Race Recap: Zooma Bermuda

more to come on Bermuda overall in, hopefully, a #TravelTuesday post. In the mean time, my thoughts on an amazing racecation. First of all, major love and shout out to the entire Zooma and OnPace race teams. They and their partners put on a fabulous inaugural Bermuda race and I can’t wait to return to the island or do another one of their races. So many cities, so little time.

Runners’ Roundup

Linking up with Debbie, Deborah, Rachel, Lisa, Jen and Smitha for the new Wednesday “Runners’ Roundup” to discuss the Zooma Bermuda challenge. Apologies in advance for an insanely long recap. I enjoyed this weekend almost as much as I did my first Half Marathon.

The weekend in a nutshell

Three happy runners

In no particular order this weekend involved:

  • meeting amazing people including Marcia and Erika. Spoiler, when you’ve read one another’s blogs for two+ years, it really doesn’t feel like “meeting” and you can chat easily for hours.
  • exploring the island of Bermuda with Darlene
  • running an amazingly scenic and hilly Half Marathon
  • not getting swept in said Half marathon
  • learning how to embed an instagram photo in a blog post. Or maybe that was just me. LOL. There are approximately forty bazillion photos on my Facebook as well. 

The results of our hard work:

 

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But… rewinding….

As US-based runners, we received our swag bags before we flew, which was great. This included a map of Bermuda,  the gorgeous tanks in the second photo here and a super soft quarter zip. Both fit surprisingly well, and I actually wore the tank!

The Expo

After a day + exploring the island on our own and with some other early arrivals, Zooma Bermuda officially kicked off with a welcome reception at the Fairmont Southampton, our wonderful host hotel. This also served as the Expo during which we could pick up our bibs, wrist bands for transportation and activities and other purchased items. As someone who wishes races were generally more sustainable and generated less waste, I loved that the bib was the same for Saturday and Sunday’s races.

Since it was a relatively small race and the Expo was in a hotel ballroom at a fixed time, we had the opportunity to meet other runners and the On Pace team. I have run with pacers before, but with a great ratio of pacers to runners we had the opportunity to truly engage with the pacers. I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with them about their plans and felt they really listened to my goals for the race. As someone who doesn’t always do well with new people, it was also helpful to meet “my” pacer before the morning of the race.

The Field Trips

 

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Besides races, Zooma organized some optional field trips for those of us visiting the island. I was excited by Saturday’s to the Crystal Caves as they appeared to be absolutely stunning. They did not disappoint.  I had a particular chuckle as the shuttle we used to go to and from operated under the name “Bermuda Triangle Tours”. Life’s too short not to have a sense of humor.  If/when I go back to Bermuda, I’d probably stay a little more central – there was a lot of travel time between Hamilton, the caves and the airport that I’d prefer to eliminate in a shorter stay.

We also hit up the iconic Swizzle Inn, and while I stayed away from a Dark and Stormy or Rum Swizzle ahead of a race, I definitely soaked up the atmosphere. The real up side of being in Bermuda in the off season was the sites & restaurants had no issue accommodating the large groups.  In addition, we were able to get 20% off entrees for our closing dinner at Henry VIII. If I sprout fins and swim away from my blog it’s because of all the delicious fish I ate at the weekend. Wahoo, fish and chips and conch fritters, oh my!

Lighthouse Run

nice signage to mark the route!
can report we did not blow away despite my hair’s best efforts
#TwinningIsWinning

The length of this race changed a couple of times due to road conditions. As the day dawned and remained dark and stormy – a tribute, no doubt, to one of the sponsors and welcome drinks (!!) it solidified our plans to walk the run rather than risk Sunday’s run.

Dressing for high 50s/low 60s with wind and rain is a challenge coming out of Northeast winter. I made a gametime decision to put on a long sleeve tech shirt under the Strong Fricken’ Women tee, which I thought particularly appropriate for this women-focused series. I was very glad I did so as wet tee shirt is never a good feeling. This was semi-planned twinning as Darlene wore this one day and I loved the pattern and told her I was going to be a copycat. This was the first chance since that we both planned to wear capris, so it had to happen.

An unexpected find during the Zooma weekend was all the Skirt. One icebreaker on Friday’s field trip to Hamilton was someone wearing the same pattern as Darlene, and another woman told us how we could find at the Expo based on which Skirt she’d be wearing.

I had a poncho, but didn’t bother as the rain wasn’t particularly heavy but mostly annoying. The route was nice as the road wound down from Gibbs Lighthouse to Horseshoe Bay, and I’m sure would have been even more scenic on a clear day. For some reason I wore and turned on the Garmin, I’m sure it will soon be touting a new 1.5 mile race record. LOL.

Three happy, wet runners

 

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The Half Marathon

Flat Cari

Long sleeves was the wrong choice for 60s, but a few weeks ago when I accepted reality that this Half was going to be a challenge I’d stubbornly decided (Yes, I’m stubborn, this is a theme) I was going to wear my NYC Marathon shirt to remind me of what I had done just a few months ago. I survived, I did not melt.

On the go! We ran a chunk of the race together and she ultimately PRed

aka the reason we were all in Bermuda. There were some 200 runners in all, with us split relatively evenly between the Half Marathon and the 10K. As I mentioned last week, I contemplated dropping to the 10K as a result of my complete lack of training due to injury. Once I found out there was a 3.5 hour cut off, I had a feeling I could do it and decided to go for it. This was further confirmed when I met Esther from On Pace at the pool early in the week and she confirmed it wasn’t a hard limit and that no one would be left behind.

We boarded the race shuttles a a little before six, bringing us to the start area in Barr Park in plenty of time to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and prepare. While I think we could have arrived a little later, I totally understand the cushion for an inaugural race especially given the construction and narrow roads in Hamilton. Just after 7:30 we were off.

 

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Did I mention narrow roads and hills? Someone told us that while Bermuda is only 20 square miles it has more than 300 miles of roads. I’d believe that, and what the airport shuttle driver told us that he’d point out a straight road if we ever saw one. This was one hell of a course. My plan, such as I had one, was to power walk the hills and when my endurance gave out. This started in earnest at mile four when we hit the longest & steepest uphill simultaneously. Bermuda is the anti-flat. This was the hardest, but also the most scenic half marathon I’d ever run. If I had to give up a scenic view for one less hill – wow. That would be an impossible choice.

I chatted to both the 2:45 and 3:00 pacers for their plans and both were doing 3:1 intervals walking the hills. I started with 2:45 and kept them in sight for a few miles, but I knew that wasn’t realistic. I didn’t do intervals so much as run when I could, walk when I needed to. Somewhere around mile eight or nine my goal shifted from not finishing with the sweeper to coming in below three hours. I’d stayed with/ahead of them for so long I thought that was a reasonable goal even as I expected to tire in the final quarter.

All the OnPace pacers were awesome, but Mandi and Marissa get a special shout out for pushing us through the finish.  At mile nine-ten ish I felt strong enough to drop the intervals and gained on them a bit, which was good as it provided a cushion when I power walked much of mile eleven. By this point I was flat out determined to break three.  When our watches neared thirteen, Mandi and Marissa told us that the finish was just around the corner and to go as it was too early for them to finish as pacers. We took off and I can’t wait to see my finish photos as I was probably a smiling fool. I had about three glasses of seltzer from the finish line festival before heading back up to the finish to watch the last runner come through. She was surrounded by Pacers who had finished their assignments and went back out to bring her in. No one finishes alone was an awesome motto and I can’t wait to do another race where On Pace are the pacers.

