Brooklyn Half

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It’s Brooklyn Half time again! Last year I volunteered at the event, which got me guaranteed entry into this year’s race. I was excited to sign up because I was leading the New York Running Company Half Marathon Training Program for the race.

Training was going well, until about five before the race, when I started to have intense knee pain on my right leg. This has been a bit of a lingering injury; sometime in the fall, I tweaked my knee taking off too quickly at a November Project Destination Deck workout (City Hall, to be exact). That specific moment made me say ouch, and there was a bit of difference in my knee through my winter training. This year, it was feeling better, even through my Spartan Race on Saturday, where I did a lot of stairs without pain.

This might have done me in. Early in the week I was fine, but Wednesday I started to have high calf pain in my right side (not a spot I typically have pain) and then pain above my knee at my quad. I picked up my bib anyway, thinking I might be able to feel better by the weekend. The pain moved to the outside and then under my knee, and there was a popping that happened each time I moved my knee. Stairs were out of the question both up and down.

I saw Brynn on Thursday and decided to rest. This is not my A-race and I want to be able to really push it there, so I skipped Brooklyn Half.

My athletes did great, with new PRs for our NY Running Co participants and people I’m coaching privately. Real race day is 3 weeks away, so I’m resting until it feels better.

Coaches Corner Delivers LGBTQ Resources and Community for Women’s Sports Professionals

CC-LogoThere’s a great new LGBTQ resource for coaches in women’s sports called Coaches Corner. From the press release:

Br{ache the Silence Co-founders, Nevin Caple and Colleen McCaffrey teamed up with the NCAA, National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Women’s Sports Foundation, Equality Coaches Alliance, SHAPE America and fellow sports advocates, including Pat Griffin, Karen Morrison, Sue Rankin, Sherri Murrell, Kirk Walker and Charley Sullivan to create Coaches Corner, an online networking platform and comprehensive resource for LGBTQ inclusion in women and girl sports.

“In response to the steady decline of women coaches, and limited accessibility to LGBTQ resources that address topics such as intra-team dating, finding common ground in religion and working with parents of athletes, strategic partnerships between coaches and sports advocacy thought leaders will help Coaches Corner deliver an inclusive platform, creating safer, supportive environments for women coaches,” says Nevin Caple.

Created for coaches and athletic administrators at all levels of women and girls sports, the interactive tool provides research, educational and legal resources, news and events, and policy recommendations and best practices, while giving members the opportunity to participate in webinars, join discussion forums and panels, blog, mentor, activate inclusion campaigns and create a supportive community.

The Coaches Corner website, mycoachescorner.org, was developed by BTS Co-founder, Colleen McCaffrey and conceptualized in collaboration with Coaches Corner partners. The interactive website is the first of its kind to target coaching professionals in women and girls sports of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The site was partially funded by grants from Nike, the LGBT Sports Coalition and Arcus Foundation.

“Coaches Corner is an incredible new resource for all coaches of women’s sports. The opportunity to create community, gather support and find important resources are all here in an easily accessible online format,” says Pat Griffin, Professor Emerita at University of Massachusetts Amherst. “At a time when the numbers of high school and college women coaches is going down, Coaches Corner is a timely resource for new and veteran women coaches.”

Check it out here.

The NYC Half

nychalf15_racehead_4For the last 10 weeks, I’ve been coaching the New York Running Company and Empire Tri Club Half Marathon Training Program, working toward this weekend’s NYC Half. Few half marathons in the country are so iconic – this one, with an excellent pro field and a course that puts runners through Central Park, the heart of Times Square, and along the West Side Highway, is quintessential NYC.

Here are tips I have for my runners:

Get to the expo early. The expo looks amazing this year, on par with marathon expos and featuring great interactive course maps. Take advantage of all the expo has to offer. If you can get there before peak time (after work Thursday and Friday or mid-day Saturday), you’ll be better off. Download and print your registration form from your NYRR profile (instructions here) and bring your photo ID to pick up your bib.

Get your bib on your gear. Make sure you aren’t searching for your race bib or timing tag on race morning. Set everything up when you get home from the expo.

Bring “throw away” layers. Race morning will be a bit chilly. Bring items to donate to Goodwill (donation bins will be located in your corral) when you want to shed your layers. Don’t bring that fancy new jacket – you won’t get any of your items back.

PLAN AHEAD.
Plan your travel. Figure out how to get to the race – all runners must enter at the bottom of the park along 59th Street, and will be subject to search before entering the park. The race is a point-to-point race, meaning you’ll be heading home from the bottom of Manhattan, not from Central Park. Bring your MetroCard.

