Race Report: Run as One, 4Miler. Getting CLOSE.

Another 4 miler yesterday. The last one, two weeks ago exactly, had gone great and I did 28:12. This one, the Run as One, was the exact same course but I decided to switch up my shoes. I decided to pick up my racing Saucony type A5 which is one my lightest pairs… They’re just 5 ounces and about 4mm offset. I wasn’t sure I was ready for it, but it turns out, it made a huge difference. You have to think of everything when you’re just trying to save a few seconds!

As usual, Juan and I walked/jogged the 1.5 miles to the start. I only had like 4 ounces of coffee and a gel. It’s better if I don’t eat before these races… I usually end up dry-heaving at the finish line, sooo: less is more. The walk was gorgeous!!! Last week when we did the More Half and this week… it’s been great, all the trees are blooming and it smells DELICIOUS!

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Gorgeous, right??? Amazing. April and October are just the best in the park!

So, we got to the start, undressed, and headed for the corrals. I found so many friends in my corral! I asked everyone who was going for about 7:02 pace and got not takers. Soon, it was go time. This time, I had my watch and music again. After three races with neither, I decided to add those up to the equation again. Still tinkering with this a bit! Still, I didn’t look at my splits the whole race, I guess I’ve gotten used to running naked…  The race happened fast, nothing to report, other than in the last mile I picked up a LOT of people (that probably went out too fast) and ended dry-heaving again for 20 seconds at the finish.

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28:06!!! that’s… 6 seconds faster than 2 weeks ago!! Wohooooo!!! And 6 seconds away from my TWO YEAR OLD PR!!!!! it’s gonna happen people!!! SOOON!!!!!!!!!! OR else.

Now, notice how I run ALL the tangents…

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Why are you friends not doing tangents??? yes, it’s very crowded, but sometimes, usually after mile 2, there’s space to do this! SO many people out there running on the wrong side of the road… !!!!

Now check out my laps (disregard the one I lapped over, as I hadn’t heard the click). I love looking at my splits after…

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I obsess over this stuff. I care so much more about pacing properly than the finish time. I think this one went great. If the average pace was 7:02, a 7:18 start (up Cat Hill no less) is quite conservative and great. Mile 2 is always the fastest and the only one with no hills, so it’s bound to be fast. Mile 3 is usually when I start to slow down a LOT, but somehow I was able to hold it here, I don’t remember hurting that much either. And Mile 4 HAS to be the fastest, which yes!!! Very happy with how this went. Though I didn’t have a clue what pace I was doing where. Running by effort is SO MUCH EASIER!!!

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I saw Juan soon and my team mates. We hung out for a bit! I was HUNGRY.

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Stats Time:

Finish time: 28:06 Average Pace: 7:02

Previous PR: 28:00 From: April, 2013

Age Grading: 70.74% 

Overall Place: 664 of 8,098

Gender Place: 63 of 3,910

Age Place: 6 of 445

This is very good-looking. I like the over 70% percent there, given that is usually my goal and 6th in my Age Group is not so bad either in one of these races. I was quite pleased with myself for having cut off another 6 seconds in two weeks… If I can get rid of an extra 7 seconds for the next 4 miler in two weeks, that’d be a PR!!!! I am SOOO CLOSE I can smell it!!!

