Prospect Mountain Road Race Recap

MAY 7, 2022 – 9:00 AM

I had always been intrigued by this race.  I had driven up the mountain but never walked or hiked to the top..

Until last year.

I ran this race for the first time in 2021… and I really enjoyed it!!!

One of my running friends exclaimed: “You hate hills. That race race is straight up hill. Are you crazy?”

I replied that it was my birthday in TWO days and I wanted to do something crazy! And as they advertise: “It’s only ONE hill!”

1,601 foot vertical climb …ouch!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I had been running some downhill or FLAT races lately.

So I definitely was NOT prepared to run up a mountain. But I knew that I could walk most of it if I had to.

I needed to do a 12 mile Long Run in preparation for my May 22 half marathon.

Well, it was almost 6 miles (5.67) to the top so I could also run back down to my car (although last year, I did hitch a ride down.)

This time of year is tricky to decide what to wear. It could be real spring or what they call in “fake spring.”  I tried to remember what I used to wear to race at this time of year.  (I seem to have dressing amnesia.)

The forecast looked cold in the morning… and probably colder on the top of a mountain.

So I decided on this:

I also had a beanie, second shirt and gloves, just in case

Race Day:

So I got up early, had my habitual race breakfast (oatmeal & coffee). I carpooled with my friend Jenny (who lives near me) and we hit the road around 7:15 am.

I arrived around 8 15 am and the packet pick up was at the start.

cotton (ugh) but also got a coupon for a free ice cream cone

Then we drove to find parking (right next door) and waited in my car to stay warm until it was time to walk back to the start.

Yes, I was cold (40s and windy) but actually my friends Jenny & Linda were properly dressed

here we are again waiting to start

There was no actual start line.  Everyone just seemed to gather.

Last year, I left Garmin home since I didn’t plan to race it but this year, I wanted an elevation map.

This is all I got last year from my Apple watch:

Basically the course was run on Veterans’ Memorial Highway from the village of Lake George to the summit of Prospect Mountain and was just under 5.7 miles, climbing a little over 1600 feet in elevation.

according to my Garmin… yup.. straight UP

Mile 1:

Being that the start was not chip-timed, if I cared I would have started closer to the front of the pack.  But I didn’t.

And I hit the wrong button on my Garmin and so it didn’t start right away.

The first mile is mostly flat.  This was the only mile that I didn’t have to walk. Still I ran slowly not to tire myself out for the climb to come.

There was a mile marker at each mile and someone calling out times at some of them. There were cute motivational signs at each marker.

Believe it or not, I quickly realized that I was over-dressed. I wore two shirts so I rolled up my sleeves.  Then I took off my gloves… then my beanie and finally put my hair in a pony tail.

Mile 2:

Carrying all my throw-aways got annoying so I just left them on a big rock on the side of the road. (Jenny and I had planned to run down so I could pick them up later.)

The climbing started immediately after the mile 1 mark.  Someone said that it was a 600 foot gain.  And so the walk breaks began.

The scenery was really pretty. Waterfalls lined the rocks on the left side most of the race.

I usually don’t stop to take pictures during a race but I couldn’t resist

After a steady mile and a half of climbing, the road leveled off near the 2.5-mile mark  I picked up the pace here. It was a short welcome breather.

I think there was the first of the two water stops during this mile, as well.  It was a normal water stop with volunteers handing out cups of water. I was happy not to have to carry a cup or water bottle.

Mile 3:

During this mile, the climbing started again. I knew that I could not run the whole way up but I decided to decrease my walk breaks and run more.

The amazing thing was that there were runners who did not walk at all but they were not far ahead of me.

It seemed that most of the runners in this race were older and were men.  Many seemed to be around my (slow) pace.  They were walk/running like me and we kept trading leads throughout the race.

Mile 4:

Much of the same. Running as much as I could and walking when I couldn’t.

The altitude was making me a little dizzy so I ate a GU and I think that helped.

But basically, there was no respite from the climb. And I forgot to mention that it was very windy at times… that didn’t help.

Some place during this mile was the second water stop. I did stop again. I was getting very warm too (over dressed!!)

Mile 5:

There were the multiple parking areas clustered around the peak. Just before the first lot there is a sign that proclaims “Parking 1000 meters ahead.” Unfortunately, this was not “The End” but only the beginning of the end, with the steepest part yet to come.

Some pics: from previous years:

Prospect Mountain Road Race, the ultimate uphill climb, celebrating 30th running | Sports | poststar.com

April 2019 - RUNNING & WALKING — Adirondack Sports

Mile 5.67:

The last climb was the steepest.  Of course, runners that had already finished were heading down the mountain all saying “You’re almost there!”

But the hills were not over yet.

I crossed at 1:15:XX (which turned out to be 8 seconds faster than last year.)

After we crossed the finish line, we had to call out our age. So as you crossed, if you won, you were immediately handed a medal.

I came in second but there were only TWO women in my age group.

Post Race Activities:

I spent some time at the top admiring the views. I mean that’s why I ran the race, right?

of course, it looked better in person

Then I grabbed some refreshments – there was boxes of water, fruit and homemade cookies, breads, muffins, etc. (all were individually packaged.)

I checked out the results –

there were mostly older runners in this race…

We all won awards:

this guy was in his 80s 

and with the race director

Some runners ran down the mountain to get back to their cars. Last year, I jumped at a ride back to my car.

This year, Jenny and I slowly ran/walked down…

chillier and windier on the way down… Jenny was grateful for an extra shirt

We were able to admire the views more than while we were struggling running up.

And happily, I found my discarded items.

I have chatted with Jenny before at several races but today I really got to know her.  Her son and my stepson graduated at the same time from the same high school. And she has completed over 60 marathons!  (Her 50th was in Iceland).

After 12 miles on the legs, we decided that we needed a reward.

we used our free ice cream coupon… so yummy!!

Additional Race Reflections:

Last year, the Prospect Mountain Road Race was a first for me. I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea what I was capable of.

I was happy with the results. I did not do any hill training. It was not worth the risk of an injury just to have a faster time. And and I felt perfectly fine the next day.

It was my slowest pace ever in a race but I was proud that I took on the challenge.

This year, I decided to try it again.  And my goals were exactly the same… Have fun!! Stay healthy for upcoming vacation and May 22 Half Marathon.

And both goals were met!!

Positives:

  • Ample parking at various nearby locations
  • Easy packet pick-up.
  • Two Water Stops
  • Well marked course.
  • Little traffic since the road was closed to the public.
  • Beautiful scenery (waterfalls) and views
  • Lots of course marshals
  • Mile markers and volunteers calling out times
  • Well organized.
  • Familiar faces
  • Post-race food (boxes of water, fruit and homemade baked goods).
  • Nice medals for age group awards.
  • Perfect weather.
  • Rides offered back down (if you didn’t want to run down.)
  • Carpooling with Jenny
  • Free ice cream coupon

Negatives:

  • ONE Big Hill (but it was a mountain race)
  • Cotton uni-sex shirt
  • Over-dressed (my fault)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes.

It was super well-organized. Special attention was paid to EVERY detail. It was fun and worth it for the view.

Final Stats:

Gun Time = 1:15:40

Splits:

run, walk, run, walk until I reached the top.

Next Up:

A sweaty 5k in Fla, followed by a local 3.5m team race and finally a half marathon.

May 22, 2022


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


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

Happy Running!  Ever run UP a mountain? Are you tired of reading all my race recaps? Please share.

