Sunday, November 28, 2010

Race recap: Race to Deliver

The Race to Deliver was my first race since I started running again, and it was only the second time that I'd run outside since then (the first time was just a week prior!). I had been a bit hesitant about running outdoors since my injury since maybe running on the pavement had added to the stress reaction, but I was excited to finish my 9+1 qualifier for the 2011 NYC Marathon and was ready to do my best and have an easy run. But with a new Girl Talk album on my iPod, an easy run was just not possible.

I love living so close to the start line of most of the NYRR races -- I can walk over there five minutes before the race starts and don't have to wait around in the cold. It was pretty cold that morning too, about 40 degrees, but my trusty Runner's World "What Should I Wear?" tool told me two layers on top, shorts, and gloves would be all I needed. I arrived at the start line and saw people in running tights, fleeces, hats, mittens and more, and I doubted my clothing choice. After all, there's not too much sun on the four-mile course, and it wasn't even 40 degrees out yet! But once I got a mile in, I knew I'd made the right decision -- I even took off my gloves and wished I had one less layer on top. And...I was going fast! My Garmin (map and splits to come!) even said I was sub-9:00 pace for a couple of miles, so I gunned it pretty much the whole race, hoping to improve my previous 4-mile PR of 36:00...and I did! By one whole second! I really do have a thing for improving times by mere seconds this year. I'm going to take that as a sign that I should work on my speed workouts.

On top of the race last weekend, I also volunteered the day before at the Knickerbocker 60K -- yes, SIXTY kilometers, as in 37.2 miles, as in 11 miles on top of a marathon! The people in the race (all 214 of them) started at 8 a.m., ran 1.2 miles, then ran nine loops of a four-mile course. Talk about monotony! The volunteers and I would yell out the numbers of the runners as they came by each loop, encouraging them -- I loved seeing the smile on their faces as they ran past us! We had quite a few people come up and ask us what was happening, how far 60 kilometers was, what on EARTH would possess a person to run such a distance, etc. It was really fun to watch, but it's not something I ever plan on doing in the future!

As for my running, I've been having some weird pain in the left leg again (in a totally different place from the stress reaction), but I ran 4.5 miles on the treadmill over Thanksgiving and felt pretty good! I think I'm finally getting back into it, but I feel like I need/want something to train for to get me doing those speed workouts and long runs. I honestly really enjoy running in the cold, but I don't live anywhere near the Westside Highway anymore and I'm not the biggest fan of Central Park's hills, so I don't know how much I'll get outside this winter. Hopefully I can run along the East River at least a little bit!

Here's to a running-filled and injury-free winter!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Marathon: Take Two

I was talking to my mom about how I wanted to run a different marathon before I ran the NYC Marathon next year. I was thinking about the New Jersey Marathon, and she suggested I look for some in the DC area since that's near where she and my dad live. The National Marathon is in March, which is too soon after I get back from the February family vacation in Asia, and the Marine Corps Marathon is in October, too close to the NYC Marathon. I was looking for an April-May-June marathon, and my mom stumbled across this Potomac River Run Marathon May 1, the same day as the New Jersey Marathon!

It's also much more convenient, MUCH smaller (capped at 300 people!) and very cheap ($40!). I still have to take the bus to DC, but at least I can stay at my house and don't have to get a hotel, which I'd probably have to do with the New Jersey Marathon. I think it'll be interesting to run such a small marathon, especially since I'll be running one with over 40,000 people six months later, but I've heard it said from a few different people that the NYC Marathon is not the best first marathon -- a lot of people, a lot of spectators, a lot of bridges, a tough course... This one is an out-and-back course, few (if any) spectators, and even bills itself as "the easiest marathon in America". Sounds like it's worth a shot to me!

I ran two miles yesterday, and felt a little pain afterward. It wasn't bad, but I took today off (unless you count walking around Ikea for two hours as a workout) just to keep it rested. I'm planning an elliptical and weight session tomorrow -- woo! Night!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shoulda woulda coulda

I should have run my first marathon on Sunday. I would have if I could have, but I didn't. It's bittersweet -- obviously I know that I'm recovering from an injury and there's absolutely know way that I could have run that marathon today, but I'm still kind of sad about it. I think that's probably normal. Four of my friends ran it though (congrats C, S, KS and KF!), and the girl who writes one of the blogs I follow ran it too, so it's sort of hard. Next year I'll have the NYC Marathon to look forward to, but that's so far away! All the more time to heal and train though! However, I'm thinking about doing the San Diego Marathon in June and deferring the NYC Marathon to the following year, but we'll see...

I rode the stationary bike for an hour on Sunday which is so NOT the same as running for 4+ hours, but it did keep me distracted! So did my grandmother's 95th birthday on Saturday -- we had cake, opened presents, and enjoyed an amazing homemade meal (lasagna!) by my aunt. She also baked two cakes -- one carrot, one chocolate marble, both delicious.

Yesterday I ran a FULL MILE WITHOUT STOPPING!!! It was glorious! It was really slow (5.3mph) but I'll take what I can get! :) I'm finally feeling like I'm able to get back into my old routine. The last Tuesday and today I did a hard total body conditioning class, something I really, really had been missing. I plan on getting back on track with my workouts, blogging more, and eating really well. I think I'll be back to it before I know it!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Long way to go

Well, I've started running again...if you count 5.0 mph for 0.3 miles as running (which I do!). It feels like I'm starting all over again -- except instead of huffing and puffing, I have a weird limp and a bit of pain my leg. At least I've managed to stay in shape during this injury!

Trying to run again has been a slow process. I've tried it twice -- the first time I just went a quarter mile till I felt some pain. I had a weird limp (maybe getting used to the treadmill again?) and I think I was really nervous about trying running again, which probably didn't help the situation. The second time I tried to run "normally", i.e. without a limp. It went better than the first time, and I felt like I was running with much less of a limp, but I still felt some pain in my leg. Instead of bone pain though, I found I've had mostly muscle pain throughout this entire injury. The tibia itself has never really hurt -- it's pretty much always been the back left of my calf. Maybe I tore a muscle in addition to the stress reaction? The first doctor I saw did say there was some muscle strain on the MRI, but it's hard to tell what exactly is going on since I haven't actually seen the MRI report for myself...

Anyway, I do plan to keep slowly increasing my mileage and plan on running twice a week. I also want to try running outdoors -- I think the treadmill might be throwing me off a bit with the moving belt and all. I think I need to practice going through the running motions some before I'm ready to let a belt dictate my speed! I still need to run one more race in order to qualify for the NYC Marathon next year (I'm volunteering at the NYC Marathon expo this year to get my volunteer qualification!), so I hope I can find a 5k to do at a super slow pace sometime between now and Dec. 31. Hopefully I'll be able to run that far! However, I did walk a running race as part of my qualifying races...I had signed up for two races pre-injury, the Fitness Mind Body Spirit 4 mile race and the ING Tune-Up 18 mile race (though I wasn't going to be running the NYC marathon this year, I figured it would be inspiring to be around other people who were training for a marathon).
Obviously I couldn't do the 18 miler, but I woke up on the day of the 4-mile race and decided that I would walk it. I did it in just over an hour and even beat 11 people! Woo hoo! It was actually pretty interesting because I was mostly with a bunch of people who were possibly new to running, or running their first race. I was really encouraged to see some of the newer runners running with friends who were maybe a bit more experienced with running -- they were encouraging their friends all the way, taking breaks with them and keeping them going. At the end I overheard one girl who I saw through much of the race exclaim, "I did it! I did it!!!" I couldn't help but smile and remember my first race!

