Race Report: 2016 Mohawk Hudson River Half-Marathon

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On a running/training high earlier this spring, I signed up for the Mohawk Hudson River Half-Marathon the week before the Shamrock Marathon. Not knowing how running during Step 1 studying and starting rotations would go (lol surgery), I didn’t want to commit to a fall marathon (that kinda training is time/mind consuming!), even though I had been feeling awesome leading up to Shamrock and ultimately ended up rocking the race. This race literally ends 3 miles from my house and a good portion of it takes place on the bike path that I run on at least once a week. It’s pretty neat knowing exactly where you are during a race!

I ran the Mohawk-Hudson Half last year in what, at the time, I thought was an awesome time of 1:41:27 (7:45 pace). I would have called you absolutely crazy if you told me what my time this year was, but that’s the cool thing about running: if you put the miles in, a lot of the time, you’ll be rewarded with fast and happy PRs!

I learned from the Hogsback Half a couple weeks ago that eating a lot of food the night before your race at 8:30PM is not a good idea, so I made sure to eat dinner at 6PMish to give the ole GI system some extra time to work its magic. The night before I was up pretty late studying (got through a record number of UWorld question bank questions! #anothercrazysaturdaynight) but when I got in bed around 10PM, I couldn’t get to sleep! Must have been too excited. Or, more likely, had too much computer screen time whilst studying.

I woke up at 5:15AM, got dressed (phew! Found that missing singlet!), packed some extra warm clothes for after the race, had half of a sesame seed bagel with a liiiiiittle schmear of peanut butter on it, and grabbed my watch that had been charging the entire last day…only to find that it hadn’t been charging at all! After an fjdakeowdksonmWHYYYYYY moment, I plugged it back in and willed it to charge as quickly as it could in the next 15 minutes. By some miracle, I was in the car by 6:15AM with a not-so-reliable Garmin with one battery bar on my wrist heading down to State Street where the bus shuttles were lined up. Good. To. Go!

We arrived at the start at Colonie Town Park on da skool bus about an hour before the race would start at 8AM, so I killed some time chatting with some kiddos on my college cross country team who were volunteering at the race (you know you’re getting old when you only know, like, two people on the team…and are calling them kiddos), some Oiselle teammates, and other friends, and then made the decision to stand in the incredibly and ridiculously long line for the actual bathrooms because 1) they were warm, and 2) I still had a half an hour to kill. After the little pit stop, I was chatting with a friend, Maria, about ten minutes before the start when she went to sync her watch. Which made me realize I hadn’t synced mine. Ya know, that same watch that was casually dying a slow and painful death on my wrist and also takes half an hour sometimes to sync. NO JOKE. I pressed that little pink button and prayed prayed prayed that it would get its act together in time.

It didn’t. I was not impressed. I’m in the market for a new one. Maybe for Christmas. Hint, nudge, Dad! 😉 Anyway, I had this vague premonition that the watch was going to die, so I started my Fitbit a little after I pressed the start on my Garmin for some security. And after like two miles the darn watch did die. #shocker

It was a funny thing running a race without knowing what pace I was running. In fact, I’m not even really sure what to write about in this Race Recap because I usually write about mile splits and pace and numbers and blah blah blah. Luckily, each mile on the course was marked well, and my rusty mental math skills gave me some idea of what was going on in the world. It was oddly freeing and terrifying to not be able to look at the times I was running, but it seemed to work out okay in the end!

My goal was to PR ( with a far-off, distant, starry-eyed goal of sub-1:33), and my gameplan was to stay relaxed through the first 10K (no faster than 7:10 pace), pick it up the next 4 miles, and then bring it home the last 3 miles. My first mile was 7:25ish and knew I was going to have to start moving if I wanted a chance at a PR. I did a good job of staying relaxed the first part of the race (too good of a job?!), but once we left the road and hit the bike path, I started to push some more. I didn’t feel as fresh as I did at Hogsback two weeks ago, but I felt okay until probably the last 2ish miles and honestly don’t remember much of the race after that. At that point, I had a lot of runners around me, which was encouraging in the last bit of the race. It’s actually one of my biggest pet peeves when people get paced by friends in the last few miles of a race (like, we all just ran 10 miles, and you’re making this look easy…is that really nice?! Also, I’m stubborn/independent and try to do things on my own), but it seemed to work to my advantage this time and push me towards a great final time, crazay negative splits, and a shiny new PR.

