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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Virtual Smuttynose Half Marathon Race Recap

The Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon & 5k

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

So I signed up for the Smuttynose Half Marathon (long ago before the Pandemic) for several reasons:

  • My running friends decided to make this part of a group vacation in NH.
  • It was a flat course.
  • It was scenic. Ocean views.
  • There was great post race food. Beer and Lobster Rolls.
  • Nice swag.

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 this half marathon as expected went virtual also but with NO refund or deferral option.

So I guess I was running one more virtual half marathon….

The difference in the training cycle for this race was that I ran at least TEN miles every weekend.  For all four months. Sometimes I even ran 11, 12 or 13 miles (until the last two weekends before the race when recovering from an inflamed SI joint. I only ran 8 and 9 miles)

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

The group decided since we had already rented a house that we would go anyway.

We left in the rain on Friday and took the scenic route to NH stopping in MA for a delicious lunch.

Once we arrived at our AirBnB in Hampton Beach, the rain had stopped.  After we got settled in (and the house was amazing), we drove our planned route and staked out the turn around (mile 6.75) and water stop locations (mile 2.75 and mile 9).

Then after sitting in a car all day, we decided on a dusk walk on the beach (with added shenanigans) before ordering in pizza for dinner. (The pizza was a little too greasy for my tastes and too many sweets were consumed but hey it wasn’t a serious carb load meal in my book).

The advantage of this race was that we could pick the day, the start time and the course.

Some of the group did not plan to run the 13.1 miles but walk it. I was fortunate to have some company for the virtual 13.1 miles.

My plan was to run on the other runners’ plan.  It would be intervals. It would be slow but we would enjoy it.  My first enjoyable half marathon of 2020!!

So I planned my outfit (sorry no #flatme) and tried to get a decent night’s sleep.

Race Day:

Although the original race was scheduled for Sunday, we decided to run it on Saturday instead.

I ate my usual breakfast – oatmeal and coffee.  Due to the dinner the night before, my stomach immediately felt off (and continued that way until after dinner…ugh)

We drove to the race start for a modified version of the real course (and we had driven the day before).  It was basically the same but without all the twists and turns.  We would just run straight along the water longer.  This way, hopefully, no one would get lost and we would not lose anyone who was walking. And it would be easier for Chris (our non-running “sherpa” to follow, cheer us on and stop at the planned stops)

Not too much exciting stats to report.  I did not wear a watch. I depended on the others to tell me when to turn around and when to run and when to walk.

Anyway, here’s how it went:

Miles 1-3:

pre-race pic

The two who were walking started first.  They were about a mile ahead of us runners.  I didn’t know at the time but they were walking at a pace fast enough to BEAT the runners! And they were focused on that the whole race.

and we were off..

The runners had decided to do 45:30 intervals the whole way.  Of course, there would be as many photos stops as needed.  The goal was to finish and have fun.

yes, I was the one taking the pics

The course couldn’t have been more scenic.  We ran along the boardwalk or sidewalks for the most part.  The ocean was in view the whole way.

At every beach, there were open bathrooms if needed.

Miles 3- 6.75:

The weather was absolutely perfect for a race (sunny and 50’s)  Too bad it wasn’t a real one.  But it was so relaxing not to worry about finish time and pace.

totally enjoying myself but this was early on. lol

At our first water stop, we shed our layers.

At one point, we lost the boardwalk and had to run along the road.   It seemed so short in our drive the day before but of course, longer today.

It was mostly flat except for one hill (as seen in the pic above).

The mansions along the water were breathtaking.

The route was so scenic that I took umpteen pics (I won’t post them all, I promise).  But when you walk every 45 seconds, it’s easy to take pics.

Miles 6.75-13.1

It may have seemed like forever but finally we arrived at our second water stop and we turned around. I should mention that I thought we would catch the walkers.  But who knew they would be walking at a 15:xx pace because they were intent on beating us.

The way back was the same as the way there. The same views.  Warmer temps but a nice breeze.

I was secretly glad that this wasn’t a real race because I felt nauseous the whole time.  I felt worse when we were walking so on the way back, I ran ahead often.

Then I would wait until the others caught up.

There was one more water stop before we hit the finish line (of toilet paper).

I wasn’t sure when that was since I wasn’t wearing a watch so I stopped and waited for someone to catch up.

Eventually, we stopped at 13.1 miles!!!

No finish line???

Nope, we misjudged the distance (in the car) so we walked until we saw the walkers (who had joyously beat us). The we each sprinted across the “finish.”

So fun. I’ve never had that much fun in a race.

Immediately we took off our shoes and ran into the ocean.

Yikes.  COLD!!!!

