NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile Race Recap

I’m 100% aware that this recap is like a month late, but better late than never, right? Right. So when the folks at NYRR contacted me about running the Fifth Avenue Mile, I was super stoked, especially since I’d be running the Media Mile. Where the race is mainly run in age group waves, they also set up special waves for groups like FDNY runners and kids. I didn’t know what “media” meant; because they invited me via Instagram I assumed it would be a handful of other social media peeps like me. But I was only half right…


My start time wasn’t until 11:45, which gave us plenty of time to get into Manhattan, take a few subways to Fifth Avenue, pick up my packet, and hang out by a pretty fountain, cheering for the earlier age groups and warming up.



Once 11:15 rolled around, Mike headed down Fifth to meet me at the finish, and just as he left the announcer started talking up the participants of the Media Mile. This made me stop in my tracks. Remember when I said I was only half right? Yeah. It turns out that while I recognized a few awesome IG people (OMG it was like celebrity spotting), “media” actually meant media people, like on-air talent for local news stations, producers and journalists and stuff. Which meant I spent most of my time in the corral pretending like hanging out with celebs was no big deal, while inside my head I was squealing like a tween. I was about to get smoked by the woman from CBS 2 News!!


OK, maybe I didn’t hide it so well. OK, maybe I photobombed her. Sorry, Kristine Johnson.

There turned out to be only like 50 of us in this wave. And usually the smaller the race, the farther towards the end I finish. It’s just science. I started to get nervous that I could potentially be the last person to cross the finish line in a very obvious way.


I also had my photo snapped awkwardly by a NYRR photog.

Funny side note: because there were some local celebs in the corral, there was also a lot of media packed into the corral with us. Exhibit A:


This guy followed this poor girl around for a good 5 minutes.

One nice thing about the corral being so small was getting to actually talk to people. The fella you see below is Arun. This rockstar is currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon, and he’s the kindest fellow runner you’re going to meet. We chatted about our shared fear of being last, and promised that we’d stick together if it came down to it. It was reassuring knowing that I wouldn’t be last alone.


Suddenly it was time to run, and everyone around me turned into elites. No kidding: they all crouched down, fingers on their Garmins, ready to burst with energy. But instead of panicking, I ducked down with them and pretended like I knew what I was doing (this turned out to be the theme of the day), and at the sound of the gun we were off!

The actual running happened so fast that I can only recall the thoughts I had at the distance markers. At .25 I thought, “Already?” At .5, I thought, “No way.” At .75, I spotted a course volunteer wearing the same pants and we screamed for each other (Go, Skirt Sports sister!). That’s when Arun, who had been steadily pacing behind my left shoulder the whole way, asked, “I’m not slowing you down, am I?”


I glanced down at my watch to see just how fast I was going and almost shat myself when I saw 6:xx. All I could do was laugh and reply, “No way, not slow at all!” and keep going. Through the last quarter mile downhill towards the crowd at the finish line, I could hear them shouting. Once I got close enough to read the clock and saw 8:xx, I legitimately shouted out loud, “WHAAAAT?!” The girl ahead of me turned around to see what the big deal was. I was astounded – I’ve never seen an 8 minute mile in my life!


So I took off even faster, gunning for under 9 minutes – and I did it. In 8:51.


All I could do was laugh and gasp for air. 8:51! Never in my life. There had to be a mistake. It felt great. But even a new PR wasn’t as exciting as what I saw next: MEB.


It was like seeing a unicorn.

There he was, off to the right of the finish line. No big crowd, just Meb, chilling with a few peeps who popped around the corner to snap a pic with him. So I went for it, too!

Arun had crossed right behind me and as I congratulated him, I asked if he wanted a pic. I figured acting like I knew what I was doing was the best way to go (again, the day’s theme…) and before I knew it, I was stepping up to Meb, introducing myself, and shaking his hand. I wish I remembered what I’d said. Probably something like “It’s such an honor, may I have a photo?”. But he agreed and thanked me and posed graciously, congratulated me on a great race, and I was off. I snapped Arun’s pic for him, and we dissolved back into the crowd.

I was floating. I swear I’d dreamed what just happened. A PR and Meb, within seconds of each other. Mike found me and congratulated me on all the excitement, and just as we were ready to leave, a volunteer told me that my media bib meant that I got to hang out in the Media Tent with all the reporters and legit running celebs. Free danish and OJ and fruit trays while Meb and the media folks do interviews? Don’t mind if I do!


For real though, my adventure in the VIP Tent was more OMFG than NBD. Continuing with the day’s trend, I squealed inside my head the entire time but acted cool and calm on the outside, like hanging out and accepting the fruit plate tongs from Meb himself is something I do at every race (when in reality we both reached for grapes at the same time and I died four times).

IMG_1830I have to laugh when I think back on this day – it was one of those perfect days where everything falls into alignment and goes smoothly, and reminds you of how lucky you can be sometimes. It was an honor to run an unbelievable great race, make new friends, and meet some truly amazing runners. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Running Stairs & Summer in the City

Happy Friday everyone! I don’t know how it is by you, but here in NJ we are a few days into a heatwave, but I am NOT complaining after the brutally cold, snowy winter we had!

On Wednesday night I took my last run before the Oakley Mini 10K this weekend, and while it was about 80+ degrees in the shade even at 8PM, I still had a great time. I decided to take my run over to my old neighborhood and elementary school, where I haven’t run in years.