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Hi guys! I PRed by 1:12!

What a crazy transformation from last year (precisely an 8 minutes and 25 seconds, 20 pounds lost, and a much happier mental state due to finally being in third year difference!):

 

[And for my own bookkeeping purposes and because if I don’t, I will continue to overanalyze these very strangely selected splits (2015/2016): 4.9 miles (7:56/7:23), 6.9 miles (7:37/7:10), last 10K (7:53/7:01)].

After the race, I ran walked back to my car to change clothes, got some Doritos and a chocolate milk, and jogged over to the 25.5 mile point on the marathon course to cheer on the other runners, most especially my best friend, Moira, who was running her second marathon! And like a boss, she PR’ed, too!

 

After, I put some desperately needed gas in my car (forreal, the thing was gonna break down in about 3 miles when I finally got to the gas station) and found out the Co Op already ran out of my favorite sweet potato/egg/black bean breakfast burritos 😦 , came home, took a shower, and prepped food for the crockpot this week, I reviewed results on my bed and was faced with the age old dilemma: am I more tired or hungry right now? Luckily, Phil came to pick me up at home to go to Salsa Latina for some delicious Mexican food! Because he’s da best!

 

I was originally planning on canning the racing until Boston next April, but I may look into a November or even December half if I can find one. It would be nice to get back into a more regimented training schedule because it did me so well in preparation for my BQ at Shamrock and see where it takes me, but focusing on enjoying the awesomeness that is running without too much stress for the next couple months and then focusing on Boston (…and school, ya know?) starting in December also sounds really appealing. Who knows what else the rest of the year has in store for me running-wise! Stay tuned! 😀


2016 Mohawk Hudson Half-Marathon

Time: 1:32:52 (7:06 pace) was a PR!

Overall Place: 52/915

Gender Place: 20/605

Age Group (25-29) Place: 3/69

 

 

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Sunday Runday: Week of 10/3

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Monday, 10/3: 7.5 miles with Moira in the Cemetery! We always have such a great time catching each other up on our days and logging some miles. On Saturday night, we met up at Walmart to work on Operation Alumni-Sweatshirts-for-Our-College-Team’s-“Home”-Meet, and it just felt unnatural since we always meet up on runs!

Tuesday, 10/4: We felt surprisingly good during our 2.5 mile warm-up, and Moira wanted to move her legs a bit, so we started trying to do 3 x mile at Moira’s goal marathon pace (8:20ish; I personally think she’s capable of much more!). The first (8:04) felt pretty pedestrian, so we tried for a faster, but consistent pace for the last two in 7:34 and 7:33. After, we did some pick-ups/striders on the straights for 2 laps, bringing my total up to 7.5 miles with our cool-down, and, like, 10.5 miles for Moira! We felt great, which is exactly how we want to this close to her marathon and my half-marathon on Sunday!

Wednesday, 10/5: 6 miles nice and easy because my body was super tired before Grand Rounds at 8AM. I think it might be the lack of sleep… Waking up isn’t the problem, it’s getting to bed early enough that is tough!

Thursday, 10/6: Off!

Friday, 10/7: 6 miles easy (56ish minutes) in the dark before heading to the hospital. I don’t love running in the dark, but when I have a lot of work to do in the afternoon/night, it’s nice to stay at school all day after work to study because nothing ever gets done at home!

Saturday, 10/8: Easy 2 miles down to packet pick-up because I didn’t want to deal with parking! We picked up wayyyy too much free stuff (the pens were okay, but then the 203491284 granola bars and two bottles of water were a bit too much), so I got a ride back with Maria and Moira back to school!

Sunday, 10/9: Hudson Mohawk Half-Marathon in 1:32:52! aka a PR! aka I am exhausted and want to sleep now. 😀 Probably a total of 14ish miles with warm-up and cheering for Moira as she finished the full!


