North Face Endurance Challenge DC: Marathon Relay

It’s taken me a few days to actually sit down and write this for a number of reasons but here goes…

This weekend was the North Face Endurance Challenge DC in which I was participating in the marathon relay. Friday afternoon, I got myself down to Penn Station to catch an Amtrak train to DC. Since Matt had already picked up the race stuff, we didn’t have to worry about that when I got into DC, and we had just the right amount of time to walk to get something to eat and watch the remainder of the Islander game.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I left this beauty at home.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I left this beauty at home.

The alarm went off pretty early on Saturday and I woke up completely out of it. This is partially due to the dream I had about being late in the morning and making Matt mad.  In the dream, I was doing my best to get ready quickly but I had all these layers of sweatshirts on and  I couldn’t peel them off fast enough. So yea, since I was paranoid about waking up late and making Matt angry, I kept tossing and turning and waking up to check the time to make sure I wasn’t late. Good times.

By 7 am (on time, btw), we were outside a breakfast place to meet up with other November Project DCers ready to race the North Face Endurance Challenge. It’s there where we met up with Mike (another one of our teammates) and realized that we were missing our fourth relayer (an outsider that none of us actually knew).

There was still time before the race officially started (10am) and our missing runner was supposed to run the 2nd leg. Post breakfast (which consisted of an amazing blueberry muffin and a banana for me), Matt and I got in the car to the race hoping that our missing runner would show up soon.

Once we got to the race village in Algonkian Regional Park, we set down our stuff with the rest of November Project DC and then I hugged more strangers than I’m comfortable admitting. Seriously, it was an all-day-stranger-hugfest. (Side note: I originally typed that as “hungfest” which would have a completely different meaning. Glad I caught that one.)

^ NOT a stranger

^ NOT a stranger

My biggest fear going into this race was that I was going to fall down a mountain or get lost. Or get lost and then fall down a mountain… and then be lost and injured at the bottom of a mountain. That being said, I definitely needed some psyching up at the start of the race (especially as I was running Leg 1).

Luckily, November Project did not disappoint. They do this thing called “bounce” – and if you’re not a NPer, you probably have no idea what this is (I didn’t either so I just stood back and watched).  Basically they bounce and chant and at first you don’t really know what it is you’re watching but then you get all sorts of strange tingly feelings and you’re like oh hey, this is cool, I could get behind this.

If there isn’t already a definition for it, I give NP permission to use mine right there as I’m obviously so eloquent with my words.  You’re welcome, November Project.

FIRST LEG: Me

So my biggest fears of falling down a mountain and/or getting lost were completely useless.  Instead, my fears should have been running through deep mud and hot temperatures that my body has not run in since last summer. The course was incredibly muddy and by a quarter-mile in, I had already ran through ankle-deep mud.

The course was not mountainous as I had expected (hell, it wasn’t even hilly) but it sure was muddy and wet. There were a few instances in which I hopped on top of rocks in order to avoid a stream of water and elected to walk across some super rocky areas in order to avoid rolling my ankles.

leg 1

It was not my best run but I definitely had fun out there and met my goal of finishing in under a 9 minute pace with an average pace of 8:44. Not too shabby.

SECOND LEG: Matt

Our missing runner (who was supposed to run the second leg) had yet to show up so Matt stepped in to run Leg 2. He was also prepared to run a second leg, totaling over 12 miles for the day, a distance he has never run before. He’s either completely crazy or a great team player. Jury is still out.

While he was out there running, we didn’t know if he wanted to run the two legs back-to-back or let Mike run the 3rd leg and then run again after a bit of a break.

This is him signaling that running back-t0-back was a no go:

leg 2

Average pace: 6:36. LIKE A BOSS.

THIRD LEG: MIKE

My favorite part about waiting for Mike to finish his leg was waiting with his wife, Fabienne. We stood along the finish line course and watched as the 50k and 50M runners came running across the finish line. I had many #ImTooEmotionalForThisSport moments and I was really thankful that I was wearing sunglasses.

leg 3

Luckily, our missing runner got to the start line with just a few minutes to spare so we were able to signal to Mike as he came running up towards the finish line.

FOURTH LEG: MISSING LATE RUNNER

We stuck to the finish line area as we weren’t sure how long our fourth runner was going to be and it was also really cool/inspiring to continue watching the 50k and 50M runners come in. Again, I was grateful for the sunglasses. #ICryAtFinishLines

We ended up finishing 36th overall out of 100+ relay teams. I’ll take it.

I'm counting this as a complete team photo.

I’m counting this as a complete team photo.

After we finished, we stuck around the race village, hung out in the beer tent for a bit, and waited to watch the podium winners for the marathon relay, 50k, and 50M distances.

The rest of the day consisted of finally showering the mud off, stealing a quick nap, and going out in DC.

NP_DC

So that’s that. It was fun. I will probably go to NP_NYC now. And I’m definitely glad I invited volunteered myself for this race.

Until next year…

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A big thanks to Fabienne for taking all the photos, since, like the worst blogger ever, I forgot my phone… as usual. 

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Filed under marathon, north face endurance challenge, relay

Trying to get back in shape after a long winter…

First up, workouts from week 5 of Brooklyn training:

brooklyn half training

Spring has (finally) decided to show up in NYC but I’m not fooled… I’m keeping my boots handy just in case. I don’t trust anything anymore.

