Hannaford Half Marathon Recap

Image result for hannaford half marathon

October 13, 2019 8 am

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever. I registered for the NYC Marathon and then when I looked at my race training plan, my 20 miler was scheduled for this weekend. I ran this race back in 2013 (post broken foot) and since I run on this route often, I wasn’t particularly enamored with the race.

However, I did run the Hannaford Half Marathon as my 39th Half Marathon for these reasons:

  •  Many of my running friends were planning to run it. (Though in the end, they could not).
  • It is a popular local race and I would know many runners.
  • I needed a long run as part of my NYC Marathon training. so I could just add 7 to it
  • I found out that blogger and skirt sister Cari may be running it.
  • It is a “relatively flat course.”
  • Most importantly, I needed company for my 20 miles (and it turned to be the right decision since my running friends decided to race the day before.)

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 in September. I started a 18 week training plan to be ready for the NYC Marathon on Nov. 3.

As with my half marathon training, I did not really care about my week day runs. They were usually 3-4 miles. However, I did try to do longer runs on the weekend.

So I actually was not training for this half but preparing for Nov 3. Technically I was scheduled for a 20 mile run but just adapted the long runs to make this work.

The goal for this half marathon was finishing!! Not to race it and not to get injured!!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep during a previous race-cation — rest the legs and fuel adequately the day before the race.

So I went to the expo early to pick up my bib.  I met a lot runners that I knew and scored some good deals ($5 compression calf sleeves). For a small race, the expo was pretty decent.

Then the hubby and I drove to Lake George to spend a relaxing day on the boat with our friends.

carb loading, of course

We came home pretty early and I got together my race outfit.

Another restless night. I have not been sleeping well lately 😦

Race Day:

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

Since the race was supposed to be the last 13 miles of my 20 miler, that meant I had to get to the race start by 6 am and run 7 miles.

So 4:30 am wake up with my normal oatmeal and coffee pre-race meal. It was in the 40s and pretty chilly so I added my DIY arm warmers and gloves to my race attire.

It was pitch black when I started running on the trail and even with my knuckle lights, it was creepy.

So after a mile, I opted for plan B and ran along the main road for the next five miles, watching the sun come up.

Eventually, it was light enough to continue on the trail back to my car.

I ran the 7 miles way too fast since I was anxious about getting back in time, meeting friends, checking a bag.  But it turned out that I returned in plenty of time.

While I was running, I warmed up but now sweaty, I put my arm warmers and gloves back on. Brrr.

I chatted with many runners that I knew. This was a local race and it is very popular.

Soon I connected with Cari who was also running this race since she was here to visit her brother.

We hung out for a while and then headed to the start line.

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

You can watch a video of the course  here – https://youtu.be/DWsqeGaSxr0

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Miles 1-4:

11:24, 10:10, 9:50, 9:50

Cari and I lined up together but I lost her right away. The race started in Colonie Town Park and we ran around the park for most of the first mile.  It was a bottleneck and you really could not make any headway. And this was the only hilly part of the course.  So after 7 miles, this was a perfect start for me.

After we exited the park, we were running for many miles along the bike path.  The foliage was beautiful and it was a slight downhill.

And as you can tell, I started speeding up and I was running TOO FAST!!

Miles 5-8:

10:30, 10:24, 10:49, 10:57

I stopped briefly at each water stop but by mile five, I was getting pretty hungry so I ate a GU and walked longer.

Eventually we left the bike path and entered the ugliest part of the course. We ran through Watervliet, along the noisy highway and past the Arsenal.

I was feeling great and sailing along until mile 7.  That’s when EVERYTHING started to hurt – my legs, feet, lower back and hips.

So I just painfully trudged along…I was not having fun.

Miles 9-13.2:

11:25, 10:52, 11:11, 11:32, 11:11, (.2 – 8:37)

I stopped around mile 9 for another GU and walked for a bit.  It was still painful to run but I knew I had to finish so I just pushed through it.

At least now we were on the Corning Bike Path with beautiful foliage and views of the Hudson River.

I chatted with a woman feeling the same way but she started walking so I continued on without her.

Finally with a little more than a mile to go, my running friend Chris appeared. She had volunteered to run me in. I told her that after 18 miles (my longest so far), I would no doubt be struggling. And I was.

She ran with me but I stopped and walked quite a few times. The finish line seemed to so distant.

And then I saw it and my running friends with cowbells, cheering me on.  It definitely lifted my spirits and I got a second wind.

I tried to sprint as much as I could (after 20 miles) and I crossed at 2:22:05.

Much faster than I had planned. I was thinking that at marathon pace, it would be around 2:45. It was also a course PR.

After getting my medal and some water. I headed to bag check to put on my race shirt and then to get some food.

I got an additional medal because I ran the Helderberg to Hudson Half in April.

I ate a banana with some chocolate milk and posed for the obligatory medal photo.

I bumped into another friend who is also running the NYC Marathon. She had a PR and was then adding her 7 miles afterward.  Yes, of course, this is what I usually do and the thought did cross my mind so I could have a decent finish time (and win an AG award). But I do think I made the right decision. I was glad to have my 20 miles done.

