Goin’ to the chapel

September 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Well, the time has come.

I’m going to take a brief hiatus from the blog while Chuck and I go get married!

See you at the end of next week.

Fine tuned

September 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Needless to say, yesterday was not a horrible, freezing, rainy day, so the 2010 Tune-Up had a big head start over the 2009 Tune-Up!

An enormous group of Team R2R Members got together for the run – seemed like almost half of the team! NYRR kindly took this photo of us and posted on their website (and I thank them for use of this image).

We tried to separate into pace groups, but again, we are all so new at this that it was a bit tricky. It did seem, though, that people of similar paces naturally floated towards each other, and most were able to run with a buddy.

I had the pleasure of running with my 4:45 goal buddy Laura, and we were joined by Alile, who is also right in our pace range. The three of us were so well-suited to running together that it all went very smoothly. I mean, as smoothly as 18 miles can go! Our first lap was very comfortable. Alile and I both had to stop for the loo and we lost about 7 minutes waiting in line, but we agreed later that it was better to get it over with early than to be uncomfortable while we waited for the lines to subside. (During the Marathon, I’m sure we’ll be willing to ride out some discomfort, but this was just a training run.) Once that was out of the way, the rest of the first loop was just fine.

The second loop is the worst loop. You’re starting to feel the pain, but there’s still so much remaining. Times like that are when having people to run with is so essential. We talked about anything and everything just to distract ourselves and it really worked.

On the third loop – pain! But knowing that you are passing each landmark for the last time makes a huge difference. (Especially when the landmarks are Harlem and cat hills!) The third loop is just about getting there alive, pushing through, meeting goals.

I had hoped that we would finish in 3:10, which is about 10:30 miles and a good pace for us for the Marathon. Our official time was 3:17, but that counts those 7 lost bathroom minutes. My watch said we finished in 3:09:45, which is perfect. And we definitely did it because we did it together – I certainly could not have pulled off that time alone.

Last year my time for the Tune-Up was 3:47. My, how things change! I love knowing that putting in hard work produces results. So satisfying!

Time to tune up

September 17, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Every year, about 6 weeks before the marathon, NYRR offers runners a “tune up” – an 18 mile practice run in Central Park. It’s three loops, which is exactly as boring and torturous as it sounds. Last year, it was pretty rough – it was freezing and pouring rain and miserable. I finished in 3 hours and 45 minutes, just short of the 4 hour cutoff. I was proud of myself for finishing, but I was in pain for days.

It’s looking like things will be a bit different this year! For starters, the weather seems to be working in our favor. 70s and dry is ideal. And second, of course, I am a much more experienced runner now; I’ve run 18 and more before, so it’s a lot less scary.

It IS still scary, though! The park is so hilly, and even though I know it so well now that I feel as if it’s my own back yard, you just never know what to expect on race day. Luckily, there are a ton of R2R teammates running, so we’ll all have plenty of support.

Last night our team run was cancelled because of the crazy storms, so I went to the gym and did intervals in the treadmill. About a third of the way in I decided to up my ratio to 45 seconds fast/1 minute jogging. It felt pretty good! I think I could maybe do a 60 seconds/90 seconds ratio next time.

Squeezing in another 6 tonight before the weekend. At least tomorrow will be a full-on rest day! Have a good one, guys.

Dark in the park, again

September 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Great Tuesday run last night! There were probably 10 of us, and it was a pretty speedy group. We got off to a quick start and I felt good. I didn’t want to go slower. But then I had to pee! Of course. So I used the restroom at the Boathouse and quickly got back on track. I thought I might catch up with the team, but I ended up only being able to see them from afar for the rest of the time. It was fine, though – a good, meditative solo run. My splits were mostly sub 10, and I finished in 59.34, so I’m happy.

There was one weird thing though – on the west side, in the 70s and 80s, all of the street lights were out and it was absolutely pitch black on the loop! I was caught in the dark in the park once again. But this time there were tons of other people around and I wasn’t worried at all. It was just a little bizarre. Also, I saw a raccoon! What a night.

