Sunday, May 31, 2009

No sleep til Brooklyn

Yesterday was the Brooklyn half. This has always been a popular race. Most years it starts in Coney Island on the boardwalk and ends in Prospect Park where 4 miles or so of hills wait for you. It's an ugly way to end a race. Well, this year, they started it in Prospect park and ended in Coney Island. The course was set up so we did about 6.5 miles in the park, so like a loop and a 3/4. Front loading the hills which is fine for me.
Except there were 9400 people running this race. Last year there were 5800. And it's a big difference having all those people start in the park rather than finish there.  See course map here. It was insane. When I got around to mile 1, I could see down the transverse of the start. There were still people standing there waiting to cross the start. It took me close to 3 minutes so these poor folks stood there for at least 15 minutes before they even started.
So my goals for this race: well...I've still be recovering from NJ. I got 1 10 miler in last weekend. I've done some speed, the xc race last week, an 8 miler this week with 4 at sub 8 pace. I wanted to run well but wasn't sure how I was going to feel just starting to get back in the swing of it. I was hoping to run a 1:45 which is 8 minute pace. 
Mile 1 7:52 . A little fast. Really, just trying to get through this crowd.
Mile 2 8:04. Not bad. Mile 2 has the hill for the first time. Luckily, it's followed by a mostly down hill rolling section.
Mile 3 7:40 A touch fast but no worries. Had some gatorade just before mile 3, good thing too.
Mile 4 7:36 This mile is mostly down hill which is nice since we're about to go up that hill again.
Mile 5 8:06 Yup, there's that hill again. Not only that, but I'm lapping people on their first lap. At this point, it's not too bad. Oh BUT WAIT!
Mile 6 7:58 Back to the rollers. The crowd approaching mile 3 is getting thick as is the crowd hitting 6 miles. There's 1 water station for both groups which is totally out of cups and complete chaos. Really poor planning on such a warm, crowded day. I bypass the hellishness thinking I'll get fluids at the next stop and take my Clif shot. 
At about 6.5 miles, we exit the park to head on to Ocean Parkway. It is not at all clear what lane who is suppose to be in, with people lapping people, people leaving the park, people going on there other lap of the park, and a partridge in a pear tree.  We get a nice down hill to head out of the park.
Mile 7 7:38 On to Ocean Parkway. NO WATER at mile 7. Not even an aid station. So now I've gone several miles with no fluids. This isn't a huge problem, I do that all the time in training. It does kinda suck however.  There's a bit of a climb up to mile 8
Mile 8 7:53 Finally, fluids. And someone with a hose. Ahhhh. I take my clif shot. I heard that later on, they ran out of fluids as well. Doesn't surprise me since I went almost 5 miles with out. This long stretch of road kinda sucks. It's hot. It's a false flat. I can't really see what's ahead of me but roadway and runners.
Mile 9 7:55 I'm on pace. I'm hot. I'm looking at my watch too much because I'm not really comfortable. I know, however, that Marty will be at mile 10 in a green man costume (google it) and a FRNY singlet. Holy crap did that make me laugh when I saw her. It was so needed at that point. I want her out at every race in that thing.
Mile 10 8:00 ok, I'm on pace. I'm ahead of pace. I just have to hold it for 3 more miles. UUUGGGHHHHHHHH
Mile 11 8:00 I'm really starting to do math. Mostly because I want to be done running. Somewhere around 11.5 Donna, long time FRNY member, is standing alone cheering. I love it when people are in the perfect spot. Ok, mile and a half to go.
Mile 12 8:04 Ah, a breeze off the ocean...wait...that's a headwind off the ocean. Damn it. 
We make a slight turn in the road, still head wind, before making a turn up to the boardwalk. Sandi is in the perfect cheering spot going completely mad when she sees me. Then I see it. 
A fucking ramp. 
We have to run up this short steep ramp to get on to the boardwalk. The ramp is also made of boardwalk. Running on this stuff kinda sucks.
I'm trying to pick it up but really, there's not much left. I have no idea how long we're running on this. It seems like forever. I can't see the finish since it's totally flat. There's just masses of people. I pass the aquarium, Astroland (RIP), Nathans. Holy crap it has to be soon! 
Mile 13 8:06 Ok, .1 to go. Seeming endless. Kick with what's left which isn't much. I've known for a few miles I'd go under 1:45 so I started aiming for 1:44. I cross the line and hit my watch:
Last .1 43 seconds. 
Ugh. I've thrilled with my time. It's exactly 6 minutes faster than I ran the Bronx in Feb. And it's a lot hotter. As I move to baggage I feel like a baking potato. 
I find Rachel and we make our way to the freezing cold ocean and stick out legs in. It feels so good. It reminds me of sitting in the creak post run when I lived in Big Sur. 
We hung out for a while and watched other team mates finished then headed out for a Big Girl Brunch ( a women of FRNY tradition!)
I was pretty pooped when I got home. I have a knot in my calf, that's new. I think it just needs to be worked out. I'm pretty tired today.
I still can not believe I had such a huge PR. In the fall, I hope to take it down below 1:40.
Next week I have the women's mini 10, a points race. And the FRNY Pride run is the end of the month. After that, I'm going to limit my racing over the summer and focus on marathon training for NYC (oh and the going sub 1:40 in the half). I need a bit of a break, I've had some hard running in the last 6 weeks and I dont want to beat my body up any more than I have to.

