Posts Tagged ‘Training’

Race Report: Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

We are the champions! (

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.

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! (

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 (

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 spills 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! (

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 →


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 →


Nov 2015

Marathon Training For Your Brain, Funny Bone + Body

Marathon Training For Your Brain, Funny Bone + More

(Joshua Sortino/

It’s October, which means one thing: Marathon season is officially here!

Many of us will slog long miles in marathon training this month. I’m prepping for the Honolulu Marathon in 10 weeks, and I know many runners targeting the New York City Marathon, Philadelphia Marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and other races.

Others of us will toe the line at events this month, like the Wineglass Marathon, Chicago Marathon, and Marine Corps Marathon.

Others still are thinking about committing to 26.2 for the first time next year or a marathon training challenge like Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World Marathon in January.

Whatever your quest, I’m here to help with a round-up of my marathon articles at!

17 Things You Should Know Before Running Your 1st Marathon


This one was just plain fun to write. I don’t usually write “Listicles” but I couldn’t pass up sharing the wisdom I’ve culled from my seven marathons… in GIF form. I think #8 and #11 are my faves. Pretty sure they’ve happened to me during every single marathon.

What else would you add? Check out the list at

Marathon Training for Your Brain

You’ve put in the miles, training your body for the rigors of running 26.2. But is your mind ready too? Running a marathon is as much a mental battle as a physical one. Inevitable doubts and fears creep into many a marathoner’s mind. Train your brain while training your body with seven tips meant to help flex your mental muscle come race day.

Danielle at even shares her thoughts on “chunking.” Read it at 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

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 →

Bermuda Marathon Weekend Training Update

Bermuda Marathon Weekend Training Update

Yay! Vacation! (

In just three days, I’ll be at the start of the Bermuda Triangle Challenge at the Bermuda Marathon Weekend—three races over the course of three days in beautiful Bermuda, including a 1-mile, 10K, and half-marathon. I’m attending the weekend as a guest of the race’s organizers.

When I last wrote about the race in Training For A Bermuda Triangle Challenge PR Attempt, I firmly declared my desire to PR in the 10K.

So how goes it? Hmmmmmm.

Training was going swimmingly with four solid weeks of outstanding runs, including a weekly tempo run and fartlek workout, as I outlined in my Running New Year’s Resolutions for 2015. I started working toward those goals early.

I had an excellent last run of the year on Dec. 31, with a jog up to the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, while vacationing in California.

Bermuda Marathon Weekend Training Update

A run to the Hollywood sign (Phil Hospod)

Then I started the new year with a series of invigorating runs and hikes in Palm Springs (posts to come!), like this gorgeous spot in Indian Canyons on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation.

Bermuda Marathon Weekend Training Update

Indian Canyons in Palm Springs (Phil Hospod)

Then I got home from California and I got the worst cold I’ve ever had (at least that I can remember). It kept getting worse before it got better. My fever hit 101.5. 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. (

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, and, and right here on

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 →

My Running Mantras For Racing And Training

My Running Mantras

“Just Keep Pushing!” (

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. (

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 →

Race Report: 2014 Run for the Parks 4-Mile Run

Run For The Parks 4-Mile Run

Finishing Run For The Parks in Central Park. (Photo:

Regular readers know I host On The Run, New York Road Runners’ Web and TV show about running. It’s a job I genuinely love that has one flaw: I don’t get to run any of the races I cover for the show. It’s OK. I’ve run most of NYRR’s major events in the past: TCS New York City Marathon, NYC Half, Brooklyn Half, Staten Island Half, Fifth Avenue Mile, the list goes on.

Thankfully, NYRR puts on dozens of other races throughout the year. I’ve done a New York Road Runner’s 4-mile run in April every year since 2007, except 2012. It’s traditionally my first fitness test of the year. Basically, this one is my annual wake-up call.

Run For The Parks 4-Mile Run

Stretching in Central Park after my 6-miler on Saturday. (Photo:

Today, I finished the City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks 4-Mile Run. Last year, the race on April 21 was an especially emotional one. Just one week after the attack at the Boston Marathon, New York Road Runners turned the event into a Run For Boston and benefit for The One Fund Boston. I’ve never seen so much blue in Central Park. My race report is here: An Emotional Run For Boston At Run For The Parks.

This year’s race reminded me of a few things.

