Category Archives: races

Escape to Miami Sprint Triathlon Recap

It was finally the morning of the race. I double checked all the items in my bag and then Frank and I met Amy and Brooke to drop off our transition bags. Even though our race didn’t start until 8:45, we had to drop off our transition bags and be out of the bike area by 7:00AM.

I took my bike to get some air put in my tires. I secured my helmet and water bottle on my bike. Then I just put my towel on the ground and my bag on my towel under the bike. I was so glad I hadn’t laid everything out on the ground because there was a downpour around 7:30AM and my shoes would have been soaked.

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2,500 bikes!

We all went to the water to see if we could see Josh start the Olympic distance (.9 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6.2 mile run), which was actually starting from an island across the bay. Unfortunately, their start was delayed and we decided to head back to the hotel to have breakfast. I had an iced coffee, half a Stonyfield protein shake, a banana and half a granola bar. Plus water.

I then realized that they gave me the cap for the wrong age group. I was able to solve this pretty quickly and was really happy I was going to be able to start the swim with Amy and Brooke.

We cheered Frank on for his start and 3 minutes later it was our turn. While I initially planned to hang back for the swim to avoid getting kicked, we somehow wound up close to the front. Fortunately, I was able to stay in the front of the pack around the first bouy. I then transitioned to breaststroke. I thought I’d be able to do breaststroke and maintain a good pace, but I soon realized that due to the current, the breaststroke was far less effective than freestyle. Even so, I suck at spotting, so I mainly stuck with breast. I finished the last 100 meters freestyle. The climb out of the water was really painful due to tons of sharp rocks, so I had to really take my time there.

Overall, the swim seemed to go by quickly, but it was uncomfortable being kicked and scratched by others. I think I’ll be much better prepared next time and able to really make the swim even stronger.

Swim: 400 meters. Time: 7:21. Pace:1:51/100mtrs.

Age Group Place: 15/51

# of times kicked or scratched: approx. 8

T1:

I really wanted to take my time on the transition, so I had time to collect myself and not forget anything. I soon saw Frank. He had survived the swim! Yay. I knew he’d be fine for the bike and run.  I put on my socks, shoes and sunglasses. Took a sip of water and strapped on my fuelbelt. I then strapped on my helmet. The chin strap felt tight and I took probably a full minute trying to adjust it so I could breathe. I figured it was time well spent. As I was exciting I saw Amy just a  bit ahead and called and waved.

T1 Time: 4:19. AG Place: 41/52

The Bike:

I was by far the most nervous for the bike. I really wished I had practiced on a road bike or practiced at all. Other than spinning, I’d only gone on two rides outside all summer. But after I mounted the bike, I realized it wasn’t so bad. The other bikers were careful not to hit you and even though none of the zone rules were followed, I felt fairly safe.

The bike route included four hills—all bridges. I made it to the first bridge and man it was tough, but I was passing lots of people. I wondered if I was pushing too hard? But I kept going. I was passed by 3 people for every person I passed. I was on a very low gear so that I didn’t kill my legs, but I found it frustrating to be passed by people pedaling slower than me. After I conquered the next bridge, I soon found myself close to the turn around. I saw Amy heading back as I was approaching. I almost fell on the turnaround but managed to save myself. From here, I decided to switch to higher gears and I was better able to keep a steady paec with those around me. In a strange way, the bike was kind of relaxing. It was tough, but manageable. The only problem was I still couldn’t drink while biking, so I didn’t take water or fuel on this leg. The hills on the second leg came and went and soon I was dismounting. I was pretty happy with how the bike went as I entered the transition.

Bike: 13 miles. Time: 53:33 Pace: 14.67 min/mile

Age Group Place: 37/52 Falls: 0

T2: I was thrilled to drop off my bike. I put on my hat. I almost forgot my bib, but I remembered at the last second. Between the wrist band, helmet number, two tattoos, bike number and race bib, you really are well marked during tris. I soon saw Amy once again exiting just ahead of me. She looked great!   I then saw Frank again!

T2 Time: 3:09 AG Place: 39/52

The Run: Frank and I started out together. We were both struggling to get our legs back and so we took it very slow and chatted along. It was brutal, but I tried to stay positive. 3.1 miles and we were dunzo. It was about 90 degrees and with no shade or breeze people were really struggling. I’d say the majority of people were walking right from the beginning.

We approached our 3rd and final bridge and man it was a climb. It seemed never ending. We just kept chugging along. Soon we found Amy. We even saw Josh on the last mile of his run! Amy and I alternated power walking and jogging for a bit. We reached the first mile at the top of the bridge and honestly I couldn’t believe we were only at mile 1. We said our goodbyes at the turn around. I grabbed a Gatorade at the water stop.

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On the way back over the bridge, people were suffering. The heat was really intense and I was passing people even when I was walking. As soon as I was on the top of the bridge again, I committed to running to the finish. It was only a little over a mile. Never before and likely never again will I pass so many people in a race. Even at snail’s pace, I was doing better than most. It was pretty cool as I’m usually in the opposite position, RTB leg 3 for example. Anyways, I finally saw the park up ahead. We rounded in. I saw Josh taking photos. I really couldn’t sprint but I tried to up my pace a tiny bit.

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We rounded a corner, still no finish line. I passed through a street lined with cheering people. Still no finish line. I could see all the festivities in the post-race area and finally I could see the finish line. I realized I was about to finish my first tri and took a moment to take it all in. I was mostly happy to be almost done, but I wanted to also remember the experience.

