2014 Staten Island Half Marathon Race Recap

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Happy Monday! I keep forgetting that today is a holiday. My oldest is off from school but my husband has work – so it doesn’t feel like an actual holiday! Yesterday was the Staten Island Half Marathon. It was the 4th time I ran this race. Other than the first year, I can’t say that I’ve had a good experience with the race. Here’s a quick run-down: – 2010: 2:00:15 – 6 months pregnant. Ran it with my husband and good friend from college. Had a blast! – 2011: 1:38:57 – Ran it as a tuneup 3 weeks before the NYC Marathon. Was shooting for sub-1:35 but started way too fast and had a rough 2nd half. – 2013: DNF – Ran it as a tuneup before the Philly Marathon 5 weeks later. Started fast and started feeling hamstring pain around mile 8 so stopped at mile 9. I really was focused on a strong race and effort, regardless of the finish time – but I also was looking to get a big course PR and try to get an overall PR. For some reason this course is considered a fast course – but I really don’t know many runners who will agree Continue Reading →

RnR Philly Half Recap + Heat Exhaustion in Cold Weather

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Subscribe to receive NYCRunningMama delivered to your inbox!! If you follow me on social media, you probably saw the pictures and chatter in the days leading up to last Sunday – my sister’s first half marathon! The weekend started off smashingly – 5k PR for me, a YUMMY lunch at a historic deli close to our hotel, fun time at the expo visiting our friends at Sparkly Soul and listening to Chris chat on stage and then meeting up with the rest of our family who arrived in Philly around 2pm. We hung out in the hotel for a bit before heading to an early dinner at an Italian restaurant. Dinner was delicious, the company was even better and the excitement was immeasurable. My sister and I left the hotel at 6:30am and walked the mile to the start area. While she hung out and relaxed in our corral, I did a short 2.5 mile warmup. My legs felt really tight (not sore) from the 5k the day prior and I wanted to make sure I stretched and warmed up before asking my legs to run another 13.1 miles. read more

Highs and Lows

This weekend was {this} close to being an absolutely perfect one.  Friday afternoon, I said goodbye to the boys (who were being watched by my sweet sister!) and picked up three of my college girlfriends from the airport/their apartment in NJ enroute to our 10 year college reunion at West Point. Friday night was an organized dinner where we got to catch up with all of our classmates who had come for the reunion. We had decided to go sans significant others/kids so that we could have some girl time – we haven’t all been together in years. We didn’t make it to bed until 2am – WAY past my normal bedtime but totally worth the exhaustion we all felt at 6am the next morning when it was time to get up and get ready for the day. Saturday consisted of watching the pre-game parade (first parade I have seen since I graduated):  Having lunch in the mess hall (cafeteria): Hanging out in North Area (location where we had formation 2x/day): Touring the gym: and lastly, attending the football game: read more

Slowing Down to Get Faster

As I alluded to in my last post, I am doing a bunch of things differently this training cycle. The most glaring change I have made is slowing down every run {with the exception of my long run}.  Easy runs, tempos, intervals, recovery…They are all slower. Anywhere from 15 sec to 1 whole minute slower than I was running in the spring: Recovery/Easy Runs: 7:35-7:45 -> 8:05-8:40 5 mile Tempo Run: 6:30 -> 6:55 1600m intervals: 6:00-6:10 -> 6:35-6:40 It may seem counter-intuitive, but by me going slower most days, I am hoping to get stronger and faster.   In the spring, my mentality was to go as hard as I could for each workout. I used McMillan’s Running Calculator to determine my training paces, but truth be told, I would either try to be on the faster range of those paces or try to run them faster because I felt I should be working hard (95-100% effort).  And in my mind, working hard equated to all out exhaustion.  Part of it was that I was trying to regain my speed that I had “lost” during pregnancy. I thought if I ran as fast as I could for speed workouts Continue Reading →

RnR Philly Half Race Recap + Review

Me + My godson + his parents + sister + godfather

Sunday was an absolutely wonderful day for two big reasons. I PR’d the half…but more importantly was what happened AFTER the race: My adorable, huggable godson’s Christening Day! After crossing the finish line at 9:32, I chatted for a few minutes with Mike, a runner who I managed to hang with through mile 9 (I think?) and then who negative split the heck out of the race and finished over TWO minutes faster than me. I got my medal, grabbed a water bottle, and ran the 1.5 miles back to the hotel – where my car was waiting {bags packed and already in the car too} at the valet. I drove the 80-90 minutes home to Staten Island, showered, got ready, and my husband, boys and I were at my sister’s house by 1pm. I may not have had the fastest race time of the day, but I’m fairly certain I would be in the running for the fastest transition. HAHA.  Thankfully, my husband is amazing and got both boys dressed and ready while I was concentrating on myself. —————— read more

Sub-1:32 Half Marathon -> FINALLY!

