ZOOMA Bermuda Challenge Recap

Image result for zooma bermuda

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever (since last spring, I believe).

So this year, I did run the ZOOMA Bermuda Half Marathon as my 41th Half Marathon for these reasons:

  • A warmer weather race-cation opportunity
  • Cari agreed to do it and and be my roommate.
  • I had enough frequent flyer miles for a free flight.
  • Only 1 1/2 hour flight from JFK.
  • It was held on Presidents Day weekend (one less day to take off from work)
  • I found out that fellow bloggers Erika and Marcia were also running it. And I’ve never met Erika.
  • It was advertised as a scenic course with ocean views.
  • An all women race… who can argue with that?
  • I’ve never been to Bermuda.
  • Two races = 3 medals (BLING!)

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon several weeks before in NYC…with foot pain.  The foot pain continued and I considered downgrading to the 10k.  But I am stubborn and decided to tough it out. (I mean I just ran a HILLY half in NYC in the freezing cold…)

As with all my half marathon training, I did not really care about my week day runs. They were usually 3 miles. However, I do try to do longer runs on the weekend.

So after 13.1 miles on January 19, I did manage to complete 11 mile and 9 mile training runs. I skipped the 12 miler in favor of a 4 mile race + 5 more miles after.

The goal for this half marathon was finishing!! Not to race it, not to get injured and not to make my foot pain worse!!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Although the half marathon was scheduled for Sunday morning, Cari and I arrived (with no flight drama) late Wednesday night.

We had planned to stretch the legs and get used to the hills and humidity on Thursday morning. But instead we mostly walked the beach, the hilly railway trail and climbed to the top of a light house. Not much running but lots of steps!

The rest of the day was spent reading and relaxing at the hotel pool

and exploring Royal Naval Dockyard in the evening.

On Friday, both Cari and I got itchy to run. Finding a non-hilly route was a challenge. We tried the golf course. NOPE! And then we finally settled for looping the hotel.

Thanks to a ZOOMA Bermuda FB group, we able to communicate with many of the runners who shared their plans and ideas for their stay on the island. We decided to take a ferry after our run and spend Valentine’s Day touring Hamilton.

We returned in time for the first race event – the Welcome Party (at our hotel):

  • Pick up your race bib plus your welcome gifts!
  • Attend the course talk with ZOOMA race staff
  • Drinks, music and appetizers courtesy of the Bermuda Tourism Authority

We met some familiar faces and lots of new ones.  Sara, the ZOOMA Race Series Owner, gave us tips on running the race. She warned us about the hills and the narrow winding roads and reminded us to run with traffic on the LEFT side of the road. (Yes, this is a British island.)

We also met the pacers for the race (many of whom were on our flight.) They made sure to chat with every runner in order to help them finish at their desired pace. (My pace = ????)

Unfortunately our beautiful Bermuda weather ended.  We woke up to wind, rain and chilly temps on Saturday. But it didn’t really matter because we had the OFFICIAL GROUP EXCURSION scheduled:

  • Round trip transportation from hotel to Crystal Caves + Swizzle Inn
  • Entry to both of the Crystal Caves
  • Lunch reservation at Swizzle Inn

Both Crystal and Fantasy Caves were breathtaking and our lunch delish.

After our trip to the caves, we hung out in the hotel and relaxed before getting ready for the Lighthouse Run.

The 2 mile course got changed to 1.5 miles and the rain and wind lessened as we walked up to the Lighthouse start but then re-started with a vengeance.

The race started at Gibb’s Lighthouse and ended at Horseshoe Beach.


With a half marathon the next day, we decided to walk the race. And we got soaked.

running in the rain is better with friends

Still we had fun.

took off my poncho to sprint through the finish line…followed by Cari & Marcia (and a few others)

We ate some popcorn but didn’t stay too long at the beach (even though there were FREE drinks.)

We’re done!!!

1.5 miles. PR since I have never done this distance LOL (FYI: Barbara is from NYC and a Skirt Sports ambassador)

After the race, we took the shuttle back to the hotel from the beach, changed our clothes and had dinner in the hotel – Pizza for me, as usual. Carb loading complete!

first medal of the weekend!

I organized my usual race outfit (tank, skirt, compression calf sleeves, cap) and went to bed around 10 pm.

Race Day:

I brought my oatmeal and coffee from home with me and got up around 4:30 am to get ready and have breakfast in my hotel room..

It was NOT raining…hooray but still dark and a little chilly.  I put on some throw aways and packed a bag for after and headed to the shuttle.

The shuttle left promptly at 6 am and we arrived in Hamilton at 6:30…still an hour to wander, take pics use port-a-potties.

foil sheet and throw away shirt did not last long.

