Updates and reflections on running, life, food, and friends. But mostly running.
*If you're looking for ShayaNYC, the jewelry designer, Shay (is awesome) can be found here: www.shayanyc.com. Even if you're not looking for him, you should check out the site because his designs are beautiful!
Steph and I decided to head to Delaware on Friday afternoon so we could have a carby dinner in Rehoboth and get to bed at a decent time. I got to meet the lovely Theodora and Laura, both of whom I've heard about/read about in Steph and Fiona's blogs. Always happy to make new runner friends, and these two (who are now part of my 5 readers) are both hilarious!
My survival kit for the trip down (the trip-home kit included a lot more junk food!):
Rehoboth was looking very festive
Theodora introduced us to two more runner friends, Ericka and Lindsey and we all loaded up on pasta for dinner:
I think we all managed to sleep pretty well. I thought I might be too nervous, but I was a) not nervous and b) completely exhausted. When we woke up in the morning, I did not want to eat because I was still full but they made me (thank you, I knew I needed the fuel!). Note: ww bread, banana slices, and Nutella is the breakfast of champions.
I was so excited to wear my bright yellow shirt, pink compression calf sleeves, and sparkly headband! I loaded my SPIbelt and sports bra (BAD, BAD idea) with gels and we headed off to the start.
Picture right after our last minute bathroom stop:
I lost my sparkly headband :(
I decided to start a bit apart from my running buddies because I wanted to run my own race, whether that meant faster or slower than them...first marathon and all, I didn't want to be influenced by anyone else. I didn't wear my Garmin, but did wear a watch with a timer and my goal was to keep every mile right around 9 minutes for the first half, then step it up a bit until 18 or 20, then a bit more, then give everything I had for 24-finish...but no idea if this is a feasible plan. Can one actually run hard after 24 miles? We'll see. Also, the goal I told people was "I just want to sub-4" but secretly I hoped I could beat that 22-mile run prediction of under 3:50.
Internal monologue for the next ~4 hours:
*1: shit, I have to pee. No you don't, you JUST went. Shut up.
*2: ugh, can't wait til I'm at 6, I know I'll feel better then
*3: my hamstrings really hurt
*5-6: ok, finally settling in and feeling good about this. Maybe going too fast
*8-10: slow the f&*k down, you will not keep this pace the whole time! This is where the half-marathoners turn around, they are jerks.
*11-13: I can't slow down! You have to, just let people pass you (I let a couple wearing red pass me and then tried to keep them within 50 feet of me)
*14-15: omg, why is there this hill here? I love hills but this one sucks. And running down it hurts even more, shitshitshit my shins hurt! Dammit, the guy in red stopped to pee by the trail so now he's behind me. I wish I could pee on the trail.
*16-18: red guy caught up to red girl so I'm following them again. My hamstrings and one calf/achilles hurt. Stop whining, this is not supposed to be easy. Ok, now we're counting down miles. 8.2 to go
*18-22: to paraphrase the NY Times, how is my pacing? Will there be more hills? Am I going to hit that "wall" soon? WHY AM I DOING THIS???? (actually, I'm kind of loving it) And I left the red couple in the dust
*23: watch says 3:20. Holy hell, I can beat my secret goal if nothing falls apart. *mental prep for the hardest 1/2-hour I've ever experienced
*24: cruising through a picturesque, misty field, mostly alone, it feels nice. I'm glad there is a cooling mist...lots of people are walking here, I want to grab them and drag them with me. Dammit, where is the 25 marker?
*25: lots of walkers, and I'm passing plenty of runners at this point...they call out that I'm doing great, being really encouraging, it feels really nice (I do it back!). But seriously you guys, where is 26???
*26: there it is, and the finish line is just around the bend, and there are lots of cheering spectators and ohmygod this is happening
*26.2 in 3:48:09!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One reason small races are amazing because you get to hear your name as you're approaching the finish line. I grabbed a bottle of water, my medal, a Mylar blanket, and walked around in circles for a bit. Then I stood at the finish line to cheer for people and look for my friends. One little girl, about 4 years old, jumped in and crossed the finish line with her dad...so cute! Another point for small races:
*Begin somewhat personal reflection: Watching all these people cross the finish line, some like it was nothing, some nearly collapsing, some cheering and shouting...at some point, it really sank in...last spring/summer, I hoped for under 4:15...sometime in late summer I started thinking I could do it in 4 hours but then I got hurt. Part of me feels like I don't know how I beat my secret goal, since I didn't follow any training schedule that well. But I also know that I give my body the breaks it needs, and when I am running, I push myself and make the miles count. This year had its ups (mostly ups!) but some pretty difficult downs too, and even though that's in the past, this accomplishment was something I really, really wanted. So yeah, I got emotional standing there, and there may have been a minute of some teary eyes (the good kind, I was really proud of myself) but then a guy Gangnam'ed across the finish line and I snapped back to the moment. end personal shit*
I waited for the rest of my new friends (actually, Lindsey had finished in under 3:30, and Theodora had dropped to the half so they were already in the finish tent). I saw Steph, Laura, and Ericka cross the finish line (right around 4:13) and we all went into the tent. There was mac 'n cheese and pulled pork but I couldn't eat. I finished my water and took a Sprite for the sugar. I went into the physical therapy tent for some stretching, where they were worried because my lips were blue and I was visibly shaking. One of the therapists laid her fleece jacket over me and brought something to keep my head warm while I was getting worked on. I was pretty unhappy at this point, soooo unbelievably cold, nauseated, and kind of light headed. Full disclosure...I did throw up. Guess I know I gave it everything, huh?
