Richmond Marathon 2017 Race Report

Ok, finally. I think many of you already knew from Strava or other forms of social media, but I had a great race on Saturday 11/11/17. This post will be a little light on the images because my parents were so busy cheering (and it was cold before and after) that they didn’t take any photos and I didn’t run with my phone.

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Start: It had dropped below freezing the night before and was still in the low to mid 30’s for the 7:45am start. I wore a longsleeve cotton shirt and pajama pants as my throwaway clothes over my PPTC tech t-shirt, Lululemon shorts (same outfit as last year’s NYC Marathon), makeshift arm warmers, DarnTough socks, and Lululemon gloves (a Christmas gift from a friend last year). I ended up choosing my Brooks Launch 4s as my shoe since I did most of my marathon miles in them, especially the last 8 weeks.

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Flatlay from the night before sans cold weather accessories

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Miles 0-7: My corral (#4) was pretty crowded, but we got off to a decent start 6 minutes after the first wave did. We turned a corner and then we were running west on Broad street. And boom, at mile 0.5, there were my parents cheering in the median. Nice! I took the first several miles faster than I meant to, closer to a 10:00 pace than the 10:15-10:30 I meant to do.

I meant to take a gel at 45:00 but due to the spacing of the water stations (every 2 miles, I believe), I held off until closer to 1 hour on the clock. I started with a Salted Watermelon Gu, one of my favorites. We were climbing up a hill at Mile 6 but I didn’t notice too much, as I was chatting on and off with other runners, I had started behind the 4:30 pace group, then I passed them, they passed me, and I passed again. At Mile 7, there is a significant downhill after crossing the James River to go from the West End to the South Side. This felt great. I spent the next couple of miles along the river taking in the beautiful views and sunshine. I chatted up a woman wearing a JMU long-sleeve (my alma mater) and took in some of her cheers as my own. If I do another Richmond race, I’m definitely rocking the purple and gold.

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Miles 8-15: South Side was fairly uneventful, as I was mainly trying to not overdo the pace. After we climbed out from the River, I still felt pretty strong. I chatted with a runner from Chicago who was shocked at my choice of shorts and a NYRR employee. I had my second gel of the day, Toasted Marshmallow and it was AMAZING. I hadn’t tried it before (I know, nothing new on race day) but it was delicious. Around the half mark, I took some mini gummi bears from one of the candy stops. We ran alongside traffic for several miles of Forest Hill Ave and Semmes Ave, which I didn’t love, but some of them lended us cheers or music. Right as we turned to take the bridge back north across the James River, my parents surprised me at the 15 Mile marker. The bridge is fairly windy and an incline, but the boost from my parents helped so much. I had also latched on/decided to draft a couple who was also shooting for under 4:30 but wasn’t with the pace group. On the bridge, the pace group caught up to us, then we peeled away and I never saw them again (spoiler alert).

Miles 16-20: I still felt good but tentative, as I expected things to get harder in the 20’s. I slowly ate my mini gummi bears and had another gel, plus water every couple miles. We ran through some more familiar territory of West Main Street, then past the Diamond on Boulevard. I remember still feeling strong and passing people who were starting to fade. The stupid grin hadn’t left my face yet.

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Miles 21-25: These miles turned out to be both well-populated by great spectator groups and the ones where I felt great and realized I was going to surpass not only my A goal of 4:29:xx, but my A+ goal of 4:26:03 (a 30 minute PR from NYCM last year). I believe that in lieu of a 4th gel, I just had a single Salted Margarita ShotBlock and increased the blue Powerade consumption since the frequency of the tables increased. I supplemented this with a banana from a nice lady around Mile 22. I turned down the beer and other junk food on offer, as well as the pickle juice. I had told myself to hold off the pace from miles 21-24, then up the gas if I was still feeling good. My parents showed up for the 3rd time at Mile 23.5 and I yelled to them “See you at the beer truck! Hurry, I’m picking up speed!”. It was true! See my splits above after Mile 21; I knew the end was near and almost nothing could stop me.