I headed back to my friends and I celebrated my run with this:

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Easy packet pick-up.
  • Decent expo for a small race.
  • Lots of parking.
  • Sufficient number of port-a-potties. At the start and along the course.
  • Sufficient number of water/Gatorade stops) – 1 had Gu
  • Bag Check. Easy pick up at the end.
  • Well marked course.
  • Free Massages at the finish
  • Clocks at several points in the race.
  • Very cool medal.
  • Chocolate milk at the finish.
  • Shuttle bus from the finish to the start.
  • Great weather.
  • Beautiful course in spots.
  • Extra medal if you ran the Helderberg to Hudson race in April.

The Bad:

  • The middle of the course was pretty boring.
  • The course was a little long.

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. It was well-organized. The course was mostly flat and scenic at the beginning and end.

Final Stats:

I have yet to figure out how to negative split a long race.

My finish time was the slowest I’ve had in many years. But not a bad time considering it was a training run. Definitely not complaining. No injuries. (But my first post race discomfort.)

Next Up:

The Big One: NYC Marathon in 3 weeks!!!!!!!!!

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Nov. 3, 2019


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 also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

and Wild Workout Wednesday with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle.

Happy Running! Ever run this race? Which do you prefer – flat or scenic? Do you run half marathons as training runs for a full? Please share.

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Weekly Run Down for 9.2.19-9.8.19 – Race Week

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A short work week but I was in NYC AGAIN!!! And then off to RI to visit an old friend (college roommate, travel buddy, maid of honor) and to run a Half Marathon.

And NYCM Training continues, of course.

Last Week

  • Monday – I had planned to either race a 5k or volunteer but for once I didn’t register early.  It rained on and off all day. Instead I took a rest day to do fun things like laundry, errands, cleaning.  More tiring than running…
  • Tuesday – Off to NYC by train. I had planned a rest day and a movie but I didn’t run on Monday and the weather was awesome so I decided to run and postpone the movie. Started around 50th and ran uptown along the Hudson until 96th and then headed into Central Park. Eventually walked back to the hotel.

  • Wednesday – Long work day with rain predicted. As usual, no rain so ran a bit on the High Line

and then went to the movies.

Brittany-runs-a-marathon-Movie-HD-Poster-and-stills-2.jpg

A fun flic especially for someone like me who is training for her first marathon and like Brittany, it happens to be NYC. But it was not as much about running as about how it changes your life.

  • Thursday – Day 3 of work and running. Pooped but managed to run to meet Cari and Elizabeth for dinner. And saw the most amazing sunset. How lucky am I?

3 miles run to Pier i

Then I walked all the way back to my hotel.

  • Friday – No run due to the train home after work and then to unpack and re-pack. Engine broke down on the way, had to return to Penn Sta and then no power…3 1/2 hours late returning home 😦
  • Saturday – Long drive to RI to visit my college roommate, Valerie. She recently retired and built a big house on the water and has been wanting me to come see it.  She alerted me that it was 20 minutes from a half marathon in September. Last year I was running in Montreal, but this year..no excuses (except the timing with work stuff sucked).

sunset views from their deck and a few blocks from the beach

  • Sunday – Race Day – Surftown Half Marathon. I had planned to run this race before I signed up for NYC Marathon so it then changed to a training run. Good thing because it was hilly but still it was a beautiful course. And I got to meet two fellow bloggers – Kim & Michelle.

I ran the first half too fast and the 2nd half too slow but still ended up with 2nd in my AG

Afterward we went to Newport and walked around.

didn’t buy the shirt…just posted as a joke

Great Sacandaga Half Marathon Race Recap

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). In fact, I signed up for this one before my previous half marathons.  If I had known about the last local one, I probably would not have signed up for this one.

However, I signed up for the Great Sacandaga Half Marathon as my 37th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • It’s local. I can sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • My friend Alyssa talked me into it (and then I talked my friend Sherry and Deirdre into it.)
  • It looked like a really scenic course.
  • It was close after my previous half (5 weeks) and 15k (3 weeks) so I would be sorta already trained for it.

Half Marathon Training:

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

After my February Half in Florida, due to possibly walking on the beach, I experienced leg discomfort.

So, I skipped many runs and sought the help of a chiro who did ART on my leg. I completed about 8 ART sessions (with minimal relief.)

However, on March 17, the pain disappeared and I was able to run 13.1 miles!!

Since that day, I have run two 5 mile races, another half marathon, a 15k race, two 5k races and a 3.5 mile race.  All were pain-free!!!

Whether or not, my calf injury was cured or it was just adrenaline, we’ll never know.

But being a Nervous Nellie, my goal for this race was finishing, having fun and not re-injuring my leg!!

So what about training??

Since my last half marathon on April 13, there was a 8 mile run, a 15k race, a 5k race on May 5, and another 5k race on May 11.

Yup, that’s it!!

NO DOUBLE DIGIT RUNS!! And only 3 miles the two weekend prior!

hoping for lots of muscle memory

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I checked the weather and it looked to be perfect – a rarity for me. Not that it matters. I always wear the same half marathon combination with added throw aways.

The race was advertised as “mainly flat, with a few rolling hills and gentle inclines, offering spectacular views of the Great Sacandaga Lake and the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.”

Well, we all know that all race directors say that their course is “FLAT.” I didn’t believe it for a moment.

