TT: What I learned about myself during the Pandemic

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

The Topic this week is: What did you learn about yourself during the pandemic?

First, things I learned that surprised me:

  • I could let people see me without makeup.
  • I could spend half the day in pajamas.
  • I could wear the same outfit two days in a row.
  • I could binge watch a Netflix series.
  • I did not hate working from home.
  • I cooked more often.

Yup, I admit it. I’m pretty vain. I used to wear lipstick even when I went out for a run. I plan my outfits and love to dress up.  I rarely sit in front in of the TV yet alone watch 6 seasons of a show. I enjoy being on the go and loved the social interaction at a job. So the option of working in a room at home everyday was something I NEVER considered.

Secondly, things I learned that did not surprise me:

  • I needed to color my hair and have my nails done.
  • I missed shopping and the need to buy new clothes (and shoes.)
  • I missed going to the movies, shows, concerts and other events.
  • I missed seeing my friends on a regular basis.
  • I missed work travel and running in different places.
  • I missed my Friday night mah jongg games.
  • I was disciplined (or stubborn) enough to run all the miles even without races to train for.
  • Even with more free time, I did not work out or cross-train.
  • Running virtual races were just fun runs for me.
  • I was not nervous running an in-person race.
  • I enjoyed hiking as much as or maybe more than running.
  • I’m not ready to retire.

2020 = 1017 Miles
Jan – 83.8 miles
Feb – 76.7 miles
Mar – 91 miles
Apr – 89 miles
May – 86.5 miles
Jun – 82 miles
Jul –  78 miles
Aug – 89 miles
Sept – 75 miles
Oct –  93 miles
Nov – 87 miles
Dec – 86 miles

As you can see above, I ran pretty consistently throughout the year. I usually try for 84 each month but some months are more and some are less. In fact, I ran MORE miles than the years that I was racing every weekend even in 2019 when I was training for my first marathon.

I love to be active so no surprise that when I was stuck at home everyday, I explored a new fitness option – Hiking saved my sanity, for sure.

So now it’s 2021 and the Pandemic is not over yet….

However I’m better prepared this year for the changes and inconveniences it brings.

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! What did you learn about yourself during the Pandemic? Please share.


TT: Hiking 2020

Our 3 Favorite Walking Paths in Houston | Houstonia Magazine

Once the Pandemic hit in March, I knew that running 30 or more races including one half marathon each month would not likely happen.

I planned to continue to run hoping that the Pandemic would end but just in case, I knew that I needed an additional goal to stay active. Since I was working from home with no travel plans, I would have extra time.

In April, I decided that in addition to running, I would visit 25 trails in my area.

Before 2020, I had NO idea how many nearby opportunities there were for hiking.

I wound up enjoying my trail walks, both solo and with friends, even more than my runs.

So I made the effort to visit as many trails each week as I had time for. Both after work and on weekends.

By June, I changed my goal to 50 trails and to also re-visit the ones I liked in different seasons.

I won’t bombard you with the zillion photos I have (If you follow me on IG – dsc59  you’ve seen them all), just a few!

So here’s a list of the trails that I have visited:

  • Mohawk Hudson Conservancy-
  • Nature Conservancy –


That doesn’t count the times that I have re-visited many of the places.  Unfortunately, a snowstorm arrived on Dec 17 and my hiking adventures ended pre-maturely.

But don’t worry. I have discovered a new love. And there are many more places that I have not hiked yet.

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.

Happy Running! Any non-running goals or accomplishments in 2020? Please share.

My Word for 2021

Will You Take the One Word Challenge This Year?

Below is a list of the words, I’ve chosen so far:

I can’t take full credit for my word this year. I got the idea from Aliphine Tuliamuk (winner of the 2020 US Olympic marathon trials & who will be representing the US at the 2021 Olympics).  During 2020, she was sidelined with a stress fracture. When she couldn’t run, she started crocheting and made thousands of AllieT Resiliency Beanies.

AllieResiliencyHats on Etsy

Here is why Allie decided to crochet these beanies:

“I realized that crocheting saved me, it saved me from worrying about my return to running, it lifted my spirits and gave me something to focus my attention to, hence RESILIENCE! I hope that everyone wearing my beanies feels resilience from whatever knockdown life has handed them, for there is light at the end of the tunnel!”

Hence, my word for 2021 is:

resilience definition

Re: Misfortune –

I experienced quite a few losses during 2020 (several friends and my grandson).

Re: Change –

There was the lack of a social events, little travel, working from home, isolation from family and friends, and very few races in 2020.

I also can’t take credit for the strategies I explain below that will help me build resilience in 2021. (They come from

But the gist from this article (and how I can relate it to running) is this:

  • Prioritize relationships.

