Friday, December 17, 2010

The Pass Book

Yesterday was a big mix-up and I ended up not having pilates in the morning like I thought I would, so that meant no workout for me and my stomach has now been saved until after the Christmas holiday!  Truthfully, I think the rest was best for my cold anyway, so it all worked out.  Plus I got to have a nice egg and potato breakfast at my desk yesterday morning.

This morning Laura and I had made plans to meet at the JCC for a swim.  Last year, we both deemed it to be in the top two pools in the city.  Even though it doesn't even have a hot tub!  This year, we had saved up our passes from our fitness book for the JCC until the end of the year.  This was partly on purpose, I think, and also partly due to the fact that Laura and I both broke bones this year. 

I got there first this morning and the guy at the desk told me that the JCC no longer accepts these passes.  Oh, and they haven't accepted them all year long.  Which was bad news for me & Laura.  But, he was really nice and let both of us go in on a guest pass today.  Disaster averted! 

We got out to the pool deck and there was no one swimming in the Fast lane, so we both grabbed that before anyone else could.  We started by just splitting the lane, but the lifeguard came and yelled at me by the time I had finished my first 25, so circle swimming we went.  It wasn't a big deal or anything, it just most likely would have prevented anyone else from coming into our lane.  Which is exactly what happened near the end.

While I was swimming today, I was thinking that swimming in an Olympic distance triathlon is a long ways.  And even when you're swimming in a pool where the sun is shining directly in your eyes, it's still a lot easier to swim in a pool than open water.  That being said, however, I feel like I should get a triathlon on the books for 2011.  I'll have to do some research on that. 

As preparation for this unknown triathlon(s) in 2011, Laura and I decided today to buy the passbook again for next year.  We didn't get as much use out of it this year as we did in 2009, but we have a plan to change that next year!  

Tomorrow I'm off to Wisconsin to have Christmas Cookie Extravaganza, Take II.  I'll be back with a full recap after the weekend.  If last year was any indication, it should be a lot of baking and candy-making and a whole lot more fun! 

1000 Free
100 kick
100 free/breath control (zero breaths x 2)/breast stroke

Time: 26:31
Distance: 1200 meters = 0.75 miles
Pace: 35:21/mile

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Christmas To Me!

On Monday I had the first part of my Christmas present to myself.  My friend Nicole became a Certified Pilates Instructor last year.  I took lots of other pilates classes with her when she was going through her certification.  I was really nervous to start again since I've been neglecting my core so well during marathon training.  However, I had really enjoyed pilates when I did it before, so I'm starting up again.  For now, I'm doing 5 classes, but I have a sneaking suspicion that will turn into more!

When I got there and Nicole asked if there was anything specific I wanted to work on, I just laughed and said my stomach since it hasn't been doing much work.  I figured that it wouldn't be a problem.  I mean, after only like three or four exercises, I was already shaking.  It was really nice to be back and I'm glad that I signed up for classes with Nicole.  Having one-on-one attention is nice so that she can make sure I'm keeping my form up while doing all the exercises! 

Tuesday Laura and I had made plans to meet in the morning before work, except that it didn't work out and we ended up not meeting.  So, I headed to the gym after work instead.  I started coming down with a bit of a cold and I knew that it probably wasn't going to be my best effort ever.  Plus, the small gym by our house was pretty much jam-packed. 

I got the very last treadmill available and the whole time I was running there was a bit of a line forming, so I felt like I really had to adhere to the 30-minute time limit that our gym has.  So, I ran three miles in just over 30 minutes and called that good.  I followed it up with 15 minutes on the stair mill, something I haven't done in a while.  Boy oh boy, did I forget how sweaty that machine is! 

After all that, I spent a lot of time stretching.  I know that I need to be doing this every time and there's no time like the present to start.  My legs were a little tired from pilates on Monday and some of the stretches that Nicole had me do then, so I figured that more stretching was probably a good thing. 

Today I'm taking a rest day.  From work and working out.  I woke up feeling even more congested and with a sorer throat than earlier this week, so I knew that if I wanted to feel better sooner, resting would be the best thing for me.  I'm flying for the next three weekend and that never helps me feel any better, so I thought this would be the best opportunity.  I've been planted on the couch sleeping and drinking lots of fluids and taking lots of Vitamin-C to try to nip this cold in the bud! 

Time: 31:27
Distance: 3.00 miles
Pace: 10:28/mile

Stair Mill
Time: 15:00
Distance: 1.25 miles
Pace: 12:00/mile

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Best Treadmill

This morning I knew I needed to get a decently long run in. That didn't mean that I wanted to do it. Drew had to pester me repeatedly to get up and all I wanted to do was press snooze. I'm not sure how I feel about running in the cold and dark in the mornings on the weekend, so I opted to go to the gym instead.

Our regular gym by our apartment is under renovation, so  I went to the 24-hour gym fir the first time in quite a while. It's pretty small and they only have one of the best kind of treadmills, so I was lucky to grab that before it got really busy.

I ran 3.00 miles before I had to take a quick bathroom break.

I was really excited about the treadmills at this gym because instead of having a 60-minute limit like usual, they had a 97-minute limit. 97 seems like a really random number, but whatever it was, I was glad for the extension.

I ran the first 3 miles at 5.6 speed, which felt easy and relaxing. After re-starting, I ran the next 4.4 miles at the same 5.6 speed. I had a Gu around mile 5, just like how I've been training.  After that, Drew left the gym and I wanted to finish up and get home myself, so I decided to bump up the speed.

At first I thought I'd just do some intervals, so I bumped it up to 8.0. Funny thing was that it felt relatively easy. So I ran at 8.0 for the next mile and a half. Which was a longer interval than I had been planning on. And then I bumped it up to 9.0 for most of the rest of the run. I finished the last quarter mile at 10.0. I pretty much felt awesome after that and walked for a few minutes to cool-down before heading home.

It also made me realize that although I don't have a lot of races planned for 2011 yet, it doesn't mean that I can't start thinking about what my race goals should be.

So, with that said, I'm still planning on this marathon in January. After that, I think I want to focus on running a speedy 5K. There is a NYRR 5K (it might actually be the only one) in March. I did the race last year too, and it is a bit hilly, so I think "speedy" is something that is yet to be determined, but that's my next race goal.

It seems pretty reasonable to me to think that if I can run comfortably at a 7:30/minute pace or faster after running 7 miles already, this should be something I can achieve.  Although it's probably also a good reminder that a good warm-up is really important. 

I have to say that it's sort-of nice to have something else to look forward to. I do much better when I've got goals or races to train for.

Time: 31:59
Distance: 3.00 miles
Pace: 10:39/mile

Time: 64:54
Distance: 7.00 miles
Pace: 9:16/mile

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Too Much T.V.

Apparently watching TV at the gym isn't my strong suit.  Last night after work I headed to the gym to get a couple quick miles in.  Except that instead of just listening to my iPod as usual, I just happened to end up at a treadmill where ESPN was playing on the TV.  I was happily running along going nowhere watching the ticker scroll by with all sorts of interesting sports news when all of a sudden ... I had to get off or risk barfing.  It pretty much came out of nowhere, but all of a sudden, I felt really sick to my stomach.

I started walking for a minute to see if I could start running again, but it just wasn't in the cards.  I only really had 45 minutes at the gym and wanted to use them wisely, so I went to check out the other cardio equipment.  I thought maybe I'd do the elliptical, but they were all taken so instead I did the Arc trainer for all of 15 minutes.  I still wasn't feeling that great, so I ended up using my last 10 minutes for stretching.  Which is probably something I need to do more of anyway.

I was really bummed that I wasn't feeling so hot, especially because Drew and I had tickets to the Knicks/Raptors game last night, which ended up being a really exciting game!  After eating some pretzels and drinking lots of soda, I finally was coming around and feeling back to normal.

All of that was probably a big sign that I need to get out of the gym and back outside!  Even though it was 24 degrees outside this morning (with the windchill, felt like 13), I got up and went for a run.  I finally got to test out my new Garmin, which was exciting.  Although it did take a while for the satellites to find me.  Or me to find the satellites.  I'm not sure which way it works.  Finally, after telling the Garmin that I was not indoors or hundreds of miles away from my last location, it started working!

