Race Recap: Mini 10k 2017

The New York Road Runner’s Mini 10k was the first women’s only race and has been held annually since 1972. The race was originally intended to be a marathon, but it was decided that a “mini marathon” would be better suited. It’s crazy to think that not until the 1970s did women have their own race. It’s even more amazing now that not only does NYRR still host this 10k, but the Women’s Half Marathon each spring!

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This was my first time running the Mini 10k- many of my friends have done this race before (including Pam) and always enjoy it. Naturally I had to join in on the fun. Plus, it was part of girls’ weekend in NYC! Unlike some of the other road races, there is no crazy sign-up rush for this race which had over 8,000 finishers yesterday morning.

NYRR makes packet pick-up so easy for race morning or getting your bib ahead of time at the Run Center. The girl squad met up for race morning and headed to Columbus Circle for the starting line. Even before 8am, it was heating up to be a warm day. Summer is finally starting in New York! The corrals were organized, but separated by flimsy ribbon which ended up breaking and crowding the start. The first mile runs uptown on Central Park West- this part of the race was definitely crowded! I tried to weave through people, but also needed to gauge my speed. 1. It was hot! My body was telling me that I wasn’t going to be setting any records with this warm weather. 2. Don’t try and sprint out of the gate knowing that the steepest hill was coming up in Mile 2.

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So Central Park is no joke when it comes to the hills. There aren’t too many flat parts when you are running the big loop. I was mostly excited to run a race clockwise around the park after completing the Women’s Half which runs counter-clockwise. Those big uphills turn into downhills 🙂 By the 5k mark, I was sweaty and in need of some water. Thankfully there are 4 water/ Gatorade stops along the course. Winding around to the east side, the crowd started to grow with athletic supporters. My 5th mile was my fastest mile- probably due to the excitement from the crowd.

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Heading around the bottom of Central Park, the Mini 10k has the same finish as the New York City Marathon. With 800 meters to go, the hills keep coming and there is a nice uphill finish. I love to take off as soon as the finish line is in sight! Let’s go- you’re almost there! My personal favorite part of the finish line was receiving my medal from one of my friends who was volunteering! She was also at the finish line of the Brooklyn Half- the best cheerleader there is! Finishers also received beautiful carnations and pink post-race bagels.

Maybe the most important piece of all is the post-race party! The Mini 10k after party was held at the bandshell  where they had a huge backdrop for sweet finisher photos, raffle prizes, and a recovery zone- thanks, HSS! It gets better… the race shirt? It’s a lightweight New Balance tank top and is going to be perfect for hot summer runs while we are training for the Chicago Marathon. The whole race was a great experience and the perfect reason to get together with our girlfriends for a Saturday bRUNch.

Did anyone else run yesterday?! What’s your next race this summer?

❤ Louise

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Race Recap: 10 Mile Run to Blue Point Brewery

We had our computers ready, credit cards out, anxiously waiting for the clock to strike 7… sign-ups for this race are no joke because it is so popular- and for good reason. GLIRC and Sayville Running Company put on one of the most popular races on Long Island. It’s simple: run 10 miles, drink all the beer.img_7562

This was my third year participating and I always have a great time! Signing up this year was seamless compared to previous years (thank you GLIRC for solving that issue) and I was so excited to have Pam and her boyfriend, Al, join me in the run. We all set our own goals for the run and crushed them this year!img_4844

This 10 mile race starts by the Blue Point Brewery out in Patchogue then winds through the neighborhoods towards the ocean and back to the brewery. The course is a flat loop with a few quick turns. Since I have run this race before, I’ve learned the course and have a few favorite parts. This time, I made mental notes along the way of my personal favorite moments during each mile:

