Thursday, December 31, 2009

8, 9, 11 and done

Doesn't everyone state at year end "where did the time go?" ?? Regardless if it was a year full of the best of times, the worst of times, painful times, joyous times, etc. it does indeed seem that time escapes us inexplicably. At times in this past year I felt as if time was standing still, I was hurt I was not feeling like myself, I was biding my time, wanting to skip forward and magically be "me" again. And during that time, unbeknownst to me at the time, I grew more into "me" than I ever thought possible. In the cycle of physical therapy which started late last year and continued into January I rediscovered yoga. I decided to make my practice a regular thing, to grow it, to explore a new [to me] studio and see if that might not be part of the solution to getting myself healthy and running again without pain.

And it was, indeed, a prominent slice of the solution. And it was so much more than that, so much so that it's very difficult to put it all into words. Yoga strengthened me physically and mentally. To deal with life's regular hurdles, long hours at the office, the rediscovery of my running, my relationships with family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers. My mind exploded in a reawakening of the interpersonal skills that we use every single day. I loved each day more than the last, I saw things differently ...more thoroughly, more intensely and with a deeper sense of being. Perhaps yoga was just the impetus and everything that followed a reaction? Whatever the case I feel truly blessed that this series of events occurred in my life. This year has been about a deeper understanding in who I am and want to be as a human, how I want to live my life, what makes me & my loved ones happy and how I'd like to engage in the world as "me". It was the perfect setup for where I am now, back into my running, very much enjoying a [oftentimes] stressful job, growing and happy in my relationships and wanting to spread this phenomenon with everyone around me!

I have zero doubt that 2010 will be a good one. Good b/c I intend to start the year just as I'd like to, on my terms and with a positive attitude. Good b/c, hot damn!, I'm back to running consistent 50+ MPW and will be moving deeper into my training for Illinois. Good b/c this gift of yoga has only one way to grow, up. So then my friends, I close 2009 out with 8, 9, and 11 mile runs :-) Eager to see where the next 365 days takes me and confident that it will be based upon the last 365.

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A big batch of easy with a sprinkling of RP

Phase 1 continues on and will do so until January 31st, at which point I will have hit my max. mileage for this round of training for at least 3 weeks in a row. Wheeeee! In phase 2 I'll back off the mileage slightly and add in more quality before bringing back the miles with the quality for the finale that will be phases 3 & 4. As mentioned before, all of my running these days is at an easy pace with a couple sets of strides per week as really the only other component. Oh and the occasional race sprinkled in here and there. The races aren't all out efforts but rather a way to gauge which paces I should be training at, once quality reemerges in my running. They're also a great way to mix things up and give me a taste of another pace, RP.

I'm really having a blast so far and totally enjoying running for exactly what it means to me, at it's very roots.

Simple. Cleansing. Meaningful.

And the balance struck between my running and my yoga practice seems to have found the most perfect of mid-lines. I feel new streams of life shooting through my limbs in each discipline undoubtedly provided by the other. It's a beautiful thing and I'm loving every second of it. Add to that some recent running excursions with some of my most favorite people and folks, we're talking full package here! I look forward to opening up those experiences even more while back at home in St. Louis over the holidays.

Onward!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NYC in December

A few of my most favorite things appear near the end of November & beginning of December, each year around the city. This one in particular is quite exciting as it not only enhances the appearance of our sidewalks but it also enhances the smell. Go to bed on Thanksgiving night and awake the next morning to Miniature Christmas Tree lots sprinkled throughout the city. Some are parked next to bodegas, others take the place of smaller Greenmarkets and still others are magical little dynasties all on their own.

This one is just a block away from our apt., is less than half a block "big", smells deliciously of a variety of pines and is manned by some very friendly Canadians who live in their van from Thanksgiving until the day before Christmas. I especially enjoy that I get to walk through it several times a day, to and from work, to and from the grocery store, to and from the park.


The extra magical ingredient appears when our first dusting of snow comes down. Ahhh, you really can live in the city and feel like you're in the country ....well, sort of.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Done deal


I do hope a few others will join me in Champaign/Urbana that weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Well hello there

Yes, yes... I'm still alive and kicking and more importantly, running! Once again work has taken over and caused some stressful weeks that I'd rather not recount. However my running has not suffered and in fact has rooted itself into more weekday mornings that I could ever have dreamed possible. You've heard me say it here before, "I should really run more in the mornings; hold me accountable to 1/week or 2/week"... etc etc. I know I've said it on more than one occasion and I've also said it to Missy while running. My job is more a P.M.-centric type of job meaning that sure I could get in early and get some stuff done and be more organized and all that junk but the heavy lifting of my job happens in the P.M. hours. Which means there's always the chance for a late(r) evening at the office and a greater chance for a run getting pushed. While this does not bode well for my ideal hours in the yoga studio it sure helps to have my running done in the mornings.

Anywho, coach and I are staying on track with a schedule building to a May 1-2 marathon. I'm still not committed to a particular race although the Illinois Marathon is looking quite favorable as of late. I like that it's a Saturday race and have heard good things from Mindi regarding it's inaugural year, just last April. It's also not so far from "home" which means I might be able to visit the family as well.

And since I haven't reported any running details in awhile or specific workouts, here's a snapshot of the last few weeks ...all easy running.



The next several weeks will look similar, backing off the miles just a bit before adding in some quality and then adding back more miles. I'm also planning on a couple races to get some more accurate training paces defined. The Joe Kleinerman 10K on 12/6 and the Ted Corbitt 15K on 12/19, both in CP.

Lastly I plan to sneak in another session of yoga sometime regularly. It's hard to do w/work b/c my most favorite classes start at 7:00 p.m. but I'm going to try and remain flexible and see what I can make happen. Last night was a sweet session at Kula with loads of twisting, twisting, twisting all culminating in some very strong side crows (probably my best ever) and on both sides. Super stoked about that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Missing scenes

OBX.

Ahhhh.

What a time. What an experience. What friends. What a beautiful slice of the coast. What running fun. And above all else, what a tribute!

Joey was remembered well. We sang Happy Birthday to him, we felt him among us --- in the ocean, while running, while laughing, while living. Kath made some super cool medals for all of us, Chris fashioned some sweet armbands, and everyone pitched in on creating signs to post along the course (pictures to come). I cannot properly express what it means to me to have this group of friends and to have some of my family there as well, sharing in the experience! I am rich beyond words.

As for the running, I stuck to my plan with keeping the full as a training run & was lucky enough to have my little bro with me the entire way. And although my tummy sloshed a bit in the first half, I never felt physically hurtin'. However, I wasn't there mentally. Somewhere around mile 16 a light went off.

What exactly am I training for?

Sure I am registered for CIM on 12/6 and I also registered last minute for Rocket City (12/12) as a back-up, but am I ready? Is this run in OBX really a step towards one of those two races? A phrase that I've held in my mind recently came from Chris Lear's Running With The Buffaloes. Wetmore tells his runners to make a movie in your mind - the movie contains all aspects of the race you've worked towards. Your training prep, the course, your execution, etc.

I then attempted to make a movie in my mind.
The movie is incomplete, there are missing scenes.

I pretty much decided right then and there that I had to reconsider racing a marathon next month.

I want to do this right. I want to be able to make the masterpiece in my mind AND on the road. I am not able to do this right now and I have nothing to prove attempting to force the issue when it's well outside of my character to do.

The good news - I'm READY to make it right. I've been consistently logging my miles w/out any quality [yet] and I can feel my body responding positively. After over a year of being somewhat healthy and injured and somewhat not, I'm strong, I know the formula for me. I want to work with Lloyd all the way through this thing so any previous pitfalls might be avoided, training techniques improved upon and levels raised to where they should be. Of course these thoughts had to have lived in the back in my mind somewhere... they didn't just magically appear at mile 16 in OBX. Most certainly that race was the impetus and just having allowed them to come out and, further, to discuss them with some of the folks at OBX (Missy in particular) and later Lloyd, felt like a huge load off my mind.

So here I am. Sticking with consistent mileage for now, adding in some other fun stuff during the base building phase and looking for a spring marathon to strut my stuff.

Friday, October 30, 2009

There are no miracles in running

Loving Chris Lear's Running with the Buffaloes and perhaps even more so, love learning about Mark Wetmore's coaching style and interactions with his CC teams. I'm already seeing similarities between Wetmore and my own coach, and it feels really good to work with Lloyd and get some solid plans slated for my running. Because we're starting our work together deep into a training cycle, the strategy will be a bit different from an orthodox training cycle but no less important. And thus the focus for the coming weeks, including the full @OBX will be to log the miles in an even-paced easy effort. Consistency is more important than anything as this point. Coach and I are looking towards the future and making big plans.

