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The Game Plan

November 21st, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (5 Comments)

As I write this, I’m somewhere 30,000 feet above Newark and Phoenix, en route to sunny Santa Barbara, California for Thanksgiving. (edit: And now posting on my layover in Phoenix!) I booked my flights with a combination of frequent flier miles (all that work travel pays off, somehow!) and credit card rewards points, since Thanksgiving travel is outrageously pricey. It was an equal number of miles to book economy or business class for my outbound flight, so of course I chose business class and was pleasantly surprised upon check-in to have been upgraded to first class. What? Me?! It made the 6:30 am flight time (and 4:30 am wakeup call) slightly more bearable. Now I’m just waiting on my complimentary breakfast and booze…

Anyways, thanks so much for the kind welcome back to blogging. It always amazes me that anyone actually reads this, and actually cares about my ramblings of running mile after mile (or, more recently, not running). It’s awesome and I truly appreciate the support!

While I’m still in the stage where I’m running however long I want to, when I want to, I’ve been looking towards the future and mapping out a racing calendar to get motivated. In fact, I haven’t raced since Boston or Big Sur in April. Before my big goal race in March, most of these races below will serve as training workouts to get me back in the racing game, mentally more than physically.

January 5th: Joe Kleinerman 10K

  • Because I hate racing 10Ks and can’t think of a better way to torture myself after the holidays and New Years. Self-inflicted hazing?

January 19th: Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Brewery

  • My friend Veronica actually won it last year (badass!) and mentioned it’d be fun to do. My friend Terence lives in Sayville, so a few of us are going to go out to his house and make a weekend of it. A race that ends at a brewery with free beer…sign me up! (Says the girl who is supposed to be avoiding gluten, whoops.)

January 27th: Manhattan Half-Marathon

  • ‘Cause what’s more fun than paying to run 2 loops of hilly Central Park in the winter? I kinda bandited part of this race 2 years ago when it was 14 degrees as part of a long training run, willingly, because I was so crazy sick of running alone. Will probably be my first really ‘long’ tempo effort.

Something Awesome in February

  • I want to run the Cherry Tree 10 Miler again in Brooklyn, but I’m pretty sure it’ll fall on President’s Day weekend when my friend Ely is getting married back at Villanova (!!!!!), which is 10x more fun than any race. Open to suggestions for something else fun during this month!

March 17th: NYC Half-Marathon

  • Quite simply, I love this race. Haters can hate on NYRR and the ridiculously steep price tag (my bank account sure does), but I have such happy memories associated with this race and can’t wait to do it again, especially with a new (hopefully faster) course since I last did it in 2011. I didn’t run it last year because I got back from a work trip reallllllly late the night before, and was in the midst of Boston training. This will be my big Spring 2013 goal race. It just feels right. My story…
    • It was my very first post-collegiate race (and first half-marathon!) back in 2010. After 8 straight years of training and competing regularly in high school and college, I was still in that weird “kinda burnt out on racing and don’t know if I want to do this anymore” phase. I hadn’t raced in almost a year, and had never raced anything over a 6K in my life, so I didn’t do any workouts and went in with minimal pressure on myself. While I ran 1:29 and accomplished my goal of auto-qualifying for the NYC Marathon, more importantly, I found I really did love racing and competing again. Running was something I wanted to challenge myself with again.
    • In 2011, I had one marathon under my belt and had gotten more serious about training. I knew I could take down my 2010 time easily, but I totally underestimated myself and ran a 1:24:23, which still stands as my PR. I negative split that race and still remember how awesome it was to drop a sub-6 mile down 7th Ave and into Times Square, smiling and pushing my way down the West Side Highway. I can only hope I’ll be able to recreate that experience in March, this time a little faster.

While I haven’t signed up for the majority of these races (with exception of the NYC Half, booyah guaranteed entry), they’re on my radar and I plan to sign up as soon as registration opens, barring any work/personal plans that arise. Just mapping things out has already created some direction and re-sparked motivation that’s been lacking for quite some time. I’m not sure what’s on the horizon past mid-March, but I’ve got some ideas brewing depending on how the next few months go including (re)attempting Chicago in October if I’m feeling up to it.

