• Meet Our Members: Hallie

    I started running as a way to stay active in college, not expecting to fall in love with it. I’d played sports my whole life, but I wasn’t passionate about them. I loved team things—soccer, choir, plays, class discussions. Running was something different. There were no assessments; no one cared how far or fast I’d gone. It was the first activity that felt like it was completely mine, and for a super neurotic, high-achieving kid, this felt like a revelation.

    Turkey Trot in 2017

    Since my love of running was tied up in being by myself, I never really ran with other people, except for the occasional social run with a good friend. But when I started training for the Philadelphia Marathon in 2017 (my first and so far only!), I found myself longing for a community of runners.

    I joined CHRC almost immediately after moving to Crown Heights in summer 2018. Since then, I’ve tried to go to Friday Five and Monday Miles as often as I can. My favorite group run was definitely the pub crawl Bo and John put together. I’m really hoping that can be repeated in some fashion once this is all over!

    Outside of running, I play ultimate frisbee, work at a literary agency, and lift regularly to prevent overuse injuries. I’m not always able to attend CHRC group runs, but I Iove being part of the community. I’ve wanted to find more ways to get involved for a while now, so this past January, I joined the run leader crew. I was hoping to start leading trail runs in March/April, but for obvious reasons that timeline’s been thrown off.

    Instead, I’ve gone back to my roots and re-embraced running alone. I feel immensely lucky to still be running at all—I know not everyone is in a position to do so. With all that’s going on, just being outside and able to move my body feels like a gift.. When I run, I’m able to connect with myself on a deeper level. I can accept any emotions that might come without judgement or fear. Running is cathartic for me; I’ve cried while running more times than I can count. Right now, when all of my emotions feel like they’e been pushed into high gear by the collective grief and trauma we’re facing as a global community, running is the best way I know to allow those emotions to wash over me and access the stillness that exists in the aftermath, if only for a moment.

    The pandemic is a resounding reminder of the fragility of everything—our systems, our connections with other people, our bodies themselves. It’s a reminder that we can’t take things for granted. I’ve been trying hard to remember each day to appreciate small joys, to create connections with others as often as I can, and to find peace in the body I live in. Community feels especially important right now, when we’re all separated. Although I’ve found joy in running alone these past weeks, I also miss running with all of you. CHRC has always been an extremely warm and welcoming space, and I’m so grateful for the ways it’s continued to function as a support system and source of joy in these difficult times.

    Pre-Run Selfie (day before the big 2-6)

    I’ve especially loved getting to see what everyone’s been up to with the Run and Done series. And although you might not have known it, you all helped me celebrate my birthday! In a perfect world, I would have marked the occasion (belatedly) by PR’ing in the Brooklyn Half. In this world, I got to post that day’s Run and Done. I loved getting notifications all day as everyone checked off their goals. Thank you for unknowingly celebrating 26 with me!

  • Meet our Members: Laura Holdrege

    Royal Laura Holdrege’s first long run with CHRC was a game-changer:

    “I hate running” and “I LOVE [playing] sports” have always been my refrains. I found a volleyball team before I found a job when I moved to NYC, so that should tell you something about my love for sports :). Running just to run, however, was never something I understood or was successful at doing. Sure, running is a key part of many sports, but running just to run?!? WHY would you ever do that?  I’ve always had such respect for runners and their willpower and self-determination to “run for the purpose of running.”

    In April 2019, I became aware of CHRC’s existence, went to the new member orientation, ran my first loop of Prospect Park, and met some nice people. I was looking for an inexpensive/free way to exercise and knew running was out of the question if I didn’t find people to run with. In August, I started frequenting the Monday and Friday group runs and was very happy and excited when I surpassed the greatest number of miles I’d ever run in one month (40 miles!). 

    At the CHRC holiday party in December, my goal for 2020 was to attend/run a Saturday long run, something I had yet to do. I considered making my goal to run a half marathon, but I decided to stick with something more realistic. I accomplished my goal the first chance I got in the new year, thanks to the support and encouragement from so many lovely CHRC people. Running 10 miles was the furthest I had ever run in one go, and I survived!! This accomplishment made the idea of a half marathon seem a LOT more doable than ever before and it snowballed from there. Since that long run, I committed to run the Brooklyn half, ran my first race (the PPTC Cherry Tree Relay with teammates Bo and Christiana), purchased my first running shoes and running watch, and entered the NYC marathon lottery (yes, something is wrong with me now!). 

