Book Review: The Bicycling Big Book of Training

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I was invited by Rodale Inc. to review Danielle Kosecki’s The Bicycling Big Book of Training.  

I have a not-so-secret life-goal to race Ironman Kona.  Unfortunately, the girl who grew up riding her bike to the pool, the movies, and all around town has since grown up and forgotten how to ride her bike – see My Epic Fail and What I Learned.   So when Rodale (Runner’s World/Bicycling/Running Times) gave me the chance to review The Bicycling Big Book of Training - Everything you to need to know to take your riding to the next level I jumped at the opportunity.

“The book is organized into five parts that cover the necessary components of a successful training and racing regimen.

Part I:  Plan explains how to get your body in shape and how fitness translates into on-the-bike performance.  You’ll learn the different ways to assess your fitness and how to use those test results to get the most out your training.”

What I liked:  It explained the importance of microcycles, training logs and equipment in simple terms that didn’t get too technical for a novice.  It explains training zones and how to test yourself so you can become more efficient.

“Part II:  Prep outlines nutrition and hydration recommendations, strength training routines, and stretching exercises that are crucial for daily workouts and race preparation.”

What I liked:  I always struggle with nutrition, not what to eat, but when.  In “Prep” breaks out what to eat for your different training rides.  It also details strength training and flexibility exercises as well as recovery stretches and rolling.

“Part III:  Ride breaks down the three most common endurance events:  centuries, charity rides, and gran fondos.  With customized training plans and strategy advice for each, you’ll know what to expect on race day.”

What I liked:  Everything you wanted to know from braking to cornering to how to descend to how to climb – it’s all here – even how to fall!

“Part IV:  Compete is all about racing.  After covering the basics, you’ll learn the skills required to competitively tackle discipline-specific events:  road racing (one-day road races, criteriums, and time trial), cyclocross, and mountain biking.”

What I liked:   The do’s.  The don’ts.  “Don’t look back, but don’t be a sucker.”  It’s an overview of the events, but yet all the details are here.

‘Part V:  Tend addresses how to keep your body healthy all year.  Topics include over training, recovery, ideal cycling weight, and injury care and prevention – everything from road rash to saddle sores.”

 What I liked:  I loved the power to weight ratio and the chapter on rest and recovery.

The Bicycling Big Book of Training is a great resource and belongs in your hands if you are like me and want to take your riding to the next level, but don’t know where to begin.  It’s an easy read and a valuable resource you’ll keep in your training bag for easy reference.  The Bicycling Big Book of Training is available now;  288 pages; Paperback; $16.49.

Are you reading to take your riding to the next level?  What are your cycling plans in 2015?

What’s Your Next Race?

The family that runs together has FUN together!

The family that runs together has FUN together!

Welcome to the 2015 Race Season!  I’m proud to return for my 2nd year on Team HMF back to inspire YOU to get up off the couch and outside on the road!

For those of you not in the know – HMF is short for Hartford Marathon Foundation.  HMF Events hosts 30+ annual runs and multisport events throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island as well as training programs for 5K, 10K, half and marathon distances.

With Team HMF mate Stephanie Gagliardi

With Team HMF mate Stephanie Gagliardi ready to earn our #Trinity Medal

The last two weeks I had fun kicking off the 2015 HMF Race season with the O’Race series.  My 8-year son asked to run with me this year and I happily registered us for the #OPutnan #ONiantic and #OHartford 5k’s so we would earn the #Trinity Medal.

HMF offers low 5K entry fees of $10 for kids “so families can run together without breaking the bank.”  I ran the 2014 O’Races and enjoyed myself, but this year running with my son by my side made the races even more special.  Not only did he successfully use Jeff Galloway’s run/walk/run method to successfully complete each race, but his time improved with each 5K.

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Finisher photos from the #OPutnam #ONiantic #OHartford races

 

The next HMF race weekend is April 11-12 Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half & Legends 4-mile.  There is also a Kid’s Fun Run and a 1-Mile event.  Last year I walked the Legends 4-mile and this year plan to run the Middletown Half as the first of three Half’s in the HMF Triple Half Challenge.

