Tag Archive | peter ciaccia

NYRR Run for the Parks 4 miler – and the #IronStrength workout that almost killed me

This past Sunday I run another race. Yes, another race. I know, you’re sick of me telling you about another race I did, but this one I am quite perplexed about. I’ll get to it fast.

Basically it didn’t go well and I have no clue why. Other than my legs being dead from the week. But really?

The Start. It’s April. It shouldn’t be 30 degrees at the start! It was though. Luckily, I had the biggest luxury anyone can have at a race start: a gorgeous husband waiting by the corral to take my jacket at the last minute so I don’t freeze not even for a second!

run for the parks nyrr elizabeth maiuolo central park nyc marathon (1)

Found Courtney in the corral, a team mate I hat just met at the start corral in the NYC Half. See? I have full on jacket and stuff. it was cold. Picture Credit: my awesome husband Juan!

We tried to get our shit together about pace. And given I just had a MASSIVE PR at the NYC Half, I was almost sure I’d PR. HEY, how could I not????

run for the parks nyrr elizabeth maiuolo central park nyc marathon (2)

1 minute to go, I unrobe. It was COLD. but singlet was ok, 30 FREAKING DEGREES in April!

Given that most of my 4 milers are around 28:00 flat (last one was in February in 28:03 and my PR is 28:00) I just have to stay around 7:00 pace and go under it on the last mile.

I get moving and I try to not take off too fast. Mile 1 has a huge climb so you have to be careful. Mile 1 was 7:10. This was amazing, so fast. HM, do I smell a PR?

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Courtney and I, cruising. Picture Credit: my awesome husband Juan!

run for the parks nyrr elizabeth maiuolo central park nyc marathon (4)

Yes, that IS a cookie monster hat. plus some cool new tights from sweatstyle, and new arm warmers that I got as a gift from the Runners Clinic. Picture Credit: my awesome husband Juan!

I keep at it, not letting it go for 1 second. Mile 2: 6:59. WHAT. wow. Great. For some reason, this didn’t scare me as it would have any other day. I then saw Carolina and Christine cheering, yey, at the top of the reservoir!

run for the parks nyrr elizabeth maiuolo central park nyc marathon (5)

Why so green? Because its the Run For The Parks!!!! Duh Picture Credit: Carolina

Mile 3 is when things always fall apart and I end up with a 7:40 mile or something ridiculous. I told myself to take this like a 5K and not let go. Bring it in, not one second of slow, don’t even think about it. I don’t think I’ve ever pushed so hard at a small race (and WHY?). Mile 3 was 7:17, which is quite ok, given what I usually do here. But really, that’s all I had. And I get to see Juan on the road!

run for the parks nyrr elizabeth maiuolo central park nyc marathon (6)

he practiced this shot with that background. Can you tell? Picture Credit: my awesome husband Juan!

run for the parks nyrr elizabeth maiuolo central park nyc marathon (7)

PAIN PAIN PAIN!

I did my best to hold on the last Mile. But, there was no kick. nothing. My legs were lead. Mile 4: 6:46. A disappointing 28:13, which is the slowest I’ve run the 4 miler in a few years. Annoying. And WHY?

WHY?????

well, let me back up because this is ALL I could think about. 4 days before, Wednesday, I did something stooopid. Cross training. Yes, me, don’t judge me.

obama-upset

we all make mistakes, “APPARENTLY”

So, yes, I admit it. I cross-trained!

There was this “IronStrength” workout in the park, quite convenient for me, at 6:30 am which is also perfect. I had heard about this workout, and Dr Jordan Metzl has a DVD and book with these workouts… so I figure there’be no harm in checking it out.

OMG

WHAT A MISTAKE

Workout was SO SO SO SO SO SO SO HARD. I must have done about 60% of it and I was barely able to walk that same day. The next day, I looked like in 2008, when I did my first marathon: going down the stairs backwards, yelling when sitting at the toilet, all that CRAZY stuff. OUCHIE.

Saturday, I remember I was coaching and I could barely move (STILL) to show the running drills.

So, maybe it was that?

This is a picture of the workout I took from Dr Metzler’s Instagram… It looks normal but if I told you what he made us do, you’d just cry.

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complete torture. EVIL. Going back next week. If you want to suffer, show up next week or get the DVD. I DARE YOU.

anyway, I almost forgot to wrap up the race…

Stats Time:

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

Previous PR: 28:00 From: April, 2013 (UGH!!!!)

