Tuesday Topics: Hannaford Half Marathon

13.Done. Spoiler: I finished

Linking up with Zenaida and Chicago Marathoner! Kim to talk about Sunday’s Hannaford Half Marathon. I’ll do a double up Weekly Run Down next Sunday as I haven’t even started it.

Recognize the shirt? No, not the race shirt, which was also pretty awesome. My finish shirt. Yep, that’s the shirt from my first ever race. Besides being adorable, it has turn into a little bit of a crutch and might be a marathon shirt.

Rewinding a bit. With family in Albany, this race had been on my radar for some time. My brother actually ran the full some years ago. This year it happened to coincide with my nephew’s birthday party and thanks to a little bib swap magic courtesy of an injured friend of Darlene’s, I was able to run it this year.


it’s even prettier live

First, I have to say the race shirt is one of my favorites. It’s so soft. Perfect recovery shirt, although I never did get a photo wearing it. It & my bib were waiting for me on arrival in Albany thanks to one of my local sherpas.

This was an interesting trial race in a number of ways: namely being outside my environment. I am very much a creature of habit, but I know that isn’t going to fly on November 3 with the later than normal start. This week’s chapter: being out of my own environment. Before every half marathon and most long training runs I’ve eaten the same dinner, avocado toast. Being at someone else’s home, I couldn’t. I decided to eat smartly, but normally. I’m not sure where the (not my) birthday cupcake fit into that. Otherwise, tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole and mom’s chicken cutlets. Not ideal, but not bad and no ill effect on Sunday morning.

In addition to forgetting to pack a small Ziplock of my Science in Sport, I forgot to freeze my water bottle the night before. Given how chilly it was at the start, not freezing my hand was a good plan.

on her turf instead of mine for once

My original plan was to run to the race’s start shuttle from my brother’s house, but he decided to drive me. It was easy enough to find a trail to run down for a few warm up miles, even though I wasn’t too stressed about not getting in the five necessary to bring me to 18 on the day. As I was running back toward the start I circled back as I saw a woman wearing Skirt Sports and we chatted briefly. As she knew Darlene she was able to tell me where I could find her so that we could get this photo before heading toward the start.

During the Race:

peekaboo Hudson!

My brother and Darlene told me about segments of the race, so I knew to expect the Watervliet Arsenal, and then the Hudson at about mile nine. Beyond that, I didn’t really know much and I kind of loved running into the unknown. I listened to one episode of Running Rogue before going to music to get me through the dead zones.

The first miles were through the park and onto the trail I’d warmed up on before we hit the streets of Cohoes and Watervliet. I have to say, my favorite thing about this race was the course marshals and water station volunteers. Everyone was so upbeat and when we’d thank them for being out there, they’d thank us for running. It was an awesome environment. Personal favorites: The Team in Training water station and inspiration, the water bottle table outside a fire station and an older person sitting at a small table with tissues, paper towel and vaseline. I wasn’t chafing,  but the tissue came in handy for a runny nose.

As I mentioned last week, my tongue and electrolyte tablets are going through a break up. This made water stations easy. I took a cup at the first few water stations and as I felt myself getting dry due to the cool air, I took the offered water bottle at the fire station and then filled that from cups at subsequent water stations until I tossed it at about mile twelve.

The Finish:

all smiles hearing my name. Thanks, Heidi!
and Judy!

After re-joining the bike path, we followed the Hudson for the next few miles. At about mile twelve and a half or so, we came into some amazing crowds.

I knew Mom & Bob planned to get there if they could get there, and Judy had texted me that she’d be somewhere near the finish. She ended up getting the second photo above and one more great photo of me on the run. It was so awesome to hear her and some of the Albany runners call my name. I wished I’d been able to linger longer and meet/see them. Cheer Squads are the best.

I was able to find mom & Bob easily (can’t miss 6’4) and we quickly headed back to the house for the rest of the birthday festivities.

Other thoughts:

I really enjoyed this race and would do it again if schedule stars aligned. Although it wasn’t as gorgeous as I’d hoped – late changing leaves all around – it was a pretty course along the bike paths.

I was glad for the chance to try my Lioness Capri on a longer run. It was OK up to 13, but I’ll be doing Lotta Breeze if it’s not Cascade weather in November. I thought I overdressed for this race based on the other runners, but I was comfortable even in the long sleeves until about mile eleven. I’m just not (yet?) an arm sleeve person.

