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Race Report: Grete’s Great Gallop

hey hey friends! This isn’t going to be much of a race report as I didn’t really race Grete’s Great Gallop (a half marathon if you’re not from NYC!). I wasn’t sure what do make of the race, as I wasn’t tapered to race it fully so I checked with Martina what she had planned for race day. She said she’d be doing 12 miles at Marathon Goal Pace (about 7:35 for her, I think I am closer to 7:45 but how do we know MGP until Race Day, huh???) and a total of 20. That seemed like a good plan to me, and at least I’d have company!

My A goal for this race was to test out another fueling strategy. Goal B was to have a good workout. Goal C would be to have a good time…

Thinking back, two loops of Central Park at MGP doesn’t seem like a good plan. It hurt. I was almost hoping I was doing the Tune Up, as that’s an easier pace to hold in the park for THAT LONG.  But anyway, goals A, B, and C achieved and more! Let me tell you.

I started doing some major research on fueling on Wednesday. I spent 4 hours on this guys! I hadn’t had a good race where my stomach held out. Basically, I either run out of energy because I am avoiding putting stuff on my stomach, OR, I get stomach cramps for about 5 to 10 minutes anytime I put a gel or Gatorade on it. I can handle water, but not a lot. It’s a catch 22 really.

According to my gastroenterologist, I can’t handle anything with sweeteners on it (Acesulfame Potassium is everywhere guys!) ever, and gliadin (in gluten!) while I am running (which is also everywhere!). So, from that I moved onto finding out that I don’t do well with the maltodextrin/fructose combo (aka: most gels…). Anyway, if you want to read more, this is a good start about fueling with fats, but I made a list of things I should try and my plan for Sunday was:

  • Pre Race: 2 cups of white rice, with coconut oil, and salt. Water.
  • Race: 1 gel and LOTs of water

Gels I wanted to try out:

  1. Huma
  2. Vega
  3. Pocket Fuel
  4. Glukos Energy

in that order. The gel situation is complicated though, because there’s a lot of things about my stomach I still don’t understand so I have to avoid LOTS of things that might not even be a problem (like honey for example).

So, Sunday morning, I had the rice, but only 1 cup because 2 seemed like too much and I wasn’t hungry and apparently I am into boycotting my own plans… I was so not stressed out that I forgot to put my bib on and run out. Had to come back. Then, I run the 2 miles to the start. Yey, 2 miles in already.

I was supposed to meet Martina in the B corral and she wasn’t there… even though I was the first person in the corral! I waited and then the start… UGH. I figured she’d be catching up (or coming with the 1:40 pacer, 7:37 pace) soon so I took it as easy as I could in the first mile and kept my eye out for her. About a mile in, she caught up! Phew. I was running at 8:00 and already felt uncomfortable. Why is marathon pace SO uncomfortable??? It’s not SUPER EASY pace, but it’s not ALL OUT either… Plus, mentally, it’s a lot of work to balance in that middle ground. UGH. These workouts are HARD! Oh, add the Central Park course to the mix… by the time she got to me I was already sick of it!

Mile 1: 7:51 But I had Martina!!!!!  Friends are always the super powers you need in a race. Aren’t they?

So we started trying to pace ourselves around 7:40. Which wasn’t so easy. But we kept ourselves entertained. Plus, I saw Juan about 1.5 in yelling!

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Photo Credit: my husband, the tallest man on earth

We kept trucking and right before Engineers Gate I see Carolina cheering and taking more pictures. How could we get bored??? Mile 2: 7:50

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Photo Credit: Carolina Pena. The guy in red is just amazing.

Right after, the 1:40 pacing group catches up with us, and Stephen tells us we’re chatting up too much! Ha. We let them go! Mile 3: 7:33

There’s to letting pacers go… Up Harlem Hill at Mile 4: 7:48 So crazy to have to do this twice in a race! Somehow our pace wasn’t as awful as it felt.  Mile 5: 7:49

Right around here we had built a little pace group of our own, with this guy Tony, in orange below, the girl in the blue shirt next to him, and this guy Jeff, who’s right behind us in this picture, from GNY. So much fun to run in a group!

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hey hey look at me! By then Carolina and Juan had joined forces cheering!

The Lower Loop of the park always gets to me, there’s so many turns… I don’t know but I don’t like it there (basically mile 1 and 7). Mile 6: 7:33  But we were doing fine. We were getting tired, but you know, pace was fine.

