Summer Break not running break

New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile

A last month decision really; I decided to run the Fifth Avenue Mile race. In NYC this is an annual, big, road race where all the famous elite runners (Olympians included) and us regular folks – even the kids are given their moment to shine – get a chance to run twenty blocks of Fifth Ave. It’s closed off from traffic and all local runners, fans, and tourists alike line up to watch a pretty fast show as runners zoom by in their respective heats. It’s one mile so the pros and wannabes, like me, pretty much go full throttle the entire way. Some do it for the comradery and others to feel accomplished. I’ve run this event two times in the past, the last time possibly 2014. This year was extra special though with it being cancelled the year prior like everything else. As a result, the comeback was a treat and my first race since the end of 2020. All during that time I’ve been running much of the time solo, and racing against myself, but I’ve also been fortunate to have the opportunity a few times to run with other runners. So how good it felt to stand about in the start area and commiserate with like-minded folks and celebrate being together and racing again. I have no words only thankfulness.

Fifth Avenue, NYC – it’s on!

So full disclosure, I did not train for this race. Even though I wanted to try for a fast time – even as fast as the last time – I have been pretty deep in wedding plans and traveling back and forth and running pretty arbitrarily. I guess I fell into the old mold of thinking ” well it’s only one mile” and thank God it was only one. The race was on Sunday 12th, two weekends ago, and I literally came back into town the day before. I was exhausted but set to run and at that point was good with just turning up and being a part of something beautiful in our city. My PR on this course is 6:15:00 in 2014 (I think) so I was hoping the stars would align and I would end up being just as fast, like, please God. I can safely say it’s to a runner’s advantage to know the course. Because I had run this course before, the old adage about riding a bike is true, I knew the terrain pretty well. I knew that starting out in a full sprint would not be a good strategy for me – I wasn’t in top form to start with – I needed to go out with just enough leverage on the decline because it subtly morphed into an incline that if taken too fast would leave one floored on the crest with nothing left to give in the final flat finish. So knowledge is power right? Right.

Not a PR but I’ll take it

When my heat was called, pretty early at 7:45 a.m I had been up for hours already with the pre race jitters. I didn’t get a bad case or anything, just more of an anxiousness about the logistics of getting there on time, using the bathroom, etc. I was ready to run and pretty much kept to my strategy. It was a beautiful day with perfect temps and everyone was so pumped and happy to be out. Got to see my friend cheering and photoshooting. Note that I was a fully able to take it all in as I was so not “in the zone” and therefore could have run so much harder and faster had u fully trained for this. Out there though, knowing my limits was important. I had every intention of finishing as close to my pr as possible and not getting injured in the process, sciatic nerve pain notwithstanding. I finished with an official time of 6:20:00; strava was off by a few. However, I was ok with that. I didn’t do more so I didn’t get more but I was super thrilled to see I wasn’t that far off the mark from some seven years ago! Though I know and appreciate from watching the pros that a race is won and lost in fractions of a second, five seconds for this regular runner sounds like an achievable goal to beat next time around. Only next time I promise to train for it.

Here comes the superhero runners

Some of my favorite moments and takeaways from this comeback race was the singing of the national anthem at the start of the event, the comradery in the start area, my trek down fifth ave, the finish line, seeing the children races, and the pros wrapping up the event. It was a fabulous day in our favorite city with our favorite people doing our favorite thing – running!

We did it NY!

My 2020 Running Bucket List

It’s true that I’ve scaled back running this year to attend to my knees but I’m not dead yet! I’m still all up in running news and on the look out for some sure ways to get the interested or curious reader or runner-to-be to lace up and hit the streets and trails. Who knows? You might even see me there! 

Destination Runs have always been a favorite of mine for combining two things I love doing: running and traveling. They present the best opportunities to discover new places, take a mini vacay, and feel super accomplished all at the same time. The following is a list of ten races/ runs that are giving me itchy feet this year. I may or may or may not have done a couple on there or a variation of sorts. Nonetheless, I’ve got my sights set on them all.