Training has made me a bad racer:

  • When people asked me, I said this was my sixth half marathon. I didn’t realize until late afternoon on Monday that it was my seventh: Lebow x 2, Lauderdale x 2, Brooklyn, NYC.
  • I know my Half Marathon PR, but not the other times. I had no frame of reference for where this race fell, although I was only ever running it as a training run. My only goal was not to get hurt, and while I was sore today, it was manageable.
  • I picked the belt based on the one I used a few weeks ago that fit my phone & gels. This is not the belt that has bib toggles, so I was left pinning it to my Skirt. Must fix this before November 3.


#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


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.


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:



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.

NYC Half Marathon: Race Week

A wardrobe miracle happened this week (no, not that I matched, although that did happen too!) I found a pair of pants that fit at the ankle. Of course they were actually meant to be capris, but that’s the story of my life. These kept me warm enough on a chilly day that I hope I have a “tights” solution for next winter. Pocketopia, I think I love you!

Super busy week, so just a quick Weekly Run Down with Kim and Deborah:

  • Monday: chasing an earworm is #nevermissamonday, right? I was at a coffee meeting and Maren Morris’ The Middle was on and in my head for an hour. Ooph. Somehow segued into Stay Alive from Hamilton. I love it and it is on my playlist, but I hadn’t had that on since Tuesday? No idea.
trying that matching thing
hmm, think I can rock these? Loving Museum at FIT’s anniversary show
  • Tuesday: been a while since I did a double workout. Plan was to run 2-3 miles before a morning meeting that featured an awesome cycling exhibit, but the snooze button won and only ~ mile and a half happened. After work I went back to the gym for the 1.5 mile balance and a decent progression: 5.5, 5.6, 5.7 and 6.0 to close. It felt good.
  • Wednesday: hopefully penultimate PT. As I said to Greg when I left, I’ll miss seeing him but I won’t miss needing to see him. While the hip is still an issue and I still lack in core strength, I understand what I need to do to keep the Achilles issue from recurring, I think/hope. He’s come to the conclusion I arrived at early — dead bug isn’t happening but I did the leg part. That coupled with planks and side planks left me with abs DOMS of doom until Saturday! Surprisingly, the weighted squats didn’t bother my knee or hip.
Luck of the !Irish on Sunday, but I do love ND football
  • Thursday: expo visit 1 in between meetings. More to come on that in race recap, but I did score this awesome, soft shirt to wear after the race. Never did figure out something green to wear Sunday. Oh well. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I wanted one last run in before the Half despite office run group being a schedule casualty. So I stored my stuff at the Run Center (also host to an adorable Rising NYRR/Team for Kids event) and hit Central Park. Wanted to do more than the standard ~5K loop and wasn’t confident in the state of the potholed reservoir so I ran the “wrong” way around the loop, crossing over at 102nd. This had the added benefit of avoiding going up Cat HIll. There was a gorgeous sunset, but alas my phone was in the RunCenter as it would have died anyway due to 9% The Achilles felt OK on the West Side rollers and just tender after. I iced it and took Advil, but it was OK by morning. Because I haven’t run at volume, my knees were sore on stairs Friday morning but otherwise OK. I’m confident I will finish Sunday.
Tired Cari, also I really need my glasses adjusted
  • Friday: volunteering at the Expo. More on that next week, but I really loved the free volunteer shirt. It’s a light tech and will be perfect for summer running.  Quick gym stretch and roll after before walking home (70 degrees!) via a pedi.since my nails were too long to make it through the Half. #FirstWorldGirlyProblems
we run, therefore we’re goofballs
  • Saturday: errands, Expo with Darlene when she got into town. Try to tamp down the evening impostor syndrome butterflies with some avocado toast.
Flat Cari. Yep, four pace bands. I have no idea
  • Sunday: race day! Depending on post-race plans, this may post before I get home. I’ll update it ASAP, but I’ll likely tweet first. Done! Relatively pain free and definitely happy. More to come Tuesday. ETA: Recap is posted.

Plans for the week: active recovery during crazy busy work week.

#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.


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.

Physical Therapy: Week 1

I made a rookie mistake when scheduling my 7/7:30 AM PT sessions. I’ve done early dentist appointments, I can do this, I thought. Crucial difference? At the dentist you don’t have to, really can’t, talk. At PT, you’re supposed to. Note to self: coffee before PT.

