Mirinda Carfrae leads a class at Mile High Run Club. (Photo: Ironman)
Want to learn to run fast on tired legs? If you’re a half-marathoner, marathoner, or triathlete, methinks you do. I’ve got a Miranda Carfrae running workout for you from the best runner in Ironman, Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae herself.
On Tuesday afternoon, I headed to Mile High Run Club in NYC at the invitation of Ironman to meet Rinny, try one of her favorite run workouts while she coaches on the mic, and interview her for a Q&A at Shape.com.
Running with Rinny (Photo: Ironman)
As a reporter and broadcaster, I’ve met and interviewed some of the world’s best athletes—from runners like Meb Keflezighi to winter Olympians like Apolo Ohno. I’ve watched them cruise to gold medals and major marathon wins, interviewing them before and after.
But getting to run a workout led by one of them? Like a Visa ad, that’s priceless.
Ever since I watched Rinny cruise to her second Ironman World Championship victory in Kona (on TV, not in person—I wish!), I had an instant girl crush. She’s such a fierce and confident runner, perhaps the best in the world of Ironman. That fierceness and confidence lacks in my own running. I tend to admire in others what I lack myself. Read the rest of this entry →
That’s me finishing the New Amsterdam City Swim! (Photo: Alex Saveliev/Beemster Cheese)
I did it! I’m jumped into the Hudson River in New York City for the first annual 1-mile New Amsterdam City Swim on Sunday, June 21 to raise $675 for ALS research at ProjectMinE. As a group, the New Amsterdam City Swimmers have raised almost $438,000 so far. Thank you again to everyone who donated! I appreciate it so much. Hopefully we’re one step closer to curing ALS!
Finisher! (Photo: New Amsterdam City Swim)
What threatened to be a thunderstormy day, turned into a scorcher—88 degrees, sun blinking bright, and humidity around 90 percent. By the time I jumped into the Hudson, I was good and ready! The water was welcoming and downright refreshing at 68 degrees.
For all my nervousness going into the swim, I needn’t have worried.
My plan going into the swim was to stay calm, cool, collected, and knock it out at an easy pace. I set out according to plan and manged to stick with it. I kept my pace easy peasy while focusing on my breath and my pull. It paid off.
Much to my surprise, I crushed it. I finished 15 out of 146 women! What!? Throw men into the mix and I was 77th among 351 swimmers in a time of 23:32 for the 1-mile course.
Wish I could say the same of most of my running races! This just goes to show, once again, that I’m a much better swimmer than I am a runner. Which is probably why I work so hard at running!
Finished announcing in Queens! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
My day started at 5 a.m., when my alarm woke me to announce at the NYRR Queens 10K in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. I was on site and at the mike at 6:30 a.m. for pre-race announcements.
The rainy, overcast morning turned into a hot, steamy day, and one that was a bit longer than usual for a 10K. The start of the race was delayed an hour due to heavy rain flooding the course.
While I made morning announcements for runners, NYRR employees were busy bailing water off the course—literally. Before it was a park, Flushing Meadows was a marsh that eventually became a landfill during the industrial era. It wasn’t until the 1930s that the site was rehabbed to host the World’s Fair and in the 1960s it became a park. But once a marsh, always a marsh. As a result, the Queens 10K course is particularly flood prone.
By 9 a.m., the rain stopped, the course was clear, and the race was finally underway. I moved to the finish to cheer runners in.
Queens 10K (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
But the main subway train that ferried runners to the start suffered a shutdown and resulting chaos, so race officials kept the start open much longer than usual to allow train-riding runners a chance to race. That meant the course was open longer than usual. The final finishers came in just before 11:30 a.m., and I hung up my announcer hat for the day.
I got home around 1 p.m., 8 hours after my day began, all of it spent standing. I didn’t even get a seat on the subway ride home. I was beat. So I walked my dog, wolfed down a slice of pizza, and took a quick 40 minute snooze before heading to downtown Manhattan for the swim. At 2 p.m., my alarm was ringing again. I pulled on my swimsuit, grabbed my bag, and ran out the door.
