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I Tried

Signing up for anything that you have never done before can be intimidating. Whether it’s your first race, first marathon, or first triathlon, the thought “can I do it?” always crosses the mind. But, even with all the bumps along the way, there’s no better feeling than accomplishing your goal. The following is by Lori Brown who completed her first triathlon and came in first in her age group this past summer!

For years family and friends kept telling me I should do a triathlon. After competing in a team triathlon last year and doing the swim leg, I got the bug and finally decided to sign up for a sprint triathlon this past August.

I’ve been a swimmer since I was 11 years old. I started swimming before I started running. I did both track and swimming in Highschool, so when it came time to choose which I would pursue in college I decided on swimming. I can’t pinpoint an exact reason why I chose swimming, but seeing my sister pursue it and going on college visits to meeting the coach and potential teammates, I knew it was for me.  When I graduated college, I also graduated from swimming. Mentally and physically I was done, and it was time to start running again. Knowing that I had what most would say the hardest part down; swimming, it made sense that I finally decided to give a triathlon a shot.

Since triathlon season is so short (I believe May through September) and it was a late decision to sign up for one, there weren’t many left to choose from. My sister and I wanted to do one together and finding a weekend we both had free was a challenge.  We signed up for the Sprint TOBAY Triathlon located in Oyster Bay, Long Island, that would take place at the end of August 2018. We had only signed up a few months beforehand.

Lori (right) with her sister.

The Training?

Well, I can honestly say I had no plan and not a ton of training was involved. After the Boston Marathon I knew I would need a rest from running, and I kept telling myself to sign up for the pool again (I swim at the Corona Park Aquatics Center). I needed to get back in swim shape, so I wouldn’t drown. I kept procrastinating and about a week after Boston I went for a run (more like a super light jog) and came down on my foot funny. Thinking nothing of it, while dealing with constant pain and swelling, 2 weeks later I decided to get it checked. The diagnosis, a sprained ligament in my ankle. What did this mean? Rest, ice, and physical therapy. That was my sign I needed to swim. I signed up for the pool and the indoor bike became my best friend. I did some light running and let it heal. About 4-5 weeks later the swelling was completely gone, so I started “training for the run.”

I don’t own a bike, so the stationary bike was my only option to get on one. A couple times when I was out in Hauppauge to see my parents, I used my mom’s hybrid bike to get outside and went on a few rides with my dad. That was the bike I would use for the race (not ideal). I never practiced any transitions, so on race day I hoped for the best.

There was just one more bump in the rode; a couple weeks or so before the triathlon I developed bad tendinitis in my left foot, I knew my only option was to get a cortisone shot (this wasn’t the first time). I made an appointment 3 days out and I was lucky that it was enough months since my last shot to get one. Unfortunately, it didn’t kick in as fast as it usually does, and the pain was there come race day (oh well, “I could survive a 5K” was my thinking).

A couple days before the race and after debating back and forth with myself I decided to buy a triathlon suit mainly because my sister bought one and I am super competitive (and wanted one myself). I was ready! Go big or go home right?

Race Day:

My parents, being as supportive as they are, woke up at 4:30am to drive my sister and I out to the race to cheer us on. Lucky for us the weather was perfect! We got there before sunrise and set up our transition area. I felt like a lost puppy. I had no idea what to do.  With my sister’s help I got my area set up and I was ready.

Smiling through the run section of the triathlon.


A visual of what the transition area looked like: there were a ton of bike racks in rows, with limited space between each bike. You are assigned a number to where you would mount your bike and prepare your area. In my area I had a towel to wipe off my feet, my sneakers, socks, my Garmin watch, a water bottle, my helmet, and my race number for the run, all strategically placed.

The Swim:

My sister, also a swimmer, knew we could try to stay together for the swim. We stood in the water shivering just a bit waiting for the gun to go off. The gun goes off and I immediately lose my sister, the water being so dark made it difficult to see. The other people kicking me also didn’t help. (Really it was a great time)!  Making sure the big orange buoys stayed to my left I passed a ton of people. When I got to the end and stood up out of the water, my sister was right in front of me. We were one of the first women out of the water. I ran out pulling off my cap and goggles, gave my parents a wave and transitioned to the bike. I wiped off my feet, put my sneakers, socks, watch and helmet on, dismounted my bike off the rack, and I was off.