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Sasha’s Super Hero Run 5k Race Recap

MAY 1, 2022 – 9:30 AM – HALF MOON TOWN PARK

It is rare that lately I run a new race.  What I mean is not an “inaugural” race but a “new” race for me.  My running friends actually have run this race in the past but the date was never convenient for me.

my friend Sherry last year

But this year, I decided to make it happen because of the charity:  UKRAINE.  I know the race organizer from FTC.  And I chatted with her at a recent expo.

It would be a fun run since I haven’t trained for speed and I can’t remember the last 5k I’ve run… perhaps last fall?!

Yup – over 6 months ago….

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Not much preparation for a 5k… my usual 3 mile weekly runs plus a long run on the weekend in preparation for a half marathon in THREE weeks.

In fact, I took Friday morning off from work to run my 11 mile long run so I would be free to run this race (even though, my legs would not be in tip top shape.)

Since my weekly long run was done, I was free to join my running buddies for a leisurely walk and brunch.

the Y now has normal ore-COVID hours so I was to workout first thing

I spent the rest of the day trimming bushes and weeding.  It seemed way more tiring and I was more sore than after my long run.  Good thing this 5k was just for fun

Here is the description of the race:

Sasha’s Superhero Run is a 5K run/walk and a kids run was organized by the family and friends of a local boy, Sasha, who passed away unexpectedly as a baby on Christmas Eve in 2016. The superhero theme of the event was adopted to honor all parents whose babies and children passed before their time…

Since Sasha’s family is Ukrainian, our 2022 event will be raising funds for the children of Ukraine, affected by the horrific war waged on its territory. The race proceeds will be split between the Global Ronald McDonald House Charities and few smaller local charitable organizations, based in Western Ukraine, providing direct assistance to displaced children and their families.

It is obvious why I picked this race (over several choices the previous day.)

The weather forecast seemed to be prefect – a little chilly but not much wind and sunny.

It may have been too cold for a skirt but I took the chance

I ate pizza for dinner as I do for any race (even though it was only 3 miles, lol)

Race Day:

I also had my standard breakfast of oatmeal and coffee.  I guess I’m a creature of habit.

I looked outside and there was frost on my lawn. What?  It was in the 30s though it would surely warm up by race time.

I impulsively added a long-sleeved shirt under my shirt,  DIY arm sleeves, a beanie and I even brought gloves.

This year, the race once again took place in Halfmoon Town Park (just a few miles up the road from the original location in Mechanicville).

I had never been there and wasn’t sure about the parking situation so I left early.

No problem at all. Plenty of signs and volunteers directing things.

empty start line

empty finish line

I picked up my bib and race shirt.

I walked to my car and left the shirt and got some money for the raffles (so many great prizes).

obligatory pre-race pic

Soon more runners arrived and I knew many of them.

Race Course (according the web site):

The out-and-back course starts and finishes in Halfmoon Town Park and has a series of rolling hills, with elevation changes just under 150ft. The start is at the north end of the park near the playground and proceeds south to Route 236. The course crosses NY 236 and turns left onto Hayner Rd, proceeding left onto Lower Newtown Road, where the course reverses direction and proceeds back to the start.

according to my Garmin

Soon it was time to line up at the start. And it was much warmer than when I arrived.  I didn’t have time to go back to my car so I stashed my cape (it would be too annoying to run with it) and my arm sleeves in one of those mini library stands.

The RD announced that the race had raised over $30,000for Ukraine.  She is Ukrainian and it was very emotional as she spoke.

Credit: The Saratogian

Then they played the Ukrainian national anthem. Sniff. Sniff.

Mile 1: 

The race was gun timed so I could have stood closer to the front.  But I am uncomfortable doing that and it really only makes a few seconds difference in my finish time.

Credit: The Saratogian

There were about 250 in the race, many in costume and many walkers.  My legs definitely felt sluggish after lack of rest the past two days. But I tried to ignore it and just run.

It was only rolling hills at first.

But then…

Mile 2: 

The hills arrived and I thought I could run up them…

Nope, I resorted to walking.

I also stopped at the water stop as it was feeling warm due to all that sun (and being overdressed a bit).

Eventually we turned around and the course repeated itself.

But why didn’t I feel speedy on those downhills?

Mile 3 – 3.1: 

I was pooped…

I did my best but just didn’t have the mojo to go for it.

I walked several more times so at least I could sprint (and smile) going through the finish line.

I was pleased to see 28:XX on the clock.  I thought I was a lot slower.

Post Race Activities:

I retrieved my sleeves and cape.

I waited at the finish line cheering in my friends.

Then I grabbed some food – there was chocolate milk, snacks, bars fruit, etc.

I didn’t win any raffle prizes but my friend Judy did…

yes, that’s a $100 bill (but she donated it back)

Then I checked the results…

The prize was a certificate and a beautiful calendar with photos of Ukraine. No ceremony.

There were also two kids races scheduled next but we didn’t stick around.

Credit: The Gazette

This was such a great race for kids too.

It really is fun to race with your good friends.

Additional Race Reflections:

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this race. If I am around, I will probably run it again next year.

The past few years, I’ve mostly focused on half marathons.

Truthfully, I was a little nervous about how I would do in a 5k. Especially without doing any speedwork.

I have a ways to go if I want or can get back to 27 minute 5ks.  I need to either train to get faster or pace myself better so I don’t die during the last mile.

I am happy to be healthy, to be running regularly and interacting with others.

If my race times slow down, so be it.

Note to self: Do not wear a costume if you are serious about racing.  My h beanie kept flying off, my shirt was cotton so too hot. I didn’t wear my race belt so my phone & car key weighed down my skirt. Finally, those knee socks were not compression ones they kept falling down.  But it was fun dressing up!!

Positives:

  • Well organized race
  • Supported an important charity.
  • Well marked course with many course marshals
  • Great raffle prizes
  • Real restrooms
  • Lots of familiar faces.
  • Perfect weather
  • Immediate results
  • 5 year age groups for awards
  • Creative/meaningful awards

Negatives:

  • Too much walking
  • Hills (but few races are totally flat)
  • Gun Time
  • Shirts ran small.
  • Costume annoyances (my fault)
  • Lack of hill training (my fault)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes!!

There is really nothing negative to say about this race.

Final Stats:

same pace as last weekend’s 5 miler though 2 miles shorter, it was hiller

Splits:

ok… who walks 5 times in a 5k???

Next Up:

A race almost 6 miles up a mountain, then a sweaty 5k in Fla, followed by a local 3.5m team race and finally a half marathon.

May 22, 2022

Happy Running! Ever run a 5K race just because of the charity? Do you like to wear a costume when you race?  Please share.

 

 

 

 

 


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.


with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon Race Recap

Image result for helderberg to hudson half marathon

***************April 16, 2022******

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).

I ran the first annual one in 2019. Due to COVID, in 2020, I ran the race virtually and in 2021, I ran it on a completely different course (a hilly one).

So I signed up for 2022 Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon as my 58th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • FOMO. Many 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)

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 February 27 in NYC. An then a virtual one on March 19.

On weekdays, I try to run 3x… Since this week I ran Sun, Mon, Tues and Wed (4 days in a row), I decided on two rest days before the race (so nada on Thursday ad Friday.)

and then on the weekend, I do my long run, if possible.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I picked up my bib (and Sherry and Stan’s) after work on Thursday at the race finish (in between rain showers).

and then had pasta for dinner on Friday.

