Brooklyn Half Marathon Recap

Hello friends! It’s been awhile, as it always seems to go with this little internet space of mine. Honestly I’ve thought about closing up this blog. It seems between Instagram and Instastories, & Twitter, blogging is not as relevant as it used to be. So if I continue to only post every 4-5 months, you can find me on the other places.   That being said, I do have the day off of running and got the bug to update and share.

The last time I left you, it was March and I was devastated to miss out on my goal Marathon. I like to think I had a good attitude about it, but actually being present the moment the gun went off at the Shamrock Marathon without me on that line, was a tough one. Luckily I was with one of my best friends ever and we could commiserate together and lie to ourselves saying how awful it would be to run in sleet (yes sleet!!) anyway. “I’m so GLAD we aren’t running in this weather when everyone is dropping out, aren’t you?!?” Wink, Wink.  Absolute Lie.  But it is what it is and we both laughed anyway, having a fantastic weekend because we got to hang out with Shalane Flanagan for three days. I still can’t believe it. Best consolation prize ever. We got to drive her around to her speaking engagements, take her to meals, etc. We were so lucky and I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity.  Basically if J&A tells me I have to clean porta-potties next year I’ll be like, okay totally fair deal! I do hope to be racing the full though. Here are some pics-


I’m internally screaming in this photo. Can you tell?I mean it’s SHALANE FLANAGAN.


Just a wee bit freezing handing out blankets with the J&A Staffers. All the runners and volunteers were rockstars!

After Shamrock, I started to run again. It wasn’t a perfect process, re-injuring myself through cross training, and in total I think I took over 6 weeks off. I wanted to be ready for the Brooklyn Half Marathon but expectations had to be realistic. I went in with a new racing singlet and a mindset that I had absolutely nothing to lose.


New singlet! with Running Etc. Owner Mike Robinson

Now I understand why the Brooklyn Half Marathon sells out in minutes, it’s a fantastic event. Megan, Jess, and I arrived in Brooklyn Friday afternoon. Our Airbnb was cancelled by owner on us an hour before arrival and we panicked. Luckily we found an amazing hotel, the Marriot at the Brooklyn Bridge in a perfect location AND perfect price (not $$$$). Everyone who works there was AMAZING. They heard our sob story and even gave us upgrades. I have zero affiliation with them, just wanted to praise their kindness and let you all know the location was fantastic for the race and for touristing.


All smiles together wherever we go.

The race expo (above) was gorgeous and race morning was just as fantastic.  I was extremely lucky to have been given a seeded entry spot which gave an indoor meeting area with bathrooms and snacks (snacks!).  Upon arrival I could tell immediately I was in way over my head. There were not that many other ladies in the seeded field and I felt such guilt that I’m “not that fast” or don’t belong there. You’d think these feelings would have been left behind in middle school  but nope. My husband reminded me over text that I didn’t ask to be put there, I simply said thank you when it was offered. All I could do was give 100% of what I have and there was no reason to feel bad about myself.   But you know, he is my husband, he has to say nice things to me.

At the actual start line, I quickly met new friend, Sarah (pictured below). We had chatted on social media before and having a friend to laugh with in those final moments put any feelings of stress at ease.  We had discussed staying together for a few miles but within the first half mile I knew that would be impossible.  I entered this race wanting a huge, fast field, and I got it! There was barely any wiggle room to grab water and misstep.  Luckily I was able to settle in with a huge pack for the first 5 miles and loved it.  It was enthralling and I literally never felt any fear or doubt like I normally would during a half. The Prospect Park hills were easier than I had read about and the final 5 miles could not have been better suited for my running style.  I was hurting but with a long straight away, all I had to focus on was grinding out the miles. Every once in awhile you have a race that feels like you are floating. This was it. At mile 8 I knew I was going to have a great day. I finished in 1:21:42 and 22nd female.  The A goal before my injury was top 20 and sub 1:20 so for what its worth, I was thrilled with the outcome.  I’m still eyeing that sub 1:20 and after this race I’m feeling confident. One of the coolest things was within a minute Sarah and I found each other at the finish line area. She had a huge PR and finished within 10 seconds of me. I had no clue we were near each other. We were both thrilled!


Before the race with New York City Marathon Race Director, Peter Ciaccia. The most personable guy and so loved in the NYC running community.


Finish Line Coney Island Fun with Sarah. Please ignore my crazed hair.

