Reach the Beach 2014

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Travis and I completed our third Reach the Beach relay event earlier this month. My running role was much shorter and slower this year, but Travis and I still had a fantastic weekend Reaching the Beach with 28 of our fun and wacky Brooklyn running friends. How amazing is it to find a group of people who can spend 30+ hours in mini vans together without sleep or showers, run 600+ miles, eat mostly just pretzels and MnMs, and come out the other end smiling more than ever?!

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This year our Warriors group consisted of three teams of 10 people each. Our van of five was me, Travis, Amanda, Larry, and Nate. It was Nate’s first time at RTB and I hope we helped make it a fun experience for him. I had an awesome time with our van mates! It was really a no stress, smooth, and even EASY weekend. Amazing.

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Since we were van 2, we spent the first portion of the event cheering for our team mates who ran the first five legs. We started the race earlier in the day this year than in the past, so when it was our turn to run, it was still light out! Nice. We ran, drove, cheered, handed off the baton (slap bracelet) at the transitions, and basically just got it done.

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I had originally been assigned to run 18 miles during the event, but since I had experienced a difficult four-mile race the week before, I was nervous about my ability to do it… at least to do it in any type of time that wouldn’t completely sink our team. Thankfully, Larry switched legs with me and I got to run 13 miles of much easier terrain. Whew. That was a big relief. I had been worried that Travis may need to run some of my legs for me… but sadly, he had an injured calf and actually couldn’t do his third leg. Joel ended up running it and totaled more than 30 miles for the weekend! Crazy.

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I was the last runner in our van to go. My first leg happened to be the same first leg course that I’ve run for the past two years. I am glad that I got to run it again because it was fun to see the terrain while it was still light out. It was VERY hilly and it ended on a grass hill heading up to a farm. I was slow, but still felt really good about running most of it (walking only the big hills). And the best part was that my ENTIRE TEAM was at the farm waiting for me to finish and cheering me on. Definitely an inspiring experience… even if I felt a little embarrassed. It felt like I was running HARD, but on video I’m sort of doing a pregnancy waddle. Oh well, everyone was super supportive.

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We rested a little, ate some dinner at a cute and welcoming church, and then ran our next set of legs. It is already hard to remember the details, but my second and third legs went pretty smoothly. I even ran the third one (just a 5k) a tiny bit faster! In between we grabbed some sleep at a transition area. I think I slept for a full two hours on the back seat of the van. I didn’t think it would really help much, but I woke up refreshed. Wow!

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Overall, I think this may have been my smoothest and easiest year at RTB, which is totally crazy since I didn’t even know if I was going to do it. I thought that being pregnant would make me really uncomfortable, but I actually felt fine the entire time. BabyJ loved the music in the van and he seemed to sleep when I was running. Thankfully, my team was understanding of my slow speed and need for low mileage… I think that made all the difference. I wasn’t as stressed about being FAST this time around. I felt comfortable watching my breathing and heart rate during the runs and not over-exerting myself. I also worked hard on eating healthy snacks and staying hydrated in between the runs. And I used a LOT of porta potties!

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It was another really fun weekend of running south through the mountains of New Hampshire, riding in vans, listening to music, and getting to know our friends a little better. I know that I probably won’t get to do the event again for quite a while, so I am glad that I decided to participate this year despite being pregnant. It felt empowering to complete the event, but even more so, it felt really incredible to have a team that welcomed me, accepted, and encouraged me as a pregnant runner and team mate.

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Check out all of my photos from the event HERE.

Blast from the past:

Reach the Beach 2013 // Reach the Beach 2012

brooklyn half 2014

brooklynhalf1 I ran my fourth annual Brooklyn Half Marathon on Saturday. Travis and I ran our first Brooklyn Half in 2011, and we’ve just kept it up since. It is always fun running around Prospect Park and then down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island, but the race seems to come at an odd time of year running-wise. I am never quite in shape and it is always just a slow, fun run for me.

