Monday, November 29, 2010

The darling

Of all the foods I prepared and enjoyed on Thanksgiving, this effortless appetizer reflected what I felt the most:

Whole foods

Meet the lovely, talented and tasty apricot canape

As for everything else, it was good - probably too good.  I'm still feeling the effects of too much food, not enough activity to counter said indulgences and a mind+body slightly off kilter.   Last week was decent running wise, I'm back to building my mileage with a repeat for this week and a similar schedule including yoga tonight and either Wednesday or Sunday.   Sadly I missed the PPTC turkey trot due to an unhappy tummy, highlighting another reason to cut the unnecessary junk and eat what works best for my body.   Last on tap for the coming week is a 10K on Sunday, still coming up with a game plan for that one.  Stay tuned.

Friday, November 19, 2010


As I was running last night my mind worked through the expected waves of sporadic thought. One second contemplating the menu for Thanksgiving dinner and the next reminding myself of something to do at the office in the morning.   My mind loves these waves, it's me... a prolific multitasker or, more likely, a sufferer of adult onset ADD.  Part of this process includes a game where I come up with sponsors for the miles I'm running.  Now there's no marketing genius at work here, it's more stream of consciousness.  And thus my sponsors include weather conditions, music, interesting folks or animals I might encounter, physical scenes from the run and from time to time, other runners - the quirkier the better ...I'm talking to you, Mr. YeahIRockAMembersOnlyJacketWhenRunning.   It gives my mind something to do, makes it feel useful and it totally entertains me.  Have I mentioned that I'm freakin' heeeelarious and witty to no end in my own mind?  Well, I am.  :-)

And it appears to run in the family...  from baby sis & dog niece yesterday morning: [Monika] went on her run this morning with Sadie, we pass another runner, she looks back while still running forward with me, and then....BAM! light post....that's my pup!

That reminds me, I'm due for a good wildlife report

Do you have games you play while running?

p.s. last night's run was sponsored by the new Girl Talk album, perfect blankets of leaves floating on the Hudson and a cool fall rain.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm coming after you...

Count me among those who like to include future race planning in their recovery.   While downtime is needed, especially the mental break, I like to have a few races either planned out or floating around in my noggin' as next steps.   This week is another of free form running, just getting out there and getting some time on my feet while allowing my body to continue to recover from the marathon.   I've been a good girl and went back to Kula on Monday night and let me yell at you.... mommy!  My entire core is crazy sore, when meeting Tavia last night for our run I remarked that my flanks were crying out in pain. I feel like those first times I played Wii tennis and suffering from the dreaded Wii arm (read, flank).  Today is certainly better but wow, anyone who doesn't believe yoga --- even a beginner's class, can be a challenging workout needs to sit in my body for a bit.  And it's not like I'm way out of practice, was just a week or so since my last class.  But I digress... back to running.

The siblings and I are all in for the next race; Team Pfeiffer loves to get together as often as possible and our next one is looking to be the perfect storm of running insanity.   We're sitting at 6 siblings strong all registered for either the Surf City full or half marathon on 2/6/11.  I actually cannot remember the last time that 6 of us ran the same race.... we had good representation at Lewis & Clark in Sept but that was just part of the STL based gang and a bit more at the STL HM this past April but no CA sis, probably the strongest showing was last year at the San Francisco HM where we had 5 peeps running.  In fact, I don't think 6 of us have ever run together in the same event, someone always seems to be a cheerleader or otherwise occupied at race time.   Even more of a reason to let out a big ole WOOT!   So that's the next big race, I'll be training for the HM and looking to bring my PR down to a sub-1:40.  Earlier this year I ran a 1:40 in NYC while deep in marathon training thus my preparation for Surf City will be compromised of a similar mileage build up and lots of tempo work.  Prior to February I'll be planning to jump into a couple NYRR races and possibly hit up a Turkey Trot next week. 

1:30s... I'm coming after you, watch out! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remaining work

It's no secret how much I was looking forward to NYCM and quite equally to the aftermath, which included a heavy nudge on the RESET button.   Now that some precious recovery time has passed since the race, I'm focusing on what I would like to accomplish for the remainder of 2010.   In no particular order:
  • Consistently running 6 days/week, 7 some weeks.  My body likes the consistency & frequency and b/c I run all non-quality work outs at an easy pace, there isn't a big risk for break-down.   Of course this doesn't mean monster mileage right away, I'm still recovering, but shorter running and  running more often.
  • 1 trip to the yoga studio MINIMUM.  Unfortunately I had hoped to also work swimming a day or two into the mix but my pool is closed for maintenance right now and so ideally I'd like this to be 2 visits to the studio each week.
  • Cleaning up my diet.  I got way too lax in what goes in the ole gullet throughout most if not all of the summer and I can feel and see the difference.   Planning evening meals and more regular trips to the grocery store will do wonders here.
  • Somewhat related to the visits to the yoga studio, I need to get back to a strong meditative practice. I lost all, I mean all of my mental game.  In hindsight this is one of the largest reasons why my summer & early fall running sucked so much, I just didn't have my mind in it and at some times, my heart.  
All of these items are completely doable and have been done by me without issue in the past.  I just need to focus my ADD-ridden mind and make the small but necessary changes in my day to day to accomplish each.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

#9 is fine!

Sunday's NYCM was the 9th of marathons I've run and wow, it did not disappoint!  I took the approach of having a grand ole time along the course, soaking up the unbelievable crowd support and amazing course through so many of NYC's diverse neighborhoods and not worrying about a goal time, splits, etc.   Again, it did not disappoint.   Spots that were a little bare and lacking support back when I last ran this race in '07 were now 3-4 people deep!   It didn't hurt that the weather was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!!  And for all of you who have read here long enough, you know that means no heat, no humidity and no freak conditions.  It was cool and crisp but sunny and we were kissed with a nice breeze (windy, even, in parts) ....all heaven to a too-warm runner like myself.  I enjoyed every single aspect to the day including the extra early wake-up call to board a bus and camp out on Staten Island for several hours prior to lining up for the start; this year I even scored a sweet spot inside a tent!  And for a day that lasted essentially from 4:15 a.m. till after 2:00 p.m. it went by in a heartbeat.  

One aspect to race day that I hadn't encountered before was the excitement in knowing several runners not only experiencing their first NYCM but also running their first marathon.   I often thought of these peeps ...Kelly, Elgin, Carlos & most especially the lovely Sharon, wondering if they were having as good of a time as I was and hoping it was my adventure tenfold!   Quickly these thoughts led me back to my own first marathon and what I remember from that June day in San Diego back in '06:
  • Where's sissy, where's sissy?
  • Why oh why did the race directors think a cambered stretch of highway to be suitable for miles along the course?
  • Every mile after and including mile 21 must measure 2 miles long each, no way are these markers accurate
  • This Rock & Roll bs isn't really even worth it, I'm past a band before I even really hear them
  • How are we still circling around Sea World, just how many turns can we take to make up a mile or two?
  • [seeing a runner fall within the last mile of the race] Holy shit that would suck so very bad... keeping moving forward Maria, keep moving forward
  • I'm just going to walk a little through this water station, surely that won't hurt
  • OMG, there it is... OMG, there it is!   I see the finish line.
  • Where's sissy, where's sissy?
  •  And immediately, I mean immediately after crossing the finish line - where can I sit down?!?!?!?!  I don't want anything to eat, I don't want my baggage or my medal, I just want to sit down. :) 

Funny enough, after 9 full marathons, countless hours/days/weeks/months of training [and other race distances] and more miles than I'd care to calculate, I ran Sunday's race slower than that first marathon in 2006.   And despite my finish time on Sunday, or perhaps in celebration of, I love this beast of a race distance more than ever!!!  Thank you New York City, you have been my home for the last 10+ years and I never felt more a part of you than I did on Sunday. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chill or oppo-chill

This training cycle for NYC has been such an odd experience.  From the start it was nothing like what I've done in the past, not like anything pre-coach Lloyd or since working with him.   Unlike either of my first NYC marathon experiences where I was still relatively new to the long distance running scene.   I've felt up, I've felt depressed, I've assessed, I've struggled, I've re-assessed, I considered running several October marathons and on the complete other end of the spectrum, nearly decided to bag a fall race altogether.   Ultimately I comfortably decided to run on the streets of my city in my [adopted] hometown marathon once again.   Coach has been very patient with my swings in mood and decision making and kept me moving forward.  As for me, I know full well that I'm not in prime shape but also not unprepared, injured or otherwise incapacitated.  And that, that knowledge right back there (<----) has been the crux of my thinking this week. 

