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

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

Summer races – an omnibus report

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My #1 summer racing goal: NOT to require ambulance services

Here it is: an overview of my summer 2016 racing season, presented chronologically. Since I’ve fallen so hopelessly behind on race reports, I’ve stinted on the usual copious detail and tried to tease out broad themes instead.

NYRR Retro 4 Miler (June 4). The official theme of this race was running “old-school.” Sweat bands, “Stop Pre” t-shirts and pscychedelia abounded (kudos to the PPTC teammate who wore a vintage team singlet picked up at the Beacon’s Closet resale shop). Continue reading

Race report – the Brooklyn Half (May 21, 2016)

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The track cat made it to the beach. (Photo credit: Andy Wong)

Runners who take racing seriously know the importance of race-specific training. Most training programs include the same basic components – short, speedy intervals; longer tempo runs at a fast but sustainable pace; hillwork; long, slow distance to build aerobic capacity – but the emphasis given to those components and the way they fit together will be different if you are training for the mile versus a 5K versus a marathon. Your training should mirror your goal race.

By that light, the race I’ve been training for these past few months would combine running and birding – by, say, subtracting the number of species seen over a 10-mile distance from your finishing time. I’m pretty sure I could kick ass in a race like that.

Unfortunately, the race I was actually running was the Brooklyn Half Marathon.  Continue reading