Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More | Fitness Women's Half Marathon 2014 Recap and Review

I know I am a little late in getting this post up and I really have no excuse other than laziness!  Let's get right to it, shall we?

The More | Fitness Women's Half Marathon was held on Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 8:00 AM in Central Park, NYC.  The weather was perfect for running - slightly overcast and temps in the low 50s.  This was my third time running this race, but it had been five years since I had last run it, so it almost felt new again.  Also, the course was a bit different than the last time I had run - I think it was reversed (which saves you from going up a BIG hill...  twice!).

The morning of the race, I woke up at 6:30, made a cup of coffee and got ready.  A little after 7:00, I headed downstairs to catch a cab in front of my hotel.  I was too lazy to walk and figured I'd spring for the $6 cab.  I'm glad I did since my driver was quite the comedian and joked (I think) that he wanted to run the race since it was all women!
 
After a quick cab ride, I arrived at Central Park.  Since I forgot to grab safety pins at the expo, I needed to find some nice stranger willing to donate a couple.  Luckily, the first person I asked had extras (thank you, complete stranger!).  I pinned my bib to my shirt and headed to my corral.  After the opening remarks by the editor of More Magazine and our host for the day, Hoda Kotb, we were off and running.

 

Though there were around 10,000 runners, I never felt too crowded.  I started off the run too fast, as usual.  I ended up having to walk sooner than I'd wanted, but I had to keep reminding myself that I was doing this for fun (I knew I wouldn't come close to a PR) and not to worry about time.  Those thoughts stuck with me for maybe two or three miles then all I could think about was quitting.  At mile four, I almost walked off the course because I just didn't have it in me that day - at least mentally.  I wasn't enjoying myself and I really wanted to quit.  But, my family had come to support me and I didn't want to let them down.

 
At around mile six (maybe a bit before?), you begin your second loop of the race.  It's also about the time where the race really thins out and you can see the lead runners head off for their final loop.  To me, so much of this race was a mental game.  I had to ignore the fact that while many people were almost finished with their race, I still had about halfway to go.  It was really tough for me to keep going at this point, but I decided I'd just suck it up and do whatever I needed to finish.  I tried not to get down on myself because I knew I had trained for this, but it just wasn't my day.  The best part of the race was seeing my family right before the 13 mile mark.  My niece, Sydney gave me the biggest smile and I was so happy I hadn't bailed.
 
 
Right after the finish, I vowed to never do this race again because having to do a little over two hilly loops of the park is tough both mentally and physically.  But, after about 30 minutes, I decided I'd be back next year!  Funny how that happens, huh?  I decided to not let a bad race deter me from running the race again.
 
Overall, I enjoyed this race.  I like how it's all women, but it's not super girly (if that makes any sense).  It's a large field, so you're never alone on the course.  There was always plenty of water and/or Gatorade at the aid stations.  And, hello!  The race is held in Central Park in the spring.  Need I say more?

There's really nothing negative I can say about the race.  The only con I can think of is about packet pickup, primarily that the pins were not included in the swag bag.  There were boxes of pins at the shirt pickup booth, but I wish they'd either had them at the bib pickup (unless they were there and I missed them) or in your swag bag.  Other than that, I had no issues with this race and I'm looking forward to running it again next year!



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NYC

Just wanted to share a few photos from my weekend in NYC.  I was a bad blogger and didn't take as many as I should.  I'll have the race review and recap up later this week.





Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who Keeps You Healthy?

When asked by the American Recall Center to write a post about Who Keeps You Healthy, many ideas came to mind and it was hard for me to narrow it down to one person.  I knew I also wanted to write a post about the 2013 Boston Marathon events as today is the one year anniversary.  After a few days of thinking about both of these posts, it dawned on me that it's the city of Boston who keeps me healthy.
 

I never could have imagined the tragic events that occurred a year ago would happen anywhere, let alone in my city.  I mean, who wants to mess with a bunch of endorphin-high runners?  That is definitely a group you don't want to get angry, and I learned over a short period of time, that neither is Boston.  It truly amazes me how amazing Bostonians are and how the city came together to help complete strangers find solace during such a terrible time.

I remember April 15, 2013 like it was yesterday.  I had volunteered to cheer on the runners at mile 18.  I wanted to volunteer at the finish line, but decided it was easier to get to mile 18 than the finish.  I got a later start than planned and was irritated by all the traffic to get into the parking lot at the train station.  What normally would have taken me 30 minutes, took nearly three times as long due to all the spectators of the marathon using the train to go see their runners along the route.  After cheering on runners for about five hours, I hopped on the train back to my car.  I had noticed that I had very limited cell reception, but figured it was due to being on the train.  Then, when I finally returned to my car, I had better reception - and multiple texts, voice mails and emails from friends and family asking if I was okay.  I had no idea what had occurred at the marathon finish line until I turned on the radio and heard the news.  I remember immediately crying and thinking "Thank God I didn't volunteer at the finish".  I called my parents to let them know I was okay, then headed home.  I remember crying the entire drive home.  I couldn't believe what had happened.

I found myself glued to the TV over the next few days, in awe of what had happened - as well as how Boston was responding.  Many runners who were staying at hotels in the area of the finish line were not able to which led to an outpouring of strangers offering a place to stay or even the use of their showers or a meal.  It made me, and still makes me proud to be a Bostonian.

