Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Hate It, But It Works

This morning was the Terrier run, which I hadn't been to in a few weeks because of vacation. I ran there and we did our usual strides warm-up. We typically do two stretching strides, but today we did two new ones. The first one was to keep both legs straight, bending down and lifting one leg up, while touching your toe with your opposite arm. The second was to do straight leg kicks out in front of you. It seems like the strides are taking longer than they used to, but maybe there are just more people there now since the marathon group is there as well?

After the strides, we all ran around to the S. I ended up chatting with a girl who was there for the very first time. I hope she had a good workout. I know that my first time at Terrier I couldn't keep up and do the entire workout and I think that this girl was in the same position. I hope that she wasn't too intimidated and she comes back!

For the first time in a while, I actually did the entire workout, although it was pretty short overall. Today's workout was 3x's the following:

600 meters / Rest 1:30
400 meters / Rest 1:30
200 meters / Rest 1:00

I noticed on the very first one that most people weren't giving themselves the full rest period, which is fine, but it also makes me look even slower than I really am because I did rest the whole time, mainly to make sure I could remember my times at the end. I've accepted that I'm the slowest person there, but I hate to be misrepresented!

After the first 600 and 400, I asked another woman who was doing the walking/resting if we were done yet. She said that she thought that the first 600 felt like 6 miles. I said that I hate this speedwork stuff, but it actually seems to work. I hate when stuff like that happens.

Even though I might have been complaining in my head, it was actually nice to be back with the team and have someone tell me what to do instead of just following along with Hal Higdon. Plus, the speedwork was a nice change from just long, slow running. Not that I'm speedy, by any stretch of the imagination!

Run To Park
Time: 13:37
Distance: 1.30 miles
Pace: 10:28/mile
Calories: 111
Maximum HR: 173 (82%)
Average HR: 158 (75%)

Run To S
Time: 10:43
Distance: 1.20 miles
Pace: 8:55/mile
Calories: 111
Maximum HR: 192 (91%)
Average HR: 181 (85%)

Time: 20:25
Distance: 2.25 miles
Pace: 9:04/mile
Calories: 307
Maximum HR: 187 (88%)
Average HR: 172 (81%)

Run Home
Time: 5:06
Distance: 0.50 miles
Pace: 10:11/mile
Calories: 46
Maximum HR: 176 (83%)
Average HR: 170 (80%)

Total Distance (including strides): 5.75 miles

Monday, August 30, 2010

You Have No Idea How Badly I Want A Hot Tub

The title of this post is what Laura said to me tonight. I replied, " Right now, sitting in my apartment, I actually have NO idea. It's 90 degrees outside." Somehow, though, she convinced me that we should go for a swim and a hot tub because, "we'd be cold after swimming."

Laura had asked me yesterday if I'd be willing to swim with her today after work. I have to say that I was secretly hoping one of is would get stuck working late, and even though we had some guest pass issues, we both got to the pool.

Laura was dead set on going to a hot tub, which I thought was a little weird since it's 90 degrees outside and is going to be staying that way for at least the next couple days, but I didn't put up much of a protest at the idea of a good hot tub.

We settled on the 92nd Street Y, for their hot tub and decent pool. I was surprised when we got there at 8:15 how busy it was at night. It was probably almost busier than it has been in the mornings.

I still hate that this pool doesn't have anything to hold onto at either end. It's not that I need to stop at one end or the other to hold on, it's more that I need something to hold onto while I pull my legs around so that I can turn around. I'm not big on flip turns, although this would be a good pool for them. My solution today was to grab onto the small (unused) lane line anchor points in the tiling. I'm guessing that's not the normal use.

I swam in the fast lane today. When I first got in the pool, there was another guy in that lane. He wasn't so fast, so I suggested that we split the lane, which he agreed to. Luckily even after he got out, I was able to keep splitting the lane so it was never an issue for me.

Which is probably why I actually had a really nice swim tonight. I was trying to focus a lot on form, especially while doing the pulling and kicking. This was my swim tonight:

500 swim
400 pull
300 kick
100 swim

Nothing fancy, but it got the job done. The nicest thing was that I felt great in the water. Maybe not super fast, but it was nice to be swimming instead of running. I did have a contact issue while swimming, so I had to take them out, get out of the water and throw them away (luckily, I wear dailies), so that didn't help matters any, but it was a tiny fluke.

We finished up the swim with a good old-fashioned gab fest in the hot tub. I have to admit, it actually was nice in the hot tub, even though I wasn't cold after swimming. It was nice to catch up with Laura and just chat a bit. We got out when we were getting too hot and prune-like, hit the showers and headed home. Even though Mondays are for resting normally, this was a good change in plans!

Time: 29:10
Distance: 1300 yards (0.74 miles)
Pace: 39:27/mile
Calories: 204
Maximum HR: 163 (77%)
Average HR: 144 (68%)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Please Follow Directions

This morning I woke up and set out for my second run of the week. I knew that I'd never hit the total miles, but I also didn't want to be a complete slacker. Of course, I didn't really have a plan either.

I decided to head to the Park, wearing my Fuel Belt again. I have been doing a lot of flat running and I need to do some running on hills, which the Park is kind enough to provide.

I'd now like to take a few moments for some ranting. First up: the Fuel Belt. Still like it and I'm glad I have it. Not as much in love with it today (the second use) as I was after the first use. I felt like it rode up a LOT more today than it did before. At the end of my run, I wondered if that was because the first time I had tucked in my shirt and today I didn't, so it was riding up along with my shirt? Must test this theory out in future uses.

Second rant: Gmap Pedometer. I heart this service with a capital H. More than any of those Map-My-Run services. Except for one thing. The lack of the Bridle Path in Central Park. I wouldn't think it'd be that hard to just slap it on the map, but even in the satellite photos you can't tell because of all the tree cover. Gmap people, if you're out there, can you work on that?

End ranting (at least on technical issues). I decided to run up the Bridle Path and go from there. It was pretty warm here today and I figured the shadiness would do me some good. There were actual horses on the Path today, which was fun! I wonder where you get a horse or keep your horse to ride there? And do the horses get bored on such a short path?

After running all around the Bridle Path, I decided to do a loop on the Reservoir Path. Good day for path running, apparently. Except here's where I have to start ranting again.

No one was following directions on the Reservoir Path. Mainly in the direction that they were running or walking. I actually thought I was making this up, but then I started counting and it was true that there were more people going the wrong direction than the right direction. I tried to tell myself that a lot of them were probably tourists and I should give them a free pass, but I spent some time really looking at the signs posted an they're very clear with pictures even if you can't read English.

I pretty much got to my breaking point at the north-western corner when 12 people on bicycles entered the Reservoir Path. Um, no! That's just not okay. I just looked at them and yelled, "No, no, no!" I tried to tell them to take their bikes back on the road, but they all stared at me like I was crazy and kept on trying to head in the wrong direction, of course.

