Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap 2016



Yesterday I had the opportunity to run the Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon for the second year in a row and it was once again a great half marathon right in my own borough.  This years race was even better than last years which says a lot as it was my favorite half marathon that I ran. Admittedly, last year’s inaugural RNR Brooklyn Half Marathon did not go off with a hitch as organizers faced multiple problems including a late start due to issues with ensuring clear roads.  This year it was clear that Rock’n’Roll took all the feedback to heart and did their best to improve.

I headed to the expo on Friday afternoon and while I didn’t love the Manhattan location at Penn Plaza, I will be the first to admit that it was far more convenient than last year’s expo in Greenpoint. The expo was smaller than last year with far fewer vendors, but I also found it to be very easy to navigate. Including the shopping we did in the official race shop, where I picked up a Brooklyn branded Brooks shirt, we were in and out in just 15 minutes.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30, got dressed, sipped coffee and made peanut butter and banana sandwiches which I ate while heading to the starting area at Grand Army Plaza. I took an Uber since I was running a few minutes behind schedule, and found myself at the VIP security entrance at the Brooklyn Library just 10 minutes later! I met Zoe minutes later and we quickly checked our bags and then head over to our corral, just in time to find Nicole and stretch before the race began. While we chatted, I made sure to do my pre-race stretching routine which I’ve done during each of my long runs over the past five weeks.


Check out the gorgeous sunrise the 17,500 runners were treated to as we waited for the 7 AM start? I know the race directors couldn’t plan this but man was it a perfect way to start the race. The weather at the start was 65 degrees, overcast and slightly humid. My only goal for the race was to enjoy the 13.1 miles with Nicole and Zoe for as long as possible. They are both training for the New York City Marathon and therefore our pace would be around their long run pace. As I had a far shorter training cycle than normal for this half marathon, I told them that I would drop back if my glute started giving me any pain or I found it tough to maintain their pace.


At 7:01 the three of us crossed the starting line together, each with one ear bud in our ear and smiles on our faces ready for a great race. As Zoe lives on the Upper West Side, we pointed out local landmarks and navigate the course as we ran through this year’s course. I prefer this course over the May NYRR Brooklyn Half as it includes a shorter stint on the very boring, monotonous Ocean Parkway.


The first eight miles flew by as we talked about marathon training, favorite races and injuries. We kept a 9:55 pace, exactly on target with their long run training plans.  There were multiple water stops along the way as well as small bands and local cheerleading groups motivating the runners.  At mile 8.5 as we headed back towards Prospect Park following the turnaround point on Ocean Avenue,  Zoe and I urged Nicole to run ahead as she was having an especially strong race. The next five miles weren’t easy but as we turned back towards the park I just kept focusing on the massage waiting for us in the VIP area.


When we entered Prospect Park at Mile 10 we were greeted by amazing cheerleaders, family members and supporters as well as the first signs of Fall. During those final miles I walked a 1/4 mile and ran 3/4 a mile to ensure that I was smart considering I only did 3 long runs in preparation for this half marathon.

I finished my 22nd half marathon in 2:14:14 and couldn’t have been more thankful. After fighting through injuries these past few months any day that my legs and body can carry me 13.1 miles is a great day, no to mention the wonderful conversations and laughter that Nicole, Zoe and I shared on the course.

After crossing the finish line we spent the next hour relaxing with fellow runners in the Westin Rock’n’Blog VIP experience which was the perfect way to end the morning. Zoe and I each enjoyed 10-minute massages, freshened up and dove into fruit and food before heading back towards the subway.


Thank you to Brooklyn and Rock’n’Roll for such a wonderful race and great half marathon!

Your turn – If you raced this weekend, how did it go? 

I was provided a bib and VIP entry as part of my partnership with Run Rock’n’Roll but as always the opinions in this post are my own. 

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NYRR Mini 10K 2016 Recap


Yesterday I ran the NYRR Mini 10k for the fifth time in six years (20152013, 2012, and 2011 recaps) . Other than the NYC Marathon this is actually my favorite NYRR race. Running with thousands of other women is inspiring and there are more spectators and cheering squads than normal which provides an amazing atmosphere! I always see so many familiar faces either running or cheering!

