Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day on Long Island

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:

Sublime Climbs
The greatest, 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. 

Gratuitous "I'm on a boat" picture

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

First step to marathon prep!

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. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2012

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.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Last night I finished my first semester of grad school! I have had a hella productive two days:
Work (on time!)
Out to celebrate with my school colleagues...got home way too late but it was fun!
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!