  1. This guy was holding a sign that said “What are you running from?” And I shouted out to him, “I’m just running towards the beer!”
  2. Puppies! There were so many spectators with their dogs out and about
  3. We had literally just passed the port-a-potty, but this man jogs off behind a tree… we all saw you…
  4. Fireball shots at this mile marker! With a real feel temperature of 20*, this surely warms you up.
  5. It may sound silly, but this one road used to have craters which made for some dodgy running. It was newly re-paved and I could look ahead instead of at my toes.
  6. Between miles 6 & 7, you make a turn that takes you right along the ocean. It’s a beautiful view- especially on a sunny morning.
  7. I was just happy that it came out of nowhere! I think I was distracted by the ocean and the race photographer on the sideline.
  8. My playlist started jamming and even though I didn’t have Pam to sing aloud to, I started rocking out to “Want U Back” by Cher Lloyd #NoShame
  9. Mile 9 was actually disappointing 😦 The last 2 years, there has been a man standing on the bridge over the canal handing out beers. Drinking while running may not be recommended, but it’s always a good laugh. Where were you, old friend?!
  10. One last turn and it’s a long straightaway to the finish. I had been keeping an eye out during the whole race then I found my friend Brittany, crossed that finish line, and found some refreshing beverages!

img_4842As a runner, people often ask me what my favorite part of running is; and in typical Louise fashion, I answer bluntly… “my favorite part of running is stopping.” Hence, I love reaching that finish line and celebrating with a good post-race party! This was the first year that finishers received medals for this race complete with bottle opener. Fashion meets function. From the finish line, you head back to Blue Point Brewery where warm tents had food, music, raffles, and of course, plenty of beer. Besides the drinking and dancing, we are big fans of raffles so we put some money in to win a keg. You know, gotta keep the party going! Well, my friend, Brittany won that keg! Party in Long Beach, date TBD 😉

Xo,
Louise

Race Recap: Massapequa Park Turkey Trot

img_6482This weekend B&B went to the Massapequa Park Turkey Trot and ran the 5k around the Massapequa Preserve. We ran with Team Peak, a team that Louise now coaches, and one that I started back in 2012. It was so special seeing old clients achieve their goals and to see my best friend carrying on what is now a Peak tradition! November weather is always a gamble but we lucked out and it was a beautiful day on Saturday– 54* and sunny! (Two years ago it was 32* and cloudy at the start – brrr). I have a love/hate relationship with the 5k distance – I love it because it is fun and short but I hate it because you are uncomfortable the entire race. Since I just ran the marathon 2 weeks ago I knew I wasn’t going to set any PRs, but I did want to run a smart race and to run a negative split. My goal was to run under 24 minutes and I wanted to feel strong running!

There was a group tailgate before the race with water, coffee, and snacks then we all headed to the race start. I tried to hit the restroom but the line was way too long with only 8 minutes until the start of the race. Al got to go since there wasn’t a line at the men’s room (of course). I lined up on the left side of the start line trying to keep the tangents in mind and then off we went. The first mile my goal was to run somewhere around a 7:50 and I ended up running a 7:44. I held that pace for the next half mile and then tried to pick it up just a little bit for a second mile pace of 7:32. At this point my mind is screaming at me how uncomfortable I am but I just try to keep pushing. There is also an old coworker that is running ahead of me so I set my sights on him. I keep telling myself that if I keep him close enough that I could catch him at the end. This is my favorite in race strategy when things get tough at the end and you are trying to hold on. My third mile ended up being a 7:32 as well and then I just gave it everything I had to the finish line. I unfortunately realized about 15 feet from the finish line that I was going to get sick and I just prayed I could get somewhere semi-private. At first I spied a tree but then I was able to make it over by the water. Whoops! This isn’t my first race that has ended in this fashion and I almost always feel nauseous at the end of a 5k – I said it was an uncomfortable pace!img_4524

The rest of the time was spent cheering on teammates and refueling with water and snacks. They did a great job with the post race celebration with music and treats including bagels, apples, bananas, chips & salsa, and more. Once everyone finished it was time for the awards. Several of our teammates took home awards and pies! Al and I both finished at the top of our age group so we won a turkey trophy and a pie! Guess what we are taking to Thanksgiving dinner 🙂img_4532

Overall, it was a great race and a beautiful day. However I will say one thing- man with the little dog on the leash – you suck. I saw you running ahead of me and I made a really conscious effort to make sure I didn’t trip over your dog or leash when I went for my finish line surge. But honestly I find it disrespectful and dangerous to put your tiny dog in this circumstance. The finish line of a race is already hectic and it could have ended badly.