1. The Carlsbad 5000 – dubbed the world fastest 5K – there are individual races for Masters, Age Group runners, Party People, and Elites, the Carlsbad 5000 is a full day of road racing on the scenic, coastal streets of Carlsbad, California. I’ve always wanted to record an official 5K time so I’m in it for the record and bragging rights!

2. The Poconos Sprint Triathlon – a bit of a newer race, the Pocono Triathlon Festival is nestled in the Pocono Mountains, Lake Wallenp aupack, North East Pennsylvania and plays host to a weekend of racing with crystal clear water,a challenging bike course, beautiful runs and fantastic post race activities. I’m super excited about considering this Tri as oppose to my initial idea of the one in St Petersburg, which is way to soon for my knees as well as way to far for my first time. I’m in it for the experience and bragging rights of course!


3. Ragnar Team Relay Trail Run – likened to summer camp for adults with trail running and race medals, this is similar to the road races except it’s on trails – sounds a bit more scary (the woods at night anyone?) – teams of 4-8 divvy up about 120 miles for a continuous day/night race to the finish. I’m open to any fun new area like New Hampshire or even Twin Cities, MN for this one but I prefer a summer experience. I’m in it for the adventure!

4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon – happening on November 14-15 this year in this run-the-strip-at-night series. It sounds super fun and while I’m not a big half marathon fan, I will totally make an exception for this one. I’m in in for the fun!

5. Empire State Building Run Up – 5/12 – the world’s first and most famous tower race—challenges runners from around the globe to race up its famed 86 flights—1,576 stairs. The fastest runners cover the 86 floors in about 10 minutes. Leaders in the sport of professional tower-running converge at the Empire State Building on May 12, 2020, in what some consider the ultimate test of endurance. I’ve entered the lottery but I’m leaning on the side of doing it for a really good cause – The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), official charity of the run-up. If I do decide, knee issues under consideration, I’ll be in it for the charitable cause and don’t mind the bragging rights!

6. Kaua’i Half/ Full Marathon – September 6, 2020 – this run has all the makings of a running vacay and is known as one of the most beautiful and scenic destination races in the world. I can’t even! Who doesn’t want to go Hawaii and run. I’m in it for the destination!

7. Spartan/Tough Mudder – Obstacle type races that are run throughout the year from February and are the rave these days. I’m not immune. I’ve had the Rugged Maniac experience and aside from the water bit, I need more. I’ve heard Spartan races are tougher but still crazy fun. As a semi first timer, I’m open but take me somewhere fun. From Montana to Florida I’m in and in it to earn [Spartan] badasses bragging rights!

8. Ultra/Endurance Race – Jay Peak Trail Running Festival – 53.1KM Ultra Labor Day Weekend, September 5-6. I’ve only ever done one ultra running event in the vicinity of 32 miles, and while it was tough, I didn’t train for it so I can’t really give a fair assessment. I’d love to see what time I can do with training though. For this one, I’m all about pushing limits. What limits!

9. San Francisco Marathon – July 26, 2020. Usually one of the few marathons around in the summer months and probably so because of its location. I did this race a few years ago. It was awesome; very scenic with a versatile course and the priceless Golden Gate bridge experience. For all the good, there were two major drawbacks: the hills, more so the descent, and a big loop around the half distance, which included a major incline. I’m in it for the views and a better time!


10. Trail Run – I’ve always wanted to take part in the North Face Endurance Challenge. Recently, I was disappointed to learn that they are discontinuing the series and pushing off with something new. No details are as yet available but I’m hoping it’ll still involve Bear Mountain State Park here in New York and various challenges along its trails, which used to be an early summer event in May each year. Fingers crossed they announce something soon!🤞

I know the list is a bit ambitious, but it’s right up my alley and if I only get to do a few on there this year, it’ll still be an awesome running year. Do you have any running dreams this year? Don’t give them up. Modify and adapt all you have to but never give up. Here’s to a great chance that I’ll see you out there on one of these amazing runs.✌️

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