Showing posts with label PR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PR. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NYC Half Marathon Recap

I was so excited to arrive in New York City for the NYC Half Marathon on Friday evening with my running partner. The drive from NH wasn't bad at all and Daisy easily got us to the hotel. After checking in we had a late dinner at a little pizzeria down the block near Radio City Music Hall.

On Saturday we grabbed a quick breakfast from the Gourmet Deli across the street from the hotel and then walked to the expo. Even though we knew we were looking for the Penn Plaza Pavilion (which by-the-way is NOT in Penn Station), we were both expecting to see expo signs to help us with the NYC address of 401 Seventh Avenue at West 32nd Street - no such luck. So, it was a little difficult, but we finally found it.

I learned from Daisy that just a few years ago, this race did not have an expo at all. That might explain its small size. The expo may not have been as large as I was expecting, but it was sufficient. We picked up our bibs and shirts, and then browsed the vendors serving the usual runner needs of clothing, shoes, nutrition and recovery, along with some souvenir items.

One fun part of the expo was the free runner photos. Jump in, snap a picture, print it out, and then email it to yourself if you want. These photo opps are always fun.

We were on our way out when I spotted a familiar face from nycrunningmama! It was so nice to finally meet Michelle in person.    

It was a 530 wake up on Sunday morning to get out the door for the race. We grabbed some breakfast from the deli again, and then made our way to Central Park. It was pretty easy getting there, just follow the runners, but it was freezing! For a race hosting over 15,000 runners the pre-race process was super organized. Runners had the option of dropping provided bags at the designated gear check on Fifth Avenue before entering the park and heading to corrals. 

NYRR photo

We had to be in our corrals by 7AM, so we made our way through the park toward the start area. Each corral had its own set of approximately 20 port-a-potties which meant no line, no waiting. I was glad that I brought a throw-away sweatshirt (courtesy of my husband) to wear over my Nike half zip because with the windchill the temp was 20 degrees. I should have brought a throw away hat and gloves too.

After listening to some fun music, they introduced the elite runners, local favorites, and then the National Anthem to start the race. It took 15 minutes for us to cross the start line! The first half of the race was a loop around Central Park. Running with the crowd helped me be patient and let my legs warm up for the park hills. First half splits: 9:09, 8:49, 8:31, 8:46, 8:49, 8:29. 

Just after the 10K split, the course exited the park on Seventh Avenue. The wall of spectators cheering from the sidelines was the most deafening and incredible experience. I felt like a rock star coming out of the park. I paused on the side to grab some Cytomax, take a quick picture, and look for Daisy. We somehow got separated around mile 5. When I didn't see her, I figured she had already passed by.

View down 7th Ave.

The next couple of miles literally flew by. These were some of my fastest of the race and I remained in awe of the spectators, the music, and of course Times Square

Running in Times Square

After passing through Times Square, the course took a right on 42nd Street for about a mile and then turned onto the West Side Highway for the remaining stretch to the finish. It was at the u-turn that I finally saw Daisy (which was a relief to know that we were close to each other). At mile 9 I started playing the mental game. Only 4 more miles to go. Then at mile 10 I was thinking, just a 5K left. I tried to focus on the sites I was expecting to see along the Hudson River waterfront, such as the WTC and Statue of Liberty. 

View down West Side Hwy

With less than a mile to go and feeling a sense of urgency to get to the finish, the course headed into the Battery Park Underpass Tunnel. The tunnel was fun as runners' and spectators' cheers and shouts echoed off the tunnel walls. The fun ended when I realized I had to climb out of the tunnel and to the finish line. Second half splits: 8:17, 8:03, 8:54, 9:12, 8:45, 9:06, 9:45.

Everything about this race was organized, including the finish line area. After being handed my medal, I was directed to the finisher's photo line where I texted my husband and Daisy, and then waited for her. We had our photo taken and then continued our exit. On our way to claim Daisy's gear bag, someone handed us our recovery bags and mylar blankets: two things I needed because my Simple Hydration bottle was empty and I was freezing again. The recovery bag was much appreciated because everything was already in it: water, Gatorade, apple, pretzels. More races need to do this!

