Sunday, April 29, 2007

last week in review

so with the shins not feeling fantastic, i decided to do more yoga than running. tuesday and thursday, i rolled out of bed at 6:45am for 7am yoga classes down the block. ramon said yoga was good for the shins, and since its so close by, it's been a good cross-training for me.

the yoga thing has been going on for just a few weeks, but you improve quickly, which is nice. i can feel my core getting stronger, and of course, i've been getting more flexible in general. it is definitely helping the shins too - i can tell they don't feel as weak as they did when i first started (i know it sounds odd to think your bone can feel weak, but it did).

wednesday, i needed to stay at work late, so i missed our wednesday practice, which was just as well considering it was gross and raining.

this weekend, i had bag i had to run on my own...and i'll tell you all about that in the next post.

time for bed...

the jersey shore

well shore of the hudson anyway.

before the pack of us headed out, i was recruited to run at the tail end of our very-long-single-file-line over the bridge. because the north side was closed, and there would be a lot of cyclists, ramon threatened to cancel the run if he saw us running anything but single file, and i was bringing up the tail-end. we didn't want to lose anyone.

i was more than happy to take it slow given my shins were as achy as ever. it was beautiful out. for once i was smart and had put on some sunscreen. downtown was hazy and looked like a backdrop rather than actual buildings. and before you knew it, we were on the jersey side, up and down a few sets of stairs...and onto the jersey sidewalk.

once upon a time an agency i worked at had its summer party at the park we were going to so i had fairly good idea of where we were going, down a lot of hills we were going to have to run back up at the end of our adventure. :( i decided not to think about it. we were running for time, vs. distance, for a maximum of 2 hours and 50 minutes, so 1:25 out and back. once we were in the park i broke from the back of the pack and headed out at a pretty good pace.

when we got to the first rotery, ramon was there with the car and said bathrooms were down the hill, and if we didn't want to run back up, then we could keep going along the water until we hit then next set of bathrooms, we would come back up. this sounded like a pretty good idea, and 5 of us headed down, right to the picnic grounds where the party had been.

unfortunatly the boathouse was closed so we took off along a path that started out picturesque and soon turned muddy as hell. we were annoyed at being slowed down, but easily found the humor in the situation as we jumped over/in/around the muck. we finally arrived at bathroom number two, legs and shoes dirtier than they had been, only to find that closed as well. hmmm. one of the funny things about running is it makes you care a lot less about things like - is anyone going to see me pee? there was a fenced in building that i momentarily was nervous was some how associated with electricity (i had visions of being electrocuted while peeing, ending up pants down in the woods. what a fate.) but got over it and we were off again, uphill where ramon was waiting with water and pretzles.

that was only around 4.5 miles, and we had been out for about an hour because of the walking, so we decided to go a little farther time wise than just 1:25 since we had the walking-through-the-mud portion. when we left ramon we went down a very long downhill, and continued yacking and chatting. we started seeing lots of folks coming back, and after about 40 minutes or so, me and another girl headed back.

and heading back was rough. it was all all all hill. and they were not short. they were long, torturous monsters of hills. the last, leaving the park and the first 1/4 of a mile or so after was *the* worst. super steep. traffic everywhere. when we got back to the bridge, i wanted to jump for joy because it was so flat, but i didn't really have the energy. i enjoyed the rest of the run back to our little meeting place, and as randy drove the rookie and i home, i was a tired but happy camper. it was the hardest training run i'd had this season or last, and i was feeling pretty okay.

jersey mileage: 14.0*
felt like: 16+
miles to date: 131.8

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

where were we?

distracted could be my middle name right now.

okay so i did that whole "brooklyn 1/2 marathon" thing...and then i had bad shin-splints and didn't go to practice and oh yes, the next run would be the george washington bridge day.

so this past saturday our run was going to take us over the gw, into the wilds of new jersey. on the nj side of the hudson, there is a very very very hilly park that winds back under the bridge and a long the river. and there are some bad-ass hills, let me tell you. how do i know this? because a few jobs ago we had our company picnic there. and some of us biked. and i remembered the downhill to the picnic area...and thought, oh my christ we're gonna have to run *up* that thing. and then i thought i better stop thinking.

but i'm getting ahead of myself.

the night before i was meeting my friend L for one drink. one. i think i told her that about four times. we were going to a little irish pub where we had started getting friendly with the bartenders. i got there first and after a little chit-chatting turned around to find...the red sox - yankees game on the tele. i knew at that moment it was trouble because, being a die-hard sox fan, i was going to have to stay on that bar stool until the end of the game, regardless of whether we were winning or losing. i could only hope we would be winning.

