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 →
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.
We’re now one week into 2015, which means I should set some running New Year’s resolutions!
I wrote 10 Running Goals You Should Make for 2015 for SHAPE.com, a collection of resolutions that will make you a healthier and happier runner. Some of them I’m already good at doing, like “Work Hard, Play Hard“—pairing hard-lined PR goals with ones that are more fun, like taking a runcation. Others, I need to work on, like “Prioritize Injury Prevention“—I could certainly be better about dynamic warm-ups, strength training, rolling, and other preventative measures.
So here’s a look at how I did with my personal goals in 2014 and how I’m going to tweak them for 2015. As always, I want to build on my successes and learn from my failures.
New Year’s Resolutions For 2014 Analyzed and Tweaked For 2015
Chasing Cinderella (Phil Hospod)
1) 2014: Get even faster
I make this goal every year. I finished my very first race, a 4-miler, at an 11:34 pace. Now, almost eight years later, I run a 5K at a 7:59 pace. I’ve gotten much faster over the years. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that.
How’d I do in 2014? So-so at this one. I nabbed three PRs: 8K/5-mile road, 10K road, and ITU Sprint Distance Triathlon.
Why do I say that’s so-so? I still have 8K and 10K track times that are faster. The IAAF and USATF log track and road records separately, so I do too. That said, track records tend to be faster than road ones. The track is a nice flat, predictable surface. The road is not. My 8K PR was set on a hot, muggy day whereas the track PR was on a nice, cool fall day. So I’ll take it. Same with my 10K PR. I set it during the same fall track workout as my 8K, whereas my new road PR was the first half of the hilly Staten Island Half Marathon. So, all in all, I’m happy with both of those.
As for my triathlon PR, I was deliriously happy with that. It was the second time I’ve raced an ITU Sprint Distance course and I walloped my swim, bike, and run times. OK, so maybe I did get faster in 2014.
2015: Run tempos
This year, rather than focusing on PRs, I’m going to focus on faster overall paces in targeted workouts. I’m excellent at the easy run, and those will remain just that—easy. But what I’m not great at are tempo runs. I don’t do them, and it reflects in my racing. So for 2015 my “Get even faster” will be dedicated to hitting those tempo paces, which will hopefully pay off on race day. Read the rest of this entry →
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 →
The event was put on by the town of Bristol Parks and Recreation department to raise money to develop an aquatics program, including swim lessons for kids, and two proposed swimming pools, none of which the town currently has.
The William J. McCarthy Memorial Swim
The swim was a quarter-mile in open water at the Bristol Town Beach on Narragansett Bay. For my running friends, picture one lap around a 400-meter track. The event also included a 4 x 100 yard relay and a Fins & Floaties fun race for kids.
Registration was a bargain at $20 per swimmer, per event, or $10 for the kids race, and that included the event T-Shirt. It might be my favorite cotton shirt I’ve ever gotten at a race— incredibly soft in heather red. Best of all, they actually had my size. 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 →
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 →
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 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 →
I finished my fourth triathlon on Sunday, August 11 at the Wild Dog Triathlon In Bristol, Rhode Island. The course in Rhode Island’s Colt State Park was dazzling with a surprisingly warm open water swim in Narragansett Bay, a bike ride through the 464-acre park, and an out-and-back run entirely along the waterfront.
Check out the video below.
I had a great time at this triathlon and would love to do it again. But it was full of highs and lows.
The swim was a high. I finished 13th of 74 women, polishing off the quarter mile swim and tenth of a mile run to the transition zone in 7:49. The only woman in my age group who beat me won the women’s race overall. Read the rest of this entry →
Colt State Park in Rhode Island plays host to the Wild Dog Triathlon. (Photo: By Jim Willis [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)
Triathlon fever continues.
Sunday is my fourth stab at the crazy art of swim-bike-run at the Wild Dog Triathlon in Bristol, Rhode Island. It’s a sprint or mini triathlon with a quarter-mile swim, 10-mile bike and 3-mile run.
After struggling through a hip injury for two months, I finally feel like I’m in fighting form again. I’ve had a few confidence building runs and feel like I might be able to give this race my all. Heck, I ran a 5K personal record this morning during a 4-mile tempo run. I haven’t raced a 5K since 2011, so maybe it’s time!
My hip is still not 100 percent, but it’s somewhere in the 90s. It only starts tightening up after running 7+ miles and has been feeling better every week. So a mini triathlon should be within my wheelhouse.
Since my last triathlon at the Montauk Point Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon on July 21, where I had an awful, tight-hipped, sluggish run, I’ve been running three days a week. I’ve also been swimming once a week. And biking? Well, my training there hasn’t exactly been stellar. My biking has fallen by the wayside as I’ve started upping my long runs to 12 miles as part of marathon training.
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.