Monday, August 22, 2011

NYCM Training: Lucky week 7

Seventh week done! It was a great week, too. Work was crazy, but I still got all my runs in. I did miss cross training on Monday though...ah well, can't do it all!

  • Monday: rest
  • Tuesday: 4 mile run
  • Wednesday: 7 mile tempo run (8:33 pace!)
  • Thursday: 4 mile run
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 14 mile run (9:14 pace)
  • Sunday: 7 mile run
Total mileage: 36

I realized that I missed weeks 7 and 8 of training when I trained for the May 1 marathon, so I'm pretty excited that I'll get those weeks in during this round of training. I hope it'll help me out in going sub-4!

This week was pretty similar to last week, but I had an awesomely speedy tempo run on Wednesday which was a huge confidence boost. This view from the reservoir helped speed me up, too:
15 minutes later...
...and another 15 minutes later
It was SO pretty! And all of these pictures are slightly crooked!

I switched my Saturday and Sunday runs since I had a big night of birthdays Saturday night and didn't want to have the long run hanging over me on Sunday. Plus it was the last Summer Streets weekend, and I wanted to take full advantage of it!

Voila, le map:
et les splits:
  • Mile 1 - 9:07
  • Mile 2 - 9:57
  • Mile 3 - 8:54
  • Mile 4 - 8:58
  • Mile 5 - 9:09
  • Mile 6 - 8:50
  • Mile 7 - 9:00
  • Mile 8 - 9:13 --> Powerade gel around 8.5
  • Mile 9 - 9:12 
  • Mile 10 - 9:19
  • Mile 11 - 9:22
  • Mile 12 - 9:16
  • Mile 13 - 9:54 (EVIL 72nd Street staircase!)
  • Mile 14 - 9:02
Total time: 2:09:25, for an average pace of 9:14! Pretty good!

This run was definitely tough. It was hot out, but I just kept repeating "Go as slow as you want, but just finish the run", which kept me going. I'm so glad I got it done!

Sunday was a 7 miler that was meant to be at goal race pace, but it was slightly slower than that. It was raining, and for the life of me I couldn't get me legs to move any faster. I now totally see why the 7 mile run is on Saturday and the long run is on Sunday. 

I've been running without music lately, including on Saturday's 14 mile run. Wednesday's speedy run was done to the tune of last week's This American Life podcast (which was about working at an amusement park and was awesome), but other than that I haven't really been listening to music on my runs. I think it depends on my mood most of the time -- sometimes I just want to zone out for a 3-mile run, and sometimes for a crazy long run I just want to take in what's going on around me. I've heard people say for longer runs it's important to run without music so you can listen to your body and your breathing (which I actually paid a lot of attention to -- three steps breathing in, three steps breathing out. It's a good little rhythm!). I think it's a good thing, but there's definitely something to be said about getting pumped up listening to a song! 

Before the marathon, I was chatting with a few people and we were discussing what makes you a "real runner", and one of the things that one of the girls mentioned was running without music (which she said she never does). I can't remember the other things, but she was shocked that I'd done long runs (including 19 and 20 mile runs) without music. There's SO much to look at on the runs, and you get to think about crazy things during runs that you wouldn't usually think about if you were listening to music...for example, my friend Shawna thinks about the possible zombie apocalypse and how, since she's a running, she'd be able to outrun all of the zombies that might chase her during said apocalypse. It's true, your mind goes to some weird places during runs, but it can be so refreshing to see where your mind wanders. Sometimes I definitely sing songs in my head though...and might utter "Two more miles, you can do it!" under my breath when I'm losing motivation and want to stop. While I don't think it's what makes you a "real runner", I think running without music is a good skill to have -- that and running along from time to time. (I actually do nearly all of my runs on my own, which I'm SO glad I did last time I trained for a marathon since I was totally alone for most of the race!)

So...what do you think makes someone a "real runner"?

Friday, August 19, 2011

NYCM Training: Six weeks down!

Late in the week has gotten crazy busy, but I've still gotten in all my runs! Last week was a pull-back week, but the runs were tough.

