Tuesday, July 28, 2009

hot & fast

that pretty much describes today's workout. the summer sweatiness has finally arrived and that makes tuesday evening workouts NO FUN.

we're in the midst of hill training so i quite logically thought our repeats were going to be on a hill. i did wonder why we would be running hard for a 1/2 mile up hill, which seemed unreasonably difficult, especially in this weather, but who am i to second guess my awesome coaches?

i left work early enough to deal with any train issues which seem to be happening more often lately. it seemed like we might get a little rain, which would have been a nice release. when we got to the park our coach outlined the workout for us - warm up for about a mile then begin our repeats: run hard for a 1/2 mile, and recover a 1/2 mile back. repeat until the coach says stop.

warm up was uneventful, mostly i spent my time dreading the speed work out. as we all know...i'm not fast. these workouts will make me faster, but typically anything that involves sprint-like-activity makes me feel slightly demoralized. yeah, i know its silly but i can't help it.

despite my lack of enthusiasm and the oppressive weather, the run went pretty well. i even felt...well, if not fast, then faster during my third 1/2 mile, during which i had enough energy at the end to nearly sprint. of course, i think this caused my it band to start nagging my hip during my 4th and 5th (the final) repeat.

we cooled down back to the picnic benches where some of the assistant coaches surprised coach tif with a baby shower for him and his wife. not only did we get the treat of watching a grown, buff man coo over tiny baby things, but we got treats like oatmeal raisin cookies and rice crispy treats. mmm.

tomorrow, i'm going to do some morning squats and push ups and things, and then thursday morning a run. not sure if we're going to head to jersey this weekend - my legs might need a little break from the hills.

today's mileage: 6.0
time run: n/a
season mileage to date: 146.8

Saturday, July 25, 2009

cinderella lost a bottle

i left the house around 8:30 this morning with high hopes for my long run. this was not a great week for my training schedule, so i was hoping to have a great run to mentally make up for it. i needed to add at least 2 miles to my last run of 9 miles - the schedule called for 12, but with the crazy hills, i always take that with a little leeway given the hip factor. i plotted out a 11.5 mile course that was part new, part old, essentially again widening the circle i would run, with the trusty gas station in the middle.

i left the house with my legs feeling pretty springy - unlike last weekend - and headed left instead of right out of the park, and looked at the ginormous hill that was my first challenge of this run. i had driven, but not run up this one before, but i predicted it would be hard but not back-breaking. i was right and feeling pretty okay most of the way up. as i neared the top, i reached back to grab my left water bottle which, to my surprise, was not there. shit.

i wondered to myself where i could have dropped it without noticing and the most likely place was unfortunately the grassy front lawn. shit. shit. shit. i thought for a minute if i could possible do the run with only 1 8-oz water bottle with 1 possible place to refuel and the logical answer was a definite no. shit. there was no solution but to trace the path i had come to get the lost bottle. grrr.

the run more or less went downhill from there. indeed when i got back to the house - there was the bottle sitting tauntingly on the front lawn. since i was here i ran inside to refill the first bottle and to see how far i had run so i could figure out how best to adjust my run. a bit over 2 miles...so i could then headout and do the same 9.5 mile route as last week. okay fine.

running back to one's house is no way to start a run, and it put a damper on my previously chipper mood. it was such a tease to have to go back out there again!

the run was going fine but a little slow, which i chalked up to the hills. miles 3, 4 and 5 passed without incident. i mentally mapped out the hard parts of the run that remained...that hill, and then the big downhill must be taken easy...then its rolling until that monster...okay cool this is nothing. and it was all fine until i took my 2nd gel somewhere between miles 8 and 9, for that is where my tummy betrayed me.

tummy aches and running tend to go hand in hand. ate something dumb the night before or the morning of your run? belly ache. goo didn't set well? belly ache. new flavor of gatorade? belly ache. running too fast? punishment: belly ache. the belly ache can also happen "just because". see, when you're running, all your organs are getting all jostled about in there, and that can cause some..."discomfort". well into my training for a 4th marathon, the sort of belly aches you can get from running are not new to me. luckily for me, usually i might get waves of the aches, but usually they pass after a moment or two.

not today.

as soon as i took my 2nd double latte power gel and washed it down with some gatorade i had a sense it was not going to go well. while i felt the instant rush of energy that usually comes with taking a gel, i also felt it instantly in my stomach. ugg. and this time it was not easing up. i managed to run along for another mile and a half or so, and then it was just NOT happening. every time i ran i could practically picture my insides sloshing around and so i ended up settling for a segment of run/walking for the last mile-ish.

