Tuesday Topics: #NewportFiesta5K

it was a fiesta indeed! Joining Zenaida and Kim for Tuesday Topics to determine whether riding a unicorn leads to PRs


Earlier this year, NYRR announced their first race in New Jersey, likely in answer to NYC Runs taking over the Newport Half. I was on the fence about doing this race as it was slated for the same day as the Great Saunter, one of my favorite days. Eventually, common sense about not walking ~20+ miles (I’ve never finished) on a healing Achilles won out and I signed up for this Star Wars meets Cinco de Mayo race.

finally skirt weather and I got to try my new Cascade

Bib pick up was still in NY at the RunCenter, if it wasn’t I probably wouldn’t have done the race. I am all about convenience. With a 5P start, getting to NJ wasn’t going to be too hard. I left plenty of time because I wasn’t exactly sure how the PATH was running, nor how to get from Newport or Hoboken PATHs to the start.

I hate having to check a bag, but you know what I hate more? Transportation without reading materials! So in my gear bag:

  • sneakers (more on that later)
  • socks
  • hat
  • windbreaker
  • two issues of Runner’s World
  • sunscreen
  • my Aftershokz case which also contains: iPod, Garmin and in this case, battery pack and cable for my phone/iPod.
  • Water
  • snack bar

I won’t lie, that was a little heavy and I wish NYRR had the backpack clear bags like 9/11 uses for their race.  I arrived at a little after 3 and made my way to Newport Green Park via a scenic tour of Hoboken by 3:30.  My first takeaway was that it was mighty muggy. Official race temperature per NYRR was 62 degrees, 84% humidity. Luckily there was a bit of a breeze.

is it truly a trip to Hoboken without this?
Foghattan! That’s a vent for the Holland? tunnel to the right

Actually the last time I was in Hoboken the line was way longer because it was peak Cake Boss popularity.

love the detail in the Lackawanna Terminal

While the women’s room doors are nowhere near as pretty, it was so nice to have an option that wasn’t a porta potty, although there were plenty of those.

non-working, still cool

There was, alas, not enough water for as warm as the day ended up being.

unfortunately sometimes Hoboken gets too much water

I wish I’d gotten a photo that showed how high off the ground this was. There’s a little here. Still, the history of the terminal is fascinating as the NYT detailed some years after Sandy.

I followed the signs
and the balloons

The best thing about an afternoon race? You (OK, I) am awake enough to appreciate the pre-race festival. Usually with morning races it’s all I can do to stumble to the start. And heaven help the silly pep rally, turn and high five your neighbor stuff. Illegal before coffee!

have you hugged a unicorn today?

I had arranged to meet a friend and after we checked our bags, we puttered around and he was the photographer for the unicorn antics. Actually, he dared me. That took no selling on his end as I regularly let the inner ham out. It’s actually my Facebook profile at the moment, because we all need a little silly. The original plan was to jog a warmup on the river, but with it being so warm & muggy, I opted not to.

The start line was about 10m walk from Newport Green and we meandered that way with about 30m to start only to realize the corrals weren’t quite open as the course was on a main drag. Oops. When they opened, it was a fairly quick process only to turn into a bit of hurry up and wait as they awaited clearance on the roadway. Downside of running on roads vs. in the parks. I am not the biggest fan of Bruce Springsteen, but something about Born to Run on the speakers in the corrals was awesome. I won’t lie though, I was even more jazzed when it turned into Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA, which is one of my favorite running songs.

Within about ten minutes, we were off. The course (PDF) was an out and back “L” that was so flat my Garmin registered three feet of elevation total. I think that might have been a slight underestimate. The only particularly challenging part was crossing the old streetcar lines, which were covered but still not flat.

the only photo I took on the course. Just about mile two and right before I spotted a colleague cheering me on.

The last half mile was torture and if it hadn’t been a race, I’d have walked. I was overheating and having trouble finding the next gear, although Strava claims (and RunKeeper agrees) that I dropped below 10m for the last 1.2.My watch was having a moment with some of the tall buildings, so I’m not sure whether I believe that. I thought I saw the finish line and realized the clock was mile three (my watch was off by that point due to the turns) and that last tenth felt like a mile.

Did I go out too quick? I don’t think so. I just haven’t raced a 5K ever and well, I think I know what my 5K pace is — and it isn’t the one I run as a matter of course except occasionally with the office run group. Fueling for afternoon races is hard too. I like flat courses!

On the PR question:

  • According to NYRR, 32:49 for 10:34. According to my Garmin, 3.19 and 32:54/10:18. I know I hit it a smidgen early and holy crap, six turns I am the worst with tangents. Bizarrely, Runkeeper doesn’t even see it as a 5K to be in the top, but:
    • It’s a 3+ minute NYRR 5K PR because the other one was a run/walk on a hot, sweaty night.
    • My actual 5K race times (i.e. not ones like 9/11 where it isn’t timed) are: 33:22 for the second frozen penguin and 40+ for the first and both Damon Runyons.
    • My 5K run PR was last July, 32:11/10:18 with a side of wonky GPS.

So it’s a race PR that tied my run PR? Considering my planned speed work went mostly out the window due to the Achilles, I’m calling this a personal BEST

The finish festival was in the same place as the start and they had beer and food trucks. I was too hot for either, but was oh so glad to have these Dr. Scholls’ sandals to change into. It wasn’t quite FitFlop weather, but these were perfect for my sore/overheated feet. Never had that for a short race, but they were a nice treat. I spent just a few minutes at the finish festival before heading back toward the PATH along the riverfront path.

So sweaty, so happy. So un ladylike.