It started working at just about the perfect moment, too ... right as I was walking into Central Park (I started walking instead of running in the hopes that the satellites would find me more easily if I was moving slower).  I decided to run on the Bridle Path for a number of reasons.  First, because this marathon I'm signed up for is partially on a bridle path, so I thought I should get used to it.  Second, because I've never been sure how far it is since Gmap Pedometer is lacking the Bridle Path route in Central Park. 

The funniest thing about today?  Turns out I've been properly guessing the miles all along.  Who needs this fancy technology?  Either way, I think I liked the watch.  I still need to upload the software to my computer and see all the fancy stuff it can tell me, but I liked it.  I had set it to auto-lap after each mile, so it was nice to have that beep at me.  I did notice, however, that it's not so great at auto-pausing when you're totally stopped.  It takes it a while to catch up to the fact that you're stopped.  Which isn't a problem unless you're running on streets (like from the Park to my apartment) and you get caught at a lot of lights.  I'm wondering if I change the auto pause from stopped to a very slow pace if it'll catch on more quickly? 

Either way, I've got a lot of tinkering around to do still before I can really say what I think.  For now, I'm glad I have it and I'll leave it at that!  The one very basic thing that I've forgotten the last two times I ran outside is my Road ID.  I'm wondering if I shouldn't just strap it to my shoe so that I can't forget it!  Something about not having it on my wrist makes me more nervous when I'm running.  But I never remember until I'm already far enough away from home that I can't just go back and grab it. 

Wednesday Gymnasium
Running: 2.0 miles in 21:30 (10:45/mile)
Arc Trainer: 15 minutes

Thursday Central Park Running
Time: 56:09+5:00 = 1:01:09
Distance: 5.06 + 0.50 = 5.56 miles
Pace: 10:59/mile

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I feel like I've got plenty to blog about, but I just haven't had the time to do it. 

1.  Friday I ran 3.50 miles at the gym at lunch.  I wanted to run more, but I didn't feel like running more.  So I just did what I felt like.  I did the 5K portion in under 30 minutes, which I was happy about and then walked the remainder as a cool-down. 

2.  Saturday I worked all day and then went to a holiday party.  Fun, but exhausting.

3.  Sunday I went for my long run.  I used my new Camelbak.  Turns out that there is only one way to use a Camelbak and get water to come out of the straw.  I didn't have it that way for the first half of the run, which was perplexing at the time.  The second half was much more enjoyable with all the water I could ever want!

4.  I liked the Camelbak.  I'm reserving final judgment for later since I really liked the Fuel Belt at first and now you'd have to pay me to want to wear it (although I'm sure I will wear it again, I just don't want to do it right now).  So far, I didn't notice any bouncing around or anything, but I'm also sure that because I was so bundled up from the weather that I might feel differently about it in the summer.

5.  There are very few people out running now.  It's like a society of hard-core people out there running and biking.  Actually, I think the bikers are totally crazy.  They must be freezing on their bikes.  Running is cold enough. 

6. My Garmin arrived on Monday.  I was thinking that I would go for a run with it this morning and try it out, but that didn't happen.  I'm going to go ahead and hope that happens tomorrow.  Getting out of a warm bed to run in 30 degree weather with wind isn't all that appealing, to be totally honest. 

In short, "training" for this second marathon is going just about the same as the first.  Doing most of the running, but skipping some too.  Best part?  I'm not nearly as worried about it this time around as I was the first time.  However, I do think I need to keep getting myself outside and acclimated to this cold weather running. 

Treadmill Running
Time: 29:48 (5K)
Distance: 3.10 miles + 0.40 miles walking
Pace: 9:36/mile for the 5K

Time: 2:40:42
Distance: 14.20 miles
Pace: 11:19/mile

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

They Don't Make A Tennis-Ball-Head Size

Since this second marathon is only 6 weeks away, I don't really know how to prepare for it.  I'm sure that some people think it's awfully soon after my first marathon, but I'm really just doing this for fun.  There is a good chance that this marathon could be on a snow-covered path.  As far as the path, part of it is bridle path and hard packed and the other half is single-track and more technical.  Should be a good mix, I think. 

As far as having a "plan", my plan is to do the last 6 weeks of the first marathon training plan that I used.  Which is basically three build weeks followed by three taper weeks.  I figure if it worked the first time around, why mess with success?  

I've been on the fence for a while now about whether or not I need/want a Garmin.  And tonight I'm biting the bullet and buying one.  I'm assuming that this marathon course won't have mile markers, so I think that I'd like to know how it's going during the race.  Technically, it's a Christmas present from my mom, I'm just getting it for myself early!  So, let's hope the quick Amazon shipping will get here soon!  I'm really looking forward to seeing how I like it and I'll be sure to report back. 

Tonight I headed to the gym after work.  I had forgotten my own headphones at home, so I asked Drew if I could borrow his.  He was gracious enough to say yes.  He can't use the iPod headphones because they fall out of his ears.  I never really understood that.  He has the other kind of headphones.  You know, the ones with those little rubbery things on the end? 

Well, my ears are quite happy with the iPod headphones.  Those little rubbery ones?  Not so much.  In fact, I wanted to quit running after 0.10 miles today because I was so annoyed with those headphones.  I also knew I'd never make it on the treadmill staring at a white wall at the gym (really, there should at least be a mirror) without the headphones.  That meant that I spent 55+ minutes pressing the headphones back into my ears.

Let me be the first person to tell you that pressing headphones into your ears for more than 50 minutes is not fun.  And starts to make your ears hurt.  I really wanted to quit, but I also knew that I wanted to run 5 miles today.  If I wasn't so gosh-darn stubborn, I would have given up earlier, but I toughed it out.  It wasn't really all that fun, but when is the treadmill ever that fun?  It sure was sweaty, too.  I've got to get back to running outside! 

I met Drew when I was done at the gym to return his "defective" headphones.  He said that the problem was that they don't make a tennis-ball-head-size headphone.  It's true.  I have a child-sized head.  It's really small.  I have a lot of issues with hats.  But who knew it translated to my ears, too?  Either way, I'm glad that the free iPod headphones work marvelously.  I'm going to have to remember not to leave home without them. 

Time: 55:05
Distance: 5.00 miles
Pace: 11:01/mile

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Marathoning

I was hoping that it wouldn't take me this long to get around to doing this post, but due to some technical issues beyond my control, it's taken me this long to get the pictures that should have been ready to download instantly.

So, here are my Official Philadelphia Marathon Photos:

I've actually never bought race photos before, and after this experience, I'm not sure I'd do it again as I'm still not sure it's worth it, but I did it and it's done and I'm actually pretty happy with some of these!  Although, it should be mentioned that if you're wearing a green shirt and then stand in front of a green screen, this is what happens:

Right.  I have no arms.  Just a weird hand holding a cup of water.  The truth is that I actually have arms.  You can almost see them in the last photo.  I actually don't even mind the arms so much as the neck part.  It's weird to see something other than my neck/chest where skin should be.  Oh well.  At least I've got a good smile after running 26.2 miles!

In other Philadelphia Marathon news, they finally updated the split times, so they're fixed.

First half: 2:19:37 (10:39/mile)
Second half: 2:21:51 (10:49/mile)

To put this in perspective, my stand-alone half-marathon in Atlanta was a time of 2:22:32, so I ran both halves of the full marathon faster.  The first half was almost three minutes faster!  I slowed down by 2:14 from half to half, but I'm still pretty happy with all of those times.  I also think that if I wanted to, I could easily get down to 2:15:00 for a stand-alone half.

Except I don't think I'll be working on that just yet.  My big news (that I've saved for last) is:  I'm running another marathon!  And it's in January.  On January 8 to be exact.  I found a trail run in New Jersey that looked fun.  It costs $20 so I'm sure that there is little to no aid for this race, so I just invested in a Camelbak in the hopes that it will be better than the Fuel Belt that I have.

I don't have any hopes and aspirations for this marathon other than wishing that the weather isn't dreadful.  I think it'll be a good way to keep me running over the holidays (although weekend commitments from now until the race will make this an interesting challenge).  I also know that since this is a trail run, it'll likely be a lot slower than Philadelphia, so again, my main goal is to finish.  I think it should be a blast and I'm really looking forward to it.

