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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
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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.

T-1!

November 6th, 2010 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (0 Comments)

Can you believe it’s November 6th already? I just got in the door from my last shake out run before the big day tomorrow! Stretching out a lot and hoping my legs feel fresh in the morning! Weather looks a little chilly tomorrow, sunny & 45 degrees when running with a bit of wind, but it should be fine! Could be downpouring or not sunny!
Yesterday I went to the expo to pick up my bib and, of course, buy tons of Marathon gear! Needless to say, I got wayyy too much stuff but I love it all! :)

Got my bib!

After the expo, I went to a fabulous dinner at Becco where they have a special of unlimited amounts of 3 of the chef’s daily pastas– of course I got it! Farfalle with marinara, linguine with arugula and shrimp, and best of all- pumpkin ravioli! That was so good, I did get a 2nd bit of that, but I was stuffed! Hope my carb stores are ready to go tomorrow!

Today I’m just relaxing, going out to lunch soon with my dad, and then dinner with my mom and aunt who is in town from San Francisco! Looking forward to some more yummy food and time relaxing! Of course, I laid out my gear planned for tomorrow…

Race day outfit!

And of course, tried it on!

Don't judge me, it was early...

If my alarm clock goes off (I’m deathly afraid of getting screwed up with daylight savings time!) I’ll be at the bus bright and early tomorrow (5:30am–ughh) which made me nervous since online they had told me I was to go to the Staten Island Ferry at 5:45, but my bib says the bus. Either way, I’ll get there. I am planning a race day breakfast of a big bowl of oatmeal and a banana, which will probably be cold by the time I get to eating it in the start village, but yum!

Signing off for today, when I next report I’ll have good news to share of finishing and (hopefully) running a good time! To all of those running tomorrow, good luck!

Marathon Week!

November 2nd, 2010 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (4 Comments)

I’ve made it…it’s here: MARATHON WEEK!

I’m excited and nervous and scared and confused and prepared an unprepared all at the same time. I’m sure many are feeling the same way. I spent the last 4+ months building up for this race and now its finally here. In 5 days, around 12:50pm (fingers crossed!) I will become a member in an exclusive club: I will be a Marathoner. Unreal.

On Saturday afternoon, I ran the last 10 miles of the course, led by the orange flags lining the course to the finish line. A few observations/tips:

  • First Avenue is generally flat! There is an extremely minimal incline (in the 80s I think?) But followed by an equally minimal decline
  • The Willis Avenue Bridge, leading into the Bronx, is under construction and I think we’ll be running over the new bridge on race day. It was hard to tell much about this bridge because I had to walk up the pedestrian stairs and such. Its pretty short.
  • You’re in the Bronx for like .2 seconds before heading back into Manhattan. Make a few turns as you can see on the course map, but nothing bad. Seemed pretty level.
  • The turns around Marcus Garvey Park could be a good place to exercise running tangents? I felt like I was back in high school doing annoying laps/turns around a basketball court in gym
  • The incline on 5th avenue heading up to Central Park is going to be a PAIN. It started around 108th st, and I really didn’t think it crested until like 92nd/91st. The worst part seemed around 104/102 st, I think. After you’ve hit the wall (or hopefully, not!) this is more of a challenge then I thought…
  • Once you enter Central Park on 90th street, you’re just about golden. Just have to remind myself how many countless times I have run down Cat Hill that direction before and how familiar it is
  • Once you exit the park, Central Park South going towards Columbus Circle did feel like a tiny incline. Or maybe I was just tired from dodging pesky NYC tourists. Probably will have lost all circulation to my brain at this point and the path to the finish line will be a blur!

In the end, running the last 10 gave me a good indication of the end of the course, leaving no unknowns when I start to struggle.

This week I’m trying to relax, rest my legs, and get pumped! A busy work week is making the relaxing part hard, but I’m off Friday to de-stress and visit the expo to get all my goods!

Sunday I did 6 miles kinda split while I was watching my friend/old Villanova teammate Frances win the Poland Spring 5 miler race in Central Park in the morning. It was good to see her again and I got in some easy miles while she cooled down, and then ran home!
I took Monday off, ran 6 this morning, and have planned for rest of week: Wed: 5; Thurs: 4; Friday off; Saturday easy 3 to shake out + easy strides. Total of 24 miles for the week, and then 26.2 on Sunday!

I was planning to run after work all this week to get some extra sleep, but with the colder weather,  longer hours at work, and desire to just go home and eat a good dinner, I’ve found it’s so much easier to just bang it out on the morning and attempt to get to bed a little earlier than normal. Dare I say I’ve fully transitioned to a morning runner? I used to hate running in the morning, like could barely do 20 minutes, but I think it definitely takes a while to get used to. Now I love it because it makes the rest of my day easier, and I feel more awake. Really!

In the meantime, I’ll be obsessively stalking the weather forecast (which looks like 50 and sunny, by the way!) and visiting www.ingnycmarathon.org at least 50 times daily.

Where I’ll be in 5 days! Along with 45,000 other of my closest friends :)