How To Run America’s 20 Biggest Marathons in 2016

How To Run America's 20 Biggest Marathons in 2016

The TCS New York City Marathon finish line (Courtesy of NYRR)

Want to run one of the biggest marathons in the U.S.? You’ve got to know when to register.

Registration for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon lottery opened on Thursday, January 21 at noon ET. (I’m one of its race announcers.) It’s the largest marathon in the world, and one of the toughest to get into.

Like the TCS New York City Marathon, America’s biggest marathons are in demand as some of the largest in the world. And most of them sell out before race day. So here’s how and when to register for the 20 biggest 26.2-milers in the U.S. Many of these races offer half-marathon, 10K, 5K, or other races distances, too.

20 Biggest Marathons in the U.S.

1. TCS New York City Marathon

New York
49,365 finishers in 2015
50,386 finishers in 2014
#1 in the world in 2014
Next race: November 6, 2016
Registration: Lottery open now until February 21, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Drawing is March 8, 2016. If you’re lucky enough to have a guaranteed entry, you must claim it during this one-month window. Entry via NYRR’s charity Team For Kids is available now. Other charity entries will become available in after the drawing in Spring. Entry via International Travel Partners is also available.
Half Marathon? No, but a 5-miler and 5K take place in the week before the race. Registration will open later in the year.

2. Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Illinois
37,395 finishers in 2015
40,595 finishers in 2014
#2 in the world in 2014
Next Race: October 9, 2016
Registration: Lottery opens March 15-April 12. Runners with guaranteed entry, such as legacy finishers, time qualifiers, charity runners, and international tour group runners, can apply between March 8-April 12. Charity entries will be available.
Half Marathon? No

3. Boston Marathon

Massachusetts
26,612 finishers in 2015
31,932 finishers in 2014
#6 in the world in 2014
Next Race: April 18, 2016
Registration: Closed. Next registration window for 2017 qualifiers will open September 2016. Charity entries are available.
Half Marathon? No, but registration for the 5K opens Wednesday, January 27, 2016.

4. Marine Corps Marathon

Washington, D.C.
23,184 finishers in 2015
19,689 finishers in 2014
#12 in the world in 2014
Next Race: October 30, 2016
Registration: Lottery will open March 24-30, 2016. Selected runners will be notified on March 31. Charity entries will be available. Travel agency entries are available. Bib transfers will also be allowed.
Half Marathon? No, but there’s a 10K and Kids Run.

5. Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon

California
21,940 finishers in 2015
21,508 finishers in 2014
#10 in the world in 2014
Next race: February 14, 2016
Registration: Open now. Not a lottery, but usually sells out before race day.
Half Marathon? No, but there’s a 5K. Read the rest of this entry →

21

01 2016

Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Rebel Challenge medals  (runDisney)

The 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend takes runners to a galaxy far, far away. OK, it’s actually at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which will be swarming with Rebel Alliance forces from January 14-17, 2016.

The Star Wars “Light Side” themed race weekend includes the Star Wars Half Marathon, Star Wars 10K, Star Wars 5K, runDisney Kids Races and the two-day Star Wars Rebel Challenge, where runners complete the 10K and half-marathon on consecutive days. All together 30,000 runners will awaken The Force, with many registered for multiple events.

Here’s a look at runDisney’s galactic race weekend by the numbers.

2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

$1.78 billion—worldwide box office receipts for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to date

$20-$30 million—estimated local economic impact of Disneyland half marathon weekends

Star Wars Half Marathon By The Numbers

The start (runDisney)

261,000—combined miles adult runners will tackle at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend. That’s 1.36125299e-8 parsecs.

250,000—runners who participate in runDisney events each year

30,000—registrations for the 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

14,000—runners registered for the Star Wars Half Marathon

10,000—runners registered for the Star Wars 10K

5,000—runners registered for the Star Wars 5K

5,000—runners registered for the Star Wars Rebel Challenge, including the 10K and half-marathon Read the rest of this entry →

14

01 2016

Race Report: Bermuda Triangle Challenge

Race Report: Bermuda Triangle Challenge

Argh! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Arrrgh! That was the word of the weekend when my husband, Phil, and I ran the Bermuda Triangle Challenge, as guests of Bermuda Marathon Weekend. Every January over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, the Bermuda Triangle Challenge dares runners to tackle three races in three days—the Front Street Mile on Friday night, the Bermuda 10K on Saturday, and the Bermuda Marathon or Bermuda Half Marathon run concurrently on Sunday.