usually something like this would cause me to be super grouchy but my legs were feeling fine so...i've been able to shrug it off. there is no way i could have run the last bit outright so i'm considering myself lucky to have made it all 11.7 miles with my legs feeling just fine - even if other parts of me weren't.

today's mileage: 11.7
time run: 2+ hours
season mileage to date: 140.8

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a quickie

i missed practice due to a stopped train, and then was so grumpy that i was not able to rally to go out and run in the rain on my own. i did get up bright and early this morning and hit the park for a loop.

my legs were quite tired, but i wanted to push a bit since i missed my hill training work out and went for a speed run. i turned out to only be semi-speedy, as you can tell by my time, but all in all it was a good run. the morning was lovely and cool, everything recently refreshed by the previous night's rain and there were more than a few people in the park.

i'll run again tomorrow morning, not sure yet about friday morning as i may want to make sure i save my legs for saturday, which will probably be 11-12 miles.

hasta manana...

today's mileage: 4.2
time run: 45m
season mileage to date: 129.1

Saturday, July 18, 2009

more ups and downs in jersey

ah...another weekend in the country. it's nice out here.

like in the city, the air was a bit thick when we arrived friday night, but luckily for me we had a good thunder/rainstorm that night so by the time i got up saturday morning to go pick up the car (we rent a car on the weekends when we're out here) and get ready to run it was way cooler and less humid.

i got a bit of a late start, so by the time i got back from getting the car it was already past 10. i wasn't that worried because it wasn't supposed to get too warm today but...sun beating down is sun beating down, so i got ready and on the road as quickly as could.

my plan was to modify the route i took last week - i would run to the gas station as i did before, "re-fuel" then instead of turning back the way i came, continue up the hill and around in a bit of a circle to link up with the way home. new scenery in the middle would also be a good distraction since i still haven't managed to find my little ipod.

starting out, my legs felt so heavy. its so frustrating/annoying that one day you run and you feel pretty light and speedy, and another day you feel like you're legs have weights attached and you're running through soup. i decided not to let it get to me - these runs are not about speed, they're about covering distance at an easy pace so, given my tendencies lately to go a bit too fast, it probably wasn't a bad thing to have a little handicap, if you will.

aside from another poor dead dear on the road (this one was so vile that i had to switch sides of the street) my run to the gas station was uneventful. weather - good. legs - okay. hydration - good. i felt like i was drinking more water than in weeks past but i think in this weather it would be very hard to over-hydrate. i hit up the gas station and headed up the hill, wistfully looking at the flat turn off while i continued to go up.

once i was at the top, the next bit was relatively flat. i like little ups and downs, other wise its painfully boring - ala ocean parkway to coney island. once i was past the suburban homes, it was nice little stretch through some pretty woods, which looked like good stomping ground. in here i had a huge downhill, and you might think that might be a good break. it was (now that i can look at the topography map - see lovely map at the end of the post) at least 1/2 mile long, and started to get to me. hills down are not a challenge cardio-wise, but they are very hard on the joints and muscles so it actually takes a lot of work to make sure you're not just pounding down the hill, but running a bit lightly...well as lightly as you can.

i had my snack of a double latte power gel...turned back on to some more "suburban" sorts of roads and wound my way up and down some more hills, and pretty quickly i was back on the route that i knew and there was the biiiiiiiig hill, become bigger because of where i started on it. i made it up the hill but rather slowly, and admittedly - swearing at it the whole way up.

when i got to the top though, i still had a lot of energy, so i picked up the pace a little bit through the last two miles or so, and it was fun. when i finished is definitely a bit sore...but all in all a successful run. at first when i got back i felt like it was a little slow - but when I considered all the hills, i'll take it.

today's mileage: 9.5
time run: 1hr and 45-49 minutes
season mileage to date: 124.9

Thursday, July 16, 2009

well that was gross...

that. run. was. disgusting.

the *true* new york city summer has returned this week, bringing with it the thick, moist (yeah, i said it, moist) air we know and detest.

this morning was one of those mornings where i just simply could not drag my butt out of bed. when i did eventually get up my eyes were puffy with sleep and i wasn't feeling so hot. that left me with skipping the day or running in the evening. we just installed our AC and changing into my running clothing in the refrigerated air was a terrible tease, for when i stepped outside it was like getting hit with a wall of heat, causing me to whimper a bit.

