2018 NYC Half Marathon Recap

This is a few weeks late but better late than never!

I had such a great time running the NYC Half. It was my first time doing this race…not that it mattered because the course was brand new this year.


I didn’t really have any time goals. I just wanted to finish 13.1 miles feeling good. I loosely figured I could do it in 2:30 but wasn’t chasing a certain time or anything.

So let’s dive right into the NYC Half Marathon recap!


I was running this race with 2 of my running group friends. Thankfully one of them was in the corral with me. My parents drove us in (from NJ to Brooklyn), which meant getting up at 4:30 AM. I know a lot of people like to stay closer or at a hotel, but I just prefer to sleep in my own bed, and have my set routine. My mom and I got a hotel for the 2011 NYC Marathon and although it was nice being closer, I feel I do better just sleeping at my place and getting up earlier.

So we drove into Brooklyn and got there no problem. A lot of people were bummed that the new race started in Brooklyn…it is kind of a pain for people driving in from outside of Manhattan. But since it was so early we didn’t hit any traffic.

We got to the start area around 7 AM for our 8:30 AM start.


Bag check and all that was pretty easy and quick. We got into our corral around 7:30 AM, and started warming up around 7:45 AM.

Oh yeah…it was cold! Around 25 degrees. So I wanted to make sure to do a good warm-up. My old running coach Marc, recommended warming up enough that you’re sweating before starting. He also told me to run in just a long sleeve and leggings…which I should have listened to lol. I ended up wearing a running vest because I was afraid I’d be cold.

So I did some drills and strides to warm up and actually felt fine temperature wise while waiting in the corral. My running partner had numb toes but wasn’t sure if it was because of the cold or being nervous (it was her first half marathon).

I loved that they had bathrooms right inside the corral. I pee a lot so it was convenient and I was able to go right up until we started. 

The start was 8:30 AM but we didn’t get started until about 8:45 AM. Even though there was wave 1 and wave 2, they had staggered starts within each wave as well.


Time to go!

Miles 1-3

We crossed the start and I pretty much was warm right away. Mile 1 was pretty flat, but then you got to the Manhattan Bridge, which was one of the toughest portions for me…despite only being mile 2!

It was probably a half mile climb up the bridge? Maybe more? I just kept trucking along and telling myself to take it easy. We’re only in mile 2. Nice and easy. Control your breathing. We were trying to keep the 2:30 pacers in sight, but we already lost them on the bridge because of how many people there were. Oh well.

When you get off the bridge you turn right around a corner and are basically at mile 3. That’s where my family was for the first stop. It was so weird having my mom be a spectator vs. running with me! (She didn’t get into the lottery.) I had told my dad they could just do mile 6 or 7 and then finish, but he wanted to catch us at multiple spots…thanks dad!


That’s my mom waiting for us. We’ve been using our Paraguayan flag for big races (like NYC Marathon) because it’s super easy to spot from far away. It’s always easier for the runners to see the spectators than spectators to see the runners.

For some reason I didn’t think to pass my family my vest when we passed them. I was getting hot and ended up taking it off like a minute after we passed them. I didn’t want to toss it so I looped it around my running belt. Should have listened to Coach Marc and not worn it!

Miles 4-7

I was not a fan of this portion of the race. Basically from 4.5-7 you’re running on FDR drive. I think NYRR thought this would be cool because of the views but I didn’t like it because 1) No spectators in this area 2) I don’t really care about views during a race so for my this portion was just long and monotonous and 3) It was really windy since we were by the water.

I just kept telling myself to get to mile 7. Plus, at the strategy session in the expo, they said mile 7-8 is where the race really begins. They said, “You want to get to mile 7 feeling like a caged animal.” I just kept repeating that to myself, though I was starting to get tired and doubting I’d be feeling like a caged animal lol.

At mile 7 we were in Manhattan, and my family was going to be around there. We found them right before Grand Central Station and I gave them my vest at that point. 

Miles 8-10

At mile 8 you’re on 7th Avenue going up Times Square. We had a few of our other running group friends cheering us on there too. I got an energy boost after seeing them, which was needed on the incline heading into Central Park. Because of this energy boost, I was feeling good and even sped up a bit…I was like wow I might actually be able to speed up for the finishing miles! LOL nope.

You enter Central Park around mile 9 and for some reason my energy just totally died back down there. The rolling hills leading to Cat Hill had me tired, so I let my running partner go ahead because I wanted to stop and put some music on. I knew I’d need it to finish strong.

I made the climb up Cat Hill, and my family was right at the top thankfully! I threw them my fuel belt and they cheered me on. I wanted to look strong for them but after 1-2 min after passing them I stopped to take my first walk break. 

I was beat. I gave myself a pep talk and said only 3 miles left. Come on!!!

Miles 10-13.1

I turned up my music and chugged along. I’d try to pick someone ahead of me to catch, or if someone passed me I’d try to stay with them. At this point in the race it’s just mind games to stop telling yourself that you’re tired. 

You turn left through the park, and get to the west side. This is where the “3 sisters” come in. 3 rolling hills. I was familiar with this loop because of all the NYRR races in Central Park. So I knew what to expect. I took a few more walk breaks here after cresting hills, and then would try to speed up on the down hills. 

Check out the elevation at the end in Central Park!!!


Run The World by Beyonce came on and I was like Ok, I got this!!

The last mile or so is pretty flat or downhill which is amazing. I started feeling good again. I think because I was so tired and not thinking, my brain was thinking of the NYRR 4 mile race loops. So in my mind, the finish was farther than it was. All of a sudden, I saw a sign that said 800 meters to go and I think I actually said out loud, “Wait what? Only a half mile to go?” I was so pumped.

I told myself it’s 2 laps on the track, I can do that easily. I tried to speed up but my legs were pretty done. 