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Extra gels in my pocket can’t slow me down

Mile 25-26.2: There were a few small bumps/hills before the big finish. At 25.5, I was passing people left and right and really turning on the juice when a woman told us the finish was “around the corner”. Well, we knew it wasn’t. I heard a girl comment on this and despite running at my half marathon pace now, I agreed with her and we talked about how we hate when people shout stuff like that about the finish when we just want to SEE the finish. I turn to look at her better and boom, she’s an internet running group friend! I managed to choke out my name and we both screamed. What are the odds? I knew we would get the final half mile in together, and boy did we ever. The downhill was ours. All of the pictures are of me talking to her (lol) and flying down faster than my 5K pace. We hit the finish, threw up our moose ears, and were done.

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Final: I hit the clock at 4:21:34.2, which apparently rounds up to :35. I beat my A+ goal by 4 and a half minutes, which still seems unreal. And I had the best time doing it! Everyone I talked to on the course was sweet and beyond pleasant. The crowd support was impressive for a marathon of this size. We were handed our medal, the blanket, and the mug, plus a bottle of water.

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Then I went off to find my parents at the Beer Truck. Sure enough, I beat them there. I grabbed a slice of pizza and some blue Powerade. I didn’t have my ID, only a sweaty $20 bill, so I couldn’t even get a beer. By the time they arrived, I was able to change then requested that we skip the beer and get straight to Bottoms Up Pizza, the source of my favorite pizzas from my Sweet 16 to my high school graduation. They actually had a table open and I had a Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking, a huge slice, and some Oreo pie to go.

A million thanks to everyone who has commented here, on my Strava, or out in the ‘real world’ plus my parents who cheered and cowbelled so hard. Y’all the best.

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Until next time, Richmond! 50 weeks until NYC Marathon!

 

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Week 9 of Richmond Marathon Training, 9/18-9/24

The last 2 weeks of September were rough for running due to work deadlines.

9/18: Mile High Run Club ‘The Distance’. 5.5 miles in 58 minutes which is a minute slower than the previous time (a ‘pace PR’). Foam rolled immediately which was a good idea. Baked box mix strawberry cupcakes with rainbow chip frosting at home for a coworker’s birthday then immediately began eating them.

9/19: 6:30am spin class then 4 miles in Prospect Park. These were supposed to be easy/recovery miles to recuperate from the Sunday Long Run and Monday intervals, but I went too darn fast thanks to the Hamilton soundtrack.

9/20: I run commuted to the bar to meet with the Brooklyn Beer Runners group. I hit 6 exactly then very much enjoyed 2 beers and a Cubano sandwich.

9/21: Rest day

9/22: Had to go into work early and missed my planned 4 miler.

9/23: Unexpected rest day. I went to an alpaca farm upstate with my friends and it was magical.

9/24: Bronx 10 Miler and 7 mile afterward.

Sunday was hot hot hot and this was rough. I’m glad I made the plans to run with friends after but wish I had gotten some more miles in beforehand or right after the race while waiting. Hot, sunny miles are tough.

After the first mile of the 10 Miler, I decided that a new 10 Mile PR was not in the bag and I should just run this somewhere between marathon goal pace and half marathon pace. Done.

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Please be the finish line

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Grim Determination

It’s so cool to see the map and see that we ran a (new-to-me bridge) from one borough to another. I did the shuffly bottom of Central Park final miles alone and it sucked.

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Total: 33+ miles Mon-Sun. I do wish I had gotten that extra weekday run in to make the long run less than half of my weekly mileage. I had to work a lot more than normal and this will continue for just one more week. Then it’s off to exciting destinations for my short, medium, and long runs (Richmond, Chicago, and Phoenix, respectively).

