Friday, October 31, 2008

But without your love I wont make it through

Running this marathon has to be the dumbest idea I've had in a long time. 
Really, it's not a good one.

I picked up my number.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

standing on the edge of it in a cool thick sweat

Another chilly night.
I ran a short 5 with a team mate who wanted to run the last few miles of the course. I pointed out where are team is at mile 24, the 25 mile marker, where the ONE MILE TO GO sign is, explained how the slight incline on 59th street will feel like a mountain since it's the last mile.
Truth is, I love this race.  I always have. I've never run it well and I dont really care.
The NYC Marathon is so different for NYers. If I were an outa towner, I dont think I'd like it very much. But I sleep at home, run, then go home. I see all my running friends. The whole weekend is one big crazy running party, even when I dont run.

But that's enough about that, I have to go watch the Phillies, my childhood love, win the World Series.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My life will be forever Autumn

When I ran on Sat, I nearly stripped down to my bra is was so humid and nasty.
Today is a whole new nasty. It's 40 out and feels like 25. It's raining and it's really windy. 
I went and ran 4 miles. It's that kind of day, the park is empty except for dog walkers and a few of us trying to dodge the next downpour.
I've been in the house all day and just needed to get out. I wore tights and a jacket, first time since I'd guess March or April. 
I ran easy though my HR rate seemed higher than it should have been for the effort, I'm guessing it's the weather.
My plan for this week was to follow the last week of Pfitz, race week. I'm going to modify it a bit and cut the miles a little. I ran 4 instead of 6 today. Tomorrow is dress rehearsal day which should be 7 with 2 at marathon pace. I dont even know what my MP will be. I might do 5-6 with 2 faster miles. It should be nicer out tomorrow. I'm also  seeing PT Pete. I'm looking forward to that, I haven't seen him since before Steamtown and my ankle's been a little stiff.
And now for a bath, of the warm variety. I think the only ice bath I'll be taking for the rest of the year will be Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

there's no need for you to fear me if you take your time to hear me, maybe you can learn to cheer me

I wanted to run 12 today to see how the double digits would feel 13 days after Steamtown. My plan was to run the last few miles of the course then do it again, running the last 3-5 miles at 8:30-8:35 pace. 
I thought the humid days were behind us. I was wrong. Man, it was nasty out there today. I stopped at mile 7 (chased by a bear!!!!) And the minute I stopped, the sweat just started pouring out of me like it was summer.
The week before the marathon. The bleachers are going up at the finish line. People are starting to come to town. It's like the whole city is caught up in taper madness. There were several groups of people running down 5th ave and back into the park and out again, not a usual running route but that's how the marathon take us.
I felt really good. My legs got a little tired towards the end. I think that was a combination of the humidity and I had some trouble eating this morning. My stomach was a little unsettled. Oh yea, and I ran a marathon almost 2 weeks ago. Minor detail.
Tomorrow will be an easy recovery run. I'm heading down for some good food and some hangin out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Off to work I go, back to this 8 Mile Road