Total = 43 miles

Sunday Runday: Week of 9/26

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Monday, 9/26: 65 minutes (7.5 miles) with Moira at the Pine Bush-I hadn’t been there for over two weeks, and Moira hadn’t been there for months! Love catching up with this girl over runs!

Tuesday, 9/27: Easy, easy, easy 6.5 miles before clinic (65 min). Legs were feeling pretty tired today, but I like to log a decent number of miles in the bank even when my legs are not feeling it.

Wednesday, 9/28: Woof. Was planning for 3 x 2 miles at goal half-marathon pace, but made it through one set (7:01, 6:51) before throwing in the towel. For some reason (maybe my half-marathon on Saturday, hmm…?) , my legs were pretty shot, and since we’re getting close to race day, I didn’t want to risk burning myself out physically or mentally by pushing through a workout like this. Learning the difference between actual fatigue where forcing yourself to slog through a workout is detrimental vs. pure laziness and not wanting to do a workout is something I’ve learned to distinguish over the years. I can usually tell when I’m just being a bum and need to suck it up! This was not one of those times. 5 miles total for the day.

Thursday, 9/29: My best (running) friend, Moira, and I always seem to be on the same wavelength. I love our weekly “You’ve probably run already, but if you haven’t, wanna meet up?”/”OMG I WAS JUST TEXTING YOU!”text exchange, and today was one of those days! We talked about our stressful days (it was a big exam week for her (actually, I feel like every week is a big exam week for her!) and a lot of presentations and a busy time on my Peds Infectious Diseases rotation on my end), and I told her about a blog entry that had been brewing in my head for months about body image. I drag this poor girl into so many impromptu photo shoots, but when I told her I had to take a picture of myself in a sports bra for the blog, she surprised me by not only supporting me, BUT JOINING IN! Honestly don’t know how I could have gotten through all the ups and downs of school so far and life without this girl’s constant encouragement, non-judgemental listening ear, and heart of gold.

Oh, and not to be overshadowed, we rocked a quick 7 miles in the dark. That run felt exactly how running should: crisp, carefree, and rejuvenating!

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Friday, 9/30: It was tempo run, take 2 for me. The week was busy and long, and I was tired! I had a bit of a snafu concerning the dress I had rented for a wedding on Sunday that tied me up on the phone after work (ugh, don’t get me started), and I knew I had to get to the gym by 6PM to get my hour-ish long tempo in. I got to the gym at 6:06PM, and I quickly realized there was no way I was going to be able to get 8 miles in in less than 54 minutes (not to mention the super nice lady working at the gym was, understandably, trying to make eye contact with me each time she passed by as if to say, “Yo, I’m tryna get outta work at 7 so wrap it up!”), so I “settled” for 7 miles in 48:33 (7:05, 7:02, 7:04, 6:58, 6:56, 6:51, 6:36)! That’s a 6:56 pace, people! #excitingtimes #lolrunningjokes I didn’t get much of a warm-up in because I was tryna get to the gym as fast as I could, but still got in a good 8.5 miles for the day.

Saturday, 10/1: I must really love my boyfriend because he convinced me to run with him when my legs just wanted to rest! Got 6.5 miles in (57ish minutes) down to the River and back.

Sunday, 10/2: Rest day! My hiking friend, Aubrey, is getting married later today, so maybe dancing can count as cross training! 😛


Total = 41 miles

Sunday Runday: Week of 9/19

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I’m finally starting to feel good (i.e. not like I’m going to throw up) after a couple weeks of being sick and recovering from that awful bout of food poisoning! These are exciting times, people. Feeling pretty encouraged by my race on Saturday and excited for half-marathon #2 of the fall in two weeks!

Here’s what last week looked like:

Monday, 9/19: Well, first, I found out I was accepted into Boston! #woo! After my first day of Peds Genetics clinic, celebrated with a meh 8.25 miles with Moira. For whatever reason, we just haven’t been feeling it lately.

🤗🤗🤗 #boston2017!