I went for my first post-Philadelphia run on Saturday with Drew.  It was good.  Not great.  It was colder (and windier) that day than any other day that I've run this fall/winter season and although my legs felt 100% fine, I was having trouble breathing.  I sort-of refuse to believe that I could have possibly lost that much cardio fitness in 6 days, I'm going to go with the cold weather.  Obviously, I'll need to work on this before January!

4.20 miles

Monday, November 22, 2010

Philadelphia Marathon Race Report

This post could have easily alternatively been titled "I Only Heard 'Eye Of The Tiger' Once".

I really have to start this with Friday night.  I had packed my bag for Philly on Friday night so that I wouldn't be running around forgetting something on Saturday morning.  I had a dream that night that I forgot to put my wetsuit and my bike helmet in the bag.  When I woke up on Saturday morning I was relieved to realize that I hadn't forgotten to pack anything.  I wasn't going to be swimming or biking before this marathon!

Saturday morning Drew and I took the train down to Philadelphia and got in around 10:30.  We took a cab to the hotel and dropped off our bags.  The room wasn't ready and they told us we should check back later in the afternoon.  We then walked over to the Convention Center to the Expo where I picked up my race number and stood in a ridiculously long line to buy a new running hat with the Philly marathon logo on it.

After that we went next door to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch.  We did some walking around before heading back to the hotel around 3, where we were told that our original room wasn't ready, but we were being upgraded to a room on the 12th floor (original room was on the 5th floor).  I'm not sure it was a huge upgrade, but I was glad to have a room.  We also found out that the hotel offered late check-out at 3 PM for a fee of $35, which I was ecstatic to find out.  It meant that I'd be able to take a shower after the race on Sunday!

We had an early dinner at Olive Garden (go ahead and judge if you must, but I dare you to say that you don't think the salad is good...).  That was nice because it meant that I was in bed and asleep by 10.  I woke up once, at 2:37, but fell right back asleep until my alarm went off at 5:15.  I also found out in the morning that there was some sort of party going on on our floor around 2:30, so I'm sure that was what woke me up.  It was the most restful sleep I think I've ever had before a big race like this.  And probably just further proof that I really wasn't all that nervous about the race.

I got up when my alarm went off at 5:15 and started getting dressed and getting ready.  I was really excited to see that at 5:15 it was 41 degrees, so it was well above freezing!  I ate two Clif bars as my pre-race breakfast.  I wasn't all that hungry, so getting it all choked down wasn't as easy as it sounds.  I also had some water to chase it down.  I was all ready to go and left the hotel at 6.  I got into the elevator with another woman who was running the marathon and we walked to the race start together.  It was nice to have someone to chat with on the way there.  It was her 8th marathon, 2nd time at Philly, and she said that it was a great race.

I made my way to the port-a-potty line and had to wait in line for a while (which I had anticipated).  And then when I got to take my turn, there was no toilet paper (another thing I'd anticipated).  I'd just like to suggest that perhaps they could plan for this?  I mean, it's not like 20,000 people just showed up randomly to use the bathrooms!  After that I made my way over to my corral, which wasn't clearly marked or anything.  I think that organization and information on this race weren't that high.

I had only been standing in my corral for about a minute or two before I heard someone yell "Amy!".  I looked around because I knew that Meggan was going to be in my corral and I thought it was her.  But then the person yelled my last name and I turned around and it was Laura!  She had come down from New York to cheer for me!  We talked for a few minutes and she told me that she was planning on seeing me again at Miles 6.5, 14 and 25.  It was really nice to know where to look for her!

Finally, it was 7:00 and the Elite athletes were off and running.  And I thought the rest of us would be soon, too.  I had taken off my sweatpants at 6:55 and took off my fleece when the Elites started running.  That was a mistake.  Because what wasn't in the informational e-mail that they sent out was that this was a wave start and it took my corral 25 minutes to cross the start line.  Luckily, I had kept my hat, gloves and hand-warmers, so I wasn't freezing, but I was definitely cooling off waiting for us to get to the front! 

And then it was our turn!  Within the first quarter mile, I could just tell that it was going to be a good day for a run, and I was ecstatic about that prospect.  After about a half-mile, I took off my hat and gloves.  I put everything inside my hat and carried it until I saw Drew around Mile 1.5.  I threw it to him and I think it ended up working out well since he was able to use the hand-warmers throughout the rest of the day.  I guess he didn't want to wear the Hello Kitty hat.  Which was too bad since I only wore it running for a very short time and got a lot of compliments on it.  Maybe it's a good thing to hold onto?

I crossed Mile 2 at 21:05.  In my race plan I wanted to cross Mile 2 no sooner than 21:00, so I laughed that it was only 5 seconds after that.  Either way, everything was going according to the plan.  Also around Mile 2 was when I ran into what I'll call "Loudest Runner Ever Girl".  It was insane.  I mean, I'm running with at least 50 other people in a nearby vicinity and she was the only person I could hear clip-clopping along.  Of course, she was listening to an iPod, so she couldn't tell how loud she was.  I decided that I couldn't take it so I'd either have to speed up or slow down.  I chose the former.  I was not going to make it listening to her run for another 24 miles. 

I followed my strategy of taking water at all the water stops and walking through them so that I didn't spill water on myself.  It was working out really well and lots of other people were stopping as well at the early stations, so I didn't feel out of place.  At Mile 5, I had my first Gu just as planned.  I saw Drew again shortly after that around Mile 5.5 and then Laura was there at Mile 6.5!  (I should really give Laura credit as Drew got the top picture and Laura the bottom one.  It's obvious who was the better photographer). 


It was nice to know that I'd be seeing them again later on, too.  I continued on my way and it was pretty uneventful until Mile 8.  That was when someone must have stepped on a full Gu packet because I heard the noise of it exploding and then felt it all over my right leg.  One thing you don't really want is a packet of Gu running down your leg.  I can tell you that.  Luckily, there happened to be a discarded t-shirt on the side of the road shortly after that, so I wiped it off as quickly and as best I could and continued on.

I had made my own marathon pace bracelet.  I had done it for a 5 hour marathon and it was nice to see that as the miles passed by, I was slowly gaining on the times posted on the bracelet.  It went from one minute to two minutes and kept growing from there.  I felt really comfortable running and knew it was a pace where I could really sustain it in the long run.  I'm also glad that I didn't go any lower on the pace bracelet that I wrote down because it was my ultimate goal to finish in less than 5 hours and I never really felt any pressure to make up time since I had so much leeway.  

Miles 11 to 13 were a bit hard for me.  Not physically, but we were running directly into the sun and I wasn't wearing sunglasses or a hat.  I felt like I was squinting and so I tried running in the shadiest parts whenever possible.  If I had to re-do this exact race again, knowing what I know now, I think I would have done two things differently: (1) worn a cheap pair of sunglasses and thrown them away at the half-marathon point and (2) picked up a pair of the Philly marathon gloves I saw (I saw at least 5 complete pairs, but just didn't feel like stopping to pick them up).  I really just wanted them as a memento because they looked so nice.  Not because I actually wanted to be wearing gloves. 

Just before reaching the point where the half-marathon split from the full marathon, I heard someone cheering for me (louder than the other cheering I had heard) and I looked and saw that it was Krista!  I knew she would be there somewhere and I was so glad that I got to see her!  It was a nice extra boost!  I saw her husband running later on and cheered for him.  He probably thought I was crazy, but I felt like I had to do it!  I saw Drew again after the half-marathon point.  I was shocked to discover that I beat my previous stand-alone half-marathon time by at least a minute and a half (real results unknown thanks to ridiculous split times from  I also had a much easier half-marathon in Philadelphia than I did in Atlanta.  Guess all that extra running paid off!

I saw Laura again somewhere between 14 and 15 and then headed off for a long stretch of running.  The second half of the marathon course is a mostly out-and-back course that takes the runners out to the town of Manayunk.  It was pretty quiet on the run out there.  Once the half-marathoners left the course, you're sort-of left wondering where everyone went.  It was pretty much right then that I decided that my next marathon will either be a marathon only event or one where the half-marathoners split from the full marathoners a lot sooner.