OK, done ranting again. But, really, is it that hard to follow an arrow? The run was okay. The weather keeps catching me off guard. It's cool and lovely at night, but hot during the days! At some point I'm sure I'll go back to complaining about it being cold, but this heat is a bit of a surprise. I was glad I had the Fuel Belt for that reason!

I haven't been wearing my heart rate monitor strap for the last couple runs since it keeps giving me this horrible chafing mark in the middle of my chest where the transmitter sits. I keep thinking that I'll try wearing Body Glide and seeing how that works, but I haven't wanted to test the waters yet. Maybe next week.

Time: 1:29:10
Distance: ~8.00 miles
Pace: 11:08/mile

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Great Urban Race

This morning was the Great Urban Race in New York City. The rules are pretty simple. Show up wearing matching outfits/costumes (there were some pretty good costumes there!), get your numbers, receive the clues and head out into the city for an adventure / scavenger hunt using only your feet and public transportation to get around. Here we are pre-race, showing off our matching Washtenaw Dairy t-shirts (here's a tip if you find yourself in Ann Arbor: good ice cream, great donuts!):

We milled about for a while after getting our numbers, but before they handed out the clues. We took a few minutes after getting the clues to take photos of the clue sheet and read over some of them. We had a "phone-a-friend", so we e-mailed the photos to Drew's friend, Jon, for his review and assistance! Luckily for us, Drew had been reading the clues pretty closely, because right as we were about to get on the subway, he spied someone with a skateboard and we needed to get a picture of us standing on a skateboard for a tic-tac-toe clue.

We first headed downtown from 79th Street to our neighborhood. That was very handy because in my efforts to clean my backpack before the race so I wasn't hauling around a bunch of junk, I took out the pens that were in my pack. Luckily, that meant that Drew was able to just run upstairs really quickly and grab a pen while I moved onto the first challenge. As we were walking from one clue to the next, we stopped and snapped this photo, which we needed for the tic-tac-toe clue.

We were sort-of surprised as to how much was in our neighborhood, but it was pretty handy since we needed to find a picture of a fountain (for the final tic-tac-toe) and I thought that there was one hiding about a half a block from where we were. Luckily, I was right and we asked a very nice lady to snap this photo for us (we had to be pretending to dive in).

After that, we jumped back on the subway and headed further downtown to Abracadabra (a costume shop) because we needed a photo of us in front of their body part display case. There was a line formed of other Urban Racers and luckily everyone was nice enough to take the photo of the person behind them.

We noticed pretty early on that some people were just sprinting from clue to clue. We decided that we'd rather hurry, but enjoy ourselves, so we mostly did brisk walking instead of running. The next stop was Rickshaw Dumpling Bar. We'd eaten here (both in the restaurant and from a street cart) and it's pretty tasty. We went to the back of the store, grabbed our sesame ball and headed outside. We noticed that a lot of people had something chocolate, but I thought we had gotten something different.

We had to take a photo of us both taking a bite at the same time and as soon as I sunk my teeth in, I heard this horrible squirting sound. Which meant that the chocolate on the inside of the ball mostly ended up all over the sidewalk. Oops. The sesame chocolate-filled ball was delicious, though! I'd definitely recommend it!

From there we jumped on the bus and headed to Chelsea Piers. We had finally figured out that Clue 10 meant that we needed to find a word with a double letter (thanks to Jon!). While we were on the bus, we took this (pretty bad) picture of us pointing at the word "door".

Drew wasn't sure that the picture from the bus would be the best, so I suggested that we take another photo pointing to access and businesses. Drew still wasn't convinced that we would get this clue correct since there were so many other words on the sign. He thought that we needed to find a sign with only one word showing. The search continued.

Once we got there, we had to do two things at Chelsea Piers. One person from the team was supposed to run a 200 meter dash and the other person was supposed to climb a bit of the smaller climbing wall that they have there. We decided I'd do the running and Drew would do the climbing. He's been wanting to take rock climbing lessons for a while now, I thought this would be a good thing for him. Because we didn't have to have a photo of the person running the 200 meter dash, a lot of people either didn't do it or sort-of clowned around and took fake running photos. I figured that I might as well follow the rules and really run! I ended up finishing in 41 seconds, which I think is pretty good (it would have been a 5:29 mile, in case you're wondering ... ha ha ha!).

After I was done running, we headed over to the rock climbing wall. Drew had to do this pose twice since the first time he jumped off (or maybe slipped) before I snapped the photo. I think being there confirmed the fact that he'd really like to take those lessons.

On our way back to the bus, we noticed this commissary sign. We decided that this would be the best picture for the double letter if we could find someone to take our photo with just that word and us in the photo. Luckily we happened across some tourists who snapped this for us!

After that, we headed over to the East Side to Dylan's Candy Bar. The clue said that we should take a picture of all teammates doing the action of the following French verb: oreilles de lapin. So, if you Google that phrase, this is the very first picture that pops up:

So, honestly, I'm thinking, "we have to make rabbit teeth in the photo?". That seemed weird to me. I then Googled oreilles de lapin translation and then it became clear that we actually had to make bunny ears. Which makes a lot more sense!

From there, we only had one clue left. To get to the Fuller Building at a quarter-hour and take our photo. We got there a bit before 3:15 and hung around with some other teams while we all waited for the clock to line up so we could snap photos and be on our way. Obviously, you can see some of those other teams in the background.

We rode the bus across town and north and then made our way to the finish line. Drew says that this picture is blurry because we were SOOOO fast!

I don't know our official results yet, but I think it was somewhere around 3:40:00. We knew we weren't going to win and we probably wouldn't come in last either. I had a great time and I'd definitely do this again. I think we could have been faster and if we had really strategized, I think we could have gotten around the city and the clues a little bit better than we did, but it was a lot of fun no matter what. Definitely a fun way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon!

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's Still Summer

Well, we're back in New York now (from vacation in Michigan). And I'll fully admit that marathon training hit a bit of a hitch this week. Meaning it was non-existent until now. I think it'll be mostly okay though, since this was a step-back week anyway. Although I'm not really stepping back. Oh well.

Of course, I waited a bit too long today to hit the streets for my run. Something about not having to get up for any particular thing means that I really like to sleep in. I think I'm more of a night owl naturally and while I can get up early, it's not my natural sleeping rhythm. Of course, I knew that getting out and actually running today would be a big step in the right direction, unlike yesterday, where I just sat around all morning and then had a picnic lunch with Drew in Central Park!

Even though the computer says that it's only 77 degrees out, it's still really sunny and frankly, quite hot! I decided to run along the Westside Path before I realized the sun situation and there isn't a lot of shade or relief from the sun. I did find lots of drinking fountains I didn't know about before, mainly because I tended to run on the road part where it's really for bikes instead of the pedestrian part for runners and walkers. Turns out that the drinking fountains are "freeze-proof", which means that you have to hold down the button for a while before anything comes out. I hope that means that they're on in the winter too?