It felt great to be done. It was now both hot and super humid, so I was looking for some kind of shade. I soon found Amy and she looked awesome.

We watched Brooke finish with such determination. I’m amazed at how strong Brooke and Amy were. Neither have done more than a few running races and they both killed their first tri!

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Then I found Frank, who was looking a lot happier than the last time I had seen him. He’d managed to push through the run and finished a few minutes before me.

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RUN: 3.4 miles <–just realized this was more than a 5K!.

Time: 35:38  Pace: 10:29 min/mile

AG Place; 18/52

Temperature: a cool 89 degrees and sunny.

Seeing everyone at the end was great. The best part was we could just drop our bikes at the Mack Cycles tent at the end. Easy peasy.

It was a fun experience. I might do an Olympic, but I’m not sure I really want to do a half or full ironman ever. I just can’t imagine it. I thought the Escape to Miami was very well organized and well run.  They were amazing about closing down so many main roads and highways.  I wish the course had been a bit more scenic as it was all on the highway, but it was an awesome first tri experience.

Looking back, I learned a lot during the Escape. Here are just a few of the things that I learned:

  • Buy $1 throw away sandals. You’ll likely have to be out of the transition area well before your race start, so if you want to wear shoes during that time, you’ll need throwaway sandals. I ended up just sacrificing mine.
  • The day before requires a ton of prep. You need to practice on your bike, check in your bike. Figure out all the rules. Understand your course. Prepare for transition. Tris have tons of logistics around when you can drop off things and when you can be in the transition area. <–though this could have just been my tri.
  • Fueling is tough. I ended up only drinking two small cups of Gatorade throughout the race. Fortunately, I had a decent breakfast. It was pretty difficult to eat or drink on the bike, so I drank far less fluid than I should have, especially given the heat. All my GUs just sat in my race belt because by the time I was running, they seemed silly to take.
  • Numbers, numbers, numbers. There are numbers on all your limbs and your bike, helmet and shirt. The amount of marking is crazy.
  • It’s cool that you get a time and AG place for each leg and the transitions. It makes it really easy to see what you need to work on.
  • Transitions count! My transitions were among the slowest in my age group and the two areas I placed the worst. It’s important to keep things moving in the transition areas if you care about your time.
  • I was happy that I got to see my friends throughout the race, which doesn’t always happen in marathons. That’s fun.
  • Have lots of plastic bags. Having a plastic bag to put over my transition bag would have been really helpful, although it was pretty protective of my belongings.
  • No music. At least in my tri, headphones or ipods of any kind were punshible with a time penalty. If you love to run to music, practice without in advance.
  • Practice. I really didn’t train for this, but that caused quite a bit of anxiety about the transitions, using a road bike, etc. If I had trained and done a few BRICK (bike and run or swim and bike) workouts, I wouldn’t have died so much on the run.

After the triathlon we enjoyed a well deserved day on South Beach.  This was followed by a victory dinner at Prime 112, which was excellent!

 

 

 

Escape to Miami Sprint Triathlon: Prep

My first (sprint) triathalon is in the books!

For years I wanted to do a tri, but then I just kind of got over it and stuck with running. But a good friend (and Ironman) Josh suggested Frank and I do the Escape to Miami sprint triathlon and I was sold pretty quickly. Mostly because I really wanted to go to Joe’s Stone Crab. Also, we were going with some great people!

We arrived in downtown Miami on Friday afternoon. We grabbed a quick lunch and then spent some time at the hotel pool. For everyone except Josh, this was our first trialtlon. We were only a few blocks from the start, so we went to check out the course. We quickly realized that flat Miami is not without some major bridges and our course included 3 of them.

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So much for a flat, fast route! Hello hills!

After that we all got ready for dinner, unfortunately, when we pulled up to Joe’s Stone Crab, it was closed until October 15th. #Fail. It was fairly devastating, but we pressed on. We ended up at Michael Mina’s at Fontainebleau hotel. The service and food were pretty terrible, I won’t be going to another Michael Mina restaurant. But hanging out at the bar in the lobby of Fontainebleau was pretty fun. It was quite the scene for people watching.

Saturday we all met at 8:48AM to take care of logistics.  Yes, 8:48 was the determined time. The first big surprise of doing a triathlon was how long this would take. I thought we’d be on the beach by 2PM, we didn’t finish up and check in our bikes until 6:00PM. Here’s a look at a day in the life of destination triathlon newbie. Note: I reread a lot of other blogger’s trialthon posts last night and it seems like ours might of had more logistic regulations than others.

9:00AM—We go to rent a car to pick up our bikes. Thanks to Josh for coordinating all our bike rentals from Mack Cycles—the official race sponsor.

9:45AM—We arrive at Mack Cycles. Our bikes aren’t ready, so we did some shopping. It was a really great store, and they had so much product. I picked up a helmet and some Gu chomps. It took a really long time for them to test all our bikes, but they finally brought my bike out at 10:45AM.

10:45AM—I hopped on the bike and they helped me adjust the seat height. It was the first road bike I had ever riden, so I was pretty freaked out by the low handles and paper thin tires. This was going to be interesting…

11:45AM—The three girls hop in an uber back to the hotel and Josh and Frank drive the bikes in the SUV.

12:00PM: We drop the bikes off at the hotel and the boys return the van.