I had kept going with my strategy of taking Gu every 5 miles and had them at Miles 10 and 15 as planned.  I still kept having water at every aid station along the way.  They were handing out Gu packets just before Mile 10 and I saw that the flavor was Vanilla Bean (my preferred flavor) and I grabbed one and tucked it into my pocket just in case.  I also cut my finger on this same free Gu packet around Mile 18, so in the end, I'm not sure it was worth the trouble.  Especially since I didn't need it!

It was probably because of this cut on my thumb (actually under my thumb nail) that I noticed that my hands were really swollen.  I couldn't even move the ring I had on my right ring finger, which is normally easy to move around.  I was sure that this meant I didn't have enough salt, but my hands didn't hurt, they just looked like clown hands.  I guess I know what they'll look like if I get really fat.

I thought it would be until I got back to Mile 25 that I would see anyone that I knew again, but it turned out I got really lucky and saw Katie at Mile 20!  She had told me that she had made a neon-yellow sign that said "Go Runners - Kick Asphalt".  Knowing in advance what the sign was going to say made it really easy to spot her!  Believe me, I had just spent the last 20 miles looking for that sign!  We exchanged high-fives and I continued on my way back out of Manayunk and into Philadelphia. 

To my marathon brain, my swollen hands meant that I should eat more Gu.  To my Monday post-marathon brain that actually bothered to look at the nutritional stats on Gu, I realize that there is very little sodium in a Gu packet.  So, even though I ended up having all 6 Gu packets that I had originally brought with me, I don't know that it did my hands any favors.  Somewhere around Mile 21 there was a guy handing out soft pretzels.  I decided to take one, not to eat, but to lick the salt off.  Boy oh boy was that tasty.  I felt a little bad wasting the pretzel, but I did get what I wanted out of it.

When I passed the mile marker at Mile 20, I just felt like screaming to everyone, "this is further than I've ever run before".  And, truthfully, I wanted to scream that after every single step.  I was so excited that I was that far along in the race and that I was still running and feeling great!  

Somewhere on the way back into Philadelphia, another girl came up to me and asked what pace I was running.  I told her I didn't really know, but something faster than a 5 hour marathon.  She said that she had been behind me for the entire race and that I had been amazingly consistent in my running (which was awesome to hear).  She said that she thought she was on pace for a 4:35:00 marathon.  I hope she made it.  She ran ahead of me at the next aid station when I stopped for water.  Either way, it was nice to think I was being consistent from mile to mile. 

It wasn't long after this that I heard "Eye of the Tiger" for the very first time.  Frankly, I had expected to hear it all the time.  I was actually a little bit disappointed that I only heard it the one time!  Don't worry, though, I totally sang along to myself even after I couldn't hear it anymore.  As a total aside, I've loved this song since I first heard it in after-school care when I was about 8.  If I had known then that it'd be played during my first marathon, I'd never have believed it to be true. 

When I saw Laura again at Mile 25, she got up and ran with me for a minute or so.  She said I was looking great.  I still felt really good, which was encouraging.  I was actually shocked by the number of walkers out there on the course.  And, truthfully, I was really glad that I wasn't one of them.  I never ever felt like I wanted to stop and walk (other than at an aid station) and I never had to convince myself to start running again after drinking my water.  It was what I wanted to do.

I saw Drew one last time at Mile 26-ish before I crossed the finish line.  I definitely tried to pick it up toward the end for the finish.  I finished the race with the exact same look on my face as I had when I started - a smile.  It was awesome.  I loved, loved, loved the marathon.  I want to do another one.  I'd sign up today (provided it was a few weeks away). 

Things I learned:
1.  Having my name on my shirt made a big difference in the amount of cheers I got, even though everyone had their names on their bibs.  I would 100% recommend this and do it again myself.
2.  For my next marathon, I'll only run 3 days a week.  Keeping the same rough mileage, but fewer days running.  And also maybe mix in some cross-training in there.  It would have been nice to feel like I had to do some biking instead of feeling like it was an optional rest day.
3.  I loved it.  I know I'm not fast, but I think something about these longer distances I'm just suited for.  I finished running and immediately thought that I can't wait to do another one.
4.  I want my next marathon to be a marathon only so I can experience that without feeling the loss of the half-marathoners. 
5.  I trusted my training and it carried me to the finish line.  I am so proud of myself to have finished my first marathon well ahead of my goal time.  It was better than my wildest expectations.

I ended up seeing people I knew a total of 9 times throughout the race, which was awesome.  Couldn't have asked for anything better.  Even though it probably would have been more fun for Laura and Drew to hang out together and cheer for me that way, it was a lot more fun for me to know that it would be two separate events.

My post-marathon legs were slow.  After getting my medal and mylar blanket (which was a lot warmer than I would have ever given it credit for), Drew and I made our way back to the hotel.  The curbs were definitely the biggest challenge for me on the walk home.  When I finally stopped moving and was standing still, my legs felt like they had just gotten off a treadmill and I should keep my forward motion. 

Moving from a standing to a seated position seems to be the hardest thing for me (both after the marathon and today, Monday).  I could feel my quads getting tired somewhere around Mile 23, so I'm not surprised that they're taking the brunt of this the day after.  I'm quite proud that I actually walked to work today, instead of taking the subway, but I think it's good for my legs to keep them moving whenever possible.

The best part about it?  I think I'm now 100% officially a runner!

Time: 4:41:28
Distance: 26.20 miles
Pace: 10:44/mile
Calories: 2689
Maximum HR: 188
Average HR: 173

10K: 1:06:26
Half-Marathon: 2:46:59
30K (18.6 Miles): 3:46:10

These split times cannot be correct.  At least the last two must take into account the 25 minute difference between when I crossed the start line and the total clock time.  I mean, I don't think I really ran the last 7.6 miles of the race in 55 minutes (which would be 7 minute miles).  I'm beyond disappointed that I don't actually know my half-marathon time because I'd really love to know how much I slowed down for the second half. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

What To Look For

OK, so I'm done running now!  Well, until Sunday, that is.  Then I've got the longest run of my life ahead of me!  This morning it was 41 degrees and I wore shorts and a thicker long-sleeved shirt.  I was a little bit cool at first, but I warmed up really quickly.  That makes me think that my outfit for the race will be just perfect.  I just ran to the Park, did a quick run around the Lower Loop, and headed home.  I didn't even bother wearing a watch.  Just running to shake out the legs and any nervous energy I might have. 

A couple people have asked what I'll be wearing so that they can try and look for me, so I thought I'd post some pictures.  Before the race, in the corral, I'll look something like this: 

Yes, that is a Hello Kitty hat.  The clothes that are collected at the start are donated to the Bethesda Project and I'm hoping that it'll make it's way to a little girl and make her day!  I also thought that it could be a conversation starter in the corral (OK, really, Drew said that, but I'm hoping he's right).  Either way, it's actually pretty nice with fleece-lined ear flaps! 

As far as the actual race goes, I'm hoping to be looking something like this (smile and all!):

Except I'll have a lot of Gu stuffed in my side pockets, which does nothing for the hips!  And I'll have a bib on too.  I've heard that they have your names on them, but I figured wearing a shirt with my name on it would be more clear and hopefully more people will cheer for me.  I'm thinking that I might need the encouragement (especially towards the end). 

I'm also including the information for runner tracking.  You can click here to sign-up if you feel like stalking me while I run.  My bib number and information is listed below (which I think you need to get the updates!). 

We leave for Philadelphia early tomorrow morning.  I'm excited to get there and pick up my number and just have everything all set!  Hopefully I'll see some of you there!

Distance: 2.90 miles

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Am Not A Runner

It's true.  I'm not a runner.  I was always one of the last kids in gym class to finish the mile.  I don't feel like it's anything I've got natural talent for.  I'm not fast.  Some people probably consider what I do jogging.  I can't keep up with any of my team mates.  I can't keep up with my boyfriend.  Of all the blogs I read (and there are a lot of them), I don't know anyone who runs as slowly as I do.  I am not a runner.

Yet, here I am about to embark on an endeavor that seems to me like the epitome of being a runner.  Running a marathon.  How did I end up here?  About a month ago I was talking to Drew about the marathon and I asked him this question, "Do you think I have the mental stamina to finish the marathon?"  His response was silence, followed by, "Well...", followed by at least another minute of silence.*  Which just proves my point.  I am not a runner.

