Monday, February 28, 2011

Hey when she moves When she moves When she moves like she runs

Yesterday I capped off my highest milage running week in 2 years. A whopping 46.2 miles. While I know to a lot of you, that's not a lot but with the nagging plantar fasciitis I've had for the last couple of years, I haven't been able to handle the higher milage stuff. Plus, after PRing in Boston last year with a peak week around 45 miles, I'm not sure I need to go up anywhere crazy (I think my highest milage week ever was when I was training for NJ and that was 60 miles). Yes, I know there are people out there who preach you're not going to get faster unless you RUN MORE. I think you're not going to get faster unless you figure out WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. RIght now, this is working for me and I do not want to run the risk of that horrible pain in my foot coming back. I've been keeping it mostly at bay, a nag here and there, but upping my over all strength seems to have really helped.

This weekend was a mix of running and socializing with runners. A lot. Long run on Sat with the gang of uptown girls and Ms. Bea who ran a personal distance of 8 miles. I ran 18. After, there was a big tired love fest.
She was TIRED after her run but loved it. She (with the help of Loren) has been coming along for part of my long runs and really loves running with a pack.
Sat. night I went to Dessert Wars, a fundraiser for The Boston Arts Academy, the charity my pal Rayk is running Boston for.
I intentionally did my 18 miler before going to this event, as there were close to 40 desserts to try. I will be detoxing for weeks.
Sunday, Loren and I headed to The Armory for the Heps, which is the Ivy League championships. We went to a pre-meet breakfast with Cornell (Loren's school) alums and stayed to watch the meet. While by nature, track meets are boring, there were some exciting races. Most notably, the women's 4x800 relay. Princeton set a league record running it in 8:43:16. Really, the most amazing moment of the day was watching Kate Grace, a senior from Yale and their anchor, take her team from 7th place (and a good 50 yards back on the track) to 3rd over all. She ran a 2:03 800. For those of you who don't know anything about times, that is FAST. Really fast, esp. in a relay. It was 2 seconds faster than the individual 800 that she ran and also won.
Another moment I enjoyed off the track was watching Loren give the winners of the mile and the 800 their awards. They announced the presenter "Loren Mooney winner of this event in 1993" when she presented for the mile. When she came back to her seat I said "most those girls weren't even born when you won this event, they're looking at you like you're some old lady". Over all, it was pretty fun.
After, I came home for my slow recovery run and then had an evening of Oscars.
This week's milage should be about last week's, maybe a hair less. Here's to continuing a strong training cycle.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb

Here's the recap of yesterday's Cherry Tree 10 miler. I've done this race before and it's a great event, but man has it grown over the years! And gotten very competitive. The first time Loren and I did it, it was as a relay. I don't even remember what year it was. It was a small field, made up mostly of people doing the relay. We won the women's division. There were maybe 5 women's teams. There's also the option of doing the entire 10 miles solo, what they call the "race of the hardcore". The race is 3 loops of Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I tried to find a better elevation map, but this will have to do. You get the idea of the hills. They're not terrible, but ya know, they're there.
This year's race saw a pretty big field (106 relay teams, 3 to a team) and 802 "hardcore" 10 milers. There were some fast times as well-first male 53:53 and the first female 1:00:05.
Yea, I was no where near that.
My goals for this race were to run strong and PR. I was planning on perhaps 7:45 as a pace. Just an FYI from my last post, I went with my DS trainers. I had only done 1 run in my Mirages and only 4 miles. I didn't think that was enough to go out and race a 10 miler with.
Here are the splits:
1 7:29
2 8:09
3 7:36
4 7:22
5 7:51
6 7:57
7 7:33
8 7:54
9 8:10
10 7:28
Total 1:17:35 (just about 7:45 pace)
PR of close to 2 minutes.
Can you guess where the hills where?
This race has a tricky start. It's very easy to go out way too fast because it starts on a big down hill and everyone starts together. I didn't want to get sucked into running as fast as the relay people or blowing down the downhill. I noticed I was doing a bit of both so I eased up a bit. I also knew the hill would becoming before the end of mile 2 so I wanted to be in a nice rhythm by then.
I fell into step with someone where the familiar Front Runner jersey and we ran together. I'm embarrassed to admit it took me about a mile to realize I actually knew this person, Michael. We ran together, mostly in silence. I'd call out the splits every mile and if I'd lag, he'd look back to make sure I was staying with him. I felt like I was running an even effort, perhaps picking it up on the downhills.
One cool thing about running the whole 10 miles is you pass the transition area twice. Each time, the energy level is really high as runners head in for the hand off and the next wave starts with a huge burst of energy. The 2nd time around, I said to Michael if sounded as if we were being chased by a stampede. the sound of oncoming footsteps was so loud.
One more time up the hill, then it's pretty much down hill to the finish, but the way the park curves, it feels like a looooong mile. I just focused on pushing and glanced at my watch to see where I was. Under 1:18 was pretty much in the bag, and I was happy about that. Michael and I crossed the line together.