After a shower and a nap while the other girls showered, we were on the road. First stop:
We got Arby's for real(ish?) food, and had a lot of snacks in our car. When we got back to Manhattan, I jumped in a cab and went directly to Brooklyn for the annual holiday dinner I have with my oldest NY friends. Luckily they're like family, so rolling in in flip flops, sweats, and a hoodie was acceptable. Oh, and I wore my medal all day :)
The cancellation of the NYC marathon was national news, so no point in writing about that little drama. I strongly disagreed that it should be held, and decided about 6 hours prior to the cancellation that I was going to defer to 2013, and spend that Sunday volunteering in some way instead. I followed NYC Marathon of Relief on Facebook, and ended up heading out to Staten Island on Sunday with hundreds of other runners. It was a really interesting day: I met some wonderful people, said hi to Amby Burfoot, felt really productive helping out, but at the same time it was pretty emotionally difficult to meet nice people and families who had lost so much. I've been there twice now, and would like to go more because help will be needed for awhile, but there are apparently some concerns about dust and air quality right now so I'm holding off. It was really beautiful to see so many runners come and help out.
Staten Island Ferry Terminal, pretty much all runners:
When NY was cancelled, a lot of people chose races the following weekend...Fiona went to Richmond, other friends went to Harrisburg, and I heard that Indianapolis opened more spots to NY runners. When I'd debated deferring NYCM, Steph had mentioned she wanted to run Rehoboth Beach on December 8th. I decided to join her there, since it would give me time to make up for my injured time off.
I still didn't train all that well, mostly focused on my long runs and couple of short, fast runs (more on that in a moment). I sucked at doing tempos-when I did them, they were great, but I just rarely did. My peak long run, 22 miles, went incredibly well. I felt strong, not too exhausted in the last few, and I ran them at an average of 8:40. I entered that into some run calculator to see what my marathon time would be if I kept that up. 3:49:something. I hardly dared to hope, especially since I have no clue what those next 4.2 miles feel like! I did feel confident about my ability to sub-4 though.
I decided to stay in NY for Thanksgiving this year, for various reasons...money, school work, just generally wanting to relax. Last year in Iceland was unreal but I hoped to get in some good quality time with friends and get a lot done. Thanksgiving morning, I ran the Prospect Park turkey trot with a friend. I thought it was a 5K but luckily realized the day before that it was 5 miles. No big deal, just glad I caught that before the middle of the race! I slept at Hanna's, and then we ran to the start to get some extra distance in. That was my first small race, where I started right at the start line-it was great, no one in my way! I chose to not wear my Garmin, and the mile markers were easy to miss, so I really didn't know how I was doing. I knew it was hard, but had no idea if that was because I was going fast, or because I was tired/out of shape (what??)/hungover...
Turns out it was hard because I was FAST (for me)!!! I finished in 38:03, 7:36 minute miles. I was really excited for that. Then I went home, made an amazing dinner and dessert from scratch, and dragged it to the UWS for a friend, and he and I just watched movies and ate a lot. All in all, an awesome Thanksgiving day.
Apparently, I HAVE to look at the camera button when taking a picture with my phone:
So I basically had to take almost two months off of running...building up to peak week and everything! I ran once or twice several weeks in, but was in awful pain again so I kept taking time off. All the while, I was going to physical therapy twice a week. It was really tough to listen to my friends talk about their training runs, I even hated hearing complaints about 18+ mile runs when I just desperately wanted to be able to run a few miles! I started to get very nervous that I wouldn't even be able to run this marathon, and it would have such a letdown after working so hard in 2011 to qualify, and keeping myself in good running shape during the early part of 2012 so that I would be ready to jump right into training.
