Thursday, May 29, 2008

SO back!

Not much time to write today, but I had to mention this morning's run, as it was fantastic! I went out at a comfy pace, was tired by the end but not dead, and my pace ended up being faster than I thought, and nothing hurt! Plus, I had on a new pair of Gel Nimbus 9s, a new pair of Wright socks, the weather was great (sunny, high 50s, not windy)... ahhhh. 9.1 miles in 1:15:11 (8:17 min/mile)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Back at it.

After almost a week sans running and diligent rolling and icing (with some Aleving a few times), I'm feeling about 90% perfect. I still feel a slight tightness in my hip, but the aching is certainly no more. It will still take me being careful with the ice and the foam roller, but at least now I don't feel the ache just walking around.

I had my first run back yesterday - an easy 6 miles. It was slow, but pain- and twinge-free.

I also figured out that I'm 18 weeks out - so I'm just starting back in with the 18/55 schedule. This allows me to drop mileage for a few weeks to ease back in. Perfect!

6.3 miles in 56:53 (8:55 min/mile)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Curses, ITB!

I am having a little flare-up in my IT band and my hip hurts. I have been rolling and doing a lot of self-massage the past few days - and not running :( I can feel the tight ligament when I massage, it's awful. Right now I'm at the point of major discomfort, and not so much pain, but I am using my parents' visit as a self-prescribed rest period before it turns into something really bad.

This sucks! But I'm still 18 weeks out. I think I'll be ok.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I am trying to keep myself awake to take my midnight time point. Yes, I have to go to lab for about 10 minutes at midnight to drug my parasites. Fun stuff.

Running since last week has been good. Nothing too unusual to report. Despite myself, my pace during my recovery week last week did not at all resemble recovery pace. Oops. I think it's hard to go slow when I'm still at mileage (both daily and weekly) I can do without much effort. I'm sure as the mileage increases, my body will be more than happy to slow down during recovery efforts.

Today's workout was a 4 miles tempo run (9 miles total). For some reason, LT runs always make me nervous. I think I anticipate the LT portion to be like running a race and be killed at the end. I think about the pace I need to run and always get a knot in my stomach thinking it's too fast. After how many tempo runs? Today was no exception - and as I finished my 2 mile warm up, my stomach turned as I picked up the pace. But then, as I hit the end of the first mile at almost exactly 7:30 and realized I wasn't really going to die, I fell into the pace and really enjoyed it. This happens EVERY TIME I do a tempo run. You'd think, one day, I'd realize they are nothing about which to be nervous, but are actually a great way to feel fast and get a great workout. 9.1 miles in 1:13:59 (miles 2-6 in 29:58 - 7:30 pace) - 8:08 overall pace

The remainder of the week is a little mixed up. My parents are coming into town on Thursday and are staying with me. While I'm lucky they're 150% supportive of my running, something tells me their idea of fun in NYC is not accompanying me on my 15 miler. So, I am moving it to Thursday morning, and filling the time they are here with shorter runs.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fun with maps

OK, I promise not to do this for every run (although admit it, it's kind of fun), but here's the loop I ran this morning:

I hit the road around 6:15 this morning, as I needed to hustle into lab by as close to 8 as I could manage (which turned out to be 8:15). It's nice having the entire run done by the time the park is opened to auto traffic. I felt great, and had to rein myself in a bit, remembering this is a recovery week and I don't want to stress myself out too much on top of getting in the miles. I did about 8 strides at the end (I say about because I always lose track around 4 - how do people count these? Or am I just missing that synapse?) and they felt the best they ever have. So, a great way to start my full day! 7.3 miles - including 8 x 100m strides - in 59:11 (8:07 min/mile)

Monday, May 12, 2008

After Thursday's less-than-stellar 9 miles, I was hoping to redeem my running self this past weekend. I've been keeping an extra eye on my IT bands and hamstrings all week - they have been TIGHT and I'm afraid I'm using my foam roller so much I'll soon wear right through it and need another one. I haven't had any flare-ups of pain, but they feel quite constricted.

That in the back of my mind, I was diligent about my rest day on Friday. I realized I had penciled in a 2 mile recovery run, but I thought it would be better for me to erase that. Instead, I headed to my favorite yoga class. The Friday evening class at my gym is taught by this great, dynamic, sarcastic, tough woman. Instead of focusing on flow, she focuses a lot on holding poses and moving quite slowly. For me, this is perfect and gives me the best of all worlds: it's challenging while being non-impact and inwardly soothing, it lets me work on both my strength and my flexibility, and I always come out feeling refreshed. One of the great things about the instructor is that she takes requests at the beginning of class, and really lets the class lead itself so no two classes are alike. Given my current state of leg affairs, I mentioned I'd love to do some hip opening poses and hamstring stretches. Well, I walked out of class feeling like I had a new pair of legs. It is like she had sat down with me and listened to my complaints for an hour before tailoring a class exactly to my needs. I loosened things I didn't know needed loosening. We even rolled side to side on yoga blocks to loosen the ol' ITB - and I didn't even have to ask (but I think the giddy look on my face when she suggested it said it all!)

