Posts Tagged ‘half-marathon training’

Race Report: Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

They colored my green shirt purple for this green screen pic! (Island Photos)

I ran the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015 with race sponsor GORE-TEX, returning to the City of Brotherly Love for the third time as a runner. I’d scored a personal best at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012, ran my third fastest 13.1-miler at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2014, and I was back to give the half-marathon another go on Sunday, November 22.

Nearly 22,000 runners finished races at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Weekend, with 10,899 finishers in the half-marathon, another 9,159 in the marathon, and 1,910 in the 8K. And approximately 60,000 spectators lined the course to cheer us on. My husband, Phil, joined me, along with a bunch of our running teammates.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

We are the champions! (RunKarlaRun.com)

The event is a big city race with a small town feel. Unlike more crowded marathons in New York and Chicago, runners wander into corrals just 15 minutes or so before the race’s 7 a.m. start. The vibe is relaxed and unhurried. It feels like the city simply wants you to relax and have a good time. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is at the start and the finish passing out high-fives to runners, setting the tone for a friendly race experience.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Expo fun! (RunKarlaRun.com)

The Expo

The Comcast Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center has a great selection of vendors. Last year, I bought some last minute race items. This year, I picked up some Clif Shots and a Christmas present for Phil. Plus, it’s fun to try some GORE-TEX shoes and splash around in the water pools at the GORE-TEX booth.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Comcast Health & Fitness Expo (RunKarlaRun.com)

Seriously you guys, if you run in the rain or snow, you need a pair of these shoes. They’ve been a game-changer for me. New Balance, Brooks, Asics, Saucony, The North Face, Salomon, and La Sportiva all make running shoes with GORE-TEX lining. Just look for models with GTX in the name.

How does it work? The GORE-TEX lining has more than 9 billion pores per square inch. Each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water. That means rain, puddle water, snow, and the like can’t get into your shoes (unless they spill over the top). At the same time, those pores are 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule, so sweat can get out.

Your feet stay dry, your shoes stay breathable. It’s a win-win. If you’re among the 75% of runners who head outdoors in cold and wet weather, have ever run in soggy shoes and waited days for them them to dry out, check out some GORE-TEX kicks. I’ve genuinely become an evangelist for this brand. I love it.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

We’re ready to run! (RunKarlaRun.com)

The Start

Phil and I left our hotel—1.5 miles to the start—at 5:45 a.m. and found a cab within 5 minutes. We were on site by 6 a.m. How’s that for no muss, no fuss? That’s what I mean about Philly being a low-key race. You could never do that in New York. Don’t get me wrong: the New York City Marathon is my favorite race ever, but it’s refreshing to run a big-city race where getting to the start isn’t an ordeal.

Despite heightened security at all of the start area entry points, we waited less than 5 minutes to get into the staging ground.

We found a bank of port-a-potties close to the entrance that no one seemed to be using. So we didn’t have to wait in line at all. Love that! The bathrooms near the corrals closer to the start time are much more crowded.

Baggage was easy to find, and by the time we’d used the bathroom and dropped off our bag, we still had 35 minutes to kill before the start. Read the rest of this entry →

27

Nov 2015

Ready For GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Ready for GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Ready to race! (Phil Hospod)

Cue butterflies in my stomach. The GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon is my goal race. I’m running with Team GORE-TEX.

In my Fall Running Schedule: 13.1, 26.2, and 200, Oh My!, I wrote: “So this is it. I’m racing this one, baby. My time will start with a 1.”

Wow, I’m really good at talking a big game.

After struggling with plantar fasciitis for the last month, my doc has cleared me to run. Forward, march!

Ready For GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Shoes ready!

Ready or Not?

Am I ready to PR? The power-of-positive-thinking answer is: Yes. The honest answer is: I don’t know.

My training has been rough. I missed 5 days of training thanks to the flu. Then another 11 days thanks to the PF and bone spur. Even since going back to running, it’s been touch and go with my foot pain waxing and waning. I don’t feel it at all when I’m walking around or running at an easy pace. But when I put some speed under my legs, I can sometimes feel the ache in my heel.