Did I just quote eminem? Yes I did.  Do I like him? Why no I dont.
Did I run 8 miles this morning? I sure did. I ran 8 miles, and within that, I ran the last 4 miles of the NYC marathon. This by no means means I will RUN NYC in just a few short days. 
I actually felt great. This was the best run I've had since Steamtown.
While I was out on these 4 miles on the course, I remember the first time I saw the NYC Marathon. I had moved to NYC in 1989 for school. I had a standing date with my friend Jen, we went to the Met every Sunday to draw. I lived on west side and would cross the park to get to the east side. That meant, crossing the marathon. Where I crossed was around mile 24. Little did I know that the people out manning that water station would later be my team mates.  FRNY has been manning the 24 mile water station since 1982.
That day, I stood there watching people chug by. Mile 24 things aint pretty. The thing that sticks out in my mind about that day was the 1 legged runner. We're talking almost 20 years ago, long before fake legs were made for running. He was out there gimpin through it and I was totally amazed.
I never though I'd run a marathon. I remember in HS my cranky cross country coach talking about NY and Boston and I stood there going, no way, 5k is about all I can take thank you.
Oh how wrong I was.
IF I run NYC, it will be my 4th time. It will also be my 10th marathon. I know I am lucky living here are far as the marathon goes, I have home court advantage. I dont have to go with the lottery of over 100k people trying to get one of 40k spots. NYRR, for the most part, is good about giving NYers an easier way to run the hometown race.
This wasn't always the case. The first year I ran, 1999, you still had to get an application and it was pretty much first come first served. Everyone went to the 24 hour post office on 34th st to wait til midnight to get their application  postmarked. It was crazy, a total scene. Like tax day for runners. Lucky for me, I got in that year. That might have been the last year they had all that craziness.
I keep saying I will make my decision about running the day before. Well, maybe 2 days before. I keep checking the weather and I want to make sure I feel recovered enough that I'm not suffering for 26.2 miles. I know that's all relative. Until then, I'm running as if.
I really wish I could remember where I got that phrase. I know it was from my hippie time out at Esalen, I just can't remember who said it.
Act as if________
So, I'm acting as if I'm running.
And I'll let you all know if I actually am.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On the road again

After 2 days of not running, I hit the road again last night. A nice easy 4 mile recovery run with my club. I ran with a few old friends and 2 women, I swore to them I dont usually run like I have  a poll up my ass.
The amazing thing about recovery runs:
They work.
Yes, I was sore when I started and sore after but I woke up this morning and I'm not sore anymore. My toenail is still oozing, but oh well.
I'm excited to be running again. 
Though I am getting nudges from people about running NYC, I'm sticking to my plan of not making any decisions yet. I wanna see how I feel the next few days and maybe do a 12 next weekend.

