😦

that arrow means UPHILL

Though there was not tremendous crowd support, the ones who were there were very enthusiastic.

This recap may sound repetitive but it was just turning left, turning right, running up a small hill, running down and walking up a big hill and running down…repeat.

Miles 9-12:

10:56, 11:29, 11:16, 11:01

At some point, I got ahead and lost Alyssa.  All of a sudden, she slowed down. But I got to see her at each of the turn arounds. There were two that I remember during the latter miles,

As usual, the bottom of my left foot (the one with the bunion) was throbbing. I was still walking up the big hills and running down them.

However my pace was getting slower and slower.  I was even just shuffling up the smaller hills.

from Long Distance Lawyer’s Blog

I loved when we ran on a dirt path because it felt better on my foot but sometimes I just ran on the sidewalk because it was a tangent.

Finally at the last water stop, I decided that I should eat a Gu. 13 miles with no fuel was probably not a good idea. (Maybe that’s why I had no energy…)

Miles 13-13.1:

12:02, 6:59

I thought that I was all done with the hills but Hill #7 appeared during the last mile.  That was so nasty!

Eventually I could hear music in the distance.  The hills were over and the cheerleaders cheered us through the finish line.

I couldn’t believe that I had enough energy to sprint. I crossed at 2:20:xx.

I was super happy with my time.  I walked up the hills and so did all the runners around me. Those who live in this area have probably trained on these hills.  I usually run on flat routes.  My legs were not prepared for this.

After I got my medal, I waited for Alyssa to cross so I could get her picture.

She too was thrilled with her time.  She agreed that those hills were tough on the legs. While she headed for the porta-potties, I went in search of food.

In addition to the usual bagels and bananas, there was baked ziti, chicken parm, meatballs, lasagna, burritos, black beans, rice. Yes, quite a spread.

I grabbed some food and headed for the town hall since I was freezing.

They were offering massages but it was too cold to stay outside any longer. I got my jacket and then checked the results.  It seemed that I won my age group. So I asked if they had announced the awards and they told me that it was over and they didn’t have any left.  They told me to just pick a shirt or a cap.  I asked what would I have won.  And they said a mug.

Darn!  The plight of a BOTPer. (I later looked at the race schedule and the awards ceremony was at 10 am – Um – that’s only 2 hours after the start…. I was still running the race.)

posing with my medal and my “cap”

We walked around town and stopped for a cup of coffee. We then decided to go back to our hotel for a HOT shower and have lunch after we checked out.

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Many emails with pre-race information
  • Well organized
  • Warm place to hang out before and after the race
  • Well marked course
  • Adequate number of water stops
  • Interesting and varied course
  • Excellent post race food
  • 100% of race fees went to charity
  • Post race massages
  • Free race photos

The Bad:

  • the HILLS!!!
  • ran out of age group awards (time of awards ceremony)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes, it was a great small town race.  Just be prepared for hills!

Final Thoughts and Stats:

So yes, I was BOTP but my time was actually faster than the hot flat Paris 20k race (which was only 12.4 miles.)

only one in my age group LOL

Alyssa and I had a fun time together and I am glad that we did run the race.  A local running friend told me that her boyfriend also ran it and it was the hardest race that he’s ever run.

And my legs felt fine the next day and if it were not raining, I would have run 2 days after. No DOMS for the win!

Next Up:

Publix Florida Half Marathon on February 10, 2019!!

The Florida Marathon


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 Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Happy Running! What is the hardest course that you’ve ever run on?  

Advertisements

November Report Card

Image result for welcome december

This was supposed to be a big racing month -5K, 10k, 15K, Half Marathon!!

Unfortunately the weather interfered with two of those races :(.

Here’s how the month went:

Weekday Runs:

I was able to run at least 3 times outdoors most weeks which is great because I HATE the treadmill (though a snowstorm forced me on it once.)

I ran a few times while working in NYC and on Long Island. Otherwise I ran locally. My weekday runs were usually around 3 miles (occasionally more and occasionally less). 

Unfortunately I missed ALL of my Turkey Trot Training Monday group runs. I missed ALL of the Saturday ones too but I had no intent of attending those. Although I love this group, if my work schedule does not change, I will not sign up again next year.

Long Runs:

I did my best to get in a few long runs in to prepare for my 33rd half marathon this month. It helped that I have great running friends.  

Total Mileage:

I’ve run 78 miles so far this month. It may be a slight increase over last month and I am still behind on my 1000 mile yearly goal. But the important thing is that I am feeling healthy so all is good.

