TOTR: What I Love Most About Running

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

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs, Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and Patty @ My no-guilt life for

Today’s topic appropriately is What I Love Most About Running.

Image result for love running

I could go on and on but I will limit it… (they are not in order of importance… they are actually listed in reverse order.)

  • Bling

Yup, it’s cool to get medals.

  • Opportunities to Travel

I don’t travel as much as other runners but I have gotten to visit California, Florida, Vermont, Philly and NJ.

  • Races

I would race every weekend if I could.

  • Running Friends

They are the best….

  • Prizes awarded based on your Age

I love that that I am only competing with other women and the ones that are in my age group.

  • Blogging

If I didn’t run, I probably wouldn’t blog and I would have missed out on meeting some fabulous ladies.

  • Opportunities to Inspire Others

Never doubt that you can have an impact on someone else.  You can.

  • How it makes me feel

Healthy, strong, confident, empowered, young(er)…


Happy Running! What do you LOVE the most about running.


Running Update: 4.10.17-4.16.17


Last Week:

  • Monday – Tonight was week 4 of the Freihofer Challenge Group run. The plan tonight was 10 minute warm-up, then run 4-6 400m @ 5k pace w/200 m rest, then cool-down. It was tough especially since the temps hit 80 degrees today. Though I was one of the slowest of the group, I did 5 repeats each in 1:53  (That’s fast for me).

3 sweaty miles with some needed speed work

Afterwards, I rushed off (without stretching and sweaty) to our mah jongg seder to celebrate the first night of Passover.

  • Tuesday – After setting up for Wednesday’s training, I planned to stop at the Crossings (since I was nearby) to run. But had to go back to work so I ran at Ualbany instead. Another very warm day but I’m not complaining.

  • Wednesday – A scheduled rest day after a long tough day at work. It was also my first day volunteering with the STEM runners.  They are doing the Couch to 5k and being week 1 and day 2, we only ran for 1 minute and walked for 1.5 minutes. It was fun and great to meet the new group.  I hope they stick with it.

week 1, day 2

  • Thursday – Today Alyssa and I decided to run in Washington Park since neither of us had been there in ages. Even though Alyssa didn’t feel great, it was still a decent effort. Better than running alone.

cloudy and chilly…spring is fickle here

  • Friday – Another scheduled rest day due to an after work hair appointment. (I’ve got my priorities.)
  • Saturday – Today I ran the Code Blue 8k. It was a new race for me and I knew that it would be hilly (and it was.) But it was sunny and that made all the difference and I loved the course.

4th in my AG but happy with 46:26 (GT) 46:01 (garmin)

After chatting with my friend Judith for awhile, I decided to continue my run at Saratoga Spa State Park. It had warmed to the 60s and it made for a perfect running day except for a fall about 2 miles in on a trail. With the help of some strangers (tissues & band-aids) and the spring water, I was able to continue my run but settled for 6 more miles rather than the planned 7.

I even washed my blood soaked socks in the spring LOL


This helped forget about my wounds.

  • Sunday – Rest day again but a busy day around the house.

Then we went to my mother-in-law’s for Easter dinner with the family.

Gym was closed so went for a walk instead. Can’t beat the views.

 2 more weeks to go!!

24 miles done with 4 runs and 3 rest days

This Week:

  • Monday – FRW Training Group Run (3-4 miles)
  • Tuesday – 3 miles
  • Wednesday –  STEM group run (week 2 day 2 of Couch to 5k)
  • Thursday – 6 miles with Alyssa
  • Friday3 miles, mah jongg
  • Saturday – rest day, gym
  • Sunday Lake George 5K + 5-7 more miles

Once again, I am linking up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin. See rules here.

Happy Running! How is your running going? How is your running weather?


TOTR: Stuff I Love about Running

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

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs, Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and Patty @ My no-guilt life for

Today’s topic is Stuff I Love About Running.

I could go on and on but I will limit it to EIGHT great things:

1. Bling

Yup, it’s cool to get medals.

2. Opportunities to Travel

I don’t travel as much as other runners but I have gotten to visit California, Florida, Vermont, Philly and NJ.

