Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Actual Everest might be less challenging.

How fitting I post this today because I just got finished booking our flight! Expedition Everest Challenge, here we come.  We also got our first newsletter from runDisney about EEC last week and it included a sample scavenger hunt question. I've been stalking the internet for old race reports trying to find out more about the scavenger hunt. I'll be honest, the questions from previous years are a little hard; tons of people have said this part takes longer than actually running. Yikes!

Getting a practice question made me very excited to see how long it would take me to figure it out. It wasn't hard to come up with taking the letter in the color corresponding the number and I got . . . wait. That can't be right. That's not a word. So, I emailed my partner to make sure the email was sent to both of us and to see what a different brain came up with. I decided that Disney accidentally made the color black instead of red, which then the answer would be RELAY. Relay. Race. Get it? THAT made more sense. My partner assured me it was meant to be BELAY, and yes, it is a word. One quick trip to google proved that was right, and I'm an idiot (seriously. What would a girl like me need to know that word for?). Super glad my partner rocks! This little exercise has been a huge insight as to how I go through life. . and I will be reflecting on that later. Until then, even if we take the time limit to walk the 5k, at least I have more confidence we will kill the scavenger hunt portion and maybe get to the after party before all of the food is gone. I'm really looking forward to riding Everest at night!

It also looks like they have finalized a course. Seeing as how the finish line is in Asia and the after party is in Dinoland, I think we will be having our celebratory Everest ride (and possibly a Kali River Cooloff?) before we get to the party. Can't wait to ride Dinosaur. Let's see how much I can remember after 10 years ;-)

What are your thoughts on traveling for a 5k? Even though this is a Disney race and it's much more than a 5k, would it be worth it to you to spend that kind of money on 3.1 miles?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

13.1 Marathon Series: NYC recap

 13.1 Marathon Series NYC Race. 

The Good: I finished! I got to have an awesome race with an awesome friend and I got to see a part of Queens I don't think I will ever see again. Kidding. But seriously, that was a trek! With this race, I've successfully completed 12 half marathons in 12 months. What?

Did you know: New York 13.1 Marathon was run in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fair? This park is fully loaded with anything and everything you could want. There is a zoo, a professional Baseball field, an ice rink, multiple soccer fields, a lake, a golf course, a museum of art, a wildlife center and I'm sure I'm missing much more, but you can check out their website if you're in the area.

The Bad: Starting a race at 9am was a little annoying. I would've liked to just get it over with at 7:30-8. Giving us less time in the sun being that it is unseasonably warm. There was no serious corral system and I noticed there were a lot of first time halfers so it was a bit of a cluster, but not terrible.

The Ugly: I hurt my foot :-( Around mile 12 (which is also the stretch where people were walking to get to the subway. Super frustrating because I was still running the race, assholes!) It felt like I had tied my shoe too tight. Later that night, it was swollen. Boo.

Special guest appearance by The Fabulous Megan!
Anna Banana was supposed to join us, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we had her there in spirit while sending love and prayers her way. So, instead, I got to run with the amazing Megan! Normally she's a super speed demon, but she's trying to take it easy for all the races she has signed up for (if you think my racing schedule is insane, you should see hers!) and she just announced she's expecting! YaY! for Megs and the Hubby and YaY! for me for getting the chance to run with her.  Do not be fooled by her size, she is a ball of serious energy. And the woman is always prepared for you with anything and everything. She super rocks and I'm so lucky to have her in my life!

I made sure to tell her I was exceptionally slow. She didn't seem to mind, though. She was excited to see how the run/walk method worked so maybe she could incorporate it into her races more as she gets further along. In fact, it was pretty perfect. She would speed up when she saw a bathroom and then catch up with me. We chit-chatted the whole time and before we knew it (except for mile 12) it was over!

I also decided this time I wouldn't bring my camera, just my phone and see how pictures turned out. Even though, it was a little bit more of a pain, I'd rather not carry so much stuff with me. I think the pictures came out fine, too!

 The Hall of Science?

 The Aquatic Center; ice rink included!

 Start line 2nd time around. We ran through it 3 times.

 The Model Aircraft field?

 The winner totally looping us at mile 4

 Ever seen Men in Black? That was cool to see.

 The Unisphere! This was mile 5(?) and mile 12. 
When times were getting tough, I kept telling myself the ball is mile 12. Just get back to the ball.

Arthur Ashe Stadium; where the US Open is played.

One of the only "hills" we had to conquer. twice.

12th half marathon in 12 months DONE.

 I'm so amazing I can hold the Unisphere up after running 13.1 miles.

 Sometimes, you need a little help from your friends :-)

 Post Race Ice Bath.
I already feel much much better.

What's the coolest place you've ever gotten to run? (excluding Disney!)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Capitol C-ranky.

