Monday, January 14, 2013

Long Island Fat Ass 50 Race Report and Riverside Park Training Report

I still haven’t figured out how I am going to format my posts.  Right now, I am using the stream of consciousness approach and while that’s easy for me, I know I can get a bit long winded.  So for the folks who prefer just to read the basics, here is my workout summary:

The Greenbelt Trail!
Miles ran: 20+
Where: Long Island Fat Ass 50 @ Greenbelt Trail in Woodbury, Long Island.
Temperature: Mid to High 40s.
What I wore: Northface fleece, Elita thermal tights and turtleneck, Addidas running skirt, Icebreaker socks, Futuro ankle stabilizer, Bondi Band headband
Sneakers: Hoka One One Mafates. 
How I Felt: Not awesome – my knee still hurt from my major fall last week and I had this very tight sensation on the medial portion of my left foot.  I think that might have to do with my ankle stabilizer fitting too snugly after I retied my shoes.
What I thought about while running: Making sure I had a quick turnover rate.
Lost the trail: Four times. I don't even know why the last one happened - must have had a major brain fart.
Gliders seen: 6+
Fell kersplat: Zero. People, this is a big deal.  I always have at least one epic fall.  Maybe I managed to avoid eating dirt because I ran so slowly.
Chainsaw-wielding man seen: One.  He was clearing away some fallen trees along the trail.  Is using a chain saw difficult?  It looks like fun. 
Bathroom break: One.  Thank you, Stop and Shop.   
Food consumed: 3/4 of a bagel, 1 banana bread slice, half a pb & j sandwich, and 4 gummy bears.
Drink consumed: 1.5 bottles of Gatorade.
Notes: I love fat ass races.

Underneath the George Washington Bridge.
Miles ran: 9-10
Where: Riverside Park to Fort Washington Park, NYC
Temperature: Mid to High 40s.
What I wore: Steamtown Marathon long sleeved technical tee, Northface fleece, Addidas running tights, Icebreaker socks, Bondi Band headband
Sneakers: Hoka One One Mafates
How I felt: Cold and wet, but generally pretty good.  I didn't wear my ankle stabilizer and my foot felt much better.
What I thought about while running: How much I love running in the fog.
Food and drink consumed: None.

No running, but I yoga’ed.  

And now for more details and less summary:

Saturday, January 12, 2013
Race Report: Long Island Fat Ass 50

A few weeks ago, a running friend, Otto Lam sent me a Facebook invite about a random race that was being held along the Greenbelt Trail in Long Island.  A fat ass, to be exact.  For those who are not familiar with fat ass races, they are essentially free races where you are responsible for carrying your own food and drink while running as many miles as you want.  I've run all kinds.  Some are a little more than a well-organized group run – and then others are huge running parties with race numbers, aid stations, and even official times.  When you sign up, most of the waivers say, “It’s a fat ass.  You’re on your own.” 

Why are they called fat ass races?  I think it has something to do with the fact that the first fat ass races were organized right after the holidays, after people gained weight from all the holiday eating. 

I love fat ass races.  First, fat ass races are a great way of making my regular weekend long runs a bit more fun.  Normally, I am a loner during my long runs, but having company can be nice.  Second, they’re free.  As someone who generally signs up for marathons to use as training runs, the idea of spending nothing instead of $75 - $125 is very attractive to me.  Third, and my main reason why I think fat ass races rock, the people who show up at these events are the best.  This is probably a total over-generalization, but fat ass participants tend to be the friendliest of the running bunch.  It is rare to run a fat ass race without making a new friend or getting to know a running acquaintance at an entirely new level. 

So anyway.  Otto sent me a link.  I read the words “fat ass" and saw that it was relatively local.  And so I registered. 

Fast forward to last Friday.  My boyfriend, Rob and I consume large quantities of pasta at Andrea 25, with his high school buddy and his wife, an awesome couple who live in Long Island.  Rob came up with the smart idea of having us stay at his parents’ house in Long Island the night before my run, so I wouldn't have to wake up super early for the 6:30 a.m. start.  We eat, we talk, and make merry.  I don’t get to bed until midnight.