Age Grading: 70.27% 

Overall Place: 535 of 6922

Gender Place: 39 of 3426

Age Place: 4 of 433

oh well, we can’t win them all. Still a race that gets me over 70% AG works ok…

 

 

what did you race this weekend? how did it go???

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NYRR Al Gordon 4 Miler, first race of the year!

 

Saturday was my first race of the year!  And you know, at some point, they’ll start happening every weekend until you’re pulling your hair out and yelling why doesn’t this woman stop with the blog posts every week about one more race!?!??! but this one is special, it’s the first one!!!!

HA.

Actually, this was my 125th race. EVER. I had to look that up for course. But it’s a cool roundish number that I could push as “special” and semi “anniversary”. you can tell had coffee this morning, right? b

WHO IS AL GORDON YOU ASK?

Well, I asked myself that. How come I don’t know who that is?? Given that the race is in Brooklyn, maybe he’s famous just in Brooklyn. Well, NO, I am just clueless. So here it is, in case you’re as clueless as I was, I will declueless you!

“My favorite story about the spartan Al Gordon was his gift to St. Bernard’s School in New York while he was chairman of the board. Al made two conditions on his gift, I was told. First, there was to be no elevator, so that the students would have to walk up and down several flights of stairs. And secondly, Al wanted to make sure that the school would not close on snow days. A rigorous philanthropist he was, but keep in mind that Al was such a fanatic fitness person, he would often walk or run into Manhattan after landing at LaGuardia Airport. He was also a leading benefactor and board member since the early days of the New York Road Runners club..” from this Forbes article which is quite interesting. There is also this article in the NY Times, if you have time. He died at 107 so he must have been doing something right. WINK WINK.

Back a few months, Juan went into a race-signup rampage and signed up for this race among 10 more, without realizing it was in BROOKLYN. Yes, no biggie, but on a weekend, early, when you leave on the Upper East Side, getting to Brooklyn is quite the nightmare. A real pain. You know how much I love the MTA? ZERO. Anyway, what am i going to do, just get up at 5 am and travel to the end of the universe to cheer for 2 minutes? NO,  I signed up too. I was in.

Disclaimer, travelling wasn’t so bad. We met up with Ivy in the corner at 6 am, and got to the start by 7:20, ready to freeze our a$$es for 40 minutes. It was 40s, but cold 40s. I think it’s just colder in BK that in the city. We met up a lot of people at the start and Juan started fading. He had had this flu for the last 3 weeks, you see? He hadn’t run in weeks but he had been feeling better for the last 4 days and we assumed he was ok to run. Emmmm.

We undress down to our short tights and singlet/shirt and get to the corral. HELLO SUN!

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (1)

we were FREEZING

Soon enough we go. Juan passes me, as usual and I just commit to taking the hill as easy-hard as I can. You know what that means right? Uh. It’s not steep but it goes on and on and ooooooon. I see a team mate, Ian, as he passes me on the uphill, we wave and say hello and I decide to let him pull me Keep Him in Sight I kept telling myself. He ended up sitting about 10 yards away from me and it was perfect for me to just chase him.

Mile 1: 7:16

By Mile 1.74, yes, I remember exactly, I saw him coming back to me (though I knew it was me pushing the pace) and I saw a little hill come up, I told myself to not pass him until after the hill. Oh. As soon as I noticed I had passed him and I was running like a furious crazy person. I knew the last half mile was uphillish so I had save time now, until 3.5ish. Mile 2: 7:01

I kept pushing up and down the little bumps on road. Running tangents in Prospect Park is so hard!!! There’s more than in Central Park and I am NOT familiar with them! Mile 3: 6:36 So, If i can run a 6:36 in a 4 miler, I wonder if I could break my 6:05 Mile PR… interesting!! Then I see Juan on the side of the road looking for me, all spent the poor thing. I yell at him and he gets back on the race, right ahead of me, tells me something about how he’s done and he’ll just run with me and take few pictures.

Ooooops. Then I passed him. You know he’s SICK if I can pass him!!!! But, these pictures:

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (6)

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (4)

by then, I was ON FIRE. If you’ve run with me on the last mile of a race you know how I get. FURIOUS. my breathing is loud… I really take out all of my oxygen out. Juan now has video to prove it but as you can imagine. it’s too scary to share. So, no.

I crossed the finish line ready to puke, as usual.

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (5) nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (7)

And… guess what

Yeah, NO PR! DAMN

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (1) laps

Stats Time:

Finish time: 28:03 Average Pace: 7:01

Previous PR: 28:00 From: April, 2013

Age Grading: 70.21% 

Overall Place: 414 of 4477

Gender Place: 40 of 2126

Age Place: 2 of 249

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (1)

NO PR!!!!! but 3 seconds away is ok. We are just starting the season. UGHHHH

Take a look at the hill on mile 1, fun times

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (1) course


oh well. 2nd in my age group is fun though. I am getting one more of those plastic squares with the placing for the window!!!! Wohooo!

