Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap

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MAY 19, 2018

It seems like I’ve been planning to run this race forever. But actually it is a lottery and this year, I was determined to get in.  I sat at the computer and exactly at noon, I clicked Register and my friend Sue and I both got in. (Sue is my partner in crime for the France 8k and the Shape Half – both in NYC)

I signed up to run Brooklyn as my 31th Half Marathon for several reasons:

  • I love NYC (and Brooklyn).
  • I had enough hotel points for a free room.
  • My friend Sue agreed to run the race and room with me.
  • NYRR races are so well-organized
  • Who wouldn’t want to finish at the beach in Coney Island.
  • It was on a Saturday so I would still have Sunday at home.

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 Florida and since then I have completed easy weekday runs and longish runs on most weekends.

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.

I skipped my 12 mile long run entirely the weekend that I was on vacation in Florida. I added extra miles to my weekend 5k races.  Only ONE of my long runs was completed without a break in between the miles and that was the last one of 9 miles

I am sure that this is NOT the my best way for prepare to run 13 miles. I am a coach’s nightmare. LOL.

However, I wasn’t really worried. I didn’t expect to run the half marathon at a PR pace anyway. I was running it purely for the experience.

Dealing with a crazy work schedule, travel and rain does not equal a fast finish time. The goal for this half marathon was survival and enjoyment!!

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep on my last half marathon in NYC and Vegas– rest the legs the day before.

So we didn’t really walk that much.  We took the bus to Manhattan and then the subway to Brooklyn so we could check into the hotel.  Then we took a subway to Pier 2 to the Pre-Race Party to get our shirt and bib.

The Pre-Race party was a little disappointing. Not many booths or food and there was no entertainment. But if you just wanted to get in and out, it was fine. You could also get any information you needed about the race and logistics.  We asked a lot of people about what time to be at the race and got many conflicting answers so made our own decision.

While we were at the pier, we did a little sightseeing by touring an old schooner and watching a glass blowing demonstration on an Erie Canal boat. Our last stop was Coney Island where we had a delicious pasta dinner before heading back to the hotel to call it an early night.

Race Day:

Alarm set for 5 am. After much debate, we decided to leave for the race at 6:30 am.

I brought my usual race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with me and ate in the hotel room. Good thing because the hotel breakfast didn’t open until 6:30 am.

My original race outfit was going to be a tank and skirt.  But with each weather forecast predicting colder and colder temps, I kept changing my mind.

So in additional to the above, I added compression leg sleeves, DIY arm sleeves, a throw way long sleeved shirt and a rain poncho.

I was very close to adding capris and a jacket but decided at the last moment that I didn’t want to be too warm.  Sue and I both also decided against a checked bag based on the logistics, long bag check lines and having to wait outside in the rain even longer.

Our hotel was fairly close to the start so we would have walked if it hadn’t been raining so hard. We had planned to call an uber but two sisters outside our hotel had already called one and offered us a ride.  We accepted and hung out with them for a while before the race (one was running her first half… poor thing.)

We arrived at 6:45 to cold pouring rain and wind and did our best to stay dry by standing under one canopy after another.

Unfortunately we had to eventually get to the start. We waited so long that wave 1 (we were in wave 2) had already started. That meant we had to run across the course.  Just imagine how hard it is to cross between runners running at a 5-6 min pace.  I almost had a heart attack but we all did it successfully.

Then we had to wait on a very long line in order to go through security before getting into our corrals.

We decided to stay under a canopy until the very last minute and it was the right decision.  Then the line moved pretty fast and we pushed our way into the corrals and just moved to about the 10 minute pacer.

I kept my rain poncho on until it was time to begin. Many runners kept theirs on all or most of the race.  I thought that it would be too uncomfortable. I normally take off my throw away shirt too (because it was heavy cotton) but I was just too cold.  I wished that I had gloves on, as well.

My plan for the 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 4 miles or so. And of course, not slip and fall or succumb to hypothermia.  Sue and I planned to meet inside the Coney Island subway station and go back to the hotel together.

Anyway, here’s how the race went (photos courtesy of the NYRR website):

Miles 1-3:

9:53, 9:58, 9:14

As you can see, it was quite congested in the beginning of the race.  For the first 3 miles, you run outside of Prospect Park and there were minor ups and downs in the elevation.  I tried not to step in any big puddles but in trying to cut the tangents, I stepped in one monster one.  In addition to my feet now being soaked and sloshing around, my throw away was getting water logged and I had to stop and toss it.  The good news is that it was covering my watch and I couldn’t worry about my pace.  I still had on my DIY arm sleeves for warmth.

My plan to stop at every water stop slowed me down because in this race, they were at every mile (not every 2 miles as I am used to.)  I stopped anyway even though I wasn’t thirsty.  They were a tempting opportunity to walk and so that’s what I regrettably did.

Miles 4-6:

9:41, 10:27, 10:01

At mile 4, you head into the park. It starts off flat and just before Mile 5 comes the biggest hill on the course which is not as steep as some of those Central Park hills, but seems like it will never end. I continued my water stop walking and used the one at hilly mile 5 to eat my first GU. Thankfully as you loop around the park, you discover what goes up must come down and you get to enjoy a nice downhill.  This was my favorite part of the race. At this point, I rolled down my arm sleeves.  They were so wet that they weren’t keeping me warm anyway.