I saw my family with 200 meters to go and was really trying to push. Those 200 meters were never ending!! I was trying to sprint…and then I crossed the finish line! As I crossed, I noticed both photographers were looking at their camera…so I didn’t get a finish line photo which is a bummer. But whatever, I ran 13.1 miles!



I finished in about 2:33 I think? Maybe 2:34. I was totally fine with that time, and it was around what I thought I’d run anyway. I got my medal and found my friend. We both felt great!


 It’s funny because this is my slowest half marathon to date, yet probably the best one I’ve ran. I finished feeling great…not tired, puking, with stiff legs, etc. I felt good throughout the race with no fueling or hydration issues. I was definitely feeling that runner’s high after!

It’s funny – despite it being 25 degrees, I still had salt all over my face from sweat. I’m a heavy sweater, and what’s really helped me is GenUCAN’s hydration packets.

Anyway, we took our finisher pics and headed to bag check. Similar to NYC Marathon, you have a long walk out of Central Park to meet your people. We stopped to stretch and roll for a bit (I had my handy Addaday roller) then started walking out. Our meetup for the marathon is always the West Side YMCA, so we went there for this race too since it was close to the finish.

We met the whole group there and took some pics. It was so nice to have family and friends there supporting us. Seeing them on the course really helped! I returned the favor by watching a few of them run the Philly LOVE Run Half Marathon the following weekend. 

Here are some post-race pics:




Overall, it was a great day!! 

Final thoughts:

  • I liked the course minus the portions on FDR drive. I never ran the old course, but feel like I would have been bored with the majority of the miles being on the West Side Highway. I think this course is better.
  • Maybe winter/cold races are for me? It was cold but I felt great!
  • Kinesio taping really helps my shin issues.
  • The elevation at the end of the race was killer but feels that much better when you conquer it.
  • Now it’s time to focus on 5k races and getting a new PR :)

Have you ran the NYC Half Marathon before? Did you do it this year? Thoughts on the new course?

{Pin For Later}



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2016 New York City Marathon Race Recap

It’s here – it’s finally here!!

Took my long enough but I really wanted to finish my recap video (which will be below) before I wrote this. It’s been over a month since my mom and I ran the New York City Marathon, but I still feel a runner’s high from that day.

You’ll be able to take the journey with us in the video, beginning with the Staten Island Ferry ride and ending at the finish line.  I have so many thoughts about this race – I don’t even know where to start. This post might get a little jumbled!

Here’s me 2011 recap and my 2013 recap.

Leading Up To Race Day

It was weird. I expected to be nervous but didn’t really feel anything. I wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad thing. I’m always nervous before big races, but this time I felt pretty at ease. I think I was the most mentally and physically prepared I’ve ever been, so that helped. 

About 2 weeks before I did get a bout of nervousness, but in order to get past that, I read through my training logs from this cycle and those from 2013 and realized I was in pretty good shape. Also, my shin pain had gone away for the most part thanks to physical therapy and custom orthotics. I’ve never been able to train this consistently AND be pain free.

I went on a shakeout run the day before and felt great. I felt ready.

The Expo

We headed to the expo with my mom’s friend and my sister. My mom’s friend has never done a half marathon or marathon, so this experience was all new to her. She loved it and is thinking about doing her 9+1 next year to get into NYC Marathon…another one on the marathon team! :)

I love race expos and know I will want to walk around and explore, so we always try to go on the first day. We picked up our numbers and then it got real. My sister filmed this part for my NYC Marathon Expo vlog (below) and said, “Wow that even made me nervous!”

New York City Marathon Expo

New York City Marathon Expo

We walked around and I sat in on the course strategy session. Even though this was my third time running it, it helped to get a refresher on the course and what to expect. PS – totally forgot about that long climb at mile 23ish. That killed me.

Race Day

We were running the race with one of my mom’s friends. This was her first marathon so she was a bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I told her to just take it easy in the first few miles, but she could leave us at any point if she wanted to (we split up with her around the half way point).

We opted to take the Staten Island Ferry although I’m not sure I will do this again in the future. We also took the ferry in 2013. I don’t mind the process of getting to the city and on the ferry; the problem comes once you get off the ferry and have to wait to get on the busses. That part probably took 45-60 minutes itself and my feet were starting to get tired which made me nervous. Then you get on the bus and it takes you to the starting area, but there was a ton of traffic so that also ends up taking 30-40 minutes. I overheard a few people saying they missed their wave.

In 2013, NYRR placed us on the 7:45 ferry and ensured we’d make it on time for the 10:55 wave. Well, we barely did and legit were the LAST ones running to the start corral. So this year we got on the 7:30 ferry and although we made it on time, we were still a bit rushed.

The starting area is very well organized though with plenty of port-a-potties. We picked a spot to get our numbers on and do last minute things. We headed to the corral at 10:45 and there were also bathrooms in the corral which was good because I always need to pee RIGHT before I run :-)



Ok let’s get into the race itself!

Miles 1-8

We started on the Verrazano Bridge which is the steepest and longest hill of the whole race, but as everyone always says, you barely feel it because you’re so amped up.

Mile 1 was slow, like around 12 min/mile pace, which was fine with me. By mile 3 we were in the 10:45-10:50 range that I wanted to be in.

Time out, I forgot to mention I forgot my freaking watch and my mom’s didn’t work because the memory was full. So we mainly ran by feel. I turned on RunKeeper for a mile just to see what our average pace was, and then turned it on later in the race when I split up with my mom. We also meant to join a pace group but forgot that as well on race day. Moral of the story, write a to-do list or something because you will be all over the place on race morning.

Anyway, so we were cruising along in Brooklyn and knew we’d see my family (dad, brother, sister) at their first stop at mile 6.5ish. I took my GenUCAN around mile 3, and that would last me for 2 hours.