My time? It was the slowest of my eight Halfs. Do I care? Not one iota. The goal for this one was finishing, ideally smiling. DONE.

I am an adult.. I did not stay up all night until a 6a shuttle figuring What the hell, I’ll sleep on the plane.  I was too tired from waking early and the half and went to bed around nine after a wonderful closing dinner at Henry VIII. This is 40.

General Thoughts:

  • Running a half marathon untrained is absolutely ridiculous. I knew this, and this is why I deferred Fort Lauderdale. but I was stubborn and didn’t want to miss out on the fun in Bermuda. I don’t regret this choice as I’m not sore at all and my knee is no worse than it had been after the Manhattan 7, but I’m not doing this again. I don’t have a Half on my calendar and am going to keep it that way for now. It’s time to train properly for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler and go from there.
  • Because I did not train, I did not practice my fueling. An email about Gu on the course reminded me to throw some chews in my suitcase, and I ate a handful of Citrus Chews throughout. This worked fine and I was glad to have them as I got hungry despite my usual pre-race breakfast bar.
  • Back to my theme of sustainability, I was glad at a couple of water stops when the volunteers offered to fill my water bottle rather than me take a cup and pour the water into my cup.
  • Since we were mostly out of town and the island has such a small population, this isn’t a race with crowd support. It didn’t matter. It was lovely to see some locals who were out and about cheer us on.
  • Running on the left side of the road with traffic and mostly without shoulder or sidewalk was a little unnerving, especially with the curves. I felt though that traffic gave us as wide a berth as it could and we were never in danger.
  • Running without music (for safety) was no issue as the scenery was enough of a distraction.

While I can’t go back to Bermuda next year as I have an entry for Fort Lauderdale due to deferring this year, I’d do another Zooma race in a heartbeat if the destination was somewhere I wanted to run. It was well supported, the communication was great, the SWAG was good (the medals were GORGEOUS) and the location couldn’t have been better. Amelia Island might be too warm for my liking in October, but Cape Cod is tempting me.

Dashing through December with Jingle Bells

Where on earth did this month go? How is it already Christmas week? Apologies for a comments blitz of late. I’m trying desperately to catch up. One of these days I’ll either put email on my phone or figure out how to blog. Not gonna happen.

It’s not even technically winter yet as I type this on Wednesday, but I’m already smelling spring as I got into the Cherry Blossom 10M. I ran this in 2018 and this was when I first “met” some of you when Coco found my recap. While I’m not sure I can actually go in April due to some travel on either side.

First I need to get my cranky IT band back to 100%. Baby steps.

If you celebrate something this time of year, enjoy it.

Race recap: Delray Jingle Bell Jog.

build your own Santa
Hysterical, but impossible to run in

I eyed this race last year when I was in Fort Lauderdale but I decided it was too far for a 5K. Hmm, sounds like the reason I haven’t done Brooklyn’s. This year I was actually staying in Delray and the calendar worked, so I signed up. Rather than a tee shirt, this race provides you with a Santa suit. I’m 5’2 and it’s sized to fit someone a foot taller and wider, so it never was practical. Luckily Delray has all the chains and I hit up TJ Maxx, Ross, Stein Mart, two running stores and Target to find a red shirt to run in. Spoiler, I should have just gone to Target first.

The race begins (and ends) in Anchor Park so I had a nice two mile run from the condo to the start. I left a little later than planned, because 6:30 is early and as a result I hit Delray “traffic” aka the drawbridge.  As we waited, I met another runner out for a morning run and we got to chatting. While Delray isn’t a particularly small town, the running community felt it — everyone chatted or waved. Due to the bridge and generally late start, I got to the start just before we set off and I lined up with all the other Santas, elves and winter holiday finery.

all the Santas, all the palm trees

We set out at the sound of a loud jingle bell and were off, up Casuarina and onto AIA where we ran for a mile and change before turning around and coming back to Anchor Park. The lead / escort vehicle was a surfing Santa in a red sports car. Awesome! There was one water station that served the out and back and really, is there a better combination than palm trees and Santas?

penguins!
beer and water bottles

When we got back to Anchor Park there were medals – I won’t lie, the main reason I did this race – beer and ice cream. Not typically a breakfast beer person, but this was cold and refreshing. I also won an OrangeTheory water bottle. Once I’d cooled down, I didn’t want to start running again so I walked back to the condo via a delicious breakfast at Another Broken Egg Cafe.

I’d do this race again if I was in Delray that weekend, but it’s not (nor is it meant to be) a destination race. However, it has multiple locations and I’d certainly try another location too if that worked. A fun, local fun run.

Double Weekly Run Down with Kim and Deborah:

Week of 12/9:

  • I missed a Monday, but I knew I would with the gala. It went well.
running friends are the bestest
  • Tuesday: I had full blessing from my boss to sleep in and show up when I wanted to given the long hours/late night for the gala. Not only could I not fall asleep, but I was wide awake at 5:30. Luckily I have a dear friend who is also a morning person and was happy to go out with me. We walked, ran and forgot to pause the Garmin while we chit-chatted on a beautiful December morning in Central Park.
  • Wednesday: bupkus. Much delayed flight to Florida.
Look Ma, no layers!
  • Thursday: new location, old running habits. Had to find the shortest route to the beach that didn’t involve running on US1. Check!
  • Friday: lots of walking errands to try and find a red shirt for the Jingle Bell Jog as the Santa suit was way too big.
Jingle Jogged
  • Saturday:  Delray Jingle Bell Jog. So much silly fun that started off with a gorgeous sunrise over the intracoastal and ended up with ~1200 Santas. This should have been a longer run with the beginning of half marathon training, but determined not to get injured again.’
Florida hood ornament
  • Sunday: would have been a beautiful morning to run, but my Achilles were feeling the hills and not enough (OK, any) stretching, rolling or PT so I walked to the beach and sat there four a couple of hours before watching Eli Manning’s amazing swan song.

Week of 12/16:

 

  • never miss a Monday: one last Florida run with some crazy birds before a return to reality.
  • Tuesday: aforementioned icy rain reality. Digging out of my inbox and a lovely evening catching up with a friend over sushi.
definitely a different look!
  • Wednesday: beautiful winter morning and the last day before it turns to the teens so I scooted out for four wake up miles. Knee cranky after standing during holiday party and more no stretching so I hit the gym after for some PT.
  • Thursday: holiday lights, long foam roll.
  • Friday: time to start shopping
  • Saturday: long foam roll
  • Sunday: tried to run, knee wasn’t great but walking was better than it had been so taking that as good sign.

Plan for the week: run if I can, foam roll a lot.

Ted Corbitt 2019

Original post title: Trying not to run on caffeine and sugar.

That was before this became a pointless weekly run down due to a wonderfully crazy work week. My office has our annual gala on Monday and I wear a lot of hats for that. On the plus side, I made relatively good decisions for real food and  not venti sugar bombs and as a result, I slept except for some Monday night insomnia.  I’ll touch on what little running actually happened after my Ted Corbitt recap, but first…

What I said last week about only two things for Black Friday was true, and then Cyber Monday hit. Still on the running theme, I got:

  • Project Repat T-Shirt Quilt. I’ve been dithering on this since Kim mentioned a quilt she had made a few years ago. The 55% off gift card made me pull the trigger.
  • JackRabbit sale and coupon on sale for my 1080s. I hate the new ones, so glad to stash a pair of the v9s especially as my “new” ones are already 100+ as I ended up wearing them for the marathon. Oddly the ones I bought were the runners up in August.