I checked the weather and

no bueno 😦

So what do I wear?

Plan A – skirt and short sleeves

Plan B: capris, long sleeves and gloves

Race goals?

The same as usual. Finish happy with no injuries.  I have realized that having a time goal is difficult at my age. Having any expectations of a PR or even a course PR is unrealistic, as well.

 

thumbs up in 2019 as my 2:11 finish time qualified me for the 2020 NYC Half Marathon.

That being said, since this race did not have the hills of Central Park or the bridges of Florida, I was hoping to have a faster finish time than my last three half marathons … but again, anything can happen on race day.

Race Day:

Since I had run this race before, I was familiar with the start and finish logistics. But they still were tricky. There was a bus from the finish to the start (and no parking at the start). However this year, I  knew when to get there and whereto find nearby parking.  Over 2,000 runners had signed up for this race!!!

Well, I woke up to 50 degrees and no rain!! What??

I wore Plan A and added two throwaway shirts and gloves.  I even decided against bag check.  There appeared to be a change in the forecast.  No rain until afternoon.  I was hoping they were right!!

I arrived around 6:00 am, found parking in the lot near the finish. I met Stan and Sherry there and we walked to the bus.

we parked near near the finish line!!

We arrived at the bus location and there were many buses.  We wound up getting the last seats on Bus #1.

Our bus got lost and we arrived after bus #2 and # 3 but we were plenty early.  The race did not start until 8:30

checking out the empty start area

we waited in a pavilion and took turns headed to the porta-potties – never much of a line

We waited and chatted with many other runners.

obligatory pre-race pic

There were so many familiar faces.. from former running groups, training groups, other races, etc..

I was a little chilly and wondered if I made the right decision about what to wear. (I did!!)

Believe it or not, the sun came out.  What?  Glad I grabbed my sunglasses.

Eventually, it was time to go to our corrals. There were 4 and I was in the last one.

It appeared to be warming up a bit so I tossed both of my throw away shirts but kept on my arm sleeves and gloves.

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Course Map:

from my Garmin

Miles 1-5:

Thanks FB – view of the start (the Helderbergs)

The course started in the park and then we ran just over 2 miles on the roads of Voorheesville so runners could spread out before they got on the rail trail. There were some steep downhill sections and I am sure that I ran them too fast.

From there, the course headed east for about 9 miles into Albany on the rail trail. If you read my blog, you may remember that this is a trail near my home and that I run on often. It was nice to only have to run on it one way…going downhill.  It was not steep and I was able to run at a comfortable pace.

The problem was that it was HUMID and the temps were rising.  The sun even peeped out.  I rolled down my arm sleeves, then took them off and eventually just tossed them. I also tossed my gloves.

mile 1.5

But I was THIRSTY… I think there was a water stop at mile 1 or 2 but I skipped it and the first water stop was not until around 3 miles.

Dying… I also walked for the first time (I always walk at the water stops).

There were clocks at each 5k.  I saw when I passed the 5k mark that I was running too fast. I slowed down a little but obviously not enough.

My breakfast was at 5 am so I was getting pretty hungry.  I was hoping that there would be a water stop soon… Nope not yet…

The great thing about a local race was the the crowd support and volunteers.  Many called my name and it was so welcome.

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

img_0082

IMG_7553Miles 6-9:

So the race continued on this same trail.  The elevation felt a little steeper on this portion but my legs felt more and more tired.  Or should I say my quads were complaining from running downhill. The sun was getting stronger. Finally around mile 6, there was the water stop. I walked even longer than before and ate a GU.

10k pt.

At the 10k clock, it was obvious that I slowed but probably not enough.

the Race Director rides ahead

What was nice about this race was that I knew so many of the runners.  They kept passing me by. Some just waved, others slowed and ran with me for a while. I also had some friends along the course who cheered me on.

Hundreds of candid photos were posted on FB for sharing.  Here’s just a few:

my friend Karen

another running friend handing out water

Karen again

I saw my running friend Barbara around mile 7 or so.

she got a pic of Sherry running at that spot.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer… I have run 4 half marathons this year already with zero foot pain.  Well, my luck ended around mile 6 or so.  My neuroma started to throb.  Yes, I can run on it but it made me very nervous that my foot pain had re-surfaced.

In hindsight, I think it was a combination of wearing older worn shoes and running downhill… (We’ll see how it goes in future runs/races.)

I walked (too long) at the next water stop around mile 8  and ate my second GU.

another cool FB pic

More pictures from previous runs:

image


Miles 10-13.1

The foot pain eased up and then I started getting a blister on the other foot. (No, I didn’t tape it and forgot that my previous races were run in frigid temps, humidity makes a big difference. D’uh)

20k pt.

The rail trail finally ended and we were heading into Albany. This was my least favorite apart of the course – not scenic at all – running through the city (and not the nice part) and then along a busy road. With the smell of a sewage plant.

My quads were toast at this point.  My lower back ached and I just wanted to be done.

A few more water stops and longer walks.  The clock at the 20K mark indicated that a PR was out of the question but surprisingly I was still having a decent race.

The last few miles seemed endless. It was no longer downhill. In fact going to the finish line was slightly uphill.

my friend Renee…

I walked a few more times and tried as best as I could to sprint through the finish.

I saw the clock ahead and I hoped to finish under 2:12:00…and I did NOT!!

But thumbs up! I crossed at 2:12:24. My fastest 13.1 miles since this one in 2019!!!!!

Post Race Activities:

someone had to tell me that it opened up… lol

I got my medal, some water and of course, took some pics.

caught up with Lara who ran that snowy 5 miler with me last month

I chatted with some other runners who had already finished and took some more pics.

I checked the results. Nope, no age group award. I was 4th.  But I wasn’t even expecting to do that well.

awards by gun time

There was the usual food box for this race and chocolate milk.

There was also beer. Nah. Too long a line and too early in the day for a beer!!

I texted Stan and Sherry and we met up and ate our lunches together while re-capping our race experiences.  Consensus: Downhill races are hard!!!

Eventually after all our friends had finished, we limped back to our cars.

Final Stats:

Splits:

Whoa.. a whole lotta walking going on…

Additional Race Reflections:

I have yet to figure out how to negative split a long race. Maybe I need to train better (You think??)

My finish time was way faster than my previous three half marathons. (2:26:02, 2:20:55, 2:21:29).  I am thrilled about that.

In 2019, I wanted a sub 2:12 finish so I would qualify for the 2020 NYC Half Marathon. And I did!! This year, I had no glorious expectations. Yet, surprisingly, I was only 24 seconds off!!  No worries for the 2023 NYC Half, I am already in after running it virtually this year.

As you can see from the stats above, I went out too fast. And my lack of training caught up to me after 10 miles. I was on track to PR, the first half of the race.

The bad news is that my foot is sore.  My quads are achy.

I have confirmed that downhill races aren’t as easy as you may think. Rolling hills are actually easier on the body. (We runners are never satisfied)

The Good:

  • Lots of race info emailed and on website including runner guide and spectator guide.
  • Easy packet pick-up. Neat race-related items.
  • Registration options – cheaper without a hoodie.
  • Free bus from the finish to the start.
  • Many porta potties at the start. Long lines but they moved quickly
  • Bag Check. Well organized before and easy pick up at the end
  • Downhill course (except for first and last 2 miles)
  • Water and Nuun stops.
  • GU available at several water stops
  • Decent crowd support
  • Well marked course for each mile
  • Clocks at 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k
  • Very cool medal.
  • Great post race refreshments
  • Immediate electronic race results
  • PR bell
  • Free photos
  • Nearby – no transportation or hotel costs.
  • Support from friends

FB pic of the finish (Hudson R.)