Happy Monday!!  As I mentioned last week, I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon yesterday. A full recap (and race review) will be coming later this week (hopefully tomorrow), but wanted to share the good GREAT news. I PR’d and finally got the sub-1:32 that I missed in the spring. The race wasn’t perfect – I started too fast and was kind of done by mile 12, but I was able to squeak out a 1:31:57 thanks to perfect running weather and a {relatively} flat, fast course. Did you race this weekend? Anyone PR? If you had to pick – would you prefer perfect running weather or a flat, fast course? This is a tough one – I think I would prefer perfect running weather. I despise the cold and really don’t deal well (mentally) with the wind. ————————- I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}. For More NYC Running Mama training updates, pictures and ramblings, check out: read more

RnR Philly Half + Benefits of Using a Running Coach

Tomorrow, all of my boys will be staying at home as I make the short trip for the RnR Philly Half. I’m a little excited, a bit nervous, but surprisingly, mostly calm about the race.  There is a HUGE part of me that would love to PR on Sunday. My PR stands at 1:32:23 from this year’s NYC Half and while I know that I have a faster half marathon time in me, I’m not quite convinced the time is now.   My coach and I have decided to use this race a gauge of where I am in my training and to help set more concrete goals for the marathon in two months.  There was very little taper for this (I did an 8x800m workout on Tuesday and a 17 miler last weekend) since we are not using it as a target race. Eyes and focus on the prize (Philly Marathon). Which I think is why I’m so calm about the race.  This is my first real road race since the Ironman and Ironman training last spring. I have virtually no expectations, other than knowing I am going to run as smart and as hard as I can for 13.1 Continue Reading →

Race Calendar + Ironman Lake Placid Training

Hello friends! One of my good friends pointed out to me that my race calendar was severely outdated…so I took a few minutes and updated it.  (The calendar can be found here.)  The big/long races are definites.   The smaller/shorter ones are still up in the air (5 miler on 4th of July, RW races, etc).  I made the decision on a fall marathon…the Wineglass Marathon!  SUPER excited about this one. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things and I’m loving the elevation chart for the race: I’m also looking for a triathlon to do before the ironman in July.  There is the Rev3 Quassy in June that I would LOVE to do but not sure we will be able to swing it financially (registration alone is over $250…then we will need hotel for 1-2 nights, etc).  Anyone want to sponsor me? (I’m only half kidding). —————————————— I realized it’s been a while since I gave any sort of update with how training is going in prep for IM Lake Placid.  I post a lot of pictures on my Instagram account {NYCRunningMama} with training updates, but don’t really blog about how things are going.  So here goes: read more

Race Pacing

NYC Half 23

  In case you haven’t heard, Google Reader is going away…if you’d like to continue to subscribe to NYC Running Mama you can do so by email (link on the right hand side of the page) or you can Follow my blog with Bloglovin. —————————- Last weekend’s NYC Half Marathon was the best executed race I’ve ever run.  I know it’s a pretty bold statement to make.  But I’ve never had my pace be so consistent from start to finish, have never felt so strong crossing the finish line, and have never walked away from a race being 100% satisfied with it.  Although I pushed myself and there were definitely some points of being uncomfortable, I realized after the race that I never had those moments of exhaustion, of not wanting to take another step, and of yelling at myself in my head for not following my race plan – all things that I am very much accustomed to having/doing. For years, this is how a race would look:  I would initially start at the pace I was shooting for. But due to a good taper, my legs were fresh.  The average pace I had planned on running felt easy – Continue Reading →

Saucony Virrata Review

virrata

Over the years, I have dabbled with zero-drop shoes on more occasions than I can remember.  I SO wanted to wear a lightweight, more natural shoe.  But each time I have had to sadly return to my previous training shoe because my foot felt too naked, too unsupported for anything more than a mile or two. They just didn’t feel right on my foot and I couldn’t get used to the feeling of having NO support from the pavement. So, understandably, I was intrigued when I heard about the new Saucony shoe – the Virrata. The Virrata is Saucony’s lightest and most flexible training shoe which allows your foot to move naturally.  But Saucony did something different with this shoe – something I hadn’t seen in other natural 0mm drop shoes. Rather than completely strip down the shoe and leave a 0mm drop shoe with no support or cushioning, they ADDED 18mm of cushion at the bottom. GENIUS.  I loved this concept because it addressed my biggest issue with lightweight, 0mm drop shoes – the lack of protection and support.  read more

