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

20210707_111324.jpg

 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.

Positives:

  • 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

Negatives:

  • 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

Splits:

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.

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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?”

Nope.

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?

Yes.

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

Final Stats:

I’m 461

Splits:

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_0082

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:

image


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:

Splits:

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.

Then:

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.

runner-sig

 

 

 

 

 


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.

Weekly Run Down for 3.13.22-3.20.22 – Doing it Virtually

A snowy start to the week but at least things warmed up a bit.

It was week of selfcare (haircut and nails) and catching up with friends (two ZOOMs).

Many of my friends ran the NYC Half Marathon on March 20.

I entered the lottery but did not get in so instead I decided to make sure I got in next year… hence, my virtual race.

Last Week:

  • Sunday – Since I had only run 5 miles the day before (in a snowstorm)

I drove to the Crossings and ran 5 more windy chilly miles.  5+5= 10 miles, right?  Weekend Long Run complete!

so frustrating that the roads were full of slush, puddles and black ice

Afterward, I did all the errands that could not be done the day before.

  • Monday – #nevermissamonday I ran after work and hoped that the streets in Delmar (where I live) would be clearer than the ones in Colonie (near the Crossings).

a beautiful sunny day and clear roads – so blessed & over-dressed

In the evening I had a ZOOM with a few of the college friends that I had went to France with. We hadn’t talked since we met in August.

  • Tuesday  – Another after work run. I drove to the rail trail and was pleasantly surprised that most of ice/snow had melted.

no layers!  60s – Yay!

Must be a ZOOM week. Had another one tonight. This time with running friends since several are wintering in Florida and others have not been running due to the cold weather or injury.

  • Wednesday –  Rest day! I had an hair appointment after work. And besides I had run four days in a row. But I actually took a lunch time walk for a change… 60s again!!

looking for signs of spring… no ice and running water, daffodils starting

  • Thursday –  Sunrise run… yes me!! It was awesome to start the day that way and then I could relax after work.

a little too cloudy for a great sunrise but at the bottom left, if you look closely you can see the full moon

After work, it was raining (good decision on that run) so I went and got my nails done.

  • Friday – With mild temps and the possibility of rain on Saturday, I was tempted to squeeze in a run before mah jongg.  But instead I went for a walk with friends (70 degree temps – how crazy?)
  • Saturday – Long Run Saturday.

Actually my plan for today was to run a Virtual NYC Half Marathon.  13.1 miles in the rain did not appeal to me…. But the forecast was wrong… it did not rain. In fact, it was warm and humid. I walked 3 miles and then ran/walked 10.14 with Sherry.

sweating… can’t get this dressing right.

  • Sunday –  Glad that I got that long run/virtual race over with. This morning I was busy tracking my friends who were in NYC running the race LIVE.

In the afternoon,  I was scheduled to volunteer for the Freihofer 5k at the Adirondack Sports Expo in Saratoga.

I got there early and had some delicious donut holes & spicy mocha while I strolled around Congress Park and downtown.

Then I got to hang out with some and old new friends while promoting this race (you can run it live or virtually for only $22 – that includes a shirt and a medal – AMBDC is the discount code)

I gave out free shirts and free cookies

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday – Freihofer Training Challenge Run (FTC)
  • Tuesday – lunch run
  • Wednesday – run after work
  • Thursday – rest day, dinner out with tennis friends
  • Friday -lunch run, dinner with family (celebrate S & A’s anniversary)
  • Saturday – rest day, walk
  • Sunday – Shamrock Shuffle (5 mile race) + 6 miles

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday –Virtual NYC Half Marathon Race Recap
  • Friday – Runfessions

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

Central Park Half Marathon Race Recap

Central Park Half Marathon logo on RaceRaves

FEBRUARY 27, 2022

Yes another half marathon in February and another one in CENTRAL Park!!

I signed up for the Central Park Half Marathon as my 56th Half Marathon (and third of 2022) for several reasons:

  • I love NYC.
  • I love running in Central Park.
  • I had enough pts for a free hotel room and free train ride.
  • I had thought my NYC BRFs Cari and Elizabeth may be running it too or at least we could meet up during the weekend.
  • It kept me doing weekend long runs during the cold temps of upstate NY.
  • The Frozen Penguin Half Marathon in January got cancelled and there was NO REFUND option.
  • I had run a half marathon two weeks before in Florida so I was sorta trained.

