Sunday, December 6, 2009

10K Race Report/Epic Fail

A little background -- This semester has been really, really difficult and with final exams looming and final projects smacking me about the head and neck, I'm just beat lately. I'm exhausted and cranky and not at my best. So, Saturday night, I was chatting with my friend Mark on facebook and he asked if I was ready for the race. I told him that I probably was, but that I'd frankly rather just stay in bed. Mark went into coach mode and told me that this race would be really important to help determine my current fitness level and help to formulate a plan for the rest of my year of training for the NYC marathon. Newly inspired, I put my exhaustion and lousy attitude on the shelf and set out all my running clothes for the morning.
So, Sunday morning the alarm when off at 6:10 and I hopped out of bed and got dressed. I threw a bagel in my bag, pulled on an extra fleece for the walk to and from the train, kissed my husband goodbye and headed off to the race. At 7:40, I was jogging up to the start of the race. I asked one of the race volunteers where the number pick-up was.
"Ummm... at the Road Runners headquarters on 89th street."
"Oh no!" I cried, "Okay, well the race doesn't start for 20 minutes, I can make it there and back! And I'll be totally warmed up!"
"Ummm... actually, they stopped distributing numbers at 7:30."
"Well... can I run anyway and just time myself?" I asked.
"Yeah, but you can't check your bag without a number," she said apologetically.

Several other people were asking questions about number pick up and were in the same boat as me. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who screwed up.

So, I walked the long, cold, lonely walk back to the subway and headed home to the Bronx. During the ride home, I thought about what Mark said, and I thought about this community, and how I'd said I was going to race a 10K today, and that I wanted to PR. So, eff it, I thought! I'm just going to go home, drop off my bag and head out and race a 10K against my myself!

I figured I'd have to run, as best I could, without traffic lights so it would be close to my previous best 10K time, which was run in Central Park. I pressed start on my new Garmin, took off towards the local woodsy trail and felt fantastic. I was running fast and strong, and the trail was looking pretty good. And then, it got a little muddy. No big deal, I thought. And then, I was running through three inches of mud. Keep going, I thought! And then, my ankle twisted, my feet went out from under me and I was on my face, in the mud. I pressed Stop on the watch, thinking that my run was over. I was just over 3 miles into it and my ankle was hurting pretty badly. I teared up and slammed my hands down on the ground. I threw some expletives up at the tops of the trees and stood up. I took out my phone and started walking. I was about to call my husband to tell him that I was in the woods and I'd hurt my ankle and could he come get me. But, as I started walking I realized it wasn't as bad as I first thought. I can totally walk home on this. But then I remembered that home was more than 3 miles away and I sweaty and cold and now covered in mud. And I got up this morning to run a 10k, goddammit!

I hit the start button and took off again, running back through the mud, into my local park and onto the running track. My ankle didn't hurt and there was no stopping me. I ran at the track until mile 5.8 and then I took off, up a ginormous hill, running as hard as I could towards my imaginary finish line.

My watch beeped at 6.2 miles and I hit stop. Prior to today, I ran a 10k race in 56:34. Today, through the mud, through the tears, through the early morning mess up, I ran it in 51:54. My average pace was 8:23. My fastest mile was 8:03, also a PR.

Epic Fail/Personal Triumph. Sometimes, it's a really fine line.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh yeah! Weekly Training Post!

Hi! Weekly training post a few days late!

Well, after the awesomeness that was last week, this week wasn't fabulous, but that's okay. I'm still feeling pretty good about this month as a whole. When I realized that it was conceivable that I might run 100 miles this month for the first time ever, I got all excited about hitting that mark. I came up just short, at about 97 miles, due to crazy scheduling, Thanksgiving shenanigans, and getting a tattoo (which I LURV). Happily, though, I did hit a monthly distance PR by about 12 miles.

So, that just means that I'll work harder in December (which has 31 days, not a crappy 30 like November!) and will hit my 100 mile-mark this month.

