Upstate Classic Half Marathon Race Recap

NOVEMBER 20, 2022

yes, that’s me!

My final half marathon for 2022!!

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

  • I had run the race three times before so I was familiar with the course and the hills.
  • 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 had run a half in September and October so I was sorta already trained.

Half Marathon Training:

For 2020, I had the ambitious goal of running 12 Half Marathons – one each month. The pandemic wrecked those plans.  For 2021, it was just race whatever half marathons were available.  Racing has returned so a result, I was lucky to have already run SEVEN live (and one virtual) half marathons this year.

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I try to get in my long runs but this fall, I got caught up in a 5k racing frenzy and missed several key long runs.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I did some easy short runs during the week prior to the race: Mon, Tues, Thurs:

Packet pick up was easy peasy.  I just went to the race headquarters on Friday after work.

just a bib since I chose not to buy the race shirt

I skipped my long run on Saturday and walked with friends and then after, I met them and the others who ran for brunch.

My usual carb loading dinner was pizza and then I tried to figure out what to wear.  It was forecast to be VERY cold, windy  and cloudy. Colder then my last race and we would be at a higher altitude. I hate being overdressed (and was tempted to even wear a skirt) but I reluctantly chose a beanie, 2 long sleeved shirts, DIY arm sleeves, tights/skirt, and gloves.

I added an extra pair of gloves, compression calf sleeves, buff and throw away jacket (all were necessary!)

Race Day:

I woke up early and looked outside and there was a light coating of snow on the ground (the slippery kind.)

I had my usual pre-race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee. My running friend, Deb, was also running the race so we decided to carpool. I met her at 7 am and she offered to drive.  I knew that I may finish the race first but not much before her so it didn’t seem to matter who drove (Um, wrong!!)

On the drive, we discussed our plans for the race.

So what was the plan???

  • Upstate Classic Nov. 2020 – 2:23:37 (but no watch)
  • H2H April 2021 – 2:22:51 (same course)
  • Upstate Classic Nov 2021 – 2:19:21

I would love to have improved my time on this course but hey, I’m a year older…

So Just finish.  No time goal!! Stay healthy for future races.

We both agreed on this goal…

The course:

A loop starting and ending in the same location.

and not flat… at all:

according to my Garmin

The race would be starting at 8:30am. We got there an hour early and parked in the huge grass parking lot. Then we sat in the car.  It was in the 20’s (teens with the wind chill) and we wanted to stay warm until the last moment especially since there was no bag check. (Well, Deb had to get her bib and use the porta-potty but I remained warm.)

Around 8:15 am, We dragged ourselves out of the warm car and headed toward the race start.

Brrrrr! I shivered but at least, I had time to chat with many runners that I knew.

Deb headed to the porta-potty line (which was a mile long.)

They announced that no matter what, they would start the race on time.

First the half marathoners started. (The marathoners would start 10 minutes later.) After that, there was also a 5k.

It was chip-timed so I just pushed myself into the crowd toward the front and near my friends. I still couldn’t bear to take my throw away jacket off.


Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Spoiler Alert:  This was posted by the RD in FB:

Miles 1-3:

We started running around the fairgrounds.  The path was snowy, icy and very slippery.  I took it slow but tried to stay with my friends.

I soon realized that my jacket was too awkward to run with so I threw it to the side. We continued on the entrance road to the fairgrounds until we turned onto the main road.

I was familiar with this course since this was my 3rd time running it.  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. And until mile 4 or so, it was also very snowy/icy.

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:

One of the course marshals that I knew cheered us on and took photos.

My friend Linda (above) gradually got ahead of me but she was always in my view.

The first water stop was around mile 3.  I wasn’t thirsty but stopped anyway to take a drink (and tossed it since I got a mouthful of ice.)

Soon a plow went by salting the road and so it was clearer and less slippery..  So far the hills weren’t too bad. I could even run up them.

This may get monotonous but it was VERY windy and cold.  At first, it didn’t seem so bad.  The sun even made me feel that I was appropriately dressed. Early on, I even rolled down my arm sleeves and took off my gloves.

I ate a GU since I tried to keep to my fueling plan of eating every 4 miles.

Around mile 5, we passed by Indian Ladder Farms and the smell of fresh cider donuts filled the air. Normally this is where there are tons of cheering spectators.  But not today in these cold windy conditions.

The rolling hills continued. The wind seemed to pick up.  Why did it never seem to be at my back?

When we turned off this road,  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. But trying to pick up the pace on the downhill with the wind blowing in your face was impossible!

Miles 6.2-8.75

Every now and then I would glance at my watch.  My pace was by no means fast but considering all the walking, it was not as bad as I feared. In fact, my legs felt great.  My feet didn’t hurt.  It could have been a good race…. if it weren’t for the crazy WIND!!!

The second water stop was around the 10k point. Again I stopped and had some frozen water.

Normally around the halfway point, there is a clock but it was not working when I went by.  Looking at the race results, it stopped around 44:xx and re-started at 1:04:xx.

So obviously even in this weather, I was doing pretty well.

Now the big hills seems to more frequent, the temps dropped and the wind picked up big time.

I pulled up my arm sleeves, put back on one pair of gloves and pulled up my buff.  My lips were numb and I was soooooo cold.

The wind was so painful that I thought about quitting!!!

Miles 8.75 – 11.1

But I continued… walking when I couldn’t run and running when I could.  At times I felt like the wind was pulling me backward.  But it was no different for anyone else… and there marathoners out there.  And those poor volunteers.

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

The race continued the same way.  The amazing thing was that my feet did not hurt.  My lower back was achy from looking down to protect my eyes from the wind.

I think there was another water stop (I’m pretty sure that I stopped.)

The course marshals were very enthusiastic. I knew many of them.  I couldn’t believe they were able to stay out there for hours in that cold. There were some families camped out (and bundled up or in heated cars) in their driveways.  But for the most part, we were running on the roads in the country… no place for spectators.

But surprisingly around mile 10.5, there was table of guys giving out bottles of water and alcohol.  It was one of our boating friends again. I was too cold to even greet him.

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 didn’t eat my last GU either.

Mile 13 seemed like a full marathon.  The wind had drained me. I wanted to run to finish but I just could not move forward in that wind. I was pretty miserable.

And for this entire mile, I had a terrible side stitch. I can’t remember the last time that happened to me (WTH?)

To make matters worse, there was one hill after another.  And so I walked most of this mile.

We were also running in a more heavily trafficked area and so you had to keep keep moving over when a car drove by.

But eventually we turned into the fairgrounds  There were even hills there!  The wind was swirling… the snow was blowing….

I barely sprinted through the finish line. I just couldn’t move fast in that WIND!!

Post Race Activities:

They gave us a foil blanket that I attempted to put on in the wind.

I immediately headed to the food tent. Refreshments were a boxed lunch but there was also a table of food that looked more appealing – pastries, quiche, bread, etc. But I was too frozen to eat anything.

Then I went to see my results. I found out that I came in first in my age group and at that table, they also gave you your finishers medal.

For your award, you could pick a hat or shirt from a previous year.

this was last year’s hat (and I was the ONLY crazy runner in my AG)

If I weren’t freezing enough, I no longer had a jacket and the wind was brutal and temps dropping. I hung around the food area until I was too cold and moved into the sun and waited… and waited and waited.

I didn’t have keys to my friend’s car and I was wondering if I had missed her finishing.

So I walked to her car and waited there.  I was sooo cold that I wanted to cry.. A lady nearby who was waiting for her husband to finish (took a look at me) and offered me a seat in her warm car.

Finally, my friend arrived (she had stomach issues and had a very bad race.) I obviously couldn’t complain about waiting 50 minutes in the cold without a coat..

