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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which meant I haven’t run a race of any type since Boston/Big Sur in April 2012 and thus my qualifying times are all outdated.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.

Slowly but surely, I’ve been building my mileage up and starting to get back into the groove. In fact, this past week was the first time I (barely) cracked 40 miles– including 2 workouts and a ‘long’ run. My sore legs and tired body are slowly recalling the routine I’ve been out of for a while. Welcome back to training.

Let’s be honest, I don’t anticipate finding the time to blog about every week of training leading up to Chicago, but I’ll do my best to try! But I’ll definitely be updating my training log online, so get your fill over there if I become MIA again.

Here’s a quick snapshot of this past week, with some details on the workouts:

w/o 7/8: 

  • Monday: 5 miles easy on Randall’s Island
  • Tuesday: Workout in a.m. around bridle– 3 x 600/400/300 with 200 recovery between
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Morning workout at Exceed Fitness; Night workout– repeats of 2 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile
  • Friday: 7 miles easy in morning
  • Saturday: 12 miles easy
  • Sunday: Off
Total: 41.25 miles

This training cycle, I’m trying to get in two main workouts a week when I can: shorter intervals on Tuesdays, and longer tempos on Thursdays. This is the schedule Central Park Track Club sets out, and in the past I’ve only been good about incorporating Thursday workouts into my schedule– even for NYC ’11 and Boston ’12.

Last summer, my friends and I started a new routine of doing the Tuesday workout most mornings when we meet. Doing it in the morning in the park is much more convenient than heading to the track after work and allows another free weeknight to work or have a life. The shorter intervals are usually a bit easier to digest at 6:40 in the morning than a longer tempo, and we focus more on effort and getting our legs moving than time and splits as the terrain often varies and can’t be compared to a track.

That said, Tuesday’s workout was 3 x 600, 400, and 300 meter repeats with 200 meter jog between intervals and 400 meter between sets. We did the workout on the bridle path around the reservoir, generally estimating on our watches how long each interval was. Approximately, my splits were:

  • 2:31, 1:41, 1:15
  • 2:38, 1:37, 1:18
  • 2:25, 1:35, 1:07

Those times mean nothing to me, especially since they were on the annoying little ‘hills’ (that are nice on a normal run, but brutal during a speed workout) and uneven dirt. But at least my last set was ‘fastest’. Counts for something, right?

And then we celebrated Alex’s birthday by grilling in my patio!

I’m usually not one for double workouts, but I am trying to get a bit better about incorporating lifting into my routine, even if it’s for 5 minutes at the end of a run. So, when my coworker invited me to a complimentary workout class at Exceed Physical Culture on Thursday morning as part of something Chobani is sponsoring, I was intrigued. I was planning to run Thursday night’s workout and didn’t want to be tired for that, but I also didn’t want to turn down a free class that’d be awesome strength training.

Getting my butt kicked.

O.M.G. The squats, TRX exercises, burpees, kettlebell moves, and more left my legs toast. Seriously. I consider my legs pretty strong from running but I was walking like a penguin by Friday morning– turns out, there are a lot of other leg muscles I suppose I don’t use on a regular basis.

So I headed to Thursday night’s workout a bit sore and tired, but got through the workout not-so-gracefully. The workout on tap was 2 miles through the 72 transverse and up Cat Hill to the 102nd st transverse, another 2 miles through the 102nd st transverse and back south down (up?) the rolling west side hills to the 72nd st statue, and then 1 hard mile up Cat Hill to Engineer’s Gate. Holy hills, my quads were not happy.

  • 2 miles: 6:58, 6:45
  • 2 miles: 7:01, 6:48
  • 1 mile: 6:55

I definitely had to work hard to keep those paces and had a solid group around me to try to keep up with which was awesome. And, it was my first Thursday night workout back which was exciting! But honestly, I’m still having a hard time (mentally, and physically of course) not being able to run at my ‘normal’ workout paces with my ‘normal’ group. I’m respecting my level and doing what I can right now, but it’s a bit discouraging to compare these times to previous workouts.

I’m incredibly competitive with myself, and know the issue of comparison is going to be an ongoing struggle for quite some time. I’ll just keep having to remind myself to enjoy the journey, and hopefully I’ll get back to my ‘normal’ self at some point in the future– run by run.

‘Tis the Season

December 16th, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (5 Comments)

Although Christmas is just 8 days away (what!?!) I’m only just now feeling in the spirit. It hasn’t been terribly cold or snowed, I haven’t thought much about Christmas shopping, work has been crazy busy to even think about a break, and I don’t have any big holiday travel plans to look forward to besides home in NJ.

My new couch and little Manhattan christmas tree brings joy, too.

But yesterday, I donned my holiday best and joined thousands of others to roam the city in festive garb for Santacon. It’s my fourth year doing Santacon (whoa, time flies) and my fourth year being a reindeer. Ho ho ho! And all the sudden, Christmas started to feel a little closer.

Despite barhopping yesterday for 12 straight hours (seriously how did I last that long?), I woke up this morning feeling not-too-terrible and decided a hangover-clearing run would make me feel a little less gross. It was misting/raining and I didn’t have any mileage/time in mind, just wanted to sweat it out.

A few minutes in, my mind wandered and I started feeling pretty crappy about myself and my running. I still feel off and I’m tired all the time. While it’s starting to get easier to get in my mileage especially when I meet up with friends to run, I just want to feel like my old fit competitive self. I know it’s still early and I don’t need to start killing myself, but I do need to start sucking it up and getting in some basic workouts and pushing myself on runs a bit more.

