Running…I’m cheating on you!

Well, here we are in mid April already.  While I had every intention in gaining my running mojo back, it’s just not there.  I’m all for being fit and into fitness, just not running.  I’m not sure what happened but you know when things feel like a chore, that’s what running feels like to me these days.  So what has filled my time?

Well, I’ve been a gym rat all winter taking high intensity interval classes, spin classes, pilates/yoga which brings me to what I’m doing now.  I just started a six week boot camp class at Equinox called ETC.  It’s an hour long three times a week where you work really hard with a bunch of other idiots athletic and ambitious folks.  I mean if you’re doing something from 6-7am you’re probably really into it.  I have to say I’m in love with it.  It’s pushing me to the limit and taking me back to the days where I went outside my comfort zone and felt that boundary being pushed.  Each week is a new series of exercises so Monday is especially brutal.  It’s a humbling experience when you can’t complete an exercise but it’s made me that much more pumped to go back in and tackle it again.  And that’s what fitness does – it’s something that really trains the brain how to push when you don’t want to anymore.  I’ll talk more about specifics once i’m a bit further in.  I’ll just say I’m really freakin’ hungry after a workout.

So, from the spinning came the road bike.  One of my spin instructors at Equinox told me about Sunday morning rides with Rapha Cycle Club.  It’s meant to bring women into cycling and is geared towards taking those that are fit but not necessarily cyclists.  The goal? A 100K bike ride on July 20.  I’ve been on one ride and completed about 50 miles.  It got me thinking about – maybe this is where I want to go this year?  I’m considering a century ride in the fall.  We’ll see but I’m really enjoying not feeling so beat up like running too much seems to do.

I’m sure running will come back.  It’s just time to focus on some other endurance activities right now.  Don’t worry you’ll still see me at races and out on the roads.  I just may be taking a different method to get from point A to point B at times.

To those running Boston next week: GOOD LUCK.  I will be out on the course around mile 21.

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2014 = the year of me

2013 was more of a building block year for me in more ways than one.  Running wise I ran a couple marathons and races here and there.  There weren’t any PRs but I actually allowed myself breaks from running and have gained a love for cross training.  And that’s a good thing – I feel fresh and probably stronger than I’ve ever been.

Which brings me to 2014.  I’m signed up and accepted into the NYC half in March.  Other than that, I have no idea what I want to do with 2014.  I do know I am staying away from the marathon this year.  I want to continue my cross training regimen and get my speed back (see 2011).

Outside of running, I want to focus on getting my photography to the next level.  Instead of project 365 I’m going with Project 52 – a picture a week for the year.  I want to focus on quality over quantity.  This means the picture will be with my SLR camera not the safety net of the iPhone.  I’m sure it’ll get tough but it’ll be a fun project.  I’ll try and update on here at least on a monthly basis.

Other than that, I’d like to keep my travels up.  Last year with the exception of Ireland, I didn’t travel much.  That will change this year and next.  Iceland is upcoming! :)  I have a few other travel adventures up my sleeve…

I’d like to read more, not just listen to audible books.  I’m currently diving into the Power Broker (it’s about Robert Moses).

I’d like to write more both on here and for my personal stuff.

I’d like to continue trying new things – I did a lot of that in 2013 and it’s such a great feeling – once you get used to stretching outside that comfort zone.

I’d like to focus on me and ultimately that will find more happiness.  Here I come 2014…

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NYC Marathon 2013 – through a lens

Ever since I became big on photography, I had wanted to run at least one marathon with a camera and soak in the atmosphere.  As a runner, when I all out race, I don’t notice anything around me.  I don’t see the scenery, supporters, volunteers, other runners, etc.  The NYC Marathon may be the largest marathon in terms of runners but it is definitely my favorite one overall.  Knowing I was running a marathon 3 weeks before this was the opportunity to do what I had wanted to do for a long, long time!  While Mohawk Hudson didn’t go as planned, I decided the morning of the race not to back down from my original idea of seeing the marathon through a lens. I have to say, 3 days later, I’m still excited to look at the photos and relive the magic that is Marathon Sunday in New York City.