Following the our ocean dip, we headed to refuel at a nearby restaurant.  Lobster Rolls & Beer or whatever. We thought we should send our lunch bill to the Race Director. LOL

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • The weather
  • Flexible start time
  • Flat course
  • Scenic (ocean view)
  • Not crowded with other runners
  • No clock, no pressure.
  • Running with friends
  • Open real bathrooms
  • Our own support vehicle
  • Swag (when they ship it to me)

we bought our own matching race shirts

The Bad:

  • No Mile Markers
  • No crowd support
  • No clock at the finish line
  • No Deferral or Refund Option for this race
  • Lower cost for the virtual option than the real race BUT the same swag ($39 vs $90)
  • Not a real race hence no post-race refreshments (beer and lobster rolls) or entertainment or race photos, etc.
  • Generic Swag rather than original awesome swag

does not say Smuttynose nor NH nor half marathon, etc

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. But the real thing would have been a lot more exciting, I’m sure.

Next Up:

On a whim, I signed up for this Pandemic local Half Marathon:

very hilly, staggered starts, must carry your own water…why did I sign up??

Hopefully in February I will run this one in Florida.

Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon

Final Thoughts:

2020 has been a crazy year.  Five virtual half marathons.  Not how I planned it.  Nor would I ever imagine ditching my Garmin and not thinking about my finish time during a half marathon.  I did not record my time for any of these “races.” Good or bad?  I haven’t decided.  Time will tell.


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


I’m also linking up here:

Formerly the Running Coaches’ Corner, it’s back with new co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Fauxrunner.

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

 

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Virtual Steel Rail Half Marathon Race Recap

Image may contain: night and text

MAY 17, 2020

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

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

(Note: 2 have already been run virtually.)

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

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. I ran my last half marathon on April 19 (a virtual version of the Helderberg to Hudson Half that was postponed.) It was awful!!

😦 😦 😦

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

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

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

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

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

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

So another virtual half marathon….

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

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

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

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

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

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

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

2020 Steel Rail Half Marathon Race Route

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

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

Race Day:

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

Hooray for my first race in a tank top.

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

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

Anyway, here’s how it went:

Miles 1-4.5:

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

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

I started at the boat launch along the Hudson River

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

you can see how empty the path was

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

you pass under various highway overpasses too

very pretty when the trees are in bloom

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

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

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

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

Miles 4.5-8.5:

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

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

no one outside so very quiet.

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

I get it but are we safe to yet?

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

Miles 8.5-13.1

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

finally heading back onto the bike path

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

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

a social distancing selfie

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

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

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

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

The Bad:

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

The Ugly:

  • Everything listed in Bad

Would I recommend this race?

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

Next Up:

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

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

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


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


I’m also linking up here:

Formerly the Running Coaches’ Corner, it’s back with new co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Fauxrunner.

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

 

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FRW2020: Good News and Bad News

Let’s start with the Bad News.

I have run the Freihofer’s Run for Women 5k every year since I started running.  It is obviously my FAVORITE race and I have never missed one – in all weather conditions, recovering from ankle surgery and even with a broken foot.

I have run this race (FRW) 12 times!!

And this year, I was named an ambassador!!

Well, I guess 13 is an unlucky number.

This year, the race has been cancelled!! 😦 😦

The Good News:

The Freihofer’s Run for Women has switched to a virtual 5k run for 2020.

That means that YOU do not have to travel to Albany, NY to run this race.

You can run the 5k no matter where you live!!

For only $25 or $20 with the code AMBSS5, you will receive:

  • 42nd annual virtual Freihofer’s Run for Women t-shirt & bib
  • A finisher’s certificate that can be printed out at home
  • Commemorative finishers’ medal
  • Coupons for Freihofer’s products
  • Automatic entry into Virtual 5k Sweepstakes with great prizes!

The t-shirts, medals and coupons will be mailed to participants the first week in June.

You will be getting exercise and supporting some great charities.

Please join me!!

For more info and to sign up, go to http://freihofersrun.com before April 30, 2020.

Here’s even better news:

As an Ambassador, I am giving away TWO free entries!!

To enter, click here:

I’ll be choosing TWO winners on April 23, 2020.


I’m linking here since it is Wednesday:

Formerly the Running Coaches’ Corner, it’s back with new co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Fauxrunner.

Happy Running! Will you be joining me and running the Virtual FRW 2020?

United Half Marathon VIRTUAL Half Marathon Race Recap

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March 15, 2020

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever.  I got a guaranteed entry last April based on my finish time at the Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon (2:11:15).

66 so that was helpful as you can see. May get to run it again when I turn 70.

I was hoping to run the race when the course was only through Manhattan. (As of last year, it starts in Brooklyn.) And I had entered the lottery several times in the past but never got in.

So I signed up for the NYC Half Marathon as my 42nd Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I got a guaranteed entry.
  • I love NYC.
  • I had enough pts for a free hotel room.
  • I ran it last year while recovering from a calf injury and wanted a do over.
  • I had friends running it.
  • They kept last year’s course which got rid of most of the Central Park hills at the end.
  • It’s such a prestigious race. How could you not?

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon on February 16 in Bermuda with LOTS of foot pain.

happy to have survived the pain!!

I skipped or shortened runs and sought the help of PT who used CBD oil, massage, ART, heat ultrasound, laser therapy and every trick in the book. No relief!