Mile 7: 7:35 I had told Martina, we could take the first loop easy and reassess after the second Harlem Hill, so I was saving a bit for the end as usual. Then we go up Cat Hill, which was ROUGH for me Mile 8: 7:51 as you can see in the pace! But the next one is the easiest stretch so we take it easy there! Mile 9: 7:33 Martina wasn’t feeling well so she said she was going to slow down up Harlem Hill, the Sequel. We did. I was obviously happy to take it easy up the hill. Though, as in any hill, everyone would take off and I’d be left breathing like a crazy person ways back!!! Mile 10: 8:11 Then, I started to feel my legs getting super stiff. I knew I needed the %^[email protected]#@$ fuel. What to do, what to do?? I am just so scared these days, I rather fall apart slowly because I have no energy, than cramp up and have the pain for a mile.

But the point of this “training run” was to test out my fueling!!!! So I manned up, had the Huma, STOPPED for water for about 10 seconds or whatever, and dealt with it. I figured, if it didn’t help, it’s not like I cared much about my finish time. And what was I waiting for to try it? It’s not like I can try it in a long run at 9: 30 pace!!!! Mile 11: 8:00

I actually felt better instantly…. I had to rush to catch back up to Martina, she was like 30 seconds ahead (because I stopped for the water!). I pushed and pushed and got there. And when I got there… I sort of kept going… Oooops. I felt bad. But my legs wanted to move!!

Mile 12: 7:25 and Mile 13: 7:35

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Right before the finish. Photo Credit: Steve Mura

Point 1: 7:16 pace

I was done! average pace was 7:44. I wish it could have been a bit more even but between the hills and the stomach things, I had a hard time focusing this time around. I waited for Martina and the rest of the little 2nd loop group by the finish and we caught with a few team mates at the finish too.

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Young (in the middle) had a 1:34 PR. We met DURING this race a few years ago (so Sat was probably our runniversary!), and we run it together. We also run the second half of the NYC Half this year together.

Stats Time!

Finish time: 1:41:12. Average Pace: 7:44

Previous PR: 1:36:03. From: March, 2016

Age Grading: 67:12%

Overall Place: 464 of 4177

Gender Place: 69 of 2015

Age Place: 5 of 258

– NYRR Grete’s Great Gallop (13.1) race results

Training run, done. New fueling protocol tested with positive results. Mission Accomplished.

Now another 20 miler (while you all race Staten Island), then a taper, and then another Half! Can’t wait!!!!

Check out this picture from a few years ago at the same race!!

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Race Report: Grete’s Great Gallop

I did not run a step on my honeymoon, so there went a whole week. Then, when I got back I run on Wednesday and then… I didn’t feel so good. By Friday, I was shivering, feeling feverish, my chest was tight and my throat was hurting. Booohooo. I had soup and tea and honey and all the crap people do when they’re fending some bug and felt better by Sunday so I decided I’d take a crack at the Gallop. Even if I didn’t win, it’d be a good excuse to get out of the apartment and get a decent run on.

Basics about the Gallop: it’s two loops of Central Park, not the easiest/fastest but close to home and I know the course well. Piece of cake!

It was sunny out but around 47 degrees, brrrrrrr, so early in October for such cold!

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Nothing to do while waiting for the race to start……..

The husband stayed with me by the corral so I could be warm until the last possible second. When the national anthem was done, I threw all layers, pants and jacket over the corral and went. I felt okish. Slow, sleepy and with a tight chest, but the legs seemed fine. I had a racing singlets and short tights, but kept a long sleeve shirt and gloves for at least the first mini-loop, as I knew I’d see him again and didn’t want to get cold and risk my health.

I started out easy and soon I noticed I was running at a decent clip. Mile 1 was 8:06. I thought it was fast but I kept telling myself I had done 8:16 in the Tune Up (3 loops of the park!!!) so I had to believe that I could sustain in. We’ll see. By Mile 1.5 I saw Juan again and dropped my long-sleeve!

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Kept the gloves! I also had shuffled for a bit with a team mate I didn’t know, Young. Poor thing, we run together 100 meters and he was already laughing at all the shoutouts and attention I kept getting. He laughed that he wasn’t famous and we talked about how we both felt. One had some sort of bug and one had a hangover. That makes for some interesting miles…  I told him I thought I’d do between 1:45 and 1:50 and to drop me when he felt like it but I think the hangover caught up with him soon as I seemed to lose him. Mile 2 was 8:08 and then the interesting part happened: going into Harlem Hill (which you know is a lot harder in this direction, clockwise) I run a 7:41 and a 7:54. Who knows. Heading back on the east side was a 7:51 and it seemed like I had this down. I remember feeling well and strong and hoping I felt the same way on the second loop. It did seem fast, but really, I had no idea what I had with me that day!