Miles 7-9:

8:56, 9:41, 10:09

As you come through Mile 7 just outside the park, you head to Ocean Parkway with a quick dip down and a steady bump in elevation on the entrance ramp.

I tried to think of this as my final stretch to the finish line. But it felt like Ocean Parkway would never end. Until this point in the race, I was really feeling strong. My lack of long runs really reared its ugly head at mile 9. I started to get a big blister on my left foot (where I always get one).  It was painful and I think it made my gait awkward.  My lower back starting aching and then the arch on the bottom of my right foot started feeling funky.  As a result, walks at the water stops were getting longer. To make things worse, it was raining even harder. Believe it or not, there were lively crowds all along the course…even in this weather. That helped a lot.

Miles 10-12

10:35, 10:02, 10:25

Still running down that endless Ocean Parkway. At mile 10, I ate my second GU and walked what seemed like forever hoping to get some zip in my step. Finally as you run South, the Avenues go in order from A to Z then you make a right hand turn onto Surf Avenue where you can see the roller coasters up ahead. But by mile 12, I barely had any energy. I just willed myself to continue. I knew the end was near.

Mile 13- 13.25

9:56, 9:21

Soon I saw the sign that said “800 meters to go” and then I was finally on the boardwalk.  The finish line seemed so far away but all of a sudden, the race was over.  I crossed….

Garmin time= 2:11:18
Gun time = 3:09:46
Chip time = 2:11:23

I got my medal and then was handed a bag with water, gatorade and some snacks.

too cold and wet to take any fancy pix with the medal 😦

I followed the crowd to exit and my original plan was to hang around, go to the After Party in MCU Stadium (where you got beer, pizza, Nathan’s famous hot dogs, etc.) but I was FREEZING!!!!!

a friend’s pic from FB

So I made a bee line to the subway to wait for my friend Sue.

I checked my phone and saw a message from her. “DNF. Quit at mile 5. Took an early train back to Albany.”

WTF?

I had the feeling that she didn’t want to run in the rain.  At mile 5 we had looped the park and it was an easy walk back to the hotel.

Now I was stuck alone in the rain in NYC until my 6:30 pm bus home.

(In the end, it was fine. I had a nice lunch and went to the movies.)

Additional Race Reflections:

Though there were timing clocks at every mile during the race, they started when the elites of wave 1 started so I really wasn’t sure how I was doing.  I kept thinking that I was about an hour less than the displayed time. It was hard to see my watch because of my arm sleeves (I had only rolled them down not thrown them away.) So I was pleased at my time. I thought I would finish much slower. I knew I would not PR but secretly, I wanted to finish faster than 2:12.  That was the qualifying time for my new age group for the NYC Half Marathon next March. (I may not run it but it’s nice to qualify for something.)

Well, this was a bucket list race for me.  Since I didn’t train hard, I was expecting to completely enjoy my experience, take lots of photos, hang out at the beach, etc.

All of this impossible in such miserable weather conditions.

But no, I don’t regret running the race.  I actually liked the course more than I thought I would.  The hills weren’t as bad as Central Park.  More than 25,000 excited runners. So much energy. NYRR puts on a first class event.

even Deena Kastor was not smiling

The Good:

  • Easy organized packet pick-up.
  • Lots of information from sign up to race day
  • The excitement and energy
  • Prospect Park part of the course
  • Ending on the board walk of Coney Island
  • Hot Dogs and Beer at the Post-Race Party
  • Water & Gatorade Stops at every mile (many tables of cups and many volunteers)
  • Crowd Support (even in the rain)

The Bad:

  • Running down Ocean Ave for so long was a little boring
  • Pre-Race Party was disappointing – few vendors
  • Congested before the start due to security check

The Ugly:

  • The Weather!!

Would I recommend this race?

Yes definitely. Too bad, it sells out so fast.  I would do it again if I could wait to see the weather forecast first.

Final Stats:

It was not my fastest half marathon. But it was actually faster than my last two half marathons.

I am pretty sure than if I had seriously trained and the weather was better (Honestly the rain just put me in a foul mood), I would have had a better finish time.  But “it is what it is.”  I chose to run those 5ks instead of doing my long runs (and I don’t regret it one bit).  And you can’t control the weather.  It was the same for every runner.

Next Up:

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September 23, 2018 


It’s Tuesday so don’t forget to link up with these wonderful ladies:

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

I am also joining up with Running on HappySuzlyfeCrazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Happy Running!  Have you ever a big run in the rain?  Do you prefer large races or small ones?

Friday Five 2.0 – Racing in the Rain

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

Unfortunately I have too much experience for this topic.  My recent two 5ks were in the rain In fact, the forecast for tomorrow’s half marathon is RAIN!!!

FIVE TIPS FOR RACING IN THE RAIN:

1. BRING A PONCHO OR GARBAGE BAG.  

I don’t usually run in this but many people do.  It’s for before the race and standing around in the starting corral. You can buy them in the Dollar store.

2. WEAR A CAP.

Even if you’re not a hat person, this will keep the water out of your eyes and off your face.

