Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In Honor of Earth Day/Week/Month, My Town Is...

...cutting down trees.

4 mile tempo run in the sketchy park down the road at 9ish this morning.  It got very warm quickly.  I only needed a tank top.  Spring has finally sprung!

I noticed at the north end of the park where there were once woods, a construction crew had taken down most of the trees and were digging up the ground.  As much as I fear rabid bats dive bombing me during my runs, I got very sad that their homes are gone.  Were they relocated?  I would like to think so, but I don't really know.  It's actually quite depressing to me to see deforestation on any level.  How many species are we going to eliminate before karma decides to bite us in the arse (and everywhere else) and eliminate us?  I know I wrote a couple of days ago that I was dreading running 26.2 miles in a park, but that's only because I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and get bored after five minutes of doing pretty much anything anywhere.  I really love all things Nature.  I mean, that's why we run outdoors, right?  I'll spare you my (environ)mental rant.  If, however, you want to read more ranting, you can on my upcoming Revenge of the Earth:  A Planet Strikes Back, Bye-Bye Humans blog.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Late To Bed, Early To Rise...

I regularly go to sleep after midnight.  I've always been a night owl.  After the kids are settled in, it's my time to unwind.  I like to watch TV, work on the computer (Blog, anyone?), read, talk to friends, etc.  This past week, I've also been waking up early, like before 6am.  Once I'm up, it's almost impossible for me to go back to sleep, as much as I'd like to.  This prolonged lack of sleep has not been helping my runs.  I went out this morning at 7:10 for a five miler, even though I slept about 3-4 hours.  It was surprisingly comfortable, yet uneventful.  It was a damp 54 degrees.  I took a couple of cat naps in the afternoon, which is highly unusual for me.  I am not a napper, unless I'm sick or desperate (like today).  Hopefully, I'll get back to my normal schedule.  I like sleep.  A lot.  I dislike being tired and sluggish throughout the day, particularly during my runs.

For the past week, I've been experiencing some dull little aches and pains in my legs while lying in bed.  They feel almost like growing pains, but I'm pretty sure I'm past that stage.  Am I already experiencing shrinking pains?  Is there such a thing?  Is this what happens when you get older?  This week's People magazine is all about beautiful women of all ages.  There's a picture of Jane Fonda in a very form fitting revealing gown.  She is 75 years old, but her body still looks like that of a 25 year old.  That's not such a bad future, but does she feel aches and pains?  I feel good and limber during most of my runs, but throughout the day, I sometimes limp around like a real 75 year old (Not the Hollywood version).

Is there a workout tape to match your 75 year old face with your 25 year old body?  (I'm not trying to be mean to Ms. Fonda, but let's get real...)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Trees A Crowd

I did 10.78 miles today in 91:26, an 8:28 pace.  It was 56 degrees.  I wore shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt, short sleeves would have sufficed.  The run felt sluggish, especially toward the end.  I was about to turn into my block after an hour and twenty when I realized I still had ten more minutes left.  Annoying.

I was talking to my buddy, "Anonymous", this evening about our upcoming half marathon, the Stratton Faxon in Fairfield, Connecticut.  This will be her first half marathon.  She was feeling a little discouraged because her eight miler today was a tough one.  It was her longest distance run to date.  I reassured her that everyone has off days.  Her run last week felt great.  I also told her how her diet the day before can sometimes help or hinder the performance.  I'm pretty sure  I didn't eat enough yesterday and I felt the consequences today.  You're going to do great, A!

I took a look at my full marathon site.  There is a video of the course filmed by a guy riding his bike.  The whole video is 30 minutes long.  I have to say it was quite boring.  Eighteen miles are run on a bike path in a park.  It looked kind of lonely.  Lots o' trees.  If I was bored during the video, I wonder what's going to happen during almost four hours of running it.  I have nothing against trees, by the way.  I really like them.  For eighteen miles, though?  Running?  Um, maybe I should have watched the video before I signed up.   I'm going to have to run it lightning speed so I don't go bat shit.  Great motivation.  Seriously, it's a beautiful course.  I'm so used to running on busy streets, this will be a welcome change....I hope.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

NY Ink, Gangnam Style

Hello again.  I think this was the longest break I took away from the blog.  I've been busy, but honestly, there are days when I feel uninspired and really don't know what to write.  A daily diary about my mundane goings-on is stupefyingly interesting to myself, but maybe not so much to you, my faithful readers.  I appreciate you checking in with me, therefore I would like to at least try to make it somewhat worth your while.  That said, um...nothing really exciting has happened since we last met...except...