After the race, Megan, Sarah, and I boarded the insanely packed subway back to our end of Brooklyn. Sarah had to leave but Megan and I spent the rest of the weekend celebrating with our friend Jess.  The REAL reason we went to Brooklyn 😉 It does pain me that we did all the fun touristy stuff in non running clothes and only managed to get one blurry photo of ourselves…ugh.


Since Brooklyn I’ve been taking time off from any formal training. Mileage is low and there is no set plan. It’s been fun to stay relaxed but I have been running often and throwing in some speedwork when I feel antsy.  I have my eye on two different Fall marathons but am leaning towards the California International Marathon in December.  Tomorrow evening, if the weather cooperates (at this point it looks like thunderstorms may cause a cancellation), I’ll race a track 5K for fun then I’ll start formal training again.

Thank you all for reading!!  Wishing lots of speedy luck to my many friends racing Grandmas Marathon and Half this weekend!  Let me know your Fall racing plans as I always love to hear them. Have a fun Summer all!


One door closes…

Less than 10 days until the Shamrock Marathon. One of my favorite weekends of the year. For that reason this post is hard to type up so I’ll just get to it. I have decided to pull out of the Shamrock Marathon. Insert tears here. This was an incredibly tough decision to make. One that I put off making and couldn’t bring myself to share with anyone outside my tiny circle of close friends until now. Earlier today I picked up that sweet new Running Etc. race top pictured above and got a little achey in the heart that I won’t get to pin my favorite number 7 on it like last year.

About 4 weeks ago I was running a solo mile repeat workout on a road loop. The times were fantastic and my confidence was beaming. I noticed one sharp turn that  I would repeat 5 times throughout the workout thinking maybe it was too aggressive. I didn’t follow my gut, brushed the concern away, and all this while wearing racing flats (ugh). The following morning I couldn’t walk without pain in my left calf.

A few days off soon became a week, a week became two, then they became 21 consecutive days off running. I had two A goals this season and while I am back to running (not perfect but I’d say 90% healed thanks to the amazing team at Direct Performance), if I run the Shamrock full in this condition than I most likely would jeopardize my recovery and build up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon. This decision really totally sucked was very difficult to make. Last year Shamrock was a dream race for me. I am so very proud of that race and still consider it to be one of the best I’ve ever executed considering the Nor-Easter storm headwinds we faced. Having my spouse put my medal around my neck, best friends there cheering, and coach along the course was such a GIFT. Feeling self pity for not receiving that incredible gift again seems almost greedy.

I tell my kids all the time, you can choose to be the victim or the victor in every situation. You can choose to feel sorry for yourself or you can choose to turn the experience into a great one. I chose to have a few tears then move on.  I knew immediately that I would still be celebrating Shamrock Marathon weekend in one way or another and will now be helping out the awesome J&A Racing team with the weekends festivities. Without going into detail they found a job for me that fits my personality and, get this, I get to drive a golf cart 😉  There are so many incredible details that go into making Shamrock a unique and fun race that normally I have to gloss over because I’m running. Now I get to be on the other side and look forward to sharing it with you all.  I promise it will be an amazing weekend and its not too late to sign up. Online registration closes Tuesday at 11:59 pm. The half is where I got my PR but all the courses are fast and PR worthy (I promise to scream loud and dance awkwardly for you!!)  Also look at the expo line up below….Bart Yasso, Elyse Kopecky, SHALANE (my idol) and many more!! Did you miss that?  I’ll type it again Shalane Flanagan is coming to Shamrock!

Thank you all so much for supporting me. I cannot wait to cheer for some of you at the Shamrock races next weekend!!  For all my local friends racing the One City Marathon this Sunday, lots of luck for you. Fingers crossed for a tail wind 😉


-If you can meet with triumph and disaster  and treat those two imposters just the same…- R.K.

Spring 2017 Goals

Happy 2017 friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Things here have been mostly wonderful. After the New York City Marathon, I took a good month off. Two weeks of no running and another  two weeks of low motivation sprinkled with 2-3 milers here and there. Then of course, December being December, running was there but not on my high list of priorities. We did however end my running year on a fantastic note.