Ted Corbitt 15K recap:

At one point, I wasn’t going to run Ted. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel a month out from the marathon – the rest one day for every mile run adage can be confusing for a first time marathoner. And then as I got further into training and wasn’t trashed after 20 miles, I realized I’d be able to run 15K just fine and I signed up.

Ted is one of my favorite races (2017, 2018 recaps) and running it in his centennial year just seemed right. The giveaway was a pair of gloves, which I like. As someone who is forever losing her gloves, can never have too many.

I’m still bad at Flat Cari

I’m not a huge weather stalker – but found myself peering at it this week. It looked like it was going to be a downright balmy 20/30s. Sold. I didn’t get a good Flat Cari as I’m still using my stepstool as a staging post. That’s the 2017 shirt, which remains one of my favorites. It’s a vivid blue. I layered the NYC Half long-sleeve tee under it. Bottoms were my favorite LBCs, Black Winterland. It was so nice not to need all the layers. I was partially still marathon Cari with my Run NYC hat and marathon gloves.

I left between 7:45 and 8 to run to the start. I saw a message on NYRR’s Facebook Friday night that mentioned the new start. I’m glad I saw that otherwise I totally would have run to 102. This was somewhere I’ve never seen an NYRR race start so there was some zig zagging to find the start line. While I don’t like rushing-and getting a bit of pedestrian rage – it had the added benefit of not having to wait at the start and not cooling down.

Just shy of mile two, I was lapped by the eventual winner who was passing mile seven. A fellow runner and I just looked at one another and said WOW. .There really is no other reaction possible. I feel badly for the local runners who might otherwise have won without a sponsored athlete going sub 5 minute miles.

Me? I finished ahead of 400, not 4000 others. I had so much fun. I really like the new course and one amazing benefit of marathon training is that Cat Hill or the first round of Three Sisters didn’t faze me. Second set did, but that was more tired legs 11 miles in.

I didn’t look at my prior times before this week, so I really had no idea how I was running vs. prior years. I need to find the switch from long run to race, but this wasn’t really the run to figure it out. That I had enough in the tank to kick it up a notch in the final mile means I could have gone faster, but PR chasing wasn’t a goal.

speaking of final mile

As I turned onto the 72nd St. transverse for the last tenth or so, I hear someone calling me and see this maroon blur streak in. It was so good to see Amy, one of the Rogue coaches coming off their Saturday run. Was glad to find her after the finish for a hug and hello. It was short as we were both freezing when we stopped moving.

It’s pretty safe to say that Ted is one of my favorites that I’ll return to every December. It’s a nice year-end since I’ve never done the Midnight Run. I was also reminded of why I truly love the half marathon distance and I’m excited to properly train for one.

Weekly run down with Kim and Deborah:

two of my favorite runners
  • Monday:  planned missed Monday due to Winter’s Eve with two of my favorite people. Too cold & raw even to walk to the bus at 79th, so no step goal.
  • Tuesday:  couldn’t sleep, so after trying to fall back to sleep from 4-5, I headed to the gym to kickoff half marathon training with a treadmill lactate threshold workout since it was still snowing. 3x 10m at 5.4mph and 2m recovery at 5.0.
  • Thursday: I at least made it to the gym for some PT before it closed.
  • Saturday: Ted Corbitt 15K
  • Sunday: 25m row; yoga and PT.

Plan for this week:

  • Monday: off; gala
  • Tuesday: run?
  • Wednesday: run?/fly
  • Thursday: run? packet pickup
  • Friday: off
  • Saturday:  Delray Jingle Bell Jog
  • Sunday: morning walk to the beach?

 

Tuesday Topics: Women Run, 2019

2017-2019

Oh pink! I was actually planning to wear a different top this year, but it didn’t work with the skirt and for some bizarre reason I cared about matching.

Linking up with Kim and Zenaida to recap the 2019 Women’s Mini 10K.

I knew a course PR wasn’t in the cards, but wanted to get a feeling for it.  I briefly looked at last year’s recap on Friday to get a feeling for the race as all I remembered was it sucked. After the re-read, my race plan was as follows:

  • don’t be an idiot and go out too fast
  • drink more than you think you need

This is one of the few races where I don’t run to the start – it would have to be the last mile ish of the course and that’s a part I already know I don’t like. So I just trained to the start and “warmed up” with a walk up to Central Park South where I’d arranged to meet a new/old friend. When I know someone so long online, it’s hard for me to consider them a new friend. It’s similar too to what  I love about Facebook. When you see someone after a long-ish while it lessens the need for the whole “so what have you been up to?” conversation. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect with Elizabeth but we planned to meet up after.

Part of why I love this race is the quirky route of running up Central Park West and then turning into the Park vs. being all within the Park. It totally makes sense though given how quick the lead runners are and how long it takes to clear the start in a race this size. It took about 15 minutes to cross the start and in that time I eyeballed my path through the starting mosh and was ready to go. Mile one went by quickly and before I knew it, I was turning into the Park at W. 90th. I was pleased with my pace at 11:xx and continued on with that through the northernmost of the Three Sisters and into the Harlem Hills.

Although I haven’t run the Harlem Hills in this direction, training clockwise has overall been good and I felt way less disoriented running in this direction than I have in years’ past. Harlem HIlls went by relatively quickly and like last year, even the hill behind Lasker Rink wasn’t as bad as I imagined. I took time to drink extra as it was more humid than I expected, and I think this was the difference maker.

While there weren’t as many Achilles runners on the course as typical (I personally think the NYC chapter skews male, at least those I see racing), I did chat briefly with Hannah Gavios who always amazes and inspires me. She’s a lovely reminder that for many of us, not going out for a run is a choice we make when others can’t.

I began to tire in mile five which wasn’t surprising given my lack of long runs lately, but I was remarkably consistent.

Mile Splits:

  1. 11:13.4
  2. 11:17.9
  3. 11:15.2
  4. 12:04.9 (two water walks)
  5. 11:13.1
  6. 11:25.1
  7. last .3 at 10:12

Total: 1:11:31.5 for 6.2 or 11:22 per Garmin. 1:11:55/11:35 per NYRR.

It’s slower than last year, but it really feel like a course best because it felt so much better. I didn’t feel trashed and wasn’t dragging to the end. In fact, I was still up for Ham around the 8K mark

caught on the course by Rachel Spurrier

 

I ended up running with my iPod and water in my hand. The iPod because I was, for once, running with my phone to meet up with people and water bottle because I couldn’t find my belt after not running with it since the NYC Half. Not ideal, but it worked. It also let me curate the playlist somewhat when the song wasn’t right for the moment.

cooling off in the sprinkler

After meeting up with Elizabeth at the finish I even did part of the 305 Fitness class while waiting for the raffle drawing. That is unheard of for me for many reasons. I also took a few moments to do the Meet & Greet

at the finish with some of the elites and NYRR/Team for Kids runners
walking home with the Medal and having fun.

I’m rarely feeling this good after a race

I have a Skirt pattern match for next year

Would I run this again?

Yes, absolutely. There are some women who have run it upwards of 30 times. I don’t think I’d go that far, but I could see myself turning Crazylegs.

What would I change for the future/next year:

Honestly, nothing. Maybe cold instead of room temperature water but that’s so weather dependent. I feel like I had the perfect race “plan” and it came together perfectly.

What’s next:

Pride Run, or maybe Achilles.

