Latest reviews by Arie Rich

(2015)
"2015 BMW Berlin Marathon - Chasing The Majors"
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The Berlin Marathon is well known for its flat course and like the Chicago Marathon, this is one of the courses where runners come to BQ, or qualify for Boston. With that said, it is a crowded course and the streets are very narrowed.

Study the route/course:
The route does not lie, those turns really take a toll on you, especially when the course is mostly crowded, unless you're in the first wave, the rest of the wave are annoyingly tight. I was happy to see the Brandenburg Gate, I was so ready to finish. One lady was crying hysterical after the finish. I felt her tears. She kept saying "I didn't think I would finish, I was so scared I wouldn't finish", (it was her first marathon), I said "it's ok, you're here, it's over, you did it. And trust me it's ok to cry, I do at all the marathons lol." I wanted to cry at mile 8 when I started to feel my legs cramping up, I wanted to quit at God knows what kilometer because I couldn't keep track of where I was, since these Kilometers are very difficult to keep up with, when all you know is MILES.

Pace yourself:
You need this advice in all your races, but especially here. Because of how crowded it is, you'll feel like you need to keep up with the crowd, and you will be swerving a lot, which can take a lot of your energy early in the race. I started running with the 4:30:00 pace group, but even they were having problems staying steady. It was a lot of bob and weave just to find an opening. If you do find an opening, stay there, slow and steady. Also, if you loose the pacers, aside from pacing yourself, also, look for the blue line streaks on the street, follow the tangents as they call it. It'll help you cut some time in your race.

Free Beer
There's free beer at the finish, lots of it. Keep in mind it's non-alcoholic beer, but it taste just as good, especially after a race. Grab one or two and enjoy, you've earned it.

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(2014)
"2014 TCS NYC Marathon - Home & Marathon Major #2"
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What can I say?! The 2014 TCS NYC Marathon has been my best marathon as of yet. This was my 3rd marathon, and second marathon in 2014 (Tokyo Marathon was my first that same year). I was nervous, but I felt strong. I trained well with my teammates here in NYC, I knew I would be fine on race day. Knowing I'll be seeing my family at the finish line and my friends along the course, gave me the confidence to get out and just do it.
If you live in NYC or will have someone waiting for you at the finish line, I would strongly suggest to opt for the poncho, instead of the bag check. The poncho is a really nice poncho, you only need one poncho, because at the moment they all have been the same for the past 2-3 years. Also, the walk to the baggage check after you finish is pretty, pretty long, about another mile or so.

It is very, very cold at the start line, by the Verrazano Bridge, so cold and windy at times. It was insanely windy the day I ran. Wear old layers you don't mind throwing out. You will shed a lot of layers as you start running.
The Verrazano Bridge will be hard to get past, it's the start you want to go out fast and just go, but the elevation at the start will slow you down. Let it slow you down, it's ok, there's plenty road ahead to make up for time.
I was lucky enough to pace with two of my running group teammates. They were great pacers and I can't thank them enough. I was able to hold on until the 15 mile mark or so, right before crossing the 59th Street Bridge.
Anyways, I found Brooklyn to be the best. The crowds, the music, the roads, everything. Brooklyn was alive!! and you felt it. I was choked up in emotions running through Brooklyn, you just feel energized for a good 13 miles. Amazing.
The miles in Queens are very short, a few turns here and there and then you are on the bridge to cross over to Manhattan.
The 59th Street bridge gets very quiet. I liked the quiet, because this is the time for you to put your mind back in the game, you're about 15-16 miles down, 10 miles to go. This is where your mind starts to get a bit tired, but not too tired.
As you exit the bridge, you start to hear the crowds again, in Manhattan.
I didn't feel the goosebumps and energy like I felt in Brooklyn, while in Manhattan. I felt the Manhattan crowds were more about cheering for those they recognize, instead of everyone. Also, at this point the aid stations were very minimal to non-existent. I was lucky enough to see a few people I knew in the crowds giving bananas and gels. Trust me after Queens, you will need the fuel to continue. I grabbed a banana, broke it in half and saved the other half for when I reached the Bronx.
The Bronx was painful. You are around mile 19, maybe mile 20, tired, legs heavy, you can't take anymore bridges with inclines. But you get through it. The people in the crowd are very encouraging, they keep you moving.
I am fast forwarding a bit to right before you enter Central Park. This is the part where I caught my second wind, my runners high, my I GOT THIS, aha moment. First I spotted a lady with a giant bowl of salted pretzel, I'm not a pretzel person, but I needed the salt. Stuffed a few in mouth, drank some of my Nuun water and took off. Took advantage of the downhill, down Cat Hill in Central Park. This is where I caught a runner's high and was in the zone. I knew the end was near. I spotted the friends I was pacing with, in the park, then I slowed down towards the end when I spotted my family cheering, stopped to say hello. At this point I didn't care about my time, I knew the end was about a mile away, I was really happy to see my friends. I saw one of my friends a bit injured so I ran with her to cross the finish line together.
The TCS NYC Marathon will always be my best race ever. This is a race that is filled with so much energy and emotions. This is one race, that I wouldn't mind doing again.

