Race in Review: Brooklyn Half Marathon 2017

2 years later and I’m BAAAACK!

After taking on Brooklyn back in 2015 with rain and shine and a PR (!) then a 3 hour commute back home to a shower and a nap, I had sort of swore off this race.  I’d run it, I’d had a good time, I’d experienced this iconic event… but I knew there were other races I wanted to tackle and well… Brooklyn is just so faraway from home!

But, when a number is coming your way,  and you have already been in training for 13.1, it’s very hard to say no.  So you say yes and just a week after the Shipyard Maine Coast Half Marathon you are back in the start corrals to conquer the distance again.


What comes before the race?  The pre-race party!  Bib pickup, apparel, music, and fun give aways.  Right on the water on the pier, with a lovely view of the city and Liberty Island- Brooklyn knows how to throw quite a party.  Then it’s all about race day prep!

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The first time I ran the Brooklyn Half, yes I PR-ed and finished in 2:18… but the conditions were rough and I was knocked out the rest of the day.  First it was humid, then it RAINED, then if got real sunny and well… that was a hot race.  The course was new and I got a little turned around… cause I don’t spend that much time in Brooklyn.   So this year, the partly cloudy conditions with a light breeze and my knowledge of the course made things a little easier.

This race is really divided into two sections.  The first 6 miles go from the start line and after a little out n’ back you head into and around Prospect Park.  These miles are hilly and curvy keeping you on your toes as the race kicks off.  The second 6 miles or so are flat flat flat along Ocean Parkway all the way to the boardwalk of Coney Island.  Flat can feel easy and be crazy challenging in it’s own right.  Not only are you starting to get tired, but flat puts a whole different kind of strain on the body.

This year, over half of Ocean Parkway had been re-paved the night before, making this segment of the race literally SO SMOOTH!  After the adrenaline of the first 6 miles and the cheering in the park, I was able to fall into a groove for the second half.  I had already started my run-a-mile/ walk-a-mile routine at mile 5 and was happily plugging along.

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Honestly there was nothing about this race that went wrong for me.  I felt strong and happy the whole course.  No, I didn’t end with a PR but I also didn’t end with an injury or a migraine.  Crossing the finish line as a light drizzle began felt good… until that light drizzle started to turn into a bit more of a steady downpour.  Ok, so maybe that was the worst of it… being sweaty and wet.  But that’s not too bad!  And this year, I was able to carry on with my day after racing.


Did you run the BK Half this year?  In the past?  Maybe you plan to run it next year and have a question?  Sent them my way!

Always,

C

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Race in Review:: Shipyard Maine Coast Half Marathon 2017

May races are my favorite!  I don’t know, something about the weather and the air and the light.  I almost always have amazing race experiences in May.  And this year was no different, as we crossed 5 state lines in 2 days to get up to Biddeford , Maine for the Maine Coast Half Marathon!  Another state down and another 13.1 in the books.  Here is a little recap and some great pictures from the race.


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Getting from New York City to southern Maine for a few hours of racing without taking much time off work, that is a feat in itself.  With bags packed and coffee in hand, Megan and I took off for a race weekend road trip.  First stop, Boston— thank goodness for family in the area.  We were able to drive about half way then have a night of being taken care of including an amazing hot meal and cozy beds (beats a hotel any day!)  Next morning… and I mean early morning we pilled back into the car with race gear and sweats for the second leg of the trip to Maine.

Arriving at the start “village” where we needed to go to park and pick up numbers was clearly marked and everything was smooth.  With numbers and pins in hand it was time to relax, stretch, and wait to coral up.  I’m a race snob… I know… and I expect a certain level or organization and treatment on are morning.  Surprisingly this was was pretty well set up!

Finally corralled and ready to go, each wave was sent off with the sounding of the conch shell instead of a buzzer.  This was super unique and really kept the unique feel of this race.

The weather was rather perfect.  Rain was on the way, but race morning was clear, sunny, breezy, and fresh.  A good chunk of the course was right along the ocean which was not only amazing to look at but helped to keep the air cool and mild.  Some of the course was very exposed, so I definitely got a few tan lines the 2+ hours I was out there, but luckily it was not full summer sun so we didn’t get baked.

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You know what else comes with a course that is right along the ocean?  A FLAT course!  Yes, that’s something I like from time to time.  Hills keep it exciting and challenging as all goodness, but a sometimes flat is nice.  Between manageable rolling hills and some turnarounds, this predominantly flat course showed off the beautiful beachfront neighborhoods as well as the coast.  The course was challenging enough that I’m glad (as always) training was involved, but not so hard that I was dying by the finish.

Throughout there were well stocked water stations with cheer squads.  The whole community really made an amazing turn out to support all of us runners.  Entertaining signs, bells, and whistles all along the course are so key to keeping this runner going.


While I was ticking off mile after mile on this half, my first major race sense the NYC Marathon, I happily fell into my run-a-mile/walk-a-mile routine.  Read all about that experience in my other post “How I Learned to Walk”.

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After that story, I sprinted to a fabulous finish and great post-race event.  There was plenty of water, snacks, and photo opts.

