Tag Archives: Cherry Tree 10 Miler

2015 Cherry Tree 10 Miler Recap

Another weekend, another race in Brooklyn. This past Sunday, I ran around Prospect Park not once, not twice, but three times for the Cherry Tree 10 Miler.


Rabbits who run!

Originally scheduled for February, this “race for the hardcore” gets a great turnout thanks to its versatility: You can cover the 10 miles as a three-person relay (which I did last year) or as an individual. Also, the swag is solid. Last year, we received fleece-lined Buffs; a few weeks ago, we got singlets. Yes, for a winter race.

Far from wintery, though, the weather was perfect: sunny, around 45 degrees Fahrenheit, plus no snow, slush, or ice. And even though I thrive in the cold, these conditions were ideal—especially for executing my race plan. Coach Pat passed along my target splits, and our goal was to start off slightly fast, settle in for a few miles, then build the effort and finish strong. Unlike the four miler a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t be heading into the paincave until late in the race, and I knew this would be a challenge for me mentally: being disciplined enough to cruise, run easy, and stick to the plan, especially since as a short-course triathlete, I associate the good kind of discomfort with doing work; and that feeling wouldn’t surface until mile eight.

Another factor I sort of failed to consider centered on the course: three loops. Three mind-numbing loops of a short, three-ish mile route with one gradual hill. Granted, I was prepared to deal with the hill, but I underestimated how mentally taxing it would be to run in a circle three times. Case in point: During the third loop, I had to work harder to maintain focus and prevent those mental slip-ups.

Anyway, here’s the best way to break it down:

Miles 1 and 2 (7:46 and 8:10) – ‘Easy, Red. Ease into it.’

My primary focus during these opening miles was not to go out too fast (semi-accomplished?) and feel things out. My legs felt pretty good, and I knew a solid outing was feasible if I stuck to the plan …

Miles 3-5 (all 8:0X)‘Settle in. Discipline. Smooth and strong … and smart.’

… but then I hit mile three and was tempted to throw the plan out the window. ‘What if I hit my off-the-bike pace now? I feel good!’  To talk myself down, I added “and smart” to my mantra. Also, a friend/fellow EduRunner was doing the race, and told me he would be running easy. Our easy paces are not the same (read: I’m a bit faster), so I was confused when he passed me, and I was maintaining something between easy and steady for me. It became a mind game, and it took a lot of effort to keep my brain turned off and simply run my race.

Miles 6-8 (all 8:0X, except when I hit the hill for the third time; that was 8:13) – ‘Smooth and strong.’

I thought about taking off my long-sleeved Philadelphia Half-Marathon shirt, but ultimately decided I didn’t want to blink anyone with my paleness.

Miles 9-10 (7:30 and ?)‘Here we go! Smooth and strong off the bike!’

I tried not to look at my watch because honestly, seeing anything in the seven-minute ballpark still freaks me out. (I know, I know; don’t become emotionally attached to the numbers.) There was some pain, but there was also a strong finish, so I’ll take it!

Official time – 1:19:39 (7:58 min./mi.)

And I was that runner/triathlete who asked 30 seconds post-race if anyone wanted to swim.  Who am I?!  Oh yeah, #wannabeswimmer.

In all seriousness, though, these two Prospect Park races give me confidence heading into South Beach. For the four miler, I was able to run smart, hang tough, and execute the plan for the most part. And the same goes for this past weekend; I ran my race (slash solid training run), stuck to the plan, and finished feeling strong (and was back biking and running the next day).

What are your tricks for staying mentally focused?

Spill It

Hey, look who’s popping in on a weekday and blogging!


Jokes.  You know you work at a running store when …

I know, I know.  Blogging has fallen to the wayside since triathlon training began in January.  There aren’t enough hours in the day, and something’s gotta give.  But in an effort to start again, I’m taking a page from Alex’s book and spilling it.

The last five people you spoke to on the phone:  Do people still talk on the phone?  Aside from work-related calls, I talk to my mom everyday, and that’s about it.  So let’s go with texts instead.

Coach – re: triathlon stuff

Sister – re: boyz and nailpolish colors

Sister – re: the dentist

Mom – re: finally getting a Valentine’s Day card because I don’t check my mail

Friend/coworker – re: inside joke/making fun of someone

The last five meals you ate:  Hello, standbys.  Aside from Whole Foods sushi and Taco Tuesdays, I cook 95 percent of my food.