 
Although it's been a year, not a day passes that I don't think about or hear about something related to the 2013 Boston Marathon.  Whether it's hearing about how amazingly well the survivors have been healing or how people who have never run farther than 10 feet have joined various marathon teams to help raise money for the One Fund.  We've always been a proud city, but it still think it's completely awesome how Boston came together to not only support the running community, but to show the world just how strong our city can be.  Boston strong, in fact.

When I'm struggling while out on a run or bike ride, I think about the events that occurred and how strong the survivors have been while working so hard to heal.  In fact, the day after the marathon, I hopped on my bike and went for a ride near the ocean.  I thought about the events of the day and began to cry while riding.  I don't want to sound selfish, but for me, that ride was extremely therapeutic as I realized how lucky I was that I decided not to volunteer at the finish.  I was also crying because of everything that had happened the day before.  Boston was hit hard, yet we persevered.  It's because of this, I get out and move and stay healthy.




So, to answer who keeps me healthy?

Martin Richard, 8, of Dorchester, MA
Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, MA
Lingzi Lu, 23, of China
Sean Collier, 27, of Somerville, MA
270+ who were injured
The countless first responders and those who cared for the injured for the weeks and months following the events
THE CITY OF BOSTON
 


 

We are forever Boston Strong.


Disclaimer: I was asked to write this post as part of the American Recall Center's Who Keeps You Healthy Campaign.  All thoughts are my own.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

PMC Ribbons - 2014

 
I know I'm recycling an old fundraising idea, but I thought I'd try again!
 

As I've mentioned a few times over the past couple of months, I will be raising money for the Jimmy Fund by riding the PMC this August. 



 

For your donation of $5, I will wear a ribbon on my jersey in honor or in memory of anyone you know affected by cancer. Just visit my fundraising page and make a $5 donation for each ribbon you'd like. If you'd like more than one ribbon, you can make one donation - For example, if you would like three ribbons, you can make one donation of $15.
 
 
There are a couple of ways to let me know who the ribbon(s) is in honor or memory of: 
 
  1. You can make a note in the Optional Note(s)/Note to Rider section of the donation page
  2. You can email me at catiechacha@gmail.com with the name(s)
 
Remember that 100% of the proceeds benefit the Jimmy Fund and their efforts to find a cure for cancer. All donations are tax-deductible too! Don't forget to find out if your employer matches because that means your donation could be doubled. Also, if you have Donor Advised Funds and not sure how to allocate them, the Jimmy Fund is a great choice.

 
Thanks for all who have donated and keep an eye out for my second online bake sale where I will donate homemade treats to raise even more money for the PMC!

Friday, April 11, 2014

What I'm Loving Lately -- Part II

Welcome to another edition of What I'm Loving Lately!  I realize I haven't done a post like this in a long time, so I thought since I'm loving lots of things lately, I'd share with you!

1. Abby Ballet Flat from Banana Republic  These flats are so comfy and versatile.  It took me one or two wears to break them in, but after that, they have been the most comfortable pair of flats I own.  I wear them with jeans, skirts, and dresses.  I have my eye the sunshine (read: highlighter yellow), which happens to be on sale right now with an additional 40% off if you use the code BRSPRING40).

 

2. New Balance 1260v3 Running Shoes Yes, another pair of shoes, but these are at least for running!  I wore them on my last long run before my half this weekend and they felt great!  I've been in need of a shoe with more stability for long runs and I loved these from the moment I started running.  I was lucky enough to find the current version at the outlet a few weeks ago.  They retail for $144.99, but I was able to get them for less at the outlet.


2. Seltzer!  This is not so much a new love for me, more of a continued love.  I have been good about using my soda stream, but sometimes I have to splurge and buy a few bottles for variety.  My favorite flavors right now are Polar pomegranate, Perrier citron, and Poland Spring mandarin orange.  In addition to still water, I drink at least two large glasses a day of seltzer.



4. This video!

 
 
5. Cadbury Dark Chocolate Mini Eggs Would it be bad to eat these as fuel during my half marathon?
 
 
6. My "Find Your Strong" necklace from Erica Sara Designs  I've been wearing it all week, and I can't wait to see what she'll have on display at this weekend's race expo.

 
 
7. SPRING!  It's finally arrived here in Boston (although, after forecasted temps in the 60s and 70s, we'll have a high of 40 midweek.  Ugh!) and I am so excited!  After a long, cold, snowy winter, I'm excited to get back out on the trails and pavement to train for my races and the PMC.  It's such a beautiful time in Boston!
 



Previous versions of What I'm Loving Lately
What I'm Loving Lately -- Part I

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Snapshots


New Balance 890v4 Boston Edition

My last long run before the half this weekend!

I've been wearing my favorite Erica Sara Designs all week to motivate me for the race!

Picked up some running fuel - Mmmm...  chocolate!
 
And to drink...  Peru!  I may or may not be obsessed with sparkling water
View from my hike a couple of weeks ago.  I can't wait to get back into trail running!

I'm loving the forecast for this weekend!  Perfect running weather on Sunday!