3. Races

I would race every weekend if I could.

4. Running Friends

They are the best….

5. Prizes awarded based on your Age

I love that that I am only competing with other women and the ones that are in my age group.

6. Blogging

If I didn’t run, I probably wouldn’t blog and I would have missed out on meeting some fabulous ladies.

7. Opportunities to Inspire Others

Never doubt that you can have an impact on someone else.  You can.

8. How it makes me feel

Healthy, strong, empowered, young(er)…

Happy Running! Tell me something you LOVE about running.

Don’t forget my giveaway – TOMORROW is the last day – enter it here!!


Wednesday Word: Peace


Every Wednesday, the Deb from Deb Runs will be providing a word about which to blog. Kind of like a nice little blog prompt. Posts can be fitness or health related, but don’t have to be, so really anyone can play along. Just be sure to link up with InLinkz on Deb’s main post, and share the love by reading and commenting on other’s participant’s posts.

This week’s word is PEACE.

I found some quotes that relate PEACE to running and they say it better than I could.

Image result for peace and running

Maybe not in a crowded race with lots of distractions, but when I run alone and especially after a tough day, running does bring me PEACE.

along the East River, NYC

along the East River, NYC

along the Rail Trail, Delmar, NY

along the Rail Trail, Delmar, NY

Image result for peace and running

Running is not about only about PRs and age group awards. If you don’t run with your heart, you are missing out on some very important things.



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Image result for peace and running

Happy Running! Does running give your peace?  Do you run with your heart?


November Recap & TOLT

Image result for novemberTime has just flown by.  I can’t believe that it is now December. I feel like I just wrote my October Recap.

Anyway, here’s how November turned out:

Weekday Runs:

We’ve been lucky and had a pretty mild November with very little rain or cold temps (until the last week.) So I was able to run at least 3-4 times outdoors each week which is great because I do not have a treadmill at home.

I ran mostly at UAlbany (near work). It’s easier than driving to run. Plus, it’s now dark when I get out of work.

I ran mostly alone.  Barbara was injured.  Alyssa was busy and I was in NYC one week.

It’s definitely more fun running with friends. I hope I get to do that more next month.

Long Runs:

There were a few of these! One was a 15k race race, one was miles added to a 5k race and one was actually 8 uninterrupted miles.

Total Mileage:

I ran 90 miles this month –  6 fewer than last month (cuz I missed a long run) but I should definitely hit 1000 for the year next month. (After Saturday, I will be at 993!!)



I ran six races this month – a 15k, a 10K and four 5ks.

Yes, 6!!!

I was generally happy with how they all went. I did not have PR goals but my finish times were not far off. I even won an age group award in the Veteran’s Day 5k.


I knew runners at all of the races and they were all super fun. As you can guess I LOVE RACING!! I wish there were more races during the winter months.

Cross Training:

I still play tennis (indoors now.) I am scheduled to play two Tuesdays a month but do get called to sub on some of the other weeks.

I DID NOT go to a single yoga class!! Someday I will. I hope!


Miss you, Maria!

I did NOT workout at the gym or at home at all. Total slacking here again this month!!

I did walk almost every day at lunch for 30 minutes – Either around the outdoor shopping mall to get a Starbucks coffee or around a short nature trail. When I was in NYC, I walked everywhere!!


what’s not to like about working near here for 5 days…

Other News:

My running groups ended this month.

I ran with the Troy Turkey Trot Challenge advanced group several Monday evenings. Those were the only times that I did any speed workouts. I hope to see these women (and do drills) again in the spring for the Freihofer Training Challenge group runs.

I volunteered with STEM group on most Wednesday evenings. Their 5k race took place on Nov. 19. It was a tremendously rewarding experience. I plan to volunteer again with this group, as well.


Jenn on the left is the founder of the group, Kim in the middle is our success story

I extended my race trip to NYC because my friend Anna from Moscow flew in and invited 2 of her Russians friends (now living in DC & Chicago) to join her. We had a busy time yet fun time together. And I got to meet fellow blogger, Karen, again.