L finally arrived, and ordered a beer and shortly after, over comes our bartender friend with two shots. not anything crazy, but in two swift seconds i was over my one drink limit. i blame it on that pansy a-rod hitting a three-run homer. my sister soon joined us, and the urge go home and cook pasta turned into craving a burger. we ordered food, and oh look! the sox decided to make a game out of it. another guiness please sir (if you can't beat 'em, right?). my cheers were annoying the hell out of a few particularly obnoxious yankee fans (i mean no offense but these guys were complete asses) sitting at the bar, which of course had the effect of making me cheer even louder.

one more round of shots (you know you're not allowed to turn down a free shot from a bartender, yes? well now you do.) and a red sox victory! the crowd goes wild! actually me, my sister and one other dude go wild but whatever. the poor widdle wankees fans a the bar...the best comment they could come up with was (in a "girlie" voice): yaaaay! we won a game!!

wonder how they were feeling on Sunday...i'm sorry boys, would you like me to pass you the broom, 'cause y'all just got SWEPT.

okay, trash talk done. my *real* point was that i ended up at the bar until 11:30 eating burgers and drinking guiness the night before i had to be out the door at 7:45 to go run 14+ very hilly miles.

and i'm tired now, so you're just going to have to wait for that story tomorrow...

g'night kiddies.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

the week in review

so between last saturday and this saturday there was no running. just stretching.

despite the stretching, the shins have been very very ouchie. walking downstairs has been especially painful, despite all the stretching. i should have been cross-training, but that means 6:30am spin classes or 7am yoga classes, and i'm not sure if it's because i've been really busy but general laziness but there was no cross-training in marathonville this week.

i even went so far as not to go to practice on wednesday, and you know i never miss practice. we're in hill training, and the thought of thumping my shins around made me queezy and so i didn't even run.

usually i would feel really guilty about this but i'm hurting - or, as ramon says, uncomfortable enough that this didn't really bother me this week. i was hoping for some relief on saturday morning. we had a big run ahead of us, over the george washington into a very hilly park on the jersey side of the hudson.

no sleep 'til... (part 2)

thousands of runners on a rickety old boarwalk. as you might imagine, it's a bit...well bouncy! if you've never been to coney island, it's likely that after this summer it, like much of our once-gritty-city, will begin transforming to a generic-over-developed version of what it once was, so come to the city for a visit!

anyway, the boardwalk is a little run down...there are loose boards and nails and it is a little bit hazzardous when you're running. i was probably also over-sensitive to this because i had to pee already. so the first three miles, which were down and back the boardwalk, were all about trying not to think about that i had to pee, ignoring the shin-splints and not tripping. i even decided not to think about time, because i was having such an inefficient start. aside from these two factors, it was really beautiful. the ocean always makes me calm and happy, and i have a special spot in my heart for coney island so i was happy to be there.

on the way back, the boardwalk bathrooms are open and i almost jumped for joy! no lines too, score. after that i was a new woman. i picked it up a bit, and decided to see how the next few miles were going and then decide if i was going to try for 2:15. i saw the tnt coaches and gave my signature jazz-hand wave, and continued on.

miles 4-8 were relatively easy and i was having fun. we headed up ocean parkway, i had a great mix on and now that i had warmed up, the weather was lovely. i have biked to coney island quite a few times, so i kinda of had a good handle on the distance, and it was confidence-builder to have that grasp. i with each mile marker, i tried to stay consistently "feeling good" but not afraid to be faster than the beginning - the idea was to run miles 1-4.5 at a "conservative" pace, 4.5 - 9 a little faster, and then let all hell break loose for the last 4.

so as i went up ocean parkway, i was very very consistent. i picked it up a little at mile 5 and then stayed at that pace until i got to the park. when i hit the 9 mile marker, it looked like by the clock time, that i needed to pick up another minute over the next four miles. i was feeling really good, but needed to prepare (mentally) for the very big hill we were going to be tackling. the hill is .4 miles long, and i've run it quite a few times at this point, and while it was not easy, i figured, at least we don't have to run it more than once.

