Race Recap

Top Toronto Workouts & A 10K Recap

While I was in Toronto, I managed to get in a workout per day with 3 rest days - one per week. Not to toot my own horn, but I was pretty impressed! 

It helped that I was in a major city with fitness at my fingertips. There were three workouts in particular that stood out during my trip. 

Toronto Workouts

MEC TORONTO 10K

When Brynn and I knew we would be in Toronto with a day off on Sunday we started looking up a race to run. We found a race put on by MEC that offered a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon. The best part was it was 5 minutes from our hotel and only $15!

My pre-race meal was the delicious sandwich I had at the Beet Organic Cafe. We got to bed at a decent time and in the morning I made myself PB2, a multigrain sandwich round and a banana – it looked like a taco but it worked given the hotel-room circumstances.

Pre Race Breakfast

We weren’t expecting much out of a $15 race, but Kind and Vita Coco were both there along with Tiger Balm and a few other vendors offering samples. Bib pick up was a breeze (and they called it chip pick up aw!)

This 10K (my favorite distance) was by far the best course I’ve ever run in my life. Not only was it perfectly flat, but it was absolutely gorgeous. We ran through a bird sanctuary with water on all sides. It was an out and back and at one point we crossed over a bridge that gave a breath-taking view of the Toronto city skyline. It was so hard not to stop and take a picture! But if you take a look at my Strava map and use your imagination, you can pretend to see the amazing water views. 

MEC Toronto 6

My goal going in was a sub 8:00 pace and negative splits and I’m happy to report that the race was a success on both of those fronts!

Towards the end I paced myself off of a girl slightly in front of me and it ended up being a lifesaver. When the finish line came into view at 6 miles, I booked it for the final .2 and it was THE BEST FINAL KICK OF MY LIFE! That’s a bold statement, but entirely accurate. I felt like I was flying.

As soon as I crossed the finish line I turned around to find her and we both had big smiles and hi-fives for each other which was awesome.

My splits were
8:00
7:48
7:40
7:35
7:28
7:28
and 6:20 for the last .2

Later, when I looked at my results - I was pleased to find that I was the 13th Female finisher! 

Toronto 10K

SPOKEHAUS SPIN CLASS

A few of my co-workers and I were determined to fit in a spin class during our time in Toronto. It had to happen early on, or there would have been no shot as we got more and more run down as the weeks progressed. 

We found a spin studio close to the hotel that happened to have a 2 for 1 deal - meaning that we only paid $14 for a class. Not too shabby (especially considering the exchange rate was in our favor!) 

The waiting room looked all white, shiny and new with automatic lockers. I didn't look in the locker rooms, but I'd imagine those were nice as well. The shoe rental was included in the price of the class, which is always a plus. Unfortunately, the bikes were pretty outdated - they didn't have any bells and whistles and there were definitely no statistics (my favorite part of a spin class, personally). 

I liked the name and I liked the logo - but unfortunately, I really didn't enjoy the class. It was VERY heavy on what I refer to as "bike dancing." Lots of "and crunch to the right, crunch to the left" along with push-ups and "tap backs" while speeding along with little to no resistance. If you like SoulCycle, you'd probably  like a class at Spokehaus, but I'm one of those obnoxious people who insist that doing those types of things on bikes is silly and downright bad for your body. 

I'm also the type of person who doesn't give a crap about being the odd one out in the middle of a group fitness class - for the most part I did my own thing, focusing on spinning with higher resistance in time to the music. I even sat out the arm track which is a blatantly obvious thing to do. Ooops for drawing attention to myself, but I'll never see any of these people again anyway! 

My biggest eye-roll came during the last song when electric candles were placed around the room. I might have audibly groaned. 

Spokehaus Toronto Review

NOVEMBER PROJECT YYZ 

For those of you that are new around here, I'm part of a fitness cult, I mean, group, called November Project. You can learn all about it from all of the press it's gotten in places like the New York Times, Good Morning America and the Washington Post. But essentially, its a group that extends far beyond New York City, where I first joined, to include 28 cities across the world. We workout at 6:30 a.m., which is crazy to some people, but ideal for me! 

I was able to wake up early on my first Wednesday in Toronto and hop in a cab to the meeting locations for Toronto's November Project tribe - at the Baldwin Steps of Casa Loma Park. My cab driver was definitely a little concerned about me when I told him to pull over and drop me off - seemingly in the middle of nowhere in the early morning hours. 

November Project Toronto

But I was quickly joined by others ready to workout. The Toronto tribe leaders, Sam and Michelle, were out so babysitters Ben and Arden took the reins with a killer pyramid workout. 

1 Loop around Casa Loma Park (this includes a fairly steep hill!) 
2 Sets of Baldwin Steps
55 Lunge Jumps (PER SIDE)  - these are my least favorite exercise ever, for sure. I would have rather done 55 burpees. But it was good that I was forced to do them during this workout! 
45 In & Out Crunches
35 Push-Ups
25 Squat-Star Jumps
15 Burpees
1 Loop around Casa Loma Park (this includes a fairly steep hill!) 
2 Sets of Baldwin Steps
15 Burpees
25 Squat-Star Jumps
35 Push-Ups
45 In & Out Crunches
55 Lunge Jumps Per Side

Then, I proceeded to run the3.5 miles back to the hotel! The run didn't feel effortless, but by the end my  legs were feeling much better and I was able to negative split, with my last mile clocking in at a swift 7:19 pace and the last half mile at a 7:07! 

Getting to go to a November Project workout put me in a GREAT mood that lasted throughout the day. I can't explain how waking up at 5:45 a.m. on my own accord and physically exerting myself game me MORE energy throughout the day - but it definitely did! 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 

 



 

 

I'm A Triathlete! TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

Helloooo! Here is where I delude myself into thinking that the readers of PB Is My BF have been waiting with bated breathe for my TOBAY Triathlon race recap. 

I love writing race recaps for something to look back on. Sometimes they are reminders of a well-organized, fun race that I'd like to do again. And sometimes they're reminders that "I WILL NEVER RUN THE BROOKLYN HALF MARATHON EVER AGAIN..." (lies). 

TOBAY Triathlon Review

PRE-RACE PREPARATION

Saturday A.M.

Saturday morning Callie and I walked our bikes and backpacks across Central Park and hopped on the subway down to Penn Station. We met our friend Abby and the joys of traveling on the Long Island Railroad began. Let's just say that LIRR cars are not bike-friendly and we had to create some interesting bike sculptures in order to keep our bikes out of the aisles. 

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

2 hours later we were at my house and shortly thereafter, headed to pick up bagels for some relaxation at the beach. 

Saturday Afternoon

Abby and Callie get major points for loving my North Shore beach despite it's rocks and for happily floating around for a little bit in the Sound to test out the temperatures. We were pleasantly surprised that it was so warm! 

Long Island Egg Bagel

I was happy as a clam eating my egg bagel with egg salad, lettuce and tomato while soaking up the sun and chatting. We stayed a few hours, changed back at my house, and accompanied my parents to the yacht club for a drink on the deck.

Surprisingly, I was feeling pretty zen every time the tri came up - I think part of me couldn't believe it was actually going to happen. Throughout the day we would vocalize our fears - mine being drowning, Callie's being getting a flat but overall we were confident that it would be a fun day no matter what happened. 

Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA

Saturday P.M. 

After a beer at the yacht club (it was a struggle to keep it to 1 - Monkey's Fist IPA by Shipyard is fab) my parents dropped the three of us off at Mavi - a Mediterranean and Turkish restaurant near my house. 

We went to town on pita with hummus, babaganoush, white bean salad, and olives before entrees of chicken shishkabob with bulgar, rice, grilled veggies and tzatziki sauce. I still don't have a "go-to" pre-race meal but after reading my nutritionist Julie's advice, I thought Mediterranean was a good choice. I'm used to eating it, it's fairly simple, and my meal had protein and carbohydrates along with some veggies. Bonus points: delicious and such a cute little restaurant! 

We got home and were all shocked at how exhausted we were considering it was only 7:30 at night. We got our things organized for the morning and I did a little Addaday and lacrosse ball rolling while we watched Mean Girls. That movie will truly never get old. 

Obviously I couldn't go to bed without the dessert my mom had picked up for me - Tate's White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies! If you've never had a Tate's cookie (Long Island made!) you need to get on that. They have tons of Gluten Free options too. 

I took a Melatonin before bed because I expected to have trouble sleeping due to nerves, excitement, and sleeping on the couch but I'm constantly surprising myself with my ability to sleep - I didn't have any trouble at all. 

WHAT I PACKED 

I've got my pre road race packing down to a science but with a triathlon, damn is there a lot to think about!

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

GENERAL 

Tri-Shorts - I found mine on clearance at Marshall's well over a year ago, when doing a triathlon was just a tiny little thought in the back of my mind. Impulse buy for the win! I saw tons of people wearing Orca shorts and they worked perfectly for me. I trained in them too, because no new things on race day!

They're fast drying, have leg grips that keep your shorts from riding up your quads during the bike, and a quick drying pad between the legs that helps make up for the fact that you're not wearing fully padded bike shorts. 

The tie in the front kind of bothered me, but for $15, they were great. Another brand I saw out on the course a lot was Zoot

Flip-Flops- Before the race, I walked around in flip-flops and left them at my transition area when we walked down to the water for the start of the swim. 

Road I.D. - I finally got a road I.D. and I've been wearing it on all of my bike rides and runs - especially with so many awful stories in the news about runner's being attacked.

Nutrition- Since working with Julie from The Athlete's Palate, I've been trying to be better about fueling during workouts and now, races. I've been using Clif Bloks and have always had success with Clif Shot gels so I packed one of each. 

Water Bottle- I'm very bad at hydrating, but I kept a water bottle at transition to remind myself to drink! 

Sports Bra- Duh. 

Shirt- My original plan was to take off my wetsuit after the swim and finish the tri wearing my tri-shorts and a sports bra. But then I realized I needed to pin on a bib for the bike and run! I pre-pinned my bib to one of my favorite shirts - my blue Sugoi one - it's so light and soft!

Necklace- Yes, I wore my necklace for the entire race! I'm so used to working out in it that I didn't notice it once. 

SWIM 

Wetsuit- I don't know if I would have made it through the swim without wearing a wetsuit. It provided so much buoyancy and gave me a little extra confidence. It didn't fit me perfectly, it's my mom's, but I'm glad I had it as my security blanket. 

Swim Cap- We were the white swim cap wave and we had to wear the swim cap provided by the race. I was nervous it wouldn't fit my head, but it was actually perfect. 

Ear Plugs- I had a slight scare while setting up my transition area when I realized that my ear plugs were in my dad's truck. Luckily, he was able to go and grab them. I've never swam without them, and constantly get swimmer's ear, so that would have been a disaster. 

Goggles- Self-explanatory. I like the pair I use. Callie found them and I'm not sure of the brand, but they stay fog-free for the most part and are pretty comfortable. 

BIKE 

Bike- Important 

Helmet - Also important. Safety first! 

Flat Repair Kit- I keep this in a little pouch under my seat, though if I had gotten a flat during the race I'm not sure I would have been able to repair it on my own. 

Cycling Shoes- I love mine because they're teal and they're actually tri shoes! Again, I bought these a long long time ago before I even owned a bike, and they ended up working really well. They slide on super easily, which is what makes them great for tris. That being said, they're very open and my feet freeze in the winter. 

Cycling Socks

RUN

Feetures Socks - I love the pull tab on these. No blisters!

Garmin Forerunner- I didn't want to down my Garmin on the swim, so I put it on when I got out of the water and wore it for the bike and run. 

Sneakers- For the run portion I wore my Asics GT-2000. I haven't been loving any of my sneaker options lately, but that might be because everything hurts regardless of what shoe I choose to wear. I like these Asics because they're very cushioned. 

SUNDAY A.M. 

Our alarms went off in perfect synchronization on Sunday morning at 4:45 a.m. I shockingly wasn't all that exhausted due to the 9:30 bed time. 

The first thing I saw was a text from my sister, who had also set her alarm for 4:45 a.m. so she could wish me good luck. AW! 

We quickly dressed while my dad loaded the bikes onto the rack on his truck. My mom thought it was so weird that Abby, Callie and myself all wanted the same thing for our pre-race meal: 

2 Pieces of Whole Wheat Toast
1 Banana
Peanut Butter
Cinnamon

Callie and I also had coffee. 

The car ride was uneventful as we ate and made comments like, "I can't believe this is about to happen," and, "Just going for a lovely swim in the Sound." We enjoyed pump up music like Shots! and Yeah! Nothing says "IM ABOUT TO RACE MY FIRST TRIATHLON" like Lil Jon at 5:30 a.m. 

SET-UP

My dad pulled over near the entrance and we took our bikes off the rack. After a short meltdown where I couldn't work the tire pump and was convinced I had a flat, we walked over to packet pick up (super easy) and started to set up our transition areas. 

I racked my bike without incident and laid out my towel while attempting to organize things on it in some type of order. I didn't have a chart or layout, but I imagine that one day I might very well be that anal triathlete who has checklists and balloons for my transition area. 

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

For now, I just tried laying everything out in the order I thought I would need them. That's when I realized my ear plugs were missing and frantically told my mom through the fence that my dad had to look for them in the truck. I also handed her my bag - something I would miss when it came time to pack up all my things at the end of the race....rookie. 

Next stop was "Body Markings" which might have been my favorite part. While the lady wrote my number and age on my arms and legs she told me it was so I could see someone in my age group and try to pass them. Gotta love that competitive spirit! I felt like a badass with my new tattoos. 

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

But this badass realllllly needed to pee. So we hopped on the porta potty line which was long, but not too awful. 

Dad saved the day with the earplugs and after lots of hugs and "OMGS" we headed back to our bikes where I slipped on my wetsuit, grabbed my goggles, swim cap and earplugs and headed toward the water. 

As we got closer, my eyes tracked the course and my stomach twisted. That looked far. We joked as we walked, "Look - it's like a minute walk from where to go into the water and wehre we get out - it must be really short!" But I could stop looking at all those buoys marking our route. 

It helped when my parents popped up next to us near the water. They got this really great picture of us looking like athletic aliens. I gave them lots more hugs and my mom told me she would see me when I got out. 

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

This was the part where I needed to start consciously breathing slowly and deeply to keep the nerves at bay and I was shocked that I was able to do it. I had an almost totally calm feeling as we stood knee deep in the water (somewhere, got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair...) which was a beautiful temperature. 

THE SWIM

Next thing I knew we were going! As I looked around, i saw that almost everyone still had their heads up and were slowly making their way towards the first buoy while the group naturally spread itself out a little bit. 

My wetsuit, which I had promptly peed in, was helping me float fabulously and I didn't feel too much urgency to start freestyling - my doggy paddle technique was going just great. At one point, Callie and I looked up and were right next to each other doggy paddling along - we smiled and cracked up which are two things I did NOT think would happen during the swim portion of my first tri. Tears and stress? Yes. Smiles and laughing? Not so much. 

Soon Callie started swimming for real but I was like, "Nah, this whole swimming with my head out/backstroke/doggy-paddle is extremely inefficient but it's also much more relaxing and enjoyable." 

I swallowed a lot of water. A lot of times I just stopped and treaded water in place. The sun was very bright and I couldn't really see where I was going. It was very slow going. I veered off course more times than I can count. I ran into some people. Some people ran into me. A lot of times it seemed like I wasn't getting any closer to the end. But there was never a time when I thought, "I'M GOING TO DROWN OUT HERE!" In fact, I even remember thinking, "This is actually kind of cool that it's a gorgeous day and I'm going for a swim in the Sound." I probably stroked a total of 20 real swim strokes, but I traveled the half mile and emerged from the water with a smile on my face and that my friends was the first victory of the day. 

SWIM TIME: 26:13 or 3 minutes/100 yards

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

TRANSITION ONE

My wetsuit was the one that was victorious, however, as I struggled to unzip it on my run from the water to my bike. People kept trying to help by shouting to me which shoulder it was over but heck if that helped. I was so frazzled from having just spent a half hour in the water with the sun in my eyes and earplugs in my ears. I was a little discombobulated. But I did hear my parents yell for me which made me happy, even if I couldn't focus on actually making eye contact with them! 

I made it out of my wetsuit and since it doesn't fit me perfectly, it was really easy to peel it off. I put on my Garmin, drank some water (definitely not enough water), popped a Clif Blok in my mouth, wiped my feet off on the towel and put on my cycling socks and shoes, threw on my shirt, strapped my helmet, lifted my bike off the rack and wobbled my way to the bike start. I was actually surprised at how fast I ran in my cycling shoes - maybe not smart, but thankfully I didn't eat it. 

I got on my bike without much trouble and was on my way to the bike portion. 

TRANSITION ONE TIME: 3:04

THE BIKE 

I didn't know much about the course going into it other than there was one fairly large hill. 

The course wasn't too crowded in the beginning which was nice, but soon I found myself surrounded by more people. For much of the bike, part or all of the street was open to traffic which I didn't love, but it didn't cause too many problems. The one part that sucked was when we were on a main road that was still open and we could only ride in the shoulder. I wanted to pass people on the up-hill but was forced to slow down at some points. 

When I got to that one large hill - there was no question that it was "the one." It was a hill alright. My legs were screamin' and seeing people walking their bikes up it realllllly tempted me to do the same. But I shifted down to the lowest gear, grit my teeth, and made it up the hill even when I felt like the end would never come. 

After that, the rest of the course was fairly flat and the end was downhill. None of the turns were too scary and though my legs were tired, I tried to give them pep talks that they still had to run 3 miles. 

On one of the downhills I shakily grabbed my water bottle and took a sip and somehow managed to get it back in its cage without flipping over the handlebars. 

The bike was probably the most enjoyable part of the race for me, but that's also because I was purposely taking it easy and trying to relax and enjoy. 

Soon I was nearing the bike finish and gingerly dismounting while trying not to flop onto the ground. My legs were like jelly! 

BIKE TIME: 32:24 or 17.6 mph 

TRANSITION TWO

The run from bike back to transition was a lot slower. I switching socks and decided to go for it, putting on my Feetures followed by my Asics. 

I should have already had my Garmin going, but alas, I did not. 

I grabbed my Clif Shot gel and got to see my parents again as I went out for the run! 

