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 →
I thought this would be the perfect time to share an essay I wrote back in August 2007 called “I’ve Got Peace Like a River.” I was one month into training for my first marathon—the New York City Marathon—and at the end of a religion reporting fellowship. I’d spent the previous eight months immersing myself in the world of belief, traveling to India and across the U.S. to uncover stories of faith.
Near the end of the fellowship, my colleagues and I went on retreat at an Anglican monastery that observes complete silence for 12 hours every day, from 8:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. It was a unique experience to play Scrabble in silence and eat breakfast at communal tables in quietude.
But it gave me a chance for reflection; I think that was the point. In the stillness, I found that running, rowing, and swimming—the exercise of my life—have been the conduits of my own spirituality.
I’ve Got Peace Like a River
A tree on the Hudson River. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
Floating. The sun stares down, turning the inside of my eyelids red. The water feels warm, but a cold current tickles my fingers, rolling over them in tiny waves. My arms above my head, my toes pointed, I stretch as long as I can, tensing all my muscles, then relaxing. Little splashes of water wash over my face as the wake of a boat crosses the river toward me.
I float downstream. I am all alone. Just me and my river.
The Hudson runs past my home in Manhattan. But here, at the Holy Cross Monastery in upstate New York, it’s a retreat. A retreat from my work-a-day world into the inner sanctum of my own being. Read the rest of this entry →
It was snowing just yesterday, my Christmas tree is lighting up my living room and Christmas is just two weeks away. Wondering what to get for the runner on your list? These are just a few of my favorite things: the best gifts for runners this year.
I get lots of samples from sports companies and buy plenty of gear myself. The products on this list represent my favorite clothes, gadgets and gear currently available from a range of brands. In clothing, I’ve tried the women’s versions, but many come in men’s options too. I’ve indicated which items are available for men or in unisex sizing—a full 30 of them are. And I’ve included the list prices, though you’ll find many items for less than that.
Also, if it’s been in a past gift guide of mine, I didn’t include it here. But many of the products I highlighted in the days of yore are still available. So here are my guides from 2012, 2011, and 2009.
Without further ado, it’s time to get shopping and wish-listing. Here are my favorite running jackets, layers, tights, shorts, tanks, socks, sleeves, sports bras, gadgets, books and more this year. There are nearly 50 items in all.
What an amazing day to be in New York City. The 2013 ING New York City Marathon came back with the biggest field of runners in the history of the sport. At the 43rd running of the race 50,304 finishers made it the world’s largest marathon ever.
Bryan Steinhauer ran the ING New York City Marathon after recovering from a life-threatening attack and coma. (Photo: On The Run/NYRR)
In this episode of “On The Run” Tim Hutchings, Carrie Tollefson and I look at the highlights from the race, talk to some runners including pros and charity runners, and follow-up with a few of the athletes we profiled in previous episodes including Bryan Steinhauer, Team One Spirit, Bill Rancic and more. We also take a look back at the excitement of race week.
But I’d also like to share my thoughts about the marathon and what it means to me.
It was an honor to be a part of race week and the marathon, and to be in the middle of all the action. I’ve run the ING New York City Marathon three times and watched as a spectator even more. Each time, New York didn’t disappoint. It was my first marathon and it still stands as my favorite. Read the rest of this entry →
The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 20, 2013 was my seventh marathon in as many years. Put on by Canada Running Series, the entire event was top-notch with a flat course around Canada’s largest city.
Hugging much of the city’s waterfront, the course is known as a fast, but sometimes windy, race.
But this year, runners couldn’t have asked for more ideal weather. The temperature at the start hovered around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, warming up to 55 later in the day. Clear skies brought plenty of sunshine, and wind was negligible. It was a perfect day to run a marathon.
More than 20,000 runners tackled races at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: 3,655 runners finished the marathon, 10,094 finished the half-marathon, and 6,493 finished the 5K. Runners came from every Canadian province, more than 40 U.S. states, and 60 countries around the world. I heard runners speaking a myriad of languages, and heard even more end their sentences with, “Eh?” Only in Canada. Read the rest of this entry →
The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Course Map
Well, this is it folks. In a little over 60 hours I’ll be at the starting line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. You’d think that after running six marathons, wrapping my brain around that prospect would get easier. But somehow it never does.
As always, it’s been a long and winding road to get to this point.
Running the Kaua’i Half Marathon (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
I started off marathon training season the wrong way: with a hip injury I sustained from falling off a horse. One month of physical therapy and two triathlons later, I was finally ready to focus on running long again.
2013 Yonkers Marathon and Half Marathon medals and bib. (Photo: NYCRUNS)
The Yonkers Marathon is the second oldest marathon in the U.S., running for the 88th time on September 29, 2013. The race has a storied history going back to Thanksgiving Day in 1907. Two-time Olympic marathoner John Kelley dubbed it the “marathoner’s marathon” and the moniker stuck.
The Yonkers Marathon has gone through many iterations and course changes over the years. After its initial run from 1907-1917, the race died, but was resurrected in 1935. It’s been run every year since. In decades past, the race was home to the national championships and Olympic Trials. Running legend Ted Corbitt ran the race 26 times.
This year, nearly 800 runners finished the Yonkers Marathon and Half Marathon. I used the marathon as a 20-mile training run for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 20, and my final test to help me decide if I would stick with the marathon or switch to the half marathon there. Read the rest of this entry →
View of Manhattan from Newport Town Square. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Direct Edge Newport Liberty Half Marathon
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Direct Edge Newport Liberty Half Marathon is a low-frills event in Jersey City, N.J. with 2,700 runners and a gorgeous course.