PT was tough. Painful, frustrating, and resulted in tears a few times when he told me I may need to consider not running this marathon so I could have time to heal. I don't care that "there are other races" as some people have said to me. I qualified for this one and I was damned well going to do it. And therapy hurts like hell-I can't count how many times I instinctively almost punched or kicked my therapist when he found a trigger spot in my legs. The pain was in my ankle/shin/calf but was also affecting my feet a lot. Foot and leg rubs sound nice and all, but these were incredibly painful (especially the feet!) and often it was all I could do to not cry...and sometimes I failed at that! This gym/clinic is full of athletes, several from professional NY teams, and Phil (my therapist) reassured me that he'd made grown men cry, so I didn't feel so lame! Still, I think I've thrown around worse language in that clinic than most of those guys!
Things have come together over the last couple of weeks. After all that time off, my physical therapist let me start running a few miles at a time and as everything felt mostly good, he let me put on miles pretty quickly. Whenever I've had little twinges here or there, he works them out. I haven't done anything above 18 miles in over a month, my two longest runs have been 13 and 14 miles. But I've been working on running strong (fast, not too fast) while my legs hurt, and strength training. The consensus among Phil, several runner friends, and some runner-journalists is that 18 miles is enough of a long run pre-marathon, that I'm a strong runner, in great shape, and have the ability to pull this thing off while having missed literally half of the training schedule. So I'm a guinea pig for this method-we'll see what happens on 11/4!!!
Well I haven't had the best month ever. The first weekend in August I was in Indiana for my sister's wedding. I managed to get 5 miles on some trails one morning, and then did an 18 mile run. Coordinating a long run in the country is pretty difficult. First, I couldn't just run from my mom's because I'd have to go a mile on a state highway with speeding trucks. So, instead I drove the mile and used the car as my home base. I left at 8:30 am because it was HOT there-also dry and very little shade in the cornfields!
The other complication was water. I'm so used to running in the city, where there are drinking fountains in the park and near the river, or I can run into a deli to grab a bottle. Also, it's relatively easy to use a bathroom once you know where they are (Hudson River Park, Staten Island Ferry building, coffee shops...). It was pointed out to me that I probably could have just hidden in some bushes on the side of the road since I was passed by maybe 10 cars in the nearly 3 hours that I ran, but I didn't even think of it!
So I decided to do the run in 6 mile segments, running out 3 and back, each time in a different direction. The first two went pretty well, though I was very relieved to get back to the car to have a gel pack, and drink some cold water or Gatorade. Let me tell you, it was hard to start that last leg. I really felt like I was dragging, it was so hot by that point and I started having mirages of shady spots up ahead! But I made it through and headed back to my mom's house to hang out with cousins who were in town. Unfortunately, I was so brain dead after the run that I could barely speak to them even though I hadn't seen them in years. Boo.
Then, two weekends ago I planned another long run + food with friends. Six of us met up and various points on the west side and downtown, and then we all headed up Summer Streets together. Basically, we ran up Lafayette and Park Avenue to 72nd St, and then to Central Park for various-length endings (mine was 4 more miles). THEN we finally headed to our reward: Levain Bakery. I had a chocolate chip cookie with PB chips which I could not finish-it was so dense and heavy! I also ordered a raisin sticky roll which I took home and ate later that day. YUM!
Ok, but then the bad stuff...my shin started to really hurt the following day and it just got worse over the next few days. I couldn't walk for more than a few minutes without pain, much less run! I didn't run all week and went to my sports doctor the following Monday (yesterday!). She ordered x-rays and sent me to physical therapy. So I'm back there AGAIN 2-3 days a week for now. My therapist thinks it's a tendon around my ankle (shin actually feels much better, the pain and swelling are localized around my ankle now). I'm getting the x-rays tomorrow and once we see those he'll let me know what I need to do to take care of it and when I can try to run again. So. Crossing my fingers that marathon day will not be a grieving process for me!!!
Ok, I've been slacking on posting here...I've started the "very long runs" which to me are anything above a half-marathon distance. Each long run progression is now longer than I've ever run before. And it's going well!
First of all, I'm done with my track practices-but that doesn't mean I won't keep doing speed work. I saved all of our workouts, and I'm going to do them on my own. I really loved being on the track at night so I think I'll try to do that each week or every other. I know these workouts aren't necessary for marathon training, but I plan on doing tempo runs too. I'm debating whether to do the 5th Ave Mile this year-I really want to because I feel like I might be able to do it in 6 minutes (6:33 last year, with no speed training) but the damn thing is $30. That annoys me, on principle.
Two weekends ago I did 15 miles in Mattituck (North Fork). It was mostly flat but there were a couple of streets with long inclines (not steep though). It was really nice to run out there, it's so pretty but I admit I did get bored by the 12th or 13th mile...I was pretty much like "ok, ready to be done running now." I wasn't hurting or very tired, just bored. I had a gel pack with me, but I did run out of water and had to run up to the main road which is pretty much a highway, and run for a couple of miles there until I got to a gas station. I was actually happy for the breeze I got from passing cars, even though I knew it was dirty air.
