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2011 Goals, Not Resolutions

January 6th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (7 Comments)

I’ll admit it! I hate the concept of New Years resolutions. The phrase conjures concepts of fad dieters and gym-goers huffing and puffing on the treadmill all January, never to be seen in February, left the the same cycle (+5 lbs) next year.

To me, the start of a New Year is the chance to work towards GOALS, not resolutions. You can’t wish for something to happen and expect results, but you also can’t go from 0 to 60 and expect action to become habit.

That said, I have a few goals for 2011 (in running and other areas of life) and some tactics on how I plan to reach them:

1) Run a sub-1:28 half-marathon.

  • I’ve got my 16 week training plan I’ve been working towards, and I plan to do longer long runs this year than last year, increasing total weekly mileage. I ran 1:29:35 during my 1st NYC Half last year (and, split that same time during the NYC Marathon, whoops) so I feel this is tangible

2) Run around a 3:00 Marathon

  • With a 3:04:32 debut under my belt, I feel more prepared and experienced to get closer to the elusive 3:00 mark. I will begin my official training in July, and get in more 20-21 milers. Last year I only did a 19, and only one 21-er. Higher mileage works well for me, just have to get it under my belt.

3) Go to the gym or do “extras” 2x/week

  • Even though I do a large majority of my exercise running outdoors, I have a membership to NYSC because I like having the option to cross-train or do classes, even if I don’t end up going more than twice a month. I’ve lost a lot of core and upper body strength since doing the “extras” (abs, weights, lifting, core, drills) in college basically daily and my IT/glute/hamstring hasn’t been happy. I will go to a class (yoga, pilates, boxing, zumba, whatever!) OR do some core/weights on my own at least twice a week to become a stronger, well-balanced runner and athlete.

4) Stop biting my nails!

  • Ah ha, a non-running related goal! I’m frugal and don’t want to buck up the $ to get regular manicures, but have definitely noticed a decrease in biting and picking my nails when I do. I’ve had this habit for as long as I can remember and its embarrassing and not cute ;) If I can’t stop, I would at least like to decrease the frequency.

5) Floss regularly

  • This seems silly, but I’m really bad about remembering to floss! In the mornings I’m hopping out of the shower and brushing my teeth quickly to get to work on time, and before bed I’m so tired (and, lazy…) that flossing doesn’t make the cut. However, its a good habit and I will start to do it at least every other day and then work up to daily.

6) Do a tempo, interval, or speed running once a week

  • I need to break up the monotony of my regularly-paced runs, so I am going to try to add a tempo, interval, or speed running once a week. Whether this is a dedicated workout, or simply just adding strides at the end of my run, or running a few miles in the middle at a slightly faster pace, this will help keep my runs exciting and make me faster!

7) Eat cleaner and more fresh foods!

  • I do eat healthy by most standards, but I have a bad sweet tooth! I want to try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and experiment in using these to cook fun and flavorful recipes. Instead of reaching for the fun-size twix around 3, I want to keep out healthy foods to snack on like grapes or carrots.
  • Similarly, I want to be more mindful of my eating! I have a tendency to grab items from the office leftovers just because they’re there and free, not necessarily because I want or need them. I’ll try to discern whether or not the brownie is worth the splurge- is it a really great, unique homemade brownie, or is it a brownie from our regular catering company that will appear again in a few weeks? Choose wisely.

8) Dismiss Negative Energy

  • Yes, I am a generally positive person and consider myself an optimist. But, I find myself getting caught up in negative energy more often than I’d like. Being a catty bitch isn’t attractive on anyone, so I’d like to behave this way less often ;) Also, I have many good things going for me, and not enough time or energy to focus on things and people that make me feel bad about myself or what I do!

There you have it, my 2011 GOALS! Do you like to keep resolutions, or do you like to set out goals to work towards? Do you have any tips or words of wisdom as I work towards mine?

Seasons Traditions

December 25th, 2010 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (0 Comments)

First and foremost, Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you all had a great time celebrating with family and friends for the holiday.

I certainly did, though our family’s Christmas celebrations seem to vary year to year. We have some traditions, sure, but some years we’ve spent Christmas in CA, last year in Mexico, other years just home in NJ, and this year- at a new home in NJ. My mom has moved back to the town we used to live in till I was 10, so it feels a bit nostalgic calling Montclair home again, while feeling off that Basking Ridge is no longer home. We’re certainly starting new memories and traditions and while different, are good.

And with a new place to call “home” outside of my NYC apartment, comes new places to run! I never ran here since I was much too young. I had previously written a post about how one of the reasons I love running is that it affords the opportunity to really explore new places, and that rings true whether that new place is on a business trip in Maine, while studying abroad in London, or a new town in NJ!