I went into this race fully intending to have fun and take a bunch of pictures. I had a blast while running thanks to the amazing NYC spectators, volunteers, and entertainment. If it had been warmer and I knew WHAT to take pictures of, I would have taken more. There was just so much to see; I admit that I was a little overwhelmed. I found some great course photos by another blogger here. Needless to say, I was completely surprised to see my finish time and a brand new PR! And I love that the NYC Half Marathon had its own app that runners and spectators could use before, during, and after the race.

From NYC Half '13 App.

Once we made our way through the crowd we stopped at the NYRR tent. I wanted to buy this really cute tee, but the CC system was down and I didn't have enough cash without giving up my subway fare. We waited for as long as we could stand in the cold and spare since we had to check out of our hotel by noon. Sadly, to order online I'd have to spend $14 to have it shipped. 

You can view all the excitement in this highlight show from On the Run:

Huge thanks to my BRF Daisy for not only running with me, but also for joining me on this race-cation adventure! Stay tuned for the next one...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tufts Health Plan 10K

It was another day for running and this time I ran with women. I was invited by Reebok and FitFluential to run the Tufts Health Plan 10K in Boston on Monday as part of Team Reebok.

Thanks to my husband, we arrived at Boston Common with plenty of time to get checked in, cruise the expo, do some shopping, and say hello to the race spokesperson, Joan Benoit Samuelson, AGAIN.

We stopped by the Reebok Booth to check in and get our picture taken. They had fun signs for runners and supporters to fill out and a CrossFit game to play.

Before I knew it, the other FitFluential Ambassadors arrived. Reebok generously outfitted us all in Team Reebok PlayDry short sleeve tops. These shirts were perfect to wear with temperatures in the high 50s. 

With approximately 8,000 women (and some men) signed up for this race, the announcers started calling for the faster runners around 11:15. I hopped in the port-a-potty line one last time, got a good luck kiss from my husband, and joined the crowd. During the wait I happened to spot one of the ladies who has run this race for the last 36 years. Then Joan Benoit Samuelson wished all of us a good race and we were off.

Here's the video my husband captured of the start of the race:

I ran with my phone to take pictures because the course went through parts of Boston that I hadn't seen before. The first mile led us down Beacon Street before crossing over the Charles River into Cambridge. I know we looped past MIT, but I was more interested in watching the lead runners and looking for my FitFluential friends. We were pretty easy to spot in our purple Team Reebok shirts. People lined the streets everywhere including on top of an overpass and as we crossed the river back into Boston, the crowds on the sidewalks got even thicker. When I got to the finish line, Joan Benoit Samuelson was there to shake my hand (she finished in 38:21).

At each mile marker I had checked the time against my pacer bracelet, and had hit all of the 9:30 pace times. Since I used my Simple Hydration Water Bottle, I ran past all of the water stops including the last one staffed by men in tuxedos. My 56:23 finish time was a new 10K PRI finished 1485/5430 finishers. And for the first time, I ran faster every mile.

This was my first race in Boston and the second largest race I've ever run (biggest in Cincy). Picking up my bib and race swag was a breeze because they were so well organized. The announcements made throughout the day from the stage were very helpful (and that's how we knew JBS was there!) and we found all the volunteers to be helpful and friendly.  

Some details worth mentioning: Participants were offered pace bracelets. Even though I'm inexperienced with using them, I loved this and found it very helpful. They also handed out stickers to reflect the number of years you have participated in this race. I wore mine on my skirt and found myself looking for them on others. There was also a "changing tent" which I gratefully used.

Disclaimer: My race entry and Team Reebok apparel were compliments of Reebok. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Manchester 5K

Last night was the Manchester Mile and 5K. The race was organized by Millennium Running, a local running company that was founded by John Mortimer in 2010, and they put on awesome events. The evening started off with a 5K at 5:30 followed by a downhill Mile at 6:20 that recorded the fastest mile last year at 3:44!!

I signed up for the 5K with my CRP. It was my first ever evening race.

My husband decided to run the 5K too, so we met up with my CRP at bib pickup and registration in Derryfield Park. Derryfield Park is pretty much on top of a hill and we could feel a nice breeze. It was a beautiful day for a race and hanging out in the city.

While we were waiting we ran into a teacher-running-friend from school, Jen.

Jen, Daisy (CRP) and me

I also ran into Janine, a fellow FitFluential Ambassador, and her mom. Love their outfits!

I did not prepare for this race at all and thought of it totally as a fun run. I had a light lunch around noon consisting of a salad and some Quaker Rice Snacks - nutritious, I know. I didn't look at the course map (if there was one) and checked the location on the way to the race as I navigated. I did manage to grab a few of Sports Beans and my Simple Hydration Water Bottle when we left the car.

Turned out to be one heck of a course!


I started the race keeping pace with my CRP (who claimed to have an achy IT band) and we jetted through the first mile at 7:56! I couldn't keep that pace going into mile 2 which was almost entirely uphill, so we drifted apart as my pace slowed to 9:13 and she kept going. The last mile was a huge downhill to the finish so my pace bounced back to 8:26 even as I struggled with a screaming bladder.

Post race view of the downhill mile

After sprinting to the port-a-potties, I found CRP and then my husband. We chugged some sports drinks and water, chatted, and waited for the start of the One Mile. That's when someone asked my time. I checked my Nike+ GPS watch and saw my time, but I couldn't believe it. Later, after checking the results posted by Millennium Running it was official. I PR'd the 5K with a time of 26:38! We watched the finishers of the Millennium Mile, grabbed some delicious pizza slices, and sat down in Pulaski Park to eat. When the awards presentation was over, we enjoyed the nice mile walk back up to the car.

How do you prepare for evening races?

Have you ever run a race in the dark?
 My first "in the dark" race might be RTB depending on the leg I get...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hyde Park Blast

Last week while I was home in Cincinnati visiting family and friends that I haven't seen since Thanksgiving, I ran in the Hyde Park Blast. I ran this event in 2007 before I moved away. Back then I was just a newbie runner with no clue what I was doing and very little miles being logged.

Since then I have been a running machine!

Ohio has been having a major heat wave with daily temperatures in the 100s! So with that in mind I set my goal for this race:

1. Finish 4 miles in under 40 minutes would be great.
2. Finish near my '07 time would be awesome.
3. I wasn't really expecting to better my time which was
    37:16 in 2007 - but it would be amazing if I did.

Registration and bib pickup was held outside Lululemon. When we arrived the store was already doing some demonstrations on their front porch and the square was coming alive as people checked out the booths.

We spent some time wandering around, finding the rest rooms, and enjoying the music.  


Ten minutes before start time, we made our way to the starting line which was about a block north of the square. Since the road was completely closed for the event, there was plenty of room to stretch and hangout before the gun.

Race day essentials: Nike racer back,
Mizuno Wave Rider 15s and Simple Hydration Water Bottle

The four mile route took runners through the historic neighborhood and it was hilly.

The course support for this race was supreme. Not once did I worry about traffic or route direction. The organizers provided plenty of water support and (I think) added an extra stop because of the crazy temperatures. I brought my Simple Hydration Water Bottle, so that I could take water whenever I needed it and was able to cruise by the water tables all the way to the finish line.

After crossing the finish line runners were directed around the square where we received a much needed bottle of water, a free prize pair of earbuds, and a free beer. The post race food booths were also ready with doughnuts, scrambled eggs, frozen yogurt, and bananas. I also stopped by the Blast booth to grab a super cute T to go along with the race shirt all runners were given.

We weren't able to stay all day and enjoy the rest of the events, but I did get a notification of my results while we were having lunch. At first I saw that I had a 3 second PR, but then I realized it was nearly TWO MINUTES!! 

Have you ever run the same race more than once?

What is your race streak?
I've run a couple of races three times...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kickoff to Summer

June 18 - On Saturday I ran the Kickoff to Summer 5K for the third time. This is a fundraiser race for the local elementary school in my town and dedicated in memory to local father Dave Cramb who passed away in 2008. This year I recruited my husband, step daughter, and BRF. My goal was to do as good or better than my 28:06 time from last year.

My BRF and I had a seven mile long run on our training schedule so we ran four miles before the race. We opted to run along the river, a simple out & back. It was a cool morning with bright blue skies and a pleasant breeze. Our pre-race run was a first for me. I've often seen and heard others talk about running before or after a race to get in the mileage, but I admit that I always thought they were kind of crazy. Now that I understand the importance of a proper training program, I get it. Afterwards, we met my step daughter and husband at the registration area before heading to the grand stand for the Opening Ceremony.

After a few brief words, a moment of silence, and the singing of the National Anthem all the runners and walkers headed to the start line. The combination paved and dirt road course starts at the Central School and loops through the local fair grounds. It's an easy, relatively flat course. The race started on time with a lap around the school and then headed out onto the main road for .75 mile before turning into the fair grounds. The next 1.5 miles followed a dirt road out and looped back around. Here there was a lot of congestion formed by the runners who had stopped to walk. The last .50 mile was a slight incline to the finish.

What I love about this race is that it is organized entirely by volunteers and they do an awesome job. They provide three water tables along the course staffed by students and parents from the school. It also includes a one mile fun run for kids and a kids' mad dash for the little ones prior to the start of the 5K run/walk. The only improvement would be to have chip timing.

I'd been looking forward to this race because it was the first one I ran after moving to NH. That year was not my best running performance, but last year I did much better. This time I not only did better than the previous year, but also beat my six year old 5K PR with a time of 27:35 and 6th in my age group!

After finishing, I hung out with BRF while waiting for my step daughter (who was only a minute behind me) and husband to finish. We ran into a fellow teacher who was the third overall finisher this year! We cooled down over some delicious home made food and good conversation.

After the race, I was notified by Heather that I was being featured on her blog Running with Sass. Heather is a Mississippi girl who was inspired to run after watching her friends run the Disney World Marathon. Head over to her blog to see what she has accomplished since then!

Thanks Heather!

What do you like most about races?

How do you "kickoff" your summer?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bedford Rotary 12K

May 19 - Today I ran the Bedford Rotary 12K in Bedford, NH. I ran this race last year as part of my RnRPROV half marathon training. My official training for RnRPROV this year doesn't start for another couple of weeks, but I have been continuing to run on a pretty regular basis since my last halfathon. So last week I decided to run this race again for two reasons:
1. I love this route. It is just the right length and challenge level for a feel good run. The hills are not my BFF when I'm running them, but I love the feeling of accomplishment when I'm finished. 
2. I wanted to see if I could improve my time from last year. My running has been more consistent than ever, so I was hoping to see an easy PR for this distance. 

This local race started at 9AM from the high school, so I planned my arrival for 8:30. After easily parking in the lower lot (where exiting would be easiest), I made my way up the hill to pick up my bib and race day shirt. Just like last year there was a crowd of people who all seemed to know each other (except me, I live in another town) and super friendly volunteers. I had plenty of time to walk back to my car, put on my bib, and make one last trip to the bathroom inside the school. While milling around waiting for the race to start, I listened to the DJ music that was being provided and watched for anyone I might know. Nope. No one today.

Right on the dot, the bagpipers appeared and then the crack of the gun signaled the start. The hardest part of running for me has been pacing, so I tried really hard to start out slowly, so that I wouldn't fade away at the end. Being familiar with this course, I know how they save the hills for the middle and the end - just like all good race courses do, right?

So the first few miles were pretty uneventful. I did what I usually do when I am running alone and found some fellow runners to stalk follow. I like the fact that these people don't even know that they are pacing me or that I am totally listening to their conversations. About mile 4 is where the fun began - MAJOR elevation increase. I kept telling myself, baby steps, baby steps. Again, knowing the route, I didn't want to burn up all my leg energy knowing there was more fun to come. At mile 5 there is a little comic relief in the form of a peacock farm. They like to show off by fanning their tales and screeching at us as we run by. Leading up to mile 6 our legs got a little breather before a set of rolling hills. Just after passing the mile 6 marker, I came upon a runner who was limping. His calf was cramping and I'm sure the hill wasn't helping. I ran with him for about 3/4 of a mile just chatting and offering some distraction. He just ran Boston with a time of 3:30 something - pretty amazing! Today was his most painful run in 30 years, he said, but he was toughing it out. Right before the mile 7 marker I wished him luck and made my way to the finish hoping that I would still manage to beat my last year's time. The last 1/4 mile of this race leads runners up a final 30 foot incline and then around the high school track for the finish. As I was approaching the finish line, I saw the clock time...OFFICIALLY 1:10:42 (which according to my husband is a 3:31 PR!!)

After happily accepting two freezer pops from a teeny tiny volunteer and watching for my-injured-runner to cross the finish, I made my way back to the car and home. I forgot about the post race food and free massages, but that's ok. My family's congratulations and a cold Gatorade made for a great post race celebration.

My race day outfit was made up of many of my favorite running BFFs, but today I was especially loving my headband, my racerback tank and my water bottle. First, Sweaty Bands do not move. I love this. Nothing is worse than having to deal with sweaty hair on your sweaty face while you're trying to run. Second, I have fallen in love with the Nike racerback tanks. They are so comfortable in the warm weather and long enough to happily cover all my belly parts. Last, my Simple Hydration Water Bottle is the best thing ever. I love that I can breeze by the water stations drinking water without choking or spilling it from a cup. But, if I need to, I can quickly refill at the station and move on. Hands-free running and without being weighed down by a water belt is the greatest feeling and keeps me from messing up my running form. Today was all about being comfortable and these items definitely helped.

In my excitement after the race I posted my unofficial time on Twitter and have to share with you the amazing support I received from the running community and members of FitFluential. It is such an amazing feeling to read the replies and comments after reaching a goal or overcoming a hurdle. I love fitness, especially running. Being a part of a group of people who "get me" and understand my need to shout from the roof tops all the little successes I make along the way is by far one of the best experiences. If you can relate to this at all and are not yet a member of FitFluential, join!

What is your favorite race/route/fitness activity?

Have you ever "helped" a fellow runner in a race?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Half at the Hamptons

February 20 - Yesterday I completed my 2nd half marathon in Hampton, NH. Half at the Hamptons is a popular race because the course is one of the flattest in New England and many runners use it as a Boston Marathon training run. Hampton is a small seacoast town with all the charm of the typical summer beach destination. The white washed buildings are weathered by the ocean winds and the streets are protected by a seawall with the beach on the other side.

Hubs and I arrived in Hampton early so there was plenty of time to park, check-in, use the restrooms, and meet my running partner, D. Hampton offers hundreds of parking spots up and down the beach (which were free for the race) as well a street parking and some large lots that charged $5. Check-in at the Ashworth by the Sea Hotel was quick and we received a cute cotton long sleeve lavender race shirt. After stopping at Ds car, we made our way to the start line.

Even though there weren't corals (the race capped at 1400 runners) it was easy to find a spot and we ended up very near the 9:00mm Pacer, Timmy. The course's reputation was accurate, and along with the temps in the mid 30s and the sun shining, it was a perfect day to...PR!!

Special thanks to Hubs for biking around to take these awesome pics!

I had hoped to finish this half better than my first last August at RNR PROV because my training has improved and I have been injury free. I NEVER thought that I would finish sub 2 hours though. D and I stayed together sticking with Pacer Timmy until about mile 6. She started to pull ahead, but I was afraid to push my speed anymore, so I held back. I think I made the right decision because the last 2 miles were difficult. My hips started tightening up, but I managed to keep up with Pacer Timmy's pack and finish 1:57:51.

After the race, hubs and I headed to Portsmouth to lunch with a group of runners, bloggers, FitFluential Ambassadors and a fellow Rhode Scholar at the casual British pub, Coat of Arms. It was a great day to spend with old and new friends.

Samantha / D / Group - Halen, Janine, Greg, Samantha

Now it is time to take a few recovery runs, then maintain my training for the Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon in May. It has been a great winter to train and I am hoping that Spring is right around the corner. So as I take a few days to savor my new PR and "I just ran a half marathon" moments, I'm already thinking about the fun to come.