My day started bright and early at around 5am to the sounds of Ace of Base telling me “It’s a Beautiful Life!” and text messages from friends making sure I’m awake.  Totally normal.  Breakfast of choice? Bagel with Trader Joes Cookie Butter (omg yum!) and Tart Cherry Juice.  I’ve been drinking this ever since my last marathon 3 weeks prior as it’s an anti-inflammatory.    Two thumbs up for this stuff.  Finally it was time to head out to the ferry in my sweats and head out to Staten Island with 50,000 of my fellow runners.

The ferry ride over was nice as it was filled with friendly faces to ease the nerves that come along with running 26.2 miles.  We laughed and enjoyed the company before heading off to buses to take us to Ft Wadsworth.  Once there, it was time to head to my corral and start mentally preparing for the journey ahead.  I couldn’t stop smiling and turned into a chatterbox with those around me (sorry about that!).  I love meeting people – those that have run this 15 times to those that traveled as far as Australia to the first marathon runners.  All have converged for this amazing experience.

Finally the cannon provided the start of the NYC Marathon (and it still scares the crap out of me each time!) as well as the tunes of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York.  There just is no other start like this.  As I made my way up the bridge, I smiled looking at the NYC Skyline and the sea of runners ahead of me.  Taking my camera out, I snapped a couple pictures of the scene.  No, it didn’t include the many that were taking care of business….sigh.

Heading off the bridge we arrived in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn.  Brooklyn is the best borough – whether it is due to the early point in the race or not is subject to opinion.  I love Brooklyn (not just because I live here!) but because it just has the most pizazz and entertainment value.  While 1st Avenue in Manhattan may have the most people, it doesn’t have the same character.  Anyway, I remember running down 4th avenue and noticing the firemen out hanging out on their trucks, spectators just yelling and screaming for us, and rows of people.  I stopped for a picture with firemen – why notJ

Heading towards downtown Brooklyn/Park Slope, I knew this was my first opportunity to see people I knew.  Since I was on the left side of the street, I had to yell across to Steph and Matt!  Thanks guys!  Heading towards Ft Greene, I knew my Brooklyn crew awaited.  Making the turn by BAM I saw them and I sprinted over to them for a photo of courseJ  The girl in the middle? We don’t know who she is – but hey she looks happy to be a part of the crew.

Powering ahead I knew it’d be a while until I saw friendly faces again.  I hit the half way mark at the Pulaski and felt great.  I was psyched to continue on through my foot tour of NYC.  Seeing the Queensboro I knew an exciting portion was ahead!  Heading down I stopped for a photo and you’ll see why 1st Avenue is quite the party!   I saw Kevin, Chanthana, Eissa, Lara, Andel, Dima (and the Res Dogs) heading uptown. So much fun!  I had the biggest smile on my face – theme of the day really!

Crossing over the Willis Ave Bridge I knew this was where the infamous wall awaits (aka mile 20).  The Bronx has really brought it and they delivered again on Sunday.  I ran into Lisa and ran with her for a couple minutes.  There were some classic signs and Amy and Tara awaited just before the final bridge of the day, Madison Avenue.

Harlem is always entertainment.  The one thing that gets tricky is the spectators start to head into the streets making it very narrow for the runners.  Heading down 5th Avenue, the long uphill came and went.  I felt amazing!  Like I was flying.  Hitting the park, I beamed.  Snapping pictures, high fiving spectators, and yelling for more noise!  Central Park South came and I attempted to video the finish (turned into more of a battle of epilepsy). I saw KPV from the Res Dogs and gave her a high five. I crossed the finish line in 4:07:xx?  Time didn’t matter but this was the most fun I’ve ever had running a marathon.