My son, Matthew, and I ran the Surf-N-Santa 5 miler here in Virginia Beach. So…much….fun.  J&A Racing organized the Worlds Largest Santa Run and we met the Guinness Book of World Record goal! In order for each runner to count towards the official Santa numbers they had to wear a five piece suit (Beard, Hat, Shirt, Pants, & Belt) that were included with race entry. Needless to say the entire race was hysterical. Matthew and I ran with my closest friend and also a few other groups of friends along the way and I couldn’t stop laughing at us all in these fat suits. At Mile 2 there was a gingerbread cookie stop and later in the race there was a Candy Cane lane. We loved it and running with Matthew, who ran all but a few steps at a water stop, was something I’ll cherish forever. I see it as a Mom/Son tradition for years to come.



The race is held late afternoon so that you can run under the Boardwalk Holiday Lights.


Just over 45 minutes for this guy!

Seeing as how most bloggers (am I a blogger if I only write 6 times a year?) are writing their goals for the year, I feel the need to add mine. My running goal this year is simply to race as well as I train. While I had a fantastic 2016, one that I am proud of, I never finished a race feeling as though I lived up to the level I was at during the actual training cycle. I’ve been doing this marathon thing long enough to know what workouts should result in what goal time and honestly I was in much fitter shape than I showed at New York.  I could blame it on wind, nerves, solo running time, excitement, etc. but truth is I just should have tightened my laces and ran tougher. As for Spring 2017, I have some great races lined up to keep challenging myself.

January 14th- Distance Series 10 Miler

February 26th- Colonial Half Marathon

March 19th- Shamrock Marathon

March 26th- Seagull Sprint 1 Mile. <- Excited to Co-Direct again! Not racing.

May 20th- Brooklyn Half Marathon 

Can I have two “A goals” for Spring? Well, I do. The Shamrock Marathon is my main training goal but the Brooklyn Half is close as well. The Full is my favorite distance and Shamrock is a race that is close to my heart so there was no doubt in my mind I’ll be chasing a PR there (as long as I can stay healthy.) The Shamrock course is easy to mentally break up, easy for spectators, easy for logistics, plus I’m surrounded with an amazing training team, friends family, and Coach. Plus I always love their swag. 😉 I didn’t want my season to end there though. I’ve been wanting to break 1:20 in the half for ages. Not sure if it will be doable with time off after Shamrock but at the very least, I wanted to put myself in a highly competitive race to aim for it.  Last year 18 women ran under 1:20 at the Brooklyn Half. I love that and am really looking forward to running in NYC again.

I do not have anything set in stone for the Fall, but am leaning towards California International Marathon, in case any friends are thinking of the same. I would love to hear from anyone else running it. Its the last of my personal Fall U.S. bucket list marathons since I’ve done Chicago, Twin Cities, Philly, Seattle, & New York. More suggestions welcome!

Now the not so wonderful news.  In December we said goodbye to our incredible dog, Buddy, who was almost 16 years old. Saying goodbye to him was easily the hardest decision I have ever made in my life.  The kids were so brave about it all and I put on my bravest face but was a wreck. Steve was an awesome rock for us. I hesitated to share on here but he was one of my first running “Buddys” and I’ve mentioned him quite a bit on this blog. I still get super emotional about him. I even choked up at a grocery store when I saw his special food for sale (He was on a sensitive stomach diet so I rarely saw it in stores). It’s the little things but I am truly grateful that we were able to have him in our lives for 15 years. We adopted him from the SPCA when he was a year old and he traveled the country, living with us in 7 different states! He will always always be a part of our family even if he isn’t with us. One of our last photos-


Now back to running specifics. Workouts have been going wonderfully. Last week was my first official training week back. This week being the second week was a bit rougher as the legs start to feel it but it feels great to be back in the marathon grind. Here is a quick look at what I had and have for this week-

Monday- 10 miles easy (snowed in, on treadmill)

Tuesday- 8 total, 4 mile tempo in 24 minutes flat (again snowed in! treadmill)

Wednesday- Last day on treadmill, thank gosh! 10 miles easy, last 400 at 6:00 pace to mimic some striders.

Thursday- 2.5 mile warm up, 4 X 1 mile (5:39 average) 2.5 mile cool down.

Friday- OFF. 

Saturday- 10 Mile Distance Series Run. No goal pace, just see where I am at.

Sunday- 14 miles very easy.

If you are local to Hampton Roads, Direct Performance is hosting new Sunday morning group runs at 7 am at their Great Neck location. I plan on getting quite a few of my long runs in starting there.  Have a fantastic week friends! Happy Training!

New York City Marathon 2016 Recap


“New York, you chewed me up and spit me out but I love you so much anyway. Most incredible race experience of my life and so grateful even if it didn’t go as planned. Thank you for the love everyone! Never gave up… Ever.”