While looking ahead to these races and how I’ll get fit again and train to PR, I’m trying very hard not to get frustrated with the health problems I’ve been having. I know my body and myself and can tell something has been off for a while. I had a good visit to an endocrinologist at NYU last week, and while it means multiple blood tests to look into a few things, I’m hopeful we’ll get a little closer to figuring it out once the results are back. I want to get back to competing at my best, but my body isn’t at its best right now. And honestly, it feels a bit out of my control to get it back to its best until I figure out what’s medically wrong. Until then, trying not to Google-diagnose myself with a billion different things…

No, but really.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! I’ll be enjoying a few well-deserved days off work with the family, eating turkey and drinking wine to my heart’s content. And you should, too!

What’s on your racing calendar? Any other fun NYC-area races you’d suggest I look into?

Less than 2 weeks to go, and the taper is on! Except my legs feel like lead and I’m exhausted. Not surprisingly, given a busy work trip, 10k race, and late nights this weekend. I’m going to try to make sleep a priority this week, lay low this weekend and hopefully I’ll be a bit more refreshed leading into race week.

About Saturday’s 10k race. All things considered, 40:38 is pretty good. It’s only 2 seconds off my (very weak) PR. I didn’t exactly have the best race prep, but since I was down in Charleston for a work trip (Chobani was a sponsor of the race), I had to make sure work was a priority. Racing was simply a nice perk.

Here’s a link to the full stats for the race, using the Polar RCX5 I’m wear-testing for Boston.com. If you know anything about heart rate training, I’d love your insight! Is an avg. of 181, max of 190, right for a 10K race?

Can you tell where the bridge was? Ha.

I hate to play the ‘excuses’ or ‘what if’s game, but bear with me. Under the right conditions I really believe I could have broken 40 minutes. Here we go:

  • My pre-race prep sucked. I spent Thursday & Friday entirely on my feet, shuttling & lifting cases of yogurt, and eating samples from booths at the expo for lunch and dinner (Muscle Milk, Blue Moon, fruit snacks, ice cream, and Atkins bars…)  Gross. Except all the Chobani, of course :)
  • Since I was offsite during the day, I had to catch up on work when I got back to my hotel each night after 9 at night. Combined with early wake ups, I slept about 5-6 hours each night– which is not enough for someone who needs 8-9 on average!
  • I had to get blood drawn on Friday (long story), so since I didn’t have a car, I ended up running to and from my blood test, while trying not to pass out, cry, or die on the 3 miles home. I felt really drained the rest of the day and into Saturday, unsurprisingly.
  • The race was delayed by an hour (!!!!) due to issues clearing the bridge, so it was even hotter. We stood around on our feet, not knowing when the gun would really go off, as the sun rose. Pretty sure it was over 80 degrees and this little Northerner was dying.
  • There was a massive, never-ending bridge for about 1.25+ miles, up which I hit blazing splits of 6:45 (started at the end of this mile) and 7:18. Combined with a whipping headwind, WTF. I shouldn’t run those splits in a 10K…
  • My legs weren’t exactly rested, nor trained to run a 10K. It doesn’t make sense that my 10K pace should be the same as my half-marathon pace, but it is. I’ll definitely drop time once I kick the high mileage & focus on ‘speed’.

Ok! Excuses, excuses. I know it’s like saying “well I definitely could have PRed if I was half-Kenyan/on a bike/magically had a tailwind/stopped a mile early!”, but I’m simply trying to put it in context of things I could and could not control. End complaint session.

On my 2nd Boston.com post this week, I wrote a bit about the race and loosening up a bit. After I finished and reflected on last year’s NYC Marathon, I made it a goal to become more flexible in training & racing. I was so ingrained in my routine, getting super stressed out when I had to stray from it. Everything about Saturday’s pre-race prep typically would have made me crazy anxious and defeated. “But I didn’t get 8 hours sleep the night before the night before the race! I didn’t eat my favorite oatmeal for breakfast! We’ve been waiting on the start line for an hour and I have to pee!” But this time, I just rolled with the punches and did the best I could, given the day. It was what it was. And obviously, the situation will be much different for Boston.

