Monday, September 24, 2012

Three Loops of Central Park=Super Tiring. Aka 18 Mile Tune-Up Race Recap

On Saturday I ran the 5th Ave Mile and yesterday I ran a NYRR 18 Mile Tune-Up race.  These two things are very different!  Yesterday's course was three counterclockwise loops of Central Park.  Which means three times up the Great Hill, three times up Cat Hill and three times up every other hill in Central Park that normally doesn't seem big, but seems like a mountain when running three loops.

I went into this race somehow thinking that it would be easier than the 5th Ave mile.  I'm not a sprinter and I prefer longer distances, but yesterday was equally hard, or maybe even harder. (Duh, it was 17 miles farther!) Three weekends ago, I ran the Bronx 10 Mile race.  Last weekend I ran the Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, then the 5th Ave Mile on Saturday.  No wonder I've been so tired the last few weeks- physically and mentally.  While I didn't race any of these races, except for the mile, I ran them all at a much faster pace than a normal long run for me.  I don't think I really took this into account before the 18 mile tune-up.  I just assumed that my legs would be fine and that I could run this easily at 8:30 pace (my goal for this race). But, combine tired legs and lots of hills and this becomes a hard, tiring 18 miles!

Yesterday was a great morning for a race (actually, all of my races this month have had perfect weather!)- slightly chilly and the sun was just coming up as I left my apartment. I made it to the start in just enough time to put my stuff in baggage, look (unsuccessfully) for a few people, spot Laura (you'll hear about her later) crossing through the corrals but too far away to talk to her, and then get ready to run!

Just after 7am, we were off!  I felt great through the first loop.  The Great Hill was in mile one, so I hardly even noticed it since I was just starting and had a little bit of adrenaline.  But the second time up the Great Hill took a lot out of me, and I was really beginning to struggle mentally after about 8 miles.  I knew I was almost halfway, and only had to run the Great Hill one more time, but was feeling fatigued and not super excited to be running.  Right after the halfway point, I saw a flash of green and blue out of my eye as a girl ran next to me.  It was Laura!  She had headphones on so didn't hear me say her name, so I tapped her on the shoulder.  We said hi, asked how the other was doing, discussed our desired pace (at this point, I said 8:30-8:40 for me- wasn't feeling too confident anymore! And she said 8:30 for her) and caught up a bit.  I was able to get out of my head and carry on a (breathless) conversation.  While I definitely noticed that we were picking up the pace, it was great to have someone to run with and make the miles go by faster (literally)!  I asked her to pace me in Philly.  She's running NYC and isn't registered for Philly, but those are just little details, right?!  She didn't say no.... :)

I felt like I was holding her back so was telling her to go ahead if she wanted to, but we stuck together for 6-7 miles.  Running with her (or maybe trying to keep up with her would be more accurate...) made the rest of the 2nd loop, and half of the 3rd loop go by fairly quickly!  I was more tired physically, from runner the faster paces (see the splits below from miles 10-16...that's when I was running with Laura....) but less tired mentally.  And sometimes, your mental state is more important than your physical state on a long run.  After mile 16, Laura started to push ahead, but my lower back was really starting to hurt and I just didn't have it in me to push it to keep up with her. I did, apparently, have some steam left for mile 18 though, which I did all on my own! Yay! I think I just really wanted to be finished. And to sit down. And stretch. And sleep. And give my legs and entire body a break.

Splits from my Garmin:

Official results:

Thank you, Laura, for helping me reach my goal pace for this race!  I definitely would NOT have been able to do it without you!

While this race felt hard, I think it puts me in a really good place for Philly.  I still have 8 weeks left (wow, so long!), and after 3 weeks of tapering before the marathon, my legs will definitely be much more rested and ready than they were yesterday.'s a LOT less hilly in Philly than Central Park.  But then again, most things are when 3 loops are included...

Now it's cutback week! Except that still includes four runs of 8 miles each, which doesn't seem that short or easy to me.... Maybe I'll take these runs to the Westside Highway to get away from the CP hills!

How's your training going?  What did you think of the tune-up race?  What's your next race?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

5th Ave Mile Recap

Yesterday I ran the NYRR 5th Ave Mile, which was my third race in three weekends.  I've never raced a mile before, so honestly didn't know what to expect.  It seemed fun that your race would be over with within a few minutes- something that my previous races as of late have NOT been!