Running and travel

So I think I’m back. But I runfess that there is almost no chance that I’m going to catch up. I’m trying though and if there’s a post you think I should see, please drop a link. In case you missed it, here’s where I was the last week.

Since I booked this conference and add-on road trip, I was wondering about how to accommodate training. This was more or less the same issue as last year when I had the Brooklyn Half on the heels of this conference. On the plus side, I thought it would mean the chance to run in three more states (hotels in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee). Prior to the trip I’d raced in three (NY, NJ, FL) and run in seven  (CA, FL, NY, NJ, SD, VT, WY). After all said and done, I ran in Louisiana and Mississippi as the Tennessee hotel had no gym. So new total is nine states run in.

no flat me, but all the things because this post has too many words and not enough photos

Before I get into a massive Run Down, a little on today’s #ItalyRunNYC. I was nervous going in. My first race since my minor scare and my first remotely long run into two weeks. I knew last year’s time wasn’t remotely in the cards, but I didn’t have a proper plan. Or any plan really.

I also was bummed not to have my red shirt here. My Skirt Sports Redemption shorties in Holiday print under the race belt skirt was festive – and clean. Three weeks of laundry still in a bag meant my options were limited.

I’d arranged to meet a New York Skirt Sister and as we chatted in the corrals she mentioned she was going to run walk as she does Galloway and I was welcome to join her, but to not feel bad if it was too slow. I found I really enjoyed her company and conversation and planned to stick with her.

It was the perfect decision. Although it was in the mid 60s, it was 85% humidity so this wasn’t going to be a fast race. I was erring on the side of caution anyway and the walk intervals made it all work out. I’m not sure it’s something I want to do long term as I think paying attention to my watch would be one more thing to stress me out, but it was easy to follow at someone else’s direction. And fun to run with someone in a race. My achilles chirped briefly toward the end but went mute after a good stretch. A week of less than stellar compliance with PT caught up with me, but I’ve spent this week trying to be 110%.

I was also pleased that they had the sprinklers on as it was very warm in the sun. Plus, who doesn’t like to run through them? If you ever find yourself asking who doesn’t like Nutella? That would be me. I caught up with another friend at the end and then walked home. All in all, a good day

Massive Run Down catch up with Deborah and Kim:

Week of 5.13: Rain Rain. Go Away. Oh and this Gothamist post on MetroCard math made me laugh given the number of times I’ve weighed the literal cost of laziness

  • Monday: I was a literal drowned rat walking between four meetings. For those of you who know Manhattan: Whitney Museum, East Village, Bowling Green, southeast side of Union Square (Webster Hall). Quick cross train after work.
  • Tuesday: office run group moved to Tuesday due to schedules and subsequently rained out due to icy rain. My gym treadmill run went as well as could be expected, and I bailed after 1.3 miles, which already included two walk breaks.
  • Wednesday: what a glorious weather shift. Almost 20 degrees warmer and full sun. We hit the Harlem Hills again and although it was slow, it felt good. I officially hate Cat Hill more than the Harlem Hills. Go figure. Up side, no racing heart so glad that incident is over.
  • Thursday: trying to get a lot in at work meant a short run. Three miles on a gorgeous day. I got a new VO Max. Yay?
  • Friday: off day. A million errands before my early flight
  • Saturday: I tried to run in the hotel gym but I was coming off three hours’ sleep and hadn’t had coffee so it was a fail. Instead I had a nice long walk around the French Quarter and found the convention center so I’d know where to go before sessions began.
  • Sunday: two treadmill miles before a site visit/learning excursion to New Orleans’ Plantation Country

Week of 5.20: meetings and driving. New Orleans actually featured a lot of walking. Alas it and the subsequent road trip was all treadmill and elliptical as the weather & road trip hotel locations were not conducive to outdoor running.

  • Monday: I actually went to the barre class I mentioned. EEK. It was a mixed bag of beginners like me wanting the chance for a free trial and veterans. I actually kind of enjoyed it, but won’t be doing it again any time soon. It’s my usual complete lack of coordination and they’re expensive! One day I will find The Class for me. One day.
all the data
  • Tuesday: could not get a treadmill so did three miles on a very fancy & data heavy elliptical before sessions began.
  • Wednesday: knew second half of the day would be heavy driving for the start of the road trip, so was happy to run/walk two miles in over heated gym.
  • Thursday: two miles before I got on the road. Small, but well air-conditioned gym in Jackson, MS.
  • Friday: oops, in a last-minute change of hotels I booked one without a gym. I found out on check out that they actually had a relationship with a commercial gym over the road, but a day off was probably needed at this point.
  • Saturday: I had never stayed at a Tru by Hilton before. What a fun chain and great, well equipped gym for two miles.
  • Sunday: Holiday Inn Express Ocean Springs, on the other hand, had the crappiest gym. Manual treadmill and ancient elliptical, but I did the best I could with the elliptical before getting on the road back to NOLA.

Week of 5.27: re-entry is hard. This was a really interesting read as I was getting up early, but the workouts still weren’t happening.

  • Monday: I was so glad to get to run outside. I really missed it with all the treadmill time.
  • Tuesday: I was up early and in the office by 7 to try & dig out from a week away. Somehow I was still there at 7 PM and there was a tornado watch. I was starting to feel niggles in the achilles from insufficient PT while away (lots of rushed exercise), so did a focused strength session with weights and the full slate of PT.
  • Wednesday: full day monsoon, two after work events.  This was a weird day because I was up early and got dressed in my run clothes and still could not get out the door. Ugh. Need to fix my mornings.
  • Thursday: I was up early, and in the office determined to find some gym time. That came at nearly 9 after another packed day. It was a really good, strong  speed session: .5 mile warmup, .5 at 5.7, .5 at 6.0, ,5 at 5.7 and then 6.0 to close with a 6.2 flying sprint.
  • Friday: no formal exercise, but a wonderful walk home through Central Park from an after work event.
  • Saturday: utter and total off day. Needed it mentally and physically. Not even sure I got in 4K steps.
  • Sunday: Italy Run.

Plan for the Week: this is going to be a tough one.

  • Monday: cross or strength train
  • Tuesday: run in the morning
  • Wednesday: Global Running Day 5K
  • Thursday: office run group
  • Friday: off
  • Saturday: Women’s Mini 10K
  • Sunday: off/walk

GoTheDist May 2019

  • 481,389 steps
  • 211.57 miles run/walked
  • 53.14 miles run

It was shaping up to be a better running month, but then life happened. Slowly getting back on track.

GoTheDist YTD:

  • 2,235,609 steps
  • 987.55 miles run/walked
  • 267.25 miles run

Tuesday Topics: #NewportFiesta5K

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

maybe?

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.

Takeaways:

  • 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.

#MedalMonday: Race Recap: NYC Half Marathon

I was surprisingly chill about this race. I think it was mostly because I knew I wasn’t going to be properly trained back in January and I decided this was going to be a fun run. Why not defer? Probably because a no pressure race appealed to me, and I wanted to enjoy it with some friends, almost all of whom were Wave 5. Yay turtles!

Linking up with Kim and Zenaida in this edition of Tuesday Topics to discuss my third half marathon of 2019.