I wish I could explain how awesome it was to experience NYC in this limelight.  I hope the pictures are a start.  Thanks to everyone that came out and made the NYC Marathon what it is – a giant party and celebration.

A sea of space blankets for as far as the eye could see walked towards exits of the park and I made my early exit for my lovely orange poncho.  Be jealous!  It actually is pretty nice – and lined!

The after party brought war stories, smiles, and plenty of adult beverages.  I got back to Brooklyn around 10:30pm after an amazing day in NYC.  Thank you, NYC, you really are amazing.  It has to be said that this fell on the two year anniversary of a turning point for me – so I’m thankful for everything.  What’s next?  I honestly don’t know.  I don’t have a race on the horizon and I’m hoping to keep it that way for a while.  Time to start thinking about 2014 and what that will bring.  Hopefully a lot more healthy miles, smiles, and pictures.

See you on the run!  (Note: There are about 250 pictures overall from the race – tough to dwindle!)

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I’m here

It’s September now which means 2/3 of the year is done.  How the heck did that happen?  In any event, though I’ve been delinquent from my blog, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been running and living life.  I’m now just 38 days away from marathon #11.  Insanity but happy to see that a finish line is near.  Training has been going well but I’m tired.  In the middle of it all, I thought it’d be fun to change jobs again.  Why would I make training easy?

As for my goal? I’m sticking with my original plan and I’ll see what happens.  Limiting myself will only give an excuse to not give my all October 13th.  I’ve got one more 20 miler before show time.

One thing I learned the hard way is fuel/hydration goes a long, long way.  This past weekend I set out on a 17 mile run with a friend.  No fuel, no electrolytes, just water.  It was 5000% humidity which is not an exaggeration.  Run was going well and the miles were peeling off one by one. Towards the end of the run in Central Park I felt my legs start to feel a little rubbery heading towards the 72nd street transverse (probably no more than a tenth of a mile away).  Entering the transverse my legs started to feel more rubbery like I usually do at altitude (hint: at sea level this cannot be good).  By the time I reached the middle of the transverse, my friend asked me to count down the remaining half mile and I took my watch off to give it to  her to have her do it.  She knew something was up.  She was right.  After we slowed down, I not only felt dizzy but had blurry vision on top of it.  I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this but it was by far one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever had.  Fortunately, there was a guy selling Gatorade right there which my friend got.  It was all my effort to walk from the middle of the transverse to the stairs by the Bethesda fountain to sit down.  As soon as I drank half a bottle of Gatorade, it was like everything started to clear.  The dizzy/blurred vision disappeared.  I apologized for not being able to finish the run  to which my friend goes “Umm, you’re not one to quit a run let alone a half mile from completing a 17 miler.”

So my point?  Fuel isn’t something to joke about.  Nor is symptoms that obviously depict dehydration.  This happened REALLY fast.  It wasn’t for lack of water because we stopped every 3-4 miles.  It just wasn’t enough.  All I can say from my experience is that I won’t mess around with this.  To those that poo poo fuel, you go ahead.  I know I never want to feel what I felt in the middle of the transverse again.

Beyond that, I’ve got the US Open to look forward to this weekend and football season! Woot!

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Mid Year Review

Oops.  It’s July and I have that one measly post this year.  I guess life happens. The past 6 months?  I got back into working out again after giving up on 2012, ran a half marathon in Ireland after drinking 4-5 Guinness, had a couple of “eh” races and now it’s marathon training time.  I’m heading into week 4 now and feeling pretty good so far – I’m actually looking forward to tackling the workouts and ready to improve again.  All good signs.

Up next? I’m running the 10K on the 4th of July on Roosevelt Island. I signed up for the Philly half in September leading ultimately to Mohawk Hudson on October 13th.  This time around I’m looking at a slightly different approach to hopefully avoid the injury bug.  For one, I’m not running excess mileage and incorporating more strength training and stretching/core work.  I’ve noticed that not doing proper stretching starts to aggravate certain things that lie dormant.  I’d prefer to keep them that way:)

My schedule contains no more than 4 days a week of running – with at least one full day of rest.  More doesn’t mean better.  Quality is my goal this time around.  I’ve got a mid week long run, one speed work session and a long run on the weekend with some marathon pacing.  Some runs are with company and a lot have actually been solo which at the end of the day, is ok.  When it gets to game time, it’ll be me.

