Monday, September 28, 2015

Hogsback Half Marathon Review

Hogsback Half Marathon
Colebrook, CT
September 26, 2015 

   Half Marathon 439

If you want the feel of a trail race but fear running off road this race is for you.

   After driving for a couple hours the sun began to rise as we made our way to another starting line. It was an easy drive with my running partner in crime PIC Alicia. Just the two of us chatting away and waiting to see what this race had in store for us. The ritual and excitement of a race never gets old. On this morning the sunrise stopped me mid sentence and we took a moment to appreciate it.

  We arrived nice and early and grabbed a close parking spot. I was shocked at how cold it was when I stepped out of the car. Finally at just 48 degrees the fall air had arrived. Packet pickup was in a nice field with a beautiful view. I'm now 36 half marathons in for the year and getting confused because I thought this was going to be a huge race. I'm so glad it wasn't! Over and over I've expressed that often the smaller races leave the biggest impression. 

   After climbing up a decent size hill we gathered at the starting line. Everyone commented about how glad they were the race didn't didn't start at the bottom of that hill. There we very friendly and knowledgeable pacers gathering runners and briefing them a bit. I've never been one to stick with a pacer but they are a great help for those who want it.

   The course consisted of tree lined quite roads that run alongside a river. I couldn't help but notice all the trials that lead into the woods. They looked so inviting and I wanted to just veer off course to go exploring. Often I was running alone just listening to the river yet I felt comfortable in the solitude. There was no fear of getting lost because the few turns that came up had a volunteer directing us. Water and Gatorade were available often enough.  The finish of this race opens up to a bridge with a great view. Truth be told you think you are closer to that line then you really are. Time stands still for a bit on that bridge until you reach the last few feet. 

  The post race celebration offered bagels, fruit, ziti and salad. I won a raffle and took home an adorable plush ghost trick or treat bag filled with candy. It was an organized well done event worth the drive.  



Thursday, September 24, 2015

Newport Liberty Half Marathon Review

Newport Liberty Half Marathon 
Jersey City, NJ 
September 20, 2015

  Half Marathon 2087

Running has taken me to beautiful places

    My world was small. I've been a Long Island girl all my life with very little exposure to travel. Comfortable in my surroundings I hadn't ventured too far.  That was until I found running, My passion for it has taken me to other states and when that wasn't enough to another country. The world has become my playground and my eyes are wide open. I may have lost my appreciation for what is in my own back yard... New York. 

   I arrived to this race as the sun was coming up and after grabbing my BIB I was greeted by that awesome view. I'm far from a city chic but at that moment something struck me. There it was from a different preservative an opportunity to see it differently.  

  We were provided free parking at a convenient garage just a few blocks from the finish line. Plenty of porta potties could be found with attendants moving the line very quickly along. They took that job very serious and I've never seen a line move so fast. That's much appreciated. 

   The race although a decent size had a calm quite vibe about it. No fuss and PPU was very organized. Everyone just seemed to be buzzing around doing their job or pre-race rituals.
    After the National Anthem we were sent on our way. I immediately noticed how well the traffic and intersections were controlled. I felt very safe during this race. There were EMTS and Police on bikes and  driving a little golf cart along the course with the runners. They even stopped and held the trains for us. The image passed around the internet of runners crossing over and through a train during a race came to mind. Glad that wasn't the case here.  

  After a few miles of running through the streets of Jersey City we came to a beautiful park. As I looked across I could see runners following the paths with he backdrop of the Manhattan sky line and the Statue of Liberty.  Something happened in those next few miles. My perspective was changed and this hard barrier I had up for Manhattan crumbled. The view was beautiful and all that we have faced with living near the city raced through my mind. I imagined what people saw from this vantage point on 9/11. I was filled with a sense of pride for how far we have come and how far I have come. 

Face fear head on! Do not let it ever stop you and you'll be forever changed! 

  The amazing views seemed to never end. The aide stations were fulling stocked, frequent and well manned. This is a must do race!!!  



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Suffolk County Marathon & Half Marathon Race Report

Suffolk County Marathon & Half Marathon 
Heckscher State Park, NY
September 13, 2015

      Marathon: 641
      Half Marathon : 2020


What makes a race successful? 

    In this case the volunteers and spectators made the Inaugural Suffolk County Marathon and Half Marathon a successful enjoyable race. They were there by the hundreds no job too big or too small to be taken on by these eager cheerful people. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into these events. They do it for the love of the sport and the love of their friends and family. 

       One person standing alone ringing that cowbell, or a group like Selden Hills manning on aide station, or the young men from Dowling college handing out water, or the family inspiring their children from the sidelines... they all matter.  

       As a runner who has attended over 300 racing events I am always touched by the people who volunteer their time to help or support us. It just never ceases to amaze me that they give up their time to do so.  

      There is much that can be learned from running a marathon or half marathon but for this one the lesson is to give back to the community the supports you. These people stood outside for hours, or did preparations behind the scenes. The towns we ran through welcomed us with signs and cheering squads feeling privileged to have an event like this in their backyards.  I say thank you.

It was our privilege that you welcomed us to run through your streets.        


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rockapulco End of Summer Half Marathon Race Report

Rockapulco Half Marathon
Rockaway, NY
August 29, 2015

Finishers: 364

No frills races rock! 