I checked a bag with those throw aways, a down jacket and flip flops)

Before we knew it, it was time to walk UP to the start.

It was a small race (110 or so) so no corrals. The Half Marathoners lined up first so we had to say good bye to Marcia.

DIY arm warmers did not last either

As I mentioned, we had met all of the pacers at the Welcome Party. Now was the time to confirm whom we wanted to run with and line up with them.

so supportive and helpful…more like friends than pacers

I initially thought about running with the 2:15 pacers but as I told them, I was not running for pace and would most likely finish around 2:30.

I’ll do my best to recap the race below. (Warning: it’ll be long…)

My plan, as usual, was to stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated) and to stop and walk longer to eat a GU at every other water stop.  I planned to walk whenever necessary and NOT RACE it.

Here is a very cool interactive map: https://www.plotaroute.com/route/1004724

scenic, right?

not flat!!

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Miles 1-4:

10:01, 10:01, 9:59, 9:54

As always, I felt more energetic during the beginning miles. I started running with the 2:15 pacers. Unfortunately, my foot hurt from the first step to the last.  I was disappointed but prepared for the pain.

Because I knew that I would slow down, I was actually (as you can see from the photo) ahead of the pacers.

smiling (not sure why) and ahead of the 2:15 pacers

There were hills from beginning to end.  No road is flat on this island.  No road is straight.  Curve after curve…blind curves but we ran single file and with traffic. It was a little scary at times but the drivers were very courteous and moved over for all runners.

still ahead…

I stopped at each water stop as planned. I drank my water quickly because I did not want to litter on this beautiful island.

From mile 2 to 3, I think, it was starting to drizzle and then the rain got harder and harder. I was thinking that it would be a repeat of the night before but I wasn’t prepared for the rain. There was NO rain in the forecast.

Luckily it stopped.  I was soaked which turned out to be a blessing. The sun came out, the humidity rose and the air got warmer and heavier.

And wet socks = blisters (I got a big one that didn’t hurt and a small one that did.)

Miles 5-8:

10:58, 10:17, 10:22, 11:14

The biggest hill was at mile 4. I walked/ran up all the hills (which I guess was the whole race lol).  I finally ate my first one of the three gels. I followed what worked in my last half and full. Different brand of gel for each stop. (Honey stinger, e-gel, Gu)

they’re gaining on me lol

and the pacer passes me

I did smile every time I saw a photographer…even if I was running in pain.

I’m sure I’ve lost them by now

Foot pain continued but I focused on the course which was breath-taking. I lost the 2:15 pacer which was to be expected.

However, my other foot started to hurt (It has in the past = bunion!)

Miles 9-13.23:

11:03, 11:40, 11:42, 12:19, 11:30, (.23 -11:00)

I continued the same pattern except that my hill walking got longer and longer.  I started to feel the humidity and almost wished that it would rain again.

My calves started cramping. This has NEVER happened to me before. Very painful!!

I could NOT sprint across the finish line.

I crossed at 2:23:21. (2:23:16 -Garmin time)

I was immediately handed water and two big medals and luggage tag.

I grabbed a needed drink (or two).

Dark n Stormy = my new favorite drink

Then headed to get some food to go along with my drink(s). Then off to bag check to retrieve my flip flops for my poor feet. (Down jacket?? What was I thinking??)

there were also tuna & egg salad sandwiches

They gave out age group awards but only to FIRST place in 10 year groups.

8 out of 9 – no chance even if I was not hurting

I met up with Marcia and then Cari. Everyone was happy with how the race turned out. Kudos to ZOOMA (and the ONPace runners!!)

We had planned on heading right back to the hotel (on the shuttle) but they encouraged us to stay for the Gombay dancers.


Then we chatted with RD, Erika. and watched the Pacers and last runner finish.

first time meeting a blogger that I have followed for years

Of course, no race would be complete without goofy beach/medal pictures.

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Half Zip, Tank, Bag and map mailed to runners ahead of time.
  • Excellent communication about every aspect of the race before, during and after the race.
  • Transportation and excursions organized by ZOOMA
  • Easy packet pick-up at the hotel.
  • Welcome gifts. Luggage tags & makings for a Dark & Stormy drink, key chain.
  • Welcome party with appetizers and opportunity to meet the other runners and pacers.
  • Shuttle to and from the start
  • Sufficient number of port-a-potties at start/finish and along the course
  • Sufficient number of water/Gatorade stops (7) – 1 had Gels (I think) but I missed it.
  • Bag Check. Easy drop off and pick up.
  • Well marked course – mile markers and police directing traffic.
  • Free Massages at the finish.
  • Pacers. Great group. Personal attention given to each runner.
  • Planks given as awards.
  • Very cool medal(s) (and luggage tag).
  • Soup, sandwiches, popcorn, bars, fruit at the finish.
  • Gombay Dancers entertaining at the finish.
  • Lots of photographers on the course (ZOOMA and Professional)
  • FREE photos. Many many of each runner. In the FB group and on results page of web site.
  • Open bar…unlimited drinks at the finish.
  • Great weather. (except for the 1.5 mile run and one mile of the half/10k)
  • Beautiful course. Water views throughout.
  • All women’s race.
  • Friendly staff, participants, volunteers, residents.
  • Discounts for many Bermuda Activities (Dolphin Excursion, Caves, etc.)

