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Posts tagged ‘New York marathon’

2012 Seattle Marathon is in the Bag. What’s Next?

January 27th, 2013

Lisa Dawson

Seattle Marathon finisher!

I’m a little late in my recap, but… I did it! And it was fun!

The 2012 Seattle Marathon was drenched in fog, but the rain stayed away and temperature remained above freezing. My friend Mary reminded me to be loose, light and stick to my plan. That became my mantra, and whenever I thought about mixing it up a little, I reminded myself to run like I trained. I actually felt really good at the end (which is a good thing for someone who’s concerned about their heart) and finished with just one blister and all my toenails intact.

There were about 20 other runners wearing their orange NYC marathon shirts – we exchanged waves and nods in acknowledgement of our shared experience in the Big Apple.

I know I said I’d never do another marathon, so I’ll blame it on post-race euphoria: I registered for December’s Honolulu Marathon. A great excuse for a family vacation, right? I’m also registered for the Hot Chocolate 5K in March and the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon in June.

Any suggestions for another half in October?

NYC Marathon Becomes a Lesson in Leadership and Flexibility

November 3rd, 2012

Lisa Dawson

You’ve probably heard the New York City marathon was canceled yesterday, about 36 hours before runners were to board buses to the start line on Staten Island. The decision was the culmination of four days of controversy and called into question the civic and moral responsibilities and leadership of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg.

It’s hard to gauge the degree of devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy from my room near Central Park. There are hotel vacancies, businesses are up and running, and transportation is readily available. It’s not until you watch the constant local news coverage of the situation in Staten Island, Lower Manhattan and other areas that you realize how badly hurt this city is.

Bloomberg and Wittenberg thought the marathon would be a unifying event for the city, a way to show resiliency as it did after 9/11. But many people expressed concern that areas most heavily impacted by the storm were not getting critical support. They believed race organizers had a responsibility to donate food and generators to the recovery efforts. In some cases, runners had reservations for hotel rooms that others felt should be used for displaced people. The race was dividing the city.

It should have been canceled. No question.

But it the decision should have been made on Tuesday, not Friday afternoon. After the storm passed, runners from around the world anxiously waited to hear whether or not the race would go on as planned. We trusted city leadership and the event organizers to make a decision in the best interest of the city and its residents.

Many runners had their flights canceled and others chose to withdraw because they didn’t feel right about running. My sisters and I arrived on Thursday thinking recovery efforts were well under way, but as we watched the news, we too began to question the decision to run. I also felt a conflicting sense of responsibility to my charity and to everyone who supported me in getting here.

It’s hard for someone who’s never trained for a marathon to understand how big of a an emotional let down this is. Runners train for months for an event, especially in the weeks leading up to the race. Strenuous training plans are created and followed. Plane fares and lodging deposits are paid well in advance. Add to that the reassurance of the city that there would be no disruption to the recovery efforts and that the city needed the marathon’s $340M economic boost.

We wanted to believe it could happen.

This experience has evoked every emotion imaginable: Nervous excitement before running a big race. Guilt because I really wanted to run but wasn’t sure if I should. Desire to help with the recovery efforts. Frustration that I’ve spent a lot of money and used vacation time on a trip to a city where I don’t feel welcome. Relief because Mayor Bloomberg and the NYRR finally made the decision for me. Sadness because this race had so much personal significance.

After a brief pity party I did a little re-evaluation of my running situation.

Last night I registered for the Seattle Marathon on November 25. I’ll join the marathoners who are running laps around Central Park tomorrow, but stop at 17 miles and do another taper over the next three weeks. I may be running the full 26.2 in my city, but I’ll be wearing my New York marathon shirt.

My sisters and I have three full days left of our NYC vacation. Our plans are to explore the city, catch a show and hopefully volunteer with one of the relief organizations.

It’s not what we planned, but it promises to be memorable.

NYC Marathon, Hurricane Sandy & A Shift in Fundraising

October 31st, 2012

Lisa Dawson

A lot of people have asked me if I’m still running the New York City marathon in light of the Hurricane Sandy devastation.

Yes, I’m headed to New York and I plan on running.

As I write this, my Thursday morning flight to Newark is still on schedule. Current reports indicate the marathon will occur, so my sister and I will be running on Sunday. If it gets canceled? Well, we’ll hang out in the city and see if there’s anything we can do to help with cleanup and recovery.

To be honest, I was a bit on the fence about whether or not the race should be canceled. But I figure if the organizers and city determine it’s feasible, I’m in. I’ve been training for the past 6 months, my plane ticket has been purchased and I’m sensitive to the financial hit the small B&B we’re staying at would take if we were to cancel.

Fundraising Update

Thanks to generous donations from my friends and family, I surpassed the Fred’s Team fundraising minimum and raised $4500! For those of you who intended to donate but haven’t had a chance to do so, I’d like to suggest you direct your donation to one of the food banks in New York City. I asked my Brooklyn-based friend Caryn who she would recommend, and she pointed me to Food Bank for New York City (formerly Second Harvest) or Greenpoint Church’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far on my NYC marathon adventure. I’ll keep you posted!