With Coach at last year's race

With Coach at last year’s race

I strongly recommend coming out to packet pick up meet, get inspired and learn from the Legends.  Here are the events planned:

Wtih Bill Rodgers

Wtih Bill Rodgers

 Saturday, April 11:  

  • 8:30 a.m. 3-mile run with Jeff Galloway along the streets of Middletown and past Jeff’s alma mater, Wesleyan University.  Free, all ages and abilities welcome. 
  • 10:00-1:00 p.m.  Jeff Galloway’s Running School ,  The Italian Society of Middletown, 72 Court Street, Middletown.  (located across from the CT Superior Court building). Free parking in municipal lot adjacent to Court Street.
    • Three hours of the information you need to reach your goals—injury free
    • Ask all of your individualized questions
    • Email access to Jeff afterwards
    • Specific methods on nutrition, running form, setting up pace, running hills, breathing
    • How to stay injury free, run long runs without being exhausted, run faster, stay motivated
    • Cost: online ($99) or walk up ($129)

REGISTER NOW

Will you be running a HMF event this year?  What’s your next race? 

2014 Legends 4 Mile bib and medal

2014 Legends 4 Mile bib and medal

Race Report: Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas…..baby #AvengeTheStrip Part II

The Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas Marathon has been on my #BucketList since 2009 as my goal race for Nevada on my quest for 50 Full Marathons in 50 States.  So when the runDisney Avengers Half Marathon weekend was announced on the same day, I figured why not kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

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Finishers of the Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon

It sounded like a good idea…I mean how hard could it be?  Perfectly Goofy Gail had run 9 consecutive Goofy Challenges.  I had run 5 consecutive Goofy Challenges.  We both had run back to back races and had 17+ full marathons under our belts and 45+ races completed for 2014 already.

WE could totally run the Avengers Half Marathon at 5:30am in California, jump on a plane and then fly to Las Vegas to run the Las Vegas Marathon at 4:30pm.  Totally.

Nap on the plane

Napping on the plane

The plan was hatched.  As a member of Team Chocolate Milk my Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas entry fee was covered.  Perfectly Goofy Gail had registered for a Tour Pass.  As a Premier Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Holder, I secured my entry for both the Avengers Super Heroes 5K and Avengers Half Marathon.   We decided to stay off Disneyland Resort property since we had witnessed (many times) the Disneyland Hotel taxi line post race at check-out time.  We chose the Hilton Anaheim a short 14 mile drive to John Wayne Airport.  Then we secured our flight, choosing to fly rather than drive the 4-hours because neither one of us could be trusted to stay awake while the other was driving.

Napped, showered and ready for race #2 of the day.

Napped, showered and ready for race #2 of the day.

Goofy In A Day:

We finished the runDisney Avengers Half Marathon in 2:54:30 – taking our time and trying not to exert ourselves too much fighting the 30+ mph Santa Ana winds.  We crossed the line and made a bee-line out of Disneyland Resort to the Hilton were we quickly packed, called for a taxi and got to the airport, not stopping to change out of our not-so-nasty, thank you Santa Ana winds, clothes.

Once through security we chowed down on the best Big Mac Value Meals I have EVER had.  Thankfully we didn’t experience any flight delays and made it to Las Vegas in an hour.  Then to wait in the normal Las Vegas long lovely taxi line for a short drive to the Mandalay Bay hotel.  We chose the Mandalay Bay hotel due to its proximity to runner’s village and the Start Line.  When we run in 2015, I would like to look for hotels close to the finish line instead of the start.  The Strip is closed during the races and it makes finding a taxi home difficult.

TIP:   Remember to not check luggage, pack comfy clothes for travel, ear plugs, an eye mask and maybe a pillow for the plane…just saying.

What?  Where are we?

What? Where are we?

Knowing we wouldn’t be able to attend the Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas Expo, we paid the fee for same-day bib pick-up.  Unfortunately, we also missed out on shopping and Rock’n’Rolls Half of the Half and 5K.  What we were NOT prepared for was the WEATHER.  As a New Englander, I have cold weather running gear – lots of it.  Heck, I could outfit my daughter’s entire cross-country team.  However, when I packed for multiple races in multiple days, the Las Vegas weather was not showing temps in the 30’s.  We were unprepared for the cold and we had to run a marathon.

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Yea! We are in Vegas running!

Gail and I layered and much as we could.  As veteran marathoners, we decided to put it out of our minds and think warm thoughts.  This race was going to be “fun dammit” – Gail chanted.  Perfectly Goofy Gail was smart enough to have packed gloves.  And on mile 2, she spotted, stopped and picked up gloves from the side of the road for me to wear!  I loved her for this.  I seriously didn’t care if the gloves were covered in Ebola, I was so happy to wear them 26.2 miles.