I definitely had to do some walking today. I'm not especially proud of that fact, but I was determined to go the distance I had mapped out ahead of time and if walking was going to get me to the end, so be it. I'm trying not to get too down on myself about the walking. I'm chalking it up to the heat and being slightly under prepared.

I had to buy myself a Gatorade on the way home. I'm not sure what I was thinking and why I didn't take my Fuel Belt along with me now that I've spent money and invested in it. The whole time I was carrying the Gatorade in one hand and running, I was thinking how dumb it was to (a) carry something like that and (b) spend $3 on Gatorade.

This week's total for miles is 21. So that means that after today, I still have 12.6 to go. Saturday we're doing this fun/crazy NYC Scavenger Hunt, so that will involve a lot of walking. I'm planning on another long run on Sunday, but I don't think I'll do all 12.6 remaining. I just can't do every mile every week. That's just not how my life seems to work. I'm just trying my best to make sure I do the "long runs" each week and if I come up short on some of the shorter runs, so be it. This marathon training is a process and it's my first time, so it's all on a huge learning curve.

Time: 1:34:02
Distance: 8.40 miles
Pace: 11:11/mile

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Two Hours Later

First, I need to start this by saying that vacation hasn't been exactly what we had been planning on and therefore it turned out that we didn't get to spend much time at the lake, therefore I hauled around my wetsuit for no good reason since I did no open water swimming! The changes in plans meant that everything was just a bit screwy, so I didn't really do as much as I thought I would (which always seems to be the way with vacations).

So, this morning I woke up at 7:53 and told myself that I'd go back to sleep for "ten more minutes". Two hours later, I actually woke up again! Vacation is sleepy business. Drew and I got up and donned our running gear and set out for a run. I was out to try to finish up my mileage for the week. Drew had agreed to do part of the run with me, but not all of it (as he's not a distance runner).

The first part of the run (4.2 miles) with Drew was fine. I made sure we didn't start off too speedy as sometimes running with Drew makes me run faster than I really should be. After we parted ways and I kept going and he headed back to the house, things started to go a bit awry.

I think I've learned that if I'm going to be running for more than 5 miles or so, I need to go to the bathroom before I leave the house. Otherwise, it's just bad news for me. After Drew left, I slowed down even more because I was fighting with my stomach. I ended up having to do some walking while I thought about my bathroom options.

I eventually saw a (handicapped) port-a-potty in a city park. As soon as I saw it, I told myself that I could not get excited about it because I was sure it'd be locked. When I got there and it wasn't locked, I told myself that I still shouldn't get excited because there probably wouldn't be any toilet paper. Except that there was a full roll! And it even smelled nice inside. Honestly, it was like hitting the $100M jackpot!

After that, I felt much better and continued on the rest of my run. Even though the second half of the run definitely dragged my average down, I'm not too upset with myself. All this long distance running is good practice for the big marathon day and it's all a learning experience. I'm just glad I had company for the fun half of the run!

This means that I did 23.25 miles for this week's marathon training. I thought I'd be done and over the 24 that I was supposed to do, but I somehow miscalculated (which, if you know me personally, is a pretty easy thing for me to do). I don't think that 0.75 miles will really be the make it or break it, though, so I'm fine with how things ended up.

Time: 1:26:30
Distance: 7.10 miles
Pace: 12:10/mile
Calories: 732
Maximum HR: 182 (86%)
Average HR: 164 (77%)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Dorky Runner

Yesterday afternoon I went to Jack Rabbit and bought myself a Fuel Belt. It looks like this:

I wore it running this morning and liked it. I didn't love it for the first part, but I think I got used to it and sort-of forgot it was there by the end of my long. I was definitely glad I had it with me. The one I got has 4 8-ounce bottles. You can buy bigger, 10-ounce, bottles, but I figured I'd test this out first and see how I liked it before I invested any more money.

I had read some reviews on Amazon about it the bottles in front being a problem and people were hitting their hands on them. I didn't have that problem at all. My main issue is that I wore the belt around my hips (since I can't stand having anything around my natural waist) and because the bottles hit against my hips, over time, the belt slid up slightly. It wasn't a big deal. I just pushed it back down a few times over the course of my run and kept going.

I actually really liked having the bottles in the front. I thought it was a lot easier to get to them than the ones in the back, so I ended up drinking the ones in the front first and then switching and putting the empty ones in the back. I'm sure that's all wrong, but it worked for me, so I'm just going to go with it. The other complaint I read in reviews was that the bottles leaked a little bit. I didn't have that problem at all, but I did notice that the condensation from the bottles dripped down my leg and made me wonder if it was starting to rain.

I liked having it in general. I definitely felt like a dorky runner. The only good thing? All the other dorky runners say HI to you! Well, that's not true. The other Fuel Belt people were very friendly. The Nathan people were semi-friendly. Everyone else was a typical self-absorbed New Yorker. (I was one of these people as of yesterday, so I don't think I'm being mean here).

For my long run this morning, I wanted it to go better than the last 12 mile run I attempted. I decided that in order to get that last 12-mile run out of my head, I should have a change of scenery and skip going to the Park and instead run on the Westside Path. I ended up leaving the apartment shortly after 6 this morning, so it was pretty quiet on the Western Front. (sorry, I couldn't help myself).

The last couple long runs, I've run South and I've liked that a lot. Running North on this path isn't that easy. I mean, it's fairly flat, so that's easy. However, it turns out that you have almost no markers to let you know where you are on the grid that is NYC. At one point, I was so distressed that I was only at 125th Street, only to look up and see that 132nd Street was the next street sign (turns out that 125th Street goes diagonally for a while there on the far West side, which is why it's possible to run the fastest 7 blocks ever).

I knew that I needed to get to somewhere around 165th Street for it to end up being 12 miles today. After I realized that I'd never really know when I was actually at 165th Street, I decided to just run for 70 minutes heading North and then turn around. At the turn around, I took a
3 minute walking and eating break and ate the mini Clif bar I had brought with me (stuck in my Fuel Belt pocket!).

And then it was back to running. I realized when I got almost home, this run was pretty mindless. I didn't really think of anything interesting - or anything at all, really. The only thing of note was that on my way North, I saw a dead rat in the pathway. When I came back South, it wasn't there. I have no idea what would have happened to it, since I can't imagine who would have wanted to touch it! I hope a dog didn't get it. Ick.

I guess that it's good that 12 miles ended up being pretty mindless. I'm still going with my slow and steady approach to these long runs and it's working out beautifully! We're off to Michigan tomorrow morning and Thursday will be spent flying and driving up North. That means a rest day in my books! Friday and Saturday it should be easy to finish up the 6.9 miles that I've got left for this week! Sunday will be another rest day before starting up again next week.

I'll fill you in on all the workouts when I get back to civilization next week! I'm hoping they'll include some good open water swimming too!

Time: 2:16:44
Distance: 12.40 miles
Pace: 11:01/mile
Calories: 1195
Maximum HR: 175 (83%)
Average HR: 163 (77%)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shouldn't The Short Ones Be Easy?

