Monday, December 12, 2011

Things I'm Loving Right Now

I'm not much of a sock wearer when inside at home, except when it starts to get colder outside and I'm in full-on lounge mode.  One of my sisters had some of these and upon seeing them I flew straight out to Old Navy to nab a couple pair.

I thought about posting some pictures of the various juices I've made but they all look like puke and/or blood so I'll refrain and just show you the behemoth of an appliance that dominates my counter.   This thing is truly a miracle worker, in addition to feeling crazy energetic after consuming said juices I've also come to like ... eh, that might be too strong, tolerate, red beets.

Sore muscles are not required to love Plantlife's Sore Muscle oil; it smells good and it a nice replacement to lotion after coming out of the shower.  Bonus if someone else actually rubs it in for you (I'm not that lucky)

Until recently I'd believed Mother's Milk was my most favorite stout however Left Hand and it's appearance at Valhalla, local watering hole in my hood, has changed all that.   Their milk stout is frothy, milky, delicious!

Miles.  And miles.   And miles.    FINALLY, a full on return to respectable running is in the works.  It doesn't hurt that this is my absolute most favorite time of the year to be out and that I have a few pairs of new shoes in the rotation but ultimately, it's my desire to be out there and to enjoy the time that has me loving every step of those 5280 feet increments.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beer, sweat, cupcakes and spinach - oh my!

Slowly, the laziness is melting away.  Not completely, of course, but I've got momentum on my side for now.  Obviously not enough momentum as I thought I'd published this post several days ago; pretend you're reading this last Monday.

Saturday morning started off with more perfect fall weather and a fun outing to Williamsburg celebrating the 2nd anniversary of City Running Tours.   I met up with TracyTara and John and enjoyed the easy miles around a neighborhood I don't find myself in all that often.  We got some great info from our running guide, who is also a kickball teammate, Karl.  He pointed out great historical info, sweet spots to grab eats & drinks and the general lay of the land.   

We finished the run back at Brooklyn Brewery where we sampled plenty of tasty brews, including:  Brooklyn Brown Ale, Winter Ale, Elevated Wheat and Radius (a Belgian Pale Ale).

Following that and a quick subway ride back into Manhattan and I was shoving more calories down my gullet.  Address that guy, Mr. Colossal.  Nevermind that the rest of the ladies I shared this with have all recently ran at least one marathon in the last week or so... yeah, I've got all my winter fat ready to go.

By Sunday I was drained and needing some nutrition.   Finally got around to making this super easy recipe using Field Roast; both Jen and I had been drooling over it and I think we ended up making it within a day of one another.  

Next time, MORE spinach!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Asleep at the wheel

It's not surprising that we shuffle, stumble and practically sleep-walk through many of our "living" hours.   The cycles of sleep, eat, work, maybe some play, maybe some other stuff are fairly defined and for the vast majority, don't change radically for large periods of time, read: years, decades, maybe longer.   Shit is on auto-pilot.

What never ceases to amaze me are those events, whether a simple feeling or emotion, an experience, an individual or even a fleeting thought, that seem to momentarily shake us from zombie-like mode.  To me, it's their simplicity that makes them most delicious.  Today's snap-outta-it moment came in the form of a weather condition, specifically a thick, juicy fog.  Man, I must be hungry ... using delicious and juicy in the last 2 sentences :)  Anyways, after meeting up with Elyssa and Bojana we headed into Central Park for some easy miles around the big loop.  To say the leaves were gorgeous would be a disservice, everything is golden and red and orange; it's what people have in mind when they profess their love of fall, and running through the scene felt like a privilege.  But what really took my breath away were fog-ridden pathways, concealed expanses of ground and the quietness that comes with such conditions.  Life was happening but it wasn't, we were moving but standing still at the same time.  And all of a sudden our city of millions felt like a quaint country town strewn with runners peaking in and out of the low-lying clouds.  

Because my words do no justice, behold ...

And that, my friends, is how life awakens us.  Thank god for morning running partners who also happen to be amazing photographers, Elyssa took these all and more... thanks for the wake-up!

Monday, November 7, 2011

You shall be my savior from myself

Like a small child, I've resorted to bribery.  While perusing the goods at the NYCM expo on Friday, I had no real intention to make any purchases.  I certainly didn't need any gear of the clothing variety but when strolling by the Brooks Running booth I was reminded that I'd intended to make a stop at Big River Running while in St. Louis to check out the new PureProject line; free time in STL expired quickly and soon enough I was flying back East.  Back to Friday night and I was slipping my sweaty & poorly polished toes into both the PureFlow and PureCadence models; I've never run in Brooks before but I know there are several models that closely resemble my stand-by Asics Nimbus.   And more importantly I needed a spark ... anything really to force myself back into some semblance of a running schedule.   I'm tired of posting about my laziness and lack of motivation and lack of commitment so with this post I hereby shut my pie hole.   Bought the PureFlows although I liked the colors of the PureCadence more and, if these work out well, may go for the dude's version of the Flow ...  because we all know how I feel about green.

P . O . W. E. R

eta:  I'm a big, fat liar.  I have worn Brooks, my trail shoes are Cascadias.  D'uh

Monday, October 31, 2011

This seems like a good reason to write

Another round of posts started and orphaned in the "not published" state; I'm just so wishy washy, I can't even commit to a freakin' blog post.  Thanks to Theia for the kick in the pants, I'll use this post to participate and to share some other random happenings.

First to oblige my selection by Theia, seven random things about myself...

  1. I really like the number 3 but sometimes I have a hard time writing it, like my fingers/hands don't work and I have to really think about it.   Please diagnose me, what am I dying of?
  2. As a child I wanted nothing more ... absolutely nothing more than to have long hair.  That would never happen under my father's rule of "keeping it short, keeping it easy" so I often wore a yellow towel on my head, secured by bobby pins or a rubber band.   Yellow was necessary b/c I also wanted to remain a blonde.   My siblings had similar strategies and used slips, pantyhose (that's a weird word), etc. 
  3. In a desperate attempt to live on extremely meager earnings the summer between my junior and senior years in college, I lived on a package of hot dogs and some grapes for an entire week.   Chew slowly, the food will last longer.   
  4. College friends of mine and I thought up a delivery service of 7-11 Big Gulps (or Super Big Gulps, for an additional charge) for Saturday & Sunday mornings to all our hungover college friends and roommates.  Program never got under way as we were always in that same hungover crowd.
  5. From years of traveling to the suburbs of Chicago for a big volleyball tournament each year, our family has a favorite truck stop along highway 55; eh yeah I guess we're truck stop people.   Stop by the Dixie Travel Plaza if you're ever on that stretch of I-55.
  6. Some of my favorite smells are found at any construction site:  cement, wet rock, freshly cut 2x4s, dirt. Don't even get me started on all the chemical smells I adore.  
  7. Just last week, a crowd of us were at a bar on 23rd St and ended up getting a picture with the Cowboy from the Village People; he definitely wanted the photo to be taken more than any of us.
As far as other non-random stuff, life chugs along.  I'm feeling entirely uncommitted to anything lately, which for me only differs slightly from unmotivated.   I feel like I'm in a better place than a few months ago, mentally, but little has really changed physically.   Part of this is b/c I haven't pushed myself back into training for anything in particular despite having the Houston HM on my schedule.  At this point it's me being stubborn towards me, and lazy ... lots of lazy.   I need a huge kick in the ass!

