Virtual Steel Rail Half Marathon Race Recap

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MAY 17, 2020

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever. As with all my big races, I impulsively sign up way in advance (and then often regret it LOL).

So I signed up for Steel Rail Half Marathon as my 44rd Half Marathon (and 5th of 2020) for several reasons:

(Note: 2 have already been run virtually.)

  • It is a flat course.
  • It is scenic.
  • I am familiar with the course.  I ran it in 2017 and 2016.
  • It is currently my half marathon PR!!
  • It is close after my previous half (4 weeks) so I would be sorta already trained for it.
  • It is near enough so I can sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • There is great post race food.
  • Nice swag.

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 on April 19 (a virtual version of the Helderberg to Hudson Half that was postponed.) It was awful!!

😦 😦 😦

During my first two 2020 Half Marathons in January and February, I experienced a lot of foot pain. I ran them but truthfully, it was not fun at the time.

And then the NYC Half Marathon was cancelled so I ran that for fun with two friends.

And then this half marathon was postponed until October!!!

It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t already signed up for the Smuttynose Half Marathon as part of a race-cation with 8 friends!! That race takes place the weekend before.

I really had a tough time deciding what to do.  I really wanted to run this race but I was not sure if it would be a good idea to run half marathons two weeks in a row.

I had to decide in advance to run it in October or do the race virtually in May.  No refund or deferral option.  The silver lining was that if you ran the distance in May, you would still get the swag (shirt, medal, pint glass.)

So another virtual half marathon….

I did my long runs on the weekends…and my weekdays runs as well. I ran alone due the “social distancing” requirement.

I admit that my runs were not as enjoyable as when I could do them with my friends. Slow and easy with tons of walking (and photo stops.)

So again my goal for this “race” was just finishing and not injuring any part of my body!! But I also hoped that this race would go better than the last one.  I don’t care about speed but I wanted to feel good while running it and not just drag myself through it.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Well, since this was a local race and work days were at my home, there was not much movement the days before.  In fact, I did not run Thursday or Friday.

As I normally do before a big race,  I ate pizza for dinner the night before.

Then in addition to what to wear, there was the decision of where to run. The race organizer published a virtual course for this race but it looked too confusing.

2020 Steel Rail Half Marathon Race Route

I did want to run on the Ashuwillticook Rail trail (in Mass.) so maybe I run the 8k there in October.

But instead I chose the Corning Smith Bike Path since it was pretty flat and long enough to get in the 13.1 miles.

Race Day:

I ate my usual breakfast – oatmeal and coffee. Last Saturday it snowed and today it almost 60 degrees when I got up.

Hooray for my first race in a tank top.

wearing my Skirt Sports tank so I could count this run for their Virtual Strong 5k

My plan was to take it slow. Run and when I felt like it, walk.  As much as I hate to admit it, my feet have been hurting.

Anyway, here’s how it went:

Miles 1-4.5:

The Corning Bike Path is very familiar since I run there fairly often. I started around 9 am and there were only a few bikers (who passed me wearing masks) on the path but that was about it. No runners at all.

Here are a few pics of the scenery that I took while I was running/walking:

I started at the boat launch along the Hudson River

there was a highway along my left (you can drown out the traffic noise with headphones) and the river always in view on the right

you can see how empty the path was

at times, the the trees even block the highway from view

you pass under various highway overpasses too

very pretty when the trees are in bloom

The weather was perfect and the route so pretty with the trees and views of the Hudson River. It would have even more enjoyable if it weren’t for my damn painful feet.  But it is what it is (neuroma on the ball of one foot and bunion on the other).

I was planning to turn around at the end of the bike path and then continue back in the opposite direction (past my start) until I reached 13.1 miles.

But I was afraid that when I reached my car, I would be tempted to quit so I just plodded on into town.

What about fuel and water?? I do not carry water and I was ok.  I had carried energy gels and Honey Stinger chews.  I did not eat any of the gels and munched on the chews while I was walking. (That was new since I am a gel person but I wanted to save the gels for a real race..)

Miles 4.5-8.5:

This was definitely not a scenic part of the run. Old apartments on one side and the highway on the other.