I asked on FB and they said it was flat and the course was on the easy side.  Yeah, right?

Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor, nature and water

Anyway, below is a map of the course.

Race Day:

I got up around 6:00 am and ate my usual oatmeal coffee breakfast. Then I drove to our meeting place about 30 minutes away.

There were six of us going and four of us met to drive together. Alyssa offered to drive and we met her around 7:15 am.

Believe it or not, it RAINED the whole drive!!

I was nervous since I did not catch the rain memo and was not prepared (no jacket or poncho or umbrella).

The rain Gods listened and it stopped raining as soon as we arrived. We parked at the school which was the first parking lot we saw.

There was abundant parking and we could have parked so much closer (Next year.)

So we walked to firehouse to check our after race attire and to pick up our bibs and race shirts.

cotton shirt – no female small so they gave me a child’s XL

Then we used the porta-potties and just waited for the race to begin. I also bumped into our other friends Deirdre and Kevin.

Only 350 runners.  So small compared to my last two half marathons (2,500 and 25,000).

start and end of the race

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

The race began promptly at 9:00 AM on South Main St. in front of the firehouse (as pictured above.) I lined up with Alyssa and Karen somewhere in the middle and Deirdre and Sherry headed toward the back of the pack. Kevin went up front. I wasn’t sure if it were chip timed but I was planning a most likely slow pace so I didn’t care.

We proceeded to run around this small town (passed our car where I threw my DIY arm sleeves)

and then headed west out of the Village and over the bridge. I quickly lost Alyssa and Karen and spent most of race running along side the same runners.

We eventually ran south through the historic Sacandaga Park on Rte 152. This part of the course was very pretty and with its towering pine trees and views of the lake.

There were water stops every two miles. As per my normal, I planned to drink and walk at each one but not take my first GU until mile 4. Well, with a 6:00 am wake up, I was starved so I ate one GU at miles 2, 6 and 10. Three in a race was more than usual but it worked out well. (I didn’t feel faint at the end like the last half.)

The course was by no means flat. It was rolling hills. Nothing really steep and I was able to continue running slowing up the hills and then tried to make up time on the downhills.

My legs felt tired at around mile 4 but then for some reason, I got into a rhythm.

It was getting warmer but this part of the course was shaded by the trees and there was a slight breeze.

The route continued south on Rte 152 until reaching the Bunker Hill Rd.  We traveled that entire road until reaching Rte 30, at which point we turned north onto Rte 30.

I was really enjoying the race until that fated turn.  I was prepared because on the way to the race, we saw the mile 8, 9, 10 signs and remarked about the lack of scenery.

It was boring, grueling and the sun was beating down (with ZERO shade). I just continued my usual pace and focused on finishing strong.

Fortunately, we eventually looped back through Sacandaga Park on Rte 152. At this point, I felt stronger than the early miles.  I passed Karen who was now struggling with IT band pain.

I passed this Canadian guy who was ahead of me the whole race.

Then on the bridge into town, I passed Alyssa who had also slowed down.

We finally returned to the little town of Northville, finishing near the fire station on South Main St. where the race started.

I knew I hadn’t run a PR race but I did have enough at the end to sprint through the finish line.

I got my medal, water and waited for Alyssa who finished about a minute later and Karen, about 3 minutes later.

We headed to bag check and then to check finish times.

I was shocked to see that I won my age group but then again, it was a small race.

Behind the firehouse were the refreshments and tents to sit in the shade or by the water.

I had some cookies and waited for the awards ceremony. Everyone in our group had now finished. They all ran well and Deirdre even had a PR.

And I won my FIRST trophy ever!!

And to celebrate ALL our achievements, we went out to lunch …on the lake.

Additional Race Reflections:

Surprisingly, this half marathons went much better than I had thought. Not exactly sure if it was because I did not over train (or train) but fresh legs seemed to work for me (this time).

I did not care about my finish time but what I cared about was feeling good during those last few miles.

It rarely happens that my last miles are as fast as my first.  I notoriously get slower and slower with each mile.

I had no calf pain or the usual foot and back pain.

As a result, I enjoyed the whole race.

Mile Splits:

  1. 9:55
  2. 9:39
  3. 9:47
  4. 10:10
  5. 10:16
  6. 9:49
  7. 10:26
  8. 10:30
  9. 10:08
  10. 10:58
  11. 9:52
  12. 9:58
  13. 9:56

.18    8:35

     2:13:03

This was the FIRST year for this race.  They obviously planned it carefully.

The Good:

  • Small numbers for an inaugural race – 350 runners registered, 269 finished
  • Easy packet pick-up.
  • Lots of accessible parking in town.
  • Many porta potties at the start.
  • Bag Check.
  • Chip timing with net times
  • Water and Gatorade stops every two miles
  • Decent crowd support
  • Well marked course for each mile
  • Scenic views and lakes views for at least half the race
  • Shaded seated areas to relax after the race
  • Trophies for age group winners
  • Free photos
  • Nearby – no transportation or hotel costs.
  • Racing with friends
  • No rain

The Bad:

  • Cotton shirts
  • The boring, unshaded course during miles 8-10
  • I dropped my arm sleeves by the car so I wouldn’t forget them…I forgot them!