Then began the drive back.  Back to Boston for a shower and lunch (thank goodness there is family all over!) then back to New York.  We outran if for a while, but eventually the rain caught up with us.  But not before we discovered the tax free state liquor stores in New Hampshire…. let’s just say we have more gin in the apartment now then when we left.

But we made it back.  another medal around my neck, miles on my shoes, and memories of another great half marathon!


Have fun spring race stories?  Share them here!

Always,

C

Can’t be MIA anymore!

Beautiful amazing readers and followers!

I know, I’ve been MIA for… well, longer then I should have been.  BUT there is a lot of amazing stuff coming your way.

Just to peak your interest (and hold myself accountable) let’s take a look at what I have in store and draft for y’all!

  • Tattoo Tales– I have 5 now, why not tell the stories behind them.  There can be so much taboo about tattoos and I want to break that down.
  • Race Reviews– I’m taking a break from running right now but I have some great stories to tell from the last 3 big races I did in the spring.
  • Bali Files– The stories continue!  I still have some fun times to share with you all.

… and more!


Anything you all want to hear about?  Topics you want me to write about or questions you have about anything I write?

Let me know!

Always,

C

How I Learned to Walk

Rewind.  Remember when I ran the TCS New York City Marathon?  Yeah, so do I.

Rewind again.  Remember when I ran the Navy Air-Force Half Marathon in DC?  Ummhmm, I remember that too.

Well, then we all remember that I got very overheated and sick after that half marathon and nearly deferred my entry for the marathon.  I was terrified of getting sick again, not being able to finish a race, disappointing myself… not be able to do something I love- run distance.

What ya’ll may not know is how I’ve worked to overcome that fear and physical reaction.  To meet my body half way and find a way to run safely and enjoy it…  first, I had to learn to walk.


Yup, you read that right- WALK.

I walked a lot during the NYC Marathon and all the other half marathons sense.  I walk during long training runs and really any other time I feel like it’s what my body needs.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t fall into a “tourist stroll” no no!  I keep up a nice power walk pace and can smoothly transition from a jog to a walk and back again. I keep my legs and arms moving, I keep my breath steady, and my posture correct.  But I slow down a little which gives my body a change to cool off.

For both the Maine Coast Half Marathon and the Brooklyn Half this month (reviews coming your way soon), I worked with a walk-a-mile/run-a-mile game plan after mile 4 or so.  Alternating gave me time to consume gels and water as well as cool down.  This was also time to take in the surroundings and enjoy each race a little more knowing I would finish feeling good!  At the end of the day, this was the desired outcome.  Sure maybe my pace has taken a slight hit, but I’m not going for a PR every time I run and if I keep pushing it so I get sick, eventually there will not be a next time.


At first, yes, this whole “walk if and as you need too” was very hard to accept.  It felt like failure.  Like I was lazy and not working hard enough.  The thing is though, that I was training right and eating right and it was still happening.  I wasn’t being lazy– I wasn’t listening to my body.

Completing 13.1 or 26.2 is nothing to sneeze at!  No matter how you do it.


Sense I started this method, I have felt so much better while racing and while living my life afterwards.  Less pain, no getting sick, and I can actually enjoy the rest of the day after a morning race!

Finishing each race that I start on my own two feet, this is what really matters to me.

While I was running the Maine Coast Half Marathon a few weeks ago, I was thinking about this post.  Actually, I was in a “walking mile” while I was thinking about it… and I had an experience I won’t soon forget.

A woman came up behind me and passed on the left.  OK, totally normal.

As she passed she asked, “Are you walking this whole thing?”

I nearly fell over (or slapped her)!

I replied, “No, just every other mile” and managed a smile… continuing on the rest of my walk mile and the rest of the race… but I was actually pretty annoyed by the comment.

For me, racing is personal.  I don’t want to talk to anyone, I want to be with myself in the moment of every step of each mile.  I’ve never had someone say something to me in a race.  Sure, usually I participate in much larger races that have a different caliber of runner, but also there are just so many people you can’t talk to everyone, so you don’t say anything.  (Unless it’s something encouraging while going up a big hill or approaching the finish, we all cheer and support one another).

But this woman stayed with me.  I mean that literally!  She was alternating run/walk as well!  So for the next few miles- up to the finish when I couldn’t let her cross before me and I pushed through with an amazing finish sprint- we played a little unspoken tag, I’d pass her as she walked and she would pass me when she started running again and I would have started walking again.  All the while I was thinking about this post.

Because in that moment with her, I realized SO MUCH!  It shouldn’t matter to anyone if I’m walking in a race.  No one but me… and well, now all of you… know what I’m working through or what I have going on.


The long and short message- I walk in all of my major races and it’s the best thing I’ve allowed myself to do.  Yes, at first I felt like I was failing and not worthy to take on these major races.   But now, now I am finishing races and not feeling like I’m doing to die.  I feel stronger and happier during and after each race.  I’ve accepted what works for me so that I can continue doing something that I love.  I not longer feel like a failure, I feel like I can take on any course and any race I pin on a number for!

 

What helps you through long runs?  Share, comment, and like! Most importantly, don’t worry about what anyone else says or thinks, this is just for you.

