Wednesday Word- Breakthrough

WednesdayWordScrabbleButton

The first Wednesday of each month, the Deb from Deb Runs will be providing a word about which to blog. Kind of like a nice little blog prompt. Posts can be fitness or health related, but don’t have to be, so really anyone can play along. Just be sure to link up with InLinkz on Deb’s main post, and share the love by reading and commenting on other’s participant’s posts.

Today’s word is Breakthrough

Image result for breakthrough definition

For me, a breakthrough happened several years after running ONLY 5ks.

This is nothing wrong with only racing the 5k distance.

But I had convinced myself that since I was an older runner, I was NOT capable of running any longer race distance.

happy, getting faster, winning AG awards… (need help in improving my wardrobe choices.)

After a health-related scare, I decided in 2011, to give the 13.1 distance a shot.

I didn’t tell anyone (except my hubby) because I had serious doubts about my ability to complete the distance.

thumbs up for the first one!

But I did it!  I loved it and I went on to run 5 half marathons that first year.

I have continued to run several half marathons each year (unless I was injured).

Half Marathon #26 – 2:06:52 – PR!!!

I didn’t stop running 5ks. I still love that distance but I am so glad that I made the decision to run a half marathon.  I discovered that what I thought was holding me back (age) did not and that I had to potential to run 131.1 miles (and even run them pretty well.)

Image result for breakthroughs in running quotes


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

Happy Running! Have you had any BREAKTHROUGHS with regard to running? Please share.

TOTR: May Report Card

Image result for bye bye month of may
So spring arrived, left and then returned.

Here’s how my favorite month turned out:

Weekday Runs:

I was able to run at least 3 times outdoors each week which is great because I do not have a treadmill at home.

I ran at UAlbany (near work), at the Crossings, near home, in a local park and even at the Corning Bike Path. I even ran 4 times while on vacation in Florida.

I ran alone some of the time. But Alyssa was able to accompany me often. It’s definitely more fun running with friends.

I continued to attend some of the Monday sessions of the Freihofer Run for Women Training Challenge. (I missed weeks 7 & 8.) Coach Patrick put us through those speed drills that I normally would never attempt on my own.

I continued my volunteering stint with the STEM runners this month. Unfortunately with vacation and work, I had to miss several sessions. This was our big month since the race is in early June.

After the Workforce Challenge, my co-workers decided to get together once a week to run after work – either Wednesday or Thursday. I plan to participate when I can.

Long Runs:

I had a half marathon during the month but I was lax about my long runs.  I did not do one while on vacation.  So I skipped my 12 miler but did run 8 miles on Mother’s Day.

Total Mileage:

I only ran 81 miles this month (as compared to 102 last month.) A slow month, considering I was training and ran a half marathon? I expect to continue as this rate throughout the summer.  But I am still on track to reach 1000 for the year if I stay healthy. 🙂

Races:

I had four races on my schedule this month – two 5ks, a 3.5 miler and a half marathon.

The Tropicool 5K was lots of fun and I came in 3rd in my age group. It rained during the Summer Smith 5k but I won my age group. The Workforce Challenge was a very sweaty but fun experience. And I unexpectedly PR’d at the Steel Rail Half.

Cross Training:

I still play tennis (indoors, of course.) I am scheduled to play two Tuesdays a month but with work and other stuff, I only played once this month. However, while on vacation, I played for at least 2 hours on 5 separate days. It made me remember why I play tennis and how much fun it is.

I did go to work out at the gym several times. My goal was twice a week, though. I didn’t quite achieve that.

I did walk several times a week at lunch – around the outdoor shopping mall or the nature trail. Not everyday like I used. But more often since the weather has cooperated. During vacation, I walked to and from the tennis courts, on the beach and around the community on the days that I didn’t run.

Other News:

I had a fantastic 8-day vacation in Florida – lots of tennis, beach time and eating/drinking.

I also celebrated by birthday while in Florida and several times after.

I went to a few movies: Zookeeper’s Wife, Boss Baby, A Quiet Passion. The hubby and I started up our boating on the weekends.

Running is not my whole life. I think it is important to make time for other things that bring you pleasure.

Feeling healthy so Life Is Good.

Looking Ahead:

No more half marathons planned until October 1 in Corning, NY. (Although there’s one on Sept. 9 in VT that a friend is trying to talk me into.)

