Friday, August 29, 2008

Such Great Heights

Along with Iron & Wine's cover from the movie Garden State, this version performed by Ben Folds is right up there! Check out that mad piano playing.

I am thinking it's a sign that the freckles
In our eyes are mirror images and when
We kiss they're perfectly aligned
And I have to speculate that God himself
Did make us into corresponding shapes like
Puzzle pieces from the clay

Great Friday-leaving-work-at-2:00p.m.-song.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

By the Power of Grayskull

...I got those 17 done.

So maybe it wasn't Grayskull but I gave myself a talking to, dug deep, turned my dread into motivation and got outside.  Of course, not before the universe tried to derail me...
  • "train traffic" (sorry Alexis, they're necessary) caused a longer trip home from the office than usual.  I use the quotes b/c I really doubt any such thing existed, I waited for my subway for a bit - there was nothing in front of it. 
  • I attempted to purchase a handful of new songs to spice up a playlist when iTunes flipped out giving me a erroneous credit-to-my-account error when attempting to make my purchases.  
  • my Garmin decided to pitch a fit and wouldn't gain a satellite signal.   I guess it was all those crazy white fluffy things in the sky getting in the way.  
After much ado I was on my way, keeping a slow & easy pace as prescribed by my running guru buds, Tim & Tom.   The reason I was doing my LR tonight as opposed to on Saturday morning is b/c I have the New Haven 20K on Monday and I'd like to shoot for a PR there.  It'll look a lot like one of my long tempo runs if all goes well.  So I needed to get the 17 done in plenty of time to recover and have some fresh legs for Monday.

As I got to ticking away the miles my thoughts turned to why I should be happy to have the ability to run at all.   My mind went immediately to Erika dealing with a sore shin and possible IT band issue just a couple weeks before her goal HM, to Jen who is not running at all right now b/c of recurring back and leg issues and to Jason who hobbles around after every soccer game with a likely torn meniscus.  And that's just my immediate family. 

I am lucky, I am strong, I will do this.

Further in I get to thinking a bit deeper.   The BIL of my sister Jen's best friend is in a fight for his life right now.  All within two weeks time he found out he has lung cancer (having never been a smoker), is probably stage 4 and is starting chemo.   Here is a guy my age, a son, a brother, a soon-to-be-uncle, an athlete!!!  And although I've only met him once, last year just as I finished the San Francisco HM (segment I) and he started the same race segment II, I'm struggling with what he must be going through.   What it feels like to not know.   This strengthens my resolve, quickens my feet and has me thinking of what can be offered to the universe, to the higher powers, to the earth to let him go on.   To provide him the positive energy to get through this.   

I decide my offering will be this run.  I will stay positive, I will cherish the two legs that carry me, the two lungs that keep me breathing and the heavy heart that makes it all possible.  I will pick up the pace, finish strong and satisfied.

I hope it's enough, Daihi.

I'm not gonna lie...

I really don't feel like running 17 miles tonight. Cripes!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Smiles along a run

There's this gorgeous slice of a community garden at the northern-most point of Battery Park City and every time I pass it I smile. The little signage throughout cracks me up and makes me feel all warm & fuzzy - at the same time. I've been meaning to capture the images there for awhile now but I never seem to remember to bring my camera or phone with me on a run. Tonight seemed like a good opportunity; packed up my iPhone in the ole SPI belt and I was off. 11 solid and smooth miles in 1:37 with a quick stop in the garden just northwest of the World Financial Center.

As you can see, there are some rules but they're pretty simple to follow. What I'm dying to know is if The Bionical Bed possesses some super powers??? LOL

Monday, August 25, 2008

5 x 600 Part Deux

After just about two weeks Pfitz brought this guy back. Same VO2 max workout: 8 miles with 5 x 600 @5K pace and 90 sec. recoveries. I started my warm-up on the TM at the gym so I could deal with any urgent bathroom issues (ugh!) before I headed outside towards the track. Legs weren't as peppy as the last time I ran this workout but nonetheless it ended up looking pretty much identical to the previous effort.

