Category Archives: running

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!

 

 

 

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.

Reach the Beach: Leg 1

After the New Balance Factory tour, I was pretty pumped for the race.  Definitely nervous about my legs (8.6-very hard, 5.8 hard, 3.1 easy), but excited for the weekend ahead.

We arrived at an adorable townhouse set in the most magnificent mountainside.

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It was rustic and charming….

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And as all good cabins in the woods should, it had a wind up gondola in the stairwell.

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After setting down our bags, we met up with about a dozen other new balance teams for a delicious team dinner.  As I had worked until midnight the night before then had to be up at 5am for my flight in the morning, getting sleep was high on my priority list, I crashed like a baby at 10PM. I actually felt refreshed when I woke up and put on my pre-packed outfit for leg 1:

Leg 1 included a New Balance Racerback Tank Top and long running pants that had these great zippers on the ankles.  Remember when jeans had zippers at the ankle? Plus a long sleeve pull over that matched the tank top.  I am obsessed with grey and baby blue color palette!

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Probably the most clutch items of clothing of all was the lounge wear.  Never underestimate the importance of your down time clothing when doing a reach the beach relay.  You’ll immediately want your wet clothes off and warm, soft clothing on.  Not that I ever need a reason to don sweats and leggings.  My pumped up kicks were the New Balance 1260s, which are stability shoe that are great for overpronaters like me!

These went on over my race clothes since it was chilly at 5am.

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The morning was hectic to say the least.  We were all rushing to get out and on our way but that was easier said the done.  Things went further downhill at registration.  It’s a 5 step process of which the team completed about 3.5, but somehow after several laughable fails at the security table, we were passed on to orientation. Carrie and I sat for while the rest of the team made sure Jess got to the starting line.  It was already past our original start time, which meant we skipped the team photo. But we did get to see Jess off and into a trail in the mountains.

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Once Jess was off, leg 1 was a lot of fun, all smiles and positivity.

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Here is Carrie ready to take the snap bracelet from Jess (who FLEW through leg one). Carrie destroyed her hilly 9 mile beast of a leg.

Gia was flawless on her run.

Then Theodora killed her tough leg and finished with gusto

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This part of the race was so stunning. I can’t even describe other than to say it was breathtaking.

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Christine also had a tough leg and made it through like a champ.

I was next and last in my van. I had an 8.9 leg that was deemed very hard by RTB–mostly due to the length.Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 10.17.29 AM

It had a few hills at the beginning but the real tough part was that the shoulder narrowed to just an uneven dirt path.  The first 4.5 miles went okay. I was just more bored than anything on the last 4.4, which I struggled through. The beautiful mountain landscape was gone  I was running through a tiny town with only railroad tracks for scenery. I met quite a few people along the way, everyone was super friendly and encouraging.  I really just felt like the leg would never end. But end it did and all was well again.  Not going to lie, I was elated to see Allie waiting for me at the transition area. We were also outfit twins, which was a nice little bonus.

Reach the Beach exchange 6 RTB Jess Carrie Melissa Gia

Most of van 1 happy for a break.

We all celebrated the end of our legs with a delicious lunch at Flatbread Company.  The flatbread seemed the same as pizza and that was fine with me. This post is getting long, so I’ll stop here, but stayed tuned for more RTB recaps!

 

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!

 

Barry’s, Birchbox and Women’s Health!

Yesterday I got to experience the intersection of beauty, fitness and overall health at a great event at Barry’s Bootcamp, sponsored by Women’s Health and Birchbox.

 

The class was your usual intense-as-hell, but hurts-so-good shenanigans. We began with speed and incline intervals on the treadmill for about 15 minutes. Next up was floor, we concentrated on biceps, triceps and shoulders and it burned! I was already a sweaty mess at this point, so I was having trouble just holding onto my weights.

Back to the treadmill.  This next section is what Barry’s is all about, pushing you to the point of no return. It was about 10 minutes of sprint/recovery, but oh my god, I could barely stand when it was over.  I managed to push it to 10.5 MPH for one of the 30 seconds sprints and I nearly collapsed face first on to the treadmill when it was over.  I seriously don’t know how people run entire marathons at speeds faster than this.

We finished we leg work using the booty bands and called it a day. By the end, I was a Barry’s believer more than ever!  This place will will kick your booty into shape! I’m going to have to splurge on more classes, especially closer to the wedding.  While the class is nothing you couldn’t do on your own at the gym, there something about great instructors like Joey who push you so much further than you would ever go by yourself.  This is what you can look forward to:

Running, Strength, Sweat

Afterwards I got to meet some of the awesome ladies who work at Women’s Health and Birchbox.  They are so fun! I can’t even believe that some of them read my little blog. I feel so honored. After the killer workout, we could relax with  manicures by the Color Club and some nice snacks by Barry’s new Fuel Bar, which just hit studios this month.