I used to hate running.  The very first time I went running with Drew, I wanted to trip myself less than a quarter-mile into the run so that hopefully we could stop running.  I've come a long way since then.  I can now really appreciate running for its simplicity.  It's so easy to just throw on your shoes and head out the door and not have to think about all the details that come with biking or swimming.  

I've been planning on running a marathon for a while now.  I just thought it would be in 2011 and in New York City.  That's still the case, but I guess I'm just throwing in the 2010 Philadelphia Marathon as a warm-up?  This is what happens when you break your arm and can't bike for a long time, I guess.  The funny thing is that this marathon was exactly what I needed.  Once it was clear that I wouldn't be able to do Timberman this year, I needed something else to push me to continue working out.  I needed a goal.

Now the marathon is just days away and I'm left pondering my race plan.  It almost seems funny to have a race plan for a running race.  I mean, the plan is to run and not slow down, right?  That's sort-of my plan, but of course, it seems more detailed than that.  My real plan is to start slow.  Really slow.  Like 11-minute miles slow.

I've learned that if I go out too quickly, I can't sustain that sort of pace over a long distance.  Sure those 4 and 5 miles races in Central Park it's possible, but I'll never make it in the marathon if I do that.  If I make it to Mile 2 before 21 minutes (in total time), I'm going to have to force myself to walk early in the race so as to try to avoid walking late in the race.  I'm going to have to try not to get swept up in the usual race-day enthusiasm or feeling cold from standing around outside. 

After the 2-3 mile marker, I think I can just run at my regular, natural pace.  I think by then everyone will have settled down and I shouldn't feel like I'm trying to keep up as much (or warm up) as I will at the start.  The other really important thing of note is that I'm going to stop at every aid station and walk through them.  Even the early ones.  Although I might not think I need a sip of water at Mile 2, I'm going to be wishing at Mile 23 that I had taken the water early in the race.

As far as calories go, since I had a bad experience mixing Gu and Gatorade in my stomach once, I'm going to pass on the Gatorade and just go with Gu and water.  I'm planning on having a Gu every 5 miles for Miles 5, 10, 15 and 20 (or near those mile markers depending on where the water stops end up being).  I'm going to carry at least one extra Gu (probably two, because I worry) in case I get hungry or think I need one for the last 10K of the race. 

That's pretty much it as far as the race plan.  Other than I should have fun and I hope to finish smiling.  Oh, and time goals?  Yeah, I've got one of those too.  I'm going to be happy with anything under 5 hours.  I think anything under 4:30 is totally unrealistic this time around.  I think if I go over 5 hours I'll be disappointed and think that I probably didn't do enough training.

However, I realize that this is my first time at this distance and there is pretty steep learning curve to be had. So, with that in mind, my first goal is to finish.  The second goal is the whole timing thing.  In just three short days, I'm going to try to prove to myself that I am, in fact, a runner. 

* I have to be fair here and say that although it took Drew a painstaking amount of time to come up with a response, when he did respond it was to say that he thinks that I'm really good at setting limits for myself, so even if I had to walk for a minute in the marathon, I would always be able to force myself to run again, which is something that he's not so sure he can do for himself.  So, I guess that was a really long way of him saying "YES!", which was what I was really looking for.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Are You Excited?

That seems to be the question of the day.  Everyone keeps asking me if I'm excited for this marathon.  The quick answer is no.  I think I'd be worried about my sanity if I was jumping up and down with excitement at the prospect of putting my body through the most physically taxing thing I've asked to do so far.  The thing I'm most excited for is that in 5 days the waiting will be over! 

Of course, on the flip side, I am excited to see what I'm capable of and how my training works out in the end.  I know I've put in the miles, but was it enough to get me to the finish line in the time that I want?  I'm hoping that the answer to that question is yes.

The funny thing about this marathon is that I'm not really nervous.  Maybe it's the difference between triathlon and just running races, but I'm really not nervous about this.  I know I'll get to the end one way or another and something about the fact that there aren't three sports involved makes it a lot easier to somehow just instinctively know that. 

I decided this morning that there wasn't any point in getting up early to go running.  If this week is about resting up, I might as well sleep in and go running after work since I'd be up then no matter what.  So, I went running after work. I didn't wear a watch tonight.  I just wanted to go for a nice relaxing run. 

That's not exactly how it went.  It had sprinkled right before I left so there were a lot of wet (slippery) leaves on the road in the Park, which made me nervous that I'd slip and fall.  I also seem to be having some sort of phantom knee pain.  I know it's fake and that it's a taper pain, but it's annoying nonetheless. But, I made it home safe and sound and without any lingering knee issues, so it probably did me some good to get out there and shake out my legs! 

Distance: 4.20 miles

Monday, November 15, 2010

It Says 8, But...

The workout for this weekend was supposed to be an 8 mile run, but I really wanted to run further south and run to the end of the island.  The last time I ran that far south, it was dark and I wanted to check out the nice looking park there in the day time.  And, truthfully, I also wanted to check out the Irish Hunger Memorial that's there as well.  I've run past it several times before always thinking, "hey, I should check that out" and decided that Saturday was the day to actually do it. 

I wore tri shorts, a lightweight long-sleeved shirt and the tank that I'm planning on wearing over another shirt for the marathon.  Basically, I wore one version of my marathon outfit.  The weather was about 52 and sunny and at first when I started running, I was worried that I'd be too hot, but as soon as I got into the shade, I was grateful to have the extra layer of the tank on! 

The run was great.  I was feeling like I wanted to be running a marathon and was bummed I still have to wait one more week.  I had a couple of failed drinking fountain breaks (some of the fountains are shut off for winter, I guess?) but otherwise my strategy of Gu + drinking fountains is still working out great.  That's definitely my strategy for the actual marathon, too. 

As I ran south, I kept a look out for the Memorial, but must have run past it without paying attention.  (The truth is that it's further north that I remembered it being).  So, on my way back home, I kept looking for it.  When I got there, I paused my watch and went for a walk around the monument and then up the path to the top.  It's nice.  I think I would have liked it more if I wasn't in the middle of a run, but it is a very nice little spot in this city and I'm glad that I stopped.  Definitely worth the break.  Of course, my legs weren't so happy to have to start running again after the break. 

I made it back home in time to eat a delicious breakfast (made by Drew) before tackling lots and lots of chores for the day.  Including a trip to Goodwill.  I needed to buy some throw-away clothes for the start of the marathon and ended up finding a pair of sweatpants and a hat for $8.  I already have an old fleece that I can wear and throw away at the start, so I think I'm all set now. 

Sunday I didn't workout, but I did go and get a deep-tissue massage.  It definitely wasn't all that relaxing, but it did feel nice.  Nice in the foam-roller way, but probably good for my muscles no matter what.  The woman did tell me that I should work on stretching (something I used to be really good at) after running.  I've gotten pretty lax since starting marathon training.  I'm going to try to work on that over the winter.  

This week I've got a couple of short runs on tap and I'm going to eat all the carbs I could want in preparation for the big day!  I can't believe it's almost here!

Time: 1:53:42
Distance: 11.0 miles
Pace: 10:20/mile

Friday, November 12, 2010


I find it really interesting that it's taken all this time during marathon training for two things to happen:
1.  To go for a run with Drew
2.  To realize that running is hard

Those two things may or may not be related.  And to be totally fair, the last time I did run with Drew was in August and technically I was marathon training, but those were the early days!  I'm actually not even sure I was officially signed up the last time we went running together.

So, the two of us went for a 4 mile run last night, which was Drew's idea.  I have a good 3-mile loop in the Park, plus running back and forth from our apartment makes it right around 4 miles.  Drew works out a lot, but he doesn't actually run all that often from what I understand (I don't actually know.  To be honest, I don't love the gym, as you may have gathered, and that is where he likes to do the vast majority of his working out). 

We started out running from our apartment to the Park and then off on my little route.  There were a couple times where Drew asked if he was running too fast for me, but I felt like we were going along at a pretty decent pace.  I must have sighed one times too many because he kept asking if I was okay, which I really appreciated, but also sort-of made me feel like I was a bad runner.  I have to tell you, this is not a feeling that you really want to have leading up to a marathon. 

