Tag Archives: Escape to the Palisades

2014 Escape to the Palisades 5-K Recap

What a solid training day! On Sunday, fifteen of my Full Throttle Endurance teammates and I completed a cross-state brick workout: We biked across the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey, ran the Escape to the Palisades 5-K, and then biked more before heading back to New York City.


If you’ve been reading for a while, then you may remember we did the same race last year. Which means I knew exactly what to expect during the first quarter mile—a steep climb that makes you question your existence. With this in mind, I took time to warm up and do some dynamic stretches (unlike my Red Hook Crit pre-race routine). And since it was about 50 degrees, I raced sans baselayer, which proved to be a wise decision, especially because I run hot.

Escape to the Palisades offers three distances: 5-K, a new for this year 6-K trail run, and the half-marathon, which draws the most people. Roughly 200 people toed the 5-K start line, and even though I finished second female overall last year, I didn’t think about the possibility of placing. Honestly, I feel like you’re jinxing it if you go into a race with the expectation of winning—slash, I don’t feel comfortable with thinking that at this point. Anyway, I focused on my goals: holding a 7:10-7:15 pace after the hill and being mentally strong throughout.

When the race started, the FTE boys took off, and I tried to keep two in my sights. And I also took the lead right out of the gate. The pace I dialed into was hot (for me 6:45 min./mi.), but I wanted a cushion for the climb. As I hit the hill, I shorted my stride and focused on turning over my legs: shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker. At this point, one girl passed me. Hey, more power to her if she wants to surge up that hill. I maintained my pace, controlled my breathing, and ended up passing her back.

After climbing the hill, the course ran parallel to the Hudson River and took us through a wooded area; it felt very Zen and actually reminded me of running at home in Upstate New York. Not to mention it was an out-and-back course, so it was easy for me to shut off my brain and simply run. Aside from the occasional “shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker,” there were zero thoughts in my head. Basically, it seems like my mental game improves with each race.

With that being said, though, this was also the first race where strategy played a role. About a minute before the guys appeared from the turnaround point, the girl I dropped on the hill made a move—and I answered. Well, sort of. I stuck on her shoulder. Go ahead. Let her set the pace and do the work. Tactically, I think this was a smart move; I don’t have the speed yet where I could’ve surged and lost her for good, so I simply stuck with her. And it felt like my speedwork pace, so I knew it would be somewhat sustainable.

Anyway, when the guys came back, one of them yelled, “take her now, Carrie! Take her now!” And then she turned around and realized I was there. We ran together through the turnaround, but I knew this couldn’t continue. My kick isn’t where I want it to be, and plus, I had a hard time hammering the downhill last year. Cardiowise, I was fine, and my legs felt decent, so I made my move and hit the pain train. For a brief moment, I let myself entertain the thought of winning.  I knew it would hurt—and I knew I could tolerate it.

As I took the downhill, I thought my legs would fall off. I also thought about rolling down the hill instead. But I was doing it. I was finishing strong and holding the lead.


Yes, these are d-baggy pictures to post, but I would be surprised if I ever break the tape again. I would like to point out the clear midfoot strike in the first picture. #runnerd

Official finishing time – 23:56 (7:43 min./mi.)

For what it’s worth, everyone who raced with a Garmin measured the course at 3.35 miles, which changes my average pace to 7:09. This run felt like a seven-and-change effort—definitely closer to a Red Hook Crit level of pain than South Beach.

Honestly, I felt very conflicted at the end of this race—happy, obviously, but also a bit unsettled. I’m still trying to figure out why, but here are my two main takeaways: First, I can string together three solid miles where I’m mentally strong. Two, I can run hard and smart; this race proved I’m getting better at allocating energy, managing efforts, and deciding when to push and when to maintain.

What goes through your head during a workout or race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 28 (Phase Two, Week 17)

Hi, all—happy Sunday! And May the 4th be with you!