My PT recommended that I see another podiatrist who gave me a B12/cortisone shot and a metatarsal pad.

Pain GONE! (mostly)

Do I wish I had gone sooner to her? Or was it not the shot but a combination of all of the treatments?? Who knows?

Though I don’t usually care much about my short runs, I do like to get in a 10, 11 and 12 miler before each half marathon.

For this race, I obviously did not. A few short runs each week and a longish one.  All with some foot discomfort (until recently).

Yes, I was nervous that I was not prepared for run 13.1 miles and I was nervous about my foot pain returning.

So the goal for this half marathon was finishing!! If my foot started to bother me, I would just grit my feet and finish.  It’s a BIG race, There would be many runners finishing behind me.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

And then it happened. As you know, the RACE WAS CANCELLED!!

Over 25,000 disappointed runners.

I ran it last year. I felt so fortunate.

running down Times Square was truly amazing!!

But I was still bummed.

You had the choice of a refund or deferring to next year with no refund for this year and having to pay again for the race. I opted for the refund.

Most runners will not get their shirt or medal because of some greedy persons (who took extras and are selling them on eBay) but I had a friend in NYC who grabbed mine.

So the race was not happening, but I felt guilty about getting the medal and shirt and I wanted to run the race anyway.

I contacted my friends and two agreed to run 13.1 miles with me.

We decided on our normal long run day which is Saturday and planned to meet at 8:00 at the Nisky Bike Path.

running at Nisky Bike Path (on a warmer day)

I worked all day (standing) the day before but relaxed at mah jongg after my usual pre-race dinner of pizza.

Race Day:

I got up early and had my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee.

I checked the weather it looked to be in the 30s and heading up to 40 and a little windy. I didn’t have to worry about bag check and could just leave extra clothes in my car.

Our plan was to run 4 miles in one direction and turn around, make a stop at our cars for water or to remove layers.

As you see, I tried to incorporate some NYC in my outfit: last year’s half shirt, LeBow hat and NYC calf sleeves.

Sherry and I run about the same pace but Stan runs considerably faster. He was nice enough to slow down. I insisted on walking every 2 miles to simulate a water stop (and to catch my breath.)

The course we chose is fairly flat. It was actually warm running with the wind at our backs but then a little chilly running into the wind (but not bad as the trees protected you on this path,)

At the 4 mile turn around, I ate a gel and then had water at our mile 8 stop. I changed to lighter gloves, from my Hokas to my Mizunos, and almost shred my vest. Stan changed hats.

Then we continued in the other direction.

I was getting tired and struggled to keep up. But it certainly helps to have someone to talk to the whole way and we stuck together.

Again we walked every 2 miles and I had my second gel at mile 10.5, our second turn around.

Then we headed back to the car.

We bumped into another friend Chris who was running as she headed back with a cowbell to cheer us on.

And we finished…13.1 done!!

So no crowd support or bridges or parks or Times Square but we did it.  Thanks to Sherry and Stan! I earned that medal and this:

Additional Race Reflections:

We finished at 2:31:39. Our average pace was 11:34. It felt faster but then we walked slowly and for longer than necessary and we chatted a lot. No regrets on that pace.

I am unbelievably happy to have run without that awful left foot pain.

But yes again the bunion on my other foot hurt while wearing the Hokas. (I’m returning them.)

I may go back to my Mizuno Wave Inspires or try something else.

Yes, I am sad that I could not run the real United NYC Half Marathon.

Maybe when I am 70, I’ll be able to run it again.

The Good:

  • The weather
  • flat course
  • friends to run with
  • slept in my own bed the night before
  • view of Mohawk river
  • great post race meal

The Bad:

  • tired legs
  • no water stops
  • no crowd support
  • bunion pain

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Sure but only if you cannot run the real thing!!!

Final Stats:

Next Up:

A local race. The second year for this race. A downhill course. Lots of running friends. Should be fun… IF IT IS NOT CANCELLED!!

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Update: it was postponed until August 29, 2020


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

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


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

Formerly the Running Coaches’ Corner, it’s back with new co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Fauxrunner.

Happy Running! Was anyone else planning to run this race? If so, did you run it virtually?  Would you run it virtually, if your race were cancelled? Please share.

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ZOOMA Bermuda Challenge Recap

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

So this year, I did run the ZOOMA Bermuda Half Marathon as my 41th Half Marathon for these reasons:

  • A warmer weather race-cation opportunity
  • Cari agreed to do it and and be my roommate.
  • I had enough frequent flyer miles for a free flight.
  • Only 1 1/2 hour flight from JFK.
  • It was held on Presidents Day weekend (one less day to take off from work)
  • I found out that fellow bloggers Erika and Marcia were also running it. And I’ve never met Erika.
  • It was advertised as a scenic course with ocean views.
  • An all women race… who can argue with that?
  • I’ve never been to Bermuda.
  • Two races = 3 medals (BLING!)