The Bike:

I knew this section would be where I would lose ground. With the lack of a racing bike and not much practice I hopped on my bike and rode as fast as I could. The course involved some rolling hills. A few people zoomed past me. Toward the end of the bike section two girls in my age group (AG) passed me. I knew they were in my age group because each person has their gender and age marked on their arm and calf. In my head I knew I would catch them on the run. I made that a goal for myself. The bike ride came to an end, I hopped off ran with my bike back to the transition area, mounted my bike on the rail, took my helmet off, attached my bib, and transitioned to the run.

The Run:

Making the 20 minute 5K run look like a breeze.


After re-tying my sneakers and losing some time, I shot off. I saw my parents again, gave them another wave and a smile, and passed my sister immediately. The first 1.6 miles was completely uphill (pure torture). I passed the first girl in my AG who had passed me going up and the second girl when I was coming down. I now knew I was first in my AG. I took advantage of the downhill and picked up the pace. I saw the finish and started sprinting as fast as I could (knowing that there was free beer at the end). With a huge smile on my face, knowing I was about done, I saw my parents one more time, gave them yet another wave and smile and crossed the finish line, placing first in my age group.

I did it! First triathlon complete! Off to the beer! It was an amazing experience. I had so much fun and right there I knew I wanted to do more triathlons. The goal next year in 2019 is to do both a sprint and an Olympic distance triathlon (longer than a sprint; a mile swim, a 25 mile bike ride, and a 10k run), giving myself more time to train.  

My Advice:

Train for the swim section. The swim is really where you can gain or lose time. Get comfortable in the water. Swimming in a pool and swimming in open water are very different. If you have the ability to practice in open water, I would suggest that. Unfortunately, I was not able to do that.  I would also recommend practicing transitions, mine were slow and I lost a good amount of time. I watched a couple of YouTube videos on transitions which I found helpful, and I would recommend watching those as well in preparation. I would also highly recommend getting a triathlon suit, it makes your transitions faster since you can complete the swim, bike ride, and run in it. I got mine off Amazon.  My last piece of advice would be to just have fun doing it, and it is a great accomplishment!

Until next year!

Lori Brown

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The Return

It takes patience to go through an injury and be on the sidelines while you see everyone else running. It takes courage to tell yourself you’ll get through the injury and that you will come back stronger. Rachel Fox, a Queens Distance member since 2015, is one runner who came back from an injury that set her back months, but is now running and even faster than pre-injury! Read about her tragic accident, her comeback, and her current journey to the TCS NYC Marathon.


It’s the sound that everyone dreads—the sound that makes you cringe.  It’s the sound that when you hear it, you have no idea what you are in for, or if you can ever recover from it.  That “pop”. That sound that you hear when your ankle bones have broken and have become unattached to your leg. That “pop” sound that I heard when I fell on skates in a parking lot and thought, “Oh god!  What have I done? Will I ever run again?”

The thing that you have to understand is that I was on this tremendous adrenaline rush.  I felt invincible after completing the NYC Marathon for the second time, three months prior. One month earlier I had done four races in four days – running a total of 48.6 miles and completed a second marathon within a span of two months. So, naturally I thought now would be a great time to take up roller skating, since I did it as a kid.  Nothing could go wrong, right?

Sitting on the ground in the parking lot, I quickly took off my skates.  As I realize my ankle was broken, the panic started to set in, and then the pain.  I knew this was bad but I didn’t know how bad.

I have a lot to be thankful for, including the overall distance between the accident site, the hospital, and the location of where my brother and sister-in-law reside.

On  February 6th, 2018,  I was quickly taken to the hospital from the accident site. I was too scared to call 911, so a good Samaritan passing by called for me.  I wish I could thank them!

At some point I called my brother and told him I was being taken to the hospital.  I didn’t want to scare him, but I also wanted him to know his big sister seriously injured herself and just needed family around.  I don’t remember if I tried to call my parents or if I didn’t want to scare them either, so I thought I would call my brother first.  The truth is that I that was scared. The only thing I could say out loud to my brother was, “I fell”. I sent my sister-in-law a picture of my ankle.  She told me later on that she knew my ankle was broken when she saw that picture. My brother originally thought I just had a bad sprain. I wish!

I would have my surgery about 8 hours later (on February 7th).  I would return home three days later. The hospital cannot release you unless you have not had a fever for 24 hours.  I don’t remember how I passed the time until I was given the okay to go home. I shared a room with a woman that was hit by a car.  When I was released from the hospital, I knew her stay would be longer than mine. As bad as my situation was, I knew it could always be worse.