    I still think I might hate “running just to run” by myself, but having such an amazing, fun, supportive and encouraging group of people to take my mind off the running part has helped me accomplish and aspire to more running goals than ever before. Last year when I moved to NYC there were a lot of unknowns, but let me tell you, getting up multiple times each week to run before work and signing up to run a half marathon never ever crossed my mind.

  • Meet our Members: Lauren DeFelice

    A warm welcome to new Royal, Lauren DeFelice, who started joining CHRC’s Tuesday Trots and Saturday long runs in January.

    Why do you run?

    I run for exercise and to meet others and explore my city. 

    What’s your favorite thing about running?

    I love when I get an actual runner’s high, that huge rush of endorphins when all the little aches and pains disappear and it’s just pure euphoria. 

    Why did you join CHRC?

    I’m new to the neighborhood, and I wanted to meet other runners and learn some cool running routes.  

    What’s been your favorite CHRC run/event/activity and why?

    I did a Saturday long run a few weeks back and we ran to Sunset Park for Dim Sum. Who doesn’t love ending at a good food destination? 

    What’s your favorite race and why?

    I love all trail races. To me, they are less intimidating than road races; the pressure isn’t so high and I’m too busy looking at my feet to think about all the miles. 

    What’s something you love to do when you’re not running?

     I have a huge travel bug. Every few months, I like to take a trip to a new place, whether it’s a new neighborhood in my city or another country. I love to explore.

  • Kylie Dickson’s Report on her First NYRR 9+1 Experience

    What was your experience of doing NYRR’s 9 +1 program for the first time like?

    I first heard about the 9+1 program when I was attending a Zumba class at NYRR Run Hub. I struck up a conversation with a woman; excitedly I told her that I would be running my first race soon! She told me about NYRR group training classes and asked if I was running for 9+1 credit. She explained to me if I were to run 9 races and volunteer at one I would receive guaranteed entry at next years marathon. I had just began running at the time and idea of running a full marathon never crossed my mind. I entered my first race, the Italy Run (a 5 mile race seemed like the perfect place to start), and boy did I love it. The energy is electric, the camaraderie amongst runners is inspiring, the feeling of crossing the finish line—unmatched!

    The best part of running races, is meeting hundreds of people who share a common interest. As I ran more races, I began striking up conversations with other runners.  I enjoyed sharing my progress and love for running with people around me. I recall walking home from the Italy Run and I noticed two men who still had their bibs on. I asked them how they did- and they remarked they finished in somewhere around 30 mins. I congratulated them and told them I finished in an hour. I wasn’t demoralized but inspired, everyone has to start somewhere and I was just proud that I had the courage to start. For the rest of the day a smile was plastered to my face, as I told family and friends of my accomplishment. But this was only just the beginning.

    As I participated in more races, I would always get asked one question “Are you running the NYC marathon.” I decided to finally go on NYRR website and research 9+1 and the NYC marathon. I came to the realization that if over fifty two thousand people run the NYC marathon and finish it then I can too! I finished my 9+1 requirements in November and am excited to run the NYC marathon in 2020!

    Did you have any goals for the races? If so, what were they?

    When I ran my first race, the Italy Run in June, I had no goals other than to finish and have fun. The more races I ran and the more I trained I began to make small goals for myself. My goals starting off pertained to endurance. I wanted to increase the time I ran for. These goals were trying to run continuously for 1 minute, 2 minutes, and so on. My next goal pertained to speed and this is one I’m still trying to achieve. In 2020, I want to complete a 5k race in under 30 minutes.

    What was your favorite part about the 9 +1 program?

    There were so many parts of the program that I enjoyed. I especially loved how NYRR has races in all 5 boroughs with varying distances. The NB 5th Ave Mile and the Bronx 10 Mile were my favorite races by far. At the NB 5th Ave Mile, it was amazing seeing people of all ages and performance levels perform. The Bronx 10 Mile was my first long race and first emotional finish. It was pretty tough and hot! The cheers from the crowd really helped me to finish strong.

    Would you do it again?

    I would absolutely do 9+1 again! I had a blast running races this year and can’t wait for what’s in store for next year. There was no better feeling to ring the bell on my ninth race and to have achieved a goal I’ve been working so hard for.

    What advice/tips would you give to Royals wanting to do the 9+1 program?

    Go for it! I recommend starting with 5k races and increasing your mileage when you feel comfortable. Also, tell your fellow Royals that you are participating in 9+1! Having the support of your club mates during races will definitely help with pre-race jitters. In addition, there really is no better feeling than to see people you know cheering for you from the sidelines.

