Sunday, April 20, 2008

One down, 23 to go!

My eleven-miler today capped off week one of training. Didn't feel too much different than any other week lately, other than the fact that it came from a book. Pretty uneventful runs yesterday (4 easy) and today (11). I felt good and ready to ramp up again next week.

Next week DBF will be in town - I'll still be running just probably finding other ways to occupy my time than blogging :) We both love this city and have spent so many hours wandering and eating and drinking through its streets. This week we'll hit all our favorite spots and hopefully find some new ones. And, of course, I'll drag him along on my runs this week - we've spent hours running together through Central Park, too.

Saturday: 4.2 in 36:29 (8:39 min/mile)
Sunday: 10.7 in 1:33:53 (8:47 min/mile)

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I am trying not to be eaten by the stress-monster, but oy what a week. It's pretty much my own doing - DBF will be in town next week and I'd obviously much rather spend time traipsing around the city with him than in lab.

Thank goodness I have running otherwise I'd really be going nuts right now!

Yesterday's run was just an easy run to the gym before my shoulder/ab workout. This isn't a prescribed Pfitz run, but I'd like to keep myself at a 5x/week schedule to see if I can't push the 55 mile week peak a little higher. Wednesdays will be all recovery runs, and if I ever feel like I've bit off too much, they'll be an easy place to cut back since they're not actually part of the Plan. Admittedly, today's run was not in true recovery pace - it is my first week after all and am not feeling the training fatigue yet. That, and I was late to meet my trainer so I couldn't force myself to slow down very well... 3.7 miles in 30:26 (8:17 min/mile)

Today was another early-to-lab-in-running-clothes day. I hit the road around 10:30, when the weather was perfect and I felt great on my 8 mile GA run. It's the simple pleasures, really, that I think make running such a release for me: ducking out of lab for an hour to run, enjoying NYC in the spring, the smell of the cherry and pear trees, passing a biker on an uphill, passing more people than vice versa, hitting mile 7 and not knowing where the time has gone... Taking stock of the little things on a run is so important, both for stress relief and motivation. At the end of the day, if you're not running for those little things, I think running could become a source of stress, instead. Obviously I'm competitive and chase numbers myself, but take that away, I know I'd still run. 8.1 miles in 1:01:26 (8:16 min/mile)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Marathon Training Kickoff!

I count today, not yesterday, as my first day of training, as it seems strange to have the first day as a running rest day.

It was definitely one of those mornings where I wished I could have found time in the middle of the day to run, instead. It was hovering around 40* - that awful temp at which I have the most trouble dressing - but the high reached 60* and I so desperately wanted an excuse to enjoy that weather. I finally got on the road because I knew my day was such that a midday run would be impossible, and also because I need to run in the mornings after a leg-lifting day to avoid delayed onset soreness and to be able to stretch well.

It took a while for my legs to get into a rhythm this morning. I felt, for lack of a better word, creaky. Not sore, not tired, but just out of it. I played around with pacing to find where it would be comfortable, as the pace was to be GA and not too fast. As I went on, I congratulated myself for deciding on shorts and a long-sleeved tech tee because it was the perfect choice (for once). My legs did eventually find themselves, but only at the 5 mile mark. The schedule called for 10 strides, but I forgot how many I was supposed to do and only did 7 in the last 1.5 miles of the run - I will survive, I'm sure. Even though I wasn't sore, per se, the foam roller did feel especially good post-run. Sitting here twelve hours later, my legs feel good and I'm certainly glad I got out to run when I did. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised by my "not too fast" pace of 8:14 min/mile!

I consider Day 1 a success! On to Day 2!

7.45 miles in 1:01:26 (8:14 min/mile)

Monday, April 14, 2008

5K on the Runway

Sunday's race was a 5K on one of the runways at JFK airport. It was a fundraiser for the JFK Airport Rotary club. It's always a nice event, there are many groups participating and it's a very warm, inviting bunch of people. It's a small race, around 300 people, both runners and walkers. My goal was not to try for a new PR, but just to hit about 22 minutes. I am not in 5K shape AT all, so hitting 7-minute-miles was just fine with me. That, and I didn't want to start of my marathon training sore and tired.