The Bad:

  • Not enough water stops. I think they should be at least every 2 miles esp with humid temps.
  • The boring, unscenic last 2 miles.
  • Fat-free chocolate milk (I deserve the real thing after 13.1 miles)

The Ugly:

  • Pain 😦

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes. ARE did a fantastic job attending to every detail.  I may even do it again next year.

Next Up:

A few shorter races – 5m, some 5ks.

Then:

May 22, 2022

and finally:

May 29, 2022 – 5m, 10m, 26.2 (I’m running the 10 miler)

Happy Running!  Did you race this weekend? Do you have a big race coming up? Please share.

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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 linking up also with this link-up:

 

 

FFF: Reasons to Race

Many runners never enter a race.

Many runners stopped racing during COVID.

And of course, you are still a runner if you do NOT race.

But it’s a shame, because IMO, you are missing what enhances the running experience in more ways than I can possibly describe in this post.

Here are a few reasons why I race so often and why I think you should too:

1.Having a goal keeps you motivated

By signing up for a race, you automatically create a goal.

You’re either looking to finish the race or achieve a PR, maybe even both?

These goals will help motivate you to train, getting you out the door in the pouring rain or pushing you to the gym for that dreaded strength workout.

 2.To Push your limits

Running in a race allows you to push your potential and achieve results you may not have thought were possible. (Run without walking?  Run on trails? Run a full marathon?)

We can almost always run faster while racing due to the competitive environment, not to mention the increased adrenaline!

Take advantage of this and see what you’re really made of.

First half marathon!!

3. Provides a sense of community

There’s more to running than running itself, there’s a whole community of runners out there!

Running in a race will really allow you to embrace this community. Prepare to be cheered and to cheer your fellow runners as they achieve their goals on race day – just like yourself.

And make new friends!!

 4. To feel accomplished

It’s not every day that you get to finish a 5k or a half marathon.

Finishing a race, especially if you run a PR, is an incredible feeling. You’ll feel proud of all your hard work leading up to the race, and more importantly be proud of what you have achieved – and so you should be!

I will add that finishing any race, even if it’s a PW, is an achievement.

5. It’s fun!

Finally, running a race is fun! Toeing the start line with hundreds/thousands of runners, all with similar goals feels great.

From those pre-race chats and porta-pottie visits to making new friends and enjoying a post-race brunch, running a race is an exciting all-round experience.

IMO, worth every cent, you pay to sign up.

Happy Running! Do you race often? Why or Why not? Can you add any other reasons to race? Please share.

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Welcome to Fit Friday Five! Please join the hosts Me (My First 5K and More), Running With AttitudeRun Laugh Eat PieRuns with Pugs, and Zenaida

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Shamrock Shuffle 5 Mile Race Recap

March 27, 2022

I signed up for this race weeks ago because it’s a nice local race (actually an hour away but that’s local enough).

This was my sixth time running this five mile race. But it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 so I haven’t run it in 3 years.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Now that I’ve run the race five times, You would think that I would be at least prepared on how the course went uphill for the first mile, some rolling hills before it went downhill and then flattened out  See below:

ss15

according to my Garmin

Race Day:

I was hoping that the weather would be a little more spring-like and I could wear a green skirt. But it was not. It was not really cold but it was cloudy and windy. So I just wore capris & compression socks with a long sleeve shirt and brought another shirt, gloves, beanie, jacket and a vest.

The race was about an hour drive from my house.  But it had a late start of 11 am so I was able to sleep in.

When I arrived, the parking lot was already full, but I found a spot on a nearby street and went into the gym to get my bib and race shirt.

cotton uni-sex again!!

I chatted with some runners that I recognized.  I also met some new faces.

re-united with my friend Sue and a new friend

Anyway, I talked to my friends for a while while being entertained by bag pipes.

With such a late start (11 am), I was already hungry for lunch by the time the race began. Luckily I had brought a GU and ate it before the race.

Soon it was time to head to the start. We waited until the last minute so we didn’t have to stand outside long in the cold. I didn’t wear my vest or jacket but added my DIY arm warmers and hoped that I wouldn’t be too cold.

There were over 300 runners for this race.  It was not run by ARE or HMRCC (my local running orgs) but Adirondack Runners… a smaller but very friendly group.  I did recognize some runners from my area though.

Since I knew that the race was not chip timed, I should have lined up closer to the front. But I was chatting and then all of a sudden, the race started.

a previous year

As I mentioned, the beginning of the race went uphill. I took it slow. But I refused to walk and tried to keep an even pace.  The wind was crazy and of course, we were running INTO it!

image

over the highway bridge (also a previous year)

But I just slogged along although it felt like everyone was passing me by.

After going over the bridge, about 1 1/2 in, we turned into the neighborhoods to some rolling hills. Phew! No more wind for awhile!!

image

no snow this year – a previous year

There was a water stop around mile 1.75, I usually stop but not today.  I was going to push it and try and run the WHOLE race.

The sun came out and now I was getting warm!! I took off my gloves and arm warmers….

Finally mile 3 arrived and that was the downhill portion of the course. I knew here that I could pick up the pace.

The second water stop was around mile 4. I was so tempted to walk a bit.  I did not but probably should have since I knew that my pace was now slowing. (Walking always gives the boost I need to finish strong.)

But I just plugged along and refused to walk until I was done. It didn’t help that we were now running INTO the wind AGAIN. How cruel…

Finally, I saw the finish line and gave it everything I had. Unfortunately, I had NOTHING left. lol

I crossed at 48:XX. I was happily surprised.  I was not expecting much under 50 minutes but I was pretty sure that I would be faster than running 5 miles in a blizzard. LOL

Post Race Activities:

Normally I would have waited for my friend, Sue but I was sweaty and getting chilled. The temperature had definitely dropped since the start of the race.

So I went inside. As soon as you entered, they had a screen with the live results.  I saw immediately that I had placed 4th (in the 10 year age group.)

10 year age groups are tough when you are at the top of the group… or if your pace has slowed to a crawl

I took off my sweaty shirt and put on the race shirt, then went into the cafeteria for refreshments. There were not much to speak of. I had a water, a brownie, a cookie and a banana.  The pastries were homemade and individually packaged. I chatted with some guys wearing Delmar Dash shirts (that’s a local race in my town.)

So no age group award for me today. But to support the other runners, I stayed for the awards ceremony.

Unfortunately, I had 6 more miles left to run after the race.  The temps had dropped and the wind picked up.  But I drove to the Zim Smith bike path (about 1/2 hour south) and dragged myself 3 miles out and 3 miles back (listening to Ali on the Run’s podcast with Betty Lindbergh. 97 year-old world record holder… so inspiring)

Additional Race Reflections:

This year with all the local races returning may be the YEAR OF THE PW!!

My current Five Mile PR is 44:53 from the Delmar Dash (2019).  But that was on a FLAT course.

My course PR (2018) for this race was 45:42.  Not even close today!

Nevertheless, I am happy with how I ran the race. I didn’t walk (which is rare for me.) I do not do ANY speed work. And I am 3 years older!!

There’s always next year (or most likely the year after) to gun for the glass.

An interesting note is that Jill (on the right), who finished in 49:25, set a course record for her age group – 70-79!! (A new goal in 2 years???)