i opted for the 3.8 mile route and i felt it all. there were occasional breezes that helped relieve the heat a bit but damn - i've been so spoiled so far! the run felt so much more laborious and heavy. and the worst is actually when you stop running and suddenly the sweating kicks in. i was on my deck stretching and drinking water and was completely dripping. uuuugh.

i'll be back out in jersey this weekend - i wasn't sure if i would run long because everyone else is running a race this weekend but yes. coach jim says i can add another 1-1.5 miles, so we're talking in the 9-9.5 mile range. ideally i would be running somewhere more flat to give the hip a break from the hills, but i haven't found that place yet. i could also, coach said, run in the pool- something i had never thought of. you use a floaty belt thing to keep you up and then you're doing your training in the water (not hot!) without impact, still eating and drinking as you would on a normal long run. i'm not sure i'll try it this weekend...but perhaps in the near future...especially if this stickiness is with us for a while.

today's mileage: 3.8
time run: forgot to time...
season mileage to date: 115.4

la vita è dolce

so i have some catching up to do. i believe we left off on tuesday, which was my (you can guess) birthday =) i think a lot of people thought i was being silly by going to practice on my birthday - after all it's a day for booze and cake and presents right?

but a birthday is also a celebration of life...which for me is also directly tied into why i run in the first place. this running and fundraising allows me to celebrate/give tribute to bouv in a way that also forces me to not take for granted to greatness in my own life. there isn't a run where i don't think of him in some way, often using the memory of that grin to get me through a hill or a last mile. running has pushed me farther than probably anything else in my life. running one marathon is something i never thought i could do - nevermind three-going-on-four! and unfortunately, i can't really describe the sense of "aliveness" that comes with having pushed one's body to travel 26.2 miles on foot. and then, at the risk of sounding like more of a sap than i already do today, there's also the wonderful feeling of having people like you get involved, donate, cheer and encourage me to the finish line...la vita è dolce, no?

so really...to not run on my birthday just wouldn't have seemed right.

so i left work early but a little later than i would have liked, came tearing through the house, changing and grabbing water like a maniac, got a(nother) birthday kiss from the boy, and ran up to the park where practice was just getting started.

we had a mission moment from a woman who had run the san diego marathon last year. she was running for her dad - he was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma 8 years ago, and basically has been in chemo ever since. she said that his life has pretty much been "on hold" ever since then. he was really excited about her running because they are from san diego and he would get to see her cross the finish line.

leading up to even weekend, they found out that her dad would have to go into the hospital for a course of chemo. because he is technically allergic to the treatment, where usually a course of that sort of treatment would take a day, he has to take it very very slowly - over three days. which meant that he was going to miss his girl running over that finish line.

but as luck would have it, the hospital is just off the highway that the san diego marathon is run on, and the enterprising dad convinced his nurses to take him up to the roof so that he could see his daughter run by (coordinated by the wonderful world of cell phones of course).

so somewhere around the 8th mile, the daughter stopped on the course with her running buddy, turned looked up at the roof of the hospital waving her arms to her dad, who was standing on the roof with his nurses, looking down at his daughter, one of a sea of purple - all running for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

and the daughter's voice got all choked up as she told us how moving it was for her dad, who had been fighting this disease for so long, to see so many people running, in part for him - she said that it lifted his spirits in a way that nothing had for a long time and gave him hope.

i got teary as we headed to the hills and knew i'd be able to take them on today.

our mission was to run the upper part of the north hill "efficiently", then recover on the way down, and then the next time we would run up the hill "comfortably hard", and recover on the way back down. repeat.

i did so, and managed to get 10 hill climbs (+ the recovery downs), and with the warm ups, i'm guessing we ran about 5.5 miles. it was a good solid run and i was glad i had done it. i stretched with the team and headed back home, where my man greeted me with a glass of vino and a cheese plate. probably, not the ideal post-run meal but that's when i traded the running shoes for the party hat and celebrated "properly".

today's mileage: 5.5
time run: n/a
season mileage to date: 111.6

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

what's in store for the birthday you ask? hill repeats.

you know that long hill i always talk about? well...check out what's in store for today's (birthday!) practice:

"Today begins our first day of hill training. We'll become very familiar with the North Hill and the South Hill and maybe a few hills in the center of the park too...

Hill training builds strength! Yep, believe it or not we're going to need a little strength to get us from start to finish.

