Your First 5k

With so many local fundraisers choosing to have a 5k (3.1 miles), it is easy to wonder if it is a distance that even a non-runner could do. Indeed, many walkathons are about that length and can be covered in about an hour if walking a 20MM pace.

If covering the distance of an organized 5k is your goal, it is good to do some prep-work before the day of the event.

Get clearance from a physician before undertaking any strenuous physical activity. Even if you ran a marathon 5 years ago, your body has changed and it is time for a physical again anyway.

Get some workout clothes and, most important, running shoes. Choose clothes that won’t chafe, wick away sweat, and allow freedom of movement. Synthetic material are much better for running than cotton.

It is best you can get fitted for running shoes at a running store. Go in the afternoon or evening when your feet tend to be larger than in the morning. A running shoe is typically fitted at least a size larger than street shoe size.

Even people who consider themselves to be “in pretty good shape” will want to go out and put in some miles. If you are sedentary, it is even more important and will want to have a graduated training plan like Couch to 5k.

Many training plans take 3 months to allow time for tendons, joints, cardio-vascular and other physical systems of the body to get in shape for covering the distance without doing harm to yourself.

Sign Up
Choose a race that you have enough time to train for. Make certain it is one you will be comfortable participating in. Some 5ks are small local races that allow people to run with their dogs or push their babies in strollers. Some races are very large and will require that you know your projected finish time so you will enter the correct corral at the start of the race. Some races are only for women and some races have age restrictions or require parental permission. Some are very walker friendly while others have time limits and close down the course after a certain amount of time. Some have aid stations and plenty of access to toilets, others do not.

Some races allow you to sign up online and the earlier you commit, the lower the fee. Most online sign-ups close before race day but many races will still have registration open at packet pick-up (see below in BEFORE THE RACE) or even the day of the race.

Know the course before you go so you can train for it.

Have a plan for keeping hydrated, proper fuel and running on the terrain and elevation changes that your chosen 5k course will have.

Running on a treadmill is nothing like running outside. Running laps on a track is nothing like a hilly trail race.

If you are training with Gatorade, find out if the race only offers water (or nothing at all).

Along with knowing the course and preparing your body, there are a few things that will make your first 5k much less stressful. When you have a question that you can’t find the answer for, email the race director well before race day.

Packet Pick-Up
Many races have a time the day before and/or the day of for picking up race bibs, timing chips and other promotional swag. Stay aware of the time(s) and location(s) of packet pick up. Some are in conjunction with health and fitness expos where you can look at/shop for cool running stuff.Standard_Bib

Don’t plan on wearing or using anything new you pick up at the expo or in your packet. If you have trained in a tech fabric shirt and the race is giving out cotton t-shirts, you could have a very unpleasant race if you choose to wear/use anything new. Save the new hydration pack, Gu fuel or racing flats for sometime after you have tried them out in training. Best rule of thumb – “Nothing New on Race Day.”

If you are running with a group or friends, not all races allow you to pick up other runners’ packets. Some allow it but require a photocopy of their ID.

Packet pick up is a great time to ask any last minute questions you have come up with:
Where is the best place for spectators to safely watch the race?
Where along the course are the aid stations?
Where will there be access to restrooms/port-a-pots?
What signage will there be along the course?
Is the course closed to traffic?
Will there be volunteers directing runners at turns or police stpping traffic at intersections?
Will there be pace corrals?
Any questions you have about…

Hopefully when you signed up you were put on an email list that sends out race updates. If not, or if you are signing up at the last minute, know where you are going and what time the race starts.

The bigger the race, the more difficult the parking. Allow plenty of time to find the parking and get from there to the start line. Some races have very specific places the ask runners to park (or NOT to park). Some end to end races have a shuttle that will either take you from parking near the finish to the start line or back to the parking at the start line after the finish. Some races require parking passes that are either printed online or given out at packet pick up.

The farther away parking is, the more careful you will have to plan what you are taking with you and what you are leaving in the car.

Night Before
You will know the weather by this point and can choose what running clothes will best suit you in the race. Lay out your entire running outfit, including race bib and something to carry car keys/phone if you will have them so that nothing is missing when you put it on the next day or pack it to change fore the race. #flatrunnerC_LdfAAXcAELEnt.jpg

If it is going to rain, include a large garbage bag to wear over your clothes as you stand in the corral and wait for the start. You can take it off and toss it off of the race course just as you start.

