Monday, October 31, 2011

NYCM Training: IT'S ALMOST HERE!!! aka Week 17 of 18

Holy moly! I'll have run the NYC Marathon by this time NEXT WEEK!!! With any luck, I'll have also stretched, taken an ice bath, showered, downed a beer or two (accompanied by loads of food, DUH), and hopefully have kept both of my legs intact following the marathon. I'm really hoping to be able to walk down the stairs with minimal pain after just one day instead of last time's two days...

But first! Week two of tapering, aka week 17 in the training:
  • Monday: sick day
  • Tuesday: 4 mile run
  • Wednesday: sick day
  • Thursday: 5 mile run
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 3 mile run
  • Sunday: 8 mile run
Total mileage: 20. Pas mal, as the French would say. I'm quite all right with it considering I was sick. As I mentioned in my last post, as fun as Boston was, it decided to give me a lovely cold as a souvenir. Really, Boston, the 2011 HOCR shirt was enough, but thanks for being so considerate! Ugh. Needless to say, I felt quite awful for a number of days this week, but I wasn't hacking up a lung (the cold seemed to just stay up in my head, which was very nice of it) so I kept running. I'd planned on running four times a week instead of five during the taper when my leg started acting up, and with a cold on top of it, it all kind of seemed to work out. 

The weekday runs were unexciting and were all done on a treadmill -- not ideal! I went home to Alexandria, Va., for the weekend, and while Saturday's run was also done on a treadmill, the day was made more exciting by a Halloween party my friends Lani and J threw in Northern Virginia. Naturally, I dressed up as a pirate:
I'm MARRRRRgaret!
I've never been a pirate for Halloween. As my brother Tom remarked, "Amazing that this costume took 20 some years to figure out." True. I actually figured it out in May when I was on my annual girlfriends trip with Lani and Emily, and they suggested it! Clearly, I am not the most creative when it comes to costumes, which is why I leave it to my friends to help me out. I'm not usually one to love Halloween, but having a costume that I liked did make it more fun!

Sunday I had my last long run of training. It snowed on Saturday in Alexandria, so I was a little worried about the weather for the weekend. But Sunday was absolutely beautiful -- and ideal for a marathon! Let's hope NYC gets the message and delivers perfect race conditions on Sunday!

I planned on taking this run easy and getting in a few miles at race pace, but I felt way too good and ended up having a pretty speedy run:
  • Mile 1 - 9:15
  • Mile 2 - 9:07
  • Mile 3 - 8:50
  • Mile 4 - 8:41
  • Mile 5 - 8:31
  • Mile 6 - 8:38
  • Mile 7 - 8:40
  • Mile 8 - 8:57
Total time: 
1:10:39, for an average of 8:50/mile. AWESOME.

The views weren't too bad either:
Falllll foliage!
Pretty colors
Seriously, how gorgeous?!
It's kind of funny, almost all of my 8-mile runs have been in the 1:10-1:11 range during this marathon training. Which is good, of course, but also kind of frustrating -- am I just running at a comfortable pace? Should I be pushing myself more? This close to the marathon, pushing myself definitely NOT a very smart idea, but it's giving me something to think about next time around -- I think I can improve, and could spend some more time on speed rather than running along on what's comfortable.

ANYWAY! Last week of training! Big plans? Nope! Tomorrow I'm taking it easy, Tuesday I've got a deep tissue massage session, Wednesday is girls night with college friends, and Thursday is the NY Flyers pasta party! I've never attended a pre-race pasta party, but BART YASSO is going to be at this one and I think it's going to be worth it just for that! (However, I had a dream that he canceled at the last minute and was replaced by some "famous" coxswain...this is what happens when two sports collide!) Oh, and the pasta. Duh. Carbo-loading is KEY in the last taper week. 

