Sunday, November 29, 2009

Building back up

It really sucks going slowly.  I've been feeling great since the marathon and really trying to stay within myself.  Prior to the marathon I was running once a week due to injury and since the marathon am slowly building back up to running 5 days a week.  The goal remains to stay injury free which means I have to be intentional in my build up.  I know how to do it and to do it right I MUST go slow.  Today was the prime example, feeling great we got ready for the run.  How far??  7?  5?  No, I sat down at my log and looked what we had been doing.  We ran 17.5 last week and were already at 18 for this week, meaning any more than 3 miles would be stretching it.  It was a fine 3 miles, but I could have gone longer.  I know that within a few weeks I'll be where I want to be, but patience is not one of my strengths.  Just 5 or 6 more weeks of slow increases and then I'll be able to play with a nice base of mileage for a while.  The bright side is that we killed the 3 miles and really made them count!!

Miles trained today: 3
Days till the Manhattan Half: 56

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gracious Running

As I headed out for 7 miles prior to our Thanksgiving feast, I focused on those things I am grateful for....  

I am thankful for comfortable running shoes, I'm not sure how people trained and ran for marathons without good shoes.  

I am thankful for running shorts that don't ride up, somewhat bizarre that on Thanksgiving I was out there in shorts and a t-shirt.  Not too many of those days left.

I am thankful for paved roads and wide shoulders, although I am still waiting for the running lane to be built which will be lined with the same material that they make tracks with, and only runners will be allowed on it, lights will automatically change when we approach intersections.  I'll stop now.

I am thankful for Gatorade, it has saved my life following some terrible long runs.

I am thankful for my anti-chafe stick, no need to elaborate on this one.

I am thankful for my felt lined wool hat from Bobs, who knew that when I purchased you 4 years ago, you would become a staple in my winter running ensemble.  

I am thankful for respectful drivers, three cheers that I have avoided collision!

I am thankful for Joe who continues to run along side me, even when I know he would rather be in bed.  

I am thankful for my running club, I am lucky enough to have found the best people in RI to run and train with.

I am thankful for my friends and family who listen to me incessantly talk about running, training and races.

Miles trained today: 7
Days till the Manhattan half: 59

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hanging on for the run

I'm not sure what happened to Joe today.  This was supposed to be an easy 3 miles.  It was less than a quater mile into the run that I realized how hard I was breathing.  No problem, we took off a little fast, things will settle down.  Not really.  He pulled ahead towards the end of Mineral Spring, perfect posture, this was going to hurt. 

Joe runs 2 ways: tired - slunched over, barely picking up the feet and can often be masked by watching him chat with others in an attempt p distract from the run and slow everyone down; fast - looks like he did today, like a fridge on wheels, standing straight, perfectly bent arms.  

I thought about asking to slow down, but we turned on to Smithfield with includes a slight downhill.  I also thought we would slow down a little.  Didn't happen.  Coming up Power involves a slight uphill that normally knocks the wind out of our sails, but we kept on going.  For a moment I thought about holding on to the back of Joe's jacket and let him run us both home.  

When we made our turn back on to Mineral Spring I decided I could hold this until we got home.  A race ensued, although I'm not sure he even noticed.  I focused on staying next to him, which only made him run faster.  Our final turn on to Charles St, we both let it all go, sprinting the last 400 meters.  Finally done, he turned and smiled and asked "was that faster than yesterday".  Jackass!

Miles trained today: 3.05
Days till the Manhattan Half: 60

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

trash miles

I'm not sure if it was a good run or not.  We got out there, completed the 5 miles.  The pace was terrible and for me to say that you know it must have been pretty bad.  Really bad, 2 mins and 21 seconds slower than when we did this route last week.  I noticed coming up Lonsdale Ave that we weren't moving very quick, but didn't say anything.  We picked it up over the overpass on Smithfield, but that's only because someone creepy was walking behind me.  I don't know why we were moving slow today.  There was no pain, no sense of overwhelming fatigue.  Does it really matter?  We got out there, didn't cut it short.  In that respect we are closer to the weekly mileage got but there were trash miles.  Tomorrow I'll try to wake up a little before we run and move a little quicker, but there are no promises.