Next up is the Garden City Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. If any of you will be there – let us know!!

Xo, Pam

NYC Marathon 2016: Spectator’s Edition


I want to preface this post with how proud I am of Pam and everyone else who completed the 26.2 miles through New York City this past Sunday. Running a marathon is not an easy task; it takes weeks of training and lots of discipline. All of your hard work comes down to one day of eating bagels, running miles, and drinking water. On the other side, there are your family and friends who have listened to you talk non-stop about running, missed you because your long run was the next morning; but then it’s finally race week and they have no problem indulging in some empathetic carb loading. It’s time we talk about the other side of running a marathon, the real heroes here: the spectators.img_7303

As a runner, I understand how great that feeling is when you spot your friends and family along the race course. It gives you a surge of energy to keep powering on even if the course is tough. Knowing that you have people there supporting you is one of the greatest feelings! This is why I want to share some tips on how to be the best spectator on race day.

Let’s rewind to Saturday, when the #PamSquad received an email with the game plan for race day. Now I enjoy being on time to things and having a plan, but Pam is the Type A- ready to go- spreadsheets on deck- kind of organized. With that being said, she already told us where to go, but it was our responsibility to be there for her aka don’t blow it.

Tip #1 Establish your #CheerSquad. Who is going to come and watch the race? Where is the first meeting point? Who has the orange juice and who is bringing champagne? It is 9AM ya know. Establish who is going to be at which points along the course and who is meeting up where.img_4350

Tip #2 Have a plan. As a spectator, saying you’ll be “near the finish” is not enough. Let your runners know at which points they should be looking for you. Try to map out several points along the course where you will be cheering and allow yourself enough time to travel between points. The worst thing is to miss your runner! The #PamSquad had directions written out from each point with estimated travel times. Even better- there was a separate spreadsheet that had her estimated pace listed with an approximate time of day. Side note: many races also have an app for that where you can track your runners in real time!

Tip #3 Know the course. For the NYC Marathon, runners are cruising through all 5 boroughs. It’s important to know where your runner will be and approximately what time they should hit that marker. We were on and off the subways all day to make sure we got to each “Pam Point” on time. It is important to review the course ahead of time to make sure you aren’t near a busy medical tent or at a water stop with cups flying everywhere. Let your runner know if you will be on their right or left so they can slide to that side as they approach your check-in points.img_4352

Tip #4 Be Visible. “I’ll be in a blue hat” won’t be enough to help find you on the sidelines. Neon posters are a great start! I personally love reading the funny things people write as I’m running. This year we upgraded from posters to Pam faces. Some oversized Pam heads on a stick were just what she needed to find us in the crowd!

Tip #5 Pack Prosecco. Need I say more? You’re not running and it’s going to be a long day of adventuring around the race route- better stock up! Over the course of the day, I managed to rack up about 25,000 steps (according to my FitBit). We were up and down subway stairs, weaving through people, and sprinting to make it to the finish line in time.

Special treat! Here is some live coverage of the NYC Marathon!

What other tips do you have for spectating? How has your cheer squad motivated you all the way to the finish line?

Happy Trails!
Louise

Race Recap: 15k Run to the Port Jeff Brewery

Run a race they said. It will be fun they said. There will be beer at the finish line. There will also be many hills before you earn that beer…img_4022

This past Sunday, B&B, along with some of our friends headed out to Port Jefferson for the first ever 15k Run to the Port Jeff Brewery. This race was created due to the popularity of one of my favorite Long Island Races, the Blue Point 10 Mile Race to the Brewery. The Port Jeff course starts and ends at the brewery with a post-race party including music, food, and of course, beer. Being the first year they are holding this race, we had no idea what to expect. On GLIRC’s website, the description states “The race you will love to hate followed by the party that you will just LOVE! Not for the fainthearted (with a first mile going up Port Jefferson’s famous East Broadway hill!)”