Goal pace for 600m = 2:37 (7:04/mile)

4.5 miles as warm-up in 38:18
600m: 2:26
600m: 2:23
600m: 2:22
600m: 2:24
600m: 2:23
1.75 miles as a cool down in 15:26

I was pleased! Total mileage ended up around 8.75 miles. Pfitz brings this same session back two more times, I'm hoping to drop the pace a bit more with each session.

On a non-running front, the Olympics are over (insert sad face emoticon here)
but I'm getting to bed earlier (insert bright eyed bushy tailed emotion here)

Dang, double dang!

There is never a time I don't miss my family. We're a tight knit group of crazies that like to be around one another. It's just hard to envision doing the work I do now and enjoying some of the things I do now, back at home where most of them (or across the country where Jen) live. But I digress.

Twice in the last two weeks I've missed them and home even more.

Two weeks ago it was because of the Moonlight Ramble.

This is something we always did together as kids. Dad and a couple of my uncles + at least one of my aunts and some cousins were always part of our group. It was a HUGE highlight of my childhood for several reasons. We got to:
  • ride our bikes in a giant group of people
  • in the middle of the night (race starts at 12:01 a.m.)
  • in the streets of St. Louis from downtown up to our neighborhood in South St. Louis
  • enjoy breakfast afterwards at IHOP
Being able to do anything adult-ish while still a child was the BEST!

And then this past weekend it was The Morganford Stumble. As any self-respecting South City native, you know that Morganford is a major road that runs through our part of town. It starts at Arsenal on the south side of Tower Grove Park and runs a mere 4 miles before becoming Union Rd. and part of St. Louis County. The Morganford Stumble was started 18 years ago by Andy Vogel and some of his buds. It's a pub crawl that takes place completely on Morganford with only a brief detour (Gravois detour) to Gravois, created the year construction made it impossible to pass through the regular route, and since then kept in place for sentimentality sake. The bars along this route are not fancy, they aren't that big and they don't always carry a wide selection of beers.

None of this matters.

You drink Bud or Bud Light and you drink a lot of it. You see and hang with people you grew up with. You may or may not purchase a 40 oz. at 7-11 when Morganford crosses Chippewa (there's a little dry spell there between bars) and you may or may not choose to play washers to enhance your stumbling experience. But you will abide the command to move on ...and that is LET'S GET READY TO STUMBLE!!! ...think of boxing's let's get ready to rumble

Here are Monika, Beth, Tim and Erika representing at this years Stumble!

I sure miss you all!


Remember this guy? He's from Sesame Street and would regularly spout out the noo-nee... dialog while working on demonstrating a new letter. It was his way of entertaining himself while thinking of his next move.

That's sorta how I felt this past weekend.

I got in a lovely 21 miler on Saturday; it was one of those runs where things came together nicely though not what I'd call perfectly. I fueled well: shot blocks at mile 5, gel at 10.5 and some more blocks at 17.5 or so and I hydrated well but I did still have a stalled out moment between miles 10-13. It was a lapse in concentration and a time of some mental weakness; I often have these in my LRs but can nearly always pull myself out as well. I've perused old runs in my Garmin both from training and races and can always locate that stalled-out moment. In fact, I was just looking at my splits from last year's New Haven 20K (which I'll run again this coming Labor Day/next Monday) and see that miles 8-10 were the perpetrating miles. I fall off pace by about 45-50 secs. each mile but then pop right back in like nothing happened, to finish strong. It's frustrating but correctable - I'm sure!! This will continue to be my focus for the remainder of training and for the next 3 races I have scheduled.

Back to the LR, I was back in the game by mile 14 and running very smoothly. Came out of the park and into the streets to finish up. It ended up being one of those runs that could have continued on for several miles longer. Yay!!! How I wish I could bottle that feeling and tap into during those stalled out moments and/or share it with any running buddies that may need an extra boost! So 21 miles in 3:14:33 (9:15/mile) - most of the miles were closer to 9:00s with a bad ass 8:08 in mile 20 but the stalled out buggers messed up my average. Grrr.

So that was the weekend, a bunch of pre-running noo-nee-noo-nee-noo, a bunch of running and then a bunch of post-running noo-nee-noo-nee-noo.

