Cleveland Rocks!

11 Jun

Uhhh, so much for blogging more!

It’s been a few weeks since I ran the Cleveland Marathon.  Three and half weeks, specifically.  The details are sort of fuzzy by now, so you can go ahead and stop reading here if you’re looking for a detailed recap… 😉

A little background on what went down in the months/weeks leading up to race day:  T proposed we do this race sometime in January.  We both signed up, drew up training plans for ourselves, and promptly followed them…ahem,  loosely.  The winter sucked.  I ran LA in March as a training run and as a gauge for what time I could realistically aim for in Cleveland.  I ran a 3:56:34, felt great at the end, and then had nine weeks to recover from that marathon and finish training for Cleveland.

I did very little speedwork, but managed to get most of my prescribed runs in.

came up a "little" short the week of Mar 31 and Apr 28...

came up a “little” short the week of Mar 31 and Apr 28…

As race day approached, I had NO idea what time to aim for.  I figured something in the mid to high 3:40s was realistic, but really had no plan when I toed the line on May 18.

Chilling with T before the start.  Literally.  It was cold!

Chilling with T before the start. Literally. It was cold!

I had read race reviews that mentioned the lack of corral system and the ensuing chaos in years past, so I was prepared for that, but I actually found the race start to be decently organized and easily slid in just behind the 3:40 pace group.  Maybe it was more clustered further back, but I had plenty of room to stretch and move around, and crossed the start and began running with no issue.

Miles 1-5 went as follows: 8:38, 8:40, 8:25, 8:24, 8:18.  I was super paranoid about going out fast and bonking at the end — I was even worried that those paces were too fast– but I didn’t think too hard about it and just kept on going.  My stomach wasn’t feeling too hot,  I couldn’t seem to get into a comfortable rhythm, and I very clearly remember thinking pretty early on, “This isn’t going to be my day and that’s OK.”

The weather, by the way, was absolutely perfect for a marathon, but very chilly for May.  No complaints!  The sun was pretty intense, so the temperature felt nice.

Miles 6-10 were 8:38, 8:33, 8:26, 8:42, 8:24.  I saw T’s mom at mile 8, which was a nice quick pick-me-up.

At some point in there, I overheard two dudes near me chatting about how many miles they had left– and from that, determined that they were running the full and not the half.  I decided to stick close behind them because for some reason it felt comforting to have fellow marathoners near me.  They seemed to be running at a good pace that was similar to the one I’d been running, so I thought they would keep me from slowing down.

I drafted off of them for a while and at one point, 2 women joined up with them and they all started chatting.  I joined their conversation and learned the 2 women were from Cincinnati and that it was their first time running Cleveland, but they had done 30-some odd marathons.  I almost always run alone (I need running buddies!), so it was nice to have companions for a while.  It made the miles go by very quickly.  11, 12, and 13 were 8:21, 8:33, 8:28.

My watch was being really wonky, so I wasn’t sure what my time was for the half, but I also didn’t really care.  It was nice to just run and enjoy the absolutely gorgeous day.  Somewhere around the half, we saw the leaders coming back on the other side — there was a turnaround at mile 15 up ahead.  I absolutely love race courses like that where you can see the leaders — I find it so incredibly inspiring.  I  cheered my head off as the woman leader ran by (she went on to win with a time of 2:34:58.)

I had at some point lost my companions and was back to running alone.  I spotted a pace group up ahead and since I was suddenly feeling oddly strong, I decided to chance pushing the pace a bit and pass them.  As I approached, I saw that it was the 3:45 group.  I kicked past them and cruised on to the 15 mile marker and the turnaround.  Miles 14-16  were 8:31,  8:10, and 8:07.  My brother texted me asking how I was feeling.  I responded that it was tough but I was feeling good with about 10 miles to go.  Soon after, I saw T’s mom, aunts, and uncle and was elated at this sighting.


I knew I was going down a hill before the turnaround and I remember dreading the uphill portion.  It’s obvious here that I was on it, but I don’t remember feeling like I was suffering.  In fact, I look pretty stoked.  I also look like I’m the only person running the marathon(?)  Just FYI, I wasn’t.

here's proof

here’s proof

Miles 17-21 were 8:17, 8:26, 8:45, 8:28, 8:46 .  I felt myself slowing down and getting kind of over it.  I needed something to focus on, so I spotted an older woman up ahead who was absolutely cruising and decided I needed to catch her.  G-d bless her, she was speedy!  She was difficult to catch and kept me going for a while, but I was finally able to pass her at a water stop (I cheated and didn’t stop; she did.)

Around then, I found a second wind and started passing people.  I felt like I was flying!  I wasn’t– but I was going faster than I had been.  I turned on some tunes for the first time that day and listened to some pump-up songs.  I pretty much never listen to music in marathons, but there weren’t too many spectators at this point, so I indulged.  Mile 22 was 8:22, then 23 was 8:08 and 24 was 7:53.  I’m not sure what happened in mile 25, but it was my slowest one of the day– 8:54.  I think I was paying a bit for the previous faster miles.  But as I hit 26, I was super stoked and excited.  I turned off my music and took my headphones out so I could enjoy the best part of the race– the finish!  Mile 26 clocked in at 8:25, and I flung myself into the finish area and through the chute, spotting T (who had run the half) and his best friend Eddie in the final .2 (7:29 pace.)


eye on the prize

eye on the prize

My official time was 3:41:47 — a negative split and my second fastest marathon time.  Definitely wasn’t expecting that.

In summary:  I felt pretty darn good and far from destroyed at the end of the race.  I really loved the course– which went through some charming Cleveland neighborhoods like Tremont, Rocky River, and Lakewood– and the weather was freaking perfect.  Did I regret going out slowly and conservatively?  A bit.  Did I regret not training harder?  Absolutely.  My time was good, given my less than awesome training.  But all-in-all, it was a wonderful experience  that I’m very happy with.

Cleveland rocks!