This morning I set my alarm in order to wake up in time for the Terrier run. When my alarm went off, I looked at the workout online, saw that it was speed work, rolled over and went back to sleep.

I ended up sleeping until 8 and left the house with Drew at 9 (he was going to work). I probably shouldn't have waited so long today because it was really hot and gross out there. It's not the first time I've done this and it certainly won't be the last.

I walked up to the Park and then decided I would run on the bridle path because it's shadier than the regular road. I didn't love this run. I am trying to save my legs for my long run tomorrow, so I decided I would just run for 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back. However many miles that ended up being was fine with me.

The first 20 minutes were okay. The second 20, not so much. It was in those minutes that I was cursing myself for not having a lot to drink yesterday (the perils of vacations). I just kept telling myself that the faster I ran, the sooner I could get home and have my smoothie from the freezer (Drew makes them for us every morning, but I put mine in the freezer before leaving for the run). I admit my logic was flawed, since I was running for a set number of minutes, not miles, but it helped me pick up my pace.

I definitely needed a reason to do that today. I thought the short runs were supposed to be easy, but so far I think I like the longer ones more. I was counting down every minute of today's run. I probably should have done the speed work as it would have mixed things up a bit. I couldn't do it when I went later because there were cars in the Park then.

I never really know how far I've gone on the bridle path. Today's miles are my best estimation. I don't generally want a Garmin, but when I run on the Bridle Path, I do. Of course, maybe I don't since it might be sad to know that all my miles have been way off for a long time.

I'm going to look at nutrition belts this afternoon. Then the big test will be on tomorrow's long run!

Time: 40:00
Distance: 3.75 miles
Pace: 10:39/mile
Calories: 361
Maximum HR: 182 (86%)
Average HR: 167 (79%)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guest Post: Drew's Spartan Race Report

Yesterday, Drew went and competed in The Spartan Race. I tagged along as the photographer and general supporter. He's had to play that role for a lot of my races, I figured it was the very least I could do for him! I had a great time spectating and taking photos, but I'm quite glad that I didn't have to participate. I think I'll just stick to triathlons and running races! Here's his race report:

I didn't really know what to expect, but I knew I could run three miles and I figured I was either fit enough to make it over the obstacles or smart enough to weasel my way around them.

While I love not having a car, sometimes it's a hassle, and this was one of those times. Amy got a Zipcar membership and we rented a car for the day. We only made one wrong turn and got to the race start about 90 minutes before my wave. A couple of our friends, including Laura, had registered for the race and their wave went off just a few minutes after we got there. It was pretty hard to see much of the race, as they went up and over a small dirt hill, but they sure kicked up a lot of dust and sand.

After seeing Laura's wave start, I got in line. Where I stayed for a long time. Like an hour. I know this isn't a "regular" race, but it's pretty crazy that it took an hour to check in. And it seemed like there were no more than 30 people in front of me. My wave started at 11:30. I almost always work out in the morning, starting sometime around 6 or 6:30. I'm not used to starting so late, so nutrition was a bit of a question mark for me. I had a Clif bar when I work up, then a Balance bar in the car. I snagged a free Raw Revolution mini bar in line and Amy grabbed a Muscle Milk. I wasn't sure that would be enough, but I also knew that I didn't want to eat a lot before the race. I wasn't really worried about it though, as it was only three miles.

I lined up a few minutes before my wave and we all got the proper pre-battle speech from the head Spartan. I'm not sure how it worked in Sparta, but in Brooklyn it's sort of hard to hear when the microphone was cutting in and out. We all yelled "A-rooo" a couple of times the head Spartan flashed his sword and we were off.

I didn't really have much of a plan for the race, so I just took off toward the first obstacle. We had to go up and over a sand hill that was maybe 15 feet tall or so. I heard someone say that the best plan was to hit all the obstacles as fast as possible, so that's what I tried.

There were a bunch of people and they all slowed down when they hit the hill, which made it a little tough. I didn't really have much trouble getting up and over, but my heart rate spiked like crazy. It might have been the change from a dead stop just a few moments ago, but I'm guessing that I was well into the 95% heart rate range. I sort of scrambled down each of the hills, which probably wasn't the fastest method. I should have tried to run down, but I was a little uncertain of the people that were in front of me and I didn't want to tumble onto someone just 90 seconds into the race.

After snaking up and over the hill three or four times we turned to a series of a dozen or so low hurdles. They really weren't hard at all, but my heart was racing and I tried to focus on calming down and relaxing a bit. A lot of people were already walking and I decided right there that my goal was to finish the race without walking between the obstacles. We finished the hurdles and then started on a fairly long, straight run. About a third of the way into that stretch there was a trailer filled with hay and covered by a blue tarp. We had to climb onto and scramble over the hay and underneath the tarp. Not too tough, but I did get slowed down a bit by the guys in front of me.

After that I really focused on slowing my heart and finding a good pace. There were a couple firefighters in front of me that I used for pacing. We reached a turn and a pair of walls that were about five feet tall. I'm 6-3, so the walls weren't too high for me, though I did get my foot caught on one for half a second. One of the firefighters hopped it really easily, though. I chalked it up to firefighter training, like Billy Baldwin from Backdraft.

As soon as we cleared the five footers, we turned to another long run and could see a much taller wall in the distance. That one didn't look like a lot of fun, and I figured it was in the eight to ten foot range. I thought about the advice to hit the obstacles with speed, and I pictured myself just running straight into it and going "splat!" I wasn't sure how fast I should (or could) be going when I got there, so I tried to not think about it and just keep running.

With all the obstacles, one of the most important keys was to pick the right spot. There was enough room for three or four people on the wall, and I saw one guy really struggling to make it over. Everyone else had moved to avoid him, but I calculated that he would either (a) make it over, or (b) give up and do his push-ups, by the time I got there. (If you can't complete an obstacle you have to do push-ups). I was right, and the guy gave up just as I was getting to the wall, which gave me a nice open spot.

I hit the wall at a medium speed and easily got my hands to the top. I stopped for a second with my forearms on the top of the wall while my legs scrambled and my arms and shoulders hoisted me over. I'm sure I wasn't the most graceful wall-climber, but I did make it in one try and it didn't take me too long.

By that point my entire body was pretty exhausted. It's sort of amazing, because the obstacles had not been super difficult, but the constant running meant my muscles didn't have the time to fully recharge with oxygen. Thankfully, there weren't too many obstacles for the next mile or two. The next obstacle was a fairly short, angled cargo net. This wasn't too tough at all and was about half as tall as the net we climbed in fourth grade gym class. So, thanks Mr. Coulsen for preparing me for the Spartan Race!

After that, we ran some more, finally getting off the concrete and into the woods. We had to crawl through the dirt under some ropes right as we entered the woods. It wasn't too tough, though my hands got really, really dirty. I saw other competitors that didn't have any dirt on their hands and I just didn't understand how they did it.