Monday, October 13, 2008

baby we were born to run-steamtown 08

So this is it.  The Steamtown Marathon has been my goal race all year. 18 weeks of training leading up to this. I cut my tri season to 2 early season races and then just focused on running, something I think I have only done for 1 other marathon, my first in 1999.
This was a new challenge for me, only running, and upping my milage to a peak of 55 miles a week (I know, sounds crazy to run for a marathon right?).
So the time was now. Or this weekend, or you know what I mean.
I left for beautiful Scranton, Pa late Sat. morning. Due to logistical issues, Loren couldn't come and I caught a ride with an on line pal, which was a life saver.
we went right to the expo where I finally met long time internet penpal Girl In Motion (also known as Flo). Flo and I have been chatting on line for months, had the goal for the race, and even though had never met in person, decided to give running together a shot.
I also met up with my mom, race support expert. After the expo, we headed to my friend Bob's house. I ran into Bob on a run last Friday, when he heard I was going to running in Scranton, he offered up his house. Totally awesome to have a little getaway. 
Finding it however...that's another story. Let it be known Scranton has the worst signage I have ever seen and I really didn't think it was possible to get so lost in a 3 mile radius. Every time you went anywhere.
We went to dinner Sat night, a little meet up of online folks who were doing the race.
Once Mom and I found the house again, it was early to bed.
For hours of tossing and turning. And a dream that I lost my shoes and someone told me "well, there's a reason for you to not finish again". My mind playing an evil trick on my about my DNF in Philly last fall.
I was up at 5:30. I met Flo at the buses to the start at 6:15. We rode over to the high school and did last morning pre race rituals. It was a really nice morning, the temps. hovering in the 40s. A perfect start. Before I knew it, we were lined up and ready to go.
The civil war cannon was fired, and off we went.
Flo and I decided to start together, with the clear understanding of we'll see how this goes and really let's all run our own races.
I did not want to go out to fast. While this course has a reputation of being hugely down hill, and it is, I didn't want to be trying to keep my legs from falling of at mile 12 because I ran the downhills too fast. I already know what it feels like to go out too fast.
So we were off. I kept saying "ok, nice and easy" out loud, mostly for my own benefit.
My goal was to qualify for Boston, I would need to run a 3:45:59, 8:37 pace. I wanted to take the first 3 miles slow then slowly pick it up. Nothing crazy.
All my mile splits are from my Garmin, they may vary by a second or so.
1 8:50
2 8:55
3 8:43
This seemed like a good start. Then we get to some real down hills. I'm all for working the down hills, I just told myself to stay in control
4 8:13
Ok, that's a little much
5 8:41
6 8:36
I was feeling good. I made sure to drink. It was my plan to take 4 gels. I knew there were plenty of water stations, I just wasn't totally sure where they were. I took my first gel between miles 4-5. The amazing this about this race, it had just over 1500 runner, so I think it's the smallest marathon (pure marathon, Ironmans are about that size) I have ever run. And the crowd support was amazing. Everywhere there were unofficial aid stations, people out with water, gatorade, bananas, oranges, candy, hoses, it was really awesome.
My mental dialogue continued. Somewhere around this time, Flo pulled a little ahead of me. Not far, I could always see here.
7 8:42
8 8:28
9 8:35
Things were feeling good. I was focusing on my form, on staying in control. I knew that all the stars would have to align and I'd have to run a perfect race to hit my goal. There were a few things that did linger in the back of my mind that I was trying to keep from coming to the front on my mind:
My ankle. I didn't hurt, but it did cost me a bit of training.
And since this seems to happen when I have big races, I got my period on Saturday. Always a leg drainer.
10 8:31
11 8:40
12 8:43
13 8:38
At half way, I was a little behind goal pace. I didn't panic or worry about it too much. This race would be whatever it would be, I would just have to run the best I could run on the day I had to run. I kept telling myself that, I didn't want to run a great race and beat myself up if I didn't BQ, I was still trying for it, I just want to run well.
Most of the elevation loss comes in the first half, while it is a lot of downhill, there are als a lot of rolling hills. I know there will be hills at the end and I feel like I've trained for them. I live on the corner of 3 hills. I end almost all of my runs, not matter what the distance, running up hill. There's also a section of trails. Now I love trails. I've heard people talk about this race and complain about them, I was actually looking forward to them. When I got there, I felt myself pick up the pace. It was like a mini cross country race in the middle of the marathon. It was cool and shaded and really beautiful. While I'm not one to care about how my surrounds look during a marathon, because, well, I'm busy running, I will say the fall colors were really putting on a show.
14 8:39
15 8:39
16 8:57
17 8:53
18 9:09
Oh boy, my first over 9 mile. I was slowing. Somewhere around 18 I realized I would have to run my ass off to hit 3:45. I stayed calm about it. I didn't calculate how fast I would have to run or if I could. I thought, well, maybe this isnt going to happen today, we'll see. I'm going to just run steady and do what I can do. If nothing else, I will PR.
19 8:59
20 9:05
20 miles. The marathoner half way mark. The point when I tell myself there is a lap of Central park to go. That's it.  A lap of the place you have run more than any place in your life, the place where you have logged at least 700 of the over 1000 miles you have run this year.
That's all that's left. I feel myself try to find another gear.
21 9:08
ok, so maybe I have to stay in the gear I'm in. 
The thing that amazes me, even though this race has 1500 people and only about a third of them are women, I am never alone. There are always people running near me and most of the time, they are women. And I think that is pretty cool. I read a stat that said last year, only 17% of women went under 4 hours in a marathon. I am surrounded by women who are going to go under 4 hours.
22 9:25
Come on legs. We're getting into some tiny hills. The sun is on full blast. I feel the heat rising, it's getting hot and it's getting hot fast. I take my last gel.
I'm now grabbing a lot of fluids even though I've been taking them all along. I've also had 2 salt pills and I feel the coating of salt on my skin. I'm like a running pretzel.
23 brings up a sharp steep though short hill. I charge up it no problem
23 9:28
I know I'm off pace, I wont hit 3:45, I will finish, I'll finish strong, I'll PR.
24, um, who put the hill at mile 24? Everyone talks about the hill at 23 and the hill at 25, middle child hill at 24 gets completely ignored, and believe me, that is NOT FAIR. We're on a nice residential street and everyone is out cheering, people are going wild.
24 9:46
Now I'm telling myself NO 10 MINUTE MILES.
I am also thinking of Loren and her telling me to run brave and all the other support she has given me. And believe it or not, I am thinking about Matthew Shepard, who has now been dead 10 years to the day.
25 9:09
I am running with everything that's left. I see the long hill that starts mile 25. I say to myself. Ok, this is like the North Hills, this is like running in Harlem, you do this all the time. Nice and steady, I'm pushing myself up the hill. I know when I get to the top, there will be a sign that says 26 and I will have a lovely fast .2 miles to go. There's cheering and yelling and chants of almost there (and this time it's really true).
26 9:42
I crest the hill. I start to fly. I can really push a down hill, something I was worried about doing too much of earlier in the race. I can also kick like hell. I am passing everyone in my sights to get to that finish line. Sometimes I think half way starts at mile 26, that last .2 is really what gets ya.
And boom, there's the finish line!
.2 1:41 (that comes out to a 7:39 pace!)
I hit stop, my watch reads 3:53:04, I bested my time well over 3 minutes. I can live with that. I tell myself, and repeat it several times to others: I ran the best race I could run today. And I totally believe that. 
I hear my name and look over to see Flo lounging in a wheel chair. She looks like she just had her ass kicked, and she did a bit. First time marathoner, be glad you only have to be that once. I'm feeling surprisingly good for what I just did. I gather her up and we go to hook up with our support crews.
Then we find Fran, who I rode up with. She also ran a PR of 3:59, gettin under that 4 hour mark for the first time.
Now I'm laying in bed, my quads screaming. I've decided not to make any decisions on what to do next. I have a spot for NYC in 3 weeks. I'm not doing to make that decision now.
Loren and I talked last night about the race, if I want to try and again and when, what it will take for me to hit 3:45, if I can run NYC and really pop one.  What happened and when that got me off my pace. Right now, I can't point to one specific thing. I think I ran smart. Like I said, I just need a day when all the stars align. No, yesterday may not have been it, but 3 minutes? I'll take it, it's 3 minutes closer than I was before.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Ok, here's the low down.
I ran the Steamtown Marathon today.
I ran 3:53. While I didn't get my Boston Qualifying time, I did set a 3 minute PR.
There's a bunch of sushi coming my way, and I will give more race details soon.
Thanks again for everyone's support.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Running to stand still

