Polar Cap Race Recap

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

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

Polar Cap - 2nd place in AG

Here we are winning AG awards in 2011

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

AG awards again in 2013

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

2nd

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

I surprisingly got a PR in 2017

Together again and freezing in 2018 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the race recap…

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

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during the snowy 2014 race

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during the cold 2015 race

getting my PR in 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi Don Yeaton (credit)

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

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

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

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

waiting to begin (pic from D. Olden)

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

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

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

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pic from FB – cute markers at each mile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we’re old but going strong

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

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

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

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

cooling off… ha ha

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

Race Splits:

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

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

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

Tuesday Topics: What Kind of Blogger Are You?

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

I love to read running blogs. I love that they are all so different. Of course, they would be because all runners are different.

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My topic today is: What Kind of Blogger Are You?

(These types are in no particular order.)

  • The Coach

You are a certified running coach or you are an experienced runner. You post advice on how often to run, what to wear, how to train, when to stretch, what to eat, etc.

I benefit from these bloggers’ posts especially if I going to be running a new distance, a new type of course or just need information of a particular running topic.

  • The Race Reviewer

You run a lot of races and write detailed recaps of each one.

These posts are really helpful to me when I am going to be running that same race. I also enjoy reading them if I have followed that blogger’s training.

  • The Over Sharer

You write about anything and everything…from TMI to your pets, to your job or your family, etc.

These posts are often not related to running but help me get to know the person who is blogging better and I may even identify with some of the personal issues shared.

  • The Entertainer

Your posts are funny, include humorous memes or just make the reader laugh.

There are days that I really need to not to be serious about running.

  • The Foodie

You post advice on what to eat, on different types of diets or you include recipes.

Except when I am hungry at work and look at these delicious food pics, I do enjoy the sharing of recipes and advice of what to eat related to running.

  • The Cheerleader

Your posts are encouraging, motivating and inspiring. You write about the ups and downs of your running. You are honest but provide hope.

Of course, I always enjoy reading these type of posts.  Running is hard and we all need a little encouragement now and then no matter how successful we are.

  • The Business Promoter

Often, your blog is your business or a way to earn money. Your posts are paid or sponsored by a product or group.

It doesn’t bother me at all if you are paid to write but I only appreciate those posts if the blogger actually uses the product that she/he is reviewing and is honest about it.

  • The Journal Keeper

You post a chronicle of your daily activities: how many miles you run, if you bike, cross-train, do yoga, swim, etc. You even account for your rest days.

I am often in awe of how active and consistent some bloggers are.

  • The Photographer

You share photos of your runs, your races, your race-cations. The pictures may be selfies or scenes from your runs.

They say “a picture tells a story.” I do enjoy these stories. Keep snapping away.


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

So what kind of a blogger am I?

What kind of blogger are you (if you blog) and what kind of running bloggers do you enjoy the most? Please share.

Happy Running!

Winter Series #3 Race Recap

As I have mentioned before, the Hudson Mohawk Runners Club sponsors FREE races throughout the winter for its members. The course is pretty boring but free is free.

This weekend, they offered distances of 3M, 10K and 25K.

I ran this race in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

I am in throes of injury-ridden half marathon training. So I ran 10 miles (in pain) the day before.

Normally, I would have skipped the race.  But it was sunny and 65 degrees!!! Yes, 65 in January.

So what the hell?… I decided to go and walk the course.

And many of my friends were running it.

short sleeves in January…woo hoo! check out that guy with NO shirt!

All the distances started at the same point (but separated at various points during the race.)

I’m in the back with the white t-shirt

And I walked while my friends ran/walked.

that runner on the left, Annie, is in her late 80’s. She was walking the 10k. 

She was walking so fast that I gave up trying to keep up with her.

My friend Jeri is running and there’s Annie walking…look at her go!! My hero!

There were times when I did run to keep up with my friends.

And my foot hurt less when I ran than when I walked.

Eventually we reached the finish line.

But they had mismarked the course – 2.5 miles instead of 3 miles!!

Of course, I sprinted as not to finish last.

Oops #72 – that’s me.

Then I got my refreshments – chili and many slices of delicious bread.

So I may not have really RACED but I participated.  It was a chance to get some fresh air and exercise.  My foot was no worse. Win. Win.