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon several weeks before in NYC…with foot pain.  The foot pain continued and I considered downgrading to the 10k.  But I am stubborn and decided to tough it out. (I mean I just ran a HILLY half in NYC in the freezing cold…)

As with all my half marathon training, I did not really care about my week day runs. They were usually 3 miles. However, I do try to do longer runs on the weekend.

So after 13.1 miles on January 19, I did manage to complete 11 mile and 9 mile training runs. I skipped the 12 miler in favor of a 4 mile race + 5 more miles after.

The goal for this half marathon was finishing!! Not to race it, not to get injured and not to make my foot pain worse!!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Although the half marathon was scheduled for Sunday morning, Cari and I arrived (with no flight drama) late Wednesday night.

We had planned to stretch the legs and get used to the hills and humidity on Thursday morning. But instead we mostly walked the beach, the hilly railway trail and climbed to the top of a light house. Not much running but lots of steps!

The rest of the day was spent reading and relaxing at the hotel pool

and exploring Royal Naval Dockyard in the evening.

On Friday, both Cari and I got itchy to run. Finding a non-hilly route was a challenge. We tried the golf course. NOPE! And then we finally settled for looping the hotel.

Thanks to a ZOOMA Bermuda FB group, we able to communicate with many of the runners who shared their plans and ideas for their stay on the island. We decided to take a ferry after our run and spend Valentine’s Day touring Hamilton.

We returned in time for the first race event – the Welcome Party (at our hotel):

  • Pick up your race bib plus your welcome gifts!
  • Attend the course talk with ZOOMA race staff
  • Drinks, music and appetizers courtesy of the Bermuda Tourism Authority

We met some familiar faces and lots of new ones.  Sara, the ZOOMA Race Series Owner, gave us tips on running the race. She warned us about the hills and the narrow winding roads and reminded us to run with traffic on the LEFT side of the road. (Yes, this is a British island.)

We also met the pacers for the race (many of whom were on our flight.) They made sure to chat with every runner in order to help them finish at their desired pace. (My pace = ????)

Unfortunately our beautiful Bermuda weather ended.  We woke up to wind, rain and chilly temps on Saturday. But it didn’t really matter because we had the OFFICIAL GROUP EXCURSION scheduled:

  • Round trip transportation from hotel to Crystal Caves + Swizzle Inn
  • Entry to both of the Crystal Caves
  • Lunch reservation at Swizzle Inn

Both Crystal and Fantasy Caves were breathtaking and our lunch delish.

After our trip to the caves, we hung out in the hotel and relaxed before getting ready for the Lighthouse Run.

The 2 mile course got changed to 1.5 miles and the rain and wind lessened as we walked up to the Lighthouse start but then re-started with a vengeance.

The race started at Gibb’s Lighthouse and ended at Horseshoe Beach.

Brr!!!

With a half marathon the next day, we decided to walk the race. And we got soaked.

running in the rain is better with friends

Still we had fun.

took off my poncho to sprint through the finish line…followed by Cari & Marcia (and a few others)

We ate some popcorn but didn’t stay too long at the beach (even though there were FREE drinks.)

We’re done!!!

1.5 miles. PR since I have never done this distance LOL (FYI: Barbara is from NYC and a Skirt Sports ambassador)

After the race, we took the shuttle back to the hotel from the beach, changed our clothes and had dinner in the hotel – Pizza for me, as usual. Carb loading complete!

first medal of the weekend!

I organized my usual race outfit (tank, skirt, compression calf sleeves, cap) and went to bed around 10 pm.

Race Day:

I brought my oatmeal and coffee from home with me and got up around 4:30 am to get ready and have breakfast in my hotel room..

It was NOT raining…hooray but still dark and a little chilly.  I put on some throw aways and packed a bag for after and headed to the shuttle.

The shuttle left promptly at 6 am and we arrived in Hamilton at 6:30…still an hour to wander, take pics use port-a-potties.

foil sheet and throw away shirt did not last long.

I checked a bag with those throw aways, a down jacket and flip flops)

Before we knew it, it was time to walk UP to the start.

It was a small race (110 or so) so no corrals. The Half Marathoners lined up first so we had to say good bye to Marcia.

DIY arm warmers did not last either

As I mentioned, we had met all of the pacers at the Welcome Party. Now was the time to confirm whom we wanted to run with and line up with them.

so supportive and helpful…more like friends than pacers

I initially thought about running with the 2:15 pacers but as I told them, I was not running for pace and would most likely finish around 2:30.

I’ll do my best to recap the race below. (Warning: it’ll be long…)

My plan, as usual, was to stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated) and to stop and walk longer to eat a GU at every other water stop.  I planned to walk whenever necessary and NOT RACE it.

Here is a very cool interactive map: https://www.plotaroute.com/route/1004724

scenic, right?

not flat!!

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Miles 1-4:

10:01, 10:01, 9:59, 9:54

As always, I felt more energetic during the beginning miles. I started running with the 2:15 pacers. Unfortunately, my foot hurt from the first step to the last.  I was disappointed but prepared for the pain.

