Friday, April 21, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017 Recap

Bib Pickup

"I look so ready, I just might win!"

I got on the Blue Line at the Wonderland stop in Revere, Massachusetts a little before 7am. Nothing about the station seemed extraordinarily wondrous, but it was the closest to our hotel so it did its job. The train was pretty crowded. I thought everyone in the state had off on Patriot's Day? Less than half of the passengers were runners. The runners were easy to spot because 1. they were wearing running clothes (I swear I was Sherlock Holmes in a previous life. If there was such a thing as reincarnation...and if there was such a person as Sherlock Holmes...) and 2. they were holding their official Boston Athletic Association ziploc baggie. My baggie contained another plastic baggie to keep my phone dry. The iPhone case I bought on Amazon was missing the key waterproof screen protector because that's how online purchases turn out for She Is Out Running (boohoo); the little freebie anti-chaffing stick I picked up at the expo the day before; a bottle of orange Gatorade that I was nursing (Hydration was important, especially given the warm forecast...cough cough...whatever); and two Imodiums (self explanatory). I asked the running couple sitting next to me what stop they were getting off at to board the buses. I was already told three different stops (Copley Station, Boylston Street, and Arlington) by three different sources, all of whom were 100 percent sure of themselves. The running couple and I chatted a little. They were from Bend, OR and she was running her first Boston.  She was fast. I knew this from her lower-than-mine bib number (Elementary, my dear Watson). The blue train stopped at Government Center where we transferred to the Green Line, an older version of blue trains. Old subway cars...hmm...

The green line moved at a snail's pace and was even more crowded than the blue. Definitely more runners on this train. We only had a handful of stops to Boston Common (depending on whom I believed), but for some reason (the conductor said "traffic") we kept stopping momentarily in the tunnels. This is not fun for the claustrophobic. I know this because I'm claustrophobic. Apparently, so was the runner next to me who started to get verbally panicky which makes us quiet claustrophobes even more panicky...but silently. We decided to get off at Boylston. We saw the buses immediately upon exiting the station, but still had to cross the park to board. The panicky runner's husband suggested she and I ride the bus together, but I pretended not to hear this and made a beeline for the porta potty.

I originally told Kin that I would ride the bus with him and his wife, but the buses were packed and just standing there. It was already 8am. If I waited for the 8:45 buses, I'm not sure when they would actually leave. It was an hour to Hopkinton and I knew I would start walking to my corral around 9:45. I decided to play it safe and get on a bus pronto. A funny woman from Alexandria, VA sat next to me.  She was pleasant to talk to and the ride went smoothly, except for the time the driver stopped short on the highway and almost plowed into the bus in front of us. Besides this, the ride was uneventful.

Once in Hopkinton, I again made a beeline to the porta potties. The Athletes Village was packed and the bathroom lines were long. I remember in 2014, I had just enough time to get on line, pee, and then head straight to the corral. Today, I stood on line for about 30 minutes. It seemed like everyone knew each other and I kind of wished I had waited for Kin and Nancy. After I did my business, I grabbed a cup of coffee and found a spot to sit in the sun. Despite the warm weather, it was pretty breezy in the Athletes Village. I chatted with a nice older man. This was his fourth Boston. He was from upstate NY and also faster than me (as I deduced from his bib number...sleuth). Pretty much everyone I met was faster than me. I checked my watch and it was almost 10am. The emcee in our section was rambling on about nothing, but never announced for the waves to head over to the start. Odd. Upstate Faster Guy and I decided to head over on our own. Good thing we did, because all of Wave 3 were making their way to the corrals, too. We wished each other well and I found my spot at the back of my corral.

Athletes Village
Hoppin' Hopkinton

Wave 3 Corral 3

My training this cycle was pretty lax. I skipped a bunch of runs (long ones, too) and started pretty late. Instead of an 18 week cycle, I think mine was 12. Big no-no on my part. Sometimes Momming and Life gets in the way. Up until that moment in my corral, I thought I still could make a go for a PR (sub-3:30), even if it meant a death march toward the end. However, at 10:45am standing amongst the other 3:35 runners, I realized today will most likely not be that day for me. I was already sweating and I suddenly had to pee again. "Good luck, runners!" or something to that effect was announced over the loudspeaker and suddenly, we were off. Light jog over the start mats and the reality hit me then that I was once again running the Boston Marathon. All of the pre-race hullabaloo was just a distraction from the task at hand. As I was taking it all in, the bouncing seemed to take aim right at my full bladder. Someone else must have been experiencing the same discomfort. I watched as she ran to the side of the road, in plain sight of everyone, she squatted, pulled her shorts to the side (not down) and let it go like Elsa from Frozen. Could I be so bold? Nope. Just in time, I saw a handful of porta potties off to the left. I ran over to them, as did some others. Politeness was not a factor. Empty john, every runner for himself. I waited for what felt like minutes until I could get to one. Whoosh! Done! Get back out there!