Oh. Hey

24 Apr

So… it’s been over a year since I last wrote and I kind of thought I was done with blogging.

But here I am!  So let’s get down to the business of catching up.

Since you’re dying to know, the short reason for the year-plus hiatus of KSL is that I got a new job that requires I focus and work much harder during the day.  Previously, I was blogging whilst sitting at my desk with a workload that definitely ebbed and flowed (mostly ebbing, let’s be honest.)

I’m still busy at the new gig, but I want to make more time to write and reflect on my running, as I’ve determined that this summer is going to be one of high and smart mileage.   I think reflecting and putting it out there for others to comment on helps with the “smart” part.

Other stuff that happened since last I wrote:  I ran 3 mediocre marathons on  mediocre training.

Lehigh Valley, Sept 8 — 3:57:29

So, I was gonna CRUSH this one, guys!   I even enlisted Lauren‘s coaching and she drew up an awesome training plan for me.   Then… I got the new job (which requires longer hours.)  Also, everyone and their brother got married last summer and I traveled to 6 weddings + bachelorette parties, yadda yadda yadda excuses, excuses, excuses.  My training was really sporadic and I think I decided to go ahead and run the thing anyway about 2 weeks prior.  Below is a picture of T taking off my shoes after I passed out fell asleep on the couch after a “little” bubbly at my friend’s wedding 2 nights before.  Also, there was a  fire alarm in the hotel the night before the race and we had to evacuate.  Also, Lori wasn’t able to start her race at all, since we discovered that morning (approximately 10 minutes before the gun) that the half started in an entirely different spot.  Whoopsie.

For the record, that is a couch in our suite at Oheka Castle -- not anywhere in my home.

For the record, that is a couch in our suite at Oheka Castle — not anywhere in my home.

All in all, though, I liked this race.  And I’m signed up to run it again this fall!

Then I ran NYC.  Woof.  3:59:23.  A sub-4:00 by the skin of my teeth, but it wasn’t pretty.  I honestly don’t recall what my training looked like between Lehigh Valley and this one, but I don’t think I cracked 40 mpw.  In years past, I have thought of NYCM day as being up there with Christmas, but I didn’t enjoy it so much in 2013 (not evidenced, however, in the pic my mom snapped of me at mile #15 below) Anyhoo, I declined my automatic entry for 2014 and I actually feel pretty good about it.  I plan to be out there cheering my heart out and I hope my one spot out of 40-something-thousand went to someone who really wanted to run it!


Then winter hit and — breaking news– it was cold and it snowed a lot and it sucked!

However, I had a little trip planned that was getting me through the more brutal days:  I was attending the LA premiere of the Veronica Mars movie!

For those of you who aren’t aware, Veronica Mars is the best television show of all time.  Sadly, it only lasted for 3 seasons.  There was a small but very fervent fanbase and the fervent factor came into play when they (we) funded a film, thanks to Rob Thomas (the show’s creator), Kristen Bell (its eponymous hero), and Kickstarter.

Best.  Show.  EVER.

Best. Show. EVER.

Few things in life give me unfettered joy — running isn’t one of them, btw — but watching Veronica Mars is and always has been.  So I kicked in some of my hard-earned coin and was rewarded by not only helping the movie get made (which was, let’s face it, the real reward), but also by getting a ticket + 1 for the LA premiere!

As I waited with bated breath to find out what date the premiere would fall on, I realized that it was possible that it would be around the same time as the LA marathon.  In January of this year, I discovered that it was, in fact, a mere 3 days after.  Decision made: I signed up for the race, booked plane tickets  and trained (shittily) through a shitty January and February.

But… the LA marathon was the bomb!  One of my favorite marathons everrrrrr.  Though people complained about the heat that day, somehow it didn’t affect me.  (How was this the case after I crashed and burned in the heat in Miami last year?  I do not know.)  I had a blast, ran at a pace that felt comfortable, genuinely enjoyed the sites and the spectators, snapped pics of different mile markers as I passed them, and kicked it in with a sub 8:00 25th mile as I coasted on a nice downhill that dumped us off along the Santa Monica beach.  I was positively giddy as I crossed the finish.


WTF. I look like I'm at a revival.  Also, yes that shirt gives me pink underarms even though I've worn it before.  Also, evidence that I've worn it before is above since I wore the exact same outfit for the NYCN.

WTF. I look like I’m at a revival. Also, yes that shirt gives me pink underarms even though I’ve worn it before. Also, evidence that I’ve worn it before is above since I wore the exact same outfit for the NYCM.

Finish time: 3:56:34, with a negative split.  I was totally content with that, given my lackadaisical approach to it all.

T and I beached it up for a few days and then that Wednesday was one of the best events of my life.  Saw all the stars of my beloved show, got pics with a few, saw the movie, loved it, had some drinks, and went to bed completely blissfully happy.

Red Carpet ready before the show!

Red Carpet ready before the show!


NBD, just me (and a buncha other movie backers) and Kristen Bell on the Daily Mail website

NBD, just me (and a buncha other movie backers) and Kristen Bell on the Daily Mail website

Speaking of blissfully happy, one other minor event happened since last I wrote…

…I’mma get hitched this year!  T shocked me by proposing last July and I’ve been in the midst of wedding planning since then.

As the summer approaches (freaking FINALLY), I’m training for the Cleveland marathon and plan to use that as a kickoff to some solid miles for June, July, and August.  I have done no speedwork whatsoever for Cleveland, but I’m OK with that.  T’s family lives in Cleveland and a bunch of his friends are running it, so it will be a fun day.  I do want to finally clinch that BQ in Lehigh Valley.  Although even denotes my PR as a BQ, unfortunately that happened just in time for the BAA to tighten its qualifying times.  B@lls.  Also, I should note that it happened freaking 3 years ago.

Read 'em and weep

Read ’em and weep

So, this will be the summer of high, quality miles (who’s with me?) and putting the finishing touches on my big, fat Ohio wedding.  Yay!