Spoiler: I finished
Memories of the @nyrr #UnitedNYCHalf on this #MedalMonday Click To Tweet

Rewinding…

What a fun façade

How do you know it’s a good expo? Going three times is a good indicator.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I unlocked a volunteer stint at the Expo when I upgraded my NYRR membership. I love giving back and think it’s important, but I am a delicate flower with an absolute preference for indoor volunteer opportunities. I really didn’t want to have to navigate personal bib pickup on the same day so I went quickly after work on Wednesday.

work clothes! this was a pretty fun step and repeat

What I really liked about the Expo was the layout/flow. It was easy to navigate and intuitive. For a big race it’s a relatively small Expo, but that was good, it wasn’t overcrowded with
tchotchkes. Only vendors were New Balance and JackRabbit, but each had a fair amount

Race shirt! Very St. Pats colors

While I liked the race shirt, I really loved some of the alternates, including one I may or may not be sleeping in right now. More on that later.

guess I’m really doing this thing!

I had fun navigating the Expo, lots of silly photos and it culminated in a strategy session ( I know, I know!) and a pace band or six. The strategy session didn’t psych me out, surprisingly. I think it was mostly because I didn’t care. I just wanted to finish and if that meant walking after mile ten like Lauderdale, so be it.

here a band, there a band.

I knew only the last two were really in play, but I wanted some time to think about what my strategy was. I knew it was going to be a hard start, but I wondered whether I could bank some time for the Manhattan Bridge. So this was more about the splits vs. the actual race time.

Volunteering:

Tired Cari, also I really need my glasses adjusted

as I mentioned in the Run Down, the volunteer tee was a perfect light tech blend. This will be wonderful for the heat of summer. The actual volunteering process was easy, I knew I was rostered for tee shirt distribution and on check in we were all led for a brief “training” before we replaced the outgoing first shift.

As I happened to slide in to women’s extra small, my station wasn’t that busy compared to the others. I got to know the women on either side of me as we chatted about the races we’d done/were planning on and prepped bags for the busier third shift which would get the after work crowd. NYRR has a good system for shirt & bib collection and the only remotely complicated part was people who couldn’t decide their size. Luckily they had other volunteers doing t-shirt modeling.

Purchase: cherry blossom chews! They are one of the few that I don’t find too sweet and can be maddeningly hard to find, so I had to grab a couple of bags.

Third Time:

we run, therefore we’re goofballs
My Little Pony, decidedly not work clothes

I didn’t need to go back a third time, but errands were done and I’m always happy for the chance to catch up with Darlene so I met her at the Expo Saturday for some silliness.

The Race:

Spoiler!

 

Saturday evening was when some of the butterflies started. As I tucked into my avocado toast, I began doubting whether I could do this. Shut up brain. You can do this. This is your sixth Half and third this year. You’re less hurt than Lebow. Shut up. With that in mind, I got a couple three hours sleep and hopped on the Q to Brooklyn around 6:40.

The 2019 course is different from the new 2018 course. For a relatively new race, this has had more times of year and routes than I can count. New in 2019 was more Brooklyn (a loop in and next to Prospect Park) and less Central Park. I will never cry over a lack of Cat Hill.

The Good:

friends, Romans, countrymen…
pre-race Jetsons extra
  • I feel the start was well organized. Throughout the last few months there were emails about reporting times for each wave and even which stations we should use. I think the move to five waves was a good one as 25K runners is a lot. Human arrows made it easy to find the starting area, security was quick and there were plenty of portapotties. From then I just meandered the area until we were able to get into our corrals. Like the Rockland Lake Turkey Trot, I didn’t have a good idea of which way was “forward” since I don’t know Prospect Park well at all.
One of my favorite sights
  • I loved the views. They’re mostly from a point of view from which I rarely see NYC. I’ve only walked the Manhattan Bridge once or twice and rarely walk that section of the East River Greenway, plus running through Times Square is just magic. I didn’t get too many photos since taking off the gloves and fishing out the phone was one step too many. These weren’t my typical touch screen gloves as I planned to toss these during the race. A couple more pics on Instagram though. I think what made the course go relatively quickly over the last nine miles was the scenery. More on this below though in the “bad”.
  • I am really, really happy with my race “strategy” which was to walk the hills or whenever felt necessary. This was only a race against myself. I honestly didn’t even notice the hill in mile one. I kept waiting to hit it, and then we were out of the park. The out and back on Flatbush wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t that long. Serenade from one of the PPZoo animals helped too. I noped out of running the Manhattan Bridge early in the incline but after that only stopped to walk briefly on the FDR on the incline before 42nd Street and at the water stations, which is my normal. Oh and to hug a colleague who froze his ass off to cheer for us, but that wasn’t lungs/legs related. The last 5K, which I was dreading for the hills and headwind, flew by. Something magic about running across 42nd Street and then through Times Square. I wished we could have headed right into the Park at 7th, but by this point I was in the zone and actually passed a couple of runners. I felt GOOD
    • Despite wearing the 2:40 band, I didn’t really look at that much, in fact it was stuck in my sleeve. But I knew it was ~12 minute miles and thought I’d probably come in around there with some early good miles early. First four remarkably consistent, mile five was the bridge and ten was fiddling with the shoe/FDR ramp but overall I was fairly consistent. I only looked at my watch when it buzzed at the mile markers, which was a sign that the race was going fairly quickly. I really don’t feel like I hit a wall at mile ten, which reinforces my Lauderdale theory that it was the heat more than the training.
    • I was almost pain free throughout. My achilles and hip chirped, but nothing like Lebow and this morning I was just you ran thirteen miles sore and not you’re injured sore. PT worked on my calf and hip, but we were pleased.
    • This is my second best Half Marathon time and only second in the 2:30s. I am really, really pleased with this because it’s not an easy course and this was not a proper training cycle. I’m going to recap PT more fully now that I’ve graduated, but I had a duh moment today when trying to figure out where this two-three minute improvement over the prior two races this year came from. Most of my PT was strength training.
my kind of post-race fuel
finished smiling!
    • Fueling was pretty good. I had a NutriGrain bar on the train to the start and sipped my Propel. I had my cherry blossom chews and a ginger ale Gu with me, and grabbed a Honey Stinger vanilla on the course to try another day. I took two chews while I was walking on the bridge at ~ mile five and another along the FDR somewhere around mile eight. I was good on this, though I need to think for what I’ll do for longer. After the race, Darlene and I went to Starbucks and that hit the spot as a “recovery” drink until I could re-fuel with sushi. Always great to debrief live
  • I’ve never done a Rock’n’Roll race, but I LOVED the music along the course. Sweet Dreams are Made of This was blasting in Times Square and there was music near Barclays. I’ve done mostly OK running outside without music since my new watch, but this made me realize how much I love it. I also know I’m going to need something to get me through the long training runs, so it might be time to figure out a music solution.
  • The crowds were amazing. This had the best crowds of any race I’ve run. Lower East Side and Times Square were so full and exuberant. Lots of funny signs and costumes.

The Bad: not really bad, more like less than ideal

  • Carrying a sweatshirt for twelve miles. OK, this was self inflicted.I had planned to discard it in the corrals and then toss head band, gloves when I felt warm, but I was too cold. Well the sweatshirt got too hot in about mile one but I kept thinking I was going to get cold, so didn’t want to drop it. Result? Some hysterical MarathonFoto shots. On the plus side, I have a disposable sweatshirt for fall.
  • The chafing, oh my god the chafing. This bra is going in the garbage as every time I body glide, it finds a new place to rub. Luckily it’s in a spot where a normal bra doesn’t hit. OK, this one is legit bad, not “less than ideal”
  • I thought I was going to have a blister. The outside edge of my right foot was irritated the last couple miles so I stopped into the medical tent on the walk out of the park. Luckily it was just a hot spot. Who knows the cause, maybe socks sat weird. But on the plus side, I was able to snag a heat shield there as they ran out at the finish.
  • Running under highway signs can be disheartening. I’ve run on roads before but neither Ocean Parkway nor the Grand Concourse are highways with exit signs telling you just how far you are away from 42nd Street. Ooph. Exit, one mile is great if you’re in a car, less so if you’re on foot with a wonky watch.
    • I could not figure out how I went from ~ a tenth off over the first six miles to .25 off after 7 and .45 off after eight only to drop back to .10 off after nine until I read some on social media. Buildings and GPS can be an issue, but I think mile markers 7 and 8 were in the wrong place since everyone seems to be reporting that. I’ll own the 13.49 though as I know I was zig zagging and didn’t do a good job of running the tangents.