Tuesday Topics: The Best of 2019

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

My Topic this week is as I and other bloggers have done in past years, is My Year of Running in 2019! (Better late than never…)

Warning. I’m not good at picking just one or even two. Lol

  • Best Race(s):

So what determines a “best” race? Fastest? Best Food? Most scenic course? Most organized? Best swag?

Any or all of the above.

Helderberg 2 Hudson Half Marathon

It was the first annual for this local race and though my finish time was not a PR, it did qualify me the for NYC Half 2020.

Great Sacandaga Half Marathon

Another first annual race and it got me my FIRST trophy.

Freihofer’s Run for Women

How could I not mention the only race I have run every year. Besides, this local 5k was probably one of  my fastest of 2019.

I did enjoy all of my 31 races in 2019. Each one was special in a different way.

  • Best Run(s):

My runs are not usually very good or very exciting.

But I’d say that my best ones were done with my local running friends. We call our group the “Sole Sisters.”

They have gotten me to run longer and faster and to walk less. The best part is being accountable during those hot summer days and long cold winter months.

I would be remiss not to mention that my job has allowed me run on some neat new bike paths and parks in 2019. That has been exciting (the running not the job or the traveling).

Hauppauge, NY

Vestal, NY

Liberty, NY

And then there were my FIRST group trail runs.

beautiful view!

lots of laughs

  • Best New Piece(s) of Running Gear:

I have bought many pairs of running shoes. In 2019, I switched from Nikes to Mizunos.

happy feet from March to November

I have, of course, bought countless Skirt Sports running clothes. In 2019, I experimented with a new skirt (instead of my usual Gym Girl Ultra).

Hello Cascade…

I love my Zensah Compression Calf Sleeves.  I have many pairs of compression calf sleeves and socks but some are too tight, some are not tight enough.  Zensahs are perfect.

My favorite has been my new After Shokz headphones.  I find wearing headphones so uncomfortable that I usually just play music or podcasts right from my phone. Well, I will disturb passers-by no more.

  • Most Inspirational Runner(s)

Well, there are quite a few.

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whoa .. sub 2 hour marathon!!

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At 61 years old, Joan Samuelson ran within 30 minutes of her winning time 40 years ago!!!!

Meb, of course but my NYCM roommate Lacey who at age 33 has already run 22 marathons (and BQed).

  • Favorite Picture from a Run or Race:

Again there are a few (although I didn’t buy any of them):

Surf Town Half Marathon

NYC Marathon

Great Sacandaga Half Marathon

NYC Half Marathon

  • Race Experience(s) you would repeat in a heart beat:

Well you know I love race-cations so there were several in 2019.

Brooklyn Hot Chocolate 15k

I loved the swag for this first annual race and the weekend shenanigans with friends were unforgettable.

Publix Half Marathon

This Florida race course was beautiful but it poured the whole 13.1 miles.  I need a do-over.

Surf Town Half Marathon

Who doesn’t love a race with ocean/beach views?

I doubt I will be able to repeat any of these but I would if I could.

  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?

Running…Vacations…Friends…Marathon

Looking forward to what 2020 brings…


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

Happy Running! What are some of the highlights of 2019 in running? Please share.

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Bill Hogan Winter Series #2 (3.75 m) Race Recap

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January 1, 2020 Noon

Every year, the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club puts on the Winter Series, a series of free races for its members ($5 for non-members). On New Year’s Day, starting at noon, they offer the Hangover Half or 3.5 mile Bill Hogan Run as Winter Series #2.

In 2015, I ran the Hangover Half (as a training run.)

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and it was a very cold one

Then in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, I wasn’t that crazy and I only ran the 3.5 Miler.

It was definitely more enjoyable so I decided to run the 3.5 miler again. They call it a 3.5 miler but I realize each year after the race that it is actually 3.75 miles.

Starting at noon meant that I was able to enjoy my New Year’s Eve.

I arrived at UAlbany early figuring that there are a lot of local runners who do these races and I wanted to get a close parking space.

Today it was forecast to be in the high 30s but I was worried about the wind on this course. It is always windy!

I wore the usual winter layers. The good thing was that there is an indoor place to hang out before and after the race.