The first few miles were all about finding your groove and pace. I felt good because we were going downhill. You of course don't realize this might be a mistake until Mile 22, but who's thinking about Mile 22 at Mile 2? Not I. The crowds are excited and so are the runners. A DJ is blasting "Sweet Caroline". A woman shouts this is her favorite song. A few runners sing along, "Oh oh oh!", but not all out, almost as if they know there's a long road ahead and belting out Neil Diamond at the top of their lungs might be something they'll regret later on. They may have been right.

We're running through Ashland, then Framingham. Framingham seems to go on forever. I see a giant Canadian flag on the right which makes me think of my new Canadian friend, Peter from the Runner's World forums whom I met the day before. I spot a Seldon Hills shirt. I say hello because I'm from Long Island. He has no idea who I am or why I say hello. I pass him. A couple of miles down, he passes me. I don't see him again until I see his picture on Facebook the next day. He finished 8 minutes ahead of me. I pass La Cantina, the restaurant where we ate on Saturday night with my brother-in-law. It was recommended to us by a Runner's World Online member. Let's just say, my Italian father would say, "No" which is Italian for "No".

Finally, we get to Natick, home of The Emerging Runner and Hansen Electrical Supply. The owner of this shop sits atop a ladder and invites the runners to admire themselves in his large storefront mirrors. How do I look? Marvelous, according to him.

The half marathon mark is in Wellesley. By this time, I had given up on the clocks at the mile markers. I forgot my Garmin at home so I kind of was guessing my pace, but really had no idea. I think I was around 50 minutes behind the clocks, maybe. Right when I was wondering if maybe the Wellesley girls had decided to stay in as some form of protest, I heard their screams. The famous Scream Tunnel was in full force and it was fantastic! This is right around the time where you might be questioning this whole marathon thing. The Wellesley girls will not let you down.  Their signs for kisses were some of the best I've seen. "Kiss me, I'm from Texas", "Kiss me, I'm gay", "Kiss me if you voted for Hillary", "Kiss me if you hate Steve Bannon", etc. These were my type of fans! Thank you Wellesley for your enthusiasm! I might still be on the course, if it weren't for you.

So I casually mentioned the weather a couple of times. It was hot. There was nothing casual about it. The forecast said high of 70 that morning. It actually went all the way up to 80. 80 feels like 100 when you're running, especially without shade. I'd like to say this played a big part in my performance, but honestly, my sub-par training I think had more to do with it than anything else.
The spectators were an amazing boost throughout all twenty-six point two miles. They handed out water, Gatorade, oranges, ice cubes, wet paper towels, etc. You needed it, they likely had it. Motivation lacking? Their signs and shouting more than made up for it. My favorite were the ten mini-trampolines lined up on the sidewalk with ten children jumping up and down on them to the song "Happy" by Pharrell. These New England fans treat the runners as though they were Tom Brady coming back from the Super Bowl. A couple of open fire hydrants didn't hurt either.

Newton is next. With Newton, comes hills. Four of them, I think. Every time I climbed a hill, I asked someone if it was Heartbreak because I knew Heartbreak is the last one at Mile 21. I made sure not to walk up any of them (however, I strolled through every water stop...), just for my own satisfaction. I finally scaled all of them after what seemed like an eternity. The rest of the race is downhill. Sounds easy, right? 5 miles of downhill should be cake. Not at the Boston Marathon. Those last 5 miles are the toughest. By then my quadriceps were jell-o and I felt like I was dragging an extra 50 lbs. I heard someone yell, "Go, Taconic!" behind me. I turned around and saw my Upstate Fast Guy buddy from the Athletes Village. He was not doing well. He said he might stop at the medical tent. I asked if he wanted me to stay with him, but he insisted I keep going. I felt badly leaving him (Later I looked him up and saw he thankfully finished). Then my new Canadian friend appeared out of nowhere! Yay!! It was so good to see him. He was spent, too.  He's a 3:18 marathoner, but the heat had gotten to him. What do you expect? He's from Canada, after all! I was kind of hoping he would say, "Let's walk the rest of the way", because I was exhausted, but he insisted I keep going. So I kept going. Slowly, but surely. The rest is a blur. Citgo, right on Hereford, left on Boylston, and then the Finish Line. Once I crossed, I checked my Strava on my phone  which read 3:4x:xx! I quickly texted ER to get my time. Unfortunately, Strava was way off. Official net time is 3:53:57, my second slowest time. I guess I hit my C Goal: Another BQ (barely).

Peter & Me when there was still hope.

