A Girl Runs in Brooklyn

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

Race Recap: The Frederick Half Marathon 5/4/14

Short Version: I completed the Frederick Half on May 4th, 2014. It was my 4th half marathon. It was my slowest time but I ended up making new friends who I decided to run with the whole way and had a blast. And had a very dramatic start to the race. Not much about actual running in this one.

Half Fanatic Status: 2/3 half marathons in 90 days needed to qualify!

Long Version:

On Sunday, May 4th, 2014 I ran the Frederick Half Marathon in Frederick, MD. It was my 4th half marathon overall, and the 2nd within the last month. I PRed the last half marathon I ran, 3 weeks previous, and have another in 2 weeks (the Brooklyn Half), as: 1) I have begun my 20 week training plan for a half I am running in September that is a rather aggressive plan that should get me a HUGE PR and in this phase of the plan I am supposed to be doing 12-15 mile long runs every weekend. If I am going to do that I would much prefer a bunch of people around me, a novel course to run on, people giving me water so I don’t have to wear a hydration belt (HATE my hydration belt), and a medal for doing so; and 2) I want to qualify for the Half Fanatics, and one of the ways to qualify is running 3 half marathons in 90 days.

This was never going to be a PR attempt. I was not sufficiently recovered from my PR half 3 weeks prior to do this, and the training in between that race and this one has been only so-so due to recovering, being on vacation for a week after the last race, then coming home and getting sick and having a bout with insomnia. Such is life. But I planned to run this easy and just enjoy the day.

I stayed with my boyfriend, who lives exactly an hour from Frederick. The race strongly encourages getting your bib and race packet in advance, however, I wanted to avoid having to go to Frederick 2 days in a row, we had other things we wanted to do on Saturday that did not include a 2 hour round trip to Frederick. Luckily I was able to sign up for same day packet pickup. They only offer this to 200 people out of the 5,000 runners so I was happy to have gotten it. Especially with a new rule this year you HAVE to pick up your own packet with a photo ID and cannot have a proxy get it for you.

Anyway. Race started at 7:00am, and packet pickup for those allowed same-day would close “promptly at 6:30am on the dot.” Ok….well I like to get to a race more than a half hour before start anyway, No Big Deal. They warned traffic could cause an extra 20 minutes to be added to your trip on race morning. Duly noted, No Big Deal. The race start was at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Wake up was at 4:30. Ate my usual pre-race breakfast with one minor improvisation because I forgot to get a bagel: toast with peanut butter, banana, Gatorade and coffee.

Put on my I Run4 Judy shirt to signify my buddy Judy, and a skirt to signify an online running group I am a part of, knowing there would be a few other ladies at that race that I hadn’t actually met in person, so figured I would make finding me at our planned pre-race meetup would be easier since everyone would recognize this fabric (and it nicely matched my I R4 Judy shirt….always coordinating I am).

 

 Left at 5:00 almost on the dot….may have been 5:03. I was going solo to the race…..my boyfriend has been to several races with me but this one was very early and he had something going on later that morning. I got about 2 miles away before the horror sank in: I FORGOT MY IPOD ON THE CHARGER. Now, I know for some people that isn’t a big deal but for me it is a VERY big deal. I ALMOST TURNED AROUND and got it, but I looked at the time and it was 5:10….did some quick calculations and realized I should probably not make that detour. Ugh. I came up with a plan B while driving and decided maybe I would get closer to the race and then hopefully see a 7-11 or CVS to run in and grab some cheap headphones quick and stream Pandora through my phone and improvise. I flew there really, no one on the road, it was 5:50 and I was alllllmost to the exit. Oh good. I will have plenty of time to find a place to buy some headphones, park, get my bib, use the porta potties, warm up, meet a few people I knew running the race and chat and get a pre-race photo…..and…..WHAM! Whoa what is this bumper to bumper traffic in the right lane, ½ mile from the exit? Oh right, race traffic. Yikes, ok, still making good time. Yeah……10 minutes later I had moved mayyyyybe 3 car lengths. It’s 6:00. It’s 6:05. It’s 6:10. It’s 6:15. IT’S 6:20!!! I am STILL just SITTING in traffic WAITING to get off the exit. Holy guacamole….I am JUST getting off the exit and it is 6:30. Packet pickup is CLOSING and traffic is barely moving. Apparently it is still half a mile to the parking lot! Traffic appeared to be backed up for at least a mile behind me. People were abandoning their cars on the shoulder of the highway and running down the highway. I was in full-on panic mode. Forget getting headphones….. I wasn’t even going to get to run this race! Once off the exit there were a bunch of fast food places, stores, ect. Some runners were parking in McDonalds and such and jogging towards the fairgrounds. I was afraid I’d get my car towed but at this point I could not care less. I pulled into a shopping center, at 6:37 or so, and SPRINTED FULL SPEED in the direction I saw other runners going. Crying. Running full speed down the road, passing other runners jogging (they had their bibs already!) and crying. Got to the fairgrounds and found packet pickup. Ran in to get my packet with tears streaming down my face, at 6:42, completely out of breath. They probably thought I was nuts, but gave me my bib…..haha. Then I got in line for the porta potties, where I still was when the race started. Great. I had to sprint to the start, because the announcer was threatening to pickup the timing mat at 7:10 and it was like 7:07. Yeah, second time sprinting and the race hadn’t even started. I am sure all the cars behind me on the highway didn’t make it.

I crossed the starting line. I was stressed, iPod-less and just not even feeling it. I was running too fast. I didn’t care. I think I just wanted to catch up to the pack. Or maybe the 2:30 pace group? I don’t know. I originally wanted to maybe try to run with the 2:30 pace group, which is 11:27 minute miles, which is within my “easy” pace range and I have never tried running with a pace group, but I had given up caring. I finished the first mile in 10:24. That was PR pace and I was NOT trying to PR. I needed to chill a little. I just started trying to get myself out of my foul mood. The scenery was so nice. Frederick is a really charming, old town, and EVERY SINGLE flowering tree was in bloom. It was a beautiful morning, 46 degrees at the start and supposed to go up to low 60s, perfect running weather. I WOULD enjoy this day.

Then, in the 2nd mile, I see ahead of me two skirts that were the same as mine, and got really excited. The pattern of the skirt I was wearing is one that is only available to the 300-something ladies that are part of an online running group I am a part of. I knew some ladies from that group were supposed to be at the race, and we were supposed to meet up before hand, but I missed the meetup. I didn’t know who they were in front of me, but based on the pattern of their skirt I knew that I “knew” them and I excitedly tried to catch up. I said hello, and found out who they were. We hugged each other (while running) as we introduced ourselves, and began to chat. I found out they were doing a run/walk method, and aiming to get less than 2:40. They said if I didn’t want to do that I was welcome to leave them at any time. I said I’d stick with them for a little bit at least. I was enjoying our chat, it was MUCH better than a silent, no iPod run, and I had no real time goals anyway. Between 2:30 and 2:40 was likely what I was going to do on my own anyway. Run/walk isn’t what I am used to, but I didn’t mind it. “A little while” became mile after mile, I was still with them and we were chatting the whole time. I had only just “met” them in person that day, but we knew each other from the group and were having a really good time. I decided I wanted to stay with them the whole race no matter what. I needed a porta potty stop at mile 7 (the porta potties that had the shortest line we had encountered thus far), and they went ahead. It took me almost a mile to catch back up, and I was so happy when I saw them again. They really made the race so much more enjoyable. What started out rough ended up being a lot of fun. Around mile 9 the weather heated up quite a bit and one of the women I was with felt really nauseous. We slowed down quite a bit. She told me and the other woman we could go ahead but we refused. We would finish together. Our splits went from low 12s to 14-somethings, the walk breaks got more frequent, the running got slower but it didn’t matter. We finished together. It was a great race.