Last week I wasn't feeling too well-my only midweek run was on Tuesday night in Central Park. I did a loop of the park, plus an additional loop in Harlem (because I like to kick my ass on hills). I did push myself on the hills but I felt pretty terrible that day and probably walked at least a mile of the 7 total that I did.
My weekend workouts were great. 18 miles on Saturday and spin class plus strength on Sunday!
*side note: It seems early for 18 but my marathon training has me increasing this way: 15, 13, 15, 13, 18, 13, 18, 13, 20, 13 etc, up to two 22-mile runs, the last one a month before the marathon. It's different, but I like it.
I met Stephanie at Chelsea Piers and we ran down the river, past the Staten Island Ferry and South St Seaport, over the BK Bridge, back over Manhattan Bridge, up to the Williamsburg Bridge, through W'burg and Greenpoint, over Pulaski and through LIC to the Queensboro Bridge. When we got over that bridge, I had two miles left to run, so I just took a meandering route home. 18 miles including 5 bridges (two of which are pretty substantial) made for a very satisfying run.
It was incredibly muggy and uncomfortable when we got started. I'm not sure if we just got used to it or if it just cooled off/dried out over the course of our run, but I did feel a lot better toward the end. I also didn't feel well in general when we started, just really heavy. I took two gel packs and was very happy for both. We made lots of water stops and poured bottles of cold water over our heads and necks! All-in-all a good training day!
And then I took an ice bath:
Thursday track workout! I had some stuff to deal with on Wednesday night/Thursday morning so I did the workout at night. I kind of love being on the track at night, with a view of the East River bridges and boats going by. The track isn't very busy at that time but there are enough people there that it still feels safe. Still, it is dark and whenever someone comes through the creaky old turnstile, it makes this scary-movie, old door swinging open noise that you can hear across the track.
Workout: 12x400, with 200 meter recovery. Goal is 5K pace. For me, that means I shoot for between 1:45 and 1:50 per lap (1:45=7:00 mile). I tried to keep it in that range for most of the workout, and then pick it up during the final third, and going as hard as I could on the final lap.
I just blew off studying and went for a 10 mile run this evening, once the temperature dropped below 90 degrees. I really needed to clear my head, but should probably get a grip on this whole "train for a marathon while working on my master's" thing.
Whatever. The NYC marathon is 3.5 months away and today I registered for something else I'm really excited about-Big Sur!!! Unfortunately, it's only 21 miles because the full distance sold out really quickly. I notice on Fiona's Twitter feed this morning that she had registered for the marathon, and got excited because I've been wanting to do it and just wanted someone else to train/travel/have fun in CA with. So by the time I realized, the marathon was sold out and it was hella-expensive to sign up as a charity runner. So I did the next best thing and registered for the 21 mile run. I'm so excited for a few days out there (more days, as I'm already planning to go to SF in October), and hope to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium! My first (only) time skydiving was over Monterey Bay, landing on the beach so who knows? Maybe I'll go again to celebrate!
I had a really good week, running-wise. After my very awesome almost-a-tempo-run on Tuesday, I had two workouts on Thursday. In the morning was track practice, where we did this:
2x400 w/200 recovery
2x800 w/400 recovery
2x1200 w/400 recovery
with the first of each set at 10K pace, and the second at 5K pace. I didn't time my splits since the coach was doing it, and I can't remember what they were but I do know that I was pretty happy with each split time he told me.
Then that night I met up with a friend who has been advising me on running for a couple of years now. He helped me with my first half-marathon training plan, and has helped with my marathon plan as well. We met on the east side of the 102nd St Transverse in Central Park, and ran about 6 miles together-my total run was one full loop around the park, with an additional loop of the Harlem hills. That was a pretty tough run after the morning workout, and I ran it a little faster than I'd planned since my partner is much more speedy than I am!
Then, on Saturday morning, I met some of my favorite running buddies-Fiona, Katie, and Loren-to run an easy long run. I had planned to do 14 but the route I planned only ended up being 13 because Fi and I were exhausted and decided to skip the Williamsburg Bridge. I would normally have kept going but we had designed our route to end at the Doughnut Plant in Chelsea. I went old school in my choices-nothing like ended a great week of workouts with a jam-filled and a blueberry doughnut! OMG the blueberry!
I put off my "official" marathon training start for a few days because a) I'm starting with a pretty good base and some good recent races, but more importantly b) I was on vacation on Nantucket. I did run there, but it was a slow, short (only 4 miles) run. I did see more paths I'd like to run on though, so next time I'll do more and hopefully bring my bike too!
Today I wanted to see if I could run 6 miles at my recent 10K pace, which was 8:21. It's usually easier to run a bit faster in races, for me anyway. I did a half mile warm-up and then got started. I did the first 3 miles without stopping but started to get really hot and thirsty so the last 3 miles had brief water breaks in between. Still, I think I did pretty well!