So, goals for the week:
  1. Sleep. Get lots and lots of sleep. Rest as much as possible.
  2. Hydrate. Drink loads of water, keep taking Emergen-C, etc.
  3. Eat well. Complex carbohydrates are important, but so are fruits, veggies, etc. I'm going to try to eat realllly well this week!
  4. Stay positive. Corny as it sounds, I plan on visualizing the race as much as I can. And filling my week with fun (but not too rowdy!) events and activities. 
  5. Did I mention sleep?
A little more about staying positive -- on my run on Sunday I thought a lot about the marathon. I kind of took the 8 mile run as a mini-practice for the race -- I tried to keep my face relaxed (i.e. no squinting) when I ran in the sun; I reminded myself to keep my shoulders back and loose; I reminded myself to ease into the pace and start out a bit more relaxed in my pace; I reminded myself of how good it is to just RUN and how much I love it. 

Notice a pattern with any of these reminders? There's no use of negative words -- slow, don't, shouldn't, etc. Something I learned as a coxswain was to reduce the amount of negative words in what I say because the rowers won't hear the "don't"; they'll hear the "dip your hands at the catch". So instead of saying "DON'T start out too fast," I'm going to tell myself "DO start at a more relaxed pace." See what I'm doing there? Tricky, tricky!

With that, I should probably follow my own advice and hit the hay. I might even pop in with a midweek post to keep my mind occupied and not filled with nerves. 

If you have any awesome race mantras, I'd love to hear them!

Here's to the very last week of training for the New York City Marathon!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NYCM Training: It's Taper Time!

Not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited about the fact that it's TAPER TIME! over here. My running has been OK, but I'm finding the motivation to get up in the morning to actually get a workout in is definitely lacking. I'm still getting (most of) the workouts in (I ran four times last week instead of five...), but I'm just so TIRED lately. Anyway, here's how last week (week 16!!!) shaped up:
  • Monday: walking
  • Tuesday: 5.6 mile run
  • Wednesday: walking
  • Thursday: 6.3 mile run
  • Friday: walking
  • Saturday: 4.3 mile run
  • Sunday: 12 mile run
Total mileage: 28.2. 

Not terrible, but not the 32 I was shooting for. I've come a long way from when I first started running and felt that I had to get in every single run OR ELSE... (not knowing what that OR ELSE... really was) so I'm definitely not going to beat myself up over "missing" a run.  My mileage was strong, the runs were solid, and I was experiencing some not-so-fun muscle pain in my left leg...the same leg that suffered a stress reaction last summer, an injury that sidelined me from running the Chicago Marathon. 

Needless to say, I was a little worried. I mean, it didn't feel like a stress fracture, but I didn't know I had one last time either! At first, I was just going to ignore it. The marathon is so close, there's no WAY my doctor will be able to see me, I've put in months of training, and I'm not going to NOT run this marathon! But after more than a week of nagging pain, I called my doctor's office, pleading for an appointment with Dr. Jordan Metzl, whom I saw last year about my stress fracture. When I mentioned that I was running the New York City Marathon in two short weeks, I had an appointment on the books for Monday!

I went in, mentally prepared for the worst, ready to be told that I'd have to defer to 2012 because the worst had happened and I had another stress fracture. But no! A little hopping up and down on one foot, then the other, and some poking and prodding, he diagnosed me with a weak butt (must step up the strength training), minor sciatica, and muscle pain in the calf. A prescription for deep tissue massage and an NSAID should put me back together again in no time. I took that NSAID as soon as the prescription was filled, and I swear that within a half hour, I was a completely new person. Walking down stairs didn't hurt! I could walk pain-free! There was no limp! A trip to Eastside Massage Therapy for an hour of intense deep tissue massage was the icing on the cake. As soon as I said my doctor had mentioned my poor, weak piriformis and sciatica, the masseuse said she was going to "go to town on this left butt cheek", which she did and I cannot thank her enough. Since yesterday, my leg has felt great. I even went out on a run today, and noticed a massive improvement! Needless to say, I'm a very happy runner :)

Back to last week! It was a good week. My "walking" workouts are really just me walking to work from the subway and back, a 1.5 mile roundtrip. I've been awfully lazy about cross training...maybe that's why I've got a weak butt and sciatica... Anyway. On Tuesday and Thursday I changed into my running clothes at work and ran along the West Side Highway. My office is literally a block away, so I took advantage of the great temperatures and close proximity, and just ran from the office! The track on our roof is only 1/10th of a mile, and running around that thing 50 times is just not appealing (though I'm sure the views would be amazing!). 

