August Run N Brunch

If there is one thing the Mamas love as much as they love running, it’s food their kids! Ha ha! Just kidding! Really though, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

This morning we had our monthly Run N Brunch. Mamas met up at the Corning Preserve in 30 minute intervals starting at 7am for a nice run up and down the Bike Trail. Group runs are absolutely one of my favorite things in the world. This morning, my first 30 minutes was spent catching up with the ever-awesome Dr. Becky, and then for the second lap, I wound up running with a brand new mama, who was out for her first group run, and it was seriously the such a delightful half hour getting to know somebody new.

Then it was off to the Iron Gate for brunch.

They are so incredibly accommodating to us – the Iron Gate has what seems like a million little
rooms and then they just bring tray after tray of amazing food, starting first with fresh fruit, then with quiche, then pancakes then french toast. And every single thing is beyond delicious.

The company isn’t so bad either!

Kim and Becky

Me and Hope

Kim, Stelly and Pilar

Kim, Stelly and Pilar


Jes and Laura - who was out for her first post-partum big group run!


MFG and Robin


Karyn and Rebecca


Megan, Erin and Liz


Sarah T and Jenn

Already can’t wait for next month!

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Mamas take on the ValleyCats 5k, June 25, 2010

I don’t think there are many races that really give you an Authentic American Experience than the ValleyCats 5k.  With your registration, you get 4 free tickets to a ValleyCats game, the race finishes with a lap around the stadium’s warming track, and culminates with a big cookout, including hot dogs and watermelon.  It’s a friendly race, with only a couple hundred people running -and for $13, it’s an absolute steal!

The weather was a bit menacing – spotty showers blowing through.  Before the race started, all the runners huddled beneath the stadium’s entrance.

We had a really respectable turnout of the Mamas for this race:

Stelly, Kim, Rae Ann, Robin, Hope and Me

The course was also really nice.  A little on the hilly side – starting out with a 100′ increase throughout the first mile, but more “rolling” than the “are you freaking kidding me” kind that you would get at, say, Thatcher Park.  It takes you from the road leading to the park, through a nice neighborhood and then finishing in the stadium.  Granted, the warming track’s surface was cinder, which really not that fun to run on, but still – finishing right in the stadium really was fun.

Robin was looking to come close to her 2010 VC5k time, Rae Ann was hoping to break 30, I was hoping to beat my 28:40 from a couple weeks ago, Stelly and Kim were there for fun, and this was Hope’s first time running a 5k race.  When Rae Ann and I hit the mile mark, and the volunteer yelled “9:11”, I knew she was golden.  Robin was the first to come in, and had water waiting for me, Rae Ann and Hope.  We then wandered to where the runners enter the stadium to cheer for Stelly and Kim – which is really my very favorite part of any race – cheering for the other runners.  Especially at a point in the race where they need it the most!

After a post race huddle, where we realized everyone hit their goals, we wandered over to the post race cook out.  Which was a pretty awesome spread:

All in all, I think the Valley Cats 5k might be my new favorite little race.

 

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Race Recap: Hometown Heroes 5k, Crossings Park, Colonie

As someone who does a fair bit of event planning, I know that sick, sinking feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach when the weather forecast for your event looks like this:

but the organizers of the Hometown Heroes 5k completely dodged a bullet this morning.  The temp was cool, the skies were nice and overcast, and there was even a tiny bit of a breeze, keeping things chill – possibly the most perfect weather for a race.

My mom is learning the way of The Cowbell.

Overall, there were almost 200 finishers, and you can’t beat the flat, fast course through the Crossings Park.

The race was sponsored by the National Guard – who not only rock at keeping America safe, but also threw a post-race party that made my 5 and 7 year old sons deliriously happy, with a rock wall, pitching game, and free footballs.

And as always, the Crossings is simply the most family (with small children) friendly location for a race.  In additional the National Guard supplied cornucopia of boy-centric awesomeness, there’s the playground and the pond full of waterfowl and their adorable offspring.