Mile 1: 8:18
Mile 2: 8:14
Mile 3: 8:06
Mile 4: 7:39 (whoa!)
Mile 5: 7:55
Mile 6: 7:31
I never really pay attention to negative splitting (because I rarely time myself anymore!) but with the exception of mile 5, it looks like I did so here. I thought Mile 4 was kind of funny because I miscalculated at that point and thought I'd run it in 8:40 so I was disappointed with myself.
I was definitely tired after this, and really felt that last mile in my legs but overall I felt really good!
For the rest of this week, I have track practice on Thursday morning, a hilly run planned after work Thursday, and then 12 miles planned with the running buddies on Saturday!
I had a bit of an epic activity day on Sunday, to the detriment of the time I'd allotted for studying for my RE finance midterm. I stayed in the night before (after several hours in the library) and got up at 6:30. I had an approx. 50 minute, 7 mile bike ride to Park Slope. It's mostly an easy ride, with the exception of the BK Bridge incline, and the hill up to Katie's building. That was a long hill!
Fiona met us at Zack and Katie's and the 4 of us headed to Prospect Park for our planned 10 mile run. Zack's route was a little different so he wasn't with us the whole time. We did one loop around the perimeter of the park, one big loop inside the park, and then a smaller loop. It was HOT when we weren't in the shade and we took several water breaks. The second time up the "big" hill was pretty challenging but we did a good job of pushing ourselves to the top.
Post-run we found and ate, in this order: iced coffee, delicious breakfast sandwiches from Zito's, and ridiculously good ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery. At this point I was stuffed, but of course after showers, we biked to our friend's house for a birthday BBQ, with a stop to pick up cheese and meats on the way. I can't even begin to think about what I ate there without feeling guilty, so let's just say that I decided against taking my bike on the train and rode the 8 miles home instead.
Here we are, tired, sweaty and very hungry!
Ok, there are some things I love about the Pride Run and some things that really irritate me. First, the irritations-there must be more non-regular runners in this race that in most others. I got the sense that a lot of runners didn't understand where to move on the course if they weren't running, how to slow down for water, not to run 4-abreast, and how to start the race efficiently. I've never had such a frustrating start, it took forever to really get moving.
Now the good stuff! This is a really fun and friendly race! From the NY Cheerleaders, to the music, to the colorful and sparkly outfits, to the smart and funny pro-equality messages, it's just an all around good vibe. I got a fist bump from another runner right after we crossed the finish line-that doesn't happen nearly often enough! Last year was especially spectacular since the race took place about 12 hours after the NY Senate passed our marriage equality law.
This morning I took the subway a few stops, then ran to Central Park, did a lap around the reservoir, then ran to the start-just barely made it with a quick bathroom stop! I was already sweating buckets by that point-according to the NYRR site, we had 93% humidity at the start. Ugh!
I did ok-nothing terrible at all, but not great either. My race time was 43:46, and my pace was 8:46, 21 seconds slower per mile than the Shelter Island 10K. But, I have to keep in mind that is was hot as hell (again) this morning-definitely one of the most sweltering race days that I remember! I'm looking forward to a bike ride and long run tomorrow with Katie and Fiona, followed by ice cream and BBQ!
Ok, so I felt like crap when I woke up for track practice this morning. Not sick, just exhausted and I knew it was already in the 80s outside. In that sleepy haze, I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
Of course when I woke up, I was mad at myself. I paid $100 for this track program-not a ton of money I know, but it's not like I can just throw that away! And over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed definite improvements in my running. Maybe it's all mental, but it's there. So before I even left for work I told myself I had to do the missed workout this evening (the workout is emailed the night before, as I've mentioned before). I sat in an ALL day meeting so my hips were tight as hell! Then I ate a light dinner, studied until the temperature got below 90, took 3 bottles of ice water on my bike and I was off.
I don't know what happened! It was a great workout-in fact, considering that the temperature was in the range of the 4th circle of hell, I killed these laps! My pace since track started has been between 1:47 and 1:56 per lap (400m)...so my very broad goal is 800s in under 4 minutes, 1200s under 6 minutes, and 1600s under 8 minutes.
Here's what I did tonight:
2x400, 1:31 and 1:32
1x1200, 5:56 (kind of hit a wall of heat exhaustion here!)
So I didn't negative split, but I ran those laps much faster than I have been over the past few weeks. I'm not sure why-do I talk myself out of running faster when I'm with the group because I feel like some of them "should" be faster than me? Am I just too tired in the mornings? Was the heat making me just want to freaking get done? No idea!
I was feeling pretty strong last week, after my interval workout on Tuesday and this track workout on Thursday:
1x1600 10K pace
2x400 10K pace
1x1600 5K pace
2x400 5K pace
I ran that second 1600 (mile) in 7:39, so I was happy with that. I went into the weekend feeling confident about the race in Shelter Island.