At the 2015 races, we opted for the half challenge and had a blast in the process, dressed as pirates for the 10K and half-marathon. We even earned a spot on the race’s website and marketing materials for the feat.

Race Report: Bermuda Triangle Challenge

BermudaRaceWeekend.com

Bermuda Marathon Weekend quickly became one of my favorite running events ever, thanks to the gorgeous courses, robust spectator support, and island-wide friendliness that makes Canadians look surly by comparison. Seriously. And Phil is Canadian! We even started hatching a plan to retire in Bermuda.

I’ll post the usual race report for each event individually, but thought I’d kick things off with a video montage of the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. We even have a cameo by none other than Bart Yasso. Check it out!

Read the rest of this entry →

13

01 2016

Race Report: NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K

Race Report: NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K

Coming into the finish (RunKarlaRun.com)

The NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K on Saturday, January 9 with 5,222 finishers was my first race of 2016. Named for founding NYRR member and longtime coach, the race is also a fundraiser for a scholarship fund in his name for scholastic runners; $1 of each registration fee benefits student runners.

It was also my longest run since the Honolulu Marathon on December 2013 (race report to come!). Since I’m just getting back to training, I didn’t have any delusions about busting out a PR or anything at this race. I just wanted to run a good hard effort and see how that felt.

Race Report: NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K

The start (Courtesy of NYRR)

As one of NYRR’s race announcers, it was fun to run one of their races for a change. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a race announcer. It’s honestly as much fun as running. But I miss running my NYRR races from time to time. I worked the NYRR Midnight Run on New Year’s Eve and will be working the NYRR Fred Lebow Manhattan Half later in January. So I decided to strike while the iron was hot, and it was hot—41 degrees in January!

In this post I’ll walk you through the course, NYRR’s new bib and corral system, and, of course, how my race went.

Race Report: NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K

Ready! (RunKarlaRun.com)

What I Wore

I planned my outfit as an homage to all my runDisney peeps running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon the same day. So I threw on my 2014 Walt Disney World Half Marathon shirt, along with some favorite matching blue gear (all freebies):

Sparkly Soul TCS New York City Marathon Sparkle Wide Headband

Walt Disney World Half Marathon Shirt

New Balance Print Shapely Shaper Bra

Gore Running Wear Mythos Windstopper Gloves

C3fit Compression Performance Long Tights

Puma Ignite PWRWARM Shoes Read the rest of this entry →

12

01 2016

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Mickey Mouse and friends (runDisney)

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Weekend presented by Cigna kicked off January 6 and runs, literally, through the title event on January 10 at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The four-day extravaganza is one of the two largest running festivals in the U.S. with five main events: Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World 5K and runDisney Kids Races. That includes runners doubling, tripling, or quadrupling their fun with the Dopey Challenge, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Castaway Cay Challenge, and Runner’s World Challenge.

How To Buy New Balance runDisney Shoes in 2016

New Balance Ariel shoes (New Balance)

New Balance debuted their 2016 Limited Edition runDisney Collection of shoes at the Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Weekend, with designs that pay homage to The Little Mermaid Ariel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Minnie Mouse, and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

Plus, runDisney brought together 100 race directors, media execs, and former Olympians for the first State of the Sport forum at the new runDisney Race Director Series on January 7, held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Highlighting the event was a panel discussion with race directors from all of the World Marathon Majors, including Peter Ciaccia (TCS New York City Marathon), Tom Grilk (B.A.A. Boston Marathon), Tad Hayano (Tokyo Marathon), Hugh Brasher (Virgin Money London Marathon), Carey Pinkowski (Bank of America Chicago Marathon) and Juergen Lock (BMW Berlin Marathon), and moderated by Runner’s World editor-in-chief David Willey.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Walt Disney World Marathon medals (runDisney)

The State of the Sport forum kicked off runDisney’s new Race Director Series, which brings race directors from around the U.S. to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend for special access and insight into the operations of the four-day event. And it wouldn’t be runDisney without a challenge thrown in—the Race Director Challenge, a friendly competition during the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

Next year, Walt Disney World Resort will host the 2017 Running USA Industry Conference during the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, hosting sessions on best practices, panel discussions, industry awards, and more.

