Monday, April 27, 2009

no MORE

It seems race officials are more and more paranoid these days. Ever since this happened, races seem more likely to be canceled or turned into fun runs. I've experienced the non-race phenomenon on several occasions since October 2007. Some were nixed due to dangerous wintry weather concerns; Exhibit A and Exhibit B. Others, like Need for Speed, and now MORE, were due to heat. I'm not about to go spouting off my opinions on whether or not these were good decisions. But I will make two small observations: 1.) this didn't used to happen and 2.) racing has changed.

The MORE marathon was scheduled for Sunday morning. I was slated to pace the second half--a total of 14 miles, since you run a mile with the first half pacers before making the switch. Saturday evening, I was home sipping wine and watching a movie when Flygirl called around 9:30. She wanted to let me know that the marathon had been canceled due to unseasonably warm temperatures forecasted for race morning. In addition, the half-marathon was now a fun run. All of this was very last-minute. I still looked forward to running--helping pace and making sure the runners were safe--but I was a bit worried about the heat. If it was that bad to cancel a race, was it really a good idea to be out there running 14 miles?

Long story short--it was a great time! We started at 8am, when things weren't too bad. The sun was bright and the air a bit humid, but there was a decent breeze and some shade in the park. Since I was relieved of my pacing duties, I was free to run at whatever speed suited me. My pacing buddies were DM (used to be Sister Smile) and JM (who just ran Boston on Monday). We had a great time circling the park a couple times and chatting away. Our splitz are as follows:

One. 10:40
Two. 10:01
Three. 10:01
Four. 9:59
Five. 9:42
Six. 10:23
Seven. 9:34
Eight. 9:45
Nine. 9:31
Ten. 9:27
Eleven. 9:35
Twelve. 9:28
Thirteen. 9:03
Point one and Fourteen. 9:36

This was a great experience for me. I felt pretty good, considering my lack of preparation for this distance, my lingering cold, and the high heat. I noticed that a lot of participants were truly excited to be running in Central Park (there were a lot of out-of-towners), hence my quote, "If we didn't run here every single day, I guess this would be fun. . . " Shortly after I got home, I immersed myself in an ice bath. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Today I headed out for a short recovery run--3 miles--followed by some stretching and ab work. I find it really hard to stretch properly after a long run when exhaustion is settling in and my stomach is begging for food and/or drink (though probably not the Belgian beer I fed it after yesterday's effort...). I don't know if it's optimal to wait a day, but I feel I get a better stretch when I'm not distracted or rushed.

Last week I snagged three runs in a row. Tuesday was a energy-less fiver with no garmin because it was being temperamental and refused to find a signal. My patience was low and I believe I uttered some choice words to the device before leaving it home by itself to think about what it had done. Wednesday we tried again and it went better. I did the same fiver in 44:30. And Thursday was a full loop in 1hr6.

Since I have no specific focus at the moment, I'm just concentrating on solidifying good running habits -- varying my runs, stretching, strengthening, and keeping things un-inflamed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

california love

As much as I ♥ NY, every time I visit California, I fall in love. And this past weekend was no exception.

Last week was pretty much a pathetic showing on the mileage front. I milked being sick for all it was worth, only snagging a shortie three miler on the treadmill Tuesday evening. But I really was sick, in my defense. Throw in a non-negotiable friend's birthday on Wednesday and traveling to the west coast on Thursday, and my mileage total going into the weekend could have been calculated by a two-year old.
Waking up in San Diego Friday morning with the time change on my side (score three hours!), I bounded down to the lobby to ask about running in the area. I was simply handed a little laminated card with mapped out routes beginning and ending at the hotel. Couldn't be easier! How nice of Runner's World. After coffinating with a soy latte, I ventured out into some absolutely perfect weather: sunny, dry, and cool with a periodic light breeze.

Now the map showcased two routes; three and five miles respectively. Naturally, I combined them both for a longer run, which I thoroughly enjoyed. For starters, there were boats everywhere! I also got to check out the scene; cute little restaurants, shops, kites, BOATS! By the end of the run, I was exhausted, but very happy. Saturday I only did the five mile route, but considering the packed weekend, that was enough. I wish I could have had time for another run--I would have liked to explore the path a little farther north. But that will have to wait til next time.

