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.