A post shared by Meghan, M.D. (@marathonsandmedicine) on

 

Tuesday, 9/20: First workout in a long time, and it didn’t go so badly! 2 mile warm-up + 7 mile tempo on the treadmill (49:26; 7:04 pace) + 1 mile cool-down = 10 miles total. This was mentally really hard for me. I dreaded it all day and went into this workout anxious and afraid that I wouldn’t deliver. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well to prove to myself that Saturday’s upcoming race will go okay, which just stressed me out more! Still, in retrospect it wasn’t a bad workout. Sometimes you need to meet yourself where you are because you can’t change your circumstances.

Wednesday, 9/21: 9.25 miles with Moira at the end of her 20 miler! Girl finished her run out like a boss. I, on the other hand, fizzled because I was too freaking hungry halfway through. Like. What. My stomach just gets so sensitive sometimes and when I know there’s not going to be much time for digestion, I get scared of not having a good run…and then I don’t eat and have a bad run.

Thursday, 9/22: A slow 6.5 miles was exactly what my body needed. It’s been a long week running-wise, and it’s “taper”-ish time for the race on Saturday! Although Moira and I have been saying that you can’t really taper if you never really worked up to training all out to begin with…hehe

Friday, 9/23: My legs weren’t feeling as fresh as I wanted them to the day before a race, so shuffled a sloooooow 3 miles at legit 10-11 minute pace. I’m a big proponent of higher mileage over speed. The speed eventually comes with lots of miles!

 

Saturday, 9/24: Hogsback Half-Marathon Day! 1.5 mile WU + 13.1 mile race (PR of 1:34:07!) + 1.5 mile CD = 16 miles total for the day.

Sunday, 9/25: Off!


Total = 53 miles

 

Race Report: Hogsback Half-Marathon

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One of the perks of being a part of the Oiselle Volée is the instant network of runner girlfriends it connects you with. Part of the reason I made a new Instagram and blog was to be able to communicate with and follow other runners. It serves as a huge inspiration for me!

Back in December, another Bird, Kelly, who is the race director for the Hogsback Half-Marathon in Colebrook, CT, reached out to the Northeast Oiselle Birds and gave us each a promo code for 50% off our race registration. Meaning it was legit $25.50 to register, about a third of the price most races of the same distance are. So who cared that I was in the wee early stages of training for my second marathon, was drowning in our GI theme in my second year of med school, and had no idea what I was going to be doing with my life 9 months from then?! If I couldn’t make it, I couldn’t make it, I told myself.

Luckily, call during my current Peds rotation is only one weekday night from 5-10PM and one weekend call from 6AM-7PM during our two weeks on inpatient. I started with inpatient and got those buggers out of the way, so I was a free lady!

Only a couple hours drive from Albany, Phil picked me up from my house a little before 6:30AM, and we were there by 8:25AM (a little close for our 9AM start time if you ask me, but it ended up being fine). Because we were one of the late arrivers, we did have to park almost a mile from packet pick up. We turned the packet pick up trip into our warm-up, but coming back up the massive hill to the car after the race was a pain in the butt. And the quads. And the calves. You know what I mean!

I ate a heavy pasta dinner at 8:30PM the night before and had a bagel with a generous amount of peanut butter, too, for breakfast, and my stomach was not feeling good at the start. Like. A I kinda have to use the bathroom but I just can’t kinda feeling. (TMI? Perhaps). My nutrition’s been really stinky lately, and it’s definitely something I need to get a handle of.

There were pacers for goal times of 1:40 and up, separated by 10 minutes each. I wasn’t really sure what to expect with my race, but I thought 1:35 was a good goal for the day given the recent food poisoning circumstances, so I joined the small group in front of the first pacing group and tried to exude confidence and speed. I made a promise with myself the night before that I would NOT go out faster than 7 minute pace. Because when you go out too fast, you die and THEN have to crawl the rest of a race and that is not fun at all.

Did I listen to myself? Of course not!