TRANSITION TWO TIME: 1:46 

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

THE RUN 

In my head, this was going to be the victory lap. The best part of the tri. Totally fun. Easy, breezy. I had practiced going from biking to running twice and both times was pleasantly surprised. 

But the TOBAY Triathlon course had some serious hills in store that I was not mentally prepared for. 

The entire first 1.5 miles of the run course was straight up up up. What made it even worse was that it was an out and back, and the entire time people who had already made it to the turn around were whizzing past me on the downhill. It sucked. Plain and simple. 

My shins were absolutely screaming bloody murder. 

At the second water station, I did something I RARELY do - I walked while drinking my cup of water. Even though I only had 1.5 miles to go, I ripped open my Clif Shot gel - I needed something, anything, to get me up the rest of this mountain. 

When I finally made it to the turn around and started running downhill, things got marginally better. My legs were still in pain, but at least I knew I was in the home stretch. 

Without around a mile left to go, someone near me on the course started joking with a friend about how crazy we are to do this stuff for fun and it made me smile and get out of my head for a second to realize "Hey, I'm doing this, I'm going to finish my first triathlon!" 

When the finish line was in sight I was able to kick it into high gear and finish strong, bursting across the finish line and instantly chugggggging a water. I was definitely super dehydrated. Woops! 

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

First I saw Callie and gave her a big sweaty hug and high five - WE DID IT! Then my parents came from the other side and got sweaty, wet, salty hugs too. It was so so so amazing to have them there since they have heard me bitching and moaning about swimming for over a year now. 

They took some very flattering post race pictures and next thing we knew we were cheering Abby across the finish line too and WE WERE ALL DONE! 

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

The run was actually so much faster than it felt at the time (unless the course was short!) 

RUN TIME: 23:50 or 7:41 pace 

POST-RACE

We packed up our things (I forgot my wetsuit and had to go back for it later, fail) and went over to the post-race festivities for ice cream and beer. It was a really nice finish area and we sat out in the sun recapping the race and taking more pictures because heading to Huntington for brunch with our familias! Avocado bacon burger with a Bloody Mary was the perfect recovery meal! 

I was asleep within 10 minutes of the train ride back to the city and a lazy blob the rest of the day! 

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

THOUGHTS:

 The race was very well organized and the perfect size! It wasn't overwhelming at any point and everything went pretty seamlessly. 

The swim, though many people said it was long, was very calm and warm. 

Now that I know I don't need to be Michael Phelps to travel half a mile in the water, I'm much more comfortable with the idea of tris. The fact that I managed to do the whole swim without ACTUALLY swimming is comforting and also something that I now see as a challenge to improve on instead of an insurmountable hurdle. 

Callie did the best braids!!! 

Having my parents there for this was HUGE. They are my biggest supporters and the fact that they woke up at 4:45 a.m. and dealt with my stressed, overwhelmed, scared, anxious, crankiness all day means the world to me. 

Every race should have beer afterwards. 

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

I love the shirt that we got! 

Most people have asked if I'm "hooked" on tris now. I definitely plan on doing more, and I still hope that I can make an Olympic Distance happen someday. But I wouldn't say I'm addicted. It's a lot more stressful and a lot more work than simply running a race - the logistics of traveling with my bike alone make me think this isn't something I'll be doing every weekend while I'm still living in NYC. 

That being said, I had SO MUCH FUN doing this with Abby and Callie. That made all the difference in the world!

TOBAY Triathlon Race Recap

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Race That Broke Me Down: Brooklyn Half 2016

Going into Saturday’s Brooklyn Half I was admittedly, a big old grump.

Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap

Thursday and Friday I didn’t work-out at all – which left me feeling tired and cranky. Add to that the fact that I had to cancel plans to see Missy Higgins in concert with my sister because the logistics just weren’t feasible with a 4:00 a.m. alarm – and I was Miss Sassy.

PRE-RACE

As I’ve done the past three years on the morning of the Brooklyn Half Marathon when my alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. – I swore to myself that I would never sign up for this damn race again.

A missed bus and a taxi later we were settled onto the subway for a 45-minute ride to Brooklyn. At that point I had downed a cup of coffee and was happily eating my peanut butter and banana toast and things were starting to seem a lot less miserable.

Right off the subway we checked our bags and entered our corrals. Bag check closed at 6:10 yet the race didn’t start until 7, so there was lots of waiting around and waiting in the porta-potty lines.  Despite the 27,000 runners, I felt that everywhere I turned there was someone else from November Project to say good morning too and wish good luck.

Luckily, the rain was going to hold off and though I kept a throw away long sleeve on in the corral – the weather was pretty warm which made the hour wait until the start pass pretty pleasantly.

I may have laid on the ground and done some glute bridges. Maybe.

Spoiler Alert: This girl got her PR!

Spoiler Alert: This girl got her PR!

I ditched the long sleeve shirt right before starting and ran in my favorite Saucony shorts with a black Under Armour top and was a perfect temperature the entire time.

FIRST HALF

Melissa and I crossed the starting line at about 7:10 which made mental math pretty easy along the course (a bunch of mile marker clocks weren't working though - double-you-tea-eff?) We were shocked at how spacious the course was even from the very beginning. That was definitely a pleasant surprise.

Ready for this? I was running watch-free. The goal was just “stay comfortable” the whole time. It’s been 1 full year since I ran anywhere near 13.1 miles and I was in no way aiming for any sort of time goal.

I love the first half of the course. There’s a long, steady hill that doesn’t seem too bad since it’s part of an out and back and you can scan the speedy runners ahead of you for friends. Then you go through Prospect Park and it’s green and beautiful with rolling hills and one pretty large hill around mile 5. There’s spectators all along this part of the course with fun signs and even a blowup “Punch Trump" was spotted.

Throughout the park I was successful in “staying comfortable.” I felt really good. I was having fun. I wasn’t stressing. I felt like I was moving pretty quickly (Based on my splits I was actually running a lot slower than I thought, but again, didn’t matter at all).

SECOND HALF

When you head out of the park around mile 8 you find yourself on a big ass, flat, boring highway. The spectators become non-existent. And at least in my experience, there is little to distract yourself from the moment your body starts saying, “Why are we still running?”

This year, for me, that was around mile 9. At mile 8 I was feeling tired so I slowly took a Huma gel. By mile 9, things were starting to hurt. By mile 10, I had a little more energy from the gel kicking in, but the pain was only intensifying.

At this point, I was starting to think that walking to the finish was a viable option. But I’m stubborn, and walking an hour sounded pretty miserable. So I kept going. The pain in my groin got worse and worse but that wasn’t all – it seemed that every part of my upper legs and knees were screaming at me to stop.

It pretty quickly escalated from “Ouch can we stop now?” to “WE HATE YOU.” Hip, knee, IT band, that weird bump on the side of your ankle – none of them were happy.

By mile 11 I could feel my face crumpling in pain. The 8:00 mile pacer passed and when I tried to run with them it seemed as if they were sprinting. I was reduced to a limping jog and it took all of my mental strength to keep myself moving.

Like the previous two years, the end of this race seemed to last forever. I was so happy when Melissa came running by me, knowing that she was going to get her PR! I wanted so badly to run through the finish with her but I just couldn’t move any faster. There were tears in my eyes purely from the pain.

When these race pictures come out – it will probably be pretty obvious how I was feeling as I crossed the finish line.

POST RACE TEARS

I hugged Melissa and pulled over to the side of the boardwalk where I dug my palms into my eyes as the tears started to fall. They started from the pain but then when I stood up and gave Melissa another hug they turned into big, actually crying, emotional, frustrated, sad, emotional tears.

I had been focused on finishing, getting one foot in front of the other, convincing myself that the end was near. It’s hard to do that for an hour.

I was also thinking about how much running means to me, and how frustrating it is that I know I need to stop for a while until I can figure out what’s up with my legs.  

I was angry – not only do I love running but I feel like it’s something that I’m good at – and want to get even better at. I’m willing to work for it but my body just doesn’t want to. It feels like a big betrayal.

I was not disappointed at not PRing or not running a certain time. I knew going into this that I hadn’t trained at all and that it wasn’t going to be a great race. I had hoped to enjoy it though – and for the last 5 miles I certainly didn’t accomplish that goal.

Another NP friend saw my tears and gave me some encouraging words, a hug, and some water and soon the tears dried. The pain went away almost immediately after I stopped running, which was a relief.

Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap

It was overcast and we were on the water and I was instantly freezing. I was informed by the medical tent that there were no heat sheets. I spent the next 4 hours freezing cold. One of my fingers went numb. Even though I changed into all dry clothes! GRR. 

Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap

We got our bags from the bag truck (of course ours had theeeee longest line), and hung out for a bit at the after party. It’s a really awesome set-up. Then we stopped by the beer garden next door to say hello the November Project crew and check in on how everyone's races had gone. 

13.1 miles by 9:00 a.m.

13.1 miles by 9:00 a.m.

A group of us made the long trek back into Manhattan for brunch at Gotan (obviously). We got a beer next door and when I got home I took the hottest shower before passing out in bed for over an hour.

BKLYN5.JPG

The only reason I got out of bed was to have the dinner of half marathon champions – 16 Handles. And lucky for me, I had rewards on my card and only had to spend 84 cents.

So what now?

Lots of swimming, biking, yoga, arms, and GLUTE STRENGTHENING. No running. Scheduling an MRI. Seeing where this goes.

Not really processing it all very well, but it’s obvious after a year of not being able to run 13 miles that something needs to change.

Finish – 1:53:07 // 8:38 pace.

I think a trip to Denver for a week will be a great distraction - I leave this morning to visit my best friend from high school and I cannot wait :)

Leave any Denver/Boulder/Colorado Springs suggestions in the comments please & thank you!!!!

Personal Rest: Healthy Kidney 10K Race Recap

I had a really eye-opening realization last week. The 2015 Brooklyn Half Marathon, a full year ago, was the last time that I ran 13 miles. 

For one full year my body has been pretty damn finicky when it comes to running. I've had 2 double-digit runs since last May and it blows my mind to think of how great I felt going into the Pittsburgh Marathon a year ago to how I feel now. 

I wish I could say I knew why it's been such a struggle, but your guess is as good as mine. I'm frustrated and I'm sad. I swing pretty drastically from, "Running is the worst and I should just quit forever because clearly my body hates it," to "What am I going to do if I can't be a runner anymore?" Anger to total sadness to fear - pretty much I feel all of these emotions simultaneously. 

Needless to say, the goal for Saturday's Brooklyn Half Marathon is to get myself across the finish line and to run 13.1 miles for the first time in 12 months. 

In preparation for that goal, I knew I needed to slow my roll during last weekend's Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park. Operation: Save Your Legs For Brooklyn was in full effect. 

NYRR Healthy Kidney 10K

The night before the race, my best friend from high school came to NYC for the weekend. I cooked us a Blue Apron dinner and we got to sleep nice and early. 

PRE-RACE 

The Healthy Kidney 10K was a 9:00 a.m. start so I got to sleep in until 7:00 a.m. 

FUEL

Friday night, I actually said to Allison, "I've been excited for my pre-race breakfast all week." So pathetic, but true. Ezekiel toast smeared with PB, topped with 1/2 a sliced banana, drizzled with honey, sprinkled with coconut flakes and a cup of jo. 

GEAR

I raced in my pink Asics shirt again - it's my new favorite for sure. That and my Asics spandex + Saucony Rides + SPIBelt - the usual. 

It was supah dupah balmy out there Saturday morning which was fine by me - I hate being cold before a race and really don't mind the heat all that much. 

STRETCH 

My stretching was a little lax on Saturday but I did get in some one-legged deadlifts (not weighted) while my bread toasted and some glute bridges and side planks. 

WARM UP

Non-existent. I wasn't looking to race this or go over the 6.2 miles so I took the bus with Allison and met up with November Project at Tavern on the Green before heading to my coral. 

NYRR Healthy Kidney 10K

THE RACE 

By the time I was crossing the start line, my watch hadn't synced and I didn't worry about it. My mantra throughout the race was "stay comfortable, stay comfortable." I repeated this as people whizzed by me and I repeated it when I found myself charging up hills and I repeated it when I felt good and knew I had more in me that I shouldn't necessarily give. And I'm proud to report that it worked. I didn't push it and I didn't cross the finish line feeling like I had given it my all - but that was the goal. 

I love racing, but this was not the day for a race. 

The Healthy Kidney 10K is run in the opposite direction of almost every other NYRR race in Central Park which was a nice change. Going up the west-side of Harlem Hill and coming down on the east is SO much nicer, but then you have a pretty long and steady incline all the way up to Engineer's Gate. No matter how you run it, Central Park is just damn hilly - a fact that never ceases to surprise me or my legs. 

The November Project cheer squad + special guest Allison were in the perfect location - 200 meters to go and a pretty steep incline to the finish. I didn't really kick ("Keep it comfortable") but it certainly put a smile on my face. 

Thanks for the picture,  Alex ! 

Thanks for the picture, Alex

It was damn hot out there and I took water at every station. When I finished, I chugged 4 cups which is a lot for this non-water-drinker over here. I met up with Melissa and Allison and we hung out at the finish for a little bit before making our way home across the park for free juice and brunch. 

But not before taking a picture with Sidney the Kidney! 

NYRR Healthy Kidney 10K

It wasn't until much later that afternoon that I even looked up my finish time - 51:12 for an 8:15 pace. I was happy that that felt comfortable :) 

Up next, Brooklyn. Gulp. 

 

 

Why My First 5 Boro Bike Tour Was A Bust

In my short time as a bike owner, I've come to realize that New York City is not the most bike-friendly city - especially for someone just starting out. Sure we have miles and miles of designated bike lanes - but these lanes are part of busy streets where cyclists are forced to dodge buses, pedestrians, taxis and more. 

In 2013 there were 6,328 reported bicycle/motorist crashes in NY. So when I read that NYC is ranked #1 in "Bike Friendly Cities" I am verrrry skeptical of the criteria. 

But once a year, in the spring, 40 miles of NYC roadways become a playground for cyclists. In it's 40th year, the TD Bank 5 Boro Bike Tour is a chance for biking fans of all ages to ride all day with no fear of cars, buses, tourists or taxis. 

It's just you, your bike and open road. Oh, and over 30,000 other participants. 

For years I've heard how wonderful the TD Bank 5 Boro Bike Tour is. I know many people who insist you have to do it at least once, while others sign up year after year. 

Once I had a legit road bike, I knew I wanted in. I paid the steep entry fee (around $100) a few months ago and before I knew it, it was time to start preparing for the ride. 

TD Bank 5 Boro Bike Tour 2016

TRAINING? 

I didn't do a lot to "train" for this bike ride. The 40 mile distance was intimidating, but in the end, I knew that it was a no pressure, casual ride and I could likely make it to the finish. Especially after my journey over the GW Bridge and into the Palisades, a ride that ending up totaling around 38 miles, I knew I had it in me. 

I attempted to do one more long ride the weekend before the tour, but I ended up falling off my bike and quitting. 

BYE CLIP IN PEDALS 

I had been told to expect some crowded areas during the ride, as cyclists of all skill-levels are out there. There are people with carbon fiber tri bikes and there are also people out for a joy ride on their Citi Bikes. 

I was expecting a lot of stop and go and to be surrounded by some people even more  uncomfortable on their bikes than I am - so I had my platform pedals put back on my bike before the ride. 

No thank you to clipping in and out and being petrified for 40 miles. 

Biking is NOT a cheap hobby, I'm coming to learn, nor is it convenient. I now need to get my bike back to a shop to have my clip-less pedals reinstalled. Will the headaches of cycling never end? Sorry, I'm being a grouch. 

BIKE EXPO 

TD 5 Boro Bike Tour

In order to pick up my ride packet, I made my way over to South Street during my lunch break, where the expo was being held.

It was almost exactly like any running expo I've been to which meant sampling a lot of granola bars and taking any free thing that I could only to get home and say, "I HAVE NO USE FOR THIS WHY DID I TAKE A FREE PENCIL!?" 

As per usual, I spent unnecessary money on something because, "It's SUCH a good deal!" And workout clothes are my weakness. I walked away with my first cycling jersey - the Giro Ride short sleeve jersey in WILD LIME. It's retail price is $100 and I snagged it for $30 so I don't feel too guilty. 

As part of each participant's packet you get a bib to pin to yourself, a bib to twist-tie to the front of your bike, and a helmet cover that says TD 5 Boro Bike tour! No ride shirt BOO HISS. 

THE FORECAST 

Once I was done frolicking in the sunshine at Bear Mountain on Saturday it was time to face the facts - the forecast for Sunday's bike ride was miserable. Starting at 8 a.m. there was a 50% chance of rain throughout the morning. And it was a cold, windy rain too. 

My professor from grad school, who I was supposed to meet up with at the start, decided that it wasn't worth it. But I'm poor, and the fact that I had spent $100 for this bike ride made me feel obligated to at least give it a try. 

PRE-RIDE

In order to get more rain-free miles in, since I didn't expect to slough it out for all 40 miles, I rode to the start from my apartment. It was about 7 miles total, and the fact that I wasn't clipped in made it a whole lot less stressful. It also helped that it was 6:45 a.m. and the roads were basically car-free. Plus, as I got close to the start, there were tons of other 5 Boro Bike tour participants headed to the corals that I could follow. Directions aren't my specialty, so I was happy to have people to guide me. 

I found my way to the coral and waited for Wave 2 to be sent on our way at 8:10 a.m. 

As I sat in the corral waiting to start, I looked around and realized that thankfully, I was by no means the only cyclist without fenders on my tires. I knew going fender-less would result in lots of wet, muddy spray from the ground, but the price tag just wasn't worth it to me. $50+ to buy them and have them installed is a lot when I don't plan on making rain-rides a regular occurrence.

There were a lot of people at the start who seemed to have plastic bags or shower caps around their feet which would have been a good call - I'm clearly not a seasoned pro when it comes to dressing myself for 40 mile bike rides. 

