Grete’s Gallop, Year #5

On Saturday, I ran the Grete’s Gallop 1/2 marathon for the fifth year in a row. This race, named in honor of the late running legend Grete Waitz, holds a lot of special memories for me. It was my very first NYRR road race and first race as a New Yorker. When I ran the event way back in 2007, I had just moved to Manhattan and was still trying to figure out my post-college running goals.  In 2007 I ran the course in 1:47:10 and was super excited to have finished my second ever half marathon. My first 13.1 was the Danbury Half Marathon in April 2007. I was still in college and it was held the day after a track meet. My running buddy and I registered under pseudonyms because we were afraid our coach would find out. Running 13.1 miles the day after racing a 5k was not the best idea. Don’t do that.

In 2008, I was gearing up for my first marathon (NYC!), so I ran Grete’s as part of a long run. I finished the 13.1 race in 1:41:57 and ended up running about 17 miles total that day. During the race I also met my future roommate of two years (hi Alma!). This race was a PR for me at the time and I remember being really pumped to run sub-8:00 pace!

In 2009, I was coming off many many months of injury and had just started running regular mileage again. Being able to finish 13 miles was a really big deal and I was so so happy to run 1:54:35 (see the big smile on my face?!).

Last year I was mending a calf strain (note the compression socks), so I used the event to practice marathon pace. I totaled 21 miles for the day and ran Grete’s in 1:38:07 (~7:30, marathon pace). Damn, I was in good shape!

Since I raced the Philly half just 2 weeks ago, I wasn’t planning on running Grete’s this year, but then I was able to get a free NYRR race entry (because a 5k I was registered for back in August was cancelled…). I had to do a long run anyway, so why not do it with company and have Gatorade provided for me?

When Meggie said she was looking to practice running her marathon pace (8:12), I offered/begged/asked nicely if I could run with her. When it comes to my long runs, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to run closer to 8:00 pace vs. 9:00 pace. The later feels nice and easy, but I know I should (and can) be pushing myself a little more.

We started off nice and relaxed (8:55 and 8:45 for the first 2 miles) and then gradually brought down the pace. The bulk of the miles were between 8:15-8:00, but we finished up at sub-8:00 pace and ended up running 1:46:47. This definitely wasn’t an easy jog for me, but I was conversational and comfortable the whole time. I tacked on some miles before and after the event and finished with 17 miles for the day.

Big ups to Meggie who PR’d by over 2 minutes for this distance – I have a feeling she’s going to rock the full marathon next month!

I don’t have any official coaching certifications and I don’t have a degree in sports science or nutrition or anything like that. The only thing I have to offer is what I’ve learned and experienced throughout my 12-ish years of training and competing. I don’t consider myself an expert on running – I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’m STILL figuring out what works and what doesn’t – but when I feel like I’ve helped or motivated another runner…well, that’s a really cool feeling. Helping Meggie run a PR was really the highlight of my week and when I get emails or tweets from blog readers who tell me I motivated them to go out and run, it makes me really happy. I’m not sure being a full time (or even part time) running coach is feasible right now, but I do know that I enjoy motivating and encouraging runners to meet their goals. I guess I have a lot of figuring out to do, but I suppose knowing what makes you happy, what excites you, is half the battle.

In other news, I’ve been trying  veryyy hard lately to save $$ and cook dinner at home. Over the weekend I cooked up an eggplant creation that was pretty delicious and very easy to make.

Eggplant and Mozzarella Stack (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1″ slices
  • lots of kosher salt
  • cooking spray
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I used leftover homemade sauce)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
  • Place a wire rack (i.e. cooling rack) over a baking sheet. Lay eggplant slices on top and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Allow salt to sit for about 10 minutes, then flip over the eggplant and salt the other side. After another 10 minutes, rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Note: salting the eggplant prevents it from tasting too bitter – especially important if you’re using a larger eggplant.
  • Spray a large pan with cooking spray, heat to medium, and cook the eggplant slices until tender. I covered my pan with a lid for a few minutes to steam the eggplant and speed along the cooking process.
  • Meanwhile, heat tomato sauce until warmed through. Once eggplant is finished cooking, layer the slices of eggplant with slices of mozz and top everything with a generous ladle of tomato sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
**The second night I had this, I added a veggie burger to the mix. You could also add some beans or chicken sausage to the sauce if you’re looking for more protein.