Also, a happy belated birthday to my fave RB, Jess, who we celebrated yesterday afternoon at Jack’s Wife Freda!

jacks wife freda

Trying to get back in shape after a long winter:

While last week I proved that my speed hasn’t suffered too much this winter, this past weekend’s 8 miler showed me just how much running fitness I’ve lost over the past few months.

Did I get the 8 miles in? Sure did – and they were hilly ones too.

Did I do it in an acceptable time? I think so. I kept it very comfortable and ended with a 9:40 pace.

So what’s the issue then? The issue is that 8 miles completely wore me out. I was in bed pretty early and woke up Sunday morning with completely stiff legs. From 8 miles! Eeek.

So here’s to the next couple weeks of spring training and finally getting back some distance fitness! I can’t wait.

All winter I’m just like…

all winter unbreakable

 And when I get home from work and still need to run…

already did something

And then spring shows up and I’m so excited to run in the sunshine…

hands up unbreakable

Except, it’s just not that easy…

so tough unbreakable

 And I can’t butter it up, my endurance fitness is not what it was…

filter unbreakable

But it’s okay because that’s what spring training is for…

smile unbreakable

And I know that this off-season was exactly what I needed and that with a little training, I’ll come back even stronger and faster than I was last fall.

strong as hell unbreakable

Happy Monday and happy spring running!

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Highlight from the weekend?

Do you now have the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt theme song in your head? Because I do.

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Filed under weekly workout wrap-up

Scotland 10k: the “let’s see how out of shape I am after the winter from hell” race.

First up, workouts from week 4 of Brooklyn Half training:

www brooklyn half week 4

Scotland 10k:

I registered for the Scotland 10k since it fit perfectly into my training for the Brooklyn Half and also gave me an opportunity to assess my fitness level after this awfully long and never-ending OMG IT WILL NEVER END winter.

I’m not one to race (or really, sign up for) a 10k since I mostly register for the 15k distance and up.  As I’m racing what will most likely be around a 10k at a marathon relay in 2 weeks, it made even more sense to test what kind of shape I’m in at the moment.

Anywho, I picked up my race stuff Friday afternoon after work and because it was FINALLY WARM, I walked home through Central Park where I got pizza and emptied my DVR from the week. FRIDAY NIGHT WIN.

Saturday morning, I ate the delicious free cookie from packet pickup before heading out the door for an 8am start time because when in running Rome Scotland…

(these are delicious, btw)

Since I wasn’t planning to race this 10k but rather use it as an assessment of my fitness level, I figured I’d follow the below plan:

  • Miles 1-2: Comfortable pace around a 9:30
  • Miles 3-4: Comfortably hard pace between 9:00 and 9:15
  • Mile 5: Comfortably harder at a sub 9
  • Mile 6: As much as I’ve got left

Here’s how the race actually went down:

scotland 10k

I felt really good throughout the entire race. The first mile was extremely crowded and while I felt myself feeling frustrated at the slower pace, I think it really helped to be forced to keep it slower. I generally struggle with pacing shorter distance races so I think the crowds worked in my favor.

There was a pretty big spectator presence in the park and it definitely pumped me up toward the end, specifically right after Mile 4 when an older gentleman screamed, “You’ve got it Angela! Make it happen!” Seriously, NYC has the best running community.

scotland 10k

Am I as fast as I was back in the fall? Nope – but that’s how it should be. I’m happy with the outcome of this race and think I’m in a really good place to start some real training again this summer.   Plus, a PR is a PR :-)

Also, I don’t think it’s possible for me to finish any race that ends at the NYC Marathon finish line and not cry. #ImTooEmotionalForThisSport

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How are you feeling fitness-wise after this winter? I’m feeling pretty good after this race. All has not been lost! I’m excited to start working with my coach again and really get my speed back!

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend celebrating Easter and/or Passover!

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Filed under 10k, new york city, weekly workout wrap-up

Banksy street art makes me slightly less cranky that it’s still cold.

First up, week 3 of Brooklyn half “training”:

www

On Saturday, I had to put on GLOVES and an EAR BAND to run. ON MARCH 28TH.

That is all I’m saying about that.

Weekend fun despite the cold:

Saturday afternoon, I met up with my favorite RB to see some of the Banksy street art.  If you’re not familiar with Banksy, click here and be awed.

We met up at 81st and 3rd to get up close to this masterpiece:

banksy street art pizza beach nyc

Since it was super chilly, we hurried back to the west side where we cooked up some turkey chili and watched Sex and the City reruns before heading over to the Plaza Hotel for some fancy frozen yogurt. 

This place is especially dangerous because of its proximity to Central Park. I can see us finishing many a sweaty summer run right here.

YoArt at the Plaza

YoArt at the Plaza

In my cup:

  • Frozen Yogurt:
    • Almond Gelato
    • Salted Caramel
    • No-sugar Praline
  • Toppings:
    • Cinnamon streusel
    • Brownie bites
    • Cookie dough chunks
    • Gummy bears
    • Swedish fish
    • Blackberries

Go big or go home, right?

So yea, it was cold this weekend. And yea, it snowed on the first day of spring. And yea, I’m starting to get really cranky. But in the end, no matter what, this girl loves NY.

i love ny banksy street art

But NY, I love you more in the summer so uhhh… hurry it up, will ya?

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Best part of your weekend?

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Filed under new york city, weekly workout wrap-up