Always,

C

TSC NYC Marathon 2016

So, incase you are just joining us or somehow missed it, I ran THE New York City Marathon this year… on November 6th to be exact.  It took about a week to fully take in the whole event of the marathon and be able to actually talk about it and then another week to try and collect all my thoughts into a post.  I’m not sure where to begin, other then the beginning of “marathon weekend” and see where that takes us.

Everything really began last year when I secured my guaranteed entry into the race.  That basically meant a month of thinking about, talking about, stressing about, and training for the epic 26.6 adventure.  Races and training runs alike were well thought out and strategically placed to support progress throughout the year. Then summer happened… and training took a nose dive as heat, humidity and illness kept me from adding on miles.  Fall teased me a little and I welcomed the cool break, which of course stood me up at the Navy-Air Force Half in DC back in September (read all about that here).  In what ended up being the worst half I’ve had to date, I seriously considered deferring my marathon entry for a year, thinking HOW can I get  through 26.2 miles when I can hardly get through 13.1 and that’s supposed to be easy this far into training?

Well, I took 2 weeks off.  Put the shoes on a shelf and thought long and hard about what I was going to do and if I was going to get my New York on this year.  Yes, I was getting physical sick but a lot of it was because I was pushing myself to much mentally.  I stepped back.  I re-evaluated.  I thought about how I would feel November 7th- Marathon Monday… seeing everyone with their medals and knowing I gave it up.  (Not to mention I really couldn’t afford to pay this race again).   I decided to approach a long training run with a new mind set— go for time.  Go out for 3-4 hours and see how much ground I could cover in that time, but slowing down if I felt like I was getting exhausted.  And that’s what I did.  3 hours and 15 miles later I felt on top of the world and knew in that moment I had found my key to success for 26.2.  Slow down, enjoy it, maintain a roughly 12 minute miles and get 5 miles to the hour.  I wanted to finish the marathon and feel just as amazing as I did that day with only 15 miles.

So that gave me 4 weeks to continue running and cross training and trying not to panic!

Fast forward: Marathon weekend started as soon as I clocked out for work on Nov. 3rd and went to check out the Marathon Pavillion in Central Park. The best part of that?  The wall with all 50,000 runners names on it.  I was able to find mine at eye level and take tons of annoying photos with it!

Next was the Expo- a HUGE event- for getting race numbers, pre and post race info, t-shirts, and all the gear you could want! Basically it’s an amazing and overwhelming experience and Megan and family came along to keep me on track, as well as get in the New York Marathon Weekend spirit.  Ran into some other runners I’ve “met” through Social Media and checked out all the vendors.  We had fun, although there was no no size Medium in the official Asics marathon jacket… which was a little itty bitty teeny weeny issue cause I wanted that jacket.  Like I really wanted  it… so I now strategically fit into a Small and just can’t gain and weight.  No problem.

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Dinner followed by outfit prep and a foot soak were the perfect way to end the day and get ready for the 4:45am wake up call I had to start the adventure to the start line.

Marathon Day

Oh goodness early morning to get to the train to get to the ferry to get to Staten Island to then stand in a huge mess of a crowd/line to get on a bus to get to security to get to the start village to find you holding zone to wait to get into your corral to get to the start line…

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Up, dressed, packed, and out.  Megan came down on the train with me to be sure I 1. ate breakfast and 2. made it there.  LOL.

img_8466 Having never been on the Staten Island Ferry, I was very content to stand at my spot in the front and watch the morning unfold over the city.  Seeing the Verrazano Bridge come into view and pass Lady Liberty was pretty amazing.

Once we docked the real tedious waiting started.  I didn’t start the race till 11am and I was like “Oh a 7am ferry is soon early”, nope best thing… cause there is a LOT of tedious waiting.  First in a mess of a line… more like a crowd… that moved slowly to a stair case that eventually lead outside.  But no, not to the start… to a LOVELY *sarcasm* cue that funneled us on to busses that sat in traffic to shuttle us to the Start Village.

Standing on the ferry and in about an hour of lines, the bus was a welcome fluffy seat, but the traffic was creating panic among other runners who were frustratingly close to missing their wave start times.   Eventually we were allowed to jump ship and go through security check points, which was actually very smooth. If  anyone remembers Brooklyn Half 2015- work security check point EVER (but that’s seriously another story).

Start Village is color coded and has all the comforts of home- coffee and apples, glamorous portaletts, cold concrete curbs to perch on, and bins full of outer layers to be donated.

Now this would be a good time to mention that the day was perfect for the race.  Clear blue skies and sunny, but with a constant breeze, it didn’t get to hot.  The ground was dry, the air was light, and humidity was low- in my book, all perfect conditions.

I munched, I walked, I stood in lines… finally Wave 4 opened for corral line up.  Somehow I was placed in Corral A which was pretty cool cause I was so close to the Start Line.  I could hear all the announcements and music- we danced to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” before starting, and watch the start gun go off.  Over the bridge and through BK.

