Posts Tagged ‘personal record’

Race Report: Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half

Race Report: Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half

Heartbreak Hill Half medals. (Photo: Grace Donnelly)

The Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival from June 5-8, 2014 in Newton and Boston, Massachusetts felt a lot like running camp. But the titular half-marathon lived up to its name: it was a bit heartbreaky and a bit hilly. And I loved almost every minute of it.

Race Report: Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half

Taking the Heartbreak Hill Half seriously. (Photo: @myEPevents, Inc)

I attended the race courtesy of Runner’s World as part of their official blogger crew. (They covered my race entries, dorm room and some meals. I covered my transportation to and from Boston and other meals.)

The race was a chance to run along the most famous section of Boston Marathon course. For Boston Marathon qualifiers and hopefuls, it was a chance to test their legs on the storied climb. For runners like me—for whom qualifying for Boston is a distant “someday” dream—it was a chance to know exactly what all those faster runners are talking about when they dismiss Heartbreak Hill as “not that bad” or confirm its notoriety as “brutal.” I’ve heard the hill described both ways and was excited to find out for myself.

Roughly 6,700 finishers from 47 U.S. states ran in the 5K, 10K, half-marathon, kids’ run and dog run at the weekend. Exactly 3,074 runners finished the half-marathon; 1,838 completed the 10K; 1,565 crossed the line in the 5K, and 69 doggies finished the Eukanuba Dog Run.

Race Report: Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half

The post-race festival. (Photo: Brita Meng Outzen)

There’s too much for me to cover in one post, so I’ll share all my doings at the race over the next few weeks. I already covered the Runner’s World 5K, Expo, Festival programming, on-campus accommodations and blogger crew in Race Report: Runner’s World 5K at Heartbreak Hill Half.

Up now is the half-marathon! Read the rest of this entry →


06 2014

7-Year Raceiversary Inspiration For Running Beginners

Raceiversary Inspiration For Running Beginners

Finishing my first 10K. (Photo: brightroom)

Seven years ago to the day, I toed the line in my very first race. My raceiversary reminds me how far I’ve come: from a totally clueless newbie in cotton socks to an intermediate runner with seven marathons under my race belt. Running beginners, take heart.

On April 29, 2007, I remember being incredibly nervous as I readied for my first race ever, with 5,720 other runners lining up in New York City’s Central Park. I’d being running casually for two years already, so I’d run those hills countless times. But I still didn’t know what to expect from a “race.” It was New York Road Runners’ Run as One TGL Classic. I pushed myself as hard as I could and finished the 4-miler in 46:19 at an 11:34 pace.

Seven years later, I’m amazed by how far I’ve come. My 4-mile personal best is 34:38 at an 8:40 pace. I clawed my way from the back of the pack to the middle to the front of the middle. My half-marathon personal best is 19:18 faster than the national median time of 2:19:48 for women.

And I’m still getting faster.

I hear from running beginners a lot. Having started running from scratch after battling a bone tumor in my leg for a decade, I know what it’s like to hit the pavement and be instantly out of breath. But I also know that by sticking with it, I just kept getting better and running just kept getting easier.

So I thought I’d share some cold, hard stats about just how far I’ve come as a runner. Here’s a comparison between my race times from 2007 and now. The moral of the story: If I can do it, anyone can.

Inspiration For Beginning Runners

My first 1 miler at the Norway Run. (Photo: brightroom)

Inspiration For Running Beginners

My first race, April 29, 2007

4 miles then: 46:19 at 11:34 pace
4 miles now: 34:38 at 8:40 pace

At a 2013 track workout

My first 3-miler/5K, May 22, 2007

3 miles then: 32:17 at 10:45 pace
3 miles now: 23:22 at 7:47 pace

At the 2013 Wild Dog Triathlon

My first 10K, June 9, 2007

6.2 miles then: 1:11:20 at 11:30 pace
6.2 miles now: 54:09 at 8:44 pace

At a 2013 track workout

My first 1-miler, October 6, 2007

1.7 miles then: 16:14 at 9:32 pace
1 mile now: 6:46 at 6:46 pace

At the 2011 Fifth Avenue Mile (I haven’t raced a mile since then!)