This year wasn’t any different. Since I hadn’t run much at all on our Europe trip during April, I wasn’t sure if I could survive 13.1 miles. Thankfully, I actually felt great during the race. I took it very easy, but my time actually ended up being almost identical to the New Orleans Half I ran in February. I guess that isn’t necessarily a good thing, because that was a tough, sluggish race for me, but I am just glad I didn’t lose too much fitness. I ate potatoes as my fuel and drank a lot of water. I think that they really helped me feel my best.

Running hasn’t been my main focus for a while, but I am glad that I can still participate at a recreational level. South Central Brooklyn Runners is continuing to grow. It is a fun, enthusiastic group. Last week we were filmed for a segment of the NYRR Brooklyn Half coverage. I think we had as many as 50 club members running the Brooklyn Half, and we have more than 400 people in our Facebook group. Wow!

Usually we top off the Brooklyn Half with a Coney Island ride — we’ve rode the Screaming Eagle, the Cyclone, and the Wonder Wheel in the past — but this year we simply met our friends inside the Cyclones baseball stadium and hung out on the field for a while. It was a good day. …One that exhausted me for the rest of the weekend!

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new orleans 2014

Jackson Square, New Orleans

I was really looking forward to our trip to New Orleans earlier this month. I had so much fun visiting the “Big Easy” with my brother Seth in 2012, I was eager to go back. The history, culture, and food in New Orleans is so unique and exciting… but the trip didn’t quite live up to my high expectations.

Cafe du Monde, New Orleans

The bummer stuff:

We really had a perfectly fine trip, but there were some things that brought the experience down a bit…

  • We had a few good sunny days, but mostly we had a lot of foggy, overcast weather.
  • I’ll give more details below, but my Half Marathon was really tough! I had wanted to run hard for this race since it was my official winter Team in Training event, but I couldn’t get my pace up and I felt sluggish the whole time. I was also inexplicably REALLY sore after the race.
  • I rolled my ankle pretty badly while walking around the day after the race. It is still a little swollen.
  • Our trip was longer than planned, March 30th to February 5th — a full week!! Our flight home was cancelled on Tuesday and so we ended up staying an extra day. But then the flight was delayed multiple times on Wednesday, which basically wasted the whole day. I tried to enjoy the extra time, but I was very ready to be home!
  • We didn’t take any tours or go to any museums. I love the history of New Orleans and didn’t feel as immersed in it this trip.

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So, nothing too terrible happened… I got to spend a lot of quality time with Travis and hang out with many of our good friends. Plus, we WERE there to run a race with Team in Training, so that was the main focus. Here is my overview of the race…

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New Orleans Rock N Roll Half Marathon:

Rock N Roll races are large, well-organized events and New Orleans was no different. (I’ve run the Rock N Roll marathon in San Diego twice.) The race started near Lafayette Square near our hotel in the Central Business district.

The temperature in the 50s was perfect, but it was extremely foggy!! It might have been the foggiest race I’ve run, even more so than the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco when we couldn’t see the Golden Gate Bridge! The air felt a little thick and humid, and it was hard to see the lovely scenery as we ran through the mansions of the Garden District and the streets of the French Quarter. You couldn’t even see the cathedral across Jackson Square! It was intense.

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I woke up cranky, but I tried to feel confident for the first three miles. I thought maybe my sluggish legs would shake themselves out, but it didn’t happen. The course was completely flat, but I still struggled through the whole race. I ran alone the entire time and sprinted the end only because I wanted to be done. It was overcast and cold by the time the race ended, but we received two medals — a beaded one for the race and an extra one for doing it with a charity organization — and my 20th official Half Marathon was completed!

