Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wintertime Love

while it warmed up a hair today, meaning it actually got to the freezing mark, it was not raining, snowing, sleeting, or wintery mixing. Nope, nothing but cold air.
Today was 9 miles, 4 at tempo. It's gotten into my head that I don't like tempo runs. I don't know what I think that. I think they're going to be hard and they're going to hurt and I generally don't look forward to them. I do them and I get going and really, they're not that bad.
I was shooting for 8-8:10 pace. All but the 2nd mile, which included Cat Hill, were 7:56 pace. Cat Hill was 7:59. My heart rate always flirts with the 180s when I'm doing Cat Hill. That's fine. I'm trying not to be such a slave to the HR this time around. The only exception really is recovery runs. I want to run those like I should, slowly.
Another plus of today is my weight. Ok, I know for a lot of non runners (and maybe even some runners) this may sound silly. Due to RWOL (Runner's World On Line) and some shenanigins that go on over there, I made a goal of loosing 5 lbs. I know it doesn't sound like a lot. For a long time, my weight hovered in the 1-teens. When I went to Big Sur, I did what just about everyone I know who goes out there does: I gained weight. I had a hard time getting it off too. goal is to get down to 120. I was a bit over 124 when I started this, closer to 125. I weighted myself this morning and I was 120.4. Granted, I think most scales are a bit off, I am very happy to see my weight be 120. This has almost all come from just eating better. I know I'm in good shape, lack of burning calories certainly isn't an issue. I have made an effort to eat less crap and be more aware of when and what I ate. So far so good! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

slip slidin away

I woke up to the sound of snowblowers very early this morning. I'm guessing around 6am. The school across the street in anal in it's snow clearing. I'm glad for this since it's on a hill, a hill I run up all the time. I looked out the window, and sure enough. Snow. A fair amount of it. Luckily, the temps were a bit up from where they had been.
Today was an easy 5. I had planned to run with my uptown during the day running pals. Everyone showed up though I am guessing it would have been hard to get out there if we had not already made a plan. When we left at 10, the snow had turned to rain. Central Park was mostly clear, just slushy. I was so wet when I got home. I'm glad it was only 5.
Yesterday I did 10. I rearranged my plan this week because of the half I ran on Sun. Tomorrow I'm planning on 9, 4 at tempo. I just hope everything doesn't turn into a sheet of ice.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fire and Ice

Ok, today was...oh man, there are no words. Insane? Crazy? Stupid? Frozen? I do not think I have ever raced in such cold. When I lined up at the start, the clock over Central Park said 14 degrees. The windchill made it feel like 5.
People, that is not right. On so many levels. 
Today was the Manhattan Half marathon, the first in the series of 5 halfs in NYC. One in each borough. I've run all of them though never in the same year. NYRR capped this race at 5000 people and it filled. I though, ok,this weather is stupid maybe 3000 will show up. Well, NYers have a reputation for a reason. Even with this weather, 4506 people came out to run.
I got up a little after 6 this morning. Ate and met up with Rachel, a new woman in my club who lives 2 blocks away. So convenient. We split a cab to the start. I did a 1.5 mile warm up and to get a bit closer to my 15 miles for the day. I ended up running 14.5 today which puts me more miles than degrees. I think I've done that maybe once before a few years ago when I ran when it was 3 out.
Anyway, because my body has a sense of humor (those who have been reading along at home for a while know this) I have my period. This is very common for me when I have a race that I'm actually TRYING to race. Today, I was TRYING to race. Even in these crappy conditions.
Somehow, I sweat like mad even when it's below freezing. Mile one, off with the gloves, some where in mile 3, off with the hat. Even though I couldn't feel my face, I could tell sweat was freezing in my hair. By the time I was done, I have an icicle hanging from my head where once was a ponytail.
I thought the course was going to be the same course they used at Grete's. I was wrong. It went counterclockwise and ended on the east side in the transverse. I've run countless races in CP, and several halfs. I've never run this course. I didn't like it.
I started off with an ok mile 8:31, figured I'd ease into it. Mile 2 was the same with Cat hill. After that, I was hoping to pick it up. I would from time to time but never felt like my motor would really go. I think it was a combination of things. 
I finished in a time of 1:50:51, a PR by about 90 seconds. My goal was to run closer to 1:48. I know that is well within what I'm capable of but we have to run with what we've got on race day. I do think I'm on track for a good spring marathon and I'm happy about that.
A few other notes, Rachel ran a 1:42! 11 minute PR!!!! And I met internet superstar, Squirrel at the start. 
Race 2 of the series is n 2 weeks in Da Bronx. We'll see what I have on that day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