Shoes wise – I’ve been a bit of a mutt: Adidas Boost (awesome for speedwork!), Brooks Pure Cadence, Mizuno Elixir and Ronin.  Time to get serious and get after it for the second half of the year.  See you out on the roads:)

How has everyone been???

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2013 Running Goals

2013. Let’s try this again. 2012 was a big giant bust in the running world for me. It started out well with a 10K PR and the door was shut with that race as well. With the tug of a hamstring, it left me high and dry the rest of the first half of 2012. I never recovered mentally. I burned out. I was injured. It just wasn’t my year.

However…
I’m back. Though I haven’t been running a lot, I’ve been going to the gym and working out a lot more (well, considering working out was lifting a beer or glass of wine most of the summer…). So with that, here’s the fitness goals for 2013:
Work out at least 4x a week
*Sub 1:35 half marathon (gulp)
*Sub 3:30 marathon (GULP)
*Enjoy fitness and if not, the time goals above are null and void
*Develop some kind of pack abs 
*Complete Barre Burn class without the bar (for a non coordinated person this will be tough)

Race wise in 2013?
*Connemara Half Marathon in Ireland (April 7)
*Brooklyn Half Marathon (May >???)
*Mohawk-Hudson Marathon (October 13)
*New York City Marathon (November 3)

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Is this thing on?

I’ve been neglecting the blog but certainly not life. I wish I could put into words what the last year of my life has been like. I simply can’t. It’s been a crazy year but in a way it was my year of me. It truly was a year in that I figured out a lot of things which took me away from running. You see, I started to manage what I was running away from.

I won’t go into detail but the happy-go-lucky person on the outside wasn’t really the one on the inside. To those that helped crack me, I can’t thank enough. The journey is never done but I feel like I’m starting to figure out my path. And by path I mean feeling truly alive and enjoying what each day brings. Carpe diem!

So what happened?

I resigned from the only job I had since college, got a new job, traveled to the Bahamas alone, redecorated my apartment and started to do a lot more things to define me. Its good stuff just took me away from well, running.  Hence, the blog has been dormant.

I’m trying to get back in the swing of that running thing.  I signed up for the Philly half in November but I’m having trouble getting that drive back.  Starting a new job and everything else has shifted me away from getting entirely focused into training.  I would like to get into that routine again.  It’s odd – it seems like quite a few of my friends are experiencing the same funk right now.  It’s not that I divorced running – we have suffered a slight separation since spring time.

On the agenda this weekend is Grete’s Great Gallop.  I’m looking to run it as a training run with some pace work thrown in.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’ll get my groove back.

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Running revival

This spring has definitely brought a case of the blahs in more ways than one. This went right on through to my running which definitely took a turn from the highs I experienced last fall.  Between the injuries and general “meh” attitude, I wasn’t excited about much of anything to do with running.  Then the past couple weeks happened.  For the first time in quite a while, I felt that revival of excitement and happiness to lace up my running shoes.  I

happiness after 200 miles

It just felt right.

