Friday, February 26, 2010

Snurricane 2010

Hello George.

We finally got the Snopocalypse we were promised a few weeks ago. The snow started Thursday morning with snowball-sized flakes and continued all day in a slushy fashion before turning into heavy, real snow. It went on through Thursday night into Friday and just kept coming down!! In fact, its STILL snowing as I type this. Nuts. Anyhow, its beautiful and since I don't have any run to report (its knee deep out there people) I will share my favorite photos from my trek around the hood. Its sooo beautiful out there, they wouldn't let me in the park though because a tree fell and killed someone in Central Park because the snow is so heavy. I took a few shots from the entrance and around the perimeter of Fort Tryon Park, but most of these are just around the hood. Enjoy.

Pinehurst Ave apts

De Plane! De Plane!

Pinehurst looking south from 185th

Woah heavy snow

Snowy trees and Hudson View Gardens

Fort Tryon from the "outside looking in"

I was soo hoping to get down to the Arches to get some pics..

Looking across the river to the Palisades park

Cutest little snowman ever!
And his friends :)

Sticky snow and some stubborn leaves

Can't get in! (the man walking is the owner of the New Leaf Cafe in the pk)

And goodnight George.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Run for Haiti, NJ Style

When I signed up for the Haiti Run virtually, I assumed I'd just do my 4 miles as part of a longer run on Saturday with my running group (oh fat cat just layed across my forearm, making this rather difficult to type... get off fatty) but then I got an invite to a lifelong friends baby shower and my plans changed. I also got a call from mom reminding me that my car needed to be inspected asap (it lives at her house in Jersey) so I figured I'd run for Haiti by way of NJ.

I got lucky and my wonderful friend SF lent me her car for the ride down, saving me lots of hassle via the Port Authority so my Friday got much easier! I trekked down to Jersey in the blinding sunshine and was feeling nostalgic for summer rides down to the beach. Despite the crazy piles of snow everywhere, I couldn't stop thinking warm, summery, sandy, salty thoughts. Ahh, I'm a sucker for a good beach day. My bliss bubble burst when I hopped in my car and rode past the 2-3hr line at the inspection station... umm no thanks. I pulled in, checked the schedule and noted that they opened at 7am on Saturday. This was going to suck but I knew what I needed to do. I couldn't expect mom to get it inspected for me, especially since I knew it was doomed to fail. (Blasted "Service Engine Soon" light has been on and off for years despite frequent maintenance). I was bummed because I pictured myself doing a sunrise 4 miler on the boardwalk with the fiery sunrise exploding over the ocean... but then I remembered the snow. I checked the Seaside Boardwalk webcam and noted the knee deep snow, crap. Foiled again.

In the end I sucked it up, dragged myself out of bed at 6am, got coffee and tweeted to keep myself awake while waiting in a (much shorter) line at the inspection station. I waited 45 mins for a 4 min inspection fail. Awesome. Things were icy when I arrived home at 7:30 so I snoozed a bit, the new plan forming in my head- I would run the 4 miler at 9am like the rest of my peeps. I know a perfect 4 mile loop from Mom's house, so I hit the road at 9. I told mom to expect me back in 30 mins or so because there was no way I would get close to my PR (28:42) in a non-race situation. I just didn't think I had the same amount of excitement to push me along. What I didn't anticipate was the complete lack of crowds and obstacles to slow me down! I hit the one and only hill in mile 1, cranking out a 7:33 and I though, okay this feels fine. The running demon voices started to get louder as I crossed into mile 2 and they told me to pick it up for no other reason than because you can! So I did... it hurt, my tibialis anterior began to burn and tighten and I wanted to die and my lungs were burning, but hell, it was only 4 miles! I sucked it up big time and trudged on. Mile 2 was a burning 7:00, followed by mile 3 at 6:58 and then a blistering 6:55 took me home via mile 4. The snow was a factor, I had to run in the street which I normally don't do while I'm in NJ because the drivers are...well, they're Jersey drivers. I encountered a recycling truck in my path, plenty of snow and icy patches, but I came in with a PR of 15 secs at 28:27!! Mom was happy for me and I was more shocked than happy. It hurt, ow. My lungs were burning, I wheezed a little later in the day and coughed a lot. It was like a flashback to last year with the asthma and I wasn't happy about that. I was a little nauseous and blah, but I put on my game face and hit the road. There was a baby shower to attend! It was a lot of fun, there were lots of really cute little gifts and my friend looks fantastic. I got to see a number of friends from a past life which was really fun too.
By the end of the day I was feeling a little sense of pride in my PR, I kicked my own ass for it and I needed to OWN it. Go me. It wasn't until Sunday when I returned home and entered my time into the Haiti run database that I noticed I was on the same results PAGE was Paula Radcliffe and I was only 27 seconds behind Shalane Flanagan!!! Oh crap that was cool. GO ME! :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In the white.