Earlier in the week I let coach know how I was feeling, responding to him:   I'm feeling pretty good and eager for the race.  Not surprising I'm almost as eager to cap off this cycle and start fresh again, while the lower mileage feels right for the here and now and I've struggled to remain consistent since May, it's not the best fit for me.  I'm looking forward to more running and rebuilding for 2011.

Of course all that is true but there's something else in those words. It's me almost too eager to be done with this cycle, with the NYCM and ready to almost (you see it too, don't you?) erase the experience for the prospects of a better training cycle.  Now maybe I'm judging myself too much but I see it and while I know what works for me and what doesn't I also seem to be missing out on an opportunity here.  Not every cycle is ideal, not every cycle is perfect.  I had what felt to me to be a damn near ideal cycle leading up to May 1 and it didn't yield what I wanted, what I knew I had in me.  This feeling lingers and now I can't help but feel it is standing in my way of a still solid race in NYC.

Don't get me wrong, this summer, while frustrating and aimless, has left me with many great running experiences as well.  I've logged some nice miles in the Palisades with LK, EG and SP not to mention miles and miles of bridges with EG, AC, ES & DN and a weekly Tuesday running date with TK.  I also had the immense pleasure of accompanying Missy on her first race post-pregnancy, a thrill beyond words!  Most recently I logged two LRs that covered portions of the NYCM course and wow, that was an experience I have not yet had and in itself identifies this cycle as something unique.  And so I should take the sum of all these experiences and add them to my solo running and see that all is not lost and with adjusted goals, I earned the right for a solid race in NY in less than two weeks. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Without much fanfare

I hit another of my goals for 2010.  I knew it was coming but it didn't seem like such a big deal after it happened... in fact I forgot until this morning to check out the mileage summary on my RA log thinking I still had a bit to go. 

And so without further ado, I bring to you my 2010 mileage through October 3rd're digging on my mad SnagIt skillz aren't you???

2 goals down, 1 monster one left remaining.  Or maybe I should downplay it so I don't freak out so damn much when I'm running my next full.   It's not a monster, it's really a gentle care bear of a goal... yeah, that's the ticket!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend kick off

With a renewed spirit I spent a nice chunk of the weekend doing what else?  Running!  Saturday morning I met up with Elyssa on the southern ramp to the GWB and we started our journey of a long run into NJ.   Over the bridge we went and into the network of trails that encompass the Palisades Interstate Park.  We've run this route together before but only went so far as to about 4 miles in before heading down to the water's edge and running back towards the bridge.  However today was one of those return to summer days, doggy, hot, and full of sunshine, that, while being nice for a day at the beach are no picnic for a run of about 18 miles.  Neither of us wanted to emerge from the calm of the trails to the exposed concrete of the Hudson River paths back in Manhattan. And thus we made the executive decision to remain on the long path out to the ranger's station before turning around and coming back.  At least on the trails it was a wee bit cooler and we were mostly protected from the nasty sun.  These trails are great and soooo accessible from the city!  I mean, we ran here, can't be much more accessible than that.  :-)   The trails themselves have some areas more technical than others and there are points were you do need to walk at the risk of turning an ankle, breaking a limb or taking a very big spill ...note: I did take a small spill but it only resulted in me looking more dirt bag than I already was with no injury to report.   But overall the trails are very runnable and very enjoyable.   As you can see on the linked maps above, the trails run right along the Hudson heading north.  In fact if we had continued to run north we'd eventually end up back in NY state without having to traverse the river.  This shall be a future run.

For this one we hit the ranger's station around 9.38 miles and turned around to re-cover a portion of the long path before diverging down the steep descent to the edge of the Hudson, covering ground heading south on a less technical trail and then using the ultra fun only slightly intimidating cliff stairs to ascend back up to the height of the GWB. Our final mile+ was covered hustling back across the bridge into NY, ending with 18.75 miles in total.  Sure it took a lot longer than 18.75 miles should be we saved our legs, adding some variety and had a blast doing so.

On to the next day and another episode of bi-polar running , but this year in reverse!   This is the second year I've run the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile, it's a great race and a huge draw for a ton of local and world talent.  The best part is finishing up your heat and sticking around to catch the local sub-elites and elites run down what is normally a very busy avenue in Manhattan.   I remember totally feeling like I wanted to puke prior to this race last year, Missy & I were both scared to death and even after running a few quarters to warm-up couldn't help but think that dying was a real possibility in the course of this single mile race.  A bit dramatic, no?  But real!  :-)   Unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to have Missy's company again this year but I did retain the knowledge that neither of us did in fact perish as a part of last year's race.  I didn't quite plan out my warm-up well enough and only had time to run up to the start and get through a few strides prior to my age group lining up.  Seems like the group of 30-39 year old women grew a lot since last September, so much so that I was stuck behind way too many people laden with headphones and water bottles --- hmmm, this is merely a mile race, while difficult in nature b/c of speed, I really doubt anyone would have an issue with hydration or boredom during those 1600 some odd meters.  Right?   Anywho, too many people in front of me resulting in a bit of dodging after the gun fired.   I already knew my legs weren't 100% due to yesterday's adventure but they weren't sore nor totally dead so I pushed a bit and enjoyed the rest.  You crest a nice little hill at the 1/2 mile mark and from there it's a fun ride down to the finish near the Plaza.  I didn't work too hard and I didn't die - yay!  6 minutes and 40 seconds later it was all done and I was happy with the effort and result.

The remainder of my morning and early afternoon were spent catching the other heats and sticking around for the real fun.   Great, close finishes in both the pro men and women races provided even more inspiration and a lot of jaw dropping - 3:52 for the men and 4:24 for the women!!!  Check out the photos in the various galleries here!

Friday, September 24, 2010

::rubs eyes::

So yeah the summer is gone and while it was long and still seems to be hanging out on some days with wild, weird temperature & humidity fluctuations, it's a long season that has come to an end. Looking back I can't help but feel I spent the whole time waiting.  Patiently at times, fussily at others.  Desperate most.  Yearning for a sign, some start of kick start, some reminder, some drive, some anything ...that would get me feeling on track or alive or inspired.  I've started 6-7 different posts, all on the same topic, none ever completed nor published to the blog b/c even those thoughts were uninspired and soon dried up.  And so I stayed in a mode I've been in before and will undoubtedly be in at some point in the future.  I continued to "Taurus" my running ...yeah I just made that term up but it's accurate.  To "Taurus" one's {insert activity here} is to continue pushing in the most stubborn of manners hoping that eventually the sheer brute force of this action will result in a positive outcome.  

It didn't work.  I continued to wait.  I continue to waffle.  And then I broke down before/during the New Haven 20K over Labor Day.  I have never wanted to run less.  I wasn't tired, I wasn't hurting, I just didn't want to run.   Since then I've been running only when I want and keeping it easy.  No plan.  Straight free balling.  

