Monday, December 31, 2007

the last run of 2007

2007 is just about in the bag and i'm happy to say that i have finished it out with a run today.

most of my peeps had to work today and given that its likely that i would not be running tomorrow given the potential for a hangover, i thought it would be wise on my part to run today.

i neglected to shower yesterday, and debated showering before the run because my hair was a rather greasy mess, but then i thought that would be silly *and* a waste of water, so i took off for the park looking a bit, well, shiny.

it felt colder than ny1's thermometer of 45 degrees but i knew i would warm up soon enough. the sun was bright and i wished for sunglasses or a hat or something. next time. i left the ipod at home for good practice and took off at what i think was a decent pace for 1+ loops.

i noticed a strange pain that has been with me, above my knee on my left leg in my quad, get a little worse as i ran but aside from that, the park was quiet, i warmed up nicely and it was a lovely run.

funny moment of the day came at the top of the big hill. i am sure i had red-exercise-face at the time, and this man comes out of a meadow, and starts crossing my path with a bike, turns in my general directions and with an, er, appreciative glance, says:

"you're beautiful. god bless you."

knowing i looked nothing of the kind, i couldn't help but laugh to myself and wonder if i needed a new sports bra.

its been such a year that i'd feel it would be just plain wrong not to highlight a few of my favorite moments of the year...both running- and otherwise-related:

•2007 arizona marathon with demps, charlotte & drew
•the az road trip that followed
•getting my butt kicked off of ebay
•the formation of the syrupinas and the ensuing nights out afterwards
•dragging sk8 & the rookie into the san diego season
•bickering with the rookie while cap laughed from the sidelines
•miraculously completing the san diego marathon despite not having run for more than a few weeks before hand
•completing that same marathon even faster than my first!
•ramon being freaking proud of me at that finish line
•my birthday party at the sister's apartment
•midnight madness
•finding and getting my new apartment
•meeting my man
•hanging out on the roof deck until the sun came up
•getting even more what family is all about
•all the fun syrupy moments
•starting this running nonsense all over again

it's been a good year - here's to yet another in 2008.

happy new year friends.

today's mileage:4.0
season mileage to date:42.3

Saturday, December 29, 2007

a long run. for real.

happy holidays again!

i'm just off a long run in the park, the first one i feel like was really a *longer* run and it was great.

i wasn't sure how it was going to go this morning...yesterday was a bit of a long day, i went to bed late, i probably didn't drink enough water and i didn't eat breakfast. i was thinking we'd only be running 6 miles, so figured i could get away with it with a little pain.

i got to practice on time, and said hello to the brooklyn coach lisa, who i hadn't seen in a while. i don't really know many tnters out here in brooklyn, a few girls who ran my first season, but its enough that i feel pretty comfortable.

we headed out to our little field for squats and lunges, etc (owe) and we got our mileage assignments:

1/2 marathoners: 1 loop (3.4m)
beginners: 5 miles
intermediates: 8 miles
advanced: i wasn't listening because i was thinking "8 miles! crap."

last week intermediate was supposed to run 6 - 7, so it made sense, but i had run about 5.5 so i was pretty sure that i shouldn't run 8. lisa confirmed when she said we shouldn't be adding more than 1-2 miles. i decided i'd go for two loops. i confirmed that it would be a little shy of 7 miles and took off. i had forgotten to charge my ipod so it was just me and my thoughts.

it was what i've decided is the perfect running temperature - about 40 degrees. after the cold, it feels positively warm but it's not so warm that you really sweat until after you're done running.

lisa told us that if we were doing more than one loop, to reverse direction on the 2nd loop because there is a slant in the park, and you want to try to keep "balanced" by not always having the slant on your left leg. so i went the traditional direction the first time, tackling the big hill. the more i run that hill the more i like it. sick, i know. it's definitely work, but good work. as i passed barb, the walk coach, she said "you are making this look way to easy." my grin turned to a smile and i remarked back that i was glad that it *looked* that way.

after the hill, i passed the picnic area and before i knew it one loop was done. i turned around, and on the way back i stopped for water. all the fountains are off in the park, and i am resisting with ALL my might getting a water belt. what's a water belt? this lovely thing:

yeah. no. i do not need to be carrying around the extra weight thank you very much. one drink between two loops is not really enough, but i know that i can get away with it at these shorter distances. off again, this time in the other direction and in for a lovely downhill.

the thing about downhills is that while they feel good at the time, they are actually harsher on your body, especially the knees if you're not careful. you don't want to run them too hard, because that pounding can cause all sorts of bad things. being paranoid of shin splints, i tried to let the hill do the work, and sort of glide, rather than thump down the hill. ha. i just giggled at the idea of me "gliding". i'm sure that i didn't look glidy for sure.