Week 6 of Richmond Marathon Training, 8/28 – 9/3

So this was supposed to be a build-up week of 36 Sunday-Saturday miles, but I hit over that last week. Due to this and my vacation at altitude, I decided to make it a cutback week. I know, 6 weeks into the program and I’m being a real renegade here.

8/28: Unplanned rest day. I was feeling beat up physically from such a tough but awesome Saturday, especially with shorter miles Friday (my usual rest day) and Sunday.

8/29: 5 easy miles @ 10:52 pace on the treadmill at the gym. It was raining all afternoon and evening and I was just not feeling a soggy run after traipsing around Flushing and my neighborhood in the rain. My feet were already wet and cold.

8/30: 2 miles with the beer running group. We were taking photos to be part of the leader’s Airbnb Experiences, so after the staging of the photos and then drinking a beer, I was out of time to get a loop of the park in before my fantasy football draft. This is my 6th season playing and I’m trying to score some winnings here. So I ran home.

8/31: Flight to Denver and lots of walking around. Got some cool new hiking tights at REI, ate some delicious food, and tried a ton of local brews.

9/1: Rocky Mountain National Park tour

Sprague Lake

9/2: 13+ mile long run with Kate who was in town and planned out a beautiful route through 3 of the city’s parks: City Park, Cheesman Park, and Washington Park. We started before 6:30am so it was nice to be done by 9am and escape some of the heat. Apparently NYC was cool and rainy over much of Labor Day weekend, but Denver was 90+.

I had lunch at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, where I got to try both reindeer and bison hot dogs. And some fried macaroni and cheese bites. And some prickly pear soda. After 13.25 miles, I was hungry.

9/3: Broncos 7K with/thanks to Laura. She had put a code on her site for this race and I realized that the race totally worked for my schedule, so we got in touch to meet up after. I ended up in the B Corral based on my proposed 10K time (I had no hopes of replacing my 8:00 5K time from last week but was shooting for high 8’s). I ran 2.5 miles from my hotel to the start, then we were off…uphill.

As you can see, I took it slow then hoped to pick up the pace in the later miles. This was day 4 at altitude, so I was more confident that my lungs wouldn’t explode but still a bit worried. The finish along the tunnel was really cool, too! We bopped around the expo after to grab some swag. The line to meet Denver Broncos players was very long, so that was skippable since I don’t currently have any of their players on my fantasy team.

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Check out those huge medals


Then off to Evergreen for a wedding with the best food ever. 6 different mini desserts, a make your own Smores bar, and a 20 pound peach and huckleberry pie.

Total: 27.5 Mon-Sun miles plus some light hiking. No altitude sickness, though!

Week 5 of Richmond Marathon Training, 8/21-8/27

Freudian slip on my original post last week when I called it “Week 4 of NYC Marathon Training”. Whoops! Obviously I ran NYC last year and did the NYRR 9+1 this year for entry to the 2018 NYC Marathon, but this year the plan is to run Richmond.

8/21: RunCommutes are back! 6.4 miles home from work with my usual Lululemon ‘Run From Work’ backpack, very lightly filled. I missed my usual turn and cut through Commodore Barry Park and Fort Greene Parks.

8/22: Rest day

8/23: Loop around the park, walk to the bar, then run home from the bar. 6ish miles total.

8/24: Rest day

8/25: 4 easy treadmill miles in the AM. This is the first Friday I’ve run since May? June?

8/26: The most productive running day of my life. 1 mile warm up, then setting a new 5K PR at the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K, then running almost 10 miles through Central Park, down the West Side, and almost to the Governor’s Island ferry (but had to stop at the ATM first).

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Ran into Sam on the train

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Larry caught me during my warm up

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Proud of my splits

I grabbed my stuff, decided to forego the free tshirt, and strapped on my new backpack (Gregory Maya 16) then headed out with a friend from my beer drinking running group.