Running is a cruel lover

28 Feb

I’ve had my heart broken twice in my 32 years of life.

The first time was just days before my 25th birthday, after having dated B for five and a half years.  It was the day after I was a bridesmaid in his sister’s wedding.  Ouch. 😦

I nursed that broken heart for about 8-9 months before meeting M and dating him for about two and a half years.  After he and I broke up, I drank a lot of beer, ate a lot of mac and cheese in bed, made some bad decisions, and wound up wearing a size of jeans I hope to never wear again.

This was my PW race during a PW time of my life...

This was my PW race during a PW time of my life…

I don’t ordinarily get quite so personal on the blog, but my point here is … I’m heartbroken again.

Nothing to do with T; T is just as wonderful as ever, for which I am obviously very grateful.  But it’s that other true love in my life.  The fickle one.  The one that d*cked me around for months last year.


Oh, running, I love you so very much.  You bring joy to me that literally knows no bounds.

utter elation

utter elation

So why on earth do you also have to torment me so?

A beautiful picture of me after months of no running and directly after having a needle jabbed into my foot in search of a miracle cure for PF.

A beautiful picture of me after months of no running and directly after having an enormous needle jabbed into my foot in search of a miracle cure for PF.

So here’s the deal:  On the morning of February 15th, I set out for a 5-mile run on a beautiful and unseasonably balmy morning.  I ran 2.5 miles from my home and partially over the Queensboro Bridge and then turned around.  I was ruminating upon my upcoming plans to crush my PR and finally BQ and feeling happy and upbeat.

As I took a step like any other step, about a mile from my apartment at this point, I felt a snap in my leg, like a rubber band being pulled so tight it breaks in half.

I probably yelped, I don’t know.  I stopped for sure.  I tried to move forward.  And I could hardly put any weight on my left leg.

That was a long and painful mile-long hobble home.  When I got there, I simply said to T, “Something bad happened.”  I called in to tell work that I would be late and miraculously secured an appointment at my sports med guy’s office.  The trip to the street from my apartment wasn’t easy, since I could barely even walk.  (Thank goodness for the elevator.)  I got a cab to the office where the doc told me I had, in fact, torn my calf muscle.  (Acute gastroc tear, if you want to get technical.  Though to me, there ain’t nothin’ “cute” about it.  Badum-ching.)  He wrapped it up, gave me crutches, blah blah.

So that was nearly 2 weeks ago and I now can get around fairly easily with only a very slight limp.  Want to see what my leg looks like?  You DO, don’t you?

Obviously, this is actually my foot, where all the blood has gathered.  Lovely, no?

Obviously, this is actually my foot, where all the blood has gathered. Lovely, no?

Gross.  Know what else is gross?  I obviously can’t run, but I also can’t even spin or do anything.  Sucks.

The good thing about the PF drama from last year is that I can take it so much better in stride (oh, stride…. sigh) .  I realize this is temporary.  I realize I will run again.  I realize that life goes on and even if I gain 10 lbs, I will then lose said lbs when I am back to being as active as I like to be.

Every relationship has its ups and downs.

In conclusion, Sweaty Katie + running 4eva.

Miami Marathon Race Report: the only thing positive about this race was my second split!

1 Feb

Badum ching!  D’ya like that?  You can already guess what happened, huh?
Well, first of all, it isn’t exactly true that there was so little that was positive about the race.  I mean, I was on vacation, the weather was beautiful, (albeit hot, but we’ll get to that) and I was running a marathon — one of my favorite activities in the world.  A year ago, I was laid up with plantar fasciitis and hating life.  Things could have been worse.  They also could have been better.
But, I’ll start at the beginning.
T and I boarded our flight to Miami on Friday night and I already had butterflies in my stomach (<-awful cliched writing, sorry) as I observed all the other passengers who were clearly running the race, as well.  A dude in an Ironman shirt.  A girl in a Chicago Marathon jacket.  It was starting to sink in that it was almost Race Day.
We arrived, checked into our hotel, ordered an indulgent dinner via room service, and crashed. Saturday morning we had a delightful breakfast (also courtesy of room service) and watched a dolphin frolic in the water out our window. YES. IT WAS AWESOME. I was squealing with joy.

room service FTW!

room service FTW!

We just barely caught him on camera

We just barely caught him on camera

I went for a quick 3-mile run around the hotel, we hit up the Expo, we hung out on the beach, we got dinner at the hotel, we crashed.

I slept OK, but was wide awake as soon as my alarm went off at 4:25 AM.  I stepped out onto our balcony into air that was a bit balmier than I would have liked for that hour.  But I was excited and didn’t care.

I guzzled my pre-race juice as I have in all 12 marathons in the past:

018 A

I knew I should eat something, but I just couldn’t summon up an appetite.  This was probably a mistake, but oh well…

We hopped in the car and parked in a lot that was about a 10 minute walk from the start.  As we approached the start, I got my first wave of unease.  I knew I would have to use the bathrooms one more time before the race, but the bathroom situation was… a logistical sh*t show.  (Yes, pun intended.)  The port-o-potties were crammed right up against the fences barring off the corrals (which were not open yet) — so the lines looped crazily off to each side and stretched for what seemed like miles.  They also seemed to not be moving.  At all.  T and I hopped in line and waited… and as sweat began to form on my forehead and it became increasingly clear that I was not going to get to go before the race started, I started getting some serious doubts about the race.  T urged me to head for my corral — corral D– which was on the other side of an enormous mass of people.  He was right.  I had to push my way through the thick crowd and began feeling something close to panic.  The NYC b*tch in me had to come out as I shoved my way through people milling around.

But I made it to corral D just in time and spotted the 3:30 pacer.  Excellent.  I positioned myself a tiny bit in front of him… and then noticed the 2 hour half-marathon pace group in front of me, in corral C.  What the?  I think a 2 hour half-marathon is about a 9:10 pace, and a 3:30 marathon is an 8:00 pace.