My Favorite Running Fuel, Hydration & Gear

October 27th, 2012

Lisa Dawson

Labor Day Half

A big part of marathon training is figuring out what you’ll need on race day. The first real test of my approach to gear, fuel and hydration was the Labor Day Half, which ran on a new course and had some logistical kinks to work out. Since then, I’ve had two months to fine tune my plans for the NYC Marathon on November 4.


Most sports drinks hurt my stomach, so I use Hammer’s Endurolyte capsules for electrolyte replacement when running for more than an hour. I also started adding half a Nuun strawberry lemonade tablet to plain water, which helps with taste and provides some additional sodium and potassium.

I always carry water when training, but had never brought my own to an event, leaving me at the mercy of whatever is provided. The half marathon I ran on Labor Day didn’t have water at regular intervals, and the water they did have tasted like yuck. I’ll definitely carry some in New York.


It’s important to consume calories when exercising for hours and hours. After experimenting with different energy bars, wafers and gels, I remain a fan of Honey Stinger Gold. They’re not as thick as some of the other gels and don’t leave an unpleasant residue in your mouth. I use one every 45 minutes on my runs.

So many people swear by caffeine when running, I thought I’d try a Hammer gel (with a whopping 50mg of caffeine) on one of my long runs. My body sort of wigged out. I switched to Gu Just Plain which has 20mg of caffeine and gives a nice bump in energy without nasty side effects. I’ll bring a couple to New York for mile 17 or 23 (or both).


I discovered Endurox when training for a 150-mile bike ride while pregnant with my second child. In addition to keeping my heart rate in check, my doctor wanted to make sure I stayed well-hydrated. The nice folks at Pacific Health Labs recommended a recovery drink in addition to a sports beverage, so I tried their Endurox. If there were a magic elixir for post-run recovery, Endurox would be it.

Running Belt

The SPI belt with gel loops is great for mid-distance runs, but I need to carry water in addition to my iPhone on the longer ones. I have an Amphipod RunLite hydration belt that I’ve used for years, and recently swapped out the pouch it came with for the ballistic endurance pouch (thanks to Tim at West Seattle Runner for the tip). I’ll wear the Amphipod with two 8 oz. water bottles in New York.

Other Gear

  • My trusty Garmin Forerunner 305 sports watch tracks distance, pace, heart rate (with included strap) and calories burned, and syncs with my computer. I’ve had it for about five years and think it may be on its way out, so I’ll be looking for a new one soon.
  • Saucony Hurricane 14 shoes offer a high degree of stability and come in wide sizes. My only beef with these (and this applies to running shoe companies in general) is that styles are updated every freakin’ year and sometimes the fit changes too. So the shoe your feet fall in love with may go away. Grr.
  • Native Dash SS sunglasses have interchangeable lenses for varying degrees of light and visibility. I’ve worn this style for 6 years. Love them.

I think I’ve got a good plan in place for the marathon on the 4th, but I’m always looking for new things to try.

What’s your favorite running fuel or gear?


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Marathon Training: Miles & Miles of Gratitude

October 8th, 2012

Lisa Dawson

Saturday marked the peak of my NYC Marathon training: The 20-mile run.

There’s a lot of time to think when you’re running 20 miles, and it’s easy for the mind to dwell on the stuff that makes training hard. This week I made a concerted effort to focus on some of the things that have helped make it easier:

  • Friends: I’ve had so many people offer support and words of encouragement and I appreciate every single one of you. You have no idea how much it helps during the long runs… those Facebook likes go a long way!
  • Family: My sister Dana talked me into this and has no doubt that I’ll be able to pull it off, even when I worry that I’m not putting in enough miles or that I’ll be ridiculously slow. My sister Erika is coming to New York to cheer us on. My husband Tom is doing way more than his share of parenting while I run (and recover). And my two sons, who cheer me on and aren’t grossed out by the callouses and blisters on my feet.
  • Donors: It’s a completely different training experience when you’re doing it for a cause. It may sound cliche, but this is much more than me running a bajillion miles. I feel a sense of responsibility to meet my commitment to Fred’s Team, and to everyone who’s donated on my behalf. As of this weekend, I’ve raised over $2250 in donations from family and friends!
  • Matching gifts: Microsoft, Starbucks and The Gates Foundation will donate an additional $1000 to my efforts. A big thank you to these local companies for recognizing and encouraging employee contributions.
  • Fred’s Team: Being a West coast member of the team means I don’t participate in the group runs, but I appreciate the weekly training tips and the extra support they’ll provide at the event.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has helped me reach this milestone.

My runs over the next four weeks will taper down in distance, culminating with the marathon on November 4. I can’t wait!

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