I got a couple of new tattoos!  Yes, tattoos are not for everyone (You know who you are!).  Personally, I love mine.  I put a lot of thought into what I am going to memorialize on my body.  I don't have any ex-boyfriends' names (Whew!) or passing fads (No Chia pets or Milli Vanilli here) or cartoon characters (Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn might have seemed "cool" for a week in college, but not so much the following semester.)  I got my first tattoo, the Korean flag, about twenty years ago (I'm half Korean, in case you didn't know).  I'd like to add this was done before every Tom, Dick, and Justin Bieber started getting inked.   I  have "four" on my right wrist symbolizing each of my offspring.  I put "four" in quotes because the last one (which was done two nights ago) is actually two Korean characters,  the translation of Baby Girl's name.

I also wanted to get a running related one for years, but couldn't decide on one.  I was considering the Korean characters for "mother" and "runner" or maybe something in Italian (Oh, I'm Italian too!).  I asked my wonderful Italian, Austrian, Vietnamese cousin for some translations and she came up with a Korean proverb, "Where there's will, there is a road."  Brilliant!  I loved it immediately.  Not only does it apply to running, but it is a philosophy I have always tried to live my life by and pass on to my children.  Whether it be good grades, a job, family, lifestyle choices, running a marathon, or running a faster marathon, I truly believe if you set your mind and heart to it, it can be done.

I usually am not one to flaunt my ink, however I LOOOOVE my new ones.  I feel compelled to share the good news!  So (drum roll) ta-da...

The new ink will over time look like the others.

So my last four tats were done at Tattoo By Richie in Elmont, NY.  I highly recommend this place.  They have been in business for over twenty years (This says a lot about a local, small business in today's economy).  Richie, the owner, did Baby Girl's name and the proverb.  Not only is he a talented, experienced artist, he is also extremely patient and down-to-earth, with a sense of humor to boot.  

I did another couple of slow 5 milers the day before yesterday and today.  Yesterday I took a second day off for the week to get back on my regularly scheduled programming (Also, I was tired).  Even though it was still a tad chilly this morning when I started out at 7:45, by mid run I was regretting the fleece I chose.  The weather looks like it might finally be getting better for the long haul.  90 minute run on tap for tomorrow.  I haven't decided where yet.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I didn't sleep well last night.  Pete went to work at 6am this morning.  When I got up for the day, I put my running clothes on with the best intentions.  He didn't get home from work until 3 in the afternoon and by then I was done for the day.  Oh well.

Runner's World posted an article about next year's Boston Marathon.  The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) has not decided what it will do about 2014's registration.  Last year the qualifiers had staggered registration over two weeks, the faster runners got priority.  When the time slots were over, there were still openings for another two weeks.  It's hard to anticipate what will happen this year.  Will more people want to run because of the bombings to show support and the city's resilience?  Will less people want to run out of fear?  And what about the 4,000+ people who were stopped at Mile 21 when they closed the course?  Do they get automatic entry?  If so, will most of them even want to run Boston again?  I will have to just wait and see.

I'm zoning out right now.  See you tomorrow!  Nighty night!  (I wish I had some cashews right now...)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On The Right Track

Yesterday morning I went out for a slow 5 miler.  It was chilly again, 34 degrees.

This evening called for speed work.  All I needed was an available track, which during the school year, is almost impossible to find.  I dropped my daughter and her friend off at soccer practice at 5:30, then scoped out the middle school track.  Occupied.  I then checked out the high school.  Occupied.  I decided to go home and eat some chicken.  Afterwards, I went to Home Depot to get a new refrigerator water filter and wainscoting, neither of which were in stock (More about this on my upcoming My House Is An Eternal Money Pit blog).  Striking out everywhere.  By now, it was almost 7.  I knew Sana's track team was finishing up their practice at the high school and the track would be available to the public.  Yay!  I, finally, was able to get in my 8 x 400s (8 laps at 5-10k speed and 8 laps at a comfortable jog).

