Tag Archive | ny racing

New York City Half Marathon Tips, Course Strategy and Logistics

You know the “don’t wear anything new on race day” and all the basics… now, let’s do the United NYC Half Marathon as well as we can. I have done this race 9 times so far -since 2006, its first year, to last year, 2019, and I keep running into people who haven’t raced it and have lots of questions (post in the comments section below if you have any questions not covered here!). If you just want to see RACE STRATEGY scroll through to the section in green.

And in case you want to see photos and read my race reports, here is the 2019 race report, the 2019 race video, the 2017 race report, the 2016 race report, 2015 NYC Half report, here is 2014 NYC Half and 2013 NYC Half.

PRE RACE LOGISTICS

Make a race prep list of what you’ll need a week or two before and sort it all by stages, here is a Marathon Packing List to start with. Whether you’re traveling or not, get everything in the list ready as soon as possible. Start prepping 2 weeks out.

Plan your nutrition waaaay ahead. You can buy gels at the expo if necessary, but get bagels/oatmeal/bananas and whatever you need for race day the day before as there will not be a lot of delis open at 4, 5, or 6 am. Some may be, but not a lot.

If you need any last minute things, you can buy most stuff at the expo/bib pickup (don’t forget to bring your reg form –download it from or bring your NYRR profile they will be ready early March, and photo identification) or here is an organized list with all the running stores by area.

I promise you this look is totally normal at the start!!!!

Prep some cheap or throwaway clothes for the start. Find a mylar blanket from your last half or marathon (and don’t throw away the one you’ll get at the finish here!). You will need them until the last minute in the corral (I wear one as pants with tape and one as a cape). I wear my throwaway cardigan or a sweater (cut in the front for easy peeling, kept it in place with a safety pin!) during the first mile too! Go to the dollar store and get knee-high socks, cut the foot and you’ll have throwaway arm warmers! I keep half of it on until I warm up, it can be windy and cold at the start!

Gear/What to wear… the weather can be anything from 50s to 30s so prepare (aka, train in) a few options and decide the day before. Or that morning. Be smart, and make sure you can peel off layers comfortably. If you don’t want to carry your phone, at least carry a $20 bill, a metrocard, and an ID with you, just in case. My rule is if it’s over 40 degrees, I do just singlet and shorts.

This is what the weather looked like the last few years:

  • 2019: 34 DEGREES, 46% HUMIDITY, WIND 6 MPH. (what I wore)
  • 2018: 28 DEGREES, 31% HUMIDITY, WIND 9 MPH NW
  • 2017: 34 DEGREES, 70% HUMIDITY, WIND 18 MPH (what I wore)
  • 2016: 34 DEGREES, 35% HUMIDITY, WIND 14 MPH (what I wore)
  • 2015: 42 DEGREES, 60% HUMIDITY, WIND 10-18 MPH (what I wore)
  • 2014: 31 DEGREES, 40% HUMIDITY, WIND 18 MPH (what I wore)
  • 2013: 30 DEGREES, 64% HUMIDITY, WIND W 7 MPH (what I wore)
  • 2012: 47 DEGREES, 90% HUMIDITY, WIND 3 MPH.
  • 2011: 37 DEGREES, 41% HUMIDITY, SUNNY
  • 2010: 53 DEGREES, 55% HUMIDITY, SUNNY

The temperature has been pretty consistent… but, you should assume it’ll feel 10 degrees under that temperature (hey wind!). So, depending on the wind/humidity/lack of sleep/whatever, you can add a hat, arm sleeves, leg warmers, etc. Always add things you can get rid of easily and won’t miss. If you’re not sure about a layer, keep in mind that once you leave the park and get to the Manhattan Bridge or de FDR, it can get a little windy there. Also, check the wind direction in the morning!

Headphones or not? If you are used to racing with headphones, bring them. I sometimes leave them on my ears (with the music off), and turn them on only when necessary.

Have your spectators download the NYC Half mobile app (will probably be ready to download a week or two before the race) where they can track you and a few more runners at a time and see you on the course.

If you need a short run before the race, go to Central Park. You’ll see many of your race-buddies and get to enjoy the best place in the world as a runner.

Find a mantra, or two, you might really need them. I write them in my hand where I am sure I will see it.

RACE LOGISTICS

Memorize your Start Schedule (or write in your hand like I do).

Getting to the start/Baggage Check. The easiest way to get there is to take the train, but make sure you check the website because your train or stop will depend on your wave. Also, check the Start Map carefully. Give yourself ample time (as this is weekend schedule) and check MTA for weekend alerts, or try any subway app: make sure your train is running! NO RACE BEFORE THE RACE. Also, if you are not sure where to go, I am 100% confident that if you just head over to the closest train stop, you’ll see someone you could follow to the race start.

During the race, please please be careful, stay alert and keep the music down. If you need to stop for a walk or move sideways for water, please please please signal with your arms, and look around behind you before you make any moves, DO NOT just stop or go sideways. Be considerate of your fellow runners who could trip! The good side of having all these people around is that you that you’ll always have someone to run with, pace off, or follow when you’re tired. Pick them up when you feel strong, encourage them when they need it, and keep your eyes peeled for anyone who might need help!!

There will be Water/Gatorade around every mile or so, so if you miss one, don’t stress. Don’t go for the first table as everyone will do that. There are many tables: go to the last one. You’ll find the portapotties where the water is, so keep an eye out and don’t dart sideways!

Think about joining an official pacer from the NYRR Pace Team, they’ll be wearing a green and white biofreeze sponsored singlet, and will run even splits through all 13.1 miles of the United Airlines NYC Half.

RACE STRATEGY

Here is the official 2020 course map

The easiest way to tackle this race is to divide it three parts:

  1. start comfy and relaxed -the first 2.5 miles are a roller coaster of a warm-up.

  2. at mile 5.3 pick the shit up

  3. at 53rd st, hit the gas and light the torch

Because this is not your typical half, where you can actually pick it up and finish fast, you have to pick your battles and do the best you can. I would race part 1 at 70% effort (or heart rate), part 2 at 85%, and part 3 at 95% and up. Obviously, adjust as you please.

Here is the overall course elevation:

PART 1

You start in the middle road of Prospect Park: it will be SUPER crowded and downhill so please be careful. Also, ppl won’t be ready and still looking for GPS signal and discarding layers, a recipe for disaster, look out and keep your ears attuned. Stay to the left and once you turn, HELLO BATTLE PASS HILL. Yeah, that is the Prospect Park hill.. the one and only. You’ll be done before mile one so please don’t overtake it too quickly. Mile two is mostly downhill and flat so it’ll be fast. Don’t be scared. This is a great out and back where you can see your friends!!

Those out and backs always get me super psyched. Keep yourself in a hard check. A nice turn around Grand Army Plaza and there we have a straightaway on Flatbush for a couple of miles towards the bridge.

Mile three is also up and then down, so it will be another average mile but now you’re out of Prospect Park, finally, and heading towards the Manhattan bridge thru Flatbush, which is, quite, and literally, FLAT.

Mile four will go SOOOO quickly with the excitement of the bridge coming towards you, that you won’t even notice the climb. It’s uphill for about a mile, 4.3 to 5.3, pretty brutal but so amazing and worth it. I can’t even tell you how insanely scenic Mile five is. 

WOOOOOOOW THAT WAS SUCH A RUSH!!!!!! VIEWS ON BOTH SIDES!!! SO EXHILARATING… HELP.

WOOOOOOOW THAT WAS SUCH A RUSH!!!!!! VIEWS ON BOTH SIDES!!! SO EXHILARATING… HELP.

The top of the bridge actually happens at about 5.3, and you start dropping quickly. Into Manhattan. That’s when we come face-first into the second part of our plan.

PART 2

Let’s

GO

This is when we pick things up. HARD. Mile five, the downhill from on the bridge, is going to feel like SO amazing, ride it hard. There is going to be a very hard right turn off the bridge at Mile 6, brace yourself, but also, take it and keep your eye out for gels, they’re right there, along with some AMAZING views of the bridge and Chinatown you don’t want to miss out.

Beautiful, right? But FOCUS.

This is when you can bang out some really fast miles on the FDR. Miles 7 and 8 all the way to 9 and a half are flat, use them up, you’re going to miss them later.

You might get bored. Find someone 20 meters (yards?) ahead and chase them down.

Focus on the United Nations Building ahead, because that is where we turn left. That is where we start climbing again, at mile 9.5. This is when things will start getting tough. Hold the pace. Stay right there, same effort. Mile 10 at 42nd will start feeling hard, but enjoy the views and the crowds. It’s quite special.

Also, it might feel windy here, a tunnel from the east river to the Hudson so tuck between people if you can and stay in your rhythm.

At 7th Avenue, we turn onto… TIMES SQUARE. A few blocks over, it’s Mile 11, and now you’re just really close.

and what happens now…?

PART 3

At 53rd, we MOVE. Why 53rd? Well… it’s a combo of reasons, there’s a downhill and we are close enough to take into account the bumps along the road and the amount of time we have left. This will obviously depend on how much gas you have left in you. But if you paced yourself properly, this is the moment you waited for, so go for it. Last year, I had my friend Whitney waiting there to signal the start of the end: 

We turn onto Central Park South and there’s Mile 12. 

Another left onto the park, more rolling hills all the way to the 72nd transverse and IF YOU TRAIN IN CENTRAL PARK, I’D RECCOMEND YOU RAN THIS BIT ONCE OR TWICE BEFORE THE RACE. I promise it will make a huge difference to know exactly how it will feel. The transverse is also an uphill, it will be hard and I want you to be mentally prepared for it. 

If you see this man at the finish line, that is Jim Heim, the Race Director. He is awesome. Give him a High Five.

Get your medal obviously.

and walk to get your bag if you left one

Here is a map of the finish area. Then brunch, shower, ice bath, rest, eat more, sleeeeeep, all the stuff, you know!

For more, definitely check out the 2019 race report, and the 2019 race video.

Questions?? Anything to add? Anything you want to go over? Lmk in the comments below!

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December/November/October Recaps

Well, it turns out I totally forgot to post a November recap, AND ALSO, an October Recap…  so I am going to keep it short and good. But it was a quite eventful 3 months. If I told you everything that happened since October, you would not believe me. You wouldn’t. The good, the bad, the just really unbelievable, so it was all and crazy and crammed and shockimg. All of it. 2017 needs to be a bit more relaxed. Please. It’s NOT looking that way though… stay with me, here we go!

meme-lets-do-this-1

December

I started the month in Italy!!! My husband, my parents and I spent two weeks travelling from north to south. It was glorious. I didn’t run one mile, had ALL THE FOOD and still came back in amazing shape. Italian food is magical. I have no idea how they do it; well, clean unprocessed food will do it, but it’s just ridiculous. Two weeks on vacation is INSANE these days, but so totally worth it. And needed. We got back to NYC mid December and, after three weeks of no running, on December 13, I looked at my log and I realized I was at 1406… so close to 1500!! My highest year ever I had done 1240 (and 1237 last year), so I already had my highest mileage ever, but why not go for 1500?  I did 28 miles that first week back, and after 3 weeks off, 28 is a good way to ramp up! 44 miles the 19-25 week, and 30 this past last week…. It was hard to get the miles in the last week as everyone was out of town and I hate running alone, but when you have a goal, you get it done! I am also participating in a streak, December 21st to January 21st, which requires a mile every day, for Coach Stuart Calderwood’s 30th anniversary streak. The logistics are crazy but so far, so good! Oh, and did the Midnight Run on December 31st!!

  • Total Miles: 97 miles (between December 13th and 31st)
  • Races: one, though I wasn’t really racing…
  • Ups: Some runs alone were quite interesting. I’d also find myself running easy miles in sub 8 pace, which was completely weird but welcome. Most of the miles were super slow but I can see my endurance building with the higher mileage.
  • Downs: Running alone sucks but I did manage to get it done. The cold is here. ugh. The piles of laundry is scary.
  • Balance: AMAZING, 1502 MILES FOR THE YEAR!!!!!!!!!!! HELL YEAH!

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And some pictures from Italy, I promise I will do a post about it soon! (HAHAHA, “promise” and “soon”!!)

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November

November was a busy month, between the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon and the Philly Marathon… I participated in and attended many events before the big day, I spent LOTS of hours at the marathon expo, I run my last miles for the Philly Marathon, I tapered, and then I went to Philly, got super sick and didn’t run a yard! I definitely was in way better shape than before ANY other marathon, I trained a lot harder and did many more miles, and came out the other side with no race… SUCH a STRANGE FEELING!!! But there was not time to dwell on it, the day after the marathon I managed to close a HUGE project (even if I was still sick and super weak), then a Thanksgiving trip and by Saturday I was off to Italy for two weeks, all in 6 days! And it took until Friday for my stomach to feel normal again; so happy it was as good as new in Italy!

  • Total Miles: 72. Hilarious.
  • Races: nope
  • Ups: the NYC Marathon week fun. Nothing beats that week, all year. And Thanksgiving!!
  • Downs: OMG, the Philly marathon that didn’t happen. There went all the training I did, nowhere!!!!
  • Balance: okay…

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October

October was wild. How did I manage such mileage? Well, I got some decent long runs, two halfs and apparently some ridiculous extra workouts. Both halfs were good but not what I expected. The Great Gallop turned out to be a hot/humid training run of sorts, and the Verrazano Half was a wind tunnel I was glad to survive. I was a bit disappointed to not have good weather in the Verrazano Half to PR, but oh well, can’t win them all. Then, the marathon madness swiped over us and took over my life. It was easy to forget all the racing!

  • Total Miles: 187, WHAT!??!?! MOST EVER BY A LOT
  • Races: 2 halves, no PR but good overall
  • Ups: Crazy fun runs and highest mileage ever
  • Downs: No great races so far this Fall. Oh well.
  • Balance: well, still have a marathon next month!

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September

is it really almost October ALREADY??? WHAT!

meme-winteriscoming

actually, this is more like it:

bwqofcpl0jst21jc1ajuI am already dreading it ALREADY, though of course the running gets easier… On the other hand, I was finally adjusted to the heat. You know how it is…

September shocked me a bit. I ended up with 160 miles. Oooops.

I actually had the same reaction many Fridays or Saturdays when I had a race that weekend and realized and already had run way too many miles that week to be rested for the race. No idea how that happens!

september-2016

This was probably my month with the highest mileage EVER. I say probably because I am too lazy to go check. Then I reply to myself, “what is the point of keeping track of EVERYTHING, if you are not going to use it to check on stuff?” And I just pretend I have to go to the bathroom and walk away offended. So, I am assuming there’s a 95% change this is my highest monthly mileage ever.

This month my routine was thrown off a LOT. I had a set-in-stone routine: Speedwork on Tuesdays (THE main workout); Easy or nothing on Mondays (Stairs workout for the last 4 months); November Project on Wednesdays; Easy or Tempo on Thursdays. Nothing Friday. Long or Race on the Weekend.

Then, I started coaching the NYRR Long Training Runs a few weeks ago, AT NIGHT. First of all, I hadn’t run after 7 am in AGES… 3, 4, 5 years maybe? I don’t even remember! Which is SO STRANGE. Adjusting to running at night is still a struggle. It feels weird waking up and not heading out. Do I shower? Do I just watch the news???? WHAT DO PEOPLE DO?!!?!?! Then, what’s the latest I can eat? One time, I forgot, had a snack at 3 pm and I was so uncomfortable during the workout (there’s always speed-work or some sort of speed component), I felt like I was going to throw up. Then, I get home past 8, which is usually my bed time… it’s weird to go to sleep so late, with food still in my throat, I’ve woken up early a few mornings after still full and gagging in my first few steps. There’s some major logistics mishaps that need straightening. On the other hand, SO much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do other women do about long sweaty hair when they run at night?????

What do other women do about long sweaty hair when they run at night?????

I still need to figure out how to reinstate my own speedwork instead of just doing it with the group, but running twice on Tuesdays, speedwork twice in one day, seems crazy. Still fine-tuning this. Stay tuned!

Oh and I had a few races and did many fun this, but I am SURE you’ve read my previous posts anyway!

  • Total Miles: 160. Most ever. For Sure. Almost Sure. Not 100% sure but almost really sure.
  • Races:Two. The New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile and the Newport Liberty Half. I run both quite poorly to tell you the truth, now that I have the perspective.
  • Ups: Apparently something good was happening if I was clocking this many miles. 😉
  • Downs: Races and their tapering… ugh. Oh, and no PRs since MARCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Balance: The more I race the more I get deflated about the no PRs since March’s United NYC Half thing. But we’ll get there when we get there, right?

Some pictures from the road:

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See you next Month for the next recap!

August

I can’t get over how now 70 degree weather feel like Autumn… it’s amazing how fast we get used to 90s or 10s around here…. I am already missing the high temperatures and dreading the winter, but ohboyohboyohboyhowfastwearegoingtoberunningsoon!!!

August was insane. I don’t know if I ever run 149 miles in one month and I am too lazy to look it up. I know that’s weekly mileage for some of you, but whatever, we all have our limits! I love sharing my training month once in a while because no one believes me I run this little/much or at this pace or whatever. And we’re all nosy, aren’t we? You’re welcome. So here’s the naked August truth:

august runs

I did 3 long runs, all in Summer Streets, one better than the last one. I felt great, fast and powerful, even with awful heat and humidity, go figure. I am still cross-training a lot more than usual, and I totally felt the difference in the long runs. The 4th week I was supposed to be off so I raced a 5K. I didn’t PR but I was 9 seconds away! It was hard, but I was just so happy with the race, the fun, and my negative splits! This past month was interesting as my gastroenterologist put me on a no-dairy, no-gluten, no-artificial sweeteners diet. Quite messy at first, because, is there anything left? But once the 16Handles cravings subsided, I got used to it. This past month was one of the funnest ever, and I am so happy I decided to sign up for a marathon: I found out I could rally the troops to have great long runs with great company and have been having the best time! September, and all is racing is just so close I can smell it!

