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:

8:36
8:11
8:06
8:09
8:21 (hills, dammit!)
8:01
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.

 

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

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

13 Runner Questions

My first blogger quiz!  I loved reading Kim’s answers, and I hope that mine are even a little bit interesting to you!

What is your best run ever – My B.R.E. was definitely the Chicago Marathon in 2006. I had just finished my last chemo treatment in February 2006, and I finished 26.2 miles 6 months later. At the time, it was the best day of my life, and I’ll never forget how the tears stung my eyes as I crossed the finish line. Goosebumps. I was BACK.

Chicago Marathon 2006 (that's me in the front in the purple)

Chicago Marathon 2006 (that’s me in the front in the purple)

3 words that describe my running – Competitive, sweaty, and musical (always have my headphones on).

 What is your go-to running outfit?  – Mizuno Wave Rider 17, lululemon socks (they will change your life), lululemon Inspire Crops, a lululemon CRB, and junk brand headband.

Run: Swiftly Turtleneck, lulu crops

Run: Swiftly Turtleneck, lulu crops

What is your one quirky running habit? – I have to end my runs on exactly XX:00 on my Garmin so if I’m pretty close, I’ll do laps in my driveway until I hit an exact mile.

Do you prefer morning, midday, or evening runs? – Always have been, always will be a morning runner

I won’t run outside when it’s… – Over 80 degrees. Ever. I’m sorry. I don’t do well in heat.

What is your worst injury – and how did you get over it? – When I was in college, I had really bad stress fractures from playing field hockey. Since I’ve started doing CrossFit and doing long distance runs, I LUCKILY haven’t been injured. KNOCK ON ALL THE WOOD!

My personal best half marathon or marathon is2014 NYC Half-Marathon. My goal was to go sub-2 hours, and I got 1:54. I was in the best running shape of my life in March.

1:54 for 13.1

1:54 for 13.1

My next race is – NYRR Bronx Ten-Miler on Sept 28. I don’t do a lot of summer races, because we are away so many weekends.

My running goal for 2014 – Sub-5:00 hour marathon, if I am accepted on a team for the NYC Marathon. If not, run sub-1:50 for BAA Boston Half Marathon in October. I would need to shave 4 mins off my PR for this, but it’s a goal!

What GPS do you use? – Garmin Forerunner 10 (in lime green!)

How do you stay motivated in the summer? – Sign up for fall races so that I’ll have things to train for.

What is your favorite post run treat? – beer!

beer.

beer.

A Pair of Gloves: The NYC Half-Marathon

When my alarm went off at 5AM, I was already awake. I didn’t get the best night’s sleep. In fact, I am pretty sure I was up every. single. hour.  It was time for the NYC Half-Marathon. Today was my second time running the streets of NYC. I ran in the inagural NYC Half Marathon presented by Nike waaaay back in 2006 while I was training for the Chicago Marathon. It was pretty much a lifetime ago. Before KJ. Before E&e. Before CrossFit. Before I really loved running. My time was 2:07.42. I was 23. I was 6 months out of chemo and cancer.  It was a lifetime ago.

At 6AM, my dad drove me to meet my friends at the Forest Hills subway station. Not sure how many 30 year olds still have their dads drive them around, but for me, it is pretty much the norm. He drove, and I chugged water, and we chatted mostly about my girls, and how funny they are. He knew I had a big goal that morning; sub-2 hours. He dropped me off at the Dunkin Donuts in Forest Hills, and my dad said “Have a great race. I know you’ll do great.” And I knew he meant it. I was ready.