Looking back, I probably would have lasted longer had I dressed warmer, but, c'est la vie!  I wore: 

  • Icebreaker Merino Wool Beanie under my helmet
  • Long Sleeve Dri-Fit Shirt 
  • Fancy Shmancy Nike Winter/Rain Jacket 
  • Northface Fleece Lined Winter Running Leggings 
  • High socks over my leggings 
  • Buff
  • Winter Bike Gloves 
  • SPIbelt

After some speeches from TD Bank execs (I have a strange obsession/love for TD Bank) and race directors, we were off! 

THE RIDE

I noticed lots of people with interesting things attached to their helmets in an effort to keep their sights on people in their groups. There were pineapples and beers that made me laugh.

The ride started up 6th Avenue and it was awesome riding through midtown with not a car in site! Hellooooo Bryant Park! Hey office! Lots of TD Banks that we passed had employees out cheering the riders on. 

Though the rain started promptly at 8:00 a.m., I was surprised at how high everyone's spirits seemed. There was lots of "Woo"ing and laughing and jokes around me. And for awhile, I was really diggin' the ride more than I had expected. 

While there were certainly tons of other people out there, it wasn't ever horribly congested - especially since I wasn't looking to break any records with my speed!

We made our way up to Central Park and I considered ducking out at Engineer's Gate to go to my apartment but decided to keep going. 

There were a few parts where you had to stop at crosswalks to let pedestrians through, but nothing too obnoxious. Everyone seemed to be having a great time which confused me a little because the weather was so miserable but, maybe those people were dressed warmer than me! 

Up in the 100s I started getting more and more cranky and after a quick stop to use a portapotty I decided that when I approached 96th Street on the FDR I would peel off the route and head home.

But before that, there was a quick roll through the Bronx (I can't believe how short the course in the Bronx is!) and over two bridges which was again pretty darn cool. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I headed home after about 12 miles on the course for a total of 20ish for the day. Though it was cold, lonely and wet (not to mention uncomfortable considering all the bruises I got at Bear Mountain) I was proud of myself for doing it at all. I was just bummed that the weather had ruined what would have been an awesome, fun day in the sunshine! 

I guess there's next year? (Except not really, because I've sworn off paying lots of money for bike rides that could end up with a forecast like THIS - not worth it to me!) 

When I got home, I scrolled through Instagram and realized just how many 10K, half marathon and marathoners had trudged through the rain that morning as well. Special shout out to my best friend Allison for running her second half marathon in those conditions! 

YOUR TURN: 
WHAT'S THE LONGEST BIKE RIDE YOU'VE EVER BEEN ON? 
DO YOU LIKE RIDING IN THE RAIN? 
WHAT ABOUT RUNNING IN IT? 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 

 

 

Running My First Trail Race: UnBEARably Epic

It's time for a confession. 

I am without a doubt that annoying runner who claims: 

"I'm not going to be fast today, I'm so out of shape," before throwing down a pretty speedy race.

"I'm taking it easy today, I haven't been feeling great," before setting a new PR.

"This race is going to be ugly, I'm so sore," before marveling at how fresh and fast my legs felt.  

"I don't care about my pace today, I just want to enjoy a run in the park," before sprinting through the finish line after giving 100%.  

I swear, I don't make these comments because I'm fishing for complements or kind words of encouragement before my races. Many times, I truly go into a race not expecting much, trying to set my expectations low, only wanting to enjoy the day and not worry about the outcome. 

But time and time again my competitive side comes out the second I find myself in a race atmosphere. 

I'm sure it annoys people. I'm sorry! 

Last weekend, before facing my first ever trail race and first ever relay race, I was full of these types of statements. I told people I was going to walk. I told people I was terrified. I told people it was going to be ugly and slow and hard. 

And for once, the outcome was what I had predicted. 6.5 slow miles. Walking breaks. And the added bonus of a super clumsy wipe-out. 

But I loved every second of it. 

SIGNING UP

So, how did I find myself registered for a marathon relay trail race? Good question. I have always been uneasy about trail racing. It seemed like a great way to twist an ankle, and besides, no one sets PRs in the woods. 

But after seeing how much fun the North Face Endurance Challenge Series at Bear Mountain looked last year, and realizing that SO MANY November Project friends were signing up, the FOMO took over and I knew I had to be there. Plus, my very best friends wanted to form a relay team. I couldn't say no to that. 

So we signed up - paying just $40. Looking back on the experience, it seems like the biggest steal EVER. 

THE SQUAD

One of the most fun parts of running a relay is feeling like you're part of a team. We immediately started brainstorming what our team name would be. We landed on AVOCARDIO. Because we love avocados, and we love running. 

North Face Endurance Challenge

We bought really awesome tank tops as our squad uniform and anxiously awaited race day. 

Really - we were anxious. None of us had ever run a trail race before. Nor had we gone out for any training runs on trails. EEK. 

BUS TO BEAR MOUNTAIN 

November Project organized two school buses to bring us all from NYC to Bear Mountain. City kids getting out into nature. For $25 round trip, it brought the total cost of the day to around $90 ($40 entry fee, $25 tank tops and $25 transportation). 

After just 60 minutes we had arrived at Bear Mountain and I was stunned at how beautiful it was! 

We walked over to the starting village and I was immediately impressed. 

North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain

THE SET UP 

There were tons of vendors setting up their booths with free samples of coconut water, incredibly delicious nuts, EPIC bars, cold brew coffee and more. 

There were picnic tables, wide open fields to set up camp, giant water jugs to fill up your water bottle, and even a table where you could get November Project tags spray painted onto your race gear. 

Everywhere you looked there was someone from November Project. Even though I didn't know half of the people there, it felt like a big family reunion. 

We spent a little while walking around, getting things tagged and pinning on our race bibs. 

Before we knew it, it was time for Rebecca to set out on leg 1! 

North Face Endurance Challenge

PRE-RACE PREP 

As is my new routine, I prepared for my leg of the race by doing some glute bridges, toe raises and side planks while trying to loosen up my forever-tight calves with my Addaday massage roller. 

Then, it was time to get into the transition area and wait for Rebecca to return. As I stood there waiting with some other November Project ladies I found myself getting butterflies in my stomach. Suddenly, everything that could possibly go wrong was popping into my brain. 

  • The transition area was crowded. I wasn't going to be able to see Rebecca coming. 
  • I was going to put the timer/chip on my ankle totally wrong. 
  • Everyone would be watching me as I ran out into the woods. What if I looked funny running? 
  • I didn't even know which way the first turn was! Where did I go when I got to the end of the grass?! 
  • Why were people coming in one at a time? I wanted to have company out there, not be all on my own! 
  • Ah shit, someone who is really fast just came back and said it was harder than she remembered... 
  • I have approximately 0 sense of direction. What if I get lost? 
  • Should I be running with my phone? Really, what if I get lost out there? 
  • What if I fall? 
  • Is it okay to walk? I'm going to have to walk. 

And then suddenly, there was Rebecca. I was putting the timer around my ankle and I was running down the grass onto the gravel path and I tentatively turned right and up and no one told me I was going the wrong way so...

Then, I was running my first trail race. 

North Face Endurance Challenge

THE RACE 

Pretty quickly, the trail started going up

At this point, runners like myself who had just started were on the right side of the trail while runners on their way back to the transition area were passing on my left. Everyone was really friendly and encouraging and until the two groups split there was a lot of "Good job, finish strong" and "Have fun out there" exchanged. 

I found myself focusing on taking little, quick steps and paying attention to my footing, especially on the uphills. Eventually, the rocks became too hard for me to navigate while running and the incline too steep so I walked to the top of the hill and then picked up the pace again. 

Everyone was spread out a good distance - I had room to move and navigate but never felt like I was completely alone out there. 

I continued to walk when my footing became an issue and run when things were semi-flat, downhill, or a short uphill. 

Sometimes, the downhills were also too tricky with all of the rocks and I'd say I slowed down the most on those downhill portions because I was scared of ending up on my butt sliding down the mountain. 

I was aware that my surroundings were beautiful, but it was a little difficult to take it all in when I was so focused on not taking a tumble. 

Erin took this beautiful picture while she was out there!

Erin took this beautiful picture while she was out there!

I made it to the first water station and chugged two waters. I hadn't anticipated it being so warm and sunny out - which was such a pleasant surprise while hanging out the rest of the afternoon! 

After the water station I walked a big uphill and then things flattened out. The path was fairly rock free and I found myself thinking, "Wow this is really incredible. I'm having such a great time, I would totally do a second leg!" 

That's when it happened. Those few seconds where I let my thoughts shift off of the trail, my foot caught on a rock and I found myself sliding along the rocks as if I were trying to slide into home plate. 

Everything stung and I was aware of two runners behind me stopping and asking if I was alright. I was up and brushing myself off fairly quickly - giving them the thumbs up and insisting that I was fine before I had really even had a second to think about whether or not that was true. 

I re-pinned my bib onto my shorts (I couldn't bear to cover the cute little avocado on my shirt) and when I realized all I felt was stinging from scratches and nothing muscular was astray, I continued on without taking full stock of the damage. 

I'm not a fan of blood. I knew I couldn't do anything about it until I got back to the finish anyway, so why make myself queasy looking at it? 

BLOOD!

BLOOD!

The rest of the race, especially on the downhills, I was more cautious. But I still enjoyed every second out there in the woods. 

We jumped over tree trunks, we saw a river. I heard birds. 

I had to stop at one point and wait for another runner to come along because the trail got a bit iffy, but otherwise I didn't get lost and I didn't beat myself up for walking. I still pushed myself to pick up the pace when possible, but it was such a nice change of pace to truly not care that I had run an 11+ minute mile. 

Growing up, I loved hiking. We would go to the Pine Barrens on Long Island and I would purposely try to get my family lost in the woods because I didn't want to go home, I just wanted to be out in nature. 

This trail race made me feel like a little kid again, just running through the woods, embracing nature. 

North Face Endurance Challenge

THE FINISH 

When I neared the end of the race, I did some cheesin' for the photographer, dodged some little kids crossing the path, and found myself on a paved path for the first time in over an hour. I focused on finishing strong, kicking it up a notch as I passed the November Project people lining the finish chute. I was so in the zone that I almost missed the part where I had to veer left to get into the transition zone! 

North Face Endurance Challenge

I saw Erin and as I took the chip off my ankle and put it around hers I told her, "THAT WAS AMAZING GO HAVE SO MUCH FUN!" 

I bypassed the finisher's medals and water bottles, grabbed a cup of water and made my way to the medical tent where a nice woman helped clean out my cuts and put antibiotic cream on them. I bandaged up some of them (mainly my elbow) and left the rest to air out. 

Then, I backtracked to get my medal and water bottle along with some free Olomomo Nuts (check them out, the flavors are crazy good!) and ORANGE SLICES. I couldn't stop with the orange slices. I didn't feel like drinking water, but the juicy oranges were really hitting the spot. They also had pieces of banana and bagels. 

CHILLAXIN' 

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the beautiful scenery, the amazing company and the incredible set-up that North Face had going on. Rebecca and I wandered around to some booths, winning free socks, free bandannas, free beers and taking lots of fun pictures. We ate snacks, we chatted, we cheered on lots of runners finishing a trail 50K and marathon (crazy) and I was so happy that the 237489 layers I had packed were completely unnecessary. 

North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain
North Face Endurance Challenge

When the time came that we thought Melissa would be finishing up, we walked a ways from the finish line and waited. When we saw her coming, our whole team jumped in and sprinted through the finish in perfect unison. It was so fun and none of us could stop smiling afterwards! 

We hung out for a little while longer and then it was time to head back to the concrete jungle. 

HOMEWARD BOUND 

I left Bear Mountain with lots of scratches, bruises, blood and dirt. But most importantly, I left feeling like I had been on a vacation - even though I was out of Manhattan for just a few hours. 

I can't say exactly what it was about those 66 minutes in the woods, but it completely invigorated and refreshed me and I can't stop thinking about

We wrapped up the night with homemade onion/pepper/mushroom/basil pizza and a round of Bananagrams.

Every way I turned around in bed that night, I couldn't get comfortable. So many bruises! But it was so worth it!! 

North Face Endurance Challenge

WHAT'S NEXT 

I'm itching to do another trail race, and I'm happy to report that there's already one penciled into my calendar. The Paine to Pain half marathon at the end of September! 

I've also been finding some crazy adventurous sounding trail races. So far, I'm intrigued by the Ragnar Trail series and this incredible sounding Trailfest that takes you to Bryce, Zion and Grand Canyon! 

North Face Endurance Challenge

YOUR TURN: 
HAVE YOU EVER RUN A TRAIL RACE? WHAT DID YOU THINK? 
DO YOU HAVE ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EPIC TRAIL RACES I SHOULD LOOK INTO? 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 

Spring In The Air, Spring In My Step: 4 Mile Race Recap

Somehow, I'm still not sick of racing. And it's a good thing - because I've still got 4 races left on the schedule of events! 

I think the main reason I haven't tired of races is because, quite frankly, they are so damn convenient for me. Sometimes, races are practically in my backyard. Other times, they're the perfect 2 mile warm-up jog to the start line. It doesn't get any better than that. 

On Sunday, I ran another 4 miler in Central Park - the Run As One. This course was identical to the Run For the Parks 4 Miler.

NYRR Run As One 4 Miler

PRE-RACE 

I'm trying to be better about my pre-race routine. That meant setting my alarm for an hour before I wanted to be out the door. 

FUEL

I've been fueling for each race with a piece of Ezekiel toast smeared with PB, topped with 1/2 a banana and drizzled with honey while slowly sipping on a cup of coffee. 

My new favorite tool is the Runner's World "What Do I Wear?" that lets me plug in the temperature and tells me if it's shorts, pants, singlet or long-sleeve weather. I'm still always filled with panic that I'll be cold though. 

GEAR

On Sunday, I put on my new Asics short-sleeved shirt that my friend sent me. So much for no new clothes on race day. I ended up looooving it though. Sometimes short sleeves bother me so I tend to stick with tanks but I was feelin' this shirt. THANKS EMILY!

Side note: I recently realized that I have SO MUCH PINK when it comes to running shirts. Which is odd, because I'm not the pink type. 

I wore shorts and, since I'm always afraid of being cold, my knee-high pink CEP compression socks for a little extra coverage. 

I ran with my SPIBelt (did you know that SPI stands for small personal items? Now ya do) since I wanted to have my phone on me. 

On my feet were my go-tos - Saucony Rides. Sans inserts. 

STRETCH 

Alright - here is the big change in my pre-race routine. Motivating myself to activate my glutes before I run. 

I gave them a big old HELLO GOOD MORNING with one-legged glute bridges, side planks with a leg lift (works your glutes SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU REALIZE. Really, I cry), and heel raises to remind my body the right way to transfer weight - between my big toe and second toe - NOT the outside of my foot. 

I also did some rolling with my new Addaday massage roller because my calf knots have been comin' in hot with the more consistent mileage. 

Most importantly, I did my INTERNAL hip rotation stretch for :60 on each side. Who knew - all this time I was cranking out clam shells and fire hydrants to improve my external rotation hip strength when it's really the OTHER way I need to teach my hips to turn. 

WARM UP

I ran the two miles to the start line and hopped into my coral when I saw a fellow NP teammate. We chatted while we waited for the race to start - marveling at the PERFECT spring race weather. It was such a gorgeous morning. 

Central Park Spring

RACE

MILE ONE 

I was coming off of 6 days of no running, so I was hoping for fresh legs. Despite the two mile warm-up, they didn't feel all that fresh since the race starts by climbing Cat Hill. Once I got up and over that, I caught up to my teammate and tried to stay with her. 

MILE TWO 

I settled into a rhythm here - I could tell I was going at a fairly speedy pace, but I was also pretty comfortable. The best feeling. 

MILE THREE 

Mile three is by far the most challenging in this course as you have to go up and over the 3 Sisters. In Central Park, these are the three large rolling hills along the West Side. 

Hills are kind of my jam. I hate them, don't get me wrong, but I recognize that they're one of my strengths. My pace did slow down a bit for mile 3, but I felt strong and pushed myself to get 'em done as quickly as possible. 

MILE FOUR 

I waited until around mile 3.5 to kick things up a notch. I told myself to relax my body, let my leggies do their thing, and to not think about it too much. It was luckily one of those times where my body cooperated and the pace dropped without me feeling like I was going to hurl. 

I read a quote after the race that described this feeling perfectly:

Fast running isn’t forced. You have to relax and let the run come out of you.
— Des Linden

You make a turn and then the finish line is in sight! I was able to speed through the line knowing that I had put in a solid effort, and still feeling fairly good. 

RESULTS 

I finished in 29:24 for a pace of 7:21 - better than the Run for the Parks two weekends ago! I was happy with the result. 

Post-Race 

I grabbed an apple, caught my breathe, and fairly quickly set off on my cool down run of 2 miles home. My legs still felt pretty good - except when it came to running up Cat Hill for a second time. 

I like the 4 mile distance and I love courses that don't involve Harlem Hill. It was a beautiful morning and a fun race. 

UP NEXT: 

April 30 - Bear Mountain Marathon Relay
May 1 - 5 Borough Bike Tour (40 Miles) 
May 14 - Healthy Kidney 10K
May 21 - Brooklyn Half Marathon

YOUR TURN: 
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RACE DISTANCE? 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 

 

 

 

 

Gridiron 4 Miler and Washington Heights 5K

Today is that first day of the season that feels like spring - sending people running around half naked even though it's still only 60 degrees outside. I'm totally guilty of this.

I've lasted the entire winter without a proper pair of stockings - I just don't see the point in buying something that I will inevitably destroy within an hour - and today I strutted out of the house in a skirt and bare legs. 

Legs, meet the sun. It's been awhile, get reacquainted! 

All things considered, this winter was a breeze. In fact, my legs had their fair share of encounters with the winter sun as I raced in Central Park in shorts on various occasions. Shorts in January? Yes please. 

But my last two races were run in slightly warmer apparel. I've been trying to document what I wear for each of my races along with the weather on that particular morning. It helps on the night before a race when I'm scared I'll be either too cold or too hot with my planned outfit. 

NYRR Grid Iron 4 Miler

The morning of the Gridiron 4 Miler (Superbowl Sunday) was sunny and in the low to mid 30's. I suited up in a Nike long-sleeve dri-fit with a North Face quarter-zip over it (similar to this one). I wore a pair of non-fleece lined leggings along with  my gloves, ear warmer and buff. 

grid2.jpg

It was also my first time racing in my new pair of Saucony Rides - my go to shoe. This new pair is SO PINK, which is different for me. 