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On Fremont Street.

Although it was freezing cold, it was amazing to run down #TheStripAtNight.  Crowds lined both sides of the street cheering.  The Vegas lights entertained us as we made our way up The Strip, passing the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, the wedding chapels up Las Vegas Boulevard.  The bad part of this course was both the half and full marathoners share the course until the split.  The half marathons turned at Freemont Street, while the full marathoners kept going west and then north….out to nowhere and back to civilization.  Once the half marathoners turned, the flat, cold, dark course grew challenging.  There was no talking.  There was no fun.  We were in this together, but we were exhausted.  I didn’t take many photos during the race – I couldn’t feel my fingers.  We kept our heads down and kept to our intervals knowing we needed to beat the sweepers.  We crossed the finish elated, but cold and crabby.  We downed a True Moo Chocolate Milk, got our photos taken and then straight into the Bellagio for FOOD.  There we had the best pot of HOT TEA EVER, a beer, and lots of warm food and sushi !!!!

Cheers to those who attempt to run Goofy in a Day!  It is not for the lighthearted.  And yup, that means I’m coming back in 2015.

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Oh thank goodness we are done.

 Is the Las Vegas Marathon on your bucket list?  Will you #AvengeTheStrip?

Race Report: 2014 runDisney Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon AKA #AvengeTheStrip Part 1

The second race of the runDisney Avengers Half Marathon Weekend was Perfectly Goofy Gail and my 19th runDisney race of 2014.  We would earn our 25th and final runDisney medal of the year by running the Half Marathon.  But WE couldn’t JUST fly across the country and run the half marathon in California.  No, no, no.  Since we were so close to Las Vegas we would have to take advantage and ALSO run the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon (yes, the full) in the evening.

1509787_904253289584951_4036973142852230768_nThe Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon began at 5:30am.  Joining Perfectly Goofy Gail and I, was #SweatyBands Merle.  Since we were attempting #GoofyInADay, our costumes were non-nonsense, yet cute-as-can-be,  #TeamSparkle inspired and #SweatyBands accessorized.

625Below is the course map.  As you can see, it is a mash-up of other Disneyland half marathon courses, but run in the opposite direction in through the Angel stadium.

Avengers-Half-Map

The course would had been a really fun, fast run, but Mother Nature and her Santa Ana winds had other ideas.  30+MPH head-winds made running difficult, exhausting and down-right PAINFUL.  Please take a look at our video at the top of the page to see examples of the wind, the downed course mile makers and again the wind pelting our faces.

10644895_904932106183736_4317873054269934111_nI loved the trail part section of the Avengers Half Marathon and running through Angel Stadium, but was the course fell short due to lack of park time. Of all the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathons, this course had only 2 miles of park time versus the normal 3-miles.  The only thing that made up for the lack of park time was the cosplay performers on the trail and outside the stadium cheering on the runners.

Also, the Avengers character lines were so long, we only waiting in the Hawkeye line (Merle’s request) because we needed to catch a plane to Las Vegas for the Rock n Roll Marathon and #AvengeTheStrip Part II.

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 Did you run the 2014 Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon?  Are you running in 2015?

 

Race Report: 2014 runDisney Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes 5K

Early registration for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members for the 2015 Avengers Half Marathon Weekend opens Tuesday, March 24th, noon EST.  General registration opens on Tuesday, April 7th, noon EST.  New for 2015 the Captain America 10K and the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge.

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With Coach Galloway at the Avengers Half Marathon Expo

I’m a big fan of the rebooted Ironman, Captain America, Thor, and Avengers movies.  When runDisney announced this race weekend, I had high hopes for the Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon Weekend.  In my mind I pictured awesome character opportunities and themed merchandise.  What I experienced, I can sum up with one word….meh.  However, because this was an INAUGURAL race weekend, I know in my heart of hearts runDisney will listen, learn and come back to give their runners what they want.

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The Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon Weekend’s official merchandise in my opinion was a disappointment.  Did the merchandise sell out?  I’m sure it did, however, for me it missed the mark in variety and design.  But more importantly for the bean counters, the merchandise didn’t have me opening my pocket-book.  I left the expo purchasing only 2 car magnets and a Hulk water bottle.  This was a significant drop in my average runDisney expo purchase.