Sometimes it feels easier to run alone but being with others can help you get back on track.

However, try to surround yourself with those who either share your goals or support you on your own running journey.

with my crazy friends who ran 13.1 miles even though the race was cancelled

These relationships also include your VIRTUAL running friends!

  • Join a group.

As I said above, it’s often easier to just run by yourself on your own schedule.

I am fortunate that my area already has many running groups formed.  You just have to join them on their runs.

Virtual groups count as well!

  • Take care of your body.

Proper nutrition, ample sleep, hydration, and regular exercise can strengthen your body and help you adapt to anything life throws at you.

Hello Running!!

and of course I need the other things too.

Meet George!

  • Practice mindfulness.

Journaling, yoga, prayer, or meditation can help. And when you do any of these activities, remember to focus on the positive aspects of your life and remember the things you’re grateful for.

Truthfully, I am not really into mindfulness and the closest I get to it is during my solo hikes or runs in nature setting.

  • Avoid negative outlets.

In stressful times, you may often turn to overeating, alcohol or even over-exercising.  You may feel better but it’s like “putting a bandage on a deep wound.”

Find ways to manage your stress in healthy ways.

I admit that an ice cream cone or a glass of red wine does make me feel better. But I’ve never had a problem over-indulging with either.  Running or hiking with friends has been (and will be) my regular stress-reliever.

with my Friday evening walking buddies

  • Help others.

Whether you volunteer or simply support a friend in need, you will gain a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Again I feel fortunate that there are many local opportunities to volunteer as a runner: being a mentor with the Frehofer Run training group, or with STEM or with GOTR. You can also informally mentor/help your running friends.

  • Be proactive.

In other words, acknowledge and accept your past (unhappy) situations. But more importantly, take initiative in recognizing the strengths that you possessed and the successes you achieved during those difficult times. This will increase the likelihood that you’ll rise up again if you happen upon painful times.

I certainly shocked myself by running SIX half marathons virtually in 2020.

 half marathon 8 out 9 and 6th virtual run during 2020 

And without any races to train for, I ran over 1000 miles.

Both these should be a confidence boaster for 2021 even if I set different goals.

  • Move toward your goals.

You need to set realistic goals in addition to a BIGGER (possibly unachievable) goal.

This goal should be something that you can do regularly. Even if it seems like a small accomplishment, it can enable you to move toward the bigger goal that you want to accomplish.  Your big goal may seem unreachable but it can help to focus on smaller tasks or activities related to that goal.

TWELVE half marathons in one year when half marathon after marathon was being cancelled. How will I continue to do long runs on the weekend without any race to train for??

Simple. Just stay healthy and run.

Every run counts and could lead to the bigger goal of running 1000 miles for the year

  • Look for opportunities for self-discovery.

Runners can find that they have grown in some respect as a result of having faced adversity.

Maybe by running fewer miles, they have fewer injuries. Maybe by not running any races, they have improved their form or pace. Maybe by not worrying about speed, they have added endurance.

9 months after the Fred Lebow HM, I ran this hilly half 3 minutes faster (and without wearing a watch)

Not sure which one happened for me but I think it was the latter. Nevertheless, I hope to improve as a runner in 2021 as well.

  • Keep things in perspective.

“How you think can play a significant part in how you feel.”

Try to be a “glass half full” or optimistic kind of runner.

It’s not the end of the world if you never PR again or you do not qualify for a prestigious race or you do not win any age group awards.

Focus on what you CAN do.

 This may be the last time I time qualify for a NYC race so I guess I will have find other big races to run.

  • Accept change.

Accept that change is a part of life.

As runners get older, they get slower.  This is often hard to accept but it’s a fact.  After a year of not racing, our finish times may have declined at an even faster rate.

And even when in-person races return, they will probably be different.

I wonder how many races in 2021 will I look like this?

  • Maintain a hopeful outlook.

Expect that good things will happen to you as a runner in 2021.

Visualize what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

races with ice cream at the end?

  • Learn from your past.

What did last year’s negative experiences teach you?  What strengths did you discover that helped you deal?

Use them to make this year your best running year ever. (Best does not have to mean fastest, most races, most PRs, most awards.)

Running Happy! With Friends!

I know that many of you have experienced a difficult 2020.  Hopefully, some of the strategies mentioned above will help you be “resilient” in 2021.

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! Do you choose a Word each year? If so, have you chosen one for 2021?  Please share.



2020 in Photos

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

The Topic for today is: Your Year in Photos

Definitely this year has been different.  But I still did take lots of photos and there were many positives to this year.

Here are my 2020 Highlights:

  • January

A fun New Year’s Day local race, a blogger meet-up in NYC and my first half marathon of the year

  • February

A sad local race (dedicated to a friend who died), a vacation in Bermuda/my 2nd half marathon of the year, and a weekend trip to the Van Gogh exhibit in Montreal.