I grabbed my Birchbox and copy of Women’s Health on the way out!

I’ve given Birchbox subscriptions as gifts, so it was nice to have a box for myself.  Look at all those goodies!

In other news, one of my favorite things to write about is good fitness deals, and I think I have one for you today!

4 classes for less than $5 each.

Urban Daddy has a great deal on a classtivity four pack.  The deal is that your get to try 4 classes for only $19 at great studios around the city.   Some of my favorites on the list include:

The catch is that you have to be a new member to each studio that you use your credits at, which disqualifies me from most of the options on the list.  But if you’ve been wanting to try some boutique studios, but were hesitant because they are so pricey (I understand, $30 a class is tough!), this is a really great deal. I always like to try things out before deciding which places are worth investing in.
Happy Hump Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running Playlist Winter 2013

What a sunny, snowy Saturday we have in NYC!  It’s always so bright when in snows, it makes me forget how short the winter days are!

This morning we had a date with Barry!  We got there about 15 minutes early, but true devotees apparently arrive much earlier.  I told Frank that it was probably best to do the treadmills first to get the running over with, apparently that is a popular strategy because the treadmills were gone instantly.  Hello, strength.

I grabbed 8 pound weights, in hindsight 10s would have been better.  Frank took 25s, which is just insane. This was only my second time (first time recap here), so I was expecting 15 minutes strength, 15 minutes running, 15 minutes strength, 15 minutes running.

However, after several sets of lunges with the booty bands, lots of arm work and some ab work, I started thinking, those people have been on the treadmill a LONG time.  Is this a 90 minute class?  A few minutes later, Joey announced it was a 30 on 30 off day!

Initially I wasn’t thrilled about this news, I think it’s easier mentally to get through 15 minutes on the treadmill, even if you know you have to do it twice.  However, it really wasn’t too bad.  Don’t get me wrong, there were several occasions where the last 15 seconds took everything I had and maybe a little more, but we didn’t have to go up to crazy insane speeds, topping out at 9MPH for no longer than 90 seconds. The structure was something like this…

DIY Treadmill Bootcamp (similar not identical BB):

  • 2 minute warm up at  6MPH
  • 5 minute climb (start at 7MPH and increase by .5 every minute until 9.0)
  • 1 minute recover
  • 5 minute ladder (start at 7MPH and increase by 1 MPH to 9.0 and then back down)
  • 1 minute recover
  • 5 minute climb (start at 7MPH and increase by .5 every minute until 9.0)
  • 3 minute sprint with incline (run at your top speed and increase incline to 3.0 at minute 2 and 6.0 for minute 3) x2
  • 1 minute recover
  • 90 second spring at incline of 8.0
  • 30 second recover
  • 30 second sprint

I’m definitely getting why people love Barry’s, you feel so accomplished at the end!

So back to the playlist, here is my latest. I’m definitely in love with it.

Warm Up:

Take a Walk-Passion Pit (who I saw at the Garden last night!)

Workout:

Sweet Nothing–Calvin Harris

Locked out of Heaven--Bruno Mars

Don’t Stop the Party–Pitbull (really love this for a good push)

C’Mon-Ke$ha

Thrift Shop–Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Scream & Shout–Will.i.am (can I just say, thank god for Britney Bitch?)

Don’t You Worry Child–Swedish House Mafia

I Knew You Were Trouble–Taylor Swift <–Favorite T Swizzle song of all time

Beauty and a Beat–Justin Bieber feat Nicki Minaj

Ho Hey–Lumineer

Cool Down:

Suit and Tie–JT

 

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

Reach The Beach: What I Learned

I’ve dreamed of running a Reach the Beach for years, literally years! Even after reading several recaps of Ragnar races, I really didn’t know what to expect.  While it was just as fun as I had hoped, a lot of thing suprised me!  Like how much time you have between runs, and how fast it goes.  Like how much comradery it creates, completely exemplified when you wait for your last runner to cross the finish as a team. While I will recap later, here are a few, okay more than a few things, I learned as an RTB Virgin and will take with me for the next time.

Three Things I Didn’t Expect at RTB

The Speed! I consider myself an average runner and I consider most of my teammates FAST runners, however, we finished pretty far down the list, okay 18th from last! I had no idea that most RTBers are such fast runners and pretty experienced. I thought it was all fun and games, and while it is fun and friendly, I wasn’t mentally prepared to be one of the slowest teams.  It was a little disappointing, but mainly because I wasn’t expecting it.  I still had a BLAST.

The Costumes and Team Themes I didn’t realize most teams would decorate their vans!  Seeing all the different vans was awesome, there was some funny things on those vehicles! Plus people use mini lights and blow ups to add to the festivity.  The best part about the team themes was being able to identify vans at the different transition areas. It was almost like you got to know them.  Costumes weren’t too big in this relay, which was fine with me.  But they are fun too. If I do this again, I’ll know to pick a theme that you can do a lot with! You’ll see lots of van pics in my next few posts.