The Bad:

  • 10 Year age groups and award given to First Place only.
  • Hills and winding roads with no shoulders and blind curves (but that is Bermuda).
  • Running with traffic (but there was no other way to have it.)
  • Rain/wind during the Lighthouse Race (but can’t change the weather.)

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

It was super well-organized. Special attention was paid to EVERY detail.  The course was scenic. Bermuda is beautiful.

I am now considering other ZOOMA races because of my experience at this race.

Final Stats:

I am so proud that my body could run. Yup. pain is temporary. I quickly forgot the next day how much it hurt.

My finish time was 3 minutes faster than than my previous foot pain half in NYC (so a foot pain HM PR lol).

Racing with friends is the best way to race.

Next Up:

NYC Half Marathon…my 2nd time running this race. Going for a foot pain PR!!

Image result for nyc half 2020

March 15, 2020

There is a link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies and you should too.

I’m linking up also with this new link-up:

Formerly the Running Coaches’ Corner, it’s back with new co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Fauxrunner.

Happy Running! Have you ever been to Bermuda? Ever run a ZOOMA race? Please share.





Weekly Run Down for 2.10.20-2.23.20: Travelling Internationally

Quite a busy two weeks. First, I went to Bermuda with Cari for a vacation and a race or two. Then I ended the next week with a trip to Montreal with a friend.

Good thing, I had a passport already.

Last Two Weeks –

  • Monday – Lunch time chair yoga (the last one). I wish these classes would continue weekly.
chair yoga

yeah…I could do these on my own…but I won’t… I’m a NEED A CLASS kind of person

An after work run was planned…the weather did not cooperate all day (snow/rain/sleet) but stopped by time I went out to run. My friend Chris had to work late so I ran one loop and she joined me for the second.

drizzled for my first painful loop…felt better on the 2nd. Fairly comfortable temps (almost 40) so that is a win. 

  • Tuesday –  A before work PT visit. My last one before my next half marathon. More scraping, prodding and listening to me whine and complain.

Image result for ashley bertorelli PT green room

A rest day due to a hair appointment and needing to pack for my trip.

  • Wednesday – Early morning train to NYC.  I got there very early so took a stroll around Manhattan.

FYI: free bag check in Macys across from Penn Sta.

Then I took the LIRR from Penn Sta. to Jamaica where I took the air train to meet Cari at JFK for our evening flight to Bermuda.

We eventually arrived late that evening and took a shuttle to our hotel.

We discovered on that long shuttle ride that Bermuda is indeed hilly and that there are NO straight roads.

  • Thursday – I hadn’t run in a few days and I was anxious to get out there…and run in a skirt!!

But finding a place to run was no easy task. First we headed to Horseshoe Beach.

skirt weather..woo hoo!

Then along a railway trail that eventually led to Gibbs Lighthouse where we climbed to the top.

only 192 steps to the top

All that walking exhausted us so we spent the afternoon relaxing at the hotel pool

breezy and 70 degrees…warm enough for the heated pool and hot tub

before we took a bus to the Royal Naval Dockyard for dinner.

strolled the area and then ate at the Frog & Onion Pub

  • Friday – Since there was very little running the day before, we decided to attempt a run on the hotel golf course. Nope, hillier than the winding roads. But there was little time for exploring so we squeezed in a short one around the hotel grounds.

views were awesome …not the hills

After our run, we took the ferry (with some other runners) to spend the day in Hamilton. We explored the shops, streets and had a lovely lunch.

even found ibuprofen gel in a pharmacy (not sold in the US)

Then we took the bus back to the hotel. There was just enough time for a brief visit to the pool and meet up with friend and fellow blogger Marcia.

That evening was packet pick up and ZOOMA welcome party. Swag, drinks, hors d’oeuvres and new friends. So fun.

  • Saturday – A busy day planned and our only miserable cold, windy, rainy day. ZOOMA organized a trip to explore Crystal and Fantasy Caves. They were amazing. And so was lunch at the Swizzle Inn.

these pics don’t do it justice…you have to see them in person.