I ran slowly over to the start, and was already tired by my nearly 2 mile warm up! When I got there, I was waiting to meet my former roommate when Stephanie appeared.  Then Jocelyn, Meggie, Jessica and Jenny found us!  It was great to run into friends and have people to hang out with before the start of the race!

There seemed to be a lot of confusion about where we were starting, why we were running with an age group ranging from 15-29 and what the weird barrier in the middle of the road, blocking the corral, was there for!  Finally, the gun (horn?) went off, and people started running and we finally made it into the corral. After the race already started.  Note to NYRR: the barrier that took up almost the entire road was just weird and didn't make any sense.

We got to the starting line fairly quickly and took off.  It felt really hard, but that's probably because my watch said 4:xx.  Um, I'm confident I can't run a 4-anything minute mile, and wanted to quit after a quarter mile, so slowed down!  I also had a really weird tingly tongue sensation- has this happened to anyone else when running fast/faster than you normally do!?  It lasted the entire mile and was so bizarre!

After realizing that I would crash and burn if I kept up my 4:xx pace, I was holding on to a low 6-minute pace, which is what I was hoping for, but that still felt really hard.  I haven't done any speedwork or tempo runs in weeks (bad, I know) so haven't run anything faster than a high 7-minute mile in the recent past.  (Note to self: start doing speedwork again, after my legs recover from 4 races in 3 weekends!)  My legs felt like lead and it felt like I was moving in slow motion, except it felt super hard!  Apparently, I should stick to longer distances!

Here are the official results:

For not doing speedwork or knowing how to race a mile, I'll take it!  And will actually attempt a mile speed trial before this race next year if I do it again...

The race started at 8:55 and was over just after 9am, which allowed me time to have breakfast with a friend, go home and shower, hang out a bit and get back down to 5th Ave and 60th Street in time to meet Kara Goucher!

I love her.  She's so friendly and down-to-earth and genuinely seemed to care about each and every person that she met yesterday.

After meeting Kara, I found a spot right in front to watch the elites run their mile race.  They looked like this. Note: this is NOT how I looked while running. And they finished in 4:xx. Amazing.

You can't even see their shoes they're so fast!

All in all, it was an awesome day!  The weather was perfect, the running was (mostly) fun, it was great to meet Kara Goucher and see these crazy fast elites!!!

Do you prefer to run shorter or longer races? How do you pace yourself for a mile race?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oiselle and Chobani! Love!

Over the course of the year, I've grown to love two great companies that I didn't know much about until the last 12-18 months: Oiselle and Chobani.  These are two of the best companies that I know of.  Oiselle makes amazing women's running apparel, and Chobani makes the best Greek Yogurt.  These days, I'm finding myself only wearing Oiselle and only eating Chobani.  So, this week was especially awesome for me since I found things in the mail from both of these companies!

A few weeks ago, I splurged (more than I should have) on and purchased arm warmers, a pair of Roga shorts and the Go Fast T-shirt.  I was super excited!  Less than a week later, my order arrived in the mail, except there was a note that the Go Fast tee was backordered.  Bummer, but not the end of the world.  This past Tuesday, my Go Fast tee arrived.  Awesome!  Then, on Wednesday, this came: sweet are they?!?!  Completely unnecessary, TOTALLY appreciated! I don't know of
ANY other company that does this (or anything close to this) for a backordered item. SO amazing.

I LOVE the Start Line tee.  I already had it in pink, but think I actually like the colors more of the one they sent! Which is why I nearly cried last night when I dripped a wild berry popsicle on it and had to do an emergency cleaning.  All is okay now though!

If you don't already know about Oiselle, or have never tried any of their products....well, what are you waiting for?!  It's an amazing group of women who truly listen to their audience and customers to make the apparel that women want to wear.  Trust me, I want to wear all of their clothes.  All of the time.  Not only are they totally cute, but they're comfortable and functional too! It really doesn't get any better than that.
Go fast. Take chances.

Oiselle was my awesome surprise for yesterday. Today wasn't a surprise, but it was just as awesome!

