Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NYRR 18M Tune-Up

The morning started off with a "Babe, it's 5:06". My alarm was supposed to go off at 3:30. I was supposed to be on a train uptown for 5. We should all know where this is heading. I miraculously got ready in 10 minutes, grabbed coffee at the bodega, only to realize my Metrocard was empty and my debit card was in my apartment. FML. So, I decided to take my time getting ready and I would just run 17 miles in the park at my leisure (the race was for 18 and I didn't realize it was an 18 mile race, not a race what you want, which I thought all the tune-ups were; or did I just make that up?). 

When I finally got to the train, another runner spotted my D-tag and asked if we could make it. I laughed. She said she had been waiting for the train for 37 minutes (so even if I would've been on time, I would've been pissed I was waiting). I decided to travel up to the race with her; if I wasn't going to be the only late one, we could try. Miraculously, the 6 came ASAP and we were on a train full of runners. We got there for 6:48. I still have no idea how that could've happened but it did.

Don't worry I was still late. Why? Because I decided to stand in a bathroom line even though I didn't have to go. I crossed the start line as the announcers said they were picking up the start mats. What a way to start my 1st 18 miler race.

Note: 1st time you run 18 miles, it shouldNOT be a race and it shouldNOT be alone. It was a miserable time. More like, I think that should be a new torture treatment for al-qaeda actually. I was playing f-ed up mind games with myself from the moment I got on the course. I was "fine" until I was finishing my 2nd loop of the park and everyone else was finishing the race (Did I forget to mention this was 3 loops of Central Park? I won't even run races that are only 2 loops). Starting that 3rd loop aka Harlem Hill was the beginning of the melt down. It took everything in me not to ball up in the grass right there. I knew it was going to be insane to think I'd finish before they picked up the mats, but I kept going, promising myself I could fall apart at the end. Thank you to the runners who were encouraging, you have no idea how much those little words meant at that time.

Then, the universe sent me another miracle. I finished seconds before they picked up the mats. A minute later I was on the phone in tears. It was a bad bad run and I was in a lot of pain. Even though I spent the majority of the race telling myself to stop being so hard on myself, to just enjoy it and continuing to repeat "I am doing the best I can", it didn't help the fact that I felt like a failure.

I don't know about you, but being a slower runner I, unfortunately, happen to beat myself up about it. A lot. Especially training alone. Deep down I know it's an amazing thing to be able to finish 18 miles, it just takes me a day or 2 to allow myself that victory. Clearly, the masochism has found a new channel. I'm working on it.

In the middle of my meltdown, I decided I needed a really fucking big present for finishing. . . and then I remembered, I already have one.

This weekend :-)

How do you stop beating up yourself on a run/ prevent meltdowns?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gyrokinesis at Athleta

Last night, I decided to take Athleta up on one of the free classes they're offering all month (you should check to see if you have one in your area). Yes, I'm late to the National Yoga Month party. Did you expect anything else?

This particular class was Gyrokinesis. I had never heard of it, but I was sold at stretching and strengthening. The instructor told us that Gyro was originally called Yoga for dancers, which makes sense since it's a like a dancing and swimming yoga practice (<-the website's words). I haven't been able to call myself a dancer in about 14 years, I'm a runner (which I forgot to mention when she asked if any of us had any modification needs), and the most uncoordinated person ever, so it was about to get pretty interesting up in there. Up until last night, I didn't really notice the flexibility issues everyone says runners usually have. Most of the yoga I do is me and Elena Brower or Rodney Yee in my living room and I rock at that if I do say so myself. Newsflash: I am no where near the word flexible. But the good news is I got a TON of core and hip strengthening going, which are 2 things I really need to focus on now that I'm even closer to marathon day. Not so newsflash: You have no core muscles. 

Normally classes last an hour an a half and we only had 45 minutes, but it was a good taste of what the practice is. I highly suggest it for anyone wanting to shake up a yoga routine or in need of some serious core, hip and spine strengthening. That is no joke. My abs hate me right now.

Thanks again, Leslie and Athleta! It was really great. I hope to be back next week.