  • Madeline’s Marathon Training Journal

    September Edition

    Hi folks! Happy October! As of this writing I am in Week 12 of my training plan on the path to the 2019 NYC Marathon. Here’s update #3:

    Ups: In August, I ran 125 miles. This is the highest mileage month I’ve had – ever – and part of the motivation for hitting that milestone was because I finally wanted to receive the ‘August Running Distance Challenge’ badge on Strava. Whatever works, I guess! For most of September, I felt really on top of my training, and the cherry on top of each week was the long run. I always have a blast running with or leading CHRC’s Chill Pace Group, and everyone who’s joined us has contributed to an awesome and supportive team. One week, I was the leader and only member of CPG, but surprised myself by running a 16-miler solo and honestly kind of enjoying it! Regardless of company, entering into each long run with the goal of treating it like a journey of exploration rather than a workout has been really beneficial in making the higher distances palatable. 

    Downs: For the past ten days or so, I’ve been really slacking on my mileage. In my defense, I moved apartments over the weekend and did so without hiring movers, so I was waaaay too tired to run my long one. I had also signed up for the Bronx 10 mile but did not end up running it because I still had more moving to do when the big day came around. Consequently, I’m feeling kind of down on myself, but I’m trying not to internalize it too much. I was sore enough and beat up enough from moving furniture all weekend that the extra rest probably did me good. 

    Dos: If you’re looking to get new shoes before the NYC Marathon, now is the time to do so. I got a new pair of Brooks Ghost 12s a few weeks ago, and have been rotating them with my trusty old Ghost 11s. This way, I’m getting used to my new shoes without wearing them down too quickly. 

    Don’ts: Drink half a bottle of wine the night before a long run. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…

    That’s all for now! Less than a month left until the marathon!

  • Madeline Breda’s August Marathon Training Journal

    Hello all! It’s time for my second check-in of the marathon training season. As of today (8/26) I am in Week 7 of my training plan, and feeling good!

    Ups: A few weeks ago, I took a brief vacation to visit my boyfriend’s family in Pennsylvania. While there, I had the pleasure of exploring the country roads and rural trails of suburban Reading. It was a nice break for my legs to run on soft trails through the forest, and it inspired me to try out some trail running in Prospect Park in the future! In addition, I really enjoyed running summer streets this year – I love doing my long runs as a food tour and stopping for free fuel (Cliff bars! Coconut water! Nuun galore!) along the way. Although the route itself is monotonous, the crowds of happy runners and bikers out and about on Saturdays in August makes every long run a pleasure.


    Downs: Since I’m using a different training plan than I did last summer, I’m taking longer to ramp up in mileage this time around. I think back to this time last year and I had already banged out a few 13+ mile long runs, whereas just a few days ago I ran 13 – the longest long run this training season. Because of this discrepancy I’ve been feeling nervous about my preparation: am I increasing my mileage soon enough? Will I be ready in time? Regardless, I know I need to trust the process. The NYRR Virtual trainer has served me well for my past few half marathons and I’ve heard rave reviews from those who have used it as a marathon training tool in the past (s/o Áine for the suggestion).

    Dos: Keep wearing that sunscreen, folks! And don’t forget electrolytes! A few weeks ago I made the mistake of insufficiently rehydrating following a long run, then going on to spend the afternoon running around in the sun, which led to a night of nausea and headaches. No fun.

    Don’ts: Neglect your rest days. If I am unusually active the day following a tough long run in hot, humid weather, I feel totally depleted by the time my next week of training rolls around. I need to do better at taking it easy – strategically.

    That’s all for now! Good luck with your training and stay cool out there!

  • Kelsey Drain’s Marathon Training Report

    I’m on round two of marathon training after running the 2017 Philadelphia Marathon. On the streets of New York City this fall, I hope to run a faster time so I’m trying to take this training thing more seriously (i.e. actually do the prescribed weekly track workouts and tempo runs). So far, six weeks in, I’ve completed all of the miles and most of the workouts. I’m also trying to be consistent with stretching and foam rolling, which can be a real struggle when you’re exhausted and hungry all the time (see below). Long runs in August were easy because Summer Streets is like Christmas for runners, and it only feels right to be out there with CHRC.