The best part of the day was that we drove to Indian Ladder Farms and ordered the most delicious hot mulled cider (in fact two cups.)

Additional Race Reflections:

It seems that my recap above was a bunch of complaints.  But honestly, it was the first race that I wanted to quit during and the first race that I regretted running.

I guess, I’m proud that I didn’t. Others in the race (including some friends) did and felt much worse.

In fact, my time was a lot better than I expected. It was faster than my September half that was flat. If the weather were better, there was potential for a great race.

But you can’t control the weather. And any injury would have been much worse (My legs/feet felt fine after.)

It gives me hope that I could improve (if I dare to run it again next year.)

The Good:

  • Connecting with local runners.
  • Decent post race food. (box lunch of pre-ordered sandwich, apple, brownie) and a table of other refreshments (quiche, bead, pastries)
  • 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

The Bad:

  • Hilly Course.
  • Most of my running group did not participate.
  • Not trained for hills (my fault).
  • Traffic during the last mile or so.
  • Ice/Snow on the course

The Ugly:

  • INSANE WIND! (up 50 mph gusts)
  • Waiting after the race

Final Stats:

6.4M ~ 1:03


things got ugly after mile 8

I felt like I walked the second half of he race

Would I recommend this race?

Sure.  Pretty scenery and the perks mentioned above. But TRAIN ON HILLS before you run it!!

I’m pretty sure the weather couldn’t be as bad as this year. (I mean, it was 75 degrees two weeks prior.)

Next Up:

A Thanksgiving 10K

Happy Running! Run any big races in 2022? How did they go?  Ever run a race in conditions so bad that you wanted to quit? Please share.







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.


Maine Half Marathon Race Recap

Maine Marathon | Maine Half Marathon | Maine Marathon Relay

Race-cations have been an annual tradition with my running friends since 2017. We started in Corning, NY and then traveled to Montreal, and Brooklyn, NY.

The past two Octobers, my friends and I rented a house for 3 nights in Hampton Beach, NH and ran a half marathon (among other fun shenanigans.)

This year, the house that we rented was located in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

So I signed up for the Maine Half Marathon (in Portland) as my 61th Half Marathon (54th if you don’t count the 2020 virtuals) for several reasons:

  • A race-cation.
  • Nine of my friends would be running/supporting the race.
  • Running along the ocean.
  • There was a marathon and marathon relay option.
  • Lobstah rolls to eat and lighthouses to visit…

Surprisingly, I was also named as an Ambassador for this race.

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. But I do run 3 miles several times during the work week. My weekday runs are sometimes solo and sometimes not.  The last one was unplanned. I just needed to try out new shoes.

And on the weekends, I try to do my Long Run. Usually most of my miles are with one or more of my running friends. However, some shorter races did interrupt my mileage (as shown below).

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

My taper consisted of a 5k race + several easy runs (as mentioned above). I did schedule two rest days before the race. Perfect, right?

We carpooled and left for Maine on Saturday morning with a stop for a delicious lunch (in Hampton NH)

Ginger & Clove Cafe in Hampton, NH Now Open and Hiring

before checking into our AirBnB in Old Orchard Beach, ME.

almost all the bedrooms had a view of the ocean…

After we all picked our rooms, we headed to the expo in Portland (held in the gym of U of So. Maine).

We were in and out in no time… not much interesting to buy. We just picked up our bibs and shirts (in addition to a shopping bag and a Dunkin Donuts gift card).

while our cheerleaders made signs.

and then we explored the race logistics (i.e. where to park on race morning).

By the time were were done, it was time for an early dinner. We parked in the waterfront area and had pizza (of course).

FoCSP Flatbread Pizza Community Bake | Flatbread Company Portland Maine | Tue July 26, 2022

Coincidentally, two bloggers were also in Portland and we coordinated a very quick meet-up.

who recognizes them? Deborah and Debbie

Finally we headed home, #flatmes were organized and we headed to bed early (though I never can sleep the night before a race.)

I did make a last minute switch to NEW shoes

Race Day:

Sorry to be a broken record about not having a time goal. But my goal for races these days is to FINISH happy (that is not injured and ready to do another.) But if I had to guestimate my time, it would have been between 2:15 and 2:30.

Actually, even more important would be to run a smarter and less painful race than my last half marathon four weeks prior. Slower the first half so that I can enjoy the second of the race… (Spoiler alert: it didn’t really happen.)

Video of the course:

Maine Half Marathon | Portland Maine | October 4, 2020

The race was advertised as follows:

The half marathon takes place alongside the Maine Marathon. Enjoy the Back Cove, views of Casco Bay and fall foliage along the out-and-back route. All three races are together for the first 6.5 miles before the half marathon heads back to Portland. The courses features a mixture of rolling hills and flat sections, but start and finish with two flat miles along Baxter Boulevard. (dirt path detour due to construction.)

The half marathon course is well supported with water stops with Gatorade (lemon-lime Endurance Formula) located approximately every two miles. 

according to my Garmin (after the race)

One of my friends was running the 6 am early start marathon. Four Three of my friends were running the marathon relay and then three of us were running the half marathon.  Both races started at 7:45 am. Two others (as pictured above) were cheering us all on.

As you can imagine, coordinating the race logistics would be quite challenging.

To complicate things further, one of my friends had to leave before the race due to a death in the family. That meant that one of the relay runners had to run two legs rather than one (and change the leg that she originally planned to run.) Oy!

It did get sorted out and we all left for the race.  It wasn’t far but what we didn’t consider that there would be so much traffic.

We planned to park in the parking garage (as we did for the expo) but my car (the half marathoners and relay runner #1) wound up taking a detour and parking (maybe illegally) in a bank parking lot near the start.

We ran to bag check to get rid of a bag with warmer clothes for after the race.

we all wore throwaways because it was quite chilly (and windy).

Then we headed to the start line. (Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to coordinate meeting Deborah.)

My memory is a little vague but here’s how I remember it:

Miles 1-3:

Bag pipes played to begin the race.  I lined up with my friends at the over 11 minute mile sign.  Since it was chip-timed, I really didn’t care where I started.

I was cold so I kept on my gloves and throw-away jacket. The course started at Back Cove and we ran along a path that circled Casco Bay. Though it was very windy, the temps were perfect for running.

We almost immediately had to detour due to construction onto a dirt path.  It was so much narrower than the road we started on that we came to a complete stand still.

But I enjoyed the scenery and the dirt felt softer on my feet. I was happy so far.

The wind seemed to stop and I threw away my jacket.  The temps couldn’t be more perfect.

I was determined NOT to start out as fast as my last half marathon so I walked a bit at the mile 1 sign and then again at the water stop around mile 2.

Eventually we ran over the Martin Point Bridge which was the beginning of the rolling hills that continued throughout the race.

There were pacers and I was ahead of the 2:15 runner until the second half of the race.

Miles 4-6

There were so many water stops during this race.. It seemed to be one almost every mile. I stopped at most of them to walk and ate my first GU at mile 4.

As you can see from the map, we ran inland for a bit but still the scenery was so pretty. And it warmed up enough to get rid of my gloves. And then the sun came out (glad to have those Goodrs.)

I unsuccessfully tried to spot my friend at the first relay exchange.

And around mile 6, we encountered the steepest hill.  As per usual, I walked/ran up ALL the hills. It has always worked for me and has enabled to run faster on the flat sections.

All the music especially the drummers helped me to forget about hills and enjoy my run.

Miles 7-9

Finally we got to the turn around..  This was a relief knowing that I was heading back. It also gave me to the opportunity to see any of my friends who were behind me.

