Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Running down underground to a dive bar In a West End town

Over the last 7 days, my legs have seen some hard miles. Friday I did my 20 so I could race 10 on Sunday. I found out this morning that I placed 2nd in my age group on Sunday! I am very excited about this. I take an age group place from time to time in small xc races but this was a bigger race (not a huge NYCC race, but a nice size). This weeks big work out calls for 15 miles, 12 at marathon pace. With my fast race on sunday, I went to the McMillan calculator to see what my new, faster paces should be. Now granted, I use this all as a guide, but according to mac, I should be able to run a 3:42:15 marathon, which is 8:29 pace. I decided to use that for my run today. 
Over the past few months, a small and steady group of girls have been meeting for runs at my house at odd hours during the week. We all have flexible schedules, so this has been great. Me, Ishii, Rachel, and Hilary headed out together. It was like having my own personal peleton. Hilary and Rachel went 1 loop of Central park and then were done with their work out. Ishii stayed with me until the bottom of the park and then off she went. I still had 4 more marathon pace miles to do on my own. I was 10 miles in. I never felt like OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO DIE NOW, I actually felt pretty good. Sure, the last few miles were a bit of a challenge. 
When my preset Garmin workout buddy beeped to tell me I was done, I had done 12 miles 1:41:09, 8:26 pace, well ahead of my set 8:29 pace. My garmin did it's little beep with the WORKOUT OVER YOU WON thingie. I am so glad when I don't hit my pace it does not say WORKOUT OVER YOU LOOSE, cause that would suck.
I'm tired. The rest of my week should be much easier. I have a 14 miler and some easy 6s. I'm doing a 5k on Sunday that will just be part of my 6. 
My mom is coming to do the 5k. She's been on the couch to 5k since xmas. She did twist her ankle a few weeks ago which has thrown a wrench in the plan. I'm hoping she'll be able to get through it. If not, we'll get her healed up and looking ahead to another race.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cherry Tree