And then I drank too much on Friday night. Not enough to actually be hungover on Saturday, but enough to not feel great. You know when your body is just achy because of too much alcohol and not enough sleep? Yeah, I had that. In addition, I forgot to bring sandwiches with us on the way to Shelter Island so I didn't have any lunch! For a 5:30 race. Luckily, I'd had eggs and ham on a bagel for breakfast, remembered to bring Vitamin Water, and there was a fun size Milky Way in my race bag. Someone also gave me a banana so I had a little sugar and electrolyte rush before the race.
Somehow, I managed to PR this one. No idea how that happened really. Well, I kind of do. I had this realization recently that running should be hard. I know, it's obvious but I kept wanting to feel good. And then I realized "screw feeling good. You're running and it's supposed to be hard! You can feel good afterward, when you're having beer and a cupcake. Now suck it up and move, you idiot."
So that was my mindset on Saturday. The first mile was 8:20. Every time I saw my mile splits, I knew I wasn't slowing down at all. I got to the 5th mile and saw the time was around 42 minutes-I forget exactly. But I realized I could definitely beat my time in the mini 10K the week before so I kept pushing myself. When I crossed the 6 mile point, I saw the clock was at 50 or 51 something, and I knew I could beat the week prior fairly significantly. Plus, the end is easy to run fast-it was on the grass, there were tons of cheering people, etc. I felt like I was flying, and saw that the clock said 52:16 when I crossed the finish line, but I wasn't sure what time I'd started. Turns out my official time was 51:57, over 2 minutes faster than the week before! 8:21/mile! I placed 94th out of 494 women, so that was cool too. Now I need to get some friends to do it with me next year!!!
The past two weeks have been crazy busy, plus I had some personal family stuff come up so I've slacked on the blog a bit.
I started my summer track practice! Actually, I've had two sessions at this point. It's weird to think in terms of track workouts again. For the past couple of years, my training plans consist of anywhere from 4-14 miles, sometimes focusing on hills but without any real speed focus at all...I tend to run for distance, not time. The night before practice, the coach (?) Terry, emails the workout to us, I guess so we know what we're getting into. They (so far) consist of a warm-up, a few 800s, a 12-or-1600, and a couple more 800s, starting at 10K pace and finishing the workout at 5K pace. The whole workout is 4-5 miles, and I ride my bike to and from the track. I admit, I run faster than my 10K pace-I have to, to keep up with the others!
Last weekend was the Mini 10K in Central Park, one of my favorite races. I was pretty happy, though not thrilled with my performance: 54:12 (8:44 pace) compared to last year's 58:30, though last year was particularly bad. I recall being miserable and still don't know why. This year, I ran with my lovely friend Sue and we ran at a comfortable (but not too) pace for the first 4 miles, and then picked it up and steadily passed people pretty much the rest of the course. I'm always happy when Sue is with me when I'm running hills because she shares my "the hills are my friend!" mantra. :) Look at our cute racing skirts!
Last night I ran 7 miles, with 16 minutes of interval work at the end: 30 seconds high intensity, 90 seconds low, using an interval app I added to my phone. That was pretty tough: after just two rounds of high intensity I didn't think I'd be able to finish all 8. My last two were definitely a little weak, but I did them! And tomorrow morning is my 3rd track workout already!
This weekend I have the Shelter Island 10K out in the East End. I'm pretty excited, as I heard about this race in 2010 and this is my first time running it. Pros and cons from what I hear/read:
-Ranked as one of the 10 most beautiful courses in America, by Runner's World
-Hills-yes, I consider this a pro because it's a fairly hilly course, but not crazy
-It starts at 5:30 in the afternoon. I really prefer morning races, so I can enjoy the rest of the day.
-Only 3 water stations-really, in June? In an afternoon race?
I'd like to do as well as, or slightly better than last week's 10K. I probably won't be racing hard though, since afternoon/evening runs aren't my thing, and there may be some beer earlier on in my day :) However, depending on what the plan for the day is I may try to get a few miles in that morning, or Friday afternoon. Updates to come!
Great Memorial Day weekend, even though I only got one run in. On Saturday, I did about 4 miles in Mattituck, on the North Fork. It was cloudy and comfortable when I started but by the time I was halfway through, the sun had come out and it was hot! I was super sweaty when I got back, which felt great. Pretty much the rest of the weekend was spent sitting by a pool or on a boat, with lots of beer drinking thrown in.
I slept in today, but I'll run tomorrow morning and I start track practice on Thursday morning so I'm excited about that...excited being a relative term.
I've been thinking about marathon training, which officially starts in about a month. I have a couple of ideas for specific workouts I want to do to prepare. The track workouts should be helpful for speed but I've heard a lot about how daunting the 59th St (Queensboro) Bridge is when you hit the 15th mile. I'll let this speak for itself:
most daunting hills in U.S. races, ranked in descending order.