Here's how week 6 shaped up:
  • Monday: Cardio mash-up including 35 mins elliptical, 5 mins weird stair thing, 5 mins incline walking, 15 mins StairMaster
  • Tuesday: 3 mile run, Total Body Conditioning
  • Wednesday: 5 mile run
  • Thursday: 3 mile run, CNW workout
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 6 mile run down Summer Streets
  • Sunday: 9 mile run (9:17 pace) in the rain
Total mileage: 26

Most of the runs were uneventful, but Thursday's early morning run involved a beautiful sunrise...
The always lovely East River
...and a run by Mayor Bloomberg's house:
Gracie Mansion
I actually only recently learned that this is where the mayor lives. I knew it was on the Upper East Side, but I just didn't realize that I ran by it every time I run on the East River!

On Saturday I was tired, so I slept in and didn't get out to run on Summer Streets till 11am, when it was already crazy hot and the streets were FILLED with people. It was definitely fun, but the cyclists were kind of aggressive. I feared for my life a few times and was pretty close to yelling at someone for biking in the running/walking lane. 
Park Avenue - closed down!
I ran all the way down to the Brooklyn Bridge and thought about running across, but there were just too many people. It was still so cool to run in the streets rather than the usual Central Park or West Side Highway. 
Headed downtown
I was trying to figure out why I'd never done this before, and I realized I didn't do this last year because I was injured, and the year before I thought I didn't like to run outside (I was still pretty new to wrong I was!). I plan on heading out there this weekend -- I've got 14 miles on the docket!

Sunday it was raining, but I read someone's tweet (I think it was Kelly) that said "A run in the rain beats a run on the treadmill any day!" It was just what I needed to hear to get me running. I decided to run in Central Park since I knew there'd be plenty of crazies like me out there who would be running in the rain and they'd provide excellent company. The first mile was kind of uncomfortable, but once I was fully soaked I just went with it and felt good. (Better than a humid sweaty run like last week!)


and splits:
  • Mile 1 - 9:27
  • Mile 2 - 9:09
  • Mile 3 - 9:27
  • Mile 4 - 9:20
  • Mile 5 - 9:26 (took a Gu somewhere in here)
  • Mile 6 - 9:16
  • Mile 7 - 9:17
  • Mile 8 - 9:11
  • Mile 9 - 8:56
Total time: 1:23:35, average pace 9:17

I definitely thought about cutting the run short, but I figured, "What's another 9 minutes?" Plus I was already completely soaked, so a little more rain wouldn't hurt.

So glad I finished the run!
I look so silly in my hat but I swear that people totally wished they'd worn a hat in the pouring rain. It really helped! 
Once again...soaked.
It was a great little running week! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NYCM Training: A Sweaty Week 5

Another week down! There's still plenty more to go, but as of Saturday, Aug. 6, there are only THREE MONTHS until the NYC Marathon!!! YAY!

So with that, a recap of last week's glorious workouts:
  • Monday: 30 minute yoga session
  • Tuesday: 3 mile run, Total Body Conditioning
  • Wednesday: 6 mile speed run
  • Thursday: 3 mile run (sans Garmin and iPhone! So freeing!)
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 6 mile run
  • Sunday: 12 mile run (9:17 pace)
Total mileage: 30

Tuesday also included a happy hour with some lovely people in the NYC Marathon Facebook group (if you're running it, join!) at Swift, a bar I'd been very interested in trying since it has many, many beers. (Check out Theodora's blog for a cute picture of the group!) I almost didn't go to this event -- I was tired, wanted to go home, etc., but I decided I probably wouldn't regret meeting new people with similar interests, so I went. I'm so glad that I did! Laurel, Maggie, Theodora, Sue and everyone else were SO nice and fun to talk to. I am sure there will be more happy hours to come!

