Race Recap: More Magazine Women’s Half Marathon

When your best friend is signed up for a half marathon in NYC and it’s your first chance to see her in 8 months, you sign up too.

Even if your knee hurts.

Even if you haven’t run in two weeks.

Even if the furthest you’ve run in the past 6 months is 5 miles. (And that was just a couple days ago.)


In short, that was how I found myself signing up for the NYRR/More Magazine Women’s Half Marathon just 5 days before the race.

On Saturday, I took a morning Yo! Bus up to NYC. After having a couple drinks on Friday evening, I decided it would be best to just pack in the morning. My troubles began about 15 minutes into the bus ride, when I discovered that I had outdone myself with the worst packing job a single person has ever done for a 30 hour trip.

Things I forgot: Headphones. My arm band for running. Real pants. Pajamas. Underwear.

Things I packed: 3 running outfits (you never know). 3 pairs of socks. 2 sweatshirts. 2 baseball caps. My running shoes (though I almost forgot those too).

A quick trip to Best Buy in NYC resolved the two biggest packing oversights, and I met up with Rachel and her sister at the packet pick up. Rachel! It was so good to be reunited. We had a nice, relaxing afternoon and evening, and went to bed early in preparation for the race on Sunday morning.

The Race:

After getting into an altercation with a couple women in the port-a-potty line (New Yorkers are serious about their lines and they’ll let you know if you’re not being pushy enough), the race was off at 8am.

The course was two full 6 mile laps of Central Park’s main Park Road followed by the first 1.1 miles of a third lap. It was a clear day, and the race started in the high 50s and ended in the high 60s. It was truly perfect racing conditions.

Running the race was Rachel, Rachel’s sister Megan, Rachel’s sister’s friend Laura, and me. We stuck together for the first three miles, around 10:45 pace, and then Laura and I decided to pick up the pace and split off.

I had forgotten how much I love running hills, which really picked up in miles 3-6 and then again in miles 9-12. Laura and I picked up the pace just after the 5K mark and finished the first lap around 8:45/9:00 pace. Around mile 4 we passed the 2:10 pacer, but I somehow ended up back behind her around mile 7. I split off from Laura determined to match or improve my split for the first lap, which was just shy of one hour.

A word to the wise: don’t pick up the pace at mile 3 if the furthest you’ve run in 6 months is 5 miles and that 5 miles was one week before the half. I was able to hold the pace and stay far ahead of the 2:10 pacer for the remainder of the race, but I hit the wall somewhere around mile 9.5.

Philadelphia isn’t know for its varied terrain. The hills in the second lap felt like I was scaling Mount Everest.

I forced myself to keep running until the water station in the 10th mile, when I allowed myself to step to the side and catch my breath for 30 seconds. I then shuffled through to mile 12, when I started intervals of two minutes running followed by 30 seconds walking. My legs were absolute jelly.

But! I made it. I passed through the finish line at 2:08:25. I beat my goal of finishing under 2:10, and I now truly appreciate the value of training for distance races. My goal is to break the two hour mark by next year, which actually feels like it’s possible.

Laura finished around the 2:10 mark, Megan around 2:25, and Rachel at 2:29. We celebrated the race with pancakes and bacon, then hobbled to the bus to ride back up to Washington Heights. I felt like Barney from How I Met Your Mother (which apparently there are no videos online of the scene where he gets stuck on the subway after the New York Marathon because his legs won’t support him.)

Next month, I’ll be running the Minneapolis Half Marathon with my sister Julie. Our goal is to run the whole thing, together. We won’t be setting any records, but I’m already looking forward to a great run. My goal is to run 2 more half marathons this year as I work to become more purposeful in my training.

In Review:

Race: NYRR More Magazine Women’s Half Marathon
Location: Central Park, New York City
Date: Sunday, April 13 at 8:00am
Finish goal/time: 2:10:00 / 2:08:25

Rachel and me! Finishers!

Rachel and me! Finishers!


let it go.

This morning, I woke up early, bundled up, hopped on my fixie, and biked down to the pier for outdoor community yoga.

I think I’m officially a yuppie.

This summer, a local yoga group is offering free (!!!) yoga classes 6 days a week. I’ve always been interested in yoga, but not enough to cough up the price of taking classes at studios around Philly. Today was the first of hopefully many days started with sun salutations on the banks of the Delaware River.

Yoga has always helped me focus on physical awareness, strength, and flexibility, but I am always shocked at the positive mental effects it has.

Today, we focused on letting things go. If there’s something that you’ve been holding onto that causes you pain or sadness, breathe it out. Let it go. Invite happiness and gratitude into your life.