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.

As I said above, I had just run a half marathon. So I just needed to continue my weekday short runs

and complete a taper long run the weekend before.

Again I would not be surprised by the giant hills since 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.)  I also ran a similar course a month ago and in January of 2020 for the Fred LeBow Half Marathon.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

So I took the train to NYC early Saturday morning. I dropped my bag off at my hotel. I stayed in a different hotel from January (on 35th rather than 39th).

For this race, NYCRuns (not NYRR) had mailed out the bib before the race.  That saved time in having to pick it up before the race.  Safer too.

As I did for the last race, I made sure to have something to do instead of tiring out my legs by walking around the city.

I got cheap tix for a Broadway show.  This time: MJ: The Musical

MJ The Musical (Broadway, Neil Simon Theatre, 2022) | Playbill

Maybe I’ll see this show next time…

But Cari suggested that we go to Governor’s Island to see the Ice Sculptures. That’s seemed safer (as we’d be outside) and more fun so I cancelled my show tix.

pre-requisite NYC lox and bagel

So after a quick lunch, I hopped the subway and met Cari at the ferry (actually at Pier 11 where she got off the ferry from her apt.)

so many runners ran by me as I waited

We spent the whole afternoon walking around the island…and the weather was delightful.

the sculptures were actually the lowlight of the day…

Of course, I had my pre-race pizza dinner and after an early evening walk, I went back to the hotel to plan my #flatme. The forecast was for cold temps, breezy but with sunshine.  I wore a similar outfit as for Fred Lebow so I figured I’d be fine.

Skirt Sports tights/skirt is hidden… plus throwaway shirt, jacket and heat shield.

Race Day:

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and got up around 6:00 am.  It was chillier than I hoped so I put on my throwaway shirt, jacket, DIY arm sleeves, grabbed a foil blanket and called an Uber. (My hotel was on West 35th and it would be a long walk to the start.)

I entered the park at E.102nd St because I wanted to check a bag (for after the race) and just followed the other runners into the park.

I was also able to get my race shirt and add it to my bag.

The race didn’t start until 8:30 and I was there around 7:10..  This was way too early and so I was freezing. I just paced around the area with the other runners trying to stay warm.

Eventually Cari arrived and we meandered over to the start. (too cold for a pre-race pic.)

The race began on West Drive near 96th Street, completing about two and a half loops of the park across 72nd Street and up Harlem Hill before finishing on the 102nd Street transverse.

It had the same finish location (E 102nd) as Fred LeBow but a different start (W 96th). The race also started 1/2 hour later too since there was also a 5k that started at 8:00 am.

according to my Strava

My goal for all my half marathons seem to be FINSH SMILING and NOT INJURED!  This was especially true for this race.  I have never run two halfs just two weeks apart.  I always worry about foot pain and anything else that may occur that could interfere with future racing.  And those hills!!! I do not train for them…

But for some reason, I was very relaxed before the race.

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Miles 1-5:

This race was not nearly as crowded as those organized by NYRR.  1500 vs 5000 runners.  Definitely a more low-key race. There were corrals organized by pace.

Cari and I agreed to run our own races but meet at the finish line. I started in the 10 min corral.  I knew that it would be appropriate for the first few miles of the race.

It took only a short time to get to the start line.

guess I am starting my watch (late)

I threw away my jacket but was too cold to get rid of my throw-away shirt.

Although I have run these hills several times before, this course was new to me.  We started on the West side and ran into the wind (brrr).  There were rolling hills but I felt great (IOW ran too fast).

thanks to some random IG poster for the video

There was a timing clock at each mile and water stops at every 1-1 1/2 miles.  I skipped for first water stop because I was chilled but by the time we headed toward the East side,  I realized that I was indeed perfectly dressed.

At the 2nd water stop, I even took off my throw-away shirt.  Eventually I took off my gloves but held onto them the whole race.

The sun felt great and on the East side, the wind was at our back.  But the East side brought our first major hill – Cat Hill around mile 2.

