Friday, November 29, 2013

Garden City Turkey Trot Review

Pete, Freighbor, and I parked near the Garden City Middle School and sat in the car until 9:40am, then braved our way to the start.  It was a chilly 31 degrees.

I was surprised to see there was actually a separate corral at the start for elite runners.  Once everyone lined up, I had to check out who was in the corral, about 6 skinny guys who looked like they were teenagers.

Pete, Freighbor, and I positioned ourselves in the 7 minute mile pace area.  It was crowded, but not as bad as I expected.  People were civilized.  There was no unnecessary shoving.  I decided to run with music in this race because toward the end of my last race, I was desperate for some motivation.  A recording of the national anthem was played over the loudspeaker and then we all did our shuffle to the starting mat.  We were off.

Immediately, we ran up a slight incline in the first mile, around Adelphi University.  I hit Mile One at 7:24.  I was feeling pretty good, despite the cold.  My watch read 14:33 at Mile Two.  Things were looking good...until they didn't.  My breathing became more labored.  The icy wind around certain corners was challenging, to say the least.  I arrived at Mile Three at 22:xx.  I felt myself slowing down, slowly but surely.  The cold never relented.  I passed some friends at a couple of spots who were nice enough to cheer me on.  I noticed a young boy about 8 years old running alongside me.  I found this more annoying than cute.  My pathetic ego could not let this child beat me.  Seriously?!  Yes.  There was an older man running next to him coaxing him along.  That was a good sign.  For me.  I finally passed him, but it didn't make me feel any better.  

I came down the home stretch at 37 minutes.  I knew I wasn't going to hit my goal (37:00) because I couldn't see the finish line.  We turned a tight corner into the St. Paul's parking lot.  At last, the end was in sight.  I crossed the finish at 38:01 (3rd in Age Group).  I saw a friend who told me her twelve year old son finished in 35 minutes.  This made me proud (not annoyed) because I know the kid, he's sweet, and he's a phenomenal athlete.  

I made my way over to the "refreshment" table.  Chocolate milk!!!  Yeah!!  Not chocolate milk?  Chocolate flavored...coconut water...(gag).  Lime flavored...coconut water...(more gagging)  What the fuck?  Where the hell was a Poland Spring when you needed it?  Alright, damn it.  I'll take the Limey crap, super sized.  It tasted just as disgusting as I expected.  Thank you (as in, NOT thank you).

I reunited with Freighbor and Pete who both finished like champions.  This was Pete's first race since I can't remember.  His time was in the 43 minute range.  Pretty good, especially with no training.  We all walked back to the car, eager to reward ourselves at the Garden City Starbucks (Up yours, Coconut Water!).  Uh huh.  We got to Starbucks, only to realize none of us had any moolah or plastic.  Not even freighbor's Starbucks App could save us because her phone died upon arrival.  Such is the story of our First Garden City Turkey Trot.

BUT Aimée!!!  Did you get your well deserved grande decaf skinny mocha?!?!  Please say yes!  Not to worry.  We dropped Pete off at home, I grabbed my wallet, and Freighbor and I headed to OUR Starbucks.  Apparently, everyone else who ran the race wanted to come to our Starbucks, as well.  Not sure for the same reason.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Eat the Turkey, But Just Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

Last week I did four 8 mile runs, one 5 miler, and one 3 miler, totaling 40 miles.  I passed on the Sunday long run because 1)  I am no longer training for a marathon and feel like I should be able to catch a break, 2)  I'm tired all week and love  not having to get up at the butt crack of dawn on the weekend to run for two hours (see #1) , and 3)  I'm thinking as long as I'm doing 40 miles per week, it shouldn't matter that much how it's split up.  I actually felt good by the end of the week and not overtrained, which is how I felt during a lot of my last marathon cycle.  My last couple of 8 milers I ran at around an 8 minute pace.  The speed felt very comfortable.  I didn't feel like I was racing or overexerting myself.  So far, so good.

My 5 mile turkey trot is on Thursday (Thanksgiving).  This particular turkey trot is popular in these parts, although it will be my first time.  Last year there were 3200 participants and almost 3400 the year before!  Yikes!  This is three times larger than the marathon I just ran!  Hopefully, there will be a timing mat at the start so the possible five minutes it might take to just cross the starting line is not added to your overall time.  Please Race God, don't let it be a shit show.  When the start of a race is chaotic, it usually throws me off for the whole event.  Think positive, Aimée.  Deep breaths.  Whatever you do...don't jinx yourself, dammit!