Until today.

Without suspecting a thing, a single action seemed to have slapped me in the face & reignited that fire I'd been so very much missing.  The action?  NYRR released the wave, corral and bib numbers for the NYC Marathon.   I don't know exactly what it was in receiving this information but it instantly framed out the remaining 6 or so weeks until race day for me.  I will run this marathon (that I'm already registered for) and I will not just glide along until that time.  I will give it whatever I can.

And so the summer of sulking comes to an end, thank god!!  I feel I have a renewed purpose in my running and my training and I'm quite literally going to run with it.  Doesn't hurt that I recently came upon this favorite Nike campaign on Megan's blog, The Runner's Kitchen

“You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist. You dragged your butt out of bed while others slept. While others ate their pancakes you had a feast of protein, glucose and electrolytes. You double-knotted. You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you.

You ran 5Ks, 10Ks, 26.2 miles. Some days more, some days less. You rewarded a long run with a short run. And a short run with a long run. Rain tried to slow you. Sun tried to microwave you. Snow made you feel like a warrior.

You cramped. You bonked. You paid no mind to comfort. On weekends. On holidays. You made excuses to keep going. Questioned yourself. Played mind games. Put your heart before your knees. Listened to your breathing. Sweat sunscreen into your eyes. Worked on your farmer’s tan.

You hit the wall. You went through it. You decided to be man about it. You decided to be woman about it. Finished what you started. Proved what you were made of. Just kept putting mile after mile on your interval odometer. For 25 years, you ran. And we ran with you. How much farther will we go? As far as you will.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Finding your happy place

Often a happy place is in one's mind, perhaps a memory that conjures up positive energy and good times.  I have those happy places too but I also have a physical location for my happiness and gratitude and positive energy.

If you didn't know to look for it, you might just pass it up.   After surfacing from the subway, head East

Don't let the seemingly "closed for the day" vibe of the surrounding businesses fool you

The door is never locked, the creaky stairs await you.

Warm up to warm up, climb 3 flights of this walk-up ...but don't rest here, it's just the bathroom

The hues indicate something welcoming inside but that's just the surface. 

My happy place  ...where or what is yours?

Sending out a SRS


Take it easy, don't expect a PR opportunity and chalk it up to another running experience.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Making the most of my Firebolt

Ah yes, once again I've let my time on the blog slip away.  Fear not, life continues moving forward although at times it does seem to be a blur of working hours, running hours, weekend trips and guests coming and going.  The Reader's Digest version of what's been going is as Wooderson from Dazed and Confused says "L-I-V-I-N"

One day at a time.

I decided to get the wheel rolling on training again, working towards a goal or two in the fall.   The exact race(s)/goal(s) are not yet in cement but I'm running & working with Lloyd - yay!  And mixing it up a lot:  running with various peeps like EG, ES, LK and SS, joining groups at times and hitting the trails.  It's all a tremendously good time.  With the warm weather and humidity you really need more options and ways to deal with the conditions.  These peeps and new routes are a huge aid!   And of course, I'm still lucky to get a few miles in here and there with Missy!!   Not long now and her baby girl will join the world and start rocking out her new BOB stroller - cannot wait to meet this future Boston Qualifier with over 1000 miles under her belt come her birth day.

Finally got my carcass back to the yoga studio too and don't plan to stray in the near future.  My body reminded me that yoga is part of the deal.   No building miles and miles without adequate time at Kula.  Summer time at the studio is especially fun and challenging and very slippery as temps in the rooms there can get to quite the stifling point.  All in all it makes for a great 90 mins per session even if I do look like I'm coming out of a pool.  I can practically hear my body sigh in relief after some time spent there or maybe that's just my pores gurgling with sweat - either way, it is so worth it.
And seeing as it's now over halfway through 2010, the folks at KR and I started checking in on our goals for the year to see where we all stood.  As posted at the end of 2009:
  • #1 goal is to run a strong marathon
  • Run at least 2000 miles
  • Stay healthy
  • Expand my yoga practice
  • Run a HM PR
So I'd say I've got about 3.75 of the 5 covered or on-track to cover.  I'm still chasing that elusive strong marathon but I did nail a beautiful HM PR in March and have 1440 miles for the year already logged.  I've also managed to stay relatively uninjured and quite healthy (no colds or sickness of any kind in quite awhile - yay green monsters!). My yoga practice hasn't expanded in quite the way I thought when I posted this goal but I'm certainly getting more and more out of every session.  I'd really love to make it to one of Kula's yoga retreats this year but if not, next year is just as good.

Outside of running and yoga we've had a number of visitors in the last several weeks and have traveled to a big family reunion for my dad's side of the family.  Good times continue into the summer - coming up next, yummy eats during restaurant week and catching Thierry Henry's debut with the NY Red Bulls vs. Tottenham.

Stay cool peeps!

Oh and yes my firebolt aka the mini stub of a ponytail shooting straight out of the back of my head - she's a keeper!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

R,R and R

VCM ended at mile 15 for me when I stepped off the course.  I'm still not exactly sure what happened but I believe it began a week or so prior to the race when I experienced some crampy legs.  I treated them by stretching more, wearing my compression sleeves and drinking a bit of A-to-B Calm. Ultimately I believe I had an electrolyte or other imbalance that resulted in some roasty, toasty legs well before I would have/should have felt them.  I also had some GI distress that caused 3 stops during those 15 miles where I'm unsure if it was related to the imbalance in my other systems or merely another fun facet of this particular day.  Ultimately, it's not how I envisioned my training ending nor representative of where I know my level of running currently resides.  But it's a part of my history and more in a continuing education in running.  Josh Cox raced the Comrades Marathon that same weekend and ended up with a less than ideal result (for him), he posted this shortly after finishing...

"Thanks for the well wishes. It's tough when 6 months of work doesn't pan out but I'm blessed that my "bad" day involves running a race."

I could not agree more.  Sure I could have suffered through 11 more miles of the race in Burlington that day but I had nothing to prove.  It was simply not my day.  After all is said and done, the time since I started this cycle has been HUGE for me and netted me so many happy days of miles and smiles.
  • I started working with Lloyd as a coach and developed even more of a respect for a super talented runner and great coach!   He brought me back to where running every day is fun and kept me at a level I know I can maintain in the future without getting injured or burnt out.  
  • I hit my highest weekly and monthly mileage and look forward to hitting them again and maybe even bettering them, next cycle.  I love me lots and lots of miles.
  • On the sweetest of March mornings I caught a glimpse of just how far my training has come when I ran a relaxed and strong 1:40 HM.  And I know it's only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Since late last summer I've been blessed with not one, not two but three superb regular running partners.  Missy, baby squash and Bella.   They come as a package and they make every outing fun and fleet.
One of the most key aspects to training for me this time around is closing the book on one cycle and feeling recovered enough to start another.  It might not be so black and white for others but I've basically been in the same cycle of training since late last spring, early last summer when anticipating a marathon in St. George and then CIM.  Of course neither happened but I was running with the purpose of those races the entire time.  I simply continued to roll over my training and ultimately build a big base for what would be IL and then VCM.  Recovery is also different this time around, since I didn't end up racing either of the two May marathons to anywhere near my max and so I'm not very beat up physically.   But mentally, I was/am bushed!  Enter a perfectly timed trip to Mexico.