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  • Total Miles: 149. Most ever? Let’s assume so!
  • Races: one!!!! Not a PR but a great effort! Still, that’s race 7 this year, I am waaay behind!
  • Ups: The miles flew by and have been getting in quality workouts with QUALITY PEOPLE!
  • Downs: Tapering for races annoys me. And the easy weeks. UGH. But I know they’re needed.
  • Balance: best month ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July

So, last month I finally STOPPED. I had been running crazy for years and never ocurred to me to rest. There. One week. Ugh. It was tough. I finally decided to maybe do another marathon this year, and scheduled a few halfs. I got on a groove with the stairs workouts and the cross training at November Project, so all seems to be going in the right direction. I’ll share my training for all July as I know you’re all curious, but there was nothing groundbreaking. Not even a lot of miles!

july training

  • Total Miles: 109. Shit
  • Races: zero. ooops. forgot
  • Ups: LOTS of stairs and running and cross training. AND SWEATING.
  • Downs: the easy week!!!! I am scared about the marathon training plan I put together.
  • Balance: It’s great. Though  I am a bit anxious about how this marathon season is going to play out.

June

did I forget to write about June??? I guess SO! Oooops, what a mess. Well, my parents were visiting for a month if that is a good excuse! It was BU-SY!

BUSY

what happened in June..?? well, I we took my parents everywhere. a month is like, 4 weeks, so we had tons of time to do stuff, and they’d done all the touristy stuff all the other times, so this time we did local’s stuff stuff, you know? like they’d walk to Randall’s Island everyday, or go to the GW, or go to November Project, or volunteer at a water table (for the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge). fun part is this is the first year in like 15 years, that my parents and I spend my birthday and my dad’s bday and father’s day  in the same place! So cool right? Little things you get used to not having… oh well. We did do a couple of touristy things, like the Freedom Tour Observatory (meh), the NY Philarmonic in Central Park, and the Intrepid. But it stops there! Juan had a half Ironman so we went to Maryland or somewhere for the weekend. He did amazing. But he has been training like a maniac, twice a day, hours and hours in the indoor trainer, so I was happy he could get some good results! Me? I’ve been running and workout as usual. I finally managed to make cross-training part of my routine, which I talked about here, and I am SO excited about it!

  • Total Miles: 137. YES!!
  • Races: Just one, the NYRR Achilles Hope and Possibility
  • Ups: LOTS of running and cross training. And we starting doing stairs workouts. AND IT’S HOT OUT
  • Downs: that this weather can’t last forever??? nothing!
  • Balance: I feel amazing. As fit as I’ve ever been. I have no interest in racing because I don’t want to taper. I just want to train and train and train!!!! that’s crazy right?

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May

Flowers Month started with the NJ Half, which now seems like aaaaages ago. Maybe because I did the Brooklyn Half and that also seems like aaaaaages ago!!! Well, it was only 10 days ago. Wow, I am aging fast! New Jersey was a meh race, I got bored, my heart rate was spiking and I wasn’t even sure why, missed a PR by 20 something seconds. I spent the whole month trying to lower it and find the culprit. Then I did the Newport 10K, which was fun but super hot so I missed a PR by a whole minute. A minute in a 10K is like a minute waiting for your Shake Shack buzzer to go off: e-t-e-r-n-i-t-yyyyy. A week later, and still tired, was the Brooklyn Half. I knew I didn’t have it so took it easy there and had a great fun (though slow) race. Best decision evah. Why try when you can just give up? 😉 Overall, I had a fun month, I did a million workouts and runs with lots of friends, I went out a lot, I looked for many races to do as soon as I recovered from Brooklyn then was happy that I didn’t sign up for anything, as it’s SO HOT out. Speedwork Tuesday was not just hot, it was HUMID and awful. Need to make sure I adjust to this crap ASAP. If you need a read on how to adjust to the heat and a lesson on how to over-hydrate, check this (skip to the bottom if you’re not into sciency/nerdy stuff). And you better be ready for the summer runs/racing. It’s happening whether you like it or not! What’s happening in June…? I’d like to say I have x race and x race but…. I do have a bunch of races in my calendar, but nothing I am 100% on. I think I need a liiiiiitle break from racing. Usually in May/June I have a race every weekend, sometimes 3 races in a week! I am just going to go with my heart this time, and see where the wind blows!

  • Total Miles: 120. Ok with me!
  • Races: Three. The NJ Half, the Newport 10K, and the Brooklyn Half.
  • Ups: solid workouts, not just running, all sorts of stuff. I went up LOTs of stairs and bridges too.
  • Downs: my races sorta sucked. BK was fun but nothing fast.
  • Balance: Still in building mode for the Fall, I guess?. And having fun with it. May was fun but not the usual May where I score a bunch of awesome PRs! Oh well. Healthy and Fun wins over FAST. Actually, looking at the pictures in the slideshow, I have proof that I had all sorts of fun!

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April

I am ready… feeling ready to say hello to May and a NEW HALF PR, whether that’s New Jersey (May 1, this Sunday!!!!!) or the Brooklyn Half, well, that… I still don’t know, but I’ll be trying at both. Or I’ll be trying at NJ this weekend and then we’ll see about the other one!

I did one fun race in April, the Run for the Parks 4Miler, that went a bit (12 seconds) too slow and two IronStrength workouts that zapped my legs. Like OUCH. Or more like this feels worse that my first marathon (walking backwards downstairs and all). I also did a lot of coaching, I went to cheer on my athletes, team, and friends at the Boston Marathon, and last week I participated the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. A busy month at work, lots of coaching, and quality runs. Plus some cross-training, which you know I hate! I am getting over it though, I think, we’ll see.

  • Total Miles: 90 (ooops)
  • Races: One, Run for the Parks 4Miler, not a PR by a bit.
  • Ups: I got back on the horse about the #!*$! cross-training with some November Project and some Ironstrength. Each time I was out for days. I am not built for burpees. at all.
  • Downs: same as above, cross-training kills me. I’d do it and then not be able to walk normally or run for days!!!! And… where did my mileage go? Even last Saturday I tried to run (3 days past Ironstrength!!) and I couldn’t, UGH.
  • Balance: Building, building, waiting for my chance to ATTACK. Stay tuned. May should be my chance!
  • Good news: not to be braggy but I noticed how all my races lately have been over 70% Age Grading, which had always been my goal. So, happy (very happy) about that. Also noticed, that I have no need to do the 9+1 now as I qualify for the marathon (with my NYC Half time) , if I ever decided to do it. Whaaaaat? yeah, it’s a bit braggy but hey, it took YEARS! And lots and lots of sweat and early mornings!

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March

Ah it was a roller coaster!!!!! It was cold, it was hot, it was cold, you get it. I did some amazing workouts, some confidence-boosters, and lots of junk miles. It took a bit to psych myself up that I could do a sub 1:37 half. I did it. And then, the same day, I left for Argentina for two weeks, so it’s like it almost didn’t happen (it was funny when I got back home last week and my apartment looked like I just had done the half: pace bracelet, Gatorade, extra layers, mylar blanket, and stuff everywhere!!!). Remind me not to do that again! I barely run when in Argentina; maybe about 30 miles in two weeks. But had such a relaxing time!

  • Total Miles: 110
  • Races: ONE. The NYC Half! with a PR!!! the PR I had been chasing for THREE YEARS
  • Ups: I got a lot of fun easy runs, slow runs, fun runs
  • Downs: where did my mileage go? I had no interest in running while I was on vacation.  Or workout. Or anything, as usual.
  • Balance: Overall good. I still need to figure out a thing or two about the half, and how to drink while running and why I sometimes, after a hard effort, have no interest in any of it, but overall good.

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February

confirmed that this would be the most confusing and best winter ever. One day you have low temperature records and the next day you’re in shorts. A Blizzard, then 60 degrees. Still a lot better than just straight out freezing for the whole month (like last year). Somehow, I have still been able to train a lot this month, which is strange as I haven’t really taken a break since last March… So weird. I did quite good mileage, once short race, 6 interval workouts, three runs over 15 miles, ooops no tempo! Forgot about the tempo. Though I should probably count every time I run with Patricia as a tempo!!! 76% of my miles were on the briddle path, maybe that’s why I have been able to do all this mileage?

  • Total Miles: 137.
  • Races: one 4 Miler, not a PR (by 3 seconds) but placed 2nd in my Age Group
  • Ups: the weather was awesome for February. Lots of miles. Lots of fast miles! I love that we’re back in the briddle path for the speedwork!! Got a lot of new Under Armour gear and shoes. Managed to survive a long run with Patricia.
  • Downs: I am tired and we are 2.5 weeks from the NYC Half: I am starting to get nervous!
  • Balance: Great, ready to pounce!!

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January

was a solid month. I got 132 miles… how? Apparently I started doing longish runs again without noticing!!! I got five of them in the log: 12.5, 12.5, 15, 11, and 15.5, not sure what distance is “long” anymore but I guess if I am training for a half, anything over 8 miles is LONG. Right? Anyone knows?

I also did 5 speedwork sessions: Mile Repeats, 6x400s + 3x800s, 5x1K, 5 Cath Hill Sprints, and 6x800s. Plus a stoopid-hard workout at Orange Theory I had no idea how to include in my spreadsheet 😛

Weather has been ok so far, nothing like last year. We did have a rough day, when it was 17 (feels like 5) and we were doing intervals. It was BRUTAL. but you know, those are the days you go out because after that 20s and 30s feel like Summer. We had a little blizzard (22 inches of snow in 1 day) but I was able to run the day before and the day after so no biggie. And the briddle path was back in just 10 days!

I have now 6 weeks to the United NYC Half Marathon and I am super pumped. I need a Half PR this year guys, it’s been 3 years! I am desperate. I also signed up for the New Jersey Half. Oh, and Brooklyn Half too. It’s coming. I promise. I can see it. I can almost taste it! I am sure it tastes like unicorns, and victory and clouds, and sunny and yes, pizza from Rome.

  • Total Miles: 132.
  • Races: Zero (unless you count the times I need to race to be on time to meet running friends!)
  • Ups: the weather is not 100% miserable. Lots of consistent training and cross training.
  • Downs: I am sick of wearing layers. My legs and my bun want out!
  • Balance: Good, on a patient waiting mode.

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September Recap

is it really almost October ALREADY??? WHAT!

meme-winteriscoming

actually, this is more like it:

bwqofcpl0jst21jc1ajuI am already dreading it ALREADY, though of course the running gets easier… On the other hand, I was finally adjusted to the heat. You know how it is…

September shocked me a bit. I ended up with 160 miles. Oooops.

I actually had the same reaction many Fridays or Saturdays when I had a race that weekend and realized and already had run way too many miles that week to be rested for the race. No idea how that happens!

september-2016

This was probably my month with the highest mileage EVER. I say probably because I am too lazy to go check. Then I reply to myself, “what is the point of keeping track of EVERYTHING, if you are not going to use it to check on stuff?” And I just pretend I have to go to the bathroom and walk away offended. So, I am assuming there’s a 95% change this is my highest monthly mileage ever.

This month my routine was thrown off a LOT. I had a set-in-stone routine: Speedwork on Tuesdays (THE main workout); Easy or nothing on Mondays (Stairs workout for the last 4 months); November Project on Wednesdays; Easy or Tempo on Thursdays. Nothing Friday. Long or Race on the Weekend.

Then, I started coaching the NYRR Long Training Runs a few weeks ago, AT NIGHT. First of all, I hadn’t run after 7 am in AGES… 3, 4, 5 years maybe? I don’t even remember! Which is SO STRANGE. Adjusting to running at night is still a struggle. It feels weird waking up and not heading out. Do I shower? Do I just watch the news???? WHAT DO PEOPLE DO?!!?!?! Then, what’s the latest I can eat? One time, I forgot, had a snack at 3 pm and I was so uncomfortable during the workout (there’s always speed-work or some sort of speed component), I felt like I was going to throw up. Then, I get home past 8, which is usually my bed time… it’s weird to go to sleep so late, with food still in my throat, I’ve woken up early a few mornings after still full and gagging in my first few steps. There’s some major logistics mishaps that need straightening. On the other hand, SO much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do other women do about long sweaty hair when they run at night?????

What do other women do about long sweaty hair when they run at night?????

I still need to figure out how to reinstate my own speedwork instead of just doing it with the group, but running twice on Tuesdays, speedwork twice in one day, seems crazy. Still fine-tuning this. Stay tuned!

Oh and I had a few races and did many fun this, but I am SURE you’ve read my previous posts anyway!

  • Total Miles: 160. Most ever. For Sure. Almost Sure. Not 100% sure but almost really sure.
  • Races:Two. The New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile and the Newport Liberty Half. I run both quite poorly to tell you the truth, now that I have the perspective.
  • Ups: Apparently something good was happening if I was clocking this many miles. 😉
  • Downs: Races and their tapering… ugh. Oh, and no PRs since MARCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Balance: The more I race the more I get deflated about the no PRs since March’s United NYC Half thing. But we’ll get there when we get there, right?

Some pictures from the road:

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See you next Month for the next recap!

August

I can’t get over how now 70 degree weather feel like Autumn… it’s amazing how fast we get used to 90s or 10s around here…. I am already missing the high temperatures and dreading the winter, but ohboyohboyohboyhowfastwearegoingtoberunningsoon!!!

August was insane. I don’t know if I ever run 149 miles in one month and I am too lazy to look it up. I know that’s weekly mileage for some of you, but whatever, we all have our limits! I love sharing my training month once in a while because no one believes me I run this little/much or at this pace or whatever. And we’re all nosy, aren’t we? You’re welcome. So here’s the naked August truth:

august runs

I did 3 long runs, all in Summer Streets, one better than the last one. I felt great, fast and powerful, even with awful heat and humidity, go figure. I am still cross-training a lot more than usual, and I totally felt the difference in the long runs. The 4th week I was supposed to be off so I raced a 5K. I didn’t PR but I was 9 seconds away! It was hard, but I was just so happy with the race, the fun, and my negative splits! This past month was interesting as my gastroenterologist put me on a no-dairy, no-gluten, no-artificial sweeteners diet. Quite messy at first, because, is there anything left? But once the 16Handles cravings subsided, I got used to it. This past month was one of the funnest ever, and I am so happy I decided to sign up for a marathon: I found out I could rally the troops to have great long runs with great company and have been having the best time! September, and all is racing is just so close I can smell it!

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  • Total Miles: 149. Most ever? Let’s assume so!
  • Races: one!!!! Not a PR but a great effort! Still, that’s race 7 this year, I am waaay behind!
  • Ups: The miles flew by and have been getting in quality workouts with QUALITY PEOPLE!
  • Downs: Tapering for races annoys me. And the easy weeks. UGH. But I know they’re needed.
  • Balance: best month ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July

So, last month I finally STOPPED. I had been running crazy for years and never ocurred to me to rest. There. One week. Ugh. It was tough. I finally decided to maybe do another marathon this year, and scheduled a few halfs. I got on a groove with the stairs workouts and the cross training at November Project, so all seems to be going in the right direction. I’ll share my training for all July as I know you’re all curious, but there was nothing groundbreaking. Not even a lot of miles!

july training

  • Total Miles: 109. Shit
  • Races: zero. ooops. forgot
  • Ups: LOTS of stairs and running and cross training. AND SWEATING.
  • Downs: the easy week!!!! I am scared about the marathon training plan I put together.
  • Balance: It’s great. Though  I am a bit anxious about how this marathon season is going to play out.

June

did I forget to write about June??? I guess SO! Oooops, what a mess. Well, my parents were visiting for a month if that is a good excuse! It was BU-SY!

BUSY

what happened in June..?? well, I we took my parents everywhere. a month is like, 4 weeks, so we had tons of time to do stuff, and they’d done all the touristy stuff all the other times, so this time we did local’s stuff stuff, you know? like they’d walk to Randall’s Island everyday, or go to the GW, or go to November Project, or volunteer at a water table (for the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge). fun part is this is the first year in like 15 years, that my parents and I spend my birthday and my dad’s bday and father’s day  in the same place! So cool right? Little things you get used to not having… oh well. We did do a couple of touristy things, like the Freedom Tour Observatory (meh), the NY Philarmonic in Central Park, and the Intrepid. But it stops there! Juan had a half Ironman so we went to Maryland or somewhere for the weekend. He did amazing. But he has been training like a maniac, twice a day, hours and hours in the indoor trainer, so I was happy he could get some good results! Me? I’ve been running and workout as usual. I finally managed to make cross-training part of my routine, which I talked about here, and I am SO excited about it!

  • Total Miles: 137. YES!!
  • Races: Just one, the NYRR Achilles Hope and Possibility
  • Ups: LOTS of running and cross training. And we starting doing stairs workouts. AND IT’S HOT OUT
  • Downs: that this weather can’t last forever??? nothing!
  • Balance: I feel amazing. As fit as I’ve ever been. I have no interest in racing because I don’t want to taper. I just want to train and train and train!!!! that’s crazy right?

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May

Flowers Month started with the NJ Half, which now seems like aaaaages ago. Maybe because I did the Brooklyn Half and that also seems like aaaaaages ago!!! Well, it was only 10 days ago. Wow, I am aging fast! New Jersey was a meh race, I got bored, my heart rate was spiking and I wasn’t even sure why, missed a PR by 20 something seconds. I spent the whole month trying to lower it and find the culprit. Then I did the Newport 10K, which was fun but super hot so I missed a PR by a whole minute. A minute in a 10K is like a minute waiting for your Shake Shack buzzer to go off: e-t-e-r-n-i-t-yyyyy. A week later, and still tired, was the Brooklyn Half. I knew I didn’t have it so took it easy there and had a great fun (though slow) race. Best decision evah. Why try when you can just give up? 😉 Overall, I had a fun month, I did a million workouts and runs with lots of friends, I went out a lot, I looked for many races to do as soon as I recovered from Brooklyn then was happy that I didn’t sign up for anything, as it’s SO HOT out. Speedwork Tuesday was not just hot, it was HUMID and awful. Need to make sure I adjust to this crap ASAP. If you need a read on how to adjust to the heat and a lesson on how to over-hydrate, check this (skip to the bottom if you’re not into sciency/nerdy stuff). And you better be ready for the summer runs/racing. It’s happening whether you like it or not! What’s happening in June…? I’d like to say I have x race and x race but…. I do have a bunch of races in my calendar, but nothing I am 100% on. I think I need a liiiiiitle break from racing. Usually in May/June I have a race every weekend, sometimes 3 races in a week! I am just going to go with my heart this time, and see where the wind blows!