The New Amsterdam City Swim started at Pier 45 at the Hudson River Park in the West Village of Manhattan. Check-in for the 3:45 pm start closed at 3 p.m.
I got there just in time to get my race-issued swim cap and timing chip, drink some water and eat half of a Quaker protein bar that came in my race bag.
I had a major headache, which often happens later in the day when I’ve had an early start. Food and water usually helps. A friend also had Tylenol, so I took some to help get me through. I shy away from taking pain killers when exercising, but my head was throbbing, so I went for it.
Vera and I are ready! (Photo: Susan Bayat)
Wrestling my wetsuit onto my sweaty skin proved to be a 2-woman job. My wetsuit now has numerous finger-nail sized gashes in the neoprene from such abuse over the years. My friend and running teammate, Vera, and I readied together. She’s the one who roped me into doing the race.
By the time they called our wave, Wave 1, to the start we were baking in black neoprene and ready to jump in. Thankfully, the Tylenol, food, and water had kicked in and my headache was gone.
The start of the swim was timed with the end of high tide, so that the southbound current would be in our favor as the water flowed out to sea before low tide. The Hudson is actually a tidal estuary, where the salty ocean tides meet the river’s fresh water current in New York Bay. As such, the currents swirling around NYC change every six hours or so to the whims of the ocean tides. Amid the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s easy to forget that NYC sits like teeth in the jaws of the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
Separated into six waves, we entered a floating dock attached to the pier three at a time. Then, one swimmer at a time, we jumped off the dock, timing chips strapped to our ankles. The mouth of the Hudson River in New York Bay is brackish, and I immediately tasted the salt on my lips as I plunged into the water. But jumping in was one of the most fun parts of the day. How often do you get to jump off a barge into the Hudson River in New York City? That was a first for me! I felt like screaming, “Wheeeeee!” Read the rest of this entry →
In about 48 hours, I’ll be starting the New Amsterdam City Swim on Sunday, June 21, knocking out 1-mile in the Hudson River to raise money for ALS research.
Thank you to everyone who donated! I truly appreciate it. I have to give a special shout-out to Leslie Miller. Leslie, I couldn’t find a way to contact you to say thank you! Hope you read this.
Thanks to your donations, I met my $500 fundraising goal with $600.17. As a group the New Amsterdam City Swimmers have raised $281,384.79 and counting for Project MinE, a large-scale research initiative with the biggest DNA database in the world. They’re planning to map and compare the DNA profiles of at least 15,000 ALS patients and 7,500 control subjects, with the goal of understanding the genetics of the disease in order to find a cure. It’s a huge undertaking, and they couldn’t do it without your help.
Wetsuit ready (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Now, it’s time to swim! Honestly, I’m a bit nervous. I haven’t gotten in as many swim sessions as I had hoped. On the plus side, I did get in one full mile-swim in a pool, along with five shorter swim sessions in the last few weeks. My past triathlon experience tells me that’s enough to get me through. But let’s hope that Hudson River current really is as helpful as folks say, just in case.
I also enrolled in a 10-week triathlon swim clinic with the Asphalt Green Triathlon Club in New York City. We meet once a week for 75 minutes. It’s more of a “back to basics” look at technique than it is a workout.
The one session I’ve had already helped me tweak my stroke to be more efficient, which was my reason for doing the clinic. I’m a strong swimmer, having been a swim team kid until the age of 15. But I haven’t had anyone look at my stroke and critique it in 22 years! I know I have room for improvement, and when it comes to swimming, perfecting technique is the foundation to getting faster.
All that said, my goal for Sunday is to finish! This will be the longest open water swim I’ve ever done. Here’s the course: Read the rest of this entry →
This was originally published 5/22/2015, but thanks to technical hijinks, I had to restore my site and re-upload a few posts. Apologies to subscribers for finding this in your inbox again!