This was taken by the kind guy from Marathon Fotos just as everything began to sink in and I realized it was very possible I was not going to get my goal.

miami marathon1

The gun went off and off we went.  Immediately, I was weaving around people and trying not to get too pissy.  It certainly wasn’t any one of the runners’ faults that we had been corralled in such a bizarre fashion.  But irritation and frustration were there off the bat.  First mile clocked in at 8:07 and I was PISSED.

I gunned it in mile 2 in a desperate attempt to make up those measly 7 seconds (like a crazy person.)  I had been so intent on even 8 minute splits for the whole race that being off in the very first mile had messed with me.  Being a marathon veteran, you would think I would have realized I had more than enough time to make it up.  Second mile was 7:46.  PSYCHO.

And so the miles went by.  My head was not where it needed to be at all.  I clearly remember thinking at mile 3 (7:59) that I should NOT feel so discouraged and just generally “off” at mile freaking 3 in a marathon.  I remember at mile 5 (8:02) thinking, “holy crap, I’ve ONLY RUN 5 MILES?!”

You get the idea.  Miles 6-10 slogged by and while I attempted to take in the scenery and enjoy myself, I could not get into a good head space. 8:03, 8:06, 8:03, 8:03, 8:00.  Around mile 6, I took my first non-coffee-drink calories of the day, a Honey Stinger, in the hopes that it would give me a mental and physical boost.

At mile 10, I heard 2 guys next to me discussing their pace and strategies.  When I asked them what their goal was, they said “3:30 or under.”  When I said it was mine, too, they said I was looking good so far, to which I responded, “Only 10 miles in!”  They encouraged me by saying it was a 10 mile warm-up and I was on pace so far, which was nice to hear.  As we chatted a bit more, I learned that they were from Miami and they sympathized when I told them I was from NYC.  They said they’d had a hot winter and were used to it, having been training in it.  One of them told me, “My most important advice for this race is to drink water and Gatorade at every single stop.  Do not skip any.”  We approached a fuel station and I bid them adieu as I did just that.

I was feeling very slightly stronger and most positive at this point.  The Honey Stinger and Gatorade probably helped.  I looked at my watch as I came through the half and it was right under 1:45, miraculously.  Right on pace!  What??!

But.  Something happened almost exactly at the half.  My body was just done.  DUNZO.  Mile 14 clocked in at 8:22.  I tried to care.  I tried to push.  I couldn’t.  It was hot.  I felt crappy.  The 3:30 pace group passed me.  And I knew they had started slightly behind me.  I tried to catch them.  I kept them in my sight for a little while.  Then, I lost them.

8:10, 8:38.  At mile 16, it crossed my mind that I kinda wanted to just quit.  What was the point?  My A-goal was long gone.  I had a feeling my B-goal was about to pass me up.  (I was right.  The 3:35 group passed me and then some around mile 20.)  But I knew that I am not someone who quits marathons.  And there was no reason I SHOULD quit.  I could finish the race, of course.  I just didn’t feel like it.

miami marathon2

So I pushed on.  Mile 17 was 8:54, mile 18 was 8:48.  Blah blah.  I just kind of stopped trying.  And it felt kind of awesome.  I walked, slowly, through every water stop.  I let go of the goal I had worked so hard for with surprising ease.  Mile 19 commenced the 9:xx min miles with a 9:02.  Mile 20 was 8:30.  I heard the 3:35 pacer say to his group as they passed me, “You’ve done 20 miles and now is where you dig deep.”  I wished I could get on board, but ugh.  I sucked.  I just… couldn’t.



Mile 21 was 9:30.  Ho hum.  Sometime after this, I stopped at a fuel station and just kept on walking past it.  La-di-da.  Mile 22 clocked in at an impressive 9:58.  I made myself start running again.

I call this one "poor form; way too hot; make it end"

I call this one “poor form; way too hot; make it end”

9:15, 9:37, 9:44.  More walking and lazily slurping down Gatorade.

The 25 mile marker came and I decided not to be a total piece of sh*t and attempt at least a sub-9 minute mile.  8:50.  I picked it up as I cruised through the chute.  I easily spotted T, who had somehow found a spot right at the front.  I grinned ruefully and flashed him a thumbs-down, then I was done.  3:43:39.  F me.

I ambled around the finish, got some water, got my medal, chatted with a dude who was stretching next to me, and then went to the “K” to meet up with T, as planned.  I found him easily, and told him I would probably cry eventually, but was feeling pretty “whatever” at that point.  We went off in search of our car, but first I called my mom with T’s IPhone and snuck into a restaurant to use their bathrooms (I couldn’t bear the thought of using the pots at the finish area, and I never did stop during the race.)  At some point, I slid T’s IPhone into my bag, which held my water bottle and a few other things.  The phone barely got wet, but completely stopped functioning.  Then, the tears came.

They didn’t last.  What did last was our search for the car.  We wandered around for about 45 minutes before we located it.  You can imagine how fun this was, after a disappointing marathon and just after realizing I had broken T’s phone.  By the way, the thumbs-down photo was on the phone, so sadly it may never see the light of day.

In all honesty, I got over the disappointment fairly quickly.   How could I not?  I was on vacation and the weather was picture perfect.  T and I got cleaned up,  packed up, and headed out of Miami proper to South Beach.  Ahhhh… the perfect place to lick one’s wounds.

We spent the next few days doing the following:



EatingI ate my weight in filet and truffle mac and cheese at Prime Italian.  DELICIOUS!

I ate my weight in filet and truffle mac and cheese at Prime Italian. DELICIOUS!



We even made it to Flywheel just before leaving town, where I was able to take a class with my favorite instructor who moved from NYC to Miami, Aleah!


Now that I’m a few days removed from the race, I’m feeling a bit disappointed again.  Listen, I just asked a friend who tracked me to send me my splits (the marathon site doesn’t offer any splits and my Garmin was a bit off.)

