Tuesday, February 26, 2008

short and sweet

my "run" on the elliptical last night was, like this post, short and sweet so that i could get to the grocery store.

3 miles. nothing eventful. a little sore this morning, but nothing too bad. practice is still hills, so i'll be back for more tonight.

yesterday's mileage: 3.0
season mileage to date: 168.0

Sunday, February 24, 2008

last for the first time.

so while most of you were snuggled under your covers saturday morning, the hearty brooklyn team in training crew took the slushy streets to run many a mile.

by friday afternoon, practice had been canceled for the manhattanites - i think ramon is going soft. he *never* used to cancel practice! lisa sent an email letting us know it was on, that we would meet up at 8:30, but if it was to slick she reserved the right to cancel on the spot. fair enough.

i left work a little early and headed to jack rabbit on 14th street to get some new running shoes. i probaly have had the others for 350 miles, which is about 50 miles too many and i had a hunch that they were contributing to my injuries. i wasn't really excited about breaking my shoes in on a long run - the last time i did that i ended up with a monster blister - but i was more scared of getting more hurt than i already am.

i didn't go through the whole "get your stride checked" thing. i simply brought my old ones, asked for the latest model, tried them on and wow. they felt like slippers compared to my old sneakers. it was niiiiiiice. it was also no longer snowing but raining and i had a feeling that we would be running in the morning.

and i was right. as i headed to our meeting spot, the streets were relatively clear, aside from a few slick spots here and there. i was pretty relieved that we were going to be running - as i said, i was freaking out a little over my miles + my injury so it was really important for me to see how i was going to do (and of course, get those miles in.)

lisa explained our route for the morning - we woud be headed to the city. our route would take us:
-from park slope, through brooklyn and over the brooklyn bridge.
-across chambers to the westside highway and back.

there are three marathons training together this season - paris, nashville and new jersey. the people that were not running paris (all but 4 of us) got to turn around at houston for a nice 10 mile recovery run. i would be running up to 54th street on the west side and back to the way we came, over the bridge and back to brooklyn.

i had one of the new jersey-people to run with for the first 7 or so miles, up to 30th or so, and it was good to have someone to chat with. also i had forgotten my watch so i was able to pace a little bit. and then...i was on my own. the weather at that point was eh. it was misty raining and you could start to feel the chill creep in. i was good and was wearing my fuel belt and because i knew of a good little bathroom/water fountain spot, i wasn't "rationing" as i might have been otherwise.

i was quite quite tempted to turn around at 34th, then 44th (that would have been 15 miles) but i knew i would just be mad at myself if i stopped short, so on i went, past where the intrepid should be, through the tourists departing the cruise ship docks with their many suitcases blocking the path, and up to my turn around spot.

once i turned around i was excited for my stop at the "secret" water taxi dock. there were a few other runners (not with tnt) follwed me in. a british woman in the group saw me eating a goo and said "ah, looks like someone else is in training, else you wouldn't be eating those dreadful things" (note - i think the word "dreadful" is highly underused, and i plan on incorporating it more frequently). we talked running talk for a few minutes, who was training for what, how many miles was i running, etc.

the last stretch on the west side was the toughest. long. straight. you know exactly where you are. i longed for music and thought about the things that tend to keep me going:

-a comment from a reader a few days ago (thanks angie!)
-a video of the hoyts (father/son triathalete/marathon team from massachusetts)
-a note from jeanne's sister that made me smile
-finding out that morning that lisa's (the coach) dad, who had been having a rough time of it lately, is now cancer free
-running the full san diego marathon when i was only going to do the 1/2 (until i got inspired by the 80-year old who was participating in her 9th marathon for TNT)
-and of course bouv...i had told my running buddy about him earlier, its good to talk about these things...even when you've talked about it a million times.

i realized at some point that i had not a piece of id on me, so i'd better be carful not to hurt myself. i had visions of hitting my head, getting amnesia, and the hospital not knowing who to call. once i was back on chambers i knew that the rest would go by quickly between dodging people and traffic, running the brooklyn bridge (a first by the way) and getting myself back to our meeting spot to "check out" aka let the coaches know we didn't get lost or crack our heads open.

i found that i was the last - a first for me. everyone congratulated me and i smiled big but wearily. 16 down. minimal pain. i am rather proud of myself.

yesterday's mileage: 16.0
season mileage to date:165.0

Friday, February 22, 2008

no more complaining

they're from my home state, and i remember them, but a reminder never hurts...and worth getting teary-eyed at work.