12:25PM: Josh puts the tires back on our bikes and we drop them off in the room.

12:45PM: We head to get lunch and find an amazing spot called Salsa Fiesta. I highly recommend it! One of the best taco platters I’ve ever had at a casual joint. You could mix and match your type of taco, filling and tortillas!

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2:00PM: We take our bikes out for a test ride. This is actually always recommended the day before a tri, which I didn’t realize. Josh, who had brought his own bike, also tested his. So my first time on the road bike was a bit scary. I felt stable on the tires, but not enough to ride out of the seat or reach for my water bottle. Eventually, I was more comfortable riding with my upper body low enough to change the gears and use the brakes. Both pretty essential, right? I was definitely worried about crashing, falling and turning, but there wasn’t much I could do at that point. At least I wasn’t using clips.

3:30PM: It’s time for the practice swim. Since there wasn’t nearby water, we opted for the hotel pool again. Frank was a bit on the fence about the triathlon because he’s never really swum laps, but with a practice session with both coach Josh and me, he greatly improved in just two sessions. While I had only swum twice in the past year to prepare for the tri, I felt really good in the water. I actually wish I had trained more because I remembered how much I love swimming.

4:30PM: It was at this point we learned that we had to drop off our bikes in the transition area by 6:00PM.  We thought we’d just do it in the morning. Tris (or at least this one) have so many more rules and regulations than running races. There were so many deadlines to meet and stay within. Since the bike check in kind of snuck up on us, we scrambled to get all our numbers and things in place. On my first attempt, I brought my bike all the way to the check in area but didn’t have my number, so I had to wheel my bike back to the hotel to pick it up.

6:00PM: Our bikes are finally checked in. Thank goodness.

6:15PM: Coach Josh suggests a quick workout—”bis before tris” as he calls it. I decide to join for just the ab portion. Mainly because I hadn’t worked out all week. Honestly, I’m feeling my abs more than anything today!

7:30PM: We arrive at the SLS for dinner at Bizarre. I highly recommend it. It had a great selection of traditional and creative Spanish tapas. It was an amazing meal.

9:30PM: Back at the hotel, we are preparing our transition bags. Because it was a sprint tri, we didn’t need much.photo 2

For the morning, I laid out my tri suit, cap, goggles, advil, granola bars, sunscreen and sandals. I also had my water bottle and helmet out to bring to the bike in the morning.

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In my tri bag:

T1: Socks and sneakers, fuel belt with gu chomps. Sunglasses. Towel.

T2: Hat. Bib with pins. I also had a plastic bag with my phone in my bag.

10:30PM: They said there would be no number marking in the morning, so we put on our number tattoos, one on the arm and one on the leg. Plus there was your age for the other leg.

Here’s Frank’s tattoo. I liked the tattoos better than markers I’ve seen in other races. photo 4

11:15PM: We were finally in bed and ready for our 6:00AM wake up call.

Tomorrow I’ll post the actual recap!

Reach The Beach: Legs 2 and 3

Hello! I greet you from Miami! Tomorrow I am going to attempt to do my first sprint triathlon–so help me god.  But I’m not here to talk about that today, I wanted to recap the rest of my RTB experience a few weeks ago.

While the first leg is all fun and games, things get tough in legs 2 and 3.  We had to run in the dark in the middle of the night and then we had to run again on tired legs with little sleep or food.  But the running is manageable, we are “runners” after all. The hard part is being in the van, I kind of think society breaks down a little bit after 30 hours in a van.  This is why the race is actually intended to be finished in 24 hours but how anyone is fast enough to accomplish this is beyond me!

On a side note, Reach the Beach reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite MTV shows from back in the day–Road Rules!  Does anyone else remember that show?  Honestly mad respect for all the time they spent in the winnie.

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In any event, we had a fair bit of time before our night legs which was spent organizing the van, napping and just hanging out.

Then it was time to send Jess off once again!

The night legs started off with a beautiful sunset. Temperatures had really dropped, so we were all bundled up in the van.  While I really had fun driving during the day, I was not able to drive at night because I am just not a good enough driver to feel comfortable driving in the dark on small side roads.  But we managed.  My night leg started at 11:30PM.  The first half was great, it was through a cute little town well lit by street lights.  The second half was basically a 2 mile climb uphill.  The uphills were tough, but the night leg might have been my favorite after all. I knew my team wanted to sleep, so I tried to run hard when it wasn’t straight uphill and not completely die when it was.

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After my leg, we all attempted to sleep at the next transition area.  Unfortunately, I was freezing and still damp from my run, so I wasn’t able to sleep.  Instead, I quietly willed my stomach issues to settle down.  We were all thrilled when it was morning because it meant we’d be able to start our third leg soon.

It was the first time we were able to meet up with van 2 for any significant length of time.  Marissa and Allie seemed pumped and ready to go.  It was actually really inspiring since I think Van 2 has harder times of day to run.

The 5th and 6th van legs were shorter than the first four for most, totally around 50 miles total.  Jess was off and had a brutally hilly last leg, but being the unwaveringly strong runner she is, she finished strongly and even wanted to go further due to a strange wild card transitions.

Side note: a wildcard in Reach the Beach is when you can decide where you want to transition between two legs.  So if leg 1 is 8 miles and leg 2 is 3 miles, you can transition any point after mile 4.5 of the first leg, to more evenly distribute the miles if needed.