However, it really seemed like the tides turned when we were getting closer to finishing the Park portion of our run. I could tell that Drew was definitely getting tired (and maybe tired isn't the right word, but just tired of running).  The funny thing to me was that I was just starting to feel warmed up and like I could actually pick up the pace by a good bit and he was slowing down.  Then, of course, I started asking him if he was okay.  I realize now that it might have made him feel like a bad runner.  Oops.

It's taken me all this time to realize that running is hard work.  I don't consider myself a runner.  I don't even really consider myself particularly good at running (there will be an upcoming post on these things).  It just really made me take a step back and realize that running even one mile is a lot.  Running four miles is really a lot.  Especially when you don't do it that often.

I am really glad that Drew suggested running last night.  I had a great time.  I mostly wanted to go running because I got a new tank for running that I'm going to use in Philly (stay tuned) and I wanted to test it out prior to the race.  I'm glad to say that it works amazingly well and I fully plan on wearing it.  The weather was 52 when we were running last night and I wore shorts, a lightweight long-sleeved shirt and the new tank and was just about perfect.  I didn't even wear a watch, because at this point there isn't anything I can do to help my marathon training.  All those miles are in the bag.  Now I'm just running to keep myself from going crazy waiting for race day!

Distance: 4.20 miles

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Like You're Missing A Digit

This morning I was telling Drew that I had a 4 mile run on tap and that this weekend's run is only 8 miles.  He said that it sort-of sounds like I'm missing a digit in all the runs for this week.  I have to say that I agree.  Running only 4 miles seems like it should be a piece of cake.

Except it wasn't.  I ran at lunch again on the treadmill and I sort-of hated it.  Which made me question the whole marathon thing.  I have to say that I really really wish that this tapering stuff didn't make you a crazy person.  So far I haven't had any phantom aches and pains (thank goodness), but I'm left questioning whether or not I can actually complete a marathon, which isn't the best feeling.

I know that it's all silly and I'll get to the finish line one way or another, but I can't help questioning things when I'm running on the treadmill.  I will say that I wasn't able to use my favorite type of treadmill at the gym today and somehow felt all thrown off as a result of that.  Normally I take a photo of my final stats so I can remember my time, but today's treadmill didn't want to show you your final stats.  So I don't even really remember my final time.  I think it was 43-something, but I'm unsure on the something.

The other reason I don't think that today's run was so great is that I've actually been running pretty quickly (for me, at least during marathon training) on the last couple runs, and today's was slower.  I've got to remember that is okay and more likely my marathon pace and I absolutely cannot go out too fast during the marathon!  On my remaining runs this week, I'm going to try to remember that and run accordingly.

Also, I found out my bib number and corral for the marathon today.  Of course, I had to look it up on myself (they haven't sent out an informational e-mail to race participants yet), but it makes it all more real!

Time: ~43:30
Distance: 4.00 miles
Pace: 10:52/mile

NYC Marathon Weekend Recap

Sunday morning Laura and I got up bright and early, fueled up with bagel breakfast sandwiches and headed out to spectate the NYC Marathon.  We started in Brooklyn around Mile 7.5.  We were able to see the pros run by, which is pretty amazing.  I don't think I could run that fast for 50 feet, even if I tried really really hard.  I don't understand how they can do that for 26.2 miles.

I also made some signs and this is the one that I held up at Mile 7.5:

After seeing several of our friends run past us, we headed to the Upper East Side to watch at around Mile 23.  We were able to see a lot of the same people that we had seen in Brooklyn.  I have to say that we had a much easier way to get from one point to the other (the subway versus foot!).  I had made a second sign to have at Mile 23:

I got a lot of comments and points and laughs at my sign, which was really fun!  I really did my best to cheer for lots of the runners that went by.  Obviously, people who had their names on their shirts were easiest to cheer for and it made me realize that I really want to have my name on my shirt for my marathon.  I'm going to work on that.  If anyone has any idea where to buy iron-on letters in NYC, please comment!!

I also made a rule about cheering.  If you're wearing headphones, I'm not going to cheer for you.  It's a waste of my breath.  I know that some people think that they can't get through running without them and I know that a lot of people were hurting at Mile 23 (saw several people in tears), but I still wanted to cheer for people who I thought would have a better chance of hearing me!

After cheering for about 5 hours, I headed home.  It was getting cold standing out there (although it was probably the perfect day for running) and I also needed to get my own run in.  I decided to avoid all the craziness of the Park and headed over to the Westside Path.  I ran south and used my same drinking fountain and Gu plan that I'm hoping to implement during the marathon.

My run ended up being 12.8 miles, but I took the first Gu around Mile 3 because I was feeling hungry.  Then I took the second one around Mile 8.  I think it worked out perfectly because I ended up having a really nice run.  I don't know if it was because of the cooler temperatures or if I was inspired by the Marathon runners or what, but it was just a really nice run.  Although since the time changed, it was dark really early, which I wasn't a huge fan of!

I have to say that watching the Marathon made me both excited and nervous.  I'm excited to be doing it myself.  Seeing people crying made me really hope that I don't look like that at Mile 23.  Mostly I'm just excited to prove to myself that I'm capable of doing this!

Time: 2:14:24
Distance: 12.80 miles
Pace: 10:30/mile

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Fake PR

I was really going to get up this morning and go running.  Really.  Except I didn't.  So I brought stuff to run at work during my lunch instead.  The funniest part?  I actually got to work earlier than usual so that I could take a slightly longer lunch if needed.  Why I couldn't get up early to go running instead of getting to work early is beyond me.  Sometimes these things just don't make sense. 

When I started running, I sort-of had it in my head that I'd do 4 or 5 miles and then go back to work.  Except I started running and something about that hour-long treadmill limit was just taunting me today, so I figured I should go ahead and see if I could do a 10K in less than an hour.  I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I thought I would be able to do it. 

I started out running at 5.8 (10:20 pace) and held that for about 2 miles.  Then I just kept bumping up the pace from there.  Of course, I had to finish with a bit of a sprint and I kept getting really nervous that I had somehow not sped up early enough for it to come in under an hour, but somehow, I did it!  

Basically, I shattered my two previous standalone 10K times.  I shaved 1:15 off my last time of 1:01:11!  Except that I don't really think that this counts as a PR because it was on the treadmill and not in a race.  Doesn't mean that I'm not happy about it all the same, though! 

Truthfully, maybe wasn't the best idea to run this speedy 10K today, but it's done and I'm actually really happy about it.  Of course, on the flip side, all I could think about today while I was running was that I will have to run 20 miles and then a 10K in order to complete the marathon. Which seems crazy.  And really made me doubt my decision to sign up for this race at all.  I think tapering has already started to get to me and make me a little bit loopy. 

The other big news is that I signed up for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge.  You can click on the button on the right side of my blog for more info -- and think about signing up yourself!  The more the merrier!  It starts on November 20 and runs through January 7, so it's 7 weeks of keeping yourself active through the holiday season.  I'm actually pretty excited about it.  I think it'll be what I need to not give up entirely on working out after the marathon.

However, I have to say that I feel like I'm cheating a little bit with this whole challenge.  I mean, it starts the day before my marathon.  Which gives me an early lead on the competition!  Living in NYC also means that I walk at least two miles every day (walking to and from work).  All those points sort-of seem easy to me, but I'm sure that there will be a lot of stiff competition, so I'm really eager to see how things pan out after 7 weeks.  Just because I have an easy go of it on Day 2 of the challenge, doesn't mean I'm a guaranteed winner!  (I also cannot believe that I just typed that running a marathon would be "an easy go".  Tapering really must have made me loopy!)

Time: 59:56
Distance: 6.20 miles
Pace: 9:39/mile

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Blame Game

I had a feeling that this morning would be a bad weather morning and I was right.  It was pouring rain.  Which meant that it was probably a good thing that Laura and I had made plans to meet at the Columbus Circle Equinox and use some free passes that I had gotten when Drew and I did the Gay Pride Run.  They were three day passes, but I knew that there was no way we'd actually use all three days since we weren't going to go back tomorrow.  We also have several other passes from our Fitness Book that we need to use up before 2011! 