Now I knew Jason and I needed a vacation, we both knew it.   Hell, we knew it on January 1.  We'd both worked extremely hard in our jobs throughout 2009 without any break in 2010.  Major product releases, large partnership opportunities & contracts, very long hours, it all took it's toll.  Add to that training for a couple races that took up the better part of a year and without a break, complete & total meltdown was imminent.  Thank god our friends Mario & Melissa decided to do a destination wedding in Riviera Maya and we booked and confirmed early on.  Traveling south of the border provided the perfect opportunity to quite literally unplug from everything.  No phones, no emails, no Facebook, no Twitter, no blogs, no meetings, no nothing but the simple necessities of life.  Food, drink, friends, water and good ole vitamin D!  It was heaven.  I got out for a couple very short and sweaty runs but not because I felt I needed to but because I wanted to.  The relaxation continues this week although with a more reality based twist.  Back at home in NYC and working and what not although I'm not yet following any training plan nor have any solid plans for what's next.  This will undoubtedly change soon but for now I'm enjoying the unstructured nature to my workouts.  And with the Caribbean's influence I may even get my butt back to the pool  :-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mental branding

Just 3 sleeps till VCM and while the weather isn't looking great, I'm focusing only on what I can control.  The weather will rarely be ideal and frankly, I'm tired of making excuses b/c of it.  To use a way-overplayed phrase, it is what it is.  Weather aside, I want this race to be about not making excuses.  No "but this... " or "but that... " as an explanation as to why I didn't stick with my plan.  Sure, things may happen that I don't want around me but as long as I recover and get back to my plan, I'll consider that a successful race.

I want to remain in control, I want to be the boss of both my body and my monkey mind.

Part of my prep for a race involves music, it comes to my aid both on a daily basis and pre-race.  I'm a big music fan, of most varieties and while I don't listen to it while running races and only at times during training, I can recall music and lyrics most anytime I want.  I can also usually remember the context in which I heard a song and this can be very motivating.  Case in point, Intro by The XX.  Hearing it in the context of this video has already come to my mind while executing a workout.   It gives me chills both when in the accompaniment of the video and all on it's own.  It stirs something deep inside me.  Lyrics are like mantras.  So when I'm feeling the need to mellow out I find something on the iPod that suits me or when I'm ready to pump it up, I've always got a go-to tune or two to get me rev'ed up.  When I'm with other members of Team Pfeiffer pre-race we're all about listening to Girl Talk but lately it's a song by Fabolous and my interpretation of some of his lyrics.

Go hard, today 
The past is the past, you know
Can't worry the past cause that ye-sterday
It's a new day bro
Ima put it on the line cause it's my time
My day, gotta do it now
Hey hey hey heey
I gotta stay on my grind cause it's my time (hey)
My time (hey), my time (hey) 

Team Pfeiffer jammin' out prior to last year's San Francisco HM

Monday, May 24, 2010

Meanwhile back in taper town

It's a funny thing tapering twice for marathons within 4 weeks of one another.  Well I guess it's not strange or odd for multiple marathon folks but I don't normally fall into that category so it's a little trippy for me.  Probably the best thing I can say and feel about it is that I don't feel in dire need of a taper.  Sure, I need and want the extra time to really solidify my race plan and visualize it's execution but I don't feel beat up and that was one of my larger concerns about squeezing in another May race.

The last physical & mental boost experienced came about yesterday in the form of the Brooklyn HM.  I had already registered for this race before deciding upon VCM so after consulting coach, we decided that it would still be a go but that I'd have a specific plan in place for the 13.1 miles.   Start easy (4-5 mi), slide down into MP (4-5 mi) and finish easy.  Do not race it in.  Remain in control and fight off dropping the pace outside of the specified MP window.  Got it.  Good.

I ran this race last year too and really liked it.  The course has you running two loops of Prospect Park and then heading out onto Ocean Parkway running a pretty straight line out to Coney Island, finishing on the boardwalk.  A HUGE improvement over how the course used to run (up until last year) where you started at Coney Island and finished with two loops of P.Park.   Improvement b/c if you've ever run Prospect you know it's not flat and there's one big dude of a hill in particular that can slow you down quite a bit + you gotta suck it up for two loops. But I digress... race went pretty much as expected:

M1: 8:24
M2: 8:27
M3: 8:05 - PMPM (premature marathon pace mile)
M4: 8:01 - another PMPM
M5: 8:25
M6: 8:25
M7: 7:46 - MP
M8: 7:57 - MP
M9: 8:04 - MP
M10: 8:08 - MP
M11: 9:06
M12: 8:38
M13: 9:39 (including a porta potty stop)
M _.1: :54 

Finished with an official time of 1:50:07

I was pleased with the effort, how it felt very controlled and how my mental game played out (stick with the plan!).  I feel extraordinarily blessed receiving some really great advice and encouragement from you all here on the blog, in person and via email messages.  It really means a lot to me and I really tried to put much of it into practice along the course on Saturday.   I'm planting the thoughts further into my race plan for this coming weekend, I certainly feel ready!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's all in my head

Another "any one who knows me knows" statement coming in 3, 2, 1 ...  I consider myself a pretty tough individual.  It doesn't hurt that I'm stubborn as all hell and being a typical Taurus, a hardworking, determined individual.   I welcome any physical challenge that comes my way and often have great success with them.  I don't like to say "I can't" to anything.   I will spend hours and hours and months and months building up to a single event but, and this is where I need some help, this is where I struggle.

I always have.  

I get into my own head too much.

I start to put boundaries on what I'm doing and where I'm going.  Most specifically, while running a marathon.  Maybe it's the logical, detail oriented business analyst in me maybe it's something else but I need to get past it.  I have the means to get past it, I have the physical capabilities to make anything happen but still I get hung up. 

Mantras help.  Focus helps.  Confidence helps. 

What do you do to get yourself past these points?   Brute force?  Finding your special place deep inside the mind?  Disassociating completely? 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Checking in, like constantly

Since Illinois I've been making it a daily, sometimes twice daily habit to do a mental and physical check-in with myself.  I want to assure I'm in the right place and ready to tackle another 26.2.  Physically this didn't and doesn't appear to be a problem but the mental adjustment was larger.  I needed to reset the thought that I was wrapping up a cycle and get it moving forward again, for another 4 weeks.  I also needed to move past whatever thoughts I generated in hindsight from IL and fully engage myself into VCM.    Sure, applying lessons learned is a must but equally important is treating each running experience as it's own independent event.

And so the check-ins continue.

After a week of recovery and lower mileage I logged another 60+ week with a quality tempo workout and a fast finish 20 miler.   Both went very well and were nice confidence boosters.   And so I find myself back into taper mode in the first part of another 45 or so mile week and lots of rest when possible.  I also (lucky me!) find myself in another high-profile & stressful work project - gah, these things follow me around like my shadow.  Will be getting lots of yoga in to deal with both the taper and the stress  :-)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The grieving period is ovah!

Numbness or Shock - check!
Anger - check!
Disorganization & depression - check!
Acceptance & Re-organization - check!  

Ready to don this outfit one more time ...errr, except perhaps swapping out that top for a sports bra that doesn't cause as much chaffing, and give 26.2 another go in Vermont over Memorial Day weekend!

This week is all about recovery and regrouping.  Next week I'm back in the game.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Down ...but not for long

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't stay down for long.  I let myself stew in my sadness or madness a bit and may tap into it a few more times to remember what it feels like before deciding that it needs to leave.  I don't operate well under such a blanket of sadness or negativity or really any alteration from my everyday demeanor.  It doesn't feel like me.  So when reviewing the disappointment for my race in Illinois, I straddle the line of rationalizing, understanding and questioning.  What parts are sadness?  Which are anger?  Which can I learn from?  And which are just un-categorized emotion?

I am/was heart broken.  Obviously this is not the race I've trained for and although the weather is not in my control, I continue to wonder if I reacted as best as I could. 