Plan your nutrition. You should have been practicing with your nutrition to know what works for you (you did that, right?). photo 1Make sure you have your gels or food on hand before Saturday so you aren’t rushing to find it. Also plan your race day breakfast and make sure you have that as well. Not much will be open on race morning at the time you head to the park.

Position your people. Having friends out there to cheer you on is awesome. Make sure they tell you specifically where they will be, like in front of ____ store, on the east/west/north/south side of the street. Have your pals download the United NYC Half Mobile App to track you so they’ll have an idea of when to expect you.

Make a clear post-race plan with any spectators you’re expecting. The finish line area can be difficult to navigate for both finished runners and family/friends. Choose a designated location to meet, and make it specific, like the Northwest corner of ____ and ____ streets.

IMG_2090BE STRATEGIC.

Know your start. There are three waves and multiple corrals. Know where you need to go and when you need to drop off your bag.

Know where the aid stations are. Water and Gatorade are located at almost every mile. Gels are located about halfway through, once you leave Central Park. Bring your own nutrition that you trained with, but know that you can grab a gel here if you drop or forget yours.

Know the route. Check out the route map. The expo has an interactive map and course instructions. You can also see step by step below:

Mile 1: Start on East Drive in Central Park, just north of East 72nd Street, and head north.
Central Park, up Cat’s Hill. Hold up! Save it – you’re just getting started.

Miles 2-3: Continue north, and bear right at the Lenox Avenue exit from Central Park. Turn left at 110th Street/Central Park North. Run counter-clockwise around Central Park West Circle and return on 110th Street/Central Park North, then turn right at the Lenox Avenue entrance to Central Park. Bear right at East Drive and continue south on West Drive.
Back into the park and up Harlem Hill. You still have the West Side hills as well. Be conservative here. It’s going to be crowded; resist the urge to dart through and around packs. Run patiently and run smart, because there’s a lot of race left.

Miles 4-6: Continue South on West Drive. Turn right at the Seventh Avenue exit from Central Park. Continue south on Seventh Avenue through Times Square.
Resist the urge to light it up through Times Square, which is awesome to run through. Focus on a steady pace while dropping your pace per mile slightly once leaving the park.

Miles 7-8: Turn right at West 42nd Street, then right at the West Side Highway. Run north in the northbound lanes, make a U-turn at West 43rd Street, and run south in the southbound lanes.
Get into a good rhythm here. Flat and straight, basically, after this. Be confident – if you were smart in the park, you will be able to negative split this race easily.

Miles 8−12: Continue south in the southbound lanes of the West Side Highway.
Smooth sailing here along the West Side Highway. This is a good place to stay in that rhythm and focus on a strong finish.

Miles 12-13.1: Bear left at the Battery Park Underpass entrance. Run through the underpass and continue on FDR Drive North. Bear right at the South Street exit and then turn right at South Street. Turn left at Maiden Lane, and left at Water Street to finish at Wall Street.
Make it uncomfortable. This course is a great one to push on the second half – focus on a really strong finish.

Post race. Medal, photos, bagels, bags, find your friends, have a mimosa, chill. Be sure to stretch, rest, and recover.

Have fun. You’re worked hard for this. Have a great time! Race hard, race smart, and believe in yourself. And let me know how it goes!

IMG_6099High five or hug a volunteer. I’ll be out there at the start line at 4:30 am setting up, and then volunteering with Wave 2 until 10 am. I won’t get to see my friends and athletes after they take off, but I’ll be tracking them, and look forward to hearing all the recaps after!

Go get it!

Half Marathon Training Program

Exciting things kicking off in 2015! I’m doing a lot of IMG_1765coaching already this year, with one of the most exciting pieces being the Empire Tri Club and New York Running Company Half Marathon Training Program. I have designed a training program leading to the NYC Half Marathon. The program is being run out of two locations, offering 6 runs per week.

I’ve been attending most of them recently to get the program kicked off, which has upped my running mileage significantly! I’m not running the NYC Half, but I will be doing the Brooklyn Half Marathon after getting guaranteed entry for volunteering last year. This is great base building work for that race.

The weather has been a bit cold but we’ve had good numbers show up so far.

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Catching up with Matt Tambellini after Ironman Maryland

Last weekend, one of the athletes I coach raced his A race – Ironman Maryland. His goal was to hit a time of under 11 hours, with his previous Ironman time at 11:40. We worked together for three months with a plan that integrated the strength training and Bikram yoga he enjoyed, as well as workouts to fit around his busy travel schedule.

Empire Tri Club posted a blog recap of Matt’s race and an interview with him and me about our experience. Matt was an awesome athlete to coach – he was intentional about his training, very open to feedback and suggestions, and he asked a lot of questions, which showed me that he was truly invested in his training.