By the end, I was pretty sweaty and probably could have ditched a few items. 

It was a beautiful day for a run and I was so happy to be in Central Park with Peter. He didn't get to attempt the longest football throw, but we did throw down a 7:41 pace to help counteract all the beer and chili we planned on consuming later that day. 

My sister was in town for the weekend and we spent the rest of the morning and afternoon cooking up chili, guacamole and peanut butter & honey covered popcorn. Obviously, we also needed to grab a bag of Doritos - a Superbowl staple. 

My most recent race was one of my least-run distances, a 5K! After PRing and finishing as the first female in the Brown Santa 5K this December in Austin, Texas my expectations for the Washington Heights 5K were pretty low. 

My shins have been bothering me, and I haven't been doing a whole lot of running - instead focusing on strength training. 

I guess the extra leg muscles helped me on this hilly 5K course, because I surprised myself by PRing! And I'm that much closer to breaking a 7:00 pace. 

NYRR Washington Heights Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5K

If you care about the details of Sunday - 

I jogged a mile to Peter's place where we got an Uber up to Washington Heights. I planned on running in a long sleeve shirt, but ended up keeping a quarter zip over it because it was chillier than anticipated. I think it was a good call - I remember internally bitching about a lot of things during the run (okay, really just all the hills), but never about my temperature.

Peter started back in my corral and it helped having him to chase for awhile - until I realized there was no way I was keepin' up for the whole race. 

In 3.1 miles we climbed almost 200 feet but all the climbing meant there were also some nice long downhills to make up some lost time. I phoned it in on one of the hills, severely slowing down, but I gave myself a good swift kick in the butt, said, "SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP" and kicked it to the end. 

Where I almost cried when I crossed the finish line. 

Everything hurt. Which I guess means I gave it my all. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see my 21:59 finish time (7:05 pace) and to learn that my time made me the 5th female finisher for November Project - yay team points! 

Now I'm just itching to sign up for a FLAT 5K. 

But my race calendar is filling up with 9+1 races so it seems I'll continue to race the hills of Central Park for the time being. 

Here's what's coming up: 

April 2 - Scotland Run 10K
April 24 - Run As One 4 Miler
April 30 - Bear Mountain Marathon Relay (GULP first trail run on this beast of a course) 
May 1 - Five Borough Bike Tour (GULP my body my hate me after this weekend) 
May 14 - Healthy Kidney 10K
May 21 - Brooklyn Half 

I had the sudden realization that the Brooklyn Half is 11 weeks away and if I want to PR I need to get to work. 

Buttttt, getting to work is a little difficult with the current shin pain I'm experiencing. I'm trying not to do very much running on it and hoping hoping hoping it's not the beginnings of a stress fracture. I saw the doctor and he doesn't think I need an MRI yet - but I'm looking to start PT. 

The plan is slow and steady mileage increases with lots of cross training mixed in. And constantly reminding myself that a PR in Brooklyn isn't the end goal - a BQ in a fall marathon is what I'm after!

 

 

10K and 10 Miler Race Recaps

My favorite weekends are the ones that involve races and brunch. Lucky for me, that's been the general formula for my past two weekends.

On January 9 there was an early wake-up and a pre-race breakfast of plain Fage 0% Greek yogurt. I'm still experimenting with the pre-race fuel that works best for me and this seemed to work pretty well - my stomach still bothered me a little bit mid and post-race, but not as bad as usual. 

We jogged over to the starting line and got there right on time. Not a lot of standing around waiting which is always nice. Despite the fact that it was January - I was racing in shorts! By the end of the race, my legs were slightly numb, but overall I was a good temperature with my buff and gloves.

The Joe Kleinerman 10K was a full loop of Central Park meaning we had the joy of running up "Harlem Hill" early on. Around the top of the hill, I found a girl who seemed to be running around the same pace as me and decided to pace myself off of her. She also happened to be wearing a "Rise" t-shirt - a running group in NYC that has a friendly rivalry with November Project. Stayed on her heels helped me stay steady through the first 4 miles. Once we made it to Columbus Circle and the east side of the park I passed her and picked up the pace a little bit.

My splits were:

7:28
7:41
7:15
7:26
7:41
7:17

Negative splitting is NOT my specialty - and with a hilly course I have an even bigger problem pacing myself.  Overall, I was happy with the result, though it was nowhere near my 10K PR. I placed 34 in my age group but the best part was feeling like I was back in my running groove by waking up on Saturday, running in Central Park, and eating a delicious breakfast.

Peter and I cooked eggs with veggies along with avocado toast and fresh pineapple. Yummo!

NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K

This Saturday Peter and I had ANOTHER race - and this one was one we fought tooth and nail to get into! Ok, we didn't really fight for a spot but we DID have to set multiple alarms and go through some stressful webpage refreshing to get into this super popular race on Long Island.

We left Friday night for Long Island and myself and our friend Emma stayed at Peter's parents house. We fueled with some homemade ziti before passing out pretty early.

Pre-race fuel on Saturday morning was a whole wheat mini bagel with peanut butter and sliced banana. Again, not a perfect stomach, but much more bearable than some other races.

The weather held up pretty well and we didn't get the downpours we had anticipated - but it was windy and brisk and it did drizzle on us quite a bit during the race.

The 10 Mile Run to the Bluepoint Brewery is put on by the Greater Long Island Running Club (GLIRC) and the Sayville Running Company. It's such a well-organized race (minus the clusterfuck that was the registration process) and this was my second year running it.

Pre-Race
There was a sufficient number of porta-potties and there were lots of wonderfully warm heat lamps in the tents. Bib pick-up/t-shirt pick-up was smooth as was bag drop off. Though the start was a little delayed, there was really nothing to complain about. We semi-joked about the fact that the shirts were cotton, but since lounging in it the rest of the day, I can handle the cotton since it's super soft and comfy. And the logo was pretty sweet.

10 Mile Run to the Bluepoint Brewery

The Race
I love this course. Love love love. It's through a very residential area and is as flat as you could hope for. My favorite part is that there are lots of turns - usually that would bother me, but the way this is set up, each time you turn you have a chance t settle into a new straightaway. I felt that each street we ran down was a fresh start, a new road to tackle, and I was able to take the race step by step instead of getting too ahead of myself.

There were porta-potties on the course as well as water stations and though there weren't very many people out cheering, the ones that were there were enthusiastic and friendly. The course was never over crowded but you were always surrounded by other runners to keep you pushing.

The gray rainy skies detracted from the water-front views, but I still knew it was there!

10 Mile Run to the Bluepoint Brewery

I was hoping to run around an 8:00 pace and with Peter's steady pacing (I don't get why I'm so incapable of running a steady pace) we finished in 1:18:39 for a 7:57 pace. And cheers to negative splitting!

Kind of tempted to buy this one...

Kind of tempted to buy this one...

Post-Race

This is why this race is so popular - free Bluepoint Brewery beer for a solid 2+ hours after the race with an unbelievable spread of post-race eats. Did I mention a phenomenal cover bad?

The free beer isn't just "here, we have this one light beer on tap that you can have in a little plastic cup." It's - "Here, we have a wide variety of delicious craft beer on tap and in 16 oz. cans." The food isn't, "here have a bagel and a banana" its, "Here are some heroes and coffee cake and donuts and BAKED ZITI!"

10 Mile Run to the Bluepoint Brewery

The bag check area had a changing room where runners could get out of their wet clothes and bundle up which was nice.

We had a ton of fun and stayed until noon before heading back to the city.

I finished 4 minutes faster than last years race which was exciting! (2015 I ran the same race in 1:22:06).

10 Mile Run to the Bluepoint Brewery

Race Recap: 5K In Austin, Texas

While I’m in the process of writing up my big, wonderful guide to vacationing in Austin, Texas – since I’m a pro now – I thought I would at least recap the race I ran while I was in the Lone Star State.

For months I planned on running the Decker Half Challenge with Peter – a half marathon known for its extremely hilly terrain. 13.1 miles and the plan was an 8:00 – 8:15 pace. But as the date drew closer, I knew that my legs just didn’t have a half marathon in them.

So I made the call to skip the half and instead, signed up for the Brown Santa 5K starting 15 minutes later at the same location. I hadn’t raced a 5K in a while and was excited to see what would happen.

Unlike the Turkey Trot I ran on Thanksgiving, I was prepared for the hills this time around – though not as prepared as I should have been. I didn’t look at an elevation chart. I didn’t know if the hills would be in the first half or the second half. I just knew there would be hills and I would need to be mentally prepared to see an upward sloping road.  And to not freak out. To not throw in the towel. To just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

We woke up and took an Uber to the race location – the Travis County Expo Center. We watched a beautiful sunrise and were able to hang out in a heated building before the start of the race. The men’s bathroom line was 10X longer than the women’s. There wasn’t a bag check, people just kept their stuff chilling in the expo center. It was not like races I’m used to running.

I gave Peter a good luck hug and as he went to the start of the half with around 900 other runners, I set out for a few laps of the parking lot for a 2 mile warm up (first mile at 8:44 pace and second mile at 8:15 pace). That’s right – I made sure Melissa and Peter forced me to get in a long warm-up.

By the time I finished, there was limited time to take off my layers and get to the start line so I just ditched my pants in the grass – they were there when I finished.

The Brown Santa 5K only had 105 runners and I was able to get a spot right on the start line. The weather was beautiful and the course started off fairly flat while I found a comfortable rhythm.

Or rather, I found a pace that was comfortable for a mile. Not exactly a pace that was sustainable for 3.1 miles.

The course was an out and back and by the time we hit the turn-around I knew I was the first female. A few other runners gave me some cheers as I passed them, and one of the guys in front of me kept walking and would immediately run again as soon as I drew near. That’s when I promised myself I would beat him.

I knew I had gone out too fast and needed to just keep moving. I knew these were pretty legit hills. I knew it was the hardest I had run in a long time. I thought the finish line would never come but I also knew I was moving fast, I was the first female, I had a boy who didn’t want a girl to beat him a few feet ahead of me, and that I would have the rest of the day to relax – I’m happy to report that I gave that finish everything I had and I honestly thought I was going to puke the second I crossed the finish line. 

As I approached the finish line I could hear the MC saying things like, “And here we have our first female! You can see her pony tail bobbing in the distance – she’s hanging in there. Actually, she’s not just hanging in, she’s finishing strong!”

I somehow found a kick that I didn’t think I had in me when he announced my name and that I was from New York. REPRESENT.

I crossed the finish line and immediately saw Melissa standing there which was the icing on top.

Brown Santa 5K

The sprinkles were the trophy and $40 gift card to race sponsor Rogue Running - a running store/crossfit box/yoga studio/community space. I got this amazing Oiselle scarf that I didn't take off the rest of the trip. 

I ended up finishing in 22.13.8 according to my watch which recorded 3.2 miles for a 6:57 pace. The official results on the Brown Santa 5K page say I finished in 21.08.9. Who knows? All I know is my goal is 21:00 or less so I still have some work to do – but this was a huge confidence boost that on the right day with the right course (aka: less hills) I can make that happen. I was the 5th overall finisher and the first female – out of all 105 runners hehe.

Wanna talk about negative splits? Yeah me neither… Mile 1: 6:45 Mile 2: 7:04 Mile 3: 7:11. Nailed it.

While Melissa and I waited for Peter to finish his race, we did one of Chris Mosier’s famous deck of cards workouts in the expo center. In the middle of clamshells and donkey kicks, my phone started ringing and Peter’s name came up on the screen.

I panicked. I thought he was injured or feeling terrible or quitting. But nope, he was asking me how my race went. Can I get a giant AW?

Awwwwwwww.

When I told him I was the first female finisher his response was, “were you the only female finisher?” HA.HA. babe!

Peter was running his race to win the “Call Your Shot” contest – he had predicted his pace and was doing everything he could to hit it perfectly. He had me tracking him and reporting back to him and when Melissa and I got outside to cheer him on at the finish line I jumped in to run a few feet with him – he nailed it and won a free pair of New Balance sneakers!

Decker Half Challenge

So what did we learn? Peter is basically a professional pacer and I am the worst. And next year, the Decker Challenge will include rules to ensure that out of towners don’t win $150 worth of running gear.

The expo after the race was MAGNIFICENT. There were tons of vendors that were extremely chatty and friendly. We got avocado shaped stress balls and free samples of my favorite iced coffee – High Brew!

Did I mention the FREE BEER from a local brewery that we later found out was over 7% alcohol? LOL. We left feeling prettttty smiley.

Decker Half Challenge Austin

Austin Runner’s Club and Rogue Running put on a GREAT race that was super well organized. The race photos were FREE and soo gorgeous!

Decker Half Challenge
Decker Half Challenge

I have a feeling we might find ourselves back there one day…

PS: If you ever see Philosophizer beer by Adelbert’s – buy it buy it buy it because it’s deeee-licious. 

Race Recap - Haunted Island 10K and a Cheating Accusation

This weekend was Halloweekend and if I’m being completely honest, I was way more excited about this little race called the New York City Marathon that happened on Sunday despite Halloween landing smack dab on a Saturday - every college student and twenty-something’s dream. 

Up until this year, Halloween was something I got pretty into. It was an excuse to get friends together, put a lot of planning into my outfit (which can be fun sometimes), eat a lot of candy (fun always) and consume large quantities of alcohol.

Looking back through Halloween pictures of yore makes me feel somewhat nostalgic (except for the year I was in a walking boot with a stress fracture and couldn’t do much of anything) so I’ve assembled a quick trip down memory lane.

But while those Halloweens from the past were fun and all – this year the main focus of the weekend was on racing and running.

Friday night I apparently discovered that the key to a successful race is a giant Two Boots whole wheat pizza with basil, eggplant, mushrooms, onions and artichokes with a side of pesto. Also, red velvet cupcakes and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. 

Two Boots Pizza

Clearly, I was taking this race extremely serious with my fueling strategy. This was to be my first race in over 5 months and I went into expecting a humbling experience and a good indicator of where I am at speed-wise.

Two friends from Connecticut got in around 10:15 that night and we stayed up chatting for a while, so it wasn’t the most sleep I’ve gotten before a race, but still a solid 7 hours.

My favorite socks by Under Armour: "Speed Don't Lie." My favorite race shirt from my first marathon and my favorite shorts by Saucony.

My favorite socks by Under Armour: "Speed Don't Lie." My favorite race shirt from my first marathon and my favorite shorts by Saucony.

I made myself some peanut butter, banana and honey toast with a cup of coffee and definitely did not stretch or foam roll like I promised myself I would.

The journey to Roosevelt Island was an easy one and it was a gorgeous fall morning – crisp and cool but warm in the sun. And I was wearing my favorite color-coordinated outfit. The Halloween race was put on by NYC Runs and they offered both a 5K and a 10K. Everything was well-organized and I loved that it was a smaller race. Tons of people were dressed up and there were hardly any spectators – which meant I got to be front and center as Allison and Kait finished their 5K.

Not a bad morning for a 10K.

Not a bad morning for a 10K.

Once I congratulated them, Allison held my bag while I shed my layers and went for a little warm-up jog. Instead of helping me feel warmed up – I went into a slight panic due to completely numb feet. Luckily I managed to wiggle my toes enough so that by the time I was at the starting line, they had regained feeling. What I didn’t manage to do before I got to the start was that oh-so-important pre-race poop, which I was afraid would end up being an issue for me.

With a really official, “Pretend this is a gun – on your mark, get set, BOOM!” we were off.

The course was two loops with a few wonky little “go down this side street and then make a U-turn at the end so that we can get the right distance” portions – not my favorite type of course but what was awesome was that the course was flat as a pancake! And again, the weather was perfect for racing AND we got to go along the water for a portion of the race which is always pretty.

I tried to start out conservatively but that’s never my specialty. My Garmin informed me that my first mile was a 7:12 and I knew I would be in serious trouble if I kept that up. Luckily, two runners on my right were chatting about how they were going to try to run 7:30s which sounded much more realistic. I creepily paced off of them for the next 3 miles. Around mile 4 I told them they were officially my pacers like a total weirdo and when they asked if I had a goal I said no, but my PR is a 7:19 pace. The man who was clearly better at math than me said that I should think 7:18s and I could definitely get it.

So I pulled away and spent the rest of the race trying to keep two other women slightly ahead of me from getting too far out of reach.

I was feeling wonderful which was such a nice surprise and I was also scared that at any minute I was going to regret running 7:20s. But I just tried to enjoy the strength I was feeling in my legs. There’s something about racing that I just love. I’m a competitive person, and I can say all I want that I’m not there to “race” a race, but without fail once I’m out there – it’s on.

Up until mile 5, it was all about competing against myself. Setting a new PR, proving that I CAN still run fast after months of feeling “meh.” Proving that my work on strengthening my legs and hips has paid off.

And then, something happened.

The woman who I had been trailing the entire race turned around and said, “You better tell them you cut a corner.”

“What?” I asked , completely dumbfounded.

“You cut that corner. You were behind me and then you pulled up ahead.”

In my head, I was thinking, “Uhhh, yeah, it’s called a race and I passed you at some point…”

I thought back over the race and was still genuinely confused so I asked her, “When are you talking about?”

“Mile 3.5”

She sounded so nasty and so vindictive that I really didn’t know how to react.

“Well I’m not trying to win or anything so go ahead!” I yelled.

I was so upset – this has never been my experience with runners and the running community especially at a Halloween run. This woman was dressed up for God’s sake! And I had been planning on complementing her at the end for a really well-run race and for looking great doing it!

Then I got a little pissed.

“Happy Halloween to you too!”

Then, I started thinking that maybe she was doing this as a way to mess with my mental-game. Which is a game that two can play.

“You know, I was going to compliment you on a great race and tell you you looked great doing it. I think you’re just scared I’m going to beat you.”

Ooops.

It just came out.

And as soon as I said it, I regretted it. Because I just gave her all the fuel she needed to kick my butt and I had also given myself a lot more motivation to beat her.

A minute before I had been happily cruising to a PR and now I was scared this race was going to end a lot differently. With me angry and beaten down by this bitchy Wonder Woman.

I got a little teary. In my mind, I had let her take this race away from me. I had let her get in my head and suddenly I was no longer just racing for myself. I was racing to beat her.