Anyone else get cranky after a race? I know there are a few outside factors for my specific crankiness this time, but I also have noticed a few other times I've been seriously cranky right after crossing the finish line (offhand, I remember WDW Half and Relay). I also notice these are the races I was running injured or right off an injury. It's almost been a week and I'm still super sore, which isn't normal.

I also took an Epsom Salt bath on Sunday after the NYCHalf, instead of an Ice Bath. I just couldn't stomach getting cold again and I was not mentally ready to try and get myself through it. I had used all my mental toughness to get through the race. I had nothing left. Recently, I've heard tons of great reviews about Epsom baths, so I figured why not try one now? If they worked, it would make recovering properly so much easier. I think sometimes the process (get the ice, fill the tub, get some tea, put on sweatshirt, get in tub, put in ice. Add more ice because the first bag has already melted. Sit for 20 minutes. get out. Dry off. Wait for body temp to rise- sometimes I dont do that. Take proper shower) takes longer than actually running the race. So, I stopped at the local Duane Reade on the way home from the race and got me some.

Is it just me or are the instructions confusing? How the hell am I supposed to know how many gallons my bathtub is? How much is a fourth of the bag? Am I making a paste?  Did you know you can ingest this stuff? If I do that, do I still have to sit in this tub? Depending on what ails you, depends on how you use it. It's like a the Jack of all Trades with all the things it cures. It sounded like the wonder drug that was too good to be true. . .and it was. Here I am, a good 5 days later, I'm still sore and I'm still cranky. Did I not follow the directions correctly? Is there a trick to it no one let me in on? Boo. I guess it's back to ice baths for me. I can't afford to be this sore for 2 more weeks with 2 more weekends of races.

My next question is, if crankiness happens to you, how long does it usually last? I feel like I might be the exception here. It's Friday and I still can't shake this mood. It would be nice if I'd start liking to be around myself soon.

Ending on a semi positive note (so hopefully yall will still like me!). I'm getting ready for another 13.1, the last of the 3 halfs in a month. (next weekend is only a 10 miler :-) then I need a long nap. Even though this was supposed to be positive, I just realized I don't have my Garmin charger or my ipod shuffle charger. Tomorrow morning is going to be interesting to say the least.

Who else is racing this weekend? Have you ever forgotten something for race day?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NYCHalf '12: recap

I woke up exhausted and not in the mood for running, much less running faster than I had in weeks. That 3 hour time limit freaked me out almost as much as it did last year. I knew it was going to be really hard; My poor body doesn't seem like it's ever going to get better. My outfit cheered me up, but not enough to make me that excited to leave a perfectly warm bed. I did anyway. $128 is far too much money to have spent on a race just to sleep in.

The park wasn't as much of a mad house as I thought it was going to be. As I waited for friends to come from bag check, the flow of runners was relatively smooth. The majority of them were coming from the east side (which is the way you had to go if you were checking a bag) and it only started to get congested as it got closer to start time. Once I spotted my friends, we jumped in the corral. It was amazing to see the port-a-potties were literally IN the corrals. I remembered them saying this happens, but this was the first time I have ever seen it. The problem? The lines were OUTSIDE the corrals, so even though you were in the corral, like you were supposed to be, people who weren't in your corral were in line for your potties. SUPER frustrating. So we jumped out of the corral and went a few corrals ahead bc their line was shorter.

The race started in Central Park (which I didn't take any pictures of because 1. I take pictures in there all the time and 2. I was psyching myself up for Harlem Hill and making sure I ran fast enough to get out of the park without being swept.) This is also where I was clocking some really good time, which I knew would screw me later on, but I couldn't help it. You run counter-clockwise from 72nd-ish, back to the start and then down Broadway into Time Square, which is where our picture tour will start.

 Looping back around to the start. 
True story: The elite men had already gotten to this point and I hadn't crossed the start line yet.

 Coming out of the park onto Broadway.

 Not every day to you see a water stop in the middle of Midtown.

 Course entertainment.

Me! Running in Times Square. Courtesy of: Ms. Banana!! 
Which matches the one she took last year.

 LOVED getting to see my running partner. 
Even though, she should've been running it with me (damn you, lottery system!) it was awesome to have my own personal spectator. It really helps having people along the course.

 Who gets to do this? 
This event and NYE are the only times the streets of Times Square shut down.

 See that Police Dept? 
When I first moved here, I went in there to ask for directions.
They weren't amused. but how the hell was I supposed to know?

The very spot where I was when Obama was elected President.

 Turning down 42nd towards The Westside highway.

 Dallas BBQ.
Favorite Happy Hour Spot when I'm in Midtown. 
And one of my favorite TNT coaches as it would turn out! It was so awesome getting to see Coach Erin again. She ran a second with me to catch up a little and see how I was doing (once a coach, always a coach!). That was super awesome, too! 

