runner

Marathon 10 in 50 of the #50in50: Arizona (Mesa-Arizona Marathon)

FullSizeRender.jpg

10 of 50 states in the #50in50 done:

  • NEW YORK 11/4/18: @nycmarathon
  • NEVADA 11/11/18: @runrocknroll Vegas
  • PENNSYLVANIA 11/18/18: @Philly_Marathon
  • WASHINGTON 11/25/18: @seattlemarathon
  • TENNESSEE 12/1/18: @stjude Memphis
  • ALABAMA 12/8/18: @irunrocketcity
  • FLORIDA 1/13/19: @rundisney #wdwmarathon
  • LOUISIANA 1/20/19: @thelamarathon
  • MISSISSIPPI 1/26/19: Mississippi blues Marathon
  • ARIZONA 2/9/19: Mesa-Phoenix Marathon @phxmarathon

I did some media the day before the marathon at Fox 10 in Phoenix. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about Gweneviere and the foundation. 

IMG_1336.JPG

I woke up on race day at my Phoenix hotel really early at 4am.

IMAGE.JPG

When I got out to the where runners were staged to jump onto buses to head to the start line, I waited in line for one for about 15 minutes. We then drove out for about 40 minutes up mountain.

When we got to the start line it was at a much higher elevation, cold and still dark outside. I was struck by the size of the cacti! They were also everywhere, just like in cartoons.

IMAGE.JPG

The area was super quiet, too. The race had set up heating lamps and fire pits, and they also had a lot of Porto Potties. I was going to meet up with one of the local donors to run with me at a 4:00hr pace, but ge texted me to tell me that his car wouldn’t start so he wasn’t going to make it.

About a week before the race I had started to mentally get ready to break 4:00hr for the first time. I was excited about this race because it has a 1000 ft net elevation drop over the course. It’s incredibly fast with 26.8% of the field BQing.

IMG_1486.PNG

I decided to run with my Nike Vaporflys (instead of my Zoomflys). I also decide to run with only my Apple Watch (with cellular signal) and not my phone. I usually run with a small waist pack with my ID, insurance card, a credit card, a $20 bill, nutrition, and sometimes my phone. I actually forgot my waist pack, but it turned out to be a good thing. A couple marathons ago I realized that I preferred tucking my nutrition under my ball cap because when my hands get really cold I’m not able to open my waist pack zipper to get to them. One time a year ago at the 2018 Hyannis Marathon, I had to ask a volunteer to help me open my waist pack.

It was going to be a cold morning (34°F). I decided to wear my short sleeve #50in50 shirt, arm warmers and #50in50 cap.

I looked for the 4:00 hr pace group and found only 4:05 and 3:55. The race had decided cut 5 minutes off each pace group due to new BQ times. I went with 3:55 because of the characteristics of this really fast course. My PR before Mesa-Phoenix was 4:04 (NYC 2018). I had never, up until that point, run with a sub 4 pace group. The race started promptly at 6:30am with fireworks.

This was one of the rare races that I had run alone. I was a little emotional, because I knew I was going to run a sub 4 for the first time. I thought about Gweneviere and talked to her for a little bit. I wanted her to know at that moment that I was going to go to run that race for her.

It was a super fast start. Most people seeded themselves properly so there wasn’t a lot of dodging around slower runners. The start us a big descent. The view of the city below was pretty amazing. We were surrounded by desert mountains and big cacti. The start is pretty remote, with no spectators for the first couple of miles, so it was very quiet and peaceful. All I could hear were the pitter patters of thousands of feet. The first few miles flew by quickly. Our pacer, Farrah of East Valley Runners, kept us on track. Her pacing was perfect. My heart rate stayed in a range I was comfortable with, occasionally slightly higher on small inclines. The race had GU at miles 7, 13 and 19, so I brought a couple along with me under my cap.

IMAGE.JPG

I have been taking nutrition every 4 miles, but I’m going to take more now. I feel like I need them every 4 miles until mile 20 (caffeine free), then at mile 21 and 23 (with or without caffeine depending on how I feel). I felt comfortable with that amount during the race. I don’t like taking caffeine generally because it sends my heart rate up higher than I like it during a race.