But it is what it is – now I knew there was no slowing down that last mile. I stayed close behind her, sure not to pull ahead and give her something to chase.

Luckily for me, I could tell she was fading. I probably could have gone faster overall if I wasn’t playing a strategy game with her, which is frustrating to look back on. But hauling-ass the second I saw that finish line and leaving her in the dust felt damn good, I won’t lie.

NYCRuns Haunted Island 10K Roosevelt Island

And I still managed an 8 second PR – which was 2347293748 X more exciting to me.  

Of course, she immediately went to the race director who pulled me aside and asked if I had gone around the lighthouse two times. Yes, I most certainly did because I vividly remember the amazing volunteer stationed there who jogged in place the entire time and said, “I’m still going with you!” I thanked her for being out there both times I passed.

I told the race director that I totally understood if they had an issue giving me an award and he said they would look at the splits and that would make it very obvious if I had cut any corners.

Apparently, the clock told them all they needed to know and I received my plaque for 2nd place female ages 20-29.

My plaque matched my shirt!

My plaque matched my shirt!

And Wonder Woman got hers for first place female ages 40-49. Which she more than deserved.

She ensured that I finished with a major kick at the end – which is my favorite way to cross a finish line, so for that – I thank her. I legit blacked out those last 100 meters so THANKS ALLISON for these baller pictures.

NYC Runs had lots of candy, fruit and bagels afterwards along with a fun costume contest. It was a great way to spend Halloween and I even got to take the Roosevelt Island tram for the first time on our way home! It was anticlimactic but still a nice change from the underground subway.

The entire rest of the weekend was spent drinking and eating to celebrate Halloween and the NYC Marathon. There were Bloody Mary’s, nachos, brownies, Chipotle ($3 on Halloween, duh!) ciders and obviously 16 Handles (twice).

Congratulations to everyone who took on the five boroughs on Sunday– it was a beautiful day and I loved getting to give a giant hug to some of my favorite marathoners at the after party!

I know runner's are crazy, but come on!

I know runner's are crazy, but come on!

 

Brooklyn Half Race Recap

Just 2 weeks after running the Pittsburgh Marathon, FOMO motivated me to run the Airbmb Brooklyn Half Marathon - the largest half marathon in the country. A group of over 60 NPers were out both running the race, and volunteering at a water station - so I bit the bullet, paid the non-NYRR member entry fee, and began to dread the journey to Brooklyn. 

Between Pittsburgh and Brooklyn I didn't run much at all, figuring that giving my legs some time to rest was going to help me in Brooklyn more than making them even more sore and sleepy. 

Given my experience at the Brooklyn Half last year, I'm completely shocked that I wanted to go through the experience again. But that's the funny thing about races - you stress before them, you're miserable during them, the logistics frustrate the hell out of you, and then you cross the finish line and you're ready to sign up for another one.  

Like last year, packet pick-up was only offered at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Looking back on my recap of the 2014 Brooklyn Half, I find it funny that I wrote, "the view was AWESOME! Had it been a nicer night, and had I been there with a group of people, I definitely would have loved to stay, had a drink, eaten some Chickpea and Olive, and enjoyed the music." 

This year, the weather was nicer and I was with Peter, who I convinced to try Chickpea and Olive (I loved mine, he wasn't sold), while we sat outside and listened to the music (and got two free ice cream cones each). 

(If you haven't tried anything from Chickpea and Olive - you need too! They make their patties out of beets and they're amazing!)



The morning of the race a big group of Upper East Side NPers met at the subway pre-5:00 a.m. to trek to Brooklyn. We had prepared ourselves for miserably packed subway cars - but shockingly, it really wasn't bad at all! When we got off the subway we were very close to security and bag drop (much closer than last year). We took some pictures and headed to our corrals. 



I desperately needed to use the bathroom, but the line for the portapotties snaked through the corral and barely moved. I legitimately almost cried at one point. It was miserable. 

Once I went we stood and waited for the start! Peter was still recovering from  being really sick, so he was going to try to pace me/keep me going. I didn't have a strict "goal" time, I just wanted to run fast (but not stupid). Peter's job was to NOT let me go out like I did in Pittsburgh. 

The first half of the Brooklyn Half is an awesome course through Prospect Park. There's a "hill" that people complain about/dread but after months of training in Central Park, it was nothing. The weather was nice, the spectators were great, I was with Peter, and I was genuinely enjoying myself. The course wasn't as crowded as I remembered it being last year, probably because of the two different start waves. 




Around mile 6/7 I started to lag behind Peter a little and he seemed to be feeling good, so I begged him to just stop looking back to make sure I was with him and to run his own race. I had just had an amazing Pittsburgh, and I wanted him to have an amazing race. He said "Ok" but I didn't believe him for a minute. 

Once you're out of the park, the course gets slightly less exciting. Ok, a lot less exciting. The spectators are gone and you're on a long, flat stretch of highway. Around mile 10 I knew exactly what Peter was doing - he was staying just far enough ahead of me that I would keep trying to hang with him. And it was working, except for the fact that my IT band was absolutely screaming at me, causing me to limp at some points. I knew I only had 3 miles left and then I could rest for as long as I needed so I pushed ahead and eventually Peter let me catch up to him so we could chase down the finish line. We were both wanting to cry a little at that point I think, but we pushed each other as it started to pour rain and we turned onto the Coney Island Boardwalk. I love the ending of this race - it's full of people cheering and it's such a cool place to cross a finish line. I only wish the turn onto the boardwalk weren't so narrow - it slows you down right at the moment you want to be breaking into your final sprint. 

Peter crossed a second before me, and I finished in 1:40:34 (a pace of 7:41). I was extremely happy. And extremely wet. 


Rain!

Luckily, within a few minutes of finishing, the rain let up as we went to get our bags.  Unlike last year, when I had to wait over an hour for my bag to turn up, this was an extremely easy bag pick up. 




Once we had our bags and our pictures, it was time to celebrate with some giant beers. The sun came out and felt amazing - if I were to describe my perfect day, it would probably be running a race before some serious day drinking. Nothing better. 



(I think we both agree that this was a fun day)

NYRR - bravo on all the improvements to the Brooklyn Half - I'll definitely be back next year! My goal after 2014 was 1:45:00 or faster.  New goal? 1:38:00 (I want a 7:30 pace!) 

*Thank you for pretending this race recap isn't approximately 2 months over due...



Pittsburgh Marathon Part 2

At around mile 4, on the 2nd bridge, I started looking for Peter and Erin since they planned to be there. Eventually, I spotted them standing on the side of the bridge. I yelled, but neither of them saw or heard me. So I jumped into the air, waved my hands, screamed Peter, and got their attention. I was so excited. Maybe leaping into the air and flailing my arms like a crazy octopus wasn’t the best energy-conservation strategy but the pay-off – getting a second to make eye contact and smile at both of them, was totally worth it. 


After that bridge, we went right over a 3rd bridge – they weren’t bad at all. The race was still flying along at this point- the bridges were short and had basically no incline. My memory of everything after that point is vague with a few moments that stick out for one reason or another. Here are those random moments that I can clearly remember:

Around mile 6 there was a turn and a big downhill. Waiting at the bottom of the hill was a band and a big cheer section. It was an exciting, “Woohoo running marathons is fun!” moment. It was probably the last time I thought that until I crossed the finish line.

At mile 9 I took my first gel because I knew mile 12 was where the big hill was. I wanted to give it 20 minutes to kick in. I passed a photographer while I was eating it and totally hammed it up for the camera.

Someone was holding a sign that said “Smile if you peed yourself!” I thought it was a little too soon for someone to have peed themselves, but laughed at the sign. Foreshadowing.

There was a sprinkler archway set up for us to run through and when I passed under it, the water was ICE cold – it literally took my breath away and it was scary to stop breathing for a second as you’re running and not be able to catch your breath.

Also around mile 9 I caught up to the 8:40 pace group (that’s how far behind the 3:35 guy had lined up in the corral. I stayed with the group for about a mile and the girl who had left the 3:35 group with me was there too.  We exchanged a, “holy shit that pacer was so far back,” confirmed that our watches had the same time, and eventually lost each other. 

Looking back, this was the moment I should have relaxed, stuck with the 3:40 pace group the rest of the race, and probably would have qualified for Boston. That’s not what I did, however. I got impatient and continued to run far too fast for the first half of the race.

Miles 5-10 were run at the following paces: 7:46, 7:37, 7:33, 7:55, 7:43, 7:42.

The bridge leading up to the mile 12 hill wasn’t bad at all.  The mile 12 hill was like a 2 part hill (similar to Harlem Hill). The first part gave me a false sense of security that I was going to be fine. Then I rounded the corner and saw the second half looming in front of me and thought grrrrrreat. But I made it up and over without too much trouble.

I felt good for a few more miles, but I could tell I was running out of steam. I just kept telling myself to get to Peter and Erin at mile 15ish, and then I would get an energy boost and feel better. Miles 11-15 were 7:42, 8:11, 7:55, 8:11, and 7:48.

I didn’t see Erin and Peter again, but I did take another gel, hoping it would give me a boost. I was really starting to feel awful. There was no specific pain anywhere and my breathing was fine but my body was just tired and my legs didn’t want to turn over as fast as I had been asking them to. At the end of the race if you had asked me to guess where I started to slow down, I probably would have said mile 15, but it turns out miles 16-18 were still pretty fast at 7:54, 7:56, and 8:01. But mentally, I knew the rest of the race was going to suck. I had burnt out. I also really had to pee.

I can’t say when exactly it happened, but I knew I was going to have to pee, and I knew that I was very close to a BQ finish time – so there was no way I was stopping at wasting precious time at a portapotty. I grabbed a stick of Vaseline from someone at a fluid station and rubbed it on my thighs in case I had the guts to actually follow-through with the peeing as you run thing. It happened, people. At first it was pretty contained and I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but then my bladder was like, “Oh you’re letting this happen? K, we actually have another gallon of urine, comin’ right up.” There’s no way people that I passed didn’t know what was happening, but I was oddly ok with it in the moment. And I guessed it meant I had been drinking enough water? 

Speaking of water, I was also really proud of my grabbing water cups on the run, folding it in half, holding the top half closed, drinking it sideways technique. It was pretty solid. Plus it was really hot out and whatever I spilled all over myself felt great. There were also people handing out some ice cold towels which felt amazing around my neck. I also used one and attempted to clean my legs off a little…

It was sunny and it was pretty damn hot. I had lost the arm warmers really early on in the race.

Mile 19 on was where it was REALLY bad. I never ever thought I would come as close as I did to walking. One minute I was telling myself, “RUN FASTER YOU IDIOT! You can BQ! Leave it all out on the course! You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t give this everything you’ve got!” And the next minute I was telling myself, “There’s no way you’re BQing at this point, just walk and try not to be so hard on yourself- it’s not happening, you already ruined it, what’s the point just walk a little.” Back and forth, those two schools of thought battled it out in my head for 8 miles, while my legs battled the hilly back end of the course.

I waited for that moment I had in Wineglass where the pain didn’t matter and I just “ran with my heart.” There were brief spurts where I was able to pick up the pace but I couldn’t sustain it more than a few seconds. 19-24 paces were 8:18, 8:52, 8:47, 8:50, 9:05, 8:46.

I would pass spectators who would cheer me on, tell me how great my pace was, tell me I could do it and I wanted to badly to believe that I could still come in under that 3:35 mark.  Even if I ran a typically easy pace for me, I could have done it. But nope, 9 minute miles were all I had left. Every, “You look great!” cheer just made me want to cry because a) I knew I didn’t look great and b) I sure as hell didn’t feel great. As a shuffled my feet one in front of the other some people told me to pick it up, we’re at the end, you got this, let’s go – further proof that I looked like I was hurtin’ and as I passed some people I did the same for them.

Around mile 24 the 3:35 group came up behind me. Of course my heart wanted to finish strong with them, but it honestly just wasn’t possible. The 8:40 group came along shortly after that, and I put in a little more of an effort to stay with them, but that wasn’t sustainable either.

At Wineglass, I ran the last 2 miles like I was never going to run again – I blew past that finish line so strong. But no amount of cheering spectators or internal mantras could get my legs to move any faster in Pittsburgh.  

I saw Peter and Erin as I came to the finish line and I made a “I’m gunna die” face (I’m sure it was super adorable!) When I crossed the finish line, I’m happy to say I wasn’t sad and disappointed that I didn’t BQ – that was never the goal. 


I did PR by a TON, I completed my second marathon, I ran my own race, I learned a ton about race strategy, I had PEED MYSELF, and I knew that I had given it all that I had  - there was just nothing left to give by the end. My last two miles were 9:26 and 8:56.



When I crossed the finish line in 3:37:03, I was way out of it. I felt like everything was really far away, and my legs – oh my freaking legs. Volunteers helped me shuffle away but I really was on the verge of collapsing. I stubbornly told them I was fine, but I really probably could have used a medical tent. Everything was so tight and hurt more than I’ve ever experienced.

I got my medal (SO HEAVY!) and remember thinking “Seriously? A banana? I DON’T WANT YOUR BANANA.” Wineglass had soup and pizza and other delicious things. 
Pittsburgh – a banana. Not amused. Anyway, I chugged some Gatorade, chugged a water bottle, and was happy to see smiley face cookies and Panera bagels (mmm cinnamon crunch bagel!) At least a little better than a damn banana.

I just wanted to get to the finisher’s festival, but the walk there seemed to last for years. I stopped to have some pictures taken but the whole time I was on the verge of tears. We had planned to meet in the finisher’s festival near the family reunion area but luckily, Peter found be before that point and I basically collapsed into him and I don’t know how I wasn’t sobbing, I think it would have taken too much energy. I was so glad to see him, I was in so much pain, and he was saying such nice things about how well I’d done and how proud he was.  And he got me a TEDDY BEAR which I clutched the rest of the afternoon and he took all my pictures with me. His name is still being negotiated.


When we found an area to sit down I literally need Peter to pick me up and put me down, I couldn’t just squat to sit down. They just hurt. So, so badly. About 5 minutes into him trying to massage some life back into them, I let him know that I had peed all over myself. I was horrified and felt so bad but he just laughed at me and gave me a kiss and I think that’s pretty much proof of how amazingly wonderful he is.


Once Melissa finished, Erin met up with us and I get in line for the massage tent. Melissa found us and joined us in line as Pure Protein bars were pushed on us (not delicious). It was such a gorgeous sunny day, there was music, and I finally started to feel that “post-marathon high” that is the reason I will certainly be signing up for another one. Peter went and got my medal engraved, because again, he’s the best.



My massage was OK but not amazing and it didn’t make me feel any better afterwards, but the lady was nice. We met up with Taylor, took some pictures, and headed back to the car. 


Walking was less torturous than right after I finished. Peter and Erin walked up the parking garage to get our bags since I definitely wasn’t about to tackle stairs yet. We took some more pictures in front of the bridge and headed to brunch!


Brunch was wonderful, because we met up with the rest of the November Project people who had run – Natasha, Emily, Nina all ran the half and Taylor, Laura, myself and Melissa had run the full. Plus, Myles, Peter and Erin, Taylor’s boyfriend, and three of Peter’s friends who live in Pittsburgh. It was a partay!

We went to a place called Sonoma Grille that I had found online – for $23 you got an appetizer, entrée and brunch cocktail! Everything on the menu sounded so good, but I ended up ordering the Crab Tian – lump crab, avocado, onion, cilantro, chili oil and sesame crisp. This was killer.  SO much crab. So much avocado.


The entrée I chose was the Kurobuta Benedict – it came with big hunks of pork that were cooked really well, but it was a little much. I preferred the quail eggs and asparagus muffin it came with. The Hollandaise Curry Sauce was a bit of a letdown because it didn’t taste much like curry to me.


I was also bummed that the Bloody Mary tasted overwhelmingly of Worcestershire sauce. That didn’t stop me from eating it, of course.


After brunch we headed back to Erin’s and I promptly showered and organized all my things so that it would be done and I wouldn’t have to think about it again. We sat outside on the porch in the beautiful sunshine and Erin’s family had an delicious outdoor dinner for us – complete with beers and wine, obviously.


Also obviously, dessert. Brownie sundaes! The brownies were Ghirardelli and soooo yum.

(Such a beautiful night!)

It was, understandably, a pretty early night. I was looking forward to a great night’s sleep, but I tossed and turned all night because everything hurt so badly – every time I went to kick the sheet away, it literally felt like I was being stabbed. It was not the wonderful post marathon sleep I had expected, sadly.

(Bye Sophie! :(

In the morning we got on the road (after getting salted caramel iced coffee) and made a stop at Penn State to eat at Waffle Shop (Peter and I ordered ALL THE FOOD) and then Peter drove us through the campus. 

(Eggs, bacon, English Muffin, Home fries, French Toast AND blueberry pancakes)

(Ice Dancing)

It was a long day. After like 9 hours, we got the car back to Long Island and had dinner at Peter’s parent’s house. Lasagna was everything I needed. Next, it was the train to Penn Station, subway to my apartment, cab to Peter’s. Going up stairs wasn’t awful, though it was definitely slow going. Down stairs was a different story. It was SO ROUGH.

Tuesday night I jogged a mile and Wednesday I jogged less than a mile. My first real run since the marathon was Saturday when Melissa and I did 5 miles in the park. My quads are FINALLY feeling almost completely normal. Next weekend is the Brooklyn Half Marathon, so I hope I’m ready to go!

I also said I wasn’t racing in Brooklyn, but now that I know how fast I was able to run the first 18 miles of my marathon, I want to see what I can do in a half!

Overall, Pittsburgh was an amazing weekend. Being there with Peter, Erin and Melissa made me feel so relaxed. The weather was beautiful. Everything was well organized. The course was challenging and I am so so happy to have shaved 12+ minutes off my PR time. I’m not done with marathons yet, that’s for sure.


There’s so many people who encourage and inspire me to get up and run at 6:00 a.m., in the freezing cold, for 3 hours. There’s so many people who encourage and inspire me to go to bed early, to choose race registration fees over nights out, to keep myself healthy. Running and marathon training has completely changed my way of life in so many ways and I’m so happy to be a marathoner. 