Official time: 2:49:04

 Course pics:

 

After Race Pics:

 

 

 After the race was a post-race festival with official merchandise, other vendors, food, a live band, and beer. There was a huge controversy involving a SNAFU with the Frederick County Liquor Board deciding to enforce their No Alcohol Before 11:00am on Sundays law for the first time in the Frederick Half’s 20 year history. Each runner gets 2 free beers, and apparently it is what a lot of runners most look forward to. Apparently the faster runners did NOT want to waste 2+ hours waiting for beer, and people on Facebook were VERRRY upset about this. I finished at 10:00am and by the time I got my medal and race shirt, used the bathroom, drank some water and Gatorade, ate a banana, took pictures, chatted a bit, scoped the official merchandise, it was almost 11:00 so it wasn’t really a big deal to me. I got my beer, and it was glorious.

Except for the awful start, it was a nice race. Beautiful scenery in a charming town and all the flowering trees were gorgeous. Nice tech shirt with thumb holes, nice medal. I would do this race again, but be better prepared for traffic and REMEMBER MY IPOD!

 

 

 Swag:

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Race Recap: Harbor Fitness Race for Autism 5K 4/27/14

Better late than never…. decided to do a quick RR for my 5K last Sunday (even though I am missing 3 races in March/early April still….I’ll do them eventually I swear!).

 

Short Version: No PR, but a fun day raising money for my school for children with Autism!

 Long Version:

On Sunday, April 27th I ran the Harbor Fitness Race for Autism 5K in my neighborhood of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, NY. This race was put on by a gym in my neighborhood (Harbor Fitness) and the proceeds go to benefit the school I work at, The HeartShare School, which is a school for children with Autism. This race was fun, as I had a lot of co-workers that were there as well, some running and some walking. Other than the 5K they also had a kids race (about a block) in which a few kids from my school ran in, which was really nice to see. Then they had a lot of family oriented activities such as face painting and a bouncy castle, and the Zumba instructors from the gym had outdoor Zumba after the race. I did Zumba with a girl who goes to my school for probably 45 minutes after….and had a blast! They also had a bunch of raffles and free food. It was a very nice event, and a BEAUTIFUL spring day! One of the kids from my school that I worked with even walked the whole 5K race, it was so awesome to see!!

 

As for my race, I didn’t really have a strategy. #1 priority was to enjoy the day, have fun with some co-workers and friends, and support my school. I haven’t had a new 5K PR in almost a year. Which is crazy as my first 6-7 months of running I had one huge 5K PR after another. My first 5K was October 2012, a 37:07. My second was November 2012 and I PRed by over 3 minutes. My third was March 2013 and I PRed by over a minute. My 4th was April 2013 and I PRed by 4 minutes and got my first sub-30 5K (and killed it at 28:30). My 5th 5K was May of 2013 and I had a teeny PR (28:16). I went from a 37:07 in October 2012 to a 28:16 in May 2013. Almost 9 minutes off my initial time, and huge PRs each race. ANNNNNND I haven’t PRed since. So I feel that I am overdue! The problem is, in May of last year my focus shifted to half marathon training. And I have been training for and running half marathons (or injured, or recovering from injury!) ever since. I have run several 5Ks since May 2013 but either was just doing it for fun and not trying for a PR, or it wasn’t the right time in my training to give a PR a real shot, or had injury issues, or I HAVE tried to PR, and failed. My 3 previous 5K PR attempts have fallen short by at least 45 seconds….all of them in the 29s somewhere. Needless to say, I WANT A NEW PR! I had hoped that this race may be my day. HOWEVER….. since I returned from Hawaii the week before I was REALLY TIRED. I didn’t adapt well back into the time zone, I had come down with a bit of a head cold, I was just exhausted. I had run a cumulative of only 8 miles since my half marathon in Hawaii on 4/13, and not a step since I had came home on 4/20. So….. hard to determine going into the race if that would help me or hurt me.

 

I didn’t have much of a strategy other than maybe try to PR but if I couldn’t then just enjoy the run. I decided just to start fast and see what happened…if fast felt good I’d go with it, if not then I would just run easy. I ran the first mile in 8:37. Which was DEFINITELY below PR pace (a 28:16, my still current PR that was set 5/5/13 is a 9:06 pace). Had I kept that up I would have had a HUGE PR. However, maybe I should have tried to pace myself a little better because I quickly realized I had gone out too fast. I didn’t really look at my Garmin during that mile, I just RAN….and maybe I should have been a little more disciplined. After the first mile I felt myself slowing down a little. I glanced down at my Garmin a few times and was seeing paces in the low 9s…. generally like 9:05, 9:03, 9:08…in that range. Which is still PR pace, and if I could run the last 2 miles at that pace I would still PR. But I hit the halfway point and my body just said NO. My calves cramped up bad and I was really sucking wind. And….just…..no. I decided not to kill myself over this race and let my pace fall way off. My last mile was 10:40. Meh. I was just out there to have fun….a PR would have been a nice bonus but when I wasn’t feeling it I was ok with letting it go. My time was 29:23. Not even close to a PR. Meh. It was, however, my 6th sub-30 5K time, which was a HUGE goal for me when I started running. And best of all I had fun raising money for my school on a beautiful spring day in my neighborhood.

 

And….pictures:

 

Race outfit:

 

“Before” and “After” with my good friend Marilyn, who PRed in her 3rd 5K and got her “A” goal of sub-40 minutes!

 

 

 

Me and my co-worker Darnell

 

Thanks for reading!

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A Girl Runs in Honolulu: Race Recap of the Hapaula Half Marathon 4/13/14

I have been neglectful and I owe you guys a few race recaps from some March races I did. But since this one was MUCH more exciting and fun to write I did this race first even though it was the most recent :):)

 

Short Version:

I went to Hawaii last week and ran the Hapalua Half Marathon in Honolulu. I PRed (got my best time at that distance) by a minute and a half, beating my time from my first half marathon 6 months ago. My official time was 2:20:16.  I was ecstatic!!!!

I also had pretty even splits, generally maintaining a pace in the low 10:30s-high 10:20s with the exception of 3 miles: the 2 times I took GU and used the bathroom, and an entire mile of uphill. Overall very happy with my race performance and…..it was in HAWAII so even if I bombed the race I would have still been happy, so win-win!

 

Long Version:

Warning: VERY long….. includes stuff from the 2 days before the race (both NRR and running related), a ton of race pics, and then a small summary of the rest of my week post-race in Hawaii, with pics. If you are interested, bear with me. If you only want the running stuff, scroll to the section that says “The Race.”

 

Intro

So, this race has been in the works for a long time. My brother moved in Honolulu in August of 2012 to go to graduate school at Hawaii Pacific University. Which is the same month I began training for my first 5K. The “running thing” stuck, and an idea began to form about going to visit my brother and running a race there. I kept my ears and eyes peeled for any awesome sounding races there, that also happened to correspond with one of my breaks from work (I work at a year round school, and we have 8 weeks off per year and are not allowed to take any significant chunks of time off that is not during those breaks. This summer, the stars aligned when I found out that The Hapalua in Honolulu, which is put on by the same people who do the Honolulu Marathon in the fall, would be held on April 13th, which happened to correspond to my spring break. I started planning for it, and my parents decided to make it a family trip. I registered for it in October, and the countdown began!

 

Training

This was my third half marathon in the past 6 months, I ran my first October 12th, and second December 8th. As most of you know, training didn’t go as planned, because I woke up the morning after my second half marathon in December and couldn’t put any weight on my left foot without excruciating pain. The doctor put me in a soft cast and walking boot, assuming a stress fracture. I was not allowed to work for several days, and I was put on limited activity. Nothing other than essential walking, in the boot. After and X-Ray and MRI it was eventually revealed that there was no fracture, but instead a bone contusion on my talus bone with synovial fluid swelling, tendon inflammation, and ligament scarring in that area. I wore the boot for 5 weeks, no running for 6 weeks, and then added back mileage verrrry slowly according to doctor’s orders.