Okay, so we kind of had an idea of what we were getting into. Race morning comes and unfortunately, LI is getting hit with the wet remnants of Hurricane Matthew. Rain jackets, check! Easy t-shirt and bib pickup was available that morning then we headed to the start line. Gun goes off and we head through town making a turn towards our first hill. Now, we are south shore girls; training for races includes hill repeats on what may be mole hills compared to the mountains we traversed.

Pam: I want to point out that only Louise had an idea what we were getting into. She casually asked me to run this race over the summer and I blindly signed up. I never looked at the website and they left that little sentence off the email that I got. Whoops. This is so not like me – I usually like to be uber organized but it has been so hectic. I also knew I wasn’t racing it because I had my 20 miler on Saturday morning so this race was only 24 hours later. My goal this race was to stay present the entire race, focusing on how I tackle each and every hill and focusing on my form. I practiced maintaining an even effort level – a little slower on the way up and making up the difference with a controlled downhill. Even when everyone else was walking at one point, I reminded myself I have the NYC marathon in 4 short weeks and I needed to be tough!

Running together for the first half of the race, we conquered the first hill then ran along the ups and downs of the course as we wound through neighborhoods. There was a communal groan when we turned one corner for an out and back. Out and backs are generally not my favorite, and this one was a straight downhill to the water knowing you were going to turn around and climb right back up. Luckily we spotted some friends and exchanged high fives. The view of the Sound would have been so pretty if the weather had cooperated. *Smile!* Camera guys spotted here!

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At about mile 7, we reach Big Hill #3, Pam and I started to get separated as we powered up this hill. It’s a long steady climb and just when you think you’ve reached the top it turns left and gets steeper. This was the one that got everyone… at this point I contemplated whether I could walk faster than I was running up this hill and many other runners around me had the same idea. But that was the last one! As we headed into the final two miles of the race, the course continued on a downward slope as we reached the heart of town and it flattened out just in time to book it to that finish line!

The race was well organized from sign ups, to bib pick ups, handing out refreshments, and raffles. Throughout the course, there were water stations, each mile was marked with a time clock, and volunteers kept the intersections safe for runners. Huge shout out to the volunteers for standing in the rain- you guys are awesome 🙂

As you crossed the finish line, your name was announced, other finishers and spectators cheered you on, and you received a fabulous finisher’s medal! There was water and beer immediately as you crossed the line- pick your poison. The post race party was held at the Port Jeff Brewery where we were served unlimited beers, heroes, and sweets while the band Jelly Band played underneath a tent. No post-race party would be complete without bib raffles! Pam was the first number called and she won an awesome gift basket with craftimg_4055 beers and mugs to serve them. The rest of us didn’t have any luck, but the prizes were great! They included Sayville/ Smithtown Running Co. gift cards, backpacks, and more beer.

Thanks again to GLIRC for hosting a great race. We are looking forward to next year! Did any of you run?

Xo, Louise & Pam

11 Weeks til NYC26.2

For the next 11 weeks I’m going to recap my week of workouts to give you a peek at the highs and lows of marathon training. It’s not always pretty but appreciating the journey is an essential part of being successful.