The next 6-10 miles are a blur.  So much adrenaline and energy from the crowds, I felt like I flew through the first 6 miles and the next 4 felt pretty awesome too.  Right before the bridge to Queens at the 13 mile mark, I was starting to feel some chaffing threatening to be a problem (tank top issues) and by a stroke of luck the medical tent was out in full force with TONS of Vaseline!  It’s like they knew I would need it right then, haha.  While Brooklyn was pretty straight and flat, Queens threw a curve ball (literally we had a lot of turns and winding roads) with different terrain.

img_8485 I was actually excited to hit the 59th St.  Queensbouro Bridge at mile 15/16.  I’ve heard about this bit sense I started talking about going the Marathon and here it was.  *Disclaimer, by this time I was rocking the “jog a mile, power walk a mile” option.  So YES, I walked parts of the bridge.*  The view was amazing and a photo op. was definitely taken.  But it’s true it’s so QUIET!  I usually run with music and this race was no different- although I turned it off when the crowds were cheering or bands where playing- and I had to turn it off for part of this bridge.  To hear the talked about quiet and just take in that we were shutting down the city to do this!

img_8646 Coming off the bridge- the Wall of Sound!  As we turned on to 1st Ave. the crowds were AMAZING.  The noise and the signs.  So many people right there to share this amazing experience with us.  Megan and family found me a few times along the way, as did friends Amanda and Tyler.  Seeing signed with my name on them was totally thrilling and encouraging.  I didn’t run with my name on my shirt…. it’s SO long… but that didn’t stop me from enjoying support from every single spectator I locked eyes with.

I don’t really remember running over into the Bronx.  I was starting to get seriously tired and the feeling of actually working set in.  Yes, the sign about the talked about “hitting of the wall” reminded me this was probably what my body and mind were working with… but I wan’t stopping.  I just started wanted every sort of food I could think of!  Once again, the medical teams were at just the right place with a little salty pretzel snack, which I darted back to grab and continued on.

Then we were back on a bridge (the last one as everyone around was excited about) and back to Manhattan.  While it was starting to get later in the day, so many people were still out, leaving no runner un-cheered.  Finally turning onto 5th Ave. meant only one thing- Central park and mile 24 here near.  A little pain and rubbing in my left shoe required a short pull over to adjust a sock and put into perspective that I had less then a 5K (3 miles) and definitely less then 30 minutes left to run.

This was thrilling and scary all at the same time- I was about to finish the New York City Marathon- oh wow but then it will be over and THANK GOODNESS I’m tired and sweaty!

Mile 25 included charging West along Central Park South just as the sun was setting over the buildings and a wall of spectators lining the left side of the street.  I’d been power walking to try and ease the slight pain I was feeling in my left heal, but I promised myself I would run the finish and as we turned into Central Park for the last 800 meters, I picked up the pace and did just that.

The sounds of the announcers and the lights of the finish line got nearer and nearer.  I could feel myself choking up and focused on breathing to finish happy and strong. (But tears happened at the finish anyway)

img_8490 Snapped this pic and had that medal hung around my neck.  I DID IT.  Still smiling, I finished the TCS NYC Marathon.

Now other stories I’d heard came to mind.  The walk and the wait to get to your soft fuzzy desired Post Race Poncho and get out of the park.  The finish shoot is ridiculously long and after grabbing a “recovery bag” and managing to open the water bottle, I was slow… every muscle was beyond tired and this bag was like the heaviest thing I’ve ever carried.  For fear of having to go to the medical tent, I refrained from leaning along the fence even just for a moment and just kept walking.

Finally we turned off to see the iconic ponchos up ahead!  Once wrapped in fleecy loveliness- and YES PLEASE I would like my hood put up, thank you VERY much- you are set loose on the streets on New York.

This was hard, slowly wandering down the street to the meet up point with friends, but the energy of every other runner was humming throughout the city streets on the Upper Wests Side.

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Let’s fast forward  cause this is getting a little long… that night I showered, got home, had a grilled cheese and a lot of fluids, soaked my feet and went to bed super early.

Yes, I was sore but no bad pain.  My knees hurt a little but that went away and my left ankle was a little inflamed for a time.  BUT no headache and no back pain, no getting sick!!

img_8531Monday Marathon Monday

It means taking off work and sleeping in.  Wearing your medal all day long and as much Marathon gear as you want. You are a super hero for the day and no one rushed you across the street.

I followed the advice of my dear friends Holly and went to get my medal engraved then we hung out and took ALL of the post race finisher photos.

I’m still reeling about that day.  I ran a marathon.  I ran the New York City Marathon.  I have the medal and all the memories.  The question I get now is, “Will you run it again?”. The answer— I’m not sure.

I never thought I would run a full marathon to begin with and sense I had such a great experience, I don’t feel a need right now to change that.  What I would hate is to do it again and get sick or hurt.  For now I’m going to enjoy that I had (for me) the perfect race and that’s how I want to remember it.

Perfect weather, conditions, outfit, training, course, city, people, everything.  I finished right were I thought I would and I felt great, can’t argue with that.

Did you Get Your New York On?  Share!!

