NYRR Bronx 10 Miler Race Recap



Not many things, other than running, will get me out of bed at 5:30 AM on a Sunday morning. Luckily the NYRR Bronx 10 Mile Race is one of my favorite NYRR races or else waking up this morning would have been ten times harder. Bo and I woke up while it was still dark outside, and spent the next 45 minute sipping coffee, eating Udi’s cinnamon raisin bread and almond butter and getting race ready.


We had to leave the house earlier than usual since neither of us wanted to brave the Pope and UN traffic and crowds while heading up to the NYRR headquarters on the UES. By 6:30 we were on the subway for the 45 minute trek up to the Bronx.  Due to the small talk we made with fellow runners, the subway ride flew by very quickly.


As soon as we exited the subway station we were greeted by brisk temperatures and sunshine. Even though we were both a bit chilly, we agreed that this was perfect race weather. Though there were more than 9,000 people running the race, New York Road Runners did a phenomenal job this morning. Bib pick up only took a few minutes and the porta potty lines moved very quickly due to the multitude of porta potties. Every volunteer was wide eyed and bushy tailed, happily pointing runners towards the start on the Grand Concourse.


At 7:50 Bo and I slid into the F corral with just enough time to stretch before the 8 AM start and choose our meeting point for the finish. Our plan was to start the race together before running our own races.


Our training has been very different lately and Bo wanted to use this as a diagnostic run while I had a very specific race plan from Jess. The goal of this race was to serve as preparation for Brooklyn RocknRoll half marathon in 13 days. Instead of trying to run a PR today, I focused on executing a race strategy in a race setting.  The goal was 7 easier paced miles followed by 3 tempo miles at the end.

bronx 10 mile course map

One of the reasons that I enjoy this race so much is because it’s very unique course. It is an out and back run that takes you through urban area of the Bronx as you run down the main street, Grand Concourse Boulevard, as well as quieter parks when the out and back diverts before turning you back towards the finish. It is also a great race to practice running hills as is ten miles worth of small, rolling hills. Nothing compares to Harlem Hill in Central Park but after the race my calves felt the combination of hills and running in the lightweight, responsive New Balance Vazee Pace. (elevation map courtesy of  Runner Girl Esq recap)

elevation map bronx 10 miler

I crossed the start line exactly at 8 AM feeling incredible. My legs felt loose after yesterday’s shake out run and the cooler temperature made me excited to run.  Unfortunately, I was so excited that I forgot to start my watch or Nike+ running app. My watch was still in tempo/lap setting which did me no good but luckily within a quarter of a mile I was able to start my Nike app.


I spent the first four miles enjoying the sites and taking in the energy of the people cheering and running around me. Once the lead runners came by I passed the time by watching the runners, hoping to spot Jess or other speedy friends sprinting by me.


I didn’t spot Jess but I did have the chance to say hello to four different blog readers who spotted me on the course! When I dropped the pace, around mile 7, I put my headphones in and jammed out to my Berlin Marathon playlist from last year. While I was certainly burnt out on the playlist a year ago, today I loved the mix of Calvin Harris, Avicci and Macklemore. bronx 10 miler

As you’ll see below, I did a good job not going out too fast and sticking roughly to our plan. My “easy” pace is closer to a 9:30 but the fact that I had enough energy in the tank to drop it to sub 9 for the finish made me feel good. After talking to Theodora and seeing the official NYRR time, I also realize that the Nike Plus app isn’t perfect and seems to be a bit generous. If we assume that and add 5-6 seconds onto each mile, then I was right in the range Jess wanted.


  • Mile 1: 9:22
  • Mile 2: 9:10
  • Mile 3: 9:12
  • Mile 4: 9:20
  • Mile 5: 9:05
  • Mile 6: 9:08
  • Mile 7: 9:15
  • Mile 8: 9:01
  • Mile 9: 9:00
  • Mile 10: 8:51

Nike Plus Avg: 9:07

NYRR: 9:14 

This race has me so excited for the five weeks of running. My plan for Brooklyn is to run with Amy and see how she’s feeling since she’s still making a return to running after having a baby. Savannah will hopefully be a PR race while San Francisco will be all about the fun with Evann, Kristine and friends!

Did you race this weekend? How’d it go? 



NYRR R-U-N 5K Race Recap

Rarely do NYC runners have the opportunity to run a race through Central Park in the evening. Often crowded with tourists and other events, most NYRR races are limited to Saturday or Sunday mornings, bright and early.  Many people took advantage of last night’s NYRR R-U-N 5k, a new socially oriented 5k race. In fact many of my favorite NYC running friends came out for the evening including Meg, Russel, Anne, Beth, Kristin, Jess and 10 Race Pace Runners! I hoped that the smaller race would mean we’d all meet before the start; but, with over 5,000 runners I barely saw anyone I knew before, during or after the race.