I was a bit apprehensive at first since I’m a creature of habit. I already missed my routine loops around Central Park’s bridle path or my standard 7miler around Basking Ridge. I don’t want to run too astray, what if I get lost? But what if I don’t go far enough and end up repeating the same loop to add on repetitively?

So, I turned to my good friend www.mapmyrun.com and looked at loops others had shared online. It was a lifesaver! Yesterday, I had planned to try a longer route around a reservoir someone mapped out, but came across a trail system and decided to fearlessly see where they’d take me, since I LOVE TRAILS and needed to get off the road badly, if even for a mile

Another way I’ve been channeling my inner-runnerd lately is my new Garmin Forerunner 110. I got it for Christmas and have had a week and a half or so to play with it so far. I didn’t need any fancy heart-rate bells and whistles of higher-end models, and quite honestly didn’t want them. I had even posted before about how my Nike+ was perfect for me since I don’t care if I run 6 or 6.14 miles. Well, through training more seriously for the marathon by myself, I decided itd be nice to have a better judge of pace, particularly for tempo and long runs.

For example, I used to do a 5.1 mile tempo around CP’s lower loops-3 times around. I’d only figure my pace out after I went back and used a pace calculator online tool. There wasn’t a way to adjust it mid-run, I went more off feel. There is definitely a benefit to training of feel and not getting caught up inhibiting yourself with numbers, but I think it’ll help me as I further transition from having a college coach and training group dictate pace and effort level to controlling it all solo. I am extremely competitive internally, which probably explains why I’m driven to running, but I could use some help gauging my actual vs. perceived effort level. Some days I think I’m running 8 min pace, and I’m actually going 730, and other days I think I’m running 730 pace and I’m doing 815.

In any case, I am still working on building up a stronger base for the NYC Half-Marathon on March 20th (also my 24th birthday, shots at the finish line?) I hit 29.5 and 30.5 mpw my first two weeks and 34 this past week. Aiming for another 35 this upcoming week but I’m going skiing tuesday thru sunday so squeezing running amidst the fun, skiing, drinking and eating sounds pretty unlikely. But, enjoying the season and I am more than happy to skip a few days in lieu of fun with friends!

Well, that’s about all my random ramblings for now. I am working to make it a goal in 2011 to write more frequently, because I really do enjoy it.

Hibernation Season

December 8th, 2010 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (0 Comments)

I began my “official” build-up for the NYC Half Marathon this week, marking my return back to a more structured running schedule since I completed the NYC Marathon just over a month ago. Hard to believe it’s only been one month, it feels much further in the past.

And so far, the build-up has been rough! Not only am I out of shape (2 weeks off reverted me back to a huffing and puffing shuffling mess), but it is getting COLD and layering up to run at 7am is the least appealing thing when given the option of staying in my nice cozy bed.

Via Google Images

I keep reminding myself of a few things when dealing with getting back into shape and dealing with cold weather training:

 

  • Build-ups are always hard. You’re getting your base back, and it’s going to be rough at first but you have to keep going longer and faster in order for runs to begin to feel easy again. Pushing through the rough phase will get you where you want to be, avoiding runs or cutting them short because you’re tired will only delay the build-up.
  • Winter weather is just unpleasant, not unmanageable. Nobody likes the feeling of their fingertips going numb or that weird locked jaw feeling you get in the cold (or is that just me?) and these uncomfortable feelings make it more appealing to stay inside or skip your run. But, I remind myself I’ve been running through winters outdoors since I was 14. Sure, practices used to be at slightly warmer afternoon hours, but I did it then and I can do it again! Cold sucks, but its only temporary and a warm shower feels amazing!
  • This too shall pass, and it’s not all bad! Just get through a few months of this, and soon it’ll be March and you will be running in shorts and a t-shirt again. And, winter weather allows you to run almost any time of day, at least you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to squeeze in miles before it hits 90 degrees like the summer! Sleeping in, leisurely digesting breakfast, and heading out around 2 p.m. is more my cup of tea.

I’m aiming for 30 miles this week but might fall a tad short due to a pretty busy work schedule this week, and this lingering tired feeling I cannot seem to shake. I need more sleep and less stress!

And, I just created our family Christmas card online…aw! Don’t me and my sister look related? :) Counting down the days until Christmas is here!

Swirling Ornaments Christmas Card
Get custom photo Christmas cards online at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.

