Tag Archive | running nyc

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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Boomer’s Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breathe (4M) – Recap

I am signed for SOMETHING every weekend for the next two months so I am going to keep these reports short (this one ends with a twist…).

So, this is the same 4 mile loop I race about 15 times a year… or so. I’ve done this course soooo many times I can do it in my sleep. And like those super-tired-just-did-speedwork sleeps… I met Patricia at the start corral (and Steve, heeey!!) and she asked me what pace I’d do it in… I said around 28:30. Then I told her “my first mile is going to be 7:15, my second mile is going to be 7:02, third mile is usually around 7:30 and then a 6:55 or 6:56 closer”. She looked at me like I was crazy, but that how I pace to an average 7:02 or 7:05 average race. IN GENERAL, of course.

The weather was great, which I wasn’t expecting. We had been told all week it was going to rain. Now, if I have to count how many races the weather people got it wrong for, I can just give you a list of all my races…!!! I still didn’t feel like racing, so I had woken up at 6:30, took Diego (my friend’s dog I was watching) out to pee and got back into bed. Until 8 am. Race was to start at 9.

When the gun went off, I went into auto mode. At mile 1, I pointed at the clock, I was right on what I had predicted. I then noticed I hadn’t turned on my gps. Oh well. I had no idea what my first mile and a bit was … that’s why I am not posting screenshots of my laps. Mile 2 was fast as usual and I lost Patricia. I wasn’t sure but I thought she had dropped back a bit. Mile 3, I remembered to lap my watch so I have the two last laps, mile 3 was 7:15 (what?) though I didn’t look at it at the time. And last mile, here is the twist, was a 6:33 closer. WHAT?

WHAT?
where did that come from??

Still, I waited a bit to check my results (I had forgotten about live results…!) and I saw 28:04. that is SO close to my 28:00 PR!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was another shocker. Maybe I am closer than I think to PR shape… I went into the United NYC Half thinking I wasn’t, I didn’t push to PR, then I had that whole mess with the layers…. Last week’s 10K went great, even tired a week post-half. Seems like I might be sharper than I thought… Yes, I have the lowest expectations and you all told me, I know, but I get there when I get there, okay?

Stats Time:

Finish time: 28:04 Average Pace: 7:01

Previous PR: 28:00 From: April, 2013

Age Grading: 71.06%

Overall Place: 338 of 4,731

Gender Place: 30 of 2,250

Age Place: 3 of 240

back into the 71% AG wohoooooo. I love it when you are just sitting in bed on race day and really don’t want to get out of bed but then you have a fast and surprising race… Mostly because that happens aaaaall the time!! 😉 

then Patricia and I run another loop cheering, total 11 miles

Central Park Spring Classic 10K – Recap

This is going to be quick because:

1- I don’t have race pictures

2- I wasn’t really racing…

Patricia and I met up at the B corral as usual. Patricia finished a few seconds behind me at the United NYC Half last weekend so we figured we were in good shape to run together. Also, we were still recovering from the half so we were taking this as a workout. A very hard, structured, tempo, with lots of pacers. We met Gordon in the corral, along with a bunch more people. This is a “classic” NYRR race, like a toned down version of their usually big megaproductions, where the price is lower, there is no t-shirt, smaller field, and no prizes. Closer to what a regular race anywhere else in the world looks like. But I had never done one of these and was super curious.

Anyway, the horn blows, Patricia and I start together committed to run together. We’d start slow, as there’s Harlem Hill on the first mile. And then pick it up.

It was SO HOT. I was wearing a bra and tiny shorts already. In March. Amazing. We pretty much run good splits though we kept telling each other we were going too fast about every 20 seconds… We saw a few friends cheering, heeeey, we went up and down Cat Hill and then we pushed a bit. And we were done. We actually finished the race and crossed over the finish line holding hands, given how we had worked together through the whole race. Note to self: SO hard to run proper tangents when you run with someone (who doesn’t!!!), after a few miles, I started pointing where to go, I hope Patricia learned!!

Then… we did caught up with Carolina who was at the finish, we did a northern loop with Patricia and Justin, then I run to the Run Center, and then I hosted the NYRR History Tour with Gordon Bakoulis through the park. 15 miles total. I was RAVENOUS after. I almost ate my arm.

don’t ask. I don’t.

NYRR History Tour. Organized by NYRR and usually hosted by Grandmaster Stuart Calderwood, Gordon and I were sub-hosting as he was out of town. You learn facts and story of Central Park this, with a 4.6 run in there too!