Try to get a good night’s sleep the couple of nights before the race. If you are nervous and can’t rest the night before, at least you will have gotten a good rest the night before that.

Eat healthfully and choose things that you know have not given you Gastro/Intestinal issues in the past. Don’t eat/drink anything new unless you have a system that never has any GI issues. Nerves can also play a factor so choose wisely.

Nothing New on Race Day Nothing New on Race Day Nothing New on Race Day Nothing New on Race Day

Get Moving
Get up in time to allow your bodily functions to get moving. Have coffee unless you haven’t trained with it or find that it makes you have to pee a lot. Have a good poop before getting to the race if you can. Calf stretches can help for some of those who have a hard time getting their bowels in gear.

If it is a later race or you need to have a breakfast, only eat what has settled well for you in past training.

Allow Plenty of Time
Head out allowing time to get yourself near the start line in time to warm up. Most training programs start each run with a warm-up and some even stretching, make sure you allow time for this on race day.

Plan to Meet Up
Before you split up with friends or family, especially if it is a big race, have a predetermined place to meet after the race. Even if you plan to run together, the crush of the crowd can make it hard to just wait by the finish line and find each other after the race. Some races only allow runners in certain areas after the finish line so choose a spot that it clear enough to find and accessible to everyone who is planning on meeting up afterward.

Before the Gun
Take time to warm up for 10-20 minutes, jog around to see where the port-o-pots are, do the approach to the finish line if it is a loop course, shake out the jitters.

Make sure your bib is visible and on the layer you intend to race in (don’t pin it to a warm up jacket that you intend to toss to a friend in a half of a mile). If there is a section of your bib that will need to be torn off at the finish line, do not pin that section down. If the race is bib chip timed, don’t fold your bib. If race is timed with a shoe chip, have it securely attached or laced onto your shoe.

When they call you to the start line (the larger the race, the earlier the call) find your pace corral (larger races) or get yourself at least halfway back of the pack (smaller races). Don’t be intimidated nor over confidant by who is around you. You are all going to make it to the same finish line and you have to focus on your own race. DO NOT STAND AT THE START LINE.

It is hard to hear announcements when you are lined up to race, even if they are using loud speakers. Middle/back of the pack runners have a lot of runners in front of them to follow and, if you did your homework, you know about the course and the signage and aid stations and road crossings. You are ready even if you can’t hear the race director thanking all of the sponsors so don’t fret.

In a large race, you might hear the gun or air horn go of and not move at all. The race has started but you are so far back in the pack, elbow to elbow with other runners, you don’t even budge for a few seconds. Then when you do start moving, it is barley a shuffling walk. It can take you a full minute or more to even get to the start line where you cross a sensor and/or start your watch.

Even in smaller races it will take you a few seconds to get into a jog or running stride. Be patient and don’t be stressed about passing people, things will open up soon enough. Look at it as blessing that the other runners are keeping you from letting the excitement of the race let you go off too fast at first.

While in the crush, try to stay aware of the small section of road coming up in front of you. If there is a runner with a dog on a leash or stroller that might trip you up, look for a way to navigate around them without cutting others off. Unlike when training on a lonely bike path, no need to call out “on your left” to everyone you pass. You may even find it necessary to cut a bit off course on a grassy shoulder early in the race. Try to watch the footing and listen if runners are calling out about hazards ahead.

Hitting Your Stride
As the pack starts to loosen up and you find your regular running stride it will be easier to relax a little and remember all of the things that worked for you in training. If you find you are going to fast, back off the pace and drop your hands to loosen up a little. If you are back of the pack and see everyone out distancing you, know that it is a long race and you will pass some of them later when they burn out, trust me, you will. You do you, your race, your pace.

If you run with music know that some races don’t allow earbuds. If they do, it is still a good idea to consider wearing only one so that you can hear any race directions, if other runners are warning of an oncoming car on a course that isn’t closed to traffic, or the cheers of the good folks who have come out to lend support.

Try to thank course volunteers or even folks cheering. It make you feel good and they feel good too.