Today started out with a sore throat and a groggy feeling that was tough to shake. I got out of bed feeling blah (but well rested) and sipped some tea and applesauce because they felt good on my throat. I spent the next few hours on the couch in my robe and covered in fleecy blankets (yes, the one with the swimmers on it). I finished my book "The Good Thief's Guide to Paris" which ended pretty well, although things got very complicated just like "The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam", but I was satisfied in the end. I digress... so I checked my temp (no fever!) and finally decided it was time to try out the new CW-X tights that my hubby got me for V-day.

The first few blocks of the run were icky and sloppy and I stayed on the sidewalk because it seemed too dangerous to be on the road and i figured I'd get splashed with slop if a car went by. Once I hit the northern end of Cabrini Boulevard though, the slate sidewalk (my fave) was covered in a few inches of crunchy, thick snow and I was smiling. I enjoy running on the snow when its deep enough to sink in a tiny bit and not slippery. Once I hit Fort Tryon Park, my breath was taken away by the sights. Wow, it was so quiet and the snow was so fluffy. I stopped and took a few pictures and just took in the beauty of it all. I enjoyed the rest of the run while seeking out paths that had not been cleared today or even those not cleared after the last storm, making for deep, fluffy paths. I had a blast. I only got in about 3 miles because I needed to get home, eat and get out the door to meet the kids for practice, but that was enough because I was getting wet from the heavy snow.
I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story..

There's usually a beautiful view of the Hudson and Palisades from here...

Man I LOVE this park. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Off Topic post

As some of you may have heard, my brother TC is in Haiti as the Captain of a US Maritime Administration's Ready Reserve Fleet aboard the MV Cornhusker State. Built as commercial container ships during the late 1960s, the Cornhusker and Gopher State are slightly longer than two football fields. The Navy acquired them during the 1980s and added cranes to their decks.
The reason: The ships can load and unload cargo containers without facilities, such as the ports that line Newport News, Portsmouth and Norfolk. The modification means the Cornhusker is often deployed to unstable parts of the world, such as Iraq and Cuba. You can check out an article
here about the ship and its uses, my bro is mentioned a few times.

So I mentioned that he's been sending photos pretty regularly from the ship and from his trip onshore. He says its devastating down there, but he feels like he's making a difference and that the US Military has really been working hard and has been crucial in organizing things so that people can get the supplies they so desperately need.
As Haiti quickly slips from the front pages and news coverage dwindles, here are a few reminders of whats happening down there...and a reminder that its not over yet.

People and rubble of a nearby building in Cite Soleil

A destroyed building in Sun City

Without this equipment, their port is rendered useless

The trash in the water is so gross

Fresh produce awaiting dispersal in Sun City

A pile of trash in the center of a large public market

Unimaginable poverty

A pier brought down and assembled by a sister ship of his

Bro is in the plaid shirt. Some of these guys are a big deal.

Not much help when your gantry crane is falling into the water. This is in Port-au-Prince

The Cornhusker is anchored near the Colombian Red Cross, Bro says they've become friendly

More of the port with containers falling right into the water

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Music Saturday

It seems like everyone has been posting about their favorite playlists lately, either for running or not. Betsy posted some rockin tunes last week, and TK often posts her playlists at the end of a post about her run. I could have sworn there were more people out there posting about music, but I can't find them now so you're out of luck.
I was rocking out to my favorite playlist today while in the shower (runners high always sets in when I'm hitting the shower so I like to dance it out while I get clean) and one of my fave running songs came one "Human" by the Killers. It gave me the idea to post my own Super Running Playlist. It probably needs a few updates because I haven't used it since the fall, but this playlist rocks my interval-running world. I don't care for running intervals with my watch beeping away at me, and I can't hear my watch over my music, so I decided to make my own interval playlist.
It's a tough workout which consists of a Warmup song, a pickup song and then goes right into 2 "ON" songs. One recovery song is followed by 2 "on" songs and DAMN it kicks your ass. Many of the "on" intervals are nearly 8 mins long. There are a few songs tacked on the end of the list that haven't been worked in yet. I usually make it to "Lose Yourself" and then cool down. I didn't have my Garmin last summer but I mapped it to be about an 11 mile speed workout. I consider this workout to be my secret weapon that led me to those trophy winning races last summer and fall :)
I love to do this workout starting at home, running the ~3.5 miles north to Van Cortland Park and then running on the flats there. Ahh just thinking about it makes me excited for the summer. There are often so many people out enjoying the weather and walking/running/riding on the track and lots more playing sports on the fields. Its a wonderful thought! I used to grab a giant gatorade from a bodega and drag my ass up the stairs to the 1 train at 242nd all sweaty and completely wiped. My trusty blue shuffle stays tucked away in my pocket or clipped to my shorts for the ride.

Here she is, my secret weapon playlist:
#1-2 are warmup songs, #3-4 are the first "on" songs

Happy Running :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Exciting news!