  • I’d do this race again if it’s afternoon/evening. Hassle of getting to NJ, even though I now know my way to the start, is likely not worth it for an 8a start. This isn’t a NY/NJ rivalry thing, it’s the same reason I’m not doing the Queens 10K again. I’ll travel for a Half, not so much for shorter.
  • Although I wasn’t hungry enough to take part, I loved the finish festival food. PSA to those who normally just use Road ID, you need actual ID to claim your free beer at race’s end.
  • I’d love to run the riverfront pathway sometime. I need to look into it to see the start, end and how far it goes, but I think it would be a fun one to explore. I’d have to put the phone away or I’d be taking all the photos.
  • A fun day, and one I’d recommend to Manhattan/NJ folks. Is it worth coming over from Brooklyn, Queens? I’m not sure. Maybe if you drive.

Super Sunday: 5K PR edition

so as I left the Weekly Wrap, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to run or not. I actually did want to run, but was questioning whether two days completely off would be smarter for my knee’s healing. Despite changing into my running clothes as soon as I got home, I was using that as an excuse to sit on the couch and catch up on email after a few days away. I’ve had my new phone since March and haven’t put email on it-and don’t miss it. So much clutter.

I was less than one thousand steps short of my Fitbit goal and after a few off days due to rain, being in suburbia I really wanted to hit it. So I decided to head to the East River Promenade and just do the top level/Finley Walk loop which is about a mile and see how I felt mentally and physically.  I knew once I got going, I’d go. Oh the mental games we play.

it was such a beautiful evening

I turned south to get the full distance of the upper loop and as soon as I got there, I decided I did want to head south toward 59th street. My knee felt good on the downhill ramp and despite being absolutely gorgeous out, it wasn’t too crowded so I wasn’t forced to play a game of dodg’em. I was pleased to see the first mile come in sub 11:00 after Friday morning’s molasses crawl. The (relative) lack of humidity made a huge difference.  I decided I’d see how mile two came in before deciding whether I’d go for the 5K PR or just a three-four mile run.

Have a 6m mile, and then a 116m one!

Dear TomTom, please find your brain.

Mile 2 coming in at 9:33 might be a little generous, but it didn’t feel ridiculously off. I’ve had that happen before and since mile two was completely flat along the lower promenade between 60th and 81st streets, I think it’s possible that it was right.  I had mentioned in a comment to Charlie that my watch had been having issues, but this is the first time it was bouncing all over with no scaffolding or other issue that I’d expect to cause it.  I guess it’s time to start planning for a watch upgrade. I’ve gotten so used to the music on my TomTom and I don’t imagine that’s going to be an easy to find, affordable option. Any particular watch favorites? I have a Fitbit I use for daily steps, just looking for something to track runs with so size less of an issue.

I knew mile three would drop off because it has the 450 feet-long ramp back up to Finley Walk, but it felt good and I felt strong as I headed around Gracie Mansion toward Asphalt Green. I couldn’t believe it when the watch beeped three miles at 10:26 and I knew I was close. I pushed hard for the last .13 (Strava math) and couldn’t believe it when I saw my watch.



The original plan was to re-start the watch and run home, but the magic hour sky was perfect and I wanted to spy on the Ferry construction so I opted for a longer walking cool down during which I contemplated the run.

is that a ferry dock I spy?
guess it’s not opening this summer

I still had 32:16 on the brain and thought this was a four second PR, but I realized when I got home & could sync watch that it (actually 32:15) was for 3.08. WOW. It turned out that 32:41 was the actual “check in” 5K for July. Strava actually was a little too generous with 32:04 running time, crediting me for the water fountain pit stop.  I’m going with RunKeeper’s 32:11/10:18 pace. I didn’t even get in the full month of speed training that I wanted due to the PF flare and subsequent fall, but this is a-ma-zing. Sub 30 is still a long-term dream, but I’m thinking I may even get below 32 by summer’s end depending on whether I can do speed training in August. Even if I don’t, I’m super happy with how this speed training whim turned out.

Like the Riverside Park run, I loved that this speed/pace happened outside because while I don’t think there’s an unfair advantage in treadmill running, it’s definitely easier to maintain your pace indoors. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the East River path that stems back to it being the first place I ever ran outdoors, so that the PR happened here was extra special. As I mentioned in Charlie’s post on PRs, I count runs as well as races. This is especially true for 5Ks since they’re so relatively rare as races.

Since the check-in 5K was on the treadmill, the plan for tomorrow is to run 5K there and see what speed comes of it. I’m excited for what the balance of 2018 will bring.




Walking through MLB history and listening to my body, week of 7.23

Definitely light on the running this week as I recovered from my trip and slide. On other notes:

  • The Sarah Marie Design Studio shirt came and I was initially excited to see it’s a Bella Canvas shirt as I love that material. However the shirt is cut really small and I’m kind of disappointed. I suppose it’s an aspirational shirt like the idea of maybe running a marathon. ETA: whee, I heard from the store & they’re willing to do an exchange.
  • I read Andrew Kastor’s Running Your First Marathon and found it a really interesting read. The mileage in his plan is way too high for me as is the running frequency, but I liked how he set up the training with general advice, suggestions and tips from the elite athletes he knows.  The first half of the book is good for any runner and it puts the training schedule in context. If I opt to run New York I will almost certainly do a modified Hal Higdon novice as I did for my Half
  • Major League Baseball ghosts live on in the South Bronx and Upper Manhattan. More on that below.