  • Total Miles: 120. Ok with me!
  • Races: Three. The NJ Half, the Newport 10K, and the Brooklyn Half.
  • Ups: solid workouts, not just running, all sorts of stuff. I went up LOTs of stairs and bridges too.
  • Downs: my races sorta sucked. BK was fun but nothing fast.
  • Balance: Still in building mode for the Fall, I guess?. And having fun with it. May was fun but not the usual May where I score a bunch of awesome PRs! Oh well. Healthy and Fun wins over FAST. Actually, looking at the pictures in the slideshow, I have proof that I had all sorts of fun!

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April

I am ready… feeling ready to say hello to May and a NEW HALF PR, whether that’s New Jersey (May 1, this Sunday!!!!!) or the Brooklyn Half, well, that… I still don’t know, but I’ll be trying at both. Or I’ll be trying at NJ this weekend and then we’ll see about the other one!

I did one fun race in April, the Run for the Parks 4Miler, that went a bit (12 seconds) too slow and two IronStrength workouts that zapped my legs. Like OUCH. Or more like this feels worse that my first marathon (walking backwards downstairs and all). I also did a lot of coaching, I went to cheer on my athletes, team, and friends at the Boston Marathon, and last week I participated the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. A busy month at work, lots of coaching, and quality runs. Plus some cross-training, which you know I hate! I am getting over it though, I think, we’ll see.

  • Total Miles: 90 (ooops)
  • Races: One, Run for the Parks 4Miler, not a PR by a bit.
  • Ups: I got back on the horse about the #!*$! cross-training with some November Project and some Ironstrength. Each time I was out for days. I am not built for burpees. at all.
  • Downs: same as above, cross-training kills me. I’d do it and then not be able to walk normally or run for days!!!! And… where did my mileage go? Even last Saturday I tried to run (3 days past Ironstrength!!) and I couldn’t, UGH.
  • Balance: Building, building, waiting for my chance to ATTACK. Stay tuned. May should be my chance!
  • Good news: not to be braggy but I noticed how all my races lately have been over 70% Age Grading, which had always been my goal. So, happy (very happy) about that. Also noticed, that I have no need to do the 9+1 now as I qualify for the marathon (with my NYC Half time) , if I ever decided to do it. Whaaaaat? yeah, it’s a bit braggy but hey, it took YEARS! And lots and lots of sweat and early mornings!

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March

Ah it was a roller coaster!!!!! It was cold, it was hot, it was cold, you get it. I did some amazing workouts, some confidence-boosters, and lots of junk miles. It took a bit to psych myself up that I could do a sub 1:37 half. I did it. And then, the same day, I left for Argentina for two weeks, so it’s like it almost didn’t happen (it was funny when I got back home last week and my apartment looked like I just had done the half: pace bracelet, Gatorade, extra layers, mylar blanket, and stuff everywhere!!!). Remind me not to do that again! I barely run when in Argentina; maybe about 30 miles in two weeks. But had such a relaxing time!

  • Total Miles: 110
  • Races: ONE. The NYC Half! with a PR!!! the PR I had been chasing for THREE YEARS
  • Ups: I got a lot of fun easy runs, slow runs, fun runs
  • Downs: where did my mileage go? I had no interest in running while I was on vacation.  Or workout. Or anything, as usual.
  • Balance: Overall good. I still need to figure out a thing or two about the half, and how to drink while running and why I sometimes, after a hard effort, have no interest in any of it, but overall good.

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February

confirmed that this would be the most confusing and best winter ever. One day you have low temperature records and the next day you’re in shorts. A Blizzard, then 60 degrees. Still a lot better than just straight out freezing for the whole month (like last year). Somehow, I have still been able to train a lot this month, which is strange as I haven’t really taken a break since last March… So weird. I did quite good mileage, once short race, 6 interval workouts, three runs over 15 miles, ooops no tempo! Forgot about the tempo. Though I should probably count every time I run with Patricia as a tempo!!! 76% of my miles were on the briddle path, maybe that’s why I have been able to do all this mileage?

  • Total Miles: 137.
  • Races: one 4 Miler, not a PR (by 3 seconds) but placed 2nd in my Age Group
  • Ups: the weather was awesome for February. Lots of miles. Lots of fast miles! I love that we’re back in the briddle path for the speedwork!! Got a lot of new Under Armour gear and shoes. Managed to survive a long run with Patricia.
  • Downs: I am tired and we are 2.5 weeks from the NYC Half: I am starting to get nervous!
  • Balance: Great, ready to pounce!!

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January

was a solid month. I got 132 miles… how? Apparently I started doing longish runs again without noticing!!! I got five of them in the log: 12.5, 12.5, 15, 11, and 15.5, not sure what distance is “long” anymore but I guess if I am training for a half, anything over 8 miles is LONG. Right? Anyone knows?

I also did 5 speedwork sessions: Mile Repeats, 6x400s + 3x800s, 5x1K, 5 Cath Hill Sprints, and 6x800s. Plus a stoopid-hard workout at Orange Theory I had no idea how to include in my spreadsheet 😛

Weather has been ok so far, nothing like last year. We did have a rough day, when it was 17 (feels like 5) and we were doing intervals. It was BRUTAL. but you know, those are the days you go out because after that 20s and 30s feel like Summer. We had a little blizzard (22 inches of snow in 1 day) but I was able to run the day before and the day after so no biggie. And the briddle path was back in just 10 days!

I have now 6 weeks to the United NYC Half Marathon and I am super pumped. I need a Half PR this year guys, it’s been 3 years! I am desperate. I also signed up for the New Jersey Half. Oh, and Brooklyn Half too. It’s coming. I promise. I can see it. I can almost taste it! I am sure it tastes like unicorns, and victory and clouds, and sunny and yes, pizza from Rome.

  • Total Miles: 132.
  • Races: Zero (unless you count the times I need to race to be on time to meet running friends!)
  • Ups: the weather is not 100% miserable. Lots of consistent training and cross training.
  • Downs: I am sick of wearing layers. My legs and my bun want out!
  • Balance: Good, on a patient waiting mode.

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August Recap = byeSummerbye

August

I can’t get over how now 70 degree weather feel like Autumn… it’s amazing how fast we get used to 90s or 10s around here…. I am already missing the high temperatures and dreading the winter, but ohboyohboyohboyhowfastwearegoingtoberunningsoon!!!

August was insane. I don’t know if I ever run 149 miles in one month and I am too lazy to look it up. I know that’s weekly mileage for some of you, but whatever, we all have our limits! I love sharing my training month once in a while because no one believes me I run this little/much or at this pace or whatever. And we’re all nosy, aren’t we? You’re welcome. So here’s the naked August truth:

august runs

I did 3 long runs, all in Summer Streets, one better than the last one. I felt great, fast and powerful, even with awful heat and humidity, go figure. I am still cross-training a lot more than usual, and I totally felt the difference in the long runs. The 4th week I was supposed to be off so I raced a 5K. I didn’t PR but I was 9 seconds away! It was hard, but I was just so happy with the race, the fun, and my negative splits! This past month was interesting as my gastroenterologist put me on a no-dairy, no-gluten, no-artificial sweeteners diet. Quite messy at first, because, is there anything left? But once the 16Handles cravings subsided, I got used to it. This past month was one of the funnest ever, and I am so happy I decided to sign up for a marathon: I found out I could rally the troops to have great long runs with great company and have been having the best time! September, and all is racing is just so close I can smell it!

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  • Total Miles: 149. Most ever? Let’s assume so!
  • Races: one!!!! Not a PR but a great effort! Still, that’s race 7 this year, I am waaay behind!
  • Ups: The miles flew by and have been getting in quality workouts with QUALITY PEOPLE!
  • Downs: Tapering for races annoys me. And the easy weeks. UGH. But I know they’re needed.
  • Balance: best month ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July

So, last month I finally STOPPED. I had been running crazy for years and never ocurred to me to rest. There. One week. Ugh. It was tough. I finally decided to maybe do another marathon this year, and scheduled a few halfs. I got on a groove with the stairs workouts and the cross training at November Project, so all seems to be going in the right direction. I’ll share my training for all July as I know you’re all curious, but there was nothing groundbreaking. Not even a lot of miles!

july training

  • Total Miles: 109. Shit
  • Races: zero. ooops. forgot
  • Ups: LOTS of stairs and running and cross training. AND SWEATING.
  • Downs: the easy week!!!! I am scared about the marathon training plan I put together.
  • Balance: It’s great. Though  I am a bit anxious about how this marathon season is going to play out.

June

did I forget to write about June??? I guess SO! Oooops, what a mess. Well, my parents were visiting for a month if that is a good excuse! It was BU-SY!

BUSY

what happened in June..?? well, I we took my parents everywhere. a month is like, 4 weeks, so we had tons of time to do stuff, and they’d done all the touristy stuff all the other times, so this time we did local’s stuff stuff, you know? like they’d walk to Randall’s Island everyday, or go to the GW, or go to November Project, or volunteer at a water table (for the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge). fun part is this is the first year in like 15 years, that my parents and I spend my birthday and my dad’s bday and father’s day  in the same place! So cool right? Little things you get used to not having… oh well. We did do a couple of touristy things, like the Freedom Tour Observatory (meh), the NY Philarmonic in Central Park, and the Intrepid. But it stops there! Juan had a half Ironman so we went to Maryland or somewhere for the weekend. He did amazing. But he has been training like a maniac, twice a day, hours and hours in the indoor trainer, so I was happy he could get some good results! Me? I’ve been running and workout as usual. I finally managed to make cross-training part of my routine, which I talked about here, and I am SO excited about it!

  • Total Miles: 137. YES!!
  • Races: Just one, the NYRR Achilles Hope and Possibility
  • Ups: LOTS of running and cross training. And we starting doing stairs workouts. AND IT’S HOT OUT
  • Downs: that this weather can’t last forever??? nothing!
  • Balance: I feel amazing. As fit as I’ve ever been. I have no interest in racing because I don’t want to taper. I just want to train and train and train!!!! that’s crazy right?

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May

Flowers Month started with the NJ Half, which now seems like aaaaages ago. Maybe because I did the Brooklyn Half and that also seems like aaaaaages ago!!! Well, it was only 10 days ago. Wow, I am aging fast! New Jersey was a meh race, I got bored, my heart rate was spiking and I wasn’t even sure why, missed a PR by 20 something seconds. I spent the whole month trying to lower it and find the culprit. Then I did the Newport 10K, which was fun but super hot so I missed a PR by a whole minute. A minute in a 10K is like a minute waiting for your Shake Shack buzzer to go off: e-t-e-r-n-i-t-yyyyy. A week later, and still tired, was the Brooklyn Half. I knew I didn’t have it so took it easy there and had a great fun (though slow) race. Best decision evah. Why try when you can just give up? 😉 Overall, I had a fun month, I did a million workouts and runs with lots of friends, I went out a lot, I looked for many races to do as soon as I recovered from Brooklyn then was happy that I didn’t sign up for anything, as it’s SO HOT out. Speedwork Tuesday was not just hot, it was HUMID and awful. Need to make sure I adjust to this crap ASAP. If you need a read on how to adjust to the heat and a lesson on how to over-hydrate, check this (skip to the bottom if you’re not into sciency/nerdy stuff). And you better be ready for the summer runs/racing. It’s happening whether you like it or not! What’s happening in June…? I’d like to say I have x race and x race but…. I do have a bunch of races in my calendar, but nothing I am 100% on. I think I need a liiiiiitle break from racing. Usually in May/June I have a race every weekend, sometimes 3 races in a week! I am just going to go with my heart this time, and see where the wind blows!

  • Total Miles: 120. Ok with me!
  • Races: Three. The NJ Half, the Newport 10K, and the Brooklyn Half.
  • Ups: solid workouts, not just running, all sorts of stuff. I went up LOTs of stairs and bridges too.
  • Downs: my races sorta sucked. BK was fun but nothing fast.
  • Balance: Still in building mode for the Fall, I guess?. And having fun with it. May was fun but not the usual May where I score a bunch of awesome PRs! Oh well. Healthy and Fun wins over FAST. Actually, looking at the pictures in the slideshow, I have proof that I had all sorts of fun!

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April

I am ready… feeling ready to say hello to May and a NEW HALF PR, whether that’s New Jersey (May 1, this Sunday!!!!!) or the Brooklyn Half, well, that… I still don’t know, but I’ll be trying at both. Or I’ll be trying at NJ this weekend and then we’ll see about the other one!

I did one fun race in April, the Run for the Parks 4Miler, that went a bit (12 seconds) too slow and two IronStrength workouts that zapped my legs. Like OUCH. Or more like this feels worse that my first marathon (walking backwards downstairs and all). I also did a lot of coaching, I went to cheer on my athletes, team, and friends at the Boston Marathon, and last week I participated the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. A busy month at work, lots of coaching, and quality runs. Plus some cross-training, which you know I hate! I am getting over it though, I think, we’ll see.

  • Total Miles: 90 (ooops)
  • Races: One, Run for the Parks 4Miler, not a PR by a bit.
  • Ups: I got back on the horse about the #!*$! cross-training with some November Project and some Ironstrength. Each time I was out for days. I am not built for burpees. at all.
  • Downs: same as above, cross-training kills me. I’d do it and then not be able to walk normally or run for days!!!! And… where did my mileage go? Even last Saturday I tried to run (3 days past Ironstrength!!) and I couldn’t, UGH.
  • Balance: Building, building, waiting for my chance to ATTACK. Stay tuned. May should be my chance!
  • Good news: not to be braggy but I noticed how all my races lately have been over 70% Age Grading, which had always been my goal. So, happy (very happy) about that. Also noticed, that I have no need to do the 9+1 now as I qualify for the marathon (with my NYC Half time) , if I ever decided to do it. Whaaaaat? yeah, it’s a bit braggy but hey, it took YEARS! And lots and lots of sweat and early mornings!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March

Ah it was a roller coaster!!!!! It was cold, it was hot, it was cold, you get it. I did some amazing workouts, some confidence-boosters, and lots of junk miles. It took a bit to psych myself up that I could do a sub 1:37 half. I did it. And then, the same day, I left for Argentina for two weeks, so it’s like it almost didn’t happen (it was funny when I got back home last week and my apartment looked like I just had done the half: pace bracelet, Gatorade, extra layers, mylar blanket, and stuff everywhere!!!). Remind me not to do that again! I barely run when in Argentina; maybe about 30 miles in two weeks. But had such a relaxing time!

  • Total Miles: 110
  • Races: ONE. The NYC Half! with a PR!!! the PR I had been chasing for THREE YEARS
  • Ups: I got a lot of fun easy runs, slow runs, fun runs
  • Downs: where did my mileage go? I had no interest in running while I was on vacation.  Or workout. Or anything, as usual.
  • Balance: Overall good. I still need to figure out a thing or two about the half, and how to drink while running and why I sometimes, after a hard effort, have no interest in any of it, but overall good.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

February

confirmed that this would be the most confusing and best winter ever. One day you have low temperature records and the next day you’re in shorts. A Blizzard, then 60 degrees. Still a lot better than just straight out freezing for the whole month (like last year). Somehow, I have still been able to train a lot this month, which is strange as I haven’t really taken a break since last March… So weird. I did quite good mileage, once short race, 6 interval workouts, three runs over 15 miles, ooops no tempo! Forgot about the tempo. Though I should probably count every time I run with Patricia as a tempo!!! 76% of my miles were on the briddle path, maybe that’s why I have been able to do all this mileage?

  • Total Miles: 137.
  • Races: one 4 Miler, not a PR (by 3 seconds) but placed 2nd in my Age Group
  • Ups: the weather was awesome for February. Lots of miles. Lots of fast miles! I love that we’re back in the briddle path for the speedwork!! Got a lot of new Under Armour gear and shoes. Managed to survive a long run with Patricia.
  • Downs: I am tired and we are 2.5 weeks from the NYC Half: I am starting to get nervous!
  • Balance: Great, ready to pounce!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

January

was a solid month. I got 132 miles… how? Apparently I started doing longish runs again without noticing!!! I got five of them in the log: 12.5, 12.5, 15, 11, and 15.5, not sure what distance is “long” anymore but I guess if I am training for a half, anything over 8 miles is LONG. Right? Anyone knows?

I also did 5 speedwork sessions: Mile Repeats, 6x400s + 3x800s, 5x1K, 5 Cath Hill Sprints, and 6x800s. Plus a stoopid-hard workout at Orange Theory I had no idea how to include in my spreadsheet 😛

Weather has been ok so far, nothing like last year. We did have a rough day, when it was 17 (feels like 5) and we were doing intervals. It was BRUTAL. but you know, those are the days you go out because after that 20s and 30s feel like Summer. We had a little blizzard (22 inches of snow in 1 day) but I was able to run the day before and the day after so no biggie. And the briddle path was back in just 10 days!

I have now 6 weeks to the United NYC Half Marathon and I am super pumped. I need a Half PR this year guys, it’s been 3 years! I am desperate. I also signed up for the New Jersey Half. Oh, and Brooklyn Half too. It’s coming. I promise. I can see it. I can almost taste it! I am sure it tastes like unicorns, and victory and clouds, and sunny and yes, pizza from Rome.

  • Total Miles: 132.
  • Races: Zero (unless you count the times I need to race to be on time to meet running friends!)
  • Ups: the weather is not 100% miserable. Lots of consistent training and cross training.
  • Downs: I am sick of wearing layers. My legs and my bun want out!
  • Balance: Good, on a patient waiting mode.

