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Back to the Bridle

July 4th, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

This might be the first positive post I’ve written in 2013! After a weird knee injury and getting hit by a cab, January through May were pretty bleak. For the bike accident not being too serious, I was surprised and humbled by how long it took my back to heal. I did zero activity for a good month, which was kinda awesome. I love running, but I also love extra sleep.

Finally, on May 19th, this happened:

It was a great (albeit rainy) day. I eased in gradually, and it even took a few weeks until my mileage was high enough to make it to Central Park, do a short bridle loop, and go home. I’m a big believer in coming back from time off very slowly and cautiously. Three weeks into running consistently, 6 miles was a ‘long’ run for me. I officially started keeping a log of my training the w/o 6/10– marking the 4 month count down to the Chicago Marathon– which you can view and/or stalk here.

It makes me so happy to be back into the routine of morning runs in Central Park with friends, which helps the miles fly by and get me out there before the temps rise (though, this recent humidity is a different story.)

Not taken while running.

Whether I’m running with friends or going solo, my morning run is easily one of the best parts of my day. It’s early and I’m half asleep most days, but it’s relaxed, peaceful and selfish ‘me’ time. After not being able to run too consistently for nearly a year, I love being able to create that time to do something good for myself most days. No distractions or stress, just time for good conversation while our feet hit the bridle (and, drip in sweat– ugh, summer running.) It makes me happy to kick the day off with something that I love and brings out the good in me. It might be cheesy, but it motivates me to get up each morning, knowing my mood and sanity will benefit from it. Plus, it feels good to get in a routine and work towards some goals again.

Speaking of goals… I’m still figuring them out. While I’d love nothing more than to PR or break 3:00 in Chicago this fall, I’m trying to be realistic and easy on myself. While I’ve said many, many times in the past that the competitive spirit in me hates racing unless I’m going to PR, I acknowledge I’m in a different mental and physical state right now and that’s okay. It’s been over a year since I’ve done Boston 2 Big Sur, and I just need to get back to racing… whatever form that takes.

So, I’m just trying to enjoy the journey and see where this summer takes me. It’s incredibly difficult and humbling to get back into shape, but it’s also a rewarding process that I like seeing unfold. My workouts so far have been incredibly slow (for me), but I know that I just need to keep putting in the work– no matter the pace– and it’ll slowly get easier and better. It can be frustrating to see the paces and think about where I used to be or where I should be, but I also know I don’t respond well to unnecessarily stressing out or over-thinking it and don’t want to hit a breaking point like last summer. Re-reading that post reminds me of the stress and sad funk I got myself into.

Life is slowly but surely getting in a better place. More focus and support at work, less travel and more time with friends and family, more time to relax and destress, better sleep throughout most nights, and more days running than not. While I’ve got a long road ahead of me ’til Chicago, it’ll be a different journey I’m looking forward to.

And now, I’m off to hang and enjoy beautiful NYC this fourth of July– happy running, all!

Cutting Back

September 6th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (14 Comments)

I’m back from Stone Harbor with a bit of a tan, a calmer head, a happy tummy from eating and drinking to my heart’s content, and slightly refreshed legs.

Oh beach, you relax me

Last week, the increasing mileage really got the best of me and I hit a new low: I stopped out mid-workout. After finishing a speedy 15 miler feeling spent (see, told you why I wanted to slow down…), a super easy 7.5 miles along the bridle path Wednesday night, and 2.5 slow shakeout miles Thursday morning, I hopped into Thursday night’s workout feeling a bit flat. ‘No biggie’, I thought, ‘it’s normal to have heavy legs while bumping up mileage. I can hang tough.’

The planned workout was 3×2-mile repeats at half-marathon pace. I tried to stay relaxed but my legs were not feeling it. I tried to stay with the group and ran even 6:31 splits for the first 2-mile interval. Perfect. I dropped back a bit and tried to recover around the Harlem Hills to get ready for the 2nd repeat. My first mile was around 6:44, and I absolutely lost it on the last mile. My breathing wasn’t really heavy, I just felt like I couldn’t keep or pickup the cadence and effort. My hamstrings were seizing up and my calves were like bricks. After my 2nd repeat, I just stopped. I knew if I continued and even tried to squeeze out a 3rd repeat, it’d be way off pace and dig myself deeper and deeper into the hole of exhaustion. So I didn’t.