(thanks to Dave for the photo!)
Oh yea, this was also my first race as a master and was good enough for 3rd place in my new AG.
In other news, this was Loren's first 10 miler. I swear, she sandbags even when she doesn't mean to. She never expects to run as fast as she does. Just pin a number on her and off she goes. She ran 1:09:11 (6:55 pace) and won her AG by a minute. I have to enjoy these few months I have until she joins me in the 40s.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In these shoes? I doubt you'd survive

Ah I love the smell of new shoes in the morning! Finding the right shoes however...
For years I was running in Asics 21XX series. Until they did something to the 2150s that, well, I just could not forgive them for. Why do shoe companies do that? Such a huge change. I went through 1 pair and they sucked. To add insult to injury, my marathon shoe of choice was the Asics DS trainer. The up dated version also had changes, so I never even when there with the 15. Luckily, right before Boston last year, I found a pair of 14s and have been carefully NOT running too much in them incase I want to run Boston in them this year as well (they have less than 200 miles on them).
Since the new Asics sucked, I moved to Brooks Adrenalines which I've been totally happy with as a trainer, though I want something a bit lighter to race in. With my problems with PF and some flattish feet, I need a bit of support in my shoes. I've had super feet insoles and they've worked great. Adding more strength training to my routine I believe has also helped my issues. I've heard rave reviews about the Kinvara but just didn't want to risk going to a neutral shoe. I've also heard they're good up until mile 20 of a marathon. I want something good up until mile 26.2 of a marathon. So now Saucony has introduced the Mirage, in the same family but with a little bit of support. I just got a pair of these and I'm itching to take them out. They'll go on a recovery run today and hopefully I will race the Cherry Tree 10 miler in them on Sunday. I will report back.

Speaking of 10 miler, since I'm racing this weekend, I've rearranged my running a bit. On Sat, I did my long run on 16 then yesterday I did 17 so I'd have time to recover and be able to race on Sunday and not have to worry about getting the long run in.
While that's a little closer than I'd normally want my long runs to be, I felt pretty good. The pace was about the same for both and I've had minimal pain.
So yes, I'm doing a 10 miler on Sun. I really like this distance and it's too bad there are so few 10 mile races. This course is 3 loops of Prospect Park in Brooklyn which is fairly rolling with a big up hill and a big down hill. It will be my first race as a master and I am hoping to PR.

In other news, anyone even slightly interested in running has by now heard of the Boston Marathon changing it's registration process and qualifying times. While slightly confusing for 2012-13, I think it's pretty much the best they could do. What does this mean for me? (since this is all about ME!) well, nothing really, since I don't think I'm going to run Boston again (for a while anyway) but hypothetically, it means for next year, I would need to run a 3:50, but if I ran my goal time of sub 3:40, I'd be able to sign up earlier. For 2013, my qualifying time goes back to 3:45 which is what it was when I first qualified. But like I said, I don't have any plans on going it after this year.

And lastly, last week I posted about raising money for The Trevor Project. The response so far has been GREAT. In one week, we've raised over $2200! We also got a shout out on The Trevor Project's Facebook. Thanks to all of you who donated and the donation site will be up until Boston.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Money, that's what I want.

Back in October, I wrote about going over the George Washington bridge and the suicide prevention signs that had been posted on the walk way. Registration for the Boston Marathon was also around that time. On that bike ride, I hatched the idea of running the Boston marathon for The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project runs a 24/7 suicide prevention hotline aimed at helping LGBT kids, who are FOUR TIMES more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. Yes, four times.

I came up with this idea to raise money for the work The Trevor Project does and to hopefully be an example for younger LGBT people. I have also asked other LGBT runners running Boston to help me so this is a group effort. We all want to make a difference.