Stats Time:

Finish time: 45:27 Average Pace: 7:19

Previous PR: 44:32 From: May, 2013

Age Grading: 69.63%

Overall Place: 343 of 3672

Gender Place: 43 of 1895

Age Place: 2 of 208

Another race this next weekend, the Boomer’s Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breathe (4M). Let’s do this!!!

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!

gretes-great-gallop-nyrr-half-marathon-central-park-3

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

gretes-great-gallop-nyrr-half-marathon-central-park-1

gretes-great-gallop-nyrr-half-marathon-central-park-6

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!

gretes-great-gallop-nyrr-half-marathon-central-park-4

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

gretes-great-gallop-nyrr-half-marathon-central-park-2

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.

gretes-great-gallop-nyrr-half-marathon-central-park-5

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!!

GGG-TOGETHER15

 

NYRR Hope And Possibility 4 miler – best race ever

Well, I’ve written about this race SO many times, I am sure you’re sick of it. It’s AWESOME. Take my word. Or go see the NYRR photo galleries here

From their website: more than 5,600 runners, walkers, handcyclists, and wheelchair athletes arrived in Central Park to take part in one of the most powerful events on the New York Road Runners race calendar. Many participants in today’s race were part of Achilles’ Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, a program that provides athletic training and specialized adaptive devices, like hand-crank wheelchairs, to wounded members of the U.S. military. The long-term goal for these athletes is to complete a marathon; along the way, they hit smaller milestones, like today’s Hope & Possibility four-miler.”

anyway,you get a great idea of what race looks like in those pictures right?

My race was quite uneventful. I run there with Carolina, IT WAS SO HOT. I was ready to run back home after 1 mile… Race also starts at 9 am. I wish it started at 6! which was also hot but at least I would be back home in the shower earlier…!

NYRR Achilles hope and possibility 4 mile race Central Park (4)

gosh we were so hot, we stopped at the boathouse to throw water on ourselves!

I saw Dan and Phillip on the corral and they were going out faster than me, and I, at the point, was still so hot I was wondering if I should even “bother”. You know? Can I dial it down a bit and just take it easy? UGH. I started conservatively and decide I didn’t want to die at the end. Mile 1: 7:13. it’s funny because I NOT even once looked at my watch during the race. I just totally forgot about it. Weird, right? Christine found me going up Cat Hill and then Dan and her took off. I felt so lonely! Then luckily I saw Juan on the course!

NYRR Achilles hope and possibility 4 mile race Central Park (5) NYRR Achilles hope and possibility 4 mile race Central Park (1)

He had finished his run and was just cheering me on. So happy he was there! Mile 2: 7:01. Mile 2 is always the fastest. If I had looked at my watch I would have known there how slow I was going. Glad I didn’t look. I just tried to keep going. I felt thirsty since I started but at the water stations I just threw water in my head. It really helped. Back on the west side, and there was Juan again!

NYRR Achilles hope and possibility 4 mile race Central Park (7) NYRR Achilles hope and possibility 4 mile race Central Park (6)

He was right by Mile 3: 7:19. that’s not so bad… Mile 3 is when things go down to hell. Then I just wait a bit and by the last 800s I start to push out whatever I got left.

Mile 4: 7:03. Last few meters: 6:44 pace

well, it wasn’t a PR by a LOT. final time was 28:43 but I finished in one piece without feeling like i’d throw up. That’s a LOT in that weather!

 

NYRR Achilles hope and possibility 4 mile race Central Park (2)

Sweaty Elizabeth, Christine, and Carolina at the finish

Then Juan showed up, we had some water and walked back home. We re-did last years shot just because we totally coordinated our bras, yes on purpose.

NYRR Achilles hope and possibility 4 mile race Central Park (3)

I had given my abs an ultimatum to show up after this picture last year. They didn’t hear me AT ALL. Losers! Not like I did much about it… eeeeek!

NYRR Achilles hope and possibility 4 mile race Central Park (1)

 

Stats Time:

Finish time: 28:43 Average Pace: 7:11

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

Age Grading: 69.00%

Overall Place: 372 of 5,629

Gender Place: 35 of 2,781

Age Place: 7 of 336

I was hot. Period. PS: Carolina was 3rd woman! Wow!! 

Also, let me share a few pictures from Saturday’s race, cheering at the Front Runners Pride Run 5 miler with the Dashing Whippets. Cause they’re fun.

cheering Front Runners Pride Run NYrr (2)

That misting station on the back looks amazing!

cheering Front Runners Pride Run NYrr (4) cheering Front Runners Pride Run NYrr (1)

 

 

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!!