On Saturday and Sunday, I was in Boston, coxing Head of the Charles for a team from Sacramento. It's a long story of how I got involved with them, but I coxed for this team two years ago and they needed a coxswain again this year, so they got in touch with me and I said I'd do it! Here are a few photos from the weekend:
Saturday morning I ran from our hotel to the start line before
our race - here are some crews getting ready!
A nice trail along the Charles
The one-mile marker on the three-mile course
My setup in the bow of the boat - cox box to the left,
steering mechanism on the right 
Nice and comfy in the bow! 
My view during practice on Friday afternoon
It was a great weekend in Boston, and my boat even qualified for automatic entry into the same category for next year! Just to give you an idea of what my job is in the boat, I am basically the coach in the boat, and I steer the boat. I tell the rowers what to do when, motivate them, and keep them going. Head of the Charles is the biggest headrace in the world, with crews coming from all over the world to participate in it. It's also one of the most difficult races for coxswains to steer, due to the curvy course and six bridges you have to navigate. Not to mention the many boats that are involved in each race (our category, women's club 4+, had 45 crews racing). Here's the course to give you an idea:
This course is not straight.
It was a great race, and I really hope I get to go back again next year, if not to cox then at least to volunteer.

Sunday I woke up a bit later and set out on an exciting 12 mile run through Boston. I checked out Tina's blog to see if she'd done any 12 mile runs with routes, and I found one that I adapted to meet my needs. Here's the map:
And the splits:
Super impressive? No, especially since I recently ran 21 miles at a quicker pace than this. While my leg did hurt for most of the run, it was the kind of pain that I could run through and I felt pretty decent for most of the run. I also spent a lot of time with my iPhone making sure I didn't get lost and end up in Roxbury. And one guy even mentioned I had a "nice pace" going when I passed him, which is always a nice thing to hear, even from a 60-year-old man. (Note: That was when I was in the 9:07 range.) There were quite a few hills in this (mile 10, I'm looking at you), and a lot of running through somewhat crowded sidewalks (miles 2 and 11), but overall it was a really fun run with some interesting sights!
Beautiful day for a RUN!
A run through Boston Common? Why not?
This Colonial re-enactor also thought it was a great day
to be in Boston Common
A beach! In Boston! I never would have known!
This was my trail for a few miles
Near South Station - note the lack of blue got chilly!
And this would be an important building of historical significance, obviously...also known as the Statehouse
I had a great time running through Boston. I always enjoy running through New York, but it's so great to test out a new city and see how its running is. I give Boston two big thumbs up for being awesome in general (seriously, I have such a huge crush on this city...can you believe I never even looked at a single college here when I was applying?), but also for being hospitable to both rowers AND runners.

While I had my foot in two sports this weekend, I had quite a few realizations. First off, the race that the rowers did? It was three miles long. It took us 21 minutes. And then we had to keep rowing to make sure no other boats crashed into us. I know it's completely different from running, and uses all sorts of muscles we don't even think about when we run, but it just seemed like...really? Only 21 minutes? I mean, I ran for over three hours just two weeks ago. And tomorrow? I'm going to run for two hours. It's not all about the amount of time that you spend doing a sport or a race or whatever, of course, but I just thought it was so interesting. In rowing's 2k sprint races, done in the spring, you go ALL OUT for 7 minutes -- I guess that's a runner's equivalent to the 400-meter dash or something along those lines. And afterward, you're EXHAUSTED -- you put everything you had into those 7 minutes. It just doesn't seem like that much time! (Rowers -- don't get my wrong, I have intense, insane, ridiculous amount of respect and love for the sport. But compared to a marathon? It just seems like such a small amount of time!)