Monday: Full Body Strength
Today I have a 5 hour dentist appointment appointment so it was a strength training day! I did 2 rounds of my favorite Tone It Up video which was 30 minutes of strength training with squats, deadlifts, planks, and single leg exercises. I also went for an evening bike ride with Al to unwind.
Tuesday: Easy Run- 5 miles, Upper Body Strength
I actually really enjoy runs before work. It just gets my day started off right. I did get tricked into thinking it was cooler than it was so I wore capris and totally regretted it. I did two rounds of my favorite upper body exercises after work.
Wednesday: Hill Repeats- 6 miles
Probably the workout that I dread the most but always feel like a badass superhero when I finish. It’s 1.5 mile warmup to the base of Cat Hill, six 400m repeats up and down (which is just about red light to red light), and then 1.5 mile cooldown. On Wednesday nights I stay in the city so this workout usually works out perfectly. It’s 1.5 miles from work to Cat Hill and 1.5 from Cat Hill to my friend Nicola’s apartment. It’s meant to be!
Thursday: Ocean Ride Spin
A spin class was today’s workout so I tried out the local LB studio Ocean Ride for a 45 minute ride. Check out my review here.
Friday: Rest
Today was supposed to be an easy run but I worked 7am-5pm and by the time I got home I was exhausted. Like I just want to lay down and sleep exhausted. So that’s what I did! So I just swapped workouts with Saturday.
Saturday: Easy Run- 3 miles
It felt amazing to sleep in since last weekend I didn’t get a chance to! I had 3 easy miles on the boardwalk and then spent the afternoon with my PIC. We went Stand Up Paddle boarding in Island Park. We paddled against the wild wind for about 40 minutes, explored the marshes for about 10 minutes, and then made it back in 10 minutes since the wind was to our backs. And then we brunched our little hearts out at Pancho’s.
Sunday: Long run- 17 miles
I was in dire need of a good long run. Last Saturday was a disaster and two weeks ago the heat and humidity were just too much. I signed up for the Three Bridges Run with the NY Flyers. Their organization and execution was on point and it was such a great event. It was still crazy humid but being in a group made all the difference. They have planned water stops along the way with water, Gatorade, and gels. We also went rogue and stopped at a water park for an extra water stop and to cool off in the sprinklers. I joined the 9:30 pace group and our pacers did an excellent job in making sure we stuck with that pace. It starts in Central Park, over to Riverside Park, down the West Side, across to the Brooklyn Bridge, over the Pulaski Bridge, and then finally over the Queensboro Bridge. If you were further in your training they went back into the park to make it a full 20 but my job was done. Overall I was so proud to have hung in there and finished the 17 miles while tackling those bridges.
Total Mileage: 31 miles
10 weeks to go to the big day. I’m running a little slower than last year but I’m still just trying to hang in there and enjoy the journey.
Are any of you training for a fall race?
Xo, Pam

Race Recap: TD Beach to Beacon 2016

For my annual trip to Maine, I adventured to Cape IMG_3249Elizabeth to run the Beach to Beacon 10K race with my friends. This is my second time doing the race and it is definitely one of my favorites to run! It is really beautiful up there- especially in the summer. And starting my Saturday with 6.2 miles of rolling hills really wakes you up! Let’s rewind to a few months ago where I sat anxiously by my computer at 7am to register for this race (which sold out in less than 4 minutes). After seeing that “Congratulations” notification, I was pumped to be returning to Maine to run again. The race itself is very organized considering there are several thousand runners flocking to this small, coastal town.

Friday evening, my grad school BFF, Kim, and I headed to Cape Elizabeth HS for packet pickup and the race expo. Numbers and t-shirts were easy to grab so we wandered around looking at different vendors at the expo. We received free gift cards, entered raffles, snagged some bananas, and had an opportunity to shop around. What a great experience!

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5:30AM on Saturday, my alarm is buzzing and it’s time to get going! Lucky for us, Kim’s parents literally live next to the finish line so we head over there, snap a few pre-race pictures and hitch a ride to Cape Elizabeth HS where shuttle buses will take you to the
start line. Because this is a point-to-point race, the busing, bag check, and organization are clutch (this race has nailed it). 7:30AM we arrived to the starting line where there are refreshments (water, Gatorade) and long porta-potty lines (classic). Herding into the corral is the most challenging part because there are so many people!

A few minutes after 8AM and we are off! My goal for this race was just to finish strong and preferably under an hour since this is my triumphant return to the running world. The course begins near Crescent Beach State Park and winds its way north. As you cruise along the rolling hills, there is an energy about this race. There is never a moment without a crowd to cheer you on! Around Mile 3, two firetrucks proudly display the American flag which you get to run underneath. Each mile marker has a water station and tons of volunteers helping runners. As you approach Mile 5, the ocean comes into view just before you tackle the biggest hills on the course. Mile 5.5 is where Kim’s family stands at the end of the street, waiting for us to high five as we run by 🙂 The crowd keeps growing as you head towards a finish line which seems like it will never come. The course twists and turns into Fort Williams Park and then BAM! Your finish line is in sight with the beautiful Portland Headlight just behind it.