This box came in the mail for me:

Are you as excited to see what's
inside as I was?!

OOOH! THAT'S how you mail


Even the empty box is cool!

Chobani is flavorful and creamy, and contains real fruit.  No fake/gross tasting yogurt.  And the pomegranate flavor is really fun because then you get to pop the pomegranates in your mouth! Oh...that's just me??

As both a runner and a vegetarian, the first question I always get, when discussing being a vegetarian, is how do I get enough protein. (Why is that always the first question!?  Are you concerned about anyone else's protein intake?!) But answer always includes "Chobani".  Each little slice of heaven (aka a Chobani yogurt) contains between 13-18g of protein, which makes up a big portion of my protein intake every day (yes, really every day...unless I'm sick and then I don't eat dairy), for those of you concerned about how much protein I get! :)  When I had the opportunity to receive a box of Chobani, compliments of them, I was totally on board!  What's better than receiving products you already endorse and love?!  

Also, there's now a ChobaniSoho for all of you living in NYC.  I haven't been yet (I know, I know...I need to go!) but I've only heard amazing things about it.  I want to go this weekend! Who wants to join me?!

A BIG thank you to Chobani for their generosity!! And I can't wait to try some of these flavors that I've never had before!  It will definitely brighten my morning at work tomorrow.

Nothing but good.

What are your favorite companies?  Do you wear Oiselle products and/or eat Chobani?  If you don't, do yourself a favor and pick up these products ASAP!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rock 'n' Running

This is how I felt about the Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon today.  The weather was perfect for a race- about 60 degrees (slightly chilly) at the start and blue skies.  I woke up in a good mood, had an easy commute into the city from my sister's house and felt the energy from the crowds and other runners.  

I love Philly.  And, when I visit, it's always sunny in Philadelphia. (Ya know, like the name of the TV show?  Anyway....)  Today, I made it a point of paying attention to where I was running and the sites around me.  Last weekend, my boyfriend and I ran the Bronx 10 Mile race, and later he referenced something that we passed during the race.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  I never pay attention to what's around me, but I should do it more often! So today, I did that.  And I loved it.  I listened music, but turned it off when near (most...the good ones) bands to enjoy their music and be a part of the race, rather than just in my own head the whole time.

The crowd was great.  There were some good signs like "This cat (insert picture of cat) says don't poop your pants"....why is a cat saying that?!  And "Run Total Strangers, Run!", lots of cheerleaders and cheering in general. 

I loved the course (although a few roads could have used some paving) and it was a good mix of city streets and running along the river with lots of trees and shade.

I had a rough week this past week.  I woke up with a sore throat on Monday, felt worse Tuesday, felt even worse on Wednesday and Thursday, then finally started feeling better on Friday.  My runs were bad. They weren't really fun, they were hard while totally congested and I felt super slow.  Because I was sick most of the week, I ended up taking a spin class yesterday morning, so my legs weren't fresh or rested for today.

But even with all of that, this race felt great.  It was the first half marathon where I didn't want to collapse on the finish line.  I even ran 3 more miles after the race to get up to 16 for today.  At the end of all my other halfs (halves? What is it when referring to multiple half marathons?!  I know halves is the plural, but it feels wrong in this case!), I didn't want to run one extra step, and am not sure I could have even if I had wanted to.  Today I only stumbled mentally for a few brief moments.  I felt strong physically, I had fun and loved every minute of it.

I ran the first 8 or 9 miles totally comfortably.

Once we crossed over the river and started heading back towards the finish, I picked up the pace to finish strong.

I haven't done the math to see if I negative split- I think the first and second halves were pretty even- but honestly, I don't even care if I did or not, because everything about this race felt comfortable.  It might be the first time that I felt like I ran a smart race.  My goal was to run on the faster side of marathon goal pace. I didn't go into the race hoping for a PR, but I ended up running my second fastest half marathon.  One of my New Year's resolutions for 2012 was to run a sub 1:45 half marathon.  My first half marathon of the year was 1:45:56, and that felt really hard, physically and mentally. My second was 1:43:23. That felt even harder.  Today, I ran 1:45:05, didn't go all out and felt great the whole time.  I had more to give, but this wasn't my A race.