This training cycle, I’ve worked hard to let go, stress a lot less, and still live life. Through this, I’ve maintained a better running/life balance, and while everything hasn’t been perfect, I’ve been so much happier with myself, my running, job, friendships, life, everything. My post on working hard & playing hard just about sums it up. I firmly believe that keeping it fun and balanced will ensure a long love affair with running…and hopefully snag a few PRs along the way.

The remainder of my Saturday is a good example. Despite being exhausted from the race (and working the finish line event for about 2 hours post-race…in my sweaty glory), I still had time to grab some burgers and margaritas along the water with some coworkers before boarding my flight back to NYC. I passed out for a quick hour on the flight, got home around 7:30 p.m., pulled myself together (and threw back a 5 Hour Energy), went out to dinner with Terence as I missed his surprise birthday party while down in SC, and then went to Gian’s birthday where I drank (too much) and danced until 3:30 in the morning.

Again, it’s no surprise why I’m tired. While breaking 3:00 is THE goal and will make me feel incredibly happy and accomplished, spending time with friends and going out is a priority, too. Again, it’s about balance. I’ll just reel it in these next two weeks and hope I can “have my cake and eat it too.” Wishful thinking? We’ll see.

And now, sleep. sleep. sleep. And a little bit of running thrown in there, too.

Ever feel there’s not enough hours in the day or days in the week? Yeah, me too. It’s been a busy week around here, but with a little flexibility and a little compromise on sleep, I hit 67.5 miles last week, a new high for this training cycle. This last week I’ll aim to hit 70 and then it’s taper time!

But it’s been an exciting week so far, so here’s the highlights. Spoiler: it includes delicious birthday food and a cool announcement.

I ran 20 miles in the middle of the day last Wednesday. Some at marathon pace!

Have I mentioned how thankful I am that my job promotes a bit of flexibility? Very thankful. To offset the 2.5 hours of ‘me’ time I took to do this long run in the early afternoon, I simply started my work day a bit earlier and ended it a bit later. Since I was traveling Thursday-Saturday for work, I knew I wouldn’t find the time to squeeze in 20 miles over the weekend. Gotta make it work.

I’ve missed bridge running, so decided to head down the WSH, over the Brooklyn and back over the Manhattan bridges, and back up the WSH to my apartment. Despite eating a substantial breakfast, my stomach felt empty about 3 miles in so I stopped to buy a water and a Kind bar. I never eat ‘real’ food while running, but knew I needed something other than a Gu to stop the hunger. Luckily it sat well.

Long run, 3/14

20 miles of splits are pretty boring, I know. But, I was feeling good after coming back over the Manhattan Bridge and decided today would be a good day to attempt marathon pace at the end of a long run. I was bored around mile 13 so decided to pick it up then to make the time go faster. After 4 miles, I started feeling extremely light headed and dehydrated but spotted a vending machine and chugged a water while jogging easy again. It was the 1st 70 degree day in a while and I was hot. I figured I’d just jog easy to cool down home, but felt 10x better after the water so attempted another marathon pace mile. And it was quick!

I went to Atlanta!

As I mentioned, I went to Atlanta for work Thursday through Saturday. The Chobani CHOmobile was at the Georgia Marathon expo, and part of my job is to go to these events to interact with consumers, media and capture content to share online. I didn’t get to see much of the city, but did wake up extra early both mornings to get in my run before the expo started. Including a nice little run to Piedmont Park!

I spectated the NYC Half-Marathon!

The NYC Half-Marathon is one of my FAVORITE races. I don’t care how ridiculously overpriced the entry fee is. It holds a special place in my heart as it was my first post-collegiate race in 2010 and where I set my PR in 2011 on my 24th birthday. I really, really wanted to race it again this year, but I knew I wouldn’t be getting back from Atlanta until late Saturday night and after being on my feet all day, likely wouldn’t be a successful race. So I dragged my overtired self out of bed early to spectate while getting in some miles with other CPTC peeps along the course. It was a blast, though part of me was a bit bummed since I think I would have had a good shot at a PR. Oh well. I got to see two of my other friends from college who ran the race, too. And then I drank pretty much all day on Sunday.

I turned 25!

Yep, Tuesday was my birthday! And the first day of Spring! So, pretty much the happiest day of the year. On Monday night I started the celebrations early with a trip to the new 16 Handles near my apartment with Terence. Having froyo within a 4 block radius is going to be dangerous this summer, I already know.