The 2:15 passed me and I never saw her again.  But I never saw the 2:30 pacer so that was good news.

The monster hill turned into a downhill so I picked up some speed.

I was hoping that my new shoes would be miracle workers and I would have zero pain. Unfortunately that was not the case.  My lower back started to and continued to ache. My right bunion and left neuroma hurt on and off until the end of the race.

I don’t regret wearing new shoes since my feet didn’t hurt worse (and the pain disappeared as soon as I finished running.)

I continued to walk when necessary, especially at the water stops.  I ate a 2nd Gu around mile 8.

I was surprised at how much crowd support there was and volunteers supporting all the water stops.

back over the bridge (smiling for the camera even in pain)

Miles 10-13.1

The course was repeating itself with just a few changes. Instead of along the water, we ran through Payson Park.

It was still beautiful.. The sun was out and I was even getting warm. I rolled down my arm sleeves and covered my Garmin. I wasn’t concerned one bit about my finish time. I was so ready to be done!

One last Gu for this road so that I wouldn’t feel dizzy after the race (It worked, I think.)

Of course, it seemed like forever until I saw the finish line. But when I did, I sprinted (even though my legs started to cramp… OUCH!)

my friend is the one in pink with the cow bell.

I crossed at 2:18:XX and I was very happy!!  And it was an awesome feeling to hear my friends cheering me on.

must stop that watch!!

Post Race Activities:

After I got my medal and foil sheet, I went and got my bag since I was quite cold.

I also grabbed some snacks. There were cups of cookies, bars, fruit, chocolate milk, etc. Then I headed to the finish line to wait for the two other half marathoners.  I also found our Relay leg #1 runner.

As I mentioned, it was very windy and cold in the finish line area. I was glad that you didn’t feel the wind on the course. We had quite a wait ahead of us so Sherry and I went to find the food trucks.  Instead of using our $3 coupon, we ordered hot chocolate but they ran out and we had to settle for coffee (that we waited 1/2 hour for)

Soon our Relay leg #2 runner finished and we all found a spot in the sun to wait and nervously track Deirdre, our marathoner. I finally was getting hungry and ate several slices of pizza among some other snacks..

It was not an easy course and especially the 2nd 13 miles but she finished and we were all crying happy tears.

While Deirdre was recovering, we tried to figure out when our last relay runner (who ran legs 3 & 4) would be finishing.

thumbs up… at the last minute she had to run TWO legs instead of ONE!! Rockstar!!

We timed it perfectly so that the other two relay runners could join her and cross the finish line holding hands.

I think I enjoyed cheering in our friends as much as running the race.

Some of us took advantage of the free massages provided (I did not but should have…)

Eventually we all headed home to relax, debrief,

too cold to soak our feet…

shower and then head out to a celebratory meal (in walking distance from our house.)

Additional Race Reflections:

It was so fun to be out there and soaking up the racing atmosphere. It was even more fun to run a race with friends.

During the first half of the race, PR thoughts always run through my head.. but I knew that I had NOT trained well enough for that and just focused on finishing the race healthy.  I may never be that fast again…but the good news is that my finish time was was over 2 minutes faster than my last half marathon (and a more challenging course.)

There’s still hope for this old broad.

More importantly, I felt fine the next day and ran Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Sat without any after effects.

our happy group (sorry no jumping on the beach this year…)


  • Part of a 4 day race-cation with friends.
  • Bay and Ocean views.
  • Easy Packet pick-up
  • Nice gender-specific long sleeved tech shirts
  • Post race refreshments – pizza, snacks
  • Food coupon for $3 for the food trucks and coupon for two free beers (though we used neither)
  • Crowd support along the course.
  • Friends cheering you on at the finish line
  • Music along the course (including bag pipes and drums)
  • Varied route – bridge, water route, neighborhoods
  • Pacers
  • Free Photos
  • Instant race results
  • Great swag for AG awards (pottery)
  • Nice medal provided to all runners.
  • Abundant water stops and porta-potties
  • Free massages offered.
  • Perfect weather
  • Plenty of free parking (lots and parking garage)


  • The course was long
  • Some early start marathoners went off course
  • Relay logistics were poorly managed
  • Cold and windy in the start/finish area

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. yes. For all the reasons mentioned above.

Final Stats:


Walking definitely slowed down my pace. I already mentioned that things usually go downhill for me after mile 7…

My legs were more crampy after the race than usual. I attribute that to running those two 5ks and skipping those long runs (but sometimes fun trumps finish times). But it could have been that it was colder than I’m used to.

No award… I’m still in that age group where many runners are still very FAST.

times for 65-69

All in all, I was happy with my results,

Next Up:

two 5ks …

22nd Annual Great Pumpkin Challenge 5K/10K

7th Annual Summer Smith 5k Addiction Awareness Memorial Run – Oct. 22. 2022

followed by a 15k and another half marathon in November.

Stockadeathon – 15K Road Race

Nov. 13, 2022


Nov. 20, 2022

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

I’m also linking up here:

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

Happy Running! Have you run a fall race yet? If so, how did go? Are you planning to run one? Any race-cations planned? Please share.



Weekly Run Down for 10.2.22-10.9.22: Recovery Week

Another racecation has come and gone. This one was to run the Maine Half Marathon in Portland, ME.. As in all my other racecations, the highlight of the weekend was not the race course or the medals or finish times. It was all about the friendships forged. So thanks to my nine “Sole Sisters” for the memories and laughs.

After Sunday’s race, it was great to relax. Of course there were still some easy runs and other activities….

And the week ended with volunteering at a big local race.

Last Week:

  • Sunday – Maine Half Marathon.

I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy but the course was beautiful and everyone who ran finished.

It was a very long day. Our marathoner started at 6 am, the half marathoners and relay runner #1 started at 7:45.  We also had some cheerleaders who endured a very windy and cold wait until everyone was done… around 1:30pm??

After some snacks and massages, we headed back to our house for showers and a big celebratory dinner out in Old Orchard Beach.

  • Monday – Some of us got up bright and early to watch the sunrise on the beach (although our rooms had a great view so it wasn’t necessary to get out of bed.)

Then we embarked on a road trip back to Portland to view three lighthouses and have lunch.

when in Maine, eat a lobster roll (or two), right?

When we got home, some of us decided to venture out to explore Old Orchard Beach…

We had brought so much food with us that we decided to stay in for dinner…

hanging out by the fire was so much fun (there may have been some Fireball involved)…

  • Tuesday – Last day of vacation….

Of course, it started with viewing the sunrise…

it was spectacular…

While everyone was packing up, I snuck out for a run in town.

no time for a beach jumping photo so I insisted on a group photo before we left (you may notice that we lost one person… she had to leave due to a death in family but we are already planning next year’s race-cation. Stay tuned.

And then we left in separate cars.  My car made a pit stop in Northampton, MA for lunch and to visit a knitting store.

  • Wednesday –  Back to reality and work…

I was not disappointed to see rain.

But after a quick trip to the office, it had stopped so I changed my clothes and went for an easy run.

my legs felt a lot more tired than the previous day…

  • Thursday – One more after work run. This time back at the end of the rail trail.

It felt like summer…crazy weather!

  • Friday – Rest Day!!
  • SaturdayLong Run Saturday.  Not too long a run – only 8 miles on the Nisky bike path with friends.

Again it felt cold at first but actually perfect as was brunch.

  • Sunday – Boating season has ended.  So I signed up to volunteer at our local Marathon/Half Marathon race.

so fun handing out water to the half marathoners and speedy marathoners…even got to see my friend BQ!!!