And so my daily runs look a lot alike at this point but my attitude and outlook have incurred a serious spike. In energy. In positivity. In drive.

It doesn't hurt that the NYC Marathon is this Sunday and the buzz around town is highly inspiring and motivating! Missy & I are planning to meet up with Kris & Jenn to do some spectating along First Ave before joining Trevor out of Manhattan, into the Bronx and back through Central Park. Oh and tomorrow we'll be meeting up with Trevor & Bob for some expo action followed by carbo-loading - wheee!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy as a Clam!

After a 3 day imposed rest period from my teeth extraction, I'm back! And I could not be happier.

Last night's fartlek run felt like I was suspended about an inch off the path, effortlessly gliding along 9 miles w/6 x 3 mins @HMP and 2 mins recoveries

My concentration on an adjusted foot strike is paying off. Although my calves are sore from the efforts, I can feel huge energy return gains in each and every stride. And, even more importantly, a ton of stress taken away from those body parts I overuse when running - my hammies & butt.

Tonight's 8 miler was similar, so easy, so relaxed, so enjoyable. Very quiet along the Hudson tonight and the perfect way to unwind after a very hectic work day.

Our weather as of late could not be more pleasant. 62* on last night's run and 59* on tonight's. Both evenings sported clear skies with loads of activity... some stars, some aircraft.

And perhaps one of the happiest elements, one that resulted in a perma-smile my entire run tonight. I will be working with a coach!!! And not just any coach, the very talented Lloyd (aka rootsrunner). I am beyond stoked at the prospect. It's something that I've thought about a lot and always considered a big missing element to my running.

...and away we go!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still here

After a hectic work week and some OK running I'm on forced rest for a few days. Had my top two wisdom teeth extracted Friday morning and am playing it extra cautious with the workouts. There's no way I want to delay healing and no way I want to end up with dry sockets. So the weekend was mostly this:

Chocolate milk
Mashed potatoes
Green monsters
Ice cream (and I'm not even an "ice cream person")
Kefir
Applesauce
Iced coffee

+

Lots of couch time with my favorite fuzzy one



The time off has made me a little stir crazy but I'm hoping it was the right move and also a little bit of rest that my piriformis seemed to want.

Back at work today and no probs with the ole sockets so knock on wood, I'll be outside tomorrow for some miles. I've also got a very exciting running development to announce soon - wheee!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ever evolving, always adjusting

I sent my head a mini restart notice on Monday. Just a little something to get me recommitted to my training and really buckling down now that CIM is just 2 months out.

Tuesday - 10 miles running w/2 x 3 mi @tempo in 1:23 (8:18/mi).

I wasn't sure how this was going to go since last Sat. started out somewhat OK and kinda blew up in my face. So after taking an intended day off and then an unintended day off (stupid work!), I headed out to see what the legs were feeling up to. For the first set of tempo miles I fell into a nice pace pretty easily but felt I might be a little slow. This is not unusual for me running this pace, it normally takes me a mile or two to get it right - first mile too slow and then the next way too fast (i.e. 8:05 followed by a 7:10 - eeeks!). After that it was all good.

2 miles warm-up in 18:07 (9:03/mi)
3 miles @tempo in 23:07 (7:42/mi)
.5 mile recovery in 4:56
3 miles @tempo in 23:25 (7:48/mi)
1.5 miles cool-down in 13:13 (8:48/mi)

Wednesday - 90 mins Kula Flow, 4.75 miles running in about 45:00 (9:28/mi).

I needed to get in an easy recovery run but couldn't muster the needed energy pre-work so I decided to pack up my stuffs after yoga and run home from the studio. The distance wasn't the problem, it was my lack of proper planning. No need for me to bring both my backpack and my big purse to the office that day; shoving that sucker into the backpack and then running with it home added nearly 15 lbs. and a not-so-pleasant chafe mark in the middle of my lower back. Other than that the plan worked a-OK. Yoga included lots of back bending and supported headstands. Love me some headstands but I find the supported headstands a bit tougher than forearm headstands; I think it's just more difficult for me to find my center line.


supported headstand


forearm headstand

Thursday - 6 miles running sleazy in 55:57 (9:19/mi).

Finally hauled my butt outta bed before work to get an easy 6 miler logged. I seem to forget too easily how nice morning runs are on the weekdays and how the lack of a few extra zzz's is totally worth it! I love how the light of a new day dances off everything it hits ...the water, the trees, other runners. I may get out for another short sleazy run this evening depending on how I feel coming out of my massage.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Go get 'em!!

First off huge good luck and positive vibes out to Jen and Cindi racing marathons this weekend in St. George and Minneapolis/St. Paul, respectively. Actually, as I write this Jen is through the finish in Utah - a spectacular effort and a shiny new PR for Jen with a 3:06 marathon. That's some super sweet action - congratulations Jen!!! When I grow up I wanna be Jen!

But back to my humble life in humidity land. Gah. This morning brought with it a huge blanket of the nasty stuff just in time for a workout including a bunch of MP miles. Met up with Missy to run Grete's Great Gallop (a HM) in CP and managed about 9 miles at MP before my legs just threw in the towel. Actually they threw in the towel prior to that, right before mile 7 so I walked it out a bit and then got back to running. But it was a futile effort. I wasn't very smart with my workouts this week.

1). I did two things on Monday I haven't done in a long time and they seemed to have negatively impacted the balance that I need to keep to have everything hurty-free

2). I ran Thursday's run too fast. Sure it felt great, it felt effortless but my legs probably tired too much from the run and didn't recover fast enough to deal with today's humidity.

3). In trying to get back to my training plan from a couple diversions (RTB and the Fifth Ave mile) I haven't been consistent enough.

All of this contributed to 15.75 miles running in 2:26:54 (9:19/mi). Of course 9 of those miles were at MP but the rest were garbage. That in itself is inconsistent as all hell. I refuse to let myself stew about it too long, I know I need to refocus and I know I can do it. Last weekend's running left me feeling very confident and I don't want to let a couple bad decisions this week derail that. Onward and upward!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yep

Another week in the books. Work is still kicking my ass and something I did on Monday kicked it a bit more too :(

Monday - 45 min spin class, 4 miles running in 36:02 (9:00/mi). This was the first time I've both attended spin and ran on a TM in awhile and either one or the combo of the both of them left a mark on my bod. Legs are irregularly tight and hamstrings are very crabby. I will not be continuing with this Monday workout at any point in the near future. Might replace it with another session of yoga, we'll see.

Tuesday - rest day, see explanation in Monday's workout. Poops.

Wednesday - 90 mins of yoga. Again, everything felt way too tight for where I was just a week ago. I did feel much better after class but wasn't happy with my perceived effort.

Thursday - 8 miles running in 1:05:13 (8:09/mi). This run was a dream. On total cruise control and the pace felt effortless. NYC temps were right around 55* and just a light breeze off the Hudson.

Friday - 5 miles running in 50:22 (10:04/mi). Supa sleazy recovery run but a little too little a little too late - more on that later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bi-polar Running

As yesterday's LR concluded and Missy and I spent some time stretching out, I commented to her that the weekend's events felt like bi-polar racing. Running in my first ever mile race on Saturday and then getting in a 21 miler on Sunday could not be further from one another on the spectrum of running. Mindset is different, pacing is different, fueling is different, and pace is most certainly different. Here's how it all worked out...

As noted previously I had a week full of extremely easy running. And while the soreness in my legs quickly worked itself out, by Friday it also felt like all the zip in my legs had exited as well. Eeeks! Not the warm, fuzzy feeling you'd hope to have on the eve of a mile race. Nevertheless, I met up with Missy on Saturday morning prior to our heats and ran some warm-up miles + a couple qtr mile sprints to get the juices flowing. Uh yeah, those qtr miles just about convinced both of us NOT to run the mile. Good gawd. Against better judgement we did forge on. :-) Missy was first with the youngin' heat and she looked more than ready! And while I was still nervous and anxious as all hell, I took a lot of comfort in seeing Missy return to the start line after her mile, still intact having survived her heat. She ROCKED it, btw. Anywho, cannon goes off and so do all of the 30-39 yr old women in my heat. The course is a straight shot down Fifth Avenue from 80th St. to 60th St. Missy had told me there's a crest at about 1/2 mile and after that it's down hill. From 3/4 mile on you can see the finish line. So I'm moving and trying to get it all under control - systems are good. Legs have lost their feeling of concrete pegs and I'm not dying. I crest at 1/2 mile and am on 6:0_ (something) avg pace - it was a quick glance and all I saw was 6 and : and a 0 but not the last digit. So I lost some speed in the second half but seeing that finish line in the distance, like a mirage kept me moving. Crossed in 6:25 and legs felt super! In fact they felt fine the remainder of the day and into the next. Just had some burning in my upper chest and a bit of cough for the couple hours post-run. So the mile was a surreal but successful endeavour. I have no doubt I could improve vastly in such a running distance but really, why run one mile when you can run 20+ miles.