(These are our Saturday nights and I LOVE IT)



Pittsburgh Marathon Part 1

If we’re being honest, putting my fingers to the keyboard to type up a recap of last weekend is an extremely daunting task. I hope you’re somewhere comfortable, or have something that you’re really trying to avoid doing, because this is going to be long.

I spent all of last week slowly packing. By Thursday night, my Vera Bradley duffel bag and my backpack were stuffed with every running-related item that I owned, “Just in case.” Ice packs, ace bandages, icy hot, compression socks, foam roller, 4 different outfit possibilities, 3 pairs of sneakers – and did I mention all of the food I brought? My own Ziploc bags of quinoa, oatmeal and carrots (none of which I ended up eating, for the record). There was pita bread and Gatorades and 6 pairs of socks (because obviously you can’t buy Gatorade in Pittsburgh…) It was a small miracle that I contained everything to two bags.

Friday at 3 I left the office (got a good luck hug from Tiffanie!), walking slowly under the weight of all my extremely necessary luggage, and made my way uptown to Peter’s apartment, where his parents had just arrived to drop off his car for us.  We settled in for a long drive (Long Drive – Jason Mraz, quality song that you should download) through the incredibly large state of Pennsylvania.

(Thanks for the hug!)


Our first stop was somewhere in Jersey because Mr. Caffeine needed a hit. As we left Dunkin Donuts, Peter told me to, “Do something funny in front of my car!” Naturally, I climbed onto the hood of the silver car in front of me, only to realize as a man walked by that I was in fact sitting on the hood of a stranger’s car. Good one, Lauren.

(This was actually Peter's car...)

Once we got out of New York/New Jersey it was smooth sailing. We made another pit stop in the Poconos at, you guessed it, Dunkin Donuts, where I changed into my comfy clothes and squeezed my legs into compression socks.

(The drive was beautiful! I took approximately 173 sunset pictures, just ask Peter!)

Next stop was dinner near State College aka Penn State aka Peter’s Alma Mater. I loved listening to his trip down memory lane and seriously wished I had toured Penn State as a high school junior/senior. I had zero interest in going to a big school, but damn, that place is kind of amazing. We sat and ate at Panera and I was reminded that Panera is an underrated fast-casual restaurant that’s actually really really delicious, healthy and wholesome. I had half of a turkey/cranberry flatbread and the chicken hummus power bowl – I loved that the salad was legitimately baby spinach, cucumbers, tomato, chicken, hummus, and a lemon. Not drenched in some fake dressing that probably would have wreaked havoc on my stomach come race day.


Around midnight, we made it to Sewickley, the suburb outside of Pittsburgh where my friend and roommate Erin grew up. Her and Melissa had taken a bus there earlier in the day. Erin showed us where we would be staying in her giant, beautiful, amazing, maze of a Victorian house and we went straight to sleep with plans to wake up around 9 to head out to the expo and Saturday market nice and early. Right before bed Peter gave me a note to read that got me really excited for Sunday, calmed some of my nerves, and reminded me again of just how glad I was that he was there for this, even though he couldn’t run the half marathon like he planned. The note ended with my favorite running quote lately,

“Who of us hasn’t considered how our peers will react to our performance in a given race, whether good or bad? And in those moments, whom are we ultimately running for? The sport is difficult enough as it is; doing it for anyone but ourselves makes it unsustainable.”

I woke up, showered, and went downstairs with my Ziploc back of oatmeal to find Melissa, Erin and Erin’s mom standing around a griddle making banana and strawberry pancakes. Erin’s family makes their pancakes with oil instead of butter too (the best way to make pancakes, trust me). I chose pancakes over oatmeal and Melissa and I did some serious damage – soo many pancakes were consumed in the pretty sun room while the new Australian Shepherd puppy Sophie provided entertainment (Erin’s parents picked her up on Friday and she was the sweetest thing ever!)

(Flowers, puppies, pancakes - perfect start to the day!)

It took us a little longer to get going than we anticipated but eventually, we piled in the car and made our way to Pittsburgh. Along the way Erin showed us the ginormous homes of people like Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux (no big deal, just a hockey rink complete with Zambonis in the backyard!) We also stopped at Sheetz which is like a 7-11 on crack. Apparently Sheetz vs. WaWa is the big debate in Pennsylvania. I didn’t end up trying anything from either, so I can’t make any judgments.

(F'Real f'real?)

We entered the city and it was so much prettier than I had expected – 3 rivers, tons of bridges, and a beautifully sunny day – Pittsburgh was picture-perfect. We parked near the Strip District and walked along all of the booths/shops. I was overwhelmed by all the delicious food, but I was still so stuffed with pancakes that I managed not to buy anything (except a toothbrush, because I somehow succeeded in forgetting something while simultaneously packing everything).


With my eyes, I ate baklava, pastries, lobster rolls, olives, fudge and more. Then, we walked over to the convention center for the EXPO! After seeing the Boston Marathon expo just two weekends earlier, the Pittsburgh Marathon had a lot to live up to – overall, I thought it was pretty good! We first walked in and got our bibs which was easy enough. Unfortunately, I had ordered a small shirt instead of an extra small since the ones from Wineglass were so teeny tiny and when I went to swap it at the shirt exchange table, there were no extra smalls to be found. Oh well! Another thing Melissa and I were bummed with was the fact that the girls and guys shirts were different colors – the guys had green and the girls had pink. Sexist! Although green is my favorite color, I still like the pink shirt.


After walking around and having some samples (why do protein bars taste so bad?) I fell in love with a Nike Pittsburgh Marathon t-shirt but convinced myself I have a million exercise clothes and don’t need any more. 


Peter was still really sick, but being a trooper as we dragged him around. We sat down while Melissa and Erin got the car and we made our way home.

I made a turkey sandwich, did some organizing of all my things, painted my nails, and had a serious discussion with Melissa about which of my four outfit options I was going to wear. After a lot of back and forth, some modeling for the group and some jogging in place, I decided to go with the same outfit I had worn for my first marathon. Original, Lauren. But at least I knew that I would be comfortable and it was one less thing I had to worry about bothering me during 4 hours of running.

We sat outside on the beautiful porch for a little while before heading inside to watch the Kentucky Derby! It’s crazy to think a) how long the race has been going on b) how much money is at stake c) how short the jockeys are. I still have so many good memories from going to Saratoga when I was younger and I’ve really been meaning to make a trip to Belmont one of these days! Mainly for the outdoor drinking if we’re being real.

Anyway. Erin and her parents went out for a family dinner and Peter, Melissa and I headed to the grocery store for dinner supplies. Since Peter’s throat was hurting so much, his dinner was a lot of ice cream and soup. Melissa and I made a pretty delicious meal of rotisserie chicken and sautéed veggies. Easy peasy. I ate my chicken on a whole wheat pita with guacamole and had some veggies on the side. We each had a spoonful of Phish Food ice cream because – because.


Next up was reading the card Rebecca had given Melissa and I and attempting some foam rolling.  All the foam rolling did was make me panic about tight/sore spots which Peter reminded me weren’t going to go away at this point so it was no use worrying about them. What was going to happen in the morning was going to happen. But while I was foam rolling, Sophie totally thought I was another puppy and all she wanted to do was play/attack me. TOO CUTE I TELL YA!



I went up to bed and Peter and I read through “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances” quickly. I’m so glad Peter thought to pack it because it was just what I needed – to laugh at the craziness that is training for and running marathons, to remember the amazing sense of accomplishment and peace I feel while running, and to remember not to take it all so seriously. Shockingly, I fell asleep pretty easily. I woke up a couple of times throughout the night to use the bathroom, so I suppose my pre-race day hydration had been successful.

(Ready or not, here I come!)
At 5 a.m., my alarm was going off. The first thing I did was read the card from Kayla and Jess. Then, I was pinning a bib to my shirt, putting on my throwaway sweatshirt, grabbing my bag, and walking down the stairs for breakfast. Ok, there were a few other steps in there, like brushing my teeth, putting my watch on, etc. But you get the point. 

I was so worried about my stomach after the Wineglass Marathon and Brooklyn Half Marathon. I just prayed #2 wouldn’t be an issue this time around. Like I said, I never really figured out my nutrition situation, so I was winging it. I had some Kashi cereal and crossed my fingers.

Then it was time to put on my Tattly temporary tattoo! It said, "OKAY LETS DO THIS" and I loved it. 


The four of us hopped in Erin’s car and we were off. The traffic was fine and we drove to the second or third parking garage off the highway and had no trouble finding a spot. Just like at Wineglass, I had a last minute struggle about using my Goodwill Chobani half-zip as a throwaway and decided against it. Unlike at Wineglass, it wasn’t freezing cold out. I was fine in my shorts, arm sleeves, and heatsheet from an old race. I left my phone behind with Peter, but had decided to run with my Spibelt – 3 gels, a tampon, ID and debit card. I was ready.

We walked towards the corrals and I gave our adoring fans (Erin and Peter) hugs and kisses goodbye. (I hugged Erin, kissed Peter, in case there was a question about that…)


(Mt 99 cent knee socks/arm warmers are AWESOME don't deny it)

Melissa and I ran into Taylor in line for the portapotty and chatted while I anxiously awaited the moment of truth – would I be able to go to the bathroom before the race, and would that be enough? (If you’re not comfortable reading about my bodily functions as they relate to running, then you’re probably not going to love around mile 17 of this race recap, just a heads up). Answer: I was able to go. I breathed a sigh of relief and we walked to corral B.

The corral was a little bit of a mess. We couldn’t find any pacers. I had told myself I wanted to find the 3:40 pacer to go out conservatively and if I felt amazing somehow, I would chase down the 3:35 group later in the race. Qualifying for Boston was a goal I wouldn’t even let myself consider because I knew I would most likely end up disappointed if I went in with that as my goal. Of course, the only pacer I saw in the entire corral was the 3:35 pacer. And of course, I couldn’t resist lining up near him to see how it went.

Without much fanfare, the race started. And it was packed. It was hard to run very fast at all, and dodging people to keep the pacer in sight was stressful. Eventually, I started to notice everyone around me making comments about our group – wondering why we were so far back. I pushed it out of my mind and tried to ignore it, but if became more and more obvious that we were fighting to navigate through a crowd of people that were much slower than us. At some point in the first 1-2 miles I saw Melissa which was exciting. But then it was back to worrying as I literally heard someone say, “That pacer’s broken!”

The first 3 miles flew by. Literally, I don’t know how they went by in such a blur. It was on the first bridge at mile 3 that I finally took some of the words Peter had said to me and decided to go with them: “Run your own race.”  The whole pace group situation was stressing me out and I didn’t want to be mentally frazzled, especially since my legs were feeling good. So I took off on my own. Another girl who had started near me did the same, and we chatted for a brief moment about how concerned we were the 3:35 pacer and how off he already was. I wish I had gotten her bib number so I could see how she finished, because I know she kicked my butt and I should have stayed with her!

Anyway, with the pacer behind me, I picked up speed. Too much speed. While my first 3 miles with the pacer were 8:37, 8:27, 8:18 (totally not a reason for me to have been freaking out, by the way…) my pace dropped to 7:26 when I went off on my own. Sure it felt fine at the time, but to think that I was going to be able to sustain that was stupid.


At around mile 4, on the 2nd bridge, I started looking for Peter and Erin since they planned to be there. Eventually, I spotted them standing on the side of the bridge. I yelled, but neither of them saw or heard me. So I jumped into the air, waved my hands, screamed Peter, and got their attention. I was so excited. Maybe leaping into the air and flailing my arms like a crazy octopus wasn’t the best energy-conservation strategy but the pay-off – getting a second to make eye contact and smile at both of them, was totally worth it. 


To be continued!

The Run I've Been Waiting For

So, since my last running update, I successfully rested for a (pretty) solid 10 days. 

That's actually huge for me and was shockingly not too torturous considering for 4 of those days I was sick and couldn't imagine running anyway. 

Somewhere in those 10 days I had a verrrrry slow jogging November Project workout in San Francisco (I picked my damn hotel based on the fact that it was .8 miles from NP, there was no way I was going to miss it).

(#WakeUpTheSun)

And then on the 11th day I ran 3 miles to November Project NYC's workout to see how I was feeling and whether or not I thought I could run the 25K I was registered to run on March 1 on Long Island. 



(More NP fun)

Friday's 3 miles felt lovely, and so I headed to Long Island Saturday night, telling myself I would see how Sunday's race went - no expectations. No getting my hopes up. If I didn't finish all 15.5 miles, fine. This was a long run, not a race. I half expected to go out, take a few strides, feel pain in my shins, and retire to the car while Peter finished. 

Instead, I cautiously began to realize I was feeling...great? Peter kept telling me we were pushing 8:00 and I was trying to slow down but it just wasn't happening. At one point I even said, "I feel like when I relax and try to slow down I just go faster!" 

This was the run I have been waiting for. The run that just felt right and good and wonderful. Challenging, but amazing. At one point I looked at my watch and saw something that I haven't seen in what feels like forever - a pace in the 7's. 

For about 9-10 miles I was on cloud 9, cruising right along. Of course, it had to come to an end at some point, and at around mile 10 my Achilles and IT band started hurting pretty badly (because it's always something new!) 

The last half mile or so of the course was on rocky/bumpy/icy/puddly trail-like terrain and since I have weak ankles, it was really doing a number on my legs. That's when things hurt the most, and between miles 10-12 every step I switched between "You better not finish the last 5K loop Lauren, don't be stupid" and "OK, you're fine, you got this, your legs are just achy from running a long distance." At one point I told Peter, "Don't let me finish all 15.5 miles." Well, as we got to the start of the last loop, I of course informed him, "I'm finishing." Miles 12 - 15 were pretty good, and the last .5 on that damn shitty trail killed, but we celebrated Peter's longest run at 13.2 miles and we finished at a full-out run, crossing the finish line at 2:09:28. 


We cooled down with a little jog and stretch and then walked back to the food table where I gleefully exclaimed, "ARE THOSE PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA SANDWICHES?" Best race ever. 

But for real, this was my second GLIRC (Greater Long Island Running Club) race and both were excellently organized with really nice courses. The 25K was 5 5K loops through Caumsett State Park and it was really pretty with some rolling hills but nothing too challenging. The heaters in the tent weren't working, but the post-race heroes and snacks, small-town feel, and relatively convenient parking situation more than made up for it. 

The elites were a little sassy, and I lost feeling in my hands walking back to the car, but overall, it was a wonderful day. Oh, and did I mention that when Peter and I were in the tent loading up on snacks, we both heard our names announced as first in our age groups? Cherry on top! 



(Pace = 8:21 suhweeeeet)

I was so exhausted the rest of the day, but not too exhausted to eat approximately every 20 minutes. 




(Home sweet Long Island)

This morning, I woke up pretttttty damn achy. I'm working at NY Running Co. tonight and hoping there's some serious down time for foam rolling... my Achilles is the real thing concerning me and bothering me at the moment so fingers crossed some stretching and a day off will help. And, YOGA TOMORROW. Ew.

AND HI LOOK AT MY RUNNING WALL IN MY ROOM. 


I may or may not have used a wine rack as a sneaker tree and a scarf hanger as a medal display...

A Muddled Training and Injury Update

I don’t have a good enough memory to start where I left off back in December, so I’m just going to backtrack to January 12, when I officially started my training schedule for the Pittsburgh Marathon. I’m all set up with a 16 week training plan courtesy of the amazing NYRR Coach John.

This is my first time using the NYRR Virtual Training program, and it is way more awesome than I had even expected it to be. Each day, I’m given not only my mileage, but how it should be run. An easy day, marathon tempo pickups, intervals, hills? It’s all spelled out for me, complete with pace ranges!


As convenient as it is – it’s been hard for me to try not to get too wrapped up in all of the numbers. I successfully ran a marathon without worrying about the pace of each 1000 meters that I ran, and I can do it again. Having all this extra information and data is certainly helpful, and hopefully will help me improve as a runner, but it can also be overwhelming, especially when I’m injured. A lot of the suggested paces are what I was running before Wine Glass and now, with all the leg issues I’ve been having, they’re just not possible for me. It’s been discouraging, and I’m considering switching my program to the “conservative” track. 

Pittsburgh was never a “need to run this fast and BQ” race for me- I want to be healthy enough to run another fall marathon and use that to crush it and Boston Qualify. And in order to make that happen, I need to not kill myself training for Pittsburgh. I’m trying to keep telling myself that- but I’m stubborn and when I see that’s I’m scheduled to run 6 miles, I’m most likely going to run 6 miles whether it’s smart or not. It sounds stupid, I know. And it is stupid.

But while the virtual training program may be a little overwhelming and discouraging for now – it DOES tell me all the right things, like, “Remember to not be too rigid with your training. If you're feeling fatigued or feel a pain, by all means cut the run short. Sometimes we get so caught up in hitting a mileage goal that we lose sight of what our body is telling us.” 

I just need to work on believing that even if I miss a bunch of training runs by taking some time off/taking it easy – I’m in shape, I’m a good runner, and I will probably be OK to run Pittsburgh.

Also adding to the overabundance of data is the fact that for Christmas, I got the Garmin 220! My first run with it was Christmas morning and I was totally surprised to see what my pace actually was - MapMyRun had me feelin' like Meb and Garmin brought me back down to earth reallllll fast. As much as it sucked seeing those numbers, I'm glad that I can feel confident in what my watch is telling me. So far, KNOCK ON WOOD, I have had zero issues with my watch connecting to satellites and I love it so far. 

(What do you mean I'm not running 7:50 miles Garmin?!)

My training for Pittsburgh got off to a good start on January 12 – I was traveling for work, but I still managed to get my first 9 workouts in as planned, with additional strength training. I was ready to rock and roll. 

(Training schedule- check! Amazing necklace engraved with "Wineglass Marathon" and my finish time from my parents- check! Wonderful reading courtesy of Peter- check! Garmin- check! Awesome training journal from Laura- check!)
(Makin' it happen on the road)

My first long run was scheduled as a 6 miler, but months ago I had signed up for the Bluepoint Brewery 10-Miler out on Long Island (full review to come). So instead of sticking to the plan and starting off with a nice, easy, 6 miles – I went out and raced 10 miles. Those 10 miles didn’t feel good. At all. My calves were extremely tight and my shins were in a lot of pain. But I thought I was fine, because I finished.
(I also probably thought I was fine because I chugged two beers after crossing the finish line and was drunk at 10:30 a.m.)