That’s not all. Special guest Paula Radcliffe, women’s marathon world record-holder and four-time Olympian, is running the 5K, 10K and half marathon at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend this year.

It all adds up to one big event. So take a look at Mickey Mouse’s favorite race weekend by the numbers.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Walt Disney World Marathon (runDisney)

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

1,100,000—combined miles adults will run at Walt Disney World Marathon races this weekend (like running around the Earth 46 times)

209,000—runners who take part in runDisney events each year

100,000—medals that will be distributed throughout the weekend including race and challenge medals

100,000—runners (many tackling multiple events) and spectators expected at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

82,000—registrations for the Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Weekend Read the rest of this entry →

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Ariel Vazee Pace (RunKarlaRun.com)

“Up where they walk, up where they run…” at runDisney, of course! The Little Mermaid’s Ariel is now part of the New Balance runDisney world as the star of the latest shoes in the 2016 Limited Edition New Balance runDisney Collection.

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Ariel! (RunKarlaRun.com)

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of New Balance shoes. “Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete? Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl…the girl who has everything?”

Well, now I do! New Balance generously sent me a pair of the Ariel Vazee Pace runDisney shoes to preview!

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

My precious (RunKarlaRun.com)

Look at that stuff! Isn’t it neat?

I love this limited edition New Balance packaging for the runDisney shoes and the goodies inside.

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

New box (RunKarlaRun.com)

This isn’t any ordinary shoe box. The shoes rest within a Snow White-style sleeping case.

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Unboxing (RunKarlaRun.com)

After unboxing the kicks, I find an Alice in Wonderland-style “Open Me.”

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Open Me (RunKarlaRun.com)

What does it reveal? More goodies! Read the rest of this entry →

05

01 2016

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2016

How To Buy New Balance runDisney Shoes in 2016

2016 New Balance runDisney Collection (New Balance)

Looking for the 2017 New Balance runDisney Collection? Look here: How To Buy 2017 New Balance Disney Running Shoes

* * *

2016 New Balance Disney Running Shoes Revealed

They’re finally here! New Balance announced the 2016 line of New Balance Disney running shoes, which will debut at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna from January 6-10, 2016.

After releasing a single teaser photo of a feather, a yellow bow, and seashell necklace via Twitter and Instagram, New Balance has revealed the 2016 Limited Edition New Balance runDisney Collection feature Dumbo, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and The Little Mermaid’s Ariel.

The Dumbo and Ariel Vazee Pace are $124.95, while the Red Carpet Minnie and Mickey 860v6s are $139.95. And they didn’t forget the kids. Dumbo and Ariel 860v6 shoes are $79.95.

Read on to find out how, when, and where to buy them, along with pics of each shoe.

Ariel Vazee Pace, $124.95

How To Buy New Balance runDisney Shoes in 2016

Ariel Vazee Pace (New Balance)

The New Balance Vazee Pace shoes are a lightweight neutral trainer, available in women’s sizes 5 to 12.

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Ariel in person (RunKarlaRun.com)

The Ariel-inspired kicks are shades of sea foam green with purple and red accents. The Ariel shoes come with purple shell clip-ons and a picture of Ariel on the heel.

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Ariel (RunKarlaRun.com)

Check out New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look for a close-up view of the Ariel Vazee Pace.

Dumbo Vazee Pace, $124.95

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2016

Dumbo Vazee Pace (New Balance)

The Dumbo shoes are also the neutral, lightweight New Balance Vazee Pace available in men’s sizes 7 to 14.

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Dumbo (RunKarlaRun.com)

The homage to Dumbo are gray with yellow and peach accents, with a picture of Dumbo himself on the heel. They also come with Timothy Q. Mouse clip-ons.

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2016

Dumbo Vazee Pace (New Balance)

Red Carpet Minnie 860v6, $139.95

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2016

Red Carpet Minnie (New Balance)

Each year New Balance releases a pair of shoes styled after a different Mickey and Minnie persona. In 2103, we saw classic Minnie in her red dress. 2014 brought us Pink Polka Dot Minnie, and 2015 was Retro Minnie, harkening back to her black-and-white years. For 2016, we have Red Carpet Minnie Mouse in her yellow evening gown.

How To Buy New Balance runDisney Shoes in 2016

Minnie front and back (New Balance)

The Red Carpet Minnie shoes are 860v6s, a New Balance stability shoe in women’s sizes 5 to 12. They also come with clip-on bows.