Gossip from Meb -from the #RunningStrong talk

OMG, so last night a really good friend offered Juan and I tickets to go see Meb at the 92Y (a fantastic gym a few blocks from us that holds these sort of talks every day, with mega stars like Hillary Clinton or Neil Patrick Harris, same level, right? shut up, I love NPH SO MUCH!). Aaaaanyway, we got there early and we were the first in the premium tickets line. Met my friend Carolina there and we all set up in the first row. YEY, score!
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So, here’s a few notes my phone took, because, MEB.
–Because of the war, they moved from Eritrea to Italy when he was ten, there’s no running there, so he played soccer: In Italy, they called me Pele.
–Talking about goals and how he’d been able to stay competitive for s long: I am really looking forward to May 6 when I turn 40 and no one is looking for me to do much! No more pressure!
— He talked about injuries a lot, how anything bad that happened was there to make you work on that part of your body/training so you could come back stronger: Experience is the best teacher there is.
–He also talked a lot about the importance of plyometrics, and how not even elite athletes are doing enough of them. He thinks that’s what sets up him apart, how he’s always thinking of new ways to work or stretch his body: When was the last time you went backwards?  (little sidenote, I was the only one who said “today!!!” Patricia and I had done plyos that day and we run backwards a lot, if you need help with these, here)
–Talking about pre-race rituals: “90% of training is physical and the 10% is mental. On Race day, it’s 90% mental. There is a lot of decisions that are made on the course and you have to be prepared, look at your competitors form, check their breathing, know that their flaws are...”
–When asked if he liked to run with other people: “It’s hard to train with other runners because there’s always drama. Sometimes they want to drop you, sometimes they want to push you, I gotta keep watching my watch! But what happens in Flagstaff stays in Flagstaff”
–When asked what was his favorite marathon: New York City.
This man is so so inspiring… he talked a lot about the hard work it took for him to get over every single injury, hours and hours of PT, you know, things we might not have the patience with… all over OVERCOMING.
Jordan Metzl was there too, with his doctor point of view and his message that exercise cures everything and every doctor should prescribe more of it, which, you know, I agree with 500%  HELLO
And, emmm, Malcolm Gladwell was there… I had no idea who he was (shhh don’t tell him) though his name sounded really really familiar. I have to say, now, I am OBSESSED with him. He’s super funny. Funny and Smart and funny AND smart…! and a Runner obviously, so I’ll have to go check out his books ASAP. or in YouTube or whatever, anywhere. I might start stalking him. He is amazing. I might buy him a sweater.
The host/moderator was great too Jacob Weisberg, probably the best job I’ve ever seen anyone do at something like this, no lulls, no awkward moments, all fun and friends. It was a great night!! PLUS, I was in bed by 10!
Get their books people, they all seem worth it!!!

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Photo Credit: Jordan Metzel from twitter

2015 Boston Marathon – as a very wet spectator

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I’ve counted, and I’ve been to the Boston Marathon 5 times, 2 to race and 3 to spectate, including this past Monday. I think I’ll be in the spectating side next year too. As I was busy Sunday pacing the NYRR More Fitness Half Marathon, I didn’t decide to go up to Boston to cheer until the last minute… which means, after running 13.1, I slept a few hours and woke up at 5 to make it to Boston at 11 am. By 11:30 Lauren and I were at Mile 25, where we had planned to watch, and we merely caught the elite women by 2 minutes! Talk about perfect timing!!! Soon enough, we caught up with Daphne and we settled a bit before the Citgo sign, by the water station, it was empty there and we had a great visual, lots of space, and music. We saw the elite men go by and then the rest!!! We saw so many Whippets on the course (lots of them with sub3s), Carolina, who waved her arms telling me WTF, and then I’d get the same confused reaction from everyone on the course looking at me like who the hell are you? well, I was wearing 100 layers so I apologize that I confused you all!!! It was cold and rainy… what could I do?

I have to say, all morning I felt awful about the weather and wondered what would I have done if faced with that weather? It seemed AWFUL. It wasn’t just cold or wet.  It was 40s AND pouring rain, AND wind. WTF!!!!! For what I’ve been hearing since then, “it wasn’t as bad”, “it was better than it looked”, “I am sure it was worse for the spectators than us”, which makes me feel really good. And no, I have no idea what I would have done. Why worry with things I don’t have to deal with? Plus, many many friends had insanely huge PRs so maybe I’ll believe them that it wasn’t so bad…

It was a spectacle to see those runners right at Mile 25. Some looked really bad (HEY, Mile 25!!!!) but some people looked strong and happy. The disparity was insane. I also wondered for hours what would I have worn… why am I overthinking a race I didn’t do?!?!? I am weird. I am sure you’re too, so shut up.

We then walked all the way back to South Station, yes, from mile 25, like 3 miles, because the T was major chaos. I got my little backpack checked 72 times, which was amazing. The finish line area wasn’t crowded at all, it actually seemed really peaceful. The one other thing that I thought about that shocked me was this: every time I go cheer at a race I feel like a stooopid idiot that should have signed up and raced. Always. Always. I always feel race-envy when I am a spectator. I didn’t this time, at all. Maybe I am really over the marathon. Or maybe it was the dreadful weather. Nah.