I really like the staff in this PT center. They’re attentive, but also listen. They’re also not just treating the tendonitis, but working on the weaknesses that led to it. Trying to maintain the arch in my foot by making those muscles work may well be the death of me, but I’m loving the challenge. I also think the exercises will be helpful to me long term as I sometimes don’t know where to start.

Although I still haven’t made it to a Team MHRC workout, I love the group’s emails. In this week’s is this writeup of the new-new NYC Half course. No Central Park hills makes me very happy, a start in the middle of Prospect Park less so. That’s going to make getting to the start a fun adventure. Yeah, I’m thinking about the NYC Half when I haven’t survived Ft. Lauderdale yet.

Speaking of Lauderdale, the plan as blessed by my PT on Wednesday, is run if I can and walk if I can’t. That works for me. By the time this posts (if scheduled works), I’ll have finished it.

Weekly Wrap with Wendy and Holly:

  • Monday: PT to start. Besides the stretches from last week, PT added
    • Stability board
    • Arch curls
    • Single leg dips
    • Side steps with a band (ouch, my glutes!)
    • Clamshells
      25M on the bike at the gym later as my achilles was pretty tender and there were no rowers available.
Meeting authors is Cozy
  • Tuesday: lots of steps despite the snow.  PT exercises but no formal exercise due to a book signing after work.  I haven’t read COZY yet, but I have read her others. If you’re interested in a new way of seeing the world, the book is probably up your alley. I’m very curious to see how jury duty can be cozy! I have a new Kindle which works with Audible, so I might have learned about this on the plane by the time this is published. Nope, I slept on the plane instead. Maybe on the way back.
  • Wednesday: PT. He videoed me running and it’s just so weird to see, especially in slow motion. He commented that I’m mostly a flat foot striker, my feet slightly flare out but that there isn’t anything in my gait that impacts the achilles. Yay. Beyond the above exercises he added:
    • Laps of heel & toe walking
    • Hip “crunches”. I actually don’t know what to call these. Basically lean up against a foam roller against the wall and move it up and down using my hip motion.

While some of this is driven by the fact that I’ve been running less, I love that the pain is much better and I am optimistic that these exercises will spell a better running future. After an after work event I squeaked in a quick mile and a half at the gym. I usually can’t run after events because I can’t run so soon after eating. Wanting to run is also a good moderation strategy.  Also, was curious to see how legs would “work” after pummeling of PT. They were tender, but distance was constrained by gym closing time, not legs’ ability.

  • Thursday: unplanned off day. Office run group postponed due to schedules and a friend suggested dinner. Haven’t properly caught up with her since September.
iHam, therefore I am
runners’ hide and seek
  • Friday: travel day. Hoped to run after the expo, but the traffic from Fort Lauderdale up to Delray meant we barely got in on time for dinner. The expo was fun, and I acquired some new toys including new bib clips, a suitcase-sized Stick (finally!) and citrus flavored chews since I dare not try the gels in the humidity again. More on the expo if I recap the race Tuesday. PT stretches were wonderful to stretch from plane.
Palm trees and lizards!
Gordon from Loggerhead Marine Life Center
  • Saturday: a quick shakeout to (try) to acclimate to the heat & humidity before exploring the surrounds including this amazing loggerhead rescue center in Juno Beach.  Lots of car time to rest the feet, but also some good walking to de-stiffen from the plane. Some of that was seeking new shorts (I know, I know, nothing new on race day) because I worried black capris would be too warm. Currently undecided on what I’m wearing. We shall see.
  • Sunday: race day! 6 AM start.  I don’t think they have a runner tracker system, but I’ll update twitter or instagram. Plan is to run smart, between the achilles and the heat. ETA: Done! Course PR, I think. I can’t find last year’s results since Garmin & Strava currently not on speaking terms. ETA 2: recap is up.

Week’s plans: active recovery, PT on Wednesday and Friday.

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?

Planning through pain

It’s better to be ten miles undertrained than one mile overtrained

This was twice-repeated at Monday’s NYRR event and it’s so true and so fitting for my training. I think my feet/knees are a reasonable alarm clock when I’m erring toward that one mile. While frustrating, this two week time has been educational too. What can I do when I can’t run, especially when I need to burn off energy.