And now some M-A-G-I-C

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sundaes on Wednesday & 105 Minutes of Confidence

Last night we celebrated the 6th birthday of Hunter; little dude will be living it up at the beach for the actual day.  So we did it up with make-your-own sundaes, loads of presents and lots of fun.   The big hit gifts ended up being Wii MLB Power Pros and this sweet drum set.  Clearly this kid was born to rock!

And then there was tonight's run --- more fun!  Ended up being just the confidence boost I needed.   Schedule called for 12 miles and although my legs weren't 100% from Tuesday's tempo run I went out strong and surged a bit from time to time to really put myself to the test. I needed to pull out a decent run on tired legs, feeling it would be a great simulation to those late marathon miles.   Got 'er done in 1:45:16 (8:46/mile) - must have been the caramel on that sundae  :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Monster & Me

Today's run called for the monster of Pfitzinger's tempo runs in this round of training.  12 miles with 7 @15K/HMP.  This is the longest of my tempos and something I need to prepare for more on the mental side than anything.  Not always being an ace at pacing, I've got to keep myself relaxed but focused, calm but competitive, aggressive but level minded.  Needless to say, running this sucker in the evening after work gave me all damn day to think about it, get my anxiety going and start freakin' about potential compromised weather.  

Turns out I had nothing to worry about.

Weather was supreme: sun was going down & we had a really nice breeze (perhaps compliments of Fay down in Florida?), my tummy was doing good and the deadness in my legs was worked out in yesterday's recovery run.

Warmed up with two miles:
  • 8:09
  • 8:12
Then got crackin' at those tempo miles (goal was 7:52-7:55)
  • 7:32 (not quite dialed in yet)
  • 7:54
  • 8:03
  • 7:59
  • 7:52
  • 7:53
  • 7:31 (wanted to finish strong but overcompensated, was running into a wall of wind!)
Some sleazy cool down miles
  • 9:40
  • 9:45
  • 9:47
Man, was I spent!   The workout was right on but after feeling dizzy and a little disoriented I reviewed what I'd eaten today.   Not enough!   And I failed to bring $$ with me to buy a Gatorade along the way or on the way home.  Nutz.   Got home, iced my hammy, drank some Endurox followed immediately by some vitamin packs and a very salty cheese quesadilla.  

Better now - night night!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

Lots of Olympics, some running, some biking and some housewarming. That just about sums it up. Friday was spent getting in a very wet 8 miler and enjoying my usual from Island Burger (lil bacon bleu [salad] and a baked potato) while watching the Olympics. Saturday was a 14 miler done at 9:05 pace with the last two miles kicked up a notch: 8:19 and 7:52. Sunday, after some extra Olympic watching & napping, I got myself out for a nice bike ride just before sunset. I went specifically to get some pictures of the newest additions to the Hudson River & Riverside Parks. The Hudson River Park + Riverside Park edges the entire western coast of Manhattan, from Battery Park to the Henry Hudson bridge, and is the setting for over 90% of my runs. It's been a work in progress since before I moved to NYC with new sections being completed a couple times a year. Here are just a few features of this area...

Old piers used to transport goods from ferries bearing rail cars continue to show their former supports and often sport some local artwork. Tough to see here but several wooden seagulls perch themselves atop the old pilings. Hello Jersey City across the way!

This is one of the newest sections, part of Riverside Park South starting at W. 59th St. going north. All along the Hudson these parks feature gorgeous plantings, wild grasses being quite prevalent. Again, old piers stay as they are and provide a better idea of what activities used to occur along the coast of Manhattan.

Further north, a not-new section of Riverside is spotlighted by a large and gorgeous community garden. This stretch of the path is littered with dog parks, playgrounds and families.

The Chelsea section completion in HRP last year brought back the beloved Frying Pan. A light house boat formerly in use to guard Frying Pan shoals, 30 miles off Cape Fear, N.C., from 1929 to 1965, it's been a resident of NYC since the late 80s. The boat boasts a bar, grill, games and a stage for bands & DJs. It was relocated to the new pier 66 and remains attached to a larger vessel, the Lackawanna rail car barge. The new home is sweet! ...connecting to an old ferry slip, you can even see the old rails coming off the slip and traveling across the West Side Highway into the Starrett-Lehigh Building

Opening just a couple weeks ago, I've already made great use of this part of the park. It is located south of Houston and combines a great running path with some brandy new courts of both the tennis and basketball variety. I included a run out & back on the pier below as part of Saturday's 14 miler.

