Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winter running is here!

Just got back from my first long run post-marathon. The idea of easing back into training was just too appealing. Technically, I was going to wait until next weekend to kickoff training again, but I was kind of bummed about not thinking to sign up for a Turkey Trot before Thanksgiving Eve. So, I ate cereal and watched Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade on the TV, like a normal American. Then, regretted not running. I was already feeling gross, add the one day a year you're supposed to overeat and let's just say it really wasn't pleasant. So, I decided to run this afternoon.

When did it turn into winter running?! I know I haven't done a long run in 3 weeks, but wow! I went out in capris, a shirt and a long sleeved shirt thinking I'd be too hot! The weather said windy and cloudy, hence why I came back with my entire body wind burned. In hindsight, running by the Brooklyn waterfront probably wasn't a good plan either. But it was all worth it. I went out planning on doing 6, but felt so good I did 7. YaY!

Time to start thinking like a winter runner.

What do you do differently for your winter long runs?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Things I learned on (training) hiatus.

Yesterday was my 1st day back to the gym. I felt amazing until about mile 2. Then my left hip and foot started annoying me, which is funny because it's usually my right. Today I feel a little too sore for only having done a 3 miler, but I can't blame it all on running. Trying to do advanced yoga while still recovering, probably wasn't the best plan ever. My . I will definitely be trying to ease back into it. During that time on the dreadmill, I thought about all the things I learned post- marathon. So, without further ado...

Things I learned on (training) hiatus!
View from the couch

Being on hiatus is kind of like being unemployed, you have the opportunity to do all the things you wanted to do when you couldn't, yet all you end up doing is sleeping a lot.

There are some pretty good shows on TV. During training, I barely had time to see the ones I do watch (Modern Family and The New Normal). Post marathon couch laying and Hulu Plus allowed me to explore 2 new favorites: Nashville and The Neighbors. Both are amazing. I needed a new drama and The Neighbors is so funny, you might fall off the couch (just ask B ;)

It's nice not being tired all the time. Although, I do feel a tad slothish, I'm ok with it. Clearly, my body knows this is temporary and hopefully, it won't be as hard to get back into the routine.

There is life outside your apartment! Ha. We saw Wreck It Ralph. If you haven't, I need you to run to the theater now. I don't really like going to the movie theater that often, but this movie I'd see over and over again in those little uncomfortable seats; it was that good. And score! I came up with our Halloween costumes for next year. If anyone sees red overalls, let me know!

I really really missed spending good quality time with the most supportive partner ever. I never could have gotten through it alone and appreciate everything B did to help make my life easier. It's going to take a long time to pay back all that support :) but I'm working on it! 

It's a lot harder to eat right. In training mode, all I did was work, go to the gym, and sleep. It's easy to eat right that way. I had time to go to dinner with friends, and that doesn't always mean ordering the healthiest thing on the menu. I can definitely tell the difference. My body feels absolutely disgusting and I paid dearly.

With that being said, miraculously I did not gain weight. In fact, I lost 3 pds from the week before the taper. That's a plus. 10 more pounds and I will be the weight I was a year ago. Funny, it was The RnR Savannah Half that really messed me up last year. Must remember not to repeat.

The marathon really was just about me and the city. I think we've come to terms with each other now that our emotions aren't so heightened. I'm sure it'll still throw things at me, but at least now I know without a doubt I am stronger.

I've decided I'm probably not going to stop for characters for the WDW Full, unless it's a seriously rare character or someone I want to see with no line. I noticed around mile 24, my legs didn't feel very steady under me and I knew there was no stopping for anything then. I wouldn't want to do anything to hurt myself and I feel like standing in character lines would. I'm sure I will change my mind on this a few times as the race gets closer.

What did you learn post-race?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

NYC 60K: Volunteering

If you ever want to be super inspired, volunteer for an Ultra.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of cheering on some badass runners for NYC's only official Ultra- The NYC 60K (formerly known as The Knickerbocker 60k). This race consists of 9 (!!!) loops of the middle loop of Central Park making up the roughly 37 mile race. What?! Yes. It's for real and it's pretty damn awesome. I was informed there was around 400 runners who showed up that morning. The race started at 8am, and when my shift started around 12:30pm, most runners were about 75% done. The winner had finished with around an 8 min mile pace; just to compare, marathon winners' paces are around 4 min miles. 

The energy was a lot different than the last time I was in the park. A whole lot of tourists and a small amount of runners. There weren't that many cheering stations, but that didn't matter. These runners were having a blast! They didn't need all that. They interacted with us and always always had a smile on their face. It was quite inspiring. I made sure to clap every time a runner came by (which of course got fewer and fewer as the time went on) because I know how much the encouragement means to me, so I was all about it! 

I love this super clever design! Can you see why?!
Being a slow runner, I could relate to these runners on the level of trying to weave through a crowded park with little to no support. It's annoying when random tourists get in your way, especially when you've already banked a good number of miles. When runners were coming sporadically and by themselves, I made sure to yell at people when they were getting in the way because honestly, I'd want someone to do it for me. I was stationed at a crosswalk so it happened a lot. I got a few looks for it, but hey! welcome to New York! Get it together and walk with a purpose or go back to [insert random state here]. It was super annoying to answer lost tourists questions, too. Really?! So, I made sure if I saw a runner coming, I'd stop talking and clap and cheer because that was my job- not to tell you how to get to the Met. UGH! And don't even get me started on the cyclists. Holy F-ing douchebags, Batman! WoW. Usually when I'm running, I ignore them or can't hear them. But standing in a crosswalk, they were totally asshats to people. Now don't get me wrong, tourists are definitely our common enemy, but it's not cool to zip through a crowded park on a Saturday afternoon like you're Lance Armstrong. Do that early in the morning when no one is around. Anyway. End rant.