3. USE BAG CHECK AND BRING DRY CLOTHES.

You may have to arrive earlier or go out of your way, but a change of clothes is always welcome when you are soaked.

 

4. PROTECT YOUR PHONE.

Don’t leave it behind just because it is raining. Use a plastic bag or put it in your racing belt.

5. SMILE ANYWAY.

You paid for the race. You can’t do anything about the weather.  So have fun.

*FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES.

friends & chocolate milk

** DON”T FORGET ABOUT CHAFING AND BLISTERS.

Water makes it worse if you are susceptible.

Wish me luck:

Happy Running!  Any other tips for racing in the rain? Would you DNS? Who else is running Brooklyn tomorrow?

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Running Update – 1.16.17-1.22.17

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Last Week:

  • Monday – Day off from work.  Woo Hoo.  Also my 18th wedding anniversary. (My hubby had to work but we went out to dinner over the weekend.)

Started the day with a plank. Kim from Running on the Fly challenged everyone last week to do a 5 minute plank.  Well, I did ONE minute.

 I took advantage and ran during the daylight.  Judy was nice enough to cooperate and join me at the Corning Bike Path.

Judy ran 3 and I added some extra

There may have been a lot of re-fueling involved.

Starbucks was closed but I found a replacement.

  • Tuesday – it was a miserable rainy day so I was glad it was a rest day. I did play tennis after work.
  • Wednesday – another rainy day but it did let up so that Alyssa and I could squeeze in 3 after work miles.

And no we didn’t plan wearing the same shirts

  • Thursday– Another scheduled rest day. In the evening, my BFF and I did our usual mall walk and talk.
  • Friday – I did go for a 4 mile run before my evening mah jongg game. It was cloudy but at least it was not cold.

  • Saturday – A scheduled rest day to do errands, get things done around the house.  Although I didn’t attend the Women’s marches in DC and NYC, I was there in spirit.  Instead, I attended the one in Albany, NY. I went with some friends. There was a great turn out and I’m so glad I went.

  • Sunday Today’s weather wasn’t as perfect as Saturday but it still wasn’t cold.  I motivated myself to complete my 8 solo miles (Judy ran on Saturday) with a post-run treat from Leah’s. Unfortunately it rained most of my run even poured at times. Plus the trail was so icy that I had to run on a back road to get my miles done.

 I did get my delicious post-run treat but I won’t be running here again until spring.  That evening I went to the movies with friends – a perfect end to the weekend.

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it was disappointing 😦

20 miles done with 4 runs and 3 rest days

This Week:

  • Monday4 mile run?? 
  • Tuesday – rest day, tennis
  • Wednesday4 mile run with Alyssa
  • Thursday – rest day, tennis birthday dinner
  • Friday4 mile run, mah jongg
  • Saturday – rest day
  • Sunday 15K race, STEM swap
Once again, I am linking up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin. See rules here.
http://hohoruns.blogspot.com

Happy Running! How is your running going? How is your running weather?  Did you march on Saturday?

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LL Bean Bright Night 5K Recap

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Saturday, October 22, 2016 5 pm in the Crossings

Why in the world did I sign up for this race??

I would be away in NYC Sunday and then Monday-Friday.

But if you read my TOLT post, you know that I suffer from FOMO.

I have run this course several times.  And I have never had a good finish time.  Not sure why.  So I was perfectly happy to run a night race having it be “purely for fun.”

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course map

Here’s what the first annual race advertised:

This course is run through the Crossings of Colonie Park.  Finish with piles of glowing jack O lanterns “cheering” you on!

Race Shirts
Everyone who registers for the race will receive a Unisex Brooks Podium T-shirt in the bright Nightlife color. Shirts will be distributed by sizes on a first-come-first-served basis at packet pick up.
Water Bottles
All participants will receive a free reusable water bottle, courtesy of our sponsor Camel Bak.
LED Shoe Light
All participants will receive a free Shoe Lit from Nite Ize. These cool LED lights clip onto the laces of your running shoes
Awards
FitBit fitness trackers will be given as awards to the top three male and top three female overall finishers, as well as the top finisher in each age group: 0-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+.  Awards will not be mailed.  You must be present to receive them.
Pretty neat swag.  And for this reason, the race sold out right away at 300.

I was supposed to spend the day with my mentee and her kids at Ellms Family Farms but the weather was too lousy – cold, rainy and windy.  Instead I went to the movies with friends.

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loved the book and the movie did the book justice.

So who would want to run a night race in these weather conditions?

Not me!

But I did sign up.