Races:

November is usually a popular month for racing and this November followed suit. I ran the Stockade-athon 15k and got a PR. Unfortunately the Girls on the Run 5k a week later was cancelled. Then on Thanksgiving Day, I DNSed the Troy Turkey Trot 5k.  Two days later I did run the HILLY Pelham Half Marathon and won my age group.

Cross Training:

Due to my work schedule, I only played tennis once and I did NOT work out at the gym at all.

I did not walk at lunch at all. Of course, I got a lot of steps in during my work time in NYC.

Other News:

Despite all my work travel, I was able to squeeze in some friend, family and hubby time. I even saw TWO movies (Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born.)

Feeling healthy so Life Is Good.

Looking Ahead:

Half Marathon #34 is February 10, 2019. 

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

  • 12-01-18 – Jingle Bell Run 5k ???
  • 12-08-18 – Albany Last Run 5K
  • 12-09-18 – Winter Series #1 (3m)
  • 01-01-19 – Winter Series #2 (3.5m)
  • 01-13-19 – Winter Series #3 (10K)
  • 01-24-19 – Winter Series #4 (15k)

(Winter Series races are local and FREE)

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

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 a B+

Despite my busy schedule, I did my best to get in my weekday runs. My long runs actually got done but were not as long as they should have been. I did play tennis once but did not go to the gym at all. I ran a 15k race PR and a half marathon.

Not a bad month but feel a lacking in the mojo department. (I even DNSed a race which is so unlike me.) It is maybe the cold weather and early winter snows.  I better get used to it.  It’s only just begun.


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

coachescorner

Happy Running! How did your November turn out? Anything exciting planned for December? What grade would you give your running month? Does the cold weather zap your mojo?

runner-sig

Weekly Wrap for 11.19.18-11.25.18 – Running Before and After the Turkey

ru

Back to guess where?  And my last Half Marathon for 2018!!

  • Monday – Though I was tired from the weekend, I do love my NYC runs. I started along the Hudson River

but for safety sake I ended up running on the city sidewalks. Crowded for sure but I got to see some the holiday decorations.

  • Tuesday – Today after work I took the subway to Central Park. I was hoping to run with Cari but she was stuck at work so I was solo. Not really. There were lots of runners in the park.

I walked back to my hotel. Again admiring the lights of the city at Christmastime.

  • Wednesday – Rest Day. Train home after work.
  • Thursday – Race Day – Troy Turkey Trot 5k. Well the night before there was a train derailment which led my train to be stuck an hour away. My hubby picked me up but I didn’t get home until after 11 pm. I also woke up to negative single digits with the windchill so I decided to skip the race.

It felt really strange not to race on Thanksgiving Day. I had done a turkey trot every year since 2009 (except 2012 when I was injured.) I waited for the temps to warm up to double digits and ran my own 5k. It was not fun but got it done.

Later in the day I ate back all the calories I burned and more at the family Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Friday – Rest Day and drive to Pelham with Alyssa. After checking into our hotel, we picked up our bibs and carb loaded at dinner.

Then we walked off our dinner at a nearby mall.

  • Saturday – Race Day. Pelham Half Marathon – the hilliest race ever. I mean I had problems even walking up the hills. But Alyssa and I survived and had fun. It is great local race. I even won my age group.

does it count if I was the only one in my AG?

  • Sunday – Rest Day and I deserved it!

This Coming Week –  

  • Monday 3 miles??
  • Tuesday  3 miles, mall walk with BFF
  • Wednesday – train to NYC, 4 miles
  • Thursday3 miles (in NYC)
  • Friday – rest day, train home
  • Saturday Long Run with Sole Sisters (6 miles) or Jingle Bell 5k
  • Sunday – rest day and anniversary Mah Jongg dinner

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

WWSki-Orange

Happy Running! How is your running going? What’s new with you?  Any big races on the horizon? Did you experience the arctic chill on Thanksgiving Day?  Did you run a Turkey Trot? Please share.

runner-sig

Rock n Roll Montreal Half Marathon Recap

Image result for rock n roll montreal

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:

Image result for les 20km de paris

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

coachescorner

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!!

ru

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

WWSki-Orange

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

runner-sig

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???

Image result for melbourne half marathon 2019

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!
runner-sig

Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap

Image result for brooklyn half marathon 2018

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.”

WTF?

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

coachescorner

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