I also registered for two races last week... I've run some NYRR borough half-marathon since I started running (Queens in Sept. 2009, Brooklyn in May 2010), so I signed up for the Staten Island Half-Marathon on Oct. 9. I also signed up for...
SunTrust Rock'n'Roll Marathon in DC! My friend Christina just registered for it, too, and I'm already looking forward to it! It'll be on March 17, 2012, and if St. Patrick's day wasn't reason enough for a few beers, running a marathon ON St. Patrick's Day certainly is...right? Right.

In other news, I went home to Alexandria, Va., this past weekend, which meant running on the treadmill we have in our basement on Saturday (followed by picking crabs in Essex, Md.!):
Not the best for carbo-loading, but
delicious nonetheless!
...and doing my long run on the Mount Vernon Trail, which is actually more pavement than trail, and goes along the Potomac River in Virginia. It also meant that I had to DRIVE to my running destination, something I don't ever have to do here in NYC! Luckily, I got there at 7am when there were plenty of parking spots, so I parked, hopped out of the car, and got going.
Toto, I don't think we're in Central Park anymore...
I didn't bring my CamelBak home with me, so I left my water in the car and decided I'd run a few miles away from the car, then back, hydrating whenever I passed by the car (and I stopped every single time to get some H2O and electrolytes in my system!). There were also a couple of water fountains along the trail (thank goodness!), as well as a breeze and tons of shade, so while it was hot and very humid, it wasn't unbearable by any means. I ran two miles north, turned around and went back, got some water, then three miles south from the car, turned around and went back, got some water, then one mile north and back to the car. It reminded me of the Potomac River Run's 6.5 mile loop in a way, but it was only 12 miles instead of 26.2. And the terrain was a little different from the towpath:
There are a few bridges on this path -- pretty cool!
By the end I was a sweaty mess, and my shorts were literally DRIPPING. I had to squeeze out the extra moisture AND sit on something so I wouldn't soak the seat. You can't really see it, but these shorts were actually soaked:
Sweatsoaked to the bone. But NO CHAFING.
Lululemon shorts FTW!
Needless to say, I was happy to be done with the run.
Check out those beads of sweat on my nose.
I was even happier when I got into the car, blasted the AC, and chugged my Smart Water. 

And splits:
  • Mile 1 - 9:32
  • Mile 2 - 9:17
  • Mile 3 - 9:12
  • Mile 4 - 9:15
  • Mile 5 - 9:26
  • Mile 6 - 9:35
  • Mile 7 - 9:12
  • Mile 8 - 9:32
  • Mile 9 - 9:20
  • Mile 10 - 8:57
  • Mile 11 - 9:10
  • Mile 12 - 8:56
Total time: 1:51:32, for an average pace of 9:17

I took a two-hour nap after that run. I felt I'd earned it. Two hours of running = two hour nap, right? Right. 

Before heading to the bus back to NYC, I also stopped by Pacers to stock up on Gu, Clif Mojo bars, and some new Superfeet inserts. My mom and I also couldn't resist picking up some cheese in Old Town Alexandria, and stopping by Target for wine and other necessities. Some wine and cheese (and a Panera sandwich...mmm...) were just what I needed to get me through the 4.5 hour bus ride back to NYC!

All in all, a great week! And week 6 is already looking pretty good! Hope your training is going well too :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

NYCM Training: Speedy Week 4

I'm sensing a pattern here...

As in previous weeks, training went very well in week 4. I stuck to the training (flip-flopping Thursday and Friday), ran quickly (very quickly for me, actually! Those pullback weeks do wonders!), ran outside, inside, upside down (OK, maybe not), and really enjoyed the week overall.

Here's what week 4 looked like in terms of training:

  • Monday: 35 minutes elliptical, 18 minutes StairMaster
  • Tuesday: 3 mile run, Total Body Conditioning
  • Wednesday: 6 mile tempo run
  • Thursday: rest
  • Friday: 3 mile run
  • Saturday: 6 miles at race pace
  • Sunday: 11 mile run (8:53 average pace)
Total mileage: 29

Per usual, the treadmill runs (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday) were pretty uneventful, and also per usual, Sarina kicked my butt in Total Body Conditioning on Tuesday. I have to say though, I totally love the double workouts. It's a great way to get my strength training in, but I know I should probably do it twice a week...same with yoga! I really want to incorporate more yoga into my training. Sure, I do downward dog after every run, but I don't think that's quite the same as a good hourlong session.

