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Going for the BQ

September 1st, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (1 Comments)

Helloooooo, September. How’d you creep up on us so fast? While I’m pretty bummed tomorrow marks the unofficial end of summer, I do love fall in New York City and can’t wait for slightly cooler and less humid temperatures for running.

The start of September also means that in just one week, I’ll be running a marathon. Gulp. After absolutely lovingggg Boston 2012 (aka the ‘speed can kill’ heat race), I knew I couldn’t wait to get back for 2014. But then life, work, injuries and accidents got in the way of running other marathons, which meant I haven’t run a race of any type since Boston/Big Sur in April 2012 and thus my qualifying times are all outdated. While Boston registration remained open through the Chicago Marathon last year, I am fairly confident that won’t be the case this year since everyone and their mom seems to want to do Boston this year given last year’s events.

So, I knew I couldn’t wait until Chicago to get my time, and that I should start searching for early September marathons to seek out a new BQ time before registration opens. Back in April, I stumbled upon the Lehigh Valley VIA Marathon and decided it fit the bill perfectly: runner-friendly fast course, relatively minimal travel, and perfect timing on September 8th. I quickly registered and hoped I wouldn’t regret the impulsive decision laster.

My goal for the race is to get a comfortable BQ time between 3:20 and 3:25, which is at least 17+ minutes slower than my PR and should normally not be a big deal (for me.) But after the bike accident, I was pretty slow to return to running and really started doubting whether or not a 7:40-7:50 pace was even doable for 26.2 miles. While I was only able to run 1 mile at the end of May, I’ve seen major progression over the last few weeks especially and feel really, really good about the race!

I’m trying to treat it as a uptempo long run (NOT RACE), with the goal of slightly negative splits and feeling smooth and comfortable, holding myself back from the impulse to push the pace. I know I might get carried away a bit, but will remind myself I just need ANY time in that window and there is no point in going any faster. I just want to check the BQ box and then focus on a better time at Chicago.

Running lately has been going pretty well, with a few confidence boosting runs and workouts along the way. I did 19.5 miles last weekend, since I was too lazy to go 20, and ran around nearly the entire island of Manhattan.

Long run, 8/24

We had intended to make it a slightly faster paced long run with a faster-ish finish, and I felt awesome the entire time. We started around 8:00 pace per usual, and then brought it down to 7:45s and 7:30s and under towards the end. We averaged around 7:45 pace for the whole run, meaning adding on another 6+ miles should be no big deal next weekend, right?

And then this past Thursday, we did one of my favorite tempo workouts for marathon training– a continuous 8 miler with the first 4 mile loop at marathon pace and the second loop at half-marathon pace.

In my experience with this, everyone always ends up going way faster than their actual marathon pace for the first loop. I knew I wanted to start conservatively and feel good at the end, so aimed around/under 7:00 pace for the first 4 and hoped I could hang onto the group for the end.

Workout, 8/29

The good thing about doing these consistent workouts is being able to compare to years prior. I was pretty excited when I realized I had also averaged 6:45 pace for this workout before NYC ’11. And I was in kick ass shape when I did this before Boston ’12, averaging 6:32 pace and feeling really relaxed. Nonetheless, it was a huge confidence booster and testament to the body’s amazing ability to make fitness gains. Back in July, I could barely hold a 2 mile tempo at this pace and wanted to die.

So, fingers crossed for next weekend! My right shin started feeling a little funky after Thursday, but otherwise no aches or pains. I feel good but need to respect that 26.2 miles is a LONG way and I’m probably delusional for thinking it’ll be a casual Sunday morning yog. BQ, here I come… ready or not.

Happy Labor Day weekend, all! 

Running, lately.

August 16th, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (3 Comments)

The last few weeks of training have been pretty motivating, as my workouts have been getting progressively faster. There have been plenty of days where I contemplate “oversleeping” and skipping morning runs, and team workouts still give me knots in my stomach from nerves. But I’ve been showing up and continually putting in the work, and I think it’s (finally!) starting to pay off. As I’ve mentioned, getting back into shape is incredibly frustrating, humbling, and rewarding.