Is there a race that you’ve done many years in a row? It’s fun to be able to look back at pictures from years past! Kind of like a scrapbook…

  • RunTheLongRoad

    That’s exactly why I got my coaching certification!  Now I coach PT and hope (someday) to do it FT!

    I’ve run the PDR almost every year since 2002!  I didn’t run it in 2009 because I just got back from my honeymoon (pretty good excuse, I thought)!

  • Can you move to Boston and pace me for my next half?  I want to break 1:50.  Sounds like you had a blast with Meggie!!  And you’re eggplant dish looks very creative : )

  • I LOVE THE SHORTS. Obviously, haha. Nice run! I ran my first and only Grete’s last year…one of my favorite NYRR races! Meggie and I have the same NYCM time goal; totally wish I could have been there to run with you guys!!!

  • ooh, i’ve done the mini 10K at least… 3 times now? haven’t done it in awhile, but it’s one of my favorites. somehow running against only women makes me move faster. yeah, i’ve got a competitive spirit deep down in there somewhere…

    love those pink shorts! and that you were able to find so much joy in helping a friend PR 🙂 and that eggplant stack thang. yum yum yum.

  • Grete’s was my +1 last year to qualify for the marathon and it holds a special place in my heart too!  

    This recipe looks great! The NY times had something similar to that that I’ve been dying to try out, but I love the idea of throwing a veggie burger in there for some protein.

  • Anonymous

    I thought I saw you out there. Nice job helping your friend PR and major congrats to her!

  • Ali

    You can be my running coach 🙂

  • Christine at These Happy Miles

    what a special race for you! i loved reading about your experiences each fall with this half. congrats to you and meggie!

    this will be my 3rd year running a turkey trot in my hometown! the philly marathon is a few days before – but i will be running this race no matter what. 🙂

  • Your sexy legs inspire me to run. But your eggplant thingy inspires me to eat a beef and cheddar with curly fries. Win some/lose some.

  • Anonymous

    ahaaha, yeah cheeseburgers and curly fries win every time. secret: eggplant is probably my least favorite vegetable. everytime i eat it, i remember that. womp, womp.

  • That eggplant looks delicious!

  • Anonymous

    Aww, look at you! Love the race photos. I’m glad we got to hang for ~4 miles on Saturday and I really like Grete’s, although it obviously didn’t love me. I would like to say I’m going NYCM for as many years in a row as I can… best race ever in my book! PS, I got one of your rice crispie treats at Meggie’s bake sale. A++++

  • Nicole F.

    Sweet lime green compression socks…surprised I have never seen those in person!

  • Love the pictures through the years! Come pace me someday! I had one of your rice crispy treats at Meggie’s bake sale…it was delicious!

  • Looks really good. My sister just started running and I’m looking for good recipes to pass along to her.

  • This was my first Grete, I don’t like doing half marathons in the park. But, like you and many others did this as my long run. I used to see where I am race pace wise and was very happy with the results. Oh and the waffles were pretty good too!

  • I haven’t been running that long so I havent repeated races but i did the Japan Day race twice. This was also my first race ever so I think I shall try and make it a tradition to run it every year! 
    I love the ‘scrap book’ feel of this post!

  • It’s fun to have run a race so many times and have a variety of stories and race times to show for it. I love that you guys registered under other names to hide from your coach. 🙂

  • Umm..you running with me and helping me feel AWESOME about my race made MY week. It felt like those 13 miles just flew by in no time!

    Hmm, well I’ve done the Boilermaker the past 2 years, Grete’s the past 2 years, Coogan’s the past 2 years, and the EFFIN COLD Joe Klinerman the past 2 years…so I guess I have to keep at least one of those up.

    I am actually very excited for Brightroom pictures of Grete’s.

    THANKS AGAIN – you are the BEST!!!