Friday, May 22, 2009

more dust bowl days

Last night kicked off the Van Cortlandt Track Club's summer cross country series. Every other Thurs. night, head up to the Bronx, pay $5 for your chance to win a pie (over all winners) or a muffin (age group place).
Van Cortlandt is a pretty famous cross country course. It's hosted the Footlocker National HS race, National championships, all kinds of college championships. Everyone comes to race here. It is not an easy course however. I did find these videos that take you on a video tour (4-6) which is pretty cool. The course VCTC uses varies slightly in the exit so you get one more up hill and one less long down hill.
Going into this, I didn't have much of a plan. Of course in my head there's always that little PR voice. The reality is, I'm not very sharp right now. I ran hard on Sat and all my post marathon runs have been slow and not very long. 
Hilary and I lined up fairly close to the front. For the first race of the series, it was crowded. FRNY had about 10 people racing which is a great turn out.
The first 1k is flat and fast. Too fast. I went out WAY too fast, like just under 7 minute pace. And of course, I did that thing, that thing I know better than to do. I felt really good so I just went with it instead of easing off a bit. I knew I was going to pay for it once we got in the woods to the hills. 
When people see the start and haven't run the course, it doesn't look that bad. You start on a fast flat, you end on a fast flat. All the suffering happens in the woods where no one can see you.
As we heading up the first hill, my HR was hitting close to 190. FUN! Hilary was just ahead of me but already out of reach. 
Yup, out too fast, paying for it now. I targeted women in head of me to try and catch them. I think I got 1. I got passed by at least one (a team mate) maybe 2) . I wore my Garmin last night which I almost never do for racing, I really just wanted to see what my HR was going to do. Of course then I couldn't stop looking at it. Watch only next time.
I was trying to make up time on the down hills but it didn't seem to be working too much. As I shot out of the woods for the lass 800m, the man directing traffic pointed at me and said 7. I took that to mean 7th woman. I charged ahead trying to over take the woman just ahead of me, who turned out to be Gabriel, a team mate. I didn't recognize her at the time. I just missed catching her at the end. 
So the FRNY women did well: 5, 6, 7 over all. I think Rachel C. may have got in the top 10 as well, she finished close behind me. We scored 5 muffins for the night. 
Tough crowd! For being 7th over all, I was 3rd in my AG.
I ran a 23:21 (7:31 pace) 5 seconds off my 5k PR, the fastest time I've posted at Van Cortlandt. As the summer rolls on, I see myself breaking that time and breaking 23 minutes. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

where do we go now

Ok, I'm bored. I'm tired of being in recovery mode, though I know I'm still recovering because I'm still tired. I am running, getting back into it though not fast enough for my liking.
I did race this weekend however. I did the Healthy Kidney 10k. If it wasn't a team points race, I might have sat it out. 
Initially I went into it thinking I'll run with a number but once I got into my corral, I decided I was going to race it. I'm not sure that was the best idea but oh well. I was actually 10 seconds ahead of my PR at mile 3. Then mile 4 came, which is pretty much a mile long incline, and the wheels fell off. What a huge surprise, I had no power. 
Some where around mile 4.5 my team mate Megan caught me. She said "I need help" I said, dont' look at me, I've got nothing. So she said ok, we'll help each other. Then she left me in the dust, no surprise there, I wasn't kidding when I said I had nothing.  I finished in 47:42, about 70 seconds off my PR (Megan finished a minute ahead of me). I was 3rd for my team.
Of course the best part about this race was going out to brunch after.
I ran easy yesterday with Loren and Bea. I love running with the dog, she's gets really into and then she sleeps the rest of the day.
I'm gearing up for the Brooklyn Half on 5/31. I'm still going back and forth on how to get ready for that. At least 1 double digit run before then for sure, maybe 2. I'm thinking a 10 and a 12. I also might run cross country on Thurs. just for fun and a bit of tempo.
Taking suggestions on what to do to get ready!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

going off the rails

How crazy did I look during NJ?
Me and Rachel for the time we ran together.