Postscript:  My three year old is sitting on my lap as I type.  She just pointed out the "track" marks on my left arm.  No, Sweetie, your mommy is not a heroin addict.  Her Yurbuds arm band just constantly rubs up and down her arm as she runs, leaving unattractive, hypodermic needle looking scars.  Lovely.

No, this is not my audition tape from "Requiem For A Dream".

Sunday, April 21, 2013

5 Towns 5K Race Review

First of all, it was 37 degrees when I woke up this morning.  Earlier in the week I was wearing shorts.  37 degrees at the end of April in New York is unacceptable, whoever is in charge of that stuff!    I arrived at North Woodmere Park about an hour before race start, it was in the mid-forties by then .  Packet pickup was painless and indoors where I remained until start time.  As the time passed, it got pretty crowded.  There were people of all ages, a lot of families.

I headed out to the parking lot at around 9:45, as did everyone else.  There were no race officials in sight.  Finally, announcements were made.  They told walkers and people with strollers to start at the back.  As usual, this direction was ignored.  They also said that some of the walkers could make shortcuts on the course, as long as they didn't cross the finish line, otherwise the results would be all screwed up.  Take a wild guess whether or not the walkers heeded this directive.  

The start signal went off probably at 10:10.  The race went through the neighborhood streets.  I hit Mile 1 at a comfortable 7:04.  That's nice!  Mile 2 was at 14:21.  Oooh, am I going to finish this in 21:xx?!  Uh-uh.  I could feel myself fading in that last mile.  The route finally took us back to the park.  There was a a 300 yard(ish) straightaway to the finish line which seemed to last forever. My watch read 22:45 as I approached.  I tried to make it under 23, but instead finished at 23:02 (7:25 pace).  A PR.  Yay!  It would have been nice to go sub-23, but I'll take a PR by 40 seconds.

There were plenty of fruit drinks, water bottles, bagels, and chips given out in the finishing area.  I heard there were bananas somewhere, but I could not find them.  They announced that the awards ceremony would start at 11.  Apparently, that meant 11:40.  Oddly, there were problems because some of the walkers who took shortcuts did cross the finish line (Sigh).  I chatted with a couple of people.  One Gilbert Gottfried look-alike told me he used to run 16 minute 5ks when he was younger, but now he's old enough to be my father.  He's 42  (I plan on repeating this conversation to anyone who'll listen for the next...year or so).   They finally posted the results and I placed first in my age group (47th overall out of 581, top 8th%)!  Okay, I'll wait around.  The announcer did not give out the age group awards in order.  He tried to accommodate too many people (except me) and handed them out to basically whomever asked.  I finally got my medal and a nice spectator took my picture.  I look surprisingly happy.

Overall, it was a flat and fast course.  The people were super friendly, if not disorganized.  I recommend this race if you're looking to PR and have more than a few hours to kill.

Packet Pickup

North Woodmere Park

At the start.

Never ending awards ceremony

Saturday, April 20, 2013

5 Towns 5k Eve

Tomorrow is my 5 Towns 5k in Woodmere, NY.  I decided on this race over the Earth Run only because it was easier to sign up.  The Earth Run wanted me to print out the application and mail it in so they can cross check it with the online registration. Seriously?  Why?  This is also Earth Run's second year.  Barely any information on the site.  I will have a nice race report tomorrow.

Today was my day off.  No long run this weekend.  Whoo hoo!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hood to Coast Movie

I did a 5 miler yesterday.  It was 65 degrees, warm enough to wear both shorts and a t-shirt.  Today was Tempo Thursday.  Almost 4 miles in 30:56, a 7:48 pace.  Overcast and in the 50s, perfect running weather.

Yesterday the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon sold out.  Last year they sold out in July.  I have a feeling what happened in Boston played a role in the quick sellout.  The Mohawk is known for being a great Boston qualifying (BQ) race.  I think the attacks likely inspired more people to want to run Boston next year to show their support and the country's resilience.  I know that's why I'll be there.