I didn't freak out.
I acknowledged the weather and carried through with a plan to carry water, sip more, sip often.
I stuck with a conservative, controlled pace.

However, I also acknowledged to myself that it would be highly unlikely to hit all of my goals given the conditions.  Although I didn't know 100%.  Instead I started thinking about saving myself and finding another race another day.

Was that it?

Could I have stuck with it, gritted my teeth and dug deeper?  Should I have?  I certainly felt better later in the race but by then my stomach was overfull of liquids in an attempt to keep myself hydrated and cool.  Of course I'll never know but I can't help but wonder.  Perhaps my vision for a good race is skewed?  Perhaps I don't know what it really means to "make it may day".

And this leaves me sad.

But not out.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And then there were two

This morning I headed out to the shorter 220yd cinder track to tackle the last of my interval workouts.  It was another misty, foggy morning and provided a relaxing atmosphere to finish up my track work this cycle.  I resorted to the shorter track b/c it's closer to home and I didn't need the miles, so round and round and round the cinders I went.   Aside from a gang of vicious looking pigeons that surely wanted to peck my eyes out, it was quiet at the track.  Lots of people walking by with their dogs and runners darting by on the path further up into & out of Riverside park.  It was a nice change in location and perspective from the Riverbank track I'm normally at.  As I chipped away at the 6 laps per 1200 interval I reflected more on my upcoming race.  Stay cool, stay calm, keep it all in perspective.  Morning runs are one of the only times lately where I have the luxury of just me and my own thoughts.  Work is insane, crazy intense and all encompassing.  Which is good and bad.  Good b/c it gives me zero opportunity to stress over the race and the weather and other things I can and cannot control at this point but bad b/c I'm completely exhausted upon leaving the office.  And my mind just doesn't shut off from that subject matter so easily.  Whatever the case, I'm here - left with just two runs before marathon Saturday. 

Both runs will be pure joy and run with some of my most favorite people!  Tomorrow I'm slated for a meet up with my favorite NYC running girls - Missy, Bella and the baby mango (although she's probably a different fruit/veggie this week) and then Friday will be a shake-out with Lora and maybe Cindi. 

4 sleeps to go!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I knew Boston would be inspiring and man oh man, was it ever! ...but I also knew it would be indulgent.  After all, I haven't yet qualified for myself and although I enjoy attending & watching marathons quite thoroughly, I felt this experience to be much different. As the weekend went on I couldn't help but notice the thin line between soaking up all that this historic race offers and perhaps soaking up a bit too much for where I was, a non-registered, non-qualified runner. Sure, all sorts of folks not running attend the expo, buy gear and cheer runners on in Boston - no different than any other race, but I also had plans to jump in along the course and run as a bandit along with Missy.  I've done this before for/with others and I didn't feel nearly as guilty as I do, now,  reflecting on Monday.  Boston is sacred to runners.   It's historic, it often represents the pinnacle in one's running and it's very much loved.

It wasn't mine to have. 

And although I never felt it was my race, never even a hint of that, I did feel like I was taking something that didn't belong to me.  Perhaps it was the distance covered (20 miles for me), that's a good chunk of time to be running in a race that isn't yours.  Awareness was also heightened by those incredibly wonderful folks cheering us on.   "Us" when it should have been "her".

Gah, I feel so conflicted.  My intentions were innocent, looking for inspiration, excited to visit with friends, to meet others I haven't yet had the chance to spend time with and to help my friend achieve a goal she set for herself when she found out she was pregnant, having already qualified.  But here I am, feeling guilty and horrible.

Undoubtedly a run will leave me feeling better but for all of those who did qualify, who did have their race - I apologize, I didn't mean to take anything away from your day or your experience.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Imagination, inspiration, indulgence

I am beyond excited for the coming weekend, in fact you'd think I was registered and running the Boston Marathon myself.    Instead I'll be heading up the coast to support my running friends, cheer them on, gain a big dose of inspiration for my own running and admittedly, indulge in what I hope to be my own scene next year.  Looking at the images below, as a runner, how could you not want to be a part of this??  They will undoubtedly fuel my last LR @MP scheduled for later today.   

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ahhhhh, home

I had one of those weekends that, despite the travel involved, didn't feel like it went by too quickly. Sure, I would have loved to spend a few more days at home in St. Louis, especially today attending the Cards home opener with the rest of my siblings but overall, it was good and fun and full.   One of the elements about life in St. Louis that always has me wondering if I could go back is that you end up driving a lot of places.  Mostly because everything is so spread out and there aren't a ton of mass transit options, although Metro Link has done wonders for the city thus far.  I've become accustomed to not having a car and walking most places when a subway or bus isn't required.  In fact, I prefer walking most of the time.  And so I was especially excited that upon arriving on Friday, auto transportation was not an issue... the sisters and I walked up to a local bar & restaurant to inquire about a softball team sponsorship and ended up enjoying a few drinks and some dinner there.   We then walked over to little bro's place which is a convenient handful of blocks from there.   I almost felt like I was back in NYC  :)  Tim's place is awesome b/c it's so close and we have a million memories there as it used to be the home of my aunt and uncle.   It also boasts a sweet yard with a cool fire pit and hot tub ...and, as you can see, some nice custom touches.

Saturday morning we headed out to cheer on mom and dad walking a 5K in Forest Park as part of the Go St. Louis!  marathon weekend events.   They were both looking very chipper and strong and even stopped to give us some serious running poses... dad's words were "get low"  hahahaha...

Beth, Erika, Monika & I walked in the last 1.1 miles with them and rewarded ourselves with breakfast at the pancake house.  YUM!   After a visit to the expo and a short run we were enjoying some of my favorite pizza and making plans for the next morning. 

Sunday morning came way early and after debating how I'd get my needed miles in and trying to see some of the STL HM as well, I had a plan.  Dad, our designated drop-off driver (DDD), left us near the starting line to the STL marathon, half-marathon and relay events... we checked bags, hit the porta-potties and lined up.  A gorgeous day was unfolding.  Soon enough the anthem was sung and the gun went off.  Erika and Beth were just behind Monika & I as we settled into a nice comfortable pace.  I planned to run the first 10 miles with Monika and when she turned around to head towards the finish line of the HM I would stick with the full peeps and get a few more miles in with them before leaving the race course altogether.   It was a great way to run 22.25 miles and not be solo the entire time.  And it all turned out quite well although the temps were a wee bit warmer than I would have liked, they didn't hurt too much.  Thoughts about the run:
  • I should have drank more earlier, I was carrying my hand held and didn't want to run out of liquids before I found a water fountain in the park.  Around mile 16 I felt a little overheated but probably could have avoided this with more liquids earlier
  • Fueling during the run was spot-on, fueling the two days before were notsogreat
  • I really enjoyed the relative quiet after splitting off from the HM peeps near mile 10, running along Forest Park Pkwy under Kingshighway was a nice break and really reengaged me
  • Although I was technically a bandit to the race (though I didn't take any gel, water or gatorade from the aid stations) all of the volunteers were extremely supportive and helpful - this event is organized very well!
  • It was fun to start the run downtown, take in a ton of local scenery and end up running right back to my parent's house
With just about a half a day left until I boarded my plane back to NYC, the family and I wasted no time in cooking up some good eats, playing a bit of outdoor beer pong and enjoying both individual cupcakes and an awesome cupcake cake made by mom to celebrate Erika's b-day... (that's red velvet for those interested)

And that brings both my weekend and another week of training to an end.  With less than 3 weeks until the IL Marathon I ended Sunday with my highest weekly mileage ever, 75.1 miles!   Time to back off now, rest as much as possible and keep myself strong and healthy.   Thanks for the wonderful times Pfeiffers!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Is that you, Doogie?