We caught up with the team, a lot of friends and then we just walked like to miles to have brunch with Flor at Miriam, which was amazing. Plus it was also a block away from R&A Cycle which is probably where Juan would spend all his money if he was a millionaire.

who needs a 20K dollars bike? THIS GUY

who needs a 20K dollars bike? THIS GUY

see how happy and not miserable he looks when he’s close to a bike? OY

PS: I went for a little 7 mile run in Central Park on Sunday and felt ok… which is weird. I am usually destroyed after a race. I wonder if all this crosstraining is helping…!

Two pictures from Sunday morning! It was FIFTY DEGREES. THIS IS THE AWESOMEST WINTER EVER!

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what did you race this weekend? how did it go???

NYRR Team Championships – a 5 Mile race and a Dashing Whippets’ picnic!

And we started August with a bang! I decided to sign up for this race pretty much a week before. I am glad I did because Patricia and I ended up leading the women masters for the team: everyone else was at a beach somewhere, which is, SURELY, what we all should have been doing that day! I woke up at 6 and it was already “warm”….

The NYRR Team Championships is a race to be raced only by NYC running team members, where we all get team points in different categories and stuff like that (more here). It’s quite a different vibe, a bit more competitive, but on the other hand, EVERYONE on a team is in the park either racing or cheering. The whole 5 miles were pretty much lined with people, usually cheering for one team, but the crowd support was fantastic.

The men and women race separately. And it’s a smaller race, with about 700 finishers for each gender: that’s a huge difference compared to any weekends’ regular 5000 participants race! So, it’s QUITE a different vibe to say the least! The men’s race was at 8:30 but I was up early so I met the team at 8 am to cheer. It was quite hot already. We did some fun cheering.

Dashing Whippets Cheering! Photo Credit: Brian Donaghy

Dashing Whippets Cheering! You’ll recognize me easily from now on from my PINK shorts…!
Photo Credit: Brian Donaghy

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Dashing Whippets Cheering! Photo Credit: Brian Donaghy

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DWRT. I think the logic here is that runners are coming from the right…???? Photo Credit: Brian Donaghy

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Photo Credit: Brian Donaghy

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Dashing Whippets Cheering! Photo Credit: Brian Donaghy

Anyway, I tried to not get overly hot and sweaty and save it for the race, but the women’s race was starting at 9:30 am, there was nothing I could do: it was HOT. And you know I LOVE THE HEAT… I went to a water fountain, soaked my singlet, soaked my hair… It was all dry in two minutes. It was gonna be ROUGH. Patricia and I headed to the corral early, there was no one there and we kept being yelled at to get to the front. We really didn’t want to. After the 10th time, we moved up, just assuming they’ll start yelling at us and we could move back. We kept chatting and when we noticed we were in the front and couldn’t move back at all. I just made sure we were as close to the side as possible, I was so scared I’d get trampled over!!!!

NYRR did a few shots with the us, and a lot of Dashing Whippets that were right there, which was cool. In case you’re not from NYC, that blonde gentleman on the left is Peter Ciaccia (President, Events, and Race Director, TCS New York City Marathon) and the other gentleman on my left is Michael Capiraso (President and CEO of NYRR). I’d say this is a cool shot:

Photo Credit: Da Ping Luo - NYRR

Photo Credit: Da Ping Luo – NYRR

A few seconds later Henrietta shows up and lines up right there, THANKS!!! YOU hold the masses and lead the Whippetes, OKAY??? Patricia and I keep chit-chatting, it’s our thing…!

Photo Credit: Jay-R Mojica

Photo Credit: Jay-R Mojica

Photo Credit: Jay-R Mojica

Photo Credit: Jay-R Mojica

Soon enough Jonathan Kline, another team mate, sings a lovely version of God Bless America and it all becomes WAY TOO REAL. I am racing this, I am UP HERE in the front, I am gonna get trampled over, I FREAK OUT a bit. Everyone’s faces is GAME ON, I am OMG what am I doing here?