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday –  HOLIDAY – DAY OFF – run, hike, wake (friend’s FIL)
  • Tuesday – rest day, hair appt
  • Wednesday – run, dinner out with tennis friends
  • Thursday – run, trails
  • Friday – rest day, mah jongg
  • Saturday Great Pumpkin Challenge 5k (+ more miles in the park)
  • Sunday –   hiking

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Maine Half Marathon Race Report
  • Friday – Why I hate Fall

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? Any races run or planned? Has the weather been fall-like where you live? Please share.

Weekly Run Down for 9.25.22-10.2.22: Race-cation to Maine

We started planning this weekend a year ago. I can’t believe it’s here already!!

Another get-away with 9 of my running friends. (It’s our 6th trip together.)  I think we even have more fun each time.

Last Week:

  • Sunday – Boating Sunday was canceled again… Chilly and rain predicted.

For the 3rd week in a row I drove to Vischer Ferry Preserve.  I ran on a different rail (actually a towpath) than during my previous visits.  The weather was perfect and it didn’t rain. In fact, I was overdressed (amnesia on how to dress with it’s in the 50’s).

some interesting sights and Judy did run by me but she didn’t stop to chat

I ended my run again at the Country Store… with a delicious maple latte and pumpkin scone (sorry no pic of my food).

In the evening, I met one of our running friends who had moved away (but was visiting) for dinner.  It was great to catch up.

  • Monday – #nevermissamonday. I don’t usually like to run 3 days in a row but the weather was lovely so I snuck out at lunch.

fall decorations everywhere but it still felt like summer

  • Tuesday – A before work run today… it’s been a while. But I had some extra time in the morning.

so it was in the 40s and I thought I’d be chilly. Nope those arm sleeves came right off. I’ll figure out how to dress by winter

  • Wednesday – I had scheduled a Rest Day after running several days in a row. But one of my running friends (who was running the marathon) asked me to run with her. (That’s what friends are for…). So I met her for a few on the rail trail after work (besides the 5k race they all were easy runs.)

Yes we twinned, saw a rainbow and I found a very appropriate painted rock.

Afterward, as planned, I did meet my BFF after work for a long walk.

  • Thursday – I had planned to squeeze my last run in during lunch. But our running group was busy getting ready for the weekend so we cancelled our after work trail walk.

Instead I was able to drive to do a short run to test out these new babies.

Topo Specters.. will I wear them on race day?

ran around a new neighborhood (that was part of the 5k last Sat.)

My friends from Florida were in town escaping the storm, so I was able to visit with them too.

  • Friday – Another rest day!! To pack… It’s so hard to know what to wear in the early Fall… But the only important thing was my race outfit:

tank, skirt, cap and arm warmers and compression calf sleeves (for warmth)

  • Saturday – In several cars,10 of us all headed to Maine. We stopped for lunch in Hampton, NH, continued on to our AirBnB in Old Orchard Beach, ME then visited the expo in Portland, ME, checked out the race logistics, carb loaded and finally returned home to get ready for the big race the next morning. (Pics on IG)
  • Sunday – Maine Half Marathon. I ran the half marathon with two of my friends (and Deborah). One of my friends ran the full marathon and four of my friends ran the marathon relay.  Two just spectated. So it was quite a full day for everyone.

Maine Marathon | Maine Half Marathon | Maine Marathon Relay

Pics on IG. Recap coming soon!

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday –  sunrise walk, explore Old Orchard Beach and Portland ME
  • Tuesday – sunrise run, drive home
  • Wednesday – run
  • Thursday – run, trails
  • Friday – rest day, mah jongg
  • Saturday Long Run
  • Sunday –  volunteer at the Mohawk-Hudson Half and Full Marathons

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Barn to Bridge 5k Race Recap
  • Friday – Ultimate Coffee Date

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? Any races run or planned? Has the weather been fall-like where you live? Of course, thinking about those in the path of the hurricane.  Hope everyone is safe!!!! Please share.

Run 4 the River Half Marathon Recap

Schenectady Half Marathon, Nark Running & Strength, Albany Running Coach, Frog Alley Brewing, Albany Running Exchange — Nark Running & Strength

In 2021 when most of the local races either cancelled or went virtual, Albany Running Exchange (ARE) began scheduling COVID Safety Plan approved races.

In March, I ran their 5 mile race and then in May a point-to-point 10 miler.  The courses were along the Mohawk River and the bike path, mostly flat or downhill and in Schenectady, NY.

In September, another organization (NARK) offered a half marathon on a similar course.  Of course, I signed up (and convinced some friends to join me.)

Again this year, I ran the same March and May ARE races on that Mohawk River course.

And I signed up for the 2nd annual Run 4 The River Half Marathon as my 60th Half Marathon (53rd if you don’t count the virtuals) for several reasons:

  • 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 familiar with most of the course as it was similar to the 10 miler that I ran in May and I had already run this half marathon last year.
  • I convinced some friends to run it too.
  • It was advertised as having a Net Downhill Course and FREE BEER, Food, and LIVE MUSIC
  • I could run it as a training run for my October half marathon.

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. But I do run 3 miles several times during the work week.

And on the weekends, I try to do my Long Run. I’m lucky to have company of several running friends.  Due to the extreme heat this summer, I have adopted my friends’ run/walk intervals.  It really helped me get the long runs done.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Since it was a point-to-point race, the logistics were complicated. Either you parked at the start and got a ride back to your car after the race or you parked at the finish and got a ride to the start (or pay for the shuttle).

My preference was to park at the finish (even though that meant getting up earlier) and tried to coordinate my plan with friends.

My running friend picked up my bib so that saved me time (and gas.)

I carb loaded on the usual pizza and debated about what to wear the next day.

my standard Skirt Sports skirt, Zensah calf sleeves, a tank, cap, Spibelt, Goodr glasses and Topos shoes

It was supposed to be little cooler and less humid than any of my previous races. But still warm and in the 80s by afternoon. (Wish they had kept the earlier start time!!!!)

Race Day:

As it did last year, the race started near Mabee Farms. This year, start time was 8:00, a half hour later than last year and ended at Frog Alley Brewing near Schenectady Community College (SCCC).  Last year it ended right at the college (where we parked our cars.).

So I got up around 4:45 am on Saturday morning (ouch) and was on the road by 5:45 to meet Barbara and then drive to race parking.

We met everyone at 6:30 at SCCC. My friend Deb offered to drive me and the others (Barbara, Sherry, Deirdre, Kevin) to the start if someone would drive her back to her car after. (Quite a squeeze for 4 in the back seat.)

When we arrived at Mabee Farms, there was plenty of parking in a grassy lot.

We were very early so we had time to walk around and sightsee.

the fog did burn off by the time we started the race

It was a little chilly but the barn was locked this year so we waited outside.

We also knew that in addition to porta-potties, there were REAL restrooms (always a great perk.)

Finally, it was time to head to the start.

So we parted with our jackets and checked them at Bag Check (along with a dry shirt and my Oofos) I planned to eat a Honey Stinger Waffle (since it was already hours since my breakfast) but I forgot. Oops.

The race started at 8:00 am. There were no waves or corrals… They did ask the faster runners to line up first.

slightly different end from last year


 elevation on the website

according to my Garmin…

Sorry to be a broken record about not training well. But it was summer and my goal for races these days is FINISH happy (that is not injured and ready to do another.)

All my long runs were done slowly and with short intervals. I found out during my last race that it didn’t exactly make me slower (or maybe it did?) but I found it hard to run for more than a minute without walking… (I used to be able to run 1-2 miles straight (not that it matters…)

Miles 1-3:

As I already mentioned, the race began near Mabee Farm Historical site. The first mile headed west, mostly on Route 5S. We ran along the road and fairly soon connected with the Erie Canal Bike Path.