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July – When I finally took a break

July

So, last month I finally STOPPED. I had been running crazy for years and never ocurred to me to rest. There. One week. Ugh. It was tough. I finally decided to maybe do another marathon this year, and scheduled a few halfs. I got on a groove with the stairs workouts and the cross training at November Project, so all seems to be going in the right direction. I’ll share my training for all July as I know you’re all curious, but there was nothing groundbreaking. Not even a lot of miles!

july training

  • Total Miles: 109. Shit
  • Races: zero. ooops. forgot
  • Ups: LOTS of stairs and running and cross training. AND SWEATING.
  • Downs: the easy week!!!! I am scared about the marathon training plan I put together.
  • Balance: It’s great. Though  I am a bit anxious about how this marathon season is going to play out.

June

did I forget to write about June??? I guess SO! Oooops, what a mess. Well, my parents were visiting for a month if that is a good excuse! It was BU-SY!

BUSY

what happened in June..?? well, I we took my parents everywhere. a month is like, 4 weeks, so we had tons of time to do stuff, and they’d done all the touristy stuff all the other times, so this time we did local’s stuff stuff, you know? like they’d walk to Randall’s Island everyday, or go to the GW, or go to November Project, or volunteer at a water table (for the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge). fun part is this is the first year in like 15 years, that my parents and I spend my birthday and my dad’s bday and father’s day  in the same place! So cool right? Little things you get used to not having… oh well. We did do a couple of touristy things, like the Freedom Tour Observatory (meh), the NY Philarmonic in Central Park, and the Intrepid. But it stops there! Juan had a half Ironman so we went to Maryland or somewhere for the weekend. He did amazing. But he has been training like a maniac, twice a day, hours and hours in the indoor trainer, so I was happy he could get some good results! Me? I’ve been running and workout as usual. I finally managed to make cross-training part of my routine, which I talked about here, and I am SO excited about it!

  • Total Miles: 137. YES!!
  • Races: Just one, the NYRR Achilles Hope and Possibility
  • Ups: LOTS of running and cross training. And we starting doing stairs workouts. AND IT’S HOT OUT
  • Downs: that this weather can’t last forever??? nothing!
  • Balance: I feel amazing. As fit as I’ve ever been. I have no interest in racing because I don’t want to taper. I just want to train and train and train!!!! that’s crazy right?

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May

Flowers Month started with the NJ Half, which now seems like aaaaages ago. Maybe because I did the Brooklyn Half and that also seems like aaaaaages ago!!! Well, it was only 10 days ago. Wow, I am aging fast! New Jersey was a meh race, I got bored, my heart rate was spiking and I wasn’t even sure why, missed a PR by 20 something seconds. I spent the whole month trying to lower it and find the culprit. Then I did the Newport 10K, which was fun but super hot so I missed a PR by a whole minute. A minute in a 10K is like a minute waiting for your Shake Shack buzzer to go off: e-t-e-r-n-i-t-yyyyy. A week later, and still tired, was the Brooklyn Half. I knew I didn’t have it so took it easy there and had a great fun (though slow) race. Best decision evah. Why try when you can just give up? 😉 Overall, I had a fun month, I did a million workouts and runs with lots of friends, I went out a lot, I looked for many races to do as soon as I recovered from Brooklyn then was happy that I didn’t sign up for anything, as it’s SO HOT out. Speedwork Tuesday was not just hot, it was HUMID and awful. Need to make sure I adjust to this crap ASAP. If you need a read on how to adjust to the heat and a lesson on how to over-hydrate, check this (skip to the bottom if you’re not into sciency/nerdy stuff). And you better be ready for the summer runs/racing. It’s happening whether you like it or not! What’s happening in June…? I’d like to say I have x race and x race but…. I do have a bunch of races in my calendar, but nothing I am 100% on. I think I need a liiiiiitle break from racing. Usually in May/June I have a race every weekend, sometimes 3 races in a week! I am just going to go with my heart this time, and see where the wind blows!

  • Total Miles: 120. Ok with me!
  • Races: Three. The NJ Half, the Newport 10K, and the Brooklyn Half.
  • Ups: solid workouts, not just running, all sorts of stuff. I went up LOTs of stairs and bridges too.
  • Downs: my races sorta sucked. BK was fun but nothing fast.
  • Balance: Still in building mode for the Fall, I guess?. And having fun with it. May was fun but not the usual May where I score a bunch of awesome PRs! Oh well. Healthy and Fun wins over FAST. Actually, looking at the pictures in the slideshow, I have proof that I had all sorts of fun!

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April

I am ready… feeling ready to say hello to May and a NEW HALF PR, whether that’s New Jersey (May 1, this Sunday!!!!!) or the Brooklyn Half, well, that… I still don’t know, but I’ll be trying at both. Or I’ll be trying at NJ this weekend and then we’ll see about the other one!

I did one fun race in April, the Run for the Parks 4Miler, that went a bit (12 seconds) too slow and two IronStrength workouts that zapped my legs. Like OUCH. Or more like this feels worse that my first marathon (walking backwards downstairs and all). I also did a lot of coaching, I went to cheer on my athletes, team, and friends at the Boston Marathon, and last week I participated the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. A busy month at work, lots of coaching, and quality runs. Plus some cross-training, which you know I hate! I am getting over it though, I think, we’ll see.

  • Total Miles: 90 (ooops)
  • Races: One, Run for the Parks 4Miler, not a PR by a bit.
  • Ups: I got back on the horse about the #!*$! cross-training with some November Project and some Ironstrength. Each time I was out for days. I am not built for burpees. at all.
  • Downs: same as above, cross-training kills me. I’d do it and then not be able to walk normally or run for days!!!! And… where did my mileage go? Even last Saturday I tried to run (3 days past Ironstrength!!) and I couldn’t, UGH.
  • Balance: Building, building, waiting for my chance to ATTACK. Stay tuned. May should be my chance!
  • Good news: not to be braggy but I noticed how all my races lately have been over 70% Age Grading, which had always been my goal. So, happy (very happy) about that. Also noticed, that I have no need to do the 9+1 now as I qualify for the marathon (with my NYC Half time) , if I ever decided to do it. Whaaaaat? yeah, it’s a bit braggy but hey, it took YEARS! And lots and lots of sweat and early mornings!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March

Ah it was a roller coaster!!!!! It was cold, it was hot, it was cold, you get it. I did some amazing workouts, some confidence-boosters, and lots of junk miles. It took a bit to psych myself up that I could do a sub 1:37 half. I did it. And then, the same day, I left for Argentina for two weeks, so it’s like it almost didn’t happen (it was funny when I got back home last week and my apartment looked like I just had done the half: pace bracelet, Gatorade, extra layers, mylar blanket, and stuff everywhere!!!). Remind me not to do that again! I barely run when in Argentina; maybe about 30 miles in two weeks. But had such a relaxing time!

  • Total Miles: 110
  • Races: ONE. The NYC Half! with a PR!!! the PR I had been chasing for THREE YEARS
  • Ups: I got a lot of fun easy runs, slow runs, fun runs
  • Downs: where did my mileage go? I had no interest in running while I was on vacation.  Or workout. Or anything, as usual.
  • Balance: Overall good. I still need to figure out a thing or two about the half, and how to drink while running and why I sometimes, after a hard effort, have no interest in any of it, but overall good.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

February

confirmed that this would be the most confusing and best winter ever. One day you have low temperature records and the next day you’re in shorts. A Blizzard, then 60 degrees. Still a lot better than just straight out freezing for the whole month (like last year). Somehow, I have still been able to train a lot this month, which is strange as I haven’t really taken a break since last March… So weird. I did quite good mileage, once short race, 6 interval workouts, three runs over 15 miles, ooops no tempo! Forgot about the tempo. Though I should probably count every time I run with Patricia as a tempo!!! 76% of my miles were on the briddle path, maybe that’s why I have been able to do all this mileage?

  • Total Miles: 137.
  • Races: one 4 Miler, not a PR (by 3 seconds) but placed 2nd in my Age Group
  • Ups: the weather was awesome for February. Lots of miles. Lots of fast miles! I love that we’re back in the briddle path for the speedwork!! Got a lot of new Under Armour gear and shoes. Managed to survive a long run with Patricia.
  • Downs: I am tired and we are 2.5 weeks from the NYC Half: I am starting to get nervous!
  • Balance: Great, ready to pounce!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

January

was a solid month. I got 132 miles… how? Apparently I started doing longish runs again without noticing!!! I got five of them in the log: 12.5, 12.5, 15, 11, and 15.5, not sure what distance is “long” anymore but I guess if I am training for a half, anything over 8 miles is LONG. Right? Anyone knows?

I also did 5 speedwork sessions: Mile Repeats, 6x400s + 3x800s, 5x1K, 5 Cath Hill Sprints, and 6x800s. Plus a stoopid-hard workout at Orange Theory I had no idea how to include in my spreadsheet 😛

Weather has been ok so far, nothing like last year. We did have a rough day, when it was 17 (feels like 5) and we were doing intervals. It was BRUTAL. but you know, those are the days you go out because after that 20s and 30s feel like Summer. We had a little blizzard (22 inches of snow in 1 day) but I was able to run the day before and the day after so no biggie. And the briddle path was back in just 10 days!

I have now 6 weeks to the United NYC Half Marathon and I am super pumped. I need a Half PR this year guys, it’s been 3 years! I am desperate. I also signed up for the New Jersey Half. Oh, and Brooklyn Half too. It’s coming. I promise. I can see it. I can almost taste it! I am sure it tastes like unicorns, and victory and clouds, and sunny and yes, pizza from Rome.

  • Total Miles: 132.
  • Races: Zero (unless you count the times I need to race to be on time to meet running friends!)
  • Ups: the weather is not 100% miserable. Lots of consistent training and cross training.
  • Downs: I am sick of wearing layers. My legs and my bun want out!
  • Balance: Good, on a patient waiting mode.

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June…?? JUNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June

did I forget to write about June??? I guess SO! Oooops, what a mess. Well, my parents were visiting for a month if that is a good excuse! It was BU-SY!

BUSY

what happened in June..?? well, I we took my parents everywhere. a month is like, 4 weeks, so we had tons of time to do stuff, and they’d done all the touristy stuff all the other times, so this time we did local’s stuff stuff, you know? like they’d walk to Randall’s Island everyday, or go to the GW, or go to November Project, or volunteer at a water table (for the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge). fun part is this is the first year in like 15 years, that my parents and I spend my birthday and my dad’s bday and father’s day  in the same place! So cool right? Little things you get used to not having… oh well. We did do a couple of touristy things, like the Freedom Tour Observatory (meh), the NY Philarmonic in Central Park, and the Intrepid. But it stops there! Juan had a half Ironman so we went to Maryland or somewhere for the weekend. He did amazing. But he has been training like a maniac, twice a day, hours and hours in the indoor trainer, so I was happy he could get some good results! Me? I’ve been running and workout as usual. I finally managed to make cross-training part of my routine, which I talked about here, and I am SO excited about it!

  • Total Miles: 137. YES!!
  • Races: Just one, the NYRR Achilles Hope and Possibility
  • Ups: LOTS of running and cross training. And we starting doing stairs workouts. AND IT’S HOT OUT
  • Downs: that this weather can’t last forever??? nothing!
  • Balance: I feel amazing. As fit as I’ve ever been. I have no interest in racing because I don’t want to taper. I just want to train and train and train!!!! that’s crazy right?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

May

Flowers Month started with the NJ Half, which now seems like aaaaages ago. Maybe because I did the Brooklyn Half and that also seems like aaaaaages ago!!! Well, it was only 10 days ago. Wow, I am aging fast! New Jersey was a meh race, I got bored, my heart rate was spiking and I wasn’t even sure why, missed a PR by 20 something seconds. I spent the whole month trying to lower it and find the culprit. Then I did the Newport 10K, which was fun but super hot so I missed a PR by a whole minute. A minute in a 10K is like a minute waiting for your Shake Shack buzzer to go off: e-t-e-r-n-i-t-yyyyy. A week later, and still tired, was the Brooklyn Half. I knew I didn’t have it so took it easy there and had a great fun (though slow) race. Best decision evah. Why try when you can just give up? 😉 Overall, I had a fun month, I did a million workouts and runs with lots of friends, I went out a lot, I looked for many races to do as soon as I recovered from Brooklyn then was happy that I didn’t sign up for anything, as it’s SO HOT out. Speedwork Tuesday was not just hot, it was HUMID and awful. Need to make sure I adjust to this crap ASAP. If you need a read on how to adjust to the heat and a lesson on how to over-hydrate, check this (skip to the bottom if you’re not into sciency/nerdy stuff). And you better be ready for the summer runs/racing. It’s happening whether you like it or not! What’s happening in June…? I’d like to say I have x race and x race but…. I do have a bunch of races in my calendar, but nothing I am 100% on. I think I need a liiiiiitle break from racing. Usually in May/June I have a race every weekend, sometimes 3 races in a week! I am just going to go with my heart this time, and see where the wind blows!

  • Total Miles: 120. Ok with me!
  • Races: Three. The NJ Half, the Newport 10K, and the Brooklyn Half.
  • Ups: solid workouts, not just running, all sorts of stuff. I went up LOTs of stairs and bridges too.
  • Downs: my races sorta sucked. BK was fun but nothing fast.
  • Balance: Still in building mode for the Fall, I guess?. And having fun with it. May was fun but not the usual May where I score a bunch of awesome PRs! Oh well. Healthy and Fun wins over FAST. Actually, looking at the pictures in the slideshow, I have proof that I had all sorts of fun!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

April

I am ready… feeling ready to say hello to May and a NEW HALF PR, whether that’s New Jersey (May 1, this Sunday!!!!!) or the Brooklyn Half, well, that… I still don’t know, but I’ll be trying at both. Or I’ll be trying at NJ this weekend and then we’ll see about the other one!

I did one fun race in April, the Run for the Parks 4Miler, that went a bit (12 seconds) too slow and two IronStrength workouts that zapped my legs. Like OUCH. Or more like this feels worse that my first marathon (walking backwards downstairs and all). I also did a lot of coaching, I went to cheer on my athletes, team, and friends at the Boston Marathon, and last week I participated the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. A busy month at work, lots of coaching, and quality runs. Plus some cross-training, which you know I hate! I am getting over it though, I think, we’ll see.

  • Total Miles: 90 (ooops)
  • Races: One, Run for the Parks 4Miler, not a PR by a bit.
  • Ups: I got back on the horse about the #!*$! cross-training with some November Project and some Ironstrength. Each time I was out for days. I am not built for burpees. at all.
  • Downs: same as above, cross-training kills me. I’d do it and then not be able to walk normally or run for days!!!! And… where did my mileage go? Even last Saturday I tried to run (3 days past Ironstrength!!) and I couldn’t, UGH.
  • Balance: Building, building, waiting for my chance to ATTACK. Stay tuned. May should be my chance!
  • Good news: not to be braggy but I noticed how all my races lately have been over 70% Age Grading, which had always been my goal. So, happy (very happy) about that. Also noticed, that I have no need to do the 9+1 now as I qualify for the marathon (with my NYC Half time) , if I ever decided to do it. Whaaaaat? yeah, it’s a bit braggy but hey, it took YEARS! And lots and lots of sweat and early mornings!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March

Ah it was a roller coaster!!!!! It was cold, it was hot, it was cold, you get it. I did some amazing workouts, some confidence-boosters, and lots of junk miles. It took a bit to psych myself up that I could do a sub 1:37 half. I did it. And then, the same day, I left for Argentina for two weeks, so it’s like it almost didn’t happen (it was funny when I got back home last week and my apartment looked like I just had done the half: pace bracelet, Gatorade, extra layers, mylar blanket, and stuff everywhere!!!). Remind me not to do that again! I barely run when in Argentina; maybe about 30 miles in two weeks. But had such a relaxing time!

  • Total Miles: 110
  • Races: ONE. The NYC Half! with a PR!!! the PR I had been chasing for THREE YEARS
  • Ups: I got a lot of fun easy runs, slow runs, fun runs
  • Downs: where did my mileage go? I had no interest in running while I was on vacation.  Or workout. Or anything, as usual.
  • Balance: Overall good. I still need to figure out a thing or two about the half, and how to drink while running and why I sometimes, after a hard effort, have no interest in any of it, but overall good.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

February

confirmed that this would be the most confusing and best winter ever. One day you have low temperature records and the next day you’re in shorts. A Blizzard, then 60 degrees. Still a lot better than just straight out freezing for the whole month (like last year). Somehow, I have still been able to train a lot this month, which is strange as I haven’t really taken a break since last March… So weird. I did quite good mileage, once short race, 6 interval workouts, three runs over 15 miles, ooops no tempo! Forgot about the tempo. Though I should probably count every time I run with Patricia as a tempo!!! 76% of my miles were on the briddle path, maybe that’s why I have been able to do all this mileage?

  • Total Miles: 137.
  • Races: one 4 Miler, not a PR (by 3 seconds) but placed 2nd in my Age Group
  • Ups: the weather was awesome for February. Lots of miles. Lots of fast miles! I love that we’re back in the briddle path for the speedwork!! Got a lot of new Under Armour gear and shoes. Managed to survive a long run with Patricia.
  • Downs: I am tired and we are 2.5 weeks from the NYC Half: I am starting to get nervous!
  • Balance: Great, ready to pounce!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

January

was a solid month. I got 132 miles… how? Apparently I started doing longish runs again without noticing!!! I got five of them in the log: 12.5, 12.5, 15, 11, and 15.5, not sure what distance is “long” anymore but I guess if I am training for a half, anything over 8 miles is LONG. Right? Anyone knows?

I also did 5 speedwork sessions: Mile Repeats, 6x400s + 3x800s, 5x1K, 5 Cath Hill Sprints, and 6x800s. Plus a stoopid-hard workout at Orange Theory I had no idea how to include in my spreadsheet 😛

Weather has been ok so far, nothing like last year. We did have a rough day, when it was 17 (feels like 5) and we were doing intervals. It was BRUTAL. but you know, those are the days you go out because after that 20s and 30s feel like Summer. We had a little blizzard (22 inches of snow in 1 day) but I was able to run the day before and the day after so no biggie. And the briddle path was back in just 10 days!