Since this is a "running" blog I guess I'll also mention my weekend runs. Saturday was an easy 5.5 miles in the park. The weather was great, and my only complaint is that I should have gone earlier to avoid the tourists around the reservoir in the park. I must admit I took advantage of some of the huge puddles left by Friday's rainstorm by splashing in them extra hard every time a group of people forced me to run through one in the hopes maybe they'd get splashed. Yes, I'm a bit of a territorial bitch. But my god, people, it's water, not sulfuric acid. A little on the soles of your shoes will not do you irreparable damage. 5.5 miles in 47:22 (8:34 min/mile)

I went to bed on Saturday night excited for Sunday's long run. I was inspired by several sources to explore the Upper-upper west side of Manhattan. I've done countless runs in which I head west, but always have turned south along the Hudson River, through Battery Park, to catch the path along the East River back home. But for my 14-miler yesterday, I decided to run north through Central Park (I don't know how long the "but the Great Hill will be good training for a course with a hill at the beginning and at the end" will last cuz damn that was hard coming back home...), continue west to Riverside Drive, and head north. Oh, was this ever a great idea! Riverside Park to 122nd Street is gorgeous; the fact that it was Mothers' Day and families were out enjoying the perfect weather made it even better. I cut out of the park near Grant's Tomb, which I had never seen except to glimpse its stacked pyramid in the distance. I ran along Riverside Drive until about 140th Street, at which point I knew I needed to turn around. And it was a struggle turning around, seeing the promise of the George Washington Bridge in the distance, beckoning me with its amazing views. The only thing that made me turn around was the fact that on my future long runs, I'll always have a bit of uncharted territory as I venture further. Eventually I'll make it to the bridge, and across to Jersey perhaps.

That's why we run, isn't it - to get a taste of something we've never felt on each run. It can be tangible, like seeing things we've never seen or going somewhere new. But of course it's the intangible, too. Finding a part of ourselves we've never seen and letting it lead us, seeing where it will take us.

OK, I've figured out how to be extra-savvy and post the map of my run. Maybe I'll start doing this for all of them! Now y'all are gonna know where I live (I say that as if people read this. Just watch, I'm gonna make it to

14.1 miles in 2:09:55 (9:09 min/mile)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Uff da II

I tried to be creative with a new title, but this is pretty much the only thing that perfectly describes my life right now.

Today is a rest day - with a much-needed yoga class this evening. My run yesterday morning was one of those that was better once it was over. I had a hard time getting out of bed, I had a hard time getting ready, I had a hard time leaving the apartment, I had a hard time not turning around when the drizzle hit me, I had a hard time moving my legs at a faster speed than a crawl, I had a hard time not cutting my run short from my scheduled 9 miles. But, I managed to succeed in all of these things.

I think these hard runs are the runs that really make you think about why you get out on the road. At least, it makes me very introspective about what running means to me and what role it has in my life. Right now, I can definitely say that running is the one constant in my life. I'm at such a tumultuous time in my life right now: finishing up (hopefully) my Ph.D., thinking about a move overseas, not knowing where I'm going to be for certain in a few months - it takes its toll on someone who likes to be in control of every aspect of her life. I've never been in a position of such uncertainty about my future. My last year of high school, I knew where and when I was going to college; my last year of college, it was grad school; now - I know generally where I want to be, but the details are fuzzy.

So it's a comfort to know I'll be running x number of miles this week, y miles next week, and 26.2 miles on September 27th. It's not an obsession so much as a foundation. No matter what happens, I can run. Life can swirl around me, but I am grounded when I run. I feel unsettled, running pulls me back and makes me feel like myself. I have a day where I'm just going through the motions, running makes me feel alive.

T: 8.3 miles in 1:07:58 (8:09 pace)
W: 4 miles in 34:15 (8:37 pace)
R: 9.1 miles in 1:18:57 (8:42 pace)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Uff da

My head is spinning, life is certainly crazy right now. I'm still running, amongst about a zillion other things.

Last week was definitely one of those weeks where I got my runs in but they were always so tightly scheduled with everything else on my plate that they all seemed a blur. I mean, they definitely kept me sane, but none of them gave me much calm.

The week before that was much better - all my runs were at least partly with DBF on his visit :) While I felt great, the best part was definitely having him by my side.

I'm anticipating life calming down a bit after tomorrow - at least enough so I can get back to my daily musings. My goal this week is to cherish each run, not just look at them as something to cross off the to-do list. My to-do list is long enough, thank you very much!