I'm really glad this was the race I decided to volunteer for. I don't think it would've been the same at a run of the mill 4 miler, but that might just be me. Ultra runners just seemed so much happier and more grateful especially to volunteers. Besides always acknowledging me, they all made sure to thank me for the support on their last lap. How great was that?

In case you're in the market for winter volunteering: 

- Definitely layer. I wore my winter running gear under my clothes. In the beginning of the shift, I noticed I was a tad overdressed with my double pants, 3 shirts, a hoodie and a coat. And by tad, I mean I was sweating my ass off in the sun. But as the shift went on, I was very thankful for my layers and I even open my toe-warmers and stuck them in my shoes.

- Bring a bag. That definitely comes in handy. It can keep water, snacks and the shirt they will give you.

- Know where the bathrooms are! But if you run in the area (i.e. Central Park) you should already know where they are. I refuse to use a portapotty unless I'm running.

- Sunscreen! Even though it's cold, you'll still be outside for an extended period of time. Protect yourself!

What was your favorite volunteering experience?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Post-marathon blues.

Normally I would've been at the gym on a Tuesday. Instead, I had a much needed dinner date with my PIC. And thank goodness. We spent the majority of it talking about our week post-marathon. I have eaten donuts 7 out of the past 10 days, been on the verge of homicidal mania (R.I.P. my iPhone4. Don't ask) and more exhausted for doing nothing than I ever was during training- and that says alot! Her week wasn't any better. Little did we know, we were describing classic post-marathon blues, but it took us half way through dinner to realize that's what's been going on. I'm sure under normal circumstances, people's 1st marathon experiences aren't quite so eventful. Just the past 2 weeks weather patterns were enough to throw someone off balance, let alone tossing a marathon into the mix. What a relief! Thank goodness we figured it out before we quit our jobs and moved to Tahiti ;)

So all is well as well as it can be here. I'm going to try my damnedest not to drive everyone insane by taking full time to recover. 26 days is insane. My body is already ready to go. This past week, I've eaten terribly and not done a single extra physical activity. It feels so gross. It's ready to burn this stuff off. But I will be good. I can't mentally afford not to run The Disney Marathon in January.

And because The Universe is so awesome like that, this was waiting for me when I got home:

Tara Stiles Yoga DVDs
Perfect Solution to cure post-marathon blues!

Can't wait to tell yall all about it.
How do you cure post-race depression?

Friday, November 9, 2012

My first marathon

I have tried over a dozen times in the past week to figure out what I wanted to say on this and how to do it by properly expressing my feelings and I keep coming back to anger, hurt and heartbroken on so many different levels of each. Then, I read this article and I highly suggest you take a second to do the same. Mike Cassidy said it better than I ever could.

It's also taken me this long to grasp exactly how I feel about what Nov. 4 was supposed to be and what it turned into. My official stance? I am utterly mystified over the vilification of runners that happened surrounding the NYCM controversy; especially by other runners. 

In the short amount of time I've been apart of this amazing community, never has it ever been a bad thing to be a runner. A bat shit crazy thing? Sure! What sane person does what we do? It takes a special kind of strong to even imagine accomplishing something like that, let alone actually do it. Yet with all the crazy and all the masochism, I've never met a more supportive, positive, self giving group of people in my life. Even with some of the douchey elitist faster runners, at the end of the day we are a community of people who get it; who get me! I've never been apart of anything so accepting before and I highly suggest if you don't have your own community, find one. I would've never imagined in a million years anyone would say anything to any degree of what was said via social media in the past week. Not gonna lie, I got angry; really angry.

So, I did the only thing I could do (without getting arrested). I ran on Sunday anyway. I ran because life was so over whelming at that moment that that's the only thing I could do. Running has turned into my place to think, especially when life gives me something I need to work out. So, I had a nice long run to think about things. 26.2 miles, to be exact. I ran into Manhattan to meet the PIC and we set out to run out all of our frustrations (thank you, taper madness. You are a real thing and were not helping matters). There were lots of tears, lots of yelling and lots of cursing. PS- I'm pretty sure mad enough, anyone can run a marathon.

Then there was a beautiful moment as we started getting closer to the park. You could hear cheers and when you got even closer, you could see a completely jam packed Central Park (the best summer day had nothing on this). People were cheering harder than I've ever seen. There were make-shift water and aid stations everywhere. Runners were cheering each other on, high-fiving, and helping each other out. It truly was the 26 mile block party everyone claims the NYCM is, but even better. The positive energy wrapped itself around you, and carried you through your run. I've never experienced anything like it before. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

As we joined the stream of runners (clockwise on the outside, counter on the inside. For being unofficial, it was quite organized), it was very apparent that these people weren't and could never be the evil that those sitting in the comforts that others had lost were trying to make them out to be. Everywhere you looked someone had on a charity singlet or a personalized shirt for the person they were running for. Charity or not, selfish or not we all have our own reasons for running and who the hell are you to judge? At that moment, I didn't care what anyone thought. This was a moment that would (hopefully) never have to happen again and I wasn't going to forget, so I made sure to soak up every inch of it.

The A team!
This race has always been about the battle between me and New York City. We were going to come to an understanding that day; mainly that no matter what it tried to throw at me, it would never beat me. And I proved to it that it didn't. It would've been nice to be the love letter I originally wanted it to be, but I'm ok with what it turned into. It almost felt fitting. I came to realize that a marathon is the ultimate metaphor for life and given the chance, there is always good. 
Even after those many many hours, I am still at a loss. I am not as angry, but I'm still heartbroken that this city had to go through this and I'm still hurt about the way the situation was escalated. It was such an unnecessary battle when there are still so many others vastly more important. I do know that there is no quick-fix to recover from this; any of this. 

I really hope time brings perspective.