i kicked some butt on the hill, and then flew along around the top of the park. on the otherside, there was a sweet downhill around mile 12, and then the course looped towards the center of the park where there was...damn! another hill. grrr. i had told myself after the big hill that it was literally "downhill from there" so i just wasn't ready. that one hill turned into a series of rolling-hills, which, i thought, was just *mean* on the part of the organizers. i was definitely done, done done with the hills, bit my lip and pushed on. i finally could see the finish-line and there was cap on the right cheering me in, and soon after the rest of the tnt crew on the left doing the same. the time on the clock was somewhere just over 2:14, and since i had crossed the start at over three minutes, i knew i had hit it, which put a big smile on my face.

we ran into a bunch of people from last season and then went to union hall for a very deserved post-run brunch. cap, the rookie and i outstayed the rest of our crew, having a beer or two with our egg-sandwiches.

after that, i came home and checked my time before my nap... 2:12:47! a PR (personal record) and more so, i *think* if push came to shove i could work even harder. so i think the formula for figuring out your time 1/2 marathon to marathon is double and add ten minutes...which would put me at 4:35:34. if i had a goal time (if people, i've not committed yet!) it would be 4:30, so this run was really really encouraging in that respect.

can i keep up that pace for double those miles though? that, my friends, is the big question...

race mileage: 13.1
season mileage to date: 117.8

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

no sleep 'til... (part 1)

after the brooklyn 1/2 marathon of course.

so friday night i was a very good girl. i came directly home from "just one" with this friend or that, just a quick stop at paragon for a variety of goos and some more body glide. then straight home for pasta and early to bed. we were meeting at 6:30am to grab a cab down to coney island, where the half marathon was starting. the race would start at 8, which meant i wanted to be done eating by 6, which meant...up at 5:45am. happy saturday!

i ordered pasta in, watched-i-don't-remember-what on tv, and put myself to bed at 10pm. i did not fall asleep right away between the nerves and and that 10 is a good 2 hours or so before i usually go to sleep. luckily for me, the natives (aka my neighbors) were not too restless that night so once i got to sleep, i stayed asleep.

the alarm shouted me awake, and i grouchily rolled out of bed. i toasted a waffle, spilled some peanut butter on it and chugged two pint glasses of water. i met rand, cap and one of his friends on the corner and we easily hailed a cab out to coney.

we got there around 7, a little after, and what i should have done was head right to the ever-growing-porta-potty line. but i didn't. we met up with the rest of the crew and i pinned my number, decided on goos, and found the rookie, who had taken the bus. around 7:25, i headed to the bathroom but the line was ridiculous. it always amazines me - there were thousands of people here, and they had maybe 15 bathrooms. grrr. the lines were imporssible and i made another unwise decision not to wait. i headed back to the bags, stood around trying to keep warm, packed my bag and dropped it off on the school bus.

i decided if i got in line to pee, i would miss the start. so screw it. the course went down and back the boardwalk and i could always pee on the way back. i saw a fellow mentor, and we eventually found two of her friends, who i knew from last season. the music started and soon we took off down the boardwalk - probably the last 1/2 marathon along the dirty, weird coney island we all know and love.

and we have a connection...

first of major apologies for what was probably my longest hiatus in a while. i finally sucked it up and decided to pay for an internet connection at home so you'll probably be more tired with the volume of posts than anything.

so we've a lot to catch up on.

okay so overall things are good. i have been doing a lot of yoga for cross-training - there's a studio near me that has 7 am classes that i can pretty much roll out of bed and stumble to. i have been having a really hard time with my shin splints - they are really painful. in case you don't know the mechanics of shin splints, the calf muscle is so tight that it pulls the tissue away from the shin bone (tibia) on the front of the leg. when this happens, the bone can absorb more of the impact from running. this can be painful and potentially, lead to stress fractures.

this is my biggest worry, and mine have gotten progressively worse over the last few weeks. so much so, that i e-mailed ramon, who checked me out at practice last wednesday. he grabbed my calf and said "yes, they are very tight". huh. and i had thought that was good ;). he recommended more cross-training and less running, icing after running, stretching my calves 10-15 minutes a day (this is harder than you'd think) and running on soft surfaces when possible.

last wed we had session 2 of the hills, which, once the splints loosened up, was a.o.k. afterwards those of us that have been mooching off of rand for rides, took him out for a burger with a few other peeps and talked strategy and goal times for the brooklyn 1/2 marathon that saturday. typically, i try to avoid thinking about time, but i am trying to become a better runner here, and speed is well, speed. so when cap asked me what time i was going for, instead of saying i wasn't thinking about it (lest i dissappoint myself) i declaired 2 hours and 15 minutes. ha.

i got to that number figuring a little over a 10 minute mile could possibly be doable given my time on the previous saturday's run. we would see.

yoga sessions: 2
april 11 mileage: 4.0
season mileage to date: 108.7

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Nike Woman's Marathon (to benefit the LLS)

fall's a coming. who's with me?

if you're in ny and want to attend a special info meeting, shoot me an e-mail and i'll send along the info.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

stay hungry, stay foolish

this hits home today. if you've got the time, it's worth the watch...