Feeling healthy so Life Is Good.

Looking Ahead:

My next half marathon is December 3 and I am very excited. It will also be a blogger meet-up!! I’m actually more excited about this than the race itself.

I do have a few races coming up. Things slow down around here when it gets cold.

This is my list so far for the next 2 months:

  • 12-03-16 – Panama City Beach Half Marathon (in FL)
  • 12-10-16 – Albany Last Run 5K
  • 01-01-17 – HMRRC Winter Series #2 – 3.5M
  • 01-15-17 – HMRRC Winter Series #3  – 10K
  • 01-29-17 –  HMRRC Winter Series #4  – 15K

No monthly goals.

my motto for 2016 & I’m sticking to it!

Since it is Thursday, I’m linking up today with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

thinking out loud

Happy Running! How did your November turn out? Anything exciting planned for December?


Friday Five 2.0: Being a Running Mentor

I am linking up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup!
Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostesses and visit some other bloggers.

Today’s topic is a free one so I am choosing: Five Reasons To Mentor New Runners

1. Finding New Places To Run

When I volunteered in the STEM program last year, I ran at UAlbany because the group chose to run there.  Now that I changed jobs, it has become my go to place to run. It’s safe and lit up at night.  And in the winter, they keep the sidewalks clean.


2. Meeting New People

The other mentors in the STEM program are awesome. It’s always fun to meet other runners. We bond instantly. I always look forward to meeting the new mentors each year.


last June – runners & mentors

I haven’t had as much contact with the running buddies in GOTR but the ones I have met were very nice.

3. Fits into your Running Schedule

I run after work anyway. So my STEM runs fit right in. Yes, they are walk/run but often, I get there early and run a few miles or I stay afterward to run. It causes no lapses in my training.


4. Making a Difference in Someone Else’s Life

I can’t explain how it feels to watch women who have suffered so much in their lives be successful.


And to see the joy young girls get from participating in their first race.


I actually did so little but hopefully me being at their practices and races did make a difference.

5. It’s motivating.

New runners’ enthusiasm for running is contagious. It actually makes me want to run more!!

FRW - 2010

The picture above was from my first mentoring experience in 2010. They were a bunch of young mothers running their first 5k. These ladies actually are responsible for me pushing myself to try a half marathon.

Recently my friend from Russia decided to become a runner (because of me).  I guess I mentored her from afar without even realizing it. She even hired a coach back in Moscow.  We got to run together for the first time recently when she flew to NYC to run a 5k.

along the Hudson River, NYC

along the Hudson River, NYC

Happy Running! Have you ever mentored a new runner? If so, how did you benefit?


September Recap

Image result for september

So Fall has finally arrived!! And very recently, we’ve even experienced some cooler temps.

So here’s how September went…

Weekday Runs:

Like the summer, the beginning of the month was still warm and humid and we had very little rain.  I was able to run at least 3-4 times outdoors each week which is great because I do not have a treadmill at home.

Since I finally started working after 12 weeks off, I was limited to where I could run.  I ran mostly at UAlbany (near work) or the Delmar rail trail (near home).

I ran with Alyssa several times. Like Barbara I met her through FB. These were, no doubt, besides my 5k races my faster runs. I struggle when I run with her but she gets me to run faster. She says that I make her faster .  Win-Win. I also ran with Barbara a few times and she is even faster than Alyssa.  In addition, I shared a run with Natalie (my mah jongg buddy) who is a beginning runner.

It’s definitely more fun running with friends.

Long Runs:

There were three of these!!!.  One was a half marathon and one was just added miles to a 5k race.

Total Mileage:

I ran 83 miles this month – 6 miles less than last month even though I ran a half marathon and am training for another this coming Sunday!!  I guess I was slacking off. (I’ll blame it on work and my social life LOL)



I ran four races this month – a half marathon and three 5ks.

I was generally happy with how they went. I did not have PR goals and of course, I would have been thrilled if I got one.  I won age group awards in all three. I guess that’s an achievement.