Disclaimer: I only know about this because of my coworkers. I have never seen a Star Wars movie.

General training notes: The past three weeks of training hit me Monday, and I was glad to ease off the gas and embrace recovery week. Aside from Wednesday’s speedwork, my sessions this week maintained volume, but backed off intensity, especially my run workouts. My steady runs were steady, and my easy ones were easy—and I felt great during and after! Isn’t it funny how that works?

Monday – a.m. swim and run

This was the first workout since pre-South Beach during which I felt incredibly flat. Yes, I logged the yardage, but it was frustrating; I had to work a lot harder to hold paces, and overall, I felt like I was fighting the water, which is never an issue. Luckily, the easy four miles after went better.

Tuesday – a.m. bike

Originally, our Race of Truth should have taken place, but the forecast called for rain; the evening before, my coach pushed this time trial to Friday, but of course, the skies and roads were clear the morning of. A small group met in the park anyway, and we did a warm-up loop before we broke up into smaller groups for three additional loops.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

I don’t know what happened here, but yes, I did speedwork during recovery week: one-mile warm-up, 6×800, and one mile cool down. Three repeats seemed good at first, but since I felt good, I pushed and got the last three done. And my butt felt like it was going to fall off, which my coworkers said is a good thing. Next, I hit the pool for a 3,100-yard swim that contained lots of bilateral pulling sets and work with fins.

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and recovery run

The highlight of the long-course swim wasn’t the actual workout, but what we saw on the drive back to the city.


That doggie needs a helmet!

As per my usual Thursday routine, I took a power hour class at Tailwind Endurance (hills and a threshold/VO2 max set) and logged a five-mile recovery run. It was incredibly hot and humid, and my sweating-to-working ratio made zero sense.

FridayRace of Truth (aka a.m. bike)

Dun dun duuuun! Here’s the premise: Bike one loop of Central Park (6.2 miles) as fast as you can. And if you use a triathlon bike, then you’ll be given a 45-second penalty (because everyone rides roadies during our group outings). And athletes are released every 30 seconds, so there’s no drafting.

After talking to one of the coaches at Tailwind, I decided to treat this time trial like a power test; both last about 20 minutes, so it’s all about building and maintaining efforts. Since I don’t have a power meter—and since my bike computer wasn’t working—I used perceived exertion as a guide: Out of the gate, I built to a 7.5-8/10, and really dialed into the 8 after climbing Cat Hill. I maintained this effort to Harlem Hill, and although I didn’t attack it, I pushed, and then tried to hang on for the last bit. Unfortunately, I got stuck behind a Wall/Team of Cycling Dudes, so I wasn’t able to lay down the hammer as much as I would’ve liked, but I definitely left everything on the course. And get this: My time last year was 19:07, and I clocked 16:53 this year! It’s all about progress! And since our elite female and I “smoked the girls” (in the words of my coach), he booted us from the all-girl group, so we’ll both be riding with guys.

Saturday – off

Sunday – bike-run-bike training day, including Escape to the Palisades 5-K

Folks, this may be the new best day ever. Our group of 15 biked across the George Washington Bridge, and some of us ran the 5-K while others did hill repeats. I’ll probably write a race recap because … I won overall for women! And then we biked more. I closed the day with around 4.5 running miles and 50 biking miles. Sweet!

How did your workouts go this week?

I’m a Triathlon Model

Hi, hi! Contrary to my absence on the blog and virtually (see what I did there?) all forms of social media, I am in fact alive. Since returning from South Beach, I’ve been totally slammed.


Take me back, SoBe–I want more freckles!

I have absolutely no complaints. Work is going well, and training is going really well. Excuses aside, I owe you a catch-up post.

I’ve been to Brooklyn twice in recent weeks—for work. That’s two more times than I’ve been there all year. But really. I attended a launch party for the Brooklyn Triathlon and had a meeting with one of our clubs. Making the trek across the bridge, walking up from the subway, and facing infinite rows of brownstones, I love the neighborly Park Slope atmosphere. It seems more relaxed, but there’s no way I’m cool enough to live there. My pearl earrings and L.L. Bean jacket don’t belong.