I also noticed that just as runners LOVE to talk about running when they're around other runners, rowers LOVE to talk about rowing when they're around other rowers. It's just a thing that athletes do. (OMG did I just refer to myself as an ATHLETE?! Well, I mean, I didn't do any physical activity, but I did gain a varsity letter for rowing at UCLA...just sayin'.) Since I'm a ways out of the rowing world, I didn't have much to contribute to this conversation, but people were talking about split times and erg times and their last races, and if I could have talked about running instead of rowing, I would have fit right in!

There's more to mention, but this post is getting wicked long (I'm so Bostonian!) and I'm tired.

Do you do any other sports?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

For Your Amusement

I thought these pictures were just too hilarious not to share...usually I'm pretty good at spotting the cameras and putting on a happy face, but that just did not happen this time!
Clearly displeased with my time
Squinting and sweating.
At least my arm looks good.
No idea what this face is...
I think I mostly just look confused
SO glad to be done-slash-
possibly dying
I'm off to Boston for the weekend before the sun even rises. I'm coxing Head of the Charles for a friend's old rowing team that's coming in from Northern California. They needed a coxswain, I was available, so I'm helping them out. I coxed a 4+ for this team two years ago, and hadn't coxed in five years, and had never been on the Charles, which has many turns (and while we all know I'm not good at running tangents, I can steer a shell around the tightest corner if needed!).

It was my first time in Boston, and while there was a cold snap that made me have to wear a zillion layers at all times, I completely fell in love with the city.

This weekend's weather is looking good:

This was my view from the boat:
Bow-coxed 4+. Ready to race!
Along with this:
The beautiful Charles River. It was beautiful this day, but
the rain and cold (and SNOW!) came soon after!
Ahhh and this:
Fall foliage!
I can't wait!

Have you ever been to Boston? Any fun plans for you this weekend?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NYCM Training: The Last Big Week

OMG I can't believe it's TAPER TIME!!! But first, what happened this week:
  • Monday: walking
  • Tuesday: 5 mile run
  • Wednesday: 8 mile tempo run
  • Thursday: rest
  • Friday: 1 hour elliptical
  • Saturday: 5 mile run
  • Sunday: 21 mile run
Total mileage: 39! It was supposed to be 43, but I missed a 5 mile run on Thursday because the flu shot made me sick (better than the flu though!). I've also been battling what might be tendinitis in my knee, so I figured missing one little run wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I foam rolled and Aspercremed the afflicted area after an easy elliptical session on Friday, and I totally felt like a new person! 

Unfortunately I had another picture-less week -- I didn't bring my phone with me on any runs, all of which were outdoors done on pretty picture-perfect days. In the two five-mile runs I did this week, I incorporated a bit of the NYC Marathon race course as part of the run. On Tuesday, I ran up to 94th St, then west to 5th Ave (which, by the way, is 100% uphill from 2nd Ave to 5th Ave!), then into the park around 90th and down over to where the finish line will be. Saturday's run was up 1st Ave to 110th St, over to 5th Ave (flat, thank goodness!), south to 90th St and into the park, and back home on 72nd St. It was good practice to run down 5th Ave, especially because I had a massive headwind on Saturday, and who knows what the weather will be like on race day? 

Today was a big day...last big, long run, with the New York Flyers. I ran 1.4 miles over to Jack Rabbit on the Upper West Side at 6:45 a.m. after consuming a delicious whole wheat cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter -- SO good at keeping me full and energized. My 9:30 pace group left around 7:15, heading to Riverside Dr, up to 91st, and south along the West Side Highway. There was a helluva headwind, but it was nothing compared to Saturday's wind tunnel along 5th Ave. Like the last NY Flyers 20 mile run, we cut over to the Brooklyn Bridge at Warren St., went north across the Pulaski Bridge, across the Queensboro Bridge, into the park, and back to the store! Here's the map:
And my splits!
  • Mile 1 - 9:26
  • Mile 2 - 9:31
  • Mile 3 - 9:29
  • Mile 4 - 9:31
  • Mile 5 - 9:25
  • Mile 6 - 9:25
  • Mile 7 - 9:31 (Gu number 1 and a water stop)
  • Mile 8 - 9:27
  • Mile 9 - 9:40
  • Mile 10 - 9:08 (water stop)
  • Mile 11 - 9:12
  • Mile 12 - 9:15
  • Mile 13 - 9:12
  • Mile 14 - 9:50
  • Mile 15 - 9:22 (Gu number 2, plus a water stop)
  • Mile 16 - 9:55 (hello, Queensboro Bridge)
  • Mile 17 - 9:48
  • Mile 18 - 9:37
  • Mile 19 - 9:59 (getting a bit lost in the park -- it was the Avon Walk and it was MADNESS)
  • Last 0.78 - 7:03
Total time: 3:07:45, for an average of 9:29 per mile!

