Race Recap | Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

Another sister race in the books!! Marissa and I signed up to run this race when registration first opened back in March. It was the inaugural RnR in Brooklyn, and since we’ve heard such amazing things about the other RnR races, we definitely wanted to give it a try in my “backyard”.  The registration fee was only $50 if you signed up with the early-bird special, so we were sold.

This summer between the Mayflower Brewery Half in June and this race in October, I really didn’t run that much. I was CrossFitting 4-5 times a week, and felt strong from that, but I am SO BAD at running when its at all over 70 degrees. I think I did one run in July that was 6ish miles, and another 5-6 miler in September, and pretty much called that “training for the RnR half”. #FAIL. Good news: I can totally run a half without training at this point which means my body is used to the pain. Bad news: my time was pretty slow. Who cares though, right?! As my dad would say, they don’t ask you HOW, they ask you HOW MANY.  (Though if you are 32 and running for fun, maybe no one actually asks you how many?!) Anyway, count it.

if you can't have fun, don't do it

if you can’t have fun, don’t do it

I didn’t get to the expo for this race since it was in Brooklyn on Thursday and Friday, and I just couldn’t get over there from work. The RnR team allowed you to register to pick up your bib on race day though, which was pretty awesome. Roo and I both opted for that, so headed to race day with no bib! Slightly nerve-wracking!

We woke up at 4:30am, ate peanut butter on Eggo waffles, and drove to Brooklyn. We parked in a lot pretty easily, and walked to Grand Army Plaza to pick up our numbers. I am not going to bore you with the logistics of packet pick-up and security for the race, but if you’ve heard anything about it on social media so far, you’ll know it was absolute crap. We didn’t even get through security to get into our corral until 7:30, and the race was supposed to start at 7:00am. There were also VERY limited number of porta-potties, so instead of waiting in line for one before my corral crossed the start line, I started the race and then waited in line for a couple minutes at the first bathrooms I saw on the course. I would NEVER do that, especially if I was trying to PR, but the struggle was real, and I knew I wasn’t going to run that fast anyway. They had serious bathroom issues on this race course! There were lines everywhere. Anyway. Moving on…

was I having fun?

was I having fun?

I thought the course (other than the bathroom sitch) was really well laid out. After having run a couple races in Prospect Park (here and here), and most recently the airbnb Brooklyn Half, I’ve run many of the streets in that area, but never in this particular order. The hills were rolling, but it also had long flat stretches. I was keeping a decent pace of 9:30/9:45 for the first 6 miles or so, which felt fine considering I hadn’t run in many weeks.

Around mile 8 or so there was an out and back turn around, and that’s where I started to slow my pace a bit.  I walked a few water stations to drink more, and ate more Gu Chomps. It was a beautiful day, but creeping on 65 degrees. Warm!

Mile 10 brought us back into Prospect Park to finish up that rough hill on the northwest side, and then back downhill to the finish. I never felt like I couldn’t run any more, but from miles 10-13 I was reallllllly looking forward to being done with the race. I never had to walk (other than to drink water), so counting this as a win.


Immediately upon crossing the finish line, I took my iPhone out of my SpiBelt and dropped it, shattering the screen into a million pieces. Awesome.

The short of it: I won’t be racing out to do any more RnR races. The bands weren’t even loud, and I think there were about four of them, TOTAL. RnR has a lot of improvements to make before folks would be excited to run that Brooklyn race again. I did like the course though, and I felt pretty good running, so I’ll give it a solid B-. That’s still passing, right?

Official time: 2:17.58 (10:32 pace)

Congrats to our friend Erin Hozack for running her FIRST HALF! You rock.



And, as always, congrats to my sister and best running partner ever.

we do it for the bubbly

we do it for the bubbly

What’s next?!

Race Recap | Mayflower Brewery Half Marathon

Another sister race in the books! We ran in the inaugural Mayflower Brewery Half on June 14th in Plymouth MA. The field was relatively small, and the event was so well organized. Two thumbs up!