Well this certainly has been an interesting week. I had a bit of a cold that's been going around early in the week. I was hoping to do my 20 miler earlier in the week because of a 10 mile race I wanted to do today. That didn't work out, I just wasn't up with it so I did 12 on Wed, hoping I'd feel better by Friday to do my 20. HHMMMM, running 20 Friday, racing 10 Sunday. Not ideal but oh well. My idea was to run the 10 as my tempo, warm up 3-4 run the rest tempo.
But I'm jumping ahead. Friday rolls around, I am feeling better. The weather, however, has turned back to it's wintery windy self. It was about 26 with a windchill of 15. This is not what I want to go out and do 20 miles in. Oh well. I loaded up the ipod, put on the Garmin and decided to go out with out a route. I ran around Central Park until I hit 20. I averaged 9:36s. Not bad. It didn't feel bad. I was a bit tired by the end, but that's to be expected, it is 20 miles, the weather is crappy, I'm getting over being sick, and I hadn't run that far since the NYC Marathon. 
Today's 10 miler was out in Prospect Park. It can be done as a 3 person relay or you can do the race of the hardcore and do the whole thing. For those who don't know, Prospect park has no flat areas. At all. It's like a roller coaster which if you do 10, you get to ride 3 times. I love this race. It feels like my whole team comes out to do the relay with more and more people opting for the whole 10 (I sure did miss Muffy's Diving Team this year I must admit). Plus it's small. No chips, nothing fancy, just fun. 
Like I said, my plan was to go out easy and do the last 6-7 miles like a tempo run. Well, plans are meant to not be followed. After a spastic start where my friend Sharon and I couldn't seem to find each other so I could get my number, I was ready to go. I was pretty much pinning it on about 10 seconds before the start. 
And we're off. I looked down at my half assed pinned on number, it was 113. I though, huh, that's cool, my birthday is 1/13, maybe this is a good sign.
 Granted, the first mile is pretty much down hill, I really thought 8:05 was a little fast for what was suppose to be a warm up mile. The big hill would come on mile 2 so I eased up a bit. Up the hill, mile 2 8:32. Ok, that's more like it, for now. Once over the hill, the course goes to rolling. Mile 3 7:53. Ok, so much for warming up, I guess I'm warmed up. Just after mile 3, there's the transition for the relay. I see all the Front Runners there, cheering. 
1 down, 2 to go. 
Our uniforms have a star in a circle on the back. It's a great way to recognize each other from behind. Or it can look like  a target. I see 2 ahead of me. One I know is my friend Les, I'd know that anyway. A 6'3" black man is hard to miss. Next to him, Lynn. Lynn and I consistently run very similar paces. I'm wondering, how on earth is she that far ahead of me? Then I decide I want to catch her. From the looks of it, maybe in the 3rd lap. 
Mile 4 7:36. yea, that's fast, but I did just run that nice down hill that I saw in mile one. Plus now, there's someone I want to catch. 
Mile 5 7:57, starting on the hill. As we get near the top, I close in on Lynn. I call out to her as I pass and we chat for a second. Then I see another Front Runner ahead I ask her who it is but she says she hasn't been able to get close enough to know. Ok, now I have another rabbit.
Mile 6 8:05 with most of the hill.  
Going down the roller again towards mile 7. My other team mate is Meggie who's doing a relay.  In my mind I'm thinking who else on the team is doing 10? Is there anyone ahead of me? Meggie goes into transition and Jess comes flying out for their team's last leg. No way I can stay with her. No way, she's FLYING! 
Mile 7 7:38. Oh yea, that nice start of the last loop down hill! Only one more time up that big hill! I'm running along and hear someone shout GO FRONT RUNNERS! A team mate running the other direction. Not long after he shouts at me, I hear it again. GO FRONT RUNNERS! 
Crap. Who's so close to me?
I turn around, it's Lynn. 
Ok, I passed her once, now I want to hold her off.
Mile 8 8:04 as I start up the hill for the last time. This is it, this is the 3rd time, I dont have to come up this again, just get over it. I'm going through the park in my mind. There's a lot of down hill to come at the end of this. I look at my watch: 1:03:54. Can I get under 1:20? How awesome would that be? I was hoping to be last years time of 1:24:04, really just wanting to get near 1:22 and now I'm thinking about 1:20.
Mile 9 8:13. The big hills are done, one mile to go. 
Just after I pass the 9 mile mark, I see Kieran, another Front Runner, running the other way. He's already finished his 10. He turns around and asks me how I'm doing and what I'm aiming for. I tell him I want to get under 1:20. He looks at his watch and says, ok, let's go. Kieran ran a few feet away from me urging me to move my ass with his sweet Irish voice. Oh I was moving my ass alright, I'm pretty sure I was drooling. I passed a guy I had been yo yoing with the whole race and he let's out a cheer for me. I'm looking at my watch, I'm looking and the small rolling hills, knowing I have one more small corner to go around and it's all down hill. I am flying. As I come in, I can make out the blue and orange of FRNY in a blur. I see the finish and the clock which says 1:19:42 as I cross. I hit my watch which says 1:19:21 (no chip timing). I am dizzy with happiness. Right on my heels is Lynn. Not far behind her, my long time training pal, Claudia. I stumble around for a few minutes then go to thank Kieran.
I changed and hung out to watch everyone else finish before heading over to Sandi's for a huge team brunch. 
Since this is all paper timed, no official results yet. Oh how spoiled we are! Where is my instant gratification!
This race has given me a world of confidence. I can't wait to see what I do when actually taper for something.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The hawks alight till morning

