Still in the saddle ...

It's been awhile, hasn't it? I haven't stopped running, not by a long shot. I just stopped updating the blog. Rather than a futile attempt at catching up, just the highlights.
I ran the NYRR Half Marathon Series last year, and managed to get my time down to 1:53 by the end of the year (the Staten Island race). I cried on the sidelines of the marathon, feeling utterly left out, so scrambled to finish up my 9+1 for guaranteed entry this year. Stalking the FB message boards for NYRR got me a last-second volunteer assignment for New Year's Eve, literally making my +1 at the very last minute.
I started this year by switching to Vibram 5-Fingers shoes, and am in love with them. My last shoe-race was the NYRR Half in March, which was a lot of fun! Nothing but toe-shoes since then.
A couple more half marathons, and then the ING NYC marathon on Nov 7th. I'd trained for a 4:00 race and stayed healthy, so figured I could pull it off. Not to be my day, though. Crowding was really bad, I tried to keep up with the 4:00 pace group but the crowding forced too much weaving. I was underweight thx to a lot of stress in other parts of my life, and then didn't eat enough protein thanks to fears of having to make a bathroom stop. I just plain ran out of energy at about mile 16, and dropped behind the pacers at that point. I dragged my sorry butt for the next 10 miles, often whimpering in exhaustion, and managed to pull off a 4:13:02, exactly 60 seconds faster than 2008. I'm ok with it, I did my very best, and can't expect any more of myself than that. I truly gave my all. Recovery was faster though, only one day of hobbling down the steps!
I'm aiming for 7 half marathons next year, the NYC Half, the series of 5, and the More half ... would love to get down to a 1:40 by the end of the year, though that will take a LOT of work. I'm up for it I think :)

My Vibram's after the marathon :).

Bronx Half

Two weeks between half marathons isn't enough for me. At least I didn't think so. I had to get up at 4:40, leave by 5:30, and as usual wonder what insanity has my voluntarily getting up and out of the house by that hour just to exhaust myself. The wonder fades pretty rapidly actually. It was a haul up to the Bronx, two stops short of the end of the line. By the time the train arrived, it was so packed with runners that it took awhile for everyone to get off. I trotted over to the registration area to pick up my stuff as I'd still cut it a bit close. It was considerably warmer than 2 weeks ago, a nice 40-something rather than 14! What a huge difference!

I'd decided I didn't feel that ready, having run nothing longer than a 6.5 miler since the Manhattan half, and was a bit thick-legged feeling. I aimed to enjoy myself, and perhaps match my previous time of 2:06. The crowd was a bit smaller, and I think a bit more die-hard overall. Getting to the start was a hike for most Brooklynites, and most Manhattanites too. The fun-runners didn't seem to be out in very strong numbers. I didn't realize this until I looked at my watch 3 miles out and realized that keeping pace with my neighbors meant I was running 9M miles. Hmmm. It felt hard but not impossible. I didn't really look again till I was halfway, and then realized that I was pretty much keeping the pace below 9:30, and breaking the 2 hour barrier, my goal before the end of the year, was actually looking possible. Of course I got competitive with myself. I don't think I'm capable of not doing so.

I really kicked it in gear at about mile 1o, but wasn't sure I'd make it sub 2:00. I gave up at mile 12 on that dream, realizing I just couldn't put out that much speed, but still crossed the line in 2:00:47! That included a pee stop, which took about that extra 47 seconds. Must have been the weather, the faster crowd, and some kick in my legs from the previous run and an easy 2 weeks in between. Of course I'll have higher expectations for the next half ... though it's not till April!

Manhattan Half

Ran the Manhattan half, the first of the five borough grand prix, on Sunday. Fourteen degrees! I ended up pretty comfy actually w/handwarmers to start and a wool layer, despite still not owning any proper running clothes for winter. I got off to a slow start near the back, passed slowly for the whole first lap, running about 10mm. Got lapped by mile six by the winners! Sigh. I did start 6 minutes after the gun, but still ... ah well. Did a much faster second lap and finished in exactly 2:06, a minute better than my only other half, the Brooklyn one last spring. Happy with the time.

