Tag Archives: NYRR

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!

Ferry vs Bus to the NYC Marathon

The eternal debate rages on…

Warning:  Long boring post ahead that will only be interesting to you if you’re considering baggage and transport options for the NYC Marathon.  Mom, you can skip reading this one.  😉

 

This year the baggage and transport options for the NYC Marathon open on Tuesday, July 11 (and close on August 22). But runners won’t find out their bib numbers or starting corrals until much, much later (probably October).  So how do you choose between the options?

 

Bag or No Bag?

This one is pretty easy.  Most people say not to check a bag.  The upside of no baggage is an earlier exit from the park (relatively speaking – you’ll still exit 1/2 mile after the finish line vs 1 mile for those with bags) plus a free waterproof fleece-lined hooded parka.  These parkas are huge, thick, just massive things that really help you stay warm (and dry, if it’s raining).  They are ugly, and you’ll never wear it again, but you’ll also find it hard to toss because it’s so nice.  The downside is you’ll have to toss your warm layers and whatever else you want at the start but don’t want to run 26 miles with.  Use this as an opportunity to get rid of clothes you don’t want anymore (everything is collected and donated) or buy cheap or used clothing if you don’t have anything you want to leave behind (but I mean, c’mon, when are you going to wear that stained sweatshirt again?).

 

The only reason you’d check a bag is if you absolutely have to have something at the start that you can’t toss but can’t carry.  If you need something particular at the finish (but not at the start), I’ve heard you can check a bag at Jackrabbit on 72nd between Columbus and Amsterdam (for a small fee). Otherwise you can probably last until you get back to your hotel or car (or, heck, even buy it from a store near the park).  Ultimately, I haven’t heard many complaints about the choice either way – I think the bag check runs pretty smoothly, and those who don’t check a bag are fine, too.  Can’t really go wrong here.

 

Ferry or Bus?

This is the big question I’ve debated for a long time, but I think I’ve finally made my choice.  When I ran in 2005, the buses left from downtown and the ferry was not an official option.  Now, buses leave from midtown (next to the library at 5th and 42nd) and the ferry is an official transport option.  (I’m only going to debate the NYC options since if the bus from Jersey is an option for you, you’re probably not debating anything!)

 

The bus is appealing because it’s one-stop-shopping.  You get on the bus, you zone out, and you get off at the starting area.  Lovely!  My friend who took the ferry last year said it was cold and if he had to do it again he’d take the bus.  Plus, the bus is in midtown, which is easy to get to even if there are delays on the subway or something (I could taxi or uber or even walk if it came to it).  So at first the bus was the clear winner for me.  But then I realized they close the bridge at 6:45, which means that all the buses are really early.  Not a problem if you are in one of the first couple waves, but if your start time is 11:00 and you’re taking a bus at, say, 5:45, that means you’d board the bus more than five hours before your start time!

 

So what are the start times, and how do you know which wave you’ll be in?  I’ve found several old pace charts that really, really help with this question – this is from 2014this is from 2015, and this is from 2016.  NYRR will seed you based on what you said your finish time will be (and maybe possibly based on data it has on you, but I’m not 100% sure on that).  Basically, and assuming this year will be like last year, if you’re a 3:00 to 3:30 marathoner you’ll be in Wave 1 that leaves at 9:40 am, 3:35 to 4:00 will be in Wave 2 at 10:15 am, 4:00 to 4:30 will be Wave 3 at 10:40 am, and 4:30 to 6:00 (yikes that’s a big spread) are Wave 4 at 11:00 am.  Note that it might take several to many minutes to cross the actual starting line.  Last year I had friends who started almost at noon.  That means that even if they finished in 4 hours 45 minutes, the sun would already be set.  🙁  (Let’s note here that I’m gunning for a 5:15 finish, but will be happy with 5:30 and ok with 5:45.  So, yeah.  A lot slower than sub 5.)

 

So, setting aside the fact that there’s a decent chance I will finish this marathon in the dark, I will certainly be in Wave 4, and I will probably have a green colored bib and have to run on the bottom of the Verrazano bridge (rumor has it blue and orange get top, green gets bottom).  These are all depressing things to learn, but I guess I’d rather make peace with them now than be surprised on race day.