Something you don’t know until you’ve done this race- the biggest hill is after the finish line. And it sucks. After running 6.2 miles, you head up a hill in the park where water, food, and massages await you. But that hill still sucks. My friends and I set our designated meeting spot at the top of said hill then headed to grab waters, bagels, bananas, and fresh Maine blueberries.

Success all around! Everyone finished strong and I came in with a time of 59:19 🙂 Nothing like that painful PR of 54:06 last year, but an enjoyable race. I highly recommend you guys signing up for this one. I’ll see you next August!

❤ Louise

PS: We also may have found a race photographer on our walk back to Kim’s house…

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Race Recap: Queens 10k 2016

Dear NYRR, you can do better.

I am a huge fan of the NYRR races and I have been a member for several years. I typically highlight how amazing they are from how flawlessly they run bag check to how promptly they start races. You also know from previous race recaps that it really doesn’t take a lot to satisfy me as a runner. This Saturday, however, I left disappointed.

I ran this race last year as a member of Team for Kids and I was looking forward to running it again. I learned a few lessons from last year which included making sure you buy parking it advance, arriving earlier than you usually would for a race, and be ready for the heat.

I headed into the city on Friday to pick up my race bib and a parking pass. The line wasn’t too long; I probably had about a 8 minute wait time. The first stop was to pick up your tank top (I love races that do tank tops instead of t-shirts). However, I was shocked to find that they were already out of small tanks. It didn’t affect me personally because I needed a medium, but this was pretty early on a Friday afternoon. I was surprised that they would be out of a fairly common runner size so early on. The second stop was for our bib numbers and it was smooth and fast. Third stop, parking aka the ultimate nemesis of the Queens 10k. I purchased my pass for a whopping $23 because I knew that meant I would be in Lot G and that it would allow for an easier race morning. Little did I know what would unfold the next day!

Friday night I had a concert with my best friends to see Jason Aldean. I knew that I wasn’t running the 10k for time because right now PRs are not my focus. Looking back, I should have definitely drank a little more water and charged all of my accessories like I always do before a race.

Saturday morning came and I got moving around 6:30am. My friend Amanda who was also running agreed to be at my house around 6:45am. We jetted off towards Citi Field shortly after. We made great time until we got to Citi Field around 7:40am. It was an absolute stand still, no one knew what to do next, and no one knew where to go. I didn’t panic yet because I knew where Lot G was and that we would definitely make it in time. Slowly but surely we get to the side of the stadium and I’m feeling good because Lot G is in my site. Joke is on me, because they were not letting anyone in Lot G. Nor could the attendants blocking Lot G tell me anything except to move along. So now I am upset. Why did I travel to the city to prepay for a parking pass and now I had to wait in line with everyone who didn’t prepay to go to an unknown lot. We continue to creep along as 8:30 ticks by and the race fires off. At this point I also realize my Garmin is dead, I left my Ipod at home, and I have no more water in the car. Finally we park and begin to jog to the start line. The NYRR staff was very helpful on directing us where to head and I wasn’t that upset about the warm-up because my coach wanted me to run 7 miles anyway.

The course was pretty much like I remember from last year. The weather was steamy, the course was a little tight, and I literally couldn’t wait for each mile to pass. I stopped at every water station to hydrate and tell myself it was only a 10k. I am so grateful for the water gods that sent the people with the hoses to cool us down. I also tried to keep my eyes peeled to the ground for those pesky potholes that come along. The best part of the race occurs once you make it past the highway and the scenic tour begins. You run past the Queens Museum, Citi Field, the Uni-sphere, and some remnants of the World Fair. Once you crossed the finish line it was a dead standstill with a very narrow finish chute and empty tables of water. Not exactly what a hot, tired, and sweaty runner wants to see after running a 10k.

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It was really concerning to see so many runners down. I saw around 5 runners down, some of them getting sick and others just unable to move. Luckily they were all being attended to and I was happy they were getting the help they needed. I did however spend a lot of the race contemplating what contributed to this unusually high number and to thank my body for all it does.