...but it's over now

Last night, I stayed up til midnight, I usually dont do that. Then I didn't fall asleep until 1. I woke up at 5. Coulnd't get back to sleep til 6:30. Slept til 8. This is not ideal.
I then went out in the very cold and stood with my neighbors in Harlem to watch Obama be sworn in and, even better, Bush be finally done for good. It took me several hours to finally warm up.
I really really thought about skipping my work out. I thought seriously about not running at all. It's tough to get going starting out tired.
The work out tonight was 5x1000 with 400 rest. Magic McMillan says I should be shooting for 4:32-4:41. Pretty generous range. I was happy for that. 
When I got up to the Armory, which is known for it's weird choice of music, there was just that. I then realized they were showing the Inauguration parade on the jumbotron. At the track. Now that's pretty cool.
First one: 4:35 
I thought, ok, if I can stay there, I'll be happy
two: 4:32 wow, even faster!
4:32 here I am being steady
4:32 AGAIN!
Last one. Now I know I've talked about the nap lap. It hasn't happened. I didn't want it to happen on the last one. By now, I'm tired mostly from lack of sleep not killing myself on the track.
Last one: 4:28!!!!!
Well, I certainly didn't fall asleep on that one! I was very very happy with my workout. Really tired and glad it was over when I was done, but happy with the result.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gang of 5

Man, I am not use to this stomach biz. It's still not 100%. I don't want to each much which makes planning on running a long run well difficult. I also really didn't want to take any gels on my run. I could have gotten through without, but the tank was already low.
When I woke up this morning, big fluffy flakes of snow were falling from the sky. So pretty out the bedroom window.
14 was the plan of the day. 4 other Front Runner ladies were going me. 3 of us did the whole 14, 2 others did 10. The park was a bit slushy but runnable. Tons of people out and totally beautiful. Maybe a hair slower than I would have liked, but with the way I've felt the last few days, not bad.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Ah another balmy day here in NYC. A lovely 7 degrees, with a -1 windchill. I had an easy 4 recovery run so I wasn't out there too long. Uneventful.
I has some slight concern since Loren made a homemade pizza on Thurs. night. There was some rebellious cheese on it. I spent most of yesterday morning loosing my insides. Never fun. Usually, I have an ironclad stomach. I don't know what happened. It did get me 1.5lb close to my goal weight of 120. I would not recommend this method.
I was a bit worried I wouldn't have enough energy to run this morning since eating was not high on my list of things to do yesterday but I managed ok.

One really cool thing about today, my club, Front Runners, had Mary Wittenberg, prez. and CEO
of New York Road Runner pay us a visit. Mary's making the rounds to all the big clubs in NYC to talk to runners about their concerns and get feedback. I think it's an awesome idea. She was direct and honest about why NYRR has made some of the changes they've made and was very open to suggestions and feedback.
After the general talk, a few of us talked to her about getting more people in Harlem running which she is really into. Of all the places I've run in NYC, people in Harlem ask me about it more, kids run along side with me more, people are friendlier. It took some getting use to at first but I think it's pretty cool. It says to me yes there is an interest up here, people just dont always now how to get started. Over all, I was impressed.

Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to rehydrate and eat after yesterday's battle.
Tomorrow is a nice 14 miler I'll be doing with a whole crew of winter running ladies.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Today was a run of the mill 10 miler. Though it was 2o degrees and felt like 8. Yesterday I did a 4 mile recovery run while it was 17 and felt like -1. I'm plenty warm out there, even had icicles in my hair from sweating today.
But ya know what, I think I have to work harder when it's this cold. Or maybe I was having a slow day. I dunno. I wasn't pushing it though I was by no means going fast. Now I'm just pretty tired.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hazy Shade of Winter

There are a few things to get outa the way before I get into today's most excellent run.
1. It's my birthday.
2. I was born in a snow storm in South Bend, IN so I think that makes me a natural for cold weather running.
3. I would like a cupcake if not an entire cake from Cupcake Cafe. While cupcake joints are popping up in NYC quicker than hipsters can say they are no longer cool, they can all suck the cupcake cafe's candle.

Now, on to my birthday run.  Tuesday is usually track night. Koach Kelsey has a great work out on tap, 5x1 mile. First 3 at half marathon pace, last 2 and desired 10k pace. To get you working hard late in the miles. Since I will be taken out and showered with love, affection, and sushi tonight, I am skipping the workout. Instead, I went with Pfitz' work out for the day. 8 miles, 4 tempo. This should be done at about 15k pace. According to McMillan, I should be around 8 minute pace. I remember doing this back in June and wanting to absolutely die. Granted it was hotter than hell and today was a lovely 36 (felt like 28 with the wind) it was hard. I remember it being really hard. Today? Not so hard. It went like this:
3 mile warm up. I know myself well enough to know I need a long warm up.
mile 1 7:53   
mile 2 7:57
mile 3 8:04 (this included Cat Hill so I'm ok with that time)
mile 4 7:59
1 mile cool down back home.
NOT BAD! I'm actually pretty happy with it. While my HR may have been a bit high (around 180) for the tempo part, I'm gonna let that go. I certainly didn't feel like I was working too hard or killing myself. I dont know how much humidity factors in when it's cold, but the humidity was 62%.

In other news, months back, I started loosing a toenail. Yup, that lovely thing runners deal with. Actually, in all my running years, I've only lost one other and it was right after my first marathon in 1999. Little toe. This is my big toe. It came disconnected on the right side of my toe but not the left. It's like a barndoor toenail. So this morning I cut off the part that's not connected. I'm not sure that was a  great idea. Oh well, too late now. The new one is already growing in and it gave me nary a bother when I ran this morning.

Monday, January 12, 2009

week 2 take 2

Yesterday I finished up week 2 of official spring marathon training. So far I've learned a few things. 
1. I dont really mind running in the cold. I actually kind of like it. There are less people out and as long as I'm dressed properly, it's not so bad.
2. I still chafe. I didn't realize that body glide would be needed when it's below freezing. I still sweat like Shaq.
3. People over the age of 12 should not play kickball. Even if they're dressed like this.
I wrapped up week 2 with a 13 mile run in philly with philly running pal and internet superstar Girl In Motion. We ran on Forbidden Trail in Philly and it was great. I love running in new places, it just makes the miles fly by since I have no idea where I am. 
Loren, continuing her long run streak, did 10 with us. I was a little stiff in the hips from the aforementioned kick ball, but that didn't keep me from having a good run.
I think I'm ahead of where I was last time around.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I know that it's a heartquake

My last training cycle, I was a bit of a slave to my heart rate. I tried to do all my runs at the prescribed, ala Saint Pfitz, heart rate. The good side of this is it keep me from running too hard too often. The downside, did I run too slowly too often. I'm not really sure. This time around, I want to try and pick up the pace on most of my runs. Recovery runs excluded of course. I know there's a benefit to the slow boring slog of recovery running. I'm just unsure how much I should throw the heart rate out the window. I dont wanna be out there pushing 90% all the time. Comments and suggestions welcome.
I know endurance is not an issue for me. I do want to gain a bit more speed. Looking back to the first 2 weeks of my last training cycle, I'm already running faster. I just dont want it to come back to bite me in the ass.