The run through the woods was pretty meandering, and I kept hoping that the next turn would be the last. We had to jump through a small "web" of barbed wire that was about two feet off the ground and there was a small pile of tree limbs and branches we had to clear. That reminded me that the Spartan Race website showed a fire jump, so at least I had something to look forward to.

I'm not sure how long we were in the woods, but it had to be a mile or so. There were several people that took short walking breaks, but I kept jogging along. I only passed a handful of people on the run, but I don't think anyone passed me. For most of the time in the woods I was sort of bored. Maybe they should have had some Huns jump out and attack us or something. If not that, maybe another wall to climb over. Something.

When we finally got out of the woods we had another six or eight short hurdles. They weren't any higher than the first set, but we all moved over them just a little bit slower. The guy in front of me had much better hurdle form than I did, but I decided that I didn't really care.

After the hurdles there was another run to a big dirt/rock/log pile that was maybe 20 feet tall. Remember what I said about picking the right spot? Well, apparently I didn't, as I picked the wrong spot and got stuck behind a girl that sort of stopped half way up. The guy I was running with flew past me and opened up a 15 foot lead on me. I actually caught him on the run to the next obstacle and he said that he had never run three miles before. I looked at my watch and we were at almost exactly 30 minutes with only a few more obstacles to go. I thought that was pretty good, as I knew we were just about to the home stretch.

The next obstacle was a rock climbing wall that we had to cross left-to-right. It was maybe 20 or 25 feet long and had wooden blocks nailed to it at random. If you touch the ground or the top of the wall you had to do 30 push-ups.

I didn't quite understand the instructions about how to successfully complete and "dismount" the wall, but I thought you had to go under the support beam and end up on the other side.

I got on the wall and seemed to be doing OK. I made sure to use my feet more than my hands and made steady progress, even thought it may have been a little bit slow. With about two steps left I sort of got stuck. I knew that I needed to take a step that I wasn't fully comfortable with, but I was also so close to the end that I figured I could make it. I took that step, and the next and I was right next to the end. That was when I lost it. I'm not sure what happened, but I found myself standing on the ground chanting "f$*%, f$*%, f$*%, f$*%, f$*% ." I moved to the end of the wall, dropped to the ground and did my push-ups.

Thinking about it now, I was so close to the end that I probably could have just jumped off the wall and assumed that I completed it successfully. There were Spartan Race officials there, but I doubt any would have made a big deal of it. I never even considered that, as I instantly knew that I didn't feel like I completed it, so I did the push-ups and got on my way.

Oh, this is probably a good time to say that I've been talking about taking a rock climbing class for a couple months now. I guess I should have gotten off my butt and signed up, huh?

After the wall I knew I was almost done. I jogged to the home stretch and saw about half a dozen people doing push-ups. Then I looked closer and saw some more trying in vain to throw a spear into a hula hoop about 20 feet away. I walked up, selected my weapon and gave it a heave.

Most people were coming up well short, so I put a lot of air under my spear. When I played golf we'd often say "never up, never in" and I made sure my spear would get to the target, whether or not it hit the target. Of course, my aim was way off and my spear fluttered to the ground. I dropped and did 20 more push-ups. In all honesty, these weren't the finest push-ups I've ever done, but I thought they were pretty good under the circumstances.

The second to last obstacle was a dirt crawl under some barbed wire. I guess my butt was a little high, as I caught my shorts and shirt on the first wire. Oh well. Next time I wear those I'll have a little reminder of the Spartan Race. I got a little lower and got to the end and made my way to the angled wall.

That wall was the one obstacle I got a good look at before my wave started. It was angled at about 45 degrees and had ropes that reached about half way down. Lots of people struggled with it, as it was coated in some sort of grease or oil. Others seemed to hit it at top speed and run right to the top. At this point I was pretty exhausted, but I knew it was better to go all-out for one try than to half-ass it two or three times. So, I took a wide turn and started running. I took a few steps on the wall without even thinking about the rope.

I thought I was going to make it to the top without needing to use the rope and then I sort of stopped moving. I quickly reached to grab the rope and hung on for a split second to reset myself. After that I was able to scramble over the other side and start the run to the finish.

Somehow I had forgotten about the two gladiators with pugil sticks. I had watched dozens of people make their run through the gladiators. Some were strong and took them head on while others made the run with more than a little reservation. I decided that I wanted to end strong so I found that last bit of energy and made my charge. I tried to juke the first guy a little bit, going from my right to left before sprinting to the finish. I guess my juke wasn't all that good and I caught his pugil stick straight in the chest.

It was a good shot, but I kept my feet and ran to the finish.

I was a little surprised at how exhausted I was at the finish. I collapsed in a chair and took off my timing chip. Amy came and gave me a big kiss and a hug and we found some coconut water to rehydrate.

I was muddy, banged up, exhausted and even bleeding just a tiny bit. I pulled a bit of skin off my left palm about 90 seconds into the race. I sprained my left pinky somewhere near the end (well, that's when I felt it, at least). I ripped my shorts and shirt. My shoes were a muddy disaster. My hands, knees and shins were black with mud and dirt. As I'm typing this the next day, my right forearm sort of hurts, so I'm assuming there's a bruise there, too. With all of that, I had a great time and would do the race again in a second. I was proud that I never had to walk and that I gave it my all at each of the challenges.

It was only after I finished that I realized there was no fire jump. I guess the site in Brooklyn didn't let the race organizers make any mud or fire pits. Oh well. I guess that means I'll have a reason to do the race again.

I think my time was about 35 minutes, which I think is pretty good. Amazingly, the overall winner was a sixteen year old kid. I'm not sure if that makes me feel old or slow. Probably both.
Either way, I know one thing:


Monday Is A Rest Day?

This morning I met Laura for a swim. It's almost miraculous that I did since today was (1) a rest day and (2) my first day of vacation, but I figured what the heck?

We met at the 63rd Street Y for a swim. That pool is always so busy. Actually, I think all NYC pools are too busy, now that I think about it. There should be more pools/lanes available. But that's just my two cents!

I didn't have a pool plan for today, which is good because I tend to get annoyed when the pool is busy and I can't do the set plan. However, it also means I tend to have no real idea of what to do. So, I just sort-of made it up as I went along. This is what I ended up doing:

400 swim
300 kick
300 swim
200 kick
200 swim, with breath control
100 breast

I was thinking while I was doing all that kicking that maybe it wasn't the smartest thing in the whole world, but even though I have a really strong kick, it's probably also the least "proper" part of my swimming and I'm really still trying to work on having a straight-leg kick!

The breath control parts always stink. I started the first 25 doing 4 breaths and then somehow the next 3 were all with one breath. I then did two with no breaths and two more with one breath. Not the worst in the whole world.

In some ways, today was a good reminder of the fact that I really like Terrier practice because people are so good about putting themselves in the right lanes and it's never really that crowded, so it's just such a nice swimming experience. I'm really going to try to remember that when I don't feel like going on Sundays from now on!