Because I knew that I would slow down, I was actually (as you can see from the photo) ahead of the pacers.

smiling (not sure why) and ahead of the 2:15 pacers

There were hills from beginning to end.  No road is flat on this island.  No road is straight.  Curve after curve…blind curves but we ran single file and with traffic. It was a little scary at times but the drivers were very courteous and moved over for all runners.

still ahead…

I stopped at each water stop as planned. I drank my water quickly because I did not want to litter on this beautiful island.

From mile 2 to 3, I think, it was starting to drizzle and then the rain got harder and harder. I was thinking that it would be a repeat of the night before but I wasn’t prepared for the rain. There was NO rain in the forecast.

Luckily it stopped.  I was soaked which turned out to be a blessing. The sun came out, the humidity rose and the air got warmer and heavier.

And wet socks = blisters (I got a big one that didn’t hurt and a small one that did.)

Miles 5-8:

10:58, 10:17, 10:22, 11:14

The biggest hill was at mile 4. I walked/ran up all the hills (which I guess was the whole race lol).  I finally ate my first one of the three gels. I followed what worked in my last half and full. Different brand of gel for each stop. (Honey stinger, e-gel, Gu)

they’re gaining on me lol

and the pacer passes me

I did smile every time I saw a photographer…even if I was running in pain.

I’m sure I’ve lost them by now

Foot pain continued but I focused on the course which was breath-taking. I lost the 2:15 pacer which was to be expected.

However, my other foot started to hurt (It has in the past = bunion!)

Miles 9-13.23:

11:03, 11:40, 11:42, 12:19, 11:30, (.23 -11:00)

I continued the same pattern except that my hill walking got longer and longer.  I started to feel the humidity and almost wished that it would rain again.

My calves started cramping. This has NEVER happened to me before. Very painful!!

I could NOT sprint across the finish line.

I crossed at 2:23:21. (2:23:16 -Garmin time)

I was immediately handed water and two big medals and luggage tag.

I grabbed a needed drink (or two).

Dark n Stormy = my new favorite drink

Then headed to get some food to go along with my drink(s). Then off to bag check to retrieve my flip flops for my poor feet. (Down jacket?? What was I thinking??)

there were also tuna & egg salad sandwiches

They gave out age group awards but only to FIRST place in 10 year groups.

8 out of 9 – no chance even if I was not hurting

I met up with Marcia and then Cari. Everyone was happy with how the race turned out. Kudos to ZOOMA (and the ONPace runners!!)

We had planned on heading right back to the hotel (on the shuttle) but they encouraged us to stay for the Gombay dancers.

Then we chatted with RD, Erika. and watched the Pacers and last runner finish.

first time meeting a blogger that I have followed for years

Of course, no race would be complete without goofy beach/medal pictures.

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Half Zip, Tank, Bag and map mailed to runners ahead of time.
  • Excellent communication about every aspect of the race before, during and after the race.
  • Transportation and excursions organized by ZOOMA
  • Easy packet pick-up at the hotel.
  • Welcome gifts. Luggage tags & makings for a Dark & Stormy drink, key chain.
  • Welcome party with appetizers and opportunity to meet the other runners and pacers.
  • Shuttle to and from the start
  • Sufficient number of port-a-potties at start/finish and along the course
  • Sufficient number of water/Gatorade stops (7) – 1 had Gels (I think) but I missed it.
  • Bag Check. Easy drop off and pick up.
  • Well marked course – mile markers and police directing traffic.
  • Free Massages at the finish.
  • Pacers. Great group. Personal attention given to each runner.
  • Planks given as awards.
  • Very cool medal(s) (and luggage tag).
  • Soup, sandwiches, popcorn, bars, fruit at the finish.
  • Gombay Dancers entertaining at the finish.
  • Lots of photographers on the course (ZOOMA and Professional)
  • FREE photos. Many many of each runner. In the FB group and on results page of web site.
  • Open bar…unlimited drinks at the finish.
  • Great weather. (except for the 1.5 mile run and one mile of the half/10k)
  • Beautiful course. Water views throughout.
  • All women’s race.
  • Friendly staff, participants, volunteers, residents.
  • Discounts for many Bermuda Activities (Dolphin Excursion, Caves, etc.)

The Bad:

  • 10 Year age groups and award given to First Place only.
  • Hills and winding roads with no shoulders and blind curves (but that is Bermuda).
  • Running with traffic (but there was no other way to have it.)
  • Rain/wind during the Lighthouse Race (but can’t change the weather.)

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

It was super well-organized. Special attention was paid to EVERY detail.  The course was scenic. Bermuda is beautiful.

I am now considering other ZOOMA races because of my experience at this race.

Final Stats:

I am so proud that my body could run. Yup. pain is temporary. I quickly forgot the next day how much it hurt.

My finish time was 3 minutes faster than than my previous foot pain half in NYC (so a foot pain HM PR lol).