The longest run I’ve been able to muster since my 13.1-miler at the Fjord Norway Half Marathon on September 5 is 9.3 miles. I ran the Fjord Norway Half Marathon at an easy pace, having hiked 9 miles the day before and collectively run, walked, and hiked 60 miles in 10 days. The race was the grand finale to my run around Norway, and I counted finishing in 2:20:55— having run a rock-steady and unwavering 10:45 pace from start to finish on an undulating course—a major win.

Ready for GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

At Fjord Norway Half Marathon

Then I ran 18 miles in 24 hours at New Balance Reach The Beach Relay two weeks later.

After that the flu struck, along with my foot problems. Those two ailments wiped out a chunk of October; I logged just 9 runs the entire month, the equivalent of 2 weeks of workouts. Whereas I logged 20 workouts in August and 18 in September. I’ve fit in 12 workouts in the last three weeks that I’ve been back to running, with the longest single run being 8.1 miles. I’m used to going into a half-marathon with a 15 to 16-mile long run under my belt. This feels scary. I just haven’t been able to build back up to double digit runs.

On the plus side, I’ve done a lot of back-to-back runs since then, covering anywhere from 10 to 13 miles in 24 hours. Plus, I’ve run more mileage overall than I ever have before. I’ve already surpassed all my annual mileage totals from years prior, and it’s not even December yet. So while my single run endurance isn’t there, my speed and volume are looking good.

My foot is feeling OK, too. I’ve been wearing a night splint for my plantar fasciitis, KT Tape on my foot during longer runs, and got a nice massage to work out the tightness in my calves, along with ice baths for my foot, rolling sessions, and lots of stretching. Is it 100%? No. Does it feel 100% with the KT Tape and all these efforts? Pretty darn close. So I’m going against my nature and choosing to be optimistic.

Ready for GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Been stretching a lot lately.

Here I Come

Considering all of this, I was tempted to say, I’m not going to attempt a PR. But…. I’ve decided to go for it. I’d rather crash and burn knowing I tried than wonder, “What if?”

Why? Two races haunt me. OK, I’m being dramatic. They don’t haunt me, but they were missed opportunities. They were both days were I went out to run a good hard effort and enjoy the race rather than PR. Then, late in the race I realized I was having such a great day that I could have PRed. But it was too late. I’d gone out too slowly and couldn’t make up the time. Read the rest of this entry →

21

Nov 2015

Ready For The Runner’s World Half & Festival

Runner's World Half & Festival

Runner’s World Half & Festival (Photo: Ryan Hulvat/Runner’s World)

Greetings from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and the Runner’s World Half & Festival presented by Altra!

I’m seven weeks into my fall running schedule and 24-week training plan for the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, with a PR attempt at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon along the way. The Fjord Norway Half Marathon and New Balance Reach The Beach Relay are behind me.

Now on the menu is the Runner’s World Half & Festival! I’m attending as a guest of Runner’s World, and will be posting to InstagramFacebook, and Twitter throughout the trip if you want to virtually run with me.

Race Report: Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half

Crossing the finish. (Photo: @myEPevents, Inc)

Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival

I had a blast at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival in 2014, despite it being my roughest half-marathon ever. Runner’s World put together a thoughtful weekend of activities, seminars, and races with dedicated runners in mind.

So I’m excited to head to Bethlehem for the Runner’s World Half & Festival presented by Altra. Once again, they’ve got a full weekend of running cooked up: as in 26.2 miles full of running.

I’ll start with the the Altra 3.8-Mile Trail Run Presented by REI on Friday, then the Hat Trick of races that includes the Runner’s World 5K and Runner’s World 10K on Saturday, followed by the Runner’s World Half Marathon on Sunday for a total of 26.2 miles.

I’ll also get a tour of the Runner’s World headquarters, led by none other than Bart Yasso; get fitted with a pair of Altra running shoes by company founder Golden Harper; take a trail running course with Yasso, Harper, and Runner’s World Gear Editor Bryan Boyle; and eat lunch with Deena Kastor, among other activities.

Basically, it’s like a running fantasy camp. Consider me sufficiently geeked. Read the rest of this entry →

Fall Running Schedule: 13.1, 26.2, and 200, Oh My!