 

Back to the ferry!  The ferry is highly recommended on online boards, but why?  It seems like a hassle – you have to subway or taxi all the way to the tip of Manhattan, stand in a crush of people to get onto a ferry that holds 5,000 people, then get off in another crush and make your way onto another bus (one hopes there are enough buses there waiting), which then finally takes you to the start.  And as my friend said, it’s cold.  And it sounds like a lot of standing and walking and generally being on your legs to me!  So why so recommended?  Honestly, it sounds like the #1 reason is because the “view is nice.”  Yeah, you get to see the Statue of Liberty and feel like you’re really “in” New York City.  I mean… I guess?  But as someone who has lived here 17 years and has seen the statue many times, I think I can pass on marathon morning.  Other ferry advantages?  You can “stretch out” and there’s a bathroom on board (and in the terminal).  But there are also bathrooms on the buses!  (or so I’ve read)

 

The real reason I’m (probably) choosing the ferry?  (Gasp, yes, I think I’m going to deal with the ferry hassle!)  Because of the time cutoffs and my late start.  Even if they have buses as late as 6:30 (which I highly doubt what with the 6:45 bridge closure), that’s still 4 1/2 hours before my wave starts.  I could take the 8:30 or even 9:00 ferry and probably make it on time (although I’m sure my nerves will get the best of me and I’ll be on the 8:00 ferry).  Regardless, that’s a pretty big time difference, and ultimately makes taking the ferry worth the additional hassle.  And who knows, maybe I’ll be so inspired by the beauty of the Statue of Liberty that I’ll crush my time.  I am strongly considering dressing like the statue for my race costume anyway…

 

Either way, people say be on the bus or ferry 2.5 to 3 hours before your official start time to give yourself time for the transport(s), walking, security, bag check, porta potty visits, getting to your corral, etc.  Also note that in the past, bag check closed a little over an hour before the wave (e.g. 9:20 for a 10:30 start) and corrals closed about 20 minutes before the waves started (e.g. 10:10 for a 10:30 start), so you might need even more time to get to the start depending.  The upside is it gives you more time to eat the free bagels, Powerbars, coffee, tea, and water that’s at the start.

 

Ultimately, getting to the NYC Marathon start is a big hassle, no matter how you slice it.  And then after getting to the start, you will inevitably be waiting around a long, long time (in the cold and other unpredictable elements).  But then after all that hassle and all that waiting, you get to run 26.2 miles, so there’s that.  Why do we do this again?

 

TL;DR – take the bus if you’re in waves 1 or 2, if you’re staying in midtown, or if you don’t mind hanging around the starting village.  Take the ferry if you’re from out-of-town and really want the “NYC experience,” if you’re staying at a downtown hotel, or if you’re in a later wave and don’t want to kill too much time in the village.

 

Are you or have you ever taken the bus or ferry to the start of the NYC Marathon?  Checked a bag?  What meal are you planning for before and after the race?  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!

I got into the NYC Marathon!

It already has!

I was just finishing my dinner when my email dinged – I checked and my stomach dropped – I got into the NYC marathon lottery!  Hooooooo boy…  I did not see that coming.

 

First, apologies for the incredibly long break in posting.  I still can’t run due to injury, so I haven’t been in the running mindset, so this blog has been gathering as much dust as my running shoes.  I was going to write a post about what I have been doing besides running, but I kept putting that off because, well, it is profoundly uninteresting.  I’ve been resting a lot, and walking a little, and just started rowing and going to the gym again, but then I played tourist in this beautiful weather we’ve been having and overdid it, compressing my ankle and causing pain and swelling, helping keep my PT busy and my running shoes dusty.

 

On a lark, I applied for the NYC Marathon lottery two weeks ago – the last day they accepted applications.  The odds of a local resident getting selected for the lottery were only about 23%.  Well, apparently I am one of the 23%, because I got in!  (You might remember I was only 2 races away from qualifying last year, but I couldn’t make it because of the injury.)

 

I really didn’t think I’d get selected, and I was okay with that.  I still can’t even run a block, so the idea of running a marathon seems farfetched.  But I also rationalized that if I did get in, it might be a good way to test the waters – I ran the NYC Marathon in 2005 (good lord, has it really already been 12 years?!), so there would be no pressure to finish for my 50 States quest, plus it’s a local race so I wouldn’t have the added expense and stress of travel and hotel.  But now I’m realizing it’s only 8 months away, which seems so so so very soon to learn how to run 26.2 miles.

It’s making my stomach do flips, that’s for sure.

 

So, I just won probably the worst lottery in the world and I paid $255 for the privilege.  As the immortal Forrest Gump(‘s momma) said, “stupid is as stupid does.”  I guess I’m back to being a stupid runner, even without the running!  Huzzah!

 

Did you get into the 2017 NYC Marathon?  Have you ever won any sort of lottery or prize?  How much would you pay to not have to run the NYC Marathon?  Share in the comments!

Bronx 5K – Beautiful Day – Sun, Sept 25, 2016

The finish area of the NYRR Bronx 5K leads to this track in the shadow of Yankee Stadium.