When I get off Harlem Hill, closing in on mile 6, I see Juan again and there goes the gloves! Now I am free to run as naked as I possibly can! Mile 6 was 7:58.

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Then I decided it was time to fuel. I didn’t want to stop but I thought I HAD to. I had a gel, sipped some water, and started running back up again. Mile 7 was 7:44 and then things started to unravel.

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Not just because my husband loves that BURST button on his phone but because the gel didn’t sit well with me, for some odd reason. I don’t usually have issues with them. Who knows. My stomach got tight, my chest got tight. I remember trying to figure out why I was running IN PLACE and I knew both things were an issue. My stomach was turning and I felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore. My pace felt like I was doing 11 minute miles. In a second, I had no energy left and I just wanted to be done, there was no kick, nothing. Mile 8 was a struggle at 8:20. I do remember I felt well for a bit and thought I had it back and I’d feel better: mile 9 was 7:44. But no. Once I was on mile 10, I was done. I tried to kick, there was no way. The last 3 miles were a drag and there’s nothing I could do about it.

Mile 10: 8:28 / Mile 11: 8:15 / Mile 12: 8:19 / Mile 13: 8:15 / And the last bit was at 7:04 pace.

But really, the last miles were awful. Though you wouldn’t be able to tell, right?

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Here’s all the laps, see how bad it went?

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You could argue that I started fast. I don’t think I did. I don’t usually start fast and I think if my stomach wouldn’t have played a trick on my, that’s a pace I could have held up. who knows though?

Stats Time!

Finish time: 1:44:53. Average Pace: 8:01

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

Age Grading: 64.49%

Overall Place: 1205 of 5973

Gender Place: 281 of 2950

Age Place: 48 of 445

– NYRR Grete’s Great Gallop (13.1) race results

I finished ok, Young and Russell caught with me, there were some pictures, the one below appeared in the NYRR Photo Gallery

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Soon I had found Juan (with my warm clothes!!!) and Patricia who run a 1:36… well, I am so far from that. So glad she still lets me run with her!!

There were some race pictures I will be buying soon. Sharing here but I don’t know that it’s common to get so many good pictures!

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Well, so… now I have the Staten Island half this next Sunday. It’s 4 days away and I haven’t run since Sunday, and my chest is still a mess.. what to do, what to do?????

Race Report: NYRR Grete’s Great Gallop (13.1)

Any other year, I would have hated this race.
But things change so much…so fast.

There I went, into my race #90, undertrained and not ready for anything. With the NYC Marathon less than a month away, I figured this half marathon could be a great training run. It’s hard, there’s hills, it’s loopy, a tough run on any day. This past Sunday, it was 65 degrees with 94% humidity, though I have to say the weather was fine for me (in my under-preparedness!). My problem was the two months I sat out because of my ulcer, losing all speed and any chance to train for the fast Hudson-Mohawk marathon I was drooling over, and a fun NYCM three weeks after. Instead, I tried to do some catch-up/lame/slow few weeks of training, plus this half, plus one 18 miler. And be happy with that.

So I went in relaxed, looking for a training run, to get in around 1:50 or 1:55, possibly some soreness, and I came back with a lot of happiness. Who knew?

For official pictures and recap: NYRR Grete’s Great Gallop (13.1), official page

THE RACE

Bib Pick Up/Registration. Loved the tech shirt and the race’s motto all over the back “Imagine a world without Cancer”. I do. Getting there. I live super close, so it took me just 1.5 walking miles! Start. Super organized. Lots of security. Just like any other NYRR in Central Park.  Safety. There was security all over the place. Baggage was inspected at tons of tables before you could drop it (no lines!).

Race Atmosphere. This is a special race for Central Park/NY runners… we have all met Grete at some point and we know how amazing and inspiring she was. Her husband Jack is always at the race. It’s just sad that she isn’t, but somehow, you feel like she is. ❤

Weather. 65 and really humid (95%!). Luckily there was no sun and a constant drizzle that kept me happy and somehow lowered my core temperature.