I watched the Hood to Coast movie.  The filmmakers followed four teams:  One team honoring a 30 year old family member who passed away the year before from a congenital heart condition; Dead Jocks In A Box is a team of "over-the-hill" elite male runners (I thought they were creepy, like desperate old pervs); Heart And Soul are  a group of Masters women, including a 67 year old who almost died on the course the year before from a heart attack; and my favorite, Thunder and Laikaning, a team of young animators who "trained" for the race by running a total of three miles, sitting around, and drinking beer.  The documentary was well made and really gave you a sense of what the 197 mile relay race is like.  In fact, I'm a little nervous about it now.  Nervous about being over tired by my third and final leg and also  possibly losing my team since I really don't know any of them.  I'm going to suggest we all wear Big Bird costumes.  I hope they go for it.

My very long stride will be a great advantage.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We Are All Runners

I did a 4 mile tempo run.  I, like every other runner, was thinking about Boston.  I am more determined now than ever to get myself signed up and be at the starting line in Hopkinton next year.

Running is a solitary sport.  That is probably what attracts me to it.  I like to be out there on my own.  I'm not a group runner.  I don't enjoy chatting.  I am surrounded by children all day who like to chat, laugh, yell, shout bang, stomp, etc.  When I run, it's quiet.  I can think.  Or not.

Running in a race is a group effort.  That is what attracts me to it.  You are among peers.  Everyone has the same goal.  You feed off of each other's energy.  You draft behind someone.  You pace with someone.  You compete with someone.  In a large race, you and the elite runners are starting in the same place and ending in the same place, covering the same distance.  This does not happen in any other sport.

Running in a marathon is not a 4 hour race.  It is an event that started at least four months prior to race day.  You have run anywhere from 25 to 70 miles per week, 5 or 6 days a week, for months.  You wake up early to get your run in.  You brave the night streets if you couldn't get out there earlier.  You miss a child's soccer game.  You skip church.  You plan your days around your long runs.  This is a commitment only fellow marathoners and their families can relate to.

Running is not violent.  I mean look at us.  We're usually scrawny.  Some of us look like you could knock us over with a sneeze.  We have shiny clothes and lots of gadgets.  Talk about nerds.  You want to hurt runners?  You don't need a bomb.  Stand at the 4 mile marker in a 10k and tell everyone there's only one more mile left.  I mean, that's it!  I guarantee you'll devastate the majority of the field.

Bombs.  Bioweapons.  Airplanes.  This is cowardice.  Choose the difficult road.  Choose tolerance, compromise, forgiveness, compassion, peace.  This is the road that will lead you to the ultimate glory, if that's what you are looking for.  This is the road that will earn you respect.  This is the only road.  And after a while, you'll find that you're not alone.  There are runners on that road too.  It hasn't been easy for them either. They, too want to reach that finish line, get the medal, maybe a free beer, and maybe a little recognition for their efforts.  This is the only road.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I spent the easy 5 mile run today thinking about how wonderful it was that the weather was finally improving.  It was a mild 50 degrees and the sun was pushing its way out from behind the clouds.  I thought it was a perfect day for the Boston Marathon.

What can I say about the events that followed?  After September 11th, I experienced my own version of PTSD.  I used to love flying, but after the attack I developed a case of aerophobia.  I still flew, but I would have anxiety for the weeks leading up to the flight, all the way up until boarding the plane.  I made a conscious decision that I would prevail.  After all, I'm a New Yorker.  I loved travel too much, but more importantly, I didn't want to pass this fear onto my children.  I want them to see the world.  I made sure they never saw my distress.  I got over it eventually, but it took almost ten years.  However, I am still cautious and hyper-aware in crowds, particularly large organized events.  As much as I want to run in the New York City Marathon, I always thought I would be a little nervous in the crowd, particularly at the start and finish lines.  Too many people cramped in a closed off space.  What if something happened?  What if there was a terrorist attack?  I actually contemplated this.  

And then it happened.  I did not run Boston today, but everyone and their mother knew I am going to be running in it next year.  I was touched by the number of people who reached out to me today.  I am sickened by the violence.  I thought of the disabled veterans that I see running in most big races.  Soldiers who survived IED attacks.  I'm sure there were many in Boston today.  This was probably the last place they thought they would reencounter another bomb attack.  Then I heard this year's race was dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Some of their families were at the finish line.  Another violent attack?  Just heartbreaking.  So far there are three deaths, one being an 8 year old boy.  I wonder if this child was there to cheer on his mother or father.  My children are always on the sidelines cheering me on.  I can't even imagine.  