Photo Credit: Da Ping Luo - NYRR

Photo Credit: Da Ping Luo – NYRR

These pictures are from the NYRR Gallery, which is here, but there’s a cool NYRR video here, I didn’t get trampled over, thank Pre, it was actually OK… 😉 I get scared for nothing sometimes

Photo Credit: Da Ping Luo - NYRR

Photo Credit: Da Ping Luo – NYRR

soon, very fast, we get spaced out. Sooner though, with about 300 meters in,  I was questioning my sanity. What am I doing? It was just way too hot to race, and 5 undulating miles in the park seemed like an ultra. For about 2 minutes I kept telling myself Elizabeth, this is the best workout you could do today, just do the workout, it’s just a workout, on and on… Which is true. This is not my goal race and the truth is I NEVER run as hard as when I race, so racing shorter races is the best workout I could do, off with the race pressure and ON with the workout. Just run. But I really really really wanted to give up.

Before Mile 1, on the top of the reservoir, I spot Juan. I KNEW he’d be there, but I was so hot and out of it, I almost forgot and was all the way on the other side of the road…

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Photo Credit: Iron-Juan, husband extraordinaire

Check out how it’s not as crowded as it usually is… so much nicer. I ended up racing around the same group of 4-5 women the whole race!

I had looked at the last 5 miler I had done in the park, in 34:36 and wrote the laps in my hand (6:50, 6:59, 6:47, 7:16, and 6:41) just so I’d have an idea where I was, even though the course started somewhere else. I obviously discarded a PR in this weather, but I was hoping I could stay close. Mile 1: at 6:59, not so bad. It did feel like I had a LONG WAY to go though… Mile 2: 6:50, I am getting faster? that’s not gonna last… so far, I am doing the same time I did 4 weeks ago. But it shouldn’t be… When the pic below was taken, I was about past Tavern on the Green. I did high-five and yelled back to a lot of people on the course!

Photo Credit: NYRR Gallery

Photo Credit: NYRR Gallery

Mile 3 was a struggle, there was a group of us, pacing each other. I’d like to say we kept switching the lead, but really, we kept falling off… oh well, it’s just a workout!!!! Mile 3:  6:57. Oooops, there I lost 10 seconds to my previous 5 miler…. I see where this is going…! Mile 4 is close and I know I need to save something for the last bit, plus, this is when we all fall apart, oh, and Cat Hill ON FIRE. Mile 4: 7:15 (gained a second!)

As soon as I turned on 96th, I see Juan again, I knew I had less than a mile and I waited to hit the gas. I wasn’t sure I had much left.

Photo Credit: Juan Becerra

Photo Credit: Juan Becerra

Photo Credit: Juan Becerra

Photo Credit: Juan Becerra

Photo Credit: Juan Becerra

Photo Credit: Juan Becerra

But then it happens. ALL THE TEAMS OF THE WORLD are lining up the last mile. The WHOLE LAST MILE. It was quite overwhelming… You’d see so many of us surge, and fall back and try to keep the momentum (I still have to yell back, and thanks and high-five!) but it was super super amazing. SO SO SO LOUD and awesome. Mile 5: 6:49, the fastest!!!!! Plus , I run a 0.05 extra and it was at 6:23, so you know I came in hard!

laps

Given the hills you can’t trust the pace, but the heart rate tells the whole story….

Stats Time:

Finish time: 35:09 Average Pace: 7:02

Previous PR: 33:36 From: June, 2015

Age Grading: 71.17%

Overall and Gender Place: 93 of 694

Age Place: 9 of  99

7:02 pace in Central Park on hell-hot weather is a win any day. Hey, finishing this race in ANY pace was a win. I really wanted to leave. REALLY. The fact that I didn’t walk out is what makes me the most proud. I wish they could start this race a bit earlier… or install misting stations every 10 yards?!?!?!

Plus, I am happy I got some points for my team. Patricia was the #1 master and I was 2nd, so there’s that. PLUS PLUS, there was a Dashing Whippets picnic after. SO, THAT. Celebration Nation.

I ate about 5 of Lara’s cookies, then a few donuts from Dough Loco, then some popcorn, then some chocolate covered pretzels, and a few more things I’d rather forget: NOTHING of the healthy stuff WE brought… (hahaha, of course not). I was ready to lay down under a tree and sleep it all off for a few hours. But, before, there’s a group shot!

Missing some team signs letter!

Missing some team signs letter! WHERE IS THE T??????

team champs 2014 nyrr elizabeth maiuolo dashing whippets dwrt group team (2)

That is Lillie, Patricia’s girl and future runner, making the shot way cooler and Frencher

team champs 2014 nyrr elizabeth maiuolo dashing whippets dwrt group team (1)

One of the final shots. With Bryan as the star!!!

team champs 2014 nyrr elizabeth maiuolo dashing whippets dwrt group team (4)

then Patricia Tirona had the cool idea to shoot the Master Women’s, plus Lillie!