Everyone powered through the last of the never-ending hills until it was my turn once again. I felt super lucky I only had 3.1 easy miles for my last leg.

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My legs were sore and I felt like I was really hobbling along and being passed by every runner on the course.  But when I saw the finish line ahead I was able to really power it out. I almost ran smack into Allie!

Thanks to Theodora for taking pictures of my finish!

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After finishing we drove to a cute little town called Exeter. Theodora, Christine and I grabbed lunch at a little diner. I was famished by this point and greasy diner food was kind of appealing. I ordered an omelette platter and 1 chocolate chip pancake. I wish I had taken a picture of the feast. I hadn’t had much more than a clif bar and a handful of animal crackers since lunch the day before, so I enjoyed the omelette and a few bites of the pancake sans guilt.

After stopping into the local shops it was time to meet Van 2 for a glorious finish!. We soon met up with the rest of our team at the finish area and our amazing NB liaison Mary.  We found  a prime spot on the beach to watch the teams come into the finish. Lorraine came in with all kinds of swagger. My hat’s off to her for finishing a large portion of the run on sand—so tough on tired legs.

We all finished and were super excited to proudly hold up our medals for the cameras.

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Unfortunately, the celebration was cut short by a huge rain shower. We all piled in our vans and took off for Boston. I had originally had a really late train that would get me in to NYC at 2:30AM, but we were able to change it to 6:30PM. We made it to South Station with just minutes to spare thanks to Mary’s amazing van driving skills.

I slept most of the way home. I was pretty sleepy when I was exiting Penn station will tons of bags hoping to find a cab quickly, but suddenly I heard my name being called. It was Frank.   Sometimes he is just the best. I couldn’t have been happier to see him waiting for me—and I quickly gave him my bags to carry.

Overall, it was RTB #2 was a really great experience. The  New Hampshire course is longer (207.8 miles!) and more challenging, but also more scenic. Check out a great quick video recap here:

I’m proud that I finished my 17.5 miles, I was not really sure I was ready and I have to thank my team for the amazing support and New Balance for being so amazing in sponsoring my travel, registration, gear and food. I can’t thank you enough.

I’ll be sharing my favorite pieces of apparel and footwear, as well as soon tips for packing and organization soon.

Happy Monday folks, I hope the week is off to a great start.

New Balance Factory Experience

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to run a Reach the Beach Relay on behalf of New Balance.  I was part of their blogger team a few years ago and you can read about that experience here, here, here, here and here.  While I was super excited to run the race again, I was just as excited to visit the New Balance Factory again.  Maybe I’m a nerd, but I just love how inspirational it is to visit where baby new balance sneakers are born.  The factory is also super inspirational, there are motivational quotes everywhere, walls of innovation, and you can tell every single employee is proud to work at New Balance–in fact, they will tell you so themselves.  New Balance is hands down my favorite athletic outfitter and they have a level of integrity that is unparalleled in the industry.

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Snoopies in sneakers. I die.

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We got to see how the New Balance 990 is made. It’s so shocking to see just how much work goes into making 1 sneaker.

To make one sneaker it takes:

  • 35 people
  • 2.5-3 hours
  • 50+ individual steps

Every step is 100% guided by a person.  A person makes sure that the holes to lace your shoes are punched in the exact right place.  It’s truly incredible.  As a side note, New Balance makes 100% more of their shoes in the USA than any other major shoe brand.

Here are just a few of the steps that goes into make the NB990…

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After the factory tour we got to see some of the new things coming out of the innovation lab! New Balance is using 3D printing to test out products in amazing ways.  By 3D printing the soles of shoes, athletes and consumers can test shoes much faster and New Balance can make adjustments overnight.

Check out some of these 3D printed shoes…

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I took these babies out for a job….just kidding, these were made for an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Pretty cool.

 

 

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Then we went to the smash lab where machines put shoes through the ringer to test stability, flexibility, durability and much more.

 

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Then Carrie got to see her stride in real time using a complex configurations of cameras and sensors on her shoes.

 

 

 

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Shoes, shoes and more glorious shoes.

 

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And here’s the all star team:

Team picture at NB factory

 

From left to right: Theodora, Caitlin, Carrie, Jess, Gia, Christine, Melissa, Marissa, Alli, Melissa, Lorriane and me.

After the tour, I went to the factory store to pick up gifts for the hubs, plus a few things for myself.  I bought him a pair of his favorite NB sneakers, and he had them on so fast, I didn’t even get to take a picture.  If you live in Boston, I’d definitely recommend taking a trip out to the factory store in Lawrence, MA for some great deals!

Next up, you’ll hear about my 2nd RTB experience.  It was the New Hampshire course, which was very different from the MA course. It was colder, hillier, longer (yes, really), but also much more scenic, IMO! Stay tuned.

UAE 10k and Brooklyn Half Recap!

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For the last 5 years, a fair number of of my spring, summer and fall weekends have included an NYRR race–the last two weekends were true to form.

Last weekend, we ran the UAE 10K.   This race is always fun and festive. When your race has a rich sponsor, you know you are in store for sway–like tech shirts and medals!