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The finish area was in City Park. It was a little muddy and crowded, but they gave out lots of great food (including chocolate milk) and the Team in Training tent was stocked with goodies. I met Travis (he PRd!) and lots of my friends (Hi, Brian! Hi, Jess!) on the sidelines and we waited to cheer in our full marathoners. Travis and I waited until our friend Nate finished (with a PR!) and then headed back to our hotel.

I was exhausted after the race and must not have been good about replacing my electrolytes. I was too wiped out to enjoy our team victory party or to watch the Super Bowl with the team, but Travis and I did manage to go out to dinner at Sylvain’s which revived me a bit.

Second only to our fun friends and awesome Brooklyn team, the food was the best part of the trip!!

Acme Oyster House, New Orleans

Restaurants:

New Orleans food is heavy and rich — lots of fried food, seafood, and meat — but it is delicious. I would recommend all of these restaurants we tried…

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Cafe Du Monde – The classic breakfast place for beignets and coffee. Open 24 hours!! I really like their coffee. A lot. Get the frozen cafe au lait.

Cochon – My favorite! Lots of meat. We ate a fabulous dinner with friends at the “sit down” restaurant and ordered just about everything. (I loved the fried alligator!) Then, Travis and I also got amazing sandwiches for lunch one day at the Cochon Butcher next door. I ordered the muffuletta, which was nearly as good as the original from Central Grocery…

Central Grocery – Grab a giant muffuletta sandwich and Zapp’s chips to go at this French Quarter store front and eat them in Jackson Square or on the water front. It is the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Seriously. I dream about it.

Sylvain’s – Sort of fancy “new southern.” I had a tiny quail. It was delicious.

Elizabeth’s – A New Orleans MUST with a relaxed, slightly hipster atmosphere. Go for brunch. Get the best bloody mary ever and the praline bacon.

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Court of the Two Sisters – We went for the all you-can-eat Jazz Brunch. It was plenty good with tons of options, but a little pricey and very touristy.

Acme Oyster House – Fresh oysters, charbroiled oysters, fried oysters – I tried them all! And Travis said this was his favorite po’boy of the trip. You almost always have to wait in line for a table at the French Quarter location, but it is fun and worth it.

Mother’s – Classic southern comfort food. You might have to wait in line, but the tables turn over really fast in this large, totally casual, 80-year-old restaurant. Get a po’boy with “debris” or the jambalaya or the baked ham.

Magasin Cafe – There is a very large Vietnamese population in New Orleans, so there are many restaurant options for delicious pho, and banh mi, and spring rolls. Travis and I chose Magasin on the suggestion of a friend and we loved it. It’s a great spot to eat after walking around the mansions of the Garden District and the shops on Magazine Street.

Sucre – My favorite New Orleans bakery with my favorite King Cake. (FYI: You can get the cakes delivered anywhere in the US!) Travis loved it and we visited Sucre three times during the trip! Wow.

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Other fun New Orleans stuff:

Food really was the highlight of the trip, but we managed to fit in some other fun stuff. Riding the street car from the French Quarter over to the Garden District was fun and easy. Once there, we walked around checking out the pretty mansions and the fascinating cemeteries. Of course, strolling through the French Quarter is a MUST. We walked down Bourbon Street and I stopped in Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. (Travis thought it was a little too spooky.) I think a photo op in Jackson Square is a requirement of every Nola trip, and a stroll through the french market near the river front is great for souvenir hunting. The Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone is a fun evening stop. I had a milk punch — pretty tasty! We had the opportunity to visit with our friend Amanda’s cousin at his beautiful home near Lake Pontchartrain one evening, which was delightful. I would definitely recommend getting out of the city center if possible and talking with some locals. It is amazing to hear how the city has come back after Hurricane Katrina.

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Overall, it was a good trip and I’d totally recommend visiting New Orleans to anyone. But just like anywhere else, things could not go as planned, so it is helpful to stay flexible… and maybe not have TOO high of expectations. I think that was my major downfall this trip. Maybe some day I’ll go back and JUST visit every museum in the city!