I knew I was moving too quickly, but I tried to reason with myself: I feel as relaxed as I did on my 10-11 minute pace jog yesterday morning! Come on, the next girl in front of you is juuuust there! Are you really going to let that those boys beat you? #lol #jokes #watchwhathappens My watch has an awful habit of logging more distance than I actually run so the splits aren’t exactly accurate, but here’s a glimpse at how that went down:

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To be honest, I felt decent the first 9 miles or so. I was cruising on those rolling hills and having a blast catching boys! I started off as the 6th-ish place woman, but knew I was in third by around mile 9. I could see I was gaining on the second place woman, so I set my sights on her and focused. I caught up to her around mile 9-9.5 and began running behind an older gentleman. He shrieked, “Do NOT slow down. Do NOT slow down. PASS ME. DO NOT SLOW DOWN.” Um. I wasn’t gonna, but you’re running freaking fast so I can’t pass you! I didn’t know what to do, so I surged just ahead of him, after which the man said in a news announcer voice (and I kid you not): “You are now the 9th runner and 2nd place woman. The 1st place woman is in 7th place.” What. Is. Happening.

I continued on. I heard the man repeat a similar pleasantry to the, now-third-place woman as she passed him: “You are now the 10th runner and third place woman. The 1st place woman is in 7th place. The second place woman is in 9th place. You guys should work together. The first place woman is dying. You two look strong.” Again. What. Is. Happening. Whatever happened to just having fun?! The weirdness of the situation must have freaked her out as much as it did me because before I knew it we were running side by side, pushing each other over the next mile.

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Early in the race, pre-dying. So unconcerned with what was to come… 😛

The relentless rolling hills definitely caught up to me, and I lost her just a couple miles before the finish. The last mile was all uphill (in retrospect, was it actually a massive hill or did it just seem like it because we had already run 12 miles?!), and as reflected in my splits, I died. Once we made a left turn at the top, though, I realized I was heading towards the bridge and the finish was right there. I kicked it as hard as I could and not too long after, I had a 7 minute, 20 second PR to my name!

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IDK. I felt like this was hilly, but who knows.

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Kicking it in!

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All of my and everyone else’s happy in this picture makes me, well, happy!

It was a fantastic event. The weather could not have been better with a 50-55ish starting temperature, the scenery was beautiful, and the event went off without a hitch. Phil and I had a great time after our races enjoying the food and just taking in the beauty of the changing leaves of the New England trees. I met a couple of new Bird friends (holla at Michelle and Kelly!), got to know to Cat (the second place woman I had run with for a couple miles; she also happens to be the Radiology Residency Coordinator at Mt. Sinai), and chatted with some other really nice ladies in line for a massage.

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Top 3 Women

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Me and Phil after the race! There had been pictures of these beanies and these adorable hog-shaped cookies for winners. Obviously, I am motivated by such things. We also scored a bottle of wine!

 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t think I was going to PR today (my old PR was 1:41:27 from last fall before I started really running again, and it would have to have been a really, really off day not to), but I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t wishfully hoping for a faster time. Still, after a sucky two weeks of training due to the food poisoning incident, I also can’t say that I’m too upset about the situation. I’m excited to have another chance at a PR at the Mohawk Hudson Half-Marathon in just two weeks!


Hogsback Half-Marathon (Colebrook, CT)

Time: 1:34:07 (7:12 pace) was a PR!

Overall Place: 9/356

Gender Place: 3/223

Age Group (25-29) Place: 2/17

Sunday Runday: Week of 9/12

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Monday, 9/12: 5 miles with Moira after my first day of Peds Endo clinic.

Tuesday, 9/135.5 miles. Still feeling sick. 😦

Wednesday, 9/14: 7.5 miles with Luke on the new Rail Trail. We drove to the start on South Pearl in Delmar to avoid most of the sketchiness and just did a little out and back route on the bike path. Was really nice catching up after several months!

Thursday, 9/158 miles (1:05:34). The first time feeling good in a loooong while! Loved the crisp air of this almost-fall morning!

Friday, 9/16: 2 mile warm-up + a poorly attempted 6 mile tempo at Lion’s Park (49:03; 8:11 pace) + 2 mile cool-down = 10 miles total.

BUT I did send in my application for Boston! 😀

Saturday, 9/17: Off while visiting Karly, a good friend from college, in Cooperstown!

Sunday, 9/18: 5 miles with Phil downtown.

 

Total = 41 miles