IMG_6187Running up and down the streets I used to ride my bike on as a middle-schooler made for a nice little nostalgic trip. I managed 4 slow miles before the sunset and I had to go back home for dinner – which was pretty much how my evenings would end when I lived there too!


I also added some stair running into my workout too. I discovered a whole new housing development in my old hood that I found by taking this series of 3-4 steep staircases they built into the woods behind the school:

IMG_6178Like I said: steep.

After a few flights and a whole bottle of G2, I called it quits – my legs were starting to go rubbery and I didn’t want to risk twisting my already achy knees (thanks, humidity!). But afterwards I felt those hills in places I forgot I had, so that’s got to be a good thing!

Then yesterday my cousin and I went into NYC to pick up our bibs at the New York Road Runners Headquarters, and let me tell you: it was a scorcher!  At 97 degrees and full sun, what was supposed to be a fun stroll through the city turned into a race to beat the heat.


We hopped on the local train to get into Penn Station and spared ourselves the heat by jumping on the C train to W86th.

IMG_6204It wouldn’t be an adventure without me making an ass of myself on a subway platform.

The subway spit us out right at the entrance to the Reservoir Running Track, which ran straight across to the East side of the park (where we needed to go). We were blown away at its beauty  – after walking/running through the park so many times, neither of us had ever seen this path and vowed to come back when we weren’t, you know, melting. There was even a fun prancerciser galloping along the track to keep us entertained!

IMG_6212After we made it through the park we just had to walk 3 blocks north, which is much easier said than done when it’s almost 100 degrees out. Once we hit the sidewalk we promptly burst into flames. OK not really, but you know what I mean.

One saving grace of these three blocks were the countless sidewalk chalk drawings done by the local kids – one piece really spoke to me, I’m not sure why…


At 89th we crossed the street and I snapped this pic of the iconic Fred Lebow street sign:

IMG_6216And then we finally arrived at the NYRR Headquarters, which was blissfully air conditioned and full of smiling runner-friendly faces.

IMG_6222and inspirational wall art, too!

Seriously, if you live in the tri-state area and you haven’t experienced a NYRR race, register for one right now. They are the most well-organized, friendly, inclusive, and enthusiastic running club I’ve ever seen, and everything about their races is second to none. The aid stations are perfectly organized and always stocked well, the people that both work for and volunteer with them are always kind and helpful, and you will simply not experience anything like it at a race in your life. OK, love letter to NYRR over.

IMG_6225Brown Corral runners unite!

Once we picked up our bibs and tanks and chatted with some Oakley ladies (I am obsessed with their Feedback aviators and my birthday is coming up and I prefer them in rose gold, kthnxbai), we made our way back to the train station in the ridiculous heat. Thank god my cousin brought grapes for us to snack on or they would have found us in the park sometime next week, all shriveled and delirious from dehydration, babbling about sunglasses and prancercisers.

At Penn Station, we picked up some Auntie Anne’s cinnamon pretzels and peach lemonade (not pictured because I devoured them both almost instantly), and our Manhattan adventure was over! Honestly I’m looking forward to a fun race tomorrow – even though I know it’s going to be warm so I’m hydrating like crazy today and hope to get lots of sleep before my 4AM wake up call.

Who else is racing this weekend? How do you deal with the heat? Whatever your plans, have a great weekend!

Going the (New) Distance

Remember when I said it was time to rebuild and focus on strength and not race for a while? Yeah, I knew I wouldn’t last that long. Because I just signed up for my next race: The NYRR Oakley New York Mini 10K in June!

924580_1571176073134331_1404894051_nI’m so pumped – this will be my first time racing this distance (which means an automatic PR!) and it’s the same loop I ran back in March for the NYC Half Marathon: a full circle of the gorgeous Central Park. Once I started doing some research on what upcoming race to run, this was a no-brainer:

  • It’s the perfect mid-distance level to keep me training – I nail 5K’s every other day for maintenance, and while a 10K will take some extra work, it’s still not as taxing (distance-wise) on my body as a half would be.
  • It’s a majorly hilly course compared to what I’m used to, which gives me the opportunity to add some challenging hill work into my training. Hello, leg-building!
  • I get a medal. I’m pretty sure I will only run races for medals anymore, because… medals.
  • It’s a women-only race, which is always fun.
  • It’s a chance to race through Central Park on a Saturday in the middle of June with a bunch of like-minded ladies, how could I NOT do this one?

So now that I’m all registered, who else will I see there? Any of you planning on running this one, or any other NYRR races this summer? Now that I’m officially a member, that 9+1 box in the corner of my account page is enticing me to add more registrations to my name to secure that NYCM2016 spot, I have to say!

My NYRR Spotlight

About a month ago, NYRR sent out an email requesting stories of the folks who planned on running the United NYC Half Marathon. I sent in my story on a whim (kind of like how I did with my race entry!). To my surprise, they contacted me shortly after that to see if I would be willing to share my story on their social media channels – I was floored! What an honor. I’m content to tell my stories here on my little blog and through The Mermaid Club, but I never would have thought I’d be able to reach such a huge group of fellow runners through the NYRR!

10403469_10153068412528329_63437464441116418_nClick the photo to read my story!

Check out the original Post by United Airlines NYC Half on their Facebook page, and stay tuned to read the new stories they’re posting every day until the 15th – if you ever needed inspiration or motivation, you’re sure to find it with this group of awesome folks!