So there's that, just a small slice of the randomness I offer the world.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Attn Runner Army, Beer Running Season is Upon Us!

It's getting to be that time of the year when most runners are readying for some off-months from serious training, recovering from recent marathons, triathlons, etc and looking to spend morning hours of the weekend doing something besides logging miles and miles of a long run.   Well look no further, beer run season is upon us!   If you're in the NYC area you've likely already attended at least one of Runner Army's various booze and/or food related running excursions and if you haven't, here's your chance.   And for the hoards of you running the NYCM, the timing could not be more perfect...

On Saturday, 11/12 at 11:30 come meet all your running friends at Brooklyn Brewery and spend the afternoon running about Brooklyn and ending back at the brewery for some delicious malted beverages.  The event is run by City Running Tours and this particular event will be celebrating their 2nd anniversary (which likely means cool schwag!)

All about City Running Tours and in NYC with full details and sign up here

Think of it as a warm-up for Claire's next beer run (12/3) and for what will likely be a repeat of last year's New Years Eve doughnut run.  

Hope to see you at the event!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Growing up with Jeff

The number of times my Mazda 323 (affectionately known as "Eggie", RIP) and I made the 300 mile trip between Chicago & St. Louis along highway 55 in the years 1997-2000 has to be in the hundreds.  Or so it felt.  We'd pretty much go on auto-pilot, left hand contained a large coffee and handled steering, right hand dealt with shifting and keeping the tunes going.  Most often I drove only in the company of Jeff.  Jeff Tweedy.

We'd been friends since before college, he then in Uncle Tupelo and me under-age drinking, playing volleyball and collecting a paycheck from Imo's pizza.  Both being from the greater St. Louis area, he on Illinois side of the Mississippi, we had our Midwestern roots in common & shared some of the same hobbies like going out on the Landing & hitting up the gambling boats.   By the time I was in college, he'd formed a new band, Wilco, but many of his lyrics' themes remained and certainly the ties to America's heart land.  I took comfort in hearing those twangy but rocking beats and felt our friendship was solid.  I wasn't wrong.  As he and his band mates grew in popularity they moved to Chicago and identified with that being more of their hometown; this worked out perfectly for me as I also moved to the Windy City after college.  We'd see each other from time to time, often at the Riviera and smaller venues in the Chicagoland area and around Southern Illinois.  But once...  once at the most amazing of shows ever, at the now defunct Lounge Ax on Lincoln, it was like being in the living room catching up with your friends and listening to some amazing music; I still have a cassette tape of the show recorded off a DAT tape.  If only I had a sweet Walkman so I could actually listen to it.

Eventually I moved to NYC and we saw each other less but I kept up with his latest releases and caught a show whenever Wilco was in town. I can't help but feel like I grew up with Jeff and his various band mates and just as their music has evolved so have my expectations of the newest albums ...but man oh man, the older stuff can twist my heart up in an instant.  To this day, listening to Summerteeth's Via Chicago transports me back to my days along highway 55 and so many of the other songs bring about a deep emotional response.  And so I was beside myself, last week, when after selling out both shows in Central Park at Rumsey Playfield, they released additional tickets.  Snagging up a couple quickly, J and I found ourselves in the middle of the park on a dark foggy night.  The skies hinted at rain but it never came, instead the familiar lyrics of an old friend filled the wind and filled my heart with a little of what I'll always miss of the Midwest.

Go get yourself some of Illinois's best... The Whole Love is available in iTunes now!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If not now, when?

"To be alive is to totally and openly participate in the simplicity and elegance of here and now" - Donald Altman

Days, weeks and months pass just as they did before, just as they have for the last 30+ years of my life.   It's different but it's not, it's scary but it's not.  I guess I'm thinking more of the quality and content of those days, weeks and months more and from a different perspective.  You'd think that in doing so some introspection would occur as well.  Well, you'd be wrong.  The thoughts aren't of the quality of my life but rather that of my father. And while it seems an easy conclusion to draw, it wasn't until my Monday morning running buddy, TK, said so did I know it to be obvious & of course true.  It's so much easier to focus on someone else, their needs, the support required for them than to look inward.  My family is pretty much the best of the most kick ass people I've ever known.  We're loud and dysfunctional as all hell but we've always got one another's backs and we can organize like no other.  You throw a task down and it's CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!  So while we're all moving forward in our new daily reality, each with our own facet of the challenge well underway, I've completely lost touch of just how much of my own stuff I've let fall away.

As any runner will tell you, we're big eaters, but because we're often in motion it all balances out.  I'm no different; sure there may be times after a big race or maybe when injured that activities don't exceed intake and a little weight is gained here or there but soon enough the balance is restored and all is right with the world and its supply of cupcakes & salty snacks.  Given my lack of doing much of anything, I'm both up in weight and down in activities; this needs to change.  A couple weeks ago I joined some friends and family to compete in a game-like contest of building better habits, dropping the crap and losing some tonnage.  Things are looking up thus far although they'd speed up a bit if I were to get back to building some mileage.  And thus why I'm posting here, I need just a touch more accountability.  I may also need to do something more drastic, like commit to a race before the year's up, something with some distance ... any suggestions?   In the meantime here's to running more on a daily basis & to refining my skillz on the kickball field (yeah, I joined J's team ... eeps!)

Coming up:  an overdue recap of the Spartan Race, and both the Fifth Ave Mile & a cool performance in BK

Monday, August 29, 2011

Swimming in the deep end

It would be safe to consider myself a swimmer.  Not of any competitive caliber, and expecting to win, but a strong, adequately able swimmer.  I can be away from a pool / lake / other body of water for years but once back in it's like I never left.  I've never felt intimidated by water, never feared it or felt like it would ultimately be the end of me.  On the contrary, it's quite like a cocoon.   A safe, warm place where I have fond memories of both solo adventures and time spent with family & friends.