In the evening, we had our first race.  The ZOOMA Lighthouse Run.  It was still cold, windy and raining. Marcia, Cari and I decided to walk the 1.5 miles. We were soaked but arrived at Horseshoe Beach smiling.

yup, Cari & I accidentally twinned.

  • Sunday – The big day!!  An early bus ride to the start and then the ZOOMA Bermuda Half Marathon.  Both Cari and I were just running it to enjoy the scenery and collect our medal at the finish line.  I knew that my foot would hurt but I knew I could do it in pain. The course was breathtaking with hills and curvy roads open to traffic. It rained for one of the early miles and then the sun came out and the humidity rose. It was tough. No lie. But such a well run race. Everyone had a great time and we made so many new friends. The Pacers from OnPace rocked!

no race is complete without goofy medal pix on the beach

After the race, we had thought of visiting the town of St. Georges. Our legs and feet thought the pool and hot tub were a better idea.

In the evening we walked (ouch) to Henry VIII for a celebration dinner and thankfully took a taxi back to the hotel.

  • Monday – An early wake up to catch the shuttle to the airport to fly home to JFK and then I had to take the air train to the LIRR and a train back home!!

Exhausted but happy with my decision to race in Bermuda (even if it was off season.) Definitely would love to go back sometime.

  • Tuesday – Back to normal.  Work. Grey skies, cold temps, snow/rain. I decided to skip the after work run and ride the bike at the gym.

Image result for national drink wine day

It was also National Drink Wine Day so of course, I had to…I met a friend for a glass of red.

  • Wednesday – Early morning visit to PT.  I complained that my foot hurt just as much during my race as before I started seeing her. She recommended that I see another foot doctor.  Luckily I got an appt for that same afternoon. She gave me B12/cortisone shot, added a metatarsal pad and wrapped my feet. We talked about all the options (most of which are NOT covered by insurance.)
Image result for foot cortisone shot for neuroma

not my foot lol

Afterward, I wanted to go for a run. My friend Chris was sick so I had to run solo. Boo!!

windy but sunny…not much pain…but too soon to tell…

After the run, I met my BFF for a walk around the mall.

  • Thursday – Back to running after work in my usual location – UAlbany with Chris. Teens with the windchill…brrrrr!

Chris was ok but I forgot my hat, gloves, jacket…had to make due with what I had in my trunk

  • Friday – Lunchtime walk and after work gym biking before mah jongg.
  • Saturday – Montreal trip instead of my long run with the Sole Sisters. Yes, my friend and I decided to drive there because I wanted to see the interactive Van Gogh exhibit.

We left at 6:30 am and after a 3.5 hour drive, we checked into our hotel and walked to the exhibit. A much longer walk than I thought but the weather was beautiful and the exhibit amazing. 200 paintings on moving screens choreographed to music. So worth the drive!!!

No running today but 8.5 miles on the feet as we also walked to the Old City to have a delicious French dinner.

  • Sunday – I got up early to do my run…supposed to be 11 miles. The weather was even better than the day before. I ran to the river and along it. I could have run forever but my friend was waiting in the hotel. Only got in 4.5 miles.

Afterward we walked around town and went to the Barbie Expo (yes over 1000 Barbies in costume). Then we had another delicious French meal before we checked out of our hotel.

On the way out of the city, we drove up to Mont Royal to catch the views.

So lucky that the weather cooperated. Might have been the nicest we’ve had this winter.

This Coming Week – 

  • Monday – AM PT, run
  • Tuesday –  run
  • Wednesday – rest day, gym
  • Thursday – run 
  • Friday – rest day, mah jongg chez moi
  • Saturday – Long Run
  • Sunday – rest day

I am linking up with Kim and Deborah for

I encourage you to do the same. Grab the graphic, drop your link on the host blogs and play along! Please be sure to always comment on the HOST’s blogs, as well as visit and comment on as many other blogs as you can.

Happy Running! How is your running/racing going? Have you been to Bermuda? Have you run a ZOOMA race? What’s new with you? Please share.

Friday Five: Reasons Not to Choose a Race

It’s Friday so I’m also linking up with Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostess and visit some other bloggers.

I have already run 41 half marathons. Many I have loved and would love to run again and then again, there were those that I wished I hadn’t.

I already posted about reasons to choose a race so my topic today is: Reasons Not to Choose A Half Marathon

1.A Poorly Marked or Inaccurate Course

No one likes a course that is short and long and even worse, one that you get lost on.

glad I was not running the full…many went the wrong way and ran a shortened course

2.A Boring or Ugly Course

Running in traffic or running loops and worse, just a route with nothing scenic to look at.

started & ended at a brewery…run in parking lots and along a busy highway

3.The Swag

An ugly medal or NO medal… or a uni-sex shirt (that doesn’t fit) or even a COTTON shirt.

half medal the size of a quarter and a cotton race shirt

4.The Logistics.

