Tag Archives: half marathon

2016 TCS NYC Marathon Recap: A New PR

My last post was a marathon recap and it’s crazy how much has happened in the course of 5 months from one marathon to the next, including a Presidential election. Perhaps I’m choosing to write tonight as a distraction from what’s happening to the fate of the future of our country. I’m much happier reflecting on my new PR just two days ago at the TCS NYC Marathon. Long story short, I finished the NYC marathon in 3:33:31, a time that crushed my previous PR from 2013 by 2:11. AND it earns me a 2018 BQ by a 7 minute margin! While I am still riding this runner’s high, possibly one of the things that makes this PR so sweet is that it’s not even what I set out to do. I set out to run smart, to run a specific race strategy; I set out to run through pain, to run with everything I had in me. I set out to finish hard. As it turns out, the combination of these things resulted in an incredibly rewarding race and new PR. Continue reading

Buffalo Marathon Recap: A Hot 26.2

Recapping the Buffalo Marathon feels like almost a bigger undertaking than the 26.2 miles themselves. I’ve written plenty of race recaps yet this one has SO many factors to it, starting with the fact that it was the culmination of my first six months of working with a professional coach. Those six months of training were a mix of things and in my mind were all building me up to my best marathon performance yet. Spoiler alert: it was not my best and I’m ok with it.

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Baltimore 10 Miler Recap: The Goal? Run Fast.

I’d always heard about the Baltimore 10 Miler. I knew small parts of the course from the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler. But everyone talks about how hilly this course is, about how the hills will be brutal. I had signed up for the Baltimore 10 Miler with the full intention of racing, to test out where I am with speed and to decide if I am capable of getting fast enough to try for another BQ this fall. Well before the Bmore10 I went ahead and registered for the marathon (Leigh Valley Via Marathon) so that just left the goal of testing out my speed. Six weeks post-Boston, how fast could I run? Continue reading

The Art & Science of Race Selection

I spend a lot of my time while running thinking about racing. Even when I’m not training for a specific race, I’m thinking about racing. I think about the “perfect” race. I think about what it would take to win a race (in my age group). I think about races of different distances and set crazy stretch goals for them quickly followed by aggressive goals and truly realistic goals. When I went about thinking about my race plan for 2014 I realized there is probably an art and science to race selection. Continue reading

The Baltimore Running Festival Finish Line

10232860003_a4674beea2If you want a race with a fantastic after party, the Baltimore Running Festival does it right. Taking over parking lots at M&T Bank Stadium makes for a perfect post-race tailgate. An awesome band for live music, tons of food trucks and tents, moon bounce and other fun kid games, plenty of porta-pots (though not necessarily with TP!) and even rows of long tables where runners could pick crabs in true Maryland style–this plus more made up the finish area for 5k, 13.1 and 26.2 finishers. I was among the crowd in a form rare for me–as a spectator. Continue reading

Two Hours or Bust: Pacing the Zooma Half Marathon

Racing locally, in my opinion is one of the best ways to race. You can sleep in your own bed, you know the tricks to getting around traffic and good parking, you likely know the route of the race and there is the general pride that comes with seeing athletes ready to run in your hometown. This year, the Zooma Half Marathon & 10k was scheduled to be in Annapolis on June 5. I love the half marathon distance and I love running in Annapolis. But this would be my third weekend in a row of racing and to be honest, the Zooma registration cost is a little steep for my purse strings so I wasn’t sure if I’d sign up to run. But then, an email came out from the Annapolis Triathlon Club calling for volunteer pacers for the Zooma Half. Sold!

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Setting & Adjusting the Race Pace Goal

When I first started doing running races, I raced to participate, to experience the race, and that was about it. Let me first say that there is absolutely nothing wrong in racing with that mindset. My perception of racing started to change as I learned more about running, form, training techniques and drills, and my own potential. My perception of races also started to change the first time I adopted a real training plan which was for my first half marathon in October 2008.