Always,

Cimg_8521

The Last Half: Navy Air-Force Half Marathon 2016

With the NYC Marathon just days away, I figured it was time to look back on another of the races that helped get me this far.  It’s not always pretty… it’s certainly not easy… and sometimes the reward doesn’t show up till much later.  But every mile is another one closer to the big 26.2, it’s another mile I that wouldn’t have been run otherwise.

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Early morning train rides call for glasses & sweats!

Back in September, Megan and I packed bags, jumped on a train, and head down to Washington DC for the Navy Air-Force Half Marathon.  Let’s just say the trip started out on the opposite then right foot, with a cab driver who wasn’t quite sure how to get to Penn Station (NYC problems)… and the fun continued as we, in early morning Amtrak required glasses and oversize sweatshirt, watched very drunk people tottle around Penn waiting for their commuter trains home on a Saturday night (morning).

Once on the train, it was smooth track for the morning.  Having never been to the country’s capitol, I was excited to see a new city, earn a new medal, and see the sights.  We pulled in as the sun was just starting to lighten the sky over the White House and bound past the chatty homeless people outside into out waiting car (thanks Aunt Diane!).

img_7997 Saturday morning was for coffee, monument viewing, and packet pickup.  The Expo… sort of disappointing I have to say.  Either I’ve been spoiled by the BK Half party of an expo or I was looking forward to the massive Marathon every… There just wasn’t must to see or things to do.  Get your number, get your shirt.. look over the green of the ball park and head back to the car.  Ok, so at least it was easy to get into and out of!  With race numbers acquired, the only other thing to do was eat well and sight see- not wearing ourselves out to much- and rest before the race the next day.

This is when we really got a taste of the weekend weather— seasonally way to hot and HUMID— so not my ideal race conditions.  * Side note, I’ll run in rain, snow, wind, the dark, etc without a single complaint… but as soon as it’s excessively hot and humid without a breeze, I’m out.  I overheat way to fast! *  I should have known then to re-evaluate my race plan and not push it.  But did I listen, of course not.


5:30AM Sunday morning- We are up, dressed, hydrated, and out by 6.  The Start line right by the National Mall and Lincoln Memorial was beautiful as the sun rose with just a few clouds in the sky.  Energy was high all around as runners and teams assembled to start out on the 13.1 mile trek.  I felt good till about mile 4, that’s when I started to feel the heat.  The sun was up and the course, while relatives flat, had minimal coverage and only breeze when we were by the water.  Starting around mile 6 (at least I got through the 10k) I started alternating Run a Mile, Walk a Mile.  I was determined to finish, but could feel my shoulders locking up and my breath getting short.

It was about this time that I started to question HOW I was going to make it through the 26.2 miles in November that I was planning on doing.  But anyone else who runs (any distance really) you know that running is as much mental as it is physical.  I had to get my head space into a better place- fast! other wise I knew I wouldn’t finish this race or any other.  Singing, reading other runners shirts, looking at the scenery all around me, feeding off the crowds and giving every high-5 I came across.

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Finisher photo with the White House in the background!

Having family and friends on the course seriously helped.  The community support and energy was amazing on this race and I would say really kept me going.  Each water station had a different theme and made all kinds of noise!  We actually got to vote for our favorite water/cheer station, so they had an awesome reason to pull out all the stops and make noise!  Leading up to the finish line, more and more people could be heard cheering and encouraging us along.  To exhausted to sprint the finish and knowing I wasn’t gunning for a PR, I crossed in at 2:45 and, the hot sweaty tired mess that I was, earned her DC medal!

OK, so the race itself wasn’t bad… it was all me… and the bad part came later……. post walk to the car and post shower… my usual post race migraine.  Ok, that’s nothing to surprising, I’m sure you are tired of hearing me mention it.  Usually I can sleep it off, eat something and be fine- ready to see more of the city… but not this time.  Hours later there I am, curled up on the couch, so sick to my stomach, migraine and all with ice and crackers.  What a great way to end a race day!  Could it get any worse?  Of course!- I had to get on a train and get back to NYC.  Oh great…

Once the actual being sick part stopped I was just tired.  I was that annoying person on the train taking up 2 seats (sorry y’all).  Try sleeping curled up on a train car with a migraine after running 13.1 miles… actually, don’t try that- take my word for it- NOT FUN!


Sunday night- September 18th, 2016… what happened that night?  Anyone? Anyone at all?  Elizabeth, NJ.  Ring any bells yet?

Yes, that night- while I (and tons of other passengers) were just trying to get back to NYC, although very few of them had just run a half and even fewer had a stomach bug and migraine… I digress- there were bombs discovered at a train station in Elizabeth NJ.  (this is after the Chelsea NYC incident)

We got stopped in Trenton NJ.  For like 3 hours.  Stuck on a train in the middle of nowhere New Jersey at 11pm.  You can imagine how thrilled everyone was.

After about an hour of being stuck, contacts came out and glasses went on.  The social media and google searches began to find out exactly what was going on… cause, bless our train crew, they were not telling us much and clearly overwhelmed (and tired… wait, that was ALL of us).  Eventually we were moved up a few station and a little closer to the city.  There we de-trained and were told, “Shuttle busses will be available for transport to New York or stations past the incident”.  That’s great!  We all thought… till it was only 2 busses.  2 busses for a whole train of passengers.