The Future:

post-race shower and medal ham.
  • Part of the reason my only goal for this race even before injury was to have fun is I probably won’t run it again. The lottery is a crap shoot and schedule wise I can’t do 4/6 this year. If they repeat the Virtual Half with Strava for guaranteed entry to 2021, I may go that route. Or maybe I’ll luck out with the lottery-who knows.
  • Three Halfs in eight weeks is a little much for me. I’m so glad I did them, but I won’t repeat that next year. Actually, I can’t. Lebow and Lauderdale are the same weekend so at most I’ll be doing two.
  • I don’t think I’m going to do the Women’s Half. Could I? Yes. Do I think two+ loops of Central Park is the best move for a better but still recovering Achilles? Probably not. But it’s not sold out so I may change my mind.
  • I want to find a flat, fall/winter Half in 2020. With my Brooklyn Half time and this race, I think 2:30 might be real. 2:35 is for sure.

Wow, that was a lot. And there’s more percolating in my brain. This race made me very, very happy.

On to some more active recovery.

#MedalMonday, 2019 Publix A1A Half Marathon

Palm trees make for fun artsy medal shots

I finished. I could still walk after. Atlantic ocean makes for the best race scenery. I pushed on through heat & humidity. I’m a happy camper…errr, runner. But, rewinding.

Fun in the sun on the Fort Lauderdale waterfront #RunFTL Click To Tweet

Tuesday Topics: Linking up with Kim and Zenaida to talk an oceanfront half marathon while they’re posting about cold weather running essentials. Also posting Medal Monday on a Tuesday. LOL.

Friday:

The Expo was a lot of fun. It’s relatively small compared with the Cherry Blossom one and easy to manage. I lined up for the bib, shirt & goody bag (three separate, but only the bib was a line) while Mom & Bob went to get the parking pass. Pre-pay parking for your spectators is a time & sanity saver as the Bahia Mar is right across from the finish and finding parking on a beautiful weekend beach day/traffic on A1A with the race isn’t fun. We spot checked some of the meter apps and the pre-pay in the lot was only about $4 more.

After the essentials, we wandered the four aisles. I knew I had “forgotten” my chews aka couldn’t find them before packing last minute so they were what I needed to buy. I found them quickly, although not from the Running Wild booth. I wish I’d realized I forgot my backup shorts as I would have bought a pair there. As I mentioned in the Weekly Wrap, a four store tour of Delray was not productive in terms of finding shorts. Oh well.

Race Day ish:

avocado toast is the best (only?) pre-race dinner for me

Why do I consider pre-race dinner part of race day? When the race starts at 6am and it’s less than twelve hours before? That’s race day!

Luckily I was relatively tired from a 4a wakeup on Friday and was able to fall asleep by 10 or so. Alarm went off at 3:30 and first step was to check to see if I could get an Uber/Lyft to the start. I knew they served Delray, but wasn’t sure about available cars at that hour. I had a backup in Mom, but luckily it looked easy to get a car thanks to bar closing time/airport runs.

Somehow I didn’t end up with a Flat Cari photo. Oops. I opted for the Lotta Breeze capris despite the heat concerns, a bright yellow shirt from the Manhattan 7 Mile making it easy for mom & Bob to spot me coming and my Yankee hat that I wore for Lebow. Why that one? It’s a random game giveaway and wouldn’t have minded tossing it if it got too sweaty. Rather than the new shoes, went with the Vongo 2’s as I ran Lebow in them but hadn’t taken the new ones out for longer than 4.5 miles. I requested a Lyft at about 4:15 and was at the start by 4:50.

in control and ready to roll!

I wasn’t really sure about how to warm up for this, so I essentially didn’t. I did some of the PT exercises at my PT’s advice but otherwise people watched, joined and re-joined the potty lines and watched the clock crawl to 6. It was too long a wait, but with a 30m drive and I-95 a crap shoot, I wouldn’t risk it closer. If I do this again next year I’ll definitely stay in Lauderdale.

the city starts to wake as we cross the Intracoastal

Seeing and waves were more organized than last year, and I think we crossed the start about 6:10 or so. Why “or so” and no exact temperature and humidity? I decided from the beginning or really even from early last week to take it as a fun run. I had not run more than 10K since my last half and when I went into PT I made the decision to sacrifice the goals for all three spring Halfs in order to heal. This was the right decision.

Plus, it’s easy to treat this as a fun run. The course is (mostly) gorgeous, the spectators are fun and aside from the bridges on Las Olas, it’s a pancake. The latter is why I hope one day I’ll set a PR here.

My fueling strategy was a NutriGrain in the car on the way down, lots of water and chews when they felt necessary. The run strategy was to walk Las Olas Bridge, the water stations as needed, and then when my Achilles asked for it. Both of these worked as planned and were the right decision. I was pleasantly surprised that I kept within sight of the 2:30 pacer until Hugh Taylor Birch Park at mile 5ish. I started really strong, but wasn’t a case of going out too quickly.

we were all walking here

I was dreading the stretch from the Park exit to Oakland Park Blvd. as it always seems to go forever – usually because I’ve run out of water when doing it on my own and am inching to the Walgreens. Also, it goes away from the water for a bit because the oceanfront has some high rises–not scenic at all. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. Other than walking the Las Olas bridge and the water stations, I didn’t walk until after mile ten, which was much later than last year. This was where I found the beer station and happily took the water they also offered. Them, Front Runners really go to town with their water stations. Could also have hugged the table with the wet sponge, which felt magic when she wrung it over my head. As you can see, I was not alone in my decision to walk. It was just too warm here.

MarathonFoto hasn’t finished with the photos but I expect one exceptionally bad one as I didn’t even see him until the women next to me did a jump and I was trudging at that point. Although I’d been drinking enough, I was wilting.

would you like some ham with that cheese?

The thing that was different about this race than any other? Mom & Bob were at the finish and knew roughly when I was coming as I’d texted that I switched to walk/run around mile 11. When I saw them, I turned on the ham. This was right after the only part about this race I hate, the inflatable pseudo finish that isn’t. It’s an evil tease. And yes, Dirt in the skirt is the best movie line.

It was hot, I was tired, I finish smiling. Oh, and my official finish was 2:44:17.08. 2018? 2:50:08:71. Almost a six-minute course PR. WOW. I was shocked when I saw my watch because I was pretty sure I’d lost the 2:45 pace group.