We'll warm up to the light pole near the bottom of the North Hill and then use the 1/2 mile mark as the end point.

Technique Focus: Running Hills with proper form, efficiency, and strength!!!
Workout: Hill Repeats- 30-35 minutes. The effort UPHILL will alternate between the following;

1) Efficient, with good form and technique.

2) "Hard"- the SAME as you ran two weeks ago for the 200 and 400 meter repeats, remember? Your primary focus is on maintaining short strides and a LOW arm swing in order to minimize the impact forces.

The RECOVERY is downhill and is VERY SLOW.

Cool Down: Easy run back to picnic Area."

i'm definitely going to need lots of cake to recover from this workout.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

on the road again

i was very well behaved and followed my coach's suggestion of laying off the running until today's long run. it wasn't easy - the weather was lovely for running, i took a few days off work to spend time with my boyfriend and his family so i had some time, and you know how it is when you want to do something simply because you're not supposed to.

we also came out to new jersey yesterday, and the roads around here are hilly hilly hilly. the schedule called for a 7-9 mile run, and because of my testy hip and the hills, i decided i'd plot a course for the lower end of that range, trying to be wise. i used the trusty gmap-pedometer.com to figure out a down and back course that would provide a little convenience store in the middle to refill my fuel belt, and figured i'd go just 7 miles.

i stayed up a little late, and so was a little late getting out of the house - i probably didn't leave until about 10 or so. it was almost 70 degrees, but really wonderfully breezy. part of the route i was running, i had run before and it had been *hard*, but that was early early on, and i was feeling optimistic.

my run took me up and down many hills. i started to count, but then was focused on actually running said hills and lost track. i made sure not to run too fast, and i took it easy on both the uphills and the downhills - the downhills tend to be harder on my joints than the ups. while it was really hilly, it was certainly not monotonous...like running to coney island is.

i made it to the 1/2 point without any incident other than having to avoid a dead bambi on the side of the road (ick), got some gatorade and headed back up and down the way i came. i had a great run overall - as i crested a hill, and the ground leveled, i noticed i was positively cruising along - probably a little too fast - but it felt great. i've realized it takes a few miles for me to really warm up, and i start feeling my best after 4 miles or so.

i was feeling good enough that i tacked on a little extra run to the end of the road and back for a total of 7.7 miles, which was probably the effort of even more miles because of the hills. Not to mention, this run brings me to over 100 miles trained so far, which is pretty good if you ask me.

here you can see the route and the elevation which is quite the rollercoaster.

i'll try to do another 4 or so tomorrow because its likely i won't be running much on monday because we'll bus it back to the city early in the morning.

oh! and if you haven't seen we've also crossed the $1,000 mark in fundraising - yeeeeah!

today's mileage: 7.7
time run: not sure...i will buy new watch this weekend, i swear!
season mileage to date: 106.1

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

the running gods giveth...

and they taketh away.

if saturday was my most fun, enjoyable run, tonight's was definitely the polar opposite of that.

today's assignment was to run 3 miles "comfortably hard". not a sprint, because obviously that is not going to happen. this is a test of sorts. we all recorded our time, and in the next few weeks we'll have lovely hill training, then we'll do the test again. the point is to show how much we've improved over those 6ish weeks of hill-torture, uh i mean training.

the first stupid thing i did was have salad for lunch. no fuel in there! the second stupid thing i did was not have a carby-snack. duh! and finally, i had my achy hip to deal with, which tended to get cranky when encountering lots of pounding.

we warmed up by heading to the bottom of the big hill in the park where we would start the race...by running back up that damn hill. i usually end my runs on that thing, and given that we were running hard, i predicted starting by going up that hill would most certainly be difficult.

and it was. i thought i was going moderately fast, but no...it was too fast. when i finished the hill, i could feel my hip pain settling in for a good visit, i was winded as hell and i developed a side stitch under the right set of my ribs towards my back. uuuug. i'll swallow my pride and say that i pretty much felt terrible and still had 2 miles to go.

because my hip was hurting, i didn't push to much, but i didn't want to completely throw the test and have my suffering be in vain so i just tried to be smart. i didn't pound down the hills too fast. i tried to use my arms to keep going. generally, i just looked at the ground a little ahead of where i was going so i wouldn't run into anything but also so that i wasn't totally conscious over how far i had to go.