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!

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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????

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

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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???

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!!

 

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!

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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:

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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.

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And… guess what

Yeah, NO PR! DAMN

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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

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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???

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.

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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 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!

nyc half marathon course strategy part (3)

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.

nyc half marathon course strategy part (4)

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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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? 😉

Pacing the #morefitnesshalf. Such an interesting task…

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

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

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

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Ready to go!

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

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

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

 

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

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Mile .5

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

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Mile 1 as you can see…

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

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

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West side, lap 1 still

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How amazing does the park look?

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

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Juan did 9.5 miles, can you tell?

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

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just one more!

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

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Juan was waiting by the finish of course!

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

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And… done!

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

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

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should I have kept my eyes open???

 

Check out this awesome shot from the race page!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 – Looking back and forward

And there goes another year. It was quite full of experiences. There were a lot of great things, lots of love, friends, big family visits, all exciting, but not all sunny and happy, of course. I think it was one of those years when you’re supposed to grow a lot. Running-wise, it was probably my worst year; I lost motivation and failed miserably (but with dignity!) in most races. I don’t see that as a particularly bad thing, it’s a learning process and we can’t always win them all. And off-the-track, it was amazing. We just can’t have it all, can we? 2013 had been a big year. BIG BIG and busy. I met Juan in January, he moved and we got married by September, I changed jobs, PRed at the Half and got a few AG Wins. Then I got an ulcer and it all went downhill, including my 5th NYCM in a row (a blah 3:49). 2014 started weak…

January

You can imagine how weak it started that I didn’t even had resolutions or goals. I wrote tips to run in the winter because I was having issues with it myself! I was signed up for the NYC Half and the Boston Marathon and barely run. The cold just got to me and I lost a lot of will. Then, I fell again for the 3rd time in 5 weeks. A mess. I started to fear running. COLD and SCARY: little running. Total Miles: 77

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February

Juan and I showed up in the Runners World feature: Valentine’s Day “Romance Found on the Run“, and I was Women’s Running Blogger on the Run. But, we moved out of my studio into the penthouse.  I felt like I spent all winter hiding from the cold. I trained little. Very little. Total Miles: 87

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March

I had a slooow NYC Half but it was quite photogenic, fun, and really well run, progressive-splits run all the way! I was still struggling with motivation and goals. I also had a fun trip to SoulcycleTotal Miles: 105

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April

I had an ok Scotland 10K, though I had no interest in racing. Soon enough, we shipped to do the Boston Marathon, here are the Saturday pictures, which are awesome, and the Sunday pics, also awesome. And then there was the race (race report here), slow (3:48) and painful but oh so inspiring and uplifting. Glad I was there for the race (not for my legs or ego!). Total Miles: 80

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May

By now things were looking awful, I hadn’t PRed in a YEAR. A YEAR. So depressing. And I kept struggling with motivation. I decided to stop running completely. I still showed up to the Brooklyn Half Marathon, not knowing if I’ll even run it, and ended up having a great (and slow) time, seems like it’s all about the context for me! Total Miles: 41

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June

This month was also quite running-free and my parents came to visit so I was pretty entertained and didn’t even notice. Still, I did my 100th race, the Mini 10K, as they wanted to see me race in Central Park. This was literally painfully slow. I did run it with 2 friends but it was so slow, I didn’t even run that slow years ago when I started running! And, a fun picture. I took my parents to Bear Mountain and Connecticut and run a bit there, and a bit in the Fort Lauderdale heat, so cute. Stuff gets bad fast when you don’t run, how do non-runners live like that? Total Miles: 30

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July

In July, I saw Daphne, an old friend, running, and basically latched onto her. For Dear Life. I started training again. Good, because I was signed up for a few halfs and the NYC Marathon. Total Miles: 111

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August

Did some wonderful running in the always great Summer Streets, worked and cheered at the NYC Triathlon, then Juan had an awful bike crash in Central Park, which messed up our lives for a couple of months, poor thing. I barely left his side, only to train or work. The running was going fantastic though, fast long runs… who would have thought? Total Miles: 152

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September

I cheered at the 5th avenue mile and took lots of pictures, here and the pros here. The running was going great until we left for our delayed honeymoon in St Croix, there was no running there (but lots of snorkeling!) Total Miles: 116