Parking and bib pick-up the morning of the race was a breeze. Along with our bibs, we also got pretty cool technical shirts and a beer stein. Any race with a beer stein is a race I want to run in.

lining up at the start

lining up at the start

We started at the top of the street next to the brewery, on a downhill. The first 4-5 miles were a breeze, and mostly flat to downhill. I knew the race was going to finish back UP those hills, but I tried to put that out of my mind and just find my groove. We ran on a nice bike path along the coast in Plymouth, and there were actually people out on the course cheering us on almost the whole way. So cool!

I had heard that the race didn’t get hard until the last 5 miles when the hills really picked up, so I made the decision to not pace myself the same way I would for a flatter distance. I ran the first 5-6 miles at a pretty fast pace, and then didn’t feel like I was totally screwing myself over when I had to run miles 10-13.1 at a slower pace. Does that make sense? It did to me. And it seemed to work! Even with a few fast initial miles, and some sloooowwwww miles (mile 10 was practically straight up-hill on a dirt path which I WALKED!), I crossed the finish line in 2:06 (9:38 min miles). For comparison, my 5K split was 25:45 (8:17 min miles). Soooo yeah, I booked it at the beginning, and then let myself just take it easy on those hills.

The best part of the day came after I got my medal (really nice bling) and some water and made my way back to the finish line just in time to watch Roo cross! Got some great pics.



After we finished, it was beer time! The kegs were open and we got a free beer coupon with our bibs. Our family and friends also joined for the festivities at the brewery and then we made our way for some food and drinks in Plymouth.

All in all, this was a great race but it was REALLY hard. It shouldn’t be anyone’s first half marathon. That would be brutal, I think. I’m not sure we’ll run it again, but I am really glad we did it at least once!

Race Recap | airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon

My alarm went off at 4:15am on Saturday morning and I had no problem waking up. My bedtime the night before was 10pm, so I was fully rested and ready to start eating preparing for 13.1 miles from Prospect Park to Coney Island. I had a half a bagel with almond butter, half a banana and a coffee. I packed a water bottle with a nuun in it to drink on the way to Coney Island, and then another full water bottle to have ready for post-race in my car.

The logistics of getting to this race from anywhere other than Brooklyn or Manhattan were daunting, and just flat-out annoying. According to nyrr.org, and various friends that I spoke to the best thing to do would be to drive to Coney Island (the finish line) and park there, and get on the subway BACK to Prospect Park (the starting line) in time for a 7am start. The corrals were supposed to close around 6:45am, so hence the 5am departure from Manhasset.

I met Astrid in the NY Aquarium parking lot, which was quickly filling up with runners. We were all going to the same place, so it was easy to follow the crowds to the Q train, and then hop off at the right place near Prospect Park. However, we still had a ways to go to find Wave 1, and the roads weren’t very clearly marked. When we finally found Wave 1, we still had to wait in line for the bathrooms, and they were SO long. We heard the National Anthem playing in the distance, and heard the start, but we weren’t anywhere near the starting line. We started walking, and you could see the starting line up ahead around a turn, so I fixed my outfit/phone/Gus, got my tunes rolling, and double checked my laces. Around 7:15am, we were off!

red face, but feeling good coming out of Prospect Park

red face, but feeling good coming out of Prospect Park

The first few miles were rolling hills, and I made such an effort to hold myself back pace-wise. In the past that has always been my biggest issue (going out too fast) so I was determined to get to mile 5 without any major efforts, just nice and easy breezy. It was CROWDED. It also felt like a lot of people were running side-by-side which is super annoying. I made a game-time decision to skip my vanilla bean Gu, and just start on my Gu Chomps (gummies) instead around mile 5. I took 2 every 2 miles, and that seemed to work just fine.

Around mile 6, you run out of Prospect Park and start to head to the straight away portion of the race. My race plan was to gradually pick it up every mile starting at 8, but I could see that my splits were hitting between 9:10 and 8:55, so it was going to take a super fast second half to actually PR. It was also raining, but I truthfully don’t think it made a difference. It kept me nice and cool.