Although I haven't been swimming lately, save for one trip for some laps a couple weeks ago, I feel like I've spent a good amount time mimicking that environment in my mind.  In the water, alone, I set the mood and the deeper I get, the further away from any source of light, the more it seems I may just not need the light.  The dark is comforting and tempting ... "stay here, don't fight it, you need nothing else."  Why would I leave and have other forces try to impress the light upon me?  I control this, I need no one else, I'm better off in the dark and so I dive deeper.   Deeper still.

I'm not used to a world of just dark, it's not where I reside most of the time and while comforting, it still scares me.   And so I welcome those beacons in the back of my mind making themselves known, "just how deep is this pool?" And then I immediately come up for a breath, a deep full breath.

I've been living in fear for the last several months, my father's diagnosis has left a large mark on my day-to-day and trying to move on with life, as he has, seems impossible to me most of the time.  My mind cannot focus and most activities have been deprioritized; among them being all of those things that would normally challenge me out of a dark mood, running being highest on that list.  I find it no coincidence that I recently came across this passage, without outwardly looking for it.

Today if you feel limited by your fear, remember: You can assume the worst and allow that to keep you paralyzed, or you can decide to stop wasting your energy analyzing evidence, and focus instead of creating possibilities.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Like watching grass grow

Quiet and relatively uninteresting times around here, running-wise. There have been a couple inflection points in the form of Reach the Beach (for which I feel I'm much too late to recap) and the first in the summer series of XC 5Ks in Van Cortlandt.  Both were fun experiences, challenging and sparks to my training schedule.  I'm definitely going to get up to the Bronx for more of that summer series and have also signed up for the Fairfield HM in late June, more to keep me out of any comfort zone.  Because let's face it, base building isn't the height of challenging, sexy or exciting and so most of my weeks look the same with only a slight increase in volume from week to week and not much fluctuation in paces.   At this point I have many weeks in the 40-50 mile range and am now increasing that to the 50-60 mile range.  Coach has me sticking with a plan that looks a lot like my build up to IL in May '10 although I'm going to try and incorporate more trail running & attempt to hit something a bit higher in my average MPW throughout the cycle, which means throughout the long and hot summer.  I'll be practicing my very best Fonzie & trying to stay coooooooool.  

Other highlights as of late, Memorial Day!!   Which, as we all know, is the unofficial season of outdoor cocktails and beers.  I tried my very best to represent and honor those whom have defended our country by visiting as many of NYC's outdoor patios & biergartens in a single 24 hour period as humanly possible.  And while I'll claim moderate success no summer is officially "on" until a visit to the original Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria is made. 

And because this post is stupid, unorganized and not well thought out, if you want to read some great RTB recaps crafted by my teammates, check 'em out here and here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I really Jean-Paul'ed that one

Spring into early summer line-up fails:  1
Maria:  0

Waking up in a panic with some vague recollection that the snooze button has been depressed, perhaps a number of times, is no way to wake up race morning.   Also, waking up a good 80+ miles from the start line without the required number of minutes between the present time and gun time to travel to said start line, is no way to wake up race morning.

Needless to say I didn't run in Philadelphia yesterday, I missed a great day of running and what looked like superb conditions for the Broad Street Run.   I also spent a nice chunk of cash on race registration and renting a Zipcar for a day I spent in and very near my apartment. 

I = loser

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some additions to the line-up

Bit the bullet and registered for a couple more races last week; with those in place around what I'd already planned to run, I have a nice early summer figured out.

May 1 - Broad Street 10 miler - Philadelphia
May 14 - Healthy Kidney 10K - NYC/CP
May 20-21 - Reach the Beach - Massachusetts
June 11 - NY Mini 10K - NYC/CP

Those 10Ks will act as both torture devices and races to gauge VDOT paces for the start of my Grand Rapids training cycle.  The Mini, in particular, will be interesting as it's usually a little too warm that day & quite humid but it's such a historic & cool all-women's race that always packs in a nice elite showing.  The Healthy Kidney, too, gets it's fair share of exposure & is a quality race for both locals & elite talent; it also happens to be the race that got me my current 10K PR 3 yrs ago (46:40).  Uh yeah, I sorta fear the 10K especially with Central Park as the route; I'm all good until that damned 3rd mile and the 1st half of the 4th mile. Part of it is the well-placed hill coming off the down of Harlem hill but more of it is my crappy attitude towards the heat & humidity.  Of course I cannot [easily] alter my body's physiological reaction to such conditions however I can try to get over my fear of racing when I know I'm not in the best of shape and these two efforts will shake that fear up ...or further cement it.   Past the time to pull on my big girl pants, CTFU and at least try to run well in less-than-ideal conditions. 

To further get me out of my comfort zone I'm toying with the idea of registering for the Fairfield HM (6/26) or the Utica Boilermaker 15K (7/10), undoubtedly both will host some nasty, sticky conditions.   Doing so will force me to enter that mindset that the miles will totally suck, there won't likely be a way to run well if I'm not prepared and it's quite likely that I may not run well even then, given the weather.

But let's push those thoughts out just a bit further and skip back to the present; last week turned out decent.  Nothing but ez running, need to remember to add in some strides as well as a little tempo work, but still a solid base building week and I got my butt to yoga, which is key, especially to my butt!

M:  6.35 mi ez (8:41)
T:  rest
W:  6.35 mi ez (8:36) + 90 mins. yoga
T:  8.5 mi ez (8:54) *first run with Kelly & Megan, wheee!*
F:  8.9 mi ez (8:30)
S:  5.25 mi ez (8:54)
S:  13 mi ez (9:14)

Total:  48.35 mi

Monday, April 18, 2011

Le suck

Last week got off to a lousy start and I'm blaming that start for setting a bad precedent.  Of course I'm not to blame whatsoever and there is no excuse making going on here.   It was completely out of my hands and an experience I've never been through before!   Ahem.

  ::rolls eyes::  

Fine, it was my fault and I am making excuses.  After spending another kickass weekend at home with the family and running the STL Marathon relay I flew back to NYC on Monday morning and headed straight to the office.  I was tired and cranky and sad (I always get sad leaving the fam, call it post-trip dumpsies).  Therefore I didn't run on Monday.    Work is more stressful than normal lately, with a big product being released next week, that means doing plenty extra to ensure everything will look & work great.  It also means that when I do finally leave the office the last thing I want to do is anything.   Therefore I didn't run on Tuesday or Wednesday.    Weak.sauce.