Poorly marked location, unorganized start/finish, not enough parking or not enough portapotties…

all of the above for this RNR race..


Not enough water stops or water stops that run out of water.  Unappetizing Post-race refreshments or lack of.

another dud of a RNR race

Other Reasons:

  • Cost – Too expensive

racing in Vegas is fun but not cheap!!

  • Deferral policies – none or too expensive
  • Crowd Support – none or very little
  • Size – too big or too small

25k of my new friends

  • Knowing No One – not fun to run a race all alone

running solo in Fla.

Happy Running! Any other reasons to offer on why you would avoid picking a race? Which of the above, have you chosen? Please share.

Tuesday Topics: The Foot Saga aka Running with Pain

Since today is Tuesday, I’m  linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner) and you should too.

My Topic today is about my recent Foot Pain.

Here’s the whole story (in case you don’t read all my blog posts):

So…last November after my marathon and 15k, I experienced PAIN in my left foot after walking around NYC in tight boots. I rested/ran/rested/raced/rested and then finally went to the Doctor.

I feared a stress fracture. The Doc took an xray and felt around my foot for pain.  Xray looked normal and no pain so his recommended treatment was:

  • No walking, standing or running until pain-free.
  • Take anti-inflammatory meds 2x/day for 2 weeks.
  • Come back in a month and we’ll take an MRI if it still hurts.

So I stopped running, walked minimally and stood (for work) only when I had to.

After 2 weeks, there was NO real improvement so I started Googling (Ok, I really started Googling from day one lol) and talked to my BRF Barbara.

My (Googled) diagnosis: Neuroma

A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot. YES


Risk Factors that appear to contribute to a neuroma include:

  1. Wearing shoes that are tight or ill fitting can place extra pressure on your toes and the ball of your foot. YES
  2. Certain sports. Participating in high-impact athletic activities such as running may subject your feet to repetitive traumaYES
  3. Foot deformities. People who have bunions, hammertoes, high arches are at higher risk of developing a neuroma. YES to all 

There were many home treatments suggested but my bunion and high arches made things more complicated.  What seemed to work for me was toe spacers, wearing shoes with a wider toe box and RUNNING again.  The turning point proved to be 3 weeks after my doctor visit:

After this run, the pain that seemed to be constant, came and went and was gone more than present when I ran. But still hurt after.

Four weeks after my first podiatrist appointment, my doc offered to give me a cortisone shot for the pain. I insisted on an MRI first just to make sure that it was a neuroma (which I had diagnosed.)

Unfortunately the MRI showed nothing. No neuroma!!!

I was not convinced.

I went back to my doctor and re-explained my symptoms.

He agreed that it was probably a neuroma but too small to show up on a MRI. So he gave me a cortisone shot and told me to contact him in 2-3 weeks if it didn’t feel better.

Well, he said to continue normal activities. That meant running, right? So I did. It felt the same.

I experimented with different shoes and went a PT consult. And I ran a half marathon.

I finished though it was painful

The next day, I went to a PT doctor recommended by a running friend who suffered from similar foot pain.

According to my symptoms, she agreed that it was some kind of nerve impingement.  She said that she thought she could get rid of my pain. At this point, I was skeptical.  But I went twice a week for several weeks.  Treatment included, scraping, massaging, electrical ultrasound, CBD oil, home exercises for my posture and quads…

I also changed shoes several times, as well. (Thank goodness for return policies…)

from Mizunos to Altras to Brooks

I continued running as my PT doctor said that I could and should even though my foot HURT:

I got a laser treatment at PT and I also ran 4 mile race.

in pain

And then I went to Bermuda…hoping the sun and warmth would heal my foot.

It healed my spirits and had a SUPER time but ran again a race where my foot hurt every step!!!

Yes, I’m getting impatient…

Today, my PT listened to my racing woes and recommended that I see a different podiatrist (one who is a runner.)

Luckily, I just an immediate appt.  Finger crossed….