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. For an inaugural race, they did a fantastic job attending to most details. Too bad it is the same weekend as some other great races.

It will be tough to decide next May whether to run the Steel Rail Half or the Brooklyn Half or this race.

Next Up:

No more Half Marathons until Sept. 8. But I do have a 15K on June 22.


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

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


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

and Wild Workout Wednesday with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle.

Happy Running! Have you had success with inaugural races? Did you race this weekend? Do you have a big race coming up? Please share.

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Weekly Run Down – 5.13.19-5.19.19: Home Sweet Home

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Back to my normal schedule…plus a weekday race and a weekend Half Marathon. Maybe not so normal to most.. lol

Last Week –

  • Monday – Since my run got rained out the day before, rain was predicted for the afternoon and the day after, I felt compelled to drag myself out of bed at 5:30 am to run before work.  It has been years since I have done a pre-work run.  Besides being tired, hungry and over-dressed, it wasn’t too bad.

neighborhood views

I felt guilty but I skipped my FTC group run… I am sure my die hard friends did the workout in the rain. (yup they did!)

  • Tuesday A rest day, only because it was raining and I had a chiro appt. I did stop off for a few minutes at the gym on my way home.

after 3 days of rain, only flowers from Trader Joes could cheer me up (and my cat photobomber)

  • Wednesday – I skipped the SOAR run two weeks ago but I decided to go today. It’s a new group of women runners that run in different locations every two weeks at 6 pm (perfect for those who work!) I chatted with some old friends and even made some new ones.

They asked us to pair up so I ran with Colleen (whom I had worked with for 10 years at my last job) and we chatted the whole time.

After the run, I rushed off to the mall where I met my BFF. We did some walking and gabbing.

  • Thursday – For the third year in a row, I participated with some of my co-workers (and 10,000 others) in the Workforce Challenge Race. This year, at least they had corrals but it was still so congested for the entire 3.5 miles. Again, I ran just for fun and it was fun.

survived the heat (and a stiff neck) and had a course PR.

  • Friday – More rain but a scheduled rest day. Just worked, went for a lunch walk (when the rain stopped)

lunch walk view

Then stopped by the STEM celebration after and played mah jongg in the evening.

  • Saturday – Catch up day on the home front. Laundry, cleaning, weeding.  Then we decided to take a trip up to Lake George.

We didn’t take the boat out for a ride but we walked to the Sagamore Hotel and had my belated birthday dinner out.  I had to carb load for the race the next day anyway.

great view and great food (which was followed by a root beer float on the way home)

  • Sunday – Today with some running buddies, I ran the inaugural Great Sacandaga Half Marathon. It was a little too warm (but no rain) and my long runs in preparation have been 3 miles so it turned out to be a struggle but in a good way. The course was challenging but I won my first trophy ever (even though my time was 2 minutes slower than my last half.) Afterwards, we all went out to lunch on the lake to celebrate.

Weekly Run Down – 4.29.19-5.12.19: Sun and Fun

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Since I was away in Florida, this is a TWO week run down.

Two weeks ago

  • Monday – So today was week 7 of the Freihofer Challenge Training (FTC) group. All my Sole Sister friends skipped this run. I was proud that I dragged my tired body to it. In fact, I felt great which surprised me.  The “advanced” group was running 5 one mile sprints… tempted but “no,” cautiously downgraded with my friend Deb to the Intermediate group and ran 4 easy miles.  And it was one of my better training runs. Stan said it was because the day before we walked so much as recovery from the 15k on Saturday. Go figure!

  • Tuesday Rest (and rainy) day ’cause I had a much needed hair appt.
  • Wednesday – Had planned on a FTC group run but didn’t want to wait so ran a quick few miles right after work and then went home to pack.

at the Corning Bike Path which was on my way home today

  • Thursday – Off to Florida on a very early morning flight.  After we arrived, picked up a rental car, lunched, we chilled at the pool at our rented villas (the same ones since 2006). Of course we went to our first of many dinners out in Naples.
  • Friday – Started the day with a run,

followed by tennis, the beach and dinner out. Slowly acclimated to the heat and humidity.

  • Saturday – A lot more tennis and beach. Went for a early walk instead of a run.

After dinner, we all went to a show in town (Lost in Yonkers).  A fun time, of course.

  • Sunday – After a late night, I had an early morning race (what was I thinking?) For the 3rd year in a row, I ran the Tropicool 5k (it was anything but cool). Too hot to be speedy but won my age group anyway. Then I rushed back to play tennis, followed by the beach and dinner out. See the pattern?

Last Week

  • Monday – A similar day as the rest. A run,

tennis, the beach and dinner out. Tonight we ate at the Ritz so we could watch the sunset on the Gulf.

  • Tuesday – More of the same. A run,

tennis

and beach.

But we stayed in for book club night and birthday party. Lots of laughs and food.

  • Wednesday – Road trip day. Just a walk

and ride north to Osprey to visit Historic Spanish Point,

lunch out, and then a visit to Selby Gardens in Sarasota.