What's an exercise you've stepped out of the box to try?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fitness Magazine 4M +12

There was a 16 miler on the calendar for this weekend but I decided to sign up for the Fitness 4M. Why did I think this was a good plan? Maybe because I'm a glutton for punishment (but isn't that a requirement for running anyway?) For the record, only break up a long run for a long race. 4 miles wasn't even worth it, but now I'll know better for next time. On top of that, brunch plans were made that I really wanted to attend. All of these totally appealing factors meant one really early wake up call, which turned out to be not as painful as I thought. I'm actually a fan of beating the heat and the crowds. Who knew? 

Finding a bathroom that early proved to be the pain in the ass part. TWC was opened for employees but the bathroom was locked. Boo. I found a lady at the entrance of the park who offered to run with me to the ones by 59th. Those seemed to be locked also, judging from the person who was relieving themselves right outside the door to it (Welcome to New York!), so we decided not to go there. I started a very dark run by myself and I think it was the first time I didn't feel that safe in the park. It was eerily empty. I made my way to 72nd cautiously. I found the portapotties for the race (score!) and thats about when the sun started to come up so I felt better about running alone. More runners started showing up, but it was still quiet and peaceful. I could definitely get used to running earlier, if I can find open bathrooms!

By the time I got back to the southern end of the park, I still had time to squeeze in another mile before the race (score!) and jump in the corrals with 15 minutes to spare. I ran to the finish line and only 20 minutes into the men's race, there were a ton of finishers. Homo say what?! That's a 5 minute mile, crazy! And they weren't even Kenyans. I took my slow behind and went back to the start.
The 4 miles of the race totally sucked. I felt like I should be running faster like everyone else, but I had to make myself realize that this was my 10th mile, not my first. I finished and continued to get the rest of my miles in. Those were painful and no fun. I wanted to be finished when everyone else was! and the lower loop was starting to get over-crowded. Bleh.

Since I ran more earlier, I had time to stop by the Fitness Games Expo. It was really cute and a pleasant surprise (I was unfamiliar with the event). The gift bag was nice; it had a Fitness magazine, headphones, raisins and some other stuff. Birkenstock was the most popular booth, but there were tons of other ones. Live music and group classes. It was a nice Saturday event for everyone. 

16 miles done! My hips didn't bother me at all this time, which was a pleasant surprise. Random knee pain? Not so much. I also concentrated on keeping my form which I'm sure helped a lot. Who knew?

As I keep getting higher in the miles, I'm starting to understand the concept of runner's wanting to do farther distances; marathons, ultras and tris. Getting to see how far your body can take you is kind of amazing. I never thought I could get through a 5K let alone a half marathon. Then I was content with half marathons and didn't think I could actually get through a full. It took me an entire year to register for a full and up until about yesterday to admit that I can actually do one. It's actually fun getting to new distances you've never done before. Saturday I felt like I needed to enjoy my run more because that was my 1st 16 miler; I'd never get to have another 1st one. Hopefully that thought process will continue to resonate in the rest of my training. Instead of wishing for death :-) 

What insights have you come up with during your long run?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saturday Sick Day

Having the race Sunday and nothing to do Saturday, I was under strict orders to stay planted on the couch and rest. Seemed reasonable. I had a full blown cold with a slight fever.
That proved to be harder said than done, especially since I hadn't run that morning. It's very hard not to want to do something when you're not used to the luxury of lying in bed all day! One day I will have weekends like that again.

So, in the time it took for me to "watch" A Bug's Life, I made my Smee hat, instead of taking a nap. So. Worth. It.

Getting. Super. Excited. 

What do you do on sick days instead of rest?

Since I just found this AND it totally applies to the weekend in which this hat was made for, please enjoy this amazing video of Bulls Eye dancing at one of The Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween parties. I have decided that my night will no longer be made by just meeting Maleficent. I will need uncharacteristic dancing to commence in my presence and it better be epic.

Speaking of uncharacteristic dancing, my uncoordinated self will be adding the below into my marathon training. I mean what says totally awesome more than the Creeper Crew?!

I can't think of a better way to  loosen up my muscle the night after a 10mile race + 7, can you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NYRR Bronx 10M

I wasn't sure I was going to be running this race, until about a half a mile in. I still wasn't feeling good and it had traveled to my chest. Boo. I felt like if I continued going, I was going to die. I couldn't get my breathing down and I felt like I was sweating too much for the weather being so nice (Sunday was gorgeous to run in!). Dehydration from sinus medicine has happened to me in a race and I definitely did not want a repeat of that. Clearly, there was a lot going on.