As always, you are not alone with nerve foot pain. Here are some related blog posts:

about running & nerve pain – https://www.irunfar.com/2017/08/six-signs-that-your-running-injury-is-nerve-pain.html

about running & a neuroma:

Possible solutions (form corrections):

Going Wide: The Role of Stride Width in Running Injury and Economy

I’m definitely not an expert on foot pain so take these recommendations with a grain of salt:

  • See a doctor for an xray at the first sign of pain (to rule out something serious).
  • Insist on an MRI even if the Xray shows nothing (to rule out a stress fracture).
  • Keep active and if it hurts too much to run (the stationary bike will keep your legs fit).
  • Cut back on your mileage even if you are training for a big race.
  • Adjust race goals if you do run a race. (Running for fun is an option.)
  • Try different running shoes (most companies have free returns).
  • Add inserts to your shoes (and it doesn’t have to be $500 custom orthotics).
  • Keep running (unless running makes your pain worse).
  • Seek different treatment options… visit a Chiro or try PT.
  • Drink lots of wine lol

I’m linking up also with this new link-up:

Formerly the Running Coaches’ Corner, it’s back with new co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Fauxrunner.

Happy Running! Have you ever used Google as you medical professional? Any foot pain experiences? Please share.


Four or Five Somethings for January-February

January 2018 Share Foru Somethings #ShareFourSomethings

Thanks to Laurie from Meditations in Motion, I discovered a link up started by blogger Heather Gerwing. The fourth Saturday of each month, Heather invites other bloggers to share their “Four Somethings”: Something Loved, Something Said, Something Learned, Something Read. If you are a blogger, you may post your Four Somethings too!

Oops I’m late on January and early on February…

1. Something Loved.

Visiting NYC.

This may be repetitive but there will come a time when I don’t get to go here as often.  So I feel fortunate that in January I went twice…

Once for work:

And once for a race:

I always make sure that I take advantage of the opportunity…whether it be a meet-up with friends, trying a new restaurant, seeing a show or just going for a walk or run.

What is  your favorite city to visit?

2. Something Said.

I read this on the Gaboronerrunner’s IG post and it seemed so appropriate as it was said by Kobe Bryant:

I have self doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure… We all have self doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate it. You embrace it.

This so applies to running… especially when tackling running challenges.

I think I feel this way at EVERY race starting line….

Do you?

3. Something Learned.

I have always said “Pain is temporary.”

But during my recent foot discomfort, I learned that maybe pain is not temporary…maybe it will persist.  For days, weeks, months….

If running is important in your life, then you run with pain.

we both had foot pain during this tough half marathon

(Of course, not if the pain is something that will be made worse if you continue to run with it.)

Do you still run when you have pain?

4. Something Read.

Where The Crawdads Sing Book Cover.jpg

I recently finished reading this book. In fact, I couldn’t put it down.  I read the whole thing on the bus ride to and from NYC.

The story follows two timelines that slowly intertwine. The first timeline describes the life and adventures of a young girl named Kya as she grows up isolated in the marsh of North Carolina from 1952–1969. The second timeline follows a murder investigation of Chase Andrews, a local celebrity of Barkley Cove, a fictional coastal town of North Carolina.

I loved this book. It’s a story of survival, abuse, loneliness, love, prejudice, murder.

And yes, many have said that it didn’t seem realistic but if you can get beyond that, you will enjoy it.

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?

4. Something New.

Chair Yoga.  Who knew that this would add a smile to my boring day at work.

So relaxing. No equipment needed nor any clothes to change into.

Anyone else try chair yoga? If so, did you like it?

It’s Friday so I’m linking up with Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostess and visit some other bloggers.

Happy Running! What are your FOUR or Five somethings? Share at least ONE. 

Girls Valentine’s Day for me this year!!

Since it is VALENTINE’S DAY, what or whom are you LOVING today?

Polar Cap Race Recap

This post was hard to write and you’ll see why as you read on…

You all know how much I love Lake George (at least in the summertime).  Well, this race gets me up to the lake in the winter.  Ex-blogger Andrea (now runner friend) and I have run this race together SEVEN times. She has done this race 13 times (in a row)!!!

Polar Cap - 2nd place in AG

Here we are winning AG awards in 2011

AJH got 2nd place...we won a lunch bag which matches the race shirt

AG awards again in 2013


I ran with her in 2014 but only she got an award


In 2015, another hat for Andrea but my first and I beat her for the first time

I surprisingly got a PR in 2017

Together again and freezing in 2018 

a bitter sweet AG award because Andrea who was battling cancer came but had to walk the course

And yes, Andrea’s cancer diagnosis rocked my world, for sure. But she is strong and I was pretty confident that she would beat it.

I started reading her blog when I started running. She inspired me from the beginning. We are the same age exactly!! But she has run longer, farther, faster…even has competed in triathlons.

We met face-to-face for the first time at a race in 2010 and since then we have completed many races together (in addition to this race 7 times). I have even stayed at her house in VT twice.

She has also come to my area each year to participate in a duathlon. I have always come to the race to cheer her on.

