Friday, February 28, 2014

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I ran 6.18 miles with 6x100m strides on the treadmill in 54:15, an 8:47 pace.  I was scheduled to run 7 miles, but I was pressed for time (as usual...).  I dropped my eldest off at soccer and had exactly an hour to get to the gym, run, and get back to pick her up.  

I ran 11 miles with 7 miles at half marathon pace (7:47) on the treadmill.   I thought it would be dreadfully boring, but I broke the run up.  The first two miles I ran at an easy 9:05 pace, the next seven at 7:47, and then the last two at 9:05 again.  By focusing more on the pace rather than the distance,  the workout was fun and interactive.  I finished in 1:30:08,  an 8:11 pace.

Regular Day Off.  I cross trained by getting a 3.5 hour haircut.  Seriously.  I thought women spending hours at the hair salon was either an urban legend or a cover for something more sinister (ex., extreme shopping,  a binge fest at Starbucks, getting a room at a motel to watch Golden Girls reruns and nap...........)  

....................what?!?  Oh sorry, I was daydreaming.  Where was I?  Yeah, so my appointment was at 5:30 and I didn't leave the salon until 9 at night.  I was hungry, dazed, and confused, but I love my new 'do.  Let's hope I can continue the love fest tomorrow when I have to do it myself.  Usually, my hair routine consists of washing it and then putting it in a bun.  On "special" occasions, I might actually blow dry it, but even in -10 degrees, I'll still leave the house with a wet head.

I ran 6 miles at 9am in 16 degrees.  The cold, crisp air actually felt good.  I didn't time the run, but it was around 55 minutes.  I came home so Pete could go to work, then the baby and I went to the gym where I ran another 6 on the treadmill at about a 9 minute pace.  Still love the hair, but it's obvious I cannot style it properly.  I think I need to buy some product.

So far, I've been pretty good with my training schedule.  This is the first week in a long time that I didn't skip or switch a run.  My second twenty miler is Sunday.  Wish me luck!

Apparently, I'm having a blast!  
Maybe because I've been away from
home, alone, for 

The day after.
(Yes, that's a naked Barbie doll on
the rice cooker in the background)

How is your hair?  Do you put a lot of time into it on a daily basis?  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

March Madness

I didn't race in the month of February.  This is the first month since June 2012 when I didn't run in an organized race.  I was signed up to run a relay, but it was cancelled due to...snow.  I looked for substitution races, but none were to be found that fit into my schedule.  I guess my guilt about this loss crept into my subconscious because now I am signed up for four races, four weekends in a row, in March.  This Saturday I am running the Little Cow Harbor Run for Hope (4 miles) with L (my buddy from the Robert Moses "hangover" 5k) in Greenlawn.  The following weekend I am running the Huntington St. Patrick's Day 5k.  The third race is the rescheduled relay from February with my blogging buds.  And then finally on the 22nd, I'll be running the NYCRuns 10k Spring Fling on Roosevelt Island with L again.   I don't think I've run this many races in a month before.  I'm actually considering also running a 15k the last weekend of March because I would like to see where my fitness lies at the longer distance for Boston.  I'm sure I'm going to hear a lot of bitching and moaning from Pete.

Have you ever raced this much in a month?  Were you exhausted by the end?

Picture of me on April 1
taken from my crystal ball

Monday, February 24, 2014

Three's Company

Sunday morning I woke up and left the house around 6:40am.  It was 36 degrees out.  My 8 mile run turned into a 7.25 run because I had to detour home to use the bathroom (Big surprise!).  I changed into a pair of shorts, a long sleeve cotton thermal shirt, and a t-shirt.  I got in the car and headed over to Eisenhower Park to meet my buddies, The Petite Pacer and The Emerging Runner (ER).