For a change, none of the races were super hilly.  I knew runners at all of them and they were all super fun.  As you can guess I LOVE RACING!!

Cross Training:

The tennis season has moved indoors and that means that I have be a member of a club and join a contract.  $$$$$ So I don’t play as often as I did in the summer (when it was free and I was unemployed.) I am scheduled to play two Tuesdays a month but do get called to sub on the other weeks.

I DID NOT go to a single yoga class!! Someday I will do, I think.


Miss you, Maria!

I did NOT workout at the gym at all.  Total slacking here!!

I did not go hiking.  I hope to do some this month.  It is so beautiful around here in the fall. But fitting it in (now that I work) is very challenging.

I did walk every day at lunch for 30 minutes – Either around the outdoor shopping mall to get a Starbucks coffee or around a short nature trail.

Other News:

My favorite running groups started up again. The Troy Turkey Trot Challenge group meets on Monday evenings and Saturday mornings.  I only go on Mondays.  I am running with my friends in the 10k group. It will be the one day of the week where I may have to do speed drills.

The STEM group meets on M, W, F and I volunteer on Wednesday evenings.  We are doing the Couch to 5K program with some new and returning runners (who are domestic violence survivors).  We are training them for a 5k race on Nov. 19.

I took a day trip to NYC  to meet up with my Russian friend, Anna, who stopped off there on the way back from Maine.  We had lunch on a lobster boat, walked the High Line and then had drinks on the top of the Standard Hotel. What a full but exciting day!!


I took one last visit to the Saratoga Race Track with a former co-worker.  This time, we only went for the last few races (and I won at each one), headed to the Casino and then out to dinner.


I spent a lot of time (maybe too much) going out to dinner and meeting up with friends and family.

Boating season continued and the weather was great.  I love it at the lake. It’s my “happy place.” I am sad that it will be ending very soon.

Feeling healthy so Life Is Good.

I am now employed so I guess I have $$ to sign up for more races!!

Looking Ahead:

My next half marathon is October 9 and I am (slightly) excited. Is the thrill gone???

I do have a lot of races coming up.  Fall is my favorite time to race.  This is my list so far for the next 2 months:

  • 10-01-16  – Apple Run 5K
  • 10-09-16 – Ramblefest Half Marathon
  • 10-15-16 – Great Pumpkin Challenge 10K
  • 10-22-16 – L.L.Bean Bright Night 5K
  • 10-29-16 – Monster Dash 10K????  (not signed up yet since I am out of town for work Oct 24-28
  • 11-05-16 – NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K (in NYC)
  • 11-11-16 – Veteran’s Dash 5K
  • 11-13-16 – Stockade-athon 15K
  • 11-19-16 – Girls on the Run 5k (STEM volunteer which is good because I’m out of town for work Nov 14-18)
  • 11-24-16 – Troy Turkey Trot 10k and then the 5k

I may have a racing addiction!!!

No monthly goals.

my motto for 2016

I am linking up with a Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup hosted by Ilka from Ilka’s Blog and Angela from Marathons & Motivation

Happy Running! How did your September turn out?  Anything exciting planned for October?  


TOLT: Half Marathon, Work, Group Runs, etc.

thinking out loud

Since it is Thursday,  I’m linking up today with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

Here’s what I’m thinking about today:

  • Half Marathon #21:

2008 Saratoga Palio Poster (Palio!) Tags: race poster memorial compassion run promotional legacy scholarship palio halfmarathon 5k fund mentalhealthcare melaniemerolaodonnell

Still clueless on how to train for and run one of these. I’ve run 20 – some well, some not so well, some injured, some healthy, some flat, some hilly, some in the heat, some in the rain, some in the cold and wind.

So what will happen for this one?  No clue.  I don’t even know the course.

I plan to enjoy. Stay healthy for my October 9 half marathon.  Hopefully finish under 2 hours 30  (or not).

I do know that my long runs have been miserable.  I ran them alone and the weather was hot & humid but I’m not a good training runner.  That’s why I race so much.