377runDisney 5K’s are some of my favorite races.  First, they are not timed.  Second, the 5K’s are less intimidating welcoming runners of all abilities.  Third, the best and most elaborate of costumes are worn since this is the shortest distance run.

Knowing all this, I was excited to run my 18th runDisney race of 2014 with my pal, Perfectly Goofy Gail.  Decked out as Enchantress and Captain America we excitedly made our way from the Hilton to Disneyland Drive.

The Avengers Super Heroes 5K began at 5:30am.  We were in Corral A, but our plan (as it is for all our runDisney races) was to stop at all the character stops and have a blast!

The course headed south down Disneyland Drive and turned left into Disney’s California Adventure Park at Disney Way leading the runners into Cars Land.  We stopped for our 1st photo of the morning with Lightening McQueen.  We then ran up Route 66 to our 2nd photo stop – Black Widow.  The line for her was so long, Cast Members were taping switchbacks onto the pavement for the queue.  I’m guessing we waited a good 15-20 minutes in line for a photo.

392Then we ran pass the Wharf turning right through Grizzly Peak.  On the left, right before Soaring over California we came to our 3rd character stop – Hawkeye.  Unfortunately, the line was so long it was closed to other runners when we were half-way through to our turn.  My disappointment with runDisney for runners in the back corrals grew each time another was turned away from this character opportunity.

We got our photo and made our way out from DCA and into Disneyland Park stopping for a snap in front of the train station and a #WoodIndianSelfie.

At the top of Main Street U.S.A. we found our 3rd character stop – both Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.  Unfortunately, this line was also long and slow.  What made the line inefficient were the cast members allowing for autographs, multiple poses and cameras.

421After another 10-15 minutes in line, we were again on our way into Fantasyland via the walkway to the Matterhorn and our 4th photo stop with Thor.  Unfortunately, by the time we arrived to Thor the photo line was closed and we were ushered on our way.

Considering we were running a 5K, the number of other runners around us was dwindling down.  We arrived at our 5th character stop to find Alice with the Mad Hatter positioned in front of King Arthur Carousel in Fantasyland.  We were allowed to wait in line for our photo.

Then we made our way around the Rivers of America into Frontierland and to an empty character backdrop.  We found out we had missed Captain America.  Never-the-less we kept running to chEARS from the custodial staff still out clapping and waiting for high-fives!

440We rounded the exit to backstage of Disneyland Park through the exit to Downtown Disney.  It seemed most of the runners had finished long ago and the spectators were packing it in for the day.  Perfectly Goofy Gail and I made our way to and over the finish line.  It took us 1:42:46 with a 28:54/min pace to finish the Inaugural Avengers 5K.  To see our entire Avengers 5K experience please click here or the top of this post.  

I always enjoy the runDisney Disneyland races. The Avengers 5K course was a little different from the Tinker Bell 5K, Disneyland 5K (and Star Wars 5K) – a fact I love about the Disneyland runDisney races compared to the Walt Disney World runDisney races.  However, I was disappointed in the lack of Disney characters in Marvel inspired costumes (orrunDisney costumes) and runDisney having to pull the face characters from the character photo opportunities.

Also, because of the $75 expense of a runDisney Disneyland 5K it is a shame all runners could not share in the same experience as those who were speedier or in a better seeded corral.  runDisney will have to work on managing the character stops for its popular characters – as evident at both this race and at January’s Star Wars Half Marathon weekend races.

Did you run the Avengers 5K?  Are you planning on registering for it again in 2015?

Disney Side @Home Celebration

766I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

I was invited to host a #DisneySide @Home Celebration.  The box of party supplies delivered was themed “Villains” for tweens.769

Included in the box were:

  • Disney Side Villain invitations
  • Themed napkins, cups, plates, a tablecloth and decorations
  • Nail polish, nail files, nail art cards
  • Disney themed activities
  • Villains puzzles
  • Cake decorating supplies – Mickey Mouse cake pan and Tie Dye cake mix
  • My Image Bracelet Maker
  • HP CMYK (Create Memories You Keep) Paces
  • All and Wisk
  • Twinings Tea
  • Disney vacation planning DVD’s

I decided the perfect audience for this #DisneySide @Home Celebration would be my soon-to-be 12-year old daughter’s friends.  We decided to host a Villains themed sleepover.

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Making the tie dye cake

Making the Tie Dye cake from celebrity baker Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios was a snap.  We used the provided Mickey Mouse cake pan (heavily greased), purchased Duff Goldman white frosting and decorated the top with sprinkles.  The mix had easy-to-follow instructions on how to layer the colors perfectly.