Wednesday, 11/25 -- 4.13 miles (9:03 pace)
Thursday, 11/26 -- 5.02 miles (9:51 pace)
Sunday, 11/25 -- 5.8 miles (9:38 pace)

TOTAL FOR THE WEEK: 14.95. Pffft.

I'm taking it a bit easy this week, because I have a 10K coming up on Sunday, and it would be nice to PR at that.

On a random note, I can't wait for this semester to be over.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks -

- for the fact that my senses all work properly and allow me to take in all the wonderful things around me.
- for my body, flaws, fat, jiggly bits, muscle, bone, wonky-thyroid and all, because it is an amazing machine.
- for my friends who inspire and encourage me every day, whether they know it or not.
- for my husband. For everything he is.
- for the roof over our heads.
- for the food we enjoy every day and the opportunity to share it.
- for the promises of the future.
- for the memories that make me smile -- I'm blessed because of them.
- for the memories that make me cry -- I'm stronger for them.
- for the wonderful community of runners that cheer me on and inspire me, always.
- for hope.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Training Week -- 11/16/09 - 11/22/09

11/16/09 -- 3.26 miles @9:53
11/18/09 -- 5.68 miles @8:44
11/19/09 -- 4.10 miles @8:58
11/21/09 -- 5.88 miles @9.29
11/22/09 --11.04 miles @9:20 (!!!)

Total Miles for the week: 29.97. I'm totally rounding it up to 30 because I ran two blocks to catch a bus. So, there we are. 30 miles for the week. HUZZAH!

So, the funny thing about Wednesday's run was that while I was running in the park, I ran into the very same friend who told me that I wouldn't be able to run the marathon in 4:15. She was out running in the park as well, so I ran with Speedy McDoubterson for a bit and was able to keep up with her. I suspect she may have slowed down a bit for me, but I still managed to run that 4th mile in 8:27, which is my fastest non-one-mile-race mile to date. Take THAT!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And speaking of setting lofty goals...

My friend Susan is a bit of a running muse for me. She works really hard and has gotten some fantastic and inspiring PRs over the last year. So, I'm going to try something that worked for her at the Brooklyn Half-Marathon this past year.

I just signed up for the Manhattan Half-Marathon at the end of January. AND I AM GOING TO RUN IT IN UNDER 2:00:00. There. I said it. Now, I'ma DO IT!

Determination  I haz it.
moar funny pictures

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Training Week -- 11/9/09 - 11/15/09

11/11/09 -- 4.3 miles -- 9:19 pace
11/12/09 -- 3.36 miles -- 9:24 pace
11/14/09 -- 10.00 miles -- 9:18 pace
Didn't meet the goal for the week, but it was more important to rest the ole knee.

I decided to rest Monday and Tuesday, to give my wonky knee a chance to heal from whatever was ailin' it. Lots of ice, rest and ibuprofen. On Wednesday, I got up early and went out for a trail run and was thrilled to find my knee didn't hurt at all. I felt like I could've run more, but I didn't want to push it. But push it I did as I spent the rest of the day walking all around New York City. I went with my friend, co-scotch drinker, and the life parter to whom I am not married, Lauren to the Prospect Park Zoo. We followed that with some wonderful aimless wandering about Brooklyn, and then when Lauren had to go to work, I finished my day off with hours of wandering around Manhattan, beer and seeing Jude Law in Hamlet (which I'm sure I will write about extensively at some point because it was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen).

Thursday was another easy run and Friday night I had a bikram yoga class. Then Saturday, I trudged out in the nasty, misty rain for an awesome 10 mile knee-pain-free run. I ran a bit on the track, then off to the trails, and then more on the track. The trails were so muddy that I was running past the ducks that were swimming along the trail. There is something curiously satisfying about running through mud, though. That delightful *squish squish* as you coast along, smiling to yourself, like you're breaking dozens of childhood rules. But I'm all grown-up now (sort of) and I LIKE playing in the mud.