I have now 6 weeks to the United NYC Half Marathon and I am super pumped. I need a Half PR this year guys, it’s been 3 years! I am desperate. I also signed up for the New Jersey Half. Oh, and Brooklyn Half too. It’s coming. I promise. I can see it. I can almost taste it! I am sure it tastes like unicorns, and victory and clouds, and sunny and yes, pizza from Rome.

  • Total Miles: 132.
  • Races: Zero (unless you count the times I need to race to be on time to meet running friends!)
  • Ups: the weather is not 100% miserable. Lots of consistent training and cross training.
  • Downs: I am sick of wearing layers. My legs and my bun want out!
  • Balance: Good, on a patient waiting mode.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

May = a Michael Bay movie (explosions everywhere!)

May

Flowers Month started with the NJ Half, which now seems like aaaaages ago. Maybe because I did the Brooklyn Half and that also seems like aaaaaages ago!!! Well, it was only 10 days ago. Wow, I am aging fast! New Jersey was a meh race, I got bored, my heart rate was spiking and I wasn’t even sure why, missed a PR by 20 something seconds. I spent the whole month trying to lower it and find the culprit. Then I did the Newport 10K, which was fun but super hot so I missed a PR by a whole minute. A minute in a 10K is like a minute waiting for your Shake Shack buzzer to go off: e-t-e-r-n-i-t-yyyyy. A week later, and still tired, was the Brooklyn Half. I knew I didn’t have it so took it easy there and had a great fun (though slow) race. Best decision evah. Why try when you can just give up? 😉 Overall, I had a fun month, I did a million workouts and runs with lots of friends, I went out a lot, I looked for many races to do as soon as I recovered from Brooklyn then was happy that I didn’t sign up for anything, as it’s SO HOT out. Speedwork Tuesday was not just hot, it was HUMID and awful. Need to make sure I adjust to this crap ASAP. If you need a read on how to adjust to the heat and a lesson on how to over-hydrate, check this (skip to the bottom if you’re not into sciency/nerdy stuff). And you better be ready for the summer runs/racing. It’s happening whether you like it or not! What’s happening in June…? I’d like to say I have x race and x race but…. I do have a bunch of races in my calendar, but nothing I am 100% on. I think I need a liiiiiitle break from racing. Usually in May/June I have a race every weekend, sometimes 3 races in a week! I am just going to go with my heart this time, and see where the wind blows!

  • Total Miles: 120. Ok with me!
  • Races: Three. The NJ Half, the Newport 10K, and the Brooklyn Half.
  • Ups: solid workouts, not just running, all sorts of stuff. I went up LOTs of stairs and bridges too.
  • Downs: my races sorta sucked. BK was fun but nothing fast.
  • Balance: Still in building mode for the Fall, I guess?. And having fun with it. May was fun but not the usual May where I score a bunch of awesome PRs! Oh well. Healthy and Fun wins over FAST. Actually, looking at the pictures in the slideshow, I have proof that I had all sorts of fun!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

April

I am ready… feeling ready to say hello to May and a NEW HALF PR, whether that’s New Jersey (May 1, this Sunday!!!!!) or the Brooklyn Half, well, that… I still don’t know, but I’ll be trying at both. Or I’ll be trying at NJ this weekend and then we’ll see about the other one!

I did one fun race in April, the Run for the Parks 4Miler, that went a bit (12 seconds) too slow and two IronStrength workouts that zapped my legs. Like OUCH. Or more like this feels worse that my first marathon (walking backwards downstairs and all). I also did a lot of coaching, I went to cheer on my athletes, team, and friends at the Boston Marathon, and last week I participated the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. A busy month at work, lots of coaching, and quality runs. Plus some cross-training, which you know I hate! I am getting over it though, I think, we’ll see.

  • Total Miles: 90 (ooops)
  • Races: One, Run for the Parks 4Miler, not a PR by a bit.
  • Ups: I got back on the horse about the #!*$! cross-training with some November Project and some Ironstrength. Each time I was out for days. I am not built for burpees. at all.
  • Downs: same as above, cross-training kills me. I’d do it and then not be able to walk normally or run for days!!!! And… where did my mileage go? Even last Saturday I tried to run (3 days past Ironstrength!!) and I couldn’t, UGH.
  • Balance: Building, building, waiting for my chance to ATTACK. Stay tuned. May should be my chance!
  • Good news: not to be braggy but I noticed how all my races lately have been over 70% Age Grading, which had always been my goal. So, happy (very happy) about that. Also noticed, that I have no need to do the 9+1 now as I qualify for the marathon (with my NYC Half time) , if I ever decided to do it. Whaaaaat? yeah, it’s a bit braggy but hey, it took YEARS! And lots and lots of sweat and early mornings!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March

Ah it was a roller coaster!!!!! It was cold, it was hot, it was cold, you get it. I did some amazing workouts, some confidence-boosters, and lots of junk miles. It took a bit to psych myself up that I could do a sub 1:37 half. I did it. And then, the same day, I left for Argentina for two weeks, so it’s like it almost didn’t happen (it was funny when I got back home last week and my apartment looked like I just had done the half: pace bracelet, Gatorade, extra layers, mylar blanket, and stuff everywhere!!!). Remind me not to do that again! I barely run when in Argentina; maybe about 30 miles in two weeks. But had such a relaxing time!

  • Total Miles: 110
  • Races: ONE. The NYC Half! with a PR!!! the PR I had been chasing for THREE YEARS
  • Ups: I got a lot of fun easy runs, slow runs, fun runs
  • Downs: where did my mileage go? I had no interest in running while I was on vacation.  Or workout. Or anything, as usual.
  • Balance: Overall good. I still need to figure out a thing or two about the half, and how to drink while running and why I sometimes, after a hard effort, have no interest in any of it, but overall good.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

February

confirmed that this would be the most confusing and best winter ever. One day you have low temperature records and the next day you’re in shorts. A Blizzard, then 60 degrees. Still a lot better than just straight out freezing for the whole month (like last year). Somehow, I have still been able to train a lot this month, which is strange as I haven’t really taken a break since last March… So weird. I did quite good mileage, once short race, 6 interval workouts, three runs over 15 miles, ooops no tempo! Forgot about the tempo. Though I should probably count every time I run with Patricia as a tempo!!! 76% of my miles were on the briddle path, maybe that’s why I have been able to do all this mileage?

  • Total Miles: 137.
  • Races: one 4 Miler, not a PR (by 3 seconds) but placed 2nd in my Age Group
  • Ups: the weather was awesome for February. Lots of miles. Lots of fast miles! I love that we’re back in the briddle path for the speedwork!! Got a lot of new Under Armour gear and shoes. Managed to survive a long run with Patricia.
  • Downs: I am tired and we are 2.5 weeks from the NYC Half: I am starting to get nervous!
  • Balance: Great, ready to pounce!!

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January

was a solid month. I got 132 miles… how? Apparently I started doing longish runs again without noticing!!! I got five of them in the log: 12.5, 12.5, 15, 11, and 15.5, not sure what distance is “long” anymore but I guess if I am training for a half, anything over 8 miles is LONG. Right? Anyone knows?

I also did 5 speedwork sessions: Mile Repeats, 6x400s + 3x800s, 5x1K, 5 Cath Hill Sprints, and 6x800s. Plus a stoopid-hard workout at Orange Theory I had no idea how to include in my spreadsheet 😛

Weather has been ok so far, nothing like last year. We did have a rough day, when it was 17 (feels like 5) and we were doing intervals. It was BRUTAL. but you know, those are the days you go out because after that 20s and 30s feel like Summer. We had a little blizzard (22 inches of snow in 1 day) but I was able to run the day before and the day after so no biggie. And the briddle path was back in just 10 days!

I have now 6 weeks to the United NYC Half Marathon and I am super pumped. I need a Half PR this year guys, it’s been 3 years! I am desperate. I also signed up for the New Jersey Half. Oh, and Brooklyn Half too. It’s coming. I promise. I can see it. I can almost taste it! I am sure it tastes like unicorns, and victory and clouds, and sunny and yes, pizza from Rome.

  • Total Miles: 132.
  • Races: Zero (unless you count the times I need to race to be on time to meet running friends!)
  • Ups: the weather is not 100% miserable. Lots of consistent training and cross training.
  • Downs: I am sick of wearing layers. My legs and my bun want out!
  • Balance: Good, on a patient waiting mode.

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Airbnb Brooklyn Half – Custom Pace Bracelet

I adjusted this based on my Race Strategy here. I know, you love me. I love you too. Make sure you do read that race strategy info, or adjust this pace bracelet as you please. Or don’t wear it. I won’t know.

you can download the excel sheet here: Brooklyn Half Marathon Pace Sheet

all you have to do is enter the desired finish time on the yellow cell on top and watch the magic happen. Then you can adjust the splits if you feel like it. I won’t be offended!

for more info on how to tackle the race, check the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Race Strategy and Tips post. Comments? Questions? there’s a box below!!

April was a promise that May is bound to keep

April

I am ready… feeling ready to say hello to May and a NEW HALF PR, whether that’s New Jersey (May 1, this Sunday!!!!!) or the Brooklyn Half, well, that… I still don’t know, but I’ll be trying at both. Or I’ll be trying at NJ this weekend and then we’ll see about the other one!

I did one fun race in April, the Run for the Parks 4Miler, that went a bit (12 seconds) too slow and two IronStrength workouts that zapped my legs. Like OUCH. Or more like this feels worse that my first marathon (walking backwards downstairs and all). I also did a lot of coaching, I went to cheer on my athletes, team, and friends at the Boston Marathon, and last week I participated the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay. A busy month at work, lots of coaching, and quality runs. Plus some cross-training, which you know I hate! I am getting over it though, I think, we’ll see.

  • Total Miles: 90 (ooops)
  • Races: One, Run for the Parks 4Miler, not a PR by a bit.
  • Ups: I got back on the horse about the #!*$! cross-training with some November Project and some Ironstrength. Each time I was out for days. I am not built for burpees. at all.
  • Downs: same as above, cross-training kills me. I’d do it and then not be able to walk normally or run for days!!!! And… where did my mileage go? Even last Saturday I tried to run (3 days past Ironstrength!!) and I couldn’t, UGH.
  • Balance: Building, building, waiting for my chance to ATTACK. Stay tuned. May should be my chance!
  • Good news: not to be braggy but I noticed how all my races lately have been over 70% Age Grading, which had always been my goal. So, happy (very happy) about that. Also noticed, that I have no need to do the 9+1 now as I qualify for the marathon (with my NYC Half time) , if I ever decided to do it. Whaaaaat? yeah, it’s a bit braggy but hey, it took YEARS! And lots and lots of sweat and early mornings!

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March

Ah it was a roller coaster!!!!! It was cold, it was hot, it was cold, you get it. I did some amazing workouts, some confidence-boosters, and lots of junk miles. It took a bit to psych myself up that I could do a sub 1:37 half. I did it. And then, the same day, I left for Argentina for two weeks, so it’s like it almost didn’t happen (it was funny when I got back home last week and my apartment looked like I just had done the half: pace bracelet, Gatorade, extra layers, mylar blanket, and stuff everywhere!!!). Remind me not to do that again! I barely run when in Argentina; maybe about 30 miles in two weeks. But had such a relaxing time!

  • Total Miles: 110
  • Races: ONE. The NYC Half! with a PR!!! the PR I had been chasing for THREE YEARS
  • Ups: I got a lot of fun easy runs, slow runs, fun runs
  • Downs: where did my mileage go? I had no interest in running while I was on vacation.  Or workout. Or anything, as usual.
  • Balance: Overall good. I still need to figure out a thing or two about the half, and how to drink while running and why I sometimes, after a hard effort, have no interest in any of it, but overall good.

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February

confirmed that this would be the most confusing and best winter ever. One day you have low temperature records and the next day you’re in shorts. A Blizzard, then 60 degrees. Still a lot better than just straight out freezing for the whole month (like last year). Somehow, I have still been able to train a lot this month, which is strange as I haven’t really taken a break since last March… So weird. I did quite good mileage, once short race, 6 interval workouts, three runs over 15 miles, ooops no tempo! Forgot about the tempo. Though I should probably count every time I run with Patricia as a tempo!!! 76% of my miles were on the briddle path, maybe that’s why I have been able to do all this mileage?

  • Total Miles: 137.
  • Races: one 4 Miler, not a PR (by 3 seconds) but placed 2nd in my Age Group
  • Ups: the weather was awesome for February. Lots of miles. Lots of fast miles! I love that we’re back in the briddle path for the speedwork!! Got a lot of new Under Armour gear and shoes. Managed to survive a long run with Patricia.
  • Downs: I am tired and we are 2.5 weeks from the NYC Half: I am starting to get nervous!
  • Balance: Great, ready to pounce!!

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January

was a solid month. I got 132 miles… how? Apparently I started doing longish runs again without noticing!!! I got five of them in the log: 12.5, 12.5, 15, 11, and 15.5, not sure what distance is “long” anymore but I guess if I am training for a half, anything over 8 miles is LONG. Right? Anyone knows?

I also did 5 speedwork sessions: Mile Repeats, 6x400s + 3x800s, 5x1K, 5 Cath Hill Sprints, and 6x800s. Plus a stoopid-hard workout at Orange Theory I had no idea how to include in my spreadsheet 😛

Weather has been ok so far, nothing like last year. We did have a rough day, when it was 17 (feels like 5) and we were doing intervals. It was BRUTAL. but you know, those are the days you go out because after that 20s and 30s feel like Summer. We had a little blizzard (22 inches of snow in 1 day) but I was able to run the day before and the day after so no biggie. And the briddle path was back in just 10 days!

I have now 6 weeks to the United NYC Half Marathon and I am super pumped. I need a Half PR this year guys, it’s been 3 years! I am desperate. I also signed up for the New Jersey Half. Oh, and Brooklyn Half too. It’s coming. I promise. I can see it. I can almost taste it! I am sure it tastes like unicorns, and victory and clouds, and sunny and yes, pizza from Rome.

  • Total Miles: 132.
  • Races: Zero (unless you count the times I need to race to be on time to meet running friends!)
  • Ups: the weather is not 100% miserable. Lots of consistent training and cross training.
  • Downs: I am sick of wearing layers. My legs and my bun want out!
  • Balance: Good, on a patient waiting mode.

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March Notes

March

Ah it was a roller coaster!!!!! It was cold, it was hot, it was cold, you get it. I did some amazing workouts, some confidence-boosters, and lots of junk miles. It took a bit to psych myself up that I could do a sub 1:37 half. I did it. And then, the same day, I left for Argentina for two weeks, so it’s like it almost didn’t happen (it was funny when I got back home last week and my apartment looked like I just had done the half: pace bracelet, Gatorade, extra layers, mylar blanket, and stuff everywhere!!!). Remind me not to do that again! I barely run when in Argentina; maybe about 30 miles in two weeks. But had such a relaxing time!

  • Total Miles: 110
  • Races: ONE. The NYC Half! with a PR!!! the PR I had been chasing for THREE YEARS
  • Ups: I got a lot of fun easy runs, slow runs, fun runs
  • Downs: where did my mileage go? I had no interest in running while I was on vacation.  Or workout. Or anything, as usual.
  • Balance: Overall good. I still need to figure out a thing or two about the half, and how to drink while running and why I sometimes, after a hard effort, have no interest in any of it, but overall good.

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February

confirmed that this would be the most confusing and best winter ever. One day you have low temperature records and the next day you’re in shorts. A Blizzard, then 60 degrees. Still a lot better than just straight out freezing for the whole month (like last year). Somehow, I have still been able to train a lot this month, which is strange as I haven’t really taken a break since last March… So weird. I did quite good mileage, once short race, 6 interval workouts, three runs over 15 miles, ooops no tempo! Forgot about the tempo. Though I should probably count every time I run with Patricia as a tempo!!! 76% of my miles were on the briddle path, maybe that’s why I have been able to do all this mileage?

  • Total Miles: 137.
  • Races: one 4 Miler, not a PR (by 3 seconds) but placed 2nd in my Age Group
  • Ups: the weather was awesome for February. Lots of miles. Lots of fast miles! I love that we’re back in the briddle path for the speedwork!! Got a lot of new Under Armour gear and shoes. Managed to survive a long run with Patricia.
  • Downs: I am tired and we are 2.5 weeks from the NYC Half: I am starting to get nervous!
  • Balance: Great, ready to pounce!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

January

was a solid month. I got 132 miles… how? Apparently I started doing longish runs again without noticing!!! I got five of them in the log: 12.5, 12.5, 15, 11, and 15.5, not sure what distance is “long” anymore but I guess if I am training for a half, anything over 8 miles is LONG. Right? Anyone knows?

I also did 5 speedwork sessions: Mile Repeats, 6x400s + 3x800s, 5x1K, 5 Cath Hill Sprints, and 6x800s. Plus a stoopid-hard workout at Orange Theory I had no idea how to include in my spreadsheet 😛

Weather has been ok so far, nothing like last year. We did have a rough day, when it was 17 (feels like 5) and we were doing intervals. It was BRUTAL. but you know, those are the days you go out because after that 20s and 30s feel like Summer. We had a little blizzard (22 inches of snow in 1 day) but I was able to run the day before and the day after so no biggie. And the briddle path was back in just 10 days!

I have now 6 weeks to the United NYC Half Marathon and I am super pumped. I need a Half PR this year guys, it’s been 3 years! I am desperate. I also signed up for the New Jersey Half. Oh, and Brooklyn Half too. It’s coming. I promise. I can see it. I can almost taste it! I am sure it tastes like unicorns, and victory and clouds, and sunny and yes, pizza from Rome.

  • Total Miles: 132.
  • Races: Zero (unless you count the times I need to race to be on time to meet running friends!)
  • Ups: the weather is not 100% miserable. Lots of consistent training and cross training.
  • Downs: I am sick of wearing layers. My legs and my bun want out!
  • Balance: Good, on a patient waiting mode.