The next day, I ran 2.7 miles to get to work at NY Running Co. Felt pretty OK. Monday, headed to Central Park for my scheduled 5 miles and as soon as I started, something in the arch of my right foot started hurting. It wasn’t the usual tight/sore/achy hurt that I’ve just learned to accept in other part of my legs. This was pain. And that difference right there is why I should have stopped. But instead I finished my 5 miles. Walking around doing errands the rest of the day was seriously painful.

So painful, that I very uncharacteristically called and made an appointment with an orthopedist the following morning. I was convinced this wasn’t something that would just go away and while I didn’t want to get bad news, I also wanted to know what the hell was up- I’ve never had foot issues before. Every other part of my legs, yes. Foot? Usually fine.

I went to the doctor that a friend had recommended to me and she was really nice- totally understood my panic at being only 1 week into marathon training and having to come in to see her. After x-rays and some ultrasound, she told me it was either tendinitis (not the worst thing in the world) or a stress fracture (the worst thing in the world). So she put me in a walking boot and told me to get an MRI. Well, of course by the time I got the authorization for an MRI, I was leaving on a work trip the next day, so the MRI would have to wait and I would have to work for a week in a boot.

I stubbornly continued to get in any and all cardio that I could while in the boot.

On Wednesday of that week, I did 15 minutes on the elliptical IN A BOOT. 15 minutes of rowing IN A BOOT. And some ab and arm exercises. Rowing and using the elliptical with a boot was oddly not that difficult.


(Nothin' to see here...completely normal...)

Thursday I did 30 minutes rowing, 15 minutes stationary bike, a tricep circuit, and fire hydrants, donkey kicks, leg raises, glute bridges and clamshells.

Friday was 30 minutes on the elliptical without the boot to see how I felt and 15 minutes on the bike before a chest and abs circuit.

From using the boot, my foot was starting to feel better and I was contemplating whether I could run the 5K I was signed up for on Saturday. I spoke with John and with instructions to not wear racing flats and to take it easy, I decided I would run the 5K.

(My fave up and coming speedster who kicked butt at the 5K!)

It was quite impressive the number of people that came out for a 5K in January in Columbus, Ohio. It was a well-organized race with awesome swag- a long sleeved technical shirt, buff and medal with lots of yummy snacks and full sized Gatorades at the end.

(My co-workers are pretty awesome for waking up to run a 5K before a 13 hour+ work day!)


But, my body was screaming at me the entire time saying, “You’re really stupid!” I was in a lot of pain. I almost stopped and walked but I couldn’t walk across a finish line.

(LOL, rough.)

When I got back to the city on Monday (after an 11 hour bus ride since everyone's flights were cancelled), there was snow everywhere and I ditched the boot because navigating slush puddles in a walking boot is no bueno. That night, I went to the gym and did some rowing and elliptical along with some deadlifts, squats and lunges.


(Perfect weather for navigating a suitcase home with a walking boot!)

Tuesday I went out in the park for 5 easy miles (except they weren’t easy because there was snow everywhere!) It was really pretty and my foot wasn’t that bad until I got to cat hill…but that’s pretty much the end of the run anyway.

(It felt like we were running in place at some parts, but the park was so pretty covered in snow!)
(A lovely gentleman was making perfectly shaped snowballs for people to throw!)

(Happy place!)

Wednesday I took a spin class and was relieved to find that it didn’t bother my foot at all. That night I went in for my MRI.

Thursday I was an idiot and did a deck of cards workout that included speed skaters, box jumps, jumping jacks and squat thrusts. I was expecting all of the above to really bother my foot- but it didn’t!

Friday I took the day off and Saturday I cautiously ran 4 miles on the treadmill. Not too much pain, but also not the 9 mile long run I was scheduled to run, which stressed me out.

Sunday was fun because I joined some people from November Project for a #TravelCheerStation for the 4 miler in Central Park. What is a Travel Cheer Station you ask? We ran the course in the opposite direction and cheered every time an NP comrade passed by. It was really fun and I got in 6.5 miles.

My paces continued to upset me- with 9:17 being Sunday’s.

(Pace, schmace- I had a blast on Sunday travel-cheering with these ladies. Might be my new favorite activity. Why pay to run the race when you can just run it in the opposite direction and encourage people the whole way?!)

Monday I went back to the orthopedist for my MRI results and was told IT’S NOT A STRESS FRACTURE.

I’m free to run, since I can’t really do any more damage to the tendon which is already inflamed. She gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory (which I STILL have not been able to get filled by a pharmacy) and fitted me for a brace that has done WONDERS. She also wants me to go to physical therapy – which I’ve been two twice now and will go to 3 times this week.

Once I found out Monday morning, I decided to cut the mileage a little bit for each day on my calendar, but to jump back in.

I was even able to do some speed work on Tuesday on the treadmill!

1 Mile Warm Up @ 8:34 Pace
400 meters @ 7:19
:45 rest
400 meters @ 7:14 Pace
:45 Rest
400 meters @7:09 Pace
:45 Rest
400 Meters @ 7:04 Pace
:45 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:59 Pace
:45 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:54 Pace
 :45 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:49 Pace
 :30 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:44 Pace
.5 Mile Cool Down @ 10:00 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:13 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:20 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:27 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:34 Pace

Oh AND I went to yoga. Yoga really frustrated me, as usual, because EVERYTHING HURTS when it’s supposed to feel good! Child’s pose was painful! Why is everything so tight?!
Anyway, my foot has been feeling a lot better with the brace, and last week I was able to run 23.5 miles. The only real pain was after my 9 mile long run on Saturday. As soon as I stopped and started walking, it killed.

(Saturday long run crew! Solid.)


The long run wasn’t great in terms of how I felt, but meeting a huge group at NYRR Saturday morning full of friendly, excited faces made it worth it. I also am not the biggest fan of long runs in Central Park, so I was happy that I only had to do 9 miles.

(Donezo!)

This morning was the first running awhile where I was able to keep a pace that I was happy with- and although there was still some pain, it wasn’t terrible and I felt good with how things went afterwards.  6 miles at an 8:25 pace. I can definitely live with that.

I have lots of plans for this week- intervals tomorrow, NP Wednesday and hills Thursday- but we’ll see if that actually pans out.

I don’t really know what this post accomplished besides re-hashing the last 2 weeks of training but, yup. There ya have it.

If you take anything away from this post it should be that you can use the elliptical, ERG and stationary bike with a walking boot on but you will get some weird looks.


Also, don’t do what I do. 


How Not to Race

Well, I can officially check “run a 5 miler on 3 hours of sleep” off my bucket list. Oh wait, that was never on my bucket list. And yet that’s exactly what I did two Sundays ago. It was probably one of the most jam-packed weekends I’ve ever had. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.


As I mentioned, I’ve been working at NY Running Co. quite a lot, in addition to my real job. Hi, let me just voluntarily and semi-unnecessarily work 60 hour weeks. Because why not?


So two Fridays ago, I was once again closing at the store. I got home around 10:30, made my dinner and crawled into bed because at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning my alarm was going off and I was headed to Carl Schurz Park to do some volunteer mulching of the Mayor’s lawn with November Project! 

(But first, let me take a selfie on my walk over to Gracie Mansion...)

3 hours of manual labor is no joke people! I had been feeling guilty about not waking up earlier to get a run in before volunteering, but by the end, I felt pretty confident that I had earned my brunch! 

(The women in charge MAY have complimented my technique multiple times. I mean, I'm just saying...)

It was a beautifulllll day out, and once we were done turning over the ground and spreading the mulch, we headed to Supply House for some brunchin’!

(Such a beautiful morning to give back to the community!)

I ordered the Huevos Rancheros and LOOK AT IT! So delicious. Like. Ridiculously good. Plus a Bloody Mary, obviously. The tribe is all about hydration. 


Your first brunch cocktail is included in the price of your entrée, too! Some of the brunch cocktails not included sounded so delicious that I was almost persuaded to spend the extra money- I mean, a Ruby Red Mimosa? It’s like they created this morning beverage for me- Grapefruit, champagne and St. Germaine!

After brunch it was off to work the 4 p.m. – closing shift at the store.

As soon as we closed, I changed into my Great Gatsby costume and it was off to the most epic Halloween party I’ve ever seen! Laura took me and when we got to the building, I casually found out that Justin Timberlake lives in the penthouse. They had ordered 16000 balloons to fill the first floor of the apartment, which was so. gorgeous. They had a full-service open bar and a PHOTO BOOTH!

(I mean, maybe I'm a little bit of a camera whore) 

 I was in heaven.  People had great costumes. And did I mention they ordered beef, chicken and cheese arepas? This was my first time eating an arepa (ok, first, second, and third time eating arepas…since I ate one of each…) but it certainly will not be the last. They were incredible. We were having such a great time at the party that oops, I finally crawled into bed after 4 a.m.

(Such a fabulous night- THANK YOU LAURA!)

I think it’s more accurate to call what I did that night “napping” instead of “sleeping” because my alarm went off at 7 a.m. (yeah, hi, that’s three hours MAX) and I laced up my sneakers and ran to packet pick-up for the Poland Spring Marathon Kick- Off 5 Miler in Central Park. Yeah, I ran to the race.

(Hi, Central Park.)

Clearly, I had no intentions of this being a particularly enjoyable or successful run- after all, I was functioning on 3 hours of sleep and had tequila, arepas and pumpkin pie shots still sloshing around my stomach. But as I normally do, I got competitive towards the end, pushed myself a little harder than I had planned, and ended up finishing with a time of 38:41 for a pace of 7:45 mile/min. Not bad, not bad.

(This is what we call a forced smile...)

I crossed the finish line, grabbed an apple and a water bottle and started my run to NY Running Co. for shoe training 9 – 11. Thankfully, there was coffee there. Which I drank a LOT of. And Mary brought peanut butter, which I smothered my apple in. For a while, I was riding a caffeine and race high, learning about shoes, learning about insoles, lovin’ life.

(Never underestimate the power of caffeine and peanut butter)

Next up was Marathon Volunteer Training in the park at 12:15. I also ran to that. But as soon as I got in that tent, I was crashing. I stuck around for the station manager portion of training, but there was no way I was lasting until 3:30.

I ran home from training too. Why? Because it’s faster than walking. And faster meant I would be in my bed faster.

I ate lunch and somehow managed some cleaning and preparing for the week ahead before collapsing into bed for some America’s Next Top Model marathonning.


Now that my recap is done, can we rewind to the fact that on three hours of hung over sleep I raced a 7:45 pace and placed 15th in my age group out of 207? I might just need to step up my speed work, tempo work and hill work game and take this running stuff a little more seriously! 

(See the girl behind me? She's smiling because she probably slept more than three hours the night before. Also, she probably wasn't emitting alcohol from her pores. But guess what? I'm in front of her ;)

Wineglass Marathon 2014 Recap

I’ve been holding off on writing my first marathon recap because once it’s written and posted, it’s really over.

Training for, running and completing the Wineglass Marathon was by far one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve had thus far and I will certainly struggle to put it all into words. But I will try, because my confidence is pretty high right about now. I can do anything!

Friday after work my foam roller and I made our way to Penn Station to make the trek to Long Island to stay the night at my parents. As soon as I got there, I was greeted with an amazing dinner. I was in full on “Calories are energy and you need energy to run” mode which meant my parents looked on in amazement as I packed away enough food to feed at least 2 people. Salmon, sweet potato, some of my dad’s spaghetti for good measure, and a delicious Mitch creation – artichoke heart salad with feta, red onions and chick peas. Talk about spoiled.

I was convinced by my mom to join her in drinking a cosmo. Totally fine.


Oh, did I mention my mom had also bought me a gallon of Fudge Tracks ice cream? Since I was only home for a night, I made myself a generous ice cream sundae complete with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.


I diligently iced my shins and calves, did some stretching and crawled into bed.
(Thank you, Claudia, for my patriotic KT tape!! Keeping my legs from doing anything too crazy.) 

Saturday morning I took advantage of my parents’ fully stocked kitchen and made myself a delicious, healthy breakfast of whole wheat toast, hummus, an egg, Swiss cheese, tomato, avocado and some feta crumbles for good measure. 

(That's hot.) 

My grandparents picked me up at 8 a.m. Saturday to start our journey to Corning, NY. I napped on and off pretty much the entire ride, wrote my pre-race thank yous, stared out the window- you know, typical car ride stuff. For lunch, my grandparents and I stopped at the Liberty Diner, where they used to stop on their way up to Oswego when my dad was in college! Talk about a throwback! 

Diner menus are by far the most intimidating things ever…all the options. So many possibilities. I ended up ordering tuna, lettuce and tomato on an English muffin with coleslaw and a pickle and LOTS of Ken’s honey mustard. Also my grandma’s French fries, dipped in the honey mustard. Oh, and my grandpa’s buttered toast with strawberry jelly. Pre-race nutrition, I was rocking it, right?



After about 7 hours total, we reached the Corning Glass Museum, site of the 2014 Wineglass Marathon Expo! WOOHOO! 

(We made it!)

Packet pick-up was crowded, but pretty quick and Curly and Melissa found me and had already been through it, so they guided me.

What you get with this race is AWESOME, especially given the fact that registration is less than $100. At the expo I got a neon green long sleeved tech shirt, my bib, bag-check bag, safety pins, wine glass, and a cute little bottle of champagne- all in an awesome canvas drawstring bag. Two thumps up for swag!


I would have loved to walk around the expo for hours, but I was kind of overwhelmed and my grandparents were waiting upstairs in the glass museum so I didn’t want to take too long. I saw that there was another Wineglass marathon tech shirt for only $15 since they were out of every size except XS. I bought it for myself, sampled some yogurt and granola, and went back to my grandparents.

(They're good at taking selfies. They've learned from the best...)

I wish we could have actually gone to the museum, because it looked awesome!

Next, Curly, Melisa and I set off to drive a portion of the course while my grandparents went to check-in to the hotel. We wanted to see these two parts that looked like fairly significant hills – but after driving them, they were no big thing! From the car, the route didn’t look as “scenic” as we had thought it would.



We got back to the hotel and I changed quickly before we all set out for dinner in Horseheads at a place called Louie’s Hanover Square. 

(It was a gorgeous night!)

I chose an Italian place because people eat pasta the night before marathons, right? I was really struggling on what to order. I didn’t want to get anything too cheesy since I don’t typically eat a lot of cheese. I also didn’t want to go with salad because too many veggies aren’t usually good for my stomach. Also, I was still full from lunch – adding to the indecisiveness. I finally settled on filet mignon with vegetables and a side of pasta. A little bit of everything – protein, carbs, greens! The best thing about the meal was probably the bread and olive oil before our salads came out. It was bangin’.

(Wonderful company)


My meal was delicious too.


Oh did I mention I drank a glass of red wine, too? Because I did. Again, pre-race nutrition is my strong suit.

I got back to the hotel, arranged everything I would need in the morning, put some water next to my bed, and by 10:00 I was going to sleep. I slept surprisingly well, despite the fact that I had to get up pee about 4 times.

Then, it was 5:30 a.m. and my alarm was going off! AH! I had no trouble getting out of bed, getting dressed, doing some stretching and very light rolling, and eating a breakfast of Greek yogurt with some walnuts and raisins. Yummo.
(Wineglass marathon, sponsored by Chobani?)


So what did I end up wearing?
-Sports bra
-Pink tech tee
-Bib (I was literally obsessed with my number 2434)
-Homemade arm warmers
-Old Navy split shorts with built in underwear (I have really been digging these more than spandex lately). The little pocket in the front of my shorts held my chocolate Powerbar gel with caffeine.
-CEP compression socks
-Saucony Guide 7s
-Goodwill purchased Chobani fit running jacket with pockets and thumb holes (The thought of having to part with this was upsetting me)

(So much style!)

I was packed perfectly in my clear, bag-check bag. All it had were some extra gels, a Quest bar, a banana, water bottle, and a Chia Squeeze since I didn’t know what else I’d want to eat before the race. It also had my heatsheet that I had snagged at the Brooklyn Half. I figured if bag check was easy, I’d do it, and if not, I’d toss the stuff. I packed a separate bag for my grandparents to bring with them in their car, so that I’d have it after the race (change of clothes, camera, phone, etc.).

Melissa and Curly picked me up and as I headed out the door I realized that CRAP it was no joke freezing out. Cars had frost on them. I regretted not buying a pair of throwaway sweatpants. We headed to the further of the two shuttle pick-up locations in Bath, which was about a half hour away and also the first of the spectator “viewing” areas. There was plenty of parking and we got out, used the porta potty, and hopped on the “Special” school bus. I was amazed at the fact that the shuttle area wasn’t packed and crazy. No lines, just walked onto the shuttle and casually drove the 10 minutes to the start. No cramming in and sharing seats. The bus was probably only half full.

(So far, so good!)

When we got to the start area, we walked up to a giant shed PACKED with runners. All the chairs were taken, people were standing and sitting anywhere they could. There were space heaters, but it was an open shed and 30 degrees out and everyone was still freezing. We had about an hour and a half to sit there. I found a spot against a wall, wrapped myself in my heatsheet, and tried to stay positive and upbeat instead of turning into Cranky Lauren. At the end of the day- my pre-marathon ordeal was a LOT better than most people’s. Wineglass was really well organized and is a fairly small race. But that hour in a shed was a little meh. I ended up eating a Quest bar and then we headed out to the long porta potty line. Very unfair that guys didn’t have to wait on it.

They pushed back the start about 20 minutes but it wasn’t bad. It was just COLD. We walked down a hill to the start and there were vans there to check your bag. Easy. And I made the bold decision that my Chobani jacket was going in the bag and not coming with me for the start of the race. The sun was up at this point, and if you stood directly in it, it wasn’t too terrible. We met up with Sam and took some pictures. “Take a jumping picture of me!” I shouted. I jumped up, and literally my legs didn’t work on the landing. Oh, cool, I am completely numb.
(My landing was certainly not a perfect 10)

The start was really crowded but I fit myself in somewhere around the 4 hour pace group and soon, I was over the start line, starting my GPS watch (David’s GPS watch) and I was running my first marathon! There were no spectators allowed at the start line, so it was just us runners cheering each other on at the beginning. It was kind of nice starting without tons of people cheering because that probably would have caused me to go out too fast. Instead, I eased into a nice feeling pace and tried to ignore the fact that everything was numb. There was a little panic that I was way underdressed but I just pushed it to the back of my mind.
There was a girl behind me who kept saying to her friend, “Ok, I need another story” and I just remember thinking damn if you need stories already you are not going to be enjoying this by mile 20…I quickly broke away from her.

