Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Manhattan Half-Marathon

Finally, a minute to sit and talk about the Manhattan Half Marathon which took place this past Sunday in Central Park. It was my first time doing this half which is part of the 5-boro series known as the "Grand Prix" that takes place every year, but I have done the More Half which is also 2 loops of CP. If I remember correctly, the More was in a clockwise direction that year.. Anyhow, the Manhattan 1/2 was to be 2 counter-clockwise loops of Central Park on a brisk January morning. It was about 36 degrees at the starting line with no wind, IDEAL.

For many of my NYRR races I line up alone or with a youngin' from my running team, but Sunday was different- I had real company! I lined up in the corral with two of my new twitter running buddies RunAnskyRun and NYCBklynGirl (EG) with the hopes of joining Ansky while he smoked his PR and earned himself a sub 1:50. That was the plan and with EG's internal stopwatch, we set off at a great 8:28 first mile. We fell into some fun conversation about whatever it is runners talk about during 13.1 miles of hilly fun and the miles just disappeared behind us. With the first lap behind us in around 50 minutes, we knew we had sub 1:50 in sight if we kept it up. We stopped for a little GU/water on the second lap which slowed our 8th mile a bit (8:24) which meant when I glanced at my watch as we cruised down the west side I got to thinking "ooh we're going to need to pick it up a bit if we're going to make our goal". It was as if we were all on that same wavelength, and before I knew it we were cranking out the last two miles at a ridiculously consistent pace of 7:44 and 7:43.
Official finish time: 1:48:46!
Avg pace 8:18
Age place: 129/1045
Overall Place: 1984/5464
Gender Place: 425/2153

Rock on. So now for the silly stuff. I can't quite remember where it first started happening, but at a certain point it became clear that I was running with somewhat of a NYC running Celeb. It seemed like at every corner there was a small group of people cheering for my new friend EG. About halfway through the first lap I commented that I didn't know this was an official EG fan club event :) It was fun to hear all of the people cheering for their fellow Reservoir Dog. While EG was being cheered on, I think someone snuck a sign onto my back that said "Get in front of me then slow down to a crawl" and another sign on my foot that said "wait until I lift this foot and then kick me". Luckily I think the second sign fell off when the second person in a 2 min period kicked me on the sole of my foot! It was ridiculous. It was a crowded race, but thats no excuse to be stepping on me! Sadly, the first sign managed to stay on through the entire race, there was even one man who appeared to be using a "sprint then walk" method who repeatedly got in front of me on his "walk" interval. Ahh!

Anyhow, the race was an absolute blast, we ran a smart, really consistent race and I feel really good about the fact that we were able to kick it out sub 7:45 for those last 2 miles. It was really fantastic to have so many other people out there running from our twitterverse and I really enjoyed running with Ansky and EG. I told them I'm never running again without them :) A special shout out goes to Michelle who rocked the half from the sidelines with her Pom-poms and megaphone all the way from the ends of the earth (or Brooklyn) on a cold morning!! What an awesome, magnanimous friend! I definitely recommend checking out her blog Runnin' Down a Dream asap. Another person who deserves some kudos is J, also known as SpeedySasquatch who cheered us on at the final turn of the race after finishing his own. The 3 of us did a workout with him last Tuesday (4x1mile repeats) that definitely contributed to our success on Sunday.
When all was said and done, we threw on some warm clothes and headed over to brunch together, a big sweaty, hungry bunch! Congrats to everyone who ran, especially to those who PRed, thats quite a feat in CP, especially considering its early in the season and cold! Special thanks to EG and Ansky of course who made the miles fly by and endured my endless chatter once the caffeine in the GU kicked in.

And finally, the numbers (stolen from EG who hit the 'lap' button at each mile)
1 00:08:28
2 00:08:17
3 00:08:12
4 00:08:24
5 00:08:28
6 00:08:11
7 00:08:18
8 00:09:08 (gu stop)
9 00:08:10
10 00:08:48 (water stop)
11 00:08:09 (time to get cooking!)
12 00:07:45 (let’s do this!)
13 00:07:38 (time to put down the hammer!)
14 00:00:45 (fly for the last .11)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Family Matters

I had a rare and really fun weekend this past weekend. For my mom and nephew's birthday my brothers (10 and 8 yrs older) and their wives and children decided to come up to NJ so we could all hang out and take mom out for her birthday dinner. Mom was really happy because we weren't all able to get together for the holidays and she missed her grandkids. (3 boys and 2 girls age range 10 to 4). I was also really happy because the last time I saw the boys was at my wedding and I hardly got to see them at all!