What a Difference Your Van Order Makes: There is actually two things that I didn’t realize about the vans. The first was that you only really hang with your van.  We saw van 2 a few times, but not for more than a few minutes until the finish. I loved my van and we had a great time. It was great getting to know people I hadn’t met before and our personalities and love of van dancing were totally in sync.  I was really happy I was in van one because we got to start right away, ran at relatively normal hours, no 2 or 3 AM runs and finished first, so we could relax at the beach.  While van two also had a blast, they did have it tougher physically.

Top 5 for RTB Planning:

These are things I didn’t think of, not things that are pretty obviously, like bring running shoes and three race outfits.

1.) When picking your legs, look at the elevation, not just the distance and rating level. RTBs leg descriptions are really just the distance and whether it’s easy, moderate or hard.  These terms are very subjective, and turned out to be a little off in many of our opinions.  It was silly, but I didn’t look at elevation until I saw the course map in the car, the elevation change in the course was what really determined the level of difficulty.  My first leg was definitely the hardest because the elevation changed almost 300 feet, even though it was half downhill, the 2.1 miles uphill killed me! Since all my legs were relatively short, I was fine, but had I had a long last leg, the elevation would have made a big difference. As I mentioned about legs 1-6 are at more normal times.

2.) Read the Race Handbook Early. There is a lot of information that will help you prepare in advance and not be scrambling at the end to find blinking lights, headlamps and places to put your earbuds since you can’t put them in your ear.  I actually used a mini binder clip to pin them to my shoulder strap. Even acronyms were useful to know, for example: TA, transition area (for transition between runners) and VTA (vehicle transition area).  I also learned, and was shocked that,  teams could have as few as 4 people! Ultra teams were 4-6 and regular teams were 8-12! Some people ran over 40 miles!Our handbook was 48 pages, so there are bound to be a few things that you might not think of yourself!

3.) Consider a Driver: Our drivers made our trip!  They were so much fun that I couldn’t have imagined our experience without them. But besides being kickass people, they gave us a little break between legs. Driving a 12 passenger van is actually a pretty formidable task and when you are nervous, a little carsick and exhausted, driving is another element to throw on. I think having a driver made me much more comfortable in our safety and allowed us to better support each other as runners. Some people think that driving yourself is part of the experience, but I was fine missing that part–and not just because my lisence is expired.

4.) Pack Warm Clothes. During our downtime and at night, I really didn’t have too many warm options.  Once my two hoodies were wet or sweaty, I was pretty much out of luck for sleeping for the second two nights. It got colder than I expected and a pair of sweatpants would have been clutch!

5.) Buy Lots of Purrell and Baby Wipes: You’ll want these always on hand.  While none of my portapotties ran out of paper, many ran out of sanitizer.

RTB Things to Know: Van Life, Eating, Keeping Body and Soul Together.

Don’t Fear the Dark: I was really worried about the night running.  I was afraid of being alone, disoriented, and lost, but my night run was actually my favorite. What I didn’t realize was that your van doesn’t leave your side for more than a mile. In fact, most teams hopscotch, so they let you run half a mile, pass you (cheer a bit) drive another half mile and stop to see you.  They continue this pattern for the whole night portion so you know you see them at least every 5 minutes!

While there were a couple points were it was so dark that I couldn’t see for a a minute, the headlight and blinking lights were enough to help me see the signs and keep me on course.  The dark helped me focus and my body turned into a machine on a mission to complete the path to the finish.  Night was actually pretty exhilarating.

Don’t Worry About Getting Lost:

The course has arrows all over it, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost.  Occasionally, I wasn’t 100% sure exactly where to go for a second, but it was 95% of the course perfectly clear.  Plus, you never go too long without seeing another van, your van or another runner, so you won’t run for miles without realizing your mistake if you do step off course.

Bring More Water than You Think You Need

This isn’t a normal race with water stations every mile.  We went through 24 water bottles in the first six hours.  If I had longer legs, a fuelbelt or camelbak would have been great. There was NO SHADE on our course and it was HOT!  I definitely got a little dehydrated and should have had a water bottle ready for the end of each leg. Water is at least as important as food, and personally, when I am dehydrated, I tend to eat instead or drink. 

Plan Your Food

There was far more eating than running and while I love eating, sometimes my choices weren’t the best. While we had plenty of snacks and a wide variety of options, running in heat, being in a car for 36 hours and not sleeping takes a toll on the tummy.  Most of us felt a little stomach pain at one point or another.  I think I should have actually planned a few options for between meals in the van, so I wasn’t randomly grabbing what I thought would taste good and was more eating for fuel and tummy comfort. You can see my list of food eaten at the end, clearly I was missing veggies for almost 72 hours.  In the moment, I just wanted carbs, but I think I would have felt even more awesome by the end if I had veggie juice, more fruit, whole wheat options and some nuts for protein. Maybe even some prepared veggie grain dishes! If I had been a little more intentionally, my choices might have been better.