I have quite a few shorter races planned. My race season has kicked into high gear.

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

  • 6-03-17 – Freihofer’s Run for Women 5k
  • 6-11-17 – Run for Hope 5K (volunteer with STEM) or Betar Byway 5k & Moreau Mile??
  • 6-17-17 – Good Karma 5k
  • 6-25-17 – Adirondack Distance Run (10 m)
  • 7-05-17 – PPTC Al Goldstein Summer Series #4 5k (NYC)
  • 7-09-17 – Saratoga Strong to Serve 5k
  • 7-22-17 – Silks n Satins 5k

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

Deb Runs

No monthly goals.

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


Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these wonderful ladies:

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

Today’s Topic is: Give your running month a letter grade.

I’d say overall an B+. Vacation derailed my eating, working out and training.  My weekly mileage really decreased as well. I hope to improve all that next month.

What do you think?


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

coachescorner

runner-sig

TOLT: My Last Half

Since it is Thursday, I’m linking up today with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

thinking out loud

Here’s what I’m thinking about today:

  • My Last Half Marathon

What else?

Did you know that I PR‘d?? LOL

image

There was one at my March half but not at this one unfortunately 😦

And I didn’t expect to…

Why?

  • My last half marathon time was 2:20:49.
  • I struggled to finish that race.
  • I ran a 5k race the past two weekends (instead of my 12 & 10 mile scheduled long runs.)
  • I didn’t do any LONG training runs (besides that half 3 weeks ago or any during the previous training cycle.)
  • I lazily did not run four days during the week preceding the race.
  • But I ran a 3.5 race just three days before the race.
  • I did not feel mentally prepared to run a fast race.
  • My Garmin keeps re-setting to zero after 6 miles so I would have no watch to gauge my pace.
  • I always walk at all the water stops.
Image result for half marathon race PR ecard

in this case, it was free beer

So insanely, I set out to run my 26th half marathon (on my hubby’s birthday no less)

It turned out to be my easiest half marathon and my fastest.

Why?

  • Cool weather conditions
  • No expectations
  • Ran by feel rather than staring at my watch
  • Paced myself behind a lady in a pink shirt
  • Flat course
  • Lot’s of rest so fresh legs
  • Just a fluke?

It was so effortless that….

Image result for half marathon race PR ecard

Maybe this is my fastest time (2:06:52) or maybe not.

Time will tell.

Image result for half marathon race PR ecard

I have a few shorter races planned for the summer.

I would love to PR in a 5K (before I’m too old to.)  Unfortunately my current PR race doesn’t exist anymore so I have to find another one.

I have registered for two more half marathons before the end of the year (Girls Weekends away for both):

  • October 1 – Wineglass
  • November 12 – Las Vegas

I may squeeze in one or two more.  Who knows?

For now, I’m treasuring this memory:

Happy Running! Ever wonder how you got your PR?

 

Steel Rail Half Marathon Race Recap

I signed up for this race for several reasons:

  • It was local and I could sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • I would be mostly trained since I ran a half three weeks before this race.
  • It is a flat course.
  • I PR’d on this same course back in October.

Half Marathon Training:

If you read my blog, you know that my training included ZERO long runs but lot’s of races and a vacation in Florida.

Yes, I got some miles on the legs. I ran a slow half marathon (due to the fact that I didn’t train well), ran a 5k instead of my 12 mile long run, and then tapered with a 8 miler. And that’s it.  So be it.

Not what you’d expect for a runner wanting to get a PR.

I was still excited to run the race. I knew that I didn’t deserve to get a PR and I was hoping that I wouldn’t be too disappointed with a mediocre performance.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I reached out to FB friends who ran the Steel Rail Half Marathon last May and here’s what they said:

  • I loved it. Nice flat, downhill course.
  • The course is great!
  • Loved the course! It’s fast!

I also found some more info by searching online for reviews of the race.

The course is wonderful. It runs point-to-point from Lanesborough to Adams. It starts with two loops around the Berkshire Mall … then goes onto the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail for ten miles. The scenery is lovely. .. you can enjoy views of Mt. Greylock, lakes, and woods. And by the time you’re really hurting at mile ten, the trail starts gently sloping downhill, for real. If you want a half marathon PR, this is the course

Amenities included easy parking, plenty of porta-potties, a post-race massage tent, food, and beer. The tech race shirt was nice and offered women’s sizing. Prizes ran deep; Kent gave out generous checks for the top three overall winners and the top three masters, plus merchandise from his running store, Berkshire Running Center in downtown Pittsfield, for the top three age group winners… After the ceremony, buses delivered participants back to the start. I’d highly recommend this race…

Here’s the course map:

And the map of the elevation:

downhill at the end…sweet!