If you're looking for a playground, fishing spot, running / biking / roller blading paths, tasty eats & drinks, perfect picnic spot, boating, dog parks, basketball or tennis courts, kayaking, soccer fields, tai chi and much much more - head to Hudson River Park.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oooooo ahhhhh, yeah.

Got in to see my fabulous, favorite massage therapist yesterday - was that ever overdue! It never fails to amaze me that something so painful and uncomfortable such as a deep tissue massage can produce such better feeling, looser muscles. I decided to walk home across town afterwards so that helped a bit but I missed out on my recovery run ...that'll have to happen today. Something else that helped last night was the delicious salmon we enjoyed for dinner. Balsamic & peach marinade --- yum! Coupled with a little beach volleyball, a little men's gymnastics and that's an exciting evening in my life.

Coming up this weekend, the women's Olympic marathon!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's on like Donkey Kong!!!

Pfitz served me up the first of my track workouts for this round of marathon training and it could not have gone better! Run was a VO2 max: 8 miles with 5 x 600 @5K pace w/90 secs. of jogging in between intervals. I haven't run a 5K in some time so I went with something close to what I last ran with 22:00 or a 7:04 pace. That makes for 600m intervals at 2:38.

I ran up to the Riverbank State Park along the Hudson and thus was plenty warmed up when I hit the track. Here's how it looked:

5.3 miles warm-up in 43:59 - that felt geeeeeeereat!
600m: 2:20 / 90 secs. jog
600m: 2:28 / 90 secs. jog
600m: 2:26 / 90 secs. jog
600m: 2:22 / 90 secs. jog
600m: 2:23 / 90 secs. jog
1+ miles cool down in 10:00ish (watch freaked for a sec)


So that saying, it's on like Donkey Kong... here's what my buds @Urban Dictionary provide in ways of examples.

Rob would close down his Arcade for the night he would grab a Colt 45 Tall Can slam it and scream its on like Donkey Kong. He would then proceed to go out and get wasted and try to get laid.


its on like Donkey Kong, beee-atch!

but the one that really makes me laugh

Yo dog, I just hooked up like 2 kegs and got all the honies from Alpha Epsilon Omega to come to the party you gotta check this shit there is like 4 girls to every 1 guy!

Snap, Its on like donkey kong!

My intended meaning: a phrase used to incite fear in an opponent, so much more than simply 'it's on', the inclusion of primate legend Donkey Kong stems from DK's penchant for victory.

Where the opponent is me and only me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to GA Running

Pfitzinger has me running a recovery week and thus back to the GA (general aerobic) stuff.   Tonight was a delight!

68*, 7.9 miles, 65 minutes, 13 seconds.

Just the pick me up I needed after a disappointing LR on Saturday.

Now back to the Olympics!

Maria *hearts* cupcakes

After a day of swimming, napping & Olympics watching we headed out to celebrate Kelly's birthday. Tasty fish tacos at Schiller's Liquor Bar provided a good foundation for dessert. And what could be a better way to celebrate a birthday than cupcakes. Right? Right!!!

Now some may call my love for everything cupcake related a bit on the obsessive side but I'm sticking with describing it as a strong & unequivocal love. We were already on the LES and around those parts, sugar Sweet sunshine is the place to go.

Lemon Yummy was the name of my cupcake, what could be better?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Rain turns to gorgeousness

Headed out to our terrace for some stretching & yoga after a recovery run of 6 miles.  The weather did a 180* from just about an hour before...


Sometimes it's not so bad living in the city.

Do I look any smarter?