The good news is we are going out for dinner on Thanksgiving.  No cooking and no cleaning up!  We did this three years ago and for me, it was one of the best Thanksgivings ever.  The food was beautiful and delicious, but more importantly, I was totally relaxed and able to enjoy the kids.  I actually enjoy cooking a turkey (and I don't enjoy cooking pretty much anything), but once in a while it's nice to get a break.

So what are your Thanksgiving plans?  Are you hosting, going to relatives, or eating at a restaurant?  Will you also be doing a turkey trot?  Whatever you do, be safe and enjoy.

Not to be a party pooper, but...the day before Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims 
massacred a tribe of Native Americans who had gathered for a corn dance.
The next day the pilgrims gave thanks for their victory.  There was no
potluck dinner among the two groups.  It was just the pilgrims.  
The Native Americans were dead.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Five Things You May Not Know About...My Running

T-Rex Runner, another one of my favorite bloggers, posted Things You May Not Know About Me recently.  This topic has been going around Facebook for a couple of weeks.  Someone will make a list of little know facts about themselves.  Whoever Likes the post will be given a number and then have to list that many facts about themselves on their own wall. I accidentally Liked some of my friends' facts only to quickly delete the Like because I didn't want to post my own version on my wall.  Instead....

I'll do it here.  These will be Things You May Not Know About My Running:

5.  97% of the time it is a challenge for me to actually get out the door to go for a run.  As much as I love running and for as long as I've been doing it, I still procrastinate and negotiate with myself almost all of the time.  Once I'm out the door, I'm golden.  It's just getting out the door that is usually the problem.

4.  85% of the time I have to stop and use the bathroom on my daily runs.  It used to be 98% of the time, but then I stopped eating ice cream the night before.  This helped a little.  There are always available restrooms on my routes.  I can tell you which businesses in my town have bathrooms, which bathrooms are inconspicuous, which ones are clean, etc.  I'm what you could call a lavatory connoisseur of sorts (on second thought, don't call me that).  The few times I've run in a park have been risky.  I have ducked behind trees and bushes more times than I care to admit.  If a "runner" tells you she has never done this, she is lying.  She either has done it (more than once) or she's not really a runner.  (This is a conclusion based on no evidence.  I have only come up with this to make myself feel better.)  Here's a helpful tip you won't find in most running books:  When looking for a leaf to substitute as toilet paper, take an in tact clean one from the top of a bush.   The lower ones probably already have been exposed to other biological specimen.

3.  100% of the time I run what you would call "Commando".  All of my running shorts and pants have liners, therefore it is unnecessary to add an extra layer, especially a cotton one!  TMI, yes.  But it is something you did not know.  #3 has nothing to do with #4, by the way.  #4 has everything to do with #2 though - Ha ha ha, I couldn't resist.

2.  99.9% of the time I never stretch.  The .1% I do is when I am waiting at a very long traffic light and I'm bored.  And people are looking at me.  And then I feel pressured to do something.

1.  I am so uber-competitive about running, I will never be satisfied with any goal.  Pretty sad, I guess, but true.  In some ways, I think it's good because it keeps me always reaching for something.  In other ways, it sucks because I know I'll never be able to get it, because once I do, I'll find something else.  There will always be someone faster than me and I need to be okay with that fact.

Okay, readers.  Now your turn!  Please share a little known fact about your running or about yourself.  Enquiring minds want to know.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I've been feeling pretty unmotivated since the marathon.  Running two minutes slower than what I expected in my last 10k didn't help matters.  I'm not sure whether or not I'll do the Garden City Turkey Trot and my December race is up in the air.  What is a girl to do to get back on track?

How about STREAKING?!  No, not that kind of streaking.  My children would undoubtedly disown me for good.  Well, maybe not my two year old.  She would get a kick out of it and most likely join in the fun.  Anyway, the streaking I'm referring to is running consecutive days.  No breaks.  Runner's World is offering a challenge to do this from Thanksgiving Day to New Year's.  It's a fun way to stay motivated and at the same time try to keep the extra holiday pounds at bay.  Some friends and I are up for the challenge.  It should be interesting considering the December weather.  Bring it on!