What the hell is wrong with people?  

I saw this on a friend's Facebook page.  Perfect.

Nowhere To Run To

I did 5 slow miles this morning in 51 degrees.  It was windy again.  My new 5 mile route is starting to get old.  My town is kind of small, but surrounded by a lot of busy roads.  There really isn't a big variety of interesting running routes.  I prefer running up north (No big secret, right?) because it is larger by square miles, the streets are winding and quieter, and those motherlovin' hills.  One interesting note though, there are a hell of a lot more runners here than there.  On any given day, I see at least 4 or 5 people pounding the pavement.  In Manhasset, I see maybe one runner 1 out of 10 runs.  Growing up I would see more people out there.  I think when they found out I moved, they all just gave up.  I mean, what's the point anymore?  The one runner I see didn't get the memo.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I'm Too Lazy For My App...

...what you think about that?  (Are you singing that song too?)

I did 10 miles in 90 minutes up on the north shore.  I started at my mother's house in Manhasset, ran through Plandome to Port Washington, and then back home via Munsey Park.  I used the Map My Run app on my iPhone because I wanted to explore and look at the pretty homes on the Manhasset Bay.  I kept going down dead end roads in Plandome which was annoying.  There was one really long, steep hill in Port Washington (Richard Road) that reminded me of "Widow Hill" (James Street) in the Great Cow Harbor Race.  Overall it was a good, hilly run.  I think my pace was faster than the 9:18 that Map My Run recorded because I stopped for a phone call for a couple of minutes and forgot to pause the app.  I also didn't pause it while waiting for lights.  It's too much trouble to take it out of the arm band, enter the password, pause the app, resume the app, put it back into my arm band, blah, blah, blah...

My relay race is coming together.  We booked our lodgings and flights.  I'm psyched!  There's a documentary about the race called, of all things, "Hood To Coast"!  It's not available through our library, so I'm going to buy it through Amazon. I will watch it every night until the race.  Just kidding.  Every other night...  Did I mention I was psyched about this race? Oh, and Pete is not going to run.  It's too complicated for both of us to be either running or riding in a van for 18 hours while our four children are fending for themselves somewhere in the wild Pacific Northwest (Okay, that might be  a little dramatic, but you get my drift.)

Here's that song we were singing while reading this entry:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My 2013 Marathon And Then Some...

45 minute tempo run in 53 degrees.  No rain.  I took it easy for the first fifteen minutes, ran at a 5 or 10k pace for the next fifteen, and then a cool down for the last third.  I ended up running 5.72 miles at a 7:58 pace.

Remember a long time ago (yesterday) when I wrote that I was going to wait for my NYC Marathon rejection before I decided on a fall marathon?  Well, I guess I lied.  Not only did I already sign up for a fall marathon, but I am seriously considering a west coast relay race too!

I was looking at the Running In the USA web site to find a marathon.  This is a great site that lists races in every state for the entire year.  If you can't find what you want when or where you want, it's a good idea to check in again periodically because new races are added all the time.  Today I came across the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon.  The race starts in Schenectady, NY and ends right outside of Albany, our capital.  The reviews say that the autumn scenery on the route couldn't be prettier and it is super FAST.  Runner's World said it "produced the highest percentage of Boston Qualifiers" for four years straight.  I'm already Boston Qualified for 2014, however I am looking for a nice PR.  I am really excited about this race.  There's just one crazy glitch.  Apparently, train tracks cross the route at some point.  The trains do not stop running for the race, so if you happen to get caught at the crossing while a train is going by, you have to wait.  There's a timing mat and a race official there to record the interruption.  They then subtract your waiting time from your final result.  Odd, huh?  Bring it on!

Relay race, you ask?  Pete has run the Hood To Coast Relay in the past with some of his old college buddies.  Today he asked if I was interested in doing it.  I was kind of flattered because I always thought these big relay races were only for the hard core more experienced runners.  Well, apparently they're not, but I'll go on pretending it's so.