Cat Hill - Still Hunt By Edward Kemeys - Outdoor Sculpture in New York

I ran up most of it (slowly) and made up time on the downhill.

I was getting pretty hungry so I ate my first gel at the next water stop (Honey Singer Honey – blech) and continued the loop passing by the Fred Lebow Statue and the path leading to the finish line.

Fred Lebow, Central Park – Dianne L. Durante, Writing Addict + Adept

The loop around the park continued with rolling hills and soon we encountered the biggest hill in the park – Harlem Hill. I remember it fondly (since I ran up it thee times in the last half marathon here).

thanks to Cari for taking a pic of the beautiful icicles during this climb

I ran/walked up it until we were on the West side again.

I stopped at every water stop. I have no idea where and when they were. Around mile 8, I ate my 2nd gel (Clff Shot Expresso = instant stomach cramps)

Miles 5-10:

One Loop down, 1 1/2 left.

Now the course repeated itself .. exactly.

I ran comfortably but slowing down and walking more but mostly at the water stops until the last few miles. Nothing hurt which made me very happy.  There was lots of crowd support cheering the runners on (even in the cold).

Cat Hill was harder the 2nd time around, of course but I was running next to a runner with speaker connected to her phone. Instant entertainment. I thanked her.

I saluted Fred again and then headed up the dreaded Harlem Hill. At this point, I was running with a young runner (like college age) and we laughed and dragged each other up that hill. At least for this race, it was the last time up that hill. Yay!

We were back running into the wind and rolling hills on the West side .

Miles 10-13.2:

Second Loop done and 1/2 to go.

We continued on the West side and eventually we approached the East side which meant the end of the race, right?

Unfortunately we had to run up Cat Hill for the THIRD time…

I was ready to be done… but the race was not over yet. We passed Fred one last time.

I stopped for one more gel (GU salted caramel my favorite finally!) so I could at least have enough energy to sprint across the finish line.

We turned left and finally there it was!!

And I did cross it… smiling!

Post Race Activities:

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

I grabbed a bagel, fruit cups and hot chocolate and headed to bag check.

I had two cups but saved the bagel and fruit for later

I was chilled and so happy to have my down jacket to put on.

I waited at the finish line for Cari.  She looked so happy!

“Yes. Racing is FUN!”

We congratulated each other and of course, got our picture taken.

Then we headed out of the park..

picture perfect day

and shared a long post-race brunch.

grits, eggs, potatoes, biscuit

Additional Race Reflections:

As you can see from the stats below, my usual positive splits. I expect nothing different.  I started out fast, slowed down as the race went on… walking more frequently especially on the uphills.

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. In fact nothing was sore.  My legs felt great. Zero DOMS!!

I admit that I enjoyed this race a lot because of my lack of expectations. I was super pleased that my time was much faster than Lebow (though this course was a tad easier.) Though Cari and I did not run together, it was awesome to share the race experience with her before and after the race itself.

That’s wrap for now on Central Park half marathons –

Positives:

  • Bib mailed.
  • Vaccination required for ALL participants
  • Many porta potties at the start. and finish.
  • Bag Check. Well organized before and easy pick up at the end.
  • Shirt pick-up either before or after race.
  • Water and Gatorade stops every 1-1 1/2 miles
  • Many porta-potties along the course in addition to real CP bathrooms
  • Corrals by pace at the start
  • Well marked course.
  • Decent crowd support despite the cold temps and wind.
  • Nice gender-specific tech shirt.
  • Timing clocks at every mile.
  • Very cool medal.
  • Heat sheets at the finish.
  • No lines for post race refreshments.
  • Hot Chocolate at the finish!
  • Free photos.
  • Blogger meet-up with Cari.

Negatives:

  • Loops!!!
  • Hills in Central Park.
  • 10 year age group awards (I just prefer 5 years)

Would I recommend this race?

Maybe. For the price ($80 vs $35) and the beanie, I would recommend Fred LeBow (run by NYRR).

But if you want to run a smaller but well organized race in Central Park, this is one to consider.

Final Stats:

Splits:

those old ladies are pretty fast!