Now to get ready for the Bronx on the 5th, not much time to recover!

half marathons a plenty

i signed up for the Manhattan and Bronx half marathons yesterday, the first is in 2.5 weeks and the 2nd is in 4.5 weeks! better get my ass a moving or I'm in trouble. longest run post-marathon was 9.4 miles on Monday. Did a fast 2.5 today (just shy of 21 minutes) which felt really good, it was all i could squeeze in between the rain stopping and picking up the boys from school. first day they were both back, woohoo! the double pickup kinda stinks though, means we don't get home till 3:45 and with an hour of homework for D usually that means little playtime.

planning to do a 11.5 miler this weekend, or 12 if that works. hoping the weather cooperates.

finishing up the year

A friend convinced me to end the year w/a 5k fun run in Prospect Park. This I did, despite the frigid cold, and I certainly warmed me up :). Then I scooted off just in time to meet up with my husband/boys before midnight and watch the fireworks. The cold made it memorable to say the least, but we all really enjoyed it. Happy New Year!

note to self

2009's goal is the half-marathon grand prix tour ... all 5 boroughs. just found out the first one is Jan 25th! must register asap.

NYRR Mini 10k

I ran this last weekend in the HEAT, and had the best race ever! For one, it had a crowd of professional women that I respect leading the pack (Olympians and all!) It was under 5,000 women, and that's women only. Great way to race! I felt good the whole way, tho I started at the back as the woman I went with (another runner from my 'hood who races with me sometimes) had to use the bathroom last minute and we didn't get in our corral in time. I had to weave/bob the first 4 miles, and finally found my group/pace for the last 2. There were sprinklers, enough water stations, and patches of shade for sanity's sake. It didn't start till 9am, and the fog was burned off and humidity rampant by then.

The biggest/best thing about the race, aside from it being all women which I loved, was that I tried something new with my breathing. I was concerned about hydration and body temp, given the heat, so I only breathed thru my mouth for the first 4.5 miles. I used that to regulate my pace, and it worked wonderfully, and kept me extremely relaxed and centered. I let myself 'go' at close to 5 miles, and used up everything I had for the finish, sprinting as best I could for the last 1/4 mile. It felt wonderful!

I had a very sore abdomen on Sunday night, and I don't doubt it was from breathing that way. Then at the gym yesterday, a woman showed me how to do 'the plank' and I did 2 min before she told me to rest, apparently that's pretty great for a first try. It's a core exercise, and I could feel it in the same muscles I'd used to control my breathing and pace. That's actually when I realized my sore stomach was from the race. I've always tried to run from my 'core' and I'm finally getting the hang of some of it.

Oh, my time? 57:46, which I was pretty happy with given the heat, I think it's my best 10k time to date..

First Half!

I ran, I felt great, I enjoyed to the hilt, and I did well but not stunningly in my first half marathon this morning! Coney Island boardwalk, Ocean Blvd, and Prospect Park ... and lots of energy for a really strong finish. I wish I'd pushed harder of course :). Time of 2:07:22 and that included a 3 min pit-stop thanks to lines. I need to figure out how to eliminate stops but it's pretty hard!

I'm exhausted, going to soak and go to bed.

a new milestone ...

Well, I've upped my distances yet again, and can now say I've run 12 miles at a stretch! And for the record, 4 of those miles were hills. We spent last week in the Berkshires while my husband worked there, and the hill running was easier than I expected, and the payoffs huge! My thighs and calves are definitely bigger. I did a 9 mile last sunday that was all hills, and just a couple short ones this week as I rest up for my first Half Marathon this Saturday! I'm excited, nervous, and can't wait. My friend P is coming to watch the kids while I run, as DH is gone for a month as of this morning. I do hate the solo parenting and begging for childcare, but life goes on. I'll report in afterwards!

another race!

I ran the Scotland 10k yesterday, put on by NYRR, and had a great time. Another mom from the 'hood was running her first 10k, and posted a message looking for support. It was really nice to run w/someone else for a change, even if it was weaving in/out of a crowd of 7,000! I came in just under 58 minutes, and was very pleased given the fact that I'd had very little sleep the two nights before. I never felt really tired, sore, or winded, and think I could have pushed harder actually. I used the Gu gel for the first time in a race, and it really made a difference in the last 2 miles! I had a sustained burst of energy that was great to feel.