My second Boston Marathon (7th marathon overall) was both wonderful and disappointing. The thing I love about marathons is the adventure. It's truly a physical and mental odyssey from your first step to your last. Will I do it again? You betcha!!

                                                              It ain't over 'til it's over...
...It's over.

My family met me at the finish. They spent the day at the Science Museum. We stopped at Friendly's on the way home for Fribbles. While I rest my sore legs for the next couple of days, I plot my race to Redemption so I can have yet another shot at that unicorn....


Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy Patriot's Day

I'm looking forward to running again in 2017! Here are my reviews of the Best Marathon Ever from 2014. Be ready to have your world rocked! Or pass some time for the next 15 minutes...

Boston Marathon Review Part 1

Boston Marathon Review Part 2

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

KT Tape and Meb

Brock on Twitter invited me to a KT Tape Media event at Chelsea Piers. KT Tape helps relieve aches and pains on all parts of your body, and at the same time provides support and functional movement. I've seen runners taped up at multiple races in the past. Apparently, I was considered because of this blog (Other people read it beside you and me! Who knew?). A few Olympians would be there to share their KT Tape experiences and then afterwards they would serve a light lunch. I am always happy to participate in free lunches, but one of the Olympians who would be there happened to be none other than Meb Keflezghi. Yes, the Meb Keflezghi who just qualified for the Olympics (again) at the tender age of 42. Also, the same guy who WON THE BOSTON MARATHON IN 2014! My first Boston which coincidentally was the best marathon EVER. I told Brock that wild horses couldn't drag me away (or something to that effect).

The morning of the event I checked Instagram. Meb posted that he was in New York City doing interviews all day. One of his followers mentioned that he saw Meb running toward Central Park earlier. What an awesome random sighting! I donned my official blue Boston Marathon tech shirt. Pete warned me that it was going to be cool and I should wear a jacket. But I don't want to cover up my Boston shirt! Oh wait, I forgot about my official traffic cone orange Boston Marathon jacket! Each year the jackets come in a different color. Meb will surely recognize 2014!

I took the train and subway down to Chelsea Piers. I was welcomed by a small group of people inside Pier 60. They were very friendly. I signed in, and was handed a strip of red KT Tape, then directed inside a small media room. I was early so I took a seat and waited for everyone else to arrive. There were about 20 of us media folk, as well as a half a dozen cameramen. Then the athletes shuffled in: Tucker Dupree, 3-time Paralympic; Kerri Walsh Jennings, 3-time Olympic volleyball gold medalist; Kerri Strug, retired Olympic gymnast; and last, but certainly not least, Meb Keflezghi, 3-time Olympian and silver medalist! They sat on a panel in the front of the room. As they were getting settled, Meb looked up scanning the audience. He surely noticed my jacket (because I know he has a matching one at home) and gave me a nod and a smile! Wait, wha-?! I couldn't believe it.

An executive from the KT Tape company spoke first and explained all of the different products they had on display. A sports physician spoke next about the product's rehabilitative benefits. Finally, each of the athletes introduced themselves and talked briefly about their experiences with the products. When they were done, we were told to go upstairs in small groups according to the color of our tape strip. We would get an opportunity to meet with each of the athletes and even get taped, if we wanted. This was possibly the only time in my life where I wish I had an injury.

My group was red and we went to Tucker Dupree first. I said hello to the other "mediums". One guy was from Us Weekly, a girl from Pop Sugar, and then one woman introduced herself as Mar. I suddenly recognized her and asked if she was from Pittsburgh. She said yes. I told her I was a fan of her blog, Mar On the Run. It was like another celebrity encounter meeting her in person. She was tinier than I imagined. She was there with another blogger I was familiar with, Lisa Runs For Cupcakes. Tucker Dupree gave us a little background about his blindness. He began losing his sight as a child and is almost completely blind today. He talked about how swimming is second nature to him and how he's able to stay inside his lane and calculate his distance in the pool. As a swimmer, he frequently has shoulder issues. When he wears the tape, it stays on for about a week even with all his time in the water. He had a great personality and sense of humor.

Me and Mar On the Run

Tucker Dupree

Next we chatted with Kerri Walsh Jennings who must have been six feet tall. She was very sweet and just oozes athleticism. She's a mom with young kids who balances family with being the best in the world in her sport. Piece of cake!

(standing off camera. This is
Kerri Walsh Jennings)

Meb was next! I was almost giddy with excitement. He shook everyone's hand and when he got to me he said, "Congratulations." Wait, wha-?!  He won the freakin' Boston Marathon, yet he was congratulating me for just finishing. Could he be any more gracious? He talked about his marathon training. He actually cross trains with the ElliptiGO...seriously? He said he runs about 100 miles per week. I asked him if he ran already that day because I was looking for a running partner. He said he already ran 12 miles (probably in the park), but he would run a lap with me around the indoor track. Wait, wha-?! Other people asked some stuff, but I didn't really pay attention. I was going to run with Meb. Technically, it would be my second time running with him. Boston 2014 was the first, but there were about 15,000 people in between us.