I was awake before 6 to have my oatmeal and get to the train. I anticipated a long trip because the subway on the weekend is always slow. Sure enough, I found myself waiting forever for trains, readjusting my route due to rerouting, and trying to look around the subway for other runners to see if they wanted to head above ground and share a cab... But I made it. Registration was a zoo, but I finally got my number, chip, t-shirt, and changed into running shorts. The day was chilly but not frigid. We were bussed to the start line at the runway, and it was then the wind became apparent. I did a short warm-up with stretching and some striders and took my place towards the front of the group. There were no instructions to the crowd to line up by pace, except for making sure the sub-20 minute runners were ahead of the gaggle of children all wanting to be "first." I knew I wouldn't run sub-20, but I stuck to the back of this lead group. We had to stand around for a while, about 15-20 minutes, as there were some late-comers and problems with the computer system. By the time we finally started, my legs were cold again and my warm-up had gone to waste.

The course was an out-and-back down the tarmac. I fell into a fast-but-comfy pace the first mile, and I probably hit it in about 7:20 (there was not a marker at Mile 1). I picked up the pace a bit after one mile into the turn-around. Upon turning around, I hit a brick wall in the form of the wind. It was intense and my stride and pace definitely fell because of it. I tried to just keep my legs moving and my effort constant through the 2 mile mark. As I grew accustomed to the constant wind, I was able to fall back into a groove and pick it up a bit. I didn't get a split here. I felt fine, with the only problem being extremely phlegmy and needing to spit about every 10 seconds. This definitely affected my breathing a bit, but I just plowed on. The last mile was time to concentrate on form and cadence to a strong finish.

I came across the line in 22:22 - and whether it's true or not, I'm blaming it on the wind. The post-race was nice, we sat around eating bananas and frozen ice waiting for the awards ceremony. I was the second female finisher behind a woman who ran 21:low. It was a fun morning, despite the wind.

5K in 22:22 (7:12 min/mile)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Etiquette Training

I woke up as if it were a regular weekday as I had a full day in lab ahead of me. I just needed an easy 4 today, and it started off perfectly. The weather was cooperating and not dumping rain, the park was quiet... until I passed him in my second mile. I didn't really see him long enough to determine his age or any specific characteristics. Even though I wasn't pushing my pace at all, I passed him quite handily and did a little mental high-five - it's always an ego boost to pass someone, especially since I could tell by his labored breathing he was working quite a bit harder than me.

Apparently, he decided he didn't like the taste of my dust, because that labored breathing stayed right behind me. Every once in a while he'd get a little farther away, but then he'd try to catch up again. I maintained my pace for a while, but then started testing him. I would slow down a bit, then speed up, but no matter what, this guy was drafting me! I silently cursed the fact that I didn't have my iPod (in fear of rain) because that would at least drown out his breathing. Part of me was thrilled that he wanted to hang with my pace, but I thought it strange he was sticking so close.

I debated saying something, but I couldn't come up with the words. Anything I thought of would have just come off like I was insecure about him keeping up with me. I suppose if it would have been a longer run I would have stopped to "tie my shoe" or something and get him away from me. As it was, I turned out of the park a little less than a mile later and finished the last mile in relative peace.

4 miles in 33:25 (8:25 min/mile)

Friday, April 11, 2008

This morning was a nice and easy 5.5 mile run. I don't typically run on Fridays, but since Sunday will be a 5K race instead of a longer run, I needed to get the extra miles in somewhere. I felt pretty good, and although I'm not sore from yesterday's exertion, I certainly didn't feel fresh. So I ran at a conservative pace to loosen everything up, and I threw about 5 stride outs in the mix the last mile. It was another beautiful morning, and I was in the park early enough so there was no vehicular traffic. I paused my iPod and enjoyed the (relative) quiet for a mile or two. This weather is spoiling me, but since it's April in New York, I know rain is inevitable.