While the 5k was an official NYRR race it was definitely a different atmosphere than their normal races. There was music, photo booths and games entertaining runners before the 7pm start. In fact they even served sparkling cider as a fun bubbly stop next to the water on the course!

The week of the race Anne and I decided to run together, aiming to break our previous PRs which were each around an 8:45 pace. Even though I am very much a morning runner and dread hot, sticky evening runs after a day of food, I hoped that I could pull out a PR.  I ran 2.5 warm-up miles up to the park, meeting her right at the entrance to the fanfare and race craziness. The race was organized differently than normal; featuring a fun run section and typical corrals. We started as far in the front of our corral as possible, in hopes that weaving would be limited.


Right at 7pm they announced that the race path was clear and signaled the start of the race, reminding everyone to have fun and enjoy the evening. Anne nor I had a perfect method for tracking our pace as my phone died unexpectedly and her Garmin couldn’t pick up a signal even after 15 minutes of attempts.  We decided that we’d use her Garmin timer and just try to run the race as strong as possible.

The first mile went by quickly due to our rapid pace. We both thought it felt fast but we were racing a 5k afterall. Most of this mile was flat other than a gradual downhill, but due to our pace talking more than a word or two here or there was difficult. We pointed out fun running outfits and remarked at how turned around we were. The course was very different than the routes either of us typically run.  As we approached the mile marker I said that I felt like we were keeping a sub-8 pace. Ding Ding! Her clock told us that we crossed mile 1 in 7:55.

The second mile was far hillier than the first including and is where the pain started to hit. My legs felt heavy and the humidity and 80+ degree temps didn’t help. I grabbed a water at the water station hoping that something cool would help. Instead it forced me to spring to catch up to Anne and loose my groove. I kept within a few steps of her until we made it halfway up Cat Hill. Those few steps turned into about a block’s distance but I just told myself that I can do anything for another 15 minutes, the amount of time I estimated I had left. As I crossed the Mile 2 marker I tried to do math and figured that mile was around an 8:15.

Now Mile 3 is the one that had us each talking all night after the race. It seemed very long and not just because we were in pain by this point. It also seemed to deviate from the original race map shared by NYRR. I think the only time I smiled during this mile was when I saw Ali cheering near Engineers’ Gate and when I finally saw the finish line. This was the mile where I internally yelled at myself for not having my Garmin or a charged phone and for leaving my headphones at home. I needed some Taylor Swift pump up music and instead the only thing I heard was heavy breathing and fellow runners cursing the never-ending mile. Based on my final results, this mile must have been somewhere around an 8:30 which means I earned an A in positive splits and failed at negative splits.


NYRR results from race

I sprinted across the finish at exactly 26:00 (8:22 avg pace), earning a shiny new 5k PR! Huge thanks to Anne for pushing me through those first few miles and to Jess for helping me become a faster, stronger runner! 

Overall I really enjoyed this race. The fun atmosphere was a welcome change from the typical NYRR event and any race that has popsicles at the end is a win in my book! After grabbing water and a popsicle I headed back to the finish line to watch for Meg, Russell and cheer each of the runners through the finish line.


The only thing I’d change in the future is a more festive finish line, possibly including a beer sponsor. While they did there best to negotiate discounts for runners at NYC bars, most of them were nowhere near Central Park. The mix of paces and crowds made it hard to find my other friends who ran the race, especially Beth, Meghan and Kristin whom I hoped to cheer for and high five at the finish line.

Luckily a group of us, including Zoe who enjoyed her first NYRR race after moving to NYC this week, enjoyed beers at a nearby bar together.


Nike Women’s 10k London Race Recap

Yesterday I had the opportunity to run my first Nike Women’s race event, and I finally understand the hype behind the very popular, global race series.  There were 10,000 women in attendance, of all shape, size, and ability, excited to run, jog or walk the 10k!Hosted in Victoria Park, the race day setup reminded me more of a concert or festival than a race. There were multiple stages, DJ booths, tents and activities for pre and post race including a nut butter bar, braid bar, champagne tent, and of course, a Nike shop.


Before the race, Charlie, Margaret and I met Zoe and others for pictures and some pre-race relaxation in the media tent. Having the opportunity to check our bags and relax a bit before the race made a huge difference.


As our group walked over to the starting area, we discussed our strategy for the day. Charlie, who starts Chicago marathon training today, didn’t feel she was in the best shape while Margaret just ran the Nike Women’s 10k in Paris two weeks prior. I suggested to the girls that we make sticking together our primary goal. As we entered the crowded starting area, we agreed to make it our goal to run the entire race together and finish in under 60 minutes.


Due to our predicted race times, we were towards the front. This meant that we had prime view of Ellie Goulding, a popular British singer and runner who was on hand to get the crowd pumped before the race. As she pumped the crowd and assisted in warm-ups lead by an Equinox instructor, you could feel the electric energy radiating from the sea of peach-colored Nike race tanks and shirts. Women of all sizes and abilities were chatting, supporting each other and nervously waving to their supporters and friends.