In other words, the canal was on our right and most of the race was run on the path with water views.

The scenery was pretty. The Mohawk River changed to being on the left eventually.

The first water stop was a little after mile 3 at Pattersonville Bike Path parking on 5S.  This was my first walk break.  I decided to wait on my Gu. I ran most of the beginning miles with Karen and Alyssa and behind my faster neighbor. We chatted back n forth.

Miles 4-6

Most of the race is a blur. But I was feeling pretty strong. Until I wasn’t.  Karen and Alyssa eventually ran ahead. As did my neighbor.

Around mile 4, I finally got hungry so I stopped to eat my Gu (trying to eat and run slowly) and walked again at the second water stop little past mile 5 at Iroquois St/Bike Path.

Around this point, the crowd thinned out and I was running mostly alone and my lower back started to ache…

Miles 7-10

The course was pretty flat and shady for the most part.  The temps were rising but not too bad. I was glad to have worn a tank and skirt.

I realized too late that I was NOT strong enough to run without walk intervals and so the second half the race, I ran/walked… not timed but just whenever I felt like it… and I felt like it a lot!!

Plus, now both my feet started to hurt. Bunion? Neuroma? Stress fracture? As these thoughts ran through my head, I ran slower and walked more.

The third water stop was a little before mile 8 at Kiwanis Park. I walked again and then ate another Gu. This time longer.

Around mile 9, some annoying hills appeared. Maybe there weren’t big hills and I was just getting tired. I tried to run up them but it was more like a slog. Though the course was advertised as flat and downhill, there were hills (not big ones) throughout. (Aren’t there always?)

Miles 11-13.1

The final water stop was a little before Mile 11 at MH Bike Path lot. I stopped again but skipped my last Gu.

My friend Barbara who ran/walked most of the race actually caught up to me. And she looked way less spent than I did (Intervals are the way to go!)

The race finish was different than last year, instead of heading from the bike path into the college parking lot, we headed into the city of Schenectady.

I tried to pick up the pace and sprint through the finish line… My friends who didn’t run the race were there cheering.  It was sooo nice to see familiar faces.

Barbara is right behand me…

Well, I thought the finish line was straight ahead but instead you had to turn right…

the female winner in 1:10:xx?

I was out of gas but at least it was downhill!!

Boy was I glad to be done!! I grabbed my medal and headed to bag check to put on my Oofos.

Post Race Activities:

I felt a little light headed so I ate my last Gu and I felt better.

I joined my friends near the finish line to cheer in the others who had not finished yet.  Everyone was happy with their race results.

May be an image of 11 people, people standing, outdoors and text that says 'Purdy ARMY MiltonA Spencer AIRFORCE Loving Wife mily oving Jim Son, FERRY ST'

Frog Alley Brewing Co.

There was a band, beer, food, etc. at a restaurant nearby (pictured above), the sponsor for the race.

It was crowded but fortunately we got a table. Rather than a boxed lunch (as last year), you got a free beer and a choice of the food below.

We stayed for several hours listening to the band and chatting…about running, of course.

The band was excellent – the lead singer even ran the race…

Additional Race Reflections:

Of course, I am glad I ran the race.  I was disappointed with  the pain and how I ran the race.  I guess I need to accept that my endurance is not what it used to be. Maybe walk intervals are the answer.


  • Ample parking at the start and finish.
  • Real restrooms at Mabee Farm
  • Bag check
  • Well marked course.
  • Varied scenery including river views
  • Shuttle to the start (if needed).
  • Flatish course.
  • Well organized.
  • A lot of pre-race information.
  • Free Post-race food.
  • Cool medal.
  • Free Beer


  • 10 year age group awards.
  • No photos.

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. I liked the course. It was well-organized.

Final Stats:

just a few seconds faster than last year


Walking definitely slowed down my pace the second half of the race. I finished the first half in 1:04!!

Though my time was similar to last year, I ran a much better race then. I ran slower the first half so as a result it was much less painful.

I was NOT expecting a PR and my time was what I expected. I jokingly said that I wanted to finish at 2:22:22!

I need to be realistic…maybe those faster half marathon paces will not happen again. (But hey, I’m not giving up…)

I didn’t realize until I got home that I had won an age group award.  Huge surprise!!

Luckily my neighbor trains with the race director and she picked up my award several days later.

Next Up:

Two 5ks

VIRTUAL Malta 5K & 10K presented by GlobalFoundries Registration Page

and another Half Marathon.

Maine Marathon | Maine Half Marathon | Maine Marathon Relay

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! Run any big races lately?  Are you planning any this Fall? Do you run the same race more than once? Please share.



Weekly Run Down for 8.28.22-9.4.22: Race Week!

Another busy week and it ended with Half Marathon #60!!

Schenectady Half Marathon, Nark Running & Strength, Albany Running Coach, Frog Alley Brewing, Albany Running Exchange — Nark Running & Strength

Last Week:

  • Sunday – Boating Sunday.

Normally it’s just me and the hubby and I would be relaxing under a tree with a good book. Today we invited two friends on the boat so it was a day for swimming, chatting and cruising around the lake.

  • Monday – Back to #nevermissamonday and a before work run as the temps were heating up again.

a cloudy muggy morning brightened up with some flowers.

  • Tuesday – Another early morning run and I was fortunate to have company.

I got there early and ran 1.5 miles while watching the sun come up and then ran the 4.5 more miles with Deirdre (and again bumped into Barbara)

My hair appointment interfered with my post-work walk. It was raining hard anyway!!

  • Wednesday – It was not as warm as previous days so I ran during lunch….

a poor night’s sleep + tired legs =a slogfest

and then I was able to meet friends for a walk after work.

everyone needs sunflowers in their lives

And I also met my BFF for a second evening walk.

  • Thursday –  No running!! Resting up for the weekend…

The ARE-sponsored trail runs ended so our group decided to continue them on our own. I had been on this trail several times and never been able to follow the markers correctly.  I was hoping that with a group we could do the loop.  It was a challenge but we made it (thanks to the AllTrails app.)

very hilly and poorly marked but lots of laughs

  • Friday – Another rest day!!

My running friend picked up my bib yesterday so that saved me time (and gas).

no shirt which was fine with me and I have one from last year

So all I needed to do was carb-load and pick out an outfit…

channeling my strong…

  • SaturdayRace Day! Run 4 the River Half Marathon.

This was my 2nd time running this half and again I was lucky to have friends running it with me…so it was a fun time! And the weather was perfect.

I won’t lie…I struggled big time the 2nd half.

  • Sunday – Boating Sunday. 

The temps are cooling off but still looks warm enough for another lake visit…

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday – DAY OFF – hike
  • Tuesday – run
  • Wednesday – run
  • Thursday – run, trails
  • Friday – rest day, mah jongg
  • Saturday Race Day – Malta 5k (+ more miles)
  • Sunday –  Boating Sunday

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Fall Bucket List
  • Friday – Top Blog Posts

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? Any in-person races run or planned? Has the weather been warm where you live? Please share.

Steel Rail Half Marathon Race Recap

Steel Rail Races Race Reviews | Lanesborough, Massachusetts

May 22, 2022

I signed up for this Half Marathon (my 59th) for several reasons:

  • It was local and I could sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • It was a flat course.
  • It is scenic (lakes, rivers and mountain views)
  • I had run a similar course twice (in 2016 & 2017).
  • It was my half marathon PR both times I ran it.
  • It was cancelled in 2020 and I had to run it virtually.

Half Marathon Training:

If you read my blog, you know that I always get my weekday short runs done.

However, this training cycle included ZERO real long runs due to lots of races and a vacation in Florida.

