As I mentioned in the miniest of mini race reports for STL, I needed that race to be over with. My running and mindset during training were inconsistent at best. I needed a clean break and a surge of inspiration.
I got both.
The day after STL was the 113th running of the Boston Marathon. I knew many people running and through tracking them, hearing their stories, seeing images from the day and watching the race recorded on my DVR, I was dealt the perfect opportunity to renew my own running.
Renew: To make new again; to restore to freshness, perfection, or vigor; to give new life to; to rejuvenate; to reestablish; to recreate; to rebuild ...
Tuesday produced both a phenomenal feeling swim in the morning and an invigorating run that evening. Wednesday was all about stretching and strengthening in yoga where we focused on back bends and half moon pose.
Conditions on Thursday evening were perfect for a swift run along the bridle path around 102nd and an extra dose of motivation, courtesy of Missy (who BQed again in Boston!). After a short break on Friday, Saturday morning poured on the heat, sun and fun! A nice run up to Riverbank State Park and back followed by a sweaty bike ride to Chinatown to watch some soccer.
Overall a good dose of ass-kicking and a good move towards something more consistent. I know one thing for sure, I don't want to feel as ill-prepared for a race as I was for STL. This weekend brings the Broad Street run down in Philadelphia and while I'm not exactly in PR running shape, I feel confident that I can pour on a decent performance.
I returned to St. Louis last weekend to participate in the Go St. Louis! weekend o' activities. Team Pfeiffer had a strong showing in the two day's worth of events with my SIL, Martha, leading us off on Saturday morning with a 5K. Beth, Erika and I headed over to Forest Park early that morning, equipped with fresh coffees, and ready to cheer her on. Settling on a strategy of catching her at the half way mark and then cutting across the course to see her finish, we moved into position. Along the way we were stopped by the dudes running the one (and only) water stop for the 5K - they needed some extra hands and wondered if we wouldn't mind setting our caffeinated bevvies down for a bit to help out. Sure, why not!
So instead of merely cheering Martha on as she ran by, we were able to provide her some mid-race refreshment. Her face showed something for sure... I don't know if it was surprise in seeing us there or Erika first wanting to high-five her before handing over a cup of water. Either way she continued on and had a strong finish. Yay Martha!!!
After she finished we spent some time hanging out near the finish line where several of the armed forces were out offering a variety of demos.
top to bottom: Ellie getting her thrills on the curb balance beam style. My big bro, SIL and nephew, Brendan. Bren operating the Navy Seal's bomb detection robot. Bren giving the robot one more look before reluctantly leaving the area.
That robot is soooo up this alley!
Soon enough Sunday rolled around and momma, was it ever a wet one! After eating a bit, slipping on some stylish disposable rain ponchos, Dad dropped myself, Beth, Tim, Erika and Monika off downtown near the race start. Team Pfeiffer was in full effect. We hydrated a bit more, checked our baggage, hit the porta potties, greeted some friends and then lined up. National anthem, shedding the ponchos and we're off. Knowing we were both severely under trained, Tim & I are ready to stick together once again, get this race done and start afresh with our training. Little bro is good like that. We picked up the pace some and then backed off, trying to delay the inevitable time in the race when our legs would poop out. See, that's what happens when you train like you're on a roller coaster -- ups, downs, and feeling slightly sick.
Not much more to say about the race - it hurt. I believe we both determined that it was mile 9.5 when the legs were just gone. We hung in there, encouraged one another and got ourselves over the finish line. It was not pretty. The rain was totally fine while running but after stopping it got cold FAST. I'd run a PW (personal worst), was completely and totally freezing, turning blue and thinking that we might have to take public transport home. And yet I was happy. Happy to be surrounded by 4 of my 6 sibs, happy to be finished and happy to wipe the slate clean and get my running back to a consistent state. Next up for Team Pfeiffer, San Francisco!
A last minute trip to St. Louis yielded some high quality conversation with my family, tasty eats & drinks to celebrate Erika's birthday, a whole lot of fun with my niece and nephew and a new addiction to a game called Rush Hour (yes, I'm a super dork)
Ellie dumping out her Easter bootie.
Bren and I cheesing it up
So this is the last week before the STL HM for which I'll be returning to the Midwest. Guess I should get out for a run.
Along with our ever changing weather my body has been displaying somewhat bipolar episodes. I felt strong as an ox last week & through the weekend then came Monday and my left hip/butt/back were whack. It felt as though someone beat me with a lead pipe or something. Raising my knee to tie a shoe was painful and bending down while sitting wasn't much more comfortable. It's hard to figure out if there was something that triggered the pain or if it was a culmination of stuff. The only thing that might have acted as the trigger was lugging in my backpack on Monday's commute full of my workout stuff for that night and the giant brick of a work laptop I have. It was pretty dang heavy even with my freakish strength :-) At any rate it really worried me. I don't have back problems and I don't want to start having them. I did continue on to spin class that night and the only thing more painful than my hip/butt/back was the sucktacular sub. I'm a believer in exercise helping to work stuff out most times and thus why I attended class in the first place.