Meb! (Me in the Boston jacket!)
"Why is she staring at me like that?"

Kerri Strug was the last athlete we met with. She is a mother now, too. She explained how the tape is so much better than what she had to use 20 years ago when she was competing. After our group was done, I asked Mar if she wanted to run with Meb and me (yeah, already we're "Meb and me"). That was a no-brainer. Of course she and Lisa were going to join us. We had to wait about 20 minutes while Meb was conducting interviews. I noticed this guy who was part of Meb's group wearing a New York City Half Marathon jacket. The race had just taken place that Sunday so I asked if he ran it. He did not, it was Meb's jacket. The guy turned out to be Howie, Meb's brother and manager. He was very friendly and hung out with us and made sure we would get our lap in.

Finally, it was time! Meb, Mar, Lisa, and I lined up on the track. A nice man volunteered to take pictures on my cell phone. There was also a videographer recording us. Ready, set, go! Mar took off like a bat out of hell. Meb was "jogging" at an easy pace and I stayed alongside him with the biggest, goofiest grin I surprisingly maintained the duration of the lap. In a heartbeat, we were already approaching the finish. Meb grabbed Mar and Lisa's hands (uh, this would be a great example of the benefits of a third arm) and we all crossed together. I thanked Meb and he gave me a hug which took my total surprise and I received so awkwardly.

Meb and Me

On your mark...

Home stretch!

I wasn't lying about my awkwardness.

I went back downstairs to get my "light lunch" which was shrimp and delicious mini tuna sandwiches. I wolfed them down because I was starving and chugged a Gatorade. I said goodbye to the other bloggers then went off on my merry way...texting, Facebooking, Instagramming, announcing to whoever would listen what just happened to me! Yeah, I just ran with Meb...


Friday, April 1, 2016

NYCRuns Spring Fling 10K 2016

Edison and I signed up for the NYCRuns Spring Fling 10K on Roosevelt Island. This would be my third race on the island, but my first actual finish. The night before, I received texts from Edison and an old party friend that they were hanging out. I got a little concerned that he was not going to show up the next morning. Lucky for him, he did (heh heh).

How I pictured Edison until I actually saw
him the next morning with my own two eyes.

I parked on the Astoria side of the Roosevelt Island Bridge and then ran over to the starting area at Fireman's Field. It was exactly one mile. The temperature was in the high 30s at 9am. There was a nice size crowd of runners milling about. I did not see Edison who was coming from New Jersey. He texted to say he was on a very long line for the bathroom in the local Starbucks. No problem. The announcer began directing the 10k runners to the starting line at 9:20. 9:25 still no Edison. Finally, 9:30 I see him walking toward me with all of his gear. Seriously? Thankfully, he was able to check it in quickly and make it to the delayed start on time. The race began and Edison and I took our time at the back of the pack. This race was all about Edison preparing for his first marathon. He said he averages around 15 minutes per mile on his training runs, so I expected this to be a nice, leisurely jog.

Random runners doing their "pre-race
stuff" before the start in Fireman's Field.

The course is two loops around the island. Some people forgot this tidbit because after only 20 minutes I heard a girl point to a mile marker and say to her friend, "See! We're at Mile 4." Not quite. More like Mile 2. The views of New York City from the tony island are spectacular. In fact, the island itself is pretty adorable. Quiet and quaint, you would never believe you're in New York City. I'm not sure what the rent is, but I'm betting "too damn high". The course is right on the waterfront and the river looked like glass. No wind at all. We finished our first loop in around 34 minutes which felt like forever. I can't remember the last time I ran 3 miles in more than 30 minutes. It was fun, though because Edison and I got to catch up. We hadn't seen each other since Halloween. As we chatted about my new favorite mini-series on FX, The People Vs. OJ Simpson, a fellow runner joined in on the conversation We agreed the acting was superb and the storyline, gripping, despite already knowing the outcome and having lived through it in real time. Pretty soon we were back at the Start/Finish again. Edison wanted to sprint it out which he did surprisingly fast. We held hands across the finish. The clock read 1:04:34, a 10:25 pace. I was pretty proud of Edison. This was a decent time for his first 10k considering his training paces.

Edison before he had his "lighthouse"
surgically removed from his head.
Me looking pretty awful.