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October

and we came back straight to racing! First, the, Grete’s Great Gallop, in 1:44. Still, slooow, but getting here. The week after, I did the Staten Island Half, in 1:43 (it’s a bit flatter). Consistency and good predictors for the marathon in 3 weeks. Then the week before the marathon, I did a 5 mile race in Central Park, the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff, in 37:17, average pace of 7:28. Far from a PR. Still. By then it was a year and a half. But feeling GOOD. Total Miles: 132

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November

November was BUSY. I started it at the NYC Marathon Expo, which was all loads of crazy (even if smaller compared to previous years) and an Under Armour Party. Worked all week and then did the marathon, here is the race report of the #marathornado. I struggled to stay focused (in 3:49) so I just chilled, slowed down and tried to enjoy it. oh, whatever!!!! I ended up in the Asics  homepage, I tried one of those treadmill studios, I kept Juan company at the Rocky Balboa run and got many pictures, and I bought a million of really-cold weather running gear. And I raced some more!! I did the Race to Deliver 4 miler in Central Park, which I enjoyed, and then a 5K on Thanksgiving, where both Juan and I came first on our AG. Winning! November was rock solid! Total Miles: 88

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December

Seems like the year just picked up at the end! December was great too. I spent .0005 minutes detoxing from Thanksgiving and 2 weeks eating my way through Buenos Aires. Even though I was a bit overweight and slow, I did ok (21:04) in a hot 5K, where my 67 year old mom joined. What a thrill! As soon as I got back to NYC and got a reminder of what last year’s winter tasted like, I got a bit depressed. Somehow, I’ve been running quite a bit in December, even capping the year of with a holiday pictures themed run, and watching the year close with fireworks at the NYRR Midgnight RunTotal Miles: 87

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And there you have it. Though the running was QUITE blah, the rest was wonderful, so I’d say it’s a win! What awaits in 2015? I have no idea, not signed up for anything, thinking about not signing up for NYC Marathon this year, and maybe focusing on the half marathon. I am turning 40 in a few weeks and I am just trying not to push anything. Whatever will happen, WILL happen. Right?

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!

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I loved this photo!!!! I have never broken the tape and this is quite SURELY the closest I am every going to get!

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the second floor was EMPTY

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Then, we headed out, got some dosas for dinner at the Hampton Chutney, YUM and headed to the Under Armour Party as Nick Arciniaga and Chris McCormack would be there (and Macca is my husbands hero, and had never met him!). It was quite amazing! We were at the Under Armour Brand House on Broadway and Houston, Soho. Which, so lame of me, didn’t even know it existed!!! Well, it’s not like I go and walk around Broadway in Soho ever. Really, 2nd worst after Times Square for a local. the store was impressive!!! We pretty much wanted everything! (and did liiiiiiitle shopping)

They were releasing the speedform gemini. And I got a sample pair, we shall see soon!

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Juan had an ENLIGHTENING 2-minute convo with his IDOL. We talked about it for hours. Wow.

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wow the kid was EXCITED. note the osom sweatshirt? oh yes? yes, i got it for him! And Macca is TALL!

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so funny that the two athletes looks this way and the brand people looked THAT way?

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Nick and I had a cool convo. He is after Meb! eh, so easy, just stick to his back, Meb knows what his doing… Top American maybe? At least 2nd? Go Nick!

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these shoes feel SO different, quite bounce and like they slide forward somehow. I got all the info and specs and havent read ANYTHING yet obvs, but I am quite curious. I dont do well or believe even in cushiony or bouncy shoes, but these felt different. Ill definitely put some miles in them after the marathon!

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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?

Race Report: 2014 Staten Island Half

How convenient is it to run a half marathon the week before another half marathon? You’ll know exactly how to pace it!!!! Well, that part I had covered. I had crushed and burned at the Grete’s Great Gallop the week before so I knew

– I had to start a bit slower and save it

– my final avg pace of 8:01 could turn into something a bit faster if I had some grip over the first 5-7 miles.

I had still had the same cold I had the week before, so I wasn’t sure my performance would be any better. On the other hand, the course is a bit flatter… It was easy to plan though. I’d go out easier than last week: 8:15s or around there and at 7 miles, on the turnaround, I’d start pushing it.