Thursday! This was going to be the savior of the week.  Since I'm still having problems getting out of bed in the morning when not meeting up with others for a run, I packed up my running gear and brought it to work.  The weather was superb that day and I looked forward to the jaunt over the Brooklyn bridge and up the West Side to get me home.   This sounded like a fab plan b/c it wouldn't matter when I finished w/work, I run in the dark all the time.  Everything would have gone off without a hitch had I ignored the afternoon demo meeting on the books for that day and it's location in our other office.  Fine, I told myself, I'll just run from SoHo, I won't get that run over the bridge but I'll still run home.  Nope.  Had to have my laptop with me for that afternoon and there's no way in hell I'm running with a laptop on my back, I can imagine dents and bruises from that stupid brick.  I also had a time constraint that night in the form of an appointment at the vet's office with my furry friend.  F#@$, no run on Thursday.

This is just silly.

Finally, come Friday I had my regular meet up with the bridges crew and I got some miles logged.  That was just the nudge I needed to continue through the weekend.  So while it wasn't ideal, I'm considering it one week less of base building to get me to Grand Rapids and not allowing it to happen again.

F:  6.5 mi ez (9:00)
S:  7.75 mi ez (9:25) - great fun on the bridle path!
S:  13.15 mi (9:02) - ran the lower perimeter loop of Manhattan, 59th St and south

Total:  27.40 mi

Glancing at the long view, I've got 6 more weeks of base and then 20 weeks prior to Grand Rapids.  Need to make them all count.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Back to the roots

I do experience plenty of happiness in my day-to-day, along with a ton of frustration and anger, but hey that's not what this post [or blog, for the most part] is about.  I need to remind myself of this often, especially on those days/weeks/months where it seems all is the suck.   The little things that have made me happy today:

  • Friday bridges run with Elyssa, Eissa and guest runner, Susan!   These runs make for a fantastic start to any day but especially Fridays.
  • After this morning's run and before boarding a train back uptown, I found the cutest coffee shop along Chambers St.    Thanks for the great tasting java, Blue Spoon Coffee Company!
  • Everyone clogging up the subway platform this morning were all awaiting either a B or D train.  My A train pulled up, the seas parted, I boarded easily and got a seat 
  • Cadman Plaza in spring time is a gorgeous sight.  I pass it every week day twice, while walking between the subway and my office.  On downtown bridge route running days I pass it thrice!

  •  I had one last packet of Justin's almond butter to enjoy with an apple [thereby canceling out the zesty ranch potato chips]
  •  I'm closing bugs left and right in QA for a big project my team has been working on tirelessly .  Geeky moment!
  • A few choice finisher shots from last week's STL Marathon Relay

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lessons learned

If you've spent any significant time around me you know that I'm a stubborn, stubborn individual.  It's not always immediately evident but should you inquire about anything related to certain pockets of television or movie minutia, the subway, directions, or time lines/past events in our shared history and you'll soon find out I'm right.  I'll insist upon it.   My correctness is based on facts, I'm not one to believe that we have to share all the same beliefs in matters of opinion but if there's some fact underlying the aforementioned topics, I'm pretty much always right.  And should I have to admit to being wrong, as Jason & my sisters have learned, I'm not so gracious.  There is one area of my life that I don't have a problem being wrong, well I don't like being wrong and would prefer to have it all figured out but the learning is part of the fun.  That being, as you've probably surmised, running.  I've had good success with having a path to "right" for me in many areas but still learn things in most races and some training runs.  A few details gleaned from the 50K & this past weekend's STL marathon relay:
  • Don't be stupid; test out all equipment prior to the run.  Even though I'd recently used my Camelbak, I didn't test it out the morning of the race, choosing to simply fill the bladder up with water and be on my way.  It wasn't until about 15 mins. prior to the start that I tried to take a sip only to find some sort of blockage in the hose or bladder connection point.   Luckily with the conditions we had that day & the frequency of aid stations, I didn't need it but I did have to schlep the pack for the first loop b/c of the late timing.
  • It's ok to run fast(er) on trails when you can, take advantage of flats and downhills and cruise!  I played this race mega-conservative, the distance and terrain at that distance were total unknowns to me and I wanted to maximize the fun while minimizing any opportunity of a crash n' burn.  I had plenty left to give and could have run a bit more aggressively on both loops.
  • I'm still not OK running in the heat esp when not acclimated.  This past Sunday's run in STL was a shocker to say the least, summer crept in FAST and I was reminded how much the heat & humidity affects me.  Although I know I'll have more time to acclimate in the natural progression of spring into summer, I want to be well prepared for those nasty, doggy days when I'm deep in training for Grand Rapids.  I took an extra precaution and picked up a sleeker, smaller Camelbak while in STL, to use this summer in lieu of my hand-held on longer runs.  Will be drinking more and more often.
  • This is no grand revelation, but running trails makes you stronger.  You engage your core for stabilization and there are always plenty of rolling ups and downs to challenge and spice up any run.  I intend to keep trails in the mix while building my base for GR and for a LR here and there, when keeping the pace easy.

Here is last week's OK attempt to get my base going towards Grand Rapids; I should have planned better for Saturday's run & got out immediately upon waking up.  But ended up hitting the STL marathon expo & then visiting with my aunt who is recovering from back surgery.

M:  7.45 mi ez (9:14)
T:   6 mi ez (8:43), finished with 6x strides
W: 11 mi ez (9:12) a.m. / 90 mins yoga p.m.
T:  rest
F: 6 mi w/2 @tempo (8:07) *although the tempo miles were a bit too slow and then maybe a bit too fast, the entire run was at an avg of 8:07 so I'm not too upset
S:  unintended rest, visiting family
S:  9.6 mi ez (9:16) as STL Marathon Relay

Total: 40.05 mi

Monday, April 4, 2011

Putting it out there

In an effort to keep my motivation rolling, here's the recap of last week's skimpy running:

M:  travel to STL and rest
T:   dressed in running clothes & waited out some cold rain.  Never made it for the actual run; ate cheddar & rosemary popcorn.
W:  5.3 ez miles around a couple parks in my parent's neighborhood
T:   Cardinals home opener, woke up too late to do any running
F:   see above, hungover and attempting to do some work
S:   travel to NYC, sloth-like day on the couch
S:   9.35 ez miles up the Hudson

Total:  14.65 miles (don't exactly need a calculator for that math)

My goal for this week is log all a.m. runs, just like I was doing a year ago, and to make it back to the yoga studio at least once.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Running like a fool

As runners we've all experienced shitty runs and most of us, if not all, have experienced a period of time where our mojo has inexplicably left us.  At times this happens because we're burnt out, uninspired, injured or impacted by long periods of crap weather.   Perhaps more of our non-running life has impeded a path to running freedom or, in the worst of circumstances, it might be all of these things.   For myself it felt like all of the above and in a recurring cycle for the last 10 months.   Since being at the highest peak I've been probably ever been at, and not succeeding in a race I should have smashed, I just haven't been the same.   Who knows, maybe the same or at least a similar result would have occurred had I had the race I truly trained my ass for... who knows.   And as much as I've tried to stop the comparisons to me prior to May 1 last year and me today, I can't help it and it's making me crazy.