Apologies for my lack of blogging, I started and abandoned three other posts in the last couple of weeks simply b/c I didn't have time to finish one nor the brain power to concentrate. I'm in the midst of my last heavy mileage week prior to tapering and also the last couple of heavy development weeks for a major product I have going on at work. It's not ideal but the running makes the daytime craziness a bit more deal-able. So here I am, less than 4 weeks out from the IL Marathon and feeling primed and ready to roll. I ran with Missy & Bella the other morning and was telling her (...them?, hard to tell if Bella listens to our running chatter) that I feel much differently with this cycle of training. Sure there are handfuls of different facets to my training this time around and I'm not the same self that's trained for a marathon, in what feels like a previous life, but the simple truth is I don't feel beat up. I'm adapted and comfortable averaging 60+ miles a week and if I had more hours in the day, don't doubt averaging 70+ miles would be quite doable as well.

A quick peek back at my running log reveals why...


That's weekly mileage since late October, when I started working with Lloyd and dedicating myself to a goal race in May. And another big bonus, I don't feel burnt out either! This is big people, WAY BIG! So here we are, a few more weeks of hanging in there, a couple more key workouts to nail, including a great test of concentration tomorrow with 45 mins worth of tempo cruise intervals. And who knows, maybe a few more chances of positively identifying the runner I see most mornings south along the Hudson as Neil Patrick Harris or a damn good look alike. I've gone back and forth on this one, is it him? Nah, he's not tall enough. I think it still might be him, look at that hair. Maybe? How cool would it be to say I run "with" The Barnacle?? :-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The deets

I'm a big numbers person, they just appeal to me in the way some other details cannot. So here's a recap of yesterday's HM in numbers.

m1: 7:50
m2: 7:33
m3: 7:39
m4: 7:48
m5: 7:30
m6: 7:49
m7: 7:37
m8: 7:43
m9: 7:39
m10: 7:29
m11: 7:37
m12: 7:44
m13: 7:31
m.1: :47

More splits, recorded by NYRR timing mats
Location: 5 Kilometers
Time of day: 7:59:27 AM
Elapsed time: 0:23:53.33
Pace/mile: 07:40.87
Location: 10 Kilometers
Time of day: 8:23:24 AM
Elapsed time: 0:47:50.67
Pace/mile: 07:42.26
Location: 15 Kilometers
Time of day: 8:47:02 AM
Elapsed time: 1:11:28.59
Pace/mile: 07:40.14
Location: 20 Kilometers
Time of day: 9:11:18 AM
Elapsed time: 1:35:44.66
Pace/mile: 07:42.16
Location: Finish
Time of day: 9:15:54 AM
Elapsed time: 1:40:22.00
Pace/mile: 07:39.62

Temperature at race time

Men - 5420
Women - 6073 (woot!)
Total - 11493

1 permi-smile on my face, still present today!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

1, 2, 3, 4 - 4!!!!

That's right folks, 4 old PRs fell today in the span of a single race. Needless to say, it was a GOOD day! And a reminder that hard work really is rewarded, you need only to see my face and the permi-smile to know this. Today it all came together, the weather, my fueling, my mindset and a course I know very well. I am beyond happy for this check-in as to how my training is going, the boost of confidence and as Cindi noted, the fueling for the remainder of my IL training. 5 weeks and 6 days to go!

I am also forever grateful to my running buddy Missy for her optimism, inspiration and encouraging words. Her little heirloom tomato in utero has one hell of a momma!

15K - previous PR: 1:14:46 (8:02/mi), new PR: 1:11:28 (7:41/mi)
10 mile - previous PR: 1:19:50 (7:59/mi), new PR: 1:16:40 (7:40/mi)
20K - previous PR: 1:40:59 (8:08/mi), new PR: 1:35:44 (7:43/mi)
HM - previous PR: 1:50:04 (8:25/mi), new PR: 1:40:21 (7:40/mi)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pimp my track

When I first really got into running and needed to locate a track around Manhattan I felt certain I'd come up empty handed. After all, where is there really enough room to locate a 400m length track in this over populated and dense city of ours? I inquired with people on several message boards and was surprised to find there were actually quite a few. Of course they're all located on the peripherals of our fair island and none are right in my backyard but the choices are good. When I was working on Wall St. I made it a regular habit to change at the NYSC location next door to my office, leave my belongings behind and run over to the track located in East River park. It was a great distance for a warm-up to whatever interval workout lay ahead and made for easy planning. And even when I changed jobs and was located in SoHo that track was still my best bet, again changing at yet another NYSC location near the office, leaving my goods all locked up there, and taking off.

Since then I've been relocated to another office, this time in Dumbo, and while the East River track would still be a viable option I've also converted (mostly) to being a morning runner. That makes for more complicated planning and something I'd prefer to avoid, i.e. lugging all my stuff in a backpack while running to the track. Luckily for me there's another sweet track facility on the West side; one that I've run at from time to time when I needed another option. Riverbank State Park is an easy 5 mile run away and is perched atop a structure overlooking the Hudson River. It's a beautiful park with a spectacular vantage of the city and river and open to the public with generous hours.

I like it not only for the good quality of the track itself but because it's a neighborhood fixture. Last night I ran up for some more cruise intervals and was not surprised to find it completely jam packed. Now it wasn't overcrowded with runners although there were a few others going round and round. It was all about soccer and fans of the soccer players and basketball and hockey and I think there was even some baseball practice going on. And the kiddos... tons of kiddos running around like it was a playground, which essentially it is. It's safe, well lit, has a snack bar and for someone living in the neighborhood, probably a good number of your neighbor friends.

Of course it can get a little hairy when you're trying to stay on pace for a given interval set but I like to think the added obstacle course elements make me a stronger runner. Rogue soccer and footballs coming at my noggin' and in front of me on the track, teenagers making googly eyes at one another in lane 1 and last night even a 5 yr old carrying much too large of a stick chasing his buddy.

Here she is at the right ...a beauty, no?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tears from the skies, tears from my eyes

I like to consider myself an equal opportunity weather runner. Sure I savor those ideal conditions... light breeze, sunshine (but not too much) & 50 degree temps but I'll take whatever I can get and will run in anything. So when this past weekend's forecast reared it's ugly head I knew my choices for an "ideal" LR day would be limited. Saturday showed up looking like a day severely beaten with the ugly stick and Sunday showed little promise for more attractiveness. I then resorted to these sorta-kinda rules I have in my mind with regard to running. The one in particular, it's better to just suck it up and make it happen in whatever the current conditions are - tomorrow could be better but it could also be worse. With that in mind and a number of hours already spent delaying the inevitable I set out for my 2nd 20 miler in the plan.

It was rainy, it was 40*, it was windy with 25 MPH steady winds and gusts of up to 50 MPH and it was gray. Despite that all, I didn't feel bad those first several miles and in fact took off way too fast for the day's work. I recalled the words I exchanged with J right before I left... "man this is gonna suck" and then a pause and a quick recant ", no it's not, it's gonna be awesome". No way was I gonna break another of my rules regarding negative thoughts at the start of a LR. And he responded something like "this will be your best run yet", of course saying it to simply get my butt out the door. But it left a mark and when I recalled the words I asked myself, why shouldn't this be my best run yet? Why couldn't this be my best run yet? So those words marinated there for quite a bit.

And the run got a bit tougher as the miles went on but never real bad. My nutrition was spot on, my energy was high and my headphones were pumping out the tunes. My pace stayed steady and true and my heart rate stayed low. I turned around heading north now and ran all of the middle miles directly in to the wind and rain and at several points, small hail. Mommy! IT SUCKED. Now it didn't suck all at once. I checked in with myself and allowed the wind to be acknowledged, allowed the rain to be noted and decided that it shouldn't matter. I was running well, it's not ideal but I'm running well. I had to stay running in this direction until at least mile 15 and then I could turn back around and finish with the crap to my back.