The Brooklyn crowds are always awesome. Everyone is screaming your name (if you have your name on your shirt) and high-fiving…it’s easy to get lost in the noise and speed up but don’t! Maintain control here.

We saw my family at mile 6.5 and I always feel bad because we stop for like 5 seconds to say hi and then run off. But they have been to each of our NYC Marathon’s and are pros by now at navigating the course and cheering us on :)


My dad, sister and brother around mile 6

We kept trucking along and my mom filmed at times with her GoPro (where a lot of footage from my video came from). In 2013 my family went to mile 14 next, but this time they made another stop in between at mile 8ish. Around mile 8 is also an awesome spectator scene. It’s full of crowds and music. 


Selfie with my dad (and a stranger filming me lol)

I was feeling awesome but I could tell my mom was not herself. In previous races she was always talking to me, smiling, filming, running ahead of me to take pics, and this time she was just silently running next to me. I didn’t want to say anything and get in her head, so I tried to be motivating with things like, “Ok we got this, almost at half way. We are at a good, steady pace.”

I also said I would be the one to take more pics this time to let her just run her race, so I ran ahead and took some pics.


Miles 9-16

Remember in my short recap of NYC Marathon how I said I felt the best I’ve ever felt? Around miles 9-10, my body felt like it could start speeding up, but I held back. I  was too afraid and wanted to conserve energy. I think if I had just done what my body felt like doing, I could have PR-ed. More on that later.

Around mile 10 I said to my mom, ok after the halfway point we will speed up a tiny bit. Again, once we hit 13.1, I was afraid, and decided I would wait until after Queensboro bridger (mile 15-16).

Why is mile 13 (and halfway marker) on a bridge?? This was around when my mom stopped to walk for a bit. She said her knee was hurting, and that she was hungry. She also was using GenUCAN, but I think she hadn’t fueled enough in the week prior. We walked for probably 30 seconds then kept going. I said, ok we will go easy until after the bridge, then it’s time to turn it on.

The Queensboro Bridge, for me, is the toughest part of the race. Mentally, I was preparing myself for this almost mile-long incline. I felt like everything after that would be a piece of cake…well as much as it can be in a marathon.

We got on the bridge, and I was still feeling good. Like I’ve said before, the best I’ve ever felt, and best I’ve felt at this point in the race. In 2013, this was about where I was getting close to hitting the wall. This year, I was running up this bridge not even feeling like I was working that hard.

However, this was where my mom and I slowly started to split. I had to stop and walk a few times to wait for her to catch up to me. Some of my friends have asked why we don’t just run our own races…yeah, we could, but I love running and experiencing the race with her, especially the finish. So I stopped to walk and wait, and tried to give her a pep talk.

We knew we would be seeing my family again just off the bridge, a little past mile 16.

In the video, you’ll hear me say to my sister, “I feel good, I gotta go!” and she looks into the camera and says, “she feels good…for now…” lol. 

Miles 17-20

At this point in the race, I was like wow less than 10 miles to go! When you’re regularly doing 8-10 mile weekday training runs PLUS your weekend long runs, having 8-9 miles left in the race feels totally doable. I was having fun…I’ve never felt like this! It was amazing. In my past 3 marathons before this, these miles were a struggle, mentally and physically. Now I was running as if I had just started a run and had to run 8-9 miles.

Around mile 18, the crowds start to thin a bit. And then your mind starts playing tricks on you. You start to feel the fatigue. You start to think “Uh oh I’m getting tired…” So I put in headphones and put on the marathon playlist I made.

At this point, my mom was slowing down. I stopped again a few times to walk while I wait for her. She kept saying just go (she said this around mile 15) and I insisted no.

At mile 20 she said just go without me it’s fine. I said, yeah but what about the finish?!? She said we’ll meet after the finish line, it’s fine. I asked her if she was sure and she said yes. So at mile 20 we split up, and I felt so guilty about it for the next few miles. I called my dad to let him know. I kept thinking what if something happens to her and I left her?? Thankfully, nothing did.

It’s funny because my friend who was tracking me said she saw a spike from mile 20-21 and was wondering if there as a glitch in the app lol. I went from an 11:30-12/mile because I was with my mom, to 9:50-10:00/mile. 

I saw my family again at mile 22 and my dad yelled, “Only 4 more miles!!” I was like yeah!!

Miles 21-25

I maintained that pace for miles 21-22…and then the dreaded incline at mile 23. It doesn’t look like much, but I swear this incline is NEVER ENDING. I tried to keep my pace but stopped to walk twice and catch my breath. My music was what was helping me push myself at that point. If you need motivation in a race, put Work B*tch by Britney Spears on your playlist ;)

I turned into Central Park and thought to myself, ok NOW I have to turn it on. And I tried, as much as you can, at mile 24 of a marathon lol.

There are some undulating hills, and I tried using the downhills to my advantage. I remember I kept thinking, “WHEN are we getting out of Central Park??!”

Around mile 25 you finally get out of the park and onto Central Park South. This was also where my playlist ended but I wanted to take in the finish line crowds anyway. You run on Central Park South and then turn at Columbus Circle before entering the park. I didn’t see my family at this point because I had split up with my mom and they waited at the last checkpoint for her. 

I tried to pass as many people as I could, or hold on to those who were passing me. I tried to stick to them as long as I could (not very long).

Then you start seeing signs like 800 meters to go…

I was like ok TWO laps on the track that is easy, let’s do it!

Finish Line – Mile 26.2

You turn back into the park and then you see mile marker 26. I couldn’t believe it! I had 0.2 left. I thought, that is less than a lap on a track. Pretend this is a track workout and run 1 lap as fast as you can.