I had originally planned to follow a Running Wizard plan, but had to scrap it. I decided that I could handle the 12 week Hal Higdon Novice 1 Half Marathon plan. I knew it was a pretty bare bones plan, but it added mileage slowly, and that is what I needed. I adjusted my expectations for the race to be just crossing the finish line. I was nervous I wouldn’t even get to do that. The original plan I had dictated that I run 12-15 mile long runs every weekend, so I had registered for several half marathons to run during the winter as supported training runs, but I decided to DNS (“did not start”) every race I was registered for that was over 4 miles long, and just focus on staying healthy for Hawaii and getting across that finish line in one piece.

A further bump in the road came the last week of February when I came down with a stomach virus, recovered and then got it AGAIN (or a different one) the next week, and THEN as I was recovering from that I came down with a head cold and laryngitis. The whole ordeal lasted 3 weeks, and while I did get runs in here and there, my mileage was significantly reduced during those weeks.

My Half Marathon PR (personal record, best time at that distance) was set during my first HM, the Baltimore Half on October 12th, and it was 2:21:47. Originally I had hoped to PR in Hawaii, but throughout training for obvious reasons I adjusted my expectation to just finishing and enjoying myself. Although I wasn’t able to put in the kind of mileage and speed-work I had wanted to for the race, the running I did do felt really good. My speed and endurance came back fairly quickly after injury, and it seemed my fitness was pretty much what it was before injury. I debated between trying to PR in Hawaii or just running it at a very easy pace. It was a race day decision, but I decided to go for it. I wouldn’t do anything reckless, but I would run the strongest I was capable of and play it by ear.

 

Pre-Race:

The race was Sunday, April 13th. I had off work the next week after for my school’s Spring Break. I took a personal day on Friday, April 11th to fly to Honolulu with my parents, not wanting to spend the entire day before the race travelling. Met my parents at LaGuardia Airport early Friday morning for a 7:30am flight from NYC, connecting in Dallas/Ft. Worth, then on to Honolulu. It was a long day with a 4.5 hour flight to Dallas, a 2 hour layover, and then an 8.5 hour flight from Dallas to Honolulu. We arrived in Honolulu around 4:00pm Hawaii time, which is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Rented a car, checked into our hotel, the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, and then after my brother finished his Friday evening class he came to our hotel and met us for dinner at the hotel restaurant.

 Off to Hawaii!

 Saturday morning April 12th my race sponsored a special event. Before I go into it though, a little background. The Hapalua does something involving elite runners that is very different than any other race I have heard of before. They do something called “The Chase”. They get together the fastest runners in Hawaii to make up Team Hawaii. Members of the Team get a head start on the Kenyan professional runners. Each Team Hawaii member starts at a different time based on their PRs, ranging from a 21 minute jump on the Kenyan men to a 4:30 minute start on the Kenyan men. Then the Kenyan woman starts, Isabella Ochichi, then the Kenyan men, Patrick Makau (58:52 PR, 8 sub-60 HMs to his credit), and Peter Kirui (won the 2012 NYC Half with his PR time of 59:39 and holds the 30K World Record). The first person to cross the finish line (not the fastest chip time) gets the prize money! (Explanation of “The Chase” here, with more details about the Team Hawaii and Kenyan runners: http://thehapalua.com/2014-chase-runners/).

Anyway….. Saturday morning at 8:00am my race sponsored a Meet and Greet in Kapiolani Park with the 3 Kenyan runners, and a “slow, easy paced” social run with them. I attended excitedly with my dad, who took pictures. Listened to them answer some questions, then we were off running! They started at about a 10:00 minute mile pace but quickly got down into the high 8s, which is faster than my 5K PR. I felt like it was a bad idea to try and keep pace like that the day before my half, so I let the pack go after hanging with them for about a mile, and fell to my easy pace to complete the first lap of the park, and then hung out with a group of other slower runners who had also let the pack go, and waited for them to loop around again and take pictures after. They ran the second loop at 7:00 minute miles, and a handful of people held on the whole time. My dad urged me to jump back in at the very end so he could get a picture of me running next to the Kenyans, and I did, hahaha. I swear I was running with them the whole time (*whistles and looks around casually*…lol)! Here is a really good blog post with videos on the Social Run with the Kenyans event done by one of the Team Hawaii runners, Matt Holton: http://www.mauirunner.com/2014/04/running-with-kenyans-in-kapiolani-park.html

 Pics my dad and I took at the Social Run with the Kenyans:

 

I am in the blue skirt:


 

After the running with the Kenyans event, my dad and I walked along Waikiki Beach for a bit and had breakfast by the beach (carb loaded with some delicious French Toast and fruit):

 

 

Then my dad went back to the hotel and I went to the race expo!

.1?

 

There I got my race packet and bought a Hapalua visor, that I ended up wearing quite frequently the rest of the trip. Then went back to the hotel so I could shower, and met up with my parents down at the beach to hang out around the hotel and have a low key late morning/early afternoon. I continued my carbo loading at lunch at the Tropics, which was one of our hotel’s restaurants with my parents and brother, with a Blue Hawaiian drink, and a stir fry for lunch. Mmmm.

 

Afterwards my brother took us on a drive out of Honolulu to see some other parts of the Island of O’ahu that are his favorite places that he has discovered in his almost 2 years living there. After sightseeing a little we posted up on this beautiful but little known beach for a bit and he played ukulele for us (something he has picked up living in Hawaii).

 

 

 Then he took us to see his golf course that is the home course for Hawaii Pacific University (beautiful course, and apparently the most difficult in the country!) and then we went to dinner at Duke’s inside the Outrigger Hotel where I had fish, rice and vegetables, and a Long Board Lager (carbs!) Then laid out my race outfit and early to bed!

 

The morning of the race I woke up at 4:00am for a 6:00am race start. I had bought my traditional race breakfast of a bagel, peanut butter, banana and Gatorade in a store the night before, and prepared it in my hotel room plus a cup of coffee, and enjoyed it sitting on my balcony. Then I got dressed in my race clothes, and debated way too long about using a handheld water bottle before deciding I would be happier without it. At 5:15, I headed out of my room and walked myself the mile down Waikiki Beach to the race start, in front of the Duke Kahanamoku statue. I used the mile walk as a warmup, power-walking the first quarter mile and then lightly jogging the rest of the way. Hit the bathroom, did some dynamic stretching while watching the Team Hawaii runners begin in waves, had someone take my picture by the statue like every other runner there, listened to the National Anthem and Hawaiian Anthem, and then it was go time!

 

 

 

The Race:

Gun went off at 6:00am. Temperature at the start was about 70 degrees as the sun came up, and partially cloudy with a chance of rain. Crossed the start line about 3 minutes after the gun. We headed west on Kalakaua Ave which travels along Waikiki Beach. Much of the course is an out and back from Waikiki to Downtown Honolulu, a lollipop around and then back along the same course, but then a big loop all the way around Diamond Head (a large mountain/extinct Volcano) before the finish. Here is the race map:

 

Course was very flat until just after the Mile 9 marker where we start going around Diamond Head. Most of the 10th mile uphill, we get a decent downhill for much of the 11th mile, and then another climb around the front of Diamond Head in the 12th mile before it is downhill to the finish.

Here is the Elevation profile:

First Mile: I started at a comfortable pace, faster than my easy pace but nothing crazy. Just before the Mile 1 marker we run past the entrance to our hotel, where my parents were waiting to see me go by. I was very excited to see them, and they nabbed a few pictures. My Garmin must have beeped for the first mile at some point when I was passing them and waving and saying hi, because I never even heard it, and when I looked down at my Garmin it was at 1.08 or something so I had to try to ballpark what my first split was, and didn’t see the actual time til after the race.

Mile 1: 10:41

 

 Miles 2-4: Lovely run along the coastline Was keeping a nice and steady pace that felt good. Not TOO easy, but definitely not a struggle. Slowed to grab a sip water at the water stations around mile markers 2 and 4. Considered stopping at the first porta potties along the course at the 4 Mile marker, but the line was too long and I blew it off. It spritzed rain on and off, nothing major, just a few passing clouds that had a little rain in them, sunny otherwise, so the passing spritzes actually felt really good. Somewhere between miles 3 and 4 the first Team Hawaii and Kenyan Chasers passed us going the other way. Isabella was beasting it and had already passed several Hawaiians. The Kenyan men were still behind all but maybe 1 or 2 Team Hawaii members, but were looking strong. It was a highlight of the race for me to see them all out on the course.