So, I declare, every single race needs to end with a picnic, really.

Did you do this race? Did you melt? What did you do this weekend?????

Also, don’t forget you can still play and win a Newport Half Marathon Entry Giveaway!

NYRR Retro, 4 Miler: 2 years, 1 month, and 2 days without a PR, and then….

Really, I am about to throw my hands up in the air and shout “who the eff ever knows????” Remember how I was telling you mid-week I had been sick since last Sunday? How I had lost 6 pounds (hey, that’s a 5% of me!!!) and was dizzy and weak and barely coherent? Well, I somehow managed to do all my workouts without fainting (though it was close) last week but I wasn’t sure I should even show up to the race. Then add just 4 hours of sleep the night before. I was really doubting what was I doing up Sunday morning… I tried to gulp some Gatorade (forget the pre-race coffee routine!!!) and it was making me sick. So I headed out with just two mouth rinses of Gatorade, which is NOTHING.

Luckily the weather was perfect, 56, low humidity, lovely. We had a nice slow jog to the start, got there early. Saw all the usual suspects and before the corral I even run into my bestie Patricia who was ready to KILL it.  My husband had less sleep than me so he had no idea what he’d do. Me? meh, I figured I’d try to stay under 7:30s or just jog to the finish. I had such little expectations that I got in there with my fitness belt, phone, and all, like I really wasn’t racing. Because, you know, I was sick and weak!

This race was a RIOT!!!!!!!!!! I am not gonna lie, the theme can soon become my most favorite thing ALL YEAR. Everyone was dressed up in old gear, it was so fun. Given, I only started running about 12 years ago, I never seen things like these other than in magazines, photos or Pre movies!!! It was SO exciting and fun!! So many mustaches and knee-high socks that I felt like I’d run into Pre any minute!!! OMG OMG OMG. OMG.

Check out the lead car. INSANITY:

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The start looks all OLD SCHOOL, so simple and old-timey!!!! OMG.

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That’s us, right by the start, before we go let it happen, whatever that might be.

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and OMG priceless!! Peter Ciaccia, dressed up. I can’t get enough of this outfit! the stopwatch, the clothes, those glasses: too GOOD!

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We see a lot of team mates, friends, we just we get into the corral and I decide this is a whatever. I am thirsty already. Soon enough, the start. We go.

I felt a bit empty going up the hill but I knew I had hold back. After 3 minutes, before I even get off Cat Hill I get a thirst attack. How am i going to finish this thing? I am already super thirsty and not even sweating… ugh, SO dehydrated…!!! I REALLY considered stopping for water. Can you imagine? Stopping for water in a 4 miler? I told myself I’d have to slap myself if I did. Of course I wouldn’t. Really, I rather pass out than have to stop for water. Eff NO. Now I just hope I don’t pass out. Mile 1: 7:14 Okay, that’s not awful. I didn’t have my music (I am so brave now,  I know!) but I’ve done 3 of these exact same 4 milers in the last 2 months and I could definitely get myself on autopilot. I need to focus if I want this to keep going well. I told myself the same thing I always repeat in my head in every race when I just want to give up “Don’t give up  in your head, or your body will give up“. I got into on a relaxed form and just kept plodding. Mile 2: 6:52. Oh, okay, not bad, but this is when the wheels come off and things fall apart. I told myself to keep it together on Mile 3, always the hardest part, but don’t push just yet. Mile 3: 7:08, quite probably my fastest Mile 3 in history. My third mile is never faster than my first… hummmm. Interesting. I waited, waited, such a patience game racing is… waited and when I felt ready, I just went for it, probably with 800s to go. I passed a team-mate who was so scared by my breathing, yes, that’s how it works. I get into the 6th gear and I sound like I am drowning!!! Before the turn, about 500 meters from the finish,  I look at my watch and I couldn’t believe the time, I was in the 26 minutes range… I’d have to go sub 28 to PR, I was sooo close…. With 50 meters to go, Steven, a course marshal on the bike started shouting at me and cycling right by me, it pushed me a bit more. Mile 4: 6:35. Done. I  started dry-heaving on the side. If I had something on me, even water, I would have thrown up. I did hit the stop on my watch before that. It read 27:59. My PR is 28:00. I decided to forget about it and wait for the official results. Walk it off. Somehow being sick and losing weight, even if you feel weak and dehydrated, works? I am probably giving you all really bad ideas here!

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Then the official results came out… it was a flat 28. A PR TIE.