Weekly recap, with Holly and Wendy:

  • Monday: Wanted to test the knee and it was mostly OK. I went a smidgen more than a mile. Could I have gone further? Probably, but thought it wise not to push it. Non stop rain this week and this being the knee I had surgery on years ago is a bad combination even before Saturday’s fall, so I’m not worried.
  • Tuesday: tried to run, but knee wasn’t having it. Was regretting not wearing my brace earlier. I decided to try my old friend the Lateral X as it did me well in January’s injury window. I was pleasantly surprised that the knee was fine-the side to side wasn’t the issue so much as the jarring impact on the treadmill. Also, my right arm was OK on the arms although I’d initially planned to hold the stationary handles.  I remember it feeling super hard in January, but 1.55 miles in 25 minutes was very manageable and felt like a good workout. I tried to row, but my arm (somewhat) and busted middle and pinkie fingers (mostly) made it impossible. Surprisingly, the arm cycle/upper body erg had a different grip and I tried that. Wow, that’s an insane workout.
  • Wednesday: still raining. Needed a day off from the gym to give the knee a break so I walked home via my favorite mural. An unexpected upside of making the gym a major routine is it has forced me to leave the office at more reasonable times than had otherwise been my habit. Without that impetus? I was there until 7:30.
  • Thursday: I’d signed up for this 5K a few weeks ago when I finally registered for the Retro. I was bummed to miss it last year, but even before the fall I wasn’t as excited about this race as I expected to be. There was a thought toward racing this, which went 90% out the window when I fell and 100% nope when the weather ended up as mid 80s with 65% humidity. Yuck. I initially thought I’d miss the office run group, but the time worked out such that I could do half of their lap (stupid watch not behaving!) before heading up to the start. The 5K course was weird, W. 91st to E. 102nd via 72nd. Odd to have a course that isn’t a loop in some form, but there really is no 5K course in Central Park. I didn’t even make it from 72nd up to the start before deciding to walk because I just was not feeling the West Side Rollers.

Uncharacteristically for me, I sat on the curb in the corral and didn’t stretch but instead tried to talk myself up. I was tired, hot, and did not want to run. A text from a friend hatched a plan for us both to walk it, but we couldn’t find one another in the corrals so I figured I’d just see how I felt before turning left on 72nd Street because I ultimately needed to head back south to get my bag.

What happened after my oh so wonderful staggered start? I went out way too quickly with a 10:00/10:08 first mile. Even downhill/rolling that was ridiculous for the humidity and I paid for it in mile two, which had Cat Hill and a water stop. I sort of picked it back up in mile three, but not really. Strava says 36.06 and 3.28 for 10:58, NYRR says 36.06 for 3.1 (LOL!) for 11:37, RunKeeper says 36.06 and 3.29 for 10:59. It’s an NYRR 5K PR and a course PR. Do I care that it’s 3m off the Frozen Penguin? Not really. I went from not racing this to not running a smart race and it was what it was. Amusing that I was wearing my Run 4 the Warriors shirt as I felt somewhat the same as that race. Not great, but could have been worse if not for some self inflicted wounds. I had a popsicle at the end, enjoyed Central Park in twilight/dusk and headed to the office to freshen up before heading home to mom’s for a long weekend.

  • Friday: company coming so wanted to get in a quick run before they did. I was insanely sore from the bus’ over air conditioning and not having properly stretched after the 5K and it was already 90% humidity at 8:15. I wanted no part of the trail so I headed out along the riverside road for a stretch and meander. It felt good to get it done, even if it was pokey pokey. The rest of Friday and Saturday was spent with my godson and his little sister as well as their parents. Kid wrangling should definitely be a sport. The Norwalk Aquarium was a ton of fun!
MLB History
  • Sunday: I took the long way home. For years since the Brush Staircase re-opened and again when the High Bridge followed, I’ve talked about walking the Bronx/Upper Manhattan portion of New York baseball history. Today, it finally happened. My friends were going to the Yankees game and although I wasn’t joining them, I rode with them to the stadium where the plan was to catch the 4 train home. When the day dawned beautiful and lacking the expected humidity, I decided to walk across Macombs Dam Bridge and then decide how I wanted to get home.

About halfway across, I remembered the baseball history idea and decided to hit Brush Staircase at the minimum. As I was navigating my way around construction on W. 155th and the Polo Grounds Towers to get up to the base of the stairs (“up” to the base, yes. Sea level to Coogan’s Bluff is 175 feet!) I remembered there was supposedly a marker for the approximate location of the Polo Grounds’ home plate. Luckily my phone wasn’t totally dead so I made use of the PoloGrounds’ entry on Ballpark Chasers and the Historical Markers database and still proceeded to walk past it twice before figuring out what I thought was the route. The stairs gave me a brief respite between the second and final tries to decide whether I really wanted to pursue this. In the end, I decided to because I still needed to get home in some form.

When I walked out of the complex, I laughed because I realized it was almost exactly a straight line back from the 155th St. Station on the B/D line. Oh well, I got a lot of steps and baseball memories in the process. It was absolutely worth the time to find it. The Towers’ complex is relatively busy, but the top of the stairs is on a quiet, residential street and you can just sit there and listen to the ghosts. Such a magical piece of New York’s sports history! If you want some great photos of the old stadium, DeadBaseball has you covered.

This stretch from High Bridge Park to home is brutal and boring and my bag was getting heavy so I got the M2 bus home. Still debating whether I’m going for a run today, three hours after I sat down “just to charge my watch!”. Story of my life. At least my running clothes are on. Overall, a good if not great week. Feel recovered from the fall & think PF flare is gone.


