Tag Archives: Race Review

Richmond Marathon

Cliff Notes: I did 9+1 in 2011 to have guaranteed entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon. I started training in the summer. I became much faster than I used to be. I fractured my foot. I was angry at everyone. I got better. I told everyone I would be take it easy during the NYCM. I starting training again (18 miles, Ragnar Relay Ultra, 20 miles, Half Marathon PR). I tapered. Hurricane Sandy ruined lives. NYC Marathon was canceled. I didn’t care. I ran the Richmond Marathon.

Ashley version: I found out the NYC Marathon was canceled while I was at the expo (after volunteering all day). I left with Beth, drank about 10 margaritas and signed up for the Richmond Marathon.

This marathon involved a road trip, with an unreal amount of traffic. Note: if you are running a marathon, do not drive 8+ hours the day before. When we finally got to Richmond (Laura, Jess, Christy, Fiona and I) we went to the expo to grab our packets.

Next up, Katherine’s house. She went out of her way to make us all feel welcome and host a pre-race dinner! We talked about the course and laughed a lot! It was amazing and I am very appreciative. After dinner, we drove to Katie’s parents house in Richmond and bombarded the basement when Leticia, Christine and Katie were already sleeping. It was getting late and I figured a great way to get to know Katie’s mom was to clog the toilet (just pee, I swear). Next was plunging, cursing, temporary tattoo application, shirt decoration, pass out, wake up, eat peanut butter, drink coffee, forget things I need for the race, get puffy paint all over everyone’s race outfit because it didn’t dry, take pictures, dance to Gangnam Style, start race.

I think I need a bigger pair of shorts, or a smaller ass.

I ran the first 17 miles with Katie and Christy (Fiona took off around Mile 3). It was a comfortable pace. We chatted, we met other NYCM runners and Richmond runners, we laughed, we passed the 4 hour pace group and swore they wouldn’t pass us for the rest of the race, we cursed at the unexpected nowhere near flat course, we saw Bart Yasso cheering on the sidelines. I thought about all of the destruction near my hometown. I dedicated each mile to a town on the Jersey Shore. I wanted to be strong for my hometown. Those miles went by so fast I am pretty sure I blacked out.

I picked up the pace a bit around 17.5 (I think). I waved a quick goodbye to the ladies, turned my music up and continued at a pace that felt comfortable.

Then Mile 22 happened. I was alone. I hate running alone because I am my own worst enemy. I did a full body check. How was my breathing? Good. How did my legs feel? Relatively ok, good enough to keep running for sure. Then I hit a water stop, and STOPPED. I walked (even though I told myself that I didn’t need to). I knew it would be hard to keep going afterwards but I couldn’t stop myself. For the next 3 miles, it was the same story. Run, curse, talk down to myself, tell myself I should stop, tell myself I will never be able to finish. I even drank beer some college kids were offering. That is a first. I figured anything would make me feel better than I had at that moment.

Once I passed the mile marker for Mile 25, I told myself to suck it up. I am going to finish and finish strong. I ran the last 1.2 miles for Point Pleasant. I thought about my childhood memories and about how grateful I am. I pushed forward. The last half mile or so was a very welcomed downhill. The last hundred feet or so was a serious freaking decline and I was LUCKY that I did not faceplant or somersault down it and over the finish line.

Thank you Dori for capturing me on my feet!

I finished.

Garmin stats: 

Official Stats: 3:57:40. PR by 1 minute and 1 second.

I hung out at finish line and got yelled at for not moving but stayed and waited for Christy, who dominated the race and PR’d by over 2 minutes! We walked through the finisher’s chute to get our medals.

5 seconds later, the medal man took away our medals because our bibs had a blue X and our medals we be mailed to us. I threatened to run away with it but he said he could catch me since I just ran a marathon and all. He was right, I gave it back.

The finish area was great. Bagels, massages, smoothies and beer. I got my first post-race massage from a wonderful woman who kneaded out the legitimate knots in my thighs. I’m sure by the way I was talking to her she thought I was trying to pick her up. We got together with all of #TeamRichmond for a serious photoshoot.

Seeing this flag throughout the course was so wonderful.