Good job guys, I am SURE it was tough out there… and no matter what, training through this past winter earns you all the virtual PRs and BQs the course might not have brought, I say! GREAT JOB RUNNERS!!!!! ENJOY THE SPOILS!! (donuts?)

 

 

Pacing the #morefitnesshalf. Such an interesting task…

hey friends! So, I run a half this past weekend but I wasn’t racing. Or or just Running. I was an Official Pacer. Such a cool task you say, right? Man, I hadn’t stressed about a race in… forever? Probably since my first half ever, the NYC Half, in 2006!!!

Anyway, I offered to do the 1:50 group, as I had raced the NYC Half mid March in 1:39 so 1:50 sounded like I could do it without stress… that pace was already taken and as I am doing a marathon this year for the first time in… ever… I don’t want to run for 2 hours! So I stepped up and took the 1:45. Ouch, It was going to be tight, but, hey, it’s Central Park, I can do it!

Anyway, I got myself super stressed out about it. About everything! I was supposed to do even pacing… WHO RUNS EVEN PACE??? I have NEVER! You start slow, then you go fast, then you get tired, then you go mental in the last 3 or 4 if you did it right. Well, I was told to come in under 1:45 (which is 8 pace) and to shoot for 1:44:30, so 7:58 pace it is!!! I made a pace bracelet, I fussed with my watch, then tried Juan’s Garmin 920XT as it has (fast and slow) pace alerts but decided to go with mine, I know it well and don’t want to stress with anything new! I was so scared I’d forget to charge the watch, I was having nightmares, I really drove myself crazy (and prob everybody else). It’s so easy to mess up your race and live with it, but when other people depend on me, I get super stressed. I don’t know why it’s so stressful when people depend on me, obviously (why I never wanted to get married or have kids, or plants even!!!!). Then I stressed about the stick, you know, the one with the pace group time on it. I wasn’t getting the stick until race morning, as well as the singlet, so I’d have to figure that out later.

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Ready to go!

See what I did? Instead of carrying it in my hand, like every pacer does, I covered it in duct tape, then I put it inside an arm warmer, then I stuck it inside my bra, and added a second bra for extra pressure. Gosh was I HOT!! But it worked, and NO chafing!

I got to the corral, walked around to make sure everyone saw me there, the question of the day was “what pace are you doing?” #7:58 was trending! I had a big group around me. I was right at the start line in the blue corral and probably 1 yard behind Deena Kastor, quite insane!

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See the blue sign right on top of Deena’s head? c’est moi!

 

We got moving and soon enough we became one big happy group. Juan was lapping around us, sprinting, and taking approximately 50 million pictures. cutting them down to 15 was HARD. That mile was a bit slow because it was quite crowded.

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Mile .5

Don’t we look so happy? Check out Chelsea on my right; she somehow stuck by me the whole race and got a 14 minute PR, that’s INSANE guys!!!!!

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Mile 1 as you can see…

The stick was still not moving, which was great. Pacing was averaging 8, we’d go slower on the hills, faster on the downhills and catch up when we needed. I’d signal when I’d go get water and try to give out as many course advice as I could, as well as pointing out fluids, mile splits, or when to speed up or take it easy (hello Harlem hill!). Other times,  I just read the signs and laughed. My favorite was a guy on our way up to Harlem Hill with a “I hear fast women” so I pointed him out to whoever was single in the group. Someone had to do the talking, you know?

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It’s funny that I remember most of this people around me

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West side, lap 1 still

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How amazing does the park look?

I have to say, this was one of the most amazing weekends to be out there race. Every single tree in the park was blooming. I would have been really distracted if I had been racing, I am not gonna lie about it.  I was ogling and smelling and wishing I could stop for pictures!

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Juan did 9.5 miles, can you tell?

After we had crested Harlem Hill, the second time (which: UGH), it actually got a little crowded as we were lapping runners in the first lap, so there was a lot of of weaving.  And also, since mile 2, I was SO SO SO HOT. I kept pouring water on my shirt and bras, ugh, I have no idea how people had long sleeves, or pants. On another day, I would have ripped the singlet off (hard to do with the stick there) and run in a bra!!! Why do I get SO hot???