And so we move into my other running personality, center stage, the next day.

Again Missy and I had a date to meet up prior to the ING 18 mile tune-up race. It was gonna be a wet one, likely a very wet one - rain started the night before and continued in a steady fall. I ran to our meeting spot, met her and continued to the race's start. That ended up being 3 miles on the nose. The race is 3 counter clockwise laps around the big loop in CP. Nothing too exciting or unknown about this course. In fact I could write a crazy description of each and every up, down, and turn on the big loop especially in this direction. Luckily we had each other. Missy and I both decided we'd run it pretty easy and if we were feeling good, would pick it up in the final miles. And so we were off. The miles clicked away and the rain continued to fall. I ended up taking two gels around 7 and 13-14 and felt good. Real good. Legs were strong and full of pep & my breathing was never labored. I'd say we maintained a 9:10-9:15 pace for most of the miles and on the last 2+ we climbed Cat Hill one last time and Missy started it up. She was encouraging the whole time, speaking of Boston and not giving up - it was awesome! Time to dig in! She pulled ahead on that hill and a bit more after the ascent but she was always in sight. We had less than two miles to go and both continued to pour it on. I need to recheck my Garmin but I believe the last two miles were 8:10 or less and a sub 8:00 and the handful prior to that were sub-9:00s. So a total of 21 miles in approx. 3:13 (9:11/mi).

What a way to polish off a fun weekend of running and to exercise my Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Build up to the weekend

I took special care all of this week to take it super easy with all runs, allowing my legs to fully recover from RTB and to prep them for a weekend of racing. Quite boring to look at but it worked!

Tuesday - 8 miles running, supa sleazy (slow + easy)
Wednesday - 90 mins yoga
Thursday - 8.6 miles running, supa sleazy
Friday - 4 miles running, supa sleazy

I didn't wear a watch on any of the runs and only roughly knew when I left and when I returned home. Main goal was to run slow and if I thought I was running slow enough, I slowed down even more. I was hoping to get to the pool too but momentarily forgot that I'd man-handled my goggles on my last trip out for laps and needed to pick up a new pair. Since then I've purchased another pair and will be back at the pool this coming week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Musings and recovery

I forgot to mention that although I totally blanked on getting a picture of us together, I was lucky enough to run into Sarah and her crew in the parking lot @Cannon Mtn. before the start of RTB. However, Walter did get them in the background of another shot - woohoo! Here they are in all their super hero goodness, Sarah was Wonder Woman. Looking forward to hearing more about her first RTB experience.



I've mentioned it elsewhere but I seem to be recovering from this year's relay much faster than last year. I was walking down stairs on Sunday while still in NH with some pain and then all day Monday without much more than a slight bit of uncomfortableness. Undoubtedly using the stick while still in the relay, eating & hydrating well and getting some solid zzzs on both Saturday and Sunday nights have helped. I got out for a very nice and sleazy 8 miles last night. Legs are definitely still holding on to some residual soreness but nothing that would fall in the "out of the ordinary" bucket and nothing that feels like an injury. I've got yoga on tap for tonight and more easy running tomorrow and Friday along with a trip to the pool.

The coming weekend will be a fun one too! Missy and I are both running the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday and will finish in plenty of time to see the real action - elites! And then on Sunday we'll both be running the 18 mile tune-up put on in CP by NYRR

Sunday, September 20, 2009

RTB '09 - Notey's Bachelor Party

Another year of Reach the Beach and another phenomenal experience. If you haven't experienced a relay yet, plan to do one and soon! They are an enormous amount of fun, challenging and a unique experience to add to anyone's running resume. I feel particularly blessed to be a part of such a great group of people and to have the chance to take my running somewhere it's not most other times in the year. This is not exactly a race although if you ask the winners they'd tell you different. It's not training either. It's certainly an endurance event but not in the same sense as a marathon, ultra or even a long run. The terrain, at least to me, is not anything close to what I normally run on. Nor the time(s) of each run. What this is is the opportunity to act as a team. You certainly want to do your best. For me, to run better than I'd planned or run in last year's relay. To be harmonious with the others in your van and on your team. To help one another and support one another.

And that's exactly what Notey's Bachelor Party did! Notey (Bill), our team cappie, is getting married in just a couple weeks hence the name. After a couple later changes in the line-up we were all set. Our team had 10 runners; 6 would run 4 legs each (myself included) and 4 runners would run 3 legs each. Van 1 was lucky enough to score our driver and kick ass photog, Chris, from last year. Additionally we'd have Glenn leading us off, Beth following him, Jenn following her, me and Bill bringing up the rear. Bill would hand off to van 2 which included Matt leading off, then Walter, then Jen, then Annalisa and last (but not least!) Heather. We arrived to nearly identical conditions at Cannon Mountain as last year - overcast and windy. After decorating the vans, attending the safety seminar, dividing up the food, grabbing our shirts/bracelet/bibs and timing chip Glenn got us started just a few minutes after noon. Followed by Beth, who was the only lucky runner to get rained on, Jenn and then me...
  • my leg 1 (team leg 4) - 3:05 p.m. on Friday, 2.9 mi in 18:42 (6:26/mi)
I knew this leg well. Ran it last year and loved to hate it. It's not a long run by any means but you drop nearly 700 ft. in those short 2.9 miles and set yourself up for one hell of a sore set of quads. I took off knowing full well I'd run it harder than I should but also feeling like I wanted to stick with that approach. It was a helluva lot of fun! Ended up running this leg 1:05 faster than last year.

My leg was followed by Bill, Matt, Walter, Jen, Annalisa, Heather, Glenn, Beth, Jenn and then back to me again...
  • my leg 2 (team leg 14) - 10:02 p.m. on Friday, 8.13 mi in 1:04:55 (7:59/mi)
Another repeat leg from last year. I remember loving this run last year for several reasons. It's dark - like very dark. No big city lights and traffic getting in the way of the dark solace found in the country or a sky full of stars. The second half of the run is on ultra quiet country roads and full of rollers and just when you wonder when it might all end you take a left and find your next runner awaiting you near a little tent and a spot of light. I didn't love it as much as last year mostly b/c the aforementioned quad thrashing. It all seemed to set in a bit faster and this was the leg where I felt it most. The first half was fine, I was ticking away miles a bit too quickly in fact (7:30s) and decided I had better dial back if I was intending to make it without snapping a muscle. Second half was full of those rollers. Not so fun. The uphills weren't even the problem, it was the "relaxing" downhills. Ugh. Anywho, the solidarity of the run made up for the pain in my legs and soon enough I found Bill awaiting me for both the bracelet hand-off and our customary ass slappery as part of the hand-off. Even with the pain, I ended up running this leg just :29 slower than last year. note: I do believe my Garmin was off on the length too.

My leg was followed by Bill, Matt, Walter, Jen, Annalisa, Heather, Glenn, Beth, Jenn and then back to me again...
  • my leg 3 (team leg 24) - 7:46 a.m. on Saturday, 6.92 mi in 56:30 (8:09/mi)
And my last repeat leg from last year. The weather this morning could not have been more perfect. It was a tiny bit windy while waiting for Jenn to come in but I still wore a sleeveless tank style shirt and could not have felt more comfortable. I still had a decent amount of soreness kicking around but I was definitely feeling better than the night before. Our van even managed to score a couple hours sleep - all of us. A big bonus during RTB! Anywho, I got started and picked off runners pretty easily while dealing with some more rollers. This leg isn't nearly as interesting for the majority of the mileage but a left turn and about 1.25 miles at the end had me running into Bear Brook State Park. This one ended up being a major mental boost too - I felt the pain in my legs and I pushed through, even picked up the pace when I started really feeling it near the end. Ended up running this 2:21 faster than last year. WOOT!