Hood To Coast is 200 miles from Mount Hood to Seaside, Oregon.  There are 12 runners on each team running 3 legs totaling 15-19 miles in less than 24 hours, closer to 18.  The longest of the legs is 7.5 miles.  Not bad.  You get a 6 hour break in between each leg.  The legs range in difficulty from flat to mountainous.  The most difficult leg is the first one.  It is downhill, but it is extremely steep, a quadricep's nightmare.  Pete's friends' team's only requirement is running a sub-8 min. mile.  I can do that!

Of course there are two issues here.  The first is our children.  Pete would also like to run.  This means not only does someone have to watch our four children, but also transport them from Point A to Point B.  Not crazy about that idea.  The second issue is this race falls on the weekend of my second twenty miler in my marathon training plan.  I can easily switch that long run for the 17 miler the next weekend, but I'm wondering if it still counts since the miles are broken up over a period of time?  It's still within 24 hours.  I have to research that a little more.

So anyway, I'm psyched!  I went from nothing on the calendar after June to two really big (in my head) events.  Mohawk is a done deal.  Fingers crossed that Hood to Coast works out!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Are You Athlinked?

5 slow miles in 55 degrees this morning.

I saw this picture on the ING Runners Nation Facebook page.  I thought it was very cute and true.  I am a little obsessed with Athlinks.  They list most sporting event results and if they don't you can upload your race link to the site.  It is very easy to stalk people's results, not that I have ever done that...(cough cough).  Anyway, it can be a motivator to run a good race, knowing that your results will be out there for all to see (Or just for you to see over and over and over again...).

Speaking of ING, the application for the New York City Marathon will be online April 24.  I am going to apply (again) and not make a decision about my fall marathon until after I get rejected (Yes, in this case, the glass is always half empty).  Feel free to remind me to register on April 24, because as you know (or may not know), I will likely forget.  Thanks in advance.

I'm supposed to do a 45 minute tempo run tomorrow.  There's a thunderstorm outside right now (9pm) and the forecast for tomorrow is rain.  I haven't decided if I'm going to run anyway.  Running in the rain in the summertime is fun, but the temperature is already dropping.  Running in cold rain is the opposite of fun.  It sucks.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Need For Speed

My daughter had track at the high school tonight so it was a perfect opportunity to get my speed work in.  My schedule had me running 7 x 400s, meaning seven laps around the quarter mile track at a 5k pace.  I did a recovery lap in between each of them, a total of three and a half miles.  Even though the mileage in speed work is pretty low, the effort tires me out quickly.  The little kids on the track team were leaving me in their dust (I'm talking 7-11 year olds.  I might "accidentally" trip them the next time they try to pass me.).  By the end of the workout, I had accumulated a good amount of gnat corpses on my face (Yeah, I'm that fast...).  As hard as it is, I think this is the best way to increase speed.  In the past, I tried doing just tempo runs with no improvement.  It's only when I add speed work at the track do I start PRing.  This may not apply to everyone.  I know people who don't do any speed training, yet their times improve just by the large number of weekly miles they put in.  To each her own.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kites Rise Highest Against the Wind, Not With It. -Winston Churchill

Churchill, obviously, was a quack.

Today I ran for 90 minutes as per the Higdon training schedule.  I did my usual longer loop and a half.  Although the temperature was milder than it had been since we returned from our prison sentence vacation, the headwind at the beginning of the run was strong.  I looked forward to the turn around when the wind would be at my back.  Instead, it magically died down until the next turn around when it resumed pushing me backward as I tried to go forward.  I didn't have a ton of energy today (A combination of wind and residual fatigue from Crazy Teeny-Bopping Dance Off Night?) I would have been perfectly happy to quit if someone had asked.  No one asked.  I ended up running 10.7 miles in the hour and a half, an 8:24 pace.