My adorable offspring

All in all, a really great race.  The Albany Running Exchange’s management of the race was phenomenal, as usual, the flags posted along the course were a really nice touch, and the volunteers were friendly.  I also came in third for my age group, which a) shocked my pants off, and b) felt really good.

Run it: http://nyfrc-inc.org/run.html

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On to the next adventure

Ragnar New England was a wild and crazy ride.  Dan Gnomeo was last seen, by the Mamas, surveying the scene at the finishline on the Harvard track.  Some reports claimed he was heading west later the same day in a convertible with a gaggle of blondes, while other accounts had him recouping in a beautiful designer getaway in Great Barrington.  Either way, during Ragnar, he was the joy of the purple van.  Until we meet again, Gnomeo, sweet Gnomeo…until we meet again.

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“Inactive Vans” update

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After lunch at Cohen’s in Madison, CT, we headed to exchange 12 in Haddam.  We parked the purple and blue vans and then set up for some stretching and snoozing until 5:30ish when we are “on” again. Can you find the mamas in the picture?

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Run-N-Brunch

Once a month, the Mamas have a weekend Run-N-Brunch. We knock out a few miles at the Corning Preserve, and then we head over to the Iron Gate Cafe in Downtown Albany.

This morning, our run was scheduled for 8am, but I was planning to head down early to get a few extra miles in. Which was fortuitous, because I had a text on my phone from a mystery caller: “Got here at 7 – want to come early to run?” Reasonably confident that it was a Mama, and not a creepy dude with intentions of stuffing me into his van when I got to the Corning Preserve, I texted back: “Be there in 20!”. And lo and behold, it was Megan. Because if it were the creepy dude, I’d be refusing to put lotion back in the basket, instead of blogging to you all at this moment.

Anyhoo.

I think the point I’m trying to make is that getting that text, having a friend to be able to do something on the spur of the moment – that’s a big, wonderful, monumental deal for me. Until the Yoga/Running/Many Mamas, it had been a really long time before I’d been surrounded with that kind of friendship. And really, even with the Yoga/Running/Many Mamas, it has been a long time (since July 6, 2005, when the twins were born) since I’ve been able to bust out of my highly regimented and scheduled life to do something so incredibly spontaneous. Like show up 40 minutes early for a run with my girlfriends.  Granted, I was planning on going early anyway… but still – it *felt* spontaneous!

So, it was a fabulous 6.8 miles this morning of running and talking and planning and catching up with my girlfriends. And THEN, we went to the Iron Gate to meet even more of our awesome friends for breakfast.

The food was amazing, the company even better.  There was also the big, surprising moment when the girls gave Jes and I GCs for massages, as a thank you for organizing.  Really, I should give mine to Jes, because I’m more of a Junior Chief Operations Officer to her All Powerful CEO/CFO of the Ragnar Teams.  But I really like massages, so there we go.  It was tremendously appreciated, and truly reinforced what great and thoughtful women the Running Mamas are.

Megan, Crystal & Hope and their champagne/iced tea/strawberry drinks. Fancy!

Currey and her Camera

The Ghost of Elvis, Erin & Jenn

Rebecca, Kristen & Jes

Me, Sarah T - doesn't my head look enormous?

Rae Ann, Becky, Heather

Delicious, delicious breakfast sandwich....

I’m not really sure what is going on with this next series of pictures, but if you’re from Jersey, I feel you might have a clue as to what it’s about.

Crystal, the pirate, with the remainder of her "Sugar Tat"

I’m already looking forward to our July Run-N-Brunch…..

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The Albany Running Mamas tackle the Freihofer Run for Women

I *love* the Freihofer’s Run for Women.  It’s not so much a race, as a fast parade in the spirit of sisterhood.

The race starts at 10am, which means that you’d better get your rear downtown by 9:15am if you don’t want to be stuck on the 787 off ramp for 30 minutes.

The first people I saw were my friends Kristen and Mark and their adorable baby, Grady.