I dragged myself 2 miles and then turned around to return to the bike path.

no one outside so very quiet.

noisy highway on the right – ran in the road (cuz I hate sidewalks) but there was very little traffic

I get it but are we safe to yet?

not a #518rainbow…it’s from a paint store

Miles 8.5-13.1

The last part of my virtual race was the same as the beginning.

finally heading back onto the bike path

There were, however, now more people on the trail. But everyone was respectful. Walkers and bikers were wearing masks. I moved over as runners passed me by.  I always felt safe.

At one point, I bumped into a former student. We chatted and then went in different directions.

a social distancing selfie

This run was hard. It was painful. But I did it and earned my medal!

So five half marathons so far for 2020. Three virtual ones. I was planning on running a half marathon every month. That was before my foot neuroma and now the pandemic. So I think I’m done. Best laid plans lol

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • The weather
  • Flexible start time
  • Slept in my own bed the night before
  • Flat course
  • Scenic for 9 out of 13 miles
  • Not crowed with other runners
  • No clock, no pressure.
  • Great Swag (when they ship it to me)

The Bad:

  • No water stops
  • No crowd support
  • Running alone
  • No mojo to run fast
  • My achy feet

The Ugly:

  • Everything listed in Bad

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. But the real thing would have been a lot more fun. Or if I could have run it with friends.

Next Up:

Not sure.  I think I’ll skip June and July.

Hopefully I’ll be back to a real half marathon in August.

The Good News | My First 5K and More...


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


I’m also linking up here:

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 been training for a big race? Are you running it as a virtual race?  Have you done any Virtual Races?  If so, how did they go? Please share.

 

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De-Cluttering Your Race Shirts

Since it’s Tuesday, I’m joining the link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner)

My Topic today is: Race Shirts: Which Do you Keep?

Not a post about the pandemic per se but when you are stuck in the house day after day, you have time to de-clutter your drawers and closets, right?

I am NOT a saver like my hubby.  I am a tosser.

But I have probably run over 300 races.  You know what that means?  A gazillion race shirts.

I have sent many to my running buddy.

I have donated many. I have even had a blanket made from them.

Still, my drawers were full with race shirts!!!!

Here are tips that helped me to decide which ones to keep:

  • Shirts made from breathable material.

NOPE!!

No cotton ones!! (Unless you need a shirt to sleep in or garden.)

  • Shirts from memorable races.

Shirts from race-cations or favorite races or PRs.

YES!

  • Shirts that are gender-specific.

Uni-sex shirts rarely ever fit right.

NO!!

  • One Shirt per race.

If you repeat a race, you do not need one from every year.

  • One shirt per color.

No one needs more than one kelly green shirt.

  • Shirts in colors that you like or look good on you.

In other words, if you do not like white shirts, don’t keep them. If you look washed out in a light yellow shirt, toss it.

IMG_3341

that’s a no!

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my race shirts.

I often wear shirts from local races when I race elsewhere.  It’s a great conversation starter.

promoting my favorite local race while running a race in NYC

This was harder than it looks. I made attempt #1 at de-cluttering my shirt drawer trying to follow the tips above.

No!! Good-bye.

But I still have too many shirts!!! (And this does not include tanks and long sleeve shirts.)

Yes and Maybe.


I’m  also linking up here:

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! Do you keep all your race shirts? How do you decide which ones to discard? Please share.

Homage to Skirt Sports

Since it’s Tuesday, I’m joining the link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner)

My Topic today is: Skirt Sports

In case you haven’t heard, after 15 years, Skirt Sports is closing its doors.

Many of my friends have asked me why?  They wondered if it was because of the pandemic.  I’ll just post here part of what Nicole and Noelle wrote on their site:

This could be the end of the Skirt road…Unfortunately the current economic climate has dictated that we must consider closing our doors even as we continue to search for a new owner… 

Over the coming weeks, we need to sell all of our inventory…

Let us reassure you that no matter what happens in the coming months, our community will live on… 

This is very sad for many reasons:

  • This was a woman-owned and run company.
  • Their clothes were for ALL women of ALL ages and ALL sizes.
  • They did not just sell skirts but also tops, capris, tights, jackets, hats, dresses, bathing suits, etc.
  • They offered sales, discounts, used items to make their clothes affordable.
  • They created a community of women not just clothes.
  • They sponsored races and retreats.
  • They inspired women to be healthy and fit.