Plan for this week:

I don’t have one, oops!  I thought my 7M run was Saturday, but it’s Sunday. I hope it’s cooler. I’m probably not ready as I’ve not done more than 5 miles since the end of June, but it is what it is.  Plan at the moment is to run either Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Sunday or Monday/Wednesday/Thursday/Sunday. Since it looks like this is going to be a gym week due to rain, I’m hoping to do the check out run to see how my July speed training went. August has a lot of travel and I think I need to focus on planning those runs vs. my haphazard summer schedule. Also, where did July go? We’ll see if today’s run happens and go from there. ETA: I ran. I PRed. More later this week

Upcoming races:

Linking up with Deb:

pretty much the same as last month, but I did add the New Balance 10 Miler so I get automatic registration for the NYC Half next year via the Four of Six program. I don’t love the Half course, but I had major FOMO this year when I cheered it, so decided to get the guaranteed entry and decide when registration opens if I want to do it. I think so. I have the Fort Lauderdale Half booked again for Feb 2019 but I’m torn on whether I’ll repeat Lebow or do Shape (same course) in April. Decisions, decisions.

Don’t chase waterfalls, PRs are much more fun

don’t ask me why I have TLC’s Waterfalls in my head. I can’t remember the last time I heard it, and it isn’t on my playlists so who knows?!

This is a two week recap due to travel but before I get to the nitty gritty, I GOT MY 5K PR! (Yes, all caps and bold very much needed 🙂 ) Part of a crazy week of cramming runs between conference sessions. More on that later.

The Brooklyn Half is five days away. EEK! I’m not as ready as I wanted to be, but I’m more ready than I was for Lebow, so I think it will be OK. So far forecast looks cool and rainy. Not ideal for post-race beach day, but better than what I feared when we had 80s two weeks ago. I’m simultaneously looking forward to it, glad to be dropping down to shorter distances for June and looking for another half, so go figure on all of that.

For these recaps, joining Wendy and HoHo as I’ve really come to love the folks I’ve met through that linkup

Theme of both weeks? Cramming. Way too much going on and I knew when I signed up for both a conference and the Brooklyn Half at the end of January that it wasn’t ideal, but I’d figure it out.

Week of 4.29

  • Monday, I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel after Saturday so plan was warmup, and row. They felt good and I went with 5.6, 5.7, back to 5.6 and then my now-standard 6.2 closeout for 2.03 total.
  • Tuesday, Carl Schurz Park/John Finley Walk I love/hate you. Great to have something so close, even if chopped up but going back at least a year, my times here such. I’m not sure if it’s due to the terrain, elevation or what but even pre construction it has never been great. But I only had a quick window available so I took advantage of it for another 2.03.
  • Friday was a nice post-flight shakeout for 2.03 miles (5.7 for 1.88, then 6.2 close). I’m so glad the fitness center at the hotel was so well-equipped as it was way too hot to even contemplate running outdoors. Some folks managed morning runs, but I couldn’t get a good loop map, so opted to stay indoors.
  • Saturday, not a run and didn’t even hit my step goal thanks to a 7 hour RT bus ride, but nothing better than Mother Nature at her finest. Grand Canyon was pure magic. More on that and the conference in another post.

Low mileage week overall, but it was what I needed and I ran where I could. I was OK with this.

Week of 5.6

  • Sunday, I wanted to get in 10K but there simply wasn’t a large enough window between conference sessions. Most of the week I was up early as I tried to stay on east coast time, but we got in really late from the Grand Canyon and I slept in. Happy to still get in 4 miles. I stayed at 5.6 as even in the AC, it was brutal. Dry heat is still heat and I was drinking a lot of water last week. My first dry heat running and a learning experience
5K PRapalooza
  • Monday, PR day! I didn’t break 32, but I realized when I loaded the run into Runkeeper that 32:15 was for 3.08 and not 3.13 so PR! I decided to try to see if I could do 5.7 all the way through and if that was enough to get me a PR. 5.7 felt good and I had a large water bottle which was enough to keep me from having to pause to refill. Surprisingly I had enough in the tank at 2.88 to gut out 6.2 for the last quarter mile and I have a new PR. So I’m further from breaking 32, but I’m still going to make that happen. Recent speeds and the incremental progress to Monday make me think that could happen in June, but I’m just not sure enough how treadmill speeds will translate outdoors so we’ll see? But in the mean time, I’m happy.
  • Wednesday. Cram in a short run before the day’s sessions because I wasn’t sure I’d have shower access after field trips in the afternoon since I’d have already checked out of my room. This was a good move as not only did I not have shower access, but I doubled up on field trips and didn’t have a window for a run before heading to the redeye.
  • Friday, ugh. I realized my weekend long runs would be rained out (at mom’s, no gym access) so decided to keep on with the theme of the prior two weeks and squeeze a run in an available window. It wasn’t the run I wanted, but it would have to do.
  • Sunday, hotel gym had only one treadmill and it is still manual. So elliptical and a walk again for the sake of steps. Stir crazy!

Am I going to regret the lack of any long runs the last two weeks? I’m not sure.  But plan for this week is running today and tomorrow, or today and Wednesday and then off Thursday, Friday ahead of the Half.

Here’s to a good run.


Training, week of 4.16

This was a weird week.

Monday I went to the gym figuring I might have something in my legs despite going two days in a row since Saturday’s run was way below where it should have been. Nope. Couldn’t even get .05 miles so I took a cross train day and did a mile on the elliptical and 2K row. Not ideal, but it worked. I was subsequently off from the gym on Tuesday and Wednesday due to evening commitments. Tuesday was completely off at sub 8K steps as it was too cold to walk home. I am so over winter.

Thursday I was antsy and curious how my legs would respond after Monday. They felt fresh and good. I briefly went PR chasing, but ended up having fun with numbers, despite Strava recording issues.  I went at 5.6 until 2.63 where I went to 5.7 before my habitual 6.2 flying sprint to close out. I don’t think I’m quite at 5.7 for length, but I’m getting there. I really need to get back to Mile High Run Club and speed sessions. The knee is fine, I’m just afraid of it not being fine ahead of Brooklyn.