I kicked off the actual birthday with a sweaty 10 mile run and a doctor’s appointment…fun? After work, I enjoyed fancy cocktails outside at Public with my coworker Emily, followed by a late dinner at Gentleman Farmer with my cute guy friend :)

Gentleman Farmer is such a quaint restaurant! It only seats 20 people in the cozy space, and we ordered really unique dishes like bison tartar with quail egg, prosciutto and fig stuffed quail with risotto, ostrich steak, and creme brule- complete with a birthday candle! Highly, highly recommended for a special occasion dinner. Everything, including the wine, was extremely delicious. We cleaned our plates!

The birthday celebrations continued over a work lunch complete with wine & dessert yesterday at Il Buco Alimentari and Vineria, and I arrived home to cupcakes from my old college roommate Emily. I’m not a huge birthday person, but I do appreciate getting to feel a bit special for a day (or two…or a week). Thanks, everyone :) I wonder why my jeans are a bit tight today.

I also realized I’ll never again race in the 20-24 age group. 25-29 is hard! Goodbye, age group awards.

I was chosen as one of Boston.com/Polar Gear’s wear-tester for the Boston Marathon!

Guys, I never win anything. When my cute guy friend told me about the call for entries on Boston.com to apply to wear-test Polar gear (RCX5 watch/system) in the month leading up to the Boston Marathon and on race day, get to guest blog about it, and then keep the gear, I immediately applied. But I really didn’t think I’d have a chance. I don’t have a super compelling backstory, personal ties to the Boston Marathon, or anything. I just like to run and blog about it. But, both he and I were selected and the introductory post went up today. I should get the watch any day now and will be posting at Boston.com every Monday! I’m honored and really, really excited to see what the watch & system can do compared to my dinky Garmin 110.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to the past week or so. All good stuff. What’s the highlight of your week so far?

Festivity & Secret Santas

December 18th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (9 Comments)

Sometimes, the best runs are the ones you least expect. I’ve had a pretty busy week & weekend and running hasn’t been high on my list of priorities. This morning, I woke up early after too many drinks last night and too little sleep. I felt a bit lot like death. Instead of going back to bed like a normal person, I decided the only cure for this hangover was some fresh air. I bundled up (when did it become winter?) and hit the roads for a run to get the blood flowing. 6 miles later, I felt semi-normal again. Surprisingly I averaged around 7:20 pace, something that shouldn’t be possible after getting a total of 10 or 11 hours of sleep all weekend.

Excellent. I’m honestly pretty surprised by how well I’ve been functioning on so little sleep. A very small part of me is regretting signing up for Boston. Marathon training takes a lot out of me, and I’ve kinda been liking non-training Lindsay. She’s fun and goes out and stays up late and takes too many shots and doesn’t have to worry about a 20 mile run or workout the next day.

Fun Lindsay

Don’t worry, I’m definitely still going to be racing Boston and Big Sur, no questions there. It’s just hard to strike a balance between putting in the hard work to get sub-3:00, and being a single 24 year old living in NYC and all that entails. At the end of the day, I need to remind myself not to take running too seriously: it’s only a part of my life, and something I do because I love it. It’s not do or die, and I can still be fun Lindsay…. most of the time. :)

Despite Christmas being less than a week away (!!), I still hadn’t hit up the NYC must-sees. So I finally made my way to midtown to be a Christmasy tourist this weekend. We explored Bryant Park and the Rockefeller Christmas tree. Christmasy things make me happy :)

And my friends Noelle and Kristen came into the city to go out and stay at my apartment last night. We met up with Terence, and we always, always have random nights out together. Last night included a lesbian bar, an apartment party, and a hole-in-the-wall Irish bar. Fun!

Terence, Kristen, Me and Noelle

After the surprisingly great 6 mile run this morning, I headed over to Ali’s apartment for a fun Sweat Squad Secret Santa party with Megan, Susan, Kelly and Meggie!

Meggie, Me, Kelly, Ali, Susan, Megan

Meggie was my Secret Santa and got me an awesome Believe I Am Training journal. I am so excited to use it for training, I think it’ll help get me in the game mentally and be neat to record my training. Thanks, Meggie!