The final kick, you can see the pig tail flying. Nice face.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

keep on moving dont stop

I took 2 days off from running. This morning I went out for an easy 4. I felt fine. Nothing's sore, nothing hurts.
I ran 2 on my own then came back and got Bea (the dog) and ran 2 with her. She had a toe injury and hasn't been able to run so today was her first day back too. She didn't seem to have anything hurt either. I really love running with my dog. She gets so focused on what she's doing and really seems to like it.

It's such a weird feeling to have this training cycle over. I'd been at it since Christmas. My first few runs in the unseasonably warm weather of Birmingham with Loren. I'll maintain the next few months. I have a few races coming up then I'll start looking ahead to the fall.
A couple things I'm shooting to do for the fall:
Peak at 70 miles a week
Go sun 3:40 in NYC.
I can say these things out loud now that I nailed NJ.

Monday, May 4, 2009

You strut your stuff and fan your peacock feathers

ok, everything official is posted:
Gun time: 3:45:33
Chip time 3:44:57
1st half: 1:53:03
2nd half 1:51:54 (NEGATIVE SPLIT BABY!)
placement 420/1722
women 78/693
age group 17/121

Garden State Stomp

Here it is, my NJ race report. I must say, I am bummed that the website does not have the official results up yet.  I will post once they're posted.
This whole thing started last fall after a bunch of the women on my team came up short of their goals in NYC. We all decided to give NJ a shot in the spring. As winter went on, people got hurt or decided to do the half instead. I've been gunning for a BQ and felt like I had to do this soon or I was going to drive myself and Loren totally nuts. 
This was not the best winter to run through, believe me.
On to the race.
After traffic and shuttle issues, we were lucky enough to be redirected to alternate parking, which happened to be right next to the start.
It was in the 50s and raining a bit. I wasn't too worried about that. I made my way to bag drop and got my outfit ready. I knew I'd be going in shorts, and singlet, arm warmers, toe socks (much to Loren's horror), and most importantly: PIG TAILS. The pig tails thing is a bit of a joke. Several weeks ago, I put my hair in pig tails for a race and ran really well. Then I did it again. Ok, they've brought me 2 PRs. They're staying. I'm not very girlie. I never would have worn pig tails as a kid. Loren's not very girlie either so her putting my hair in pig tails just add to the absurdity.  She says I look like I'm running away from an institution. I like to call my pig tails the Amys, one for Amy Sedaris, one for Amy Poehler.
After 2 more trips to the bathroom, I go to line up. They announce a delay in the start. The race ends up being delayed 30 minutes. 30 minutes of just standing there. I also can not find the 3:45 pace group. I'm thrown by this for a little while then just try to let it go. I have my watch ( I dont race with my garmin) and my pace band. I have to run it myself anyway. I start off with my team mate Cenk. With in the first 800m, I can't even see him anymore, he just took off.
I'm around a few other women who are also aiming for 3:45, so we form an informal pace group.
Mile 1 9:12 
ok, I wanted to go out easy, not that easy. I told myself it was fine, I'll make it up and there's no need to do it in the first mile.
Mile 2 8:30 better, maybe a bit too fast, I'm between the 3:40 and 3:50 pace groups. Either some one is going too fast or someone is going too slow.
Mile 3 8:28
Mile 4 8:38
I have to pee. I'm sure it'll go away if I dont think about it. I dont remember the last time I stopped in a race to pee. Ok, there's water and a nice row of port-a-johns. If they're no line, I'm going. No line, I stopped. When I came out I was right in the 3:50 pace group. Ok, pick it up a bit to get in front of them.
Mile 5 8:43 
Not bad for having a potty break.
During this mile I see Loren and Kelsey and Sandi, the cheering squad. Kelsey, who also coaches FRNY, got up at 3:30am to take the train out here to watch me run. He told me he wanted to be there when I BQ and made it very clear he would not just stand in the ran for just anyone. Gay men.
Mile 6 8:45 First gel
Mile 7 8:31
Mile 8 8:31
Running steady, chipping away at the time. I was a little behind, but not much. Took a salt pill.
Mile 9 8:49
Mile 9 has the only hill in the race. This was the most off pace I got, about a minute. No panic. No trying to make it up in one mile.
Mile 10 8:19
Ok, maybe trying to make up a little.
Mile 11 8:28
We're getting close to the end of the first loop, so all the half marathoners are trying to pick it up and finish strong. I'm trying not to get caught up in it. Gel #2
Mile 12 8:36
On the boardwalk now. It's crowded with spectators and halfers finishing.  
Right before mile 13, I see Loren, Kelsey, and Hilary who also made the trip out to watch me and my other team mates race.
Mile 13 8:33
I get under the half way banner and Dave and Rosario, who ran the half are there cheering like mad. What a great feeling.
To be on pace, I should have gone through half way at 1:52:30. I think I went through just over 1:53 so I was still in the ball park.