Read the rest of this entry →

04

01 2016

12 Days of Christmas Running Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

Giveaway time!

Why celebrate Christmas on one day when you can celebrate for 12 whole days? It’s time for my 12 Days of Christmas Running Giveaway! Sure the 12 Days of Christmas traditionally start on December 25 and conclude on January 5, otherwise known as Twelfth Night, but let’s get the party started early.

For the next 12 days, I’m giving away an array of running goodies that could fill Santa’s sleigh. I’ll feature one prize per day in social media. Enter via the widget below or on Instagram. Enter as many times as you like on as many days as you like; all entries are eligible for any prize. I’ll choose all 12 winners randomly at the end of the 12 days, which conclude Tuesday, January 5 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern time.

Check out these awesome prizes—some culled from my own personal cache and others generously gifted from the companies below. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

12 Days of Christmas Running Giveaway

1) On the first day of Christmas my run bud gave to me…

12 Days of Christmas Running Giveaway

Boston Marathoner Map by JHill Design

12 Days of Christmas Running Giveaway

NYC Marathoner Map by JHill Design

An 8 x 10 Marathoner Map by JHill Design.

These gorgeous maps have had me drooling all over their Instagram feed: @jhilldesign. One lucky winner will choose from 25 marathon and 13 half-marathon maps. Customize it with your name, time, bib and race date. Want to snag one yourself? Use code KARLARUN for 15% off jhilldesign.com through January 16, 2016.

2) On the second day of Christmas my run bud gave to me…

12 Days of Christmas Running Giveaway

Spartan Race

A Spartan Race entry.

Pick a race. Any race. This entry is good for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the continental U.S. That’s worth up to and upwards of $150. Tackle a Sprint (3+ miles, 20+ obstacles), Super (8+ miles, 24+ obstacles), or Beast (12+ miles, 30+ obstacles). With 40 races on the current schedule in the continental U.S., it’s up to you! Read the rest of this entry →

23

12 2015

Running In Hawai’i From Kona To Kaua’i

Running in Hawai'i From Kona To Kaua'i

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (RunKarlaRun.com)

The Honolulu Marathon is Sunday! I’ve been having an incredible—and I mean incredible—time running in Hawai’i. Over the last eight days I’ve run, hiked, SUPed, sailed, swum, summited, star-gazed, and so much more on Hawai’i, the Big Island, and on Maui.

The Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau at GoHawaii.com sponsored and helped me plan the trip so I can experience active Hawai’i at its best. Now I’m on O’ahu for the big race and headed to Kaua’i after that.

But this isn’t my first rodeo in Hawai’i. In 2013, I ran the Kaua’i Half Marathon and published a few stories at Shape.com, in Women’s Running magazine, and Canadian Running magazine about the race, Kaua’i, Hawai’i Island, and points beyond. Thought I’d share them here. Aloha!

Running in Hawai'i From Kona To Kaua'i

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Phil Hospod)

Healthy Travel Guide: Kona, Hawai’i at Shape.com

Sure, Hawai’i invokes dreams of lazy days on sandy beaches sipping umbrella drinks. But every year, more than 2,300 triathletes trek to Kona on Hawai’i Island to make it big—Big Island big—at the Ironman World Championship.

But you don’t have to be an Ironman to swim, bike, run, or get your sweat on in Kailua-Kona, the triathlon mecca of the world. Hawai’i’s residents are the second most prolific runners in the U.S., with only Massachusetts logging more miles per capita on RunKeeper. The state also has the second lowest obesity levels in the U.S., behind only Colorado, according to Retale.

It’s no wonder. Running is Hawai’i is a dream come true. Just north of Kona, the rugged black lava fields give way to sunny, white sand beaches on the Kohala Coast, where water sports abound. The area came in seventh on our list of the healthiest beach towns in America, while the Kona District ranked 19th. (Find them all in The 35 Best Beaches in America For Fitness Lovers). Inland, Waimea is home to Hawai’i’s tallest mountain, the snowcapped Mauna Kea, which rises 13,796 feet and has hiking and horseback trails galore. And we can’t forget Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, with 150 miles of hiking trails around one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Yep, we said volcanoes.

