Friday, March 27, 2009

My love, I am the speed of sound

While my sleep is getting a bit better, I'm not (or I should say the dog) quiet making it through the night. We're close. Even with this, my work outs have been going very well. I expect to fall a cliff of exhaustion sometime soon. Perhaps I had a little bit of that today.
Earlier in the week, I headed out to the track, OUTSIDE!!! To do 5x1000 as part of a longer 9 mile run. I am so glad to be back on the outdoor track. This was the first year I ran at the Armory. My opinion of the I only ran with my team once of twice. 8pm is far too late for me to start an intense work out. I'd come home and not be able to get to sleep til 1 am. I have enough trouble in that dept. Also, my body can't handle running on a tiny banked 200m track more than once a week so I really dont think it was worth laying the money down for. Oh well, I don't mind doing speed work on my own so I was usually going early and leaving as the team was warming up. I'm not saying I wont do it next year, I might just go with a pay as you go option. 
Back to the workout. I warmed up for about 3.5 miles then got down to it. Loren had been gone most of the week so I was on solo doggie duty and much sleep was lost. Funny though, once I get moving, I dont notice I'm tired. I just run. 
After my 15k, I plugged my new number into McMillan and decided to use those paces for my workout. Mac gives the 1000 range of 4:25-4:35. Always just used as a guideline. My times went something like this:
4:19, 4:27, 4:24, 4;25, 4:19
I was tired when I finished but I could have done another one at that pace and didn't feel like puking so I think that's a successful workout.
On my last one, a group of 7-8 year olds were doing some afterschool program at the track. After several jumping jacks, the teacher told the kids to take a lap. I was swarmed by a mob of small people. They were hysterical, going all out from the get go. By 100m, almost all of them were walking. There is zero track etiquette at this track which is both frustrating and totally entertaining.

Due to weekend plans, I shuffled my work outs again this week. Today I did 17 miles with 14 miles at marathon pace. Some of you loyal readers may remember when I did this work out last time. For those who need a refresher, let me paint a picture for you: it's hot, it's humid, and ate nothing but a waffle for breakfast, I ended up crying on 125th st telling Loren I wanted to finish alone. In other words, I bonked. Big time. I wasn't afraid of that happening again this time but ya know, the memory was there. I did a MP run a few weeks ago and set my pace at 8:29. That was based on my 10 mile race time I believe. Right now, Mac give me a projected marathon time of 3:40:16, which is a 8:25 pace. I am not going to try and run that at NJ. I'm sticking with getting under 3:45. That is my priority goal. If I hit that, I can go all out on my next race. I did, however, keep my pace at 8:29. I love the garmin workout buddy. It's so cool to see this little animated person that's you running against another one who is going the pace you set. I did a 3 mile warm up in Central Park. The first part of my MP ran was in the park then I moved to the path along the Hudson. A totally beautiful day today with temps getting up towards 60. A little warmer than it's been so I wore a fuel belt. Man, I can't wait until the fountains are on! Heading up towards the GWB, there was a head wind. Mild, but still noticeable. About 10 miles into the MP part of the run, I started getting a bit tired. Nothing horrible, but my legs were getting heavy. I was already 2 gels in and one bottle down. I was able to muscle my way through the last 4 miles, finishing with an average pace of 8:28. I admit, I love the little beep and "you win" that flashes on my garmin when I finish. I rewarded myself with a Coke. I actually don't really like Coke. It's not something I drink except for after a long run when it is just perfect. Or during an Ironman, but hey, I've also eaten cheesecake during an Ironman.
Skimming though my last few weeks of this cycle, I think most of my heavy workouts are over. I have some more vo2 intervals but I've stopped hating them. I have one more 20 miler which I may do on the course itself in a few weeks. 
It is all coming together! I am very excited about this race.