Well...18 weeks. 
All my running, save a couple of slow nerve calming ones in the AM, is done. I went out and did 5 this morning with a few striders. My heart rate was a bit high, but I think that's nerves and caffine.
I look back and can not believe race day is almost here. I'm very excited. I keep telling myself to go out slow, relax, run smart, I'm ready for this, all that self affirming crap. 
I just have to get through the next few days!
Think of me Sunday morning, and thanks to everyone for your support.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Ok, to keep myself busy, I made a running play list.
Songs about running, songs I listen to while running, all that

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


My run today, totally fine. 7 miles with 2 miles at marathon pace. No problem. I ran in central park and did my 2 miles on rolling hills, it felt nice. The pace was no problem.
But I do have a problem. Or what could turn into one.
My big toe. It's been bruising up for the last week and a half. That's fine. I'm pretty sure I'm going to loose the nail, not unheard of.
What I'm worrying about is it's starting to blister by the cuticle. It doesn't hurt and I hope it stays that way. I'm not sure if I should drain it. It did not hurt when I was running, I'll see how it feels when I'm walking around with shoes on.

I'm seeing PT Pete for the last time before my marathon today.
That should be nice and relaxing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

fall on me

I am so glad  that fall weather is pretty much here. 
I just came back from a 6 mile recovery run. Boring. And at mile 1 I was thinking, this is boring, I wish I hadn't fried my ipod so I could at least get through this with an hour of This American Life. Then a cyclist friend of mine rode up to me and kept me company for a few miles so that made it better.