NYC Half Race Recap

post race

I am still smiling from the 2013 NYC Half.  I don’t think I have EVER run such a steady, smart, even-paced race in my life. It was a frigid morning.  Temps were hovering around 30 at race start, but with the windchill, it felt like about 20 degrees.  I wasn’t concerned with anything except my hands.  My body warms up within 5 minutes of running but my hands never seem to warm up.  On long runs, I often opt for mittens but I wanted to have better use of my hands for water and fueling. Like I said yesterday, I didn’t get a chance to do the warm-up I wanted and was worried that the 1/4 mile I jogged from the interview location to the start corral would not be enough of a warm-up for me.  I was also concerned with how long I (we) would have to wait in the corrals not moving (about 30 minutes). This post is pretty long…I tried to cut it down but there was just too much going on in my head during those 13.32 miles. *The splits below are based on my Garmin.  I ran a bit longer than the 13.1 miles so Continue Reading →

Behind the Scenes

interview

I received a phone call from one of my good friends at NYRR – she was someone I had met during the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge journey and have remained in close contact with her.  She wanted to know if I would be interested in being filmed for an On the Run episode – an online series created/produced by NYRR.  With the NYC Half being the first race run on the streets of NYC since Superstorm Sandy, NYRR was putting together some segments on those running the race who were affected by the storm.  She was aware that I had organized the Race for Recovery, she thought I would be a good fit. A couple of days after that initial conversation, I was told that WABC had learned of my story and were interested in airing the segment on their channel during the NYC Half coverage on Sunday.  My piece is scheduled to air at 7:16am on Sunday, March 17 on WABC.  (More information can be found here.)  As soon as I find out the link on the NYRR website and/or the WABC site, I will share it! read more

Race Week: NYC Half

2010 NYC Half

The NYC Half is Sunday. I’m anxious, excited and nervous as all heck.  Anxious to put the last 10 weeks of hard training to the test.  Excited to be racing again.  Nervous because I have some pretty BIG goals for this race.   There’s a huge part of me that wants to keep my goals hidden.  It’ll be a lot easier on Sunday if I come up short if I didn’t share what my goals were here.  I won’t have to publicly admit defeat like I had to do in January when I missed the qualifying time for the Saucony Hurricane Team.   But, I share my training – the good and bad…so feel that sharing my goals is a continuation of that.  I try to openly share my goals – all of them – on here, twitter, facebook, IG. And what is the worst that could happen?  That I fail?  I have failed at SO many things I’ve set out to do in my life…so what’s one more?  Failing makes me stronger.  Failing no longer scares me. All I can do on Saturday is race with my heart and my head – my body will follow.  read more

PR Spotlight – Beka K

Brandon Half Marathon - Dec 2012

I love stories of people who have been inspired to run/race after seeing a marathon for the first time.  That is what happened to Beka in November 2011.  She ran her first 5k a month later and tackled her first half marathon less than three months after that!.  Her first half-marathon time?  2:17!  AND just became part of the sub-2 club when she knocked over 12 minutes off her half-marathon time!  Beka know holds a 1:54 half-marathon PR and is anxiously awaiting for training to begin this summer for her first full marathon.  Did I mention that she’s only been running about 14 months?? =)  I think she is going to be setting some pretty nice PRs this year due to her natural speed + incredible dedication. Name: Rebecca (Beka) Kelley Age: 28 Hometown: Memphis, TN – now live in Tampa, FL Blog: www.rebeccaroams.com Twitter: @rebeccaroams How long have you been running? 1 year & 2 months Why did you start running? In November 2011, I tagged along with my boyfriend to his first marathon (which I thought he was nuts for even doing). While he ran, I grabbed a big fatty breakfast at Denny’s, lounged around, and waited at my spots to see him a couple Continue Reading →

PR Spotlight: Hyedi N

hyedi2

Happy Friday!!!  Hope everyone has safe and easy travels home and/or a safe weekend with the wintery weather we have been having!! Today marks the end of Week 1 of marathon training.  I didn’t run as often as I wanted to because I am still recovering from the flu – but am overall pretty satisfied.  I used this week as a refresher for myself – no hard or long distance runs – I mostly wanted to get used to waking up at 5am and running every day.  I’m really excited for this training cycle and plan to go into detail about my training plans for my spring marathon  next week! ————————————————– This week’s PR spotlight is on Hyedi.  I’ve been following her for a while now on Twitter but really started interacting a lot more when the Race for Recovery was being planned – she was enormously helpful in spreading the word and getting involved.  Read below to see how she went from a 2:12 half marathon in 2009 to a 2:03 in 2012.  She has even bigger goals for 2013 – sub-2 (which she TOTALLY has got!).  PS. Hyedi – hope you kick the flu and feel better quickly Continue Reading →