Here’s a quick summary of the last few weeks (because I’m sure you’ve been waiting in suspense….)

w/o 7/22: Total 51 miles

  • M: 8.25 + lift
  • T: a.m. workout @ Great Lawn; 8×600 w/ 200 jog– from 6:23 pace to 6:00 pace
  • W: Off
  • R: late to p.m. workout ~1.75 @ 6:35 pace; 2x Harlem Hill/transverse, 6:43, 6:30; pickups at end
  • F: 5.25 + lift
  • S: 2 mile ‘fun race’ to Parker House in NJ (4th place) 11:28. Definitely a short course, but ended in an open bar so no complaints here.
  • S: 15 miles trails w/ Kristen in NJ; picked up last miles 7:49, 7:19, 6:50

Kristen & I pre-race. We’re ready to drink all of the beer.

w/o 7/29: Total 51 miles

  • M: 8.5 + lift
  • T: a.m. Lower Loop, 1 mile @ 6:38, 8×400 w/ 200 jog– ranged from 7:05 pace to 6:12 pace. Legs heavyyyy.
  • W: Off
  • R: p.m. 4.06 tempo in 26:54 (6:37 avg) 6:47, 6:30, 6:41, 6:29. Ran solo for most.
  • F: 7.25
  • S: 17.75 long run while watching Club Champs– longest run so far!
  • S: Off

w/o 8/5: Total 46.75 miles

  • M: 8.5 mi + bike commute
  • T: a.m. Great Lawn: 6x~800 w/ 400 jog; ranged from 6:30 pace to 5:54 pace. Took a while to wake up…
  • W: 4 miles, extremely tired and so slow
  • R: a.m. tempo 5.12 in 35:47 (6:59 avg.)– hard to get moving/breathing in the morning // p.m. free SoulCycle class for work
  • F: Off
  • S: Off (sick)
  • S: 13.25 “long” run

 w/o 8/12: Planned ~55 total

  • M: 9.5
  • T: p.m. track workout: 5×1000: 3:49, 3:53, 3:51, 3:50, 3:47 (approx 5:59-5:46 pace)- felt good + lift
  • W: 7.5
  • R: p.m. tempo: 6.1 in 40:17 (6:37 avg) 6:46, 6:41, 6:19, 6:47, 6:36, 6:37- felt good & consistent
  • F: Off
  • S: Planned long run?
  • S: Planned off or short run?

Here’s the thing about my workouts and mental state lately. I have had zero confidence. Particularly on Thursday nights when I meet with the whole team for practice, I always feel unsure of who to try to run with since I’m not in shape enough to hang with my regular group. I’m just not as familiar with who else runs what paces and I hate being that annoying person going around asking what pace everyone is planning to run. So sometimes, I find myself in limbo– lacking confidence to go with a faster group because I don’t want to get dropped, but a bit quicker than the other. One day, I doubted myself and ran with the 2nd group and found myself running practically the entire 4 mile tempo alone. My pace was good, and sometimes I enjoy a solo effort, but I regretted not challenging myself and going with the faster group because I was too scared.

Well, that’s dumb. So this week, I opted to go with the quicker group on both Tuesday AND Thursday nights. And I didn’t get entirely dropped, I just hung along the back. Surprise! It wasn’t so bad after all.

Workout 8/15/13

In fact, this tempo is pretty much on par with my regular pace for these workouts, which I was quite surprised by. Maybe it was the slightly cooler weather, or maybe I’m just getting stronger mentally, but it’s been a good reminder to stop doubting myself or playing it safe. While I’m still not expecting to run close to my PR in Chicago, maybe I won’t be as far off as I thought I’d be when I started this training cycle.

Oh, PS, have I mentioned I’m “racing” the VIA Marathon on 9/8? I keep conveniently forgetting about it. I’m just running it as a long run to get a BQ time (since my last marathon was April ’12). Yep, just a casual 26.2 mile run. As long as I clear 3:25 (7:49 pace), I’ll feel confident about being able to get in for Boston ’14. Since this post is long enough, hopefully more on that to come…

This weekend, I’m headed up to Garrison, NY for Alex’s wedding weekend. Alex and I met through Central Park Track Club, when we discovered we ran the 2010 NYC Marathon within seconds of each other (literally) and became perfect training buds and friends. You might remember we even did Boston 2 Big Sur together! I’m so excited to head up with a few other girls from the team and celebrate her and Steve’s big day and dance the night away.

<1 Week!

April 10th, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (11 Comments)

It’s race week! And oh goodness, what a relaxing weekend will do. This sounds silly, but I haven’t woken up well-rested, without an alarm, or without some semblance of a hangover both weekend mornings in …a long time. Between working or traveling on weekends, rising early for long runs, and going out late, it just hasn’t happened. A week before the marathon is enough time to reset and refresh, right? Right.