Positives:

  • Well organized
  • Warm place to wait before and after the race.
  • Indoor restrooms
  • Charity = Special Olympics
  • Entertainment (Bag pipes before the race)
  • Many familiar faces.
  • One loop course
  • 3 water stops
  • Awards (sweatshirts, soda bread, glasses)
  • Immediate results (on a screen)
  • A LIVE race

Negatives:

  • Gun timed instead of chip-timed (from the start)
  • 10 year age groups
  • Cotton shirt
  • the wind!!
  • long drive

Final Stats:

Race Splits:

NO walk breaks!!

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. A well-organized small local race!!

Next Up?

There could be a few shorter local races but definitely this one (on the original 2019 course):

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April 16, 2022

Happy Running! How was your weekend? Any running or racing? Is it spring where you live?  Have you run any St. Patrick’s Day-themed races in March? Please share.

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So it’s Tuesday and I am linking up  with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner) for Tuesday Topics.


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

Electric City Five Miler Race Recap

Run 2022!! Events Calendar for the Year! :: Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club

In 2021, this inaugural race was my second local Pandemic race, It was run by ARE, the same company as the previous race I ran (and the following half marathon).

yes in 2021, you had to wear a mask at the start and finish.

I signed up again for this 5 mile race because I am a sucker for a race, any race.  Many of my friends have lost interest in racing but I knew that I would know many of the runners at the race from past races. It would be fun to re-connect.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

My speedwork has been non-existent and my pace has slowed to a crawl.  So I entered the race will zero expectations other than being out there running with other runners.

After running THREE half marathons in 5 weeks, I was kinda glad to run a shorter race and cut back on those long runs.

Here was the snag:

Yes, I wavered back n forth. Should I stay home or should I run the race? Will the paths be slippery?  Will the drive home be treacherous?

Although this race was the FIRST big local race of 2022, for me, it was not a big deal.  I had already, as I mentioned, run THREE big races already this year.

I picked up my race packet on Thursday, just in case.

This time of year is tricky to decide what to wear. It could be winter frigid or what they call in “fake spring.”  I tried to remember what I used to wear to race at this time of year.  (I seems to have dressing amnesia.)

Past March 5 mile races:

This is what I wore to this race last year (on a cold March day):

In the end, I decided on something very similar:

in hindsight, I should have worn trail shoes (for better traction)

But of course, with rain/snow in the forecast, I needed to being a rain jacket for before and dry clothes for after.

There were many posts on FB assuring us that things would be safe – ice cleared from the paths, puddles drained, a dry area to gather before and after.

I was not nervous about running the race but I was about driving. So I contacted my friend Lara and asked her if she wanted to carpool.  She accepted and has a large truck and so she agreed to drive, as well.

Race Day:

I got up early, had my habitual race breakfast (oatmeal & coffee) and met Lara at 8am at a nearby park n ride. It was raining and had just started to snow lightly.  Fingers crossed that it wouldn’t be too bad until we got home.

I had been to Mohawk Harbor (where the race started) before but I still wanted to leave early. We arrived around 8:30 and parked in casino hotel parking garage. (The race didn’t start until 9:30.)

Lara picked up her bib in the first floor of the parking garage. We chatted with some other runners.  There were many (like over 300) crazy runners like me. We were allowed to wait in the casino hotel and use their restrooms.

So we were nice and toasty warm… little did we now what was happening outside.

 We hung out until the last possible moment.

Around 9:25, I had to head to the race start area and shiver with all the other runners. It was snowing and very windy. I was glad that I decided to wear my rain jacket.

Course Map:

It was advertised as “mostly flat and relatively fast course uniquely includes 2 crossings of the Mohawk River.” But we all know that means there are hills. Ii really did not remember the course from last year.

Believe it or not, I actually wore my Garmin, I didn’t look at it at all during the race since it was only 5 miles and there were mile markers but no water stops.  But I wanted to see my splits afterward.  My goal was to run consistently but not hard. Not slip and fall!!!

I don’t remember the course in detail since it was snowing the whole race and quite slippery.  At times, I just wanted to get done. But it was varied and lots of river views.  If it weren’t for the weather, I would have enjoyed the scenery even more.

Mile 1:

I started with Lara and two of her friends.  I ran with them most of the race.

You’ll notice in the FB pics below that the faster the runners were, the less clothing they wore…

I must admit that I was cold.  My hands and feet were numb and I didn’t warm up until mile 3. I am rarely cold when I run but it was so windy and snow was blowing in my face.

We started out near the water and I think that made it feel even colder. We even crossed the river during this mile.  I made sure that I didn’t start out fast. That was very easy since it was slippery and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t wipe out.

Mile 2:

It was still windy but not as cold during this mile since we were no longer running along the water.  Of course, there were some hills during the race but nothing that was so steep that I had to walk.  Remember I rarely do any running on hills (except in races, it seems).

And it was snowing harder. I had to run with my eyes closed most of the time since it was stinging my contacts. (I tried wearing my sunglasses but they got covered with snow and that was worse.)

Mile 3:

At one point, we were running on a path and there were big potholes full of mud. The court marshals had thankfully warned us all about it.

This mile has a few downhills and again we headed toward the river. In fact this mile ended on the bridge going over the Mohawk River. I continued running slowly and there were a few times that I almost fell but caught myself.

Mile 4:

The bridge was uphill but then there was a nice downhill.  We were also finally running with the wind at our backs.  I almost warmed up.  (I may have taken off my gloves at this point.) Of course, one of the course marshals announced that “it was downhill from here.” Not true. It’s never true. Next we ran through the old Stockade area before we hit riverside again.

At this point, there were actually runners who had finished and were re-running the course in the opposite direction (Huh?!)

Mile 5:

I felt like I was getting slower but I hadn’t walked yet. There were no water stops so no temptation to walk. I considered walking for a bit now since it might have given me a second wind. But I wanted to get to the finish line and get out of the miserable weather so I just kept going.

Finally the finish line was in sight. I ran as fast as I could in the slippery icy snow.

As I crossed, the RD, Josh (who knows everyone’s name) announced my name and said he hoped to see a recap of this race on my blog!?  (I really didn’t think most people knew I have I blog, not even my hubby is aware.)

Post Race Activities:

It was too nasty to hang out and cheer on the other runners so I took a quick pic of Lara and her friends

and we went inside the parking garage to take some goofy pics

and get some refreshments.  Last year at this race, you were given a boxed lunch but today instead, there were tables of pastries, muffins and quiches

refueling with carbs

We headed back inside to the casino hotel where it was warm so we could to eat and chat about the race.

Lara was excited that one of volunteers did not want the shirt and gave it to her

We all agreed that it was fun in spite of the weather.

Additional Race Reflections:

This was the first local race of 2022.  Most of our races are coming back.  There is still some hesitation by some runners.  It was so fun to be out there and soak up the racing atmosphere again. Now if only, we could get some mild sunny temps for a race…

Positives:

  • Discount to ARE members
  • Optional race shirt.
  • Participant manual and lots info before the race
  • Ample parking.
  • Real restrooms (in Casino Hotel)
  • Dry, warm place to hang out before and after the race.
  • Well marked course.
  • Varied scenery including river views
  • Lots of course marshals
  • A real race.
  • Well organized.
  • Familiar faces
  • Free photos
  • Post-race food

Negatives:

  • No water stops (in this weather though, it was not necessary)
  • The Wind!
  • The Snow!
  • No age group awards.
  • Post-race food (my preference would be bagels, fruit & chocolate milk)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes.