Laura called ahead and found out that they didn't have a hot tub, so that was a bit of a disappointment.  We had planned to meet this morning at 7:15 and this was our text exchange before we even met: 

Amy - 6:34:  I hate you.
Laura - 6:47:  I hate you too.  And I almost canceled.  Twice.  First just because it's too early, and then due to the rain.
Amy - 6:48:  Oh, I know.  Really don't want to go outside.
Laura - 6:49:  I hate your job too.  This morning thing was never a good idea.  We should live in a world where we can hit the gym at lunch or after work.
Amy - 6:50:  You should just come to our apartment instead and then we can all go back to sleep.
Laura - 6:52:  Don't tempt me.  I'm seriously tempted.
Amy - 6:52:  Do it.  It's a way better idea anyway.
Amy - 7:03:  Yup, I hate you.  This weather blows.
Laura - 7:10:  I blame you for this.
Amy - 7:13:  No!!!  You!!!

I'd just like to say that while all of this was going on I was slightly concerned that Laura wouldn't be on time since she obviously also had cell service (which doesn't normally happen on the subway), but we both got there at the exact same time, so she must have some sort of secret.  When we met in person, Laura said that she not only blamed me for getting up early, she also blamed me for the weather.  I thought that was taking it a bit further than necessary. 

The gym looked nice.  I'm not sure it was nice enough to justify the costs involved with Equinox, but it was nice.  They had very fancy Kiehl's products in the showers, which was a nice touch.  The pool was just okay.  Three lanes and it could have easily been five with the traffic that they had for the pool.  But I know that they're a big expense and it's nice that gyms have them at all. 

I started out sharing a lane with one other person, so we split the lane.  I liked the first 50 yards and then hated the next 100 and remembered that swimming is hard work.  After that, I sort-of settled into a bit of a rhythm and just kept swimming.  With about 5 minutes left of our pool time, a third person got in our lane, so we started circle swimming.  I wasn't too excited about this fact since I was in the fast lane, but it was nice that it actually pushed me a little bit more because I didn't want someone to come up and tap me on the toes! 
I wanted to keep my place in the lane, so it worked out pretty well. 

We cut our swim a couple minutes short to go in the steam room, which we ended up not loving.  Then we sat in the sauna for a couple minutes before heading to the shower.  Why couldn't they just have a hot tub instead?  We headed off to work and I got this text: 

Laura - 8:47:  I still blame you.

Time: ~25:00
Distance: 1200 yards / 0.68 miles
Pace: 36:45/mile

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm Being A Wimp

It got cold here in New York.  And I don't like it.  I'm really being a big wimp about it and don't want to go running outside in the cold.  It's just the idea of putting on so many clothes, going running, getting hot, coming home all just seems like too much effort.  And extra laundry.  I know that I have to get over this ... quickly.  I mean, I'm running a marathon outdoors in two and a half weeks and I'm pretty sure it's not going to get any warmer. 

So, in the spirit of being a wimp, I didn't get up this morning and go running outside.  Instead I packed a bag to go running at lunch at the gym.  Totally wimpy, I know.  I'm not overly proud of it, but I have to say that I'm glad I at least went running instead of skipping it all together, which was what I actually wanted to do. 

I started out running at 5.8 pace for a mile, then 5.9 pace for a mile, then 6.0 pace for a mile and then I played around with the speed, getting up to 8.0 at the end for the next 0.75 miles.  I decided to use the last 0.25 miles to try to cool down a bit, so I walked at a 4.0 pace. 

Really, I think the lesson from today is that not all runs have to be a big deal, but I'm really glad that I didn't wimp out and skip it entirely.  And I really am going to get out there and brave the cold ... maybe even tomorrow! 

Time: 41:07
Distance: 4.00 miles
Pace: 10:16/mile

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wishing For A Marathon

Sunday morning I defied all the odds and woke up really early and set out for my long run for the week.  I had mapped out a 15 mile long route to do and then I would do a 5 mile race in Central Park.  I figured getting cups of water at the end of the route was probably a good plan.  I also knew that it would be best for me to finish the day with the race since I didn't think I'd really want to run too much after that. 

The race started at 8:30, which meant that because I'm not the speediest runner, I wanted to get out the door around 5:30 in order to make sure I wouldn't feel too pressured to get to the race on time.  I actually ended up starting a bit late, which of course made me nervous, but it worked out perfectly in the end.

The first part of my run was from our apartment to the Westside Path and then South to the bottom of the island.  It was totally dark and pretty lonely out there while I was running.  I saw about as many people as you could count on one hand that were exercising.  There were some people who hadn't quite made it home from their Halloween celebrations, though!  Really, the only company I had were the 4 rats I saw out and about.  I learned that if you stomp your feet, they run away.  That seems like a really important thing to know. 

I have to say that normally when I run south I run to Chambers Street and then head back.  Today I went further south and ran along the esplanade in Battery Park City.  I'm not sure that was the right call since it was dark and I wasn't 100% sure where I was going or where to turn around, but it ended up being okay.  I was a little bit nervous there since there were some Parks Department people patrolling the area, which made me wonder if it's a high crime area?  I wouldn't have thought so, but the patrolling didn't do anything to make me feel more confident. 

I knew that this run was pretty much the make it or break it day when it came down to nutrition for the marathon.  I decided that I would do what I'm planning on doing for the marathon, which is to have water only and then take a Gu a miles 5, 10, 15 and 20.  I skipped the last one, but had the 5, 10 and 15 mile Gus and I have to say that it worked perfectly.  I pretty much stopped at every drinking fountain I saw and it worked out great. 

The truth is that the whole run was great.  The first 15 miles were awesome.  I was sort-of wondering if part of that was due to the fact that it was dark and a little bit chilly and I knew I had to be done by a certain time for the race?  Whatever it was, it was great.  I ended up timing it almost perfectly because I snuck into my corral for the race at 8:28, for a race that was supposed to start at 8:30.  I will say that NYRR is pretty darn good about starting on time, but they were running just a couple minutes late on Sunday.  Which meant that I didn't cross the start line until 8:40.  When I started running again, I wasn't overly enthused, but I pretty much just told myself to run to the next cup of water. 

I got water at all the aid stations and walked for a few steps to drink my water instead of have it splash down the front of my shirt.  That's pretty much my marathon plan as well.  I knew that I was doing a pretty good job pacing myself in the race.  I started out a bit slow and really, really picked it up towards the end.  It was great to know that I could still have a tiny bit of a kick left after 20 miles! 

All in all, I just kept thinking that I was wishing the marathon had been on Sunday instead of in three weeks.  Although I think I'm ready to scale back on the running, I'm also now paranoid that maybe I peaked too early and wasted all my efforts in getting ready for the marathon. 

Running #1
Time: 2:38:39
Distance: 15.00 miles
Pace: 10:34/mile

Running #2 (Poland Spring Marathon Kick-Off Race)
Time: 52:22
Distance: 5.00 miles
Pace: 10:28/mile

Friday, October 29, 2010

Two Out Of Three

This week has been a bit up and down.  I've gotten two of the three 5-mile runs in that I had planned and that's how it's going to stay now, until the big 20 miler on Sunday.  I ended up running on Wednesday and Thursday this week.  I had planned a longer run for Wednesday, but ended up keeping it shorter and trying to follow the plan.

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed recently, partly with the marathon, and I think I'm more ready than ever to get out there and do the race.   I've already promised myself that once it's over, I'm going to take some time off from all of this endurance sports business.  I think I just need to re-group and figure out what's next.  I actually decided not to sign up for the NYC Triathlon for 2011.  I figure there are a lot of other races out there that I'd like to do and I'll give those a shot first.

Wednesday my run was pretty simple.  Run north in Central Park to the Harlem Hill and then run home.  I was thinking originally that I'd do some hill repeats, but then I realized that the plan only had me running 5 miles instead of 8 for a reason and I should stick with that.  Of course, now that it's Friday and I didn't run today, I'm a little upset I didn't just do the 8, but I'll take it and be happy with it.