We all know that I recovered.  We all know that I made it.  But I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you.  

The first month after surgery was hell.  I was in a lot of pain. The type of surgery I received was ORIF.  This stands for Open Reduction Internal Fixation and it involves the application of implants to guide the healing process of a bone, as well as the open reduction, or setting, of the bone.  I now had to adjust to having metal in my ankle. My poor left ankle, now swollen and had metal in it, looked twice as big as my right ankle! My left ankle was now surrounded by a titanium plate fixed to my bone with seven screws and two splints.   I felt ugly. I felt disabled. I felt defeated. I cried a lot. I used a knee-scooter to get around my apartment (crutches are not a good idea for a klutz, like me). I was, for the most part, independent during my recovery. My family stopped by once a week for a little while to make sure I was okay and help me collect my mail.  My father helped me get to my post-operation appointments.

My days would consist of pain, oxycodone-acetamin (which only seemed to work for 3 out of 24 hours at a time), television, and rest, in what seemed like a never-ending cycle, until sometime in mid-March.  

It was about this time that I now had to practice bending my foot back at a 90 degree angle.  A movement that I never thought twice about, now seemed impossible!

Soon enough, I was approved to put weight on my left foot in CAM boot. CAM, which stands for Controlled Ankle Motion walking boot, is a very clunky boot that is secured with velcro straps and limits motion of your foot, but also allows partial weight bearing.  I was happy to hear I can start walking in a CAM boot, but I was also very nervous. I did not walk or put weight on my left foot for almost a month and a half! The moment that my heel (in a CAM boot) touched the floor, I felt a pins and needles sensation on the bottom of my foot.  The nerves in my foot were waking up. It was exciting but painful.

I know I mention consistently being in pain a lot, but it would subside soon enough.  Unfortunately, pain after surgery is a sign of healing. It is not pleasant, but it is unavoidable.  I just had to be patient.

My recovery started moving forward in April:

  • I would go to physical therapy 3 – 4 times a week.
  • I began indoor cycling again.  
  • By the end of April, I started walking without the boot.

First steps outside without CAM boot, April 22nd.


I started exercising again in June and by July things seemed to be getting back to normal:  

  • My first run post-surgery was about four months after my accident (on June 12th).   I ran for 10 minutes on a treadmill.
  • I started spinning classes on June 16th.
  • My first outdoor run post-surgery was on June 17th – I ran about 2 miles.
  • I started strength training sessions on July 7th.
  • My first race post-surgery was the NYRR (5 mile) Team Championships on July 28th.
  • My first long run post-surgery was on August 19th – I ran 9 miles.

First time being able to balance on the left foot again,  June 3rd.

I left out of the part where I signed up for the NYRR marathon training program on July 23rd.

At the time I registered, it seemed like a crazy idea.  I had no idea if I was going to be able to run the marathon this year.  My original goal was to run a 5 mile race before the end of the year.  As time moved forward, I saw I was able to keep up with the training program.   I knew that I would be able to run the marathon and it was not such a crazy idea after all!

Despite the pain and the struggle I went through to recover, I tried to keep a positive outlook.  Every day I imagined myself running. I kept a schedule of when my post-operation doctor appointments were, and made a note of any milestone changes that would occur – it helped a great deal to look forward to some type of change.

Key moments from November 2017 to October 2018.

In life accidents happen.  It all comes down to how you cope when you are dealt with a bad hand.  You become a stronger person for moving forward in spite of an unfortunate situation.  I wanted to get better, so I fought back.

I want to thank everyone who checked in on me during the time of my recovery, and sent a “congratulations” my way when I started running again.  I’d like to think your full support helped me get back into doing what I love, sooner than I thought. Just in case you don’t know, that would be running!

Rachel L. Fox

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The Marathon Taper

Queens Distance been asked multiple questions about running over the years; how to train, what training plans to follow, how to cross training, what nutrition to take, and how to taper. In order to help train for races, we host multiple Destination Long Runs and track sessions at Astoria, Forest Park, and Bayside. To get the most out of those runs before the big race day, it’s also important to understand the taper.

It’s been weeks of training. Going to sleep early and getting up early to run has become the norm. We’ve been practicing our marathon pace, our nutrition, and our mindset. Then, two to three weeks before race day is the time to taper.