Finish photo courtesy of
NYCRuns. Me loves a race
that gives you free photos!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kings Park 15k Redux 2016

I signed up for the Kings Park 15k thinking it would give me a good gauge on my fitness for the Maine marathon in May .  As the date neared, I began to regret ever registering. I ran this race in 2014. I didn't have a great experience back then. Didn't I remember that ridiculous "hill" at Mile 2? Had I already forgotten the long ass out and back by the abandoned mental hospital (spooky would be an understatement)? And last, but not least, the weather. This is a March race. In 2014, the roads were snowy and icy, and the temperature frigid. Why on Earth would I want to put myself through that again? Not to mention the fact that I really hadn't been racing that much. I felt like I was possibly setting myself up for disaster (always the optimist...).

The week of the race, this guy Mike, a member of my local Facebook running group page whom I've never met asked if anyone else was running Kings Park. I replied, as well as a couple of others. Mike then offered to pick up anyone's race bib. Sure! This race is a hike out east, and if you can avoid making the trek two days in a row unnecessarily, then by all means. He was nice enough to drop it off at my house Friday afternoon. I actually was out with Sanibel running the campus of SUNY Old Westbury as a last minute attempt to get some hill work in. I told Mike I would be happy to drive to the race the next morning as a token of reciprocity. When I arrived home, I discovered my "adorable" puppy wanted to see how the bib would look in her stomach.  It wasn't destroyed, but there were prominent teeth marks all over, particularly on the electronic chip. One of a racer's worst nightmares is to run a race with all of your heart in the hopes of a Personal Record (PR) only to discover your chip malfunctioned and the whole damn thing might as well have never happened. It would be your own sad secret. Another nightmare, perhaps worse, might be pooping your pants. I had that covered with a brand new box of Imodium.

Race morning arrived. I picked up Mike and we headed east. He turned out to be super nice, a lifelong runner who was very familiar with the Long Island race scene. We found relatively close parking to the start. Since we were early, the first thing I did was check with the timing company that the chip on my bib still worked. It did (Lucky dog). Mike and I decided to hang out in the elementary school where the pre- and post-race activities were taking place. The temperature was in the high 30s. I wore shorts and my official 2014 Boston Marathon race shirt. The sun was out and there hadn't been snow on the ground in weeks. I knew I would warm up once I started running, but for the time being, my teeth were actually chattering. I felt like the WHO zombie from World War Z.

"I wish I had a Brad burger right about now..."

Mike seemed to know a lot of people at the race. I got the lowdown on who was in what age group and how fast they were. Finally, it was getting close to start time.  We headed over to the line. I told Mike I hoped to finish around 1:11, four minutes faster than the last time I ran this race. I thought it was reasonable in perfect conditions considering my training and the course elevation.  I just needed "perfect conditions". The gun went off, we said our goodbyes, and I took off.

photo courtesy of Ed Grenzig

I ran at a comfortably fast pace by feel, one that I hoped I could sustain. I hit the Mile 1 marker in 7:16. A little faster than I planned, but I felt good and I knew I would be maybe a full minute slower on the big hill coming up. There were very slight ups and downs in these first couple of miles, fun and nothing of any consequence. The Mile 2 clock read 7:27 which was closer to my goal pace. I didn't have to wait long for the ascent. We climbed 218 steep feet that seemed to go on forever. I was so psyched when we crested because I knew this was the only real big hill in the race. The rest would be cake...not nearly as close to any oceans as I would have liked. I finished Mile 3 in 8:17, surprisingly quicker than I expected. Mile 4 was run in 7:26, Mile 5 in 7:13, Mile 6 in 7:36... I hit the 10k mark in 47:xx, around my 10k PR from a couple of years ago. The deceivingly challenging part of this race comes at Mile 7. It is the long, slow, gradual incline on Kings Park Boulevard. It's a straight shot and people tend to run faster than they should here. I knew this ahead of time so I held back a bit. I finished this mile in 8:17, the exact same split as the earlier killer hill. There is a turn around at this end of this road and then you run back slightly downhill. Mile 8 in 7:38. Finally, I was on the home stretch. Whoo hoo! Up a little hill and then another not-so-little hill...after the multiple hills I just ran over. Ugh. I actually considered walking at this point. I really wanted to be done. I knew, however, if I stopped and finished just a minute or seconds slower than my PR on this course, I'd be kicking myself. I put the punk back in my pocket and finished the race. I forgot to turn my Garmin off immediately so it recorded 9.4 miles in 1:12:08, a 7:40 pace. I think my official time is 1:11:47, 5th in my age group and top 17% overall. A PR for the course (over 600 feet of elevation and descent) and the distance. I'm very happy considering this race is one of the harder ones on the island. Perfect conditions, after all.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bad Blogger!