 Sorry about the traffic, people!

On-course Entertainment: Lady Southpaw! She's a runner, too.

 The Intrepid. I was just there!
And The Westside Highway hell begins.

Pier 54: I saw Dropkick Murphys on that Pier. Love Summerstages!

 Chelsea Piers! Getting closer.

 The New Freedom Tower looked freaky in the foggy overcast; especially 
because it's still not finished being built yet.

 The Underpass. Finally. 
I had made it and I hadn't gotten pulled off the course!

 No one said it was going to be forever in this tunnel. 
My garmin lost signal and it was super annoying.

 Even more annoying? An incline at mile 12.5.

Nice view of the BK Bridge; Shitty area to run in.

I was so ready to be done with this race before it even started, and the few course quirks pissed me off more than they should have. Even worse? There was a clusterf*ck to get out of the finisher's area. Some genius decided it would be an awesome plan to have a restaurant set up a table of coffee and pancakes sandwiched between a gate and where runners had to funnel through to get out. Then, after I had walked around the block, in pain with the slowest moving humans ever, they decided to open the gate. Thanks a lot, NYRR. Did you have a brainfart in planning this event? Seriously. 

We had decided to take a cab back into civilization (because what the hell is that far south in Manhattan on a Sunday?) and I wanted to get far away from people, but surprise surprise. No cabs. Plan B: Walk to the closest subway. That was another clusterf*ck I was not sure I was getting out of without a criminal record; so we continued onward and stumbled upon a nearly empty Five Guys. What?! Score. I refueled quicker than I thought I was going to be able to (word to the wise: it's in everyone's best interest if you feed me ASAP after a race). Even better? By the time we were ready to tackle the subway, the crowd had subsided. I was in a much better mood. 

The End.

Even though, it was very cool to get to run my runniversary race (especially because it was a lottery system and I live in NYC), I need to get faster in order to even consider entering the lottery again. Worrying whether I'm physically going to be able to finish a race is one thing, but the added stress of making sure it's within a time limit is a recipe for some serious self inflicted mental terrorism I don't need. But we will see. Who knows what proper rest and training can do for a girl?

What's your runniversary race? 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

NYCHalf '11, recap

 taken from my TNT fund-raiser page. My, how far we've come!

Seeing that I can move my body at a semi-normal rate, I will recap. Earlier this week, I was pretty sure at any moment my right leg was going to detach itself.

It was just another Sunday morning. Except this one, I woke up at 4AM and got myself to the TNT meeting place by 6AM (Did anyone else see the super moon? That was insane!). And it was freezing. I was really glad I decided to wear capris, but the short sleeved shirt wasn’t really working. I had a throw away shirt on (there were garbage cans along the start where people would pick them up and donate all the clothes to a shelter) but it was not enough.

This is me and all my favorites in the corrals before the start. 

Within the hour before the start, I peed 4 times. Seriously. Even as we were moving forward in the corrals (which is what they call the area the runners wait in before the race) I saw another set of Port-a-Pottys and I jumped out to go again. I’m blaming this on nerves and the extra hydrating I did because I didn’t want to need water as bad as I did during our practice runs (which hydrating before is a good plan, I found out almost too late). Luckily once we started going, I didn’t stop again until I got to the finish line.

The coaches told us to run the race in 3 parts, so that’s how I’m going to explain this.

Part 1: Your head.
Don’t go out too fast. I listened to that part, but after the first mile of going an entire 2 minutes slower than I wanted, I concentrated on making up that time. It took us 15 minutes from the time the race officially started to cross the start line.

I don’t remember seeing anyone at the beginning of the race, but once we got down to the 7th Ave entrance of the park, there was a huge crowd of people. More than I’ve ever experienced running in a race. It was a really awesome start. I don’t know if I regret putting my name on my shirt or not, but I felt I had to thank everyone who cheered for me personally. This did not help my focus, but it was fun.

Even though this part of the races included all the hills, I still picked up my pace. I smiled and told Harlem Hill hello. I saw Coach Barb at the end of the hills and that helped pick me up again. The Central Park stretch of the race was not as crowded with spectators. I was ready to get out of the park. It was boring and mundane as I’ve been running it for the past 4 months. It was getting frustrating at parts because I was ready to run through Time Square!

Part 2: Your legs.
This part you were supposed to run how your legs were feeling. I didn’t really care how they were feeling, I was going to finish in under 3 hours whether they liked it or not, so I kept going. Amazingly, I kept gaining back the time I lost in the beginning. Every 5k, I kept getting faster.