  • March

I started working from home and all my races started getting cancelled so I visited the local preserves, ran a virtual half marathon, and went for a walk several times each day.

  • April

More of the same….  another virtual half marathon, lots of running, walking and hiking solo.

  • May

My birthday (and it snowed) but I started safely seeing my friends and running/brunching with them. I also completed another virtual half marathon.

  • June

No real races but running long with friends on the weekends in addition to boating on Lake George. Our running group also started weekday after work walks on the local trails.

  • July

Exactly the same as June but with warmer and more humid temps. I added Friday after work walks with two former co-workers and more difficult hikes.

  • August

Same as July.

  • September

Two more of my half marathons went virtual but I chose not to run them. I continued running, hiking, walking and boating as in the previous months.

  • October

Finally a race-cation except that the race was cancelled. My friends and I went, ran it anyway and had a great time.  Boating ended but walks and hikes allowed me to enjoy the amazing fall foliage (best ever). I also completed another virtual half marathon.

  • November

Colder temps and less daylight made it difficult to connect with friends to run and hike.  I did my best.  And I actually ran an in-person race.

  • December

Even colder weather but I managed to keep running, visit NYC and run an in-person 5k there.

2020 is almost over but unfortunately not the pandemic (as I had hoped back in March). The good news is that four of my immediate family members, who came down with COVID in November, all recovered.  (Thank you for your prayers and virtual hugs.)

Here’s hoping that 2021 is a year with many more happy memories (and photo ops.)

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! What positives happened in 2020? Did your photos help you remember the good? Please share.

2021 Running Goals

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

The Topic for today is: Goals for 2021

Hard to say definitely when everything with the virus is up in the air.

But I’ll give it a shot.

  • Run at least 3 miles twice during the week.

  • Go for a walk or hike on non-running days.

  • Run long on the weekend (10 miles if able).

  • Continue to connect safely with friends on runs, walks and hikes.

  • Go to my gym (when it opens) once a week.

  • Sign up for in-person races (once they are scheduled).

  • Do some speed work (on a track) to prepare for shorter races (once I sign up for some.)

  • Add some strength training somewhere somehow (LOL)

  • Go on a race-cation in February (if race is still scheduled).

  • Plan a race-cation for the Fall.

  • Once I start traveling again for work, run in NYC (for the sunsets and friend connections).

  • Continue to blog at least once or twice a week.

  • Run 1000 miles for the year.

  • Complete more challenging hikes.

  • Stay healthy!!!!!

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! Any goals for 2021? Please share.

NYCRuns Winter Classic 5k Recap

Dec. 6, 2020

My First Pandemic 5k and my first trip to NYC since January.

As I mentioned to friends, I was more excited about leaving my home and going to NYC than racing.  But this race was a good excuse as well as being able to see the city during the holidays.

All week long, they had forecast rain for both Saturday and Sunday.  I didn’t want to go if it was raining (since I planned to be outside most of the time.) Then they changed the forecast to only rain on Saturday.  Eventually, it was only going to rain on Saturday morning. So I kept my hotel reservations and made train reservation to arrive in the late afternoon.

I took the train and with all the restrictions in place, I felt pretty safe (with my mask on and empty seats around me.)  When I arrived, I walked to my hotel (for which I had a free room due to points) and left off my luggage.

Even though it was the day before a race, I still planned a lot of walking (as I wanted to avoid the subway as much as possible) and check out all the holiday decorations.

walked to the top of the Vessel for the sunset views.

Then I had dinner (that I brought from home) in my hotel room. Not my usual pasta/pizza (and a big mistake, I think).

I went back out to explore more of the city and the night time holiday decorations.

Sixth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park and more…

Finally I returned back to my hotel to plan out the next day – the race!

Before registering for this race, I checked their COVID restrictions:

  • You may not attend the event if you have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive in the fourteen (14) days prior to the event.
  • You must wear a face covering throughout this event other than when running.
  • When running, you may remove the covering only when you can maintain social distance and the covering must remain around your head in some fashion so it can easily be reapplied. The covering must be worn for the first 500 and last 500 feet of the race (it should be on when you reach the mile 3 marker.)
  • No guests are allowed at the race site
  • Upon entry to the race site, a medical professional will take and record your temperature.
  • To avoid crowding, you must show up on time for your designated wave and leave immediately after completing your race.
  • Running in a group of two or more is not permitted.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 within the fourteen days following the event, you must email so that we may notify staff and participants as necessary.

NYCRuns also had two 5ks already and both received excellent reviews. So I was not nervous at all about this race compromising my health and others.

Last 5K: June 2019!!!!