Where It Hits:Just before 15 miles
How Long, How Hard:.75 miles, rising 110 feet, 2.78 percent
grade How to Conquer It:"Save yourself for that bridge
because it's almost as tough as the final miles in Central Park," says
Steve Jones, who won the New York City Marathon in 1988 by opening a big gap up
this climb. "Don't pick it up at the apex; you've still got 10 miles to go."
My plan: know my enemy. I've mapped out a long run that takes me across 4 East River bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and 59th St), totaling 16-18 miles (there are some places that can be cut out if I'd prefer to end with some work in Central Park), with the 59th Street Bridge coming at about the same distance it will in the marathon-I know I can get some other crazy friends to run it with me! I also plan to spend one or two days just doing repeats of the bridge, over and over.
Ok, I gave in today and signed up for one of Jack Rabbit Sports' summer training programs. I'll be at the East River track at 6:30 am on Thursday mornings this summer, working on speed. Ugh. The track is 1.5 miles from my front door, so I'll have a good warm-up and cool down I suppose! I know I need to focus on speed work, and it's quite possibly my least favorite thing to do so I figured the $100 investment will force my hand. I run by that track pretty frequently and have run on it a few times but seriously...I hate sprinting so much! However last September I ran the 5th Ave mile dash just because it was a marathon qualifier. I was hoping to run it in 8 minutes, since 8:30 was my typical mile pace. I ended up doing it in 6:30, so I admit I'm pretty interested to see how I do after this summer!
One other thing-I mentioned previously that I'd been having some ankle pain when I run. I was kind of nervous about that because I figured it would just get worse once I start really training and I didn't feel like I had to time to just take a complete break. Katie (thanking her again!) suggested compression socks, so I bought two pairs of these Swiftwick socks from The Clymb. They're amazing! I've worn them for both of my long runs since then, and have no ankle pain at all! To think I was previously seeing my physical therapist for this.
The Brooklyn Half was yesterday! This is now my 3rd half-marathon in a year (this includes last year's BK, which was technically less than 365 days ago). So here's how it went down.
On Friday I tried to have carbs with each meal-not tons, but enough to keep me fueled the next day. That night I went out to dinner with Zack and Katie (pasta, of course!) and stayed at their place because it's only a 1/2 mile from the start-I live 45 minutes from it and that was really stressful last year. We all got up at 5am, were out the door by 6, and met up with friends. The starting area was super crowded but really did seem well organized. This was a new course, so I wasn't sure how it was going to work out-it looked really twisty on the map and most people I talked to felt like those turns would get crowded and slow people down. But that didn't happen-there was none of that "oh, we're running...no we're not...we're off!...nope, slowing down again...ok, finally we're actually running." As soon as we started running, we stayed that way for the next 13.1 miles.
I ran with Katie the entire time-I rarely run with people, and certainly didn't think I'd be up for running that distance with someone-I'm always afraid I'll feel like one of us is holding the other back. But I'm so glad Katie was there, because she'd trained so much better than I had. A couple of times, I thought I was going to have to fall back, and even told her at one point that I didn't think I could stay at that pace. She pointed out that we were going up a hill and to wait and see how I felt after that. Her pacing was incredibly helpful to me because I think that without the friendly competition, I wouldn't have stayed at that pace the entire time.
It was hot out and I think we took advantage of every fluid station after mile 4 or 5-especially important along Ocean Parkway. After the 8th mile, I would get a cup of Gatorade, then water, and feel awesome for about a half mile then start wondering when we'd get to the next one! I also started to feel a little heavy with all of that Gatorade in me! But honestly, at that point the miles seemed to go by pretty quickly and we were feeling good. We both picked it up in the last mile (hard not to with all of the cheering and "only 800 meters to go!" signs) and definitely pushed it in the final stretch. Crossing the finish line felt amazing, and it was definitely the proudest I've felt in quite awhile! We found out we'd finished in 1:55:08. I'd wanted to beat last year's time which was...1:55:09. So I guess I did that, just barely! Big thanks to Katie for keeping me going!!!
No pictures yet, so here's a hilarious and awful picture of Katie and I finishing the women's mini last year!
Immediately post race we met back up with friends, then Fiona and I went with her friend Ali to find beer and the rest were supposed to join us but the cell towers were sucking and we didn't find each other again. Boo. :( But Fi, Ali, and I did have a couple of beers on the boardwalk near the finish line-probably smarter than last year's funnel cake and pina colada!