It was super well-organized. Special attention was paid to EVERY detail. It will be even more fun when there are nicer weather conditions.

Final Stats:

first negative split race, I believe!

slow day even for the oldies

Obviously this was a 5 mile PW. Almost 4 minutes slower than last year and about 7 minutes slower than my PR.  I blame mostly the weather.

Splits:

In fact, I was thrilled with my time.  I wasn’t expecting much.  I did exactly what I had planned.  Just ran… slowly. I wasn’t ever tired so I definitely think I could have run faster.  But there didn’t seem to be a reason to.  No age group awards.  It was slippery. I was just running for me and because it makes me feel good to race.

No walk breaks!!

The drive home was pretty scary.  I was relieved that I was not driving.  We passed many cars that had gone off the road.

I arrived home safely.

and enjoyed a nice long shower and some hot chocolate in front of the fireplace.

I obviously would not be running more miles for a long run.  That would be postponed until the next day when hopefully, it would be warmer, less windy and the roads cleared.

Next Up:

I plan to run a Virtual Half Marathon next weekend.

Then another 5 miler in two weeks and a 5 miler a month later (both were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 so this is very exciting).

Then in between, there’s the Druthers Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon (on its original downhill course).

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April 16, 2022

Happy Running! Have you run a 2022 race yet? If so, how did go? Are you planning to run one soon? Would have run this race in the weather than I mentioned or would you have DNSed? Please share.

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


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

Central Park Half Marathon Race Recap

Central Park Half Marathon logo on RaceRaves

FEBRUARY 27, 2022

Yes another half marathon in February and another one in CENTRAL Park!!

I signed up for the Central Park Half Marathon as my 56th Half Marathon (and third of 2022) for several reasons:

  • I love NYC.
  • I love running in Central Park.
  • I had enough pts for a free hotel room and free train ride.
  • I had thought my NYC BRFs Cari and Elizabeth may be running it too or at least we could meet up during the weekend.
  • It kept me doing weekend long runs during the cold temps of upstate NY.
  • The Frozen Penguin Half Marathon in January got cancelled and there was NO REFUND option.
  • I had run a half marathon two weeks before in Florida so I was sorta trained.

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.

As I said above, I had just run a half marathon. So I just needed to continue my weekday short runs

and complete a taper long run the weekend before.

Again I would not be surprised by the giant hills since 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.)  I also ran a similar course a month ago and in January of 2020 for the Fred LeBow Half Marathon.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

So I took the train to NYC early Saturday morning. I dropped my bag off at my hotel. I stayed in a different hotel from January (on 35th rather than 39th).

For this race, NYCRuns (not NYRR) had mailed out the bib before the race.  That saved time in having to pick it up before the race.  Safer too.

As I did for the last race, I made sure to have something to do instead of tiring out my legs by walking around the city.

I got cheap tix for a Broadway show.  This time: MJ: The Musical

MJ The Musical (Broadway, Neil Simon Theatre, 2022) | Playbill

Maybe I’ll see this show next time…

But Cari suggested that we go to Governor’s Island to see the Ice Sculptures. That’s seemed safer (as we’d be outside) and more fun so I cancelled my show tix.

pre-requisite NYC lox and bagel

So after a quick lunch, I hopped the subway and met Cari at the ferry (actually at Pier 11 where she got off the ferry from her apt.)

so many runners ran by me as I waited

We spent the whole afternoon walking around the island…and the weather was delightful.

the sculptures were actually the lowlight of the day…

Of course, I had my pre-race pizza dinner and after an early evening walk, I went back to the hotel to plan my #flatme. The forecast was for cold temps, breezy but with sunshine.  I wore a similar outfit as for Fred Lebow so I figured I’d be fine.

Skirt Sports tights/skirt is hidden… plus throwaway shirt, jacket and heat shield.

Race Day:

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and got up around 6:00 am.  It was chillier than I hoped so I put on my throwaway shirt, jacket, DIY arm sleeves, grabbed a foil blanket and called an Uber. (My hotel was on West 35th and it would be a long walk to the start.)

I entered the park at E.102nd St because I wanted to check a bag (for after the race) and just followed the other runners into the park.

I was also able to get my race shirt and add it to my bag.

The race didn’t start until 8:30 and I was there around 7:10..  This was way too early and so I was freezing. I just paced around the area with the other runners trying to stay warm.

Eventually Cari arrived and we meandered over to the start. (too cold for a pre-race pic.)

The race began on West Drive near 96th Street, completing about two and a half loops of the park across 72nd Street and up Harlem Hill before finishing on the 102nd Street transverse.

It had the same finish location (E 102nd) as Fred LeBow but a different start (W 96th). The race also started 1/2 hour later too since there was also a 5k that started at 8:00 am.

according to my Strava

My goal for all my half marathons seem to be FINSH SMILING and NOT INJURED!  This was especially true for this race.  I have never run two halfs just two weeks apart.  I always worry about foot pain and anything else that may occur that could interfere with future racing.  And those hills!!! I do not train for them…

But for some reason, I was very relaxed before the race.

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Miles 1-5:

This race was not nearly as crowded as those organized by NYRR.  1500 vs 5000 runners.  Definitely a more low-key race. There were corrals organized by pace.

Cari and I agreed to run our own races but meet at the finish line. I started in the 10 min corral.  I knew that it would be appropriate for the first few miles of the race.

It took only a short time to get to the start line.

guess I am starting my watch (late)

I threw away my jacket but was too cold to get rid of my throw-away shirt.

Although I have run these hills several times before, this course was new to me.  We started on the West side and ran into the wind (brrr).  There were rolling hills but I felt great (IOW ran too fast).

thanks to some random IG poster for the video

There was a timing clock at each mile and water stops at every 1-1 1/2 miles.  I skipped for first water stop because I was chilled but by the time we headed toward the East side,  I realized that I was indeed perfectly dressed.

At the 2nd water stop, I even took off my throw-away shirt.  Eventually I took off my gloves but held onto them the whole race.

The sun felt great and on the East side, the wind was at our back.  But the East side brought our first major hill – Cat Hill around mile 2.

Cat Hill - Still Hunt By Edward Kemeys - Outdoor Sculpture in New York

I ran up most of it (slowly) and made up time on the downhill.

I was getting pretty hungry so I ate my first gel at the next water stop (Honey Singer Honey – blech) and continued the loop passing by the Fred Lebow Statue and the path leading to the finish line.

Fred Lebow, Central Park – Dianne L. Durante, Writing Addict + Adept

The loop around the park continued with rolling hills and soon we encountered the biggest hill in the park – Harlem Hill. I remember it fondly (since I ran up it thee times in the last half marathon here).

thanks to Cari for taking a pic of the beautiful icicles during this climb

I ran/walked up it until we were on the West side again.

I stopped at every water stop. I have no idea where and when they were. Around mile 8, I ate my 2nd gel (Clff Shot Expresso = instant stomach cramps)

Miles 5-10:

One Loop down, 1 1/2 left.

Now the course repeated itself .. exactly.

I ran comfortably but slowing down and walking more but mostly at the water stops until the last few miles. Nothing hurt which made me very happy.  There was lots of crowd support cheering the runners on (even in the cold).

Cat Hill was harder the 2nd time around, of course but I was running next to a runner with speaker connected to her phone. Instant entertainment. I thanked her.