I could go on and on.

glad to have kept ALL my ambassador shirts

 

Five years ago, I was lucky to be selected as an Ambassador Captain.  It was then a small group which has grown immensely in subsequent years.

I personally benefited greatly from this company:

  • I wore cute clothes and always felt good in them when running (no matter how hard the race was.)

  • My clothes always felt comfortable in ALL seasons.

  • I have worn Skirt Sports not just for running but also for hiking, tennis and even going out.
  • Most important are those friends that I would never have met if it weren’t for Skirt Sports. ❤ ❤ ❤

So thank Nicole and Noelle for what you have added to my life.  And Good Luck in your future endeavors.

I know you will be missed in my area:

Check out their last sale:

b5.1_Social_FinishLine_Split


I’m  also linking up here:

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! Did you wear Skirt Sports? How do feel about their end of their reign? Please share.

Pandemic Inspired Goal

Since it’s Tuesday, I’m joining the link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner)

My Topic today is: My New Goal (inspired by the pandemic)

If you read my blog, you may remember that my goal for 2020 was to run ONE half marathon EACH MONTH.

I even signed up for 7 out 12 races before the year even began.

First there was the foot injury and so I limped through January and February’s.

Then this pandemic!! My March’s was cancelled and April and May’s have been postponed. I have already run two uninspired virtual ones with many more to come, I’m sure.

I am not sure at this point if any of my half marathons this year will be real ones.

So onto a new goal.

Visit ALL the LOCAL 25 NEW NATURE TRAILS. (I realize that ALL is a little vague.  So is the word “local.”  I am going to change it to 25 as my goal.)

There are 18 nature preserves just in my local area.  So I far I have visited 7. https://mohawkhudson.org/our-preserves/find-a-preserve/

In addition to these preserves, there are many parks with trails, arboretums, and nature sanctuaries.  Plenty to keep me busy. I have visited 6 already.

So why is this goal and why visit these areas now?

  • They are free.
  • They are scenic.
  • They have varied terrain.
  • They are well marked and maintained.
  • You can walk them.
  • The trails are looped and of varying distances.
  • You can go when sunny, windy or even rainy.
  • NO ONE ELSE is there!!

Yes, I feel safe and wear a mask (actually a buff). I have barely run into a person (and if so, they are surprised and polite and friendly.)

But of course, many of you would not feel comfortable with this goal.  I am not being critical of anyone who is self isolating.

You can follow my progress with this new goal and view the gazmillion pics through my IG posts (@dsc59).


I’m  also linking up here:

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! Anyone else getting outdoors more now? Have you changed your original 2020 running/fitness goal? Please share. 

Virtual Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon Recap

Image result for helderberg to hudson half marathon

April 18, 2020

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever. As with all my big races, I impulsively sign up way in advance (and then often regret it LOL).

So I signed up for Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon as my 43rd Half Marathon (and 4th of 2020) for several reasons:

  • FOMO. Most of my running friends were doing it.
  • It’s local. I can sleep in my own bed.
  • I am familiar with the course.  I run on it often.
  • It’s a downhill course. (470 ft elevation loss)
  • It is close after my previous half (20 days) so I would be sorta already trained for it.
  • I ran it last year and enjoyed it.
  • My finish time for this race qualified me for the NYC Half and full marathons.

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 on March 14 (a virtual version of the NYC Half that was cancelled.)

During my first two 2020 Half Marathons, I experienced a lot of foot pain. I ran them but truthfully it was not fun at the time. (Don’t let that smile below fool you!!)

I tried all kinds of treatments for 12 weeks and finally, the pain seemed to dissipate.

Would it come back? Would I be able to run 13.1 miles without any foot pain?

And then this half marathon was postponed until August!!!

Who wants to do long runs in July and August??? So would I run this race? Would my friends?

So I cautiously trained for a virtual version of the half marathon. And at the same time, I signed up for a Virtual Race (as an additional motivator).

I did my long runs on the weekends…and my weekdays runs as well. I ran alone due the “social distancing” requirement.

I admit that my runs were not as enjoyable as before. Slow and easy with tons of walking (and photo stops.)

So unfortunately, again my goal for this “race” was just finishing and not re-injuring my foot (or any other part of my body)!!

And then a week or two before, ARE decided to offer a FREE virtual option.

