Don’t Miss Honduras!

Let’s get the negative out of the way. Yes, Honduras currently holds the title of being the ‘Most Dangerous Country in the World,’ yet there is much more to the country than one bad mark. Most people have done poorly on a test in school, I feel like that same bad experience is what’s keeping a cloud over the beauty that in Honduras. I only had time to scratch the surface, but with that tiny scratch I encountered so many great things. I was likely as fearful of entering Honduras as I was entering any country before it, it’s almost like crossing a state line at this point. A friend and I trekked through three cities and used San Pedro Sula as our transportation hub.

We hiked behind Pulhapanzak Waterfall

Pulhapanzak Waterfall (Peña Blanca): This was our first stop after we landed in San Pedro Sula. The bus ride to the area was via El Mochito at the San Pedro Sula bus station (we took a cab there from the airport), which is very similar to the dollar vans in NYC or the mini bus service in New Jersey. Vendors hop on and off the bus along the route and you can get fresh agua de coco, fried chicken or platanos. We were planning on using D&D Brewery as a landing place, but that didn’t work out so we just brought our bags to the resort at the waterfall and they watched things for us. Once we got the the park, which is about 15km from Lago Yojoa, we paid our entrance fees and hired a guide. Rafael was our guide and did a great job at getting us down to the waterfall and behind it. My friend can’t swim and was still able to do the waterfall tour. It takes about an hour and is worth the schlep. The bus ride there took about one hour and 45 minutes.

Getting ready to hand feed this lil guy (that I named Chippi)

Copán Ruinas: We got here pretty late at night after a very long taxi ride from San Pedro Sula, seeing as though the last bus to Copán Ruinas leaves around 3:30pm. Thankfully Hotel Brisas de Copán was very welcoming. We did have a reservation, which orginially with Hotel Acropolis across the street, but all the rooms were booked for the two nights that we needed. We proceeded to pass out and got up well after sunrise. We found a great breakfast at Copán Grills not too far from Parque Central. Baleadas, pupusas y licuados, they have a full menu that will fill you up for a great price. We found a tuk-tuk driver, Cesar R., that agreed to take us to the Ruinas, pick us up after and take us to the Canopy Tours location then drop us back off at our hotel for $7. Deal! The ruins are a great morning trip and we hired a guide to tell us about the ruins. There weren’t too many people at the site and there were some beautiful birds in the area. In the early afternoon I did the canopy tour, it’s worth the $45, which includes the bird park. I skipped the bird park, although there was a baby Guarda Barranco at the canopy start point that I helped feed. We spent the rest of the afternoon at a great restaurant and bar, Don Toño’s a few blocks from Parque Central. The owner was completely friendly and it was a great atmosphere.

Sunset over Bahia de Tela

Tela (Bahía de Tela): There are lots of buses towards La Ceiba that stop in Tela from San Pedro Sula. We got to Tela in the early afternoon and paid 60 lempiras for a ride to our hotel, Maya Vista. There are three stops for most buses in Tela and we opted for the second just in case. The hotel is basically the tallest building in Tela since it is at the top of a hill. The bay has great views and you can catch both sunrise and sunset on a clear day, unfortunately we had misty days. Here days are as long and calm as the beachfront. The restaurants close by 9-10pm and the streets are pretty desolate. There are tours that go to Punto Sal y Izopoo, but you need at least six confirmed people in order for the tour to go out so that was out of the question. I think there were maybe a dozen foreigners while we were here. If you are a seafood lover this is the place for you, while folks like me can’t get by on fresh cut coconuts and chicken. Tela was definitely a great place to end a whirlwind trip through Honduras. There are more mosquitos here than I recall encountering in other area. 

There are things that made each stop similar: the overtaking of vehicles on all roadways, vendors selling items on the side of every road, the love of Pepsi. As dangerous as Honduras is said to be I can say that I didn’t feel unsafe, even after seeing a corpse on the side of the road leaving Copán Ruinas. I’m sure there are tons of things I have forgotten, but I can only say that you should, ‘Visit Honduras,’ as it is a country full of beautiful people and places.

Desayuno! Baleada, licuados, pupusa y fajitas.

Desayuno! Baleada, licuados, pupusa y fajitas.

Getting Married At Burning Man

Those that know me would likely say that, “I am a bit of a free spirit and spontaneous.” I assume I proved them right when I decided to get married at Burning Man and then actually followed through by marrying someone I had never actually met until our wedding day. There are certainly folks that would say that is insane, but I think it was great that way.