I honestly haven't really looked for any "getting back into running after an injury" articles, but I know that I should. If anyone who reads this has any tips, I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's official...

I CAN RUN AGAIN!!! I went to the doctor yesterday and he gave me the OK to run again. He did a little poking, prodding, and told me to get back to it! YAY! When he told me I asked him, "Are you kidding? Are you serious? How do you know?" I just really couldn't believe it. He said the bone was less sore and it was looking good! And I have to say, the past couple days my leg has been especially pain-free. I am PUMPED!

Of course, after that I went to get a vaccine and ended up fainting at the doctor's office (I have needle-phobia). So I haven't yet given running a try. When I do, though I'll be sure to let you know how it goes! I'm going to go slow of course, and not go very far to begin with, but at least I can get back to it!

This time has also gotten me thinking about doing a triathlon one day. Yeah, I only went swimming once in these two months, but I liked it and I think I'll try to make it a more regular part of my routine. And I can tear it up on the bike now. I think it's good to have a few different cross training exercises available for non-running days -- I used to just do the elliptical, but I couldn't really do it while I was injured; I used to think I hated the bike, but it's actually a great way to read while working out!

The next thing I need is a getting-back-to-it training schedule. I know I should start slow, build mileage gradually, not run much, but I wonder if there's a plan for that somewhere?

That's it for now. I'm back!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Injured: Part Two

Needless to say, I decided I needed a second opinion, but not after hobbling around NYC on crutches for a couple of weeks. Let me just say, if you ever feel like you need to get a seat on the bus but are not 85 years old or pregnant, GET CRUTCHES. People could not get up fast enough for me! In fact I might just keep them around for future use...

ANYWAY. I sent to another doctor whom my mom found in the New York Magazine, a running specialist from a town I once lived in, Kansas City. After waiting to get an appointment, the doctor took one look at me and said, "You overpronate. You need support in your arches. Go buy orthotic inserts and come back and see me in six weeks." I mean, he said more than that and was super helpful and supportive, but he also suggested

Let me just say, after running for a little bit in the neutral shoes that Jack Rabbit sold me when they told me I DIDN'T overpronate, I had this itching feeling that I was seriously lacking in arch support. When I asked at Jack Rabbit another time if I should get orthotic inserts, they just said "Those are for people with serious problems." WELL HELLO THERE JACK RABBIT NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN PLEASE SELL ME THESE ORTHOTIC INSERTS SO I CAN GET BACK TO LIVING A NORMAL LIFE AND NEVER SELL ME ANY SHOES EVER AGAIN THANKYOUVERYMUCH!

(Bitter? ME?? Why...yes. Just a little bit. But I can't blame them completely...)

This doctor told me that all of this "stuff" (i.e. the crutches and the CAM walker) were completely ridiculous and unnecessary, and that all I needed was a set of orthotic inserts to put in my sneakers. And that I would have to wear these sneakers for ohhh I don't know, let's see how it goes in four weeks. I'll see the doctor again in two weeks and hopefully have an update for you then.

So far the leg is definitely getting better. There are days where it hurts, but it's more of a muscle pain in the back of the leg. I've been riding the stationary bike and I tried swimming the other day (which I plan to continue doing), and I sometimes do weights (but not nearly enough). I'm hopeful that my leg will get better in the next month or so, but I'm not going to push anything anytime soon. There are more marathons to run, and they aren't going anywhere, but a stress fracture is not really what I need right now! I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. Hopefully I can start getting my butt out of bed in the mornings from now on...I've been SO bad at that lately. Tomorrow! I will get up early! And go to the gym!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Injured: Part One

I have a decent excuse for my disappearance from this site. Barely a week after my last post I set out for a 7 mile speed workout in Central Park. I was sort of dreading it the night before, but decided that that was no attitude to have and promptly decided it would be a fantastic way to start the day and that I would most definitely feel refreshed and accomplished after completing it.

The sciatica in my right leg had been an ongoing problem but my left leg had stood strong and been quite reliable throughout all injuries (except for that pesky hip flexor tendinitis back in March...that can be forgiven though). I ran one mile just fine, then started my speed work. My right leg felt a little funny at mile 2 or so, but I shook it off as a muscle cramp, and even stopped to stretch it out. At mile 3.5 though, I stopped short and was suddenly in absolutely TERRIBLE pain. It's hard to describe exactly what it was like, but it caused me to stop in the middle of my run that was meant to be amazing and forced me to hobble home, tears in my eyes.

Once I got home, I realized that the sciatica pain was gone from my right leg, and thought that perhaps the sciatica had jumped from my right leg to my left leg -- hey, it could happen, right? I called my sports medicine doctor and she had me come in right away. She was going to give me steroids to help me with the pain of the sciatica, but at the last minute did a pressure test along my tibia. Um, OW! "This hurts? Then this isn't sciatic. You have a stress reaction in your tibia." She took an X-ray and nothing showed up, which signaled to her that it was NOT a stress fracture, but instead a stress reaction (to be honest, I'm still unsure what the difference is, but all I know is that I don't have a stress fracture!). And I would have to stay off my foot. Which would involve a CAM walker. And/or crutches. In New York City. Lucky me!

After this injury, I went through ALL FIVE STAGES of grief:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Still here!

I'm still here! I'm still training, still a little injured (but am SO much better!), still not running outdoors nearly as much as I should. I moved apartments, I went to Boston for July 4th, and then went home last weekend. I attempted a midday 10 mile run last weekend when I was home in Virginia, but even with the CamelBak it was WAY too hot and WAY too humid. It was kind of pathetic, but I blame the humidity and heat. Something about running on asphalt in the middle of a hot day...the heat just rises up from the asphalt and attacks. It's awful.

Needless to say, I did not finish the 10 miles, but did make it to 5.5 miles! Since long runs are so important in training, I'm making up for the 10 miler tomorrow by tacking on six miles to my four-mile race. It's gonna be another scorcher, but luckily I'll be running in the morning so hopefully it won't be TOO bad.

Yesterday morning I set out for a five mile run, and since I moved to the Upper East Side, I'm now conveniently located very close to Central Park! Something about the sciatica in my right leg makes me a little nervous about running. I just KNOW that it's going to hurt afterward and I anticipate that pain before I've even stepped out of bed. But this run was good! I started out slow, but felt better and better as I went so I turned the easy run into a tempo run. I'm still not NEARLY as fast as I was before, but I'm happy! Check out the map and stats below:

I loved being in Central Park -- seeing so many healthy runners and cyclists working out so early in the morning was super motivating! I definitely plan on doing more runs in CP now that I'm so close!

Another great motivator? Amazing workout clothes. I went to lululemon at the mall last week in Virginia and picked up two pairs of lululemon running shorts. And now, I am obsessed. They are amazing. I mean, AMAZING.
The waistband is a 3" band that is actually flattering -- or at least, not unflattering... It doesn't dig into my waist, which is a huge plus. The seams are flat, so there's no chafing either. Honestly, they're just the best shorts I've ever owned, ever. I just wish they weren't so darn expensive!

Well, I have a race tomorrow -- the Central Park Conservancy Run. And it's almost 10pm. Sooo that means I'm going to head to bed! And hopefully I'll be better about blogging in the future! :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

T-minus 16 weeks...

Training starts tomorrow! Three miles at 10:58 pace is on the schedule. On top of starting to train, I've also started to pack for my move on Friday. Wish me lots and lots of luck in both the training AND the moving! Thanks! :)

Here's a peek at my schedule:
It's 16 weeks long. I decided to just go with the Runner's World training schedule again. I'll play around with it as needed, but this has been pretty good to me in the past so I'm going to stick with it.