Last summer, I dumped a bucket of ice water on my head to raise awareness for ALS.
This summer, I’m jumping into a bucket of ice water. In other words, I’m swimming a mile in the ice cold Hudson River! Want to join me? Jump in!
The first ever New Amsterdam City Swim is taking place on World ALS Day, June 21 in the Hudson River in New York City. As They Might Be Giants once sang, “Even old New York was once New Amsterdam.” The swim is the first international companion event to the Amsterdam City Swim, the largest charity swim in the Netherlands. In 2014 more than 2,000 swimmers jumped into the Amsterdam canals to raise more than $2.5 million for ALS research.
With a clever wink to New York’s old name, the New Amsterdam City Swim will coincide with the Amsterdam City Swim to raise money for medical research to fight ALS.
Swim training in Quebec. (RunKarlaRun.com)
Every swimmer, myself included, commits to raising at least $500 to fight ALS. Where is the money going? To Project MinE, a large-scale research initiative with the biggest DNA database in the world.
Starting at 3:45 p.m., to benefit from a favorable current, the course begins at Hudson River Park’s Pier 45 at Christopher Street in Greenwich Village and finishes at Hudson’s River Park Pier 26 at N. Moore Street in Tribeca.
But the event will be more than just a swim. The Finish Festival on Pier 26 is a concert with complimentary Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (my fave!), complimentary Heineken beer, free Pepsi soft drinks & water, live entertainment, children’s events, and BBQ food for purchase. DJ Questlove—yes, Questlove!—is headlining the festival, and Candy Dulfer—who has toured with Prince—is the opener. This isn’t just your run-of-the-mill post-race party.
One of my friends and running teammates is Dutch and works for the Netherlands consulate in NYC. She invited me to be a part of the event and wrangled a complimentary entry for me. But I’m still committing to raise at least $500 for ProjectMinE.
The timing is perfect. I got a “time out” from running thanks to a stress fracture/bone bruise and started swimming again to keep my cardio up. Swimming is my favorite part of triathlon training and I even finished as the second woman overall at a small open water swim in Rhode Island last summer. So I jumped at the chance to jump in for such an important cause.
Coming out of the water at the Wild Dog Triathlon. (Phil Hospod)
Yes, the Hudson will be cold—60-66 degrees on race day. Hello wetsuit! Yes, I’ve heard about the “Hudson Mustache,” the film of debris coating Hudson River swimmers in NYC. And yes, the only other time I swam in the Hudson I got a fever, chills, and associated cold/flu symptoms immediately afterward. But that just shows how important ALS is that I’m willing to brave the Hudson again.
Please join me by registering to be one of the swimmers braving the Hudson in June atwww.newamsterdamcityswim.org. If you need your swim certification for the New York City Triathlon, you can get it at the New Amsterdam City Swim!
Don’t want to swim? Buy a ticket to the finish festival! For $75 you’re getting a party headlined by Questlove with all-you-can-eat Ben & Jerry’s and Heineken too. Best of all, the cost of your ticket goes to ProjectMinE.
Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon (RunKarlaRun.com)
A sprint triathlon on a U.S. Naval base? Sign me up! The MWR Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon on the Naval Station Newport base in Rhode Island is part of the Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation programming, designed to support Navy personnel, their families, and civilian employees.
Getting my timing chip (RunKarlaRun.com)
Members of the general public, like me, were welcome to support and take part in the event for a $65 registration fee, while active duty, retired and reservist military members and their families paid reduced fees.
Nearly 50 of the 140 participants at the 2014 race on Sunday, July 27 were active duty military personnel.
I headed to the race with my friend, Justin, a budding triathlete, and my husband, Phil, who came to cheer us on.
We had great weather with cool temps, starting in the high 60s and reaching 70 by the end of the race. A sunny, blue-skied morning gave way to storm-clouds as the triathlon got underway. But the rain held off until later in the day.