Well, I could barely speed up but it’s the thought that counts :)

I saw the sign that said 200 meters to go and really tried to kick it in.

I raised my arms, and crossed that finish line.

And it was bittersweet…because I was alone and had no one to celebrate with. 

I teared up and couldn’t believe it. I just felt SO good and had the best race ever.


My finish time won’t reflect that (it was 4:56), but my body felt great, my energy levels were stable throughout, I had no shin pain…like I said, I couldn’t believe it. This was the first time I’ve teared up crossing a finish line. It was an emotional moment.

I started shuffling and stretching while I waited for my mom. She came in about 15 minutes after me. We hugged and got our medals and then it was time to make our way out of the park (another half mile UGH) and to see our family at our meeting spot, which is always the West Side YMCA.



At this point I could barely walk right (and we had to go down subway stairs…went down the stairs backwards lol), but other than that was feeling good. 

Ok, enough of my writing, do you want to see the course and race for yourself? Here’s my race video!

Overall Thoughts:

  • I really liked Jason Karp’s Running a Marathon For Dummies plan. I felt super prepared for this race mentally and physically.
  • I need to figure out how to pace myself and “race” a marathon. I felt like this was too “easy” (whatever that means after running 26.2) but I’m always scared to push the pace and end up bonking.
  • This is still my all-time favorite marathon. Chicago was cool too but I just don’t think anything will compare to NYC Marathon.
  • I’m still on a runner’s high like I said – I have never felt so good in a race. Now after writing this I’m super pumped up to train for NYC Half!
  • Thank you for all your comments, well-wishes, etc. and thank you to ALL spectators that come support runners at the NYC Marathon/any marathon/any race! You have no idea how much that helps, even if you’re a total stranger to me.

Well that was long! :) Until next time NYC Marathon…perhaps 2018?

Did you run the New York City Marathon this year/in the past? What are your favorite parts of the course?


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Big Chill 5K Race Recap

The Big Chill 5K at Rutgers University is one of my favorite races of the year. You can find previous recaps here and here.

I love it because it is such a great cause. Race registration is an unwrapped toy for a child in need. Every year they collect thousands and thousands of toys. I think this year it was over 10,000! There were 9,000 registered runners and walkers as well.


My dad and brother decided to join my mom and me this year. It was a great race!

We got there by 8 am to park, pick up our numbers, go to the bathroom, etc. I wanted to be in the starting corral by 8:30 am because I did not want to end up in the back. They have barriers on the road for about 100 meters or so, so if you don’t get in early, you have to walk all the way to the back and that’s where you start.

So because of this, we didn’t really warmup. I did lunges, squats, high knees, jumps, etc. in the starting area while we waited for the gun to go off. We also took a few pics :)



At 9 am we were off. There are no chip times, it’s only gun time (unless you pay extra for the seeded corral), so I just wore my watch to get my own time. 

The course is great. The first mile is slightly downhill then flat, the second mile get tough with a few rolling hills, and the third mile is flat. I like to go out fast on the first mile because it is downhill. I know I’ll end up slowing down but I like that strategy for this particular race.

I didn’t really have any lofty goals. I wanted to get a sub-30 time and did not want to walk lol. I accomplished both! In the second mile, I contemplated walking (it’s always in the same spot too). I then told myself I’ll just slow down for 1 minute then speed up again, and that’s what I did.

In that final mile I tried to throw in some “surges” so pick up the pace a little bit. My fitbit said my heart rate was around 192 which is pretty much close to max. I tried to speed up as much as I could!

Since there are so many runners, you try to kick it in the last stretch but it’s hard because people are all around you. You can’t weave in and out in a tight space. So I did what I could and finished in 29:11. Average pace: 9:24 per mile. I’ll take it!

My dad finished in 27ish, my brother finished in 22:56, and my mom finished in 29:30ish. Here we are at the finish:


Afterwards there are food and awards inside the College Ave. Gym. We went and got our bagels and cookies and took more photos :)




My mom and I wore matching hats which actually got a ton of compliments lol. We were elves and my dad was Santa. We’ll be wearing them again next year!



Overall a great day. Now time to start working on chipping away at that 5K time. Goal for the spring is anything below my PR (25:43). Let’s see what we can do!

Have you ran a holiday themed race? Any other races left for you in 2015? I have the Ted Corbitt 15K this weekend (yikes, so not prepared), anyone else running it?


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5th Avenue Mile 2015 Race Recap

First I want to say…TGIF!! I’m so pumped that it’s the weekend, mainly because I’m (and Dan and my sister) heading to Penn State tomorrow for the Rutgers vs. Penn State game. They have a stripe out planned, but hopefully we have a big enough RU contingent that our red ruins some of their stripes ;)


It will be cool seeing a much bigger stadium than anything I’ve ever been in…but I just really really hope Rutgers can pull off the win!

Anyway, last Sunday, my mom and I ran in the 5th Avenue Mile. We have ran in 2 other times previously, and it is always one of our favorite races.


This year was a little different because I got an invite to run in the media/social media mile. It’s a speciality heat with only about 50 people (as opposed to hundreds) and reserved for members of local media and bloggers such as myself. Since it was a small heat, I was really nervous about coming in last place and everyone else being way faster than me lol.

My mom’s wave went off first at 10:40. We ran about 1.5 miles together for her warmup, then I stood around the 1/2 mile marker to wait for her.

5th Avenue Mile is just a straight shot down 5th Ave…20 blocks. It starts on a slight decline, then you have an incline until 1/2 mile, then it flattens out. It’s weird because you can see the finish line from the 1/2 mile point, and it feels so close, yet it is still so far. That’s a tip I have heard time and time again: do not accelerate just because you see the finish, it is still far away!

