Tag Archive | nyc

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!


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



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!


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


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.


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!!



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)



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

run for the parks nyrr elizabeth maiuolo central park nyc marathon (3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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?


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.


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.



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.

2016-04-06 16.31.40

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???

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!!!!


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


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

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

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

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

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

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (1)

we were FREEZING

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

Mile 1: 7:16

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

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

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

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (6)

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (4)

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

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

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

And… guess what


nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (1) laps

Stats Time:

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

Previous PR: 28:00 From: April, 2013

Age Grading: 70.21% 

Overall Place: 414 of 4477

Gender Place: 40 of 2126

Age Place: 2 of 249

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (1)

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

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

nyrr al gordon brooklyn pictures results (1) course

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

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

who needs a 20K dollars bike? THIS GUY

who needs a 20K dollars bike? THIS GUY

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

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

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

2016-02-21 07.37.48 2016-02-21 07.46.43

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

Fun weekend: Bronx X 2!

I know I don’t post nearly at all as much as I used to but here goes a tiny update.


I did my longest run since May!!! I just have stopped running long, so the longest runs I’ll do might be 7 or maaaaaaybe 8 miles. The Brooklyn Half was the longest I had run since! HA. I decided I’d try to do 10 or 12 so I joined the JackRabbit group, out of the Upper East Side, how convenient, as they had a 12 mile run to the High Bridge. I had seen it in pictures and I knew it had just reopened but I don’t go to the Bronx ever so I thought it’d be the perfect run. Kent took us out at a FUN (perfect) pace and the group (8? 10?) managed to stay together throughout! It was awesome. Check how cool it looks!

Me running off in the bridge!

Me running off in the bridge!

View from the top, the city in the distance

View from the top, the city in the distance

the group, posing before heading back. and thinking of a GU probably

the group, posing before heading back. and thinking of a GU probably

high bridge bronx new york park run (1)

We then run back. I was EXHAUSTED. 13 feels like 20 when you’re not used to it.  Or forget to bring gels or have any breakfast. Still, success!


It was the Bronx 10 mile and 5K. EVERYONE I knew was racing, including my husband so we woke up early, got the BX in no time and I set out to cheer. I am a pro by now. I had SOOO much fun.

my cheering partner, Batkid. We had this thing where I'd yell: Batman High Five for extra power to the finish and things like that. Everyone got a kick out of it.

my cheering partner, Batkid. We had this thing where I’d yell: Batman High Five for extra power to the finish and things like that. Everyone got a kick out of it.

the megaphone has a siren option, which I loved!! A break to my voice ;-)

the megaphone has a siren option, which I loved!! A break to my voice 😉

my awesome friend Allison from Harlem Run. Super Cool Wonder Woman. On TIPTOES, Allison!??!??!! you're already taller than me!

my awesome friend Allison from Harlem Run. Super Cool Wonder Woman. On TIPTOES, Allison!??!??!! you’re already taller than me!

Caught the husband on the course, both times, wohoooooo!!!! HOT!

Caught the husband on the course, both times, wohoooooo!!!! HOT! And there’s Sid Howard on the left!

Almost unthinkable that I was in the same spots, twice in 24 hours, but that’s life… that was my weekend! How was yours???

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

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

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

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

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

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (4)

but first, let me take a selfie

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (2)

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (7)

the Ironman himself!

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (9) results alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (8) results

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

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

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

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

Why. Do. We. Do. This. ?

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (19)

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

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (17)

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (8)

SO happy we’re DONE

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

Check out the loops in the course:

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (24)

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

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (25)

A bit more data in case you’re interested.

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (26)

And this is from the race results website:

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (28)

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

Awards Ceremony!!!

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (22)

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (14)

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

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (20)

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (21)

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

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (10)


alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (9)

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (11)

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (13)

alive and running contact we care 5K cranford nomahegan park new jersey race (15)

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


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:

2015-06-07 07.43.45

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

2015-06-07 07.43.59

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

2015-06-07 07.44.53

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

2015-06-07 07.49.24

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!

2015-06-08 13.03.19

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

2015-06-07 10.33.40

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

2015-06-07 08.52.17 2015-06-07 08.53.26 2015-06-07 08.53.39

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!!
2015-06-07 09.09.06

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!

2015-06-07 18.10.19


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? 😉