Navigating Aid Stations
It helps to know when to expect aid stations so you can anticipate them. Many people running a 5k don’t need any hydration nor fuel but it helps to know where they are so you can avoid getting slowed by them if you don’t require hydration. If you aren’t going to get a cup of water to drink or pour on your head, stay clear of the tables and volunteers and allow anyone who needs clear access to the water. This will keep you from having to come up short because the person whose heels you were on needs a cup of water and is slowing to get some.

If you do need water or gatorade, remember to “drink to thirst.” Listen carefully as you approach the aid station to hear if they are calling out “water” or “gatorade.” Also, slow a bit but don’t stop as you approach as to not put on the brakes right in front of someone running in right behind you.

The best idea is not to go to the very first volunteer/table but shoot a bit ahead if there are multiple volunteers/tables. It becomes less congested toward the farther end of the aid station. Just be careful you are getting what you want in a cup. Pouring gatorade over your head is not going to be pleasant if you were expecting water.

cups-of-gatoraideYou have listened, heard the call of “water” and have your sights set on a volunteer somewhat down the table. They are holding out a little cup and you want to try to make eye contact as you keep moving toward them. Even if you plan on slowing to walk when you drink, you want to clear out of this area as quickly and carefully as possible. Hold you hand out toward them as you approach (like loosely pointing), stick your index finger INTO the cup as you take it and the rest of your hand will follow through and take the outside of the cup. Keep moving without tipping the cup. This also works if it is just a table of cups but no volunteer handing it off.

If you want to slow and drink after the aid station, move to the side (many runners hold up their free hand to show runners behind them that they are slowing) and drink your hydration. There are typically garbage cans for cups just after a station. You don’t have to put the cup in the can but do crumple it and get it well off the course by tossing it.

If you want to keep running or jogging with your cup after you clear the aid station, pinch the cup so you can control how much liquid is coming out and you will be less likely to spill it or breathe it in as you run. Again, crumple the cup and toss it well off the race course so that no one trips on it after you. Leaving it as close to the aid station is advisable to ease clean up.

Finally, not everyone cares to keep the course clean of cups so be very careful not to trip on cups after aid stations.

Racing Etiquette
Number one has to be to follow the rules of the race event. Even if you are used to running with your dear dog, if the race says no dogs/strollers/headphones, don’t do it.

Register for the race rather than just hopping in and “banditing the race.” It took a lot to organize and your entry fee covers the fact that the roads are closed to runners even if you don’t take anything from an aid station. Same goes for friends who want to run a section with you. The course support is there for registered runners and it gets confusing and dangerous when kids join in and they aren’t registered.

Try not to pee or poop anywhere other than the designated restrooms and port-o-pots. It is super unsanitary.

Walkers should start back of the pack.

When you train on your own, it is less of a big deal if you sniff and spit snot on the road but will matter a great deal with a lot of other runners just off your elbow. Noses run when most of us exercise outdoors and a farmer blow or snot rocket is a hard thing to pull off in a race. Using a kleenex is pretty problematic, especially in the rain, so it is best to just try to be aware of who is around you and where they are when you have to “hawk and spit.”

Listen to officials and police. Stay aware of course direction.

If it is a multi-loop race, stay to the side as faster and lead runners pass you on their advanced laps.

As mentioned in navigating an aid station, if you have to slow or stop, raise your hand to alert runners behind you and move to the side of the course. Step off the course if you have to stop for any reason (like tying your shoe).

The Finish
You have been making your way through the race, following the course markers, Seen the mile and kilometer markers and you know you are going to make it to the end.

Maybe there have been photographers along the race course, some will have them only at the finish line. Frequently, the photographer will make race photos available online for viewing (lo resolutions) or purchasing (high resolution). The only easy way to find any photos taken of yourself is to make sure your bib number is clearly visible. It is by bib number that race photos are sorted.

Having you bib number visible is also important near the finish for very large races so that they know you are a registered runner and not banditing the race. Some races they might try to pull you off the course before the finish line if your number isn’t showing. Don’t look down at your watch at the finish line unless you want your race photo to look that way.

Well before the finish line, sometimes before even half way, many folks will shout out, “Almost there!” Don’t believe them until you can see the finish line ahead of you.