So I went to the LL Bean store at the mall at noon to pick up my race packet so I didn’t have to rush in the evening.  The race took place at the park about 10 minutes away. I got my short sleeved tech shirt and water bottle.  They didn’t have any LED shoe lights.  (Would have preferred these to the water bottle that I have dozens of.)
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It was tough deciding what to wear. I mean it was in the 80s just a few days ago.  But for this nasty weather and for an evening race, I decided on tights under a skirt, several layers, a jacket, gloves and hat. I had to locate my winter running clothes.  UGH!
I wore them to the movie theater and then after the movie, I drove to the race start to find a decent parking spot.
I should mention again that the weather was horrendous.  I kept hoping that the rain would let up but no such luck.  I sat in my car in the parking lot, debating whether I should run the race or go home.
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To make things worse, the temperature kept dropping and it was getting windier. But I decided to be tough and run the race.
I stayed in the car until the very last minute and ran to the start line (ditching my rain poncho in the pavilion.)  I recognized a few runners.  Out the 300 who had signed up, less than half came. (The smart one stayed in their warm dry homes.)
Well, this won’t be a very exciting recap.
I didn’t warm up so my legs were stiff at first.  I felt like I was running fast but I was not.  The wind was tough and the rain came down harder and harder as the race went on.  It was very wet.  You had to run around big puddles and be careful that you didn’t slip on the wet leaves. And even with gloves, my hands were numb.
The Crossings is hilly too.  I keep forgetting. The worse part was that it was hard to breathe. I wasn’t running fast and I was out of breath the whole race. Others complained about the same thing.  It must have been the cold.
At least the miles went by quickly.  I am so glad that it was only a 5k.  When I saw the finish line, I ran as fast as I could.  I just wanted to get warm and dry as soon as possible.
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those are pumpkins cheering on the finishers

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I don’t think anyone cared but there was NO food after the race.  Just some cups of water.  You got your results texted to you and were able to get your award quickly if you won.
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They gave out $25 gift cards to L.L. Bean to first place in each 10-year age group.  (They had advertised that you got a FitBit.) And I won!!  (I didn’t need a FitBit anyway.)
I got my award and then I grabbed my poncho and headed home to my fireplace and some HOT soup.
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such an attractive look

Race Splits:
mile 1: 9:21
mile 2: 9:21
mile 3: 9:24
        .1: 8:00
           28:41
Can I say that I am glad that I ran this race and that I had fun?  Absolutely not!  (Maybe it’s because I am still thawing out LOL)
Happy Running! Ever run a race that you should have skipped?
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Ramblefest Half Marathon Race Recap & TOTR

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Half Marathon Training

I’ve never run two half marathons so close together.

I ran the Saratoga Palio three weeks ago. So did I really need to train?

Maybe not…

So I just added some extra miles to the two 5k races that I ran on the weekends that proceeded the race.

These two runs would have do as my long runs.  I ran my usual 3-4 miles several times during the week.

Pre-Race Preparations

This is a first annual race so I knew nothing about the course or the race.

This is what the website had to say:

Organized by the Berkshire Running Center, the first annual RambleFest Half Marathon will be held along the beautiful Ashuwillticook Trail from Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, to the Visitors Center in Adams.

Not much help.

So I reached out to FB friends who ran the Steel Rail Half Marathon last May.  The Steel Rail is supposed to have the same course. Here’s what they said:

  • I loved it. Nice flat, downhill course.
  • The course is great!
  • Loved the course! It’s fast!

I found some more info by searching online for reviews of the Steel Rail half.  Here’s one:

The course is wonderful. It runs point-to-point from Lanesborough to Adams. It starts with two loops around the Berkshire Mall (both of which seem downhill all the way; I haven’t figured that out yet), then goes onto the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail for ten miles. The scenery is lovely. If you’re not trying to hold pace by fixating on the feet of the guy in front of you like I was, 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

Amenities included easy parking, plenty of porta-potties, a post-race massage tent, food, and beer. The tech race shirt was nice and offered women’s sizing. Prizes ran deep; Kent gave out generous checks for the top three overall winners and the top three masters, plus merchandise from his running store, Berkshire Running Center in downtown Pittsfield, for the top three age group winners… After the ceremony, buses delivered participants back to the start. I’d highly recommend this race…

You also get a hoodie if you run both races.  (Next year!?)

I had not been particularly excited about this race but after reading this review, I was looking forward to it.

I had decided to wear what I wore at a previous 10k race but then changed my mind and wore my Brooklyn Half shirt (from exactly a year ago) with a throwaway and DIY arm warmers.

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Skirt Sports outfits always bring me luck or at least makes me look good

The weather was predicted to be cool and breezy with a chance of rain.

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don’t believe that 20% & 5% chance of rain – should have been 100%

Rain is not my favorite weather to run in.  It also ruins both the pre and post race activities. And humidity is the worst.  But you can’t control the weather.

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one of the 3 half marathons that I have run in the rain.

Although Saturday was my catch up day with doing stuff around the house, since I would be off on Monday, I decided to take a ride to Pittsfield, MA to pickup my bib. Race packet pick up was at a running store so in addition to getting my race shirt & bib, I bought a pair of socks. We got two plastic strips to hang off our hips for the timing.  Interesting.  After I left the store, I stopped and had a nice lunch in town.

long sleeved tech shirt

Probably not the best idea in the world but that night, the night before the race, I invited a co-worker to go see the speaker at my college Reunion Weekend.

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We also had dinner together beforehand.  Pizza, of course!

It was a really good show but it didn’t end until after 10 pm. Needless to say, I didn’t get enough sleep before my big race.

Race Day

The race was scheduled to start at 9:30 am. I was happy about the late start.

According to Google, it should have taken about 1h 15 to get there.  So I got up about 6 am and left my house at 7:15 am because I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going.