The “Plan” called for weekend runs of 10, 11, 12, and then 8 miles..

Yes, I got some of those weekend miles on the legs.

After the downhill half marathon on April 16, I ran a 5 mile race, a 5k, 5.8 miles up a mountain and another 5k.

I had lots of fun.  But was I trained for this half marathon???

Nevertheless, I was excited to run the race. I knew that I didn’t deserve to get a PR and I was hoping that I wouldn’t be too disappointed with a way slower performance than in 2017.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

My Taper week was an exhausting one…

I returned from my trip on Monday.  Vacations are tiring!! I felt like skipping all my runs but of course, I did not. Tuesday and Wednesday’s included slow running and walking…

On Thursday, I ran a 3.5 evening race.

Then the temperatures started rising and rising.

90s and it was getting to look as scary as Florida.  But I had to run 13.1 miles not 3.1.

And the race was to start at 9:30 AM not 7:30 AM!!! Oy!

The only change to the race was that at the water stops every two miles, there would now be ICE (at least that was what they said.)

I had found this summary and posted it on my blog the last time I ran this race. I assumed that nothing had changed since.

The course is wonderful. It runs point-to-point from Lanesborough to Adams. It starts with two loops around the Berkshire Mall … then goes onto the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail for ten miles. The scenery is lovely. .. you can enjoy views of Mt. Greylock, lakes, and woods. And by the time you’re really hurting at mile ten, the trail starts gently sloping downhill, for real. If you want a half marathon PR, this is the course

And the course map:

And the map of the elevation:

downhill at the end…sweet!

Guess what?

The course changed this year. Some good changes and some not.

  • Packet pick-up and parking: the Visitor’s Center in Adams, MA instead of Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, MA
  • Race start: On the Ashuwillticook Bike Path in Adams, MA (instead of the Mall)
  • No loops of the mall to start the race. but a .6 or .5 mile walk to the start instead
  • No change to bag check at the start (pick-up at the finish) and shuttle back from the finish to the start.
  • Finish line: Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Pittsfield, MA
  • After Party and awards ceremony – John’s Ace Hardware in Pittsfield, MA
  • Marathon and 8k start: Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Pittsfield, MA – they are both a loop.

In other words, this year’s half marathon course started where the previous one ended.  Not running loops of the mall parking lot was good but no downhill finish and the .6 or .5 mile walk to the start did not make me happy.

But, it is what it is.

New course map:

according to my Garmin… the path going toward Pittsfield was slightly uphill the whole way (and it felt it!!)

I decided against driving to MA. to get my bib the day before the race and instead I went to the gym, met my running friends for brunch and spent the rest of the day doing errands and gardening.  Not very restful but it was a great feeling to be almost catch up after a vacation.

It was also my hubby’s birthday and Friday night, we went out to dinner to celebrate both our birthdays.  So I carb loaded a day early (and could drink.)

Race Day:

So 6:00 am came early on Sunday morning. Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep in on a weekend??

As I mentioned above, the Half marathon was scheduled to start at 9:30 am. I would normally have been happy with the late start but NOT with the predicted HOT temps.

According to Google, it would take me about 1h15 to drive there.  So I left my house at 7:00 am.

My GPS took me me on mostly back roads. It was a pretty drive and I got there plenty early.  Bib pick-up was at the Adams Visitor Center and there was plenty of parking there.

The other two races (Marathon and 8K) started in Pittsfield (where the half finished). The Marathon started at 8:30 and the 8k at 10:00).

Things didn’t start out too well. They had no record that I  had registered. So no bib # was assigned to me.

I showed them my confirmation e-mail and so they gave me someone else’s bib who was not going to run the race.  They said that they would change it in the computer (which I doubted and I was right.)

nice swag = Brooks women’s tech shirt, water bottle, bag and cap.

Since the race ended in Pittsfield, MA, you could check a bag which would be available at the finish line.  Very convenient. I packed flip flops, a dry shirt and a towel in it.

What to wear?? It was going to be so warm that I decided to skip the compression calf sleeves and even left my cap behind (probably not a great idea.)

smiling BEFORE the race

For the new race start, you could either walk .6 miles on the rail trail or wait until 9am, take a bus and then walk .5 miles. Either way, you had to walk.

It was early so I decided to walk to the start.

As you can see, the trail was scenic but NO SHADE!!

I didn’t see anyone that I knew but instantly made some new friends.  The runners were so friendly.

We chatted.  There were two topics: the lack of porta-potties here and the HEAT!! The porta-potties were back at the Visitor’s Center (.6 miles away).

sweating before even beginning – 92% humidity!!

Since I had eaten breakfast over two hours ago, I was hungry so I ate a Honey Stinger waffle.  Eventually they did bring us bottles of water.  But there were no trash cans?!

Soon it was time to head to the start line.

The race is a heat-induced blur but here’s how I remember it:

Miles 1-3:

I didn’t start near the front. I wasn’t sure (and still am not) if it was gun timed or chip timed but I didn’t care.  I didn’t want to finish the race in an ambulance (One runner died and 16 were hospitalized after the Brooklyn Half Marathon the day before.)

I planned to walk at least once each mile. That changed to every .5 miles to every.25 miles to whenever it felt too hot.  In other words, I walked A LOT!!

Pics from The Berkshire Eagle:

I bumped into a few runners that were friends of a friend.  They were going to walk most of it.  They brought a friend who drove to the finish and stopped to cheer at various points of the course.  It was nice to hear her yell to me: “Go Albany!”

Here’s some pics she posted:

the only shade??

The trail was beautiful.  River at first on one side, then also a lake on the other side.  Then eventually, the river changed sides. I wish I could have gotten out my phone from my race belt more easily so I could have taken some photos.

pic from the website (and the previous course)

The first few miles had zero shade. I don’t think I made it one mile before I had to walk. But everyone else around me was taking walk breaks too.

The first water stop was around 1.3 miles (instead of mile 2).  I was thinking that due to the heat, they added extra water stops.  Nope.  They were still every two miles and no ICE at the first few.

Miles 4-6:

At the 2nd water stop, I ate my Gu and had more water. I think at this one, they started to add Gu Endurance in addition to water.  I think I tried it and it tasted awful.

And so I continued my slog. I walked when it got too unbearable.  There were spots where the path was shady but for short spurts.  However it was a very pretty trail.  There were even waterfalls.

pic from FB

We continued on the same trail and I just focused on the scenery.

Another water stop around mile 5.3.  This time I had water AND Gu.  They changed to a lemon-lime flavor and it wasn’t too bad.

Around mile 6, the leader of the marathon passed me.  He was flying.  The marathoners had to turn around at mile 13 and repeat the course (ugh!)

Miles 7-9:

Around mile 7, I saw a friend who was running the marathon. We high-fived each other.  I couldn’t imagine running 26.2 miles in this heat!

pic from FB

I hate to be only be a Debbie Downer so I will add that NOTHING hurt! Not my lower back, not even my feet.

I wasn’t even tired, just HOT! And I wanted to finish safely.

Mile 7.5 was memorable. Porta-potties (though I didn’t need one) and ICE!!  I ate my 2nd GU, drank some Gu Endurance and put ice down the front and back of my shirt.

The next two water stops had ICE too!!!

I also continued drinking Gu Endurance (It may have saved me…)

Miles 10-12

And I kept wondering: “Should walk the rest of the race?”


Too hot to stay in this race any longer than I had too.  I ate my last Gu around mile 11.5 and just ran and walked until the end.

pic from  FB

Mile 13- 13.16:

not sure when this was taken?? At least I was running. lol.

And I finished.  I crossed at 1:32:XX and so glad to feel fine… just a little nauseous and dizzy but STANDING!!