Monday, April 09, 2007

the bk half

not burger king, silly, brooklyn.

i finally got around to registering for the brooklyn 1/2 marathon today. it's saturday at 8 am (uuuuurg early!). which means getting there at least 45 minutes early, which means leaving probably close to 5:15/5:30 am. GROSS.

it makes me laugh that i am not really nervous about this at all and mention quite matter-of-factly in conversations about what i am doing this weekend that i'm going to run a 1/2 marathon. its kind of fun.

oh and all you brooklynites better come out and cheer!

check out the course here.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

over 100 miles...

wow, when i look at that title it screams at me: you slacker! (it refers, of course, to my season mileage, but we'll get to that).

i didn't run at all this week. i have the usual guilt about this, mixed with a growing fear that i have not been training as hard as i need to be. i missed wednesday practice for a once-a-year whisky-drinking expo with the scots and of course didn't get up thursday morning after that to run. yesterday i had off but did i run? no. why? well part laziness and part my shin splints have been really killing me this week. not so badly that i can't walk but bad enought that they hurt literally with each step. i fear this is also a result of me not training as hard and i feel and anxious nagging that i need to step it up. the question with me always is...will i?

i get wrapped up in the city. in work. with being social. while on one side i overcommitt myself, on the other extreme i get all lazy and unmotivated when i feel overwhelmed. i don't know how to say no. i go out too much. i am terrible at carving out time for just me. oh wait, that should be my time running on my own...but sometimes i just want to sleep and sleep and sleep. i'm feel tired my friends, very tired!

sorry for the odd rant...i'm probably just feeling guilty for not training as much as i know that i should and can. it'll pass.

today, for example, turned out to be a great run. it shouldn't have been. all signs pointed to bad run. the rookie surprised me with an extra ticket to cold war kids at the bowary ballroom (the show's been sold out forever and i had been whining about it), and so we were out until after 1 rockin' with all the hipsters. it was a great show. the 1st opener, delta spirit, totally has a ton of it and they were really freaking great. and middle band i liked, but not as much as the first, and cold war kids simply kicked ass.

so that bed around 1:45...up at 6:15 to scarf some cereal and drink water, back in bed until 7:30...scramble around for cold weather running clothes (um, what happened to spring people - can someone get on this?) on the corner for rand to pick me and cap up by 8. see? i'm tired.

we are running the brooklyn 1/2 marathon next weekend, and so i didn't want to run more than 12 so that that would feel like a bit of a milestone (it's all about the build-up, right?). everyone's assignment was to add 2-3 miles to their longest run, which worked perfectly because we had done 10 last weekend so 2 loops it was.

the first loop went pretty smoothly except for my damn shin splints. they are really bad and i'm not going to lie - since sk8's diagnosis i'm extra paranoid. i ran with the rookie and we were both kinda quiet for a change. it was a very mellow morning. at mile 6 we stopped back at bag-check for water and fuel (me: goo, rookie: banana). time-wise we are going much faster than i did last season which i am quite proud of - i think exactly a 10 minute mile. we headed out for a reverse look, and i decided i needed music (and the rookie probably needed to run faster than my "pokey" pace) and so we parted ways.

my 2nd loop was great. i hit play on my old running mix (which is still quite good i have to say) and got in a groove. i was feeling good and strong, despite all the hills. i was warmer, my shin splints stopped biting at me by the 7th mile or so, and i was pleasantly surprised to find i had run 4 of the 6 miles in less than 40 minutes...what? not one to question, i kept going and going. around my 11th mile i ran into an old collegue who broke me out of my u2-induced-day-dreaming. she asked if i was going to run a loop, and i said "actually, two! i only have one more mile left." and she gave me one of my favorite kind of compliments: you look like you just started! (i greatly enjoy knowing i don't look like i'm going to pass out at the tail end of a run).

that and one of my favorite songs kept me fueled for the last mile, and i arrived back to our spot with a big grin. 12 miles and feeling great is a really really good feeling.