10 mi run splits:

Mile 1 8:56
Mile 2m 9:21
Mile 3 9:07
Mile 4 9:30
Mile 5 9:40
Mile 6 9:21
Mile 7 9:28
Mile 8 8:51
Mile 9 9:21
Mile 10 8:31

Friday, November 13, 2009

A promising weekend

On Wednesday and Thursday, I was able to run without any knee pain. So, naturally, I've been looking forward to my long run tomorrow. Then, I pulled up the weather forecast.

Le sigh.

I'm still going to go for my long run. I'll just have to try to run in between rain drops.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Well, crap

One week into this project and I'm injured.

I believe I have a bit of patellar tendonitis. According to the interwebs, that means this:

What causes Patellar Tendonitis?
Overuse is the major cause of patellar tendonitis. Activities that involve a lot of jumping or rapid change of direction are particularly stressful to the patellar ligament. Participants of basketball, volleyball, soccer, and other running related sports are particularly vulnerable to patellar tendonitis.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Patellar Tendonitis?
The major symptom of patellar tendonitis is pain in the area just below the kneecap. Activities like walking, running and especially squatting, kneeling or jumping will cause increased pain and discomfort. Swelling is also commonly associated with patellar tendonitis.

That little twinge in my knee on Sunday hasn't gotten better. In fact, yesterday, I went to sit down and it felt, for about an eighth of a second, like my knee was going to explode. And then it totally went away. Today, it still feels twingey.

I didn't run yesterday and now I'm debating whether or not to run today. I've just taken some Ibuprofen and am sitting here with a bag of ice around my knee.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Training Week -- 11/2/09 - 11/08/09

11/03: Ran 6.67 mi -- trail run (8:59 pace)11/04: Ran 4.24 mi -- dreadmill (9:12 pace)11/05: Ran 2.94 mi -- Central Park. (8:34 pace??) I had planned to do hills, but I got dizzy for some reason. If my Nike+ is to be believed (which I am not entirely convinced that it is), this may be because I ran my fastest (non-mile race) mile ever during this run at 8:29. Like I said, I'm not sure if this is accurate.11/07: Ran 6.67 mi -- trails again. (8:59 pace)I had a huge red-tailed hawk watching me for a bit while I ran. I think he was cheering me on. 11/08: Ran 7.01 mi -- (9:18 pace) Ran along the Henry Hudson River Greenway for the first time ever. WHY HAVE I NEVER RUN HERE BEFORE? It's amazing! So beautiful. This is the George Washington Bridge, as seen from my run. I really wanted to run closer to 12 miles today, but I felt a little twinge in my left knee. It was just a hint of "STOP FUCKING RUNNING!" Since I have Wednesday off this week, I figured I could just rest it for a day or two, and then do my longer run on Wednesday. There is no sense in injuring myself now.

That being said, though, having a disappointing run is so, well, disappointing. I've found that there is nothing quite like a good run to just brighten your outlook on a whole day. You can outrun your bad mood, or run to a place where some stupid comment that someone made can't keep up anymore. But having a disappointing run? Man. It's such a let down. I decided to just run slowly to the subway, and take the train home. I'm not sure if the guy I sat next to moved away because of the smell of sweat or the smell of fail.

Oh well.

A little eau de failure is humbling from time to time. And in this case, it just reminded me to listen to my body.

Goal for next week? 30+miles.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

On Learning to Love my Body

I am a woman who has issues with her body. SURPRISE! Find me a woman who, at one point or another, has not obsessed over a jiggly bit, a stretch mark, or an oh-my-god-why-is-my-upper-arm-flapping-like-that moment. It is, unfortunately, more common than it should be. We constantly judge ourselves based on flaws that are probably imperceptible. We compare ourselves to other people and determine our own worth based on how pretty we are, how thin, tall, muscular, fast, athletic, whatever. It is so very hard to look in a mirror and just be happy.