Racing with friends is the best way to race.

Next Up:

NYC Half Marathon…my 2nd time running this race. Going for a foot pain PR!!

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March 15, 2020


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

Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies and you should too.


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

Formerly the Running Coaches’ Corner, it’s back with new co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Fauxrunner.

Happy Running! Have you ever been to Bermuda? Ever run a ZOOMA race? Please share.

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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

polarcap15-4

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.

img_3982

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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img_3987

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.

IMG_4971

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).

Fred LeBow Half Marathon Race Recap

NYRR Fred Lebow Half-Marathon 2020 logo

January 19, 2020 – 8:00 am

This race honors the late NYRR president and New York City Marathon co-founder, Fred Lebow (1932–1994). The course is two-plus loops of Central Park, which can be a challenge in January! Join the mid-winter fun and camaraderie—and perhaps kick off your training for a spring marathon. You’ll have lots of good-spirited company, and you can enjoy classical music (Fred’s favorite) at the start as well as inspiring Fred quotes along the course!

So I signed up for the Fred LeBow Half Marathon as my 40th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I love NYC.
  • I love running in Central Park.
  • I had enough pts for a free hotel room.
  • I had thought my NYC BRFs Cari and Elizabeth may be running it too.
  • It was held on President’s Day weekend so I had the next day off from work.
  • Fred Lebow?!

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  After the NYC Marathon and Stockade-athon 15k, I experienced foot pain.

So I stopped running completely for 3 weeks. I was planning to DNS this race.

But then I started back with some short runs and a few longer ones on the weekend.

Though I don’t usually care much about my short runs, I do like to get in a 10, 11 and 12 miler before each half marathon.

For this race, I obviously did not. And all my runs came with some foot discomfort.

Yes, I was nervous that I was not prepared for run 13.1 miles and I was nervous about making my foot worse. And those hills!!!!

So the goal for this half marathon was just finishing!!  It’s a BIG race, There would be many runners finishing behind me.

Update course map – start at east 102nd and end at west 102nd – 2 full loops

Check out this elevation:

starts and ends with Harlem Hill and you hit it in the middle too! along with Cat Hill twice and 3 Sisters.

Yikes.  But no surprise…I have run in this park and I ran the Shape Half Marathon which was also several loops of the park (but different start and end.)

survived but not smiling

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Several days before the race, we were notified of this change:

Due to construction on the 72nd Street Transverse in Central Park, we have modified the NYRR Fred Lebow Half Marathon course. The race will now feature two larger loops in Central Park starting on East Drive just south of the 102nd Street Cross Drive and finishing on 102nd Street Cross Drive near West Drive.

Hence, three Harlem hills rather than the normal two…lucky me!

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep during a previous race-cation — rest the legs and fuel adequately the day before the race. I was going to make sure that I did both things this time around.

So I took the bus to NYC on Saturday. The weather was horrendous. Snow made my bus arrive an hour late so I immediately headed to the subway (with my luggage) to meet fellow bloggers Deborah (from Confessions of a Mother Runner) and Cari. The three of us had a great time chatting over popcorn and wine at Deborah’s hotel.

Cari was nice enough to have already picked up my bib to save me enough time to get back to check into my hotel and then take the subway to Brooklyn. I had plans to carb load with my friend Stan who was running the race the next day, as well.

Brooklyn pizza is the best. I had 3 slices…no guilt.

The snow had stopped but now it was pouring. I had my fingers crossed that they were right about the sunshine the next day.

I got back to my hotel rather early in order to plan my race day. I have only run one winter half marathon. So it was a challenge to decide on what to wear to keep warm but not too warm for 13.1 miles.

2 shirts, capris and compression socks, beanie, gloves

Luckily I still had some throw always and foil wrap to add to my outfit.

Race Day:

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and got up around 5:30 am.  It was chillier than I hoped so I put on my throwaway jacket, DIY arm sleeves, grabbed a foil blanket and called an Uber. (My hotel was on West 39th and it would be a long walk from the nearby subway stop at East 102nd to the start.)

snow on the grass and paths but the roads were salted and clear

I had plans to meet Stan (who was taking the subway from Brooklyn) before the race. I got there way too early.  It was easy to find the start and bag check.  But an hour waiting in the freezing cold was too much.

The sun came up and so did the wind. A bunch of us huddled near a generator for warmth. Eventually they shooed us away saying it was dangerous.

Soon Stan arrived and we met at bag check.  I hesitated giving up my jacket but I knew that I would need it after the race. (I should have worn more throwaways.. and brought a heavier jacket for after… duh!)

Eventually, it was time to separate and head to our respective corrals. I was in I and Stan in G. (I was supposed to meet another friend who was in L but never located her.)

I kept on the foil blanket until I started running

I FROZE!!!! Even my teeth were chattering…along with 5000 other runners (a small race for NYC standards.)

I’ll do my best to recap the race below. (Warning: it’ll be long…)

The Race Plan: Do not get injured!! Do make your foot pain worse!!