My leg was followed by Bill, Matt, Walter, Jen, Annalisa, & Heather. It was at this point that 4 of our runners were done (Glenn, Beth, Annalisa and Heather). Jenn cracked out a wicked fast 6.9 miles or so for her 4th and longest leg and then it was back to me and my last leg.
  • my leg 4 (team leg 32) - 2:58 p.m. on Saturday, 2.2 mi in 16:08 (7:19/mi)
This leg was completely different than last year. RTB switched up several things in the last 7 or so legs including a VA/TA (vehicle area/transition area) and the leg distances. Jenn actually ended up running the leg I ran as my fourth last year; the one that runs right by another running buddy's home - Dan! My leg ended up being half of what was Bill's last leg last year and he got the other half. So just 2.2 miles of running mostly through downtown Exeter. I liked the route but wish I could have run just a bit further. At this point my legs had mostly come around and were ready to finish this puppy off in whatever I could pull off. I probably got started a bit too quickly but picked off 3 runners in the first quarter mile and never got passed.

All in all, I ran a total of 20.15 miles in 2:35:35 (7:43/mi) over the course of 24 hours. That's a big improvement over my average pace last year of something like 8:20/mi. Yeeeeehaw. Bill, Matt, Walter and Jen ran after me to bring Notey's Bachelor Party in at 28:51:24 (8:20/mi) - another big improvement over last year's 31:08:01 (8:55/mi). Double booyah!

And so it ends. And we're all left eager for another year to pass so we can do it all again. And with as many words as there are in this post, it's very difficult to find the right ones to properly express what an experience this is and what it really means to me. It's about running and funning and supporting and digging deep and laughing and honoring and enjoying each and every breath & each and every step for what it is. Thank you Glenn, Beth, Jenn, Bill, Matt, Walter, Jen, Annalisa, Heather and Chris - thank you so very much! And special thanks to our buddy, Joe, who was with us in spirit for the entire journey.


front row, l to r: annalisa, walter, me
back row, l to r: jen, heather, beth, bill, glenn, jenn, matt

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Amen

Nearing the end to Born to Run and this passage stuck in my mind, give me goosebumps and made me smile ear to ear.

"Just move your legs. Because if you don't think you were born to run, you're not only denying history. You're denying who you are."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Eeeps!



What a week! Work really sent everything else off into outer space until this morning. I did get a couple easy runs in and was able to work through the knot in my left hammy but man, I was not prepared for the changes that would hit my schedule. The coming week looks to be more of the same but I'll be prepared! Early morning runs will be a MUST. I cannot leave a p.m. workout to chance... my time in the evening is no longer reliable. With that said, I started off Saturday with a pot of coffee and my cleaning supplies. After the apartment was looking good again including a spotless tub/shower (the sign of a true cleaning!), I headed out for a run, a stop at the farmer's market and some other errands.

Saturday - 5.82 miles running in ?? time. Still don't have a replacement for my basic Polar, need to make that happen soon. Took it easy along the bridle path up to and around the reservoir and back home. Temps were pleasant and the light rain tempted me to stay out for a longer run.

Sunday - 20 miles running in 3:14:39 (9:43/mi). Ran a mile to our meeting spot to hook up with Bob and Missy for today's run. After greetings we set off from the south east corner of CP and proceeded straight west to the Hudson, south to Chambers and then east crossing back across Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge. Often running single file, we stuck on Henry to Union and then up the monster slope that is Park Slope to Prospect Park for a loop and then back to and over the bridge again. I wasn't feeling my best with the humidity and often felt dizzy w/chills and then way hot. More stop and go than I'd have liked but Missy & Bob were strong motivators and great company along the run.

Coming up at the end of this week - Reach the Beach!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

East Coast Family

Closed out the Labor Day weekend with an awesome feeling race surrounded by some of the East Coast Running Family regulars and one new addition. But first let's back up to Saturday. After taking Friday completely off and resting my crabby hammies, the rest of the weekend shaped up nicely.

Saturday - ran 10.25 miles in 1:34:42 (9:14/mi) with the newest NYC transplant, Missy!   We met at the pump house in CP and headed west to the Hudson and then north up to Riverbank State Park.   Nice run and even nicer company.

Sunday - 90 mins of yoga with tons of shoulder work. So much that my upper back is still a little achy today. But it's a good ache, one I'll take any day. And the class proved to be as valuable as I knew it would be by delivering non-crampy, non-tired legs for Monday's race.  Jillian at Kula Yoga is my most favorite evah!

Monday - New Haven 20K! Ran a total of about 13.5 miles. Started off with about an easy mile of warm-up with Missy around the square and the immediate New Haven area. It was just what each of us needed. Lined up at the start with Bob, Trevor and Missy and we were off! Not sure when we lost Trevor but Bob, Missy and I stuck together until just after mi 7 when I slowed to take a gel w/some water. I ended up about 20 ft back from Missy & Bob after that, spending the better part of 8 & 9 keeping the distance the same and both of them in sight. Miles were flying by and I felt supa strong. Unfortunately that all ended with mile 10, emergency (I mean EMERGENCY) porta potty stop needed but nothing in sight. Begged a gas station for some sort of rest room access too but no dice. Ended up half running, half walking that entire mile until I found one and lost 2 friggin' minutes off my regular pace. That, my friends, would have secured the time I really wanted from today's race. However, that mile/incident aside, I am completely confident in my training and had a really good, strong race. While the PR I got wasn't what I should have run I'll take it. 11 secs PR

mi 1: 8:19 congestion at the start, easing into it 
mi 2: 8:07
mi 3: 7:46 
mi 4: 7:47 
mi 5: 8:01 
mi 6: 7:59 
mi 7: 7:44 
mi 8: 7:49 
mi 9: 7:58 
mi 10: 9:47  awwww craps, search for a porta potty 
mi 11: 7:54 
mi 12: 7:47 
mi .54: 4:01 

1:40:59 (8:07/mi)

Which proves, once again, that I've yet to run a HM at what I should be running a HM at.  That 1:40:59 would mean a 1:46:31 HM and if I didn't lose those 2 minutes in mile 10, a 1:44:24.  Gotta find me a good half to run in decent weather conditions.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wildlife Report

From time to time in our daily thread, in addition to total miles, total time, & pace, Joe would include a special Wildlife Report section.  Joe ran on cushy (it always makes me laugh to say that) trails including the towpath right near his place, often, so nature was always part of the scene.  It'd be a deer or two or maybe some geese or hawk or similar.  As a result I'd try to post my own wildlife report but sadly the only thing I'd ever come across were large rats or a patch of wild, pissed off Canadian geese.   Until last night.   Now I've actually seen this sucker before but seeing him again last night, thinking of Joe and his wildlife reports and recalling a convo on the thread earlier in the day where we discussed stream of consciousness dialog while running, made it all the more heeeeelarious.

After having run the better part of the big loop I cut up to the reservoir loop.   It was dark although the moon was bright - probably full.   A runner had just passed as I approached the path and just before he made the turn eastward a very large raccoon crossed in front of him from the park side of the path to the reservoir side.   I cautiously ran behind, giving both the runner ahead of me and the raccoon ahead of him, plenty of room.   I didn't see the raccoon again which gave me time to think.   He just crossed into the water side.   Was there somewhere for him to go beside in to the water?   

And if not, does he swim?  
Do raccoons swim?
If he did swim, which stroke would he excel at?
Legs and arms seem to be of about equal length, freestyle would probably be out of the question.
Maybe backstroke?  
Nah.
Definitely no butterfly for that poor sap.
He's no beaver, no substantial tail.
Perhaps a modified doggie paddle?
Breaststroke or sidestroke would be ideal.

But what if...
What if that dude worked really hard
What if freestyle were his stroke.   
Swimming that stroke a lot makes me feel and start to look like a linebacker.
What would a linebacker-built raccoon look like?  

Awesomely funny.
Awesomely cool.

That's what he would look like.

And that, my friends, was the continuing conversation in my head as I finished the 1.6 some odd mi. lap around the reservoir and the remaining 2 mi home through the dark and raccoon-filled CP.  Joe would have been proud of that wildlife report.

Thursday - 8.6 miles running in 1:15:02 (8:43/mi)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Feel the burn, love the burn

Monday - after a thoroughly fun weekend o' wedding stuffs I was feeling a little beat down and needing some more relaxation and recovery. Took the day completely off from everything exercise related and included some extra veggies and vitamins into my meals.

Tuesday - Double Your Pleasure Tuesday! 5 miles a.m. running in 41:54 (8:22/mi), 10.5 miles p.m. running in 1:30:45 (8:38/mi) w/15 x 1 min @5KP w/1 min recoveries. Ran 3 miles easy as a warm-up and then started with the interval segments. Finished those and ran another 3+ miles easy back home as a cool down. Legs didn't seem to mind the double although they were ready for the 5KP bursts to be done and done. Felt I probably ran them a bit too fast but don't know for sure as it was dark out and I didn't have my Garmin on.

Wednesday - Was sad that yoga got canceled but ended up with a nice brick. Ran an easy 4 miles in 37:35 (9:23/mi) and followed immediately with a 30 min swim (1512 yds).