What is tapering? We’ve asked three of our members to write down their own thoughts and approaches when it comes to tapering.

Elizabeth Corkum

Upcoming Marathon: St. George Marathon, October 6th.

Elizabeth at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon 2017.

 The taper is perhaps the most important mesocycle for a marathoner. After months of hard work, the final preparation for the marathon occurs. The taper is usually the final 2-3 weeks before the goal marathon. During that time, mileage is cut down systematically – 20-30% each week. Low mileage marathoners reduce less than high mileage marathoners. It’s recommended that cross training (XT) discontinues two weeks out (just get extra rest on a previous XT day), and strength training (or any additional activities) pause a week out from race day.

It’s important to continue running through the taper (don’t just rest for 2-3 weeks!) and to stay sharp. Therefore, some speed workouts and marathon goal pace runs should continue. In fact, some studies suggest that an athlete can experience a 3% boost in performance on race day if the taper includes some speed work but reduction in mileage. The hardest part is respecting the taper. Many of us want to squeeze out any additional training possible. Once you are three weeks out, the hay is in the barn and there’s not much an athlete can do to make up for missed workouts 12 weeks before. Trust in the work you HAVE put in, do the runs on your calendar, and get extra sleep and rest, hydrate, and stick to nutritionally dense foods. Spend your time and energy towards studying your race course, race weekend plans, and relaxing.


Marie-Ange Brumelot

Upcoming Marathon: pacing the TCS NYC Marathon, November 4th.

Marie at the NYRR 18 Mile Tune-up 2017. Photo courtesy of Sam LaFata.

The process of reducing overall training volume for a peak performance at a goal race.

To get your legs back from heavy training and be fresh for your race.

Some races can be used as training runs towards a further particular goal. Taper in preparation for your specific goal race only.

Athletes whose training regiment requires deloading in order to perform at their best.
Let us explain further.
-One can train to peak, then tapers and races. Usually these athletes have a high training volume, thanks to which many gains are obtained, but require rest before peak performance can be achieved.

-One can train all the way to the race, gains fitness all throughout his or her training cycle which culminates with a race. No tapering is required.

Is there a better option? YES! The one that works for you!

We are all different and ultimately need distinct approaches.
-TIMING: Tapering is about recovering before a race, so your own personal ability to recover will directly affect the length of your tapering period. A general approach is to deload over the course of 2 weeks.
-AMOUNT: The higher the training volume, more fatigued you are, the more you should taper. The general rule is to reduce training volume by 40% over the course of those 2 weeks.

COACH’S TIP: While tapering, focus on recovery, look back at what you have achieved in your training cycle, visualize your race regularly, and get mentally ready to lay out your best effort on race day.

As Marie puts it, tapering is a good time to sit back and relax.


Christine Nasol

Upcoming Marathon: TCS NYC Marathon, November 4th.

Christine at a recent NYRR live discussion for TCS NYC Marathoners. Check out the video on Facebook.

With 6 weeks of training left until the NYC Marathon, I cannot stress the importance of incorporating tapering into your training routine, and I remember how important it was in my training. During training, tapering is important to allow your body to rest and giving your legs a fresh start so that come marathon day, you’re able to run to the best of your ability.

Even if you haven’t had a perfect training cycle, trusting in your training process and that you’ve done the work is key. It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting in one more hard run, and feeling like you need to push yourself up until the day of the big race. I definitely remember my own fear of feeling like I was going to lose all my hard work and fitness if I tapered! But it takes just a few miles of overtraining to cause injury, or not feeling like you have a full tank of energy for your big race.

Everyone’s tapering schedule is different, depending on their ability level and personal goals, but my own tapering schedule for my long runs from last year after my last long run of 18-20 miles was as follows: 3 weeks left until the marathon: Ideally your last long run (18-20 miles) 2 weeks left until the marathon: Shorter mileage run of 12-14 miles 1 week left until the marathon: A run under 10 miles (7-8 miles worked for me!) And then of course, MARATHON WEEK!

Incorporating proper recovery techniques (foam rolling, stretching, yoga), proper nutrition, sleep, and some good shake out miles during the week of the marathon will set you up to run your big race with the proper energy and fresh legs that you need to feel your best on race day!


Trust your training and trust the taper! If you have any questions or suggestions for another blog post, email us at Good luck to all the marathoners this fall season!

We’ll see you out there.

Queens Distance