I asked potential platonic spouses to fill out an online form. Over a dozen people responded and a group of folks sat down with me at a bar to go through the responses, names/gender were redacted to make this unbiased. The group ended up selecting someone from NYC. A virgin burner who had kick ass responses to questions on the form. Date and time were set and we agreed to meet at Champagne Lounge (who graciously let us use their lounge space for the ceremony and short reception, down the road from my camp, for the ceremony. 

After picking up a fun looking ring and sending Facebook wedding invites to camp mates I figured everything would work its way out. MagicMan would officiate, Dogbrain would walk me down the aisle, Ice Brain was to be my ring gal… It was set. For some odd reason I thought it would be a bright idea to run my first 50K the same day as my first wedding. The few hours between the race and wedding were not pretty. Could I really go through with this after putting my body through five hours of running? As we say at camp, “It’s probably fine.” So when Ice Brain ran over and said someone in a white dress walked by I knew I had to get ready for the big show.

We physically met for the first time just before we were to walk down the aisle. The music started and we were all systems go. It was great! A ton of my camp mates were there to celebrate this unofficial, temporary union. Her mad lib style wedding vows were crowd approved. I received messages from folks after the burn that they stopped by my wedding, but didn’t get the chance to catch me after.

We spent a little time wandering streets and chatting. She went with me for my post 50K massage. On my birthday there was a balloon and a flask labeled, “Birthday Bourbon. -Your Wife,” waiting for me at my camp bar on my birthday. I definitely found a winner! My camp loved her and if she’s back for 2014 she’s definitely found a home with us.

Would I do it again? I’m not sure. It takes a lot to coordinate something like this on playa, especially since everyone operates on ‘Playa Time.’ Overall the experience was a win. I wish I had spent a lil less time sleeping and a lil more time hanging out and exploring with her, but it was still all smiles in my book. So the platonic marriage to a perfect stranger turned into meeting a superb being that I definitely need to schedule a date with.

My 1st 50K & Burning Man Ramblings

Oh gosh!!! It’s been far to long and updates are definitely in order, (this is now a moot point as I have skipped this post and am now backtracking) especially on the running front as that is what has become of my life (I believe this still holds true). I forgot how much I missed running until it became my evening routine after being tucked away for over a decade.

As usual I made my way to Burning Man, I love that place and I can’t think of many other places I would enjoy returning to for almost two weeks annually. This year I decided to do two things while I was there:

  1. Run the 4th Burning Man Ultramarathon, it’s a 50k.
  2. Get married.

Both of these were things I haven’t done before and they were also among the infinite number of things I knew I could do on the playa. For some strange reason I also thought it would be a great idea to do both of these on the same day. I would later regret that, well my body regretted it. Mentally, I am glad that I followed through on both!

The ultramarathon was great. A couple things to note:

  • Cherri Bomb is the Race Director
  • You get to run beside some kickass runners
  • It’s free! Instead you are asked to bring a gallon of water & a shareable snack/fuel
  • Cool 5am start
  • It’s a looped course – four loops and an out and back
  • It gets hot
  • Clothing is optional
  • You need to acquire a ticket to Burning Man
  • It’s Ah-May-Zing! (Don’t believe me, watch this video)

I planned to use this race as a long training run while prepping for my first marathon.  I barely made it to the start on time because I love sleep. Upon arrival I jumped in for the group photo before hearing that there was only two minutes until the start. DAMMIT. I needed to pee, badly. Start on time and hold it as long as possible or use the potty and tack the time on my run? I’m a Virgo, I stood among my fellow Burners and started at the sound of the …. I don’t remember what was used, it wasn’t a gun. Right?

Into the darkness we went for almost two hours, which is when the center of the solar system decides to rise above the mountains and naturally light the city that me and my camp light every night. Although the course is looped you do not see the same thing each time since you are at Burning Man and people, art cars/mutant vehicles and parties roam around day and night. As the sun beat down during the fourth loop I remember just wanting to finish. I hadn’t run more than 23 or so miles and I tired. Hours ticked by. I sorta forgot about my bladder. A few of my campmates knew I was running and it was nice to see them on the course as they were doing morning lantern pickup. Eventually the out and back came, I was pushing it as best as I could. There it was, the finish line. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. I was done. I finished my first 50k in 5:15:23, fourth female finisher and 21st overall, not shabby.