Katie and I shared a cab from Brooklyn yesterday morning which was a brilliant way to sleep in a few extra minutes and avoid any weekend transportation stress.

cab to race

At 7:30 AM we met Jenna and Zoe at the Columbus statue in Columbus Circle in order to chat and hang out before the race began at 8 AM. The weather was sunny but cooler than normal, a refreshing change versus the heat and humidity we experienced most years.

ashley and jenna

pre race

At 7:55 we walked towards the corral to join the 8,832 other women running the race. The crowds and corrals seemed more manageable than years past, possibly due to the fact that the race didn’t sell out this year.

starting lineWhile we each did our own dynamic stretches, Zoe and I aligned on a race plan. Katie and Jenna were both racing the 10k but Zoe and I both hoped to treat it as a diagnostic race. Due to my hamstring and foot injury, it’d been almost six weeks since I’d run a distance longer than a 5k.  Zoe on the other hand rocked a few half marathons back to back and is dealing with a nagging calf pain.  We went into the race with three goals:

  • Run by feel
  • Finish under 60 minutes
  • Run the entire time

At 8:02, just minutes after the start, we crossed the starting line together. We each put in one headphone so we could get energy and motivation from our music but still talk.  After running this course so many times, I told Zoe that it was one of the more challenging routes but the first mile would be a nice, gradual uphill as we head up Central Park West before we turn into the park and start climbing Harlem Hill.

course map

I didn’t want to stress myself out by wearing a Garmin so instead I wore my Timex watch and just started the timer, allowing me to get an official time but also not seeing or hearing the ding and mile pace after each mile. I reminded my body a few times, especially in the first mile, that this was not a PR race. My body isn’t in PR shape and the goal was to understand my base.

I tried to entertain Zoe and take her mind off the hills once we entered the park, taking a few selfies and pictures. It seemed to work as we were all smiles through these middle miles.  ashley zoe selfie

mid race
By mile 5 I could tell that Zoe was ready to be finished and not feeling terrific. I did my best to keep her within a few steps of me so I could keep pushing her through the finish line. While it wasn’t an easy race for either of us, I crossed the finish line proud of my effort and for sticking with the race plan. I now know that my base is a 9:37 mile as we finished in 59:40. We definitely earned the pink and black medals the volunteers put around our necks after we crossed the finish line!

ashley zoe post

I love that we both accidentally color coordinated with both the medals and the carnations they gave us!  I’m wearing my Brooks Chaser 5″ running shorts and the Brooks Steady Short Sleeve, both of which I’m loving right now! Brooks sent me these to try and I have been wearing each of these non-stop. As I mentioned on Instagram earlier this week, the shorts have a nice, wide thigh opening that doesn’t chafe and the comfortable waistband also has two pockets for keys, money and fuel! The v-neck top is perfect when you want a bit more coverage than a tank and wicks moisture while keeping you 30% cooler than other fabrics!

Yesterday’s race serves as a great starting place for the rest of my training this summer in advance of the Rock’N’Roll Montreal Half and the Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half this Fall.  Is it frustrating that last year’s pace was almost 30 seconds faster per mile? Sure, but it’s the reality of the situation right now and I know that I’ll start seeing 8:xx sooner versus later with SMART training this Summer.




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JP Morgan Corporate Challenge Race Recap

jp morgan corporate challenge 2

On Wednesday night, I ran the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge with 14,999 other runners and walkers. While I’ve heard about the event for years, this was my first time participating. While I had a blast running with Meaghan and Ashley, this event unfortunately lived up to the rumors I’ve heard for years.

  • Too crowded
  • Takes forever to cross the starting line
  • Chaos in Central Park with people EVERYWHERE 

The race started at 7pm but we didn’t cross the starting line until 7:17, even though we were in one of the closer corrals. I have no idea how corrals were decided though it seemed that they were based on company versus pace so people could spend time with their co-workers while they waited for the race to begin.

jp morgan corporate challenge 1

The 3.2 mile course was the bottom loop, starting right at the Loeb Boathouse and finishing on the west side of the park, avoiding the park’s largest hills. Regardless of the wonderful course, this is not a PR course due to the huge crowds and the fact that many of the participants are first time racers. I loved seeing the people of all shapes and sizes out their with their co-workers but when people were walking in the first few minutes of the course – five people across – it made things pretty crowded and cramped.

jp morgan corporate challenge race route

Luckily, our plan for the race was to chat and enjoy ourselves. I knew that my legs would be tired from running the Brooks 5k just 12 hours earlier after a month long running hiatus. Due to the crowds in our corrals and on the course, we were only able to keep around a 10-minute pace. As we dodged people we passed the time by laughing at team t-shirts, taking in the sights and enjoying a warm, Summer evening in Central Park.

We finished in 31:05 (9:42 mins/mile) – a far cry from a PR or even typical pace for me pre-injury. But, as you can see from the picture below, the crazy course crowds didn’t stop us from having fun together!

jp morgan corporate challenge 3

If you’re trying to decide whether to run this race with your company, I would suggest that you do so but know what to expect. Focus on the time with colleagues more than the workout or race pace and you should have a great time! Some companies rented out area bars or restaurants for after parties which sounds like the ingredients for a perfect evening – a run in Central Park followed by beers!

Thank you to JPMorgan for the complimentary bib and VIP wrist band. All experiences and thoughts are my own.

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