It also happened to not start until 9AM, which is always a win!  It was a gorgeous morning for a race.uae

This 6 miler was supposed to be my taper run for the Brooklyn Half, but my training fell off somewhere along the way and it turned into more of a build run to supplement my two longest training runs, which topped off at 8 miles each.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I felt that I had certainly trained enough to successfully complete a 10K without much effort. Or not.   The gun went off and my legs felt like lead. I’m sure most people know what I’m talking about. Sometimes you start a run and have great fresh legs and sometimes  you feel like you are wearing invisible ankle weights.  I plodded along, around mile 3 things got better for a while.  By mile 5, things were bleak–I was feeling a bit nauseous and the lead feeling had returned.  Somehow I rounded the bottom of Central Park South and the end was in sight–sort of. The 800 meters to go, 400 meters to go, 200 meters to go signs seemed just plain mean.   But finally I finished.

Clearly, I made a rookie mistake–no hill training.  The Great Hill seemed somehow greater and the rolling hills on the west side seemed to never end.

I have to be honest, I left the UAE 10K feeling pretty defeated. I wasn’t sure how I would even finish the Brooklyn Half, as it the distance is more than twice as long.

I like to be over prepared in any given situation.  I cook enough for 20 when 10 people are coming over. I make 14 copies for a meeting with 12 people. I triple check work documents before sending them out. I don’t like to leave room for error.  It causes me a lot of anxiety.  But somehow, come half marathon week, I was struggling to complete a 10K.  While I hate to be unprepared, I also hate giving up.  So after much agonizing (which is always helpful), I decided to try and make it through the BK Half, even if I had to walk most of it.

On Wednesday, I went to pick up my race packet at the Half Pre-party.  It was actually a good way to get in a more positive mindset!

Brooklyn Bridge Park is so cute!

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The pre-party was sponsored by New Balance, and they had lots of great promotions going on. There were also other vendors, lots of food trucks, live music and plenty of general merriment to enjoy, which I did. I may not finish the race, but I am going to pre-party with the best of them. Damnit.

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Before I knew it, it was the night before the race. I went out to dinner with friends and then went to bed early, as we had a 5:00AM alarm set.

Race day morning was a flurry of activity, but we were out the door in 20 minutes to catch the subway. While it seemed to go by pretty quickly, it took about an hour to get to Prospect Park.  We went through security and got in the corrals.  Each corral had a ton of port-potties, which was a nice bonus.  I was pretty nervous in the corral, but three things helped cheer me up:

1.) A bunch of girls that were wearing shirts that said, “If found, please drag to the finish.”

2.) When the announcer said, “Brooklyn, are you ready?” and several people yelled no.

3.) When the announcer said, “Are you ready to run?” And a guy said, well, we are here, so I guess we have to.

It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only nervous one there! After what seemed like forever, off we went.  My legs didn’t feel great, but they didn’t feel bad.  The first part of the race is an out and back around a round-a-bout. I saw Frank coming back on my way out.  I knew the out and back was almost 2.5 miles of the course, so I was happy when it seemed to go by fairly quickly.  I saw fast runners zooming out of the park as I entered, and soon after I put on my headphones and just decided to enjoy the nice lushness of Prospect Park.  There was a big meadow with tons of dogs frolicking during off leash hours.  My goal was to at least make it through the park before I decided whether I would need to walk.  Fortunately, Prospect Park is pretty flat, and I was still feeling good when we left at mile 7.   While my favorite part of the race is the park, it’s nice to be on Ocean Parkway, so you can finally stop running in circles start to get where you are going–Coney Island.

Around mile 9, I was starting to feel fatigue in my legs.  I decided to walk for 20-60 seconds at every mile marker to give my muscles a chance to lose some tension.  While there were some moments where I thought I would never make it to mile 12, overall I felt way better than I did at the UAE.  Everything was going much better than expected even though I was probably running 12 minute miles.

As we rounded Surf Ave, I could smell the popcorn and hotdogs.  Soon we were on the boardwalk running the last 200 meters on the sandy planks.

For being a large race, the exit area moved really quickly and I soon found Frank in the finisher’s area.

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We enjoyed Coney Island for a bit before taking the long train ride back home.  We went to a great Yankees game in the afternoon and by the time we got home, I was totally spent.

While my only goal for the half was to finish, I was shocked that I actually finished around my usual half time, 2:14. It certainly wasn’t a PR, but I  guessed I had ran it in closer to 2:35, so I was pretty happy to find out I finished 20 minutes faster than my estimate. I was worried about the 3 hour cut off time for nothing!

I’ll definitely run Brooklyn again. I love that it’s flat!

I hope all the other BK half runners had a great race!

 

A Super Weekend!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Albion Fit Giveaway!

Drum Roll for the Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

5

Timestamp: 2013-02-05 03:14:52 UTC

And the winner is Meri! Huge Congrats!

I like the racer tops….I feel like the vertical lines would be very slimming for us short-torso-ed peeps!

In other exciting news, I had a really great weekend.  I kicked off the evening by meeting up with Ashley and crew for a drink before spending some quality time watching Say Yes to the Dress, Randy Knows Best.  Love Randy and the occasional low key Friday!

On Saturday, we hit the gym and made one of four runs to the supermarket to stock up for our Super Bowl party.  We also went to Chopt, which is our new obsession.  As pricey as Chopt is, I credit it for getting me back to total salad obsession. My leafy green consumption is way way up!

Salad for lunch was in order because we had a special dinner date with friends at Maialino.  While I may obsessed with salad right now, I am also obsessed with Maialino brunch–oh those ricotta pancakes.