Miles trained today: 5.3
Days till the Manhattan Half: 61

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Possible unplanned PR

I don't do much that hasn't been pre-scheduled.  In a weeks time I have likely spent hours going over my schedule.  Everything is included, work, commuting time, runs, meals, socializing, sleep.  You name it and I have a plan for it.  This morning though, I had some unexpected free time.   What to do?  Joe was still in bed and didn't look like he was going to move anytime soon and the sunlight streaming through the windows made the outdoors look very appealing.  I thought about running, but hadn't planned for it and came close to deciding against it.  After a few minutes I changed my mind, "what the hell, lets be wild".  Mia and I got changed and headed out the door.

I didn't know what we would do, this was unplanned.  What route?  What distance?  Speed wouldn't be an issue with my 10 min per mile pup at my side.  We took off, and it felt great.  I'm not sure if it's because this run wasn't planned but we just went right along.  It was early enough that the roads were quiet, I assumed most people driving past me were headed to find some coffee or a Sunday morning breakfast.  We got a few looks, I'm sure Mia and I make a funny looking pair.  She runs directly behind me with the lease pulled pretty straight, attached at my upper arm.  I've checked out our shadow, both of us look straight ahead, no time for distractions.  Regardless before I knew it we were finished with our loop.  Judging by my watch, this was likely a PR for Mia for this route!  Congrats Girl!  

Miles trained today: 3.05
Days till the Manhattan Half: 63

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just an easy 6

So today I was focused on getting though the run.  I struggle on Saturday's because it's a change in my routine.  I have to run during the daylight and with other people, more than what I'm used to.  In the past I have done my long runs on other days and kept Saturday's shorter, but would like to try to keep the long runs on Saturday's, at least for the Manhattan half.  

It was an easy enough route, out and back on the bike path.  I was surprised with how calming it became, especially once on the bike path.  Turning down towards the water and away from the parkway things got quiet.  Other's running with us had pulled ahead much earlier and there weren't many other people out today.  It was just quiet, I noticed that I stopped thinking about how to run, and where I was on the run.  It wasn't until my watch beeped and told me to turn around that I came back into focus.  

Retracing our steps back, the city was more awake than how we had left it.  More people out and about and we chatted more heading back.  I did have a sense of calm lingering from the first few miles though.  I was surprised when we hit Waterman, indicating the very end of the run.  I had expected to struggle more and was pleased to see we were slightly ahead of my goal pace.  Maybe this Saturday morning routine will take hold.

Miles trained today: 6
Days till the Manhattan Half: 64

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Half Marathon Grand Prix

So it was bound to happen, I apologize.  I felt like I had nothing to blog about, not that I haven’t been running.  I’ve actually been very purposeful in my running.  It’s hard after a marathon, or any big running event, to find purpose.  I had focused on my training for NYC since the beginning of June until November 1.  There is a sense of “now what” since finishing the marathon.  It happened last year after Newport as well.  It’s hard to overcome, because on one hand you want to look at what is next, but on the other hand you are completely exhausted and to be frank sick of training.  Some are lucky enough to be able to run without purpose, I don’t have that skill.  After the New Bedford Half Marathon 2008 (my first distance race) my coach told me to just enjoy running for a while.  That lasted less than a week, before I called him and asked for more direction. 

So here I am, 3 weeks post NYC marathon.  I’ve been running 4 days a week and cross training 2 days a week.  Less exhaustion, no pain, SUCCESS!  Today, or yesterday to be exact I determined the next challenge…THE NEW YORK CITY HALF MARATHON GRAND PRIX.  1 year, 5 half marathons, Central Park, Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens…sounds like a blast.  What makes this exciting is that we will be racing with Joe’s sister for all 5 half marathons and on January 24th in Central Park I will be part of her very first half marathon!!