So I sleep.  I have weird dreams about running with my glasses and getting a headache and become perplexed as to why I am running with my glasses.  Then I realize I am dreaming.  My random running dream becomes a lucid running dream and then I wake up at 5:30 a.m., completely confused as to where I am and what I am supposed to be doing.  A few cold splashes of water on my face and a few minutes later, I have my running clothes on and I drive over to Trail View State Park.  On my way there, I buy a bagel and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some coffee.  I hope that I won’t need anything more.

I get to the start.  Turns out this fat ass race is the top shelf kind in that we get actual bib numbers and not just one, but TWO aid stations, one at the start and one at the halfway point.  Also, the course is marked, another rarity in fat ass race culture.  Race directors Nichole and Vinny Cappadora really outdid themselves for this free race.  After I sign in, I see Mat Gerowitz and Cherie Yanek, two awesome ultrarunners from New York.  Speaking of fat ass races, Mat organizes the September 11th 50K ( and Cherie is the race director of the Burning Man Ultramarathon.  (

While Vinny gives us race instructions, I do some last minute clothing adjustments and I scarf down a cream cheese bagel.  The course is a five-mile out and back; we run five miles or so, make a small circle around a field, and then run back.  Because it’s an anything-goes type of race, participants have the option of running one to five loops, ten to fifty miles.

And we’re off.  The sun hasn't risen yet, so everyone has their headlamps on.  Cherie winds up leading for the first minutes or so and I yell, “Why are you leading?”  Cherie and I have a bad track record of getting lost.  As in, we always manage to get lost when we do these trail runs.  And then true to form, we make a left turn, only to find out we’re supposed to go right.  We do this twice.  Oops.  After we make our wrong turns and run a bit more, I find myself with Cherie, Mat, Julia Khvasechko, and a nice local runner whose name I forgot.  I think I’ll call him Steve.    

Cherie and Julia

Our run takes place along the Greenbelt Trail, which spans all the way from Great South Bay to Long Island Sound, providing about 32 miles to muck around in.  The terrain was varied, but we mostly encounter deciduous forest, and on occasion, marsh-like bits.  


Marshy bits!
There was even a bamboo thicket. 

As a group, we only make two more mistakes, mostly due to over thinking   The last wrong turn is totally my fault and we end up doing an additional circle at the end of the field.  Sorry guys! 

Lots of fun people were also on the course with us.  People of note (a.k.a. the ones I remember in my running brain addled state):  We first see Jess Kennedy, runner and chef extraordinaire.  Turns out she baked cookies and banana bread for the aid stations.  I didn’t have any of the cookies, but the banana bread was delicious.  Bart Muzzin and Joey Cohen also pass us.  Bart looked like he was gliding along and wound up running forty miles that day.  Joey and I went to law school together – I think the last time I saw him was on a random trail out in the Palisades in New Jersey.  Oh, and we also see Amy Palmiero-Winters.  I don't know her personally, but her story is absolutely inspirational.  A below-knee amputee, she has run (and won) all sorts of amazing ultramarathons.  She even completed the notoriously difficult Badwater, a race I hope to do in the near future.

As we run, I note that my feet are absolutely sliding around in my new Hoka One One Mafates and I wonder if I should have purchased an even smaller size.  I generally run in a size 6, but after reading reviews that said Mafates tend to run large, I ordered them in a 5.5.  Even with the smaller size, my toes constantly bang against the front of the sneaker.  Gaaaahhhh.  I tie my shoe laces even tighter and that alleviates the toe banging, but then the medial part of my left foot decides that it is unhappy.  I just can’t seem to win with these sneakers.  I've been trying them on and off for the past few weeks and I want to like them, I do, but they keep hurting me.

During our return trip of the first loop, we meet Cortney Harding, who decides to join our merry group.  

Hanging out at the aid station.  Thanks Nichole's dad for volunteering!
We get back to home base.  At this point, my insides remind me that I hadn't made a bathroom trip yet that morning.  And I had eaten a lot of pasta the night before.  Cherie and Julia were in the same predicament, so when we finish our loop, we run straight to the bathrooms at the Stop & Shop located right next to the start of the race.  Minutes later, I feel like a million bucks and then the bunch of us start our second loop.

Right before we head out for our second loop!

Halfway through our second loop, I start losing my pace.  By mile 17 or 18, the group has gone on ahead, and I am by my lonesome.  So of course, when I reach a split in the trail, I get very confused.  I first make a left, only to turn back when I didn’t see any trail markers.  Then, I go right, only to turn back again because I encounter a pile of freshly cut logs that I had never seen before.  