27:47 Finish time – sigh.

In addition to not having run a 5k race in 18 months, I was a little worried that I had done ZERO speed work and had only been running at a slow easy pace.  But in my eyes, it was only a run in NYC.  There would be no age-group awards just a gaiter given to everyone.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

As I mentioned above, I arrived in NYC the day before. I already had my bib so all I needed to do was explore the city on foot, have dinner in my room (on the 32nd fl), explore the city some more in the evening and try to go to bed early.

I also had to decide what to wear (which is harder when you travel.) I chose to wear my gaiter (but had a mask in my pocket just in case.) Otherwise, I tried to be matched and warm (but not too warm).

Long sleeved shirt, vest (no jacket). I thought that I would be warm enough but wasn’t prepared for the colder temps along the river and for the WIND!!

Race Day:

Unfortunately I had a miserable night of sleep (if any). My room was uncontrollably HOT and that soggy Subway sandwich did not sit well in my stomach). I woke up with a headache and upset stomach.

I brought my oatmeal and coffee with me to eat it in my hotel room but had no appetite. Ugh!  Surprisingly, I didn’t consider staying in bed. I couldn’t wait to get into the fresh air and to the race. I knew it would make me feel better (and I was right.)

I had to decide which was safer an Uber or the subway. It was way too far to walk as my hotel was on 39th and the race started on 108th (or so I thought). I chose the Uber and then I would walk home after the race. I brought a bag to check a jacket since I knew I would be cold after the race.


As advertised:

This race will start and finish near 108th Street inside Riverside Park. You’ll wind through tree-lined paths and waterfront walkways on this totally traffic-free and peaceful course. The course is challenging, but offers plenty of downhills to make up for the uphills! 

The waves started as early as  8 AM and ending at 12:30PM. I was scheduled for a 9 am start.

I checked the race email one more time in the Uber and it said to enter the park at 96th St.  Very confusing. So I got left off around 100th (in the middle).

I walked down to Riverside Park.  I was very early luckily. I had no idea which direction to walk.  I saw no racers.  I asked a runner and she said that she saw a start line around 97th St. And she was right. They changed the start (from previous races) to 97th St.

It was only 8:00 so I got to see the first group of runners take off.

I walked around as it was FREEZING and chatted with other runners waiting to start.  I didn’t want to leave my jacket at bag check until the very last moment.


Eventually I had to and around 8:30 I entered the medical area where someone took my temperature. As you can see from the pic above, you stood two by two 6 ft apart and the person behind you was also 6 ft apart.

I wound starting with the 8:30 group (accidentally).

I actually wore my Garmin and was planning on recording my time with it (for the first time since Feb 2020).


(Too cold to take pictures during the race or after but below are a few from previous runs here:)

Mile 1:

As you can see from the map above, the race course was in a park along the Hudson River.  This park is not one I have run on frequently (I usually run in Central Park. ) But it is a nice place to run, walk or bike. What I am getting at is that it was not closed to other runners, bikers and dog walkers.  Due to the pandemic, it probably was not as crowded as it could have been.

So I took off with a younger runner and we ran together (masked) for a little bit.  She was faster and got ahead but could see her in my sight the whole race.

I had no time goals but since it was a race you know I wanted to not have an embarrassing time (that differs for everyone but for me it would be over 29 minutes lol).

I glanced down at my watch and noticed that my frigid hands had apparently not started it (!?)

Alrighty, another naked race.

So I just ran. Looking down so not to trip on cracks or slip on mud puddles (from yesterday’s rain) and more importantly, avoid the dogs.

I found out later from my friend that before 9 am, dogs do not have to be leashed here.  OY!!!

Also a lot of walkers had no idea that a race was going on.

All this kept me from obsessing about my time. It was not only COLD (20s with the wind chill) but crazy WINDY.  My hands and feet were frozen (but that didn’t keep my shoe that I doubled knotted from untying :).

I wish that I had started my watch so I could show you the elevation. It was VERY hilly. Up and downs but that made it interesting. I thought I might try to run up the hills but in the end, I walked/ran most of them.

Most runners had on their masks the whole time. Not sure if it was for safety or the cold. I think I had mine on…don’t remember but I’m glad it was a gaiter so it kept both my neck and face warm. (It was required at the start and finish lines.)

Mile 2:

For the 2nd mile, we turned and were running more along the river…colder and more windy. Yay!  But I think this part was flatter.

It was also now sunnier. I put on my sunglasses. But they kept fogging up. Grrr.

At mile 1.5, there was the turn around.

Halfway done.

Now we were running along side other runners who had started the race in later waves.  But it was wide enough not to feel crowded.

Mile 3:

A little past mile 2, we returned to the first part of the course.  Yup, those annoying hills in the reverse direction.