    Ups: I’m definitely feeling stronger. I’d kept consistently running 20-30 mile weeks since I recovered from the Philly Marathon in late 2017, so I thought I was in pretty good shape, but I was wrong. Marathon training started kicking my butt from week one — but it’s supposed to be hard, right? I’m feeling the benefits of those miles and workouts on my long runs now. Another great discovery: the Red Hook track.

    Downs: I’m exhausted and hungry all the time, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I feel like I’ve been constantly force-feeding myself and drinking more water than I did all winter.

    Do: Have a Garmin — especially if you’re trying to hit certain times on the track or tempo paces. I love my Apple Watch and the freedom it gives me to run without my phone and still listen to music, but it’s not totally equipped for what I need. It’s funny to think that during my first round of marathon training, I actually had a Garmin (RIP) and didn’t take advantage of these capabilities that I’m now longing for. Tune in next month for how my training has changed (hopefully benefitted) after I invest in a new GPS watch.

    Don’t: Run more than 800 miles in one pair of sneakers, even if you have really good insoles.

    Thanks and stay tuned!
    – Kelsey

  • Madeline Breda’s July Marathon Training Journal

    Hello fellow running royals – Madeline Breda here! This summer is my second time training for a marathon, and this November I will be running the NYC Marathon for a second time. I learned a lot during my last training block and this time, I’m trying to implement some changes in my strategy that ~I’m hoping~ will help to alleviate some of the issues I faced when racing last November.

    As of today, I am almost done with my second week of the 16-week training plan.

    Ups: The simple fact of this being my second time training for a marathon makes the whole thing feel more manageable and less scary. This summer, I am using NYRR’s 16-week virtual training plan and I already feel more self-assured than I did last year, when I Frankensteined together Liz M’s training template with multiple popular online beginner plans. It feels good to be only following one plan that gives very clear instructions and automatically updates workouts and goal paces with each new Strava upload. I’m consistently doing speed and tempo workouts for the first time ever, thanks to the guidance of the virtual trainer and the tracking abilities of my new Garmin Forerunner 235.

    Downs: This being my second time around the marathon training block, I’m finding that – along with my increased confidence and familiarity with the process – comes a comparative lack of enthusiasm. Last summer, each long run over 13.1 miles marked the longest distance I had ever run in my life! The novelty was exhilarating! Now, I’m struggling to find the same excitement in my training. Switching things up a bit by adding speed work and yoga have been helping a little.

    Dos: Hydrate! Wear sunscreen! Wear a hat! Be smart in the heat – take the day off or take it easy during your workout if you’re really feeling the heat (I stopped every mile or so during my most recent long run to drink water and let myself cool off in the shade). Also, DO include strength training. I’ve been slacking on this front recently, but I’m positive that including just a bit more strength training in my plan this year (which is more than the almost-zero amount I did last summer) will help protect my knees on the big day AND help improve my overall running efficiency. My goal is to do yoga 1x/week at the studio, and include knee-strengthening PT exercises and stretching after some runs or at night before bed.

    Don’ts: Under- OR over-do it. Last summer, I made the same mistake a few times: I skipped a regular run or two during the week, then tried to make up the mileage/intensity by lengthening my long run or doing a taxing workout on the days immediately abutting my long run day. This process left me absolutely beat by the time my next week of training came around, and the cycle would inevitably continue. I would be too tired to do my regular run on Monday, and would end up trying to make up for it over the course of the week. This summer, I’m trying to adhere as best as possible to the training plan (e.g. no skipping planned workouts) but ALSO trying to be more forgiving when I do have to miss a day, and not trying to make up for it later in the week.

    That’s all for now, I’ll catch y’all in August!

    – Madeline

  • Amanda Crain on the Cheer Squad

    Running through the CHRC Cheer Station in Brooklyn during the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon gave me a boost that’s hard to put into words. For miles after the cheer station, I thought back to all of the screams, high fives, and excited cheering that was coming from all of my friends at the Cheer Station. I get goosebumps today just thinking about that moment, and how it really helped to carry me through that race. For me, it was a special enough moment to have stuck with me through today, and to have stuck with me while I was making a transition in my life after that marathon.

    Let’s back up here. I had decided that the 2018 marathon season was going to be my season. I’d been trying for almost 8 years to sub-4 in the marathon, and I wanted this to be my year. I had the support of my CHRC teammates, my training partner Liz, and the great Coach Nate, and I wanted to get it done. And as it turns out, the support system that CHRC helped to put into place for me really was the secret sauce; I went sub-4 not once, but twice that year, within six weeks of each other. And although in NYC I had the CHRC physical cheer station, when I ran Berlin six weeks earlier, I had the incredible virtual cheer station of all of my teammates back home, some of whom woke up at an ungodly hour to wish me luck and congratulate me. The power of this club, and the support of an excellent cheer station, both IRL and virtual, is very real.