So what do you think?  Will you join us?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Be Safe, Have Fun & Go For A Run

I did my 6.37 mile loop on Friday.  Pretty uneventful.  Yesterday, however, I ran 6.19 miles at Eisenhower Park with my two fellow bloggers, The Petite Pacer and Emerging Runner!  Ordinarily, I would be nervous in any other meet-someone-whom-I-only-interacted-with-online-for-the-first-time situation, but I couldn't have been more at ease.  Of course, it was exciting to finally meet them in person after reading their blogs for so long, but I was quite comfortable because I already felt like I knew them.  They are both down to earth and easy to be with.  So much so that after we ran together for an hour (yes, we took our time), we chatted for another hour over coffee.  Running was the main topic, of course.  It's great to talk about running with others who are just as passionate about the subject.  As expected, the Emerging Running was an expert on all the running tech gadgets and the Petite Pacer shared her vast knowledge on the physiological benefits of the sport.  Not sure what I brought to the table, other than my winning smile and amazing sense of humor...they put up with me.  I'm looking forward to running with them again in the future.

left to right:  Emerging Runner, POTUS, and The Petite Pacer

Here are some helpful tips for meeting people from the internet for the first time:

1.  Do so only if all parties have agreed.  Showing up where you know someone runs regularly without telling him/her   first only makes for an awkward first meeting and will likely involve the police.

2.  Do so only if you have seen photographs of who you are going to meet beforehand.  These photographs should not include booking numbers:

3.  Do so only if  you and the other party have had multiple correspondence.  If the other party's correspondence include such phrases as "I've been watching you" or "My parole officer thinks you're a positive role model", it might be best to cease correspondence immediately.  Changing your email address is highly recommended.

4.  If the other party has told you, "I'm really, really hot" or "You can trust me" or "I have never been convicted of a felony",  assume the opposite is true.

5.  Meet in a public place.  It is always good to have witnesses...just in case.

Seriously, use your best judgment.  On the flip side, meeting people, bloggers in particular, can be fantastic!  You've read about their experiences, received advice, cooked their recipes, worn their sneakers, shared in their achievements and disappointments.  Meeting them can be like meeting an old friend or a rock star (likely, what Emerging Runner and Petite Pacer felt when they met me...HA! kidding!).  Be safe and have fun!  And go for a run.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Run Baby Run

I did 11.7 miles Sunday, the day after the Rockville Centre 10k, and 10.38 miles yesterday.  Yesterday was slightly warmer than Sunday, but still cold.  Tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to rise so I took today off to wait it out.  I am becoming wimpier in my old age, I admit it.  Most runners prefer the cold to the hot.  I'm the exception.  I'm not signed up for a December race yet.  I'm considering one of the two NYCRuns Hot Chocolate Races, either in Riverside Park (December 1) or Roosevelt Island (December 15).  Last year's Hot Chocolate race in Brooklyn was downright frigid.  I think it was 16 degrees at the start.  Not fun.  I'm waiting for the extended forecast and will choose the most thermally hopeful of the two.

Recently there's been some chatter about children completing long distance races.  A 5 year old ran a half marathon in New Jersey last Sunday and a 14 year old recently broke the record for youngest to run a marathon on all seven continents.  If the child enjoys running and has no physical disabilities that would put her in danger, then I say, "Have at it!"  My 11 year old just ran her second 5k.  She doesn't "enjoy" cross country/long distance running.  She's a fantastic sprinter and has placed first in every relay race she's participated in.  I hope one day she'll discover the joy in long distance running.  I hope to run a marathon with each of my children in the future.  I'm in no rush.  I plan to still be able to run a marathon in fifteen years when my youngest will be almost eighteen.  If my bones are still in tact, I will run as long as they allow.  If not, I will pass the figurative baton off to my kids.  In the meantime, the family that runs together, has fun together.   Right?

photo courtesy of Runner's World

How do you feel about these mini-marathoners?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rockville Centre 10k Review

I had high expectations for the Rockville Centre 10k.  It's been almost a month since my marathon PR so I had the months of training backing me up.  The race also happens to be on my turf.  These are the streets I run daily.  So, piece of cake, right?  Not exactly.

Thursday I went to the rec center to pick up my race packet and sign my daughter up for the 5k.  I was totally psyched when I saw my number #171.  I am somewhat superstitious and these numbers have always been unlucky ones for me.

