Thursday, December 31, 2009

Running full force into 2010...

2009 Year in Racing Review

People are always saying things like "Can you believe how fast this year went?" when the year comes to a close, but I think that saying is totally lost on me. Life always feels this fast, grad school felt slow at times when it was beating the crap out of me but the years went by quickly, wedding planning went fast, the wedding went fast, the rest of the year went fast. I don't feel like this year went any faster than the last and a ton of "stuff" happened.
The year started out a a slower pace, literally. I still had a nagging knee pain that started post-marathon which kept me off my feet until early Jan and I didn't feel like I was back up to speed until the first week in Feb when we had a warm day in the 50's. One good thing came of that though, I began swimming with a friend as an outlet for not being able to run and now we're the best of friends and swim together every week.
I didn't realize it but I was being held back by some ugly exercise and cold-induced asthma which was making me hack and wheeze after every run and even had me feeling lightheaded more often than not. I was starting to think I was crazy (or worse yet, pregnant) for feeling dizzy when I finally left the gym early one day and hopped on the train back home and marched right over to the Dr's office. She listened to my lungs and had this shocked look on her face. She told me that I most certainly had asthma and promptly gave me a nebulizer treatment and it wasn't until that was over that I realized what breathing was supposed to feel like. Wow, that was a shocker. How could I have asthma? I was a marathon runner, dammit! One dorky inhaler later, I was on my way, but it just wasn't doing the trick. Long story short, I found a fantastic asthma/allergy Doc who is also a triathlete who hooked me up with the right asthma meds, told me I was allergic to my cats (oops. "take some OTC allergy meds, you'llbe fine") and I've been coasting ever since. What a lifesaver.
So this late winter/spring I decided I was going to give speedwork a real try and guess what? It really worked. I kicked things up to a notch I didn't know I had and it was so liberating. Wow did it feel good to work that hard and move that fast. I never looked back. I found a runner's high like never before hidden in interval workouts in the park, on the track, wherever. I was definitely setting up for a heck of a racing season.
Great runs of 2009:
3/22: Colon Cancer Challenge in CP, 15K/9.3mi
This was the first run where I really let it all hang out. My cousin died from colon cancer last November so this race was 100% for him. Every time I felt tired or wanted to slow down I thought "Ted never gave up, he never slowed down when it hurt" and I dropped 21 minutes from my 2007 time, finishing in 1:10:40 at a 7:35 pace and the 63rd female! I nearly died when I saw that.
4/19:Run As One for Lung Cancer research in CP, 4 mi
I can still remember the burn during this race as I turned onto the west drive from the 102 transverse when a nice older guy from CPTC standing on the sidelines told me "you're looking great, now lean forward and go for it" I didn't know him, but I listened and I cranked out a 28:42, a 7:10 pace which got me into the RED corral where I still stand proudly. In 2008 I ran a 30:01 which felt brutal at the time.
5/18: Just a solo training run down the west side from 181st to 14th St
I did an interval run that day and really left it out on the pavement, I ran 11 miles in 1:26. Unheard of.

5/30:Brooklyn 1/2 marathon, 13.1 mi
I ran this one with a good friend and even though it was hot, hot, hot and my stomach was crampy at about mile 8, I managed a new 1/2 PR. I rocked Brooklyn in 1:46, blowing my previous PR of 1:52 out of the water.

6/6: Central Park Challenge 5K for YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities
This race was to raise money for the organization I work for. Lots of people at work got excited about it and trained to run it, I was really thrilled that I motivated some people to get running! In the end, my brother, SIL and nieces even came for the walk and spent the day here in the city with me. It was especially awesome that I won 1st place YAI Female Staff Member! I hit a new PR at 21:30 and got a GIANT trophy (embarrassing how big it was really). My co workers made me bring it in and show it off, which in the end was really kind of fun. Next year- 1st place female overall!!

6/27: Save Barnegat Bay 8K, Lavallette, NJ
This race is close to my heart, it raises money for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation which is what my brother Eric died from. It's always fun because my Mom and Aunt usually walk the 5K so I pass them when I'm running. This year, I decided to run my ass off for Eric. I placed 5th female overall and #1 in my age group! I started out too fast at a 6:34 pace, but evened out and finished in 36:43, a 7:23 pace in the blistering heat. In 2007 I did that same race in 40:22 but had a 1/2 Mary the next day so I took it easy. I won a Dunkin gift card for my 1st place win. Sweet, I've never won anything at a race before!

Getting my gift card

8/8: Lavallette 1 mile Ocean Swim
Not a run, but equally fun and challenging, I finally was able to join my cousins for the annual 1 mile ocean swim and show them that I'm not JUST a runner! It was a windy day and the waves were a little choppy but I pulled off a respectable 24minutes. Not bad considering I hadn't done an open water swim in years! I'll be ready next year...

10/4: Bay Head, NJ Shark run 5K
Just weeks from our wedding in Bay Head, I decided to show that little beach town what I was made of. On an unmarked course through the streets, I clocked a 22:23, not nearly a PR, but I raced hard and placed 3rd overall female! My mom was so excited for me and that meant the world! She's always worrying that running will "ruin my knees" but she finally got to see why I was working so hard! I got a great little plaque too!

The races always stick out because they come with things like tshirts and if you're lucky a trophy, but there were so many miles in between that made them all possible. I'm so lucky to have a career that allows me the freedom to keep up my running as well as pass the joys of it on to others. This past year I coached about 50 elementary school kids on my Young Runners team which is infinitely rewarding. Many of my 9 races this year were with one kid or another from the team who needed a "race buddy". I hope that I'm passing on a lifetime love of running to at least some of these kids. This was my first year as "head coach" and it was tough, its time consuming and exhausting at times, but the rewards come at the most surprising times. There's nothing sweeter than an 8 year old beating their mile time from last month and beaming about it to their friends and parents.
It was a big year for me in many ways and I met so many fun new people. I took up soccer again which was fun and challenging and definitely helped me increase my speed, I started swimming a ton and its been wonderful to get back into the water where I feel even more at home sometimes than I do when running, I learned to SCUBA dive which was amazing and its great to have a hobby in common with my hubby now, oh and biggest of all- I got married!! :) As a result I got to spend lots of time with close family and friends as well as friends and family who live far, far away. What a blessing.
Well I should have stopped typing a while ago, we're having dinner at a friends before all heading out for the Midnight Run in CP tonight!

Happy New Year everyone, have a fun night. I hope you're close to those you love tonight and that you're ready to kick some butt in 2010.


  1. I have asthma too. I find that as long as long as I take my meds regularly running is not a problem. I know what my limitations are and I simply run within those limitatioons. I had a hard this summer when we had a few humid weeks. I blogged about how fustrated I was not being able to finish my speedwork becasue I couldn't breathe. Rather than pushing myself to finish, I cut the workout short.

    Anyway, it's been great getting to know through your blog and on Twitter. Hopefully we can meet in person at the next NYC Tweet-Up.

    A belated Mazal Tov on your wedding.


  2. Great racing throughout 2009 Amy. Wow I am blown away by your speed. My dream is to run faster this year. I want to surround myself with faster runners. :O)

    It was very nice to meet you at the tweet up. Thanks for your advice on the foam roller.

    HNY and hope to see you soon!!!!