My GPS took me on the back roads and it was a really gorgeous ride.  Unfortunately, it rained on and off during my ride which made me nervous.  I didn’t want to run another half marathon in the rain.

I got there plenty early. The race started in the parking lot of the Berkshire Shopping Mall.  Easy to get to and lots of parking.

Since the race ended in Adams, MA, they gave you a bag to check stuff which would be available at the finish line.  Very convenient. I packed flip flops, sweat pants and a jacket in it.

I did some knitting while I was waiting.  It was too cold to wait outside my car….around 50 and windy and damp. Brrrr!

Soon Alyssa arrived and we shivered together until it was time to line up to start the race.

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A lot of the race is a blur but here’s how I remember it:

Miles 1-4:

9:15, 9:29, 9:16, 10:07

Alyssa and I decided to run together.  I had never run a race with someone else but I was willing to try. I thought that it would be fun to have someone to chat with to pass the time and make the miles less painful.

The starting line was in the parking lot.  I wasn’t sure if there were chip timing or gun timing (Still not.) We didn’t start as close to the front as I usually do, though.

For the first two miles, you ran around the parking lot.  I had decided to ditch my cotton shirt but left on my DIY warm warmers.  And it was windy and I was freezing!!!

We realized pretty quickly that we were running too fast but decided to keep it up as long as we could.

After mile 2, we left the parking lot and entered the trail.  The trail was less windy and I wasn’t as cold.

I was running at a decent pace and was in the zone and all of a sudden, I realized that Alyssa was no longer next to me.  I wasn’t sure if she was behind me or in front of me.  I usually finish races faster than her but when we run together for training runs, she is much faster.

I thought I saw someone ahead with an orange shirt. But as it turns out, she was behind me.

A little after we entered the trail, there was the first water stop.  I always stop at ALL water stops during a half marathon and even though I wasn’t warm or thirsty, I did so during this race as well.

The trail was beautiful.  I wish I could have gotten out my phone from my race belt more easily so I could have taken some photos.  The leaves had changed and there were views of the mountains, streams and even a lake.

My biggest problem (and it’s always something) was than my ankle (the one that has 8 screws and a plate in it from surgery almost 4 years ago) was throbbing. It has never hurt like this while running before.  It was probably from the dampness and that this is the first cold run (During my last run, it was almost 80 degrees.) It hurt a lot and I wished that I had some ibuprofen.

There another water stop at almost mile 4 and I took my first Gu and walked for a while.  However, my ankle hurt just as much while walking.  In addition, the bottom of my foot started to hurt (like at the Asbury Park Half).  Still I felt strong, I tried to ignore both discomforts.

I just focused on the scenery.

Miles 5-8:

9:39, 9:55, 10:21, 9:41

We continued on the same trail and I wasn’t as chilled anymore.  I even rolled down my DIY arm warmers. My nose was running from the cold and I kept worrying that it was another nosebleed but that never happened 🙂 (I did bring tissues and tucked them under my shorts but they fell out…  I did have those arm warmers LOL)

Then all of a sudden, maybe around mile 6, at another water stop, my ankle and foot stopped hurting.  WTF?

I also realized that I was ahead of my time from the Palio Half.

Should I start thinking PR?

Nah!  Anything can and usually does happen during the second half of a half marathon.

Around mile 7, I started getting hungry but had to wait until mile 8 for a water stop to eat my 2nd GU.

Miles 9-12:

10:25, 10:07, 9:55, 9:52

Still on the trail but remember that forecast?  Around mile 8 or 9, it started raining lightly.

Throughout the course, the road was covered with wet leaves but now it was getting even more slippery.

Then it started raining harder.  It wasn’t so bad because the trees were acting as an umbrella. But the weather was getting chilly again.

My back was now starting to ache.  It always does toward the end of a race so I tried to watch my form and ignore it.

A little past mile 9, there was the next to last water stop.  I still walked through it even though it could have ended my PR hopes.

I always doubt my strength to finish strong as well as not wanting to push myself too hard and result in an injury.

The rain lessened and at the last water stop, I decided against taking my last GU and just walked only a short bit.

Yes, I decided that I wanted that PR!!!

Mile 13-14:

9:20, 8:38

Finally we left the trail. The race ended with a series of 2 left hand turns. We turned left onto Hoosac St. and left onto Depot St. and the finish line was on Depot St. in front of the Adams Visitor Center parking lot.

I wasn’t sure that I was going to PR.  My Garmin was sometimes right on with the mile markers and other times way off.

As I made the last turn, somebody yelled, “You can beat that guy.”  They meant the guy in front of me.

I gave it everything I had but didn’t even come close.

I did, however, cross under 2:09 and IT WAS A PR!!!!!!!!!!! (My previous PR was 2:09:40 in January 2015.)

Gun or Chip Time: 2:08:59
Garmin Time: 2:08:47

I got my medal, some water and a banana and went to wait for Alyssa.

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She didn’t finish much after me and she got a PR too!

Post Race:

We were both happy with our times.  But it was raining harder and we were freezing. We decided to forgo the  cold beer and get something to eat.

The race ended at a big festival (Ramblefest) with music, craft booths, many food booths, pumpkin carving for kids, etc.  Too bad the weather was so lousy.