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United NYC Half Marathon – Custom Pace Bracelet

I adjusted this based on my Race Strategy here. I know, you love me. I love you too.

you can download the excel sheet here: NYC Half Splits

all you have to do is enter the desired finish time on the yellow cell on top and watch the magic happen. And you can adjust the splits if you feel like it. I won’t be offended!

for more info on how to tackle the race, check the New York City Half Marathon Tips, Course Strategy and Logistics post. Comments? Questions? there’s a box below!!

 

February Notes

February

confirmed that this would be the most confusing and best winter ever. One day you have low temperature records and the next day you’re in shorts. A Blizzard, then 60 degrees. Still a lot better than just straight out freezing for the whole month (like last year). Somehow, I have still been able to train a lot this month, which is strange as I haven’t really taken a break since last March… So weird. I did quite good mileage, once short race, 6 interval workouts, three runs over 15 miles, ooops no tempo! Forgot about the tempo. Though I should probably count every time I run with Patricia as a tempo!!! 76% of my miles were on the briddle path, maybe that’s why I have been able to do all this mileage?

  • Total Miles: 137.
  • Races: one 4 Miler, not a PR (by 3 seconds) but placed 2nd in my Age Group
  • Ups: the weather was awesome for February. Lots of miles. Lots of fast miles! I love that we’re back in the briddle path for the speedwork!! Got a lot of new Under Armour gear and shoes. Managed to survive a long run with Patricia.
  • Downs: I am tired and we are 2.5 weeks from the NYC Half: I am starting to get nervous!
  • Balance: Great, ready to pounce!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

January

was a solid month. I got 132 miles… how? Apparently I started doing longish runs again without noticing!!! I got five of them in the log: 12.5, 12.5, 15, 11, and 15.5, not sure what distance is “long” anymore but I guess if I am training for a half, anything over 8 miles is LONG. Right? Anyone knows?

I also did 5 speedwork sessions: Mile Repeats, 6x400s + 3x800s, 5x1K, 5 Cath Hill Sprints, and 6x800s. Plus a stoopid-hard workout at Orange Theory I had no idea how to include in my spreadsheet 😛

Weather has been ok so far, nothing like last year. We did have a rough day, when it was 17 (feels like 5) and we were doing intervals. It was BRUTAL. but you know, those are the days you go out because after that 20s and 30s feel like Summer. We had a little blizzard (22 inches of snow in 1 day) but I was able to run the day before and the day after so no biggie. And the briddle path was back in just 10 days!

I have now 6 weeks to the United NYC Half Marathon and I am super pumped. I need a Half PR this year guys, it’s been 3 years! I am desperate. I also signed up for the New Jersey Half. Oh, and Brooklyn Half too. It’s coming. I promise. I can see it. I can almost taste it! I am sure it tastes like unicorns, and victory and clouds, and sunny and yes, pizza from Rome.

  • Total Miles: 132.
  • Races: Zero (unless you count the times I need to race to be on time to meet running friends!)
  • Ups: the weather is not 100% miserable. Lots of consistent training and cross training.
  • Downs: I am sick of wearing layers. My legs and my bun want out!
  • Balance: Good, on a patient waiting mode.

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New York City Half Marathon Tips, Course Strategy and Logistics

2020 update, this course is now also updated… so… let me put together a newer race course strategy… go to http://www.runningandthecity.com for newer stuff.
2017 Update: even though this post is awesome and contains a lot of information you can still use, it talks about the OLD course that was discontinued after the 2018 race. Read the tips below, and then head over here for the new course info. I am going to mark green the text below that doesn’t apply anymore.

You know the “don’t wear anything new on race day” and all the basics… now, let’s do the United NYC Half Marathon as well as we can. I have done this race 8 times so far -from 2:06 in its first year, 2006, to 1:36 in 2016, and I keep running into people who haven’t raced it and have lots of questions (post in the comments section below if you have any questions not covered here!).

And in case you want to see photos and read my race reports, go here for all of them, or, here is the 2015 NYC Half report, here is 2014 NYC Half and 2013 NYC Half. Also, download the custom pace bracelet, I created for this pace strip based on the race strategy below.

PRE RACE LOGISTICS

Make a race prep list of what you’ll need a week or two before and sort it all by stages, here is a Marathon Packing List to start with. Whether you’re traveling or not, get everything in the list ready as soon as possible. Start prepping 2 weeks out.

Plan your nutrition waaaay ahead. You can buy gels at the expo if necessary, but get bagels/oatmeal/bananas and whatever you need for race day the day before as there will not be a lot of delis open at 4, 5, or 6 am. Some may be, but not a lot.

If you need any last minute thing, you can buy most stuff at the expo/bib pickup (don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your reg form –download it from your NYRR profile they will be ready early March, and photo identification) or here is an organized list with all the running stores by area.

new york city marathon 2014 pictures start (2)

we all look like weirdos anyway, wear old stuff you have to discard to the start of the race!

Prep some cheap or throwaway clothes to the start. Find a mylar blanket from your last half or marathon (and don’t throw away the one you’ll get at the finish here!). You will need them until the last minute in the corral (I wear one as pants with tape and one as a cape). I wear my throwaway cardigan or a sweater (cut in the front for easy peeling, kept it in p

nyc half nycunitedhalf nyrr nychalf central park elizabeth maiuolo (21)

what throwaway-knee-high socks as arm-warmers look like when you forget to take them off (2015 NYC Half)

lace with a safety pin!) during the first mile too! Go to the dollar store and get knee-high socks, cut the foot and you’ll have throwaway arm warmers! I keep half of it on until I warm up, it can be windy and cold at the start!

 

Gear/What to wear… the weather can be anything from 50s to 20s so prepare (aka, train in) a few options and decide the day before. Or that morning. Be smart, and make sure you can peel off layers comfortably. If you don’t want to carry your phone, at least carry a $20 bill, a metrocard, and an ID with you, just in case. My rule is if it’s over 40 degrees, I do just singlet and shorts (pics from last year).

This is what the weather looked like the last few years:

  • 2018: 28 DEGREES, 31% HUMIDITY, WIND 9 MPH NW
  • 2017: 34 DEGREES, 70% HUMIDITY, WIND 18 MPH
  • 2016: 34 DEGREES, 35% HUMIDITY, WIND 14 MPH
  • 2015: 42 DEGREES, 60% HUMIDITY, WIND 10-18 MPH
  • 2014: 31 DEGREES, 40% HUMIDITY, WIND 18 MPH
  • 2013: 30 DEGREES, 64% HUMIDITY, WIND W 7 MPH
  • 2012: 47 DEGREES, 90% HUMIDITY, WIND 3 MPH.
  • 2011: 37 DEGREES, 41% HUMIDITY, SUNNY
  • 2010: 53 DEGREES, 55% HUMIDITY, SUNNY

Temperature has been pretty consistent… but, you should assume it’ll feel 10 degrees under that temperature (hey wind!). So, depending on the wind/humidity/lack of sleep/whatever, you can add hat, arm sleeves, leg warmers, etc. Always add things you can get rid of easily and won’t miss. If you’re not sure about a layer, keep in mind that once you leave the park and get to the West Side Highway, it can get a little windy there. Check the wind direction in the morning!

Best tool to have at any race: your name on your shirt, do not even question this!! If you don’t want your name, write something funny you’ll want people to scream to you all over the course. This is a big race and there will be a lot of spectators along the course and having them scream your name will make your race 100 times better. If you don’t want to ruin your gear, and are not super crafty or into going to Michael’s, cut the letters out of duct tape (like I do!) and voila, they’ll peel right off!

Headphones or not? If you are used to racing with headphones, bring them. I sometimes leave them on my ears (with the music off), and turn them on only when necessary. Central Park will be CROWDED, seriously crowded, so it’s smart to keep the music off, or very low so you can hear people around you. Once you are in the West Side Highway, and if it gets a little monotonous for you, go for it. You’ll have a lot of people cheering and you don’t want to miss it, but if you do have the music on later on, still make sure you can still hear what is happening around you!!!! Okay?

Place your spectators in spots where you’ll need encouragement (quite probably along the West Side Highway). If they are not the adventurous kind, they could see you anywhere in the park, always on your right, and then head over to the finish. Otherwise, there is an insane amount of combination of spots they can see you at. Study the map with them and calculate how much time they’ll have to get from one spot to the other based on your speed. For example, the 1st location would usually be in Central Park, east side, around 85 st, on your left (they need to be on the inside part of the park), that would be your mile 1. After they see you, they walk across the park (it won’t be more than a 10 minute walk) around the Great Lawn to West 86th, where they can see you again at mile 4.5! They have to be on the runner’s right (the outside of the park lane). Elite runners will be there in 20 minutes, and you can tell them how long it’d take you to do 4.5 miles! So, they have to hurry and cross over the quarter mile in less than 20 minutes or they’ll be trapped  inside the park. Once they see you go, they exit the park and the B and C trains are right there at 86 and CPW. They could also do this in the 102 transverse (instead of 86) and the trains are at 103 when they exit the park on the west side, but the time to cross over from east to west is a lot less, but totally doable if they zippityzip. C trains go downtown, so they can head over to 14th st, though there is a bit of a walk from 8th ave to 11th avenue, so if the C train shows up fast, I’d say yes, otherwise, just keep going to Chambers and head over to the West Side Highway to cheer. A cab would be messy as traffic will not be open in many streets so the trains are better! Once they see you in Chambers, the can head over to meet you at the Finish (find a corner to meet up ahead of time, it’ll be CROWDED!) or at some brunch spot! Call ahead to see if they are open at 9 or 10 am so they can wait there and be warm! // When they’re cheering, it’s important to know exactly on what side of the street they’ll be so YOU can spot them (they won’t be able to spot you!). Send them with something big: a flag, a sign, balloons, huge funny hat, etc. Tell them to get comfy shoes, really warm clothes and bring food. It will be an early and long morning for them too!  //  If you need an extra push, ask for help!! FORCE all your friends to come watch you. Ask them “where are you going to be?”. Then tell them a time you’ll go through there, give or take 10 minutes, and decide if they’ll be runner’s Left or Right. Then make a little-tiny list you can carry in your pocket (Example: 102nd st, John, left / 86st st, Mike, right, etc.) in order or appearance, put clear tape all over it so it won’t get sweaty and basically go from John, to Mike, to etc… Let them pull you along the course and that’ll break the course in parts, instead of think “AH, I gotta go all the way to the end of the island, ugh” you’ll think: “I am just going to 102nd st, to see John, then we’ll see!

Oh, and have them download the NYC Half mobile app (will probably be ready to download a week or two before the race) where they can track you and a few more runners at a time.

Get yourself the custom pace bracelet I created for this race based on the race strategy below.

If you need a short run before the race, go to Central Park. You’ll see many of your race-buddies and get to enjoy the best place in the world as a runner.

Find a mantra, or two, you might really need them. I write them in my hand where I am sure I will see it.

RACE LOGISTICS

Memorize your Start Schedule (or write in your hand like I do)

nyc half start times

Getting to the start/Baggage Check. The easiest way to get there is always a cab or running there of course, but if you have to take the train, take anything to 57th or 59th streets or any of the trains that leave you close to Central Park South/59th st. You will have to enter the park through Sixth or Fifth Avenue. Check the Start Map carefully.  Before entering, check your (nyrr provided plastic) bag outside of the park (on 59th Street, between Fifth and Seventh Avenues). Give yourself ample time (as this is weekend schedule) and check  MTA for weekend alerts, or try any subway app: make sure your train is running! Also, if you are not sure, I am 100% confident that if you just head over to the closest train stop, you’ll see someone you could follow to the Start 😉 // Kiss your loved ones buh-bye, they won’t be allowed anywhere close to the Start!

During the race, the course WILL be crowded, so PLEASE, if you need to stop for a walk or move sideways for water, please please please signal with your arms, and look around behind you before you make any moves, DO NOT just stop or go sideways. Be considerate of your fellow runners who could trip! The good side of having all these people around you that you’ll always have someone to run with, pace off, or follow when you’re tired. Pick them up when you feel strong, encourage them when they need it, and keep your eyes peeled for anyone who might need help!!

There will be Water/Gatorade around every mile or so, so if you miss one, don’t stress. Don’t go for the first table as everyone will do that. There’s many tables: go to the last one. You’ll find the portapottties where the water is, so keep an eye out and don’t dart sideways! There will be Gels at mile 7.5, on 42nd street between 10th and 11th avenues, on your right.

Think about joining an official pacer from the NYRR Pace Team, they’ll be wearing their signature white and blue striped singlets,  and will run even splits through all 13.1 miles of the United Airlines NYC Half. Pacers will lead runners to finish times at every five-minute interval from 1:20 to 2:15, and will also offer a 2:30 pace group. You can visit the Running Lab at the United Airlines NYC Half Experience Presented by New Balance to meet the pacers and learn where to find them on race day (I will be there Saturday morning, so come find me and say Hi!).

RACE STRATEGY

Here is the official course map: NYRR New York City Half Marathon course map

Custom pace bracelet, if you can’t remember any of the info below

nyc half course elevation

Elevation profile from my 2014 race, same as all the last ones of course. elevation is the red line.

This is an easy race to figure out. Basically, you have two parts: the undulating Central Park (first half) and the straight and flat run to the finish (the second half). Which makes it a perfect course to NEGATIVE PR!!!!

Break the race in parts, device a plan, and stick to it no matter what. Plan for negative splits: keep it strong and conservative throughout the park and ram it home once you leave the park. It’s super simple. I am an average runner and have negative split in this race every time. Basically: you have to believe in yourself and wait for the time of your life.

This is how I like to break this race down. In 4 parts.

Part 1 – Mile 1: HOLD YOUR FREAKING HORSES!!!!

There are 2.5 hills in this race: Cat Hill as soon as you start, Harlem Hill(s) (THREE blips) at 3.5, and a last small one going up the Battery Park Underpass at the end (this one counts as just half a hill). Cat Hill and the Tunnel are short and tiny but annoying because of their locations right at the start and right at the end…! People get excited at the start, and take off like maniacs… if this is going to work, we have to hold it in, climb the hill carefully and let everyone (and their grandmother) pass. You’ll see. Tell yourself: Yes, go ahead and go. I’ll catch you later when your quads are screaming, buh-bye

nyc half marathon course strategy part (1)

Cat Hill is 0.25 long (in miles), or 400 meters long; but it has a 49′ rise (average grade of 3.7%)

Part 2 – Mile 2 to 6: EASY, LIGHT, SMOOTH

The park is a string of undulating hills, but after Cat Hill you have the longest flat stretch, almost a half mile (heaven…!) so, use that to get on a rhythm, find your legs and a pacer. It’ll be crowded so I doubt you’ll be able to utilize the tangents well but at least avoid tripping, did I mention it’s gonna be a bit CROWDED?

Your goal for the first half of the race is to exit the park in one piece, feeling strong, to let it all unfold in the second part of the race. Exercise all your patience here and keep yourself in good checks to not let yourself go. If you are running “hard-comfortable”, you are doing it right.

nyc half marathon course strategy part (2)

Blip 1 in the course profile is 0.36 of a mile and a rise of ’33. You exit the park for two blocks, go around the Frederick Douglass Circle and come right back downhill. Then you -re-enter the park, make a right, and start the climb for Blip 2: Harlem Hill!!! HH is 0.32 long but it has a 84′ rise (average grade of 4.4%). Fun times. As soon as you finish the downhill on the back end of HH, there’s another climb, Blip 3 is 0.60 of a mile and has a rise of ’58. Blip 1 is short and mild, blip 3 is longer but mild as it’s stretched out, but watch up for Harlem Hill, short and UPWARDS!

Part 3 – Mile 7 to 10: IT’S ON!

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This is where I like to stretch out my legs: the race starts HERE. From now on it’s flat and steady. When you exit the park you’ll have a lot of space, cheering and excitement to carry you on, and as soon as you turn right on 42nd, you’ll be rolling down. Hit the gas.

Note: Something about Times Square can make you or your gps go crazy. Ooops. No, you’re not running a 3:20 mile. I set my gps watch to manual and I lap it myself when I see the mile markers. Way safer!

Part 4 –  Mile 11 or 12 to 13.1: YOLO

ALL. HELL. BREAKS. LOOSE.

That is all. Go Crazy. Bring it in. Drop the Hammer.

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As you can see in the map, I obv didn’t have gps on the tunnel, and you won’t either. But it won’t matter, when you get to mile 10, or 11 or 12 and you know you’re ready to start your KICK, you go. Keep in mind there’s a little climb out of the tunnel, short but steep, and then there’s not a lot left to go. Hopefully you’ll see the 800 meters sign if you’re focused but who is at my that point? It’ll seem like forever but once you’re out of the tunnel the finish line is RIGHT THERE.

… then… 

Walk, get your medal, take pictures, get your stuff, find your friends/family, go get brunch (there are many good places downtown), enjoy, stretch, ice bath, rest, eat more, sleeeeeep! Tell everyone about your race, plan your next race, have a congratulatory donut. Or at least that’s what I am planning to do!!!

I’d suggest checking the Finish Map also (mostly if you want to meet up with people afterwards).

Also, post race, if you’re a NYRR Member:  Join NYRR at the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub after the 2017 United Airlines NYC Half for complimentary finisher medal engraving!

Sunday, March 19: 11:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m.
Monday, March 20: 11:00 a.m.—6:00 p.m.

Bring your NYRR Member Number. Can’t make it Sunday or Monday? Send a proxy to have your medal engraved; they’ll just need your NYRR Member Number.

Questions?? Anything to add? Anything you want to go over? Lmk in the comments below!

Photos race reports, go here for all of them, or here for the 2015 NYC Half2014 NYC Half  or 2013 NYC Half.

Get the custom pace bracelet maker, so you can plan your splits and stick to them!

NYRR United NYC Half Marathon course map

The official United New York City Half Marathon website.

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2015 New York City Marathon EXPO pictures

Juan and I went to the expo yesterday, Thursday, to avoid the masses. I always go on Thursdays, it’s less crazy this is post is mostly pictures to give you a break from all the reading!