Anyhow, my brother and his wife are training for their first 1/2 Marathon (Shamrock 1/2 in VA Beach- I'm running too) and my bro called ahead of time to tell me he needed to do 8 miles Sat morning and I said I'd definitely join him and I told him I knew a great 8 mile loop from Mom's! He just got a Garmin for Christmas and so did his wife so we suited up and headed out on a beautiful day! Wow it was sunny and mild. My sister in law wasn't up for a full 8 at our pace so I said I'd loop back around and swap her out for my bro so I could get in a full 12. I had an awesome run with both of them! My bro and I hit really great splits, nice and even around 8:15 avg. I wore my sister-in-law's HR monitor which was really neat. I've never worn one before so I wasn't sure what to expect. My avg HR came out to about 162 for the whole run. I felt like we were working hard but at an "all day" pace the whole time. We had fun chatting and I enjoyed taking my bro on a tour of the area around my Mom's house. He had no idea there were so many farms and huge estates hidden back in the trees.

It was really fun to run with my brother who has gotten into running in the last year or so and is still really excited about it. I've been running for so long that it was refreshing to run with someone so new. I'm really excited to go down and run the Shamrock 1/2 with them, although my brother had to rush out and head back home unexpectedly on Sat night because his ship was activated to bring supplies down to build a pier in Haiti so that supplies can get in more easily. He's not sure how long he'll be down there, but if he misses the 1/2 I'm sure he'll get right back out there and find a new one to run. He's already talking about a full marathon in the fall!!
Here are the numbers from Saturday's family affair:
7:57 (speedy!)
8:14 (yeah consistency!)
(swapped out my bro for my sis in law)
9:01 (too much gabbing) :)

Total: 12.01 miles in 1:41, 8:26 avg pace and HR avg 162
Overall it was the best long run I've had in a long time- and most of my long runs have been great! I'm SO ready for the Manhattan 1/2 marathon next weekend! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shoes for Haiti

This was just posted by Ansky. A conversation happened on twitter after Mary's tweet about how we can help the folks in Haiti. Re-post any way that you can be it Twitter, FB, your blog..wherever.


Something I Suggested To Mary Wittenberg

We are all saddened by the devastation in Haiti and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.

Mary Wittenberg, CEO of New York Road Runners Tweeted the following this morning “can hardly breathe thinking about Haiti. we r sending race tshirts & supplies. Will keep you posted on how we can help runners help.”

I thought about this for a minute and suggested back in a Tweet that with the Manhattan Half Marathon coming up on January 24, a drop box should be set up at the race site where old running shoes, t-shirts, and other items can be collected and sent to Haiti. A bunch of fellow runner-Tweeters liked the idea as well. As of this writing, Ms. Wittenberg has not replied to back to me.

So my suggestion is this:
1) If you live in the New York City area, please send a Tweet to Ms. Wittenberg
(@mary_witt) and to New York Road Runners (@nyrr_daily), post something on NYRR’s Facebook page, and send an e-mail (webmaster@nyrr.org.) to NYRR. Maybe if enough people contact NYRR, our collective voices will be heard and we’ll see a box where we can donate not only old shoes, but old race shirts, and other items that are taking up space in our closets can be dropped off and donated to the relief effort.

2) If you live outside of the New York City area, by all means, feel free to contact NYRR, especially if you’ve ever lived in NYC, ran in NYC, or ran the New York City Marathon. If you are running a race in the next few weeks, please reach out to the race director and suggest setting up a box where donations can be dropped off.

Lastly, help me spread the word by re-posting this on your blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's a beautiful morning...

to top off a great night last night, I woke up to this today!

I never get tired of seeing the sun come up (and I hope you don't either because I'm always posting pictures). It's a wonderful way to start the day and its even better from inside when its FREEZING out! Well thank you to everyone who came out for the NYC tweet-up run last night in Central Park! We had a great time. I was with the "fun run" group as opposed to the "hill repeats" group. We had great conversation and the middle loop of the park flew by! A few of us decided to run a little extra since we knew the hill group would be a while longer and that felt great. We picked up the pace a bit and did a fast loop around the bottom of the park, bringing my garmin total to 5.7mi in 49mins. The best part was meeting more people that I chat with nearly every day on twitter. We met up at Dive 75 after the run for some refreshing beverages and great chatter. It was the highlight of my day!
Have a good one.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Riverdale Run