And then somewhere after mile 14 it got to be reckoning time.

I was barely moving forward, the wind was so strong and so severe that I could not feel movement whatsoever. I was also thoroughly soaked by this point, the last time I attempted to eat a shot block I had to spend way too much time pawing open my hand held, the digits simply did not work, they were frozen solid. My playlist had also since finished but I had no way to make my hands work the iPod.

But I H.A.D. to get to at least mile 15. HAD to.

At one point I felt like tears were imminent and honestly I could have been crying. There was absolutely no differentiation between my rain soaked face and water of the saltier variety. And then after glancing down at the Garmin and seeing 14.87 just a bit ago, it was here. It was there. Glorious mile 15.

I turned around and instantly felt just how much of a wind I'd been running in to, now I was actually scared of being blown over. No joke. It was craziness. But it was behind me.

The wind.

The rain in my face.

The hugest of huge mental hurdles.

I finished the run without incident, without any excuses, without any walking, without any regret.

And without any doubt that if I could run 20 miles in those conditions at a still respectable clip, I could truly run in anything.

And J was right, it was the best run yet!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Twice as nice

2 weeks seemed to have buzzed by without me realizing it. Maybe it was Olympics-effect? Not sure but looking over my last entry it feels like a lot of running has occurred in that time. The highlights and low lights:

  • last interval workout on the plan was notsogreat; I was cold and wet upon arriving at the track and my performance was less than stellar
  • I decided to not stay down for long and logged my first 21 miler of the season the Sunday immediately following that workout. It was awesomeness!
  • coach found some time in the plan and had me repeat that interval workout, after all, no one wants that taste to be left in their mouth
  • second time around was a huge success! Of course it was also probably one of the most beautiful and ideal type of running days that you could score so that helped.
  • I've had a bunch of phenomenal running mornings with Missy and Meredith, it feels like those days are pure running joy and completely effortless
  • I ended February right on track with mileage to get me over the 2000 mile mark for 2010 (226 miles), not bad for a shorty, down mileage month
And now with just about a week and a half until my next race, the tempo paced stuff is coming out to play. Wheee! I'll be heading back up to the track for the first set of cruise intervals, which should feel like a cake walk after interval work.

With just 8 weeks until Illinois I'm getting very excited! This weekend brings another 20 miler but this time with a fast finish and a return back to up mileage weeks.

How's everyone's training going?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Last week of P2

Phase 2 of Illinois training is a shorty in comparison to P1 but it packs a lasting punch. While overall mileage has backed down, quality ramps up in the form of intervals. I sure do love me some intervals! Unfortunately I really love them done on the track but I've only been able to log 1 of the 3 workouts thus far there; dang snow! Somehow logging time at the track makes me feel more legit as a runner, maybe it's the formality of the work vs. when I'm just out running anywhere and for any desired period of time/# of miles. Maybe it's just a preference or in my own head. Imagining Lagat and myself doing the same kind of work albeit at vastly differing paces. Whatever it is, I definitely feel more badass getting a great set of intervals done, painful or not. So here's to clear weather this week or even just a window of about 40 minutes to let me strut my stuff in the form of 1000 and 800 repeats.

Anyone else a big fan of intervals? Or are tempo runs more your thing? Cruise intervals? ....oooo those are mega-fun too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You take the good, you take the bad take them both and there you have
The Facts of Running, the Facts of Running.

Or something like that.

No matter how much we love running, there are days when it's just not going our way. We're tired or our mojo has left us or we're ill prepared or rushed, etc. etc. Any number of things can combine to produce a notsopleasant running experience. The important lesson is not to panic and not to get down. Bad runs happen to good people. My last week felt a little derailed after starting off so optimistically. The downside is I had a couple lousy feeling runs, one where I felt I was working way too hard for the effort and another that I desperately wanted to end from just about the start. The upside, I've been here before. I know not to dwell and in fact, in this case, I know where I went astray. These aren't new concepts but I need to get them down to remind myself once again:

- never underestimate good nutrition!
- plan for the unexpected and allow yourself to remain flexible in your training
- don't set off on a LR with negative thoughts
- make time for the things that make your running happen, i.e. yoga

And so the new week has begun and I'm one recovery run & one session at the studio in and it feels like I'm sporting a new exterior to match my improved interior.

"What you are is what you have been. What you'll be is what you do now." - Buddha

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

lulu's backing

even lululemon knows about my movie! :-)

The movie, my masterpiece!

Back in the fall when I was preparing for CIM, I couldn't help but feel my movie was incomplete. The partial production was enough to get me reevaluating a fall marathon and coming up with a new plan of attack. So far the new attack is right on track and providing me a tremendous number of scenes. Coach Lloyd has been phenomenal in getting me to run slower, more mileage and more consistently but most importantly, to regain my love and passion for running. And it's shown in hard data results...


These dates were the last times I PR'ed in the distances of 4M, 15K and 5M, respectively. And now, in the span of about 70 days, all 3 PRs have been replaced. Two without much focus and the last one quite intentionally.

5 miles - new PR, 37:47 (7:34/mi) on 11/26
15K - new PR, 1:14:46 (8:02/mi) on 12/19
4 miles - new PR, 29:01 (7:15/mi) on 2/7

Through accumulated miles on accumulated runs I've also had vivid visuals about two of my upcoming races. Firstly, the NYC HM (3/21) - I feel especially in tune with this course b/c both portions of it I run very regularly. There's a loop + in Central Park and then after weaving through Times Square a straight shot down the West Side Highway. Both segments are my bread and butter, my buddies, I know them better than they know themselves. And so these scenes play out regularly, visions of myself feeling relaxed, climbing the hills and riding the down portions while in the park, having myself ready to attack in the second half of the race when we cruise towards the downtown finish line. Sometimes the visions are so real I feel like the race has already occurred. Similarly, scenes from Illinois have appeared to me. They aren't quite as complete as the others and although I don't know the course like I do the other, these scenes mostly feature those same even-effort, relaxed and strong feelings but along with Lora & Cindi. I clearly feel myself running with them, sometimes we're right next to one another and other times we're not but we're there, we're executing and it feels right.

For all of the times I've tried meditation and visualization techniques, the thought of a movie is working much more effectively than any other. Cannot wait for post-production!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A fundamental shift

Dillon located himself a new favorite perch / hiding spot in the apartment. After nearly 6 years of being in the same apartment with pretty much the same furnishings, imagine Jason and my surprise when we could not find him anywhere in our less-than-700 sq feet of space.

Under the bed? Nope.
Curled up on a bar stool? Nope.
Napping in the closet? Nope.
Taking refuge in the shower? Nope.

Seriously, where did he go?

Of course, in the sneakiest of all places. He's got an excellent vantage point of all rooms in the apartment and yet he remains cloaked, ready to pounce when his inner-kitten is ready for some fun. Yep, he's on top of the benches underneath the table - his black hair provides further cover. Guard your lower shins, when he hops out he's ready to rumble!

Monday, February 1, 2010

And it happened and there was much rejoicing

In the past week...

- I was finally given the chance to flex my overwhelming desire to make home improvements. This is significant because as you all know I don't own a home, despite the sick amount of time I spend watching HGTV :-) Spackled, primed and painted at Matt & Kelly's new place in CT this weekend. Also spent a good amount of time helping move, dismantle and setup furniture including the sweetest of chandeliers for lovely Lyla's new pink room.

- I may have (jury is still out) prepared a black bean burger so tasty that one of America's biggest meat eaters actually enjoyed it. I should note there were also tater tots, that helps.