No 12 miles of walking the day before this half marathon!!! But I did do a lot of gardening. I decided against driving to Mass to get my bib (as I did in October) and instead spent a relaxing afternoon on the lake..

To celebrate both my birthday and the hubby’s, we went out to dinner. Carb loading to the max but no alcohol this time!

dinner view

I hardly ever get much sleep the night before a big race. And this night, it was no different.

Race Day:

So 6:30 am came early on Sunday morning. Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep in on a weekend??

The race was scheduled to start at 9:30 am. I was happy about the late start except for the fact that it was May not October and the temps could have been really warm.


Luckily the 90 degree temps left for awhile. And it was actually pretty chilly. I wore my usual half marathon outfit of a tank and skirt. Just added my DIY sleeves to discard when I warmed up.

According to Google, it should have taken about 1h 15 to get there.  So I left my house at 7:15 am.

My GPS took me on the back roads and it was a really gorgeous ride.

I got there plenty early. The race started in the parking lot of the Berkshire Shopping Mall.  Easy to get to and lots of parking.

gender-specific race shirt 🙂

I picked up by bib and race shirt. The bib had two timing chips that you have to attach with safety pins to your shorts or front of your shirt.  Then you return them at the end of the race. Weird, right?

Since the race ended in Adams, MA, they gave you a bag to check stuff which would be available at the finish line.  Very convenient. I packed flip flops, a dry shirt and a jacket in it.

It was quite chilly – about 40 degrees colder than Thursday and cloudy. I shivered but knew that I would warm up once I started running. I stayed in my car for a while but eventually got out to mingle with the other runners. I didn’t see anyone that I knew but instantly made some new friends.  The runners were so friendly.

Since I had eaten breakfast three hours ago, I was hungry so ate a GU before the start.

Soon it was time to head to the start line.

The race is a blur as usual but here’s how I remember it:

Miles 1-3:

9:02, 9:17, 9:23

Image result for steel rail half

The starting line was in the parking lot. I wasn’t sure if there were chip timing or gun timing. And I didn’t start as close to the front as I usually do, though.

For the first two miles, you ran around the parking lot. Like any race, the first mile/mile-and-a-half, was a big congested.  This was the hilliest part of the course (and it wasn’t that hilly.)

This also was the only part of the course where you could somewhat attempt to run tangents (Of course, I did.)

pic from FB

As usual, I got caught up in the excitement and when I glanced down at my Garmin, I saw that I was running 8:XX pace during the first mile. I quickly slowed down.  I knew that continuing to run that pace would be deadly.

I left on my DIY warm warmers but rolled them down but by the second time around, I tossed them (by the start line but forgot to pick them up after the race, anyway.)

Anita Louise Photography

pic from the web site

After mile 2, we left the parking lot and entered the trail.

A little while after we entered the trail, there was the first water stop.  I always stop at ALL water stops during a half marathon and even though I wasn’t warm or thirsty, I did so during this race, as well.

The trail was beautiful.  River at first on the right side, then also a lake on the left side.  Then eventually, the river was on the left side. I wish I could have gotten out my phone from my race belt more easily so I could have taken some photos.

pic from the website

I was still running at a decent pace and was in the zone. Of course, that pesky foot problem existed the whole time. (My bunion causes my big toe on my left foot to overlap the next toe causing toe pain and often sorenes on the bottom of my foot…ouch!!!)

Early on, a runner in pink asked me what my pace would be since she hadn’t run a half in many years.  I replied that I hoped that it would be around 10. To which she replied “I’ll try to keep you in my sight.”

She looked very fit and I was slightly ahead of her at various times during the race but at the water stops when I walked, she got way ahead.  Still it was nice to have someone to chat with so I tried to keep her pink shirt in my sights.

Miles 4-6:

9:55, 9:28, 9:30

As usual, after the first few miles, I started slowing  a little.  But I was still running at a decent pace (for me.)