Jess in front, Laura, Christy, Meggie, Gia and I

PR City

Meggie and I tatted up

All pics courtesy of Katherine.

Crossed the half at the same time 🙂

Photo courtesy of Dori

After we gathered our crew (hours later) we met the #runchat men and laughed (and cried a little, I think) over the whole NYCM to Richmond experience.

Then I ate and drank (until…still doing it).

Exciting things: there were a lot of PRs, there was a first marathon, there was a BQ. Most importantly, there was friendship. We went through the last few weeks together and I appreciate these ladies more than I could say. I also appreciate Richmond. They accepted us and welcomed us and the course was beautiful and challenging. It was an amazing experience.

Shitty things: I can’t help but think I could have done better. I walked when I did not have to and did not put the effort into the race (at the end) that I know I could have.

A PR is a PR and I am happy. In line with most marathoners, I am craving more. Will I do another race sooner rather than later? I am still unsure. We shall see.

Want some more #TeamRichmond race recaps?

JessMeggie, Leticia, Christy, Fiona

ING Hartford Half Marathon–or as I call it, PR City

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian D. Larson

Many months back, some of my girlfriends from college and I decided that our nice October weekend get-together should include running a half marathon. My friend Brianna lives in (or around) the West Hartford, CT area so a handful of us traveled from NY, CT and MA to spend the weekend together.

During the lovely Friday evening train from NYC ride with my friend Jessica, I discussed my half marathon fears and goals (A, B and C) over 16oz Bud Lights. Side note: I love train beers ($2.75 for 16oz = cheapest in Manhattan). You catch me at the Penn Station beer stand from now on. Anyway, I disclosed to her that my C goal was around my current PR time of 1:50, B was 1:48ish and A goal was 1:45. I said that and kind of laughed because I did not think it was doable (ahem, that’s what B goals are for). We ended up going out to dinner and I had ANOTHER beer and a giant plate of pasta with marinara sauce. Simple and easy on the belly.

Friday had involved some panicking. I checked the weather for Saturday and saw 56 degrees. I didn’t think about what temp is would be from 6-10 AM.  Hourly forecast: 29 degrees at start of race at 8am, 34 degrees at finish at 10am. Yikes. THANK GOD I packed throwaways, my new Lululemon gloves and a headband.

Saturday morning I woke up, stretched, foam rolled, ate (half bagel with peanut butter), drank coffee and then made everyone late because I relaxed for so long that when it was time to go none of my stuff was together Smile Shocker.

Hartford3Me, Bri (who doesn’t usually stand like that) and Jess

We drove 15 minutes to the start area (which was set up to be a mini-expo/post-race party) and sat in the car for about 30 minutes to stay warm. What goes on in my head before a race like this? Honestly, nothing. I didn’t think about the race at all (or the weather) and I pretended I was just in the car dancing to Britney Spears with my friends.

I drank my usual 5 Hour Energy and we walked to the crowded start (with Bruce Springsteen blasting in my headphones). The announcer did a great job of pumping everyone up and we waited outside the corrals until we could pop in.

Hartford1

Once it was our time to go, I stripped down to my race out (+ a long sleeve tech shirt) and fumbled around with my iphone, headphones and Garmin. Another shocker.

The race started in front of the CT State Capitol. It was extra crowded during the first mile so I tried my best to move swiftly around others (I told myself before the race a 9ish minute first mile is OK). The roads widened for a while and I was able to IMMEDIATELY fall into a groove. Jackpot.

Mile 1: 8:32

From Mile 2-8, (as the website states) the course “tours attractive sections and neighborhoods of Hartford and West Hartford.” I saw my friends screaming their faces off and I screamed, waved and threw them my long sleeve shirt. I was settled in a perfectly comfortable pace and was REALLY enjoying my playlist. In the morning I stuffed a box of raisins in my sports bra for fuel and I took my first bit at mile 5.5. It was an enjoyable snack and I dumped them right in my mouth from the box. I was going to toss them but I figured they weren’t bothering me so back in the bra they went.

I passed through the halfway point around 54 minutes. This was the first time I actually thought about my finish time. My thoughts: “Maintain this pace, finish around 1:47-1:48.”

