2016 NYC Marathon Race Recap

I did it.

I still can’t believe it, but I did it.



I had prepared for this race for such a long time and was just so ready for it; I honestly was not nervous at all. I had never felt so calm at the start line for a race as I did at this one–the biggest marathon in the country and up to this point, the marathon with the highest expectations. The goal was to finish under four hours.

I hoped to reach the halfway point in under 2 and try and keep the halves as close as I could time wise. I knew the second half was “harder” but I was intent on giving it my best.

First half –1:57
Second half –2:01

Really, I couldn’t have asked for better. Considering the second half had the infamous Queensboro Bridge and the hills of Central Park, I am ridiculously happy with those half splits.


Miles 1-6

I knew the first mile was going to be all uphill and I knew that it was going to be cold and windy. It was all of those things. I started off slowly and with no rush or concern for passing people. The first mile beeped right as I passed the marker at 9:49. I knew I’d be picking it up and I did as the second mile alert came in in at 8:26–except it came a ways before I reached the mile marker. I was little bummed to see that already my watch was not matching the course. But luckily, I had a 4 hour pace bracelet that at the last minute, my friend had given me before we started. So I didn’t panic and instead told myself to just use the elapsed time to keep track.

On I went. I wasn’t obsessing at my watch, only occasionally looking down to make sure I wasn’t going too fast. I took in the crowds–it was exactly as advertised. There were soooo many people on both sides screaming, cheering, dancing, laughing. You really couldn’t help but smile yourself. The best was seeing people find their runner and squeal with joy. Oh my god, I loved that so much.

I reached the 10k mark with so much happiness. I felt good, I felt strong.


But I knew I still had a long ways to go.

Miles 6-15

I knew my friend Elle (A Fast Paced Life) would be at mile 8-9ish so I started to to look around for her when I approached the end of mile 7. The next three miles were a blur trying to find her and I was sad I didn’t, but I just pressed on.

With the exception of the first mile, miles 2-10 were all between 8:26-8:47. My watch kept beeping before the mile marks so I never really knew what the pace was exactly for each mile but I just kept glancing down at the pace bracelet and making sure I was under whatever it said for each mile.

I just concentrated on running by feel, and I truly felt great. Every now and then I’d do a body check and everything would pass. My breathing was fantastic. I was seriously in disbelief with how great things were going. I’d never felt this way at this point in a marathon, lol!


Miles 15-20

Up to mile 15, I had been running unplugged, but I had my little I-pod in case I needed some musical inspiration. When I approached Queensboro Bridge, I decided that was the time.

There are no spectators on the bridge and I knew that this was going to be a rough incline, so I put my earphones in and put my head down. I marched on completely oblivious to my surroundings. Even though my mile split for 16 was 10:09, I passed so many people.

When I made the turn onto First Ave, I unplugged so I could relish the cheer from the crowd. I had heard so many things about the “sound boom” runners get coming out of the bridge and boy did I welcome it.

However, at around mile 19 I started to feel a little ball grow where where my ankle meets my foot. A cramp! I re-plugged and kept going. I knew that if I could just make myself keep going, it would either go away or I’d forget about it. One could hope, right?


Miles 20-24

Oh my gosh, these miles were tough. My breathing was absolutely perfect. There was no huffing or puffing or struggling on my part. But the cramps….oh, the cramps!!! My quads, my hamstrings, my calves, my toes–everything hurt and I was dying.



But you know what? I didn’t panic. I didn’t stress. And most importantly, I didn’t stop. I would ask myself how I felt, and I honestly felt fine–my breathing was good and my body didn’t feel tired or sluggish. It was just the cramps.

So I isolated them. I set them apart from the rest of my body and pretended they didn’t exist. I was in such a zone, so completely immersed in the moment. I was in the middle of Central Park at this point but I couldn’t see or hear a thing. I was *in* the race.

The cramps would come and go, but I kept on running.

Miles 25–Finish

I was still cramping pretty badly but at this point, I knew I had my sub 4 marathon and I was so ridiculously happy.

I kept thinking about my husband and my kids and my brother and sister and all the people who mean so much to me and all the people who donated to my charity. I don’t think I’d ever been so happy during a race in my entire life.




I looked down at my watch to make sure I wasn’t crazy, but I’d done it!! I crossed the finish line in under 4 hours!




I was absolutely giddy. And as soon as I stopped, the cramps dissipated and I looked and felt like I could’ve kept going.


