United Half Marathon VIRTUAL Half Marathon Race Recap

Image result for united new york half marathon 2020

March 15, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Half Marathon Training:

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

happy to have survived the pain!!

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

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

Pain GONE! (mostly)

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

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

Over 25,000 disappointed runners.

I ran it last year. I felt so fortunate.

running down Times Square was truly amazing!!

But I was still bummed.

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

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

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

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

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

running at Nisky Bike Path (on a warmer day)

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

Race Day:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then we continued in the other direction.

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

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

Then we headed back to the car.

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

And we finished…13.1 done!!

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

Additional Race Reflections:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Good:

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

The Bad:

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

The Ugly:

  • Nothing 🙂

Would I recommend this race?

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

Final Stats:

Next Up:

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

Image result for helderberg to hudson half marathon

Update: it was postponed until August 29, 2020

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

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

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

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

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


Running Update – 5.29.17-6.4.17


Last Week:

  • Monday – A chilly rainy day so I caught up with things around the house, went to the gym and did some errands. A needed rest day on Memorial Day.
  • Tuesday  A scheduled rest day and I played my last indoor tennis.

I had thought I could squeeze in a run (hence my running skirt/capri) but it started to rain AGAIN.

  • Wednesday – Off to NYC for work.  I took the train and after I checked into my hotel, the rain had stopped so I hopped on the subway and went for a run. I intended to go to Central Park but wound up on Riverside Dr. so ran along the Hudson River instead..

running along Riverside Drive

Then that evening I went to see a show on Broadway.

The story of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein

  • Thursday –  Indoors all day for work but I did squeeze in a walk during lunch and another run in the evening. This time along the East River.  Central Park will have to wait until my next trip to NYC. (June 19).

running along the East River Greenway

In the evening, I just walked around the area.

Bryant Park, Empire State Building and bumping into a former student on the street = ❤ nyc

  • Friday –  Another day in NYC for work.  Took a walk at lunch and then took the train home in the evening. Rest day #3.
  • Saturday – Today I ran the Freihofer’s Run for Women, my favorite local race. The energy of this race is addictive and I always meet so many new and old faces.

I met AJH who I had no idea was coming to run (from VT) – no PR but a decent time – 27:48 (13th in my AG)

I added another 5K afterward to complete my ZOOMA Virtual 10k race.

just a leisurely additional 3.8 miles retracing the course plus some photo stops

Then the hubby (who had been playing tennis) and I headed up North to meet some lake friends for dinner.

  • Sunday –  I would have liked to go boating again today but the weather did not cooperate. So I went to the gym and did some errands.

15.5 miles done with 3 runs and 4 rest days

This Week:

  • Monday – 4 miles 
  • Tuesday – rest, travel to Liverpool for work, tm??
  • Wednesday – rest, work in Liverpool, travel home
  • Thursday 6 miles with Alyssa
  • Friday – 3 miles, mah jongg
  • Saturday – rest, boating
  • Sunday – 5k race (volunteering for STEM) + 5 miles
I’m linking up with Mary Beth (on behalf of Holly and Tricia) for the Weekly Wrap. Please join us! 
 Happy Running! How is your running going? Is your weather cooperating?


Freihofer’s Run for Women Race Recap

June 3, 2017 9:o0 am

This is the only race that I’ve run every year! This was my 10th time!!!!!

My first FRW was in 2008 (my first year of running). At the time, it was the farthest I’d ever run:

FRW - 2008

Due to construction, they changed the course two years ago.

They say that this course is faster…less congested and has a less steep hill at the start and finish.


course map

I did run the new course the past two years and I liked it.


heading to the finish line

As with this race every year, I never know what will happen… I could break my foot again (as I did in 2013) or could have a course PR.

And this was also my third Freihofer Training Challenge…

2017 group (oops I missed the pic).

Training is a loose term. I kinda just showed up. Monday runs were always after a Sunday long run or race and I never attended any of the Saturday runs.

But I was excited to be part of it and support all the runners who would be finishing their FIRST 5k. And see my “advanced” buddies who would hopefully PR.