Fall Running Schedule

Running is East Hampton, NY with Cinderella (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

This is it, folks. The moment I have have been waiting for: My fall running schedule 2015, aka the season when I finally run a sub-2 hour half marathon. There, I said it. I’m throwing down. I know, I know. I’ve said it so many times before. And so many times I have failed. But if at first you don’t succeed…

This is the one goal that has eluded me. My white whale. My holy grail. My impossible dream. A mere 30 seconds stand between my personal best and dream time. Those 30 seconds are coming off the clock.

It all starts August 31. Thanks to the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project, I’ve got a personalized (and complimentary) training plan to see me through.

But that’s not all. After that, I’ve got another goal I’m working toward: a winter 2016 marathon PR. I haven’t run a marathon since 2013. So the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project put together a seamless 24-week training plan for me that takes me all the way through four tune-up and two goal races in a running schedule that spans September to February.

Here’s the run down. And, of course, I’ll share more info about each race as it approaches!

Fall Running Schedule

Great Fjord Run (Photo: VisitNorway.com)

Great Fjord Run

Norway, September 5, 2016

What?! Norway? You bet! My husband, Phil, and I are headed on vacation to Sweden and Norway today. Naturally, I started poking around and found that the Great Fjord Run near Bergen just happens to be taking place while we’re there. So of course, we built our trip around it, as one of Norway’s premier running events with 6,000 participants from more than 30 countries. The event includes 5K, 10K, half-marathon, kids races and a walk. We’ll be running the half-marathon!

VisitNorway.com helped me put together an itinerary that includes touring Oslo and hiking the Fjords in Flam and Bergen. I’ll be posting to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter throughout the trip if you want to follow along.

Easy Run: Since it’s the beginning of my running schedule and the end of vacation, this will be a fun run for us with no delusions of running fast. Plus, we’ll want to take in the scenery as we cross three bridges where the waters of three fjords meet. So my training plan has me running this one at an easy pace.

Fall Running Schedule: Halves & Relays & Marathons, Oh My!

(Photo: Reach The Beach Relay)

New Balance Reach The Beach Relay

New Hampshire, September 18-19, 2015

The New Balance Reach The Beach Relay has been on my bucket list for a while. When New Balance invited me to be their guest as part of a media team, I jumped at the chance. Reach The Beach takes teams of 12 runners 200 miles across New Hampshire, from the White Mountains to Hampton Beach State Park on the Atlantic shore. Each team member runs three legs of the relay, totaling about 16.6 miles over the the course of 24 hours. We start Friday afternoon and finish Saturday evening, running around the clock in shifts through 36 transition areas. This will be my first relay and my first race in New Hampshire. Mountain vistas, serene lakes, and a covered bridge or two are on the menu. I can’t wait!

Tune-Up: My Run S.M.A.R.T Project training plan has me using this as a tune-up at half-marathon race pace. So it will be my first chance to test my fitness once my running schedule starts. I doubt I’ll be running all 16.6. miles at half-marathon race pace, but hopefully I’ll do a leg or two at a fast clip. Read the rest of this entry →

Ironman World Champ Mirinda Carfrae Running Workout

Ironman World Champ Mirinda Carfrae Running Workout

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.

Ironman World Champ Mirinda Carfrae Running Workout

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 →

RnR SD Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Running San Diego (Photo: Ashley Mateo)

I have good news and bad news.

The good news: I successfully met my half marathon training program goal of two strength training sessions per week! I also hit the trail! Yay!

The bad news: There’s trouble in paradise. After 10 years as a runner, it looks like I might finally have my first running injury. Oh sure, I’ve been sideline before, but by non-running related maladies—like that time I fell off a horse and hurt my hip or that time I found out I have arthritis, which I’ve actually managed through running. (And yes, my ortho told me it’s probably genetic and encouraged me to keep running. She was so right. It rarely bothers me any more.)

After five solid weeks of training, I noticed a niggle in my left foot. Not pain, but a slight discomfort under the ball of my foot while I run. I followed the old adage: if it hurts for two days, take two days off. When I resumed running, the discomfort returned. Booooo. It’s especially frustrating since I’ve been strength training to avoid precisely this type of thing. What does this mean for my race calendar? I don’t know!!!