round and round

on the elliptical. sigh.

when i got to the gym last night i was pleased to find that the barack-clinton debate was on. i knew this would get me fired up enough to dull the boredom that the elliptical usually induces.

however, the connection to cnn kept cutting out, which was *immensely* frustrating - it cut out enough to be annoying but not enough to merit a channel change. you could manage to get about 90% of what they were saying, and when you were lucky the pauses in speeches overlapped with the audio cuts.

i haven't watched a debate in a while, so i forgot that no one actually answers the questions being asked. so freaking annoying. (i won't complain about that here - i've got another blog for that). however, very distracting and i made it through my 4 & change miles in no time.

today, my quad is hurting, which is making me nervous for tomorrow's run. we're doing our longest run on march 15t...which means that is only 3 running saturdays to get up to 20 miles. i see it like this...

tomorrow: 16
3/1: 18
3/9: 18
3/15: 20

i do know from last time, if i don't make it to 20 i will not die. (last marathon my longest run was 17 miles probably 5 or 6 weeks before the marathon...i have to go look). however, i do not want to give myself a mental "way out" so to speak and nurse my injury more than necessary.

also with the weather being dicey, i don't know if we'll do our full run...so, if we don't, i'll try to do a bunch of ellipticalling saturday and sunday, and my back up plan will be:

3/1 15-16
3/9 17-18
3/15 18-20

okay. i'm officially nervous, but not yet freaking out.

yesterday's mileage: 4.0
season mileage to date: 149.0

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

yes, i'm alive

sorry for radio silence since the snowy run. my excuses are in this order:

sore quad
working late
away for the weekend
stomach bug/food poisoning
sore quad

i'm going to skip to yesterday where i found my quad still in pain. booo. i emailed my pt who recommended "running as tolerable" and when doing that, easy flat runs, so i opted for the lovely elliptical machine.

it wasn't as torturous as usual. probably because i was in a foul mood and needed a work out. i put on the cross trainer and "ran" 4.5 miles while watching "the biggest loser". that's what i call qt people.

tonight, my cross-training will take the form of belly dancing, and probably later some yoga moves. i will continue to stretch and roll, and fingers crossed, be okay to run 15-16 miles this weekend. (please don't let it snow!)

also on the agenda:
new sneakers
a new fuel belt
continuing with project "eat more vegetables"

yesterday's run: 4.5 miles
mileage to date: 145.0 miles

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

snow bunnies

yes, last night we ran in the snow.

most people were agahst to learn we still had practice - i definitely was feeling a bit whiny about it until i manged to change and head out into the whiteness that blanketed brooklyn.

it was my first snow in the b.k. and i must admit, it was real pretty. i cut up and walked along the park, and the apartments up there are so pretty anyway, but the frosted windowsills and sidewalks made them all the more cozy looking. it wasn't a bad walk, and i think that's how i'm going to get to practice on tuesdays from now on.

there were quite a few of us troopers out there - all girls by the way. because it was so slick, we couldn't run repeats on the big hill as planned. instead we did some running and some crosstraining. the workout was something like...

40 squats
80 lunges (40 on each leg)
some tip-toe walking (calf-strengthening)
2.5 mile run
made 1 snow angel

they didn't keep us out there for much longer than an hour but running in the snow is akin to running in sand, and between that and the cross training, not only was my shin hurting, but i felt a quad pain developing in my right leg (aka the *other* leg). grr. no time for quad strains now. i was good and rolled everything out before settling in for the night and the snow turned to slush.

total mileage to date: 140.5

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

here i go again on my own

a belated post. sorry its taken so long - i *did* run this weekend, i've just been hard at work on a site that we're trying to get launched for work so i've been a little mentally exhausted to focus.

the original plan for the weekend was to run the bronx 1/2.

then i decided because i am going away this morning AND the bronx is really far AND the race started at 8, that i would run on my own on saturday afternoon.

