Tag Archive for race

A Bear of a Race: Getting Ready for My First Marathon

Even though I have now qualified for the marathon of my dreams (the NYC Marathon,) I wasn’t entirely sure that it should actually be my first. I didn’t want to find myself standing on Staten Island freaking out about all of the unknowns that come with 26.2 miles; I want to be like “I got this lil’ thing” and enjoy every second of the race as relaxed as is possible when one finds themselves trying to go fast enough to hit their pace goals and slow enough not to burn out over the course of said distance.

So last December I signed up for The North Face Bear Mountain Endurance Challenge.

2014 North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain Marathon

2014 North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain Marathon

Last year, I ran a 10K while my Runner-Brother ran the (insane) 50 miler. The whole weekend was a.) located in the beautiful Bear Mountain State Park and was b.) awesome, in general. It doesn’t get much more inspiring than watching 200 people volunteer subject themselves to 50 miles on an extremely technical trail course.


The 50 Miler racers waiting at the Start approaching 5:00am (May 2013)

I am incredibly excited to be running my first marathon in less than 3 weeks. I have been training as steadily as possible through the winter (a challenge in itself,) dealt with the unpredictable, sorted myself through some could-be injuries, and now I’m just about to finish up with my “new territory” training. In other words, my last long run will be tomorrow and I’m very excited.

Of course, I got a jump start freaking out about the taper about three weeks ago. On one hand I am stoked because I know I will finish this race and when I do I will have finished my first marathon. On the other hand, this course is extremely technical and I worry the combination of hills and distance is going to annihilate me, despite my training.

Like running to the top of Mount Washington during a marathon.

Running up 4,222 feet is almost equivalent to running to the top of Mount Washington.

For example, assume a typical fast male marathoner will run between 2:30:00 and 3:00:00. On Bear Mountain the first 2013 male runner comes in at 3:58:01. Followed by 4:10 and 4:20. So that is an extra hour and a half of quad crushing hills.

So with an estimated 4:10- 4:30 current projected marathon pace, I think I’m looking at around 7 hours. Which is good, because we only have 8 to run our race.

And Runner-Brother? He’s running the 50 Miler. Again.



Qualifying for the New York City Marathon

It has happened!

Officially Registered

Officially Registered

I am running the TCS New York City Marathon on November 2, 2014!

I cannot begin to explain what the New York City Marathon means to me, or even how the process of committing to qualifying affected me (though I will try to in a following post). All I know is that I am literally so excited that I have  found myself teary eyed on several occasions- on the train, during practice runs, at finish lines- thinking about how it would feel to actually be coming down the final mile. It’s super embarrassing, but true.

Not only did I decide spontaneously that I would immediately begin fulfilling my 9+1 credits, but I decided in August, which left little more than four months to run nine races.And since I am no speed demon (sub 1:30:00  ½ Marathon Qualifying Time? Wici-What!), I qualified via the New York Road Runner’s 9+1 Program.

(Note: Unbeknownst to me, this year was the last year you spontaneously join NYRR mid-year and qualify for the following year. Now you must be a member from Jan-Dec of the year you complete your 9+1).



From August 24th to December 14, I ran 9 races: the Percy Sutton Harlem 5KAutism Speaks 4M, Bronx 10 Mile , Grete’s Great Gallop 1/2 Marathon Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff 5MNYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5KJoin the Voices 5M ,Race to Deliver 4M, and the Ted Corbitt Classic 15K.

Qualifying for the TATA NYC Marathon

Qualifying for the TCS NYC Marathon

Looking back on those races, two are tied for my favorite: the Bronx 10 Mile (because I had never ran 10 miles before and this race really changed my perspective on running), and the Ted Corbitt 15K (because I finally could breath a sigh of relief, having squeezed in all nine races before the end of the year, and because I had my mom, my aunt, and my mister there to celebrate with me).

Now I just have to learn how to train for a marathon! Then again that is why I found myself signing up for a “practice” marathon this spring… but that is another story. A whole new racing season is coming and I can’t wait to get started.



Fred Lebow Manhattan Half- Race Recap

Today was my first race of 2014! And with sub-20 degree temps and 13.1 miles to tackle it was quite a day! The Fred Lebow Manhattan Half is the first of six races in the New York Road Runner’s Borough Series (5 Borough’s + the NYC Half), and dedicated to the founder of the New York City Marathon.

I first became with Fred Lebow’s story (dare I say legacy?) when I stumbled across the documentary, “Run for Your Life” (2008,) on Netflix which centers on his impact on running events with NYRR. However, this December, when I was volunteering at a bib pickup at NYRRs headquarters on 89th Street, the “mandatory” volunteers like myself, had the opportunity to meet many of the older true volunteers who came for reasons other than fulfilling a 9+1 credit. And I will never forget at least two of them -each completely independent of the other- would get a faraway look in their eyes and smile as they recounted a story about Fred’s enthusiasm about something as usual as sorting bib numbers. And for that, as fantastic as “Run for Your Life” was, I feel like I learned more about Lebow in the 2 minutes I watched his friends remember him.