According to these splits, I came through the half at 1:45:30.  I came through the 30K at 2:33:01, with an average pace of 8:13.  8:13s!  I still could have had a BQ!  My foggy brain had thrown in the towel long ago, thinking my B-goal was way out of reach.  I’m sad.  And mad at myself for my mental weakness.

I’m also determined.  It was a hot day for me.  Did I mention that?  I suck at warm weather running in any instance, but particularly when I’ve been training in winter in NYC.

I’m going to find that spring marathon and nail my goal.  I WILL DO IT.  Now, I’m asking for thoughts and advice.  Does anyone have any spring races they recommend?  Any good training plans for marathon-to-marathon?  Any ideas for what the golden amount of time should be in order to benefit from a solid base of marathon training and build on that?  I would appreciate any thoughts you all have to offer!

And finally, here are the results.  Read ’em and weep.  I’ll be back and better than ever! 🙂




Five days out and a confidence-crushing run

22 Jan

Five days ’til the race and yesterday marked my final “long run” — a 13-miler.  I should mention that I was supposed to do said run on Sunday, but I was a bit hung over under the weather.  Oops.*

Anyway, it was, as the title of this little post implies, the opposite of a confidence-building run — the opposite of what one would want for the last long run before a big race.  My legs felt like spaghetti and I was SO.  SLOW.  I didn’t try to push myself, because it was, after all, six days out from the race.

To add to this, I had the delightful experience of needing to make a stop at the New York Sports Club, or as I call it, my $100 a month public toilet not once, but TWICE.  $*%^!!!  To use a bloggers’ favorite phrase, sorry I’m not sorry that’s TMI.

Anywho, I’m trying not to dwell on this, but that’s much easier said than done.  I’mma come out and say that my A goal for this race is within the 3:30:xx range.  My B goal is a BQ (3:35:00 or under.)  I really won’t be thrilled with anything else, but I guess I can call my C goal anything that’s a PR (3:38:51 or under.)

Meggie’s most recent post urges readers not to put one race on a pedestal, which is something I’m doing an OK job of for Miami.  However, I’ve never trained so hard for any race.  I’ve never peaked above 55 mpw before (this cycle I peaked at 60) and I’ve never done Yassos or focused tempos or MGP runs before this cycle.  I really want to see this pay off, but I also know that in any run, including an important race, sh*t happens.  (As was quite literally evidenced during yesterday’s run.)    I also know that I have a good 7 + months to qualify for 2014 Boston.  And I also know that even if I don’t qualify for 2014 Boston, life goes on.

Oh yeah, and I can’t complain that regardless of what happens at the race next Sunday, I’ll be spending a few days on South Beach while it’s negative eleventy billion degrees here in NYC. 🙂

I’m ready for you, Miami!

miami marathon

*word to the wise– if you do not have any intention of or desire to become overserved, do not order the Cobb Salad at Schillers and then proceed to drink a bunch of red wine, followed up by beer, and then allow yourself to be peer pressured into doing a pickleback shot.

Checking in and happy 2013!

10 Jan

Posting a little place holder here, ’cause I am, in fact, still alive and running!

Work has been busy and outside of work I’m still training for Miami and attempting to have some semblance of a social life, too.  That doesn’t include this past Saturday night, which was spent baking cookies and then reading in bed.  Nerd alert.

Since I wrote, the holidays happened, which were a melange of good, bad, and ugly.  (Mostly good, though!)

Good included:  seeing my awesome family!  seeing my awesome friends!  sleeping a lot!  eating cookies and cheese with reckless abandon!  seeing The Silver Linings Playbook! (my girl crush on Miss Jennifer Lawrence has now reached epic proportions) giving and receiving fantastic gifts!

Bad included:  snow, (blech, hate winter) coming up 11 miles short for my prescribed 53 miles due to aforementioned snow + laziness + airline shenanigans (more on that to come)

And the ugly:  on my way back, airline shenanigans resulted in me being stuck at the Philly airport with no option to get to Laguardia before a flight — with a connection! — the following morning (I said no thank you and took the public transport to the Amtrak station and bought a ticket to Penn.)  Said shenanigans also resulted in my bag being transported to Laguardia on the flight that followed my canceled one, even though they didn’t get ME on the flight, (’cause that makes sense) and my bag finally being delivered to me the following morning with one of the beer bottles shattered and everything else in the bag (clothes, which had kept the bottles nice and cushioned– or so I thought) soggy and reeking of beer.

So long, DFH Celebration Ale, given to me as a Christmas gift last year and aged for a full year :(

So long, DFH Faithfull Ale, given to me for Christmas last year by my brother and aged for a full year 😦

I’m fairly certain that the US Air bag people played hockey with my bag, ’cause I definitely packed everything up very carefully with just this fear in mind.  At least my two other special beers survived the perilous journey.

brewed with peppercorns... I look forward to sampling it!

brewed with peppercorns… I look forward to sampling it!

Anwho… more ugly included runs that were derailed due to, er, tummy issues (um, when one survives on a straight diet of cheese and cookies for a week, this is to be expected, no?) and the loss of my ATM card, credit card, ID, and unlimited metro card.  And flip phone.  I’d rather not get into this, but I will say that I have a new flip phone, so don’t worry!  The jabs and jeers shall continue until I’m due for an upgrade in May… 😉  Also, word to the wise– do not carry a bag for the first time on New Years Eve because chances are if you are not accustomed  to carrying this bag and have a glass or two some champagne, you will forget to zip it and lose everything in a cab.  So yeah, don’t carry a new bag in that instance.  Even if the bag is super cute…

Did I need to buy this bag?  Absolutely not.  It was on sale, though...

Did I need to buy this bag? Absolutely not. It was on sale, though…

Miami training is going pretty well.  I did two 60-mile weeks and am officially tapering!  I’m still experiencing anxiety prior to every speed workout and am always slightly amazed when I nail them.  For instance– yesterday, I was to run 8 miles with 5 of them at tempo pace (7:27.)  I had pretty much decided I probably wasn’t going to be able to do it and was surprised when I did and it went well.  This is a regular occurrence with MGP runs and Yassos, as well.