Splits:

Mile 2: 10:22

Mile 3: 10:33

Mile 4: 10:06 (I sped up a bit at the end of this mile because I knew at the water station right after the Mile 5 marker I was going to pause to take a GU and was realizing that I needed to stop at the porta potty there no matter what the line looked like cuz I definitely needed to pee! So I think I was compensating in anticipation of a lengthier pit stop at mile 5 water station).

Fifth Mile: We did the lollipop loop here and then headed back along the same course. As anticipated, I paused to take a Salted Caramel GU here and a full glass of water, and then waited in a 2 person line for a 4 block of porta potties. I then fell back into a slightly increased pace, trying to compensate for the pit stop, but not recklessly so. While running I was maintaining a pace in the low 10s, but with the stop it was my second slowest mile split of the race.

Mile 5:11:20

Miles 6-8: Continued back along the race course going back the way we came. It rained on and off, a few times pretty heavily but since it was warm out I didn’t mind much, it felt good. Maintained a steady, comfortable pace through these miles. Brief pauses for water at 6.5 and 7.5. Passed the hotel again right after the mile 7 marker, where my parents were waiting to cheer for me, which gave me a huge boost because I was feeling a tad fatigued. They got another picture of me. During this time, I was trying to do math in my head I knew I was maintaining a pace faster than my current PR, and even had a little cushion and if I kept it up I would PR for sure. However, the pace I had been maintaining comfortably for basically the whole race was feeling a little harder, and I knew the last 4 miles of the course were the hills, so I just kept trucking along.

Splits:

Mile 6:10:32

Mile 7: 10:27

Mile 8: 10:34

 

 

Ninth Mile: Just after the 8th mile marker we passed the starting line again, with a TON of porta potties and no line. It wasn’t an emergency, but I decided to take a quick pit stop in fear of it being more urgent later and requiring me to wait in line. Just before the 9th mile marker I paused to take my 2nd Salted Caramel GU and a full cup of water at the water station. So, although my overall running pace was about what I had been running, the split is a bit slower.

Mile 9: 11:13

Tenth Mile:This is where the real work began. Just after the mile 9 marker began THE HILL going around Diamond Head. About 175 feet elevation gain over a mile. Not the biggest hill in race history, but after a flat first 9 miles in a half marathon, it definitely posed a mental and physical challenge. Grinded my way up. Pace slowed down quite a bit, and I was trying to do some math to figure out if the cushion I had built up over the previous 9 miles was enough to slow down on that hill and still PR. This mile was tough, and my pace showed it.

Mile 10: 12:00 even (yikes!)

Eleventh Mile: Hit the crest of the hill just a tiny bit after the 10th mile marker and then thankfully a huge downhill started. I just let my legs go, without much effort, with 100 feet of elevation decline this mile, and hoping to make up some of the time lost during the big hill.

Mile 11: 10:07

Twelfth Mile: Just after the 11th mile marker is another hill. Not as big or as long, about 50 feet elevation gain over a half mile, but was tough. A Workout Mix version of Britney Spears’ “Work B****” came on my iPod, and for some reason that was just what I needed to hear. Odd the things that get you through a hill in the 12th mile of a half marathon. Britney was telling me to “Now Get to Work!” So I did, grinding HARD up that hill. “Don’t stop now, just be the champion; Work it hard, like it’s your profession; Watch out now, cause here it comes; Here comes the smasher, here comes the master; Here comes the big beat, big beat disaster; No time to quit now, just time to get it now!” Best timed lyrics! At that I reached the top of the hill!! The top of the hill offered a beautiful view of the ocean, and over it, a giant rainbow!!! I glanced at my Garmin, and knowing it was all downhill from there I realized that I was likely going to PR, and with the top of the hill and the rainbow I will admit I got a little teary eyed. Tried to get a pic of the rainbow but it came out kinda dark.

Here’s one someone posted to the Hapalua facebook page:

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The rest of that mile was a pretty significant downhill. Yay!

Mile 12: 10:19

Thirteenth Mile (+.1… well .2 according to Garmin): Time to finish this thing! Finished the loop around Diamond Head and then the finish line was in Kapolani Park. I was feeling TIRED by this point. It was all mental, just pushing myself along, and trying to enjoy the last few minutes of a great race!

Mile 13: 10:26

.2: 9:26 pace

 Dad got a pic of me headed for the finish:

 Garmin Finish Time: 2:20:19.6

Official Finish Time: 2:20:16

A NEW PR BY A MINUTE AND A HALF!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Pro Pictures along the course (Finisher Pix did a great job and even included the pics with my race time in the photo package):

 

 

 

Finishing Stats:

Overall Place: 1456/3350

Age Group (W 25-29) Place: 118/299

 

Post Race: My parents were at the finish line to cheer me on, and take lots of pics, shown above Smile. I walked around a little, stretched, and then enjoyed the post race treats of shave ice and malasadas (a really yummy Hawaiian pastry) plus Gatorade, water and banana. Listened to a live Hawaiian band play on the band stand by the finish line with my parents, then headed to breakfast.

 

The band:

The shave ice:

The breakfast:

 

Showered, and then spent the next several hours laying by the pool and drinking some fruity cocktails.

Then, back into beast mode. We hiked up Diamond Head at 4:30pm, the last time you are allowed to. Don’t know how I found the energy!

At the top of Diamond Head:

 

Then a leisurely dinner with my parents, brother and his roommate in Waikiki.

 

The Swag:

 Shirt, medal and bib, with the visor I bought at the expo:


 Back of the shirt:

 We also got a nice blue bag with the race logo, the kind like reusable shopping bags:

 

Overall Impressions of the Race:I found the event to be very well organized and well put on. I appreciated a lot of advanced communication through their facebook site and through email, especially since I was unfamiliar with the race and the area. Their website was user friendly. Packet pickup was efficient with no lines. I absolutely LOVED the social run with the Kenyans. What an amazing idea and great event! The race course was beautiful. They had enough porta potties at the start, enough water on the course. Maybe could have used a few more porta potties on the course. The concept of The Chase was cool and exciting. The post-race party was great with good food and live music! The swag was great loved the shirt! My only small disappointment was the medal. It was really tiny. Bling isn’t my biggest priority, but an awesome medal is always a huge bonus, and this one was only so-so. However, overall I absolutely LOVED this event!! I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to run a Half in Hawaii, and I would love to return some day and run it again!

 

The Rest of the Vacation: Race stuff is over, but for those interested, I was in Hawaii for another 6 days. Monday morning my parents, brother and I flew to the Big Island. We stayed a night in Kona, and that day we ate lunch and had some beer samples at the Kona Brewery, then toured a Kona Coffee plantation. That night we did a night snorkel expedition to see the Manta Sting Rays up close and personal (as in inches away)! So cool!

 

Tuesday we drove to the other side of the island and had a 6 hour guided hike through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We stayed in a cabin in the rainforest that night!

 The next day we explored the Hilo area including Rainbow Falls and then flew to Kaua’i!

 

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt for 2 nights, which was GORGEOUS! We ate at the hotel that night at a nice seafood restaurant.

The next day we went hiking by Wimea Canyon and took a helicopter tour with the doors off (amazing!). Then relaxed by the pool for a few hours.

 

Friday we headed back to O’ahu for one more night, this time we stayed at Turtle Bay on the North Shore. Before going to the hotel, though, we went to Pearl Harbor for a few hours and visited the USS Arizona Memorial, and then the Dole Plantation.

 

Checked into the hotel and hung out for a little, then went to Sunset Beach nearby (right by the famous Pipeline Beach) to watch sunset and surfers.

On our last morning my brother and dad golfed 9 holes, and my mom and I went horseback riding.

Then we hung around the hotel til it was time to catch out 6:50 pm flight. It was an AMAZING trip!!!