Charming Castle-like houses in Spuyten Duyvil, Bronx

Every couple of weeks my neighborhood running group treks up to Riverdale on our weekly Saturday long run. I remember a few years ago when I made my first journey through the hills of
Spuyten Duyvil and Riverdale and I didn't think I was going to make it. The rolling hills of S.D. were followed by a whopper of a hill at 254th St that felt like going up a ski slope and I couldn't believe I was still moving forward. Now, years and many hills later I can bound up most of those hills without missing a beat. The killer hill on 254th still gives me a run for my money though, but I know I can make it so I just keep pushing. Yesterday was the first time in at least a month or two since I've done this run and it felt like I was doing it for the first time- not the pain and gasping of the hills, but in the way I was seeing things. I brought along a good friend, NM for the run who has run with the group just a few times and it was her first time doing this particular run, so I felt like a tour guide. She's really into beautiful real estate so I spent more time looking at all of the gorgeous, old houses than usual, pointing out fun details that I hadn't noticed before. Since it was a bit iffy on the trails we usually run, we had to take our winter detour which takes us up "Wave Hill" which is a doozy. Wave Hill is actually a Cultural Center and Garden perched atop a hefty hill with gorgeous views of the Hudson and Palisades. Along Independence Ave around Wave Hill are houses that look like they were transplanted from Tuscany with their archways and intricate details. It was such a sunny and crisp morning, I hardly felt the hills. We always finish our run by passing near the Riverdale Country School and then cruising around the lower parts of Van Cortlandt Park. We all commented on how good it felt to hit that dirt path after pounding the pavement for the last 7 miles or so. I needed to get in about 11 miles yesterday so my NM and I continued on after leaving the group at the 242nd 1 train station. We followed Broadway back down to the 225th St bridge which links The Bronx to Inwood, Manhattan and weaved our way through Inwood back towards home. I convinced NM that we didn't need to take the 187th St CRAZY STAIRS again (we did them Thurs) so we took the 181st St subway elevator :)
It was an easy pace run, with a total elevation gain of 3,260 ft!
Heres the breakdown:
8:36 pace, elev+ 431ft
9:59 pace, elev+ 375ft
9:45 pace, elev+237ft
10:08 pace, elev+ 224ft
10:24 pace, elev+ 181 (so slow?)
9:59 pace, elev+ 49ft
10:01 pace, elev+158ft
9:03 pace, elev+21 (Broadway is flat!)
8:54 pace, elev+ 219
9:14 pace, elev+ 181ft
9:34pace, elev+ 1,058 (WOAH)
last .32 mi 9:30 pace, elev+126ft

We were a bit all over the place, but thats the reality of running with a group of people with similar but not exact abilities. I love my running group! I never would have found this route without them and I never would have pushed myself to get better on those hills without them either. <3

Photo courtesy of NYtimes.com

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blog fail

I had every intention of blogging tonight about the great hilly runs I've had the last two nights, but I'm suddenly very sleepy. I got caught up thinking about my next vacation in late March and began searching for trips to Cozumel. I was impressed with the prices at some beachfront resorts, but I have to really check out the diving conditions near those places. On our honeymoon we met a ton of people who recommended the SCUBA in Cozumel so with this chill in the air, its about all I can think about these days. Anyhow, sorry for the weak post tonight, I'm sleepy from a week of great workouts including a 2 mile swim on monday, a run with the kids I coach on Tuesday on the stairs followed by pushups and core work at night, and a hilly 5.35 mi last night and 6.22 mi tonight!
Here's hoping to wake up to a pretty snowscape in the morning... :)
A picture of our last SCUBA trip in Belize so you can see why I can't stop thinking about it!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Frosty 10 mile run

I couldn't make it back to the city today in time to join my running group (Inwood Hill Park Running Club) for a "Fat Ass Run" planned by our neighborhood Ultra-Runner. I was bummed because it would have been fun, we were going to hit the old rail trails of Van Cortlandt Park and do parts of the Old Croton Aqueduct trail which my group has been trying to find for months!

Oh well, it wasn't meant to be, so I ventured out on my own with lots of layers, my iPod shuffle and a little bag with a warm jacket, dry hat and Competitor mag inside. I ventured up through Fort Tryon Park so I could start the southward journey at a place that would have me at Columbus Circle in 10miles. It worked perfectly, except much of the Greenway was icy from Dyckman St down to the GWB. Oh well, I took my time but still managed a 9:00 pace for the icy bits. Whew it was windy and cold by the river!! I stopped around 137th St-ish to snap a picture of myself by the Wastewater treatment plant to qualify me as a real "Dump Runner" for the Dump Runner's Club podcast. I continued on my way southward from 127th right along the river, but quickly turned around and realized if I wanted to save myself from frostbite I would need to head inland away from the water. It was a great idea. I thought about heading back uptown and ending my run at home,but after 1/4 of a block heading North I remembered why I was running South- the wind! So I altered my route a bit, running down to 120th St and over to Morningside Drive which is a street I love to run on. Shielded from the wind by the massive buildings of Columbia, I ran along in peace, beginning to listen to "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. I decided I wanted to see how far Manhattan Ave would take me (100th St) and finally cut into the park around 96th St. I finished just past Columbus Circle in 1:24 with a total of 10.07 miles.

I quickly ventured into the Time Warner Center and up to NY Running Co. because they always have water for runners. I asked the man at the counter for a cup and he told me they were out. I must have given him a very sad look because he said "Actually, wait right here and we'll start the year off right." He came back with a freebie Asics water bottle for me. Thanks man!! That was nice of him. I love his attitude too. I've never really loved the people in that store, they're often stuffy, but he was friendly.

In the end I grabbed a hot chocolate and cinnamon chip scone from Whole Foods and hopped on the A train for a cozy ride home. I feel great too, I'm heading to the couch for a little nap when I send this post, but just so I don't fall asleep at the movies tonight.

Silly picture of my new (and Free!) water bottle with Matisse checking it out.