Some larger races, you can hear the cheers of the crown a mile or so even before the finish line depending on how the course loops around. Just keep running you race the way you trained to make the whole distance.finish

Even if there isn’t a course photographer, have a great time crossing that finish line. You worked hard for it. Even if you are the very last runner (who gets the heartfelt cheers of the spectators AND all the other runners) you have all run the same distance and this is your moment. Run, walk, wheeling a chair or hobble on crutches, you did it!

YOU did it, not your kids, not your sweety or besty. Make sure they know it is not ok to cross the finish line with you.

Soak up the moment but when crossing the finish line, keep moving as to not clog the chute. Cross all the sensors and keep moving. If your bib has a tear off section that race volunteers are taking, allow them access to it and then keep moving.

Recovering from the big event can help determine how fondly you remember the accomplishment of a lifetime.

Refueling and Rehydrating
You’ve crossed that finish line and there are tables of fruit and granola bars and water bottles and chocolate milk. Even if you aren’t hungry right after you finish, grab a nibble or 2 for when you start feeling better and definitely a bottle of water.

What you DON’T want to do is also grab something for your kids or spouse. They may have been real troupers coming out to cheer you at your race but this food is for the runners who have yet to come in. If they need a special treat, give them one later. Tell them they have to run the race to get race food.

Sadly, because not everyone thinks of the runners yet to come or the race just didn’t get enough food, occasionally post race food (and sometime water from aid stations!!) is gone for the back of the pack runners. If you know that you might be in the position or cannot eat any of the typical post race food, have something for yourself in the car.

Try to eat something with carbohydrates and protein within a half of an hour after the race. Also be hydrating so that your urine is flowing in a lemonade color when you urinate.

Post Race Maintenance
Walk around for 10-20 minutes after your race to cool down and allow your heart rate to return to normal. If you require medical attention for any reason, seek out someone who is working with the race and ask if there is a med tent.

If you have far to drive afterward, take a moment to stretch out before you hop into the car. Also take breaks on your drive to walk and stretch and your recover will be much faster.

A shower and a good meal is essential after a 5k. Take care of anything that might have gone awry, hot pavement can cause a blister even in a 5k. Take it easy on yourself, this was a first for you.

Your first 5k was everything and more than you had ever hoped or maybe you didn’t run the whole way as you hoped.

Next Time
Take what you experienced and think on it a bit. The thrill of the finish line can cloud the miles of discomfort so signing up for a full marathon that night is not a good idea. Give the whole experience some perspective.

If you didn’t complete the race as quickly as you felt you should have, it is easy to call it “sour grapes” and write off running all together. If you have people in your life that put you down for not even being able to: run the whole way, at least run a 10 minute mile, finish a 5k – forget what they say. Running is for you and just by trying you have completed more than many. Congratulate yourself for all you DID do.

After some time you may want to try another race. Maybe an easier course. Perhaps it went so well you want to check out a 10k training plan. There is always a chance that it was hard work and you need to think a while before you undertake something like a 5k again. Hopefully you can take away the best parts of the experience and empower yourself to keep trying and doing amazing and healthful things for yourself.


Early 2017

When the running blog takes a backseat it doesn’t mean we aren’t running and racing. We have been enjoying running in central Pennsylvania since DAY 1 of this year by starting with the Cat’s Crawl 5k. There were sections of black ice along the hilly course in Mifflinburg, PA. Thank goodness it was held during the day instead of  New Year’s Eve the way it had been last year. That didn’t keep me, Terri, from falling hard on a patch of ice by the port-o-pots right before the race. Bloody knee and all, I ran just fine and avoided the shadows where any more ice might be on the course. The day was sunny and very pretty and we enjoy the finishers etched glasses they have. A sad trend we have noticed in some races though, finishers goodies are being given at the beginning of races when we sign in. I dunno about you but that little trinket at the end it something I keep in mind as I run. When they hand it to us at the beginning, we look at each other as we walk the swag back to the car and say, “Well, we got the goody without running the race. Want to just go home?”

Of course we never just ditch the race because running is the thing we enjoy most. The races are just goals that keep us headed in a direction rather than over all fitness. When a race is on the books in the dead of winter, it makes it so much harder to blow off a run if it is cold or bad weather. When there is a tangible reason to train, we find a way to put in the miles instead of rolling over in the dark of the morning when the blankets are warm and inviting.2017-01-07 19.05.53

We didn’t get t-shirts for the Cat’s Crawl 5k because we signed up for the race the morning of. They were out of shirts all together. It was pretty2017-02-11 09.45.03.jpg late when we signed up for the Sweetheart 5k but did score long sleeved race shirts (in our sizes even). This was a race in downtown State College and we ran through familiar neighborhoods. Being a Valentine’s Day themed race, we dressed up in our Love Bandits costumes and ran together.