First, I’m lucky to call Central Park home turf. The day before the race, I logged 6 miles, much of them through the park. After a winter of hiding out on the treadmill and running errands on the city streets, Central Park kicked my butt. It’s both an unusually beautiful and challenging place to run.

My splits at this race were a case in point. Mile 1 is uphill and (and pretty crowded): I ran 9:20. Slow for me. Too slow. Mile 2 is mostly flat: I ran 8:39. Mile 3 is a series of three hills: I ran 9:01. Mile 4 is largely downhill: I ran 8:35. Read the rest of this entry →


Apr 2014

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 4

runner's world holiday running streak, Central Park

Running through Central Park on Christmas Day.

This is it. With four weeks down, I’m entering the final stretch of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak.

So far, my quest to run at least 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day has been a resounding success.

I had a slight drop-down in mileage this week thanks to holiday festivities, but my Monday to Sunday calendar week was my highest yet at 28.94 miles.

It’s keeping me so motivated that I’m thinking on continuing the streak into 2014.

But one step at a time. I have to get to the finish line of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak first.

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 4

Wednesday, December 18: 3.51 miles

My favorite way to kill time on a treadmill is to push buttons. And a fartlek workout is a perfect workout for button-pushing. So I did 1-minute hard and 1-minute easy for 30 minutes with a little warm-up and cool-down on each side. Read the rest of this entry →


Dec 2013

I’m Going To Walt Disney World…Half Marathon!

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Minnie cheers runners at the 2013 Wat Disney World Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)

That’s right. In just three weeks, I’ll be at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend from January 8-12, and running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

The folks at runDisney graciously invited me and I just couldn’t say no.

Am I running the marathon again like last year? Um, no. With just a few weeks preparation, I’m not quite in marathon shape. Sure, I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 20 and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on November 9, but that 13.1 miles was my last long run. The longest I’ve gone since then is 6.5 miles.

As tempting as it would be to tackle the marathon or, even more, the Dopey Challenge, I’m “just” going to run every other race that weekend instead. That’s right, I’ll be tackling the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K and Walt Disney World Half Marathon on three consecutive days. Read the rest of this entry →

Best Gifts For Runners 2013: Karla’s Favorite Things

best gifts for runners

A winter scene by Currier & Ives.

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.

Best Gifts For Runners 2013

Running Jackets

Three very different options for different needs: visibility, wind and all weather. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Finished! (Photo:

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 →

Friday Foto: Triathlon Training Is Done. It’s Go Time

triathlon training, swim, triathlon

Triathletes dash into the water at the start of the World Military Triathlon in California. (Photo: Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jason R. William/US Navy)

That’s going to be me on Sunday at the Montauk Point Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon.

I’m really excited for the race. It’s my third triathlon, and unlike my first two triathlons I’ve actually had a decent triathlon training season. Read the rest of this entry →

Wednesday Workout: Progression Run

progression run, runner, running

Athletes Running, 1893

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.

My Favorite Progression Run Read the rest of this entry →

Olympian Desiree Davila Talks runDisney, Goals & More

runDisney, Disney running, Walt Disney World Marathon, Desiree Davila

Desiree Davila (in black) poses with runners at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Meet-Up. (Photo: runDisney)

Olympian and 2011 Boston Marathon runner-up Desiree Davila is no stranger to running Disney. I had a chance to catch up with the American running star at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January. We chatted about her recovery from injury, goals for the future and, of course, running at Walt Disney World.

“This is the only place in the world where people go, ‘I’m just doing the marathon,’” Davila said with a laugh.

Indeed, runDisney unveiled for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend the Dopey Challenge, an event that dares runners to complete four races on four consecutive days for a total of 48.6 miles: the Family Fun Run 5K on Thursday, a new Walt Disney World 10K on Friday, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday, and the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday. The Dopey Challenge is already sold-out for 2014. But runners can still register for the Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, where runners complete both the marathon and half marathon.

Desiree Davila, 29, didn’t run this year’s Walt Disney World Marathon. She’d been in long-term recovery from a femoral stress fracture, the same injury that forced her to drop out of the 2012 Olympic Marathon in London before the 5K mark.

After taking 12 weeks of from running, Davila slowly built up mileage and time on her feet.

“I took an extended amount of time off, let that all heal up, and I’m heading in the right direction now, making sure I’m 100 percent and slowly building mileage,” Davila said. Read the rest of this entry →

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