(Bad blogger!!) I am so sorry for being such a lousy blogger. As you can imagine, life has been pretty busy, particularly with my new venture. Please follow me on Instagram, @roadfitness_ig, where I'm posting almost daily (and check out my personal training site, With everything going on, it's just easier for me to post pictures with really brilliant (aka, mediocre) captions every day. I have always tried to put thought into all of my blog posts, but these days I just don't have the time. I will continue to blog in the future, but probably only to write race recaps and reviews.

See you on Instagram, I hope!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

LIVE From Long Island!

3 things:

    1. I am officially a Certified Personal Trainer - Exercise Fitness Specialist after passing my nationally accredited Academy of Applied Personal Training exam. I will also be receiving my TRX certification at the end of the month and my Run Coach certification from the USATF. I might have an addiction to certifications or school or both.

    2. My coaching website is LIVE and coincidentally, from New York. Go to to be trained or entertained or preordained (not really). I promise you won't be pained (well, maybe a little. In fact, you may be pained reading this. Sorry).

    3. I am registered for Marathon #6, the Shipyard Maine Coast Marathon on Sunday, May 15. This is a small race with a cap of 1,000 runners. It is a rolling point-to-point race along the Atlantic coast. My good friend, Edison, will be running it, too. It will be his first and I will be his trainer. I will be following the Hanson Marathon Method again because I didn't like it the first time around. I loved it. Okay, love may be too strong a word. It was a good fit for me. Edison will be following a much more moderate plan. I don't think Hanson is the best plan for first timers who are not already experienced , accomplished runners.

Other news since we last rendezvoused: I'm up to 45 miles per week; I ran with a nice group from Life Time Athletic in Syosset one evening; I took a killer TRX class that my friend Jeanne taught at Forever Fit out east (Do not be fooled by her sweet disposition. Actually, she is truly sweet, she just happens to be a hardcore bad ass when it comes to working out, but that's exactly what I want in a trainer); and it's finally beginning to feel like winter on Long Island.

From our website photo shoot 
at SUNY Old Westbury.
Pictures courtesy of Hoan Nguyen
friend & photographer extraordinaire.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Year In Review

This year I got back in the game. 2014 was mostly disappointing as far as running was concerned. Even though I ran my favorite race ever (I'm talkin' 'bout you, Boston!), my times suffered. I was unmotivated and over trained by the time Patriot's Day came along. I spent the rest of that year running with no real goals other than just to run, which was both liberating and unsatisfying.

January of 2015 I ran my first race since the Brooklyn Half in May of 2014. I had signed up months earlier for the Sayville Run to the Brewery. I signed up only because it seemed like the thing to do at the time (Something I'll do again months later for the Army Ten Miler. Oops, again). This is an extremely popular ten mile race on Long Island that sells out in minutes. I think Freighbor reminded me the day of registration so I logged on and unexpectedly got in.  Fast forward to January and ta-da, race day arrived. I hadn't trained at all for the race and it turned out to be colder than Arendelle during one of Elsa's tantrums. Considering the circumstances, I was pleased with my result.

February, March, and April came and went, I ran in a lot of snow, over the Williamsburg Bridge, and among alligators in Hilton Head. Then in May I found out I got into the St. George Marathon! Cool! I had been working on building my base up to 40 miles per week. I was ready to get back on track (both figuratively and literally). I chose the Hanson Marathon Method as my program and was looking forward to a nice PR come October. Over the summer I ran in Santa Fe, Pittsburgh (Go Steelers!) and Canada for the first time (Separate trips, of course). I even ran the streets of Manhattan without forking over any moola to the New York Road Runners.

The Hanson program kicked my arse, but I loved the challenge. I loved having a strict schedule and running six days a week. I didn't love not racing. It was strange not knowing whether or not I was getting faster.

I unexpectedly ran another 24 hour 200 mile relay race in September and then finally the marathon! I didn't run sub-3:30 as I'd hoped, but it was a beautiful, deceivingly challenging course and I PR'd and BQ'd for the third time around. Not too shabby. I'll take it.

I took it easy for the rest of October. When November arrived, I decided to start building again. I recruited a bunch of fellow runners to do the Runner's World Holiday Streak with me. And here it is, New Year's Day which included the now annual Hangover Run with my two favs, The Petite Pacer (TPP) and The Emerging Runner. What better way to start the year! We ran five loops in Eisenhower Park with about 400 others and then warmed up at Starbucks where we exchanged holiday gifts and sweet nothings. happy together...
me and you and TPP...
the only one for TPP is you and me and TPP,
so happy together...

Sunday (12/13/15) - 1 mile, 9:00 pace with Sanibel

Monday (12/14/15) - 8 miles, 1:07:17, 8:25 pace

Tuesday (12/15/15) - 6.2 miles, 51:49, 8:21 pace

Wednesday (12/16/15) - 5.92 miles, 49:55, 8:26 pace

Thursday (12/17/15) - 6.02 miles, 51:37, 8:34 pace

Friday (12/18/15) - 7 miles, 1:01:19, 8:46 pace

Saturday (12/19/15) - 6.1 miles, 52:40, 8:38 pace

Sunday (12/20/15) - 1 mile with the 4-year old and 6-year old. As in, they both ran. As in, the 4-year old ran like the Energizer Bunny!