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just one more!

The last mile we brought it in hard. As soon as we got to the Mile 12 marker I told everybody to GO or to hold on to my back for their lives. My last mile was a 7:14… eek, but you know, the sub 1:45 was guaranteed at the point, I wanted to see how hard I could push them all. ;-)

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Juan was waiting by the finish of course!

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My thumbs means… I didn’t mess up the pace!!!

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And… done!

I am not gonna lie. I was really worried that I’d go too slow or too fast. It’s hard to do even pacing in a course as undulating as Central Park, and I always run by effort and not pace. But was I SO happy to have done this.

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I went to the side and waited with my stick. Every other person would thank me, even people I had no idea were pacing with me!! It was really sweet and I was so happy to have helped so many people. As I had never used a pacer, I had no idea how many people would follow me…. seems like I was able to help!!!!

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should I have kept my eyes open???

 

Check out this awesome shot from the race page!

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And that’s Chelsea, see? Besides the volunteers, I think I high fived 500 people in those 10 minutes there!!!!

I saw Juan, had my apple, got my Gatorade and mylar blanket and went to wait for Flor who was a bit behind. We then waited for the awards ceremony, hey hey, TWO masters in the top 3, which… Deena Kastor… I love her…

Oh Natalie Morales run the race too (and Ivanka Trump, but she was behind and I didn’t see her)

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Natalie Morales run a 1:38 (or so she told me, I didn’t fact check!)

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There’s Mary Wittenberg, Deena Kastor, and the rest of the top 3 and the rest of the today show team and the More peeps. 

So then we went to EJ’s for brunch and of course, I was freezing. I am always either boiling hot or freezing. WTF? So, there’s one more cool experience to add to the book! (no, there’s no book, that’s what the blog is for!)

#morewomenshalf #womenruntheworld #nyrr

Hey friends, I paced a half marathon today and I want to, at least, share some pictures because I am a little tired and I’m shipping up to Boston tomorrow morning very early to cheer and don’t have time to write a post just yet. I might just write it on the trip tomorrow, if I don’t fall asleep, so bear with me. For now here are a few pictures from today, what a fun thing to do! Congratulations to all of you who had a great race and tackled on those Central Park hills!!!! Great job!!!!

More soon!!

Newport 10k GIVEAWAY! And the Winner is…

And, according to this scary app that picks things on its own, the winner of the Newport 10k (NJ) Entry GIVEAWAY! is…

Laura McElduff

ah, the magic of pushing buttons and sending someone to run a very fast 10K. Congrats and Good luck Laura!!!!

Can’t wait to hear how it goes!!!! (And wish I could be there!)

Please email me ASAP and I’ll get you set up!

Run for the Parks, 4 miler. YES.

So, yesterday I was doing another 4 miler… What a random distance right? Well, 4 milers are a very common distance in the Central Park racing scene, just cause we’re different like that (or because it’s a very convenient loop!)

I’m signed up for every single race in Central Park for the next few weeks, so my constant diet is speed on Tuesdays (800s or 400s with the Breakfast Club), then easy Wednesday (easy like 9:30 or 10, ok!) then easy Thursday and then I race. It’s quite limited what you can do when you’re racing every weekend because you gotta recover and then mini-taper, and I do super two-days tapers, even for a 4 miler! So, less quantity and more QUALITY for a few weeks #bestdiet

Plus, it seems like Juan and I are in a super crazy food roller coaster. Before the races, we clean our act super well, but the two days after the race we make up for it. Yesterday, after the 4 miler, we went straight to Shake Shack, then by  2 pm we had a whole bucket of Ben and Jerry’s, plus a bag of bark thins, plus milanesas for dinner. But we right back on the horse, don’t worry!  Anyway, the RACE! almost forgot!

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the day before we volunteered handing out shirts for 5 hours at NYRR. 5 hours standing… my back was hurting!!! SO BAD. Is that a thing or is it because I am 40 now? WTF! I felt so old when I woke up Sunday morning to go to the race… eeeeek. oh well. nothing will mess up my race #noexcuses people!