 

Thanks for reading!!! Oh and if you are interested in what happened with “The Chase” here is an article with AWESOME pics:

http://www.mauirunner.com/2014/04/the-hapalua-hawaiis-half-marathon-2014.html

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Great run OUTSIDE today!

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I look a little goofy but the sun was in my eyes and I couldn’t actually see my phone. I haven’t seen the sun in weeks so I am a little unfamiliar with what it looks like. FINALLY got outside for a run today after doing ALL of my runs since February 9th on the treadmill! I have off work this week (I work at a school full-time and schools in NYC are off this week for February Break) so I got to sleep in, go to yoga at 10:15, and then run at noon, after it had warmed up to 40 degrees and most of the black ice that I had heard was making my favorite running path treacherous earlier in the morning had melted away. It was BEAUTIFUL out! I am finally feeling like myself again running. I have basically dropped the walk breaks (though I took a few today through really slushy/icy areas on the path but nothing significant) and am finally back to averaging about a 12:00 minute mile “easy” pace. My easy pace before injury was between 11:00 and 12:00, but since I came back to running I’ve been running between 13:00 and 14:00 including the walk breaks. Today’s run felt GREAT!!!

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Sometimes the Worst Runs are the Most Important

Most of the time I love running. But PRs aren’t born the days when it’s easy. Not the days when the temperature is perfect on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the park. It’s the days when you bundle up and run in the freezing cold. Wake up before sunrise. Endure the “dreadmill” when outside isn’t an option. And nights like this. When I worked for 12.5 hours and just want to go home, watch some Olympics, and sleep. When it takes every ounce of willpower to not get onto the highway and drive home after my last client, but drive down to Brighton Beach and go use the treadmill at the JCC where my pool is because it is closer to work than my gym and I know if I get all the way near my apartment I will lose all motivation to go to the gym. And then realizing I can’t watch NBC Olympic Primetime on the TM because the JCC only has Russian TV and I have to watch Olympic coverage in RUSSIAN, highlighting only Russian athletes. And my iPod is dead because it was accidentally playing all day in my bag. But staying on the treadmill til I’m kicked out for the place closing anyway. These runs. These are the worst, but most important.

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Race Recap: NYRR Gridiron Classic 4M 2/2/14

Date: Sunday 2/2/14 (Super Bowl Sunday)

Race: NYRR Gridiron Classic 4 Miler

Location: Central Park, Manhattan

Weather: Sunny and 43 degrees….perfect running weather for me!

NYRR 9+1 Status: Race 1 of 9

Background:

This was my first race of 2014 and my first NYRR race of 9 that I need to complete in 2014 in order to qualify for guaranteed entry into the 2015 NYC Marathon (plus volunteer at a race, which is what the “+1” means).  This was not going to be a “race” for me, as in I was not running it for any sort of time goal or to beat my PR (personal record/best race time at that distance) as I am still just coming off an injury, so I treated it as a “fun run.” I have only been back to running for 2 weeks after having to take 6 weeks off, and have been running fairly low mileage (8.3 miles the first week and 10.1 miles last week, culminating in this race as I measure my weekly mileage Monday to Sunday), so trying to run fast would have been unwise.  This race would also be my longest distance run since coming back from injury, and only my 2nd time running outdoors since then too (I have also been running mostly on the treadmill which I haaaate but it has been for the best since we have been having a very snowy and icy winter which makes running outside not ideal under any circumstance but especially having just been injured). So I knew that I needed to have the willpower to keep it slow and easy.

Pre-Race:

The race began at 9:00am. I like to get to races early, especially if I have to pick up my race materials (bib, shirt) and check a bag, porta-potty lines are often long, and this race in particular they had a football throwing contest beginning at 8:00am. Also, I was trying to meet up with a couple ladies before the race. So I had every intention of getting there in the vicinity of 8:00am. Central Park is about an hour to an hour and 10 minutes from my apartment in Brooklyn on the subway. So my alarms started ringing at 5:40am. Yes, I said alarms. As in multiple. I am not the type of person who can jump right up when I hear an alarm so I usually need to set about 5, starting about 20-30 minutes before I ACTUALLY want to get up. Actually got out of bed around 6:10.

I had my traditional pre-race breakfast of toast with peanut butter and banana, cup of coffee and water. Despite the fact that we had been having an extremely cold and snowy winter, and had a snow storm on the way the next day, it was forecast to be sunny and 43 degrees :):):) That means Sparkle Skirt without tights underneath, knee high compression socks (or calf sleeves, today I decided for compression socks for increased ankle support), thin long sleeved tech material shirt and short sleeved shirt over. That is standard race attire for temperatures of high 30s-mid 40s. The race was football themed and participants were encouraged to wear attire representing their favorite football team. So, OBVIOUSLY, I was representing the Giants:

Decided on my new Asics Kayano 20s because they are the most supportive shoe I own. Put on my race clothes, sweats and a sweatshirt over, and off I went, leaving my apartment around 7:00, set to get to the race site by 8:00-8:10. I really should have left a few minutes earlier, but I didn’t get myself out the door exactly when I wanted. And as a result I was coming down the subway stairs the train was already there….ack! So I participated in my first race of the day: The Race for the Train. Annnnd I lost :(. Total bummer because that early on Sunday mornings the R train only comes once every 20 minutes. Womp womp. So, getting there at 8:00-8:10 quickly became 8:30-8:40. Yikes!

Got off the subway at 8:32, and had to walk very briskly/kind of jog the approximate half mile from the subway to where the packet pickup was. Ok, well don’t need to do a warmup I guess. Got my bib, pinned it on, got the clear bag we need to use for bag check, got my race T-shirt, shoved my sweatshirt, sweat pants and T-shirt into the plastic bag and jogged over to bag check. Time: 8:45. Was able to meet up with 2 of the girls I was hoping to see before the race at the bag check entrance and snapped a quick photo:

Then we split up and power walked to our corrals. Didn’t even get to visit the porta potty…..oh nooo!  I barely made it to my purple corral (for slow people) by the time the race started at 9:00. But that is ok, because my corral is last, and it takes over 10 minutes to cross the starting line from my corral.

Pre-Race photo:

 

The Race:

Not too much to say about the race itself. I enjoy running in Central Park very much, but since it is far from my apartment I generally cannot justify going all the way there to run on my own, so I like to do races there. My race strategy was to take it easy and go slow. Which in a race atmosphere is sometimes hard to do. But I concentrated on running nice and easy, and doing walk intervals. I decided I really need to drop these walk intervals ASAP. I know LOTS of runners who always do walk intervals, and I do not look down on that in any way, shape or form. There is a method of run/walk called the Galloway method, and plenty of people complete marathons even using it. And plenty of the Galloway followers maintain a faster average pace of run/walk intervals than I do running the whole time. But run/walk intervals I am discovering are not for me. I just like to run! I have been doing the walk intervals while coming back from injury but they just feel unnatural for me….too much to think about, too much to pay attention to, too much relying on my watch…. Generally in races I will walk water stations to have a drink without choking, take a GU on a longer race, and have a quick break; or I will take a walk break if I need it, but I have decided I do not like the frequent walk breaks. But since I have been doing them during all my runs the past 2 weeks, I stuck to them for the race.

It was a beautiful day to be out and running in the park. I enjoyed all the football apparel out on the course. I did run into the Boathouse bathroom during the first mile since I had failed to use the porta-potty and it was not out of the way. Probably lost a minute in the first mile, but since I was not running the race for time I didn’t care too much. I enjoyed being out there running, and very happy to be taking part in the event.

Splits:

Mile 1: 13:54

Mile 2: 12:07

Mile 3: 12:53

Mile 4: 12:35

+ .11 mile extra measured by my Garmin: 1:21

Garmin time: 52:49

Official chip time: 52:47

This was a “PW” or “personal worst” for me but it was supposed to be! The important things are that I had fun and finished the race, uninjured!