In addition to the tempo yesterday, this week has also included a 7 miler with strides and an easy 6 miler.  I have a 10-miler with 8 MGP miles (eee!), another easy 6, and a 16 miler.  After last week’s 23 miler, the 16 miler is going to feel like a vacation.  That will rack up 53 miles total for the week and then next week I only have to do 40!

A few other running-related notes:

-I finally broke down and bought one of those handheld water bottles, even though I’m cheap and it was not.

water bottle

My reasoning was that I have read a few reports from the Miami marathon and it sounds like the water stations are pretty congested, at least until the half marathoners are done.  I’d like to try and avoid that, at least as much as possible, for the first half of the race.  However, I’m a little nervous since I’ve also read race reports from 2012 and the humidity level was something crazy, like 89% (barf.)  I DIE in humidity, since I sweat so much anyway, so this could get ugly… I’ve been practicing carrying this thing on my long runs and there is nothing to it, though I probably will wind up carrying either it or my phone, but not both on race day.  I’ve never run a marathon without my phone on me, but I don’t want to be juggling a bunch of crap while I gun for as close to 3:30 as possible (yep, I said it.)

Anyway, I carried it on Sunday for my 23 miler, but I wound up being pretty dehydrated and feeling ill afterward.  It really doesn’t hold that much water, but I did only refill it 3 times.  My 13th marathon and I still suck at hydrating.  At least I am finally getting the hang of fueling.  It’s amazing how much better a long run goes with the help of a few Honey Stingers… who knew?!

honey stinger

-You may recall a little bitch of an injury that plagued me for longer than I care to remember last year.  The plantar fasciitis hasn’t reared its ugly head full force or anything close to it, though I feel a little twinge here and there … but I can deal with that.  However, the foot ailment du jour is called metatarsalgia and it is no fun.  It basically feels like a burning or stabbing sensation on the metatarsal area of my foot and my toes.  Good times.  The good people at Jackrabbit fitted me for shoes about 4 times before I finally gave up and realized it wasn’t the shoes, but rather, my feet.  I’ve been able to keep it at bay during long runs with Advil.

And on a final, unrelated to running note, I’m not a huge “resolution” person, though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have goals in mind at the beginning of every year.  However, for the past 2 years, I’ve made the resolution to “read more.”  I was a total bookworm growing up and was an English major in college.  But somewhere along the way I stopped making time to read.  And last year, I read a grand total of something embarrassing like 4 books — the Hunger Games series and Gone Girl.  I think I’m better at more concrete goals, so this year I’m going to read a book a month.  This month’s selection is I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe and I’m loving it and already almost finished.  If anyone has any good books to recommend, toss them my way!  I have a HUGE list of books I’ve been wanting to read for years, but I’m always open to suggestions!

8:00 and “I Can’t”

13 Dec

So, I am generally a pretty positive person, but every now and then, I pull an Uncle Frank (You be positive, I’ll be realistic!)

My favorite Christmas movie.  Anyone?

My favorite Christmas movie. Anyone?

This has been happening a lot lately.  On my MGP runs, on my tempo runs, on my Yassos… pretty much on any run that is not a prescribed “easy run,” I find myself saying in my head, I can’t.  Then I quickly attempt to demolish that thought with, Shut up, you a**hole, of course you can.  Not exactly the most positive way to recover from negative thoughts…

So… my MGP (Marathon Goal Pace) is 8 minute miles.  This is a lofty goal for me.  For my first 2 marathons, I didn’t even have a Garmin, and for the following 5, I only used it for training runs so I knew my distance– I never paid attention to my pace at ALL.  But it was generally pretty slow.  Then, when I finally started paying attention and giving a shit, I was happy with any mile that began with an “8,” even if it was 8:59.

Sometimes I miss those days of blissful ignorance…

But I will say it’s been gratifying to improve with hard work.  This morning, I ran 10 miles with 8 of them at MGP.  I started getting inside of my head about halfway through the run:  What are you thinking?  You can’t run 26.2 8-minute miles!  You are struggling with 8 miles at this pace!  (I actually wasn’t, it just didn’t feel “easy,” but when does running ever feel completely effortless?)  And anyway, I didn’t think I could ever, EVER run a sub 4:00 marathon.  Much less a sub-3:40 marathon.  Maybe I should try believing in myself a bit more?

This week is a big one for me.  I’ll be running a total of 59 miles, which will be the most I’ve ever run in a week.  (I really don’t know how some of you people do MsPW well into the 60s, 70s,and even 80s…)  Next week I’ll run 60.  I really want and need to stay focused and positive.  Uncle Frank, go f*ck yourself!

Obligatory running recap:

Mon 12/3 — 45 mins Flywheel, then 4 easy miles

Tues 12/4 — 8 mi tempo (middle miles around 7:30 pace)

Weds 12/5 — 5 mi with strides

Thurs 12/6 — 9 mi with 7 @ MGP

Fri 12/7 — rest

Sat 12/8 — 20 mi.  Started at home, ran over the Q’boro Bridge, down Manhattan to the BK Bridge, over the Bridge, got a little lost, found my way, ran to Prospect Park, ran the Jingle Bell Jog (slow as hell and I also just barely made it to the start before they took the mats up), then ran to the Barclays Center and got on the train.  Ave pace was 8:55 with my fastest mile being mile 18 (8:15) and my slowest being mile 20 (9:48; I had pretty much thrown in the towel by then + had to stop at a lot of traffic lights.)

Sun 12/9 — 5 mi easy

Mon 12/10 — 6 mi easy

Tues 12/11 — 9 mi including 6 Yasso 800s

Weds 12/12 — much-needed rest day

today — 10 mi with 8 at MGP

tomorrow — 22 mi (eek!) This will be the most I’ve ever run at one time during a marathon training cycle…

Other stuff:

-I finally met Josie!  She rocks!  Hi Josie! 🙂

-T is the best and took me to my favorite restaurant, The Spotted Pig, for lunch on Saturday after my 20 miler.  SWOON.