I'll save my A race for the next time I run in Philadelphia.  And after this race, I can't wait to get back and run there again!  I now think that I might even be capable of running a marathon. Maybe. Bring it on, Philly Marathon!  61 days!

Did you run this Rock 'n' Roll race?  Did you like it?  What's your favorite half marathon course?  Tell me!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Run That Wasn't Really

I had really high hopes for today.  According to my training plan, I was supposed to run 7 miles, with 4 mile repeats at 7:02.  I also planned to do my Jillian Michael's 6 Weeks to 6 Pack DVD after my run.  Neither of those things happened.

At least I got to wear my new Oiselle Roga shorts! If you don't own 
these shorts, do yourself a favor and buy them. Now. 
You're welcome. You can thank me later.   :)

While I have been loving the weather change this week, it has left me with a cold, and feeling rundown.  The last two nights, knowing that I wouldn't sleep well, I took NYQuil to knock myself out and get some serious shuteye.  Tuesday night I slept 9 hours.  Yesterday, I took a 3 hour nap after work, then slept 9 hours again.  This morning when my alarm went off at 9am, I could hardly open my eyes, and certainly couldn't pull myself out of bed.  After snoozing a few times, I finally got myself up, but still felt half asleep.  I needed to run this morning because I have to work late tonight, so this evening wasn't an option.  I finally got myself dressed and out the door, but while running over to Central Park, I still didn't feel like I was completely awake. I reasoned with myself that maybe I would just do 2 or 3 mile repeats since I've been congested, so tired and not feeling great.

After warming up for one mile, my watched beeped and I picked up the pace.  Sort of.  Usually, I can lock into my goal pace pretty quickly, or sometimes I even start off faster than goal pace and have to slow myself down.  Today, I couldn't get myself below 7:30 pace for the life of me. After half a mile, lots of phlegm and wanting to blow several snot rockets, I decided my body was trying to tell me something.  Today was certainly not the day for mile repeats.  It was hardly a day for running at all. I quickly (and gladly) gave up the idea of speedwork and traded it in for 5-6 easy miles.  But that didn't happen either. After two and a half miles, I was so tired, I contemplated walking home. But instead, I let myself go at whatever slow pace I wanted, and ran home slowly.

The end results: 4 slow miles. 1 minute plank. No mile repeats. No Jillian Michael's DVD.

While I wish I was feeling well enough to do what was on schedule for me today, I'm glad I didn't push it and gave myself a break. Since I'm running the Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half on Sunday, it's definitely more important for me to feel better than go crazy pushing it before the race, and not being able to make it to the starting line.  There will be other days for mile repeats (sadly...I always dread them) when I have more energy and am not completely congested.

Until those days, I will keep wearing my beautiful new Say It Do It bracelet made by Erica Sara for inspiration!

Annnnd.....sorry if this post didn't make any sense.  I haven't had a drink in days but feel drunk.  Not sure if it's caffeinated iced tea I'm drinking so I don't end up asleep on my desk today, or if the NYQuil is still in my system, or if my balance is off from being congested/a possible ear infection.  Apologies!

What are your thoughts about training when you're not feeling well?  Do you skip it?  Run easy? Still stick to your plan?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bronx 10 Mile Race Recap! Marathon Goal Pace!

This morning was the Bronx 10 Mile Race.  A few days ago, I decided my race-plans for all of my September races.  For today's race, I wanted to run marathon goal pace- somewhere between 8:00-8:20 pace.  Since Philadelphia will be my first marathon, I honestly don't know what to expect, or what I'm capable of, so I just keep hoping that this is realistic!

Anthony and I took the subway up to the race and were supposed to get there for an 8:00am start.  In true NYC MTA fashion, the train didn't leave when my phone said it would, so we missed the connection to the 4 train.  We finally got to the start at 8:05am.  Normally, I would have been so stressed about this.  But since I wasn't racing the race today, we walked casually to the start, hopped in the back of the corrals and waited over 9 minutes to cross the starting line.  I've always said that I thought it would be kind of run to start in the back so you have the confidence of passing people all the way through the course.  And today, I kind of liked it!  I've heard bad things about the NYRR corrals recently, so was worried it would be really congested for the first few miles, but I didn't feel that at all.  Of course, there's the typical maneuvering all throughout the race, but I never felt like I was stuck in a certain pack and couldn't get around.