as i headed down, i encouraged some other tnters on the way up, and waved at barb again. once that very long downhill was finished, there was a long flat around the "bottom" of the park, and then the slope starts up again as you head back towards where we started. once that hill started i knew i was nearly done. but that hill is one of those gradual long ones that i don't like. blah. i gritted my teeth, gave a wave and a wink to bouv as i do when i get ouchy, and kept truckin'.

i had a thought as i headed up the last part towards the meeting spot. its that running is a lot of work, especially for me. this may be fairly obvious (demps, i can hear you saying "duh!"). i think its more about me being someone who is fairly good at a lot of things. i always joke and say "jack of all trades, master of none" in regards to me being pretty good at stuff.

running however, is not one of those things. it does not come naturally to me. it sometimes gets easier, but it is very rarely, maybe even never, easy for me. it may never be easy. but i've kept at it anyway. this was all dawning on me as i passed the starting mark and with it, i decided to run the last 1/2 mile to bag watch. i started smiling my dumb runners grin as i finished up, thinking that working for something that you believe is important is pretty damn cool.

yes. i am a cheese-ball. sorry to break any illusions of cool you may be harboring about me.

i trotted over to get my stuff and barb and luis were talking. as i approached, barb exclaimed "there she is! every time i saw you, you were just smiling away like 'yeah, i'm going up a hill!' and it was just so great to see your big smile. that is exactly what it is all about."

me with a big dorky grin. yep, that's pretty much it in a nutshell.

today's mileage: 7.3
season mileage to date: 38.3

Saturday, December 22, 2007

the brooklyn posse

this morning was my first official practice as a brooklynite. getting out of bed was hard. i think i will be recuperating from the crazy fall for a while - the great thing is we have off between now and january 2nd. my plans: relax & run.

yesterday was *frigid* and when i finally dragged myself out of bed, i was pleasantly surprised to find the morning a balmy 37 degrees, i could wear one less layer than i thought. pants, long sleeves, therma-fleece, hat and gloves just in case.

lisa - the head coach - was gone for the holiday already, but luis was there. luis is one of the coaches and part of our team for reach the beach (i don't think i blogged about that adventure, but to put it briefly - 12 people, 2 vans, 300 miles).

since this was my first practice i had no idea where people were for miles. it ended up beginners were doing 5 and intermediates were doing 6-7. i decided to do the 5 and then see how i felt. to do 5 miles in prospect park, you go about 2/3rds around, then take a cut off that allows you to run the lower part of the park again, then you come back around and do the *massive* hill.

i said hello to a few people, and then we took off for a "brisk walk" to a little field where we did a warm-up of jumping jacks, squats, lunges and leg raises. then we were off. i had my ipod in my pocket but decided to save it in case i really needed it. they like you to get in the habit of running without music...and i'd say there's no way i could run a marathon with no music, except i did in san diego.

so i took off on my own at what felt like a good pace (i really need to get a new watch) and managed to maintain for the whole run. the hill was a little trying but in a way that felt really good. i made it back to the start point, and then ran a little beyond and back to where the bags are for what i think was probably 5.5 miles.

i'm hoping that in the next two weeks, i will be able to run and train enough to get comfortable with the intermediate schedule. that's the goal people. i'll be headed to the mass for christmas today, but there will be some running there, assuming its not going to be too cold.

have a great holiday people! until next time...

today's mileage: 5.5
total mileage: 31.0

Monday, December 17, 2007

roxie: 1, treadmill: 0

at long last, i beat that (explative) machine.

so this week is crazy at work, which means i won't get to practice tomorrow. so i left work a little after 7 tonight, with more work to do at home, but i said to myself that if i managed to get in my door before 8 pm, i would change and force myself back out into the cold to my gym, which is (i have to say) ridiculously close. like 2 blocks away close. LONG blocks. but still.

anyway, i like to make these little wagers with myself sometimes. maybe its my way of procrastinating...or letting myself off the hook, but its kind of like gambling without the losing money part. and in this case it was a win-win. i would either miss my deadline and get to relax right away (instant gratification!) or have to battle the treadmill, and afterwards i would, hopefully, feel good. or at least decent.

trains ran semiquickly and i knew it was going to be tight but wouldn't look at my phone until i was actually off the train and at the door.