Today was SUCH a great run. And although my Garmin read it as being less than 20 miles, a Google Maps course shows that the run was definitely farther. Either way, I ran over 21 miles today! I felt really good on this run -- my leg didn't bother me at all, and I got to chat with two really sweet girls the whole way. Chatting always makes the miles tick by so much more quickly -- every time I heard my Garmin beep I was surprised and incredibly happy. Like most of my other long runs, I broke it up into smaller runs that made it more manageable. 

I'm feeling excited and ready for these last few weeks of tapering, and I'm definitely ready for 26.2 in three weeks! I don't know if I'll PR, but I'll work out that stuff later on. I'm glad I'm practicing the bridges and finish line area, but who knows how it'll all play out on race day? I'm just going to plan as best as I can, and go with the flow for the rest of it. That's all you can do, right?

Tonight I'm spending some quality time with three of my best friends:
Compression socks to increase circulation
SportsCreme for sore muscles
THE STICK for massaging my poor beaten up legs
Wild night, I tell ya! FYI, Saturday night looked eerily similar to this, but at least I got my butt to Hoboken for my friend's Oktoberfest party, which involved a delicious beer (I swear it helps, or at least doesn't hurt, before a long run!) and many German pretzels and pastries. Yay carbs!

"A Race Like No Other"
I can't end this post without writing a quick review of a book I got for my birthday that I couldn't put down all week. 

This book...I don't know how to describe it. It is just amazing, inspiring, sad, exciting... It's all about the 2007 NYC Marathon, Paula Radcliffe's first marathon back after having her baby and taking off two years. The author, Liz Robbins, doesn't just focus on the elite athletes though; she takes you mile by mile through the race, through the stories of multiple runners -- a recovering alcoholic, a young man who's also a cancer survivor, a 60-something-year-old grandmother -- weaving all of them together through the miles. It also contains some history of the marathon, how it came to be the race we know it as today -- things I definitely did not know! 

I don't know much about elite athletes -- who they are, where the train, how they came to be where they are, etc. This book contained the stories of four or five of the elite men and women, which was very eye-opening and interesting to read. Just as interesting? The stories of the "ordinary" runners Robbins profiles. 

This will sound incredibly cliched, but I laughed, I cried, and I absolutely could not put it down. I definitely almost missed my subway stop more than once because I was immersed this book. I was completely caught up in the moment of every mile and every story that was shared. It got me incredibly excited to run this race in three short weeks -- if you're running the NYC Marathon, you simply MUST read this book!

So, last three weeks. Time to step it up in the eating, hydrating, and sleeping departments...speaking of, I think I hear my bed calling my's hourlong nap was just not long enough after the 21 mile run!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

NYCM Training: A Half-Marathon PR!

Big week, friends. I had some great runs, enjoyed the beautiful fall (and the weekend's summer) weather, turned 27 (eek!), AND PR'ed in the half marathon by more than seven minutes! It was a great week! And here's how it turned out:

  • Monday: walking
  • Tuesday: 5 mile run
  • Wednesday: 5 mile run
  • Thursday: birthday 5 mile run!
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: walking/shopping/carbo loading
  • Sunday: Staten Island Half Marathon!
Total mileage: 28 miles! 