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14 miles even for the morning (I think) though my watch died at 9.3 and my running buddy forgot to restart his after we paused and we lost 0.3 then we stopped it before I had to SPRINT to the ferry, blue Gatorade in hand. I found my friends and we rented a 5-person surrey to ride around the island. Even after a big lunch and afternoon coffee, I was exhausted but somehow rallied to make it outside again later for frosé and beer with friends.

8/27: 3 recovery miles in Brooklyn Bridge Park after walking 2 miles to donate my bicycle in DUMBO.

Total: 33 miles! My Sunday-Saturday total was 36.6 out of a recommended 34 miles.

Richmond Marathon Training Week 2, 7/31 – 8/6

Holy crap, it’s August!

7/31: Cross-training with tennis. More drills (I think my backhand is getting pretty good), more time to work on my atrocious serve. I’m nowhere near being ready to play against anyone, but am hoping that with more time, lessons, drills, and practice, that I could actually play next year.

8/1: I was heading to NYRR Open Run but decided to see if the new Park Slope Blink Fitness location was open and lo and behold, it was. And there were treadmills available. I did 4 easy miles while watching Teen Jeoaprdy! and quietly shouting out the answers.

8/2: Unexpected rest day because the Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series 5K #6 was canceled due to thunderstorms. My friends and I got delivery from Emily (their Emily pizza is in my top 5), stuffed croissants from Union Fare, and some fruit pies from Petee’s Pie Company.

8/3: Surprise mid-week 9 mile long run. I got out of a work training at NYU Langone Hospital early, so I put all my stuff into a locker at a Blink location (going to the gym twice in a week?!) then headed out along the East River. I was feeling good and the weather was perfect, so I knew I wanted to run more than 6 miles. I figured that since it would be likely raining on Saturday before/during/after Team Champs, I may as well get the miles in so I wouldn’t have to worry about adding extra on.

My favorite water fountain and seal fountain sculptures in the LES

I turned around at 4.5 miles exactly in between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. Strava was being weird and generous and gave me an extra 0.2, but the wild loops around the piers to get extra miles in are all me. The 8:42’s are not quite right. I also had to do a lot of weird mini loops at the end of the East River path near 40th St. I’m hoping to do the East side from 59th St. up soon, but am happy to skip the 40’s and 50’s because there is no path.

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8/4: Rest day. I thought about doing a few miles at the gym after work but picked up my bib then made it out to the grocery store and that was it. Had Burger Garage for lunch and was full for a long time. Burgers, sweet potato fries, and cookies & cream milkshakes aren’t really conducive to working out.

8/5: Team Champs 5 Miler in Central Park.

Due to severe thunderstorms in the morning (I woke up early to the sound of thunderclaps and rain on my air conditioner), the men’s race was pushed to 8am and the women’s to 8:45am. I did a solo 1 mile warmup after cheering for the guys near the start. It was pretty humid, as is normal in August, so 1 mile felt sufficient, though I had hoped for two.

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Where’s Waldo at the start?

I tried to pace myself just a bit faster than my 10K pace from June at the Queens 10K

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Having a great final mile

I had a miserable 4th mile and stopped for water at each stop, then caught up to my teammate LP. She had her earbuds in so we didn’t really speak, but we sped up for the final mile and the part past our teammates together. I got a wave of nausea at the 4.85 mark, but managed to hold off.

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8/6: 7 easy miles including a park loop in my PureFlows. This is the longest run I’ve worn them for because I’m hoping to make them my speed shoes for 5K/10K at most, but things felt pretty good in them.

Total: 26.7 miles. It’s only 0.6 miles less than last week, but I know it was supposed to be a few miles more (and that last week was supposed to be a few miles fewer). Next week (week 3) is supposed to be the first above 30.

 

The Week in Workouts and Food 7/17-7/23

7/17: I ran the inaugural NYRR Brooklyn R-U-N 5K in Prospect Park. I got in 2 miles as warm up and it was pretty humid, so I was quite warm by the time I finally reached the start village at 6:35 (for a 6:45pm start, eek!). I dropped my phone and water bottle at bag check and hopped in the H corral when I spotted a teammate.