You got a bib and you could run any distance that weekend anywhere.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Well, since this was a local race and work days were at my home, there was not much movement the days before.  As I normally do before a big race,  I ate pizza for dinner the night before.  Not being a “real” race, I had some wine too!!

I checked the weather. SNOW!!!! WTF??

I got up and yes, it was snowing!!

Ok. Plan B. The good thing about a VIRTUAL race is that you can run whenever you want.

I quickly decided to postpone this half marathon until Sunday when the weather was supposed to be dry and 60 degrees.

Race Day:

I ate my usual breakfast – oatmeal and coffee.

OOPS. Another wrench in my plan.

When I had originally planned to run this race on April 18, I had scheduled a college reunion in NYC for Sunday. This now was a ZOOM chat from 10am- 1pm!!

original outfit but I ditched the gloves and the long sleeve shirt.

So I got dressed for the race, ZOOMED with my college friends, had lunch and then took off.

The real course had you take a bus to the start and then run to the finish.

Not having this option, I chose to start at my free gym lot, run to the end of the rail trail in Voorheesville (the start of the actual race) and then turn around and run until I hit 13.1.

Anyway, here’s how it went:

Miles 1-6.5:

Here are a few pictures from previous runs on this same trail:

IMG_7553

img_0082

image

image

this one I took today!

AM is my ideal time to run.  Not mid afternoon.  (I didn’t start until almost 2 pm.) Plus it was already warm (not summer warm but April warm).  So I started casually running the uphill portion, stopping to walk when I felt the whim to.

Almost instantly, I felt off and had a sneaky suspicion that this was gong to be torturous.

And it was.  By mile 4, I wanted to quit.  But I am stubborn and I could not.

My foot started to hurt and I feared that the neuroma pain had returned.  Nope, the pain went away.  But both of feet that I had taped so I wouldn’t get blisters were starting to get blisters.  Ouchy!

But onward I went.  I can run through pain.  I just felt like my legs were lead and I had never run before.

There was no way I was quitting so I just focused on moving and walking when I felt that I had to.  I had to a lot or at least it felt that way.

And during this time of isolation, there were many bikers on the path and a few runners and walkers.

It was actually nice.  I waved and smiled.  Bikers were riding in the opposite direction, single file and never too close.  I never felt that my health was compromised.

The weather was beautiful (well, maybe a tad too warm and I could have used some water) and there were many painted rocks and rainbow signs.

Miles 6.5-13.1:

Eventually you arrive at the end of the trail which is an old train station. This was my turn around. I was never so glad to get there.

I had planned to turn around and then run until I reached 13.1 but I was afraid that I wouldn’t.  So I ran/walked around until I hit 6.55 miles.  Then I turned off my Apple watch and continued on my merry (not no merry) way.

The scenery was the same as above but it was now slightly downhill. My legs were tired and I was warm so it didn’t feel as welcoming as I was hoping.

Now bikers were behind me but they always announced themselves and I moved out of the way.

My body was rebelling. It was yelling at me to stop this nonsense.  I had considered walking the second half but it would take too long (and I wanted my ice cream lol).

Eventually I got to my car.  I wanted to kiss the ground.

I’ve never felt so beat up after a race (not even after my full marathon.)

Since I was running alone, I did not TIME my race. I did not care if if I finished in 2 hours or 3 hours. I think it was closer to 3 hours LOL.

And after, I had my chocolate milk AND ice cream cone.

Additional Race Reflections:

Sorry this is such a Debbie Downer race recap.

As with every race, you learn something.

I learned that I am STRONG.  I will not give up.  My feet suck (and I need to pay more attention to socks and shoes). I am glad that I did it and I am grateful that I did not pay money for this one!!

The Good:

  • The weather
  • Flexible start time
  • Downhill course the 2nd half
  • Slept in my own bed the night before
  • No clock, no pressure.
  • Great post race food
  • Bib and virtual support

The Bad:

  • Tired legs
  • No water stops
  • No crowd support
  • Running alone
  • No mojo to run fast
  • My achy feet

The Ugly:

  • Everything listed in Bad

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. But the real thing would have been a lot more fun. Or if I could have run it with friends.

Next Up:

May 17 or so

Yes, another virtual half marathon.  Maybe with some company, maybe solo. My next REAL half marathon will not be until August 29 most likely.