Now to find time to train for the half marathon in just a month ... an no backup here at home. My DH leaves tomorrow for 3 weeks in MA for work, home for a week, then away again for 3 ... and on through the summer. Hope to join him for June/July with the kids, but we shall see. Makes getting runs in a real challenge, I have a sitter now mon/wed, and can hopefully squeeze runs in both days. I can hit the Y every other day (or at least thurs/fri) and beg friends to cover on the weekends so I can get in a long one. tuesdays are taken with a class, at least I hope to start it up again in a couple weeks!

best ever

ran 9.5 miles last sunday, whew! then walked for another mile, then walked 2.5 more later (much later!) that night. never knew it would take 2 miles of manhattan hunting for crab rangoon at midnight, and still not find it. sigh.

felt wonderful. makes the marathon seem that much closer!

i hope to run another 4 miler tomorrow, though the crappy weather means it won't be scored. it will still count as one of my 9 though for guaranteed entry next year (just in case)

joined the Y too and did my first workout there yesterday, weights and biking. the variety is great and will really help my endurance i think.

amazing how much it really is about mind games when the mileage starts to creep up. just getting out the door, convincing myself to do another lap. fighting negative self-talk. then getting close to a new record and feeling amazing and flying right on by my original goal and doing extra.

oops! race wrap up

Thought I posted this, but failed to. Here you go :)

It's over, I'm elated, getting over being exhausted, and can't wait to do it again! The race, that is. I was an absolute nervous wreck the night before. Really. I mean the can't sleep, lying in bed shaking, tossing, muttering kind of wreck. I think I fell asleep around 5am, and had to get up at 6. We had a minivan coming at 6:30 to take all the stuff to the park. A LOT of stuff. Tables, boxes of goodie bags (they were heavy!!), carton of t-shirts, food, water, giant easel signs, traffic cones, orange barricade posts/weights, etc ... the list goes on. We got it all crammed into the van, except the cart full of cones/chalk/arrows, which was to mark out the course in the winding park. I pushed the cart to the park while M and the van took the load, dropping all the stuff at the edge of the park. I needed a few minutes to cool my head. Wet head actually, setting me up for freezing later on.

Lesson one in Not-to-do-ever-agains? Get the vehicle-permit for the park, no matter what! It's a separate permit, and one thing I didn't do because of time/money, but regret. Carrying everything in/over the wall and up into the park, both directions, was a HUGE pain. Of course I had no idea how much stuff there'd end up being. Pictures you ask? Ah, pictures. Hah. The camera battery died when I tried to take the first one, the backup battery no longer holds a charge apparently, and the friend with a camera that was to show up couldn't as her son woke up with pinkeye. So, NO pics whatsoever, though there is a bit of video. Maybe I can grab some stills from that.

So we (M and I) got it all into the park by 7:15 or so. Registration opened at 8, and we had to get it set up, as well as the course marked. One friend was arriving at 7:30 to help (thanks C!) and Steph was already at our place, up watching the boys until Opa arrived at 7, and she was off with the wagon to pick up the donated bagels from 2 places, apples and yoghurt drinks from the greenmarket, and coffee/hot water from the bagel shop. She ran herself ragged, getting it all to the park by 8:30 or so. Meanwhile M and I ran around marking the course. This involved chalk lines/arrows/cones to make sure people took the right course at each turn, and when the course stretched over 3/4 of a mile, it took a long time! I abandoned him to finish on his own close to 8, and went to take over registration setup.

By this time my aunt/uncle/friend S had arrived, and were helping get things going. Someone had already come to register while I was away, so I scrambled for the numbers/charts/pins/maps and so on, only to discover the bag with all that in it was missing!! M and I had been carrying it around while marking the course and no longer had it. It could have been anywhere in the park! A parks person had mentioned to C that she'd seen one up the hill, was it ours? My aunt went to find it, did thank God, and brought it back to my frantic hands. I fumbled in the freezing cold for all the stuff, raffle tickets, pens that didn't work in the cold, and so on, and finally managed to register the kid.

