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.

rocknroll

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.

BFH for EVA

BFH for EVA

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.

GO ROO ROO!

GO ROO ROO!

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 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

Week 3 | Brooklyn Half-Marathon Training

I had to shuffle my running schedule around this week as we headed down to Florida for a wedding. Here is how the week looked:

Monday – CrossFit: 1 mile run for a warm-up, back squat progression, and then:

12 minute AMRAP
7 thrusters with a 1 sec pause at the top of each rep (95/65)
7 burpees
14 lateral hops

Tuesday – Tempo Tuesday! This was probably my best run of April. I ran 1 warm up mile, 3×8:20, 1 cool down mile and saw the most gorgeous rainbow.

if this isn't a good sign, I don't know what is!

if this isn’t a good sign, I don’t know what is!

Wednesday – REST. Between the squats on Monday, and the hilly tempo run on Tuesday, my quads were SCREAMING. It hurt to just walk. I foam-rolled and stretched as much as possible.

Thursday – 4×4 Deadlifts, then

For time:
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 of:
strict pull ups
sumo dead lift high pull

Friday – Unexpected rest day, which should have been a run but we were traveling in the morning and then had to get right to the rehearsal for the wedding weekend.

Saturday – When I travel, one of my favorite things to do is go for a nice long run to check out the area. All week i was looking forward to a nice long Florida run, and Saturday morning did not disappoint. My only regret is sleeping in, because I didn’t actually start running until 10am. It was already getting a little too humid for my liking, and I didn’t bring my fuel belt to carry water. Luckily there were a bunch of public water fountains along my beach route. The run was 8 sunny, Florida miles!

sandy sneaks, thumbs up!

sandy sneaks, thumbs up!

Sunday – Rest and recover from the best wedding ever. Congrats Matt & Esther!

best flower girls ever

best flower girls ever

Week 2 | Brooklyn Half-Marathon Training

I decided to take this year OFF from the 26.2 distance, and focus more on 13.1. The half-marathon distance is by far my favorite, because it is a significant distant but the training doesn’t completely consume my life. So far this year I’ve run two half-marathons, Disney and New York City, both with fairly little training. I was CrossFitting 4-5 days a week, but the harsh winter conditions kept me off the road. I had been following Jess Underhill on Twitter and reading her blog for a while, and when she started posting about her 6-week Brooklyn Half training program, I was intrigued. Even though I’ve trained for races in the past, I’ve never had individual 1:1 programming that was based off of ME as a runner, and not just a pre-planned weekly marathon training plan that worked for all novice runners. I emailed Jess, and after our first phone conversation, I knew I wanted to be on her team of #racepacerunners. I was all in! The programming includes CrossFit two days a week, but as we get closer to Brooklyn, I’m going to drop that to one day. Everyone knows I absolutely love CrossFit, but for the next six weeks I want to spend more time running and see if I can actually achieve my goal on May 16th at the Brooklyn Half.

Week 2 – April 13-19

Monday – CrossFit – 1RM back squat (150#), then 15-12-9-6-3 of: toes to bar & push-ups
Tuesday – 5 mile tempo run in my brand new New Balance 890s. I wore the 890s from last year during the NYC Marathon, and really loved them so wanted to get another pair to rotate through mileage. These are the v5 model and I am in love.

New Balance 890 V5

New Balance 890 V5

Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – CrossFit: Ladies’ Night WOD at CrossFit Port Washington.

CrossFit Port Washington WOD + Wine

CrossFit Port Washington WOD + Wine

Friday – 35 minute run, including some stride work (came out to just over 4 miles)
Saturday – Long run – 7 hilly sister-run miles with my Roo Roo and a FAST FINISH!

USA!

USA!

Sunday – Rest

Weekly Mileage – 16

Disney Half-Marathon Race Recap – 2015

Better late than never 🙂 I registered for the Disney Half waaaay back in April when I was at the expo picking up my bib for Boston. I had run this race back in 2007 before I had Ellie and Emmy, so it seemed like the perfect excuse to get our Disney-fix for 2015.

Ellie, Emily and I flew down to Florida on the Friday before the race to pick up my number. The expo was really easy to navigate, and we had the number and snapped some pics all within 20 minutes.

ready for 13.1 magical miles!

ready for 13.1 magical miles!