Monday (12/21/15) - 8 miles, 1:11:23, 8:55 pace

Tuesday (12/22/15) - 8 miles, 1:09:46, 8:43 pace

Wednesday (12/23/15) - 6 miles

Thursday (12/24/15) - 4.13 miles, 35:21, 8:34 pace

Friday (12/25/15) - 1 mile with the 4-year old again. This time she stopped a couple of times for a breather, but she recovered quickly and sprinted home for the win!

Saturday (12/26/15) - 10.24 miles, 1:29:46, 8:46 pace

Sunday (12/27/15) - 2.07 miles, 20:15, 9:47 pace with The Kid on his bike.

Monday (12/28/15) - 8.01 miles, 1:07:19, 8:24 pace

Tuesday (12/29/15) - 5.02 miles, 42:35, 8:29 pace

Wednesday (12/30/15) - 7.02 miles, 1:00:17, 8:35 pace

Thursday (12/31/15) - 6.3 miles, 54:59, 8:44 pace

2015 Total Mileage - 1,762 miles - The most miles I have ever run in a year to date. Twenty miles more than 2013. Bring it on, 2016!

Friday (1/1/16) - 5.02 miles, 43:04, 8:35 pace


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A DNS And An Award (Jingle Bell 5k Recap)

I'm back!  Sorry I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. I have been crazy busy with Christmas preparations, family obligations, and school. I'm sure you can all relate. As hectic as it got, I am still keeping the streak alive (Now watch me whip, now watch me...)! I'm not going down that easy! So here are the last two weeks in a nutshell:

Sunday (11/29/15) - 3.5 miles - Earlier that week, the Emerging Runner (ER) asked if we could all get together for a group run. The Petite Pacer said she was racing in Rob's Run, a 5k trail race at Stillwell, ER's famous running haunt. This was the perfect opportunity for me to finally check out this course, as well as see my crew, which is not only 2 Live, but also included Kin, aka ER 2.0.  That morning I still had not recovered from my chest cold #2. I decided to just run casually with the guys while TPP raced. I met Kin and ER in the parking lot of Syosset High School which is directly across the street from Stillwell. We planned to do some easy laps on the track. Soon after, TPP stopped by with her sister and fellow blogger, Neon Is My Color (NIMC)! This was a treat since I have been reading her blog for a few years. Seeing a blogger whom you follow in real life for the first time is truly like a celebrity sighting (I'm sure this is exactly how ER felt the first time he met me). I wondered if I should ask for her autograph. Instead, we took a group selfie.  When in doubt, selfie! The sisters headed to the start of the race to pick up numbers and get settled while the guys and I continued running around in ovals. ER went his own way, literally. He decided to be that guy running around the track in the opposite direction from everyone else. After a few laps together, Kin left me to run with ER (Out of pity, I'm sure). Before we knew it, it was time to meet TPP and NIMC at the starting line. There was a large crowd, approximately 700 runners.  We cheered the ladies as they took off. I said hello to the president of my running club who was standing next to me taking photographs. Another celebrity sighting! Kin, ER, and I left for Starbucks where we didn't have to wait long for the girls to meet us. We drank our coffees, ate ER's pumpkin bread, and enjoyed each other's company until it was time to part ways. It's always a good day when it starts with these guys.

Left to right: Kin, ER, Pink Lady, NIMC,

Monday (11/30/15) - 7.06 miles, 1:00:46, 8:36 pace

Tuesday (12/1/15) - 6.07, 50:31, 8:19 pace - I ran to the gym where I wanted to do some speed work on the treadmill. I thought it would be fun to try Yasso 800s for the first time with quarter mile recoveries in between. In Yasso 800s, you run 800 meters in your marathon time converted to minutes. I ran them in 3 minutes 34 seconds.

Wednesday (12/2/15) - 1.84 miles, 16:55, 9:12 pace - It's super streakyyy.