Systems are all good and in check with where I'd like them. Nothing bothering me or hurting which is a very nice change. Preliminary thoughts on the upcoming 20K in New Haven are to race it and beat my time from 2 years ago. Going to think about strategy for that sucker a bit more today and tomorrow.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another week, another month, another bridesmaid

Good gawd, time is a-bookin'. Last week ended up being way low in mileage but way high in fun. It was also the last weekend when a non-running event will take priority over the my marathon training.

Thursday I traveled back to St. Louis and then on to the Lake [of the Ozarks] to bear witness to a best friend's wedding. I've known Mary Ann since 1987 when we met as freshmen at Rosati-Kain. In fact I do believe I "stole" her homecoming date from her. LOL! And despite our less than auspicious start, we're as tight as ever. In fact, in just crunching the numbers now that means we've been friends for 22 years!! Holy shit. 61% of my life I've known her, laughed with her, cried with her and had more fun than anyone "legally" should :-) She's the type of friend where all the small crap doesn't matter. We've lived over a 1000 miles apart for over 9 years and before that, a good 300+ miles separated us. We didn't go to college together, we never lived together and we don't get to see each other much in any given year, but none of that matters. Years and distance are nothing. When we share each other's company it's like nothing is different, we haven't missed out on anything in each other's lives and we simply pick up where we left off.

It's a beautiful gift. I treasure her. Certainly more than a MP long run.


Here she is walking down the aisle with her father and step-father. Isn't she lovely?


And my other best friend, Liz - she's a gift as well.

They sure do make it tough living way out here after having such a fantastic summer o' Mary Ann

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The answer is D, all the above

Monday - 6.66 miles running in 54:20 (8:09/mi) with 6 x 1 min. hill sprints. I decided to use Cat Hill in Central Park for the sprints; it's a nice incline with a tiny bit of winding so it feels extra bad-ass to haul up and blow by other folks :) Also had I known I was going to end on 6.66 I would have logged another .10 mile or something.

Tuesday - 30 mins. swimming (1512 yds). Intended to get my progression run in tonight but a nasty widsom teeth induced headache pulled the plug on anything after work. Got to bed early and felt much better for it.

Wednesday - 8 miles running as a progression in 1:08:27. First mile was a warm-up @9:23 and then 8:59, 8:40, 8:30, 8:11, 7:54, 7:29 with the last as a cool down @9:18. Really nice run. Our weather had cooled some and this was the first weekday morning run I'd done in awhile. I need to remember how nice it is being out there before work during the week and do it more often.

Oh and I finally nabbed me a copy of Born to Run and started reading it this week. Loving it already!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Slowly clawing my way back

Rounded out my first official week of CIM training with a solid LR and a nice recovery today.  

Saturday - 16 miles running in 2:26:15 (9:08/mi).   This run was the first in more tactical long runs.  I often avoid CP for long runs b/c it can be crowded (esp if there's a race going on) and because I know the route too well (snoozefest at times) and because, in the past, I short-sidedly was not looking to make the LR more challenging than the miles themselves + whatever specialized pace(s) the training plan called for.  Of course I'd make exceptions and do hills (i.e. bridges) and the like, but mostly I didn't push the envelope as much as I could.   That's changed.  I started off Sat's run with the big loop + some in CP and then took advantage of Summer Streets by running down Park Ave (as it turned into Union Square East as it turned into Fourth Ave as it turned into Lafayette) over the Brooklyn Bridge and through Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and back to the bridge again.  And although I started off way too fast for an easy LR (8:09, 8:12, 8:25) I eventually slowed it down and felt strong throughout.

Sunday - 6 miles running in 52:26 (8:44/mi).  Got this run done right after a light, short summer shower so it was a bit steamy.   Kept the pace consistent and felt almost as if I were gliding - no residual soreness from yesterday's LR.   Finished it off with 2 x (15 each/pushups, step ups, tricep dips, leg swings).

I'm proud to be nearing the 50 MPW mark again too - it's been a long time coming!  Finished this week with 47.25 miles and running 5 days [in the week].

Friday, August 21, 2009

The best of summer

Fresh corn
Juicy nectarines
Gorgeous greens

and of course,

Runs after sundown

Thursday - 10 miles running in 1:32:29 (9:14/mi).  This ended up straying from the plan a bit, less moderate pace and way more hills.   A new favorite route emerged however, up along Riverside Drive north of 95th St. in lieu of running along the Hudson path.

Friday - 30 mins swimming (1512 yds).  Decided against a companion sleazy run here and picked up the sprint pace in my sprint sets of freestyle.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So fresh and so clean clean

Although I have been training for STG for awhile now, the training seemed almost foreign to me. Not because of the plan I was following as much as how different it was from any other time I've been in training. I just wasn't fully committed. So when I decided to pull out of STG and register for CIM (how's that for a mouthful of acronyms) I felt almost renewed, refreshed and like I was starting over. But it's even better than starting over b/c I do have a base and I'm already on the right path. Anywho, this week has felt good. Although I'm sad to not see Jen and Chris in Utah, it was the right choice for me. I can already feel more of my focus returning and the drive and dedication that I'll need to truly run a strong and successful race come December. I've also been motivated by chatter amongst my RTB teammates and eagerly anticipate seeing which legs I'll be running this year and bettering my times from '08. Thus far this week:

Monday - 9.25 miles w/8 x 30 secs. @5KP in 1:21:18 (8:45/mi). Nice run, cruised up Harlem Hill as if I was on an escalator - quite empowering!

Tuesday - 30 mins. (1512 yds) swimming

Wednesday - 90 mins. yoga, 6 miles running EZ in 60 mins (10:00/mi) + 10 x 8 sec hill sprints. That's the absolute sleaziest I've run in quite awhile and it was JUST what I needed.

Yoga included a ton of shoulder work and some twisting. Lots of stuff like dancer pose...



And bow pose...


acronym legend:
STG = St. George Marathon
CIM = California International Marathon
RTB = Reach the Beach

Monday, August 17, 2009

Goals for the Fall

So, among all the other stuff going on as of late, I've made a tough decision to pull myself out of the St. George Marathon. I will still run this marathon, hopefully next year if I'm accepted again into the lottery, but this year just isn't in the cards. I'm simply not where I want nor need to be in my training. I have very high expectations for myself with this next marathon, there will be no wishy-washy so/so efforts - it's gonna be balls to the wall. Sure it's gonna hurt. Sure I'm going to need to focus extra hard to push aside distractions but it's what I want. It's what I need.

I spent too much of the early part of my training still babysitting my butt & hamstring issues. I wasn't fully confident that I was on the right path to rehabbing them and getting myself strong and fully back in the game. Over the last several months it's evident that I am indeed on the right path, that I don't need to hold back and that as long as I stick to the regimen that works for me, I can excel in the marathon distance. I feel strong, I am healthy and now I just need a bit more time for that big fall race.

So no Utah for me this year. But as one door closes, another opens. I've decided to focus all efforts on CIM in December. Jen ran it last year and gave me some excellent pointers, a rave review and several items on which I'll concentrate my training. Starting today I'm 16 weeks out; glancing at Hudson's plan (Level 2) I'll be running 10 tonight as a fartlek (one of my favs!) And so the road to a goal continues. Some adjusting - sure, there always is. But I feel good in making this decision. Of course I'll also have some quality tune-up races logged beforehand including Reach the Beach, the OBX full and several NYRR long runs as well as an inspiring running partner moving to town later this month --- MISSY!!!

Catch up time, again

Loads to write about + loads going on at work + loads going on each and every weekend + loads to get done during the days and evenings = no time to document it all. Will rely on my old friends, bullet points to get it all out there...