First, the birthday was excellent! It involved a beautiful morning run around the reservoir (no photo I'm afraid, but it was absolutely perfect out), presents that I opened as soon as my run was done (I'm already 100 pages into "A Race Like No Other" and I don't think I'll be putting it down anytime soon),
free Starbucks, surprise cookies that Eloise sent me from Insomnia Cookies in the middle of the day,
margaritas and friends at MxCo,
It's true, sometimes I don't wear running clothes!
and cake!
Wishing for a sub-2 hour half marathon...
It was a really great birthday!

I took Friday and Saturday pretty easy (aside from walking up a storm on Saturday, going from shop to shop with a friend who was visiting from DC) and didn't go out at all. I slept 11 hours on Friday night and Saturday I was in bed before midnight with a 5:30am wake-up call for today. 

I wanted to get on the 6:30am ferry so I wouldn't have to deal with the madness of the 7:30 ferry to Staten Island, and also so I could pick up my bib since I was lazy and didn't pick it up yesterday (too busy shopping, what can I say?). I met up with Johnny who I met through the NYCM Facebook group that Theodora started, and also saw Dave who I met at the NYC Flyers 20 mile run last week. 

I hadn't really heard much about this race, so a few people who had run it before offered some "wisdom" about the course. Example: It's pretty flat! Ummm, this is incredibly incorrect and false. It's hilly! Very hilly! I'd been warned of a few hills in there, but I wasn't quite as prepared for the hills as I thought that I was.

For breakfast, I had my usual half-bagel with peanut butter, but I just don't think it was enough for me this morning. I didn't feel as strong as I'd have liked, and ended up taking a gel pretty early on in the race (mile 6). I ended up drinking a lot more Gatorade than I usually drink during a race this distance because a) I felt I needed more calories, and b) it was HOT so I was sweating even more than usual...attractive, I know.

It was a beautiful day for a PR though, and PR I did! My three half-marathon times before were 2:06:38, 2:06:11, and 2:06:10. I was DETERMINED to break two hours this time, which would mean a 9:09 average. The race started out fine -- my legs felt pretty good and I got into a nice groove, I think. I walked through every aid station and picked up the pace again once I finished my drink. 

For me, the tough parts were the hills (I slowed down a lot, and didn't really try to push it) and some mental demons that tried to get me to turn this into a training run instead of a PR. I fought them pretty well though, and near the end when I realized that I WOULD be able to PR, I pushed it and worked my ass off up the hills, down the hills, and to the finish line, to an official time of 1:58:59!!! 
View of Manhattan from Staten Island - beautiful day!
One thing I need to work on (aside from pushing out those discouraging thoughts) is tangents -- according to my Garmin, I went 13.24 miles...which is a full 0.14 mi more than I needed to run, which means I ran a lot more than I should have. If I'd just run 13.1 mi, that time would have been at least a minute and a half faster than my finish time! So yeah, I mean, trust me, I'm incredibly pumped about my time and could not be more thrilled about breaking two hours! But it wouldn't be a race without having a learning experience and finding something that I can improve on for next time, right? Right!

Here's the map and splits:
ARGH TANGENTS. I must learn to run the tangents. Anyone have any tips for this? I tried to be aware of it for part of the race, and for a little bit I was doing OK with it, but clearly I got lazy and just ran... Ah well. A PR is a PR, and I'm damn proud of this one!

I celebrated the half marathon with the five S's: stretching, shower, sleep, and Shake Shack. I have a tradition of having a burger after every half marathon, and this one was no different! I've been mostly vegetarian since April, but it's more because I like the way it makes me feel and I like that it makes me more creative in the kitchen. It's also cheaper! But I just had to have a burger and fries was necessary after losing all that sweat in the race!

Today really made the marathon seem REAL. Yes, it's been on my mind since last year when I was running those nine races with NYRR, working toward automatic entry for the race, but I'd been kind of worried that I'd re-injured my leg (seems that I haven't since I ran pain-free!) so I was wondering if I'd have to defer to next year. But um, nope, seems that in four short weeks I'll be back in Staten Island, and I thought of that today as I saw the Verrazano Bridge looming in the distance. I'll be on that upper deck, with my orange bib, preparing to run the biggest marathon in the world with 45,000 other people. 