I realized I still do love rowing, my OG exercise, and need to make more of an effort to do it regularly. Even peak resolutionist season, the rowers are often empty.

I also spent the week weather stalking since winter decided to take all of the cold and snow and pack it into one week for the mid Atlantic/northeast. Stay safe everyone! At the course strategy session (yes, I know better. I still went anyway) Friday they were predicting maybe 10% chance the race would go as planned, but way more likely it would be a fun run or cancelled outright. I’ll be honest, if it had been turned into a fun run, I might have opted out. There’s nothing fun for me about running in an icy rain if it doesn’t count for anything.

Weekly wrap with Wendy and Holly :

  • Monday: two miles on the LateralX, which I realized is a way longer mile than the standard elliptical. No pain. Lots of rolling, stretching
  • Tuesday: treadmill test of new shoes. No pain. Long stretch after.
  • Wednesday: off. I took my gym bag to department holiday party but it was after 9 by the time we wrapped and I was way too tired.
  • Thursday: office run group, aka major test of new shoes as it involved Central Park hills. We decided to do the longer loop to 102nd St. vs. cutting over on the reservoir track since dark and muddy is a bad combination. This meant we’d have the West Side rollers as well as Cat Hill and, to be honest, I was slightly nervous. Outside of needing to stop twice in the first mile to tie my shoes, it was a success. We got to talking and the five miles went quickly. No pain, just slightly sore Friday morning. Verdict? Bad shoes.
  • Friday: NYRR course strategy wherein I countered the voice psyching myself out with the one reminded me I could do this because I had done this. Followed by gym, 1M LateralX, 2500 meter row (forearm was oddly sore) and long stretch and roll.
pre race tradition
  • Saturday: off. When I thought the race might be called, I planned to run Saturday but around 11a, they said due to the weather shift it was a go. Didn’t even leave the apartment until 5P when I realized I needed to get to LPQ before 7P closure to get my pre-long race meal and remembered I had no chews. So Jackrabbit, Modells and LPQ. Freebie was their organic honey lemon ginger drink and while I feared it might be too sweet, it was delicious.
layers, trash bags, rain coats, heat shields
  • Sunday: Ice would have turned me off running this, but I found myself wishing for snow because while I’ve done a half marathon in the rain, I haven’t done one in cold January rain. This was better though than the original forecast of 8F. Spoiler: I finished, and hit my goals. More on Tuesday. ETA: recap here.

FALLing into chaos, week of 10.14

You did it! You made Cheerios #1


how many 80s children get that caption reference? 🙂

Guaranteed entry to NYC Half. Check

Registration for Fred Lebow Half. Check

In 2018 I ran three half marathons: Lebow, Fort Lauderdale and Brooklyn. In 2019, I’ll run three in the first three months, repeating two of 2018s. I think that’s a good start to the year. 3 on the eve of 39 and I’d say three in my 39th year, but I’ll probably add another. I only ended 2018 at three since I never found another of interest that worked time wise.

Looking forward to a half marathon trio in 2019 Click To Tweet

2019 Half Marathon Goals:

  • I’m excited about doing Lebow again. My goal there is improving on my time as it’s not a PR course with the hills. I think 2:40 is reasonable. Maybe better depending on how hill training goes
  • Fort Lauderdale could be a PR. It’s a flat course other than the bridge over the Intracoastal at mile one. Humidity did me in last time and I walked a lot. We’ll see on the weather.
  • NYC Half: have fun, enjoy running between two boroughs and through Times Square

I may or may not flesh those out as the races draw closer.

In the mean time,  incomplete weekly wrap with Wendy, Kim and Holly:

I was slated to be away Friday to Sunday and I took that as a challenge. While my weekend long runs might suffer for that, I was determined that running overall wouldn’t. It meant some adjustments to my typical running schedule, particularly challenging given I had a number of weekday evening events and wanted some off days coming off four days running. How did I do with this challenge?