7:57pm. of course.

i dug up some inside running gear and headed backout. there is a yoga studio on the first floor of my building, and as i was locking my door, a girl leaving turned and said "oh you are my hero going for a run in the cold!" i smiled and took more credit than i deserved. even though i was going to have to face my nemesis, the treadmill, at least i would be warm....

i walked through the doors of my gym for the first time and headed to a treadmill on the end of a row. i was also sporting my new nano, and some new headphones which i was not sure were actually going to stay put in my ears (i have the world's tinyest ears. for real). i got situated. put the nano on shuffle. and stared down my opponent. would i challenge him on a program? pick a certain amount of time? or just go for the quick draw...i mean, start. i chose the latter and started off on the hamster wheel.

since it was cold, i walked for 2 minutes just to lessen the risk of pulling something. then, i debated between 10 and 11 minute miles. given my history with the treadmill, my usual failures, and my little running so far this season, i prudently opted for the 11 minute miles.

the beginning and the end were hard. you've heard me complain about why i hate the treadmill so i'll spare you now, but the forced steady pace gets to me. once i was over that a little bit, i focused on the music and attempted to unwind, trying to think of the run as good quality alone time. of course, alone time is more easily enjoyed (in my mind, esp in this weather) curled up on the couch with a good book, but i tried not to think about that.

before i knew it a mile had passed, and then another, and then, i thought to myself...just three more songs (about 11 minutes, no?). three songs is nothing, right roxie? lucky for me the last of the three was a rockin' one and it took me home. 3 miles on that damn machine. i win!

today's mileage: 3.0
season mileage to date: 25.5

a catch-up post

i know i know, i've been slacking.

but i haven't really i swear. december is purely and simply hellish as far as time is concerned and that means...not as much running as needs to be done, and also not as much blogging. i am not slacking on the running because of the holiday festivities so much as the work. as much as i love my job, december has been killing me softly. dear god, only 3 more days...

since last time though i did run two more races and i am officially DONE with the qualifiers for the 2008 NYC marathon. the first one, last sunday was a 10k, or 6.2 miles. it went okay. i was up kinda late the night before, and something i ate gave me a lovely belly ache, but i met up with charlotte, so we gabbed most of the time. oh, had a great chafe mark where there was a little hole in my pants. a perfect circle on my inner theigh. owwwwwwwe for the next 5 days. (i will spare you the bandaid issues i had trying to get the damn thing to heal) and now that i'm done with the grousing, i will say that the nice thing about these races at the tail end of your marathon qualifiers is that they are not about time really, just about finishing. kinda more enjoyable.

then this saturday was the last one - a 4 miler. char and i met up again, and there was a whole tnt crew, and i (heart) the middle loop. its a great little run, hills are okay, and you end before you're really tired. wheeeee. easy as pie. well not really. i was midstory coming up cat hill and totally had to stop because i was a bit winded - that is just sad.

but the only way to keep that from happening is to get my butt back out there on the road, cold or no.

the two races combined miles: 13.2
season mileage to date:22.5

Friday, December 07, 2007

I’m Not Really Running, I’m Not Really Running...

a story of mind over matter, courtesy the ny times.

I’m Not Really Running, I’m Not Really Running...
Published: December 6, 2007

BILL MORGAN, an emeritus professor of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin, likes to tell the story, which he swears is true, of an Ivy League pole vaulter who held the Division 1 record in the Eastern region.

His coaches and teammates, though, noticed that he could jump even higher. Every time he cleared the pole, he had about a foot to spare. But if they moved the bar up even an inch, the vaulter would hit it every time. One day, when the vaulter was not looking, his teammates raised the bar a good six inches. The man vaulted over it, again with a foot to spare.

When his teammates confessed, the pole vaulter could not believe it. But, Dr. Morgan added, “once he saw what he had done, he walked away from the jumping pit and never came back.”

After all, Dr. Morgan said, everyone would expect him to repeat that performance. And how could he?

The moral of the story? No matter how high you jump, how fast you run or swim, how powerfully you row, you can do better. But sometimes your mind gets in the way.

“All maximum performances are actually pseudo-maximum performances,” Dr. Morgan said. “You are always capable of doing more than you are doing.”