It was our first time having dinner at Maialino and it did not disappoint. We had several bottles of amazing wine, plus delicious plates of pasta. I love that the cacio e pepe really goes all the way and doesn’t hold back anything. However, it was two table shares that really made the meal spectacular.  One was the ravioli de uvo, a ravioli with spinach, ricotta and an entire egg yolk. I was very nervous to try it and almost didn’t, but it turned out to be creamy and delicious.  A couple bites was more than enough.  The other amazing dish was actually a very light, refreshing dessert, olive oil affogato.  This fun take on affogato paired a special olio nuovo with vanilla gelato and satsuma, it was out of this world.

Okay, we’ll take a brief break from food to discuss running.  Bright, early and brisk on Sunday morning, we made our way to Central Park for the Gridiron 4 miler.  I’ve done this race several times, but this year might have been the coldest at under 30 degrees. In hindsight, yesterday was much warmer than today.

It was my first race of 2013, but also one of a half a dozen times I’ve run since June. At least I gave myself plenty of time to heal from my injury, no issues there! No I just need to get back in the routine.

I’d say the worst part was waiting in the corrals. My feet were completely numb before we started running and I was cursing myself for always being so early for everything.  Finally we started running and it wasn’t so bad.  Up cat hill and around all my favorite Central Park sites.  It felt weird to feel my quads, but not my feet.  Around mile 1.5 feeling started coming back to my feet and I realized my socks were soaked. I just kept squishing alone.  I was looking forward mile 2 where you have the chance to “vote” for the team you want to win by running on the appropriate side of the road.

After that I was just trying to focus on my stellar playlist (will post soon) and make it through the rolling hills of mile 3.  I had decided not to ditch the sweatshirt pants that I had over my running tights, so those were also soaked and heavy by this point.  But once there was only 1 downhill mile to go, I was feeling good again.  Crossing the finish line felt great, certainly no records broken, but 1 of 9 races done and done!

The rest of the day we spent cooking and cleaning for the Super Bowl. We wound up with a great spread!

The above was just round 1, I didn’t even get pics of the half time eats!! Between the chicken cutlets, brisket, crab cakes, deviled eggs, meatballs, spicy pizza dip, guac, cruditite, spinach dip, lamb and broccoli rabe orechiette and vegetable ziti, we didn’t go hungry.  I made the pizza dip and the crudite platter, which were both pretty simple to put together!

Wow! This post was a long one!  I guess I better get going, but I’ll leave you with the biggest loser challenge update! I am up to:

150 push ups, 150 squats, 150 sit ups and a 2 minute and 30 second plank!

Queens 10K Recap-Walking Edition

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Last year,  the  Queens Half Marathon was on a hot and sunny morning, not unlike this morning. However, as you may know, the Queens Half is no more.  The Queens Half has been around since 1979, but has now been reduced to a 10K.  This makes me a little sad because the Queens Half was my first half ever and I am also a proud former Queens resident, but I guess I should stop complaining and start recapping.  Honestly with temps in the high 80s early in the day, I was actually glad the race was a 10K today.  Not only because it was hot, but because I was walking it.

My little hip flexor pain hasn’t gone away, and after trying to jog to the subway, I admitted that running  was really not much of an option unless I want to push through in pain and potentially cause more damage. But I wasn’t about to waste a $35 registration and qualifier (more on that in a post later this week).  It’s time to see a doctor, I know Ashley, I know. Anyways, walking a race was a first.  In the past 50 or so races I have run, I think I have walked in two, and only for a minute or two at most. While I believe the Galloway Method is an effective technique, mentally, I don’t like to walk during a race. It’s a little different when you plan to walk the whole thing.

As we waited in the corrals, I was hot. I was nervous I would be trampled. I wondered if this would be my first DNF ever.  As soon as the gun went off, so did I. I hobble ran the first half mile or so to let the crowds thin out before I settled into my speed walk.  The first few miles I settled into the walking community happy to have company. If I wasn’t shy and awkward in large groups, I probably could have made friends.  I tried to run a few times, but quickly thought better of it.  Instead I enjoyed the course.  The first major excitement was a path with reeds on both sides. It was like running through a pond.  I am not being sarcastic, I really enjoyed it.  While the first few miles were long and seemed to go on and on as the sun beat down, once I hit 3.1, I was reenergized.  3.1 miles is a leisurely after dinner stroll. NBD.

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Things also got a bit more scenic, we passed the Queens Museum of Art and got sweeping views Citifield.  However, then there was an out and back that seemed to last forever! Thankfully on the way out, a DJ was blasting a killer Call Me Maybe Mix that picked everyone up a bit as we began a long path to the turn around point. Finally we  rounded the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and hit the straightaway that would take us to the sphere.  2012-07-01_09.27.37

I started running with about 3/4 of a mile to go.  I couldn’t take it any more.   Running around the sphere is amazing, it’s pure glory, however, the finish is still about .3 of a mile away! I was happy to finish and receive this sweet medal.

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I found Frank, who’s on track to complete all five races in the 5-borough series and we took obligatory sphere pictures.

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Then I got a juicy bag of mango for the ride home—so good!

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I do love the course, and I hope to RUN it next year!   I wish I had seen my fellow NYC blogger out there!  Abby, Celia and Stephanie, I hope you had a great race!

Running is All Around Me!

I feel like the late spring/early summer running season is in full swing! Running related info is filling my inbox, my mailbox, my twitter feed. I love it!