At the halfway point, Farrah handed pacing off to Gene, another member of East Valley Runners. Gene and I talked a bit about nutrition and Instant Pot recipes. I told her about how I make 2 gallons of almond yogurt in the Instant Pot with a recipe I developed after months of experimenting. She shared some of her recipes. At about the 17 mile mark, my watch started to give me a low battery (10%) warning. I was surprised, because I had kept my watch off until 5am (1.5hours before the start). For the next race, I will turn it on 10 minutes or so before the start. If it fails again, I will have to get it replaced because it’s only 4 months old and shouldn’t crash that early into a race. I told Gene about Gweneviere and why I’m running 50 marathons in 50 states in 1 year. She also shared some stories about friends and family.

About the 21 mile mark, I decided to take a 1 minute walking break. I needed it. I felt mostly ok, but my heart rate needed to come down. I took some nutrition and drank some extra fluids.

IMAGE.JPG

I started up again and had to feel out my pace because I was flying blind without my watch. A couple of times (mile 23 and 24) I asked volunteers what the time was so that I could gauge my pace to see if I would make it under 4 hours, and it seemed like I was. I kept a steady pace and followed a few people that seemed to be at a 9min/mile pace. I ended up crossing the finish in 3:57:06, a new PR.

FullSizeRender.jpg

After the race I thanked Farrah and Gene and visited their running group’s tent. Gene gave me a big hug.

IMG_1353.JPG

I said thank you to one of the sponsors of the race, Offerpad, and to Wendy Jacobson, Director of Operations for the marathon.

IMG_1351.JPEG

The finish festival was amazing. Sprouts, the title sponsor, brought tons and tons of food. There was French Toast, fruit, chips, Creamies and more. They really took care of the runners. In terms of food, this finisher festival rivals the Louisiana Marathon festival in Baton Rouge. I was really thankful for all the delicious treats at the end of both of races.

I highly recommend the Mesa-Phoenix if you are looking for a super fast downhill course in the West, early in the year. You will likely PR and have a great time. They also have a nice finisher medal. Check them out for next year. 

IMAGE.JPG

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • TX (Austin) 2/17
  • MA (Hyannis) 2/24
  • SC (Myrtle Beach) 3/2
  • AR (Little Rock) 3/3
  • NC (Wilmington) 3/9

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD GWENEVIERE’S SONG

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

-Yasir

 

 

Monthly marathon race report: Icebreaker International Marathon

IMG_2127.jpg

I ran my 1st monthly marathon of 2018 on January 28 - the Icebreaker International Marathon & Half Marathon in East Meadow, NY on Long Island. This was a new marathon for me. In fact, 9 of the 12 marathons I’m running this year are new to me. There are so many marathons every weekend (and some weekdays!) and they all offer a different experience. Notably, I don’t have any indoor or trail marathons on my list this year. I ran two of each of those last year. 

IMG_2115.jpg

This race was a short 40 min drive for me from Manhattan, and inside Eisenhower Park. There were about 100 runners, most of them were running the half, and about 40 us were running the full.

IMG_2112.jpg

The half was 4 loops of the park and the full was 8 loops. 

IMG_2126.jpg

One interesting tidbit about this race - it was selected by Marathon Adventures to be the North American venue for its “Triple 7 Quest,” involving seven marathons or 7 halfs on 7 continents in seven days. The course was well-marked, staffed with plenty of volunteers, and they and a lot of race food/drinks as well as a lot of post-race food.

IMG_2118.jpg

There was 1 race food/drink tent set up near the end of the loop. They had the usual Gatorade, water, and also Pepsi. They had bananas, pretzels, orange slices, and my favorite during this race-peanut butter and banana sandwiches cut into quarters.