Gauguin was the featured artist this year

For my pre-birthday dinner, I requested pizza and ice cream on Fifth Avenue in Naples. (sorry no pix)

  • Thursday – My Birthday. So I ran with tennis sandwiched in the middle.

had to run in my tennis clothes

Then we packed and hung at the pool. One last delicious meal out before we headed to the airport. The weather had been perfect for the week. Not a drop of rain. That is until we got to the airport. A long thunderstorm caused our plane’s departure to be delayed and so we missed our connection and got stuck in Charlotte sans luggage.

  • Friday – I was supposed to be back at work. Instead had to fly home and skipped work and Mah Jongg. But I did manage to get in a walk in the park.

wanted to get pix before the crowds of Tulip Fest the next day

  • Saturday – Exhausted from my trip but had committed to run the Summer Smith Addiction Awareness Memorial 5k. Felt like crap when I got up (headache & nauseous) but felt better when I arrived and chatted with all my runner friends and STEM participants. Again the pre-race festivities moved me to tears.

the race is dedicated to someone whom I trained several years ago and others who have died due to addiction. No prs today but I did win my age group

I rushed home because I had planned to go the the Tulip Fest with Amanda (my mentee and her sons Richard & Matthew – which is an annual tradition for us.

um…they dyed their hair?! but still the cutest and we had a blast

  • Sunday – I had wanted to do a long run today…I have a half marathon in ONE week and my long runs have been 8m, 9m, 3m, 3m since the last one.  Barbara agreed to run with me but bad weather prevailed. She went to the Y and I skipped the run entirely.

the best gifts are handmade – from Richard (mentee’s son)

Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon Race Recap

Image result for helderberg to hudson half marathon

April 13, 2019

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

So I signed up for Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon as my 36th 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)
  • It is close after my previous half (20 days) so I would be sorta already trained for it.

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 March 17 in NYC.

But after my February Half in Florida, due to possibly walking on the beach, I experienced leg discomfort.

So, I skipped many runs and sought the help of a chiro who did ART on my leg. I completed about 8 ART sessions (with minimal relief.)

However, on race day, the pain disappeared and I was able to run 13.1 miles!!

Whether or not, my calf injury was cured or it was just adrenaline, we’ll never know.

I still felt discomfort from time to time after that race and cautiously trained for this half marathon. None of the usual 10, 11, 12 mile runs 😦

So unfortunately, again my goal for this race was just finishing and not re-injuring my leg!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Well, since this was a local race and work days, not much movement the days before.  I picked up my bib after work on Thursday and then had pizza for dinner on Friday.

gender-specific short sleeved tech shirt 🙂

There was no real expo but there were some race-related items to purchase. I actually bought a pint glass.

I checked the weather and it looked to be perfect – a rarity for me.

Rain was predicted for the evening before so you never know.  Nevertheless, I decided that I would make it spring and wear a tank and a skirt – of course then add my DIY sleeves and compression socks for added warmth.

Race Day:

For an annual race, the logistics were tricky.  There was a bus from the start but who knew when to get there so that you could find parking.  2500 were signed up.

I arrived around 5:45 am, found parking in the lot near the finish and had my oatmeal & coffee in my car. I texted Heidi and Sherry and they met me there (no one had parked in this lot and it seemed a little  unsafe to venture out alone).Then we walked to the bus.

with a pause at the finish line

I wore some throwaways and planned to throw them or leave them at bag check and pick them up later at the finish. We arrived at the bus location and there were many buses.  No need to get there this early. We’ll know this for next time.

So we arrived in Voorheesvile at a park where the race was to start…lots of time to spare.  I checked my bag but left on my throw away shirt and DIY arm warmers since it was cloudy and pretty chilly at this early hour.

Not everyone followed instructions and the buses were delayed arriving on time. We waited and chatted with many other runners. There were so many familiar faces..from former running groups, training groups, other races, etc..

I was getting cold and wondered if I made the right decision about what to wear. (I did!!)

Sherry & Heidi

Eventually, it was time to go to our corrals. There were 4 and I was Corral 3. As soon as I entered the corral, I saw a face I hadn’t seen in years – a former co-worker’s son…

It appeared to be warming up a bit so I tossed my throw away shirt but kept on my arm sleeves.

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

Miles 1-5:

view from coral 3 – 10% were in Corral 1, 20% 2, 30% 3 and 40% 4.

I have an old Garmin (actually it’s the 3rd 205 that I’ve bought).  I don’t usually have a problem but today it would NOT find the satellite. So annoying.

Thanks FB – view of the start (the Helderbergs)

I spent the first mile playing with it and then finally gave up.  Of course, it did eventually find the satellite around mile 1.25

As I mentioned, 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.

But I was THIRSTY…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).

Since my watch miles were off, I rarely checked it but 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.

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 2nd water stop. I walked even longer than before and took a GU.

at the 10 pt. My friend Stanley passed me here. I never saw him. He finished sub 2.

At the 10k clock, it was obvious that I slowed but probably not enough. The same showed on the 15K clock.

I walked (too long) at a third water stop around mile 8  and took my second GU.

Still looking happy for the cameras at the 15k mark.

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 that cheered me on.

I ran with Tom for a while but let him run ahead to his sub 2 finish.

another cool FB pic

More pictures from previous runs:

image


Miles 10-13.1

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.

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.

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!!

Thumbs up! I crossed at 2:11:57 but my chip time was 2:11:15!!