Sakura on Pilgrim Hill. One of my favorite crosscultural spots


Strava must have been mad at me for yelling at it, because Saturday was a complete tech fail despite the beautiful weather. The plan called for ~9-10 and the run started well, but I was struggling on the West Side Rollers between miles one and two. I just felt gassed. I already knew as I came around the bottom of the Park that 9 wasn’t happening and I think Cat Hill was worse because I had already decided it was going to be. My left achilles was twinging and I felt itchy, although I didn’t know why at first.  (Anyone want a handful of mint chocolate Gu? It clearly doesn’t like me. The first time I thought I was having a heat reaction, but twice? Nope, something in it & I don’t get along. So I dipped out of the park at ~5 and got to six miles by headed home. It wasn’t the run I wanted, but it felt decent. I got home and no matter what, the run wouldn’t sync. Some googling tells me this is an occasional thing with the TomTom wherein it clears off the watch because the watch thinks it’s transferred, but never makes it to the app. Oh well. No splits, but at least I had the overall.

Cherry Blossoms on the Hudson

The plan for today was to make up yesterday’s missing miles. I didn’t have an exact plan, but knew I ultimately needed to get to Pier 97 so I decided to take the M79 across and run north for a mile to make it a ~three mile run. I got this wonderful sight at about the turnaround. So many shades of pink and white like the first time I did the Great Saunter. It’s just nature’s canvas. Other than Frozen Penguin, I never really run Riverside, so this was a nice treat.

lickity split!

Although it was busy, it wasn’t crowded so I wasn’t playing too big a game of dodg’em and my legs had some speed in them. After mile two, I thought I might be chasing a PR.  I missed it by 30 seconds, but was still wowed by this run especially coming off six yesterday. And those splits! Almost my first fully negative splits. I don’t think breaking 30 is going to happen in June like I hoped,  but I’m going to break 32m if it kills me. 32:15 is my PR and I think I’m getting there. What surprised me the most about this run was it was about the 5.6 I ran Thursday but without a treadmill forcing it. It just felt right.

one eyed, one horned, flying purple people-eater!

How to keep people from running too close? Look like this. The reason I needed to get to Pier 97 was for Holi, put on by a group we’re working with. I’d never been before, but really enjoyed it. From there I caught the bus to the southwest corner of Central Park and decided to run home as it was getting slightly chilly. Although I didn’t have much phone battery left, I wanted to get some cherry blossoms so I headed off in the general direction of Cherry Hill.

Central Park was packed and this was very much a game of dodg’em, so I knew this woudn’t be for time. At Conservatory Water, I took a break and went up Pilgrim Hill for some of my favorite blossoms. So magically sun-kissed.As my phone died there, I nipped home to try and lose some of the purple. Ended up with six miles, when I only meant three catch up. Although yesterday wasn’t the long run it was meant to be, I got more miles in, since if I’d done 9 I wouldn’t have run today, so win? It’s a good thing I didn’t much like that shirt anyway, it’s never coming clean.

Overall, mixed bag but I’m happy with these two long-ish run days to close out the week. Definitely happy with two back to back at distance even if Sunday’s miles were in three parts. I’m not 100% sure I’m ready for Brooklyn especially with travel ahead of it, but I feel good. Plan for next Saturday is Mile High’s outdoor long run, so we’ll see.  Tomorrow is definitely an off day and as soon as I hit post, I’m having some QT with my foam roller as my quads are cranky. ETA Monday morning: not too sore, other than knees going downstairs. Foam magic

Linking up with Wendy at her invitation and HoHo, whose blog looks amazing. And for the readers, Wendy posted her review of Deena Kastor’s book. That was supposed to happen this week for me, but Running the Smoke cut the queue in honor of today’s London marathon, so I’m behind.

Charity Running / Damon Runyon 2018

I love supporting charities. I’ve done 5K fundraiser walks since I was a kid, since mom & dad always taught the importance of giving back: whether that be time, money or otherwise. April is already 5K-palooza as it’s theoretically spring. I’ve done the March of Dimes Walk every year and in various years have walked for 9/11, MS, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Hope for the Warriors and others.

But the running/fundraising landscape is so complicated at times, even beyond charity bibs for marathons, and I really hate asking for money even if people are happy to do it as a tax deduction. When I started running, I decided to raise money for Joyful Heart in memory of my friend Linda’s daughter Kira. When I realized how many 5Ks had a fundraising component I decided I’d just sponsor myself and if people wanted to donate, I’d point them to my Joyful Revolution Athletic Club page.

Oddly, the one I never did as a walk was Damon Runyon. To me that is beyond bizarre given my love of the Yankees and that it’s a fundraiser for cancer research.  I did the run last year for the first time, and in 2018 it moved to April. I was torn at first: better weather, but the week after Cherry Blossom. When I realized the intersecting dates I wondered if I could do a 5K the week after a 10 miler. Luckily in the intervening four months my body learned to recover more quickly and I signed up at the end of March.

about that better weather!

.While April isn’t June, today was more than a little ridiculous. I acquired a Mariano shirt, but it barely saw the light of day because it was so windy. Yes, lots of pink was probably what led to one of the volunteers asking me if I knew what other meaning 42 had. Yes, jackass, although I don’t think I’d have thought to wear Mariano today if a friend who was running hadn’t mentioned it.

greetings from the warning track

The laps of the stadium are kind of weird and with the start inside Gate 4, neither my watch nor Strava worked so I don’t have my time. I know it wasn’t good for a 5K, but I think it was better than last year.  ETA: 41:01. Exactly what I thought on both counts. It’s kind of nice just to run sometimes. If they send the time, I’ll take it. I’m taking the mileage though, because it puts me at 200 for #RunTheYear even if it’s 3ish, which I think it is. In rereading my post from last year, I realize most of my thoughts on the course remain the exact same.