This race brings out everyone I know who runs – from running groups, races, friends, etc.

hanging with SS (Sole Sister) Jeri

So it was great seeing everyone and catching up. I immediately bumped into runners that I know from races but only one of the Sole Sisters. We hung out inside and chatted until the very last moment when we had to go outside.

SS Judy chose to volunteer rather than run this year

Eventually we did have to leave the nice warm building and climb down the stairs and head to the start.

I just squeezed in near the front in order to keep warm and be shielded from the wind.

My biggest worry, of course, has been my foot. It hasn’t been pain-free since November 10.  There were 3 weeks off from running completely and then a few slow run/walks.

I told myself to have a “relaxing” race and not try anything stupid to make my foot pain worse.

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This course is not flat. There are annoying hills throughout. Nothing awful until you are tired (at mile 3).

pic from a previous year…no snow this year but no blue skies either

This was the first year that I can remember that there was NO ice or snow.

I won’t lie. I was a little cold especially with the wind but at times, I was warm and unzipped my vest. I even eventually took off my gloves. I was happy with my clothing choice.

There were 208 runners running the 3.5 miler (and 197 in the half). I was never running alone. I ran with someone I knew several times when they caught up to me but soon they left me behind.

I wasn’t bothered at all by my apparent lack of speed. I was just trying to get a run in. I wanted to run the race without walking too much since I rarely do that during my weekday runs. And I did for the first three miles despite the fact that my foot hurt with every step.  Unfortunately with my 6 miler the previous Saturday, my foot pain eventually went away.  It did not today. I tried to ignore and just finish so the pain would end.

There were no mile markers on the course but I could hear my Garmin beep. I couldn’t pay attention to my pace or time because my Garmin was under my long sleeves. (Probably a good thing.)

another pic from a previous year

As I mentioned, I was running until mile 3.  This was the most boring part of the course as well as uphill.  To make matters worse, the wind cam out of nowhere here. I struggled and the wind seem to suck the life out of my legs.  Runners were passing me by, even a runner pushing a child in a stroller.  I finally gave it and walked.  But it was just as hard to walk into the wind and so I started running again. At this point, I just wanted to finish. and be pain-free.

Finally, it was over and I was surprised to see that the clock read 35 minutes. I knew that it would not be close to a course PR but I actually thought that I was even slower than that.

So I sprinted and crossed at 35:06.

I was content!!

Soon after, a few friends finished. We chatted. One in particular shared her identical foot issues and gave me the name her PT that enabled her to run pain-free. Score!

Eventually Jeri finished too. But I was too busy chatting and didn’t get her pic.

These free races are not chip-timed. They handed you a piece of paper and then you recorded your time.

Mile splits:

mile 1: 9:13
mile 2: 9:12
mile 3: 9:28
.75 – 9:40

Good old positive splits. Nothing has changed for 2020. LOL

Again this year, the course was long!! I was not surprised that I was slower than last year (34:15) and far behind my course PR from 2018 (34:04). Nevertheless, I was happy with how I ran the race. I never felt really tired or that I was pushing hard. I think if it weren’t for my sore foot, I could have run the whole thing and had an even better finish time.

Definitely not disappointed to not have chosen to run 13.1 miles.

For a free race, they have decent refreshments – soup, bread, fruit, cookies, hot cocoa.

And I had all of the above and many pieces of cranberry bread.

I waited around for awhile and chatted with other runners. Another runner also told me about her similar foot pain (bone bruises & tendinitis = 6 weeks of biking instead of running).  It seems that everyone has a story and a remedy…so we’ll what happens with my foot.

At these winter races, they give 10 year AG awards to the top 2 in each group. Two years ago, I won 2nd place and a free loaf of bread. Not so this year. I was 4th I think. Jeri and I did not hang around and went out for coffee instead.

So a race and a perfect way to start off 2020! (Now only if my foot pain would go away soooon!)


Tuesday Topics: 2019 Assessment

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

My Topic this week is: My Assessment of 2019

I’m a teacher at heart. (once a teacher, always a teacher.)

And you can’t grow in the future unless you assess the past. 

Yes, it was a good year meaning lots of bling, miles and races.  You’ve seen my pictures but do they really tell the story?

Here’s my story:

I ran 947 miles.

