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

preview-full-metatarsal-stress-fracture-podcast

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…

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.

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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

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

2nd

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.

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during the snowy 2014 race

polarcap15-4

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.

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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.

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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.

img_3982

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.

img_3983

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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).

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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.

IMG_4971

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.

Friday Five: How Do You Pick Your Half Marathons?

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 40 half marathons (and 41st next Sunday)!! Crazy, huh?

So my topic today is: How Do You Pick Your Half Marathon?

1.For the BQ or PR Opportunity

Not that any 13.1 miles is easy but you deliberate;y pick a flat course or a downhill course.

Nothing wrong with wanting a good finish time (if that what matters and it does to many runners.)

not why I picked the Helderberg 2 Hudson Half but it was mostly downhill

2.For the Challenge.

This may be the reverse of #1 but you pick a race because of the elevations, the hills or you choose a trail or an Ultra race because you’ve never done one before.

not why I chose the Pelham Half but boy was it hilly

3.Because Your Friends Are Running It.

Racing is always more fun when you do it with friends. There is also FOMO. So you sign up for a race only because others are running the same one.

yes, that is why I ran the Wineglass Half

4.Because Of Its Location.

You run a race only because of its location.  50 Staters, this is you. (Seems nuts to me but many runners do want to run in all 50 states!?)

Or you choose a race because you live nearby, you are vacationing there already or you are there for work or a conference.

because my college roommate just bought a house near the Surf Town Half

5.For Its Scenic Views.

The difficulty of course does not matter at all. You run this race because of the mountain views or because you will be running along the ocean or over a famous bridge.

loved running along the ocean during the Asbury Park Half

Other Reasons:

  • Cost – Everyone loves a bargain.
  • Bling – Who doesn’t love a cool medal?

  • Swag – Hoodie instead of a shirt…yes!

  • Food – Ice cream post-race…I’m there!

I’ve mostly picked my 40 half marathons because of reasons #3 (I rarely race alone) and #4 (most of them are local or where I know someone living nearby.)

Happy Running! How do you pick your big races? Please share.

Fred LeBow Half Marathon Race Recap

NYRR Fred Lebow Half-Marathon 2020 logo

January 19, 2020 – 8:00 am

This race honors the late NYRR president and New York City Marathon co-founder, Fred Lebow (1932–1994). The course is two-plus loops of Central Park, which can be a challenge in January! Join the mid-winter fun and camaraderie—and perhaps kick off your training for a spring marathon. You’ll have lots of good-spirited company, and you can enjoy classical music (Fred’s favorite) at the start as well as inspiring Fred quotes along the course!

So I signed up for the Fred LeBow Half Marathon as my 40th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I love NYC.
  • I love running in Central Park.
  • I had enough pts for a free hotel room.
  • I had thought my NYC BRFs Cari and Elizabeth may be running it too.
  • It was held on President’s Day weekend so I had the next day off from work.
  • Fred Lebow?!

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  After the NYC Marathon and Stockade-athon 15k, I experienced foot pain.

So I stopped running completely for 3 weeks. I was planning to DNS this race.

But then I started back with some short runs and a few longer ones on the weekend.

Though I don’t usually care much about my short runs, I do like to get in a 10, 11 and 12 miler before each half marathon.

For this race, I obviously did not. And all my runs came with some foot discomfort.

Yes, I was nervous that I was not prepared for run 13.1 miles and I was nervous about making my foot worse. And those hills!!!!

So the goal for this half marathon was just finishing!!  It’s a BIG race, There would be many runners finishing behind me.

Update course map – start at east 102nd and end at west 102nd – 2 full loops

Check out this elevation:

starts and ends with Harlem Hill and you hit it in the middle too! along with Cat Hill twice and 3 Sisters.

Yikes.  But no surprise…I have run in this park and I ran the Shape Half Marathon which was also several loops of the park (but different start and end.)

survived but not smiling

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Several days before the race, we were notified of this change:

Due to construction on the 72nd Street Transverse in Central Park, we have modified the NYRR Fred Lebow Half Marathon course. The race will now feature two larger loops in Central Park starting on East Drive just south of the 102nd Street Cross Drive and finishing on 102nd Street Cross Drive near West Drive.