On one hand, I am proud of myself for recognizing my limits and stopping. This was not the normal kind of tired that I push through day in and day out. This was not something I could or should push through. On the other hand, I am pretty frustrated for not finishing. I don’t know the last time I’ve had to drop out of a workout or race. I don’t want to feel like stopping is an option come November 6th.

I took a lot of time to analyze things over the long weekend, and decided it was time to change up my training plan.

Adjusting this week's mileage goal

I’m taking a cut back week. Also known as a down week, I’m dropping my mileage this week in an effort to rest and refresh my legs slightly. My original plan called for a gradual mileage increase leading up to a peak and then decreasing for 3 weeks of taper. Sort of like climbing a single mountain peak up and up until the tip, and then dropping down significantly. This worked for me last year, but it’s clearly not working this year. My runs have been so hot and cold…but mostly lukewarm. I’ll have a few great runs or workouts here and there, but the majority of my everyday runs are sluggish and I’m just not getting anything out of them.

My mileage hasn’t increased (yet) from last year, so I attribute my fatigue to the increase in intensity. I’ve incorporated weekly CPTC workouts into my routine, most at half-marathon pace, whereas I only did a total of 5 workouts leading up to the marathon last year, mostly at marathon pace. I really want to stick with these workouts as I genuinely enjoy working out with a team, and I truly believe the more I work out at 6:30-6:40 pace, the easier 6:49s (2:59 marathon pace) will feel come race day.

While I’m not a fan of the phrase ‘listening to my body’ (Think it’s taken too lightly: I’d run half as much, sleep in every day and eat pizza and burgers in bed if I really listened to my body), this is a time in which I feel it is important to listen and be open to changing the plan. I knew I was being ambitious this training cycle by setting higher goal mileage and increased workouts, and I want it to pay off on race day. But that approach isn’t working right now and I need to be able to remain flexible to get to the starting line well-trained but well-rested. It’s only September 6th (2 months till marathon!) and I’m about to embark on a good 6 weeks of serious training. It’s too early to feel fatigued.

I’ll probably aim to hit around 40 miles this week, give or take, a big drop from the planned 55. I ran around 8 miles on Sunday at the beach, and averaged around 7:20 pace because I was running with my speedy friends Nicole and Sean before Nicole raced a 5K, and it was flat. I didn’t run yesterday, and I have no plans on running today. I’ll probably still get in a workout this week, and see how I feel come Saturday for a long run. I’ve always been curious about cut back weeks and know they’re pretty popular in training plans, so I hope to begin next week feeling a bit refreshed and ready to tackle a few weeks of 60+ miles. I’ll continue to re-examine my plan and play it by ear. I might take another cut-back week in early October if my body needs it.

——

Other highlights from this weekend include:

I golfed for the first time in my life!

Beach time with my handsome man friend :)

And ice cream from Springer's- I got strawberry cheesecake, but ate it before it melted!

How did you spend Labor Day weekend? What are your thoughts on cut back weeks, and changing your plan based on how you’re feeling?

So Long Sweet Summer

September 1st, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (15 Comments)

Hello, September! Nothing like taking my third and final ‘Summer day‘ on Tuesday to remind me that summer has come to a close. Our office lets us pick one day each month as ‘Summer days’ to take off during the months of June, July and August. I didn’t really have any long weekends planned in August, so made the last minute decision to take off a random Tuesday. Because, why not?

After sleeping in (felt. so. good), drinking coffee in bed, and online shopping (whoops), I decided to head out for this week’s long run: 15 miles. Since I’m headed away this weekend, I figured I’d knock it out of the way and take advantage of the free day.

Luckily, Tuesday was one of those perfect days where it’s clear and sunny, still a bit warm but with a hint of fall crispness in the air. It’s very atypical to be able to begin a long run in August at 11:15am and not die of heat or humidity. Well planned, Lindsay.

I did around 3 miles in Riverside Park before heading over to Central Park where I zoned out and did a few Bridle Path loops, went up and around Harlem Hill, did a few lower loops, and headed back home. I started out pretty easy, and felt smooth throughout.

Overall, 7:34 pace. I’m pretty pleased with this effort, and was trying to just zone out and hit a groove without looking at my watch. I felt really smooth for the majority of the run, until I started fatiguing pretty badly the last 4-5 miles. My arms were heavy, legs even heavier, and I was feeling more and more drained. It started to become a mental battle counting down the minutes. I tried to slow the pace and just finish relaxed.