The Petite Pacer (TPP) was already waiting in Lot 6 in her Petite Car.  ER and I showed up at the same time.  We began our run after they got their Garmins connected to outer space.  We ran a couple of loops within the park, as well as on the sidewalks on the perimeter.  There were a few ice patches, but not too bad.  We ran at a relaxed pace, unintentionally, with some good conversation.  TPP had her usual pep in her step and ER made a good effort, especially since we ran double what he had been running since the new year.  In the end, we covered 6.7 miles (Amazingly, the exact number I needed to complete my 14 miles for the day!).

We made a quick stop at Starbucks, had our picture taken by a fan (or a very nice patron), then went our separate ways.  Once again, a fun run with wonderful new friends.  The miles tick away when you're with good company.  I am looking forward to our next outing.

The Dream Team
left to right:  Kara, Paula, & Meb

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Will Never Stray Again

Pete thinks my toe/foot freak outs may be partially due to the fact that I have very high arches in my feet.  I looked up good running shoes for high arches and the first result were the Adidas Supernova Glide 5s.  This is very interesting because these are the last pair of shoes I wore before I started having issues.  After the Baltimore Marathon, I switched to the Adidas Adizero Bostons to experiment with a lighter shoe.  This also happened to be a flatter shoe.  And this is around the time my toes started cramping.  Aha!  I already exceeded 500 miles since the last time I bought new sneakers in November so I didn't feel too guilty about shopping for them.  I found a pair of the Supernova Glide 5s in a color I liked on the First to the Finish web site.  The shoes are few and far between because the Glide 6s are already on the market.  From what I've read, the Glide 6s are almost a completely different shoe than the 5s.  I didn't want to take another chance, so I purchased the 5s at $115.  There was supposed to be free shipping and 25% off at checkout.  Of course when my transaction was complete, the discounts didn't show up.  I sent an email to the company.  I hope they refund my credit card.  I will keep the shoes regardless (shhh, don't tell them) because I am desperate to get back to comfortable running.

Today I ran 8 miles with 8x100m strides.  I finished in 1:08:40, an 8:34 pace.  During the run, I noticed that when I felt my toes cramping in my left foot, I started landing on the ball of my foot instead of my heel.  This exacerbated the problem.  I made a conscious effort to land on my heel which prevented the cramping from getting worse (duh!).  This, along with my new shoes, will hopefully put an end to this issue.

I took my resting heart rate this morning in bed, which apparently is the best time to check.  You are supposed to do it when you are the most relaxed after a good night's sleep, still in bed, and not awoken by an alarm.  When I checked before, it was in the middle of the afternoon.  Even though both my little girls were bouncing around and on top of me this morning, I was still able to get a 48.  I'm happy with that.

Come to Mama, little ones!

Did switching shoes ever have a positive or negative impact on your running?  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Turning Over A New Leaf

Okay, starting now I'm going to do my best to follow my training schedule.  I have been skipping too many runs and I discovered today during my speed work, it shows.

Sunday's medium long run of 16 miles was cut short to 9.  I ran 4 miles on the streets which was almost impossible due to the snow, puddles, slush, mini-mountains on every corner, and diabolical black mouse who chased me down a sidewalk.  I did the remainder in the gym where I was pretty sure I would not encounter the aforementioned obstacles.  By mile 9 and bathroom break #3, I decided to call it quits for no other reason than I was tired (and 3 bathroom breaks is kind of unusual for just a 45 minute run).  As I was leaving, a random man in the weight area asked, "Leaving already?"  Great.  Now I really felt guilty!  However, I didn't let it stop me...from stopping.

