Tag Archives: Races

pride and pampering

It’s Gay Pride month, and this weekend is the culmination of all things GAY in NYC.  There’s a lot to celebrate in NYC (marriage equality was legalized this past year) and there is need to celebrate too.  I think celebration leads to awareness, learning and togetherness–it’s why we celebrate birthdays every year and Eucharist every week (or every day in some cases)!


post-race recovery snack with gay sprinkles

In any case, I ran the 5-mile PRIDE race put on by the Front Runners (LGBT running club) and sponsored by Urban Athletics (the store Jay runs for and the team I’ll be joining shortly).  The course is said to be a fast one because the Harlem Hills are in the first mile so you get the worst out of the way early on.  Yesterday our friend/teammate Tanya offered to run with me.  Tanya is way faster than I am, but she was scheduled to do 50 minutes “easy” so it was a perfect match.  I took her up on her offer.

Before the start I told Tanya I was shooting for 8:05 to 8:10 pace.  I had run a 4-mile race with Tanya, her boyfriend Josh and Jay at 8:03 pace 2 weeks prior.  While I had two more weeks of training under my belt, this course was 1 mile longer.  8:05 seemed reasonable.

Just as we were about to cross the start mats, I looked at my Garmin to press start, but my screen changed at that very moment–I’d have to reconnect to satellites, etc.  Shoot.  Tanya said we’d just go by her watch instead, and she had set her “virtual partner” to 8:00 pace.  This was actually a God-send as I couldn’t keep checking my pace and instead had to go by feel and trust Tanya’s coaching.

Let me just say, Tanya is a rock star.  I learned so much running with her today.  In the first few minutes, she told me not to waste my energy weaving through runners trying to get ahead.  “You’ll make up time when it thins out and you’re running faster than you realize anyway.”  When it was time to weave some, she’d run ahead of me to clear the way.  She set goals for me, “See that rock?  That’s half way up the hill.”  She coached me on breathing, telling me not to work so hard on the down hills, but to let gravity do its job while I just concentrated on slower breathing to bring my heart-rate down.  She ran ahead of me at water stops to bring me water.  I was totally spoiled.  Add to that encouraging remarks along the way, as well as when to slow up a bit so I’d have gas in the tank for the end, when to pick it up in the last half mile, and when to go all out.  The end result was a perfect race at 7:54 pace and a sub-40 minute finish.  We were both pretty pumped.

Sadly, Jay missed my finish.  We were just too fast.

After the race, Jay and I discussed my ongoing training as we walked to the West side of Central Park.  My next race is a 5k at Sodus Point on July 4th.  It’s a Holder family tradition.  I confessed it would be hard to push myself on my own after being pampered with coaching and pacing help the past two races.  It’s a hot and hilly course.  But obviously Jay’s coaching (with help from friends) is paying off, so I’ll just keep rolling with it.  This is the most fun stage of training because you can see the results from week to week.  Soon I’ll plateau on speed and the excitement will be about reaching new mileage goals instead.  At least I hope that stage will be an exciting one!

For now, I’m a proud LGBT advocate and a pampered runner.

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You may or may not know that I accidentally signed myself up for the NYC marathon this fall.  I put my name in the lottery without even telling Jay, thinking it would be pretty funny if I got in and surprised him later on.  Well I did get in, and we were both surprised.  After recovering from the initial shock, I got pretty excited about a) running such an epic race, and b) running it for a cause.  It took 0.03 seconds to think of a cause–colon cancer–the disease that killed one of my dearest friends in March.  I’ve already raised almost $2k of my $5k goal for the “Get Your Rear In Gear” organization, honoring my friend Aimee and her family that I love so.  More on that here.


we’re serious about kicking cancer’s butt

It just so happens that Get Your Rear In Gear had a 4-mile race in Prospect Park this weekend.  A few weeks back we hatched a plan with our friends/teammates Josh and Tanya to run said race in our underwear.  In other cities there are races where all participants run in their underwear to raise awareness of colon cancer and to promote the more open communication about… poop.  Colon cancer is finding younger victims all the time.  Since screening doesn’t usually take place until age 50, everyone needs to talk to the doctors about their bowels early and often.

And so we ran in colorful men’s briefs.  It took more courage than I anticipated, but no one even flinched at our get-up.  It is Brooklyn after all.

My goal pace for this race was 8:10-8:15.  Jay, Josh and Tanya all ran with me despite their far superior speed abilities.  Considering Jay’s IT band injury, I was grateful he could run at all.  They let me set the pace and I went out too fast.  Josh told me I was running 7:34 so we dialed it back.  The second mile was the hardest with a big hill in the middle.  Maybe the hill wasn’t too big, but it felt big after training on the flats of the West Side Highway.  At the end of mile three, I was pretty much spent.  Jay said, “One more mile.  The purpose of this workout is to have nothing left when you cross the finish.”  I told him I already had nothing left.  He responded, “Make this last mile 8:05 or faster.”  When I told him that wouldn’t be happening, he said I had to believe I could do it, at which point I said, “I love you, but I need you to shut up.”  He did shut up, but he also 2-stepped me the rest of the way, resulting in a 7:48 last mile.  I finished the race in 32:11 averaging 8:03 pace.  My comrades’ efforts had carried me farther than I thought I could go.  We were all pretty pumped.


aimee would give the magenta briefs a thumbs-up too

There were several cool things about this race.  1) It’s great to know that my training (and Jay’s coaching) is paying off.  I want to be in shape enough for the marathon to enjoy it.  2) To see so many people passionate about ending colon cancer was truly awesome.  I had to fight back tears as one woman shared her story about losing her sister at age 33.  Several times in the race when Tanya could tell I was losing steam, she’d say, “Remember your friend Aimee.”  Jay and I both wore “Running in memory of Aimee” bibs on our backs.  I miss her.  3) At some point during all of this I turned to Jay and said, “We have arrived.”  To have friends in NYC who are willing to run in underwear and support me in this cause is a BIG deal to us both.

While we were quick to change out of our runderwear after the race, we did decide to hang on to our bright briefs just in case.  You never know when you might need to run in skivvies.  We’ll be ready.

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