I am also a woman with a memory like a steel trap. When I was 13, the boy I was OMGSOINLOVE with grabbed one of my thighs and told me, "You'd better start working out!" When I was 16, I overheard the boy I was OMGSOINLOVE with say "Sharon's great... from the waist up." And then, after getting that incredibly useful theatre degree, there was the casting director who sat me down and told me, "You're really talented, but I just don't know how to cast you. You're too heavy to play the ingenue and not heavy enough to play the character roles."

What did I take away from all this? Well, first of all, I learned that there are apparently only two types of women in theatre, and I wasn't one of them. Second, I learned that I should probably never wear shorts.

Over the past years, I've struggled a lot with these and other comments, rolling around and resonating in my head. Going to a store to try on clothes could cause a panic attack. Going to the beach was a major source of anxiety.

However, since I've started running more and more, besting my previous race times and seeing myself improve in fitness and ability, I've realized something -- I may not always love my body, but I certainly respect it.

These thighs? Sure, they're meaty. But they are powerful. They carry me further than a lot of people could go, and while they may not be the sleekest models, they are strong and reliable.

My body may not be an aesthetic "ideal," but it is a mechanical marvel. In order for it to do all that I'm asking of it over the next year, and beyond, I'm just going to have to show it a lot of respect. Even the jiggly bits.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Running around my neighborhood

My husband and I moved to our new neighborhood this past July. The longer commute is taking some getting used to, but the extra space is nice. We can BOTH be in the same room and not be touching! It's fantastic!

One of the awesome things about my new neighborhood is that it is kind of a runner's paradise. Less than 1 mile from our apartment we have a beautiful park with a running track and gorgeous wooded trails. The neighborhood itself has some really steep hills, so I don't have to go very far to do my hill work.

The photo above was taken yesterday morning as I went for a 6.67 mile run in my new Brooks Glycerin shoes. Sorry the photo is a bit blurry but I was, you know, running.
Honestly, though, how could I not get out and run when this is my scenery?

Monday, November 2, 2009

How do we know what we are capable of?

This thought entered my mind today, as I was thinking of all the work I'm going to do over the next year, in all aspects of my life.

Often, when I speak to my non-runner friends about running, they shake their heads in disbelief and say something like, "I don't know how you do it. I couldn't do it."


I wonder, how do we know what we are capable of if we do not test ourselves? When I hear people say that they can't do something, more often than not, it just means to me that they are unwilling.

The only thing that distinguishes me from my non-runner friends is the decision that I'm going to run. I'm going to run far, as hard as I can, for as long as I can, so I can achieve my goal. And then, maybe I'll run a little more.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The countdown begins

About five years ago, I got the crazy idea in my head that I wanted to run the NYC marathon. I went to a gym, got on a treadmill, and discovered a huge barrier between me and my goal: I couldn't run one mile. Not one. I worked hard, and got myself to a point where I could comfortably run one mile. So, then I ran two. And then a 5K race. And then, in December of 2006, there was a little incident with a 4'' stiletto and an uncovered drainage hole that resulted in 3 ruptured ligaments in my left ankle. Once I could walk without pain, I laced up my sneakers and started running again. That summer, I ran my very first half-marathon in 2:23:28. This past May, I beat that time running the Brooklyn half-marathon in 2:08:21.

I decided then and there that I had a very specific goal. I was going to run the 2010 marathon in 4:15:00 or less! I decided to share this goal with a friend of mine, who ran her best marathon in 3:43. She looked at me and said, "You won't be able to do it." Jaw, meet floor. "I won't?"

"No. You'll slow down too much in the second half. Everyone does. Try going for 4:40."

No, thank you. Also, don't poop on my goal!

Since early 2007, I've worked towards this. I've got a year of very hard work ahead of me, but I'm going to do it. 4:15. November 7, 2010. BRING. IT. ON.

I've enlisted the help of my awesome husband, Jeremy, who has promised to be the Mickey to my Rocky for the next year. Also, my friend Mark, ultrarunner, Boston Marathon qualifier, and Yankees fan has agreed to help me work on a training plan. Some other wonderful and inspiring friends are on board to offer support, wisdom, inspiration and, hopefully, foot rubs along the way.

Here we go...

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