In case you missed it, NYRR is offering a free workshop for marathoners next week:

GET MARATHON TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS

Join NYRR and Hospital for Special Surgery for a FREE Learning Series on June 19 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. EDT. Experts from Hospital for Special Surgery will be sharing their best tips on training, injury prevention, and nutrition for beginner runners and anyone considering a future marathon.

If you can’t be there in person, you  can Register for the Webinar. You will receive an e-mail prior to the event with the webinar link and login information.

In addition, this lovely surprise arrived in my mailbox yesterday:

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I love books about running. I enjoy reading about running as much as actually running. I can’t wait to dive in and see what Runner’s World recommends in their latest book, The Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training.  Run Less, Run Faster is one of my favorites, so it’s exciting to have a new runread.

Despite all my running excitement, I am actually dealing with a minor (I hope) injury.

I ran the Bolder Boulder and was fine…

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Or so I thought.  I flew home that night, got off the plane and bam, there was a pretty significant pain at the top of my right quad.  I was still hobbling the next day.  Over the past two weeks, I have had this pain on and off and have had to limp a bit, especially after sitting for long periods.  I stopped running,but felt fine for UFX, Refine and the elliptical. It’s mainly walking that is the issue.

However, I was signed up to run the JP Morgan Challenge last night, and so I did!  It was fun to see all the different companies in their shirts.  The 3.5 mile race in Central Park was pretty painful, but the real pain happened after I finished.  This morning I had a serious limp. I am going to stretch, ice, tiger balm, rest and hope for the best. From basic googling, it could be a hip flexor sprain or a quad tear.

If it doesn’t feel better in a week, to the doc I go.  Fingers crossed for recover before the Queens 10K.

Queens 10K

Bolder Boulder 10K Race Recap

Here it is the moment we had been waiting for since we flew out of NYC on Friday evening. It was time to run more boldly than we ever had before. 

Wake Up Call

We woke up at 6AM, I had everything ready to go, so we were out the door by 6:30AM. However, the weather was much warmer than forecast, so I immediately regretted having a jacket on.

The start was a 1.5 miles from our hotel, and even though our hotel front desk said that it was a 10 minute walk, we budgeted 30.

Walking to the start was a lot like taking the subway to a race in NYC, everyone around you is a runner because no one in their right mind would be up so early.  A mile from the start we spotted a porta potty with a short line, as we approached it everyone was leaving.  Apparently it was so gross that even runners highly accustomed to less than pristine johns refused to enter. Fortunately, I noticed that we were at a swim club.  If I know a swim club—and after 6 years guarding at the Clifton Park Town Pools I think I do—there’s always a restroom nearby.  Around the other side of the building there was a restroom that was miraculously open at 6:50AM.  Running water, toilet paper, all the comforts of home!  Now we could get on with things.

The Start Area

We arrived at the start area, which was swarmed with people excited to start the race.  We even met a Chik-fil-a cow—with a bib!

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The race had waves starting every minute beginning at 7AM.  The  start was probably the most organized I had ever experienced.  Each start wave was based on the expected finish time down to the minute.

For example:

Wave                      Run Time                 Launch                        

A              Sub 38:00 Qualified         7:00:00 AM


AA            38:00 – 41:00 Qualified     7:01:00 AM


AB            41:01 – 43:00 Qualified     7:02:00 AM

Frank was wave DB leaving at 7:13AM with an expected finish of 52:11-53:11.

I was wave EG —  60:16 – 61:10 Qualified leaving at 7:24:30 AM.

By the time we got there, Frank’s wave was long since gone, and mine was 3 minutes from launch.  We hurried to get to the corral, which were manned with security.  By making people stick to their assigned times, the 60,000 person race never felt crowded or hectic, it was amazing!IMG_0393

Our start wave felt very intimate.  As we waited for our launch the announcer called out people in our corral and got us psyched up.

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And then it was time!

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The Race

This could almost be a tail of two races, Frank was having the time of his life, taking pictures, high fiving the crowd, being the life of the party. I was ever-so-slightly less energetic.  I am not sure if it was the altitude or residual soreness from Reach the Beach last week,but my body wasn’t feeling fleet of feet. I was definitely working for it.  For the first mile or so, it was pretty tough.  Fortunately, there were so many great fans, bands, and sights to be seen, I was able to keep my mind off the effort required to keep my legs turning over. IMG_0408

Top Ten Reason Boulder Bolder Rocks

1.) Each Kilometer and Mile are Clearly Marked

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I found it very helpful to countdown the kms and looked forward to every sign.

2.) The Mountains

If you don’t know what I am talking about, see the photo above.  Having the mountains all around you is amazing.  What’s more amazing is the course isn’t crazy hilly.  There are four big hills, with the steepest at the very end, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as Peachtree.

3.) Bands

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There were at least 10 bands on the course, which was great since I didn’t have an ipod.  My favorite was a band of 12 year olds signing Forget You by Cee-lo Green!

4.) The Locals

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The local fan support was stellar!  People were just hanging out on their lawns cheering us on!  They never left our side!

5.) Dance Teams

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There were all kinds of dancers, belly dancers, hip hop dancers, it was like watching a performance while we ran!

6.) The Costumes

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The costumes in this race were incredible! Bunches of Grapes, Puppets! I even saw a box of crayons, a gorilla chasing a banana, and so many more all out costumes.  I don’t know how people do it, but I am glad they do!