The best part of the race: my shiny medal, the 9+1 credit, and the Italian ice man that was 20 yards past the finish line. Marathon training kicks off in just under two weeks and I can’t wait to settle into a routine again.

**Since the race ended, NYRR has issued an apology for the parking incident and they are going to reimburse us for the parking fee. An apology can fix most relationships and I appreciate them acknowledging their mistake.

 

Have you ran the Queens 10k? What was your experience?

Xo, Pam

Race Recap: 2016 Baltimore 10 Miler

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B&B headed to Baltimore, Maryland for a weekend trip with our friends. And of course, we signed up for the Baltimore 10 Miler since we were in town! Pam: Baltimore has a special place in my heart. I spent some wonderful years in college there and I love going back to visit. However, Baltimore running has left me broken hearted. I ran the Baltimore Marathon there 2 years ago and it was my least favorite marathon to date. I learned just how hilly Baltimore was so I was ready for this race.

Our amazing friend, Kim, headed to the zoo on Friday and picked up the race bibs for everyone. You were also able to pick up bibs at various Dick’s Sporting Goods around the area which makes it convenient for the local runners. There is no race expo so if you are an expo junkie like Pam, do not get excited.

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Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early after a night of sushi (NOT the best pre-race fuel, for the record) and hopped in an Uber to Kim’s house. The traffic getting to the race was pretty aggressive on the exit ramp and that was still a little bit away from the starting line. Thankfully we were heading to Kim’s so we didn’t hit any traffic at all! Having Baltimore friends made race morning a breeze because we were dropped off just beyond the starting line by Druid Hill Park. Our drop off spot was at the bottom of that awful hill (more on that later), so it was a small hike, but we knew what we were up against come Mile 9. The threat of rain had subsided for race morning but 80 degrees and 85% humidity at 7:30AM is not ideal running weather.

The starting line was overflowing with runners, but we filed in quickly and crossed the starting line. The race course is out and back with a few added street turns in either direction. Mile 1 is all downhill… weeeee. Around the 1st mile marker, we found our Cheer Squad who lined up for high fives 🙂 The course is filled with rolling hills and makes its U-turn for Mile 5 around Lake Montebello. Throughout the race, there were some spots filled with spectators and some stretches without anyone cheering. As we approached Mile 8, we found our Cheer Squad again and another round of high fives was just the power boost we needed! This was also the “Munchkin Mile” with a water station and Dunkin Donuts Munchkins. Louise: I was sooo pumped for munchkins, but when I tried to eat one mid-race, chewing was just not happening and I basically coughed it into the trash. Lesson learned- never try to chew anything in a race. Pam agrees with me.

Just before you hit the marker for Mile 9, Druid Hill starts to climb. It seems like the hill that will never end, then once you reach the top you make a loop and the finish line creeps into sight just around the corner! As we rounded the corner, we found Kim and Matt and gave our last power-up high fives before taking off.

Crossing the finish line was sweet relief! We were handed awesome medals with penguins running across… we still haven’t figured out why though. Anyone know why they chose penguins? Water, Gatorade, oranges, bananas, apples, granola bars, chips, pretzels, and watermelon! Yum! Snacks in hand, we walked back to find Matt and Kim, while cheering Chelsea across the finish line. Race complete.

The post-race festival was SO MUCH FUN! We were able to hang out with our friends and enjoy Harpoon Brewery beers and live music from Naked Nation. It definitely made running up those hills worth it! After several hours in the sun with beers in hand, race day was a success! Then it was off to the ballgame!

Have you ran the Baltimore 10 miler? What were your experiences?

Xo, Pam & Louise

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Race Recap: 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon

I crossed the finish line!

I knew I could do it- but that’s not what I had been training to do. I wanted to cross the finish line in less than 2 hours, but that didn’t happen. I finished with a second best time of 2:05:05, and after calling my mom (duh!) and talking with Coach Jared, I’ve stopped beating myself up over it (more on that later).

