Friday Five 2.0: Summer Bucket List

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.

My topic today is: Summer Bucket List

I love the warm weather and I always have a list of things that I want to do. Not sure if they will happen but I hope many of them do.

1. Go Hiking

There a lots of nearby places to hike. I hope I can find the time.

2. Play Tennis

Again I travel so much for work that I rarely get a chance to play regularly. I hope to play on an occasional Tuesday with my friends.

3. Eat in an Outdoor Restaurant

I eat out often but it is rare that the weather is warm enough to eat outdoors.

4. Go to the Race Track

This has been a tradition with a former co-worker.  We have breakfast at the Saratoga Flat Track and watch the horses warming up and then we stay for the races.  If we win, we treat ourselves to dinner out as well.

5. Run a New Race

I race often. There re so many races in the summer that I enjoy but I always try to run a new one. Last year, it was the Whipple City 5k.

Happy Running! What’s on your summer bucket list?



Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series 5k #2 Recap

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Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series #1 – June 6, 2018 –  7:10 pm

If you follow my blog, you know that I often get sent to NYC for work.

Usually, I just try to squeeze in a run on the East River, Hudson River or in Central Park.

Well last year, I found a race!!!!

Apparently during the summer months on alternating Wednesdays at 7:10 pm, there is a cheap ($7.50 – if young up for the whole series,each race costs only $5) 5k in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. These races are organized by the Prospect Park Track Club. I ran one last July and had a great time.

I was excited that they were scheduled again this summer and the first two races coincided with my the dates that I would be working in NYC. I ran the 5k two weeks ago and signed up again for one tonight.

Here are some of the perks of these races:

  • Bag check
  • Bathrooms (real ones!)
  • Water before, during and after the race
  • Chip Timing
  • Marker at each mile
  • 5 year Age group awards ceremony after the race
  • Results immediately emailed to you
  • Free photos

So it seemed like a no brainer to run some of these races if I could. Unfortunately I won’t be in NYC for the next 5 races.

And coincidentally, it was Global Running Day. I had to run, right?

Again I had to work all day in Queens (getting up at 5:30 am and being on my feet until 4 pm). I would have to rush to take the subway, then the LIRR, walk to my hotel and change my clothes and then take a LONG subway ride to Brooklyn.

At least this time, I was familiar with the route and knew that I would make the race on time (unless there were snafus with the transportation.)

On the subway, there was young girl in running clothes. When I got off at the Prospect Park stop, she did not. Hmmmm

So I entered the park and followed the signs as I did last time.

I was pretty early and it wasn’t crowded at all.

I saw the runner from the train. Apparently the next subway stop would have been closer to the race start. I hope to remember that for next year.

As I mentioned in my last recap, it was strange to be at a race and not know a single person.

I just had a banana and some water, checked my bag and waited til it was time to head to the start line.

Eventually runners started arriving.  There were probably close to 650. It was around 60 degrees, breezy and even a little chilly. But actually perfect running weather.

I had a headache all day and was feeling exhausted. Sleeping in a hotel is not ideal and I had stayed out late the night before.

Still here I was running a 5k at 7:10 in the evening.

Soon it was time for everyone to walk down to the start.

Then we all lined up.  No corrals or pace signs.  Just everyone all together.  It didn’t matter because believe it or not, this small local race was chip-timed.

Below is the course map. Since I had just run the course two weeks ago, I knew about the big LONG hill during mile 1.


As I mentioned previously, there are usually runners of all ages who all look like “runners” and the finish times are incredibly fast. A little intimidating.

Happily it was not as warm as last time. And I was not worried about an injured foot. But I just ran a 5k this past weekend and this is a tough course and I didn’t want an injury. Still I would try to do my best and maybe even get a course PR.

I started running the first mile and I just felt like crap. I had to walk at .4 mile in and then again at .6. It didn’t help that it was an uphill that seemed to never end.

Mile 2 was better and I even skipped the water stop.

But I was crashing during mile 3.

I willed myself not to walk until the mile 3 marker. Then I did and gave up on the idea of a course PR.

I did not have enough energy to sprint and finish under 28 minutes.

I was a little dizzy and was thrilled when they handed out ice pops.

I walked back to bag check to get my jacket as it was dark and I was chilled.

They didn’t post the results this week. I did get an email with my time but I wasn’t sure if I won an award.

I finished #438…I told you they were speedy runners!

As I was waiting, I bumped into the guy that walked me to the subway last time. Again we both won and were in awe of how fast the finish times were.