The CrossFit516 Crew (Astrid, Ed and I) hopped on the subway and got to the starting line in Central Park at just about 7:30AM. The walkways were PACKED, and the air had a nice chill to it.By nice, I mean absolutely frigid.  I had throw-away sweatpants and an old Yale sweatshirt, but I was really dying for a pair of gloves. I started obsessively searching the ground for any discarded gloves (yes, I was willingly going to wear a stranger’s gloves), but I wasn’t having much luck. Gloves are probably one of the last things that people discard, especially when it is 30 degrees. The crowds were getting thicker, we were getting closer to the starting line, and I was fussing with my sweatshirt, my phone, my Nike+ app, and my headphones when I finally spotted them; gloves. Little fleece diamonds in the rough. I literally jumped for joy to get them, and the last thing I heard before I plugged in and started running was Ed telling me “those gloves are a sign!” Yup. A sign of great things.

Miles 1-3 were a total blur of awesomeness. Astrid and I were cruising and I literally felt like I was running on air. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that great for the first few miles of a run. They are usually my worse miles! The top of the park was sort of chaotic, with some zigging and zagging in a really crowded area. I think it was my least favorite part of the race. Miles 3-5 were the nice rolling hills of Harlem, and I charged up each hill like I meant BUSINESS. I really still felt like my legs just took over my whole body. Taking two days off from any running or CrossFit was definitely the right move.

official pic

official pic

We headed out of Central Park and down through Time’s Square, and I couldn’t help but smile (and tear up a little). I knew I would see my mom and my sister around mile 7, and I was getting sooooo close. If you ever get the chance to stand in the middle of 7th Avenue with no cars, no cabs, literally nothing around you; do it. I tried to remember to look UP as some of the best views are of the tallest buildings in NYC.

nyc half official pic

nyc half official pic

I turned right onto 42nd Street I spotted my mom and Marissa on the right side. I high-fived, and Marissa snapped some pics. What I wanted to say was, “HI! My pace is fast! I am doing it! I am going to break 2!” However, I am pretty sure I  just whooped, and high-fived and went on my way. Any seconds lost were going to be added on to the end, and I had a PR to make! Seeing my mom and my sister made me run MUCH faster down 42nd Street.

The wind heading towards the West Side Highway was fierce. I don’t have my exact splits, but I think my slowest miles might have been 8 and 9.  We were rewarded though, because miles 10-12 put the wind at our back, and I found my groove again on the nice, flat terrain of the West Side Highway. I had no idea as we passed mile 12 that we were going through a DARK TUNNEL for mile 13, but that was sort of awesome. We came out of the tunnel, ran 900 more meters up the FDR and crossed that finish line on South Street. I still didn’t know my exact time, though I knew I was coming in under 2. When I crossed, I was finally able to check my phone, and I saw that the NYC Half app had already posted my time.

1:54.43. A PR by 13 minutes. 

Those black fleece gloves? I am keeping them forever.

World Cancer Day – 8 Years!

I’ve been waiting to share this post, and since today is World Cancer Day, it seems like the right time. This month I have been a cancer survivor for 8 years. When I was 22 years old, just one month after my college graduation, I found a lump on my neck. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and underwent 6 months of chemotherapy at St. Luke’s Hospital in NYC. My world was pretty much rocked. I have always been athletic, so I tried to stay as active as possible through my treatment, which wasn’t always easy. I used to curse the high heavens when we headed to the track to do a conditioning workout in college. However, when I was sick, I would have paid large sums of money to be sprinting around on the turf, rather than sitting in the hospital. An Andover classmate of mine heard about what I was going through, and asked if she could run in my honor as part of Team In Training for a marathon. I was overwhelmed by her generosity, and of course, agreed. I got to know the TNT folks in NYC, and in May 2006, just 3 months after my last chemo treatment, I started training for the Chicago Marathon as a TNT Honored Teammate. It was a long 26.2 miles, and I ran pretty slowly, but I loved every single second of it.