THEN saturday i had to work and it was supposed to rain, and so, on sunday my plan changed again and in the early afternoon i set out to run 15 miles in prospect park.

while getting up early to run is a pain, there is absolutely something to be said for getting it done early, especially when it is a long run. it is at least 3 times harder to get out there later in the day. especially when that day is going to turn cold and windy. but get out there i did.

around 1 i finally set out with the goal of running 3 5-mile loops. i looked like some sort of geeky-super-hero, sporting my friend's fuel belt equipped with two water bottles and the front pocket stuffed with two chocolate powergels. yuuuum. i modeled for my roommate who, despite giggles said that there was no doubt that i looked like a serious runner.

i opted for some spoon on the ipod, and nearly had a heart attack when three songs in, my ipod froze. i managed to revive it and continued on, trying to loosen up my calves which were feeling rather tight, especially on the flat parts. i made it around the base of the park, and turned left on wellhouse to run the repeat that would turn the 3.4 mile loop into a 5. as i turned back to the main loop, the music stopped again.

i thought it was another crash, but i was dismayed to find i was the power. i was music-less 3 miles into a 15 mile run. i simultaneously wanted to throw a temper-tantrum and cry, but instead i gritted my teeth, clenched my jaw and ran on.

it took me that whole first loop to really find my groove, and i really didn't have enough water for that distance run, but i made due. i really really really don't like the flat part of the park in the back, it bores me to tears. the thought of having to run that strip made me a little depressed but i tried to just break the whole thing down into 3 chunks and not think of the big miles.

loop number 2 was better - the chocolate power gel definitely helped big time, giving me a nice sugar rush that probably lasted a good 3-4 miles. my muscles were much looser, and i didn't feel so heavy on my feet as the first loop. as i was finishing my 2nd loop, it looked like the fog was rolling in...strange...but no. it was a snow squall.

right then the wind whipped up nice and strong, pushing me every-which-way at any given moment. ug. i had the last of my water, another gel (managing not to get it all over my face) and headed back out for a final loop. by the time i reached where i should turn to make it a 5 mile loop, i had decided simply - no. way. i would run 4 not 5 by running back to my house but there was no way in hell i was turning into the wind for that last lower loop. it was a good decision - as it was, running up the big hill (i need to find out the name of it) was absolutely ridiculous. i felt like a cartoon character running hard and gettin' no where fast.

i was exhausted but proud when it was all said and done. 14 miles is not easy under the best of circumstances, but especially without company, an ipod, enough water and gel. yeah. i'm tough. or stubborn. whatever.

today's mileage: 14.0
season mileage to date: 138.5

Friday, February 08, 2008

over the bridge and to the 'burg

last night was more warm than not, and i took the opportunity to run over the williamsburg bridge. if you're going to do a run at night in the dark, its a good spot because it is well trafficked and well lit. the most dangerous part of running there (in my opinion) is the chance of getting clocked by someone that doesn't know how to control their fixed gear on the downhills. fixed gears do not usually have hand breaks - riders break in a similar fashion to the bikes we had when we were younger, controling the pedals and pulling/pedaling backwards. on the downhill, the rider has to have good strong legs to keep in control of the bike, lest they speed up too fast, leaving them careening downhill at the mercy of their luck.

swede lives right around the corner and i had clocked the run at about 3 miles, which while shorter would still be a good challenge because the williamsburg is quite the arch, and the first part is the longest hill. i was a little concerned with my shin splint, i could feel it all day a i was walking around despite ample stretching, but i thought it would be a good test.

i was worried it would be colder on the bridge, but not so. the incline on the first 1/2 did tighten my calves up a good deal - tight calves are what actually cause shin splints -when the calf muscles taking more of the impact and subsequenly bruise-line pains. it hurt, but not so much to merit stopping, and i took it nice and easy on the downhill, stopping to stretch out when i got to the far side. after that i felt like i had a new pair of legs, turned around and headed back.

i finished feeling strong, rosy and happy. training has been going quite well this week, i must say.

yesterday's mileage: 3.0
season mileage to date: 124.5

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

back to the hills

last night was my first tuesday night practice since i had been diagnosed with my little quad strain. the team is in week 3 of hills. i wasn't worried about missing something technique-wise, because i am pretty much a hill master but i was nervous to see how my quad was going to feel during and after.

ironically, after we ran up the hill to the park, it wasn't my quad that was bothering me but my right shin. the lower inside spot felt like a big bruise coming on. damn the shin splints - there was no way i was getting those again. during warm up i spend some extra time on my calves to try to loosen them up and just hoped i wouldn't be feeling it the whole work out.

we ran a little less than a mile over to where we would be hill-repeating. the purpose of the practice was to get used to cresting a hill using the same effort level. basically when you reach that last little incline, as it turns flat, your stride can open up a bit more without you spending any more energy.

libby and i ran together and we passed the time chatting (when we weren't out of breath). we repeated the little hill 12 times (yeah 12) and were pretty good and tired when we finally got done. i could definitely feel my shin at first, but it loosened up a good deal during the run and i made sure that i stretched it well (and kept stretching it throughout the night). the good news was my quad seemed to be doing fine. yay.