7.) Marshmallows Mile 2.2!

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Lots of food was given out, but the marshmallow throwing was the best.  Frank actually caught one!

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Although the Cotton Candy Corner wasn’t bad either!

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Popsicles won for most practical snack!

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All business with my popsicle.

8A.) Slip N Slide!

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Seriously! How cool (no pun intended) is that? I love this race.

8B.) Speedometer!

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I was actually feeling pretty good at this point so we picked it up for the speedometer!

9.) The Stadium

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Entering Folsom Field was amazing. It felt like such a monumental ending!

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I did my best to pick it up, but I was shot!

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I finished completely spent.  While it wasn’t my fastest 10K at 103:40, it was one of the most scenic.  We really enjoyed the race, even if it was only effortless for one of us.  I was happy to finish at 17,000 out of about 50,000.  My last two 6 mile races have been tough, but I think I can do better. My goal is to break an hour by November.

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10.) The Finish Area

After we finished we headed through the refuel line, which was fully stocked with snack bags, water, oranges, Silk soy and almond milk, beer and mini bagels!

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Even better than the snacks was the being able to sit in the stadium and watch everyone come in!

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After we left the stadium we went to the celebration area where there were all kinds of vendors giving out everything imaginable!  Chik-fil-a sandwiches, mini burritos, popsicles!  This race has awesome sponsors!

So that was it! Another one for the books. The Bolder Boulder was as big and bold as they said, but it was more home grown than I anticipated. It was the love from the local crowds that really made it amazing. They cheered us on, they offered us all kinds of crazy food, the set up slip and slides, they performed, they were awesome. Usually races through neighborhoods are boring, but this race wouldn’t be nearly as fun if it it was just through the city. 

Do I recommend the Bolder Boulder?  Heck Yeah!

Dining in Denver!

My trip to Colorado was as much about eating as it was about running.  It turned out to be a most delicious weekend.  After tea, we enjoyed a little down time before hitting up some local breweries.  Denver has 18 breweries including Coors! Our first stop was The Great Divide, where “great minds drink alike.”

While I am not much of a beer drinker (at all), I loved the atmosphere of the brewery, everyone was having a grand ol’ time, including the bartenders :).

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I noticed they had a great special, 3 samples for $3 and $1 for each additional sample, plus the proceeds went to charity.  Done and done.

We started with the Raspberry Pale Ale, the 18th Anniversary Ale and  one other beer.

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The raspberry was great, not beery at all!

We couldn’t have all our fun in one place, so it was on to Wynkoop.

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Finally it was time for our late dinner reservation at the Kitchen Lo DoIMG_4643

I had found it using the diner’s choice lists on Opentable, and boy was it a great find.  The Denver location just opened this spring, but it was already hopping!  The decor was slightly industrial, but still warm and reminded me of my beloved ABC Kitchen.  IMG_4645 The menu had a huge range of appetizers and entrees, all which looked amazing.  Eventually we decided to share the king crab legs.

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Lean and clean and the perfect way to sneak in some protein before my pasta dinner.

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Homemade tagliatelle, lemon, fava beans, red pepper, goat cheese and chives.  OMG, I have never had a pasta dish explode with flavor the way this one did.  The citrus and herb exploded in my mouth!  It was very creamy from the goat cheese, so it was light and rich at the same time. In fact, I could only eat half my dish.

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Frank got the Wisdom Farm Chicken Char Grilled – harissa, cumin yogurt, cucumber, couscous & almond salad.  This dish also exploded with flavor when it hit the palate.  The cous cous was quite amazing.

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Frank was in a totally out of character mood for dessert, so we ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding.  The most amazing thing about this dessert was how low a temp the ice cream was frozen at.  While the cake was literally piping hot, the ice cream didn’t melt into a puddle ever!  It was pretty ingenious in my book because typically your ice cream comes on the side or is melting before it arrives, but super cold ice cream kept the dish and presentation fully intact.

The next morning we hit the gym, enjoyed a people watching brunch at Marlowe’s on 16th Street and bid Denver goodbye.  I was sort of sad to leave, but as the gorgeous snowcapped mountains emerged on our ride to Boulder, I knew where I was heading was exactly where I wanted to be.

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Not bad for a photo taken through a car window on a cell phone!

Our Boulder hotel was not quite the Brown Palace…it was in fact, the Rodeway Inn/Broker Inn.  All the hotels within walking distance to the start of the race had sold out by the time we booked, so Rodeway it was.

Check out our room:

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Toiletries provided:

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  While it may not have been a turn down service kind of establishment, the service was friendly, it seemed pretty clean and they offered breakfast at 6AM for runners. Plus, POOL VIEW!

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After we dropped off our stuff we headed to the expo.  It was outdoors and the exact location “Pearl St Mall” wasn’t immediately apparent so it took us a while to find it.

This looked like an expo, but was a random fair going on

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Eventually we found the expo area…

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But it took us quite a while to actually find out where to get our bibs.  There were no signs or people directing anything.  Finally we found it hidden behind a registration tent.  While registration had about 100 people waiting and waiting, the bib pick up tent for those preregistered had no line at all!

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Victory!  We were ready to go! While the expo wasn’t the most organized I had ever been to, the Bolder Boulder itself was wonderfully executed, and I’ll tell you more soon! 

I am off to meet Ashley for a Go Recess Cardio and Cocktail workout! Cheers!