Saturday I did a pretty long run of an hour (just about 6 miles) on the treadmill. It was hot so I decided to stay inside and just bang out the run. It was actually a really good run and was sort of just what I needed to get myself excited for training. To be honest, I've been in a bit of a running funk of late, and haven't been feeling "very running-like" as my boss once put it. It wasn't very fun, and I'm pretty sure it mostly had to do with the fact that I was (still sort of am but am much MUCH better!) injured. Now that the injury is looking up, I guess my spirits are up more too! And thank goodness for that, because I can't imagine how difficult starting to train for a marathon would be if I were still down. I know that I'll still have some ups and downs during the training, but it's nice to start it off on the right foot :)

That's it for now...packing really took it out of me! Night!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Training begins...

...on Monday, June 21. That's in five days. I am just going to think of it as another thing I'm training for, and maybe not think of it as TRAINING FOR A MARATHON!!! because that is a little be scary. I'm going to keep doing what I a little, do some strength training, cross training, and definitely throw in more yoga and Pilates (especially since I just discovered Exercise TV On Demand!).

On top of starting to TRAIN FOR A MARATHON!!!, I'm also moving apartments, which means packing, cleaning, and moving. Ugh. Such a pain. But I know it'll be worth it! :)

So while I haven't been blogging much, I haven't really worked out much since my last post. I went to Montauk for the weekend and was lazy on the beach, eating shrimp and lobster, and basically being incredibly lazy. It was just what I needed and it was awesome.

I haven't done much running -- the sciatica is still bugging me a little bit, but it's gotten SO much better. I might do something crazy and try out my old shoes to see if that helps my sciatica...I just feel like I need to do SOMETHING like that since I did not have sciatica OR hip flexor tendinitis before I changed shoes. I'll let you know how it goes!

That's it for now...I'll post my training schedule soon. I'm still debating between Hal Higdon's novice schedule and the Runner's World training schedule...and I have a feeling I may well end up combining the two somehow but relying mainly on the Runner's World schedule.

What's your favorite training schedule?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Japan Day Run

Today was the Japan Day Run. I didn't have a great race -- 4 miles in 40:48. I did go into it just thinking of it as my workout for the day and that time didn't matter (which I still feel is true), but I felt SO slow and sluggish the whole way. My legs felt like sandbags. Even Glee's "Like A Prayer" couldn't help me pick up my pace! In all I suppose it could have been worse, but it was definitely not my best race. Oh well.

I guess it's just sort of making me worried about marathon training this summer. Granted, the long runs are usually run at a slower pace anyway, but it is HOT in New York in the summer! I suppose I can always run along the river instead of Central Park (for some reason Central Park tends to get little to no wind on the running path), but since I'm moving to the UES Central Park will be sooo much more convenient than the Hudson! And I will have my CamelBak to keep me hydrated. And I can always get up incredibly early and knock the run out before it gets hot. So maybe it won't be so bad!

Here's my Garmin info from the race:

Well, marathon training will be starting quite soon. This coming week I'm going to cross train and do some running but probably not too much. Next weekend I'll be at the beach so I'll definitely try to squeeze in a run even when I'm relaxing! And then...marathon training will begin. I am still researching training plans -- I've heard good things about Hal Higdon, and in the past I've just used the Runner's World training program (subscription required). I guess I'll just talk to a few people and see what worked for them! I'm looking for about a 16-week program to start around June 21. I'll let you know which one I go with!

I'm off to bed -- had quite a weekend in the sun (maybe that's why I was so slow!) and am wiped!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Recipes for Health: Spinach, Tofu and Sesame Stir-Fry

I recently got adventurous and made tofu for the first time EVER. I usually pick it out of my chicken pad thai and I've never ordered it in a restaurant, but for some reason this Recipe for Health called to me -- it just seemed so delicious and nutritious. I gave it a try and it turns out that it IS delicious and nutritious! And it turns out I can cook tofu! It does take a little time -- though the recipe doesn't call for it, my roommate said when she's cooked tofu before she pressed all of the water out of it, otherwise it would turn to mush. The first time I made this dish I kinda pressed out some of the water and it turned out fine, but the second time I was more thorough and I think the tofu did remain firmer. Speaking of, one of my favorite blogs, Carrots 'n' Cake, just wrote a post about a tofu food press! Check it out!

This dish is a little spicy and really tasty. I used Martha's suggestion to use it as a pita filler for every serving I made. She also suggests serving it over grains or noodles. I doubled the recipe since one thing of tofu is one pound. I've reflected the doubled recipe below.
Spinach, Tofu and Sesame Stir-Fry

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound tofu, cut in small dice -- I used firm tofu
2 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons grated or minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
Soy sauce to taste
2 6-ounce bag baby spinach, rinsed
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil
  1. Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet or wok, and add the tofu. Stir-fry until the tofu is lightly colored, three to five minutes, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute, and add soy sauce to taste. Add the spinach and stir-fry until the spinach wilts, about one minute. Stir in the sesame seeds, and add more soy sauce to taste. Remove from the heat.
  2. Using tongs, transfer the spinach and tofu mixture to a serving bowl, leaving the liquid behind in the pan or wok. Drizzle with the sesame oil, and add more soy sauce as desired. Serve with rice or other grains, or noodles. You may also use it as a filling for whole wheat pita bread. 

I hope you enjoy!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sooo yeah that "getting back thing"...

I'm here! I'm doing stuff! I've been running, racing, cooking, ellipticalling, AND I got a massage. All good things.

I ran the UAE Healthy Kidney 10k last weekend with my roommate B. It was my first run over 2 miles since the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Half-Marathon in late April, so I went into it not expecting much. B and I had discussed running the race together since neither of us was planning on racing hard, and thank goodness B ran it with me! I felt sluggish and my legs felt like sandbags, and I have a feeling I didn't eat enough the night before. Having B with me definitely helped me through it, as did the usual mix of Lady Gaga, Miley and Girl Talk!

Just compare me finishing the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Half-Marathon:
Happy! I'm even smiling (or is that a grimace? Haha)! me finishing the UAE Healthy Kidney 10k:
Blehhh...tired looking...dragging...dead.

Oh well. Sometimes you have bad races. C'est la vie!

I still felt pretty good for the first few miles, and around mile 4 or 5 I was starting to feel a little...weird and not great. I was really glad to have B with me though!

My legs felt pretty good the next day. I've been going to physical therapy and working on strengthening and stretching my hip flexor. I still have this totally bizarre and unidentifiable pain in my right leg, but I think it's from overcompensating for the hip flexor pain on the left leg. I'm not sure how to fix that really, but the massage I got today definitely helped and hopefully more stretches and strengthening exercises will help too. I highly recommend the place I went to for my massage -- Eastside Massage Therapy. It's very no-frills, but it's far cheaper than any hour-long massage at a fancy spa. And it was the best massage I'd ever had!

I ran only once last week, a couple of miles where I ran a mile and walked on an 8% incline for half a mile or so. I felt pretty OK and physical therapy helped a lot too. I had the Brooklyn Half-Marathon yesterday and since I'm doing the 9+1 program for the 2011 NYC Marathon I figured I should at least show up and cross the start line to make sure it counts. My legs had been feeling OK (the hip flexor had been feeling great) so I decided to give it a try. The race involved two loops around Prospect Park (I'd never run there before!), a 5-mile straight shot along Ocean Parkway (SOOOOO boring...), and about a mile along the Coney Island boardwalk (I'd never been there before!).