Both Wednesday and Thursday were nice and warm here in New York (in the 70s).  And it's really weird to be wearing shorts and a tank top while running at the end of October, but I'm not going to complain.  Wednesday was especially humid, which I sort-of forgot how it feels to run in such humidity.  I am, however, a bit grateful that the weather will cool off for my long run over the weekend.  I'm now terribly nervous that the day of the Philly marathon will be the coldest one we've had yet, but that will probably only help with running! 

Thursday I ended up running in the evening because I needed to run to NYRR to pick up my race number and D-Tag for Sunday's 5-mile race in the Park.  It's really a marathon kick-off race for the NYC marathon, but I figure I can use it as my marathon kick-off race too!  I always thought that it would be a good idea to do one more race before the marathon, so this works out well.

I knew that I didn't have the best run ever on Wednesday, so yesterday I decided not to time myself.  All I know is that it took 59 minutes to run from our apartment to NYRR, pick up my race number, and run home.  I don't really know how much time was spent at NYRR or at stop lights, so I'm just guessing on the time below.  It was actually sort-of nice to not be checking my watch all the time and feel slow! 

I'm really nervous about this weekend's last long run.  I've got the first 15 miles all mapped out and then I'll do the race as the last 5 miles.  Of course, that means I have to get up ridiculously early in order to run 15 miles before the race starts at 8:30, but it also means that I'll be done running 20 miles and home by 10 am!  Not too shabby for a morning's work! 

Running - Wednesday
Time: 1:03:15
Distance: 5.60 miles
Pace: 11:15/mile

Running - Thursday
Time: ~52:00
Distance: 5.00 miles
Pace: 10:24/mile

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Giants Win The Pennant! Weekend Recap

Friday night we stayed up late to watch the Texas Rangers beat the Yankees to clinch their spot to the World Series.  I'm not really sure I had a really big opinion one way or the other, but Drew has season tickets to the Yankees, so it would have been fun to go to another World Series game in New York this fall.  The biggest reason I actually stayed up to watch the end of the game was that because Texas won, it meant that Saturday's Giants/Phillies game was moved from a 4 pm start to an 8 pm start. Which meant that we had to try to rearrange all of our travel plans and find a hotel at 11:45 the night before.

Because ... we went to Game 6 of the NLCS and watched the Giants beat the Phillies!  Which was totally awesome!  I think that it would have been a little bit more fun if we had been in San Francisco instead of Philladelphia, because a few people were not the nicest to us when we were wearing our Giants gear, but for the most part, the fans were pretty nice.

Anyway, this is a workout blog, not a baseball blog, but my whole point in the baseball business was to tell you that (1) I'm really excited for the World Series now and (2) watching baseball games until very late at night and then getting up at 5:45 am to take a train back to NYC makes you a little bit tired.  I ended up falling back asleep for a while once we got home from Philly.  In the whole 16 hours I was in Philadelphia, I just kept looking around and wondering "will I be running on this exact street again in a month?".  Sort-of a crazy thought.

Obviously, because of the baseball game on Saturday, I planned my long run for Sunday.  I had planned out a 21 mile route and I was convinced that I would make it this time.  It involved another run across the George Washington Bridge that was a bit of a disaster the last time I attempted it.  This run also ended up being a bit of a disaster and not at all the 21 miles I was expecting, but I finished.  I think I learned some things.  Those two facts are really all I can hope for at this point.

I decided not to take my Fuel Belt with me.  I've just hated it too much the last couple times and I didn't want anything to interfere with my run.  I decided to take two Gu packets and $20 and rely on drinking fountains.  I'd also have money if I needed to buy anything.  Everything was going along really well until one of the drinking fountains I was counting on wasn't working.  Which meant that I wasn't going to make it across the bridge and back without that drinking fountain.

My only choice at that point was to turn around and go back the way I'd come from.  I decided when I got back to Fairway that I'd stop in and buy myself a Gatorade.  Which was $99 + tax.  I can't tell you how annoying it was to carry around $18.92.  Well, really, it was the $0.92 in change that was annoying jingling in my tri-short pocket the whole way home!

By the time I got the Gatorade, I was pretty thirsty.  I tried not to gulp it all at once, but I think I drank it in about 5 gulps (it was 20 ounces total).  The Gatorade plus Gu that I'd had earlier did not turn out to be such a winning stomach combo.  The second I realized that, I was about a mile from the nearest bathroom.  And I physically could not run without something devastatingly embarrassing happening.  While I might be able to permit myself to have some sort of accident during a race, I just can't allow it to happen while on a training run.  Which is how I found myself walking painfully slowly to the nearest bathroom a mile away. 

After making it there successfully, the rest of the run was quite nice.  So, now I'm left wondering what to do about the marathon.  Gatorade or Gu?  The combination of the two doesn't seem to work.  Or maybe it really was the Gu again ... I've only had luck with it twice, and those were both much shorter runs than today.  I've got one last long run planned for this coming weekend and I'm hoping to try Gu (with no Gatorade) again and see what the results are.  If it doesn't work so well, I'm going to scrap the Gu entirely for the actual race.  But I'm hoping it was just the combination of the two. 

This is what my schedule looks like for the next month.  Crazy that I have 87 miles to go until the marathon itself ... which gives me the total of 113.2.  Also, these runs during the week seem really short now. 

I've also realized that if I do all of those miles above, I'll end up right where I predicted I would at the end of my marathon training mileage wise.  Which is sort-of a nice feeling.  And more motivation to make sure I get all the miles in and not skimp out.  The weather this week is supposed to be a bit above normal, so it should make for some really nice running conditions.  All the more reason to get out there and keep going! 

Time: 3:35:00
Distance: 18.00 miles
Pace: 11:56/mile

I'm totally fine with this pace.  Throwing in the horrible walking mile plus some drinking fountain breaks and slow running to begin with, I'm not really worried.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What To Do On A Thursday Night In NYC?

Run, of course!  I slept in this morning, but it ended up working out just fine.  I got out of work on time, went home, changed clothes and then went for a run.  I was planning on running about 7 miles today, which is the distance from my apartment, once around the Park loop and then back home again.  The weather was just perfect tonight for a great run.

I guess I wasn't the only person who thought that!  I saw lots and lots of other runners out tonight.  It seemed like there were lots of groups of people, but I saw a couple I know who are training for the NYC marathon out running.  Thinking about how close the NYC marathon is just reminds me how close my marathon is.  Which makes me a little bit nervous, if I'm being totally honest.  I'm also 99% sure I saw Megan out running with her CPTC buddies. 

I felt pretty good, but my feet and my Achilles felt a little bit off today.  I actually thought that it might have had something to do with my socks (I was wearing some new ones that I've never worn before), but then I realized it wasn't my socks, it was my shoes.  Traditionally, I never get as many miles out of them as some other people do, but I'm actually at the higher end of the miles, so I'm actually a bit surprised I didn't have any other twinges over the past few runs. 

The worst part about all this is, well, two things.  First, the new shoes are pink.  REALLY pink.  Embarrassingly pink.  A little bit fluorescent pink.  I will admit, there might have been a stage of my life where I really liked pink, but not any more.  I'm hoping to get these shoes really dirty really quickly to take some of the edge off.  Second, I was planning on taking tomorrow off and then doing a long run this weekend and I'm not sure I want to do that in my new shoes.  I don't really have any concerns about the shoes not being broken in or anything like that, but I'm also not sure I want to spend the first several miles out of my long run adjusting my speed laces.

Today's run was really great.  I don't know if it was that I saw so many other people out there running.  Some running group was obviously doing Harlem Hill repeats and as they passed each other they were calling out "great job" to everyone else they passed, including me.  So that was a nice little boost!  The weather was perfect and aside from my shoe issues I felt great. 

As I got towards the end of the run, I really tried to pick up the pace.  In fact, I ran the last half mile (in the Park)at a 8:14/mile pace.  Not too shabby, I think!  I actually wore my heart rate monitor again tonight for the first time in about three weeks.  My heart rate was definitely highest toward the end of the run, a good sign that I was pushing myself with just about everything I had left in the tank for the night. 

I know that running at night isn't always the right option for me, especially since I feel like it's hanging over my head all day and I worry about getting out of work in time, but sometimes it's just a really nice change! 

Time: 1:12:53
Distance: 7.20 miles
Pace: 10:07/mile
Calories: 683
Average HR: 193
Maximum HR: 170