  • Spent an amazing week in San Francisco & Yosemite w/4 of my siblings running the San Francisco HM and then camping in Yosemite. That HM is still one of my most favorite and one I'll return to again and again.
Little sis #2 and I after the finish

One of the gorgeous shots little sis #1 captured while in Yosemite


Team Pfeiffer just back from Yosemite

  • Had a fantastico time with good friends at the Lake [of the Ozarks] celebrating Mary Ann's bachelorette party weekend

Liz, Mary Ann and I

  • And even more fun to be had while participating in The Great Urban Race with Lora this past weekend in NYC. This challenge was revealed after completing a cryptogram - one of us needed to propose to the other in front of Tiffany & Co (or Harry Winston, just down the street) while caught in a digital photo


In between all this fun I've had some extremely full work days, good workouts and even more planning for future races, weekend trips, etc. What a summer!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Yoga is yoga

Yoga is:
  • beautiful
  • challenging
  • a physical extension of my breath
  • rejuvenating
  • what helps keep me centered and whole
  • what keeps me grounded and extending at the same time
What yoga is not is running. Last Wednesday I had a very rough work day, an incident with a co-worker angered me greatly. I tried to keep things in perspective, keep my cool and keep thoughts of a 90 min. yoga session as very near - would just need to get through the day. But as I got closer to quitting time I grew further from the idea that yoga could help in this situation. I was still angry and I needed to act out. I needed to feel the ground beneath each step and swift strides moving me forward. I needed to run! Now those of you who know me well, know that I'll do just about anything in my power to make it to yoga at least once a week, always on Wednesday and sometimes on Sunday. But tonight was different and my old friend, running, was there for me as always. I delivered serenity to myself in the form of a sweet 10 miler south along the Hudson to the WTC and then back home again. I was still pissy at first, replaying the conversations from earlier in the day but even before the turnaround it was all gone. It had all literally melted away.

So while yoga is still yoga and such an essential thing in my life, my buddy running will never be left behind either. And as a bonus for my run that night, I was lucky enough to see this with my own eyes on the Hudson River Park path... I KID YOU NOT FOLKS - THIS is REAL and it's fabulous!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gone but not forgotten



I first met Joe the weekend pictured above in Philadelphia, 2006.   We had a huge meet-up that year for the marathon and as anyone knows, Voo is not hard to pick out of a crowd.  I remember walking up to him at the expo, briefly saying hi and then giving him a big ole hug.  He wouldn't have had it any other way.   The guy was a spirit, a force, a runner to be reckoned with.  He had the largest, kindest heart and as you can see in the picture, the ability to hang with the Pfeiffer girls post-race  :-)   Joe left this world last Friday, unexpectedly, prematurely but ultimately [I have to imagine] happily.   His last words to all of us runner buddies was a quick recount of the 20 miler he ran after work on Thursday & how he got stung by a bee nearly right in the ass.   That's the Voodoo Joe we all know and love.   You will be missed, you will be remembered and you will always have a place in my heart.    I know you're enjoying the cushy trails wherever you are!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Better, better...

The week continues in a blurred state of busyness (that spelling looks weird)... anywho

Tuesday - 8.35 miles running @EZ with 30 secs @5KP every 3 min in 1:12 (8:37/mi)
Wednesday - 1 mile swimming (1764 yds)

I really wanted and needed to get to yoga last night but honestly, it's way too time consuming. It ends up being like 2.5 hours I'm not home packing and cleaning and preparing for my CA trip. So I took a pass and got a pedicure instead :P

Today (Thurs) will end up being a forced rest day. Had I got to bed at a decent hour last night I would have run this morning but I didn't. Such is the life of a chronic procrastinator & packing hater (ha! that sorta rhymes). At any rate I have everything ready to fly out... Dillon is with the super sweet people at the NY Cat Hospital boarding facility and I'm a bit zipped up on caffeine and spinach. Just need to get through work today and I'll be in San Francisco by [my] dinner time!

Oh and yes, regarding SF... there's the matter of the half marathon on Sunday. I don't really have any physical or time related goals. Of course I want to run strong but more importantly I want to have the sort of mental race I had in Philly back in May, for the Broad St. Run. That will mean more to me than anything... oh and enjoying the monster climbs along the course too. And last by not least, having a blast running with the rest of my family... we'll be 5 Pfeiffers strong on Sunday. WOOT!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eh yeah

So Friday's intervals didn't happen. Although I was able to get a run in on Friday, I needed to push the intervals to the next morning. The 8 miler I ran followed a few cocktails with co-workers and a quick errand delivering a much-needed aerobed. That run rocked, the run the next morning - not so much.

Saturday's intervals might have been doomed before they were even started. I didn't eat much Friday; actually that's not correct, I did eat a TON of spinach Friday but that was about it. I also chose to wake up early on Saturday morning to get some laundry done before the rest of my bldg woke up and thus got a later start on my run. So by the time I got out it was way too sunny and I felt tired from having been up for over 4+ hours and not having eaten anything yet. Anywho, I only achieved one of the three intended sets of 2 mile intervals. After that I just felt too spent and my right hip and hammy were starting to get cranky. Do not want to anger those body parts especially with a hilly half coming up next weekend. I finished the run unhappily, was cranky for a bit and then got over it. I also chose to take Sunday completely off.

Friday - 8 miles running @GA in 1:06:24 (8:18/mi)
Saturday - 9 miles running in 1:25 (9:25/mi) with one set of 2 miles (15:34 - 7:47/mi)
Sunday - off
Monday - 8 miles running @GA in 1:09:15 (8:39/mi)

This week is the first time this training cycle I'm sliding miles off the plan rather than tacking more on. I'm using the level 2 of Hudson's plan but not yet ready to hit his 60+ miles for the coming week. All in all I'm feeling good. Saturday's bad run was easy to figure out and I've moved on. This evening after a quick visit to the vet (poor Dilly needs his shots) I'll be busting out a longer fartlek and piling up the items on my "to-pack" list for San Francisco and Yosemite.

WOOT!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Morning Recap

This week feels like a new, organized beginning for me in terms of my training. I know it's probably more a state of mind than anything but who doesn't love the opportunity to start fresh? Anywho, b/c it was ultimately a transition & cutback week my workouts were a bit of a mixed bag.

Monday - 8 miles w/3 x Harlem Hill sprints @tempo
Tuesday - 4 recovery miles running, 1 mile swimming w/2 long sets of sprints
Wednesday - 90 mins. yoga (bound side angle, half moon and a lot of other balance poses)
Thursday - 6.2 miles running @GA
Friday - still to come...

This afternoon/evening my plan calls for a 10K time trial however I think the workout will be better spent sharpening for my next HM which happens to be a week from Sunday. I plan to get the same mileage out of the day as if I were running the trial but in a different workout. Will get out for 2 mi warm-up, 3 x 2 mi @tempo w/3 mins recovery and a 2 mi cool-down.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Regrouping and reorganizing

I've felt somewhat uncomfortable with my training for St. George for awhile now. It felt too little, too unstructured and a bit too different from what I'm used to while marathon training. When I run I feel good, my hurty parts aren't so hurty and I feel stronger than ever. But I just don't feel I'm running enough and I'm at the point where risking an up in mileage feels like a good step. I'm also feeling like me and the bod have a good thing going and our communication seems to be better than ever so even if an up in mileage is ultimately the wrong decision, I'll listen to my pal and back off accordingly.

I've also been debating about jumping ship on Hudson and getting back to my bud Pfitz. Thing is I really dig Hudson's plan and methodologies, I just think the mileage was way too low and more conservative than even I needed, coming back from some injuries. I want to see this plan through and thus I'm sticking with Hudson's plan but stepping it up to the next level offered. Interestingly enough, the runs I've already logged this week aren't that far off from those in this plan. I like the specificity in the runs and although I'll be joining in on what appears to be a cutback week, I'll knock the long run up some to prepare for San Francisco.

Wish me luck!

GW2009

I made it back to girls weekend this year and what a blast! These women are near and dear to my heart and like my high school friends I don't live near any of them, don't talk nearly enough and yet when we come together it's like no time has passed

Here we are toasting the Jagermeister girls whom we befriended while at the pool on Saturday. What an unholy union

Monday, July 6, 2009

Holy turn for the better, Batman



I've been stressed a lot lately... if it's not work it's something else. I felt less than refreshed coming into work today after the long holiday weekend. However it all turned around after having a delicious conversation with little sis #2... she mentioned a possible change in our upcoming camping plans, scheduled for just after the San Francisco HM. The change involves the camping location.

The change involves now camping in Yosemite!





Uh, change approved!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Swim? Swammi? Slippy? Slappy? Swenson? Swanson?

Uh yeah, can't seem to remember crap as of late. And I'm woefully behind in noting workouts... so here's a recap in bullet point form

  • I've been running, swimming, spinning and practicing yoga
  • I have not been biking as much as I'd like b/c of the god forsaken rain
  • I threw a bridal shower in STL (along with another of my bestest friends) last weekend for one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world
  • It was not a traditional bridal shower. That's not how our crowd rolls.
  • Those supa cute, corn-on-the-cob cupcakes over there to the right ----> made 'em, loved 'em
  • Target is still the land of milk and honey to me. $15 for a kick ass blow up pool and hours of fun with the sibs
  • Work is trying to kill me
  • I registered for the Cranford Firecracker 4 Miler to be run on the 4th of July. My buddy Ben is running too!
  • We celebrated my dad's 70th birthday by bbq'ing what had to be the most amount of food on the grill for one meal. Kudos to little bro for taking care of biz and getting the job done
  • I really wish I had a running coach. I'm having a hard time trying to get myself primed for the San Fran HM while marathon training
  • Dillon is the whiniest kitteh EVAH as of late - I hope he's just being difficult and doesn't have anything wrong with him
  • Soulard Market is a fine substitute for the Union Square Greenmarket, while in STL

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting my tech on

I love geeking out.  Sometimes it's quite simple and subtle but most times it's straight up nerdville.    Refer to my excitement of owning a copy of Rush Hour for just me, Me, ME!!  Anywho, after spending an intense evening in the studio at Kula I finally upgraded my iMac with several software updates and iPhone's OS 3.0.  Awwww yeah, can you say copy & paste w/shake undo, voice memos, and a bunch of other stuff I may or may not use. 