The finish area of the NYRR Bronx 5K leads to this track in the shadow of Yankee Stadium.

On Sunday, September 25, 2016, I was supposed to be running 26 miles at the Clarence DeMar Marathon in Keene, New Hampshire.  Because of my injury, I was instead walking 3 miles in the Bronx.  Surprisingly, I was not terribly depressed about this, partially because it was a perfect fall day, partially because my ankle amazingly didn’t hurt too much during or after, but mostly because the rest of my weekend was so fun, I wasn’t disappointed that I wasn’t in New Hampshire.

 

There are two things I don’t recommend doing before the Bronx 5K – getting only 3 hours of sleep and taking the A train.  I don’t have much advice about how to avoid the former, but the latter can be avoided by either doing whatever you can to take the D train straight to 167th Street, praying to the MTA gods that another train will be in service that weekend (like the 2), or take a taxi or an Uber.  I waited so long on a hot, crowded platform for the A (and the D) that I actually arrived after the start of the race, despite allotting an hour and 15 minutes travel time for an estimated 40 minute journey.

I seriously thought I was going to die waiting here.

I seriously thought I was going to die waiting here.

Despite the transportation hassles, I perked right up when I finally got into the Bronx and had to hustle a few blocks back past the start and slip through a barricade so I could get into the chute and cross the starting line (about 10 minutes after the official start at 7:30).  There were still quite a few stragglers who began even after I did, probably also due to train delays and/or excessive Saturday night celebration.  Still, my slow pace and late start made for a blissfully empty course, which I enjoyed all the way to the finish.

I was just heading out when most of the pack was heading back in to the finish.

I was just heading out when most of the pack was heading back in.

Due to the pain I felt during and after my last attempt at walking a 5K, I forced myself to slow down even more than usual (to about 18 minute miles) which seemed to help.

The highlight of the race was seeing two of my friends who were running the 10 miler option.  Because I was so slow, I was walking towards the starting area when the 10 miler took off.  I got to see the elites sprint by and the rest of the hoard heading out strong – the sound of feet on pavement was stunning.  Because there were so many thousands of runners (about 10,000 total that day), I walked past several blocks of runners still waiting in their corrals to cross the start.  I’m still amazed I saw my two runner friends in that crowd!

The finish line is down on the left, Yankee Stadium is hulking on the right.

The finish line is down on the left, Yankee Stadium is hulking on the right.

I had a huge grin on my face for most of this race – the weather and taking my time really seemed to help.  Also, I love the Bronx 5K and 10 miler series!  Food afterwards included the standard apples, pretzels, a bagel, and a PowerBar protein bar.  There was a medal for the 10 miler but not for the 5K.  However, we did get an excellent (although unisex) technical New Balance race shirt included in the $15 registration!

A nice tech shirt? Yes, please!

A nice tech shirt? Yes, please!

Since my ankle held up so well for the race, after some stretching and PT work, I was able to walk another 5+ miles around Brooklyn that afternoon and night (not continuous, but still!).  And yes, the rest of these photos have nothing to do with the Bronx 5K, but my outing put me in a good mood so I’m gonna count it as part of my running life… (ok, yes, it’s a stretch…)

Sunset under the Williamsburg Bridge.

Sunset under the Williamsburg Bridge.

So, despite my ankle, it was a great weekend.  Today my ankle seems no worse for wear, so I’m cautiously optimistic about what the doctor will tell me on Wednesday… (knock wood!!)  Plus it’s fantastic because I clearly deserve at least 5 million dollars from the city for my injury – mine sounds much worse than hers!

 

How was your weekend?  Have you ever run the Bronx 5K or 10 miler?  Do you love, hate, or hate to love Williamsburg?  Have you ever sued the city?  Share in the comments!

Percy Sutton Harlem 5K – A Pain in the Ankle & Bonus Candy Review – Aug 27, 2016

Waiting at the start of the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K.

Waiting at the start of the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K.

Today I walked my second NYRR race since spraining my ankle in May, and while it was a really nice race overall, my ankle started hurting more than I expected and now I’m a little worried I overdid it.  Good thing I have chocolate.

 

Race Review

Gradual uphill with views of Yankee Stadium in the distance off to the right.

Gradual uphill with views of Yankee Stadium in the distance off to the right (not captured but it’s there).

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run (honoring the former Manhattan borough president who was a supporter of the 5-borough NYC Marathon and NYRR in general) is a typical NYRR race but the course actually is in Harlem instead of following the typical Central Park loop.  It’s a pretty delightful loop starting at 135th and St Nicholas Ave, heading north to 155th, cutting west a few blocks, then south along St Nicolas Park before rounding back north at 127th to finish basically where it started.  The neighborhood looks beautiful, you can see Yankee Stadium in the distance for part of the race, and you get to walk run past some beautiful architecture that’s part of City College.  At the beginning of the race the announcer said that in the first year of this race there were only a few hundred runners, but in this, its 7th year, there are over 5,000!  (Actual total finishers was 4,803.)