I honestly felt SO great the first seven miles (aside from the uphill parts of course) -- that was a huge motivator for me. I was torn because part of me just wanted to be there and try my best, and part of me wanted to compete and do well! Once I left the park and had nothing to look at but highway signs though, I was lost. Totally bored. I had a few miles where I would just stare straight ahead and focus on a person in front of me -- unfortunately for part of the time I had a man in front of me with THE HAIRIEST BACK I had EVER seen. He had a bald head but an incredibly hairy back. THAT was motivating for me to run past him at least...

Once again, my Garmin lied to me and would beep at the mile before I reached the mile marker, so the time is off on this (which I guess means the splits are also off a bit). I think I need to call them or recalibrate it or something because in every recent race the miles have been off!

Pretty good! You can see where the hills were in Prospect Park... And at the end there was a ramp up to the boardwalk, which really is just so cruel at the end of a race!

I had a great time overall, but I just could not stand that 5-mile straightaway. I'm just glad that I finished it, that I survived, and that I improved!

More to come soon...I'll definitely be back! Especially since marathon training will be starting in late June!!! AAAHHH!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Getting back

I took a week (OK, 10 days) off from blogging, and I've taken a week off from running while I figure out what's going on with my legs. I've been to a physical therapist who was great but too expensive, so I'm starting over at a new physical therapy (PT) place on Friday. The first place I went to was very thorough in their evaluation and I definitely learned a lot -- I'm too mobile in some places and not flexible enough in others; I've built up certain quad muscles too much and haven't built up others enough; and my knee surgery from almost 10 years ago has affected the way that I run. I'm hoping to start a physical therapy program soon so I avoid any other injuries before the marathon in October.

I have a couple big races coming up in the next month (Brooklyn half-marathon on May 22, aaahhh!) and I haven't been running too much so I'm a little bit concerned with that...tomorrow I'm going to go for a run outdoors (I was so cold today and I may well have to dig up my winter running clothes!) and just hope for the best! My legs are definitely feeling better, and I've been doing the elliptical, erg and total body conditioning class to keep up my fitness. It's not running, but I'm hoping I can get it back soon enough. Maybe if I don't do well in Brooklyn I'll just have to do the Queens half-marathon again! :)

Here's a map of a run I did a little while ago:

I changed it up and ran along the East River -- it's a nice run as well, but I definitely prefer the West Side Highway.

I also made a delicious Recipe for Health last week, but forgot to take a picture of it...I'll post on it soon enough though. And I got a CamelBak for running during the summer -- pretty excited about it! I figured it would be rather necessary since I'll be running long distances in July, August and September in preparation for the marathon, and it would be pretty awful to be without water in those months...

Anyway, that's what's been happening in my world recently. I think I've been a little down about not really being able to run, but with Friday's PT appointment I hope I can get back to it and start strengthening my muscles to run injury-free!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I went to the hip doctor yesterday. I told her what had been happening -- that I thought I had IT band syndrome in my right leg, took a week off, ran 10 miles and felt fine, then switched shoes and started to get a new pain in my left leg, ran 11 miles and had some serious pain and couldn't lift my leg, took a week off, ran the half-marathon and felt pain in my left leg again. I said I thought the newer injury might be a hip flexor something-or-other; she did a couple tests and said I was right: I have hip flexor tendinitis.

When I told her I ran the half-marathon the day before, I was a little afraid she'd scold me or say I was insane. Instead, she said, "Oh, the More Magazine/fitness Magazine Half-Marathon in the rain yesterday? How'd it go?" Loved it! She said I would probably benefit from a couple sessions of physical therapy to learn the strengthening exercises so I'm going to start that next week. She also said she didn't think new shoes would cause the injury, so it might have just been some overuse.

Of course, I asked if I could still run, and I can! She said she didn't see why not, but I might just want to do some lower impact stuff this week. So today I did the elliptical for a bit and made my triumphant return to total body conditioning.

All in all it was a great visit and I really liked her -- especially since she said I can still run! I'm going to keep an eye on it though and be careful. And I'm going to properly break in my new shoes!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

27 seconds!

On a day when I'm slightly injured, it poured rain the whole morning, I didn't push myself as hard as I probably could, and (according to my Garmin) the course was 0.15 miles too long, I beat my last half-marathon time by 27 seconds. 27 seconds!!! Woo hoo!

The day started like most race days -- half a wheat bagel with peanut butter and half a banana, some water, and some coffee. B and I left the apartment at 7am to make it to the race course (which started near W. 63rd and Central Park West) by 8am. It. Was. Pouring. Pouring down rain. The NYRR 8k had nothing on this rain. I was soaked to the bone within the first mile. I have to say though, I didn't mind it as much as I thought I would. Aside from having to wring out my sleeves every once in a while, it wasn't that bad to run in the rain.

I definitely started the race wondering if I could make it through the whole thing (and thinking that I probably wouldn't), but I decided to push those thoughts aside and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other and making it as far as I could. Honestly, the race went by much faster than I'd expected. I thought with the terrible weather it would be miserable, but I felt good and strong the whole time. There were only a couple of steps I took where I had a bit of pain in my hip, but other than that I felt great! I had a Powerade gel at mile 6.5 that pushed me through, and when the Glee version of "Like A Prayer" came on shortly thereafter, I was PUMPED! Here's a look at my playlist for the race:
I copied this from since I usually just make a playlist and put it on shuffle, so I'm not sure all my songs made it on there (for instance, I distinctly remember hearing "Like A Prayer", but didn't scrobble it over to the site). Must give a shoutout to Girl Talk, Miley, Muse and Glee for pulling me through!

So now with the Garmin issue. I'm not sure what the deal was, but I started the Garmin right as I crossed the starting line, and for some reason it was beeping that a mile had passed before I passed the mile marker on the course. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing that beep come before you can even SEE the mile marker! I don't know if the course was off or my Garmin was off, but I stopped my Garmin when I hit 13.1 miles (2:04:51!), and then restarted went another 0.15 miles (1 min 19 seconds!) before I reached the finish line. So here's the first 13.1 miles:

And here's the last 0.15 miles:

Who knows, seems like all my electronics were off today, so maybe it was my Garmin and not the course. But if you ran the course and had this happen too, let me know!

I crossed with an official time of 2:06:11. While I am very happy with this time -- who doesn't love a PR, even if it's just by a few seconds?! -- I know that I did not push myself as hard as I could have. I had sort of planned going into it that I wasn't going to push myself extremely hard since I didn't want to destroy my hip, and my goal was to go as far as I can. Now that I know that I can push myself even harder (I definitely had plenty of gas left in the tank after this race, and did NOT give it my all like I did at the first half-marathon in September), my goal for the Brooklyn half-marathon will be to break 2 hours. I knooow I can do it! roommate B...who ran her FIRST HALF-MARATHON came in at 1:54:56!!!!! She is a badass. That's what I have to say about that.

The half-marathon was followed by a soaking wet walk to the 68th Street subway station (my hands were beYOND numb...and my left hand was suspiciously swollen! I think from the Garmin...), an extremely hot shower (soooo necessary!!!), and a burger, fries, salad and beer from Danal. I think I'm going to make the burger, fries and beer a post-half-marathon tradition -- it was what I had at Cafe Luxembourg after the Queens half-marathon and it was amaaazing. You need salt after you sweat so much, and that meal just really hits the spot! Of course, after all the running and the eating, a nap was in order!