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Check out all 100+ photos from New Orleans on Flickr.

bermuda 2014

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It is snowing and nineteen degrees in Brooklyn today and I am really missing Bermuda! Turquoise water + pink sand + sun = a welcome combination in the middle of a NY winter.

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Travis and I took our second trip to Bermuda last weekend. We took our first trip to the Atlantic Ocean island last year to run the Bermuda Triangle Challenge, and we returned for the same reason… and because it is such an easy trip!

Bermuda is just a two-hour flight from NYC. Since it is the off-season, plane tickets are cheap and we split a hotel room with two other friends. So, overall, a relatively inexpensive and quick island adventure!

bermuda_rachel

We stayed at the Fairmont Southampton hotel again. The hotel is across the bay from the main city of Hamilton, but it is right near the most spectacular beach on the island, Horseshoe Bay. (Rated the #8 beach in the world!) It also happened to be the team hotel for our New York City Team in Training Chapter.

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Travis and I are a mentor and social captain for our Brooklyn TNT group and even though the New Orleans Rock N Roll Half Marathon next weekend is our official winter season event, we couldn’t pass up going to Bermuda with the Team, too. It was a much smaller TNT group than last year, but we still had a wonderful time.

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We got in late on Thursday night, ordered room service, and hung out with our BK roommates and friends. (Hi Joel, Amanda, Roshan, and Jon!) Friday was overcast, but we still made it to the beach. We checked out the private cove, saw the parrot fish, climbed some rocks, and checked out the beach cave. It was too cold for swimming, but we waded in the water a bit.

Then, we headed into town for the first event of the Triangle Challenge, the Front Street Mile! I ran the mile slightly faster than last year, with a finish time of 8:35. Not too speedy, but I haven’t been doing any speed training this season, so it serves me right. After, we hung around and watched all of the mile races, from the kids to the elites. It was a fun and exciting parade atmosphere in Hamilton, with everyone out on Front Street to spectate.

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Saturday we got up early for the 10k. It was raining. Boo. I was cranky. I was worried about the success of the weekend when we arrived at the race start and our tiny Team was all huddled under a tent trying to stay dry. But everyone brought their PMAs (positive mental attitudes) and headed out in the rain to tackle 6 miles of hills. Despite the rain, everyone was thrilled to finish their race and I was feeling much more positive after – as evidenced by this epic jump shot!

It rained and rained and rained all day on Saturday. We basically napped the day away before heading to the Team inspiration dinner. Our friend and teammate, Shelly, told her story of how she has been living with leukemia for nearly 10 years. She is so sweet, and funny, and inspiring. It was a wonderful evening.

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The weather was MUCH better for the half marathon – a little overcast and cool. I ran the race nice and easy with my friend Jon. We goofed off with our teammates, stopped for some swinging and some beer, and I managed to take a few photos. I felt really strong and steady for the whole race and I look forward to pushing it a bit harder next week in NOLA.

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After the race, we ate at Travis’ favorite restaurant, Bouchee, and rode the water ferry back to our hotel. A successful morning followed by a successful evening of celebrating with our friends and teammates! We even made it to the hotel pool and hot tub!

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Monday was our perfect, sunny beach day. We only had a few hours to enjoy it before heading to the airport, but we took full advantage. We headed to Horseshoe Bay, sunbathed, swam in the ocean, took lots of photos, and basically tried to soak up all of the Bermuda we could before heading home to Brooklyn. We couldn’t have asked for a better end to the trip.

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Bermuda was such a quick, little trip, but it is so wonderful to get to spend time with Travis away from work and our normal, day-to-day life. We really love our life in the city, but taking breaks now and then for travel is really fun. And worth the expense, I think. We are currently saving up for our next big adventure… Stay tuned!

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See all of my photos from Bermuda here.

goodbye, 2013!

2013

Happy New Year’s Eve!! Another year down.