As you would expect from the U.S. military, the Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon was incredibly well-organized. Pre-race communication via e-mail in the week before was thorough. Packet pick-up on race morning was a breeze; right next to the parking lot, with one table for race packets, another for chip timing, and a third for body marking. Read the rest of this entry →
Coming out of the water at the Wild Dog Triathlon. (Phil Hospod)
As I stare down my sixth triathlon— Triathlon Valleyfield in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec on Sunday, August 24—I realize that I have fully fallen down the multi-sport rabbit hole. In that hole is an assortment of athletic equipment that I’ve accumulated to help me swim, bike and run my heart out. Before every race, I write out a triathlon gear list to be sure to pack for race day.
Biking my second triathlon. (Capstone Photography)
Unlike running, triathlon is incredibly gear intensive. All that “stuff” is the main barrier to entry for runners who are interested in dabbling their toes in the open waters of the sport. Buying everything at once can be intimidating and expensive. I’ve staggered my purchases over the course of three years, reached out to sponsors, and still don’t have all the gear a truly competitive triathlete calls their own, like a tri-specific bike, areobars and the like. But that hasn’t stopped me from getting into the sport and it shouldn’t stop you either.
So here is my triathlon gear list. Some of these items are essential, some merely nice to have. But once you know that the sport of triathlon will be part of your regular racing routine, you’ll want each of these items in your gear bag.
I’ve listed the full price for each item, but in many cases I found them on sale or got them for free, and have indicated where that was the case. Where gender specificity is a factor, I’ve listed the women’s gear. But most items are available in men’s options too.
Triathlon Gear For The Entire Race
Your tri kit is the outfit that takes you through all three events. Ideally, you can swim, bike and run in it. You don’t have to buy a fancy tri kit. I certainly didn’t. Here’s what I use to race and train. Both of my kits have two things in common: 1) They’re designed and tested by female triathletes for female triathletes, and 2) They’re from American companies that manufacture the majority of their products in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry →
It’s that time of year: sprint triathlon training. Ever since I got bit by the multi-sport bug in 2011, my summers have been a mélange of cross-training activities. This year is no different: swimming and biking and running, oh my!
I got a later start than usual this year. I’ll blame it on the long, cold winter. But I know myself and know that the best way to get me to train is to sign up for something. So that’s what I did. I now have two triathlons on my calendar: the Newport Naval Station Triathlon in Newport, Rhode Island on Sunday, July 27 and the Triathlon Valleyfield in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec on Sunday, August 24.
Swimming in a friend’s pool (RunKarlaRun.com)
Sprint Triathlon Training
I’m two weeks into training, and I’ve managed to ride my bike three times and swim three times. One of my swims was in open water, which is a must for me before any open water race like the tri in Newport.
Since I’ve just started biking and swimming, my goal for the Newport Naval Station Triathlon is just to survive the 1/3 mile swim, 10.5-mile bike and 3.1-mile run. Read the rest of this entry →
My first running medal from the 2007 New York City Marathon. (Photo: Christy Hourihan)
I wore it for the rest of the day, unable to believe that I had actually finished a marathon. But the medal eventually found its way into a drawer. Over the years, medal after medal joined it.
No more. Those medals aren’t just pretty pieces of metal and ribbon. They’re tangible representations of all the hard work that went into each race. More importantly, they’re reminders of what I’ve overcome as a person and as a runner.
I came to the sport from square one, having overcome a bone tumor that plagued me for a decade and caused me to walk with a limp. I’ve gone from hating running to loving it to rearranging my life and career around it. I’ve gone from running 11:30 minute miles to 8:00 minutes miles. And I’m still growing as a runner, running personal bests and loving experiencing races all over the world. I think that’s important to remember. Read the rest of this entry →
We’re nearly a week into 2014 and my first three races of the year—the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K and Walt Disney World Half Marathon—are already upon us.
