Celebrating the work of Front Runners and Achilles

a double race weekend, something I enjoyed but am in no particular hurry to repeat. This week’s recap/mileage is almost entirely the races as, as I suspected when I wasn’t taking photos last Saturday, I was coming down with something. I still managed to run a couple of days, but this was a much needed “off” week.

Happy Pride!

Luckily I started to feel better and when I woke up this morning I was good to go, because I did not want to miss the Front Runners’ festivities.

I knew I wouldn’t like the shirt for the race, so I hit up Amazon and got the one above, which I loved. I lucked out that the rain held off since it was all cotton. In case of the rain, I covered myself with knock off body glide and that combined with China made, not pre-washed t-shirt? Yep, I was purple by race’s end.  Lucky I never needed medical assistance because that would have been interesting. Um, it appears this runner may be a descendant of Grimace or Grape Ape. What’s the treatment there? I’d say lesson learned re: nothing new on race day, but it was really a non issue.

Since the weather was an absolutely perfect 65 and overcast, I ran to the start. There really is no other way other than feet to get to an E. 102nd start. Although I got there just on 8 AM, it was pretty quiet and the corrals were mostly empty. I realized later, it’s a smaller race of about 4,700 runners. Well smaller compared to the size of some in the last few weeks and the capacity of Central Park. The warmup was nice, a celebration of Pride, a push for tolerance and a look back at the history of the events that happen around the race.

Memorial to Pulse victims

While some of the events that happened in close proximity to the race were ones worth celebrating: New York State legalizing same sex marriage on June 24, 2011; Supreme Court declaring DOMA unconstitutional on June 26, 2013 others weren’t. The Pulse shooting was just two weeks before the 2016 race and the victims are remembered with several placards. There was also a moment of silence before the race’s start for those lost/in our thoughts. Definitely my most poignant NYRR race so far, although overall is still the 9/11 Memorial 5K.


The race itself was pretty unremarkable. The overage was pretty much mile one as there was a lot of weaving around selfie takers. Starting at E. 102nd meant we immediately tackled the Harlem Hills and that was my only moment of Don’t Wanna. It was fleeting and I settled into a rhythm. I was actually pleasantly surprised with my time over Harlem Hills and my recovery in mile five. By Cat Hill I was coughing pretty badly and decided it was smarter to ease up it than run hard, yet I was able to regain pace in the last mile. It felt good.

NYRR data. For once, faster than my watch (by .05)

I knew that I had no shot at a PR Saturday without being totally healthy. It was about three minutes off Italy and ten seconds behind Poland Spring. I’m absolutely fine with that as I ran the best race I was capable of today. Also, neither one of those had the Harlem Hills, although I don’t think the hills were an issue for me in this race as I got them over early.

I love that this race ended with a popsicle: so much more refreshing than bagels. I checked in with Gilbert, then chilled out on the hillside to watch the drawing. I didn’t win, but the people watching is fun. It’s a race with a great history and a great way to kickoff Pride weekend. I went to Stonewall after DOMA went down and hit the March that year or 2014-not sure what’s in the cards for this year as it depends on how I feel after Achilles and the weather. ETA: Nope, didn’t. I napped instead.

Achilles Hope & Possibility 4 Miles

Dick Traum, being recognized as Achilles’ founder

Some of the NYRR hashtags are tongue twisters and/or hard to remember and I find myself peeking down at my bib to get them right. This one was easy and natural: #GoAchilles as it’s something I find myself saying when I see Achilles runners and their Guides out in the Park. It’s so amazing to watch and they have an amazing history. Only just realized the Central Park Jogger was their founding Board Chair and it’s from her book that this race draws its name . As I found out while we waited to start, this run not only honors disabled Achilles runners, but the Achilles Freedom team. #AlwaysConquering. Talk about inspiring. I saw Adam Keys on the course and love the reception he got at the finish. As I said yesterday, I really hope Peter Ciacia’s tradition continues after his retirement because that’s what races should be about too, not just the winners or even the middle of the packers.

It was nice to see the starting line festivities as I ran to the start. Usually approach the corrals from the back as a function of the start location, but while I don’t love an E. 68th St. start, it is nice from that side of things. The warmup run told me just how humid it was and cemented my decision to make this a fun run even though I felt fine after yesterday’s hills. I think the reason I didn’t care for today’s start was two-fold: starting at 68th means Cat HIll is the first thing you tackle and with it being a staggered v. rolling start, you have no warm up. It’s go and hill. Yesterday’s rolling start is part of what made the Harlem Hills manageable. What I liked though was they advised the wheelchair & Freedom Teams divisions to move right if they found themselves slowing on the hill-I think that should be at every race and I’m seriously thinking they need a selfie lane because someone is going to get hurt.