While I was still distracted on the warning track because it’s awesome running in the stadium, I was less so than last year. I think in part I just wanted to keep moving because it was so cold. Before we got there though, we had to complete two laps of field level. I think I accidentally completed three, which did my time no favors. I wasn’t sure though when the course split sign came up if I was supposed to have passed that once and then go, or two full laps. Oh well. It was then onto the warning track for two laps. The warning track is where you first encounter the race’s confusing signage. It says Mile 1. But does that apply to the first lap, or the second? I saw 20m had passed from gun time, but I don’t think I was that slow unless I did do an extra Field Level lap. Oh well.

From here it was onto the absolute worst part, stairs from the field level up to main. Never ending and with zero view as  you’re in the stadium interior. I jogged the first flight and then walked the rest. They’re just too crowded and while I walk 64 steps daily, I never run them since I’m often carrying too much crap. Maybe I should start though.

I love this view

At the end of the main level lap, you hit more stairs but at least these are exterior stairs with a view, and what a view. They’re also wider so there’s more room to run, err, jog them ahead of a lap of the terrace level. Although the rain held off, luckily, this is where we ran into a major wind tunnel that was a head wind. Luckily I knew the best part was to come, running down the ramps from terrace level to the Great Hall. You feel like you’re flying and because it was cold, I wasn’t dragging the way I was last year. But when you enter the Great Hall, the course splits again: finish to the left, course continues “to mile 2” to the right. Um, no, mile 2 sign was at the top of the ramp. I guess they mean the completion of mile two, but super confusing.

Although my legs were feeling good, I jog walked the steps. I knew I was maintaining a steady pace since I was consistently on the heels of a couple in yellow windbreakers. Knowing exactly what was to come and not feeling overheated, this lap flew and I was quickly on the ramp back down to the Great Hall.

Mariano and a medal

I actually forgot this race comes with a medal. Although I was excited to receive it last year as it was only my second one, it was rather uninspiring. I like that the 10th anniversary one is in the shape of a baseball diamond. Finish line festival was smaller than last year, but nice to have pretzels in addition to bananas and bagels. Coffee or hot chocolate would have been nice.

Overall? April is much better than July, even if it didn’t exactly feel like April. The race is a little expensive for a 5K considering none of the race fee money is a donation, that’s done separately. But there’s something amazing about running Yankee Stadium that you just don’t get from running in the streets, so I’d say it’s worth the money. How are you otherwise going to run on the warning track? I think this is going on my annual calendar so long as I’m in town.

Other Notes:

  • Yesterday I did the hill repeats I talked about, although Strava didn’t pick up the segment. 3x was the perfect test of it as I didn’t want to trash my legs ahead of today. It felt “comfortably hard”. I need to figure out the recoveries. Hopefully if the path opens this week that will be part of a longer “runway”.

Twice Frozen Penguin

which sounds like I’m a crazy carnivore!

NYCRuns’ Frozen Penguin holds a special place in my heart as my first 5K. So as soon as it was announced, I signed up for today. I realized I’ve only raced four 5Ks and while I’ll probably also repeat one of the other ones (and maybe the other in April), I don’t love the distance for a race. I wasn’t sure this was going to be as fun as last year since it didn’t have the “first” element, but NYCRuns put on a good event and it was a fun crowd of people bouncing around to keep warm. And as much as I love Central Park, sometimes it’s nice to run elsewhere.

Luckily somewhat warmer this year

While still penguin friendly, the temps were luckily a bit warmer this year and I learned you really don’t need to be there an hour early. 25m was still plenty despite this run not having advance bib/shirt pickup.

animatronic penguin

I don’t love the shirt, so I’m not sad they didn’t have the women’s size I wanted. I do like that it’s long sleeved so I can wear it today. Given that I didn’t want to carry it for three miles, I committed the “sin” of wearing it before I earned it. It made for a nice layer as the park was mighty chilly. I’m really glad I grabbed a jacket last minute.


Yep, same jacket I bought for last year

No official photos this year that I’ve found. So just me being requisite silly. Differences between the two photos mostly “lessons learned” in a year of races:

  • a muff is way more practical than an infinity scarf
  • the race giveaway you think you hate is great for runs where you plan to ditch the hat. Except it’s too cold and you keep it on.
  • Belt > clutch to hold on to things
  • I kind of missed my wind pants, my butt was cold while we were waiting. I also missed their pockets, but those hips last year not at all flattering.
    • I don’t look like I lost the weight I have, thank you layers. LOL. Two shirts under that coat and I never did warm up enough to want to take one off.
  • Same flip top mittens. Insane that I didn’t need them in December or January runs but I did in March.
2017 vs. 2018 Penguin

Finished 12 spots closer to the front, but ten and a half minutes faster! And I was much closer to the pack. I ran 99.9% of it, with the walk only in the second water station so I didn’t freeze my chin with ice cold water on a cold day. I didn’t really have a time goal for this one, although I had a few thought starters. I’m happy with the race I ran today though, it was the best possible for me on this day. I’m hoping to get back to Mile High Run Club this week for some speed work, which I know made the difference in recent gains.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how close my watch was to the course markers. I ran 3.13 by the watch, and was in sync until mile 3. Not sure what that was about. Reason I’m using NYCRuns’ timing & distance here vs. usual RunKeeper is last year I didn’t have my watch yet and phone died on course so only had NYCRuns’, so apples to apples ish

Splendiferous splits!