Though it was very late by the time I got back to my hotel, I did enjoy my third Brooklyn 5k!! And I felt better after the race than before.

I plan to run these races again next year if my work dates match the race dates.

Race Splits
mile 1- 9:31
mile 2 – 8:43
mile 3 – 8:49
.14 – 8:31


So slower than my last 5k and not a course PR but faster than the last one on this course. That’s something.

I signed up for another 5k on June 12 (Brooklyn Ice Cream Social 5k).  It is not run by the Prospect Park Track Club (PPTC) as this one was but it may be exactly the same course. So I will have another shot at a course PR.

Since it’s Tuesday, I’m linking up with these wonderful ladies:

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

Happy Running! Did you on Global Running Day? Do you try to improve your times on the same course?

2018 Workforce Team Challenge Recap

Thursday, May 17 6:25 pm

The CDPHP® Workforce Team Challenge is a 3.5-mile road race open to teams of employees from corporations, businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, not-for-profit corporations, and financial institutions. Participating companies, organizations, and agencies use the event as a platform to provide health and fitness opportunities in the workplace while promoting goodwill and camaraderie among their employees.

It takes place at the Empire State Plaza in Albany on a similar course to the old Freihofer course. It sells out early with a cap of 10,000 runners.

At my former job, I ran this race once (in 2011), the only year I convinced them to have a team.  It was fun so I signed up to be part of a team at my new job last year. We didn’t actually have enough runners for our own team so we partnered with UAlbany.

Last year, it was 98 degrees and HUMID but I enjoyed it and it was a good way to get to know others where I work

Anyway as I remembered the course from 6 years ago, the course starts with a steep uphill and then flattens out.  You run through the park which has rolling hills and then it ends with a steep downhill.

This year, the course was identical except reversed.  You entered the park where you used to exit and vice versa.

It is actually more of a run than a race.  With 10,000 participants and many walkers, you feel (at least I do) no pressure to do anything but finish.

Another issue is fueling. When and what do you eat for a race that starts at 6:25 pm?

So when I finished work at 4pm, I ate a scone and a banana and hoped that would be enough.

To avoid the crowds, I parked my car (where I used take yoga) and walked about 1.5 miles to the start.

The weather was better than last year – around 80 but still humid.

This year my team was more organized.  They had a tent with water and refreshments and you got your bib and team tee there.  I walked around for a while searching for the tent but finally located it.

I wore a purple tank because it was warm but added the purple team tee for a pre-race photo. But everyone else was racing in the team tee so I changed (even though it was too big, uncomfortable and too warm).

This year, the President of UAlbany came to the race, shook everyone’s hand and had registered to walk the race. Pretty impressive.

While waiting for the race to start, I chatted with those that I knew from work but met a runner who worked upstairs.  She hadn’t run in awhile and said that she was worried about finishing. I volunteered to run with her.  She said that she was slow.  I thought that this was perfect.  This way I wouldn’t try to race.

We eventually headed to the start.

With 10,000 runners and no corral system, the runners seemed to line up for miles.  We just pushed my way into the middle and then gradually moved up.

And waited in the crowd.

Last year Sawyer Fredericks (winner of The Voice and a local) sang the National Anthem. This year, we were too far back to even hear it.

Eventually, the race started.

Of course, it took awhile before we even moved.


last year’s start

The biggest problem with this race was that unless you were in the front and very fast, it was impossible to gain any speed.  There were walkers in the front who didn’t realize they shouldn’t be.  Then there were those who ran and then just stopped to walk.  The middle of the packers, like me, just weaved in and out, bumped into people saying “excuse me” though the entire race.

But then again except for a chosen group, it was not a “race.”  It was just a way to get out of the office and get some exercise with their co-workers.  Some businesses had 200-500 employees participating.

I think it’s a great thing. So I tried not to get annoyed or take it seriously. It helped that my new friend and I chatted the whole time.

Back to the race…

We started up a long uphill climb which flattened until we entered the park.

The course continued through the park with rolling hills – one or two being rather steep but we didn’t walk.

There was a water stop that you passed twice.  We ran up until the first stop and then I walked.  We walked again at the 2nd water stop.

Because we started out so slow and never ran fast, I never felt tired or out of breath.  A new concept for me.


photo from last year

Eventually, you headed toward that downhill finish.  I was tempted to sprint but I had run the whole race with my new friend and didn’t want to lose her.

When I saw the clock in the distance,, I said, let’s go and finish under 50 minutes.