and BONUS! i decided to be anal-retentive and actually map out the run just now, and when you count in the transverses, the distance is actually more like 12.8...which means, i'm averaging 9:45 minute miles! i knew i could do it at short distances...but 12 miles is pretty damn good for that speed. i wonder to what distance i will be able to maintain that speed...and if i can break 4:30 in the marathon...and i set my jaw and promise myself to train far harder for the rest of the season.

today's mileage: 12.8
season mileage to date: 104.7

Friday, April 06, 2007

down & out (but just for now)

sad, very sad news people: sk8's got a stress fracture.

after a bunch of medical back and forth, the results came in and the doc confirmed yesterday that there will be no more running for beck for at least 4 weeks or so, which means that she is not going to be able to run san diego. so our little posse is not so much a posse anymore...

sk8, being sk8, of course is really pissed and frustrated (see, running is damn addictive!) but isn't quitting. her plan is to run the fall season, and until then she'll be biking and swimming to keep up her fitness. she entered the nyc lottery, but if she doesn't get in she'll do nike or chicago - depending on which one picks, she might already be my star fundraiser.

sk8, i'm gonna miss you terribly, but we're still gonna hang out *all* the time. damn it.

and then there were two...

what's under yer kilt?

sorry for the hiatus guys. this week has been a little crazy between some visiting scottish friends and some other general life things.

where were we? i think i left you on saturday after our 10 mile run. saturday night there was an art exibition/party that i went to with some work friends and a pal i hadn't seen in forever! it was fun, and then we went to meet some other gals for a few more drinks. i was trying to behave, because the next morning i was running the scottish run, which is a 10k. at the bar though, i fell victim to an unusually strong margarita, and before i knew it i thought a bacon-wrapped hot dog sounded like a great idea.

not exactly what you'd call good running fuel.

i woke up around 5:30 am and did an emergency water guzzle and went back to bed for a bit. at 8 i got up, ate cereal and basically sat around trying to banish my hangover until the last possible second. the scottish run is one loop around central park and one of the tartan week festivities. a lot of scottish ex-pats come and run in their kilts, and since i was hungover anyway i figured why not don mine (yes, i have a real kilt). i wasn't going to be breaking any records that morning.

i met up with my friend and co-worker and we got a ride with rand up to the park. it was busy. we quickly checked bags and met up with one of tri's friends and squeezed our way into the starting line. despite being tired and less than 100%, the bag pipes and crowd perked me up, and before we knew it, it was time to run.

right after we started, the rookie flew by looking generally unhappy and mumbling something about 4:30 am and too many guiness. ha. i had my ipod on low so i could hear the spectators, and many of the scots that ran by commented on my kilt. around 102, i ran into a girl that ran phoenix with me - yay, running buddy! and about 5 minutes after that, ran into my friend annie from a few jobs ago. our little trio chatted and puffed and complained our way through the last 3/4 miles.

we crossed the finish line and the clock said 1:02 which meant that i had somehow completed the race in less than an hour because by time we had crossed the start line, the clock read over 4 minutes. i literally thought i was going to throw up right there, but after a few deep breaths and a glass of water it passed. i was definitely tired though - running 6 miles after 10 miles is hard work! especially when you've got a 2 pound wool handicap around your waist.

rand found me, we watched the awards, i found my scottish pal col who was pleased to see that i had run in my kilt and invited me to a whisky drinking event later in the week (yes!). back downtown, i checked my time, and found i had been averaging 9:38 minute miles - not freaking bad all things considered!

the rookie and i had brunch at one of my favorite spots, then had a chill sunday watching a movie and generally doing nothing but recovering. the post-running guilt-free laziness is quite divine i must say.

today's mileage: 6.2
season mileage to date: 91.9

Thursday, April 05, 2007

a few questions for you, dear runners

if you consider yourself a runner, listen up! :) i'm working on a project and if you'd like to assist, please take a few minutes to answer the following questions and e-mail them to me at i would be very grateful for your help!

First name:
How long have you been a runner?
How often do you run and how far do you typically run?
Longest distance?
Have you ever run a marathon? If so, how many? If not, do you plan on running one?
What is it about running that you love?
What do you dislike about running?
Why did you start running?
What is your favorite "running moment"?
How do you feel immediately after a run?
Do you run alone or in groups?
Do you prefer to run competitively, socially, or alone?
Where is your favorite run?
Where's the most interesting place you've run?
What does running mean to you?
Why run?

Monday, April 02, 2007

off topic: that's one sexy lizard

happy tartan week people! time to get your whisky on.