My mom decided to start off conservatively and pick it up in the last half mile. She regretted that decision because she felt she could have ran faster, but she finihed in 7:53!

Afterwards, I met up with her and then it was my turn to run. She stayed at the 1/2 mile point, then I headed out to do more of a warm-up and strides before my heat at 11:45. 

I didn’t really know what my own strategy was going to be. I figured I’d go out hard and just try to hold on.

I was surprised by my splits for the first half mile: 1:44 and 1:46 (quarters). I was like damn if I keep this up I can finish in 7 minutes! But I finished in 7:38, so as you can see I slowed down a bit in the second half.

I felt like I was just running as fast as I could. I love the fans on the sides cheering and one guy yelled, “Great form!!! You have great running form!” I was like oh, ok! :)

The cool thing too about the media mile was that I had the whole road to run on. When you’re in the age group heats it is very crowded and you’re running around people. For me, I was running alone the whole way. The faster group had left me, and the other group behind me was about 10-15 seconds behind me, so I was smack dab in the middle. 

I tried to throw in some “surges” to speed up when I could but I was basically just already going as fast as I can. I mean, can you tell the pain by my face here?

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 10.12.39 AM

The photographers captured some great ones of me and my mom, now deciding which ones to order. I have yet to order a cool action shot of me running, but would like one where I don’t look like I hate running lol.

Oh lastly, another cool thing was that they announced my name as I crossed the finish! 

Once we crossed, we were told we could go to the VIP tent, and guess who was there? Meb!


I said him, “I just tried to run as fast as you!” and he laughed and said hey, you did good, and fist bumped me! :-)

Afterwards, we went for a run while we waited for the elite races to go off. I mainly wanted to see the women’s race, especially Jenny Simpson! We went up to the start to watch the elite men and women warm up. Interesting to note that they are warming up about 45 minutes before race time…meanwhile I warm up like 15 minutes before haha. Here are some pics from the warm-up:


Treniere Moser

Treniere Moser


Matt Centrowitz

Matt Centrowitz

Shannon Rowbury

Shannon Rowbury

Jenny Simpson ended up winning, and this is the second athlete and first female in event history to win 4 5th Avenue Miles. Pretty cool!


Also, did you see the oldest man to finish the race? He’s 96 and finished in about 21 minutes. Such an inspiration!

This is one of my favorite races of the year…if you haven’t ran it OR have never ran a 1 mile race, I highly recommend it. It’s tough, but over in a flash. A fun race day all around.


Have you ever ran a 1 mile race? Which one?

Football talk: do you have a favorite college football team? What’s your alma mater?


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That Time I Ran 10 Miles Before a 5K

This is the longest I have ran before running a race.

Last night, my mom and I ran the NYC Runs 5K in Central Park. Since we were heading into the city, we decided to go earlier and try to run 10-11 miles before hand in order to get our long run done with for the week. I’m all about running long on a weekday and prefer that over a weekend long run. 

We got to NYC and parked near where the finish line was going to be. Due to traffic, we only had time to run 10 miles beforehand. 

We ran one 5 mile loop in Central Park, then headed out towards the East River to continue running. Cat Hill killed me and I just wanted a flat portion for a bit haha.


So I think I must have been dehydrated yesterday because I was SO THIRSTY…even beginning at mile 1. I did drink water that day leading up to my run but clearly not enough. Any time I saw a water fountain in the park I would stop and drink huge gulps of water…I just could not quench my thirst.

I did bring my salt pills so I made sure to take those every 30 minutes, and that probably helped me avoid that sloshy feeling in my stomach that caused me to throw up at the finish line of the 2011 NYC Marathon. Yup. Fun times.

I refilled my own water bottle countless times and that feeling of thirst just never went away. I am getting thirsty just writing this now lol.

The 5K

We finished the 10 miles in the park and thankfully our friend picked up our bibs for us because we got to the starting line at 6:50. The race started and I thought, “Ok I’ll go a bit faster, and push it a bit.” And I did for the first mile: 9:40. I was like oh wow! But then I just couldn’t hold on.

The last 2 miles were in the 11′s and I walked up half of Cat Hill. My legs were just fatigued and I was still so thirsty. I stopped at both water stops and drank 2 full cups each time. Oh yeah and as I am off to the side picking up a water cup, some woman comes running in, yells “COME ON, MOVE” and pushes me in the back and grabs her water. Really???

We finished in about 35 minutes – I’ll take it. I was going to stop when my own watch beeped at 13 miles (because we ran more like 10.1 or 10.2 before the race), but then my watch beeped and I saw the 3 mile marker and was like No, I will finish this and finish it strong!

We ran a total of 13.2 miles…and I was so thankful for those popsicles they handed out after!!


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Overall it was a fun race. I love evening races and definitely prefer them to early morning races, especially NYRR ones where I have to trek into the city.

We walked the 5-6 blocks back to the parking deck and I was thankful I brought a change of clothes – my shirt was soaked!

Now I have to run a 5 mile recovery run today which I’m not looking forward to…my legs are still so sore. But gotta do what you gotta do I suppose (when it comes to marathon training).

Did anyone else run this race last night? What’d you think?

Answers to feeling so thirsty on runs? Was I dehydrated?


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The Big Chill 2014 Race Recap

You can find my previous recap of The Big Chill here

The last time I ran this race was in 2012!  I do love this race because it is for such a great cause. Race registration is one unwrapped today for a child in need. Many people bring more than one toy to donate, and they display all the toys on a stage in the Rutgers gym. Seeing all those toys is amazing!

I got to the race on time for once and actually had time for a 10 minute warm up. I ran some stairs in the student center, then went out for a run and finished with some dynamic drills + strides. I had no idea what to expect for this race because I had only run about 4 times since the Philly Half.