Yet, the miles kept clicking away under 7:30 even though I felt like I was going much slower. I wanted to go slower. I tried to go slower. My breathing was getting more labored and I could tell I was getting dehyrated, but I just couldn’t slow down, even after stopping at a water fountain. It was strange, and probably sounds really stupid. ‘You’re complaining about not being able to run slower?’ Yep, I am. It really confused me because my body wasn’t listening to my cues to relax; it was just running on autopilot and I finished feeling completely spent when I didn’t want to. And I didn’t like it.

———

Enough running talk. While I’m sad summer is just about over, there’s been some pretty good things going on this week, and good things to look forward to! 

Source: http://www.chinagrillmgt.com/restaurants-and-bars/asia-de-cuba-morgans

In my ongoing quest to enjoy NYC Restaurant Week (or, months) as much as possible, I headed to Asia de Cuba on Monday evening with some lovely lady friends. Since we were a party of 5, we got to split basically everything on the menu and left stuffed and happy. Yep, calamari salad, beef dumplings, chicken, salmon, coconut rice, tofu, boatload of desserts, and a few glasses of sangria is perfect long run running fuel.

<3 Calamari Salad Appetizer. Sadly, I didn't take this picture. Source: http://www.chinagrillmgt.com/images/phocagallery/gallery_adc_food04.jpg

Desserts <3 Lovely camera phone quality.

And then there’s the simple pleasures.

 

The latte from MacchiatoI had this morning. De. lic. ious. And I’m a sucker for cute heart foam art.

One time I went to Stone Harbor and hung out with an inflatable Uncle Sam.

Heading down to Stone Harbor, NJ for the weekend. Well, actually we’ll be staying in Wildwood because every hotel in the small town of Stone Harbor was booked by the time we got around to calling. But we’ll be beaching and drinking in Stone Harbor! Dan was a lifeguard there for two summers so it’s nice to return, and we’re going down with his twin brother Sean and his girlfriend Nicole.

I <3 Beef

Sale on Ground Grass-Fed Beef at Whole Foods on Friday! I love Whole Foods, but tend to just buy specialty items or 365 Organic Brand there since it’s a bit $$$ for my everyday groceries. I also don’t tend to buy fancy grass-fed beef, but for $4.99 I’ll stock up on the good stuff and pile up the freezer before heading out of town! Here’s more about grass-fed beef from Whole Foods.

What was the best run you had this week? What was your favorite thing this week? Are you happy summer is coming to a close, or would you rather turn back time and have it be June again? While I’m a bit sad that it’s not nearly light out as late, and I didn’t get to do as much rooftop drinking this summer as I’d like, I’m kinda ready for fall. And pumpkin spice lattes. And the NYC Marathon, I guess…

Good Eats & Sweaty Runs

July 23rd, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (12 Comments)

It’s my favorite time of the year, NYC Summer Restaurant Week! I got started on Restaurant Week in college, since Philadelphia did a similar thing twice a year. Tons of restaurants throughout the city offer a three-course meal for $35 for dinner, or $24 for lunch. Good food + Good prices = Lots of dining out! Also, an excuse to try fancy restaurants I typically can’t afford for a regular dinner out :)

This week I was particularly lucky to enjoy Restaurant Week dinners at Park Avenue Summer, Blue Water Grill and The Hurricane Club. Plus, on Sunday I’m headed to Mercer Kitchen! Here’s a bit about each.

Park Avenue Summer

At the last minute, a small group of friends decided to go to Park Avenue Summer. I’ve been before, but it is honestly one of my favorite restaurants so I was dying to go back. The restaurant changes the menu and decor for each season, so it keeps it unique. I’ve been to Park Avenue Summer, Winter and Spring– but need to go to Autumn! We had 9:45 pm reservations, but got seated a bit earlier at 9:20. It was tough holding out for such a late meal, but so worth it.

Source: Park Avenue Summer

I got the Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Avocado and Strawberry Salad for the appetizer. So good! For my entree, I got the Grilled Filet Mignon with BBQ Brisket and Potato Salad. I was craving some steak and it was perfect! I ended up not even being able to finish it (and I rarely don’t clean my plate…) but saved the rest to put over a salad for lunch the next day.  For dessert, I opted for the passionfruit yogurt and rhubarb sorbet, which was so fresh and the perfect ending.