I'm a realist and a reasonably level-headed individual, most times, so I understand the comparisons won't do anything but a). depress me more and/or b). motivate me to try and get back there but that's still not enough.  I tried brute force, it worked for a couple weeks here and there.  I tried running for just running and it made me nuts not having a race to train for and/or a plan to follow.  I slacked on my eating & in my yoga practice and it only depressed me more.  By late last year I was probably +11 lbs of my race weight, suffering from PF in both feet for the first time ever, feeling unmotivated and uninspired and not willing to do much to change any of it.   The thought of planning for races in 2011 was truly scary, daunting and demoralizing.  Really the only thing that I knew for certain was that I most certainly did not want to train for a spring marathon.  No way, no how.  The comparisons were much too fresh in my mind and training for another 26.2 in the same period of time after one of my best cycles, would prove to be frustrating and maddening.

However!  ... I love running the miles.   I love the long run.   I love dedicating hours on a weekend to topping off a week's worth of running.   I just wasn't ready for all the other stuff that goes into specific race training, you know the guts of it all (aside from the mileage), the tempo work, the intervals, the progressions.  Basically none of the quality.   Even more so b/c NYC had more of a snowy winter than I can remember in my almost 11 years here; which doesn't really affect my ability to get out and run but does affect my getting to a snow-free track and nailing split-driven segments of running.

Back to the point, coach and I talked about this quandary of mine quite a bit.  He encouraged me to keep running consistently and logging whatever mileage I could muster.  He also planted the idea of finding a 50K for the spring.  I heard him and I did a poor job of executing.  Again with inconsistent weeks, finding my morning runs only when I had plans to meet up with others and often compromising on miles for un-needed rest days and additional hours of sleep that I wasn't lacking on to start with.  All in all, I was in no better a position by mid-January than I'd been for much of last year.  I HAD to do something!

And so on January 17th I mailed in my registration for the 2011 Fools Run 50K trail race.  I had something to work towards.   From that point until the actual race last Sunday (3/27) I'd almost be OK with yada-yada-yada'ing it.   Sure, I ran long on trails on the weekends and I tried to improve my consistency but the in/out of my mojo remained.  I just wasn't feeling it.  

Fast forward to last weekend.

I flew into Cleveland Friday night and drove directly to meet up with my awesome coach, Lloyd, his wife, Andrea, and my host for the weekend, Jim.  It was the warmest of receptions and I knew I was in for a special treat of a weekend.   A couple tasty Ohio beers consumed, a Kansas victory on the televisions and a lovely spinach salad in my belly.  Ready!

The next day brought much of the local scene into better focus. I was able to get out to the race course, check out the start/finish area and run an easy 3 miles on the toughest part of the course, the last loop known as the Salt Run. I was also able to tour many areas of the huge urban park that is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park including a few solid looks at the great blue heron heronry and hit up one of the local running stores for bib pickup.   The day was capped off with a lovely dinner in the company of Kathleen & Andrea

Pre-race dinner with Kath & Andrea

Race morning and I was excited!!  Not the least bit nervous nor anxious, just plain ole excited.  It was truly a liberating feeling that continued the entire 6:52 I was out on the course.  See, the beauty of this day, this race, was that I had no expectations, no pressures, no desire for a certain time or a certain race plan that had to do with splits.  The sun rose and provided a gorgeous day esp for those that seem to be heat-challenged (raising hand!!!).  Crisp temps in the upper 20s rising to the high 30s/low 40s (I think) by the time I finished and a sky full of blue and sun.   Not even a malfunctioning Camelbak could upset this scene.   I lined up in the last 1/4 of runners and without much ado we were off just after 7:30 a.m.   The course was a 25K loop consisting of 4 legs where each leg was made up of several trails and connectors and shortly after starting, my one and only fear of getting lost/off course, was laid to rest.  Everything was marked so well and in the first loop I was always following or running adjacent to several others.  We darted around grass trails up big sledding hills, along wide cross country trails made of fine gravel, up & down single track that often sported more than one set of stairs and around a gorgeous set of boulders known as the Ledges.

I would have had to work at not smiling.

I ran at a quicker clip when I could, power walked up steep inclines when required and made the most of mini-coversations with my fellow runners whenever we'd come upon one another.   The volunteers were AMAZING and the eventual winners were crazy friendly, cheering us along as they passed.   We looped around a few trails double-backing and finally got back to the Salt Run.  Soon enough the first lap was done and I was grabbing some soda and a pb&j square before starting back out on the second loop.   Doing a quick body check and everything was a-OK, no aches, no pains, not even the nasty PF or my ultra-crabby hamstrings came out to play today.    The second loop was much of the same, less runners now as many more did the 25K, and a whole lot muddier!   As the day warmed up so did the ground and with the passing of so many foot falls everything got a bit dirtier.   I was still feeling way good.   Every once in awhile glancing down at my Garmin but only thinking "heh, doesn't feel like I've been out there that long".   Soon enough a woman passed me who looked about my age and I decided that I'd try to stick with her; we seemed to be running the same sections at about the same pace and walking the others.   I'd say this started somewhere around mile 21 or 22?   We continued trading spots and finally at the last aid station before we traversed the big sledding hill one last time and hooked back up with the Salt Run, she dropped her cookie (a sad sight indeed) and I was able to pass her one last time.  It was funny, there was no competitive nature to this even though I find myself to be very competitive, although mostly with myself.  On to the Salt Run to finish this puppy off and what a sight!  Not only was this section crazy muddy but it was a different kind of muddy than what I experienced in all of the other sections.  Those were just wet and muddy, big puddles of water and mud that made for dirty running but not much more than that.   This last bit was what I'd call shoe-sucking mud.  It was a thicker consistency and made running on ups and downs nearly impossible.   Just as I'd get all amp'ed to pick up the pace, I'd slide off to the side b/c of the mud.   My shoes also gained a bit of weight at this point, desperate mud clinging to the sides  :)   It may have been the only time I was grateful for the many sets of stairs going up & down.  Their wood ledges provided a good opportunity to quickly rub off some mud and keep going.