Monday, March 23, 2009

You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline

So week one with the new dog is over. She's come a long way. I do wish she'd sleep though the night. At least now she doesn't need to go out. She just wakes up and sorta wigs for a minute. One of us has to calm her down then she goes back to sleep. Progress.
Speaking of progress, another training week over. I did 17 miles on Friday with Rachel who was doing 21. I moved my long run so I could race the Colon cancer 15k on Sunday. My 17 miler went much better than my no sleep 20 did last week. Due to lack of sleep or really interrupted sleep all week, I really wasn't sure how my race was going to go. My training, even with lack of sleep, had been spot on. I've been hitting all of my workouts. I've PRed in every race I've run this year. So of course I wanted to PR in this one too. My PR of 1:15:18 was from back in the winter of '07 a few weeks after I had to DNF at Philly. I thought, ok, if I can hit 8 minute pace, I'll be happy with that. 
I got to the park early to watch the 4 mile race that was before the 15k and cheer on my team mates. Standing around, I got a little chilly. I had decided that morning to wear shorts and now I was having 2nd thoughts. I also left my house with out my water bottle and a banana I had set aside to have before hand. Oh well, I had a gel I could take during the race or before if need be. 
I lined up in the 2nd corral, red, a new spot for me. After Coogan's 5k, my pace moved me up a corral. I was pretty happy about that.
And we're off. First mile has cat hill, the biggest hill of the race for this course, we'll see it 2x. Up and over in 7:52. Ok, not bad. I feel pretty good. Imagine my shock when I hit mile 2 and see I went though in 7:11. No way I thought, esp as mile 3 was 8:15. I know there are some hills in mile 3 but I didn't slow down that much! The miles musta been off. As I went through the 102 transverse, there were some FRNY boys cheering, always a help. Loren was also there with Bea, watching her first running race. 
Mile 4 is some nice down hills before the 72nd st transverse. 7:36.
Mile 5 takes us around the bottom part of the park again, I decide to take my gel just because I didn't think I had enough in me. 7:45.
Now we start over. At this point, we're passing walkers who are doing the lower loop, it's a bit crowded and I have to go wide to pass people and squeeze between stinky horse carriage. Oh and I have cat hill to get up again. 
Mile 6 7:53, not bad with the hill. 
Mile 7 going my the transverse again. I see Loren, Bea, and Mikey B. 7:48
My stomach starts to feel not so good, but I know when I get to the west side of the transverse it's maybe a mile and a half. An up hill then a downhill that will launch us to the 72nd st transverse.
Mile 8 8:05. Ok, the hill. Only my 2nd mile over 8. I know I'm going to PR, I just wish I felt a little bit better. Coming down the down hill I pick it up. I feel someone running next to me. I look over to see Cenk matching my steps, I say hi and he says hi back and just goes.
Mile 9 7:56. Slower than I wanted. Come on .3 to go. Hang in there tummy. 
I'm getting close to the transverse and there's Hilary cheering. I turn the corner and hear the FRNY girls but dont really make out who's there. 
I look at my watch and it says 1:12:xx. I wanna break 1:13 so I push to the finish. 
1:12:44, PR by 2.5 minutes. I am totally thrilled. Cenk is right ahead of me and I stop to give him a hug. Great race! Perfect weather! My stomach hates me! 15th in my age group and 96th woman. In NYC, that's pretty damn good.

Enough about me. I want to talk about my team for a minute and what they did in the 4 miler.
Our men's team was 2nd team over all. Leading the charge was Steve Vizena in a time of 23:10. Amazing time. Even more amazing (this is for you number geeks... you know who you are) is Steve is 53. He was 8th over all, won his age group, ran a 5:47 pace with an AG of 85.2%, highest in the entire race. This is the 2nd week in a row he's had the highest AG% in a race. He was followed by Chris Stoia, Kevin Masse, Joshua Marland and Barry Abrams.
Now our men's team has a lot of fast guys. They often take home some hardware. Our woman's team is an amazing work in progress. Truely amazing. I am so proud of these ladies. It wasn't long ago we couldn't even field a team and now...well now...
Our women took first place. 
Lead by Megan Jenkins, just missing her sub 7 pace but winning her age group. Hilary was next, just missing a PR due to a shoe lace malfunction and taking 5th in her ag. Rounding out the team Bernie Janelle, Katrina Amaro, and Dr. Mickey. Good job ladies! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In these shoes? I doubt you'd survive.

After much reading and a fair amount of curiosity, I got a pair of Nike lunarracers. Weighing in at 4.5 oz. and touted as marathon shoe, well, I had to see this. They came today just in time for my workout. Very light yes, totally space age craziness, yes, very comfortable, yup. Reputation of chewing a hole in your achilies, yup. I wasn't even 4 miles in and it started happening. By the time I finished, I had a bloody sock and a bloody shoe that will be going back to Road Runner Sports. It's really too bad, but I'm not going risk it.
Now the workout: 8 miles with 5x600. I'm still working on getting Bea (ya know, the dog) set on a schedule so I went in the late afternoon and ran on the outside track for the first time this season. That felt really nice. Wind and all. Wind and all I ran: 2:35, 2:33, 2:31, 2:33, 2:31, all sub 7 pace and a hair faster than last time on the indoor track. Even though I'm dog tired, (yup, dog) I felt good. It was a solid run.