A friend, whom I met on the playa two years earlier, met me at the finish and let me sit on his bike as he pushed it back to my camp. Upon entering camp I was greeted by, “How was the run?,” to which I promptly responded that, “Dumbest idea ever.” (I’ve since forgotten the pain and plan on running it again.) Other than tired legs, one toenail felt like it was in bad shape. Thanks to one of our awesome doctors, Dr. Tink, I was bandaged and ready to go.

I should note that I forgot my running gear on the East Coast so I resorted to wearing new gear, it worked out, kinda. I ran in an old pair of Nike Shocks, shoes that I wore for three weeks while cleaning homes in Staten Island and Far Rockaway following Hurricane Sandy. The pain of wearing those shoes for 50 dusty kilometers was worth it.

BMUltraFinisher

I was slated to be married three hours later. TBC

My Honolulu Marathon Fun Run

I decided to run the Honolulu Marathon in late 2012 and I’m glad I followed through on the run. I stopped training and running in early November, after the NJ Trail Series 24 hour run that I completed (a race report for another day), so I wasn’t sure how I’d do on no training. I’ve had mild knee pain since my 81 mile run, which I haven’t had checked out yet. Reading other reports I knew there were three things to be aware of:

  1. The runners that stand at the start line watching the fireworks that kick off the run
  2. Diamond Head elevation
  3. The weather

The night before the race I had dinner at Auntie Pasto’s, which was delicious. If you are in Honolulu, it’s worth checking out. I’ve decided that two bottles of beer the night before the race shall serve as my pre-race “good luck” tradition. I opted for two Kona Brewing Company Longboard lagers this time. Since the race starts at 5am I needed to be up by 3:30am so that I could walk to the start with enough time to wiggle my way to the front of the start. laid out my race gear, drank my beer and off to bed I went.

The morning of the race I woke up, got dress, ate a quick snack and headed off toward the start line. My strategy for the race was simple, have fun! If I finished under 4:00 I’d be happy. I didn’t notice the humidity initially, although it wasn’t terrible overall. Florida still holds the crown in terms of humidity. The fireworks went off and some of us were off. I wasn’t as close tot he front as I wanted to be so I crossed the start line about 2:00 into the race. I ran with one of the reps for The Stick that I met at the expo. I’d see him pull up to me again around Mile 21 and I reminded him he needed to pick up the pace if he wanted to finish within his goal. There were small crowds through the first seven miles.

When we reached Diamond Head the road narrowed considerably. I decided to plow through the hill and run along the caution tape that volunteers were hold up. Hi-fiving them as a darted by was nice. For the next however many miles it was residential running, but nice to see folks out cheering, singing and playing instruments. I was able to catch sunrise early in the second half of the race, of course this was after I’d watched the front runner pass me (this is an our and back course). 21K – 1:53:39


Once the sun came up the cold sponges at aid stations REALLY came in handy. I took one at each aid station that offered them. More ‘Good Mornings’ and ‘Hellos’ to everyone I passed, including lots of police officers. I was having fun, as hard as it is for some to believe. Time ticked away and one thing I tried to do was learn the Japanese phrase I kept hearing. It reminded me of the word ‘Sabaidee’ which you hear a lot in Thailand. I later found out that is was something like ‘Gambatee.’ Anywho, back to running. Diamond Head was a little more annoying at Mile 24, but there was a bonus. A group of Hashers set up an aid station near the 40k mark, just before the downhill begins. They made sure folks knew they were doling out beer and I gratefully accepted. 2.2km left in this race, Woohoo!!!

As I neared the finish I saw a Minnie Mouse, I didn’t want to get costumed so at this point I made an effort to sprint through the finish. The only issue with that is quite a few people slow down just as they get to the clock…. Run through the clock, if you can, please! The mouse got under just before me, but that means I finished also. Second marathon completed in 3:57:08. As the volunteer handed me my finisher beads she said, “You don’t even look like you just ran a marathon. It looks like you could run another one right now.” I smiled, told her, “I just had fun” and headed to the finishers village. My knee was throbbing a tad bit, but I was able to walk on it.

Time for my 10 minute shiatsu massage and a few malasadas before spending the afternoon at Lanikai Beach. The finishers village was well organized and had a lot to offer, especially since there were only about 1,200 of us there at the time.


Overall the race was nice, as most say it could do for a little nicer view at some points, but it wasn’t terrible. The race director may want to consider making at least one seeded corral so that those who want to run the race can without having to run on dividers and such for the first few miles, the corral signs they use are completely ignored. There is no reason why people should be dodging walkers from the start gun/fireworks. I’d definitely recommend this race to anyone looking to run a destination race just don’t come in expecting a super fast course. Come to have fun!