The best part for me was to run by the office where I had surgery on my leg last November. I had a painful cyst removed from my leg that set my training back for months. It was a very frustrating winter of limited running and I was, yet again, reminded how much running means to me. You miss something most when it is taken away.

March was dedicated to finally building back mileage for our Spring races. Jim was injury free all Spring and was training for a 15k and I took another hard fall with serious road rash as I trained for a 19k.

2017-04-08 10.18.03

April allowed Jim to continue to streak the Business and Professional Women’s Wellness 5k (now in their 7th year) and it was a great race for both of us. Jim got 3rd place in his age group and I got 1st. The best thing for me was that I beat my time from last year by about 15 seconds. Not my course best but I knew then that my fitness level was returning even though my surgery set me back this winter.2017-04-25 11.56.09

That incentive kept me working hard to improve my pace from last year. I had been adapting the old Couch to 5k run/walk intervals to run/jog intervals. After a warm up mile, I did the April race with a ratio of running hard for 3 minutes then jog for 1:30 then run hard for 5 minutes and jog for 2:30. I did a couple of sets of those then pushed as hard as I could until the finish line. Between pushing hard, still carrying extra weight from over the past couple of year and then wearing dead shoes I really injured the metatarsal area of my left foot. What was to be a regular 4 miler had me come up short and almost not able to walk after 3 miles.

2017-05-06 09.11.35This nixed not only the 15k for me but I was too injured to come back in time for the 19k. Jim’s training was spot on. He tapered just a bit before the Mastodon Challenge 15k and was able to clobber hills and pass dozens of other runners in the last few miles. He was very pleased with how he felt during the run and how he recovered afterward. This was the last race Jim has on the books this year but he is back to running and had a great 8 miler this past weekend.

My injury didn’t even allow me to switch to the 5k option at the Mastodon Challenge series. I was careful all of the following week and got in some pain free miles. The Right to Run allowed me to switch from the 19k to the 5k and I was able to run it with our dear friend Rosalie. She too, had to switch from the 19k as she was nursing a Baker’s Cyst 2017-05-12-16-10-14.jpgbehind her right knee. Uphills were problematic for both of us so, the night before the race, Jim and I took a drive along the course to see how bad it would be. As we cut through one neighborhood, we drove past the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, HQ for the Women’s Suffrage movement (thus the 19k distance for the 19th amendment of our country’s constitution). What luck we had driving by right then as we saw the inspirational Kathrine Switzer speaking to a group from Girls on the Run. Jim practically slammed on the breaks and breathlessly said, “Is that Kathrine Switzer? No. It couldn’t be.” I assured him that it could be because she was scheduled to give local talks and be at the finish line. We sat there in our car and stared like the running geeks we are as she shared her story with the young girls and their coaches. It was the highlight of our evening.

We had seen a couple of short hills that seemed like Rosalie and I could tackle if we listened to our bodies. We agreed that we would walk if we needed and it was ok for one or the other of us to go ahead if needed. Race morning was a little drizzly but that didn’t dampen our reunion. Jim snapped photos of us hugging and catching up before taking our jackets to the finish line as it was an end to end course.

Neither of our injuries gave us much problem but I was shocked at just how quickly I had lost my speed. Rosalie kept an easy pace and wonderful conversation as I pushed myself to keep up. It was so worth it, I finished with my fastest 5k time in well over a year holding the hand of my dear friend overhead as we crossed the line.2017-05-13 09.55.05

Kathrine Switzer and her 261 Fearless organization were at the expo near the finish line. She was such a pleasure to chat with, as was her 261 Fearless  club representative. Kathrine signed our race bibs then was off to hang medals around the neck of the 19k finishes.

That brings us to date. I am recovering well and inspired by the pace I was able to keep. I have one more 5k in June then, like Jim, have no planned races. In August, I will be attending a workshop at the Center for Cartoon Studies as I continue to work on my graphic novel, You Run Like a Girl.