I just kept moving, passing some runners.  Runners were not passing me as they stayed ahead the whole race.

Finally I saw that finish line.  And the camera.  I tried to smile…Ha Ha. I was wearing my gaiter.

The clock read 1:02:XX but who knew what my actually time was.

I just wanted to get warm!! They handed you a bag of food. I sanitized my hands and headed to get my jacket.


I immediately texted my friend who lives in Manhattan to arrange a meet-up. Unfortunately, Cari was still quarantining.

But first thing was to find a Starbucks to get a hot cup of coffee.  Ok, in NYC there is usually one on every corner.  Well, not during pandemic times.

After striking out 3 times, I found one.

soo good. sooo needed.

I kept walking and met up with Elizabeth around 72nd Street. We proceeded to chat our way around Central park until around 1 pm.

got to explore North Woods and Hudson Meer where I don’t normally hang out

I then walked all the way back to my hotel, had lunch and checked out so I could continue my holiday sightseeing before taking the train back north.

didn’t stray much beyond Fifth Avenue

18 miles for the day!!!!!!! I think it makes that I skipped my normal 10 mile run okay…

Additional Race Reflections:

It sounds like this was a negative experience.  You can’t control the weather.  And my feet did not hurt.  That’s a good thing.

Could I have run faster?

For sure.

Do I wish I has started my Garmin?

YES!  I love stats and in a short race, I think I could have made up time.

haven’t run a 5k this slow (uninjured & in dry weather) since maybe 2008, my first year of running.

I have come in FIRST in  my 6 previous NYCRUNS races. But no AG awards were given for this race.

Even so, at my best, I would not have won.

It would be nice if the site didn’t remind me of my last two races lol.

I’m ok with it. Totally 🙂

This is me now!!

very glad how I chose to spend the day


  • Safety restrictions in place (temp. checks, staggered starts).
  • Wave starts so I got to start whenever I chose (between 8 am & 12:30 pm)
  • Views of the Hudson R.
  • Well marked course.
  • A real race.
  • Gaiter as swag (received beforehand in the mail).
  • Well organized.
  • Bag check offered.
  • Bib mailed ahead of time.
  • Post race refreshments (goodie bag along with Gatorade, Dole Fruit Bowls in 100% Juice and other snacks.)
  • No age group awards (a positive for me so I didn’t feel disappointed that I didn’t win one).
  • Free photos.
  • Spending time in NYC at holiday time.
  • Opportunity to connect (social distancingly) with a friend.
  • A real race.


  • No water stops (no volunteers).
  • No spectators.
  • Those nasty hills.
  • Used to be the Hot Cocoa 5k and you got hot cocoa at at the end (but understand why it was changed).
  • Expensive for a 5k ($40-60) but it is NYC.
  • My NYC friends were not able to join me in this race.
  • Tired legs (from the previous night’s walking).
  • Lack of speedwork prior to the race.
  • No sleep and upset stomach.
  • Dogs to trip on during the race.
  • Course advertised as starting and finishing on 108th rather than 97th.

Next Up:


Who knows?  Nothing local is currently scheduled. I’m not interested in running any virtual races.

Maybe a half marathon in Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 14 (if it is live and if it is safe to go.)

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! Have run a real race yet? If so, how did go? Are you planning to run one? Please share.


2020 Bling

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

The Topic for today is: Show us your year in bling? 

2020 was not a big year for “real” races so obviously my collection of bling was not large as in a normal year. Still, I did collect a few medals & swag.

In Person Races

Virtual Races

Virtual Challenges

Age Group Awards

Which ones were my favorite(s)?

The medals from the in-person races.  Those are actually the ones where I feel that I “earned” the bling.

The others were just from runs.  Those medals don’t have much meaning for me (though some are very nice.) But I did appreciate all of the swag that I received from many of the virtual events (esp. the gaiters).

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! Did you get a lot of bling this year?  Which was your favorite? Please share.

Holiday Gifts for Runners

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

The Topic this week is: Holiday Gifts

When your spouse, family members or friends ask what you want for the holidays, here are a few things that you could tell them:

  • A Gift card for Running Shoes

Just because you are not racing doesn’t mean that new shoes won’t spice up your runs.

  • Sunglasses

If you’re like me, you always either lose them or break them.

Image result for goodr

Love Goodr glasses

  • Socks

Yes, I often lose one and only my good ones.

Image result for balega socks

  • Entry fee to a big race  A Massage Gun

You don’t need a name brand (like Theragun).  There are many out there that are inexpensive.  I have one and it works great!

addsfit MAX massage gun

  • A new GPS Watch

I still prefer my Garmin 205 LOL

Introducing the Garmin Forerunner 645 and 645 Music. (Photo: Business Wire)

  • A Cute Shirt

Who doesn’t love a running shirt with a crazy saying?