Post-Race Blues & Turkey-Day Break

November 28th, 2010 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (0 Comments)

Greetings from a plane at LAX! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been struggling a bit post-marathon to get settled back into a schedule. I took two full weeks off from running, and thought I would have loads of free time and energy. I was wrong! Since I usually run in the mornings, I slept in a tad later but didn’t feel as awake and ready-to-go when I left for work. Running really kickstarted my day (reminder to self when I don’t want to wake up early)

And, since I didn’t have to wake up to run, I found myself staying out later for post-work drinks/activities with friends. Which of course,was great and fun, but made me way tired the next day at work. Being social is so hard…(Fake sigh)

I enjoyed my two weeks off but it certainly wasn’t as blissful as imagined. I want another few weeks off but I’ve made my return to running. And its been painfull! I’ve eased in this last week, starting with 15 minutes and upping it around 5 each day.

The runs were made easier in that I was been out in Santa Barbara, CA for Thanksgiving break from Weds-Today (Sun). We stayed right along the beach and waking up with a run along the sunny, warm coastline made the huffing and puffing a tad more enjoyable! Not looking forward to going back to the frigid Northeast.

My mom’s side of the family pretty much all lives out in CA so this was the 2nd annual gathering at my aunt’s in Santa Barbara. It was full of fun, laughs, and of course-food! I’m still full with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie but it was so delicious!

But I must say I’m looking forward to getting back to NYC and settling into my routine- run, work, healthy(ok, trying to be healthier) eating, increased focus on “extras” (stretching, core, weights, pilates, etc.) and the best: the kickoff to the holiday season in the city- lights, snow, store window decor, peacoats, gloves, xmas trees, sparkles! Love it all.

Well, planes about to take off. Now for 6+ hours of fun in the air. Certainly NOT looking forward to returning to work tomorrow but THANKFUL I was able to spend time away in a beautiful place with my family :)

It’s all how you look at it….

November 15th, 2010 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (3 Comments)

It was such a nice day yesterday, I decided to venture out on a brisk walk around the Upper West Side…no destination in particular, just wanted to get moving (I also laid in bed until 2pm in the afternoon, but that’s a different story). All the sudden, I found myself back at 77th and Columbus; exactly where I was 7 days ago, wrapped in a heat sheet and reunited with friends and family after I ran 26.2 miles. Had an entire week already passed? Sometimes the marathon feels like it was months ago, and others it feels like it’s just yesterday.

Over the last 7 days, I have been trying to enjoy the post-Marathon downtime. I was finally able to walk at a normal pace on Thursday, and even made my way into heels on Friday and Saturday nights. I made returns to my favorite pilates class, and tried a new total body conditioning class. I walked to work one morning. But otherwise, I haven’t felt very different. My schedule feels off.

Since running has been part of my life for such a long time, it feels like something is missing when I’m not scheduling my day around it. Certainly, I am enjoying the time off and my legs are so thankful for it, but I am looking forward to getting back in it when I’m ready.

I’ve also started to think about some goals I have for 2011, in running and in life. The major running goals I hope to achieve are:

  • 1:27 in the Half-Marathon [Current PR: 1:29:35 debut, but also ran that time for my first 13.1 in the NYC Marathon..]
  • Sub 3:00 in the Marathon [Current PR: 3:04:32 debut]

Are these lofty goals? I think they are incredibly attainable with consistent training and hard work, given both my previous bests above were my first time ever racing that distance. Previously, I never had raced more than a 6K. Long distance is definitely my stronger point, so I know I still have plenty of room to grow.

That got me thinking…just two years ago in my senior year of college, I would never have thought I was capable of these times. 45-50 miles a week seemed like high mileage to me, and my long run of 10 miles felt like eternity. Now, I find myself capable of 60+ miles per week (without injury-hooray!) and 10 miles was just another day…21 miles was the new long run, and I really looked forward to it.

I realized what is ‘long’ or ‘hard’ or ‘normal’ or ‘fast’ or whatever is all a matter of how you look at it. I remember learning about ‘schemas’ in Psychology, mental frameworks that shape how you look at the world. If 10 miles is the most you’ve ever run, of course that’s going to feel like an eternity. Once you challenge yourself to more, that becomes the new standard and way to view things.

Before I ran the marathon, I was hoping for a 3:10 at best. Now that I’ve challenged myself and gone better, I’ve readjusted my schema to view sub-3:00 as the next attainable goal. I never would have thought that was in sight prior to 11/7.

So as I look forward to 2011 and set these new goals, I also want to try to do more of the “extras”, such as stretching, core work, strength work, strides, etc. These things currently seem like “extras” to me because I don’t currently do them regularly as I should. Chalking it up to lack of time but it’s really laziness. Once I begin to reincorporate them into my routine, they won’t feel like extras–they’ll be just that: part of my routine.