But kind readers, I have a bigger issue to discuss with you all here today.
A delicate subject some might say. The only adults I have ever heard talk about uncontrollably shitting themselves are runners, triathletes,  people with stock in depends, and adult babies. It's a bit of a joke in the running and tri world, the other two...well...I know nothing about.
Saturday was Grete's Great Gallop, a half marathon celebrating Greta Waitz, 9 time winner of the NYC marathon. 1 time accidental shitter. But hey, if there's a huge novelty check waiting at the finishline with your name on it and a lot of zeros, by all means, let go.
If not. Really. Dont.
I ran this race as my last long run in my training cycle. My goal was to run it as a long run, not fast, comfortable, and to cheer on my teamates as this is a team points race.
At mile 12.5, I passed this woman who was not young. Really not young. And guess what was running all down her legs.
So I though, ok, maybe this happened at like mile 10 and she really wants to finish.
Nope, as I later found out, my friend Hilary passed her at mile 9. In the same condition.
I did noticed that she was also bleeding, mostly likely from the nasty chaffing. The whole thing was so not pretty.
I saw her a few minutes after crossing the finish line giving a half hearted effort to clean herself up.
About 15 minutes laters, I was in the baggage corral with my friend Ishii and we both just looked at each other. I was like oh my god what is that smell?
I turned around, there she was.
Now people, this is a big event as most NYRR races are. There's medical tents, there's volunteers every where. You've got HUMAN SHIT all over yourself, please get someone else to get your bag.
This morning, when I was talking to Hilary and found out that she passed her at mile 9, I also found out that she didn't just get her back and high tale it home, as, I would hope, most people who just shit all over themselves would.
Oh no, there were free waffles and lox to be had, so she just got her stinky ass right in line.
Come on people.
Come on.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Last double digit day.
8 days left.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let me go crazy on you.

First, the run. Easy recovery, 5 miles with 6x100.

Now, taper madness. It's here. At some point last night, the crazies crawled into my head big time. I blame the debate. I suddenly started thinking: I dont need to do this. In fact, I dont want to do this. Let's call the whole things off. Yea, I've trained for 18 weeks and gotten myself in good shape. So what? I dont feel like racing. I dont even LIKE Boston (ok, that part holds the most truth. I really dont like Boston). I guess this is typical. Honestly, I dont know why I keep running marathons.
When I did my first one in 1999, I thought, ok, I'll get this outa the way.
I've done one every year since*
*(I didn't finish last years, but I got one in within the first week of this year).
Anyway, I am trying to ignore the taper gremlins. 
So here's what I do during taper madness:
• Check the forcast
•Check it again
• talk to it and tell it what I really want
• review splits from last marathon
•promise self not to go out too fast.
•look at others splits, see they went out to fast
•promise self not to go out too fast.
•remember if I think I'm starting too slow, chances are I'm starting too fast
•wonder why the hell I picked this race
•over all freak out over everything.

So tomorrow is my last long run, I'm doing Grete's Great Gallop in Central Park, a half marathon, as a long run. Good thing too, I have never run this race well so being intentionally slow, I'll keep with tradition.
And now time to hit the showers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


First, I want to say one of my goals this year was to run 1000 miles. I figured it was doable, I just missed last year.
Well, this morning, I logged my 1000th mile. Months early! Now I think 1200 is easily with in my reach. We'll see after all this marathon biz.
Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, todays workout: 8 miles with 3x1600 (or 1 mile, just a hair longer than 1600 but easier to calculate). I had my typical sluggish warm up so I figured my intervals would be good.
I could tell on my first one, which I did not go out too hard on, that that just was not going to be the case. My goal was to be around 7:20.
7:30. Then 7:38, and let's be honest here, I knew things weren't going well, I phoned in the last one at 7:46. Eh. I finished them.
But can we talk about the 90% humidity? Cause that sure as hell did not help. Nope, not one bit. I'm ready for some more fallish like weather.