Except when it comes to TomTom splits since NYCRuns’ doesn’t have those. Only timing pad is start/finish. Miles one and three had significant uphills, and the start was crowded/trail segment narrow there so I’m not surprised by any of the splits. Mile two was flat/downhill to the river. Pleased with running the big hills, they’re both steeper than Cat Hill or anything else I do regularly. My knee felt a little weird, so I’ll keep an eye on that. I think it’s fine though, just cold muscle and COLD day.

And then I did something I’ve never done before, I ran after the race. No hot chocolate this year so I got more water and then headed south to the m86 bus. In part because there is no easy/direct way home, but also in part because my legs felt good and I wanted to get a few more miles in. I’m still not sure I’ll ever be that person who does a pile of mileage on top of a race, but this felt good.

As did the hot bath when I got home.

Other Notes:

  • Other runs this week, all at 5.5 speed, .5 incline:
      • 2.29 miles on Monday. I was mentally gassed. That (25m) is the minimum I’m allowed. So I did it and then bailed
      • 2.75 miles Tuesday. Feeling less gassed.
      • 3.21 miles Friday for a dear friend’s 32nd birthday. This felt really, really good. The two days off mid week is a good cycle. Of course I can’t do it this week.
  • Race calendar filled out for spring/summer:
    • March
      • March 17 – haven’t signed up for this but weather-depending I may do NYCRuns’ Spring Fling as a long run for Cherry Blossom as they allow combining of 5 and 10Ks.
      • March 18 – cheering at Team MHRC cheering station and then doing my +1 volunteer slot at the medal engraving station. Indoors in March, yes please.  Yes, I think I might really be going for 9+1 for 2019 😮
    • April:
      • April 8: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
      • April 15 (maybe): Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium depending on how my legs feel after Cherry Blossom
    • May:
      • May 19: Brooklyn Half
    • June: oh, busy bee!
      • June 3: Italy Run 5M
      • June 9: New York Mini 10K
      • June 16: Queens 10K (“free”, thanks New Balance Rewards)
      • June 23: Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run 5M
      • June 24: Achilles Hope & Possibility 4M. (I love the work of Achilles. If my legs aren’t up for this after the one prior I’ll walk it. Can’t not support it).
    • July:
      • July 28: NYRR Team Championships 5M
    • August:
      • August 5: Manhattan 7 Miler
July will probably pick up a couple more, just depends on vacation. But if these all stick, I’ll have my 9 in. EEK!


Training, week of 1.7

meet my new best friend

I already talked about how I marked my one year running anniversary. How did I mark the first half of the week after my running anniversary? Injured.

I actually don’t think it was Saturday’s 7.77 miles so much as the 1.3 mile warmup on Friday in bad shoes. Luckily, it doesn’t appear to be a flare of plantar fasciitis, but rather a bruise/irritation of pad below my big toe. So rather than take a class as planned on Sunday morning, I visited my old friend the bike as the gym’s rowers are out of commission. Walking to and from gym bus stop was sore, but not insurmountable. I honestly didn’t even want to go out as it was so cold, but I needed some steps.

On Monday I went to my primary branch and while my foot felt better, I didn’t want to push it too soon so I checked out the contraption pictured above which they’d recently installed. It’s an Octane Fitness Lateral and it seemed more manageable than a standard elliptical. It was surprisingly fun, especially with legs going all around. Since it didn’t have the tread pounding of a treadmill, my foot felt good after 30m which was about enough for my hips.

Tuesday, planned off day.

Wednesday, tested my foot with a mile on the treadmill followed by a mile on the lateral. It’s hard, but a good hard and way more fun than the standard elliptical. Maybe I’ll give their bike a go on the next non-Sunday cross train as the gym also has that.

Thursday, late night with multiple after work events but I didn’t use them as an excuse to skip the gym. It meant a short visit, however, so it was only a mile. No pain. Yay.

Friday I knew was going to be a test. After an insanely cold two weeks, it was finally unseasonably warm and Road Runners had scheduled one of their #ResolveToRun group runs. Despite struggling with NYRR’s group runs, I decided to give this one a go since it was only 5K and was geared toward new runners, it seemed.  There were eleven of us including two coaches and as we head into the park I knew it wasn’t really new runners. Just figured I’d give it my best.

We had a pause at about the mile moment to allow the rear group to catch up and set a plan for the distance and when I looked at my watch I couldn’t believe it. It was 10:07! I knew there was no way I could maintain it and told them to go ahead, I knew the loop and would catch up or meet them back at the RunCenter. The second mile I managed to keep them in sight and for the third mile another runner said she’d run with me and three of us finished together. Just before we hit two miles it started to rain and it was AWESOME. It had been super foggy in the park and as we skirted Belvedere and the Delacorte it was super eerie. Loved it.

It was a great run and ten of us finished smiling in the rain. The planned hot chocolate at the RunCenter gave way to water and gatorade and when I looked at my watch, I couldn’t believe it.

holy PR Batman!

Even when accounting for the distance, not just a PR, a PR by ~20 seconds per mile vs. Christmas Eve! And CP course is way more hilly than the trail at home which is a pancake.

12/24/17 vs. 1/12/18

Speaking of per mile, this just makes me shake my head


drunk splits

How on earth does the same run get measured at three different paces? Tom Tom is faster on first and slower on second miles than Strava. It’s six seconds faster than Runkeeper in mile one before moving to four seconds slower. None of this makes one iota of sense.

Also at the RunCenter

Hat & new corral

Either they dropped the L corral for this race, or I actually leveled up. My guess is the former, but I’m going to enjoy this sign of progress.

