Race Recap: 2016 NYRR Gridiron Classic

by Jess on February 9, 2016

NYRR Gridiron Classic

Hands down one of the most important things I do in training is run races. The key word here is run. I don’t race them. It allows me to practice executing different race strategies while running with a crowd of runners.

I’m lucky that I live in a place where races are affordable races are held frequently and are only a mile or two away from my front door.

I’ve talked a bit about my goals for the first half of 2016 with my RPRC team, but I haven’t mentioned them here. Here’s a quick recap.

One month goal for January: Build enough endurance after my fall injury and illness to complete the NYRR Fred Lebow Manhattan Half (it was cancelled due to a blizzard, but I completed 13.1 on my own the following weekend.


Three month goal: PR in a 10k by the end of March. The time to beat is 47:07

Six month goal: PR at the NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon. The time to beat is 1:42:15


The NYRR Gridiron Classic was technically my third NYRR race of the year. My strategy was to run miles one and two at an easy pace and miles three and four at tempo pace.

This is one of my favorite races of the year. Just past mile two you get to vote for which team you think is going to win the Super Bowl. NYRR has made a few changes in race procedures late last year. So far the changes I’ve experienced are positive.

The first mile had two turns and went up the west side hills making it easy to keep my pace conservative. The second mile has quite a bit of downhill to it, so it was a bit difficult to maintain an easy pace. I’d say I ended up closer to what my tempo effort would be at my current fitness level. Mile three went up Cat Hill while mile four covered the fastest section of Central Park.

NYRR Gridiron 2016

  • Mile 1: 8:25
  • Mile 2: 8:18
  • Mile 3: 8:03
  • Mile 4: 7:13 -> There is no way this was tempo effort. I haven’t run a mile anywhere close to this fast since last September.

Based off the paces of my training runs, I’d give myself a C- in terms of executing my race strategy, but an A for running a negative split? Okay, no need to give myself an A when I clearly did not execute a tempo effort for mile 4.

My next race is March 26. I really would love to set at least one PR this year.

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Lithe Method with New Balance Women

by Jess on February 4, 2016

Lithe Method 2

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done anything other than spin, run or lift weights. When training for a race, it’s good to be focused on doing the workouts that will lead you towards your goals. There shouldn’t be any randomness in training. Each training session should have a distinct purpose that will lead you towards your running specific goal.

Now that my specific running goal is to PR in a 10k in March, I have the freedom to mix up  my workouts without having to worry about messing up my training schedule. I’m excited to jump back into the fitness scene a bit this winter.

With so many fitness options available it’s easy to get caught up in the boutique fitness movement and want to take every single available class. Taking classes is fun, but learning how random classes fit or don’t fit into a training schedule is something most people don’t know how to manage well. Take too many classes and you aren’t doing enough running. Take a class you aren’t familiar with and you may end up injured or too sore to get the most out of your running workouts.

Read how I helped Kayla organize her fitness class schedule while training for the New York City Marathon.

New Balance Women

Recently, New Balance hosted a studio class workout to celebrate the launch of their new Studio Skins. I had the chance to test out new gear from the Spring 2016 line as well as experience out a Lithe Method class.

The Class: Lithe Method: a Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting® workout that utilizes resistance bands that hang from the ceiling and strap to your wrists for the cardiovascular portion of the class and a ballet barre for lower body strength training. The cardio portion of the class is cheerleading inspired, while the work at the barre includes high repetition variations of squats and lunges.

Where To Take it: Currently only in Philadelphia!

Who Taught Class: Lauren Boggi, founder Lithe Method

Did I like it?: First off, I know how cheesy it sounds to take a class based on cheerleading moves at the age of 40. Trust me,I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into. My lack of coordination is usually an issue in anything that requires choreography, but I was almost able to keep up during this class.

The “cheerleading” moves were mostly plyometric exercises including jump squats, jumping jack variations, mountain climbers and burpees that were combined into a short choreographed routine that included other moves like “driving the bus” (I have no idea if this is a real or made up move).

The leg work at the barre included 7 sets of single leg squat and lunge variations on each leg with sets of squat variations in-between the sets of single leg work.

I surprised myself by really enjoying the workout. If there were classes offered in NYC, I’d definitely go back.New Balance Women Spring 2016

The Gear: NB Women Spring/Summer 2016

Top –  Studio Cami: Fitted, deep-v top with a built-in shelf bra and adjustable straps. Cost: $37.99 (currently on sale) Thoughts: Initially, the deep v-made me uncomfortable, but paired with the right sports bra, I felt at ease. It did not ride up once during the workout and did not require any adjustments. Fits true to size.

Pullover – Sunrise Sweatshirt: Over-sized, boyfriend fit pullover sweatshirt with a slouchy collar. Cost: $74.99 Thoughts: I really like it! It’s long and cozy. Fits as expected. If you are between sizes go with the smaller size.

Pants: – Printed Perfomance Tight: a mid-rise tight with shirring at ankles. Cost: $84.99 Thoughts: The red print is a little outside my comfort zone, but these tights are extremely comfortable. The waistband isn’t too high or too low and it doesn’t give me a hint of muffin top. I’m wearing them as I type this. Fits true to size.

Shoes: – Studio Skins: created for barre, dance, pilates and any other studio class that typically doesn’t require shoes; phantom tape supports the foot and there is cushioning placed under the ball of the foot. Cost: $54.00 Thoughts: I love barefoot workouts and these are perfect for keeping your feet from slipping while giving you a bit of support. I’ll be wearing them to keep from slipping during my TRX sessions in my kitchen. Fits according to shoe size.



by Jess on January 30, 2016

Hey, hey! It’s been quite awhile since I’ve blogged here. Between writing weekly Race Pace Run Club assignments and blogging for Women’s Running, I’ve felt like I didn’t have the energy to come up with content for this space. I’m not sure how often I’ll drop in, but I’m back for today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about turning 40, what that means and how I feel about it, but this week the word “comfort” has been at the forefront of my mind.

Running provides me with comfort. It’s probably why I fell head over heels in love with running at the fragile/angry age of 13.

Running comforts me when I’m angry, sad, lonely and pissed off. I am comfortable with the discomforts of running. I know I can handle the pain and nausea of a 5k. I know how much it hurts my lungs to breathe in cold air while doing repeats into 22 mph winds in the winter. I know the discomforts of blisters, chaffing, hamstring pain, falling down, digging deep and not giving up no matter how much my body wants to quit. These discomforts give me comfort.

New Balance Vazee

What I’m discovering is that I need to be less comfortable. I need to spend less time focused on running and more time away from all the comfort it provides me. I need to put more energy into doing the unexpected workouts and things that make me feel unnerved and unsure so that I can expand my horizons and become a better runner.

It always circles back to being a better runner and hoping that through running I’ll be a better person. I’ll always have a long way to go, but I do believe that I am better at most things in life because I am a runner.

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