So what will be different?  Well I am committed to trying this on a 4 day a week running routine.  Mon, Wed, Fri with a long run on Saturday.  Bob would tell me this isn’t going to work, but I’m going to try it.  The one thing I have learned in 2.5 years of running is that 6+ days a week of running, for me, ends in injury.  Also going over 45 miles a week is also road to injury, again for my training.  This means I need to make a decision regarding track.  If I give a day to the track that means I will sacrifice some mileage.  I hope to get my mileage into the low 30’s for the first half marathon and close to the 40’s for the next few.  So do I aim for less mileage and go inside once a week, do I change my experience and add a day of running for a total of 5, or do I add pick up’s and tempos on the road?  My PR for a half marathon is 2:03:32, my goal is to reach the 1:50-1:59 window.  This is likely not to happen for Jan, but possibly for the next one.  God knows, I will have 5 tries before the end of 2010!! Suggestions?

Miles trained today: 3.08

Days until NYC Manhattan Half Marathon: 66

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The run came close to not happening, very close.  There are 2 times that I hate to run.  I really don't like to run alone and I really don't like to run during the day.  What was the plan today?  A 3 mile run solo at 10 am.  A recipe for disaster, before leaving I started to bargain with myself.  I'll go later, I'll go tomorrow.  No!  I'm going.  

The trouble is, I ran from home this morning, so I had to get far enough away from home so that turning around wasn't an option.  I have to say it wasn't bad, I was pleasantly surprised when my garmin announced the completion of mile 1.  I noticed during the second mile that I was able to focus on my form and breathing, there was no one to talk to or focus on staying with.  I'm always amazed that my body is able to glide right into a rhythm without any thought or effort, it only happens when I seem to let go and just run.  Before I knew it I was turning back on to Mineral Spring.  The run that I had been dreading was almost over and at that point I thought about extending it, but decided to stick with the plan.  I'm starting to feel better after the marathon, there was no pain and no exhaustion so no need to push it.  

Monday, November 9, 2009


That's the only word I have left after starting indoor track for the season.  I'll admit I was a little cocky going into it.  Somehow I had forgotten that due to injury I've been off the track since Aug/Sept.  No worries, I got out of bed early and made it there on time.  Actually felt pretty good during the warm up.  Should have started to get nervous when we were asked to do 3 striders (jog half the track and run faster the 2nd half) and I could only do 2.   

Bob approached me and mentioned something about an 8 min pace for the workout, my initial reaction was "are you friggin kidding me", but rather I responded, "I'll try it".  Our group consisted of 4 of us, one is an older gentleman who I have run with before and he's like a stop watch.  Ask him to run half the track in 35 seconds and he can do it, I should have stayed with him.  I didn't, I tried to stay with the others and paid for it dearly.  My first 1000m was 8 seconds too fast, doesn't seem like much, but it killed me.  The 2nd 1000m ended after the first lap and a half, and I jogged off the track gasping for air.  After that, I did the rest of the intervals one lap short of the rest of the group.  But I didn't give up. 

Last year I would have left in a huff, pissed off that I couldn't do it.  This time I left with a smile, learned a lesson, I'm slow and de-conditioned.  It's going to be hard, but it's once a week for an hour and 20 minutes, I can do it.  Likely next week won't be markedly different, but in a month or 2 this blog will sound different, that's why I'll keep at it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We're back!

Today was the day, the first run post marathon.  Have to admit, was a little anxious going into it, were things still going to work correctly.  We started with the group from the Edge this morning, after a few minutes of catching up off we went.  The first steps felt great, it took no time to fall right into a rhythm.  I was tricked into believing this was going to be too easy, but enjoyed the first 2 miles.  Had a good pace and felt like my form was strong.  Then it hit, the quads woke up.  They were not pleased, not pleased at all.  It was a struggle getting up Gano St., just a wave of exhaustion consumed me.  Ran through it, at some point we have to get moving again, either that or I'm going to have to REALLY adjust my diet!  Got through a respectable 4.5 miles without compromising my form too much.  