At mile 11, something happened that shook me up really badly. I could see a crowd forming on the right side of the road, and as I approached, I saw that it was a group of EMTs and an ambulance. On the ground was a younger looking guy, and they were administering CPR, and had an oxygen mask on his face. The group of runners I was with all slowed down, and we sort of creeped along the side of the group, nervously passing them, but I think wanting to know what had happened. 20 seconds prior I was looking at my watch worried about stupid pacing, and here was a guy who was in need of serious medical help. How could that not put things in perspective? I think if I had seen someone I knew at that moment, I would have started crying, it just really shook me up and emotionally hit me hard. I focused on finishing the last 2 miles, but I was really worried about what had happened to the guy. (Note: there isn’t anything online about it, so I am hoping he ended up being ok).

Mile 12 starts winding towards Coney Island, and you can start to see the roller coasters, and the crowds were getting louder. I loved the finish (even though my mind wasn’t quite there), and running across the boardwalk was such a cool view. The fact that I crossed in UNDER 2 HOURS made it even better. When I ran the NYC Half in March I ran 2:04, so with my 6-week Race Pace training plan with Coach Jess, I cut my time by around 6 minutes. Huge! My official time from Saturday was 1:58.

All smiles at the finish

All smiles at the finish

Now comes some complaints. I know that this is one of the larger NYRR races and that is takes an insane amount of logistics to organize a race of this size, BUT:

– How about something other than an apple or a pretzel at the finish?! No bagels? No Gatorade? No water bottles? I wish we had been handed a bag of food, much like the NYC Half. That was disappointing and I was STARVING.

– No one at NYRR told us that we couldn’t leave our parking lot until 11:30am. This made a lot of people VERY angry, as we had finished running by 9:30/9:45 and had to sit and wait, since we were on the same side of the street as the finishing runners. There should have been signs letting us know. Astrid and I grabbed some Grimaldi’s pizza and a Peroni while we waited, because beer and pizza is ALWAYS THE ANSWER at 10am on a race day

Those are my only complaints. Yes, it was crowded. Yes, the parking situation (and overall race logitics) totally sucked coming from Long Island. Yes, I wish I could have chowed down on a bagel or a banana when I crossed the finish line. But the most important thing is that I finished what I started. Another one in the books!

finish cyclone

Week 6 | Brooklyn Half Training – Taper & Goals!

The past six weeks seemed to have FLOWN by. From my first phone call with coach Jess to picking up my bib at the best expo every yesterday, my Brooklyn half training plan was just plain FUN. CrossFit definitely took a backseat as I ramped up to running 4-5x a week, versus just 2 or 3 when I was marathon training. Yes, when I was FULL marathon training I ran less per week. Yikes. Anyway, suffice to say, I am ready for 13.1 miles through Brooklyn tomorrow morning.

Now, for goals. Oh, goals. I love you.

Safety goal – Sub 2:00. I’ve done this before, last year at the NYC Half, and I feel super confident that sub 2:00 is possible tomorrow, even with rain, even if something goes wrong, even if I don’t feel “great”.

Goal-goal – PR! Run faster than a 1:54.

Reach goal – 1:4X ????????? Maybe not tomorrow, but maybe sometime this year?!

Now my taper week re-cap. Running? What running? LOL.

Monday– Last long run! 6 miles through Marsh Landing. Florida is humid and hot, but I was still at my goal-pace of 8:30 for my tempo miles.
Tuesday– Umm. Sat by the pool. And the beach. This was rest to the REST.
Wednesday– Travel day, nothing.
Thursday– Umm, taper? Nothing. Nothing. Traveled out to Brooklyn to the best expo ever. I wish I could have spent more time out on Pier 2 enjoying all of the airbnb and New Balance fun.

love a good bib-pickup-picture

love a good bib-pickup-picture

Friday– Went to CrossFit to roll it out, stretch, row a little and ran one easy, peasy mile.

Week 5 | Brooklyn Half Training

Week 5 was my last week of real work before taper time and race week! Here’s how it went.

Monday – CrossFit – easy 2K recovery row after the Long Island 10K (PR!), some back squats and push-ups.
Tuesday – Fartlek run: 2 mins on, 2 mins off times FOUR. This was a tough workout for me. I warmed up, and when I was hitting the “on” two mins, I was pacing around 7:45/7:50. When I was “off”, a few times I had to walk for 15/20 seconds to get my breathing back under control. ~4 miles of work
Wednesday – REST
Thursday – Tempo Thursday! My splits were 9:39/9:17,8:49, 8:53, 8:45/9:22. This was a pretty hilly morning run, and my last “long” tempo run until the race.

love my driveway art!

love my driveway art!