I substituted yesterday's run for skiing.  We took a couple of days to ski in the Berkshires with the kids.  It was great.  It was the first time I skied with the children and I was so impressed with how well they did.  My little guy zoomed down the slopes fearlessly (maybe a little recklessly, too), I could barely keep up.  The highlight of the little trip was "running into" Mr. Big in the parking lot.  Yep, Chris Noth (or Detective Logan to those of you who prefer crime dramas over comedies about sex and the city).  I made Pete talk to him because I know I would have said something stupid.  Pete said hello and Mr. Big walked right over to our car with a big smile.  We chatted briefly and then he let me take a photograph.  He really was very friendly.  Oh, and what a smile!  The next morning we "ran into" him again outside of the cafĂ© where we had breakfast.  Pete again spoke to him.  At first, Mr. Big kept walking, but then Pete mentioned how we had just seen him the day before at the ski area.  Mr. Big looked over at the car and I waved like a little kid waving at Santa Claus during the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  His wonderful smile spread across his face again, but I think this time because I'm sure I looked ridiculous.  He got in his car which was parked in front of us and we both drove off.  It got a bit embarrassing because we were following him for a couple of miles.  There's only one main road in the little town and we both happened to be driving on it.  In the same direction.  At this point, I was waiting for the police to show up with an Order of Protection warning us to stay more than 500 feet away from Mr. Big.  Thankfully, that didn't happen.  The celebrity sighting was a fun end to our little getaway.


Today I ran one and a half miles to the gym.  I did 5 miles on the treadmill with 5x800s at 5k pace.  For a half mile I set the speed to 6.4 (which I think is a 9:22pace) and then I sped it up to 8.5 (6:58 pace) for the next half mile.  I repeated this 5 times and then ran back home.  By the end, I was spent.  I knew this was because I wasn't getting in my miles.  So starting today, I'm turning over a new leaf.  I only have eight and half weeks left until the big day.  I need to use this time wisely.

Feet, don't fail me now.

Have you ever had a celebrity sighting?  What's your best one?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Left Foot

Hi there.  I have been kind of MIA for a number of reasons.  First, the weather has not improved.  In fact, I think it's gotten worse.  Runs have been skipped.

Second, my toe issues have not subsided.  In fact, I think they've gotten worse.  Wednesday's 14 miler turned into an almost 9 miler because instead of my toes seizing up on me, my entire left foot had a freak out.  I had just finished my 8 mile loop and was beginning my 6 mile loop when my foot just involuntarily contorted to this odd sideways position.  I tried to fix it, but I had no control.  I dragged it along until I reached the library.  I ducked inside and called Pete to pick me up.  This involuntary contortion actually has happened to me about four times in the past twenty or so years.  Because it has been few and far between, I never really did anything about it.  This might change.  I will make an appointment with the doctor by the end of the week if it does not improve.  My own diagnosis has ranged from poor nutrition to multiple sclerosis.  I need some answers and a remedy, sooner than later.

The third reason for my absence is lack of motivation.  Between reasons one and two, my drive to get out on the streets or even the gym, has been less than stellar.  I think if things don't improve, Boston will be a fun run.  Many people on the Runners World message boards have decided to run Boston easy, either because of injuries or just wanting to take the whole experience in.  This year's Boston Marathon is a special one.  I don't mind running easy, enjoying the atmosphere, and absorbing every moment.

Yeah, my theme song.
So what?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Horses, Hearts & Toes! Oh My!

I didn't have many options for my long run on Saturday because of all the snow and ice.  I knew from the Greater Long Island Running Club's Facebook page that the SUNY Old Westbury campus was plowed.  I decided to check it out.  The campus police have been ticketing runners' cars so I parked at St. Paul's Church across from Route 107.  I started my run at 11am.  It was a calm, sunny 23 degrees.

The campus roads have gently rolling hills.  It is perfect training grounds for runners and cyclists alike.  I saw both of them, but mostly groups of cyclists.  Since I was doing a 20 miler, I had time to explore.  I took a detour early on which led me to the Empire State College campus and a gorgeous horse farm.