Here are a few pictures from the NYRR long training run a few weeks back that I never got around to posting.

Goodbye, Saturday night

September 14, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Now it’s the time of year when we kiss our Saturday nights goodbye. Inevitably we have to get up extremely early on Sunday morning for a run of considerable distance. That means we go to dinner at 6 pm (hello, early bird special!) and turn in for the night by 10.

This Saturday night we did exactly that, and Sunday morning we got up at 5:30 for our 7 am run. We had 15 miles on the schedule, and then plan was to meet in the 50s on the east side, run up the FDR, over to Randall’s Island, loop the island twice, and then run back down.

It was an ugly, grey morning, but it was nice to meet up with so many team members – all in their new gear! (I love when we are a united front for Alzheimer’s and everyone who sees us knows it.) Before we set off, we tried to separate into pace groups. It’s a tricky thing and not what we’re used to, so it was something of a fail. I started running with Rachael – we were having a nice time chatting and I really enjoy talking to her – but then I suddenly realized that we had run the first mile in 9:16 and I had effectively separated myself from my pace group for the rest of the run. It actually worked out okay – I was able to keep up with Rachael and the speedier group for most of the time, and when I couldn’t, I just lagged back a little and kept them in my sights.

I had never been to Randall’s Island and I don’t know what I expected. Some parts were super lovely nature trails, and some parts were…well, some kind of sewage treatment plant, I think. There was quite a stretch where the overwhelming stench was human poo. There were also lots of playing fields – they were empty when we started, but by the time we finished up, tons of people were playing soccer and baseball.

After the first loop, we realized that we were going to be short on distance, and then figured out that we had actually only circled the lower part of the island, and missed the entire top. So on round two we did the full loop, which was more like 4-5 miles. One more loop of the bottom and the run back down the FDR brought us to about 14.5 total.

I felt okay. Not terrible, not great. My legs were really tired after mile 10, and there were even a few times when I wanted to stop, but I just kept going because I really wanted to get home so that we could go out to brunch and then take a nap!

In the end, I clocked 14.55 miles in 2.29.19, which is about 10:15 pace, and that’s a-ok with me.

Tonight we are having the usual Thursday run on Tuesday. Meet us at 6:30 at the Columbus Circle entrance to the park if you’d like to join!

Alone time

September 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There are two kinds of alone time, or at least there were for me on Friday night: the nice kind and the creepy kind.

I missed my Wednesday run this week, so I set out to make up for it after work on Friday. I got a late start and headed up to the park by myself around 7. I do love when I take the train to the park by myself. All I have with me is my metrocard and keys, so there’s plenty of time to think and observe, fully unplugged. It’s nice.

When I started running, there was still light in the sky and there were plenty of people around. But by mile 2, it seemed to be suddenly completely dark, with only a handful of people around. The possibility that running alone in the park might be creepy had barely crossed my mind. There are usually hundreds and hundreds of other runners and bikers and cabs and vendors and walkers. But it was Friday night, and it was getting late, and I really didn’t like being out there alone. I decided to do 5 miles instead of 6 and got it done as quickly as possible – 5.21 in 50:58.

Obviously, I’m fine. Nothing terrible happened, and truthfully, I probably overreacted a little bit. But when I was out there, I sure was glad I was wearing my Road ID.

I wear it around my ankle and it has all of the essential information in case anything ever happens to me – my name, Chuck’s phone number, my mom’s phone number, and my insurance number (so whomever finds me knows it’s a-ok to take me to the hospital!). It makes me feel kind of invincible.

Mom, I promise I won’t ever go running in the dark on a Friday night by myself again. But at least I have my Road ID in case I find myself in a shady situation.

Back to school

September 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

What a week! I feel like that headless chicken and I am absolutely counting the minutes until the weekend. Fall is back, with a vengeance.

I’ll start way back where I left off, which was my weekend run in Rhode Island. I took to the bike path again, this time with my little Camelbak in tow. The lesson I learned was that one should read the instructions before one uses their new toy. I had the waterbottle upside down in the backpack, so I couldn’t get any water out. I dumped the pack at my Grammy’s (mile 5.5) and picked it up later.