WARNING: I'm about to ramble: I haven't been as consistent in my training as I'd like to be. I've been pretty good about my long runs, and really proud of the couple of +14 mile runs I've gotten in over the past month or so-it feels amazing! However, I've been slacking on my shorter runs during the week. It's hard with school-really, really hard. I did so well last week when I didn't have classes or homework, so I know exactly what my problem is. Do I focus more on school, which includes getting plenty of sleep-and you know, is probably more important for my future? Or focus more on running, because succeeding there makes me feel so damn good? Ok, honestly school wins out but it's still hard for me to accept that I can't progress in my running the way I'd like. I try to keep in mind that this isn't my job, it's something that I like to do and I'm proud of it, but I don't need to beat myself up about it.
I'm amazed by how much more productive I'd be in my running life if it weren't for school! Last week after my final, I worked out every day except for Wednesday. Three runs, two spin classes, and some weight sessions. I also made the most of my one-of-two weekends of no school and no studying. The weather was gorgeous, I went for a long run, got a pedicure, sat on my roof deck with frozen yogurt and a magazine, went out to dinner with some girlfriends, sat on my roof again with the NY Times, and went out to dinner with another girlfriend (where we happily consumed a chocolate peanut butter sandwich and a peanut butter brownie sundae, followed by...margaritas. Weird).
I feel pretty ready for the BK half, although I do need to get in two 4-5 mile runs this week...but the bugs are out and I'm terrified of running in the park and getting eaten alive. Side note: I hate mosquitoes so, so much. I am always the person in a group getting bit. This race won't be my best ever, but I'd love to beat last year's time of 1:55:something. I did better in October, 1:53:something but I was training more consistently then. I learned my lesson in BK last year though-remember to fuel! My body almost completely gave out at around the 9th mile and I really struggled through those last few! My plan is to eat a gel pack at 5 and 9, and take advantage of the Gatorade stations. And then enjoy the rest of the day eating and drinking with friends!
I plan to really think about my marathon training plan after this weekend, and will post my thoughts on that then...
Last night I finished my first semester of grad school! I have had a hella productive two days: Monday
Work (on time!)
Out to celebrate with my school colleagues...got home way too late but it was fun! Tuesday
Due to getting home too late, did not run in the AM
7 drizzly miles in Central Park
Now I'm off to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes with my favorite Australian!
I'm hoping my two week break from school will help me get back on track with running consistently. I'm working on my Master's in real estate development at the Schack Institute at NYU. I plan/hope to be done at the end of 2014-it sounds so far away by I know it will fly by-the first semester sure did! And I am taking a class over the summer but it's only one night a week so I'm really looking forward to more free time for summer fun and outdoor happy hours!
This weekend was my company's 3rd annual work retreat to Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. It's always a fun weekend...there are 85 miles of hiking trails on the grounds, the resort is gorgeous, the staff is amazing, the food is delicious, and the beds feel like clouds!
I'd been looking forward to this weekend because last year, while training for the Brooklyn half, I ran about 11 miles on the mountain here. It felt so good because it can be tough to find very hilly routes when you train mostly in Manhattan! Plus, 11 miles in the mountains? I felt invincible! Unfortunately, my ankles have been really bothering me lately, and it's gotten to the point where even short, 5-6 mile runs leave my ankles feeling really sore and I definitely notice it more after hills. I have a hard time giving myself a break due to injury (not a tough time giving myself a break due to tiredness!) but I decided to be smart since this is marathon year and give my ankles a break.
I still ended up getting a couple of decent workouts-a hike on Saturday and a really fun but tough 45 minute rock scramble on Sunday. That one used a lot of upper body and glute strength! It's called The Labyrinth, with sections of it named the Lemon Squeeze and Fat Man's Misery. I don't mind heights (see me over there, a few hundred feet above the ground!--->) but am not a fan of small spaces. However, I was mostly ok in these tight spaces because I could still feel that I was outside, above ground, even with 10 tons of boulder just inches above me!
I've had this blogger account forever, but (apparently) never posted anything...and since my other long neglected blog is exclusively about baking, I've decided to take this one up again. I'm not even publishing this one yet, because I'm not entirely sure what it will be about...running, working on my master's degree, and trying to have fun in general? We'll see! This would have been a lot more fun last year, when I traveled to 5 different countries and had an "awesome things to do in 2011" list. But alas...
Running...well, I've been accepted and have registered for the NYC marathon. I remember the very first time I watched the marathon. I was staying on the same block as the halfway point in Queens, just as the runners come out of Brooklyn. I just went down the street to get coffee and couldn't cross the street. I think I ended up standing out there for at least an hour, just yelling and cheering for people-I thought it was so cool! I said to my (at the time) boyfriend that I really wanted to run it...but umm, I think I could run two miles, tops! It wasn't until a few years later that I decided "I want to be a runner," made a $100 bet with a friend (please note, he never did pay my winnings), signed up for the Brooklyn half-marathon, and the rest is history (with various injuries thrown in). This is my year :)
Post Brooklyn Half 2011 (funnel cake and pina colada for recovery!)
Three hours post Brooklyn Half 2011
More to come, as I figure out how to entertain via blog posts!