Sunday Easter brunch & Central Park walk w/ Mom: The key to happiness!

This week I’m focusing on sleep, sleep, and …more sleep. By nature of my job, I’m ‘on’ and connected to social media all day long and find it hard to disconnect at night and fall asleep. Not complaining, just how it is. I’m trying to make a concerted effort to focus on work but shut down a bit earlier. Some things can wait until the next day. This week, sleep cannot.

But more important than sleep, I’ve been working to mentally prepare myself for next Monday. I touched on this last week, but given the successful training cycle I’ve had, I kinda expect to show up in Boston and break 3:00. I really have no right to be so cocky, so I’m trying to shake that mindset because I know it’s going to be hard as hell and I’m going to have to earn it. Marathons are extremely humbling and if I don’t prepare myself for it, I’m going to fall apart.

I wrote about this in my third Boston.com post yesterday, but at this point it’s really all mental. Grinding out a fast pace over 26.2 miles is hard and there’s going to be highs and lows. Each low point is going to wear down that mental layer bit by bit. I need to be sure I’m equipped with strategies to overcome those trying times and keep everything in tact and push through.

Last Thursday was a good time to practice staying strong mentally. We did a continuous 6 miles: 2 at marathon pace, 2 at half-marathon pace, and 2 back at marathon pace. For a final workout with the majority of it at marathon pace, this probably should have felt easier, but I was right on mentally. Yeah, our paces were a little faster than they should have been, and I think my watch was off a bit from Alex’s, but it’s interesting to see my heart rate didn’t drop back down much once we transitioned back down to marathon pace. Figure this will be similar to the final miles in the race…oof.

While this weekend is a busy one between work events, I’ll make sure to find a way to keep my head above water and rest up. Oh, and don’t worry. I’ve got the carboloading part down pat.

I’ll be nibbling on this all week. This speedy bunny surely has transformative properties. Right? Thought so.

Best mental strategies to prepare for a race? Anything else I should be doing to prep this week? Help! Advice! 

Happy Monday! Looks like I’m getting on a weekly posting schedule…though I’d like to write more frequently, I’ll start by recapping this past week. It was a pretty awesome one largely because it felt like spring for the majority of it. Any week in late January/early February I can wear a dress without stockings, have a work meeting outside in Bryant Park and run in shorts most days makes me happy. It’s the little things.

And, I finally cracked 50 miles for the first time this training cycle with a pretty solid workout, too. Exciting…

  • M: 7.5 in Riverside, easy (~8:15 pace)
  • T: 8 miles on Bridle, felt good (~7:44 pace)
  • W: 6 around reservoir/bridle (~7:39 pace)
  • R: Solo workout: 3 warmup, 2 cooldown, 7 mile tempo (4+ lower loops) in 46:30. (6:50, 6:49, 6:50, 6:39, 6:33, 6:21, 6:25)
  • F: OFF
  • S: Hot Chocolate run! 15 total (10 through WSH/Riverside/CP ~7:15 pace, 5 easy down WSH to City Bakery)
  • S: 3 miles easy around Riverside to Whole Foods

Total: 51.5 miles

Thursday’s workout was a bit of a confidence booster. I’ve professed my love for doing solo workouts on the lower loops before. I set out to do a little over 4 loops to hit 7 miles, starting out easy and bringing it down at the end.

Workout, 2/2

Kept it around goal marathon pace the first three miles and felt pretty relaxed. Around the 5th mile, I got into a groove and felt confident to push the pace a bit under 6:30. The last mile was pretty tough and uncomfortable though, yikes.

I did this exact workout on September 15th in 47:11. I thought it was a pretty great effort and strong fitness indicator before NYC. Well, Thursday’s workout was almost 45 seconds faster, and while I definitely pushed much harder in the last miles than September, I still felt strong. While there’s still a lot of work to be done between now and April 16th, maybe Boston won’t be so bad after all.

The weekend was plenty of fun, too! Enjoyed a delicious Restaurant Week dinner at The Hurricane Club, with fiery drinks (meant to share between 4, but easily polished off between 2). And then we were wasted, good work team.

Woke up on Saturday morning without tooooo much trouble to hit the roads for 10 miles before meeting up with the New York Rogue Runners (yes, Rogue) to run another 5 miles down the West Side Highway to City Bakery for the annual Hot Chocolate Run. While I anticipated taking the first 10 miles pretty easy, suddenly we found ourselves around 7:10-7:15 pace…oops? The weather was nice and I felt good and once again, I had some great company to pass the miles :)

I was so excited to finish the last 5 miles with the group and spend some QT on the roads and sippin’ delish hot chocolate with the Sweat Squad contingent of Ali, Megan, Susan and Meggie. Definitely a great Saturday morning/afternoon. Thanks for organizing, Baker!