Today, 3.21 at the gym at 5.5 with random hill intervals mostly to test the foot. No pain. Run felt good. Definitely taking tomorrow easy though and not running. I’ve learned to not repeat this summer and determined not to be both undertrained and injured.

Speaking of learned, you might notice I revised my 2018 goals and dropped the “need” come in with fewer days below goal than 2017. It’s not because I’m struggling, but rather because it was making me crazy already. The whole reason I love (and main point of) the annual aspect of #GoTheDist (which did come back for 2018, yay!) and monthly aspect of my spreadsheets is because they control for the day to day fluctuations that come with life. I do need to make some minimal movement-such as last Sunday when I went to the gym, but I don’t need to obsess about whether coming in shy of goal (~10K Tuesday because I got home after midnight) means the end of the world, goal wise. It’s a similar feeling to when I dropped the 30m goal, and it’s something that has been lingering in my brain as to whether my fitbit would ever “let” me have a true rest day. So lesson learned early from a goal. I think this falls under 2018 goal of train smarter. And since the day I made that decision? Four days above 15K, of course.

December 2017: Struggling

(I was originally writing this over the course of a week to post on 1/1, but I decided there was enough meat that would drown out a year-end recap).

When I came back from the Christmas long weekend, I knew I was in trouble goal wise. As has become custom, when I start the month’s spreadsheet I plug in some 2K step days where I know I won’t hit goal. For December these were:

  • December 10, the day after my 15K
  • December 17-18, day before and day of major work event
  • December 23-26, at mom’s for Christmas

What I forgot about was that the entire week before the major work event can be a disaster because it wasn’t last year. As early as December 11, I knew there was an issue and I subsequently hit goal only two days that week. Uh oh.

Part of me thought I’d be OK since my 2K days don’t tend to stay 2K days since I started running but Saturday 12/23 was rainy, cold and miserable, and Christmas Day was too busy.

Still holding a 2K day in reserve for some family stuff, I was facing needing four 16K days to get ten months in a row of 400K. That was a tall order. Would the world end if I didn’t get it? No. Especially since I hit both 5m on the year and 1.25m for the quarter, but I really wanted it. Alas, I didn’t want it enough to get off the couch and go to the gym when I got home on 12/26. So we’ll see

TomTom, Runkeeper and Strava mostly in sync for a PR

There were some good things over the Christmas long weekend. My Christmas Eve run was a present from the Ghost of Running Present, a PR on the South Nyack Trail. The PR itself was 1m9 seconds over the same trail three months prior (and yes, I finally just ran the first lap twice!) and an eight second PR over November 18. I love that RunKeeper makes it so easy to ID and find the similar runs.

Comparing 5K PRs

That progress makes me think it is possible that I’ll break 30m for a 5K by December 31, 2018. Even ignoring the really early ones, I’ve taken nearly 5m off my 5K time since June. Baby steps.

It was also a Festivus miracle in that it was relatively accurate across TomTom, Strava and RunKeeper! Speaking of Strava nonsense, I love that #7 on the NYRR/Strava virtual race tips is to run extra because Strava is a muppet when it comes to rounding. (I might do their virtual ones, still thinking about it).

My first day back to reality and my routine was a good treadmill run. I didn’t have a planned distance since my training is off and I don’t want to overdo it and risk injury, but I was thinking about an hour.

Runkeeper meets What the Forecast

Yep. Lungs wise I could have gone longer but my legs were starting to hurt and I was understretched having been away and hadn’t run longer in a while, so I smartly cut it there. Legs felt good after a good stretch and foam roll.

Thursday’s cross train (29m row, 31m walk) was also “about an hour”. Who am I and what happened to the person who didn’t want to spend the better part of an hour running? 😀

Can I pull out 400K? It’s still a definite maybe, but I’ll give it my best.

Other Notes:

  • I recently read Mile by Mile’s post on the magic of the long run and it’s so true. Although I love Mile High Run Club and don’t really mind running 5-6 miles on the treadmill at the gym, there’s no magic the way there is in an outdoor long run. I think part of why I’m struggling in December is I haven’t got outdoors nearly enough. Combo of being sick early in the month, getting dark early and the weather. It’s not going to happen this weekend either, but hopefully before my January run. In the mean time, some treadmill tips. I really wish I could read. I have been getting in my Iron Chef fix though when there isn’t football on.
  • I love the idea of Mind, Body and Spirit goals. I need to think about spirit, but I think I have mind and body covered. Not having the scale as part of my body goals, is partly a mind one as it’s just frustrating and nowhere near as measurable as running progress goals.
  • Fuel-school. I have stuck with gels when I’ve used them, but I found this guide to the various fuels super helpful. One day I’ll even remember to use them consistently. I think part of the struggles in my learning week was running on empty. I can do it, but probably not smart when I’m also mentally exhausted.

Transformation Thursday

yeah, that’s supposed to be a tag for Tuesdays, but who am I to ever play by all the rules? Tonight was remarkably like that Tuesday. I had the best laid plans of ducking out early and going for a run in the park, but I blinked and it was 7:30. So I headed to the gym with a plan to do three-ish miles.

Treadmill PR, October 26

It’s not a PR, but it’s a treadmill PR with my prior best, 36:16, on the day I lost my old gym. It was a mostly flat 5.5 pace with a 6.0 on the last .07 or so. Whee!

Back to feeling good about Sunday’s run, which I wasn’t after Tuesday. It’s ridiculous, Sunday is a 5m. I’ve done one on this course and I ran five miles this Saturday. SO weird what bad runs do to the brain.

I’ve been reading through some run blogs I’ve come across and this from Race Pace Jess is what I’ve decided to use for Sunday:

“Finish feeling strong instead of depleted.”

I have a time in mind that I think is reasonable. But my official goal? Finish smiling.