2013 wasn’t the year I was expecting, but I had a lot of good times and made some excellent memories. I have more big plans for 2014 and can’t wait to get started on them!

…but for now, here are some of my favorite blog posts from the past year:

January
My word for 2013 was sweetness, but it could have been RUN! The year started off with running… Travis and I ran the Goofy Challenge and the Bermuda Triangle Challenge back to back.

February
My birthday! I ran another marathon (my 8th!) and lost someone special to me.

March
Not much happened in March…

April
In April, I did a craft project.

May
Lots of running in May. Many half marathons and a few trail races.

June
I traveled in June, to Kansas to run the Color Run with the fam and to Portland to see Adam and Nina.

July
July was busy! Stephanie and Bill visited New York, I continued my Summer Run Streak, Travis and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary and went on a big date, and we ran the Boilermaker.

August
In August, I went camping, ate some cronuts, attended Blogshop, and did more running.

September
I was digging navy blue in September. I also finished my 101-day Run Streak and Reached the Beach.

October
October brought a sweet wedding, my dad’s first half marathon, and my fastest 5k – all in one big update.

November
Travis ran the NYC Marathon in November and the helped me run my fastest marathon ever in Brooklyn. Plus, Friendsgiving!

December
Travis got Lasik this month and we had a relaxing and lovely Christmas together in Brooklyn.

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Travis and I are celebrating tonight with friends at a big prom party (a lot like last year!) What are your plans???

Brooklyn Marathon

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ouch. I am very sore. And very happy.

How did I even end up running the Brooklyn Marathon yesterday?? A year ago, when NYC was cancelled, Travis and I made a mad dash to get signed up for an alternative race. NYCRuns had hoped to be able to allow more people in the 2012 Brooklyn Marathon. We signed up, but the plans to expand the field fell through. Bummer. Everyone who had signed up could transfer their entry to 2013. But even though I was registered for over a year, I wasn’t ever totally convinced that I would actually run it…

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The three marathons that secured our membership in Marathon Maniacs earlier this year were plenty for me. I didn’t NEED to train for another fall race. But I guess I was curious to see what I could do. To see if my personal best time at Philly a year ago was a one-time thing and/or if I could consistently run sub-5-hour marathons.

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I trained on my own. I mean, I am participating in the Winter Team in Training season (it is great!) but my long marathon training runs were done solo. I completed both a 19-mile and a 20-mile run completely on my own leading up to this race. I have never done that before. And even more incredible, my pacing was actually pretty good, at around 11-11:30/mile. Those runs, plus a few faster, shorter runs gave me confidence that I was actually ready to run a marathon. I didn’t really have an excuse not to…

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I was more nervous than I’d like to admit leading up to this race. Marathons are fun, but also RUNNING, EFFORT, PAIN! You can never predict exactly how the day is going to go. But I had my truly sweet and patient husband (who ran NYC two weeks ago) running it with me. And SO MANY supportive friends. I knew that whatever happened, it would be a good day.

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And it was. I completed my 9th marathon and it was my fastest yet at 4:46:01. Travis stuck by my side even when I got cranky. I listened to my favorite songs. Nine loops of the park didn’t even seem so bad. My fueling was smart & consistent (MilkyWay, 6 Gus, brownies, and gatorade). We took it easy on the six trips up the North hill, walking some. I was in pain for most of the race, but also felt strong. I concentrated and I fought for it.

It seems crazy to run for nearly five hours just to gain two little minutes… but it was worth it.

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But the race, my time, those are not even the best parts. The most amazing part of the whole day was seeing so many friends in the park! So many. This race comes at the end of a long, strenuous fall race season. All of my friends have already trained and raced and coached and cheered at plenty of events. I didn’t expect anyone to spend their Sunday watching me (and all the other racers, of course) run in a circle around Prospect Park. But they did. Plus, did I mention that it rained?!