Soon enough I could see the clearing where the trail popped out of the woods and into the giant clearing eventually leading to the finish line.  You can't see the actual finish at first but you can hear it, powering up the last hill there it was!!  I clearly saw Lloyd (also the race director!) and knew I'd done it.  Crossing I gave him a huge hug, collected my finishers mug and mugged for a bunch of pictures.   I couldn't stop saying what a fantastic time I had and how happy the day and race and scenery had made me.  I think Lloyd even did a mini-interview caught on video somewhere.  At the same time, it was a weird feeling.  I didn't want to stop.  I wasn't exhausted, I didn't need to sit down, I wasn't hungry or thirsty or spent.   It was magical and for a second there I had it back mojo!  And this last bit is what I consider to be the true addiction of trail running & ultramarathons in general.  There's just so much out there, trails explored and not, scenery to be taken in and the lack of pressures normally felt during a road race, at least for me.  In the immediate aftermath of that day, only a short week since, my body has responded tremendously.   I was only very lightly sore, no PF flare-ups, not the trouble of getting up and down stairs as I normally have post-marathon, none of that.   Just the warm feeling of a goal accomplished:  get my running spirit back!

Coach Lloyd and I at the finish

A dirty day indeed!

Finishers mug crafted by the talented, Kathleen!

Bottom of the mug, a race I won't forget

 And while I am currently shopping around for a fall marathon I'm also hooked on both trails & longer distances.  I feel another 50K is in my near future.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January 2011 Recap

Quickie recap:

Races: 0
Trail runs: 1
Longest run:  18 mi
Doubles: 2
Yoga: averaged once/week
Total miles: 233.9

February will be all about more time on the trails and more time on my feet, i.e. several hour long runs

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are there mini pads & helmets too?

So yeah, this has been sitting in the hallway at work for a week + now.   At first glance I was reminded of the awesome days at a start-up company when I first moved to NYC.   We had "late night working Wednesdays" when we'd theoretically talk about work strategy and have meaningful discussions about expanding our client base while chowing on pizza and sucking back beers.   In reality, we may have had an hour of that on a single Wednesday and every other one was beer, pizza and playing hall ball.  Sigh, I miss those days! 

After snapping back to present day office-life, I looked some more and wondered what tiny little office drones were secretly logging the ole 9-5 and getting in some hockey after hours.  I mean, check out the actual size of the goals and equipment below in my sweet birds-eye view shot...


I'm no giant but at 5'8" either my back would be breaking or my knees (is that even plausible?) would be wrecked worse than when I was a way-over-30 year old volleyball player facing youngins' straight outta college.   Yeeeeouch.   It wasn't until some co-workers (or maybe it was Jason??) and I spent a bit of useless meeting time discussing the possibilities that someone mentioned it likely a game played on a table.  Yeah, that seems about right but why the hell is it sitting in the hallway??  And what about the tiny little office drones?  They'd never reach at regular table height!    We may never know.  :)

At any rate, back to last week.  I finally got my butt back up to near 60, 57 mi to be exact, but a lot of it was sloppy and lacking quality.  I did have a couple "I feel like I'm flying" runs where I wasn't quite flying but it felt effortless however most could be labeled junk miles.  And while I'm quite accepting of winter and all the crud that drops from the sky, there comes a point when it's just not that easy to run tempos or intervals outside in sometimes sketch conditions.  Luckily for me, I'm not going for a super fast HM this weekend in Surf City, frankly I'll take whatever I can get, so my next goal race is that 50K and I don't need to be fast when I'm tripping all over the trails, just upright.  So for now I'll aim for quality runs 2x a week and take whatever I can get, as long as I'm moving my cupcake laden self forward, it's a win.   Which brings me to remaining thought, I guess I need to find another HM to try and run fast ....hmmm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Keeping it strong?

Didn't want to include these two bits in the last post, they are quite the opposite of weak.  Saturday afternoon after a crushing Kansas loss, I headed up to the Apple store to replace my slowly dying Nano.  Being that Magnolia is only like a block away, there's no way I couldn't pop in there as well.   It's no secret that I love cupcakes so it's probably not too much of a secret that I don't buy just one cupcake, I need one of the standard vanilla cakes preferably w/green frosting but blue or pink or whatever else will do as well.  And then another, usually of a custom flavoring, if available.   Saturday it was all carrot cake ...holy frijoles this sucker ROCKED!

The frosting was cream cheese based, of course, but the cake itself was divine!  Very opposite of dry (I hate that "m" word) and gone down my gullet in record time.

Sunday afternoon was a long overdue visit with my most fabulous running partners.  I can't tell you of many runs that go by when I'm not wishing the 4 of us were together again.  I know it'll happen sometime soon but for now I was happy to be dishing out belly rubs to both Bella & Allie and catching up with Missy on all the happenings that we'd normally discuss on daily runs.  She's an amazing mom and kickass role model to that cute little stinker below.

 Bella, being a good big sister and playing it cool around Allie's toys.

 Trying rice cereal for the first time.

Missy totally has a mini-me, let's hope she's as ready for marathon training as Missy is!

Keeping it weak

The week started off really freakin' weak, as in I did nothing on Monday.  No run, no yoga, I don't think I even cooked dinner nothing.  I talked myself out of any pre-work activity and by the time I arrived home that evening, was spent.  Work was nothing out of the ordinary but all I felt like was sitting on my ass and feeling sorry for myself.   I wasn't sore or sick or especially tired, I was just weak sauce.

By the next day I was sure I'd screwed the pooch, we were cursed with nasty frozen rain that pooled around existing snow and created even more opportunities to perfect one's long jump while commuting to work.  It was gross and kept alternating between ice and rain, however by the time I left the office it had mostly stopped and the temp had worked it's way above freezing leaving me a great running opportunity.  Redemption!  It was also one of the seldom occasions were I wore capris; capris in general don't really fit into my apparel selection.   If it's 40 or above I'm likely wearing shorts, below there and I've got tights on.   However with the right combination of elements capris feel right ...those being warmer but a little damp with an outside change of rain.   Pulling full tights off your legs when soaking wet is what I imagine it feels like to get out of a wet suit and sporting extra red legs b/c of cold and wet don't make for an easy cool down.   My half-covered legs and I enjoyed a spectacular evening of running with a side of puddle jumping & rat dodging (they were out in full force after the ice/rain).

Wednesday provided another warmer day that I took advantage of by running to and from the yoga studio, before we dipped back to chilly again.  Thursday was a TM tempo run, uh what ...I hate the TM!  For those not in the know, I don't run on it but maybe once or twice a year, it's not that I have any profound beliefs as to why a TM should or should not be run on but rather that I hate it.  It makes me crazy, I run differently on it, I like being outside in all weather conditions and it makes me crazy.  However, fueled by fear of an upcoming HM, I felt it might be a good idea if I were to dial back into my tempo pace so I might be able to run a few miles of it in said HM. It turned out OK but I'm gunning for the track to be cleared for a similar workout this week.  By Friday I was in the exact same state as Monday.  Weaker than ever and bailing on any running or other activity.  Oh wait, I did cook dinner that night, a gourmet dish of grilled peanut butter and jelly, idea courtesy of Shelby.   Friday weak < Monday weak.