And we did.  She hugged me and said that she couldn’t have done it without me.  I thanked her for the company. We made our way back to the tent and our co-workers. This year, they had a huge spread for us  – cheese, crackers, humus, salsa, chips, marinated veggies, fresh fruit, etc.

I was very impressed by the race organization again this year.  After you picked up water, you proceeded to a tent to get your time.

Then you continued on to get your race shirt, followed by another stop to a get bag with food. The lines moved very quickly.  There were lots of volunteers to make sure everything went smoothly.

I bumped into many running friends and we chatted as we walked around the Empire State Plaza.

Eventually, I made my way back to my co-workers and we made plans to meet at a bar downtown for beer and wings.

I, however, had to make the long walk back to my car…and I had to pack for my race weekend in Brooklyn so I decided to go home.

Runners/walkers were still heading toward the finish line.  Everyone looked happy and to be having a great time.

It made me smile but I quickened my step to get to my car since it was getting late.

The highlight of the evening was meeting new co-workers.  Getting in my last run before my half marathon was just gravy.

10 minutes slower than last year but more enjoyable

So no race splits to report. No course PR.  But I am glad to have participated in this race and I plan to run it again next year.

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


Happy Running! Ever participate in a team race? Ever run with a slower runner so that you won’t run fast?

Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series 5K #1 Recap

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Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series #1 – May 23, 2018 –  7:10 pm

If you follow my blog, you know that I often get sent to NYC for work.

Usually, I just try to squeeze in a run on the East River, Hudson River or in Central Park.

Well last year, I found a race!!!!

Apparently during the summer months on alternating Wednesdays at 7:10 pm, there is a cheap ($7.50 – in past years it was $5) 5k in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. These races are organized by the Prospect Park Track Club. I ran one last July and had a great time.

I was excited that they were scheduled again this summer and the first two races coincided with my the dates that I would be working in NYC.

Here’s the info from the NYCRuns website:

We’re gearing up for another great summer of evening 5K races! You don’t have to be fast to enter, but these races will help you find out how fast you can be!
Big news for 2018: we have chip timing! All runners will receive their actual race time.
Races will start and end at the Bluestone Cafe at Lakeside Center.

There, we will offer:

  • Bib pickup starting at 6pm
  • Bag check
  • Lockers available for a fee
  • Bathrooms (real ones!)
  • Water after the race
  • 5 year Age group awards ceremony after the race

There are also water stops during the race, mile markers, lots of volunteers, results immediately emailed to you and free photos,

So it seemed like a no brainer to run some of these races if I could.

Except for the fact that I had to work all day in Queens (getting up at 5:30 am and being on my feet until 4 pm). I would have to rush to take the subway, then the LIRR, walk to my hotel and change my clothes and then take a LONG subway ride to Brooklyn.

However, a bigger problem was that my foot (specifically the arch) had been sore since my vacation in Florida (Maybe playing tennis 7 days in a row wearing old sneakers??) I could run on it but it was painful afterward.  It hurt after my half marathon and after my run on Monday (two days before this race).  I wondered if I had PF?  I contemplated taking time off from running.  A normal person probably would have.  But running keeps me sane and I NEED to run.

So I decided to go for it hoping that this decision wouldn’t backfire and I would damage my foot and put myself out of commission.

As I mentioned above, I rushed back to the hotel from work and hopped the subway to Brooklyn.  Thanks to Google, I figured out which one to take and which stop to get off at.

However, when I exited the subway station, as I did last year, I did not exit at the exit for park entrance closest to the race start. Luckily there were signs and I followed them to LeFrak Center at Lakeside (where the bib pick up was). II had a scenic walk through the park. I passed the race start and end.

As I got closer, there were many signs pointing you in the right direction.

I was pretty early and it wasn’t crowded at all.

It was strange to be at a race where I didn’t know a soul.  But there were real restrooms, water and tables in the shade so I just hung out.

Eventually runners started arriving.  There were probably close to 500 hundred.

Soon it was time for everyone to walk down to the start.

Before the race began, there was a memorial service for one of the track club members who had died..

Then we all lined up.  No corrals or pace signs.  Just everyone all together.  It didn’t matter because believe it or not, this small local race was chip-timed.

Below is the course map. I didn’t really remember the course from lat year but I did just run the Brooklyn Half Marathon several days before.  So I knew about the big LONG hill.