Let’s rewind for a minute and talk about the race experience! Thursday afternoon, I headed to Brooklyn Bridge Park for the Pre-Party. At Pier 2, you picked up your race bib, had an opportunity to shop for Brooklyn merchandise, and get your last minute race questions answered. Brooklyn Running Co. set up shop with some cool Brooklyn gear and any last minute essentials (like headbands and Gu) that you may need. There was also a spot to get your race shirt customized! Outside there were swings, giant Jenga, a band stage, and fantastic views of the NYC skyline- the perfect photo op! There were just a few food trucks with some snacks and drinks; honestly, I was hoping for more food options.

Fast forward to race day… traveling from Nassau County to Brooklyn can be aggressive. We decided to hire a car which picked us up on time from my house and dropped us off right at the starting line. Our early wake up call ensured that we arrived in plenty of time to check our bags and get through security. My friend, Javi, was running in Wave 1 and bag check closed at 6:10am… Zzzz… I ate my breakfast while waiting in the corral since Wave 2 started didn’t start until 7:45am. This gave us time to warm up and use the porta potty (which I recommend doing ASAP because the lines became outrageous).

Race time! 7:45 am and the gun went off… funneling to the starting line I was SO READY to go. All that waiting had made me a little bit antsy to get started. The Brooklyn Half course starts with 3 miles outside of Prospect Park with minor ups and downs in the elevation. When you head into the park, it starts off flat and just before Mile 5 comes the biggest hill on the course which is not as steep as some of those Central Park hills, but seems like it will never end (it does, I promise). As you loop around the park, you discover what goes up must come down and get to enjoy a nice downhill as you come through Mile 7 just outside the park. You head to Ocean Parkway with a quick dip down and a steady bump in elevation on the entrance ramp. Think of this as your final stretch to the finish line- I just thought Ocean Parkway would never end. Until this point in the race, I was really feeling strong. The crowd was alive and had some really funny signs! My pace for the first few miles was a little faster than I wanted so I tried to slow myself down a little. I missed the ‘beep’ of my Garmin at Miles 6&7 and was unsure of how fast I was going. Unfortunately, I slowed myself down too much and had trouble picking up the pace again. When I saw my PR slipping away, I mentally checked out of the race, too.

As you’re running South, the Avenues go in order from A to Z then you make a right hand turn onto Surf Avenue and can see the roller coasters up ahead. The end is near! I had been wearing a bracelet with pace times for my 2 hour goal; when I saw the sign that said “800 meters to go,” I ripped it off and just made a strong finish. Crossing that finish line felt so good, but I was sooo disappointed in myself. I knew some of the mistakes I made early on in the race, but I was really mad that I had mentally given up. My jello legs made their way down the boardwalk where I was given my finisher’s medal, took a sweaty photo with it, then finally found some water (it kept everyone moving, but the water was a little bit down from the finish line).

After the satisfaction of crossing the finish line finally set in, now I had to find my friends and party! My legs were mush and I was tired, but I walked down the boardwalk where finishers also received a bag with water, Gatorade, an apple, pretzels, and a PowerBar. (One of the nice volunteers let me trade my bag so that crazy me could have a blue Gatorade- thank you!) Picking up my gear from bag check was a breeze and was also the designated meeting spot for my friends. *Side note: I had read recaps from last year about limited cell phone service. While I didn’t have a problem with my phone, some people had spotty service so make sure you designate a meeting point ahead of time.*

The Post-Race party was so much fun! You head into MCU Park, Home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, to find thousands of other runners celebrating with their friends and family. Beers were flowing, hot dogs were cooking, and the band was playing everything from the new JT song to some old school Spice Girls.

Before I left the house at 4am, my mom told me to “just have fun!” I definitely did that 🙂 The Brooklyn Half was a great race with excited runners, spectators cheering the whole way, and a killer finish line party. I will definitely be running this one again! Although I didn’t PR like I had hoped, I know there are more races to come. Coach Jared and I have discussed the idea of an October race… hmm… until then, I’m excited for the Baltimore 10 Miler in 2 weeks where I will be running for fun with my best friends!

Happy Sunday Funday, my loves!
Louise

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A huge congratulations to my friends; Javi, who crushed his goal with a time of 1:29:54 and to Virginia, who finished her first half marathon! 🙂