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Stats Time:

Finish time: 28:00 Average Pace: 7:00

Previous PR: 28:00 From: April, 2013

Age Grading: 71.01% 

Overall Place: 615 of 5,101

Gender Place: 39 of 2,249

Age Place: 7 of 692

So, it’s a tie PR!!! 2 years, 1 month and 2 days waiting for something like this to happen, minus a second. If I had known I had a chance, who knows? I almost didn’t even show up for this!!!! and it ended up being the best race of the year. I guess weight is really THAT important, even if it’s just 6 pounds, which yeah, 5% extra is definitely a lot in me! My previous 28:00 PR (here is the full report), was also an unsure type of race: “ I signed up at the last possible minute and until 2 hours before the race, I wasn’t sure if I’d race it..” It seems common in my history to do well in the worst set-up situations, somehow. And to do crappy races when I am primed and ready to go. Obviously this is all mental.

I am excited that I am in PR shape, or that there could be a PR around the corner… this has been a LONG LONG wait… I remember my days when I’d PR in every single race. I REALLY miss those days!

As soon as I finished, I regrouped with Juan, Patricia, Christine, and lots of friends and team mates. I had seen Kettia cheering on the west and east sides and Tracey was running. We walked over to the west side to find my team mates who were doing awesome at cheering: RETRO style

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Isn’t this amazing???????? I know it gave me such a boost in the last 600 meters…. It was awesome. this team rocks. There wasn’t another team cheering, and definitely not like this. AMAZINGNESS X 100000!

2015-06-07 09.08.07So we hung out there for a while, cheered, chit chatted and all the other weird things we runners do after a race. Everyone had done amazing. Juan PRed!!!! Whaaat? He had also not PRed in a few months. Patricia and I did this weird shot… she obviously PRed, usual!!
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I don’t look good this skinny. Oh well. We then run up to Harlem hill and back to the east side home, 9 miles total (on 4 hours of sleep!!!!!!). We showered, went to an open house, and Juan did some majorly amazing rooftop asado (the argentinian barbecue) because you know we both earned it 😉 It was that or passing out at 1 pm until the next day!

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YUM!

how was your race? do you find you do better in awful situations? Do you think weight is SO important and do you make sure you’re on race weight for every race?? any ideas on how to stay skinny now that I got there? 😉

2015 Brooklyn Half Race Report. Where do I even start?

Well, at the start line of course! The expo was fantastic, as usual, the race was great (minus baggage!) and my performance… well, I had so much fun trying not to melt… the weather was the big question mark leading up to the race… Is it going to rain?  I prefer rain to that stooopid humidity that doesn’t let you breathe… so, yeah, rain please! And then maybe sunny and hot after so we could enjoy the beach with the team? That’d be the perfect scenario really!!

coney island beach picnic dashing whippets

2014, sunny post beach picnic!

I had done this race a few times, had to go back and check, 5 times!

nyrr brooklyn half marathon pictures results  (1)

SIX Brooklyn Half Marathon in the bag!

This was my 6th… so I feel like I have the course down, plus, you know I do all the crazy drawings and pace bracelet, and math… hey, planning is the FUN part!

Juan and I woke up at 3:50, left our apartment in the Upper East Side by 4:30 am to get on the 4:46 4 train to the start. There was another train 20 minutes later but it’d be too close to baggage closing and we don’t like to stress so we got very little sleep in exchange for the “no rushing” deal. The 4 train left us like a block from baggage at about 5:30… and then we had an hour and a half to kill where we caught up with pretty much all 26K runners and everyone who was working and volunteering.

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Anthony loooooooves pacing!

The biggest advantage of showing up so early?? Brand new portapotties!!!! I got in there twice, all smelled nice and was clean… so wonderful. The stuff dreams are made of. I prefer all of this luxury to an extra hour of sleep. And if you know me, there’s nothing NOT MUCH better than sleeping to me.

Anyway, Juan and I got into the 3rd corral LONG before there were lines in the porta-potties and saw a lot of friends and team-mates. Blaise and Patricia were meeting us there and Juan was going to run with them for a bit. We had a lot of time to discuss pleasantries like the course and mile splits. I was going for 1:39, or 1:40 but with the 100000% humidity I started to doubt I’d get under 1:40. I do ok in the heat, but I suck in the humidity, it just zaps me out for some reason. Anyone knows why? It must be a low-blood pressure thing. I was doubting myself, thinking about starting slow and just coasting. We’ll see, I thought.