As I've mentioned earlier in the week, I have some sorta crud that has invaded my person. Common running advise about running while sick is it's above the neck it's still ok to run. My sorta moves around. I am feeling much better, it's usually the worst in the morning as I wake up hacking up some interesting things. After that, I'm pretty ok. I have a bit of a cough but it doesn't seem too serious. It's just annoying.
I wanted to swap my week around and do my 20 miler today. I changed it back to the planned 12 with the creeping crud. Yesterday I did an easy 6 which was just that, easy and pretty slow. 
Rachel and I headed out this morning, while I was very tempted to do 18 with her, I was feeling good, I played it safe and left the park at 12.
If all goes well, the rest of my week will look like this:
PT tomorrow
20 Friday
5 easy Sat
10 race on Sunday in Brooklyn. I plan on running the first 3 easy and the last 7 at tempo. Its a hilly 3 loop course so this should give me a great workout.
It seems like we were given a tease of nicer weather. Now it looks like we'll have snow and rain tonight. Friday's weather is also calling for flurries. Another long run in the wintery crap.
The bright side of this is I'm still seeing tons of hawks out in the park (in case you haven't noticed, I have a real thing for large birds). Yesterday on the easy run, I saw a HUGE HUGE red tail on the ground sitting on his lunch. It looked like he nabbed himself a squirrel. I was surprised to see him on the ground with it, they usually high tail it into a tree. As the weather changes and the trees get their nice spring coating of leaves, they will be harder to see. They've been great running companions for this horrific winter we've had.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

walk behind while you would run

I still dont feel great. Due to not feeling great, I did sleep like the dead last night so that's a good thing. And I am really glad I got my 18 outa the way yesterday. Weird thing, my legs are sore from that. I haven't been sore since the marathon. I didn't push hard and it's not too far for me, I did a 17 2 weeks ago. I think it's just being depleted from having this cold. I changed today from a 7 with striders to an easy 5.5. I just wanted to go out there get things moving and maybe try to sweat this thing out.
It leaves me just short of 50 miles. Oh well. I'll try not to get obsessive about my nice round numbers.
Next week is suppose to be a 54 miles week. Tomorrow I have off, Tues is an easy day. I should be all set to go by Wed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sleep tonight

Again. With the not enough sleep. At least blogging about my runs is showing me this habit that I need to get out of. Loren's also been sick and I feel like I've been fighting it. I've shuffled my runs around this week and next week to best accommodate races, hard work outs, and long runs so I'm not doing them too close to each other.
I moved my 18 miler to today instead of tomorrow because I want to do my 20 during the week next week so I can race the Cherry Tree 10 miler on Sunday, or it least to it as my tempoish run for the week.
I managed to get myself up and out the door around 8:15. I did a bit over 4 before meeting my running partners for the day, Hilary, Rachel, and Claudia. They were doing 10 but it was great to have the company esp. when I'm not feeling 100% and was going long. The temps also found their way below freezing again. While I had some tough going in the middle miles, I rallied at the end and finished strong with some sub 9s. I'm really happy to have this one in the books.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

every waking hour

Ok, I'm noticing a theme: running while tired. Now this has been lack of sleep tired, not running too much/too hard tired. I had a friend in from outa town this week and we spent 2 long and very funny days at the Westminster dog show. And in all honestly, I just have not had enough sleep.
I moved my tempo run this week from Tues to Thurs since I races on Sun. So today it was.
10 miles with 5 tempo. I usually do a nice long warm up, like 4 miles then have a mile to get home. Today, I ran 3, 5 tempo, 2 home.
My tempo runs have been sub 8s. I thought today might be a bit off cause did I mention being tired? I didn't factor in the howling wind that made my run seem like something out of Kansas. 
It seemed to be everywhere, swirling. No matter which way I ran, there it was. I'd get maybe a half mile of a tail wind at a time. Maybe. It was tough. I averaged 8:10s for my tempo. I wasn't very happy about that, but really, I couldn't do anything about it.
Now it's done and I've had a tough it out run through the wind run.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Everybody work now!