At 8:45 I went to line up, and then found out that everyone who had not registered online (I did in-person the day before) would be sent all the way to the back. When there are about 8,000 runners, all the way to the back really is the back. That sucked but I tried to inch my way along to the front before the gun went off. Here’s someone else’s photo of what the start looked like:


A photo posted by isapr594 (@isapr594) on

And here’s a picture of the starting line from 2012:


Once we started it was stop and go for about a block because people would slow down or we’d all be bunched up. It was a bit frustrating but I figured it’s good to hold myself back and not go out too fast. Well, I did end up going out too fast anyway ;)

The course has some inclines but nothing crazy. I went through the first mile in 8:35 and was like okay, either I can maintain this or I’m going to slow waaaayy down. The second one happened lol. Second mile was about 9:30, third mile was about 10:30, final time was 28:21.

I don’t mind the slowing down though. I knew I wasn’t going to PR so I wanted to go out as fast as I could and see what happens. I felt fine throughout the race, my legs just felt out of shape, so I had to slow down. The finish is on an incline but people are lining the roads and cheering you on so you have the energy to really give it all you got.

This is a picture my mom took of me running to the finish (she didn’t run this one).


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

I felt much better than when I ran in 2012. 2012 was a way faster time but I remember feeling miserable. This time I ran slower, but felt great (obviously tired, but great) throughout and was happy to be running among so many other runners. 

After the race, they have a ton of food inside the gym where the toys are set up. My mom and I always stay for a bit after to eat and hear the awards. My dad wanted to run but he had some knee pain…his age group winner (40-49) ran 19:47!! He’s like “I have a lot of work to do!” 


The next 2 weeks I will get back to running consistently so hopefully I can get either a PR or a season’s best at my last 5K on Dec. 20. PS – Aren’t those santa socks awesome? 3 bucks at Marshall’s. Downside? During the 5K they got a hole in the big toe somehow.

Did you run a 5K this weekend? Or are you done for 2014? What races are on tap for 2015?


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Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

Feeling pretty bummed out today. Not only did I not PR, but I ran my slowest time for a half marathon. But not all races can be PRs and the best race ever right?

This one might be long, but here are the bullet points in case you don’t want to read ;)

  • Finished in 2:12. 3 minutes slower than my PR.
  • Felt great until around mile 7. My legs just started feeling heavy. Put in my headphones (First time I’ve ran a half with music).
  • Lots of weaving and sudden stopping due to narrow roads.
  • Feeling bad that I held my mom back and she probably could have PRed but decided to stay with me.
  • I probably wouldn’t run this race again due to how packed it was the entire 13.1 miles.

Alright, let’s get into the details.

The race started at 7am, which meant we had to be up at 4:45 to leave the hotel by 5:15. We stayed on the NJ side, about 15 minutes out. I didn’t get much sleep because my dad snores so much, but I knew that wouldn’t affect me much since the sleep you get the week leading up to it is the most important. So we got up at 4:45, got dressed, ate our oatmeal and drank our coffee, and were ready to go!


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

We got to the start area around 5:45, and went to the lines for the port-a-johns. This is one of my few complaints I have about this race. There were a lot of them, but signs said to form one line in front of each one. This meant there was a HUGE line of people waiting, and it wasn’t moving. I like how NYRR has just a few lines that go to multiple port-a-johns, so that if some are faster than others, you have a few options, as opposed to waiting for just one. This just really annoyed me.

We waited in that line from around 6:10 until 7:00 when the race started. The gun went off and we were still in the line. As we finished though, we saw our corral color was running by, so we just hopped in (we were in the line for corrals ahead of ours). The timing was fine, but I think there could be a better system for that.

Anyway, we crossed the finish and of course as I cross my Garmin screen goes back to the main screen as opposed to the timer screen. So I had to reconnect to GPS etc. once I started running, so I figured it would be a minute off the whole way. Who wants to do math while they’re running 13.1 miles?! :) I think I might have gone out too fast, because around mile 3 I was like “Hmm…did I go out to fast?” So yeah I probably did haha. But I really did feel fine until mile 7. I actually ran a 10K PR on the course! 1:01.

I don’t know my splits or anything since my watch was all weird, but the course was decent. There was one long stretch around mile 5-6ish where the road got really narrow and it was hard to run. A lot of people were hopping up on the sidewalks to run. The upside was that on that same road it was like running through a tunnel of people. Since it was narrow, the spectators were right on top of you, which did pump me up when I was starting to feel the fatigue.

Around mile 7ish we hit our first hill. I felt fine going up that one. Around mile 8-9ish, the second hill came in. This one was longer and a bit steeper…and also where I walked for the first time. I ran about halfway and just wanted to take a short 30 second break. My mom was ahead of me but stayed back and I told her to run ahead. She didn’t want to. So we kept going along.

At mile 11, “Work B*tch” came on, which is my motivational running song, so I thought to myself ok LET’S GO! ONLY 2 MORE MILES! I tried to speed up during the chorus of the song and easy run during the other parts, because my legs had just about had it.

Mile 12 I was done. My PR was way out the window and I honestly had a moment of thinking “What’s the point? I can just run/walk now since I’m going to get my worst time anyway.” I told my mom to just go on without me, that she might be able to get close to our PR time if she went. She said okay.  She left and I thought, no you know what, I WILL run this last mile as fast as I can and finish strong. I picked the 4:15 marathon pace group ahead of me as my target and tried to catch them. Who knows how fast I was actually running at that point haha. I didn’t see a Mile 13 sign so I had no idea how far I had left, but there was a huge crowd and I heard the announcer so I just ran it in as fast as I could. I passed a lot of people in that final stretch which felt good. I finished only 30 seconds behind my mom. I was sure glad that was over with!


