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.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My letter to RW

I just sent this letter off to the editor at Runners World, I can't take it anymore! Anyone else feel the same way?
Hi RW team,
I've been wanting to write this letter for months but never got around to it, but I can't let this slip by me another month! Last November in your Green Issue I remember reading about the changes RW was making to the magazine itself in order to make things a little greener and I thought it was fantastic! You even mentioned how much plastic you were saving by not sending out issues wrapped in plastic to those whose subscriptions were ending. However, for the last 6 or 8 months my RW has shown up wrapped in plastic every month with a horrible little "Women's Health" packet attached. My main concern is with the amount of waste this creates- its as if you made the Green Issue and then forgot about everything you learned. It makes me so sad to see all of that research go down the tubes when it was presented so well. My other concern is that the Women's Health packet that comes with the magazine is TERRIBLE! I hate getting it, it represents the complete opposite of what I love about RW. RW promotes a healthy, fitness-based lifestyle while Women's health is full of gimmicks and degrading titles such as "Have more fun in bed tonight!" and "The secret food to lose 81 percent more belly fat" It doesn't even contain any real articles, just teasers. Yuck, if RW had headlines like this I'd never buy it and I know most of my running friends feel the same way.
I really hope this plastic wrap and terrible "magazine" stop showing up in my mailbox soon!
Thanks for your time,
A fellow runner and long time subscriber,
New York,NY


My goal for this week off is to really try some new workout types and just generally have a good, hard week because I know I can get plenty of sleep and even a massage! So this morning I tried my very first "Brick" workout which consists of a bike ride followed by a run. I've been wanting to try one ever since I signed up for the NYC Triathlon because I know they're going to become a regular part of my training and I just wanted to know what its like. Well, I found out today!!
First of all, I have a clunky old Huffy (yes, I said it, a Huffy) 18speed Mt. bike that lives in my Mom's basement and only comes out about 5 times a year or so for a ride around the hood. Luckily, it had fresh air in the tires because we filled them at Thanksgiving when I made my hubby ride along side me during a run. Second of all, I am not really sure I know how to use the gears on the bike. I generally put the little lever on the left in a position where nothing squeaks and fiddle with the one on the right a little here and there. Every time I ride the bike I think, "I need bike riding lessons". I know how to physically ride the bike, thats not a problem, its the shifting of gears and trying to make it bearable to go uphill. :) So I managed to crank out 8.84 miles on the bike with an average speed of 4:59 in 44:02mins. I have no idea if thats any good.. but it was tough. The wind here is always strong against me when I'm heading north so that part was no fun. I was properly dressed for the ride except for my feet which were numb by the end despite the gore-tex shoes.. I wasnt wearing warm enough socks. That made the run part even more interesting!
I got back to Mom's popped the bike inside the front door, switched helmet&winter hat out for a baseball cap and fleece headband and took a swig of water before heading back out. I knew I might be too warm on the run but couldn't think of a proper wardrobe change that would keep me warm in the wind but not too warm so I left everything on. At this point my feet are numb from the cold and I nearly trip down the 2 front steps because my legs are jello. I laugh at myself and head out, confusing the mailman across the way who just saw me go in with the bike. I must say, I was in NO WAY prepared for the weird feeling that comes with a post-ride run for that first 0.5 mi or so. I was practically laughing out loud because I simply felt like a fool trying to run on a bouncy house or something. I managed to settle right into an 8:30 pace though, and I was impressed with that even though I felt so silly. It just felt like a dream, my feet numb and my legs tightening up with every step. Ow. Finally I stopped to stretch my glutes/hams and calves which really felt good. After that I was moving along at a decent pace, even uphill, but I started to get some tightness in my anterior tibialis on the left (shin muscle for those non PT dorks out there) which took a while to work itself out. After about 1.75 miles the feeling was coming back in my feet and if you've ever tried running with cold/numb feet you know that is not always a good feeling. By nearly 2 miles I felt mostly like a normal person again and finshed off at a respectable time of 19:07 for 2.26mi, an 8:27 pace.
I definitely got a glimpse into my tri training future today and I'm wondering if that transition ever gets easier? It has to.... right? Please let me know if you have any words of advice or wisdom to impart regarding the brick.
All in all, it was really pretty crazy and fun. I wish I had my foam roller here at my Mom's house but I'll have to wait until tomorrow to roll out the kinks. For now I'll settle for a good stretch and some hot tea.
I know that I had a slight advantage today on my ride/run because I'm certain my big brother was watching over me and laughing with me while I ran along with jello legs. Today would have been his 30th birthday, but he died from a degenerative mitochondrial brain disease 14 years ago next week. Thanks for the push bro. ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowy Day Run

The Arches of Fort Tryon Park along the WSH

I wasn't the only one excited to get out for a snowy run yesterday, twitter was a flurry of excitement (no pun intended) about running in the snow! We lucky NY'ers were able to sleep in a bit and get out for a run after the parks dept and neighborhood supers were done cleaning the sidewalks and plowing the paths. What a bright and sunny and beautifully crisp day it was along the Hudson River! I took a run from the GWB down to 145th St at Riverbank State Park and then turned around heading north to Dyckman St along the greenway. On the way down to 145th I was flying along at an easy 7:35 pace thinking to myself "why does this feel so easy?" Once I turned around I realized why it felt easy...the crazy wind was at my back the whole way and was going to give me a run for my money on the way back north!! Whew!! Luckily it was sunny and the path was mostly cleared. I saw lots of people out walking, sledding, and even XC skiing! So much fun, I felt like I was back in NH. The trek home through Fort Tryon park was a bit tough because the giant hill at the north end of the park wasn't cleared and neither were most of the paths! Whew, tough going.
Well here are the pictures I managed to get along the way.