Ok, so frequent fliers to this blog have read about my encounters with birds though out my workouts. Today's experience may take the cake. So during my warm up, I'm running along the Hudson River. This young man is walking his Chihuahua and looks at me and points up to a tree. I look up and there's a huge nest and I'm like, oh ok, big nest so what. Then I look at there is the oddest color bird up there. I stop and look at the guy and he says parrot. Sure enough, there's a parrot up in the tree with a huge nest along the Hudson river in NYC. He tells me there's a whole family up there, apparently a pet store truck crashed and a buncha the birds got out. I find that sorta hard to believe, but there you have it. A whole nest of parrots up there. Crazy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Can't drive 55

Yesterday I finished the peak week of Pfitz 18/55. Last time I did this, I ended tired, really done in . This time, I felt sorta the same way but for a totally different reason. I pushed the week to 59.4 miles instead of 55 making it my highest milage week ever. I did want to go to 60 but for the same reason I ended the week so tired, I didn't have it in me for that last half mile (should have done it earlier in the week!).
Loren and I got a dog on Friday night. This was something I wanted to do for a long time. Smartest thing to do during marathon training? Maybe not. She's not a puppy however, so I think that helps. She's adjusting to her new home, her new roomates (she's taken to the humans just fine, the cats still have her on probation but things are looking really good in that area), and life in the city. She hardly slept at all on Sat night. So I hardly slept. I did my 20 miler yesterday totally exhausted and sleep deprived. But I did it. It was sorta slow, but very steady and it's OVER! And the week that kick my ass last time is OVER and I'm not even bruised by it.
I have 50 on tap for this week. I might push that up a hair. I also have a tune up 15k this weekend. I have to rearrange things cause Pfitz calls for the race on Sat. Man, races are almost never on Sat. So I think I'll long run Fri (17) with the uptown girls and race Sun. I love 15k, I wish there were more races at this distance.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

hey la hey la

For this training cycle, I'm doing Pfitz 18/55 again. I'm in my 55 week right now. I had decided (and forgot about and was kindly remind of by Loren) that I was going to push this week closer to 60. When I did it last time it was August and it was HOT. Now it's much cooler. And it's much easier this time around.
So far this week I've done:
12.2 with 7 at tempo. I did this with Ishii on Tues. We averaged 7:56 for the tempo. It was a good run.
8 recovery. It was slated at a 6, I ran with Rachel K and Hilary and made it 8.
12.8 today solo. It was back down to the low 30s when I went out today but felt nice. I followed that will a session with PT Pete.
Tomorrow I'm taking off (because Loren and I are GOING TO PICK UP OUR DOG!!!)
Sat easy 5 which I will up to 6 and then Sunday is the 20 which may go to 21.
I'm tired, but that's mostly from DST sleep disruption. Oh and cat projectile vomit disruptions. Yuck.

As the weather has gotten nicer, more people are outside. And people are friendly. It still surprises me how many people in my neighborhood say things to me while I'm running. Not the catcall variety which I sorta expect. A hey, how's you're workout? You're looking really good (not like hey baby, you're looking GOOD), nice work, that sorta thing. And almost always ending with a god bless you. I always have sorta an internal head tilt when I hear that. Not that I dont think it's not a nice sentiment (even being a true non believer) it's just...let's say the god bless you crowd needs some better PR when it comes to those of us with the gay, we can be a bit weary of you. Yes, that is a lot to go through one's head in a matter of seconds at the end of a run.  But anyway. I do really enjoy chatting with people who are truly interested in what I'm out there doing and not just enjoying the view of my fine ass.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Let the sunshine

Ah yes. Earlier in the week I was layering like crazy to stay warm, staying on the sunny side of the street to stay warm, side stepping ice patches and snow drifts left by Monday's snow storm.
Yesterday I was dodging kids, baby carriages, nuns on bicycles, clueless dog walkers and fair weather outdoorsy types. Not to mention yelling "go back to Jersey" to a gaggle of meat heads out of frustration late into my run in Central Park, every NYers back yard. The thing is, to me, it my back yard all year round no matter the weather. In my deep and rich fantasy life, I'd like the first spring like day to have the park reserved only for those of us who are out there no matter what. All the rest of you should be relegated to your beloved treadmills for one more day. 
Ok, exiting soapbox.
So yesterday, as noted, I ran in the park. 
Today, since the weather is almost as nice, I wanted to avoid the park. I did a 14 miler up and over the George Washington bridge to River Rd on the Jersey side. I've cycled over River Rd countless times, I've only run over there maybe twice. It's nice and secluded and gives a beautiful view of the Hudson and NYC.  During the wet winter months, it's prone to rock slides. There's a pretty big slide over there now that wont be cleaned up for a while. Traffic, car and cycle, is pretty non-existent since you can't pass all the way through. It was lovely. Their were a few cyclists, people walking, and some other runners.
About a mile before my turn around, I noticed the very distinct figure of a dead bird on the road. I stopped to take a look at it. Broken neck. Can't imagine how that happened. Hunt gone wrong by a hawk? I'd think it would still eat it. Hit by a car? Doubtful. A mystery not to be solved. It was a beautiful woodpecker with a very long beak and beautiful feathers in all shades of brown. I got a stick and moved it off the road so it could rot in piece or become lunch for someone and continued on.
This coming week is my longest running week, milage wise, of this cycled. I dreaded it last time. I think I'm in much better shape for it this time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Run away train