Next Up:

A few shorter races in March and then in April

Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon

Happy Running! Have you raced in NYC’s Central Park? Ever run a cold weather half marathon? What about two half marathons two weeks apart?  Please share.

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


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

Weekly Run Down for 2.20.22-2.27.22: Another Half Marathon. What else is new?

Yes. Half Marathon #56 or #3 of 2002 is in the books.

Workwise, it was a different kind of week because for two days, I was not at my regular job (so not working from home) and instead providing tech support to those students taking the NYS Bar Exam at a downtown location.

And since I think my calf sleeves may have kept me injury-free, I’m back for year 2:

Isn’t this a cute gift?  (Remember I am succulent-obsessed and our running group is called “Sole Sisters”):

It was a thank you for helping my running friend move

Last Week:

  • Sunday – With my long run done (in the frigid wind) on Saturday, I had time to hit the trails.

It was a longish drive but definitely worth it.. the weather was perfect, the waterfalls breath-taking and I didn’t fall (thanks to nano spikes)

  • Monday – It was President’s Day so I had the day off from work. That meant, I could run ANYTIME.  Is that what it is like for those of you that don’t work? lol

So I waited until it warmed up and drove to a familiar bike path hoping that it was clear enough to run.

such awesome weather.. if only everyday were like this…

The path was absolutely clear… too bad a snowstorm was predicted for Friday. I continued on for a long walk as it got sunnier and warmer as the morning wore on.

  • Tuesday  – Today was very strange. I had to get up very early, put on work clothes (and make up) for the first time since March 16, 2020.  A long day at the Bar Exam (7am-5pm). It was rainy anyway so it worked perfectly as a rest day.

getting out early means a sunrise drive

  • Wednesday – Today I was back at home (working my normal job). As a result, I was able to run at lunch….

jumping for sunshine, no layers and clear rail trail!!

and walk with friends after work.

  • Thursday – Again my normal work day and I had hoped to squeeze in a run before work. Single digits!? WTH?  I waited until lunch but it was still cold:

ran in the opposite direction on the rail trail and ran into some ice.

After work, I met some tennis friends for dinner.

  • Friday – Day Two at the bar exam. And a snowy one. Another long day so not much activity except for mah jongg in the evening (cancelled due to the storm.)

so much for those cleared paths…

  • Saturday – Today I took an early morning train to NYC, had lunch and then met Cari at the ferry so we could go to Governor’s Island to see the Ice sculptures. (I had planned to see a Broadway show but this sounded like more fun.)

  • Sunday –  The reason I came to NYC again was to run the Central Park Half Marathon. I was very excited because Cari had also signed up for the race.

I know it’s hilly. I know I will hate it struggle until I’m done.  I’m sure that we will both finish and commiserate over brunch.

Update:  We both finished smiling. Mission accomplished.

This Coming Week on the Run– 

  • Monday – rest day, walk
  • Tuesday – run
  • Wednesday – run, walk with friends
  • Thursday – run
  • Friday -rest day, walk, mah jongg
  • Saturday Long Run
  • Sunday – rest day, hiking

This Coming Week on the Blog – 

  • Tuesday – Spring Bucket List
  • 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 in-person races planned?  How are you dealing with winter running so far? Anyone have a hard time adjusting to normalcy? Please share.

Publix Florida Half Marathon Race Recap

FEBRUARY 13, 2022 

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever (since February 2019, I believe).

the theme was “strawberry” that year and it RAINED!!

So this year, I did run the Publix Florida Half Marathon as my 55th Half Marathon for these reasons:

  • A warmer weather race-cation opportunity.
  • I had a enough frequent flier miles for a free flight.
  • I had enough points for the night before in a hotel.
  • It was advertised as a scenic course with ocean views.
  • I had run this race before in the POURING RAIN. I wanted a re-do.
  • I had four friends that lived nearby (for the winter.)
  • When I originally planned to run it in 2020, my SIL & niece lived here (and I would stay with them).
  • I had gotten BOTH of my COVID vaccines and the booster so I felt safe (even in Florida).

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 three weeks prior, a cold hilly one, in NYC.

As with all my half marathon training, I did not really care about my week day runs. They were usually 3 easy miles.