  • A Buff/Gaiter/Head Band

To be used for the cold weather and/or COVID protection.

Camouflage Skiing Headwear Mask Cycling Neck Buffs Tubular Cycling Bandana Outdoor Sports Turban Magic Scarves Multifunctional Scarf Hooded Scarf Scarves For Men From Allen520hannah, $89.45| DHgate.Com

  • A Cool Coffee Mug

Shop Our Coffee Mugs for Runners

  • A Running Book 

There are so many running-related books to choose from…. It’s impossible to have read them all.

Your Pace or Mine?: What Running Taught Me About Life, Laughter and Coming Last by [Lisa Jackson]

this is one I recently downloaded

  • Bluetooth Headphones

for listening to your favorite tunes or podcasts on the run.  I love my AfterShoks but there are many other brands as well.

Solar Red

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!  Are any of these on your list? What else would you like?

I Am Thankful

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

The Topic for today is: Tell us why you’re thankful for running this year!

There have been no PRs and the slowest running paces ever but running has definitely made a positive impact on my life this year.

Here’s how:

  • Health and Fitness

I always credit running as the reason that I don’t gain (much) weight and I rarely get sick. But this year (with COVID-19), it became even more important.

Running got me outdoors several times each week.

I also tried to run at least TEN miles each weekend for the first time. Even when there were no races to train for, there were also not many activities on my schedule (so why not?)

  • Friendships

In addition to running each weekend, we brunched together after each run and we scheduled weekly evening hikes.

By seeing each other frequently, we definitely bonded more this year. I feel that I know each runner better.

  • Race-cations

I did not run very many races but I did get away for several race-cations.

I had an amazing real race and other shenanigans in Bermuda.

blogger meet-up with Marcia & Cari

I normally run quite a few races in NYC.  I got one in. One is better than none, right?

Fred LeBow HM with Stan

And although the race was cancelled, my friends and I spent four fabulous days in NH.

ocean vacations are the best

  • Half Marathon Record

I had planned to run 12 half marathons in 2020 – one per month.  The Pandemic, obviously, made that pretty much impossible.

Still I had never run more than 6 in one year (2016 & 2017).

This year, I ran 9!! A New Record.

  1. Fred Lebow, 2. ZOOMA Bermuda, 3. NYC Virtual, 4. Social Challenge Virtual, 5. Steel Rail Virtual, 6. Unofficial Palio Virtual, 7. Smuttynose Virtual, 8. ZOOMA Amelia Is Virtual, 9. Upstate Classic

  • Coping with Tough Times

Unfortunately I lost two close friends to cancer this year. Another friend is currently experiencing complications from serious heart surgery, my mother-in-law, who was in the hospital for a few days, and unfortunately COVID has hit my immediate family. (Hopefully I’ll have good news related to this and will share that on the blog.)

Running has been there when I needed it.

Polar Cap Run to honor my friend Andrea

  • My Virtual Friends

All of you who read my blog even if I have never gotten to meet you, I am thankful for your support.

Hopefully, our paths will cross in the future.

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! How are you thankful for running this year? Please share.

Upstate Classic Half Marathon Race Recap

This was NOT a half marathon that I planned on nor one I had signed up for way in advance.  It was a first time half marathon scheduled only because ALL other local races had been cancelled. The restrictions were the same for the H2H Half Marathon in August (that I ran virtually.)

So I signed up for the Upstate Classic Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I hadn’t run a “real” half marathon since February – 9 months!!!
  • It was local and I could sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • It was local so I would know a lot of the runners.
  • I was curious to see how I would do having run so slow all summer.
  • With all the new restrictions, I felt that it would be safe.
  • I am nuts!!!

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. For 2020, I had the ambitious goal of running 12 Half Marathons – one each month.

During my first two 2020 Half Marathons in January and February, I experienced a lot of foot pain. I ran them but truthfully, it was not fun at the time (except for the fact that I was in NYC and then Bermuda.)

And then the March NYC Half Marathon was cancelled due to the pandemic so I ran that for fun with two friends. The pandemic continued. Races were being postponed until Fall one by one.  I ran the April Helderberg to Hudson and May Steel Rail Half Marathons “virtually” and by myself. Again no fun!!

No more half marathons during June, July, August and September. (I deferred my August half to 2021 and got refunds for both September half marathons when they went virtual.) Eventually my October half marathon as expected went virtual.  But with NO refund or deferral option, I ran another virtual half marathon (however this time in NH with friends).  I also signed up for and ran the ZOOMA Amelia Island Half Marathon as a virtual one.