As I mentioned, there are usually 400-600 runners signed up of all ages.  The runners all seemed to look like the stereotyped “serious runner”.  You know what I mean.  (Last year, I noticed that 25 of them finished with less than average 6 min pace per mile!!)

It was also very warm – in the 80s and humid. That and my maybe injured foot, led to me to want to run a very cautious race.

I started running the first mile and I just couldn’t get going. I had to walk a 1/2 mile in and then again at the water stop.  It didn’t help that the big hill was in mile 1.

Mile 2 was better but there were no water stops.  You had to stop at a water fountain in the park.  I did not and by mile 3, I was crashing.

I forgot about my foot and the competitive me was determined to pick up the pace.

I barely had enough energy to sprint and finished at 28:XX.

the last ones to cross the finish line

I was a little dizzy so I had some water and just sat in the shade for a while to catch my breath.

Once I felt better, I started walking back to LeFrak Center.

I checked the results and was surprised that I was FIRST in my age group. This is my first award in my NEW age group. (I would not have won in my previous age group.)

I didn’t have to wait long before they started the awards ceremony.  The finish times were amazing!!

As I was leaving, I asked a runner for the way to the closest subway.  He said that he’s walk me since he was headed to Manhattan as well.   (A much shorter walk if you entered at the right entrance.)

We chatted about racing, of course.  Turns out that he went to UAlbany and works for the same company that I train for in Queens.  Small world.

It was late by the time I got back to my hotel.

dinner (shake at Shake Shack) – don’t judge

I did enjoy my second Brooklyn 5k!! I plan to do it again on June 6 (weather permitting.)

Race Splits
mile 1- 9:34
mile 2 – 8:54
mile 3 – 8:58
.14 – 7:58

as soon as you finished the race, you got an email with your results.

So I haven’t seriously raced a 5k and finished over 28 minutes in a long time…maybe 2016. But I was elated that my foot didn’t hurt…at all. This sounds crazy but the race seemed to heal whatever was wrong. Phew!!!

yes, faster last year. we’ll see how I do next time.

Since it’s Friday, 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.

My topic for this Friday is: Why Run an Impromptu Race is a New City

  1. It gets you moving (running.)
  2. You don’t have to figure out a safe running route.
  3. You run in a new place.
  4. You meet new people.
  5. It gets you out of your comfort zone.

Of course, I was tempted to relax in my hotel room, enjoy a nice meal in a restaurant, visit a museum or even take in a show.

But I am glad that I took on this adventure.  (Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?)

Happy Running! Ever run a race solo in an unfamiliar place?


Summer Smith Memorial 5k Race Recap


May 12, 2018 – 9:30 am

This was the third year for this 5K race which is organized by the mother of one of the STEM runners who died of an overdose after completing her first 5k. This is her story –


I had just returned from 8 days in Florida where I did a lot of eating, drinking and sitting on the beach. I did some running but due to the heat and humidity, it was more of a slog. Plus the forecast for today was cool and rainy.

However, I just had to do this race. I knew that there would be many other runners and volunteers from the STEM program. I wanted to support this cause and I am fortunate to have known and run with Summer.

I did run this race the past two years as well. I remember it as NOT being flat. But I did win my AG and finished with a respectable 28:29 and 27:26 times.

Photos from two years ago (on a sunny day):

It was cool and cloudy (in the 40s) with rain predicted.  I was still exhausted from my Florida vacation, woke up with a headache and really did not feel like running in the rain.

But as soon as I arrived, my mood lifted.

The race starts at a local high school so there are real bathrooms, easy parking, and ample room to hang out before and after the race.

I grabbed a needed cup of coffee and immediately bumped into some purple shirted runners. Many who were in Summer’s STEM group were there. It was pretty emotional. I still get teary-eyed when I think about her.

Sean’s Team

Another local runner that I know also led a team of runners. Her son, Sean, had also died of a drug overdose. I signed up to be on her team (though I forgot to wear a teal colored shirt).

long sleeved tech shirt this year

This race was one of the most organized races I’ve run. After you got your bib, you got a bag labelled with your name with a shirt and other swag. There were tables with representatives from relevant organizations (alcohol & drug abuse) also giving out freebies. And there were great raffle prizes – all running-related.

Before the race, there was a dedication ceremony followed by a balloon release. Many of us cried during Summer’s mom’s emotional tribute to her daughter.

The ceremony was followed by music and a Zumba session.  I opted out. It was raining even harder and I went inside to stay dry and warm.

I stayed inside out of the rain until it was time to proceed out to the road to start the race.