I do need to stop and say something about vacation here before I forget. Drew and I are leaving on Thursday morning and going to Michigan (where I'm originally from). Once we get there, we're driving straight to the cottage where my family will be staying on Lake Huron. I'm hoping to do some running and open water swimming while I'm there, but in an effort to try to spend more time with my family and friends and less time working out, I'm going to switch my long run around and do it on Wednesday instead of Saturday. I think I can still get in about the same amount of miles this way.

Also, I won't have constant blogging access while I'm gone. I know I'll be able to write posts, but I don't think I'll be able to actually post them. So, I'll probably have a whole slew of them to post early next week!

Also, just to recap (mostly for myself), Hal Higdon thinks that I should have run 23 miles last week and I ran 23.2. Seems to be on track so far! But, of course, it's only the first week!

Time: ~35:00 (this is a random guess, I didn't wear a watch)
Distance: 1600 yards (0.91 miles)
Pace: 38:27/mile

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Streets, Take 2

This morning we ended up sleeping in a bit later than usual. I had a long run to do, but because it's been a bit overcast (but still humid) I wasn't as worried about getting up an at 'em first thing today.

I think I left the apartment at 10:40, which I probably normally wouldn't do, but it ended up working out perfectly. I was planning on doing something very similar to last Saturday and running Summer Streets. I was a little concerned about my late start and road crowding, but I just hoped for the best.

I ran from our apartment through the Park to 72nd Street and the start of Summer Streets. There were definitely more people out at 11am than there had been at 7am, but most people were biking and stayed on the half of the road assigned to bikers.

The biggest difference between last week and this week was that there were a lot more cross streets open this time. I stopped my watch when I had to wait for the light to turn green and I was standing still. I think that's fair.

I only took one walking break, after I had run all the way downtown (probably somewhere in the 6 mile range). I had brought a mini Clif bar with me and while I ate it, I walked for a couple of blocks. Otherwise, I ran the entire way (unless stopped at a cross street).

After the Clif bar, I was pretty thirsty, but I had heard one of the volunteers at the Soho rest stop say that there was water there. It turned out to be a drinking fountain that was hooked up to a NYC fire hydrant, but I had a nice long drink.

When I got back to 23rd Street, I went to see if I could get any free treats at the station there (where Drew spied the free mini Clif bars last week), but there was either nothing available or a really long line that I wasn't going to wait in.

I decided I'd go to a drug store (I think it was Walgreen's) and buy myself a Gatorade. Now, if you don't live in New York, you probably think this sounds really simple. However, there is something horrible about all NYC drugstores that cannot be explained. There are never enough cashiers and the line always takes forever. And usually, when you're almost to the front of the line, some store employee then announces that there are separate lines for each register and then 5 people cut in front of you. Anyway, it took longer to buy the Gatorade than you would think it would. I drank more than half of it in line. Might as well multi-task, right?

This whole drinking thing really has me questioning whether or not I should get a Fuel Belt. Frankly, I think they're sort-of dorky. However, I'm probably willing to overlook that when running double-digits and being thirsty. I know I won't get a hand-held water bottle (too many stories about them hurting your shoulders/running form), so I think I might just bite the bullet and go for dorky.

After getting the Gatorade, I knew I was getting close to being done. All I had to do was run less than 20 blocks north to our street and then run across town to get home.

I've still found that running slower like I have been has really increased my stamina for running. It's not fast, but I'm getting the job done. By the time I got done today, I still felt good, which gives me a lot of hope about doing a marathon. The only thing that was tired were my knees. And they definitely don't hurt and they're not sore, it really just feels like they're tired.

I was 0.05 short of my goal of 11 miles today, which is the exact number I was short last week too. I knew I'd be somewhere between 10.5 and 11 miles today, but to do 10.95 is sort-of annoying!

I'm not sure I'll really be doing any cross training tomorrow as the plan calls for. Drew is participating in the Spartan Race, so I'm just going to call spectating/photo taking cross training and call it a day. I think that is probably exactly what Hal Higdon had in mind!

Time: 2:01:13
Distance: 10.95 miles
Pace: 11:04/mile
Calories: 1164
Maximum HR: 86%
Average HR: 82%

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Hope She Holds Out

First, I decided on a plan! I decided to go with Hal Higdon for a couple of reasons. The first being, it's pretty simple. It's basically just straight running. My half-marathon plan was sort-of complicated with all those pick-ups and extra things and all I really want to do is run. This plan fits that bill. Since the regular plan was 18 weeks, I just knocked off the first three weeks, so this is what I'll be doing:

Of course, I decided this yesterday after not running, so I'm already off to a really great start. I should still hit my weekly total, so I'm not too worried. This morning I was planning on getting up and going to the Terrier brick, but when my alarm went off at 4:55, I decided that was too early to get up and I'd get up later and just go running instead.

Drew really didn't believe me that I would get up and go running. He went off to the gym and I told him that I would get up, but I'm sure that he thought that there was no way I'd actually do it. But, I did. Mostly to prove him wrong. And even after I got up, got dressed, ate and got downstairs and discovered it was lightly raining, I still went running. I figured I had already gotten out of bed and I'd get sweaty anyway, so what was the difference?

Unfortunately, the rain didn't last that long, so it didn't do much for cooling off the city. We're supposed to be getting more rain later today, so perhaps that will help. I started running right away (not wanting to be out in the rain any longer than necessary) and ran into the Park. Shortly after I started running, two guys ran up behind me and passed me. While that was happening, I overheard a short part of their conversation which went something like this, "My wife is due three days after the marathon ... I hope she holds out!" I hope, for that guy's sake, that she does too!

The running today was good. I'm glad I got up and went. I was thinking about all the miles I'll put in between now and the marathon and was wondering how many exactly it would end up being. The plan is a total of 430.2 miles. If I did every single mile, that would mean that my running ticker over there on the left would end up at over 900 by the time the marathon is done. I'm guessing that might be a tiny bit ambitious, especially considering the fact that I know myself and I know I won't make every single run, but I'm hoping for something over 870!

Time: 38:36
Distance: 3.70 miles
Pace: 10:25/mile
Calories: 345
Maximum HR: 181 (85%)
Average HR: 166 (78%)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Can You Call It Marathon Training?

If you don't have a plan? Because that's what happened this morning. I'm thinking that I'd like to do something like run Tuesday and Wednesday, brick on Thursdays, long run Saturday and quick recovery on Sunday. That might all end up being too much running and I'm sure there are weeks where it won't work out perfectly, but I still have to find a plan that fits in with that and I really need a plan so that I can figure out the weekly mileage goals I should have!

I went to Terrier practice this morning and figured I'd just do whatever that workout was and call it a day. After doing our normal strides, we were told that the regular workout was a 4-5 mile tempo run. We should start out easy and then try to pick up the pace for the last 15-20 minutes. I'm not entirely sure I did that, but I tried.