  • Monday: this should have been a complete off day. I realized when I got to the gym that I had nothing even for a 2K row so I just stretched. Barely got my step goal. I didn’t do the kettlebell workout as I wanted to run Tuesday and the soreness from kettlebell squats has been real.
shouldn’t every meeting have this view?
this view > gym view
  • Tuesday: plan was to leave an afternoon museum tour and then hit the gym. I even carried my gym bag with me. However I lingered at the reception and subsequently decided to walk back to Manhattan. I’m not anti treadmill, but this view better than any gym one. Step goal happened.
  • Wednesday: knew I had book group and wouldn’t make it to the gym after it so this was one of my “running won’t suffer” adjustment days and I got in a quick two miles before work. Better than nothing and it was a beautiful fall morning.
  • Thursday: office run group on a blustery fall day. Ear warmer came out, although I didn’t need it for the entirety of the run. It’s our standard loop, slightly slower this time as we got into a heavy conversation. What I noticed is that a paused Garmin doesn’t reflect in the time, but I’m not too worried about that. It was a good run and I felt strong. Cat Hill wasn’t evil and practice is making better.
  • Friday: scheduling this before I leave for the airport but the plan is to hit the gym between the office and the airport to have the weekend not be a total wash. I’ll report on this next week.
  • Saturday/Sunday: off. I’ll have my run gear in Rochester but I don’t foresee time for one.

10 Thoughts on Running and the #PopularBkHalf

Some thoughts as I digest Saturday’s race.

oh so soft!
  1. Gameface posted the photos and no luck 🙁 It was so hard to spot the photographers in the rain, they’re not as brightly colored as Fort Lauderdale. If I get time I’ll have a look through for my ridiculous hot pink jacket.
  2. The shirt above came today and I really wanted to wear it to the gym. So soft! But I get squicky about wearing new things before washing even though this arrived in a plastic bag and was likely never tried on by anyone. It’s really magically soft and I like it almost as much as I like the shirt from the Retro 5 Miler which I live in whenever possible.
  3. Yep, gym happened today. I am floored at how well & quickly I recovered from Saturday’s race especially with how awful my legs felt Saturday. On Sunday I cautiously tried the stairs and my knees weren’t bad-they’re better than they are after some Central Park runs. I spent a couple hours sitting, reading in the park and then walked to the gym for an hour-long date with their foam roller. Monday morning my only run option was before work as I had an evening event, but I opted for some sleep-something that has been lacking all month. Had tons of steps the last two days and decided I’d choose run vs. row depending on how legs felt when I got to the gym. They felt good so I did 2.31 miles (25 minutes) and a half hour foam roll.
  4. I love my gym. I definitely made the right choice when shopping in August, but I’m so tired of it. Between weather and Phoenix I’ve so rarely had the chance to run outside.I think that’s part of why I didn’t mind rain running Saturday-it was just so good to be outside. So excited for June’s slate of races in part because they’ll force me outside.
  5. Speaking of outside: might have a chance at a beachfront run on Monday and I cannot wait. Sun, sand, sea air.
  6. As much as I enjoyed Half training, it was nice to just do two+ miles today and not feel like I was messing up and should have been doing more. I plan to do 8-9 miles runs in July to be ready in case I find a fall Half that excites me, but don’t have a training plan in mind. Only fall races I have on the books are Race to Deliver (4M) and Ted Corbitt 15K. Need to sort out some travel before I can book any others.
  7. I’m going to use this time to try to figure out what worked and what I’d like to change ahead of a future Half. The main change I did Saturday vs. either prior Half or the Cherry Blossom 10 was that I went with music. Although I don’t think the lack of it hurt me at all in Florida despite wondering that, I wanted it midway through Cherry and couldn’t figure it out mid race, so put it on to start. It was good. I train all the time with music, so it didn’t make sense to run without especially since I knew there wouldn’t be a huge crowd of spectators due to weather. Aftershokz are great for being able to hear surroundings and music. I don’t remember what song I crossed the finish to (Ted Corbitt was Rachel Platten Fight Song), but enjoyed a random cross section from Mr Wendal to Rocky Horror’s Damnit Janet! to my usual cross section of pop and country to distract myself in some sections.
  8. Speaking of distracting, barely read on my flights two weeks ago as one was a redeye and the other left at 6:30 in the morning. Cannot wait to read some this weekend. I’ve been in a running reading rut of late, but found an unexpected runner in the author of From the Corner of the Oval (thanks, NetGalley), which I’m loving. Other books on tap this weekend: Go Ask Ali by Ali Wentworth, Dietland by Sarai Walker, finally finishing Deena Kastor’s Let Your Mind Run, Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves, House of Rain by Craig Childs, and The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts. Not all happening, but I love choices.
  9. I had my six month check up with my endocrinologist last week and she is so pleased with all my numbers and credits running. I’m also down about ten pounds in that period. Would more be better? Maybe? Slow and steady. I know the changes I should make on the food side.
  10. I cannot believe I’ve been running almost eighteen months. Still grateful I hopped on the treadmill that day and stuck with it, because it has been amazing. I’m not quite on pace for 700 miles, but I’m close.

