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?


  1. It was suggested to me that I do 2 sets of walking lunges after a run to strengthen the hips/whatever else. It's easier than going to the gym, too.

    Congrats on getting to the taper! Rest up and get ready to race.

    As for other sports, I occasionally play tennis and rarely do yoga, though I don't consider yoga a sport.

  2. Ahh that's smart! I'll have to try that...can't hurt! And thanks! A cold seems to have accompanied the taper, so I'm trying to work through that...

    Agreed on yoga not being a sport - is it a practice? :)

  3. hey there! great write-up and really good pictures. keep cranking!