Now things have thinned out. Now's when it starts I told myself. All the halfers are gone and everyone left is going the distance. I went deep in my head and told myself this is a 13 mile training run. This is what we do in the park, we just go out and run it.
Mile 14 8:27
Mile 15 8:23
There were still a lot of people out on the course even though it felt colder and was still raining. 3 little girls were standing on the side of the road looking for high 5s. Yes, it was going to take a few seconds for me to high 5 them, but ya know what? This weather sucks, they deserve a high 5. As I ran by I said to them, this high 5 means I wanna see YOU out here some day. All 3 of them and their parents went crazy. It was an awesome boost.
mile 16 8:32 took gel #3
Mile 17 8:32
wow, I'm steady. Chipping away at that time.
Mile 18 8:38
I see my crew again, this time the girls who ran the half had joined them. It's a sea of noise. I love it. I toss Loren my unneeded sunglasses I had been wearing anyway.
Mile 19 8:39
I had been telling myself that thing all marathoners tell themselves: at mile 20, I'm gonna GO. I'm gonna run a hard 10k. No wall here thank you very much. And that's what I intended to do.
Mile 20 8:43
Ok, I need to run better than that if I'm going to run a hard 10k. As I rounded the turn on mile 20, I saw something I didn't want to see. Something that actually broke my heart. I saw my pal and person I had run with the most through these horrible winter months and she was walking. I caught up to Rachel and asked her what was up, she mumbles a bit and I just got excited trying to get her to come with me, let's finish this together. Then I hear someone else call my friend. It was Elizabeth who I knew from the Runner's World forums, also fallen off her pace. After a quick introduction, I tried to get them both to come with me. Rachel did for a bit and Elizabeth just yelled GO GET THAT BQ!
Mile 21 8:28
Here comes that hill again
Mile 22 8:52
Yup, that's really feel like a hill when you see it at mile 22. But ya know what, we're almost home and 28 seconds behind. Last gel.
Mile 23 8:39 
Mile 24 8:40
I'm working hard, I'm doing math. I'm 48 seconds off. I have to move (point of clarity, I'm 48 off coming under 3:45. To qualify for Boston, I have to be under 3:45:59, so I still have some time) I see Cenk walking. I come up behind him and say I know I dont see you walking! He came with me for a short distance then I was on my own again.
Mile 25 8:30
Chipping away. 
In the distance I see someone in a yellow rain jacket and a hat waving their arms like mad. Then I realize, hey, that's Loren. I have never seen her this excited. Because she is too cool for school, she will completely deny how excited she was to see me, but she was.  I got choked up a bit when I saw her and started hyperventilating. I threw my water logged visor which had been driving me insane at her and tried to get my breathing under control. I was still a bit behind, I started really moving. She was running on the side walk behind me SCREAMING.
and most importantly
I couldn't, I was obsessing. 
She was telling me I had it. This felt like the longest mile I had ever run.
Mile 26 8:15
It was also the fasted mile of the race. 
I was moving as fast as I could. I saw all my boys standing there screaming for me. Of all my years as a Front Runner (my years are going into double digits) this ranks as one of the best moments ever. This right here, this is my team. 
I throw my arms in the air and scream to the crowd I'M GOING TO BOSTON!!!
I go under the banner that says finish. But guess what? It's not the finish. Oh crap. WHERE IS THE FINISH! Did I start celebrating too soon? I high tail it to the REAL finish.
.2 1:25  7:05 pace. Can that be right? Man, I must really scared myself.
Finish time by my watch 3:44:57
A negative split. 
A PR by over 8 minutes.
Most importantly, a Boston Qualifying time.
And you know what? Not one person passed me on the 2nd loop. Not one.

I stood in the chute for a minute trying to pull it together. A few people asked me if I was ok. I said I was. I got my medal. Loren came running over to me and I waited for Cenk to finish, I knew he wasn't far behind. As he crossed the finish line, I was there and gave him the biggest hug I could.

It was pouring. We made our way back to the bag drop where I was greeted by team mates chanting my name, it was amazing.
I dont think I could have put together a better race for myself. I'm still in shock.
For all of you that have been following my blog all these months, thanks for reading and thanks for your support. 
RWOL girls, you are a really special group. I can't wait to see you in Boston.
FRNY my 2nd family, with all the good and bad things a family brings :)
Kelsey, thank you for being my friend and my coach and for standing out in the rain.
And mostly Loren, well, I guess you're ok too.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Your sweet surprise could win you medals

Ok, this is a quickie. Full report when I'm not longer water logged.
I did it.
By my watch (official times aren't up yet) I ran a 3:44:57.
I'm finally going to Boston.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

This is it

Last run done.
I'm leaving in a few hours for NJ.
This is it folks!
I wont lie, I'm nervous.