There another water stop at almost mile 4 and I walked for a while. (I didn’t really need to but I am so used to walking when there is water.) I debated about eating a Gu but decided that I didn’t need it yet.

pic from Andrea’s FB)

We continued on the same trail and I just focused on the scenery.

The temperature was perfect for running.  Even a little chilly when we were running along the lake and could feel the cool breeze.

Then all of a sudden, maybe at almost mile 6, at another water stop, I realized that I was ahead of my time from the Ramblefest. Should I start thinking PR?

Nah!  Anything can and usually does happen during the second half of a half marathon.

So I walked and ate a GU.  (I wish I could eat them faster but I never can.)

Then it happened again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Garmin reset to zero!!! (It happened during my last 2 marathons.  There’s nothing to change in the settings!?)

So no idea of my current time. No idea of my current pace!! Pissed me off………..

Miles 7-9:

10:19, 9:41, 10:06

What could I do?  Nothing.

So I just continued piggy backing with the runner in pink and enjoying the FLAT course.

pic from Andrea’s FB

There was another water stop around mile 8 and I walked through that one too.  Again, I was amazed at how fresh my legs still felt.

I wasn’t sure what my average pace was. However, I knew that I was running slower than the first half but not too slowly. Since I don’t run by pace, it didn’t matter.  I had NO IDEA how much time had elapsed in the race. That would be how I would determine my finish time and if I were on track for a PR.

Such is life…

Miles 10-12

9:54, 10:42, 9:13

pic from Andrea’s FB

A little past mile 9, there was the next to last water stop.  I walked through it and ate my second GU.  I forgot to buy more so I was stuck with Chocolate and I instantly got stomach cramps…UGH!!

I was determined to muscle through them.  At least, the made me forget about my sore foot.

At mile 10 along the side of the road, I spotted Andrea, my roommate from the Philly Love Run.  We hugged. It was a great boost when I needed it.

She told that I looked strong and at that point, I decided that I wanted that PR…

Mile 13- 13.2:

8:47, ?? (My Garmin recorded the course as long.)

So I ran faster and caught up to the runner in pink and even passed her.

Believe it or not, my Garmin reset itself to zero again… it didn’t really matter since I hadn’t used it since mile 6.

Finally we left the trail. The race ended with a series of 2 left hand turns. We turned left onto Hoosac St. and left onto Depot St. and the finish line was on Depot St. in front of the Adams Visitor Center parking lot.

It seemed to take forever….

I wasn’t sure that I was going to PR.

But anyway as I made the last turn, I gave it everything I had.

I crossed under 2:07 and IT WAS A PR!!!!!!!!!!! (My previous PR was 2:08:59 in October on this same course.)

Gun or Chip Time: 2:06:52

A 2 minute 7 second PR!!! Almost 14 minutes faster than my last half marathon! I’ll take it.

I was on cloud nine.  A PR is great but one that you didn’t plan for is even better.  It was the first half marathon where  I didn’t struggle to complete it. My legs never felt tired. In fact, mile 13 was my fastest mile.  I’m not sure exactly why but I think at my age, the 4 rest days and the long taper (5ks rather than long runs) helped.

Post Race:

I got my medal, some water, a bagel, and a banana. Then I headed to get my free beer.

I’m not really a big beer drinker but this tasted good

With our food ticket, we could get anything that cost $3 for free. Believe it or not, we could have had a hamburger, chili, hot dog, sausage, fried dough but I chose a hot dog. And it was yummy!

I wandered around waiting for the results.

They gave out cash and pottery for top awards and a coffee tumbler for AG awards.

I also bumped into a former student of mine and her mom.  She won the Masters.

Congrats Michele! You are speedy!

I came in 5th or 6th in my AG, I think.

So I headed toward the buses. On the bus back to the mall, I chatted with some runners who are planning to run Wine Glass. We hoped to meet again.

My last stop before heading home was Target to do some shopping and get my post-race Starbucks.  Coincidentally, in Target, I ran into a law professor whom I used to work with. She had also run the race.

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Close enough to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • Organized packet pick-up.
  • Lots of parking and easy to locate.
  • Real bathrooms after the race.
  • Enthusiastic volunteers and crowd support.
  • Scenic course especially with the foliage and water views.
  • Flat course!!
  • No major injuries. (just the usual foot pain and some stomach cramps)
  • Gender-specific shirts
  • Decent selection of refreshments (free beer & $3 food coupon)
  • The post race music, massages and food stands were nice
  • PRed!! Woot! Woot!