Now to take a few weeks off and let my body recover from all this running!

Steamtown Marathon, I Love You!

Just over six months ago I decided I needed to start base training for the Honolulu Marathon that I registered for in January. I told myself I wanted to Boston Qualify this year as well, 3:35:00 or better for my age group. As a reference point, there are lots of people that spend years trying to run a time that qualifies them for Boston. I, on the other hand, hoped to do so on my first try and with one official race completed since my high school track days, a half marathon on mostly treadmill running. This is going to go well, right? Well somewhere over the last six months I found out about this amazingly beautiful race in Scranton, PA. I registered and found myself trying to stick to a schedule I drew up on my own. It wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it.

Fast forward to October 13th! Two friends and I parked in a garage around the corner from the bus loading area and got ready to run the Steamtown Marathon. Since this is a point to point race we all get dropped off in Forest City, PA and then run back to Scranton, PA. Sounds like fun? It is! The ride up was pretty calm, the sun had just started to rise and I was able to get a few minutes of sleep in. The men/women bathroom designations at the start worked well, we did have a guy in the women’s line – we let him use the women’s portos even though he somehow didn’t notice he was the only male in the line. It was nice to have an indoor place to wait and the messages from the students were a nice to see. Two bathroom trips later I made it to my corral/area that had a 8min/mi pace sign held up while taking my first gel.

There was a misfire of the traditional cannon start so runners started out with the gun blast. Three seconds later the cannon went off followed by cheers as runners crossed the starting mats. Miles 1-6… From what I recall they were great. The first half mile was pretty flat and the pace moved nicely, the downhill when you turn on Dundaff St. is very steep! I shuffled down it and turned right onto Main St. There are some early birds out there to cheer and it’s nice to know that the residents support 2,000+ runners making their way through the area at 8am. I don’t wear a fancy watch and I tend to forget to hit lap at mile markers, so I just did the math in my head at each mile marker. Thank you to all the runners around me with fancy watches that beeped and rang out as we approached each mile marker. I did use Map My Run on my phone so that I could see my stats later. 7:21 – 8:00 – 7:56 – 7:16 – 7:18 – 7:22

Miles 7-15 were equally as nice. I followed the advice of a friend, almost, and just enjoyed the run. I looked around, read signs, smiled and said ‘Good Morning’ to spectators. I believe I gave out about 12 high-5′s by this point. I made an effort to high-5 anyone the had a hand out or an ‘ Official High-5 Station’ sign, even when it meant darting to the other side of the street. Thank you to everyone lining the streets here: Carondale, Archbald and Jermyn. The scenery was gorgeous!! The support was fantastic and I breezed past the 13.1 mile clock at 1:41:11. At this point I had a few minutes banked, but I was feeling great and the best felt perfect with little effort. I took a gel at mile 8 and just after 13.1. The trails began just before mile 15 and they were lovely. The major elevation drop ends around this point as well. 7:54 – 7:17 – 7:46 – 7:33 – 7:38 – 7:39 7:53 – 7:43 – 7:51

Miles 16-23 included more trains and a loop in the park. I was on cruise control at this point and simply read signs and did pace/goal time math. I began to think that not only would I run a Boston qualifying time, but I may be able to run a sub-3:30. I told myself not to get ahead of myself and reassess my goal. Just as you exit the park there is a little wooden bridge that takes you over to the last of the trail section. Enjoy it!! I personally found it very enjoyable and not hard to manage. I took my final gel around mile 20. I think there was a little hill at mile 23, I’d compare it to one of the lower loop rollers in Central Park. I did the math at mile 23. I had 6.5 minutes banked if I wanted to hit 3:33 . I could run 10 minute mile pace at this point and reach my goal and rather than risk blowing out on the major hill that was yet to come I decided to start pulling back. I was around 2:58 with 5k to go. 7:47 – 7:47 – 7:47 – 7:56 – 7:53 – 7:52 – 8:01 – 8:12