The difference in the training cycle for this race was that I ran part or all of my long runs solo.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

The last day I ran was Thursday so I took two days off from running. Of course, there was walking (I can’t just sit around).

Packet pick up was easy peasy.  Just went to the race headquarters, drove in, gave them my bib #, rolled down the passenger window and someone masked gave me a bag with my bib, and shirt.

even got my medal BEFORE the race

I did my usual carb loading of pizza the night before and tried to figure out what to wear.  It was forecast to be cold with a chance of rain later in the morning.  I hate being overdressed (and was tempted to even wear a skirt) but with the threat of rain, I reluctantly chose a beanie, long sleeved shirt, vest, DIY arm sleeves, capris/skirt, compression calf sleeves and gloves.

I love their hats and so I bought one

My biggest dilemma was what to do about water.  I hate to carry my water bottle but there would be no cups of water provided on the course, only table to fill up your own bottle.

In the end, I decided on a small water bottle and I squeezed it into my pocket. At the last minute, I grabbed a paper cup, flattened it and put that in my other pocket.

Race Day:

I woke up early and ate my race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee. My start time was 9:07 and I had to be in my corral by 9:00 am. I left my house around 7:45 am and tried decide what my race plan would be on the drive over.

For the last few virtual halfs, I have been running 45:30 intervals at around a 13-14 mi. pace. Since then I’ve been running on my own with my usual run until I’m tired and walk.  Much more walking than I used to do.  At times I have run with friends at 4, 3, or 2:1 intervals.  Still at a very slow pace. I have to admit that I have enjoyed these runs.  I never felt tired when I was done.

So the plan???

HM PR – 2:06:52
Last “real” HM – 2:23:21
Last virtual HM – 2:55ish (didn’t wear a watch)

First Pandemic HM – Just finish.  No time goal!! (prediction – 2:35:00)

The course:

A loop starting and ending in the same location.

and not flat… at all:

My last real half marathon in Bermuda (in Feb) was hilly.  Since then, ALL my running has been on FLAT roads.

Although this was a “real” race, there were many changes from a half (organized by this company) that was held in April of 2019:

I understood all the restrictions and I am grateful for the opportunity to race. I was not worried about catching COVID.

so well thought out

My last concern was my damn foot.  Bunion, neuroma, hammer toe…. I’ve had pain on and off for almost a year.  It’s much better than it had been back last Dec-Feb but it still hurts from time to time.  Sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little.   You never know and I know there are much worse things to worry about so I run. I walk, I hike.

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

I used my GPS to get to the race location, Altamont Fairgrounds. Well, it took me to the wrong entrance for the race. It was blocked but luckily they let me in.  That meant I was coming from the opposite direction and did not have to wait in the long line of cars (the ones that entered the correct way lol). And I got to preview the first 5 miles of the course.

The parking lot was huge. I parked and as soon as I was ready to leave my car, it started to rain.  WTH? It was forecasted to rain later!! And then it started sleeting.  I forgot to mention that it was skirt weather earlier this week and this morning it was in the 20s. Brrrrr.

I waited in my car as long as I could.  I saw one of my friends, Karen, and we headed in together.

We were both in the same wave so we hung out trying to stay dry.

There were 14 waves. Karen and I were in wave 13.  I started in position I in my wave and Karen further back. Groups of four started every 10 seconds. The first wave had started at 8:30 am. A littler before 9:00, they called our wave and we headed over.

Miles 1-3:

I did wear my Garmin watch but I was debating whether or not to use it.  As I mentioned above, the start of each wave proceeded very quickly. Before I knew it, I was crossing the start line (around 9:07ish).

Nope. I DID NOT start my watch. I have only run a half marathon once without timing it and that was only because my watch stopped working.  But I just wanted to relax and not worry about my time. I feared that my pace would be so slow that I would get stressed and not enjoy t he race.

The rain fortunately had stopped but it was still chilly. But actually perfect running temps if you dressed appropriately.  I think I did. But I spent the first part of the first mile, rearranging things in my pockets. I had two in my vest and two in the skirt and I kept switching things until I was comfortable.  Karen who started after me, quickly passed me by.  I was not surprised as she has been running fairly fast paces lately.

It was weird looking down at my watch and remembering that I could not tell my pace.  I did get used to it after a while but every now and then, I’d look out of habit.

Normally in a half marathon, I would run and walk only at the water stops which used to be every 2 miles and every mile toward the end.  Here the first water stop was not until around mile 3. I doubted that I could wait until then to walk (and I was right,)

The 5k race started after the half and it wasn’t long before the speedsters were passing me by.  I was glad to get past their turn around point.

I tried to start out slowly but probably it was not slow enough.  Around mile 2, it already started to get hard…hills.  Not as bad as they would get later. Now they were just rolling ones.