Thursday (12/3/15) - 8.02miles, 1:10:33, 8:48 pace

Friday (12/4/15) - 6 miles

Saturday (12/5/15) 4.1 miles, 31:39 - Since I missed out on Rob's Run, I decided to sign up for the Jingle Bell 5k at Hofstra University. I ran this race a couple of years ago sick as a dog (Wow, my sickness seems to be a recurrent theme here). This year I was only sick as a cat. Judging from the times in years past, I thought I had a good chance of winning the women's race. I parked on campus and picked up my number and fun, festive green long sleeve cotton shirt. I was wearing leggings and a lined turtle neck running top which turned out to be too warm. Almost all of the participants were dressed as Santa or elves. There was even a giant gingerbread man who looked more like Gumby in disguise. I ran a quick warm up mile. As I was waiting for the start, I saw the president of my running club again! Finally, we all lined up and took off. For most of the race I saw that there was a cross country college girl up front and then what looked to be a fourth or fifth grader behind her. I was third. The course took us in a circle around the perimeter of the campus. On a couple of occasions, I had to pull off to the side to cough my lungs up. They stayed down. As I started to slow down, Miss Elementary Schooler sped up (Annoying). I crossed the finish line in 22:27. This was a minute slower than my PR, but I was happy. The results were posted almost immediately. I saw that I actually finished second overall, instead of third.  The 11-year old (Little Miss Sprinty Pants) took first.  I'm not sure what happened to the cross country chick. I was psyched to be in the top three overall, plus I won my age group (40-49) as a bonus. I couldn't stick around for the award ceremony so one of the volunteers took my information to mail it to me. She called me later in the week apologizing that they actually gave the gold medal to the third place winner because it was hard to distinguish from the bronze. She was so sorry and sweet and said she was going to mail me a gift card instead. Unnecessary, but thanks!

Packet pickup

Who is that man?

It's easy being green when you
win an award...or gift card.

Total Weekly Mileage - 36.6

Sunday (12/6/15) - 1 mile - We had a lot on our plate this day. Church, then Hicks Nursery to see the Christmas display, then my mother's house for a quick stop-and-chat (Oh, curb your enthusiasm, will ya!), dinner out, and finally watching Miracle On 34th Street  (The original! Don't even get me started on damn remakes - yeah I'm talking to you despicable Seuss recremations!) with the kids. When oh when will I run? Damn you, Runner's World! It turned out I ran immediately after dinner (meaning immediately after food and a glass of vino). It wasn't so bad. The air was crisp and I was verrry relaxed.

Monday (12/7/15) - 8 miles, 1:08:48, 8:36 pace

Tuesday (12/8/15) - 8 miles, 1:06:38, 8:20 pace

Wednesday (12/9/15) - 3.05 miles, 26:02, 8:32 pace

Thursday (12/10/15) - 7.01 miles, 1:00:32, 8:38 pace - Happy 14th birthday, Sanibel!!!

Friday (12/11/15) - 6 miles, 51:52, 8:39 pace

Saturday (12/12/15) - 4.89 miles, 41:49, 8:33 pace - Run cut short due to technical difficulties (aka, bathroom emergency. Oh you know the drill by now), 2.33 miles 19:12, 8:16 pace - I did the second part of the run after my study group. I ran a loop around Museum Row near Nassau Coliseum.

Total Weekly Mileage - 40.3 Whoo hoo! Building the base, baby.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Get Your Streak On

Sunday (11/22/15) - Off

Monday (11/23/15) - 8.02 miles, 1:10:09, 8:45 pace

Tuesday (11/24/15) - 7 miles, 1:01;45, 8:49 pace

Wednesday (11/25/15) - Off - Last day off until January 2, 2016!

Thursday (11/26/15 gobble gobble) - 6.1 miles, 55:36, 9:07 pace - I decided to attempt the Runner's World Holiday Streak again this year. Run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving until January 1. I streaked two years ago and although it tested my creativity and commitment at times, I enjoyed the challenge. I've already created a Facebook Group with eager participants. It's definitely more fun and motivating when you have others to commiserate with and keep you honest.

I kicked off this year's streak with Freighbor and GM (both participants, as well) in the local park. We set out to do five, but there really isn't a five mile loop so we wound up running six. My damn cough/congestion was back so I was very aware of my huffing and puffing, particularly when attempting to engage in conversation (which I'm not used to anyway when running).  Both Freighbor and GM's GPS' had different readings. I chose to record a time and pace that split the difference. It was nice to have the company while lessening the inevitable guilt about what I was going to stuff into my face in just a few short hours. I forgot to take a group here is an artist's rendition of what a post-run selfie might have looked like...

Left to right: GM, Me apparently wearing
a child's bicycle helmet, and Freighbor.
(No, Freighbor and GM are not twins.)

Challah if you want more stuffing!

My "famous" walnut topped 
cranberry casserole
right before it went Hansel and Gretel.
Probably 5,000 calories alone,
but oh so good!

Friday (11/27/15) 6.13 miles - Early evening run with some strides.

Saturday (11/28/15) - 6.04, 53:27, 8:51 pace - Another evening run. I saved myself from a serious face plant due to an uneven sidewalk hidden by wet leaves.

Total Weekly Mileage - 33.3 miles