Mile 2-8: 8:03, 8:01, 8:13, 8:08, 8:03, 7:57, 8:06

Miles 9-10 were in Elizabeth Park. It was a nice change of scenery and the foliage was very pretty! That word drop was for you Laura (and Kara)! Thoughts during Mile 9-10: “Can you maintain this pace? Do you have another kick in you? Yes. OK. Let’s go. This is your race. You ARE strong enough to do this. Do NOT slow down, you are comfortable at this pace. DO NOT SLOW DOWN. BE STRONG, RUN STRONG.” Basically a huge self-pep talk (also channeling Jocelyn’s thought process)!

Miles 9-10: 8:05, 7:55

I hit 10 miles around 1:22. At that moment, I knew I was going to PR. I needed to get through one 5k (without tripping this time) at the same pace. I had some more raisins and tossed the rest. I told myself I could slow down a bit to save some energy and quickly wiped those thoughts out of my head and decided to speed up instead. I also cheated and used the very welcomed downhill to start that momentum.

hartfordelevation

My only thoughts during the last 5k were:

  • I’m so happy I’m wearing all yellow. Yellow is meant for PRs.
  • This fucking playlist is awesome. Thank you Vegas for helping me create it.
  • I wonder why I haven’t raced a half marathon since April 2011. I love this distance.
  • HOLY SHIT, do I want to/can I race the NYCM?
  • I love running in this weather.
  • I fucking love my outfit.

I crossed the finish line and tripped over my headphones (remember the fumbling, I guess I didn’t do so well with their storage during the race). We can only hope Brightroom got a shot of my “holy shit I just ran a monster PR turned holy shit I just almost fell” finish.

Miles 11-13.1: 7:49, 7:35, 7:35, .whatever 7:12

Official Finish Time: 1:45:38

hartfordofficialfinish

Garmin Splits:

hartfordgarminsplits

I was thrilled. I’m still thrilled.

Hartford4

Hartford5Post race UFO White. HEAVEN.

My main (and constant) thought leading up to the race was, “I don’t think I can run 8:00/mi for an entire half marathon.” Example:

hartfordconvostacy

Thank you Stacy. You were right. I owe you a drink.

The reason for my mental confusion: My NYCM training in the weeks leading up to the half were intense. I ran long each week – distance, check.

Speed? Not even close. I had not (and still haven’t) done any speedwork since the week before I was put in that damn walking boot. So what happened?

Everything lined up for me during this race. The weather (although cold, was very comfortable to run in) and my fueling were obvious factors. My passion for the sport came out during this race. I wanted to be out there and run a strong race. My mind is in a better place than it was a month ago or 2 months ago and even than before I got hurt. This race reminded me that hard work and dedication coupled with a strong heart WILL inevitably lead you to accomplishments.

The best thing I got out of this race: confidence. I spent a lot of weeks really down on myself for not being able to run. I worked my way back into the distances the best that I could. It turns out, my body (and mind) needed to rest (for 5 weeks) in order to start working properly again.

Moving forward: No more “I don’t think I can run that pace for …… (insert distance here).”  Strictly positive thoughts helped me through this one. Give it a try!

Queens 10k

I ran this race last year (when it was a half-marathon). It was the same temperature and it was sweatastic. For suffering through the temps, this year they gave us a medal and a cool badge 🙂

I run this town

I drove to Flushing Meadows Park early in the morning and had no expectations for the race. I also forgot my Garmin so that canceled any sort of pace tracking for me. To be honest, I just wanted to cross the finish line still breathing.

I saw my friends from college who were running right before the race and I also was able to chat with Kara and Lora for a bit before the start! Lori and I were in the same corral so we decided to run together (no time goals today).

Lora and I before the sweat fest

As you know, it was hot out. There was not much shade but there was some sprinklers (probably every mile, but I don’t remember). We kept a steady pace (around 8:30-8:45) and chatted the entire race. I was happy about this because I really enjoy running with others. I like to chat, it helps the miles tick away without paying way too much attention to them/my watch.