All of those crazy little running comics that you see on this blog are just the tip of the iceberg. I am writing/drawing a book that will cover my life as a runner and highlight US women running legends during the decades of my life. It will also include real life experiences of other women as they ran as girls. It is an exciting topic and I am passionate about it.


Rough sketches of US women’s running legends for You Run Like a Girl. Can you spot Kathrine?

3rd Run-iversary

snowrun2013Winter can be such in introspective time for me. I was born in the winter and raised in central Pennsylvania where the winters have a stronghold for at least a couple of months.

It is no wonder that it was in winter, 3 years ago yesterday, I decided to do something for myself and try a new fitness regime. It happened to be a Couch to 5k program that I thought sounded like an easy thing to do. I discovered that it was no easy task to keep jogging for a minute straight and my cocky, “I used to run,” self learned to respect the walk/run program.

No music, no running shoes, a watch I bought at Walmart for $7 and set of warm-up pants for $10 saw me through probably the first couple of months. Although I still use that watch and warm-ups, my parents bought me a good pair of running shoes for my birthday. Jim decided to try out the same training program about a month behind me and we were both pleased with how it was set up. Check out Long & Winding Road to read how those first months went leading up to my very first race. Jim’s first race recap can be read at Jimmy the Eye is on the Run.

Not every winter has blessed us with beautiful snow as is evident on My Runniversary. I also didn’t meet my goal of 1,000 miles as I hoped that year because I was suffering from plantar fasciitis. Indeed, 2011 was a difficult year as I had to defer my registration for the Wineglass Marathon as I healed and built back from that injury.

2012 started off in a hopeful way as I continued to recover from plantar fasciitis and actually gained speed after having some time off. A failed annual run-iversary tradition, I was dressed improperly last year and was too cold to run to the horses and back. Early last year I waited to find that I was not chosen through the lottery for the 2012 NYC Marathon (thank goodness as it turns out) and started training for the Wineglass Marathon whose registration had deferred. That was a big victory and first for me, I completed the Wineglass Marathon in 4:34:54. I also ended the year with about 1, 040 miles logged.

Here I am, 3 years after starting that difficult C25K in the snow and still running. I dressed warmly enough yesterday and made the traditional run out to the horses and back (about a 5 miler). I don’t have many firm goals for the year and that makes me a little crazy. I will probably enter the NYC Marathon lottery since I am the last year to be phased out the the 3 times refused and automatic entry in the fourth year. If I am refused this year, I might consider signing up for the inaugural Mt. Nittany Marathon since it is local and I am really familiar with most of the course. Other than that, I am hoping to run the Capital 10-miler again since I am streaking that race. Honestly, I am just glad that running stuck and I am feeling pretty good at 50 years old.

2012 NYC Marathon “Resolution”

not so much

not so much

Finally, ING NYC Marathon made a statement to telling runners who were to be in this year’s race what options they might have for refund/ future entry. Personally, I am still waiting to see when the 2013 lottery will open since it will be my 3rd time entering (last 2 denied entry) but it is nice to read what is going on.

Here is the letter from New York Road Runners President and CEO Mary Wittenberg:

Dear Marathon Runners:

Thank you all for your patience during the last seven weeks as we have worked through issues related to the cancellation of the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. Hurricane Sandy was a devastating event for our city, and our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and their families as they work to rebuild their homes and lives.

We are sorry that it has taken us longer to resolve these issues than we had originally hoped. We have been working to offer the best possible solutions in order to meet the needs of the many different groups associated with the Marathon.

Our goal was to offer a range of options to each of you so that you can choose which option works best for you.

2012 Marathoners may choose one of the following options:

Option #1 – Refund. While NYRR has always had a no-refund policy for the Marathon, given these extraordinary circumstances, we are offering runners who were entered in the 2012 Marathon, and were unable to run due to the cancellation 1, the opportunity to obtain a full refund of their 2012 Marathon entry fee (excluding the $11 processing fee); OR
Option #2 – Guaranteed entry to the ING New York City Marathon for 2013, 2014, or 2015. Entrants in the 2012 Marathon who choose this option will be granted guaranteed entry to the Marathon for the year they choose. Runners will be required to pay all processing and entry fees at the time of application (in the given year), with fees maintained at the same rate as those paid in 2012; OR
Option #3 – Guaranteed entry to the NYC Half 2013. Entrants in the 2012 Marathon who choose this option will be granted guaranteed entry to the NYC Half 2013, to be run on March 17, 2013. Runners will be required to pay all processing and entry fees at the time of application. Availability will be limited.