I saluted Fred again and then headed up the dreaded Harlem Hill. At this point, I was running with a young runner (like college age) and we laughed and dragged each other up that hill. At least for this race, it was the last time up that hill. Yay!

We were back running into the wind and rolling hills on the West side .

Miles 10-13.2:

Second Loop done and 1/2 to go.

We continued on the West side and eventually we approached the East side which meant the end of the race, right?

Unfortunately we had to run up Cat Hill for the THIRD time…

I was ready to be done… but the race was not over yet. We passed Fred one last time.

I stopped for one more gel (GU salted caramel my favorite finally!) so I could at least have enough energy to sprint across the finish line.

We turned left and finally there it was!!

And I did cross it… smiling!

Post Race Activities:

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

I grabbed a bagel, fruit cups and hot chocolate and headed to bag check.

I had two cups but saved the bagel and fruit for later

I was chilled and so happy to have my down jacket to put on.

I waited at the finish line for Cari.  She looked so happy!

“Yes. Racing is FUN!”

We congratulated each other and of course, got our picture taken.

Then we headed out of the park..

picture perfect day

and shared a long post-race brunch.

grits, eggs, potatoes, biscuit

Additional Race Reflections:

As you can see from the stats below, my usual positive splits. I expect nothing different.  I started out fast, slowed down as the race went on… walking more frequently especially on the uphills.

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. In fact nothing was sore.  My legs felt great. Zero DOMS!!

I admit that I enjoyed this race a lot because of my lack of expectations. I was super pleased that my time was much faster than Lebow (though this course was a tad easier.) Though Cari and I did not run together, it was awesome to share the race experience with her before and after the race itself.

That’s wrap for now on Central Park half marathons –

Positives:

  • Bib mailed.
  • Vaccination required for ALL participants
  • Many porta potties at the start. and finish.
  • Bag Check. Well organized before and easy pick up at the end.
  • Shirt pick-up either before or after race.
  • Water and Gatorade stops every 1-1 1/2 miles
  • Many porta-potties along the course in addition to real CP bathrooms
  • Corrals by pace at the start
  • Well marked course.
  • Decent crowd support despite the cold temps and wind.
  • Nice gender-specific tech shirt.
  • Timing clocks at every mile.
  • Very cool medal.
  • Heat sheets at the finish.
  • No lines for post race refreshments.
  • Hot Chocolate at the finish!
  • Free photos.
  • Blogger meet-up with Cari.

Negatives:

  • Loops!!!
  • Hills in Central Park.
  • 10 year age group awards (I just prefer 5 years)

Would I recommend this race?

Maybe. For the price ($80 vs $35) and the beanie, I would recommend Fred LeBow (run by NYRR).

But if you want to run a smaller but well organized race in Central Park, this is one to consider.

Final Stats:

Splits:

those old ladies are pretty fast!

Next Up:

A few shorter races in March and then in April

Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon

Happy Running! Have you raced in NYC’s Central Park? Ever run a cold weather half marathon? What about two half marathons two weeks apart?  Please share.

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


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

Publix Florida Half Marathon Race Recap

FEBRUARY 13, 2022 

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever (since February 2019, I believe).

the theme was “strawberry” that year and it RAINED!!

So this year, I did run the Publix Florida Half Marathon as my 55th Half Marathon for these reasons:

  • A warmer weather race-cation opportunity.
  • I had a enough frequent flier miles for a free flight.
  • I had enough points for the night before in a hotel.
  • It was advertised as a scenic course with ocean views.
  • I had run this race before in the POURING RAIN. I wanted a re-do.
  • I had four friends that lived nearby (for the winter.)
  • When I originally planned to run it in 2020, my SIL & niece lived here (and I would stay with them).
  • I had gotten BOTH of my COVID vaccines and the booster so I felt safe (even in Florida).

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 three weeks prior, a cold hilly one, in NYC.

As with all my half marathon training, I did not really care about my week day runs. They were usually 3 easy miles.

However, I do try to do longer runs on the weekend. I did manage ALL year to run 8-10 miles every weekend.  But with the change in my NYC half marathons, I had run one three weeks earlier.  So I just recovered and then tapered.

Adjustment from freezing temps to humid Florida temps would most likely be my biggest issue.

Though I did feel somewhat prepared to run 13.1 miles, my goal for this half marathon was still to just finish and to ENJOY RUNNING A RACE with warm temps and ocean views!!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Although the half marathon was scheduled for Sunday morning, I arrived (with no flight drama) in West Palm Beach on Thursday afternoon. I rented a car there and drove Delray Beach where I spent the next two days staying with a friend.

I got to hang out with several friends while visiting the beaches, gardens, bird/turtle/fish sanctuaries and outdoor restaurants. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

On Saturday afternoon, I left Delray and headed up to Palm Bay (3 hours away). I stopped at a favorite garden in Vero Beach on the way.

gardens, dinosaurs, fast cars and post ice cream treat

After checking into my hotel, I headed to the expo in Melbourne to pick up my race packet and figure out the parking logistics for the next morning. Th expo was quite small but you could buy essentials and pick up freebies.  This year, you did not get a race shirt unless you paid extra.  They were long sleeves and gender-specific but still I did not need another shirt.

pretty clear view from the expo (that I would not see on race day.)

It was still early so I stopped on my way back to the hotel and visited a nearby nature preserve.

For dinner, I ate my usual pre-race pizza.

And I headed back to my hotel in time to organize my usual race outfit (tank, skirt, cap) and hit the sack earlyish.

purple is my favorite color… so why not be match matchy?

There’s always a chance for RAIN in Florida.  Fingers crossed that it would not happen until after my race if at all (although the forecast indicated otherwise.)

Race Day:

I brought my oatmeal and coffee from home with me and got up around 4:00 am to get ready and have breakfast in my hotel room.

I left early to make sure I got parking close to race start/finish area. (There was a parking garage but it was quite a hike).

And yes, it was raining.  I did find a spot in a nearby lot and stayed in my car for awhile to stay dry.

Eventually I did venture out to use the rest rooms.  There were multiple canopies to wait under

in addition to inside the building where the expo was. Here there was also bag check.  I did check my Oofos, a jacket and umbrella for after the race.

The marathon started at 6:30. am, then the half marathon at 6:40 followed by the 5k and 10k at 7:00 am.

warm, humid but WET!

We were soon told to line up with the pacers.  I reluctantly took off my rain poncho and throw-away.  It had been pouring but now it was just a welcome drizzle.

I started with the 2:15 pacer but knew that I would move up and then back down (And I was right.)

Elevation:

mostly flat except for those two BIG causeway bridges

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 around every 4 miles.  I planned to walk whenever necessary and NOT RACE it. I was obviously not acclimated to the weather.

This map shows the water views from the course:
Credit for many of the pics below goes to Florida Today for their amazing photo spread of the race.
Miles 1-4:

We started through the green arch and headed North along the old U.S. Highway 1.

The water was on our right and we even had a dolphin pacing us for a while.

As I mentioned I started with the 2:15 pacer but quickly moved up and ran with the 2:10 pacer most of the race.

It rained the whole race but it didn’t rain hard until the end.  Just a constant drizzle that actually felt great… cooled off that heat and humidity. (I was secretly hoping that the sun would not come out until the race was over.)

I ran with my usual comfortable early race pace – IOW positive splits…

There were water and Gatorade at every mile and I stopped at each one for a drink. Most of the stops also had tangerines. (How do you run and peel them at the same time?)  Some even had pickle juice.  They also gave out CliffShot gels on the bridges.