I'm going to go do some more stretching, icing and then going off to bed before tomorrow's big doctor's appointment. I'll let you know what she says!

Yay for PRs! Yay for half-marathons! Yay FINISHING a half-marathon in the rain with a minor injury! Woo hooooo!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Half-marathon tomorrow!

Well the time has first half-marathon of 2010 is tomorrow!

Not gonna lie, I took the week off from blogging because I took the week off of running. After the 11 miles last week, my hip was angry at me so I thought I'd treat it well and do some RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), skip the gym (I walked home from work a couple times, but didn't hit the gym at all), and stretch it out (in front of the TV after work). I think it's helping. I'm excited about the race tomorrow, but I'm not an idiot -- if I am dying of pain at any point in the race, I will stop running, even if it's at 110th St. on the west side!

It's not my first half-marathon -- if it was, I might be a little more determined and might be more stupid and run through any pain. But I've come to the realization that it's not a big deal if I have to stop. I'd rather be able to run the marathon in October than make it all the way through this race and end up with a more serious injury. I'm going to the doctor Monday though to have my hips checked out so hopefully that will give me a better idea of what's going on and what I can/can't or should/shouldn't do.

So we'll see what happens. Who knows, maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and feel amazing! Either way, I'm going to try. As my dad said, "I think you'll regret it if you don't at least try." I agree. I'll try, I'll give it a shot, and if I can't make it all the way through, there's absolutely no shame in that!

I've got my race bib out, my Powerade gel ready, my playlist prepped and my outfit planned out (it's going to RAIN!!!). I've also decided that I'm going to switch back to my old shoes and properly break in the new ones after the race. I feel like part of the reason I'm injured is that I went too hard too fast in my new shoes and I need to ease into them better.

Time to get everything together now! Then off to bed! Woo hoo! Hopefully I'll be done in 12 hours!!! Wish me luck!

Monday, April 19, 2010

And then I got injured...again.

So this is cool...I just figured out how to embed my run from my Garmin activity site! Check it out!

I'll be back tomorrow with more, but this weekend was great -- Saturday was 60, sunny and breezy, which is perfect running weather. Not so perfect? My left hip (when I had IT band syndrome it was my RIGHT hip that at least now it's changed sides)! I got back from the run around 2pm and spent the rest of the day (and a lot of Sunday) icing, stretching, and even having to lift my leg in order to get it to move higher than 6 inches off the ground. I'm better today, but I'm soooo glad it's a taper week so I can rest up before Sunday's half-marathon! I can't believe it's less than a week away!!! AAAHHH!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here we go

I started my morning off right today: half a crunchy peanut butter Clif bar, a 7-mile outdoor run, some excellent tunes -- including, but not limited to, Glee ("Hate On Me" really got me going) and Girl Talk (best running music EVER) -- and an awesome bowl of steel cut oatmeal. I had sort of thought about going for an outdoor run this morning as I was going to bed last night as it was supposed to be a bit chilly but sunny, and my mind was made up when my alarm went off at 5:30 -- too early! I reset it for 6 and waited till the sun rose (around 6:15) to set out on my run.

Of course, my Garmin decided to malfunction and I think it didn't work for the first half-mile of the run. I got it to kick in though, and for some reason I was feeling mighty quick on my feet this morning.
The first and last miles were supposed to be warm-up/cooldown miles, and apparently I was just not in the mood to warm up...I did walk for five or so minutes before starting out, but I just felt so quick! So I went with it. The last mile however...I was beat. I definitely used that as a cooldown mile. Plus that last mile was along 15th Street, which involves a lot of crosswalks so I had to stop/start my watch a few times.

I found that I was able to keep a pretty quick pace (for me) during the run when I focused on something in the distance -- sort of like how when I'm racing and pick people to pass and use them as markers, I used buildings, billboards and traffic lights to use as markers. I really got in the zone whenever a Girl Talk song came on, particularly "What It's All About" -- the line "Oh s***, here we go" right in the beginning of the song really pumped me up. Because, um...YEAH, OH S***, HERE WE GO! That song will figure prominently in my half-marathon track list. It really got me going and kept me in the zone. It was really perfect. Also good: Glee's "Somebody to Love" and "Bust the Windows"...and "Hate On Me" of course. Who knew show choir songs could be so motivating?!

I went up the West Side Highway, along one of my favorite routes and pretty much the same one that I did on Saturday.

It was such a perfect morning for a run outside. It was cool and breezy but nice enough to wear shorts -- and break in my new shoes! However, I think I may have been a bit overzealous with leg is hurrrting me today. I don't think I stretched enough after the run or something, but tonight I did a LOT of stretching to try and make up for it. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow. It's not my IT band again (I don't think...). It feel like it's more in my hip, but the same leg as the IT band issue. We'll see how I feel tomorrow, but for now I might be taking it easy and skipping the gym to help me recover.

Ten days till the first spring half-marathon...HERE WE GO!!!

What's your "in the zone" song?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quick update

I LOVE my new shoes...not as much arch support as I'm used to, but I knew that they would take some getting used to. I've only run four miles in them so far, but I can tell they will take me to wonderful places!

Thanks Jack Rabbit!

Today I did the elliptical just to kind of ease into the shoes. The Jack Rabbit salesperson said I should take it easy with the new shoes since it'll be a bit of a new way to run, and I definitely don't want to overdo it. I've got a bit of hip pain, but the IT band seems to be doing quite well! I'll keep icing and foam rolling just to be sure, but so far so good. Looking forward to tomorrow's longer run, and this weekend's 11-miler to be done along the Potomac (since I'll be home with my family in Alexandria, Va.).

Total body conditioning totally kicked my butt today and I'm already sore. I read a short article on the New York Times site about how fewer reps with heavier weights helps to tone muscle better than higher reps with lower weights, so with that in mind I upped my weights from 8 lbs to 10 lbs for my heaviest (keeping the lighter weights close by in case I needed them...which I did!).
I realize that this revelation is not anything new really, but it did give me the kick in the butt I needed to get over my fear of bulking up using 10 lbs and finally give them a try. And I'm glad that I did! Can't wait to keep them near me in future total body conditioning classes.

Bed time for me! Good night!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

10 miles!

I did it! I did it! I ran 10 miles! And I didn't die! And I didn't hurt! Well, OK, near the end I had a litttttle bit of pain, but I was OK. Afterward I stretched a lot and walked home with B.

Here are our splits and map:
Pretty good considering I took a week off of running and only did 2- or 3-mile runs. Our run took us up to Riverside Park, to about W. 90th St.

After the run, I decided to stop by Jack Rabbit Sports on 14th Street to see if they could check out my gait. I've read that a big reason that many runners get injured is that they're wearing the wrong shoes. I've been told since high school that I overpronate and so have always worn a stability shoe. I've even gone to a running store and had them watch me run to make sure I have the right shoes. Jack Rabbit really went above and beyond though -- I've seen places that do this, but hadn't yet experienced it. Jack Rabbit put me in a neutral shoe and had me run on a treadmill while they videotaped my feet from behind. From what I could gather, they were looking to see how my feet fell on the treadmill. They're looking for a 90 degree angle of the heel to the treadmill, and apparently my heel falls right at 90 degrees! I don't overpronate! This revelation seriously rocked my world -- I don't overpronate?! My shoes could be the reason why I'm injured?!?! I tried on a few other neutral shoes and ended up going with the Saucony ProGrid Triumph 7 shoes in this extremely snazzy and attention-getting color:
Nice, eh?