This year, I am immensely proud to be running the Boston Marathon, my hometown marathon, as part of the Mass General Hospital Marathon Team. We are raising money for the pediatric cancer center to help the world’s youngest patients achieve their dreams, and survive. This time I will be running next to my best friend, my sister, and counting down the miles to Boylston Street. I will be running in honor of my late father-in-law, Ken Johnston II, whom I never had the honor of meeting, but whom I know is helping me every step of the way. There are so many people to thank for getting me to where I am this year: my parents, my sister, my husband, my daughters, my extended family, my friends who lived with me through cancer, my friends whom I met after cancer, my running friends, my CrossFit family, my co-workers past and present, my other survivor friends, Dr. Grossbard at St. Lukes and all the doctors at the MGH Cancer Center who took care of me in Boston so I could be home for the holidays.

These 26.2 are for you!

Team #HudsonStrong

Team #HudsonStrong

* Marissa and I are training for the 2014 Boston Marathon as part of the Mass General Hospital Marathon team. We are raising money for the pediatric cancer center. Please consider making a donation to this wonderful cause. THANK YOU! *

BRR-ooklyn Half-Marathon – Finishers!

Some races, everything just clicks. 6:30am wake up, cup of coffee, hard-boiled egg and out the door. We made it to Brooklyn in 25 minutes and scored the sweetest parking spot on the street super close to the finish line. We stayed in the car until about 8:15 to keep warm, then headed up to the starting line. It was cold, but certainly not any colder than the Ted Corbitt 15K, and it was actually snowing that day. This felt much better than that. Plus, we had hand warmers!

Off we went! The first half-mile was the biggest hill in Prospect Park, but we felt strong. The park is a really nice loop of a little over three miles. Its relatively flat, with nothing steep enough to write home about. The other racers were in good spirits, and everyone was having a good time. How can you NOT have a good time during a half-marathon in 20 degree weather!?

At Mile 3, we ditched our outer layers in a pile right by the finish line (the benefit of running a race with lots of loops = you get to pick up all the stuff you drop off!). Our hands were warm, our toes were warm, and we were cruising along. We were hitting a 9:25 min/mile pace.

Go Bruins!

Go Bruins!

By Mile 6, we were reading for some Gu Chomps and a pit stop for ice cold Gatorade. We thought the best way to really represent in Brooklyn was to rock our Bruins gear. It was pretty amazing how many “GO BOSTON!” cheers we got, and at one point, Marissa even got a pat on the back and a little push up the hill by a passerby who said “GO MILAN!”

We were definitely sick of the one big hill by the time we started our fourth and final loop. Crossing the crest, and speeding down the other side was such a high point in the race. We only had 2.5 more miles to go, and we really felt good.

Roo crushing 13.1 miles at the finish line

Roo crushing 13.1 miles at the finish line

We crossed the finish line at 2:08 and 2:11, a HALF-MARATHON PR for Marissa and one minute over my PR from 2006 (which I am pretty confident I will beat in the warmer weather NYC Half in March). We got our big silver capes, finisher’s medals and one of the best cups of hot chocolate I’ve ever had – really!

Currently we are drinking mimosas out of our BRR-ooklyn Hot Chocolate Half-Marathon mugs and sitting pretty on this chilly January day. We did it! We both needed that confidence boost to bring us into February and March, our longest training months (mileage-wise). Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement, and thanks NYCRuns for putting on an awesome event. I’d do it again in a heartbeat! Just not tomorrow 🙂

yup. prosecco in coffee mugs.

yup. prosecco in coffee mugs.

* Marissa and I are training for the 2014 Boston Marathon as part of the Mass General Hospital Marathon team. We are raising money for the pediatric cancer center. Please consider making a donation to this wonderful cause. THANK YOU! *

Upcoming Races – NYC Half!!!!

NYRR Upcoming Races

NYRR Upcoming Races

It’s official! I found out today that I was accepted through the lottery to run the 2014 NYC Half on March 16th. I actually ran in the very first NYC half-marathon ever back in 2006, and it was SO much fun to run through Central Park, down through Time Square (with traffic blocked), and end way downtown. Super psyched to run this for a second time!

This weekend, Roo and I are rocking the Ted Corbitt Classic 15K, which will certainly be a challenge in the chilly weather. It might even snow! Wish us luck!