The Course. Is… OY. This is Central Park. Twice. Rolling hills 75% of the time. And I think Harlem hill is WORSE in this direction, clockwise. Not a PR-friendly course, barely any flat, but nothing also that you can’t do. Here is the course map.

The Finish Line. Is great to see… because you run past it two times before your finish, eeeek. The second time around I just really thought it was cruel ;-(

The Post Race.  OMG, cheering fun and kids races! Really, a great day in the park to celebrate our runners legacy dedicated to Grete and Fred!

MY RACE

Well, I went in thinking, ugh, this is gonna hurt, the park loop gets old soon, expecting the worse. What happened? Well, as I had no pressure or expectations, I run super relaxed and I run a lot better that way… I actually had fun, felt fast and really enjoyed myself.

Weirdest part? I actually enjoyed RACING IN CENTRAL PARK. Seriously. I do this all the time so you’d think I love it. I don’t. It’s hard, it hurts and I always have some goal that will put me through hell. I think having been out of the races for 3 months made me appreciate it and enjoy it. It was amazing.

There were a couple of miles of adaptation though. I went out as relaxed as I could in the narrow and crowded first mile. Mile 1: 744 felt very easy and relaxed but I instantly thought I went out too fast. Or not? Maybe I can do this faster than 8:30 pace?? It was still crowded and I was trying to find my rhythm. I felt a little crowded at times and tried not panic, found some slow song and slowly I started loosening up and feeling chill. Mile 2: 7:51 Really? Still feels easy but looks fast. My left foot (which has never given my trouble!) was hurting like it was gonna snap. I decided that if I saw Juan soon I might drop! Mile 3: 7:43, Okay something is up here, how on earth am I keeping up this speed in Central Park? I had just gone over all the west side hills… Mile 4: 7:53 there’s both climbs in the Harlem hill loop. I started believing a bit. I also told myself who cares I fade out in the second half? At least I got a good 10k workout in!! Low expectations are my thing! Mile 5: 8:36 this is always the fastest one, but I stopped to have a gel because I was completely out of energy. Yes, I do stop to eat. oh well. Mile 6: 7:32, oh hello gel! Mile 7: 7:40 wow, the gel didn’t make sick! Hallelujah! Mile 8: 8:04. Uh, where did my gel go?? I felt like I was empty again and walking. Resorted fast to gel #2. Whatever. Mile 9: 8:25 I felt so slow and tired, and out of energy going up the hills. Mile 10: 7:45, back to gel crack flat zone! Like I could smell the finish line… this is when I started passing every single woman I could spot ahead. Mile 11: 8:14. Not sure, will try to ignore it. Mile 12: 7:42. I latched behind this tall dude who was passing people left and right and ALSO running tangents (it still amazes me how many people do NOT run tangents.. in Central Park!!… in a club points race!!! PEOPLE!). He was pacing perfectly and we were at it together! Mile 13: 7:31. Just passing people left and right. Last bit, at 7:17 pace! 

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can I point out my beautiful cadence again? ah, I wonder if you can spot the two gels stops in there?

Stats Time!

Finish time: 1:44:33. Average Pace: 7:59

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

Age Grading: 64.36%

Overall Place: 1006 of 5476

Gender Place: 199 of 2652

Age Place: 24 of 439

– NYRR Grete’s Great Gallop (13.1) race results

It felt easy. It was wonderfully fluid and I never felt like I was working hard (well, maybe I wasn’t!). I wore my Mizuno Wave Sayonara and it seems like I might be wearing them in the marathon next month. I am VERY HAPPY with the  run. I never thought I could enjoy a two-loop in Central park marathon, so I guess I had to miss it enough… 

Pictures!!!

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hello, yes, it’s me, you spotted me!!!

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best cheerers get kisses blown to them!

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of course you get one too, you just have to be really LOUD

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and I still have time to chit chat while I race after I blow kisses!

oh, I will also high five. Gotta cheer the crowds!

oh, I will also high five. Gotta cheer the crowds!

Well, if you’re thinking I am not taking this racing thing seriously, well, I was not. But these people topped me:

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A couple of cool shots I got… 😉 Thanks Ben Ko, Brian Hsiah, and Juan Becerra, my favorites!

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These are from my finish dash… uh, grab yourself (for the speed?!?)

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And with my official time of 1:44:33, the WINNER of my Guess My Finish time contest is… RIGHT ON THE BULL’S EYE:

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Dave, pick a prize from the list!! And maybe  I can take you out for food or a drink when you come for the NYCM next month! ehem… and did you say I get a prize???

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