It wasn’t much of a run. The weather was nice but the stars just weren’t aligned like last time. I made it through 11.5 or so miles in about an hour and 56 minutes (estimates because I forgot to charge my watch, obviously). There was one highlight though – I ran into TMB from Racing with Babes on my route! She is married to a friend from high school (actually, we go way back – we went to Busy Bee nursery school at the Y together!) and was visiting Barrington with her kids. If only I had had the presence of mind to check her blog before I left, I would have realized that she was in RI and we could have run together. Or at least part of the way – she was finishing up a 20-miler when I saw her! Phew. Impressive.

Tuesday morning, back in NY, I went to the gym before work for intervals. I was planning on a longer run but I woke up late. Shocker, I know! Anyway, I felt excellent and went for 5 minutes longer than usual, totaling 3.05 miles in 30 minutes (1 minute at 5.8/30 seconds at 8.0.)

Later that evening, Chuck and I had the pleasure of hosting Team R2R in our apartment for a “Halfway There/Gear Pick Up” party. It was so nice to have the team together in a social environment. We got to chat about running stuff and non-running stuff and anything and everything you could imagine. It was great fun and my only wish was that more people would have come!

Chuck, Coach Ali, Angela

Coach Ali, Rachael, Julie

4:45 baby!

Danielle and Coach Brian

us!

Erik and Fred

OBVIOUSLY!

Finally (phew), yesterday, we met up for the usual Thursday run in Central Park. It was a pretty comfortable 6 miles.  I’m short for the week, though, so I’ll be running again tonight. It’s a lot, but it’s worth it. I think September is shaping up to be my second 100+ mile month in a row!

In our new gear!

I need a nap.

Flake

September 9, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I know, I know! I’m such a flake. I just haven’t had a moment to post this week and I barely do today. I promise lots of interesting things and pictures and wise advice are coming very soon! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this great picture from the “Halfway There” party on Tuesday. More soon.

The last day of summer

September 3, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I know the last day of summer is technically September 22, but I really hope it was yesterday. I can’t take the heat anymore! It’s making all of us miserable.

Last night a group of 5 ladies + 1 Chuck met to do the 6 mile loop. It was definitely a struggle for everyone. We did a lot of whining and moaning. Especially on Harlem Hill – I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it. And I know that I would have stopped and walked the whole thing if I wasn’t with my team. Thank goodness they were there to motivate me.

We made it, of course, but barely. We were all literally on our last leg. And now I am 100% done with summer. Bring on the fall! Cool temps, jackets, pumpkins and apples. And one very special Marathon. 65 days from today!

Have a wonderful, super, lovely, Earl-free weekend. It’s going to be in the 70s on Sunday, so I think that would be a perfect day for a run. Right? Go on. You can do it.

Hump day slump day

September 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It never ceases to amaze me how different running can feel one day to the next. On Saturday, I ran 16 miles with almost no trouble. Yesterday, I barely made it through 3 and a half on the treadmill. Such a mystery.

It has been a while since I ran on the treadmill for distance – I’d say three months, at least. Lately it has only been speedwork, and that has been minimal too. Since we started mixing up our Tuesday workouts, it doesn’t really make sense to run sprints again on Wednesday mornings, less then 12 hours later.

So, last night I just wanted to get in 4 or 5 miles, but the boredom of the treadmill got to me, fast. (I decided it was too hot to run outside.) I have to wonder if it would have been more beneficial to me to do some other kind of cardio, like the elliptical or bike, instead. Something that I could have kept at longer.

In the end, I clocked 3.38 miles in 36 minutes, and in the end, I believe that some running is better than no running. But I do wish I could get over the hump day slump.

I guess I just need to be with my team to be at my best! Speaking of which, join us tonight at Central Park for a 6 mile run, if you please. The meeting point is 61st and Central Park West, on the Park side of the street (there are benches there, you’ll find us).

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