So as you faithful readers know, I raced on Sun. I rearranged this week to do my tempo on thurs and my general aerobic run today so I wasn't having to hard days close together. Today was an 11 mile run. I spent all of yesterday at the Westminster dog show (really, it's just like Best in Show). I stood on my feet for far too long waiting to see the Border Terriers. It's no secret, if I were a dog, I would be a border. I wanted to see them close up. Man, standing in one place is a killer. 
Anyway, it was a long long day. I was tired. I figured I'd phone it in on the run today.
Low and behold, 11 miles in my rolling Central Park at 9:04 pace. For being tired, I felt really good!
Let's hope I feel that way for my tempo run on Thurs. Ok, back to the dogs!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

pissing in the wind

So loyal readers, as you remember just a few short days ago, I was complaining about the low teen temps. This morning was the Bronx Half marathon. While I was pretty sure we wouldn't be seeing 14 with a windchill of 5 like we did  few weeks ago, I did not expect to see close to 50 degrees at the start.
I was a bit over dressed with 3/4 tights and a long sleeve shirt. By mile 4 I was wishing I was at least in shorts and dumping water over my head. The Bronx has a totally weird course Don't worry if it doesn't make any sense. I've run it twice and it doesn't make any sense to me either. Normally, I wouldn't run 2 half marathons so close together. I ran a 1:50:51 in Manhattan 2 weeks ago. If it had been warmer, I think I would have been faster. Well today was warmer, actually I do think a bit too warm. And humid. This course also has a lot of turns, some rolling hills and always a head wind for about 2 miles. While we get the tail wind on the turn around, there isn't much benefit since you're going up hill. 
I kept telling myself to run relaxed, to stay in control, work the down hills, all those things that go through my head. Those last 2 miles though, wow, they were tough. I can usually push it on my last mile. Today, my last mile was my slowest (8:39). Once I hit the 13 mile marker, I just pushed as hard as I could. I think I was drooling, I really wanted to go under 1:50. 
And I did.
1:49:41. So I took 70 seconds off  my time from 2 weeks ago. I'm happy with that. I would like to get closer to 1:47 and I think I can with more than 2 weeks rest!
Now, I'm going to watch Kara Goucher run the 3000m.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Live through this

Today it happened. I may be self diagnosing here, but I'm pretty sure I've come down with Freezonal Disorder™. I have been a good sport this winter. It's been cold, really cold. Barely a day above freezing in January. I've put up with it with minimal grumbling (other's may disagree with this statement). I've run in the teens, I races a half marathon with a wind chill of 5 that not only netted me a PR, but a frozen ponytail. I headed out in snow/ice/rain/wintery hell storm with Ishii and Rachel with really no questions asked. Of course the post mortem of that run, by accounts of all involved, was that was dumb. We did it anyway. 
Today though, I thought it was just going to push me over the edge. Last night I was not feeling well. There are some nasty illnesses going around this winter that I've been trying to avoid.  This morning, it was 14 degrees with a windchill of about 4. If I was feeling 100% that would be fine. I was feeling maybe 80%. I spent most of the day negotiating this run. I had few options. I don't belong to a gym which is fine because I hate running on the treadmill. There is a Lucille Roberts 2 blocks away. The thought of getting a day pass to get my 8 miles more than crossed my mind. I figured it would be worth it for the entertainment of going to the Lucille Roberts on 125. People in Harlem have never been shy about talking to me about running, either while I'm running or while I'm waiting for a light to change. I've heard life stories about health issues and weight battles, been asked questions about how to get started, had kids run with me for who knows why. I actually love it. If I can help people get going, great, all the more reason for me to run. Even if I have to hear "skinny white girl" from time to time.
In the end, I made a few deals with myself:
1. I would wear a brand new pair of shoes. It was about time to get another pair in the rotation. A new pair of shoes always feels great.
2. I would stop at Road Runners and pick up my number for the Bronx half. That leads to 3...
3. I would partake in the candy bowl that NYRR always has out at number pick up. It always seems like an odd thing and the runners line up to it like pigs at a trough. 
4. I could cut it short. And I did. I ran 7.64 instead of 8. LOOK OUT!
Now it's done. Was it the greatest run of my life? No. Is it done? HELL YES.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I fall to pieces.