Here’s to the next eighteen months

Race Recap: Popular Brooklyn Half

Short version: PR by six minutes and change and I ran the entire thing!
Major thank you to Caryn and Rachel who were most definitely my pre-race cheering squad and ears.

Bag lady!

Longer version: while I don’t mind running in the rain, I really hope this is the only race I need to shuffle to the start with my feet in bag check bags! ETA 5/22: further thoughts.

First, time to take a step back.

The weather looked iffy all week. In fact, it really hasn’t stopped raining since Tuesday’s insane storms.

I had to be in Brooklyn Bridge Park anyway on Wednesday for the GlassBarge event so I decided to go to Expo then. This was my first NYRR Expo and I was simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed. With a race of this scale (25,000+ finishers and said to be the largest Half Marathon), I knew it was going to be a lot. Bib pickup was easy, I really liked the addition of a shirt try-on station as New Balance shirts are cut really weird. Even though I’ve lost weight since then, the Poland Spring shirt still doesn’t fit and I had a feeling the Half one wouldn’t either. Ugh. Running isn’t about weight loss, but it would be nice if my efforts were reflected in shirt size.

As was also the case with the Lebow Half, I really enjoyed the race strategy session. I’ve never run Prospect Park or really any part of Brooklyn other than a quick run on the sand at Coney Island one day last summer. I’d heard about the Hill in Prospect Park and after a chat with Rachel I was confident I was ready for it, but seeing the elevation profile really helped. I went to the pace predictor station and picked up a couple of pace bands. I thought their predictor was more than a little generous at 2:26 – 2:32, but I took the bands for 2:30, 2:35 and 2:40.

I was feeling more than a little nervous about this race, and wasn’t going anywhere near the finishers’ gear they were selling. Why was I nervous? Because humans are weird. I knew I could run 13.1 and was better trained than for my prior races, but to me that made the risk of failure greater. I knew I could — so not being able to was worse than if I dropped out not knowing if I could finish. I really liked this shirt though and just bought it for myself as a reward.

On Friday they sent an alert to prepare for the worst and that there would be heat blankets at the finish. I’m almost positive no one thought that would be in the cards for a May 18 race! I’ll be honest, the rainy forecast wasn’t bothering me as much as it was others. I realized in October that I kind of love running in the rain. It’s like playing outside as a kid. I also knew there wasn’t anything I could do about the weather, so decided to be cheesy and refer to it as Mother Nature cheering us on.

part Austin Powers?
there’s a starting line up there somewhere!

I think part of the reason I had butterflies ahead of this race was the new-to-me area. I could walk to Cherry Blossoms and could have for Fort Lauderdale, although I opted for an uber due to the time of day err night. But I’d have to rely on the MTA and travel about 45 minutes to get to the start. Trains between Manhattan and Brooklyn can be a challenge on the weekend, never mind at 6AM. But I found out that one of the stops to use for Wave 2 (yay, turtles. 7:45 start vs. 7:00 start any day) was on the Q which meant no transfer needed and it all ran surprisingly smoothly. When I got to the station the only folks on the platform were runners and that was pretty much true for the entirety of the journey.

In the further files of New York City being the world’s largest small town, I ran into a friend who was running on the platform when I got off the train and was reapplying body glide to my feet at what I expected to be the last dry spot. She helped me adjust my trash bag poncho (I wish I’d gotten a better photo, it was *special*). The top photo?  Extra bag check bags as I hadn’t thought of wrapping my feet to keep them dry. I wasn’t sure exactly where to go from the 7th Avenue stop, but it wasn’t hard to figure out – just follow all the runners. I tend not to check a bag when I run, but I didn’t see any way around it this time, I’d need dry clothes at the other end of the race and because I’m me, a book for the train to and from.