Every other year, the day before I walked to Empire State Plaza concourse at lunch to go to the expo and pick up my race packet. They used to have a really nice expo with vendors and health-related. But this year, I was in NYC for work so I had to depend on my hubby to pick things up for me at a new expo location.

yes we got free bread and a box of cookies

For convenience, I parked at a yoga place on race morning and walked to the start. I do this every year. However, with the new course, it was an even longer hike. Like 2 miles!

It was strange to walk down Madison Avenue and not see the race banners and not see the giant poster on the bridge.

pics from 3 years ago…


And the weather…it was not forecast to be as warm as previous years but at least it wasn’t raining. (The race started 30 minutes earlier than last year just in case we actually had warm weather. I wasn’t thrilled since I got home from NYC late the night before.)

I wore a jacket and my DIY sleeves to stay warm before the race. As I was walking down Madison, I spotted a van with a Vermont license plate. It was my friend AJH with a bunch of friends.  The race was a retirement gift.  How cool!!

surprise…and we even matched.

So on the way to start, we cut through the Empire State Plaza to use real restrooms. The we made our way to the Empire State Plaza so they could get their bibs, shirts, cookies, etc. (My tennis buddy was sick so I had to get hers as well.)


By this point, I had missed my training group photo, but I didn’t care.  It was great to see AJH and chat.

We finally got to the race location and I located the Challenge Group Tent and met up with friends.  I also shed my jacket and sleeves (although it did start to sprinkle.)

Sue & Hollys among the many training challenge runners

I also ran into a few local runners, bloggers (Judith and Vicki.) and even some Skirt Sports ambassadors.

Catching up with everyone made the time go by quickly and soon it was time to line up.



Although it was very crowded, there were fewer runners than when it was Madison Avenue but it did seem to be more than last year (new organizers and more advertising.).


Times Union photo 2016

Anyway, with the new start (on a wider street), it didn’t take as long to get moving and the first hill was longer but not as steep.

I started with Hollys but let her get ahead.  She always starts out fast. Right from the beginning, I had the feeling that my legs were moving but so slowly. I was also sneezing and sniffling (hopefully it’s allergies not a cold.)

When I got into the park and looked at my time, I was shocked at how slow it was. Usually mile 1 is my fastest.

I took this pic after the race

I continued to trudge along and couldn’t wait to walk at the first water stop around mile 1.25. (I wasn’t really thirsty so just took a sip and continued running.)

This course had you run around more of the park and it also seemed to avoid the bigger hills of the park.

I tried to pick up the pace for the second mile since the crowd had thinned out.  I told myself that I would not walk until the next water stop. That was around mile 2.5. At this point, I was starting to get some energy.

I had lost Hollys since she had gotten way ahead but all of a sudden, I could see her in the distance.

Finally we left the park and headed downhill to the finish. Not the steep downhill that we used to have with the old course, but at least it was downhill.

Runners cross the finish line for the Freihofer's Run for Women Saturday June 3, 2017 in Albany, NY. (John Carl D'Annibale / Times Union) Photo: John Carl D'Annibale / 40040636A

Hollys is in white. I am in the distance. (photo from TU)

I ran as fast as I could and even passed Hollys.  But I started my sprint too soon.  By the time, the finish line came into view, I was pooped.  Hollys passed me and I crossed at 28:04 (gun time.)

Not a PR (and I was not expecting one) but a decent time and faster than last year.

I grabbed a bagel and some chocolate milk. It was definitely less congested than when it was by the fountains on the Plaza. No long lines for food.


I ran into even more runners again that I knew.

the Mayor who had a 2 min, PR

The first time runners were so excited. That put a smile on my face.  I remembered why I love this race and it was never because of my awesome finish times.

I walked back to the Training Challenge Tent to get some more food and chatted with friends for awhile.


Many runners were excited about their PRs. I may not have run my fastest time but I still enjoyed myself.

You get what you put in. I did not do all the speed workouts so I can’t be disappointed. I also just ran a half marathon and I am no spring chicken. Plus my time was faster than the past two years (29:22, 28:50). So I was happy with that.


mile 1- 9:13
mile 2- 9:03
mile 3 – 8:25
.18 – ??

Chip time – 27:48

There was computer set up so you could check your time and see you won an age group award.

Guess who won my age group?

We hung out for awhile for the awards ceremony – the top 10 finishers and top 5 Masters.