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THANK YOU: Suzy for bringing my treats and gatorade and being my personal pit crew, Pam for being there from the start and taking so many great photos, sweet Sarah Y. for pouring my gatorade, Joel and Amanda for surprising me with my baby, Crusher, on the sidelines, Jessica for keeping me pumped up and running those first two loops with us, Lisa for making me a sign and coming out after already coaching another race that morning, Matt for running a loop with us and not minding that I was totally brain dead, new marathon maniac, Meghan T., and all of our CHEERful friends, Emily C., Nate, JP (and Beau!), Dory, Amber, Cynthia, Kristen (and Mike!), Emily H., Judith and John, Kitty, Louis, Flegar, Sarah W., Sarah K., Josh, Tony, Shanna, and many more that I am probably forgetting. (Blame it on marathon brain.) You all MADE MY DAY and make me feel very fortunate. (And get this: The rest of our SCBkR crew was in Philly yesterday cheering on the racers there. Amazing.)

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Running is just a hobby. But it is healthy. And challenging. And fun. And the friends I have made doing it are incredibly supportive and encouraging and silly and sweet and fun. Team in training + Brooklyn + the running community at large = so many good vibes.

I could blame it on the marathon endorphins, but I think it is true love. This South Central Brooklyn Runners community that we’ve all created is something special. Maybe even magic. I hope we can keep it going… forever.

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Watch a news report about the Brooklyn Marathon here. (You can see me & Travis run by for a second.) And view all of the photos (mine and my friends’) from the day here.

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Random personal note for future reference: Don’t put too much stuff in the side leg pockets of Lululemon crops. Not only is it unattractive, but it causes major bruises!

Travis conquered the NYC Marathon 2013

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Travis did it! He ran the NYC Marathon and got his goal time of under four hours – 3:55:12, to be exact.

We were both supposed to run NYC last year. We trained with Brooklyn Team in Training, raised money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and even went to the event expo with our friends… only to find out that the race had been cancelled. We were bummed, but quickly focused on helping with hurricane clean up. Plus, we got to run the Philadelphia Marathon two weeks later, so it was still a successful season… but the NYC Marathon is special and Travis wanted his chance to run through the city. He transferred his registration to 2013.

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Since I already ran NYC in 2010, I decided to take the refund. That way, I could focus on cheering for Travis just like he did for me in 2010. I tried to make it to three spots on the route – mile 7 in Brooklyn near our place, mile 18 on 1st Ave in Manhattan, and mile 23 on 5th Ave in Manhattan. It was awesome seeing Travis in Brooklyn, even though it was incredibly crowded! I made it to the next two locations, but somehow I missed Travis at mile 18. Bummer. I was determined to see him at 23 — I kept my eyes on the runners obsessively — and I did! He was tired, but powering through.

I got to cheer with many friends – Becca, Sarah, Lawrence, Amanda, Joel, Matt – and I got to see many members of the current Brooklyn Team running, but not all of them. I couldn’t stay out on the course all day like we did in 2011. I hustled to the finish shortly after I saw Travis for the final time. I had all of his warm clothes and didn’t want to be late!

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The security at the marathon was incredible! They had blocked off almost all of Central Park West and all of Columbus Circle. Giant dump trucks blocked the streets. There were police officers and canine units everywhere! The security seemed excessive (and cost $1 mil!) but it paid off, because the race went off without a hitch. Which is amazing. Especially considering that the 2013 NYC Marathon was the largest marathon in history, with 50,304 finishers. Wow!

It was a trek to get myself to a meeting place near the finish, but I made it! Travis arrived in his marathon poncho and medal. He was cold, but happy.

Travis ran a strong race and I am very proud of him. He trained extremely hard for this race. He is much more dedicated and disciplined than I. There are many more fast races in his future!