Embracing this as a fun run, I started with an insane cough in mile one coupled – TMI warning, choking on post-nasal drip. Ewww. And then my shoelace came untied. That never happens. Seriously I can think of two runs total where it did. Weird. Mile one dragged but I was pleased to see the sprinklers and I settled into a routine. I loved cheering the Achilles runners and their guides, and ran briefly with Jean Pierre, who I always love to see. He’s such fun. I hit every sprinkler, I drank one or two full cups at each water break and just took it all in. Still finished a sweaty mess thanks to 92% humidity, but I finished.

NYRR Results

I think the reason slower finishes bothered me was that I saw it as a sign of regression. I’ve finally come to understand that it isn’t – and that running isn’t linear. So sure, this is 4m slower than February, but I’m not 4m slower in my ability. I ran the race that was smart today given the conditions and having run yesterday. Sometimes, runs should just be about getting out there and getting it done. 4 miles is better than zero.

yep, I ran in shorts

Sun came out on my way home. The medal was a pleasant surprise as I didn’t remember reading that in the race details. And yes, I finally ran in shorts. I’d never run outside in shorts before, but I’d done four miles in Arizona so I decided that with this weather, it was time. And I loved it. They didn’t ride at all and it was so comfortable. I might run in shorts for the rest of the summer 😮

Lessons learned:

  • Sport suncscreen. I thought I owned it, but the one I bought isn’t. Oops. Sweaty sunscreen mess and sunscreen in my eyes by the end. Time to get at least a facial sport one.
  • Double check body glide. I was so careful to put it where my shorts were in case they rode up, that I didn’t put it where the bra hit. Ouch. It’s one I’ve worn many times, but the sweat and sprinkler today. I felt it in the shower.
  • Coffee in the post-race smoothie works, but sometimes skipping it and napping is even better.
  • Two races in two days is probably not the best for me at this stage. But I did it, and I finished smiling

Weekly Wrap:

Linking up with Wendy and Holly

  • Monday, summer happened and the gym AC couldn’t even keep up with the 95 degree temps. 1.53 sweaty, coughing miles on the treadmill. I wanted to do more, but sick & heat wasn’t smart to continue so I finished with some planks and kettle bell circuit. The planks have been paying off, I forgot to note last week that I did my first real push up in ages.
  • Wednesday, slightly cooler but too humid to run outdoors. Still fighting bug so 2.04 slightly less sweaty, coughing miles with a good stretch to close out.

Updated Race Calendar:

I’m kind of glad the insane and overly optimistic June is behind me. Here’s what’s on tap, and linking up with Deb’s Race Linkup:

  • July 14 – NYRR Retro Run, Central Park. I loved this last year, and decided to sign up again this year. Glad it’s shorter since it’s mid July. If my tracking is right, should be the one that gets me my 9+1.
  • July 27 – Central Park R-U-N 5K. Post-work weeknight one. An interesting idea. I added this once I realized I was no longer going to be in town for the Team Championships.
  • August 5- NYRR 7 Mile Run – new race distance to me, new to NYRR calendar
  • (Tentative) September 10 – South Nyack 10 Miler. We have a photo of me watching it as a kid, so feel like maybe it’s time to come full circle.  Depends if I’m in town.
  • (Tentative) September 30 – Bronx 10 Miler. This one doesn’t excite me, but I’m so close to 4/6 for guaranteed entry to NYC Half next year and since I don’t plan to repeat Queens, this might be my best chance.
  • November 17 – God’s Love We Deliver. Was sold out last year before I could enter.
  • (Tentative) November 22 – Turkey Trot, location TBD depending on where we do Thanksgiving.
  • December 8 – Ted Corbitt 15K. Hopefully another snow globe
  • February 17, 2019 – A1A Half Marathon in Fort Lauderdale. I will not be injured. I will be better trained.

Turtles Love the Rain #PolandSpringKickOff

Marathon welcome signage on Central Park West
Marathon Pavilion

well love might be the wrong word. I didn’t sleep a lick last night worrying about whether I was prepared if the race went on, and whether the race would. With no text message when I woke, I checked FB to see all systems go and I… hit snooze. With the rain I knew I was going to Via to the start anyway, so I wasn’t in a huge rush. I also wasn’t in a rush to stand in the damp for the suggested 30-45m, so I was willing to wing it.