Around the 1st or 2nd water stop, I ran into my guardian angel and breezed through the rest of the race. To be honest, I forgot why we started talking, but we didn't stop for the rest of the race! She was great and a complete distraction from the pain and lack of ability to breath. She's new to running and training for the full, also, so we had tons to talk about! Saturday was her 16 miler and she was running this 10 for fun. Crazy! But I don't know what I would've done without her. I actually stopped run/walking and ran the majority of it with her, only stopping at water stops. I think if I would've been healthier, I could've done more, but breathing without coughing was getting hard. I can't wait to run more with my training now! I really need to break the habit of running by my gymboss and not listening to my body.

I've never run in The Bronx before, so it was really fun getting to see it. My running partner for the day knew all about it though and pointed out landmarks. Now, the only borough I haven't run in is Staten Island. I'm tempted to sign up for the half marathon there, but it falls on the only 20 miler week that I have that won't be interrupted by a race. Maybe next year. I am kind of glad they changed the Borough Series to have different distances. And of course, that they all get medals now. That was the main reason I wouldn't run them in the first place.
This was my favorite sight; Old school theater.

Since I got through the race, I decided to finish my 15miler in Central Park. I really wanted to be done and crawl back into bed, but I knew if I did that, I would've been really upset with myself, especially after freaking out about training. But I survived! 15(.9) miles done! I was in more pain than I should've been due to the break in commuting to the park, but I did it! They were a ton slower, but that's ok, too! I was super proud of myself for sticking it out through the cold (and obnoxious amount of tourists. UGH!).

I feel like doing it really boosted my confidence in this marathon. Now that I'm upping my miles to distances I've never done before, I'm re-excited! It's been a long time since I've run a new distance! Those little milestones really motivate you and I had forgotten that. I thought about how I felt before my first half marathon and I realized this pretty much mirrors it. Glad I've finally seen the light. Now hopefully I'll only freak out for the important things :-)

An ice bath was definitely needed after this and I was super excited for it, knowing I'd feel better after. Unfortunately, I didn't run the water cold enough, so the ice melted super fast. Oops. The water was pretty cold, just not as painful as it usually is. I'm actually looking forward to next week's ice bath more than I am the run. That's weird, right?

  10 Miler done.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Labor Day Weekend.

Let's pretend I posted this last week, mmkay?

Since, I am embarrassingly jealous of everyone that ran in Disneyland that weekend, I will tell you about my Labor Day weekend fun! But before I move on, kudos to the awesome branding for the race! The navy blue colorful ribbon and bib looked awesome, as did the 5k bib. Now, if we can only move away from the light/royal blue that, I feel, taints runDisney, it will make me so happy. Although, I won't be getting another blue ribbon this year. This year it will be red :) AND my awesome BFF just informed me we have celebratory dinner reservations at The Be Our Guest restaurant marathon night, what?! Super grateful he was on top of that and I'm really excited!

So, I joined the club. The lulu club, that is. If you don't remember, my 3 month cigarette-free present to myself was supposed to be these magical pants that make everyone's butt look good. But, even as a present to myself, I couldn't justify spending $90 on a pair of pants I'm only going to get sweaty in. A year and 5 months later, I finally got them and a pair of capris, a shirt and a hoodie (What?! I had to take advantage. Who knows when the next time I'll be there?!). I wore my new outfit for my 13 and 16 miler and I can say I see why people are in love with this brand. My favorite part? Even soaked with sweat, they were easy to pull up and down for mid-run potty breaks. That's enough for me.

Can't wait for fall to get here so I can test out the pants and the hoodie!

Are you a member of the Lulu club? 

That weekend, I also finally got to see Zarkana, which happened to be on the last night of their performance in New York City. If you've never seen a Cirque Du Soleil show, I highly recommend it. They're amazing and Zarkana did not disappoint (even though, I have no idea what the weird looking baby had to do with anything). My favorite was the artist who created gorgeous and elaborate art pieces within seconds with sand; completely mind blowing for me. It was a perfect date night. I can't wait to see another one! Maybe La Nouba in Orlando during one of my trips next year? I'm even tempted to take a trip to Vegas just for O.