And I’m better at the short distance.  Maybe I should stick to 5ks.  Nah.  And miss out on race-cations and that finisher medal…


  • New Job:

The good news is that I am employed.  As with any new job, there is a learning curve.  This one is pretty steep. Hopefully, my brain isn’t too old to learn it all. 

7.5 hours of this view

The bad news – less $, fewer vacation days (1/2), eventually a lot of travel and long hours.

This doesn’t look good for running and race-cations.

Image result for running vacations ecards

  • Trying to Fit it All In.

Run 4 days a week… tennis once a week…occasionally go to the gym…mah jongg on Fridays…spend time with friends and family.

Now on Wednesdays I volunteer with the STEM runners (victims of domestic violence.) It just started this week.  It doesn’t start until 6:15 pm so I will have time to run before.

On Mondays, I will be running with the Troy Turkey Trot Training Group.

That leaves Thursdays for running and the weekend for a long run or race or both.  OY!

  • I Think I’ve Created a Monster.

Guess who signed up for the Dash to the Finish Line 5k in NYC?


Yes, Anna, my Russian friend.  She is flying in from Moscow!!!

Of course, I had plans to run this race with Judy and also meet up with Karen who is running the marathon… This should be an interesting weekend.

Happy Running! What’s going on in your life ?


GOTR & Mother’s Day 5k bRUNch Race Recap & TOLT

I signed up for the 2nd time to be a Running Buddy for our local GOTR program.

Girls on the Run Capital Region is a 10-week after-school program for girls in grades 3-8 that uses running and physical activities to teach life skills and help girls develop a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

Here’s what it involved for me:

The Running Buddy provides encouragement and support to their buddy throughout the course of the season by sharing weekly notes of encouragement. These notes can be emailed or delivered to their buddy’s Head Coach.

The Running Buddy acts as a personal cheerleader for their buddy by attending the practice 5k and the end of season 5k.

The Running Buddy completes the 5k with their buddy and expresses support and enthusiasm for her accomplishment!

Last year, I didn’t particularly enjoy my experience.  I met my girl for the first time at the practice 5k. At that race, she took off with a friend and the coach like a “bat out of hell.” I caught up with her to chat and found out that she was a runner and she had already completed the program before. That meant that she already had run a 5k and besides that, she was super FAST. (She obviously didn’t need my weekly motivational messages.)  The same thing happened at the real 5K.  She just took off with her friend & coach even though she was supposed to be running with me.  So I ran by myself and eventually passed her as she tired (and got her photo as she finished the race after me.)


Nevertheless, I decided to give the program a second shot.

This year, I volunteered at Eagle, another elementary school near my home. I was paired up with Jayme who was 10 years old and in 5th grade.  I met her once at an Orientation meeting (this was a new idea) and then again at the Practice 5K last Tuesday. She is super sweet. We had a great time chatting and running ALL 12 laps together.


As a result, I was very excited to be part of her first 5K race and help her along the way.


The Final 5K was held on May 8th in Central Park, Schenectady. This was the Mother’s Day 5K that I have run in past years.


in 2013 and I even won my age group

I signed up for a 15k race the day before because I knew that I would be running this race just for fun and as a running buddy along side Jayme. It wouldn’t matter if my legs were tired from those 9.3 hilly miles.

The weather was not as nice as the previous day.  In fact, I woke up to POURING rain. UGH!!!


short sleeved women’s tech shirt

I had to arrive early to meet up with 80 or so GOTR participants, their coaches & running buddies for a group photo.


By the time, I got there, it was still raining but not hard. I was immediately informed that Jayme was not coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WTH? What bugged me the most is that I texted her mom photos so she would have my phone number.  And she didn’t contact me.  With this weather and the fact that I ran a 15k race the day before, I might have stayed home.  Or at least run another 5k.  There were several that were closer to my house.

So I sulked by the fireplaces trying to stay warm and keep my cool.

One of the other running buddies heard about my situation and then asked me if I would  pace her daughter.  Her daughter was in junior high and was running her second 5k.

I guess this would have to do. However, I wasn’t planning on a real race.  So I told her yes but that I wasn’t in shape to run fast.