Well I don't know why I waited until today to post about the exciting news I got this week, I guess things were just busy. Anyway, I got the awesome news yesterday that I've been called up to join the Green Mountain Relay team of fellow NYC runner and tweeter, TK (more commonly known as Pigtails Flying). For a while now I've been standing by as one of the alternates, secretly hoping someone would drop out so I could take over!
I'm totally psyched for the relay, I only know one other team member so far, and only through Twitter and his podcast, The Dump Runners Club and that is Matt. I hope to meet a few more folks at the happy hour this week. Our team name is "Slow White and the Eleven Dwarves". Judging by the emails that have been going around for the last month or so between team members, I think its going to be a hoot.

Here's what I've gathered so far about the relay-
-Its 200 miles from the town of Jeffersonville to the town of Bennington
-There are 36 legs which includes 7 covered bridges (ooh i love those)
-Each person on a competitive 12-member team runs three legs of the race in rotation, with legs averaging 5.6 miles in distance
-It's beautiful (I love New England in the springtime, I lived in NH for 4 years and miss the open skies and clean air, I can't wait!)
- It is in 126 days
- TK has done it twice and lived to blog about it here and here
-You're not allowed to wear headphones or pee in anyones yard
-According to Running into the Sun there may be some Ben&Jerry's involved
- It's going to take my usual hill runs to a new level!! Check out the elevation profile :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

and the aftermath of a storm...

Tonight's run was going to be dicey no matter how you looked at it, the snow that blanketed the city showed no signs of budging in today's chilly temps and I always find that snow is most slippery after being shoveled/plowed.
Well the Greenway did not disappoint! I checked the Greenway on my way up through Fort Tryon Park to see if it had been cleared and it looked like it had (I peered over the promenade wall to see) so the group ventured down to see what we could see. Well I'll tell you what, I'd avoid the Greenway north of 181st for a few more days if I were you! We slipped and shrieked our way along that 1.5mi or so stretch, giggling each time one of us yelped or "woooooah"ed. We somehow survived the ice skating rink formerly known as the Greenway and made it out without anyone taking a digger. I predicted mild soreness for tomorrow from the tense running and many slips, so we'll see. It wasn't a fast run because of the conditions, but I picked up some speed on my way home through the park (I wanted to check on our snowmen) and cruised up the hill at the north end of the park and felt amazing! The cold, crisp air filling my lungs was so refreshing, wow. I decided to loop around the park before heading home to get in my full 6 miles and as I turned to loop around the Cloisters, I saw a man a ways ahead of me running along looking like he needed to be passed. I saw what I thought was an old Boston jacket on his back and I went for it, I pranced up that hill and caught him at the top without skipping a beat. I gave him a breathy "hey" as I passed by and kept that surge for the rest of the way home. Thanks dude, I needed a little something to rev me up and you did the trick. I sped home with my breath frosty in front of my face and my heartbeat pounding in my ears. I had to stay alert and not take any risks with the snow, but I felt so GOOD when I got home tonight. I'm zonked now and need to rest up for a good swim tomorrow. Tomorrow starts 8 days of vacation for me (mostly, I still have to coach) and I can't wait for some sunny, daytime runs!

6 miles in 58 mins, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Sometimes the numbers are meaningless.

Snowy Day Fun in Fort Tryon Park

Our snowmen from behind, waving at the world

Yesterday was my day to be a kid again- it was a snow day!! The schools were closed, they were predicting "Blizzard conditions" and I had most of the day to do whatever I desired. On snow days in my mom's house there was always lots of sledding and always broccoli soup. I didn't manage the sledding this time (no sled, very sad.) but I rocked that soup! I was so proud of myself for making it just the way mom does, yum. After a little soup teaser (tiny bowls) and each of us working a bit from home, my obliging husband and I wandered out into the snow just before dark. Normally at that time of day there's a beautiful sunset over the Hudson, but we couldn't even SEE the Hudson so we ventured up to Fort Tryon Park, a gorgeous, hilly and serene little chunk of land just north of 190th St at the northern end of Fort Washington Avenue. Even though it was nearly dark, there were TONS of people walking in the park, it was like a summer evening! We threw lots of snowballs at each other (oooh thats why my shoulder hurts today, damn finally figured it out!) and wandered around in awe of nature's amazing canvas. It was just stunning, the branches of all of the leaves heavy with the fluffy snow, draping down over the walkways, the snowdrifts in the garden that blooms so pretty in the springtime, covering the flowerbeds and bushes in a blanket of white. Its hard to describe the vibe that was in that park last night, snowballs flying and people laughing and chasing each other around, a snow day really does make those stuffy adults into kids again, even if just for a day. Here are a few shots from last night, including the snowpeople we made. I packed baby carrots in my pockets for the occasion (or in case we ran into Santa and his reindeer). The snow angel I made was still there tonight when I went by on my run. :)

New Leaf Cafe

The Heather Garden under a blanket of white

Everyone out for a stroll on the promenade

A beautiful snowy tree

Hubby made a scruffy snowman who needs a shave

My snowman was the cutest, obv.

My snow angel, so much fun!

A winter version of my usual blog title photo, I love this old Subway sign
and I hope they never get rid of it. I'll track it down if they do! It's my new header
for the winter, I'll go back to the usual one in the spring..maybe I'll catch a bird on it!