Goal Half Marathon Time—1:59:59
Current Half Marathon PR—2:00:30
Goal Race: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, May 31
Tune-Up Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge NY 10K, May 3
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 1 + 2
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

WEEK 5

Easy: 3 miles outside

Progression: 5.15 miles on the treadmill

Strength: 1 hour strength-interval session at Westin Wellness Escapes in San Diego. This was the first time I felt the mysterious foot niggle.

Easy: 3.2 miles outside along the water in San Diego with my Shape.com editor, Ashley. Could still run totally fine, but my foot felt funky. But who cares when your run looks like this?

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

California Dreaming! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Strength: 1 hour strength-interval session at Westin Wellness Escapes in San Diego.

Long: None. After feeling the foot ache two days in a row, I decided to skip the long run in my half marathon training program and take two days off. I was pretty bummed about it because I had two more days in California and had another gorgeous run planned. Read the rest of this entry →

22

Apr 2015

RnR San Diego Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

Spring comes to Central Park (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Four weeks down, eight weeks to go on my half marathon training plan for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. My tune-up race at The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K is less than four weeks away. How’d my last two weeks of training go? Comme ci comme ça.

I’m aiming to run four times a week, following a half marathon training plan from Greg McMillan’s book You (Only Faster). I’m also slowly building my mileage from my winter base of 20 miles per week to 30 miles a week and beyond. Last week I said: “I want to get off the road and onto dirt once a week during my runs. I also want to up my strength training from once to twice a week.” Um, not so much. I had some great workouts, but did zero trail running, minimal strength training, and missed a long run. Thus the comme ci comme ça.

Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

Announcing at the Scotland Run (Photo: Phil Hospod)

But I also announced at the Scotland Run 10K with 8,000 runners, some in kilts, storming Central Park. Announcing is always a highlight of my week. If I can’t run a race, the next best thing is announcing at one!

So here’s the run down on my last two weeks of training.

Goal Half Marathon Time—1:59:59
Current Half Marathon PR—2:00:30
Goal Race: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, May 31
Tune-Up Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge NY 10K, May 3
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 1 + 2

WEEK 3
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

The U.N.

Fartlek: 3.65 miles outside. After a warm-up, I ran 1 minute on, 1 minute off fartleks. It was a solid workout and I was pushing really hard by the end. I ran past the United Nations, which is a beautiful complex.

Hills: 4 miles on the treadmill. I ran 10 x 1-minute hill repeats at a 5% incline, roughly the incline I’ll face at Bear Mountain. Got a great sweat going on this one. Big bonus: Positive K’s “I Got A Man” came up in my running mix. I usually run with all my music on one giant shuffle, so I don’t actually repeat songs all that often. Yeah, I was super pumped! Pretty sure I got some stares as I rapped and gestured along. “But how you talking? Pshaw, whatever!”

Easy: 5.4 miles on the treadmill. I’ve been doing all my easy runs as progression runs, but still felt great the whole time on this one. Watching A League of Their Own didn’t hurt either!

Strength: Tacked this onto the easy run above. Did some planks, push-ups, and what not, followed by foam rolling, just so I could watch more of A League of Their Own.

Long: 0 miles! Ahhhhhh! Totally skipped what was supposed to be a 9-miler. Why? No good reason whatsoever. I had a bad bout of cramps, and I just wasn’t in the mood. Told myself I’d do it the next day. But I slept oddly and cranked my neck, so the next day and the day after that were a wash. I didn’t run for 3 days in a row. Instead of trying to make up the long run, I decided to just plow ahead with my half marathon training plan. Read the rest of this entry →

08

Apr 2015

Half Marathon Training Schedule Weeks 1 + 2

Half Marathon Training Schedule Weeks 1 + 2

Central Park tempo run. (Photo: Seth Ross)

I’m in the third week of my half marathon training schedule for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon and first week of The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K training. How goes it? So far, so good. I’m aiming to run at least four times a week, following a four to five day per week plan from Greg McMillan’s book You (Only Faster). I’m also slowly building my mileage from my winter base of 20 miles per week to 30 miles a week and beyond. By that measure, the first two weeks were a success.

