Sunday, January 27, 2008

Manhattan Half Marathon 1.27.08

Hi all,

Race number 3 (2nd 2009 marathon-qualifying race and 1st Grand Prix Half Marathon) was the Manhattan Half Marathon. We ran 2 counter-clockwise loops of Central Park, plus another mile or so to make up the half marathon distance.

Goals: to run between the water stations, to set a course PR, and to see if I could run at 9:40 pace (2:06:38) for the entire run (I ran a 15k at 9:40 pace last weekend and wondered if I could stretch that to a half marathon). *Spoiler Alert* – I only managed one of my goals.

Sue gave me a ride downtown so I could be sure to make it there by 8 am. NYRR, in its infinite lack of wisdom, decided that all bags had to be dropped off by 8 am, for an 8:30 am start in sub-freezing weather, a quarter of a mile away from the start. In addition, there weren’t enough port-a-potties and the lines were curving back around on themselves. I was in line for over a half hour, missing the start before I even made it to the front of the line! I had told everyone that I was going to be at the 9-minute-mile marker at the start and I never made it. I’m sorry I missed you all!! As I was trying to get to the start line, some of the NYRR staff tried to make me go to the back of the line to join the race. I ignored them and ran through to the start and managed to join the 11-minute-milers. In another clever move, they’ve scheduled the second of the Grand Prix races for February 10th, giving us just 2 weeks between half marathons, so I wanted to take it a bit easy so I could participate – the Bronx half course is probably the worst of the 5 and takes a lot of energy.

Anyway, I had hoped to run each loop in under an hour and managed it for the first loop. The lead runner passed me just as I was getting to the 6th mile marker and had a comfortable lead over the second place runner (he retained that lead, winning by just under 4 minutes!!). The second loop did me in and I ended up walking quite a bit after the 8th mile. My first walk break was in the 9th mile and I still ended up with a 9:42 split, so I’m considering attempting Galloway’s walk/run method for the Bronx Half. I just read about someone completing a 3:30 marathon using the Galloway method, so it doesn’t necessarily have to slow me down and if it helps me hurt less, it’s all good! I also think that the shoes I was wearing (Asics 2110) are just not good for me for long distances. It’s back to Nikes for me! By the time I hit Cat Hill, I was all for preserving energy and walked most of the way up, making a deal with myself. If I took that walk break, then I had to run the entire distance from the end of my last water station walk break to the finish and I had to make it a good one. So I gave it all I had when I hit the 12-mile marker. As I was passing the 13-mile marker, I saw my friend, Paul, and called his name twice, but I don’t think he heard me.

As I was waiting in line to get my picture taken, I saw Roxy already getting hers taken and I called to her. We hung out, got our picture taken together, then picked up our bags and waited for Mark. I was so glad to see her, because I’d missed them at the last race and at the start of this one. We found Mark, got our pictures taken together again, then walked over to the subway together.

Official stats: my official time was 2:09:24 for a 9:52 pace and a course PR. My splits were 9:26, 10:20, 9:18, 9:43, 9:59, 10:00, 9:30, 10:22, 9:43, 9:50: 10:43, 10:44, 8:48, and 1:06 for the last tenth of a mile (I fumbled a little at the finish, so that’s probably not quite right). I was 3652 out of 4989 total runners, putting me in the 27th percentile (up 5% from last year and up 17% from my first attempt at this race). It was 30°F with 75% humidity and 6 mph winds.

Consolation treats: I had a slushy Dr Pepper, a Chipwich, and some Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Buttons with delicious Italian hot chocolate.

Pictures are available at There are some pretty cool pictures from the recent sailing of the Queen Elizabeth 2, the Queen Mary 2, and the Queen Victoria 2 in my flickr account, too, if you're interested.

P.S. There’s a chance I may have to give up the longer distances. My latest test results show that my lung capacity has diminished over the past year and, if it doesn’t improve with my new inhaler, I’m going to run the races I’ve already signed up for, but, otherwise, focus more on the shorter distances (maybe up to 10 miles).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fred LeBow 5-Miler 1.12.08

Hi all,

Race number 2 (1st 2009 marathon-qualifying race) was the Fred LeBow 5-miler. This was the first race of a very important year for NYRR. This is their 50th year and I’m hoping for some really fun events in celebration. The bib itself commemorates the years and the t-shirt is a special tribute to Fred LeBow, who was instrumental in taking the marathon out of Central Park and across the 5 boroughs of New York City. There is a statue of him timing us all as we pass the Engineers Gate.

Goals: to run between the water stations and to run 47:30 or better (45:06 is my 5-mile PR).

Because I’d done so well without a warm-up at the 5k, I wanted to see what I could do with a warm-up, so I got to Central Park early, but not early enough to manage the changes. I guess there’s construction going on or something because the race start was shifted back along the East Drive. I dropped my bag and had time for a 20-minute warm-up. I bumped into Mark – well, he bumped into me – and we chatted a minute, then I took off, very slowly. I just couldn’t seem to get my legs to move. I turned around about 8 minutes into the run and took only 7 minutes to get back to where I’d started, so I thought things might be okay. I ducked under the tape at the 9-minute-mile marker, but didn’t see anyone I knew there.