I don't know if that was what helped or simply the passage of time but Tuesday I felt better and Wednesday even more so. I used Tuesday as a complete rest day as well and attended my regular Wednesday night yoga @Kula. Not only did I have a most fulfilling class but I experienced zero pain and I rocked me some tripod headstands. This is another of the transitions that can be made from crow pose. You're basically set up to go into a headstand from crow, you just drop your head and raise your legs. Working through these poses prompted our talented instructor Jillian to declare she'd be setting up a special transitions workshop for us all. Wheeee!!!
So it looks like spring is back today after having snowed yesterday (WTF!?). I greeted the day with a steady paced 7 miler along the Hudson. 45*, sunshine and some old Green Day launched me into what I'm hoping is a productive and happy (smile!) day.
Also this week I've been working from our DUMBO office and thus a change of scenery, a different commute and signs of spring along the walk from the subway. Snapped this picture this morning... I LOVE this tree but have no idea what kind it is. Anyone know?
A monkey mind is mine. In my last post I neglected to mention that for the first time in too long (and far longer than I'd care to admit) I nearly made it to the 40 mile mark for the week.
39.15 miles to be exact.
It's been a humbling road these last couple months ...quarters ...years!?! I fondly remember the summer of '07 and cranking out 60 mile weeks regularly and hitting that all time high of 70 miles one week. Since then it's been a lot of retooling and experimenting and convincing myself to stay motivated but dare I say, I feel as though I'm back. Back to what, exactly, is still tbd. I only know one thing for sure - variety works for me. I need the other stuff in my life to make my running work for me. That means spinning and swimming and yoga and strength training. That means good time management and planning for the unexpected. That means mixing it all up with cool workouts like the one Jill provided me last week and constantly evolving.
In the most recent issue of Running Times there is an article on meditation, and runners incorporating it to help quiet their "monkey mind". You know, that constant stream of ideas, thoughts, to-do lists, strategy, training, etc etc etc that can consume you while running. Monkey mind is a Buddhist term meaning unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable.
Uh yeah, that's me. All of it.
Yoga helps calm me but daily meditation would probably do a better job especially in relation to those long miles involved in training & running a marathon. Where the focus is not on disassociating but rather creating a deeper connection to your inner self.
And when that doesn't work I enjoy something cold and crisp. This past Friday after hill repeats it was some Brooklyn Black Ops.
Such frothy goodness with lots of bourbon and wine hints.
One of the trickiest parts to completing the Half Marathon Circuit Challenge last night was keeping the dang instructions dry enough to read.
But after the first time through I sorta remembered what was up next.
The entire thing, mentally, felt like a rough interval workout. Here's how I describe those...
1st repeat - holy shit, this soooo blows and is it me or is this much harder than last time? no way will I get through all of these in one piece
2nd/3rd repeat - huh, maybe I will remain intact
3/4 of the way done - really??? another??? hanging on by a thread here peeps.
last repeat - done? guess that wasn't so bad after all
Back to last night. Warmed up nice and easy with about 10 mins. of jogging and then got to 6 "100m" repeats. I use the quotes b/c I wasn't at a track and I wasn't paying close enough attention to my Garmin. The sprints ranged from 21-28 secs. and 102.5-126 meters but hot damn did they ever warm me up!
1st mile @HMP: 7:29 Took off like I was shot out of a cannon, never have my weak pacing skillz shone through more brightly.
20 burpees - you suck burpees, I don't like you, I don't like how it feels you're sucking everything out of me 70 ab crunches 40 walking lunges 70 low back extensions 20 push-ups 30 one-leg squats (15/each leg)
2nd mile @HMP: 7:42 Better on pace but still hard to gauge as I'm running into a massive headwind on the way out and scoring a sweet tailwind on the way back
5th mile @HMP: 7:41 This is surprising, I thought I was barely moving and the fatigue was setting in & fast.
Took a sec to stretch out some and then ran for another 20 mins. or so, real sleazy (slow + easy) like.
All in all, I really dug this workout. I've always been a huge fan of boot camp stuff and that's exactly what this felt like. It'd feel like I had a slow leak for a bit and then I'd hit a huge surge and then I'd just be. I will undoubtedly do this again, maybe early next week. Now that I know the individual exercises better and the feel of it all, I think it'll go more smoothly and perhaps I won't have to tuck the explanation sheet down my sports bra again. Ugh.
Thanks for the inspiration Jill! Any other good stuff like this you have tucked away, send it my way.