While I was running today and saw all of my teammates pass me by in a hurry, I was thinking about what I had gotten myself into by signing up for this marathon. The good news is that I don't have any illusions about winning or placing in my age group or anything like that. I'd also like to think that I won't be the last person to finish the race. I guess, the truth is, that even if I am DFL, I will have still finished, right?

I think that is my main goal for this first marathon of mine. To not worry about a time goal, but to reach the finish line. I think that'll take a lot of pressure off my back to be speedy or feel like I'm not speedy enough if I can get through this first marathon. Then, next year at New York, I can worry about beating my own personal record. Maybe that's a extra great reason to take it slow in Philly! Then I can crush my PR next year in New York!

Run #1 (To The Park)
Time: 12:50
Distance: 1.25 miles
Pace: 10:16/mile
Calories: 100
Maximum HR: 165 (78%)
Average HR: 153 (72%)

Run #2 (Tempo Run)
Time: 44:52
Distance: 4.50 miles
Pace: 9:58/mile
Calories: 414
Maximum HR: 180 (85%)
Average HR: 169 (80%)

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Big Sign-Up

I'm signed up! For a MARATHON! In 15 weeks! Eek!!

In other news, the Ab Challenge continues, although I'm still counting down the days until it's over. I'm pretty proud of sticking with it.

Now I just hope I can find a good marathon training plan and stick with that!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Recovery Run

After the big trial run yesterday, Drew and I went home, showered and then headed to New Jersey. My dad got a new job and will be moving from New Jersey to Georgia, so we went out there to hang out with him (probably for the last time in a while) before he moves! After a leisurely lunch out, we all headed back to their house and spent a good part of the afternoon and evening disassembling and packing up Legos.

Now might be a good time to explain that my dad is a Legomaniac. I'm not really sure that does it justice, but the jist of it is that his basement was filled with Lego Land and it all had to be taken down before the movers came. So, we spent our time filling up Ziploc bags with all the Legos! This was test #1 for my legs -- standing on a concrete floor for several hours.

These pictures don't really do it justice as I realized I should take some photos after we had already been working for over an hour and lots of stuff was already bagged up!

Last night Drew as we were about to head off to bed, Drew reminded me that I hadn't yet done the Ab Challenge for the day. Instead of just giving up and ignoring it, I actually did 5 continuous minutes of ab exercises while laying on the bed. Maybe that doesn't count 100%, but it was still hard. I did crunches, crunches on both sides, leg raises and some Pilates 100s. Then it was time for bed!

This morning, Drew and I slept in, which is really rare for us. I'm a really good sleeper, but he normally gets up and going a lot earlier than I'd like to, so it was a nice treat to sleep in until 9:30. We got up and ate a little something and then donned our running gear.

Drew had been wanting me to show him for some time now the strides and drills we do at Terrier on Tuesday mornings. So, today seemed like just as good of a day as any other, so we did all sorts of funny drills back and forth in front of my dad's house. I'm pretty sure that my dad and step-mom got a good chuckle out of watching us doing some of them!

After doing the typical Terrier warm-up, we headed off on a slow recovery run for me (test #2 for my legs). I felt like I was running a bit faster than I would have wanted, but looking at the times, I guess it was about right on. I actually think that part of the issue was the fact that we didn't start running until after 10 AM and that's not always the best idea in the summer around these parts. I was definitely getting a headache at the end and did some walking as well.

My legs actually felt pretty great. I was pleasantly surprised. I did wear my compression sleeves overnight and then while we were running just as a precaution, but I honestly felt great. Which means ... I'm pretty sure I'm solidly a YES for the Philadelphia Marathon! Of course, I still have to sign up. Crazy, I know. Even crazier, I'm getting all nervous about picking the right training plan. I don't want to give up entirely on biking and swimming, but I also want to make sure I am doing enough running miles.

Anyone have any suggestions on what plan to use?

Time: 30:00
Distance: 2.75 miles
Pace: 10:54/mile

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summer Streets Run

Yesterday, thanks to Lisa's post yesterday, I was able to find out about the Summer Streets "Fun Run" with NYRR. Looking at the website, it was a little unclear as to whether it was a 4.5 or 5.0 mile run (since both distances were listed), but I knew that I wanted to try to get about 9-10 miles today, so I figured I'd run to the Fun Run and then do the Fun Run.

I asked Drew if he'd want to do part of the Fun Run with me and he said that he didn't think his knee would be up to doing the whole thing, he'd meet me for part of it. We agreed to meet at 23rd Street and he'd run with me from there to the finish.

But, first, I should say that I started out really slowly. I was less concerned about time and more concerned about my heart rate staying low. I left the apartment around 5:40 and I pretty much had the Westside Path all to myself. I ran south, from our apartment to Canal Street. The blocks just kept ticking by.

I would sing a little bit to myself to make sure I was keeping everything conversational. Once I got to Canal Street, I could hardly believe I was there already. That was the weirdest part of my run. Normally, Canal Street is jammed with tourists and hordes of people. Not at 6:30 in the morning! Every shop has the metal gate rolled down. The only people out are police officers (which I actually found interesting as I wonder if they're there to deter illegal activities). It was so bizarre that I couldn't really place myself on the street as I used to seeing certain shops when I go down there.

I got to the Starting Line (which should be considered a very loose term) about 15 minutes early. I got my T-Shirt, which I decided to wear over the tri top that I was wearing, and I stretched and sat down for a few minutes. Just a couple of minutes before 7:00, everyone moved to the Starting Line. A woman with a (poorly functioning) megaphone said that we should watch out for cross traffic on major intersections and then blew a whistle and we were off.

I still just kept concentrating on keeping it slow and steady. I knew Drew would wait for me even if I was a minute or two late and finishing this run happy was the most important thing to me. While I was sitting down before the start of the Fun Run, I realized that I was starving. I figured I'd just try to make it with the water they were offering on the course, but I was kicking myself for not bringing any thing to eat with me.

Luckily, this whole Summer Streets thing came and saved me. Well, so did Drew. Right after we met, he noticed that there was a Clif booth giving away Clif bars. He asked if we should go look and I decided that yes, we should! I ate a mini Clif bar right away while we were running and kept the other one in my pocket in case of emergencies. I have to say, that Clif bar tasted amazing. Yum!

Running up Park Avenue and around the Met Life Building was really weird, but also fun. They had Dumpster Pools set-up near Pershing Square that I'd really like to test out next weekend if at all possible! Drew and I ran all the way up to the "Finish Line" (which was really a piece of cardboard propped on an orange cone declaring it as such). I grabbed another cup of water and got really mad at the lady at the beginning of the Fun Run who had promised "bagels and fruit". Much to my disappointment, pretzels and bananas were what was on offer. I can't eat bananas and I didn't feel like pretzels.