I can't hear you!!!    

So yeah back to the program ...the week got off to a great start.  I'm still tinkering with my training plans (yes, more than one) and trying to avoid "too motivating" music on my easy runs.   See Tuesday's supposed easy run.  Nutz.

Monday:  15 mins elliptical (TMs were full ...booo!), 50 mins. spinning
Tuesday:  30 mins swimming (1512 yds), 5.85 miles running (47:56) with a few hill sprints
Wednesday:  90 mins yoga @Kula

Tonight's session at Kula was particularly intense.   We concentrated on isometric exercises in every single pose performed.   It nearly blew my monkey mind into little bits all over the place.   It was just the sort of challenge Jillian regularly brings to my practice and I love her for that ...for expanding the limits of both my mind and my body.   

And because I'm riding high on tech and yoga, I'm gonna motivate to get the first quality run (in way too long) done before work tomorrow.   Go me!

All ponied up

And talking to the cat ...just like her aunt :)


The always handsome Whompie and the ever adorable Ellie

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Whizzing on by

Time is passing way too quickly, I blink and another week is gonezo. While I'd love a few more hours in each day I do seem to be weathering the busy days at the office and getting my workouts done. Last week featured more days of consecutive running than I've been doing as of late and a marked absence of my other non-running stuff. It also featured so many of my favorite things...


Fig cookies from Meredith's, available from my local farmer's market


My very own copy of Rush Hour! Me = super dork


Lots of green monsters = lots of energy


Gorgeous peonies, also from my local farmer's market

And a quick recap of last week...

Monday: 5 miles running easy plus 4 x 10 secs. steep hill sprints (45:46)
Tuesday: 7 miles running as fartlek including 6 x 30 secs. bursts @10K pace (60:00)
Wednesday: 3.5 miles running (29:03) as part of the JP Corporate Challenge. Check out our cool t-shirt design





Thursday: rest day
Friday: another rest day due to poor planning
Saturday: 5 miles running easy plus 4 x 10 secs. steep hill sprints (41:45)
Sunday: 90 mins. yoga @Kula, 10 miles running (1:26)

Some thoughts to come on what I'm thinking regarding the low mileage training plan I'm on at the moment ...and also some questions. Always with the questions.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sun, stomach aches and staches

Let's see, where did we last leave off?

Thursday: 8.4 miles running 1:10:24 (8:22/mi), sets of push-ups/tricep dips/leg swings/step-ups
Friday: Unplanned total rest day (biking was ruined by rain and swimming was derailed by a full pool)
Saturday: 5.2 miles running 46:20 (8:49/mi)
Sunday: 6.2 miles running 54:16 (8:44/mi), 65 mins biking

Sunday's NY Mini 10K was a craptastic wash out. Went to bed Saturday night with some rumblings in my tummy and woke up worse. Stomach woes continued through the race and persist even now, though to a lesser extent. I'm trying to think of something positive that came from the race experience but am coming up short ...eh, the post-race plums were tasty. ???

Anywho, after the race I got cleaned up and headed over to Williamsburg for the Renegade Craft Fair. Lots of good stuff to check out and some delicious iced tea to help keep cool. Not as cool as these supa stache pillows but cool nonetheless





I rounded out the weekend with a nice bike ride south along the Hudson and then east over the Brooklyn Bridge and back. This week brings some excitement to my regular running, Wednesday is the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge and about 45 of my co-workers and I will be taking to Central Park for a nice 3.5 mile jaunt. We have a cool t-shirt design and everything. Go Knotties!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mid-week wrap up

The week's been good to me.  I've had some solid workouts and am feeling like everything is coming together.   I've also really refocused on my nutrition, adding in some new meals and making good decisions.  I believe it's all adding to my high energy levels.
  • Monday: 1.25 miles as progression run (every .25 mi increased speed down to 8:04/mi), 55 mins spinning, 3 miles as progression run (every .25 mi increased speed down to 6:58/mi for last 1/2 mi).   4.25 miles total in 34:21 (8:04/mi)
  • Tuesday: 30 mins swimming (1512 yds), 6.65 miles running in 57:57 (8:42/mi)
  • Wednesday:  90 mins yoga, tons of twists


This Sunday I'll be running the NY Mini 10K.  It's a fantastic all-women's race, first started in 1972 (and then called the Crazylegs Marathon) when women weren't officially allowed to participate in road running races.   And although I'm still not in race shape, I'm thinking of a plan that will challenge me during the race while not hindering my marathon training.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Greenie goodness

I meant to post both the recipe and the source for which I found the recipe in my last post...  damn monkey mind  :P

I originally found the recipe on Jenna's blog - which is a wealth of information for all things tasty.   Although she'll mix up the exact ingredients, most of her monsters look something like this:  
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 cups organic spinach
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 scoop raw almond butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
In the batch I made yesterday I used a fresh banana and hemp milk in place of the almond milk.  Experiment with different combinations, you can't really go too wrong.  And although this sucker is greener than most of my running gear, it doesn't taste like spinach whatsoever.

Grand Prix, Green Monsters and Girly Things

Reader beware... long hodge podge post ahead.

Yesterday's Brooklyn HM, part of the 5 HM Grand Prix series - one for each borough, went pretty much as expected.  I had 3 goals in mind:
  • run it as a solid training run with a pace that reflected such
  • have a solid mental run
  • have fun
All in all I'd give myself a B for achieving those 3 goals.  I did end up with a 2:00:13, 9:10/mi pace - good for training.  I did have a mostly strong mental race although acclimating to the summer weather (which isn't even full on summer temps yet) took a bit more out of me than I would have liked.   But I learned from it and I adjusted.    And hot damn I did have fun!  The race is great ...circling around Prospect Park twice I passed all sorts of beautiful scenery, dogs getting their outdoors on, bicyclists, stroller bound babies, etc.  It was fun.  Exiting the park took the race along Ocean Parkway which I knew nothing about although I expected to be a little less protected from the sun.   However race organizers had us running in the lanes to the far left and under a beautiful canopy of mature trees.  Perfect.   Further and further into the race I could feel the breezes pick up... the breezes that let you know the ocean is near.   And then we made those last couple turns to end up on the boardwalk and cruisin' to the finish.  Done and done.

After getting back home, I fixed myself a green monster.   Earlier in the week I'd picked up some gorgeous spinach from our local greenmarket and couldn't wait to give it a go in the smoothie...  awesome recovery fuel




And then after relaxing a bit I decided to get my new ride out and see how she handles.  I headed west to the Hudson River Park/Riverside Park path and then north up to the George Washington Bridge and back.   The bike is great!   It feels comfortable and with a good fit.  The weather was ideal for a ride and I was quickly able to get up to an area along the path that I count among my most favorite in all of the city



Still in Manhattan!  Hard to believe, right?  This section isn't very long but it feels like another world; getting here you take a right turn from where the path had been running north right along the water, probably north of 160-something street if the streets ran this far west.   Near the end of this path you remerge right at the water's edge get a great shot of the very large GWB in the background



After riding partially up the long and tough ascent to the bridge's deck, I turned around and shot back home.   Will be planning to get the girl out again today for a longer ride, perhaps further north over the Henry Hudson Bridge or up into the Cloisters.  

But all that will wait until after I've hit our building's spa day.   Free manicures, pedicures, massages and facials and all I have to do is walk down two flights of stairs.  Wheee!!!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Damn you HBO

Last night we discovered the awesomeness that is HBO's series True Blood and like times in the past, when catching up on a show, it's impossible to just watch a single episode. In fact when we first started watching LOST, Jason & I marathoned it out for the first two seasons... as in we stayed up till like 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning just to get through. Sick, very sick. But hey it was a weekend, no workie and also totally worth it. Back to the vampires, 4 episodes and way past my bedtime, I snoozed the hell outta my alarm this morning. Result - will get a few sleazy miles in later today along with a short bike ride, weather permitting.