All of us running would be running anyway. We are all qualified for Boston and we are all paying our own way to get there. Other than the service fee Crowdrise charges (if you donate through them) all the money will be going directly to The Trevor Project.
So I am asking you to join us and make a donation to The Trevor Project. Just follow the link.
If you are running Boston and would like to join the fundraising team (you don't even have to be gay!) please let me know.

Finally, I want to share the "It's Gets Better" video made by Front Runners New York, NY's LGBT running club. The club has been around for more than 30 years and I started running with them in 1999. Here members (some of whom will be running with me in Boston!) talk about coming out, growing up, and why life does get better.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Land of the Lost

I'm baaaaack!
As earlier noted, I was slatted to start Pfitz 12/55 for Boston on 1/24. I had been having some strong running weeks leading up to that, except for getting sick right after my birthday. The only really issue with starting my plan on 1/24 was, and I know this is a totally hardship, I was going to be in Hawaii.
I'll pass for a minute so you can all really grasp the difficulty in this.

Ok. I think we're all ready to move forward. I, of course, had every intention of running while in HI since it would be warm and I could wear just 1 layer. And I did run. A totally of 11 miles.
The day we got there, it was late. We stayed in some dumpy hotel in Kona and I figured we'd be up early with jetlag and get a run in. Sure enough, I was up at 5 and we were out before the sun was up. We weren't alone. HI is the land of run before the sun is up (for sane people anyway). Kona is also the land of Ironman and even in Jan. full of fit people working out. We saw a lot of people out running at that hour. We'd also see lots of people out riding on the Queen K, the highway where the bike portion on the Ironman is. Thing about that road is: 1. it's not pretty 2. it's hotter than HELL 3. it's windy. I wouldn't want to ride on it. Which leads to the usual question: If I ever (HA!) qualified for Kona, would I do the race. I've never had any desire to. I also have no realistic shot of ever getting in so it's not a serious concern. I think it's safe to say I'd pass on that race. The town of Kona was not at all impressive. It's like a bad touristy Jersey beach town. No thanks!
Anyhooo... So Loren and I did have a great 6 mile run with the sun coming up and yes, I was in shorts. That part was great.
Later that day, one of the BQ Babes, Wes, who lives on Oahu, flew over to spend the day with us. That was awesome! Thanks for coming over Wes.
We spent that night camping on the beach which is a great thing about HI. There are tons on campgrounds on the beach and they're super cheap.
The next morning, we got up just before sunrise to start our trek up Muana Kea , the high point of HI and the biggest mountain in the world. At 13796' feet, we had a long day ahead of us. We stared with our feet in the ocean than drove to the Visitor's center at about 9000' where we would hike to the top. The hike is about 6 miles and gains over 4500'. Not an easy day, esp. since we've been at sea level and weren't acclimated to any kind of elevation.
It was a tough hike. It was steep, lots of lava rocks, and a snow field. It took us over 4 hours to get to the top. The nice thing, however, is people drive up in jeeps and other 4 wheel drive vehicles and from time to time you'll see a rogue rental car though I would not want to take the chance on the road leading up to the top.
Once we hit the summit, we decided we'd try to hitch a ride back down. Hitching is fairly common in HI, though it's not fairly common in the mind of american tourists. The first 2 cars drive by and just waved at us, sort as they had done when the passed us on the road in the last mile of the hike. Then a jeep pulled over. And driving said jeep: a German tourist. I have a theory which has proven to be true for both Loren and I. No matter where you are in the world, you will run into a German tourist. We shared this with our kind driver which he found surprising. Loren and I refer to ourselves as German tourist who happen to be american since we seem to share the same love of travel.
Once we got back to our car, we headed over to Hilo where we found a rather interesting place to stay for the night and my friend Sam from my Esalen days joined us for a sushi pig out. I was pooped from the hike.
The next morning, we again woke up early and did a recovery run. Later in the day, we headed to Volcano national park where we would spend the next few days backing packing to back country beaches.
It was some awesome hiking through some interesting conditions to some very remote beaches. We hiked 18 miles in the 2.5 days we were out there. It was great. I want to turn 40 every year.
So while I was short on the running, I did hike 24 miles, that has to count for something.
For pictures of our trip, check out here and here.

Once we returned to NY, i got back on track (mostly). I had a really good tempo run this year and an awesome 15 miler yesterday, so I'm not too worried about my 11 mile week.