She was fine with that. (Of course, in chatting with her, I learned that she ran her 1st one in 29:xx and wasn’t trying…uh oh!)

Finally it was time to line up in the rain for our group photo.


Then we headed out to start the race.


The course was pretty varied – around the pond, through the woods, around the lake, etc. I have run it many times before.

I started with my new running buddy.  It was difficult to go fast at first because of all the kids in front of us.  They didn’t realize that slower runners and walkers start in the back.


the starting line

Eventually we got moving and of course, my buddy wanted to run fast.  I could not and I kept telling her to go on ahead.  This kept happening until the first water stop around mile 1.  Then she seemed to tire so I could keep up with her.

Mile 2 was through the woods. I was very careful of the roots and uneven turf. But at some point, I lost my running buddy.  I wasn’t sure if I was ahead or she was ahead of me.  Somehow I thought I may be ahead so I waited for her at the 2nd water stop.  I didn’t see her so I continued on.


Then for mile 3, we ran back into the park. The rain had stopped but the wind picked up and it started to get very cold.


Finally I saw the finish line and sped up so I didn’t cross over 30 minutes.  There was no chip timing.  They just collected your bib and gave your a flower.


I waited and then I saw my buddy cross.  She said that she had lost her earbud and doubled back to find it.


I waited some more watching all the young kids finish their first 5k.  They were so excited and happy. This is what what running is all about.

But I was freezing and eventually went inside to get warm and eat.

There was an awesome food display. In addition to cookies, bagels, bars, pastries, bananas, chocolate milk, etc.


mimosas (minus the champagne)

chocolate fountain with pretzels and fruit for dipping

chocolate fountain with pretzels, cake and fruit for dipping

I didn’t want to eat too much since I was planning to go to my MIL’s for lunch at 3 pm.


I put on my winter coat and gloves (brrr) and waited around by the fire for the awards.  Surprisingly, I came in third and actually won something this time.


That made me feel a little better about my  weekend racing.


Believe it or not, the lady who beat me by 6 min in the 15k finished after me??

My only goal for this race was to help Jayme finish her first 5k race.


mile 1 – 9:26
mile 2- 9:49
mile 3 – 9:21
.14 –  8:24

Garmin time – 29:32
Official time – 29:53

So things didn’t work out as planned – GOTR and the weather.  I love the GOTR program.  I think it is great for young girls.

Below are some photos posted on the Times Union website.

I will definitely support GOTR in some way but I doubt that I will become a running buddy again.

After I grabbed my plant, I rushed home to get ready to go out for Mother’s Day.


My sister-in-law and her hubby drove up from Florida and we had dinner at my mother-in-law’s.  My stepson & his girlfriend and my brother-in-law (not pictured) also came.  My other stepson had to work (he is pictured with my mil above.)  We all had a nice time together.

Since it is Thursday,  I’m also linking up today with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

thinking out loud

So in addition to last weekend’s race, this is what I am thinking about:

Upcoming Races –


May 12 – 6:30 pm

Yes, today after work.  I’m not a fan of evening races but this one is for a great cause.  There will be many lawyers there than I know as well as STEM volunteers.  I was in charge of getting a team together but it didn’t go so well.  Everyone at work said yes until it was time to commit.


May 14

This is a new race and is organized by the mother of one of the STEM runners who died of an overdose after completing her first 5k. This is her story –  There will be many other runners and volunteers from the program.  I am honored to support this cause and to have known and run with Summer.

May 29

I ran this race last year with AJH. I ran the first leg so this year I’m looking forward to running the 2nd 13.1 miles (and crossing the marathon finish line.)


June 4

And of course, I have to run this race – my race streak race. This will be my 9th time running it.


I love the energy in this all women’s 5k.

I have also been participating  in the Training Challenge for the 2nd time.


last year’s photo but we’re wearing pink again this year

Upcoming Vacation – 

12th trip to Naples, Florida but tennis vacation #20 for me!!! (We started traveling together in 2002 and only 2 of us haven’t missed one.)


I leave on May 18 and return on May 25 (4 days before my next half marathon).  Can’t wait!!