Eggs and egg whites with spinach and avocado

Chicken fried rice from The Feed Zone Cookbook

Indian-spiced turkey burgers with roasted Brussels spouts, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes from Practical Paleo

Protein smoothie with banana, frozen strawberries and blueberries, almond butter, and protein powder

Turkey wrap with spinach, hummus, and avocado

The last five places you traveled/will go:  Define “traveled.”

Stamford, CT to swim in a long-course pool

Prospect Park in Brooklyn to run The Cherry Tree 10 Miler


The Armory in the Bronx to watch some friends from work race

“Upstate,” aka about an hour and forty five minutes outside of the city to see my sister and Zelda

And I will go to South Beach in 38 days to race!

The last five workouts you did:

See training log—swimming, biking, running, and strength training.

Five things that make you happy right now:

My friends (both coworkers and teammates) – I’m surrounded by some awesome people.  It’s a blessing to train and work alongside folks who truly “get it,” and they constantly inspire me to become a better athlete and employee.

My job – I don’t talk about it a lot, but it’s going well.  Really well.

My health and training – My life centers on swimming, biking, and running, and again, I feel so blessed to have the health, body, and support—from my family, teammates, and friends—that allow me to train.

(Pictures of) Zelda


And my Dad’s coming to visit this week!

Your turn—spill it!

Cherry Tree 10 Miler (Relay) Recap

Told you I’d write a recap … eventually.

Sunday proved to be one of the best training days I’ve had this season:  two hours on the CompuTrainer at Tailwind Endurance and two legs (totaling 6.75 miles) at the Prospect Park Track Club’s (PPCT) Cherry Tree 10 Miler.


So how did this bike-run day come about?  As you know, Sunday CompuTrainer classes have become regular training sessions this year, and one of my friends from work wanted to celebrate his birthday by running a race. (You know you work at a running store when …) And with SoBe quickly approaching, I need to start bricking—or biking and running soon after—on a regular basis.  Plus, I was not going to miss a birthday brunch.

Anyway, “race” day started with a 5 a.m. wake-up call and a 6 a.m. ride.  During these classes, I’m usually notorious for working outside my zones, but I made a deliberate effort to stick to my power numbers.  And even after putting forth a steady effort on a pre-loaded sprint course (rode 14.73 miles in 48 minutes and averaged 190 watts), I felt like I could run off the bike—which was put to the test about two hours later.



My team originally planned to do the three-person relay; three people, 3.3 miles each, no big deal, right?  Well, long story short, one of our runners forgot her tights, so running in 20-degree weather wasn’t an option.  And since our other runner did 20 miles the day before, I “sacked up” and prepared to run two loops.

At this point, my pace plan went out the window.  My coach gave me target splits and an overall finishing time, but since I would be (1) running twice as far as planned and (2) running on a course that wasn’t completely clear, my strategy changed:  push when I could and back off when necessary.

Needless to say, this resulted in the most unevenly-paced run ever (my Garmin flashed values ranging from 6:50 and 9:00), but I proved to myself hitting and holding a respectable pace off the bike isn’t infeasible (when course conditions allowed).  Because my pace was all over the place, I hesitate to call it a tempo run, but my average pace for the 6.75 miles equated to a tempo effort, which is pretty cool.  This was also my first time running in Prospect Park, and it was a great course—straightaways to hammer and hills to suffer up climb.  Oh, and another neat part of the race included a superfan who worked at a water station.  I wore my running store’s singlet, and he immediately recognized it and cheered like crazy.

So the main takeaways from this freezing relay?  I can piece together a semi-respectable 6.75 miles off the bike.  My work friends are awesome.  And brunch tastes so much better after you’ve earned it.

Have you done a relay race?  Or a race in the freezing cold?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of February 10 (Phase One, Week Six)

Whew, where did this week go?  And more importantly, Syracuse is still undefeated!


Yes, I ordered this shirt.

General training notes:  This has definitely been the most productive week of training so far.  We’re logging solid efforts across the disciplines, and I feel like I’m finally starting to get faster.  Even though we’re cranking up the intensity, my body seems to be responding and recovering well.  Knock on wood, I haven’t been sore yet, and I haven’t been craving a rest day—but I still take Saturdays totally off.  And South Beach is only 48 days away!

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Holy efff.  This “speed and pain” set in the pool nearly killed me:  3150 yards, lots of tech work, plus our “Duel in the Pool” (a 50-yard sprint) and 10×100.


Suffice to say, I was riding the pain train for most of practice.  Somehow, I rallied and ran five steady miles.