So, of course, it probably has helped that I spent the last two weeks traveling across the country running.  Last weekend, I captained Team Honeybadger at Reach the Beach and this weekend I’ve spent in Colorado with today running the Boulder, Boulder (run it if you can – you won’t be sorry!).  I didn’t put up any blockbuster PR times or anywhere close for that matter, but it just was fun.  Isn’t what it’s all about?:)

Andrea and I post Boulder Boulder

Maybe I’ll get to race reports for RTB, Boulder Boulder and Big Sur but for now, I’m just good.  It’s good to be back.  It’s good to feel like I’m ready to jump back into things and see what is ahead.  For now, it’s time to get ready to head back east.  Have I mentioned I love Colorado;)

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Back to it

It seems like giving a full month to recover (read: no trying to “sneak” a run in) everything is back on track. With Big Sur Marathon just 3 weeks away, it’s turned into a crash course training program. I’ve been wavering back and forth about making this a “fun” run vs racing it. As much as I want to bag it and just run it, my heart tells me to go for it. My level of fitness before the injury was definitely in BQ shape and for those that know me in real life, my mental capacity to do these races is sky high. I don’t accept anything else. This is what makes it so hard for me to just lay back.
Which brings us to this weekend. I had 20 on tap to see where all the pieces are these days. For those that have never gone through a stoppage in running, it IS TOUGH to come back. It’s like starting over again for the first few runs. Where running an 8 minute mile was a non-issue before, I’m definitely huffing a bit more. It’s annoying but I know it won’t be as hard to get back to where I was before. I know I can run sub 7 minute miles without issue now during workouts and races. I know I can run a much faster marathon than my current PR. That’s the part that gives me hope for the end of April. This past weekend I met up with my running buddy, BK, for a 20 miler. I met her up at her place at 5:45am which made for a 4am wake up for me.
The plan? Get 12 miles in before the 10K at 8am in Central Park. Ambitious? Sure. Doable, yes! We ran along Morningside Park and along Riverside Park which brought spring like views. I definitely think spring and fall in NYC are always amazing. Check out the scene below at around 7am with no one buzzing about yet!

Riverside park
We made it to the race with time to spare. We started around 8:40 pace and by the time we were tackling the hills in Central Park our pace was hovering closer to 8:10-8:15. The plan for the 10K? I was originally going to try and go for 7:45s but immediately decided to go more based off of effort right now – which settled into 8min pace. I ran an unexciting 49:50 – over 6 minutes slower than the 10k in January However, given my bounce back, I took this as a victory. I finished with an easy couple miles to round it off at 20. To say I was exhausted would be an understatement! I napped my heart out when I got home I finished the full 20 in 2:50, good for an 8:30 pace. Not bad given all the time off.
With just three short weeks to go, this will be my last intense week before taper-me-silly time arrives again. I am hoping for the best and to see what I can do out there. Next weekend will be a dry run starting at the time of the marathon, wearing my outfit, etc for 18 miles. Mentally, I want to be there.

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Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Today I should have been out running the Ocean Drive Marathon.  Alas, life happens.  Over the past month I’ve run sparingly as I allowed my hamstring to fully heal then spent the last week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for work.  If you’re unfamiliar with where that is, a 20 hour plane flight and it’s near Thailand and Singapore. FAR!

sky bridge

Sky Bridge (42nd Floor) Petronas Towers, didnt see Catherine Zeta-Jones or Sean Connery:(

Petronas

Petronas Towers at night. Pretty!

Today I was able to knock out 6.5 painfree miles.  This is HUGE.  I’m finally getting to the point where I was pre-injury and can start working my way back.  During my run today, I started thinking about just what I’m hoping to accomplish this spring after erasing the “shoulda been” feeling.  As much as I’d love to say I can knock out a sub 3:30, I just don’t see it at Big Sur.  Skipping almost a full month of running, I’m not confident I can get that strength back in this short of a time period.  However, that unlocked other goals to shoot for.  It’s back to the short stuff!

I’ve signed up for the Boulder, Boulder Memorial Day weekend and the mini 10K in June.  These are two races I will point my energy towards.  I’ll still run Big Sur but it’ll be for the experience more than time (which is what I planned for all along anyway).    I’d love to shoot for a sub 7 10K after what I did in early January.  I’m going to have to work hard but I know it’s within reach.

As for sub 330?  That’ll wait til the fall.  It’ll still be there.  And who knows? Sub 3:30 may be too conservative by then:)  One day at a time…

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