Some time around the 5 mile mark, my toes on my left foot started cramping up.  I could feel the third toe jutted in an odd angle to the top of my sneaker.  This forced me to run on the outside of my foot.  It was awkward and painful.  I tried different postures, but nothing seemed to help.  I was pissed.  This is becoming a recurring theme during my runs.  I did another loop of the campus and then returned to my car at 10.78 miles.  I had some Super Candy and Gatorade.  I didn't feel like doing two more loops so I set out to do the next 9+ miles on the streets.  Miraculously, the cramping ceased.  I headed one mile north on 107 and turned right on Fruitledge Road for another mile.  I turned around and headed south on 107.  At 16.5 miles, my iPhone went dead.   Ugh!  I had to guess the remainder of my mileage.  I ran down to Muttontown Road and turned around back to the car.  When I mapped the route on Map My Run, my guess was almost spot on.  The run ended up being 20.22 miles, somewhere around a 9:10 pace.  Last night I googled toe cramping.  There are some toe exercises I'm going to experiment with.  Hopefully, they help. 

Last week at the gym, I checked my heart rate while running on the treadmill.  At ten miles, the heart rate monitor read 95.  Um, this seemed unusually low.  Blogger and techie friend, Emerging Runner said most treadmill monitors are inaccurate.  I checked my resting heart rate at home.  My resting heart rate of 55 apparently is great for a 42 year old female, putting me at "athlete status".  I'm psyched about that.  Even if my toes are falling off, at least I have a healthy heart!

Do you have problems with your feet or toes cramping during your runs?  Any solutions?

How is your heart?  February is Healthy Heart Month!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


We had a snow storm Sunday night.  No big deal.  Monday was my day off.  Tuesday was not.  Apparently, people are tired of shoveling their sidewalks.  Add the impassable snow banks on the sides of the roads and you have impossible conditions to run on the streets.  More snow Tuesday night accompanied by freezing rain.  Wednesday was a mess of slushy ice.  No run again.  Today I decided to join the gym.

I belonged to almost every gym in the area and only during pregnancies when I preferred spin classes over running.  New York Sports Club was nice and clean.  I also liked the fact that I could use other NY Sports Clubs when away from home.  Unfortunately, it's pricey and you have to commit on a yearly basis.  Bally's is cheap, but overcrowded with stupid parking (small lot with a valet.  A valet!?  No, thanks).  Lucille Roberts is cheap, too, but very small.  The nursery is like a closet.  There are only a handful of treadmills that you need to wait for and then once you're on, you can only run for thirty minutes.  Not conducive to marathon training.  Sky Athletic is a local gym.  Big, clean and a little on the fancy side (a coffee station makes it fancy).  Unfortunately, they screwed me over when I joined five years ago.  I told the manager I was pregnant (Baby #3) and that after about 9 months (standard gestational period, right?) I would need to put my membership on hold.  He said no problem and wrote a note on my contract that I would not be charged during my hold.  Well, not only did they charge me, they charged me the full price (usually gyms only charge $15 per month during holds).  I wasted over six months of back and forth bullshit with the manager, then the owner, then the lying accountant (In one phone conversation, the accountant asked me to call Amex and remove my dispute so she could immediately refund me the three months of charges I was due.  I called Amex.  She never did.  I couldn't believe the blatant lie!)  Finally, they decided they would not refund me the amount.  I could, however, get three months free gym usage.  Uh, thanks, but no thanks.  I was so disgusted by the dishonesty, I wanted nothing to do with them again.

With my last pregnancy, I joined Dolphin Fitness.  I signed up for a year at $24.99 per month.  Great deal.  Their spin room was very small with limited bikes and no frills (I don't even think there was a mirror in the room).  I never had to wait for the weight machines and treadmills.  My best experience, so far.  I cancelled after Baby was born and my year was up.  Who needs a gym when you have the great outdoors?  Apparently, I do.  I thought I could tough out this winter.  I mean, I ran in 8 degrees after the first snow storm!  I'm a bad ass, remember?   Well, not so much.  Running in the frigid, snowy cold got old very quickly.  I went back to Dolphin this morning.  Three months (4th month "free") at $179, plus the $50 registration fee and $10 card fee.  Done.