Saturday morning, my alarm went off early. Like 3:45am. OOF. One of the only downsides to Disney races is that they are all so early (unless they are super late…) because they need to get the race done before the park opens (or close to it). The official start of the race was 5:30, and I was driving myself into the park this year (we were staying just outside the park). There was a little bit of traffic getting into the Epcot parking lot, but I still had plenty of time. I didn’t want to check a bag, so I stayed in the car where it was warm until the last second I could, and then started the walk through the village and towards the start line. Here is what I wore…

yes I made a custom Elsa shirt with my name on it

yes I made a custom Elsa shirt with my name on it

I was in one of the first corrals because I put a really fast estimated finish time, which ended up being great. If you are in a later corral, you could be standing around for a LONG time. So tip from me, lie about your time 🙂 There was an awesome fireworks display to send us on our way, and then we were off! Pretty much every mile had a character picture opportunity, and I stopped at almost every one to get my photo taken. When I was running, I was moving at a pretty decent pace and definitely felt the Disney magic the whole entire way. I don’t think I stopped smiling once!

I cruised into the finish line with a time of 2:18, which wasn’t horrible considering how much I stood in line waiting for pictures with characters. From start to finish, there wasn’t a single moment of pain, or unhappiness. It was truly 13.1 magical miles, and if you are even THINKING about signing up for this race, do it. You will not regret it one bit. And I’ll probably go with you 🙂

Random highlights: Running through Cinderella’s Castle, meeting Mickey on the golf course at the Grand Floridian (yes, I am 32 years old and just typed that), fireworks at the start, and high-fiving Minnie Mouse at mile 13.1 

Team MR8 Team Dinner | Pre-NYC Marathon

I’ve never run a marathon NOT as part of a charity team. When I ran Chicago in 2006, I ran as an Honored Teammate for Team In Training and raised over $6,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 6 months after my last chemotherapy treatment. This past April for the Boston Marathon, I represented the amazing Pediatric Hem-Onc department at Mass General Hospital and raised a combined $12,000 along with my sister. When I received the phone call this past July that my application had been accepted to be part of Team MR8 for the 2014 NYC Marathon, I was so proud that I could represent the amazingly strong Martin family, and raise money in honor of such a true “Boston” kid.

Bronx 10 Miler for a Boston kid

Bronx 10 Miler for a Boston kid

Between July and November, TeamMR8 mostly stayed in touch over Facebook, and weekly emails from our charity team leader, Susan. Susan’s Friday emails were a highlight of my week; she covered training tips, fundraising successes, and made sure we all had our eyes on the prize- we were running for TeamMR8. In August, I received a whole box of TeamMR8 gear and a personal note from Debbie and Bill, Martin’s parents. I proudly rocked my MR8 gear during my training races, and keep a photo of Martin in my planner, to remind me why I was again asking my friends and family to donate, and why I was putting in the time and miles to train each week.

all geared up for TeamMR8

all geared up for TeamMR8

The day before the marathon, the whole team got together for a carb-loading pre-race meal at Carmine’s in Times Square. It was my first time meeting any team members, even though we felt like old friends since we had emailed so much over the course of the past few months. The dinner was perfect – enough food to keep us all fueled up, and so many smiling faces. At the conclusion of dinner, Bill Martin spoke to the whole team. It was one of the most motivating pep talks I’ve ever received (and I’ve been privy to MANY a pre-game speech). Bill kept thanking us for being part of the team, and raising almost $90,000 for TeamMR8. He spoke about the various programs that the Martin Richard’s Charitable Foundation is able to participate in because of these funds. Perhaps the biggest program at the moment is through the Dorcester YMCA, which was started to allow kids with any type of physical or mental handicap the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports. With the funds that TeamMR8 raises, the foundation is able to roll this program out to YMCA’s and communities across the US to give more children the opportunity to play sports, and be part of their community. It is something that Martin would be so proud of.

me and my date for the team pasta dinner

me and my date for the team pasta dinner

Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Bill was finished speaking. I thought about Martin when they played New York, New York as I crossed the start line. I thought about Martin when I saw the kids dancing in front of a band on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. I thought of Martin when I wanted to stop running at Mile 20. I thought of him almost exclusively for the last mile, with tears in my eyes, feeling a true mix of pride and relief. Like I said at the beginning, I’ve never NOT run for a charity team, but I couldn’t imagine running a race like this with any other purpose.