Hence, three Harlem hills rather than the normal two…lucky me!

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep during a previous race-cation — rest the legs and fuel adequately the day before the race. I was going to make sure that I did both things this time around.

So I took the bus to NYC on Saturday. The weather was horrendous. Snow made my bus arrive an hour late so I immediately headed to the subway (with my luggage) to meet fellow bloggers Deborah (from Confessions of a Mother Runner) and Cari. The three of us had a great time chatting over popcorn and wine at Deborah’s hotel.

Cari was nice enough to have already picked up my bib to save me enough time to get back to check into my hotel and then take the subway to Brooklyn. I had plans to carb load with my friend Stan who was running the race the next day, as well.

Brooklyn pizza is the best. I had 3 slices…no guilt.

The snow had stopped but now it was pouring. I had my fingers crossed that they were right about the sunshine the next day.

I got back to my hotel rather early in order to plan my race day. I have only run one winter half marathon. So it was a challenge to decide on what to wear to keep warm but not too warm for 13.1 miles.

2 shirts, capris and compression socks, beanie, gloves

Luckily I still had some throw always and foil wrap to add to my outfit.

Race Day:

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and got up around 5:30 am.  It was chillier than I hoped so I put on my throwaway jacket, DIY arm sleeves, grabbed a foil blanket and called an Uber. (My hotel was on West 39th and it would be a long walk from the nearby subway stop at East 102nd to the start.)

snow on the grass and paths but the roads were salted and clear

I had plans to meet Stan (who was taking the subway from Brooklyn) before the race. I got there way too early.  It was easy to find the start and bag check.  But an hour waiting in the freezing cold was too much.

The sun came up and so did the wind. A bunch of us huddled near a generator for warmth. Eventually they shooed us away saying it was dangerous.

Soon Stan arrived and we met at bag check.  I hesitated giving up my jacket but I knew that I would need it after the race. (I should have worn more throwaways.. and brought a heavier jacket for after… duh!)

Eventually, it was time to separate and head to our respective corrals. I was in I and Stan in G. (I was supposed to meet another friend who was in L but never located her.)

I kept on the foil blanket until I started running

I FROZE!!!! Even my teeth were chattering…along with 5000 other runners (a small race for NYC standards.)

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

The Race Plan: Do not get injured!! Do make your foot pain worse!!

There would have to be a lot of walking…There would be umpteen hills!! (and 3 Harlems rather than the usual 2!! plus several Cats and many other annoying smaller ones.)

And stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated even in the cold) and to stop and walk longer to eat a gel at every other water stop.

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Miles 1-5:

10:36, 10:34, 10:19, 10:22, 10:48

from nyrr fb page

It took a LONG five minutes or so to get to the start line. As I crossed I waved and yelled to Ali from Ali on the Run blog/podcast who was the race announcer.

It was slow going at first due to the crowd but soon after we ascended Harlem Hill for the first time…

My corral had a 2:10 pacer whom I lost immediately. I never did see the 2:20 one.

My foot hurt immediately but as always the pain faded to a dull ache and then increased and decreased throughout the race. It never felt normal nor did it ever prevent me from running.

Once I started running, I realized that I was indeed perfectly dressed. I even took off my gloves.

The roads were wet but they had so much salt on them, they were not slippery.

I ran up most of the hills. My sore foot always feels better running than walking.  Unfortunately, it felt worse on the downhills where I normally can pick up the pace and make up for my slow uphill running.

I was conscious of this and never pushed the pace (even though tempted on those downhills) during the race.

There were water/Gatorade stops almost every mile of the course. I stopped at each one except the first one.

At mile 2, I took my first gel since it had been hours since my breakfast. (I always struggle to get one out of my pocket, open it and drink water and eat it…)

I knew that Cari was going to be cheering for me on the west side at 79th St.  I was counting the blocks until I saw her (around mile 2.5).