However, I do try to do longer runs on the weekend. I did manage ALL year to run 8-10 miles every weekend.  But with the change in my NYC half marathons, I had run one three weeks earlier.  So I just recovered and then tapered.

Adjustment from freezing temps to humid Florida temps would most likely be my biggest issue.

Though I did feel somewhat prepared to run 13.1 miles, my goal for this half marathon was still to just finish and to ENJOY RUNNING A RACE with warm temps and ocean views!!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Although the half marathon was scheduled for Sunday morning, I arrived (with no flight drama) in West Palm Beach on Thursday afternoon. I rented a car there and drove Delray Beach where I spent the next two days staying with a friend.

I got to hang out with several friends while visiting the beaches, gardens, bird/turtle/fish sanctuaries and outdoor restaurants. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

On Saturday afternoon, I left Delray and headed up to Palm Bay (3 hours away). I stopped at a favorite garden in Vero Beach on the way.

gardens, dinosaurs, fast cars and post ice cream treat

After checking into my hotel, I headed to the expo in Melbourne to pick up my race packet and figure out the parking logistics for the next morning. Th expo was quite small but you could buy essentials and pick up freebies.  This year, you did not get a race shirt unless you paid extra.  They were long sleeves and gender-specific but still I did not need another shirt.

pretty clear view from the expo (that I would not see on race day.)

It was still early so I stopped on my way back to the hotel and visited a nearby nature preserve.

For dinner, I ate my usual pre-race pizza.

And I headed back to my hotel in time to organize my usual race outfit (tank, skirt, cap) and hit the sack earlyish.

purple is my favorite color… so why not be match matchy?

There’s always a chance for RAIN in Florida.  Fingers crossed that it would not happen until after my race if at all (although the forecast indicated otherwise.)

Race Day:

I brought my oatmeal and coffee from home with me and got up around 4:00 am to get ready and have breakfast in my hotel room.

I left early to make sure I got parking close to race start/finish area. (There was a parking garage but it was quite a hike).

And yes, it was raining.  I did find a spot in a nearby lot and stayed in my car for awhile to stay dry.

Eventually I did venture out to use the rest rooms.  There were multiple canopies to wait under

in addition to inside the building where the expo was. Here there was also bag check.  I did check my Oofos, a jacket and umbrella for after the race.

The marathon started at 6:30. am, then the half marathon at 6:40 followed by the 5k and 10k at 7:00 am.

warm, humid but WET!

We were soon told to line up with the pacers.  I reluctantly took off my rain poncho and throw-away.  It had been pouring but now it was just a welcome drizzle.

I started with the 2:15 pacer but knew that I would move up and then back down (And I was right.)

Elevation:

mostly flat except for those two BIG causeway bridges

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 around every 4 miles.  I planned to walk whenever necessary and NOT RACE it. I was obviously not acclimated to the weather.

This map shows the water views from the course:
Credit for many of the pics below goes to Florida Today for their amazing photo spread of the race.
Miles 1-4:

We started through the green arch and headed North along the old U.S. Highway 1.

The water was on our right and we even had a dolphin pacing us for a while.

As I mentioned I started with the 2:15 pacer but quickly moved up and ran with the 2:10 pacer most of the race.

It rained the whole race but it didn’t rain hard until the end.  Just a constant drizzle that actually felt great… cooled off that heat and humidity. (I was secretly hoping that the sun would not come out until the race was over.)

I ran with my usual comfortable early race pace – IOW positive splits…

There were water and Gatorade at every mile and I stopped at each one for a drink. Most of the stops also had tangerines. (How do you run and peel them at the same time?)  Some even had pickle juice.  They also gave out CliffShot gels on the bridges.

Miles 4-6:

Around mile 4, I took my first Gu and then at mile 5.5 we hit the first causeway (Eau Gallie Causeway) and DAMN, in addition to being long and steep, the wind picked up and we were running into the wind (of course).  I ran and walked. I wanted to save my legs for the rest of the race. I was looking forward to passing the guy playing the baby grand as in all the past race photos.

again, NO PIANO due to the inclement weather

Miles 6-10:

Yes I tried to look happy for the photographer but we were running UP over that bridge.