Anyway, this morning did not go as planned mostly because of last night. Even though I was in my bed by 10pm, I didn't fall asleep until 1. Then the alarm went off before 7. I thought I had turned it off but I hit snooze so it went off again. Then Loren called me a little after 8. I barely remember the conversation because all I could think about was going back to sleep so I did. Until almost 9:30. I didn't get out for my 10 mile run until noon! NOt what I had planned!
The run was good. I did a bit of a progression run. I was hoping to do my last 3 miles under 9 minute pace. I miscalculated running in the park so my last mile was a hilly one around Harlem that was 9:07 pace. Oh well, close enough. 10 miles at 9:15 pace.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Nap Lap

Whenever I do intervals, there's usually one that I seem to fall asleep during. I don't know what happens. I get tired or distracted or something and I look at my watch and think WTF happened there? After that, I'm usually back on track.
Tonight's track work out was 4x1600 with 400 recovery, to be done at half marathon pace. Right now, I have no idea what half marathon pace is for me so I figured I'd go out there and run hard but manageable and see how it goes. I also wanted to try to avoid the nap lap which is usually the 3rd or 4th interval depending on how many I'm suppose to do. Tonight I figured it would be the 3rd. 
1st 7:45, 2nd 7:45
and here we go with the third. First, let me say, while I was aware not wanting to snooze on this one, I wasn't out there like OH MY GOD RUN FASTER. I was trying to keep my effort consistent. 
3rd: 7:40
Well, ok, that was fast than the first 2. Where did that come from? Last one. Same thing, go out, run even maybe shoot for 7:45 again. Yea, I was tired but not going to fall over and die, I wasn't struggling.
4th: 7:40
Very happy with how that went. I dont think I'll be running a half marathon at this pace any time soon though I do have one coming up in a few weeks. I think it's reasonable to shoot for 8:15-8:20s. We'll see.

In other news, Hi Loren. I know you like to be mentioned in my blog.
Oh and I just added that counter on the side.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

round and round

So, did I mention I actually signed up for the NJ marathon? Because I did. This means training has started. 
Today was my pfitz prescribed 12 miler. I headed out around 10 this morning, it was 31 degrees. Warmer than it's been for my last few runs! I think something fell on Loren's head recently. She came with me. For those who dont know, 12 is far for my greyhound of a girlfriend though lovely to have the company. I am actually enjoying running in this winterish weather, as long as I dress right. The other day's 25 degree day left me over dressed and chaffed. I think it beats the 90 degrees with 90% humidity I dealt with in August. We'll see if I'm singing this tune in March.
While going up Cat Hill, I saw a few folks with cameras and huge lenses. I looked up to see possibly the biggest hawk I've ever seen (except the Eagle Hawk I saw in South Africa). He was just perched on top of a tree. When we came around again a few miles later, he was still there. Loyal readers may have noticed I mention the hawks a lot. I love them, I love seeing them, I love that they are all over Central Park. It's much easier to spot them when the trees are bare. They are so strong and beautiful and yet very fragile. 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Brrrr year

It's cold. Really cold. 25 with a windchill of 12. I waited until late in the afternoon to run. Loren and I headed out at 3 for a 9 mile run through Central Park. About a mile in, we ran into fellow Front Runner Phil (Hi Phil!). This seems to be a theme for me in the last few weeks.
Even though it is cold out, I felt really good. While the fountains are off, I carry a small fuel belt bottle in my jacket. I think I could do with drinking more however. I averaged 9:08 pace. Not too bad.

So it's here. Marathon training. I've been waffling about training, plans, being ready to get going into this again. Right now, I've got Pfitz to follow. I think, however, I'm going to do a bit of mix and match with Pfitz and Koach Kelsey. It's still all rolling around in my head.

While it is really cold out, I still manage to sweat like mad. So now I have to get these wet clothes off and get in the shower.