The horn sounded and we were off, but very slowly. We were hemmed in by the tape and then by the narrowness of the 102nd Street Transverse. It took a lot of effort to get out and around so that I could run comfortably. Well, there was really nothing comfortable about my running. My legs felt dead, as if I’d been running for 10 miles, not less than 2. Every step was a real struggle and the “stop” switch in my head was really looking appealing. I made it to the first water station and walked through it, wheezing slightly, but pretty sure I could get into stride once I’d had this brief rest. I was wrong. I felt even more dead heading towards the second water station. And it took forever to get there! It was about 2 miles after the first one. About halfway through the race, it dawned on me why I was having so much trouble. I’d completely forgotten that I’d given blood on Monday and that, of course, was affecting my performance. It also explained why I’d been so dehydrated, tired and lethargic all week.* At that point, I knew that it didn’t matter how badly I wanted it, my body would not be able to overcome the loss of a pint of fluid. I quit racing. I kept running, but started taking walk breaks and, when I hit Cat Hill, I walked all the way up it. My focus right now is the Manhattan Half and I didn’t want to jeopardize that race by knocking my body out of training. I did promise to myself that I would run from the water station to the finish and I was able to keep going for that last mile or so. Somehow, I even managed to put on a finishing sprint, though it wasn’t very fast (but still faster than I’d been running). I looked for Mark and Roxy at the finish, but was told by a volunteer that the hot chocolate was on the Transverse and it wasn’t. I was too tired to walk back to the finish, so I just went home.

Lesson learned: When setting goals, be sure to factor in all elements that might affect your race!

Official stats: my official time was 48:10 for a 9:38 pace. My splits were 9:25, 9:17, 9:13, 11:21, and 8:59. I was 3030 out of 4409 total runners, putting me in the 31st percentile. It was 44°F with 53% humidity.

Consolation treats: I passed out when I got home, sleeping for an hour and a half, without even realizing I’d fallen asleep. I had my slushy Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, of course, but I saved my treat for this morning, when I had peppermint hot chocolate with peppermint marshmallows and a chocolate walnut bun from Fay Da Bakery.

Next up: The Manhattan Half Marathon on January 27th.

Pictures are available at

*I usually give platelets, which don’t have much effect at all on me, because I get back my blood volume and the platelets are regenerated in 3 days.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolution 5k 1.1.08

Hi all,

Race number 1 was the New Year’s Day Resolution 5k. It was partly on the runway of Republic Airport in Farmingdale on Long Island.

Goals: to run between the water stations, if any, and to break 27 minutes (or, at least, my pace in the Holiday 4-miler – 9:07).

My sister and brother joined me for this race. It was a first race for both of them and they decided to run it together. I told them I would run my race and then jog back along the course to meet them and run in with them. My dad drove us to the airport and stayed to watch and take pictures. I had pre-registered, so I got a t-shirt, but my sister and brother registered on site (paying less than I had) and didn’t get the t-shirt, but they did get Clif Shot Blox and Bear Naked granola, which I didn’t get. We all got beanies, though. There were only about 150 people in the race and it was very informal. We stood around on the tarmac waiting for the course instructions and then lining up behind two cones. The horn sounded and we were off. We ran up and down the runway, then up and down the taxiway, then hit the roads around the airport to complete the 5k, finishing right outside the airport doors. The race was billed as flat and fast and it was. It was a bit difficult to figure out the course, but I just followed the advice of the volunteer at the check-in desk. She told someone that unless he was planning to be first, he should just follow the other runners. There were no mile markers, so I wasn’t sure how fast I was going. This was my first time wearing an ankle-strap chip and I don’t think I like it. My right leg felt funny almost the entire race and I ended up with just one chafing wound – can you guess where? The course description indicated that the first mile and a half were on the tarmac, but I was somewhere between 12 and 13 minutes when I got to the first water station (just off the tarmac near the finish), so I was sure that it wasn’t quite that long. The road section was an out and back, but it was fairly curvy, so I wasn’t exactly sure where I was on the course. I did start counting the females coming back towards me from the turnaround and was pretty sure I was in the top 20. I got mixed up about the finish and thought I was supposed to make a loop around the parking lot, so I missed my chance for final push, but I did have a good sprint finish. I drank some water and then went back out on the course to find my brother and sister. They were about a half mile back and we ran up to the final turn together (with me telling my sister to try to sprint to the finish). I peeled off to let them finish on their own and yelled at my sister to sprint and finish ahead of my brother, but he crossed the chip mat first. Congrats to both of them on their first race!! I’m hoping to get the two of them to join me for the Disneyland Half Marathon (yes, I’ve already signed up!).

Official stats: my net time was 25:27 for an 8:11 pace. I don’t have any splits, because there were no mile markers. I was 77 out of 151 total runners, putting me in the 49th percentile. I was also the 20th female finisher and the 4th in my age group. It was 47°F (8°C) with a wind chill of 41°F (5°C), 80% humidity and 13 mph winds.

Celebratory treats: It was New Year’s Day, so, of course, the big treat was black-eyed peas and ham hocks. Yum!! I had to rush off to catch my train home, but my mom made a batch of her home-made hot fudge sauce, so I had a delicious hot fudge sundae, too! MMM

Next up: The Fred LeBow Classic 5-miler on January 12th and the Manhattan Half Marathon on January 27th.

Pictures are available at

P.S. I just realized that this is a PR! My previous PR was 25:51! I wish I'd had my head on straight - I might have run this race differently. It's only a PR by 24 seconds, but I'll take it!! I love that I've started this year with a PR!!! :D

P.P.S. I just learned that I was right about the course seeming short. It was only 3 miles, so my pace was actually 8:29.