I hate you number 7 and number 1!!  
Great, now I jinxed myself again!

My daughter, her two friends, and I got to the starting cone (because there was no line) in downtown Rockville Centre (right outside Starbucks and the movie theater) this morning a little after 9.  The forecast was for 46 degrees, but it felt like it was getting progressively colder the longer we stood outside.  When we arrived, we were the only ones on the street.  Slowly people started trickling in.  I met up with Freighbor and her husband.  According to her, the organizers were expecting almost 1,000 runners, between both races.  That's a good crowd.

The race official announced the countdown to the start.  Everybody and their mothers decided they would all start at the beginning.  Crunch time.  I tried to get somewhat toward the front, but it wasn't happening.  Finally, the race began.  We ran as a tight group for almost a mile.   I hit Mile 1 at 7:30.  This seemed about right.    Once it thinned out, I thought I could pick up the pace.  Not so much.  The 5k runners split from us, and the 10k runners headed north on Hempstead Avenue.  Mile 2 was just under 15 minutes.  Mile 3 was 22:30ish.  We were in the residential part of town.  At this point rather than speeding up, I thought, "It would be nice to drop out and walk home right now."  The one girl who was about twenty feet ahead of me for the first half suddenly took off out of sight.  Annoying.  We finally turned around and headed back on North Village Avenue to the finish.  I hit Mile 5 around 37:xx.  I thought, "Cool!  Maybe I'll finish under 45 minutes....oh wait...that DAMNED .2 MILES!!!!"  Sure enough, I crossed the finish at 47:04.  This is a PR by over two minutes for me, but slower than I anticipated.  My pace was 7:35.  I got 1st place in my age group, 12th out of 177 women (top 6th%), and 78th out of 413 (top 18th%).  Okay.  I'm ready to crank up my mileage again and I'm already looking for my next 10k (Ask me tomorrow morning while I'm lying in my warm bed if I want to "crank up my miles" and go run outside in the cold).

My daughter and her friends finished in 27:21.  This is a PR for her and 4 minutes faster than they expected!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Caution Speed Bump

First thing's first.  Yesterday I received a wonderful card in the mail from my friends at the Boston Athletic Association:

Classy, huh?

They even mail you your race packet!  Now that's an entrance fee put to good use.

Last night I ran 7 miles around 7:30pm.  I wore my reflective belt and carried a small flashlight.  No raccoon or possum sightings (Thank God!).

Tonight I ran to the high school track (1.25 miles from my house) to do speed work.  The parking lot was packed at 7pm. As I was looking around I tripped over a speed bump and slid as though I was sliding into home plate, except on pavement instead of dirt.  I haven't wiped out running in years (I fell off a curb near my parents' house about twenty years ago.  My bright yellow Sony walkman was the only casualty.).  My hands were scraped up, as well as my knees.  My biggest concern was any sprains or fractures.  My knee was a little out of whack, but nothing that an easy jog couldn't fix.  I was lucky.

At the track I did 6x100s in between 22-24 seconds each.  I also ran 6x400s at about 1:41 seconds each.  These drills were suggested by my "unofficial" running coach (Unofficial meaning I'm pretty sure he doesn't know he's my running coach).  My "coach" is a former sub 31 minute 10k runner.  Yep, sub 31.  Who runs that?  That's sub-elite territory.  Anyway, 'twasn't easy.  Tonight is the first night I actually pushed myself since the marathon.  I might take the next couple of days off before my 10k Saturday.  It's been an extremely low mileage week so I might do a couple of miles just out of pure guilt.  We shall see...

A couple of minor scrapes

The hands burned a little.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The 2014 New York City Marathon Fan

I guess I secretly told myself these past few months that the New York City Marathon is not all I've built it up to be over the years.  A field of 48,000 runners is just too crowded.  Who in their right mind would want to be a sardine for 26.2 miles? Too much hassle.  And then today we drove to the Pulaski Bridge to watch.  The first sight of the runners in the distance immediately gave me goosebumps, as they do every year.  I was flooded with excitement.  It's hard not to be.  All of that desire to be a part of that sea of humanity rushed back and there was no denying it.  There's a reason why over 100,000 people from all over the world apply.  New York City is the greatest city on the planet and the New York City marathon is the best way to see all that it has to offer.