I’ve been stuck in a rut of negativity and criticism for the past few months. Maybe it was the endless winter, maybe it was work, maybe it was me letting myself lose sight of the things that make my life wonderful. No matter what invited the negativity in, I’m making a choice to let it go and celebrate the countless blessings in my life.

Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Sun salutations at the BFB

“Maybe Cross Country Just Isn’t Your Thing.”

It was the summer before my sophomore year of high school. August 2005. I had just finished my first time trial ever in my first year of cross country. The results of the time trial would determine who got to go to training camp. The first 20 girls would be invited; the remaining would continue summer practices at the high school.

I finished 53rd.

Out of 56 girls.


I knew I wasn’t fast, but I was proud of myself: I had been showing up for practice 6 days a week all summer long to be part of the cross country team. I wasn’t an athlete; I was a musician and proven nerd. I sang in Indianapolis Children’s Choir. Yes, I had played community soccer growing up, but doesn’t just about everyone? That summer, I had proved that if I set my mind to it, I could conquer anything.

The elation didn’t last long, however. When our evening time trial was finished, I walked to where my parents were standing. I made some vague remarks about how I wanted to keep getting faster when – and I remember this distinctly – my dad gently said,

“Maybe cross country just isn’t your thing.”

Criticism, no matter how it’s delivered, can have either a disastrous or incredible effect. I had two choices that evening: One, “Maybe you’re right, dad. Maybe it’s not for me.” and two, “Maybe you’re right dad. But maybe not. I’m going to keep at it until I know for sure.”

That evening, I’m glad I chose the latter. Over the next year, I got faster, I joined the track team, and the next summer, I qualified to attend training camp.

Even though I know my dad meant no harm, it’s amazing how one simple line can stick with you for nearly a decade now. Tonight, while doing a speed workout on the treadmill, those words of doubt came trickling back: “Your leg shouldn’t hurt this much. You have terrible form. Maybe running just isn’t for you.”

But that’s the glorious thing about running: No matter how fast or how slow you go, no matter if you run 1 minute, 1 mile, or 1 hour, no matter if you run once a month or twice a day… you are a runner.

Yes, there will always be things to improve. Yes, there will always be that PR that you want to break. Yes, some days it’s going to hurt. A lot.

But when you keep going, you prove something to yourself:

Yes. I am a runner.

find your motivation.

Today’s the day! Marie and I are running the Heritage Trail Half Marathon in Lafayette, Indiana this morning. I’m all signed up for Spotify Premium so I can listen to my running playlist while I’m running! Marie and I will be running the half together – today’s not about time, it’s about getting to the finish line with my sister.

My best friend sent this picture to me, and it makes me laugh every time! We always pretend to have t-rex arms and hands (we’re so mature), so this was definitely fitting:



To be honest, I don’t really need Spotify Premium. I’m just going to be listening to this on repeat:

mind over body

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

– George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Inspiration for tomorrow’s 10-miler. Happy Friday, everybody!

marathon training, week 4

Week 4. My legs are finally starting to feel better. I took it easy the whole week, opting for taking walks to get some mileage without killing my legs. I’m not going to recap the week, because frankly, it’s kind of embarrassing how little mileage I got in, but I was waking up without shin and knee pain.

Saturday was officially my first day back “on the streets,” haha. For my 9 mile run, I interchanged between walking and running: mile 1, walk; miles 2 and 3, run; mile 4, walk; miles 5 and 6, run; mile 7, walk; mile 8, run; mile 9, walk. It felt great to get back out there, but I brought home a nasty nasty sunburn as a souvenir, and as I sit here on my couch nearly 12 hours later, I still feel a bit dehydrated.

However, my run included two trips across the Ben Franklin bridge, which involves beautiful views of the Philadelphia skyline (and Camden too, I guess…).


I wish I could take credit for the above picture!

I was surprised to find the bridge so busy with foot traffic and cyclists. I quickly realized that the Ben Franklin Bridge is the only easily-accessible place for “hill” training in Philadelphia. In fact, I can’t think of anyplace else with long, gradual inclines.

Anyways, my first day back was fantastic. To help prevent my shin splints from flaring back up, I’m going to be integrating walking into my workouts so I can ramp up my running volume but still get the mileage in. Over the next few weeks, I will gradually be reducing the walking and moving up to 100% running.

Sunday, I went for a nice easy ride – up the Schuylkill again, as usual. Looking forward to getting back to the regular schedule on Tuesday.

The week ahead:

Monday: rest.

Tuesday: 3 miles.

Wednesday: 5 miles.

Thursday: 3 miles.

Friday: rest.

Saturday: 10 miles.

Sunday: cross train.

Let’s do this!