I was glad I had a second look at the race info last night because the course was slightly different to the prior 5 mile NYRR run I’d done. As a result, those of us toward the back crossed the finish before we crossed the start. I was amazed how quickly they put up the finish line once we were all off. While waiting for the opening ceremonies to wrap, I enjoyed the fussier than normal festivities due to marathon prep. The pavilion is deceptively large and was a nice place to dry off after our miles were done. Luckily the rain held off while we were waiting.

Back of the pack masses

For a while it felt as if we’d never get to run, but we actually crossed the start faster than in the NYRR races earlier this summer. I was watching my footing due to the wet leaves, but it was also because I couldn’t obsess over the watch. With the rain on tap I decided not to wear my glasses and that was the perfect decision. No fog, no wet lenses, no glasses sliding all over. I admit, it’s a tempting decision going forward. Only possible issue was post-race coffee, but I really don’t need the menu to order at Starbucks.

Runkeeper splits

My pace felt good and steady throughout. I felt that I got into a rhythm fairly quickly, which made sense once I saw my splits. Mile 2? Combo of Cat Hill and taking my windbreaker off as I warmed up, plus some water station congestion as I stayed with the pack! Mile 4 is the rolling hills on the west side of the reservoir. I’m impressed with that consistency int he wild and amazed that my last mile was the fastest, but it makes sense because I was feeling strong. I have no idea what that final .1 was. Probably fidding with the watch, so I’m not worrying. Really the only moment of concern was on the last water station –  I carried a bottle but never opened it until post race – when I aimed for my mouth and got my nose instead. Whoops. I really need to learn to run or at least walk and drink.

I felt as if I was darting around people a lot, but just like June I ran close to the prescribed distance (5.14 to June’s 5.13 miles). I seem to be better at that than I am when running 10K. At the second water station I was happy to see Thomas Panek and Gus who I’d read about earlier this week. I also saw them after the race and it looked like they had a good run. They were certainly having fun by Engineers’ Gate.


NYRR Place details

I’m still sticking with my watch over NYRR since it’s how I’ve measured all my time, but like June, they’re off.  5.14 in 57:32 for 11:12 average pace vs. 5.0 in 57:43 for 11:33. I’d also say the watch is more accurate since it is what I ran, not what the course was measured at. Some thoughts:

  • Top 79% gender. That’s pretty cool. About same (top 80) as age group.
  • Top 85% overall
  • I really love NYRR’s data. Even if I don’t know how to interpret all of it.

What I also am amazed by and appreciate is the progress I can see at a glance from NYRR and Strava.

5 Miles throughout my running history

This doesn’t include the Retro, for some reason, but it was nice to see progress over time. Strava also gave me a whole bunch of personal rankings, which really just told me that people name a lot of segments throughout the park.

Strava PRs


Last week was a good test but that time included some pause and stretch breaks as my hip was still not 100%. I thought it was a good indicator of what was possible and it’s where I pulled my goal time from. I really wanted to break one hour, and I was fairly sure it was doable.

NYRR runs database

It is equal parts insane and awesome to realize that I finished five miles only slightly slower than I previously finished four. Much like my feeling at finishing that four, it was lovely to realize I was up and done for the day before I’m normally up on a Sunday. All said and done, it’s about an 8 minute PR over June and I definitely hit my goal of finishing strong and smiling.

Smile and say silly

Yep! Can’t lose me in a rain storm. This love of pink is new, and while I was sad not to be able to wear Boo (although I am as I write this), I’m happy with my outfit. The windbreaker was great for post race walking around and wasn’t too warm to run the first mile in. I didn’t bother trying to tie it and just carried it as I ran. I forgot my dry socks but covering my feet in knock off glide worked a charm as no blisters despite feeling a hot spot.

I met up with a friend who I met fifteen years who and we spent some time in the Pavilion before heading to the Run Center to pick up his stuff for next weekend’s 5K and then Starbucks. It was so wonderful not to feel completely trashed after this race. Had the monsoon not picked up, I probably would have even walked home. As a result, my steps on the day are low, but I’ll take it.

Current running mileage on the year for Joyful Heart: 349.39! (Doh!)

On to the next.

Post-race goodies from the NYC Marathon Pavilion