This is our 'look intimidating' pose. Nice.

Delicious food

Nothing says refueling like Banana Peel hot chocolate, caramelized french toast, mac and cheese, and fruit. I was more than happy to get my long run out of the way, and spend some time catching up with great friends. And just check out that marshmallow!

I’m not a huge football person, so I was mostly excited to get to whip up some delicious food to eat while watching the game last night. On the menu, buffalo chicken dip and spinach artichoke dip complete with veggie dippers and chips. Oh, and of course beer & two pints of Ben & Jerry’s. Both the dips were super easy & tasty, and we totally polished off the buffalo chicken dip. And now I’ll be eating spinach artichoke dip for lunch this week…yum.

I made this spread...go, Lindsay!

The ‘not-so-secret’ ingredient in both the dips is Chobani. Should come as no surprise because 1- I despise sour cream & it makes an excellent sub, and 2- Even though they may pay my salary, it’s awesome and I’d spend my hard earned dolla bills on it any day.

What was the best part of your weekend? Best run of the week?

Welcome to Sub-Elite, #287

November 3rd, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (16 Comments)

About a month ago, I applied for the ‘local competitive’ corral for the marathon. This is open to marathoners with a time of 3:16 or faster, and since I did it last year, I figured I’d do it again. I was assigned bib #504 and all was good. Then I found out there was another section, the sub-elite, for marathoners with a time of 3:05 or faster. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this sooner? I emailed the NYRR a few weeks ago and they let me know that unfortunately, the section was closed. No disappointment- local competitive was still a great option.

Yesterday at work, I got a call from NYRR, informing me that a few spots in sub-elite had opened up due to last-minute cancellations. Did I want to be switched? Ummmm, YES please!

Within a few hours, my registration card was updated to Bib #287.

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Needless to say, I’m so excited! Sub-elite athletes get a dedicated bus that leaves midtown at 6:30 a.m. and goes straight to the staging area with a special bag check, portapotties (most important!), refreshments, massages, and a clear starting position in the orange corral. Since I started on the lower level in green last year, I am probably most excited to start on the upper deck so I can actually see all the fanfare. And get to feel like a pro for a morning ;) I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this experience.

This afternoon I took a break from working at home (seriously, I love working from home! so much productivity without the commute) and ran the 3.5 miles from my apartment down to the expo. Nice way to multitask and get in my run for the day.

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I spent about 45 minutes or so walking around the expo, checking out the free samples and stocking up on some gear.

shirts

A short sleeve gray shirt, a soft longsleeve blue half-zip (showing the back with the marathon type), and a red Brooks longsleeve: ‘Run Happy’. I love that one!

The expo really made me feel like the marathon is here. I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around the reality that I’m racing 26.2 miles on Sunday, and needed the energy of thousands of others to get me in the mood. I don’t know when it’ll actually hit me, but I’m getting closer. Promise.

I worked a bit more when I got home, and then decided to make a nice, healthy dinner. Another perk of working from home: being able to cook from my own fridge, whenever I want, instead of depending on whatever I brought to the office that day and waiting to eat a ‘real’ dinner until I get home at 8! And the best perk: working in my sweaty running clothes in bed and showering 5 hours later. Mmmhmm.

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Baked salmon with TJ’s Island Soyaki sauce, over a bed of quinoa, edamame and cucumbers, also mixed with soyaki sauce.

I’m trying to increase my carbohydrate intake this week, to amp up my stores and fuel for the race. I don’t do the typical pasta binge the night before, as my stomach isn’t used to that and I’d probably get sick. And, it’s a bit too late to ‘stock up’ the night before. Instead, I’ve been focusing on having more healthy carbs all this week like bananas, oatmeal and cereal for breakfast, more pretzels and crackers for snacks, and bases of grains like quinoa when eating healthy proteins.

Since I’ve been running less this week, my appetite hasn’t been quite as ravenous. That means I’ve had to make a more conscious effort to eat every few hours, since I know my body needs the fuel. I don’t weigh myself too often, or get too preoccupied with it, but today I noticed I’ve lost about 3 pounds from about 2 weeks ago. For me right now, this is not a good thing! I need to hang on to all the muscle, power and water I can get to get me through the race. I will probably focus on getting back to a lower weight post-race. (Yes, I tend to gain around 5 or so pounds marathon training. I like to think it’s muscle, but it’s more likely a result of my monster appetite).