There would have to be a lot of walking…There would be umpteen hills!! (and 3 Harlems rather than the usual 2!! plus several Cats and many other annoying smaller ones.)

And stop and walk briefly at every water stop (so I wouldn’t get dehydrated even in the cold) and to stop and walk longer to eat a gel at every other water stop.

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Miles 1-5:

10:36, 10:34, 10:19, 10:22, 10:48

from nyrr fb page

It took a LONG five minutes or so to get to the start line. As I crossed I waved and yelled to Ali from Ali on the Run blog/podcast who was the race announcer.

It was slow going at first due to the crowd but soon after we ascended Harlem Hill for the first time…

My corral had a 2:10 pacer whom I lost immediately. I never did see the 2:20 one.

My foot hurt immediately but as always the pain faded to a dull ache and then increased and decreased throughout the race. It never felt normal nor did it ever prevent me from running.

Once I started running, I realized that I was indeed perfectly dressed. I even took off my gloves.

The roads were wet but they had so much salt on them, they were not slippery.

I ran up most of the hills. My sore foot always feels better running than walking.  Unfortunately, it felt worse on the downhills where I normally can pick up the pace and make up for my slow uphill running.

I was conscious of this and never pushed the pace (even though tempted on those downhills) during the race.

There were water/Gatorade stops almost every mile of the course. I stopped at each one except the first one.

At mile 2, I took my first gel since it had been hours since my breakfast. (I always struggle to get one out of my pocket, open it and drink water and eat it…)

I knew that Cari was going to be cheering for me on the west side at 79th St.  I was counting the blocks until I saw her (around mile 2.5).

I high fived her as I ran by.

Cari’s pic of me as I ran by

So we continued circling the park… many small annoying hills and then the 2nd largest hill, Cat Hill. I did the same as with Harlem, ran up most and ran slowly down.

Soon we were back on the east side and passed Fred Lebow.  Every runner waved to him as they ran by.

I didn’t stop to get my camera out,,,this was taken on a different run

Miles 6-10:

10:09, 11:44, 10:48, 10:51, 11:13

We passed the start and that meant we were heading for round 2 of Harlem Hill.  I also took my 2nd gel at one of the water stops. They had Honey Stingers and I searched until I found a chocolate one.

credit – cheereverywhere – can always muster up a smile for the camera

As we headed for the west side again, I was looking forward to seeing my friends Cari and Elizabeth. I so appreciated them being there to cheer me on.

And since this was the second loop of the park, there was Cat Hill again, and the statue of Fred and hill after hill after hill.

credits: cheereverywhere – my favorite sign

Miles 11-13.4:

12:21, 11:31, 12:08, 9:05

I ate one more gel since another Harlem Hill was coming for the THIRD time.

At this point, I wanted to be done.  I got a side stitch and it persisted until mile 13. Maybe because I had not done more than 10 miles for a long run.  Who knows? It took my mind off my achy foot.

I ran next a lady struggling with knee pain.  We decided to help each other get to the finish (and swore together about adding that 3rd Harlem Hill).

Finally we turned toward the finish line and then turned again.

I ran as fast as I could…. (Adrenaline took over here!)

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

I grabbed a bagel and pretzels and headed to bag check where Stan was waiting for me.

I was freezing… The wind had picked up… So glad that I didn’t throw that jacket away (wished I had brought my warmer one.)

We headed out of the park, walked many many blocks (oh my foot!!) to the subway and then I walked to my hotel to pack and take a long hot shower.

I met Stan again for lunch and to recap our race experiences. In spite of the pain, the cold, the loops, the monster hills, we did not regret running the race.

refueling

Since it had gotten much colder and windier, we both decided to leave the city earlier than planned.

Additional Race Reflections:

Garmin time=2:25:42
Chip time = 2:26:31

My finish time was way slower than my previous two half marathons. (Surf Town 9/8/19 – 2:16:08 and Sacandaga 5/19/19 -2:13:03) which was to be expected. (May have been a PW and definitely the slowest since 2011, my first year.)

As you can see from the stats above, my splits were slower than normal..no 9 minute miles and too many over 11 or 12.

Enough whining…I am so grateful to be able to visit NYC and run a race. I am unbelievably happy that after the race, my foot did not hurt worse than before.  My legs felt great. Zero DOMS!!

All in all, I thought this was a great race.

As usual, I wore some new items:

  • race hat – it was warm and comfortable
  • NYC Marathon race shirt  – also worked out well (love wearing race shirts – great conversation starter)
  • Injini toe socks and toe spacer (for my bunion) – got a blister in a new spot but no blister on the other foot where I often get one ??

