Tuesday, November 17, 2015

After the Leaves Have Fallen Half Marathon Review

After the Leaves Have Fallen Half Marathon 
November 8, 2015
Minnewaska State Park Preserve 
Gardiner, NY

  Half Marathon 300

Winning Time:

I found a gem close to home

   I will say it now, this is the most beautiful race I've in in the US. The price tag is a mere $15. Yes that is a 1 and 5.  Try to find a half marathon for this price is nearly impossible.  If you have not run off road you are truly missing out. 

Accompanied by a group of teammates from the Northport Running Club. We drove the 2 hours for an escape to the peaceful trails. As you approach the race site the view opens to the Shawangunk Ridge. That will be your host for 13.1 miles on foot.

photo credit http://mtnscenicbyway.org/ridge.html

The race offers an early start for anyone who feels they may need over 2:45 to complete the course. A good amount of runners took advantage of the opportunity to start early including myself.  There is over 1000 feet of elevation gain and it is a race you want to slow down a bit and enjoy. 

We were briefed about the race and how to make sure we stay on course. Then you are sent off to complete a short loop close to the staging area before starting the climb. It is just impossible to care about the effort it takes to get to the top. As you approach the views peak out from behind the trees. Each one opens up a bit more revealing serenity, peace and beauty.

photo credit Ed Marian 

photo credit Ed Marian

The view at the top is breathtaking. I wanted to climb out on one of these rocks and just sit there for a few hours.

photo credit Ed Marian 

The trip down the mountain is exhilarating. The hardest part is behind you and the trail is not done presenting you with gifts. Each mile has a feel of it's own. The remaining miles take you around a calm pristine lake. A few steep downhills have you feeling like a child as you fly down them around bends filled with rejuvenation. 

It's one of those races you wish never ended. As all good things do however the finish line approaches. There is a spread of goodies including hot soup, wraps and cookies.   

Shawangunk Runners does an amazing job with this race and I can not wait to return. Easily one of the best races I've run.   


Monday, November 16, 2015

Pacebands Product Review

I got my groove back thanks to Pacebands!   

   This year was to be a year of pushing limits and seeing how far I could go. The goal was to run further than ever before. After that I wanted to see how many half marathon races I could complete in 2015. At the onset of training I knew I'd have to stop making the clock the priority. If I was to complete a 53k  I'd have to make it about the miles. If I was to run one or two half marathons every weekend there surely would be times I'd have to slow it down.
   I reset my mind, changed my thinking and completed that 53k. A few months later my feet crossed a 50k finish line and on the day I got my groove back at my 50th half marathon of 2015 Pacebands was on my wrist.  

  I contacted Pacebands for a partnership with the 100 Half Marathons Club.  They gratuitously worked with me to provide the club's members with an exclusive discount and suggested they send me a band to try and review. I was a bit reluctant because I haven't worried  much about my pace since I started training for that ultra over a year ago. I decided to go with the 2:15 half marathon band, a number I haven't seen in some time but hopefully achievable.  From the minute I placed that order the mental gears switched.  

 My opinions on this product are my own. I have not been paid for a review.        

My Paceband arrived and things got real. I wore it for the next couple races to see how it felt and if it was easy to read. It gave me a sense of accountability. Right there on my wrist I couldn't escape those splits. Try to look away and ignore it if you want but even this mentally tough runner couldn't forget that those numbers were there waiting for me match them. 

The silicone band is light weight and felt comfortable on my wrist. If not for those darn numbers I'd forget I was even wearing it.  I placed it just above my watch. It held up perfect even during a rainy half marathon. 

Pacebands offers several colors and has an abundant amount of times for the 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon distance.  I think it'd be great to add a few bands with different goal times to my gear pile. Hilly course...pull out the 2:40 or hot and humid...pull out the 2:30. Maybe I'm just out there to enjoy myself and go for the 3:00 band. 
So how did I do when I tried to hit that 2:15 goal? I have to tell you I tried my best to hit that number exactly so I could provide the perfect review. Each mile I was off just a bit..well like about a minute or so.

  This was the result

See I told you Pacebands helped me get my groove back. It gave me a reason to think about the clock again.  Should I have held back a bit to match the band's numbers? Maybe but you have to know yourself and the course. This was my 90th lifetime half marathon. I trusted myself to stay with the slightly higher pace.   This is a superior product worth the price.  Really can you put a price tag on meeting and surpassing your goal?  

Thank you Gretchen at Pacebands for sending me a band to try. Also thank you to the Pacebands company for supporting the 100 Half Marathons Club and being a part of our journey.   

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Faxon Law Madison Half Marathon Review

Faxon Law Madison Half Marathon 
Hammonasset Beach State Park, CT
October 31, 2015

  Half Marathon 1018


Winning Time: 

An invigorating race

Arriving early as I always do parking was a breeze just a few steps to the staging area at the beach. I grabbed my Bib and walked along the beach a bit. The beach bathrooms were open as well as a few additional porta potties. Take note that if you arrive late you will need to park further way and take the provided shuttle bus. My early arrival was handsomely rewarded with a nice sunrise.

The course offered nice changes from park roads to the greenway trail and town roads. The change in scenery is a great opportunity to readjust and change your thinking. I use this as a reset button. If I'm tired and the course takes a turn of the trail and opens to an ocean view then it's a whole new race. It's refreshing, take a deep breath, adjust and get back on pace. If I'm hurting, let that go at the next change and mentally start over. This is a great way to break the race up into smaller manageable pieces. 


JB Sports executed a well managed event. Aid stations were frequent enough and stocked. Runner safety was evident with great traffic control in place. Plenty of post race goodies including some delicious hot chowder 

A band was jamming  keeping the post race beach party going

Taking place on Halloween with the cool crisp coastal breeze this race just makes you feel refreshed and alive.