We both ate a delicious burger smothered in gorgonzola.  I also had the best mulled wine of my LIFE!  Salivating just thinking about it...

We both ate a delicious burger smothered in Roquefort cheese. I also had the best mulled wine of my LIFE! Salivating just thinking about it all…

-I ran the Join the Voices 5-miler in Central Park on 12/2.  My time was 37:11.  It was a PR, ’cause I don’t think I’ve ever raced a 5 miler before.  I was also slightly hung over.  Score.

No pics of me in motion at this race for some reason, but I swear I ran it...

No pics of me in motion at this race for some reason, but I swear I ran it…

-I SERIOUSLY SUCK at dressing for winter running.  In the picture above, for instance, I was sweating balls.  However, while I was waiting to run and as soon as I was finished running, I was FREEZING.  Good thing my race is in Miami.  I think I can count on sweating balls for its entirety…

What do you all wear for winter runs?  What do you do when you get all Uncle Frank inside your head?

In 2 months…

27 Nov

So, I guess now is when I say I’m planning to run the Miami marathon on January 27th– 2 months from today…

Basically, as a very generous gift, I was given a trip to Miami to do so last year, but as you may remember, I had a “short” bout with the dreaded plantar fasciitis … this prevented me from doing any running whatsoever for an unspeakable amount of time.

And so, January 27, 2013, is the day I hope to will run a sub-3:35 marathon.*

I actually got a little queasy just typing that out.  Yeesh.

Well, anyway, I suppose my official training for this race began the day I was slated to run the NYC marathon, which you may have heard wound up being canceled…

I ran 20 miles in the park that day, and the following week, ran a total of 44 miles, plus did a 45-minute Flywheel class.  My training has been decent but unremarkable.  My long runs have been very slow.  My speedwork has been pretty much on par.  Last week, I ran a little over 53 miles and did a 45-minute Flywheel class.  I also consumed about a million calories.  Fuel, of course!

This is a goose!

Who knew that goose was delicious?!?! T and I discovered this on Thanksgiving!

I made my Grandma’s oyster dressing. It involves: oysters, saltines, and a “little” bit of butter…

It is also DELICIOUS.

Can’t have Thanksgiving without green bean casserole! I used about 3 times the amount of cheese that the recipe called for. Obviously.

Anyway, so that’s just some of what I fueled my 53+ miles with last week.

One more shot of the goose

This week is a bit of a cutback week — I’ll only run about 45 miles.  Then next week I’ll run 60… which will be the most miles I’ve ever run in a week.

A few random observations about running during this, my 13th(!!!!) marathon training cycle:

-20 milers almost always suck.  They would probably suck a little bit less if I ran with a buddy or if I listened to music, but this last 20 miler (Friday after Thanksgiving) I had neither, and it was particularly brutal.

-For some reason, it’s difficult for me to hit MGP on anything but a circular path (lately for me, it’s been the Reservoir and the Astoria Park track.)  Why is that?  I should probably rectify this situation, seeing as how I’m pretty sure that the Miami marathon is a typical road race and not one done around a reservoir or on a track…

-I really want to join a running club/team.

-Inclement weather is almost a given on nights when I have NYRR running class.  Case in point:  the weather today sucks.  And I have class.

Anyway, this is not cohesive at all, but the 2 people who read my blog asked why I hadn’t written anything in a while.  So, tada!!!  I’ll do better next time. 🙂

Hope your holiday season is off to a great start!

*this really only involves shaving 4 minutes off of my PR, but I’d rather be closer to 3:30 if we’re being honest here…

Opinions and…

2 Nov

I believe it was Shakespeare who quoth “opinions are like a**holes– everyone’s got one!”
Well, anyway, it seems everyone has got an opinion about the NYC marathon this year.
As you may or not have heard, we in the NYC metro area were hit by a little storm early this week. It’s caused terrible devastation to much of the area– one of the worst hit areas being Staten Island.
… which is where, every year, the NYC marathon’s 40,000ish participants camp out for several hours in the early morning while waiting to run over the Verrazano Bridge and continue running for a grand total of 26.2 miles.
…every year, including this year, according to Bloomberg’s announcement yesterday.
I will be one of those 40,000ish people, and for the past 24 hours, I have felt conflicted, to say the very least, over this.
It feels more than a little tacky, tasteless, and just plain wrong to be commencing a big-ass party where so many people are suffering and where people have DIED. It actually me sick to my stomach.
For me, and me personally, I would have been more than OK with them canceling or at least postponing the marathon, especially if it were in order for the supplies and person-power to go toward Hurricane Sandy relief. This will be my 4th NYC marathon, my 13th marathon altogether, and my 2nd marathon of the fall of 2012. I’m good.
But I can’t speak for the numerous people whose first marathon will be NYC 2012. People who have been training for months for this day. I can’t speak for the people who flew in from places literally all over the world, to run this. I can’t speak for people who have raised tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity for this race.
I wish, oh how I wish, it were as simple as diverting the efforts and funds for the marathon to hurricane relief, but I know it’s just not that simple.
I have to ask if the people who are complaining about the marathon still happening have put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. It’s one thing to sit in your apartment and grouse on a Facebook page. And that’s fine. Everyone is absolutely entitled their opinion, of course and I definitely understand the outrage. I just hope they’re doing something other than simply voicing it. I am by no means a saint. Quite the opposite. But I did donate a hefty sum here.
I promise I am not saying this to toot my own horn, but rather to share the little I did in order to attempt to alleviate my guilt over this whole thing and feel like I was helping in some small way. By the way, the NYRR donated $1 million to hurricane relief.
On a very shallow note, it breaks my heart that the NYC marathon now has this mar on it. I’ve said before and I’m saying again that for me, the NYC marathon is better than Christmas Day.
But on a much larger note, I just… I don’t know how to feel.  Yes, I’m running the race because I don’t see what good boycotting it will do. And I’m not sure I’m completely against Bloomberg’s decision. It brings money and hope into the city, blah blah blah. Again, I’m conflicted.
What I am NOT conflicted on is my belief that anyone who takes issue with the marathon happening should do their part in some sort of way to help out.
Good luck to everyone who is running on Sunday and my most fervent prayers and well wishes go out to those who are suffering from the results of this horrific storm.