 

Post-Race (with my water and bagel):

 

Course Photographer Photos:

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Swag:

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Never super impressed with NYRR’s shirts. Generally cotton, and not even nice cotton—very thin, kinda scratchy cotton. Usually a solid color (and not a fun one- the ones I have are all white, navy, or forest green) with a small race logo on the chest, and either long or short sleeves. They run really big because they are unisex sizes, and they often run out of smalls. Meh.

Thanks for reading!

 

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The Story So Far: A Combined Race Recap of my 26 Races to Date

So….finally…..tomorrow is my first race day in 2014!!! I was supposed to have a half marathon last weekend that I had to “DNS” (Did Not Start) due to JUST getting back to running after my foot injury, but that is water under the bridge now. My race tomorrow (a 4 miler) will be for fun….certainly won’t be a PR (personal record/best recorded time in a race at that distance) as I am easing back into running very slowly both with pace and distance, but I am looking forward to it. I figured that since after my race tomorrow I will get to write my first real Race Recap for this blog (yay!), it got me thinking that I owe you guys a lot of Race Recaps from all my races before I began this blog a few weeks ago. It may help put all future races recapped on here into perspective. So….without further ado, here is a “quick and dirty” recap of ALL the races I have run so far, in 2012 and 2013. There are 26 completed races (plus 3 DNSes and 1 DNF). Enjoy!

How It All Began

My first race was the Baltimore Running Festival 5K on October 13, 2012. Before my friend convinced me to register, which I did in June or July of 2012, I had done a little bit of walk/jogging in the park before…generally on nice spring or fall days when it was too beautiful to be cooped up in the gym (I had been a fan of the elliptical since college, as well as classes such as cardio-kickboxing, Zumba and yoga). I never ran more than two times a week, and would go through spurts where I would do it 1-2 times a week for maybe 3-4 weeks in a row and then not go for another run for months (generally all of winter and summer). I had wanted to get more into running, and my friend from college, who liked to run and race, suggested I sign up for a race. She lives in Baltimore, and had signed up for the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon as her first half and encouraged me to sign up for the 5K. I did, as a motivation to get out there and get running. I didn’t really follow a plan, I just tried to get out there at least 3 days a week. I tried to run as long as possible before taking a walk break, and tried to slowly increase my distance.

I was a total noob. I didn’t wear a watch or time any of my runs, and didn’t have any means of tracking my distance while I was running (did not even carry my phone). I would measure out routes on mapmyrun.com on the computer, sometimes before I’d head out I’d plan a route, but usually I would just run and then come home and recreate my route on the website to see how far I went (usually between 1.5 and 3 miles). I had absolutely no concept of my pace, since I never timed anything and rarely even knew how far I was going. I had no log of any form, I have no idea how many miles I ran during this training cycle. (And maybe those were the “good old days” when I could not care less about minutes per mile, miles per week, ect.) I started my training for the race in sneakers I had bought at a Target for $11 in college, probably my sophomore year (and I had been out of college for over 4 years). I figured I would run in those instead of my “good gym shoes” which were Reebok something or other I had also gotten crazy on sale somewhere 2 years or so before, because “I was only wearing them for running outside, so they’re going to get dirty anyway.”  (A year and a half later I have 4 pairs of shoes just for running, the most expensive being $160…..oh how times have changed!) Good thing my friend Janis convinced me to get a professional shoe fitting a few weeks before race day. When I began I also wore cotton tank tops and cotton sports bras, cotton gym shorts, cotton socks, I had never heard of tech material/dry fit/sweat wicking anything. As I got closer to the race, I began taking more and more of Janis’s advice and began to buy some clothes “just for running.” By the time I toed the starting line, I “almost” felt like a runner.

Baltimore Running Festival 5K- 10/13/12- 37:07

I trained consistently and finishing that 5K was the proudest moment I had experienced. Running past Camden Yards, the roar of the crowd….oh man I loved every second. It was magical…..and I was hooked.

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Morris Township Turkey Trot 5K- 11/22/12- 33:33

After I finished my first I kept training, and actually started following a training plan. I set my sights on a second 5K a little over a month later, and a 10K 2 months later. I began following the Hal Higdon Novice 10K plan. I got myself Nike+ so I knew my distance and pace. My 2nd 5K was a huge PR.

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NYC Runs Hot Chocolate 10K- 12/16/12- 1:07:46

I kept following the plan and completed my first 10K. I did better than I thought I could do and had fun on my first trip out to Roosevelt Island (little Island in the East River between Manhattan and Queens).

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It was about a week or so after this race that I began having an awful pain on the outside of my left knee. It turned out to be Illio-Tibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). I could not run for more than a mile without pain, and it hurt walking up and down the stairs. I would take a few days off until it didn’t hurt on the stairs anymore, try to run again, and not get very far before the pain kicked in again. Finally I decided to take a full month off running. I did not run in January (and sadly had to DNS the next 10K I was registered for), instead I went to physical therapy, spent a lot of time on running forums learning about ITBS, foam rolled like crazy, worked on strengthening my hips, discovered the magic of a deep tissue massage, cross trained a lot on the elliptical, discovered spin class, and when I started running again I felt better than ever, and ready to finally use the Garmin FR 10 I had gotten for Christmas!

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NYC Runs Brooklyn Hot Chocolate 10K- 1/26/13- DNS

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NYRR Al Gordon 4M- 2/23/13- 47:39

My next race I kind of stumbled upon the night before the race, when I was on the NYRR website. I planned to run in Prospect Park one Saturday in late February for 3 miles, and found out there was a 4 mile race in that park. I decided on a whim to register, and run it as a training run. Since I only planned for 3, I walk/jogged the first mile and then ran the rest.

Al Gordon

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NYRR Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K- 3/3/13- 32:30

Next up was another 5K. I had been running pain free for a month and was anxious to see if I could PR. I somehow was faster when I started running again after the month off for ITBS, so I wanted to see what I was capable of. The race was VERY hilly, and I pushed the pace a bit but held back a little on the hills out of fear of aggravating the IT band. I still PRed :).

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Eileen C. Dugan Memorial 5K- 4/6/13- 28:31

I ran another 5K about a month later, and with another month of largely pain-free training under my belt and a flat course I was ready to give everything I had and attempt my first sub-30 5K. The results actually shocked me, I blew sub-30 out of the water! The course was beautiful, running under the Brooklyn Bridge and along the East River on the Brooklyn side in Brooklyn Bridge Park with great views of lower Manhattan. I rocked that race and enjoyed every second!

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NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge 4M- 4/7/13- 44:46

I ran a 4M in Central Park the next day. I actually had it scheduled before the 5K, but when I found out about the 5K in Brooklyn Bridge Park and couldn’t resist it. So I turned the 4M into more of a “fun run.”  I still PRed the 4M distance for what it’s worth (my first 4M was also a “fun run” though).

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colon cancer official

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America’s Vet Dog 5K- 4/21/13- 32:23

Next up was a 5K at the end of the month. I had a blast, because it was a fundraiser in Annapolis, MD for America’s Vet Dogs, an organization that provides service dogs and therapy dogs for disabled veterans returning from war. I started out at an OK pace, but crashed and burned a little bit and had some IT band pain during the race. I still had a blast though, and my boyfriend and his dog did the 5K dog walk that started after the 5K race. I also did this as a virtual run in remembrance of the victims of the recent Boston Marathon bombing, so I wore Boston Marathon colors (blue and yellow) and my virtual race bib on my back.

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NYC Runs CAMBA HealthyWay 5K- 5/5/13- 28:16

Next up, I PRed a 5K 2 weeks later :) and, actually, this race still remains my current 5K PR. And it was in one of my favorite places to run, Prospect Park, and benefited a local women’s shelter.