Spring Racing Decisions

I am signed up for the NJ Marathon on May 5.  I was registered last year, but deferred (for free!) when I became pregnant.   This IS my target race for the spring.  It’s a flat, fast course and I have big dreams of running sub-3:10.  This is ultimately what all of my training will revolve around.  I want all the races I choose to run to add to, not take away from, this goal. But I have a dilemma.  I am toying with the idea of running either a March marathon or half marathon as preparation for NJ in May.  Here are my options: Option A: Run the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon (or the B & A Trail Marathon) on March 16 I would use this race as a test run before the NJ Marathon.  Truth be told, I haven’t “raced” a marathon since Boston 2009 – that’s almost FOUR years!! I ran the NYC Marathon in Nov 2011, but had to run the first half with four other runners (it was at a pace much slower than I’m used to running) so I didn’t get the opportunity to push myself for the full 26.2 miles.  I feel Continue Reading →

How Much Money Are You Willing To Pay For Race Entry?

2009 Boston Marathon

Last week I received an email from the organizers of the NYC Ironman announcing registration for the 2013 race.  I had signed up for the 2012 Ironman (which was held last weekend) but had to cancel my entry when I found out I was pregnant (I received a $150 refund on my race entry fee). My husband and I had recently been discussing my intentions to sign up for next year’s race – training and completing an Ironman has been on the forefront of my mind for the past few years and rather than put it off for another few years, we decided I would make the NYC Ironman my target race post-baby #2. Well, we did…until I got the email with the registration information.  The price tag for the 2013 NYC Ironman? $1200 This is about $250 MORE than it was for the previous year’s race (2012 NYC Ironman).   In my mind, I could <somewhat> justify $950 for an Ironman but just couldn’t bring myself to pay $1200. Maybe it was the four digit figure as opposed to three.  Not sure.  But that extra $250 was the cut-off point for me.  (Registration is currently suspended for the NYC IM Continue Reading →

Founder’s Award and a DNS

Founder's Award

Lots of updates from the weekend!! I was notified by the alumni association from my elementary school alma mater, St Christopher’s, a couple of months ago with the news that I was selected to receive the 2012 St. Christopher Founders Award (along with other honorees). The dinner and ceremony were amazing – there were SO many former teachers, parents of classmates, and alumni present – it was like a mini-reunion for me!  I hadn’t been back to my elementary school in almost 11 years so going back – this time with my husband and son was so much fun.  But it was strange – part of me felt like time had stopped and I was right back in school, in the gymnasium, playing basketball like I had 17 years ago (gosh, I am getting old!). Here are a few pictures from the evening: ————————– As you may remember from previous blog posts, I had planned on running the Brooklyn Half Marathon this past weekend.  However, I made the decision late Friday night to forego the race for a few reasons: read more

Highlights from the 2012 NYC Half Marathon

Love Kara's strong body!

I had decided not to sign up for the NYC Half this year.  My goals for 2012  including PR’ing in both the marathon and the half marathon and I knew it would be tough to PR on this tough course (the first half is extremely hilly).  I have also run the NYC Half before and so couldn’t justify spending upwards of $150 for the registration fee since my husband and I are trying to limit our spending in preparation for our move next month.  Lastly, I wanted to focus primarily on the NJ Marathon in May and didn’t want to have to deal with tapering and recovering midway through the training cycle.  So no NYC Half for me! I knew a lot of people running and have never had the opportunity to cheer during such a big race because I am either racing or have a family commitment that prevented me from running the race in the first place.  I decided to drive into the city this year and support my friends, fellow bloggers, and the rest of the runners.  It was such an amazing experience! read more

Running through Pregnancy – Part 3 – the 2nd Trimester

4 mile race @ 24 weeks

In case you missed it, Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 can be found here. By the end of the 2nd trimester, I was averaging between 30-40 mi/wk while running anywhere from 4-10 mi/day. My “easy” pace had begun to slow down – instead of an 8:30 pace, most runs were now around 9:00 min/mile. I had heard numerous times that the 2nd trimester was the honeymoon phase of pregnancy…after experiencing it, I could not agree MORE!  For most of the 2nd trimester, I was able to run 6x days a week and was actually running more at 25 weeks then I was at 10 weeks. My belly was slowly growing, but it was still small enough to not get in the way while running.  The occasional nausea I felt in the 1st trimester was gone and my energy levels were through the roof.  There were days where I felt like I could run forever – and I often turned planned short runs into long, slow ones (upwards of 10 miles) because I felt great.  Races I completed Since I felt so great during the 2nd trimester, I decided to sign up for a few local races.  I ran the Fitness Mind, Body and Continue Reading →