ANYWAY, I have to say, Wednesday's tempo run was ahhh-mazing. Three weeks earlier when I had another tempo run around the reservoir, I remember struuuuggling to hold an 8:52 pace for the middle three miles of a five mile run, and this six-mile tempo run was just glorious. I thought about doing it on the treadmill, but apparently the crazy side of my brain was working when I woke up, and I couldn't get my mind off of running Central Park's hills. I ran the half-mile to the park from my apartment, did the lower five-mile loop, and ran back for six miles in just under 52 minutes! The middle four mile averages were 8:39, 8:35, 8:17 and 8:19...sooo unlike me, but I will totally take it! I was feelin' good, so sadly there are no photos except for this exquisite one that I took as I waited to cross 5th Ave.:
It's beautiful, I know
Sunday's 11-miler was really good, too, despite the fact that I was up till 2am on my friend's rooftop. Luckily I was not hungover for this run. I did the whole thing in the park because it was shaded and not incredibly hot. I considered the West Side Highway, but I just did not feel like having the sun beat down on me for almost two hours. Plus there were some badass triathletes out in Central Park, kicking ass and taking names, and watching them swim/bike/run totally motivated me to keep at it. I saw one woman running in a one-piece swimsuit (which looked incredibly uncomfortable), and while this dude was not participating in the triathlon, I did see a truly amazing and talented runner JUGGLING THREE BALLS WHILE RUNNING. I mean...COME ON. Who does that?! Almost as random as the time a bird flew into my head...except he has a talent. I just have a head that looks like a lovely nest to a bird.

So here's Sunday's map:
I started out going clockwise, and for whatever reason started to feel "uneven" at some point, so I turned around before I'd completed a full loop to even out. I think it helped.

And the splits:
  • Mile 1 - 9:18
  • Mile 2 - 8:50
  • Mile 3 - 9:04
  • Mile 4 - 8:51
  • Mile 5 - 8:56
  • Mile 6 - 9:05
  • Mile 7 - 8:54
  • Mile 8 - 9:05
  • Mile 9 - 8:45
  • Mile 10 - 8:54
  • Mile 11 - 7:54
Total time: 1:37:44, for an average pace of 8:53.

It was speedy, and I definitely took a Gu at mile 7.5 when I started to feel like I was falling off a bit. It definitely helped and I had a great run overall!

One thing I'm struggling with is the long run pace...I mean, I know that you're supposed to run much slower (a minute slower than your goal pace or something), that it helps to build up endurance and makes you get used to being on your feet for long periods of time. Sometimes I do try to slow down, but my legs just say "nope, sorry," so I go with it. I feel good and I've been enjoying it, but I'm wondering if I'm somehow hurting myself by not running more slowly? Does that even make sense? I've run a marathon so I know how it feels to be on my feet and move my legs and arms for more than four hours, so I don't really need to practice that. If anything I might want to practice running longer distances at a faster pace since I'm trying to get faster, right? I don't know... If anyone has any input on this, please let me know!

After a successful long-run sweat session (sans photos once again, I know you're disappointed!) I picked up a Zico coconut water, foam rolled my leggies, and treated myself to a day at the beach with my fellow runner friend Shawna (actually the first person who I went on a run with many years ago in college when I first considered getting in shape...I eventually abandoned that effort), who also accompanied me for a few miles on my marathon

We hit up Coney Island:
It was a lonnng trip from Harlem to
Coney Island, but SO worth it!
where I immediately craved (and got) a giant veggie sub from Subway, sat near some amazingly leathered up juiceheads, 
This photo does not capture the true leathery or
muscular nature of these people
took a dip (yes, in the water at Coney's perfectly safe!), napped, 
Lovely runner's feet!
and enjoyed some delicious Italian ice from Uncle Louie G's. It was so so so so SO so good. I love that place.

My week 5 update will be up before you know it!