The Bad:

  • The two laps around the parking lot were boring. (It did save the expense of closing roads to make up the 13.1 miles)
  • The late start for a May race.
  • No professional race photos (just a few on the newspaper website and on FB)

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really.

It was a great race. I loved it! I would have enjoyed it even if I didn’t get a PR!  But that made it just sweeter.

one last look at my PR medal

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I don’t usually repeat half marathons but if I did, I would run this one again.

Final Stats:

Next Up:

Oct 1 – Wine Glass Half Marathon in Corning, NY. (or possibly the Maple Leaf Half in VT on Sept. 9.)


Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these wonderful ladies:

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


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

Happy Running! Do you have a favorite Half Marathon? Do you train to PR? Or does it happen by surprise?

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOLT: Half Marathons. What else?

Since it is Thursday, I’m linking up today with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

thinking out loud

Here’s what I’m thinking about today:

My Last Half Marathon.

If you read my race post, you know that it was a difficult race for me.  Some things were out of my control but as I prepare for my next one, I am also thinking about things I can control.

Things you cannot control:

  • Weather – temperature, wind, humidity, etc.
  • Course – hills, loops, etc.
  • Injuries – unforeseen
  • Porta Potty stops

Things you can control:

  • Clothing – do not wear new items
  • Training – doing the work (drills, long runs, etc.)
  • Food – before and during
  • Pacing (don’t go out too fast)

Things you could control but can’t:

  • Clothing – when you have to wear a new item (for many reasons)
  • Training – when work, family, illness, vacation interrupts your training
  • Food – when you cannot eat what you want to eat (for whatever reason)
  • Pacing – when you run with a slower friend or with an injury or lack of training

The important point to remember and I have to remind myself of this often is that even if things go wrong and you don’t have the race that you want for a variety of reasons (things that you can or cannot control), you still can enjoy the experience and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

My Next Half Marathon.

I’d love to say that I learned from all my recent pre-race snafus. But not quite.  I think I have the outfit and pre-race meal under control.  We’ll see about the weather.  And the course is pretty flat.

Image result for steel rail half

mostly on the bike path

But my training is even worse.  I missed my 12 mile run while on vacation in Florida. I ran a rushed 5k and spent the rest of the day like this: driving to Cape Haze, lunch on the river, driving to Fort Myers, visiting the Ford & Edison Winter Estates, dinner & drinks during sunset at the Ritz back in Naples.

And I don’t regret it.

The next weekend, I ran a special 5K and skipped the extra miles due to the rain. Then spent the afternoon with my mentee and her sons.

So what could have maybe been a half marathon PR most likely will not be. (Remember this same course was my half PR back in October.)

2:08:59 – PR!!!!!

Again.  Finishing=Winning.  That is my goal.

I am not that runner who puts in the work.  I am that runner who has a non-running life that often takes precedence. C’est la vie!

love my friends

 

and the hubs too

Happy Running! What’s going in your life?  Please share.  Are you serious about your half marathon times?

Running Update: 5.8.17-5.14.17

ru

Last Week:

  • Monday – Another day in paradise.  3 mile run followed by a tennis lesson then doubles play.  Then off to the beach.  Ended the day with dinner out ❤

Lino is our cute instructor

  • Tuesday – It was my birthday but the day was not too much different than the previous day.  I did all my favorite things: running, tennis, reading & Scrabble on the beach, dinner, drinks, dessert with a sunset view.  Awesomeness!

oops – 6.4K not miles (not enough time)

at Vanderbilt Beach

dinner at the Turtle Club

  • Wednesday – Last day of vacation.  I packed, had a tennis lesson but instead of playing tennis, I went to a Wildlife Sanctuary.  We had a nice 2.5 mile walk but because of the drought, we only saw an alligator and no birds (no water in the lakes).  We had our last Florida meal out and headed for the airport.

Corkscrew Nature Sanctuary

  • Thursday – Back to reality – cooler temps and WORK! Ugh! The highlight on my day was getting to run with Alyssa and we chose to run in the park to view the tulips.  (Rain is predicted for the Tulip Fest this weekend.)

  • Friday – Rest day but did squeeze in a trip to the gym before mah jongg.

empty on a Friday after work??