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

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

I then got my bag and checked the results. Nope, no age group award. I was 4th.  I wasn’t even expecting to do that well.

There was awesome food for this race – sandwiches, wraps, salads, chips, fruit, cake, etc.  But I had plans to go out for brunch with friends so I didn’t partake.  There was also beer.

I texted Sherry and met up with her so we could watch Heidi finish.  We waited for quite awhile and I started feeling dizzy…the heat and humidity were getting to me. I had another Gu and water and felt much better.

Finally Heidi appeared.

After she was done, we headed (limped) to our cars.  We were meeting the other Sole Sisters for brunch at our favorite post-running restaurant.  The Coconut crusted French toast was well earned.

I topped it off at  home with some chocolate milk in my new pint glass.

Additional Race Reflections:

Mile Splits-

mile 1 – ?
mile 1.25 – ?
mile 2.25- 9:29
mile 3.25- 9:07
mile 4.25 – 9:16
mile 5.25 – 9:21
mile 6.25 – 10:39
mile 7.25 – 10:22
mile 8.25 –  10:46
mile 9.25 –  9:45
mile 10.25 – 9:52
mile 11.25 – 10:33
mile 12.25 – 11:19
mile 13.25 – 9:15

positive splits all right

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 faster than my previous two half marathons. (2:20:09 and 2:16:01). I am thrilled about that.

I secretly wanted a sub 2:12 finish so I would qualify for the 2020 NYC Half Marathon. And I did!!

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 probably on track to PR, the first half of the race.

The best news is that my calf felt great.  Never even thought about it.

I also realized that downhill races aren’t as easy as you may think.

The Good:

  • Lots of race info emailed and on website including runner guide and spectator guide.
  • Easy packet pick-up. Neat race-related items
  • 3 Registration options – cheaper without a jacket or name on your bib.
  • Free bus from the finish to the start.
  • Many porta potties at the start. Long lines but they moved quickly (I was told – did not use).
  • Bag Check. Well organized before and easy pick up at the end
  • Downhill course (except for 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.
  • Gender specific short sleeve tech shirts.
  • 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 & close to 70 degrees predicted.
  • The boring, unscenic last 2 miles.
  • Those who didn’t arrive early for bus had to wait in a long line. Race start had to be delayed.
  • Long line for food and beer.

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes. For an inaugural race, they did a fantastic job attending to every detail.  I may even do it again next year.

the boat can go up & down the river

Next Up:

Image result for hot chocolate 15k brooklyn

April 27, 2019 in Brooklyn, NY


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 also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel!

and Wild Workout Wednesday with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle.

Happy Running! Have you had success with inaugural races? Did you race this weekend? Do you have a big race coming up? Please share.

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United NYC Half Marathon Race Recap

Image result for nyc half marathon 2019

March 17, 2019

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever.  I got a guaranteed entry last May based on my finish time at the Brooklyn Half Marathon (2:11:23).

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

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

So I signed up for the NYC Half Marathon as my 35th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I got a guaranteed entry.
  • I love NYC.
  • I had enough pts for a free hotel room.
  • I had friends running it.
  • They changed the course to get rid of most of the Central Park hills at the end.
  • It’s such a prestigious race. How could you not?

Half Marathon Training:

If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon on February 10 in Florida in the rain.

But after that race, due to possibly walking on the beach, I experienced leg discomfort.

So, I skipped many runs and sought the help of a chiro who did ART on my leg. I completed about 8-9 ART sessions (with minimal relief.)

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

For this race, I obviously did not. One short run each week and a longish one.  All with some leg discomfort.

Yes, I was nervous that I was not prepared for run 13.1 miles and I was nervous about making my leg injury worse.

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

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep during a previous race-cation — rest the legs and fuel adequately the day before the race.

Of course, in NYC, you walk and I did. I walked to the expo and met Cari there.  We had a blast catching up (even though we had seen each other recently)

and taking lots of goofy photos.

I actually didn’t buy a thing at the expo (but those NYC running shoes were tempting.)

a long sleeved tech shirt that fits = win win

Cari and I walked around the city for awhile and after we parted, I headed back to my hotel and had pizza for dinner (per usual) and a pastry for dessert. Carbs. CHECK.

It was still too early for bed so I walked to Hudson Yards which had recently opened a mall and “The Vessel.”

The Vessel – 154 floors and a great view of the city and the Hudson but you have to get tix 2 weeks in advance.

After strolling around the super expensive shops in the mall, attending a cooking show in Neiman Marcus (with samples), I tried to plan my race outfit and get to bed early.

seemed like a good idea at the time – should have worn tights and long sleeves – brrrr

In bed by 10 am and only 7 miles on the legs CHECK.

Race Day:

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and got up around 4:15 am.  It was chillier than I hoped so I put on an extra shirt, a throw away shirt, jacket, DIY arm sleeves, sweats, grabbed a foil blanket and took off for the shuttle bus.

For $17, a guy organized 4 buses that would leave from Manhattan and get you to your corral entrance.

Where the bus departed from was about 1.5 miles from my hotel.  I could walk (30 min.) or take the subway (10 min.) It was cold and dark so I thought I’d take the subway.  Just missed one and they don’t come very frequently at that hour on a Sunday.  I worried about missing the bus so I walked/ran the 1.5 miles.