Check out all of my photos from the event in my Flickr set.

so many running updates

Happy Halloween!! But this isn’t a Halloween post… it is about running. Of course. It is always about running.

solorun

I completed so many races in the beginning of 2013 that I really burned myself out… spring and summer were not great running seasons for me, but I’ve gradually been working myself back into the groove. Recently, I’ve been surprised to realize that I am actually feeling pretty good. And, I have been doing some fairly successful marathon training on my own. I completed two solid long runs this month, including a solo 20 miler that went exceptionally well… and not just because I made pit stops for a donut AND a cupcake.

I am feeling unexpectedly excellent. Running is on my good side for now. Which is handy, because there is a lot of fun, running-related stuff happening…

sarahlawrence

Early this month, one of my best and sweetest running friends (and Warrior van-mate), Sarah, got married to her equally sweet (he got me a signed photo of Patrick Stewart!) boyfriend-now-husband, Lawrence. It was a beautiful, fun, huge, family wedding and it was such a thrill to be invited. The food was amazing and the entire event was full of cute, personal touches. Sarah and Lawrence made race bibs for their table seating cards! So clever and fun! Such a great night. Travis and I made good use of the party photo booth with our fellow running Warriors.

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My dad ran his first official half marathon on October 19th. Very cool! With the covert help of my brothers, I flew home to surprise him on the course. Aaron, Seth, Mom, and I had signs and we were yelling our head’s off, but somehow we missed Dad at the start of the race. Good thing we saw him at Mile 3 near the Liberty Memorial. He stopped and gave me a hug. I think he was genuinely surprised to see me. Success! I met him again at Mile 11 and ran the last 2 miles with him and his kind friend, Todd. Dad was tired at the end, but he ran a very strong race. Now he has his sights set on a full marathon!

See all my photos from my Kansas City trip HERE.

bktntesswinter13

Above is my current Brooklyn Team in Training. We are all participating in the “Endless Summer” (winter) season and training for either the Bermuda or New Orleans Half Marathon. I’m Social Captain again this season, and although our group is small, it is awesome. Last night we had a “Socktober” costume contest and a 5k test. I ran (maybe) my fastest 5k ever (sub 9min/miles, but still didn’t break 28 minutes – boo) and felt great. Travis was sweet and paced me the whole way. I run my best races when he helps me.

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With the successful 20 mile run and the strong 5k under my belt, I feel confident enough to publicly admit that I am running the Brooklyn Marathon on November 17th. The race is entirely in Prospect Park and it will be challenging… but I think I am going to take it seriously. I have no idea whether I can PR, but you never know what will happen… perhaps it will be MY race.

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In even BIGGER news… Travis is running the NYC Marathon on Sunday! Wow. It his first NYC, but his 6th marathon. He has been training extremely hard and I think he is going to have an amazing race. I plan to cheer for him at three points on the route. He is Bib #22006 (starting in Blue Wave #2, Corral #22). You can track him by downloading the free iPhone app.

NYC Marathon Day is one of my very favorite days in the city. I was devastated by Hurricane Sandy last year and the cancellation of the race. What a sad time… But this year is going to be great! I am volunteering at the Team in Training booth at the Expo all afternoon tomorrow – come see me! – and I am an official #INGNYCMarathon Social Reporter. You can follow me as @rljart and @SCBkRunners on Twitter and as @rljart on Instagram. Be prepared for a LOT of marathon updates! (You can also search for the #ingnycm hashtag to get the newest marathon-related tweets.)

Will you be watching the NYC Marathon? What other fall events are you excited for?

Reach the Beach 2013

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Wow. It has been full month since Travis and I were with 31 of our running friends Reaching the Beach in New Hampshire! This was our second year doing the fun/intense/silly event, and once again, we had a fantastic time.

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Last year we had unbelievable fun as Warriors, and we definitely continued that tradition in 2013.

So… why did it take so long for me to write about the event here on the blog? Hmmmm.

RTB is a big event. Prepping for and recovering from the long weekend takes quite a bit of time and effort. And, I guess that is one of the (many) life lessons you could take from Reaching the Beach: we all have the ability to make any situation amazing, but it takes effort.