I have no complaints about the race. I liked the course, I liked the company and I liked the cold sponge and plums they gave us at the end. I won’t complain about the heat, it is July 1. It is going to be hot! Maybe a year ago I would have raced too hard and thrown up at the finish line. Now I know what type of conditions are just not conducive to PRs (i.e. this race).

Official Results: 54:38, 8:48 pace

NYG Run of Champions 5k

I’ll make this one simple: I love the Giants. I loved this race. How about a picture race recap?

THIS WAS A FREAKING AMAZING EXPERIENCE. Didn’t you see my creepy knees touching half leap/half jump/full excitement?!? I will do this race every year. Forever. GO BIG BLUE!

Official Results: 33:09, 10:42 pace

NYRR Mini 10K

The Mini was the first all women’s race I have ever ran! I was excited. I wanted to PR (10k PR is from the RnR New York – 50:17).

Lets list all of the reasons why this was basically unattainable:

  • I have run about 9.2 miles/week since the NJ Marathon on 5/6.
  • I haven’t done speedwork since a week before the marathon
  • I have been drinking an excessive amount of Pinot Grigio on my couch (more than the usual amount)
  • My legs are abnormally sore all the time from Kara’s Core Challenge

BUT I decided to give it a go. I enlisted my super speedy friend Laura (who qualified for the NYC Marathon based on her BK Half time, jeez I’m jealous) to pace me at 7:45 min/miles, which would get me in around 48 and change.

Things were all good in the hood for 3 miles – 8:00, 7:41, 7:43

Then I started feeling like crap. It was humid and I felt like I was sopping through mud mile of the Tough Mudder. I felt like someone was twisting and turning my stomach like a friendship bracelet. I told Laura to run free with the wind and I started getting down on myself (because who doesn’t love a little mid-race self-battering). I said to myself over and again for the entire 4th and 5th miles – “Who are you to think you can PR when you are so out of shape, and slow and haven’t run.” Not exactly the most inspiring mantra.

Miles 4-5 – 8:37, 8:24

At Mile 5, I passed the men of the Dashing Whippets, a NY-based running club. They were cheering their hearts to for the women of the club (actually everyone) running the race. I checked my Garmin for the first time in a bit and saw I could possibly bring it in under 50 if I seriously put some pep in my step. So I did just that. Until I got cramps again. My heart/legs were in a complete battle with my stomach for the last mile. I would sprint then slow down and sprint and slow down. I gave it my all to the finish line and almost threw up. But hey, it’s not a race if you don’t leave it all out there.

Mile 6 – 7:55, 0.26 – 7:22

Official NYRR Stats:

So, 50:12. 5 second PR.

Hindsight:

  • I would have trained for the race before trying to PR
  • I would have tried to run even 8 minute splits
  • I wouldn’t have eaten whatever I ate that morning

ALTOGETHER – amazing race. I have a new PR that I am happy about! At first I was down on myself about a couple of slower miles and was upset I didn’t run 13 seconds faster to put me under 50 minutes, but I shut out the negative thoughts. I will have my day! The race was organized very well and I loved the girl power and the speedy ladies kicking ass. I was excited to finally meet some blogger buds (Lora and Dori, they are awesome). Now I can tell my boyfriend I am not just creepily talking to people online all the time. I was able to see the winners of the race…

FAST FAST WOMEN

I was able to see a STAGE FULL of women who have run the race for 20+ years in a row. It was emotional an inspiring. One woman even had a bib from when the race was sponsored by Leggs!

GIRL POWER. Peace sign.

I saw Stephanie Rothstein (girl running crush) who finished top American and 6th overall (I’m seriously rooting for you in the track trials!!!) and Desiree Davila, who is running the women’s marathon for TEAM USA in the Olympics in London as well.

Hello running idols.

I didn’t screen shot that picture, I was on the stage with them because I am just as fast. I swear.

So what did I think was the best part of the race? Oh, I’m so happy you asked. It was the popsicles. Nothing can top those friggin popsicles. Kudos NYRR. Kudos.

Who raced this weekend? Who ran the Mini? How did it go? 

Who is your running crush?! (Is it weird that I have one, I don’t think so).