 

The start of the hill at about mile .4.

The start of the hill at about mile .4.

The course does feature some hills, most notably a 1/4 mile hill about .4 miles from the start, but there are a few other shorter uphills and downhills scattered along the 3-mile course.  Despite the hills, I foolishly walked about as fast as I could for the first mile (slightly under a 15 minute per mile pace, too fast for my still-healing ankle), until about mile 1.3 when my ankle screamed in protest and I stopped to roll it around a bit, as if that would do anything.  As much as it killed me, I slowed down my already slow pace and tried to baby my ankle a bit, but by mile 2 I was pretty obviously limping.  I limped my way through the last mile, and despite the pain and the frustration, I was actually having a good time and even got a bit emotional from all the lovely people cheering all of us slowpokes.

 

Weirdest looking bagels I've ever seen.

Weirdest looking bagels I’ve ever seen.

He made me take off my shoe to "ice properly."

He made me take off my shoe to “ice properly.”

At the finish line we were greeted by the standard apples and non-standard deli rolls (I guess they ran out of bagels?).  I got ice from the med tent and actually sat on a park bench to ice my ankle while chatting with a friend.  My doctor friend told me to take Advil and my physical therapist friend told me to ice it, so I did both because I’m very obedient.

 

While I didn’t take a roll, I did have pizza after the race because my ankle hurt and thus I deserved it.  I also had some ice cream and the chocolate featured below, because I am a glutton.

Bonus Candy Review!

I didn't make the cleanest breaks but you get the idea.

I didn’t make the cleanest breaks but you get the idea.

I got this delightful chocolate as a gift, but you can actually buy it on Amazon.  It’s somehingsomethinggreek Ion brand milk chocolate with almonds.  (It’s not the first Greek chocolate I’ve tried, and it won’t be the last.)  The milk chocolate is better than standard American candy bar chocolate (ok, I know that’s not a high bar, pun intended), and the almonds are crunchy, but the best part is just how thick and large each square is.  Why is that the best part?  Because you’re basically forced to eat at least one large square every time you encounter this candy.  I mean, it’s not that you want to eat a ton of chocolate, you’re a delicate flower and only take the tiniest nibbles of things, but if that’s how the bar is divided, I guess you have to.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

Now I’m sitting on my couch, icing and elevating and wondering if I could eat more chocolate.  They didn’t mention that it heals ankles in this recent Runner’s World article on ankle sprains, but I’m pretty sure it helps, right?

 

Have you ever run the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K race?  Have you ever had Ion chocolate?  Are you able to justify your food choices based on lingering pains in your body?  Share in the comments!

NYRR R-U-N 5K – Lightning the Load – Aug 11, 2016

Fun acrylic glass and temporary tattoos for the NYRR R-U-N 5K.

Fun acrylic “glass” and temporary tattoos for the NYRR R-U-N 5K.

My plan to triumphantly return to road racing tonight by walking the ironically named R-U-N 5K was, as many of my race-related plans have been recently, foiled, this time by heat and then severe thunderstorms.  At about 3:30 pm, the race officials emailed us saying the race would be an untimed, unscored fun run due to the weather (it’s about 1,000 degrees and very humid here).  The good news was that runners would get a marathon credit whether we ran it or not.

 

I debated on whether to still walk it because as much as I wanted to get back out there (even just walking), it was also as hot as heck and I have an early morning flight tomorrow and didn’t want the hassle of getting to/from the park and stressing my ankle before a special getaway.  Luckily the decision was made for me at about 6 pm when officials told all runners and volunteers to seek shelter immediately due to severe thunderstorms.  As I’m sitting here guilt-free in my air-conditioned apartment, I can hear nasty cracks of thunder and am waiting for the deluge.

 

The race was advertised as a “social” race – when I signed up I had to select whether I wanted a corral according to my time or if I wanted to be “social.”  I chose “social,” although to be honest I think I would have gotten the same corral anyway since I’m so slow.  It was supposed to start at 7 pm in Central Park, with drink specials for the runners at various restaurants after the race.  It would have been my first race that started in the evening (not counting Ragnar, since that lasts multiple days) and of course my first race since The Injury.  Ah, well!  There’s always the France Run (8K) in a little over a week!

 

Have you ever had a race completely cancelled?  Have you ever done an evening race?  Have you ever been to Nashville?  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!