I was not familiar with this course at all but obviously since we were running on roads, there were cars. You were supposed to run on the shoulder but it was slanted and I found it awkward. So I ran toward the middle of the road until a car came by.  I was more comfortable that way. But the negative was not running the tangents. 😦

Miles 3- 6.2:

I stopped at the first water stop and a volunteer filled up my paper cup.  Best idea ever.  I used that same cup the whole race. I wasn’t hungry yet so I waited a mile to eat my GU.

Around mile 4, we passed by Indian Ladder Farms and the smell of fresh cider donuts filled the air. But the wind took my mind off of it.  It became insanely windy for the next 1.5 miles.  Of course, we were running into that wind until the next turn. Ugh!

The rolling hills continued.  As expected, my foot was hurting. But it is what it is.  I taped it but that tape seemed to be starting to cause a blister. Oy!

The hills ceased to roll and started to become steep hills.  Those type of hills where it was even hard to walk up them.  But walk I did and trying to pick up the pace on the downhill.

Miles 6.2-8.75

Every now and then I would glance at my watch. Though I had no idea what my pace was, I could tell approximately how long I had been running.  My pace was by no means fast but considering all the walking, it was not as bad as I feared.

The second water stop was around the 10k point and again, I had my paper cup filled.

The big hills seems to more frequent the second half of the race.

The leader of the full marathon passed me around mile 7 and he was flying. (He finished the around 2:30!!)

Around mile 8, I ate another GU.  I never really felt hungry during the race but knew I should fuel.

Miles 8.75 – 11.1

It think there was another water stop around mile 8.75. I’m sure that I stopped and refilled my cup.

The race continued the same way.  My blister was starting to get painful but there wasn’t much I could do about it. I focused on the scenery which was very pretty…farms, mountain views, etc.

The course marshals were very enthusiastic. I knew many of them.  There were some families camped out in their driveways.  But for the most part, we were running on the roads in the country… no place for spectators.

At one point during this stretch, a runner starting talking to me.  He and I were both struggling with the hills.  This was his first race since he ran a marathon like 15 years ago. I tried to encourage him and then ran ahead.

I guess I was running in the middle of the road lol

the guy I was chatting with is in blue walking up this hill

Miles 11.1-13.3

More hills. They never seemed to end.  And one last water stop.  I just wanted to finish so I skipped it. I never ate my last GU either.

I finally saw my friend Jenn who was volunteering at mile 12.

Mile 13 seemed like a full marathon.  The wind picked up.  My legs just died. To make matters worse, there was one hill after another.  I walked most of this mile so that I could sprint across the finish line and not embarrass myself.

And like that I was done.  Of course, the clock showed the finish time for those who started at 8:30 am. I had no idea how I did until I looked on the website (There was live tracking).


I immediately got my food – a boxed lunch.

I brought that chocolate milk with me. My favorite post race beverage.

But it was too cold to hang out. I immediately headed to my car while chatting with some of the runners that I knew.

Additional Race Reflections:

It seems that my recap above was a bunch of complaints.  But on the whole, the race was a really good experience. I have zero regrets in running it.

In fact, my time was a lot better than I expected.  It gives me hope that I could improve upon it on a flatter course.

No AG awards but I would have been 4th (see below)

The Good:

  • A Live Race!!!
  • Connecting with local runners.
  • Felt safe with the provided restrictions.
  • Decent post race food. (box lunch of pre-ordered sandwich, apple, brownie)
  • Well organized.
  • Lots of pre-race information
  • Easy packet pick up
  • Ample parking
  • Enthusiastic volunteers (even with the cold weather)
  • Live tracking for others to follow runners and runners to get immediate results
  • Free photos (more coming)
  • A live race!!!

The Bad:

  • Hilly Course.
  • Cold, windy weather.
  • No water provided (unless you carried your own bottle).
  • Many restrictions (though necessary due to Covid-19).
  • No Age
  • Most of my running friends did not participate.
  • Not trained for hills or racing (my fault).
  • My sore foot (expected) & blister.

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really

Would I recommend this race?

Sure.  But I prefer the real (downhill) course and to have it scheduled in April

April 2019 (11 minutes faster)

and the Stockade-athon 15k to be held as usual this weekend.

Nov. 2019

Next Up:

Hopefully in February, I will run a half marathon in Florida.

Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon

Final Thoughts:

2020 has been a crazy year.  Six virtual half marathons.  Not how I planned it.  Nor would I ever race a half marathon not thinking about my finish time (and not even timing it!!)

With all the pandemic restrictions, it was not the race that I would have planned to run but I did it.

Now I am really anxious to run a one without any annoying restrictions!!

In the sunshine…no hills 🙂

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! Have run a real race yet? If so, how did go? Are you planning to run one? Please share.



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