Here’s the course description:

Start/Finish of this out-and-back 5 km course is on West Dr on the south side of Guilderland High School. The course proceeds out West Dr to turn L onto School Rd, continues across the intersection with Depot Rd onto Meadowdale Rd, then bears L at Frederick Rd to Mile 1 on Meadowdale Rd and continues to the Turnaround point. The inbound route retraces the outbound route of the course to Mile 2 on Meadowdale Rd and Mile 3 on West Dr just after the turn off School Rd, and continues to the Finish.

I lined up with one of the STEM volunteers who said she ran at my pace. (Not true, she’s way faster.)  Patrick, my FRW training coach works for the timing company asked me if I was going to PR?  I quickly replied “NO!”

I just did the best I could.  Not PR fast but I wanted to finish with a respectable time.  With the chilly temps and no warm up, my legs felt like lead at the beginning.  It was also a slight uphill for the first mile.  I wore my windbreaker over long and short sleeved shirts because it was raining. My jacket isn’t breathable and I was a little warm so I unzipped it but my hands were freezing and so were my wet toes.

The course levels out a bit and then when we turn left, there is a steeper hill (but not bad at all).  There was a lot of support along the course even in the rain.  Friends of the families who lost loved ones to drugs were holding signs in their memory.  I was glad that I was running to support this charity.

We turned around at the halfway point and continued on this country road back to the high school.  I just tried to maintain a consistent pace. It was raining harder and harder and I didn’t have the energy to push myself to a PR but I knew I had to face Patrick so I saved some so I could sprint through the finish line, at least.

I crossed at 27:XX.  I was satisfied.

I wanted to wait to watch some of the other runners finish but I was soaked and went inside to take off my shirts and jacket, change into a dry shirt and get some food.

I may not look it but I was soaked and freezing

There was chocolate milk, fruit, bagels and donuts.  I was a happy camper.

I hung around because I was pretty sure that I got an age group award.

They decided to move the awards ceremony to the gym. I should have checked the results but I didn’t until they didn’t call my name. Then I checked and I should have come in second in my age group. I told Patrick and he was very apologetic and handed me my award.

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 8:34
mile 2 – 8:48
mile 3 – 8:50
.14 – 7:25

Garmin time = 27:21

amended results

All my laps were under 9 mm.  I was pleased with that (even it was positive splits)!!! It wasn’t a 5K PR but it was a course PR (a few seconds faster than last year.)

Could I have Pr’d?  Perhaps if I were in the right frame of mind and pushed myself to run faster.  It was raining and I had a headache. yada yada.

I must say that I have enjoyed my last four 5ks. I have won awards, my times have been decent (27:xx) – all without any speed work.

And especially this race. I was happy to support this charity. Plus the race was so well-organized. The only negative was the rain!

I am so humbled by these STEM women and others who have overcome adversity. And I am glad to be a part of their lives.

With a half marathon in a week, I had planned to go run 7 more miles and then go to the Tulip Fest in the park. But the weather wouldn’t cooperate. It poured all day so instead I went to a mall arcade and out to dinner with the girl I mentor and her two sons.  (May 14, 2018 was our 10 year anniversary.)

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


Happy Running! What is your favorite charity to support for a race? Do race because of the cause?


Friday Five 2.0 – Running the Brooklyn Half Marathon

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.

My 31st and most recent half marathon was the Brooklyn Half Marathon so…

Here’s my topic today:


Image result for brooklyn half prospect park


I don’t have to explain how awesome it is to visit NYC.  Brooklyn is just a subway ride away from Manhattan.  If you run this race and you’ve never been to NYC, schedule in a few extra days before or after the race to sightsee.

I love walking over the Brooklyn Bridge


I’ve run several NYRR races and the organization is incredible.  Not a detail missed.  Lots of info before the race, organized packet pick up, bag check at the race, etc.

Related image


It’s not a big as Central Park but it is big and beautiful. And if you enjoy hills, you’get them here too (but they’re not as bad.)

Image result for brooklyn half prospect park

4.  SWAG

A nice gender-specific tech shirt, great medal…


This race ends at Coney Island.  There’s the boardwalk, food vendors, amusement park and the BEACH! What could be better? (except when it rains 😦 )

Image result for brooklyn half coney island

**I also need to mention that entry to this race is a lottery and it sells out in minutes.

My complete recap is here.

Happy Running!  Ever run Brooklyn? Any other big race that you recommend everyone running?



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.”


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?