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Capitol Hill Classic 10K- 5/19/13- 1:05:02

After running 2 5Ks under 30 minutes, I was incredibly hopeful that I could run a sub-60 minute 10K at my next 10K. I had finally worked back up to the 10K distance (more slowly this time) after my month off for the ITBS, and was very confident I could meet this goal. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I ran the Capitol Hill Classic 10K on the streets of DC, and the first 5K went amazingly. I was right on pace for sub 60- hitting the 5K mark in 29 minutes and change with gas in the tank to push the pace more in the second half. Unfortunately, before I hit the 4 mile marker my IT band completely locked up. I stopped twice to stretch, and could barely manage a gimpy jog. I finished the race, but in tears, and crushed with my finish time. Even though it was a PR, it was probably the most disappointing PR ever.

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Get Your Rear in Gear 4M- 6/9/13- 45:47

I took the next week off running, foam rolled a lot, did the elliptical, rededicated myself to hip strengthening exercises and ran cautiously. I ran a 4M 2 weeks later in Prospect Park, but again did it as a “fun run.”

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Baltimore 10 Miler (aka the B10)- 6/15/13- 1:57:23

I had registered Baltimore 10 Miler in all the way back in December. Unfortunately due to that pesky IT Band, training did NOT go as planned. The longest run I managed before the race due to my IT band issues was 7 miles. So I ended up running this race really easy, and taking walk breaks. I was thrilled that I was able to complete the 10 miles though, my longest distance ever, and I was even able to pick up the pace in the last 5K, even on a huge hill in the 9th mile!

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NY Giants Run of Champions 5K- 6/23/13- 32:19

Next up was the NY Giants Run of Champions 5K. This race was extremely special to me. My dad and I are HUGE Giants fans. When I found out there was going to be a race that ran around MetLife Stadium and ran across the Giants field and finished in the endzone, I knew we had to do it. My dad started training just for this race! The plan was to run together. We started together, but he unfortunately pulled a calf muscle during the race. He urged me to go ahead, and I did. I regretted it though, I wish we could have finished together. We still had a great time though. We got the “VIP package” which came with breakfast with Giants alumni players and a locker room tour. :):)

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NYC Runs Firecracker 10K- 7/4/13- 1:05:16

Next up was another crack at a sub-60 minute 10K. Unfortunately I chose the 4th of July to do so, and it was hot and crazy humid. I started out at a decent pace, but halfway through the heat and humidity really overwhelmed me and I couldn’t hold a pace. I crashed and burned in a major way. I didn’t even PR :(. But my parents and their puppy came to that one and braved the heat to watch me race (yes they were sweating just WATCHING if that is any indication of how rough it was running lol) and it is always extra special when they come see me, so I had a great time.

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MLB All-Star 5K- 7/13/13- 32:27

Next up was another chance to run with my dad. We are also huge Mets fans, and Citifield hosted the All-Star game in July. MLB always has a 5K in the city where the All-Star game is, so when I found out about the race, my dad was all in and wanted another crack at a 5K after his time suffered due to the calf strain during his first 5K. He did much better during this one :). I ran it as a fun run.

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NYC Runs Shore Road Summer Classic Mini-Series 10K- 7/14/13- 1:04:45

I ran a 10K the day after the MLB 5K. The starting line was 5 blocks from my apartment, how could I not?! I did not attempt a sub-60 again, but I did want to PR since I knew my PR was soft by probably close to a minute per mile, so I figured if I didn’t crash and burn I could at least beat my 1:05:02. I gave it a little extra gas without going all-out and did manage to PR.

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Washington Crossing15K- 8/17/13- 1:34:25

Next up, my first 15K. This was an evening race on a lovely flat course between the Delaware River and a canal, on the Pennsylvania side of the river, on a crushed stone/dirt trail. I ran a really strong race and was very happy with my time. And….the first medal I received!

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NYC Runs Labor Day 10K- 9/2/13- DNF

My next 10K, already recapped as a part of this blog entry, was a DNF due to a fire on the course, but I ran for and MET my buddy Judy who I was paired with through www.whoirun4.com, so it was amazing anyway!

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NYRR and Autism Speaks 4 Miles of Hope- 9/7/13- 41:43

Next up was a race that had a lot of meaning for me: the Autism Speaks race in Central Park. I decided to join Team Up! For Autism Speaks and fundraise for them for this race. I work with children with Autsim, so this was a special cause near and dear to my heart. I had never “raced” a 4 miler yet, and while the half marathon plan I was following for my first half in October didn’t want me racing anything at “race effort” during that time frame, I knew my 4M PR was soft and I at least wanted to PR. So I gave it a little more than easy effort and managed a PR for a great cause!

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Oktoberfest 10K- 9/28/13- 1:08:13

My dad wanted me to find us a fun fall 10K because he wanted to take a stab at the 10K distance. The one thing we love as much as the Giants and Mets is all things Oktoberfest (as we went to Oktoberfest in Munich together in 2009), and when I found out about the Oktoberfest 10K I knew it was the one. Oktoberfest themed costumes were encouraged and we gladly obliged. Afterwards was an Oktoberfest celebration! Unfortunately my dad pulled a calf again during the race, but he finished!

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Long Island DIVA 5K- 10/6/13- 30:59

Next up was another 5K. It was a week before my first half marathon, and my plan called for me to race it at 90% effort as a time trial to get a feel for what pace to go out at for my half. It predicted I would actually PR by about 30 seconds. I was excited for this race, as it occurred during my 28th birthday week, and was all about super girliness, which made me think of my buddy Judy. I was excited to potentially PR as well since I had not given race effort in a 5K since early May. Well the universe had other plans for me that day, as it often does, because I woke up with an awful head cold. I almost didn’t even go. But somehow I dragged myself out of bed and drove to Long Island. I was completely congested, running a low grade fever, and coughing. NOT PR conditions. But I ran a decent race, and placed 150th out of 1,200 runners which I was reallllly proud of! Also, I gave all my “race swag” to Judy, because I thought she would appreciate it more than me, and look better in it that I did….and her birthday was the next week! :)

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Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon- 10/12/13- 2:21:47

My first half marathon! I had followed a Running Wizard customized training plan, and felt decently prepared with two 11 mile runs, three 10 mile runs, three 9 mile runs and a 15K race under my belt. The course was hilly though, and I had been sick the whole week before the race and was still a bit congested for the race (hello snot rockets). The hills were relentless. However, the energy of the race was unbelievable. I held a fairly steady pace with a few kind of rough miles (mile 9 was my slowest) and was so amazingly proud of myself when I crossed that finish line! :)

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Marine Corps Marathon 10K- 10/27/13- 1:00:13

Next up, I had two 10Ks on the schedule, followed by two 5Ks and a half marathon. After finishing my first half, I wanted to conquer my unfinished business with the 10K (wanted my sub-60!!!), as well as a 5K PR since my 28:16 from May was still standing. And then I wanted another crack at a HM. First up was the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. This race ended up being a bit of a disaster. Stood in line for TWO HOURS to pickup my packet the day before, stood in line for an HOUR for the porta potty before the race and started over 10 minutes late (it was chipped timed and there were a ton of runners still in line for the porta potties so it wasn’t a huge deal but STILL!), the race course was so congested I came to a dead stop multiple times on the course because of bottlenecking, and to top it off, as I was about to cross the finish line the lead handcycles were about to finish, so the chase car forced all the runners about to cross the finish line WAY to the left hand side, causing congestion and we had to WAIT IN LINE to cross the finish. NEEDLESS TO SAY, I still had a huge PR and WOULD HAVE had my sub-60 since I was standing AT the finish line when my Garmin hit 60 minutes, but my time was actually 1:00:13. Grr. :(

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CityTri Prospect Park Fall Duathalon and Run 10K- 11/10/13- 1:04:05

Next up was a 10K in Prospect Park that was run simultaneously with 4 different duathalon distances and a 5K running race. Well all the races were too much for this race organization that specializes in Triathalons, so they couldn’t make a separate starting line and finish line, so the race needed to be a full loop of Prospect Park (3.35 miles for the 5K) and a double full loop for the 10K (6.7 miles). So even though the race was to be a half mile longer than the 10K distance, they still called it a 10K. For what it’s worth, I looked at my Garmin at 6.2 miles and it said 59 minutes and change so I would have done it if it was a real 10K. Even though I missed my goal, I placed 3rd in my age group out of 14 (even though they didn’t give AG awards), and  14th female out of 48 :). But I never did get my sub-60 minute 10K :(.