I guess it’s finally time to write down my running goals for 2014.
When I look at them, one thing comes to mind: I’m a Maverick. I want to go faster. In 2013, I made the realization I’m a Speed Demon, not an Endurance Monster. I love speed workouts. I hate long runs. I run a 6:46 mile, but have struggled to break 2 hours in the half-marathon. Speed, not distance, has been good to me. So I’m giving into that for 2014.
But let’s see how I did on my 2013 goals, first.
Running Goals For 2013
1. Get even faster
SUCCESS! I make this goal every year because it works for me. Last year I wrote: “In 2013, I’m going to try to knock out a 5K and 10K PR.” Done and done. I knocked out the following personal records in 2013: Read the rest of this entry →
There was the high of running in Hawai’i and the low of getting sick for my fall marathon. And there was the redemption of a 5K PR after marathon season was over.
If 2013 taught me anything, it’s that you can’t win them all. But you can still have fun trying.
This photo of me with my finisher’s medal at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is proof of that. I was sick, failed to run a marathon personal best like I wanted, but still managed to enjoy the race. My smile says it all.
And you know what? When you give a goal your best and fail, it makes the successes even sweeter. I ran 6 of the 13 races either as fun runs or training runs and I ran 7 of the 13 races as races, pushing with everything I had. I managed to PR at three of them, and scored a few PRs in workouts without even trying, too. I’ll save those for my Goals of 2014 post.
Running through Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Hawai’i Island is the triathlon Mecca of the world. But Hawai’i is also a great running vacation destination, as my husband, Phil, and I learned on a trip there in August, which was sponsored by the Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau. When it comes to running in Hawai’i—whether you’re going there to race, to train or just for fun—there are many iconic, unforgettable places to get in a jog.
I put together a “Running Vacation” guide to Hawai’i, the Big Island in my column at The Washington Times Communities. Here are some highlights and embellishments.
What To Race
Triathlons in Hawai’i
A cyclist on Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway (Photo: Phil Hospod)
To compete in the Ironman World Championship, athletes must earn a spot at a qualifying race, gain entry through a lottery or win a bib at a charitable auction. But that’s not the only triathlon on Hawai’i Island.
The Ironman 70.3 Hawai’i on May 31, 2014 is the only Ironman World Championship qualifier held on the island, with a start and finish on the Kohala Coast.
Or try the Lavaman Triathlon Series with Olympic distance races at Keauhou on November 24, 2013 and Waikoloa on March 30, 2014. And many other triathlon events take place on the island throughout the year.
And Peaman puts on a free series of events throughout the year. There are lots of year-round options for running in Hawai’i.
Where To Run
Views from a run on Ali’i Drive. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
The most famous spot for running in Hawai’i might be Ali’i Drive. The iconic road is seven-miles long from start to finish with markers every mile. Winding through Kailua-Kona, the oceanfront road features prominently in most races in Kona, including the Ironman World Championship and Kona Marathon.
Phil and I made sure to get in a run along the route while we were staying at the Sheraton Kona, which is perfectly situated and the end of Ali’i Drive. Read the rest of this entry →
The Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS (Photo: Timex)
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, I tested two Timex Ironman watches: the Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS and Timex Ironman Sleek 50-Lap. These reviews come after wearing the watches for more than four months while running, swimming, racing and more. Here’s how they stacked up. The full Timex Ironman watch reviews are available on my column at The Washington Times Communities.
Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS (Photo: Timex)
Timex Ironman Watch Run Trainer 2.0 GPS
Getting started with the Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0 GPS really is as easy as 1-2-3.
The watch is comfortable to wear with a nicely slim profile. Its light weight of 58 grams, compared to 65.7 for its predecessor, makes it easy to wear for long runs and workouts, even for small-wristed women.
It is not the most stylish watch, but it gets points for offering an option in matte grey with bright yellow accents in addition to the basic black with orange.