I had originally signed up for this race and originally hoped to PR but adjusted my expectations due to the weather and aimed to keep a steady 8:20 first mile then speed up accordingly. Unfortunately, the elevation profile had Zoo Hill/Battle Pass Hill during the 2nd mile, then a fairly flat 3rd mile. There were lots of teammates cheering along the way, which really helped my morale, but I just couldn’t hold the pace. Sweet kick at the end, though!

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Thanks to my teammate Ned for the photo; I spotted him after this. Afterward, I hung around after with some teammates after I finally got my stuff back and we made the NYRR instagram! I had planned to shuffle home (since it was downhill after all) but got a ride instead. Total of 5.3 miles.


7/18: Rest day and another trip to Coney Island to see the Cyclones play as part of a Yelp Elite Event. We were treated to local beer, hot dogs, chicken tenders, and beautiful sunsets.

7/19: 4.7 miles, including 3.1 as part of a failed tempo at the PPTC Al Goldstein 5K #5. Gabby and I tried to take it easy but easy was not happening thanks to the heat advisory. We had a brilliant kick at the end, at least.

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I had put my bib on my shorts just in case I was tempted to try some sports bra only running, but then realized I had nowhere good to put my shirt since I had already checked my bag.

4.7 miles total; 1 warm up, 3.1 race, and 0.6 cool down where I stupidly took us up a hill then just couldn’t handle it any more.

7/20: Rest day. Went back to Atlantic Social for trivia. Ate the General Tso’s chicken wings, pepperoni pizza, and manchego-chorizo potato skins. We got 2nd at trivia but were the real winners for getting so many of those delicious wings again. They have a huge game room and I hope to bring my foosball skills to it soon.

7/21: Unplanned rest day. I brought all my running stuff in the hopes of going to the gym right after work, but stayed at work later than usual and opted for earlier dinner (Thai red curry chicken) instead of a few miles.

7/22: 8 mile long run mainly along the water in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I ended it with a smoothie at AMLA Cafe, which is the new incarnation of Brooklyn Juice Company, where I got some smoothies last summer during marathon training.

7/23: 6.3 miles with the PPTC Group Run. I ended at Trader Joe’s and got a green juice and many other goodies. I ran with some faster people so it speedier than I had planned.

Total: 24.5 miles over 4 runs/races.

The Week in Workouts and Food 7/3-7/9

7/3: 5.4 mile late morning loop since I took the day off. I then checked out the new Dekalb Market Hall and was blown away. Though I was on a mission just to eat at Katz’s, it was exciting to see almost all of the other vendors open as well. My pastrami Reuben was $25 after tax, so I sadly won’t be eating at the Katz’s outpost that often. I also checked out the new Trader Joe’s (no lines!) and the cleanest, best stocked and organized Target in town.

In the evening, I had signed up for a beginner tennis clinic through ClassPass since I have wanted to play more tennis but haven’t held a racket in years. I took group lessons for beginners on the clay courts on the UES back in the summer of 2011 but only played sporadically after that and haven’t played at all since moving to Brooklyn in 2014. The NYC Parks & Rec department had raised the price of a tennis permit to $200 for the season at one point, but they have since brought it back down to $100. I’d like to improve my skills before booking court time with anyone (and would also have to find more people at my low skill level). I wore my new cool tennis shoes and the plaid pleated tennis skirt from Tory Burch Sport that I got last year in the outlets in Vegas. Finally! I knew when purchasing these that I would be motivated to eventually play in them. There were 4 of us at the clinic and we worked on our swing and backhand and did drills. I loved getting court time without the pressure of playing so I signed up to do it again the next week.

Then my friend had a birthday dinner at Golden Unicorn. We ordered some dim sum dishes, my beloved walnut shrimp, sandy egg custard pig buns, plus a whole duck which they cut up for us and mostly turned into duck buns.