They suggested a 6:20 arrival for bag check, but I thought that too early in the rain. Got there about 6:45 and it was easy peasy and quick. From then the longest wait was security (my first race that featured metal detectors!) followed by port-a-potties. Corrals had collapsed so I got to roughly where I thought J runners seemed to be and joined the shuffle. I’m not sure exactly how, but the time cut offs for the Half corrals upgraded me to J. It won’t last, but I’ll take it. I was slightly disappointed not to find the 2:30 pacers, but trusted myself to figure it out. The weirdest thing about this race was I wasn’t sure exactly where the start was. Near Brooklyn Museum, yes, but then I saw the building and not the start. Slightly disorienting, but were soon off.

In an effort to stay somewhat dry-ish, I kept the trash bag on for the first mile or so as we headed by Brooklyn Botanic Garden and toward Grand Army Plaza. I had a long sleeve tee shirt on over my tee shirt and I started to get warm around mile five so I slowed up and took it off. It was soaked, which surprised me as I didn’t feel wet. I guess when you’re wet, one part doesn’t really feel it. I took my glasses off somewhere in the Park as well as seeing through semi transitioned rain spotted lenses was just annoying. Note to self: get a hat next time. I’m glad I wasn’t attached to the long sleeved shirt as I dropped it somewhere along Ocean Parkway and when I picked it up, it was soaked so I just tossed it.

speaking of Ocean Parkway

This is one of my favorite race photos. I was just so glad to finally be out of Prospect Park and into the back half of the race. I look miserable, but I was having fun.

This LetsRun post sums up my thoughts on Prospect Park. It’s way flatter than Central Park and although I regularly bitch about Cat HIll & the West Side Rollers (yep, still avoiding Harlem Hills), I really enjoy the downhills. I really didn’t get that in this race with the exception of Grand Army Plaza segment turning back toward the Park and when we went down the ramp onto Eastern Parkway. There was no reward for Prospect Park’s hill. My quads hurt less, my knees and calves are a mess. Or were yesterday, I haven’t yet ventured out of the apartment today. I would like to return and explore the area in a walk, as Prospect Park seemed beautiful.

taking on Eastern Parkway

I’m not sure what I think about this course. Eastern Parkway has some beautiful architecture, but it’s long and straight and kind of boring. Funny, that’s what I usually think when I’m on the train to Coney. Brooklyn is long. I’m not swearing off it entirely the way I did Lebow, but I’m not super excited to do it again next year either. Although I’ll probably do the Bronx 10 Miler which will get me 4/6 and guarantee entry to the NYC Half, I’m not sure I’m excited about that either. We’ll see. What I found amazing though were the spectators and volunteers. We “had” to be out there, but they chose to be there supporting us and cheering us on. Awesome. Really loved the friendly faces from Team MHRC at mile eight and all of those who gave us a lift in the rain.

I was so happy to see this
and what a finish chute!
I love this spot!

I was smiling, even though I didn’t yet know my time. It felt like a good race. I’m really pleased with my splits. Under twelve for eight miles (mile 6 was aforementioned wardrobe adjustment so I don’t hold it against my pace) and I never really felt bad. Sore? Yes. Like I was running through soup? Yes. The headwind in mile 12 was sucktastic. I don’t think I went out too quickly, I think the 12s toward the end were a factor of being slightly undertrained. I hadn’t run more than four miles in three weeks and hadn’t run double digits since February’s half.

unofficial time

Aside from a text to coordinate meeting up with an amazing friend who waited for me in the rain when he was long done, my first text was a photo of my watch’s time to Rachel who I’d chatted throughout the week about time goals. There were many exclamation points!

To be honest, I really hadn’t thought about goals until Wendy asked me about it in the comments of my last post. 2:30 has always been kind of a hand wavy goal, but not one I actually trained toward. I knew I could do 2:41 and that this was flatter/I was better trained than Lebow (I don’t count Fort Lauderdale’s time against what I can do as I was injured and I walked a lot of it due to the humidity). I spit balled 2:35, but didn’t really know if that was real. I was shocked when I saw my watch as aside from 2:25 passing me around mile 8, I never spotted any of the pacers. That’s my “Enjoy the Journey” bracelet peeking out under my watch (I most certainly am!) and the 2:35 pace band under my jacket. I really couldn’t make use of that since my watch doesn’t seem to show cumulative time lapsed and the mile marker clocks were for wave one, so I was just estimating and I really can’t do math on the run.

Brooklyn Half Results

2:34:35! PR by six minutes over Lebow!! Running brings out the exclamation point-using, pink-wearing person in me. I feel no need to apologize for either.