then it was time to go home and watch the super tuesday results trickle in while i did yoga moves and rolled out my quads and calves. fun times ;)

my goal moving forward is to plan out my work outs better as well as try eating better too...i finally got a nutrition for marathoners guide, which i don't expect to be any huge revelations, but you never know. so i'm thinking for the week...

wed - off, or yoga
thursday - 4 to 5 miles (in the evening)
friday - cross-train (in the morning)
saturday - rest and stretch
sunday - bronx 1/2 marathon

lets see how that goes.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

not-so-exciting cross training

the interwebs are officially down at my house, so bare with my lack of posts until we fix our router.

i was feeling a little sore yesterday, and we got an email from lisa over the weekend on the importance of cross training, so rather than battle the treadmill, i opted for a cross training program on the elliptical.

it was not a bad time. i didn't start until after 8 so there was prime time tv to distract me and the program actually had me pedaling backwards as well as forwards, which after i got over getting a little dizzy, felt like a very good work out.

4 miles later i was sweaty and done.

tonight i get to go back to hill training - michael said if i can survive a 1/2 marathon, i can survive hills, so wish me luck.

yesterday's mileage: 4.0
season mileage to date: 114.5

Monday, February 04, 2008

Off Topic - For New York

super tuesday is tomorrow. get out there. if you don't know where you're supposed to go, look it up here: http://gis.nyc.gov/vote/ps/index.htm.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

reach the beach - the local edition

(note: this was meant to post yesterday, however due to a crappy internet connection at my apartment, the post was lost and i had to re-write today.)

sorry for the lack of posting this week. it was a less than stellar week for the running, and in general. i'll explain later but i'm not quite ready to address it at the moment.

things looked up with yesterday's run though. we were told we were leaving the park, but we didn't know where we would be off too. we met at prospect at our usual time, and learned we would be running to coney island and back (depending on your mileage). since i had done the 1/2 last weekend, i figured i would do 13 - 14, depending on how i was feeling. 13 would mean turning around at the boardwalk, 14 would be a little longer of a jaunt down the boardwalk to coney island ave.

being highly irresponsible i have still negelcted to get one of those lovely water belts, and instead planned on carrying a poland springs bottle with me. luckily, i ended up running with my friend libby - someone i had met during my first tnt season - and she graciously offered to share the bottles on her fuel belt with me so i was able to ditch the water bottle.

it was a pretty nice day out, despite the breeze. it was one a hot-cold kind of a run, we'd be chilly in the shade and a little warm in the sun. the coaches were having us run to coney to give us a break from the hills of the park - a little recovery run for our joints. the only hills we would encounter would be leaving and entering the park, and the inclines on the overpass to get to ocean parkway, which is completely straight and flat.

it was a good change of scenery, even though the road seems to stretch in front of you forever. i had ridden the route a bunch of times on bike, and had run from coney to the park as part of the brooklyn 1/2 last year, but hadn't done a down and back. chatting with libby made the first half of the run go by pretty quickly, there was good people watching - the theme of the morning seemed to be "adorable children".

when we got to the boardwalk i was instantly wistful for my camera. the stillness of the beach in the winter is really lovely, i think. the coney island boardwalk is never at a loss for characters, even off-season - there were plenty of locals strolling in their winter finery. after we turned around, we made a pitstop in the bathroom which was surprisingly clean, and headed on back.

mentally, the run back is more annoying in a way because the street signs are now facing you and you know you have a long way to go, for example, when you are still on avenue v. (the ave's run alphabetically from coney back up to prospect park.) at avenue p we stopped for a drink, some goo, and checked the turn sheet to see how far we had to go, and we were pleasantly surprised to find it was only 4 miles - we had already gone 10. that perked us up a great deal, and despite being in the lower 1/2 of the alphabet the remaining distance didn't seem quite as daunting.

the last mile or so was a little less than fun. i was definitely tired, but not horribly so. however, the last mile included a long winding hill - my least favorite in all of the park. blech. i think libby put it quite well when she muttered under her breath "good lord". we laughed because we felt a little like old people strugging up the hill. lisa was on bike, and chatted us up the last bit, which was quite a good distraction, and once we hit the top, we were practically there and finished pretty strong.

14 miles done. and i'm feeling pretty good.

yesterday's mileage: 14.0
season mileage to date: 110.8