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While the cake was baking we decorated with the provided Villains themed center piece, tablecloths and place settings.  We used the #DisneySide box packing materials as filler.

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We enjoyed playing the Disney themed activities – especially the trivia game.  That game in particular brought out the kid’s #DisneySide.  We shared our favorite memories from our past trips.  One of the best activities of the night was the nail painting.  They loved painting their nails in the cool Villains inspired colors of black, green and purple.  831
Our #DisneySide @Home Celebration was a hit.  The guests left with goodie bags filled of #MyImageBraceletMaker and #HPCMYKPacks as well as dreams of their next magical Disney vacation.

Did you host a #DisneySide @Home Celebration?

Product Review: LYNX Sportswear

Dart and Sprint Sport Bras

Dart and Sprint Sport Bras

I was invited by LYNX Sportswear to test and review their products.  I received a Dart Racer Back sports bra and a pair of black Discovery capris for this review.

LYNX sports bras were developed for the large-breasted women by a female athlete.  LYNX Sportswear specializes in cup sizes C to J.

Discovery Capri - Mesh panel

Discovery Capri – Mesh panel

I normally wear a size 32-D bra, but when sizing my LYNX sports bra, I measured both my rib cage and bust by following their measuring directions.  It was determined I was between sizes – I settled on the 3-Dart Racer back.

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Back zip panel

In an effort to fully test the products, I wore both the sports bra & capris for speed work, a long run and during a race.  I even wore the bra for the Rock n Roll DC full marathon (in the RAIN).

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3 Dart Racer Back in Blue

I also laundered both products multiple times using WIN Detergent with cold water and line dried.  Both products wash and wore extremely well.

3 Dart Racer Back - side view

3 Dart Racer Back – side view

What I liked about the Dart Racer back:

  • Easy to clasp with a single hook
  • Soft elastic (under the breasts on the ribcage) didn’t rub
  • Very light-wick material – the lightest sports bra I’ve ever worn
  • Kept the girls firmly in place
  • No chafing under the arms
  • Did not cut into my shoulders
3 Dart Racer Back - Back View

3 Dart Racer Back – back view

The Dart Racer back retails for $56 and comes in a wide variety of colors.

Black Discovery Capri

Black Discovery Capri

What I liked about the black Discovery Capri:

  • Loved the Core Support waistband – covered up my muffin top
  • Perfect fit – they made me feel taut and skinny
  • Didn’t droop in the knees or butt after a tough workout
  • Pants didn’t ride up the legs
  • Loved the cool mesh panels behind the knees
  • Love the back zip pocket (I never ever use these pockets – but I still like options)
Black Discovery Capri - side view

Black Discovery Capri – side view

The Discovery Capri retails for $76.

To see the full range of LYNX Sportswear please visit www.lynxsportswear.com

Have you tried LYNX Sportswear?  What qualities do you look for in a sports bra and capri?  

Another Mother Runner Retreat – Join Us in Little Rock!

AMR_Badge-for-Little-Rock-2014-smaller

I’m going to A-R-K-A-N-S-A-S for Spring Break!  Yup, I know Little Rock, Arkansas is not the first place you’d think to spend your Spring Break, but for me it’s the only place to be April 16 to 19, 2015.  That’s when one of my favorite dynamic duo’s – SBS and Dimity from Another Mother Runner -will be hosting their first-ever AMR Retreat: Run + Refresh.

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I was lucky enough to win NUUN Hydration’s 4-day trip with my Best Running Friend (BRF) and I could not BE more excited.  Here’s why:

  1. I’m going to ARKANSAS – the last of 3 U.S. States I have yet to visit.
  2. I’m going with my BRF Perfectly Goofy Gail.
  3. We are going to be surrounded by other MOTHER RUNNERS.
  4. We are going to RUN and learn all about RUNNING!  Click here for a PDF of the schedule.
  5. We are going to EAT!
  6. We are going to be RESTING and RELAXING at the posh Capital Hotel- seriously – did you check out the digs?!!

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So if you are in need of a girl’s weekend, and I know you are, come down and join us at the AMR Retreat: Run + Refresh.

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 Will you be at the AMR Retreat?  Who are you bringing?

Race Report: 2014 runDisney Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K

Just in time for registration for the 2015 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 noon, EST – here’s the 2014 race report!