All runners who signed up to run the 2012 Marathon on behalf of Team for Kids or one of the official ING New York City Marathon charities and obtained their entry from NYRR will be offered the same options. The fundraising you did in connection with the 2012 Marathon will entitle you to any of the options above. If your 2012 Marathon entry fee was paid through your charity partner, you will be contacted directly by your charity.

All international runners who gained entry to the 2012 Marathon as part of a travel package with an official ING New York City Marathon International Travel Partner will be contacted directly by their International Travel Partner representative to facilitate their options.

Ticket-holders for any of the following events will be offered a full refund:

Marathon Eve Dinner
Reserved Grandstand Seating
Blue Line Lounge Presented by Tata Consultancy Services
Marathon in a Motorcoach
TrackMyRunnersTM via TXT

Those of you who were entered in the cancelled 2012 NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K will receive a separate e-mail outlining further details.


Individual e-mails will be sent to all runners on January 10, 2013, and information will be posted on the Marathon website (, providing further details and terms and conditions for the obtaining of refunds and the choosing of an option. The option selection window will open on January 11, 2013, and you will have until January 25, 2013, to choose your option, so we ask that you please act quickly once you receive the instructional e-mail, as there will be no default option.
Please choose the option that works best for you. If you have any questions prior to receiving our instructional e-mail on January 10, please do not hesitate to contact NYRR customer service at

On behalf of all of us at NYRR, thank you for your patience and support. Our commitment is to work hard over the coming year to serve our runners and community and to return the ING New York City Marathon to being our city’s best day.

Yours in running,

Mary Wittenberg

President and CEO

12.12 on 12/12/12

I wish I had planned things a little better or realized the fun date earlier than the day before. If I had, I certainly wouldn’t have run 13.1 a couple of days prior to today. If I had, I might not be quite as exhausted as I am now and I wouldn’t be walking around like a zombie as I deliver a few Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards in downtown State College.

I knew it would be a challenge, just as the 27 day running streak has been. My top priority has been to abandon any of the fun and games if even the first hint of overuse injury stets in. So far, so good but tomorrow is going to be about a mile and really low key, like Monday was.

I didn’t push the pace at all today, just getting the miles in was the name of the game. To keep my mind in a good place, I decided to think of 12 things I was really grateful for when it came to the run. I knew it would be long and hard and I wanted to stay in a good frame of mind and not get frustrated. I started to think of things and immediately knew I would forget them if I didn’t have a strategy for remembering. I decided to stay within the first 12 letters of the alphabet to stick with the theme of 12 since I thought of so many things (more than 12) I am grateful for.

Trevor Spencer, me, Jim and Angie Spencer of Marathon Training Academy

Trevor Spencer, me, Jim and Angie Spencer of Marathon Training Academy

1. Angie Spencer (my coach) of Marathon Training Academy, Angie’s voice comes to me on long and short runs. No, I am not channeling her, per se, but remembering all of the great advice and knowledge she has compiled and shared on her pod cast and Website. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the female mileage update voice on my Nike+ iPod reminds me of her voice. When I hear it, I always say, “Thank you Angie.” I gained a lot through my membership to MTA.

Abacus-free calculating, As I mentioned on Not Now, I’m Doing Math, I am constantly doing math and crunching numbers to compare lengths of routes and paces. I just love links like Pace Calculator or Map My Run to save me from constantly having to do my own math when planning routes or comparing runs.

4612830-bike-trail-in-colorado-from-windsor-to-greeley-along-poudre-river-in-typical-winter-conditions-with-2. Bike paths, You gotta love long stretches of decent grade and pavement that aren’t traveled by motorized vehicles. I must try to disregard the crime that occurred today while I was blogging, it is rare to have anything like this happen on our local bike paths.

Bikers filled with Bonhomie, Usually folks on bikes won’t wave nor acknowledge me. I can understand to a point, having biked for years, but a word doesn’t take any hands off of the handlebars. The bike commuters this morning were bundled up, scarves and all. A group of three this morning not only smiled but wished me a “Happy Wednesday.” I had to wonder if they were clued in to the specialness of my run.