8k finishers

Post Race Activities:

I got my medal, some water, and a bag of snacks.  I asked where bag check was.  The bags were on the bus at a shopping center. Not far but too far after running 13.1 miles. Eventually they did bring the bags to the nearby awards table.

yes, that’s why I always wear a cap… out of control hair

I’m not a beer drinker but I headed anyway to get my free beer. It was so refreshing.

With our food ticket, we could get anything that cost $3 for free.  I chose a hot dog. And it was yummy!

I wandered around. There was music, food, games, raffles… but I didn’t bring any money.

Awards were supposed to be given out at 2:30 pm but they moved them up to 1pm so I decided to hang around.

When they announced the winner in my age group, I realized that they didn’t add my name to the computer. I told them and they gave me the award ($10 gift card to their running store). I live too far away but it was the principle, right?

Eventually I headed toward the bus and rode (13 miles) back to my car.

My last stop before heading home was to treat myself to a chocolate milkshake (soooo good!)

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Close enough to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • Organized packet pick-up.
  • Lots of parking and easy to locate.
  • Bag check shuttle to the finish,
  • Enthusiastic volunteers and crowd support.
  • Accurate mile markers.
  • Scenic course especially with the mountain and water views.
  • Flatish course!!
  • Shuttle back to the start after the race.
  • Gender-specific shirts
  • Nice swag
  • Several distance options – half marathon, full marathon and 8k
  • Decent selection of refreshments (free beer & $3 food coupon)
  • Gift card as an age group award
  • No major injuries.
  • GU Endurance in addition to water every 2 miles
  • Ice at some of the water stops

The Bad:

  • Late start
  • Computer not recording my registration
  • Not enough water stops  (with the increased temps and humidity)
  • Walk to the start
  • No port-potties at the start and along the course
  • 10 year age groups and only first place announced

The Ugly:

  • HEAT!!

Would I recommend this race?


I don’t usually repeat half marathons but I did this time and I may run this one again.

Final Stats:

I’m 461


there was NO consistent running obviously.

Next Up:

a ten mile race a week later

and then some local shorter races.

No Half Marathons until September and then one again in October and in November.

Happy Running!  Have you run the same half marathon more than once? Do you factor the weather into your goals?  Have you run a race with these temps? Please share.






Since it is Tuesday, I am joining the link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

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

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris

Weekly Run Down for 5.8.22-5.22.22: Florida Sun and Lots of Races

Everything about my Florida vacation was perfect – great weather, lots of running, tennis, and beach time, good food and quality time spent with good friends.  There was even a Broadway show, boat ride and French artist exhibit thrown into the mix.  Couldn’t have asked for more.

While I was gone, I also celebrated my birthday!! I entered the last year of my decade.

I think women runners are the only ones excited to turn 40, 50 or even 60 :) | Funny birthday message, Running humor, Runner quotes

And I ran a 5k in Florida.

May 15, 2022

Then when I returned, I ran a team 3.5 miler and today another half marathon.

Two Weeks Ago:

  • Sunday –  Mother’s Day and recovery from my mountain race the day before.

I started my day at the gym

sporting a Mother’s Day race shirt (from 2013)

Then I decided to take one last peak at the tulips in the park before the crowds arrived for the Tulip festival.

soooo pretty

After I finished packing, we visited my mother-in-law and then went out to dinner.

  • Monday – My BIRTHDAY. 

My friends and I took a very early morning flight to Fort Myers, FL, rented two cars, stopped for a quick lunch and then drove to our two rented villas in Naples.

After a relaxing afternoon at the pool, it was time to celebrate.

I asked to have dinner (at the Ritz) at sunset…

and the food and the sky did not disappoint!

  • Tuesday – My friends started the day with a tennis lesson. However, I went for my first Florida run.

tough acclimating to the heat…. but I enjoyed all the flowers in bloom and the palm trees

After my run, I joined them for some tennis doubles (surprisingly I remembered how to play)

perfect beach weather and dinner at a French restaurant ❤

As planned, we spent the afternoon at the beach where we had lunch, chatted, cooled off in the Gulf, read, relaxed and planned dinner.

  • Wednesday –  I continued the pattern.

While my friends had a tennis lesson, I went for a run…

warmer every day so taking it slooow

After my run, I played doubles and then we took off for the beach

today we walked to a nearby restaurant to get some drinks

For dinner we drove to a Mediterranean restaurant in Estero (sorry no pix).

  • Thursday – As vacation protocol dictated, my friends took a tennis lesson while I ran (a different route each day)…

I joined them for tennis after changing out of my sweaty running clothes…

strangely it was just as warm in Albany, NY

Back to the beach for relaxing and cooling off..

However, tonight, we headed to Fort Myers for dinner theatre. The dinner buffet was excellent and the show (In the Heights) was fantastic.  I had seen it on Broadway and these performers were even better!!

  • Friday – Another pre-tennis run..

calling it a run may have been a stretch lol

Tonight was book club night. So instead of driving to a restaurant for dinner after the beach, we stayed at World Tennis Center and ate at their poolside restaurant.

I chose the book (because there was tennis element to it) but we all agreed after a lively discussion that this (Apples Never Fall) was not Moriarty’s best books.

  • Saturday – Since I had a race scheduled for the next day, I did not run but went for a long walk.

We played doubles after, of course but instead of going to the beach (since we had several activities scheduled for the evening), we stayed at the pool.

the guy in red on the top left was our tennis instructor

Lucky for me, in town there was a special Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit (love French art). There were over 150 of his drawings/posters.

After the museum, we walked to an Italian restaurant where we had a delicious dinner followed by Kilwin’s ice cream.

  • Sunday –  Race Day!  Tropicool 5k.

Note to self: schedule your race at the beginning of a vacation (when you are not exhausted.)

One friend dropped me off at the start….

I did my best… but it was so HUMID that I thought I would throw-up.

Not my fastest, for sure but I did win 2nd in the Senior Grand Masters Category.

a towel was appropriately the swag and my award was a pint glass.

Another friend picked me up after the race.   Believe it or not, I was just in time to join my friends for tennis.

We then ate a quick lunch before we headed to Punta Gorda for a boat ride on the Peace River.

Afterward, we walked/shopped at Fisherman’s Warf and then had dinner.

On our way home, we stopped to see a noted tennis person (who now lives in Naples). She owns an amazing house with unbelievable memorabilia (from tennis players and musicians.)

Last Week:

  • Monday – After a last morning walk, we headed to the airport where we returned our cars and had lunch before our flight home. Though there were predicted thunderstorms, we arrived home safely and just a little late.
  • Tuesday – Definitely needed a vacation after my vacation. I was pooped!

First thing- back to the gym after a week off.

Amidst the unpacking and laundry, I squeezed in a lunch run

lilac time!!

After work, I met some friends for a windy walk on the rail trail.

  • Wednesday – I considered another gym morning but I was exhausted from all that unpacking and laundry.  Returns from vacations are tiring.

I did gather up enough energy to join the STEM group after work for run/walk.

many women are lapsing into walking but I did try to get a few to run…

  • Thursday – Back to the gym on this rainy morning…

I was feeling headachy and worn out all day.  And when there was a late day shower, I decided that I would DNS tonight’s race (an evening one with teams that you work with)..

Then the rain stopped and the sun came out… a sign that I should just go… I could always walk it as many participants do.

So I parked in town and almost had to run 1 mile or so to meet my team.  I bumped into so many people that I knew at this race (almost 4,000 participated).  It was VERY humid so I took it slow… had a fun time.  So glad I didn’t stay home.

  • Friday – A true rest day after running 3 days in a row.