The tried and true items:

  • Mizuno Wave Inspires (been experimenting with Altras and Brooks) that I had worn for the marathon
  • Skirt Sports Lotta Breeze capri skirt – had a drawstring to keep it tight and 2 pockets for ID, cards and gels
  • Legendware compression calf sleeves – kept my legs warm and supported my calfs
  • Dollar store gloves – secondary use was to wipe my runny nose lol
  • Spi belt for my phone and to attach my bib

The Good:

  • Easy packet pick-up (several days before at Run Center and also race morning near the start).
  • Many porta potties at the start. Long lines but they moved quickly (I was told – did not use).
  • Bag Check. Well organized before and easy pick up at the end.
  • Water and Gatorade stops at almost every mile or so.
  • Gels available at several water stops
  • Many porta-potties along the course in addition to real CP bathrooms
  • Roads were dry even after the previous day’s snowfall.
  • Friends cheering for support.
  • Well marked course.
  • Great crowd support at the big hills!
  • Clocks at 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k (or even more points).
  • Pacers (useful if you started in the correct corral).
  • Very cool medal.
  • Great winter beanie.
  • No lines for post race refreshments
  • Foil blankets put on and taped close for each runner.
  • Blogger met-up with Cari and Deborah and a friend to share the race experience with before and after.

The Bad:

  • Loops!!!
  • Hills in Central Park.
  • Foot Pain.
  • Side Stitch.
  • The course was LONG.

The Ugly:

  • Harlem Hill – 3 times!!

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Do it if you can.  You won’t regret it (unless you hate hills lol).

No, it’s not an easy course. Only a little over 5,000 runners usually participate so small race by NYC standards.

Final Stats:

Next Up:

A Race-cation. In Bermuda!  Should be a blast…

Image result for zooma bermuda

may still be a hilly race but should be WARMER


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

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


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

Formerly the Running Coaches’ Corner, it’s back with new co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Fauxrunner.

Happy Running! Ever run this race? Have you raced in NYC? What is your favorite half marathon? Ever run one totally under-trained? Please share.

runner-sig

Weekly Run Down for 1.13.20-1.19.20: Race Week??

Back working at home until March except for some race-cations thrown in.

Last Week –

  • Monday – Back to my podiatrist because the foot pain continues. I convinced him that I think it’s a neuroma. He agreed that if it were small, it wouldn’t show up on a MRI and he gave me a cortisone shot.  He added that we wouldn’t know if it worked for 2-3 weeks.

Had my first of 4 Chair Yoga sessions at work. So fun. Need it every day!!

great stretching without having to change from your work clothes.

After work, I ran my usual 3 mile UAlbany.

verdict is still out on the shot..foot still numb…time will tell…

  • Tuesday – Rest Day scheduled due to a much needed hair appointment.
  • Wednesday – Long work day but needed to run it off. Instead of UAlbany, I drove to rail trail and also ran in the local neighborhoods when it got dark.

after standing all the day, the foot really ached

  • Thursday – Debating all day about whether or not to run a half in NYC on Sunday. Tonight was the deadline to cancel my hotel reservations.  The weather forecast for Saturday was snow/rain but on race day, it had improved..and then there was the foot situation and lack of training. Decisions….Decisions.

oops..almost forgot…we’ll celebrate at a later date.

After another day on my feet, I went for a run at UAlbany with Chris.

much colder and windier but the foot felt better than the day before

  • Friday – PT consult today.  Looking for answers for my foot. She says she can help..appointments made for next Monday and Wednesday.

Also a Rest Day to get ready for the weekend in NYC and an evening with the mah jongg ladies. Yup, I decided to go for it.  I love a challenge and I hoped that I wouldn’t regret it.

  • Saturday – Another rest day cuz I was headed to NYC by bus. Thanks to the snow, my bus arrived late so I immediately headed to meet fellow bloggers Cari and Deborah. We had a great time over wine and popcorn. I briefly stopped off to check into my hotel before heading to Brooklyn to carb load with friend Stan who was also running the half the next day.

  • Sunday – Race Day – Fred Lebow Half Marathon. Holy hills!!! Two full loops of Central Park on a beautiful day. Perfect weather for running but the cold temps and wind had me freezing my butt off before and after the race. The foot hurt but seems no worse than before. The hills were what had me bitching. After a long hot shower, I met Stan for brunch. And we both decided to head home several hours early. (Too cold windy and sore to hike around the city.). I felt better after running 26.2 miles. Go figure.

This Coming Week – 

  • Monday – PT, rest day
  • Tuesday –  rest day, gym, mall walk with BFF
  • Wednesday – PT, run (Delmar)
  • Thursday –run (UAlbany)
  • Friday – rest day, mah jongg
  • Saturday – long run with Sole Sisters (11 miles)
  • Sunday – rest day

I am linking up with Kim and Deborah for

I encourage you to do the same. Grab the graphic, drop your link on the host blogs and play along! Please be sure to always comment on the HOST’s blogs, as well as visit and comment on as many other blogs as you can.

Happy Running! How is your running going? Anyone suffering from undiagnosable injuries? Ever have a cortisone shot? What’s new with you? Please share.

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

hhm15

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.)

hangover-059

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.

Hangover_Half-002-L

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!)