I wanted to jump, I wanted to scream with joy!! I wanted to hug everyone. I wanted to kiss the final race photographer and the woman who put the race sheet around me. I wanted to find my husband and tell him that I had just finished the race of my life…


It was a long walk to the family meet-up where I knew my husband was waiting. I saw him before he saw me and my heart swelled. I was so happy that finally, finally, I was coming to him with good news.

His eyes locked mine, a nervous look as he searched for an answer…Choking back tears of joy, I whispered:

I did it.



************There’s so much more I have to say about this race and I’ll be doing so in the next couple of days/weeks, but first–oh my goodness guys, thank you SO much for your words of encouragement and love on here and Instagram. Many of you have been with me on this long, long journey and really, you have no idea what your support means to me. I will never forget it. ❤ , helly



Scottsdale Half Marathon News!!! {and Giveaway}

Happy Friday!!!

I feel so much excitement this weekend for a variety of reasons but a big one is because my very good friend Jen is running the Chicago Marathon this weekend!!! There so many people I know running that race (good luck Courtney!) and I love tracking them and getting updates.

Speaking of good races, I was recently chosen as an ambassador for one of my favorite local races here in the Phoenix valley. It used to be called the Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon and 5k because it was a sub-event of the Fiesta Bowl (college football game) here in Phoenix. But, the race is a month before the game so it kinda didn’t really make sense for the race to be affiliated it. Plus, the race has became such a local favorite, and since it’s run in the heart of Scottsdale, Az, the race director finally decided to make the big change and make it


This change will really give the city ownership of the race as it’s become a favorite for everyone to do. I’ve done this race every year since I started running “competitively” (i.e. seriously) getting an at the time 5k PR there in 2013 and at the time 1/2 marathon PR there in 2014. I had to skip out last year because of my injury but my husband ran it (and got a PR).

He makes it look so easy.

He makes it look so easy.

It’s a flat, fast course which is a big reason why I love it, lol! It goes through neighborhoods I frequented as I worked at a high school near the area for 8 years. It’s also in mid-December and the weather here in Arizona is cause for envy (for us though it’s cold lol!! especially last year, hence my husband’s running gear–I think it was freezing somewhere around the high 40s 😀 ) The race is also suuuuper family friendly–I took my kids last year to cheer dad on 🙂 I just love this race…

And because I love it so much, I want to give YOU a chance to run it! This giveaway will be on my Facebook page (<—linky here or search Helly on the Run). It’ll run through Wednesday and I’ll announce a winner there that morning. The giveaway is for race entry only–sorry, you’ll have to figure out lodging and transportation if you’re an out-of-towner.

If you don’t wanna wait to see if you win, you can register now at their super low price (seriously, this is one of the most inexpensive but AWESOME races out there). The 1/2 marathon is currently $65 with time chip, medal, gender specific shirt, and beanie–and the 5k is $25 with time chip, gender specific shirt, and medal. Isn’t that amazing?? Prices go up ten bucks for each race on October 16th for the half marathon and November 1st for the 5k.

–Do you like smaller, home-towney feeling races? I do!! I also don’t mind big races either (hello Chicago and New York!!)

Hanson’s/NYC Marathon Training: Week 13

There really is no place like home….

I was visiting my brother and sister in Ohio all last week (ALL last week—Sunday to Sunday) and it was super tough getting in my runs because the midwest’s weather is on drugs. Seriously.

Marathon Goal– 3:50
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs– 8:45
Strength Runs–8:35

Easy Runs–9:40-10:40
Long Runs–9:30

Monday, September 26th–1 mile WU, 3x2miles @Strength Pace (8:35) w/800R, 1 mile CD

This run started at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was 63 degrees with 77% humidity. Basically, awful. Cold and awful. I don’t think it’s even been 63 for an overnight low in Phoenix.

1.) 8:23/8:34
2.) 8:36/8:38
3.) 8:34/8:28


Tuesday, September 27th–Rest Day

I switched up my days to fit accommodate the events we’d be doing while on my vacation and also to fit in with my sister’s work schedule. I wanted to run as much as I could while she was at work so it wouldn’t interfere with girl time.

We went to a Paint (while drinking wine) Night and it was so much fun. We were a little worried about our paintings at first, but we were able to make them look decent by the end, lol!

One of my friends said it looked like a bacon painting :D

One of my friends said it looked like a bacon painting 😀

Trying to make a sunset happen...