I can't wait to break these bad boys in with a 4-mile run tomorrow. The Jack Rabbit running guy said I should take it pretty easy while I break these shoes in since I'm going to need to get used to this newish way of running. I'm looking forward to it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lessons learned: Rest to heal

So I took a week off from running to heal my injured IT band. Instead, I rode the stationary bike, did a little elliptical, lifted some weights, walked, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d a lot. I also iced, rolled over the foam roller (AMAZING!), and iced some more. I tried running on Tuesday, and managed to do about 1.85 miles before I headed to total body conditioning class. I took it easy on my IT band, avoiding lunges and just doing my best in the class. Thursday I ran 3 miles!!! Woo hoo!

It felt like such an accomplishment, but since I have 10 miles scheduled for my training tomorrow, it seems pretty small. Even though I'm pretty sure I won't be able to do the whole 10 miles, I'm not going to decide ahead of time if I can. I'm going to go, bring my Metro card in case I can't finish it, and just do my best.

I've learned a lot in the process of this injury (short as this process may have been...) -- as hard as it is to take time off and not do something that I love, it's very important to do so in order to heal. It's given me a bit more perspective and helped me realize that not only is it OK to take a break, it's sometimes necessary. I read a recent article in Runner's World that had a quote from an orthopedic surgeon who tells all her injured patients, "Just wait. You're going to appreciate running so much more." And I think that I will...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recipes for Health: Moroccan Cooked Carrot Salad

Last week I had a few carrots leftover from when I made the white bean burgers, so obviously I referred to Martha Rose Shulman for an inspired Recipe for Health. I came across this interesting sounding recipe for Moroccan cooked carrot salad and decided that as odd as it sounded (cumin and carrots?!), it seemed like a great way to use up the carrots. I don't really like carrots plain -- even dipped in peanut butter I don't think that they're that great.

Let me tell you, this recipe was absolutely delicious! I even had my roommate B try a slice and she was very impressed. I served it up with a bit of chicken and a mish-mash I made of red quinoa, corn and edamame (another stellar "recipe").

Since I only had a few carrots I didn't follow this recipe to a T, but guesstimated a bit and just went with how much seemed like a good amount. I hope you enjoy!

Moroccan Cooked Carrot Salad

1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pureed in a mortar and pestle with 1/4 teaspoon salt
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground - I just used cumin powder
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley - I didn't have any so I didn't use this

For garnish:
Imported black olives - I didn't use these
2 hard boiled eggs, cut in wedges (optional)

  1. Place the carrots in a steamer above 1 inch of boiling water, cover and steam 5 to 8 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat, rinse with cold water, and drain on paper towels.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet and add the garlic and cumin. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until the garlic smells fragrant, and stir in the carrots, pepper, and salt to taste. Stir together for a few minutes, until the carrots are nicely seasoned. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, remaining olive oil, and the parsley. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice as desired. Transfer to a platter, and decorate with olives and hard-boiled eggs if desired. Serve at room temperature.
Yield: Serves 4

Advance preparation: You can make this several hours before serving. The dish, without the lemon juice and parsley, will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on top of the stove and add the lemon juice and parsley.

Approximate Nutritional Information (per Serving): Calories: 187; Total Fat: 13.7g; Saturated Fat: 2.3g; Cholesterol: 93mg; Sodium: 189mg; Total Carbohydrates: 13.7g; Dietary Fiber: 3.8g; Sugars: 5.9g; Protein: 4.3g; Vitamin A 388 percent recommended daily allowance (RDA) based on a 2,000 calorie diet; Vitamin C 29 percent RDA; Calcium 7 percent RDA; Iron 10 percent RDA (Approximate nutritional information provided by

Thursday, April 1, 2010

California and an injury

I had a really fantastic time in L.A.! I got in Thursday and as soon as my friends and I had lunch together, Caity went to prep for her play, T went back to work, and C and I went to Santa Monica. BEACH!
I was a little excited. Obviously, when you come from New York where it's been cold, rainy, and windy, the only appropriate response is to do a cartwheel.

My IT band was acting up, so although C and I wanted to go for a run, I decided I should refrain so that it wouldn't get worse. Instead we went to the beach and walked around. Almost the same as a run, right?

The next day my IT band was feeling a little better so I (stupidly?) decided to go for a 4-mile run, which turned into a 5-mile run, around Brentwood Country Club near T and Caity's apartment.
Hilly as it was, I felt like my splits were actually pretty awesome!
(Ignore laps 6 and 7...accidentally hit "start" when I shouldn't have)

It had some hills (not good for the IT band) but overall it was a really great run and I felt so good afterward. I felt like I could have kept going, and my IT band wasn't hurting at all! I have to say though, it is SO dry out in L.A...I was dying for water during the run.

Saturday was a beach day, so Sunday T and I went to Runyon Canyon in Hollywood for a 3-mile hike.
 The hike was beautiful -- we could see downtown L.A.,
the Hollywood sign,
and zillions of adorable dogs. I was so excited I had to JUMP!
Yeah I suck at jumping. Don't judge me.

Afterward we had pancakes that were twice the size of my head. Literally.
And they were amazing. If you ever find yourself on Sunset Blvd. in L.A., GO TO THE GRIDDLE CAFE!


Monday before I left Caity and I went on a little jog (again, I so should not have gone...stupid IT band!) around her neighborhood. I basically wandered around but stayed close so I wouldn't get lost/miss my Supershuttle/have to stay in L.A...actually, that would have been PERFECT! Next time...
As you can see, the trip was amazing and it was so good/necessary to get out of New York and soak up some sunshine. I definitely plan on going back next year, and T is coming out here Memorial Day weekend. I'm going to have to find the restaurant that has New York's largest pancakes and take her there. If you know it, leave a comment below.

Unfortunately, I now have an injury three weeks before my half-marathon. BAH! I'm not running this week (SAD!!!) and it's making me a little crazy. That, by the way, is a feeling I NEVER imagined I'd have...sadness that I can't run?! Who have I become? A running addict, that's what!

I just have to remember that RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) will help and I will come out better and stronger after this injury. I think God is just getting illness and injury out of the way one right after the other and that'll keep me free and clear for a while. That's my hope, anyway.

I'm doing a lot of stretches, icing it at night, taking ibuprofen, and riding the stationary bike and lifting for my workouts. It's not running, but it will keep me strong and let my IT band heal.

What's your worst running injury? What did you do to help it out?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm back!

After five glorious days in sunny California, I'm back in New York. I'm too tired right now to write anything about my runs (I did get a couple in though, and a hike!), but I will leave you with a couple of photos from my trip!

Santa Monica Beach

Me and Caity

View of downtown L.A. from Runyon Canyon

Me and Taryn

Bye for now L.A.!

I'll come back tomorrow with more...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Get me there...


High 70s this weekend in L.A. I am thisclose to crying tears of utter joy.

Sorry in advance if I fall a little bit off the blogging. I'm going to be busy soaking up some sunshine and having fun with some college friends, but I'll be back on Tuesday with new running routes (L.A. edition!), beautiful pictures, and most certainly some excellent stories.

Have a great weekend!


I'm awfully glad I signed up for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon when I did...check out the message I saw on their site today!

Monday, March 22, 2010

You may be right...