Below is the interview from the Empire blog – spoiler alert: HE CRUSHED IT.

Here’s the post:

Matt Tambellini is living proof of what a year of hard work and focus can do for your race. The 33-year-old finance worker from NJ has been competing in triathlons since 2010, but got serious about the sport in 2012. After a few years of sprint & olympic tri’s, Matt signed up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2013 (his first full distance tri). He hit his goal of going sub-12 hours (11:40 to be exact), but had a self-proclaimed “awful run” and knew knew he could do a lot better. He joined Empire Tri Club about a month after his race, and started working with Empire Coach Chris Mosier in the months leading up to IM Maryland on Sept 20, 2014.

Matt’s results at Ironman Maryland are astonishing. Not only did he beat his Personal Best by 1 hour 15 minutes – but he also crushed his 11 hour goal-time that he set for himself (10:26)!

We caught up with Matt and his coach Chris this week to learn more…
[E]: Empire Tri Club
[M]: Matt Tambellini
[C]: Chris Mosier

[E]: Matt, tell us a little bit about your athletic background.

[M]: I’ve always played a lot of sports…baseball was my main sport growing up. I played competitively through college.

[E]: What goals did you set for IM Maryland? Anything in particular that enticed you to sign up for this race?

[M]: My main goal was sub-11. Timing was the most important factor when signing up for the race. Late season and relatively close to home made IM MD a no-brainer.

[E]: How did your training for this Ironman differ from the past Ironman?

[M]: I worked with a coach (Chris Mosier) for the three months leading into IM Maryland…I didn’t really follow a program leading up to CDA so obviously this experience was much different.

[E]: What did you find most beneficial in working with a coach?

[M]: The mix of speed and interval work, combined with consistent check-ins and encouragement from Chris were definitely the most beneficial aspects of working with a coach.

[E]: Chris, anything in particular that you think helped Matt during his training?

[C]: Matt was successful in part because of his commitment to strength training. He maintained regular once or twice a week functional strength sessions all the way up to his taper week, which helped his core and muscular endurance in his race.

[E]: How did you two communicate & stay on track?

[C]: Matt and I had weekly phone calls, which helped me keep track of his progress and modify his schedule when he was traveling for work. He had a pretty busy schedule but he really made the commitment to hit his workouts, stay on top of his nutrition, and prioritize rest. He was open to new ideas in his training and he trusted the plan.

[E]: What was the biggest challenge you faced going into this race?

[M]: I cramp a lot…so my biggest challenge was sticking to nutrition and hopefully avoiding cramps. I knew I was trained enough to him my goal, but cramping was one thing that could put it in jeopardy.

[E]: Do you get nervous before big events? Any rituals/superstitions to help ease your nerves?

[M]: I was incredibly nervous before this race…it was all I thought about for the month leading up to it. A little bit of meditation and a lot of sunflower seed chewing helped me ease my nerves.

[E]: Did your race go according to “Plan”? At any point did you feel like you hit the wall? How did you get through those tough parts?

[M]: My race was a bit different than planned. The swim, which is usually my easiest discipline, was much more challenging than I thought. The bike was much faster than I could have imagined and the run was pretty much according to plan. There were definitely some points on the run that I felt like a wall was coming, but I think mental toughness (and a little bit of cola) was the key to getting through it.

[E]: One of the most frequent questions we get asked is how to fuel properly for an Ironman. What was your nutrition plan? How’d it go?

[M]: I thought a LOT about nutrition given my past cramping ailments…my plan was at least 300 calories/hour on the bike along with salt pills and a consistent dosage of salt/electrolytes every 10-15 minutes on the run. It worked pretty well as cramps were minimal.

[E]: What was your first meal post-race!?

[M]: I wanted nothing more than a calzone after the race! Every topping you can think of!

[E]: Any friends / family / teammates you want to thank for supporting you during your race / training?

[M]: Definitely a big thank you to Chris. There’s no doubt that my experience wouldn’t have been nearly as good without his guidance. Caitlin Alexander also deserves a shout out as she helped motivate me on many a Saturday morning for early morning bike rides. Last but not least, thanks to Sara Hunninghake for introducing me to Normatecs!!!

[E]: Looking ahead, what are your plans for next season? Will you be signing up for another Ironman? Any goals for your next race?

[M]: Next season I’d like to connect with the team more and compete in a team-sponsored 70.3. My goal will be to break 5 hours, as I haven’t broken that in the half distance yet.

[E]: Chris, you must be very proud as a coach. Any last thoughts?

[C]: Matt was the type of athlete every coach would love to have: he was goal-oriented, gave me great feedback, and asked a lot of questions. I couldn’t be prouder of Matt – he worked very hard for those results and it was great to have him exceed his goals.

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