See, it’s all how you look at it. I’ll try to keep that in mind as I look forward to achieving some new goals. Up, up and away!

NYC Marathon Recap: 3:04:32!

November 10th, 2010 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Race Recaps - (8 Comments)

It’s taken me a while to write this post. Part of me didn’t want to write this because a recap would mean that it’s really over! But the real reason it took me so long is because the night after the race, I headed back home to NJ and left early Monday morning to drive down to Maryland for my grandmother’s funeral. Needless to say, it’s been a tough few days between the race and this sad news, and I’ve been a bit emotionally (and physically!) drained. I finally returned back to work today, though, and really enjoyed sharing my race story with all my coworkers and thought it was about time to put it in writing!

First things first: I FINISHED!

I did it!!

And I rocked it with a 3:04:32 finish time!

Overall, the day was one I hope I’ll always remember. It started bright and early, around 5:15am when I headed down to the NYPL to catch the bus to Staten Island. To my surprise, 3 other people were also trying to catch a cab on my block so we all split one down- the camaraderie begins! Two guys came from England to run, and one girl’s mother lives in the building next to mine– the girl and I rode next to each other on the bus and since she had done NY last year, shared stories and tips. It was a nice start to the morning, and got me excited to race!

I had a nice breakfast on the bus of hot oatmeal with blueberries (which I microwaved for like 10 minutes and wrapped in my blanket to keep it piping hot to eat later–it worked!) and a small bit of Gatorade. When I got to the start village, I had my banana and two Clif Shot Blocks because, why not? I also drank a TON of water! I also had a hot cup of coffee in the cab to the bus– hey, I need my caffeine!

Since I had a green bib, I wandered over to the green village, assuming the Local Competitive Start would be there. I was wrong. The local competitive start area was nowhere near the green village, despite us all having green bibs. Weird. I hung out there for a little bit and chatted with two guys I sat nearby along the fence. One had done 26 marathons, his first was 20 years ago to the day. The other had done NYC once.

I felt like a total novice. How did I get into this local competitive start, anyway? I wasn’t affiliated with a local running club (“Yeah, I just run by myself…”), I had never run a Marathon (“Actually, I’ve only done one half-marathon in my life…”), and barely had done any road races (“Um, the NYC Half, and the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge? We didn’t do any road races in college…”) Oh, and I’m only 23 and have no idea what I’m doing!

I checked my bags around 8 (all the way in the green village…) and tried to keep warm until we were allowed on the bridge. A guy gave me an extra heat sheet he had, which was so nice! I needed it once the winds started getting stronger! Luckily I was in the 1st wave and just had to get to 9:40am to start.

I think the rest of my story is best told through my mile splits.