...I may be crazy, but I just signed up for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon. It takes place four weeks after the More/Fitness Magazine Half-Marathon, which I think will be plenty of time between races. Since I ran in the Queens Half-Marathon last year, I thought I might try to run a half-marathon in a different borough each year. It'll be a great way to check out Brooklyn, it will definitely be fun, and it ends in Coney Island -- I've never been there before! Plus, my coworker may do it as well, and what better way to build a team than a little competition... :)

This week, thank goodness, is a pullback week. I have no idea if that's the right term for it, but that's what I've been calling it. Basically, for every week of training, you increase mileage by about 10% for three weeks, then decrease your mileage the fourth week to help you rest up for the following week. In the past three weeks, I run 21 miles week 1, 22 miles week 2, and 24 miles week 3. This week I'll just run 18 miles, but next week is 25 miles. See how that works? Pretty nifty, and it definitely seems to work. With a vacation on the horizon and a pullback week this week, I am certain I'll be ready for those 25 miles next week!

Not that I'm much of an outdoor runner in the pre-daylight hours anyway, but NYC is rainy and foggy and chilly today, which is not my favorite combination for a run. So I stuck to the trusty treadmill: I ran five miles at 6.0 mph and felt pretty great! I can't WAIT to go to L.A. and run around outside in the 72 degrees and sunny weather...ahhh, I can see it now!!!

OK, so that's from my San Diego trip last year, but I imagine L.A. will be somewhat similar, no?

Speaking of, does anyone have any must-see sights or must-eat restaurants while in L.A. (aside from In 'N' Out...)? I did live in L.A. for a year, but I was a wee freshman in college and didn't have a car to get around. Any and all ideas would be appreciated!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Etiquette in passing

I've been a bad blogger lately. I'm getting over this cold finally, and have just been so wiped by the end of the day that I don't make the time to write a post. I'm sorry! I'll make up for it soon. But next week I'll be in L.A. for a few days, likely without my computer, so I'll apologize in advance for the lack of posts between Thursday and Monday.

Today was an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day in New York. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, and it was a perfect day for a 9-mile run in Central Park. Compared with last week, this was quite a step up -- no gusting wind, just a lovely breeze; no pouring rain, just a clear blue sky. B and I left the apartment just after 9 a.m. and went up to E. 77th St. We did one full loop (6 miles) around the park, then ran 1.5 miles one way and 1.5 miles back so we would stay on the east side. Ending up on the west side would have been fine, but I had a brunch to get to soon after the run so we stayed on the east side. The park was insanely crowded -- I guess that's to be expected on the first beautiful day of the year, and especially considering last week's atrocious weather.

The run went really well -- B and I were pretty quick, though as you can see in the first mile, there was some glitch with the Garmin...maybe I pressed start too early, maybe it took a while to adjust, but as soon as the first mile was up it went back to normal! Go figure.

Here's the map and our splits:
Not bad eh? I felt really good during the run, but there is one killer hill that seems to be neverending (can you guess where it is? Yup, somewhere between miles 3 and 4). B and I persevered though, and had not just a good run, but a great one :) Given the gorgeous weather, I'd say this is my favorite run so far during this training. It might have some competition while I'm in L.A. though!

Since the park was so crowded, we had quite a few opportunities to pass by and be passed by some runners. It always feels a little awkward, and B had actually asked me on one of our first runs on the West Side Highway what one should do when passing someone. My advice was to just focus on what you're doing -- if you happen to be in a situation where you can pass someone, pass them by. I've been passed plenty of times, and while it can sting a little bit, I have to remember that everyone's out there doing their own thing. The speed demon who just whizzed by me may be on a 2-mile sprint while I know that I'm building up my endurance on a 10-mile run. Even if that's their 10-mile pace, everybody's different and has their own pace at which they feel comfortable running.

That's what I do on a day-to-day run. During a race, I adopt a more competitive mentality. I pick someone ahead of me that it looks like I could pass if I keep doing what I'm doing or pick up the pace a little bit, and I race them. It gives me something to focus on other than the pain my legs are (probably) feeling, and it keeps me feeling quick. My roommate K gave me this advice and I always keep it in mind. It definitely does the trick!

Not going to lie, though, there is a bit of smug satisfaction that I feel when I pass someone. This is probably because I usually think of myself as a slow runner, but I'm quickly brought back down to earth as soon as someone passes me.

If you get passed in a race or on a run, don't be discouraged. Just keep focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and doing your best. And when you do pass someone, try your best not to call them a slowpoke under your breath as you fly by. Chances are they were on the minute recovery of their speed intervals and will come racing up behind you moments later and you'll be eating your words...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Recipes for Health: White Bean Burgers

I'd like you to meet a new addition to my life, something that will probably change the way I cook from here on out:

It's a Cuisinart 4-cup food processor. It chops, it grinds, and it's awesome. It made the Recipe for Health I prepared last night a cinch, and I see myself using it often. It even came with a helpful booklet to tell me what type of things should be ground (cinnamon sticks, peppercorns) and what should be chopped (most everything else). I have a hard time resisting kitchen supplies and it was a dangerous move for me to enter Sur La Table, but I was strong and left with only what I came for.

This baby chopped my onion and parsley for me, pureed my beans, and made my fresh breadcrumbs for this Recipe for Health. The only manual thing I had to do was grate the carrot. (Unfortunately the 4-cup food processor does not come with a grater attachment. Oh well. At least I gave my arms a workout after yet another rest day.)

These healthy homemade veggie burgers are a little time-consuming, but delicious and worth the time they take. Sadly, I didn't have any ketchup to top them with, but I think they'd be perfect with some. Martha says they make six servings, but I managed to get eight out of this recipe. Be careful when you flip them (use any offset spatula) -- they fall apart very easily and should definitely not be made on a barbecue!
White Bean Burgers
by Martha Rose Shulman

2 cans white (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped - I used the food processor -- so quick and easy!
Salt to taste
2 to 3 large garlic cloves (to taste), green shoots removed, minced - I pretty much always use minced garlic from a jar
2/3 cup finely grated carrot - I used 3/4 cup
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup finely chopped parsley - Food processor to the rescue for this one too!
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage or thyme - I omitted this
½ cup fresh bread crumbs - I used ½ of a whole wheat Arnold sandwich thin and pulsed it in the food processor
1 egg, beaten
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Whole grain hamburger buns and the condiments of your choice

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium-size skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, the garlic and the grated carrot, and continue to cook for another minute or two, until fragrant and the carrot has softened slightly. Remove from the heat.

2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, puree the beans with the lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the onion mixture, the parsley, sage or thyme, the bread crumbs and the egg. Season to taste.

3. Shape into patties, ½- to ¾-inch thick. Set on a parchment-covered baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

4. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy skillet or on a griddle over medium heat and brown the patties for 4 minutes on each side, being very careful when you turn them over. An offset spatula works well for this. Serve on whole grain buns, with the condiments of your choice.

Dinner (and many more meals to come...) is served!

Nutritional facts per patty, based on eight patties (calculated using the SparkPeople Recipe Calculator)
Calories: 186
Total fat: 4.5 g (0.8 g saturated, 0.5 g polyunsaturated, 2.8 g monounsaturated)
Total carbohydrate: 28.5 g (6.3 g fiber)
Protein: 9.4 g

Saturday, March 13, 2010

NYRR 8000

This morning I had the NYRR 8000 race in Central Park. As I've made you well aware, the weather was supposed to be terrible, and it was! But thankfully it wasn't nearly as terrible as I'd expected.

On a side note, what's up with me getting bad luck with weather and races? Do I bring with me awful weather to every race I run in? First it was 18 degrees and frigid the day of the NYRR Gridiron Classic, today it was windy and rainy...I guess the weather can only improve, but if there's a hurricane the day of the half-marathon, you can probably blame me.