It was nonstop from there, getting the registration thing down (thanks to S showing up and handing out pins, numbers, maps, and t-shirts) and getting people ready to go. We had about as many walk-ups as no-shows, making it an even 30 people. It would have been 31, but Steph was too run ragged to actually run the course! Somewhere in there someone handed me a cup of tea and a cut-up apple, the first sustenance of any kind in my morning. I was sitting there shaking with cold, having worn nothing but a t-shirt under my jacket, and with wet hair pinned up on my head. Fynn/D/Opa arrived around 8:30 also, and were fine for the first bit, but then Fynn started screaming bloody murder. Bad mom failed to notice his freezing hands, tried to backpack him but his screaming was so loud it was almost impossible to think. Carrying in my arms didn't work either.

I managed to give the 10 minute warning at about 9am, after checking with Michael to make sure he'd be done marking by then, as it had turned out to be a hugely long job for one person, cart and all. Bless the man! "Managed to give" means I used the bullhorn for the first time in my life! Why I had such a hangup I do not know, but I did. I didn't want anyone but the ppl right around me to hear, and knew it would carry further than that. Has something to do with the fact that I mostly hate to be the center of attention, but part of me loves it. Go figure.

Got everyone up to the starting line, which just so happened to be 20 yards away from a PUPS event (read: many many people with many many dogs) that I didn't know would be there that day. Yay, more audience for the Bullhorn Malfunction! Harvey was holding it for me (heavy thing, and I was shaking a bit and standing up on a bench) and he pressed what he thought was the On button, only to discover it was the siren. Michael insisted you just had to 'let it run out' and so it went for several cycles. Turn it off. Michael insists. Repeat. Finally the two males figure it out, give me the microphone, Michael draws a starting line (the one line neglected to be drawn, though there was a sign) and I send them off!

Given the 3k route, I knew I'd have only about 11 minutes before the first person arrived. More scrambling for medals, shuffling a screaming Fynn, hunting high and low for the missing finish-line tape, and end up substituting a roll of raffle tickets instead. The tape was later discovered in Douglas' pocket, as he 'really liked it'. :) The first runner in was a HS student. I forgot to mention I'd invited the track team from the HS across the street to come, for free, and they'd be eligible for prizes but not t-shirts, etc. The first 4 or 5 finishers were the kids, and they all refused to take the awards! No medals, no dinner gift certificates, nada. Just said they were there to support the effort, and a couple even handed me a few dollars to put towards the charity. Nice kids!! and a dream to have there.

There weren't a lot of cheering fans, but we made the noise we could, and the stroller race ended in a deliberate tie :). Medals were handed out, awards announced, and the raffle items raffled. Thankfully one of the HS kids won the 6-month Crunch Fitness membership, which helped even things out a wee bit, and I dug out enough t-shirts for them all.

It was such a nice bunch of people, both runners and helpers, and I couldn't ask for more. Sunny (freezing!) weather. Enthusiastic and grateful runners, and no major issues. The Kiddie race ended up being just 3 kids (I had about 12 expected, but the cold probably kept them away) and one girl fell and skinned her knee. Douglas was super proud of his medal (they all got them) but wanted to know yesterday why the kids all got medals, but not the adults :)

I can't wait to do it again. We raised $760 for charity, had an angel cover the cost of the t-shirts and equipment rental, and spent enough of our own money to call it a good marketing effort.

running partners!

I started a running group in my 'hood, and tomorrow I have my first workout with a running buddy in, oh, about 8 years! Looking forward to it, though not the getting up at 6am part.

I ran a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day, and while I didn't run well, I had fun! I had to pee before the race began, got there too late to do so, and ended up hopping the barricades at 1.5 miles in and making a pit stop. Took me till mile 3 to find my stride, and given that there were 5 miles in all, it wasn't my best time. 46:10 total.

Glad I got out and did it though.

Countdown to my own 3k race is 19 days! Pounding the pavement and phone for sponsors, flyers, donations, and participants ... it's a ton of work. Scared that I won't get enough people to make it worthwhile, so concentrating more on media at the moment than donations. Need to start rounding up volunteers also, I'm going to need a good number given the winding course. Anyone want to help?! Details at

The Race is ON!

My first race that is, meaning one that I'm organizing, sponsoring (at least until I can drag in enough sponsors to cover things) and doing everything but running in.