This morning, I got up much earlier than I usually do to get my NYRR volunteer race outa the way, the Empire State Building Run up. I've never had any desire to do this race, which is running up like 86 flights of steps. Volunteering for it didn't make me want to do it either. I pretty much sat around with pal/new running pal Rachel all morning. We got to give out the age group awards, so that was cool. Really though, I think I would have rather stayed in bed. Oh well. At least it's early in the year and I have that outa the way. The bad things is, I just haven't had enough sleep lately. 
When I got home, I ate, did some work, and managed to take a 90 minute nap. 
Even though this is a cutback week, I still planned on going to the track. I misread my workout for the night. I thought I was doing 1000 repeats, but no, I was doing mile repeats. 5 of them, on paper anyway. They were to be run the first 1200 at half marathon pace, the last 400 faster.
About half way through my first 1600, a pack of guys pasted me. It's a 200m track so it can get crowded. The rules of the track are posted and repeated via mic all the time. Lane 1 is for race walking only, so it's pretty much always empty. 2/3 is for people running SLOWER than 32 seconds per 200, so that's where I run. Always. 4/6 is for faster than 32 seconds and lane 6 is closed. So this pack comes by me and the lead guys says "you're too slow" and I tell him to kiss my ass. The 2nd guy turns to me and says sorry. Then the LAST guy, holding on to the pack for dear life says to me "you're too slow to be in this lane". I was like??? WTF? Is this your first time here, cause I know I'm in the right place. They were running 34s. I really wanted to just tell them to get a little faster if they wanted to run in the faster lane. I was not in the mood for this douch nozzle behavior by a buncha guys who dont  know the rules of the track. I dont care how fast they are.
Anyway, back to me.
My first one was ok, 7:25. I thought that was a nice start. 
Then I did a 7:24, 7:22. I was pooped. This was taking a lot more out of me then I wanted it too. Before I even started my 4th one, I sorta figured it would be my last one. This was just feeling too hard. That doesn't sound right. I didn't feel like doing 5 would be beneficial. 
I was right.
Number 4 was a 7:39. I had slowed down considerably (though still within McMillan's range). So that was it. Done and done. That was enough. And I am SOOOOO ok with that. Since it's a cutback week and I wanna run the Bronx well on Sunday, I'm fine with that. The rest of the week will be easy miles which I'm looking forward to.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

we are one inside these walls

Last night, my running club had it's annual awards night. It's a nice night, a good chance to see what people look like in real clothes and eat things that are not bagels and bananas. People really cleaned up nicely. 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the club. Pretty impressive!!!
We give out several awards. We have a points competition for different age groups, new comer of the year, most improved, Triton of the year (our triathlon team), cyclist of the year, middle distance runner (for people who race mostly under 10k), long distance runner (over 10k), life time achievement, volunteer, and Front Runner of the year. It's a lot, it makes for a long night. I won my age group for the 3rd time mostly by just racing a lot. I think this will be the last time as I am in the twilight of my 30s and these up and comers are FAST. It's going to be a tight age group in 2009. 
Several of our awards are named for people who have done great things for and with the club over the years. This year, we renamed he distance runner award after Sue Foster. Sue ran the faster NYC Marathon ever run by a woman in the club. She ran a 3:05 and she ran it in 1980. She was 24 at the time and was the 42nd female over all. Oh how times have changed! She's been in the club pretty much since the start. Sue's a great person and I am so happy she is being honored like this.
I am also honored to have won the award for 2008. It was great to win this and have Sue there.
I wasn't the only one in this house to come home with hardware. Loren won middle distance runner of the year. I think we've reached a new level of ridiculous coupledom.
It was a late night. And Friday was a late night. Luckily, Loren and I live a half a block from where dinner was. I still didn't get to bed until almost 1. On tap for today was 17 miles. I was really not looking forward to it on 2 nights of not enough sleep.
One good thing is it was actually above freezing when I left the house. I dont remember the last time that happened. My friend Jen joined me for most of the run. That was so helpful, the 12 miles we ran together flew by. It was more of an I'm tired hard than a this is hard hard. I'm glad it's over with. I averaged 9:42 pace. I'm fine with that for the day. Since I was tired going into it, I knew it was just going to be about getting it done.
Now for a wee nap perhaps, before we start the football festivities.