Now, 2am maybe, due tempers!

Ok, maybe it didn’t get that bad… but as the wait for more busses continued (and we were eventually told they got lost and not coming, so other busses were being arranged) people- complete strangers- began banding together to get home.  Calling Uber cars to various destinations there 4-6 people were headed.

We broke down and went in with 4 others to get back to Penn.  It’s 4:45am.  Trying not to totally pass out in the very back seat of as SUV, I honestly hardly remember getting to Penn and promptly falling into a cab with Megan to get home.

5:30am Monday morning- When I fall into my bed, fully dressed and totally exhausted, just so glad to be home and off that darn train.  Pain, hunger, excitement all gone, all I wanted to do was sleep and sleep and sleep.

I don’t know that I’ve had a longer 24 hours.  Needless to say, I was not at work that day.  About 3pm, when I woke up, it was time to evaluate the food situation, stinky laundry pile, and add the medal to the wall.  I got through one of those things before promptly going back to bed.

Maybe not the best race.  Maybe not the best travel.  But it does make a great story.

Anyone else run the 2016 Navy-Air Force Half in DC?  Or get stuck on a commuter train that night?  I’d love to hear shared stories here!

Always,

C

What’s in a Name?

A Marathon by any other word would be as daunting?!


It’s time again for one of those obligatory part entertaining, part reality, and part sarcastic posts on running… specifically, running pertaining to marathon training.  Yeah, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’m participating in the New York City Marathon on November 6th.

OMG WAIT WHAT?!  Ah, that’s like 50 something days away… and getting closer every day… and recently like I have hardly run more then 3 or 4 miles at at time… and it’s been SO HOT and I don’t know what I was thinking when I got myself into this… and just NO!

Well, not NO but oh goodness help.


Ok, done panicking for now, cause the fact of the matter is that I will be participating in this iconic race and while I may not have the best time ever I am going to complete it.  I am going to cross that finish line on my own two feet no matter how long it takes.

I love the various reactions I get when I mention I’m training for the marathon because it ranges from “you are crazy” to “me too!  How is it going” to “Good for you but I’d never to that”.   Other then that it’s running (or walking, dragging, crawling) yourself 26.2 miles all at one time, what is it about a marathon that makes it sound so daunting?

Perhaps it’s the physical demand.  Maybe it’s the time commitment to training and the gym.  No, I got it— it’s the financial side- signing up for all those races and paying for countless pairs of shoes and clothes for ALL types of weather.  No, that’s not it either?  Well then I suppose it’s a combo of all of the above and then some.

Personally it’s the name… the word marathon, that just sounds so big and intimidating (and long).  Unlike a 5K or 10K, the distance is not part of the title.  You don’t really know how long it is just from throwing the word around.  You either know the distance or you don’t and you don’t worry to ask because it sounds intense and long anyway.  Then of course half marathon still doesn’t have and distance notated in it, but it’s clearly shorter… so more doable and less intimidating… sort of.

There isn’t much else to call a marathon.  But what gets me is when people call a half marathon a “Mini Marathon”.  That I don’t like.  I find this title to be demeaning and belittling, like “aww, how cute you ran your mini marathon of 13 miles”.  Well there is nothing mini about it and there is still plenty of training and planning and spending involved.

And something else that is truly intimidating is the “ultrathons”…  no way I’m heading out for 50 miles!

oops, off on a tangent… coming back from that now.

It all comes down to the name.  No matter where we run it or who we say it.  A marathon is a marathon is a marathon.  It’s 26.2 consecutive miles that loom on the calendar for months  and take so many more hours and miles to train for that there is always a moment of “What am I doing!”  The nice thing to know, is that you are not along.  Maybe during your training you are, but when it’s show time on race day you are surrounded by tons of other runners and spectators.  You are surrounded by a community and that energy come up and sweeps you along just when you wonder if you can go another mile.

So, I guess whatever we were to call it, anything that means 26.2 miles run at one time will be daunting… but runners will continue to pound out the miles again and again.

Who is in training for NYC 2016?  What other races are you all working on?

Always,

C

Beach Body

Summer is here and it’s hot hot hot!  The sun is bright and the sky is blue, making it time to hit the beach, play in the surf, and relax.  It’s the season for chilled cocktails, grilling, friendly get togethers on rooftops.  Stores are stocked full of shorts, tanks, bikinis, crop tops- the less you have on the better the day is going!

WAIT!!  did you say “shorts, tanks, bikinis, crop tops”!?

I sure did.  And with that, in the blink of a eye, everyone goes rushing out to lose weight, change their figure, make themselves more presentable, and get “beach body ready”.

What I’m interested in?  What does it mean to be Beach Body Ready?

Does it mean to starve yourself for weeks so you “look so skinny” in your string bikini?  What about take a “magic diet pill” so you “look so skinny in your string” bikini?              Perhaps it mean you hit up the gym excessively to “look so skinny” in your string bikini?

Why can’t it mean you eat healthy, workout in moderation, and feel proud of who you are even if you are not “looking so skinny” in your string bikini? And for that matter, why a string bikini at all??  High neck is totally in this season anyway.