We watched the elite women finish their race before heading out to Queens.  Priscah Jeptoo from Kenya pulled ahead of Buzunesh Deba in just the last couple of miles.  She finished in 2:25:07.  Amazing.  The men were almost done, as well.  I got an update on my phone that Meb hit the 5k mark in15 minutes and change.  What?!  I can't imagine running a 5k in 15 minutes, but to do it when you still have 23.1 more miles left?!  Seriously?  Phenomenal.  The lead male, Geoffrey Mutai, also of Kenya, finished in 2:08:24.  That's a 4:54 pace.  Piece of cake.

We arrived at Vernon Road near 45th Street in Queens at 1:00pm.  It was a chilly 50 degrees and partly sunny.  This is right past the half marathon point.  There was plenty of room to get a front row view of the runners.  There were a couple of rock bands and a deejay spread out along the street.  The whole family got right into cheering anyone who had their names on their shirts.  If there were no names, we shouted out their charities or their countries (the largest international field).  We saw the 4 hour pacer run by.  Most people at this point already looked tired, but if they heard their names, their faces lit up.  Many of them thanked us for being out there.  We did a couple of high fives, but they were wet and sweaty so we stopped.

A couple of years ago we saw Mario Lopez running over the Pulaski Bridge with an entourage.  At the time, I knew he was famous but wasn't quite sure who he was.  This year I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Pamela Anderson or Christy Turlington or Patrick Wilson, but no such luck.  We saw Shazam and the Statue of Liberty, though!

We stayed until the 5 hour pacer passed.  By this point, most of the participants were walking.  I felt badly for them because I knew at this pace they had a long road ahead of them.  A 5 hour marathon is so much more physically demanding than a 3 hour marathon.  To be out there on your feet in the elements for so long has got to be brutal.  Before we got to the marathon, I took my 11 year old to a cross country track meet.  About ten children ranging from ages 9-13 ran 1.25 miles, 5 laps around the track.  The eighth grade girls flew, the lead finishing in 8:13.  My daughter finished in 9:54.  The little boy who finished last (12:00) must have been 8 or 9 years old and small for his age.  However, he finished and with a smile on his face.  How can you not be proud of a kid like that?  This is how I felt about the last of the runners we saw.  They kept going.  That's heart.

Race volunteers never cease to amaze me.

Band on the run...

Hot chocolate!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumped Up Kicks and Halloween Kicks All In One

I ran 8 miles on Wednesday and 7.5 this morning.  It was a balmy 64 degrees at 7am.  I did 8 x 100m strides.  My legs felt heavy this morning.  I've been doing over 300 reps of a variety of glute exercises this past week (I also do about 400 crunches), but it feels like I'm working my quadriceps in some of the squats more than my glutes.  I'm wondering if this contributed to the "lead leg" dilemma this morning or if it was just one of those lead leg runs (which I've been known to have).  And my right knee is feeling a little "funny".  I've been wearing a brace the past couple of days.  Too much too soon?

I train with two pairs of sneakers.  I wear my older pair for my shorter runs, and then my newer pair one day a week for my long runs.  After the marathon, I decided it was time to get new sneakers.  Since I was having weird toe stiffness lately, I thought I might try a different brand of sneaker.   I actually started wearing an old pair of Nikes I discarded 5 years ago because they fit too snug.  Now they hug my toes in nicely and are practically new since I only wore them running twice when I got them.   I'm wearing them during the week and my Adidas Adizeros for my long runs.  As for my new pair, a friend recommended Asics.  He felt that nowadays most brands are pretty good, but his fast friends seem to like Asics and he thinks they feel pretty good.  I trust his opinion on all things running, so Asics it is.  I found a pair of the Gel Nimbus 15s on sale on Running Warehouse.  Normally they run between $145-$155.  I got them for $109 plus FREE SHIPPING (my two favorite online words)!  They feel nice and cushy.  I will wear them for the first time running tomorrow when I do my 12 miler.  I might wear them a couple of more times, but then I'm going to put them away until my next marathon training cycle starts again in January.  At that point, my Adidas will be my shorter run shoes and the Asics will be my long haulers.  Confused?  Yeah, me too.

Say hello to my little friend.

The three amigos.

...and I hope everyone had a fun, happy, and scary Halloween!!!

Boo!  Yes, some small children in my neighborhood cried in fear when they saw me.  
Mission accomplished.

Do you rotate sneakers too?  Did you dress up for Halloween?