For something new and different, I did my track workout during the day today. Since mother nature decided to really turn the screws on the East coast and give us another snow storm yesterday AND drop the temps back down into the teens, I thought this might be a nice change.
So my official work out for the day was 8 miles with 5x600. McMillan is a bit odd about 600, he lists them as sprint workouts though the pace called for was 5k pace. I knew I wasn't going to run them at 5k pace. I'm sure others reading along who have run at the Armory will agree: if difficult to NOT run fast there. It has the reputation of being the fastest track in the country. What makes a track fast? Well, I'm not really sure. I'm guessing several things. The surface, the banking, the temps. inside, mostly though, I think it's the idea that it's a fast track makes people run well there.
But anyway...
I decided to do my run during the day because I can. Also, I figured it wouldn't be very crowded. Mostly importantly, it would get me out of the house during the day, into the sunshine even it's like 20 degrees out. Rachel met me to run up there. It's a nice uphill warm up. Once there, I was on my own.
It was fairly empty. Some Columbia and NYU kids were having practice. It's a strange sensation, running out there alone, knowing a pack of college kids is about to barrel by you. It's like a freight train coming. First, I feel the vibration in the track as they approach, then I can hear them and it's loud, then they pass me like a tornado. And for me, I'm running pretty fast. To them, I'm standing still. 
I looked up my times from August, about the time I did this work out in my training cycle for Steamtown. My times ranged from 2:39-2:46 (nap lap!). I did them outside when it was 72 degrees. I'd say it was about the same temp. at the Armory, maybe a hair cooler.
So let's see how I measured up compared to last summer shall we?
2:36, 2:37, 2:32, 2:31, 2:31.
A LOT faster! And my heart rate was about the same. And guess what Flo! I'm joining you in the sub 7 workouts!
They are pretty much where I wanted them to be. 
I cooled down by putting back on all my layers and running the 2.5 miles home, giving almost 8.5 for the day.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Working for the weekend

Oh faithful readers, you know I am coming off about 10 days of killer running. It comes as no surprise when I headed out for my 14 miles of fun yesterday that I was tired. So tired in fact, I cut my run short to 12.7 miles. I know, a real slice off the milage. No worries though, there was brunch to be had.
I am happy to say I finished Feb. with 195.2 miles. If it had been a normal month with a normal amount of days, I would have hit 200. Ok, if I hadn't chopped a few miles here and there I would have hit 200.
Moving on!
Today was the Coogan's 5k up in Washington Heights. People have this idea that NYC is flat. People who have this idea have never bean above 96th st., I'm sure of it. So yes, this 5k has a few hills along the way. My mom was slated to do this race as her first 5k. This was not to be however, as she twisted her ankle a few weeks and sidelined for today's race. I know she's bummed out this, Loren and I are as well. She'll been working hard! I have no doubt once she's all better, she'll be back on the horse.
On to the race...
It was a bit chilly this morning. The weather was calling for all sorta of wintery stuff that just didn't happen. We got some flurries which was nice. In years past, this course has been an out and back with a nasty little turn around. This year it was changed to go through Ft. Tyron park, home of the cloisters, which was a huge improvement.
Front Runners had 99 people out there today! A Great showing! Loren came through first, followed by  uptown running pal, Rachel, hitting a sub 7 pace. Soon, she will be too fast for me to run with.
But enough about everyone else, this is my blog. There's a big hill right before mile 1 that I didn't hit all out but benefitted from the downhill on the other side. Once I got to the mile market, I hit my watch. I hit STOP on my watch and not SPLIT because sometimes I am a moron and forget how a watch I've had for 2 years works. Oh well. All by feel now. I started it again having no idea how much time I lost. I hit split a mile 2 even though I knew it was wrong. So now I have that hill to go up again, this time I'm not holding back since I know there's not much more than a mile to go and some nice downhill. 
I get to mile 3 and manage to hit split this time 7:24. Cool, I think I'm close to PRing but really not sure. Ran the last .1 in 38 seconds. 
When I started this morning, my legs felt heavy. As I said, I've had some long and hard miles lately so I'm tired. Next week is  a cut back week and I am happy about that.
I had to wait until the official results were posted to see my final time: 23:17. A PR at 7:30 pace. It's been my goal to go under 23 minutes for some time now. I knew today wasn't the day with how I felt and the course. I am really happy about the PR however. Maybe some day when I'm not training for a marathon I'll actually train for these short things.
So let's see, this year I've done 4 races, I've PR in all of them. Not a bad start! Of course there's only 1 race that I really care about PRing and that will be in 2 months.