While waiting for the race to start, a wave of emotion hit me as I realized this would be my last European race for a while. Charlie and Margaret agreed that running my first Nike race in a new-to-me area of London was the perfect way to bid farewell to European running.


After a 15 minute delay, the three of us crossed the starting line with the biggest smiles on our faces. The weather was sunny with a gentle breeze and the day felt more like Spring than Summer.

Nike Women's London 10K

We ran without music, taking in the sights and enjoying the motivating spectators, many of whom were holding signs for moms and girlfriends.

The first mile (8:35) felt surprisingly easy considering that my 10k PR pace is an 8:59. After last week’s Oakley 10K, I knew that my body was stronger than an 8:59 pace and that my goal would be to keep as fast a pace as our group was willing to run. Suddenly, I found myself in a very new role. I was our leader, keeping a faster clip and pushing us forward versus holding us back. The second mile, which included a few small hills, wound us past Zoe’s mom and boyfriend as well as a gorgeous lake. The second mile (8:29) still felt comfortable, perfect motivation to keep pushing versus pulling back the speed.  We all agreed that walking through the water station was a smart idea to ensure we didn’t find ourselves parched towards the end. After a quick walk, we returned to our previous pace, cruising through the third mile (8:13) and towards the second lap.


As we veered to the right, towards the second lap, I asked the girls if we could try and steady our pace a bit. While I felt strong and didn’t doubt my body’s ability, I knew that maintaining the 7:58 pace I suddenly saw on my Nike Plus app wasn’t realistic. We pulled back a bit as we started to recount our path on the second loop, this time taking more time to move to the right so we wouldn’t collide with the walkers and joggers.  IMG_1137

During this second loop, we took the time to enjoy the many signs Nike placed along the course, motivating and supporting the multiple running groups. We saw many familiar teams such as Zoe’s team and the London Barry’s Bootcamp team. One sign, in particular, resonated with me, motivating me to push through the pain I was starting to feel.


At Mile 4 I saw that our pace was 8:17, still far faster than I expected to see during a 10k race. So much for slowing down, right? Mentally, I took a second to reign in my emotions and realize that I wasn’t only in PR range, but I was in range of setting a new PR by more than a minute or two.

This is the part of the race where every single step became a mental game. A year ago, I would have started slowing down, not realizing that pain is only temporary and that sudden surge of lactic acid and sweat is totally normal.  Instead of slowing down to a “normal” pace, I tried to figure out what pace I could maintain for two miles. I knew it wasn’t 8:17 or 8:15. I bartered with myself and decided on somewhere in the 8:30 range, telling myself that if I was in too much pain as I entered the final mile I could slow a bit more and still PR.

We hit mile 5 at 8:37, perfectly on point. For the next 10 minutes, I focused on two things:

  • The final miles and minutes are supposed to hurt.”  – Charlie and Theodora have both told me that the final miles and minutes of a race or supposed to hurt. A new PR doesn’t come easy, and this is where runners prove themselves. I kept telling myself that it is normal for every step to feel like running through quicksand and every breath to be a bit heavier.
  • Listening to Taylor Swift. Charlie started her iPod around mile 4, blasting our favorite songs including one especially for me, Welcome to New York. Since we didn’t have speakers or individual headphones, it was hard to hear the lyrics. I focused my energy on trying to hear the lyrics, which made sure I stayed within a step or two of Charlie.

As we passed the incredible RunDemCrew cheer station and turned the corner, I knew the end was near. I could do anything for just a few more minutes.

As we started to see the countdown signs, I started to smile more and more. For years, I’d dreamt of breaking the 9:30 and then the 9:15 pace. Just six months ago I broke the 9:00 pace during a 10k. Now, I was about to break at least the 8:45 pace!

image As soon as we passed the 200-meter marker Charlie urged me to sprint my heart out. Never one to disappoint, I gave these meters every ounce of effort, sprinting towards the finish line as fast as possible, keeping a 7:30 pace according to my Nike Plus!

We finished in 53:05 – a brand new PR and 8:33 pace per mile, or 5:19 km per mile – faster than even my 5k PR pace!


I was in shock for a few seconds, refusing to believe it until we received the official results. Margaret and Charlie both gave me huge hugs and told me how proud they were that I’d broken through running’s mental barrier.

As soon as the PR sunk in, I immediately requested a jumping picture in front of the iconic #WERUNLONDON sign. This picture is a framer friends as it shows my emotions perfectly – JUMPING FOR JOY WITH FRIENDS I LOVE!

We Run London 10K race

Yesterday reminded me why I love running. Charlie and Margaret supported me for each of the miles, reminding me just how strong we each were as well as motivating me to achieve what they knew possible. Each of the fellow women running motivated me as their passion for the sport brought them all the way out to Victoria Park on a Sunday morning.

Your turn – Why do you love running?

Thanks to Margaret and Charlie for some of these pictures!