I high fived her as I ran by.

Cari’s pic of me as I ran by

So we continued circling the park… many small annoying hills and then the 2nd largest hill, Cat Hill. I did the same as with Harlem, ran up most and ran slowly down.

Soon we were back on the east side and passed Fred Lebow.  Every runner waved to him as they ran by.

I didn’t stop to get my camera out,,,this was taken on a different run

Miles 6-10:

10:09, 11:44, 10:48, 10:51, 11:13

We passed the start and that meant we were heading for round 2 of Harlem Hill.  I also took my 2nd gel at one of the water stops. They had Honey Stingers and I searched until I found a chocolate one.

credit – cheereverywhere – can always muster up a smile for the camera

As we headed for the west side again, I was looking forward to seeing my friends Cari and Elizabeth. I so appreciated them being there to cheer me on.

And since this was the second loop of the park, there was Cat Hill again, and the statue of Fred and hill after hill after hill.

credits: cheereverywhere – my favorite sign

Miles 11-13.4:

12:21, 11:31, 12:08, 9:05

I ate one more gel since another Harlem Hill was coming for the THIRD time.

At this point, I wanted to be done.  I got a side stitch and it persisted until mile 13. Maybe because I had not done more than 10 miles for a long run.  Who knows? It took my mind off my achy foot.

I ran next a lady struggling with knee pain.  We decided to help each other get to the finish (and swore together about adding that 3rd Harlem Hill).

Finally we turned toward the finish line and then turned again.

I ran as fast as I could…. (Adrenaline took over here!)

I immediately got my medal, my foil sheet and posed for a quick pic.

I grabbed a bagel and pretzels and headed to bag check where Stan was waiting for me.

I was freezing… The wind had picked up… So glad that I didn’t throw that jacket away (wished I had brought my warmer one.)

We headed out of the park, walked many many blocks (oh my foot!!) to the subway and then I walked to my hotel to pack and take a long hot shower.

I met Stan again for lunch and to recap our race experiences. In spite of the pain, the cold, the loops, the monster hills, we did not regret running the race.

refueling

Since it had gotten much colder and windier, we both decided to leave the city earlier than planned.

Additional Race Reflections:

Garmin time=2:25:42
Chip time = 2:26:31

My finish time was way slower than my previous two half marathons. (Surf Town 9/8/19 – 2:16:08 and Sacandaga 5/19/19 -2:13:03) which was to be expected. (May have been a PW and definitely the slowest since 2011, my first year.)

As you can see from the stats above, my splits were slower than normal..no 9 minute miles and too many over 11 or 12.

Enough whining…I am so grateful to be able to visit NYC and run a race. I am unbelievably happy that after the race, my foot did not hurt worse than before.  My legs felt great. Zero DOMS!!

All in all, I thought this was a great race.

As usual, I wore some new items:

  • race hat – it was warm and comfortable
  • NYC Marathon race shirt  – also worked out well (love wearing race shirts – great conversation starter)
  • Injini toe socks and toe spacer (for my bunion) – got a blister in a new spot but no blister on the other foot where I often get one ??

The tried and true items:

  • Mizuno Wave Inspires (been experimenting with Altras and Brooks) that I had worn for the marathon
  • Skirt Sports Lotta Breeze capri skirt – had a drawstring to keep it tight and 2 pockets for ID, cards and gels
  • Legendware compression calf sleeves – kept my legs warm and supported my calfs
  • Dollar store gloves – secondary use was to wipe my runny nose lol
  • Spi belt for my phone and to attach my bib

The Good:

  • Easy packet pick-up (several days before at Run Center and also race morning near the start).
  • Many porta potties at the start. Long lines but they moved quickly (I was told – did not use).
  • Bag Check. Well organized before and easy pick up at the end.
  • Water and Gatorade stops at almost every mile or so.
  • Gels available at several water stops
  • Many porta-potties along the course in addition to real CP bathrooms
  • Roads were dry even after the previous day’s snowfall.
  • Friends cheering for support.
  • Well marked course.
  • Great crowd support at the big hills!
  • Clocks at 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k (or even more points).
  • Pacers (useful if you started in the correct corral).
  • Very cool medal.
  • Great winter beanie.
  • No lines for post race refreshments
  • Foil blankets put on and taped close for each runner.
  • Blogger met-up with Cari and Deborah and a friend to share the race experience with before and after.