I arrived around 5:30 for Bus 2 which was scheduled to leave at 5:45. Already sweaty.  But with a smile.  I realized for the first time in a long time, my leg felt fine!!!!!

I decided to take off my sweaty long sleeved shirt and just race in the short sleeved one (with DIY arm sleeves and gloves.)

The bus was nice and warm and with a bathroom. Woo Hoo!

new this year = 5 corrals and 2 different entrances to the park

We left late (around 6 am). I was in Wave 4 but many on this bus were in Wave 2 and 3 so the bus dropped Wave #2 first, waited and then Wave 3ers left the bus.  Next we drove to the Wave 4/5 entrance. We got there around 6:45. I got off and headed with the others to the park.  We couldn’t get close since it was late and had to walk many many blocks.  Once in the park, we had to check our bags, go through security (removing your belts, phone, even watches) and then find the corral entrance.

It was cold and luckily they gave out foil blankets to stay warm. I still had on my throw away and sweats too. But I was still cold since it was windy as well.

My wave started at 8:30. But by the time most of the Wave 4 runners got to the entrance, they had closed the gate.  They told us that we had to wait until 8:45 with the Wave 5 runners. Many runners were pushing and shoving and whining about it being too disorganized.

True but the race was CHIP TIMED so…whatever.

Eventually they let us in. I threw away the foil, my shirt and sweats…. (and wished that the sun would come out and I had worn a long sleeved shirt and tights.)

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 even in the cold) and to stop and walk longer to eat a GU at every other water stop.

Anyway, here’s how the race went:

2019 NYC Half Marathon Test Run Course Elevation

this was posted by someone who ran the course – I ignored it when I saw those hills. I never noticed the distance – 14 miles!!

Miles 1-5:

9:57, 9:22, 9:38, 9:26,11:19

Of course, the start was very crowded and slow going at first.  In fact, I was surrounded by runners the whole race – the benefit of a big race with over 25,000 runners.

The start line was in the middle of Center Drive. We started by heading east and after a slight downhill on Center Drive, we took a sharp left onto East Drive.  We quickly reached the main hill, commonly known as “Prospect Park Hill” or “Battle Pass Hill.” I had run quite a few races in this park so I was familiar with the hill(s).  And I was feeling strong at this point  so I ran them.  I was suddenly very hungry since my breakfast was many hours ago. I stopped at the second water stop and tried to stall until at least mile 4 for my Gu.

nyrr.org

We exited the park at Grand Army Plaza (the arch above) and took some sharp turns onto Flatbush Avenue.  We were on Flatbush for the next 4 miles.  First there was a downhill along the park and then we returned back up Flatbush, through GAP, and onto a long downhill. There was timing mat at 5k point and I was very pleased at my pace – much faster than I had planned. (I had to look at my Garmin at each timing mat since I started at 8:45 or so not 7:30 am). My water/Gu stop was probably longer and slower than it should have been but I guess I needed the break.

The tail end of mile 5 was the beginning of our approach to Manhattan Bridge and—yep, it went uphill.

nyrr.org

Miles 6-7:

9:53, 10:08

This was the beginning of what made this race so scenic and iconically New York. It was hard. Probably the hardest part of the course. I seemed like we went uphill forever and minimally benefited from the downhill. With the sun at our backs, the wind picked up. I was cold. No lie. And I had to hold my cap so it didn’t blow off into the East River.  But the views from the bridge were amazing. I tried to focus on all my surroundings – Freedom Tower, Empire State Building, etc. to get me over this bridge.

nyrr.org

When we got off the bridge, we had finished 6 miles. The hard part over, right?

Not quite.

nyrr.org

The start of mile 7 included two sharp turns: first onto Canal Street and then immediately onto Allen Street, where we hit the 10K timing mat.  Again I was amazed at my pace.  Pretty steady and  around 10 min/mile. Allen Street was surprisingly downhill as well as scenic, and this portion of the course gave us a perfect view of the bridge we just conquered.

At the end of Allen, we turned left onto South Street and ran for half a mile before merging onto FDR Drive.

All of sudden all of the mile markers seemed to be off.  Apparently they had reversed miles 7 and 8 (on the wrong sides of the street).

Miles 8-10:

 10:51, 10:36, 10:33

At Pier 36, we began our 8th mile and merged onto FDR Drive. This 3-mile stretch was mostly flat but included some up/down ramps. Compared to the sections both before and after, this stretch was a welcome reprieve from serious changes in elevation.

Around this time, I took my second Gu at a water stop.  I walked again for too long.  I had been stopping at and walking briefly at almost every water stop.

This was only part of the course without much crowd support. The crowds were awesome throughout the race. NYC running fans rock big time!!.  I was wearing a cap that said “Run Lucky” and people kept calling out “Go Run Lucky.”  Very cool (and welcome support.)

nyrr.org

I loved FDR Drive for its scenic views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines as well as the UN building. Every time I see this building, I recall my childhood dream of working there someday (Even my majoring in languages in college did not get me that job.),

By mile 9, the mile markers were closer to being accurate.