I made my debut as a (triathlon) model. Triathlon season has arrived, and the store received shipments of swim-bike-run apparel. (2XU, Zoot, DeSoto, oh my!) And two coworkers and I somehow got recruited to be models. For the record, I assumed these photos would end up on Facebook. I did not expect to see my face plastered on the store window.


Mildly embarrassing, but kinda cool. And if you check our homepage, we’re on the slider too.



My team logged its first outdoor brick workout last Tuesday. Fifty degrees, no precipitation, and no morons tooling around the park lead to a solid ride. And even better, I hit my 5-K pace—and felt OK.

Tomorrow, our infamous “Race of Truth” takes place. Basically, it’s an all-out effort for one loop (6.2 miles) of the park, and the times set the cycling groups. Although arbitrary for me (my coach makes two all-girl groups), the race still comes with bragging rights, so I want to beat my time from last year.

In wannabe swimmer updates, I’m almost exclusively doing flip turns. There were a ton of reasons I avoiding doing them during practice—hitting lanemates, losing that extra breath that comes with open turns, etc.—but I finally woman-ed up and started doing them no matter what. And I’m almost at the point where I don’t have to think about it. Also, according to this article, I’m arguably a swimmer: waking up early, having huge shoulders, smelling like chlorine.

Sunday will be an epic training day—and I can’t wait! Last year, a bunch of my teammates biked over the bridge, ran the Escape to the Palisades 5-K, and then biked some more, and we’re doing it again this weekend.

What’s new with you?

Escape to the Palisades 5-K Race Recap

So I know I overuse this phrase, but Sunday was one of the best days ever:  My Full Throttle Endurance teammates and I biked from Manhattan to Fort Lee, NJ, did the Escape to the Palisades 5-K, rode around Jersey some more, and then headed back to New York City (and celebrated Cinco de Mayo).


We left New York City at 7 a.m., biked north across the George Washington Bridge (my first time ever!), and arrived at the race site around 8 a.m.  Although the ride over was a little stressful—mainly due to a super-narrow uphill bike path that led to the GW Bridge—it was worth it.

This video tours the half-marathon course, which we rode after finishing the 5-K.  It was absolutely beautiful and reminded me of Central New York riding.  During the season, most FTE members ride to and around Jersey at least once a week, so I’ll definitely be back soon.

Anyway, at the race site, we signed wavers, picked up packets, and stowed our bikes in transition the secured area.  And took a few team photos of course!


We ended up hanging out in transition by our bikes for a while, so I didn’t visit any of the booths.  It seemed like a home-grown race, so there weren’t a ton of national vendors, but there was a huge Muscle Milk table.

About 15 minutes before the 9 a.m. start, I had this strawberry Hüma Chia Energy Gel. (Full disclosure:  Hüma contacted me and asked if I’d like to test two gels in exchange for a review.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.)


In terms of road races, I don’t take gels for any event shorter than a half-marathon, but I knew a pick-me-up after biking and before running would be a good idea.  I’ll post a full review after I test the second gel, but so far, I’m a huge fan.  This one tasted exactly like strawberries, and aside from its flavor and consistency being spot on, it also didn’t give me any stomach trouble.  Total win-win.

Anyway, onto the race.  An out-and-back course, the route contained lots of hills, including a killer one at the beginning that spanned half of a mile.


Screenshot from the first 1.5 miles of the half-marathon course, which is why the image is so tiny.

But what goes up must come down:  on the bright side, this hill made it easy to negative split the race, which was my primary goal.  During both Nautica South Beach and the most recent two-mile time trial, I aimed to get progressively faster each mile, which didn’t exactly happen.  My pace group teammates were on board with doing a progressive/tempo run with the goal of negative splitting, so we decided to stick together, but if one of us wanted to make a move, then pulling away was obviously OK.