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

How I’m Feeling

It just really sucks when you train for months for something and feel like you blew it. Last night I was searching for other half marathons coming up to see if I could find one and try again. I did find one in Brooklyn but I’m having a holiday party that day so it just wouldn’t be possible.

I’m running a 1 mile race this weekend, and a 5K on Dec. 6. If I can at least hit a PR for those and end the season on that note, I’ll be more happy.

What frustrates me is that nothing hurt while I was running. My legs just weren’t going anywhere. I don’t know if maybe I didn’t eat enough the day before or morning of? Who knows. I also feel bad that I held my mom back.

What I’ve been telling myself is that although this race didn’t go as planned, I have dropped my 5K time significantly since I started training. I haven’t ran a sub 28 minute 5K in about 3 years, and a few weeks ago I ran 26:46. So I’m getting closer to that PR. A big thanks to Coach Marc for helping me improve on that, and have a great training season!

I’m just feeling bummed. I really wish I could run another half. I also just wasn’t a huge fan of this race due to how packed it was. My knees are pretty sore and I feel like the constant stopping and running around people might have to do with it. Who knows. But I do know that I want my next spring half to be a smaller field. I was originally thinking RnR DC but will probably find a smaller race.

But I’m happy my dad and my mom’s friend’s family (who also ran) were there to watch. It was a fun weekend, and my dad was really excited to post his pictures of him running up the stairs of the museum like Rocky lol.

The night before we bought this doll thing with a long stick? Not sure exactly what it is but it helped my mom and I spot him as we ran by since who else is holding up something like that.

Philly Half
He always comes to our big races to cheer us on, even if he only sees us for probably a minute total :) Oh and here are the shirts we wore. I had talked about these in a previous post, and some of you wanted to see what the final product would look like. We used double sided velcro as opposed to pins, and we got a lot of compliments!

Philadelphia Half Marathon

So that’s that. I’d love to hear some advice from you.

Have you felt upset after a big race? How did you deal with it? Did you run a “redemption race?”


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 14 + 5K Recap

It’s almost here! My training has been going well and last week was probably my “peak week.” I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do in Philly. My PR is 2:08, and if I DO PR I’m not expecting it to be by a lot – but any PR is good! This week is my last week with workouts, and then my running coach has be going in to taper mode…yes!

Here’s last week’s training:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Easy 4 miler. Ran naked! Without a watch that is ;) Felt good to run by feel and not worry about pace.

Wednesday: Long run – 10 miles. This is our last double digit run before the race. I wanted to throw in some tempo miles, so we did a 3 mile warm up with 5 miles at tempo, then 2 mile cooldown. Tempo pace was average 9:40-9:45. Felt really good!! I was nervous about trying to run around half marathon pace but surprisingly I felt really strong.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Thursday: Easy 3 mile recovery run. I used to take the day off after a long run (still do sometimes if I have a nagging pain), but after using Hansons Marathon Method, I really liked the idea of doing a recovery run after a long run. Helps you get used to running on tired legs and also does help your muscles recover.

Friday: 6 miles total (track workout). We did this run indoors on the treadmill and it was tough! Not so much physically, but mentally. Time goes by so slow!! We did 8×800 repeats after a 1 mile warm up, then a 1/2 mile cooldown. The 800s were done at “threshold” pace, which was 8:40. 

Saturday: Off

Sunday: 5K race! And season best time! 26:46. I ran this course last month and ran it in 28:35 with 2 walk breaks. No walk breaks this time! I knew going into it that I could probably run around 27 minutes. But I was nervous about this one huge hill in mile 1. No joke it’s a 12% incline – I checked on Map My Run. But I got over it and tried to get my pace back down.

I  missed all of my mile splits because I didn’t look down at my watch on time. I also haven’t figured out yet how to upload from my Garmin to my computer (and I’ve had it over a year now haha).

Mile 1 was probably average 8:10 until the hill. Once I got to the top of the hill I saw my pace dropped to around 10:00. I thought crap. I wanted to stop and walk so bad but I talked myself out of it. My thoughts were, “Shut up. You’re not actually tired. Your brain is just trying to convince you to walk. You’re breathing is good. You’re legs feel great. No shin pain. LET’S GO!” And I sped up.

My pace was continuing to drop according to my watch and by mile 2 I was back down to 8:20-8:30ish pace.  Mile 2.5 – mile 3 is a steady incline. Which is tough after going back down that 12% incline hill. My legs felt like jelly but then Work, Bitch by Britney came on my iPod and that motivated me. So corny I know but I was like YES YOU GOTTA WORK BITCH! I was running next to this girl the whole time and then imagined I was Shalane Flanagan and tried to “surge” ahead of her. I did for a bit but then she caught me and passed me right before the finish. I tried to keep up but my legs were going as fast as they could. Whatever, I still finished 2 min. faster than my last race on the same course, and 1 min. faster than my last 5K!


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

I’m feeling really good going into this half marathon, but as I have said a few times, getting a 5K PR is my real goal. I will try one last 5K on December 6 and hopefully drop 1 more minute to get that PR. We’ll see though ;)

It was also my friend’s first 10K. She did great and finished in 1:07. She had told me she thought she would finish close to 2 hours – I was like no way! I almost did the 10K because it’d be good practice for the half, but I really wanted to test my 5K fitness. 

Did you race this weekend? Any upcoming races?


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 12 + 5K Race Recap

I’d say last week was a good week of training minus the fact that my shins were (and still are) killing me. I don’t get what’s going on but I know the culprit is extremely tight calves. I’m hoping having today off from running will help a little bit…but we’ll see. Okay here is last week’s training:

Monday: 2 easy miles. I wanted to test out the Nike Lunarglides but didn’t end up liking them. Too stiff for me.