I didn’t have a goal of 1000 miles but it was a number than I wanted to meet and I have only done it twice.

2018 – 894.5 miles
2017 – 1041.5 miles
2016 – 1046 miles
2015 – 969 miles
2014 – 911 miles

not this year

I had a calf injury for 5 weeks in Feb-March.  I do think, though, that my marathon training long runs made up for the injury. Of course, minimal miles in December definitely ended any chance of reaching 1000.

My job and travel interferes greatly with getting in the weekday miles.  However, I’m not a runner who needs those high mileage weeks and I also think the lower mileage has helped keep me injury-free for the most part (until December that is.)

I ran 31 races. 6 Half Marathons, 3 15ks, 2 10ks and the rest were shorter distances. Eleven were new races. Five of the new ones were half marathons and of course, there was NYC, my first MARATHON!

Again fewer than previous years. I have run 40 or close to it in the past.

But it was a conscious choice, not because I was injured. Only the last two December races did I DNS.

I’m a social runner and racing to me is a way to run and meet up with other runners. But with the ability to run with runner friends on the weekends, I didn’t feel the need to sign up for as many races.

my weekend BRFs

The ones I did run, I enjoyed and I usually try to run different races each year. But this year, they tended to be halfs. I guess there were not many NEW local races that appealed to me.

I continued to win my age group in most of the races that I entered.

This happens when you are in an old lady’s age group. But still, it makes me happy.

I am most proud of winning in longer races such as Sacandaga Half and Surf Town Half and in NYC races (Brooklyn Speed Series 5k, Building Brooklyn 5k, and Grete Gallop 10K, Hot Chocolate 15k.)

Although I did not have a PR year (like last year), I completed my first FULL Marathon.

I know I am slowing down.  I’m not sure how much or how often.  It just feels harder every time I go out there.

Last year, I had many course PRs at races that I have run multiple times. Not this year.

But I think I am enjoying running more and PRs just don’t seem as important as they used to.

ran most of this race while chatting with Renee

It also helped that I focused on my marathon and I couldn’t be prouder of that achievement.

My Finish times were for the most part consistent (at least for the shorter distances).

Considering my lack of training, (I run but don’t follow a plan per se nor do I do any speed drills), I did ok.

I didn’t break any speed records. But I finished most of my 5ks under 29 minutes. That elusive sub 27 5K still stands (and may stand forever.)

one of my better showings

My half marathon finish times were meh:

Publix – 2:20:29
NYC – 2:16:01
H2H – 2:11:15
Sacandaga – 2:13:03
Surf town – 2:16:08
Hannaford – 2:22:05 (post 7 miles)
NYC Marathon – 2:26.56 (first 13.1)

Not close to my PR (2:06:52) but the important finish time (under 2:12:00) was met in the Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon. It qualified me for NYC Half 2020 and NYC Marathon 2020.

I conquered my fear of trail running.

I ran this summer for the first time in many of the ARE Summer Trail Running Series. They are held weekly at different local trails.

Huyck Preserve

I enjoyed them immensely. I met new runners. I discovered new places to run. And I never fell.

Thacher Park

Someday, I may even sign up for a trail race.  But I’m not there yet.

Stay turned for Friday when I’ll post what I had planned for 2019 and next Friday’s post when I’ll look ahead to 2020.


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

Happy Running!  Do you assess your year of running? If so, how did you do?

Tuesday Topics: Keeping Sane When You Cannot Run

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

This is a topic that no runner wants to write about.

It’s so popular to say “Running is my Therapy.” But what if it is really true.

What can you do if you cannot run?

Find a new hobby.

It could be knitting, doing a puzzle or an adult coloring book.

It has to be something that you find enjoyable and that keeps you occupied during the time you would be running.

Stay Active.

Walk if you can. Ride a bike. Do yoga. Swim. Work out.

Find a physical activity to temporarily replace running.

Spend time with family and friends.

You have more time now that you do not have to run or have scheduled races.

Contact those people you haven’t spend time with lately and plan get togethers.

Stay positive.

No sense focusing on those DNSed races and missed runs.

Plan for the future. But new shoes or a new outfit. Pick a new race or running goal.

Happy Running! Any other tips? Share it here!
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