It was the PERFECT day for a race.  Cool enough at the start, but also sunny.  We finally crossed the starting line and got off to an uneventful start.  Anthony and I got separated pretty quickly- either during mile one or two, but found each other again when the police held us from going forward to let an ambulance cross the street.  Subtract 20 seconds from my race time, please!  That was fun.  It was also fun when I nearly got taken out by a father and son trying to cross the street, that ran directly into me.  After those two occurrences, it was smooth sailing for the rest of the race.

After taking nearly two weeks off for foot tendinitis, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to maintain MGP for 10 miles.  However, I was happy to find that whenever I was in the 8:15-8:20 pace range, I felt completely comfortable.  When I dropped below that (with the exception of the last mile or two), I felt more labored, but could hold the pace.  I'm excited for the Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half next week to try this again and see if the pace feels easier/if I can maintain my pace closer to 8:00 without feeling like I'm working really hard.

Here are my splits from today:

Of course my Garmin was off and made me look
slightly faster. Thanks, Garmin!

I negative split! YIPPEE!!  Hopefully that's a good sign for next weekend!

Official results:

Of course, NYRR didn't account for the 20 second ambulance ride, but I'll take it anyway, since I was still within my goal pace.

I felt great throughout the whole race.  I didn't struggle mentally (okay, maybe briefly a few times) and while I was working hard, I could have kept going.  This makes me feel great about the Philly Marathon since I still have 2 months of training and several races left.

After the race, I ran 4 (slow) miles back to my apartment with Carla to bring the total up to 14.  This is the most I've run in 5 weeks- pre-tendinitis. YAY!

Check back next week to see how the Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half goes!

Did you run the Bronx 10 Mile race today?  How's your training going?  What's your next race?

Friday, September 7, 2012

What's Up September Races?!

It's September. How did that happen?!  I have a feeling this month is going to go by quickly.  There is A LOT going on!  September is probably my favorite month.  I love Fall weather.  I love new beginnings (starting a new school year at work, a change of season from hot to crisp, change of wardrobe).  I love racing in the Fall.  And my birthday is September 27!

I'm (we're all!) still waiting for real Fall weather, although there have been a few cool, and amazing mornings recently!  School (work) has already started. My birthday is in less than 3 weeks. And I'm running four races this month!  Woah!  Yes, four. More than I've ever run (raced) in a month, or maybe even a two month period.  But I'm excited! And I have a plan.  I always have a plan. For everything.  My boyfriend loves it. Or maybe he hates it.... are my upcoming races!

Sunday, September 9- NYRR Bronx 10 mile
Sunday, September 16- Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
Saturday, September 22- NYRR 5th Ave Mile
Sunday, September 23- NYRR 18 Mile Tune-Up

That's 42.1 miles of racing this month.  So far this year, I've raced 52.8 miles. Over 7 races. And 8 months. So this month is going to be awesome, tiring, and great training. And tiring. Again.

But, here's my awesome plan for each race.  Let's see how well I can execute them....or if I decide to change my plans completely!
Bronx 10 mile: I want to run this at marathon goal pace or slightly faster.  Somewhere between 8:00-8:20 pace would be great.  Then I plan to run 4 miles home for 14 miles that day.  After I finish this race, I'll be qualified for the 2013 NYC Half Marathon AND the 2013 ING NYC Marathon!

Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon: Again, run marathon goal pace, or slightly faster. 8:00-8:20 pace. (The last half marathon I ran was Brooklyn, in May. My time was 1:43:23 (7:54 pace) and that felt really hard.  I have REALLY high hopes that after running some longer runs, a half marathon will seem....easy. Or at least...easier.)  I plan to add an extra 3 miles on to the end of this race for a total of 16 that day.  Also, while comparing the Philly Rock 'n' Roll half map and the Philly Marathon map, it looks like I'll be running a good portion of the marathon course at this half!  I'm excited to see what it's like before the big day!

NYRR 5th Ave Mile: Sprint my little heart out.  As fast as I can.  Hopefully for only around 6 minutes.