I got my medal, did the obligatory finisher photo and made my way back to mom & Bob.

artsy momsy

Palm tree was my only request. Best post-race decision I made was to leave a bag in their car with a change of clothes, flip flops and my new massage stick. That (and the Dunkin run for iced coffee!) made for a much more comfortable ride back to Delray.

one honkin’ piece of French Toast

And then there was brunch. Original plan was conch fritters at Boston’s, but I wasn’t feeling heavy fried food so we went to Park Tavern. The plan was ahi tuna, but I was hungrier than a starter and it didn’t pair well with anything else, so this became the decision. Tracked and moved on, see also: DQ oreo mint blizzard for dinner. I’m not normally a post-race brunch person, but this was good!

resting my feets

As was this perfect way to rest my feet and then stretch

it’s not a legal trip to Florida unless toes go in the ocean.

and Monday’s walk to the beach to stretch and make it a legit visit.

A few things I’d change, but a really good race weekend overall. I’m in FLL way too often to consider this a race-cation.

On to the next.

What I loved:

  • The Skirt/capris were the perfect choice. Phone was accessible, leaving belt pocket free for sunscreen, extra NutriGrain bar. It was hot, but I think anything would have been hot, and this way I didn’t have to worry about chub rub.
  • I ran a solid 15K in the heat before we lost the shade and entered full sun. I think it was that rather than my recent lack of running that made for a challenging last 5K. Changing to a walk near the end was right, the choice was running or finishing.
  • My running and fueling strategy. Throwing out goals in favor of a race plan sometimes works.
  • At 13.12, this is the best I’ve run an actual course.
  • PT stretches paid off. Although the lack of hills is part of what made this recovery easier, I wasn’t too sore other than walking to the beach Monday. Intracoastal bridges are evil.
  • Reading Meb for Mortals. OK, this has nothing to do with the Half, but I started it on the plane home and loving it.

Things I’d change:

I’m actually not sure if I’m doing this next year, not because I don’t like the race but because it’s moving to January. While Florida > NYC running in January and I think it will be cooler, which solves my major issue with this race, I’m not sure I want to give up Lebow. So we’ll see. Luckily the early registration savings isn’t a decision maker. If I do, or if these help others, some things I’d change:

  • Stay in Lauderdale. a 30m ride to the start is one variable too many on race morning.
  • I’d fly in on Wednesday or Thursday to give myself more time to acclimate to Florida weather.  I did this last year, and it also meant I got a run in with the Funky Fun Run group
  • Be a little more detail oriented with the body glide. I missed two spots and oh do they hurt. On the plus side, I know what I’d have looked like if I hadn’t lubed.

Tuesday Topics: Lebow 2.0 #MedalMonday

I have so many feelings about Sunday’s Fred Lebow Half Marathon.

Tuesday Topics

Linking up with Kim and Zenaida to share the good, the bad and the amusing about the race.

thoughts on my second time through @nyrr's #FredLebowHalf Click To Tweet

Because I picked up my hat so early, it was a disjointed “race day experience” and then I just repeated same picking up my shirt & bib for Gridiron while getting my medal engraved.  I was excited to be running Lebow again, but I was nervous especially as my calf/achilles hadn’t fully resolved. My official race plan was to listen to my body and go as long as it felt safe. If I thought I was exacerbating whatever is going on, or if I was too cold/wet, I’d drop out.

The good:

  • I finished happy. That was my primary goal and challenge with Achilles pain getting an assist from the weather forecast. I really didn’t expect the race to go on, and NYRR was fairly sure it would have been a fun run at best. They made the decision to go on Saturday morning and I was unsure. In the end weather wise, it wasn’t much worse than Brooklyn. I was glad for the 8a start because by noon when I was headed to NYRR Run Center to have my medal engraved, the wind had kicked up big time. As of writing this Sunday evening, it’s 11 with a wind chill of -1. That would have been a much harder race.
  • I finished strong this was fun. While yes, I wanted to be done in that I was soggy, I didn’t feel trashed and wasn’t really counting down the miles. There were moments, like between miles two and three when I was dreading Harlem HIll and ca. mile 7 when I wondered whether it would really be bad to sneak onto the Transverse to finish vs. heading into the passing lane for my 3rd and final lap. But overall I wasn’t counting down to the end. There were moments I wasn’t sure what mile it was. This was also surprising as I wasn’t sure what my cardio was given this weird cycle. This had to do with pacing, no doubt, and more on that below, but it made me think I really will survive marathon training.
I flamingo, therefore I am
  • I didn’t feel trashed at the end. Yes my calves are sore and I’m grateful to bengay, the foam roller and epsom salts, but I feel much better than I did after Lebow last year. I was so excited to be able to flamingo when I went to get my medal. (I am a dork, yes. ) Granted, it was my good leg and I won’t be doing Tree with my left anytime soon, but I am wowed at this. As of Monday evening, my quads and knee are fine.
  • I ran all of the hills. I actually ran 99% of the race. Walks were for fiddling with wardrobe and opening gel/chews and pouring a cup into my water bottle to top that up. This really surprised me since I didn’t think I was in hills shape. Looking at some of the splits, I’m not sure whether walk/run would have been better or not. I’m happy with my pacing.
  • Speaking of, I let the pacers go before mile 2. 2:30 was the last set and I knew I wasn’t in 2:30 shape. I’d have blown up if I tried. I decided to treat this as a rainy, long, supported training run and just go at my pace. If I finished last, so be it. My watch was under my sleeves so I didn’t look at it very often. I was lapped by the winner between miles two and three and eventually lapped by 1:30/1:45 and   pacers. “Last hill” when I was at mile ~7 and they were between miles 11 and 12 made me want to throw things. Although I thought I was losing time, I stayed with the same people most of the race. There was a lot of team work in helping open gels, get gloves on and off, etc. One guy paused to help me on Harlem Hill as I was trying to get gel out, put glasses back on and shove soaking wet gloves in my pocket.
Engraved, so it must be official
  • Official time: 2:42:26. That’s about a minute and a half behind last year‘s 2:41:09. I’m supposed to be disappointed, but I’m really not. I knew I wasn’t in PR shape between the calf/achilles and November’s impact on the training. I made the decision long ago that I was training for Fort Lauderdale and not this. When my watch beeped 12 miles I knew I had about 1.3 to go and ~15M. Knew it would be close, and decided to push it. The result? My best mile since mile four. I don’t regret this at all, I don’t think I could have gone faster earlier and finished
  • The new coat is probably what kept me from hating the race more. After a wet fun run a few weeks ago, I knew my jacket needed to be retired.  It just didn’t zip all the way up. So Saturday once I knew the forecast was going to be WET, I went to Modells and got this after striking out at New Balance and Jack Rabbit. Nothing new on race day and all that, but folks had recommended it, it said it was breathable and it was perfect. On top I had a base layer, a tee shirt and a long sleeve top that I didn’t mind tossing if it got too hot/wet. When I went to change I realized other than base layer sweat, and the back collar, I was dry! I am similarly floored I had no blisters either from wet feet or new shoes, but when I went to throw out socks, the volunteer commented that he’d had a lot tossed in his bag, but mine were the first socks. Also, fresh socks in a ziplock in an inner pocket stayed perfectly dry. Best thing about four pockets, no need to wear belt although I hung on to my water bottle way longer than necessary and it would have been nice to have somewhere to put it.
  • My fueling: more on the gels below, but in general it was good. NutriGrain bar in the Uber to the start/corral, Gatorade Apple Pear gel at about 10K and two vile Blueberry Gu chews toward the end. The gel was unplanned but went down fine since I wasn’t overheated.I thought I took a second one on the second lap, but apparently dropped it as it wasn’t in a pocket when I went to take it, hence two chews. The consistency of the Gatorade one was nice and the citrus was less glu-ey than vanilla, which is the only Gu my stomach likes. Fueling is going to be a fun challenge this spring summer. I have no idea what I’m doing for Ft. Lauderdale where heat & gel didn’t mix last time.
9+1 scratchoff
  • There were rumors they’d be changing 9+1 just as they have been changing 4/6, but all is the same for 2020. Picked this up at RunCenter while waiting on medal engraving. An interesting addition to 4/6 for 2020 for those of you who aren’t local who want to run the NYC Half is this $80/$100 Virtual Half in partnership with Strava  It comes with guaranteed, non-complimentary entry and the virtual trainer ($30 value). Is it worth $50/$70 to bypass the lottery? It’s certainly cheaper than going the charity route.