Hands down Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K is my favorite Walt Disney World runDisney 5K.

1489270_10205225539221167_4052969539440915045_nIt is my favorite because:

  • It is the only 5K course which runs through Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.
  • It is holiday themed.
  • There is “snow” at the start.
  • It begins at 7am – the latest start time of all the runDisney 5K’s.

10362644_10205225527300869_8601312707488509199_nThis was my 2nd running of runDisney’s Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K having run it in 2013 with my husband.  This year I was running with my best friend, Nicole, Perfectly Goofy Gail and Photo Bomb Becca.

10368221_10205225527940885_8243172025794567929_nDressed in our finest holiday wear, we met up with Photo Bomb Becca in Disney’s Animal Kingdom parking lot to get her dressed before heading to our corral.  We learned pretty quick, that our fabulous holiday toppers wouldn’t allow us to run, so our plan was to walk the entire 5K without stopping for photos – an unfortunate consequence of looking so fabulous.

IMG_7132Even though we began in corral C and walked the entire course, we still managed to have a great time spreading “holiday cheer for all to hear.”  And just because we weren’t stopping for the “official” character stops, we made our own fun as we completed the first race of the weekend stopping for selfies with course support.  Plus we finished long before the sweepers.

Will you be running runDisney Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K in 2015?  What’s your favorite part of the race?

 

Race Report: 2014 New York City Marathon

What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes

As I write my race report for the 2014 New York City Marathon, I am contemplating throwing my name into the 2015 NYC lottery for the 5th time…to enter the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon Lottery Click Here.

On November 2, 2014, I was lucky enough to run my 2nd New York City Marathon in 2 years.  I had run NYC in 2013 through guaranteed entry having been a lottery reject in 2010, 2011, 2012(New York City Marathon – Chemo Shemo).  Never in a million years did I think my number would come up again and I would be given a do-over.  Lucky for me, I would have tons of company in New York.  Both of my running friends, Alison and Janice, were also running through their guaranteed entries – being rejected in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

With Alison and Janice

With Alison and Janice

Because this my 2nd NYC Marathon, I knew what to expect and I was looking forward to savoring the experience.  First up, the 1st rate New York City expo.  Sadly, I was a little disappointed.  Sure there was the humongous official merchandise store, but it seemed the 2013’s NYC expo had more vendors and they weren’t all crammed together in such tight quarters.  Walking this year’s expo, the aisles made for tight, slow-moving and less-than-pleasant shopping.  It was so bad, Alison had to remove her self from the crowded conditions.

With Bart Yasso

With Bart Yasso

I did get to visit with my some of my favorite runners and vendors Bart Yasso in the Runners World booth, Sweaty Bands, and runDisney. And most importantly to me, I got to order my 2nd Tiffany New York City Marathon apple charm.

Official Merch

Official Merchandise

As a member of NYRR the club 2014 entry fee was $216 plus a $11 processing fee.  The non-member US fee was $255 plus a $11 processing fee.  The non-US fee was $347. Note – for 2015 there will not be a fee increase.  Yes, the New York City Marathon is an expensive marathon, here’s what you receive:

  • Entry to the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon (including fluid/fueling stations, medical support, entertainment, baggage handling*, security, and more)
  • Runner “goody bag”, including official ASICS technical shirt and official Marathon Program magazine.
  • Official transportation to the start from Midtown Manhattan, Lower Manhattan, or the Meadowlands Sports Complex (New Jersey); Start festival, including breakfast and entertainment
  • Finisher materials: medal, food, beverages, United Airlines/Foot Locker Heatsheet™, official results magazine

– From New York City Marathon.  See more at: http://www.tcsnycmarathon.org/plan-your-race/getting-in#sthash.GFAb4tMG.dpuf

2014 Bib, tech, program, swag

2014 Bib, tech, program, swag

Since I had already been through the joy that is the NYC Marathon transportation ….I slept in an hour longer than my hotel roommates and got up in enough time to take the subway down to the Staten Island Ferry.

Heading out in the morning

Heading out in the morning

It seemed my subway and ferry rides were less congested than in 2013.  Thankfully all rides were uneventful as I moved from the subway…..

Lady Liberty

Our view of Lady Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry

to the Staten Island Ferry and onto a bus to reach Fort Wadsworth – AKA Marathon Village.