Miles 4-6:

Around mile 4, I took my first Gu and then at mile 5.5 we hit the first causeway (Eau Gallie Causeway) and DAMN, in addition to being long and steep, the wind picked up and we were running into the wind (of course).  I ran and walked. I wanted to save my legs for the rest of the race. I was looking forward to passing the guy playing the baby grand as in all the past race photos.

again, NO PIANO due to the inclement weather

Miles 6-10:

Yes I tried to look happy for the photographer but we were running UP over that bridge.

Going down was fun, though.

For awhile, we ran by some crazy, gorgeous homes that were right along the water. I was surprised at how many spectators were cheering along the course, even in the rain.

I continued to slow down as the miles wore on but I only walked at the water stops.  I ate my second GU around mile 8.

Miles 10-13.17:

I was slowly losing the 2:10 pacer, then the 2:15 one but still held on to not being passed by the 2:20 pacer.

In spite of the weather, there was a lot of music along the course – either digital music played through speakers, or drive-by tunes from motorcycles as well as many live musicians playing under canopies.

I admit that at this point, it was getting hard.  Nothing hurt but I was losing steam.  I kept pace with a woman doing intervals for a while. I got ahead when she walked and then she passed me when she ran. We kept cheering each other on.

I took one last gel around mile 12 – a honey stinger… blech!!

Then at mile 12.5 (how cruel), we hit the 2nd causeway – the Melbourne Causeway. It seemed like an eternity until we reached the top.

Fortunately what goes up, must come down.

Not as much fun as the first bridge due to cramping legs.

ouchy!

And there went the 2:20 pacer.  Not that it mattered but there were no clocks on the course, only mile markers. (I never looked at my watch until after the race.)

Finally we headed toward the finish line and I dragged my cramping legs as across it as fast as I could.

I crossed at 2:20:XX. Injury-free and smiling!

Mission accomplished.

Post Race Activities

I was immediately handed the finisher medal. The food table had bananas, tangerines, donut holes.  I ate a banana which seemed to alleviate the cramps.  I ate a few donut holes, as well.

the obligatory medal photo

It was raining pretty hard now so I made a beeline for bag check to get my umbrella and change out of my wet shoes.

Frank Shorter was waiting to give out awards.  I scanned my bib and as expected, I did not win one so I walked to my car and headed back to the hotel.

5 out of 17

I felt pretty good after a hot shower.  I quickly dismissed any negative thoughts about the race and focused on the rest of my vacation,

On the way back to Boca Raton, I stopped off to visit an old friend who lived in Jensen Beach.  We had lunch together.

Afterward, I drove to my final destination, my college roommate’s home. She winters in Fla (and lives on LI the rest of the year.)  She kindly invited me to stay with her for two nights.

The rest of my race-cation included a trip to Miami to see South Beach, Immersive Monet exhibit, Wynwood Walls and Little Havana.

and finally a run with fellow blogger, Jenny.

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Easy packet pick-up.
  • Small expo
  • Sufficient number of port-a-potties at start/finish and along the course
  • Real restrooms at the start/finish
  • Bag Check
  • Beautiful course. Water views throughout.
  • Water stops at every mile (with Gatorade, gels, tangerines, pickle juice)
  • Friendly staff, participants, volunteers, residents.
  • Pacers.
  • Walker friendly – 6 hour time limit for the half marathon.
  • Several distance options – full, half, 10k and 5k
  • Legendary Frank Shorter was there handing out awards (and he ran the 5k)
  • Big coconut themed medals (recycled metals)
  • Free Photos
  • Race Hats with the Coconut Themed Logo to all runners
  • Music played throughout the course
  • Brews courtesy of Florida Beer to runners

The Bad:

  • No shirts – purchased separately (maybe that’s a good?)
  • Bridge crossing at mile 12.5!
  • I had no friends running this with me.
  • My SIL no longer lived here (a long drive from where I was staying).
  • the RAIN (felt good but limited the entertainment and post race festivities)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

It was super well-organized.  The course was beautiful. And if the sun comes out, it will be even better.

Final Stats:

Splits:

I am so proud that my body can run even when the conditions are not optimal.

A far cry from my 2:06:52 PR in 2017 and my NYC qualifying time of 2:11:15 in 2019.

This old broad will just have to be content finishing upright from now on, I guess.  And three years after I ran this same course, I was only 26 seconds slower!!

Next Up:

Central Park Half Marathon (in NYC) – back to get redemption on those hills of Central Park.

Feb. 27, 2022

Happy Running! Have you ever been to Melbourne, FL? Ever run this race? Any in-person races planned for 2022? Please share.

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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.

TT: Winter Bucket List

Winter is in full swing. In fact, it started in December and ends in March.

I’m finally getting around to writing about my Winter Bucket List:

  • Scenic Hikes (especially ones with frozen waterfalls)

  • Cold Weather Races

  • Warm Weather Sunrise/Beach Run

  • A Half Marathon or Three

  • NYC Visit

I’m happy to say that I have made significant progress with the list above.  Let’s hope so because it’s almost time to plan the Spring Bucket list!!

Happy Running!! What’s on your Winter Bucket List?  Have you been successful so far?  Are you looking forward to Spring like I am? Please share.

 

 

 

 

 


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


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

 

TT: Six Favorites of 2021

6 number sesame street GIF - Find on GIFER

I picked SIX categories but I couldn’t limit myself to one answer for each. lol

1.Favorite Run:

Firecracker 4

I unexpectedly loved this July 4th run. It was the first time I had run this course and believe it not, it was my only PR of the year. And the popsicle at mile 4 was awesome.

Electric City 5 miler

A brand new race.  So I had no idea what the course would be like.  But you can’t beat running on a bike path along the river.  Definitely need to run this one again.

2. Favorite Race:

 Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon

Probably because I ran the race with my running friends, I enjoyed this race the most. It was my fastest half marathon of the year, as well. Who doesn’t love a race with ocean views?

Run for the Roses 5k

It was hilly so I may not have loved the course.  But I got to meet up with runners that I had not seen since we ran the 2014 Love Run in Philly together. We had a blast and the race wag was a library book and a rose.  I also won an age group award.

3. Favorite Hike:

 Plotterkill Falls

Most of my hikes, I did alone but this one I did with two friends. I love waterfalls. I think they are even prettier frozen but this hike was the most challenging I’ve even done. I still cringe when I think about the trail conditions that day.

Kaaterskill Falls

Another waterfall in warmer weather (if you look closely you can see some folk swimming under the falls). I also did this one with a friend which made it more fun.

4. Favorite Meal:

Post Race Hard Cider and Fries

This snack was after a half marathon. The hard cider was free and the fries were not but delicious.

Post Run French Toast Brunch

One of my favorite brunches when we run on the rail trail.  If I run at 10 miles, this strawberry-stuff item is my reward.

5.Favorite Event/Activity:

Lighthouse Boat Tour (near Fort Lauderdale, FL)

A spur of the moment decision the day before my half marathon. I was lucky to get a ticket for the last boat that day.

College Reunion at the Van Gogh Exhibit in NYC

Though I had seen this exhibit in Montreal (pre-pandemic), it was fun to do it again with friends (whom I had studied in France with).

6. Favorite Book:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Based on a true story and better than JoJo Moyles’ Giver of Stars IMO.

The Plot

A page-turner with a surprising twist at the end.

Happy Running! What are some of your favorites of 2021? Please share.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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


I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.