This was my first 5-K race in nearly one year (was RUNapoolza really my last one?), and I forgot how quickly it goes by!  We held a steady 8:20 pace on the hill, which actually acted as a great separator.  Yes, it was a smaller race anyway—about 150 runners—but it was still nice to have lots of space.  Shortly after clocking the first mile (Garmin said 7:58 I believe), we saw our coach and two teammates making their way back already!  Our coach won the entire race (casually running 5:20 miles, crazy!), and our two teammates took second and third.  Nice job, FTE!

Once we hit the turnaround mark and headed back, a lot of runners cheered for my female teammate and me. (One guy is also in our pace group, and he was holding strong with us too.) Apparently we were the first two women.  What the what?!  Guess there’s a first time for everything, right?

At mile two, my teammates told me I should leave them and make my move, but I couldn’t find the next gear; maybe it was biking to the race, maybe it was forgoing a true warm up, maybe it was a combination of the two.  It just wasn’t my day; what can you do?  With the downhill to the finish line in our sight, my female teammate opened up her stride and flew down.  She rocked it and took first overall for women!  When I saw her attack, I knew she was gone.  I crossed the finish line a few seconds later and posted a final time of 22:29 (7:14 min./mi.), which was good enough for second place overall for women and (lucky) thirteenth overall, including the men.  Gotta love the local races!


Overall, FTE did really well:  eleven finished in the top 14!  Unfortunately, we didn’t stay for the awards ceremony, and it wasn’t until after we were back in NYC we found out there were plaques for the winners.  Maybe we’ll bike back next weekend to pick them up!

Do you prefer doing races with friends or by yourself?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of May 5

Happy Cinco de Mayo, friends!  Hope you had a safe and festive holiday!  My day started with a 15-ish-mile bike ride from New York City to Fort Lee, NJ for the Escape to the Palisades 5-K with my Full Throttle Endurance teammates.


Too hot for the black Under Armour pants–ditched those for some shorts after this photo was taken.

We came (via bike), we raced, we conquered—and then biked more, ate some delicious carbs, biked back to Manhattan, and finally enjoyed some Cinco de Mayo festivities.  The race recap will be posted within the next few days, aka when the official finishing times (and photos!) are released.  It was a hilly course, and even though it went relatively well, the highlight of the day for me was biking.  Riding in Jersey was absolutely gorgeous, and it reminded me a lot of good ol’ Central New York.  Plus, I logged 40-plus miles roundtrip, which is the farthest I’ve ridden—ever.  Very solid Sunday!

Time for this week’s Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – a.m. run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE); a.m. strength train

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE; a.m. strength train

Wednesday – a.m. indoor cycle with FTE; a.m. run off the bike

Thursday – a.m. bike; a.m. run

Friday – a.m. swim with FTE

Saturday – a.m. swim with FTE

Sunday – a.m. easy bike or off

How did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

Friday Favorites – May 3

Happy Friday!  Has this week flown by for anyone else?  There are a bunch of things getting me in the Friday/weekend spirit, so I’m going with a list-style post today.

1.  This will be my first time in four years celebrating Cinco de Mayo.  How is this possible?  In college, I always seemed to be stuck at a prof’s house for final portfolio presentations (ah, the joys of a small liberal arts college), which meant no Cinco shenanigans.  Things will be different on Sunday!


My teammates and I will bike to the start line of Escape to the Palisades, run the 5-K, and then ride around Jersey.  More likely than not, some adult beverages will be consumed—after the race of course.

2.  While working at JackRabbit Sports last night, I wore the Saucony Kinvara 3’s—and immediately fell in love.


I’ve been eying this pair for a while, and my size was finally available last night.  I’ll spare you the shoe geek specs, but it’s an incredibly light and comfortable shoe.  Coincidentally, I’m also due for a new pair of sneakers.  Hmmm …

3.  In terms of cooking, I took a risk and threw together a new spice blend.


I don’t remember the exact measurements, but it contained cayenne pepper (obviously), garlic powder, brown sugar, and dried thyme, plus some cinnamon and salt.  Huge success!