When I say gorgeous, I mean gorgeous. As the website claims, this is easily the most beautiful half marathon course in New York City’s metro area. I’ve run the NYC Half, Brooklyn Half, Staten Island Half and Yonkers Half. While they all have their charms—run through Times Square at the NYC Half, finish on the Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn, watch FDNY fire boats perform a water salute in Staten Island, and take in cliff high views of the Hudson River in Yonkers—the Newport Liberty Half Marathon offers more breathtaking views mile for mile than any other NYC area race I’ve done. Read the rest of this entry →
I want to make it to the starting line healthy and strong. (Photo: Phil Hospod)
Injury can be frustrating, especially when you’ve got a full slate of racing plans. But I want to make it to the starting line healthy and strong. So I’m counting down the weeks until I’m 100 percent by swimming, biking and running away from my injury…literally.
It’s been 7.5 weeks since I fell off a horse and injured my hip. I bruised the bone and the muscle, along with some whiplash to my neck. It was incredibly painful the first week, but luckily my x-rays showed no fractures. After two weeks off, I eased back into running and have been in doctor-prescribed physical therapy to strengthen my hip and get rid of the traumatic bursitis that settled into the joint.
I’m no running coach, but after eight years as a runner and four years as a running reporter, I’ve learned a repertoire of workouts that I love. Every Wednesday, I share one of them.
This week, let’s look at the progression run. Stamina workouts aren’t my strong suit. But for runners like me, a progression run is a great option.
What is a Progression Run?
The idea is simple: start your workout slowly and finish faster than you began. In races, we call it running a negative split. In workouts, it’s a progression run. There are many ways to tackle a progression run: breaking it into half or thirds, or running at a steady pace for most of the workout and then kicking it up a notch for the final mile or minutes, or making the harder effort at the end longer than the shorter, easier effort up front.
Kim Smith passes the Cyclone roller coaster on her way to victory at the Brooklyn Half. She ran the race as a half marathon training run. (Photo: NYRR)
Sometimes races aren’t about racing. Toeing the line in competition is exhilarating, but sometimes it’s good to use the occasional race as a training run or fun run, especially during half marathon training.
Kim Smith won the 2013 Brooklyn Half on May 18 in a new course record of 1:11:24. But the three-time Olympian from New Zealand who lives and trains in Providence, RI wasn’t even racing. She ran the half-marathon as a tempo-pace training run, as she told me in pre- and post-race interviews for “NYRR On The Run at the Brooklyn Half.”
“I’m going to treat it as a workout,” Smith told me at the race pre-party the day before.
Indeed, Smith’s half-marathon personal best is 1:07:11, a full four-minutes faster than her finish time in Brooklyn.
“It was a pretty relaxed effort,” Smith said after the race. “I didn’t go all out.”
She said she’s training for the track season and will be back in New York City on Saturday, June 8 to race the Oakley New York Mini 10K, a New York Road Runners event that usually attracts a stellar competitive field. The women-only race boasts a $10,000 prize for first place, and past champions include the legendary Grete Waitz, Olympic-medalist Deena Kastor and World Champions Lornah Kiplagat, Edna Kiplagat and Linet Masai.
Kim Smith breaks the tape at the 2013 Brooklyn Half in course record time, though 4 minutes slower than her personal best. (Photo: NYRR)
I found Smith’s decision to run, but not race, really encouraging. Never mind the fact that not racing for her still might mean winning and scoring a course record. What’s important is that she set-out to do the race as a half marathon training run and did just that.
In my mind, there are three types of races for mid-packers like me: personal record attempts, training runs, and fun runs. Pros and elite runners have a fourth type that will likely elude me my entire running career: running for the win or the podium. Though I did once place in the top 10 women at a small local race, out of 65 ladies. While that will likely be my claim to fame for a long time, the other three types of runs will always have a place in my racing repertoire, especially during half marathon training. Read the rest of this entry →
Running toward New Year’s resoultions (Photo: Phil Hospod)
2012 was a notable year in running. The pros dazzled at the London Olympics, the New York City Marathon was canceled for the first time in its history, and a vice-presidential candidate’s not-quite-true claims of marathon glory brought running into the national conversation.
On a personal level, it was a meaningful year for me too. I married my Prince Charming, who proposed after a half-marathon; I ran for my cousin Laura, who died from cancer in June; and I started hosting a web series about running. I also knocked out four personal records in the marathon, half-marathon and triathlon, and ran 10 races total to reach a personal milestone of over 50 “career” races.
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Visiting the Philly Finish the day before the race.
The Philadelphia Marathon is a big city race with a small town feel. Unlike more crowded marathons like 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. There’s no closing time given for the baggage trucks or corrals, for that matter. 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, flat and fast course. With 11,617 finishers, the 2012 race on November 18 was the largest in the city’s history. Another 10,921 runners finished the half-marathon.
It’s been an eventful training season for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18. As always with marathon training, I’ve enjoyed plenty of highs and lows over the course of the last few months. But marathon training comes down to this–how ready you are on race day. I’m ready to tackle Philly with a vengeance and leave all my cares out on the course in an attempt at my marathon personal record. Read the rest of this entry →
I’m not the fastest runner and I’m not the slowest, but I am a running nerd. A journalist by trade, I love to research, read, learn and cogitate. So stick with me. Like all good nerds, I’ll do the homework and share it. But the running is up to you!