Goal Half Marathon Time—1:59:59
Current Half Marathon PR—2:00:30
Goal Race: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, May 31
Tune-Up Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge NY 10K, May 3

WEEK 1
Half Marathon Training Schedule Weeks 1 + 2

Hills!

Tempo: 6.65 miles in Central Park. This was a glorious run. I did 4 miles at what felt like tempo pace and might have set a new 4-mile personal best. Great way to kick off training!

Easy: 2 miles on city sidewalks. I love running errands as my easy runs. Two birds…

Hills: 3.3 miles with 8 hill repeats on the East River Greenway. This was my first proper hill workout in a looooooong time. But my half marathon training schedule called for hill repeats, so I jogged to a steep hill that’s a tenth of a mile long and just pushed up it as fast as I could. This workout reminded me why I haven’t done hill work in so long. Um, I hate it!

The hill sits in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge with the view pictured above. It reminded me what an incredible city New York is. And I’m really lucky that I get to run it. So I’ve started snapping shots of city landmarks that I spot on my runs and sharing them on Instagram with #RunNYC. Read the rest of this entry →

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon Training Begins

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon Training Begins

Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon start (Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series)

After a fantastic winter of fun running and base-building at events like the Bermuda Triangle Challenge and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, I’m ready to start testing my speed once again. Half marathon training season officially started Sunday for my first goal race of the year: the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon on Sunday, May 31!

I’m really excited for this one. I’ve never run a Rock ‘n’ Roll event, and I’ll be attending the race as a guest of Competitor Group. For my first Rock ‘n’ Roll experience, I wanted to run one of their marquee events, and it doesn’t get bigger than Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & 1/2. The 2014 event had nearly 23,000 finishers between the marathon and half-marathon. Plus, I’ve only visited San Diego once, more than 10 years ago, so I’m definitely due for a return trip.

Half Marathon Training

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series)

A tempo run PR in Central Park (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

My 12-week half marathon training program started Sunday!

I kicked it off with a stellar tempo run in Central Park—my fastest ever. I ran 4.35 miles in 39:03 at an 8:58 pace. Um, folks, that’s a 4-mile personal best for me! My current 4-mile PR is 36:00 at a 9-minute pace. Of course, I won’t count my Central Park tempo as an official PR since the course was not accurately measured, but just knowing that a late winter workout where I was working hard but not all out was in PR territory makes me deliriously happy. Read the rest of this entry →

10

Mar 2015

Disney Bound: Princess Half Marathon 2015 Weekend

Disney Bound: Disney Princess Half Marathon 2015

The Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge medal (Photo: runDisney)

The countdown is on! The Disney Princess Half Marathon 2015 Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals starts in just a few days! I’ll be running all the races—Disney Princess 5K, Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, and Disney Princess Half Marathon, earning my Glass Slipper Challenge medal in the process.

Disney Bound: Princess Half Marathon 2015 Weekend

Running with my Prince Charming at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. (Photo: brightroom)

Although this weekend snuck up on me, I’m incredibly excited. It will be my seventh runDisney race, second time at Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, and the first doing the Glass Slipper Challenge. For a gal who named her dog Cinderella, this is pretty exciting stuff.

But even more important than earning a Cinderella-themed medal is the woman who will be by my side: my sister.

Back in 2012, my husband (then fiancé) and I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon as Cinderella and Prince Charming, where he paced me to a new personal best. I’d been training hard and was really excited for the race.

My sister and her kids came along for vacation too. My niece and nephew ran in the runDisney Kids Race, and Sis was out there early on half-marathon morning cheering me on along the course and at the finish.

She’s long been one of my best supporters, coming out to root for me at the Chicago Marathon, New York City Marathon, and other races, often with a home-made sign in hand. Read the rest of this entry →

On Track w/Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco

On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Training with Nike at Icahn Stadium (Nike)

Today is my five-year blogiversary! And I’m celebrating the best way I know how: going for a run. On Sunday, October 19 I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as part of a Nike media group. When I cross the finish line and earn my Tiffany & Co. necklace, it will be a reminder of just how far I’ve come since I launched “Run, Karla, Run!” back in 2009. And how far we’ve all come together.

