Celebrating the work of Front Runners and Achilles

By | June 24, 2018

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.

29 thoughts on “Celebrating the work of Front Runners and Achilles

  1. Wendy

    Congrats on both your races! I first heard of Achilles International through a book an author asked me to review for my book club. The book wasn’t great, but it allowed me to spread awareness of this amazing organization. You supported 2 great causes this weekend!

    1. cari Post author

      I love their work, I really do. They also feel like a “community group” even in a big city since their start point is where I often enter the park so I feel like I know them in a way I don’t even know my own run group.
      Speaking of your book club, just started Amby’s new one over dinner. Thanks!

  2. Darlene

    Congrats on your races. That is a busy weekend. If I lived in NYC I would have done the same.

    I think I am running the Governors island 5k on Aug 11.

    I am also planning to run NYC Half. if I get in.

    1. cari Post author

      Love Governors Island. If my schedule works, maybe I’ll join you for that. I’m curious as to how they’re going to change the NYC Half course again based on the elite feed back. While I personally wouldn’t mind the prior to 2018 one, I doubt they’ll go all Manhattan.

      1. Darlene

        I hope you do.

        I wonder about the NYC half as well. The logistics is hard starting in Brooklyn and ending in Manhattan

        1. cari Post author

          and closing both the bridge and the FDR as well as 42nd Street. Wonder if they might consider a Brooklyn/Queens waterfront.

  3. Kimberly Hatting

    Congrats on not only tackling two races in one weekend,but on FINISHING them in hot weather. YOU had a great statement (I think you eluded to it in both race summaries) when you said you ran the race as well as you were able on that day. That’s a reality truth we all need to accept and embrace. Good job!

    1. cari Post author

      Yes, I absolutely made peace with that after Queens when I realized that June just isn’t conducive to my best running when compared with more reasonable weather. So looking forward to August or next June when I can compare apples to apples (but hopefully am not fighting a summer cold!). Thank you!

  4. kookyrunner

    Double race weekends can be so fun, especially when its two great races! Congrats on completing both races this weekend.

  5. Liz Dexter

    Hope you feel better now! Two great races, and I’m glad you’re recognising in your second year of running that big truth that you do what you do on the day, and whatever you do is fine. It’s not linear, and it’s great to be reminded of that for your readers, too.

    1. cari Post author

      Feeling better in that I won’t go through an entire box of tissues today. Sometimes I think the amount of fluids are just never ending.
      I feel like !linear is something I read, but it takes personal experience to truly get it. Thanks!

  6. Lesley

    I realized yesterday I might have to get the body glide out. I don’t normally wear it, but I wore a sports bra all day yesterday (an old one too) and I chafed a little bit. Sometimes that happens in the summer.

    1. cari Post author

      Yes, I’m definitely going to be more attentive to make sure I don’t miss a spot. I love this one as it’s seamless and generally no issues, but I forgot about summer band rub. Hope you heal up well

  7. Laurie

    Congrats on your two race weekend! What an accomplishment. The chafing where you describe under your sports bra is where it always hits me. Gotta love Body Glide!

    1. cari Post author

      next to the bras themselves, I’m convinced it’s the single best tool for comfortable running

  8. Marcia

    Wow! Congrats on knocking out two races in one weekend. Busy girl! I’ve only run in Central Park a couple of times and I ran NYCM in 2014 but I’d love to do more races in NYC.

    1. cari Post author

      It’s so much fun. I’m spoiled rotten as park entrances are 5-10m m from my office and apartment. , but it really is a great place to run. Lately enjoying the bridle path, but the whole park has just gone car free which will be magic

  9. fairytales and fitness

    Good for you for doing both those races! NYRR has so many good ones! I am seriously concerned with regression these days (as I get older). I guess that just means I have to work a little harder…lol.

    PS I think every race should end with an ice pop cus who really wants to chew on a bagel after running????

    1. cari Post author

      Yes! Not a fan of post-run bagels and I can’t bite into apples due to my front tooth being a crown, so I’m team popsicle
      I think finding the balance of training harder is good — and maybe I’ll go back to Mile High Run Club, but something fun about running free outside

    2. cari Post author

      I decided to push the pace today to make sure my 5K PR wasn’t a fluke. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel hard. It think July is going to be speed training if I’m ever going to go sub 30

  10. Renée @runlaugheatpie

    well done on your races! I’m probably doing back to back races this weekend… note made about the sport sunscreen and body glide… you’ve got a lot of races in the works! I like it!!!

    1. cari Post author

      Good luck with your double dip. I’m glad mine was last weekend as this weekend is going to be in the 90s. No way

  11. HoHo Runs

    Great job on running two races! You certainly can’t compare summer running times to ones from February. The heat & humidity change everything. Speaking of humidity, the only time my shoes come untied is if there is a lot of moisture in the air! If I had two local 5ks over the weekend, I’d definitely participate. I’m mean, why not? Thanks for linking!

    1. cari Post author

      Interesting about the shoelaces! Oddly the other time they came undone (different pair of the same brand), was a slightly muggy spring day. I blamed that on the trail I was running near my mom’s, but maybe it was the humidity.

  12. Debbie @ Deb Runs

    Congrats on your races, and wow, you’ve got a busy racing calendar!

    Funny story – One of my friends was pregnant and noticed that her legs were blue. She got very concerned and thought she was having some sort of vein issue due to her heavier than normal size. She made an emergency visit to her her doctor who only laughed because her new jeans had rubbed off on her legs. 😉

    Thanks for linking up!

    1. cari Post author

      Hah! Did that once too with an old GAP bag. It had been twisting around my hand which was suddenly blue. I was so worried I had some freak circulatory issue. I really wish clothes and bags would be more color safe. Glad your friend was OK

  13. Pingback: #NYRRRetro and week of 7.8 – travellingcari.com

  14. Pingback: Walking through MLB history and listening to my body, week of 7.23 – travellingcari.com

  15. Pingback: sunscreen and bug spray – travellingcari.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *