Tag Archives: Central Park

18 Mile Tune-Up – 18 Miles is a Lot of Miles – Sept 17, 2017

In the corral behind the 12:00 pacer – look at the hazy sky!

Yesterday I ran one of my favorite NYRR races – the NYRR 18 Mile Marathon Tune-Up in Central Park.  It’s three full 6-mile loops of the park and geared towards runners with fall marathons.

 

Although it’s supposed to be specifically timed for the NYC Marathon, because of my “beginner” training schedule it was 4 miles more than I was scheduled to run.  My trainer said it would be ok if I ran it, and that I could lower my mileage earlier that week and/or just bail after 14 miles and not finish the race if I didn’t feel like it.  “You’re the boss!” she wrote.

 

I tried to keep that in mind as my nerves got the best of me in the week before this race.  I’ve been having some left calf cramping issues (that’s the leg I broke last year which withered away) and I still can’t quite mentally believe I can run long distances after being a gimp for so long.  So my mantra heading into this race was “go slow, don’t step in a pothole, and you can always stop.”  Not very catchy but it was effective.

 

I stuffed my running belt and bra with Gu, gummies, and a last minute addition of candy corn pumpkins (which turned out to be really great since they were a tasty way to get sugar that didn’t stick in my teeth like the gummies always do!) and hopped in a cab to the upper east side.  I wasn’t going to exert any more energy than necessary that morning!

 

I lined up in the last corral so I wouldn’t feel pushed to run too fast at the start.  That strategy didn’t work as well as I had hoped, as many late, fast runners blew past me during the first mile or so.  But it wasn’t just the super fast runners blowing past me – for some reason my stupid calf decided to seize up right at the start of the race.  Maybe it was because the first thing we had to run was down the Harlem hills – not an ideal way to start any race.  Whatever it was, I had to walk and even stop and stretch my calf several times, being careful not to overstretch it and send it into a real spasm.  Eventually I felt like I could run a few steps on it, and a few steps evolved into a few more, and after about 1.5 miles it finally started to loosen up and feel almost normal.  By mile 4, I finally felt pretty good and was even cautiously optimistic about my chances of finishing the whole race.

 

 

It was a hot, humid day with a “real feel” of 86 degrees by the time I finished running.  It was so humid you couldn’t even see the skyline in midtown from the park!  At least it was overcast, and one could even argue the heat and humidity helped keep me honest and slow.  I would argue my out-of-shape body helped keep me slow, but whatever.  I plodded along mile after mile, sometimes hurting, sometimes feeling ok, but mostly thrilled that I was out there actually doing what seemed impossible only a few months ago.

 

A couple of random things I saw/heard on the course:

  • A man in a business suit on a Segway with giant tires, speeding up Cat Hill, with spectators laughing at him behind his back.
  • A runner so sweaty that his legs had soap bubbles all over them – maybe from the detergent still on his shorts?  It was unclear and I didn’t stop to ask.
  • At the start of my second loop, the announcer saying “That’s a big smile!  That is a… big smile…”

 

And just like that, I was finished.  Haha, no, just kidding, it was endless and took me almost four hours.  But yes, eventually I finished with a big smile still on my face and a bagel in my mouth.

So happy I found the finish!

Along the 6-mile looped course, they had water stops at every mile (aka 6 times), Gatorade twice, and PowerGel once (so you passed the Gel station three times during the race).  At the finish, however, they only offered cups of water and Gatorade, cut up bananas, and plain bagels.  Luckily I had a ton of food waiting for me at home (ground beef burrito for the win!), along with a massage and a lot of Netflix to catch up on.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

 

In other news, the tech shirt for this race was quite a bit larger than the tech shirts earlier this year.  Maybe they got the memo that a woman’s extra large shouldn’t be skin tight on a size 10?  There’s no medal besides your aching legs.

The tech shirt for the race (front and back, women’s XL). It’s nice!

Today I have done a lot of nothing except realize that I have three NYRR races in three weeks – this one, the Bronx 10 Miler next Sunday, and Grete’s Great Gallop the Sunday after that.  Hope to see you out there!

 

Have your legs ever gotten soapy while running?  What’s your favorite thing to eat after a long run?  Have you ever tried the Trader Joe’s Pita Chips with Cinnamon & Sugar?  Share in the comments!

Happy 4th Birthday, Where’s the Finish!

Where’s the Finish turns 4 today!

I can’t remember what it was like to be 4 years old, but I’ll certainly remember this past year in running (or not running).  From my sprained/broken ankle, to the misdiagnosis, the first rehab, the correct diagnosis, the second rehab, and the final (very late) return to running, it’s been a painful year without a lot of blog posting since I didn’t have much running stuff to write about.

Central Park’s version of “Reflection Lake.”

But that’s all over now, and I’m already in the eighth (8th!?!) week of training for the NYC marathon (12 weeks to go!).  I took the last two weeks totally off from running, however, as I was on vacation in the Pacific Northwest (Washington & Oregon)!  It was an amazing trip and I throughly enjoyed myself (and all the fish & chips & Dairy Queen…) but returning to running the last couple days has been painful.  Not because of my ankle, or even my knees, but because I feel like a bloated slug full of broken marbles and quick-setting cement.

Eating all of this yesterday on a food tour also did not help.

To be honest, even though I’m incredibly grateful and thrilled to be running again, running still kinda sucks.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s much better than not running, but there are still many days when it’s really, really hard, and it’s hot outside, or it’s too cold, or it’s raining, or I’m tired, or there’s something on TV (there’s always something on TV), or I’d rather reorganize my sock drawer than go out for a run.  And even when I do get out the door, sometimes the actual running sucks, too, and I feel heavy, and slow, and I can’t breathe, and everything hurts, and I’d rather be folding socks and watching TV.

Saw this in Central Park on my run today. So prophetic…

So, yes, there is hard work ahead.  And I’m trying to keep in mind what the cute PT told me recently – this marathon is about returning to running, not about speed, not about time.  It’s about being healthy and uninjured and enjoying myself.  I can’t compare myself to where I was a year and a half ago, or play the “what if I never injured myself” game.  I can just keep slogging out the uncomfortable miles and hope the growing pains don’t last too long.

 

And as I do on every blog birthday, I reflect on my goals.  Even though I’ve been stuck on state #24 for a long time now, I still hope to run a marathon in all 50 states (although half marathons are so tempting… but I’m not ready to drop down to that level yet).  I still hope to improve my running speed and endurance (which should be easy at this point since I’m bargain basement).  And I hope to celebrate many more birthdays with all of you!

 

How do you deal when running sucks?  Is rhubarb crisp an acceptable substitute for birthday cake?  What if you put a candle in it?  Share in the comments!

NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 4 Miler – I Have Friends – Sat, July 8, 2017

Now, he is known only as… the Falconer!

Despite it being 1000% percent humidity (not a typo), this morning my friends and I had a great time at the NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 4 miler in Central Park.  I originally signed up for this race because instead of a race shirt you got a free* pair of shoes!  Despite it being a smaller race (for NYRR – only about 1900 runners instead of 5000+), I was able to run with 3 of my friends – two who I knew were going to be there, and one that I found along the way!

 

But first, the shoes.  Every entrant got a pair of shoes, and for each entrant one pair was donated to a child in the NYRR youth program.  That’s a lot of shoes!  When you first signed up, you had to indicate your preference between two different pairs of New Balance shoes – the Fresh Foam Zante v3 (neutral, men’s here ($64-$129) and women’s here, $80-$105) and the 860v7 (stability, men’s here ($112-$178) and women’s here, $110-$190).  I chose the Zante because… well, it was cuter, and I knew I probably wouldn’t run in either pair since you can pry the Hokas off my cold, dead feet.

The Fresh Foam Zante v3 (it comes in other colors but we only had this option).

I think they are nice-looking shoes, but they feel like… nothing – no arch support and very little cushion.  After trying them on I described them as “cardboard.”  Hopefully when I actually wear them more I’ll like them, but I’ll stick to (very) short walks in them first.

 

When you picked up your shoes you also got to measure your foot on this high-tech machine that worked no better than a standard brannock device, but it still was a nice reminder we’re living in a pointlessly high-tech future.

They only had people stand on the machine, no running involved.

When my friend picked up her shoes, they didn’t have anymore Zantes so she got the 860s, but luckily they still had some in her size (which was incorrectly measured by the fancy machine).  She also said they had good arch support, so maybe she was spared the pain of the cardboard Zantes.

 

Have I mentioned the new NYRR digs yet?  Last (?) year they moved from an Upper East Side brownstone to a temporary location on the Upper West Side, but now they’re in their new permanent location in midtown west.  It’s big and nice, but part of me misses that old brownstone charm.

It’s a big HQ! There are bathrooms (no showers) and lockers, plus places to charge your phone.

On race morning I texted my two friends who were running the race and we met up in the corrals.  I was already sweating like a pig from my warm up mile that I ran at a blistering 12-minute-per-mile pace.  Pretty sure I frightened them.

I think they were pretty excited to start running away from me ASAP.

Because it was a relatively small race, the corrals were close together and we crossed the start in only about three minutes.  I wasn’t running with my friends because they’re both much faster than me, so I lost them in the crowd almost instantly.  A little less than a mile from the start, however, I saw a very familiar back ahead of me.  After I checked to see if he was wearing minimalist shoes, I felt bold enough to try calling out his name (and steeling myself for the possibility it wasn’t him and I was just going to be some jackass screaming a name out in the middle of a race).  But it was him!  I have friends!

At the start of the race on the 72nd Street Transverse- can amazingly almost see the starting line.

I spent the next three miles running as fast as I could while pretending it was no big deal, and chatting about this and that with my running friend who I hadn’t seen in ages.  I felt bad because he’s training for Berlin (he ran 8 miles today, no big deal) and he’s much, much faster than me, and I didn’t want to ruin his race, but he stuck with me until the end (which was really good because I felt like I might die at the end – there was only water and pollen in the air at this point – no oxygen – which made breathing difficult).

 

But after sitting in the shade for a while, we all recovered and had a huge brunch/lunch at Fred’s.  It was an amazing morning and a super nice way to (1) get some shoes, (2) get some exercise and (3) eat a bacon club sandwich and then buy ice cream on the way home.

Proof we survived the race. My other runner friend is not pictured. But I swear he’s real.

*Free with your $50 race entry fee – but still not bad considering a typical NYRR race is $18-23 anyway.

 

Do you wear New Balance shoes?  Have you ever run a race with friends?  Do you watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?  Share in the comments!

Achilles Hope & Possibility 4 Miler – A Hot & Sunny Return to Racing – June 25, 2017

😀

Today I ran (actually ran!) my first race since my injury last May!  It was a relatively hot and sunny morning, but Central Park was beautiful as usual and the crowd was energized and inspiring.  My goals were to hit 10:15 to 10:30 per mile and to not break any bones.  Mission accomplished!

 

Achilles International is an amazing organization that helps runners with all types of disabilities participate in road races.  Years ago, before various injuries kept me sidelined, I volunteered as a runner guide on a couple of training runs with Achilles.  It was amazing to run with blind athletes who ran better than I did with sight.  If you have any interest, I highly recommend checking them out.  I also wanted to return to running with this race, since it helps put my (relatively) small injury in perspective (especially as I get smoked by blade runners!).

 

This morning I scarfed a nectarine and headed out to the park.  According to my training, I was supposed to run a 1 mile warm up and a 1 mile cool down.  I actually managed to do a slow 1 mile warm up, which is honestly shocking to me because I never do those sorts of things.  Run more before a race?  No thanks.  If I wanted to run more, I would have signed up for a longer race.

These hot dog vendors know their audience.

After plodding around “warming up” in the hot sun and stretching like I had accomplished something, I got into my corral and listened to Jon Stewart (yep, that Jon Stewart) joke that he would need to be carried across the finish by his son.  I looked around to see who I could get to carry me, and cursed my lack of foresight on this important issue.  My starting corral was so far back that multiple waves went off before we even moved, and I wondered if the winners had finished the 4 mile race already.

Several waves had gone off and I’m standing here taking pictures.

I ran the first mile in about 10 minutes, which was faster than I thought I’d run and pretty exciting.  I guess I got too excited because my next mile was about 9:30, which is much faster than I had intended and I still had 2 more miles to run in the 83 degree heat.  I slowed down on the third mile and then picked up the pace again for the last mile, sprinting through the finish chute like a total poser.  I beat my time goal and averaged just under 10 minute miles, which at this point in my training I will accept!  I collected my medal and an apple, but I did not pick up a bagel because I have the iron willpower of champions.  Plus I still felt guilty about the pizza, cheesy polenta, meatballs, and frozen yogurt I had the day before…

 

All-in-all, I was really happy with the race and my run in general.  I’m so happy to be back out there running again, even if it is for only 4 miles (and slower than I was a year ago, let alone a few years ago).  I’ve also noticed the runger is back (i.e. the “running hunger”) as I want to consume everything in my kitchen all at once like a fat tornado.  So are the blisters on my toes.  And the stupid calf tan lines.  Welcome back to running!

It’s thin, white, see-thru, and small. 😐

I’ve also officially started the NYRR 20-week online marathon training program, finishing the first week today.  Yes, that means the NYC Marathon is only 19 weeks away!  Eeep!

 

How was your weekend?  What are your tips to beat the heat?  What do you like to eat when you feel unstoppable hunger?  Share in the comments!

Happy National Running Day 2017!

This is another excellent way to celebration National Running Day.

Happy National Running Day!  This year I celebrated by going for a run in Central Park!  That’s right, I’m finally back in the park after my broken ankle sidelined me for a year.

 

I also officially graduated myself from the Couch to 5K program, because even though I’m only in week 7 of the 9 week program, I’ve been able to cover 3.1 miles three times now.  The last few C25K workouts are just continuous jogging for 25 minutes anyway, so it didn’t make sense to go back down to long (3 minute) walk breaks.  Thanks, C25K, for getting me back out there, though!

Oh god, run!

Since I’m no longer using the C25K app, I tried the “Zombies, Run” app today for the first time!  If you’re not familiar with the app, it basically narrates a story by playing short clips of people talking to you as if you’re running through a post-apocalyptic zombie-filled world… and occasionally you get chased by zombies so you have to speed up or lose items you virtually “gather” along the way.  I really enjoyed the first episode (especially the British radio announcer) but the zombies scared me exactly like I feared they would, and I ran too fast and was nervous.  Luckily, I was going downhill, so I escaped the zombies and ran the fastest mile (by far) that I’ve run in over a year.  Even better, you can turn the zombie chase feature off, which I think I’ll do because I’m just too agitated by stuff like that.  (Says the girl who would have heart palpitations playing the “PAWS” typing test game in elementary school as she watched the cat’s paw prints slowly chase her text across the screen…) (By the way I looked everywhere online for that game and can’t find it.)

The zombies seriously scared me – in contrast, my first mile was 11:40!

It’s also only 22 short weeks until the NYC Marathon!  I even signed up for the NYRR virtual trainer because I really want my hand held for this race.  And since Nike hasn’t offered me their Tesla pacer car (yet), I needed to look for other support.  Luckily the cute PT is also offering me help along the way (and telling me to stretch my quads and hamstrings to reduce knee pain – who knew?!).

 

If you missed running today, Global Running Day is coming up next Wednesday!  Hope to see you out there!

 

Did you notice NYRR doesn’t celebrate National Running Day anymore?  How did you celebrate National Running Day?  Did you ever play the PAWS typing game in school?  Share in the comments!

Healthy Kidney 10K – My First DNF – May 14, 2016 – Race Recap

The start of NYRR's Healthy Kidney 10K, before my face-plant.

The start of NYRR’s Healthy Kidney 10K, before my face-plant.

You run long enough, and it’s bound to happen – a DNF and a running injury.  I just didn’t think it would happen in Central Park during a 10K this morning, and I didn’t think the injury would include my face.

The typical long line of runners at a NYRR race in Central Park.

The typical long line of runners at a NYRR race in Central Park.

 

The Healthy Kidney 10K started out well enough – the day was beautiful and warmer than expected (already in the mid 60s at the 9 am start), and I was finally on the downhill of my cold that started last week.  I felt pretty good considering I ran 26 miles 6 days ago, and was able to run the first three miles at about a 10:35 pace (fast for me at this point).  Everything was going well!  I came up the final Harlem Hill, passed the 5K mark, and was enjoying the flat stretch near the 102nd Street Transverse heading towards the reservoir.  But then, BAM!  My foot got caught in a little pothole, and I went down HARD.  Harder than hard.  I hit my face, hands, and then the rest of my body.  Hard enough to rip my CW-X tights.  Hard enough to make me wonder if I broke my cell phone around my waist.  Hard enough to make me worried I broke the bones in my face.  And apparently hard enough to give me a concussion.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  (Blame my recent concussion.)

 

Right after I went down, there were plenty of kind runners who stopped to make sure nobody ran over me and to make sure I was ok.  I kept saying I was ok, and eventually I rolled over, got up, and limped to the side because I didn’t want to cause a(nother) accident.  My friend Ben was actually there, too!  He was running by and came upon my prostrate figure and recognized my Discover Bank Delaware Marathon hat (which, by the way, I got blood on – it was the first time I wore it, too)!

 

Props to the on-point race volunteer who immediately radioed for an ambulance the second I fell, saying “runner down,” which sounds very dramatic, but was effective.  I was sitting on the grass next to the course when the medics arrived (probably not more than 1 or 2 minutes after my fall – it was really fast).  I assured them I was ok, until I suddenly wasn’t – my vision started to go dark.  That’s when I really started to worry.  I’m too youngish to die!

 

Originally I thought I would walk the rest of the race – I clearly had no idea how bad my fall was.  But when the world started to go dim, they offered to transport me to the med tent, and I accepted – I didn’t want to pass out 30 seconds after they left and cause a huge hassle.  So, onto the stretcher and into the ambulance I went!  It was… embarrassing.   And it felt almost like I was playing out a scenario for class, except I was actually injured.  The ambulance was a small “van” ambulance, so it was cozy inside, but still familiar.  I feel like I’ve jinxed myself by becoming an EMT – just as I’ve started working on an ambulance, for the first time in my life I find myself as a patient in the back of one.

 

After a leisurely ride down the west side of the park, my vision had cleared up and I was feeling beat up but better.  They delivered me to the med tent where Dr. Stu (the head NYRR doctor who I knew from training sessions, but who of course didn’t know me) checked me out.  He pushed on the bones all over my face and determined nothing was broken (thank god).  He said I had started blacking out probably because I had a mild concussion.  And as I sat there icing my face, I finally noticed how much my ankle was hurting.  I got an ice wrap for that, too, and after sitting there for more than enough time to make sure I probably wasn’t going to die from an aneurism or whatever scary fake medical thing I was worried about, finally made my way out of the park with my friend Ben, who had found me at the finish.

 

I painfully, slowly limped out of the park, still thinking my ankle was just bruised or something, but I did take a cab for the 5 blocks home.  Only after a quick shower did I realize just how bad my ankle was – it was stiff, painful, and looked like there was a lemon implanted underneath my skin.  As a first-time ankle sprainer, this really freaked me out.  I thought maybe something had ruptured and there was blood pooling under my skin or something – there’s also a small bruise and cut on the side of my foot, probably from the jagged edge of the pothole (and I suspect there’s a tear in my shoe, too).  So, I immediately emailed Ben and started googling “sprained ankle.”

 

After icing it and wrapping it, I still wasn’t satisfied with my self-treatment options, and since it hurt so much that walking was incredibly difficult, I decided to go to a nearby urgent care center to get an aircast (as recommended by Ben).  After a surprisingly long wait, the doctor there checked me out, pushed on the bones around my foot and ankle, thankfully determined without an X-ray that there were no broken bones, and diagnosed me with a sprained ankle.  He put me in an aircast, gave me instructions to take naproxen (aka Aleve) and to only ice 3 times a day, and sent me off with some crutches.  The crutches help a lot, but I quickly learned that walking with crutches is about 80 times more difficult than just walking, and I feel like I got a full day’s workout by crutching the two blocks home.

 

Ugh.

Ugh.  Ugh.

Now I’m sitting on my couch with my leg propped up, feeling some sweet relief from the painkiller (although it still hurts, it doesn’t hurt like a mofo anymore), and feeling both angry at and sad for myself.  I know “these things happen” but it was a stupid mistake to step into that pothole – I should have been looking down more than up.  And now I can’t work my EMT shift tomorrow, nor can I run the Brooklyn Half Marathon next weekend, not to mention that I can’t walk or run for several days (plus the pain, plus the current inconvenience, plus the lifetime threat of re-injury and arthritis (“In a 10-year fol­low-up of patients suffering ankle sprains, 72 percent showed signs of arthritis in the ankle joint.”).  Ugh!  (And yes, the more I read online about this, the more freaked out I’m getting.)

 

The funny thing is that my face feels (and looks) bruised but it’s definitely not the most painful or lasting injury I sustained in my fall – it reminds me of the “distracting injury” thing we learned about at EMT camp.  Of course, hitting your face is more life-threatening than spraining your ankle, so it didn’t distract in that way, but it certainly made me ignore my ankle for a long time.  (“But not anymore, b*tch!” said my ankle just now.)

 

But before I start feeling too sorry for myself, I do want to send out a big internet “thank you” to all the runners and medical people who helped me today.  It was seriously nice of Ben to stick with me for so long, both at mile 3 and at the finish, and for emailing me a lot of info about sprained ankles.

The shirt this year.  I didn't get a medal because I didn't finish.  :(

The shirt this year. I didn’t get a medal because I didn’t finish. 🙁

So, please pray to the running gods for me that I’ll recover in a relatively rapid fashion…  Till then, I’ll see you on the couch.

 

Have you ever sprained your ankle?  Have you ever visited an urgent care?  Have you ever ridden in the back of an ambulance that wasn’t for your job?  Share in the comments!

Run as One 4 Miler – Sunny Sunday – April 24, 2016

Lining up for the Run as One 4M in Central Park.

Finding the corrals for the Run as One 4M in Central Park.

To make progress on my 9+1 goal to qualify for the NYC Marathon in 2017, I ran the NYRR Run as One 4 Miler in Central Park yesterday.  There were tons of runners (over 8,000!!) and, as usual for a NYRR race, the course was packed the entire way, but the weather was perfect and it was a great way to start a Sunday.

There were more porta potties for this 4 mile race than most of my marathons have.

There were more porta potties for this 4 mile race than most of my marathons have.

The course started on the East Drive around 68th street just south of the transverse, but for those of us with slower times and higher corral start letters (I’m K – the second to last letter assigned!), our “start” was actually several blocks southwest of there, winding down the drive.

I can't even see K yet...

Walking and walking… and I still can’t even see K yet…

This is the second race that NYRR has instituted a “wave” start where they hold the corrals and release them in waves to reduce congestion.  Besides taking almost 20 minutes to cross the starting line (for a 4 mile race!), I barely noticed the wave start.  I heard a couple waves go off, but they were so large that I was never actually stopped – I was still just shuffling along with the hoard.  And if this wave feature actually reduced congestion, I didn’t notice that either.  It was face-to-butt the entire four miles, with lots of weaving if you wanted to pass anyone.

Ten minutes after the race start, this was my view.

Ten minutes after the race start, this was my view.

So, that was the bad.  The good was that it was gorgeous weather – sunny and crisp in the upper 40s with light wind – and the park looked beautiful with flowers still on the trees and a fresh spring vibe.  It was also only 4 miles (basically the internal loop, ending on the 72nd Street Transverse), and you still get a big bagel and apple at the end.  The race shirt is also very nice – a short-sleeved tech shirt with minimal logos in a men’s or women’s cut.

The classic NYRR road race reward - bagel, apple, and Central Park scenery.

The classic NYRR road race reward – bagel, apple, and Central Park scenery.

The front and back of the shirt.  Looking good!

The front and back of the shirt. Looking good!

In other news, I just found two races I really want to do because of their cool medals – the Hop Hop Half in Portland, Oregon, on Easter, which has a giant Easter Egg medal, and the FroYo Run in various locations (mostly California), which has an engraved spoon for its medal this year!  Unfortunately both races are on the opposite side of the country for me, but since I have family in both locations I’m considering making the trip…  But I should really not, right?  I mean, I still have 27 states left, and flying across the country to run a 5K to get a spoon and yogurt doesn’t make sense… Right…?  Right…?  (I have a problem.)

 

Did you run this weekend?  How far have you traveled for a non-marathon race?  Are you excited for the warm weather coming?  Share in the comments!

Scotland 10K – Today’s Rain is Tomorrow’s Whisky – April 2, 2016 – Race Recap

The elites lining up for the Scotland 10K.

The elites lining up for the Scotland 10K.

Today was the first time I signed up to run two different races in one day, and of course that day had to be a rainy one.  They were both 10Ks – NYRR’s Scotland 10K and Run & Chug’s inaugural 10K – so I thought it wouldn’t be much worse more difficult than running a half marathon, or like doing two legs in a Ragnar Relay.  Of course, I did not count on the rain, or on how wet and cold I would get during the first race.

The norms lining up for the race (you can't even see my corral it's so far away).

The norms lining up (you can’t even see my corral it’s so far away).

The NYRR Scotland 10K is basically one “backwards” loop of Central Park (running clockwise around the park).  The start is just south of the finish, and the finish is the same as the NYC Marathon finish line near Tavern on the Green.  The good part of running the loop this direction is that you get the west side hills out of the way first, you get to enjoy Cat Hill going downhill instead of uphill, and it makes for an easier shot at a negative split.  Also, since I mostly run the loop counterclockwise, it’s a nice change of pace.

Yes, another picture of the start, this one highlighting a magnolia tree - after it really started raining hard I stopped taking pictures.

Yes, another picture of the start, this one featuring a magnolia tree – after it really started raining hard I stopped taking pictures.

The run itself was actually really enjoyable, even in the rain.  The park right now is just full of blossoming trees, and with the rain and mist I felt like I was running through a fantasyland.  I would definitely do this race again and recommend it to anyone who wants to see Central Park during its prettiest season.

The *white cotton* race shirt for 2016.

The *white cotton* race shirt for 2016.

Since I pushed myself harder in the second half than in the first, I earned my negative split and got warm in the process.  But the second I crossed the finish line I got cold because I was soaking wet.  They had the standard NYRR finish-line fare:  bagels, McIntosh apples, and bags of pretzels, but no thermal blankets.  Even though the walk home was only a few blocks, I got so chilled that by the time I got inside my fingers were fumbling as they tried to open the pins on my bib.  I even took a short shower to warm up and the lukewarm water felt like it was scalding my hands.  Vasoconstriction for the win!

 

I managed to get warm enough to function properly, dressed, and eat some chocolate before my next race – which was in about an hour!  That recap will come tomorrow.  Till then, stay dry and warm, wherever you are!

 

Have you ever run the Scotland 10K?  Have you ever run more than one race in a day?  Do you enjoy running in the rain?  Share in the comments!

NYRR Gridiron 4M – Race Recap

Before the start of the NYRR Gridiron 4-miler.

Finding my corral before the start of the NYRR Gridiron 4-miler.

The NYRR Gridiron 4 Miler and Longest Football Throw was this morning – it’s a good way to motivate yourself to run 4 miles in the cold before stuffing your face with chips and pizza and wings later.  I can’t remember the last time I ran this particular race (if ever), so it was fun to see all the runners in their football jerseys and team colors.  Are the Giants in the Superbowl this year?  Because it looked like it out there…  (And fyi, I think I saw more Broncos jerseys than I did Jets, despite the NY location…)

Lining up in my corral!

Lining up in my corral!

Before the start of the race they announced the winners of the football throw (held one hour before the race).  The woman threw over 30 yards and the man threw over 50 yards.  That sounds like a lot to me, as I’m pretty sure I’d have trouble throwing a frisbee more than 5 yards. Good for them!

 

The course itself is the inner 4-mile loop in Central Park, skipping the Harlem Hills and the lower portion of the loop.  I started in my proper corral (K, the last corral), but not at the very back, and it still took me about 9 minutes to cross the starting line.  The bad thing about short NYRR races like this is that it was really crowded the entire time (there were over 5,000 finishers).  I ran my heart out but was still quite slow compared to actual fast people (averaged about 10:15 pace), yet I swear I passed over a thousand people.  It was a little frustrating to weave in and out so much, but if I wanted to run on an empty road I wouldn’t do a NYRR race.

I "voted" for the Broncos, but sadly I think the Panthers will win.

I “voted” for the Broncos, but sadly I think the Panthers will win.

There’s also a fun spot along the 72nd Transverse where you can “vote” for your team by running under their banner.  It seemed like a surprisingly even split amongst the runners, but I’m not sure if people were voting for their favorite team, the team they thought would win, or if they simply didn’t care and didn’t change lanes while running.  NYRR reports that a majority of the runners chose Denver, because runners respect their elders.

 

There were a few water stops along the course and at the finish you got more cups of water, a large bagel (plain or cinnamon raisin), and a red delicious apple.  The shirt is a white (ugh!) cotton long-sleeved shirt with a logo on the front and sponsors on the back.  Overall, this is a fine race, nothing special, but good if you’re looking to do a 9+1 to qualify for the marathon, and it was 100% effective in getting me to run outside today, which I definitely would not have done on my own.

Whhhhiiittte!

Whhhhiiittte!

Who are you rooting for in the Superbowl today?  What are you planning to eat?  Do you enjoy the commercials more than the game?  Share in the comments!

Manhattan Half Cancelled & Brooklyn Half Sold Out

I actually do like this more than a t-shirt.

I actually do like this more than a t-shirt.

As you might know (even if you don’t live on the East Coast), there was a bit of a snowstorm in NYC last weekend.  While the initial forecast called for 8 to 12 inches, Central Park ended up getting 26.8 inches of snow in a single day.  Surprisingly, NYRR had the foresight to cancel the Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon on the Friday before the race (making me wonder if NYRR hired its own meteorologists after the Sandy disaster).

 

I had already picked up my race number and hat (pictured above), but NYRR is also offering the medal to any registrant who wants it.  My question to you is:  should I go get the medal?  I have one more day to decide whether to pick it up or not.  I did not go for a run over the snowy weekend, and I’ve only run 3 miles all week.  If I did go get the medal, what should I do to “earn” it?  Or is it even possible to earn a medal for a race that was canceled?

 

In other news, the Brooklyn Half Marathon went on sale today at noon and was sold out by 1 pm.  My second question to you is:  do you think NYRR is going to turn the Brooklyn Half into a lottery race (like they have with the Marathon and the NYC Half Marathon)?  Or do you think the recent lawsuit will give them pause (and some of our money back)?

 

Finally, in obligatory runner news – the bandit dog that placed 7th in a half marathon.  I still couldn’t finish 7th even with an extra pair of legs.

 

Did you pick up your Manhattan Half medal?  Did you register for the Brooklyn Half?  Do you personally spell “canceled” with one “l” or two?  Share in the comments!