IMG_2119.jpg

I ran a pretty good race. We got fairly lucky with the weather, which was hovering around 48 degrees with some light rain during the first hour. I spent all of January cross-training, lifting, and doing a lot of intervals. I think that helped me quite a bit on this race. I tried to take it easy because I had a 24 hour bike race (the Sebring 24 RAAM qualifier) in Florida 2 weeks after this race, where I did 410 miles, won my age group, and qualified for the 3,000 Race Across America bicycle race1

IMG_2113.jpg

Overall, I recommend this race if you live nearby in NYC or Long Island and really want to run a marathon in January. 

Oh and the finisher medal are really fun. Try this race out next year! 

My full 2018 schedule:

  • Jan 28 Icebreaker (NY)
  • Feb 25 Hyannis (MA)
  • Mar 24 Savin Rock (CT)
  • Apr 14 Garden Spot Village (PA)
  • May 6 Queens (NYC)
  • Jun 30 NE Series (NY)
  • Jul 8 Mad (VT)
  • Aug 5 Drake Well (PA)
  • Sept 29 Hamptons (NY)
  • Oct 20 Brooklyn
  • Nov 4 #TCSNYCMarathon
  • Dec 9 Roxbury (CT)

Monthly marathon report: NYC marathon

Just a couple of weeks ago, I ran my 7th NYC marathon. This race holds a very special place for my wife and me. NYC Marathon 2010 was the first marathon we both ever ran. To learn a bit more about we ran ran that race, watch this great StoryCorps video about my wife's story—my inspiration for doing all these marathons, triathlons, as well as wacky races and competitions. 

One of my favorite parts of the NYC marathon is actually volunteering at the Expo the day before race—handing out bibs to runners. Speaking off bibs, I had a special bib this year with my name on it!

There was a bit of hype this year with some of the runners and I was lucky and honored to be included in a Runner's World piece and TV promotions for the race.

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 9.59.26 PM.png

 

And this this fun piece on AM New York

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 10.02.14 PM.png

 

The race went really well. The temperature was just right and the rain held up. The crowds and bands in every borough were great as always. I ran my fastest NYC marathon yet (4:41) and came in just 2 minutes behind Prince Royce and 3 minutes behind Tiki Barber

Runner's World did this great follow up on their pre-marathon article:

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 10.01.07 PM.png

And there were a few other great articles on the NYC Marathon that I was also honored to be featured in: 

 

The medals were nice, as always.

 

And my wife and I celebrated another successful NYC marathon together. We plan to run this marathon as long as we're able to!

23231254_10155879407684839_7843370954991366494_n.jpg

There is no run quite like the NYC marathon. If you ever have the chance to run it, do it! It is my favorite run and is a special race for my wife and me. And if you every have a chance to hear the stories of any of the other 50,000+ runners that finish it every year, you'll see that it's a special race for them, too.

Monthly marathon race report: Chasing the Unicorn marathon

FullSizeRender.jpg

On September 10th, I ran the Chasing the Unicorn marathon in Washington Crossing, PA.

FullSizeRender.jpg

I just the day before, I ran the Charles River marathon in Boston, MA. I wasn't planning to do 2 marathons in September (or 1 weekend!), but my October plans were up in the air, so I had to fit in another one in September just in case, to make sure I fulfill my goal of running 12 marathons this year.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Chasing the Unicorn is a fast course. The race takes place in Washington Crossing Historic Park, and consists of two loops of a path along the Delaware River.

FullSizeRender.jpg

There were about 150 or so runners.

FullSizeRender.jpg

It was a nice day, mostly clear with some clouds, and about 65 degrees.

FullSizeRender.jpg

There were a good amount of aid stations with sports drinks and water.

FullSizeRender.jpg

On one side of the path there was the Delaware River.

FullSizeRender.jpg

On the other side, there was typically either farm fields or quiet neighborhoods.

FullSizeRender.jpg

The path conditions were perfect, I like running on firm dirt paths.

FullSizeRender.jpg

I liked these walking/bike path bridges that crossed the river.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Although I was taking it easy since I ran a marathon just the day before, my time was actually faster for the second marathon of the weekend. The finisher medals are bold, colorful and heavy.

Overall, I loved this course and I recommend it if you are in the Northeast and looking for a fast, scenic September race. See http://www.runbucks.com/runbucks-races for more information on the race.