Hmmm, this doesn't look familiar.  What is this madness?!

And so I stand at the intersection for a couple of minutes, wondering what to do, hoping for another runner to come by.  Finally, one does and I find out that yes, I was supposed to make a left.
Do I go left?  Or right?  Arghhhhh!!!!

Going left, this time more confidently, I pass by a few people flying radio controlled gliders and pause to take their picture. 

If I weren't in such a rush to get back, I would have worked harder at getting a cooler picture.

At mile 19, I know my feet have had it.  I am not sure if it’s the Hokas or my inability to tie my sneakers tightly enough.  I contemplate switching out my sneakers and then running a mini six mile loop after I complete my second round, just to get a marathon distance in, but when I check the time on my watch, I realize that I would finish way too late.  Although I intended on running thirty miles that morning, I already spent five hours on my feet and I didn't want to ruin tomorrow's run.  So I decide to call it quits after my second lap.

At the home stretch, I see Mat and crew running out for their third loop and I let them know that I was heading home.

Looks like this car got lost, too.  
Mat on his way out to do a third loop.
I get to the finish, tell Nichole that I am done for the day and thank her for introducing me to the Greenbelt Trail.  
Race Director Nichole Cappadora with a race volunteer.
Then I call my boyfriend and find out that he’s out running, too!  We decide to meet at a local bagel place and a fifteen minute drive later, I am happily eating a post-run yogurt and I feel all is well. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013
Training Report: Riverside Park and Fort Washington Park

Sunday morning was foggy and a downright balmy 45 degrees, so Rob and I decided to jog north along the Hudson River in Riverside Park.  I started off a bit wobbly, but then as the miles ticked by, I felt more like myself and less like a Weeble.  After a few miles, Rob had to turn back because he wanted to meet with some friends later.
Rob runs towards the Riverside Church.  Bye, Rob!
I kept going and was rewarded by being able to take lots of lovely photos. 

The fog made everything look magical.
The Little Red Lighthouse.

Once I reached the Little Red Lighthouse by the George Washington Bridge, I deliberated whether to cross the bridge into Jersey to eat a quick brunch in Fort Lee or just to turn back and run the five miles back to Rob’s apartment and gorge myself on the lentil soup waiting in the fridge.  Lentil soup won, and the more I thought about how awesome it was going to taste, the faster I ran home.            

Monday, January 14, 2013

Instead of going for a run, I decided to try some yoga at my gym.  I found it tedious, but I have the firm belief that one day something will just “click” and I will like it all the time instead of some of the time.  So this morning I breathed and stretched and tried not to think about how I wanted to go take a shower and get ready for work.  

So there you have it.

In sum, not a bad weekend.  I tried out a new trail and ran some miles.  And I am looking forward to the rest of the week.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Any suggestions on what I should do about my Hokas?  


  1. Really enjoying your posts! PJ & Jayne

  2. Replies
    1. Oh please, you've done way more amazing things in a weekend!

  3. That's a V8 engine laying around in the woods! Must've been a decent car. Awesome posts and pictures! I wish mine was more like this...

    1. Really? That's random - the car is really in the middle of nowhere and it's hard to imagine how it got there in the first place.

      Just added your blog to my blogroll! Hooray for running blogs!

    2. We always thought the same thing. One day I went in to try to remove it, but it adds character to the trail. I have picked up a lot of other parts though, like hoods and doors just randomly thrown in there. There's a hot water heater in there too some where

    3. lol, I was thinking, "Man, that scrap would bring a good penny here."

    4. Well, now I know I have other options in raising money for race registrations ;).

      (1) Run Greenbelt. Pick up car detritus.
      (2) While at Umstead 100, sell scrap for cash =P.

  4. Oh wow, this is really embarrassing - Ocha suggested that we go jogging (2-3 miles) these few days, I told her it is still too cold. Clearly I am just giving ourselves excuses to be big lazy arses. OK, next time when someone tells me to get my arse moving, I shall say YES! :)

    1. It's okay - you guys are really thin and thin folks tend to feel the cold more! =P

    2. Okay, that was the "Nice Jackie" response above.

      Here's the "Real Jackie" response: Go outside! Wear extra layers! But don't hurt your hip again, okie?