    Rockapulco Run puts on several low cost no frills races throughout the year. They don't talk about fancy "bling" or huge after parties with all the beer you can drink but they don't charge you for all that stuff either. While those races can be a load of fun sometimes it's nice to just attend a quite low key race. It's a great opportunity to get a run done with course support and other runners. You can be alone in your thoughts while still having the comfort of knowing a few hundred other people are around you doing the same thing.   

    I had considered that being a low key race there would be a very low amount of runners, not enough support or even the mat being pulled up on me. I've been running super slow lately and that's okay. 
   This was not all the case. The race director picked a nice location for the event that offered real bathrooms, beach views and tables to sit and wait. 

 The vibe of the event was relaxed, peaceful and calm. Perfect for a day on the beach at summer's end. We were lined up and briefed a bit about the course which takes you out a back a few times along the boardwalk. This area was severely damaged by storm Sandy and the rebuild process has been under way. 

  I settled into a very easy pace and used this as a chance to reflect and take in the conversations of people around me. There were many first timers fighting there way through the pains. Some running with buddies and some going it alone.  I always want to support them because I will never forget my first half and I swear that day can define if we ever run another half again or not.  Get to that finish line, smile after you cross it and it's likely you will run again. 

  Course support was more then expected with water (full water bottles ) being handed out. While this is appreciated it is ashame how much water and plastic is wasted. I couldn't help but notice all the bottles that had only a sip taken from them then thrown on the ground.  Volunteers were quickly picking them up so no mess was left behind but I just couldn't throw a full bottle on the ground and opted to carry mine. Many people did but for those speedy runners that is just not feasible. I would implore this race for a better option next time. 

   The best little part is the on course sprinkler station. What a great opportunity to cool off and for my little one to play a bit while I was running.  C'mon who wouldn't love to run in there real quick?   

It was the perfect end of summer run for the mind and body. 

I completed my 30th half marathon of 2015 

Thank you Rockapulco Run for a nice event and to the Race Director for being at the finish line checking on everyone even as the last runners came in. 


Monday, September 7, 2015

Mainly Marathons New Paltz Half Marathon Race Report

Mainly Marathons 
New England Series
New Paltz, NY
August 30, 2012



The running journey just gets better and better!  

  Mainly Marathons caught my eye while searching the internet for another challenge. They host series of races over several days.  You can choose a distance and run for consecutive days. It is a great event for 50 Staters, Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs and 100 Halfers affording the opportunity to rack up those finish lines quickly as they move to the next state each day. Hesitant to jump in feet first and dish out a ton of money to run 7 races in 7 days I found that they were offering ONE race free.  What do I have to loose right? So I sent in the application honestly thinking it wasn't going to go well.  Boy was I wrong on so many levels. A few days later I received my confirmation email.

  Before the sun was up I arrived to the race and was conveniently directed to parking. No rush needed at all with ample space and volunteers directing us. Had I known I could of slept another 30 minutes. These races always have nice early starts, today was 6:00am. It is such a pleasure to run before the sun is baking down on you. Arriving an hour early in the dark the race crew was there set up and ready to go. 

 I can catch the vibe of a race within 5 minutes of grabbing my BIB

    Yes after getting my BIB from a super friendly volunteer and looking around a bit I felt welcome and comfortable. I did have some concerns that joining this series on the last day I'd be a bit of an outcast. After all most of  these runners had run for 7 days together. They shared pre race meals, struggles, triumphs  and surely built bounds that will last a lifetime. Perfect little example of not letting any fear stop you because this was not the case at all. Runners and volunteers said hello calling me by my name which was written on my BIB by the race. It was as if I've know these people my entire life. 

   So that crazy looking Garmin map up there looks pretty wicked right? Ten laps for the half and twenty for the full. Think that's boring..NO WAY!  You go out then hit a turnaround come back to the finish then do it again. What this does is give a you chance to see everyone head on face to face many times. The enthusiasm, support and inspiration is unrivaled to any event I've done.  Everyone calls out each others name with good wishes and cheers. For that moment they are your best friend routing for you! 


  For many it's not about speed. It's about pushing the limits and doing what others say they can't. It's about getting up before the sun everyday and lacing up the sneakers even when you are tired and hurting. It's finishing what you started!   

  The venue was perfect. It provided us with real lines. There is camping available and showers.  Darn it I knew I should have bought that RV I've been looking at!

The race set up two nice aide stations one with food and the other with drinks. Remember you are passing these about every mile as well as bathrooms that are located in the middle of the route. You can hit those every half mile.

  This is an event that welcomes people of all abilities with NO CUT OFF TIMES. We had a world record holder with 1500 Marathons completed among us! There were walkers as well as speedy runners. Young and old where out there logging miles. Our sport has no requirements and I love that. Here at mainly Marathons it is never more clear.  

  The 100 Half Marathons Club very own David completed his 150th half marathon at this race. We are so proud of you!

  All victories were celebrated that day! Form first 5k's to 7 Marathons in 7 Days. What an amazing group of people and race director to not only provide runners with this opportunity but to set the tone for the event. I can not say enough that a RD's personality and feelings about running trickles down through their events. 
  Thank you Mainly Marathons and everyone involved in this event for yet once again showing me so much more what running has to offer. Days like this change me! 

  A cool thing about these races is that their medals build each day. Having only done one I can't really do it justice but each day the next state is attached to the bottom making it longer. You can see it hanging on the board in the first picture.