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon from On Track With The Nike Women's Marathon

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)

It’s appropriate that my five-year anniversary is occurring around a race. My very first post was about running the 2009 Bank of Chicago Marathon on the anniversary of my father’s death. I’m from Chicago and the course runs right past my dad’s old office, a place I spent many weekends growing up. Running that race on that day in that city was bittersweet for me. You can read that first post, and its follow-up if you’re curious.

Chicago's Merchandise Mart from On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, where my dad worked. (Phil Hospod)

But opening my blog with a post about the town where I got my start as a writer—on my high school newspaper, where I eventually served as editor-in-chief— was a fitting beginning to my career as a running reporter, which has taken me from Chicago and my home in New York City to places I never would have dreamed of five years ago: to far-flung locales like Israel, Peru and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, to new career frontiers like hosting a web and TV show for New York Road Runners on ABC in New York, to seeing my byline in publications like SHAPE and Canadian Running, RunnersWorld.com and Active.com, and right here on RunKarlaRun.com.

Now, I’m off to my first race in San Francisco. Rather than try to PR on the city’s fierce hills, I’m going to use the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as a litmus test. This time, it’s all about my marathon pace for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon in November. Can I run 13.1 miles at my goal marathon pace? If I can, will it feel easy enough? It’s time to find out.

On Track With The Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Stretching (Nike)

Lessons From The Track

Last month, I hit the track with a Nike+ NYC training group, including some of the ladies who are joining me in San Francisco. We ventured to Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City where we ran a workout led by Nike+ Head Coach Chris Bennett. It consisted of a warm-up, dynamic stretches and drills, strides across the infield, a speed workout on the track, cool down and foam rolling. Read the rest of this entry →

Marathon Training Derailed? Get Right Back on Track

Running past Inca ruins in Peru! From: Marathon Training Derailed? Get Right Back On Track

Running in Cusco, Peru (RunKarlaRun.com)

Time for my monthly marathon training update! When I last wrote about training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco on October 19 and GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon on November 23, my “train” was eerily on track. I wrote:

I feel like pulling a Harold Zidler from Moulin Rouge! and screaming, ‘Everything’s going so well!’ But I know that training can change as quickly as the wind. So instead, I’m simply grateful that I’m motivated and on track. That certainly isn’t always the case.

Um, yerp. Of course, as Yeats wrote: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” Hold it did not. The train fell off the tracks.

A week later, I missed my long run for no good reason whatsoever—life simply got in the way. The following week, I set out on Saturday for my long run of 12 miles, only to eke out 6. I wasn’t feeling well at all—a sore throat and general tiredness soon gave way to a full-blown cold with fever and chills. It was ill-timed. My husband, Phil, and I were on our way to Peru and Panama the next day for a two-week running vacation.

Machu Picchu! From: Marathon Training Derailed? Get Right Back On Track

Machu Picchu! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Sick on Vacation

We left on Sunday morning and got to the base town for Machu Picchu on Monday afternoon. I spent three flights and one train ride to Machu Picchu and the first full day on the ground in Peru incredibly sick. As Phil walked around town, I laid in bed shivering and desperately trying to get warm and healthy. We had tickets to tour Machu Picchu, the impetus for our trip, on Tuesday, the next day. There was no way I was missing that.

Machu Picchu! From: Marathon Training Derailed? Get Right Back On Track

The classic Machu Picchu shot (RunKarlaRun.com)

Thankfully, my fever finally broke on Monday night after almost three full days. We bussed to Machu Picchu early Tuesday morning, toured the ruins, and hiked Montana Machu Picchu, the mountain that gives the site its name. It was a big push for me, and I was incredibly tired, but I really didn’t want to miss it. All told, we were on our feet for 10 hours and hiked 5,560 ft of elevation change, topping out at 10,112 ft. Read the rest of this entry →

Hiking, Running and Touring Peru and Panama

Touring Peru, Hiking Machu Picchu & Running Lima

Machu Picchu (©Pedro Szekely/Flickr via CC BY-SA 2.0 license)

Buen viaje! I’m off for a 12-day trip touring Peru and Panama! It’s a last-minute adventure—and by last-minute, I mean my husband, Phil, and I decided on the vacation and booked our flights exactly one week ago. We still don’t have all of our hotels sorted. Details, details.