I'm supposed to run a 5k on April 21 (Higdon says so!).  There's an Earth Run in Garden City and another one in Woodmere.  I haven't decided which one yet.  I'm leaning toward the Earth Run because it's for a good cause.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Scarlett Fever

Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training Program called for a 3 mile run today.  I went out with some friends in the city last night and we wound up dancing like crazy teenagers until 2 in the morning.  I was up fairly early this morning for a birthday party, but made sure  I got dressed in my running attire (Part of my psychological commitment to the run).   A few errands had to be taken care of in the early afternoon, and then my eldest's soccer game at 3pm.  By 4:30 I was ready for a nap, but instead started preparing dinner.  Let's just say the run never happened.  No commitments for most of the day tomorrow.  After sleeping in, I will attempt my ten miler.

Tomorrow is another day...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Yet If Hope Has Flown Away...

I woke up and looked at the clock.  It was 10:30am!  I couldn't believe it!  The ING marathon started at 9am.  Am I doomed to screw up every single race I want to run?  I was definitely registered, unlike the Providence Half Marathon.  My bib was on top of the running outfit I laid out the night before.  I quickly got dressed and ran out to the start.  Even though I was an hour and a half late, this was one of the big marathons so I knew there were going to be walkers out there.  Surely, I could catch up to them, at the very least.  I saw the starting line and stepped on the mat to activate my timing chip.  Immediately, I saw the slower folks out on the course.  I was beginning to feel a little better.  One mile.  Two miles.  Three.  At six miles, I remembered Lance Armstrong was returning to the Tour de France today.  I am certainly not a fan of his, but I wanted to catch a glimpse of the race.  The route took us past the hotel again so I ducked inside and back into the room.  The family was watching the cyclists on TV.  It actually was pretty exciting to watch.  I decided to hang out a little while.  At some point someone asked me, "Aren't you supposed to be running the marathon?"  Oh yeah...  I knew any chance of PRing was long gone.  Should I go back downstairs?  Before I could decide....

...I woke up again.  This time for real.  That sick knot in my belly slowly began to shrink.  Ever since I graduated from college five years ago (cough cough...  What?!  It's practically five years ago, give or take another fifteen.), I have had recurring nightmares.  Either it is the day of my final exams and I have not studied or attended class all semester.  I don't even know where the exam room is.  Or it is the day a final paper is due and I haven't written one word.  Whenever I wake from these dreams, I am sick and relieved at the same time.  I guess I can now add the Unprepared Marathon to the nightmare library.

Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allen Poe

Yesterday I did a 5 mile 40 minute tempo run almost identical to Tuesday's run.  Today is my RDO (Regular Day Off).

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Good Reads

5.02 miles

Okay, remember when I was giving unsolicited advice on how to run a marathon?  I wrote that if you're realistic about your fitness level, start out slow, then run the rest of the race by feel, you should be able to finish feeling great and meet your goal.  Well, there's a genius  article on Runner's World.com basically saying the same thing [pat pat pat - that is me patting myself on my back].  The author, Amby Burfoot, is a Boston Marathon winner and the Editor in Chief.  I am very happy that I actually knew what I was talking about.

My friend sent me a New York Times article on the Barkley Marathons.  What is this, you ask?  Why, only the craziest ultra-marathon run by the craziest race director, Mr. Gary Cantrell.  It is 100 freezing miles in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee.  The race was inspired by the failed escape of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassin from prison (this tidbit might give you a sense of the director's mindset).  It is so difficult that less than two percent of people who have ever participated actually finish.   There is a lot of mud sliding, tunnel crawling, water wading in frigid temperatures.  The best part of the marathon is actually signing up.  Apparently, finding out how to do so is a feat unto itself.  Do I see a Barkley Marathon in my future?  Hell no (Unless I find myself in the hoosegow, of course).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tempo Tuesday and Evil Drug Dealers

My second day of the Higdon Advanced Half Marathon Training called for hills.  It wasn't convenient for me to head up north, so I chose a 5 mile tempo run, instead.  I wore my bright yellow, water-resistant G-shock Casio watch.  I noticed I hit Mile 1 in an easy 8:11.  At ten minutes I picked up the pace for the next twelve minutes.  I guessed that it was somewhere between my 5k and 10k pace (Whatever that means.  I judge by my effort.  In the training plans, I'm not sure if they mean PR pace or goal pace...so I just run by feel).  I ran the next ten minutes at a leisurely pace, picked it up again for four, then pulled back for the last four.  This is my version of a tempo run.  It seemed about right.  My watch read 39:50 when I returned home, a 7:56 pace.  I felt good.  It was a comfortable 34 degree morning.

