Tips For Spectating A Race

 

Saturday morning Bo and I woke up bright and early to spend a few hours in Prospect Park, cheering and supporting our friends running the 2017 Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon.   As runners who have run races of multiple distances, we can appreciate how much spectators can change the mood of a race, especially half marathons and marathons.  While we were spectating, a few people asked us a number of questions, appearing very overwhelmed by the task they’d been charged with – successfully cheering and supporting their runner.  Here are a few tips for making your next spectating experience enjoyable and hopefully successful.

  • Review the course and choose your spectating spots in advance.  A day or two before the race, take the time to visit the race website, review the course, and figure out your spectating locations. If it is a longer race, such as a half marathon or marathon and you plan to spectate from multiple locations, ensure you allow ample time to move from one spot to the next. This will ensure that you are able to figure out the best method of transportation and route for getting there on race day and can share the information with your runners.  Keep in mind, on race day there will be MANY road closures which can impact your ability to navigate the area, whether by public transportation, taxi, Uber or even bike.  Once you figure out your planned spectating spots, share them with your runner.  This will allow them to look for you just as much as you’re looking for them as well as provide any feedback since they most likely have studied the course in advance. Make sure to note things like which side of the race course you’ll be standing, near which mile marker or landmark and what you’ll be wearing or holding. For example, for Saturday’s half marathon Bo and I stood on the runner’s right side of the course as this was the easiest side for us to access, we were right before the 10k marker and I told friends we’d be holding a sign.
  • Make a sign that will make everyone smile, not just your runner. I often see people holding signs that speak only to a specific runner such as a picture of that runner or something like “Go Ashley.” However, if you’re like most spectators, you will spend at least 20-30 minutes cheering in your spot before you see your runner so why not make a sign that can motivate everyone, including your runners?  I actually reached out to Twitter and asked a few runners for ideas in advance of the race since my creative juices weren’t flowing. Our sign made cheering SO much fun as we received hundreds of high fives, hollers, and smiles from both spectators and runners.  If you finish the sign in advance of the race, send a picture to your runners so they know what color the sign is and can watch for it on the course.
  • Know your runner’s pace and any tools that can help you track them. This is the part that is especially difficult for spectators who aren’t runners. They know that the race begins at 7 AM but they have no idea when to expect their runner to hit the 10k point where they are going to cheer. It’s important to check in with your runners and understand both their goal pace, i.e most likely their fastest pace, so they can help you calculate when you need be at each spot in order to see them. On Saturday there were many spectators who showed up to the halfway point only to realize they’d missed their runner OR were there entirely too early based on their runner’s start time and pace.  Keep in mind that just because a race starts at a certain time, that doesn’t mean your runner will start exactly at that time especially in larger races that have corrals and separate starting waves. For Saturday’s half marathon, some of our runners started in Wave 1 (7:00 AM) while many of our runners started in Wave 2 (7:40 AM).  We were able to use the NYRR app to track our runners on Saturday, which allowed us to see the exact time they started and their paces since the app tracked the runners using their timing chip. Since we knew this information, we were able to plan for a longer spectating period and wore comfortable clothes, brought coffee and breakfast with us and knew we’d have about 15-20 minutes of downtime when we could explore the park, relax or go to the bathroom if needed.

Hopefully, these tips will make spectating your next race easier and more enjoyable!

Your turn: If you’re a runner, what are your favorite race day signs?

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My Running Inspiration

Good morning and Happy Monday! Today’s guest post is sponsored by my friends at Brooks and will inspire you to get out and log a workout, regardless your schedule as today’s post is seriously inspirational! Last month, Brooks allowed us the opportunity to gift a runner in our life a head-to-toe outfit as thanks for their constant inspiration. As soon as I read the email request, I knew that I wanted to thank one of my biggest running inspirations for all her support this year. Meggie Smith is the Chief OB-GYN Resident at NYU as well as an avid runner and huge supporter and advocate in the NYC health and wellness scene. Since Bo and I started our journey to parenthood, Meggie has been a text, email or phone call away to answer questions and offer her support. When she isn’t working crazy hours at the hospital, she can be found running through the streets of New York.

Now, I’ll turn it over to Meggie to share her story!