Inspiration For Beginning Runners, New York City Marathon

Crossing the finish line of my first marathon. (Photo: brightroom)

My first marathon, November 4, 2007

26.2 miles then: 5:54:25 at 13:31 pace
26.2 miles now: 4:28:06 at 10:14 pace

At the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon

U.S. median women: 4:41:38 at 10:45 pace
U.S. median men: 4:16:24 at 9:47 pace
Stats from Running USA
Read the rest of this entry →


04 2014

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 →


04 2014

Race Report: The Inaugural Walt Disney World 10K

Walt Disney World 10K

Minnie Mouse presides over the Walt Disney World 10K. (Photo: runDisney)

The Walt Disney World 10K on Friday, January 10, 2014 was the second of four races at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon.

runDisney invited me to be their guest at the race. Some 7,000 runners were completing all four races as part of the Dopey Challenge. Another 3,000 runners, like me, were just along for the ride.

It was the inaugural Walt Disney World 10K with a brand new race patron and medal: Minnie Mouse.

I can’t believe Minnie is only just now getting her own race. (UPDATE: A few readers have pointed out that Minnie Mouse used to host a Women Run the World 15K, known as the Minnie Marathon, that was eventually replaced by Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in 2009. Glad this isn’t Minnie’s first race!)

Of the three races I was running at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend—the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K, and Walt Disney World Half Marathon—I was most excited to earn that Minnie Mouse medal.

Minnie Mouse medals! (Photo: runDisney)

Minnie Mouse medals! (Photo: runDisney)

Going into the Walt Disney World 10K I had just two letters on my mind: PR. I desperately wanted to break 54 minutes and my personal best of 54:09. I was well trained and ready to run. But I had four things working against me come race day.

  1. Sleep deprivation
  2. Humidity
  3. A blister
  4. Dopey Challenge runners

More on that after a breakdown of the race itself. Read the rest of this entry →


01 2014

Running Goals For 2014: I Feel The Need For Speed

running goals

Thanks for the thumbs up, Maverick!

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 →

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 →


12 2013

Race Report: Wild Dog Triathlon in Rhode Island

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.

Wild Dog Triathlon

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.

Wild Dog 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 →


08 2013

What if Disney’s Cinderella Were A Runner?

Cinderella, runDisney

Cinderella at the ball is like a runner at a big race.

runDisney Cinderella

If Disney characters were runners, what kind of runners would they be?

In honor of registration opening today for runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend including the new Enchanted 10K and Glass Slipper Challenge, I thought I’d share another installment of my runDisney Character Profiles.

Previous installments have looked at Sleeping Beauty as the runner who needs to take a few weeks off even if she doesn’t want to, and Alice in Wonderland as the newbie runner who has fallen down the running rabbit hole.

This week, we’re working hard with my favorite runDisney Princess and one who suits Disney’s Princess Half Marathon perfectly…Cinderella Read the rest of this entry →

Looking Back At My First Marathon PR, ’80s Music Style

NYC marathon, marathon PR

Ready to shave 1 hour from my marathon time.

In just a few days, I’ll be staring at the starting line of the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 13, 2013. It will be my sixth marathon and the first I’m not running for a personal best. This one is just for fun, and I don’t care how long it takes me. I’m going to wear a costume, take pictures with Disney characters and enjoy a course that runs through four theme parks, a race track and a baseball diamond.

To honor the occasion, I thought I’d take a look back at my second marathon, which was the exact opposite. At the 2008 ING New York City Marathon, I set out to shatter my one and only marathon time—clocked on the same course just a year before—by an hour. It would be a huge marathon PR.

This race report was first published on in November 2008, but I thought I’d finally put it up here at too. After all, it was my first true marathon PR.

I also happen to be in an ’80s cover band called The Fades. This month marks the 5th anniversary of our first show. We’re all—save one—marathoners. In fact, I’m the slowest of the bunch. This post was inspired by them. Rock on, Fades!

Marathon Redux, ’80s Music Edition

I did it. I ran the ING New York City Marathon. Again. And by ran, I mean ran. The whole blessed thing. Who knew all it would take was zealous devotion to a few ‘80s songs? Read the rest of this entry →


01 2013

Philadelphia Marathon Training Comes Down To This

Philadelphia Marathon, marathon training

Photo: Philadelphia 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 →


11 2012

Race Report: Staten Island Half Marathon

Staten Island Half-Marathon, Staten Island Ferry Terminal

Heading to the ferry terminal.