Last summer I had a huge problem with an ad campaign that flooded the New York City subways promoting a meal replacement and supplement pill that promoted weight loss and getting “beach body ready”.

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Not only did that campaign fail to mention anywhere that diet and exercise are crucial to weight loss, but that model is totally air brushed!  Take this pill and look like that?  NO people!! NO that’s not the way it works!

So this year I kept it in mind and took a (albeit small) stand at that ad.  I have been working out and training all winter and spring.  I went out and got myself some great looking bikinis and hit the beach.

You know what, I felt empowered… Held myself with confidence and no, maybe I wasn’t the skinniest woman out there but I felt great.


So, as we head into another fall and winter season- do we loose it all again?  Do we fall into a fluffy state and cover it all with layers and sweaters?  We can.  We all gain and loose due to seasons changing, stress at work, life changes, age…. you name it.  And you know what- THAT’S OK!  Believe, I’ve been hearing it for years how “Skinny I am” but it doesn’t always mean that’s how I feel.  BUT, what’s important is that you maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.  Eat well (remember fruits and vegetables… green things are good!) and stay active.  That’s right, even if you are not willing to run on the trails durning the dark winter months, your gym is open!  Check out your local yoga studio or cross fit class.


All in all, a “Beach Body” is a total idea.  Cause anyone can be a body on a beach!                    Be confident and love yourself.

 

Always,

C

Be strong… But Why?

 

I have started this post 3 times and can’t find the right words.  Seldom do I feel judged about my fitness choices or workout routines.  I also try my very best to make no judgments about the choices others make, especially when I’m at work.  I know everyone is on a different “path” and have all come to fitness for different reasons.  Some people are looking for strength others for stretch, some want to relax while others want to socialize.  We are all at different places seeking  for various results and some of us will be on the trail longer then others… for some it will be a steep climb while for others an enjoyable stroll.  The fact is that we are all working to better ourselves and only we can do that.  Where we are on the path is not always clear but with support and encouragement from those around us, we will succeed and have amazing results.

Something I’ve almost always loved about working in the fitness community is the built in support system.  Not everyone but most people will share a supportive nod or wave when passing on the running trail… a nice compliment after class… or a commiserating smile while in SPIN class.  For those that partake in this “fitness karma” it’s a community and a way of life.  We know it’s hard but we are all there doing our best and we are all getting through it, together.  It feels good to support and be supported by others around us.

Sure, I’ve worked in the posh gym environment where everyone walks around in their LuLuLemon outfits (not slamming Lulu, I love their stuff!), the body builders strut so pumped up they can’t put their arms by their sides, and the men show off their trophy wives while discussing which country club they will be golfing at that weekend.  Yes, these can be the less friendly places to be… but in the dead of winter when you are out for a 6 mile run along a one way path of packed ice, wearing more layers then you know what to do with (and none of them match) and a runner coming the opposite way shouts “keep it up, great job”, it feels pretty good.  That’s the only other person you pass that day and you both know what a brutal but rewarding run it was.


I digress, where was I going with this?

Oh yes- so I work in yoga and mindful fitness and I see people of all ages, walks of life, and fitness levels taking all kinds of classes.

A few weeks ago I had a very interesting experience that I haven’t been able to shake.

I show up at work and discuss with one co-worker her great bike ride that morning and my TRX class that weekend.  Now, I don’t bike very much and she hasn’t done a TRX class- so we are talking about very different things but can easily relate to the heat, the work, and the reward after.   A third coworker pipes up… this is where it gets good.

“Oh my god!”  she says, “You do TRX?  You take that class?  TRX, isn’t it like so hard and like it hurts your upper body?  That’s like, so much work.  It like, works your arms and like really hurts.”  Her face says it all, the disgust of the thought, as she grips her biceps in figurative pain, and keeps talking… “I can’t believe you do that.  It’s so bad, like, it really hurts your arms and, like, is a lot of work and like, you sweat.”

I shut it down quick and retreat into my office.  I can’t listen to it.  It’s perfectly fine to say “wow that’s intense, I couldn’t take a class like that but it’s intense that you do” or just keep your mouth shut…

Yes, I LOVE taking TRX class.  I LOVE going for a 6-10 mile run.  I LOVE sweating and hurting like crazy.  Cause you know what?  The sweat washes right off and the pain only lasts a few days but the results last much longer.

And I don’t care if it’s not for you.  If you find your best self in a restorative yoga class- amazing!  I want you to know I’m not going to stop you after class and say, “Oh gosh, you take that class?  It’s like SO boring and like you hardly move.  Like, I don’t understand how anyone could do that”.  (I would never say this anyway because I TAKE restorative yoga at least once a week for by body and sanity)…. but the point is made.  I hope.

When I was at the beach earlier this summer the best thing- even more then the sun and my resulting tan, the phone free time, or the air-conditioned abode- it was by body.  For the first time in a long time  I felt really confident in my bikini.  THAT makes all the pain and sweat and cursing under my breath in TRX and on long runs all worth it.  And I get to thank myself for that.