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My name is Meggie and I’m an OB/GYN resident (for a few more weeks, at least!) with a fairly serious exercise habit.

While I like to spin, go to Flex Pilates, lift, and box (at Shadowbox – shout out!), but my heart really belongs to running!

Running and I didn’t always have a love affair. As a collegiate tennis player, I loathed even the short jog we did as a warm up. However, as a first year medical student, I decided to have a go at this “running thing.” And, after one cold February five miler later with my former teammate… I was hooked!

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Like most new runners, I went through the “honeymoon” phase of continual improvement. Running longer distances and faster paces fueled me to aim for more. I tend to get slightly over zealous with hobbies, and running was no exception. I hired a coach, bought a Garmin, and “got serious,” at least for an amateur, everyday runner.

Thereafter, running and I went through some ups and downs – the attached to my Garmin phase, the “every race that isn’t a PR is a disaster” phase, the marathon phase, the #5Krevolution phase, and everything in between.

It wasn’t until I became a busy OB/GYN resident and dropped any training plans and race expectations that I truly learned to run happy. The fatigue and emotional strain from working 80 hours a week in a high pressure job left me little to no emotional energy to worry about running (other than where to fit it in during the day!).  Running, I found, became the gift I gave to myself. Through the rain and shine of residency, running has been that constant sunny day in an otherwise fairly overwhelming time in my life.

A lot of people ask my how I run with the demands of my job. The answer is really simple – running is the best part of my day, hands down. I like to say there’s not problem or bad mood that I can’t fix on a five mile run (and it is always better with a friend)!

I love how “run happy” is at the core of Brooks’ mission. And, I was thrilled when Ashley asked if I wanted to try some Brooks’ gear!

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I am truly obsessed with the Launch 4 shoes! I’ve never run in any of Brooks’ shoes, so I had no idea what to expect. This shoe is light and responsive, but feels sturdy enough for the long haul.  I also love the Fremont running tank as its light, airy, and will be great for summer running!

As I prepare for a big move across the country (hello, California!), I know that running will continue to be my trusty sidekick through thick and thin. It is through running – and, moreover, running happy – that I’m able to face all the challenges life my day may bring. Running isn’t just something I do; it is now a part of who I am. May there be many more happy miles!

A huge thank you to Ashley and Brooks for letting my try some new gear. Just like that first 5 miler, I’m hooked!

If you want to hear more of Meggie’s story, check out her appearance on the Ali on the Run Podcast last week!

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Best NYC Run Route for Holiday Lights

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! The holiday lights and decorations are shining in every corner of the city. Office buildings that are sterile and boring are suddenly bursting with holiday cheer while our department stores and famous landmarks are decked out in their most festive decor.

This morning I joined Theodora and the New York Junior League run club for four miles of holiday cheer through the streets of Manhattan. While our 9:30 AM start didn’t allow us to miss the crowds, even throngs of tourists couldn’t dampen my mood. nyjl-holiday-run

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I thought it would be fun to share a holiday themed run route that locals and tourists alike can reference during the holiday season. This 4.5 mile route will allow you to see holiday windows, Christmas trees and other highlights while you run or walk through the city. Due to the tourists and crowds, I highly recommend you going either early in the morning or later in the evening.

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This route begins near the 77th Street Subway station on the Upper East Side before leading you through Midtown East, Midtown, Herald Square and finally Flatiron. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to see these famous sights, as well as have the option to stop in to see the famous Christmas trees in a few spots along the route.

  • The illuminated fir trees along Fifth Avenue
  • Bloomingdale’s 59th Street windows
  • Bergdorf Goodman windows
  • The Plaza Hotel Christmas decorations and tree (optional stop inside)
  • Saks Fifth Avenue Windows
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
  • The recently renovated St. Patrick’s Cathedral (optional stop inside)
  • Cartier, Tiffany’s and other boutique windows and displays
  • Bryant Park tree and Winter Village
  • New York Public Library Christmas Tree (optional stop inside)
  • Macy’s Herald Square windows
  • Madison Square Park’s Christmas Tree
  • City Bakery for a delicious cup of their famous hot chocolate

Click here to access the route, send it to your phone or share with others!

Top image credit: http://www.1000thingsnyc.com/christmas-lights-and-decorations/

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