Today, besides fending off jet lag, I incessantly tracked friends running Boston. Good thing we had a professional day so I could check the updates- literally- under the table during various meetings. Congrats, runners!! Special shout-outs to: Lam, bandanahead, TB, LF, DM, JD, JH, JM, and anyone else I missed. You are all amazing!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dumb & Dumber

  • Signing up for an NYRR race these days: Dumb
  • Proceeding to run the race despite being sick: Dumber
  • Doing so in pouring rain: I'll let you fill in this blank here. Be kind.

Lam was out there spectating the Scotland 10K on Saturday and was able to snap this picture of a crazy person (in white hat) running in the rain (probably between coughs at this particular moment).

Reasons why I went ahead with it:

  • I didn't think it was raining so hard (it wasn't when I left my apt)
  • I figured it was only 6.2 miles (though ended up being more like ten with the warm up/cool down)
  • I wanted to run.

The results:

  • I scored a mediocre 10K time: 52:50 (avg 8:29/mile)
  • Splits were: 9:06 (terrible bottle-neck at start due to cautious runners slowing down on the wet pavement and some walkers..), 8:38, 8:30, 8:31, 8:06, 8:15, 1:37
  • I got soaked.
  • Ended up (more) sick.

So my first "race" as an F30 was more or less "pointless":

  • My bib was orange.
  • I couldn't really mingle with Flyers pre-race-- I only saw a few people at the baggage check and was more concerned about staying "dry."
  • I couldn't stick around post-race either-- too wet, too cold, too disappointed.
  • I didn't run a good race-- though I did feel good while running.
  • The tee shirts were ugly.
  • I'm (still) sick.

Yep, went to work today and promptly came home. I meant to write up this sad story over the weekend, but the holiday happenings kept me busy. Instead, my unplanned sick day is providing me with that ability. Earlier in the week, I felt the onset of a sore throat shortly after finishing Wednesday's fiver. It felt better on Thursday, and since I had the day off, I went for a nine miler--this was a nice run: saw Flyer GW by Engineer's gate (fountains are on!!) and chatted about his Cherry Blossom PR and my potential fall marathon choice.

I guess I'll be taking it easy this week.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Windy days

Even though it's technically "spring" and the weather should be nice, we've experienced a series of windy and rainy days. Gray skies have taken over; even when the sun tries to get a word in edgewise, it gets blanketed by a fresh crop of cloud. Not cool. Today, as I fought my way though the audible gusties, I thought about one thing all this wind would be good for: sailing! Picture walk, here we go.


The above is one of my favorite types of sailing photos. I call it "underway." Taken from the cockpit, it is the easiest pic to take while actually sailing; also the safest.

Next is yours truly at the helm. Another classic. Obviously, I was moving at a pretty good clip, as is evident from the heel and frothy wake.

Another kind of pic I like to take is that of a nearby racing boat. This one was part of a large regatta that we encountered on a sail in the BVIs. Though there are technically "rules of the road" sailors must follow when boats cross paths, none of them apply when a regatta is coming towards you. After you frantically drop your sails and motor around the incoming speedsters, it's cool to snap a pic of a contender.

And last, but not least, the captain ;) He doesn't often make an appearance in my blog, but he's my number one fan, so I'm honoring him with some face-time. How he endures my endless babble on the subject of running, I know not. But he does. On Sunday he heard about my twelver on the West Side Highway that went pretty well, though included some nausea and faintness. Lack of food and hydration, I surmised, while he nodded and empathized (or at least this is what I believe he was doing). I spared him the details on yesterday's elliptical work and liftage. Yes, there was liftage. And abs. But it's tough to make short gym visit tales exciting, so I usually brush over them and just mention my sore non-running muscles every so often. This, I believe, allows him to infer that some substantial lifting must have taken place for me to have such sore muscles without me actually having to report it. I'm sly like that.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

rut

Being stuck in a rut has a negative connotation. The word rut itself (in this case) means a fixed, usually boring routine. By that definition, I am experiencing a rut when it comes to running. But I'm not totally disheartened by it. In fact, I'm rather enjoying it. But I'm also looking ahead to the spring and hoping I can shake things up a bit before the weather turns really nasty (read: hot/humid).

So this week's fixed routine included a seven miler on Monday done in an hour two (first day back and all), an eight miler on Thursday in one-thirteen (glorious shorts & tee weather), and today's fiver in forty-three minutes. There is running on the schedule for tomorrow but the distance is TBD.

Other than that, I got my baseball fix at Yankee Stadium last night--the first game ever played at the new one, which is right across the street from the old one. Despite a few rain drops (and the fact that they beat the Cubs), the game was fun and got me thinking about baseball season, especially now that my March Madness bracket has been recycled. Honestly, what would we do without sports?!?