Afterwards, I walked back to my car (uphill for 2 miles) to put away my stuff.

I had planned to run another 5k to complete the ZOOMA Annapolis Virtual 10k.

a lot of cool swag

I really didn’t feel like it but I did it. I retraced part of the course, made quite a few photo stops and took it nice and easy.

So FRW #10 is in the books! The tradition is still alive! It was again a great local race with over 3,000 women running it.

I am also sharing in the support love by linking up with a Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup hosted by

Ilka from Ilka’s Blog and Angela from Marathons & Motivation

Happy Running! How was your weekend? Did you race? If so, how did it go?


Challenge Yourself Virtual 10K Race Recap

I am excited to be a Running on the Wall race ambassador and yesterday, I participated in the Challenge Yourself Virtual 10K.

Normally I run races every weekend. But in the NE during the winter months, there are very few scheduled.

I would have to just run for myself.  But this was so much more motivating.

What I like about virtual races it that they help me push myself just a bit more and this race did just that.

It was not as fast as a real race but definitely better than if I was just running on my own.

What is even cooler is the nice race bling they send you. I got a bib, a medal, a tank top, the bib, a car magnet and either choose a runners hat or arm sleeves. (I chose the arm sleeves since I don’t have any besides the DIY ones made from cheap socks.)


And the tank top, it is light weight and perfect for me! It is one I will be proud and comfortable wearing to remind myself: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”  Yes, running is hard and it’s supposed to be hard.

Since I had planned to do my long run of 12 miles yesterday, I decided that it would be a good day to run the Challenge Yourself Virtual 10k Race.

The snowstorm hit south of us so we didn’t get a single flake but what we did get was COLD temps and wind.

It was 16 degrees when I arrived to start my race but in the single digits with the windchill. I did dress for these frigid temps and the only thing that was cold were my fingers because I kept taking off my gloves to take photos.

I started my race by running 2 miles around Colonie Town Park.  I have run here before and it’s where the Mohawk Hudson Hal Marathon starts.


There’s lots of trails but I kept running into ice and turning around.


The park is on the Mohawk River which looks to be frozen.


Heading out of the park, you run under a covered bridge.


Next I ran on the path toward the Nisky Bike Path where I run many of my long runs.


It was mostly clear but every now and then there were snowy patches.  Luckily, it was just snow not ice.

To get to the Nisky bike path, you had to run on the road.



this bridge is on the highway along the Mohawk River


you had to be careful because you couldn’t see cars coming around the curve

Finally I arrived at the entrance of the bike path.


Here there were quite a few snowy patches but they were not slippery.



a view of the Mohawk River in the distance

After 2 miles on this route, I turned around.

I have a really bad sense of direction and made a left when I should have made a right so had to back track.  (Good news is that it gave me the .2 miles that I would have needed.)


back to the path leading to my car

I was very happy to arrive at my car and thaw out.


10K completed!

Time: 1:07:55

One of my slower 10Ks but I am happy!

I can’t wait to do another Running on the Wall race!

thumbs up to Running on the Wall Virtual Races

Happy Running! Do you like virtual races? Why or why not?


How to get motivated in the winter? Run a Virtual Race!

I don’t know about you but it’s hard to stay motivated to run in the winter.

I need to have a race scheduled and in the winter months, there are not many (unless you live in a warm climate.)

Luckily there are Virtual Races like the ones sponsored by Running On the Wall.

For $29.99, look at all you get when you sign up for their Valentine Virtual 10K Race:

affiliate pic

All you have to do is:

  1. Register here by purchasing the package.
  2. Find the virtual race event on their Facebook page to share your race recap
  3. Run your race
  4. Post your time on the event page
  5. Be proud of yourself!

If you don’t want to run this particular virtual race, there are plenty more to choose from:

I don’t know about you but I’m going to sign up for a couple of these virtual races this winter.

Happy Running! Do you run virtual races?



March Recap

March Goals:

  • Run 3-4 times each week (no matter how cold it gets.) YES!

a few on the treadmill 😦



on vacation in CA 🙂


at work


  • Get some strength training or yoga done. No trips to the gym but occasional planks and lifting weights.
  • Start running with a training group. YES! My group started on Mar. 16. I’ve run 3 Mondays with them.