But this year, for the FIRST time, Andrea did not come to the Polar Cap race.  She valiantly lost her fight with cancer and died a few weeks earlier. So I ran this race alone with a heavy heart. I ran it for Andrea…

Back to the race recap…

The thing with this race, you never know where it’s going to start and what the course will be (besides hilly.)  Three years ago, they changed the course for the third time.


during the snowy 2014 race


during the cold 2015 race

getting my PR in 2017

I have not been doing any speed work at all or running on any hills. (Um …do I ever? lol) My runs on the weekend have been longish. And I have been suffering with a sore foot for it seems like forever. So as usual, I went into this race with no expectations other than to have fun and finish standing.

I bundled up in my usual running layers (2 shirts, DIY arm sleeves, vest, skirt/tights, gaiter, beanie, gloves).

I arrived around 9ish and got a great parking spot in a nearby parking lot.

Packet pick-up was again at the parish hall of the church in Lake George. This newer location was warm and had restrooms which is always a plus.

Instead of a shirt this year, they gave you a hat.

Eventually runners did arrive and I chatted with some whom I knew. It was strange not to be waiting for Andrea to drive in from VT. Definitely made me feel said…

Hi Don Yeaton (credit)

For the first time since startled running this race, it was not frigid…so I decided leave the vest behind.

We all waited until the last minute to go out into the cold. We had to walk quite a ways as the race started in town by the lake. (Since the race repeated its course, I will re-post some of my pics from previous years in addition to this year’s pics.)

There was no real starting line and the race was not chip timed. Even though I’ve run this course in previous years, I never really remember what the course was like so here is a map that I found online.


I am directionally challenged anyway so it wouldn’t have meant much to me even if I looked at the map before the race.

waiting to begin (pic from D. Olden)

Before the they started the race, they had a moment of silence for Andrea and then announced that this year’s race would be dedicated to her.  I got pretty emotional but luckily, the race started quickly after and I concentrated on running.

My foot, in my mind, had gotten less painful but I realized that during this race, it really HAD NOT.  It hurt with EVERY step.  It made me very mad and frustrated but then I thought about Andrea and all the pain she had gone through this past year.  And I just ran through the pain. It was just a race…and I would finish it no matter how long it took.

A lot of the course was a blur, as usual, but here’s what I remember. Rather than taking pictures during this race again, I’m posting a previous year’s as they did not change the course.


pic from FB – cute markers at each mile

The first mile started with a slight uphill and then it flattened out.  I concentrated on the scenery and surprisingly, the ground was not as slippery as I feared. Still, I needed to pay attention.


Mile two started where the race used to start and than meant a steepish hill.  I told myself to be smart since I had another half marathon in TWO weeks and I never train on hills.  However this time, I pushed myself to run slowly and not walk.  It was practically a crawl and I did it. At this point, I actually felt warm and took off my gloves. I was happy that I did not wear that vest.



The longest and biggest was at mile 3 and although it was only 1/2 mile, it seemed to go on forever. This time I walked/ran it. Afterward we were rewarded with a nice downhill. I am always hesitant to go all out on the downhills especially with the black ice.  One particular runner (in my age group) had been behind me (and always finishes after me) breezed by me.  As she did, she yelled “This downhill runner got you this time.”  The competitive part of me wanted to speed up and overtake her.  But my foot was killing me and I decided to just let her beat me.

Finally for mile 4, we ran along the lake and back into town.  At this point, I wanted to be done and picked up the pace. Luckily the hills were finally over. I didn’t care about a PR but I secretly want to win an AG award. But I had no idea where the other runners in my AG were in at this time in the course (besides the one who passed me by on the downhill).


Finally, I saw that the clock ahead and it read 37:xx. I sprinted as fast as I could (as not to finish over 38:XX) and crossed around 37:55.

The runner who beat me was there gloating… “I’m so happy to have finally beat you,” she said.

It was too cold to wait around for others so I walked back to the church.

There was chicken noodle soup, bread, bagels, chocolate milk, fruit and baked goods – I am a sucker for home-made stuff and ate quite a few cookies and brownies (and chocolate-covered pretzels). I also had the soup and of course, the chocolate milk!

I chatted with some running friends while waiting for the age group awards.

next year Jill & Sue will no longer be in my AG.

And I did indeed win one…2nd and my friend Sue won 3rd.

we’re old but going strong

With a 12 mile long run on my schedule for the day, I had been debating about skipping this race. Once I found out that Andrea had died, I knew that I could not skip this race.  It was one of her favorites. I had to do it.

I debated about running more. My foot hurt…a lot but I had a half marathon to run in TWO weeks.  So changed my shoes, put my vest back on and I ran around the church area and then into town to the Winter Carnival.


This was the first day of the event which is held every weekend in February.