Mile 1: 7:25. The guns go off- unfortunately, we were on the lower level of the Verrazano, so I couldn’t really see any of the starting “fanfare” that I had heard so much about. I also missed the views off the bridge. It was completely shaded on the lower level, so it was freezing, and I didn’t take in any views. Instead, I tried to draft off people as much as I could but it was SO WINDY! Tried to stay steady here.
Mile 2: 6:21. WHOA, this was a fast one. The entire mile is just about downhill, going down the bridge, so I didn’t think too much about it because I knew it wasn’t real. Oh, and my feet were SO COLD they felt like blocks of ice, numb, until I got off this bridge.
Mile 3: 6:52. Good, I started easing into my pace. I shed my longsleeve shirt around this point, so I was just in shorts, tank top, and gloves. I didn’t expect to keep the longsleeve on for 3 miles. It was chilly.
Miles 4 and 5: 13:23 total. I missed a mile marker here, 6:42 average between the two miles. Probably a mistake.
Miles 6: 6:38Fourth Avenue was MY FAVORITE part of the course. BETTER than First Avenue in Manhattan. The crowds were great, and I was feeling good. TOO good! I was rocking out to the bands, high-fiving spectators, and had a smile plastered on my face. At some points I actually laughed, especially when I saw funny signs or people cheered “Go Girl!” because I was in a sea of men. Then I realized I needed to start reigning my pace in a bit if I was ever going to finish this race. But I was having SO MUCH FUN!
Mile 7: 6:42. I tried to slow down, but not by much, apparently.
Mile 8: 6:50.
Mile 9: 6:55. This is the pace I should have been at! I felt comfortable here.
Mile 10: 6:42
Mile 11: 7:00
Mile 12: 6:55
Mile 13: 6:57. This point was a scary point for me. When we hit 13.1, my time was 1:29:36. WHAT? When I raced the NYC Half-Marathon last March, my finishing time was 1:29:35 and I was zapped at the end. Why am I running sub-3:00 pace?! But today, I knew I was in better shape and I felt comfortable. Nonetheless, I still had another half-marathon to go and I knew the earlier pace would come and get me. It was just a matter of when…
Mile 14: 6:56
Mile 15: 7:14. Got a little slower going up the Queensboro bridge. This was a long, gradual incline that had very little spectators on it. It wasn’t as hard mentally as I thought, but the quiet and the cold got to me.
Mile 16: 7:11. Think some of this was still uphill on the bridge. Coming down the bridge, my left quad started hurting and my thoughts started getting a tad more negative.
Mile 17: 6:57. This was the first mile on First Avenue. I tried to reign myself in not to get too caught up with the crowds. Truthfully, I felt myself having to work much harder to keep up this pace than I had.
Mile 18: 6:55.
Mile 19: 7:02. Right after the huge crowds ended, almost approaching the Bronx. It got much quieter up at this point, and I felt my calves really starting to tighten here
Mile 20: 7:15. WOW, did anyone know how deceptively long this gradual incline up the Willis Avenue Bridge was?! I certainly didn’t know. Or maybe it just felt worse because I was starting my slow, slow decline in pace.
Mile 21: 7:11. The Bronx, I’m sorry, was uninspiring. Probably my least favorite part, especially the weird “add-on” we did circling some empty chain-fenced parking lot.
Mile 22: 7:18. At this point, I had to really really start working to keep it together.
Mile 23: 7:19. As soon as I clicked the watch for the end of this mile, I hit the wall.
Mile 24: 7:47. WTF Fifth Avenue Hill why did you crush my soul? This was a low point. I tossed off my gloves to my dad, ripped off my 3:10 pace bracelet, I suddenly had the weird urge to get everything excess off me. Like it would make me faster, really?
Mile 25: 7:25. Probably only a little quicker because part of this is downhill in Central Park. I don’t recall much of this mile. I really didn’t enjoy the Central Park portion as much as I thought I would. I couldn’t even muster the energy to take a water cup. I had tunnel vision, just needed to get to the finish. Like 2 miles ago.
Mile 26: 7:33. I don’t remember exiting Central Park. I don’t remember any of the crowds on Central Park South. I think I was crawling at this point. I remember people walking and wanting to kick them and tell them to finish. You probably could have confused my shuffle with a walk. I don’t remember the song the band was playing as you re-enter the park. I remember the re-entry path being a sharp turn and quite narrow, and pitying the runners who would be much more packed up later.
.2: 1:37. A very, very, slow, painful crawl towards the finish. In my head, I had visions of kicking into high-gear and powering home. I may have well been going backwards at this point.

TOTAL TIME: 3:04:32. When I crossed the finish line, the woman who put the medal on my neck told me I was the first girl she “medaled” and that she was so proud of me. That was awesome! I hobbled the long, slow mile to get my bag. It felt like an eternity and I tried my best to stomach an apple and some Gatorade Recovery drink.

In the end, I am so ecstatic with my finishing time, but looking back on my splits see I did not run a smart race. I had absolutely nothing to give at the end. I think if I had run some of those earlier miles closer to 6:55 pace, I definitely would have had more gas in the tank and found another gear at the end. I should not have been going SO much slower at the end. But then again, the last few miles will probably feel tough no matter what, so at least I gave it what I could.

I was also the 78th female finisher overall, including professionals and elites, and 1206th overall. I think that’s pretty awesome for a first marathon! Do I dare think I can break 3:00 on a flat course, or next year in NY with more experience and fitness? Frightening. Compared to my times in college, which were decent but not too competitive, my marathon time is so much better. I guess I have found my niche. Also happy to report my shin that I thought was sort of a stress fracture didn’t hurt at all during the race, and is pain-free post race. Strange…

So, what’s next? Firstly: walking without waddling and being able to get down stairs. HA! But I’ll probably take some good time off running and start doing some other things I’ve wanted to, like pilates, walking, etc. And sleeping in! And rejoining society and being able to go out and have FUN on a weekend and not wake up hungover having to run 20 miles.

Maybe I’ll do some more road races in 2011. But for now, I’m already signed up for the NYC Half-Marathon on my 24th birthday, March 20th. I will probably also register for NYC Marathon again, but I need a few days to rest first :)

Hope you all enjoyed reading this long-winded post, and CONGRATULATIONS to all the finishers on Sunday! I’ve had a blast training for this and reading others’ blogs as well. Now I need to figure out what to write about, if not my training for the big day.