Fitting it all in – 

When you live in the Northeast, you just live for summer.  Winter here sucks (unless you ski.)

It’s a time for running, boating, hiking, picniking and all kinds of outdoor activities.

You know where I’m going with this.





I want to do it all.  Help??

Happy Running! How was your weekend? Any races or runs? Any races coming up?  What are you thinking about today? How you fit in your running when things get hectic? Please share.





Mastodon Challenge 15k Race Recap & TOTR

Spoiler alert: This was the first race EVER that I said I wouldn’t race (but just run for fun) and I DID!!

What made me do it?

  • I didn’t know the course.
  • It was hilly and you know I love hills. (just kidding!)
  • They only gave awards in 10 year age groups and only for first place (I could maybe win 2nd or 3rd but that’s it.)
  • I had a 5k scheduled for the next day.
  • Lots of uneven pavement (Remember how I fell last year.)
  • I bumped into a former student’s sister and we ran together.
  • I was down about not winning any awards for my last 2 races so I decided to enjoy this race.
  • Scenery watching – the Hudson River, old buildings and neighborhoods, parks, bike paths…

All good reasons, right?

I have had these intentions so many times in the past.  Each time, as soon as the gun goes off (or race starts), I forget about having fun and run as fast as I can.  It happens time and time again.  Sometimes, it pays off but more than not, it does not.

So for the second year in a row, I signed up for this race.

Last year, I chickened out and changed my mind the day of and ran only the 5k.

Mastodon Challenge 5K

last year – check out the bloody legs!!

This was the course map and you can tell that you never repeat any part of the route which keeps it interesting.


Here’s what the website has to say about the course:

We start both races by the Cohoes Falls in a park named after a heroic Vietnam War Veteran – Colonel Robert Craner – Craner Park. 

After that we take you:

  • Past the Historic Harmony Mills – now luxury loft apartments,
  • By the Restored Cohoes Music Hall which produces some of the best entertainment this side of Broadway!By the business district, with great architecture
  • Past a historic Armory soon to be turned into a Brewery/Restaurant.
  • Next, you run through a park and on the old Erie Canal Towpath which brings you up to
  • The Mohawk Bike Trail (where the whole thing started!). The path is shaded this time of year, but don’t get comfortable because the hill that brought you to it is just the beginning.
  • Once you are off the path, you pass by wonderful schools, parks and neighborhoods but they come at a cost.
  • From there you run up 4 hills that hurt and lots of inclines along the way….don’t worry – we have 8 water stops and entertainment along the route to keep you going. From church groups to Boy Scouts and schoolchildren, to the High School Band… we are here to welcome you and make this as painless as possible. Our volunteers are at every corner and they are so excited you can’t help but appreciate their enthusiasm. Watch out for paper maiche mastodons on the sidewalks!
  • Once you hit mile 7 and 8 you are golden! We take you back to the shade of the Bike Path and down a couple of hills with the mist from the Beautiful Cohoes Falls ahead of you.

But look at the elevation!!! Downhill during the first mile and the last mile and the rest are uphills and rolling hills. Fun, fun, fun.

The weather started out cool and cloudy but it was the nicest it had been all week. (Eventually even the sun came out 🙂 )


I got to Cohoes early (around 8 am) and found a spot in one of the parking lots. Then I walked about .25 mile to the park where you picked up your race packet. (It was a good thing that I got there early because they closed the street and many had to park over a mile away.)

cute gender-specific tech shirt

I had time so I walked across the street to look at the Cohoes Falls.


It was so beautiful. I sat for awhile and relaxed.


And then walked around a little exploring the area.


In September of 1866, while breaking ground for construction of Harmony Mill No. 3, the bones of a mastodon were discovered, deeply buried in two potholes that had been worn into the bedrock at the end of the last Ice Age. Who knew?

Finally I headed back to the park.  I wound up chatting with a few runners.


workouts at the finish line before the race

I was wearing my Lake George Half shirt and many people came up to me to ask about the race.


I hadn’t run long in weeks (only 2 but felt like more.)  Last weekend, I ran a 10k and it was really tough.