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After that, we raced home. I had had a looooooong day at the office, preparing for this weekend’s marathon. Friday I am hosting and MCing my team’s dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square and I have all these other commitments for race weekend. Busy busy. TIRED. See you on the other side? how was YOUR expo trip?

Oh, and this one from the pavillion!!

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The day I won a race – Alive and Running Contact We Care 5k

This post is hard to do because I think I am still exhausted -mentally exhausted- from the race. I’ll back up a bit and hope I make it there! If you find this long, I promise you it’s worth the read (I hope!!!).

Every year, on this weekend, I go to see my family in New Jersey, it’s my second-cousin’s birthday and I never miss it. He’s now 15. Check these pictures out, times flies, YOLO! I used to have him up all day long, now HE PICKS ME  UP. Shameful.

2015-06-15 10.41.39The last EIGHT years, I did the Mini 10K and then rushed over to New Jersey to make it to the celebrations. This year I decided to skip the Mini (WTF right?!?!?!) and just have cake. But then… you know… what’s a weekend without a race?? Really, what is it? I need to know!! So I found ourselves (because you know I’d bring force the husband to race too!) a race close enough to my family’s home (is 10 miles close?! who knows! the Upper West Side is far to me!) to not disrupt the weekend celebrations, and have ourselves a little speed-fest! The weather was supposed to be AWFUL (HOT and HUMID!) so I wanted to wait until race day and decide. I didn’t. I jumped the shark and was all signed up by Friday. I am weak, can’t help myself.

The race was a 5K in Nomahegan Park, Cranford, NJ to benefit a Suicide Hotline called Contact We Care, called Alive and Running 5K. It seemed like a fun small local race, so I emailed the contact listed to check if there was a place to leave our bags (aka, a shirt to wear on the train ride back and forth) and Lucinda replied that she’ll take care of it all. Great!

Race Morning… I hadn’t sleep well. Again. I have trouble sleeping on not-my-bed (and sometimes in my own bed for no reason too). My stomach was fuzzy so I skipped the coffee, and just had some water and a few spoons of honey. The weather was… unbreathable. That’s probably the best description. It was in the 90s with high humidity, but unbreathable sounds more like it. I really really regretted signing up, but still decided to go, I was up at 6 anyway. We were at the race start by 7:30 and the race would start at 9:30, so it was just Lucinda, Juan and I. We offered to help so we put the tents up and tried to help without getting in her hair until a massive amount of volunteers arrived and all was taken care of super quickly. Juan and I kept drinking water, taking pictures, and running around for a bit.

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but first, let me take a selfie

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But first, let me jump in this lake to cool off

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the Ironman himself!

Everything had gotten set up really fast and lots of people starting showing up (closer to 9:30 am than we did: SMART).

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So, the fun part: exactly at 9:20 am the sun decides to start blasting. I freaked out. REALLY??? NOW???? What about those thunderstorms you had promised? It was unbreathable before, now it was UNTHINKABLE. The weather channel should stop using numbers when the temps feel like that and just put my picture grunting and cursing.

We line up. The amazing race organizers describe the course: “there are 23920329 loops, 293029 small loops, 20932 big loops, then the other types of loops and a few loops in the middle of the loops“. Seriously that’s what I heard. Maybe I was already overheating, or it was just really confusing. I thought, I should have emailed Lucinda to send me a map of all these loops, but soon enough I realized there’d always be someone ahead of me I could chase, so let’s hope they don’t get lost or confused!

He tells us 30 seconds to go, my heart gets up to 200 bits, CRAP. It is too damn hot, why am I even attempting this? I was quite upset with myself. Juan and I kiss, we hear the gun, everybody runs. I saw five women ahead of me and tried to remember the color of their shirt, but 1 second later I wasn’t even sure it it was five or fifty or what numbers or life on earth meant. We all had gone out too fast, which is something that usually happens in every single one of these small races and I am always careful to avoid, but the heat had just burned my brain and I reacted without thinking. I was so upset with myself. 1 minute in and I was already panting, with a 180 heart race and fearing for my life. Stooopid stoooopid little silly girl.

To add to the loopy course, and ugh the heat, was the worst part of this: strategy. I am used to racing in the big NYRR races with 5,000 other people where there’s no need to position or strategize (at least at my level!). I just find my pace, ride that, then hit the gas. I know the course… there’s no stress. I can do that with my eyes closed, figuratively. In these smaller races, it’s ALL about strategy, unless you’re just going for a PR. This was definitely NO day to PR, so I was focusing on picking up these 5 women ahead and that would take a lot more than just running fast. How far back to stay? For how long? When do I surge? Do I pick it up now? Or should I hold it? How long should I hold it for? If I pass someone now, will she pass me back because I went too early? Are they all suffering so badly? Why do I feel like dying? Am I going too fast? Are we all going to burn out? Should I surge now? Can I please pick it up now? Could she please slow down a bit? Should I even bother at all? Should I keep waiting? Do I go now?? Does she know I am here? What am I doing here? I don’t even belong on the podium. I am good closer though. If play it right, I can get closer to the top 3, Can I go now? Wait a bit. Pace it out. Just don’t give up in your head because then your body gives up. Can I go now? It was 3.1 miles of THAT. I am not even joking for one second. Relentless crazy chatter. Well, for a few seconds I would stop those questions and would think something along the lines of I am going to die here today. One or the other. It was pure hell of mental anguish and torture.

Why. Do. We. Do. This. ?

I knew I had gone out too fast. By the half mile, I had passed 2 of the 5 women. Mile 1, I knew would be the fastest and the rest would be hell. I just hoped everyone else had been stooopider than me. I picked two more up. There’s all 4 behind me right by Mile 1, which clocked at 6:52. Oh oh, when I saw that I knew I was in trouble. I just had black tights girl ahead of me (the only woman left ahead) and hoped no other woman would surge. PLEASE. Ahead of her was TNT redhead guy. I kept tabs on them to make sure I didn’t get lost and could just follow one of them. Black tights girl had about 30 seconds on me. Another loop, one more loop, a loopy loop, and Mile 2: 7:21. Shit.

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this is no random lipcolor. There is no blood in my head and that’s why I look like that. I remember seeing the guy and deciding to smile and assuming I’d still look awful. I was probably a ghost then. Photo Credit: Bill Burrows

I knew I was falling apart and seriously considered dropping out. Only I had no clue where I was… Don’t give up in your head because then your body gives up. I kept trucking in steady mode. But obviously still freaking out in my head. It was too early to make any moves or decisions. Plus, I had nothing left to surge with. But… black tights was coming back to me. She was about 10 seconds close. Then five… I just have to wait here patiently until it’s time to make the move. But when? I had no idea when this would end… My GPS was all messed up so I had no idea if I had a half mile to go, or 400m or what. Soon enough, we get to the parking lot where registration was, the finish line arch was RIGHT THERE. Black tights is about 3 seconds ahead of me, 5 meters ahead there is a bifurcation with two marshals: 20 meters to the left was the finish, to the right there was another loop of some distance to the finish. I had no idea which way we’d go. But the finish arch was right there and I knew that if I waited I wouldn’t have space to pass her… so I decided to GO. I passed her, got the the bifurcation and they pointed to the right… FCK! I have to keep going!!! This was NOT the finish. I was done. I was toast. All I had left, I had spent it sprinting to pass her. For no reason. Of course 5 seconds later, she passed me again. Good for you, black tights! Oh well, I took my chance and it didn’t work. We kept going. She had now 3 seconds, AGAIN, on me. We get to a turn an the marshalls tell me to take her, that I had her, she was close enough. I shake my head no. I was done. Don’t give up in your head because then your body gives up. I tried… but I was dying. Another bifurcation, a right and a left. To the left, we had about 150 meters to the finish, to the right, about 400 more to go, at least. Black tights went left, and hit the gas. The marshals started shouting THAT’S THE WRONG WAY, COME BACK, WRONG WAY. So I assumed I had to go right but they were not even looking at me and I couldn’t see TNT redhead guy anywhere. UGH. Am I going in the right direction? Did she heard that and is coming behind me?  I didn’t have enough energy to turn around or look at my watch, so I had no clue wtf was happening but decided to turn off my brain and just push. Just push. Just push. Assume black tights is coming for you and push. I am gonna die. There’s the finish. Just push. Get through it. 

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I was done. I wasn’t even sure I had won when I crossed or if I could stay up. Juan was already there so I hung to him because I couldn’t breathe. My watch said 21:36 but the official time was 21:50. Denise, aka black tights, was there. She assumed I was the one that went the wrong way so she didn’t turn back and hadn’t even noticed she was DNF. UGH. Race Timing people knew but I hated to be the one she had to hear it from. She had fought a great great race too. Damn loops.

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SO happy we’re DONE

Juan ended up 4th overall, FIRST in his Age Group and OMG, he PRed!!! HOW?!?!? what a beast. I checked with the timing people and yes, I had won. So weird. So SO SO weird. Really? I guess it takes being sick for a week, losing about 5 pounds, and then not dying in the hottest day: there’s the reward!

Check out the loops in the course:

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Okay, you can’t really see it, but it was messy. Well, only messy if you didn’t know what you were doing or where you were like me! Or if the heat just gets your brain.

In the next graph you can see EXACTLY when I sprinted to pass Denise, when I thought the finish was 30 meters ahead. Pace went up, heart rate spiked, cadence blew up to 200 from an avg of 180, and my vertical oscillation jumped (I went from running to sprinting position), and ground contact dropped. Then it all went back to “normal”. I really like that the red heart rate line is so steady going up…

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A bit more data in case you’re interested.

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And this is from the race results website:

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I’ll take it. It wasn’t easy. I had no idea what would have happened if Denise didn’t take that left and DNF, or if she turned around and chased me. I want to think I would have had enough to take her again, but who knows.

Awards Ceremony!!!

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Juan and his First in AG! Photo Credit: Bill Burrows

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Somebody please ask him how he PRs in that weather!! Oh wait, that’s my job!

Lance, the guy in green, was so super nice, and super involved in the race, he’s with a team called Run Anyway, check them out if you’re in the area!!! Thanks Lance for all you do!!!!

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Color is coming back to my face. Or maybe its because I was called the First Woman WHICH IS CRAZY. Photo Credit: Bill Burrows

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Everybody there was SO NICE!!!!! Photo Credit: Bill Burrows

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something…??

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And we were done. And I mean: literally. All I remember doing all day was searching for words, I was SO MENTALLY DRAINED… I just figured if I kept saying Happy Birthday Alex I would be okay but I kept falling asleep everywhere. Wow: my brain is not used to all that much activity apparently. So happy this happened. I’d love to go back next year and race this again. What are the odds the weather will be AS BAD? At least I’ll know the course!!!!! 😉 Thanks Lucinda and Lance and Run Anyway and Denise and everyone involved in this event!!!!

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2015 NYC Half Marathon: ALL the pictures

Just because, sometimes, when you’re having CRAZY FUN, it shows. And, instantly, I see myself shell $70 to pay for all the pics. I didn’t buy anything at the expo (cause I need nothing, maybe an extra room to store running stuff!!!) so let’s say I am even.

Also, who would have thought that running faster makes you look better?!??!?! Anyway, I have no idea what I am doing in some of these, like pointing…? who knows. I have to say, I had more than 70 photos from this event and it was hard to shrink the selection down to 25. Here’s my faves!

(the whole race report, for once really worth reading, is here)

Race Report: NYC Half 2015 – running naked

Well, the NYC Half happened. Again. For the 7th time for me. And I am VERY happy about it. Such a huge learning opportunity!!!I love that every race is something completely different from what I expect… (sometimes!)

Where I Was: I wasn’t sure it was great, but I did a 5K two weeks before in 7:18 pace, and a 4 Miler in early February in 7:35 pace. My last halves were in October, there were 2 (1:43 and 1:44), plus add the winter training, I figured I’d be around 1:45 or 1:43 if ALL went well. 1:45 is 8 pace, and given I had done 7:35 in the 4 miler, that seemed like a stretch…

my  #unitednychalf nails. crazy ready.

nyc half nails. logo and all, crazy ready

The Expo: I almost forgot to tell you all about the expo and skipped all over this: it was in a new location (in a part a of town I usually ignore, yuk) and it was big! I am so so sick of the tight tiny expos, I loved that there was space to walk and breathe, and many exhibitors and activities. The only complain I have is that the lighting was so bad it gave me a headache. So weird.

Juan, me and Flor getting our bibs with a giant medal

Juan, me and Flor getting our bibs with a giant medal. Click if you want to make any of this a LOT bigger

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35 degres is bikini weather after the winter we had here, puh-lease!

Race Morning: Juan and I were in wave one (7:30 am start) so we got there around 6:30 to get to baggage, last minute potty trip, and get to the corral before the 7:10 close time.I was the first person in corral 3. Seriously, so early, but I rather sit there, knowing all is done than stress myself stooopid. I can’t handle rushing right before a race anymore. At my age, I can’t be bothered with rushing or stressing so I woke up EXTRA early.

murtaugh too old for that shit

we actually run into him a couple of weeks ago so he must live in the UES, York Ave. I guess, I have no idea.  Juan almost had a heart attack.

In the Corral: That’s when I decided to turn on the watch, get gps signal and some music. Ummm [email protected]@#@#[email protected]%_)[email protected]_#)@_)[email protected])!_! to say the least. My watch (and also mp3 player, I use the same device for both) was NOT CHARGED. I freaked out a bit like a maniac. How on earth am I going to know if I am going too fast??? I don’t think I’ve ever run a race naked (no watch!!!) or since… EVER!!! Ugh. Crap. Kept freaking out.  First, I won’t have any pace information, second, I’d have to race with no music?!?!?! Third, I don’t want to be carrying this watch around 13.1 miles for no reason. I am not gonna lie, I threw a little fit.

My problem is, unlike everyone else, I tend to start super slow and go crazy later. I need to know if I am going too fast (to slow myself down!) in the first miles!!!! I know, I am not normal.

I put the headphones in my back pocket, decided not to go back to baggage to leave it, and, for some very strange reason, I knew this would be a good thing. I would miss the music, but I knew it’d be a great challenge for me. I know how to pace, now just do it.

A few minutes before the gun, my friend Patricia shows up and Juan goes up to his first corral. I wasn’t running with Patricia, as she’s way faster than me (she’d end up doing 1:35). Bye hon, I’ll be back here by myself, with no pace info or music. Pffff. Great.

Race ON: This post, for the first time ever, will not have any mile splits (can we even handle this??), or any of that. I made sure I looked at the clock when I started and it read 1:40 (I think), so I thought I could subtract from the next mile markers. That did NOT work out. When I got to mile 1 the clock said 19:20 and I had NO IDEA what that mean. I gave up instantly forever and just kept running.

Mile 1, past Cathill, I know was fast. I could tell I was going fast, but hey, who knows??? Sometimes a 10 minute mile seems fast!!!! Mile 2 was uneventful, and on mile 3, one of my favorite things: an out and back!!! Is there anything more fun in a race than seeing the people who are running ahead and behind you??>? The only right answer is NO, people! SO much fun. I saw my husband and yelled at SO many people, I am sure I was ruining a lot of people’s jams around me with my constant yelling! Mile 3 back into the park to the lovely hellish Harlem Hill. That’s when something hit me. Right ahead of me was the 1:40 pace group. I knew the pacer for that group, Anthony, and he had told me he was in wave 1 corral 5, so he had started after me and had already passed me, so I guessed I was about 1:43 or 1:42 here, just a dumb guess. I was SO tempted to sneak behind him and chase him, the pace didn’t seem so scary, but I mentally screamed at myself and virtually slapped myself. NO. LET HIM GO. I made sure I stayed back, bye Anthony, byyyyyyye!

On Mile 4 I looked for a few friends who I figured would be watching here (so I could toss my watch!!!!) but I didn’t see anyone. I was running mostly by myself and without the music so it was hard to settle on a rhythm and relax. I haven’t learned how to do that. I was breathing hard and it’s quite loud and annoying, even to me (sorry everyone!). I really wanted to relax, but I just couldn’t.

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Soon I am leaving the park and I have no idea HOW IT ALL WENT SO FAST! Not pace wise, because I had no idea how fast or slow I was running, but the first 5 miles are usually super hard controlling my speed and my willingness to start going a bit faster. I was out of the park in a jiffy and I couldn’t believe it. This is probably the fastest race I ever had (nooo, it would not be a PR!).

Times Square was amazing. Seriously. I was having way too much fun!!! I saw everyone there. Oh how much I enjoyed it… DON’T BELIEVE ME, JUST WATCH!!!

Marathonfoto: just take all my money and shut up!

Anyway, this is when I would start pushing the pace. Thing is, I felt like I had been pushing the pace all along. Had I started too fast and would soon die off, or did I go the tiny bit harder that I could handle if I didn’t know how fast I was going??? So complicated. And who knew, really? A few times I felt like asking people around how fast we were going, but, you know, whatever!

42nd street is always SO MUCH FUN. I saw Ben taking pictures, Annette cheering, people who I didn’t know yelling my name. The whole race was like that.  I know this is isn’t true (maybe, not really) but I felt like all NYC was out there to cheer on me. I did. I took that to heart too. And I pushed the pace.

Soon is the turnaround to hell. That’s what I call it when you have to hit the gas and not look back.  We’re getting close to the West Side Highway and I see Anthony again with the 1:40 stick. Ummmm. How did this happen??? They can’t be falling back? I must be pushing too hard. Maybe? I decided to stay behind them. Then, soon, when I was right on their heels, I decided I’d just sit behind them, and let them figure out the pacing. I was sure now I was ready to hold whatever 1:40 pace was. Theeeeeeeen, I said hello to Anthony, and I just FREAKING KEPT GOING…

what?

I even thought of asking him what pace was 1:40. I didn’t. I went too fast to talk much to him. I just kept going.

WHAT??!?!?!

So that, I kept going. I told him I’d blow up soon and he’d pass me in a mile or two. I hit the gas.