Ol' George standing tall against the Palisades
The little red lighthouse and the great grey bridge
So pretty in the snow..
View of downtown and the sparkling Hudson

New Leaf Cafe in Fort Tryon Park
The Greenway north of 181st...clear here
Suddenly not so clear!
The Pumpkin house smiling out over the Hudson
Sparkling Fort Tryon Park

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ted Corbitt 15K, My "+1" for the 2010 Marathon

Brrr Ninja Volunteer!
Getting ready to start
He may have started out a bit too quick, he was not in front after the first lap anymore..
chilly running!

wow lots of people out on a frosty morning!

Well, I've done it again- I'm qualified for next year's marathon! Woohoo. I did the 2008 marathon by doing my nine NYRR races and I finished up my 9 races last weekend in Brooklyn but still had to do my 1 volunteering duty for the year. Okay, normally yes I'd have taken care of that in the summer or fall, but with a fall wedding I really just didn't have the time this year. But alas, there I was on the sidelines in my orange vest freezing my toes off but having a TON of fun cheering everyone on!!
I dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5:40 on Saturday morning into the cold world, forgot my breakfast (toast with PB and nutella) and waited ages for the subway (so much for the early am schedule!) and finally arrived around 7am at the park. I have to say, I expected it to be organized and fast moving, but we spent much of the morning shuffling around in a large herd while jobs were given out one by one. Ugh, getting cold already and it was like 7:30. I finally got a job just directing people and cheering very close to the finish line, which was fun because the runners passed the finish just after the start, after their first loop and of course at the end so I got to see everyone go by a ton! It was fun, there were a few full Santas, some reindeer, a few silly hats and just generally a fun time. I was cheering my heart out in an attempt to stay warm and have a good time. I really enjoyed that part. It was the people who turned rude and ignorant post-race who ruined the fun. After the vast majority of people were finished we were asked to make sure people didn't turn around and walk back along the course because there were still people finishing their first lap ( we cheered hard for them!) and we didn't want them to have to fight against the crowd while running! Our "leader" was threatening to DQ people who didn't want to listen (a bit harsh I thought, but it was working) but many people just got instantly aggressive and angry when we asked them to walk the other way back to the start. Wow, it was unreal to see people turn like that and get nasty. It was really unfortunate and bummed me out.

The day was saved however when I spotted Nicole from The Biggest loser at the finish snatching some leftover apples! I was like HEY shes from TBL!! and I went over and chatted with her!! She was SO nice and really sweet and friendly, we chatted like old friends :) I always loved her on the show and it was so fun to meet her! She looks fantastic, too! That was the highlight of my day! (possibly my week!)

Photo from people magazine

Ted Corbitt 15K, My "

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chilly night

Whoops, I should really preview my posts before I submit them... I have no idea why the picture showed up twice or why the breaks in the text are like that in my last post... Sorry for the hot mess of a post. :)
Happy Thur-Friday. I dont work on Fridays (ok not true, I see one patient at his house for 30 mins in the morning) so Thursday night runs are my sanctuary after a hectic week. Although the temp was in the high 20s and the realfeel was 15 degrees, I felt awesome and perfectly dressed! YAY. Thats 2 weeks in a row. I even felt good enough to stop at the grocery store and pick up some yogurt for my hubby and some salmon for my dinner (he's working late..again!) and walk home without freezing to death. I packed my envirosack (best thing EVER) in my vest pocket too. Thats one perk of cold weather running, there are usually pockets for things like tissues and extra gloves or for stashing a hat when you get too warm.
Ok definitely time to get some things done around here. I just downloaded a new song I heard on a commercial and made a genius playlist of it to listen to while doing dishes/cleaning up. Its called Straight Lines by Dawn Landes. Totally relaxing...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I've been spotted in a blog...

So I've recently become part of a fun bunch of NYC (and elsewhere) runners on twitter who sort of chat during the day about running
and other goofy stuff. A number of us also blog about our running and I recently checked out a blog by Betsyruns (as I know her
on twitter) here: Betsy A Go-Go because she mentioned that she also ran the Pete McArdle 15K on Sunday and I wanted to see what
she had to say about it. Well... I'm reading along and she's got a few pics mixed in and "HEY! Thats me!!" She was running behind me and
my two friends and snapped a picture! haha. You can check out her blog and read the fun commentary about the race, but here's the
picture... what a fun little discovery. Running makes the world just a little smaller and more friendly!

