Bronx 10 Miler – Legs Are Feeling Good


I was on the fence for this one. Being two weeks out from a marathon, racing is maybe not the smartest idea and I hadn’t done much speed work since it’s summer and summer + speed work isn’t my thing. I sweat too much and overheat to quickly for that. On the other hand, this was the best opportunity for me to try to move up a corral since its a longer race and on a flatter course.

Despite being at the tail end of a 75 mile week, legs were feeling good; sprightly even. I clocked 6:45 for the first mile and was shocked at how easy that felt, I decided to go with it and see how long I could hold on. I ran fairly even splits for the first half and realized that if I could negative split even slightly, I’d move up corrals.


I usually despise out and back courses, but this one was fun — I loved seeing everyone on the other side! Around mile 7, I started doing mental math and realized I could actually slow down and still hit the time I needed if I started to not feel well; and a part of me was not feeling well – the heat was starting to make me a little nauseated.

Having started fairly far back meant that I was passing people the entire way, so I shifted my mindset from running a particular pace to catching people. Mile 8, I started to do more mental math and realized I could potentially go under 67 minutes if I kept it up, it would be close but I could do it.

Mile 9, I started to fade slightly – I think it was my stomach forcing me to slow a bit and I knew if I got a side stitch there’s no way I’d be able to hold on. Despite grabbing water at every stop and gatorade plus water as some, I was a bit dehydrated due to having a very high sweat rate. Towards the end of mile 9 something lit a fire, I don’t know if it was more mental math or trying to reel in other people.

Mile 10 – 6:03; I was on fire. Legs were still feeling good and I was ready to completely empty the tank if possible. I ran hard and with no awareness of how fast I was going and at no point was I wondering when it was going to be over – I was (somewhat unfortunately) ready to keep going and keep hammering down. I crossed in 66:36 and felt fantastic, but was bummed this wasn’t a half and knowing that I could have mostly kept up that pace.


It was the confidence boost that I needed going into Chicago and helped me pick a marathon pace that was both challenging but reasonable. I felt that the Brooklyn Half was far too long ago to make any fitness assumptions off of and the summer left me unable to do much speed work. This was how a race should feel, conservative as you settle in, hard as you fight to hold on and hammer down the pace then emptying the tank with no concern over pace. I felt great and there wasn’t a better way to head into the taper than with a bit of a confidence boost.


Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Recap

This one is a little late, it’s been hectic over here lately with the move, work (naturally one of the busier weeks at work would coincide with a trip and my move), training for BK Half and then catching a cold. Clearly I’ve worn myself a little thin this week.Race week was busier than usual. Prepping for the move, no taper and having a little more work stuff on my plate meant not a ton of rest ahead of time.

I have trouble just going into a race for fun but given the odd distance of this race I was able to just say, I’ll run hard and see what happens. Friday we left for DC after doing a final walk through of the apartment, finishing up packing and heading into the city to catch our bus. 5.5 hours later we arrived in DC, hopped on the train and checked into our hotel.



By this point it was dinner time so we found a super nice place by our hotel and gave it try.

Normally not a take pics of your food person, I’d rather just eat it, but this was in a PINEAPPLE. So I had to.




After dinner we walked to the mall and walked around the monuments, mainly in search of a charged scooter for me to play with. We never found one so we ended up walking the 2+ miles back to our hotel. It was a planned rest day, but we ended up walking over 13 miles throughout the day…not exactly rest.

Saturday morning we woke up – relaxed a little bit then headed out for a shakeout run through Georgetown. This was one of the most beautiful running days of the year, the day anyone who survived a Northeast winter desperately deserved.



It was hard to keep it to just 4 and some change, especially once we found the coolest hidden (paved) trail. But I also wanted a cupcake since we hadn’t eaten yet. I ended my run at Baked & Wired and Joe ran back to the hotel. I grabbed us a couple of cupcakes, popped into the Nike store and then walked back to our hotel.


We showered and headed out to the expo, this also included a lot more walking than it should have given it was the day before the race. The expo was great – tons of cute cherry blossom gear and good vendors. I bought some cute Zensah socks and almost got a flower headband (still wish I had!).

img_3874It was a bit crowded and the actual packet pickup part was a bit out of the way, but not really a big deal. We picked up our bibs and I realized that I, once again discounted myself way too much and was in a much further back corral than I should have been. I was slightly panicked about this knowing how crowded the race was going to be, I really didn’t want to waste energy that I could be using to run on dodging people.