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so, we’ve figured out our race day game so tightly by now. We leave home 1 hour before the race start, we walk or jog to the start to warm up, leave our warmup clothes and head to the start corral 15 minutes before so we don’t freeze… but yesterday was in the 40s, SO NICE AND WARM!  man, we were happy puppies! Spring Puppies. We did see a puppy I liked after, that kind I like, whatever they are called, but it was tiny, soo tiny, I could have put it in a sandwich and nom nom!!!!!

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So, waited for a while… like 30 minutes. I don’t know if it was the Spring in the Air or what (sounds so unbelievable right?? haha) but the race was bopping and people seems really happy. Or maybe it was my husband’s outfit making people smile…?

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Btw that was my first year wedding anniversary gift, how cool a wife am I?? (he got me diamonds so he wins, fine!). I had done the 10K in 7:20 pace the week before, so… I assumed 7:15 was a safe bet for a pace, right? Who cares? Well, I wasn’t wearing a gps so it wouldn’t matter as I’d go by effort as I usually do. I just wanted to have a finish time expectation (right at 29 minutes?!?!) as usual. I did decide to bring my gps, which detaches from the bracelet and attaches to a clip, so I’d clip it in the back and not watch it during the race ;-) Smart!!!!

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Race On! I get to the red corral (Juan goes ahead to blue) and find Ellen, who is going for 6:40, and Jon who said he’d do 7:20. Ok, I figured I’ll tuck behind Jon for a while. First mile has Cat Hill so I tried to go out easy and relaxed. Jon left me easily fast, so I figured I was going at 7:30s or whatever. oh well. EFFORT, not pace! SO I just trucked and tried my best to not get bored (I still do miss the music!).

Mile 1, because I looked at the race clock, seemed to be 7:05 so… ouch. Or, oh oh. Well, mile 2 is fast so I pushed the pedal a bit. By the 102 transverse I was passing a lot of people that went out too hard. Once you turn into the West side things get painful, so I tried my best to not despair or slow down. By the reservoir, I see Ellen up ahead… she seems WAY too relaxed, WTF? So I run up and ask her what’s going on, something about her leg and how she’s phoning it in. I told her to focus on my ass, fun conversation ensues, we start running together taking turns to push ourselves all the way to finish! So happy I found her, or I would not have pushed that hard. Or may I would have, I have no idea now! It is always SO much easier with race with someone else! I sprint like a maniac once we turn and… DONE!

I saw Juan right there, he’d done great and I was sure I was under 29.. but who knows. When I started the watch, I clipped it in the back and apparently I also stopped it. UGH. that’s 3 races in a row I can’t get this crap figured out!!!!!

nyrr run for the parks pictures results (9)We hung out with a few friends and team mates right by the race watching everyone finish and share race stories. There was a LOT of people (7,751 to be exact) and SUCH a lovely day. Hopefully from now on they’re all like this where I am not racing to get home in the warm shower. We stayed for the lottery (which, bummer, we didn’t win!) and then walked through the park, to make time before we get home, because Shake Shack opens at 11 ;-) we’re disgusting and we know it. As you can see, I enjoyed the sun. Then the results came out by 10:20 am.

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Uh, was I excited!

Stats Time:

Finish time: 28:12 Average Pace: 7:03

Previous PR: 28:00 From: April, 2013

Age Grading: 70.51% 

Overall Place: 671 of 7751

Gender Place: 60 of  3733

Age Place: 5 of 449

This is very good-looking. 7:03 pace?!?! Well, that’s not so far from my 7:00 pr in this distance. I like the 70% percent there, given that is usually my goal and 5th in my Age Group is not so bad either in one of these races.

I was quite pleased with myself. Still not a PR but SO close, SOOO CLOSE! The Dashing Whippets women’s team came second overall also! yey yey team work!

Then, you know… heaven to make it all more amazing

nyrr run for the parks pictures results (22)Ah, life is so amazing sometimes!

Now, back to stressing about this weekend’s Women’s More Half. I’ll be in the Corral 1 pacing the 1:45 group. I am so nervous about this… I have to make sure I do even pacing through the race… interesting! I am used to racing by effort and not pace and to negative split halfs so I start slow and then drop the hammer. Even pacing seems SO weird and nonsense. But I am taking it as a long tempo, even effort, and taking each mile as a 7:58 goal. We’ll see. Wish me Luck!