Miles 24-26.2  is where the FUN begins in this race. Yes, they are kind enough to put a couple nice hills at the end of the race. I was very nervous about these hills going into the race and asked a few people at the expo about them. I tend to run Harlem Hill in Central Park and thought they would be a lot worse, thankfully they weren’t for the most part. The major hill is the one around mile 24.3. It’s a bit steep and a has a little curve at the end where it hides a little extra. I simply leaned forward a bit, shortened by stride and powered up the sucker. Sorry for the lack of smiles there, minus a smile and wave at the hospital patients I saw just before the right turn. It reminded me of Cat Hill in Central Park. More running, the support dies out a bit around here, everyone is on the last hill and at the finish minus the beer guy at mile 25, you are awesome, my friend. I told you I was coming back for that beer, I ended up asking a friend to grab one for me! Two ‘hills down’ and one to go is what I thought. I was greeted by my friend shouting at me. I love that kinda stuff!! ‘One little hill after the light, Espinoza, you’re almost done!!’ Trudging up to the top of the hill wasn’t effortless, it was a bit long, but once I reached the stoplight at the top I could see the finish line. YES!!!! I definitely had a sub-3:30 in the bag. I picked up the  pace a little, not a powerful finish by any means, but I was happy. Stopped my watch, 3:28:11! (It matched my chip time perfectly) ::Happy dance commences:: 8:17 – 8:13 – 8:13 – I forgot to stop my phone so it’s a little off, around 8:00

If you are going to run this race, get some hill training in, get some downhill training in and get some off-road running in if you can (nothing too crazy required). There’s no need for gloves, thermals, etc. at the start, IMHO. You’re body should warm up pretty quickly and by the halfway point the temperature should be ideal.

Overall I loved the race. The organization was great. They should definitely host a conference on ‘How to Plan and Execute A Great Marathon.’ The food at the finish was top notch. I love perogies! I love my medal! I was happy with my massage by Grace in the court house lobby. The shirts were a nice touch. The volunteers were very helpful and remembered faces, a great thing! If you are a looking for  a race that makes you feel like an elite and support from perfect strangers then definitely register for the 2014 Steamtown Marathon. I can’t gush about it enough, meaning I’ve probably forgotten about 300 great things I have been thinking about the race over the past 48 hours. I love you, Steamtown Marathon!

Ultramarathon & Marathon Training During Ramadan

It’s not hard. (إن شاء الله) Well I should say it’s not impossible, but it’s certainly not easy. When presented with the most recent heatwave in NYC I was left with to options, run in the heat or not train at all. (I’m not a fan of treadmill running now that I’ve started a serious relationship with outdoor running, so that was not an option.) Over the past couple weeks I have made it a priority to run at least four times a week, even logging over 16 miles on a Sunday run.

Going into this training season I hadn’t planned to run an ultramarathon at the end of August. It just happened. Really. I did know that I would need to log miles during Ramadan in order to hit my marathon training goals. So then this ultra moseys onto my schedule and there’s no turning back. I haven’t even run a marathon yet. I keep telling myself if I can run 30-40 miles a week in the heat and without hydration I can deal with a flat ultramarathon course with a cool start and a couple hours of running in the heat with hydration.

My ultimate goal is to finish the 50k, but I have an ambitious 4:59:59 or better goal time tucked away in the back of my mind. I was under the impression that I could hit my goal time on some of my longer runs, but I’ve found it hard to hold a slow pac, even on long runs. Last weekend I completed my run at a sub-9 min ave pace of 16.55 miles (if you don’t count the 5 minutes of water breaks, traffic lights and figuring out where we were). I believe the cooler, evening conditions aided in keeping a slightly faster, conversational pace with my fellow running buddies. My goal finishing pace is 9:39 or so for the 50k. I’m hoping that I can complete my 20 mile run this weekend at that pace, but if I stay in the low nine minute range I may be in for a surprise on race day.

I feel like I’m in a grove at this point. My weeknight runs have been at 7:50-8:40 mile averages. I don’t feel drained as much, which I can likely attribute to sitting in the air conditioning for a few minutes after runs to lower my core temperature.

Some of the things that have worked for me during Ramadan race training include:

  • Listening to my body instead of trying to hit specific paces
  • Not wasting energy by making unnecessary movements
  • Wearing breathable clothing
  • Not running more than than 6-7 miles (approx. 10-11k)
  • Starting runs within two hours of sunset
  • Having at least a .5 litre bottle of cold water nearby when the sun does set
  • Starting long runs close to sunset

Every mile during my runs I try to do a tune-up check on my body. I think about my form, my breathing, any tension in my body and how my body feels overall. I feel like this has definitely helped keep me on track and keep my mind off of the fact that I cannot rehydrate like many of my fellow runners post-run. Two more weeks to appreciate the simple things like a sip of cold water after putting a hard workout.