Above is my Facebook status after my race at New York yesterday. After typing and deleting several sentences again and again to start this blog post, unable to clearly express the emotions, using that status made sense. It says it simply enough.  This past weekend was an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was able to share that experience with my spouse who was incredibly supportive and proud the entire time, something that wasn’t an option when I ran in the Boston Elite field because of Navy life. For those reasons, I refuse to let the finishing time on the clock define my experience and memories of my weekend at the New York City Marathon.

Huge thank you to David Monti for organizing incredible fields on both the mens and womens side at New York this year. The U.S. Marathon Olympians were not able to run so they were brought in as Course Marshalls.  It was a running nerds (me) dream to see all the professionals at different events, meetings, and during the race.  NYRR treats the elites so well. We had all expenses paid, wonderful meals provided, per diem for dinners, a fantastic welcome bag of gifts, massages, and more. Organization of bottle drop offs, uniform inspections, drug informational meetings, and the final technical meeting were flawless, making each athletes preparation time run smoothly and stress free. Every employee and volunteer went above and beyond to make sure we felt comfortable. They went out of their way to set us up for success and I am truly grateful.

My weekend began on Friday when Steve and I arrived at our hotel. We were greeted kindly, signed all the necessary paperwork, were given credentials for Steve to join me at most events, and I was able to book a massage for early the following morning.  I didn’t sleep particularly well. The city is gorgeous but loud! Even on the 25th floor I could hear taxis honking and car alarms blaring.  I was up early the next morning and I dragged Steve out of bed to watch the Abbotts Dash to the Finish 5K that ran right by our hotel lobby. It was amazing to watch in my sweats and nice to duck back inside quickly for breakfast. The easiest race spectating ever.


Hard to see but the view out of the elite breakfast suites was gorgeous. Peeks of Central Park!


swag bags


Friday Shake out run in Central Park with the guy who puts up with me always.

After breakfast I had a massage session with a physical therapist that without me saying a word, new exactly the issues I have to see my physical therapist here in Virginia Beach about.  My left hip acts up and he was able to gently work that out. That was followed by a uniform inspection. Unfortunately I was unable to wear my usual Running, Etc. singlet. NYCM is a IAAF Gold Label race. The lettering on my Running Etc. singlets was too large. Instead I wore a plain sports bra and shorts. Our bibs ended up being gigantic (no complaints because I LOVE them) but they were unable to be altered by folding or cutting so they covered up half our bodies anyway. Next we had fluid drop offs. Having elite bottles was a nice perk. I was able to tape my gels to the bottle so didn’t have to worry about carrying those. The last event of the day was the professional athlete technical meeting and dinner. Steve was able to come to both of these with me. At this point my nerves were showing up so I wanted all the calming influence I could get.  Every possible question we had was answered there and then some. Dinner afterwards was wonderful. I have a stomach that can sometimes act up so I stuck with rice, rice, and bread. It worked because I had zero nutritional issues on race day.

The next morning it was go time bright and early. I awoke at 4:45 am for breakfast at the hotel. We had to board our bus at 6:15 am and can I just say that the ride to Staten Island was gorgeous. The sun was rising through the tall building and off the water. I put in my music and pinched myself at this beautiful and quiet tour through the city to the race I had been waiting for months to enjoy. We were bussed to an indoor track that was spectacular. We had plenty of room to stretch, warm up, and use the facilities. I did my warm up here while in awe of how fast some of the top elites warm up. They must have run a few miles at a very quick pace.  Before we knew it, it was time to get bussed back to the start. The starting area gave me chills. Music was playing, announcements were made, and the sheer magnitude of it all struck me. I had been dreaming of standing on that bridge at that moment for months and soaked in every detail.


About to board bus to start at 6:00 am for a 9:20 start…my coffee needed coffee.

Two miles on the Verrazano bridge went by in what seemed liked 30 seconds. I quickly found a nice small pack of women to run with and we averaged 6:30 pace arriving off the bride into Brooklyn. This was EXACTLY what I wanted at that point.  While my goal time was 2:46-2:47 my overall plan was to run a very conservative first half.  This course is a tough one. I was told this a hundred times and I never took that caution for granted. I was very confident that if I ran a “safe” first half that I could dial it down on the miles from 15-20 where we get a nice reprieve from the hills. Spoiler Alert- It didn’t go as planned.  Brooklyn won my heart quickly. I didn’t expect so many spectators out so early (We started 30 minutes before everyone else). My bib said “Lawrence”  instead of Kris or Kristen and I am so thankful now that it did.  I didn’t feel like I was running just for me, every time I heard someone yell “Go Lawrence” I felt like I was running for my family team. They sacrifice more than they should for my running life and I wanted to pull off a great day for them. A few spectators in Brooklyn yelled “Go Larry!” to me and made me smile.  And honestly every borough, while visually different, had the same incredible enthusiasm that shook me to my core in the best way.