After the expo, we walked (ugh, why!) to go see the cherry blossoms before dinner. I live in New York so I should be used to crowds and lots of people, but there were more people here than I’ve ever seen in Times Square and possibly more people than actual blossoms. It was quite a spectacle.


We were going to walk around a bit, but with the crowds we decided it’d be too stressful and not very fun so we headed back towards the hotel but with the crowds we didn’t have time to stop by the hotel and just headed to dinner. Dinner was a welcome de-stressor (despite the Saturday night Georgetown crowds), we had ravioli and tons of bread. We ubered to Trader Joe’s afterwards and stocked up with snacks, coffee and pre-race breakfast.

Race morning I was up just before my alarm, as per usual. I immediately cracked open the coffees and started getting ready. Somehow I spend more time on my hair and makeup race morning than any other normal day (to be fair, I have a boat load of hair and I either double french braid it or straighten it out to attempt to tame it). I decided to deviate from my normal clif bar breakfast and went with a cherry pop tart, it was tasty and made me happy.

About half an hour into getting ready, I figured I needed more coffee so I sent Joe out for lattes to help move things along. This was far far far too much caffeine and a terrible idea. But I’m learning. I haven’t done a ton of races so I’m trying to figure out what works for me, clearly a lot of caffeine does NOT.

I put together the last of my race kit, pinned on my bib and we headed out. I ran to start OG 4%s in hand and oversized t-shirt to stay warm – I’m sure this was quite the sight! It was about 1.5 miles to the start and 2 miles total of warm up including finding the bag check, port-a-potties and then getting to our corral.


I didn’t see anyone checking bibs so I decided to just hop into Joe’s corral. I was planning to run just under 7:00 anyways. We lined up with the 7:00 pacers and waited. We were quite a bit early but the weather was great so this wasn’t much of a problem. I threw away my shirt too early, but was able to use Joe as a heat sheet (he used me as a pacer until I had to tie my shoe, so we’re even).

I knew I was in a little bit of trouble when I already had to pee right as we started. I figured I could just drink only a couple of sips of water and be fine, not factoring in the 80% humidity and how much I sweat. I settled into my pace from the get go and decided to let go of any notions of surging ahead then praying I could hold on. Today wasn’t the day for that. I turned off my brain and just settled in for the ride, trying to tune out the jitters and stomach cramps from the excess coffee.

At mile 3 I had to stop to tie my shoe. Rookie move, I didn’t triple check these at the start. I jumped back in but had lost Joe. I considered surging ahead to catch him but stomach started screaming at me so I settled back into my pace, surging a little where I could then backing off. I started getting into the groove a bit for the next few miles but never really felt 100% comfortable (welcome to actually racing?).

img_3833I bargained with myself to hold on until the 10k, then to hold on until the 8 mile mark then I could cruise. At mile 8 we turned into the park where we got the most stunning views of the cherry blossoms, also where my stomach started really screaming at me. I wasn’t opposed to being a like a bear in the woods, but something felt really wrong about doing that to a poor cherry blossom tree. img_3840

I made it to 9.5, the 800m to go sign is usually my cue to kick but my stomach was absolutely not having it. I’d be lucky to hold on. The last 800m was probably the most uncomfortable 800m I’ve ever run in my life. I was gaining on Joe, but I was unable to kick and catch up to him. At least I narrowed the 30 second lead at the 10k mark down to 14 by the finish. I’ll take it.

At the finish they had cute Cherry Blossom water bottles for us and tons of great snacks that I somehow missed, likely in my mad dash to the port-a-potty following grabbing a bottle of water. Can’t win them all I guess.

Overall, great race with a couple of rookie mistakes and my even an consistent pacing ever. Even more so than Philly. Unfortunately the course was short by 80 meters (so about 16.5 seconds at my average pace) but I highly doubt I wouldn’t have lasted 16 seconds longer at that pace and with all the weaving I ended up doing + missing a few tangents I ended up running a full 10 miles anyways but it does mean I missed that sub-43 10k by ONE second.