We hear the national anthem, then Mary speaks: her last race!! UGH, I am beyond upset that she’s leaving, but I am sure things will be ok. I just hate change 😉 and I really like her. Peter and Mary blow the horn and I see the all my team mates and Juan go off. Bye bye. I hold back a bit. This was my plan if the weather let me know ma thing:

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I didn’t know if I could bit my NYC Half time (1:39 something) but why not try? Then, the humidity attacked. I felt it early on, half a mile in and I was DYING. MELTING. I just was burning up, same thing that happened last year, also half a mile in, at the Boston Marathon. I was roasting inside and wanted to take all my clothes off and jump into the ocean (but we gotta get there first?!?). I actually thought about taking the singlet off but it’s a mess with the bib there… so I gave up and as soon as I saw the first water stop I started the dives. I was throwing 3 cups of water on me (or as many as I could gracefully grab) per table. I really felt like giving up and slowing down. I didn’t think I could even go sub 1:40 so why bother?

Mile 1: 7:39

Mile 2: 7:50 So far so good.

I told myself to keep trying, maybe it’d start raining and things would get better. They didn’t get better, but you know, we all play those tricks on ourselves… What kept me busy: it was waaay too tight in the first two miles, and quite busy and messy until about mile 5 when things started to open up a bit, but definitely crowded. I almost got tripped a few times. UGH. Almost like the NYC Half. Also, I saw a lot of Whippets pass me on those first 3-4 miles, and a lot of people in general.But I already know how that works, so I don’t stress: 90% of them come back later.

Mile 3: 7:21

By Mile 4, I run into Marie Whickam, I love seeing her, we run a bit together until I saw a water table and I had to take another shower, which was adding many many seconds (at least 10) per mile. After a quarter mile, I caught up back to her again. I kept seeing this team mate, Adam, who was running quite even pace, so I tried to follow him too.

Mile 4: 7:44 not enough water!

I was having 1 cup of Gatorade per mile (which is INSANE!!!!! I know!!!) and all the water I could throw on me. Then, at the next water stop I decided I couldn’t wait anymore. I decided I would have my gel right there. I only had one but if the Gatorade was helping so much, maybe I needed the gel asap.

Mile 5: 8:12 where I had brunch

As you can see, per the pace, I had to stop to eat and drink…  Wow, the gel worked like a charm… I caught up to Marie in a second, and then Adam too. I was ON FIRE. It made me feel SO much better. I don’t tend to have gels or that many Gatorade in a half but apparently I really needed it. I felt like I was speeding up a lot as I left the park.

Mile 6: 7:56 still digesting

Soon I left Adam and I started picking up a LOT of people. There wasn’t anyone passing me anymore and I made a point, at mile, 8 to grab another gel at the gel stop and eat it. I just didn’t want to feel like I was dying again… I kept picking people up. SO MANY. I love this long stretch of the race…

Mile 7:21 let’s do this!

Mile 8: 7:26

Mile 9: 7:20

I saw a few team-mates on my way and chatted them up a bit. We were all feeling it a bit and I just felt like I had to keep pushing. Around here I saw Blaise going about 8 pace and I asked WTF and told him to come with me. He was shooting for 1:33, so it was shock to see him there. I am not sure if he tried to follow, but he didn’t, he didn’t have a good race.

Mile 10: 7:14

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Shot from last year… when I run it a bit less worried with time!!!!

Mile 11: 7:14

AH, a tiny little mist. Not quite rain but something!!! I felt so grateful!!! I knew I was close and I just had to close it in. But I wasn’t sure if I had enough for a really fast last mile. I started looking at the pace bracelet and I saw I as a few seconds behind. Nothing a 6:30 mile can’t fix… but I doubted I had that me.

Mile 12: 7:04 is that a mini rain I am feeling???

My team was there! Scott shouted “Pick it up Elizabeth” I smiled and pretended to go faster but… I probably I did a fast 400 there and that was it. Michelle gave me high five, thank you guys!

Mile 13: 7:02 slippery boardwalk, let’s do this!

Finish: 1:39:10

Well, there you have it. I tried my best (in the last 100 meters!) to go sub 1:39 just because, but didn’t happen. Whatever! 16 seconds faster than the NYC Half earlier this year, but given the weather (and how I felt), I’ll TAKE it. Also, I was a bit overweight. I know you can’t tell and I look amazing and all that, but my scale doesn’t lie, and the chafing in between my tights is REAL too. OUCH. Actually, that’s how I usually know I put on some weight; it hurts there. I blame the little Miami vacation the week before (mental note, vacations are AFTER the race, not before!!!!). So, these are not excuses, just a way to measure how happy I am with my time (maybe 30 seconds extra for the weather, and 5 seconds per each extra pound… it’s a flat 1:38 in my head!!!). I am still FAR FAR FAR from my 1:37 PR but if I can bang out a 1:39 consistently, how can I really complain??? I am not far.