With our food ticket, we could get anything that cost $3 for free. Believe it or not, we could have had a hamburger, chili, hot dog, sausage, fried dough but we both chose grilled cheese. And it was yummy!

While we were waiting for the results, we hung out in front of a big bonfire. That felt so good!

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Neither one of us did win anything. They gave out cash for top awards and gift cards to the running store for AG awards. I came in 5th and the 4 women ahead of me were each 60 years old. (If it were last year, I would have won!)

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So we headed toward the buses.  We just missed the bus to return to the shopping center where we left our cars and there was going to be 40 minute wait for the next one.  But the bus that brought the bags decided to take us all.  By this point, I was numb and even my jacket and pants didn’t warm me up.

As soon we got back to our cars, we headed to Target to get something HOT to drink.

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Even with my tired legs, I managed to spend $160 in the store. (Remember I hadn’t gotten my grocery shopping done the day before.)

I know when you run a long race, you are supposed to take an ice bath but I never do.  I headed straight to my hot tub!!!!

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.
  • Real bathrooms after the race.
  • Running a race with a friend.
  • Enthusiastic volunteers (even in the rain – bugle, bag pipes, music)
  • Scenic course especially with the fall foliage and water views.
  • No major injuries. (just ankle and foot pain –  it’s always something!)
  • Nice selection of refreshments.
  • The festival post race was nice (and would have been even better if the sun came out.)
  • The bonfire was essential with the day’s weather.
  • PRed!! Woot! Woot!

The Bad:

  • The two laps around the parking lot were boring. (It did save the expense of closing roads to make up the 13.1 miles)
  • It was cold and rainy!!
  • No race photos

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really.

It was a great race. I loved it! I would have enjoyed it even if I didn’t get a PR!  But that made it just sweeter. Too bad, the sun couldn’t have come out!!!

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I don’t usually repeat half marathons but if I did, I would run this one again. I’m in luck. The same course can be run in May: The Steel Rail Half Marathon.

Final Stats:

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my Garmin said 13.16 and I ran the tangents in the parking lot – go figure.

And I felt so good the next day that I climbed up a mountain.

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Can you believe the sunshine! Wish the weather was like this on race day.

wearing my race shirt, of course.

Next Up:

A few 5ks and 10ks, a 15k and then another half marathon.

Dec. 3, 2016 with 7 other awesome bloggers and virtual friends


And since it’s Tuesday, I’m linking up with these wonderful ladies:

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

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Today’s Topic is: Taper quirks/cravings/rituals

I don’t think I do anything weird before my big races but here’s what I always do:

  • I do my last run 2 days before my half marathon. In other words, I leave TWO days with no running at all.
  • I carb load the night before – I usually eat pizza.
  • I make sure I have the right breakfast food for the morning of – tea & cream of wheat hot cereal.
  • I set out my outfit (and all other items such as race belt, gps watch, fuel, etc.) the night before (and if it is a destination race, bring clothes for warmer or colder temps than predicted).  If I am flying, I pack my running stuff in my carry on not my checked luggage.
  • I figure out in advance the race logistics – where to park, is there bag check, when I can pick up my bib, where the race starts & finishes, etc.
  • I scope out online race reviews to see what others have said about the race.
  • I do something fun the day before to take my mind off the race. 

Happy Running!  What do you do when you taper? Anything crazy?

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LSD & a DNS

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winter series #3 in 2013

Once again the Hudson Mohawk Runners Club sponsored a FREE race for its members.

For Winter Series #3 today, they offered distances of 3M, 10K and 25K.

Since I have a half marathon in 4 weeks, I would have chosen to run the 10K and then add on more miles after. But due to predicted rain, I decided to do my long run yesterday and maybe just run the 3 mile option today.

I like to vary my long run routes – so far I have run on the Delmar Rail Trail…

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on the Corning Bike Trail…

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So this week, I decided on the Nisky Bike Trail.

My plan was to run 4 miles and then Judy would join me for 6 miles.

The path was clear and the temps significantly warmer than the beginning of the week (10 vs 40 degrees)

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But there were also sections that were icy… (I tiptoed over those)

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As you can see, the river isn’t frozen yet.
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Since I felt good, I wound up running 5 miles and then met Judy.

We ran most of our run in the opposite direction… turned around when there was ice.

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I got 11 miles done and I was a happy camper.

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I stopped off on my way home for my reward Starbucks and at Target (where as usual spent way too much money.)

The rest of the day was spent putting away those holiday decorations (it’s hard work.)

Today I woke early to POURING rain with high winds predicted.

I had planned on running the race.  I knew many people going and I have raced many times in the rain. And it was warm (in the 50s.)

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the Love Run

Lake George Half

Lake George Half Marathon

But for a free local race….NOPE!!

I stayed home and cooked.

The only thing I may brave the rain for today is a movie.

Here’s a pic from last week’s race – pretty much for the same course as today’s race.

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I miss racing but am glad to be home and dry.

If the weather is better, I plan to run the 15k next Sunday and the 10 miler on Jan. 31.

Happy Running! Do you run in the rain?