Post race we took a few pics then Joe and I walked/jogged back to the hotel to clean up then head over for brunch. After brunch we all met up to grab cupcakes then get a drink and head back home.

img_3816I’d highly recommend this race – it’s especially perfect for anyone tuning up for a later spring half. It’s mostly flat, weather is perfect and the cherry blossoms are beautiful. The views of the cherry blossoms at the back half of the race are so much better than the ones you’d see around the festival area. Signing up is also relatively risk free since you can transfer your bib (you’ll have NO problem finding someone who will want to take it either) or you can drop to the 5k up to the day before. It’s mostly well organized, the start area had plenty of room to warm up, plenty of port-a-potties and even gatorade + bananas and granola bars. The only issue we had was with the bag check. They switched from a tent set up to UPS trucks and it was really disorganized and the lines were horrendous. That said they responded quickly on social media about this issue and I anticipate that they’ll rectify it next year. NYRR had the same problem at the Brooklyn Half last year and for the NYC Half this year the bag check experience was the easiest I’ve ever had (they called out to me before I even got there and had my bag waiting!).

What spring races do you have lined up? Have you ever done a race-vacation?

Embracing The Treadmill

No one, I mean no one, truly likes the treadmill. But, unless you live in the PNW or California outdoor running isn’t a year round sport. There are seasons where outside isn’t always feasible and doesn’t always make sense to do. Add in factors like unlit running trails, safety and being tired of the cold and the treadmill is the only thing salvaging some runs.


This winter I learned to embrace the treadmill. Particularly with speed work. When I’m trying to hit truly hard (for me) paces it’s nice to just set the treadmill to that speed and go. No thinking involved. Especially appealing if I’m already mentally tired from work and life.

Set, (try to) forget it and zone out. And with the replacement of room temperature instead of the brutal cold, I’m not stopping every couple of minutes to blow my nose. It also holds my water for me and for days when my stomach is angry, there’s a bathroom a few feet away.

It is really, really boring but the treadmill has massive advantages. Skipping a run or slipping and falling on ice is far less ideal than being bored. And when I’m getting over a cold (a seasonal occurrence because I live in New York and am constantly around germy people), running out in the cold is just miserable/impossible.

How do I beat the boredom? The first key ingredient is breaking out my best of the best playlist, the one I only use for races and intimidating workouts. This keeps me distracted and happy. When I’m bored of that I think about the temperature outside and how miserable that is, I’m grateful to be indoors sweating it out inside of unable to feel my hands, feet and face. Another key ingredient is having a workout to do. Even if it’s just a warm up and then some uptempo work or varying easy-ish paces. It breaks it up and instead of 11 miles, it’s a warm up and then 1.25 miles, quick rest, another 1.25 miles, etc.


On a bitterly cold day, I’d much rather be sweating it out than slipping and sliding on snow and ice. I’m not an all-weather runner and you’ll likely never see me out there with microspikes on my running shoes. That’s perfectly okay. I’ll run in some brutal weather on occasion, but I also know that sometimes a run is simply going to be better and I’ll go longer if I’m indoors.

Even though it’s now spring, I’ve found the treadmill to be a powerful tool in my training. It makes speedwork mentally easier, it helps me test paces that I may not be able to hit on my own and gives me easy access to hills without a trek up to the park.

When do you use the treadmill instead of hitting the roads? What conditions make you stay inside?

NYC Half Recap

I signed up for this race 10 days in advance, which is pretty far in advance for me. I told myself, and everyone else I was running this for fun. I didn’t want the PR attempt pressure but secretly I wanted to chip away more time at a larger goal or maybe even hit it. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

half marathon nyc half running marathons races

Friday night we picked up our bibs after Joe was finished with work (I took the day off to just relax). The expo was a little overwhelming for someone who doesn’t love crowds (yes, I know I live in New York City which means I should be used to them), but it was incredibly well organized. I was even able to get a corral change on the spot (I don’t do a ton of NYRR races so my last best time was much slower than my actual last best time).

We looked through the gear, took a couple of pics at the picture stops and headed to Trader Joe’s then home to relax.