Inspired to get your Ironman on? Hawai’i Island makes healthy travel easy with year round warm weather, world class sporting events, mountains and more. Say Aloha to Kona!

Find out where to sleep, stay in shape, fuel your trip, splurge, and play in Kona at Shape.com.

Running in Hawai'i From Kona To Kaua'i

Rainbow run in Kaua’i (Phil Hospod)

Kauai Is The Ultimate Vacation For Runners in Women’s Running

The least-visited of Hawaii’s major islands, Kauai is the Aloha State’s best-kept secret. Only 1.1 million of Hawaii’s 8.2 million visitors annually venture to Kauai. But runners in the know head to the Garden Isle for technical mountain trails between lushly green volcanic peaks, flat recreation paths with ocean views and one of America’s most scenic—and challenging—marathons. The island is best explored on foot (in fact, 90 percent of Kauai is inaccessible by vehicle!), so lace up your shoes and get ready to sweat. Read the rest of this entry →

Honolulu Marathon, Ready Or Not, Here I Come

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

The Honolulu Marathon (Photo: Honolulu Marathon Association)

Ready or not, Hawai’i here I come!

It’s almost time for the fifth race on my fall running schedule: the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, December 13.

The Honolulu Marathon has been on my bucket list since I realized that marathons would be a permanent fixture in my life. I’m mildly obsessed with Hawai’i (just ask my husband). I’d been a few times as a child, when I had two cousins living in the islands.

I’ve been to Honolulu just once, more than 20 years ago. It’s high time I returned, and what better reason than a race?

Ready Or Not For Honolulu Marathon

(Photo: Honolulu Marathon Association)

After all, the Kaua’i Marathon & Half Marathon, which I tackled in 2013, is one of my all time favorite races.

And Hawai’i is one of my all time favorite places—and I’ve been to 35 countries on 6 continents.

Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon

After the Kaua’i Half Marathon. (Photo: Sport Photo)

So I’m heading out to the Aloha state early for a 16-night mega tour of Hawai’i Island, Maui, O’ahu, and Kaua’i. The Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau at GoHawaii.com helped me plan the trip so I can experience active Hawai’i at its best.

On the itinerary? Swimming, SUPing, surfing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and, of course, running.

Ready Or Not For Honolulu Marathon

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Phil Hospod)

You can follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ll be posting photos and updates as long as cell service co-operates.

How excited am I for this trip? I bought a potted hibiscus and have managed to keep it alive for 25 weeks! That’s no small feat in New York City.

Ready Or Not For Honolulu Marathon

My hibiscus (RunKarlaRun.com)

Honolulu Marathon Training

But, Karla, you’re thinking. You haven’t been training for a marathon. Yes, you would be right. No, I have not.

I had every intention of doing all the proper marathon prep. I started the season right, kicking things off with the Fjord Norway Half Marathon near Bergen, Norway. Then I ramped it up with the New Balance Reach The Beach Relay.

But shortly after that my training was derailed by a flu, then nagging plantar fasciitis that struck in October. Read the rest of this entry →

04

12 2015

Race Report: Trot Off Your Turkey 5K 2015 Turkey Trot

Race Report: Trot Off Your Turkey 5K 2015 Turkey Trot

We won! (RunKarlaRun.com)

The Trot Off Your Turkey 5K and 1.5-Miler on Saturday, November 28 was my third year running the event in Barrington, RI. It’s a fantastic local turkey trot with 552 runners in the 5K and 263 in the 1.5-mile run/walk.

I love everything about this race, from the gloriously flat course and bountiful post-race spread to the warm, community vibe.

Best of all, the course is actually USATF certified, a rarity in small-town 5K running. So I know I can count on these times. I’ve got three other “5K” times in my Athlinks profile that were on non-certified courses both short and long, which I don’t count in my PR logs.

Race Report: Trot Off Your Turkey 5K 2015 Turkey Trot

The race raised money for St. Luke’s School. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

The turkey trot is a fundraiser for St. Luke’s School, where the race is held. Bib pick-up and the raffle are inside the school gym.

The $20 entry fee is one of the best bangs for your buck out there. After the race, the gym transforms into a smorgasbord with Blount’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Butternut Squash Bisque, Dunkin’ Donuts, Domino’s Pizza, Chips & Salsa from Tito’s Cantina, Bananas, Bagels, Water, and Gatorade. Runners also get a cotton tee.