    I knew that after my 2018 marathons, I had to take a break from running. My body was giving me signs that it needed a break, and I had some health concerns that I needed to address during 2019. However, I hated the idea of giving up my Friday Fives, my Saturday Long Runs, my Speed Sessions at Bed Stuy Flyers, and all of the friendships that I had developed since joining the club. So, I turned to cheering, the other side of running. The club had given so much to me, and I wanted to give back to the club by trying to grow the cheer community that we had.

    During the first half of this year, I’ve had such a blast supporting the team from the sidelines. Seeing everyone’s smiling (or maybe struggling) faces come around a curve in Central Park, being able to give someone a little boost to carry across the finish line, or standing out on Flatbush Avenue for the NYC Half or Ocean Parkway for the Brooklyn Half with a chorus of cowbells tracking teammates coming by, it’s all been an amazing experience. Even riding the subway up with the team, giving them a bit of energy (since hey, I don’t have to save mine for running), talking through pace plans, hydration strategies, and discussing each hill of the course, it’s all the stuff us runners love to do, and we can continue to share those experiences together.

    We even took the cheer station out of town, setting up shop at the Broad Street Run 10-Miler, where I was the lone banana cheering on a rainy, cold day. Searching the crowds for the CHRC uniform, getting ready to take a video of a friend crushing his or her race, having a banana to banana moment, it can all make several hours go by in a flash. Not to mention, when you are dressed up like a banana on the sideline of a course, you get a whole lot of comments, smiles, shouts, and sometimes confused looks. It’s a good time.

    Convinced yet? Come out and join a cheer station if you aren’t running a race. It’s a great way to spend a morning and to feel engaged in the community! Still not convinced? How about this: you can always count on Jessie to bring an excellent snack selection! And now, also thanks to Jessie, we have a super snazzy and official CHRC banner, which makes us easy to spot.

    On a personal note, remember those health issues that I discussed earlier? I wanted to share that I’m doing great now, I’m back to running a little bit, and Tony and I are expecting our first child in December 2019! We hope to continue to support the club and one day bring baby Crain/Lee to cheer everyone on at a race!

  • Jaimie Lee on Joining the Royal Council

    Did you know that CHRC is run by a wonderful group of members who make up the Royal Council? I joined the club two years ago and at the time, never thought I would end up on the Council…

    A year in to my transition to Crown Heights, my friend Liz Chen very persistently insisted that I check out a CHRC run. I was a new   runner and felt uncertain about joining a running club. Am I fast enough? Why would I want to talk to someone while out-of-breath running? Can I get over my social anxiety? My first CHRC run was a now-retired Thursday Run & Some (the some being cats and wall planks), led by the one and only Kristen Kainer-Turner, where I immediately felt welcomed. Since then, I’ve met the best people who inspired and supported me to accomplish things I never thought I could (run two marathons!) and have helped make Crown Heights feel like home. After all, what better way to get to know someone then to run alongside them–being challenged, suffering, but ultimately, celebrating!

    I had just started co-co-co-co leading #FridayFive runs (fellow leaders Amanda, John, and Sebastian), when Nick Collins planted the idea of joining the Royal Council. I didn’t know much about the roles and responsibilities, but knew that I wanted to get more involved. The Council meets quarterly to coordinate events/activities/runs and discuss decisions that align with and carry out our mission as a club. I decided to join the council as a Membership Coordinator, along with Guillermo. It felt natural to help coordinate Membership with hopes to make others feel welcomed to the club the way that I had. It was the perfect platform to get a better feel for how things operated while also getting more plugged-in.

    This year, I’m taking on a new role as Community Engagement Coordinator, with the goal to develop a stronger presence in the neighborhood through service and partnership. I’m excited to foster something I feel passionate about and our team (Amanda, Jessie, and Megann) have started to brainstorm and organize service opportunities, so be on the lookout for upcoming events!Also, we would love to hear your thoughts and ideas–please share them!

    What I love most about the Council is that it provides a space for members to join together with their individual interests and skills. Do you feel strongly about a particular area of the club? Do you want to get more involved or have thoughts on ways to build our group? We always welcome feedback and If you’re active with the Club and are interested in helping out in one or multiple areas (social media, events, races, etc.), we would love to discuss ways for you to join in!