4.  This Facebook post made my day:  MuckFest MS shared one of my aunt’s photos.


What a great race–and we’re famous!

5.  Thanks to working tonight and swimming tomorrow morning, I’m going to have a crazy night filled with some baller reading material.


If you missed yesterday’s post, Jen and I teamed up to start a book club.  Just fill out this Google form if you’d like to join!

What are some things that are making your Friday extra awesome?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of April 28

Happy Sunday, friends!  Guess who survived—and loved!—her first mud run!


Yesterday’s MuckFest MS Mud Run was so much fun!  Our team completed the 5-mile, 20-obstacle course in slightly less than two hours.  What a great day, and we’re already planning to do it again next year.  My uncle took a ton of pictures (as did the race photographers), so I’ll wait for those to include with the recap.

And with this mud run, recovery week officially ended.  This means Full Throttle Endurance workouts will pick up in terms of volume and intensity, which is good because Mighty Montauk is just around the corner—only 40 days away!  Starting this week, I’ll be focusing on getting my butt in the saddle and riding more often.  Even though Friday’s time trial in Central Park went OK, there is a lot of room for improvement.  Luckily, the Escape to the Palisades 5-K takes place Sunday, which means an additional team ride will be built into my schedule.  Here’s what I have on tap for this week’s Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – a.m. run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE); a.m. strength train

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE; a.m. strength train

Wednesday – a.m. indoor cycle with FTE; a.m. run off the bike

Thursday – a.m. bike; a.m. run

Friday – a.m. swim with FTE

Saturday – a.m. swim with FTE or off

Sunday – Escape to the Palisades 5-K (plus two bike rides)

What did you do this weekend?  If you raced, how did it go?

My Teammates Made Me Do It

Happy Thursday, friends!  How’s your day going so far?  I kicked things off with a workout green smoothie before I hopped on the train home to Central New York.


It felt strange to wake up early and not work out, but today’s a rest day.  Well, a semi-active rest day if you consider hauling luggage to the train station strength training.  Which I totally do!


A few weeks ago, I bought this TYR transition backpack, and it’s been super clutch.  I’ve been eying triathlon transition backpacks for a while, and I knew I’d need one before Miami (in t-minus 10 days!).  Not only does it have plenty of room for my triathlon gear, but it also has space for snacks.  Priorities.

Speaking of triathlons, you’ve heard read about how much I love my teammates.  I’m incredibly lucky to be training with Full Throttle Endurance, and I feel so blessed to have this support system of friends who truly get it.  Not only do they push me during practice—I wouldn’t be improving as quickly if I trained solo all the time—but they also challenge me when it comes to races:

“C’mon, Carrie—sign up for the Timberman 70.3!  It will be fun!”

“Carrie, do the Brooklyn Half!  A bunch of us are racing it.”

“Carrie, come to 70.3 Rev3 Quassy!”

Although these all sound tempting, long-course events don’t align with my triathlon goals right now; I want to go fast (for me) before I go far.  Anyway, even though I’ve risen about this positive pressure, I did give in and sign up for a race that I wouldn’t have under normal conditions:  Escape to the Palisades on May 5.


Since I live in New York City, I wouldn’t register for a short race that requires leaving the Big Apple; extensive travel plans to run 3.1 miles doesn’t seem worth it to me.  So why will I make the hike to Jersey for a 5-K?  A ton of my teammates signed up—and we plan to bike the 15-plus miles to the race site, run the 5-K, and then ride through more of Jersey before we head back across the George Washington Bridge.  So, basically, this will be like a bike-run-bike brick with some eating and drinking. (Hey, it will be Cinco de Mayo!)

Yes, we’re nuts.  And yes, I’m excited.

Have you ever been “peer pressured” into doing a race?