What’s important is that we’re going to straight to Machu Picchu, which has been on my lifetime bucket list as long as I can remember. I’ve written about the Inca Trail Marathon in the past, and while we booked too late to hike the trail (trail passes sell out months in advance), we’ll still get to tour the ruins and hike one of the mountains around the ancient Inca citadel.

After Machu Picchu, we’ll spend a few days in Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the capital of the Inca empire. With Machu Picchu at nearly 8,000 ft. and Cuzco at 11,200 ft., Phil and I keep joking that we’re altitude training for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco leading up to Philly. We’re just hoping we don’t get altitude sickness like so many people I know. (Shout-out to running and blogging friend, Elle at a Fast Paced Life, who just went to Peru, too.)

RunKarlaRun.com

Maraton RPP Scotiabank in Lima

Then we head to Lima for one last Peruvian adventure: running the Maratón RPP Scotiabank. After we’d already settled on Peru and come up with a tentative itinerary, in my usual way, I started Googling to see if there were any races going on when we’d be around. I found three: The Panamericana Running 10K and 5K in Cuzco, The Terry Fox Run 5K/10K in Lima and the Maratón RPP Scotiabank in Lima.

Rather than put ourselves through a race at elevation in Cuzco, we got really excited about the idea of the Maratón RPP Scotiabank, which bills itself as the largest running race in Peru with 20,000 registrants. Contrary to the name, it’s not a full 26.2-miles race, but an event with half-marathon and 10K options. Obviously, Phil and I were in. More on that later…

Since we are flying Copa Air through Panama, and Copa Air allows free stopovers in Panama City, we decided to end the trip in the land that connects North America and South, the Caribbean to the Pacific. We’ll spend two nights in Panama City and two nights on the beach in the Gulf of Panama. Yep, I can’t get Van Halen’s “Panama” out of my head. Especially now that I’m sitting in the Panama City airport surrounded by stands selling Panama hats.

I’ve never been to either Peru or Panama. Excited? Crazy excited! We’re hiking, running, touring and relaxing in two countries that have long been on my radar. Perfecto.

Adiós, amigos!

My Running Mantras For Racing And Training

My Running Mantras

“Just Keep Pushing!” (RunKarlaRun.com)

Recently, someone asked me: What’s your running mantra? I didn’t always have one. But this summer I’ve been using two mantras that have really been working for me. When I’m struggling and need to dig deep, I turn to these two phrase that somehow spur me on.

1) Just keep pushing

Hiking, Running and Eating in Italy's Cinque Terre

Pushing is easy when the run is this beautiful. (RunKarlaRun.com)

This is my go-to racing mantra. My husband thinks it’s too simple. “There’s no magic to it, no poetry to it,” he says. He prefers mantras like, “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” and, “Pain is temporary, glory is forever.” Yes, he actually says those to himself. Perhaps that’s why he is a Boston Qualifier and I am not.

But that’s the funny thing about mantras. What works for one person does not always work for someone else. Anytime he’s tried to encourage me during a run with one of his mantras, I just get annoyed. I don’t know why, but waxing poetic about pain seems to make me angry. And not in a good, “Yeah, I’m going to crush this run!” sort of way. But in a “Shut your face, you’re not helping!” sort of way. Read the rest of this entry →

Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF Course + Training

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. (Nike)

A few weeks ago, I announced that I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco on October 19 as part of a Nike media group. I was waiting for Nike to release the course map before I decide if the race will be the scene of my sub-2 hour half marathon attempt.

Well, the course map is finally here! For the 11th edition of the race, Nike has drawn a completely new route through San Francisco.

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

Course Map

Like years of yore, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon starts in San Francisco’s Union Square.

But instead of heading north to the Marina and Presidio, the first three miles take runners through the city streets, including the iconic Alamo Square neighborhood with its rows of Victorian houses.

Nike Women's Half SF Course Map is Here!

San Francisco’s Alamo Square neighborhood. (Nike)

Miles 4 through 8 tour the bucolic 1,017-acre Golden Gate Park before another mile through the often-foggy Richmond District. Read the rest of this entry →

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