Kristen was the person to brought me to the Freihofer, which was my first race, ever.  Turns out, she’s like the Crack Pusher of Freihofer – this year she brought three newbies with her!

Kristen and her cadre of first timers

The Mamas were meeting at the top of the East Stairs.  It’s a good spot, because you have a good line of sight, and you’re close to the stairway to get down to Madison.

Jes, Stella and Anastazia

Kim, Stelly and Me

Me and Kristen - it's Kristen's first 5k!

Crystal, Jes and Kim

Jenn and Kristen

We milled about until there were about 15 minutes until start time.  And this was the view of Madison from the top of the East stairs.  Behind the barricades, jam packed, 4200 women, cheek to cheek.

Heading into the throngs.

We squeezed in with the White Corral, inching our way across Madison Ave to the left side of the street, where usually there is some breathing room.  Crystal and I led the group, wishing the women we were politely shoving in front of “Happy Freihofer Day!” and “Good luck, ladies!”, until we found a spot the 6 of us could breathe in until the start.

This was the first year that the race had an aggressively enforced corral system, and I have to give it two thumbs up.  The starting line is always going to be a cluster f^$*, but it turns out that once we were off, I only passed two walkers up the Madison Ave hill – way less than usual.

On your marks.....

ahoy Crystal and Rae Ann!

Waiting for Jerry to stop talking...

We were just on the other side of the bridge, and totally unable to hear anything the speakers were saying.  The woman who sang the Star Spangled Banner was flat out amazing.

And then with an airhorn, we were off.

Dignitaries

Our last views of Kristen and Megan. Not bad views....

The weather was simply amazing – not too hot, not too humid – truly perfect 5k conditions.  The course had a few different bands that were also really, really good.  Better than half the bands they had at the NYC Half Marathon, actually.

Rae Ann peeled off first, then Megan and Kristen, with their super long legs.  Crystal, Jes and I hung together, settling into a great pace for Freihofer run/cheering.  Even more than my love for cheering AT parades, I love cheering while I’m IN the parade.  So we cheered for the other runners (“Great job, Lobster Hat!”), the Spectators (“Excellent cow bell, sir!  Thank you!”), the Cops and the Volunteers.   My absolute favorite is when people clearly identify who they are on the backs of their shirts so that when they pass us, or we pass them, we can cheer for them by name. (“Great Job, Janz Girls!”

Music on the course

In the park were our good friends, Heather and Michele.  They are truly Super Fans!  They were in the park, and we were able to see them as we were headed back out of the park, back on to Madison.

 

 

 

 

 

The finish line was fast – Jes was going to very easily crush her previous Freihofer time, and I was so excited for her.  How many times do you get to sprint down a hill, across a finish line in front of a crowd of hundreds of cheering people?  In Albany, the ladies get to do it every year!  We are seriously so lucky!

After finishing, Rae Ann and Jes headed off to find their children, and I wandered over to the medical tent to visit Kristen and Megan, who were hanging with Kristen’s husband Pete, and our friend Michael, who were manning the medical tent.

 

 

 

 

 

Max made me work hard for this smile.

All seemed pretty quiet in the medical tent, until a teenage puker wandered up, clearly in gastronomical distress.  Megan, with a hair trigger gag reflex, and I decided to head up to the plaza to check out the action.

The Mamas at the finish.

All in all, I think this was one of my favorite Freihofer’s of all time.  The Albany Running Mamas truly know how to bring the party.

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Freihofer!!

The Albany Running Mamas pick up their race packets for the historic Freihoefer’s Run for Women.


Jenn, Rae Ann, Crystal, Jes, Megan, Kelly, Stella, Kim

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Movie stars

Slightly belated, couldn’t send this before…..
Hood to Coast movie star ‘Travis’ and his gang. So cool to talk to them!!


– SarahT

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I need more cowbell!

I’m having a hard time today, as I pass runners on the road, to not reach for my cowbell to shake at them and holler my head off.  For a split second, I’m full of adrenaline and ready to cheer, until I realize that Ragnar’s over and the cow bell is put away until next year…….

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