The Staten Island Half Marathon is part of New York Road Runner’s 5 Borough Series, a collection of half-marathons in each of New York City’s five boroughs.

The Staten Island course is an out-and-back jaunt along the waterfront that tours runners through the eastern side of the island, with lovely views of Manhattan to the north and past the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge—famous as the start of the ING New York City Marathon. We ran through busy neighborhood centers, industrial back roads and residential streets, past shops, jovial construction workers who cheered us on and locals watching from their porches. Read the rest of this entry →


10 2012

Qualify For Boston With The Paul Ryan Time Calculator

paul ryan time, paul ryan marathon By now anyone who follows running and/or political news knows that Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan lied about his marathon time. But did you know that you too can run as “fast” as Paul Ryan? The Paul Ryan Time Calculator and its creator Erik Westlund are here to help. Read the rest of this entry →


09 2012

Elite Runner Rachel Booth Knows How to Run Disney

run Disney, runDisney, half-marathon

Rachel Booth wins the 2011 Disneyland Half Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)

The Disneyland Half Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 2 will put more than 17,000 runners to the test on the streets of Anaheim, Calif., as they charge through Angels Stadium, Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme park in an attempt to run Disney. Among those runners will be a mix of Disney fans, celebrities like Sean Astin, and former Olympians like Suzy Favor-Hamilton and Jeff Galloway.

But when it comes to winning Disney races, no one knows better than Rachel Booth. She won the 2010 and 2011 Disneyland Half Marathon and 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon in February, becoming the first woman to win events at both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida. Her fastest time on a runDisney half-marathon course? 1:15:19.

Like many Disney runners, Booth juggles raising two children, a part-time job and training. Read the rest of this entry →


08 2012

Running 2 Half-Marathons in 3 Weeks Takes Planning

half-marathon, half-marathon training

Running two half-marathons in three weeks must be carefully planned to avoid injury. (Photo: Karla Bruning)

Back in November, I set out on a crazy quest to run at least a mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s with the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak. Come Jan. 1, I’d accumulated 100 miles in 40 days and had a solid training base.

So I decided to merge the end of the streak with the beginning of half-marathon training. I earmarked Disney’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Jan. 29 as a training run for a personal record attempt at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 26. Somehow, everything went according to plan. I crossed the finish line at the Princess Half two minutes faster than my previous PR.

Now I’m looking to capitalize on all that training and fitness by squeezing out one more race—the NYC Half on March 18. New York Road Runners and Motorola invited me to be a MOTOACTV NYC Half Marathon Ambassador for the race and give the new MOTOACTV device a test run.

But with just three weeks between Disney’s Princess Half and the NYC Half, I knew I’d be treading the thin line between capitalizing on training and courting injury. How can a runner prepare to tackle two half-marathons in three weeks? Read the rest of this entry →


03 2012

Race Report: Disney’s Princess Half Marathon

Race Report: Disney's Princess Half Marathon

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon was a fairy tale race.

If you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true.

Cinderella sang those words and I took them to heart at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in Walt Disney World in Florida, which I attended as a guest of runDisney.

I channeled my inner Cinderella and believed that I could break my half-marathon personal record.

Disney races aren’t for PR’s many people say. Just have fun, they tell you.

But on Sunday, Feb. 26, I learned that it’s possible to PR and have fun too while running Disney.

Of course, it helps to have Prince Charming by your side.

Running in Costume: Cinderella and Prince Charming

Race Report: Disney Princess Half MarathonFor starters, I feel compelled to confess: I ran in costume. Not just that, I cajoled my fiancé, Phil, to run in costume with me—as Cinderella and Prince Charming.

Cinderella has long been my favorite princess, ever since I saw clips of the film on my Fisher Price Movie Viewer Theater back in the early 1980s. I even named my dog Cinderella. What better character to summon for a half-marathon than a gal who knows how to put her head down and work hard?

I found that once you put on a costume and give in to the Disney spirit, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have a good time, no matter how painful the running itself may be. Read the rest of this entry →

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03 2012

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