Stats Time:

Finish time: 1:39:10 Average Pace: 7:34

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

Age Grading: 68.60% 

Overall Place: 2511 of 26,482

Gender Place: 443 of  14,216

Age Place: 35 of 1,403

Wait a second… 35th in my AG out of 1403??? What? that’s insane.

Another way to look at my splits:

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Seems about right, I would have loved for the last 5K to be a bit faster but the rest seems ok. Now,  I’ll say this to ALL OF YOU who run: 90% of you are starting WAY too FAST. You know what I mean. Look at your splits. I know it’s hard to hold it in, but it pays, I promise you!!! You want proof?? proof you say? There’s so much!!! (I like to do this exercise once in a while to remind myself during races why I need to let people go in the early miles). These are the 12 people who finished with me, in 1:39:10 exactly, 6 before, 6 after.

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I am the orange, so you don’t get lost. We all finished at the same time, right? the fun part is WHERE they all were at the 10K mark. If you think about it, that’s the slowest point of the race, the 2nd 5k is the hardest, you just climbed all the hills this race has, so, if you’re going to slow down, that’s when you’d be at your slowest point, and save your speed for the last 5 flat and fast miles right? Ok, look, I was at 48:39 by 10K, ten out of those twelve were one or two full minutes ahead of me. That is a lot in a 10k, and a lot more in this type of course (where that 2nd 5k, the 10K point should be your slowest). Seven of those twelve where still one or two minutes ahead at the 15K mark, the rest started to drop back. By the finish, I had closed on all of them. I know this because I saw a lot of people passing me earlier on than I caught later, but this shows a LOT. Only two out of those 12 were able to hold it past the 10K mark. Don’t ever forget this, you now have proof that people that go out too fast will come back to you. Even if you don’t believe negative splits is the way to go, at least even effort should do it, and in this course, your first 10K is the slowest of the two… any questions!??!?!?

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As soon as I crossed the finish line, I got my third hug from MaryW of the week, saw Richie, then Patricia, then Keith… and soon Juan. And it started POURING. Now??? now you’re going to pour on me!!??!?! WTF!!!!!! whatever….

We got some mylar blankets, pretzels, apple, and kept going towards baggage… and then… a scene worse than the humidity: major chaos at baggage. Actually, it needs caps: MAJOR CHAOS AT BAGGAGE. If this was Fox news, it’d be a: THE BAGGAGE SH!TSHOW type of headline. I seriously considered going home wet and cold but I really needed my phone and keys… It was such a clusterf*ck, I’d consider not bringing a bag if the weather was better next time. A MESS. There was just one truck for 2 thousand people, corral 2 and 3. The first UPS truck (0 and 1) was fine, the 4-5 was fine… OURS was A MESS. There was a mob of about 300 (500??) people shouting and putting their bibs up in the air. Shameful. Truly awful. And stinky, of course.

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From left: My apple and I, Juan, Patricia, Blaise

Juan and Blaise didn’t have a great race but Patricia KILLED it. She had been doing 1:36 since September in about 5 halves, so frustrating! She did 1:33!!! As we train together, that means, I can now start shooting for 1:36!!! haha, thanks Patricia, her PR is my incentive!

Eventually we grabbed our bags, warmed up, and walked to the train. I wanted a Boston creme from DD but it was too crowded. Rain = No beach post race picnic. We just hobbled home, showered and skipped to Bareburger, as usual after a race.

Oh well. If you run Saturday, I don’t know if you saw, there were MANY runners down. Passed out, getting CPR, a friend told me there were 6 runners in the Coney Island ER alone, so I can imagine it was quite bad. I can’t be the only one affected by that humidity. A really good friend of mine hobbled the last mile and a half just trying not to pass out. So scary. Just promise me you’ll always keep an eye on your health instead of your speed first, ok? So many people fainted, that could have been any of us. Also remember to update your emergency info and buy a road id!!!

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And now… I wasn’t really expecting much from this race. But I will, come Fall go for IT. I really want to PR. well, I would like to. That means, sub 1:37. I will shoot for 1:36. And do whatever it takes to get there by September.

Before I close the door though, three weird things: this was probably the first race in years that I don’t have one picture on the course!!! I got a tan on my legs, you can clearly see the short’s line. I had my headset on the whole time but I didn’t feel like listening to music. I tried twice but it was throwing me off so I must’ve listened to music for about 20, SO WEIRD.