- I entered the yoga studio feeling a bit shutdown and feeling like I was maybe catching/fighting a cold only to experience one of my strongest and most open feeling classes ever. The emotional tap opened, in itself, was almost overwhelming.

- I laid down my biggest mileage week ever, 70.6 miles. I've hit 70 once before and only once. I intend to make this new level a habit. That week also contributed to an all-time monthly mileage number, 280. 30 miles bigger than my biggest month ever.

- I was inspired by my own post (geez, how self-serving can I possibly get!) but more importantly by the comments left here to do something more to spread smiles. Looking into new volunteering opportunities.

- And last but not least, I tried out my first Holy Cream. Observe.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Seeping Smiles

I like to smile, it makes me feel good and I like to think it makes others feel good. I feel a smile gives everyone that sees it license to enjoy the moment just a little more, and it becomes a contagious action that one is eager to repeat.

Yesterday I passed by a little boy pushing his own stroller. His height did not exceed that of the stroller which made it all the funnier seeing this seeming ghost stroller whipping my way. He was all over the place, the stroller moving wildly across the sidewalk as his mom watched him carefully. The whole scene warmed my heart and I couldn't help but exchange smiles with his mom, she surely appreciated his genius as well.

This morning while running in the park I passed 3 small dogs who had just been let off their leashes and immediately lunged atop a nearby stone wall. The scene is hard to describe but there were large barren prickly bushes on the other side of the wall spilling over, obviously unbeknownst to the dogs now lunging towards them. The first dog of the pack lucky enough to experience the small prick of that bush and jump back down almost to warn his buddies is what found me smiling once again. It was like I could picture him talking begging them to heed his warning.

And from that scene another smile grew immediately. It was a transfer of thoughts from this small pack of dogs to another [much missed] dog, Sage's Sky. Just as Sage had reported from her run yesterday, I smiled while envisioning Sky out on a run with Joe. I saw them leaping over those barren prickly bushes, getting a bit scraped up and maybe suffering a small tear in the BSOD (blue shorts of death for those of you not aware) but not slowing them down in the least bit.

Now go on, spread a smile!

Monday, January 25, 2010

It was a doozy

As suspected, last week was a whirlwind. Monday night after work I flew out to Austin for 3 days of jam packed meetings and while it was quite stressful in spots, we got through a lot of material and ended up very productive. The trip also gave me the chance to check out Austin more and try out some of the most excellent trails they have downtown along the water. So even if I do end up traveling back for more work stuffs I'll have that going for me. Gotta keep this project in perspective and stay positive as it has some major weight associated with it and can get unruly real quick like. I do like the feel of Austin, it's like a Colorado city stuck in Texas. The weather is sweet, the eats are good and the attitudes are relaxed and everything feels very outdoorsy. I can get behind that for sure!

Thursday night I traveled back to NYC and kicked off "The Great 12 Hour Turnaround". In the period of 12 hours I cabbed it home from JFK, unpacked, repacked, slept, ran my 17 mile LR and cabbed it to LGA. Friday was a work day off and I was heading out to hang with my girls in Kansas City. It was worth every bit of anxiety. What a fabulous weekend! These are girls I could have fun with in a cardboard box; they're genuine, funny and real. We have a large amount of history together and that helps too. They feel like home to me; perfect way to end a long week!!

It didn't hurt that I was able to get all my running in as well and continue to feel like a rock with regards to my training. Another week ending in 60 miles and all I want to do is run more, More, MORE!!! Today kicked off the last week in phase 1 for Illinois training, just one more workout of hill repeats and I cut the mileage a bit and add in intervals. Wheeee, cannot wait!

How is everyone's training going? Several of my siblings are also in the midst of training for various spring races, it's awesome to compare notes and see how everyone is feeling. Conga-rats to little bro for logging yet another PR in the HM!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A dip in the week

Was feeling majorly overwhelmed with work this past week. After flipping out about launching a couple products and gearing up for a trip to Austin next week to tackle another big one, I tried to figure out why I was letting this all "run me" like it was. The stress about the product launches was undoubtedly related to the amount of effort and time I had sunk into the project and the chaos surrounding some of my team. The trip to Austin, however, was another story. I took a step back and assessed. Yes, it'll be hectic. Yes, I'll need to adjust a few things in the coming week. Yes, it'll probably be this way for awhile longer. Yes, the timing of this trip and project aren't ideal. But none of that will be more than an inconvenience if I choose to keep it all in perspective. I'm alive, I'm having more fun running than ever. I'm going to see a bunch of my close STL friends in less than a week and so much more. I took a deep breathe and read over a piece of art I recently purchased. Chill.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Call me Sybil

Can you tell anything about a person strictly from their reading habits & subject matter? I mean reading can fulfill so many things, it can be for entertainment, for knowledge, for research purposes, to pass the time or just for curiosity's sake. Hell, you might pick up a book or mag truly for the cover! Is it possible to derive anything about one's character from the stack of books, magazines, articles that may appear beside their bed? I, for one, hope not. I do believe people would start thinking I have a multiple personality disorder ...although maybe that'd be a good thing? It could serve as reasoning for some of my moods. ha ha ha... However it might be a right-on assessment as well. I've never been one to completely and totally dive into a single thing, hold that single thing as my #1 focus, do absolutely nothing else but that thing. Sure, I come close but I like the variety, the balance, the mixed bag.

For me reading is like that. I jump from subject matter that I'm intensely interested in to referential information I need to perform better in my running or understand life just a little bit better. Sometimes it's reading one thing that will trigger an interest in something else or even watching or hearing of some subject that gets the spark -> flame -> fire going. Often a break from some particular subject will open up a world of lighter reading, fun stuff, nothing heavy. I'll tell you a little about what I've been reading if you'll do the same. Maybe we can help each other's inner-Sybil out?

Recently I've read Jon Krakauer's, Where Men Win Glory and really enjoyed it. Although I rather enjoy war history, I'm not much into books about the military, how they're run, policies, etc. However Krakauer is a superb author and in this particular book he explores the life of Pat Tillman, the life he had prior to when he was made a war hero by our gov't. I'm presently reading Candace Millard's, The River of Doubt, a fantastic book chronicling Teddy Roosevelt's journey into the Amazon after his failed attempt at a 3rd term in office. Add to that a sprinkling of Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals - this guy is a big favorite of mine and I'm always eager to read more of what motivates individuals to eat/not eat animals & animal products. Michael Pollan and his books were a great intro into this thought process for me and I continue to enjoy the subject matter. Finally I've got the most recent issues of Running Times and Runner's World stuffed into my ginormous purse for subway reading.

Thinking about this post got me reflecting on what themes in other parts of my life have been lately. Lots and lots of running, some yoga, some cooking but not much exploring, not much swimming, not a whole lot of socializing and not a whole lot of travel. Time to shake things up!

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 is off with a BANG!

First day of the year and I got to enjoy a fantastically sloppy run on the bridle path followed by hours of fun with this little dude while his dad treated us to majorly delicious eats.

Second day of the year and J & I traveled to Philadelphia to watch Kansas lay the beat-down on Temple, retaining both their #1 ranking and undefeated status. The Morris twins earned their home town game glory for sure too!

Third day of the year and I got to run with one of my most favorite people (Missy!), wrapping up a week of 56.3 miles and feeling fantastic. The day got even better when J & I shared dinner with his brother, SIL and their kiddos and finally got to see the kiddos open their gifts. I wish I had my camera out as Keaton played with his Busy Ball Popper

At one point when more than 3 balls came flying up outta this thing, Keaton remarked "balls tickling me". It was beyond adorable! I can only hope that these first few days of the year are representative of the rest.