I ran around town some more… for about 5 more miles.  I didn’t get my 12 miles in but 9 was sufficient in my book.

cooling off… ha ha

As usual, I loved doing the race (even with the hills and sore foot). Small local races are the best.

Race Splits:

mile 1: 9:09
mile 2: 9:37
mile 3: 9:54
mile 4: 8:58
.05: 7:11

Garmin time: 37:51
Official time : 37:55

The whole time I was running, I felt like I was going sooo slow. I couldn’t really push off my sore foot and I felt like my form was suffering as well. I also thought that my 4 mile PR was like 35:XX. I was shocked when I sat down to write this… and discovered that my PR was 37:21 and that my finish time was faster than the last two years 38:28, 38:47 (when I was healthy).

Weekly Run Down for 2.3.20-2.9.20: Still dealing with foot pain

Last Week –

  • Monday – I started the day with a PT appointment. I confessed to her that I felt like my foot was not any better and that I would be in pain forever. She listened and told me what I was feeling was normal.  In addition to all the scrapping and nerve prodding, I got some laser therapy at this session. She said that I may be sore but I could run.
Image result for laser therapy in physiotherapy on foot"

My PT used the laser on the ball of my foot

During lunch, there was Yoga Chair session #3. A workout for an hour (in a good way.)

Image result for chair yoga"

I had no residual foot pain from the laser, so I decided to do the usual weekday run. Unfortunately my friend Chris was not available this week (I hate running alone.)

I wound up bumping into my friend Lara and we ran about a mile together but I had to turn around since it was getting too dark. (She had a headlight. I did not). My foot felt a little better but still some soreness.

  • Tuesday – Another after work run. Two days in a row because I would not have time to run the rest of the week. I did the usual UAlbany loop. I am been finding that the foot pain is zapping my running mojo and I need either company or a race to get out there. I had neither today 😦

a warmer but cloudier day…foot pain persisted intermittently and more than the day before

  • Wednesday – Rest day due to an after work PT appointment  (same old, same old and she insists that she will cure me but it may take a long time…UGH!) followed by a required bar exam webinar and test. Again the sun came out on my rest day!!
  • Thursday – Another rest day since I had plans for the evening with tennis friends. (Besides the weather was ugly – snow/sleet/rain).

First we went to the Institute of History & Art for a wine/coloring party.

ADULT COLORING NIGHT Enjoy a relaxing night as you add your own color to images from the Albany Institute’s collections! Each participant will receive 6 images from the museum’s collection printed on cardstock and will have the opportunity to use diverse coloring media such as water-soluble pencils and crayons, colored pencils, and colored pens to fill the images in. Participants 21 and over may also purchase a ticket for a single serving bottle of wine to be enjoyed with the program.

Afterward, we all went out to dinner…a very late night but worth it.

  • Friday – Rest Day #3. Another ugly rainy/snowy day. I could have run on the TM at the gym but I don’t like to run the day before a long run. Instead, I used the bike while reading a book (Running With Sherman 🙂 )

Mah Jongg this week was cancelled due to this horrendous weather.

  • Saturday – A long run with some of the Sole Sisters. I ran 3 and then met Sherry for 6 more.  It was chilly but sunny and no wind.  Glad I got there there.

the boring UAlbany loops but the pain is bearable when running with friends.

After our run, we met the others for brunch.

In the afternoon, I went to my monthly yoga session with Samara. This week’s focus was: Feet and Calf Activation and Healing (appropriate for me, right?)

Afterward, I got my nails done…boy I needed that.

  • Sunday – Rest day. Got some biking done at the gym, errands and started packing for my trip to Bermuda…sunshine is awaiting me!!!!!!!!!! (of course, rain is in the forecast…no rain, please!!)

This Coming Week – 

  • Monday – run
  • Tuesday –  rest day, am PT, pm hair appt.
  • Wednesday – train to NYC, train/subway to JFK, flight to Bermuda, shuttle to hotel
  • Thursday – run, exploring the island
  • Friday – rest day, exploring Bermuda (Dolphins, beaches, pink sand, sunsets…oh my)
  • Saturday – more exploring Bermuda (Crystal Caves, St Georges), Sunset Lighthouse Race (2 mile walk)
  • Sunday – ZOOMA Half Marathon, more exploring Bermuda (Beaches)
  • Monday – rest day, shuttle to airport, flight to NYC, subway/train to Penn Sta, train home

I am linking up with Kim and Deborah for

I encourage you to do the same. Grab the graphic, drop your link on the host blogs and play along! Please be sure to always comment on the HOST’s blogs, as well as visit and comment on as many other blogs as you can.

Happy Running! How is your running going? Anyone training yet for their first 2020 race? Who’s joining me in Bermuda? What’s new with you? Please share.