The Bad:

  • Loops!!!
  • Hills in Central Park.
  • Foot Pain.
  • Side Stitch.
  • The course was LONG.

The Ugly:

  • Harlem Hill – 3 times!!

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Do it if you can.  You won’t regret it (unless you hate hills lol).

No, it’s not an easy course. Only a little over 5,000 runners usually participate so small race by NYC standards.

Final Stats:

Next Up:

A Race-cation. In Bermuda!  Should be a blast…

Image result for zooma bermuda

may still be a hilly race but should be WARMER


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

Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with these ladies.


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! Ever run this race? Have you raced in NYC? What is your favorite half marathon? Ever run one totally under-trained? Please share.

runner-sig

Weekly Run Down for 1.27.20 – 2.2.20: Honoring AndyJHa

A very busy work week, and 2 PT visits, a tennis dinner and race thrown in the mix. Plus it was supposedly my peak training week for my next half marathon…

Last Week –

  • Monday – My second lunchtime Chair Yoga session…super relaxing and actually fun.

After work, I went to PT again.  I explained that the pain during the run seemed to be a little better but the next day, it hurt more than usual.  She did more of the same as in previous sessions. The Laser machine was busy so we postponed it.

Afterward, I went to a short town run to test out yet another pair of new shoes (I returned the Altras.)

pretty discouraging run as my foot hurt a lot for the first 2 miles…

  • Tuesday – Since I would be busy on Wednesday, I ran for the 2nd day in a row (which I normally hesitate to do.) I had Chris for company and we ran one loop at UAlbany. Not a stellar effort for either of us but we got it done and my foot did not hurt as much as the previous day.

  • Wednesday – Rest day and another PT session. More of the same. She is trying to fix me. Ha ha.

I stopped off at the gym on my way home but no unoccupied bikes so I left.

  • Thursday – A long work day and another UAlbany run. Solo. Chris could not make it. Still painful which I realized makes me not want to run. Good thing it was a loop and I had get back to my car.

After the run, I met some tennis friends for dinner. Always an enjoyable event.

News of the day: At noon registration for NYC marathon opened. I had a qualifying time. I hesitated and hesitated. Nope. I didn’t pull the trigger and the timed entries closed in about 20 min.

No marathon for me. I think I’m relieved.

  • Friday – Long work day and mah jongg evening. Squeezed in a short stationary bike ride in between.
  • Saturday – Polar Cap Race, a 4 miler that is hilly and always super COLD.  It was also the FIRST time that I’ve run this race without my friend Andrea (who died last week.) For the first time, the weather was pretty nice.  They had a moment of silence for Andrea and dedicated the race to her.  I was pretty emotional. But I tackled the hills with lots of foot pain and even won an age group award.

Afterward I dragged my sore foot 5 or so more miles while checking out the Lake George Winter Carnival.

  • Sunday – I was planning on doing the Winter Series #5, a free local race. But after all that foot pain the day before, I didn’t want to repeat the experience. Instead, I rode the bike at the gym, did some errands and went to the movies.
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really enjoyed this!!!!

This Coming Week – 

  • Monday – PT, run 
  • Tuesday –  run
  • Wednesday – rest day, PT, work webinar
  • Thursday – rest day, museum activities, dinner out with tennis friends
  • Friday – rest day, mah jongg
  • Saturday – Long Run with Sole Sisters (8-10 miles), yoga
  • 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 going? Anyone training yet for a 2020 race? Who’s joining me in Bermuda?  Anyone sign up for the NYC Marathon lottery (It opened this week.) What’s new with you? Please share.