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle and strength train

Honestly, this workout didn’t look too bad, but I could tell my legs were still recovering from Monday.  We spent 75 minutes on the bike alternating between hills and solid efforts, and during both intervals, we focused on pushing a big gear and building leg strength.  After a quick wardrobe change, we spent about 45 minutes doing corework, BOSU ball exercises (woohoo for not falling off and face planting!), and plenty of walking lunges.  Again, my legs were toast.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Hands down, this was the toughest team training day of the week.  Our speedwork on the track included one tempo mile, plus some 1200s and 800s, and our pool workout contained a ton of kicking.  The season has just begun, but I remember the speedwork being much more difficult last year; I’m guessing it’s a combination of increased fitness (as compared to this time last year) and more experience.

Thursday – a.m. swim; p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Phew, this was killer—and I managed to swim with two coaches in my lane.  The main set included 400s, 200s, and 8 x 100s, and I even lead a few.  The afternoon ride at Tailwind was easier because of Wednesday’s speedwork; we focused on threshold and building to threshold.

Friday – a.m. indoor cycle, strength train, and run

Like Tuesday’s ride, this workout contained solid climbing and aero intervals with active recovery mixed in.  Strength training was upper-body focused, and then I ran a quick mile.  I’m always afraid of forgetting how to run before races (please tell me I’m not the only one who has that nightmare), so I did these four laps for peace of mind.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance plus two legs of the Cherry Tree 10 Miler (6.75 miles)

What a solid training day!  It started with a two-hour ride at Tailwind; the first hour centered on hill work, and for the second hour, we rode a local sprint course (14.73 miles).  Because I had Cherry Tree in a few hours, I held back and didn’t hammer.  That being said, you can’t put me in a race-like situation and except me not to put forth a solid effort.  So I rode “conservatively” and averaged 190 watts.  And for the record, my instructor even commented on how conservative my numbers were.

After a quick smoothie and wardrobe changed, I hopped on the subway and went to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for the Cherry Tree 10 Miler.


Obviously, I didn’t run 10 miles, but I did run more than planned.  Two of my work friends and I signed up for the race as a three-person relay, but one forgot her running tights and didn’t make it.  And since my other friend ran 20 miles yesterday, I stepped up to the plate and ran two legs.  My coach gave me a target pace for the original one-loop plan, but that went out the window because I would be covering more than twice the distance.  When all was said and done run, I logged 6.75 miles, which is my longest run in months.  I’ll probably write a “race” recap later this week because this was my first legit brick workout of the season.  Oh, and then we went to brunch where I ate the most delicious pumpkin pancake.

What was your favorite workout of the week?


Random Training Thoughts From Jan. 20-27 (Phase One, Weeks Three and Four)

Woah, I can finally stop and take a breath.  Has this week been busy for anyone else?  The weekend can’t come soon enough—mostly because Syracuse plays Duke on Saturday, and I want to wear this shirt.


Yes, I bought it a few weeks ago.  Don’t judge me.

Anyway …

I joined a running team.  I know, right?  Three of my coworkers founded the Bronx Submariners—how could I not support them?  I had to get my first singlet!


This also means I’ll do a few roadraces with them—and hopefully I won’t embarrass the team and/or finish last. (These guys are fast; I’m talking 5:30/mile fast.)

Speaking of running, I signed up for a “normal” race—the Cherry Tree 10 Miler in February.  Full disclosure:  I will be doing it as a relay with two coworkers.  Did you really think I’d be able to run 10 miles in two weeks?  Anyway, the race actually falls on another coworker’s birthday, so he wanted some run-brunch action.  And I can run 3.3 miles or whatever, especially if there’s a mimosa at the finish line.

We spin every Tuesday and Friday, so my teammates taken turns bringing music—and my coach quizzes me on songs during every ride.  It’s kind of like I’m Cady from Mean Girls. (‘Carrie, do you even know who signs this?’) As “Young C,” I’m the youngest person on the team, and for the record, I would like to state I was not alive when the majority of our song selections were popular.  I did surprise everyone by knowing Thunderstruck by AC/DC today, though.

No one wins practice, but I posted the third-fastest female time during our 200-yd. time trial.  Granted, two girls who swim faster than me haven’t completed it yet, but my coach said I did a great job and put down a solid time. (2:41, which isn’t impressive for actual swimmers, but I’ll take it.  I’m a wannabe swimmer, remember?) And in two weeks, we’ll have our 500-yd. time trial.  The good news?  Wetsuits are legal!

Speaking of swimming, we drove to Stamford yesterday for a long-course swim—in a minivan.  There were five of us, so we definitely needed a big car, and it was very fitting rolling into the ‘burbs in a minivan.  I felt like I was back in high school.  Talk about the ultimate throwback Thursday!

Enjoy the weekend, friends!