3. Clear skies, In this case a nice view of the mountain range to the north, AKA the Gatesburg Ridge.

IMG_41914. Dogs on leashes, I know I have told many folks that I am like a dog magnet. They tend to run at me and, at 4’10”, they tend to knock me over.

5. Egrets, I didn’t see one today but I always hope to as I run along Millbrook Marsh.

6. Fresh air and fresh legs, My legs were not fresh but the 38° felt just fine in the late Autumn sun.

tunez7. Good tunes, I apologize to anyone overhearing my playlist (I don’t wear ear budz because they sweat out and safety concerns.) I rarely change my playlist so I know just how long I have been into a run. It is kind of like a security blanket, knowing each tune coming up, but it is also fun to have holiday tunes for shorter runs.

8. Hammer Nutrition, Yum and oooooooo! Proper fuel for each step of my long run and absolutely delicious. No belly aches, no bonking and building glycogen stores to encourage the bod to know how to be ready for future runs.

9. Imagination, Oh my, does my mind wander! I scheme and plot and plan and create. On this run, I had a 12 days of Christmas-type give away planned with the final day being an automatic entry into my thus to be organized Poe’s Nevermore Half Marathon ®. I also came up with multiple layered street art, my own flavors of gum, running nutrition packs and steps toward world peace. Every run is fresh when hanging icicles from twigs turn into ice bats and contrails become codes in the sky.

10. Jiggle control, I hate chaffing and everything that can hold in the jiggly bits is much appreciated.

TrackField-form-when-running-hills-in-a-race-233x35011. Klimbs, okok, “climbs” but I love hills. I love the up, I love the down. Flat is boring and wears on my joints and patience.

12. Love, I don’t know how many miles I spend thinking of the loves of my life. Jim probably takes up 85% of all thoughts that I ever have on a run and the rest of my family takes up another 10%. I love them and their support. They say “All you need is love,” and I think that is pretty much true.

Kraken 1,000

K is the abbreviation for Kilo (1000 grams) which has been extended to multiply any quantity by 1000.

This weekend I cracked through the ceiling of 1,000 miles run this year. I wanted to last year but injury prevented that as well as participating in a full marathon. I made both of those goals this year and Jim ran his first half marathon. It is wrapping up as a pretty nice running year for both of us.

Jim had his first run after the Nittany Valley Half yesterday; he ran the Sleigh Bell 5k in Burnham. I encouraged him to treat it as a recovery run and he was a good man and heeded my advice. I too ran this local race as well as about 75 other folks.

We ran into 2 ladies that Jim works with, Patty & Jenny and it was their second race of the year. It was a lot of fun to have someone else to cheer for that we knew.Screen Shot 2012-12-09 at 2.50.32 PM

I think this will be one of the very few races I will ever come in ahead of Jim, he was hot on my heal from Ewardtown Rd until the finish line. Our different running styles had him catching me on the uphills and my gaining distance on the downhills. I did my best to Release the Kraken and the final time has us coming in at the same time which is pretty cool since we both ran our own races, mine was a PR at 26:30.

I was glad we were together to have seen the crazy guard turkey at the northern most turn of Ewardtown Rd. We could see it running back and forth in its yard even when we were a block away. He and I both assumed it was a wild turkey looking to cross the road but was scared of the runners. One time there was a gap and it did run out onto the road but it then ran back to its own yard. He really was a stunning bird but a little intimidating too, I was glad the owner was there to make sure he didn’t get out of control.

A bit farther on was a Christmas decoration, a nativity set up on the second floor of an out building in someone’s yard. It included lights to represent the star but the figures were oddly faceless and it gave a really eerie feeling to it, like they were death eaters from Harry Potter. We returned late that night to take a photo of it and it was even more spooky. A lot like what your would see on a ride in a haunted mansion.

Today, I ran my favorite half marathon that includes going past Poe Valley Lake and ending in Poe Paddy State Park. It starts at a highway and ends in paradise. The weather was what I consider the worst, 38° and rainy, but I loved every step of the way. I am not sure if I have run the route faster before but I know I have taken it at a slower pace. It was a great way to break into 1,000 miles for the year.

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