An additional food drive and raffle raises money for TapIn, an all-volunteer, outreach program that provides food, clothing, household goods, transportation, and other services to Rhode Island in need. Raffle tickets are just $1 each, or six for $5. You can even pre-purchase raffle tickets online with your race registration, which is what I did, so you can leave your wallet at home.

My mom, husband, and I showed up ready to run in the warm, November mist. It was about 55 degrees with no wind—a rarity in Rhode Island!—and a light drizzle coming down. My mom was tackling the 1.5-miler, while Phil and I were running the 5K. I had no idea what my legs might have in them just six days after the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon.

I’m happy to report that Phil, my mom, and I won! Raffle prizes that is! For the third year in a row (what?!) someone in my family has taken home a prize. Phil also won 2nd in his age group!

But I also had a surprisingly fantastic race, turning in my second fastest 5K ever, just 20 seconds behind my PR. I honestly shocked myself.

Race Report: Trot Off Your Turkey 5K 2015 Turkey Trot

Ready to run! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Karla’s Turkey Trot

My first time out of the gates at this turkey trot in 2013, I ran a 5K personal record of 24:46 that stands to this day.

Last year was the opposite. Riding high after a great race at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2014, I decided to chase my 5K PR. Instead, I crashed and burned. I ended up having to walk thanks to some hefty abdominal cramps, finishing in a slow-for-me 28:03.

I didn’t want a repeat of that performance.

Phil and I lined up for the start, chatting about how his watch had died and he was just going to have to run by feel.

We had no idea the race was about to start; the horn sounded, catching us both by surprise. I clicked my watch to start, but it was jammed on the “Can’t find GPS signal” screen. I tapped and tapped and tapped, but I couldn’t start the workout. Like Phil, I too would just have to run by feel. Read the rest of this entry →

30

11 2015

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

11 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

11 2015

Race Report: Runner’s World Half & Festival

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Larisa & Karla cheer, Mark & Kristin run (RunKarlaRun.com)

When Runner’s World puts on an event in their hometown, they do it right.  Runner’s World Half & Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is basically fantasy camp for runners. All participants—not just bloggers—at the weekend’s events had the opportunity to meet Deena Kastor, Bart Yasso, and the entire Runner’s World team. Seminars, running clinics, kids races, a dog run, pasta party, and other events filled our days and nights with all things running.

Runner’s World brought me out to the race as their guest, along with a cadre of other bloggers. My quest? Run four races in three days for a total of 26.2 miles.

I was only half successful, thanks to plantar fasciitis. Despite that, I had a ton of fun.

I’ve already recapped the Altra Trail 3.8-mile Trail Race and Runner’s World 5K & 10K. Now on the menu is the Runner’s World Half & Festival!

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Post-race band! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Runner’s World Half Marathon

Thanks to shooting pain in my heel—which turned out to be plantar fasciitis and the beginning of a heel spur—I opted not to run the Runner’s World Half Marathon. Instead, I headed out to cheer near Mile 11 of the course with two other injured bloggers—my roomie for the weekend, Jess at RacePaceJess.com (who’d sprained her ankle at the Altra Trail Run), and Larisa at LarisaDixon.com, who’d hurt her calf and pulled out of the race.

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Along the course (RunKarlaRun.com)

We had a blast. We clapped, we yelled, we cheered, we laughed, and had a great time. We spotted most of the other bloggers Runner’s World had brought out for the event.

Then Jess hobbled back to the hotel on her swollen ankle, and Larisa and I walked to the finish so we could cheer in Kristin at BamaGirlRuns.com, who was walking the whole race after recovering from a broken ankle.

Working as a race announcer, I love to cheer runners on. But I’m usually at the start or finish (or both) of a race or running myself. I’m rarely on the sidelines along the course.

So I surprised by how many runners thanked us for cheering as they went by, or gave us a thumbs up, or nod, or smile, or came in for a high five, something other form of acknowledgement.

It’s funny. Because I’m the kind of runner who will often nod or smile or fist pump or some such as a way of thanking spectators as I go by. So I don’t know why I was so surprised when other runners thanked me! I guess it was just fun to be on the other side of the fence. Loved paying it forward!

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Cheering with Larisa (RunKarlaRun.com)

Runner’s World Festival

The days leading up to the half-marathon constituted the “festival,” which was jam-packed with activities. Here are my highlights from the weekend:

Deena Kastor

What would Deena do? It’s become my new running mantra after hearing Deena Kastor speak at the Runner’s World Half & Festival.