As I was just about to exit the park, I saw my family friends from CT. It was my first sighting of people I knew and it was awesome! I was going to stop and give them hugs, but 1. This was mile 7 and I was pretty gross and 2. I was still really concerned about my time. So there I went. Running down the middle of 7th Ave. You know in movies when you see the streets of New York vacant? It was like that, but for real. I made sure to run in the middle to get the full effect. I know I should have taken more time to notice things, but I was in full focus mode. This was the only time I pulled my camera out.

Once I got down to 42nd, I spotted Anna Banana!! I was so happy to see her! I had missed her the past couple of practices and we had much to catch up on, but she reminded me I was running a race and I continued on. This is the pic she captured as I got to her.
I was so excited (even if I look like I want to die in the pic).

A few blocks up, I ran into Coach Erin who ran with me for a bit. I was still nervous about time but she reminded me I made it out of the park without anyone trying to put me in a van (most races have a time limit and if you fall behind the time limit, they will make you get in a van so they can drive you to the finish.) so I was golden. Even though she told me this, I still didn’t believe her and continued to push forward.

Part 3: Your heart.
Ok, so remember how I told you, when training for a half you only run up to 10 miles? Well, this was it. I had to trust my training to get me the last 3 miles. This was about the point where I was ready to die. I kept telling myself “it’s just a 5K, that’s all you have left! You’ve run 2 5Ks in 2 days. This is cake.” Yes, I was lying to myself because, seriously guys, I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to death. My feet were hurting and every step reminded me I had a hip flexor and it was VERY angry with me. I would scream out loud every time I would start running again.

I had to keep reminding myself to keep moving forward. It didn’t matter how fast I was going anymore. Time didn’t matter at this point. I had sped up enough, I felt it was ok to stop beating myself up about going faster and concentrate on just moving. I had to keep reminding myself that the first time I ran 6 miles it was tough; this was the same thing.

When I reached 800 meters to the finish line, I just stayed running. I knew if I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to start again. At this point, I ran into Coach Rachel and Coach Xavie. They chatted with me for a second (which I really needed). They told me I looked good (which I’m sure was an out right lie, but I took it.) and let me run in on my own.

It took me a second to realize it was over. I kept running until I saw a group of people hanging out and that’s when I realized that someone in this group of people was going to put a medal around my neck. I had finished a half marathon.

That thought still hasn’t set in yet.

From this point on, it was a blur. I remember walking for a very long time to get to the TNT tent to check out and let them know I hadn’t died. Then I headed to the pub where all my friends were meeting. I was really glad Mr. John, Mrs. Jeannine and Becca were there because I was on another planet as far as directions and doing anything was concerned.

The after party was tons of fun. It was so nice having friends and family there. We talked about the race and had a fabulous time. I had my first beer (or two) in months. After brunch, we headed home where I had a much needed shower and rest.

"The miracle isn't that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start"

The end. . . for now :-) 

Friday, March 16, 2012

NYCHalf Expo

Awesome sidenote: The other night I participated in a runchat on twitter sponsored by Tommie Copper. Afterwards, they gave us vouchers for a pair of compression sleeves for those running the NYCHalf. How exciting right?! I had no idea which ones I wanted to try, but after talking to the super friendly guy, I decided on knee sleeves. I can't wait to try them after the half on Sunday and I will be more than happy to tell yall all about it!

Now, to the expo. It was bigger than last year (surprisingly, since the RnR: DC is this weekend, also), but still a sad excuse for such a big race. The official merchandise was seriously lacking. Nothing screamed "OMG! You need me in your life!"- except maybe the cute hat, but eh. Same crappy brand tshirt that still doesn't fit right even going up a size this year. Oh well. I will admit, the design of that is cuter than the ones they're trying to sell people.

I also found out, the race is going the opposite direction around Central Park than it did last year (so much for studying up before the race). I think I was willing it not to be so, because that means we go up Harlem Hill counterclockwise. That means, I'm going to hate my life for a mile and a half. Kind of glad I found out about it early, but maybe surprising me that morning might have been a better plan; that way I'm already there and I am less likely to get out of it. This was not good news.

I almost regret looking at the medal beforehand, that's how not jazzed I am about putting it around my neck. I picked it up and felt like a Mardi Gras doubloon. . thin and cheap. I've clearly been quite spoiled with my medals, but when a race costs $128, I'd expect something a little more substantial. But that's just me being a medal snob. 

Is this going to be how the NYCM feels? Just like another NYRR? That's going to suck. Or maybe in the one year of running, I've become a jaded New York runner? Maybe I should've run the RnR DC; I would definitely be singing NYRR's praises after that. Either way, I need to figure out how to get motivated for this race bc between all that and the pain I will be in. . . well, I don't want to jinx myself.

How do you get motivated for a race?

Hope everyone has an awesome race weekend!