Pic courtesy of Betsy.
Thats me in the black shorts, and my two friends on my right. :)
I don't know the person on my left, but they're the only one in the picture who is dressed for the weather!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pete McArdle XC 15K in VCP

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for
Pete McArdle 15K in VCP-brrr
It was a muddy, cold and hilly adventure run this morning but so much fun! I ran with some regular running buddies which made the race do-able. It was a gross day but I give my new Asics Gel-Trabuco gore-tex trail shoes an A++ for keeping my feet warm and mostly dry for the entire 9.3 miles!! wow, very impressive considering the slop out there on the course. Now if only I'd thought to wear my EMS waterproof jacket...duh. Oh well, tons of fun and we ended the morning (afternoon?) with some delicious pancakes at The Garden Cafe. Yummmm. So sleepy now.... finally got the huge knot out of my hair from the rainy run (seriously, it was unreal) and now a quick blow-dry followed by a nap. I'm exhausted and full... what a wonderful combination.
Stay warm and dry...

The best winter/wet/mud shoes EVAR...

and this is why... that little hyphenated word in yellow..

In the end though, the socks say it all.... love my smartwools.

And the drying continues... everything is still soaked!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Joe K 10K

So let me start by saying the long sleeve tees from the Joe Kleinerman 10K are great! I always love it when they have a non-white tee to spice up my collection and the logo is cool and its not a huge picture of his face like it has been before... very cool. I don't understand why NYRR doesn't order enough size SMALL though...seeing as how running is a sport of many many fit people... anyway, I digress.
So sunday morning was a crisp and sunny 33 degree gallop around the park. I know a lot of people train in CP and talk about the hills there, but I mostly train in Fort Tryon Park, Inwood Hill Park, Riverside Park, Riverdale and VCP where the hills are rolling and could kick the butt of Harlem Hill or Cat Hill anyday :) I'm going to say it... central park hills are wimpy :) Yeah, they sneak up on you when you think you're nearing the home stretch on the east side around 72nd st when you're feeling good, but they're not game changers. That said, I had what I consider a great race. I forced myself to keep it easy and do the first mile at an 8:05 pace which felt easy but I knew I needed to hold back. I tried to pull in the reins for the first 3 miles and then let myself go, and it seems to have worked! According to Garmin I clocked a 47:59 for 6.23miles.... but sadly according to NYRR it was 48:01. Hmmmmm. Oh well. I got there that morning and re-assessed my original goals of under 46/47:00 and realized that was perhaps a bit lofty since I haven't really been training that hard and it was damn cold. I set myself the goal of under or around 48:00 and I'm very happy with my results.

Here is the NYRR spread:
Finish time: 48:01
Pace: 7:44
Overall Place: 1049
Gender Place: 219
Age Place: 60
AG: 63.1%
AG Gender place: 331

Not bad!
Garmy says my laps were:
1:38(for the .2)
I do wish my 4th and 5th miles had been a bit faster. Live and learn. It was my first race with the garmin.. boy do I love that thing.

Well, time to make a few updates to the blogroll... check back for more updates soon.
Next week- NYRR Holiday 4miler in Prospect Park, but I'll be running with one of my kids on my Young Runners team who is in 3rd grade. She's a rockstar.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Change of pace...

pun intended. So a lack of feedback means total freedom to write about what I'd like to talk about. In this case, I think I'd like to lean more towards running and perhaps toss in some neighborhood stuff if I stumble across it. Maybe its just because its winter and I feel like our hood is bustling in the spring/summer/fall but sort of goes into hibernation for the maybe its just me who hibernates. Anyway, I'll see how this goes.
I finally feel like I've slipped back into a routine since the return from the wedding/honeymoon. I took a good long break while in Belize and rested the legs. Coming back was a little tough, but it felt good to get back out and leave some sweat on the streets. Last week was a pretty good running week despite the holiday thrown in with a monday swim (2200yds) and about 10 miles of running over 2 days.
So far this week I've managed a 5.01mi (41:00, elevation gained 1,307ft)on Tuesday night, 1.6 mi swim on Wed evening, hilly 3.24 mi (28:00, elevation gained 1,157ft) on Thursday (regular group run was cancelled, bummer) and 5.90mi (52:42, elevation gained 1,720ft) today before the rain poured down.
I did some lunges post-run on Thursday evening after a looong break from those evil little numbers and wow, I'm still a little sore. The cold and rain and potential for ice have me a little nervous about the race tomorrow.. Joe Kleinerman 10K in Central Park, aka Marathon Qualifier #8. I've been thinking about a 10K PR all year and during my last shot at it (on my own, no race) I think I hit around 47:00-ish. It was a while ago, but I remember starting out too fast and hurting somewhere along the west side heading south. I gained a lot of speed this year that I didn't even know I had in me and hit a ton of new PR's. A 10K PR would be the icing on the cake after a great year.
Well, it's off to bed for a good night sleep before and early and CHILLY morning. I had set aside my favorite running shorts for tomorrow, that was back on Thursday when it was 57 degrees outside. I think I'll need to reconsider my wardrobe. It looks to be the first tights run of the season. Brr.