I’ll be back again tomorrow or Saturday with a pre-race post. Until then, send good marathon thoughts my way and tell me where you’re cheering!

What’s your favorite part of race expos? What’s your carbo-loading strategy? If you’re cheering WHERE WILL YOU BE?!?! I want to know where to look for everyone.

I survived the first week of the taper! Sunday’s Half-Marathon marked 3 weeks to race day, and the beginning of the gradual decline in intensity and mileage.

After many, many hard weeks of training, I’m a bit relieved. The end is near. My goal is (finally) in reach. November 6th used to feel so far away- especially through all those humid, sweaty runs in July and August- and it was hard to visualize race day. September rolled around, the fall air began to hit, and upping my long runs helped draw the marathon a bit closer. And now, we’re suddenly nearing the end of October and it’s in sight. How did that happen? I’ve logged three 20-mile runs, pushed through weekly workouts at half-marathon and marathon pace, reached a new highest weekly mileage, and I feel ready. Well, most of the time.

The great part is… all the really hard work is behind me. But that’s also the scary part. I second guess myself. Did I do enough? Were my runs long enough? Was my pace fast enough? I’m out of time to put in the hard work. These few weeks of tapering will be about getting my legs fresh, staying healthy, resting up, and mentally preparing. While these things are all a very important part of race preparation, it’s difficult not to question how you could have done more during training. Stretched more, iced more, ran longer, ran faster, slept more, ate cleaner, took iron more, lifted more, worked on my core strength more.

I think this is totally natural. No matter your ability, there is always room to doubt yourself. No matter your training, there is always the question if you could have done more. It’s like that in all areas of life: did I study enough for that test? Did I prepare enough for my big client presentation? Did I spend enough time with my family? Did I do enough to show my friends I care?

I need to focus on looking back at all I’ve accomplished over the last 3 months, and trust in that. I feel confident that I’ve done the best I could in my training given the time and energy I was able to dedicate. I am thankful to have stayed healthy and injury-free this entire training cycle. I have woken up earlier than the sun, run faster and farther than comfort, and am ready. Sub-3:00 is no longer a lofty goal, it’s in reach. The preparation is done. It’s all up to feeling good, running smart, staying strong, and digging deep on race day.

Hopefully, crossing the finish line as happy (and satisfied) as last year! This time, a few minutes faster.

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This week, I hit 49.5 miles.

  • Sun: 13.1 miles- Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco: 1:32:09
  • Mon: Off
  • Tues: Flew back from CA on redeye. 4 miles easy after landing before work.
  • Weds: 4.5 miles in CP
  • Thurs: 2 warmup, 5.16 tempo (6:44 average pace), 2.5 cooldown
  • Fri: 2 miles shakeout
  • Sat: 16.5 miles total, including last 10 miles of the marathon course (!)

Next week, I’ll probably hit around 35-38 miles, and then only around 22-25 miles the week before the marathon. Hooray!

To rest, I’ll be keeping it pretty low key these next two weekends. Last night, I went to the Meatball Shop with Dan for dinner. The wait was less than an hour, surprising for 7 p.m. on a Friday. Like last time I went, I decided to get the sliders again so I could choose multiple ball/sauce varieties. I chose the spicy pork with spicy meat sauce, veggie with parmesan cream sauce, and the special ball- chicken cordon bleu with mushroom sauce! With a side of carrot and chive risotto, steamed spinach and the market salad with arugula, pomegranate seeds and persimmon. Yum!

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And of course, no dinner is complete without dessert. Special apple cinnamon ice cream with special oatmeal cherry cookies. Amazing.

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No, these hairy arms are not mine.

This morning, I met a few of my CPTC teammates on 59th and 1st to run the last 10 miles of the marathon course. I ran about 4.5 miles through the park to meet, and 2 miles easy after we finished to run back to my apartment. Afterwards, I refueled with a giant mug of Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice coffee, and steel cut oatmeal mixed with pumpkin and protein powder. Now that it’s finally feeling like fall, I’m in the mood for warm, flavorful food. MMM.

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I have to run a few errands this afternoon before fun evening plans. I can’t wait to sleep in tomorrow!

How do you stay confident during a taper? Tips to trust in your training? Any fun weekend plans?