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Last Run 5K Race Report

This is a very popular local race. It starts with fireworks and then you run around the lights in the park and it ends with a downhill.

Here are some pics from a previous year:

Last year, I ran this race in a blizzard.

This year, the forecast was for heavy, cold rain. Not very inviting but this is always a fun race…so I couldn’t bail.

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gray long sleeved tech shirt

I picked up my bib & shirt yesterday to save time.  Then I pondered what to wear….the rain put a damper on my festive attire.

I decided to park at work and walk the mile or so to the race.  I wore boots, a long raincoat & used an umbrella to stay dry until the race.

Then I wore a windbreaker, cap & running shoes for the race and stashed my wet stuff until after the race.

As I mentioned, it is a popular race and I bumped into all sorts of people — 3 ladies from my running group, Christine, a professor from work, my FB friend Judy and Andrea, my roommate for Love Run in Philly.

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me & Christine

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Andrea

We chatted until it was time to  head out into the rain.

Yes, it was raining but not as cold as I feared.  I lined up with Judy & we watched the fireworks until we ran our separate ways.

The race started with an uphill, went through the city before we entered the park.

My legs felt really sluggish.  I couldn’t make any headway in the crowd.  Maybe it was that I hadn’t run much this week (not at all  Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday) or just the slippery road and the dampness.

I felt better once we entered the park and it was fun looking at all the lights.  There were at least two hills that I remember in the park and I was proud of myself for not walking at all.  I ran up them..slow but at least I ran.

The whole time I was running, I kept looking at the ground trying to avoid the big puddles and keeping an eye out for potholes (I did fall during this race several years ago.)

Finally we left the park and ran downhill to the finish. I wanted to finish fast but for some reason, I got a side stitch and had to slow it down and breathe deep to try to get rid of it.

It was dark so I couldn’t see my Garmin but I knew by the timing clocks that this wouldn’t be a PR.

The problem with getting faster and finishing your 5ks in 27:xx or 28:xx, you get cocky and expect to have a good race every time out.

Well, in a hilly wet race, this wasn’t going to be.  I struggled to finish under 29.  According to my Garmin, it was 28:56 but officially I finished at 29:02.

I went inside to dry off and change into my dry clothes and wait for the results. The refreshments were nothing to write home about — just chips & apples.  (In the previous years, there was Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!!)

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Well believe it not, I won 3rd in my age group.

Splits:

mile 1- 9:26
mile 2 – 9:25
mile 3 – 9:02
.15 – 7:26

Very usual for me to have negative splits.

So I beat my time from 2010 (29:15), my first Last Run. And even in the rain, I enjoyed the race.

Happy Running?  How was your weekend? Do you run in a holiday race? Have you raced in the rain?

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Tuesdays on the Run: Running in tough conditions

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs hosts Tuesdays on the Run with April @ Run the great wide somewhere and Patty @ My no-guilt life!

This week’s topic is: Running in Tough Conditions

  • RAIN
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Love Run 2014 in a monsoon

I generally don’t run in the rain unless I have an important race (That’s 2 1/2 half marathons in the pouring rain!!!).  There is no way to avoid getting wet, but I recommend putting your phone in a plastic bag, wearing a cap with a brim and/or a hood and a waterproof/water resistant windbreaker.

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Lake George Half 2011 in the sleeting rain

Don’t forget dry clothes for after the race.

  • SNOW

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In the Northeast, if you run in the winter, you will have to run in the snow. I look for a place to run where the road or sidewalk is clear and if not, I wear YakTrax.

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Last Run 5K 2013 in a blizzard

  • ICE

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Stay home.  Use a treadmill. I don’t run on the ice.

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boring but safe

  • COLD
Polar Cap - February

a cold Polar Cap 2014

Lots of layers but not too many or you’ll overheat.  Wool socks, thermal gloves & a hat are the most important.  I like something I can zip or unzip around my neck.

HMRRC 15K - January

a frigid HMRRC 15K 2014

It was sub zero , I think for the race above & I even used hand warmers.

  • WIND
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a windy Runnin of the Green 2014

Wear layers.  You feel colder when it is windy.  Start out running into the wind and end (when you are more tired) with the wind at your back. I also wear sunglasses to protect my eyes (contacts) from the wind.

Cherry Avenue Extension Bridge Over Rail Trail

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Run on a trail or path where the trees shield you from the wind.

  • HEAT & HUMIDITY
Run for the Roc - September

Run for Roc 2014 – 11 am start – hot!

Hydrate…hydrate…hydrate and wear moisture-wicking clothes.

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a humid Saratoga Springs Half 2014 – almost passed out after this one

Run early before it gets too hot or in the evening.

Happy Running!  Any hints about running in tough conditions? What was your toughest race?

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Apple Run 5K race report

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I continue on my streak of running new races.  This was another.  It was recommended to me by the ladies that I met at the Spring Run Off 5k/10k race.

Ilsa & Sue at the Spring Run Off pre-race dinner

All I knew from the website was that it was a looped, flat certified course.

apple run course

I have been very lucky with weather.  All of my races have had nice weather (except for the Love Run monsoon).  It was bound to happen.  Rain was predicted for the morning of this race.