  • Do long runs on the weekend to start to train for half marathon on April 18. Sorta. I missed 2 and ran the other 2 in 2 parts.



after a 5 mile race


6 miles after a 5 mile race

  • Complete a 5K race. No! My flight got cancelled so I got to Palm Springs too late.
  • Complete a 5 mile race. YES! Two.

and a 34 sec. PR at 46:29 & 3rd in my AG award


45:46 – another 43 sec. PR

  • Complete a 4 mile race. YES! 

and a 13 sec. PR at 37:27

  • Run all my races under 10 min. mile pace. YES!

Runnin’ of the Green 4m – 9:22


Shamrock Shuffle 5m – 9:18


Delmar Dash 5m – 9:10

  • Volunteer at a race. YES! At the HMRRC Winter Series Marathon

3 hours in the freezing cold!!

  • Run at least 80 miles. YES! 82!!


However, since this is the month before my half marathon, I should have run more miles.  I’ll blame the cold weather and my trip to California.


82 three months in a row – how did that happen?

So this month, I was lucky to get to spend 4 sunny warms days in California where I ran, hiked and watched tennis.




I started knitting again.


it’s a hat for my friend’s new grandson

April Goals:

  • Run 3-4 times each week.
  • Get some strength training or yoga done.
  • Continue running with a training group.
  • Do long runs on the weekend to train for half marathon on April 18.
  • Complete a 5K race.
  • Complete Half Marathon #12.
  • Run my 5k race under 10 min. mile pace.
  • Win an age group award.
  • Run with my GOTR running buddy.
  • Run at least 85 miles.

Happy Running! How was your March?  Anything special planned for April?


Run with Jess’ 5th Annual Jelly Bean Race

DATES:  Race begins Friday, March 27.  Ends on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.
LOCATION:  Pick your favorite local route or just hop on a treadmill.
EVENTS:  Choose the event that works best for your current fitness level. You will earn one entry into the prize drawing for each of the four events that you complete in the 10-day time window March 27-April 5. Max of 4 entries per person; each race distance may only be counted once.
  • Run 5K (3.1 miles)
  • Run 10K  (6.2 miles)
  • Run Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
  • Bike 21K (13 miles) 
  • No need to pre-register. Just mark your calendar, tell your friends, and organize a local group run in your area. This makes a great family event to get the kids active! Bookmark this webpage so that you can come back for updated information until race day. Join the Facebook event here to socialize with other participants.
  • Order an Jelly Bean finisher’s medal below (optional). Proceeds from these medals will be donated to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital as part of my fundraising for the Bartonville-to-Peoria St. Jude run.  If you don’t want a medal, but would still like to participate in the Jelly Bean, a donation of any amount to St. Jude Children’s Hospital is much appreciated here.
  • On race week, PRINT A RACE BIB for each person participating. (Link activated on 3/23)
  • Finally, complete your Jelly Bean events… Run, Bike and have FUN!! Take pictures and please share them on my Facebook wall.  Hint, hint… I always award one prize to my favorite picture. Share them on social media using hashtag #JellyBeanV
  • REPORT RACE RESULTS for each participant before 8 pm on April 7. You will earn one entry into the prize drawing for each event that you finish (4 max per person). Each event may only be counted once. (Reporting link activated on 3/27.)
  • PRIZES:  When the Jelly Bean results window closes, there will be a random prize drawing from all finishers.  Grand Prize is a Wireless Activity & Sleep Tracker for your wrist!  Other prizes include:  Starbucks gift card, BondiBand headband, and more… Check back often as she will continue adding prizes!
Follow Jess on Facebook for race updates… www.FB.com/runwjess
I will do the 5k as a weekday run and since I have a 5 mile race on March 29, I will probably add on more miles for a 10K or if I am really energetic, a half marathon (as a training run for my April 18 one.)

Here’s another opportunity to run a virtual 5K leading up to the opening of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas race registration on April 1st and you  get a FREE tank or tee for participating.


It’s absolutely free-just submit your time here before April 1st.

Happy Running!  Do you run Virtual races?  Are you are going to do the Jelly Bean Race or RnRLV Kickoff Run?