I love being strong.  It’s a point of pride when I can life more weight then the men around me and seemingly feel more confident in my body then most women my age.  That I have bicep and tricep definition as well as abs.  That I’m not mousy and can carry myself with confidence- cause I know if you come at me, I can (and will) defeat myself.  That I can carry my bag and do my own projects.  This is why I work out, why I strive to better myself and develop the best version of me.

Closing words to wrap up this insightful little rant?  Let me do me and I’ll let you do you.  At the end of the day we all got up and out to do something for ourselves, no matter what that is.

What do you do for yourself?  Rant and share!

Always,

C

RUN Mystic-Half in Review

I know… I know, I’ve been MIA from posting and this race was back in May, but I feel like it’s taken me a while to mentally be ready to write about it or write n general.  So here you go, a fun post about running the Mystic Half Marathon 2016, Mystic CT.

So many factors some into play when prepping for and running a half marathon… location, accessibility, the course, the expo, and the bling.


LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION

All I can say is that we were spoiled for this race,   Megan has family just minutes from the start/finish… meaning amazing accommodations and no crazy early morning walk up call.    Beds, showers, food, transportation to and from the race- Can’t beat that!  Like really truly, if you have ever run a race then had to travel several hours to get home much less to get cleaned up and eat, you know what a little luxury this is and should not be taken for granted.

It also means there are familiar things- like the dog to play with, the foods you like, the space you need to roll out, and so on.  Traveling for races is fun and a great way to see new cities, but lets be honest- hotel beds a tough and space is limited.  Words of advice- make the most of your connections.  An additional plus is having people there to cheer for you!


THE EXPO

The experience always starts with the race expo- a day or so before the race when you (and all your closest new running friends) have  to pick up your number and race shirt as well as any additional stuffage you want to buy.  Usually you can learn more about the race course and the sponsors at the expo too.   I find that the organization and structure of the expo can be a decent indicator of the organization of the race.

One of the worst things is if the expo is stressful and confusing.  It kinda sets the tone for race weekend and can throw you off our game.

The Mystic Expo was small and held where the race would  be starting- Old Mystic Village.  I’m not gonna lie, it was a little confusing to find the packet pickup and it was split up over 2 locations- number pickup in location A and shirt pickup in location B.  Once you knew what signage you were looking for it was easier and I get it, they want you  to walk through the village and shop while getting race ready.  Overall, it was smooth.  There were plenty of volunteers and the lines moved very quickly!

I also finally found a solid black tech-half zip jacket!  I’ve been looking for one at race expos for a while now and have been disappointed, so I was head over heals to find one ay Mystic- plus it’s so unique it’s fun to wear!


THE COURSE

I’d run a portion of the race course on pervious visits to Mystic while training for various other races, so I knew it was lovely.  Races with scenery to look at go by so much better and distract me from the miles.  We started at Old Mystic Village and ran around the water by “downtown” before getting into some residential areas and a protected nature reserve.  I mentioned only running half the course… yup that’s right, the flat half!  So I had convinced myself that the race would be mostly flat.  Yeah I was so wrong and my body beat me up for that!  (Note to self… and readers… check the elevation charts)

Something that was hard for me was that this was a 10K and Half Marathon… running along the same route until the 10K-ers split off to finish and the Half-ers continue up a HUGE endless hill to complete the back end of the course.  Can we say brutal… in so many ways!  A 10K is nothing to sneeze at the I’m proud of all those runners, but the energy that they were about to finish threw me off my game… I was not about to finish.  Then of course there was the face that the course got hilly and the road we were on got less maintained.  I had to walk.  I know that’s ok to do and better that then hurt myself… but I underestimated the course… the hills.  (Disclaimer- not as bad a Central Park Harlem Hills or Inwood Hills Park… I just wasn’t ready for it)

BUT, did I mention the view!?!?!  (photos from pervious training runs in Mystic, CT.)

There was also amazing community support out for this race.  Families and groups were out all over to cheer us on and pass out water.  The support is great and keeps me going, so long as it doesn’t get in the way.


THE FINISH and THE BLING

Possibly the most important part of any race, LOL!

I don’t really remember much of the second half of the course.  I was just so focussed on breathing and putting one foot in front of the other that I wasn’t looking at much and I wasn’t thinking of much.  There was “one last hill” and I had to chant that up the whole thing.  Another runner caught up with me to share words of encouragement and then promptly passed me! But I remember coming up on the finish line.  You could hear it before you saw it- surprising you as you came around the final turn, back by Old Mystic Village.IMG_7056

The sidelines were packed!  Announcers, music, spectators, and other runners make any finish line feel like the best thing and even though you know your are not the only one finishing, for a second you know all that cheering is just for you.

Top off being done with hills and over the finish line with the MEDAL!  — A beautiful nautical themed piece that will not only be a great addition to my collection, but a always a reminder of this beautiful race.  — And of course finish line photos before teetering to the post race food and festivities.  This race, again, had some great stuff including ICE CREAM!

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Look out for more race reviews and training posts.  The new York City marathon is creeping up on me and summer training is kicking my butt.  I’ve started taking more classes and I’m excited to share that with you all… plus beach vacay is coming up!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Always,

C