we completed our run and my time was 30:28. i know i could be faster if my hip hadn't been acting up...and i shouldn't have gone so fast up the hill. i was very grumbly as we waited for the rest of the team to finish up and then took a nice easy cool-down run back to our meeting spot at the entrance of the park. even getting up there my hip was wincy, and i decided it was time to ask coach jim what he thought.

i told him my theory that my suffering was my IT band, he said it could be a number of things, suggesting a few stretches, icing, and some PT. we decided i would take a little running break until saturday and see how it was then. if it wasn't any better, he suggested seeing a sports doctor just to make sure there's nothing really wrong.

so...yeah. i've got plenty of time to train so i'm not freaking out yet, but this week will be mostly cross-training until we see if things are indeed, a.o.k.

on a brighter note - fundraising began last night and in one day i've already raised over $700 bucks. still a bit to go to $10k, but its a very solid start. and of course, with those donations, comes the priceless kinda support from my friends in the form of encouragement and kind words. so i'm going to focus on that tonight, and think positive about my little hip. i think it's all going to turn out okay.

today's mileage: 5.9
time run: n/a
season mileage to date: 98.4

Monday, July 06, 2009

the return of the IT-band-hip-pain

i hit the road earlier than usual, wanting to do a full loop.

it was another lovely morning...although the park was not so lovely. trash was littered everywhere, and eye-sore of a reminder of saturday's celebrations. i mean, is it seriously that hard to put your litter in a trash can? sad sad sad. but, i digress.

i was feeling strong and speedy coming off saturday's 9 miles, until, i reached the top of the big hill. suddenly i felt a sharp pain that started in my hip and shot down my leg a bit, causing me to catch my breath. it immediately dulled, but the deep IT band pain that i am familiar with lingered - so much so that i could feel my right leg tiring a bit as the rest of my leg compensated for the aching.

i slowed to a more moderate pace but did not stop, the pain not being too bad, and trotted back to the house. the sharp-pain part was scary, but its subsided now, and i'm going to ice it up and see how i'm feeling tomorrow before practice. tomorrow will be a "test" of sorts - each season we bookend the "hills" section of training so we can see how strong it makes us, and tomorrow is the day so i definitely don't want to miss it!

today's mileage: 4.3
time run: 45m
season mileage to date: 92.5

Saturday, July 04, 2009

i am a runner

today's run was amazing.

it was another great morning. sunny with a cooling breeze. i left the house by 8:40 and headed to the park where my teammates would have already started running.

i found my rhythm early, and pleasantly glided through the busy park. it was a buzz with 4th of july activity, families with picnic gear and children in tow, claiming their patch of green to lay about for the day.

i wished i had a tape recorder to catch the cacophony of people and music.

i ran an extended loop (adding on a central drive + wellhouse mini loop), and then a full. at some point between 6 & 7 miles, which is where i lost a bit of steam last week, i was still going strong and feeling really good...and i thought to myself...

i am a runner.

i don't always feel this way, especially when so many runs early in the season are a struggle for me. but yesterday's run was a pleasant reminder that yes. slow as i go, laborious as it can be,

i am a runner.

i finished my 9+ strong, knowing a could have run at least another mile. and that felt fantastic.

happy 4th of july everyone.

today's mileage: 9.3
time run: 1h 40m (approximate)
season mileage to date: 88.2

Friday, July 03, 2009

four on friday

not having to work today, it would have been easy to sleep in and chilax.

but not having run since tuesday i did the good thing and was out the door for a loop around the park a little after nine. it is nice out for the running these mornings. not too sticky, a little tinge of coolness to the air.

my legs seemed a little cranky at first, but i took it nice and easy since i am running long tomorrow. i felt like i was going a steady not too fast, not quite an "easy" pace as i made my way round the loop. i'm finally at a point where even though i might not mentally feel like running, physically its not feeling too laborious on these short runs, unless i want it too. its a welcome improvement!

i've started to play around with my arm swing, seeing how it affects my stride and speed. i think i'm going to suck it up and buy one of the fancy heart-rate-monitor-watch-gps things, maybe used though. i think it would be interesting to see where my heart rate is - i know some runners who monitor pace simply by getting their heart rate in the optimal range. i don't know if i'll ever be that crazy but...i think knowing would be cool.

tomorrow - another 9-er. probably in the park this time. i'm going to play around online with some loop variations. i could also run over a bridge, but then i'll have to deal with where to refill the water, and i'm not sure i feel like doing that much investigation today.

until tomorrow...

today's mileage: 4.3
time run: 45m
season mileage to date: 78.9