NYRR Progress

Running is like weight loss, you don’t always see the losses, but they’re there. Holy crap! 30 second faster per mile than Lebow, but only one minute/mile slower than the four miler that blew my mind in February. Just ten seconds/mile off my other rain run. In many ways, this felt a lot like that one. I put body glide on my feet before putting on socks and reapplied it just before the start. I feared a blister was forming as I felt a hot spot, but did what I could to avoid puddles until a large one just before mile thirteen and another on the boardwalk. But when I changed socks and shoes before heading back to the city, there were none. My feet were prunes, and my sneakers are still wet, but no blisters. I couldn’t have done without the glasses entirely, so my windbreaker, despite not actually keeping me dry, was good for the pockets for them and my phone.

Changing post-race under an awning on Surf Ave. channeled my sports-playing days past: friend held up the heat shield as I changed into dry clothes: I was soaked down to my sports bra. Due to the weather, I didn’t get the chance to meet up with colleagues running or Darlene, who I hope to run with soon after meeting in a linkup.

I was slightly concerned about stiffening up after the 40m ride back to the city, but the issue was different. With almost everyone leaving simultaneously as it wasn’t a beach day at all, there were no seats so we stood until Union Square. My legs were not happy. Lunch was the plan, but my stomach was weird (gels on empty stomach? Who knows – it ultimately ended up fine) so I opted out and went to see how chaotic medal engraving was.

medal back and front

It wasn’t, at all. I was quoted a time of twenty minutes when I checked in (vs. the two hours I experienced after Lebow and we were quoting when I volunteered after the Half) and by the time I’d gone to the bathroom, I had a text that it was done. I really love the medals: they might be my favorite. I decided to hang around a little to dry off, charge my phone and unwind and had a fun realization:

accidentally a fashion plate!

My change of shoes (yep, the ones I met & fell in love with last summer are out of run miles and down to knocking around, although I did use them for Phoenix runs so as not to bring two pair of sneakers) match my new windbreaker oh so well. The bulge? My belt since I didn’t have where to put it so I left it on. As I was unwinding I noticed they had a table with Deena Kastor’s book and the emcee mentioned she’d be there shortly. I didn’t realize she was running the Half (to be honest, I skimmed a lot of the upcoming discussion due to nerves), and thought it would be a fun chance to hear how an elite runner feels just after a bucket list race wherein she came in second. Full disclosure: still haven’t finished her book. Run reading has been in a weird place lately.

Deena Kastor speaking with emcee, NYRR Youth Runner

It was an interesting conversation. Some was redundant to her talk a few weeks ago, but some was new. Interesting to hear an elite’s disappointment (at her time, not at coming in second), but also that such a common, accessible to the public race was a bucket list one for her. Nothing on Boston, bit given that the emcee didn’t bring it up, I think maybe she requested it be off limits. Glad I stayed for it as it allowed me to be out long enough to get sushi on my way home and not go back out again because my legs by then were a hot mess and the stairs weren’t fun.

Today’s plan is to go for a walk and maybe hit the gym purely for their foam roller since mine wasn’t doing the job last night. I’m glad it was a Saturday run giving me today to sleep in, and unwind. A lot of travel lately and I haven’t had a me day. I cannot wait to tackle the Women’s Mini in a couple of weeks. I haven’t raced a 10K since September and while hill avoidance is probably going to catch up with me, I’m eager to see what I can do. In the mean time, taking a couple days off running. I’m away this coming weekend so will be out of my usual routine, but plan to run to be tuned up for the Italy run in two weeks.

Other Workouts This Week:

Linking up with Wendy and HoHo again. In awe they’ve done this 146 times!

  • Monday: 5K PR. I wanted to see if last week was a fluke, and it wasn’t. Strava said it was a PR, Runkeeper didn’t, but either way I was able to repeat the pace and I’m super happy with that. I think June’s runs are going to be good ones. I’m excited to focus on some shorter runs (4m-10K) for a little bit as I think longer will be harder in summer heat, and treadmill for hours isn’t ideal.
  • Tuesday: 5K row. Apocalyptic thunderstorms and really didn’t feel like the treadmill three days in a row.
  • Thursday: one mile shakeout and long session with a foam roller. My calves were tight for some weird reason and I wanted to knock it out.