I've been trying to eat better since we left for hell vacation.  I want to get down to my optimal racing weight so I cut back on some personal favorites, chocolate chip cookies and caffe mochas from Starbucks.  Alright fine!  I'm still eating chocolate chip cookies, but I'm having "one" (aka, two) a day instead of six.  I'm snacking on carrots and grape tomatoes, and drinking my coffee black with Equal (Less fattening does not always translate into healthy, I know).  I've lost a few pounds, but I've noticed my energy waning too.  I need to increase my protein intake, methinks.

Another reason I'm trying to improve my diet is because of my questionable cholesterol level.  It has been over 200 for as long as I can remember.  I think there have been two years in the past fifteen or twenty when it dipped below.  My doctor is more concerned than I am.  She knows that I exercise regularly, I am not obese, and I don't smoke anymore or drink a lot to oblivion anymore.  Yet, she wants to put me on meds if the number doesn't decrease in six months.  I am actually very against this and will put my foot down if she insists.  I did my own research and found an interesting article written by a Dr. Joseph Mercola.  He basically said that the "Danger Number 200" was created by a panel of ten doctors, eight of whom also worked for the cholesterol-lowering pharmaceutical companies.  Not surprised.  The total number, according to him, is meaningless.  He suggests:

     "Two ratios that are far better indicators of heart disease risk are:
  1. Your HDL/total cholesterol ratio: HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your total cholesterol. This percentage should ideally be above 24 percent. Below 10 percent, it's a significant indicator of risk for heart disease
  2. Your triglyceride/HDL ratios: This percentage should ideally be below 2"
When I calculate my own percentages, I am actually in the safe zone (Yes, I know that my blog font has now changed to the quoted article font.  I don't know how to fix this.  I'm sure it is easy to differentiate between the article and my blog.  My words do not sound scientific in any way, shape, or form. They're more of the pedestrian bullshit variety.)   I prefer to change my diet and lifestyle than become a slave to the billion dollar pharmaceutical companies, or as I like to call them, Satan.  I will save my disdain for greedy, evil, big businesses for my I Hate Greedy, Big Businesses (aka, Satan) Because They Are Evil blog.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Nightmare On I-95 Street

Did a 5k on the dreadmill this morning in the Chester, Virginia hotel exercise room.  I wanted to do more, but alas, the pressure of having to check out and drive yet another 300 miles home.  Major construction and rush hour traffic in DC/Baltimore area.  Just got home after 11pm.  Can't.  Write.  Any.  More.  Must.  Slee....p.....zzz....zzzz...

(Hal Higdon Half Marathon training officially started today.  I have to get up early if I want to get my tempo run in before Pete has to leave for work.)

Another Eggsciting Car Ride

Today is Easter (Happy Easter!  To those who don't celebrate, Happy Sunday!).  We went to breakfast and then the kids hunted for eggs at the hotel organized Easter event.  Then back in the car for another nine grueling hours.  No time for a run down the bunny trail.

I am still deciding what marathon to do in the fall.  Atlantic City made my list only because of the proximity.  Many people have said it should get nixed, though.  Reasons being unavoidable wind, boring ten miles of boardwalk, likely rain, and creepiness (shudder).  Atlanta made the list because one of Pete's closest college friends lives there.  He's more likely to support the whole marathon weekend if there's something in it for him.  I'm still not completely sold, the number one reason being the hills.  As much as I like challenges, and even though I PR'd on the hilly Baltimore course, it was still a little nerve-racking going into that race not knowing what to expect.  As I've said before, hills can be subjective.  One woman's hill is another's pancake.  Not one person referred to the Atlanta course as a pancake in any of the reviews I read.

Some have suggested the Anthem Richmond Marathon, also known as "The Friendliest Marathon".  What's not to love with a reputation like that?  Richmond was last year's fallback for a lot of marathoners after New York City was cancelled.  It's flat, fast, and about a six hour car ride from Long Island.  After this road trip, I'm not sure I want to drive farther than 40 minutes anywhere ever.  Make that 20 with the kids.