Sue won our age group last year (with 28:02) so she is my competition.  On a good day, I may beat her but who knows.  Not every race can be as good as my last one (27:11).

here is Sue at last year’s Apple Run

I was still on a high from the PR in my last race so I didn’t care if I got another….yet.

I just wanted to have a fun race.

I worked all day yesterday and didn’t have time to eat much, then I did some machines at the gym, rushed home and went to play mah jongg.  I went to bed much too late and woke up hungry and TIRED!! Oh well, not every race can be a fast one…

It rained all night and was pouring when I got up.  I really didn’t want to run in the rain but I knew I would at least go to the race.

It took about 45 minutes to get there and it was raining the whole way.  I contemplated just getting my shirt, waiting inside and then going out with an umbrella to cheer on the die hard runners.

But as soon as I arrived, IT STOPPED RAINING!

I hoped that this dry spell would last until the race ended…

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I went inside the school to get my race packet… quite a nice bit of swag for a local race.

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glasses are so practical…there was a bunch of other stuff too.

I immediately bumped into Sue and Ilsa…the nicest ladies. We chatted for awhile. Isla invited me to do a race with her in Fairfiled, CT some time (You know I may do it!!)

I also saw Alice & Nancy, the runners in my AG that I meet at many of the races I run. Again, it was nice to run a race that has real bathrooms!

Soon, it was time to line up outside with the 300 or so other runners to start the race. And it was still dry!! I had worn a jacket because it was chilly when I arrived but decided to leave it behind. (Good move!)

I started with Sue & Ilsa but didn’t stay with them very long.  Sue yelled to me: “Go ahead!” so I did.

The course was pretty flat.  I don’t remember much about it so I guess it wasn’t scenic or very memorable.

I wasn’t feeling very fast and my plan was to run slower than last week and try to run the whole thing without stopping.

I managed to pass the first water stop and then tried not to walk until mile 2 but when I got there, I was still running.  The weather was the perfect temperature but still very HUMID!

I felt myself slowing down and probably should have walked since it worked for me last week.  Eventually I did walk…close to the mile 3 sign.  I thought it would give me a boost to finish strong.

Apple Run - October

happy to be done!

I crossed at 27:47.  Not a PR but a decent time.  I definitely didn’t feel as sick as last week… I was even hungry.

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Sue cheering on the runners

Sue finished about a minute later and we waited for Ilsa to finish.

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she’s 70 and beating a guy half her age…go Ilsa!

Then we went inside to get something to eat…there was fruit, bagels and even pizza.

We waited for the results.  I won first, Sue second and Isla first, as well.  We were Happy Ladies 🙂

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my first plaque

We said out good-byes and hoped to run again together.

I am happy that I ran this race…very happy that it didn’t rain.  I think this race has been added to my favorite races list.

My race goals were almost the same as all my other 5Ks:

  • run each mile under 10 min. YES! even mile 1 under 9 min!!!!
  • run the whole thing.  NO. I walked once.
  • win a AG award.  YES! 1st.
  • have fun & stay healthy. YES!

Race Splits:

mile 1- 8:49
mile 2 – 9:02
mile 3 – 9:07 (walked)
.14 – 7:34

After the race, since it still wasn’t raining, I decided to run some more miles.  I drove to the closer place that I do my long runs – Mohawk Towpath Byway.

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It was very cloudy and seemed like it could rain at any moment.  I kept my fingers crossed that I could at least run 5 more miles.

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It was still pretty despite the clouds.  In a few more weeks, the foliage will be peak. I ran in the short direction and turned around.

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Then I ran on the road, taking my detours…through a park and then around the grounds what used to be a restaurant (Krause’s) that catered large events.

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It is now boarded up and closed. Last year, a duathlon took place here.

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I ran as far as the marina taking my time since if it started to rain, I would have to run without stopping.

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I was at 4.25 miles before I turned around and it still wasn’t raining.

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I continued back without the detours and completed 6.9 miles.  That made 10 miles for the day!  This was one contented runner.

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Finally it was starting to rain.  I had a coupon for a free cider donut and a free apple at Fo-Castle Farms so I headed back there now that I was finished running.  I used to go here all to time to pick apples but haven’t been in years.

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As they expected. I also bought a bag of apples, some fresh cider and …

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I love pumpkin everything, Downton Abbey & tea…perfect!

At this point, it was raining hard so I headed home.

Happy Running!  How was your weekend? Did you run or race?

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April showers bring…

It’s been a rainy week.

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That means treadmill runs.

That means short runs.

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they’re coming up in some places

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Hopefully this means that the tulips will bloom on time.

May 10 & 11

But tomorrow I have another new race.

spring run off

There is a 5k and a 10K.  I signed up for the 10K.

Oh no!

My last long run was March 30, my half marathon. So not prepared for this race!

At least the course is mostly flat.

My Race Goals:

  • run the whole thing without stopping 
  • PR (under 1:06:10)
  • finish under 1:02 
  • keep each mile’s pace under 10 minutes 
  • win an AG award
  • have fun! 
  • stay healthy! 

We’ll see how I do. It’ll be a challenge.

Tonight they having a free pasta dinner.  Pretty cool for a small local race.

Happy Running!  Are you having a lot of rain?  Are you racing this weekend?

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