Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Run As One

I haven't run a New York Road Runners race in Central Park since December 2011! I've run other races in Central Park and NYRR races elsewhere in the city (Coogan's in 2012), but it has been a while since my last 4 mile run around that park. I signed up for the Run as One for Lung cancer research and awareness the day before the race because I really enjoy running for this cause and because I needed a kick in the pants. My running has felt sluggish and my legs have been aching, so I needed to shake off some serious cobwebs.
I had a goofy morning, probably because I haven't raced in months, where everything seemed to be going wrong. My beloved A express train isn't running in my neighborhood on the weekends this month, so I had to leave extra time for the replacement shuttle bus (which contained a number of runners) and I decided to take the 1 train to 72nd because it always runs local, vs the A which doesn't stop at 72nd. Anyway, my route probably means nothing to my readers outside of NYC, but let's just say it wasn't the way I normally get to Central Park. I noticed when I got on the 1 train that my Garmin said it was 6:58 am. I thought "Oh good, plenty of time.... Waaaait a minute, I left the house at 7:05" and I realized my watch was frozen. I didn't carry my phone or a bag because I didn't want to check a bag, so I didn't know what time it really was, but the bigger problem was MY GARMIN WAS FROZEN. I didn't have PR plans for this race, but I didn't really want to run without my watch. It had been too long since my last race and I needed to pace myself. Damn. I tried resetting it to no avail. Oh well. My stomach felt unsettled, probably from gulping down my coffee and breakfast and my legs were sore from my 11+ mile hilly run on Saturday. This felt like a bad idea...
Once I got to the park, used the bathroom at the Le Pain Quotidien (they were searching runners using the port-o-potties), and ran into Elizabeth for the second time this week, things got much better. She fixed my Garmin and we chatted and joked around until it was time to get in the corrals. I lost her when she checked her bag (I came empty handed because the security was tight and I didn't want to have to stand in line) and I stretched out by myself in the corral. Systems check: right calf and foot uber sore, quads sore from Sat run, couldn't find my inhaler, allergies in full force. Okay, I was ready to run.
The race went very quickly, I was creaking and feeling all sorts of self doubt for the first mile. People were passing me and my right foot was aching (this isn't new) and I pictured myself just running to the train and going home once I hit the 102nd St transverse. Luckily, things started to get easier and I was feeling more confident as I ticked off mile 2 in about 7:12. I thought, "oh, right, this feels hard because I'm running fast. That's okay." Mile 3 was the stretch along the west side with the 3 rolling hills,which I cursed a bit because my calf was still aching and my foot hurt, but I still survived and kept it under 7:30. Once we passed the top of the 3rd hill and mile 4 was underway, I felt like I was finally running with ease. I brought the pace back down to the 7:12 range and finished up at a 6:30 pace on the final stretch, yet I still got beat by an 11 year old boy who out kicked me in the final minute. Good for him.
This was my first race in the 30-34 age group and I placed 20th in my AG and 111th for women overall. Not bad for missing my PR by nearly 2 mins. It took me a while to get into a groove on Sunday and I wasn't feeling very competitive, but by the final mile I had my mojo back and stayed strong. I'm in no way disappointed, in fact I'm still just proud that I didn't run to the subway instead of towards the finish at 102nd St.
I obviously have a long way to go before the race I signed up for on Thursday night- I'm all registered for the Toughman Half Ironman on Sept 8th. Look out, I'll be back out on my bike soon!

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, April 12, 2013

Swimming for strength.

Last week it felt like I'd been sick and run down for a really long time ... That is until today. I bounced back quickly this week, feeling well rested and strong, so I went back to yoga and swimming this morning after a few scattered weeks. I felt beat up after yoga because I took a few weeks off to heal my abdominal strain, but I hopped in the pool happily afterwards. My friend Sally and I swim most Friday mornings and today we were joined by another friend of ours from the masters team, E. Now, she's not quite in her usual English channel swimming training shape right now because she is fighting Pancreatic cancer, but she hopped in with us with a smile on her face. I realized I haven't seen her in months, and not just because I haven't been swimming with the team at 6am for a while, but because she has been sick for months. Months! Now I know lots of people who have dealt with various illnesses for years, my cousin Ted fought colon cancer for 5 years, but somehow seeing E and swimming with her again really helped me put my wimpy illness into perspective. I had to rest and not swim/run/bike for what, 10 days? I am happy to have jumped back into the swing of things quickly, and I am fine now. I took antibiotics for 10 days and it's gone... I don't know exactly how long E has been or will be fighting this cancer, but she's still faster than I am in the pool and I know she'll come back as strong as ever and tackle the Channel next year or whenever it happens for her.
We've been doing 1650yd warm up swims for her since we found out she was sick, somehow hoping the energy we put into the pool will somehow bring her the strength she needs to get through this, but swimming with her had the opposite effect on me- her energy and strength gave me a renewed sense of hope and determination. Funny how that works.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The cake that slipped through my fingers.

Okay, I realize that it's completely presumptuous to suggest that I would have won a cake if I'd raced, but this is my blog and I'll presume if I want to. The story is long and whiny and cranky, so let's just say that I got a nasty 9 day cold that became a sinus infection and knocked me on my ass for the entire week leading up to the Urban Environmental Challenge 10K. I knew by Friday that I wasn't going to be able to race, but I held out hope until the last minute, waiting for a miraculous recovery. It didn't come. I'm still not fully recovered, but today was a great day back at work, especially with the stellar weather.
I went to Van Cortlandt Park on Sunday morning to cheer on my fellow Inwood Hill Runners and to get in my first run since the end of March. The racers took off into the hills while I trotted 2+ loops of the flats, getting in an easy and sunny 3 miles. It was windy and chilly, but I wore capris and boy, did I feel GOOD. I ran nice and slow, stopping to watch the cricket games and soccer games going on around the park. I saw the racers come out of the woods after their first lap (of 2) and cheered on my friends before continuing my own loops. I was jealous, but I got over it as I turned back into the sunshine (and wind). I took it easy, knowing I was still recovering, but still ran a steady 9min mile or so and just felt free. Boy did it feel nice to be off of the couch!
I saw the lead guys coming out of the woods and made my way toward the finish so I could snap a few quick photos of the Inwood crew and cheer them along the final, evil stretch to the finish. Here they are:

Tamara walked away with a carrot cake muffin for her 2nd place AG victory and a big smile.
We wandered over to the Riverdale Diner for brunch and replenished our weary bodies. Cheering is tough too, you know...

I'm back to normal today and had a great speed session last night with some lunges that are still with me in spirit this evening. I am happy to say that I feel like I didn't miss a beat and didn't lose any fitness. Whew.

If you missed the UEC and are looking for a technical and challenging 4mi trail race, I suggest you check out this race: I ran it last year and it was a killer, but I loved it. All proceeds go to the JDRF. It's May 19th, I'll look for you on the trails!

posted from Bloggeroid