Trying to make a sunset happen…


Final masterpiece <3

Final masterpiece ❤

Wednesday, September 28th— 2.5 cold, rainy miles 😦

I basically moved everything up a day and so Wednesday was supposed to be my 10 mile Tempo Run. My sister had taken the day off so I went out somewhat early to get it out of the way. But it was raining. Hard.

The run needed to get done though so I went out there anyway.

At first, it was just rain and I got my warm up mile out of the way. Then it became torrential downpour and my phone rang right before the 2 mile mark. It was my sister asking if she should come get me–the news said the rain wasn’t going to be stopping anytime soon.

But I said, no, that I’d keep going.

Not too long after I had hung up with her, I saw a HUGE lightening strike that seemed to be right in front of me. The thunder that followed was deafening; between them both, it stopped me dead in my tracks.

I figured this was not time to pretend to be superwoman and I called my sister to pick me up. 😦


Thursday, September 29th–0 miles

Guess what was happening Thursday morning?? ….Rain

My only opportunity to run on this day was in the morning as we would be traveling to the city for the Cincinnati Bengals football game. I was bummed I didn’t get in a run, but I wasn’t going to let it ruin my very first professional football game 🙂

First NFL game and the Bengals won!! :D #WhoDey

First NFL game and the Bengals won!! 😀 #WhoDey

Friday, September 30th 16 miles: 5 @Long Run Pace, 6 @Tempo Pace, 5 @Long Run Pace

I was determined to get my run in. I had to. There was no way I was going to miss my second “Hanson’s 20”. This peak mileage week was already a disaster–I wasn’t going to let it be a complete failure.

The tempo-run-that-wasn’t earlier in the week haunted me and I talked about it with my buddy @ohiotrirunner (who I got to have lunch with that day!). He said I could squeeze in some tempo miles in my long run to help make me feel better. Great idea!

Carb-loading before my 16 miler, lol!

Carb-loading before my 16 miler, lol!

After our pizza convo, I went back to my sister’s home. Her husband checked the weather and told me I had 120 minutes of no/light rain if I left that very second for a run. Didn’t have to tell me twice–I changed and headed right out.

Running right after consuming pizza probably wasn’t the smartest move but I was still able to do pretty well on this run.

First 5 miles were a little faster than long run pace, but I felt good.


Middle 6 tempo miles –The first 3 were on point 😀 but then it got a little faster than it needed to be.


Last 5 –Again, a little faster than target pace…oh wells…


This was such a confidence boosting run. I really felt good the entire way and it was nice because my sister lives inside this absolutely perfect 5 mile loop. I have no interruptions the entire way–no busy street lights–and the route has uphills and downhills so it’s not monotonous and boring like my routes here at home, lol! I wish I could’ve brought that 5 mile loop back with me!

It was my last run of September and I finished the month with a whopping 196 miles!!


I knew that the missed runs during the week kept me from reaching the 200 mile mark (and I have to admit, I was tempted to make my 16 miler a 20 just to hit it). I know though, that I still have a long month of heavy mileage ahead of me. 🙂

Saturday, October 1st–5.5 Easy Miles @10:30 avg. pace

We went up to King’s Island, an amusement park, early in the morning so this run was done in the afternoon in, you guessed it, rain. It wasn’t too bad though, just some sprinkles. Also, it was super easy to keep an easy pace because of the previous days 16 miler AND by the time I started this run, I had already reached my 10k steps!

As seen on my run. LOL, just kidding--this was at King's Island

As seen on my run. LOL, just kidding–this was at King’s Island

Omg, I have to show you this pic of me on one of the roller coaster rides at the amusement park. So my sister is on the left with her hands up–she’s a badass. My niece is in front of her–dabbing, naturally.

And then there’s me….


Sunday, October 2nd– 0 miles

I knew it was going to be tough to get in a run on the day I was to fly back. It was either going to have to happen very early in the morning or at night when I was back in Phoenix.

It just didn’t happen. And you know what? I was okay with that.


Total mileage for week 13 33

This was supposed to be a “peak” mileage week but I’m totally okay with not getting all of the miles in. I was on vacation and the fact that I got more than half of them in leaves me satisfied 🙂

–Do you struggle to get miles in during vacations?

–Have you wined and painted before? What was your masterpiece?

–Ever been to a football game?

–Are you scared of roller coasters?