Sunday, December 02, 2007

the first run! (but not at practice)

so yesterday morning, practice began...but i had a different run to tackle.

in order to automatically qualify for the nyc marathon next year, as a member of ny road runners, i have to complete 9 nyrr races this year. being somewhat of...well, frankly, a last minute sally when it comes to things in my own life, i waited until the end of october to check to see if my nyrr membership was still valid. it was...and i had 5 more races to run. oh, and look, there were only 5 races of doable distance that would work. grrr. they were:

Poland Spring™ Marathon Kickoff - Sunday, October 28 / 5 miles • 8:00 a.m
Race to Deliver / Kids Races - Sunday, November 18 / 4M • 10:00 a.m.
NYRR Hot Chocolate 15K - Saturday, December 1 / 15K • 9:30 a.m.
NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K - Sunday, December 9 / 10K (6.2M) • 9:30 a.m.
NYRR Holiday 4-Mile / Kids Play Party - Saturday, December 15 / 4M • 9:30 a.m.

i ran the first two with little issue, but i was really very nervous about yesterday. 15k is 9.3 miles. the longest i've run of late was 5, and that was a while ago. i had promised myself i'd get up to at least 7 before this race and suffer out the other two, but i've had a number of distractions lately, some more enjoyable than others, that managed to cut into my running time, so i was going to have to suffer through.

it doesn't matter what time you get in these races, just so long as you finish in the official time. so i bribed my sister to run with me. yes, she took that bribe for a measly brunch, the silly one. in hindsight, what i should have done was have her meet me after i ran the first 5...but yeah. as it worked out she was with me for the whole thing.

friday night was a friend's birthday and it went later than i like to be out when i have to run significant mileage, so i wasn't really feeling all that great about it. in fact i was downright nervous and the nerves were making me cranky. my boy...hmm, he's gonna need a nick name, isn't he?...i guess we'll go with one of his, sweder, well, he was a doll and got me cliff bars and water and let me be a cranky brat for a bit before getting me to bed.

i got up at 7:45, threw on the clothes and shuddered at the sound of the wind rattling everything around outside. it was cold, and i was not as equipped as i should be for running in that weather. when i was gathering my things, i couldn't find my hat...or my running gloves...sigh.

i headed over to roadrunners where there was a line of people at least 40 deep waiting to pick up their numbers. after being cattled in and out, i headed to the park to meet my sis, who looked much warmer and grouchier than myself.

i opted for wearing my sweatshirt over my two running layers because it was so cold, so i got all situated with my numbers and bags and we lined up with the other 4000 + people.

to make a long time sister and i ended up running the first 5 miles, then we walked for two, then i run walked the last two. it was not so painful while it was going on...of course, my sister's grousing definitely distracted from my own aches and pains. while it took an awful long time, and i walked a good amount of it, i had a definite sense of accomplishment at the end of it all, despite the freezing cold.

and the my sister and i stuffed our faces on mac 'n' cheese and omelettes promised.

today's miles:: 9.3
miles to date:: 9.3

the season begins

friday we got our first email from ramon, and i got some pre-season goosebumps. winter has officially arrived, and its hard to get hyped-up to run when it's so cold out, but getting ramon's email and the schedule definitely made me more excited than i've been, even since i signed up!

here's a few samples of the ramon crazy-talk, some for fun and running info that and the schedule so you know what i'll be up to this month.

Ok, this is you first email from your coaches, get your Spanish/English dictionary and continue reading, if you do need help translating that's what you mentor is there for.

First thing I want to ask from you is:

SMILE !!! come on, come on….SMILE…..!! are you smiling? Ok…ok...that's good !! that's how we want you to show up at the workouts, always smiling even when running (it could be a little more difficult as you run uphills, but don't worry, we'll work on that) ... we don't just want you to get fit, but we want to you also have fun and enjoy the experience !

ok…that was my nonsense introduction, now…. Let's talk Running/training:

... -INTERMEDIATE: you should run a minimum of 4 total days, maximum 5, anything over,should be cross training days. I recommend that if you have a 5th day available cross train instead of running...

...Tuesdays we'll always meet at 6:40 pm, and we'll work on specifics: form, breathing, upperbody, hills, strides, etc..etc… Tuesdays workout usually last between 1:00-1:15 hrs depending on the workout and your fitness level.

...Saturdays we meet at 8:30 am, in the park, on these days we work just on building that 'long run' gradually increasing the amount of time and distance that we spend on our feet. Sessions will last about 45 min the first week, to about .....hmmmmmmmmmm a 'freaking long time' 3 weeks before your event. ..he,he,...

...WE DON'T CANCEL WORKOUTS, if cold, we run, if rain, we run, if hot we run……if Dancing with the Stars, Do you thing you can Dance, or the Bachelor is on TV, we run..… only time a workout may be canceled it'll be if roads are icy or thunderstorms.(and maybe if they move Grey's Anatomy to tuesdays, then we may have to change workouts...... hi,hi,hi...just kidding) So don't assume 'oh, oh...the weather sucks today, the workout will probably be canceled and nobody is going to show up' ..oohhh…nooo…. we are showing up, and so are you, right ?...

and...the schedule!