Anyway, the night before I laid out my race bib and cap on top of my sneakers so I wouldn't forget them, along with my other race day gear.
By the way, I got a Road ID with my emergency contact info for my shoe 
(just in case anything should happen when I'm running by myself). Check out their site!

I woke up at 6am and had half a bagel with peanut butter (my usual pre-race fuel) and planned to leave around 7. I layered up on top and wore my running tights, along with gloves, an ear warmer, a neck warmer, and a baseball cap. I looked ridiculous (as you'll see in the Brightroom pictures to come) but I was definitely ready for the elements!

I got to E. 102nd St. and 5th Ave. at 7:40 -- there were a ton of people huddled under the scaffolding there, waiting until the very last minute to make the dash over to the starting line. I waited a few minutes and then decided to brave the rain to head to my corral. The time it took for 8am to roll around felt like an eternity -- the woman who sang the national anthem took her sweet time on those high notes, while all the runners jumped up and down, teeth chattering, trying to stay warm. It was raining, but not very hard, and it was windy, but not gusting. The NYRR results page says it was 39 degrees and wind at 7 mph. Not too bad!

The race finally started right at 8. I felt pretty good -- I knew I was going to keep going for four more miles after the race (part of my half-marathon training; today was a long run day for 9 miles), and since I'm sick on top of that, I decided to take it very, very easy. I was aiming for about a 10 minute mile, and ended up with a 9:50 average pace during the race.

My overall pace for the 9 miles wasn't much different:
I was happy with it! Considering I was sick and running in the rain/wind/cold, I think it's pretty darn good :)

I finally have a new map! No West Side Highway in sight!
I really liked running in Central Park, and it's good practice for the half-marathon in April. Plus, when it's not rainy and gross, it's really pretty! Can't wait for spring...

So I survived the race. And got this cute shirt!
My extra four miles conveniently took me directly to the 6 train at 77th Street. The train took forEVER to come, but I got on, made my way to Union Square, and SPRINTED was colder and windier down here than it was in the Park! Go figure... I promptly got into a hot shower and took a solid two hour nap. Needless to say, it was more than necessary.

I'm pretty sure that if I can run 9 miles in the rain and wind with a cold, then I can probably do pretty much anything, right?

Friday, March 12, 2010

A cold

Guys, I have a cold. It has thrown a serious wrench in my workout plans. All my body wants is SLEEP! So I've taken a few days off from working out and am letting this cold run its course.

Tomorrow I have an 8k race in Central Park in the RAIN and I'm not sure what to do about in the rain with a cold? I might be stopping by a sporting goods store to pick up a water-resistant jacket today...but I'm wondering if maybe I should just forget about the $17 I spent on the race and just sign up for another race instead. Can you tell I'm indecisive?

On top of that...I haven't been in the mood to cook (why cook when your nose is so stuffed that you can hardly taste anything good?!), so there is no Recipe for Health this week. BOO, I know. Hopefully I can manage to double up on recipes next week when I'm better.

With that, I will leave you with tomorrow morning's weather forecast. Think good, warm, snuggly thoughts for me tomorrow as I run through Central Park in the pouring rain!

By the way, if anyone has any suggestions for running in the cold, windy rain, please let me know!!!

UPDATE: I stopped by Jack Rabbit Sports on my lunch hour and picked up a water-resistant and wind-resistant jacket by Saucony (that was 40% off!). I'm going to run the race at an easy pace, not pushing myself, and just tack on another four miles after the race to get my nine miles in. I've got gloves to keep my hands warm, a cap to keep the rain out of my eyes, my running pants and a couple of layers with my new jacket. I hope I'll survive! Wish me luck and think warm thoughts for me!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Uphill both ways

I'm house-sitting (more like feeding her kitty) for my friend, C, who is on vacation in Jamaica. Though I'm not in an exotic paradise right now, today was spring-like with a high of 58 and loads of sunshine - another great day for a run! And since C's apartment is nowhere near a New York Sports Club, I had to change up my routine, go with the flow, and try a new running route.

I just had a three-mile run scheduled so I did a little research last night to see where I might go.
Along Houston maybe? Meh, kinda boring.
Run up the East River? Ehh, not in the mood.
Hmm, the apartment IS near the Williamsburg Bridge...and I've never I'd never run across a bridge before...why not?

I set out a little after 6am for an easy 3 miles. I'd heard that the bridges are like running hills, but I had no idea just how similar it would be! The incline is slight but it's consistent and when I reached the top of the hill I was soooo happy to be going downhill. You can see from my splits that most of my last mile back was downhill:
(Ignore that first 4-second split...not sure what I did there, but I didn't restart the Garmin after that happened.)

Here's the map:
Running across the bridge was pretty tough, but it was a very nice change of pace. And since I'll be running the NYC marathon in 2011 (once I run in nine races and volunteer at one!) I better get used to it! It's hard because (at least if you go across and turn around like I did) it's literally uphill both ways -- thankfully not in the snow. You go up, come down, turn around and...oh yeah, another hill going up! Fun! At least it ends going downhill...

I'm still trying to figure out what to do for my 7-mile speed interval run on Wednesday (though I might run it tomorrow...). Go to the track? Try to explore Brooklyn? I just don't know... I guess I'll get up early and see how I feel. I have a feeling I'll end up going to the track since it's a speed workout and I'm not so sure about exploring a new place when I should be thinking about my pace and not able to take in a new place. We shall see...

In any case, I'm glad the weather's getting warmer and I can run outdoors more. Hopefully I'll be able to check out Brooklyn one of these days, even if it's not for my 7-mile run.

Well, it's bedtime for me! Good night!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Perfect day for a run

As predicted, today was the perfect day for a run! It was 50 degrees, sunny, and breezy. And it was indeed a shorts day! There was still some wind when B and I headed uptown, but it felt great. We averaged a 9:11 mile and both felt really strong. My knee had been giving me a little trouble lately after runs (not during, thank goodness) and today it felt pretty good. It's about a 1.25 mile walk back to the apartment so that helped stretch me out, and once I got home I spent a good 15 minutes stretching while sipping on my Trader Joe's chocolate soy milk. I followed that up with a PB&J and had a random, thrown-together dinner of whole wheat penne, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, chicken and parmesan (and dessert of frozen yogurt and cookies...) -- all that really hit the spot and was just what I needed after a tough run (especially the frozen yogurt! Love The Lite Choice).

I feel like the faster pace is becoming more natural since I can speak more easily at the quicker pace. B is a great running partner, and keeps me chatting and even laughing -- makes the run go by so quickly! It's been really encouraging for me to have a running buddy whom I think of as faster -- as I've said before, she definitely pushes me in a good way and it's been nice to see myself getting faster and feeling good while doing it. Thanks B!

Here are our splits and map from today:
Pretty good! The map is nothing new, but I'm thinking I'll take B north next time and see where we end up!

I had an interesting experience last summer when I ran uptown instead of downtown: I had a long run planned and decided to go uptown through Riverside Park (so pretty!) and thought I'd see where a path I didn't usually use would take me. Turns out it led to the Boat Basin, and before I realized where I'd ended up I was running through someone's buffet lunch. Whoops! And then I couldn't find my way out! I ran in a couple of circles, sort of wishing I could take a second to grab some of the buffet food (somehow I don't think that I'd fit in -- no one else appeared to be sporting running shorts) but finally found my way out. You never know where you'll end up when you run up there! I'm looking forward to running up there again soon -- who knows, maybe next time I can really embarrass myself and end up running through a black-tie event.

What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you while running?