Arriving at Fort Wadsworth

Arriving at Fort Wadsworth

My good college friend, Steve, was volunteering in Marathon Village.  He was stationed at the Poland Spring Water station (you don’t even want to know what time Marathon Village volunteers had to arrive).  I stopped by to say hi and to try to find a place to escape the cold, strong winds.  Runners were camped out and in any available shelter, including the Poland Spring Water truck.

With my colllege friend and 2014 volunteer - Steve

With my college friend and 2014 volunteer – Steve

After a potty stop and a hug, it was time to say good-bye to Steve, and make my way to my corral.  Our marathon start was delayed and there was a back-up at the corrals.  But soon, we were walking and making the turn behind the buses to the start line.  For every wave start of the marathon, I believe they sing the Star Spangled Banner. I don’t remember that, but I do remember they played New York, New York as we crossed the start line and began our assent up the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

The 1st mile of the NYC Marathon...

The 1st mile of the NYC Marathon…

The marathoners were notified of high winds, cold temperatures and that the wheelchair athletes had started the race at mile 2 to avoid the bridge winds.  However, I was not prepared to run headfirst into the 30 mph winds (for miles).  And soon as we started the assent, you felt the winds pushing you back – hard.  The wind did not stop the entire 26.2 miles.

On the bridge into Manhattan

On the bridge into Manhattan

My coach wanted me to start with 30/30, 20/20 or 15/15.   Then at the halfway point, to see how I felt and move to 20/15 or 30/20 if I felt good.  He then suggested at 20 miles to move to 60/30 or 40/20 or 30/15.  But I didn’t take his advice – a former Olympian and finisher of over 150+ marathons – I didn’t listen.  I felt good and I wanted to run 2/walk 30 from the start.  Here were my mile splits:

  1. 11:11
  2. 10:07
  3. 10:54
  4. 10:46
  5. 10:58
  6. 11:16
  7. 11:16
  8. 11:51  I began cramping up on my side at mile 8 and then shortened my intervals.
  9. 12:10
  10. 12:44
  11. 13:35
  12. 13:11
  13. 14:12  By Mile 13 I was full walking and had totally run out of gas. 
  14. 15:27
  15. 15:57
  16. 18:01
  17. 17:48
  18. 16:29
  19. 16:42
  20. 17:11
  21. 18:03
  22. 16:59
  23. 17:13
  24. 17:02
  25. 16:51
  26. 15:04
  27. 7:28:07

I think I was running while both dehydrated and under fueled.  I kept drinking water at all the water stops.  Then I stopped to use the port-a-potties at every mile.  I walked until mile 25.  It was ugly, I was dejected and I felt like it was a repeat of  the Hartford Marathon.  I just put my head down and tried to remain positive, but it was a hard race and my dreams of beating my time for 2013 were squashed.

At the finish!

At the finish!

In 2013, I ran NYC having received a chemotherapy treatment the Friday before Sunday’s race and finished with a 5:28 time.  This year I expected to do better, but it was not meant to be.  I finished in 6:20:11.

Volunteer awarding me my finishers medal

Volunteer awarding me my finishers medal

Here are some of facts of the 2014 NYC Marathon directly from Runners World:

  • The start temperature in Staten Island at 9 am was 43-degrees
  • The wind was blowing at a steady 31 miles per hour
  • There were gusts of more than 40 miles per hour
  • The wheelchair race was shortened to 23.2 miles due to winds on the Verrazano
  • The race had 50,564 finishers breaking 2013’s record as the biggest marathon in history. (50,869 starters)
With Janice and Alison after the finish

With Janice and Alison on the subway back to the hotels

When you are out on course in the middle of 26.2 miles all you can think about is yourself and getting to the finish.  Because I was wallowing in my own self-pity, I didn’t realize others might also be having a crappy day.  It turns out my friends were all finished with the race, but were also all worn down.  I saw my HMF Teammate Chris Trotta at the finish and picked up Janice and Alison at the medical tent.  I have to admit I felt a little better hearing all my friends struggled too because as you know – misery loves company.  Regardless of how we got to the finish, we did finish.

157

2014 NYC bib, blanket and medal

The following night, I was invited to a UCAN event at Yale University where I got the honor of meeting Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon and 4th place finisher of the 2014 NYC Marathon.

169

With Meb

I had Meb sign my medal because I told him, “it’s the only race I’m ever going to run with you.”  It turns out, our paths would once again cross….in Las Vegas!  171

Is the New York City Marathon on your bucket list?  Will you be entering the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon lottery?  

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