Tuesday: Track workout. 2 mile warm up, then 2×1 mile repeats at 8:45 per mile. Was supposed to do 3 repeats but it started downpouring. Well it was downpouring in the beginning which was fine (I felt pretty hardcore!), but then thunder and lightning started so that was my cue to leave.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Wednesday: Off Thursday: Since I knew I was running a 5K over the weekend, I did my longer run here. I was supposed to run 10 miles this week but opted to do 7 because I wanted to be fresh for the 5K. As I’ve mentioned before, my main goal during this training is to beat my 5K PR…the half marathon is just a bonus! We did a hilly 7 mile run but felt pretty good. I love running in the fall!


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: Easy 4 miles. Shins were hurting a bit. Slower pace – nothing great about this run, just getting it done.

Saturday: I was supposed to run 3-4 miles but I knew my body and shins needed a break. I was EXHAUSTED and my legs were just in pain. Always listen to your body. If you need a rest day just take it!

Sunday: 5K race. Ran it in 27:47! My last 5K about a month ago was 28:35. Slowly improving and slowly getting back to where I want to be. 

Here’s the full recap:

The 5K was called the Rutgers Against Hunger 5K and was held at the football stadium at Rutgers. I expected a pretty flat course but there were a few inclines thrown in there, but nothing crazy. Both my mom and dad ran it as well!

I didn’t have a lot of time to warm up so I jogged for about 10 minutes then did some dynamic drills. And then we were off!

According to my mom’s RunKeeper, we hit mile 1 in 8:22. After that, I don’t know my splits because I forgot my watch and there were no clocks on the course, and my mom was behind me after mile 1. I was totally running by feel, which was…interesting :)

A little before mile 2 I started struggling a bit. I was feeling tired but told myself I could do it. That the 5K is meant to be challenging. To push myself. So I kept going. I actually ran most of the way with this other man, and then I backed off a bit. But once I gave myself a pep talk I caught back up to him and he was like “There’s my friend!” So we stuck together until about 1/2 mile to go, when he said, “I’m trying to figure out when to empty the tank!” to which I said, “Same!”

With 1/2 mile or so to go I tried to pick it up, and with a 1/4 mile to go I gave it all I had. Once I saw the finish line I sped up as much as possible, and someone yelled out, “Way to go!! Keep that pace!”. It was pretty cool because as I finished, there was no one really around me. So it felt like everyone was cheering for just me. That’s what it must feel like to win a race! lol :-P


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Right after I finished, the man I ran with finished too and came over to high five me and say good job. As I always say, this is why I love the running community!! Oh let’s talk about my dad for a second. He finished in 24:45 or so. His fastest time ever!! I was really proud of him. He hasn’t been running regularly, but he has started lifting most days and doing hill sprints. I think that has really helped him. My mom finished in 28:20ish and got 3rd in her age group! All around a great day for running.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

I’m really hoping that by the time my last 5K rolls around in December that I will be able to break 25:42!! We’ll see!

Did you run a race this weekend? Leave a comment if you’re running NYC Marathon this weekend? I can’t wait to go watch!!


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 9 + 5K Race Recap

Another great week of training in the books! And another good 5K race yesterday. Now it’s time to start adding more weekly mileage so I’m ready for this half marathon in November. 

Here’s this week’s training:

Monday: Was supposed to do a lifting session but took an off day.

Tuesday: 1 mile warm up, 10×1 minute at 5K pace with 1 min jog in between, 1 mile cooldown. Was running about 8 min. pace and felt really good!

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 3 mile run + strength training. It was raining so we had to run indoors. I really hate the treadmill for steady runs, so I decided to add in some strength too. Here’s the workout we (my mom and I) did after a 1 mile warm up:

Friday: 6 mile run. Had to do my longer run on a Friday because I knew I wasn’t doing it Saturday (Rutgers football game) and Sunday we wanted to run a 5K. Felt great! We did a tempo run of sorts. 3 miles at easy pace, then last 3 miles at 9:24, 9:30 and 9:09. 

Saturday: Off

Sunday: 5K Race – 28:36. Recap below.

5K Race Recap

This race was the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer 5K. I really did not like the organization of this 5K. And I feel really bad saying that because it was for such a good cause but this race could be improved. 

First of all,  the race was set to start at 10:30 AM but didn’t actually start until 11:00. It was already 80 degrees by that time. I feel like if you set a start time, you need to stick to it. People show up expecting that time, and what if you’re warmed up and then have to wait around an extra 30 minutes? Am I alone in this?

They started late because they were giving out awards for top fundraisers, which is great. Definitely good to acknowledge those people. But you need to do that either earlier than the start time or after the race. 

Second, the walkers were supposed to start at 10, and runners at 10:30. But everyone started together. They released the walkers about 5 minutes before the runners and simply told them to stay to the right to let runners pass. Most of the race was on a paved sidewalk. What sense does it make to have walkers go out first and take up sidewalk space? Because many who were with friends didn’t stay to the side – runners had to say excuse me or squeeze through. Walkers should go after runners in my opinion.

Now for the pros – besides that, they had great food and a live band afterwards. They also gave out gold, silver and bronze medals to winners/age group winners. I think they just need to work on organization a bit more.

Okay besides all that, here’s how we did: 

Despite the heat and a huge hill in mile 1 which wiped me out, I still finished only 3ish seconds slower than my last 5K a few weeks ago (which was the faster 5K I’ve ran in probably over a year). I took about 3 walk breaks, so I’m really happy with the time I got. I think that on a cool day and flat course I could run under 28 minutes – but I guess we have to wait and see!

I also won 3rd in my age group! My mom took this candid of me :)

5k Race

My next 5K will probably be sometime in mid-October. I really hope I can break my 5K PR of 25:43 before this season is over! Here’s one last picture of my mom and I post-race:

Have you ran any races recently? What’s your favorite distance/PR?


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