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Not that spending time with our awesome van-mates took effort! Emily, Kenny, Larry, and Sarah are the sweetest, most adorable, funny, wonderful people ever and I would go anywhere with them. (Seriously guys, let’s take another trip together!) But the rest of the event takes some doing…

Training, ordering Warrior clothes, making and packing van food, compiling amazing road trip music mixes, renting vans, driving for hours and hours, powering through pouring rain, running 20+ miles, using LOTS of porta-potties, not sleeping for 36+ hours… It isn’t easy. But I guess that is what makes it an incredible event. The intensity makes it special. Also, the tear-away pants. And booty shorts.

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Last year, I was really self-concious about my speed (or lack of speed) and wasn’t totally emotionally strong for the whole event, despite having pretty solid runs. This year, I ran the exact same relay legs (a total of 20 miles) and was much more prepared emotionally. I was determined to have a great time and not worry about my speed… or anything, for that matter. Well, I can report that I was much more emotionally strong this year… but the physical portion of the weekend didn’t go as well.

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My first run was amazing. I ran hard (mostly up hill), had an awesome pace, and even passed a few other runners. I felt great. I was pumped! Unfortunately, my tricky throat acted up while I was trying to eat a bit after my first run. My esophagus gets really clenched up, and I think because I had worked it so hard just before, my diaphragm also got upset. There were about two hours of me throwing up and trying to relax. Ick. It left me tired and dehydrated. On top of the no sleeping thing.

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But our van was amazing. We just powered on through the night. Travis ran all of his legs super-fast. No one in our wonderful van got grumpy at all. Amazing. My second leg was 8+ miles of hills. I got through it. There was some breakfast, some snoozing in the car, some cheering, and maybe a little too much worrying about whether our other Warriors teams were catching up to us throughout the night. I had high hopes for my third leg and I wore my most festive outfit. But my body was pretty much done and I walked a lot of hills. Not ideal, but the sun was out and my fellow Warriors cheered for me on the road. I had fun.

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By the end, I was happy to be done. And happy that our team got to finish on the beach before the sun started to set, unlike last year. All three Warriors teams finished strong. We celebrated, ate, drank, and fell asleep. zzzZZZZZZZ

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We took a lot of photos! You can view all of my photos (and some of my friends’) from the weekend in my Warriors 2013 Flickr set.

We also took a lot of video! We are still compiling our 2013 highlight reel, but if you want a peak at the people who make this event great, check out our Reach the Beach 2012 – Extended Cut video.

Or, for a little taste of our terrific team, watch the incomparable Larry Picard explain the spirit of RTB:

I love my Warriors. xoxo

summer run streak success

Success!! I completed the Summer Run Streak. I ran from May 25th, two days before Memorial Day, through Labor Day, September 2nd. That is 101 straight days of running! Whew.

I am really happy that I decided to do the streak. Originally, I committed to the Runner’s World Run Streak which was supposed to last only through the 4th of July. But I got ambitious and decided to keep going. The only rule was that I had to run at least a mile each day.

Other summer 2013 numbers:

  • I ran 310 miles during the streak.
  • My longest run was 16 miles.
  • I ran in 4 states: New York, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon
  • I ran 5 organized races.
  • I used 4 different pairs of running shoes.
  • I swam 10 miles (at the Red Hook public pool).

I am so happy that I kept moving this summer even though I’m not training for a specific fall race. It felt good to give myself permission to do shorter workouts. And, I think it actually helped keep me in pretty good shape!

Even though a few of my friends are keeping it going, I decided not to continue the streak through the fall. 101 days feels like a really solid number for a streak. Plus, I don’t want the streak to become a thing that I must continue for the rest of my life… so I took yesterday off! It felt good to finally rest… but I am heading out for a quick run today! I can’t rest for too long…

See all of my Run Streak photos here.