A Girl Runs in Brooklyn

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

I am a crazy person…but I survived a long run in a heat index of 98 degrees

On Sunday, somehow survived 13 solo miles with a temperature of 87 and a “real feel” of 98 by the time I finished (and not all that much better when I started). I made a huge “oops” and forgot to set an alarm the night before after getting home late from a baseball game and didn’t wake up until 9:00, and by the time I ate breakfast, got dressed, got out the door, and got to the park I wanted to run in that is a half hour away (there is no shade in the running route by my apartment), it was after 10:00 and already hot and humid, with a heat advisory in effect :(.

I was determined to make it 13 miles anyway though!! Took it slow, and was thankful to be running in a place with a lot of shade (taking the extra half hour to head to Prospect Park was a good idea!), and tons of drinking fountains to refill my water bottles 100 times and rewet my EnduraCool cooling towel (which was amazing by the way, it was my first time using it!!) I gave up caring and took off my shirt sometime in the 7th mile and ran in just a sports bra (never thought I’d do that but I certainly wasn’t the only woman in the park doing the same thing). My 4th time up the huge hill during the 12th mile took a ton of mental toughness but I got up it without taking a walk break even though I wanted to. This was one of my hardest runs ever but I did it. So 5 marathon paced miles yesterday in pouring rain and 13 mile long run today in 98 degree weather…..who’s dumb idea was marathon training anyway?!?!? Also, never ever ever sleeping in on a hot day again. Starting at 5am next time haha


Me right after finishing 13 miles. Sticking my tongue out to the heat and humidity....couldn't manage a smile here yet haha

Me right after finishing 13 miles. Sticking my tongue out to the heat and humidity….couldn’t manage a smile here yet haha


Relaxing and stretching under a tree post run….finally able to manage a smile….I did it!


Recovery :)

Recovery 🙂

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Random musings from my training run tonight

Beginning my 3rd week of marathon training, I went for a run this evening on my usual running route. It is on a path right along the water. That water being the Verrazano Narrows, which is located south of Manhattan after the East River and Hudson Rivers combine, flowing down to the Atlantic Ocean a couple more miles south. The water often can become very rough, as often that area is notorious for wind whipping through it. The wind that can be painful and unbearable in the winter, and refreshing in the summer…..was not present tonight. The water was eerily calm. Waves that can sometimes angrily crash onto the rocks next to the jogging path, and often spray water up and over the rail that separates the path from the rocks below, were not to be seen tonight, the water was almost completely still, looking like a sheet of glass. The Verrazano Narrows is an active shipping channel, and in the morning, many boats come through, but tonight, not one. The water was completely peaceful. I was running right at dusk, my favorite time to run in the summer. The heat of the sun is gone, and it is dark but not black. Tonight, it was the calm between the storms. It had rained most of the day, and thunderstorms threatened for the overnight, but there was not a cloud to be seen, the stars were out and so was everyone else. There was a free concert in the park adjacent to the path, and the music from the cover band could be heard. There were tons of runners, walkers, roller bladers, cyclists, fishermen, couples on evening strolls, and families with children on scooters and bikes, enjoying the time between the storms on what turned out to be a lovely summer evening. I was doing a 4 mile out and back run. First, I was running towards the Verrazano Bridge. The lights were on and the bridge looked majestic against the darkening sky, perfectly reflected in the still water below it. Doing most of my daily training runs with the Verrazano Bridge as the backdrop helps motivate me for marathon training. That bridge is the start of the race, and I will run over it in 16 short weeks. After my Garmin beeped for mile #2, I turned around. As I rounded a curve, the Statue of Liberty came into view, all lit up in her glory. As I further rounded the bend, the Manhattan Skyline came into view, all the lights lit up, the spires of the Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building twinkling. For some reason, tonight I was acutely tuned into my surroundings. Into the running path that I am on so often that I sometimes don’t take the time to fully appreciate the view. I felt privileged and lucky to be on this run tonight. Too frequently I am thinking about how hot it is, my pace, all the things I have to do that day, work stress, or chatting with a running partner. Tonight, I just appreciated being out there.

Photo not taken by me, but this is exactly what the bridge looked like tonight. Taken by Louisa Caragan

Photo not taken by me, but this is exactly what the bridge looked like tonight. Taken by Louisa Caragan

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NYC Marathon Training has begun!


At 18 weeks out from the NYC Marathon, I begun my 18 week training plan yesterday, officially, with a 4 mile run with a furry friend 🙂

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National Running Day 2015

So…I have neglected my blog….for over a year 😦 and I regret it, because a lot of “running stuff” has happened in the past 1+ year.

I owe you all a LOT of race recaps….haha….

But I want to get this started again, just on time to begin MARATHON TRAINING at the end of this month.

Today is National Running Day, so I figured no better day to restart my blog than this 🙂

Running by the pier at dusk for National Running Day...4.5 mile tempo run

Running by the pier at dusk for National Running Day…4.5 mile tempo run

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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!




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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.




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.”



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!



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.



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!



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.


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.


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:


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




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:


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Great run OUTSIDE today!


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


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.


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.


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:









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!