I distinctly recall that race being the first time I set a hard goal that I hoped to achieve. For that run my goal was to finish under two hours, which I just barely did. That race pretty much set the tone for how I’ve been running, training, and racing which is goal-oriented. Continue reading

Race Pace vs. Training Pace

j0241885There are a number of training drills that call for running at 5K pace or a 10K pace. Some drills just tell you to run at your goal race pace. Though I’ve gotten into incorporating more tempo runs and speedwork into my training I still haven’t quite figured out the paces I should be shooting for in those runs. The  most I’ve taken the time to figure out is my goal time for different distances. If I took the time (and was good at math) I’m sure I could quickly figure out those different paces and times that I should be using in training.

I’ve run a consistent 9-minute mile for a long time; on longer runs I might average 9:30 and shorter runs I can usually stay under 9 minutes. These ranges are what I consider to be my “training paces.” I’d like to learn how to better use these paces during different training runs and I’d like to set more training pace goals. However, I also would like to better establish my race pace. On my recent half marathon I finally think I achieved what I could consider a race pace. Mile after mile I managed to maintain an 8:58 pace. Continue reading

Half Marathon Highlights

bm_half (2)Earlier this year I met the owner of Blue Point Timing and Race Management in Annapolis, Ron Bowman. He has worn many hats in the Annapolis running community and continues to coach many runners in addition to running alongside them, and is now well into his second year of operating his race management company. It was when I met Ron that I learned about the Ben Moore Memorial Half Marathon and 10K and put it on my calendar as a summer race.

The race is in honor of another running coach, Ben Moore, who was also a Marine and so the race started and ended at the Truman Parkway Park n’ Ride where Ben, and now Ron, begin and end many group training runs. I’ve lived in Annapolis for over seven years but there are plenty of places I’ve not been before and this park n’ ride is one of them. I knew the race was going to be small and registration was going to be held the morning of the race at the start area. As happens with me on all race days I woke up before my 5:30 a.m. alarm excited for the race. I wanted to make sure I’d have plenty of time to get ready, find the park n’ ride, and get registered before the 7:30 a.m. start gun.

I sort of knew where to go to find the start location and even though I knew the race was going to be small I was stumped to find that there weren’t any signs pointing runners to the race location. I also knew that Ron was operating as a one-man show most of the time and that he was relying on a small pool of volunteers to help for the day. I knew I was in the right place because other runners were milling around the parking lot but it took me some time to find the humble registration table set-up. I started to have mixed feelings about the small race. I absolutely wanted to support Ron and his efforts to put on local races. A friend of mine was helping to time the race and along with her volunteer time I always appreciate the work of any volunteer. Standing in the registration line with other runners  we talked about how great it was to have such a reasonably priced timed half marathon right in our backyard. And that is when I realized that no matter the size of a race, races are races and runners are runners and that is what it’s all about. Continue reading

ZOOMA, Thunder, & Chocolate

My enthusiastic gear check buddy making sure runners would know where to drop their things.

My enthusiastic gear check buddy making sure runners would know where to drop their things.

Most runs start pretty early in the morning and the ZOOMA Annapolis race had a start time of 7 a.m. for runners of the 10K and half marathon course. This means that volunteers had to be there long before the sun was even up to ensure that water stations, information centers, parking lots, exhibitor areas, and the gear check station were set-up and ready to go when the first runners arrived at the start line.

I had volunteered to work gear check at the race as well as hand out chocolates to finishers as they arrived back at the Expo from the finish line. I woke up almost every hour to make sure I didn’t miss my 4:30 a.m. alarm and by the time I got to the Naval Academy stadium to meet my fellow volunteers I was remaining optimistic that the ominous clouds overhead would blow over.

Not having volunteered to work a race before I wasn’t sure what the flow of things would be and it turned out it couldn’t have been simpler, more organized, or run by the most patient and helpful people. The ZOOMA race is the brainchild of Brae Blackley and her calm demeanor and constant smile eased both volunteers and runners as she responded to a constant flow of questions. Her core volunteers are her friends, mother, mother-in-law, and husband as well as the many willing locals who came out to support her race whose mission is to empower women to live healthy, active, and happy lives. Continue reading