So I headed into the park and to my favorite trusty solo workout, Central Park’s lower loops. (No really, I’ve professed my love here, remember this awesome workout last winter, and here’s one of the 1st times I ever did this workout, early blog/pre-Garmin days.)

Consistency is my strong suit. While the pace was nothing special for me and actually I thought I was going to die or my legs were going to fall off, I’m proud that I completed it all without stopping short. It felt good to push, even though I wasn’t really able to drop the pace at the end.

Still, doubt creeped into my mind at the end. “How are you going to run 13.1 miles under 6:25 pace in just 3 months?” Honestly, I don’t know. That felt hard, guys. But I need to start somewhere; this is where I am today, but it doesn’t have to be where I am in a few months.

What else have I been up to? This past Thursday was our company holiday party. Even though it was just at our office, it ended up being a blast! The highlight was by far the food and drinks (oh, maybe too many drinks…), talent show, and watching this amazing Rock Center with Brian Williams segment live, alongside Hamdi himself.

Click to watch!

If you know me personally, you know I can talk about yogurt for days and days and think my job is the coolest. BUT I really encourage you all to just watch this video. And then you’ll get it. The company went from startup to a $1 billion business in only five years. It’s a crazy story, but really not so crazy when you get to know Hamdi. He’s an incredibly humble yet visionary Founder and CEO, and sharing the moment to watch the clip alongside my colleagues was truly special.

And last weekend, I kept busy through friends’ holiday parties on the Upper West Side and Brooklyn, a friend’s bridal shower in NJ, and volunteering at the Girls on the Run 5k on Randall’s Island.

Ely, in the middle, is getting married 2 months from today!

This was my first time volunteering as a running buddy, and it was amazing. My girls finished strong and happy, with a bit of a ‘sprint as fast as you can and then get too tired and walk’ pacing strategy, often linking arms to run 3 across. They were both too cute (and knew the Gangnam Style dance, whaaaa?), and one said “I never thought I’d actually be doing this. I just thought it’d be a dream! But this is real!” She repeatedly called us ‘Thunder and Lightning’. Girls on the Run is an incredible organization and I really wish I could commit time to coach. I hope I’m free to volunteer for the Spring 5K, too!

And now, I’m going to go curl up on my comfy couch, bask in my Christmas lights, and try to fall asleep at a ridiculously early hour to get ahead of a busy week. Sunday funday.

How are you getting in the holiday spirit?

<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! 

Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina! Yup, traveling again. No surprise, this week has been busy and I am TIRED. Last week, I hit my peak mileage week before Boston and spent the weekend celebrating (and recovering from) 25th birthday festivities. I think my body is just now catching up and telling me to sloooooow down. My quads are incredibly sore and tired, but I’d attribute that to dancing in heels until after 4 am, not running. Ouch.

Not one of my finer moments.

Last week I hit 72 miles for the week! This is a new weekly high for me, as I only capped out at 70 before NYC. Go, Lindsay! I’m also extremely happy that I did it with 1 day total rest, a hard workout, long run, and without doubling (with the exception of one short easy morning shakeout).

To some marathoners 72 miles is nothing, and to others it’s a ton! For me, it was a perfect peak. Maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll get to 75-80+ miles per week, but only if i can stay healthy and sane while doing it. I’d also like more hours in the day…still working on that one. How do you people do it?!

And now, I’m ready to taper. Honestly, I looooove the taper. I am NOT one of those people that gets antsy on rest days or wishes I was running longer and harder during this time. No thanks, I got my fix of that over the last 4 months. To you people who hate the taper: I’m sorry, I just don’t understand you. Aren’t you utterly exhausted, both physically and mentally, and begging for a break? Or, am I just a lazy runner who wants my legs to feel normal again? Give me rest now.

Besides a final long run, the highlight of last week was Thursday night’s workout: a simple 5 miles (well, 5.17..) at half-marathon pace. I don’t know what it is about half-marathon pace, but it freaks me out. It seems fast (because it is!) especially compared to marathon pace.

Workout, 3/22

But we had a good group and nice weather, and most of my splits were under 6:20. I fell off the group a little on the last mile, but I need to do more of these workouts to get comfortable going faster. And then I refueled with 16 Handles.

Speaking of going faster, have I mentioned I’m racing a 10K on Saturday while I’m down here in Charleston? Yup, I am! I’m down here for the Cooper River Bridge Run, as Chobani is a sponsor at the expo and finish line of the race. As sponsors, we received a few entries so I figured I’d wake up even earlier and race….because that’s what normal people do, right? I don’t know much about the course except that it’s up and over a bridge so it’s probably got a steep incline. And that world-class runners race this, so I probably won’t win. Darn you, 33 minute 10k runners!

I’m not creating any pressure for this race, but a PR would be pretty nice. Considering I’ve run two 10ks in my life and my 10k pace was slower than my half marathon pace, I’d say there’s a good chance I should break 40. Standing on my feet at the expo for two days straight and eating 7484926 cups of yogurt is perfect race prep, right?

And, don’t forget to check out my first post on Boston.com! I’ve got mixed feelings on the Polar RCX5 GPS/heart rate system, but I need to use it more to give it a fair analysis. Of course, I’ll be wearing it during Saturday’s race and can’t wait to see my heart rate go through the roof as I die for 6.2 miles in 80 degree humidity.

And now, shutting down and SLEEP!

What’s the most you’ve run in a week? Do you love or hate the taper? Things to do in Charleston during my brief stay here?!