The high-resolution display screen truly is crisp and as easy to use as advertised. Menu setup and navigation is straightforward and intuitive. However, the font sizes are a bit on the small side, making reading splits mid-run challenging at times. Read the rest of this entry →
Many runners have a love-hate relationship with shoelaces. I love that they come in fun colors and keep my shoes on. I hate tying them. When it comes to running shoelaces, I like to make like Ron Popeil: set it and forget it.
When I get a new pair of running shoes, I tie the laces a few times until I find the “perfect fit.” Then I never tie them again. I put a double knot in and just slip my running shoes on and off for the rest of the life of the shoe.
I know that’s a cardinal sin of running, but it works for me.
So when I heard about Hickies, I thought I’d give it a try. Hickies elastic lacing system is a different concept than most elastic shoe laces, which look just like traditional laces. For starters, Hickies come in 16 color combinations. Yes, they promise you’ll never have to tie or untie your laces again. But for $19.99, you get a pack of 14 smaller, individual elastic shoe laces in your color choice plus two bonus Hickies in another color, instead of two regular old long elastic laces. Different? Yes. Better? I’m undecided. Worth a try? Certainly, if you’re thinking about going tie-free. Read the rest of this entry →
The Beach at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. (Photo: Hyatt Hotels)
Aloha from Hawai’i! I’m about to embark on a Hawai’i adventure and running vacation. It’s been a dream trip in the making. My husband, Phil, and I are celebrating our one-year anniversary doing a feast of our favorite things—hiking, swimming, snorkeling, sailing, horseback riding, and, of course, running a half marathon.
I’ll write all about my adventures when I get home, and Phil will be behind the camera taking photos and some video too. But during the trip, I’ll be all over Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with updates. But for now, here’s a sneak peek at what we’re up to. Read the rest of this entry →
The Wild Dog Triathlon on August 11, 2013 in the charming town of Bristol, Rhode Island did not disappoint with a gorgeous course and great organization. I’ve long been a fan of the state known as “Little Rhody.” It’s one of my favorite summer vacation getaways. I’ve run a small handful of races there—the UnitedHealthcare Providence Half Marathon and two local 5Ks.
But the Wild Dog Triathlon was my first multi-sport event in Rhode Island, and it has to be the most scenic of the bunch I’ve done. With a swim in the warm waters of Narragansett Bay, a looped bike course around the dazzling Colt State Park, and an out-and-back run entirely along the water, this is a race I’d happily do again.
Bristol Harbor at morning. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Bristol, Rhode Island
The town of Bristol recalls many a fictional, but picturesque New England hamlet like Stars Hollow, Conn., of “Gilmore Girls” fame or Cabot Cove, Maine from “Murder She Wrote.” There’s also a touch of Quahog, R.I. from “The Family Guy.” How cute is Rhode Island and Narragansett Bay? They’ve served as the backdrop for idyllic films like Moonrise Kingdom, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, and Dan In Real Life, not to mention many a Farrelly brothers’ movie like There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber. The Big Blue Bug? It’s actually mounted on the roof of a building in Rhode Island.
But Bristol is the real deal. The town is most famous for its 4th of July parade, the oldest in the U.S., dating back to 1785. The double-yellow line that marks two-way traffic on most streets isn’t yellow at all in Bristol. Along the parade-route, it’s red, white and blue year-round.
But that’s only part of Bristol’s charm. Throw in a town common with an actual white gazebo (take that Stars Hollow), a bustling downtown on the waterfront, a 14-mile bike path that goes all the way to Providence, and an embarrassment of museums, grand old mansions, and public-access green spaces like Colt State Park and Mount Hope Farm. Simply, Bristol is a perfect place for a summer retreat…or a triathlon.
The men of wave 1 wait for the start. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Wild Dog Triathlon
The race was exceedingly well organized. Registration and packet pick-up was a breeze, the race started on time, and the courses were well-marked. Read the rest of this entry →