The first half went by in a blink. I had turned my watch so that I could not see the pace or time, only time of day. I ran entirely on feel and sometimes worried that I was running too slow.  I told myself to stay patient though because the wind was real.  The Queensboro bridge does not allow spectators. It was so surreal to be on this huge, quiet New York bridge with just one other runner (our pack had dwindled by mile 15 to two of us) The Course Marshalls truck drove by us and Amy Cragg cheered for us.  I looked over at Marilyn Arsenault and said “How incredible is this?!?!” I’ll never forget that calm before the storm hit a few miles later. Coming off that bridge, the plan was go time. Soak in the deafening crowds of First Avenue and continue to gut it out to the finish.  Well my legs had other things in mind, I did gut it out but the pace was frustrating and I felt deliriously hopeless to fix it. The lead men passed us and while exciting was distracting. I found myself trying to get out of the way and losing my sense of pace.


Steve had this close up view of my confused face at in the elite tent. I swear I have resting confused face! 

By mile 19 I started to panic, the hardest part of the course was approaching and my legs were starting to scream. The steep downhills had wrecked my right shin and every step I was wincing. Marilyn was super encouraging when she had no reason to be. She could have left me in the dust (and did but only after I waved her ahead). I yo-yoed her back to me a few times through pure effort but really didn’t get my legs under me again until I forced another gel and more fluids. I passed a few ladies the last 10K and that momentum was enough to get my brain back into fighting mode. Don’t get me wrong, I was in agony but I was still pushing 😉 I could only see one more lady in front of me and I worked really hard to catch her but failed too.


Friends Kevin and Tim took this in Central Park. Believe me, my body was on fire but seeing friends gave me a huge smile. How can you not smile in the last 10K of the New York City Marathon even if it punched you in the gut?!?

One of the best moments of the day happened immediately when I crossed the finish line. I finished and felt so defeated. I’m sure the look on my face was obvious. I looked up ahead of me and steps away Meb Keflezighi was standing a few feet away talking to someone. Looked like an interview. He saw my pain and stopped talking, waved his hand to the person to give him a second, looked back at me, gave me a fist bump and told me in the most genuine voice that I did a great job. For non runners, Meb is like THE BEST. This moment was golden to me.  Still makes me smile.

While that clock read 2:55:03 (8-9 minutes slower than I had envisioned it…yikes!) I am still 100% proud of myself for a few reasons.  That was the toughest course I have ever run.  I had underestimated how difficult it is to compete with a 30 minute head start on the rest of the field with a headwind for 18 miles. We tried helping with the wind but with only one or two other skinny bodies, no such luck. I competed as well as I could with those I could.  When the going got tough I focused on RACING and passed as many as I could see. Out of 34 elites I finished 24th.  Yes I finished 38th out of the entire womens field but its hard to race people you can’t see. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything but do believe all of us in the womens field could have run better in the open field.  No excuses though, I was prepared to run faster and I didn’t but still my take away is that I LOVED this event. Even though this course kicked my tail, I thought it was honest, gritty, exciting, and one of the best I’ve ever run. New York, I fell in love with you in 26.2 miles.  

Thank you ALL so much for the incredible support. I turned my phone on in the van back to the hotel post race and immediately had to turn it back off because the messages brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t want to open those flood gates! I felt a bit defeated but someone told me you don’t come to New York for a fast time, you come to New York to RACE.  I did what I could, with what I could, on the day. You win some and you crash at some. It’s all part of the journey and this one was an event I will hold dear to my heart forever. Thank you all! Specifically a huge thanks to my coach Jerry Frostick. He is the perfect balance of relentless, positive, ambition and has no problem politely telling me to shut up when I start feeling sorry for myself, ha.  Now I recover and more fun begins while I get to track and cheer for friends the rest of the season….while eating loads of pizza, candy, and wine plus sleeping in 😉 Have a great week everyone!