Thus far this week...

Monday - blobby blob day o' nothing (vastly different than a rest day, I assure you)
Tuesday - 5 sleazy miles in 47:17, quick circuit of push-ups/dips/cross body leg swings
Wednesday - 30 mins swimming (1512 yds), 90 mins yoga (lots of balancing standing poses)
Thursday - 6 miles in 47:17 w/7 x 2 mins on/1 min off + varying length hill sprints

Thursday's run felt great from the moment I got outside. It was about 57* and misting a light rain. I split up the first 3 intervals of hard running and recovery from the last 4 with a mile plus at a very comfortable pace and ended up with an average pace of 7:52/mi and an identical total time as the sleazy 5 miler from Tuesday.

Weirdorama.

Anywho... I was also able to squeeze in my bike pickup last night so as much as I can get out and get to riding this weekend, you can beat I will.

Up tomorrow morning, the Brooklyn HM. The course is exactly opposite of what it's been for many of the race's past years, starting with two loops around Prospect Park and traveling along Ocean Parkway to end on the Coney Island boardwalk. Going to have to remember to actually pick up my feet on that last stretch lest I end up face planting on the wooden planked boardwalk.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The lowdown

Here are all the details of my new commuting buddy. And although it'll be a short commute (6 miles give or take) I'm still working out the various a.m. combinations that might work for me...

  • time consuming, clean but perhaps not clean enough (think July): shower, commute, touch up, clothing change, work, clothing change, commute
  • requires a gym location near the office: commute, shower/clothing change, work, clothing change, commute
  • possibly polluted east river or hudson style: commute, swim, spray down with disinfectant, clothing change, work, clothing change, commute
  • stanky style: commute, work, commute
  • runner style: commute, work, clothing change & shoe change, run back home while pushing bike

Thoughts?

I'll also be considering a good name for the old girl but me thinks that'll take some time spent with her before something suitable becomes known to me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MTA Monthly Buddy



Meet the teammate of my MTA monthly pass. This girl and my MTA card will split commuting duties starting later this week.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Uptown on the D Train

Rest day today - woot! So no workout but rather plans to spend some time in the Bronx tonight, watching the Yanks and the Phillies. I'm sure I can get some curls done during that time ...wink, wink. Not much excitement to report, here's how the week looked so far:

Monday: 50 mins. spinning, 3 miles running (23:59)
Tuesday: 30 mins. swimming (1512 yds), 6.35 miles running (58:07)
Wednesday: 90 mins. yoga (balance poses were the focus)
Thursday: 5.65 miles running (47:00)

I'm hoping to get all or at least part of the Half Marathon Circuit Challenge done this weekend to a). spice up a slow starting round of training and b). to get me moving a little faster in prep for next weekend's Brooklyn HM. Not a goal race by any means but a good opportunity for a supported 13.1 mile run and a dip in the ocean afterwards.

I'm also looking forward to finally ordering my new bike and making plans to ride it to work when I can.

Monday, May 18, 2009

And we're off!



Destination: St. George, Utah
Arrival Date: October 3rd

Today marks the official kick-off to another round of marathon training. I'm feeling very strong about this, very determined and was quite motivated to get a solid workout in today. My buddy boB ...yeah no typo there ... he always says that when he seriously wants to go after a BQ he'll really buckle down. Train like a mofo and do everything full steam ahead (nutrition, cross training, tune-ups, etc). In other words, make your training nearly your singular focus. Nearly b/c hey, we gotsta still work.

I think about that often and the way I figure it today is then.

Today is when.

Today is always then. When.

And so I push myself off into 20 weeks of challenges, rewards, sweat and hard work. Nothing like a challenging work day to spring me into tonight's activities. I've been working in our DUMBO office for some time now and I still can't get the damn timing right on the slow ass A train. Adding insult to injury I needed to bring my laptop home for some work tonight and it weighs a friggin' ton. Oh and the subway isn't just around the block, it's a little bit of a jaunt... a nice scenic jaunt but a jaunt nonetheless. I left work a bit too late but hustled up the hill to Cadman Plaza and descended into the deep High Street stop.

Having just missed a C train. Isn't that always the case??!?!

An A wasn't far behind. Spent what seemed like forever traveling back into Manhattan and uptown to Columbus Circle. Glancing at my watch I noticed it was going to be very tight getting out of the station, to the gym and dressed in time for class. I started prepping while still on the train... earrings off and in the wallet, watches switched out, hair pulled back in a ponytail and glasses securely stored in their case. The train pulled into the stop and I was off. After a blur of a clothing change, I sweated out a challenging and hilly 50 min. spin class. Iris is sooo damn good that way. I then scored one of the sweet TMs and cranked out 3 miles in 23:59. I was worried that I was about to miss the closing of the pool at another gym location and so I hustled it a bit more to get my backpack and resurface to ground level so that I could make the call for a swim lane reservation in the morning.

How's that for an action packed first training day? Booking to get one workout done in order to assure I was able to get the next done in the morning. :-) Anywho, I'm not planning to burn myself out in record time so I'll try to schedule that whole routine a bit better next week.

As for the training I'm looking to use a couple of Brad Hudson's plans. His level two plan would be ideal except I'm not starting out with quite the base I'd have liked and I don't want to risk injury. And so I'll mix up elements of levels one and two and have a few tune-up races at varying distances to gauge where I am throughout the next 20 weeks.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Now that's what I'm talking about

I've mentioned before that I'm saddled with a monkey mind, in fact most people probably are to some extent. And although I'd like to think the pros of having my mad multi-tasking skillz outweigh those of my thoughts puked up anywhere and everywhere, it's not working out for me and it continues to affect my running [amongst other things]. You see the monkey mind is not content with existing in the present moment, but rather engages in the thoughts that pass through. This is a serious problem when running miles and miles sometimes hours at a time.

Now I've always struggled with the mental aspects of running, I'm content to live in the moment for only a period of time, most often not the entire time I'm running. And while this is fine for some training runs, come race time it's to my detriment. It doesn't matter if I'm falling apart physically or not and 9 times out of 10 I'm physically a-ok. And so this has been my focus. There was no "official focus training" kick-off but rather something I knew I'd need to get a better grip on if I ever intend to move off this plateau I'm stuck on and start running to my physical abilities.

It started with attending a 4 week workshop at Kula. And although I didn't start noticing the effects right away, progress was being made. It started in the yoga sessions themselves. Regardless of what had occurred in the day already, I was able to gently shut down those thought processes and focus on just the physical movements and guidance provided by the instructor. I didn't go to some far away land in my mind but rather further engaged in what I was doing at that moment. In other words, I wasn't disassociating but rather connecting to my inner self in a deeper fashion.

And little by little as my practice continued, more and more progress was made. All culminating this past Sunday at the Broad Street Run. Here's the set up... I'm not in race shape, I'm not worlds away from race shape but I'm not there and I know it. I am, however, not prepared to take this 10 miler completely casually either. I'm down some lbs., I haven't been completely slacking and I'm hungry. Hungry for a taste of success. I arrived ready to give a solid effort both physically and mentally.

The race starts and I'm off with the yellow corral (wave)... only a minute or so after the official start, which in a race of nearly 26,000 people isn't too shabby. Because I'm fairly close to the front there is no need for bobbing and weaving. I set up on the white line between the right-most two lanes and start ticking away the miles. First thing I noticed is I'm not scanning around as much as I normally do. Sure I take in the crowd, more by hearing them rather than seeing them as well as logging the same information about my fellow runners - who's close by, who's running an even pace, etc. But I'm here (points to head) engaged in my self, in my legs, in my core, in my heart. Mile by mile goes by, I slow at times I speed up at others. I can see my breathe traveling through my body.

I continue to live there ...here.

I glance at my Garmin just when passing the mile markers. Taking note of my splits but not going any further with that data. In fact I didn't look at the cumulative time passed until I saw something out of the corner of my eye, on one of the big clocks, around 57 mins and for one brief second my mind shifted. "I'm pretty sure that's Tom's PR ...he'd be finished by now. Wow!" And just as quickly I was back.

Here.

I was doing this. I was fully engaged in the moment. I was strong. I was capable. I was proud.

And then I was finished. Crossing the finish line in 1:22:03. Not a PR by any means but really not too far off either. In fact had I not stopped for an emergency porta-potty break I would have been within a minute or so of my PR and with plenty of gas in the tank to have gone for it.

It didn't matter.

I'd already won this race. I was brimming with confidence, with pure joy and also quite a bit of rain (it was a wet one, again!).

Now that's what I'm talking about!