  • Anonymous

    true story, i have stalked brightroom no less than 4 dozen times since saturday. i want photos!!

  • Looks really good! I made eggplant this weekend too – only it was the breaded and fried eggplant parm version. A fail in the health category, but so worth it.

    Congrats on the race, and for helping Meggie get a new PR! That’s awesome. Sometimes I think running with someone and helping them reach a new running goal can be just as exciting as getting one of your own. I also think it’s really neat that you’ve run it for so many years and each race has its own meaning for you. The only races I’ve come back to year after a year are relays, which aren’t quite the same.

  • I have a triathlon Olympic Distance race that I do every August.  A pretty big group of old friends usually comes out to this race so it is a great time to catch up with friends, and it is a fun and fast course to race on.  It is cool to look back on this race over the past years because it brings back lots of memories and also shows how I have improved/grown/changed over the years.  Each year the race serves a different purpose and has a different meaning.  It looks like this half marathon is that for you. 

    Congrats on another great race and helping a friend to a PR.  How awesome that you were able to help her achieve her goal! 

    The eggplant recipe looks great!  I’m hoping I can try it out sometime this week.  I love eggplant, but never seem to have good ideas on how to prepare it myself.

  • Amy

    The closest I get to “many years” is the turkey trot(this will be year 3…). What was once what my uncle did before us kids got downtown for the parade with donuts has turned into uncle + 8-9 cousins + family friends (followed by donuts, we can’t break tradition, can we?!) I love looking back on pics of those days!

  • Thats so awesome you inspired your friend to run – love that feeling. My MOM is actually doing her first 5K ever this weekend after much “encouragement/peer pressure” from my sister and I 🙂 Love it.
    I run Broad Street every year! It’s my favorite!
    Yum, eggplant & mozz looks delicious.

  • coachcrookeindahouse

    Congrats Megan! And also how did you get your brightroom pics to be so big and normal looking? I have some that I’m pretty sure look terrible, but I want to be totally sure.

  • Anonymous

    hahahaah, i love the username. i pulled up the pics on brightroom’s website, took a screen shot, and then cropped the portion that i wanted to use. probably against their copyright…oops!

    p.s. i am running the Philly half in Nov and Boston in April – any chance i’ll see you there?

  • First of all, I want those bright pink Nike Tempo shorts you are wearing in one of the pictures.  Secondly, I feel the same way you do about coaching – I love helping people reach their goals and supporting/playing devils advocate with them.  But I don’t have a degree in Exercise Science or any coaching certification, although I have learned tons along the way and am sure I could help runners/triathletes get going.  Keep us posted on what you figure out!!  🙂

  • It was nice to meet you at the race! I’ve only run Grete’s Great Gallop twice (and looking back at my Brightroom photos, realize I wore the same outfit both years)! It’s such an awesome race, though. I’m impressed you’ve run it 5 times.

  • Anonymous

    nice to meet you too! sorry if i was out of it post-race, i was much in need of a bagel 🙂

  • Ava

    Fellow NYC runner here ~~ thank you for this recipe!  That tomato sauce is one of my faves (I found it via Smitten Kitchen a few years ago)  I made a pot of it on Sunday, and had been wondering what to do with the leftovers.  This was delish!  So simple and good.

  • Morgan

    I’m living vicariously through your blog right now since I’m injured. 🙁 There’s a 10k that I love and run every year, but mostly I run XC races and track meets in college because I have a few seasons of eligibility left—if my body can hold up that long.

  • Eileen

    Nice work, pacing your friend and getting in a great long run for yourself, too. I really liked this post … it’s a nice reminder that no matter how awesome a runner you are (you are far more awesome than I!) some years are just better than others.

    The recipe looks fabulous, too. I’ll make it one night when my husband isn’t home … I love eggplant and he can’t stand it!

  • I love this post!  It’s fun to look back at something so consistent as the same race and see how it has changed over the years…your own pace, coming back from injury, helping someone else out to run THEIR race.  I think you somehow covered most of the aspects that I love about running all in one race over a few years!  (I don’t think that sounded right, but it’s 3:15 in the morning and sometimes I’m not super coherent.)