Don’t Fear the Running

I say this as someone who had pretty mild legs, 5.98, 5.67 and 2.7, but everyone managed the running just fine. I was really scared about being exhausted the last leg and too sore to run, which is why I picked a super short final leg.  You are sore the last leg, but it’s managable for sure.  Running three times was actually easier than running them all at once because you have SO MUCH rest in between–4-6 hours. It’s not that much more than your normal running routine.

Keep Your **it Together

I am definitely kind of disaster in my regular life, but keeping my stuff organized in the van was virtually impossible. I was always looking for stuff or trying to access things that were under seats I couldn’t reach.  I tried to keep my stuff in one area of the van, but I moved so much that it was futile.  Next time, I will have an extra bag that I can keep things I need all the time in, like my phone, that doesn’t take up too much room so I don’t have to shove it under the seat. My duffel and backpack were so big that it was a pain to dig through them and pull them in and out from under the seat.  Honestly, I don’t know exactly how I would organize better, but I will figure it out before I do it again. I spent more time looking for things and losing things than I did running.

Life In The Van, You Can Sleep Later

I was worried about the no sleep thing, but I had nothing to worry about. I only slept for 15 minutes from the time our van started to the time our van finished.  Adrenaline is so high that you really don’t even feel that tired. It hits once your legs are all over, but by then, it’s okay. I was in good spirits and high energy the whole time, even with no sleep.When you are in the van, you are cheering everyone on, super excited for them, eating, nervous about your run, running, charing your phone, cheering for your van mates,taking pictures,  meeting the other van to hand off, finding food, cleaning out the van, changing for the next leg, dancing to Call Me Maybe (this is actually a leg in itself) and starting the process over again times three. Life in the van is busy,busier than I expected,  the downtime is actually fairly action packed, so you won’t get bored.  All the stimulation kept me from feeling the tired until the race was over.  Then I could sleep.

There are so many more things I could talk about, but I am sure you’ve had enough! It was like nothing I had ever done. There were so many things I was nervous about, but really enjoyed the entire experience! 

What does one eat when they are up for 40 hours straight and running at all hours of the day and night?  Here’s a look at my food intake over the three day period!

RTB Eats: The Fourth Leg

Day before:

Breakfast:
PB and J sandwich

Lunch:
veggie wrap+ half an oatmeal raisin cookie

Dinner
side salad
3 bites mac and cheese
6 nachoes
1/2 veggie burger and fries

Breakfast
a bite of scrambled eggs
small pancake
oj small glass
roasted potatoes–lots

Before First Leg
1/2 cherry fig 16 rabbits bar
a few pb pretzels
white chocolate chip cranberry cookie
handful bunny chow

Early Dinner
hummus and pita
4 mussels
half a chicken parm sandwich with fries

Day 2

Breakfast and snacks before first run
1 munchkin
2 kasha tlc bars honey almond
peach
brown rice cake with pb

Lunch
boloco veggie bowl with lettuce brown rice broccoli cheese guar sour cream mango salsa, regular salsa and hot sauce with a few food should feel good multigrain chips

Afternoon snacks
peach
1/2 naked orange carrot juice
3 swedish fish

Very late dinner
1/2 a large grilled chicken sandwich with fries

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The Runner’s Literary Diet

The next best thing to actually running may be reading about running, or perhaps, writing about running.  Reading about running always excites and motivates me to actually run.  Maybe that’s why I devour so many blogs!  In addition to blogs, I have a number of books about running that I keep on my shelf and reread before any big race!

This week I have a few new books to read!

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Vintage)

Born to Run I just started this, and it’s very different than I expected. I am still getting into it, so I will let you know what I think!

Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster, Revised Edition: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program

I just received a review copy of Run Less Run Faster . I have the original version of this book. which I bought a few years ago. I actually based my running plans on their 3 day a week philosophy. I am excited to check out the revised edition and see what new tips it has in store.  Again, more thoughts coming!

The Physique 57(R) Solution: The Groundbreaking 2-Week Plan for a Lean, Beautiful Body

While it may not be specifically about running, barre classes are my favorite form of cross-training!  I also just received the Physique 57 Solution!  I love Physique’s studios and workout DVDS, so I am excited to learn a little more about their nutrition ideas and to have a go anywhere way to do the workout!

I hope you are all having a good week so far!  Tomorrow I am going to Athleta to pick out my More Half Marathon Race outfit!  Any recommendations on what I should get?