What's your fav Cirque show?

I know I'm late, but how was your Labor Day?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

At least it's not white

So, apparently my One Word Wednesdays are not showing up on my blog when I send them through my phone. Boo to you!

It's kind of weirding me out that my long run is on Sunday this week. Good thing, though. I have caught a cold so a long run is questionable even for Sunday.

Anyone else racing this weekend? I have to admit, it's going to be fun running with people and water stops!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Social Media does it again! NYRR has revised their policy. Good for them. I personally won't be checking a bag (that's what a hot fiance is for ;) and I look forward to the tacky as hell orange poncho. Hell, it might become my favorite winter accessory. I'm assuming if you check a bag you don't get it? AND you get a one-size-fits-all long sleeved shirt. Lets just hope all of those things are still there when I cross the finish line.

I went and had a massage at Equinox last night. Holy crap, yall, it's a purty gym (said in a very country bumkin matter). One day, when paying $300/month for a gym that I only use when I'm too lazy to commute to the park is possible, I totally want to be a member there. I felt very fancy. I got a robe, went into the "spa", and had an amazing massage therapist. I will admit, I got a little frustrated that he wasn't focusing on my legs, but after he explained that his technique isn't to go in and beat the knot. Instead to wake up the muscle around it to get the blood flowing. So simple it's stupid right?! I feel a ton better and will definitely be going back.

I am officially in freak out mode about this damn marathon. What the hell was I thinking training alone? When I originally laid out my plan, I thought I had enough time to get the miles in (and I did) but I didn't account for wanting to do possibly 2 20milers/ a 22miler. . . so now I'm freaking out. This is not fun. I'm doubling up miles to get there and hoping to stay injury-free. I look at my calendar at least 3 times a day to make sure I calculated right. I do not recommend marathon training for anyone. After I figure this out, I need to figure out how to keep my miles up for Disney 2 months later.

How's your Thursday?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Half Marathon distance without the medal

The Manhattan (left) The Brooklyn (right)
This weekend I became someone who runs 13.1 miles and does not get a medal for it. What is this world coming to?! Full Marathon training is not fun or easy but it better be worth it. Even if I can't continue to say I only run that far if a medal is involved, I can say I won't be signing up for a race unless there is a medal for that far.

I decided this weekend to shake up my run and do a few out and backs, keeping them short (only 3 miles around trip). It turned out to be a good plan, because I ended up needing a water refill and a bathroom around that time and that's where they were. Score!

Hey Brooklyn Bridge!
As I went South for the first time, I saw a bridge in the distance and realized it was the Manhattan (accidentally identifying as the Brooklyn at first). . . I was tempted to run it back in to BK, but I had no idea how to get back if I did. Until next time. And there will be a next time. . . I cannot run back over Williamsburg anymore. It's pure torture and I've realized that mile or so is what's messing up my run. Yes, I know running it will make me stronger, but how strong do I need to get running in the summer in straight sun for miles?! I'm ok. I think it's time to break up with the WB until winter when straight sun will be a welcome thing, not a death sentence.

The area to the South was a completely different atmosphere. It was nice running in the shade under the highway and as I got more south, closer to Chinatown, there were a ton of people randomly doing Tai Chi (I think?). It was kind of bizarre but nothing too crazy for a New Yorker. But then again, what is?!

Running up the East River is pretty much straight sun and subtract random Tai Chi with lots of homeless people. I don't know how they sleep in the sun like that, but to each his own. It makes sense to want to be there though. Very peaceful. . except for a bunch of crazy runners at all hours, I'm sure. I slowed down a bunch once I got back into the shade, to enjoy it as much as I could, getting ready to run back over the bridge. It wasn't as painful as last week. . but it definitely wasn't enjoyable. I was able to run more, but I wasn't a fan.

Hey! We match. Too bad you've been defriended, WB
I've also noticed, since I am about to get into uncharted waters with miles, it's time to keep my body injury-free. As much as I'm not a fan, I will be getting massages (which btw, booking an appointment is a pain in the ass. . seriously?!) and ice baths will be a part of my Saturday post-run rituals. Have you started them yet?

My muscles have been super crazy after long runs for the past few weeks, too. They feel weird and wake me up in the middle of the night with tightness and soreness.
Does this happen to you?