Going down was fun, though.

For awhile, we ran by some crazy, gorgeous homes that were right along the water. I was surprised at how many spectators were cheering along the course, even in the rain.

I continued to slow down as the miles wore on but I only walked at the water stops.  I ate my second GU around mile 8.

Miles 10-13.17:

I was slowly losing the 2:10 pacer, then the 2:15 one but still held on to not being passed by the 2:20 pacer.

In spite of the weather, there was a lot of music along the course – either digital music played through speakers, or drive-by tunes from motorcycles as well as many live musicians playing under canopies.

I admit that at this point, it was getting hard.  Nothing hurt but I was losing steam.  I kept pace with a woman doing intervals for a while. I got ahead when she walked and then she passed me when she ran. We kept cheering each other on.

I took one last gel around mile 12 – a honey stinger… blech!!

Then at mile 12.5 (how cruel), we hit the 2nd causeway – the Melbourne Causeway. It seemed like an eternity until we reached the top.

Fortunately what goes up, must come down.

Not as much fun as the first bridge due to cramping legs.

ouchy!

And there went the 2:20 pacer.  Not that it mattered but there were no clocks on the course, only mile markers. (I never looked at my watch until after the race.)

Finally we headed toward the finish line and I dragged my cramping legs as across it as fast as I could.

I crossed at 2:20:XX. Injury-free and smiling!

Mission accomplished.

Post Race Activities

I was immediately handed the finisher medal. The food table had bananas, tangerines, donut holes.  I ate a banana which seemed to alleviate the cramps.  I ate a few donut holes, as well.

the obligatory medal photo

It was raining pretty hard now so I made a beeline for bag check to get my umbrella and change out of my wet shoes.

Frank Shorter was waiting to give out awards.  I scanned my bib and as expected, I did not win one so I walked to my car and headed back to the hotel.

5 out of 17

I felt pretty good after a hot shower.  I quickly dismissed any negative thoughts about the race and focused on the rest of my vacation,

On the way back to Boca Raton, I stopped off to visit an old friend who lived in Jensen Beach.  We had lunch together.

Afterward, I drove to my final destination, my college roommate’s home. She winters in Fla (and lives on LI the rest of the year.)  She kindly invited me to stay with her for two nights.

The rest of my race-cation included a trip to Miami to see South Beach, Immersive Monet exhibit, Wynwood Walls and Little Havana.

and finally a run with fellow blogger, Jenny.

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Easy packet pick-up.
  • Small expo
  • Sufficient number of port-a-potties at start/finish and along the course
  • Real restrooms at the start/finish
  • Bag Check
  • Beautiful course. Water views throughout.
  • Water stops at every mile (with Gatorade, gels, tangerines, pickle juice)
  • Friendly staff, participants, volunteers, residents.
  • Pacers.
  • Walker friendly – 6 hour time limit for the half marathon.
  • Several distance options – full, half, 10k and 5k
  • Legendary Frank Shorter was there handing out awards (and he ran the 5k)
  • Big coconut themed medals (recycled metals)
  • Free Photos
  • Race Hats with the Coconut Themed Logo to all runners
  • Music played throughout the course
  • Brews courtesy of Florida Beer to runners

The Bad:

  • No shirts – purchased separately (maybe that’s a good?)
  • Bridge crossing at mile 12.5!
  • I had no friends running this with me.
  • My SIL no longer lived here (a long drive from where I was staying).
  • the RAIN (felt good but limited the entertainment and post race festivities)

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

It was super well-organized.  The course was beautiful. And if the sun comes out, it will be even better.

Final Stats:

Splits:

I am so proud that my body can run even when the conditions are not optimal.

A far cry from my 2:06:52 PR in 2017 and my NYC qualifying time of 2:11:15 in 2019.

This old broad will just have to be content finishing upright from now on, I guess.  And three years after I ran this same course, I was only 26 seconds slower!!

Next Up:

Central Park Half Marathon (in NYC) – back to get redemption on those hills of Central Park.

Feb. 27, 2022

Happy Running! Have you ever been to Melbourne, FL? Ever run this race? Any in-person races planned for 2022? Please share.

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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.