I just focused on getting to Mile 11 where the next Whippets cheering section was (I had already seen Scott and some Whippets on Times Square and more Whippets at the gel station). I knew Michelle, Tessa, Atsede would be there. I just had to get there. Soon enough, there they were, all yelling and cheering!!!!

Mile 11, Mile 12, I felt like I was flying. At least my hair was!

The Finish: then the tunnel. AY: I was done. I had a side stitch, I was dry-heaving and I felt like I was going to either throw up or pass out. I felt nauseous. WHAT?!??! Just relax and keep going. I started telling myself to just hang on. Hang on. Hang on.

I remembered from last year, after the tunnel we had just 3-4 blocks. This year I knew, after the tunnel, we had two blocks left, and two blocks left again. BUT OMG I had no idea there was still half mile to go after we exited the tunnel before we turned. I remember there was a hard  left off the tunnel last year. Not this year. I kept looking forward and I couldn’t see where on earth we were turning left…!!! That was the LONGEST part of the race. That half a mile, to me, was longer than the other 12.6 (or whatever the math is!). I didn’t have much to sprint with but I tried. Someone yelled my name. I smiled. I looked up. I crossed the finish line. I didn’t have a watch to stop but I had a nose to wipe, that thing was a fossett during the whole race!!!! YUCK. And there was Mary Wittenberg and I have to say hello with this sweaty-nose stuff? Ay dios!

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Well, the clock said 1:41 something, but who knows what my time is. I saw Juan right away, then Richie, then Daphne, then Caitlin, then Cara… like 3000 of my friends and team mates!!!!!!

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Richie is so special to me!!!! Not only is he an overall amazing and cool guy, he photographed our proposal and wedding!! Like how cool is to have a team mate like that?!?!?!?!??! HUH??????

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there’s Anthony, the 1:40 pacer and major Ironman superstar.

Juan and I grabbed our bags, went to the side to fully change (yes, I took off my sweaty bra and all) into clean/dry clothes and all of a sudden I realized I had no idea what my time was. I had a twinge of an idea I had been around 1:40 or 1:42 or 1:44 but really, I had no idea. Juan got to it first and told me: 1:39:26.

WOW.

That’s quite different from 1:45. Or from the 1:50 I got last year… Or the 1:43 and 1:44 I did in October.

It is still not a PR, which is 1:37 from this same race in 2013, but I was soooooooooooooo happy, I think I cried a little. Quite in disbelief, I got a little teary. We’re coming back. Slowly. It’s happening. Finally!

Stats Time:

Finish time: 1:39:26 Average Pace: 7:36

Previous PR: 1:37:35 From: March, 2013

Age Grading: 68.03% 

Overall Place: 2063 of 19,455

Gender Place: 447 of 10,150

Age Place: 60 of 1639

This is very good-looking. I like the 68% percent there, given I am changing age groups in ONE week. I’ll be 40 next week, so, being 60th out of 1639, when I am at the bottom of my AG is not so shabby!

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We then went to the Whippets Party, stayed there until around 11 am then headed uptown to Bareburger, Juan’s favorite place that we never go to, home, shower, and OMG I was so tired the rest of the day, Juan had to carry me from the couch to the bed and all that. I was destroyed. But happy.

Then I saw that the results had 5K splits!!! Wohooooooooooooooo!! some data!

My first 5K was an average 7:44 pace. Remember, overall pace was 7:36, so seems like I started a bit slower, so, GREAT. the second 5K, where most of the hills are, was slower: average pace of 7:52. So far, so good. The third 5K was 7:21 and the 4th 5K was 7:20. So, seems like a negative split and run well without a friiiiging clue. Pinch me.

More and more pictures of the race, here

New York City Half Marathon Tips, Course Strategy and Logistics!

You know the “don’t wear anything new on race day” and all the basics… now, let’s do the United NYC Half Marathon as well as we can. I have done this race 7 times so far -from 2:06 in its first year, 2006, to 1:37 in 2013, and the last two, and I keep running into people who haven’t raced it and have lots of questions (post in the comments section below if you have any questions not covered here!).

And in case you want to see photos and read my race reports, go here for all of them, or, here is the 2015 NYC Half report, here is 2014 NYC Half and 2013 NYC Half. Also, download the custom pace bracelet, I created for this race based on the race strategy below.

PRE RACE LOGISTICS

Make a marathon list of what you’ll need a week or two before and sort it all by stages, here is a Marathon Packing List to start with. Whether, you’re travelling or not, get everything in the list ready as soon as possible. Start prepping 2 weeks out.

Plan your nutrition waaaay ahead. You can buy gels at the expo if necessary, but get bagels/oatmeal/bananas and whatever you need for race day the day before as there will not be a lot of delis open at 4, 5, or 6 am. Some may be, but not a lot.

If you need any last minute thing, you can buy most stuff at the expo/bib pickup (don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your reg form –download it from your NYRR profile they will be ready early March, and photo identification) or here is an organized list with all the running stores by area.

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we all look like weirdos anyway, wear old stuff you have to discard to the start of the race!

Prep some cheap or throwaway clothes to the start. Find a mylar blanket from your last half or marathon (and don’t throw away the one you’ll get at the finish here!). You will need them until the last minute in the corral (I wear one as pants with tape and one as a cape). I wear my throwaway cardigan or a sweater (cut in the front for easy peeling, kept it in p

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what throwaway knee-high socks as leg warmers look like when you forget to take them off (2015 NYC Half)

lace with a safety pin!) during the first mile too! Go to the dollar store and get knee-high socks, cut the foot and you’ll have throwaway arm warmers! I keep half of it on until I warm up, it can be windy and cold at the start!

Gear/What to wear… the weather can be anything from 50s to 20s so prepare (aka, train in) a few options and decide the day before. Or that morning. Be smart, and make sure you can peel off layers comfortably. If you don’t want to carry your phone, at least carry a $20 bill, a metrocard, and an ID with you, just in case. My rule is if it’s over 40 degrees, I do singlet and shorts (pics from last year). Last year it was 42 degrees, 60% humidity, wind 10-18 mph (2014 was 31 degrees, 2013 was 30 degrees). But depending on the wind/humidity/lack of sleep/whatever, you can add hat, arm sleeves, leg warmers, etc. Always add things you can get rid of easily and won’t miss. If you’re not sure about a layer, keep in mind that once you leave the park and get to the West Side Highway, it can get a little windy there. Check the wind direction in the morning!

Best tool to have at any race: your name on your shirt, do not even question this!! If you don’t want your name, write something funny you’ll want people to scream to you all over the course. This is a big race and there will be a lot of spectators along the course and having them scream your name will make your race 100 times better. If you don’t want to ruin your gear, cut the letters our of duct tape (like I do!) and voila, they’ll peel right off!

Headphones or not? If you are used to racing with headphones, bring them. I sometimes leave them on (with the music off), and turn them on only when necessary. Central Park will be CROWDED, seriously crowded, so it’s smart to keep the music off, or very low so you can hear people around you. Once you are in the West Side Highway, and it gets a little monotonous, go for it. You’ll have a lot of people cheering and you don’t want to miss it, but if you do have the music on later on, still make sure you can still hear what is happening around you!!!!

Place your spectators in spots where you’ll need encouragement (quite probably on the long stretch along the West Side Highway).  If they are not the adventurous kind, they could see you anywhere in the park, always on your right, and then head over to the finish. Otherwise, there is an insane amount of combination of spots they can see you at. Study the map with them and calculate how much time they’ll have to get from one spot to the other based on your speed. For example, the 1st location would usually be in Central Park, east side, around 85 st, on your left (they need to be on the inside part of the park), that would be your mile 1. After they see you, they walk across the park (it won’t be more than a 10 minute walk) around the Great Lawn to West 86th, where they can see you again at mile 4.5! They have to be on the runner’s right (the outside of the park lane). Elite runners will be there in 20 minutes, and you can tell them how long it’d take you to do 4.5 miles! So, they have to hurry and cross over the quarter mile in less than 20 minutes or they’ll be trapped  inside the park. Once they see you go, they exit the park and the B and C trains are right there at 86 and CPW. They could also do this in the 102 transverse (instead of 86) and the trains are at 103 when they exit the park on the west side, but the time to cross over from east to west is a lot less, but totally doable if they zippityzip. C trains go downtown, so they can head over to 14th st, though there is a bit of a walk from 8th ave to 11th avenue, so if the C train shows up fast, I’d say yes, otherwise, just keep going to Chambers and head over to the West Side Highway to cheer. A cab would be messy as traffic will not be open in many streets so the trains are better! Once they see you in Chambers, the can head over to meet you at the Finish (find a corner to meet up ahead of time, it’ll be CROWDED!) or at some brunch spot! Call ahead to see if they are open at 9 or 10 am so they can wait there and be warm! // When they’re cheering, it’s important to know exactly on what side of the street they’ll be so YOU can spot them (they won’t be able to spot you!). Send them with something big: a flag, a sign, balloons, huge funny hat, etc. Tell them to get comfy shoes, really warm clothes and bring food. It will be an early and long morning for them too!  //  If you need an extra push, ask for help!! FORCE all your friends to come watch you. Ask them “where are you going to be?”. Then tell them a time you’ll go through there, give or take 10 minutes, and decide if they’ll be runner’s Left or Right. Then make a little-tiny list you can carry in your pocket (Example: 102nd st, John, left / 86st st, Mike, right, etc.) in order or appearance, put clear tape all over it so it won’t get sweaty and basically go from John, to Mike, to etc… Let them pull you along the course and that’ll break the course in parts, instead of think “AH, I gotta go all the way to the end of the island, ugh” you’ll think: “I am just going to 102nd st, to see John, then we’ll see!

Oh, and have them download the 2016 NYC Half mobile app (will probably be ready to download a week or two before the race) where they can track you and a few more runners at a time.

Get yourself the custom pace bracelet, I created for this race based on the race strategy below.

If you need a short run before the race, go to Central Park. You’ll see many of your race-buddies and get to enjoy the best place in the world as a runner.

Find a mantra, or two, you might really need them. I write them in my hand where I am sure I will see it.

RACE LOGISTICS

There will be many starts! Last year there were waves starting from 7:30 to 8:30 (this will be updated soon) and in early march you will get a registration card with your bib/wave number and start time.

Getting to the start/Baggage Check. The easiest way to get there is always a cab or running there of course, but if you have to take the train, take anything to 57th or 59th streets or any of the trains that leave you close to Central Park South/59th st. You will have to enter the park through Sixth or Fifth Avenue. Before entering, check your (nyrr provided plastic) bag outside of the park (on 59th Street, between Fifth and Seventh Avenues). Give yourself ample time (as this is weekend schedule) and check  MTA for weekend alerts, or try hopstop: make sure your train is running! Also, if you are not sure, I am 100% confident that if you just head over to the closest train stop, you’ll see someone you could follow to the Start 😉 // Kiss your loved ones buh-bye, they won’t be allowed anywhere close to the Start!

The race WILL be crowded, so PLEASE, if you need to stop for a walk or move sideways for water, please please please signal with your arms, and look around behind you before you make any moves, DO NOT just stop or go sideways. Be considerate of your fellow runners who could trip! The good side of this is that you’ll always have someone to run with, pace of, or follow when you’re tired. Pick them up when you feel strong, encourage them when they need it, and keep your eyes peeled for anyone who might need help!!

There will be Water/Gatorade around every mile or so, so if you miss one, don’t stress. Don’t go for the first table as everyone will do that. There’s many tables: go to the last one. You’ll find the portapottties where the water is, so keep an eye out and don’t dart sideways! There will be Gels at mile 7.5, on 42nd street between 10th and 11th avenues, on your right.

RACE STRATEGY

Here is the official course map: NYRR New York City Half Marathon course map

Custom pace bracelet, if you can’t remember any of the info below

nyc half course elevation

Elevation profile from my 2014 race, same as all the last ones of course. elevation is the red line.

This is an easy race to figure out. Basically, you have two parts: the undulating Central Park (first half) and the straight and flat run to the finish (the second half). Which makes it a perfect course to NEGATIVE PR!!!!

Break the race in parts, device a plan, and stick to it no matter what. Plan for negative splits: keep it strong and conservative throughout the park and ram it home once you leave the park. It’s super simple. I am an average runner and have negative split in this race every time. Basically: you have to believe in yourself and wait for the time of your life.

This is how I like to break this race down. In 4 parts.

Part 1 – Mile 1: HOLD YOUR FREAKING HORSES!!!!

There are 2.5 hills in this race: Cat Hill as soon as you start, Harlem Hill at 3.5, and going up the Battery Park Underpass at the end (this one counts as just half a hill). Cat Hill and the Tunnel are short and tiny but annoying because of their locations right at the start and right at the end…! People get excited at the start, and take off like maniacs; if this is going to work, we have to hold it in, climb the hill carefully and let everyone (and their grandmother) pass. You’ll see. Tell yourself: Yes, go ahead and go. I’ll catch you later when your quads are screaming, buh-bye

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Cat Hill is 0.25 long (in miles), or 800 meters long; but it has a 49′ rise (average grade of 3.7%)

Part 2 – Mile 2 to 6: EASY, LIGHT, SMOOTH

The park is a string of undulating hills, but after Cat Hill you have the longest flat stretch, almost a half mile (heaven…!) so, use that to get on a rhythm, find your legs and a pacer. It’ll be crowded so I doubt you’ll be able to utilize the tangents well but at least avoid tripping, did I mention it’s gonna be a bit CROWDED?

Your goal for the first half of the race is to exit the park in one piece, feeling strong, to let it all unfold in the second part of the race. Exercise all your patience here and keep yourself in good checks to not let yourself go. If you are running “hard-comfortable”, you are doing it right.

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Blip 1 in the course profile is 0.36 of a mile and a rise of ’33. You exit the park for two blocks, go around the Frederick Douglass Circle and come right back downhill. Then you enter the park, make a left, and start the climb for Blip 2: Harlem Hill!!! HH is 0.32 long but it has a 84′ rise (average grade of 4.4%). Fun times. As soon as you finish the downhill on the back end of HH, there’s another climb, Blip 3 is 0.60 of a mile and has a rise of ’58. Blip 1 is short and mild, blip 3 is longer but mild as it’s stretched out, but watch up for Harlem Hill, short and UPWARDS!

Part 3 – Mile 7 to 10: IT’S ON!

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This is where I like to stretch out my legs: the race starts HERE. From now on it’s flat and steady. When you exit the park you’ll have a lot of space, cheering and excitement to carry you on, and as soon as you turn right on 42nd, you’ll be rolling down. Hit the gas.

Note: Something about Times Square can make you or your gps go crazy. Ooops. No, you’re not running a 3:20 mile. I set my gps watch to manual and I lap it myself when I see the mile markers. Way better!

Part 4 –  Mile 11 or 12 to 13.1: YOLO

ALL. HELL. BREAKS. LOOSE.

That is all. Go Crazy. Bring it in. Drop the Hammer.

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As you can see in the map, I obv didn’t have gps on the tunnel, and you won’t either. But it won’t matter, when you get to mile 10, or 11 or 12 and you know you’re ready to start your KICK, you go. Keep in mind there’s a little climb out of the tunnel, short but steep, and then there’s about 0.66 of a mile to go. You’ll see the 800 meters sign if you’re focused but who is at that point? It’ll seem like forever but eventually you make a left, then another left and the finish line is RIGHT THERE. So don’t wait to see it to sprint and wait a few seconds!

… then… 

Walk, get your medal, take pictures, get your stuff, find your friends/family, go get brunch (there are many good places downtown), enjoy, stretch, ice bath, rest, eat more, sleeeeeep! Tell everyone about your race, plan your next race, have a congratulatory donut. Or at least that’s what I am planning to do, even if this might be my slowest half!!

Questions?? Anything to add? Anything you want to go over? Lmk in the comments below!

Photos race reports, go here for all of them, or here for the 2015 NYC Half2014 NYC Half  or 2013 NYC Half.

Get the custom pace bracelet maker, so you can plan your splits and stick to them!

NYRR United NYC Half Marathon course map

The official United New York City Half Marathon website.

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2014 New York City Marathon EXPO Insanity (Mutai, KSwitzer, MiniMe, etc.) and the Under Armour Party with Nick Arciniaga and Chris McCormack

Juan and I went to the expo yesterday, Thursday, to avoid the masses. this is post is mostly pictures to give you a break from all the reading!

Who shrinked my expo? What happened? It is SMALL. In a way, I left happier, because it could be a bit overwhelming and exhausting, but I was done in 30 minutes… what? So strange. Am I the only one?

Anyway the fun pictures.

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Juan told me to meet by the Javits statue. The what? I had been there a million times and I had never seen the Jacob Javits statue. that’s crazy right?

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This is the first time that they had bib entry open to the public. It was so strange and AMAZING! didn’t have to separate from my hubs who just wanted to shop around, which you had to do before (and then meet somewhere outside on the OTHER side) Loved that!

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Just because he reminded me of my husband, ok??

 

 

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OMG!!!! Geoffrey Mutai, we chatted for a bit, about Berlin mostly, sweeeeet sweeeeet man! AND SO FAST. IS THAT CONTAGIOUS PLEASE?

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Marathon woman! I love seeing Kathryn! I guess we’re going to Mallorca to do the 261!

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Go mini me!!! well, it was cool but first there was some attempts to get it, where you sign up on an Ipad with your facebook account, and UGH, I don’t know my password!!!! So it blocked me off of facebook. much hilarity ensued and eventually I got it. So, as soon as I took it out, ugh, I got creeped out, it looked like me! CREEPY. then, I liked it. I want to bit it a bit, but I don’t think it’s in my marathon week diet.

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don’t you think it looks like a blond Kara Goucher????

I saw many friends, chatted a bit and I knew there was a second floor. DON’T FORGET TO GO TO THE SECOND FLOOR!!! When you exit the main hall you take the stairs on your left. You’ll see it. I hope.

They had these big Start and Finish and a medal for each boro, which were cool. I’d love to have those in my apartment. I do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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sorry I sat in Staten Island, but I guess that’s what I do most of the time I spend on Staten Island for the mary!