The bad:

  • the weather? But really, I can’t complain about a chilly rain in January. It could have been icy or freezing rain. I really have no complaints about this race. I wish I had photos, but that was a choice I made not risking my phone in the rain. ETA: one photo below

The amusing:

this is why we wear pink pants! (c) Cheer Everywhere
  • YES! I didn’t get caught by the official photographer for the Brooklyn Half and was sure I’d find myself courtesy of my hot pink jacket. No such luck, but when I perused Cheer Everywhere’s gallery today, I spotted my pants. This is why we wear pink 😀 I just wish I’d spotted the photog to ham it up. Then again, this was Harlem Hill. I think take one, because I’m pretty sure I hung the soaking wet buff on an earlier branch in lap 2. I thought I took my glasses off later though, so unclear when this was
I really love this medal. Fred still incorporated, but it’s more medal like
  • The medal. Well more precisely, the writeup on how it came to be. I’m not one who is driven by a race’s medal, but I love Fred Lebow, this race and the medal.
  • My attire. I wish I had a photo, but I didn’t bring my phone because it was so rainy. Top layer for my upper body was a trash bag. Lower body? A heat shield from one of last year’s races. I actually ran in the heat shield for about half a mile and the trash bag until just before Cat Hill between miles one and two when I just got too warm. I was jealous of those who planned ahead and had ponchos.
  • Flat Cari failed me. I learned from Brooklyn and laid out, among other things, two plastic bags and two NYRR gear bags to keep my feet dry until the start. I then left them in my apartment. Oops. I bought new chews on Saturday night, and promptly forgot to put them in my pocket. So I have them for Fort Lauderdale or a long run before then, and gummed stale blueberry ones.

Overall, I was really happy with this race. Lebow was just as fun the second time through and I continued to learn a lot about myself. While at the moment I’m saying no more January Halfs! I think I know I’ll be back next year.

What’s your favorite race that you return to?

What’s your favorite I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on moment?

TOTR: 2018 Goals and Bling

I really love Tuesdays on the Run in general, and the look back at 2018 medals in particular. I was sad to miss it, so combining it with this week’s prompt of looking back on 2018 goals. I was also sad to learn that this linkup is wrapping up as there have been some really fun prompts in the ~six-nine months I’ve been reading it. When I saw that I was doubly glad I managed to get this one done.

Linking up with: Erika at MCM Mama, Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and Patty at No Guilt Life.

My 2018 goals were all over the place and one goal as I lay out 2019 I know I need to simplify. For the purposes of this post, I’m looking at them through the lens of the medal races. This is in date order for simplicity, but there is no ranking of these medals – I’m proud of every single one.

Medals, bibs, books and coffee

January: Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon

Engraved medal

Actually, I lie. This will probably always be my favorite medal. It isn’t the most photogenic, or my first. But it represented so much. It made me a HALF MARATHONER! The race it represented wasn’t even explicitly mentioned in my goals because I was so afraid of failure even though my blogging audience at that point was myself and Liz. I know why I didn’t make it Facebook official until after the race and didn’t even tell my closest friends & family until morning of, but not sure why I was so blog shy. I’m doing this race again in about a month and am cautiously excited. I want to enjoy it without the stress of OMG, First Half, but I know I’m once again undertrained.

February: A1A Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon

I <3 this medal. Has now joined the others

Funny, I went to take a photo of this medal before realizing I had all of these in my blog posts and I did not have the same reaction as I do in the caption, which copied over from my race recap. One of the reasons the A1A (Half) Marathon is so popular is the medals, and I find them just meh. It doesn’t excite me.

The race was fun, and like Lebow I’m repeating it in 2019. How can you dislike running along the oceanfront for sunrise? I actually had a worse time than I did in Lebow because Florida humidity led to a lot of walking. I don’t have a set goal for this one yet beyond avoiding gel-induced nausea.

April: CUCB Cherry Blossom 10M

Cheese ball! So glad for the heat wrap

This was interesting. The medal and tech shirt were ala carte purchases and the medal further had an option to have a strip sent with your time. I did that, but would probably skip that in the future as the excitement of it wore off by the time it came. This race was fun, beautiful and one I’ll probably do again but not in 2019 as I’m spending race funds on some other races/destinations and DC is expensive during Cherry Blossom season.

In some ways, I see this Expo moment as an unofficial medal for the weekend

Book plate! “Believe and achieve!”

 

There’s a reason I tucked this into the front of my bib holder. That used to be chronological, but Lebow went to the front and I can’t see much of anything ever going in front of that bib. Although I didn’t love her book as much as I thought I might, listening to her speak at the Expo and later at an NYRR event and while waiting to have my Brooklyn Half medal engraved is really inspiring. And this quote, so true! I believed I could run a Half and I did. Three times.

May: Brooklyn Half

medal back and front

Oh this race. Cold, wet, fun! A major PR. Another oceanfront finish although race day was far from a beach day. Popular is an appropriate sponsor given how quickly this Half sells out. Although I’m not sure about running it again in 2019 due to schedule, I’ll definitely do it again in the future. It’s one of the NYC ones I highly recommend as it’s a nice course, good time of the year.

June: Women’s Mini 10K, Queens 10K

Grandma always asked, “What, do you want a medal?” “Yes. Yes I do”
I didn’t love the race, but I love the medal

Two races I did not love, even though I know without a doubt I’ll do the Women’s Mini again in 2019. Queens was colored by the fact that I was getting sick, but I really struggled during the Mini. There is something about the 10K race distance even though it’s a distance I enjoy running in training. I do love the Queens 10K medal and really all of the Four of Six ones celebrate wonderful elements of NYC/NYRR. I really think a goal for the 2019 Mini is to run the course in that direction in practice to handle the disorientation element of it.

September: Bronx 10M

Best finish ever
4/6 Five Borough Series

Since I didn’t do the Staten Island Half, September/Bronx 10 M marked my completion of the 4/6 race series. I look forward to adding to this collection with the 2019 NYC Half medal as these medals earned me that entry. I’ve talked about the Bronx 10 in depth. In hindsight I don’t know that I’ve softened enough to want to repeat this race, but I think time may heal pride wounds.

On Goals

So I didn’t hit my A goal of 780 and won’t hit my B goal of 700, but pleased with my running goals. I’m still way ahead of my 2017 totals and have grown as a runner.

I really liked something Kara Goucher said on Morning Shakeout about not letting go of goals, but not letting goals define happiness. It is so true. Stopping worrying about minutiae made me a lot happier and I’d say I met my goals, even if I didn’t, If that makes sense. I’m a better runner than I was a year ago, even if I still haven’t run a sub 30 5K.

In Closing

2018 has been a hell of a year. I’m really proud of myself and the runner I have become. I look forward to seeing what 2019 brings.

Enjoy the Journey

I have been… and I will.