My routine of getting out the door in 30 minutes or less is working, too. It's getting easier to avoid the snooze button when my alarm goes off at 6. Today I was to lab by 8 - when I'm doing long midweek runs it's nice to know I'll be able to get in by 9/9:30. Amazingly, that will actually STILL get me to lab before everyone else!

5.5 miles in 46:25 (8:24 min/mile)

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Days like this are what it's all about. I got to run at my favorite time of day (late morning - I'm awake and fed but don't have the weight of a full day on me) at my favorite time of year (spring in NYC is the best, and today was absolutely perfect) and felt amazing. I knew I was pushing the pace a bit - just because the weather put me in such a good mood - but I certainly did not think I was going sub-8. That made the run even better!

The one downside is that I want to play hooky and spend the rest of the day outside. Spring in NYC is just amazing - there is this incredible energy throughout the city that reverberates through me. Everyone is coming out of their winter doldrums and the city just seems alive. I know I will miss spring in NYC when I move.

7.25 miles in 56:20 (7:46 min/mile)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Feeling Good

When I woke up Tuesday with the sun, I had a hard time gauging how my legs felt. They weren't sore, exactly, and I finally decided maybe they just weren't awake yet.

I woke them up on the mile to Central Park. In the park, I threw in a few segments at a faster pace - nothing killer but just to change things up. Overall my pace felt comfortable and not too strenuous at all - a perfect GA pace. I was actually surprised when I saw my time because it didn't feel like I was running 8:15 minute miles. I love the runs that feel easy but are surprisingly not slow - these are the runs that make me feel like I am improving and getting stronger.

6.3 miles in 52:37 (8:15 min/mile)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cherry Blossom Race Report

Be warned: I am not one to report mile by mile because, quite frankly, they all sort of blend together and I never remember specifics...

I went to DC Friday night to stay with my friend A for the weekend. Our friend K flew in Friday night as well. It was a great weekend to be able to spend time with the two of them. We awoke Sunday to a cool and rainy day. Thankfully, the race itself stayed pretty dry, with only an occasional mist, and I actually stripped down to a t-shirt and shorts for the majority of the race.

I didn't really have much of a time goal in mind going into Sunday. I hadn't really trained for this race, per se, and didn't have much of a taper to speak of. I felt good when I woke up, and pretty much decided then to try for an average pace of 8 minute miles. My strategy? Run the first mile in whatever time I could, knowing the course would be crowded and it would not be fast. Hold 8 minutes and reassess at the halfway point. Crank it up the last few miles, which seems to happen no matter WHAT my strategy (might as well include it, I guess). This seemed to be a good way to go, because I came in at 1:19:24!

I do have my splits, even if I don't have much of a description of the race itself:

The first few miles was a loop around Haines point, next to the water. The trees were pretty although the roadways were pretty narrow, making the early-race crowds especially thick. The one advantage of the weather was that I didn't need to stop at any of the water stops, so I could cruise on by some of the crowds. I was actually surprised at how many people seemed to stop at all the stops, drinking Gatorade like they'd just come out of the Sahara. I was also a bit confused as to how exactly the race directors set up the corrals, because there seemed to be a lot of people who didn't belong so close to the front. Oh well.

My legs felt ok afterwards, it was just hard because the weather was not conducive to hanging out and stretching a lot - my energy went to staying warm waiting for my friends and finding the driest tree I could. My knees and ankles got a little stiff, I'm guessing from the rain and cold. I stretched a bit on the Metro ride back, but then between being lazy the rest of the afternoon and a 4-hour bus ride back, I was worried this morning when I woke up. I'm surprisingly fine, turns out.

This week I will be cutting back mileage down to 25 miles or so in anticipation of next week, when my 24/55 training plan officially begins! I also have a 5K race on Sunday - we'll see if that is a race or a run. It would probably be smart of me to not kill myself, although knowing me I'll probably want to at least do decently. We'll see how I feel.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Puddle jumping

There are days when the thought of running in the rain makes me jump right back into bed or find the nearest treadmill. For some reason, though, this morning was a delightful exception. Maybe because I have been stalking all week, willing the raincloud in the forecast to magically turn into a sun, and so the rainy mess I woke up to this morning wasn't a surprise. That, and I think the simple fact that it is spring makes running in the rain seem more romantic somehow.