But I stuck with the expectation of finishing upright. (My 15k times vary between 1:42:40 and 1:31:35.)

The 15k started 15 minutes before the 5k so off we went. I was with a bunch of runners and we walked up the hill and passed by the 15k start and ended up at the 5k start so had to double back.


Since there was no starting line, I started close to the front and just let everyone fast pass me by.

Neil Sergott photo

Neil Sergott photo

The first mile was mostly downhill but my legs after 2 days off felt like I hadn’t run in ages.  (I guess I should have warmed up a  bit.)

Eventually my legs limbered up but then the hills came. First not too bad but then steeper and steeper.  I am not proud to admit that I walked up the first the big hill and ran the minor ones.  That is a big deal for me because very often, I walk up ALL the hills.

What helped me take it slow was the fact that there were water stop at EVERY mile. I didn’t know when the next one was so I kept stopping and walking to drink water.

There were lots of twists and turns and so many volunteers on the course directing runners and making sure that the traffic was stopped.

Of course, there were several more steep hills (which I walked up) and rolling hills (which I ran) but by mile 4.5, the big hills ended and we were just left with the rolling ones.

I loved the fact that the course had such variety.  You were running in the city past factories and through a brick path in a park, and in old neighborhoods and on the bike path. Through much of the course, you were high enough to look down at the Hudson River.

Having so many cups of water was keeping me hydrated and full that I only ate one Gu during the whole race (which is odd for me.)

As I took my time on the course, most runners seemed to be passing me by but I was behind one runner for quite some time. Eventually I caught up to her around mile 5 or 6 and realized that I knew her.  Her twin sisters were students of mine years old and I have met her at several races in the past.

We started to chat about past races, future races, Lake George and what ever.  This is the first time that I have run at someone else’s pace.  I’m not sure if our conversation was slowing me down or running with her was discouraging me from walking and helping my pace.

Either way, the last miles were pretty enjoyable.

Neil Sergott photo

I kept waiting and waiting for the downhill to come and finally it did near the end.

As soon as I saw the finish line, I started to sprint and crossed around 1:36:XX

Neil Sergott photo

Neil Sergott photo

So I did finish the race upright and my time wasn’t great but it could have been worse.


me & Chrissy, my partner in crime

For the first time after a race, I wasn’t hungry even though they had bagels, donuts, yogurt, fruit but I did drink some chocolate milk while waiting for the results.

Like last year,  I came in 2nd in my age group.  Unfortunately, they only gave out awards for first.


not even close (even if I had a PR)


mile 1 – 9:06
mile 2 – 9:53
mile 3 – 11:02
mile 4 – 11:17
mile 5 – 10:40
mile 6 – 10:52
mile 7 – 10:21
mile 8 – 10:38
mile 9 – 9:48
.3 – 8:03

Garmin time – 1:36:07
Official time – 1:36:10


The course was actually awesome if you could ignore the hills (which I did) and if they gave out more awards, it would have been even better.

The most important point was that I didn’t run fast and had a really enjoyable race. My legs felt great (which was good since I planned to do a lot of walking later.)

I rushed home to shower & change.

I spent the rest of the day with my mentee, Amanda and her 2 sons at the annual Tulip Fest. We walked around the park for 4 hours.  The kids went on the rides, made musical instruments, rode ponies, pet animals. and of course, we had ice cream and fried dough. They had fun & I enjoyed spending time with them.




I decided to postpone my dinner out with my hubby. I was pooped.

Besides, I had another 5k race the next morning. and then a Mother’s Day dinner. Oy…

Since it’s Tuesday, I’m linking also with

with Erika @ MCM Mama Runs,
Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice
and Patty @ My no-guilt life

How do I make Destination Races affordable:

  • Register early – Take advantage of cheaper race fees
  • Use frequent flyer miles when you fly (or drive, take a bus or train, if possible)
  • Stay with friends (or a cheap hotel or rent a AirBNB)
  • Travel without your spouse

Happy Running! Any races lately?  How do you afford destination races?