Since we were now at 72nd and Park, Drew asked what we should do about getting home. I said that we should walk into Central Park and then we could start running again. I was getting a bit tired by this point, but my legs still felt pretty good. Once we got into the Park, we ran home the shortest way possible and then stopped at Starbucks on the way home for a refreshing coffee treat!

I'm happy to have done 9.95 miles today, pain free, and still happy at the end. I have definitely moved one step closer to being in the "yes" column. I really just want to see how my legs feel in the morning, but I think it's almost a guarantee that I'll be signing up for the Philadelphia Marathon based on today's run!

Run #1 (Home to Fun Run Start)
Time: 50:14
Distance: 4.60 miles
Pace: 10:55/mile
Calories: 456
Maximum HR: 181 (85%)
Average HR: 167 (79%)

Run #2 (Fun Run)
Time: 48:23
Distance: 4.45 miles
Pace: 10:52/mile
Calories: 482
Maximum HR: 189 (89%)
Average HR: 177 (83%)

Run #3 (Run Home)
Time: 9:39
Distance: 0.90 miles
Pace: 10:42/mile
Calories: 93
Maximum HR: 186 (88%)
Average HR: 176 (83%)

Friday, August 6, 2010

2 Push-Ups And A Plank

Thursday was a bit of a disaster. I was going to get up and go to the Terrier brick, but right at the last possible second where I could get out of bed and make it on time, there was a huge thunderclap that sent me back under the covers. Of course, I then ended up working late, so I just went straight home after work. Drew made dinner for us and then we did the Ab Challenge together.

We did the same thing where there were two stations and one person used the Swiss Ball and the other did body-weight exercises. On the first round, Drew used the ball and I did the body-weight stuff. I did two push-ups and then decided I didn't really want to do push-ups, so I did a plank instead. Since he was going to do the same thing as me, he asked if that was really what he was supposed to do, two push-ups and a plank? I thought it worked fine. I don't know what he was complaining about.

A lot of the Swiss Ball exercises have you hold them for a count of 5. Drew is a really fast counter, which I think is a little bit of cheating. But, it'll be his loss at the end of this whole experiment! I can't believe it's already been over a week since I started and even more unbelievably, I can't believe I've done it every day.

Of course, in full disclosure, we did go and get ice cream after the Ab Challenge last night. I'm not sure if is the point of the Ab Challenge or not, but it seemed like it was probably a wash. We both got fat free, after all!

This morning I took the lazy route again (but I did do the Ab Challenge). Mainly because I have big plans for Saturday morning. The big plans? A long run. Why, you may ask? Oh, because a woman I work with is trying to talk me into doing the Philadelphia Marathon with her! I haven't decided yet. I'm 15 weeks away from the race, so it seems like it should be plenty of time to get into marathon shape. I'd actually been thinking that after giving up on Timberman, this would be a good year to run a marathon, so this might be the push I needed.

Also, truthfully, I'm a person who needs to be scared into working out. Otherwise I'm all too happy to stay in bed and sleep the morning away. I need to have something looming on the horizon and a marathon would certainly do that. The point of this long run is to see how I feel and then make up my mind all the way. I'd say that I've got a foot firmly planted in the "yes" camp and a foot firmly planted in the "maybe" camp. This run will sort-of decide which way I end up leaning.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Running For Free

Last night I dragged my feet on the Ab Challenge, but I'm happy to report that I stuck with it and did the full 15 minutes that were part of the Challenge. I'm not sure I'm in love with this Challenge, but that's probably why it's called a Challenge!

This morning was the usual Terrier run. They sent us an e-mail last night saying that we should all wear our Terrier gear as they had arranged for us to get some free Shot Bloks and Clif Bars and they wanted send a photo of all us in our gear as a Thank You! I wore my Terrier short-sleeved shirt in order to support the team.

I ran from the bottom of the Park to the meeting spot since I thought I might be running a little bit late (I didn't wear a watch today). Turns out that I had plenty of time, but it was a nice little run anyway. I thought that we'd take a photo at the beginning of the run, but it turned out that they wanted to take the photo at the end. We did our normal drills and strides and then ran around to the S.

Today's workout was a speed/interval workout. It was 2 x 800 / 2 x 600 / 2 x 400 / 2 x 200 meters. The rest intervals were descending as the running intervals got shorter. I knew that I wasn't going to stay the whole time today because I wanted to get home in time to do the Ab Challenge this morning before I had to get ready for work.

Before I switched into my new shoes, I had noticed some shin pain in my left leg. I thought that over the weekend it had gone away, but today it was back. I figured that was another good reason to cut the workout short. I ended up doing 2 x 600 and 2 x 200, so not a whole lot, but an extra mile to the day.

I got home and was able to do 20 minutes of Ab Challenge before hopping in the shower. I'm surprised that it's 6 days in already! I had to re-inflate the Swiss Ball a little bit more this morning as it was starting to lose some of the air, but that was easy enough. I'm getting a little bit bored with some of the normal exercises, so I threw in some others today. I also did a Pilates 100 while holding the ball in between my legs (up in the air). Boy, that was hard!

All in all, a pretty good morning. I think I only ended up doing 3 miles of running today plus strides. I think that tomorrow I'm going to head to the gymnasium with Drew so that I can do some foam rolling at the end of the workout on my shin. Hopefully that will help with whatever this pain is!

Distance: ~3.50 miles

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Tight Spot

Today ended up being a lazy day in our apartment. The weather wasn't looking so great, although I'm not really sure that it did ever end up raining, but the threat of it was enough to keep us mostly indoors with one trip outside for some grocery shopping at Whole Foods. As a result of the weather and our laziness today, we didn't end up doing any cardio.

I still had my Ab Challenge to follow through on and I asked Drew if he'd want to do it with me. He didn't seem overly excited, but he agreed. I told him that we'd do 15 minutes of exercises. Since there are two of us and only one Swiss Ball, we set-up two "stations" for exercising. One person would use the Swiss Ball and the other person would do some body-weight exercise of their choosing (push-ups / sit-ups / crunches / squats).

It's sort-of impossible to explain how ridiculous this is in a New York City apartment. One "station" is a yoga mat positioned between the coffee table and the TV. The other "station" is an exercise mat positioned between the dining room table and the computer desk. And, frankly, calling it a dining room table would sort-of indicate that we have a dining room when that really isn't the case at all.

Really, the only way to do this justice at all is to show you photos (and the lighting in our apartment is ridiculously bad).

The top of this photo is where our TV resides and the bottom of this photo is the coffee table, which is next to the couch. You can see that there is a lot of space for Swiss Ball exercises here:

And, then, here's the other "station". That's the computer desk chair on the left and our mess surrounding the dining table (that's more of a place to set things down than a table used for dining) on the right:

Basically, the point is that at moment, one of us could have kicked the other in the head without any trouble at all. It's fairly ridiculous and we actually have a decent-sized apartment! I actually had fun doing this with Drew, although I'm not sure that he thought it was fun. It made me feel better that even on this lazy Sunday, I still stuck with the challenge and did the work!