Friday – Flew down to Florida for vacation, so Friday became an unplanned rest day, even though I was supposed to do around 4 miles of workout. Ya win some, ya lose some!
Saturday – The Players at Sawgrass. No running!

17th Hole at Sawgrass

17th Hole at Sawgrass

Sunday – Mother’s Day run with my mom straight to the best diner in Florida! ~ 4.5 miles

Happy Mother's Day to us!

Happy Mother’s Day to us!


Week 4 | Brooklyn Half Marathon Training

Monday – At-home WOD of 10 rounds: 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, 10 squats
Tuesday – 6 mile Tempo Run in the evening in my new favorite pants, Brooks ombre capri

sorry for cheating on you, lululemon

sorry for cheating on you, lululemon

Wednesday – Rest. And eat! All the foods. I am always MOST hungry on mid-week rest days, wtf?
Thursday – Unplanned rest day, just couldn’t fit it in this day! Did a home WOD instead to get sweaty, but nothing to write home about. Some days its just HARD!
Friday – 40 min run for time with strides
Saturday – Rest, the Kentucky Derby AND The Fight!
Sunday – Practice race day! Ran the Long Island Festival of Races 10K (11 miles total for my long run of the week)

Total Weekly Mileage: 21

winna winna chicken dinna

winna winna chicken dinna

Race Recap | Long Island Festival of Races 10K

I do a fair amount of traveling for races, so its always nice when there is a great one right in my own backyard. This was my third time running in the Long Island Festival of Races, and my second time running the 10K as part of Team WSA. We have a big group of CrossFit516’ers that run, and the weather is always perfect (I might have just jinxed us for next year!).  I ran the half-marathon last year, but it was only 3 weeks after Boston and I was in a lot of pain still. This year, since I am training for the Brooklyn Half on May 16th, the 10K was the perfect distance and fit into my training program really well. My coach, Race Pace Jess, had an 11 mile run on the plan for that day, and its always nice to get a big chunk of the mileage done in a race setting to practice for the “real deal”.

We picked up our bibs Friday night, and its really such an easy process there. The expo is pretty small, so I was in and out in 5 minutes. I always run better when I have pizza the night before, so we headed to Borelli’s for some delicious pie.

I set my alarm for 5:30, and ran 2 easy peasy miles before we even left Manhasset to start cutting into the 11 miles I was supposed to do that day. Ideally I could have run 2 miles straight into the starting line of the race, but due to security in that area, it really wasn’t possible. This was the best I could do! We got a few group pics, and we were off!

Team WSA!

Team WSA!

The start of the 10K race was REALLY crowded. I stuck to the left side of the overpass and just tried to get around as many people. I was already warmed up, and I could feel that the 3 miles I had already put in were helping me out. Typically my first two miles of any run are my worst, so I was able to settle into a faster pace right from the start. Lesson learned; this is why people warm up before races!! It really works!!

The course takes you around the outside of Eisenhower Park, past the beautiful golf course, and a neighborhood with some cheering fans. Its relatively flat, with a few rollers on the 4th and 5th mile. Nothing too crazy though. I felt like I was holding a really strong pace throughout, and actually didn’t stop at a single water station (probably not smart). I just didn’t want to get out of sync. Going into this race, my PR was 53:41, so I wanted to beat that. I also had a stretch STRETCH goal of being a sub 50 minute 10K-er one day, but didn’t think I was actually trained up enough to get that close. When I crossed the finish line in 51:11, I was SHOCKED and really proud. That is a PR for me, and its not even THAT far off from 49:49!

Here are my splits:

8:21 (hills, dammit!)
2:01 (last .2)
51:11. PR!

When we got back to Manhasset, I finished off the day with the last 3 miles of my training plan to bring my daily mileage to 11. Like I said before, its not the ideal way to do a long run (by breaking it up) but it was the best I could do to get in all the miles.