  • Saturday – Rain was predicted so I wasn’t looking forward to this 5k race. But it is an important cause (memorial to a former STEM runner) so I was planning on going no matter what. And it poured!!!

27:26 – 1st in my AG

I had hoped to run 7 more miles after the race but I was too wet so I bailed on my long run. Instead I went to the movies (Boss Baby) and dinner (milkshakes and burgers at Johnny Rockets) with my mentee and her sons.

my favorite super heroes

  • Sunday – The forecast was for rain so I didn’t sign up for a race. But it never rained. So instead I celebrated Mother’s Day with a run on the unpaved rail trail followed by a big dinner at my MIL’s.

23 miles done with 5 runs and 2 rest days

This Week:

  • Monday – FRW Challenge (3-4 miles)
  • Tuesday – rest, work travel (to Buffalo)
  • Wednesday – rest, out of town work and travel home
  • Thursday – Corporate Challenge race (3.5 miles)
  • Friday – rest, hair appt, mah Jong
  • Saturday – rest
  • Sunday – Steel Rail Half Marathon

Once again, I am linking up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin. See rules here.

http://hohoruns.blogspot.com

Happy Running! How is your running going?

runner-sig

Shape Women’s Half Marathon Race Recap

Image result for shape women's half marathon

I had always wanted to run a half marathon in NYC.  Every year, I enter the lottery for the NYC Half but so far, I have not gotten in.  So my running friend, Alyssa suggested that we instead run the Shape Women’s Half Marathon. I don’t like loops and this race has two plus I didn’t want to limit my running to just Central Park. But I gave in and signed up.

We had planned to share a hotel room and spend the weekend together. Then several months ago, Alyssa found out that she couldn’t go that weekend.  Luckily, I found two other runners (Sue and Ginny)who nicely agreed to letting me crash in their hotel room.

Half Marathon Training

If you read my blog, you know that my training included ZERO long runs but lot’s of races.

Yes, I got miles on the legs but for the first time, I didn’t get my 12 miler done and the longest continuous run was 6 miles.

I was still excited to run the race but I was not expecting to have a fast time and was hoping that it wouldn’t be too painful.

I had only heard good things about the race so I tried to be optimistic about running two loops of the park and about the ginormous hills.

The Shape Half Marathon is billed as “one of the largest women’s-only half-marathons in the country.” Amy Robach, News Anchor of ABC News’ “Good Morning America” was scheduled to host and participate in this year’s race. She was supposed to split the 13.1-mile course with Sara Haines, Co-Host of “The View” and ABC Correspondent. (I usually watch the Today show on NBC.  NBC’s Natalie Morales hosted last year and ran the whole thing.)

According to the website, the race started on West Drive at 63rd Street, and then looped counterclockwise twice around the Park and ended around 72nd.

This was the course:

And this is the elevation map:

yikes!!

Hills or no hills, I planned to enjoy the views and scenery in Central Park and drag myself to the finish line.  Walking up Cat and Harlem Hills would probably happen.  I was ok with it.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations

Sue, Ginny and I debated about how to get to NYC, –  bus, drive/MetroNorth or Amtrak.

Since it was cheaper, Sue wanted to drive 1 1/2 hours and then take MetroNorth right to our hotel.  At the last minute, Ginny decided not to come since she was injured and could not run the race.  So it was just Sue and I.  She picked me up at 7 am and we drove to Beacon (was supposed to be Poughkeepsie but we missed the exit).  From there, we took the MetroNorth train to 125th St., Harlem where Sue had booked a hotel room.

hanging with my Starbucks & Fredrick Douglas in Harlem wearing my Crocs

We finally arrived around 11 am in NYC and had to walk almost a mile to our hotel.  We left off our bags there since our room wasn’t ready and decided to walk to packet pick-up. It was such a beautiful day so I thought why not? (I stupidly changed from my sandals to my Crocs flip flops because they are usually so comfortable.)

Remember our hotel was located on 124th St and packet pick up was on 57th street. That was about 5 miles and about half way, my heels were screaming.  Who wears flip flops to walk around Manhattan?  This idiot!

just love some the buildings on Central Park West

When we arrived at Columbus Circle (59th St), I begged to go to a running store to buy some shoes.  Best decision ever.  They gave out free delicious cookies and mimosas plus everything was 15%.  But even better was that the new version of my running shoes (Nike Zoom Vomero 12s) fit just like the 10s that I love.  My feet were happy.  (Sort of.  The damage to my heels was already done unfortunately).