By the weekend I'd pulled my head out and focused on getting some good miles logged and my act together w/regard to some organization stuffs around the apartment.   The colder temps didn't bother me a bit, layered up and hit the park for most of 18 miles on Saturday and then the WSH for a bit over 9 miles on Sunday.  While I don't think the wind was much worse on Sunday, I was running right into it by being along the Hudson and not the semi-guarded CP.    For what should have been a 60+ mile weak, I waddled in with a whopping 49.1 mi (sarcasm intended):

Monday - nada
Tuesday - 9 mi ez, finished w/6x strides
Wednesday - 6.35 mi around 90 mins. yoga
Thursday - 6.43 mi w/3 x 5 mins @tempo
Friday - nada
Saturday - 18 mi
Sunday - 9.35 mi ez

Total = 49.13 mi

Fails for the week:  Monday and Friday
High-fives for the week:  Return of both strides and tempo and a really fun long run

Monday, January 17, 2011

Too much of a good thing

I'm through another 7 days on the training plan as a small cut-back week, before I get back to building & ending up around 60 miles again.  Even though I was shooting for less mileage there were too many short runs in here, I mean if I'm going to get all bundled up and outside in the elements I want my money's worth.  That will be a good focus for the coming week.   I also need to try and squeeze some more quality out of general ez runs, in the form of strides and/or some tempo intervals.  More focus to work on.  

Lastly I need to do some more tightening up on my food intake, I've been much better about planning & cooking and assuring I have good stuffs with me while at the office but overall I enjoyed far too much cheese this past week with a surge of it over the weekend.  Undoubtedly this was a huge factor in why that Sunday run got made into two runs ...booo!   Which brings me to the topic of compromise, a hot topic always.   We all know things don't always go accordingly to plan and rather than skipping a run altogether, often we have to fit in what we can, alter the run's purpose or just plain ole make do.   It's definitely not a strong suit of mine to just roll with it but I'm getting better at recognizing when I should and reacting accordingly.   Take Saturday's workout for instance, I slept in a bit (wayyyy needed!) and absolutely had to do some stuff around the apt. for my sanity's sake (see: slacker post here) before I got out for a run.  Additionally I had a full day of bachelorette/not-bachelorette party fun planned with Steph and her girls from Buffalo so time was limited.  I'd kicked myself in the ass for not getting hills in earlier in the week so I changed up venues to use a hill closer to home and shortened my warm-up & cool-down miles.   Net result: a strong set of hills in a power packed 51 minutes.   Here's how the week shook out:

Monday - 90 mins. yoga
Tuesday - 8.25 mi ez
Wednesday - 8 mi ez
Thursday - 6 mi ez
Friday - 5.95 mi ez
Saturday - 5.86* mi w/7x hill repeats  *isn't that a nasty little number to be stuck with, wish I'd paid more attn, would have run a bit more
Sunday - 8 mi and then a few hours later, 8 mi more

Total = 50.06 mi

Back to that bachelorette/not-bachelorette party... first stop was lunch at Bouley, a gorgeous French restaurant in TriBeCa that uniquely offers a tasting menu 7 days/week.   5 courses for $36 is a HUGE steal in NYC and with so many great options, the 4 of us enjoyed bites of most all of them.  I think my favorites came out as the Porcini Flan w/Alaska Dungeness Crab & Black Truffle Dash and the Cape Cod Skate Steamed with Toasted Pinenut Dressing & a Sunchoke Puree w/Micro Celery but everything was monster delicious!!  After a bit of walking (absolutely needed!) and walking in between each, we enjoyed cocktails at a couple great spots with my favorite being at Temple Bar (try the Riviera Spritzer!) and then ended the evening at Eataly.   Now Eataly in itself is a trip out so I'll definitely have to go back when I'm not over-full, tired and a bit tipsy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Committed, I am and I need to be


Mailed my registration in for this guy today.  Coincidentally or not, maybe I'm just in the mood to cross items off the ever-growing to-do list, I registered one of our NYC-based teams for the spring edition of RTB and mailed in fees for the fall edition of RTB.  It's pay day and money is a-flowing... come and get some before I run out.


Too late.

About the race, the huge upside (aside from running an official 50K) is that the fabulous coach Lloyd is the RD and can provide some great inside scoop on the course and of course how to train for it.  Time to lay out plans for more time on the trails and getting my PF to suck it up and like it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


This week is dragging big time + I feel woefully behind in EVERYTHING.  The apartment is a freakin' wreck, I need to do [more] laundry, I'm behind in mailing out a bunch of stuff and making some returns and a regular grocery store trip hasn't been made.  We're scraping the bottom of the barrel here people... argh!   Part All of this is my fault of course, poor time management & not enough hours in the day coupled with the hope that some of the to-do list would get accomplished on the snow day I (and everyone else in NYC) thought was a sure thing and subsequently didn't happen yesterday means I need to play catch up.

There have been a few bright spots, however.  First up was dinner Monday night; as previously mentioned we don't have a ton of good stuff on hand at home at the moment and arriving home late from yoga i.e. 9:00 p.m. is no time to start thinking about what to eat.  Luckily we had veggies, rice and tofu and a sous chef that excels in a couple, particular recipes.  Jason is always the preparer of one of our standard meals, Shrimp to Nuts.  It's a pretty simple recipe preparing shrimp with veggies, some nuts (often almonds or cashews) in a peanut oil, soy sauce and red pepper flake mixture and served over brown rice.   Tonight we just subbed out the shrimp for tofu and threw in some pepitas as the nut cupboard was low on most everything else.  Oh my... was it ever muy delicioso!!!  And big props to Jason for overcoming his texture issues and eating his plate clean :) Check it...

Another bright spot came in the form of seeing the premiere of Hood to Coast with many of the people who will be my teammates for the first ever spring edition of Reach the Beach.  The movie did a great job in capturing the essence of a running relay including the variety of characters involved, the miles and miles of coordinated hilarity and dedication and the friendships tested & established through such a shared experience.  It only made me for excited for the upcoming opportunity and also lit a fire under my butt in lining up registrations, team name selection and other assorted co-captain duties.  

Next up, more spring time racing plans... stay tuned.

Monday, January 10, 2011

So this is how deer become such good runners

Last week was a solid one, sprinkled with a couple runs that I've either never experienced before or it's been way too long since the last one.   On Tuesday I got back to the hills for some repeats in Central Park with Josh and his crew, it took a couple for me to remember the ebb & flow of such a workout but the good news is I felt better and better the more we did.   Will get another of these workouts in this week as well in addition to squeezing in some tempo miles later in the week.  Tuesday was also the first double I've run in awhile although I anticipate many more.  It's hard to run the mileage I'd like without the benefit of a 18-23 miler on the weekend and since I'm not training for any specific marathon-distance event right now, I don't really need that super LR.  Thus more regular doubles during the week, wheee! 