 

 

7/4: 4 miles for the 4th of July. Other more masochistic suggestions from Strava friends included 7 repeats of 4 miles each (nooooooo) and 17.76 miles. Elle raced a 4K that day which is also more my speed.

Then I went to a picnic (brought my favorite watermelon/mint/feta/balsamic salad), got Ample Hills with my besties, and went to a cookout on the Long Island City waterfront for the best fireworks views.

Below is my favorite new Ample Hills flavor, Summer of Love. It’s sweet cream ice cream with tie-dye Baked By Melissa cupcakes swirled in. Of course I got it on a birthday cake cone.

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7/5: 2 miles running from home to volunteering at the Al Goldstein 5K (#4).

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Once done with my shift, we went to the nearby Camille’s Jamaican Restaurant (wanted to try Peppa’s Jerk Chicken but they didn’t have seating) and got a full container of jerk chicken, rice & beans, slaw, and plantains for $5.

7/6: TrackTown 5K. This was my goal race 5K since I figured Randall’s Island would be flatter than both Central Park and Prospect Park. I also hoped that maybe the vibes from the elites competing with and after us would rub off. No such luck. I did a 1.2 mile warmup with a teammate and we soon realized we were running along a significant part of the course, which included wood chip paths and a not insignificant hill for the otherwise seemingly flat Randall’s Island. Huh. The views of Manhattan were beautiful, as were all the flowers along the water.

My original goal for this race was to run it at fairly even splits for a PR in the lower-to-mid 25:xx range. My last 5K was 25:37 (8:05 min/mile average) but with a full minute difference between the 1st mile and 3rd mile, so I aiming for low-8s then seeing how I felt seemed doable.

We took off right at 7pm sharp from the usual finish line of the track. I made it to the 200m mark before realizing my right shoe of my new Brooks PureFlows was untied. Drat! I decided it was too early in the race to not fix this and that there was a major tripping hazard with all the other participants, so I pulled over to fix it once off the track. It was only 4 months ago that I had my only other untied shoe incident during my indoor mile race (and PPR at 7:19). I pulled over in the parking lot to fix it and tried to pick up the pace but stay steady.

Things got worse from there. I had to do a lot of bobbing and weaving to get around people for the first mile (was hoping to salvage it to an 8:50ish pace but watch beeped around 9:09) then the second mile was pleasant enough but got tougher after the turnaround. It all went downhill on mile 3. I was thirsty despite having grabbed water around Mile 1 mark and started breathing heavily. I picked off a few more people but struggled on the tiniest of uphills. I finally caught up to a teammate and was hoping to hang with her for the last half mile, but my stomach had other plans after the 3 mile mark. I tried to hold it back but had to puke in a trash can just before entering the track to finish.

At least the last 100m looked pretty good! But my splits tell the story.

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Afterward, I recovered in the stands with orange slices and a Capri-Sun (thanks to soccer momish team captains) and watched some of my favorite track stars (Alyson Felix! Bernard Legat! Sam Chelimo! The Freeze!) hang around or compete.

My 5K redemption will have to come in the following weeks, as I have 3 more chances at this difference in July. On the plus side, I got lots of free jerky and Kind Bars on my way out of the stadium and got to bond with teammates.

7/7: Rest day with a drive to the Catskills after a work event

7/8: Howe Caverns tour, a lot of grilling, and becoming the undefeated foosball champs of the vacation house. All those hours in college killing time with the guys at a foosball table between classes in Festival finally payed off!

7/9: 6.2 miles along the rolling hills of the Catskills between Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain. So beautiful, but so hilly. We kept the pace easy for the first 6 miles then had fun going downhill for the last 0.2 of it. I got to yell “race you to the swings!” for the first time in two decades.


Total: 22.0 miles. This is my first even mileage week in months. Interestingly, I had 1,130 feet of elevation gain compared to my usual <500 feet a week thanks to that last run.