I missed 7 miles with speed work on Tuesday.  Today, I ran the 12 miles I missed yesterday on the treadmill at an 8:57 pace.  This was the most miles I've ever run indoors and dammit, I was happy to do it!  Back on track.  No more excuses...(cough cough)

Look what came in the mail last week!
This is the official 2014 Adidas Boston Marathon
jacket.  What do you think?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dog Day Afternoon

Pete went away on his annual ski trip in Utah for five days with his college buddies (Lucky him, right?).  My buddy, Edison came over to hang out with the kids and me, and watch the Not So Super Bowl.  Before the game I needed to knock out my18 miler.  I got a babysitter and dropped Edison off at Planet Fitness on my way up to the north shore.  I was determined to run there because I have virtually no hill training this cycle which does not bode well for a notoriously hilly marathon.  The weather was perfect, about 50 degrees and partly cloudy.  I had three hours to get it done.

Boston Marathon elevation chart

I parked at the Manhasset train station.  The lot was surprisingly packed.  I imagine a lot of people went into Manhattan to watch the game.  I headed down Plandome Road and across Northern Boulevard to South Strathmore.  I ran four hilly miles before I noticed Rufus.  Rufus is a little tan Shih Tzu who was wandering aimlessly in the middle of the road.  I grew concerned when it became obvious he was not near his home.  I approached him cautiously.  He was timid, yet friendly.  I saw he had a tag on with two phone numbers, but no address.  I called both numbers.  No one answered, so I left messages.  I picked him up so he wouldn't take off and began knocking on doors hoping someone would recognize the dog.  A woman and her daughter were home.  They did not recognize him and the woman was not eager to take the dog into her home.  I explained how I was  in the middle of a run, so it was impossible for me to take him.  The daughter was more interested in helping me.  Finally, the dog's owner called me back.  She was at work and had no idea her dog had run away.  She lived down the block about a quarter of a mile.  I carried Rufus to his home.  The husband came out and thanked me for returning him.  He asked where I lived.  I awkwardly explained that I lived on the south shore and was out for a long run.  I felt funny saying it.  I thought I should explain about my need for hill training and how I parked at the train station and how I grew up here so I'm not this random vagrant like John Rambo...  While I'm thinking this, the man just kind of looked at me a little strangely, shook my hand, and headed back to his house.  Rufus and I silently said our goodbyes.  This whole encounter took about a half hour.  (I kind of have a habit of picking up random dogs that I see wandering the streets.  Okay, a couple of times they were right in front of their homes, but how was I supposed to know?  And maybe I would take them for little joy rides in my car.  And show them off to friends.  But I always returned them.  I can't leave them in the streets.  I would feel terrible if they got hit by a car when I could have done something to prevent it.  Also, I hope that someone would do the same for my dog.)

I forgot to take a picture of Rufus.  
This is pretty close 

I continued my run.  Somewhere around six or seven miles my toes started to bother me.  During my last marathon cycle I had an issue with stiffness in my toes.  The same thing was happening again.  The farther I went, it got progressively worse.  I tried changing my foot strike and my posture, but nothing was helping.  I seriously need to fix my form or something because there's no way I'm going to be able to run three 20 milers with stiff, aching toes.

I ducked into Barnes and Noble to use the bathroom and then headed toward Plandome.  I ran by the bay down the block from where my best friend and her sisters used to live.  As teenagers, we would spend hours on the pier smoking and contemplating the meaning of life.   I snapped a couple of pictures.  Somehow Map My Run didn't pause so this turned out to be a thirteen minute mile.  I checked the time and realized I was nearing the three hour mark since I dropped Edison off.  This would not be the planned 18 mile run.  I entered a section called Plandome Mills on the north side of Stonytown Road.  I never explored this neighborhood before.  The homes were spectacular.  I wanted to catch a few more hills so I headed back to the train station via Flower Hill and Munsey Park.  I ended up running 14 miles in 2:14:20, a 9:33 pace.

I felt badly that I didn't get in my 18 miles, but there's no way I could have left Rufus on the street by himself.  I think it was worth it.

Manhasset Bay