Finally broke down and got myself to the eye doctor for an exam and some new specs. It's been way too long and I didn't want to end up looking too uncool in my old Holly Hobbie frames. So check 'em out -- whatcha think?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

(Coldplay - Time) + (Bear Naked - Temp) = Just what I needed

Tonight's run was really a filler. I'd switched around the schedule a bit this week to get in that tempo run and while I did have a 14 miler on tap that didn't seem like the best idea looking ahead to Saturday's long run. This LR is more key than others, I want to hit it right on the head, I need to hit it right on the head. 15 miles with 12 at marathon pace. More about that later.

Decided to just run whatever felt right. I left my watch at home, put the iPod on to Coldplay's Viva la Vida album and headed for the park. The temperature had dropped a bit, the sun was on its way out of our Eastern skies and my belly was pleasantly full/not full from a late lunch of Bear Naked's Fruit & Nut granola. It was perfect.

Not too much - not too little - just right.

Arriving up at the reservoir in Central Park, I took a couple laps around - surging when it felt right and backing off when I wanted. I do love the sound of my feet hitting the cinder path, it's so consistent, so rhythmic. And the music fit right in, faster at times and slower at others.

Ended up with about 7.25 miles in ??? time - probably a bit more than an hour but I didn't really notice the time when I left.

Next time you need a pick me up, listen to the beginning of Lovers in Japan's just right.

Back off kitty!

So yesterday ended up being a rest day [from running]. I used the time to do very restless types of things.
  • Scrubbing the hell outta the shower and toilet
  • Sweeping up what felt like piles of flippin' kitty litter
  • Dusting and vacuuming my Dyson!
  • Folding laundry that got washed/dried on Monday
  • Organizing another couple of big donation bags for Goodwill
  • Performing a push-up test, how many can I do before collapsing in on myself
I wound down with some easy yoga and stretching. That is until Dillon entered the picture. The dude loves the yoga mat. I think it's the consistency of the rubber or something; whatever it is when the mat comes out Dillon goes crazy - kitty on crack kind of crazy. He wants to play, he wants to crawl right under your downward dog self, he wants to nip at your outstretched fingers and toes.

Dillon is not zen-like.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hump Day Recap

Whoa, what a wickedly humid day out. Seems last night's showers brought a friggin' blanket of solid, sticky air. Glad today is a recovery run and not much else.

Thus far this week I've run...

Monday - 6 miles recovery (from the weekend's 20 miler). Got them in Monday evening along the bridle path in CP and around the reservoir. One of my most favorite routes. Pace was nice and relaxed, somewhere around 9:30s

Tuesday - I flipped around the schedule a bit. Pfitzinger called for 14 miles but I missed a key workout last Thursday due to J's b-day dinner outing. So I ran that last night in lieu of the 14 and will see about getting Tuesday's intended workout done on Thursday as a double (likely 10/4 or 9/5). Back to Tuesday:
  • 2 miles warm-up - 8:47, 9:17
  • 6 miles @tempo (15K/HMP) - 8:14, 7:17, 7:45, 7:46, 7:33, 7:43
  • 2 miles cool down - 11:00 (had to walk a cramp out), 9:33
I missed my target pace for every single one of those tempo miles (7:52-7:55) but it was still a solid effort. Obviously my pacing is still awry. Last night's inconsistencies reflected the music I was listening to and the eagerness I had for this particular workout. My route was south along the Hudson down to the World Financial Center and back.

Wednesday - I'd love to get to the pool in addition to getting those 6 recovery miles done but we'll have to see about scoring a lane first.

I = Sucky Blogger

OK, so I'm not the best [yet] at this blogging business. I have lots of minutia in my head and most of it comes up in daily conversations with myself but taking the extra step to type it all out has yet to come to fruition. That will change.

One thing I can post about on a daily basis with relative ease, as I already record it in several other places, is my running. I'm currently training for revenge at the Chicago Marathon. And although the summer is not my most favorite time to run, I'm getting the job done.

Good things about summer running in NYC:
  • Enjoying a light breeze on a late evening run along the Hudson River
  • Catching the dance of sunlight through the tree canopy that surrounds the reservoir in Central Park
  • Long training runs hosted by the NYRR
  • Early morning runs across the Brooklyn Bridge ...when it provides the feeling of a high powered A/C unit & before the tourists invade!
  • Finishing 20 miles before most of the city is awake