3 Running PRs!! (And the Brooklyn Half Recap)

Well I guess the title is a little deceiving since two of my personal records are in races that I’ve run for the first time ever, but you’ve gotta start somewhere! Right? [This will likely be a long post]

After completing my first half marathon in April 2012 I told myself I’d stick to shorter distances and casual running. In the end I didn’t put much effort into running and crossed it off my calendar by December, then I registered for the Honolulu Marathon. With an ambitious goal of 3:35:00 I told myself I’d start running again to build a base in March and planned my first 5k for early April 2013. This is where the PRs started.

PR #1 – JFK Runway 5K Run (April 2013)

My goal time for this race was 25:00, factoring in the fact that I had only been back in my running shoes for three weeks, I thought it was a reasonable goal time. The course was flat and the weather was cool. The only con was the headwind that decided to pick. The entire start/finish set-up, including the clock, toppled a few minutes before the start.

Look at that kid go!

The run was nice and there weren’t too many people. I ended up finishing in 24:36, just ahead of the 9 year old that I spotted picking up speed beside me. In addition to surpassing my goal and getting to run on an active runway legally, I finished in the top 100 which was an added perk.

 

 

PR #2 – Newport 10000 (May 2013)

I read up a bit on this course and two factors in choosing to register for this race were the location and the elevation. The course was practically flat, with one small hill just before mile two. I didn’t think the turns would be much of an issue and was looking forward to the run along the boardwalk, with views on Manhattan.

Race Day arrived and the weather did not want to work with the runners. I believe the forecast mentioned a 90% chance of rain in the morning. The rain was cooling, but the Newport10k Finishpuddles that it created made a world of difference when trying to avoid potholes on this road race.The turns ended up being a slight problem only due to the fact that some were very sharp and people needed to flush themselves together along them, lest you opt for wide turns during the race.With a sub-50 goal in mind I pounded along each mile, hoping that the rain and turns weren’t hurting my times too much.

I was a little nervous when I made it to the boardwalk since it was wet and potentially slippery, at least in my head. Once I passed the mile 6 marker I knew I was basically home free. As I made the final turn a friend who had finished the race already shouted my name and ran along the side as I crossed the finish. Once chip times were posted I was a little happier, 48:49. Another friend crossed shortly after, 52:XX, on his first 10K as well. That deserves celebration!!

PR #3 – Brooklyn Half (May 2013)

The race that I didn’t plan on running had me in mind. After some very mild coaxing I decided to run the Brooklyn Half. My goal time for a half is 1:40:00, but my only goal for Brooklyn was to finish (and hopefully PR). Although I hadn’t completed any runs longer than 8-9 miles I was assured by friends that my weekly mileage would easily carry me over the finish line.

Brooklyn Half Moments

                 Brooklyn Half Moments

Thankfully a friend let me stay at her place on Grand Army Plaza, so I slept in and wandered out just after 7am with no bags to check. The corrals were filling up quite nicely by that point and the first wave had already started. I got to watch a couple speedy friends zip by the library as I walked to my corral. By the time I crossed the start line 33 minutes had elapsed. I started picking off runners early since I started in a slower corral (no offense peeps). I had also never run Prospect Park and received mixed reviews on the ‘hill’ in the park. I tried to take it a little easier until I hit the hill, just in case it turned out to feel like Harlem Hill. The hill around mile 5 wasn’t bad at all. It was a little like Cat Hill in Central Park, maybe a slightly higher grade. The downhill for the next mile was great, it was my best split (7:24).

After leaving the park I cruised, sipping a few ounces of water at each station. I made sure my legs felt fine and I didn’t feel tired after each mile marker. I did munch on jelly beans intermittently throughout the race and they kept me energized. Near mile 9 a dog ran by. He ended up crossing the finish line as well. At mile 10 I realized how good I still felt, and time was still on my side. Somewhere after mile 11 you run out of lettered streets which only means one thing: you are getting close to the finish.

The only gripe I had was the extreme narrowness of the boardwalk entrance. It would be nice if they could somehow widen it for runners. Once on the boardwalk you only have a few hundred feet to go so you have to go all out. In all it was a great run, I did PR by about 7.5 minutes (1:46:32)!!! I know I have a 1:40:00 waiting to be chipped away, but ultra/marathon training has commenced.

This year has definitely kicked off on the right foot and I’m excited for the races I have scheduled for the second half of the year.