Saturday was laid back, we prepped for the race, did a shake out run then headed into the city to run a quick errand then grabbed dinner at a cute little spot off 13th. One of my favorite things about living in the city, no shortage of great food options and all within 5-10 minutes of wherever you want. We got home around 8:30, I rolled out a bit then tried to get to sleep around 10:30.img_3417

I woke up race morning after getting the worst sleep of my life and went straight for the coffee. I drank my La Colombe Draft Latte and decided I’d go for broke today. I’d been somewhat preparing to do so and had a loose plan in mind, I’d keep it in the low 7s on the uphills and rip the downhills (my more muscular quads give me an advantage here). I don’t like planning out a pacing strategy too much, I prefer going by feel and knowing where I can play to my strengths (downhills and crowd support).

To get to the start, I took a cab to Prospect Park with Joe and Kurt which made it stress free and easy. The company also calmed the nerves. Within half an hour we were at the park. We checked our bags and warmed up. I felt ready minus that my coffee only woke me up and didn’t quite do its other job.

I got in the corral a bit early, I was planning to run faster than the fastest pacer in my corral and didn’t want to have to dodge people too much, especially on the downhill where I could bank time without interest.

I lined up with the 1:35 pacer knowing the first mile was uphill the goal was to pass them but not blow past them until the downhill. To be honest, I wasted a lot of energy passing people at the beginning. This is something I’ll want to reign in next time.

The first 4 miles I felt fantastic. I had all of the energy, and I was zooming. I saw my friends at the mile 4 water station just before heading up to the Manhattan Bridge – this was quite a boost, though I wish it had been at mile 10 or 11 where I desperately needed it. Heading up the Manhattan Bridge was hard, really really freaking hard but so cool. This bridge is really underrated and a lot of fun to run up even though it’s quite steep.

img_3523Running up the bridge I felt strong, but on the downhill my stomach fired off a warning shot. I knew this wasn’t good news so I slowed up a bit. My body wanted to go faster and my stomach screamed no, making the downhill pretty uncomfortable.

Next up was my least favorite part of the race, the lonely FDR drive stretch. It didn’t help that the mile markers here were WAY off.

53906710_10158470968957178_4930555213800013824_oI spent the next 2 miles searching for a port-a-potty. At mile 8 I spotted one and I cheered a little. I had resigned myself to the fact that I might have to make the side of the FDR a port-a-potty. By this point, I really had to apply the breaks to avoid that. 92 seconds later, I felt much better. I was starting to bonk a little and this is where I really should have taken a gel. I pushed through it but by mile 10 I was done mentally.

Going through Times Square is arguably the coolest part of the race, but by this point I was just ready to be done. I was really tired and didn’t truly get to enjoy it, especially not the incline at 42nd. For some reason, I really enjoyed that turn into the park, even knowing this would mean a LOT of hills. I saw Joe again for a brief second at mile 12.

Knowing his goal for the race meant I needed to get my behind in gear. I found a second wind for mile 12 but died again at mile 13 and had nothing to give on the uphill finish.

It wasn’t my best finish, and I didn’t feel strong on that last stretch.



This is a story of going out way too fast, and holding on for dear life. Is it a good strategy? Absolutely not. Did I learn to fight to hold on in a way I never would have to otherwise? Absolutely. Is that valuable? Absolutely.

I also tried something different this time. I didn’t look at my watch for the first few miles (except for the mile time), instead I went by feel.

While these splits are truly all over the place it is, ironically, a step in the right direction. Most ever sub-7 miles and despite mentally crashing at 9 and 10, I was able to rally a bit. My mental game clearly needs work but the other work is paying off.

Also worth noting; mile 12 was really somewhere around 7:08 – my GPS messed up a little, but the course was still about 0.10 to 0.15 long which is common with big races.

img_3426.jpgI’d highly recommend this half to anyone who isn’t afraid of potentially frigid weather (it can be in the 20s at the start and at best in the 40s), doesn’t mind a LOT of hills (360+ ft of gain) and isn’t from New York – I can’t imagine how cool it would be for a tourist getting to run through an empty Times Square. If you live here, it’s probably the coolest NYC course that’s only 13.1 miles and it’s logistically a breeze so I’d still recommend it if you’re going to be running long that day anyways.

What’s next? Figuring out how to really get in control of these stomach issues – hoping a more plant based diet helps. Sharpening up some shorter, short distance speed. Training for New Jersey Half and Brooklyn half with a couple of shorter races in the middle. And I’ll actually be tapering for these next two, so we’ll see how that part goes!