NYRR 18 Mile Tune-Up: I'm excited for this race. I think it'll be a really great indicator of what to expect for the Philadelphia Marathon.  I'm hoping to run this around 8:30 pace.  If I can do that, I think I'll be good for Philadelphia since it will be a lot less hilly than 3 loops of Central Park!

Recently, I've come to realize that I don't race a lot, compared to a lot of other people (with September being the exception!). And the reason for that is because I really hate not PRing. I'm a PR snob. I admit it. But, I've also come to realize that I don't need a new half marathon PR right now.  My focus is on the Philly Marathon, and what will prepare me best for that. Since this is my first marathon, I'm hoping my plans above make sense.  I don't know.  Tell me, does it?!  Maybe I'll end up running one (or more) of the races above faster than I planned. Or way slower. And that's okay.  If I end up with a PR because I feel great and know I can do it, I'll be super excited.  But I'm not going to push it just for that. I want to get to the starting line of the Philadelphia Marathon feeling strong, confident and ready to run my heart out.

Check back for four race recaps this month!

So tell me, what races are you running?  Are you a crazy planner like me so you plan your desired paces? Or are you more of a glow-with-the-flow person (unlike me) and just wait to see how you're feeling on race day?  How's your training going?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Oh hi there!

Oh hi there! Where have I been, you ask? RUNNING (awesome), Cross Training, and shopping. Oh, and working.  I work in a school, and it's time for the Fall semester to begin again, so I've been spending more time there recently.  BUT, back to running!

I've been building my mileage back up; I ran 24.5 miles this week.  Nothing crazy, but it sure beats zero miles!  I've been trying to pick up the pace on my runs recently, since the mileage has been fairly low.  Fortunately, I don't think I lost too much fitness from my weeks off, but have definitely lost mileage.  I'm running the NYRR Bronx 10 mile race next weekend and my goal is to run it at marathon goal pace (8:10-8:25-ish...I think) and then maybe run a few more miles later in the day.  After that race, it's back to long runs for me.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Maybe if I have my perfect shoe by then I'll be more excited but mostly I think I'm just nervous about getting tendinitis again.  And being super sore.  And crashing mentally mid-run.  Anyone want to run long with me September 14/15??

To hopefully keep my foot tendinitis at bay (which has been fine recently!), I've been icing still, and have been much better about cross training the last two weeks. I promise to keep it up!  I love checklists.  Once I made this list, I haven't veered from my plan.  Such a checklist nerd!

On Thursday night, Ashley and I went to the best spin class.  We were looking for somewhere that we could go together before going to cheer for the NYRR NFL run, but didn't want to pay the FlyWheel or SoulCycle prices.  We ended up at a Bally's in midtown.  That's right. Bally's.  And you know what?  The 60 year old teacher who did high kicks and danced nearly the entire class was freaking awesome! She had SO much energy.  I normally get so annoyed when teachers get off their bikes during a class, but with Kim (that's her name), I just laughed and had fun watching her get totally down. Clearly she was not concerned about what anyone thought of her. Although I'm almost certain that everyone thought she totally rocked.  Thursday nights at 6:30pm at the 50th St Bally's. Go. It's awesome. They even have a week free trial.

Shopping. It's what I do best.  Except, apparently, when it comes to running shoes.  I'm currently trying to find the perfect pair of running shoes for me.  I miss my Brooks PureCadence.  I thought we had the perfect relationship, but then they gave me tendinitis.  I'm not giving up on them completely yet, but am trying to find another pair of shoes with more "shoe" for my long runs.  Ya know, a pair that don't make my right foot fall asleep, and that don't give me tendinitis.  Is that so much to ask?!  I went to Super Runner's Shop yesterday, and they recommended the Asics GT-2170s yesterday. But after 2 miles today, my right foot was falling asleep.  Has this ever happened to you?!  This has also happens with my Brooks Adrenaline 11s.  It's not super fun or comfortable, so I guess I'll be returning those shoes and trying something else. I really want these awesome, super pretty shoes, but unfortunately I need stability shoes. Bummer.  Why are stability shoes always the ugliest ones?!

What are your favorite stability running shoes?  What's your favorite cross training class/workout?  How's your training going?! Tell me!