Next stop was lunch at Whole Foods.  I would have carb loaded but Sue had a salad so I felt guilty and had one too.

Finally we arrived at the expo which wasn’t really an expo.  We just got our shirts and bibs and snapped a picture.

with my new running shoes…

You’d think that we had done enough walking but no, we decided to walk back to the hotel but through park rather than on Central Park West.

notice the sign!

At least, I was wearing better shoes for walking and the weather was gorgeous.  We were hoping that it would not be 80 degrees the next day for our race.

Finally we arrived back at the hotel to check in and only had a little time to relax since we had planned to meet Sue’s running friend Maureen and Maureen’s two daughters for dinner.

And no we didn’t walk to the restaurant.  We took the subway to Columbus Circle.  Well, it turned out that the restaurant was on Columbus Ave.  We quickly called an Uber and still arrived in plenty of time.

The restaurant was Italian (Osteria Cotta) and recommended by Maureen’s daughter who lives in Manhattan.  And it didn’t disappoint.  The food was amazing as well as the wine.  (I normally don’t drink the night before a race but I just got into the spirit.)  It was such a fun evening.  Of course, we talked about the race since all 5 of us women were running it.

After dinner we went out for an amazing dessert – cereal milk at Momofuku Milk Bar.

this was HALF of a small dish

No more walking for me.  We took the subway back to the hotel.  Over 11 miles walked for the day!  The day before our half marathon!!!

So we laid out our clothes and tried to get some shut eye.

everything had already gone wrong so why not wear a new top and new shoes??

I hardly ever get much sleep the night before a big race.  And that night, it was no different except that in the middle of night, I started to get a painful sore throat and was feeling feverish.  Yes, I was getting sick.  Ugh!

Race Day

So 5:30 am came early on Sunday morning. I felt like crap but it was race day.  And inspite of my sore throat and heels that were painful to walk on, I was excited to run. I brought my breakfast from home (oatmeal) so I was content.

We grabbed a Uber to the race start (64th St.) and got there around 7 am.  The race was not scheduled to begin until 8 am so we had plenty of time to hang out. It was quite chilly – about 30 degrees colder than Saturday.  I shivered but knew that I would warm up once I started running.

my DIY sleeves at least kept me a little warm

Soon it was time to head to the start to line up. I was supposed to start in Corral I and Sue in Corral L but Maureen and her daughters asked us to meet them in Corral H so we waited for them there.  They apparently arrived at the last minute and we never connected before the race.

aren’t they are cute family?

The race is a blur as usual but here’s how I remember it:

Miles 1-3:

9:51, 9:48, 9:42

Like any race, the first mile/mile-and-a-half, was a big congested. My heels were hurting but I was still able to run at a decent pace. It didn’t take me long to get warm and roll down my sleeves.  The hills were rolling but they didn’t seem too bad. The weather was perfect.  When the sun came out, I was glad that there seemed to be water stops at every mile.  I stopped and walked at each one as per my plan.  During this stretch, I caught up to Maureen and her daughters.  We ran together for a while.  They said that they were taking it easy but I knew that their slow pace would in no time be too fast for me. So at the second water stop, I waved good-bye and said that I’d meet them at after party by the band shell.

So the first few miles were wonderful. All the trees had blossomed and it was just a picture-perfect day. I started looking around at all the women around me and felt so inspired. This is an all women’s race which makes it special. There were tutus and bright colors and women cheering on other women. It was just so upbeat and empowering!

Miles 4-6:

10:30, 11:33, 10:15

As usual, after the first few miles, I started slowing down. The first big challenge, Harlem Hill was no joke – about a half mile of steepness. All the volunteers along the hill were great, though, cheering us on and telling us we were almost at the top (I appreciated their lies LOL). It was nice to know that once I reached the top of the hill, the hardest part of the course was over. Until, of course, I had to conquer it again on the second lap.

During this stretch, a runner trying to clip the tangent, tripped another runner in front of me.  She went down hard and almost took me down.  But I stayed upright. I helped her up. She was scraped up but ok to continue running. I took advantage of this long break to have my first GU.  (Chocolate which is not what I  wanted.  What happened to salted caramel?? And my faux pas keep coming… it made me feel sick.)