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Morris Township Turkey Trot 5K- 11/28/12- 29:27

Next up were the 5Ks. I was doing the Morris Township Turkey Trot again, and then a few days later was doing a race for my Aunt and Uncle. I decided that the Turkey Trot would be my PR attempt since I was familiar with the course. Well it was very cold (wind chill of 16 degrees, in November so I wasn’t used to cold weather running for the season yet) and it was just so hard to breathe while trying to run fast, the cold air burned my lungs. A PR was not to be that day. But it WAS a course PR by almost 4 minutes so… I will take what I can get.

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Keep Calm and Fight 5K- 11/30/13- 29:03

My uncle is a cancer survivor, and he and my aunt are very active in their chapter of American Cancer Society. Their chapter was sponsoring a 5K the weekend after Thanksgiving. Disappointed I missed my PR on Thanksgiving, I gave it another go. But on tired legs and another day with wind chills in the teens, it was again not meant to be, though I did run faster than I had on Thanksgiving just 2 days earlier.

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NYC Runs Frozen Bonsai Half Marathon- 12/8/13- 2:32:13

And last, the Frozen Bonsai HM, the race right before my foot started to hurt and caused me to take 6 weeks off running (obviously I got injured during the race and never felt it), which I already briefly recapped here.

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And then of course I was injured and barely able to walk for several weeks so:

NYC Runs Hot Chocolate 5K- 12/16/13- DNS

NYRR Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon- 1/26/13- DNS

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And that’s all folks! That was my race years 2012 and 2013, all my races so far!! Thanks for reading :)

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Look what came in the mail today!

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My new “running wall!”

My parents came to visit me at my apartment in Brooklyn today (they live about 45 minutes to an hour away in NJ). They came to hang out, and for my dad to make me a “running brag wall.”

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On the far left is what started the initial thought that I should dedicate some wall space to running related things. My dad had given me for my birthday in October a framed picture of NYC marathoners crossing the Verrazano Bridge (which is right by my apartment, and I run UNDER it almost every day because the jogging path I do most of my training runs on goes underneath it, and it is my dream to one day run OVER it to begin the NYC Marathon…..2015 I am hoping!!) that has a quote I love on it: “Believe in yourself. You must do that which you think you cannot.” -Eleanor Roosevelt.

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I had never gotten around to hanging it up/finding a place to hang it. Then for Christmas my dad gave me 3 framed 8 x 10s of us from the 3 races we ran together in 2013.  I had a lot of other professional race photos that I have bought that I haven’t done much with other than post on Facebook, and I was also realizing I should figure out a medal hanger, because I was collecting a few medals and they were all on closet door knobs. So I decided to take down what I had up on one wall of my bedroom (the original wall was framed black and white pictures I had taken during my study abroad in Europe…I like them but I am ok with a little change) and my dad had a design concept for a “running wall” he wanted to try. So today he came to be handy with tools and creative with design and I handed my wall over to him. Here are a few more pictures of different segments of the wall:

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Close-up of the medal hanger:

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He wanted to make something that is flexible, as I run more races and have more pictures he wants me to be able to add to it easily and switch around pictures without additional holes in the wall. I already have a few more pictures I want to print out and have framed, but my printer broke as well as the Rite Aid photo machine, so I didn’t get them printed before he came today. His original design was to hang those chains from a long two by four that he had painted black and screwed these cool stainless steel knobs into. But since my walls are made of plaster and not drywall, the walls would simply not hold the weight of the two by four so he ended up going with Plan B and just screwing the chains into the wall. I think it turned out really cool! Can’t wait to print out and frame a few more pictures for it, and run more races and get more pictures and medals to add :):). Thanks to my dad for doing this for me!

And here’s a bonus picture of my parents’ dog Mia asleep on my futon, cuz it’s cute:):

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A Hodgepodge of Good Things: New Medal Hanger, Volunteering at a Race, New Running Shoes, First Outdoor Run in 7 Weeks

Thursday I had a bad day mentally regarding my injury comeback. I have a half marathon that I am registered to run tomorrow that I had long ago come to terms with having to DNS (“Did Not Start” aka drop out of), but I hadn’t yet made much consideration to races after that one.  I had never let myself dwell on the fact that other races also may not happen, and Thursday 1/23 marked one month til my NEXT scheduled half marathon on 2/23. Even though I am SO EXCITED to be running again PERIOD….my 1.75 miles of 2:00 min run / 1:00 minute walk intervals on the treadmill on Thursday, my longest run since I was injured, just felt pathetic. The day before I ran/walked 1.5 miles on the treadmill, following a 55 minute killer spin class, and felt so happy and over the moon. However, Thursday I ran/walked .25 miles FURTHER and yet was frustrated and sad. Makes sense? NOPE. But I guess that is how recovering from injury goes. Ups and downs both physically and mentally. But it really hit me Thursday….how can I be ready for a half marathon in a month?! Well…..maybe I won’t be. And that is ok. Because this race isn’t my whole running career. But if I push recovery I will miss not only this HM, but many more after it. I started to come to terms with it after the initial sadness and frustration of not only missing my HM on Sunday, but possibly having to miss my 2/23 one too. And then, I got something delivered that I have been anxiously anticipating that really helped me feel better:

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My medal hanger!!! It is part of one of my favorite quotes: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -MLK, Jr. Appropriate, since Monday was MLK day. My dad is coming over tomorrow to help me hang it up and help me create a really cool “running brag wall” that he designed…..so excited!

Today, all the feelings of weakness and frustration disappeared. Today was a great day. Today, I woke up at 6:00am and went to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in a “feels like” temperature of -4 degrees to spend 5 hours outside volunteering at NYC Runs Brrr-ooklyn Hot Chocolate Half Marathon. I handed out T-shirts before the race and then medals at the finish line. Even though it was freeeeeezing, I had a BLAST! It was so nice to give back to the running community that has given me so much, and I met some awesome people. It was a great time, and the participants got nice tech shirts, mugs for hot chocolate with the race logo on them, and really nice medals. I definitely want to run this next year!

Volunteering “Selfie”:

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Really cool participant medals I handed out:

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Participant shirts and mugs:

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After I finished volunteering, I headed to my favorite little local running store in Park Slope, Brooklyn near Prospect Park called Jack Rabbit. I wanted to do a fitting for new running shoes. I have been running in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s for a year now, have 3 pairs (1 retired, 1 almost ready for retirement, and 1 that is 4 months old…I rotate between 2) and I really like them, but kind of wanted something different in the mix. And I wanted to do a running store fitting (where they analyze your gait by video taping your feet running in each shoe on the treadmill and watch it in slow motion) because I was wondering if I still needed stability shoes for overpronation or if I could try something neutral. The employee doing my fitting thinks I still need stability shoes, and said the Inspire is a good match for me but had some other recommendations of things I could add to the rotation. He put me in Asics Kayano 20s and OH MY GOD…..heaven in a shoe. They are more expensive than the Inspires but I absolutely fell in love with them. So supportive and feels great! And pretty too:

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I could not resist the temptation to take them for a spin IMMEDIATELY. To volunteer at the race I had worn several layers of winter running clothes under my coat anyway since I figured those were the warmest and most comfortable things I owned for standing outside for 5 hours…..so I took off my coat, scarf, furry vest, and ear muffs, swapped my boots for my new shoes, and returned to Prospect Park (one of my favorite places to run!) and took the new shoes for their first run! I did 2 miles of run/walk intervals. It started snowing during the run, but I didn’t care. I had new kicks on my feet and I was running OUTSIDE for the first time in SEVEN WEEKS! I was so happy!

First run outside in 7 weeks “selfie”….

I was happier than I look but my face was frozen so my smile isn’t as big as it felt haha:

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So, a new medal hanger, fun volunteering at a race, new running shoes, and my first outdoor run in 7 weeks. Not too shabby for getting myself over a bad day :)

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