4:13:40 and out

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Taking no chances: a pre-race finish line photo

Somewhere between my 2008 breast cancer diagnosis, my failed Boston qualifying attempt in 2014, and being wheeled into the medical tent after running 3:58:50 at the 2015 NYC marathon, I decided that Boston would make a fitting last marathon.

And while I’m reserving myself a little wiggle room to maybe possibly consider another go at the distance after my next significant birthday, it feels good to say “I’m done.” Continue reading

Boston marathon pre-race report

imageWe’re here in Boston, enjoying the kind of weather that fills marathoners with abject terror: bright sun, 82 degrees and windy.

Fortunately, the temperature is expected to drop (albeit not enough) tomorrow, more clouds will move in, and the winds should die down . . . we hope. I fear, though, that Paul Ryan’s youthful marathon record will be safe from challenge by this 55-year-old woman this year.

Yesterday’s trip from New York Penn to Boston’s South Station was uneventful. “Don’t do anything before the race that you didn’t do in training,” the experts tell you. Since I ate like crap during training, I took that to mean I should start the trip with a doughnut from the new Underwest Donut kiosk in front of Penn Station. Continue reading

Boston: ready or not . . .

imageTomorrow morning, Eric and I will board a Northeast Regional train so that I can join the 121st running of the Boston marathon (the 46th in which women have been officially allowed to compete) on Monday. It’s kind of a big deal – and yet, have I ever been so nonchalant about a marathon?

Here are a few indicators:

  • I waited until Tuesday night to load Boston and Hopkinton onto my phone’s weather app, and I’ve only checked it once since then. Maybe twice.
  • I have yet to study an elevation profile of the course.
  • I’m not experiencing any phantom injuries.
  • I have only the vaguest idea of where the Expo is being held and no idea how to get there from our hotel.
  • I’ve skimmed the participant guide, but don’t plan to actually read it until we’re on the train . . . if I read it at all.

This is quite a change from 2015, when I blogged obsessively about my quest to qualify for Boston. Continue reading

Watching the NYC marathon in Brooklyn – 2016 edition

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“What’s good?” – this post tries to answer that

Less than three weeks until race day on November 6!

If you’re running, this is high-anxiety time, when every training sin (workouts missed, long runs bailed on) comes back to haunt you; when thoughts of everything that could possibly go wrong run through your mind in a continuous loop (you fall off a stool while reaching for a high shelf and twist your ankle, you miss a connecting flight and are stranded in Atlanta, you contract food poisoning the night before the race); when your interpersonal relationships are strained by this obsession of yours that no one who’s not running quite understands.

But if you’re spectating along the course, as I will be this year, this is a fun time. Instead of visualizing the long climb up the Queensboro Bridge, you can visualize brunch spots; instead of obsessing over those twinges in your left calf, you can obsess over finding the best tacos in Sunset Park; instead of planning your best race, you can plan your best race day.

Last year’s guide was pretty popular, and I’ve gone through and made some quick updates and corrections to keep it useful for 2016. But because it was so much fun to do the research, I’ve been back out there running the marathon’s route through Brooklyn (in nice, manageable segments). In the process, I’ve found a whole bunch of additional places worth checking out.

So, here it is – the all-new 2016 edition of one Brooklyn runner’s totally idiosyncratic guide to where to eat, and what to do, along the NYC marathon course.  Continue reading

A nearly perfect race (the Bronx 10 Mile, 9/25/16)

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Something I thought I’d never do: post a finishing medal photo

Sometimes, despite your best efforts at self-sabotage, things just come together on race day.

A bit of background here. I will always remember the 2006 Crim in Flint, Michigan, as a perfect race. It remains my personal record for 10 miles (1:07:38); I placed third in my age group in a competitive field, and was among the top ten masters (against Russians who were no doubt doping); I ran negative splits, with the last mile (a 6:20-something) my fastest.

Much has changed over the last decade. I went through cancer treatment and chemo-induced menopause. The Big Three automakers – and with them, the state of Michigan – almost went belly up. I gave up on racing for a time, got married and moved to Brooklyn. The city of Flint had an emergency manager imposed on it, stripping its elected officials of their authority (and its citizens of their political power), and ended up with a poisoned water supply. I joined a new running club here in Brooklyn and started racing again.

But racing now is different. Continue reading

Race report: Superfund, super fun (September 8, 2016)

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Pre-race. Is that red “stop” hand trying to tell us something?

Here’s a great idea. Let’s gather a group of runners at an otherwise deserted playground in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, at 10 pm on a Thursday night and instruct them to run from one of the nation’s most polluted waterways (Newtown Creek) to another of the nation’s most polluted waterways (the Gowanus Canal). Other than starting together and crossing the same finish, there’s no set route for the (roughly) 10K distance. It’s up to each runner to figure it out.

Sound like fun?  Continue reading

Spills and thrills – Percy Sutton Harlem 5K (August 27, 2016)

img_4443For the last race of the summer (as defined by Labor Day, not the autumnal equinox), I headed uptown to Harlem.

I had company from the start. A couple of PPTC teammates were entering the F/G station at the same time as me, and another two joined us shortly after that. We talked, mainly, about coffee. My insulated travel mug, which I’d filled before running out of the apartment so that I could sip my morning coffee on the train, was quite the conversation-starter.  Continue reading