I finally removed (with lots of difficulty) my sleeves and continued to pick up my skirt which was always falling down.  At least, I was half done.  One more loop to go…

Miles 7-9:

10:25, 10:52, 10:46

At this point in the race, my legs told me that I should have trained better.  They were tired.  But my heels stopped hurting and the balls of my feet ached especially the the left one that always seems to bother me. (It’s bunion related.) I think I was putting more pressure there to avoid the heel pain.

So I was now obviously starting the second loop of the course. Let me tell you, I noticed a lot of smaller hills that I did NOT notice the first time around. There were the same big hills as the first loop and I did the same – run, walk, run walk. The downhills were great but there always seemed to be another hill…the hills would not stop!!

Also I wore my new Garmin that I hadn’t worn since my last half marathon.  And the same thing happened.  It restarted at around mile 6 so it was no use.  I knew roughly where I was since there were clocks at 5k, 10k, 15k markers and I knew I was running at a slow pace – at what pace, I had no idea.  Good thing, this wasn’t a PR attempt. (Yes, I know that I should have tested it out before the race..)

Miles 10-12

11:40, 11:44, 11:04

Slow, slow, and even slower. I probably would  have run faster if I actually knew my pace.

I took one more Gu (chocolate peanut butter)…yuck!  Now I had a stomach ache for the rest of the race.  (More like a side stitch.)  But at least I never got my usual late mile back ache (Thanks Nike!)

After the second time up Harlem Hill, I told myself that it was almost over and then it was only 3 miles to the finish.  But it was the longest 3 miles ever and I walked more than I usually do in a half marathon. And not just the water stops.  Mile 11 felt 5 miles long (obviously, it was only 1 mile long). I just kept waiting for the 12-mile marker and it just wouldn’t come. I kept my spirits up by high-fiving every little kid that reached out on the sidelines. Thanks for the energy, kiddos!  The crowd support for the race was great.

Mile 13- 13.2:

11:01, ??

Finally, I was turning the corner to the last mile leg of the race and then the finish line was in sight.  I saw the clock in the distance and sprinted as fast as I could. I crossed around 2:23:xx which turned out to be 2:20:49 chip time. Not the time I am capable of but considering everything working against me, it was a solid effort and I was pleased.

I got my medal and my heat sheet. I didn’t really need a heat sheet because it was so nice out but took it as a souvenir and headed to find friends and food.

Post Race:

At the food area, there wasn’t much that interested me. I took a bagel and headed toward the band shell to wait for Sue and find Maureen and her daughters.

There were some food samples and a band playing.  I had some grapefruit juice and hung out as they announced the awards.  Deena Kastor won again with a 1:16:xx time.  Amazing!!

I kept texting Sue so we could meet up and to back to the hotel.  Well, it turned out that she didn’t bring her phone.  Duh?

But I did connect with one of the former STEM participants who had run the race. So happy to see her!!

Eventually, I left and took the subway solo back to the hotel.

After a long, hot shower, Sue and I went out for a delicious brunch before we took that long walk to the train station and headed back home..

yummy!!!

Additional race reflections:

The Good:

  • Organized packet pick-up.
  • Lots of porta potties at the start and throughout the course
  • Beautiful course through scenic Central Park
  • Lots of water stops (almost every mile) and all had Gatorade.
  • The runners and their contagious excitement.
  • Great crowd support along the course.
  • No major injuries (just the feet!)
  • Perfect weather.
  • Love my new running shoes.

The Bad:

  • Two Loops – just not a fan
  • The Hills.
  • No expo.
  • My skirt kept falling down.
  • My training was lacking.

The Ugly:

  • Cat and Harlem Hills and having to run up them TWICE

Would I recommend this race?

Yes, definitely.

Overall, I really loved this race. The course was beautiful yet challenging. The day was beautiful. The energy of the volunteers and all the women running was spectacular.

Final Stats:

out of 6,983 finishers

Next Up:

May 21 – Steel Rail Half Marathon in Adams, MA

So no break in my training,  This one will be flat and on the same course as the Ramblefest Half Marathon that I ran in October. I am looking forward to it.  A nice (but not too warm) day would be welcomed.


Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these wonderful ladies:

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

Happy Running! Do you have a favorite Half Marathon? Have you ever run the More/Shape Half?