Blue Water Grill

I was really excited for Blue Water Grill, as I had never been and summer makes me crave seafood. However, I was a bit disappointed to find that they changed their restaurant week menu from what was posted online, taking off the fried oyster appetizer I had been eying, and switching the shrimp and scallops entree to just shrimp. Not cool, Blue Water Grill.

Source: Blue Water Grill

Despite the menu change, it was still a nice meal. We went with a large group of 8, and ended up splitting a few bottles of wine that were specially priced for Restaurant Week. I got the Golden Tomato Gazpacho soup (which was excellent!), opted for the Sauteed Alaskan King Salmon for my entree and the Creme Brulee Tart for dessert. I have recently been trying salmon more often, as I want to like it, but am afraid of making it myself. I figure if I’m going to try salmon, I should do it at a nice seafood restaurant! Overall, Blue Water Grill was nice, but I really wish they hadn’t swapped the menu. Made me feel a bit deceived.

Hurricane Club

I have never been to The Hurricane Club before, but I’ve been dying to go. For the food, but mostly for the DRINKS! Dan and I came here on Friday for a ‘date night’ and it was excellent and left me super full, and a bit drunk. I’d totally go back, Restaurant Week or not!

Source: The Hurricane Club

I got the Coconut Shrimp Poppers for the appetizer, which were so fresh and tasty. The Cashew Chicken entree was so flavorful, and we also got coconut rice and broccoli sides. I may or may not have stolen a few of Dan’s Honey-Glazed Baby Back Ribs which were delicious! For dessert, we both got the Pina Colada Soft Serve. It was light and so flavorful, with real coconut chunks. To drink, we got the #440 to share: T-Tiki Spiced, Pineapple, Kiwi and Ginger. It was flaming and had fun straws- whee!

Needless to say, this has been quite the indulgent week. And I’m feeling a bit full from all the rich, delicious food. But when restaurant week rolls around, you must enjoy! No complaints here :)

————

On the running front, this week has been pretty rough given the heat and late nights dining out. Nonetheless, I squeezed in a long run of 12 miles this Wednesday before the 100+ degree temps rolled around. I met up with Megan, Kelly and Natalie for a few miles around the bridle before going our own ways. I was around 7 by the time Megan peeled off, and was already soaked in sweat. The last few miles were especially rough, literally wringing my shirt out as I ran since it was getting so heavy. As I stood in the kitchen chugging water when I got home, I realized I was standing in a puddle. Of my own sweat. Sexy!

Generally, I try not to let the weather get to me too much. I can’t control the weather, nobody can. Co-workers especially are shocked when it’s 100 degrees out and I told them I ran that morning. Yes, it’s still hot that early. Yes, I sweat. A LOT. Yes, it’s hard and I get really tired. But when you’re committed to something, you find the time and motivation to do it. I might have to take the pace a bit easier in extreme temps (both hot and cold), but I get out there and get the miles in. I keep reminding myself that I’ve toughed it out through many, many summers in the past and by the time September/October rolls around, the crisp air will feel like such a relief and I’ll be happy I put in the work when it was tough. Most importantly, mutiple breaks at water fountains are a key element in my summer training plan :)

I’ll probably head to the gym in a few to get in some lifting and core work since I’ve been slacking lately, and decide if I want to squeeze in 2-3 miles to hit my planned 40 miles this week. I really don’t want to go outside at all, as I’m quite enjoying laying in bed blasting the AC, but I feel I should be a bit productive before an evening out with friends.

Have you ever done ‘Restaurant Week’? Where’s your favorite place to go? How are you getting through this “heatpocalypse”?

City Kids Head to the Lake

July 20th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (10 Comments)

As much as I love NYC in the summer, sometimes it just feels good to get away to the great outdoors and R-E-L-A-X. This past weekend I had the opportunity to head to my friend Terence’s lake house in Pennsylvania. It was the perfect getaway—it felt like time just stopped there and Terence’s family were the best hosts, with plenty of fun activities planned.

We arrived Friday night to a stocked fridge and got down to work with some beer pong and civil war.

We woke up Saturday morning and enjoyed a run around the lake (bit less than 4 miles)—quite a change of pace to run on quiet, scenic roads and paths without seeing a car or other people!

Wrighter Lake

And then the games began…this weekend was full of nonstop competition! It was awesome.

Races!

Margarita Volleyball. The best kind of volleyball.

Tubing!!