TeamMR8 NYC Marathon Team 2014

TeamMR8 NYC Marathon Team 2014

Race Recap | NYRR Bronx 10 Miler

Let it be known that its never a wise idea to sign up for a race the day after arriving home from a week long beach vacation. However, if you HAVE to do it, this was one great race to tackle on a beautiful, warm day in September. Since I was away the week prior to the race, I didn’t have time to get my bib or shirt ahead of time. Astrid (my CrossFit bestie turned NYC Marathon training partner) was kind enough to do the driving, and I took the LIRR to Douglaston where she picked me up (6:30am, woof!). We got to the Bronx by 7:00, and within 15 minutes we had picked up our bibs and shirts, checked our bags, and used the bathrooms. NYRR, I gotta hand it to you, this was THE most organized race (apart from a marathon distance). Huge props for making 10,000 runners really happy with a smooth check-in system.

As I was pinning on my bib to my brand new, bright yellow Team MR8 shirt, a man approached me and gave me a huge high-five. “TeamMR8! I love you guys!” Turns out he is in charge of the charity programs that get bibs for the New York City Marathon, and he had personally been involved in the decision to get TeamMR8 representation this year. I felt so grateful, and it made me even more proud to be part of such an amazing organization. We CAN make TeamMR8 bigger than ever this year!

Astrid and me, ready to run!

Astrid and me, ready to run!

Astrid and I  had been discussing our game plan all morning. We wanted to pretend like these are the first 10 miles of the marathon. Don’t go out fast. Don’t even try to PR. Go annoyingly slow for the first few miles, and then just go into cruise control for the remainder. Our plan was to feel like we had some gas in the tank at the end, and run a controlled race. The problem is, its actually HARD to go annoyingly slow, especially if other runners are passing you (we are so competitive)! We managed to make it work though, and our first four miles were 9:41/9:29/9:21/9:12. Ehhh. Not even CLOSE to annoyingly slow. Try, “well under my marathon goal pace.” Still, we felt good, and I felt like I could maintain that pace for the rest of the run.

At mile 5, we got to the top of the out-and-back route and had some quick turns through a little green park. We clearly picked it up there, and mile 5 was 8:58. At mile 6, I lost Astrid in the crowd. One of these days I’ll actually stick with her the entire race! I had a tri-berry Gu (which tastes exactly like my favorite ice cream flavor) and chugged some water to wash it down.

My last few miles were 9:05/9:28/9:14/9:07/9:18. I was surprised that I stayed in the same range even in miles 8-10, as they were a slight (but long) incline. When I was tired, especially in the final mile, I thought a lot about Martin Richard, and why I was running. I pretended he was running right alongside me, and I picked up my pace. I am sure that on November 2nd (and every run in-between), I will be channeling Martin’s positive outlook, boundless energy, and happiness. Martin was truly Boston Strong.

My official time was 1:33, which was a 2+ minute PR since my last 10 miler, only a month ago. Not bad for a little 10 miler after a vacation, after all!

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 8.52.36 PM

 

NYC Marathon Training | Week 5

I am on Week 7 of the 17 week CrossFit Endurance War Horse Marathon Training plan, and here is what my week looked like:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 12.09.05 PM

 

 

 

Monday – Rest because I did the Brooklyn 10 Miler the day before.

Tuesday – Interval workout: 1 minute ladder: 1 min on, 1 off, 50 sec on, 50 off . . . down to 10 sec on 10 sec off, back up to 1 minute. This was pretty rough, especially building back up to the 1 minute on. When I was “on” I tried to stay 7:30/8:00 min mile pace, and then “off” was more like 9:45/10:00 min mile pace and I attempted to recover my breathing.

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – CrossFit516 partner WOD with Kim and Astrid. 1.5 miles of running, a lot of box jumps, and wall balls to cap it off.

Friday – Track workout: 16 Rounds of: 20 sec on, 10 sec off. I used the same pacing from Tuesday, and it felt pretty good. It was about 3 miles of running, with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down.

have I mentioned how much I love these sneakers?

have I mentioned how much I love these sneakers?

Saturday – 7 mile “long” run, even though the training plan called for a 5k time trial. I had just ran (and PR’d) my 5K a few weeks back, so I am going to use that time to set some tempo runs this week. 10:00 min/mile pace.

Port Washington, NY

Port Washington, NY

Sunday – Rest

Mileage: About 15 miles between all the temp and speed work this week.