GETTING THERE

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Well, I’ve never been one of those people who had issues with the ferry or anything. Yesterday, I did. there was a 7 am ferry, a 7:30 ferry, and an 8:00 ferry. The race would start at 8:30 half a mile from the ferry terminal, so the 8 am ferry was out, it’d leave us in SI at 8:30! So, we got there at 7:23 to board the 7:30 boat. We line up, everyone starts going into the boat, and at 7:35 they close the doors. WTF??? “the boat is moving, are you on the boat??” texted Blaise from the boat. NO!!!!! Crap. They left without us. “It’s not that crowded in the front of the boat”, great! now I am going to make it late to the start, have to wave around like a maniac, UGH, flashbacks to a week ago missing connections when coming back from the honeymoon. The Staten Island turned into JFK and LGA and all my worst possible scenarios. I hate travelling.

Luckily, all the drama in my head, and poor Juan’s ears, dissipated when another boat decked at 7:46 and we quickly left! We made it to Staten Island at 8:15 so we hushed to the corral, undressed and in 5 we were moving. No time to get cold waiting!!!! YEY. #win

THE COURSE

Well, the course is pretty flat. there’s about 3 hills but they’re little (smaller than Cat Hill) and one nasty bump at the end I didn’t appreciate. Still, quite an easy course and I liked it. There were enough spectators to distract us, a few bands and DJs and quite some action…

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THE ACTION

Ugh. At Mile 5.5 (or something) I saw a runner (a man, around 55 years old)  lying on the floor, with a police car and he was getting chest compressions. I was so shocked I almost stopped on my tracks. I barely kept running. About 15 or 20 minutes later, after the turnaround, my mile 8 or something, I saw they were putting him on a stretcher so made me feel a little better. I felt so stooopid running when someone’s live was at risk, i really wanted to stop. You always hear about those races fatalities but it was shocking to see it happening. It took me a while to shake it off. What was I supposed to do? but also, how do you get that out of your head??

MY RACE

Well, it was tough to relax. An 8 pace which should have been easy, was not. My breathing was still shallow and I was coughing and had som fun mucus that wouldn’t let me breathe. LET ME BREATH! Anyway, I tried as best as I could to relax and it wasn’t working. Then I tried to just slow down. It was tough to relax knowing last week i was toast at mile 10. What if the same thing happened??? UGH. Eventually by Mile 8 or 9I started relaxing and feeling normal… by Mile 11 I was able to push a bit harder and finished in an ALL OUT sprint, which was quite exhilarating!

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If you look up there, I didn’t start as slow as I wanted to… even with the little bump on the first mile. Miles 5 and 10 are way slow, but looking at the course profile I can see why! Look at Mile 5 highlighted int his next image:

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And look at mile 10, see:

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I guess that’s why I slowed down. I really don’t remember the hills being that bad, other than the one on mile 10, but with my chest filled up with stuff the whole race was a hard-breathing hill… what a great workout though, right?

THE FINISH LINE

So, the finish line was at the Staten Island Yankees Stadium. A new finish so I had no idea what to expect. this is what it looked like, from Juan’s pictures. He was waiting there the whole time.

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The last half a mile I passed a lot of people. A LOT. I had some nasty speed sprint fever and I burned it down. Then we turn onto the stradiums entrance, which was EPIC, and oh crap, we’re running on fake grass: ugh. Way to slow my sprint down 😦 Still a great finish line… as epic as Brooklyn I’d say!

SI3 SI1

I then bent down holding my knees and coughed for 10 minutes straight. SO GLAMOROUS, I know.

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because 4 cups of Gatorade are not enough

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heavy heavy staten island half medal

SI2

THE FINISH IS A PARTY

WOW, that finish escalated quickly!! the sun was nice, w could sit in the grass, I saw many team-mates in a minute and we were all happy just laying around. So much for being tired or layering back up so I couldn’t turn the cold into enterofluebolaenza. Nah, I’ll just hang out here.

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why is he eating my apple?? WHY? oh, being married and sacrifice and all that smush

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Stats Time!

Finish time: 1:43:39 (a minute faster than last week’s 1:44:53). Average Pace: 7:55

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

Age Grading: 65.26%

Overall Place: 1614 of 9518

Gender Place: 271 of 4466

Age Place: 39 of 742

Official NYRR Staten Island Half race results and pictures

Soon Juan andBlaise and I headed for the ferry, got back on the Island, had brunch and run some 5 miles more. I turned Sunday into a double. the second run was NOT pretty. Actually, you can barely call it a run, but I didn’t stop once and had an avg 9:47 pace so I am counting it. This cold has annoyed me to no end this week.

Well, so… now I have the NYC Marathon in 3 weeks and I am not sure of my goal, as I HAVE NO IDEA what the hell I could have raced if I wasn’t sick… so my NYC marathon prediction guess will be interesting… 😉 let the gambling begin:

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?

gg laps

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?????