31 Oct

So, about a month ago, I discovered a 5K trail run in… SLEEPY HOLLOW!  I am (nearly) a Halloween baby and I have ALWAYS loved the fall and particularly the glorious month of October.  Since I’m a semi-recently converted city mouse, I don’t get to see the foliage nearly as much as I would like to.  So, the notion of participating in a trail run in spooooooky Sleepy Hollow really got me stoked!  I told T that was what I wanted to do for my birthday weekend.

Friday night, T and I drove to Tarrytown (about 40 mins outside the city in the Hudson Valley) and checked into our hotel a little late after a few, uh, wrong turns.  (We forgot the Garmin and the roads are NOT well-marked up there!)  We were ravenous by the time we got to our room and almost everything that w0uld have delivered was closed.

We wound up finding a pizza place that was open and went to bed with our bellies full of a shameful amount of really greasy food…

Then we got lost in the morning on our way to the race.  Thankfully, we left super duper early and still made it in time.  When I picked up my bib, I noticed that I had mistakenly been signed up as a dude.  Which I decided to go ahead and clear up.

The race photographer captured this moment in which I cleared up the little gender snafu…

The official race guy said with a wink, “Sure, we’ll get that cleared right up so you can get your award!”  I laughed and rolled my eyes.  Yeah, right.

Then, T and I headed to the start.  I was feeling a bit nervous. (Or maybe that was the late-night greasy awful-ness still settling into my belly?)  This was my 2nd ever trail run (my first trail run actually being my first official race ever!)  And also, if I was being completely honest with myself, I had taken a little peek at last year’s results and had seen that it wouldn’t be entirely impossible for me to place in my age group…

Once we reached the start, I stretched…

The official race dude thanked everyone for coming and advised us that the first half mile to a mile was uphill, so to be prepared for that… and then we were off!

Fast dudes at the front

I immediately thought to myself, “Why is everyone going SO SLOW?!?!?!” and powered  ahead, even though I should have known better… but hey, I was having fun!  (As evidenced by the pics the race photographer captured of me!)

I’m on the left in the blue and red…

REALLY having fun here!

Not sure about that stride…

Anyway, shortly after this, I realized that my watch wasn’t working (damn it) and that the guy wasn’t lying about the hill.  It sucked and I felt like sh*t immediately.  I was pretty frustrated since I realized I had no idea how to feel out 5K/3.1 miles and I suck at pacing myself.  Harumpf.  I managed to pass 2 women who were ahead of me on the hill (yay, Queensboro Bridge running!) and then tried not to wipe out as I motored down the other side of the hill.  It was STEEP.

As I ran, I realized this was an excellent reminder to not attempt to be a hero for the NYC Marathon.  I felt like crap for having gone out way too fast (on a darn hill, no less!) and I did not want to spend a good 10 miles after having already run 16 feeling this way.  I promised myself then and there that I was going to take the NYC marathon easy.

make it end!

I finally saw the blessed finish and told myself to try and do some kind of minimal kick, especially since I could hear someone coming up behind me.

For the record, I beat her (by 2 seconds!) 🙂

And then I actually thought I might barf, but I didn’t.  Cool story!  I met up with T and then we went hung out while they tallied up the results.

And I came in 6th woman overall!

Also, I got an award for taking 2nd in my age group, but I just noticed that these results indicate I was 3rd.  Oops?  Well, anyway, that was fun for me.  Even if I had not gotten my little award, I would still say that this race was a super fun experience.  I don’t often run races that aren’t NYRR-sponsored and yes, I do LOVE NYRR, but… there is something to be said for the casual, hometown feel of smaller races like this.  Everyone was so nice!  Plus, I won’t EVER complain about running in a state park, especially in the peak of fall foliage time!  Another thing worth mentioning– ain’t no way this very mediocre runner (I’m NOT digging, facts iz facts yo) would ever place in a big race, so this was a nice little ego boost.

The rest of the weekend was equally awesome.  We went and walked around Stone Barns, which was just beautiful, stopped in for a beer and some delicious food (Ommegang mac and cheese, OMG) at The Tap, in downtown Tarrytown, and then went on a haunted hayride!  It was perfect.

Then… we came home… and weathered a little storm.

Monday morning, I received word that I didn’t need to report to work, so instead I took care of a little 10-mile run in my neighborhood, over the Queensboro Bridge, and then back.  There was definitely a spooky feel in the air, but I did enjoy the rare camaraderie I felt with other runners.  Typically when running in NYC, no one really acknowledges one another (which makes me sad.)  But on this particular day — with the grey skies, the  continual spray of rain, and the high wind gusts that nearly knocked my hat off my head more than once — other runners were waving and smiling at me.  We were united in our wacky need to run on a day when a hurricane was approaching.

angry, choppy East River

Anyway, I never really thought I would experience a hurricane first hand.  I should also say right off the bat that I was INCREDIBLY lucky and never lost power or water (unlike many of my friends) and was never in any danger.  The storm was merely a headache that kept us cooped up for 2 days and forced us to evacuate our bedroom since our ceiling was leaking pretty badly in there.  (GRRRRR.)  But again, I was VERY lucky.

I ran to work today since the subways are not working.  I’m so lucky to have a shower at work!  I will be commuting home by foot, as well… and possibly doing the same thing for the rest of the week.  That’s OK, though.  I just hope everyone who was affected by Sandy recovers OK and without too much cost, financial and otherwise.  Man.