Saturday brought about a whole new animal of a run, trail running but in the snow and ice.   Now I've run trails before and I really dig 'em but I have never run trails in the winter when a lot of ice and a lot of snow are covering the ground.  My buddy Ben sent me a note earlier last week trying to set up a time for us to run together again, it had been much too long and mentioned he'd be running the Watchung Trail Marathon on Saturday.   I thought why not, sounds like a good chance to catch up and run and try something I've not done before; I don't mind falling and as long as I didn't break a bone I knew it would be a good time.  Going into it I didn't have any specific mileage goal but knew it was a loop course of 2 10+ mile loops and a 3rd shorter loop.  I prepared myself by finally succumbing and buying some actual trail running shoes (all previous trail running was done in my regular running shoes) and by digging out the Camelback for easy access hydration.   I should also mention that with approximately the same regularity I run on the West side, Ben runs trails so I knew it best to just suck it up and follow him.   The trails required lots of concentration and focus on footing, our previous big snow had melted quite a bit but left deep icy footprints and with another wave of colder temps, froze over solidly before being covered by fresh snow of about 3-5 inches.   The scenery was gorgeous when I was able to briefly look up without fear of busting ass but man, do you ever work harder on terrain like that.  I was sweating my ass off for most of the loop, only towards the end did I put my hat back on and every once in awhile I'd have an incident of spazzing out.  Spazzing out by my definition in this scenario was working at a crazy heart rate level, moving my legs as if I were Scooby Doo booking away from a bad guy and seemingly getting nowhere.   All in all it was indeed a blast and I was pretty satisfied to have run the one loop (approx 10.9 mi) and call it a day while Ben continued on for a 2nd time around.  My PF did not like that icy footing and I really didn't want to take myself out from running for several days b/c of this one run. 

So long story short: fun stuff, hills, snow, ice, wind - repeat next week.

Monday - 8 mi ez
Tuesday - [a.m.] 7.7 mi ez, [p.m.] 8.3 miles w/6x hill repeats
Wednesday - 90 mins. yoga
Thursday - 6.7 mi ez
Friday - 5 mi ez
Saturday - 10.9 mi on the trails
Sunday - 9.35 mi ez

Total =  55.95 mi

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Today felt like a very indulgent type of day.  Fighting the urge to snooze, I woke up and met with my Tuesday running buddy knowing it's always worth it to meet up with her and get some early miles in as the sun rises.  We exchanged stories of our holidays and workdays to come; it always feels more like we're sitting on comfy couches sipping on tea rather than gliding along the Hudson in 30* weather.  Perfect start to the day!  7.7 miles in 1:12 (9:22/mi)

The work day was well behaved and moved swiftly.

Feeling like the support & company of others during my return to hill repeats I met up with Josh's crew in Central Park after work.   This is a special treat as I'm normally not out of work and able to get up to the meeting spot by 6:30 but again, this was an indulgent sort of a day.   Warm up, 6 repeats on the front and back sides of Harlem Hill and a nice cool down was just what the doctor ordered.   Our group + everyone else in NYC training for Boston seemed to be out tonight with nothing but HILLS, HILLS, HILLS on the mind.  Great vibe!  8.3 miles in 1:12:39 (8:47/mi)

Walking briskly back home, taking an extra long hot shower to warm up,  I then snacked on some leftover peanut butter pie as water boiled for dinner.

Today was a good day!

Monday, January 3, 2011

I am a winter runner! I am also Canadian?

This evening provided another perfect backdrop for a cruise-control type of run.  Sure our weather dropped 20+ degrees within 24 hours [again] but the winds were calm and the sky a bright backdrop to the city slowing down just a touch.   As much as I've tried and relatively succeeded [earlier in 2010] to become a morning runner, I'm still a night owl at heart.  And thus evening running feels right esp when it's cool outside and I feel as though I'm gliding.

Tonight's run sponsors were:  the long lines of planes destined for an arrival at Newark flickering as mere sparkles in the sky, a fabulous 311 based playlist, a single pre-run chocolate chip cookie and the several nods I got from fellow runners along the river tonight.

8 miles in 1:09:57 (8:45/mi) for an easy unwinding to a full day at work.

Oh and the Canadian bit of me sweated another nearly perfect maple leaf in the middle of my chest.

Oh hai 2011!

Yes I've been a huge slacker here and no there will be no full post recap of 2010.  Mostly b/c I feel like I've missed the window of opportunity but also b/c I'm reading a monster of a book right now and all I can handle outside of that is Reader's Digest summaries.  There were two overall themes for running in the last year for me:  mileage and local.   That may sound contradictory but in the past year I ran more than ever before (2500 mi) and in the company of many kickass local runners.   It all started off with Missy moving here and us getting into a sweet groove of regularly running together and continued with connecting to my local scene via Twitter.  Now I've run with peeps in the past but I'm was still a 90% of the time kind of solo runner.  It's not always on purpose but it works for me.  2010 was all kinds of different, Tuesday mornings with Tavia, bridges runs on Fridays with Eissa & Elyssa and sometimes Daniel, long runs in the Palisades or along the WSH, Beatles yoga (a complement to running!), and of course my last 8 miles of the year to the Doughnut Plant as pictured below.  Needless to say I'm thankful for all of the runners that kept me company & motivated along the many miles and experiences of 2010.

It was also of the highest level of kickassery to be able to run with many of my siblings in the week surrounding Christmas.   As we'd decided to hole ourselves up in a big rental down in the Outer Banks, running was really our only break from beer pong tourneys, dipping in the ocean, being the stars of some banned videos, chillaxing in the hot tub and endless hours of Wii, Bananagrams, CatchPhrase, Cranium and pledged-floor sliding (don't ask!).  I never take running with them for granted, it always feels like a gift, regardless of how bad it hurts (can you say week long hangover) or the number of times we have to stop for emergency bathroom breaks  :-)  At any rate, this holiday was sissies running all the way as little bro is on a bit of a break ...we tried to peer pressure his ass but he's built a steel fortress of a wall after dealing with us chicks for way too many years.   Which made these gifts from Jen all the more appropriate...

So on to this next year, well you know continuing on as it's already the 3rd.  I don't have a bunch of monumental goals but would like to stay high on the mileage end, root myself further into my yoga practice and build up some more speed.  What that would hopefully translate to is a sub-1:40 HM, another year of staying injury free & strong and the ability to jump into an ultra or marathon whenever I felt the urge.