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.

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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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Blockhouse trail run

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Tuesday, December 16, was my first try at “trail running.” The quotes are for how I would describe this run before going – because I live in NYC, more specifically Manhattan, and where are there trails around here? The Bridle Path?! I have no idea. But when I met Will, a New York Running Company person, at the Grant Park Turkey Trot in Chicago, he told me about his trail runs he leads on Tuesday mornings at 7 am. I brushed him off a bit, explaining how a 7 am run doesn’t give me enough time to get to work.

Fast forward two weeks, and a Facebook event invite shows up in my feed for the Blockhouse Trail Run, starting at 7 am on Tuesday, hosted by Will. I clicked YES, although it was unclear of the distance or the pace or the path we’d actually be on.IMG_0024

I revisited the event listing a few times to try to figure out more information. I also considered not going, but being of high moral standards, I thought it rude to RSVP yes and then not show up (because six other people said they were going, and surely he’d see I wasn’t there). So I basically guilted myself into going to this group run.

I’m happy I did! This was THE. MOST. FUN. I’ve have on a run in a long time.

I left my place at 6:40 am and ran the 1.5 miles to the Time Warner Center, where we met in front of the NY Running Co. It was myself and employees of the shop to begin with – I had seen all of them before, as our Empire Tri Club runs meet there on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Ten of us left the shop to start the run, heading up through the holiday market to the south drive inside the park, and then to the east. Will’s only rule: “anywhere you see pavement? Don’t run on it.” So we didn’t. We ran in the grass, and over rocks, freely through the lawn where there were no paths or trails.

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We made our way through parts of the park I had never seen, up to the Great Lawn and onto the Reservoir path. We crossed to the westside, bounced back to the east side, and then ran up above the 102nd Street cut off to the Blockhouse, where Mary (one of my FAVORITE run buds!) took off. After running up and down the rocks around that area, we cut through small trails between trees and zig zagged our way back down the Westside, through trees and brush, up/down/around rocks and stairs, and back toward the Running Co.

I cut out at 72nd Street to get to the Eastside and my place at 8:25. I jumped in the shower still sweating, ended my shower still sweating, and was out the door by 8:40 am to attempt to make it to work on time. It was tight – I loved the run so I’d like to try to find a way to do it and still make it to work. I may need to set out my bike before, and iron the night before.blockhouse

The run was 8.8 miles in total for me (with my commute there and back), reasonably paced (although the group did split), and a ton of fun. I always enjoy the NY Running Co people, and it was a nice way to explore parts of Central Park I had only wondered about (which was one of my goals for the coming year – see ALL of the park).

Thanks to Will and NY Running Co for putting this on!

 

 

PR City!

I volunteered at the NYC Half Marathon this morningIMG_3309 at the start and had the opportunity to cheer and take photos of my friends as they left the park. I was coaching the NY Running Company and Empire Tri Club training program this year, so I wanted to see my athletes off. They did great!  Big, big personal bests for my athletes and friends today! It was a great day to race.

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