And I simply cannot wait to be a part of it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NYCM Training: 20 Miles and a Wedding!

Another week done! I can't believe how quickly the marathon is creeping up on me. It seems like everything is happening all of a sudden -- my birthday's on Thursday (27 AAAHHH), then the Staten Island Half Marathon on Sunday (really hoping to break 2 hours), then another 20 mile run (whee!), then I go to Boston to cox Head of the Charles Regatta (can't wait!), then I go to DC for Halloween (my friends are having a party!), and then it's the marathon (YAYYY)!

Oh, and then I go to London and Zurich for a (well-deserved) 10-day vacation.

Every single weekend is planned and I think that'll make the marathon come up even more quickly than it already feels like it is. Which is good, I think.

Here's how week 13 shaped up:
  • Monday: yoga
  • Tuesday: 5 mile run
  • Wednesday: 8 mile tempo run
  • Thursday: 5 mile run
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 5.5 mile run
  • Sunday: 20 mile run
Total mileage: 43.5! If I do say so myself...DANG! Highest mileage yet!!!

I think last week I got a little of my running mojo back, which was exciting for me. I had a great tempo run on Wednesday, and unexciting 5 mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday. 

Check out the scene from Wednesday morning's run around 6am:
Across the reservoir -- looks more like midnight than 6am!
Thursday night there was another NYCM Facebook group happy hour at Swift, which was fun as always!
Johnny, Sue, me and Theodora! Photo from Theodora's site
Saturday I met my friend Shawna in the park for a little jaunt around the 4 mile loop (plus running there and home). 

Sunday was the BIG day. I ran my first 20 mile run (I have another one Oct. 16) with the New York Flyers on their 3 Bridges Run and I have to say, it was overall an absolutely amazing run. 

Was it easy? Um, NO. I'm proud of myself for keeping up the pace and finishing strong, but I definitely struggled a bit in the middle miles and kind of wanted to die at a few different points. I pushed past it though and thankfully got a second wind. I chatted with other runners pretty much the entire 3+ hours we were running, which was a great distraction.

The run itself was SO well organized -- I was completely blown away. There were three different stations where they had water, Gatorade, pretzels, and gels. Everyone was incredibly nice and friendly, and I actually went home and joined the Flyers right after the run! 

No pictures (I was iPod-free), but here's the map:
And my splits:
3:09:17, with an average of 9:28! Pretty exciting!

We had a pacer, hence the relatively consistent splits. Mile 16 was across the 59th Street bridge, which I frankly did not think was as terrible as people made it out to be. Everyone who had run the NYC Marathon said it was "straight up" and totally terrible, so I was naturally completely terrified. But it really wasn't that bad! Maybe it's because we were going at a slower pace? I don't know. But hey, I survived, so I think that's a good indication that I'll survive on marathon day. 

A few people mentioned that coming off of that bridge where there are obviously no spectators, just the sound of thousands of running shoes hitting the pavement, and then you get to 1st Ave. and there's a massive cheering crowd. It can give you a huge adrenaline rush, but there are still 10 more miles to go. So I must remember to keep stay relaxed and just take it all in!

After the run, I foam rolled and stretched and ice bathed before a highly anticipated 50% off, 60-minute deep tissue massage at Exhale Spa. It. Was. Amazing. I mean, my legs were incredibly tender, but the work she did on my back was SO needed.

From there, I went off to a wedding (yes, it was on a Sunday)!
Nice grainy picture Misty and me!
And topped off a fantastic day with some dancing (in heels, mind you) and delicious wedding cake:
All in all, it was a great training week and an incredibly fun weekend. I'm looking forward to this weekend's Staten Island Half Marathon, and I'm hoping I can break 2 hours. I've literally run three half-marathons in 2:06, and now I'm so much faster and stronger -- I think/hope that I can do it! Cross your fingers for me!