My first real memory is entering the viewing area around mile 4. There were more people lining the streets than I had anticipated, and I was worried that there was no way I was going to notice my grandparents in the crowd. But my grandpa had promised he would be loud, and sure enough a little ways into the area I heard him and my grandma, whipped my head around and had the BIGGEST smile on my face. It was a sudden jolt of energy and I felt like I was on cloud 9 for the next mile or so after seeing them. 

I was really proud of myself because the entire run, I didn't push my body too hard- I wasn't chasing anyone down, I wasn't getting angry at myself when the pace on my watch went over 8:30/mile. I had come to terms with the fact that I was running on legs that were nowhere near 100% and that if I wanted to cross the finish line I needed to be nice to body. I remember being very cold, and then slowly, the sun started to warm me. 

The volunteers at the aid stations were all wonderful. The course was never too crowded, and the aid stations were a breeze. I did a good job getting water at almost every one and taking a few sips without choking- hooray! 

Since Wineglass Marathon is only a semi-closed course, we were coned in on the shoulder of the road and the occasional car would pass.  As I approached viewing area 2 around mile 10, all of a sudden, my grandparents were driving next to me! I actually think I jumped up in the air with excitement I was so stunned and excited.  They must have driven ahead and parked super quick and gotten to the sidewalk because when I entered the viewing area, I got to see them AGAIN! And again, it gave me such a needed mental boost. 

I loved all of the viewing areas because it was such a nice pick me up. But I also liked that the entire course wasn't filled with "fans." There were the occasional people outside of their houses with encouraging words, but if the entire 26.2 miles had been filled with screaming, cheering, cowbell ringing people, I think I would have burned out way too quickly from the excitement. The solitary miles through the foliage were great for taking a deep breathe, appreciating what was happening, and giving myself some pep talks. 

Everything was a lot prettier running than it had been looking out of a car window. 


(Not actually taken during my run since I had no phone)


At around mile 7 was the first aid station that was also handing out GU and I took a salted caramel and ate it. By mile 10, I needed a porta potty. No, not to pee. This was also a huge problem for me during the Brooklyn Half and I know that I seriously need to figure out my nutrition if I want to BQ someday. So at mile 10, I hopped into a bathroom, quickly did what I had to do, and was back out on the course. 

I got another salted caramel GU at the half marathon mark and again, a few miles afterwards had to stop at a porta potty. Luckily, I was able to hold on until I found one that had no lines. 

Overall, the course was wonderfully flat. I can't imagine how people run marathons with tons of hills because by mile 15ish, I was hurting. My quads had never felt like they warmed up and they were so tight that it was a burst of pain every time I planted my food down. 

But onward! I didn't see my grandparents again until the end of the race, but some of the other spectators gave me fabulous confidence boosts by telling me I looked great, to keep up the pace, to stay relaxed, etc. You can definitely tell when someone that's yelling at you from the sidewalk is a runner too- and their words of encouragement are incredible. 

Multiple people along the way told me I was looking great, which felt really good because I didn't feel great.  My pace wasn't all that great either. But I was enjoying myself. Eventually, I settled into a pack with a very similar pace and cruised along for awhile with them. Miles 16-18 were probably my best- I was suddenly feeling amazing and scoffing at the wall that was supposedly going to greet me around mile 20. 

At mile 20 I ate my final gel- the one I had in my pocket. It was absolutely vile. 

Mile 20 is also where the course changed- we were less in the middle of nowhere and definitely getting closer to Corning. Then I was passing mile 22 and officially running further than I had ever run before! AH! 

Mile 22-26.2 was by far the hardest thing I've ever done. It seemed that every .5 miles or so, something new in my legs started to bother me. My right ankle? Ouch. Then my IT Band decided to be cranky. Hips? Oof, that doesn't feel nice. And the entire time, my quads were dead. At a downhill into a park around mile 21, I saw Melissa and Nate and gave them a, "Help me I'm dying look." On the downhill, tears sprang into my eyes because the pain was so horrible. I honestly started to worry that when I crossed the finish line, I was going to be one of those people who collapses with cramps and makes a scene. 

These 4 miles CRAWLED by. And my stomach was hating me. Around 22.5 miles there was luckily a porta potty and I stopped and was there for probably 4-5 minutes. All I wanted at that point was to finish strong, and I had to freaking stop for the THIRD time to use the bathroom. So. Frustrating. 

Once I was back out, I went back to seriously questioning whether my legs were going to hold on until the end. My breathing was fine. Mentally, I knew this was possible. But my body just wasn't having it. 

We got into a little park and at mile 23 I finally took the arm warmers off and threw them away. Then came the most amazing moment. I was running behind a woman who was coaching someone, and heard her saying, "Only think with this." She was pointing at everything from the waist up, and telling her friend that her legs weren't going to be what got her across the finish line at this point. 

I ran up  next to her, told her that was the most helpful thing I had ever heard, she told me to go get it, and I pulled up ahead and continued on. Except that everything was different after that. I started thinking about everything that running means to me- which is a whole damn lot. I started thinking about everything that has been going on in my personal life lately, which is also a whole damn lot. I thought about the long runs, the early mornings and the countless amazing people I've met since I got involved with the NYC running community. I thought about my grandparents and how incredibly lucky I was to have them there for this experience. I missed my other grandma. I looked around at the leaves changing colors, appreciated the absolutely perfect weather, the sun shining. I was crying and I didn't care how crazy I looked. Except then I realized that crying is really not the best activity for breathing and trying to finish a marathon so I tried to get myself together. 

I wish I could say that from mile 23-26.2 everything got easier after that but physically, it didn't.  It still hurt. A lot. But whatever. I was just thinking and feeling with my heart and my brain and focusing on anything except my legs. 

Eventually, I was on a bridge and I saw a photographer and I cheesed super hard and then everyone was yelling at us that when we turned the next corner we would see the finish line! I rounded the corner, and saw beautiful Market St. lined with cheering faces, beautiful fall foliage, and at the end- the finish. 

(My new favorite street)

I literally have no idea how I ran Market St. as fast as I did- it was like my legs weren't a part of my body but I kicked it into high gear and flew down that final stretch. People were like, "DAMN" - I could tell. And then my grandparents were on my left looking SO HAPPY I could have exploded. I was so glad that I was able to finish strong.

(I will actually buy these eventually, I promise)

And then I was crossing the finish line and I HAD RUN MY FIRST MARATHON and I was crying and having a heatsheet put on me and getting my amazing medal and wow I was still standing and then I was cheesing with my medal for a photographer and then I was filling up a bag with cookies and fruit and eating pizza and chicken noodle soup and my legs felt very wobbly but I found my grandparents and we were hugging and babbling and then ah thank god sitting on a bench and I was talking to my parents and telling them that I had done it and my time and that it was under 4 hours and I was feeling lost without my phone and then I easily picked my bag up from the bag check trucks. And Nate and Melissa found us and said Curly should be finishing soon. 


(He finished too!)

Then my stomach was like ouch ouch and I was in a bathroom in the information center for quite some time. 

Eventually, we went back to my grandparents car and I changed into leggings and boots and was finally out of my compression socks and had my phone and my camera and we walked back to take some pictures at the finish line.



And then it was time FOR BRUNCH at a cute little martini and wine bar called The Cellar. Salmon eggs benedict. Yes. 


Oh, and THE BEST DRINK I'VE EVER HAD! My grandma and I split a peanut butter banana martini! Heaven. 



I'm a little confused by all the different times I've been shown for my finish- but the one I'm going with is 3:50:09.

The Wineglass Marathon was incredible from start to finish. After running it, I think that 2,500 is the perfect amount for a marathon, and I'm not sure I would like anything significantly bigger. It was the best first marathon experience I ever could have imagined. 

Since I've been back, I've tried Googling "Post Marathon Depression." Because I am missing that feeling of floating on cloud 9 that I had all day on Sunday. Maybe it was the endorphins, but I think it was more the fact that I finally had proof that if you put in the time and effort to achieve a goal, you can make it a reality. I have been needing a confidence boost- to believe in myself, and to appreciate myself. And this showed me that I can be pretty resilient. But it was also such a bonding experience with my grandparents. I have always appreciated them beyond words, but now, I appreciate them more than I ever thought possible. I couldn't wipe this ridiculous smile off my face all day- despite the soreness and inability to walk. Because this marathon wasn't just running 26.2 miles. It was about so much more- I've learned so much from training for and running this race and hope to one day get that feeling I had at mile 23 again- thinking only with my head and heart, feeling complete appreciation and happiness for the exact moment that I was in. 


It doesn't get much better than that.

10 Miles in the Boogie Down Bronx!

I spoke about the Bronx 10-miler a little bit in my previous post, but let’s talk about it some more, shall we?

Packet pick-up on Saturday at NYRR was easy breezy as usual and I just love me a small women’s tech shirt! The Bronx 10-miler shirts were pretty snazzy- I like the deep maroon color, it’s different. But SO many people wore them to the race. What’s with that? They also threw a Gu in the packet- with caffeine! Perfect, considering that’s what I plan on fueling with during my marathon.

I went to bed fairly early Saturday night and was up bright and early to foam roll and stretch. I pinned my bib on, and threw a throw-away long sleeve shirt on over my tank top. I didn’t feel like freezing all morning. I ate half a banana and some dry cereal and headed to meet friends from November Project at the subway. As usual on a race morning, the subway was crawling with runners. We accidentally got onto a 6 train instead of a 4, waited 15 minutes at 125th Street, but eventually, made it to Yankee Stadium. It was a quick walk to race day central where we jumped in the pretty massive porta potty line.

I had really overdressed with the long sleeves- it was a pretty hot and muggy morning and luckily a friend was checking a bag so I threw mine in there and didn’t have to toss it in the garbage.

New on my radar? Energybits. Has anyone else tried them? I think I need to give them a whirl.

Anyway, as I said before, this race was really just about practicing running through the aid stations and drinking water for me. As usual, I hated the weaving in and out of people at the start of the race- I’m really hoping my marathon is less crowded. The first 4 miles were on the highway, 1 or 2 hills but nothing crazy. My calves were tight and my shins were hurting but, like I do, I ignored it.

When I came up on the first mile marker and aid station, I grabbed a cup of water, went to take a sip and immediately started coughing and choking. OK. This was going to be fun.

Second mile went better because I saw the people around me bending their cups into a funnel and that made drinking a lot easier. Throughout the race, I stopped at all but one aid station. Around mile 5 my stomach started sloshing around because it was filled pretty much with all water. Time to practice nutrition!

I had brought a “That’s It” bar with me and nommed on that slowly for about a mile. The consistency was fine for chewing although it still messed my breathing up a little. I definitely think I’m going to stick with GUs for the race on Sunday.

The course from miles 4-7 were through a park and was kind of a weird loop thing that was clearly just to make the mileage. I never felt like the course really cleared up all that much, which was frustrating.

I thought I was going a lot faster than I apparently was, which was also frustrating! But I know that was probably due to stopping 9 times for water. Around mile 8 my legs were finally numb/not in pain anymore and I hit a nice pace that felt good. Then, I was crossing the finish line and Coach John was there for a high five which was great!


I got my medal, an apple, a banana, a sparkling water, and a bag of pretzels. Ate the apple, saved the rest for my stockpile at the apartment. I caught up with Laura, Patrick and some other NPers and we headed back to the subway.

I liked this race because it was easy to get to, easy to get home from. The weather was absolutely beautiful. Wasn’t a fan that it was so crowded, had long bathroom lines, and the volunteers at the aid stations weren’t the greatest. Overall, it was a race I would definitely consider doing again next year- I like the 10 mile distance and it wasn’t too hilly.


Finish: 1:23:56


RUN BKLYN

I’m a two-time half-marathon finisher! I ran the Brooklyn Half this past Saturday, hooray! I will now tell you all the deets, which you may or may not find incredibly boring.



Let’s start with the Brooklyn Half pre-party at Pier 2 near Brooklyn Bridge Park.  I absolutely dreaded going to this ALL DAY Thursday.  It was rainy. It wasn’t exactly warm. I knew at some point I still needed to get in 3-4 miles.  JackRabbit was running to the packet pick-up at 7, but then what was I going to do after work for 2 hours while I waited? Why did I have to go allllll the way to Brooklyn to pick up my packet, gosh darnit?! I was cranky. Luckily, the pre-party was on their A-game and as soon as I emerged from the subway in the faraway land of Brooklyn, there were people with signs directing me all the way to Pier 2 (and I say all the way because it was a TREK!)

Once I got there, my mood improved because runners! Music! Free samples! I started to get in the spirit.  The view was AWESOME! Had it been a nicer night, and had I been there with a group of people, I definitely would have loved to stay, had a drink, eaten some Chickpea and Olive, and enjoyed the music.  


(Alright, fine, I'll get in the spirit! SMILES, ready to run 13 miles!)

Instead, I did a lap by myself, sampled some Nuun (EW, tastes like medicine), got a free ZogSports shirt, picked up my packet, and was on my way back to Manhattan after snapping a few pretty skyline pictures.



Friday night before the race, as I wrote about, I ate atSouen.  I picked out my clothes, packed my bag check bag, and was asleep around 10:30.  My alarm went off at 5:00 (yes, ew is right), I got dressed, stretched, rolled and was out the door by 5:30 to meet my friends at the subway.

(The joys of running races...) 
 
It was SO awesome seeing just how many of us crazy runners were up at 5:30 a.m. making the trek to Brooklyn. 

We got off after about a 45 minute subway ride and started to make our way to security and I ate my nanner.  Security was annoying, because everyone had to take their phones out, take their watches off, etc. but hey, better safe than sorry! The line moved surprisingly fast.  But then it was a HAUL to get to bag check.  We just made it before it closed!

Then it was time for the portapotty lines.  Worst. The corrals were super cramped, I was freezing since I had had to put my jacket in my bag at the bag check, there was no room to stretch, and we had about a half hour to stand around.  


(Having company in the corals DEFINITELY helped!)

Luckily we were able to sneakily make our way up a bunch of corrals, which definitely helped because we were able to cross the start line around 7:55- if we had stayed in our corral it would have been MUCH later.

The first couple of miles through Prospect Park were stressful because we were trying to keep up a quick pace but at the same time, the path was super crowded.  Tiffanie, Rory and I were trying our best to stay together and navigate through the crowds.  Eventually, we got into a groove and I tried to look around a little to enjoy the view.  I had expected far worse hills during the park portion of the race, but really there was only one around mile 5 that was challenging.  It was also around there where the “Uh oh…I’m definitely going to need to stop for the bathroom” thoughts started to creep in.

By mile 6 I was forced to tell Tiffanie and Rory to enjoy the rest of the race, but I was going to need to stop.  I had hoped I would eventually catch back up to them, but it never ended up happening. I went to the bathroom, and mentally prepared to run the rest of the race alone (and without Tiffanie’s Garmin!)

Somehow I missed the mile 7 marker, so the jump from 6 to 8 was a HUGE mental help.  At mile 8 I had my espresso Gu, NOM. Unfortunately, at mile 9 nature called and I had to stop AGAIN! Both times I got to a portapotty I had to wait for someone ahead of me, too.  So frustrating.

Miles 7-13 were flat, wide, straight and pretty boring to be honest.  I had used music from 7-10 but decided that for the last 3 miles I would take the headphones off and enjoy the final 5K.  I wasn’t really pushing to finish at a certain time, and knew I had to come in somewhere around 1:50:00 for my friend. 

(Let's finish this thang!)


Then there was a sign for 800 meters and the street got super filled with people cheering us on so I thought “Oh, this is the final sprint” (Actually, I thought, “What the eff, I don’t know what meters mean!!!”) and started to push it.  Well, 800 meters isn’t THAT short of a distance, folk.  Then there was a sign for 400 meters and next thing I know, I’m on the Coney Island pier with the ocean next to me and sand under my feet (yeah, the boardwalk was sandy and I was super scared someone was going to wipe out!) I sprinted to the finish and bam, second half marathon complete in 1:46:50. Hoorah! And I got my first race medal!

(Yas!)

I got my banana, bagel and powerbar (uhmmm, MINT COOKIE, HECK YES!) and made my way to the baggage pick-up.  I found Tiffanie and Rory (they had finished at 1:46:00, awesome job guys!) and then found out that the truck with my bag in it had been in a car accident and no one knew when it would be able to get there- joy! So Tiffanie and I tanned and stretched and eventually, my bag arrived.

Next, we made our way to the subway to get to the JackRabbit after party so graciously hosted by Alex! On the subway, my stomach started feeling like absolute SHIT and I really thought I was going to throw up.  We got to Alex’s and I ate some delicious eggs with veggies and sausage on an English muffin :) 

(Post-race noms! Thanks Alex!)

Then, Tiffanie started to feel sick! We just couldn’t win! So we decided that since we still had a long journey back to the UES, we should probably leave. So we ate and ran, without even having a beer! Such a shame.  But probably for the best considering it took us 2 hours to get home!

I was so happy for a shower, carrots and hummus and a NAP (in my awesome Brooklyn Half technical shirt that I’m in love with!)

That night, it is really disgusting the amount that I ate (and drank, oops).  I’m a little embarrassed to show this to the world but uh, yeah, check out this quad of food I decided I was entitled to for running 13.1 miles!

(Froyo, guac and chips, pizza, lamb over rice.  Heaven)


Overall, I had a great time running the Brooklyn Half (although had I not had Tiffanie and Rory with me, I probably would NOT be saying! Thanks guys!) It’s so funny how during races, you’re tired, you hurt, you want to stop sometimes, and then when it’s all over you’re like “THAT WAS AWESOME WHEN DO WE DO IT AGAIN?!” I definitely want to run another half sometime in the near future- with a new goal time of 1:45:00 or faster!