It was also for these reasons that amid the threat of a “feels like -1 degree” weather forecast and potentially icy course conditions, that many runner’s pressed for NYRRs to continue the race as planned instead of canceling it (as they were considering last night).

It was probably some combination of Fred’s spirit prevailing and the cold winds not that culminated in the race continuing. And by 7:55 the mister and I were running from our car to the corrals, where I managed to squeeze in just before the gun.

Let’s break it down.

Miles 1-6: Not bad. Feeling strong. The hardest part was chewing super cold Shot Blocks.

Mile 7: Internal monologue: “Hey! I just ran 7 miles in 1 hour. Looks like I might come in under 2:00 hrs on light training after all. Wait, now I should try to shave 3 mins off of that and PR too….” Cue number crunching and minor stress.

Mile 8: Motivated by a high five from someone in a bunny suit, and the idea of a fuel-ingesting walk break reward after my favorite downhill.

Mile 9-12: Better understanding of why people cry might cry when they hit the wall during marathons. Beginning to think I pushed to hard to get to that walk break because my legs are finally feeling shot. Also, I know I am way behind on my water intake, but my stomach has had it today and any more and I know I am risking full blown cramps.

Mile 13: Longest mile of my life? Probably not. Quickest mile of my life? Definitely not.

And at long last, the finish! I lost my mister for the whole race, but found him again (with a huge scarf and an even bigger smile) exactly as they announced my name and a moment later I was crossing the finish. It. Was. Awesome.

1:55:44 – my new 1/2 marathon PR didn’t hurt either. 

Oh yeah, and then this happened!

"To a Cold Weather Runner"

To: ” A Cold Weather Runner!”

I saw the High-Five Bunny again.

Me (to the mister)- It’s that bunny!
Bunny (comes over for high five)
Me- I already got a high five earlier! It was great!
Bunny- Oh yeah. You want a gift card?
Me (suspicious new york style)- Um, kind of.
Bunny (gives me $20 Jack Rabbit Gift Card)

So I guess that makes him a High-Five Jack Rabbit?

Hot Chocolate, Cold Toes: NYC RUNS 10K Race Recap

Today I ran the Hot Chocolate 10K in Riverside Park- my first NYC RUNS race!

Bib and nearly demolished swag!

Bib and nearly demolished swag!

Yesterday, I ran down to Columbus Circle to grab my bib. The pickup was at the New York Running Company and not only did I get a bib, but they gave us a free mug too. I was glad I planned to take the train back home because I had enough trouble holding onto my mug/bib/bag as it was and I kept smacking the mug into things.  Luckily, I did manage to whisk it home without a chip  😉

This morning we woke up way too early since we got used to heading out for 8:30 races, even though this morning’s race wasn’t until 10. In fact, the mister and I got to riverside park so early we watched almost the entire 5K race- which began at 9. Opps.

Observation #1: This race was small (in a good way)! I’m pretty sure there were only  about 250 runners for the 10K race. It reminded me of my cross country days because you had a very good sense of where you were in the pack and what sort of progress you were making moving ahead (or falling back).  I loved this size race. The volunteers and race organizers were also incredibly enthusiastic and personable.

Observation #2: I knew Riverside Park was hilly, but damn, Riverside Park was hilly! I’ve run through several times on my way to the West Side Highway, but apparently I always missed the actual hills.  This also made me question some hilly, er, mountainous runs I’ve been planning….

Observation #3: I’m pretty sure I actually injured myself on this run. I’m not sure if it was the cold, or the change in incline for me, or too much time off from being sick, but somewhere between mile 4 and 5 I felt it in my foot. It’s a muscle pain roughly from my big toe to the middle/top area of my foot. I’m hoping it’s just a rouge pain, worse case a minor sprain? Either way, as it was happening I immediately realized how stupid it would be to injure myself on a run that a) doesn’t count as marathon qualifying credit when b) I have one race left for my 9+1 and c) that race happens to be a 9 mile race. Gosh. Golly.

"Thank god that's over." Bashful as I may look, I'm trying not to cough a lung.

“Thank god that’s over.” Bashful as I may look, I’m trying not to cough a lung.

In the meantime, I had a race to finish, and at 0:51:52, I hit some of my best placement stats to date! I was 8/88 in the women’s 20 to 29 division, and 47/250 (ish) overall. Sweet!

It was also an unusual day because I met up with a co-worker who was also running and this was here first race. She killed it and came in just under 1 hour. Something tells me it won’t be her last either…