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

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


I’m also linking up here:

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 been training for a big race? Are you running it as an unofficial virtual race?  Have you done any Virtual Races?  If so, how did they go? Please share.


** Today is your last chance!!!

If you haven’t done so yet, enter my giveaway for a free entry to the Freihofer Run for Women Virtual 5k.

Click here to enter.

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The Good News

Since it’s Tuesday, I’m joining the link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner)

My Topic today is: Pandemic Good News

It is so easy to think about how awful these times are for runners and everyone else.

Don’t kid yourself.  It is bad.  We cannot see our family and friends.  We are stuck in our houses. People have lost their jobs and can’t support themselves and even worse, people are sick or dying.

So here are some good things to ponder (related to running):

  • More new runners.  Some bloggers have mentioned that being cooped up in our homes has prompted an increased interest in becoming a runner.  Kudos to anyone who has started running and I hope you continue even after this is over.

  • More Online Options for training, working out, yoga, etc.. ZOOM is free and easy to use.  There’s FB live.  There have been so many opportunities to remain active even if your gym or yoga studio is closed.

  • Connecting More with your Running Friends.  One Thursday night, my running friends and I chatted for TWO hours via ZOOM.  One mentioned that it was better than post run brunches when we only chat with the person next to or across from us. And when we run together, it’s often hard to chat.

  • Increased Participation in Virtual Races. There are so many out there.  Some even send you a bib and a medal (and the fee often supports a charity). You don’t even have run an “official” virtual race.  You can just pick a race and a distance and then run it.

a great one for April

Plus there are so many FREE ones,  Why not??

Run the Edge – a different color each week and you can pic your distance – FREE!!

  • Increased Flexibility. Working from home may allow you more time to squeeze in a run, such as before work, during lunch or after work.

lunch run in the ‘hood

With everyone working from home, there is less traffic.  This gives you the opportunity to seek out a new place to run.

drive to Colonie Town Park for an after work run

  • More Late Summer/Fall Race Opportunities.  Many spring races have been postponed.  There will be quite a selection to choose from.  And you’re had all this time to train. LOL
Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon Registration Page

August 29, 2020

This will end.  And if we come out of it healthy, that’s the best thing ever.

Looking forward to seeing these smiling faces in person.


I’m  also linking up here:

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! Any positives in your running life during the Pandemic? Please share. 

How to Support Your Running Friends While Running Alone

Since it’s Tuesday, I’m joining the link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner)

My Topic today is: How to Support Your Friends While Running Alone

Now more than ever, runners need support.

I know, you may think this doesn’t apply to you.  You mostly run alone.  You follow your own plan and run whenever you choose and wherever. You pretty much worry about your own running concerns, needs and goals.

I bet at one time or another, another runner has helped you at a race, a run or even provided online support.

I know when I was training for my marathon, I was very lucky to have friends who cared about and supported me. They offered to run parts of my long runs, cheered me on at the end my 20 miler and even tracked me during the big race.

And although my friends and I are currently not running together, I want to still support them, encourage them to keep running and make sure they know I care about them.

So here are some ideas that you can use to support your friends even if you are now running alone:

  • Text them.  Ask them how they are?  What they are doing?  How they are keeping active?

Mass Texting: Keeping Your Church in the Know

  • Set up Video Chats. ZOOM is free and easy to use.  You can discuss running, of course (or anything else) and it’s nice to see their faces and hear their voices.

  • Organize Virtual Running Dates.  You can run at the same time but in different places.  You can even text each other pictures from the run.

Cari and I even planned our outfits for an after work run.

  • Participate with them in Virtual Races. There are so many out there.  Some even send you a bib and a medal (and the fee often supports a charity). You don’t even have run an “official” virtual race.  You can just pick a race and a distance and then run it.

a great one for April

  • Post Your Scheduled Runs (when and when). Your friends will know where and when you are running.  They may even choose to run WITH you (but of course, 6 feet apart.)

3-21 – 8 am at Peebles Island

  • Encourage Signing Up for Summer or Fall Races. Always motivating to have something to look forward to together.
Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon Registration Page

August 29, 2020

We may feel alone. We may feel isolated. Some of us even may feel depressed and unmotivated due to so many races being cancelled.

But we are really in it together. We can help each get through these difficult times.

those were the days…back in January, I think


I’m  also linking up here:

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! How you are supporting your running friends? Please share.