It will likely take a few weeks to get back to a good base and work out all the kinks.  I'm supposed to just recover, not train.  Run just to run.  I have to admit I'm really struggling with this, and I know it's early.  It's taking a lot of self control to not just pick the next race and work on a training log.  God, I love the logs, sitting there with my book and a pencil after a run, figuring out how that run fit with the training, doing the math.  I'm going to work on taking it easy and get back to a base.  At this point regardless of the next race or the next distance my focus will ultimately be on avoiding injury.  We'll see how it goes....

Miles just to run: 4.5  

Monday, November 2, 2009

We did it!

I'm going to break my own rule and blog about a run the day after, forgive me, but WE RAN THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON!!

I'm not even sure where to begin with this one, it was unreal from beginning to end. There were highs and lows, emotional at times, but we finished! It was a race like none other, I left New York today with no regrets. We had a blast! There are some shout outs I have to make:

To my lungs, I'm sorry that I ran while you were not up to top conditioning. Forgive me and please stop punishing me. You should have been cooperative and fought harder prior to the race, we never planned to run sick. I coughed throughout the race as you tried to remind me you were no in favor of running this marathon. I'm sure we contaminated many fans as I couldn't help by high-five them!

To Jenn and Mitch, You guys are unreal. I ran the race focusing on getting from 1 mile to the next, from mile 13 till we saw you, I chanted "get to Jenn, get to Jenn". Mitch, there you were, from now on we will refer to you as Mr. Gu. How you picked us out so clearly out of 43,741 runners, I have no idea. There you were, Gu in hand, we wouldn't have finished without it. Jenn, I cried when I saw you, although I think I heard you first. Jumping up and down, running along side us, cheering us through. You guys are the ultimate fans.

To Brooklyn, I love you, what a party! I don't know how many miles we were with you for, but it was a blast the whole time. Thank you for the hershey candy bar. I can now say that I danced to the YMCA while running a marathon. Your cheers were deafening, and there were plenty of sox fans out there.

To Melissa and Matt, mile 7 was all yours! Just the pick me up that we needed as things we starting to settle down. I want proof that you drank as close to 26.2 beers as you could!

To the Queensboro Bridge, Oh man do I hate you. You are an awful place and have no right to be part of a marathon. Desolate and uphill, my fellow marathoners were dropping like flies. You tried to take my Joe, and we fought you off! I knew that you had to connect to land eventually, but it felt like we ran on you for 2 hours, although it was mere minutes. Hellish!

To 1st Ave, Great times! I thought we would not get along, miles 16-18 run along your part of the route. I apologize to the Yankee fan I flipped off, don't tease marathoners this late in the race, even if we are Sox fans. I felt strong, like I could have run forever. Beautiful sights, the highlight of my marathon!

To Central Park, I hate to say it, but we are not good friends. I'm sure you are beautiful, but all I remember are your ugly rolling hills. Rick, where were you are mile 23? I felt the urge to spray the air with foul language, I held back in your honor. I apologize to the guide at mile 24 who was kindly making way for a wheelchair athlete, I thought you were removing me from the course and offering me a chair. What can I say, the lack of glucose was affecting my brain function!

To the timing mats, thanks for being there to remind me that there were friends and family at home who were cheering for us. Every time we ran across I did a little dance, yes even at the very end. Next time I don't need so many reminders that I continue to be very far from finishing. It's a long way from mile 24 to mile 26, and I didn't need the count down to the final .2 meter by meter, a little like rubbing salt in the wound.

To Nich, You are great! What a weekend, and too see a familiar face at the end made it all worth it. You made it felt like we were the first 2 finishers. Sorry I hugged you at the end, in hindsight we probably didn't smell great, the glucose can be blamed again

To my Babe, we did it and we did it together. Thank You!

There is so much more than can be said, but you will never get it until you have run it. The New York City Marathon is an experience like no other, such a great time. The lottery for 2010 is open, if we can do it anyone can do it!

Miles raced on 11/01/09: 26.2
Marathons Completed: 2