Over the course of our 7 hour “brunch”, we opened presents, drank mimosas, and ate baked treats. That’s my idea of a festive Sunday.

All in all, a very, very festive and fun weekend. Cheers to many, many more! And now, I will proceed to pass out. I’m road tripping to upstate NY tomorrow to finally see the Chobani plant on Tuesday and can’t wait!

Highlight of your weekend?

A Festive Weekend

December 13th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (9 Comments)

It’s one of my manyyyy favorite times of the year: Christmas time in NYC! (Other favorite times of the year: NYC Marathon weekend, my birthday, the entire months of May and September, and Labor Day weekend.)

The temperatures are dropping, the holiday lights and decorations are up and I am almost done with all of my Christmas shopping. I kicked off the holiday season this weekend by a fun “race” and an all day Santa bar crawl. Also known as: NYRR Jingle Bell Jog and Santacon. And it was amazing.

Green bagels always make me skeptical...

About a month ago, my friend Noelle suggested we sign up for the NYRR Jingle Bell Jog as a fun race. Though it was kinda pricey ($50? for a 6K? In Brooklyn?), I decided it’d be nice to get out there and do a low key run with her and Terence. Since I haven’t been running much, I knew I was in no shape to even attempt to race this, so I told them I was happy to run, jog, walk, or cartwheel as slow or as fast as they wanted to. I know I have a HUGE problem with doing races when I’m not in shape and not going to PR. However, signing up for this race knowing that I would just do it for fun, not as a race, alleviated a ton of stress since I never had to alter my mindset.

It was perfect! Molly also joined us and drove us to Brooklyn bright and early on Saturday. We actually missed the gun going off between trying to park and using the portapotties. Whoops?

Terence and I ready to run?

But, no stress here! We hopped in the corrals and took off at a leisurely pace, just enjoying the bells ringing on our shoes and fun costumes. We were going between 8:30 and 9:00 pace, dropping it down to 7:30 pace the last half-mile or so. We finished just under 32:00. For comparison, my college 6K PR was 22:58 on a hilly/grassy XC course…. so probably not comparable at all actually. A new personal worst time? Sure. A new most festively fun race? Yep!

Drafting off some santas...

We had SO much fun, we even made it onto the NYRR photo gallery. My life is now complete.

Molly, Me, and Noelle

We quickly headed home, showered, and changed into MORE festive attire and got ready for Santacon. My third year doing it, Santacon is always a blast and an excuse to be ridiculous and make friends with hundreds of other fun people dressed as Santas. Except, I am different and I’m a reindeer :)

Ladies in the apartment

Santa, can I get a drink?

And some of us dress as red M&Ms...totally normal

After a few bars, we ended up at a Japanese Karaoke bar in Midtown, belting out top hits such as “Barbie Girl”, “Build Me Up Buttercup”, and “All I Want for Christmas Is You”. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a dozen santas singing off tune to weird Japanese videos.

After the race, drinking all day, and a very unexpectedly fun night, I spent all day Sunday glued to my bed watching season 2 of Parenthood and doing a bit of work. Healthy living at it’s finest.

Weekends like this makes me  wish Santacon came more than once a year! But alas, I have another fun weekend coming up with my friend Kristen coming into town, and a Secret Santa exchange on Sunday! Let the festivities keep on comin’!

—————

On the running front, I’m finding it harder than I thought to run outside. It’s dark, it’s cold, and I’m full of excuses and lacking motivation. I’ve got about 2-3 weeks of easy running left before I start to really think about training for Boston, but I still want to build a little base. After struggling through 3.5 miles yesterday, I knew I needed running buddy motivation to get me out the door again. So, I met up with Alex at 6:15 this morning (gah) for 6.5 miles around the reservoir and bridle path. It was dark for about 5 of those 6.5 miles, but we had so much to catch up on since the marathon that the miles flew by!

Since I was up so early and had a bit of time I decided to stop at the gym to do some core and lifting work. I was so encouraged by your responses to my post on strength training and really appreciated the suggestions. I did a few exercises on the stability ball and headed over to the circuit machines, and actually have a feeling I’ll be sore tomorrow!

Any tips for winter running now that it’s getting darker and colder? How are you celebrating the holidays? Got more strength training tips?!

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!