First of all, this is day 1 of 1 of meeting my out the door in 30 minutes rule. I was out the door at 7am, rain jacket firmly in place. Temperature-wise I couldn't have asked for better: low 40s making my one "real" rain jacket the perfect weight over a t-shirt and a pair of capri length tights. Of course the first few minutes were the toughest because I hadn't reached that critical juncture at which I am mostly wet instead of mostly dry. That line where it's OK to start jumping in the puddles instead of avoiding them because hell, you're wet already, what's a little more water?

Another thing that got me out the door was the prospect of doing my favorite route for the first time in a while. Lately my runs, unless long or on a treadmill, have all been on the same 6.3 mile loop, and I was glad to change things up. This route takes me around the Jackie O Reservoir, meaning I have to be very careful scheduling when I do this loop to avoid the tourists who insist upon walking 5 abreast the wrong direction or the people who ignore the clearly posted "no dogs no strollers no bike" rule. Today was perfect: just me, the sleeping ducks, and the puddles. The drainage system on this cinder path leaves a bit to be desired, and since it had been raining since last night, 75% of the path was covered in an inch of water. There is something viscerally satisfying about each solid splash when my foot lands. Is it a feeling of childhood? Of rebellion? Of connecting with nature?

The one bad thing about having a great rainy day run is that I realize I need to stop being a wimp and do them more often. I would never have the same feeling on a treadmill about a run. I'd feel accomplished, sure, but wouldn't have that feeling that I've conquered something great. Great running stories never happen on treadmills, do they?

5.5 miles in 49:21 (8:56 min/mile)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cruise Control

Today I woke up earlier than normal and in an ever-so-slight fog caused by an extra glass(es) of wine with dinner. It took a lot of coaxing to get my body out the door this morning, especially since my friend couldn't meet me as planned. But, I was awake without time to run this evening, so I finally convinced my legs to move.

If you can believe it, my calves are still sore from Monday. But the minute I started to run I knew my legs were back to their normal state of energy, and it was finally an effortless run. I actually found myself having to rein my speed in a little bit. I don't want to overdo it so close to Sunday race day. It helped that it was a beautiful morning - one of those early spring days when it's still quite cool but something about the angle of the sun and the feel of the air lets you know it's definitely spring. The park is beginning to bloom - the pear trees, crocuses and daffodils are appearing and shoots of green are peeking through last year's fallen leaves.

During my run I thought of a good goal over the next few weeks. As I increase mileage my midweek runs of course get longer. I would really like to get into the habit of a-waking up earlier and b-more importantly I think, hit the road no more than 30 minutes after my alarm sounds. This gives me time for a cup of coffee and a good morning chat with BF without wasting too much time. Focusing on this now will hopefully make the mornings where it's truly necessary feel easier.

6.3 miles in 54:57 (8:37 min/mile)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ho Hum

Not much to report on today's run - just an easy 3 miles on the treadmill at the gym. I had to force myself to keep the pace slow because I certainly need another day of no stress on the ol' legs. My muscles are finally shaking out, after lots of stretching yesterday and more today. I'll use the roller before bed tonight and hopefully wake up tomorrow without soreness!

3 miles in 27:25 (9:08 min/mile)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lead Legs

Well, I knew it. Today's scheduled fartlek turned into a cross between a recovery run and an easy run. My legs could barely pick themselves up, let alone the pace. The only good thing about the run was that I managed to sneak it in between rain storms and I was able to strip of my long sleeved shirt, officially marking it as the first t-shirt-and-shorts run of the year. Too bad it couldn't have actually felt better and hasn't been the slowest I've run that loop in one year. Although, I will say my legs do feel better after the run and a lot of stretching/Sticking/foam rolling.

The rest of this week will be lower intensity as I want to rest my legs for the 10 mile race on Sunday without dropping my mileage too much.

6.3 miles in 57:53 (9:05 min/mile pace)