It's a 3k in Fort Greene Park, and I'm so in over my head it's not funny. Why? It's just a project like any other, and given enough time it's not a big deal. However, time is the problem ... it's on December 15th, 5 weeks from now, and I just got my permit from the Parks Department today. Go figure! I'm madly designing logos, scouting vendors, modifying websites, and yadda yadda, you get the idea. If anyone has references for any timing companies I'd love them!

I'm rather excited :)

Details here, such as they are so far ...

Forgot to mention ...

The last race I ran, the Miles for Midwives ... I finished in 27 minutes and change, and came in 2nd in my age category! While there were only about 275 runners, I was still very pleased.

My next race is the Turkey Trot on thanksgiving morning, another 5k in Prospect Park. I'll be going with another couple this time, while Michael watches their kids AND ours :).

Marathon Weekend

It's here, and while I won't be running, I will be surrounded by them for hours. I'm volunteering this year, and have been assigned (yes I asked for it!) to work at the Starting line o Staten Island. That means I have to catch a bus on the upper east side at 4am tomorrow, and won't be done until late morning. The main perk to taking the early shift is that they give me a bus ride back to the finish line as soon as I'm done, and a bleacher pass to watch the finish! Pretty cool, and will give me a view of how it all works that I won't get any other way.

I'm still determined to run it as soon as I can get in. I've been out of commission with a chest cold/congestion for a week, and can only imagine how I'd feel if I was due to run in the morning. I have to get more regular about my training if I'm going to have a chance.

Next race ...

I just registered for a 5k this Saturday, the Miles for Midwives in prospect park. Last year it was my first-ever 5k, run with a jogging stroller, and cradling a nursing baby in one arm at least half the time. This time I'll actually run it :)

My First 10k!

Since I didn't get in to the Marathon this year, I'm trying my legs out on some smaller races, starting with my first 10k this morning in Central Park. Despite the fact that my longest morning run has been 5 miles, and I average about 3, I was sure it was do-able. It was the Park to Park 10k that takes a circuit of Central Park to complete. Having never been to the top edge of the park, I was rather looking forward to the 'tour' of it.

I snagged a handy ride over with my friend's husband, who was also running and is marathon training, and my friend baby-sat both of my boys for me for the morning! M is still working Saturdays all summer, so I had to find backup. I started my stretching on the front porch at 7am while waiting for my ride. He came late, so I got a decent amount in.

It was great to be in Central Park before 8am, another first for me, and then to merge into the sea of other runners getting ready. Number pickup, pin and t-shirt pickup, baggage drop, bathroom stop, and I was ready to finish my stretching. I parted ways with my ride, as he averages 8 minute miles and I seem at a steady 10.5 mile these days.

The start was staggered by average mile time, and so it was up to me to be honest and go to the 10 mile post near the back of the starting line. With 5,000 people running, this wasn't irrelevant ... though as I'm not in real race contention, it doesn't matter all that much. They score the races based on when you cross the finish line, irrespective of when you actually get to cross the starting line. It took me almost 5 minutes to get up to the starting line, so I was glad to have my watch keeping me aware of where I was really at.

I had to do a lot of weaving/dodging the first 2 miles, but the pack finally thinned out a bit. I had to learn to follow my own natural pace, not the pace of whoever happened to be in front of me. That took a good 2 miles, and then I was happy.

Figuring out water stations was another matter, it took 3 of those before I got the hang of it (go to the end of the area, not the front, don't really stop, and pour most of it on your head ... at least that's what worked for me. ) Once I did, it was no longer an annoyance.

I expected to hit a 'wall', but never did really in the least. I had enough energy to pick up the pace for the last 1.5 miles, and even sprint the last .25. I was tired for sure, but not sick or staggering so I called it a success :)

I skipped all the after stuff like pictures, bagels, award ceremonies, freebies, etc so that my ride could get back home in time to take his son to swimming lessons.

A fabulous first 10k, and my time was 13 minutes better than I aimed for ... results below.

First Name










AG %
3709 1404 551 1:02:24 10:03 1:01:31 1351 49.3 %

My ride came in at 54 minutes, so he didn't have to wait too long for me!