Chasing Boston (part 8 – race goals)

My race gear, at least, is ready.

My race gear, at least, is ready.

So what exactly are my goals for Sunday’s race (other than qualifying for Boston, of course)? I realize I’ve been a little vague in these posts. Obviously, I have goals – but publicly committing to them is scary. Will the marathon gods punish me for my hubris?

Scary or not, it’s time to come clean. Continue reading


All my marathon anxieties (now in one convenient post)


Here’s hoping my legs hold up better than the tape I used to customize my singlet.

Six days until the New York City Marathon! Time to relax, rest up, eat right and . . . freak out. As I write this, all my marathon anxieties are jostling one another in my head as they vie for the title of Biggest, Baddest Worry of Them All.

Here, in no particular order (because the order keeps changing), are my marathon anxieties. Continue reading

One Brooklyn runner’s totally idiosyncratic spectator’s guide to the TCS New York City Marathon

Welcome to Brooklyn, baby.

Welcome to Brooklyn, baby.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Originally published in October 2015, this post has been updated to reflect business closings (a sad fact of life for restaurants everywhere, perhaps especially in gentrifying sections of Brooklyn) as of September 2018. 

This is for you, marathon spectators! Thanks for listening to our whining, humoring our obsession, pretending to understand our talk of intervals and tempo runs and split times and generally putting up with us throughout our months of training. As if all that isn’t enough, you’ve further agreed to stand outside for hours in whatever weather November 1 brings. Some of you have traveled long distances and invested significant sums of money to be here on marathon day.

You deserve the race of your life.

I’ve been a spectator along the marathon course about as many times as I’ve actually run the race, so I know a little bit about spectating. The main thing you need to know is that it’s great; prepare yourself for a wild, raucous, exciting time. It can also be a little tiring. It may be cold. Cheering for random strangers will leave you thirsty and hoarse. At some point, you will get hungry.

Since I’m a runner who gets cold and thirsty and hungry a lot, and who uses many of her runs to explore Brooklyn neighborhoods (including, of late, obsessively running portions of the marathon course), I can help. And I want to help, because your cheers are what make the New York City Marathon, in my biased opinion, the greatest race in the world. Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 7 – final training recap)

Less time running = more time to customize my singlet with kinesiotape

Less time running = more time to customize my singlet with kinesiotape

Less than two weeks until the New York City Marathon – which means the hay is in the barn, as they say. (I have no idea why that agrarian image has become the go-to metaphor for marathon training, but it’s what everyone says. Even here in Brooklyn, where there is little hay and few barns.)

From here on out, nothing I do is going to increase my fitness in any appreciable way. I can still mess myself up, though, which seems a little unfair. The balancing act between now and November 1 involves:

  1. Cutting back on mileage enough to allow my body to rest and recover.
  2. Maintaining mileage sufficient to satisfy my body’s craving for consistency and routine.
  3. Continuing with workouts at marathon goal pace, intended to drill it into my overly enthusiastic legs and my traitorous, self-deluding brain. (The latter is the bigger challenge.)
  4. Not tripping and hurting myself.
  5. Not going crazy.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my training. Continue reading

“No Bra Day” – huh?

I just learned that October 13 is “No Bra Day.” Back in 2008, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I might have missed this – Facebook was for kids then, not middle-aged women, and Twitter . . . what the hell was this Twitter thing?

But today, not only is “No Bra Day” a “trending topic” – I actually kind of know what a “trending topic” is. And so, judging by the angry reactions I’m seeing, do many of my breast cancer sisters.

The weird thing about “No Bra Day” is that no one seems to actually be behind it. Continue reading

Safety first!

High-visibility race shirts

High-visibility race shirts

Is this a trend? The t-shirts from my last two New York Road Runners races are crossing-guard green and highway-worker orange. This has caused some grumbling among certain runners of my acquaintance, who – being New Yorkers and all – prefer black, or at least gray. But Eric heartily approves. He is, after all, the man who showed his love for me by festooning my bike with day-glo yellow tape one day as a surprise. Continue reading

Wind, rain and morocho

I would look even colder and more miserable without the morocho.

I would look even colder and more miserable without the morocho.

With the abrupt change from heatstroke weather to nor’easters and possible hurricanes, my post-run treats recovery foods are changing, too. This was the summer of watermelon – pre-cut chunks from the grocery down the street, gone by the time I reached the apartment; pureed in agua fresca, the colder the better; sliced into half moons and sprinkled with spicy, salty Tajín seasoning; transformed into a salad with basil and feta.

My love of watermelon, though deep and strong, is not deep or strong enough to withstand 50 degrees with 20 mph wind gusts. There comes a day when, however regretfully, you must move on . . . preferably to hot, sweet, viscous, milky drinks that warm you both inside (when you drink them as intended) and out (when you spill them down your front because your hands are numb and shaking).

Once again, Sunset Park comes through. Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 6 – September training recap)

This was to be my monster training month, in which I piled on the mileage and the workouts so that, at month’s end, I could look back in satisfaction and forward with confidence.

It was, in fact, pretty monstrous. After losing ten days to my sprained ankle, I jumped back in to 50-mile weeks. That was probably definitely not the smartest thing to do, but I was feeling a lot of calendar pressure, and I have a long history of running stupid to uphold. Continue reading