The gang

I enjoyed a nice scenic solo run on Sunday, just an easy 5.75 miles. Although I ran in the heat of the day around 2pm, it felt so much cooler out in the country and shaded roads so it wasn’t bad at all. Kinda peaceful, actually. We watched the Women’s World Cup (sad loss…) and headed back into the city after the game.

Goodbye Wrighter Lake!

This week so far has been a bit hectic between work and social plans (read: eating at fancy restaurants 5 out of the 7 nights this week, for work and NYC Restaurant Week), but I’m aiming to hit 40 miles this week. I know, I still need to share a post on my marathon training plan. Coming soon, promise!

What is your favorite vacation spot? Are you a city kid or country dweller? How’s running going this week amidst the heat wave? I always thought I was all about the hustle and bustle of NYC, but after last weekend I’m just about sold on moving to the middle of nowhere and escaping the stress…maybe. ;) This week has been pretty hot and sweaty in terms of running but I’m chugging along!

 

Thank you all so much for the awesome comments on my last post on body confidence. I thought it was so awesome to hear many of you share the same struggles, and ultimately celebrate what our bodies are capable of doing rather than feeling down or unsatisfied.

Speaking of what our bodies can do, this past week marked week 1 of my ‘official’ NYC Marathon training! After the Mini 10K race in early June, I took a good few weeks to just rest and run how long I wanted to, when I wanted to. I kicked off this week ready to go and really excited about training again!

I’ve developed a loose plan for this year’s Marathon training, and will probably share it later this week. I still need to sit on it a bit before putting it out there, and think about some other areas I’d like to focus on this training cycle.

At least week 1 just called for around 30-35 miles for the week, and attempting to get in a road workout and ‘long’ run if I could. Mission accomplished!

Here’s how the week played out: 36.5 total miles

  • Sun: 3 miles easy in Riverside Park, humid and rainy
  • Mon: Off- Fourth of July!
  • Tues: 7 miles in Central Park
  • Weds: 6 miles in Riverside Park in am, Total Body Conditioning class after work
  • Thurs: CPTC Team Workout (3.1 miles in 20:27 [Harlem Hills..gah!], 1 mile in 6:15 [kinda downhill]) 8.5 total for day
  • Fri: Off!
  • Sat: 12 miles…longest run in a while!

Thursday’s workout was pretty rough. It was my first time doing any speed since the Mini 10K, and my butt/hamstrings were a bit tight from Wednesday night’s Total Body Conditioning class. Nonetheless, I was really pleased with my times considering how awful I felt. I think some of the distances might have been a bit short but I’ll take it. It was great to get back out there with the team and push through the discomfort. I kept reminding myself that I have to start somewhere, and I would have never put in that effort solo.

Saturday’s run was my favorite! Although I had no need to get up super early on a Saturday morning, I knew I wanted to get in a long-ish run and when I saw Megan, Ali and Kelly were meeting at 7:30 am in the park I figured it’d be a great opportunity to have company and beat the heat.

Don't we look like we're ready for an 80s workout video? (Thanks for being our professional photog, Ali!)

 

I went to Dan’s house on Long Island for dinner on Friday night after work, so didn’t get back into the city until around midnight. So, I was pretty tired when my alarm went off at 6:50 and never would have gotten out the door if I wasn’t meeting company.

I ran around 2 miles to the meeting point and then we continued along the bridle path to avoid a NYRR race, and the miles flew by! I loved running with them and not worrying about pace at all: I just wanted to get in the distance, I didn’t care how fast or slow. We all peeled off at different points and by the time I made it home, I had covered 12 miles! Average pace of 8:36, which was perfect for me. It’s still so early in training, and I really don’t think I would have been able to finish all 12 miles if I had gone much faster.

I can already tell this marathon training cycle is off to a better start than the last! I’m getting in workouts and long runs starting earlier in the cycle, which will hopefully set a strong base and pay off come November 6th. Here’s to staying healthy and enjoying many more workouts and long runs with running buddies!

And, many more trips to 16 Handles..the perfect marathon training refuel. This may or may not have been my dinner…don’t judge.

After sleeping in and lounging most of the morning, I’m off to do a bit of cooking and baking in preparation of tonight’s cooking club with friends! And…a 4-6 mile run may or may not happen depending on if I want to brave the heat.

What time do you typically do your weekend runs? What was the best workout you had this weekend? I love sleeping in, and find it hard to get up so early to beat the heat in the summer. Meeting people makes it easier to get out the door, but I would love to be able to run around noon-2 every day like I can in the fall/winter!