I started carb loading early – went out to dinner with family to celebrate my birthday and my hubby’s.

  • Saturday – Another rest day.

Originally I thought we’d go boating but it was my hubby’s b-day and he wanted to play tennis.

So I went to the gym…

then I joined my running friends (who had already run, walked or biked) for brunch.

The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping. cleaning and gardening (and sweating) …

Not very restful. lol

  • Sunday –  Race Day!  Steel Rail Half Marathon!!

This was my PR half marathon but back in 2017.

A lot has changed since then… a pandemic, over 30 half marathons and legs that are FIVE years older.

I do not expect to come even close to a PR especially since 90s are predicted (and the race doesn’t start until 9:30 am!!!!!).

But I do plan to have FUN (and hopefully not succumb to the heat)!

Stay tuned.  (Check out IG.)

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday – gym, Freihofer Training Challenge Run (FTC)
  • Tuesday – rest day, walk, DOWNTON ABBEY movie!!
  • Wednesday – gym, STEM run
  • Thursday – run, belated B-day dinner out
  • Friday – gym, rest day, mah jongg
  • Saturday – rest day, walk, boating?
  • Sunday –  Miles on the Mohawk 10 Mile Race

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Tropicool 5k Race Recap
  • Friday –Workforce Challenge Race Recap

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? Any in-person races run or planned? Any vacations?  Are you enjoying summer temps yet? Please share.

Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon Race Recap

Image result for helderberg to hudson half marathon

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

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

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

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

  • FOMO. Many of my running friends were doing it.
  • It’s local. I can sleep in my own bed.
  • I am familiar with the course.  I run on it often.
  • It’s a downhill course. (470 ft elevation loss)

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. I ran my last half marathon on February 27 in NYC. An then a virtual one on March 19.

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

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

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

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

and then had pasta for dinner on Friday.

I checked the weather and

no bueno 😦

So what do I wear?

Plan A – skirt and short sleeves

Plan B: capris, long sleeves and gloves

Race goals?

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


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

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

Race Day:

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

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

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

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

we parked near near the finish line!!

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

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

checking out the empty start area

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

We waited and chatted with many other runners.

obligatory pre-race pic

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Course Map:

from my Garmin

Miles 1-5:

Thanks FB – view of the start (the Helderbergs)

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

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

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

mile 1.5

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

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

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

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

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

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


IMG_7553Miles 6-9:

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

10k pt.

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

the Race Director rides ahead

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

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

my friend Karen

another running friend handing out water

Karen again

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

she got a pic of Sherry running at that spot.

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

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

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

another cool FB pic

More pictures from previous runs:


Miles 10-13.1

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

20k pt.

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

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

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

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

my friend Renee…

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

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

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

Post Race Activities:

someone had to tell me that it opened up… lol

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

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

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

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

awards by gun time

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

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

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

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

Final Stats:


Whoa.. a whole lotta walking going on…

Additional Race Reflections:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Good:

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

FB pic of the finish (Hudson R.)

The Bad:

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

The Ugly:

  • Pain 😦

Would I recommend this race?

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

Next Up:

A few shorter races – 5m, some 5ks.


May 22, 2022

and finally:

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

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







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

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

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



Weekly Run Down for 4.10.22-4.17.22: A Week of De-Cluttering and Racing

Yesterday I ran a local half marathon for the third time (but only the 2nd time on its original course). Sherry was my accomplice in each one…

Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon

2019,                         2021,                             2022

I used to say that I would not repeat a half marathon.  However, money and time interferes with my desire to travel the world and run different  half marathons.

So yes, I will repeat local races and ones in Florida.

Last Week:

  • Sunday – After a step overloaded day on Saturday in NYC…

I ran the first annual Shape 5.8M Loop race (Read the recap here).

I met up with old and new friends and had a really great time. I was so grateful for the cool temps, only one loop of those Central Park hills and the gorgeous scenery.

I had a delicious brunch and stroll with Cari and Elizabeth and then added many more miles walking though the city, Macy’s Flower Show and Bryant Park before heading back on the train home.

I won’t bore you here.  Check out IG for more pix from the weekend.

  • Monday – I took a day off from work to recover from my weekend LOL.

I started with an early morning gym visit…

I got laundry, unpacking and grocery shopping done before I decided to attend the afternoon FTC (rather than the evening one I usually go to.

Unfortunately there was no advanced group so I just ran with my friends who were mentoring the Intermediate group

After a stop at TJ’s, it was still too nice to stay indoors so I went on a hike at the Holly Hock Nature Sanctuary..

it was obvious that we had a lot of rain recently

I ended the day with dinner out to catch up with an old friend.

What a lovely day… I think I need to retire lol

  • Tuesday – Another day off….

I forgot to mention that over the weekend, our sump pump broke and our un-finished basement flooded. (So glad I was not home!!)  It was karma because I have been nagging my hubby for years to clean out the basement…

He finally agreed and 1-800-gotjunk came to clear everything out.

So most of todday was spent sorting through junk that I wanted to keep and tossing all the stuff that we did not need to pay to have removed.

After a rainy start, it turned out to be a beautiful day for a run… I took a drive to the Corning bike path

first tank run of the season

Then I met two friends for a long walk on the trail trail followed by dinner out to celebrate a birthday.

found a sign for my upcoming half on this same path

  • Wednesday –  Back to work and the gym first thing…

got up late… didn’t even have time to put my contacts in…

Spring has sprung and my house has been somewhat de-cluttered.

After two truck loads of junk removed, I now have a cleared basement and roomier rooms (got rid of old bookcases, chairs, desks, dressers, etc. Ahhhh!!)

hooray… spring flowers!!

In the evening I was scheduled to volunteer with STEM again. It started to rain and thunderstorms were predicted  so I left early and did a short run just in case STEM got cancelled.

wearing my newish $7 Topos (from Poshmark)

It apparently only rained at my house.  Dry as a bone at UAlbany for our run.

even though they are doing Couch to 5k, the lady I ran with (as I did last time) likes to run fast and not walk… oy!

  • Thursday – Rest Day!

In the blink of an eye, the weather changed from winter to summer.  80 degrees today!! I did some weeding during lunch and was sweating!!

Then we had a thunderstorm and temps dropped like 30 degrees.

I got my bib for Saturday’s race after work (in between the raindrops).

pick up was at the finish line of the race

  • Friday – Rest Day #2. I went to the gym before work.

Perfect weather for running…. Grrr.

race day forecast. sigh.

My Mah Jongg game got cancelled due to Passover seders. So I took to the trails for a walk.

just a few blossoms… they are coming so I plan to go back here (Pine Hollow Arboretum)

And then I carb loaded and debated my race day outfit.

Plan A: skirt and short sleeves

Plan B: long sleeves, capris and gloves

  • Saturday – Race Day! Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon. And the Weather Gods answered my prayers. No rain. Even sunshine.

So many familiar faces which made it a fun event. A downhill course for the most part which still seemed very hard as I had my usual positive splits (but happy with my overall finish time.)

  • Sunday – Plans for the day include Easter dinner with the family and finishing those taxes!

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday – gym, Freihofer Training Challenge Run (FTC)
  • Tuesday – rest day, walk with friends
  • Wednesday – gym, STEM run
  • Thursday – run, walk with BFF
  • Friday – gym, run, mah jongg
  • Saturday – rest day, walk with running friends, hike
  • Sunday –  Delmar Dash (5m race) + 5 miles

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon Race Recap
  • Friday – Racing By the Alphabet

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? Any in-person races run or planned? Did you experience summer-like weather this week?  Ever hire a service to de-clutter your house?  Do you wait until the last minute to file your taxes? Please share.