Race Report: Runner's World Half & Festival

Deena Kastor! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Deena shared lunch with the bloggers and gave an open seminar at the expo. At each, she shared some of the ways she uses positive thinking to pull through in races. Running is as much a mental sport as a physical one. I believe it and research bears it out. (I wrote about it for Shape.com) And the best runners use every (legal) trick in the books—physical and mental—to be tough on race day.

What stuck with me? Before a race Deena said she thinks of three reasons why she will succeed and commits them to memory. When she needs to did deep or is struggling in an event, she recalls those things to keep her going. I love that. Going to try it myself this weekend at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon. And in a moment of doubt, I’ll ask myself: What would Deena do? Read the rest of this entry →

19

11 2015

Race Report: Runner’s World 10K & 5K

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Running the Runner’s World 5K (Runner’s World & Altra)

The Runner’s World 5K and Runner’s World 10K were Day 2 of the Runner’s World Half & Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Runner’s World brought me out to the race as their guest, along with a cadre of other bloggers. My quest? Run four races in three days for a total of 26.2 miles.

I was only half successful, thanks to plantar fasciitis. Despite that, I had a phenomenal time.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Race central

The Runner’s World Half & Festival is basically fantasy camp for runners. All participants—not just bloggers—at the weekend’s events had the opportunity to meet Deena Kastor, Bart Yasso, and the entire Runner’s World team. Seminars, running clinics, kids races, a dog run, pasta party, and other events filled our days and nights with all things running.

The Runner’s World 5K, 10K and Half-Marathons courses started and finished at SteelStacks, a 10-acre music, art, culture, and entertainment campus that was once home to the second largest steel manufacturer in the nation, Bethlehem Steel. Rising over the finish line is a series of iron-forging furnaces. The “stacks” are now home to 1,000 concerts and eight festivals annually, including the Runner’s World Half & Festival. It’s an incredible setting for a race.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Steel Stacks at night (RunKarlaRun.com)

I’ve already recapped the Altra Trail 3.8-mile Trail Race. Up now: The Runner’s World 5K & 10K, back-to-back events!

Runner’s World 5K

More than 1,655 participants tackled the Runner’s World 5K on Saturday, October 17 at 8:00 a.m. I lined up in the cold ready to for an easy jog.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Ready to run the 5K (RunKarlaRun.com)

It was about 40 degrees at the start, so I bundled up for the first time of the season. I wore (all freebies): Sparkle Athletic Headsweats visor, Oakley Polarized RPM sunglasses, Brooks Dash 1/2 Zip, Moving Comfort UpRise Crossback Sports Bra, New Balance Tonic Tank, GORE Running Wear Mythos Windstopper Gloves, Brooks Streaker Capri, Balega Hidden Contour socks (one of the race sponsors), and Asics Gel-Nimbus 17.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

My Runner’s World 5K race kit (RunKarlaRun.com)

The 5K course takes runners on a 3.1-mile tour of Bethlehem’s North Side. Shortly after the start, runners climb the Phillip J. Fahy Memorial Bridge to cross the Lehigh River. On the other side you see the Bethlehem Public Library and some of the town’s original 1741 settlements. Runners are treated to scenic views of South Mountain, Bethlehem’s eclectic South Side, and Lehigh University’s campus. Then a fast downhill turn brings you past Bethlehem’s City Hall and back to the Fahy Bridge. One of the most fun parts is running through the former Bethlehem Steel complex and past the Sands Casino to finish under a flaming arch (literally) in the shadow of the steel stacks.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

5K course

There’s really only one major hill to speak of as you cross the bridge near Mile 1. Then there’s a gentle incline as you head up the road to the casino, near Mile 2.5. Overall, I’d call this a generally easy course.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

5K elevation

I’d come to the race nursing a new niggle in my left foot that I suspected was plantar fasciitis. I walked the Altra Trail Run the day before and wanted to test out my foot on the road.

Race Report: Runner's World 10K & 5K

Heading out

So I consciously ran at a very easy pace, especially knowing I had another 6.2 miles to run after this. I was uber tuned into my body, and my foot in particular, which felt a little achy and tight, but not too bad. Read the rest of this entry →

07

11 2015