We crossed our next to last timing mat at 15k.  My pace was slowing down but still not too bad.

nyrr.org

Finally we turned onto 42nd street.  It was uphill too. Ugh.  My legs were starting to get weary. The highlight of this section was at 3rd Avenue with the iconic Chrysler Building just ahead.

Miles 11-12

9:40, 10:33 (lost the satellite during mile 11?)

travellingcari.com

The beginning of the final 5K started a gradual uphill climb all the way to the finish! There were some ups and downs. But I focused on taking in all the sights around me -—the Chrysler building, Grand Central, the New York Public Library, and Bryant Park, etc.

When we turned right onto 7th Avenue, we were running down the middle of Times Square, a magical and memorable experience. While this was also steadily uphill, I didn’t mind. The energy was positively electric. I’m pretty sure I had tears in my eyes.

We hung a right onto Central Park South as we finished up mile 12 and entered the park at the southeast corner—the same corner you exit in the final stretch of the NYC Marathon.

I was glad that they eliminated most of the hills from the end of the race – No Harlem Hill or 3 Sisters. Still, my legs were toast by this time.  It had been 5 weeks since I had run this many miles and my quads were feeling it.

Mile 13- 13.43:

10:52, 10:38

We turned on the 72nd Street Transverse and would finish at the same spot as the NYC Marathon, between Sheep Meadow Park and Tavern on the Green.

There were still minor ups and downs, particularly at Bethesda Fountain,  Well, actually they all felt like ups. I walked a few extra times trying to save up enough energy to sprint through the finish line.

800m to go…400m  … 200m – it seemed endless. I kept mumbling “WTF is that finish line??”

Excited but dying…

Dead…

Yes, I dragged those legs across the finish line. (Who stops their Garmin first!?)

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

Then they handed you a bag of food (filled with water, Gatorade, apple, pretzels, protein bar, etc) and a foil blanket that a volunteer taped close (A nice gesture).

I was still cold and anxious to get my bag with 2 shirts and a jacket.  It was an easy walk out of the park and to trucks on Central Park West which were nicely labelled by wave #.

Once I got my bag, I texted Cari so we could meet up and go to Starbucks (to warm up and debrief).

Making a fashion statement – using my foil to keep my legs warm

Additional Race Reflections:

Garmin time= 2:15:49 (probably lost satellite signal)
Chip time = 2:16:01

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 faster than my previous two half marathons. (2:20:29 and 2;20:09). I am thrilled about that.

I secretly wanted a sub 2:12 finish (before I got injured) so I would have the choice whether or not to do this race next year.

As you can see from the stats above, I went out too fast.  And my lack of training caught up to me after 9 miles.  I was on track to time qualify for next year if I had a decent 2nd half of the race.

Enough whining…I am so grateful to be able to visit NYC and run a race. I am unbelievably happy to have run without any pain.

I always have foot pain (on the bottom of my left) and blisters on the side of my right. I expect it.  But not today??!!

Too cold?  Stability running shoe? Mizunos?

No idea but I was going to return the Mizuno Wave Inspire 15s because they were uncomfortable on my 8 mile run. Now I’m not sure.

All in all, I thought this was a great race. Maybe when I am 70, I’ll be able to run it again.

Until then, there’s a bigger challenge – NYC MARATHON – Nov. 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Good:

  • Easy packet pick-up. Organized expo. Not too large and overwhelming.
  • Lots of fun photo ops at the expo.
  • Real bathrooms and comfortable location to wait at the start/finish (if you chose to use the non-race organized bus ($17).
  • Many porta potties at the start. Long lines but they moved quickly (I was told – did not use).
  • Foil Blankets before the race.
  • Bag Check. Well organized before and easy pick up at the end
  • Water and Gatorade stops at almost every mile or so.
  • Gels available at several water stops
  • Many porta-potties along the course.
  • Music at various points along the course.
  • Awesome crowd support (except FDR Drive, obviously)
  • Well marked course (except see below)
  • Clocks at 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k
  • Pacers (useful only if you started in the correct corral).
  • Very cool medal.
  • Gender specific long sleeve tech shirts.
  • No lines for post race refreshments (gave you a bag immediately)
  • Foil blankets put on and taped close for each runner
  • Those who did NOT get a medal got a guaranteed entry to the 2020 race

The Bad:

  • Long Manhattan Bridge climb
  • Hills at the end in Central Park
  • Tired legs after mile 10
  • I did not dress warm enough
  • Confusing Corral starts
  • Mile markers for miles 7 & 8 were wrong
  • They ran out of foil blankets at the end
  • They ran out of medals
  • Only race logo clothes at the expo (would have loved glasses, magnets, etc.)
  • The course was LONG (at least 13.5 some recorded it as 14m)

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Do it if you can.  You won’t regret it.

No, it’s not an easy course. At least 25,000 runners are there so it is crowded. But running from Brooklyn to Manhattan is such a memorable experience (maybe I’m biased?)

Final Stats:

I laughed when I saw the graphic below – such an accurate picture of my race:

started out fast, slowed down, died

Next Up:

A local race. An inaugural race. A downhill course. Lots of running friends. Should be fun…

Image result for helderberg to hudson half marathon

April 13, 2019


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 also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel!

and Wild Workout Wednesday with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle.

Happy Running! Ever run this race? Do you want to? What is your favorite half marathon? Pl,ease share.

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