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.”