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(2014)
"2014 Tokyo Marathon - My First Major and Second Marathon"
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The Tokyo Marathon was so well organized that I never felt lost or confused as to where I was supposed to go or what to do. This race is packed! For the insane amounts of people there, you would expect chaos, but there wasn’t. They even have security checking your bags before you check them in at the baggage check. They also had a food station before you check your bags so you can fuel up really quick before the race. I really mean food station, like bagels, bananas, juice, etc… The baggage check are impressively organized. Plenty of porta pottys to use prior to the start line. We arrived early, so maybe that’s why it didn’t feel as chaotic. Good time to arrive is 7-7:30am. The race starts at 9am. Instead of giving you a mile by mile course run down, I’ll just share some tips and things I learned when training for the Tokyo Marathon:
The course is pretty flat for the most part, there are a few rolling hills, but nothing too crazy. The Tokyo hills will be like a bump in the road. Actually there’s one random hill towards the end that can be a bit of a nuisance, because your legs are tired and it kind of forces you to keep your feet up, or you’ll feel like you’re tripping.
I found my biggest challenge with this course was the constant turns, lots of turns. Especially towards the finish line, just when you think it’s over, there’s more, and more and another turn, and another turn. It gets a bit discouraging.
It’s a very crowded course. I saw a couple of people trip and fall because they didn’t watch where they were going, also, there are cones and barricades on the side of the course, if the person in front of you makes a quick left or right because of an obstacle in his or her way, and you aren’t paying much attention, you will crash. I saw this happened to a few people.
As far as fueling goes, you are pretty well fed throughout the course, and there are plenty of water stations to keep you hydrated.
There’s quite a few tempting down hills that will make you want to go super fast at the beginning of the race.
Lastly, one thing I wish I knew was that they “time you” by gun-time not chip-time. So once your corral gun goes off, make your way to the start line quickly if you’re not close to the front already. I was a bit in the back so it took a bit to get to the start, maybe 20 mins.

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(2013)
"2013 Nike Women's San Francisco - Marathon (My 1st Marathon)"
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I believe this race is no longer around. It used to be a full marathon, then a year or two later, they changed it to only a half. I don't think it'll return this year. This is was my very first marathon, also done in the same year I started running. Great experience. Here's my brief recap:

The first half I took it easy. Slow and steady. The uphills around miles 6 through 10 weren’t the problem, the downhills for me were the real leg killer. I felt the pain more on my hips. I slowed down a bit after 16 miles. Then after 20 miles I hit a small wall, and started to feel IT Band/hip pain, hurt more to stop, but I knew something wasn't right. Those last 6.2 miles (10K) felt like they were really far and all I wanted was to cry for thinking that. I was also mad at my time, I’m not a competitive person, but I wanted to finish under 5 hours. At around mile 23, I wanted to finish, so I ran as fast as I could and made sure I looked strong for those pictures right by the finish line. I finished under 6 hours with a time of 5:50. After crossing the finish line, I didn’t even go get my blue box, I sat down on the pavement and started to cry. A few runners that were cheering for me while I was running, crossed the finish line and came up to me and hugged me. Some of them shared the same hip pain as me, so they understood, what a great feeling it was to finish. I wasn’t crying so much because of pain, but more because of joy, feeling of accomplishment, powerful, pure joy. I remained seated and waited for my boyfriend who finished a few minutes after me, due to shin pain. Regardless of our time, we both were very proud to have completed our first marathon.

Pros:
A challenging course. What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.
A Tiffany Necklace
Amazing views at Golden Gate Park, especially around mile 13 in the marathon route.
Challenging uphills and downhills.
Different finisher shirts for the half and full runners.

Cons
It’s a half marathon and a full marathon.
There are a lot of half marathon runners, a lot!! So those first 11 to 12 miles will be a lot slower than you would want it to be.
Everyone (half and full runners) get the same Tiffany necklace at the finish line.
Receiving the same necklace as the half marathoners at the finish line after running and training for a full marathon doesn’t really make you feel all that special. It’s like running any other marathon and just doing 13.1 miles and getting the same medal as the marathoners. Good for the half marathoners, not so great for the marathoners that train a bit harder. Correction, A LOT harder. 20 miles is no joke! Let alone 26.2.

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(2013)
"Oakley 10k - My First Solo Race"
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But there are times when you just need a friend.

The Oakley Mini 10k, is a women’s only 10k run around Central Park. This was also my first race in which I ran by myself.

Originally I had planned to run this race with a friend, but things happened and my friend wasn’t able to run this race.

Like my last race, I was nervous and this new feeling of loneliness came over me while waiting at the start line. I got somewhat emotional, but the emotions eventually went away as I started running.

This run wasn’t easy. You would think the shorter the distance the easier it’ll be. But in reality the shorter the distance the harder it gets because you have to push yourself harder to get a decent finish time.

This was my second time running Central Park, and even though I did better during this 10k than in my previous 10k run around Central Park. I still did not beat my personal best.

My official finish time was 1:03:31, not a bad time for a 10k in my opinion.

My biggest accomplishment besides getting past my emotions early during the race and being able to finish, was maintaining a good pace to get negative splits. Negative Splits is when you are able to decrease your pace time after every mile. You start out slow and get faster and faster after every mile. In my case I started out with a pace of 11 ish and ended with a steady pace of 9 ish. I loved seeing that.

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